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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off to the Algonquin!

Well, it's finally here: Backspace 2007 begins tonight! Off to the Algonquin Hotel in NYC! Back late Saturday.

Be good while I'm gone. And if you're evil, don't get caught.


Saturday, May 26, 2007


So I don't know which is worse: having brain farts while writing the Hell novella that's due July 1, or Superman Returns.

Actually, yes, I do know which is worse. I can revise the novella, even start over if necessary.

But I'll never get those 2.5 hours of my life back. Holy crap, what a LONG movie.

Gawd, I hated that movie. (But Bam, yes, Brandon looked nice in blue.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

LOST -- I've Got It Figured Out

So last night was the LOST season finale. I was less than impressed -- some things REALLY didn't work for me. But...after reading posts on Backspace and Absolute Write about the episode (what, you think writer forums are all about the writing?), I've come up with a theory.

Avast, here be spoilers. Read no more if you're gonna get all upset with me for mentioning something you didn't know.

Here's my theory: It's all in Desmond's mind. The Island, the Others, the Losties...everything. Desmond is told by Brother Campbell that he has a higher calling outside of the abbey. And Desmond caused the plane crash of Oceanic Flight 815 when he almost didn't input the code on time in the hatch. It's Desmond who is recognized by Naomi when she first parachutes onto the Island. He's the central figure. Penny is searching for Desmond. Desmond was the one who had to punch in the damned code -- to save the world. Desmond was the one who had a boat on and off the Island.

It's all about Desmond.

What's more, Desmond is the Merlin of the group; he sees the future. We already know he saw Charlie's future. What's to stop him from doing so with the others? (Or the Others, for that matter?) Perhaps Jack's flashforward was truly Desmond? If that's the case, then it's easy to speculate that Desmond could see the past as well -- the past of all the characters.

Why is he such a central force? I'm saying it's because everything from the very first episode has been in his head.

None of this is real -- except for Desmond himself.

I'm guessing that the last episode will show Desmond in an asylum (probably Hurley and Libby's asylum), and this was all a figment of his imagination, a la St. Elsewhere. It would explain all the connections between the Losties, all the impossible coincidences that bind them all together. Maybe Jack is his doctor there, which is why Jack himself is such a pivotal character.

That's my theory.

Whatcha think?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Daun and Jezzie at Bam's

Party at Bam's site! Jezzie interviews Daun! Chance for a prize! Come check it out!

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Check it out -- Dee at PNR interviewed li'l ol' me! (Well -- little, anyway. Thirty-six is still young. Ish.)

Thanks, Dee!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Of Spiders and Sex Talk

So I was in NYC on Wednesday, both for the day job (had to get a new computer, plus meet with our designers) and for the In the Flesh erotic reading series that night. And I'm still alive! Squee!

I had to kill time between work and the reading, so I saw Spider-Man 3. Spiffy. Loved the fight scenes--oh, Sandman was way cool, and Venom was nice and terrifying. But I have some questions for those who would know (Meljean, you reading this?)

1. Didn't Gwen Stacy get tossed off a bridge by the Green Goblin and, like, die? Or was that strictly comic-book only?

2. Eddie Brock...a photographer? REALLY? Wasn't he in prison before the whole symbiote thing happened? (And was that really Topher Grace from That Seventies Show? Dude's grown up...)

3. Is Mary Jane ever going to get tired of being the perpetual DID (damsel in distress)? If there's a Spider-Man 4, do you think they'll morph her character with Felicia Whatshername and make her the Black Cat?

4. Why does Evil Peter have good hair and Good Peter have nerd hair? Why can't nerds have good hair?

5. Did anyone else want to slap MJ during the first third of the movie? Whine, whine, whine, why don't they love me? Why didn't I get a good review? Man, could you imagine if she were an author--she'd cry her redheaded heart out if Bam or Mrs Giggles read her work.

These are the questions that plague me.

So, the reading! I was very nervous when I got to the Happy Ending Lounge -- I didn't know what to expect, and God knows, I'm not a good public speaker. But I met a bunch of terrific people, plus my mom showed up with four friends.

Let me say that again. My mom, with four friends in tow, showed up to support me as I read my big ol' nookie scene from Hell's Belles. Aloud. In public. Does my mom kick ass, or what?

I was fifth in the lineup, out of six readers. So I had the chance to listen to most of the others before it was my turn -- and that helped a lot. Calmed me down. Gave me a chance to drink heavily. By the time I got called up, I was ready. And buzzed. And...I think it went well! I thanked my mom for being there (everyone applauded for her; how cool was that?), and then I launched into the scene. And I forgot to be nervous. Yay! Right after Jezzie climaxed, I stopped reading and said into the mike: "Having fun yet, Mom?" The entire place broke up, and I made Mom blush. Hee! (Love you, Ma!)

