Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Writing Urban Fantasy, Part 1 -- "Oh yeah? Says Who?"

I'm starting a new blog series--or at least attempting to start a new blog series--on writing, specifically urban fantasy and where I think the genre may go in the future. To kick off the series, let's start with the ever popular task of trying to define the undefinable.

What is urban fantasy?

Urban fantasy is often defined as having supernatural/paranormal elements layered over our recognizable modern or near-future world. The setting is a large city such as Los Angeles, New Orleans, or St. Louis. Often the main character is female and the story is told in first person point of view. The story can have elements pulled from other genres such as science fiction, mystery, horror, and romance and woven together in a cohesive manner with varying degrees of emphasis placed on each of these genre elements. Primarily, the plot will consist of a mystery to be solved or a problem to be corrected before some great calamity strikes. Romance, if present, is usually a secondary plot. Character and story arcs often carry for multiple books. These are "The Rules" of urban fantasy.

We could spend hours if not days debating the finer points of what is or isn't urban fantasy. That is time we could spend doing more productive things, like writing the next book in a series or even the first book in a new series. For me, the definition hinges on the romance and if it's the main focus of the story or not because it's the easiest way to separate urban fantasy from its cousin, paranormal romance.

Where did it begin?

Most "experts" will point to the initial release of Laurell K. Hamilton's GUILTY PLEASURES (Book 1 in the Anita Blake series) in the early 1990s as the beginning of the genre's mass appeal to readers. However, I believe Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE would also qualify as an early example of urban fantasy, even though the point of view character is male and much of the story is told as Louis's memories, the actual "interview" takes place modern times.

However, one could make a strong argument for finding urban fantasy's roots in the Romantic Movement in works such as Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, Bram Stoker's DRACULA, Charles Dickens's A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and Edgar Allan Poe's MASK OF THE RED DEATH, to name a few. You're probably thinking to yourself "But these are classics! How can they be urban fantasy?" The answer is simple: At the time they were written, they were set in the modern era, in urban centers, and carried an element of the supernatural. Time moves forward but the written word doesn't. It's fixed on the page.

Pinpointing the start of urban fantasy is difficult and open for debate. Suffice it to say the genre has steadily gained popularity is now one of the most widely read genres because of its broad appeal to readers of other genres.

What are some common elements?

The most common element is the supernatural. Whether the supernatural takes the form of vampires, werewolves, fairies, zombies, aliens, shapeshifters, or something else isn't set in stone. Nearly any creature can make an appearance in urban fantasy.

What is the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance?

The two share 90% of their genre DNA. However, the main differences are this: Urban fantasy focuses on an issue outside of a romantic relationship between two characters. Paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship between two characters and how outside forces affect that relationship. The best litmus test to determine if a story is urban fantasy or paranormal romance is to ask the following question: "If the romance between Character A and Character B were removed, would the plot still stand as a viable storyline?" If the answer is "yes," chances are good it's urban fantasy. If the answer is "no," it's most likely paranormal romance.

Okay, so that covers the basics of urban fantasy. Are we clear on what is and isn't urban fantasy? We've all got "The Rules" firmly fixed in our minds? Good.

Now forget everything I just said.

Why?

Because it's fiction. When Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN, she wasn't concerned with a genre. She wanted to write a ghost story. She wanted to write fiction.

You want to write urban fantasy with a male protagonist? Do it. The "rule" that says you must have a female protagonist hasn't stopped Jim Butcher, nor did it stop Mary Shelley.

You want to write urban fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic world? Do it. Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series is a wonderful example of the broken "rule" that says it has to be a modern day or near future setting. You can even write a story set in the past. Edgar Allan Poe did. THE MASK OF THE RED DEATH uses the backdrop of the Black Plague for its setting even though Poe was writing in the 1800s, long after the plague had all but disappeared.

You want to write urban fantasy set in a small town? Do it. Look no further than the popularity of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series to see that small towns can be just as intriguing as large metropolitan areas. Charles Dickens's London wasn't the sprawling urban center it is today. Yes, it was still a large city but reading that story has the feel of being set in a smaller London.

You want to write urban fantasy with multiple character view points? Do it. Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage series began with BLOODRING and featured both first and third person points of view. Bram Stoker's DRACULA has multiple points of view and each is necessary to convey the story. This is important: The story dictates its needs. If it can be told from one character's point of view, great. However, if more than one is required, don't sweat it. There is no actual "rule" that says you can't have more than one.

My point is this: Urban fantasy is a label used to identify where a book falls in the publishing spectrum. At the end of the day, it's fiction. Aside from the basic rules of writing, such as grammar, spelling, and the structure of story, there are no rules. Some of the best fiction ever written has broken "The Rules." Urban fantasy as a genre has broken rules from Day One and it will continue to do so. In fact it'll be necessary for the next generation of urban fantasy writers to break even more rules.

Will we see urban fantasy set on distance worlds and trekking through the stars? I think so.

Will we see urban fantasy set in the Roman era with gladiators battling werewolves for the entertainment of thousands? It's possible.

This is fiction and in fiction, anything is possible.

Okay, so we have a basic working definition for the genre. In my next post, we'll discuss one of my favorite topics: researching the urban fantasy novel.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Whatever Contest Winners!!!

Thanks to all who entered my holiday contest! I won't bore you with long speeches or other irrelevant yakkity-yak. You're here to know who won. Therefore, I present The Winners (chosen at random):

5th prize - Signed copy of BLOOD LAW: Victoria & "The Little Drummer Boy"

4th prize - Signed copy of BLOOD LAW: Alexa & "Last Christmas"

3rd prize - Signed copy of BLOOD LAW: Stacy Maynard & "All I Want for Christmas is You" (Livejournal entry)

2nd prize - Signed copy of BLOOD LAW: Heather Wigen & "Where Are You Christmas"

1st prize - $15 Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble Gift Card + signed BLOOD LAW: Rhianna & "Blue Christmas"

Grand Prize - $25 Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble Gift Card + signed BLOOD LAW: dianeb & "The 12 Days of Cryptmas"

Winners: You have until December 22 to email your shipping info to contest AT jkholmes DOT com! Grand Prize and 1st prize winners must include a valid email address along with their choice of Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble gift card. Gift cards will be sent electronically.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks again to everyone for entering the contest! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season!

~Jeannie

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Writer's Prayer

I've been in a bit of a writing slump for the past few weeks. Something about this time of year saps my motivation and drains all the smarts from my brains like a zombie on crack. My critique partners and fellow writers all gave me support and encouraging words, but still the slump continued and I kept searching for a way to break out of it.

And then it happened. Through the miracle that is Twitter, I was led to a marvelous post by author Chuck Wendig...a little inspirational boost he dubbed "The Writer's Prayer." (Click the link for the full text.) Here is but an example of the wisdom contained therein....

"This book is not the boss of my shit."

"My hamstrings might snap like high-tension cables and take out one of my eyes. My back may bend and bow until my scoliosis allows me to pleasure myself with my mouth. My knee caps might shoot off, striking a Yeti in the eye which makes him really mad and so he comes over and tears both of my arms off and beats me about the head and neck with my own gore-spewing limbs. My mind may crumble under the assault, driven to the very precipice of sanity, staring down into the deepest yawning yawping abyss and as the Yeti howls and my synapses fire I will smell the scent of funeral flowers wafting up from that abyss and I will find it peaceful and comfortable and will realize how easy it would be to just pivot my hips just-so and go tumbling down into that satisfying darkness, the darkness of ease, the darkness of acquiescence, the milk-livered niddering darkness of sweet sweet cowardice."

"I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started."

Thank you, Chuck. Your words of wisdom and gift of laughter have provided me with a much needed kick in the ass. I will now finish the shit that I started.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ho ho ho! Merry Whatever....

It's that time of year again.

Time to trim the tree....and watch the cats knock it over.

Time to wrap the gifts....and watch the cats shred the paper.

