Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You hear that? It's Lizzie!

As a reader, I know what characters look like and sound like. It's all in my head. And when a television, movie or audio version of the book comes along, it can throw me for a loop. So when they decided to do audio versions of the Accidental Demon Slayer books, I wasn't sure what to think. Casting would be crucial, that's for sure, because the entire story is told from our reluctant demon slayer's point of view.

I shouldn't have worried. The geniuses at Audio Realms got it right and then some. They cast the perfect Lizzie. She's straightforward, funny and even has a touch of a southern accent, perfect for playing the Atlanta-born demon slayer.

I also thought it was interesting that the second book will come out first. In fact, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers is up now. The first 100 copies sold will be signed, limited-edition releases. And I'll bet it will come out as soon as I sign those copies. This week, I promise!

Then Audio Realms will be doing the re-release version of The Accidental Demon Slayer. Since I own the rights, I'm going back in to enrich the world and some of the characters. There won't be any story changes, just a lot of fun things I know now after writing the later books in the series. It should be pretty neat.

Incidentally, I'm also going to be replacing the current Kindle/Nook/Kobo/e-book versions of The Accidental Demon Slayer with the re-release, and a trade paperback will likely follow. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ditto to Casey's Post

As I take a deep breath before the thundering herd (commonly known as my family-hey, I consider eleven adults, eight children under the age of 12, and two dogs a herd! *g*) descends on my house, I thought I'd take just a moment and think about my blessings. I'm sure my list is pretty much the same as everyone's, but it still bears stating.

1. My family-I've been blest with four children and six grandchildren. Everyone's healthy, and when it comes to my adult children, I can say without bias (I hope!) that they've all grown into nice people. And my grandchildren?? This may not still be true when the teenage years hit, but right now, they actually like spending time with me!! As I do with them-I love listening to their honest (sometimes brutally so) take on the world. It's fun watching them grow and seeing their personalities emerge.
2. My health-for someone who doesn't exercise all that much and whose diet leaves a lot to be desired, I'm in pretty good shape. (And believe me, I knock on wood as I write this!)
3. My friends-I'm lucky to include in that group funny, smart women who are always there when I need them whether it's to hear me bleat about my latest plot or offer sage advice about a personal problem. And I can't imagine my life without them.
4. My dog-maybe this one's little sappy, but Roxy has been a good companion and I do dearly love her!
5. I have a roof over my head and food on my table. Just a couple of weeks ago as I was traveling, I saw a man standing at a stoplight holding a sign that said "Will work for food." His plight made whatever worries I think I might have very small in comparison.
6. My career as an author-I've been very, very lucky to have an agent and an editor who have always been encouraging. They've had faith in me when I've lacked it in myself. This career has expanded my world-I've met people who never would've come into my life without it.
7. Freedom-I'm lucky to live in a country, regardless of whatever its problems might be, that allows me to pursue my life as I see fit. I can go where I want, say what I want, write what I want, and do (as long as it's not breaking the law!) what I want. There are many place where people, especially women, can't do that.
8. And last but not least, the readers-without them, the above mentioned career would've been over after the first Ophelia and Abby. And I can't tell you how many times a supportive email from one of them has brightened what otherwise would've been a dark day. I'm grateful to each and every person who has taken part of their time to read my books!!

There are many more blessings that I could list, but I do have the thundering herd showing up in a few hours so I'd best get that thirty pounds of turkey started!! Everyone have a safe, and very, very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!




My wishes for your holiday . . .


Family and friends to share your day with.
Good conversation, good food, lots of laughs.
Relaxation.

Oh, and if you're really lucky, a beagle to cook and serve the meal!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Great Fowl Debate

I have a decision to make today. It's not quite of the demon slaying variety, so that's good. No minions of the devil hiding out in my office. No imps in the garage.

No, this challenge is completely turkey related. You see, our family is big on Thanksgiving - especially leftovers. But we head up to my in-laws on the actual holiday, then to the Foxes on Saturday. Jim's family has no leftovers and the Foxes tend to have offbeat celebrations with things like BBQ, roast beef and pasta. So what are leftover lovers to do? We have our own celebration the Tuesday before.

So tonight I'm set to cook up turkey with all of the fixings just for our immediate family. I thought I was doing good (famous last words, right?). I did the shopping this past Thursday and bought a 15-pound bird. We started thawing it right away, anticipating delectable turkey goodness would be ours.

Except that it's not thawed yet. It's been four days. Now normally I'd do a water bath, but we have hardwood floor installers in the kitchen today. I can't even make it to my sink, much less bathe a turkey. Someone on Facebooks suggested a tub bath, but these installation guys already think I'm slightly crazy. One of them caught me talking to myself while writing yesterday. So do I really further the "writers are crazy" theory by asking them to move their tools so I can take the turkey out of the fridge and bring it upstairs with me?

