Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday the big 1-0

The teaser today is from Muse. Artemis feels the need to remind Heracles just who is in control:


“Perhaps you simply need a reminder of who I am and why you serve me, my ardent warrior.” Her gaze found the guard at the door, his still-human eyes turned away from the brewing conflict. “Perhaps you need to recall just what I am capable of.”

It was a simple power, possessed by many of her kin and used to greater effect by some than others. The power to transform those around her into the shape of her whim could be extremely useful. It could also be terrifying.

The guard, already a hound in the making, jerked stiffly to his feet, eyes going wide in horror as he felt what was happening. His mouth opened to scream, but the changes being wrought in his throat eliminated any human voice. Instead, a strangled bleat emerged, the man choking and gagging on his own tongue now grown too large for his mouth.

He hit the ground on all fours, seizing as the muscles crawled and knotted beneath his skin. The sounds of bone cracking were loud against the bare ceiling, and every hound in the place had emerged from its den to watch the spectacle.

Heracles made the mistake of trying to look away, and Artemis grabbed his chin, forcing it forward. “You will watch, my warrior. And you will remember.” She could feel his jaw clench at her touch. She sank her fingernails in for good measure.

Fine brown hair had emerged over the tortured man’s body, his clothing fallen away or absorbed somehow during the transformation. He shrieked as his pelvis fractured with a gunshot report, reforming itself, and his knees folded backwards to create the hocks of some four-legged creature. His ears lengthened, his skull flattened on the top even as his cheekbones and jaw crackled in their transformations, creating a muzzle with a broad flat nose. His eyes, pleading mutely with the goddess who commanded him, became large and round, deep brown pools of agony.

You do this at my will. You have given yourself to me and you are mine to do with as I see fit. Artemis smiled gently at those begging eyes. There was no greater act of love than giving himself to his goddess’s purpose.

His fingers, braced on the floor, fused into two thick toes, the skin blackening and melting together as it shrank into a tiny hoof. The coat of fine hair now covered his entire body, down to the tip of the thin tail that had sprung from the base of his spine.

In a matter of excruciatingly painful moments, a tottering newborn calf stood where a man had once been. The pitiful creature shuddered, trying to find a balance on its new and unfamiliar hooves, knobby knees trembling with the effort of supporting its own weight.

The enormous hound in the kennel next to her butted her hand insistently, golden eyes turned up in entreaty. She caressed the black-furred head, and nodded with a smile. “Have your way, my hunt.”

“No!” Heracles’ protest was lost in the baying of the hounds as the animals descended on their one-time keeper.

The calf managed one terrified bleat before it was buried under the mass of muscular bodies, and soon the only sound was the cracking of bone and snarls as the hounds squabbled over choice tidbits amongst themselves.

Satisfied, Artemis turned to look at her bodyguard. “You are immortal. Can you imagine being torn apart like that every morning of your life, only to heal anew by Darkfall and face the same fate for eternity?”

He swallowed hard, no doubt trying to contain his gorge. He’d never had the stomach for the truly necessary things, in her experience. “Would it be so different from my life now, my lady?”

Ah, so we play the martyr now, my turncoat? “Perhaps not for you, no. But Persephone?” She shook her head. “It would be a pity for her to suffer for your obstinance.”

“Leave her out of this.”

“Of course I will. Of course.” She patted his arm, the muscles in it corded with his clenched fists. “But fetch me that muse. Before she has a chance to contaminate anyone else with impure thoughts.”

He was defeated, and she knew it. She could sense it deep within her hunter’s soul. Heracles turned to go, and Artemis happily watched her hounds feast. Piles of steaming offal disappeared down the lean throats, and the irritated snarls had dissolved into growls of contentment. One of the males mounted a female there amid the carnage, the beasts coupling with no thought at all to the humans they’d once been. For the first time in days, the voices in her head were silent.

“Heracles?” She heard his boots stop. “Come to my bed tonight.” He didn’t answer, but she knew he would obey.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Release Day!

Ok, I know it's a few days early, but I wanted to wish a Happy Release Day to my agent-mate, Stacia Kane!

The second book in her Megan Chase series, Demon Inside, comes out on July 28th. If you haven't read the first one, Personal Demons, you really should just for the simple fact of three little words. Cockney. Guard. Demons. Seriously, these guys should have their own series. (or at least a dedicated short story. *gives Stacia puppy eyes*)

Stacia also has a new series starting up on October 27th. The first book is Unholy Ghosts, and you can read an excerpt if you click on that link. I can't wait!