Time to visit with friends and family....and watch the cats jump in Aunt Brunhilde's lap, turning her allergies up to 11.

Yes, it's the Great Hanukkah-Christmas-Yule-Kwanzaa-Fest! To celebrate, I'm offering the following prizes to five (5) random and lucky winners. Here are the prizes and rules: (Did you really think there wouldn't be rules?)

Prizes:

Grand Prize: $25 Amazon.com OR Barnes & Noble Gift Card PLUS signed copy of BLOOD LAW

1st Prize: $15 Amazon.com OR Barnes & Nobile Gift Card PLUS signed copy of BLOOD LAW

2nd, 3rd, 4th Prizes: Signed copy of BLOOD LAW

Rules:

1. To enter contest, leave a comment citing your favorite holiday song -- whether it be "Jingle Bells" or "Silent Night" or "Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer."

2. Contest is open to international participants. Note regarding shipping of signed copies of BLOOD LAW: Item may arrive after December 24-25, especially if shipped outside of the US.

3. Gift Cards will be sent electronically. Please DO NOT include your email address along with your entry. I will announce the winners here and provide instructions for contacting me to claim your prize.

4. Gift Card winners must choose either Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. (No, you can't have both.)

5. Contest begins December 8 and ends December 16. Winners will be announced December 17.

Happy Merry Hanukkah-Christmas-Yule-Kwanzaa-Fest!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 Urban Fantasy Cover Awards -- BLOOD LAW

On the heels of revealing the awesome cover for BLOOD SECRETS, I'm proud to announce that BLOOD LAW has been nominated for "Best Debut Cover" in the 2010 Urban Fantasy Cover Awards sponsored by All Things Urban Fantasy. Squeeeeeee!!!

Click the graphic below to see the official awards announcement and to cast your vote. Thanks in advance to all who vote for BLOOD LAW, and a special thanks to Craig White -- my amazing cover artist -- and Jae Song -- my equally talented cover designer -- for their tremendous work and role in making BLOOD LAW a reality.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Behold! Official BLOOD SECRETS Cover Released!

I've been bouncing off the walls to show this to everyone, and now I can. So without further delay, behold the official cover for BLOOD SECRETS, Book 2 in the Alexandra Sabian series:

Back cover blurb:

WHEN ALEXANDRA SABIAN SINKS HER TEETH INTO AN INVESTIGATION, SHE DOESN’T LET GO.

Alex let a case of murdered vamps get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: she must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.

BLOOD SECRETS is slated for release on June 28, 2011, and is available for pre-order through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and don't forget your local indie bookstores!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Live Chat -- November 18, 2010

Have you read BLOOD LAW? Dying to know what happens in BLOOD SECRETS? Have a question about Varik's past...or Alex's future? Here's your chance to ask the only person who truly knows.... Me!

Mark your calendars, peeps! I'll be having a live chat at the Jeannie Holmes Fan Forum on Thursday, November 18 at 8:30/7:30 PM (ET/CT). The chat is sponsored by the JHeeps Minions and is open to the public.

To access the chat, go to the Jeannie Holmes Fan Forum and click the "Jeannie Holmes Fan Forum Live Chat" link directly below the (annoying) banner ad. Type in a user name and join the fun.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Things That Go Bump in the Night" Contest Winner!

Thanks to all you participated in my "Things That Go Bump in the Night" Contest! I hope everyone had a horrifying...uh, Happy Halloween!

The winner of a signed copy of BLOOD LAW (chosen at random) is... Wulfie!! Yay! *throws confetti* Congratulations!!!

Official Business Stuff: Wulfie, you have one week to email your shipping info to contest AT jkholmes DOT com. If I haven't received your information by November 8, 2010, I will choose an alternate winner.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Tis The Season for Nocturnal Bumping and Such

It's that time of year again! Here in the US, the days are shorter, the nights are longer...and darker...perfect for us primarily nocturnal beings. I love all things autumn -- carnivals, festivals, candied apples, cooler weather, but most of all, I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday and I look forward to it with all the excitement of a kid awaiting a visit from Santa Claus.

Why do I love Halloween so much? Well, for one, the television is running a nearly constant variety of "documentary" and "hidden history" shows on vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, and anything else they can think up. I love these types of shows. Blame my dad. Of course, his interests in show of this nature were geared more toward science, politics, and world history. Nevertheless, he influenced me and even though my interests are decidedly darker he did teach me to not stop with only information given through one source. But that really doesn't explain why I love Halloween.

Again, we can blame my dad. My enthusiasm overshadows his but he still liked the holiday because it was one of the few days of the year when he sort of cut loose and let his hair down. Not that my dad had that much hair. He wasn't a huge fan of the costumes and the trick or treating -- although he did enjoy sharing "The Loot" my siblings and I brought home -- but he did enjoy having a bit of storytelling fun.

The key to understanding my dad's interest in Halloween is understanding that he was a master storyteller. No, he never wrote anything down, but he could captivate you with his tall tales to the point you would wonder if he was telling the truth. In fact, that's what made him so great. He always slipped in kernels of the truth in every story, and one of his favorite genres was the ghost story.

I grew up listening to tales of phantom lights, ladies in white, spirit hounds, and shadows seen from the corners of your eyes. I loved them all. Mom hated them, but only because she knew the nightmares where coming and she'd be the one rushing to my side in the wee hours of the morning because some spectre was attacking me. (Turns out it was just the cat looking to snuggle but when it's 2AM and your seven years old, the family pet is a ferocious devil-possessed panther coming to rip off your face. It was an honest case of mistaken identification anyone could make.)

Since it's the nearly time for all the goblins, ghouls, and ghosts to run amok (Amok! Amok! Amok!) again, let's have a little fun of our own with a contest. I think I shall dub this one the "Things That Go Bump in the Night" Contest. Keep reading for more information...

Things That Go Bump in the Night Contest

Prize: One (1) autographed copy of BLOOD LAW

To Enter: Post EITHER your favorite ghost story -- whether it's a real encounter or an urban legend -- OR your favorite childhood memory of Halloween.

The Rules:

1. One (1) entry per person. This means you post once with either a ghost story or a Halloween memory. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

2. Contest is open to international participants.

3. One (1) entry will be selected at random and declared the winner.

4. Winner will be announced HERE on November 1, 2010.

5. Please DO NOT post your email address along with your entry.

6. Please keep entries to a PG-13 rating. Graphic entries will be deleted.

Friday, October 15, 2010

About That Mysterious Email...

If you follow my Twitter feed (and if you don't, why aren't you?), you will probably have noticed a tweet I made yesterday, October 14, regarding a "mysterious email" I received. Naturally a few people on Twitter were curious to know what it said. At the time I couldn't say for a couple of reasons....

1. I needed time to think it over.
2. I needed time to check it out for legitimacy purposes.
3. I needed time to respond and receive confirmation of my response.
4. I wanted to build the suspense until it was palpable...until the tension was so tight that the slightest pressure would make it snap like a hundred dollar toy in the hands of a three-year-old on Christmas morning.

Well, the wait is over. All of my criteria have been met. Therefore I can spill the beans about the email:

I was contacted yesterday by the special events coordinator for the Mobile County library. She had a request from a local middle school teacher for an author to help with a special project for her 6th grade class. I was recommended for the project by my friend and mentor Carolyn Haines. After checking on the project and thinking it over, I gladly accepted the invitation.

What is this special project? I will be meeting with the 6th grade class and helping their teacher to judge entries for a "Make a Book" Contest. I'm both excited and honored to be asked to participate, even in a small way, with this event.

As the youngest child in a family of teachers, I believe education, creativity, and literacy are vital. The "Make a Book" Contest combines all three and any time I can give back to the community and encourage the next generation of authors and artists, I will gladly do so.

So there you have it. That's my "mysterious email." Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shiny New Stuff!

