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Faint hearts never won fair lady...

Congratulations to Mishel (creativitygone.blogspot.com/) for winning downloads of the audio books! Email me at marjoriemliu@gowebway.com, and I'll get you settled.


New release day here at the blog, but not for me (well, that's not entirely true -- WILD THING, which was previously released in trade paperback, is hitting the shelves in mass paperback format, starting tomorrow).

One book that I've been anticipating is Lynn Viehl's STAY THE NIGHT, the seventh in her Darkyn series -- and this time around, finally, Robin of Locksley gets the spotlight. I still haven't received my copy yet, but when it does arrive I'll be locking myself away in a small dark cave with a flashlight, snacks, and bottled water. Because, not only do I love the Darkyn series, I also just love Robin Hood -- in any incarnation (except the BBC version...sorry).

So, to celebrate the release of STAY THE NIGHT (and Robin 'foxy' Hood), I'm giving away the Robin Hood gift set: Lynn Viehl's STAY THE NIGHT, along with Robin McKinley's OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD, Jennifer Roberson's LADY OF THE FOREST and LADY OF SHERWOOD, Stephen R. Lawhead's HOOD, and a dvd of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (starring Errol Flynn). Of course, if you prefer Kevin Costner's Robin Hood, or the Disney animated version (or the one with Cary Elwes or Patrick Bergin & Uma Thurman), I will happily exchange the movie choice.

To enter the drawing, name some characters out of myth and legend that you geek out over -- or just throw your name in. I'll draw the lucky winner on Wednesday.

Yo, it's the New Year.

So much for resolutions. Like, blogging everyday.

I have this old post from PBW bookmarked -- oh, and this one, too -- about making a business plan, organizing your time. Basically, staying on target.

My own organizational skills are notoriously bad. Dreadful. Pathetic. Crummy. Maybe sad. I do, however, have a yearly planner, because there's too much going on not to make an effort. I make a list of all the things I have to write for the year, and then go through and mark the dates. I'm good at marking dates and making lists. I love lists! So much fun. I feel very productive. Especially when I get to cross something off. Give me a gold star for effort, baby.

Seriously, though -- I need whatever structure I can give myself. I write a lot. I write novels, novellas, and comic books. 2009 will have a lot of releases, some of which I can't talk about yet. I have to stay on my game. Keep my eye on those bright stars. The brightest of them, of course, being my family and friends.

So, to celebrate the New Year (and, hopefully, 12 months of prodigious organization and output), I'll be giving away some things over the next couple days. Starting off with an iTunes download of both THE IRON HUNT and A TASTE OF CRIMSON -- the audio books. I've listened to them both (well, excerpts, because it's a bit odd to hear my words read out loud) and I promise they won't make your ears bleed.

Just share one of your wishes for the upcoming year, or if you don't feel comfortable with that, leave your name. I'll pull a name out of a hat on Monday night. I'm limiting this to iTunes only, so my apologies if this excludes you.

(PS: Here's something: Around twenty-five years ago (give or take), I lived around Wallingford/Swarthmore, PA - and took piano lessons from a woman named Toby Blumenthal. She was so nice, and such a wonderful teacher. I wish now that I had kept up with the music, but that's another story. Point is, she's still doing beautiful things.)

Happy New Year!

Time is the substance from which I am made.
Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river;
it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger;
it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.

- Jorge Louis Borges

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Greetings, 2009.

New Year's Eve tomorrow, and I'm contemplating the end of the year, the end of a comic book script, and the end of a novel, all of which require the tying up of loose ends, while leaving the promise of more adventures yet to come. In stories, there's never really a final moment -- I mean, there is; a last line, a last page -- but for the writer, the reader, the possibilities continue; and if the story and the characters are particularly strong, then the urgency of what you want to come next takes on a life of its own. Like real life, in general.

I'm rambling, I know. Of course, here's something else: I applied to the Air Force JAG Corp after law school, contemplating a future as both an attorney and a military officer. Basic training, deployment, the whole nine yards. I thought about the FBI too -- though for reasons that aren't clear to me now, I never did apply there. Obviously, I wasn't hired. Just as obviously, if I had been, I wouldn't be writing books for a living. I would be writing, I know that, but not like this. Maybe not ever like this.

