Yet more fan art.

Readers continue to be talented, art continues to be amazing.

Driggs3_Zil Sacan

Driggs, by Zil S.

Uncle Mort_Jasmine Ryan

Uncle Mort, by Jasmine R.

Lex and Elysia_Llana Reading

Lex and Elysia eyes, by Llana R.

Driggs2_Zil Sacan

More Driggs, by Zil S.

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Behind the Book – CROAK, Chapter #12


Behind the Book is an ongoing series wherein I tackle a new chapter of Croak each week and give you all of the secret, behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia that went into writing it. For an archive of past chapters, click here. To read the spoilers, highlight the blank spaces marked with <<hi>>; proceed at your own risk if you haven’t read the entire series. Enjoy!

Chapter 12: The Hosing

  • Deleted Scene Alert: In addition to the airplane explosion, Driggs trained Lex in a few more extreme examples of death, including a shark attack and a fire, but it started dragging on too long so they got cut. Luckily, <<I got to ressurrect them in Rogue, as part of the training modules in Necropolis.>>
  • I can’t help picturing Heloise as a younger, less wrinkly version of Izma from The Emperor’s New Groove. Which is one of my favorite Disney movies. Because it has llamas. And is also hilarious.
  • The whole thing about the onion rings – how they are not offered as lightly as French fries are, and thus carry a certain weight about them – is something I truly believe. French fries are for acquaintances, onion rings are for true friends.
  • I like Sofi. No, really! She likes pink, she does some annoying things, and <<okay, yes, she goes on to totally betray the gang in Scorch>>, but at this point she’s just a girl who has an unrequited crush on a boy, and acts a little weird and desperate because of it. Girl, I have been there. In junior high, the boy that I had a major crush on called me out of the blue one day (!!!), but it turned out he just wanted help with our music class assignment. By which I mean that he wanted me to do it for him. And of course I did. Because of his STUPID BEAUTIFUL EYES. I regret everything. Not only because you shouldn’t give away your hard work and intelligence just because a boy bats his stupid beautiful eyes at you, but also because he never even asked me to dance at the end-of-the-year semi-formal. Sofi, I feel you.
  • The avocado-colored rotary phone that Uncle Mort owns is taken directly from my own childhood. I would give ANYTHING to still have it.
  • I want the scene of Driggs wrangling an out-of-control water hose in the background to be constantly happening in the background of my own life.

Got any questions about Chapter 12? Post them below!

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Call for bloggers, website-havers, professional loudmouths

Sketch 2014-10-10 15_26_14

Hey readers! Any of you out there have blogs? Or websites? Or hologram machines? Just kidding about that one?

Do you like posting videos? Like, say, book trailers?

Do you want to help get some buzz going about the upcoming release of HELLHOLE?

I think you can see where I’m going with this. I’m going to be releasing the trailer for HELLHOLE soon, and I’d like your help in getting it in front of as many of my readers – and your readers – as we can, in a big multi-blog trailer reveal. And there’s some free swag in it for you!

If you’re interested, please fill out the following form and I will send you more info. Thanks!

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Office Overhaul: the Dirt-Cheap Standing Desk

As I mentioned a while back and then never again because I was too busy moving into a new house: I recently moved to a new house. And while there are plenty of brag-worthy, utterly genius things that I have done to the place (installed towel racks! organized my spices! hung a picture!) the one area where I have focused most of my attention has been my new office.

IMG_2947The dog came with the room and won’t leave.

My previous office was a glorified closet, so when I gained a little bit more room to work with here, I got excited. (Some have suggested that painting the already-white room a slightly whiter shade of white is not “getting excited” but rather “nutballs”. I respectfully disagree.) If you’re like me, you are alarmingly rabid about seeing and hearing other people’s workspaces, so in the upcoming weeks I will try and post some of the highlights of what I’ve done with the place. But for now, we’ll just start with my pride and joy: the thrown-together-yet-classy cheap-ass standing desk.

I know that standing desks are kind of a fad at the moment, and have been called everything from life-changing to The Dumbest Thing Ever, but I once worked at a job where the computers were at a raised level and I detected a notable difference in how productive I was when standing. Plus, writing books requires a LOT of sitting. A lot. As in, see above at how comfy my office chair needs to be. It’s practically a couch on wheels.

I was beginning to feel like a beached whale, if beached whales ever blob up on shore with a laptop and a deadline. So I decided that I’d try a standing desk for everything other than actual writing – blogging, website-maintaining, emailing, etc. (As for the area I will now be using for writing…that’s a future blog post.) But since I didn’t know for sure whether it was something that I’d stick with, I didn’t want to drop a lot of money on it. So I improvised. And since improvising means working with what you’ve got, I looked around at what I had.

