Teachers can make all the difference

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Beverly K. Sheline
August 9, 1947 – January 10, 2015
Kokomo, Indiana

Miss Beverly Sheline was an English teacher at my high school. She taught my first creative writing class. I was fourteen, still painfully shy, and a serious bookworm. Now most writers read voraciously when they’re younger, but I was still using books to hide from the social anxiety of dealing with too many other people. By the next year I’d begin to force myself to break the prison of my shyness by joining speech team and drama, but that year I was still very much letting books be my shelter. I mean, if you’re reading people are much less likely to try and talk to you, so you don’t have to worry about talking to them. I was still very much in hiding, and only decided that summer that I wanted to be a writer, but not just a writer, I wanted to write horror, dark fantasy, and heroic fantasy. I was this shy kid from the middle of Indiana farm country that had decided she would be a horror writer as her profession. Can you imagine how badly that could have gone if I’d gotten the wrong teacher at the very beginning? But Miss Sheline was very much the right teacher.

She let her students write whatever type of story they wanted without judging the worth of the topic. I would get a lot of judgement on the fact that I wrote genre fiction in college, but in that first precious class there was no judgement, no classifying of one type of story being morally superior to another. That was a gift, to just let her students fly and be who they were as writers, a gift that far too many creative writing classes don’t give their students.

I’d been writing since I was twelve but had only finished a story beginning to end that summer. It was a horror story, a mystery and slasher flick really, because everyone died horribly except for the baby who crawled away into the woods with the implication she would starve to death with no one to care for her. My Uncle Monk, who I think was the only one I gave it to for reading, did the best thing possible. He patted me on the head, said it was good, and didn’t get all freaked out that I was writing about torture and dismemberment. It was the best reaction he could have given, I think. The year I was thirteen- fourteen was a very big turning point for me creatively. I discovered Robert E. Howard’s short story collection, Pigeons from Hell, which solidified what kind of writer I wanted to be and I’ve never wavered from that decision. It led me to find other horror authors to read including Stephen King and Anne Rice, which would both influence my own writing, especially Salem’s Lot and Interview with the Vampire.

I wrote my very first vampire story for Miss Sheline’s class. I’d grown up watching the old Hammer vampire films, had read Salem’s Lot, Interview with the Vampire, and I think all that helped me be ready to write that first story. The other ingredient was a friend I rode the school bus with let me have the cover off her Teen Beat magazine. It was a picture of Parker Stephenson who played one of the Hardy Boys on the then TV show. Yes, I had a crush on him, but it was the image, not the crush, that made me want the picture. I couldn’t explain it to my friend, but I knew it was important for me. I told her I’d use it in a story, she was dubious, but she let me have it, making me promise to show her the story afterwards.

I used that picture to base my first master vampire on, but the main character of the story was a petite, black-haired vampire herself who had made friends with a human girl that the charming but evil vampire had seduced and killed. The main character used a crossbow to kill the other vampire and avenge her friend. I no longer have a copy of that story, but I remember it in startling detail all these years later, and yes the first shape of Anita was in that main character. The vampire loosely based on Parker Stephenson’s picture never showed up in my stories again; strangely dead is dead for me with characters.

It never occurred to me that Miss Sheline might be disturbed by my subject matter. It would only be years later that I realized how differently it could have gone, but instead she read it, gave it an A, and said, “You scared me.”

I’d scared a grown up! I’d scared a teacher! That was heady stuff and just the kind of ego boost that I needed to keep me going forward with my dream.

