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December 2012

Roxy Taylor Photograph of FairyHappy Holidays! Just a reminder, if you’re still searching for the perfect gift for the fantasy fan in your life, consider the 2013 Fantasy Pin-up Calendar, featuring Phèdre nó Delaunay on the month of May. Alternatively, there are still a few signed copies of Dark Currents in stock at The Signed Page.

Speaking of Dark Currents, there’s a little side project I developed in conjunction with the release of the book. Because its existence could be considered a minor spoiler, I’ve kept it more or less on the down-low and decided to just leave it out there for intrepid readers to discover… until now! Without giving anything away, it’s a website that’s referenced in the book. When I came up with the concept, I was so tickled that I determined I had to buy the domain if it was available, and put something up there. It was and I did.

If you’re curious, you can check it out here. WARNING: As I indicated above, the specific conceit of the site is a bit spoilery, so I leave it to individuals to choose. But as the year draws to a close, I decided to write about it in this month’s update in order to acknowledge two of the artists who contributed to it. Aminah Sayer created the fantastic artwork for the banner (and I urge you to check out her primary account linked from that site for her less risqué art, too). And I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to photographer Roxy Taylor. Out of sheer generosity, she staged several photo shoots to generate content for the site; images that are far more elegant than it deserves! I had to add some stock photos of a lesser caliber just to tone it down.

Since it doesn’t reveal anything specific about the book, I’m featuring my favorite of Roxy’s gorgeous photos on the homepage! I understand the photo shoots themselves were quite an adventure. Perhaps in the future, maybe after Dark Currents has been out in paperback for a while, she’ll be kind enough to write a guest post about them.

Also on the topic of Dark Currents, I’ll be holding a giveaway for 5 signed copies in early December on Facebook and Twitter. Like or follow me there for a chance to win one!

Other than one lovely new addition to the Fan Art gallery, that’s it for December. Best wishes to all for a joyful holiday season!

November 2012

Order Jacqueline Carey's Dark Currents at Amazon.comIt’s good to be home after a whirlwind of travel and promotion for the release of Dark Currents last month! As I write this, it’s cold, rainy and dreary outside, and I’m grateful to be inside, warm and cozy; especially as the East Coast begins its recovery from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.

I’ve got a couple of side projects to discuss this month. The gorgeous illustration of Phèdre nó Delaunay on the homepage is from the 2013 Fantasy Pin-up Calendar, a project spearheaded by fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss to benefit his Worldbuilders charity, which raises funds for Heifer International. Artist Lee Moyer has created pin-up style images of iconic female characters from twelve different fantasy authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Ray Bradbury, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Robin Hobb, N.K. Jemison, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Patrick Rothfuss… and me!

It’s a very cool project and Heifer International is a worthy organization. If you’re looking for a holiday gift for your favorite fantasy fan this year, consider a calendar! They’re available for pre-order now for $20 apiece, and if you order two or more through November 3rd and use the code PINMEUP at checkout, you’ll receive a $6 discount.

The other project is Unfettered, an anthology of short stories. Many visitors here will be familiar with Shawn Speakman, fantasy author and proprietor of The Signed Page, with whom I’ve partnered for many years to make signed copies of new releases available. All the authors contributing to Unfettered are longtime friends of Shawn’s and have donated stories to this project to raise funds to alleviate medical debt accrued after his diagnosis and treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011.

And talk about a lineup! Authors include Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Tad Williams, Geno & R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Daniel Abraham, Lev Grossman, David Anthony Durham, Peter Orullian, Blake Charlton, Eldon Thompson, Michael J. Sullivan, Robert V.S. Redick, Carrie Vaughn, Mark Lawrence, Kevin Hearne, Jennifer Bosworth, Todd Lockwood, Shawn Speakman… and me!

My contribution, “Martyr of the Roses,” is actually a precursor to the Kushiel’s Legacy series. It’s a short story I wrote prior to the series, set in an alternate history milieu and featuring a D’Angeline character on a visit to Vralia, which is in the midst of religious and political upheaval. When it didn’t sell immediately, I set it aside. A year or so later, after a lot of research into angelology and a trip to the south of France, I found myself revisiting the milieu to explore this intriguing nation of Terre d’Ange, which is only alluded to in the story.

