So…sadly, Chess did not win Round 2 of the Suvudu Cage Match. Kelsier–and Brandon Sanderson’s readers–proved too powerful. Sigh.
BUT. You know what? That’s okay. It’s more than okay, actually. Because while she didn’t win, I didn’t honestly expect her to; the MISTBORN books are huge, it’s an enormously, enormously popular series, and Kelsier is one of those “practically a god” characters in terms of power. I pretty much assumed going in that Chess was outmatched.
More than that, though? Check out the numbers! Chess ended up with 28.78 of the vote; 724 votes!!
That may not seem impressive, but when you look at Kelsier’s first match against Gale Hawthorne from the HUNGER GAMES series…dude. Gale ended up with only 7.67% of the vote; 214 votes total.
This is huge to me, guys, seriously. I’m so flattered, and thrilled, and amazed, that so many of you turned out to support Chess. Really. She got more votes in the battle she lost than some of the winners got in battles they won, and that’s incredible. I can’t thank you all enough for the support.
Which means that even though Chessie lost, I’m posting an excerpt anyway. Because while I can’t say I think my writing is some superspecial prize, I want to at least give you something, and it’s not like I can visit each one of your houses and cook you dinner.
CHASING MAGIC won the “Which book” poll last week, but plenty of you did want an excerpt from SACRIFICIAL, so that’s what I’m going with:( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
Guess what I got this morning? Two copies of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC, right off the presses; yay! As always it’s so exciting to see it as an actual book; it somehow removes it from me a step further, so it doesn’t feel like the manuscript I wrote but this entirely different thing, this actual book.
And it’s so pretty! I love that cover so much, sigh, I really do.
Also: Round Two of the Suvudu Cage Match is up! Chess vs. Kelsier, from Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN novels. Kelsier is a hugely popular character from a hugely popular series, guys so vote early, vote often! Again, for every round Chess wins I will post another excerpt, so this is your chance for another sneak peek! (For those who missed it, here’s the CHASING MAGIC excerpt I posted over the weekend.)
And, as promised, I have the playlist for you!
1. X – Johnny Hit and Run Paulene*
2. The Jam – Eton Rifles
3. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
4. The Circle Jerks – When the Shit Hits the Fan
5. The Damned – New Rose
6. The Vibrators – Baby Baby Baby
7. Operation Ivy – Freeze Up
8. Cringer – Cottleston Pie
9. The Undertones – Male Model
10. Howlin’ Wolf – Evil
11. G.G. Allin – Hell in NYC
Also, we have two new reviews for SACRIFICIAL MAGIC!
So, let’s summarize my feelings for Sacrificial Magic, shall we? ADORATION.
Fans of grittier UF, damaged heroines, adult dystopian, unusual heroes, and the F word will love this book.
And from Babbling About Books (warning: the review contains a few minor spoilers; I won’t quote them here, and again they are minor, but click at your own risk):
Sacrificial Magic is one of my most anticipated reads of 2012 and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s explosive, full of nail biting tension and has incredibly written passages I kept re-reading certain paragraphs because the words sound like poetry to me. Stacia has blown my mind away with Sacrificial Magic. She continues to improves with every book. This is a must read and will most likely be in my top 5 favorite books for this year. Chess and Terrible have become my latest addiction where I wait with bated breath for their next adventure.
Can you believe it’s only fifteen days to go now?
Oh! I’m going to start the contest this week, and don’t forget about the Goodreads Q&A Group! I’ve already answered a couple of questions there, but the fun will really start March 20th, so go join up, chat, ask some questions, all of that!Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
I figured what the hell, I’ll post it now.
CHASING MAGIC was the overwhelming winner! And I’ve tried to pick something that gives some hint of Big Things happening but isn’t a spoiler–this is NOT a spoiler, this excerpt, so don’t worry. It is, as requested, a Chess/Terrible moment, and I get a kick out of it and I hope you guys do too.
For those who don’t want to see anything from CM until after SM comes out, I’ve hidden it under a cut. So, without further ado…( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
So thanks to all of you, Chess won the first round of the Suvudu Cage Match! Look at that, 68% of the votes! YAY!
