Apr 25


Digging out from under my terrifying to-do list…

So, last week I made a trip up to New York City for meetings with my agent, my editor at DAW, and my editor at Bantam (though not all at the same time!) It was an enormously productive trip, and lots of great stuff was discussed and accomplished. But the biggest news (for now, at least) is that we have a release date for the third Demon book:

Secrets of the Demon will be out from DAW on January 4th, 2011! (Yes, I know, it seems like an enormous length of time to wait. Part of the reason for this is the change in publishers. (More info on that here.) However, it’s really only about a month longer than the wait between Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon. And I have high hopes that the next few books will be coming out with even less time between releases!)

The other bit of cool news is that the Demon series is going to get new cover art. Now, I’ll say right now that I absolutely love the covers of the first two books. However, I knew that the switch to another publisher would most likely mean a change in the cover design. I had a fair amount of trepidation about this, but all of my fears were set aside when my editor told me that they were getting Dan dos Santos to do my covers! *swoon* I LOVE his work! (Plus, she promised me that there would be NO tattoos..haha.)

Jack and The Kid came up to New York with me, and did touristy stuff while I did business stuff.
Jack and The Kid

The Kid would have been perfectly happy spending the entire time in Central Park and FAO Schwartz, but Jack managed to drag her away and they saw everything from the Museum of Natural History to Battery Park to Little Italy and Chinatown.
The Kid in profile

We don’t have mountains or hills in South Louisiana, so the Kid thought that the Big Rocks in Central Park were the coolest thing Evah!
The Kid climbs a mountain

The one bit of touristy stuff that I was able to participate in was a Thursday night Yankees game. Jack is a HUGE Yankees fan, and had been talking about seeing about getting tickets–nosebleed seats, since that was probably all we’d be able to afford. But then we had a HUGE stroke of luck! A friend of ours is an MLB Umpire, and it turned out that he was calling the Thursday night game! He offered to get tickets for us, and we were more than glad to accept them. (And they were NOT nosebleed seats!)

Jack and Diana at the Yankees game

This was only the second game that Jack and I have been to. The first was on our honeymoon, so bringing the Kid to this one was extra special.

In other news, I’ll be at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention April 27th through May 2nd. I’ll post my schedule later today to make it easier for people to stalk me. :-)

Apr 8

Winner Ping

Bianca F and Nicole L, I haven’t heard back from you yet, which means that either my email to you went astray, or you’re trapped under a piece of heavy furniture. Either way, please email me as soon as you can so that I can get info from you re your prize! diana at dianarowland dot com. (With the “at” replaced by the @ symbol, and the “dot” replaced by a “.” You know the routine. :-) ) Thanks!

To the rest of you, I’m stupid busy this week, and am struggling to get caught up on everything. I hope to resume my usual irregular and spastic posting very soon!

Mar 28

Demontastic Winners!!

Yes, finally, the panel of unreliable judges has come through with the winners. Yay!

By the way…Holy Crap, this was hard to judge! From the simplest entries to the most complex, every single one was fantastic and delightful, and I’m incredibly grateful to all of you for taking the time to create and post a pic. Looking through all the entries was a rare thrill. Lots of pictures with pets, religious artifacts, not-so-religious artifacts, kids, smiles, the whole nine yards.

But, as I said, it was a bitch to judge, and I am doubly grateful that I was able to dump the hard part onto others. Honestly, I don’t think I could have picked any winners on my own. I loved them all!

Now, as you might recall, the prizes were:

An autographed copy of Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
An autographed copy of Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy
An autographed copy of Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
TEN autographed copies of Mark of the Demon or Blood of the Demon (winners’ choice)
A $10 Barnes & Noble gift card contributed by Michele Bardsley

As well as TWO GRAND PRIZES of New Orleans-y gift baskets with all sorts of cool New Orleans goodies, both books, along with a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card each.

And, a couple of prizes have been added to the pool! Jeanne Stein has very kindly offered to donate a signed copy of The Becoming, along with book cover magnets and other goodies.