Disclaimer: This story is non-canonical. It takes place at least a century after the end of the series. I planned on selling it after the success of the first trilogy, but I never got around to it, and over the course of the second and third trilogies, events unfolded that rendered the story a literary anomaly, so I didn’t pursue it. But secretly, I still really, really loved “Martyr of the Roses,” and hoped I’d find the perfect place for it someday. The moment Shawn contacted me regarding the anthology, I knew that was it.

I truly hope Kushiel fans will enjoy reading the story that sparked the entire series!

October 2012

Order Jacqueline Carey's Dark Currents at Amazon.comThis will be a quick update! The big news, as regular visitors doubtless know, is that DARK CURRENTS comes out on October 2nd. Yay! Library Journal says, “Since the advent of Carey’s “Kushiel’s Legacy” historical fantasy series in 2001, fans have come to expect the amazing from this author, and her new urban fantasy won’t disappoint them.”

Okay, that might be raising the bar of expectations a little high-I mean, amazing is a strong word-but I do think it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

I’ll be traveling for the first couple of weeks to do signings and appearances, which are listed over on the left under Events. At Comic-Con New York, I’m on a couple of panels, followed by a group signing for all the panelists: “Justice is Served” paranormal crime-solving on Thursday, Oct 11, 5:00-6:00 pm, signing on Friday, Oct 12 from 1:15-2:15 pm, and “Hocus Pocus: Magic and Monsters” on Saturday, Oct 13 from 1:30-2:30 pm, signing to follow at 2:45-3:45 pm. It should be a good time!

If you ordered a copy from The Signed Page, I’ll be signing those on Oct 2nd, and they’ll ship soon afterward.

In other news, my publisher is running a special promotion on the ebook of SAINTS ASTRAY for the first two weeks of October, and it will be available at the discounted price of $2.99. If you haven’t checked it out, now’s the perfect time to give it a try.

And that’s about it for now! Sorry to update and run, but I’ve got to pack for my West Coast whirlwind. I hope to see you many of you somewhere along the road!

September 2012

Order Jacqueline Carey's Dark Currents at Amazon.comOne more month before DARK CURRENTS is out!

It’s gotten some great buzz in recent weeks. Publishers Weekly named it one of the Best Books of Fall 2012, and io9, one of the major go-to sites for genre fans, not only called it one of This Fall’s Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, but one of 10 Reasons to be Excited About Pop Culture This Fall. Whew!

You can read the first chapter here, and if that whets your appetite, the second chapter is online at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist.

Tour dates for Seattle, Portland, Redondo Beach and Ann Arbor have been posted over in the Events column to the left, and I’ll also be attending New York Comic Con. No details on appearances there yet, but I’ll take part in at least a panel and a signing! This will be my first time in a venue on the east coast for some years, and I’m looking forward to it.

I’m delighted to be working once again with Shawn Speakman of The Signed Page to make signed copies of DARK CURRENTS available to everyone. In celebration of a new series, there’s no limit on the number of personalizations! I’ll be signing those on October 2nd in Seattle, and they’ll ship shortly afterward. I believe you can place an order up to two days prior to the signing, and yes, international orders are accepted. In anticipation of a frequent comment, if you’ve already pre-ordered a copy elsewhere and wish you hadn’t now that you’ve seen this offer, see if you can cancel it!

Unsurprisingly, many of my wonderful readers have asked if I plan to continue the Kushiel/Naamahseries. At this point in time, I’m afraid the answer is no. I’ve loved creating that world as much as you’ve loved visiting it, but right now, it feels quite thoroughly explored to me, with every vast, complicated storyline wrapped up in a satisfying manner. Maybe some day my Muse will decide otherwise, and I’ll happily change my mind, but not today.

And I do hope that you’ll give DARK CURRENTS a try! It’s filled with whimsy, wonder and creepiness, and although the urban fantasy field is a crowded one, I’m having a great time putting my own stamp on it.

