Monthly Archives: January 2012

Friday Funnies – Chili Cook Off

Chili Cook Off

(Jess’s note: This one is particularly apropos considering I just made a huge pot of chili. Can’t say if this is true or not–I’ve seen this set in both New Mexico and Texas–so I’ve simply re-posted the joke as it was worded in the last version I received.  Enjoy!)

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there’s no hope for you. I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off.

Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better.

For those of you who have lived in New Mexico, you know how true this is. They actually have a chili cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the Santa Fe Plaza. Judge #3 was an inexperienced chili taster named Frank who was visiting from Springfield, IL .

Frank: “Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (native New Mexicans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy; and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge #3.”

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI # 1 – MIKE’S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI

  • Judge # 1 — A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
  • Judge # 2 — Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
  • Judge # 3 (Frank) — Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These New Mexicans are crazy….

CHILI # 2 – EL RANCHO’S AFTERBURNER CHILI

  • Judge # 1 — Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
  • Judge #2 — Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
  • Judge # 3 — Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

CHILI # 3 – ALFREDO’S FAMOUS BURN-DOWN-THE-BARN CHILI

  • Judge # 1 — Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
  • Judge # 2 — A bit salty, good use of peppers.
  • Judge # 3 — Call the EPA. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

CHILI # 4 – BUBBA’S BLACK MAGIC

  • Judge # 1 — Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
  • Judge # 2 — Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
  • Judge # 3 — I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb woman is starting to look HOT… Just like this nuclear waste I’m eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

CHILI # 5 – LISA’S LEGAL LIP REMOVER

  • Judge # 1 — Meaty, strong chili. Jalapeno peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
  • Judge # 2 — Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the jalapeno peppers make a strong statement.
  • Judge # 3 — My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.

CHILI # 6 – VARGA’S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY

  • Judge # 1 — Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
  • Judge # 2 — The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
  • Judge # 3 — My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

CHILI # 7 – SUSAN’S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI

  • Judge # 1 — A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
  • Judge # 2 — Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
  • Judge # 3 — You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing. It’s too painful. Screw it; I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

CHILI # 8 – BIG TOM’S TOENAIL CURLING CHILI

  • Judge # 1 — The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
  • Judge # 2 — This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over, and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor fella, wonder how he’d have reacted to really hot chili?
  • Judge # 3 — No report.

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Book Review — BY THE SWORD (Magic of the Plains: Volume 1)

Title: BY THE SWORD
Author: Greg Costikyan  (FIRST CHAPTER SAMPLE)
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Magic of the Plains

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

 

Back Cover Copy:

Ride with Nijon — a young barbarian on his manhood quest!

Leaving tribe and family behind, he fights and slays a lion barehanded. While recovering from his wounds, he meets his true father, the god Mongoose, who introduces him to his Brother and to the prophecies of his greatness. Treachery, magic, banishment, and sorcerous battles await Nijon. Be there when he rides to fight the dragon and win the Princess’ hand. Many surprises await Nijon…don’t miss a single one!

My Review:

I’ve long been a fan of Mr. Costikyan’s three fantasy novels (I can’t speak for his science fiction story, as I haven’t read it). Unfortunately, it has been a number of years since he has published any novels, and it doesn’t appear that there are any new stories set in the Magic of the Plains or the Cups & Sorcery series forthcoming. This is something to bear in mind while reading this book. It stands on its own just fine, but this is the only book in the Magic of the Plains “series”, despite what it says on the cover.

Nijon, the hero of this tale, is not taken seriously by anyone in his tribe.  You see, his mother claims to have had an affair with the god Mongoose.  Nijon is the only one who really believes his mother’s words, though everyone else pays lip service (just in case, since it’s not wise to anger the gods, you know). When it is time for him to go forth and become a man, he actually meets his father, and goes on a number of adventures.

This is a fairly short book, and I don’t want to ruin the joy of discovering just how clever and funny this story is for anyone who has not read it before.  Nijon’s adventures are a delight to read.  The characterizations in this novel are what truly makes it shine–for example, the testy dragon, Nijon’s brother (an actual mongoose), the devious Mika Nashram, the spoiled Princess Nlavi–all described with such a humorous slant that it is impossible not to be charmed by this coming of age adventure.

