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Stop that right now.

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I love making this kind of post, because three things happen:

  1. Someone agrees and reminds me of something I didn’t cover.
  2. Someone disagrees and accuses me of being jealous of Twilight.
  3. Someone points out where I have done exactly one of these things in my own books.

But, inspired by a conversation with an editor friend last night, I decided this post was necessary.


Okay, first of all, stop with the soul mates. I’m serious. No more fucking soul mates. Do you know what “soul mates” means in the book world? It means, “I, the author, am too lazy to let my hero or heroine get to know someone and build a lasting connection with them. Instead, I will mash them together like two dolls in the dreamhouse nightmare world of my story.” Is there anything wrong with instant attraction? Not at all. Should it be a mystical, binding force that is unbreakable and permanent? No. Why is a relationship that two characters choose to be in somehow inadequate? What is it about fate or destiny, in which your characters have no choice but to be together, that seems so appealing? How about this: would you rather know that your significant other was with you because they wanted to be, or because they had to be? You probably have your answer. SO STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.

This next one does not apply to any long running series that are out there. I’m thinking specifically of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series and Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampires, but there are possibly others, they’re all exempt. But to anyone who is currently writing a vampire book set in New Orleans, stop it right now. Listen, we all know why you’re wanting to set your book there. Because there are a lot of vampires there, so says Anne Rice. Well, the reason Anne set up vampire shop in New Orleans is because it’s her home, and she knew the area well. Also, it has a lot of history and a vampire could live there for a long time. But there are a lot of other cities that have been around a long time, that vampires could have a good time living in. Boston. Philadelphia. New York. Lots of fun places in the United States where vampires can romp and play. The thing is, once you put your vampires in New Orleans, the next step is, you’re going to make them French. It just makes sense. Now, they’re French, and living in New Orleans. Then, you’re going to think, “Hmmm, the clothes that were around when New Orleans really started to blossom as a shipping port were awesome. I bet my vampire would retain some of that characteristic style, while incorporating some modern day pieces.” Now, they’re French, living in New Orleans, and dressed like prince. Then, you slap on some French name, and there you go, he’s Lestat. And with everything that New Orleans has gone through lately, maybe they don’t need your carbon-copy vampires running around the city they’re trying to rebuild, okay?

I’m sure someone will remember a time I had a book set in New Orleans, or a vampire who was French and just like Lestat, or a pair of soul mates, but whatever. Do what I say, not what I do, all right?

Colin Firth has special powers.

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You may know him as Mr. Darcy from the miniseries version of “Pride and Prejudice.” You may know him as… well, Mr. Darcy (okay, Mark Darcy, but really, you know it’s the same character) from “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” He was the hot painter dude who died of a broken heart or something, I got bored at the end and wandered away, in “The Girl With The Pearl Earring.” But what you may not know about Colin Firth are the lies I’m going to make up about him right now.

  • If the Easter Bunny is unable to carry out his appointed duties, the responsibilities of his position default back to Colin Firth.
  • Colin Firth is invulnerable to illness and most conventional weapons, but not sadness. He can be defeated with a single VHS copy of “Steel Magnolias.”
  • Colin Firth has special powers that allow him to read your mail through the envelope. Unless that envelope is lined with lead.
  • One time, Colin Firth punched out a mime. To be fair, the mime had it coming.
  • If you turn out all the lights in your bathroom and say his name three times while looking at the mirror, Colin Firth will come out of your shower dressed like Mr. Darcy. But not from the lake scene, so make sure your shower isn’t actually on when you try this.
  • Once, Colin Firth traveled on foot from a commune in Oregon to a farm in Paraguay, and he worked there for about four years.
  • If you throw salt over your shoulder, make sure none of it hits Colin Firth, because he is allergic.
  • There is a very specific kind of static electric charge created when a sweater and two stuffed animals are put in the dryer at the same time. This charge is known as “Colin Firth Electricity.” No one knows why.

Actual, career related shit.

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Okay, peep this: I have a really fantastic new website up.

Now, you might be saying, “Jen, where did the fanart go? Because I totally drew you some and it used to be on your site, but now it isn’t!” Well, I guess I’m not supposed to encourage people to infringe on my intellectual properties or something. So, it’s not up on the site anymore. But the good news is, I will still look at, save, and cherish every piece of fan mail I receive.

You might also be wondering, “Jen, WTF happened to your podcast?” It will be returning very soon. I’ve already got the first new installment recorded, so bully for that. Details will be posted here and on my website, when the time is right.

I want coffins, damnit.

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It seems I can’t get away from the bloodsuckers. Apparently, I will be writing a brand spanking new vampire novel for Mira. And that’s fine with me. But it’s hard to come up with ideas that are fresh in a genre that everyone is tired of. Not to mention the fact that any book with a vampire in it, no matter what that vampire is doing, is written off as “just another vampire book.” Seriously, if they head read Dracula in Reading Lolita in Tehran, that would have been reviewed as a vampire book.

So, how to make something people are going to want to read, that is free from the pitfalls of modern stories? I have to say, I’m going to have to start with the heroine. Now, in Blood Ties, Carrie Ames was a doctor. But it seems like there are only three professions that ever run into vampires in fiction these days: doctors (and medical examiners), detectives, and vampire slayers.

Doctor, I’ve already done. Detective? So many people have detectives, I want to set this one out. Vampire slayers? Again, what can I do to distinguish my vampire slayer for anyone else’s vampire slayer? Give her three tits? I’m at a loss here.

So, there is problem number one. I remember someone had a dentist who met a vampire with a broken fang, and while that’s cute, I’m not really “cute,” am I? I mean, I am cute, but my writing style, not so much.