I learned just two days ago that Miss Beverly Sheline died of cancer recently. She is being laid to rest today and family and friends are gathering to say goodbye. If I’d been thinking more clearly I would have sent flowers, but it hit me strangely harder than I thought it would, and I didn’t think about flowers, I thought about writing. I thought I would write about the teacher who helped start me on my way to being a writer. There were other teachers at Oak Hill High School that were influential on me as a writer and a person, but I’ll save those stories for another day. Today is about Miss Sheline. I did tell her, and say in my very first newspaper interview which was for the local paper where I grew up, how much she had helped me. She read the interview and she and several teachers that I’d mentioned came out to the signing at the local mall. I’m doubly glad she knew that she’d made a difference to me and that I got to tell her in person years ago. Good teachers inspire, lead, but sometimes the best thing they do is to let the students know they matter, and that their first efforts are rewarded. I still remember the thrill I got from her words, “You scared me.” Now, I scare people professionally, but few moments have been as important to me as that first one. Thank you, Miss Sheline.

Signed copy of A Shiver of Light, if you order by 8PM tonight!

Here’s a link to a live interview I did last night at BookTalkNation answering questions about A Shiver of Light, Merry Gentry and all her men, plus yes, the babies will be born in this book! Uterine liberation, at last! I also answer questions about Anita Blake and her cast of characters, my writing process, how I world build, and my best advice for all you beginning writers.

If you order by 8PM tonight you can have a signed, and personalized copy of A Shiver of Light. I will not be personalizing at most of the events across the country, sorry, so this maybe your chance at that. Apparently, to sign as much as you guys want me to I’d need the biceps of Arnold Schwarzenegger. *laughs*

http://booktalknation.com/video/hamilton

Dancing with the Muse & The Devil’s Panties!

30 pages for the day in three sessions of 12, 13, & 5. Still not completely out of this section of plot. Was hoping to finish before bed, but I give, need dinner, but the muse & I have played happily today. I still got to have lunch with my husband, Jon, and went to MMA class. Also, Dancing, the new Anita Blake e-special came out today! Thanks for all the great comments, everyone! Glad you are all enjoying it!

You can order Dancing from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

To top the day off I was in Jennie Breeden’s comic, The Devil’s Panties

This has been a wildly productive & truly awesome day!

