Jan 1

Blogs, Demons, Zombies, new releases, spam, and other happy fun time stuff

Ahem. Well, a few of you might have notice that I sort of stopped blogging for a while. Er, “a while” being a year and a half. In my pitiful defense, I’ve been crazy stupid busy. And, maybe a little lazy at the same time. ;-)

So, as most of you probably know already (assuming I have ANY readers left at all, though I figure that this will most likely pop up in some feeds and surprise the hell out of a few people) I’ve had a few books come out since I last blogged. In January 2012 Sins of the Demon came out, then in July Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues hit shelves, and finally, on December 31st Touch of the Demon made its appearance. Told you I was busy! LOL

Okay, so we’re all caught up now, right? :-D

All right, maaaaaybe there’s more news. In spring of 2012 my lovely editor agreed to buy three more books in the White Trash Zombie series, as well as four more in the Kara Gillian series. That brings the total books in each series to six and nine, respectively, and I’m pretty sure that’ll be enough to complete the story arcs I have planned for both.

Also, I just turned in White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, which will be out Jul 2, 2013. And, the next book in the Kara Gillian series will be Fury of the Demon, which will most likely be out near the end of the year.

And, in news mostly unrelated to books, part of the reason I stopped blogging here was because controlling the comment spam here ate up a ridiculous amount of my time, even with the akismet plugin. So, I’m debating shifting my blogging to something that isn’t actually something I host myself. Right now I use a wordpress platform, but I’m considering simply shifting the blog to an actual wordpress blog hosted on wordpress.com. Does anyone know if that would help with the whole comment spam problem? Or does anyone have other suggestions?

Either way, I do intend to get back to this whole blog thing. I actually do miss it.

But spam.. ugh. Don’t miss that.

Jul 15

More signing stuff and book neepery

In the department of “Crap, I should have posted this several days ago!” I have a signing tomorrow (July 16th) from 12-2pm at Big Easy Comics in Mandeville. This is a great local indie, so please come out and support them!

In other news, I turned in the fourth Kara Gillian book this morning, Sins of the Demon. Woohoo! (I’ll post later about how this was the hardest book I’ve ever written.) I took a short break and then started making notes for the second White Trash Zombie book–current working title of which is Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues. :-)

At some point this afternoon I realized that this new book will be my SIXTH contracted book. Holy shit.

Seriously. Holy shit. I started writing Mark of the Demon less than five years ago. Needless to say, there are times when this whole thing feels extremely surreal.

[pause to contemplate Stuff]

Okay, enough contemplating!

I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con next week, and if you are attending and so desire you can even find me at:

Thursday: 3:00-4:00pm Magic & Monsters— Adult and young adult science fiction and fantasy authors discuss the costs and consequences of “magic” in their novels and the scary, hairy, and dangerous creatures that lurk in the worlds they have created. Visit the worlds of Kim Harrison (The Hollows series), Andrea Cremer (The Nightshade series), Anton Strout (The Simon Canderous series), Lev Grossman (The Magicians), Ben Loory (Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day), J. F. Lewis (The Void City novels), and Diana Rowland (The White Trash Zombie series), guided by moderator Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. Room 25ABC

4:30-5:30–autographing in the Comic Con autograph area.

Friday: 11:00-11:50am–autographing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth (#1119)

And the rest of the time I’ll be geeking out!

Jul 11

I’ve reached a new milestone!

Who needs the New York Times bestseller list? I’ve just been deemed a BAD INFLUENCE! :-) According to the Christian News Wire, my Kara Gillian-Demon Summoner books encourage teens to experiment with demonic possession.

You only wish you could be this cool!

Jul 9

For the locals (and semi-locals depending on how badly you want signed books!)

I will be signing copies of My Life as a White Trash Zombie today from 2-4pm at the Mandeville, LA, Barnes & Noble.

(I will be signing all of my other books as well, if anyone wants them!)