Stacia is Dame for a Day over at Deadline Dames, so check out her words of wisdom, and then go find her books!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Humor

Why didn't I think of stuff like this before I got married? My crew would totally have done this for me.

Hmm...ten year anniversary is next year...Maybe we could do this for a renewal of vows...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The glory of the delete button

That's right, revision notes, I haz dem! Yay!

And really, they're not scary at all. It's mostly little stuff, things I can expand or clarify. And even better, I'm EXCITED again! Just looking at the notes The Editor gave me, my brain is already clicking through the different ways to fix/change/remove the things she's asked about. Guess I know what I'll be working on at karate class tonight.

Biggest news is that it looks like the title, A Devil in the Details, is definitely a go, and that I will be published under the name K.A. Stewart. (pending approval, of course) Now, I just have to come up with a name for the series as a whole (suggestions are welcome) and I think I'll probably start kicking around titles for Son of DD, too. Again, suggestions welcome.

Luckily, I DID pass 20K words on the Son of DD last week. In fact, I ended the week with 22,632 words. I'm gonna put it on hold for a little bit while I hash out these DD revisions, but I'm hoping the excitment will carry over when I return to it.

I have discovered, however, that methodical revisions seem to trigger my more...neurotic tendencies. I spent quite a few hours today working out a timeline on when my protagonist shaves, for Pete's sake, to make sure I get the continuity right.

There are times when I wonder about me.

And as a side note, on Twitter, I participate in a group that can be found by searching for #wordathon. This is mostly a group of folks who keep each other posted on their word counts during a set period, as a way of encouraging and motivating each other. This is all organized by the wonderful Julie Butcher-Fedynich ( @jimsissy on Twitter). This past week, we did a five-day wordathon, with the added bonus of prizes! And somehow, I managed to win the "best paragraph" prize. So if you want a teeny weeny tiny sneak-peek at Son of DD, you can head to Julie's blog and check out that one random paragraph. And if you're a writer, and on Twitter, the next time she declares a wordathon, just hop on in! There are some great people there.

This week is also the San Diego Comic-Con, and let me just say I'm so jealous of all who are there! (Including The Editor. She has been given instructions on what to tell John Barrowman should she run into him)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dropping Like Flies

The great thing about karate class (kiddo's, not mine) is that it takes me out of my usual surroundings, and puts me someplace where (theoretically) creativity might be sparked.

And as I sat there tonight, scribbling things in longhand until my entire hand cramped up, I got to thinking that maybe I had too many extraneous figures in this latest book. Namely, two characters whose sole function was to die, quite messily, almost immediately.

Self, I says to meself, maybe having two people ripped to bloody ribbons right off the bat is a tad...extreme. Could the same function not be served by the one severely injured person, without adding the confusion of two more names to remember? I mean, no one gets to know these two red shirts. Their deaths have no emotional impact. They just kinda...happen.

Originally, these two characters served a purpose. But that was several incarnations ago, and now, I think they're just dead weight. Literally.

So, rest in pieces, Ted and Dakota Quinn. You too have been relegated to the Graveyard of Neverwas.

I swear, I'm non-existing (can't really say killing) more characters in just the first eight chapters of this book than I think I did in the last three novels combined.

Also: Pretty sure I broke 20K today, but the official count will have to wait until I can type up what I wrote down at class tonight. So, tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guess That'll Show Me!

As promised (albeit late) here are a few rambling, random thoughts on books I recently read.

The first was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Now, this book was recommended very strongly by several Purgatorians of my acquaintance, but I was reluctant to read it for two reasons.

First, it’s YA, which is normally not my thing. I mean, there are great YA books out there, but most of the time I find them a bit…thin? Not meaty enough? Not sure how to describe it. Fluffy? Ah well.