And epp! Because this means she goes into Round 2, where she will be “fighting” Brandon Sanderson’s Kelsier. Who can manipulate iron, which as you all know is rather a large part of our Chessie’s magical arsenal. Which means, yeah, I’ve got some serious work to do here. I *do* have an ace up my sleeve, of course, but the question is do I want to play it now, or do I want to hold on to it in case she advances further?
I believe Round 2 will be posted on Monday.
I also believe–well, no, I know for a fact–that I promised to share a new excerpt for every round Chess wins. So you tell me, which book do you want an excerpt from for Round 1, SACRIFICIAL MAGIC or CHASING MAGIC? Let me know, and I’ll post it on Monday. (And again, if she wins Round 2 I’ll ask again and post another one.)
You guys are so awesome! I hope you’re having fun with this, too. Writing Chess battling the sorts of characters/creatures she’s not usually up against is a hoot, it really is, so I hope you enjoyed her battle against Babcock and will enjoy her battle against Kelsier. Which is gonna be HARD, yo.
Also either later today or over the weekend or Monday, I will post SACRIFICIAL MAGIC’s playlist!
I’d do a poll here but apparently don’t have that capability. So you’ll just have to “vote” in comments: SACRIFICIAL MAGIC or CHASING MAGIC for the excerpt?Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
The Suvudu Supernatural Cage Match 2012 has started! Sixty-four characters from your favorite (or not-so-favorite) fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi novels, battling it out on the Suvudu blog, and readers pick the winners. And Chess is a “contestant!”
Suvudu asked me to write a battle scene for them; it’s Chess vs. Giles Babcock, the main vampire Big Bad from Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE. Yes, I got to write a scene where Chess fights a vampire, which was something I never thought I’d do, since, you know, they don’t exist in Chess’s world. It was actually really fun, and really fun to kind of play with someone else’s character a bit, and especially to find a way for Chess to beat his vampire ass. Heh heh.
Now. When the Suvudu editors did their “picks” last Friday, they all predicted Chess would lose. Probably because THE PASSAGE was a huge NYT bestseller, and because Babcock is a genetically altered vampire with skin like steel and superspeed and all that stuff.
This clearly shows that the Suvudu editors do not understand that I have the most awesome readership on the planet, because if they did, they would know that genetically-altered-steel-skinned-vampir
So please, take a few minutes to read the scene, and place your vote! Leave a comment! Make your presence known!
If we can get Chess into Round Two–and she is currently ahead, thanks to awesome readers like you guys–I’ll post a special new excerpt from either SACRIFICIAL MAGIC or CHASING MAGIC! (And will do the same for every round she advances.)
I say we show them how things are done in Downside; what do you say?Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
This is something I’ve wondered about for a while–a long while, actually–and a discussion elsewhere has finally prompted me to go ahead and ask. (I want to emphasize that this is all just hypothetical/what ifs/conjecture; I’m not strictly endorsing any of these ideas, just thinking aloud and providing talking points.)
How do we all feel about heroes who masturbate? Especially when thinking of the heroine?
It’s not something we see often, is it? Which is kind of funny, actually; I think this is maybe one place where female sexuality is permitted more expression, because it’s not uncommon to see female MCs engage in a little solo play, but it is–to my knowledge–quite uncommon to see men do it, especially to see them do it to completion. I’ve read a couple of books where the hero perhaps starts to do it, but then realizes what he’s doing and stops himself, for various reasons (“What I’m doing is disrespectful to her/I’m too grown up to do this,” that sort of thing).
Are men just supposed to have more “control” over themselves/their desires, or are they simply supposed to want to only share sexual experiences with the heroine and if she’s not there it’s empty? Is having control over his sexual needs to the point of being able to sublimate them completely another way that the hero becomes the ubermensch: extra strong, extra smart, extra brave, extra controlled? Is he supposed to be so devoted to his heroine that he refuses to or just doesn’t want to have any kind of sexual feelings or release unless she’s involved?
Maybe we just don’t find the mental image of the hero having to wipe off his stomach or rinse the shower walls or whatever afterward to be all that sexy? I mean, even if we find the act arousing/interesting/understandable, thinking about him messing about with a handful of sticky tissues after just…maybe feels a little “teenage boy,” or just a little silly or embarrassing or whatever. Or perhaps it’s because of the porn money shot, which seems to appeal to men much more than women (I’m not saying it absolutely does, just that it seems to be aimed [no pun intended] at men; to my [admittedly sketchy] knowledge, many of the porn films put out by all-female or female-run production companies, or aimed specifically at the female audience, don’t tend to depict the money shot with such vigor and focus and don’t tend to focus so much on “Look! Semen!” as the ultimate sexy sexiness). I mean, again, female masturbation is depicted maybe not regularly, but certainly more often than male, and there’s generally little cleaning up to do after; most women don’t have to check the walls or furniture to make sure no stray fluids shot over there. (Yes, I know about Rainwoman, but she’s hardly the norm.)