I have some shiny new stuff to announce:

First, BLOOD SECRETS, Book 2 in the Alexandra Sabian series, is once again with my wonderful editor. Yes, the revisions are done! Yay! It's slated for release in summer 2011. As soon as I have a confirmed release date, I'll let everyone know.

While I'm on the subjectof BLOOD SECRETS, be sure to check out the listing on Goodreads...which now includes the following description:

WHEN ALEXANDRA SABIAN SINKS HER TEETH INTO AN INVESTIGATION, SHE DOESN’T LET GO.

Alex let a case of murdered vamps get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: she must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.


Yes, Alex and Varik are back and in trouble...a lot of trouble. I'm really excited about BLOOD SECRETS and hope this give y'all a little glimpse of what's to come so you can be excited too.

My second big announcement has just been confirmed. I'll actually have two releases next year! BLOOD SECRETS in the summer and a short story in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE in the fall! The anthology will be released in the UK in September and the US in October. It's my first major foray into the world of anthologies, and I'm very excited and honored to have been invited to be a part of it. How could I not be with a cover like this?

I'll keep everyone updated on release dates and such as I can. Thanks to all my readers who have made BLOOD LAW a success and who have contacted me to let me know how much they enjoy the book. I hope I can continue to entertain you for many years to come.

- Jeannie

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Great Loss: David Thompson, Murder by the Book

Anyone familiar with crime and mystery fiction will recognize the name Murder by the Book -- the "go to" bookstore for all things murdery. Well, our friends at MBTB have suffered a great loss, as evidenced by the following announcement posted on the MBTB website:


"It is with deep sadness that we must share the news that David Thompson passed away suddenly on September 13th, 2010. David worked at Murder By The Book for 21 years, and he made an indelible impression on the store and everyone who met him. There will be a memorial service, and we will share the details as soon as they are available. In the meantime, David's wife, McKenna Jordan, asks that no tributes be sent to the bookstore for now. We appreciate the loving support that customers have always given the store, and in the difficult days to come we will need it more than ever."


I met David for the first -- and sadly, only -- time in July when I signed at MBTB. I remember him as being energetic, enthusiastic, helpful, and incredibly kind. Murder by the Book and the entire mystery/crime fiction community has suffered a great loss with David's passing.

My heartfelt condolences and hugs to his wife, McKenna, and all the MBTB staff. David will be greatly missed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Here's What Really Happened...

Dweezil, the loveable kitty companion to Alexandra Sabian, describes the event portrayed in BLOOD LAW in this exclusive video:



(Video created by Mark Holmes)

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Contest: Facebook

I'm running a new contest on Facebook. There is no time limit on it and is open to international readers.

Here's the deal: If I hit 200 "likes" on the Facebook "Fan Page," two (2) lucky random readers will win SIGNED copies of BLOOD LAW.

That's it. No trivia. No jumping through hoops. Nice and simple.

Click here to view my "Fan Page" -- don't forget to "like" it -- and you could win!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Tribute to My Buddy

My husband, Mark, and I had to make the painful decision on Monday to put our beloved Hell Hound, Hercules, to sleep. It was a decision we agonized over. Our heads know it was the right decision, but our hearts aren't convinced yet. Therefore, I'm creating a tribute to my buddy in the hope that the heart will finally agree with the head.

Hercules was a Chow/Shepard mix breed and one of the sweetest dogs I'd ever known. Born in 1997, Herc was a part of my life for thirteen years -- longer than Mark -- and saw me through some of the roughest parts. He was also there for some of the best. Facing the future without him is going to be a challenge. He was more than a dog -- he was my buddy.

Hercules was the kind of dog that everyone loved and who loved (almost) everyone he met. I won't bore you with all the details of mine and Herc's friendship, and frankly, I don't want to share those memories. Some things are too personal and still to raw to share.

As for why we made the decision we did, Hercules lost most of the movement in his back legs Sunday night. We'd known he had arthritis in his hips for several years but the nearly complete immobility he displayed Sunday night scared us. We rushed him to the vet's office Monday morning for tests. X-rays showed advanced deterioration of the joints in his hips as well as a mass on his liver. Blood tests revealed elevated liver enzymes and a few other abnormalities that I can't even recall now. The vet advised us of the options for treatment, including specialists with poking, prodding, biopsies, and exploratory surgery for the possible liver tumor. Even if we had attempted to treat what could've been cancer, it wasn't going to help the pain he'd feel with each step, if we were even able to get him walking again.

The other option was to let him go. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to consider, but neither Mark nor I could subject Herc to more tests for a "maybe" on the tumor and a "definite yes" on the pain caused by his deteriorated joints. While Mark and I were debating what to do, we could hear Herc whining from the kennel area. That clinched it for us. It was as though he was telling us what we needed to do. Though it was difficult, we agreed to let him go and said goodbye.

Hercules will be cremated and his ashes returned to us. I'll take him home to Mississippi, back the home that he knew for most of his thirteen years, back to where he was happiest...back to where he can run and play without pain.

But, I fear, Mark and I will carry the pain of his loss for much longer.

In loving memory.... Hercules, 1997-2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blood Secrets Playlists

I'm releasing the playlists for Blood Secrets (Alexandra Sabian #2). These are the artists/albums/songs I've listened to while writing and revising. Yes, my Muse can be found in music so this is should you an indication of the "feel" for the next book. ;)

Lists are formatted as Artist - Album - Song (If no song appears, assume I listened to entire album.)

Godsmack - Godsmack
Godsmack - The Other Side
Godsmack - IV - Voodoo Too; One Rainy Day
Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times (Greatest Hits)
Godsmack - The Oracle
Sully Erna (Godsmack) - Sinner's Prayer (single)
Marilyn Manson - Lest We Forget
Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me
Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
Nine Inch Nails - Downward Spiral - Closer
Christina Aguilera - Back to Basics - Hurt
Christina Aguilera - Stripped - Fighter; Beautiful
Meatloaf - Bat out of Hell - Heaven Can Wait
Meatloaf - Bat out of Hell II - I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)
Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way - Not Ready to Make Nice; Silent House
Alice Cooper - Trash - Poison
H.I.M. - Dark Light
H.I.M. - Razorblade Romance
Guns 'n Roses - Appetite for Destruction
Guns 'n Roses - Use Your Illusion I - November Rain
Guns 'n Roses - Use Your Illusion II - Don't Cry
Faster Pussycat - Wake Me When It's Over - House of Pain; Slip of the Tongue
Kamelot - The Black Halo - March of Mephisto
Walela - Walela - Wash Your Spirit Clean
Robert Mirabel - Tribal Fires - Witch Hunt
Nightwish - Dark Passion Play - Cadence of Her Last Breath; Whoever Brings the Night; 7 Days to the Wolves
Seether - Disclaimer II
Seether - Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces
Seether - Karma and Effect
Rob Zombie - Educated Horses
Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe
Rob Zombie - Past, Present, & Future
Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears (single)
Evanescene - Fallen - Bring Me to Life; Taking Over Me; My Immortal
Skid Row - Skid Row - I Remember You; 18 And Life
Megan Slankard - Freaky Little Story - Mockingbird
Halestorm - Halestorm
Sweeney Todd Motion Picture Soundtrack
k.d. lang - Hallelujah (single); Recollections - Constant Craving
Shinedown - Leave a Whisper - 45; Fly from the Inside
Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory
Linkin Park - New Divide (single)
Three Days Grace - One-X - Pain; Animal I Have Become; Get Out Alive; Let It Die
Aerosmith - Big Ones - The Other Side; Rag Doll; Janie's Got a Gun; Livin' on the Edge
Nickelback - All the Right Reasons - Animals; Side of a Bullet
Nickelback - Dark Horse - Something in Your Mouth; Shakin' Hands; If Today Was Your Last Day
AC/DC - Back in Black - Hells Bells; Back in Black; You Shook Me All Night Long
AC/DC - Highway to Hell - Highway to Hell; If You Want Blood (You've Got It)
AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; Big Balls
Disturbed - Believe - Prayer; Intoxication; Bound; Devour
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Dangerous Toys - Dangerous Toys - Scared
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Fit to be Tied - Bad Reputation
Papa Roach - Getting Away with Murder
Papa Roach - Infest - Last Resort; Blood Brothers
Korn - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 - Did My Time; Make Me Bad; Got The Life; Freak on a Leash
Motley Crue - Red, White, & Crue
Drowning Pool - Sinner - Bodies

Whew! That's a lot of music. Considering it takes months (if not a full year) to complete a book from the rough draft to the final editor supervised revision, it's understandable. Got to have something to keep the mind and Muse stimulated while cranking out the pages.

