Posts Tagged ‘anna dressed in blood’

Where Have I Been? Under a pile of books? In a fugue state? Yes, and Yes.

At this point, I have been away from this website for so long that I’m not even going to mention what’s happened in the interim. Suffice it to say, there has been a string of Very Bad Things.  I was talking to my dad yesterday and joked that I thought I might be under some kind of curse, and he said, that while it might feel that way, sometimes life just has a series of kinks that need to work themselves out. And I said, “Curses, old man! What do you know?” But, he’s probably right.

Since I’ve been gone, two Buffy books have come out, and the third is set to release on April 9th. I can’t wait to live it up one final time in the Buffyverse. I am going, to par-tay. I’m talking series readalongs and maybe episode watchalongs and BUFFY TRIVIA and Annotated Copy Giveaways and I hope some of you Buffy fans will join me.

For all you non-Buffy fans, come on, watch Buffy with us. But also, I have two books coming out this month:

cover image of the Anna Dressed in Blood paperback reissue

The Anna Dressed in Blood Anniversary Edition (September 12th)


Champion of Fate cover

Champion of Fate (September 19th)

The ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD ANNIVERSARY EDITION features an all-new novella called “DEAR ANNA” that catches up with Cas, Thomas and Carmel ten years later. They go to a haunted hotel, which is someplace I’ve always wanted to see Cas go. A certain ghostly love of his life may also make an appearance.

CHAMPION OF FATE is my love-letter to the epic fantasies of my youth. Immortal warriors and immortal horses, secret orders, heroes on a journey. To the Amazons and the Jedi. To the Iliad and the Mists of Avalon. To Lord of the Rings. And yes, to Xena: Warrior Princess. Which, if anyone wants to make a show based on Champion of Fate, doing it in the style of Xena: Warrior Princess would be a good way to do it. Just saying.

If you preorder Champion of Fate, please email a screenshot of your receipt and your mailing address to and I will send you three character tarot cards and a sticker as a thank you. Because preorders are really important! Submit the same thing to my publisher on this Champion of Fate Preorder page and they’ll send you a rad metal pin. Because seriously, they love those preorders. And when my publisher is happy, I feel…relaxed.

Another Bad or Bittersweet thing to note: (I’m telling you, Dad, I’m cursed, dammit! Throw some salt at me, what kind of a father are you?) I recently lost my wonderful agent of more than twelve years, Adriann Ranta Zurhellen. (I adore Adriann; she’s absolutely brilliant and without her I would have no career to speak of. Three Dark Crowns, in particular, would not exist as it does now.) I’m excited for her as she moves on to a new adventure in editorial, but I am definitely sad. Thankfully, after a call earlier today I’m very lucky to be staying on with Folio Literary Management, with the wonderful Emily Van Beek.

ONE LAST THING: You might notice there’s a newsletter sign-up on this website now. Because one day I was feeling like not a total lazy pants. For folks who sign up, my plan is to send you the bonus Three Dark Crowns story about Joseph and Billy, which isn’t available anywhere else. I just need to get the story all formatted and prettied up and I will do that as soon as these release things calm down.

OK, now this is really the last thing. We recently welcomed a stray cat into our home, so please welcome my new cat-son, Tom Bezos-Daytona. If you want to know the origin of his name, check the reel about him on my Instagram.

A long haired tuxedo cat in a fancy red clown collar
He still calls me, “Ma’am”. I’m like, no Tom, it’s MOM.


Movies and Sequels and Crows. Oh my!

Any list of three things separated by “and”, has to have the phrase “Oh my!” behind it. Thanks a lot, Wizard of Oz.

I’ve been away from the blog awhile, so here’s the skinny:

The principal cast for the ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD movie was announced, here’s the Deadline write-up. It’s Cameron Monaghan as Cas, and Maddie Hasson as Anna, and I could not be happier about those choices. They’ve got it all, those two, and I can’t wait to see what they will do with the roles. It was a particular thrill to get Cameron, as my best friend knows ZERO actors, but she knows him from Shameless, so she could actually be excited. Also, both of them are only 3-4 degrees from Kevin Bacon, which is always important. The director is Trish Sie, the screenwriter is Allison Wood, and when you put them together with Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett from Fickle Fish Films, you’ve got a lot of rad women in Hollywood.

I’ll say more about this movie business if and when the film swings into production. In my mind, it’s still a fragile baby egg, and I don’t want to jinx it by yacking about it too much. But feel free to tell me what you think of the casting!

Also happened: I finished Three Dark Crowns 2, which has a real title and everything! We’re already starting to talk about cover concepts for it, which seems unreal. This biz moves simultaneously slowly and at light speed.  More cover related: the UK cover for Three D will be revealed soon!

Went to BEA and Bookcon. Next up: Geekycon in Florida. I’ll have Three Dark Crowns decals (bumper stickers?) to hand out. And I’m working with a bookstore on how to get signed, personalized preorders for those who have asked. A big, huge, crazy large thank you to everyone who has preordered already.