Is there something just sort of inherently non-heroic–inherently sad, embarrassing, or pitiful, even–about thinking of the hero all by himself with a head full of fantasies and a bottle of lotion, or something?
Do we perhaps expect him to sate those desires by sleeping with some other woman, and isn’t that sort of worse, really–using some other chick’s body while in his head he’s banging the heroine? Does it change if he feels guilty about it, or doesn’t intend to use the other woman in that way but realizes midway through that he’s pretending she’s someone else?
It just seems to me that, while I would never say “all men masturbate*,” I’m sure a healthy proportion of them do at least occasionally. I find it hard to believe that NO hero in any novel which involves a sexual/romantic relationship ever finds himself trying to sleep one night with a body that absolutely refuses to let him, or finds himself practically unable to walk, especially in those early stages where he’s obsessed/consumed/whatever and is practically a walking hormone. And yet while it’s often considered sexy for the heroine to masturbate thinking of the hero, we almost never see the hero do it (again, from my reading; I freely admit I don’t read very much romance/erotic romance these days if any, so there may well have been a revolution in male masturbation in the last few years). Like I said, I did read it a few times, but the hero never went on to orgasm without the heroine’s actual involvement, i.e. she caught him at it and encouraged him to continue, perhaps lending him a helping hand, or, you know, a helping vagina. (Here, let me loan you this vagina. It’s the helpful sort. Hee.)
Does it feel objectifying, like he’s reducing her to mere jerk-off fodder in his head? Especially if their relationship isn’t yet sexual, does it seem almost like he’s mentally molesting her–taking what he wants without permission, mentally “having” her even if she hasn’t given him permission to do so yet in real life?
Is it maybe that in the world of novels aimed more toward women, with a female audience, men are the ones whose sexuality shouldn’t/doesn’t exist outside female involvement? We’ve all had the uncomfortable sensation of being undressed by a man’s eyes without our permission, so maybe it’s just not something we want to think of a man doing without our knowledge. Or are women simply more uncomfortable with the idea of masturbation in general? I’ve known more than a few women for whom the idea of their boyfriends/husbands watching porn or masturbating is very uncomfortable, even upsetting. So is the idea that the hero shouldn’t be masturbating related to that, or an extension of that, or even a perpetuation of that?
Do we simply not want to write male sexual fantasies? We live surrounded by them; male sexual fantasies are everywhere. Maybe we just don’t want them in our fiction; maybe we want books aimed at women to be about female sexual fantasies, if there are any fantasies being shown, and men can keep theirs to themselves (or, you know, out in popular culture where they are now.)
What do you think? Do you want to read that, or not? Why, if you’re comfortable sharing? Would you feel differently about a male character shown masturbating? What about the “starts to but then realizes he’s doing something wrong” idea/scene? Is the hero masturbating sexy and a sign of how badly he wants the heroine, or is it distasteful or a turn-off? Why? Do you agree or disagree with any of my conjecture?
*I personally dislike the broad assumption that all men or all women masturbate but just refuse to admit it, and that if someone denies it they’re automatically lying. Making such assumptions about the sexual expressions of other people strikes me as rather rude, and taking their denial as a sign that they’re liars just ashamed to admit it is especially rude. Sure, perhaps some people who say they don’t are lying, but I find it hard to believe that no one is being truthful when they say they don’t. There are indeed people who just don’t, for whatever reason, and that’s just as fine and valid as being someone who does.
ETA: Let’s assume for the sake of the discussion that there is a way for the masturbation scene to advance story, plot, and/or character, okay? Obviously we all know that sex-for-sex’s-sake is unnecessary, and I’ve written more than once about that subject here. I’m not so much interested in structure and whether or not the scene fits as in how people feel about those scenes and whether or not they’re sexy/unappealing/whatever, or whether people think another way should be found to advance story/plot/character that doesn’t involve masturbation.Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
First, I got to do the most awesome thing this weekend, on Sunday. See, it was the first-ever London Super Comic-con, and hubs and I decided we wanted to go. Then we saw that Mr. Stan Lee was going to be there, and we could get books signed by him and get a picture taken.
