October 31, 2012

RELEASE DAY, and a Giveaway!

Whew.

I never thought I'd say this...but it's RELEASE DAY! Also known as...my Book Birthday! 

You can buy it here!!  It'll be on Amazon and other ebook venues SOON! (I'll post those links as soon as I have them!)

Huzzah!!

Before I started this post, I figured (good software tester that I am) I should make sure the files show up as planned when someone purchases them...so....I bought my own book!! Ha!!

Want to see what it looks like on my Kindle? 

I thought you might.  :)

Isn't it pretty???

(Charles is going to fuss at me for not cropping the picture....sorry about that, honey!)

SO. 

Since I went ahead and bought my own book...that means I have extra files.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Yes, to celebrate today, I'm going to give away my own copy of Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights to YOU!!!  (Well, one of you....)

I have formats for all e-readers (including phone and computer apps), so...here are the rules.


  1. Like my Facebook page  (if you already have, that's fine - you can still enter) and/or post/tweet about Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights
  2. Let me know you did, by posting a comment to this post.  Include your email, please, if I don't already have it, or some way to contact you in case you win.
  3. On Friday (trying to give my NJ/NY friends time to get their power back), after 8 p.m. EST I'll put all the commenter names into a hat and let Zombie Zoe (pics to come) pick a winner!
  4. I'll email you (or contact you), you tell me the file type you need, and I'll send it to you so you have some cool weekend reading!
Sound fun?  Ok, ready....set....GO!!

***

And, to hopefully whet your appetite, here's what the book's all about:

Millions died when the zombie plague swept the country. For the survivors, the journey has just begun.



Jenna, Sam, and Lola are still alive. Jenna avoids human contact, traveling East Coast backroads with her boyfriend, a dog named Chicken, and a Louisville Slugger. Sam escapes to the mountains, where he’s conscripted into a zombie-slaying militia sent on nightly raids to kill the undead…and innocent civilians. Lola’s imprisoned in the “safety” of a zombie-free New Orleans hotel, but life grows more dangerous when her brother gets bitten by a zombie.

Jenna arrives in the French Quarter, lured by the false promises of New Orleans’ drunken leader. There, she’s ripped away from her boyfriend, drugged, and dumped in a death camp after refusing Franklin’s sexual advances. Jenna and Lola’s lives collide there, where the dead live and the dying are victims of gruesome medical experiments. 

Escape isn’t easy: release the genetically-enhanced zombies from the lab to create a diversion, slip away, and don’t get eaten. When Sam arrives, will he join the right side of the battle? 

October 29, 2012

Tonight We Drink

This is a weird week.

As I type, many of my loved ones (friends, family, you name it) are getting pounded by Hurricane Sandy as she spreads her wrath across the coast of New Jersey and the boroughs of New York City.

That is my first home. I've seen pictures of stores in my hometown already knee-deep in water, before the storm has even washed ashore. Some of my closest girlfriends are in their houses and apartments, hunkered down in basements and behind taped windows.

My beloved Manhattan is likely to see the worst flooding in recent history.

I can't believe it.

We're supposed to head up Friday morning to spend the weekend up there.  All of us: Charles, Zoe and me.  We are supposed to stay with my best friend (better described as my sister, since I don't remember life without her). This weekend is supposed to include Zoe's first trip to New York.  Her first time on a train. Her first visit to the Museum of Natural History and FAO Schwartz.

Doesn't look likely right now, does it?

Right now, I only hope my friends and loved ones come through this storm unharmed. I'm so worried and sad I could scream.

****

As I type, Zoe is learning to read.

She's sounding out words. Matching the words to pictures. Reading little books that Charles bought her yesterday at Barnes & Noble.

Right now, I'm so proud of her I can't stand it.

****

As I type, my publisher is putting the final touches on my first book.

On Wednesday it will be unleashed upon the world.

And I'm so full of questions and doubt.

Will people like it?


What if they hate it?



What if that makes them hate me?



Will anyone other than my friends and family even buy it?



