Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today's mood - UPDATED WITH 100% MORE AWESOME

Never give up, never surrender! I will be going to Comic-Con this year, albeit for one day only (Sunday).



Am very excited because one of my best friends, E. Gerry Hoard, will be on the panel "The Cross-Generational Appeal of Doctor Who" at 11 a.m. in room 29A. Won't you join us?


Review: Video Nasties - The Definitive Guide

Find out how horror videotapes caused a nationwide furor and moral panic in early 80s UK; start with my review of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide over at Horrorview.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords

Good news for Smashwords fans. Their July Summer/Winter Sale (making sure the bargains go to both the Northern and Southern hemispheres!) is on, with many books available at substantial savings.

All three of my books - The Day After Yesterday, Ashes, and Reckoning - are on sale at Smashwords for 50% off! Just enter SSW50 at checkout to save 50%, and get a fine book for less than you'd pay for a latte (the latte tastes better but the book lasts longer).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cover Wars!

My novel Reckoning is a participant in this month's Cover Wars over at the The Masquerade Crew. Cast your ballot for which of the month's covers is your favorite. Vote early, vote often!


Monday, June 30, 2014

A birthday gift to my readers: Join my email list for a chance to win a gift card!

Greetings everyone!

July is nigh, and that means my birthday is as well. I'm going to celebrate by giving back to the people who've made the last couple years so enjoyable - my readers.

At the end of July, I will randomly choose a reader and send him or her a $30 gift card/coupon to the ebook retailer of their choice: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, or Smashwords.

All you have to do is join my email newsletter by the end of July. It's quick, simple, and free. You'll receive news and updates about my books (including a sneak preview of my forthcoming mystery Undertow), and of course be in the running for the gift card. The drawing will be held on August 3, 2014.

You've nothing to lose and $30 in free books to gain!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Indie bookstores for ebooks

Good news. Indie bookstores aren't just for print books any more.

Take a moment to check out Libiro and YouHeartBooks - these indie ebook stores offer a variety of genres in the formats you need for your ereader. (Full disclosure: my books are available at both stores.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Buried

My apologies for being so scarce on the blog. Buried, swamped, inundated - you name it.


That's been my state for the last few weeks and will continue to be for the near future. It's all (well, mostly) good, though.

In the meantime, I'm planning a nice blog entry called "Postcards" about the characters I really would like to hear from. Just a postcard to let me know they're OK is all I need.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Today's mood


Because spring break is over.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kelly's Really Big Score: Take It Out In Trade edition

Road-tripped up to Ojai and to Bart's Books. I must say that it was the perfect day for such a trip. Sunny day, mid-seventies, and the hills of Ojai were still spring-green and the wild mustard was in bloom.

I took a bunch of books in to trade, and with the store credit I was able to get:


  • Louis Bayard - The Black Tower
  • Kate Atkinson - Case Histories
  • Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina
  • Bruce Felton and Mark Fowler - The Best, Worst, and Most Unusual
  • Colleen McCullough - The First Man in Rome
  • T. C. Boyle - The Road to Wellville
  • Marilyn French - The Women's Room
  • Tim O'Brien - The Things They Carried
  • Alexandra LaPierre - Artemisia
  • Christina Stead - The Man Who Loved Children
  • Joe R. Lansdale - Lost Echoes
  • Jose Saramago - Blindness
  • Thomas Tryon - The Other
  • Clive Barker - Cabal
  • Robert Stone - Dog Soldiers
  • Donald Hamilton - Murderers' Row
  • William Howard - "Gore Vidal's Caligula"


I am particularly happy with the Best, Worst, and Most Unusual and the Murderers' Row finds. The former is a trivia book that's from the late 1970s, and I still remember checking it out of the local library when I was a kid and learning about everything from how awful a durian is to some examples of really off-the-wall architecture. The latter is from Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series, which are long out of print but which are great reading, and a heavy influence on my Ashes series.

I make no apologies for the last book on the list - it's a novelization of the terrible movie made from Gore Vidal's screenplay for Caligula. I'm sure it's no good but I must have it on my shelf and it was only $2. So there.