Now, let me just say I am not one to pay for autographs or for pictures, in general. It’s just not my thing. Sure, of course I’ll buy the book I’m getting signed, but in general? Nah. However. This is STAN LEE. STAN THE MAN. The guy who invented pretty much every character in the Marvel comics stable. You bet your ass I wanted to meet him. And I especially wanted the girls to meet him, because how awesome is it to say you met Stan Lee when you were ten?
Because we were paying for the autographs, hubs and I decided to forego them for ourselves and just get them for the babies. So both Princess and Faerie got to hand their books to Stan and say “Thank you, Mr. Lee,” and they got to say who their favorite characters were, and it was pretty awesome. And then, we got to do the picture. Here it is (under the cut):( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
So I have a few things to rant about; I’ll probably do that Monday or Tuesday, if I do it at all. For now I just want to mention that I went ahead and started an Author Q&A group on Goodreads. I figured I’d open it now to give people time to find it, and we’d start the discussion on March 20, but people have already been joining and posting (which I didn’t expect at all!) so…well, I don’t really know what to do; I’ve gone ahead and answered a few questions but figure I won’t really jump in with both feet yet, because there’s some preliminary-type reader-only discussion taking place there, too, and I don’t want to interfere (but neither do I want to just ignore everyone).
I am reading, though! And I may take a few of the questions and add them to my FAQ page at some point. So please do join up if you want to hang out with some cool readers, and discuss some of my books with me, and feel free to start discussions/ask whatever questions you want, about anything.
So I hope to see you over there!Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
We have FIVE WEEKS until the release of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC in the US, can you believe it? It’s almost here!
And of course I’m starting the freak-out that will inevitably lead to me spending release day huddled up on the couch puking and crying and whatever else, terrified I’ll have let everyone down. But I’m trying to be optimistic.
Its helping that so far the advance readers seem to be enjoying the book very much. And I link to that page because, if you are a Goodreads member in the US, you can enter a drawing to win your very own copy!
Also lovely are the great reviews so far for HOME, the Heroes & Heartbreakers short. It is a *romance* story; I think it’s probably about as romantic and cheerful as a Downside story can be, really, and I’m thrilled and amazed by how enthusiastic everyone has been/is being about it. Remember, though, it’s only going to be available for a couple more days; after that it will be pulled, and will be “officially” released for sale in April (I believe it’s April), so read it now!
And of course, I’ll be posting some bits and pieces from SACRIFICIAL MAGIC here soon; the first chapter, and the songlist, and probably another excerpt or two (in fact, there’s one at the end of this post!). Deleted scenes etc. will go up one month after release.
I’m looking for someone to perhaps help design a few new t-shirts for the Downside Market (our desktop with the image program is in storage at the moment, so I can’t do them myself just now, which sucks). I can’t really pay money but I *can* promise a free t-shirt, so please let me know if you’re interested.
Additionally, for my artist pals out there…Suvudu is doing an art contest for the Supernatural Cage Match 2012! Details here. As I mention below, Chess will be “competing” in this, and I’d loooove to see not only your vision of her but see one of my readers get exposure like that; a lot of people read Suvudu and especially the Cage Match, and I’d be thrilled to see one or more of you get to participate. (Of course, you don’t just have to draw/create an image of Chess; there are sixty-four characters in the Match!)
AND…I’m thinking contest(s), and I have a couple of GREAT prize ideas, including one I’m really excited about that I can’t discuss quite yet but will be able to soon. But think merchandise you can wear that isn’t clothes. Hee.
So far I’m thinking I’ll run entries the way I did for the Name-a-Character contest I did for the release of CITY OF GHOSTS: you get two entries for pre-ordering the book, two for blogging about the books/series, one for tweeting about it (using, I’m thinking, #sacrificialmagic as a hashtag).