I'm pretty sure this is normal, but right now, I'm so full of stress, I might explode.


****

I spent my weekend (in between carving pumpkins and hanging out with my brother and getting a new tattoo) doing some final editing/formatting myself. It was a race to the finish, and I had to push myself to keep going.

I was exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed.

I'm still exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed.

****

So tonight, let's drink. I'll have two glasses of wine, even though it's a school night. I'll enjoy them, and once I'm done with this post I will close my computer and watch a Food Network Halloween Challenge with Charles and Zoe and try to forget it all, if only for a little while.

So cheers, my friends. For those of you in Sandy's line of fire, who probably won't even see this post: I'm thinking of you. For everyone else: I hope you have a drink with me tonight, too.

October 27, 2012

The Book Trailer for Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights!



Speaks for itself, doesn't it? 

Which is good, since words cannot describe how much I love this video. The actors and filmmaker are incredible. I am so grateful.

The cast/crew:

Director/Videographer/Editor/General Awesome Dude: Charlie Thiel
Makeup: Carly Ridgeway
Jenna: Megan
Michael: Tripp
Zombies: Rodney Lee Rogers; me; Andy Soltis (my dad!!!); Sharon Garci; Michelle Mills; Sharon and Rodney's little girls and their friend; Carly Ridgeway
Creepy dude with sword: R. W. Smith
Craft services (i.e. bacon!): Kelly Thiel

Please, drop a comment here or at one of the many links over on Facebook to let Charlie know what you think. This video was a tremendous amount of fun to film, and I think it all came together....amazingly.

October 26, 2012

Author Interview: SB Knight

One of the best parts of working with MuseItUp Publishing (aside from fantastic editors and cover artists) has been getting to know some of my fellow muse writers.

SB Knight is one of them.

His first book, Born of Blood, released in March to a great response, and the paperback version is coming soon! 

His second, Drago's Revenge, the next book in The Blood Chronicles series, is coming out on Halloween, so we'll share a book birthday, and I expect his reader responses will be just as fabulous.

SB took a moment out of his increasingly busy schedule to answer some questions for my blog - he seems like a cool guy.  What do y'all think?

*****


LR: First, congrats on the release of your second novel, Drago’s Revenge, with MuseItUp Publishing! This is the second in the Blood Chronicles series, and also your second with Muse. How has publishing a book changed, now that you’ve already got one on the market? Is life a little busier these days?

SBK: Oh yes, life has been very busy as of late. I completed the galley for Drago’s Revenge about two weeks ago. I’ve also been scheduling a book blog tour while reviewing the galley for the Born of Blood paperback. Getting things ready to promote Drago’s Revenge has been time consuming but, so far, it has been a good time. I also continue to promote Born of Blood too.

LR: Can you tell us a little about the series? Something that isn’t in the descriptions on the web site?
 
SBK: All right, this question is going to make me think. I can tell you this, when you think you have it figured out…you don’t. No one is safe and the ending is never straight forward. There are characters you will love and some you will hate…there are some you will feel bad about liking so much.

LR: We’re both horror writers, and though I’m a zombie girl myself, I do happen to love vampires. For you, what pulled you into writing vampires?  Are yours classic (Dracula) or different (I Am Legend)?

SBK: To be honest, I’m a fan of Dark Fantasy and creatures that stalk the night. I believe it is from being a fan that I was drawn to write it. I have plans to write about many of the scary creatures such as werewolves, zombies, witches and warlocks…and more. Vampires were my first choice because I see vampires as the apex monsters. I also saw it as a challenge to write a unique, fresh, and entertaining vampire novel. My vampire is more classic with a unique twist.

LR: Have you been a compulsive writer your whole life? Or is writing a new thing for you?

SBK: I grew up reading comic books. I started reading fantasy novels as I got older. I didn’t start writing until about eight or so years ago. It was simple thoughts and poems. About six years ago I started writing novels.

LR: Are you an outliner, or a seat-of-your-pantser, when you’re rough-drafting?

