Friday, April 25, 2008

Contests galore!

Two new contests based on Staked begin this week! Between the two of them, there are five copies of Staked, a custom book thong, and a WELCOME TO THE VOID T-shirt up for grabs.

Over at A Book Blogger’s Diary, aBookworm has been nice enough to give Staked an awesome review and to run a contest. Four copies of Staked and a very cool custom book thong are yours for the winning here. The contest ends May 5th, so make sure to get those entries in before it’s all over.

From the review:

“[Staked is] serious yet funny, gory yet tender, magical and still down-to-earth; a proper study in contrasts, if you will. In other words, a must-read!”
- A Book Blogger’s Diary

I’ve also been invited to do a guest blog over there, so that’ll be coming your way soon, too.

Sidhe Vicious Raves & Rants also has a review up. She enjoyed the book enough to do an interview and it’s where you’ll have to go if you want a shot at a WELCOME TO THE VOID T-shirt before we start selling them. Since they’re so rare at this point, the T-shirt is first prize and a signed copy of Staked goes to the runner-up. The review is here and you can find the contest and the interview here. The contest ends May 15th. So get over there and enter for your chance at a t-shirt or a signed copy of the book. Read the interview too. I think you’ll enjoy it.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

T-shirts are coming soon!

T-shirts are coming soon! Believe me, I want to see people wearing WELCOME TO THE VOID T-shirts every bit as badly as people want to wear them… and I feel like I owe some of you an explanation for the delay. We’ve considered lots of places for having the T-shirts printed up, including CafĂ© Press (which can’t print on the back of a black shirt, by the way) and other places that handle sales as well as printing- but the T-shirts ended up being over $30 each (not counting any profit). So, we’ve decided to handle the sales end of things ourselves (and by we, I mean me, my wife, and my mother-in-law, Jenny, who is practically my personal assistant lately- I need to get her some business cards).

Since that time, we’ve been caught up in trying to do things “right” from the outset, with a business account, a business license, state sales tax, etc. These things are almost completely resolved at this time, and we are almost ready to place our initial order. We’re looking several sales possibilities, including selling from our existing eBay account, launching an eBay store, selling through, or possibly trying to handle it all ourselves on my webpage... we should know something within a week. We’ll get the T-shirts from Custom Ink, the same printer that did thour original WELCOME TO THE VOID shirts… so the ones we sell will be “real” ones that look just like mine. We haven’t determined the actual prices yet (how much we pay depends on how many shirts we order at a time) but shirts will probably be between $20 and $25.

Last, and possibly most important because this is how you can help, I’ve posted a survey on the sidebar of my blog (if you’re reading this from or elsewhere, you’ll need to click through to I need to know how many of which sizes to get on my initial T-shirt order… if you’d please go to the survey and click on the shirt size(s) you’d like, when we order, I’ll make sure we get what you want.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekly J: The WebKinz got me!

You may ask yourself… How did an urban fantasy author (and day-time corporate stooge) wind up with a WebKinz? It’s easy: kids.

In case you don’t know, WebKinz are the new, improved, and more insidious than ever interactive Beanie Baby/Tamagochi hybrid. They are little stuffed animals with a digital double-life. You buy a cute little panda (or the new Bengal Tiger, in my case) and you get a special code that lets you go online, register the WebKin as your pet and BAM! They have you. For a full year, you can go online, play with your pet, take part in online contests, play games with other WebKinz owners (with a very child-safe only pre-selected statements allowed chat system similar to Disney’s Toon Town MMORPG). What happens after a year? I’ll answer that later…

Once your pet has a name, your pet gets a one room house of his or her very own, some starting KinzCash and you’re set. Buy clothes, games (anything from Battleship to Checkers), story books, coloring books that you can color online… furniture, new rooms, a back yard… If it’s kid-safe, you can probably buy it.