Okay, yeah. I'll do it. I have no shame. And besides, I'm really craving that bird. But the next time you hear how crazy writers can be, feel free to blame me and my tub turkey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Muskego

Once again, "Murder and Mayhem in Muskego" did not disappoint! I had a wonderful time! From the "bathtub beer" at Jon and Ruth Jordan's to the hot discussion about autopsies over dinner at Slim McGinns (about the latter...as I've mentioned many times...authors are a little crimped around the edges!), it was a fun filled weekend.

Of course, one of the best things about this weekend was serving on a panel with Julie Hyzy, Deb Baker/Hannah Reed (she had a dual identity this weekend!), Joanna Campbell Slan, Denise Swanson, and Tom Schreck as our moderator. (Poor Tom...pressed into service yet again this year, but, being the good sport that he is, put up with our razzing graciously!) These ladies, along with Tom, are not only terrific authors, but are so quick with the quips and the humor that they make me look good! It truly is an honor to be on the same panel with them.

Our panel was supposed to be "Just Can't Get Enough-Why We Write," which it was...a little...but we also had a lively discussion concerning why we write "cozies." Here's the deal-traditionally, because our sleuths are amateurs and women; there's no steamy sex; no gore; and murder tends to happen "off camera" so to speak, the poor cozy is considered by some as having "less" value than some of our more graphic cousins.

Do I agree? Absolutely not! The plots are character driven and in addition to the protagonist, there's usually a rich cast of secondary characters with all sorts of wonderful eccentricities. And said protagonist not only has to deal with solving the mystery, but also those issues that face every woman...home, a job, friendships, a family. She does so with a lot of verve and spunk, which for me as a reader is very appealing. The hero rushing in at the end to save the heroine just doesn't do it for me anymore. Give me a woman who can take care of herself!

But here's one of the most rewarding things for me as a cozy author-we cross generational lines. There's something for everyone. Mother, daughter, grandmother can read these books and be entertained without worrying about whether or not it's "age-appropriate". And they can share that enjoyment with each other.

So am I proud to have written a cozy series? Just like Julie, Deb, Joanna, and Denise, I'll step right up to the plate and declare "You bet!"

Take care and have a good one!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Hard Day's Fright


Pleased to give you a first look at the cover of Pepper Martin mystery #7. "A Hard Day's Fright" will be on store shelves on April 5.

Like the Beatles? So did a group of teenagers who attended a Beatles concert at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium in 1966. One of those kids, a girl named Lucy, never made it home and was never seen again.

That leaves Pepper with a ghost on her hands. It's tough enough to find the body of a murder victim from 40 years ago. Worse, when the killer wants to make sure the secret stays hidden.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Slays in Vegas

Happy Tuesday! I'm just getting ready to sit down this morning and write the ending to What Slays in Vegas. It's the story of the one demon that Lizzie didn't annihilate in The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers.

Whoops. You didn't know she missed one? Neither does Lizzie. But that's okay because Shiloh is only a half-succubus and she has plenty of problems without Lizzie and the biker witches on her tail.

It's been a really fun story to write. Last spring, an editor at Kensington approached and asked if I'd be interested in writing a novella for the So I Married a Demon Slayer anthology. Of course I said yes because who wouldn't want to write about demon slayers? I wanted to do something related to my Accidental Demon Slayer books, but not necessarily a direct tie, so Shiloh came into being.

The poor thing is under a terrible demon boss. Nobody respects her and she couldn't even get slayed the last time because she has too much good in her. Nevertheless, she's doing her best to channel her inner demon. In fact, she's helping to re-take Las Vegas for the succubi when she has a wild night with a guy who has a few secrets of his own. Their powers mesh in a bad way and she wakes up the next morning, married to a demon slayer. Talk about one heck of a hangover.

Now he won't give her an annulment (and a release of her powers) until she helps him take down her boss, who happens to be the demon ruler of Las Vegas. It's been a blast to write and I can't believe I may even finish it today. It just depends. I never know how these things will work once the writing session starts. I tend to go super slow in the beginning of a story as I think of each step and build up the plot. By the time the end rolls around, I'm more like a kid with a stack of blocks. I get to have a blast knocking them all down.

