Movies and Sequels and Crows. Oh my!

Any list of three things separated by “and”, has to have the phrase “Oh my!” behind it. Thanks a lot, Wizard of Oz.

I’ve been away from the blog awhile, so here’s the skinny:

The principal cast for the ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD movie was announced, here’s the Deadline write-up. It’s Cameron Monaghan as Cas, and Maddie Hasson as Anna, and I could not be happier about those choices. They’ve got it all, those two, and I can’t wait to see what they will do with the roles. It was a particular thrill to get Cameron, as my best friend knows ZERO actors, but she knows him from Shameless, so she could actually be excited. Also, both of them are only 3-4 degrees from Kevin Bacon, which is always important. The director is Trish Sie, the screenwriter is Allison Wood, and when you put them together with Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett from Fickle Fish Films, you’ve got a lot of rad women in Hollywood.

I’ll say more about this movie business if and when the film swings into production. In my mind, it’s still a fragile baby egg, and I don’t want to jinx it by yacking about it too much. But feel free to tell me what you think of the casting!

Also happened: I finished Three Dark Crowns 2, which has a real title and everything! We’re already starting to talk about cover concepts for it, which seems unreal. This biz moves simultaneously slowly and at light speed.  More cover related: the UK cover for Three D will be revealed soon!

Went to BEA and Bookcon. Next up: Geekycon in Florida. I’ll have Three Dark Crowns decals (bumper stickers?) to hand out. And I’m working with a bookstore on how to get signed, personalized preorders for those who have asked. A big, huge, crazy large thank you to everyone who has preordered already.

Crows! There are crows in our backyard. They have a nest up in a tree and we’re trying to feed them and earn their trust. So far we’ve managed to get them some worms, but I don’t think they knew the worms were from us. You can’t leave a “To, From” gift tag on a worm, you know? But I’m not giving up. I’m going to go buy some unsalted unshelled peanuts.

The End is Nigh! Though not quite as nigh as I’d hoped.

According to my master plan, I am supposed to finish Three Dark Crowns 2 in two days. That isn’t going to happen. I’m heading down to Bend, Oregon this Friday for a book festival, so the big finish is pushed off until next week. But! I’m betting there are ten thousand words or less remaining, and I sort of might know what most or some of those words are, so…not so bad.

The writing speed has slowed here at the end, as there are many things happening, and writing them tires me out. Isn’t that weird? I’m not physically doing the things that I’m writing but shit I need a nap.

On a personal note, we’re thinking of expanding the family again, with a kitten, perhaps sometime late this fall or winter. It will probably be of the hairless suede variety. So if anyone has experience with cats of the hairless suede variety, please do chime in to endorse or warn us off. This will be our final child, until our children get very old, and we begin to lose them.

On a slightly less personal but infinitely awesome note, a book blogger/book trailer creator made a trailer for Three Dark Crowns! She just made one! Just because the concept inspired her! How excellent is that? So I’ll link to it here: THE BOOK TRAVELER’S RAD TRAILER

Five months to Three Dark Crowns. Advance copies are out to readers and I’m freaking out. Dylan is trying to be patient but I can see his eyeball starting to tic. Whatever. He can take it. And if he can’t, I shall put Icy Hot in his undershorts and that will perk him right up.

Yes I do advocate spousal sabotage with Icy Hot.

Next month I’m off to BEA/Bookcon, where I will be signing ARCs, miraculously, from a fetal position. Until then, peace out, and word to your mothers.

Standing in the middle of a book.

Hello, March. I am coming to you today from the mid-point of Three Dark Crowns 2. Or thereabouts. February was a pretty productive month, only the equivalent of one day’s words was lost. So, at this point, I’m still on track to finish sometime in April as planned.

Of course by “finish”, I don’t mean done. I’m going to re-write this puppy so intensely it won’t know its own name. And if that sounds dirty, I meant it to.

Other stuff that happened in February: Hypable revealed the cover for Three Dark Crowns! And I updated my website with it, and the description, and pre-order links here. Because nothing says loving like a pre-order, if you are feeling so kind, and so inclined.

I always feel weird asking folks to pre-order, but it really does help a book and makes everyone involved with it feel warm and fuzzy inside. So…please DO pre-order Three Dark Crowns. And, please DON’T poach elephants. Not that any of you would dream of poaching an elephant.

Hey, just for fun I’m going to talk a bit about the Three Dark Crowns cover. And break it down a bit. Here goes.

There she is. Bow chicka bow wow.

There she is. Bow chicka bow wow.

