Super Exciting News: My Story in DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!!!!

Hello folks!

So awhile back I was crowing over some super sekrit exciting news that, finally, is SEKRIT NO LONGER.

The news is this: I was picked to write a Sookieverse story for an anthology, edited by Toni Kelner and Charlaine Harris herself, called DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. It’s coming out as an audiobook first (on May 13th, 2014), then in hardcover and kindle (Nov. 25, 2014).

For those who’ve been following me for a while, you know how much the Sookie books mean to me. I was inspired to write Jane while reading Dead as a Doornail somewhere over the Atlantic. It was the first non-literary fiction I’d read in forever, and reading that book made me remember how much I loved popular fiction and why. I FELT the whole way through that plane ride, a surge of affective response that I’d forgotten about after years of intellectually rigorous reading.

I also remembered how powerful and how worthy a pursuit is granting people such escape. At the time, I was going through a lot of huge changes–leaving the country I’d lived in for six years, leaving a long-term partner, graduating from my PhD program and interviewing for jobs back in the states. But on that long plane ride back to Edinburgh after a job interview (in Shreveport, LA of all places), I didn’t think about any of my worries. I just read, and lived Sookie’s life, and I got away from all my sorrows and stresses for a little while.

That’s what people pay millions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies for, and I bought such release for $7.99 at a Barnes and Noble.

During that flight, my little PhD brain was also analyzing everything I read and it told me, “you could do this. You could write one of these.” And, much to my own amazement, I went home and I did. Three months later I had a rough draft of Tempest Rising; about three months after that I had an agent; and about three months after that I had a book deal.

My life changed utterly, and I credit a lot of that to Charlaine. This explains why I geek out on her so hard every time we meet, much to our mutual consternation.

So to say I was pleased to be invited to take part in this anthology is an understatement. I ugly, if joyfully, cried like a woman whose boyfriend popped the question at a baseball game, all tears and snot on the jumbotron. And I ugly-cried for like three days, in all honesty, to anyone who would listen and could ignore the mucus.

That was a while ago, but now it’s even more exciting to see what everyone else has done, and to be a part of the buzz surrounding the antho. Here’s one of the official write-ups from Audible’s publicist:

Charlaine Harris’ smash-hit Sookie Stackhouse series may have reached its conclusion, but the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, lives on in this all-new collection of 15 stories. Written by a killer lineup of authors, including New York Timesbest-sellers Rachel Caine, MaryJanice Davidson, Jonathan Maberry and Seanan McGuire, and with introductions read by Charlaine herself, Dead but Not Forgotten puts your favorite characters center stage.
The stories included in Dead but Not Forgotten are:

“Nobody’s Business” by Rachel Caine (featuring Kevin Pryor & Kenya Jones)
“Tyger, Tyger” by Christopher Golden (featuring Quinn)  
“The Real Santa Claus” by Leigh Perry (featuring Diantha)
“Taproot” by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (featuring Andy Bellefleur)
“Knit a Sweater Out of Sky” by Seanan McGuire (featuring Amelia)
“Love Story” by Jeanne C. Stein (featuring Adele Hale Stackhouse)
“The Million-Dollar Hunt” by Jonathan Maberry (featuring Mustapha Khan)
“Borderline Dead” by Nicole Peeler (featuring Desiree Dumas)
“Extreme Makeover Vamp Edition” by Leigh Evans (featuring Bev & Todd)
“Don’t Be Cruel” by Bill Crider (featuring Bubba)
“What a Dream I Had” by Nancy Holder (featuring Alcide Herveaux)
“Another Dead Fairy” by Miranda James (featuring Claude & Claudia Crane)
“The Bat-Signal” by Suzanne McLeod (featuring Luna)
“The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars” by Dana Cameron (featuring Pam Ravenscroft)
“Widower’s Walk” by MaryJanice Davidson (featuring Eric Northman)

Dead but Not Forgotten was edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.

And here’s the Audible cover. We should have cover art for the books soon. :)

dead but not forgotten_front mech.indd

So yeah, I’m really proud to a part of this anthology. I feel like it’s brought me full-circle, somehow, and that I get to honor Sookie in an act of homage that fills me with both joy and pride. I’ve loved the opportunities that writing has given me, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to receive letters from fans who tell me about times that they’ve been hurting, and during which Jane’s helped them get by.