Second, I knew the book was written in present tense. (ie: “I walk down the hall, I see the boy, I light my hair on fire” as opposed to “I walked down the hall, I saw the boy, I lit my hair on fire”) To most people, this would seem to be a fairly minor difference, but for some reason, present tense books give me the squicks. It’s just not right, y’know? (apologies to anyone who writes in present tense. The flaw is mine, not yours)

So I went into this one with a sense of “Ok, I’ll try it and see how it turns out.” Within a page, I forgot it was in present tense. Within ten pages, I was hooked so thoroughly that I finished the book in a matter of a few hours. (realize that I am capable of reading a normal-sized book of 300-400 pages in three hours, if uninterrupted) It’s a phenomenal book that never succumbed to the “Twinkie” effect. (Twinkie = something mostly air and carbs, no real substance) ((Again, not a reflection of YA, just of how my brain reacts to some of it))

And I realized that this book in particular proves the theory that, if you do it well, it will sell. You have a book about vampires? Do it well, make it your own, and you’ll find an audience for it. You wanna write about artistic sculpture out of dung beetle droppings? Well… I wouldn’t buy it, but if you do it WELL, I’m sure someone would. Not only did Suzanne Collins do her book WELL, but I’ll be looking for the sequel, Catching Fire, due out September 1st.

Second book that caught my attention recently was Naamah’s Kiss, by Jacqueline Carey. It should be noted that I am a HUGE fan of her original Kushiel books. Yes, all six of them. It’s one of those series that I continually go back and re-read, sometimes even just to find a few paragraphs in one place that I dearly love, sometimes to read the entire book.

So, given that I’m a fan of that particular world, I was a bit leery of the “same world/new characters” idea. I knew that Naamah’s Kiss centered around new people in a world long past the heroes/heroines I had come to love in the Kushiel books. Did I want to get attached to all new characters? Would the world still be as rich and vibrant as it was originally, or was it merely sticking New Character X into Established World Y and shaking? I’ve seen it done badly so I was naturally skeptical.

And I shouldn’t have been. Yes, it’s the same world, but it’s also not. Time has passed, the world has turned. The characters I loved have passed into legend, but their legacy lives on. And the new characters captured my imagination, and I found that I actually cared what happened to them for their own sakes, not as an extension of the first books. I’ll be looking for the next one here, too.

So, there are my deep thoughts for the moment. I have some other blog posts in mind for the future (Maybe even a *gasp* series of them!) on series and my thoughts on how to make one, and how to break one. I’m getting some input there from some of my other writerly type friends, so it’ll be a bit before I pull all that together. (honestly, I’m trying to wait until the Torchwood mini-series airs here in the U.S. so I don’t spoiler it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet)

I didn’t write today, instead choosing to work out this blog post. Yeah I know, bad Kari, no donut. But my goal is to break 20K before (WELL before) the end of the week. Yeah, 20K isn’t much, but as much as I’ve been fighting this one, it’s gonna feel huge.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Ok, yes, I failed to make any coherent blog posts last week. I actually failed to make any posts at all. My bad.

The first reason is because of course I was obsessing about Torchwood. And since the American side of the pond (those who didn't want to watch it on Youtube or other sources ahead of the July 20th release date) haven't seen it yet, I think I'll hold off on my opinions there. That particular rant may actually grow into some kind of blog post about what goes into constructing a series (be it TV, movie, or book), 'cause I do have some thoughts in that area. Yes I know, frightening.

The second reason, and the reason I won't be posting much for the next few days, is that my computer got nailed with a huge virus/trojan attack last night. I managed to clear all but one thing off, and then the little bugger disabled all my anti-virus stuff. So, my baby is with the professionals for the next three or four days, and I'm posting from hubby's comp. Bless hubby. He's a good man.

Tomorrow, or maybe later tonight, I plan on doing a post about two books I've read recently that surprised me.

As for writing, I'm slowly plugging away at Son of DD. I'm not getting near the word counts I'd like to, but anything greater than zero is good right now. Still waiting on revision notes on DD.

Also spent the 4th holiday fielding quetions about publishing from people who don't know a lot about it. Now, I do realize that everyone has to start somewhere, but some of the questions frustrated me. Especially when, as I'm trying to give informative and factual answers, I can see the people's eyes glaze over. If I really believed they were interested in putting in the hard work it takes to write and get published, I wouldn't be so cranky. But they're looking for the instant-bestseller, multi-million dollar overnight kinda thing. Which just isn't real. Mostly, I warned them away from PA and that was about all I could do.

I really need to get back on this blogging train. I mean, Facebook and Twitter are fun for random little comments, but I really should try to contribute something more in-depth to society. Or something.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I solemnly swear

I shall come up with more content after the holiday weekend. Until then, let there be giggles: