Making the List and checking it twice…

So the general consensus that I am getting from people is that they are showing up to Columbus on the Tuesday (night) before Romantic Times opens. My reasoning for this was to determine if I go to the Monday-Tuesday writing track. With everyone else showing up later, I see less reason to spend the money. Besides, I want the cupcakes to be fresh when everyone gets there.

This particular blog I have set up to keep a running packing list. Here are the things I have to pick up and pack for the convention…

  • Rock Band (actually I just picked up the Band Hero kit for my Wii. Will rent/pick up Rock Band before I leave)
  • Grey Goose (Stacia and Mark’s all-time fave apparently)
  • Cupcakes (Zombie Cakes, RHSC Cakes, Reeces Pieces Cakes…)
  • Birthday Cake (if James comes with me)
  • Beer (for the lighter drinkers)
  • Several flats of water

If there is anything else you can think of that you want to have, I can pick it up if I can pack it in the QuinJetta (my Jetta wagon). Snacks for the Rock Band party, a particular type of booze. Let me know in the comments below.

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Open Letter to Bookstores

Save Amanda Feral

Really because I do not think that raising a stink will have too much of an effect on the book stores, I am bringing my rant here. Mostly to give you all some options to counteract the insanity I was faced with last night. As you can tell by my shopping list that I posted, I had a few books to buy – five to be specific. I also had a shiny new Border’s gift card sitting in the wallet to take care of the cost of those books. Yeah, I bet you can see where this is headed.

So I show up to Borders and begin looking for the books in alphabetical order. I do find a copy of Amber Benson’s first book in the series (Death’s Daughter) but no copies of Cat’s Claw. I figured this was not a huge deal as I already ordered it from California so that she could sign it for me at her launch day book signing. Well worth the cost of shipping. So I continued on down the line.

Coming up on the H section in scifi/fantasy I found a couple copies of Happy Hour of the Damned in mass market, but no copies of Battle of the Network Zombies. Don’t get me wrong, I did win an ARC and have already read it, but this is the book series I wanted to support the most. Also, Mrs. Zombie wants to read the retail version once she heard there were edits to it post-ARC. So needless to say I was a bit miffed when I shifted over to the K shelf and found nothing there by Stacia Kane! For those keeping score at home that is 2 snubs for the League and 0 of 3 on the shopping list.

I skipped to the S section based on the layout of the shelves (trust me it was quicker) and found that there was another snub for the League. That’s right, Simon Canderous was not in attendance. It was not until making it over to the R’s that I was given the one bright star of the night. Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland had 3 copies on the shelf. So the final score at Borders was 3 snubs for the League and 1 of 5 from the shopping list. Only one book out of the five I was looking for was in store.

I was then treated to the fact that the process to special order a book in was to have them go to borders.com and order it for me. Really? Is that where we are? So I simply said, “How is this different then if I was to order it from home?” Can any of y’all guess what the answer was? If you guessed there was no difference you are correct. The only helpful actions I was graced with the whole night was when they offered me a code for free shipping and the guy in the cafe that didn’t have a scowl on his face and presented generally strong customer service skills.

Allow me to repeat that – the best customer services skills in the store came from the guy making the lattes.

Based on that whole experience I did not buy Blood of the Demon there and I would give them a C- as a store. The cafe was a slight bit better as a place to write than the one at Barnes and Noble, but not even that could save them.

From there I went to Barnes and Noble as I knew they would have what I wanted. They were in the mall proper, so a bit more of a hassle to get to but worth it to get my books. From there I was able to track down 4 of the 5 I was looking for. Unfortunately the 1 that I could not come up with was not the one I ordered from California. Just take a guess at the karma involved to get an idea which they did not have. Had you chosen Battle of the Network Zombies, you would be correct.

Thinking it either sold out or was sitting there waiting to be fronted, I went up and asked. The response I was given kind of concerning. I was told that the book was not releasing until March 2nd. I asked them to check again as I was pretty sure it was due out the 23rd. I let her know not to worry about it and I would grab it the next week when it came in. Likely I will be placing an order for it online, but at that point I was just getting wore out.