I hope you find a few things on this list you enjoy. I'm always on the look out for new music, so if you have a fave that isn't on here, let me know. It may just find its way into the next list. ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Suvudu.com Live Paranormal Roundtable 2

Suvudu.com is hosting their second live chat Paranormal Roundtable discussion tomorrow, August 19, 4:00pm EDT. Participating authors include:

Keri Arthur - Riley Jenson Guardian series
Kelly Meding - Three Days Dead (Dreg City series)
Stacia Kane - Unholy Ghosts, Unholy Magic, City of Ghosts
S.A. Swann - Wolf's Cross, Wolfbreed
Shana Abé - Queen of Dragons, The Dream Thief, and The Smoke Thief
Jeannie Holmes - Blood Law (Book 1, Alexandra Sabian series)
Robert Masello - Vigil and Bestiary

For more information on the chat, pop over to Suvudu.com and check out the impressiveness. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ever have the feeling....

...someone's talking about you? I have, and this time, it's true! :)

No less that three blog/review sites are chatting about Blood Law this week (August 15-21). Book Faery and Blog with Bite are also hosting giveaways. Be sure to check them, and Bitten By Books, out for some great discussions!

Book Faery: Battle of the Sexies -- Day 14, Blood Law

Blog with Bite: August Adult Title

Bitten By Books: Weekly Book Chat

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to School

Yes, it's that time of year when parents rejoice and children grumble -- Back to School time! The public schools here in Mobile are open for business, and the neighborhood kids are blissfully silent, which has allowed me to work on the revisions for Blood Secrets.

It's also put me in a generous mood. Therefore, I'm running a little contest for all you wonderful parents who now find yourselves with a little free time on your hands. Why not fill both with a book? Especially a signed book.

Here's the deal:

1. Sign up for my free newsletter, The Enforcer Files. Don't worry -- I don't spam people. I only send it when I have big news to announce...like contests or signings.

2. I'll select a random winner who will receive a signed copy of Blood Law.

3. Already signed up for my newsletter? No worries. Current subscribers are eligible for this contest.

4. Contest is open to domestic and international readers.

5. Contest ends 12:00AM (midnight) CST on August 20, 2010. Winner will be announced August 21.

Now, go forth and rejoice in your new freedom!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BLOOD LAW FAQs

It's hard to believe BLOOD LAW has been available for two weeks now. Seems like only yesterday I was stressing out over whether anyone would read it or like it... Wait... That was yesterday... ;)

So, since it's been out for a couple of weeks now, I've gotten a few frequently asked questions so I thought I would address them here and then add them to my website in a day or two. Oh, and if you're dying to ask me questions, feel free to either email me or join the live chat I'll be hosting on my message board later this week. The date/time is still in the works, but it will most likely be sometime Thursday night.

Now on to the FAQs....

1. Is this the first in a series or a stand alone novel?

BLOOD LAW is the first in a new series. The second book, BLOOD SECRETS, is slated for release in summer 2011.

2. Why did you write BLOOD LAW in third person with multiple protagonists? It's confusing!

First, there is only one protagonist -- Alex. It's her story. The others are secondary characters with varying importance in the story.

Many urban fantasy books are written in first person point of view, and there's nothing wrong with staying in the head of one character for an entire book. I've written first person point of view and enjoy the challenges it creates. However, for Alex's story, I needed to show other view points as well. As the saying goes, "There are two sides to every story." Well, in BLOOD LAW, there are five or six sides to the story. Whenever I read a book that's written in first person, I'm always wondering what the bad guys and other characters are doing when they aren't around the protagonist. I wanted show what these characters are doing. It was a stylistic choice that I and my publisher think works well for a suspense-based urban fantasy series.

3. Why are your vampires walking around during the day? Aren't they undead and therefore restricted to night?

No, my vampires aren't undead. They're living, breathing, mortal creatures with long lifespans who have evolved alongside humans throughout history. I haven't revealed everything there is to know about them in BLOOD LAW because not all the information is relevant to the events depicted in the book. More info will be forthcoming in later books.

As for why they're walking around in daylight, it's a simple explanation. The "myth" that sunlight kills or harms vampires isn't part of the original folklore and legends of Eastern Europe. If you've ever read Dracula by Bram Stoker, you'll know that Dracula is also a daywalker.

The sunlight "myth" comes from the 1922 silent film Nosferatu. Count Orlok, the vampire, is trapped in a room and is being hunted by an angry mob. The film makers needed Orlok to be out of the room before the mob enters so they could end the movie on a dramatic note. Hence, sunlight comes through the window and Orlok fades away with the dawn. This is also during the time when motion pictures were a new technology and this sort of special effect made Nosferatu an instant hit. It also inserted the sunlight "myth" into the collective consciousness of vampire mythology even though it's a complete fabrication and isn't based in original folklore.

Another reason to make my vampires able to walk during the day is that they're cops. If they were restricted to roughly 12 hours of night for their investigations while bad guys have the potential of using the full 24 hours available in a day, they wouldn't be very effective as law enforcement officers.

4. What genre is BLOOD LAW? Is it suspense, thriller, mystery, horror, urban fantasy, or romance?

It's a little of all them. BLOOD LAW is classified as urban fantasy (or dark urban fantasy). It is not a paranormal romance. I have nothing against the PR genre. In fact, I like to read PR as much as the next person, but I don't write it.

Yes, there is a strong romantic element to the plot centered around Alex and Varik. However, it is not the primary focus of the book and for that reason BLOOD LAW can't be called a "paranormal romance." If you're looking for a straight-up para-romance romp, you're going to be disappointed.

5. What is up with Varik's hair? Why would any guy have long hair nowadays?

There is a story behind the hair and all will be revealed in good time. Patience, Grasshopper.

6. Will (insert character name) be back in the second book?

Some of the characters in BLOOD LAW will be in BLOOD SECRETS. Unfortunately, I can't tell you who except to say Alex and Varik will be back.

7. Is there anything special we should know about Dweezil, the cat?

Yes, he likes long naps in the sun. He favorite flavor is tuna. His favorite toy is a wadded up piece of paper, and he hates going to the vet. Otherwise, he's just an average, run-of-the-mill Maine Coon cat.

8. Will there be other creatures introduced to the town of Jefferson, Mississippi? Werewolves? Fairies? Shifters?

No. I intend to keep the series strictly limited to vampires and humans.

9. Where can I find a copy of BLOOD LAW?

It's available in stores nationwide. If you're looking for an autographed copy, try Bienville Books in Mobile, AL, Murder By The Book in Houston, TX, or Dreamhaven Books in Minneapolis, MN.

I'll be signing copies in the following locations as well:

Barnes and Noble in Spanish Fort, AL on July 24 (2-4pm)

Romance Writers of America National Conference in Orlando, Florida -- July 28-31 (I'll be part of the 2010 "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing.)

Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL on August 14 (2-4pm)

If you're unable to attend any of these events or contact the stores I mentioned, you can send a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to the following address, and I'll send you a signed bookplate that can be easily placed in a copy you already own. (Also makes a great gift!)

Send bookplate requests to:

Jeannie Holmes
PO Box 9945
Mobile, AL 36691-9945

10. I'm a blogger/reviewer and would like to interview you. Is that possible?

Absolutely! Just send me an email with your name, the name and a link to your blog/site, and when you'd like to post the interview. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. My schedule's a little haywire at the moment and it may take a day or two for me to respond so please be patient.