So. I like fate. I like chance, and luck, and the occasional, remarkable, outcome.

And I wish you an abundance of all those things -- the very best of destiny -- in this upcoming year.
Yes, the cat loves musicals; tonight, Hairspray. Next thing you know, he'll be packing his bags for Broadway (there is a cat in those pictures...look for the ears).

Office Space.

Picking out paint colors for my new studio, and am discovering that I'm a terrible creature of habit: I work now in a lavender/periwinkle room, and am being drawn to the same, again; but only darker. Cool colors soothe me. Walls and towers of books feel safe. Cluttered desks and rag rugs, random bits of art and rock -- other odds and ends -- seem endlessly warm and full of order. I prefer natural light, and at night work with no light at all, or only one lamp; enough for atmosphere. Music varies. A cup of tea or hot chocolate keeps the engine rumbling. I sit and stare a lot. And soon I'll be bringing my old antique swiveling chair out of storage; the one I wrote Tiger Eye in.

Writers, what about you? Readers, where are your favorite spaces to curl and dream with books?

THE WILD ROAD (and truth, and fiction)

So, if you've read THE WILD ROAD, you might possibly remember that the latter half of the novel takes place in Indiana, at the West Baden Springs Hotel. Quite a few people have asked if this place truly exists -- and indeed, it does; remarkably so. I remember visiting before it was renovated, and there was (and still is) a mythic quality to the place, something I can't quite define, but that makes you feel as though there are ghost stories in the walls.

I was there today, taking another look at the Christmas decorations, and snapped some photos.

Incidentally, it seems that Shanghai real estate developer might be tearing down the rest of the historic site -- despite promises to the contrary. Oh, man. That hurts. It's impossible to convey just how special that place was.

Back in June I blogged about Shanghai Film Studio, and mentioned then that a real estate developer was planning on tearing down the historic site to build yet another office building. Well, these pictures were just sent to me from Shanghai. And honestly, I'm so saddened. What a lovely place that was, and such history! I think Joan Chen made movies there, and Gong Li and Zhang Yimou (along with many other talented individuals). I was told that an old dorm for nuns, still on the property, is being preserved -- but nothing else.

Here's what it looks like now:

Post-Christmas Roundup

Had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas -- and now three nights of sleep. Blissful, lovely, sleep. I can honestly say that for the two weeks preceding, I hardly got any shut-eye. Too much work. But, you know, weird things start happening when you stay up too long. In my case, I began writing dreams into my books. Literally.

This has happened before. I'll be up, pushing myself -- half-falling asleep as I write -- and as I doze and work at the same time (like a person drifting off at the wheel), I begin to dream.

It's a desperate kind of dreaming, as though my brain is so starved for REM sleep, it snatches it when it can. And yet, there's another part of me that is still typing away. So as this is going on, I unconsciously place lines from those brief dreams into whatever story I'm working on. And I don't realize it until later, when I'm rereading.

Here's one section where that happened recently (and please forgive the unedited awkward phrasing):

"She was no expert in kissing, having only experienced the sensation in her dream of the night before, but even that had been much better than this pressing of lips, which most certainly served a purpose beyond preparing one’s soul for the afterlife."

I was lucky. I reread that section soon after it was written, and was alert enough at that point to go, "Huh?" In a way, the underlined sentence makes an odd sense, but it doesn't fit the context of the story. Of course, it just so happened that I remembered the dream I was having in that moment. It was the pulpit scene in Footloose.

Dudes, whatever. My brain has a mind of its own. So to speak.


This is adorable! Doggie Shoplifter!

Also, though it might seem odd to some, I find this one of the most uplifting essays on life that I've read in quite some time: Oliver Morton's Not-So-Lonely Planet.

Finally, a little known fact: I LOVE TOM JONES. It's not the kind of love that would compel me to throw my panties at him while he's on stage in Las Vegas at the MGM (which he was, years ago, looking superfine and sounding even better than some ditzy recording can reproduce) but my appreciation is nonetheless strong and mighty.

Merry Christmas!

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"

~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.

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Novelist, lawyer, adventurer...
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