TESTING THE LIMITS some like it hotter The good news keeps on coming!  Huge congratulations to Kira Sinclair and Isabel Sharpe for their Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice nominees TESTING THE LIMITS and SOME LIKE IT HOTTER (Harlequin Blaze)! For a full list of our nominees (The Knight Agency has 17 authors  up!), check out the TKA blog.

A couple of quick personal squees before I move on to pics, etc. from the World Fantasy Convention this past weekend in Arlington, VA…  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may already have seen my breathless, tearful OMGing about my Dear Author review for BAD BLOOD.  They’re tough cookies over at Dear Author, and the review, particularly at a time of self-doubt, meant the world to me.  Reviewers, please note: authors are more thankful to you than we can say, though we should certainly try, especially since this is the season for Thanksgiving!  On that note, a huge THANK YOU to Jessica at A Great Read for reviewing and loving BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD, the latest in the Latter-Day Olympians series! I’m humbled!

This leads me into the World Fantasy Convention.  Normally, I take about a zillion pictures that I can post to make you all feel you were there.  Unfortunately, this year my camera, for the most part, stayed in my bag.  I’m not sure I was any more crazy busy than in past years, but there it is.  But I’ll try to paint some word pictures where I lack photos.  First, while Crystal City in Arlington, VA isn’t exactly in the midst of things, it’s a nice, short plane ride from home, which I appreciate immensely after all the traveling I’ve done this year, and the view form my hotel window was pretty great.

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But as all con-goers know, we’re not there for the view.  We’re lucky if we get out of the hotel a time or two for meals.  It’s all about the people.  Because of timing, I haven’t been to one of the major sf/fantasy cons, besides DragonCon, which is a madhouse, in a couple of years, which is a crying shame.  Coming to World Fantasy was like coming home.  First, I was able to see three of my fabulous authors, R.S. Belcher (THE SIX-GUN TAROT, THE SHOTGUN ARCANA), Carol Berg (most recently DUST AND LIGHT, which is a current finalist for Best Fantasy in the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards) and David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson (oh so many titles, including a new urban fantasy series starting in January 2015 with SPELL BLIND as David B. Coe and the Thieftaker series as D.B. Jackson).  So many other authors who fall along the spectrum from friends to family, including Esther Friesner, Laura Anne Gilman, Meg Turville-Heitz, F. Paul Wilson, Brandy Schillace, Brenda Clough… Oh, look, I did manage two whole pictures!  (On left from L to R: Steven Leigh, Andrew Miller, me, Brandy Schillace, David B. Coe and Ed Schubert; on the right: Esther Friesner in her fabulous pterodactyl sweater and me without one.)

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There were also many awesome agents gathered that we had to come up with a word for it.  We settled on a “negotiation of agents,” although my husband says that he always thought a congregation of agents and editors was called a “Happy Hour”.  He’s not necessarily wrong.  Just look at what such a congregation was able to do to the White House:

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(Chocolate courtesy of Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky)

As you can probably tell, a fabulous time was had by all.  There were many productive meetings, many wonderful reunions and so many memorable moments.  I can’t wait until next year!

nexus First, a HUGE shout out to Ramez Naam for winning the Endeavor Award for his novel NEXUS along with Ken Scholes for his novel REQUIEM.  For those playing along at home, Mez has also won the Prometheus Award (tying with Cory Doctorow for HOMELAND) and been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clark and Kitschies Golden Tentacle Awards.  Mez has been shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer as well.  So proud!

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This just in, more huge congratulations to my Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award nominees!

DUST AND LIGHT by Carol Berg (Roc Books) for Fantasy

TRACE OF MAGIC by Diana Pharaoh Francis (Bell Bridge Books) for Best Indie Press/Self-Published Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

BROKEN SOUL by Faith Hunter (Roc Books) for Best Urban Fantasy

PRINCE OF SHADOWS by Rachel Caine (NAL) for Book of the Year!

ac unity Also, out today is a really fun book from Ubisoft, written by Christie Golden, illustrated by Andy Belanger and Karl Kerschl: Assasin’s Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment: Employee Handbook.  From the copy:

Agent:
At Abstergo Entertainment, history is an experience. Our work not only enriches lives, it brings out truths that time has forgotten. But as many of our analysts have learned, testing these experiences is not easy. These files represent the work of the first analyst to take on the case of Subject 44412—Arno Dorian. Living through the bloodiest days of the French Revolution, Dorian’s life certainly took many dark turns, but those memories and choices are his own.