Fans of humorous sword and sorcery fantasy should enjoy this immensely. I’m still quite unhappy that it (as well as the other series) never had a follow up novel, but when it comes to Mr. Costikyan’s work, I’ll take whatever I can get!

4/5

Series Order:
1. By the Sword
2. N/A
Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Funnies – What’s the URL?

Making a speech against the proliferation of X-rated websites, the mayoral candidate said, “I visited one of these websites and was shocked to find by my count five acts of oral sex, three of sodomy, a transexual making love with a dog, and a woman accommodating five men at once. If elected, I vow that websites such as these will no longer befoul our fair community.”

He concluded the fiery denunciation by asking, “Are there any questions?”

Five people shouted in unison, “What’s the URL?”

In All Seriousness…

You may have heard of SOPA / PIPA.  If not, now is a very good time to educate yourself.  Help stop internet censorship in its tracks!  Even as someone who is not very happy about internet piracy, I can’t support these acts.

Pirated With Pride from TheOatmeal.com

P.S. If you’re not familiar with the website, The Oatmeal is pretty goddamned funny and you should go pay a visit. Here are a couple of great places to start!

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My Thoughts on eBook Piracy

I’ve been thinking about this recently–and a tweet from a reader reminded me that not everyone knows as much about this biz as I do. To keep this serious topic light, I shall periodically break up the Wall O’ Text post with LOLcats.

So.  I’ll give you the short version first: Piracy is bad for (most) authors.

Stick with me.  This is going to be a bit long-winded.

Now, while I love writing guest posts for my blogger friends, those free articles serve as a promotional tool to entice people into reading my books.  I don’t mind sending those bloggers free copies of my books in advance of publication because they will review them, which in turn results in word of mouth, excitement by readers, and eventually–I hope–sales.

Also, every once in a while you’ll see my first book, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, available as a free download on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a limited time.  Again, this is a promotional move designed to get people to download and read the book, and then, hopefully, enjoy that book enough to buy more of my work.

The thing is, those free downloads are done with my permission, and the permission of my publisher.

Pirate websites are offering all of my work for free. Without my permission.

That means that I don’t get paid for my work.

This is called stealing.

I’ve heard many sides to this argument. The entitled: “Well, someone bought one copy, it’s like loaning it (to thousands of my internet friends)” and the “these websites are like a digital library–libraries let you read lots of books for free” and the “we’re just copying a file, therefore we aren’t stealing anything” versions don’t hold water.

Are you downloading illegal copies because the book you want isn’t available in your country/region?  Book Depository and Alibris ship anywhere.

If you can’t afford the book you want, go to your local library and ask for it there. If you simply must have the ebook version, there are tons of ways to get free books online that are completely legal.  Just because you can’t pay for, or you simply must have the book you want right this minute because you feel it’s not available to you for some reason, doesn’t entitle you to download a pirated copy. Read some of the free stuff until you can afford the thing you want, or wait for the book to become available for free or at a discount as part of a publisher’s promotion.

Would you walk into a restaurant and eat their food, then walk out without paying because you didn’t have the money or you just didn’t feel like it? A book may not seem as tangible, but writing my books is still a great deal of work that takes a hell of a lot more time and effort than preparing a meal, and I’d still like to get paid for it. When I want to write or offer free stuff for your amusement, I’ll post it on my blog, my website, through my newsletter, or as a guest post for my blogger friends.

There are other arguments for piracy, but those are the two big ones I want to address at this point.

I don’t go out of my way to hunt for them, but it’s disheartening to see the number of pirate sites that pop up in my Google alerts, Twitter feed, and in the writer forums I frequent. Every time I see my work on these websites, I have to report them to my publisher.  Now and then, I will go out of my way to send a DMCA notice (Digital Millennium Copyright Act — a type of cease and desist letter). If I don’t report it, I’m not defending my copyright, which is bad.

Now, I’m going to take a moment to give you all a confession.  I’ve been known to put on a pirate patch when I sail the cyber seas.

Yes, it’s true. An author who has pirated books and music.  Le gasp! Sacrilege!  Say it ain’t so!