All in all, it was fabulous, and I hope I can do it again.

YO: Note to any erotica authors out there--or if you're an author with nookie scenes in your work: Rachel from In the Flesh is looking for more readers in her lineup! Please do contact her.

So I'm working on the novella, A HELL OF A TIME. Yay, me! And I just sent a new dark paranormal-romance proposal to my agent. We'll see what he says...

Doing a signing in Saratoga Springs tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 pm, at the Borders on Route 50. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 14, 2007

If You're In NYC...

To all readers in the NYC area: I'll be doing a reading from HB as part of the In The Flesh erotica reading series at the Happy Ending Lounge (heh, appropriately named, no?) THIS WEDNESDAY (May 16), starting at 8 pm:

302 Broome St (Between Forsyth Street and Eldridge Street)
New York, NY 10002
Phone: (212) 334-9676

B, D train to Grand St
J/M/Z to Bowery
F to Delancey

Admission: Free!

There will be six readers; I'm listed as No. 5. So even though the event begins at 8, I probably won't be on until around 9:30 pm. By then I should have had at least two glasses of wine, so I'll be too buzzed to be nervous about reading a nookie scene on stage. Gleep!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Yeah, I know, I promised to post RT pictures. And I will. I swear. But first...Mother's Day at Washington Park -- TULIPFEST!!!

See? Tulips!

(By the way, all photos are from our terrific friends, Lisa and Rob. THANKS, GUYS!)

And there were other flowers too.

White flowers...

...and yellowy-orange flowers...

...and orangey-yellow flowers...

...and redish-white flowers.

(What? I don't know, I guess they're all tulips. It was Tulipfest.)

And here there be dragons!

<-- Tax Deduction the Elder

<-- Tax Deduction the Younger

And here's all of us, me and the Kessler Crew, including Jackie's Mom in the funky orange hat, and Rob and Lisa with their two girls, Princess the Elder and Princess the Younger. (Yes, Lisa and I have set the date for a double wedding for the kids. Why do you ask?)

My boys are so fabulous. They brought home projects they made for me in school: a flower pot (painted), another flower pot (not painted, but filled with silk flowers), a homemade address book, beautiful homemade (okay, schoolmade) cards, and a photo in a homemade frame. And they gave me new fuzzy slippers. Loving Husband got me a satin bathrobe and a matching nightie. Woot! We all had a great time with my mom, who swears this was the best Mother's Day ever. (Of course, that could have been the wine talking...) We love you, mom!

I hope all moms out there had a lovely day today.

Completely unrelated: Just watched The Sopranos. Holy crap. I need me a stiff drink.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"And Then, Depression Set In"

Man, for the past few days, I've been wandering around in a funk. Loving Husband thinks it's because I'm done (stick a fork in me) with revisions to Hotter Than Hell and sent the manuscript to my agent. This is it -- the last in the three-book contract. (It's also the best thing I've ever written. Eva. Seriously. Yeah, I know, I say that after I'm done with every book I write. This time, I mean it.)

Okay, yes, I have a contract for a Hell novella for a Kensington anthology, and I've begun that (thanks, Heather, Caitlin, and all the Write Ons). But once that's done (and that will probably be before the Backspace Conference in a few weeks)...then that's it.


Sure, I've got two projects on submission. And I have two more under way. But...it's not the same thing.

Loving Husband says that some authors get all maudlin and crap when they're done with a manuscript. I don't know, a sort of literary post-partum (partem? too lazy to look it up) depression, or something like that. Maybe that's what this is.


So my dad called me today to say that he read The Road to Hell. Enjoyed it. Says he liked Hell's Belles better, but he thinks that's because that story was completely novel, and this one felt more familiar. He also said that he thinks the writing is better in The Road to Hell. And he said the book "is raunchy as hell." I told him he was supposed to skip those parts. He said that he skipped ahead to GET to those parts.

I'm scarred for life.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Romantic Times, Part The Third

Long day today. Tax Deduction the Elder was home sick with bronchitis, but he was well enough to run an errand with Loving Husband this afternoon. Boom--car accident. They're both fine, thank God, as is the other driver. But the car? Intensive care, a la insurance. Ugh. Anyway.