Crows! There are crows in our backyard. They have a nest up in a tree and we’re trying to feed them and earn their trust. So far we’ve managed to get them some worms, but I don’t think they knew the worms were from us. You can’t leave a “To, From” gift tag on a worm, you know? But I’m not giving up. I’m going to go buy some unsalted unshelled peanuts.

Go Buy a Hat. And Get Ready to Hold the F*ck Onto It.

It's the day before the release of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. I'm spending most of it dug in, sniffing chicken in the slow cooker. Sounds pretty sane, yes? WELL IT ISN'T.

I'm sorry for yelling. For all the days up to say, the last week, I've managed to maintain a chill, zen-like attitude. There's no reason to panic, I told myself. Anna's a big girl. She'll be okay. I was pretty much Eddie Griffin in The New Guy.

Just roll around a bit. You'll be all right.
And then release week happens. And I am no longer the calm, cool Eddie Griffin. I'm Tina Fey on Annuale.

Local authorities may want to incarcerate me preemtively, like a wolfman.

I'm kidding of course. The above facial expression has only happened twice. And I don't even have an axe. But release week is guaranteed to turn you into at least a partial basketcase. I've tried to stay off of the internets as much as possible, to contain the crazy. I think that authors should get together and make our own version of the Annuale video, only for release week. Thoughts like, "This is all a huge mistake!" and "Nobody's going to like the book!" just pop up in your head. I feel like I'm preparing to bail out of a canoe. Time to blow up the car and start a new life under the name Sandra Monksburg.

In all seriousness however, despite the crazy running through my brain at the moment, I'm still enormously grateful to everyone who has left a kind comment, or a thoughtful review. I'm enormously grateful to the publishing/editing/publicity team at Tor. And the agenting team at Wolf Literary. I'm enormously grateful to anyone who wants to read the book or *gasp* buys it. I've got nothing to complain about. And after tomorrow, I'm sure the nuts will leak right back out of my head. But until then, I'm going to go buy a hat, and get ready to hold the f*ck onto it.

We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes.

No, that’s not from PSYCHO. That’s from SCREAM, secondhand from Psycho. Because we just re-watched Scream and Scream 2, in anticipation for Scream 4. Scream 3 will not be discussed or acknowledged. And I have no illusions about Scream 4 being a revelation or anything. But since we’ve come this far, I’m going to see it. Perhaps not in the theater.

So, on the subject of going mad. Now that ARCs of Anna Dressed in Blood exist, it is officially in the world. Available to be read in limited numbers. Concurrently with this comes bouts of panic and the urge to grab my editor by the shoulders and scream, "We’ve got to get out of here!" And then as she’s calling security I’d be blabbering about how Soylent Green is people.

Because I can talk up and down about how bad reviews are an inevitable part of the process, and that’s true and real but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy reality. Now, of course I hope people like it. I hope lots of people like it. Sometimes they write to me and tell me that they’re excited for the book to be released and that makes my day but at the same time I want to say, "Don’t! Don’t do that! Read it like you’re about to watch The Expendables, with very low expectations, so when you see the explosions your brain says, oooh, pretty! and when you see Bruce Willis you’re like, well, that’s pretty cool. And you leave the theater thinking how pleasantly surprised you were, except that Sylvester Stallone is obviously going to be in an action hero retirement home in the very near future."

Ah yes. We all go a little mad sometimes. In other news, I’m having a blast doing guest blog posts. This past week I was at Chick Loves Lit for her Blogoversary and did a Vampire Throwdown in which Edward Cullen faced off with Lestat de Lioncourt. Voting is close. Next month Throwdown #2 will go up at Good Books and Good Wine, in which werewolves Jacob Black and Michael Jackson from Thriller do battle. I’m also working on a Three-Way with Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer) and Katie from Sophistikatied Reviews. And since this turned into a linkstorm, what the hell, I’m posting a link to the first review I’ve seen of Anna Dressed in Blood: at Oops!…Wrong Cookie. I love that title. and I’m psyched that the reviewer is a YA librarian!

Pretty maids all in a row…ARCS!!!

There are a few particularly nice milestones on the road to publication. Seeing the book in an early finished form is definitely one of them. At about 3pm, the UPS guy knocked at the door and said he had a present for me. Did he really know what he was bringing, or did my creepily excited face tip him off? Anyway, I opened the box to see these:

All the digital cameras in the house are dead, so I had to use the webcam. Things got weird and wrestly for a few minutes. But there they are. Shiny and new. And so much detail on Anna’s dress, and all the red on the back cover, which I didn’t take a picture of, because I thought I was going to break my computer setting up another shot.

Piano riff…WOO! Piano Riff…WOO! (Anna Dressed in Blood Cover Art)

If you’ve seen the "Three Kings" episode of Family Guy where they spoof Stand By Me, you’ll know what that title is about. If you haven’t, watch it. I died. Hilarious. But the elation has a reason. Anna’s got cover art!

I just opened my email and there it was, a lovely gift from the awesome editor Mel Frain and the Tor art folks. Mostly I think, a guy named Seth. I’m biased, but I think everyone involved with the cover is insane with talent. It’s so nice to see Anna, finally, looking so…dead. And pretty! I know the red flecks are probably supposed to depict rose petals, but I like to pretend they’re bits of her victims. Ah yes, it warms the cockles. Unless I don’t have cockles. What the heck are cockles, anyway?

