‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the holiday season, huzzah-humbug. I’m not necessarily a Grinch. I like Christmas. I’m just not really excited about the compressed awkward family time.

My grandparents host a family Christmas a week before the 25th and as my cousins have gotten older the event has gotten a bit bigger as they bring their significant others. This year the only two singles in the family will be me, the oldest cousin, and my youngest cousin. That’s it. Everyone else will be bringing boy/girlfriends.

Usually these things don’t bother me, if I even take notice, but the holidays are always different. Someone there is going to ask if I have a date and the short answer is No. But the long answer is more complicated so I usually just go with the shoulder-shrug-and-ask-for-another-roll technique.

I’ve been spoiled by fiction. There’s Aubrey, from Amelia Atwater Rhodes’ book Demon in my View. I can still repeat passages from that book verbatim. I love it. It is one of my all time favorite books and I adore the menace that is Aubrey. Then there’s Nalini Sigh’s incredible “Guild Hunter” series with Raphael and Illium, hell, even Venom. Just writing the names makes me want to re-read the entire series from beginning to current book. And, of course, there’s Rhage and Rhev from J.R. Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series.

These are the men I love. The huge, planet sized, problem with them is that they aren’t real. I can’t go to New York City and catch a glimpse of Illium weaving between the skyscrapers. He’s a golden eyed, blue winged, lethal piece of Nalini Singh’s imagination. But Singh is an amazing writer and when you read her stories, for a moment, those pieces of her imagination are real enough to touch. And then you finish the book and have to come back to the real world where there aren’t any angels buzzing around NYC. There are no centuries old vampires running amok in Caldwell, NY or anywhere for that matter.

You read these stories about these characters that make you laugh and cry and want to hug them and you get to know them, how they think, how they speak. And then you go out and meet some guy who does something pedestrian like bartend. Not saying bartending is a bad thing. The trick bartenders are pretty cool, but you’re not holding a candle to an angel or a werewolf or a vampire or a fae or a geomancer or a necromancer or a dragon rider. It’s like waking from a great dream. Sure there are great people out there, but I’m just not interested.
It is well known to my close family and friends that I’m oblivious to the “hey, how you doing” signals people send out. I say hello to people because I’m from the Midwest and that’s the polite thing to do. I’ll talk to you if I can’t find a polite way to leave or not talk to you. Somehow, this is misconstrued as mutual interest.


No fangs? No wings? No supernatural abilities? I’m not interested and not paying attention. And this is why it’s so hard for me to answer the “Are you seeing anyone” question family members like to casually toss out.

Yes, because the newest Guild Hunter novel, Archangel’s Legion, by Nalini Singh is out and I do get to see them. I can pick up Demon in my View whenever I want and see Aubrey. I can re-read Lover Eternal and Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward today and see them.

But as far as the real world is concerned, no, I’m not seeing anyone because it’s just so boring.


Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail To The King” Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200.

Hail to the King!
Kneel to the crown!

Deathbat News

Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail To The King” has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 159,000 copies sold. This marks the second No. 1 debut for the band and the largest week for a hard rock album in more than a year.

Congratulations to M Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, Johnny Christ, Synyster Gates and Arin Ilejay on the accomplishment and for making such an incredible album. Thank you to Avenged Sevenfold’s teams at Warner Bros. Records and World Audience for making the release of “Hail To The King” exciting and fun and THE FANS – The band deserved this and you made it happen. This is the start of an amazing era. With that said, today is a day celebrate. Avenged Sevenfold has officially taken their seat on the throne. Hail to the Kings!

Here are some notable international chart debuts:
#1 in the UK

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An Issue of Entitlement

It’s not often online comments get my dander up. But one thing certain to bring out the Keyboard Warrior in me is an insult to a band I like. Especially if said insult is from a “fan”.

“It’s ironic how most other bands signed?! lol Do they “think” they are too good to sign & meet people?! My daughter was the first person in line for the wristbands, and then heard they weren’t signing that day was a big disappointment! Shame on bvb!”

I went to Warped Tour, the Indianapolis date, and on that day Black Veil Brides didn’t have a signing. They’ve been doing signings almost every day of the tour so I, with my friend, had a moment of disappointment. Just as quickly though, we were over it. I didn’t think any more of it during the twelve hour festival and had a great time scouring the venue for new music and hanging out with my friend.

Two days ago, Black Veil Brides posted a picture on Instagram advertising the signing they were doing for the Buffalo, NY (I believe) date. What brought me up short, of course, were the comments. 50+ comments of, “You better do a signing at_____.”

What is this?

The first band I was heavily into was Linkin Park. I saw them four or five times and never met them. I transitioned from Linkin Park almost straight into Avenged Sevenfold. Now, Avenged Sevenfold are my Ride or Die. If they announce tomorrow that they’re going to invade Canada, I will be there. I’ve seen them a dozen times; I’ve driven across the country to see them.

I’ve never met them.

I’ve never gotten a pick or a drum stick or a towel or a water bottle. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

But I’ve never left a concert disappointed that I didn’t get face time with them. I’ve never been indignant that they didn’t do a meet n’ greet or a signing or anything else. They’re musicians. You bought the ticket to see the show, not to shake their hands. Side note: I have given Synyster Gates a high five while he was on stage.

But I digress.

Black Veil Brides do a lot of signings, they go above and beyond to meet their fans and interact with them. But that doesn’t give you the right to be angry, to accuse them of being arrogant, because they didn’t do a signing at your tour stop. They don’t have to do any signings. They choose to and should their schedule conflict with doing a signing or something comes up and they can’t do it, get over it. The only thing they are obligated to give you is a show, everything else is bonus material.