Off to write. Wish me luck. And watch out for those demons in Las Vegas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

This is going to be short today-in addition to working on the edits for LOVE LIES BLEEDING, I'm off to Muskgo Wisconsin for an event I absolutely love "Murder and Mayhem in Muskego"! (See below for the list of authors attending.) It's sponsored by The Muskego Public Library, Friends of the Library, Jon and Ruth Jordan, Crimespree Magazine, and Richard Katz of Mystery One Bookstore.

So if any of you out there are in the neighborhood, come join us!! I promise that you'll have a great time! (And if you can't join us, but would like a signed copy from one of the authors listed below, just contact Richard at Mystery One!)

That's it for this week-have a great upcoming weekend!

Best,
Shirley


Jeff Abbott
Brian Azzarello
Deb Baker
Brett Battles
Chelsea Cain
Sean Chercover
Reed Farrel Coleman
Blake Crouch
Shirley Damsgaard
Sean Doolittle
Christa Faust
Shane Gericke
Victor Gishler
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Victoria Huston
Julie Hyzy
Daniel Judson
Julie Kramer
Michael Lister
A. J. Marhofke
RIDLEY PEARSON - Guest of Honor
Henry Perez
Scott Phillips
Kat Richardson
Marcus Sakey
Tom Schreck
Joanna Slan
Neil Anthony Smith
Denise Swanson
Martyn Waites
Brian Wiprud
Zip

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Buckeye for the Books!

I went all out decorating my table for Buckeye Book Fair.
Amazing what bargains you can find after Halloween...how do you
like the sparkly tombstone?
Had a great time at last week's Buckeye Book Fair. Fabulous event, and it was nice to catch up with all the readers I've met there over the years. Also great to meet new readers and to sign many, many books.

Thank you, Ohio readers. See you next year...the first Saturday of November!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Last of the Demon Slayers releases today!

The day is finally here. Amazon has released The Last of the Demon Slayers. Yes, it's a month early and yes, it's an Amazon exclusive (for the moment).

Amazon is going to release The Last of the Demon Slayers as an ebook first. We're still working on a date for the paperback release. But even if you don't have an e-reader, you can still get the book on Kindle for PC (what I use) or Kindle for Mac. Nook, Kobo and other electronic versions will be up in the next week or so.

Now don't expect all of my books early. This is a special circumstance. As many of you may know, the publisher of the Accidental Demon Slayer books has been having trouble distributing books and paying authors. Dorchester wasn't meeting its contractual obligations, so after thinking long and hard on it, I decided to take back the rights to The Last of the Demon Slayers.

The Last of the Demon Slayers is a great addition to the series. I'm so stinking proud of how all of the elements came together on this one - Lizzie, the biker witches, Pirate, Flappy the dragon. They're on a cross-country road trip where anything can (and does) happen.

Oh and of course we have a new fun quiz. Can't release a book without a bit of goofiness. What's Your Biker Witch Weapon of Choice? Mine is the Mange Spell. It wards off demons, gremlins and telemarketers. Pirate was excited to get the Anti Imp Cannon. It works like a potato shooter, only with more sparks. And you know how Pirate likes to take charge.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for all of your emails wondering just when we'd have this book out. Today is a good day. I'm so glad Lizzie and the gang are on their way to readers, full speed ahead on a new adventure.

And to celebrate the release of The Last of the Demon Slayers, take the What's Your Biker Witch Weapon of Choice? quiz, give us your answer below and you're entered to win a Kiss My Asphalt t-shirt, just like the biker witches wear. Good luck!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Love of Reading

I have a confession to make-my adult children aren't big "readers". In fact only one-my oldest daughter-has read all seven Ophelia and Abby. (My youngest daughter's excuse?? She had to live with me while I was writing them, so why should she have to read them, too? I guess she feels I talked a bit too much about the plots while going through my creative process! *g*) And it is a little embarrassing to be an author whose family doesn't read!

I don't know why they don't enjoy reading. I did try to encourage them. When they were little, I read to them and they all grew up knowing how much I loved books, but for some reason, it didn't carry over into their adulthood.

Now I have a second chance with my grandchildren, especially my three oldest grandsons. This weekend, I purchased five Scooby-Doo books; one about aliens; another about dragons; and the last one deals with mummys and Egyptology. (A side note: I also purchased a copy of WITCH WAY TO MURDER. One of the boys had started reading his mother's copy and thought it would be cool to have his very own. Of course as both his grandmother and the author, I was more than happy to comply! His only complaint..."the words are awful little, Grandma." But hey, he's only eight and most of the books he's read up to this point have had a lot of pictures.) After school tonight, I'm also taking the three of them to our new library here in Stuart.

I guess time will tell whether or not I'm successful this second time around. If I am, I feel I'll have given them one of the best gifts a grandmother could give her grandchildren...the love of reading.