Where was I with RT? I think I got as far as the awards luncheon. Did I mention the time that Richelle, Cathy and I went out to Mickey D's to discuss promotion (of our books, not of the Golden Arches), and then went to bond at Macy's and help Richelle get a new purse? Okay, I guess I did. Good. I won't mention it again.

So. Friday afternoon, more panels. More drinks. (Just not during the panels.) Found out lots of stuff about the YA urban fantasy market, thanks to MaryJanice (I am SUCH a fangirl), Gena Showalter (who is so freaking cute and adorable and has written something like 30 books all before she turned 25 that if I didn't love her so much I'd hate her) and Marianne Mancusi, who was really smart and funny and I'm insanely jealous of her too. I asked why Mary used her MaryJanice "I Write Books With Vampires Having Sex Upside Down In The Deep End of the Pool" Davidson name for her YA stuff, and she told us that, apparently, the name "MaryJanice Davidson" is marketable. Who'da thunk it? By the way, for my next book, I'm using the pen name Mary Janice Davidson. (What? It's not her name. Mine would have a space between "Mary" and "Janice.")

And then I was all paneled out. Which is good, because Friday night I went out with Rachel Caine and her husband Cat, Richelle and her husband Michael, and Media Blvd Magazine reporter Christina. (Yes, I was Christina's husband for the dinner.) I learned all about Rachel's spiffy scar (it's quite the story) and had quite a terrific time. (Crap -- did the dinner happen on Thursday night instead of Friday night? Oh, what the hell do I know? I don't blog in real time. Well, at one point, we all went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Pick a day.)

I called home around 7 pm local time. Tax Deduction the Younger said to me, "Mom, I miss you. When you come over?" And I said, "I'll be home in two nights, pumpkin." And he said, "That takes forever." Ripped my heart right out of my chest. I love my boys. Sigh. I told him I loved him and his brother and I'd be home soon.

Sometimes, it's really hard being a mom and being an author.

Back at the ranch (what? It was Texas; I'm allowed to say that) it was time for...Heather Graham's Vampires of the Wild, Wild West dinner/music theater shindig. We wound up sitting way the hell up front, and I got a prime spot to watch the amazing Alexandra Sokoloff (have you read her fabulous horror novel, The Harrowing? No? Stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and go buy it. Go on, I'll wait...) dress up like a vampire saloon gal called Sacajawea (don't ask). And best of all: ALEX SANG. Hell, they ALL sang, but I know Alex personally from Backspace. AND SHE'S A GREAT SINGER! Of course, I was quite depressed -- apparently, to be an author these days, it's not enough to have a book trailer. Now you also need a music video. I'm freaking doomed.

Then there was the hotel bar. And drinking. And planning to take over the world. Wait, that last may have only been in my mind. Dunno. Anyway.

Saturday. THE BOOK FAIR, bwahahah! But before the evil laugher was...breakfast. Me, Richelle and Lila ate overpriced eggs, which we totally justified as fortifying ourselves for the madness that was to ensue. So, about $25 later (hey, I had two eggs, lay off), we refilled stock at Promotion Lane and grabbed some of it for the fair...and then went to our assigned stations at the Room That Housed Many Authors And Books. Holy crow (yes, this is a blatant plug for Jeri Smith-Ready and her Eyes of Crow), it was CRAZINESS. And I don't do crazy; I gave all that up when I moved out of Brooklyn. But I toughened up, set up my station, got yelled at for having a huge Hell's Belles sign in the aisle, was attended to by the fabulous Jessica and the Yahoos (THEY GAVE ME CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRIES. THEY SO ROCK), and set up all my swag, which consisted of:
  • Bookmarks
  • Pens
  • Post-It Note pads
  • ROAD cover flats
And 25 copies of Hell's Belles. TWENTY-FIVE COPIES? Eek! How the hell was I going to convince 25 people to buy my book? Barring stuffing each with a twenty-dollar bill, I was clueless...until I decided to not be daunted by the scary-big line of readers hovering by Charlaine Harris's table and instead started offering post-it note pads to basically everyone who walked by. And then striking up a conversation. And mentioning my fabtabulous raffle basket, which would be given away at 1 pm and which included a signed copy of Hell's Belles. And launching into my description of the book ("It's about a succubus who runs away from Hell, hides on Earth as an exotic dancer, and learns the hard way about true love. Sex, strippers, demons -- what's not to like?").

And wouldn't you know it -- I sold out.

(I also sold out this past Saturday at a booksigning near my home. To complete strangers. I'm seriously stoked.)