Jul 5

Today is the day for braaaaaaiiinnnnssss!!

Hurray! My Life as a White Trash Zombie officially hits stores today!

My life as a white trash zombie cover

I say “officially” because I’ve been getting reports of sightings for well over a week. And, when the family and I were on our way back from Destin, FL, this past weekend, we stopped in at a bunch of different bookstores** on the way back, and all of them had several copies of the book in stock. (And yes, there are now signed copies of said books at all of those bookstores!)

But, just in case your local store actually abided by release dates, now here’s no excuse for them to not have it in stock!

And now for the challenge:

If My Life as a White Trash Zombie hits the New York Times bestseller list, I will get this tattoo:

I Love Brains tattoo

I am currently completely un-inked. This would be my very first tattoo. And I promise many pictures and much video should the inking take place!

So now you know what to do!

** Barnes & Noble stores in Destin, FL, Pensacola, FL, and Gulfport, MS. Books-A-Million stores in Destin, FL and Fort Walton Beach, FL.

May 3

Tra la! It’s May!

My god, this place has gathered a lot of dust. I’ve fallen into the (bad) habit of posting snippety updates on facebook or twitter instead of taking the time to write out blogs. Dear self: You can post those same updates here. There’s nothing that says a blog entry has to be lengthy. Duh.

So, some snippety stuff for y’all:

I have a new book coming out in about two months!! For those of you who come to this blog via the front page of my website, you’ve no doubt seen the OH MY GOD AWESOME COVER for My Life as a White Trash Zombie which comes out July 5th. But for those of you who have yet to see it.. *cue chorus of angels*:

My Life as a White Trash Zombie cover

I am so in love with this cover it HURTS! The artist is the amazingly talented (and super nice guy) Dan Dos Santos. The even cooler thing is that he entered this art in the Spectrum contest earlier this year, and this cover took silver!!! I’m SO stoked for Dan because he deserves all sorts of praise and adulation. He’s also part of a group blog of incredible artists where they talk about process and the industry and talent and other really neat stuff, which is a fascinating read even if you’re like me and can barely draw stick figures.

Click here for the back cover blurb. Oh, and you can read an excerpt of the aforementioned book also!

The Kid turned seven last month. Holy crapoly, she’s growing up so fast! *sniff*

In less than two weeks I’ll be flying to New Mexico, then driving up to Taos Ski Valley to participate in the Rio Hondo writer’s workshop. This is an invitation-only workshop hosted by Walter Jon Williams, and is usually populated by OMFG talented and award-winning writers such as Maureen McHugh, Karen Joy Fowler, James Patrick Kelly, Daniel Abrahm, Carrie Vaughn and others. I was floored (and thrilled) when I was invited last year, and found the workshop to be unspeakably valuable, rewarding and informative. I know my writing improved dramatically as a result of the feedback and shard insights I gained while there. Needless to say, when I received an invitation for the second year in a row, I couldn’t respond with a YES fast enough!

Besides, last year it SNOWED while we were up there! (The lodge where we stay is at about 10,000 feet elevation. Last year I was definitely gasping for breath for the first few days..LOL)

The next thing I have scheduled after that is San Diego Comic Con in late July—my third year in a row of attending this convention. I grew up in fandom and have been to more SF conventions than I can count, but SDCC is nothing like any of those. I’m completely in love with the crazy intensity and energy, and this is probably going to be a definite annual event for me.

I attended the Romantic Times Booklover’s convention back in early April and had an absolute BLAST meeting so many readers and other authors. Since it was held in Los Angeles I also had the chance to hang out with Roman White, who’s become one of my dearest friends. He was shooting a video for Kristin Chenoweth while I was out there, and Roman invited me to come hang out at the shoot. SO COOL!! I got to meet Kristin who is just an amazing and kind person with an insane amount of energy, and holy crap that woman has talent!