Wish me luck!

That's it for this week-see you next Thursday!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buckeye Book Fair


Looking for the ideal way to feed your reading habit?

Start in on your Christmas gift list?

Support literacy programs?

Meet and mingle with authors?

Then I’ve got the perfect answer for you!

Buckeye Book Fair.

The Fair is this Saturday, November 6 at the Fisher Auditorium of the OARDC/OSU campus in Wooster, Ohio. Doors are open from 9:30-4 and as always, your $2 admission will allow you to meet more than 100 authors and illustrators.

Interested in children’s books? Will Hillenbrand will be there autographing his books, and illustrator Richard Cowdrey will lead a draw-along in the auditorium.

Looking for adventures on the road? Cleveland’s Neil Zurcher of "One Tank Trip" fame will be there, too.

Mysteries?

Oh boy, we’ve got you covered!

I’ll be there (natch) with both my Pepper Martin and my Cooking Class mysteries, along with Amanda Flower, Emilie Richards (Ministry is Murder), Carrie Bebris (Mr. And Mrs. Darcy novels), Judy Clemens, and many more.

Stop by, say hi, pick up a book (or two). Buckeye Book Fair is always the premier book event of the fall. For more information:

www.BuckeyeBookFair.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Election Day!

Voting always puts me in a good mood and gets me thinking about how lucky we are to have the right to do it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Something Wicked on Writing

The Writer’s Workshop at Liquid Silver Books

First, I’d like to thank Angie for inviting me today. Who am I? My name is Moni Draper. I’ve written e-books for the last ten-plus years under the pen names of Monette Michaels and Rae Morgan. I am currently a Senior Editor at LSB, but have acted as the acquisitions editor and as Senior Editor over the Terran Realm, a shared urban fantasy world. Enough about me, let’s talk about the workshop.

Some History: As the first Acquisitions Editor at LSB, I took the time in the early years to critique promising authors’ manuscripts. As our submissions grew, I, then Tina Burns and now Tracey West realized we couldn’t coach everyone. The mistakes and issues we saw seemed to be the same ones again and again. We decided to institute free workshops in our Forum, open to our authors and anyone else interested in taking the classes. We had two goals: one was to help our current authors fix common mistakes and issues in their manuscripts and the second was to assist a future crop of authors in honing their craft. A side benefit would be to promote Liquid Silver Books as a publisher who cares about quality.

The Workshops began as a bi-monthly feature in the Liquid Silver Forum, affectionately called SiN. The first year (2009) saw class topics such as Self-Editing, POV, Dialogue, Time Management, Jumpstart Your Writing, and Show versus Tell. From the feedback received and the class attendance, the initial Workshops were more than a success.

In 2010, I took over the coordination of the workshops and instituted monthly classes less a summer break of three months. This year we have taught Plot Structure, Writing Blurbs, Sagging Middles and Hitting the Wall, Writing M/M Romance, World Building, and just last month, Writing Hotter Sex Scenes. November’s class will be Writing the Synopsis and in December, Backstory. Our instructors are editors at Liquid Silver Books and best-selling authors such as TA Chase and Marisa Chenery.

How The Classes Work: The classes are taught usually on a weekend and on the Forum. The direct link to the Workshop sub-forum is as follows: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=237

The classes are taught as a mixture of lectures, Q&A, and writing assignments, where appropriate. When we ask the students to post original material for critiquing by the instructor, we have a Private Room which is password-protected and is only seen by the current class and the SiN moderators. The Private area material remains up for a month so the students can review the critiques and comments and then is deleted and the password changed for the next usage. In the main area of the workshop, all other materials and interaction within the class are then put into their own Room and available for anyone visiting the Public Area of SiN to read at their leisure.

The classes require the person interested in taking a class to sign up. In order to post, the class attendees must be members of the SiN Forum; this entails creating a screen name and a password. All of this is free to anyone who wants to learn more about the craft of writing.

The schedule for the last two classes of the year is a Sticky in the Workshop at the following link: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10965
The Sign Up Announcements are issued at the beginning of each month in which there is a class, here: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10963

2011 Workshops: The schedule for 2011 is in the works, the classes will include repeats (Plot Structure, for example) mixed in with some new topics so that our experienced students can find something to take without repeating themselves. I again anticipate nine monthly classes with taking June, July and August off.

I’d like to invite anyone interested to visit SiN and the Workshop to read the Archives of past classes to see what we are all about. If you find this is something you think you might like to try, please sign up - - I’d love to see you in class!

Again, I want to thank Angie for inviting me. If anyone has specific questions, they can e-mail me at monettemichaels@gmail.com.