Up until now, Dorian has proven to be one of the biggest challenges for our research team. We believe that there is valuable information to be gleaned from this subject, and our hope is that you will succeed where others have failed. Familiarize yourself with your predecessor’s file as you make your way through this case. Steel yourself, and stay focused. Don’t let us down.

Your work so far has not gone unnoticed. Here is your chance to prove yourself.

touch of evil Something else to be thankful for? TOUCH OF EVIL, the first novel in C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp’s stunning, USA Today bestselling Thrall series is now out in paperback!  From the copy:

The alien vampires known as the Thrall classify most humans as Prey, save for a few who survive the bite of the parasite. People like Kate Reilly, whose latent psychic powers were activated by the vampire’s venom when she was attacked a few years ago. Kate is Not Prey, and safe.

Or is she? The Thrall Queen intends to make Kate her successor, despite Kate’s hatred of the vampires.

All is not bleak in Kate’s world. Her downstairs neighbor, Tom, is a hunky firefighter who arouses her senses…including the ones that tell her he’s not human. Tom’s a werewolf—and his pack knows how to protect Kate from the Thrall Queen. The problem? The last time Kate trusted a man she loved, he betrayed her to the Thrall and nearly got her killed.

Action, adventure, romance, and thrills—everything readers want from the USA Today bestselling authors who are also Cat Adams, creator of the Blood Singer series—are all on display in Touch of Evil.

Want more?  THE EXILE by C.T. Adams, first in an all new Fae series, is scheduled for release March 10th of next year and already available for pre-order.  Check out this stunning cover:
THE EXILE And this great quote from Publishers Weekly: “Adams does an admirable job of breathing life into Faerie and its creatures before ending on a game-changing cliffhanger.”
Okay, all, I’ll sign off for now.  I hope to have a few pics to post (I didn’t take many this year; too busy running around) and a write up of the World Fantasy Convention on the morrow.  Spoiler alert…it was awesome.

Statement the First: Agenting is a way more than full time job, and I’m far more than a full time agent.

Statement the Second: Writing is not something for which you find time, it’s something for which you make time.

The math: As an agent, I work with over forty authors of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery and young adult fiction (full list here). As an author, I work with one person: me. (Okay, and all the voices in my head, but they don’t eat much and they never call, they never write.)

Impetus for this post: I get asked all the time, “What do you do more of these days, agent or author?” So, you know that math above…

Conundrum: I’m a hyper-responsible workaholic. Just ask my poor, long-suffering family. This means that I attack everything full-on. As an agent, I work 9:30-5:30 at my desk—providing editorial and other feedback to my writers, sending out submissions, working on subsidiary rights, reaching out to editors, negotiating contracts, chasing down payments, reviewing royalty statements, putting out fires, which can cover such a wide range of issues it would take another entire blog post to cover, doing promo work, etc. In the evenings and on weekends, I’m reading partials by queriers or by clients to prep them for submission, or reading full manuscripts that have been turned in, or doing market research… I’d say that all told, my agenting takes at least a sixty hour week.

Finding time to write? Not going to happen. I make myself write every single morning, before my agenting day starts, before my critical self has woken up—which helps me get out of my own way and not second guess myself all the way down the line. It lets the words flow. I only get an hour for it, which helps me fight dithering and writer’s block. When I only have an hour, I use it. It doesn’t mean I’ll keep what I’ve written, but it means that I don’t dare stare at a blank page. Those few hours I have are too precious. On weekends, if I’m not traveling like crazy, usually as an agent, networking and promoting my authors’ works, I might find two whole hours on Saturday or Sunday to write. Maybe. But I’m also a mom and a wife, and I take those jobs pretty seriously as well.

