Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hello, Dolly!


They can be cute and cuddle playmates for children. They can also be evil creatures intent on eating your soul. They can be beautiful pieces of art. They can also be the stuff of nightmares.

But for the Dollmaker in BLOOD SECRETS, they are… special…

Chances are good that you’ve encountered dolls somewhere in your lifetime. Either you’ve enjoyed their company or you’ve run screaming in terror. I would be the latter if the doll in question is a clown. I used to think clowns were great. Then I saw Poltergeist. Nuh uh. No, thank you. And then, because I just can’t leave well enough alone, I read Stephen King’s IT…and saw the movie adaptation. Pennywise…Tim Curry… Yeah, that ended my relationship with clowns and clown dolls. Nope. Not interested. Beat it, Bozo.

So now I want to hear your best — and it can either be happy or creepy or somewhere in between — doll-centric memory or story. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few lines. Whatever you’re comfortable telling.

Here are the rules:

1. Leave your stories in the comments section of the Dollmaker Contest post on my website.

2. Contest will run until midnight (CT) July 11, 2011. Winner will be announced July 12, 2011.

3. One entry per person.

4. THREE winners chosen at random will receive signed copies of BLOOD SECRETS.

5. Contest is open to international readers.

There you have it, folks. Have fun.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Contest -- Cover Art Posters

I have a new contest starting today on my website. The prize is two signed posters of the covers for both BLOOD LAW and BLOOD SECRETS. Read official rules for how to enter at www.JeannieHolmes.com.

All entries MUST be made via the website to be valid.

Good luck and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And in this corner....

I've been hearing a lot of grumbling on various social media sites (okay, mostly Twitter) about the Great Debate: Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance. For the most part, I've stayed out of the fray for a few of reasons--

1. I don't like to comment on "politics."
2. It makes my head hurt.
3. I think it's a silly argument.

Today, an article written by Kim Harrison showed up on SF Signal. The title of the article directly addresses the heart of UF vs PNR debate -- "Excuse me, your romance is in my urban fantasy" -- and the differences between the two but also bemoans the apparent dilution of the urban fantasy genre by a rise in the romantic content. While I don't agree with everything Ms. Harrison says, I do find some truth in her arguments.

Ms. Harrison begins by recounting a conversation with a reader in which he was lamenting the "shine fading from the urban fantasy genre" because the kick-ass protagonists we all know and love seemed to be morphing into damsels in distress and needed a big strong man (vampire, werewolf, etc.) to rescue them. She continues by saying:
The industry had a hand in causing it to a certain extent as many houses grabbed anything they could find with a vampire and sexy protagonist, thinking that was all urban fantasy was. Manuscripts that would otherwise be passed over were picked up and promoted. Books that would be stellar romances on their own were lessened by well-meaning editors trying to make them something they were not by asking their author to "stick a vampire in it! They're hot right now!"
I disagree. This example isn't a case of established protagonists changing. It's not that urban fantasy is being "diluted" by a rise in the romantic content -- It's a case of books being marketed inappropriately. It's a lack of understanding of not just one but two genres and in the end both suffer for it. (Whether they are sub-par or outstanding is not for me to decide and I will not debate the validity of one book over another.)

Ms. Harrison continues:
However, the very aspects that give it strength-the mixing of many genres-may now be threatening to eat away at it. It's up to the authors and publishing houses to understand that having a vampire in the storyline does not make it urban fantasy.
I agree with Ms. Harrison's observation that simply having a vampire in a story doesn't make it urban fantasy. It can easily be paranormal romance. Or horror. The difference is in the author's intent and the story they are trying to convey to the reader. Most "true" (and I use that word very loosely) UF novels are built on either a mystery or thriller backbone with science fiction, fantasy, romance, and horror mixed in to varying degrees. However, others may rely more on sci-fi or fantasy as the main support. Still others may lean toward romance or horror. This diversity is the very strength that makes UF so popular and yet so hard to define. It is the blurring of lines that make UF what it is.

Ms. Harrison states, "I know where that line is. The greats before me drew it very clearly in the sand." With all due respect to Ms. Harrison (and I'm a huge Kim Harrison fan), I don't think anyone can say there is a clearly defined line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She uses Bram Stoker's DRACULA as an example: "For the time it was written in, Dracula could be classified as an urban fantasy." I agree. It could be UF...and it could easily be read as paranormal romance or even horror. Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, for the time is was written in, could be classified as science fiction or horror. Charles Dickens's A CHRISTMAS CAROL, for the time it was written in, could be classified as urban fantasy or horror. Jules Verne's A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, for the time it was written in, could be classified as science fiction or fantasy.

Arguments can be made for and against any book belonging to any given genre--and that's the real problem. People--readers, writers, editors, publishers, etc.--become too caught up in the label game and everyone gets their panties in a wad when something is "mislabeled." Instead of focusing on The Story and whether or not we enjoyed reading it, we focus on what is apparently lacking or what was added. Suddenly we're back to the "You got peanut butter in my chocolate/You got chocolate in my peanut butter" argument. If the combination is delicious and satisfies whatever craving you had, does it really matter?