My experience with these plush little monsters began when my wife (ever attuned to what kids want) got the boys Webkinz for their birthdays. I mostly avoided the whole thing, though family dinner discussions did lean toward what gem who got in the Curio Shop, who KinzPosted what to who, and who bought what in the W shop. My wife stepped in to manage their little accounts, helping them learn a bit about budgeting while logging in every night to earn them a little extra KinzCash.

Then, my wife got a Webkinz of her own, and dinner discussions began to lean toward the possible ingredients involved in certain secret recipes. Before I knew it, her Webkinz Panda, Rosie, was a well-educated pet with a well-decorated house and a tidy little bank account. She’d research the secret recipes, cook up batches of them, and KinzPost the food over to the boys’ Webkinz along with new games, clothes, tidbits for their room themes, etc. (Just like a good mom…) They responded by KinzPosting presents back, somewhat haphazardly, but very generously. They would all log in at the same time to play games together in the tournament arena.

Then, they decided Dad needed a WebKinz, too.

Youngest son: Dad. Where is your WebKinz?

Me: I don’t have a WebKinz.

Youngest son (astonished): Did Pop Pop (his name for my dad) take it away?

Me: No. I just don’t have one.

Youngest son (instantly in tears): But, Dad, you have to have one! You’ve been good and everything.

Me: No, it’s fine. I don’t need one.

Youngest son (still crying): Yes you do! If you don’t I can’t come play to your house in WebKinz World and play with you.

Me (at this point, I am holding my crying little guy and he has buried his head against my shoulder): So you want me to get a WebKinz so that we can play together?

Youngest son (still crying): Yes.

Me: Can’t we just play with Legos?

Youngest son (considers that): Well, yeah, but Dad… you still need one to keep you company while I’m asleep.

Me: I’ll be fine. Mom can keep me company, and you know, I write at night. I won’t be lonely.

Youngest son: Please, Dad.

Me: …

Me: If you still feel that strongly about it in a week, I’ll get one.

(One week later… and you’ve got to understand that this little guy has very little concept of time beyond a matter of minutes, tomorrow, or the distant future)

Youngest son: Where’s your WebKinz, Dad?

Me: I’ve still got to pick one out.

Youngest son: Okay, but make sure to introduce him to me when he gets here.

So now I have a WebKinz- a Bengal Tiger named Khan. He “sleeps” on the bookshelf and every few days, my sons' WebKinz have a sleepover with him up there on the shelf so that he won’t be lonely. And yes, I log in and feed him, take him to school, search for gems, play games against my kids, spin the Wheel of Wow... it's true. The WebKinz got me.

Here’s a picture of Khan with some of his shelf mates. They seem to be getting along quite well.

In a year, if I don’t buy another WebKinz or renew his year long activation code… he’ll "expire". Die. How evil is that? Fourteen bucks a year or we delete your pet, kid.

In the meantime, though, if your Webkinz gets stomped at Atomicalicious by a tiger named Khan, well, I'm probably guilty.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

STAKED gets good reviews...

I haven’t posted any reviews in awhile, so here goes:

“Staked will probably appeal to most readers who like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden but wish that Harry would stop being so damn nice all the time.” -Amanda,

How’s that for a hearty endorsement? Read the rest of Amanda’s review here.

Oh! Oh! And my book made it to Vienna (yes, as in Austria)! I only know this because Amberkatze has posted a nice review on Amberkatze’s Book Blog. She was even cool enough to give away a copy of the book in a contest with a very cool concept. In Staked, a new vampire seldom knows the extent of his or her true powers. Sometimes, those who can change into an animal will only be able to change, for all time, into whatever they first attempt. Amber asks contestants to choose which animal they would pick. Enter her contest here.

As it that wasn’t enough, she interviewed me, too. Here’s that link.

Speaking of people who enjoy Staked…

FantasyGirl has an awesome review over at “From the start I could tell this book would be something special. By page 8, I was proclaiming it a winner to my friends. I’m happy to report that I was correct.” Read the rest of the review here.

