Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Today I'm a part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, thanks to an invitation from Lynn Crandall at The Write Way Café, whose next big thing is Dancing with Detective Danger. Thanks, Lynn!

What is your working title of your book?
Poison in the Blood

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Michael and Emily Black are characters who first appeared in Blood, Smoke and Mirrors. They're two of my favorite characters in the Bad Witch books, as is Michael's mentor Simon St. Jerome. In Emily's first book, The Importance of Being Emily, I told the story of how Michael and Emily learned that they're soul mates. In Poison in the Blood I wanted to show how they finally achieved their Happily Ever After. (And for vampires, that ever after is a long, long time.)

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical Paranormal romance, with a dash of murder mystery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
My pick for Emily has always been Rachel Weisz. For Michael I envision Jack Davenport, especially in his role as Norrington in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And though technically he's not the hero in this book (but my editor has Simon's book now, fingers crossed, people!), my pick for Simon is the swoon-worthy Benedict Cumberbatch.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Emily is a heartbroken seer, Michael is a newly-made chronicler; they fight crime!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
As with the other Bad Witch books, Poison in the Blood will be released from Samhain Publishing in late Summer 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Poison in the Blood was my 2011 National Novel Writing Month novel, so the initial draft took 30 days. And then there were several months of editing, rewriting, angst, beta reading and critique groups.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? a Leanna Renee Hieber fan I'd say The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, which I loved. Maybe a bit like Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I really wanted to tell the story of how Emily became a vampire. This book also gave me an opportunity to explain an important event in the Bad Witch setting, but I'm not telling what it is. (Because as River Song would say: Spoilers.)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are a lot of fun things going on in this book. There's romance, action, mystery, murder and magic. Emily meddles in things she probably shouldn't, including prying into Simon's traumatic past. (There's a Very Important Vision that reveals...well, I'm not telling that either.) ;-)

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop continues December 26 with one of my favorite authors, Devin Harnois!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fire in the Blood VBT: Week Four Recap and Wrap-up

And we've reached the end of the tour. Thank you everyone who hosted me, and of course to the organizer, Bewitching Book Tours!

Here are the final stops. There are still a few hours left to enter the giveaway, so please make sure that you do!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fire in the Blood VBT: Week Three Recap

In case you missed it, here's the tour stops from last week. I can't believe the tour's almost over. Just a few stops left. If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, please stop by one of these sites. You could win a $50 Amazon gift card. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fire in the Blood VBT: Week Two Recap

First, though this is not a tour stop (and therefore you can't enter the giveaway there), the entire first chapter of Fire in the Blood was featured yesterday at D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters. So if you haven't been introduced to Patience, Faust, and Harvey yet, there's your chance. ;)

Also, in another non-tour stop, Tuesday I was a guest at Delilah Devlin's blog, where I discussed how to be the boss of the voices in your head.

Here's the week two wrap up! Remember, there's still time to visit one of the stops and enter for your chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card.
Week three has interviews, reviews, and even more excerpts, so please stay tuned for more VBT fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why No NaNo?

So you're probably wondering why I haven't been obsessing over NaNoWriMo this year. I did have a NaNo project planned, in fact it was a joint project with BFF Diana, but we didn't get it off the ground. We're still planning on working on that project together at some point, but we're focusing on other projects instead. (She has her first novel out on submission, and can use good vibes sent her way.) (I'm very proud of her. I love that book. I have my fingers crossed for her.)

I continue to be a huge fan of NaNoWriMo. Blood, Smoke and Mirrors was my very first NaNo novel in 2006. Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered was my 2010 NaNo novel. And now my 2011 NaNo, Poison in the Blood, has just been contracted by Samhain and will be out in 2013. NaNoWriMo has been a huge part of my life, and I think everyone at the Office of Letters and Light deserves major kudos for everything they do to make NaNo awesome.

In the meantime I've been working on the next Bad Witch book, which is Simon's book. (I just dropped a ceiling on him. He'll be okay.) And of course I've been promoting Fire in the Blood, and I'm also working on a fantasy series, and the next Cy'ren book. I also spend a lot of time yelling at cats to get down off of the counter.

So, what are you kids working on? Anyone about to achieve NaNoWriMo glory? Shopping for the holidays? I'm about to embark on my epic Christmas cookie baking soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fire in the Blood VBT: Week One Recap

Last week flew by (largely due to the holiday) and it's all a blur. So I thought I'd recap the stops from the first week of the Fire in the Blood virtual book tour. (Again, you can find a list of all of the tour stops here. You can enter the giveaway at any of these stops for a chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card.)
You can buy your very own copy of Fire in the Blood at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the Samhain store, the Kobo store, or the Sony Reader store. (All of my books are also available through the iTunes store.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Authors usually attempt to squeeze all of their thank yous into a dedication, frantically trying to sum up all the people you're grateful for in a few lines of text. If you're really lucky you might get an Acknowledgments section where you can use a page or two to try to do that. But there's an enormous amount of work that goes into writing, editing, proofreading, publishing and promoting a book, and there's never enough time or space to adequately thank people for that. As today is Thanksgiving here in the States, I wanted to take a few moments to say thank you.

  • To my family. My parents are my biggest fans, and I am so grateful for their love and support. My mom carries rack cards in her purse and hands them out wherever she goes, anywhere from in line for groceries at Jewel to coming home on the El from the Cubs game. My dad once informed me that he hadn't read a book since college until he read Blood, Smoke and Mirrors, and now I have to keep writing so he can keep reading. My brother brought me to tears the other day by simply saying that he was proud of me. I'm very fortunate to have them, and the rest of my family.
  • To my friends. I'm constantly talking about BFF Diana, who I am really blessed to know. In addition to being my best friend, she's also my roommate, writing partner, beta reader, and general partner in crime. Karrin is another important person in my life who stood by me through a tough time and always supports my writing. I could go on for pages about the people who've helped me, both over this past year and along my path as an author, which is why I usually leave it at "my friends," because you know who are you.
  • To my critique group and my RWA chapter. Because there's nothing quite like being able to talk about writing with other writers. I always learn something new from them, and I'm eternally grateful for their support.
  • To my beta readers. I always try to thank my beta readers in the dedication. My typical betas include Diana, Karrin, Rebecca, Brian, Devin, Elizabeth, and Phyllis. They are all made of awesome.
  • To my editors, and all the people at Samhain who've helped make my books better. (Like Kanaxa, who creates gorgeous covers. So cool!) I've always believed that editors are very important to writing, because everyone can use a fresh set of eyes to go through your story and say things like, "Hey, what happened to this plot line?" There would be so many more secret baby storylines in my work if I didn't have people to stop me. ;)
  • To my readers. I totally geek out every time someone tells me they liked my books. I'm grateful for everyone who stops to take a moment to say, "Hey, I liked this." And just that you read my stuff in general. As a reader I appreciate the time it takes to put into reading someone's story--it's a big thing. I joke about how you don't just watch an epic movie, you devote a portion of your life to it (like watching the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies, that'll eat up a whole weekend). Reading is kind of like that. Being a fan is kind of like that. So thank you.
Now go forth and enjoy some turkey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fire in the Blood Release Day

Fire in the Blood is out today! Yay!