What I had was moving boxes. Dozens of them.

I grabbed four big ones, taped them up, painted them white, and got to stacking. (As for the dangers of using mere cardboard to prop up a desk: there are none. As long as they’re positioned right, they’re perfectly stable.) (I hope.) For the desk itself, I used an old table top from Ikea. (Yes, I shop at Ikea so much that I just have random Ikea table tops lying around. GO AHEAD AND JUDGE.) I painted that sucker white as well, then ran into a problem: the paint wasn’t completely smooth, and was slightly tacky to the touch, which wouldn’t bode well for desk-related activities. So I headed to my new second home, the hardware store, where I found a sheet of clear acrylic that I got cut to the size of the desktop, then slapped that puppy on top.

It fit perfectly, but something was missing. The desk was too white. It needed something snappy, something cool. It needed…words.


So I printed up the first couple of chapters of The Count of Monte Cristo (a personal fav), slid them under the sheet, propped up my monitor with some giant books, and there you have it – a fancy literary standing desk for less than $50.

IMG_2936Detailed analysis of all the crazy crap on my walls may begin…now.
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Behind the Book – CROAK, Chapter #11


Behind the Book is an ongoing series wherein I tackle a new chapter of Croak each week and give you all of the secret, behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia that went into writing it. For an archive of past chapters, click here. To read the spoilers, highlight the blank spaces marked with <<hi>>; proceed at your own risk if you haven’t read the entire series. Enjoy!

Chapter 11: The Straightening

  • For anyone who’d like to read more deeply into Lex’s hair transformation, I’ll just throw it out there that most of the waking hours of my adolescence were focused on trying to straighten my birds-nest hair into something presentable. *cough, wish fulfillment, cough*
  • But actually, I get asked a lot why hair changes as a result of going into the Ether. It’s because I wanted Grims to experience physical effects as a result of what they do, since what they do is so extraordinary. It’s the same reason their fingers get thinner.
  • Now that I’m reading this over, the part where Uncle Mort goes to get the slides for the projector – do people these days even know what slides are? I mean, I hope not. Those things were awful.
  • In the library, Lex looks at the photos of Grims from years past. When I wrote this, <<I was already envisioning the scene in Rogue when Lex spots the photo of her mother.>>
  • Throughout all of the drafts of Croak, the rules of the Grimsphere had been called the Laws. The very last decision that my editor and I made before the manuscript went into final edits was to switch them to the Terms of Execution. It’s officialer.
  • 99% of all the emails I send are identical in tone to Cordy’s email to Lex. I think all I had to do was change the names.
  • The last sentence of this chapter is <<a giant hunk of foreshadowing. Lex has a sudden urge to break the glass of the jellyfish tank, which, as revealed in Rogue, is what her mother was kicked out of the Grimsphere for doing.>>

Got any questions about Chapter 11? Post them below!

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Pre-order HELLHOLE, get free prizes, escape eternal damnation

Sketch 2014-09-29 21_33_50

Okay, I can’t promise that last thing. But if you pre-order HELLHOLE, you will get free prizes.

My newest bookling will be coming out on January 6th, 2015. That’s right after the holidays, and let’s face it, sometimes after the holidays you feel a little too lazy to do a single friggin’ thing. I personally hibernate in a food coma that lasts well until Valentine’s Day, at which point I wake up, eat several heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and go back to sleep until Easter.

So why not get all your literary bases covered ahead of time? Here’s the sweet, sweet deal: Through the whole month of October, if you send me proof that you have pre-ordered HELLHOLE, I will send you a nifty little swag pack, along with a Fancy Special Edition Pre-order Illustration, signed by me, that will ONLY be available through this giveaway. I can’t show you what it looks like, but here’s a tiny peek:



All you have to do is:

1. Preorder the book through your favorite online retailer (here are links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound to get you started) or through your own local bookstore
2. Submit/forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to my email address
3. Profit.

The fine print: Offer valid through the month of October. Open to US addresses only (here’s why). One entry per person, please. Feel free to obscure any extraneous details on the receipt, as long as the proof of purchase of HELLHOLE is clear to see. Shake well before using.

And then, obviously, enjoy the book when you receive it in January. Better yet, hit yourself in the head with a mallet to give yourself amnesia so that it’ll be a surprise when you receive it! Best head injury ever!

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