Ireland Here We Come!

Blog – Irish trip & research

I wrote this blog before we left for research, but security issues being what they are, I’m going to be posting some of the blogs out of order. It’s a shame a few bad apples spoil things, but there it is.

I’m sitting in my office, just after dawn. The sky is still all light and shining with the blue color only now fighting its way through all that LIGHT! The air feels cool and calm, the day stretching ahead full of promise and possibilities, and yet . . . but . . . There’s always an, and yet, or a but, or so it seems of late.
We are supposed to be getting on a plane for Ireland today, yes you read that right. We are headed to the Emerald Isle. We’ll see you all in London in August, but we’re leaving early for research. The book I’m currently working on is mostly set in Ireland, and because I’ve never, ever been there I’d put off this story for years. Wait, I kept telling it, and it waited. Don’t push, I said, and it didn’t push. Other ideas pushed hard and fast and paid no attention to my orders, or my requests, or even my pleading with them, because they were ready to be born, so I wrote them as they clamored to be written. Story ideas for me are like baby birds in a nest, the loudest voice and tallest held mouth gets the worm, and will fledge first, but unlike real life where the tiniest nestling can starve and die while it’s bolder siblings thrive, ideas don’t die for me. They live, they wait, and they bide their time. 
This book has found it’s time. It’s eager, excited, demanding to be written, and the damn thing is set in Ireland. It’s set in a specific part of the country that I have never seen or even read about before the book decided it was set mostly there. I’ve only had this happen once before and that was with my book, Obsidian Butterfly. It is set in New Mexico, which I’d never visited. My character, Edward, insisted that he lived in New Mexico. In fact he insisted he lived somewhere between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I argued with him. “You’re a fictional character. I made you up. You cannot possibly live in a place that I’ve never seen or even read about. You’re part of me, how can you go some place I’ve never been?”
When I stepped off the plane in New Mexico and saw those low, black mountains, that desolate, near alien landscape, I said, “Well, son of a bitch, you do live here.”
I have no idea how Edward, alias U. S. Marshal Ted Forrester, decided he lived in a place I’d never seen or read much about. He’s always been a character that went off on his own, and then would come back and tell me what he was doing, and some of what he had done. He keeps his secrets, even from me. Which is a very peculiar feeling for a writer, since I’m supposed to be making him up as I go, but somehow he has enough life of his own that he tells me what he’s doing, and surprises the hell out of me, a lot. 
I should have known that Edward would be in a book that was insisting on being set in a part of the world I had never seen. I can’t say I haven’t read much about Ireland, because I have been a serious lover of this section of the world for a long time. I’ve read the myths and folklore of Ireland, Scotland, England, and though I know they are part of England now, Cornwall, Wales, and almost every part of these myth-ridden islands. I was a serious Anglophile in my teens and dreamed of visiting all of it someday, though I don’t think I ever believed I’d manage it. Traveling to such far off places was for other people, not for girls living in the middle of farm country, raised below poverty level, so it turned out. I knew we didn’t have money, but I never felt poor in the sense that the word, “poverty”, makes me think. I never felt impoverished, I just knew we didn’t have money. I’m not sure anyone I ever knew as a young child ever traveled out of the country for anything except military service.
I’ve been to England twice. I’ve seen Rome and Milan in Italy. I’ve been to Paris and found it as romantic as advertised, which I didn’t think possible. Admittedly, I was with Jonathon and almost anywhere I go with him is romantic. But we both really enjoyed Paris and look forward to going back and taking Genevieve and Spike with us. I could live for a few months in Rome, or Paris, but strangely didn’t enjoy London all that much. What captured me in England was the countryside. Glastonbury, Avebury, and all the Salisbury Plain area spoke to our heart.
The closest we came to Ireland on that trip was seeing it from the air. I remember thinking, wow, it’s so green. This time we get to see all that verdant green in person. I’m so excited, and a little intimidated. First by the flight, because I’m terrified of flying, and second, by trying to write about a country I’ve never seen before. There’s always a pressure to get it right on paper. I’ve already started making contacts with people I need to help me with researching the book I’m writing, the book you’ll read next summer, and research in England for a book after that. Though both of these books are Anita Blake books, I’ve also had Merry Gentry whispering around in my head, or rather other characters from her books. Merry is silent, content with her new babies and trying to find happiness after grief. But her world is moving around in my head as I look over the books on Ireland that I used for research in her stories. This trip might make the Merry fans get the next story sooner, might, I don’t know yet. All I know for certain is the two books I am absolutely researching while I travel across the pond. 