That feels like magic. Beautiful, humbling magic that I’ve been so grateful to experience, on this side of creation.

So thanks, Charlaine and Toni, for letting me share Sookie’s magic. And I hope you all like getting to know Desiree Dumas, and my version of what a regular girl might do in a world populated by the supernatural.

And before you go, please to enjoy another of my favorite homages to Sookie….Snoop Dogg’s. “OHHH SOOOKEH”

Heyyyyyyyy Seattle!

Imma coming for you! In like a few hours. So this is gonna be short!

For any fans who happen to be in the area, I will be at the Seton Hill booth (CC26) in the Bookfair from 1:30-2:30 pm. Click here for a super unhelpful mappy thingy.

GOOD NEWS: The Bookfair is open to the public. BAD NEWS: I have no idea whether or not it’s free. Normally it is, but there’s been all this kerfuffle with Seattle and taxes, and first it wasn’t open, but now it is, and I can’t find ANYTHING about a fee.

I’ll keep you posted! And I can also plan on being at the bar from like 2:30-3:3o to sign then, if we find out there’s a crazy stupid fee or something.****

Obviously, if you are registered for the conference I’ll be at that booth!

There won’t be books, I’m assuming, and I have none to sell, but I’ll sign any books you bring in, or napkins, or bellies, or babies. Or foreheads! That’d be hot.

Okay, I’ve gotta get myself together to leave. See you soon, Seattle! xoxoxo

******Update: Book Fair IS FREE! So hopefully see you there!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo


Put your hands in the air if you’re a true playah!

Or just buy some of these books. EITHER WILL BE HELLA FUN. Basically everyone and their mother had some releases this week. EVERYONE. RELEASING. EVERYWHERE. Here are a few:

Jaye Wells released her Dirty Magic all over us!

And everyone loves it.

Delilah Dawson is Wicked After Midnight, and released it too:

Liliana Hart released To Catch A Cupid, which, speaking of releases, is rumored to have the dirtiest limo scene in existence:

Kevin Hearne released a short story “The Chapel Perilous,” which looks amazeballs:

And I released all over our Sunday paper, with my review of Samantha Irby’s MEATY. Click the pic to read it on the Post-Gazette website:

2014-01-26 17.08.08

There were a ton of other releases this week, besides these. WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITES????


So this year has been pretty epic for me. It started REALLY SHITTY, with my being unhappy about a lot of stuff in my life. Granted, I was unhappy in a Nicole way, which meant coping MARVELOUSLY (coping is my super power and usually involves sublimating my troubles in travel). But I was also aware that things were off–I was having to sublimate a lot harder than usual, and my bank account was showing the strain.

Anyway, at some point I realized I had to stop running (I am sooooo good at running, when it’s a metaphor) and figure out how to be happier here, in the place I am. Through that I also realized the areas in which I was my own worst enemy. While I’d figured out a lot of shit, there were a few REALLY big holes in my self-awareness.

So not saying I’ve got all the answers now, but I’m proud of myself for doing what I needed to do in the areas I needed to do it. I dug in and admitted a few things that made me super uncomfortable, and took some advice that I fundamentally disagreed with even though I knew MY version of the situation wasn’t working. And I was, once again, proven TOTALLY WRONG, only I was so happy to be wrong cuz then I had a place to start fixing shit from.

So here are the things I’m proud of this year:

1) Moving!

Moving sucks, even if it’s just to the city an hour away, and this move meant buying a house, which felt HUGE to me. I’m super peripatetic so to invite rootedness seemed like the craziest thing I could ever do. It’s turned out to be such a marvelous decision, in so many ways. I love my new city and I adore my little house and it’s turned out to be such a haven, my little home.

2) My Tribe!

I really learned to appreciate my Tribe this year, mostly through starting from scratch on a new one here in the Burgh. I realized how lucky I am to make friends easily, and how fortunate I am to know myself and to know the kind of folks I want in my tribe. But I’m lucky to have found them here in Pittsburgh, which made me appreciate how lucky I’ve been for so many years, and I send all my love to all my tribes throughout the world. xoxo

3) My Magic!