Proving that Staked can appeal to guys too, Frank Hagen posted a review at his blog. You see, he bought the book for his wife (because he’d read the Big Idea article John Scalzi was nice enough to post over on his Whatever blog), started reading it, and it hooked him. Read his review here and if you need any advice with C# Programming, Frank might be just the guy to help you out.

Rachel over at reviewed Staked last month and I *thought* that I blogged about it, but didn’t: “Once you get caught up in the world of Staked, you’re stuck in its thrall. There’s enough violence and death to keep the novel going, but not so much that you can’t read it before bed. Staked walks a great balance with the suspense and gore… it’s a balance one rarely sees in first novels.”

Read the rest of her review here at Our Gaggle of Girls or here at Boston Now.

Lastly, Lou Anders sent me an email to let me know that my “author debut party” was covered in the most recent Locus magazine. I ordered a few copies, but they're not here yet.

Next time… my WebKinz review! Be afraid. Be very afraid! (Okay, don’t be really afraid... They’re just WebKinz…)


Monday, April 7, 2008

Superman to lead Avengers, Tony Stark sees Dollar Signs.

So… I’m sure that all of you have been pouring over the most recent Patent,Trademark, & Copyright Journal (vol. 75 No. 1862) and immediately noticed the article (beginning on page 591) by Anandashankar Mazumdar entitled “Superman Co-Creator’s Heirs Successfully Terminated 1938 Assignment of Rights."

No? Well me neither, but a good friend of mine was kind enough to send me a copy of the relevant pages. Here’s a link to the article on the court decision at

As I understand it, there is another level or two of appeal possible before anything really happens and assuming the end result puts things in the hands of the Siegel and Schuster heirs, I’m quite sure that DC/Time-Warner will wind up paying a ludicrously large sum of money to keep the man of steel in the DC Universe, but it got me thinking… what if they didn’t?

What if Marvel found a way to top their offer? What if Superman joined the Avengers?

Imagine the first issue of the Avengers in which Superman is tossed through the boundaries separating the Marvel and DC universes and lands in New York. How do you work that conversation so as not to tread on DC copyrights?


Superman: I’ve got to contact those friends of mine back at that satellite where we watch over everything. Surely my friend… oh, what’s his name, the bat-themed detective... will be looking for me. Maybe that chap with the brown hair with white side-burns, the one the with the green… ring could use his… ring and the green powers it gets from the… little powerful blue midgets to create a portal of some sort… Or perhaps my lady sorceress friend in the top hat and fishnet stockings could use magic. She could say “Bring Superman back home” backwards or something.

Iron Man flies up.

Iron Man: Oh crap! It’s another Skrull and it’s a copyright violation to boot. Now we’re in real trouble.

After a brief discussion with top SHIELD legal experts, Iron Man realizes that Marvel owns Superman.

Iron Man (thought balloon): I OWN SUPERMAN!!! BWAHAHAHA!!!

Iron Man: Hi, Superman. Sign here. I need you to register your powers and then I’ll put you to work leading the Avengers. And I'm sorry about your wife, but I’d like you to hook up with Ms. Marvel as quickly as possible. I want to franchise your children.


Superman: I’ve got to find other members of... that team to which I belong. The one based in America that fights for justice… or the society with similar goals.

Iron Man: Yeah, that’s getting a little too close for copyright reasons, Clark. I’ll need you to stop referring to your old reality. Would it be okay if I had Professor X edit your memory? Maybe you could have Sentry’s wife. Now that you’re here, I don’t need him anymore…

Superman: What?!? I’ve got to find the really quick guy, the one in red with the lightning bolts on his costume? Maybe he could use the treadmill that he has to come pick me up. I wonder if that wonderfully powerful woman I know could ask the gods…

Iron Man: Wonderfully powerful woman? Do you realize how close to infringement that is?

Superman: What are you talking about?