London Here I Come!

My first signing in England will be August 7, at Forbidden Planet in London from 1700-1900. See you all there! 


London , here I come

I will also be appearing at Nine Worlds on August 8 in London.  

 Saturday 8 August.  

  • 15.00- 16.00 – Kaaffeklatch
  • 17.00-18.15 – “The dead will rise again” (Resurgence of Gothic Literature)
  • 18.30 – 19.30 – Book signing
  • 20:30-21.45 – “The F-Word in Fantasy” (Sex in Fantasy)

So for all you fans that have been asking, “When will you do a signing in Europe?” These events are for you, so come out and see me, because I’m finally here and I don’t know when I’ll be back. 

Celebrating being #1 on the New York Times List!

The newest Anita Blake novel, Jason, is #1 on the New York Times List! Thanks to everyone that bought the book and showed how much they loved Jason the novel, and Jason the character! Thanks to all the booksellers virtual and brick and mortar!

When I sold my first story, my first husband took me out to a fancy dinner. When I sold my first novel, Nightseer, it was my Dungeons and Dragon group that surprised me with a party to celebrate.

When Guilty Pleasures, the first Anita Blake novel, sold, my writing group, The Alternate Historians, made me a cake shaped like it’s cover and we had a party.

When I hit the New York Times List for the first time I was alone on tour for A Kiss of Shadows. I thought I was being calm, cool, and collected until the room service waiter brought my hot tea. I had about an hour before I had to get ready for the signing that night, so I’d ordered tea to relax. I was so calm about the news that I accidentally gave the waiter a fifty dollar tip. I caught my mistake and fixed it explaining I’d just learned about the Times List, and then added, “If you came back with a fifty dollar tip they’d think you did more than just deliver tea.” He didn’t think I was funny. My media escort took me out later to a very nice restaurant with a view of the sea.

When I cracked the top five with Narcissus in Chains, my second husband, Jonathon, was on tour with me. It was our first tour together. In fact, it was the first time I’d brought anyone on tour with me. We used up the cell phone batteries in his phone, my phone, and our media escort’s phone calling his family and my writing group to tell them the news. We were in San Fransisco, because we went into China Town there and bought a necklace to commemorate the event.

When I made #2 for the first time with Cerulean Sins, I went to a wonderful local bakery and bought three to five cakes of flavors that they didn’t make cupcakes in, so we could finally taste them. We invited Jonathon’s parents and other friends over and had a cake tasting party. This was before I started exercising again, or watching my nutrition. Though honestly, I have a serious weakness for cake, not sweets, but cake is yummy.

I made #2 with A Lick of Frost for the Meredith Gentry series. There were other times that the Merry books hit the List, but I honestly don’t remember what I did to celebrate for each book. But there was only one Anita Blake novel, Incubus Dreams that hit #2 before Micah brought home the gold medal.

How did I celebrate that first #1 with Micah? Which, incidentally, was my last original paperback novel; like Jason, it was a shorter piece featuring the title character though it was a mystery complete with zombies and mob connections and background on Micah that even Anita didn’t know. Years before this I’d told my friend Joanie that if I ever made #1 I’d take her family and we’d all do a trip to Disney World. When I called to tell her the news, she reminded me of the promise and that’s what we did. Joanie, her husband Jim, and their daughter, Melissa went with Jonathon, our daughter Trinity, and me to Disney. Yep, that’s right, I celebrated my first New York Times #1 book by going to the Mouselands.

I can’t remember precisely what I did to celebrate my first hardback #1 Blood Noir. I know we did dinner somewhere nice, but after going to Disney World for Micah, it was just hard to top that, especially because I was deep into writing the next Meredith Gentry book, so there wasn’t time for a trip.