The Struggle Within

It being a mere two days from the start of this year’s second CampNaNoWriMo I thought I would shamelessly advertise that as well as work through some issues I’ve been having getting ready for July.

Recently, like a week ago, I finished the first draft of Rebel Love Song.

Now, when I finished Tiger, Tiger I didn’t have any problem taking a deep breath and setting it aside for a month and a half while I did other things. Rebel Love Song has proven to be a different kind of beast. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing when I go to bed. I have entrenched my heart and psyche into that manuscript and as I try to pull back to give it some breathing room before starting revisions it just won’t let go.

Like that thing in Alien that clamps onto that guy’s face.

And here I sit, trying to prepare myself for another writing marathon for the month of July and I just can’t get my head into the game. Any other time, I would just surrender to the urge and knock out revisions on RLS, but here’s the thing; RLS is only the first book in what is going to be at least a seven book series. Did I mention it’s a dystopia? Yeah, talk about bad timing with that idea. And while I very much want to continue working on RLS and the next books, they need to be simmering on the back burner. They will be written, if for nothing more than I want to read them, but they can’t consume my existence right now.

So July is dedicated to The Charlatans (Title of a great song by Dakrya, highly recommend it) and my newest imaginary friend, Jace. Jace seems to be as annoyed with me as I am him. I’m hoping we can reach a truce in the next two days so we can get through Camp NaNo with as little bloodshed as possible.

Putting the Truth in Fiction

Great questions raised here. Drop by and leave your thoughts.

Medley of Mo

Can you put too much of your personal life in a work of fiction?

This is the question that is currently hanging over my head. It comes with three problems.

  1. Does the familiar, realistic element of the character/story have a negative impact on the writing?
  2. What happens if someone recognizes him or herself in your work?
  3. Are you giving away too much of your personal life?


Aside from journaling, I write fiction. Telling the truth can open the door to a world of problems in your personal life. Personally, that’s not something I want to think about when I’m writing. (Kudos to those of you that do it.) Still, to say that we fiction writers don’t pull from our lives to write our stories would be a lie. The novel I’ve been working on for the last two years developed because of one of my obsessions. From there, it…

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On Girls Doing Stuff

I now have a new fantabulous way to characterize my favorite heroines and the heroines I hope to write: Girls Who Do Stuff

Hot Key Books Blog

katiecoyleToday’s blog is by one of our Young Writers Prize winners, Katie Coyle. You can follow Katie on Twitter or Tumblr. Look out for her prize-winning novel, VIVIAN VERSUS THE APOCALYPSE, which comes out in paperback on 5 September. To read an extract of her novel, click here.

The only thing I knew for sure when I started writing Vivian Versus the Apocalypse was that I wanted my heroine, Vivian Apple, to be a Girl Who Does Stuff. This my very professional literary term for my favorite kind of female character—the kind that goes out into the world, thinking and fighting and asserting herself, rather than the kind who sits primly at home being pretty, while her boyfriend does the adventuring.


There’s room in this world for both these kinds of girls, but it’s the Girl Who Does Stuff that has always sparked my imagination. This girl goes…

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The Literary Calling – Why Do You Want to be a Writer?

Listen to my girl here. You want to know why I want to be a writer? Because I can’t hack it as a rockstar.

Medley of Mo

“Why do you want to be a writer?” I have been asked this question more times than I can recall, but I’ve always had to answer quickly. I’m so thankful to have escape these situations unscathed that I forget them and move on. I never stop and think about it, and I mean really think. That may sound strange coming from a creative writing major, but how much did you know about your future at eighteen? (If your plan worked out, kudos to you! Honestly, kudos!)

With that said, I wanted to take a time out and ponder the question. Why do I want to be a writer? ….

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I was born to be a writer,” “I eat, sleep, and breathe writing,” or, “I’d die if I couldn’t write.” Well, not me. In fact, I say that’s crap. You eat food…

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This is beautiful. Everyone, male and female, needs to read this and let the words settle in your heart.

Edrie Corbit

To my dearest Belle, I would never have guessed that at only 10 months I would have to tell you this, but you are not safe. More specifically, your body is not safe. And since your body is the house for your soul, all that you are perches dangerously close to jeopardy.

You live in one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to women’s rights. Moreover, you live in one of the most progressive states in that progressive country. Yet, yesterday, the California Court of Appeal relied on an 1847 law to say that a man who snuck into the room of an unmarried woman and had sex with her, while pretending to be her boyfriend, did not rape her. Because she was unmarried and Victorian law was like that, the court said she was not raped. And because no one cared enough to revisit…

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Lovely pictures of a Shinto shrine in Mishima Taisha. Follow the rest of the adventure!


So, as promised, here is a look around Mishima Taisha. I apparently had the same idea as everyone else in the city, which was to go take pictures of the sakura (SAH-koo-rah, not suh-KOO-ruh) as they were at their peak bloom and just beginning to fall. I went fairly early in the morning, and so I got breakfast at the shrine.

I’m not sure what exactly it was, but it was basically rice, battered and fried on a stick, and then doused in mayo, soy sauce, and green onions. It was DELICIOUS. (It was also probably terrible for me, but this was the day that I learned that shrine food seems to be pretty much the same as fair food in the States- mostly fried, and kind of expensive.)

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