That was before I was published.  I now pay for a subscription to Rhapsody’s music service, listen to Pandora, and occasionally buy stuff on iTunes instead of heading to the nearest bit torrent to get my hands on whatever it was I “had to have” right that minute. Sometimes I’ll favorite songs on YouTube so I can go back and listen to them there instead or share the videos with friends.  I’ve also made some decent inroads towards buying legit copies of all of the ebooks I illegally downloaded, though I still have a ways to go.

So what made me mend my ways?

To give you an idea of how piracy can hurt an author–with actual statistics–take a look at what happened to Saundra Mitchell:

If the 800+ downloads a week of my book were only HALF converted into sales, I would earn out in one more month.

And let me tell you guys… the sales figures on SHADOWED SUMMER had a seriously detrimental effect on my career. It took me almost two years to sell another book. I very nearly had to change my name and start over. And my second advance? Was exactly the same as the first because sales figures didn’t justify anything more. I don’t blame my publisher. There’s weak demand for my books, according to my sales figures.

Meanwhile, 800 copies of my book (worth about $1200 toward my advance, if everyone paid for a copy,) are being downloaded a week.

As literary agent Rachelle Gardner pointed out in her recent post on piracy:

One source says media piracy is costing the US economy $58 billion in losses every year. That’s billion with a B. Every year.

So Saundra and I are not alone in our financial losses.  This is particularly stinging as I used to be one of those people who would download illegal music, books, movies, and even computer programs, without a second thought.  Now, I work a full time job on top of writing books for you to enjoy because the money I make from my books is not enough to support me on its own.

Would that change if some percentage of the pirates started paying for the copies they download? Maybe. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

I would like to point out that there’s another side to piracy, too.  Notice how I said in the beginning of the post that these illegal downloads are bad for most authors?  There are exceptions.  Some of them actually do well with it and use it to their advantage. Neil Gaiman, for example, is known for an interview where he states piracy can be advertising for your book.

If word of mouth was making my books take off and reach bestseller lists like Mr. Gaiman, I probably wouldn’t be complaining about this right now.  Alas, I’m not quite as popular as he is just yet, so I am getting my grump on.

Here’s the deal–if you found my work through a pirate site, I’m not going to be pissed at you. Just don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear why you did it–but I would like to ask that you make it up to me.

Hold up–I sense the incredulity from here. Don’t let me lose you–just hear me out completely before you consider I’m talking out of my ass. Feel free to call me nuttier than a fruitcake after you finish reading the rest of this post.

Now, I know that I’m not going to make much of a dent on piracy all by my lonesome, and that not everyone feels the way that I do about it, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not even trying all that hard to stop it. I figure it’s an inevitable part of the internet for the time being, and I’m not going to get up in arms if I hear someone is pirating stuff.  Though I might get a little annoyed if my name is on that illegally downloaded file and you happen to brag to me about it.

Here’s what I would like you to do if you found my work through a pirate site:

  • Obviously, I’d like you to buy whatever books or music or movies you downloaded without paying for, and stop taking stuff that isn’t legitimately offered for free. If it seems like an insurmountable hurdle as you’d go bankrupt because you have 500GB of MP3s alone, then start paying for the things you’ve already downloaded in small chunks. It has taken me years to buy all of the CDs/MP3s and books and DVDs that I previously downloaded, and I’m still working off that debt I owe to the artists I stole from.  I’m not proud of it, but I’m doing something about it. I encourage you to do the same.

  • If that’s not going to happen, then first and foremost, please, please, please ask your local library to carry my books. It may not seem like much to you, but if you go in and ask them to carry them, that will show there is demand, and they may buy and shelve my books.  Then there will be legitimate “free” copies available to you and anyone else who wants to read them. When the library buys copies, I do get paid for my hard work. They buy new copies when the old ones wear out and after a certain number of eBook checkouts, and re-sell the hard copies when people aren’t checking them out anymore.

  • No local library? Then please “pay” for it like Mr. Gaiman suggests by advertising the book somehow. Help start a word of mouth campaign. You can do this by posting a review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, and/or some other book review site/blog. Talk about the books to your friends offline, on web forums you frequent, or, hell, you could even post a LOLcat about ‘em. That way you’re getting your exchange in with me by sharing an opinion about my stuff with others, which might encourage someone else to buy something (or not–though even a bad review is better than no one talking about it at all).