And there's a lot going on to celebrate. (Like pizza!) (Okay, maybe not pizza. Unless BFF Diana agrees to pizza for dinner, in which case, pizza!) Today I am blogging all over the place, people. That just sounds wrong...

I'm talking about buying Christmas presents for Harvey over at the Samhain blog. I'm interviewed at the Write Way Cafe, which is run by two lovely ladies from my RWA chapter. And I'm discussing Self-Rescuing Princesses over with the awesome ladies at Nine Naughty Novelists. And I'll be posting excerpts at the Samhain Cafe today. And, you know, I'll have to go into the office in the afternoon and bug the kids in the lab with my Pandora stations, but that's a normal day for me.

The Official Fire in the Blood Virtual Book Tour kicked off yesterday. For those dates, go here. You want to do that, because you want to enter for a chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card. It's like the gift that keeps on giving, except for that whole $50 limit thing.

Anyway, moving on...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fire in the Blood Book Tour

I'll be doing a month-long tour to celebrate the release of the newest Bad Witch book, and at the end of it I'll be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky, random commenter. (Just in time for the holidays! I was going to give away cookies, but a gift card is easier.) (You still get cookies if you're a relative. Cookies are compulsory.)

So many links!

November 19: Love To Read For Fun and Krystal's Enchanting Reads
November 21: Avril Ashton's Blog
November 22: Deb Sanders' Blog
November 23: Immortality and Beyond
November 25: Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews
November 26: Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
November 28: Celestial Reviews and Blooding Book Reviews
November 29: Carly Fall - Where Fantasy Meets Romance
December 3: Books & Other Spells
December 5: Book Addict
December 7: Vivi Dumas' Blog
December 8: The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
December 13: Marsha A. Moore's Blog
December 14: Fangs, Wands & Fairydust
December 15: Erzabet's Enchantments and Smart Mouth Texan
December 16: Roxanne’s Realm
December 17: Tour Wrap Up at Fang-tastic Books

Be there, or be square. Or something. You get the idea.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nightfall Virtual Book Tour Update

(I like to call that banner: "Robyn's Giant Floating Head Sees What You Did There")

So Nightfall officially released on Tuesday, yay! I've been celebrating with a book tour, and I wanted to post the stops here. If you leave a comment on a tour stop, you're entered for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. (Not here, though. You're welcome to comment here, but all it wins you is a virtual hug from me. /hugs)

Week 1 Stops:

Week 2 Stops:
So far so good on the tour (and a big thank you to everyone who has stopped by). I've also been getting some great feedback about the book. As such, the new unofficial tagline for Nightfall is now: "M/F/F--try it, you'll like it!" You can buy Nightfall from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and/or Samhain.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nightfall Book Tour and Sneak Peek Excerpt

Nightfall, the first book in my Cy'ren Rising space opera trilogy, releases on August 7th. To kick things off I'll be doing a two week online book tour.

Fun stuff!

I know you're thinking, "Robyn, what is this Nightfall you speak of?" It's a departure from my normal paranormal stories, but it has the same sort of epic action and adventure that the Bad Witch books feature. Also, bonus red-hot love scenes! Allow me to share the blurb:

When a wounded runner stumbles into her workshop, sculptor Talena Spenser’s comfortable, quiet life is shattered. Aiding the escaped slave risks losing more than just her freedom. She is in phase, when Cy’ren females are overwhelmed by the drive to mate.

Mordacki Loren, shadow sword of House Nightfall, knows the pain of losing a mate. He never intended to take another. But Talena, raised by humans with little knowledge of Cy’ren ways, leaves him no choice. As the mating lust consumes them, Dack promises to honor her wishes—even if that means letting her go.

Scarred and hardened by a munitions accident that sent her Alliance career up in flames, Carmen Hawke joined the Cy’ren resistance as captain of the flagship Talon. When old flame Dack returns from a mission with Carmen’s childhood friend and first love, Talena, in tow, the temptation to allow someone—or two someones—close to her again cracks her emotional armor.

Pursued by an unknown enemy, the trio works together to discover the secrets of Talena’s past, and to uncover a threat that could destroy the fragile peace of the Cy’ren homeworld.

Warning: If the epic space battles, gunfights and swordplay aren’t enough to get you going, strap yourself in for a male-female-female threesome that’s scorching enough to fire your engines into overdrive.

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 1 at the Samhain site, but I wanted to share a bit more. This picks up where the Samhain excerpt leaves off:

Dack fired over the counter, and then he charged forward.

Talena hurried to keep up, but slowed when they neared Malenson. Dack knocked the man’s weapon aside and punched him in the jaw, and Talena turned to the airlock door and hit the release. The door opened, and Dack hustled her inside.

The ship was small, probably nothing more than a short-range shuttle, and she followed him to the two front seats in the cockpit.

“Strap in,” he ordered.

Talena fumbled with the harness as Dack flipped switches and punched buttons. Lights blinked to life around them, and the engines hummed in response. The ship jerked as it separated from the Trident, and Talena stared out the viewport as the water slipped away and they climbed into the open air. She hadn’t been off the Trident in two years, and she had almost forgotten what it was like to be above the water. The clear sky gave way to the blackness of space, and one of Aquantia’s moons slowly loomed ahead of them as the ship approached it.

“We’re going to land here and wait for pickup,” Dack explained. How could he be so calm when Talena’s heart was racing? “I’m ahead of schedule, so we have a few hours yet. Are you hurt?”

He touched her shoulder and she jumped. “Don’t,” she snapped.

“Is that a yes or a no?”

“I’m not hurt. Just don’t touch me.”


He sounded sincere, and she almost regretted her tone. But a few hours together in this tiny shuttle…a fresh wave of lust washed over her, searing its way through her body. She shook her head and rubbed her eyes. Helping him was going to cost Talena her freedom in more ways than one.

She kept her eyes shut until the ship shuddered as it touched down on the moon’s rocky surface. Then she unlatched her harness and retreated to the other end of the shuttle, putting a scant few feet between herself and Dack.

“It’s all right. I’m not going to hurt you, I promise. I’m in your debt,” Dack assured her. “The entire resistance is in your debt.” He held his hands up as though to show his good intentions, and she shook her head.

Talena fidgeted with the sleeves of her dress to keep her hands busy, because the urge to touch him made her fingers twitch. Need bubbled up from within her as though her blood boiled. Since the start of the phase she lived with the constant burn of desire simmering beneath the surface. Some days she visited the Trident’s clubs in search of a human lover to take the edge off, but it was only a temporary relief.

“You should have left me there. It is—was—my home. I could have convinced them that I was innocent. Captain Rutherford would’ve believed me.”

“No, they wouldn’t,” Dack argued. “They never believe us. A Cy’ren’s word is worth nothing in the Syndicate systems.”

“That’s not true.”

“It is. You just haven’t lived free.”

“But I am free! Or I was. Now I’m a criminal.” Talena held her head in her hands as tears welled in her eyes. She hated crying. It never solved anything, and it wouldn’t help now.

“You’re. . .you’re not a slave?”

“I was freed when I was six years old. The ship I was on strayed into Alliance territory, and an Alliance cruiser caught it and liberated everyone aboard,” she explained.

“Then why the scarf? Why hide your marks?” Dack sounded bewildered, and she stole a glance at him. His expression was horrified.

Knowing she couldn’t avoid it anymore, she tugged the scarf off and turned toward him. The left side of her throat bore her slave mark, but the right side—which should have displayed the marks of her ancestry, her house, and her mate’s marks—was blank.

“Because I’m unmated, and I want to stay that way,” she said.

“I understand. I’m not in the market for a mate.”

“It won’t matter. I’m in phase,” she admitted, her voice little more than a whisper.

Dack’s red eyes widened, and then he cursed.
A mysterious past, galactic political intrigue, and a steamy, angsty love story. I had a blast writing this one, and I hope you like it too. :)

Nightfall is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2012 Lori Foster RAGT: Day Two

Day Two: In Which I Get Surprise New Ink

I vaguely remember breakfast. There were donuts. It was early. I'm not a morning person. I know there was more Diva-related discussion that happened and a feeling that it was cool, but, again, it's fuzzy.

We skipped the first workshop in favor of book shopping at the B&N store. I picked up a few things to be signed later (or, rather, I bought them and handed them to BFF Diana and had her get them signed for me later, because I was signing my books at the signing).


So shiny. My precious...

Two things happened while standing in line to buy new books. First, I had a moment of verbal diarrhea in which I blurted something funny but also ill-advised. In front of an editor. Not just any editor, but one I've followed for years. /headdesk This is why I can't have nice things. Second, Diana and I spotted Tiffany Reisz and Andrew Shaffer. (By the way, the B&N ladies totally said "That's him!" in an excited manner and gushed about Fifty Shames of Earl Grey.) (I felt so with-it that I knew what that was.) BFF Diana and I flailed and squealed at the sight of Tiffany but resisted the urge to call her over. Barely. Mostly, I think, because we have a concern that Andrew Shaffer is going to wtf kick our asses for stalking his girlfriend. They had wandered off by the time we got out of the line.

And then we went to the Samhain spotlight, mostly to hang out and wave my Samhain pompoms. I got to sit next to Lindsey, yay! I <3 her, she's so nice. After that we went to the Sherrilyn Kenyon chat, which was standing-room only by the time we got there. And we only had 15 minutes to ask questions before they kicked us out for a new group. :( But she was awesome and funny.

Lunch...more Divas. And sandwiches. And then, as we were leaving, BFF Diana let out this high-pitched squeal and whacked me in the back and I had a moment of "What? Are there zombies? What happened?" Nope. Tiffany Reisz and Andrew Shaffer. (BFF Diana explains the whack as her ducking to hide behind me after squealing like a tweenage girl. This may well be true, because she is short and I am easy to hide behind.)

Now, I feel I should attempt to explain how we became her unofficial stalkers. (I assume we're not official until we have T-shirts made.) ("I stalked Tiffany Reisz and all I got was this T-shirt instead of wrist cuffs.") (Hmm...there's merch potential there.) (I'll stop now.) It started with the Chicago North Spring Fling, and then Diana and I read The Siren and were all OMG THIS BOOK, IT IS MADE OF SO MUCH AWESOME! Because it is. (Oh, Tiffany, this is the actual text of my favorite line, which puts it better than my "love is pain" summary when you asked: "But there was nothing but the cold, hard truth that loving someone and being loved back was only the beginning, not the end, of all the pain.") And we've been stalking her on Twitter. Typical moment at our house: Somebody giggles while sitting at their computer, waves the other person over and points at a tweet, and more giggling ensues. We call her our girl crush. Yeah...

She hugged us!

And then we let her and her boyfriend have lunch. Because we're not so obsessed to stop her from having a meal in favor of paying attention to us. Yet.

Suddenly, book signing!

Here I am, at my spot. All sassy. If you'll note, I look WAY THINNER this year than I did last year. Weight Watchers win!

Samhain Duckie guarded the hat full of chocolate. I used it as romance reader bait. "Oh, would you like some chocolate? Here, allow me to explain my series to you while you nom that." In coolness news, I signed more books than I did at my two previous signings. People had read my stuff! DUDE. Seriously. And liked it!

Here is Leah Braemel, signing way at the other end of the table. Fellow Samhain Author Dana Marie Bell is in the fabulous fedora:

Of course, this didn't change the fact that, as always, I was kinda terrified. Less terrified, but still filled with anxiety. BFF Diana came by a few times with updates on the books I'd asked her to get signed, and what people said. She was under orders to stalk Andrew Shaffer for 50 Shames stuff, and came back and informed me that Tiffany wasn't signing because she was out of ARCs.

And it was at this moment where I thought, "Oh, that's too bad. She should sign something." Logically, I suggested she sign my boob if she could find a marker. Like you do. Because that's logical, right? I half thought that she'd just laugh and think we were amusing. Until I saw Diana and Tiffany cackling madly, headed in my direction. My next thought was, "Oh, crap. My mother is going to see this on Twitter." Because Mom follows Diana and has her phone set up so she gets an alert EVERY SINGLE TIME somebody tweets something.

I call this my "I am so grounded when my mom sees this" face:

It was followed by my "That's Sharpie, isn't it?" face:

(That's D. Renee Bagby signing next to me in the picture. She's very cool.)

So, yes. Tiffany Reisz signed my chest at the RAGT. She later made a comment on how she's not a rock star, seeming bemused by how awesome Diana and I think she is. Here's the thing--though I am a music lover, I don't go to rock concerts. I go to book signings. I'm a reader, an author, and an English major. I love the written word. Authors are my rock stars.