And so ends the frequently asked questions.... I'll add more as more questions are sent to me. Thanks to all who've read BLOOD LAW and contacted me! It's greatly appreciated. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BLOOD LAW Virtual Launch Party

Mark your calendars!



I'm having a Virtual Launch Party for BLOOD LAW, July 7-8, hosted by BittenbyBooks.com!! (Click the banner to RSVP.)


Come chat with me. Learn more about the vampires in BLOOD LAW. Enter to win THREE Amazon.com gift cards. (Contest is open to international readers!)

It'll be fun! You're not going to want to miss this!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blood Law Tour

This is it, folks! This is the week I kick off the BLOOD LAW Tour -- and it's only 8 days until BLOOD LAW is officially released!!! Squeeeeeee!!! (I'm not stressed out...no, not at all.)

The first leg of the tour starts Wednesday. I'll be attending CONvergence in Bloomington, MN. If you're in Minneapolis/St. Paul area and want to have a good time, I highly recommend checking out CONvergence. The con runs July 1-4 and this year's theme is "Bring on the Bad Guys," so there will be much villainy. Also guests of honor this year include JPL engineer Bridget Landry, authors L. A. Banks (Vampire Huntress Legend and Crimson Moon series) and Paul Cornell (Doctor Who series), actor Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett of Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), actor and comedian Chuck McCann (The Aristocrats), actor and voice artist Wally Wingert (Family Guy), and special musical guest, Voltaire.

After CONvergence, I'll travel to New York, NY for ThrillerFest (July 7-10), the annual conference for the International Thriller Writers. I have a lot of events happening around ThrillerFest, so read the following carefully:

I have a lot more going on in July and will post info as their time draws closer, or you can view a full list of the tour on my website.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Pre-Release Pic!!

BLOOD LAW has been spotted in the wild!!


Thanks to Karen Mahoney for sharing this pic of BLOOD LAW (next to the fabulous Stacia Kane's UNHOLY MAGIC) in Forbidden Planet, London, UK. Saaaa-weeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pre-Release Party Pics Contest

Yes, the official release date for BLOOD LAW is July 6, 2010. However, as often happens, some eager beavers throw out a few teasers here and there in the form of pre-release date sales. With this in mind, I've devised a new contest:


The Pre-Release Party Pics Contest


If you're one of the lucky few who happen to find BLOOD LAW sitting on the shelf in your fave bookstore BEFORE July 5, snap a pic and send it to contest [at] jkholmes [dot] com, along with where you found it. Don't forget to include your name!


FIRST FIVE SUBMISSIONS WILL RECEIVE A LIMITED EDITION CRIMSON SWAN SHOT GLASS!


Rules:

1. All entries must be received BEFORE 11:59 pm (Central time zone) on July 5, 2010.

2. Only one submission per person.

3. Contest is open to international readers.

4. Contest will close after five (5) winning photos are received.

5. All photos will become part of an online BLOOD LAW photo gallery, so please, do not send any photos you wouldn't want your grandmother to see.

6. Advance Reader Copies/Edition (ARCs/AREs) are EXCLUDED from this contest.


Have fun and thanks to all!

May-June Contest Winner is......

Congratulations, Jacqueline C. -- you are the winner of the BLOOD LAW May-June MegaHuge Prize Pack!

*throws confetti* Yay!!!! *blows vuvuzela* Huzzah!!!! *releases fireworks* Woohoo!!!!

Many many many many many thanks to all who entered my contests!! BLOOD LAW will be releasing in just a couple of weeks. I hope everyone enjoys the book!!! I'll be a nervous wreck...sobbing in the corner...blubbering about "my preciousssss".....

May-June Contest is now CLOSED

The May-June Contest is now CLOSED to submissions!

Thanks to all who entered. I'll be selecting a winner through random drawing on June 23, 2010. Check back in a few hours to find out who won the fabulous BLOOD LAW prize pack!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

BLOOD LAW Book Trailer

I was playing around with Windows Movie Maker and created this little jewel of a book trailer for BLOOD LAW. It's not much and it's nothing really fancy, but I had fun with it. :)

BLOOD LAW Tour Dates Set

Yes, my Minions, the time for unleashing BLOOD LAW on the world is drawing closer.

It's kind of like a gianormous asteroid hurtling through space at millions of miles an hour and yet appearing to creep along in the darkness silently waiting for the opportune moment to strike and lay waste to everything around it.....

......or completely burn up in the atmosphere with all the fanfare of a bottle rocket.

Either way, I'm heading out for a tour to promote my preciousssssssss at the end of June. Here are the confirmed dates and places of where I'll be. Feel free to look me up, drop by and say "Hi!", and all that stuff. If you're lucky, I may even pose for a picture. I also have a blog tour (of sorts) so if you can't find me in person, find me online.

Since this is my first book, it's a fairly short tour. Hence, the short tour bus...

BLOOD LAW Signing Tour

July 1-4 -- CONvergence (Minneapolis, MN)
July 7-10 -- Thrillerfest (New York, NY)
July 17 -- Murder by the Book (Houston, TX)
July 24 -- Barnes & Noble, Eastern Shore Centre (Spanish Fort, AL)
July 28-31 -- RWA National Conference (Orlando, FL)
August 14 -- Page & Palette (Fairhope, AL)


BLOOD LAW Blog Tour

June 18 -- Paranormal Summer Fest (Tynga's Reviews)
July 1 -- Thrillerfest Promo (BookTrib.com) *Note: BookTrib will be giving away 10 copies of BLOOD LAW as part of their Debut Author week!
July 7-8 -- Virtual Launch Party (Bitten By Books)
July 9 -- Guest Blog (Dark Faerie Tales)

Hope to see some of you out there on the road! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BLOOD LAW Reviews

Yes, the reviews are starting to trickle in for BLOOD LAW. As is often the case, it's a mixed bag. Here's a glimpse of what people are saying so far:

RT Book Reviews (Current RT subscribers can read the full review online. Non-subscribers will have to wait two months or find a print copy.)

4 stars -- "Another new voice makes a compelling debut in the urban fantasy genre. Set in a small Southern town, prejudice, fear and hatred bring Holmes’ story to a boiling point, as the heroine must face a complicated past and an uncertain future. Holmes gives every indication of being a promising new talent with a great future ahead!" - Reviewed By: Jill M. Smith

Booklist (Reviews for the American Library Association. Registration/subscription required to view.)

"Fast paced and full of action, the story never flags, from the discovery of the first body to the exciting (and violent) finale. The characters are fascinating and well developed, but plenty is left for the future: this has excellent potential as a series. With a world similar to that of Kim Harrison’s Hollows series (including Black Magic Sanction, 2010) and a main character with much of the same style as Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, this makes a great read-alike for Harrison fans. Followers of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, who appreciate the small-town southern setting (with vampires), are another good audience." - Jessica Moyer

Booklist also gave BLOOD LAW a YA/M recommendation for mature teens. "YA/M: A must for teens fans of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or the TV show based on them, True Blood." — Jessica Moyer

Publishers Weekly (Registration may be required to view.)

"With all the tension between human and vampire populations exposed, the story reads like a badly conceived morality play on racism, including 1960s vampire demonstrations for equal legal rights, which they earn in a scant seven years. A dash of religious zealotry and flimflammery adds little flavor. Holmes does deviate from tradition in that her vampires, while light-sensitive, are not night creatures—in which case, why bother?"

Um...okay. Thank you, RT Book Reviews and Booklist, for these wonderful reviews. I'm very happy (read: giddier than a cat with a new bag of catnip) and humbled to know my work is not only liked but is being recommended to others. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I honestly debated posting the Publishers Weekly (PW) review. I don't know many authors who like to discuss their negative reviews, and as a debut author -- PW was the first review I saw for BLOOD LAW, by the way -- it was especially troubling. However, since we now live in an age in which 'transparency' is the new buzz word, I decided to post it in order to show BLOOD LAW at its fullest -- warts and all. Plus, since it's already plastered on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and a handful of other sites, why hide it?