I’m really good at picking friends but holy hell I was absolute pants at picking lovers. So I took a formal hiatus, read all these AWFUL dating books (that were all spot on, much to my feminist horror) and I started dating to date. I learned so much! But the best advice given to me was by a pair of tarot readers I went to for research for the new book. I wasn’t expecting them to be AMAZING, but they were the wisest people I may have ever met, and they gave me the best advice. They told me that, as a creator of worlds, I was magical, and that I shouldn’t be with anyone who didn’t recognize that magic. Now, I don’t know if I’m magical or not, but I do know that I’m fucking weird as hell (like a lot weirder than all but my closest friends realize). And I dated a lot of people who actually didn’t want that–while they liked the idea of me, in reality they wanted someone much more normal and much less difficult. So I went on lots and lots and lots and lots of (often hilarious) dates (SO MANY DATES) until I met this amazing dude who knows himself and recognizes my weird, but appears to revel in it.

Bless his heart, he has no idea what he’s getting into.

4) My Tenacity!

I really recognized that I do not give up this year. Like not only do I not give up, I don’t even recognize down. This tendency may border on the psychotic, but I’m glad I have it, as this industry is rough as hell.

5) My Readers!

I think this year I finally got comfortable with the idea that people read my books. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Partly that was because this year I really got into Facebook, and I realized how awesome y’all are. I’m so grateful every day that I have all these people who genuinely care about me and my books, even though I’ve never met them. So thank you for that, and I hope that the new series will give you as much pleasure as Jane did.

To all of you, HAPPY NEW YEARS. You’ve helped make this one of the best years of my entire life. xoxo

Things I Like for the HOLIDAYS!


When we stuff ourselves like we’re foie gras geese and give each other shit. Tis the reason for the season, RIGHT?

For those of you still shopping….SUCKAS! You’re supposed to order all your shit online a month ago, LIKE US ORGANIZED BITCHES. Or maybe we’re just lazy….. YOU DECIDE.

But I really did order all my gifts a month ago, as usual almost entirely from the same two places: and Modcloth. The trick, especially with Fab, is to start trawling for gifts like a month before, because you never know what’s going to pop up. A site like Fab or Modcloth is awesome for inspiring gifts you don’t know someone needs yet. And inspiration is important, because gifting nowadays is hard, yo! EVERYONE HAS ALL THE SHIT. What do you buy people anymore?

My trick for gift giving in this world where EVERYONE HAS ALL THE SHIT is to think of things people would never buy themselves, but we all secretly want OR we don’t know we want yet. For example, things like:

I also buy a lot of books for friends, and music and films for my older and/or technophobic relatives and friends who are less likely to live on Netflix and Spotify, as I do. This year I’m digging the following:

Meaty (and its author) may be the funniest thing I’ve read in a very long time.

I’ve watched this series twice in a row, like a complete lunatic. Can’t wait to start on the books when I’ve got the time.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is amazing, and everyone needs some NOLA in their life.

These are just a few of my favorite things, that I’m enjoying sharing with others. Anything you’d like to add to the list?

Is That a Lady Suit, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Hey folks!

I’m officially starting the new book, but my editor and I have made some huge changes to what I originally submitted. All the ideas are awesome, but they’ve definitely gummed up the writing. It’s funny how a few changes (say, nixing an idea for a creature’s power) can change everything (say, that creature’s whole outlook on life, interactions with others, etc.).

So what does that mean?

It means I’m back at my mental blackboard, getting to know everyone again and figuring how the changes I’ve made impact everything else.

But I love this part of the process. I keep saying it’s like putting on other people’s skins, which is creepy, but it’s also true. I hate to get hippie-dippie about the process, and I’m not one of those people who talks to her characters or has lunches with them or anything like that. I am definitely making this shit up–these characters are products of my imagination. At the same time, however, they do grow in my mind in a way that feels separate from me, somehow. It’s like I plant a seed–an outfit, a drink, a song–and it grows into a whole person, tendrils of personality and appearance knitting together into an organic whole that I feel only partially responsible for creating.

