AWer New Releases!

Congratulations to AbsoluteWrite members Stacia Kane and K.A. Stewart on today’s release of their respective books! I’ve been waiting for the release of both of these books with great anticipation, for what seems like months.

Stacia Kane‘s new book Unholy Magic is book 2 of the Downside Ghosts series. You can read an excerpt on StaciaKane.com. The enthusiastic All Things Urban Fantasy review says:

Like any drug, the first taste gets your attention but its the second taste that gets you hooked. I thought the first Downside Ghosts book, Unholy Ghosts, was an impressive debut, but UNHOLY MAGIC is even better. I am well and truly addicted to this dark, seductive urban fantasy series.

Stacia Kane is singlehandedly writing her very own hot new take on Urban Fantasy, so I’m excited for this next installment in the Downside Ghosts tales.

If you favor an Everyman hero, Fantasy Literature describes K.A. Stewart‘s new book, A Devil in the Details (Jesse Dawson book #1):

Every lost soul needs a champion. Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate), until the day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon. Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death.

There’s a review of A Devil In the Details up at The Best Reviews that tells us:

K.A. Stewart is a welcome addition to the urban fantasy writers with a strong opening entry. Told in the first person by the laconic hero in a sardonic witty voice, readers get to know Jesse up front and in person. Flawed and courageous, Jesse risks eternity to help those who cut demonic deals although by doing so he shortens his lifespan because one day he will lose a fight. A Devil in the Details is a dynamic debut.

You can find an essay from K.A. Stewart about writing Jesse James Dawson on the Penguin Books Website. She writes:

The character of Jesse Dawson sprang to life out of my desire to see an “everyman” in extraordinary situations. He’s your average Joe. He has a house payment, a wife, a beautiful daughter that he spoils. His job is menial at best, and he’ll never be what anyone calls wealthy. Ultimately, his life probably isn’t a lot different than yours.

Until, of course, you throw in the demons. Oh, did I forget to mention those?

If you’d like to know more about how other writers are making their books work—and sell—K.A. Stewart has a recent guest post about building characters on The Other Side of the Story.

So these books are some of what I’ll be reading this month. How about all of you? And if you’re an AWer with a book coming out, drop me a note!

Requiescat In Pace, Dick Francis

Dick Francis
Mystery novelist Dick Francis

I’m very sad to announce that British mystery writer Dick Francis, 89, has died.

Mr. Francis wrote the first mystery novel for adults I ever read. I was a child who was too grown-up for my chronological age, but I loved horses passionately. I’d read all the Walter Farley books, Black Beauty, and pretty much any other book about horses you can think of. If a book even hinted that it might mention horses, I’d read it. I was also at that in-between age; I was reading widely, but had only just recently made the jump to reading both fiction and nonfiction written for an adult audience.
Whip Hand

So when a book-loving neighbor gave me a copy of Whip Hand, it was like discovering a kindred soul. People wrote books for horse-crazy grown-ups, too! I’ve happily read my way through an awful lot of Dick Francis horse mysteries, in the years since.

Mr. Francis was a renowned jockey, before he became a best-selling mystery novelist.

He’ll be missed.

Paranormal Roundtable on Suvudu!

Mark of the DemonNeed a remedy for the late-winter blahs? Suvudu announced they’ve got your cure. They’ll be hosting a live round-table discussion of Paranormal and Urban Fantasy. See the website for details:

On February 17 (at 4pm EST), we’re bringing in some of the hottest voices in Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy for a round-table discussion and we’re going to be bringing it live! Use the quick form above to sign-up for a one-time email reminder for the event, then sit back and prepare for the heat!

Here’s a list of participants; Suvudu’s roundtable will host some of the hottest writers in these enormously popular genres:

Kelley Armstrong – KelleyArmstrong.com |@kelleyarmstrong on Twitter

Diana Rowland – DianaRowland.com |@dianarowland on Twitter

Jenna Black – JennaBlack.com | @JennaBlack on Twitter

Lucy A. Snyder – LucySnyder.com | @LucyASnyder on Twitter

Carolyn Crane – AuthorCarolynCrane.com |@CarolynCrane on Twitter

Interview with Laura Kinsale

Lessons in French
Lessons in French

I get to read a lot of interviews with writers, editors, publishers, and other assorted interesting people. This interview posted on Tartitude is very fun. Not just because award-winning NYT best-selling author Laura Kinsale has a new book out, but Hope101’s interview questions aren’t just the same old standards, either, and Ms. Kinsale’s answers have humor, heart, and a sense of fun that’s a joy to read.

Ms. Kinsale has more advice for writers in a Q&A posted today on Apprentice Writer, as well.

You can follow Hope101 on Twitter: @tartitude

You can follow Laura Kinsale on Twitter: @LauraKinsale

You can find Lessons in French at your local bookstore, or your favorite online bookseller.

Slush

A rather silly and  inaccurate article from WSJ proclaiming The Death of the Slush Pile.

An excellent post on agent Janet Reid’s blog, Slush Works.

discussion on the AW forums, that references both essays.

This stuff comes up every now and then. Every week it seems like some new Website goes up, announcing that they’ll revolutionize the publishing industry by collecting writers in one place for agents and editors to browse at their leisure; this is such a common meme that savvy writers simply call these sites YADS: Yet Another Display Site.

A mighty pile of paperEvery week it seems like some newspaper looking to fill column inches runs a scare piece about the death of the slush pile, all the ways publishing is doomed, the “revolution” in “indie” publishing or yet another ridiculous story about submitting a re-keyed manuscript version of Gone With the Wind, and—quelle surprise!—receiving form rejections from agents too canny to verbally engage with some wingnut who’s just submitted a re-keyed manuscript of Gone With the Wind…Then Twitter explodes with links to the original essay, writers despair, bloggers pontificate, and message-board threads proliferate on writer’s fora across the Web.

Read those pieces more closely. Too often,  these articles are thinly-disguised, self-serving press-releases pretending to be articles. Remember a few things. Remember that there are some very key differences between fiction and nonfiction publishing. Remember that book-selling and publishing, while very closely related and interdependent, aren’t the same industry.

Most of all, remember that an article full of speculation full of doom and gloom and looming apocalypse is just more interesting reading than an essay that says, “Yep. Writing is a competitive and challenging aspiration. You’ll have to work your ass off, and you still may not make it. That hasn’t changed one little bit in centuries, so don’t look for it to change anytime soon.”

The best essay I’ve ever read about slush, by the way, is Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Slushkiller. You should read it, if you haven’t. You should read the comments, too. And if you’ve already read it, you should probably read it again. Every writer I know actually finds it oddly encouraging.