AND another $10 B&N card was added by one of the unreliable judges, simply because it came down to a decision between two entries, and it was most easily resolved by adding one more prize.

All of the above prizes (except the grand prizes) will be distributed to the following winners:

Best Picture with a Cat–Hilda

Fire Cat!!

Best Picture with a Dog–Heather

Doggy thinks demons are tasty!

Best use of Accoutrements–Ambika

Sharp implements!

Best use of Statuary–Rene

Awww... daddy demon is reading to baby demon!

Most Artistic-Amy

So evocative!

Best Drawing–Bianca F

I've had mornings where I've felt like this

Best Summoning Circle (ebook version)–Cheryl H

Awesome salt squiggly!

Best Summoning Circle (print version)–Melissa T

Successful summoning!

Best Incorporation of Alcohol–Jani

Rowdy drunks--the best kind of readers

Best Use of Religious Icons/Texts–Nicole L (I especially liked the inclusion of a coffee-mug as a religious artifact. I completely approve!)

Coffee is MY god

Best Collage–Robin K

That's some serious reading!

Best Foreign Entry–Julia The Brazilian

I didn't notice a thing!

Most Impressive Collection of Cool and Bizarre Stuff–Jon Hansen

Almost as much weird shit as me!

Best LOLcat version–Julie Wood

All hail Basement Cat!

Best Montage (which, unfortunately has to be a link, because there was just no way I could get it all over here!)–Pearl


And, The Cutest–Van P


And now for the two Grand Prize Winners!! These were unanimous decisions from the unreliable judges:

Grand Prize #1–Crissi B (Who, by the way, does NOT have a twin!)

Double Trouble!

And, Grand Prize #2–Tynga (I LOVED this one!!)

SO awesome!!

Thanks again to everyone who participated!! Winners, I’ll be emailing you soon (hopefully tomorrow) with details and information about your prizes! (This is assuming you left a valid email address when you posted your comment. If not, I’ll blog and tell you to email me. :-) )

Mar 27

And another…

The good news: The panel of unreliable judges has finished judging, and we have Winners!

The bad news: I was tied up with family stuff all day, and don’t have all the winning pictures formatted all purty-like just yet. But, I have a significant chunk of time blocked out tomorrow for doing just that, and the winners and their pics will all be revealed tomorrow!

Thanks for your patience. :-)

Mar 26

And a deadline whizzes on by…

Unfortunately, this was the self-imposed one that had to do with announcing the winners of the Demontastic contest. [wince] Sorry!! Today was stupid busy, but I PROMISE I’ll announce the winners tomorrow!! (It doesn’t help that there were so many AWESOME entries! Curse you all for being so clever!)

Mar 23

Contestastic stuff!

Wow, y’all are seriously creative!!! Thanks to everyone who participated in the Demontastic Contest To Hell! The contest is now closed, and I’m planning on announcing winners this Friday.

And the cool news is that there are other neato special offers going on RIGHT NOW on other highly worthy blogs! For a limited time, Mario Acevedo is offering you the chance to get a bonus story from Jaye Wells, Kat Richardson, or Carolyn Crane. All you have to do is order Werewolf Smackdown from BarnesandNoble.com by 10AM, Thursday March 25, 2010. Go to www.marioacevedo.com for the details!

And, the lovely and talented Nicole Peeler is running a terrific contest for the talented and lovely Carolyn Crane, whose debut novel Mind Games releases today!

So, go forth and enter! And, be sure to check back here on Friday for the winners of the Demontastic Contest To Hell!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (because I don’t think I’ve used enough exclamation points yet..LOL)

Mar 15

The Demontastic Contest To Hell!

So, most (normal) authors do a big promotional push for the release week of their book. This makes sense, see, because those first week numbers are considered super-important blah blah blah… And, for Mark of the Demon I did do a big push during the run-up to the release and the release week itself.