After the insanity that was the book fair, Richelle, Michael and I went out to an Italian Restaurant for the best-tasting meal I had in Houston. At 7 pm was MaryJanice's party in her suite, where she gave out tons of swag (I won a Sleeping With the Fishes tee shirt AND the UK version of the book--what a cool cover!) and about 40 of us ate pizza and schmoozed. Good times were had by all. I got to my room around 11 pm, where I proceeded to pack (read: stuff all my stuff into a suitcase and all my promo things into a box. Came with 7 boxes; left with 1. Either lots of people loved my swag, or all my stuff is rotting in a dumpster somewhere in Texas. Heart-shaped stressballs, decorating Southern landfills. Nah).

Sunday was all about breakfast with Cathy, getting my last box shipped home, getting a ride to the airport (Ter, I owe you one), hanging out near the gate with Jeanne, and then...going home. I walked in around 9 pm, and I ran upstairs to give my boys kisses even though they'd be fast asleep...only to find they'd been waiting up for me. They ran out of their beds and jumped on me and pelted me with kisses and hugged me.

I love my boys.

Before he went to sleep, Tax Deduction the Elder said, "Mom, you're not going away ever again, right?"

And I said, "Not for a long time, honey." And I cancelled my RWA national convention trip that very night. Leaving for five full days once a year is enough.

It's good to be home.

NEXT: RT photos

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Romantic Times, Part Deux

Yes, I know, bad blogger. It's been a week, and I haven't posted part 2 of my RT trip, let alone post pictures. Well, I still haven't gotten the photos developed yet (ugh, sorry), but I promise to post those as soon as I get them.

Couple things first: One, I have a new Hell's Belles contest going on at Cat and Muse -- and it's not my Hell's Belles! For a chance to win one of three fabulous clutch purses or pocketbooks from the amazing Hell's Belles Finishing School for Girls, check out the post titled "Back in School" and leave a comment for a chance to win. The contest is going on now through FATHER'S DAY (June 17), 7:59 pm EDT, so there's plenty of time to leave a comment. Or two. Tell your friends. Go on, leave a comment. All the cool kids are doing it. First one's free.

Second, I'll have a new interview going live on Cat and Muse later today -- the uber-talented Colleen Gleason (author of The Rest Falls Away and Rises the Night) allowed Jezebel to interview Victoria Gardella, intrepid heroine of her wonderful dark paranormal series. Victoria is still blushing. Check Cat and Muse later today; it's a great interview. And if you haven't read The Rest Falls Away yet, you're missing out on an amazing read. And the sequel? Even better. (Yeah, I read the ARC. Being an author has its privileges. I read cool books before they're available. God, I love my job.)

And now...Romantic Times, Part Deux. Otherwise known as Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday was a whirlwind. MaryJanice Davidson had invited me to co-host a Cinnamon Buns Mixer with her and Michele Bardsley (it took me all of two seconds to think it through before I squeed out a YES!!!), so I had to meet Jessica Growette -- Mary's fabulous publicist, promotions expert and all-around terrific person -- at something ungodly like 8 am. (I make that sound like a hardship. Meanwhile, I was getting up at 6 am every morning so that I could call home and speak to my Precious Little Tax Deductions before they went to school. Loving Husband, too, but let's face it: I wouldn't have set my alarm to call him. I love him more than anything...but voluntarily losing sleep? Nah, that's reserved for the kids. AND BOYS: Remember, Mommy wants a DELUXE apartment in the retirement community you dump her in when she's old and decrepit. Cabin Boy optional.)

Right, so I met Jessica in the fabled Window Box Room Area Place (or whatever it was called). Of course, everything was already set up by then, because Jessica is touched by God and magicked it all up in record time. Plus a whole bunch of the Yahoos -- Mary's fans, on her Yahoo Group, and a nicer, funnier bunch of people you'll never meet) were there to help. And bwahahahaha, I got to call Richelle at 8:15 am to remind her to come to the event. I GOT TO WAKE UP RICHELLE AND NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT IT! (Actually, she was already awake. But the story sounds better without that part.) ANYWAY. So, Mary and Tony were there and Michele was there, and Jessica made sure we all had about a zillion assorted pens for signing. Our swag was there. Our gift baskets for prizes were there.

Er, gift baskets?

Uh oh.