Also, at some point after that, Diana came by, all smug, and held up a piece of paper with girl crush's phone number on it. There isn't a pic of this, but it sparked my "DAMMIT HOW DID YOU GET HER NUMBER YOU DON'T EVEN LIKE GIRLS!" face. But much to my relief it was for "text me and we'll hang out later" purposes. Otherwise there might've been a girl fight over the girl crush.

After the signing we headed over to the Samhain offices for the open house. The Samhain authors descended upon the swag room like locusts and cleaned just about everything out (apparently there were umbrellas that I missed), and now I have a Samhain hoodie. w00t! I saw my book with the massive collection of every Samhain book in print ever. It was awesome.

Despite the fact that it was still fairly early when we got back, I was so dead. Too tired for booze, so I got an enormous mocha and casually suggested that Diana text Tiffany Reisz and ask her to come down to the lobby and have coffee with us. I was half certain she'd be too busy, because she was working on edits for book 2, but no. You guys, she totally came down and hung out with us (and Lissa Matthews and Diva Christine) for over an hour! And we discussed her book, and kink, and writing, and so much stuff that I can't even form words to contain the awesome.

Diana and I stayed up late and chatted with Lissa (and we all missed you, Chandra Ryan!) and her roommate, who also works for Samhain and I cannot remember her name for the life of me.

And...then we got up ass early the next morning and came home, with all our swag and signed books and leftover chocolate. And my signed chest. I call this my, "I wonder what I can get her to sign next time?" face:

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together: Day One

This weekend I attended the 2012 Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together, and it was a blast as usual. Many thanks to Lori and the other sponsors, and the volunteers, because truly it is a fabulous event and I know that they worked very hard to pull it off.

Yes, I know you want to hear the story of how I ended up with Tiffany Reisz's signature on my chest, but we'll get back to that later. Actually we will get back to that Wednesday, because I'm going to split this into 2 posts.

Day One: In Which We Travel Across the Endlessness of Indiana to the Mysterious Land of Ohio

This was my second year attending the RAGT (you can read about last year's experience and my suspicion of trees here) with my BFF Diana. On the drive there I noted that the trees were once again menacing, the hills were still hilly, and Indianapolis continues to be recovering from their road construction apocalypse. BFF Diana was tortured by my addiction to pop music, though we did also sing along to "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and "Once More with Feeling" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (And Sweeney Todd.) (Meat pies make me happy.) (I am aware that I have a problem.)

We checked in and I ran into Leah Braemel almost immediately by the elevators, and she was the first to be all "I didn't recognize you with your radioactive fuchsia hair."

Did I mention that my pink hair leveled and is now +1 fuchsia hair? Because it is.

I call it my "surprised parrot" look.

(By the way, I am currently reading the 4th book in Leah's Hauberk Protection series, Hidden Heat, and it is so good so far. I love this series. BFF Diana got a signed copy of Personal Protection at the signing and it's now proudly on our Samhain shelf.)

I did not get a picture of the sign-in line this year, but imagine the line for Space Mountain during peak season at Disney World. It's a bit like that. Except packed with women who are filled with squee every few moments when one of their friends passes by. For example, I spotted fellow Maddy Barone ahead of me, and also the very awesome Annie, who like me is now an auntie extraordinaire. ;)

Next was dinner, where we sat with Maddy and an assortment of other Romance Divas, including  Paige Tyler and Christine Lawrence. Now, I'd told the Divas that I would be easy to spot, because I'd be the one who is 6 feet tall with pink hair. Little did I know that pink hair would be abundant at the RAGT, and one of the pink ladies is also about 6 feet tall. (I apologized to her and warned her that Divas would be calling her Robyn all weekend, but I don't remember her name.) (Did I mention that without the aid of constant name tags I have almost zero ability to remember names. Seriously. It's just sad.)

The Friday night signing was for headliners, e-pub and self-pub authors. We came prepared with books for Leanna Renee Hieber and Sherrilyn Kenyon to sign. But first, I pounced on Maddy and bought one of her books, Sleeping With the Wolf. Then we pounced on LRH, and we briefly discussed our shared love for Tom Hiddleston and Loki. Mmm...Tom Hiddleston... (Diana mocks me for this. With love, she says.) And LRH told us of her current project, the Auror's Tale, which I'd heard a bit about and it sounds like it's made of so much awesome.

And then it was time to stand in the line for Sherrilyn Kenyon. Which was longish, and she arrived late, so it took awhile. But really, I'd stand in line for her all night without complaint, because such is the depth of my <3 for her. I have a Dark-Hunter tattoo. I'm a big dorky fan girl. I brought my two very favorite Dark-Hunter books, Zarek and Valerius, and she signed them. This is me, with Sherrilyn Kenyon, where I am displaying my tattoo and grinning like the happiest fan girl ever.

She is so nice. The very first book signing I ever attended was one of hers a few years ago in Oak Brook, and I've been a signed book addict ever since. I was also able to chat with some really funny ladies while in line, and thanks of our discussion of Amish vampires I now have the image of Vladimir Yoder seared forever into my brain.

After that Diana and I went back to the room and chilled before we went to the bar, because last year we started drinking too early and on too little food and that went...poorly. The bar was OMGWTF packed. Reminded me a bit of home, actually, because we live in a college town where the bars are almost always crowded when the students are in town. We were able to drink and chat with Leah Braemel and Christine Lawrence before calling it a night.

And then, on the way back to the room, someone randomly recognized me, stopped me, and said she's read my books and loves my series. Which just about exploded my brain because that's pretty much the first time that's ever happened. DUDE. SO COOL! All caps serious.

Wednesday, I will move on to Day Two, in which there is signing, Samhain swag, and stalking. Oh my!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Fling 2012: Day Two

Before I begin the epic tale of Day Two, let me have two asides. First, Barbara Vey of Publisher Weekly's Beyond her Book blog fame was at the Spring Fling. I saw her several times and was torn between the urge to inform her that I did a happy dance because she mentioned a Tweet of mine on her blog once and I was all "OMG, she said my name!" and the fact that I mostly learned my lesson about not looming over people and drooling on them from my fan girl insanity at the last SF. Mostly. But there is a photo of me looming in the background.

So much looming. I get that from my dad. The lady in blue was a wonderful librarian I spoke to who suggested that I contact the Berwyn library, something I've been meaning to do for some time now because the Berwyn library was so important in forming my love of books. I believe the woman on the right is her daughter. Mom and daughter librarian teams. How cool is that? It begs to become a Nora Roberts book.