Stories should be weighed and validated based on their own merits and not the label someone slaps on it so bookstores know where to file it and so readers can find it. Mistakes happen and UF can be misidentified as PNR or vice versa. Here's the kicker: It happens with other genres as well. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS can be viewed as both thriller and horror. THE DA VINCI CODE can be classified as either mystery or thriller. It isn't unique to UF and PNR. Some stories blur the lines to the point no one knows exactly what label to give it so they make an educated guess of where it will have the best chance of reaching an audience. But it's still a guess, and sometimes the guess is wrong.

Instead of wailing and gnashing our teeth when that happens, how about we all--readers and writers alike--make a pact to say, "It wasn't what I expected, but it was a good story and I enjoyed it" and not allow ourselves to be caught up in The Great Debate and the Label Game. Let's focus on good stories, good writing, and having a good time. Reading and writing books should be fun. Arguing over shelf real estate sucks away that fun and only widens the riff between authors and readers when we should be happy to celebrate the very thing that supposedly unites us:

The love of a good book.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mobicon 14 Schedule

I'm off to Mobicon 14 this weekend. I have three major workshops/panels on my schedule -- and they're all my brain-children -- and two "meet and greet"s. For two workshops, I'm flying solo and the third brings in two other authors. Should be fun! Also, I'll have a few copies of BLOOD LAW to give away and free BLOOD SECRETS swag!

Here's the complete schedule for those who are in the area and may be interested in attending:

Location: Ashbury Suites & Inns
Mobile, AL

Dates: May 20-22

Schedule for Jeannie Holmes:


12:30-1:30 -- The Art of Dialogue: Speech is fluid and filled with loops, whirls, stops, and starts. Filling your characters' dialogue with the same can instantly kill their likeability. This interactive workshop uses improvisation and audience participation to demonstrate techniques for refining your characters' speech.

2:30-3:30 -- Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies--Oh, My!: The supernatural has branched out of the fantasy and horror genres to invade mysteries, romances, and thrillers. Why be limited to the traditional views? Learn to think outside of the paranormal box to fine new creatures and ways to thrill your readers.

7:30-8:30 -- Meet the Guests


2:30-3:30 -- Undying Love OR Eternal Struggle? Writing Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy: Is it a romance with fantasy elements or a fantasy with romantic elements? Learn to spot the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy and the basics for writing both. (Moderator: Jeannie Holmes Panelists: Candace Sams, Violet Reid)


10:00-11:00 -- Sunday Morning Hangover with All Surviving Guests

That's my complete schedule for the weekend. I'll be hanging out and chatting around the con. Feel free to find me and strike up a conversation. I won't bite....or will I?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Charity Auction for Humane Society of West Alabama

After the recent storms which hit the southeast, animal shelters have been hard hit with the task of caring for and identifying lost and misplaced pets. The authors of the Criminal Minds group blog, an award-winning weekly blog featuring 14 mystery and thriller writers, have joined forces to help those who cannot speak or help themselves. All CM authors have donated SIGNED copies of their most recent books for this charity auction.

Again, these are SIGNED COPIES! You will not find this collection of mystery, thriller, and paranormal fiction anywhere else!

Hard Cover

Rock Bottom by Erin Brokovich with C.J. Lyons (signed by C.J. only)
The Curse-Maker by Kelli Stanley
Dead in the Water by Meredith Cole
Murder on the Bride's Side by Tracy Kiely
Monkology by Gary Phillips
The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley
The Damage Done by Hillary Davidson


A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
iDRAKULA by Bekka Black
Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun by Lois Winston
The Jook by Gary Phillips
Orange County Noir by Gary Phillips
Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Day One by Bill Cameron
Before Cain Strikes by Joshua Corin
Blood Law by Jeannie Holmes
Black Rain by Graham Brown (not shown in picture)
Black Sun by Graham Brown (not shown in picture)

All proceeds -- 100% -- will be donated to the Humane Society of West Alabama -- a non-profit, all-volunteer, no kill shelter in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Tuscaloosa was one of the cities hardest hit by the tornadoes and storms. The shelter's facilities were not badly damaged but they are in desperate need of supplies and donations.

Thank you for joining the Criminal Minds to support HSWA and their ongoing animal rescue and storm recovery efforts!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blog Talk Radio Interview

Thanks to John Rakestraw for making my first ever Blog Talk Radio interview absolutely awesome and a lot of fun. If you missed the live broadcast, check out the recording here:

John Rakestraw on Blog Talk Radio — Interview with author Jeannie Holmes

Friday, April 22, 2011

BLOOD SECRETS release date changed!

Get ready to update your calendars… The release date for BLOOD SECRETS has been pushed back from June 28 to July 5.

Why? Several reasons but most notably is to allow for placement in the Barnes & Noble towers. Better placement = better visibility for this awesome cover = easier for you, the reader, to find it in the mad rush that will come from the anticipation of having to wait one more week!

Yes, this will affect some of the events I have planned. I’m working with the various parties to resolve the issues, and hope to have updates for you soon.