So I get a little frustrated when I get that question over and over. I want to think that if I’m being asked whether I’m doing more agenting or writing, that means I’m doing both so aggressively that people can’t tell. But I hear it as, “So, you’re writing. Does that mean you’re less committed to agenting.”

The answer is such a resounding “no” that I think I’ve just set off all the dogs in the neighborhood. I love agenting. I love writing. If I could choose one over the other, well, I would have. There are so many amazing highs as an agent—when you read something that just blows you away and you feel amazing by association, when an offer comes in (even better if there are multiple offers and the book goes to auction), great reviews, bestseller lists, award recognition for those books you love… As an author there are huge highs as well—offers, foreign rights sales, the first time you see your new cover art, hearing from readers, great reviews… There’s also, certainly in my case, neuroses. I can promote my authors all day long and tell you how fabulous they are. As an author, I feel a little like Oliver Twist asking the Beadle, “Please, sir, can I have some more?” Only it goes, “Please, good people, won’t you buy my books? And maybe love them just a little, flaws and all. Oh, I know they’re not perfect. By the time they hit the proof stage, I kind of hate them myself, but I thought there was something good there once, so just maybe…” (Ahem, sorry about that. I got carried away. You can read all about my neuroses in my article Self-Doubt and Perspective for Magical Words.)

You can probably guess which I’d rather be full time—calm, cool and collected vs. a bundle of nerves.

It’s not that simple of course. I couldn’t stop writing if I tried. I’ll never forget in Robert Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walked Through Walls his hero, who’s a writer, trying to explain it to the heroine. She asks, “If it hurts so much, why do you do it?” To which he responds, “It hurts more not to.” And that’s exactly it.

I’ve been writing since I was eleven years old.  Any day that I don’t write feels like a day without the warmth of the sun. It feels pointless. I feel pointless. No matter what else I do that day, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I need to write. These characters and stories that pile up…if I don’t get them out of my system, I sometimes think I might explode. Sound crazy? Well, you have talked to writers before, haven’t you?

But that’s not the problem. I need to write, so I make the time.

The problem comes from people’s perceptions, which is why when my first short stories and novel came out, I used a pseudonym. I didn’t want anyone to question my commitment. But it didn’t feel right. It felt a little cagey. I didn’t want to be on an author loop as “Kit Daniels” and have someone find out that I was an agent and feel I’d been lurking or there under false pretenses or anything of the sort. And so, largely, I wasn’t very present. It’s a terrible way to promote. With the Vamped and Latter-Day Olympians series, I went to using my own name. So now whenever I promote, people think I’ve gone over to the authorial side of the force.

You see my conundrum. As mentioned, I’m hyper-responsible. Even if radio silence wasn’t a piss poor way to sell books, I couldn’t do it because a) that’s not who I am, and b) I’d be falling down on my responsibility to my publisher, who showed faith and put resources into my work, and to myself. Do I sometimes tweet my books during the day when there’s the most volume on social media. You bet. Do I even more often tweet about my authors at odd hours of the day and night, on weekends, holidays, etc. Absolutely.

I understand the question coming, particularly right now when I’ve had two new books out within the last couple of months and one special price promotion to crow about. (New books: RISE OF THE BLOOD in print, BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD in digital; promotion: BAD BLOOD, the first in the series, for only 99¢.) But rest assured, I’m still a more than full time agent and a part time writer, though I’m good if it comes across as though I can do it all.

For the record, I have looked into cloning, but it’s not really an option just yet and, anyway, I know me. I’d be all competitive with myself and I’d end up more crazy rather than less.

Don’t know if you’ve all been following along, but the webseries for Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires has been running all week on Geek & Sundry!

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

It’s hard to get the full scope of things into ten minute episodes, but – happy day! – you can go right to the source! In addition to the webseries, Rachel Caine has launched a new website which will tell you everything you need to know, including the reading order for the books.  You can check it out here!

the-morganville-vampires-logo First, did you all see the debut of the Morganville Vampires webseries over at Geek & Sundry?  Are the characters as you imagined them?  Shane has been my favorite character throughout the series, and the web shows are no exception!  I can’t wait until Myrnin makes an appearance.