And...I suppose I should thank the anonymous PW reviewer. After all, he/she did take the time to read the book and express his/her opinions on it. Even though his/her opinion seems to differ wildly from RT, Booklist, and the feedback I've gotten from those lucky enough to score an ARC of BLOOD LAW, I respect his/her right to stand forth and proudly say, "I didn't like this book."

-- Jeannie

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May-June BLOOD LAW Contest

"May-June! Bring me that book!"

"What book?"

"That one about the vampire."

"Which vampire?"

"You know -- that one with fangs."

"Could you be a little more specific?"

"Never mind! I'll get it myself!"

The time has finally arrived -- the FINAL BLOOD LAW ARC CONTEST is here!

Up for grabs: ONE (1) Advance Reader Copy of BLOOD LAW, featuring the highly collectable original cover. This is the LAST advance copy I have (other than my own personal copy) so if you don't enter, you will miss your chance to read BLOOD LAW before it hits the shelves.

Because this is the FINAL contest I'll be holding before BLOOD LAW is released, I'm going to include a few extra goodies. Winner will receive the following:

1 BLOOD LAW advance reader copy (ARC), autographed
2 BLOOD LAW bookmarks, autographed
1 BLOOD LAW cover flat, autographed
2 "Suck on This" shot glasses from Crimson Swan, the vampire bar featured in BLOOD LAW
2 ink pens -- one from Crimson Swan vampire bar and one for BLOOD LAW
6 pack of Vlad's Tears, "The World's Finest Synthetic Blood -- The Choice of Vampires Since 1984" (Actually it's candy, but it's still cool.)

To receive these wonderful items, you must perform the following actions:

Leave a comment on the Wayward Muses and Shiny Objects blog.

That's it -- just leave a comment. No strings attached. Post a comment. Doesn't get any simpler.

Naturally, there are a few rules:

1. Contest begins May 24, 2010 and ends MIDNIGHT June 22, 2010. All answers must be received BEFORE the deadline.

2. Leave a comment on the Wayward Muses and Shiny Objects blog. While the contest posting is cross-listed on several sites, only entries on the Wayward Muses blog will be considered valid for this contest.

3. You may enter only ONCE -- that's one (1) time -- in order to keep it fair.

4. Contest is open to international participants.

5. Winner will be determined by a random draw.

Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Updated CONvergence Schedule

The RT Booklovers Convention was a huge success and more fun than I could shake a stick at! I'll have a full report once I'm fully conscious and have finished sorting through all the photos.

While you're waiting for my riveting RT report, feast your eyes on my updated schedule for CONvergence (Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, Bloomington, MN -- July 1-4):

Thursday, July 1

8:30 PM -- Psychology of Criminals

Location: Atrium 4

About: Many SF/Fantasy villains are portrayed as just plain evil, but in reality there is a deeper psychology behind criminal behavior that is not explored outside crime novels. Is criminial Psycholyg ever effectively explored in genre characters?

Panelists: Christoforo Pasquarette, MontiLee Stormer, Jeannie Holmes, Sherry L.M. Merriam, Dana Baird

Friday, July 2

5:00 PM -- Jeannie Holmes and Joel Arnold signing

Location: Autograph Table

About: Jeannie Holmes and Joel Arnold will be available to sign their work.


7:00 PM -- Bad Boys Are Cuter!

Location: Atrium 4

About: Why are we attracted to the bad ones? Batman, Darth Vader, Dracula, Wolverine. Good guys or bad guys, why are the dark brooding one so damn sexy?

Panelists: Amada Marquez, Tracie Peters, Jeannie Holmes, L.A. Banks, James Turnbull


10:00 PM -- Jeannie Holmes Reading

Location: Vista Suite

About: Jeannie Holmes reads from her newly released novel "Blood Law" and other works.

Saturday, July 3

11:00 AM -- How to Create a Good Villain

Location: Bloomington

About: What makes a villain stand out from all the others? How do you write a villain like Dracula or Marissa Coulter and not one like any number of villains we can't remember to use as an example.

Panelists: R. Scott McCoy, Jeannie Holmes, S.D. Hintz, Christoforo Pasquarette

Sunday, July 4

2:00 PM -- Super Sparkly Fangalicious Necromatic Notions!

Location: Bloomington

About: No, it's not on Broadway yet. The evolution of the vampire in modern fiction from sexual liberator to fuzzy love bunny. Fang bangers unite!

Panelists: L.A. Banks, Tangee Harrison, Jeannie Holmes, Nick Larson, Dayna Jean Wolter

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Change in BLOOD LAW release date!

The release date for BLOOD LAW has changed from June 22 to July 6, 2010.

Before you start screaming, the change was made to take advantage of a great promotion opportunity through Barnes & Noble: BLOOD LAW will receive placement on the tower display in B&N! Woohoo!

This is a good thing. Trust me.

Okay....now you can scream.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Author Scavenger Hunt Twitter Contest

Author Scavenger Hunt Twitter Contest

I'll be attending the RT BookLovers Convention in Columbus, OH this year. (Yay!) I'll be running a special contest the week of the convention, the Author Scavenger Hunt Twitter Contest. It's part scavenger hunt and part social media interaction. Here's how to play:

1. Follow me, JeannieHolmes, on Twitter.

2. Every day I will announce the start of "The Hunt" and post clues regarding my location along with a special code word and time limit for finding me.

3. The first person to find me and say the code word wins a Super Special Sekret Prize.

4. Contest is open to RT attendees only.

5. You must follow me on Twitter to find the clues.

6. Times and locations will be random. Multiple "Hunts" during a single day are possible.

7. Opening day of "The Hunt" will be April 28, 2010 and closing day will be May 2, 2010.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's A-Liiiiiiive!!!

New Fan Forum is now live! Come chat with me, hear the latest BLOOD LAW news, and more! (Free registration is required.)

Click here to visit the Jeannie Holmes Fan Forum.

Winner of April Fool's ARC Contest is....

Congratulations to Frank B. of Mobile, AL!!

You're the winner of a signed, collectible advance reader copy of BLOOD LAW. I'll send it out tomorrrow morning.

Thanks to all who entered. Be sure to check back after May 1 for a new ARC contest. You won't want to miss it -- it'll be the LAST contest before BLOOD LAW is released June 22!!

------------

Answers to the April Fool's ARC Contest:

Which of the following vampire "rules" does not appear in the original European legends?

A) Vampires sleep in coffins. (TRUE. It was believed vampires must return to their coffins/crypts for "sleep" or "rest.")

B) Use poppy seeds to distract a vampire since they must count all seeds before continuing their pursuit. (TRUE. Villiagers believed by scattering poppy seeds on the ground before a charging vampire, the vampire must count ever seed before continuing their pursuit.)

C) Vampires feed on blood. (TRUE. Before more advanced understanding of decompostion, when the coffin/crypt of a "resting/sleeping" suspected vampire was opened, the natural processes decomposition would often result in dark fluid -- thought to be blood -- seeping from the suspected vampire's mouth. This led to the belief that the corpse was rising from the grave to feed on blood.)

D) Garlic will ward against vampires. (TRUE. Garlic, with its pungent aroma, was thought to be an effective ward against vampires.........and nosy neighbors.)

E) A wooden stake through the heart will prevent a vampire from rising from the grave. (TRUE. It was thought that by driving a wooden stake through a suspected vampire's heart, it would pin him/her to the ground beneath, and prevent the corpse from rising.)

F) Sunlight will harm/kill a vampire. (FALSE. Vampires were capable of walking about during the daylight, although it was believed their powers were dimished. The proper belief that sunlight can harm or kill a vampire began in 1922 after the F. W. Murnau's film NOSFERATU showed Count Orlok fading away with the rising of the sun. This had no basis in legend or myth but was instead a special effect created for the film and a convenient plot device used to dispatch a cornered Count Orlok.)