Let’s Cut the Chit Chat, A-hole! (To profane or not to profane)

No, I’m not calling any of you a-holes. That’s a line from Nic Cage in The Rock, and one of the only lines I can remember that uses a swear-word substitute and is better off for it. Today, I’m considering swear words. Most notably, the f and s words, because apparently, manuscripts which contain those are not eligible for certain book clubs. So, decisions. Take them out, or leave them in? This question came up also with Sleepwalk Society, where the publisher scaled back the profanity. I gritted my teeth a little, but ultimately, enough of the natural language was left in that it didn’t hurt the book. However, what we’re finding now is that parents still aren’t going to jump on the Sleepwalk Society bandwagon, because of the sex and drug treatment.

So what to do with Anna Dressed in Blood? To be eligible for the aforementioned book clubs, all of the f and s words need to be cut. Or changed to "shoot" and "frick". No thank you. After sitting here for several minutes, I’m going to leave them in. I don’t think they’re gratuitous, or that any of my characters could be construed as a "potty mouth". And let’s not forget that the book is loaded with witchcraft and gore, so it will probably rub censors the wrong way anyhow.

Plus, Cas is still talking to me in Book 2, and I don’t want to institute the swear word jar and make him drop a quarter in every time he wants me to type it.

I’m curious about how other writers feel regarding profanity. Anybody got a project with questionable language? Anybody run up against objections? Why not leave some fuckin comments in the fuckin comments section. (See, now that was gratuitous.)

Do…Re….Egon! (Sequel time! What makes a killer sequel?)

Damn, Egon was a dork. But on a sidenote, I think I went to college with Harold Ramis’ daughter. On another sidenote, what is it with the Ghostbusters movies making Bill Murray seem like a sex machine? Get on the scene! With the Bill Murray Sex Machine! No, no, no. Is Bill Murray strangely attractive? Charismatic, yes. I’ll even give you charming. And then I draw the line. The very firm line. If anyone wants to weigh in on this, I’d be interested.

The reason the quote today is from Ghostbusters II, is because Ghostbusters II is a sequel. And this post is about sequels. Why? Because it is October. And October is the month when I am going to begin writing the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. And though I love to procrastinate, (like Ellen Degeneres says, “Don’t wait. Procrastinate now.”) I must not. Because when people hesitate regarding Anna, Anna haunt’s people’s nightmares. Fun little agent and editor story there. I’ll tell you sometime. It hasn’t happened to me, yet, and I don’t intend to let it. But in the spirit of Ellen Degeneres, let’s think a little bit about what makes a great sequel.

1. A sequel must be bigger, badder, better! It must make Hollywood types MUAHAHA and squeeze their lowballs until they shatter. But what does this mean?

A. Everything that was great about the first one, has to be carried over into the sequel. So if it had a great voice, great dynamics between this or that character, and tense conversations in dark rooms, the sequel should have that too. Only they should be greater! Tenser! Dynamic..ier.

B. The stakes must go up. Danger must become DANGER and passion must become Passion…with angst? Or PASSION…with doubt? Everything the hero fought to save or keep the first time around is once again in jeopardy. Only this time, maybe they really will lose it.

C. Go darker. The first book led readers into the world by the hand. Showed them what an interesting place it was, and tugged them away from any uncomfortable nastiness. Now it’s time to shove them, pull the rug out from under their feet, and leave them in the dark screaming, “Why, god?!! WHY?!!” But be careful. This is a love it hate it thing. When Harry Potter went all dark, I was interested. And yet part of me also felt that the magic was gone, and Harry and I shouldn’t see each other anymore.

D. Descriptions must be amped up. More elaborate and detailed. Backstory should be well-woven, and more revealed.

2. Character love.

A. Popular characters could make cameos. They do this more often in movies than books. But whatever. I think it works.

B. New characters. To love or hate. Or both. Not that these characters should just randomly replace the first characters. Like in the Karate Kid, where every  time Daniel gets a girlfriend, she magically disappears in the first five minutes of the next movie. “How was the prom?” Mr. Miyagi asks. “Fine,” Daniel-san says. “Until Allie told me she was in love with a football player from UCLA.” And then in part three: “When is Kumiko coming?” Mrs. Laruso asks. “Oh, she’s not,” Daniel-san says. “She got a scholarship to a dance school in Tokyo.”

What the hell was wrong with that kid? Why would no one love him?!

C. Old characters should evolve. But not change completely! More of the same, but better, as they say. After the first book, characters should be your friends. By the end of the second, they should be your fricken BFFs, and you will stand by them until the end of the series.

So, there you go. Most of these “rules” are tongue-in-cheek of course. But there is a lot to consider in a sequel. And while everybody loves series these days, beautiful, cash cows that they are, sometimes, a story just doesn’t suit it. Case in point: The sequels to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. Did she write Mists while under a trance? Or were the rest of them written by goats? Seriously. Not that I don’t own all of them.

Next time: To cliff-hang or not to cliff-hang?