The New York Times has an article about how authors obsessively check their Amazon.com sales rankings: The Highs and Lows of Rankings on Amazon.
I, of course, have NO IDEA what they're talking about.
Over at Fangs, Fur & Fey Jill Myles asked the question: What's the fantasy element that makes you steer away from what might otherwise be an excellent book?
It's not that I object to books about faeries. I've read (and even written, though not published) books I've loved that center around the land of fey/fairy queens, etc. What I can't stand is when I'm reading an otherwise perfectly good vampire/urban fantasy book and some character introduces themselves as half-fairy or something similar. I can't explain it, but, for whatever reason, that makes my suspenders of disbelief go "BOOOOIIIINNGGG!" and, more often than not, snap completely.
What about you? What's your answer to Jill's question?
I couldn't wait for my subscription to come, so I picked up a copy of Locus at Dreamhaven yesterday. Here are the reviews by Carolyn Cushman:
Tate Hallaway, Dead Sexy (Berkley 978-0-425-21508-1, $14.00, 294pp tp) May 2007. Cover by Margarete Gockel
Murder comes back to haunt Garnet Lacey in this sequel to Tall, Dark & Dead. Garnet first went on the run after Vatican witch hunters killed her coven and the goddess Lilith possessed her and killed the Vatican agents. Now the bodies have been uncovered, and the FBI is on Garnet's trail, so she's forced to turn to her vampire ex-boyfriend for help, while trying to keep her current boyfriend, the vampire alchemist Sebastian, from finding out, not to mention trying to keep Lilith from reappearing and wreaking havoc. And then there are al those zombies turning up around town... Garnet's an engaging narrator, and while the plot occasionally seems a bit over the tope, it's also a consistantly fun, fast-paced romp.
Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner, eds., Many Bloody Returns (Ace 978-0-441-01522-1, $24.95, 355pp, hc) September 2007. Cover by Lisa Desimini.
What do birthdays mean to vampires? Thirteen authors come up with as many answers in this amusing original anthology, which tends to the lighter side of vampire fiction, with birthdays frequently tangential to the stories at best. Several stories are part of popular series; among the best are Jim Butcher's Dresden File story, "It's My Birthday, Too," in which Harry Dresden tries to get a birthday present to his vampire half-brother, only to run into some live-action roleplayers facing real vampires in an after-hours shopping mall; P. N. Elrod's lively Vampire Files story, "Grave Robbed," finds PI vampire Jack Fleming taking on a phony medium; in Tanya Huff's Smoke series, "Blood Wrapped" sets Tony and Henry searching for a kidnapped child and for an appropriate gift for Vicki Nelson's 40th birthday; and Tate Hallaway's "Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two" finds wiccan Garnet Lacey (of Tall, Dark & Dead and Dead Sexy) trying to convince her vampire boyfriend that his birthday isn't cursed, despite some chilling encounters. Charlaine Harris's own entry, "Dracula Night," is amusing but slight, a Sookie Stackhouse story that finds the human telepath fortunately on hand when things go wrong during the vampires' celebration of Dracula's birthday. Co-editor Toni L. P. Kelner, a mystery writer, presents a punchy, but touching, tale of a vampire who catches a serial killer while on a nostalgia trip to her own home town in "How Stella Got Her Grave Back." The remaining stories are a mixed bunch, mostly standalones, and some less than satisfying -- possibly because they don't have well-developed series backgrounds to draw on. For fans of the series represented here, however, this is an entertaining birthday party well worth checking out.
I decided to try to be one of the cool kids and put together the rudimentary bits necessary to have a my space page. If this sort of thing trips your trigger, go check it out at:
Now, I expect I'll be up half the night "friending" people and whatnot. :-)
Exciting news first: my agent just made a deal with my publisher for TWO -- that's right, count 'em, two -- more books in the Garnetverse! Book number four is tentitively titled Dead If I Do (thanks to Plaid Adder for the title suggestion) to come out in 2009, and book five will be Honeymoon of the Dead for 2010.
My 2008 book will be Romancing the Dead, and I'm also happy to report that I sent away the ginormous package containing two paper copies of the revised manuscript yesterday. After much wrestling, I'm actually quite pleased with the final version of Romancing, too. Huzzah!