Granted, sometimes I have to kick the tendrils in the direction I want them to grow, or graft on something I need, or whatever gardening metaphor works to explain my role in the process.

And this creation period is rather glorious. In a word, I feel fecund. I feel fertile, creative, like a goddess–a goddess with admittedly mad hair, tired eyes, and stains on my sweatshirt (fittingly, they’re pomegranate stains at the moment). But slowly, Leila’s revealing herself to me, showing me the world she lives in and the people she loves. I’m also getting to know those who made and make Leila: the people who antagonize her, and thrill her, and terrorize her. I’m wearing a lot of people-coats at the moment, making me feel like a writerly version of Buffalo Bill (it will put the lotion on its skin!).

If you want to follow me along this road, I’ve created two things. First, Leila’s playlist on Spotify is growing, slowly. You can follow it here:

I’ve also created a Pinterest page for Leila and her cohorts, here. I’m not really sure how Pinterest works, so don’t be offended if I don’t follow you or pin you or board you or whatever Pinterest wants us to do together. But if you want some interaction, definitely come to my Facebook page or my author page (the latter is more professional, the former has more pictures of sammiches and inappropriate comments). You can also follow me on Twitter.

I’ll be bitching about writing this thing soon enough. But right now, I’m going to enjoy birthing my babies. Not least as Leila seems to demand my favorite local bar for her writing. Jane wanted very particular coffee shops in each city I’ve written her in, but Leila just wants Kelly’s and a pint of Guinness.

I’ve learned not to question my girls. They know what they want, and I like it. :)

Big News! New Book Deal!

For those of you who have been waiting for more Jane

You’re still screwed, I really did end that series. HAHAHAHA.

But for realz, I’ve got a new book coming out set in a whole new world…


Here’s the official announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace:

Author of the Jane True series, Nicole Peeler’s new fantasy novel about a young woman cursed to be a jinn and fighting for her freedom, again to Devi Pillai at Orbit, by Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore and Company.

Here are some more details, just for you lovelies:

Heroine: Leila
Genus: Jinn (but a made one, a human cursed to live as a jinn)
Setting: Pittsburgh (natch!)

I’ll be giving you some more details as I write it, so please “like” my author page, where I’ll be doing most of my book promo, although you’re still welcome on my regular page. That one mostly has pictures of my sammiches and is more inappropriate, on every level.

Anyway, I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS NEW BOOK. I loved writing Jane. It was so great to be able to tell her whole story, and I’m proud of myself for capping her story where I wanted to. But I was definitely ready to move on, not least as I learned so much writing Jane. So Leila is my new baby, and it’s so much fun to get to know her. She’s snarky, obviously, but confident where Jane was shy, and much more worldly.

Basically, she’s a hoot.

And then there’s my hero……….. *fans herself*

Wanna hear more?

(stay tuned………)

Returning to the Scene…

Hey folks!

Just an announcement that I’ll be appearing in Shrevport, Louisiana, on Thursday. I’ll be doing a talk with the honors program that afternoon, but at 4:00 pm there’s a public event and signing (including cookies!)

Here’s a link to the deets.

I remember very fondly the signings I did at Barnes and Noble, usually with Jaye Wells, and all the support we were given by Shreveport area readers. Hopefully I’ll see some familiar faces at this event.

And here’s a blast from the past: the stickers we gave on that book tour so many years ago now.

Oh, the mammaries! xoxo

Two Things I Like: The Fall Snuggle-Bunny Edition

So I’m a bit of a snuggle bunny. I’m like one of those small dogs that makes fifteen tight little circles on a blanket, as if winding itself into the pinhole of snuggledom, until that perfect degree of cocoonicity is reached and I won’t have to move for HOURS. Meanwhile, the best time to do such snuggling is now, when it’s just getting cold, and blankies are suddenly once again our best friends.

The key to amazing snuggles, however, is the right entertainment. So I’m going to give you two things I like RIGHT NOW, that are fueling my snugglethons.

The first thing is the new Fox show, Sleepy Hollow. I admit, I went into this show ready to be horrified. It’s Fox. It’s a whole show set around a tiny short story that doesn’t have a lot of plot to it. Tim Burton already did it. And this show? Jesus. The pilot looks awful, involving time travel and cops.