So, the top crown there, that represents Queen Arsinoe and the naturalists, their affinity for growing stuff and whatnot.

The middle crown is for Queen Mirabella, the elemental. Fire isn’t her favorite, but neither is it her least favorite. Her favorite is the wind and her gift to work with weather, but what were they going to do, a crown with a sad cloud hanging over it? Cute, but no cigar.

The last crown is for Queen Katharine, (I pronounce it Cat-ah-reen, but do how you like), and the poisoners. They wear venomous snakes like jewelry.

I do love this cover. And I was no help with it. Harper kindly asked for input, and I said, in my usual articulate fashion: Uh, sure, uh, covers are nice, uh, could it not be bright butter yellow?

Scuttlebutt is that there will be a different cover in the UK, so I may have another one to share soon. That will be quite the experience for me, as Anna Dressed in Blood looks the same in pretty much every language.

Ok…until next time. When I will be standing hopefully in the last quarter of a book.

 

Deadlines! And how I blew them!

Hey, man, it happens. Though, to be honest, never to me. Never before. I’m one of those nutters who has everything done in advance, who cushions arrival times by thirty minutes. The same has always been true of my manuscripts. I usually deliver a few months early. But not this time. Here I am. Staring down a due date that I will never make.

I. Am. So. Screwed.

Well, not yet. I’ve got two and a half months to get a book done. That’s faster than I’ve ever written one. I wrote a third of it this summer, but as tends to happen, all of those words are junk now. On Feb. 1st I start from scratch.

Whatever happens, I’m sure to rewrite/revise the draft more than once after that. This post is mostly just to say, if in two months I seem certifiable, this book is why. It’s weird, to be staring at the next months on the calendar, and know how much and approximately when I will be bitching and moaning. I feel like a psychic.

The good news is, I’m still excited to write it. Bring it on, Three Dark Crowns 2. I will love you, and hate you, and then think you are only, ok. I will dance with you, and throttle you, and bury you in my backyard after a midnight bender. And when you are through, I will be wearing a ratty bathrobe and walking around with an empty coffee cup, my hair grown out into the same haircut as Daryl Dixon.

New year, new girl, I don’t do resolutions

Sunny day out there today, after a week or so of gloom. Frost on the ground. Grass still green. It’s the end of 2015, and to be honest, I’m glad it’s over. It was sort of a shit year. Of course, things can always get worse.

I have two short stories and one novel coming out in 2016. The X-FILES: TRUST NO ONE in March, featuring my story, “Heart“; SCARY OUT THERE in spring or summer, featuring my story, “Chlorine-damaged Hair and Other Pool Hazards” and THREE DARK CROWNS, in the fall. Late September, perhaps. My brother and best friend are visiting Seattle for the first time in early spring, and my parents in the summer. We will be very touristy. I will take them for good sushi. Except for my brother, who is allergic to fish. If I took him for good sushi, he would get green spots and then die.

I have one book to write: Three Dark Crowns 2, and I suppose, I ought to start thinking about what’s next. What’s next and what’s new. The perennial questions.

We got Obi-Dog a sister for Xmas. She’s a rescue from a shelter in Texas. She is sweet, and has a gruff little bark. She takes no shit. Her name is Agent Scully, and here she is, for your viewing pleasure:

Agent Scully

Tyrion Cattister approves. She is smallish, and very gentle with him. He’s only had to smack her in the face like, four times.

Saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so I don’t have to feel like the only person on the planet who hasn’t. I enjoyed it, but I’ve watched too many blockbusters lately. Leaves me craving something quiet, and thoughtful, and talky. Or something ominous, with a sinister score.

Aaand, Agent Scully just licked water out of my glass. Time to get back to line/copy edits. I’m sort of worried I’m going to make all kinds of mistakes when I transfer the line edits into the copyedited file. So if you read Three Dark Crowns next year, and it’s all messed up, like sentences breaking apart and continuing on the next page, or the phrase “O-Doyle Rules!” just inserted in there randomly, hey, I’m sorry. I’m just not that organized.

Where did November go?

Who the hell knows, but it’s gone. I’m trying not to dwell on it. November did start off delightfully, with a trip to Portland for Wordstock, where I got to hang out with the ever-fabulous April Genevieve Tucholke and her husband Nate, and meet Virginia Boecker (THE WITCH HUNTER) and Heidi Schulz (GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING) and see McCormick Templeman (THE GLASS CASKET) again and punch her in the arm because Jay Kristoff (ILLUMINAE) told me to.

He told me to. I had no choice. And it didn’t leave a mark. Don’t try to guilt me, McCormick!