G) Crosses are effective protection against vampire attacks. (TRUE. It was believed that crosses, as well as other religious symbols, could protect one from vampire attacks.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April Fool's ARC Contest

April's Fool ARC Contest (No, this isn't a joke!)

Vampires have invaded modern pop culture like locusts in a wheat field. Nearly every film, television show, or book follows the "European model" for the vampire, as set down by Bram Stoker in his novel DRACULA, and plays on the "rules" that these night stalkers must follow. However, there is one fundamental "rule" that isn't based in the myths and legends of Europe.

This month's contest is a multiple choice question. Rules for the April's Fool ARC Contest:

1. Contest begins April 4, 2010 and ends MIDNIGHT April 17, 2010. All answers must be received BEFORE the deadline.

2. E-mail your answers to contest AT jkholmes DOT com. PLEASE DO NOT POST THEM HERE. Feel free to leave comments but answers must be received by e-mail to be valid.

3. You may enter only ONCE -- that's one (1) time -- in order to keep it fair.

4. Contest is open to international participants.

5. Winner will be determined by random drawing from CORRECT entries and announced here on April 18, 2010. Winner will receive a signed, collectable (featuring the original cover art!) ARC of BLOOD LAW!

Now, here is your multiple choice question:

Which of the following vampire "rules" does not appear in the original European legends?

A) Vampires sleep in coffins.
B) Use poppy seeds to distract a vampire since they must count all seeds before continuing their pursuit.
C) Vampires feed on blood.
D) Garlic will ward against vampires.
E) A wooden stake through the heart will prevent a vampire from rising from the grave.
F) Sunlight will harm/kill a vampire.
G) Crosses are effective protection against vampire attacks.

Good luck!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Delta Blues and Close Encounters of the Famous Kind

Forgetting for the moment that I'm under a crushing deadline to deliver the sequel to BLOOD LAW, I ran off to the Mississippi Delta for a weekend of debauchery with a bunch of writer friends.

The drive up was interesting in that Mark, my Official Marketing Genius (O.M.G.), and I were in our new "tour bus." Yes, that is indeed a Smart car. In fact, it's Mark's every day, drive to work and putter around town car, but he had a special "wrap" applied just for me and BLOOD LAW. (Ain't he sweet? And, yes, that's the original book cover on the car. We'll swap for the new soon.) After making a few wrong turns, getting lost, and finding B.F. Egypt, MS (yes, there is a town in northwestern Mississippi named Egypt), we finally arrived at our destination: Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS.

GZBC played host to the DELTA BLUES mystery anthology launch party, aka Writer's Weekend of Debauchery. However, before the real party started, Mark and I met up with our friends Michelle and Alexis for a birthday celebration dinner in Mark's honor on Friday night. We headed over to Madidi, a restuarant also owned by Morgan Freeman, (Are you sensing a theme here?) and had a great time with great food. If you ever have an opportunity to eat at Madidi, order the garden spinach and parmesan risotto with the tempura shrimp. Out...of...this...world...good!

Saturday was a day of walking around downtown Clarksdale and taking in the sights. Of course, some of the best sights were in GZBC itself. Where else will you see this sort of decor? Yes, the patrons are encouraged to write on the tables, the walls, windows, blinds, curtains, and just about any other available surface. Thousands of people have left their names and notes behind. I even added my own name to the wall upstairs outside of the apartments.

Saturday was also the day the winners of the Delta Youth Writing Contest were announced. (Congrats to all of them!) On hand to extend his own congratulations to the winners was none other than Morgan Freeman! Squeee! Yes, I was in the same room as "god." Unfortunately, I wasn't able to actually meet him. (Photo of Mr. Freeman and Carolyn Haines with DELTA BLUES anthology snagged from Carolyn's Facebook page. Like I said, I wasn't able to get this close. He was long gone by the time I was able to get through the book sale line. *pout*) Following the awards ceremony, anthology contributors signed copies of the DELTA BLUES with $1 of all proceeds from the sale of DELTA BLUES benefiting the Rock River Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping the arts and literacy in the Delta. (Books are available in hardcover, paperback, and limited edition versions. If you were unable to make it to the launch party, please know that you can still help as $1 for each book sold will be donated.)

Saturday night began the true debauchery when the Blues Muse Band took the stage at GZBC. Made up of anthology contributors, the Blues Muse rocked the house. They even had groupies! Band members were:

Michael Utley—keyboard
Nathan Singer—guitar and vocals
Michael Lister—drums
Daniel Martine—guitar and vocals
David Sheffield—harmonica
Lynne Barrett—vocals
Charlaine Harris—back-up
Carolyn Haines—back-up
Alice Jackson—playing the box
Mary Saums—bass and vocals
Toni Kelner—vocals


The entire weekend was a blast! Thanks to Carolyn Haines for inviting me to come hang out with a bunch of great writers. It was much needed down time, and now it's back to work on the BLOOD LAW sequel! Wheeeeeee!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BLOOD LAW gets a makeover!

Yes, it's true.

BLOOD LAW has received a makeover. Check out the new cover:

Oh, yeah...Alex kicks ass. And I totally want those boots.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Read a BLOOD LAW excerpt

Read an excerpt of BLOOD LAW here:

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780553592672

Click on the "Read an Excerpt" link to the left in case it isn't obvious. ;-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Winner of mARCh Contest...

The winner of an autographed BLOOD LAW cover flat & ARC is...

"Slayerkitty"!!!!!!

Congratulations! You have until midnight Saturday, March 27, 2010 to email your info to me at jkholmes AT jkholmes DOT com. :-)

Monday, March 8, 2010

New mARCh Contest

Last month I offered an autographed cover flat as a prize for declaring your Minionhood, and many of you proudly proclaimed it. Now that you’re a Minion, I’m giving you some mARChing orders.

I have a lovely signed advance reader copy (ARC) of BLOOD LAW as well as an autographed cover flat available for anyone who can correctly match the following actors with the correct role and film. (Before you freak out, all information is readily available through sources such as IMBD.com or by Googling.)

There are rules to this contest so listen up:

1. Contest begins March 8, 2010 and ends MIDNIGHT March 21, 2010. All answers must be received BEFORE the deadline.

2. E-mail your answers to contest AT jkholmes DOT com. PLEASE DO NOT POST THEM HERE! Feel free to leave comments, but answers must be sent by e-mail to be valid.

3. You may enter only ONCE –- that’s one (1) time –- in order to keep it fair.

4. Winner will be announced here on March 22, 2010

Now, here are the actors and films to be matched:

Actor

Kiefer Sutherland
Catherine Deneuve
Wesley Snipes
Gary Oldman
Alexander Skarsgard
Bela Lugosi
Tom Cruise
Frank Langella
Gerard Butler
Christopher Lee
Leslie Nielsen
Aaliyah
George Hamilton
Jonathan Frid
Max Schrek

Roll/Film

Lestat de Lioncourt (Interview with the Vampire, 1994)
Count Orlok (Nosferatu, 1922)
Dracula (Dracula 2000, 2000)
Count Dracula (Love at First Bite, 1979)
Count Dracula (Dracula: Dead and Loving It, 1995)
Akasha (Queen of the Damned, 2002)
Blade (Blade, 1998)
Count Dracula (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992)
Count Dracula (Dracula: Prince of Darkness, 1966)
Count Dracula (Dracula, 1979)
Count Dracula (Dracula, 1931)
Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows, 1966)
David (The Lost Boys, 1987)
Miriam (The Hunger, 1983)
Eric Northman (True Blood, 2008)

Have fun and good luck!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

And the winner is.....

The winner of the BLOOD LAW Autographed Cover Flat Contest is..... *drum roll*

Thuy of Canada!!!!

Congratulations!!!!! Please email your shipping address to me at jkholmes AT jkholmes DOT com to receive your autographed cover flat.