SBK: When I first get an idea for a story I write down all of my thoughts as notes. They typically flow from my mind in a wave so I write fast. After that I research particular ideas and topics for more details. Once I start writing my novel it’s all seat of my pants. I let the story flow and enjoy the journey.

LR: I tend to think those of us who write horror have always been into the scary stuff. I know I was – the scarier, the better, when I was a kid.  How about you?  What scared you when you were little?  What movies/books really got under your skin?

SBK: Oh when I was young horror movies scared me real bad. My two brothers loved to scare me so I think that had something to do with it. I grew up in the 80s so I had the joy the watching Freddy, Jason, and Michael. Texas Chainsaw Massacre gave me nightmares. The two movies that really scared me were The Scarecrow and The Exorcist. To be honest, I didn’t like horror movies until I was late into my teenage years.

As for books, I would read the stories about haunted houses and the experiences of other with ghosts and things like that. I’ve read vampire novels and shorts as well. I read a lot of things but the one thing that sort of got to me was the account of the investigators after they stayed at the Amityville house. That was crazy.  

LR: When you were young, were there any literary characters you loved? On whom you maybe even had a book crush?

SBK: I will admit as I was reading Brooks, Feist, and Jordan I found myself thinking ‘man, these are ideal women.’ Yea, it’s crazy but those female characters were strong, courageous, and intelligent. They also loved and were soft when needed. Now, when I was much younger and in my teens I had my favorite comic book characters too.

LR: All time favorite book?

SBK: The Bible – a close second would be The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Sword of Shannara series.

LR: All time favorite movie?

SBK: The Lord of the Rings trilogy…possibly until The Hobbit movies comes out.

LR: Good versus evil – is it always clear-cut, or do you prefer characters with “grey areas,” where the line between the two is maybe blurred?

SBK: I like to mix them. I have characters that are good as gold and I have characters that are nothing short of evil through and through. I also mix in characters that fit in that grey area of being both good and evil. I like the dynamic they bring to a story. All of these characters can be main characters or secondary, it all depends on the story.

LR: Is there an interview question you’ve always wanted to answer, but have never been asked? If so, feel free to ask yourself and answer it here! 

SBK: Oh my…I’ve been asked a lot of questions. I think just about all of them have been covered. I do get asked questions from time to time and think ‘wow, that is a good question.’ I see all questions as unique but some just catch you off guard.

****
SB Knight has seen his poetry and short stories published in both books and magazines. Now, with the publishing of his first novel he has achieved a goal and dream set many years ago. Currently he is working on the second novel for the Blood Chronicles series.

SB Knight is the creator of ‘The New Author;’ a blog that starter as a learning tool but has since grown into a community of friends and peers. He is also co-owner of Premium Promotional Services where authors can find the help they need to promote their book on the Internet.

When not writing he can be found outside hiking, fishing or in the garden. He resides in West Virginia with his wife and son.


Web Site     Blog    Facebook    Twitter

October 21, 2012

Undead America: Updates

Happy Sunday night, everyone!

I have some updates to make about the book and events and all kinds of craziness.

I have to say...I am overwhelmed right now.

But....overwhelmed in the most amazing, happiest way possible. My friends and family (and strangers, too!) have been SO supportive of me and the book and it's really been incredible. I posted a link to where it will live on my publisher's web site, and had a BUNCH of people share on Facebook - thank you all!! And the number of likes and reads and blog hits....it's insane!! I appreciate it so much!

I have a lot going on, book-wise.  Things to capture here, on the blog, include:

1. Release date: October 31, 2012!!!!!!!!!!! The main thing I know about that date is...I took the day off from work. I plan to go for a LONG run that morning (training for a half-marathon in December and if I can do 11 or 12 miles I'll be SO HAPPY) and then I will park my butt in front of the computer for the day.  It will be fun...and not at all stressful, I swear.  (The reality is I'll probably clean my house from top to bottom while I attempt to NOT look at the listing of my FIRSTBOOKOHMIGOSHICANTBELIEVEIT!!!)