I didn’t do entries for reviewing on Goodreads/LibraryThing/Shelfari/Amazon/B&N for the last books and I’m still not sure how I feel regarding that, so I’m considering it and am open to your thoughts. See, the thing is, I’m very conscious of how it looks to ask for or encourage reviews on those sites and it bothers me personally to do so; I feel it’s unethical. But I also feel like anyone who spreads the word about the books and/or takes the time to write a review deserves some sort of entry for it and I hate to ignore people who don’t have blogs or Twitter or even accounts at various reader sites; if the only place you participate as a reader is Amazon, how is it right or okay for me to tell you that you don’t get to enter, you know? But at the same time, it *is* rewarding reviews on Amazon/B&N and I just think that’s kind of icky, so… Perhaps I’ll just leave it at Goodreads/LT/Shelfari and skip Amazon/B&N, which feels much better to me, because those sites aren’t actual stores where people go to buy books. (There will be a separate contest for the Downside Army, too, so members can enter both.) (Also, did you know you can “Like” books on Amazon? I just realized it, how long has that been going on?)
Speaking of Goodreads, I’m considering doing one of those Author Q&A groups, where you can ask questions and stuff for a set period of time; I was thinking of maybe March 26th–April 17th, which is about a month. Would anyone be interested in that? I’ll be doing a lot of interviews etc. elsewhere, as well; I’m already booked on several sites for the week before and week of release (and if you’re interested in having me as a guest on your site/blog, please do get in touch soon, because my calender is filling), so there will be other chances, but the Goodreads Q&A seems like fun and we can have a special section for spoilers that will ensure no one else is, well, spoiled by the questions/discussion.
Chess will be “competing” in Suvudu’s big huge Supernatural Cage Match, which will take place throughout March. I know who she’s battling and can’t tell yet, but a big part of the Cage Match is reader participation, and we’re encouraged to urge our readers to go and vote. So look out for that; I’m really excited about this and very hopeful that Chess can advance to the next round!
I’ll be posting my Big Release event schedule soon; a lot of blogs are doing some really cool giveaways you won’t want to miss! And of course I’m trying to think of some more fun stuff to do as well. It’s just crazy that we’re so close!
A little excerpt:
Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.
She wasn’t going to run away. From what, a ghost? Some asshole who decided it would be fun to have a little tea party with a ghost? No fucking way.
She pulled her knife out of her pocket and snapped it open, used her left hand to grab a handful of asafetida and graveyard dirt. Let them fucking come. She was ready.
What she wasn’t ready for was the quick, fast whoosh of something flying through the air, or the heavy sharp pain in the back of her skull. The dirt and her knife flew from her hands; the floor flew up to greet her. Painfully.
She barely had a chance to realize what had happened before everything went dark.
My little Downside romance short story, HOME, has been published on the HeroesandHeartbreakers.com website, free to registered members. Go here to read it and comment on it!
HOME is, as I said above, a romance story; this is the one I originally wrote for the MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE but pulled over the whole “gay stories aren’t romance” thing. So it’s definitely romance; it’s about love and relationships and all of that, and I think it’s rather a sweet little tale (though not too sweet; this is Chess we’re talking about here). SPOILERY (highlight to read): And for those of you who’ve wanted a chance to see Chess and Terrible just being happy together, here it is.
The story will be up free for one week, after which it’ll be pulled and released for sale in April (I believe). So please do go register now and read it, or you’ll have to wait a few more months!
A little excerpt:
“Love is not the most powerful magic. But it feels like it is.”
—Truth for Teens, a Guidebook for the Young Adult, by Elder Carroll
Most—no, all—of her cases started the same way: A homeowner or building resident called the Church to report a haunting. The Church assigned a Debunker to the case to investigate the haunting and hopefully disprove it, to make sure the person in question wasn’t just faking in order to get a nice fat settlement in exchange for the Church’s failure to protect them from the dead.
After all, just because the population was smaller thanks to Haunted Week twenty-four years before, when the ghosts had risen and killed every living person they could, and just because the Church of Real Truth was in charge now, didn’t mean people didn’t still need money. They did. Just like Chess. She needed money for food, for rent, for the electric bill and the cell phone bill and all of those other things. And of course for drugs: the things that made her life worthwhile.
So Chess worked, and she worked hard, and she’d handled a lot of cases and gotten a lot of bonuses for disproving a lot of hauntings. But she’d never had a case before where a neighbor called the Church to report the ghost and the homeowners insisted there wasn’t one.
I really hope you all enjoy it!Originally posted at Stacia Kane. You can comment here or there.