Okay, time to go pack for Worldcon in Chicago! By the time you read this, I’ll be there. Stop by the Tattoo Gallery for a couple of new entries, including a truly striking and elegant scarification piece!

August 2012

Update! Pre-order a signed copy of DARK CURRENTS at The Signed Page.

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona Spain Greetings from my sweltering office! Why no, I don’t have air conditioning, thanks for asking. One of the things I love about summer is having the house open to the elements, so I can hear birdsong and the wind rustling through the leaves, and feel as though I’m a part of my surroundings, only with screens to keep out the creepy-crawlies. There are usually a few days when the heat gets to be a bit much and I’d close the doors and turn on the air conditioning if I had it, but never enough to make it worth the investment.

This year, I may be forced to rethink that stance. It’s been HOT. So I’m going to get down to the business of updating, all the sooner to retire to the screen porch and languish under the ceiling fan with a cool beverage.

First up, you can now read the first chapter of Dark Currents online! And I should mention it received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, one of the major prepublication reviewers, which is very cool. We’re in the process of confirming some dates for signings in Michigan and the Pacific Northwest, and I’m happy to say that because I’m returning to Seattle, it will be possible to offer signed copies from The Signed Page once more. They’re not available for preorder yet, but I’ll post a link to the offer as soon as they are, and you can follow The Signed Page on a variety of social networking media. In case you’re in the market for a signed copy of Naamah’s Blessing, there are a few left from my visit last year.

Second, I’m confirming my attendance at Chicon, a.k.a. the World Science Fiction Convention, a.k.a. Worldcon, over Labor Day weekend. As of this writing, programming itineraries haven’t been sent so I don’t have any details, but I’ll be there! As far as Comic-Con NYC in October is concerned, we’re still waiting to hear from the programming committee.

In closing (did I mention that it’s HOT?), take a minute to visit the Tattoo and Fan Art galleries for some great new additions! I decided to feature a map of the world of the Kushiel and Naamah books created by reader Crystal on the homepage, because I know readers will enjoy this one in particular, but if you check out the gallery, you’ll also find the first fan art depiction of Loup, which I was delighted to add.

Stay cool, and I hope to see some of you in Chicago!

July 2012

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona Spain Last month, I had the pleasure of spending two weeks in Spain; Barcelona, Sevilla, and Madrid, to be exact. I’ve always drawn on travel for my writing, and this was a wonderful trip for refilling the wells of inspiration.

In Barcelona, one of the most staggering sights was Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia cathedral, featured here on the homepage. I’ve seen some spectacular buildings in my day, but Gaudí’s style and vision were so unique that there’s truly nothing else like this. The impact of the interior combines the awe-inspiring sense of entering a great cathedral with that of walking into an ancient forest. Truly gorgeous!

Moorish (or Moorish-influenced) architecture in the south was another wonderful discovery. Of course I’ve seen photographs of the Alhambra in Granada, which we visited on a day trip, but there’s nothing compares to being in a space, drinking in the air of it, listening to the way sound echoes from its walls, gazing out at the panoramic vistas that surround it. The Alcázar in Sevilla, with its vast gardens and myriad fountains, was also fabulous.

I ate a lot of jamón and bacalao. I discovered tinto de verano, a cocktail of red wine and sparkling lemonade served over ice, less sweet and more refreshing than sangria. I discovered ajo blanco, a cold almond-based soup that was elevated to the next level when served with a dollop of mango sorbet. At the insistence of a wonderful old gentleman serving tables at a tapas bar, I had the best flan I’ve ever eaten, topped with figs and drizzed with caramel sauce, accompanied by a glass of sherry.

I attended a flamenco performance that blew my mind. The intricate skill of the guitarist’s playing, the raw emotional power of the singer’s vocals, and the impassioned, defiant grace of the dancer, all punctuated by amazing percussive clapping and footwork, combined in a way that was a revelation. Also, really damn sexy. I didn’t even try taking a photo; you had to be there. But one day, I’ll capture it in words.