Second, wishing Christina Henry a very happy and special book birthday today for BLACK SPRING, the conclusion of her wonderful Black Wings series.  Have you met Maddy Black yet?  What about her wisecracking, junk food loving gargoyle sidekick Beezle?  If not, you’re in for a treat!  Check out her guest post here on “Why Gargoyles Make the Best Sidekicks” and enter her tour-wide Rafflecopter giveaway!  More on this awesome new release below.

BadBlood300 Third, I’m up today on Books Make Me Happy with a flash fiction story inspired by a photograph of a cat basking in the sun…or so it would seem.  Hope you’ll check it out!  And don’t forget that BAD BLOOD, the first novel in my Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series (murder, myth, magic and mayhem) is only $.99 until November 7th.  A great time to jump into the series if you’re so inclined! (Here are the links for Nook, Kindle and Kobo.)

BLACK-SPRING-217x350 And now, more on BLACK SPRING:

A former Agent of death, Madeline Black now has everything to live for, most importantly, her unborn child. But Chicago has become ground zero in a struggle between ancient creatures, and only Maddy can stop the carnage…

The mayor of Chicago has announced a plan to round up the city’s supernatural beings and put them in camps. With her due date looming, Maddy’s best move would be to lay low for a while. But not everyone is willing to respect her privacy. Hounded by tentacled monsters, a rogue shapeshifter, and a tenacious blogger, Maddy turns to her most powerful ally, her uncle Daharan, only to find him missing.

Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, Maddy gets an invitation in the mail—to Lucifer’s wedding. Turns out everyone has been invited, friends and enemies alike. And with that kind of guest list, it’s highly unlikely there will be a happily ever after.

Praise for the Black Wings novels:
“A complex and engaging universe.”—Open Book Society

A fast-paced, spine-tingling, adventure ride that won’t let you go till the end.”—Fresh Fiction“Secrets and revelations of the most awesome and diabolical kind.”—My Bookish Ways

 
About the Author:

Christina Henry is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with subtitles in her spare time. Christina used to work in a comic-book store and, as a result, has boxes of bagged and boarded comics in her attic. Needless to say, she can hold her own in a conversation about manga and anime. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

Her most recent books include: Black Heart, Black City, Black Lament, Black Howl, Black Night, and Black Wings.

Coastal Magic has become more than a convention for me in the few short years Jennifer Morris has been been running it.  It’s become a family reunion.  Every year she brings together the most amazing people and every year I feel like I’m coming home.

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If you want a taste of this very awesome event, you can come to the convention February 5-8, 2015 in Daytona Beach and/or join many of us this Friday for our Scary Stories Facebook event, starting at 7 pm ET.!  There’ll be spooky tales, giveaways, great authors and other seasonal goodness.  Together with Paige Tyler, I host from 8-9 pm.  The full schedule is available here! Also starting Friday, Jennifer is hosting on her website a week of Halloween Flash Fiction inspired by some spooky pics she’s provided.  Personally, I can’t wait to see what everyone’s come up with.  The pictures were very inspiring!  The schedule for this event is below.  I hope you’ll come join in on the fun!

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Friday, October 24th

Terry Spear

Menna van Praag

Linda Robertson

Saturday, October 25th

Rane Sjodin

Rebecca Zanetti

Sunday, October 26th

Amber Belldene

Tish Thawer

Monday, October 27th

Alex Hughes

Jan DeLima

Tawdra Kandle

Tuesday, October 28th

Alex R Kahler

Lucienne Diver

Wednesday, October 29th

Gini Koch

Olivia Hardin

Thursday, October 30th

Elliott James

Brynn Myers

Friday, October 31st

James R Tuck

So excited that cloning has finally been perfected! Yup, I’m all over the net today:

-at Magical Words with a really honest post about self-doubt and perspective

-at Goldilox and The Three Scares with a post on what scares me and why, along with a giveaway!

-and last, but definitely not least, a review of my Latter-Day Olympians novel RISE OF THE BLOOD is up today at Night Owl Reviews!

Yee-ha!