Then, after the shoot, Roman invited me along to dinner with some Sony execs, and we ended up at this restaurant in Beverly Hills. Y’all, this was the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted in MY LIFE. It’s all about the science of gastronomy and new cooking methods and the perfect combinations of tastes and textures. I had a drink made with dry ice. I had brussels sprouts that were so incredible and tasty that I wanted seconds (and I fucking HATE brussel sprouts!) I had a cheese and jelly combination that nearly made me weep with joy. It was so incredible that I almost want to never go back to that restaurant because I don’t want to risk ruining the memory of how perfect that meal was. (Though I’m sure I will!)

Plus, the Sony folks paid, which made it even better..LOL Speaking of the Sony people, I sat next to an incredibly interesting and lovely woman (and I’m blanking on her name! DAMN DAMN DAMN!!! I think it was Laura…??) who worked in the Masterworks division (possibly the head of it??) Anyway, she’s a big science fiction & fantasy fan, and we had a really fun time talking about music and books and other neat stuff. The whole evening was an absolute delight—a perfect combination of awesome food and amazing company, and I am eternally grateful to Roman for allowing me to tag along and mooch. :-D

I’m working hard on the next Kara Gillian book, Sins of the Demon! I know there were a lot of readers who were like, “Akk! OMG! How can you leave us hanging like this?” at the end of Secrets of the Demon, but I think people will be pleased with what’s revealed in this next one! This one is scheduled to come out Jan 3, 2012, and is already available for preorder!

Otherwise, my life stays pretty much the same: I’m writing, I’m doing family stuff, I’m continuing my ongoing struggle to shed a few extra pounds, I go to the gym… well, I go more often than I blog!

And that’s about it, I ‘spose!

Jan 19

The Great Crabbing Adventure of ‘11

On Sunday Jack arrived back home after a shopping expedition with four crab nets and various other fishing odds and ends in hand. “I want to take Anna crabbing!” he announced. “We should all go crabbing!”

All right, I thought. I hadn’t been crabbing in decades, but I remembered it as being a very laid-back activity wherein one baited the nets with chicken parts and then threw them into the water and then waited while entertaining oneself with other activities such as fishing or looking at the water or general enjoyment of the outdoors. Anna had been dying to go fishing for quite some time, especially since winning a very nice fishing pole when she took third place in a little mini-fishing tournament during the grand opening of the local Academy Sports and Outdoors store. (It was was one those contests where they have a big vat of fish and the kids try and catch them, and the kids can win a prize according to how big a fish they can catch. Anna caught the third biggest fish, and thus won a cute little fish trophy, as well as an Ugly Stik fishing pole. She could not have been prouder if she’d won a Nobel Prize.)

Anna had gymnastics on Monday, and so it was decided that we would go late in the afternoon on Tuesday, after Anna got out of school and Jack got off work. Various plans were put into place, and at about 4:30pm we gathered everything up and loaded the car and prepared to head off to the pier at the very end of Main Street in Madisonville (which, by the way, you have to go through several miles of swamp on a narrow and rutted one lane road to get to.)

As we were piling into the car I noticed dark clouds on the horizon and I pointed out that it looked like it might rain.

“My daddy always said that rain was the best time to go crabbing!” Jack replied. Meanwhile I wondered if his daddy had an almost-seven-year-old in tow, but I declined to make further comment.

We made it to the end of Main Street and found the pier quiet and deserted. The wind was beginning to pick up a bit and the water was getting somewhat rough, and we agreed that fishing might have to wait until another time. I noticed that the grey skies seemed to be quite darker and closer, and so we untangled the nets and baited them as quickly as we could, and then Jack and Anna went and put them in the water at various spots along the pier.

While we were doing all of this, a Chevy Bronco-type vehicle came slowly into the pier area and parked near the boat landing, but no one got out. I eyed the truck as I finished tying raw chicken wings onto the nets and wished I’d thought to bring my gun, since we were in the middle of goddamn nowhere. But then the truck backed up and turned around and I saw that there was a Coast Guard emblem on the side.

