Category Archives: Pimping Post

Reading Recs: Abroad by Liz Jacobs

I posted this on my patreon as a public post, read here or there.

Abroad by Liz Jacobs

It’s the story of an immigrant student, now studying in London who is coming to terms with who he is: as a Russian Jew, as gay and as he figures out where he belongs.
Nick’s story really hit home for me. Although I’m not a Russian Jew, I am an immigrant. Born in Cuba and brought to the U.S. at age almost-3, escaping Fidel Castro’s regime. I can’t tell you how much I identify with Nick’s struggle–as an immigrant, being in a new place and (eventually) coming out of the closet. 
I remember being in first grade (or kinder) crying because I didn’t understand what the teacher wanted, because I didn’t speak English well enough.
I remember being ashamed of my mother’s accent, because kids in school teased me about it. We never spoke Spanish at home, as my parents figured we’d assimilate better if we concentrated on English. There were so many cultural differences that I just didn’t get. 
My father had wanderlust and we moved house pretty much every year until they divorced when I was 16. We never got a chance to settle and become part of a community and I was always the “new kid;” the outsider. This is something that helped me out in later years, as I find it fairly easy to connect with new people now, but as a kid, it was so very tough.
Coming out as not-straight: a tough one. I’m old enough to be a tail-end baby boomer, and my generation did not just come out. I wasn’t sure how to tell people that I was bi/pan. We just did not talk about our sexualities so freely. Friends knew, especially fannish friends, but family? Not so much. Though, once I finally did say something, my mom told me she’d known for a long time – go figure. 
In Abroad, Liz captures the essence of all of these feelings so very well. I’m not a college-age Russian Jewish guy, but I understand Nick deeply and I very much want to get to know him and the other characters better. Can’t wait for the sequel.

Patreon Post live! Critical Essays and Pop Culture

Today’s Patron-only post is live! I talk about my foray into writing critical essays on pop culture – and getting paid to do so!
screenshot of patreon post
Since it’s Thursday, what better focus than the essay that started it all, Another Roadside Attraction: The Role of the Trickster for the Smart Pop book: In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural. For SPN fans, you get the Thursday connection. 😀 (there’s even a lagniappe – my initial notes when I was crafting the essay)
 
Not a patron? Easy to become one. Sign up for a minimum of $1 a month for awesome posts, nifty behind-the-scenes stories and glimpses into previous work and in-progress work – all exclusive to my patrons.

You have reached The Lima

Maria Lima aka, Maria Lima, TheMariaLima, etc.

I’m a writer,  reader and all-around fangrrl with feet firmly planted in the Other.

My Blood Lines series, a not-so-urban contemporary fantasy set in the Texas Hill Country, is available wherever books are sold. All five books are now available as audiobooks via Audible.com.

But, wait, there’s more!

I’ve also written short stories and non-fiction essays for various collections. Find out about all my work at the My Work page.

I blog here infrequently, but you can find me spewing words of dubious wisdom on:

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It's an Audiobook Giveaway!!

audiobook cover Blood HeatHi, all and sundry! Yup, it’s been ridiculous how long ago I last posted an update. I’ve spent a great deal of time on Facebook & Twitter, but less time blogging. Shall I blame the state of the world or just the state of moi? Probably a little of both.

I’ve finished recording the 4th book in the Blood Lines series, Blood Heat and in celebration, the wonderful folks over at Audible.com have given us 5 free copies of the audiobook to give away to interested reader/listeners.

A free audiobook??? How do I get that, you ask.

Simple, it only takes a couple of steps to enter the random drawing no later than midnight, 4 July, 2013 (Eastern Daylight Time/GMT -4):

1. Comment here on my blog or my LiveJournal post or Facebook with a new or new-to-you favorite book, story, tv show, movie, gadget, etc. Tell me why you love it and why I should check it out/try it.
2. Spread the word – Tweet, post the link to this giveaway on Facebook, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, any social media and make sure to @ mention me or give me the URL in your comment.

On Friday, July 5, I’ll randomly (via random.org) pick the names of the winners.

Winners will receive a redemption code for 1 copy of Blood Heat, the audiobook via Audible.com. You must provide me with your email address so I can send you the redemption information.

In other news, life continues to crawl along. More on that later.

If you have any questions about the giveaway, please feel free to comment or email me!

Happy almost-July!!

My Next Big Thing Blog-Hop

They’re everywhere. They’re everywhere. Authors all over the intarwebz blogging about their “Next Big Thing”.  I’ve been tagged by the fabulous Sujata Massey in her blog post. I figured I’d play along and talk about my current project which is the audio narration of my books. 🙂

What is the working title of your next book?