Toni Kelner sent this along to the contributors of Many Bloody Returns:
First off is Harriet Klausner's review, which is on B&N.com and elsewhere on the web (http://www.alternative-worlds.com/2007/07/26/many-bloody-returns/):
Many Bloody Returns
Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Editors)
Ace, Sep 2007, $24.95
These thirteen new vampire tales focus on the theme of birthdays (and many happy returns). Although the theme is incredibly narrow and restrictive, the contributors provide fresh interesting tales with no losers and star some of the more famous series characters; this the collection serves as a great introduction (albeit limited) to heroes of the supernatural. The most innovative entry is “Twilight” by Kelley Armstrong in which she insists a vampire’s birthday is the day they convert as that is a rebirthing. The rest of the stories make for a fun compilation with the lively authors being superstars in the undead realm such as Jim Butcher (with Harry), P.N. Elrod (with Fleming), and Charlaine Harris (with Sookie), etc. Still singing happy birthday thirteen times even too many series favorites can become a bit long in the tooth and difficult to blow out the zillion candles for some of the recipients; this reviewer suggests leisurely enjoying the anthology over a few weeks.
Then we've got this one from Romantic Times BOOKreviews
MANY BLOODY RETURNS
4 1/2 stars (Out of 4 stars, which makes this "FANTASTIC--Keeper")
In this highly readable and memorable anthology, 13 top fantasy writers tackle the subject of vampires and birthdays. This is a must-buy book for genre fans, and a fantastic introduction for new readers to some of the best-known writers in the field, including Harris, Jim Butcher, Tanya Huff, Kelley Armstrong, and P.N. Elrod.
SUMMARY: Thirteen authors have 13 very different takes on birthdays and vampires. Highlights include Harris' "Dracula Night," in which Sookie Stackhouse finds herself the only human in attendance at Dracula's birthday party; Elrod's Jack Flming striking a blow for honest mediums everywhere in "Grave-Robbed,; and Butcher's "It's My Birthday Too," where Harry Dresden finds himself in a sururban mall with a bunch of live-action role players and a few vampires out for revenge--and blood.
Natalie A. Luhrs
And from a web site reviewer I've never heard of (http://darquereviews.blogspot.com/2007/08/many-bloody-returns-anthology.html), but now revere because she liked the book:
Many Bloody Returns (Anthology)
Tales of Birthdays with Bite
Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner
ACE – The Berkley Publishing Group
September 4, 2007
Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris shares a tense night at Fangtasia as Sookie Stackhouse and her supernatural friends celebrate with a birthday bash for Dracula.
The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden is Donika’s sixteenth birthday and a night for revealing a past secret that leads to a surprising future.
I Was a Teenage Vampire by Bill Crider tells the tale of how Carlton’s young life changed the night of his sister’s birthday party.
Twilight by Kelley Armstrong takes Cassandra DuCharme on the yearly hunt she needs to extend her vampiric life.
It’s My Birthday Too by Jim Butcher follows Harry Dresden and his assistant to deliver a birthday present when things turn dark and dangerous.
Grave Robbed by P. N. Elrod has PI Jack Flemming intervening when a woman is desperate to contact her deceased husband and the séance appears to be a con.
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life by Rachel Caine is Eve’s eighteenth birthday in Morganville, and the night she’s expected to sign away her future.
The Witch and the Wicked by Jeanne C. Stein brings Sophie to the Deveraux home where she caters a vampire’s birthday filled with surprises.
Blood Wrapped by Tanya Huff has Henry on the hunt for Vicki’s birthday present when he’s influenced to do a good deed.
The Wish by Carolyn Haines shares Sandra’s forty-third birthday and the painful tale that leads her to live and die on her own terms.
Fire and Ice and Linguini for Two by Tate Hallaway celebrates Sebastian’s birthday with more surprises than Garnet had planned for the evening.
Vampire Hours by Elaine Viets is Katherine’s birthday to face the reality of her current life and make the decision to have the future she dreams of.
How Stella Got Her Grave Back by Toni L. P. Kelner travels along with Stella and Mark as they set out to solve the mystery of a Jane Doe.
Many Bloody Returns is a carefully crafted anthology that envelopes readers in the dark and often humorous world of the paranormal. A fabulously fun visit with the characters, both old and new, of some of the best paranormal fiction authors in print today.
Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews
My agent just informed me that Dead Sexy is the Locus List #4 bestseller in the trade paperback catagory. Whoot!
Carolyn Cushman at Locus also did a review of both Dead Sexy and Many Bloody Returns (and, apparently, *GASP* she mentions my story!!) Those aren't available on-line, however, so I'll have to wait impatiently at my mailbox to see what she says.