  • Ask someone else who you think might enjoy my work to buy the book(s). Even if they don’t buy, at least you’re encouraging someone else to pay me for my work, eh?

I know fighting piracy is an uphill/losing battle.  Please do me the kindness of not telling me when you illegally got your hands on my books unless it’s to say that you’ve gone ahead and done something to make up for it like I suggest above.  Maybe it’s unrealistic of me to think that the pirates will read this and agree to any part of this post, but these are my thoughts and feelings on the matter.

Feel free to pitch in your own thoughts on the subject in the comments. Agree with me? Think I’m full of it? Want to offer up some advice of your own? Let’s hear it!

…but please keep the flames to a minimum, thanks.

Posted in Rants & Raves | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Friday Funnies — Free Trip to Italy

A young New York woman was so depressed that she decided to end her life by throwing herself into the ocean, but just before she could throw herself from the docks, a handsome young man stopped her.

“You have so much to live for,” said the man. “I’m a sailor, and we are off to Italy tomorrow. I can stow you away on my ship. I’ll take care of you, bring you food every day, and keep you happy.”

With nothing to lose, combined with the fact that she had always wanted to go to Italy, the woman accepted.

That night the sailor brought her aboard and hid her in a small but comfortable compartment in the hold. From then on, every night he would bring her three sandwiches, a bottle of red wine, and make love to her until dawn.

Two weeks later she was discovered by the captain during a routine inspection.

“What are you doing here?” asked the captain.

“I have an arrangement with one of the sailors,” she replied. “He brings me food and I get a free trip to Italy .”

“I see,” the captain says.

Her conscience got the best of her and she added, “Plus, he’s screwing me.”

“He certainly is,” replied the captain. “This is the Staten Island Ferry.”

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Some Authors and Reviewers Are Having Angries on the Internet

WARNING:

Bad Language and Strong Opinions Ahead

I’m going to be frank.

This shit don’t fly, yo.

While authors getting pissy on the internet is nothing new, it seems in the last week or so there has been an explosion of angrypants and stupid behavior on blogs and Goodreads.  Did you hear about the one on Goodreads where the author called a reviewer horrible names? And then she requested that her friends/fans help manipulate the Amazon reviews so the review that got her panties in a twist would drop in standings?  No?

Good fucking Christ. I am ashamed of my fellow authors right now.

Look, here’s your guide to ettiquette on a review blog:

  1. Oh, look! A review! Say: “Thank you!”  Perhaps prance about in flowers and fart some rainbows or something if it’s a good one. Be happy that someone who is not your mom, your brother, or your roommate, decided to talk about your book on the internet!
  2. Boo. The reviewer had some mean things to say about the book. Nuts.  You know what you do? MOVE ON.  If you absolutely must say something, leave it at: “I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you. I hope you’ll enjoy the next one more.”  If you feel the need to rant or cry about it, do it privately.  As in not on the internet where author implosions are forever.
  3. That. Is. It.

This is not a difficult concept. Reviews are not for the author.  Reviews are the reviewer’s opinion–what they think about the book, not what you think they should think or say–and they should not have to be designed with your feelings in mind.  Stacia Kane has an excellent post detailing why this is, so I’m not going to rehash something that someone else already said (and very intelligently, I might add).

Just this morning I woke up to this in my inbox from Abigail at All Things Urban Fantasy.  This is the kind of thing that makes me sad.  I’m not self published, but I do have friends who are, and I’ve read some great self pubbed books.  It’s truly unfortunate that they will have an even harder time finding (free/cheap) publicity for their books because of the bad behavior of others.

This asshattery that is making reviewers want to run and hide from authors is pissing me off, because it makes the rest of us look bad. In case it wasn’t obvious from the tone of this post, it really gets under my skin. I don’t want to be equated with the people who don’t know basic rules of conduct. I don’t want reviewers to be afraid of voicing their opinions for fear of offending me or alienating me or making me go on a rampage.  I don’t want reviewers to turn away my offers to send them my book to review because, God forbid, I might not like what they have to say.  Most of all, I don’t want reviewers to stop being willing to help me or my fellow authors who know how to behave themselves.