But, as you’ve all no doubt figured out by now, I’m not normal. Or sane, or sensible, (or organized), or anything else that could possibly make this whole Profeshunal Riter thing easier. (Plus, I was busy finishing up Secrets of the Demon before its deadline, which conflicted beautifully with the release week of Blood of the Demon.)

So, I’m officially embarking on a WEEK FOUR DEMONTASTIC PUSH TO HELL! (See what I did there? Normally it might be “from hell”, but since I write about demons I thought it would be funny to say “to hell” even though that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since the demons in my book aren’t from hell anyway, but I’m on a bunch of bronchitis meds and steroids and crap, so right now it’s TOTALLY HYSTERICAL. To me, at least.)

Anyway. Here’s the deal. I’m going to run a Big Neato Demontastic Contest To Hell! (Hence the title of this post.) Here are the prizes so far (and more may be added as the week progresses):

14 runner-ups will be chosen and be placed in random order to choose from–

An autographed copy of Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
An autographed copy of Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy
An autographed copy of Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
TEN autographed copies of Mark of the Demon or Blood of the Demon (winners’ choice)
A $10 Barnes & Noble gift card contributed by Michele Bardsley

And TWO AWESOMELY GRAND PRIZE WINNERS will receive New Orleans-y gift baskets with all sorts of cool New Orleans goodies, both books, along with a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card each.

Now, to be entered into the Demontastic Contest To Hell, all you have to do is:

1) Take a picture of yourself/someone else/a random sculpture/your pet/anything else with either Mark of the Demon or Blood of the Demon. And, because I don’t want to make it so that you have to buy a copy of the book to enter (I don’t want this to be something where you have to pay to participate) it can be a borrowed book, an e-book, a library book, or–if all else fails–a picture of the cover of the book.

2) Post said picture on your blog, or your twitter, or your facebook, or an online photo-sharing site (flickr or that sort of thing. Most are free and easy to use.) along with a link back to my website.

3) Come back and comment here with the link to where you posted the pic. I’ll be collecting all the winning pics and putting them on a page for all to see. (By posting your pic and commenting here with the link, you are giving me permission to repost said pic on the winners page. ‘Kay?)

4) PLEASE please please do NOT email me pics or files or anything like that. I’m super nervous about opening files from people I don’t know, and I’d rather not lose my work due to a virus. Thanks.:-)

Winners will be chosen by a panel of untrustworthy judges. Completely arbitrary and subjective points will be awarded for coolness, creativity, and WOW factor. Contest will close this Sunday, March 21st at midnight Louisiana time. Winners will be announced within the following week.

Go wild!!

P.S. Feel free to spread the word about the contest.

Mar 11

Various updatery

Well, Blood of the Demon is loose in the wild, and you should be able to find it at booksellers everywhere–or in just about any e-format you might prefer! And, if for some reason you don’t see it in the “R”s in the Science Fiction section, check the New Releases section, or if you’re at Books A Million, check the Romance section. I’m not sure why BAM insists on shelving my titles in Romance, but hey, at least they carry them!** (And, if all else fails, ask at the customer service desk.)

Other news that I think I forgot to mention here is that Mark of the Demon has gone into its third printing! Huge thanks to all of you who made that necessary!

And, other cool news about MotD and BotD is that French and Thai rights have sold. Soon I’ll be able to say that my books are published in four languages! ***

And, finally, I’ve been receiving quite a few wonderful and awesome emails begging to know when the next book will be out. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you yet. Since I’m switching publishers, there might be a bit of a pause in the production schedule. However, the operative word there is “might”. I really don’t know anything at this time, but I’ll be sure to make a big announcement as soon as I do!

The good news, though, is that I’ve finished and turned in the third book–Secrets of the Demon. And, while I’m waiting for my editor’s revision letter, I’ve started working on book four–Sins of the Demon. In fact, here you can see the Plot Wall of Doom for the fourth book, wherein I attempt to keep track of everything I need to keep track of, both in this book and in the series as a whole.