In Madrid, I was caught unaware by the evocative strength of Picasso’s Guernica and boggled by the entire collection at the Prado. I mean, I knew it was amazing, but… it’s really, really amazing. I sat at cafes in the pedestrian district and people-watched for hours. I stood in line at a tiny shop famous for their handsewn espadrilles and bought a pair.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.

Now I’m back home in Michigan, working on the second volume in my forthcoming Agent of Hel urban fantasy series. The first book, Dark Currents, comes out in October. It looks like I’ll be attending Worldcon in Chicago this Labor Day weekend, and Comic-Con in New York may be a possibility. I should have confirmation on at least one of those events next month and will post that info, along with the first chapter of Dark Currents and any other news.

Until then, stop by the Tattoo and Fan Photos galleries! There are some gorgeous new photos in both this month!

June 2012

In the Matter of Fallen Angels: A Short Story by Jacqueline Carey - available in e-pub format for just .99 on Amazon This month’s update was written and posted a bit early for various reasons, so I hope I didn’t miss any major breaking news in the last few days of May!

At least on my end, I’m not anticipating any. I’m happy to report that the short story I mentioned last month, In the Matter of Fallen Angels, is now available in e-pub format for 99¢ at Amazon, SmashWords, Barnes & Noble and Scribd.

To be clear, this is not a Terre d’Ange story. It’s a piece of magic realism inspired by a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It was originally published in 2006 in Elemental, an anthology dedicated to raising funds for tsunami relief. In reviewing the anthology, The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Limited space proscribes mention here of every story in Elemental. That said, it would be a crime to miss In the Matter of Fallen Angels. Reporting deadpan on what happens when townsfolk find an angel recumbent in the yard behind the general store, Jacqueline Carey channels the affection humor of Mark Twain or Thornton Wilder. Style is not always the strongpoint of sci-fi writers, but Carey writes like a dream. The result is enchantment.”

But you already knew that, right? At any rate, I’m delighted to have the chance to make it available to a wider readership. Check it out! I hear it would be a crime to miss it.

Also mentioned last month, Naamah’s Blessing is now out in paperback. There’s been some confusion regarding Amazon’s listing, which for unknown reasons links to the U.K. trade paperback rather than the U.S. mass market. We’ve requested that they fix it a number of times, thus far to no avail. Hopefully, it will be fixed sooner or later, but for now, be assured that it’s available here.

Over on Facebook, there have been a few requests for a one-stop-shopping review of the Kushiel’s Legacy series to entice potential new readers. In case you’ve been looking for just such a thing to convince your Fifty Shades of Grey-obsessed friends that there are books out there that combine spicy sex AND a rich, complex plot, here’s a nice succinct synopsis from blogger Erin from At the Lamppost that fits the bill.

Speaking of social media, you can now follow me on Twitter at @JCareyAuthor, where I periodically attempt to be witty or poetic in 140 characters or less. However, posting on all media will be scant in June, as I’ll be out of town for a couple of weeks. No conventions, no appearances, just traveling with friends and refilling the wells of inspiration with art, culture and adventure.

Hasta luego!

May 2012

Happy spring!

A few things to report this month. First, Naamah’s Blessing is out in paperback! If you’ve been waiting to find out how Moirin’s saga ends, wait no longer. Second, I finally took the plunge and joined Twitter, where you can now follow me at @JCareyAuthor. Of course, I’m still active on Facebook, and I’ll do my best to keep duplicate posts to a minimum.

I’ve also got a couple of new side projects involving short stories in the works. My literary agency, DGLM, has ventured into digital publishing. I’m exploring the program by releasing a short story in e-pub format — In the Matter of Fallen Angels, which was originally published in an anthology dedicated to raising funds for tsunami relief. It’s a charming (if I do say so myself, and I do) little contemporary literary piece unrelated to any of my books. I’m excited to have the opportunity to make it available, and since it’s a short story, it will be priced at 99¢. We’re soooo close to having it published, but as of this writing, I don’t have links yet. Next month for sure!