So how did I celebrate Jason hitting #1? I got the calls from my Agent, Merrilee, and then my editor, Susan, while I was changing for gym. I continued getting dressed, and when I got off the phone the first thing I did was tell Genevieve and Spike. This included much jumping up and down, hugs and kisses. Jonathon wasn’t at home. I debated on texting him, but waited until I could tell him in person, much kissing ensued. Then . . . then I went to gym. I had a great workout, came home, showered, and celebrated with my happy polyamorous foursome. My real life has become special enough that my normal plans are a celebration. Realizing that truth made Jason being #1 a very special milestone.

The flowers in the picture on this blog are from my U.S. publishing team at Penguin Random House, thanks guys!


New Blog – See you at FairieCon East!


So many of you ask me to come visit your part of the world, that I’m going to try and do more conventions and make more appearances. I will be a guest at FairieCon East November 7 – 9, 2014 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. I will be doing at least a signing a day, and panels! They’re opening up the big room for my spotlight panel which is a one on one conversation rather than a straight interview. I’m not exactly sure what that means either, but we’ll find out together.

The more of you that show up for my events at FairieCon East, the more likely I am to do more conventions and events on the east coast. I’m responding to two things; first that FairieCon has been asking me to be a guest for a few years now, and second, that so many east coast fans have consistently requested that I come back to their neck of the woods. So here’s your chance to see me in person, have me sign something for you, and give me more incentives to travel and meet all of you.

Choosing Character Names, part 1

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked is, “Where did I get the Celtic/Gaelic names for the Meredith (Merry) Gentry series? Especially the baby names for, A Shiver of Light?” Below find pictures of the primary books I used.

Another name question I’m getting is, “Why did I use Alastair for the baby boy, since that’s the name of the man who attacks Merry in the first book, A Kiss of Shadows?” Honestly, at first I forgot that I’d used the name before. I tend to have names that I like and I will reuse them, or variations of them multiple times if I’m not careful. Apparently, Bruce was a favorite for a bit male character in the Anita Blake novels for a few years. It seemed my answer to John Smith. I also seem inordinately fond of variations of the name Nicholas. When I realized Alastair was actually a villain name from earlier in the Merry Gentry series I changed the name for her baby boy, but she, and he, wouldn’t let me. Merry wasn’t traumatized by that long ago Alastair, or if she was she wanted to reclaim the name in a positive way. As for baby Alastair, he totally refused to be anything else. I originally spelled it, Alastar, as a double entendre for the star-shaped spot/birthmark on his back, but even that didn’t please this very opinionated new character. It had to be Alastair, and he wouldn’t let everyone call him, Star. That was my original idea that he’d actually go by his nickname to the point where you forgot Alastair/Alastar was his legal name, but Alastair doesn’t like nicknames. I’m a little worried about this brand new character as he seems determined to have his way. I think he’s going to eventually give me a run for my plot-money and totally take over a book, or series, someday. I can’t quite imagine writing books about Merry’s children all grown up, but there are hints that the babies already have ideas that I wasn’t aware of. *laughs*


New blog: We’re #2 & #5!

A Shiver of Light is #2 on the New York Times List combined fiction & e-books list! Yay!

A Shiver of Light is #2 on the New York Times List on the e-book list! Yay!

Apparently my fans buy a lot of e-books! Thanks everyone!

A Shiver of Light is #5 on the New York Times List of adult hardback fiction! Yay! Not so Yay!?

A Shiver of Light is the #7 best selling book in the country on USAToday list! Very yay! Thats fiction, nonfiction, children’s, young adult, old, new – books out the door regardless of when published. Example the book ahead of me on the list when I last checked was, Dr. Suess’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” Apparently, there’s a preschool reading program that just started across the country featuring Dr. Suess’s wonderful books. It was fun for, A Shiver of Light, to be rubbing literary elbows with Dr. Suess. At the beginning of the school year you’ll have all the regular required reading books near the top of this list.

