Pride and Prejudice and ZOMBIES!

Okay, it’s not a zombie apocalypse tip. It’s OMG a movie based on the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

THE REMIX of the classic Jane Austen novel, by Seth Grahame-Smith.


Here’s the scoop on the movie, with director Craig Gillespie (Fright Night remake dude).

If you haven’t read this remix of the classic Austen novel, give it a whirl. It’s delightfully twisted, silly, macabre, fun, and kick-ass. You’ll see what I mean by that if you read it. OR you can even read it in graphic novel!

Anyway, this movie venture thingie could be a lot of fun. Victorian zombies. Awesome. So…I don’t know. Dare I say steampunkish, maybe?

Happy reading, happy writing!

Super cool writing conference

Hey, kids–just some reminders and/or tips for those of you who write or just like to follow writing/writers and find out what the haps are on the various scenes.

Here’s one:

If you are so amazingly fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest, NorWestCon is happening this weekend. That’s the premier sci-fi and fantasy conference up there, and this year the guest of honor is Patricia McKillup, winner of the World Fantasy Award. Also on the docket? Jim Butcher (urban fantasy/paranormal) and Shannon Butcher, who writes romantic suspense and paranormal. Workshops, authors, cool stuff.

Stuff like the Fannish Fetish Fashion show! Costumes galore. How could you NOT want to see this?

Or how about the Paranormal Fair? OMG. The Washington State Paranormal Investigations and Research team will be on hand. Plus, tarot, psychics, and shamanism researchers. Something for everyone.

Here’s yer program grid.

I would LOVE to catch this conference, but sadly, it’s out of the realm of possibility this year. Regardless, if you can go, give it a look!

Happy reading, happy writing, happy conferencing!

I love coffee

And writing can help you love it more and even sell it!

Hiya, readers. As some of you know, I’m a coffee nut. I like dark, rich, smoky brews, and when I was living in a tiny town on Colorado’s Western Slope, I found this organo-nature-woo woo food store that carried a variety of coffees from a variety of independent roasting companies. One of those was Raven’s Brew, based in Alaska (but now with a roasting base in Washington state).

Anyway, I discovered “Deadman’s Reach” blend, which is a seriously dark, roasty, smoky blend that Raven’s Brew created that gets the dead up and walking, friends. Look:

How can you NOT want to grind some of these beans right up and brew yourself a cup RIGHT NOW?

But the reason I bring all this up is not necessarily to get you to buy some of the fab coffee from Raven’s Brew (though please, do so if you are so inclined), but to direct your attention to a novelette — a murder mystery — written in honor of Deadman’s Reach coffee. Here’s the first little bit of it:

Chapter One
No More For Me, I’m Dead
“I never thought death would be like this,” Allen thought to himself as he swung his feet out of his body. “It’s like watching a cheap TV with bad reception, only I can still smell the coffee.”

The rain fell like dried beans on his tin roof as it had done in life, and the mold grew in roach-like splotches on the grout around his bathtub as it always had. He was lying on his back in the tub and the slick sliver of green hand soap was safely cupped in its scummy chrome holder. The ring of chalky grime on the porcelain surface was the same as it ever was.

“Man…,” he thought, “I’ve got to clean this place up.”

It was then he noticed that he was standing next to his body looking down at himself and there was blood tracked across the floor. “But first I’ve got to have a cup of that coffee. I’m sure it will make things look better.”

Clever, that novelette. A cool little marketing tool that ended up being kind of fun, kind of macabre, and it involved a yummy coffee. I’m always on the lookout for stuff like that. Fun, quirky, and that ends with the convergence of things I like. So thanks, Raven’s Brew! And yes, I did just order some Deadman’s Reach.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy coffee!

Random Slot Canyon Slideshows

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Southwesterner born n’ bred, and some of my absolute fave landscapes are red rock canyon lands. If you read the first book in my NM series (hint: “Land of Entrapment”), see if you notice the slot canyon reference. I derive endless hours of inspiration from visiting canyon lands and from just looking at photos of them.

And that’s why I’m sharing some slideshows I found with you. Because there’s just not enough beauty going around the world at the moment, and I think there’s always time for a zen moment.


Slot canyons, Escalante River (UT) slideshow

Holeman Canyon, Canyonlands National Park (UT)

Static photos, Cottonwood Wash, Capitol Reef (CO)

Static photos, Buckskin Gulch, Paria River (UT)


Blogging the Alphabet…

Hi, kids!

I also blog over at Women and Words, a collective of women who write. This month, we’re doing this thing called “Blogging the Alphabet,” which means that each of us is assigned specific letters and we have to come up with a topic that starts with whatever letter we have for that day.

Today is the first of the month (DUH!), and I got the honor of starting us off with the letter A.

So head on over to see what (and who) I came up with for our inaugural “Blogging the Alphabet” postiness.

Thanks, and happy Friday!