2. It will initially be sold here, with Amazon and other links to follow. It is an e-book only, so get your Kindles, Nooks, phones, and computers ready! (FYI: you don't need a Kindle or Nook to read an e-book - there are all kinds of free apps for phones and computers of all shapes and sizes!)

3. I will be running the rUNdead 5k this coming Saturday. We did not get shirts, but we will hopefully have postcards to pass out with info about Undead America. My big brother and several good friends will also be running for their lives with me...and I am not above tossing them to the zombies. Hopefully, though, we'll all survive long enough to go out for some drinks afterwards.

4. My 4-year-old would like to come to the race. She wants to wear zombie-make-up. I think her logic is along the lines of, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," but it could also be "make-up is super cool in all forms." That said, since she's currently refusing to go to sleep because she had a "scary thought" in which a witch was in our (non-existant) basement, stealing our carpet...a zombie race might not be the best environment for her right now.

5. The inexhaustible Charlie Thiel is hard at work on our book trailer - I will share links when it's available. I can't wait to see how it turns out! (Award-winning, I'm sure!)

6. I created a book page on Facebook - if you are so inclined, please go there and give it a "like." I hear that's a good thing... 

7. I'm sure there are other things. My to-do list keeps growing instead of shrinking, and I swear...are they days getting shorter? What the heck?

8. I never posted my "Happy Zombies" photo of my dad and me.  Enjoy.

Life is crazed, but it's ALL GOOD and I'm excited and I have the most beautiful cover and the edits to my book have been great and seriously - this is so much fun I can't even begin to describe it!

Have a great week, if I don't talk to you before the next one!

October 17, 2012

Undead America: Cover Art

Hello, friends.

It's with GREAT excitement that I get to share with you the cover art for my first book!  As a good friend of mine likes to say....Hooooo-zah!!!


Isn't it pretty???? Feel free to leave a comment to tell me what you think!

Some quick details:

Cover art is by Marion Sipe. She does amazing work - check out her site when you have a sec.

This is an ebook only for now, and the planned release date is October 31, 2012. Yep, that's right. My zombie tale should hit the e-shelves on Halloween! Once I have links to where it'll live online (my publisher's web site, Amazon, B&N, and all the other usual suspects), I'll add it all to the page here to my web site.

And life will all be happy and good.

Now....back to my final edits....hope you have a lovely evening!

October 14, 2012

The making of a book trailer: live blog

Final Update - 8:00 p.m.

I'm exhausted. I'd have posted sooner, but as soon as we were done filming I went right back to being a mom, instead of a zombie mom. I hadn't seen Zoe all day, and there were dogs who needed attention, cars to be played with, and action figures to be dressed.  Also, pizza and salad to be eaten...mmm...pizza.

I've had a pretty amazing time, being a zombie. My throat is sore from all the hissing and growling. I'm not exactly an award winning actor, mind you, but I think I did ok.

The other members of our cast were pretty incredible. My zombie husband could out-growl any of those zombies on The Walking Dead (which premiers tonight!!!!! can't wait!!!). There were three small zombie-girls who did amazing things...once they stopped giggling. Our makeup artist zombiefied herself at the end, and I think the footage of her gnawing on my father's arm in the final scene is...priceless.

Oh - and the kids playing Jenna and Michael, two of my main characters? Perfect. It was so great to see them come to life.

Seriously, so many people gave up their Sunday to work on the trailer for my little book - it's hard to believe.

Charlie, our producer/director/cinematographer. Holy cow, how am I ever going to thank him? This was all HIS IDEA! I always figured...book trailer? Meh. Nice to have, but I thought I'd have to do without one. Now I'm going to have an amazingly bloody, zombie-filled one. Incredible.

His wife, Kelly, who fed us all and gave up her house to mass chaos for two full days. Wow.