Then, there is the vampire. Yes, I suppose he could be human and she could be a vampire, but I’m not interested in that, damnit. I like my vampires to be sexy, and have wieners. So many people have been saying they’re tired of vampires who don’t like being vampires, but I don’t know… I’m not sure I could make a romance out of a guy who loves killing folks.

I want coffins in this story, though. I know that. In the Blood Ties series, everyone slept in beds. But this time, I want coffins.

More to come.

Public Service Announcement. You Are The Public, And I’m Gonna Fucking Service You.

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Okay, I know that authors, especially female authors in genre fiction, are supposed to be this supportive little cluster of hens who never say anything bad about each other because viewing other women as competition is wrong and we’re above that and also we’re really creative and creative people need to stick together because we’re so misunderstood blah blah bullshit bullshit bullshit let’s pretend like this isn’t a business and we’re a big sorority instead.

That’s why I’m not going to name names here. I’m just going to give a little constructive criticism, okay? And it can be about whoever you want to make it about, or maybe you could just take it to heart, in case you start spouting off incredible bullshit one day.

If your first novel came out in the early nineties, you did not “pioneer” vampire fiction. You did not create the Urban Fantasy genre. Buffy did not steal anything from you. Twilight owes nothing to you.

You are still relevant. You are still special. You are still selling more books than anyone else in your genre.

You do not need to wave the banner of “I was first.” Because you weren’t. Vampire myths, even vampire fiction, was around a lot longer than your books. Unless you wrote that first vampire novel while in the Tardis visiting Queen Nefertiti, you didn’t start the vampire trend.

A lot of people have been first. Marie Curie was the first person to discover radium. She died from radiation poisoning. Being first isn’t always the best.

Buck up, buttercup. There are literally hundreds of us out here, our noses to the keyboards, trying to make a living with our writing. You did it. You succeeded. You’re good enough. Stop with the ridiculous claims that no one is buying. You didn’t pioneer the vampire genre anymore than Al Gore pioneered the fucking internet. Be happy with what you’ve done and the success you’ve got, and stop acting like your readers are fucking idiots who never heard of Anne Rice, especially when you’ve got a carbon-copy of her main character swishing around your books, okay?

Frank McCourt

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I tend to roll my eyes at celebrity death mourning. You don’t know Farrah Fawcette, you don’t know Betty White. You know what they did, who they pretended to be, and how much you enjoyed it. But Frank McCourt’s death hits me like a truck. This isn’t a celebrity who got famous being someone else. This is a man who shared his life– no matter how controversially– with the world and did it poetically, beautifully, and touched many people’s hearts.

I count myself lucky to be among them. Rest in Peace, Frank.

James Blunt thinks your book is beautiful, Susan Krinard.

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Since the June of Doom is upon us, I thought I would take the time to inform everyone that I am not dead. In fact, I am not famous enough to fulfill any occult significance of the number 3, and therefore I might live forever.

In other news, you can now officially pre-order all of the Lightworld/Darkworld books (Queene of Light, Child of Darkness, Veil of Shadows) from and also something called “chapters,” which I do not actually know what that is, but whatever.

So, if you have ever written a book, or worked in the art department of a major publishing house, you might know that authors are usually asked to fill out something called an “art fact sheet” for the books they have written. The art fact sheet tells the people who design the covers exactly what they need to know about the characters and settings for the book without actually having to read the books.

In theory, the art fact sheet will help the cover artists get the right images of the characters, and the right mood for the story, on the cover. I say in theory because there’s a old Temptation or Blaze from a few years ago, I think it was by Stephanie Bond, but don’t quote me on that, where the hero is in the Marines and the guy on the cover has this big, unruly mop of dark curls. Also, have you ever seen one of those Harlequin Presents books with the so-called “sheiks” on them? Either the person filling out the art fact sheet is saying, “PLZ NO SCARY BROWN PPL, KTHNXBYE,” or the cover artists just aren’t aware that there are probably not that many white guys walking around in Dubai wearing caftans. Seriously, just painting a tan on a white guy doesn’t work, y’all. Same with Native Americans.

Anyway, I digress. There’s a section on the art fact sheet, at least, on the one from Harlequin, where they ask you to include any pictures of people who resemble your characters. Like, okay, when I was filling the art fact sheet out for The Turning, I said Nathan looks like Gerard Butler. Because he so does, I’m not even kidding. But I’ve been noticing lately that either cover artists are looking more and more to celebrities for their inspiration, or there are just a lot of people walking around out there looking like fictional characters by accident.

Here’s the one that got this whole thing spinning around in my mind:

This is the latest (I think) from Susan Krinard. Lord of Legends. Apparently, the hero of this book is the King of the Unicorns. Stop right there, Susan, you had me at Unicorn. I did buy this book, you best believe I did. But you know what initially stopped me? Check out Lord o’ Legend up there in the picture. Where have I seen him before?

Holy crap, it’s famed castrato James Blunt! He’s the Lord of the Unicorns? Of course, it all makes perfect sense now! Underneath that uber-manly, troubadour exterior beats the tender heart of a mythical beast!

So, then I started thinking about other books that had really bizarre resemblances to celebrities. There were two that really stuck out to me. One, being:

David Boreanaz stalking the streets of Crimson City and…

feeding grapes to…

in The Care And Feeding Of A Brad Pitt Pirate. This one makes me wonder if it was supposed to be a Brangelina cover, and the artist just made Angie too chubby round the cheekbones.

So, has anyone else been driven to distraction by this kind of thing lately? What are your favorites?