I’m currently working on recording the audio for the last 2 books in my Blood Lines series: Blood Heat and Blood Sacrifice. Audiobooks for the 1st three are now available on Audible.com.

 

Where did the idea for the book come from?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…uh, no, strike that. I got the idea for the series from a kernel of a dream/amusing thought once upon a time. It eventually morphed into what’s out there now.

 

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy – or, should we call it contemporary fantasy? Urban implies nitty gritty noir-inspired city setting, but my series is set in very rural Texas – only, it’s not the Texas you  might think it is.

 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Such a question! I’ve pondered, searched and pored over IMDB to answer this in other Q&A blog posts, and I have yet to find anyone who physically resembles Adam at all. For Keira, it’s a toss up between Katie McGrath of Merlin and Jaimie Alexander (Thor).

For Tucker & Niko – oh, so easy: Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Avengers). They are perfect!

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?

Mystery, mayhem, murder and politics in the Texas Hill Country…of the supernatural kind.

 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The audiobooks are published via Audible.com.

 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your masterpiece?

Each audiobook takes a couple of months of working weekends to record, master and upload the files. This was rather a surprise to me, as I didn’t expect it to take so long. Each book is about 10 hours or so of recorded audio, which translates to about 30-35 hours of actual work.

 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Again with the loaded questions! ::g:: I’d say my stories tend to fall in between Tanya Huff’s Vicky Nelson series and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.

 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My main inspiration was having read Tanya Huff’s series back when it first debuted (early 90s). I immediately fell in love with the idea of writing a fantasy novel based in the contemporary “real” world. I was also devouring a lot of Charles de Lint at the time, another wonderful Canadian writer. De Lint’s world was populated with magic and mystery. He opened the doors to Faery and hooked me completely. Tanya, on the other hand, showed me how I could combine my two loves: mystery books and fantasy books by merging both those worlds successfully.

 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I love to tell folks that the books are narrated by me. I’m enjoying the heck out of doing the recordings. A reader once told me he could hear my voice when reading the books (they are 1st person narrative) and doing the audio for them lets me project that voice so others can actually hear it.

 

That’s my .02 on the Next Big Thing. Thanks for stopping by. I tag my fellow Outer Alliance members!

Readers, why not spend awhile checking out the other Next Big Thing Blog posts?

The Next Big Thing: FATHER GAETANO’S PUPPET CATECHISM

My buddy Chris Golden had issues with Blogger and his  Next Big Thing blog post so he asked a few of us if we’d help him out. That was a no brainer – Chris is awesome so of course I said yes. 

 

So…most of you probably know this already…maybe…possibly.  There’s a wonderful blog-contagion going on, something called THE NEXT BIG THING.  A blog-hop, they call it, and in it authors are mean to answer a handful of questions about their latest work and then tag five or so other authors to do the same the following week.  As you might imagine, it’s growing exponentially.  I mean, do the math, right?  A month or so ago, my good friend Stephen Volk asked me if I wanted to do it, but I was on a craaazy deadline for my upcoming thriller for St. Martin’s, SNOWBLIND, which is now complete.  Then, a week or so ago, the great and funny and charming and brilliant Dana Cameron tagged me.  I was on a different deadline, no less desperate, but I realized that if I didn’t jump in, I was going to miss the Next Big Thing entirely.  The circus would have passed me by.  Also, I didn’t want Dana mad at me.  Bitch’ll cut a guy.

 

Of course, I was supposed to have this blog up yesterday, so I may yet face her wrath.

 

My answers to the questions—and the poor suckers I’ve tagged for next week—are below, but you should also go and check out Dana’s Next Big Thing blog from last week, and pick up her first urban fantasy, SEVEN KINDS OF HELL.

 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

CG:  FATHER GAETANO’S PUPPET CATECHISM is the third book I’ve done with Mike Mignola.  The prior novels (BALTIMORE and JOE GOLEM AND THE DROWNING CITY) were conceived by Mike.  This one—though it has so many elements that are near and dear to Mike’s heart—was my idea.  We were on the phone one day, talking about our love of puppets and how unnerving they can be, and the idea hit me pretty much fully-formed, which is rare but nice.  It’s short and a St. Martin’s has made a beautiful little book that would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who loves fantasy, horror, or just plain weird.

 

What genre does your book fall under?

CG:  It’s a supernatural story, so you could call it horror, but I think anyone who enjoys dark fantasy would enjoy it as well.

 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

CG:  Funnily enough, it isn’t the actors I think of when I think of a film version of this story—it’s the style.  I’d love to see it directed by someone like Henry Selick, done like Coraline or Corpse Bride.