Thanks, everyone, for entering the contest. I'll have a new on starting soon so keep watching. :-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Confessions of a Twisted Mind -- Part 2: The Twist

I am not what most people would consider “normal.” I’ve been blessed -– or cursed, depending on how you choose to view it –- with an overactive imagination. Okay, so that part isn’t uncommon. The uncommon part is that my imagination skews to the Dark Side, and I mean Stephen King-level and beyond. It’s a great resource when you’re a writer…and a guy…not so much when you’re considered “a good girl” in the South.

My love affair with all things dark and disturbing began at an early age. I was six when I saw the 1932 film adaptation of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. Vampires instantly fascinated me. The next time Mom took my brother and me on our monthly pilgrimage to the library I checked out as many books on the subject as I could, including a copy of Bram Stoker’s novel. From there I progressed to werewolves, demons, ghosts, fairies, aliens… You name it, I probably read about it.

As I got older, my interest in the supernatural continued, but I also developed an interest in psychology, particularly abnormal psychology. I read books on psychopathy, sociopathy, serial killers, cults –- pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I also read books on history, anthropology, and religion. This is all in addition to reading the fiction of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft.

Books weren’t the only fodder for my imagination. Films sparked all manner of ideas, especially when I was younger. My older siblings let me watch scary movies when our parents weren’t around. Not a good idea. The Exorcist gave me nightmares for months, and after seeing Poltergeist, I was convinced there was a dimensional portal to Hell in my closet. (That was three weeks of hell for Mom that much was certain.) Then there was that unfortunate clown incident at the circus…

So, where does the twist come in to all this? The twist is that all these little things have accumulated in my brain over time and made me who I am.

For example, my husband and I live in Mobile, Alabama but my family lives in Mississippi. When we travel from Mobile to visit my family, the route we drive takes us past a couple of very lovely marshy areas. Mark, my husband, sees these marshes and says, “That would make a cool photo.” I see them and say, “That would be a cool place to hide a body.”

Another example: An innocent trip to the home improvement store takes a dark turn when I’m around. Others see common household and garden tools. I see murder weapons.

Even a walk through the toy section of a discount store gives me ideas. All those plastic ties that hold dolls and action figures in place in their packages? Others see annoyances that have to be removed quickly in order to stifle the demanding screams of a child. I see effective restraint points for a psychopath to use during a torture session.

My mind never completely shuts off, and I’m constantly composing scenes in my head for whatever book I’m working on at the time. The smallest thing can spark a full-blown creative fit. Does this make me “a bad person?” No, I don’t think so. Maybe a little creepy, but not “bad.”

So if you ever have an opportunity to meet me, and I seem to space out for a second or two, it’s nothing personal. I’m probably just thinking of ways to hide your body.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Confessions of a Twisted Mind -- Part 1

I have a confession to make. I have a secret...

All my creative talent...the plot lines...the character development...it's all the result of an addiction combined with a truly twisted and overactive imagination.

The Addiction:

I am a coffee fiend.

The typical day starts with unleashing the hound, dodging the cats, and firing up the laptop as I wander through the house like Theseus in the Minotaur's labyrinth on my way to the kitchen and the sweet brew that holds the secret to life itself. Ask my husband. I'm a complete zombie until the coffee is ready, and the brain simply doesn't fully function until the third cup. Even the smell is enough to start the process.

I've always loved the smell of coffee. My parents, especially my dad, were coffee drinkers. The house always smelled of coffee. Dad was also a natural storyteller. Most of his tales were of the tall variety, but that's what made it fun. Every now and then he would sneak me a small sip of coffee mixed with copious amounts of milk and sugar. I didn't like it much, but it didn't matter. It was time spent with him and it's a memory I cherish.

My love of the roasted bean didn't actually develop until I started writing, ironically. I was in college working on my bachelor's degree when I started writing and due to class schedules the only time I really had to write was late at night. Coffee -- more specifically the caffeine in the coffee -- became a necessity for staying awake. Any coffee would do as long as it was fully loaded.

Then my wonderful husband introduced me to Kona coffee. O...M...G... I fell in love but true Kona is hard to find in southern Alabama. When I am able to find true Kona, I savor it and make my supply last as long as possible. It becomes a guilty pleasure, indulged in only during celebratory times.


Coffee helped me through my undergraduate courses, but it truly became my special friend when I was working toward my master's degree. Graduate school is brutal. The classes are more intense. Professors expect more from you and in a shorter amount of time. (Hmm...that sounds familiar.) Plus, I sold BLOOD LAW to Bantam Dell just prior to entering my final semester of grad school. I needed coffee's boost to keep me going because not only was I taking classes in Modernist fiction (major snoozefest, by the way) and Shakespeare, I was working on my creative thesis -- a novel loosely based on John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost...and I was actively revising BLOOD LAW. Well, not so much "revising" as "completely restructuring and rewriting." When I finally tally all the catnaps and few hours of sleep caught here and there, I think I slept a grand total of three days that entire semester.


So, yeah, that's why I'm a coffee nut. I love my Kona and I adore Starbucks's white chocolate mochas. Yes, it overpriced but I don't care. It combines my two major food groups: coffee and chocolate. However, these are not for everyday consumption. No, on a daily basis, any fully loaded java will do to jump start the brain cells. I usually switch to straight water around noon but will return to coffee (or break open a Mountain Dew) when I need a mental boost. Even if I don't need the caffeine, I'll usually have a pot of unleaded (decaf) coffee on hand just because I like the smell.


I think that's why I eventually became a coffee fiend. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee is like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs or Theseus's string in the Minotaur's maze. When I'm lost in the strange labyrinthine worlds of my mind, having a cup of joe on hand helps me find my way back home.

Coming soon -- Part 2: The Twist

Friday, February 5, 2010

February BLOOD LAW Contest



I See You Shiver with Antici-----pation.......

The release of BLOOD LAW, my debut novel, is still a few months away (June 22 to be exact, but you already knew that.) and I'm hard at work on the sequel, which is scheduled for release in 2011.

Rather than have my loyal minions -- uh, I mean, fans languishing in anticipation, I've devised a clever and cunning plan:

Announcing the BLOOD LAW Monthly Giveaway!

Yes, you read that correctly. I will be giving away highly collectable, signed BLOOD LAW cover flats!! These are absolutely gorgeous and are in limited supply. You will be the envy of all your friends!

So, you're probably wondering how to get your name added to the list of possible winners. Each month will see a different set of contest entry requirements, but don't freak out. They are all very simple. Follow these steps and you could receive your very own signed BLOOD LAW cover flat:

February BLOOD LAW Contest: Declare your Minionhood!

I've included multiple ways to declare your minionhood. Each carries a point value of one (1) in the February drawing for a maximum of five (5) possible entries.

All drawings will be held on the last day of each month, with exception of June, which will be held 6/20. Entrants who are already minions/fans/subscribers/followers are still eligible for that month's drawing. Final day to enter is the day prior to the drawing...so February would be Feb. 27.

The contest is open to international participants! That means you, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and parts in between!

How to Declare Your Minionhood: (Remember, each of these counts as 1 entry!)

1. Become a Jeannie Holmes fan on Facebook. (Post a message saying "Hi!" under the February Contest Drawing discussion heading so I know to include you.)

2. Join the Enforcers and Minions Facebook fan group. (Do the same here as for the fan page.)

3. Add me as a friend on MySpace. (Once your request is approved, leave a post under the February Contest Drawing blog entry.)

4. Add me as a friend on LiveJournal. (Same deal -- say "Hi!" under the February Contest Drawing blog entry.)

5. Sign up to follow the Wayward Muses and Shiny Objects blog. (You guessed it. Say "Hi!" and I'll add your name to the drawing.)

See? Simple. Do one. Two. All. The more you do, the better your chances of winning.

Winner will receive one (1) autographed BLOOD LAW cover flat.

What are you waiting for? Go forth and declare your minionhood! Go! Go, now!