My Charles. He took TONS of photos - expect an album to be posted soon - and was an all-around assistant and cheerleader for the full day. He was there in the woods with us, in the kitchen, at my parents' house when we did a shot with ALL the zombies. Seriously, he was great.

And finally. But so not finally. There was my dad. Who taught me to love horror by showing me Frankenstein and Dracula when I was so small I internalized the imagery and ideas. Who was so excited to come be a zombie today that I asked for him to play the part of "Zombie Getting Whacked By Louisville Slugger," even though I wasn't sure how he'd handle the role. And who...apparently...SHOULD have been an actor in this life of ours. Who knew? Dude. To see one's 50-something-year-old father flopping to the ground with RECKLESS ABANDON while made up to look like a zombie? It's sort of a crazy thing. But an AMAZING crazy thing. And I think, by being zombies in this little production together, we both checked off a big item from our lifetime checklist. Being in this trailer with him was maybe the best part about it...but don't tell him that....we don't want him to get a big head or know that I think he's great, ok?

Here's a pic of us as zombies, looking scary. There's one of us smiling, too.  I'll post that one later.


Does it get any cooler than that?

It was a great day. I'm so thankful for the friends I have, the friends I made, and for my amazing family.

Thanks, y'all!!!

2:07 p.m.

Just did some crazy shots in the woods.

Horror writers should NOT be afraid of things...but I am TERRIFIED of ticks.

I swear, if there's a tick on me, there will be tears.

My face is getting itchy, and I'm ready to wash it. But there's still one more scene to film. On to my parents' house to get some residential shots!!

And seriously - this has been a crazy fun day.


12:35 p.m.

We're done filming my zombie mom scenes. I think I have a sore throat from all the snarling.

Another thing I've learned: I might be too silly to be a good zombie.

I'm staying in my makeup so I can be a zombie again later...and now my dad's getting into makeup for his big scene. This is fabulous.

Oh - and fake blood down the shirt? A rather unpleasant sensation.

11:15 a.m.

I'm sitting on a chair, blogging. Trying not to get fake blood everywhere, because that would just be rude.

Charlie's daughter is a little afraid of me, but not overly so. Gah! If Zoe were here, she'd be running for the hills.

It took about 25 minutes to get me made-up, but I think we have some final touches. Fake blood tastes pretty nasty, and it's slimy, but here's the semi-finished product. I look unwell.


First Update - 7:28 a.m.

It's early and, thanks to some loud neighbors and a coughing child, I'm already sleeeeeeepy. But today is going to be so amazing, I'm still bouncy.

We have scones to eat, thanks to my friend Meredith, who will be with us in spirit today. I got some great Facebook and Twitter comments regarding my post about filming today. And apparently I need to convince Charlie to incorporate PIE into the footage. Hmm....we'll have to see about that one.

Time to make the kiddo some breakfast and get us all showered and dressed for the BIG DAY!

About Today

Today's a big day.

Today's the day we film my first ever book trailer!

We're forgoing subtle on this one; we're going straight for the blood, guts and gore of a straight-up zombie flick, and it's going to be fabulous.

I plan to blog throughout the day, and thought I'd start with some logistics.

  • First, this trailer is only possible thanks to the kindness of friends. It's being filmed by the fantabulous Charlie Thiel - check out his photography site when you have a sec (Incidentally, his wife's also an artist, and is also amazing. Look at her sculptures, too!). The cast/crew is mostly made of actors from the PURE Theater of Charleston. They're an awesome crew - go see their plays if you're local!
  • We'll be starting early - 10:00 a.m. I'm going to be the Zombie Mom...my father is going to be a zombie extra. I think we're both fulfilling a lifelong dream of being in a horror movie together, and I can't wait to take some pictures! Look for some later.
  • My fantastic husband Charles, also a writer/blogger/photographer in his own right, will be photographing the day.
  • We'll film in and around Johns Island and Folly Beach, South Carolina. Around here, there's woods...beach...swamp. It's beautiful.
  • My mom is keeping Zoe for the day. Thank goodness for moms. Charles and I are lucky in that both our moms are here and always willing to lend a hand.
  • Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights is currently set to release on Halloween! October 31, 2012. I received my first draft of cover art yesterday - it's amazing. I can't wait to show you!