Also realized one of my foodie dreams by eating ice cream from the Salt & Straw: strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. Which was strange, because those who know me can attest: I hate black pepper. With a hatred that burns eternally. But this shit was good. GOOOD.

We’re in line edits for THREE DARK CROWNS. It’s turning me into a basketcase even if I truly can’t wait for you to meet the poisoner, the naturalist, and the elemental. Three sweet (?) sisters. Two to devour, and one to be Queen.

A quick note on writerly doubt: It is bound to happen after working on a project for a lengthy amount of time. You get to a point where your nose is so pressed to your computer screen that you can barely type for the smudges. And even then, for me, it’s hard to step away. But holy crap I needed to step away. I was hitting it hard for two months, and finally sent it to my editor when sending it felt like throwing it at her from across the room.

In other news, we are thinking of expanding our family and getting Obi-Dog a sister. Tyrion Cattister has agreed to lord over them both with extreme prejudice. But man, it’s hard to look at shelter dogs. It really, really bums me out that there are animals who want a human to love, and they don’t have one. It’s not like there’s a fucking shortage of humans, you know? And it’s tough, to read through profiles and have to say no because this or that particular girl is not good with cats, or is fearful of other dogs, because I’m sure she is sweet and wonderful. But I have to think of my boys, and who will best integrate into their lives.

Dylan is no help. I show him two dogs and say choose, and he says, “both.” Like we can just grab eight or so and start a band like the Partridge Family. They had the band, right? I get them confused with the Monkees. Who I then get confused with The Beach Boys. Who I then get confused with The Manson Family, and then we have a whole other problem.

So, to sum up: I’m looking forward to 2016, when there will hopefully be a new dog-daughter in the house, and for Three Dark Crowns news, and maybe even some Anna Dressed in Blood news! Who knows?

The Last #31HorrorFilms31Days Post (plus event recaps)

I did it. Oh yes. 31 Horror Films in 31 days, and man, what a ride. I feel….all caught up on my horror films. Now if only I could say the same thing for my reading pile.

THE LAST OF THE LIST (Films marked with * indicate a film I had never seen before)

24. THE POSSESSION* – once again, a demon targets a tiny little girl. Come on demons, go infest The Rock or Vin Diesel. Make it interesting. Bonus: Kyra Sedgwick, a.k.a. Mrs. Kevin Bacon, gets to play it really, really clueless as the mom.

25. THE THING* – the 80’s one, not the one with Scott Pilgrim’s girlfriend. Lots of fun with defrosted aliens in the isolated arctic. Lucky for the aliens, these people have severe trust issues, and are horrible at not becoming infected.

26. ANNABELLE* – Creepy doll. The initial satanic home invasion was the scariest thing about this. And I couldn’t stop thinking of the spoof in A Haunted House 2, where Marlon Wayans bones it.

27. FRIDAY THE 13TH* – I kept waiting for some prime Kevin Bacon full frontal, but I guess he had to warm up to it. Fine. This was his first movie. Also, man, this final girl deserved to die. Stop just briefly incapacitating Mrs. Voorhees!

28. HALLOWEEN* – Very enjoyable yarn about inept people chasing a superkiller, and a little boy who just can’t articulate what the Boogeyman looks like, dammit.

29. HALLOWEEN II* – Because the first one just wasn’t finished. Thank god we stopped before Season of the Witch.

30. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 – Did not mean to watch this. Got sucked into a marathon on IFC.

31. NEW NIGHTMARE – I love this movie. So meta. And I had to end on Wes Craven. I only wish he’d had the courage to ask Johnny Depp to appear in it, like he wanted.

For the last two nights, I’ve been on the ILLUMINAE Tour with Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, as well as fellow local guy Shawn Speakman (THE DARK THORN, set in Seattle! Check him out, he’s got rad tales), and man it’s been fun. First stop was at University Bookstore, which is always fab, and where I finally found my heart’s desire, a copy of Milan Kundera’s THE FESTIVAL OF INSIGNIFICANCE. Me and a bottle of wine have a date with that book. There will be weeping. And joy. And inappropriate touching.

Anyway, night two was in my old stomping grounds: the Lynnwood Barnes and Noble!  Another great panel. Amie and Jay tell the best stories. If you can get your butt to one of their stops, I recommend it. And if you haven’t read ILLUMINAE yet, stop reading this and go do that instead. Then come back and we can talk about my love of AIDAN.

This weekend, I’m in Portland to hang with April Genevieve Tucholke, McCormick Templeman, Cat Winters, and many, many others at Wordstock. Fun times will be had. Come on out, if you’re around. It’s at the art museum.