Speaking of anthologies, I’m delighted to share an announcement regarding a forthcoming anthology titled Unfettered: New Tales by the Masters of Modern Fantasy. Many of you are familiar with Shawn Speakman from The Signed Page. In 2011, Shawn was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After undergoing the recommended chemotherapy, he was left with almost $200,000 in medical bills.

At the suggestion of renowned fantasy author Terry Brooks, Shawn called upon a number of authors who have come to consider him a friend, and were glad to contribute a story for an anthology to help alleviate the cost of his treatment. I’m honored to be one of them! Unfettered will be released in early 2013 by Grim Oak Press. Other contributors include Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik, Brandon Sanderson, Carrie Vaughn… oh, heck, pop over to the site to check out the press release and get excited about the line-up, not to mention the limited edition leather-bound copies signed by all the contributors.

The piece I’m contributing both is and isn’t a Terre d’Ange story. It’s called The Martyr of the Roses, and it’s a short story that actually contains the first spark of inspiration for what became the Kushiel’s Legacy series. I set it aside, thinking to find a home for it after the books became popular; however, as I continued writing, my plotting and expanded worldbuilding evolved in such a manner that the story no longer fit the canon of the series. But I still thought it was a really cool story, and somewhere, somehow, I’d find the right venue for it, where readers would appreciate it as a literary curiosity. I think this is perfect.

Updates will be forthcoming, of course. And for those of you wondering if I’ll be offering signed books through The Signed Page in October when Dark Currents comes out, all I can say at this point is that I hope we’ll be able to make that happen again.

In closing, as (almost) always, be sure to check out the Tattoo Gallery for a couple cool new submissions!

April 2012

Happy spring!

Goofy Dog at Doggy CampIt certainly came early in my neck of the woods. We had a streak of 80 degree days last month here in Michigan, sending everything bursting into bloom. Now it looks more like May than April.

By the way, did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? Well, now you do! Thanks to reader Amy for bringing it to my attention and asking me to help spread the word. Check out the Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks for more information and helpful resources.

So I happened to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 last month, and as soon as the central conflict regarding the development of explosive weaponry was revealed, I couldn’t help but think, “Damn, I’m glad Naamah’s Kiss came out before this!” Casting my memory back, I did recall a reader mentioning the coincidence to me a while ago, and asking if I thought the screenwriters borrowed the idea. In a similar vein, a lot of readers over the years have asked if I thought the character Inara and concept of Companions inFirefly were inspired by Phèdre and Naamah’s Servants.

Tempting though it would be to claim bragging rights – “Hey, Joss Whedon totally ripped me off!” – no, I don’t for a minute think it’s true in either case. For one thing, it takes far too long to get a project developed, produced and released in Hollywood for the timelines to be plausible. For another, although the actual number is debatable, it’s a fact that there are a finite number of plots and plot elements in the world. We’re all drawing on the same well of story, and there’s bound to be overlap sometimes. Obviously, it’s not like I invented high society courtesans or the clash between magic-or kung fu-and technology.

I thought about this while reading accusations that The Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royale, an earlier Japanese book also adapted into a film. Author Suzanne Collins has stated that The Hunger Games was inspired by watching footage of reality games juxtaposed with coverage of the war in Iraq, and that she wasn’t aware of this literary kid-killing-game predecessor prior to turning in her first book, and I don’t have any reason doubt her. I did think, “Oh, it’s The Running Man, only with kids,” when I first heard the premise, but to my mind, taking a premise and upping the ante is perfectly acceptable.

I don’t always understand why a particular book turns into a full-blown cultural phenomenon, but in this case, I do. When the reality show Survivor (which according to Wikipedia was based on a Swedish show) debuted in 2000 in the U.S., it was considered shocking. Now, we watch it and grumble that the contestants aren’t starving enough. We’ve watched celebrities self-destruct on the air in shows like Celebrity Rehab, or the sad trainwreck that was The Anna Nicole Show. In 2007, CBS went all Lord of the Flies-in-a-frontier-town with Kid Nation.