The Blog I promised

It’s the 20th anniversary for the Anita Blake series, and to help celebrate that I asked you to tell me what the books and characters had meant to you, and how you found them. The response has been overwhelming and wonderful – Thank You.
I’m sitting in my office with just our three dogs for company, as I usually am when I write. It is a very isolated job, writing. Authors spend most of their lives in a room by themselves while the world passes by outside. The inside of my head is full of a slightly different world populated by people so real to me that sometimes it feels wrong that I will never be able to touch their hands, see their smiles across a table from me – not for real. I call them my imaginary friends, rather than my friends, because in years when I just said, my friends, some fans misunderstood and thought that Anita, Jean-Claude, Richard, Micah, Nathaniel, Jason, all of them were based on real, flesh and blood people. So, I started saying my imaginary friends so people would understand that I did not base my characters on real people. It also started cutting down on fans asking for the phone numbers of my imaginary men. But one thing many of you made clear was that my imaginary friends had become your friends, too.
In fact, you told me that my imaginary friends, my world, my creations, had helped you guys get through some really tough times. That the books had been what you read at the bedside when your families were in the hospital, or even been a refuge when you had to face the death of those close to you. Some of you told me that Anita had taught you how to be strong, how not to back down, and that until Anita a lot of women, especially, hadn’t realized how to be strong. I’m always amazed by that, I guess because I was raised by a very strong woman, so strength and being female was just a given to me, but I’m glad I could share some of the strength I learned growing up, and building my life. I’d already lost track of the number of women who had told me at signings that they’d left abusive relationships, because they knew Anita wouldn’t have taken it. I am very proud of that, and I know that Anita would be, too.
I asked who your favorite characters were, and wasn’t surprised by most of the answers. Jean-Claude is big fan favorite, and he’s earned it. I think that he was more surprised by how he and Anita have grown as a couple than even she is, after all it’s not every woman that can surprise a man that’s over five hundred years old, but our girl keeps doing it. I think the key to that is that Anita keeps growing and changing, willing to be pushed outside her comfort zones. Many of you told me that you’ve learned to go outside your own comfort zones from reading my books. You know what? I’ve learned the same thing. I joke that I haven’t seen my comfort zones in at least ten years, and that’s true. It’s not a comfortable way to live, but it’s never boring, and it’s led me to be happier than I ever thought possible. What I hadn’t expected was to hear how many of you had learned a similar lesson. I guess, we’ve all grown together.
Trying to do justice to the hundreds of years of lady’s man for Jean-Claude led me to learn how to walk in high heels, and has totally changed my clothing choices. he’s like this voice in my head that pops up and goes, hmmm . . . what if you wore this today, or that would look lovely. I probably take more clothes advice from him than Anita would tolerate. *laughs*
I expected Micah to be a favorite, and the Wicked Truth, though Damian is very underused for someone that so many of you like. I’m sorry for that, but he’s happy being monogamous with Cardinale and who am I to argue with that? We may be seeing more of him in the future, but I’m trying to figure a way of doing that without wrecking his relationship. Zerbrowski is one of my favorites, too. I’ve actually made notes about a short story that would let us see him at home with his wife, Katie, and their kids. We’ve referred to Anita, Micah, and Nathaniel, going to cook outs at their house with the other cops, but never seen it on stage. Something about hitting this anniversary has made me look around the series and go, “What is it that we’ve never seen on stage that would be fun?”
Richard still has his fans, though admittedly most of you are not. Richard really is in therapy, and is making peace with himself and the conflict between the life he wanted and the life he has, which are miles apart. He’s been talking to me again, and I’m hopeful. I swear, that I brought him on to marry Anita. It was my solution to breaking her up with Jean-Claude and not having to kill him. It would take me years to realize that Richard was my ideal man, at the time, but maybe not hers.
The character that more of you mentioned than any other, either in a list with others, or alone, was Nathaniel. I knew he’d be on a lot of people’s favorite list, but I hadn’t anticipated what he’d meant to you so many of you. Some of you told me that him talking about his own therapy helped you be willing to see your therapy. That’s wonderful, because I’m a big believer in good therapy. It’s made a huge difference in my own life, and still does. I am so happy that sharing Nathaniel’s story has helped so many of you understand that just because something terrible happens to you, that isn’t the end of the story. We can heal, and grow, and learn to be happy. Thank you for telling me how much watching Nathaniel’s journey through the books has helped all of you understand that you can be happy, too. I know that would mean a lot to Nathaniel, too. Writing him has taught me, and Anita, that strength doesn’t always come full blown, sword in hand, but that some of the bravest people are the ones that learn to be brave.
In fact, several of you have told me that my books taught you that true bravery isn’t when you’re not afraid. True courage is being scared to death and doing it anyway. It was such a given to me that bravery is acting in the face of fear, that it never occurred to me that everyone didn’t understand that. It is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned and I am very happy to share it with all of you.
Thank you for so many of you telling me that my characters have helped you understand that you have to stand up for what you believe, what you want, who you are, and not let society tell you different. Anita and I both started the series so conservative, and now here we are so very not. :-)
I would be a different person today if I had never written Anita. I would be a different person if I had only written the original three books I was contracted for, and stopped, or even stopped with the first six. The research I did into real crime, real violence, showed me things that I didn’t always want to know, but it helped me make Anita’s police work, more real. I believed that if I wanted people to believe in zombies, vampires, and wereanimals, that I had to make the real life details as real as possible. I haven’t always gotten it right, but I thank all the police and military personnel over the years that have helped me try, all mistakes are mine and mine alone. You guys did your best with this writer that has never worn any uniform for a job. But more than the true crime, the research into alternative lifestyles opened my eyes and showed me a much broader definition of . . . nearly everything.
Some of you have been with Anita and me from the beginning, but I hear from people every day that have just found us. Thank you for being on this journey with us, whether you found us with Guilty Pleasures, or somewhere in the middle, or just watched the video for Affliction and thought, I want to read that. Me, too, it’s why I wrote it, why I still write Anita, because I want to know what happens next.