My second aside is for my pink hair. Yes, I have pink hair. Bright, radioactive pink hair. Like a comic book heroine. I've had pink hair for about a month now, and for the most part, I forget that I have pink hair unless I shed. (Each time I find a shed pink hair I always wonder how I came into contact with a My Little Pony before remembering that it's my hair, not pony hair.) I live in a college town, so pink hair usually doesn't even get a second glance. As to why I have pink hair, there are many reasons. But the main reason is because, in the words of the philosopher P!nk, I am a rock star, and my ex-husband is a tool.

Moving on!

So Day Two began at the crack of dawn. I am not a morning person; my day job starts at 1 in the afternoon, so I am used to breakfast around, oh, 10 o'clock. Not 7. BFF Diana and I dragged ourselves down to breakfast because pink wizard needed food badly. Again, I was disappointed by the food at this hotel. Cold pancakes, bland eggs, no bananas. Sad. :( But there was coffee, because I suspect if there had not been coffee things would have devolved into a Walking Dead-style zombie herd.

Our first workshop of the day was the chat with Dianna Love. I was really curious about what she had to say, because she writes with Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I'm such a big Dark-Hunter fan that I have a Dark-Hunter bow tattooed on my left shoulder. Dianna Love has some seriously interesting stories. Dude. It was a great talk, and her tale of how she and Sherrilyn Kenyon began writing together inspired BFF Diana and I to skip the next workshop in favor of a plotting break in the atrium. (We're writing something together now that we're living under the same roof. Be afraid. Very afraid. Sasha Devlin can attest to this, because we assaulted her with our idea at about midnight-ish in the bar when we were slap-happy and somewhat intoxicated.)

Our second workshop was Growing Plot from Character with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and it was marvelous. She had lots of great ideas on how to take a character archetype and layer it to add flavor and coolness (my words, not hers). She also hammered home the idea that character drives plot, and not the other way around. Good stuff.

Next was lunch featuring Dianna Love, where she continued to tell awesome stories and the food continued to suck. Because we were given free books, BFF Diana and I decided to go back up to the room and put them away before the signing (and also so I could grab my meager promo). When we approached the elevators I heard someone call my name, and I turned it was Tiffany Reisz. (Successful stalker squee!) I hugged her, all excited that I finally got to meet her, because I was dying to get a chance to talk to her.

And then the possibly worst thing that could happen happened. Courtney Milan walked up to talk to her. Now, as I explained in the Day One post, my paranoia is convinced that Courtney Milan thinks I'm a big, rude dork thanks to my behavior at the last Spring Fling when I lost my mind at Sarah Wendell.

This was my internal reaction:

Because damn it! I was finally successful in locating Tiffany Reisz and if I didn't walk away I'd look like a big dumb fan girl again. So we left. :( And I didn't get another chance to talk to her before she left.

For my third aside, allow me to explain one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to Tiffany Reisz so badly: somehow I've suddenly become an erotic romance author. This was not ever my intention. Sure there's a few spicy scenes in the Bad Witch books, but there are far more fight scenes than there are sex scenes. But last year, following the heartbreaking rejection of a book I loved, I decided to say "(f-bomb) this, I'm gonna write something just for me!" And thus Nightfall was born. I never intended to publish it, but I slowly fell in love with it, and then I said "(f-bomb) this, I'll see what the beta readers think." And they loved it. So I submitted it to my editor, and she loved it. Now it's all,

and releasing in late summer. So I'm in this weird place of not sure what to say about it. Because it's space opera, and to me that's the most important part, but it's also a menage, which automatically put it into Samhain's Red Hots!!! category. (Three exclamation point serious, people.) I have mixed feelings about that. And because the other members of my RWA tend to write sweet romance, a conference is my only opportunity to discuss this sort of thing with another author in person.

Anyway, then there was the book signing.

"Robyn," you say, "Is that a top hat with Tarot cards in the brim filled with chocolate?" Yes. It is. Cat would approve.

So...I'm from Berwyn, as I may have mentioned before. Almost my entire family lives in the Chicago area. Thusly almost my entire family marched in after the doors opened. Seriously. Parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin's kids, a plethora of people who aren't related by blood or marriage but have been considered honorary aunts and uncles since before I was born. Mom's friends. My friends. A ton of people who are all very proud of me, and who it was awesome to see. I am very grateful for their support. Really I'm very blessed as an author, because I've heard horror stories of families who just don't get it, or openly disapprove of an author's work. My mother is my biggest fan. :) She took this picture.

I think it shows my terror a bit. This was my internal monologue, brought to you by Mark in Empire Records:


Sarah M. Anderson was at the table behind me and she was amused by my family, but judging by the stink eye I received from a few other nearby authors, not everyone enjoyed my relatives. I loved  having my own personal army standing near my table, especially because as I now live in central Illinois I only see most of them once or twice a year at the holidays. I would have guilt if my family was blocking anyone from their fans, but the crowd was surprisingly light. Nothing like the mass of past SFs (possibly because this room was larger?). Fear not, neighboring authors, you won't have to put up with that again. For the most part this was my family's first opportunity to celebrate me being an author, because the newness is still shiny, but from now on this'll be old hat.

After the signing I got to hang out with my girlfriend Karrin and her posse, and then BFF Diana and I went to our last workshop, Evil 101: Where True Crime Meets Terrific Fiction. Which was good--I had no idea Washington state was so filled with serial killers.

Then it was gala dinner time. I pulled on my stripey tights and my pointy boots for the occasion.

I'm giggling in this photo because though this angle is bad, I was striking a pose to show off my weight loss. With the help of Weight Watchers, I've lost 20 pounds since January. No, really. Take a moment and ponder how much 20 pounds is. That's like 3 Basement Cats right there (he's skinny, he has a thyroid problem). For the weekend of the SF I was wearing jeans that I'd never fit into before and were hanging out in my drawer, ignored and forgotten, until 2 weeks ago I decided to try them on. Not only did they fit, but they're roomy. Dude. DUDE. Seriously...

And...yeah. The food continued to suck. But Susan Elizabeth Phillips had the closing speech after dinner, and that was fabulous. She had an amusing story involving a garden hose, the trunk of her car, her husband, and a clergyman. Then I sat back and watched Nicole Tersigni get in a bidding war over the Doctor Who basket at the silent auction. (Really the way people were fighting over it you'd think there was a real TARDIS key inside.) And later BFF Diana and I wandered into the bar with Sasha Devlin and stayed up until Diana was about to fall over from lack of sleep.