And for the past decade, this has played out in America against a backdrop of a nation at war, and a nation in which the division of wealth has reached extremes not seen since the Gilded Age. So yeah, I get it, and props to Suzanne Collins for producing a series that speaks to the zeitgeist, especially one featuring a strong female protagonist. What the heck, I may just play hooky one day next week and go see the movie.

That’s all for this month! Check out the Tattoo Gallery for a cool new addition. And on the homepage, there’s my own little April Fool, Maya.

March 2012

We’re one month closer to spring, yay!

Annnnd… I’m leading on that cheery note (at least here in Michigan) because there’s not a lot to report otherwise. I’m still working on the second Agent of Hel urban fantasy, tentatively titled Autumn Bones. I finished the copyedit on the first book, Dark Currents, which will be coming out in October.

Believe it or not, it was my first time doing an electronic copyedit using track changes and responding to queries in comments. I had some trepidation, since writers can get attached to our tried and true familiar processes, but it went quite smoothly, and I realized it makes a lot more sense using the technology available than going old-school with handwritten queries and revisions scribbled in the margins and between the lines of a battered manuscript that’s shipped back and forth multiple times.

And that, in turn, reminds me of how much the process has changed since I began writing. My first efforts were written out long-hand in a series of numbered spiral binders. When I got serious about pursuing a writing career, my parents bought me a state-of-the-art word processor, which was a typewriter with a flip-up monochrome screen that displayed, oh, something like 8 lines of text. It had a diskette drive, and the diskettes could hold maybe 25 manuscript pages.

I thought it was wonderful. Now, I can’t imagine doing without a computer… although when I try, I find myself curious about the prospect. Could I still write a novel by hand in a notebook? How would it alter my creative creative process? Interesting questions – though I think perhaps I’ll save them for another decade.

In other news, if you’re reading this update prior to March 5th, I’m offering a great opportunity on my Facebook page. I promised to hold a special giveaway there when the page passed 10,000 “Likes,” and it’s a good one! I’m giving away a set of signed hardcover first edition copies of the original Kushiel trilogy: Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen and Kushiel’s Avatar.

All three, all signed, all first edition hardcovers! You can read about the details in the Note titled “The 10,000+ Giveaway.” Notes are located under the profile pic in the upper left corner, as is the Sweepstakes app, and I believe neither are visible on FB’s mobile application, so you’ll need to enter from an actual computer. The deadline is 8:00 am EST on Monday, March 5th.

Good luck! Be sure to check out the Tattoo Gallery for some lovely new additions; and on the homepage, a little magic from my own backyard after one of the only heavy snowfalls so far this winter.

See you next month!

February 2012

Phedre at DarkConGreetings from bleak midwinter Michigan!

I shouldn’t complain, because this is often the time of year when I get the most writing done. It’s cold and dank and dreary outside, which makes it the perfect time to hole up in my office and be productive. At the moment, I’m working on the second volume of my forthcoming Agent of Hel urban fantasy series, tentatively titled Autumn Bones. The first book,Dark Currents, is scheduled for release this October.

Speaking of things dark, I did escape the Michigan winter-in fact, I dodged a blizzard coming and going-to attend DarkCon in Arizona as their author guest of honor last month. Thanks to everyone, hosts and guests alike, who made it a fun and rewarding experience!

It really was one of the most pleasant conventions I’ve attended, which inspired me to write about conventions in general this month, at least from my own limited perspective; eg. how and why I appear at them, what makes for a successful convention. The how is easy. If I’m invited to be a sponsored guest at a convention, and it works with my schedule, I’ll generally say yes. Why? Because it gives me an opportunity to connect with my existing readers-especially if it’s in a region I seldom have the chance to visit-and hopefully, to convert new readers.

So what makes a good one? On a professional level, it’s hard to gauge. There’s no way to determine a direct correlation between appearing at a con and an overall increase in readership. On a personal level, my best experiences have been at small-moderately sized conventions. I’ve attended a few of the huge mega-cons, and often felt a bit lost in the shuffle. At a more modest con, there’s a better chance of leaving feeling I’ve made some genuine connections.