Butcher paper and painters tape, and my plot brainstorm/outline for book 4

(In fact, plotting has suddenly become Very Tricky, since I’m essentially having to juggle two plots. I’ve been referring to previous books quite a lot lately to try to make sure that I don’t slip in any contradictions.)

And, finally, I have to say that I’m stupidly tickled to hear that “Team Ryan” and “Team Rhyzkahl” factions have been forming. All I can say for y’all is that you’re gonna LOVE Secrets of the Demon. [cue evil laugh]

** For what it’s worth, I have absolutely nothing against Romance (and actually read quite a bit of it) and the only reason I have any issue with the books being shelved in Romance is because the Demon series isn’t technically romance. Yes, there’s romantic tension, but there’s an expectation that books in the romance genre will have a Happily Ever After, or at least a Happy For Now–and my books don’t have that. Now, that being said, there will be a (hopefully) satisfying resolution to various romantic tensions by the end of the series, but it’s going to take several more books to get there. Anyway, I hate the idea that a romance reader might buy my book and be disappointed in it, solely because it doesn’t fulfill the (justified) expectations of the genre.

***English, German, French, Thai!

Feb 24

On word counts and interesting books. A response to a commenter.

I’m generally an easy-going, non-confrontational person, but an anonymous commenter going only as “reader” left the following on my previous post, and I feel compelled to respond:

It’s a pity when author says that the main goal is a certain number of word and not to write an interesting book!

Dear Reader–

I’m sorry if this is going to come off as harsh but… Are you for real? (I actually want to say something much harsher, but I’m holding back for now.)

Writing an interesting book is a given. Trust me, that big old plot board on my wall was so that I could write an interesting book that made sense and fit together in an entertaining and appealing manner.

But to get there, I had to write words. It’s called goal-setting.

I mean…Seriously?? If all I cared about was just the number of words, I’d write a book that consisted of

“Kara Gillian summoned a demon. It was really really really really really scary. She told it to sit and stay. It sat. She was very very very very happy that it didn’t kill her.” And so on.

When a builder decides to build a house, he or she most likely has the concept of their beautiful house in their mind. But they sure as hell don’t start building it without a plan, and when the workers start on it, I highly doubt they say, “Okay, we’re gonna build us a house today!” More likely they say, “Okay, let’s see if we can get the slab poured today. Then when that dries we’ll get it framed. The next day, we’ll put the walls on. The next we’ll shoot for finishing the roof.” **

Writing a novel is a lot of work, and can be unspeakably intimidating. Any task that you know will take you 6 months to a year (or far longer) can seem damn near insurmountable, even if you’ve done it before. But the best way to get around ANY huge task is to break it up into manageable segments.

I mean… seriously???? How can this be such a foreign concept?

Every writer I know sets daily or weekly or monthly writing goals for themselves. Most of the professional ones do the daily word counts, simply because it’s the easiest way to structure your day and give yourself a daily goal to help you stay interested and motivated, and keep from feeling overwhelmed. Because, trust me, 100,000 words is A LOT OF WORDS.

When I start a book, the first thing I do is create an outline. Not every writer does this, but an outline works best for me. It usually takes me at least a week of hard musing to create my outline, and it often involves either more butcher-paper covered walls, or giant sticky notes plastered all over the place. Once the rough outline is in place, then I start writing. I do NOT sit down and say “I’ma gonna write this whole book!” What I do is tell myself that even though 100,000 words can seem insurmountable, 2,000 words isn’t. So, for my first draft, I do my best to make myself write at least 2,000 words a day. And, since I’ve been down this road a few times now, I know that my rough first draft will be “finished” at about 65,000 words. Within that word count should be the bulk of my story, and I know that edits, rewrites, changes, and added descriptions will bring it up at least another 30,000 words.

Wait, you may be asking, why do you even care about word count at all? Why don’t you simply write the book at the length it needs to be?

Well, first off, my contract calls for a certain length. Now, it doesn’t have to be spot-on exact, but it needs to be close. This is for a number of reasons, but the one that appeals to me the most, is that 100,000 words is right about the perfect length for my kind of story to be told and hold the reader’s interest. So, it makes for a nice structure for my books.