All in all, Spring Fling was awesome. I came home with new books (and books signed by Tiffany Reisz and Courtney Milan). I signed books. I survived without falling over and injuring myself (which happens quite often, because I'm a klutz). We survived the long drive back, and our cats were very happy to have us home.

Next, on to the Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together 2012!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling 2012: Day One

So yeah. This will be a long post. You may need to get a sandwich and a drink first. I'll wait. Actually this post ended up being so long I'm only going to cover the first day now, and save day two for later in the week.

This was my third time attending the Chicago North Spring Fling conference. It's been an interesting journey. At my first Spring Fling, I was a n00b. It was 2008, I'd just finished Blood, Smoke and Mirrors and entered it in the Chicago North Fire and Ice contest, and it was a finalist in the paranormal category. My first conference, my first contest success, my first pitch (later followed by my first rejection) was overwhelming. The second Spring Fling I brought my best friend Diana with me, and we somewhat famously lost our fan girl minds over Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Because we both ADORE SB Sarah, she's so awesome. Anyway, it was April 2010, and Blood, Smoke and Mirrors was just about to be released in ebook the following May, and I was so excited.

Now, it's 2012, and Blood, Smoke and Mirrors has been out in print for a year, so I was able to sign it at the Spring Fling book signing. Dude. Seriously. But I'll get back to that.

To begin the tale of this year's SF, let me start with my RWA chapter, the Prairie Hearts. Our chapter is small. Very small. But we're also very close and supportive of each other, and I consider them all my writing family. As such I've been encouraging them for years to come with me to the SF, because I knew it would inspire them. There's something very powerful in being surrounded by so many other writers--fellow romance writers, who understand your struggles like nobody else can. So this year I am proud to say that several of the PHs attended, namely myself, BFF Diana, Victoria Smith, R.T. Wolfe, Rebecca, Ramona, and Nancy (who need pen names and web sites). ;)

This was Victoria's first conference, so Diana and I were very, "Come, young padawan, and we shall show you the ways of the Force. And drive you there." Because I have a minivan and I learned to drive on the Eisenhower, so I'm generally fearless about road trips.

We drove up Thursday night but stayed at my parents' place, because a) it was free and b) I knew Mom would feed us breakfast in the morning (which she did). So we arrived at the SF late Friday morning, unfortunately missing Carrie Lofty's workshop but managing to meet up with Romance Diva Sasha Devlin right away. This was awesome in many ways, because Diana and I met her and several other Divas at the last SF, which was my first intro to the Romance Diva community. Through the magic of Twitter and the #SF12 hash tag, Victoria also almost immediately connected with Nicole Tersigni, who is also awesome. She has a Batman tattoo. 'Nuff said.

We also ran into A. Catherine Noon, another Diva that I've met a few times (also, aside, she looked fabulous, very elegant)(also, aside some more, she didn't recognize me, but that was probably due to the fact that she meets way more people than I do, and I also used to have hair that was long and not pink, so I look a tad bit different). But she immediately made me realize that I was not prepared for this conference, because I have no business cards. Also no new rack cards, because they STILL haven't shipped yet. Really no new, clever promo of any kind.

I am made of fail. /headdesk But, that's mostly due to the divorce and recent move of it all, so I will be better prepared for the Lori Foster RAGT, I promise. (Also fail, I'm supposed to be doing edits for Nightfall now. Like right now, this very moment. Oops.) I also forgot to bring Samhain Duckie, so he is absent from my pics. And I forgot the ipod adapter for my car. So. Much. Fail.

Where was I...oh yeah, even more fail, because I did not go with Diana to the Erotica for Beginners workshop run by Tiffany Reisz. I am super bummed by this. Now, the workshop I did go to, Blog Book Tour Tips, was very helpful for those who aren't familiar with blog tours. Problem is, I'm already familiar with them, and I didn't learn much that I didn't already know. Diana, on the other hand, was all "DUDE, this was so awesome, you should have been there because you would love her!"

So, of course, we spent the rest of the SF trying (and mostly failing) to stalk her so that I could meet her too and learn of this awesome. Because apparently we didn't learn anything from the last SF about not stalking people. Though, to our credit, I think we were less crazed about it this time. Mostly. Maybe?

...damn it.

Speaking of our inability to learn, the next workshop we went to was Self-Publishing with Quality by Courtney Milan. Now, Courtney Milan was the author who was having a perfectly nice conversation with Sarah Wendell at the last SF gala when BFF Diana and I bounded up to SB Sarah and were all, "OMG U TWEETED ME U R TEH AWESOMEST I LURVE YOU 4EVAR!" Like giant Golden Retriever puppies. On Red Bull. So I have this fear that she remembers me and is all "oh, it's that girl." Which I'm sure she has no idea who I am, and probably doesn't care or remember, but that doesn't stop my inner voice of guilt from lecturing me on propriety when dealing with people I admire in the writing industry.

Aside speech time: In case you're not aware, though I have no problem communicating through the Internets, I'm actually painfully shy in reality. This is why I blurt things that are occasionally hilarious--I have no filters. Or few filters. I'm also frickin' 6 feet tall and awkward as all get out, so I can come off as intimidating or standoffish when I'm actually scared to death. And I'm the child of gym teachers, so though I have zero athletic talent, I was still raised in a "rub some dirt in it and walk it off" environment. As such, I lack the social skills of normal women, and I spent much of this SF in terror. Because it's scary to talk about my book to strangers. And then I tend to forget to do simple things like thank people for their interest or ask them where they're from and what they write. But I'm learning. Slowly.

Back to the workshop: it was really, really fabulous. She was organized, her PowerPoint presentation was helpful and put together well, and I learned a lot. If you're considering self pubbing, I would recommend getting a recording of this workshop and listening to it (they'll be selling recordings on the site I believe).

After that was the keynote speech by Simone Elkeles. She was very funny, and I immediately liked her. (No, I haven't read any of her stuff. She does YA, which I generally don't read, but if you enjoy it I'd recommend her. If her books are anything like her personality, she's well worth the read, because she was fabulous.)

After this there was dinner. And then, ABJECT TERROR! Because as a participant in the book signing, I was invited to the Bookseller/Librarian Appreciation Reception. See above aside on my social inadequacies. Plus, there were a few librarians and a ton of authors, so we were all circling them like hawks, waiting for our turn to strike. Awkward hawks, all scared of angering the librarians if we butted in to their conversations. I think I only managed to speak with 2 of the librarians, but I had a marvelous conversation about libraries and how I am in love with the stacks of the main library of the University of Illinois.

At one point I tried to escape, but I ran into my chapter member R.T. Wolfe in the hallway, who essentially told me to put on my big girl panties and get back in there, so I did.