Now, it’s back to the THREE DARK CROWNS grind. Did I mention I saw the flap copy? Did I mention that it’s bitchin? Cover should be coming soon.

 

#31HorrorFilms31Days (Part Two)

If you read the last post you know I’ve been participating in the #31HorrorFilms31Days challenge, because any excuse to watch horror movies is good with me. Though at the outset I feared being able to complete it, due to lack of time, or lack of interest in 31 different and mainly unseen films, I think I’m going to pull it off. Horror flicks are generally short, too, so that helps. It’s not like I’m trying to watch The Lord of the Rings movies 31 times.

PART TWO: Films 11-23 (those denoted with an asterisk are ones I have never seen before)

11. THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: Angel of Death* – Look, spoiler alert, this broad killed Harry Potter in the first one, and I wanted to know what somebody was going to do about it. Such things are not allowed.

12. MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE* – Stephen King directed it and Lisa Simpson screams a lot in this “asteroid caused our machines to turn murderous” flick. Fun. And nice stunts!

13. DON’T LOOK NOW* – Okay, more an art house thriller than horror, I still find all the Donald Sutherland nudity to be plenty horrifying. Good acting though.

14. THE FINAL GIRLS* – Friends trapped in one of their favorite horror films and have to survive it? Sign me up! The Adderall-fueled striptease was hilarious.

15. THEY LIVE!* – Rowdy Roddy Piper finds sunglasses that let him see the alien invaders around him. Spoiler alert, they’re everywhere. Double spoiler alert, Rowdy Roddy Piper has come here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and he is all out of bubblegum. (seriously, is this where that phrase came from?)

16. IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS* – More John Carpenter, this one played out like Stephen King’s wet dream where everything he writes comes to life. Sam Neill grounds this picture but it’s still a fairly wild ride.

17. 7-Below* – what the hell is this shit? Seven people trapped in a murder house where Ving Rhames tries to be terrifying and someone asks for more sex from Val Kilmer. Look, he only has so much sex to give, all right?

18. SCREAM 2 – Dylan had never seen it. And honestly, it’s a pretty decent movie. Particularly compared to the rest of the Scream sequels.

19. OUIJA* – I like movies about Ouija boards. Don’t judge me.

20. THE LAZARUS EFFECT* – Like a heartless, updated Flatliners, where you just want everyone to turn slap happy.

21. CRIMSON PEAK* – This was a beautiful film. As expected. Unexpected was the sight of Tom Hiddleston’s hiney. I think I made a little noise in the theater. Do note that this is more gothic romance than horror. The scariest thing about it was seeing it an an actual theater, and keeping an eye out for potential mass shooters. Thanks for ruining the movies for me!

22. DELIVERANCE* – Recommended by a friend who loves hillbillies. Dylan noted that Angelina Jolie must get her long legs from Jon Voight.

23. HELLRAISER* – Wanted this to be scarier. Wanted it to have less boning. It was sort of 50 Shades of Pinhead.

On the writing front I’m still working on THREE DARK CROWNS. I did see the flap copy for it this week, and loved it. It’s always weird when that first piece of a book arrives that I didn’t actually work on. Like, other people are working on this. It’s going to be a book. That remains very, very weird. And cool.

Speaking of that, time to get back to it. Word to your mothers.

 

 

Where to order signed books and #31HorrorFilms31Days (first 10)

I get inquiries about where folks can buy personalized, signed copies of my books, when they can’t make it to events. Unfortunately, I don’t have a nearby bookstore that I can just hop over to and sign and doodle in orders anytime. But I am going to be a few places this fall, so if anyone wants any of my books signed/personalized/doodled in, here are places to order from: (check with them for any shipping deals)

Klindt’s Booksellers, 541-296-3355. klindtsbooks.com

University Bookstore Seattle, 206-634-3400. ubookstore.com

Last week or so I heard about the #31HorrorFilms31Days challenge from Stephanie Perkins. Since I’ll take any excuse to binge horror movies, I jumped onboard. The “rules” are to watch at least 31 horror films that you’ve never seen before, prior to November 1st. But you know how I feel about rules. I wasn’t going to let them stop me from re-watching my favorites. Last week I watched my first ten. (films marked with an asterisk are ones that I hadn’t seen before.)