And, indeed, the first ten minutes of the pilot were a bit bland. But then they cut off Clancy Brown’s head, causing me to shout from my cocoon “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE,” and I was hooked. Not least as the show proceeded to gleefully lose its damned mind, in the most entertaining way possible.

It’s insane. Although, I would also argue that Sleepy Hollow is urban fantasy at its best–a crazy melange of Indiana Jones, National Treasure, Lethal Weapon, and Supernatural. I love how racially diverse the cast is, and I’m obsessed with the sisters (the one sister has me rethinking every thing I thought I knew about eyebrow shaping). I love that it throws out references to Dante, Milton, Gilgamesh, and all these other staples of high culture, only to bend that high culture over a barrel and violate it.

Here’s a clip:

I watched three episodes in one night, and then the next two the following. And Can’t. Wait. For. More.

The other thing I’m currently obsessed with is something that’s not at all new, but I’m only now jumping on the Outlander bandwagon.

Like Sleepy Hollow, it’s about time travel, oftentimes doesn’t make any goddamned sense, and is RIVETING IN ITS CRAZY.

For those who don’t know the series, it’s about a woman who time travels back to the Highlands at the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie, marries a virgin ginger warrior named Jamie, and then proceeds to nearly get raped every ten pages, necessitating multiple rescues by her flame-haired swain. Who calls her Sassenach.

This book has about a million things I’ve NEVER liked in a series. It’s a historical and I’m not a huge fan. Time-travel books tend to make my inner geek twitch, especially time-travel romances as I want to yell OMG THEY MUST NEVER BATHE THAT’S NOT SEXY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT SUCK ON THAT IT HAS NEVER BEEN WASHED. I also loathe virgin heroes/heroines, as I like myself/my own swains deliciously corrupt.

But for whatever reason, I cannot get enough of Outlander.

Actually, watching Sleepy Hollow is giving me a hint as to why I love both of these series that could, quite easily, have veered immediately off the road into Shitbox Junction. It’s that both Outlander and Sleepy Hollow DO NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US, THE AUDIENCE. They never think, “does this make sense” or “is this too much.” Gabaldon and the Sleepy Hollow writers alike are all in your face, shouting, “GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING HAIR BITCHES SO I CAN PULL YOU ALONG WITH ME IF YOU SCREAM I’LL LIKE IT THIS IS FUN.” They just GO and fuck you if you want things like, oh, logic. Or continuity. Or the sense their grandma gave them.

Instead, they’re like, “Want to throw in the Loch Ness monster? WHY THE FUCK NOT?” or “Want to rewrite history so George Washington is some kind of demon hunter? LET’S DO THAT THEN.” or “Who should we have get his head chopped off first? CLANCY ‘THE KURGAN’ BROWN MOTHER FUCKERS.”

And I love it. Me and like a gajillion other people.

So my point here is REALLY that it might look like I’m curled up in a ball, purring like a cat and snuggling so hard it’s like my snuggling is all that stands between my fellow humans and the forces of chaos. But what I’m really doing is LEARNING.

Because I have some big news to tell y’all about SOON (it’s killing me I can’t tell you now) and it’s about TWO THINGS I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT BOTH MAKE WANT TO PEE A LITTLE (it’s trickling! Just writing this! Trickling!) but my point isn’t to torture you but to tell you:

I am LEARNING from Sleepy Hollow and Outlander.

I’m learning how to pull my audience by its hair and tell y’all you like it. To NEVER apologize, be it for violating our historical figures OR famously mythological monsters. And to assume you want to geek out, hard, on what I geek out on. Cuz I’m going there whether you like it or not. In other words, readers, this is a warning: If you don’t struggle, it won’t hurt! ACCEPT THE GEEKING.

Please don’t let my editors read this. xoxoxoxoxo

And do tell me, what are you geeking out on this fall? Just don’t say Agents of Shield. That show sucks some chode.