October 9, 2012

The best prize ever

Have I mentioned I like to do things on whims?

Get a tattoo? Sure.  Dye my hair or chop it all off? No problem.

It's an urge I've had to FIGHT daily since I began my writer's journey.

"Hey I wrote this won't you read it?"

"Really! It's good this time, I promise!"

"Ohmigosh, I just wrote the funnest thing ever!"  [please note: spell-check does NOT disagree with the existence of the word "funnest."]

The thing is, usually when you (I) make people read something you've (I've) just written, it's awful!

But then, sometimes something spectacular can come out of it.

A few months ago, my friend Andrea emailed me a link to a short story challenge. Run on a site called LitReactor, it asked for short stories with a horrific-side.

It just so happened I'd been working on a story that almost fit the requirements a mere three days before. It was by no means finished, and I needed to add a couple more details, but I figured: why not?

I completed a draft that night and uploaded it immediately. I never let anyone else read it, before I sent it out into the world for complete strangers to view and, potentially, rip apart.

The weird thing? They...didn't.  Rip it apart, I mean. It was a cool, workshop-y contest, in which readers and writers had full access to view and comment on one another's stories. I got a bunch of comments, some with suggestions, but all were...positive. Reasonable. FRIENDLY and FUN and EXCITING.

I read a bunch of other stories, and commented on them as well. It was awesome. People had great feedback on ALL the stories, and honestly, that was enough of a reward. I was GLAD I'd posted my story on a whim.

Especially because...the people on LitReactor? They're cool! It's a great little community and networking tool, and I made some friends through the contest. It was one of the best experiences I've had as a writer thus far. It was enough.

And then....

Well, I somehow wound up one of the top three stories in the challenge. Seriously, I almost cried when I found out. I've never won any sort of writing award, and I surely didn't expect to win anything among such great company.

And then...

I found out the top three stories (mine included) would receive feedback from the one and only Chuck Palahniuk, esteemed for novels like Choke and Fight Club.

Yeah. I almost passed out.

Well, I got my feedback from him today and...well....even though he, like all the others, offered me some rather brilliant suggestions...the overall vibe...was....

....the best prize I could ever hope to win.

If you like, go check it out. Let me know what you think! Or drop a comment and tell me the best prize you've ever accidentally won. I'd love to hear about it!

October 7, 2012

Crazy dream week

I have no idea what I dreamed about last night.

I only know I woke up sweaty, a little nervous, and completely confused.

I expect this to continue this week.  Here's why:

1. I'm reading more steampunk - Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson, in fact - the precursor to the novella I read last week. I'm immersed in a world of corsets and petticoats, bludmen and bludbunnies.  The imagery is so strong, it sticks with me throughout the day and night, and sometimes I look down, expecting to see long, flowing skirts instead of my usual yoga pants.

2. Charles and I saw the play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chat Diety, last night. Some friends of ours were in it, at the PURE Theater here in Charleston, and it was amazing. Seriously. I'd never heard of it...but now I have, and so have you. You should read it.  Anyway, though, it was about wrestlers, and involved lots of half-naked men throwing each other about, less than ten feet away from me. NOT what I'd call a typical Saturday night's imagery.

3. After the play, we had a long chat with a friend who is going to film a book trailer for my forthcoming novel, Undead America: Volume 1.  There will be zombies...and blood...and more zombies...and a chase sequence.  It's going to be a blast to film, and I get to be a zombie...yes, you read that right. It's going to be fun...and disconcerting...and crazy...and did I mention fun??

4. Holy hell, we watched the trailer for Sinister last night, and it looks utterly terrifying. Like, images burned into my sorry brain, terrifying. I don't think I'll NOT dream about it anytime soon.