One Month to Affliction

One month from today Affliction will be on the shelves! I know I’ve conditioned you guys that the new Anita Blake novel hits the stores in June, but I needed the extra month to write a longer book. Affliction has a page count of 570, which makes it the longest book since Incubus Dreams. It would have topped 600 pages, but a choice in printing format means no extra pages at the end of chapters, so you lose a few pages that way, but they would have been blank, or half blank pages, so now every single page is full of story!
I would love to give hints here about some of the surprises that await you in the new book, but I truly suck at hinting. I either don’t give enough information, or I tell far too much. I will run hints by my agent and editor and see if we can come up with some that don’t give away too much, but for a Sunday lets let all the hardworking people in New York have their day of rest.

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Affliction is Done!

I thought I posted this two weeks ago, but apparently not. *laughs* We were both pretty fried for the week after I finished Affliction, but then Jon and I went for a week’s vacation some place warm and tropical. We snorkeled in the open ocean and it was wondrous. We did a lot of fun, relaxing, and spirit renewing things for our week and a day, now I finally post the blog I wrote just after I typed, The End, on Affliction the 22nd novel in the Anita Blake series.

I finished writing Affliction, the newest Anita Blake novel, at twenty minutes till dawn on Sunday/Monday morning. Jon wanted to wait those minutes and watch the sunrise together. Jon doesn’t normally stay up for the 0’dark-thirty finishes and I was still riding an incredible writer’s high, so agreed happily. We found the perfect window in my office, wrapped our arms around each other, and waited. The sky lightened and turned to streamers of pink and purple to the east, with the bare winter trees like black paper cutouts against the light, but Jon said, it wasn’t dawn yet. Though we both agreed that any vampires out and about would need to be worried and headed for cover. In the growing light we saw the Great Horned Owl silhouetted between the darkness and the dawn. It was this huge black outline in one of the trees near my office. You forget how big he is, until you see him like that, big as a large Red-Tailed hawk, hunched and waiting for the light, or maybe settling down for the day? And yes, I’m pretty sure he is the male, because the slightly larger female must be sitting on their eggs if they’re going to have them. They are both very big birds even for Great Horned Owls.
I admit that by the time that the sun rose and the sky was blue, I was tired and ready for bed. I’d finished a twenty hour day of writing with only short breaks for food. I’ve done those marathon sessions before. In fact most Anita novels finish in a great burst of time, energy, and creativity, but for the last several books of any kind including Merry Gentry novels I’d ended drained and half in shock left like an empty shell on the shore, spent, but not this time. This time I am more energized, and less dead, more vampire, less zombie. :-) In a few days I feel that I may rise to shapeshifter and feel all warm and fuzzy again, but for now I’m just happy to feel good about the book, the writing, my life, myself, all of it. Really, when all is said and done, what could be better?