  1. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – Wes Craven just died. This is my eternal favorite horror franchise. I couldn’t start off with anything else.
  2. WILLOW CREEK* – Samsquantches! The description mentioned unexplained phenomena and I immediately thought of one of my favorites, NATURE’S GRAVE with Jim Caviezel. Alas, this was more, Blair Witch but with more wood-knocking. Come on, Bobcat, make it weirder.
  3. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 – this was possibly the first horror movie I ever watched as a child. Thus, it is a sentimental favorite. And that martial arts sequence set to Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything” is fantastic.
  4. UNFRIENDED* – could these people be any more bitchy? Oh, how I laughed. Everyone in this film is a huge dick. Including the ghost. The framing device they use to tell it (all in Skype) is a bit of a disconnect. But it is a good tutorial for Facebook.
  5. APRIL FOOL’S DAY* – this was my best friend’s favorite as a child. I told her I was watching it and she just kept screaming, “Buffy! Buffy!” and I didn’t get it because the character’s name was Muffy.
  6. SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 2* – I watched Slumber Party Massacre 1 as a child. Guy has a big drill and nobody knows how to defend against it. Thoughts while watching 2: Being drilled to death is a degrading way to die. Whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr….awww. And, hey, isn’t that the lady from the 90s sitcom, WINGS?
  7. JOHN DIES AT THE END* – the doorknob turns into a penis. He declares it unable to be opened. Fun and random and clever.
  8. DEVIL’S DUE* (part of our Evil Impregnation Marathon) – After everything that happens, she gains consciousness and asks if the baby is ok. What the eff, lady? What she should have said: “Is the baby dead? Where’s my dog?”
  9. ROSEMARY’S BABY* – this was just grand. But, the antichrist’s name is Adrian? No way. I could accept many things, but I would not be raising an antichrist that Rocky fans could easily mock.
  10. HELLBABY* – technically a horror comedy, and technically still half-watched. We had to cut the Evil Impregnation Marathon short because it got late. And this was dumb.

I’m looking forward to THE FINAL GIRLS later this week. If you know any great films I should not miss, please do let me know. I’m on this until the 31st, when I will bookend the thing with more Wes Craven: NEW NIGHTMARE.

The ongoing “Thanks for reading the Goddess War” UNGODLY giveaway!

Hi there. Welcome to the ongoing “Thanks for reading the Goddess War” UNGODLY giveaway. This giveaway exists to thank readers for their support of the Goddess War series. I was going to call it the “Finish your Goddess War Trilogy” giveaway, but I like this better. Now let me explain it.

GIVEAWAY UPDATE: 9/30

I am out of books. Wow, I really thought this giveaway would be more “ongoing” than one day, but you guys have cleaned me out. I still have signed bookmarks and bookplates though, so feel free to keep posting photos! I’ll send until they’re gone!

What is up for grabs:

A signed, personalized one of these, until I run out of them.

A signed, personalized one of these, until I run out of them.

How to get one: 

Take a photo of yourself with your copies of Antigoddess and Mortal Gods, or a friend if you’re shy, or your hand with a note if you’re really shy, and post it to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Potato (there is no Potato, but there will be someday)) and tag me so I see it. I will then contact you for your address. Obi-Dog will demonstrate:

See? Like this. You don't have to duplicate the pose and bandanna, but he encourages it.

See? Like this. You don’t have to duplicate the pose and bandanna, but he encourages it.

If you read them on your ereader but want to enter for a signed copy, take photos with their covers showing on your device.

That’s it. Easy. As a thank you for reading with me that far, I’ll give you the last book, until I run out of them.

If you’re worried I didn’t see your photo, or if you don’t use social media, feel free to send it to me at kendareblake@yahoo.com to make sure. I may or may not post it again to my own accounts, FYI.

If you are a library reader:

I don’t know! Take photos with your library books, and I will find some way to thank you, until I run out of stuff. I wish I had a better answer for this one. Libraries are excellent.

If you already bought the whole trilogy and are now cursing my name:

I’m sorry! I mean, thank you, so, so much. I really, really to infinity appreciate that. If you take a photo of yourself with your trilogy and tag me, I will send you personalized, signed bookplates, and an Antigoddess feather bookmark, until I run out of them.

If you are a reader outside of the United States:

I’m happy to send you signed bookplates for your trilogy, until I run out of international stamps. (If you take a photo and do the yada yada above.)

ARCs do not count, sorry. Also, if you already won one of your copies from me, it doesn’t count. Sorry. If you stole your copies, what the hell, man? And also, why did you tell me? But those don’t count either.

I should have called this the “Until I run out of stuff” giveaway. Geez. Anyway, I’ll try to pair hardcover sets with hardcovers, and paperback sets with paperbacks, but I make no guarantees. When I run out, I will tell you.