“The Deadline Dames” : Urban Fantasy Overload!

Posted by Harry Markov

Each year brings us the promise of something new, incredible, wonderful, spectacular or simply optimistic. For every person there is a different adjective, but I ask. How do you classify the gathering of NINE urban fantasy authors together on one blog? I can see shrieking fans in ecstasy and grandeur unlike any other. Note that I didn’t choose this art randomly. It represents what happened when “The Deadline Dames” launched.

The “Deadline Dames” and like their smoldering heroines, these femme fatales in the hottest new genre to be at to kick ass. And they do. It has been a week since the official launch of the site and you can see incredible and ranging number of comments, swelling at each post in the range from 3 to about 200. Cosmic numbers for any blogger and quite the launch. But shall we cover why “The Deadline Dames” have achieved such success.

We have the founding holy trinity plus one in urban fantasy and namely Jenna Black, Keri Arthur, Lilith Saintcrow and Jackie Kessler. Then we move on to Rachel Vincent, my personal queen of shapeshifter novels; Toni Andrews and Devon Monk, whose debut has been released last year. Last but not least we have Karen Mahoney and Rinda Elliott, both amazing people as well as writers and by both being represented by Miriam Kriss, success is inavoidable. I like to call them Generation Next in the urban fantasy scene. For me this grouping in experience is going to add some diversity and unexpected dynamics in the blog.

Second, and I think as equally important to the fans, “The Deadline Dames” are generous party girls and in order to celebrate their smooth start, for two weeks they are giving fantastic prizes as well as their insight on a matter of topics: deadlines being on top of their priority right.

I also would like to speak a few words about the site itself. Stylish and fashioned with the trademarks of urban fantasy such as dark colors, knives, guns, tattoos and the necessary femme fatales, “The Deadline Dames” is easy on the eye in more than one way. We have a rotating schedule for weekly posting and several pages for the visitor to explore. All in all, as a reader and writer in the genre, I have to say pretty darn good.

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Happy Holidays from Rachel Vincent!

In this Urban Fantasy Land exclusive, we’re bringing you the holiday traditions of some of your favourite urban fantasy authors! Today’s guest:

vincent_rachelWhat winter holiday do you celebrate?

I celebrate Christmas.

What are your favourite winter holiday traditions?

My husband and I make a gingerbread house, open presents in front of the tree, and make Christmas dinner.

What are you looking forward to most?

Time off. 😉

What’s your favourite gift to give?

Anything that’s frivolous, fun, and unexpected.

What’s your favourite gift to receive?

Books! And fun coffee mugs. And chocolate. 😉

What’s your favourite holiday food/candy/treat?

Homemade chocolate chip cookies, straight out of the oven. And homemade apple pie. I only make it on holidays.

Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday season! I hope everyone gives and receives lots of books! 😉

vincent11vincent_rogue-covercropvincent_pride

Order Stray
Order Rogue
Pre-Order Pride, available 1 Feb 2009

Visit Rachel Vincent’s website.
Visit Rachel Vincent’s blog.

More Briefs 2008.12.11

* Want to win cool stuff from Rachel Vincent? Sign up for her quarterly newsletter to get all the details.

* Jeaniene Frost guest blogging about plotting or pantsing.

* Charlaine Harris answers questions at SciFiWire.
I was sure vampires would be fun to write, and I wanted to take a direction that was new and fresh. (At the time, it was!) I decided to be the anti-Anne Rice. (This is not a knock on her work, but an attitude.) Since she took romantic southern Louisiana, I’d take the northern part, which is much more prosaic. Since her vampires were romantic and pay a lot of attention to their clothes, mine would shop at the mall and have ordinary names. That can only go so far; after all, I had no intention of writing a parody or of mocking her work, which I admire. After deciding your style of writing for the work you want to do, you have to construct a credible world.

I love Charlaine’s response in answer to what it’s been like being all over the best sellers lists: “I’m still faced with the problems I had before: a looming deadline, a book that won’t write itself. Being the prom queen for a season hasn’t changed the work any.”

* Chris Howard has created a graphic prequel, Saltwater Witch. The events of the story take place 5 years before those in his novel Seaborn.

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[REVIEW] Rogue – Rachel Vincent

Rogue

series: werecats, Book 2

Rachel Vincent

Mira Books, 2008

Someone’s been killing stray werecats, and during the course of the investigation, Faythe Sanders and Marc (her lover, investigative partner, and her father’s chief enforcer) stumble onto serial kidnappings. Someone’s been taking strippers in the same towns 24-hours before strays show up dead. Who’s doing the kidnapping? Who’s doing the killing? When Faythe seems to be connected to it all, will her relationship with Marc survive?

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My thoughts behind the cut. Continue reading

Tuesday News Briefs

Just trying to catch up here…

Rachel Vincent finished the revisions for Prey, which is enough awesomeness on its own, but then Vicki Pettersson compared and contrasted their working methods, specifically the notecards and took awesomeness to a whole new level.

Justine Larbalestier wants to know What’s Your Fairy? [I think I need a Remember That Pot on the Stove? Fairy because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve boiled water dry and ruined the pot. Really, I can’t. It’s embarrassing.]

Maggie Stiefvater celebrated good news:

Abby Ranger and David Levithan at Scholastic prevailed in a multiple-round auction for world rights to Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver in a two-book deal with Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown. This YA novel describes the first love between a 16-year-old girl and a mysterious boy who spends his winters as a wolf and is fighting to stay human as the temperature drops. The 26-year-old Stiefvater has a YA novel, Lament, just out from Flux, with a sequel to follow. Shiver will be published in fall 2009.

Anton Strout announced the winners of the Dead to Me photo contest.

Io9 hooks you up with a Vampire Dating Service.