5. I've been editing again, on a book I thought I'd put to bed until some well-timed beta-reader suggestions convinced me otherwise. This is a story about a girl who's transformed into a monster by a network of crazy megalomaniacs. (Oversimplification alert!! Oversimplification alert!!) I talk a lot about the smell of this half-rotten girl, and I swear...I can smell it. *shudders*

6. I've had to put two other projects on the back burner while I finish up #5. One's a dark adventure story for kids, involving monsters and the New York City subway system...the other's more of an epic sci-fi, with aliens, other worlds, and a planet with purple skies.  I've accepted that I cannot write these stories right now like I want to so badly (nor can I write them simultaneously AFTER I finish editing), but that doesn't mean I'm not still planning them...thinking about them....sketching pictures of the characters in my head...dreaming up bigger and badder monsters....  It never ends.

So. Yeah. Lots of conflicting and confusing images pouring into my brain this week. I expect a lot of crazy dreams and weird, half-hearted conversations in which I trail off in the middle and just ramble.....

October 1, 2012

Author Interview: Delilah S. Dawson


I'm not sure who it was on Twitter that first said the name Delilah S. Dawson in a way that made me take notice. But I remember what that person said: She's funny. Follow her if you like to laugh.

So I did, because I like to follow writers who make me laugh. 

Since then, I've found her tweets entertaining and engaging, but I never branched out and actually read her book because...Steampunk? What the hell is Steampunk?

The Mysterious Madam Morpho
Delilah S. Dawson
October 12, 2012
131 pages
Pocket Books


Then I heard she has a new novella coming out, The Mysterious Madam Morpho.  It releases tomorrow, October 2, via Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster). I figured a novella was a great place to start (it being a shorter commitment).  So I reached out to Delilah, got a link to the review copy, and a promise of an interview...

Three hours later, I'd already finished the novella.

And I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Steampunk is (at least from what I glean from Delilah's world): a mash-up of fantasy, period-fiction, a little bit of sci-fi, a lot of romance, and some of the best clothes you can imagine. Corsets! Long skirts! Boots! Capes and coats! It's gorgeous. It's visual. It's rich.

It's...dare I say it on the blog my father reads?

I dare.

It's sexy.

Add to that a group of characters caught up in a pseudo-Victorian-world of misogyny, advanced metallurgy...and  a who lot of blood-thirsty creatures?

Yeah. I dug it.

The Mysterious Madam Morpho was a lot of fun, and I, for one, am now a Steampunk Fan. New genre, here I come!

****

I also had the chance for a brief chat with Delilah about the book, her writing life, and anything else that came up.  I dare you to read this, and not want to be friends with her.

LR: First question: Steampunk. Your novella, The Mysterious Madam Morpho marks my first foray into the world of steampunk, and I have to say: consider me a new fan of the genre.  It’s such a fun combination of the real, the fantastical, and the awesome clothes.  But that’s just what I like.  What first drew you to the genre?

DD: I guess what drew me to steampunk is a combination of beauty, rebellion, and imagination. In steampunk, anything is possible, from fantastic inventions to high adventure and strange twists on history. I especially love the fashion, dressing up in corsets, hats, and lots of accessories. But once I was in, I found the warm and welcoming community of fellow steampunks to be an amazing bonus.

LR: Madam Morpho is a young woman who enters the carnival world of Criminy Stain, who was a main focus of your first book, Wicked As They Come.  What made you decide to focus on Imogen Morpho for your first series novella?

DD: Pocket requested an e-novella set in Sang but following a new romantic couple. I wanted to start on familiar ground for people who had already read Wicked as They Come, so I brought a new act to Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan. While researching old-fashioned circus acts, I was charmed by the concept of a flea circus and wanted to make it more lovable and splashy—hence the butterflies. Magic and intrigue had to follow!

LR: I’m a huge fan of all the classic horror movie beasts: vampires, zombies, werewolves, you name it.  In your world, Sang, vampires exist, but they’re a morphed version.  They live almost hand-in-hand with "Pinkies" (normal people), although the animal versions (bludbunnies and bludbadgers being my clear favorites) are perhaps a little more vicious.  It’s a great twist on a classic genre – did you set out to write a classic vampire tale, or did you always envision this other version of them?