Love them Smart Bitches n’ Trashy Books

I’m totally going to pimp one of the funniest freakin’ blogs I’ve come across. That’s Smart Bitches and Trashy Books, where the object of the game is to review and discuss romance novels, publishing, generalized awesome topics, snark at dickheads, and just flat out make me glad I’m not on their bad side. I was practically holding my sides at this review of a particular book that was so overburdened by metaphors and similes that the reviewer could not even finish the book.


The opening paragraph stopped me cold. Mostly because it is two sentences long, but oh, what sentences they are. Here is where I resolve never to use another metaphor or simile again, because clearly I don’t know what the hell I am doing.

Honey would sometimes think of Dusty, and it was like she twisted a dial and opened a steel door to a safe in her heart where she kept her grandest jewels—bittersweet memories, surrounded by a poignant moat. Some were vivid as fallen red bougainvillea petals, while others drifted by aimlessly, as vague and faded as old photographs in a dark flooded cellar.

I feel like I’m watching one of those informercials about educational programs guaranteed to improve your memory. Safe! Jewels! Poignant moat! Petals! Photographs! Flooded cellar! French drains! Homeowner’s Insurance! Flood Policy!

The awesome-ness continues from there. Check it out. And FOR SURE check out their “Greatest Hits.” It will leave you achy with TEH LAUGH.

Sunday Readin’ Tip

So I don’t always post info about books I read that I think are groovy. I also read a lot of magazines, and when I come across an article I think is cool/provocative, I’ll post a link to it. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now!

Here’s a link to Henry Shukman’s “Chernobyl: My Primeval, Teeming, Irradiated Eden,” published in the March, 2011 edition of Outside Magazine.

Here’s the intro:

Twenty-five years after the Soviet-era meltdown drove 60,000 people from their homes in the Ukraine, a rebirth is taking place inside the exclusion zone. With Geiger counter in hand, the author explores Europe’s strangest wildlife refuge, an enchanted postapocalyptic forest from which entirely new species may soon emerge.

This is a fascinating journey through an area that nature is slowly reclaiming, but we still don’t know the price we’ve paid for that. Shukman’s narrative style sucks you right into the story and his descriptions are superb. He really captures the weird vibe that this off-limits area exudes, and the questions that linger about it. For those of us who remember the meltdown, it’s a reminder about the impact it still has, and what could ultimately come of it. Give it a read, and see what kinds of comments it generated.

Win a copy of a cool book!

Hey, aspiring/perspiring writers of lesfic. I’m having a little groovy contest over at Women and Words to win a copy of Lavender Ink: Writing and Selling Lesbian Fiction, ed. by Fran Walker. It’ll walk you through writing tips, putting together a query packet for a publisher, and the contracting process:

  • how to create vivid characters and realistic dialogue
  • what an editor looks for in a well-crafted story
  • tips on researching publishers of lesbian fiction
  • how to work with an editor
  • how to write query letters and synopses
  • how the publishing industry works
  • how to read a book contract clause by clause
  • marketing strategies for your book

(full disclosure–I have a chapter in here)

So come on down to Women and Words and play in the contest to win yourself a copy!

Intriguing writing tip: how police reports teach narrative voice

Hey, all–

I’m a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and they put out this fab publication called Writer’s Chronicle. I bring this up because in a recent issue, there was a super-cool essay about how police reports can help earn the craft of writing. The piece is called “Inflection and the Narrative Voice: the LAPD Teaches Creative Writing,” written by fiction writer Ellen Collett.

I write crime fiction — specifically the books in my New Mexico series that star Albuquerque homicide detective Chris Gutierrez (State of Denial and the forthcoming 4th book, whose title is secret at the moment) — so Collett’s article was like an interrogation lamp shining on an aspect of craft I hadn’t considered.

For more info on the article, go to this short piece at Utne Mag. At the bottom there you’ll find a link to “Inflection and the Narrative Voice.” It’s a .pdf that Utne’s posting. Otherwise, you can’t really access the piece readily because you need to be a member of AWP to access certain materials from the magazine, like this piece.

Quote from the Utne piece:

But let me back up: Ellen’s essay—and an essay it is—reveals what she’s learned in her day job in crime analysis at the LAPD. Monday through Friday, Ellen reads incident reports, required of every officer for every event to which he responds. “Surprisingly,” she writes in both versions of her piece, “writing is the one constant in a cop’s daily life.” Not only that, standards are high at the force. The LAPD prefers action verbs and insists that officers avoid modifiers, which Ellen explains are “slippery and subjective.” Adjectives are also out, unless they “pertain to direction, color, or amount.” But even within these constraints, some writers are more compelling than others; so it is, Ellen demonstrates, with Officer Martinez, because, though he conforms to the rules, his “choices are idiosyncratic.” Where his partner, Officer Brown, “offers a fact, Martinez paints a picture,” she writes, and she goes on to show us how.–Dinah Lenney

Anyway, I love stuff like this. New views on craft. Happy writing! (and reading)