I feel I should also mention at this point that in addition to being a big dork who can't function in social groups, I'm also scared of other authors. Example, Carrie Lofty was in the reception, and I wanted to speak with her because she's really cool, and I never got the courage to do it. Because when faced with this sort of situation, I feel like this:

Because I'm not worthy. Or at least I've convinced myself of that.

Oh! I do have a great pic from the reception though:

I apologize because I've already completely forgotten the name of the author on the left, but the author on the right is Sarah M. Anderson. I LOVED her outfit, and she had kickass boots and an equally awesome hat on for the book signing (more about that in the Day Two post). They were both super nice and look how gorgeous they are. :) (ETA: The author on the left is Andrea Dickinson. Thanks, Sarah!)

After the reception ended it was chocolate buffet time. Good stuff, but not as good as last SF. In fact, I have to say, the food was not as good this year. I am disappoint. :(

I did not attend the Hot Night critiques, but Victoria and Nicole did, and I know they had a great time. (And they stayed up too late, because as Sasha kept reminding us, no one is supposed to sleep at conferences. Or do work, which Diana and I did anyway, but I'll get to that in Day Two.) Instead, Diana, Rebecca and I went to the bar and had a drink. Just one, because I live in a college town and am generally stunned by how much drinks cost in the outside world. (I demand cheap liquor!) While drinking, Diana and I continued to stalk Tiffany Reisz on Twitter, announcing our stalkery intentions, which thankfully she seemed to find amusing and not scary.

Then there was sleep, or at least the attempt to sleep. More on Day Two to come later!

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Cover Goodness

I have two new book covers to share with you! Both were done by Kanaxa, the artist who has done all of my other Samhain covers. She's marvelous. :)

First, as promised, there's a new Bad Witch novella out later this year: Fire in the Blood.

Featuring Patience Roberts, the summoner introduced in Bewitched, Blooded & Bewildered. And Faust. You guys remember Faust, right? Evil faerie, works for Harrison? much shenanigans. It will be out in Fall. I'll update when I have the official release date.

Next, we have Nightfall, Book 1 of my new, shiny space opera trilogy Cy'ren Rising. It also happens to be a M/F/F menage. It's a tad bit steamy (in fact it qualified for Samhain's "Red Hots!!!", which as you can see is 3 exclamation point serious).

I love that cover. I love both covers, really. This one will be out in late summer. Again, I'll let you know the exact date when I have it. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered Release Day

There is so much news, where do I start...?

First, there is book signing goodness! If you live in the Chicago area, I'll be part of the big, awesome Chicago North Spring Fling signing on April 28th. You should come by, so it looks like I have fans. ;)

Next, today is release day for the second Cat book, Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered.

To refresh your memory, here's the blurb:

It’s better to be a bad witch than a dead one.

One thing stands between Catherine Duquesne and happily-ever-after with her soul mate Lex—her unwanted bond with billionaire vampire Zachary Harrison. Married life is hard enough without adding an uninvited vampire to the mix, and being tied to Zach endangers more than just her relationship. If Zach dies, she dies, and with his new seat on the necromancer council being challenged by older, more powerful masters, his life expectancy is dwindling fast.

Vampire politics is only the beginning of Cat’s problems. Hunters are stalking magicians, abducting entire families and killing anyone who resists. As the current Titania and Oberon, Cat and Lex must protect their people, but Cat’s dark past keeps the victims from seeking their help. Worse, the former Titania’s granddaughter wants to oust Cat from the job, believing her vampire ties make her unfit.

To break the bond Cat must broker deals with devils on a journey that will take her to hell and back—literally. Freedom comes at a high price, but Cat will risk anything to save her people and her marriage.

Warning: This book contains explicit language, faerie shenanigans, a field trip to hell, even more magician sex, and gratuitous violence against vampires, demons, hunters, helicopters and the kitchen sink. 

To celebrate the release, I'm sharing an excerpt. (There are also 2 excerpts up on the Samhain Cafe Yahoo group, if you're so inclined to read those as well.) But this, THIS is an extra special excerpt. Why? Because it has Patience. And Patience has her very own novella, Fire in the Blood, coming out in Fall from Samhain Publishing. I have seen the cover draft, and it is SO MUCH AWESOME. I can't wait to share it with you guys. :)

(There is also news that the first book in my space opera trilogy, Nightfall, will be out in late summer. I have also seen that cover draft. Dude. Seriously. So much fabulous, you don't even know.)

But now, Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered excerptness (edited for f-bombs). Please allow me to introduce Patience Roberts, she's a woman of wealth and taste:

We left the house around noon and headed toward the city. Oak Park was near the suburb I’d just moved out of, so I was pretty familiar with it. Nice place. I used to take the bus there to browse the shops, which were cute but pricey, and I'd wander around and go stare at the Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Maybe I could talk Lex into buying one of the humongous Victorian houses in the area. He could afford it, though the thought of washing that many windows was a tad bit scary. Maybe we could hire a maid.

We parked in a lot next to an El train stop, and I looked around for an office building. Instead, Lex led me to an inconspicuous door set between a shoe store and a novelty shop. I glanced in the window of the shoe store and eyed the boots, wondering what Lex would say if I asked to shop. I wasn't exactly a cute shoes kinda girl, but I wasn't opposed to the idea of cute shoes. I'd just never had a chance to wear them in my previous day job. Cute shoes meant blisters, aches and pains, and comfortable shoes were usually clunky and/or ugly.

An ancient intercom system was next to the plain wooden door, and I peered at the names next to the buttons. Lex didn't push any of the buzzers and merely opened the door and walked inside. We walked up two flights of stairs—reminding me that I should be grateful that I quit smoking because I get winded way too quickly—and turned down a hallway. Hardwood floors creaked beneath our feet as we passed frosted-glass doors proclaiming Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine and Dr. Howard, until we arrived at the last office, All On Red Consulting. Plain font, no cute logos, nothing that hinted at its being a magician-owned establishment. Usually magician businesses had a tell of some sort, something that signaled to other magicians that the place was safe. The number three was most typical—Three Willows Café, Three Oaks University. Then again, that was probably about to come back to bite us all in the ass, because the hunters were sure to figure it out.

I followed Lex into the office, and I walked into a wall of pungent brimstone-scented magic. Eau de summoner. Gross. There was a bland waiting area with an empty fish tank and old magazines strewn across the coffee table. Zach's face smiled from one of the covers, his arm around some skinny blonde model, and I flipped him off as Lex opened the inner office door without knocking.
I heard the occupant's voice before I saw her. "No. Get out," she snapped.

"Nice to see you too, Patience," Lex drawled.

I stepped around him and got a look at her. Though her eyes were hidden behind a pair of round, mirrored sunglasses, I knew Patience Roberts was glaring at Lex. Her short hair was cherry red and cut in funky, angular layers, but she wore a plain, black business suit with a white blouse. I wasn't sure what to make of that.

"You're not welcome here, Duquesne, and you don't have grounds to harass me anymore, so you can get the hell out of my office."

"He's not here to harass you—we're here to hire you," I said.

"Oh, this should be good. Are you looking to deal in demons now, Ms. Morrow? Your father always enjoyed it, and he was happy to pay the price in flesh," Patience said. She grinned, and my stomach stopped, dropped and rolled.

"That's Mrs. Duquesne," Lex corrected, "and you'd do well to call her Titania. In fact, as your Oberon, I'm orderin' you to help us, so get the twist out of your panties now."

The smile slipped from her face, and she dropped a series of F-bombs so epic even I was impressed. Finally she jabbed a finger at the empty seats in front of her desk. "Sit down and tell me what you want."

For a moment I wondered if Lex was going to demand she say "please", but he strode across the room and took a seat. I followed, my stomach still knotted. I wasn't sure I could work with her if she'd known my father in the biblical sense. The odds were against it—Lovely Laura didn't like sharing her playthings, and I couldn't imagine her allowing dear old Dorian to have any frolic on the side, even if it was business related.

"We need a guide through the shadow realm," Lex said.

She quirked one bright-red brow. "I knew a summoner who honeymooned there once, but I don't think it’s quite your ideal vacation destination. Why the shadow realm?"

"We need a ritual from the library of Kristoff Valkyrie."

"You mean you need a ritual," she said, turning her attention to me. "This is about you and Zachary Harrison, isn't it?"

"Does it matter?" I asked.

"Damn right it matters. If I help you against him, I'm a dead woman. You can't ask me to do that."

Patience scowled as she tugged a desk drawer open and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. My hands twitched as she lit up her smoke. I wanted one so bad.

"He wouldn't kill you for helping us," I scoffed.

"Yes he would if I helped rob him of his favorite pet. No offense, Titania, but I don't care how hard you and your Oberon ask me for my help. I'm not getting involved in this."

"Name your price," Lex said, his voice low.

...and, scene! Should you want to know more, you can buy it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Mr. Samhain.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Girls Game Too

So yeah. I haven't posted in awhile, due to...well, let's just say there's been drama (if you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard me complain about it). But there is good writing news, and I'll be posting more often about that. Today I want to speak a bit about gaming, so excuse me while I get up on my soapbox.

funny pictures of cats with captions

As you may know, I game. I've LARPed, I've played tabletop, I own 20-sided dice, and I play both PC and Xbox games. My list of MMORPGs includes EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Dark Age of Camelot, Star Wars Galaxies, World of Warcraft, and several others that I started but weren't grabbed by (*edited to add: Oh, and City of Heroes and City of Villains, though I'm not playing any MMOs at the moment). I'm also female. And that puts me in the minority, because we're a small (but always growing) percentage of the gaming world. My soon-to-be-ex-husband works in the video gaming industry, so I know firsthand that it is indeed a sausagefest. There are female devs and testers, but they are few and far between. It's a little disheartening. Gamer girls generally don't get much respect. It's a little like this:

(I found that on FB, so I can't take the credit for it.) (Though yes, I have gamed naked. Don't ask.)

If you're constantly on the internets like me, you may have heard about a drama bomb that went off regarding a female writer at BioWare (you can read more about it at the Mary Sue and there's an update here at Kotaku). Some trolls recently found an interview she supposedly gave a few years ago, and they crazy attacked her, calling her a cancer and everything that's wrong with the gaming industry. Because trolls are stupid and hateful, and the internet turns what I assume are normal people into crazies who foam at the mouth (seriously, would you speak to your mother/sister/daughter that way?).

There is some question of whether or not the writer did give the interview, but if she did, she said some stuff that I relate to as a writer, a gamer, and a female. Such as:
if a game doesn’t have a good story, it’s very hard for me to get interested in playing it.
Word. This is the very reason I adore the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series. Their stories are really rather awesome. (Well, I have reservations about DAII, but that's a whole other rant.) Before I decided to create my own worlds, I created my own stories for my characters in games when the setting was interesting but the story was blah or got old. I had a lot of fun in Dark Age of Camelot (by the way, Ayslyn Greenwillow, wherever you are, I miss you like mad). Yes, I want to shoot things. I squeal with glee when my rogue one-shots some mob and it explodes in a gory red mist. But I need context, otherwise killing mobs is boring.

If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a broader audience which includes women, what would that one thing be?
A fast-forward button. Games almost always include a way to “button through” dialogue without paying attention, because they understand that some players don’t enjoy listening to dialogue and they don’t want to stop their fun. Yet they persist in practically coming into your living room and forcing you to play through the combats even if you’re a player who only enjoys the dialogue. In a game with sufficient story to be interesting without the fighting, there is no reason on earth that you can’t have a little button at the corner of the screen that you can click to skip to the end of the fighting.
I sort of agree with this. I'd like a fast-forward if I've already played through the game. I recently realized that I'm on my 9th playthrough of Dragon Age II. Nothing would make me happier than being able to skip the DAMN FIGHT WITH THE ARISHOK! Argh! I friggin hate that fight. Once was enough.

So here's the thing--okay, maybe a few things. First, as I said above, I demand interesting story, or I won't play. Second, though there was a time in my life when I was willing to devote my the bulk of my free hours to a game, and get my ass up at 4 in the morning for a raid, now I consider myself a casual gamer. I enjoy gaming, but I have other stuff to do. So if I'm trying to finish a quest in Kirkwall and random thugs pop out while I'm running from point A to point B, as they do, it irritates me, because it doesn't add anything to my gaming experience other than more time. Third, I'm a chick. For the love of all that is holy, don't dress my female warrior in chaps and a thong and call it "armor." (I'm looking at YOU, BLIZZARD! Words cannot express how damn annoying it was to see my night elves bounce like they really had to pee. My ranger once drew her bow, stopped, bounced her boobs, and then fired an arrow. Not cool, Blizzard. NOT COOL!)

In closing, I would like to address the industry. Attention gaming and comic book industry: I have a va-jay-jay, and I also have money to spend on your products. I am intrigued, and I would like to subscribe to your magazine, but not if you're not going to at least try to make it worth my while. Really, in this economy, can you seriously afford to turn me and my geek sisters away? Don't listen to the trolls. Haters gonna hate. Gamers gotta game. And I am counting the days until Mass Effect 3. You want me to be that excited about your product too.