Why I Threw Out Everything I Wrote Yesterday

So many of you wrote in and feared for the lovers in Anita’s life. They are in peril. This promises to be a very hard book, but two days ago it wasn’t that kind of trauma for Anita and me. She did her duty. She stayed at her post. She made the hard call in the midst of death and violence. She was a good cop, a good soldier, a good . . . she did her duty. She did not panic. It ended up with her in the hospital and it cost her the life of someone she valued. It also cost the lives of good men and women who stood shoulder to shoulder against the great bad thing. There are losses that aren’t about romantic love. There are losses that are about a different kind of love. The people that will go into the bad place with you and not panic, but stay at your side shooting, fighting, risking it all for the goal, the objective, the mission, but there will always be moments that come down to just surviving. The men and women who stay with you through something like that – you love them. They love you. It’s not romantic love, but it is a bond that will make you answer a phone a decade later and say, “What do you need? What can I do?”
It’s also the kind of emotion that will make you not answer the phone ever. It is a level of pain and trauma that makes you want to forget. You don’t want to relive it. You don’t want to look at it, or talk about it. You want to move on; forget. sometimes in that effort to push it away you will destroy everything in your life to avoid the pain of it, the truth of it.
I have had the privilege of knowing men and women who have served their country, worn the badge, and come away with the real deal. I have dated, and been friends with men that are still haunted. I know when they share their stories with me in any way that it’s a privilege to be trusted with those moments of truth. a lot of them are told with laughter, but every once in awhile their eyes grow haunted and the pain comes too close to hide.
Anita had one of those moments and I spent the next twenty-four hours trying to ignore the pain. I was willing to blow up my imaginary world and throw all the hard work that Micah and Jean-Claude had done to bring together the preternatural community so that we could have a crisis and Anita and I wouldn’t have to deal with what was really bothering us. We were willing to ruin our relationship with Micah. Willing to ruin our relationship with other lovers. Anita and I tried to sink ourselves into sex. Nothing worked yesterday. Some of it was good pages, but really I was blowing up my world, destroying books and books of relationship building. It was my husband, Jon, who told me not to do some of it, that it made no sense. I was angry with him, though we didn’t fight, because I knew something was wrong with me and how I was reacting.
This morning when I woke up I understood what I’d been doing. I also knew what I needed to write today. I have to look at what happened in the shoot out. I have to let Anita feel the pain of what she had to do, and what it cost her and others. I was willing to blow up my world, Jean-Claude’s world, Micah’s, sacrifice Damian, hurt Nathaniel, or try to just skip to sex and comfort. I fought with myself all day and at midnight I called it, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I just knew it I wasn’t thinking right.
This morning it was so clear, even logical. I’ve spent twenty years writing Anita. I’ve interviewed people about what it feels like to take a life in the course of their duty. I have been blessed and trusted with the stories, without them this series would have been so much weaker. I wouldn’t have understood, and there are things that I will not understand because this is fiction for me. I’m not there. I’m not going through the real doors. I’m not having to look down the barrel of real guns and make choices that will be irrevocable. In real life there is no rewrite, more’s the pity.
Today Anita has to wake up in the hospital with that moment of confusion of “where am I, what happened,” and then the memory will return. She’ll remember the moment. The gun, sighting down the barrel, pulling the trigger and watching him drop. She would make the same choice, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be haunted by it. You can be right. You can be brave. It is some comfort, but in the end the people still died, and you couldn’t save them all, and sometimes killing the killer is just one more trauma.
There are losses that make you weep, that drive you from sleep to pace the darkened house, because sleep is full of dreams, nightmares, or sometimes it’s just too quiet and alone with our thoughts isn’t that great. I should have remembered that yesterday, but it took me time to work it out – to remember.
I’m just lucky that what I do is fiction. That I didn’t ruin my actual relationship with the man I love, and I have a chance to rewrite the fictional mistake. That I didn’t blow up the political structure of our country for real, but just on paper and I had a smart man to tell me, “This isn’t logical.” Thanks, my husband. Lucky for me, and for Anita, there is a do-over today. It won’t be pleasant, in fact it will be emotionally pretty horrible, but when she’s faced it, worked some of it through, then she will still have the loves of her life, the men she depends on, and the careful political structure that Jean-Claude and Micah have worked so hard to make will still be working. I am dreading writing this, but I feel strangely peaceful about it, too. This is what comes next and the days when Anita would destroy her love life, her friendships, to avoid the pain of what she’s had to do in her job are past. I’ve had better therapy than that, and so has she.
As I write today I will think of my friends who have done, and are doing, this for real. To the men and women who put on a uniform and do their duty, thank you for your service.

Kiss the Dead tour – Huntington Beach

I swear I’ve been chilled since we got to Seattle, and Huntington Beach was about the same temperature. *brrrr* I needed to bring a sweater, but it was warmer last time we were here, or maybe I’m just remembering it as warmer. Southern California just sounds like it should be warm, even though living her for a few years let me know that most mornings are chilly and it doesn’t usually get that hot, at least not in Los Angeles. But even though I know better I still had hoped it would be warmer. *sigh* and *laughing* at myself. I so know better.
Thanks to everyuone who came out to participate in the show, and to everyone at the Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach that helped make it all go so smoothly. I know we got some new questions, but I admit that I’m getting punchy at this point in tour and can’t remember them. The only one I do remember is the request for the title of the book that I read to our daughter, Trinity, when she was about eight to ten about the facts of life. The book is at home and I can’t remember the title. I’ll blog it later after we get home and I hunt the book up.