So, getting back to how I write. Okay, so I have my rough draft, which is somewhere around 65,000 words. Now, I do NOT go in there and stuff in another 30,000 words just to plump it out. No, what happens now is called REWRITING. And do you know why I rewrite?


So, I print it out, and I read it through, and I mark the hell out of it with colored pencils. And I make notes of all the scenes that are horrible, and which scenes work, and what needs to change. I will most likely end up cutting damn near 20,000 words from that 65,000 and rewriting them into something that works better. Then I’ll do another plot outline, drawing out the plot as I have it now to see the “Big Picture” and try to do my best to make sure everything fits together and works. Then I write and rewrite some more.

Finally, when I think it’s as good as I think I can make it, I’ll send it off to a few select first readers. A few days later I’ll get their notes back. Sometimes pages and pages of notes. None of these notes will say one fucking thing about my word count. All of the notes will have to do with what works, what doesn’t, what makes sense, what is confusing, where it drags, etc.

And, so I will rewrite again. By this time I don’t give a shit about word count. Because now that I have a cohesive draft, my goal is more chapter-oriented. I tell myself that I will rewrite X number of chapters a day, which helps to keep me from FREAKING THE FUCK OUT at the pages of notes that my readers have given me and the amount of work I have ahead of me.

Once those rewrites have been finished, off the manuscript goes to the editor. She doesn’t give a fuck about the word count either, except to make note of whether it’s much higher or lower than the contracted amount, because it will make a difference to Production as far as layout, font size, number of pages, etc. She will read through it several times, mark up the manuscript, and then send it and a revision letter back to me. The revision letter for my first novel was 9 single-spaced pages long, and all of the notes had to do with making the book better. You know, more interesting. And I made those revisions, because I wanted my book to be, you know, more interesting. Gooder. As gooder as it could possibly be. Eventually it was published, and I was very happy.

But none of that would have ever happened if I’d been so intimidated by the thought of writing a novel that I couldn’t start.

Before I wrote Mark of the Demon, there were two pieces of advice that stuck with me. The first was via Jay Lake, and it was “The best indicator of future success as a novelist is writing one.” The second was one that actually came from a fitness and weight-loss site that said, “Don’t focus on the huge goal at the end. Don’t say ‘I will lose fifty pounds.’ Instead, say, ‘I will walk two miles every day and eat more fruits and vegetables.’” I co-opted that advice and shifted it to, “Don’t tell yourself that you will write a novel in six months. Instead, tell yourself that you will write 2 pages a day.”

Now, my dear reader, all that being said, if you find my books to be uninteresting, then that is surely an opinion you are allowed to have and voice. But please don’t blame that on the fact that I break down my big goals into smaller ones.


** I’ve never built a house. Please don’t get on my case for the fact that this description is surely rife with any number of inaccuracies. :-)

ETA: Oh, and by the way, those 100,000 words have to be turned in by a certain time or I don’t GET PAID. I can’t simply wait until I feel like writing. I have to make words. Yes, even interesting ones.

Dec 27

Princesses and Frogs

Today’s attempt to see Princess & the Frog was far more successful. The crowd at the theater was light (possibly due to the Saints game) and we managed to get in with no wait and score The Kid’s favorite seats (at the VERY top of the theater[g].)

And, I have to say that I’m incredibly pleased that there’s finally a Disney princess who isn’t a vapid idiot who needs rescuing by her Twu Wuv! In fact, both characters were three-dimensional, flawed, and fell in love after [gasp] getting to know each other. Adorable, and with a really admirable message of “Believe in your dreams, but, yeah, it takes work to reach them.”

(I was also quite relieved and pleased to note that the accents were actually accurate!)


The Kid has a “Look and Find Marvel Heroes” book, and keeps asking me who the various characters are. I’m quickly discovering my limited knowledge of the Marvel pantheon of heroes and villains. Sigh. I feel so inadequate.

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