Yeah, I had the two big prize baskets for my portion of the giveaways...but the prizes for second and third places? OOPS. CRAP, I KNEW I'd forgotten something in New York...So there you have it: Jackie Kessler, handing out an IOU A SIGNED COPY OF HELL'S BELLES at the breakfast. DUH. Whoever said that authors are organized obviously never met me. And hey, as luck (skill? bribery?) would have it, the person who won second prize was none other than Ter from the Yahoos -- who ALREADY had HB. So she's like, "What do I get, Kessler?" And I'm like, "My undying gratitude?" Which she happily accepted...along with a promise of an ARC of THE ROAD TO HELL (in July or August, from what I hear). Actually, Ter is now on my auto-ARC list. Yes, there is such a thing. Yes, you, too, can get on my auto-ARC list. A good way to start? Chocolate. Lots of it. (I'm kidding. Sort of.)

When the doors opened at 8:30 (ish), WHOOM, everyone zoomed in to see Mary, Tony and Michele. Me, I got to sip my coffee and grin at the whole thing, thinking, "One day, I'll be a grown up author too! Yay! I like this life!" And I got to meet lovely people from Backspace (Hi, Renee!) and the inimitable Lila Dubois (Hi, Lila!) and many book reviewers (Danny Firedragon from Love Romances & More brought me CHOCOLATE! From Germany! The whole auto-ARC thing? You KNOW Danny's on the list!) and Debi Murray (HAH, see, Debi? I finally got it RIGHT) from Charlaine Harris's Charlatans and wow, many more people. I signed bags and bookmarks, and I talked, and I had a terrific time. And Mary, who's so freaking nice that it makes my head spin, is very tall, and I am very short. She could use my head as an elbow rest. I wouldn't mind. She's MaryJanice Davidson! Use me! Use me!

And then it was over, and I zoomed up to the Urban Fantasy Panel at 10 am. Picture this: a looooong table, with headlining, bestselling authors seated in a row, including Rachel Caine, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher...zillions more. It felt that way, anyway. Agent Miriam Kriss was there too. I ran up, took a picture of the panelists, and told Rachel that I felt like the biggest fan girl ever. Great panel. I asked them, "If, in paranormal romance, you know there's going to be a happily ever after, what do you know is going to happen in urban fantasy?" And the answer was, "Bad things will happen." Heh, yeah, that's about right.

Now it's 11 am, and it's time for Kensington's I Break For Romance signing! I run down to the second floor, see roughly a hundred people swarming in a space that could seat five comfortably. And I see Richelle, with a stack of Succubus Blues novels in her arms, looking shell-shocked, and she says to me, "You want to see the woman in the brown coat." So I find the woman in the brown coat (who must be related to the man in the yellow hat), and she pumps my hand and says she's thrilled to meet me...and dumps a stack of Hell's Belles novels into my arms and tells me to find a seat. I wedge between Richelle and Jacki Frank (author of Jacob and Gideon in The Nightwalkers series), and lo! There were readers, eager to get a free signed copy. Squee! Of course, I was a goober and signed in a blue ballpoint pen. I think I was supposed to sign in black. Oops. Well, I write about demons. I'm supposed to break the natural law and shit like that. I SIGNED IN BLUE, BABY. I'm a rebel! And, um, I was also quietly plugging Succubus Blues! Yeah, that was it!

[I just paused to check my email. And once again, some chick posted a spam comment on my MySpace page. ARGH.]

After the insanity that was the Kensington signing came the little piece of Hell called...Club RT. Picture, if you will, a small room lined with gift baskets and raffle tickets and vendors selling jewelry and scarves and stuff like that and RT staffers and, oh, about a zillion people. It was a choice of having an anxiety attack on the spot or grinning and going with the flow. Tough call, but I grinned. And soon I was sitting with Richelle, Lila, Jacki, Bianca D'Arc, and the Price sisters, Stella and Audra. And we raffled away lovely jewelry in conjunction with our novels. We were the Dragons, Demons and Demigods section. And I think the Club RT staffers feared us. It was fun. The wonderful Elle won a Shield Against Evil. Enjoy, Elle!

Then there was the RT Awards Ceremony. I only saw part of it -- long enough to see Backspacer Jenny Gardiner win the Dorchester American Title contest for her novel, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver -- GO, JENNY!!! Couldn't stay too long because I had a meeting (we authors do things like Meet and Talk and Drink) scheduled at the same time. But all was good -- Jacki Frank won the RT award for best paranormal romance 2006 for Jacob. Congrats, Jacki!

Wow, I haven't even gotten to Friday afternoon yet. Long-assed post. I'll write more later (RT: Part Trois -- this time, it's not about the sex) -- because man, I haven't even gotten to the part where Alexandra Sokoloff sings on stage or the fabled Book Fair. Stay tuned. (And I'll update the links and whatnot later also. Promise!)