Reviewers?  Look, I’m loud. I’m opinionated. But I’m not a dick. I’m disorganized and occasionally forget when something is due to you. Sometimes I let off-the-internet priorities override things I planned to do online, and, yes, once in a while I even screw up.  Hey, I’m human, you know? It’s also okay with me if you don’t like my books. I’ll still be your friend, I’ll still talk to you on Twitter, and I’ll still smile and shake your hand at conventions.

Other authors, take note.  Reviews aren’t personal.  Reviewers are people with opinions, too.  I’m sure you haven’t loved every single book you’ve ever gotten your hands on or every movie you’ve ever seen or every meal you’ve ever eaten.  You’ve probably bitched about that shitty restaurant downtown with the slow service and overpriced food, or the way the TSA manhandled you at the airport and the airline lost your luggage, or that asshole in Customer Service who wasn’t at all helpful or understanding when you called to complain about your bill–or how you can’t believe you paid full price for a movie ticket to see that crappy film or that hard cover book or….

Get the idea?

So, seriously. Stop being fuckwads. As both an author and a reviewer, your behavior makes me not want to deal with you, and makes other authors look bad.

I don’t like to complain without also offering some insight as to how something can be improved, so in that spirit, here are some tips (there are probably other things you can do, but I’m still too angry to think of more right now):

  1. Other than to thank reviewers for their time–if that–do not respond to reviews.  I don’t care if they didn’t finish it and only read the first two sentences before they decided to hate your book and you just want to make sure they understand what a mistake they are making because your magnum opus really gets moving on page 318.  YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BADGER REVIEWERS.  PERIOD.
  2. Do not rate or review your own work. This is terrifically tacky.
  3. Similarly, do not pretend to be someone else and review your own work. Not only is this extra-terrifically tacky, 99.999% of the time, your sock puppet will be found out, and you will be laughed at on the internet.
  4. Reviews by your friends and family members do not count when you are trying to sell someone on reading your work. It just makes you look desperate for approval and no one will take you seriously. What you should be quoting when you’re promoting your work are reviews by established publications (Locus, Publishers Weekly, NY Times Book Review, etc) or by bloggers who are well known for their reviews of your genre (e.g., in romance a good blurb from Dear Author is great, in urban fantasy a good blurb from All Things Urban Fantasy or Bitten By Books is awesome, etc).  Circle-jerk blurbs and reviews by fellow small-press authors doesn’t impress anyone, and it’s even worse when it’s very obvious you’re all giving each other glowing praise or 5-star Amazon reviews and your names all appear on each others’ work.

Reviewers, here is your handy guide for dealing with authors:

  1. Not all authors are assholes.  Please don’t paint us all with the same brush.
  2. On the same note, we–authors–are people, too. Some of us are grumpy, some of us are nice, some of us are overwhelmed.  Many of us love to hear from you and are grateful to work with you to promote our work. If we can’t do something for you right away, it’s not because we don’t love you.  Most of the time it’s because we have something pressing we’re dealing with (kids, jobs, deadlines–the same kind of crap you have to deal with, only sometimes with thousands of dollars on the line if we don’t fulfill our contractual obligations). Don’t be afraid to try us again later.
  3. Make your review policy clear.  There is nothing wrong with ATUF’s review policy about choosing not to accept self published titles–but if that’s how you feel, then make your policy clear and easy to find on your website.  If you don’t like genre X and would never read it, say so.  If you prefer to receive genre Y, say so.
  4. Don’t make things in a review personal. “Cripes, that author’s picture is ugly!” “The author must be stupid to think this plot would work.” That sort of thing. Feel free to say ”This story is hopelessly stupid and I couldn’t stand how dumb the hero was and, my God, the plot holes are big enough to drive a Mack truck through” if that’s how you feel. Just leave the author (their looks, personal experiences, intelligence, and whatever else) out of it.

Thanks for listening to my rant.  I’m done for now.

How about we end this on a positive note?  Any reviewers want to chime in with some good experiences they’ve had with authors?  Maybe recommend some nice authors to work with?