How I Write A Short Story

So, I’m writing a short story that I’m very excited about. Also TERRIFIED BY. Why? I can’t tell you. Why? it’s for a top secret secret something. What top secret secret something? Stop asking or I’ll pinch you. *pinchpinchpinch*

Anyway, this is only the third short story I’ve ever written, not including the amazingly bad story I wrote for my one high school Creative Writing elective, which I later recycled for my one college level Creative Writing elective. I’m telling you this because you might want to take my advice on writing a short story with roughly 1,000,000 grains of salt (or one whole salt shaker).

For better or for worse, however, I’ma tell you how I write my short stories, so that you can either use my method OR throw it into the dustbin of history. Whichever seems wisest.

Step 1: Study the Prompt, for the Love of God.

Yeah, it’s just what I tell my students. Study the prompt! If you’re writing for an anthology, you probably have requirements in terms of page length, genre, et cetera. And, just as I tell my students, let me tell you this: you are not special. You, of all the mortals wanting to write for this magazine, or anthology, or contest, do not have SO MUCH TALENT that you get to write in a slightly different genre, or add just a few wee pages, or whatever. STICK TO THE PROMPT, people. Or you, too, will get the slow head shake of disapproval from Dr. Peeler.

Step 2: Block out Your Project

This is my first step of organization, and it’s sort of a pre-outlining stage. Basically, it’s really me trying to get a handle on the project’s size. Writing a novel requires such blocking, too, but it’s a lot looser and bigger, obviously. A short story has to be TOIGHT (or German for tight), so you want to spend a fair amount of time figuring out how much space you actually have. So I think in terms of page numbers and how many pages you think should be in a scene. I decided for my current five to eight thousand word project that I’ve got space, maybe, for two short scenes and two long.

Step 3: Brainstorm

Start brainstorming, bitches! Who are your characters? Where is your story set? What’s gonna happen, roughly? In this stage, for a short story, part of your challenge is not to over-egg the pudding. Again, a short story is TOIGHT, so don’t have five characters where three will suffice. Be ruthless. Also, figure out shortcuts where you can, such as combining two gatekeeper characters into one, or using a preexisting city or technology instead of creating your own that you have to explain (unless you’re writing SF/F).

Step 4: Plan

For me, that means outlining. For the rest of you, do something. I don’t care how much you cling to your pantster identity–plan, god damn you! You have ALMOST NO SPACE to tell A WHOLE STORY. You can try pulling that out of your bunghole, but I wouldn’t advise it. Cuz we all know what comes out of your bunghole.

And it ain’t unicorns covered in Laffy Taffy, now is it?

Step 5: Write

Duh! Eventually you will have to write the sucker. And the nice thing about short stories is…they’re short! Awesome! Except not awesome. They’re SO SHORT. And they have to be TOIGHT! And where should I start? And what if it’s too long? And what if I suck? And what if….GAH!

That’s a mock trajectory of my usual spiral into despairing neurosis, followed by retreat into episodes of 30 Rock and shoveling cookies into my face. But no matter how intimidating writing a tiny, hopefully perfect little nugget of a short story is, remember that you’re ONLY WRITING A ROUGH DRAFT. It’s a baby! It has a soft skull, that you can rearrange. That’s what you do with babies, right?

Step 6: Rearrange Those Tiny Brains (or revise)

Your rough draft of your short story will suck. Just accept that now. But you can improve it by revisions. The nice thing about short stories is you can reverse outline them easily. This is a technique for academic writing, but it works beautifully for fiction. So take a day or two away from the project when you finish, then come back with fresh eyes. Reverse outline it, then stare at the outline and think of the big picture issues. What do you need? What can you cut? Where should it start? Where should it end? Answer these and rewrite!

Step 7: Get Feedback

Send it to betas. Get feedback. Revise again. Repeat as needed.

Step 8: Stop Editing and Hit Send

Eventually, you have to hit send. It’s not about the story being perfect, it’s about making it the best you can make it. Hopefully, it’ll be good enough that the editor sees the potential. No matter what, that editor will have things they want you to fix or change. It’s up to you whether you make those changes, although the piece being accepted may be contingent on those changes being made. But no matter what, they will have their fingers in your pie, so don’t feel you have to overcook it.

That’s a terrible metaphor for me telling you not to get so caught up in perfection your story never sees the light of day. Stories are for reading. Send it out.

So that’s how I write a short story. Any questions?