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

CG:  In the aftermath of a critical World War II battle, Father Gaetano believes that God has called him to teach catechism to a group of young orphans and to restore their faith in God, but he soon finds that it can be dangerous to rely too much on what one perceives as the wishes of one’s creator.  Oh, and there are puppets that come to life.  [Two sentences.  Sue me.]

 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

CG:  The book was published about six weeks ago, but was sold at the very tail end of a period of many years in which I represented myself, so the answer to that question is neither.  Shortly after selling the book to St. Martin’s, I signed on with the great, and dashingly handsome, Howard Morhaim, and I feel fortunate to have him in my corner.

 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

CG:  About a month, I think.  Remember, it’s a novella, not a full-length novel.  I’m not sure how long it took Mike to do the illustrations.

 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

CG:  I can’t think of any, really.  I’m sure there are plenty and that readers can draw comparisons, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is The Twilight Zone, and not because of the various living doll stories that Serling did.  There’s just something about the subtle alteration of reality, the eeriness, and the way in which that series always used the supernatural to explore larger themes that I loved, and the influence of that show on a lot of my work is clear.  I do think that if you like creepy, then you’ll like this story.

 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

CG:  It’s got a gorgeous cover and creepy illustrations by my co-author, Mike Mignola, who is not only the creator of Hellboy, but the greatest and truest artist working in comics today.

 

And those are the questions, folks.  The lovely and ruthless Dana Cameron tagged me this week, but she also tagged three other great writers.  Here’s what Dad had to say about them….

Toni L. P. Kelner: I’ve been a fan of Toni’s award-winning writing since her Laura Fleming books, and wait until you
see her new series, starting with The Skeleton in the Armoire (as Leigh Perry)! I’ll let her tell you about that next week!

Kat Richardson‘s latest novel Seawitch, was #3 on the Locus Hardcover Bestseller list for November! Kat and I got
acquainted via anthologies Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (which Toni edited with Charlaine Harris) and most recently, Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.

Elaine Viets has TWO series: the Helen Hawthorne “Dead End Job” mysteries, and the Josie Marcus “Mystery Shopper mysteries.” Elaine and I are both members of the Femmes Fatales (as is Toni), and she’ll be posting her Next Big thing blog there.

*******************

And now we get to the folks I’m tagging, the amazingly talented writers to whom I have spread the Next Big Thing contagion.  Look for their posts next Tuesday, December 12th!

S.G. Browne’s latest novels are Lucky Bastard (which has a neat little blurb from yours truly, every word of which I meant) and I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus…and you know you need that freakin’ book right now.

Cherie Priest is the author of the hugely successful Clockwork Century novels, including Boneshaker and the latest, The Inexplicables.  She’s also written creepy-as-all-get-out Southern Gothic supernatural tales and urban fantasy, has dynamite fashion sense, and different hair every time I see her.

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the ass-kicking urban fantasy Black London novels and the YA series The Iron Codex, which has the best titles.  I mean, book two is The Nightmare Garden, that’s pretty damn cool.  She once told me that she’s not ready for the zombie apocalypse but she is prepared for the kitten apocalypse.  Make of that what you will.

Yes, Amber Benson is the author of the Death’s Daughter series of urban fantasy novels, among other things, and yes, she’s an actress-writer-director who has been elevated to the status of cult icon in recent years.  She’s also my little sister, gave me the best nickname ever, and commandeers my daughter’s “princess bed” at every opportunity.

As far as I know, the only thing that all four of these writers have in common is that they have all written short stories for anthologies I have edited, which means they bear the same psychological scars.

Happy Holidays!!!

What Scares Us blog tour: Clay & Susan Griffith Talk About Scary Places

Welcome to our guests, Clay & Susan Griffiths of Vampire Empire fame as they continue their  “What Scares Us” Halloween blog tour by talking about scary places.

 

Susan

Clay and I used to write scripts for Monster Creature Feature, an old-time horror host show that starred our good friend, Ormon Grimsby. We loved helping out with the low-budget filming too, and would meet Ormon at his various locations. The studio had set up shop once in downtown Raleigh in the basement of a particularly old building below an antique shop called Father and Son. Disturbingly old, odd collectibles cluttered the space so you couldn’t see all the way to the back walls. Shadows filled every nook and cranny and I tried not to look into those dark corners. The ceiling was low in spots so Clay and Ormon had to hunch over a great deal, while the top of my head just skimmed the low beams which felt like someone was touching my hair constantly. It was just the type of basement where creepy stuff happened in movies all the time, not to mention it was a death trap if a fire broke out.