Review: Under the Skin

My review of the sublimely creepy Under The Skin is up at Horrorview.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kelly's Big Score: More Gelato, Please Edition

As if the L.A. Times Festival of Books wasn't awesome enough on its own, now they've added food trucks! The gelato truck was a particular favorite.

I also attended a romance novel panel that featured Tessa Dare, author of A Week to be Wicked and Any Duchess Will Do, both very enjoyable reads.

And of course I did a bit of book shopping. Had to limit myself as I'm on a budget, but came home with:

The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty

The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone - Will Storr

Zero Hour and other stories - Illustrated by Jack Kamen

Hope everyone who goes to the festival has a good time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: The Visitor

My review of The Visitor, a 1979 Italian film that's half horror, half sci-fi, and all kinds of crazy, is up at Horrorview. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kelly's Big Score: Pancakes and Wine Edition

Made a dash up to Solvang this past weekend, and in between wine tasting and pancake consumption I found time to buy some books from The Book Loft and Martin's Used Books. Came home with:

Wayne of Gotham - Tracy Hickman

The Painted Girls - Cathy Marie Buchanan

Freedomland - Richard Price

Twice Loved - LaVyrle Spencer

Petals on the Wind - V. C. Andrews

OK, that last one is a little iffy but the The Complete V. C. Andrews Blog-o-Rama's recent recap of Petals got me interested in re-reading it. I somehow suspect it won't hold up well…


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Day After Yesterday ebook on sale through end of March!

If you're looking for a character-driven contemporary novel, why not give The Day After Yesterday a read? It's on sale for 99 cents through the end of March (for Kindle, Nook, iBook, and Kobo).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Watch this now: Trailer for Under The Skin

I admit I was skeptical when I heard that Michel Faber's amazing novel Under The Skin was being adapted. And while it looks like the movie may make some significant departures from the source material (primarily in Isserley's appearance), at the same time the trailer has such a hypnotic, otherworldly vibe that I am on board.




Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Writing craft: Tear it down, build it up

All writers have asked the question: "Well, what do you think?"

It's a question that doesn't get much easier to ask over time. We hope that it will. We may even have a hunch what the answer will be. We want it to be a positive answer, but must accept that it may not be.

The first time I asked that question (asked it of someone who wasn't my Mom and therefore obligated to say nice things about my writing) is seared into my memory. The time: my college days. The place: University of Missouri at Columbia. The occasion: a creative writing course, and I had just finished reading a selection from a very, very early version of my debut novel, The Day After Yesterday. What did the instructor and my classmates think?

They tore it to shreds. They were right to do so.

Because it wasn't good. It was the only serious writing I'd done, and I'd had no critique whatsoever on it. I was full of myself in the way that only a college student can be; I recall thinking that I was sure to wow everyone, not least because I was writing a novel (one of many stupid ideas I had in those days was that short stories were somehow inferior to novels). 

I can't imagine what the look on my face must have been as the criticisms piled up. Too many adjectives, too much melodrama, characters didn't behave realistically, and so on. I don't know if it went on for a very long time or if it just felt that way. By the time it was over, my ego had deflated considerably.

And yet, the instructor and my fellow students had just enough positive things to say to make me think that the story wasn't a complete loss. The critiques were harsh, but after I stopped crying I realized that they were accurate. The final project for the course was to revise the work based on the critique. I was astounded that I got an A. At first I didn't understand, as I was pretty sure that I had a long way to go to make the book truly good. But the instructor explained that what determined the grade was our ability to not give up, and to do our best to improve the work based on the feedback we'd received. This didn't mean slavishly making every change suggested. But it also didn't mean sticking our fingers in our ears and singing, "La la la la, I don't hear your criticisms of my book!"

It took a lot more writing, a lot more reading, a lot more learning about the writing craft, and writing the book twice before I got it right. But that first critique was when I learned the most valuable lesson any writer can: no one starts out good, and only by listening to others and using their feedback to improve your manuscript can you be a better writer.

So let me give a much-belated and long-overdue thank you to instructor Speer Morgan, and to all the fellow writers in that creative writing course. Thank you for getting me out of my bubble, and for your critiques.