“Probably wondering what kind of idiots we are to be out right now,”Jack remarked as they drove off and as the first heavy drops of rain started to hit us. The three of us scrambled back into my car (which, by the way, I bought last October, so it is still fairly new and lovely) and settled in to wait for the crabs to find the bait and for the rain to pass. The rain wasn’t too heavy, but I still noticed that the clouds were a LOT darker and closer and uglier.

About this time another car came driving through the parking lot. It proceeded to the far end near the lighthouse, and then slowly made its way back and then parked near us. No one got out, and the windows were tinted. No Coast Guard symbol on this one. After a few minutes—after I again regretted not bringing my gun–I said, “I’m going to check the nets before it gets too ugly,” since it had been about ten minutes since the first one had been put out and I wanted to get a better look at who was in the car next to us. The rain was starting to come down a bit harder now, and I flipped up the hood of my sweatshirt and went out onto the pier. As I did about six teenage boys piled out of the other car and made their way onto the pier. I gave them my best hard glare and they retreated to the other side and pretended to ignore me. I had no idea what they were up to, but they didn’t seem to be at all interested in bothering me and so I ceased to worry about them.

I pulled the first net up and saw that a cute little crab about three inches across—including legs—was in the trap. I pulled it out and held it up for Jack, who had followed me out when he saw the boys get out of their car. “Here, show this to Anna!” I said, giving him the crab. He returned to the car as I checked the rest of the nets, then I too got back into the car—quickly since the rain was getting harder.

“I dropped the crab,” he said as soon as I closed the door.

“Well, where is it??” I replied.

He gestured to the tiny space between the seat and the console. “Somewhere down there.”

Meanwhile our poor daughter, who had by this time lost all desire to fish or crab or anything, had her feet pulled up onto her seat and was NOT HAPPY at the thought of a crab roaming around willy-nilly in the car. Neither was I, but for different reasons. We made an effort to locate the crab, but we didn’t have a flashlight and it was difficult to see anything, and the rain was getting hard enough that I didn’t really want to open the door and do the maneuvering that would be required to look under the seats.

At this time I finally had a flicker of intelligence and decided to check the radar on my phone to see how much rain we were in for.

This is a close approximation of what the radar showed:

Scary radar with ugly storm

“Um, Jack, maybe we should pull the nets and try this another day.”

The rain was really starting to come down hard now and he looked at me doubtfully. “We could just leave the nets here.”

“No, that would be littering!” I responded with a remarkable lack of common sense. “And I don’t want to throw away perfectly good nets!”

Anna made a brief plea to come with me, and I shot that down fast—eyeing the dark clouds which were now ON TOP of us. I dashed out of the car and made my way down the pier—quite grateful for the railings since the storm had progressed to where gusts of wind were making it difficult to walk and maintain balance and I REALLY didn’t want to get blown into the water. Really.

By the time I had the first two untied I was soaked through, and my face was stinging from what felt like hail. The wind had risen to the point where I had to be super cautious about my footing and where I was forced to hold tightly to the rail, but I finally managed to make it back to the car with two nets.

“I can’t get the knot undone on that last one!” Jack shouted over the wind and hail as he handed me a net and we shoved the three we’d retrieved into the back of my car. I gave him my pocket knife so that he could cut through the rope, and finally we had the last net and we both made it back into the car—freezing, soaking wet, and laughing our asses off.

Anna was NOT amused by the whole thing, and I mentally added a few thousand dollars to the fund for the therapy she was surely going to require someday. I told her that she needed to look at the fun side of this, because now she could tell everyone she knew how idiotic her parents were. She continued to be unamused, and demanded that we return home NOW. We obliged—quickly, since we wanted to be sure we made it back through the swamp before the roads were covered by water.

We made it back safely home and Anna dashed inside the nice, safe, warm, dry house. Jack and I pulled the crab nets out of the car since they still had raw chicken legs tied to them, left them in the driveway and then ran inside where we proceeded to shed our thoroughly sodden clothing and continued to giggle about what morons we were. Later, after we were warmed up and the scary rain had passed we went back out to the car in an attempt to locate our runaway crab, but had no luck. We finally decided we’d pull everything out of the car in the morning and find the damn crab.

Unfortunately, even armed with flashlights and after emptying the car of everything that could be removed, we could find no sign of the crab. However, I did find a spot under the seat where a number of wires go under the carpet, and I have a sinking feeling that the crab made its way into a nice dark under-the-carpet hole. And, surely, proceeded to die, since crabs don’t exactly thrive in the air.

So, in a few days, I’m sure I’ll be able to find the crab. Or at least the general area where it decided to make a home.

And the next time Jack wants to go crabbing, I’m going to check the radar first. And we’ll be taking HIS car.

Jan 3


It’s a new year?? Holy crap, how the hell did that happen?

Okay, so I didn’t mean to lay off blogging for six months. (Cringe!) Things got busy, yanno?

Anyway—here’s a bit of catch-up:

July: Went to San Diego ComicCon. Had a total blast. I LOVE this con and fully intend to go every year if possible.

July-ish: The German version of Mark of the Demon came out.

German cover for Mark of the Demon

Isn’t it purty??? I can’t read a lick of German, so I’m taking it on faith that it’s really my book. :-D

August, September, October, November: Wrote. Caught up on various TV. Prepared for the holidays. Gained too much weight. Wrote some more. Didn’t blog. (Heh.) Did something to my knee that made it hurt. A lot. Went to the doc, had an MRI, was informed that I have an impressive amount of osteoarthritis in my right knee. Go me! Sheesh.

December: Got mad at myself for gaining too much weight. Re-joined Loseit! (loseit.com) along with a handful of friends, got my ass back into the gym and become BFFs with the elliptical (since I can’t run any more.) Got back into the heavy weight-lifting as well. Love me some muscles! Lost 8.5 pounds since Dec 5th. Go Me! Did some more writing, but nowhere near as much as I needed to. Sigh. Survived Christmas. Did promo for Secrets of the Demon. Holy crap, I have a book coming out soon!

January: Still exercising, still writing!

So, yes, Secrets of the Demon officially comes out tomorrow, but I’m hearing lots of reports of sightings! I have a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Mandeville, LA, on Saturday, Jan 8th, from 2-4 pm, and another at the Books-A-Million in Baton Rouge on Jan 15th, also from 2-4pm.

And I know many people who don’t believe in making resolutions, and I seldom do, but my routine and my already-paltry organizational skills fell apart during the latter half of 2010, so my biggest resolution this year will be to stop screwing around so much and get the work done that needs to get done. 2010 was actually a terrific year for me in a lot of ways, and I’m hoping 2011 will build on that and totally rock. I have a lot of great opportunities popping up for me, and if I miss out on them, I’ll only have myself to blame.

Oh, and I’m thinking of getting pink stripes in my hair once I reach my goal weight. :-D

Jul 4

It’s the delusions that keep us going

Well, after a week of hard battle, the cold I was trying to fight off won, and I finally succumbed to the usual joy of sinus headache, sniffles, and cough. I’m not sure why I even bothered to fight it off, because the actual cold took less time than the battle leading up to it, and I probably could have saved the viruses and myself a lot of effort if I’d just been a bit more tolerant and allowed them access to my respiratory system in the first place.

Anyway, it’s generally over now, except for a touch of lingering cough and a bit of an odd toothache which I’m almost positive is related to sinus pressure. But, since I’m hideously overdue for a dental appointment anyway, and since I’d prefer to not suddenly discover the need for an emergency root canal while in San Diego two weeks from now, I’ll be making a dentist appointment on Monday (if the office is open, Tuesday if it is not.) Yes, my life IS that exciting.

My oh-so-ambitious triathlon training took a brief hit during the Battle For the Sinuses, but only for about three days. I’m already close to a half mile on the swimming, but I pretty much knew going into this that the swimming would be the easiest part for me. I’m a really strong swimmer, and even though it’s been close to twenty five years since I’d swum laps for any extended length of time, it all came back really quickly. (I used to swim long-distances (mile+) for “fun” when I was a teenager. One of the big regrets of my life is that I was never able to do any sort of swim team/racing. I think I’d have been really good at it. Oh well.)

As far as the cycling portion goes, both of my loyal readers will no doubt remember that I was doing a lot of cycling back in 2008–close to a hundred miles a week for much of the summer. On Friday I managed to pump out eight whole miles. *headdesk* Okay, I know, I have three more months until the race. It really won’t be that tough to get my mileage up in that time…

But the running… Ah, the running. That is going to prove to be the bane of my existence. It doesn’t help that it’s the middle of summer in the Deep South. Unless I want to run in 90F degree heat (and by the way, I Don’t) I have to get up at about 5:30 a.m., and even so, the humidity is high enough to make me wonder if I could simply combine my running and lap swimming into one moist activity. It also doesn’t help that I’ve never been what anyone could call a fast runner. Or not-slow runner. Okay, even “runner” is a stretch, to be honest. I manage to get up to a pace that’s not walking, and that’s about it. Even back a few years ago when I was running 3-4 times a week, and doing 6-7 miles at a time, my pace was never faster than 10:30/mile. (In other words, my goal will never be to actually win a race!) So, I kinda detest running right now. I know that there will come a point when I enjoy it, but that’s a ways off–I usually don’t get there until I reach the “five miles is an easy run” stage. Right now I’m still firmly in the “holy crap this shit hurts have I made it to the mile-and-a-half-mark YET??” stage.

And, work on the book continues, of course. I’m finally through the phase of thinking that the book sucks, that everything about it sucks, that it’ll never make sense, and that no one will want to read past the first five pages. I’m actually awfully close to having a readable draft, and not only do I no longer believe it sucks, I’m perilously close to thinking it’s going to be quite good.

Yes, I’m delusional that way. Kinda like how I’ll start to like running in a couple of months. Ah, pleasure is oh-so-close to pain!

Jun 17

We’ve come a long way… mostly

No working out today. Felt cruddy in the way that one feels cruddy when a cold is trying to take up residence, i.e. scratchy throat, cough, nonexistent energy. Plus my legs are pretty achy, so I’m taking today as a rest day, slamming the vitamin C, and will dive back into the bike/swim/run rotation tomorrow.

This past week’s massive excitement (Ha!) was the delivery of a new stove/oven/range hood/microwave. The appliances in our house are just shy of ancient, and we keep saying things like, “When we get extra money, we’re going to replace everything!” But, really, there’s no such thing as “extra money”, and so we’ve been limping along as much as possible. The microwave/range hood crapped out almost a year ago, so we bought a counter-top microwave to sub for that. The oven went into fail-mode a couple of months back, so we bought a toaster oven. Then the stovetop died last week, and we were reduced to using a hot plate, plus, by this point, we had no damn counter space left and had to admit that we would need to use some non-extra money and buy a new stove.

I do hope, though, that the fridge and dishwasher can hold out until my next royalty statement. Ugh.

The stove itself was delivered on Saturday, which was no more complicated than yanking the old one out and shoving the new one in. However the microwave required special installation, and yesterday the installers came out to do that, which means I now have the ability to cook AND have more counter space upon which to pile dirty dishes.

However, when the installation team came out, I had an “Oh, cool!” moment when I saw that it was two women. Hey, great, we’ve come a long way, baby, and all that good stuff. But right after thinking that, I thought that it was a shame that I would even think “Oh, cool!” at all. Yeah, we’ve come a long way, baby, but we’ll have really made it when we don’t even bat an eyelash, and don’t stop and think about how far we’ve come.

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