Time to get some food, before we see you all in about two hours. Looking forward to seeing everybody tonight at the Carlsbad Library.

Kiss the Dead tour – St. Louis

Kiss the Dead – St. Louis

We kicked off the tour for Kiss the Dead in our home town, St. Louis, Missouri. Venue was the downtown location for Left Bank Books. Thanks to everyone at the store that helped make the event work so smoothly. I signed books ahead of time, because the ticket admission gets you a signed book, and the show. Yes, it’s supposed to be a question and answer session. What Jon, my husband, and I have come to call, “Laurell and a microphone show.” Anyone who’s ever seen me on stage for a Q & A will understand why we call it a show. I pace and prowl the stage like one of those big cats in the zoo that paces their cage. I’m not sure why I do it, the pacing I mean. I was taught to use most of a stage so that everyone gets a good view, but it’s more than that. It’s something about the energy of the crowd, the night, the event, something that makes me need to move. Years ago people would put me in a chair, but I can’t sit still and do this, I can’t. The only time I’ve sat down on stage was when I came into the event injured, or when I shared the stage at a convention. The latter wasn’t a full two hours, but if I have to share the stage and the microphone I can, and do. I’m all about the sharing if you guys have come to see more than just me. Charlaine Harris and I shared the stage in St. Louis for an event to benefit the library there, and it was a lot of fun. She’s good people, and we’ve known each other for years. But most of the time it’s just me, with an occasional guest spot on the mic from Jon, as we answer questions.
In St. Louis it was a space in the basement, and my microphone was on a cord like a leash to keep me in one spot. It does short leash me, so that I can’t wander as I’d like, and there’s always the chance I’ll trip over the cord. I managed not to do that, but it had been so long since I’d been on a cord that I forgot one important safety tip. I tend to bundle the slack of the cord in my free hand, so I don’t trip. But I also sometimes try to gesture with my hands, I forgot that I had the cord in the hand not holding the mic, and I hit myself in the face with it. All I could do was laugh, and not do that again. Important safety tip: don’t talk with your hands when both hands are full.
I think the original audience was supposed to be about two hundred people, because that’s how many books I signed ahead of time, but as always seems to happen the audience magically grew. Jon and I estimated about three hundred because most ticket holders brought at least one person, sometimes two, to four extra people, sometimes more. Though, I don’t think there were groups larger than that in St. Louis. There were more people than seats, and some stood for two hours. Thank you for being willing to do that.
The bookstore had put a microphone on a stand near the front. That works much better than someone trying to move through the crowd with a mic. It’s much quicker to have the mic set up, so that people can line up and I can answer as many questions as possible. The only issue was the aisle was so narrow people couldn’t line up without getting in each other’s way, so important tip for next time, wider area so we can have the line, and people can move back and forth without having a traffic jam at the microphone. There’s always a learning curve for each new space, and venue, like trying to fit the whole band on a stage, you learn how each space works best. Before someone asks, no we do not travel with a band, it was a metaphor. (For those who thought, of course, it was a metaphor, why did she over explain, trust me sometimes over explaining on the blog saves time and disappointment for fans later. I will leave live music to Neil Gaiman and his very talented wife, Amanda Palmer.) We have had music by S. J. Tucker at one event, she played while I did a more traditional signing, but she kept playing some of our favorite songs, so that Jon and I wanted to dance. It’s hard to sign books and talk to people when you’re trying not to dance. It was a great night, but S. J. is a wonderful singer/songwriter and it was like being at a concert, but having to work the whole time. Wanted-to-dance! *laughs*
We got one new question that I was anticipating, what did I think of Fifty Shades of Grey? No, I have not read the books yet, but lots of people have sent me scenes from the book and asked for my opinion, mostly the bondage scenes, okay, it’s always the bondage scenes. *laughs* Those who’ve been reading me know that I’ve been writing bondage scenes for years. E. L. James may finally have brought bondage into the mainstream, so yay! Anything that makes people more comfortable with their sexuality is a good thing. I’ll probably be hearing this new question a lot this tour.