Iron Man (thought balloon): I wonder if I could team him up with Bucky… I mean the new Captain America and call it America’s Finest… or maybe World’s Most Excellent… Universe’s Finest? Too close? Think of the marketing. BWHAHAHAHA!!! I wonder if this means we own kryptonite?

Superman: It’s a longshot…

Iron Man (thought balloon): Wait! No… no, it’s okay. He can say Longshot. We own Longshot.

Superman (continues): I’ll have to travel to… Atlantis… I call still say Atlantis… Maybe there’s hope. The new underwater hero person who rules Atlantis knows some… magic.

Minutes Later. Superman is underwater staring at Namor.

Superman: You’re not blond. Where the heck is bat-themed detective guy that I trust so much, because he can do anything and still just be a human?

Meanwhile, Iron Man still hovers above New York.

Iron Man (thought balloon): I wonder if this means I own Lois Lane…?


Wouldn't that be just crazy?


Thursday, April 3, 2008


I'm back from MidSouthCon and it was very nice. I particularly enjoyed spending time with Haley Elizabeth Garwood, Joy Ward, and Ruth Souther. They were nice enough to let me share table space with them as I'd heard about the con too late to purchase a table of my own. Haley writes books about real women warriors in history: her books include Zenobia, Ashes of Britannia, and The Forgotten Queen. Joy has written a book called Haint that is about extraterrestrial dogs trying to save us from ourselves after the apocalypse. She's a professional blogger on the internet's second most popular dog blog, so she defintely gets the breeds right when it come to the funny ways dogs act. Ruth wrote Death of Innocence which she describes as mythological fantasy. She also has an urban fantasy underway, that I'm not certain if I can blog about that or not... so I won't, but it sounded interesting to me.

MidSouthCon also gave me the opportunity to do some more hanging out with Dan and Jackie Gamber of MeadowHawk Press. This was a particularly cool weekend for Jackie, because she was awarded her first Alex Award. Since I was away from my WTF support team, Dan and Jackie went out of their way to check on me throughout the weekend and let me tag along with them a good bit when they weren't on panels or running the MeadowHawk booth.

I met Candace Havens at an autograph session (we were sitting next to each other) and she was nice enough to chat and buy a book! :) Candace has written tons of tv-related behind the scenes info and was infamous at the convention for having a preview copy of the first episode of Battlestar Galactica on DVD in her purse. She's got some fiction books under her belt too, from Charmed and Dangerous to Like a Charm.

One of the best things I noticed about MidSouthCon was how well organized they were. The con suite ran like a well-oiled machine and around meal times, it contained actual meal-type items like hot dogs or on one night, pizza. They knew how to treat their guests and the dealers too. Several times a day, runners came through the dealer's room checking on everyone working the tables to make certain that they had something to drink and around lunch time on Friday and Saturday, they even brought food.

As at all cons, there were a few last minute schedule changes and a double booking, but it was all handled extremely well and chaos was kept to a minimum. I missed the closing ceremonies, but the opening ceremonies were handled by the SCA and involved all the guests of honor getting gift baskets and being introduced briefly to the crowd.

Selina Rosen, in her role as official toast master, was hilarious.

The dealer's room was cozy, but there was a wide variety of merchandise represented, including a book table run by Glen Cook (author of the Black Company series) and his wife. Allan Gibreath author of the Galen vampire series was at the Kerlak Press booth. I still haven't read his book yet, but I can tell you that he's a very funny guy and fun to hang out with.

I was only on one panel (again, not the con's fault, I didn't express an interest in attending until twelve days before the con). It was on Romance in the Underworld, which I hope we correctly turned into a discussion about the importance of love (emotional, physical, or both) as a driving factor even if your book isn't exactly a romance novel. It's a basic human need and by giving that same need to one degree or another to supernatural creatures, we writers enable our readers to better identify with them. The one panel appearance sold three copies of my book.

All in all: fun con. They are looking for a new hotel next year since they can't really grow much in the current hotel. If you're in the Memphis area for the next MidSouthCon, I suggest that you show up. It was very well done indeed.