Am I upset that I didn’t get #1 on the Times List? Yes, I’m not even going to bother with all that, “It was an honor to be nominated crap . . .” Yes, it’s an honor to be duking it out at the top of the New York Times List, and I am happy to be on it and up so wonderfully high, but . . . if anyone on the List would really prefer not to be #1, I haven’t met them yet.

Congrats to Stephen King who is #1 this week! He maybe #1 on all the lists, but honestly I haven’t checked.

Is there a chance that I’ll rise higher next week?
Yes, but generally that’s not been my pattern.

How could I move up the list?

  • If enough people got super excited and went out and bought even more copies of, A Shiver of Light, maybe I’d go up the List.
  • If I could be involved in some juicy and major news worthy scandal in the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours, then maybe I’d hit higher on the List.
  • If I was part of some major tragedy, I might move up the list.

But I see no scandals on the horizon, I have no desire to be involved in a tragedy, and most of the people who are are likely to be really really excited about A Shiver of Light, have already purchased their copy and have read the novel. At least once. Some of you are waiting for pay day, hardbacks are expensive, or having some major life event that is keeping you busy. (I’ve been reassured by a number of you that you will get my new book as soon as your life is not at sixes & sevens. Good luck and Godspeed!)

I’d planned on doing this blog Sunday, today, and only realized as I started to type that it’s Father’s Day. The first Father’s Day since Merry had her babies, so in her fictional world it’s the first one for the men in her life. I know her timing in months isn’t the same as ours, but I like the idea of her planning that first Father’s Day for all the new dads’ of her triplets. By the way, I did my research and it is possible for a woman to have multiple babies with different father’s in one pregnancy. All you need is to have sex with more than one man in the same night, and the woman to have multiple eggs waiting to be fertilized. Its even possible to have different genetic parentage of the same baby, though even the scientists aren’t entirely sure how that works, but Google Chimerism. Make sure it’s the genetic variety, not the fictional entries, because I’m apparently not the only writer to be fascinated by this real life topic.

Happy Father’s Day to all you real life Dads!

Our daughter, Trinity, is off on her post graduation trip, so it’s just Jonathon and myself to celebrate. I never had a father so the holiday was never that important to me. Actually it, like Mother’s Day, was just a reminder that all the other kids had parents and I didn’t. My grandmother would eventually allow me to get her cards and presents for the second holiday, but when I was very young she was adamant that she wasn’t my mother.

And below are some of the wonderful interviews that I did while I was on tour. I found some of the questions made, even me, think hard before answering – Enjoy!

This one is from, Searching for Superwoman.

Here’s Barnes & Noble interview with Paul Goat Allen.


New Blog: Sholto

I thought I had posted this earlier today, but apparently not. *laughs* Preparation for tour is beginning to eat the world, but my goal is to be packed and ready to go a few days ahead rather than the last minute rush I usually do. (My final pack for tour is pretty much a *Kermit Flail* of epic proportions, trying to avoid that this time.) So here is Sholto’s blog for, A Shiver of Light. This book is so thickly plotted, and there are so many surprises and reveals, that it’s getting harder and harder to find a page-tease that doesn’t give something major away, but I finally found a Sholto scene that walked that fine line. This blog pairs up with June 8, and the event at Printers Row Literary Festival, Chicago Tribune, Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605 my event is 2:30-5:00 PM. See you soon!


New Blog: Mistral

Here’s your taste of Mistral from, A Shiver of Light, which hits shelves on June 2, less than a week away! You actually get more than just Mistral in this page-tease, because some magic, not even Rhys, Merry, or Doyle can stop. I’ve been seeing each blog with a different character from the book as corresponding to a different tour date, so this one would match up with Friday, June 6 in Chicago at Barnes & Noble at 55 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, IL 60077 – see you there!


New Blog: Galen

I’m having trouble finding a scene from, A Shiver of Light, with Sholto, Rhys, or Mistral that doesn’t give too much away, so here’s Galen’s page tease. We are a week away from, A Shiver of Light, being on the shelves, and my first tour date on June 2 in Huntington Beach at Barnes & Noble; June 3 in Portland at Powell’s Books, and then June 4 in Seattle at University Bookstore!