Jeaniene Frost fans have much to cheer: 4 more books and an anthology spot!

[Review] ROGUE by Rachel Vincent (and Giveaway)

Author: Rachel Vincent
Title: “Rogue”
Pages: 400
Publisher: Mira Books

Rachel Vincent is one of the more recognized names in the urban fantasy community, although so far she had only one book in print, two right now but that is beside the point. The reason I give for her somewhat immediate plunge to stardom and bestseller lists lie on her idea to use big black cats instead of wolves as shapeshifters in her world. With one of the few strong heroines, who actually have coverage for their badass behavior, it was no wonder that Rachel Vincent has come and plans to stay.

“Rogue” follows the life of Faythe Sanders after she has returned to her Pride in Texas. Her stay is involuntary, being forced by her father to serve her Pride for three years before she could earn her freedom. However she does feel the perks of it working as the only female enforcer ever, monitoring the borders and getting rid off stray cats, who have no business in her Pride’s territory. Everything starts off blissfully enough. Faythe is content with her life and relationship with Marc, her long time lover, but when a series of murdered tom cats start appearing out of nowhere every second matters and peace is a very abstract and far away concept. Parallel to this unnerving commotion in the werecat community, humanity takes notice of a strand of missing stripers. The disappearances overlap with the locations the dead toms were found and a frightening pattern is established. There are two criminals on the loose and one is after the other.

[Due to some spoiler alert, I would try to convey as less as possible from the plot, but whatever is revealed I urge for people, who would like to enjoy these discoveries of their own to skip as much as possible.]

Responsible for the death of the werecats appears to be a mysterious tabby, which elevates the situation at hand to a new level of complicated. Tabbies aka female werecats are a rarity among werecats and thus are handled as if made of glass. Having a tabby committing several capital crimes sets a dilemma, which only heightens the excitement of reading the novel. As far as the stripper kidnapper goes there are some unsettling revelations, which date pack to the first novel from the series “Stray”. Old villains resurface with a brand new weapon in the face of Andrew, Faythe’s human boyfriend.

This novel is a success in pretty much every way imaginable. I was curious to know what will Faythe get herself into, because after “Stray” there wasn’t much plot to hold on to. Most paranormal series have characters with a job, which can act as a plot finder. Faythe has still to finish college. Others use an arch villain in a grand good vs. evil battle; “Stray” ended quite definite although that was not entirely the case. In using the thinned tolerance towards about territory, the controversial regarding of female werecats and judicial system of the Pride Council Rachel Vincent draws the plot. Solely using world building as to move characters and tell new stories has yet to occur often.

Small details barely mentioned in “Stray” and “Rogue” sew together both books tightly. Both stories melt together in one rounded experience for Faythe. The wholeness and interconnection of what was and what is happening in both titles contribute to the pleasurable experience of reading Rachel Vincent. The three month silence period from Luiz, villain one from book one, happens to be the period to nurture Andrew through scratch-fever. This same Andrew we left with a cold in the first book. I rediscovered how such buried bits and pieces spring back to life to kick my head. This I call the Why-the-heck-didn’t-I-think-of-that effect, where the answers lay in front of you and yet you stomp through. In this regard Miss Vincent has utilized techniques, which would fit perfectly in a mystery novel ala Agatha Christie.

The prose involved is certainly another aspect I enjoy greatly as Rachel knows how to write a fighting scene and is the mistress to explain how pain can feel, spread and disable the body of its functions. Hand to hand combat hasn’t been depicted as clearly as in the Rachel Vincent novels and it’s diverse and entertaining at the same time. This I think is hard to pull off, since I have had my share of writing some fighting scenes and you have to admire the perfectionism in getting everything right to the very last comma. Plus I think the balance between what goes inside the character’s head and what he is doing or enduring is equally hard to pull, but effortlessly demonstrated.

However I could have been more satisfied, if Faythe hadn’t been a tad too stubborn in her relationship with Marc. I like Faythe’s hard character usually, because it’s totally explained. Living with almost only men, tends to give you a testosterone rush, which explains Faythe being a tomboy. She is rough around the edges and it feels natural, a quality most authors can’t quite deliver to their heroines and urban fantasy can’t suffer more. But, there is that word, when it came to make and making a commitment, her love and feelings would have prompted her to take the risk, which would make her character fuller instead of going in a rut about no strings attached. I perfectly understand that Rachel needs some base for further material on their relationship for the next installments, so the newly created rift is like a gold mine. My opinion on the matter would be to take the step further and see how she deals with the attached strings. Later when disaster strikes and a new rift opens, I would like to see the new problems, which in my opinion would be an even bigger gold mine. Of course this is just a minor glitch, which shouldn’t spoil “Rogue” too much.

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And I want to synchronize this post with the official giveaway of “Rogue” by Rachel Vincent. I know I won this off in a giveaway and it doesn’t seem as the most moral thing ever, but I have almost to none space at home to herd all my books. Besides the copy is almost new, spend in my hands only three days, so I hope you won’t lynch and crucify me. I bet all you have read used books *points at the library*.

So let’s start the party with some party rules and they do not involve not eating snacks on the good couch.

1) You can either comment here on this post or write me a nice e-mail at likenion(at)gmail(dot)com with subject title “Giveaway – Rogue”.

2) You have only one entry per person and people schizophrenia is no excuse to enter more time. My head is crowded too most of the time, but I resist the temptation.

3) This time I am expanding the period for entering till August the 31th. Yes, a whole month to enter. I am doing this mainly because I want to see how many different people will read this and because I love to make numbered lists.

4) Mark the end date on your calendar and then dash to send me your mailing address, if you win, because if you snooze you loose and Faythe will kick ass in somebody else’s hands.