There was one brand new question from a fan that we first met in Milan, Italy. *waves* Had I thought about a reality show? In fact, yes I had, or rather I’d discussed it with my agent, but in the end we decided not to pursue it. Why? Because I can’t imagine having cameras following me around filming my life. How would that work? I think that about the time things got “interesting” I’d be making them turn off the cameras and get out. Some reality show contracts have clauses in them that dictate under what circumstances you can tell the cameras to leave, or stop, and what they are allowed to film, or not allowed to film. I just don’t think I’d be comfortable exposing my family to that. One of the reasons not to do it, was illustrated in the follow up part of the question. She said, I’d save marriages across the country if I’d do a reality show.
I asked, “What about me doing a reality show would save marriages?”
I can’t remember the exact wording, but the gist was that I’d inspire couples to have better sex by sharing my fantasies on camera. *blink, blink*
“And that would be an example of when I would make the cameras leave,” I said. Though, laying out a line of toys and props, letting the camera do a loving close up of it all, then kicking them out and locking the door has it’s amusement value. But actually filming “fantasies”, um, I think that would be over my comfort level of sharing my life. Ah, nice lady fan, you naughty girl you. *shakes finger at you* *laughs*
We put one of the new business cards in every book I signed. The card had a new bit of technology on it, a QR code. If you use a smart phone to scan it, or have Jon give you the uber secret code at the signing you can get to a secret website that will have Easter eggs that you can only get with the code. For those who don’t know what I mean by Easter egg in this context, it’s extra, or bonus material. Best example is the very last scene in The Avengers where all our heroes are eating shawarma, as Tony Stark, Robert Downey Junior, suggests at the end of the fight. Its just this little scene at the end, but it was totally worth waiting to see it. To see the bonus scene in The Avengers you have to wait through all the credits, to see our Easter eggs you have to be at an event, or get someone who was at an event to share the super secret code with you.
What kind of bonus stuff is there? Little videos and pictures, and some explanation, or written content that isn’t available anywhere else. It is actually the new tech of the smart phones that gave us the idea to try. If all goes as planned I’ll be putting up new content throughout the tour. Something new every day.
We did pictures after the show in St. Louis, and found the images already up on my Facebook that night. You guys are fast! Thanks for making our kick-off for Kiss the Dead so much fun! See everyone in Seattle, Washington next!

Beauty – a preview

So many of you have asked, or said, you can’t wait until it comes out, so . . . Here’s a sneak peek at Beauty the too hot to handle outtake from Kiss the Dead which comes out as an eSpecial May 8, 2012:

“I finally let myself look at that face, and I felt like I had from almost the first moment I’d seen him, that he was simply one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen. The black curls touched the edge of his face, as if bringing attention to the curve of his mouth, the line of his cheek, and those eyes. They always looked blue, but they were so dark. Midnight blue with their double edge of black eyelashes like dark lace to frame the deepest blue I’d ever seen in anyone’s eyes. His eyes were a blue like deep ocean water, where it runs cold and will eventually spill down into something warm and mysterious, where creatures the light has never seen live and thrive. Those gorgeous eyes looked at me, and there was love in them, but the second he saw me in the doorway, walking toward him, there was lust, desire, and just a heat that brought a blush to my face and an answering heat to my own eyes. Six years after we’d first started dating I was still a little amazed that this most lovely of men wanted me so badly. They talked about burning for each other, and we still did. I never seemed to get over the surprise of turning around and seeing him there. You’d think I’d get used to seeing such a beautiful man and knowing he was mine, but it never grew old, as if his beauty and the fact that he was mine, and I was his, would forever surprise me.”