Scary1

I was doing fine of shoving those thoughts aside and keeping busy working the fog machine and various low-level special effects. Until ghoulish Ormon decides to tell me some history of the building. “You know,” he says, “back in 1918, an influenza epidemic swept though most of America, including Raleigh.” Yes, I heard that in North Carolina it killed more than thirteen thousand people. I didn’t need to hear any more, but of course that wasn’t to be the end of the conversation. With a wave of his ratty undertaker gloves, he gestured to the dark corners. “So many died that funeral homes couldn’t handle them all. They started stacking the bodies in the buildings. This one in particular. The word is they stored a number of bodies here in the basement.”

And that was it. I hated going to film there suddenly. Now every corner had eyes. The creepy tableau of antique dolls and old furniture seemed to cry out. The touches from the low beams felt human.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was when we moved to a new locale. The sad thing was I really liked the antique store above. They have some great items, along maybe with a ghost or two.

 

Clay

Susan and I were married in Edinburgh, Scotland. That city has plenty of scary and creepy places, but I found one that went beyond scary to genuinely disturbing. While honeymooning in Edinburgh, I decided I needed to see the skeleton of William Burke. Why, you ask. If you ask that, you don’t know me very well.

William Burke was one of the murderous pair of Burke and Hare, famous for killing more than 15 people in 1828, and then selling the cadavers to Dr. Robert Knox for anatomy lessons. Burke was convicted, thanks to testimony from Hare, and executed. Then his body was surrendered to the medical school to be anatomized and his skeleton displayed in the museum.

Unfortunately for me, Edinburgh has two medical school and two medical museums. I only had time for one and in those days before you could pull out your phone and Google William+Burke+skeleton+Edinburgh+museum, I had to just pick one. The museum of the Royal College of Surgeons was divided into a small public collection and a larger private collection for medical students. At the time, I worked for the Department of Plant Pathology at NC State University as a researcher in the history of science so I informed the museum gatekeeper that I was in town from NCSU and wanted to study the museum’s collection for potential research about connections between human medicine and plant medicine. Yeah, it sounded stupid then too, but it worked. The museum was closed, but they unlocked the door and told me to knock when I was finished.

It was a beautiful space, designed by the famous 19th century architect, William Playfair. And the displays were amazing. At first. Eventually, however, one tired of shelf after shelf, cabinet after cabinet, row after row of anatomical specimens floating in oily liquid. The peculiarly attentive and vengeful faces inside jars began to creep me out. And I saw no skeleton of William Burke.

Finally I had my fill of diseased organs, and frankly even the most crowd-pleasing deformity lost its power to charm. I went to the door and knocked. There was no answer. I knocked louder. Still no answer.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of horror movies. Were those bloated arms flexing their fingers? Did I hear the sound of tiny hands unscrewing jar lids from the inside? Were empty eye sockets turning toward me?

Needless to say, I managed to escape (although how awesome would it be to end this by saying I was writing from inside a display case?). The gatekeeper had merely gone to lunch and forgotten he had a lone guest that day.

I asked him about William Burke’s skeleton? Was it out being cleaned? No. It turns out Burke’s bony remains were at the University of Edinburgh. I had picked the wrong museum.

Or had I? On the way out, I noticed an odd little display item. It was a book. And it was supposedly bound in the skin of William Burke, flayed from his anatomized body.

 

* * * * * *

Okay, I get it, these two LOVE the scary places, right? As for me, my scariest place isn’t physical, it’s mental…when I’ve run out of ideas. I haven’t found it yet, and hope never to!

 

What’s the scariest place you’ve been/seen? What was awesome about it?

 

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Back in the saddle…aka, it's been a long time since I posted

I have no excuses, just that my life is a series of busy-ness, dealing with health issues and all the usual stuff that makes up, well…life.

 

The great news, I finished recording Blood Bargain, and it’s now for sale as an audiobook via Audible.com or iTunesBlood Bargain audio cover art

 

Soon, I’ll start recording Blood Kin, for your listening pleasure. ::g::

 

A lot of folks have been writing me, asking me about the fate of the Blood Lines series. I’m afraid that at this point there are no more books as Pocket isn’t continuing the series. I’m concentrating on the audiobooks right now and am contemplating various options after that. I’m actually not sure at this point. There is always the direct-to-ebook option and I have not discarded that idea at all. I just need to focus on the recordings first and then move forward.
I’m extremely heartened by these emails, though. It’s wonderful to hear from my fans and know that they love the books. So often, we writers send our work out into the aether and don’t get much feedback outside of our editors. It’s lovely to be able to correspond with our readers.

 

I hope you’ve all been having a great & safe summer!