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'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 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!