One nice thing a con can do for its headliner guests, as DarkCon did, is assign them a dedicated liaison – or in con-speak, a “minion.” Many F/SF authors were immersed in the world of fandom before becoming professionals in the industry and view a con as a working holiday of sorts, an opportunity to reforge ties with friends and family. But there are also many of us, me included, who grew up reading and loving genre fiction without knowing that this world of fandom existed. We’ve simply been out of that particular loop.

As a result, I don’t have a preexisting social network on the con circuit, and I’m usually traveling solo. So it’s a definite plus to have a knowledgeable contact who makes sure everything runs smoothly, that I arrive at designated locations for scheduled events in a timely manner rather than wandering the halls in search of Venue H, to facilitate introductions, recommend restaurants, provide company and conversation during a lull in a long signing session.

In turn, as a guest of honor, I’m happy to put myself at the disposal of the convention. DarkCon did a nice job of establishing opportunities for attendees to interact with the guests of honor in a social setting. It gives tongue-tied fans a chance to relax and get to know authors and other media types as ordinary human beings; hopefully perfectly pleasant ones! Sure, there are a few divas out there, but most of us realize how much we owe our fans, and welcome the chance to mingle with them.

So there’s my take on cons! Be sure to check out the Tattoo Gallery for some lovely new entries. On the homepage is a photo from the “Kushiel’s Dart: The Longest Night” performance piece that took place at the convention, courtesy of Miss Chris and Jenni. Very nice, no? It was a beautiful, intimate performance, and one that reminds me that it’s an honor to have written books that have touched lives.

Amaryllis at Jacqueline's houseJanuary 2012

A belated Happy New Year!

In all the bustle of the holidays, and then the relaxing bliss of taking a few days of down-time, I completely forgot to write a timely site update this month. So, better late than never!

As a first order of business, I want to give a shout-out to an organization co-founded by a dear friend of mine, Anka Rising, dedicated to helping eradicate modern-day slavery. The more I’ve read about this issue, the more I’ve come to realize what an immense and underreported problem it is. In fact, President Obama declared this January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month. You can also like Anka Rising on Facebook to keep up with their coverage. There are far too many real-life Daršangas out there.

Which puts me in mind of a question that was posted on my own Facebook wall, then vanished before I had a chance to respond. For the record, I maintain a reasonably active presence there and I try to respond to all inquiries posted on the wall (although I’m sure I miss some in the comments). At any rate, there was a question regarding what it was like to write the Daršanga sequence in Kushiel’s Avatar. Hands down, that was the most difficult sequence I’ve ever written. There may have been individual scenes that were harder, like writing the tragic deaths of beloved characters, but the prolongued, unrelenting grimness of the Daršanga sequence was like no other.

I don’t regret it – it was what it had to be, the apotheosis of the dark aspect of Phèdre’s nature, which makes the brightness that follows all the brighter. But yes, it was grueling, and it definitely took a toll on me.

Since the release of Naamah’s Blessing, the final volume in Moirin’s trilogy, a lot of readers have asked if I plan to return to Terre d’Ange. As I’ve said here before, that book is the last, if not necessarily forever, at least for the foreseeable future. But I love every single one of those books, and I’ve had a wonderful time exploring such a rich, complex setting. The amount of research that’s gone into that oeuvre over the past decade staggers me when I think about it, and I’ve learned so much about our world in creating mine.

And of course, as I keep saying, never say never. Some day I might be compelled to return to it; to check in on Moirin and Bao’s fat, happy babies, or to tell the story of Phèdre and Joscelin hiding the Lost Book of Raziel, or to discover if Melisande ever found a way to meet her grandchildren. Or I might not. All I know for certain now is that it’s time for me to walk away.

That said, I’m having a delightful time working on a world of wonder, whimsy and creepiness in my new urban fantasy project. We’re calling the series Agent of Hel, and the first volume, Dark Currents, will be out in October. I hope my readers are looking forward to joining me on a new journey. In the meantime, check out the Tattoo Gallery for two lovely new entries.

Best wishes to all for a peaceful and prosperous year to come!