DD: Wicked as They Come sprung from a dream—to be exact, the scene where a naked Tish wakes up in Sang and meets Criminy. I knew right off the bat that Criminy was a blood drinker, but I wanted him to be a regular guy, not some magical monster. And that’s where Bludmen came from—trying to figure out how a Victorian-type society would function when many of the people lived on blood. He has some superior attributes, but he himself laughs at the idea that he might be dead.

LR: I loved the little twists comparing Sang to our world…book mentions like Olivia Twist made me giggle.   There are actually lots of humorous bits throughout the novella, and your tweets and blog posts regularly make me laugh.  But my question is: you’re clearly pretty funny, but who’s the funniest person that you know?

DD: Aw, thank you! And whoa, that’s a tough question! If Twitter were a person, I would go with that. I have a crew of high school friends I only get to see about once a year, and we laugh so hard my ribs hurt. My husband knows my sense of humor and can really get me cracking up. And my three-year-old son says hilarious things. He wants to grow up and be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

LR: What has been your favorite part of being a published author thus far?  And…the least favorite?

DD: My favorite part is connecting with people. I’ve made some amazing friends in the publishing world, from authors to readers to people I meet at cons to people on Twitter. And I have a long list of books on my TBR pile, thanks to knowing people with great taste. I also really loved digging into the cake at my launch party last March.

The least favorite part is the criticism, of course. No manuscript is perfect, and it’s really hard to suck it up and accept advice and rework a book you thought was awesome. But my agent, editor, and beta readers have improved my writing significantly, and I’m grateful for that—even if they occasionally make me cry into my cupcakes.

LR: As a writer, are you an outliner, or a seat-of-your-pantser? 

DD: A combination. :) I mull over the book for a long time before I actually start writing and do most of my outlining in my head, developing the story and characters and defining the major plot points. I *always* know how it’s going to end. Once I know exactly where and how to start, I begin writing, and it’s mostly seat-of-my-pants between the mile markers. Books 2 and 3 in the Blud series required outlines first, so I had a much better idea where I was going, along with early editorial input.

LR: All time favorite book?

DD: Watership Down, probably. I snuck it (SNUCK IS A WORD, I SWEAR) out of the library in 2nd grade and never looked back. I’ve also read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander at least six times. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I once did to reread old favorites. Anything by Tom Robbins or Douglas Adams ranks high, too.

LR: All time favorite movie?

DD: I could not even begin to name one! There are some movies that I rewatch over and over again, constantly, like Mallrats or Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Empire Records or Pride & Prejudice or Clueless or Penelope or Real Genius. And then there are movies that are stylish and beautiful and really strike me, like The Piano or Brotherhood of the Wolf or Sleepy Hollow or Moulin Rouge. And then there are horrible things like Queen of the Damned and Starship Troopers that I can’t admit publicly. And I seriously love all the recent superhero movies. I’m biiig into movies, but not the critically acclaimed sort.

LR: All time favorite song?

DD: Lovecats, Like Cockatoos, Just Like Heaven, Six Different Ways, Plainsong—whichever one it is, it’s by The Cure.

LR: And…because you’re also an artist…all time favorite painter/sculptor/other medium-ist?

DD: I’m into Alphonse Mucha right now. I once saw a painting of a goat in Picasso’s studio in Antibes that changed my life. And I touched my favorite Monet once, just so I could share some atoms with him. We’re metaphysically one, now.

LR: And finally…is there any particular question you haven’t been asked in an interview that you really wish someone would just ask you already?   If so, feel free to answer it here.

DD: Well, I’m mostly an open book, so anyone who wants to know *anything* can always @ me on Twitter. I’m @DelilahSDawson over there, and you can also get book news on my author Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/DelilahSDawson. Ask away!

Thanks so much for having me!

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No, Delilah. Thank you for stopping by! And best wishes with your release!!