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Friday Funnies — The “Forwarder’s” 12 Step Program

THE “FORWARDER’S” 12 STEP PROGRAM

EVERYONE SAY IT WITH ME…

1. I will NOT get bad luck, lose my friends, or lose my mailing lists if I DON’T forward an email!

2. I will NOT hear any music or see a taco dog if I forward an e-mail.

3. Bill Gates is NOT going to send me money, Victoria Secret doesn’t know anything about a gift certificate they’re supposed to send me.

4. Ford will NOT give me a 50% discount even if I forward my e-mail to more than 50 people!

5. I will NEVER receive gift certificates, coupons, or freebies from Coca Cola, Cracker Barrel, Old Navy, or anyone else, if I send an e-mail to 10 people.

6. I will NEVER see a pop-up window if I forward an e-mail… NEVER!!

7. There is NO SUCH THING as an e-mail tracking program, and I am not STUPID enough to think that someone will send me $100 for forwarding an e-mail to 10 or more people!

8. There is NO kid with cancer through the Make-a-Wish program in England collecting anything! He did when he was 7 years old. He is now cancer free and 35 years old and DOESN’T WANT ANY MORE POST CARDS or GET-WELL CARDS.

9. The government does not have a bill in Congress called 901B (or whatever they named it this week) that, if passed, will enable them to charge us 5 cents for every e-mail we send.

10. There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colorful flowers, characters, or program that I will receive immediately after I forward an e-mail. NONE, ZIP, ZERO, NADA!!

11. The American Red Cross will NOT donate 50 cents to certain individual dying of some never-heard-of disease for every e-mail address I send this to. The American Red Cross RECEIVES donations.

12. And finally, I WILL NOT let others guilt me into sending things by telling me I am not their friend or that I don’t believe in Jesus Christ. If God wants to send me a message, I believe the bushes in my yard will burn before He picks up a PC to pass it on!

Now, repeat this to yourself until you have it memorized and send it along to at least 5 of your friends before the next full moon or you will surely be constipated for the next three months and all of your hair will fall out!

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Stalking the Others (H&W Investigations #4) Cover Reveal!

My newsletter subscribers have already seen the shiny new cover, but for those who missed it… here she is!

Vampires, werewolves, mages–the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest’s life. But now, she’s returning the favor…

Once, she was one of the good guys–or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia’s recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full moon.

Of course, with all the threats against her, Shia’s not sure she’ll live long enough to find out. The enigmatic vampire Royce wants her back in his clutches, as do two powerful werewolf packs, along with the police. Instead of going into hiding, Shia is enlisting the aid of her enchanted hunter’s belt and every dirty P.I. trick she knows. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can–and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left…

Preorder STALKING THE OTHERS from AmazonBarnes & Noble, or Book Depository today!

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A Great Start to 2012!

It’s been a great holiday season at Casa Haines. For the past few weeks you may have noticed I’ve been quiet save for the occasional Friday Funnies post. Aside from consuming enough holiday sweets for my bloodstream to be swimming with peppermint and cloves, I’ve been hard at work on putting together the first chapter of book 5 (no official title yet) so you’ll have a suitably awesome sneak peek at what’s coming included in the back of STALKING THE OTHERS.

Now I’m getting back into the swing of working on interviews and guest posts to ring in the New Year. You can get a taste of what’s coming by checking out the interview I did with the fabulous Sullivan McPig (includes a giveaway for a signed copy of HUNTED BY THE OTHERS or THE REAL WEREWIVES OF VAMPIRE COUNTY). Sullie also did some fab interviews and is hosting giveaways of books from fabulous authors, Carolyn Crane, Laura Bickle, and Gini Koch!

For those who follow on Twitter, you’ve probably already heard that I received the cover flats for book 4 in the H&W Investigations series, STALKING THE OTHERS. My newsletter subscribers will be the first to see a clean picture of the cover (as soon as I have a digital image to do it justice) and they will also get to read an exclusive excerpt. If you haven’t already signed up, you can do that via the newsletter subscription box on the top-right portion of this blog.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am ridiculously excited for this book to come out! As much as DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS was a game changer, STALKING THE OTHERS brings things to a whole new level…

So! Now that the holidays are over, I’ll be making an effort to blog more regularly, post more book reviews, and, of course, do it all while writing the next book in the series!

How about you? Have any resolutions for 2012?

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