But this was not the only Leaguer that was caught in a strangle-hold by my local Barnes and Noble. Nope. What did I find on the shelf in the New Science Fiction section? A couple of stacks of Roadkill by Rob Thurman. The Roadkill that is due out next week – and that will screw up numbers were I to have picked it up this week. Apparently the “no restriction” on the sale of a book is strictly followed, even when the early release of the book could do harm to the series and author.

So my end result was I have 3 of the 5 books in hand, 1 on its way post-signing, a copy of Accidentally Dead (I needed to use that gift card on something) and a rather defeated view of retail book stores. So here is my final bit for you all – if you cannot find these books at the book store, say something. New readers are more likely to come if a book is on the shelf instead of sitting in a warehouse waiting for someone to click a button. If you cannot get it and you want it, definitely order online, but say something to the manager of the store about getting the books you think are good in. And definitely say something to the manager as an employee likely has no say in the ordering and is probably overworked due to staffing issues.

Speak up! Save Amanda (or Cal, or Sabina…), Save the World!

Shopping List for the Literary Zombie

Last night as I was pulling into my garage and all of a sudden my Droid beeped about a half dozen times in rapid succession. It was my Google Calendar alerting me that today there were a number of books releasing that I needed to stop and pick up. Not that I needed the reminder – I have been sitting on a couple of Borders gift cards in anticipation of this day. I even stopped in last night to see if they were already out so I could go straight home and bask in the awesomeness today. No such luck.

While I would love to hand-write a list on a legal pad, scan it and post it; that is beyond my abilities and time I have available this morning. So, I will offer the books to you in a blog listing. The upside to this format is I can include links to buy them. 😉

Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry

Yes, I did read the ARC of this book and reviewed it. Mark even signed it for me. But in addition to there being changes from the ARC to the publication of it, the retail version has the cover on it and what kind of #SaveAmanda minion would I be if I did not buy one or two copies of this book? You want to read some of the funniest, sickest urban fantasy shit out there? Pick this one up. Hell, pick up one for a friend. New to the series? Happy Hour of the Damned just came out in mass market paperback. A Wisconsin local? If you get me the book before I leave for Romantic Times in April I will get Mark to personalize it and snark it up for you.

Demon Possessed by Stacia Kane

Another member of the League of Reluctant Adults who is releasing today. This is the third in her series about the head of a demonic family. Some of the most solid prose I have read and is a highly entertaining read. I couldn’t put them down when I was reading them. She also has a Gatling gun series coming out this summer you should keep your eyes open for. (That refers to the books coming out in a rapid succession, very little wait between releases.)

Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland

The first of this series was an awesome combination of a police procedural and a rather unique urban fantasy. The world is not teeming with all manner of supernaturals – just certain people can summon and bind demons to service. The majority of the book is standard police work style writing, until you get into the parts of the serial killer being a demon summoner. If you are interested in reading the first book, I could include you in our Geobooking experiment – especially if you are in Wisconsin.

Dead Matter by Anton Strout

At the 2009 GenCon Writer’s Symposium Anton would introduce himself as a “Jim Butcher Lite” during the seminars. A light urban fantasy with a healthy amount of humor in it. I would agree. The series is definitely part Men in Black and part Ghostbusters. The Department of Extraordinary Affairs has taken the psychometric skills of Simon Canderous and allowed him to use him for a more charitable means. Of course they also offer him all the pamphlets on zombie hunting and dealing with ghosts he can handle.

Cat’s Claw by Amber Benson

The only non-Leaguer on the list today, she still was on the calendar for quite a while in expectation of the latest in the Calliope Reaper-Jones series. Her first book was Death’s Daughter and introduced us to Callie who is the daughter of Death (well the CEO of Death, Inc. anyway). Aside from her geek cred as one of the “Minions of Whedon,” her first in the series was an entertaining story about a reluctant Death. And it even had a Bollywood scene in it. You heard me… Bollywood! That alone should make you pick it up!.

Well, I am pretty sure I hit them all. There are a couple more coming out next week, but I will leave those for their own Shopping List posting. Until then, go out and get some books!