I'm not going to lie, I love Seanan McGuire and the October Daye series.  I gushed over Rosemary and Rue when it first came out, and I've been devouring each book as they come out.  And I'm not the only one--the fourth book in the series, Late Eclipses hit the NY Times extended list just a few weeks ago.

And it just so happens, I have an extra copy of Late Eclipses.


With Blind Michael and his Hunt safely behind her, October "Toby" Daye is doing her best to settle back into a normal routine—or as normal of a routine as she can manage, with her personal Fetch now paying half the rent. Still, things seem to be mostly under control...until the events of a single night send everything reeling. Now, with the Queen of the Mists watching her back and the Lady of the Tea Gardens deathly ill, Toby has no choice but to get involved, no matter how much she wants to avoid it.

The trials ahead will be some of the worst faced by Toby and her strange band of allies, and not even Tybalt will be able to escape totally unscathed. What's worse, the Luidaeg is unavailable to help them. This time, they're on their own. And people keep making Toby wear dresses, which is just adding insult to dangerous injury...

Late Eclipses is the fourth book in the October Daye series, a modern urban fantasy set in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Faerie Kingdom of the Mists which overlays Northern California.

Which means...

Writing Contest!

Here's what you've have to do.

Write a story, one hundred words or fewer, using these words:


Bonus Points if you use the phrase "These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend"

Contest open internationally. It starts NOW, and runs through midnight Wednesday March 30th. Post your entry in the comments section.

Enter as many times as you want.
Have you bought this yet? Because you need to. It's one of my favorite ARCs I read this year.

Woof, woof Cats and Dogs.  We have the third and final winner of A DOG'S WAY HOME by Bobbie Pyron.  And don't forget, you can buy it here, here, or here. 

But first, meet more of our new friends!  You can read their original stories in the comments of this blog post titled Must Love Dogs.

This pup is named Buddy, and he's curled up with his kitten pal, Princess! 

And this is Buddy and Princess' other roommate, Cooper.  While Buddy watches over Princess, Cooper watches over the kids!  They all live with Christie Corbett and are very happy little animals. 

Here is Molly playing with a particularly tasty looking tennis ball.  If she ever visits NY, I hope she'll share with me!

This is Molly when she was a pup.  Geeez, moms can't wait to share the puppy pictures...my mom does the same thing!  It's so embarrassing, but she says it's really cute. 

This is Molly and her mom, Ricki.  Bark for the camera!

Tasha Belle knows how to live.  I like a good nap, too!

Ronan here also goes by the alias The Ronanator.  Or maybe it's a pseudonym.  Can dogs be writers, too?

Black Dog here lives with Tirzah and these two pups, Freddy and Henry.

And guess what, guess what??  *pant, pant* Tirzah is the third winner of A DOG'S WAY HOME!!

I made a lot of good friends with this contest, and I have Bobbie Pyron to thank for it!  Mom always said that nothing brings people together like a good book, and I guess that applies to dogs, too.

Woof, woof!
PeeWee, signing out.

Skendall stormed through my office and into the lair just about twenty minutes ago, saying she was so angry she had to take a walk.

Mer Bear immediately jumped in too and they began venting to each other.

Naturally I was curious.  What could get these two so upset?


And of course after I read it, I was infuriated too.

I've been the office manager at FinePrint and an executive assistant to Peter Rubie, the CEO of FinePrint since May 2010.  I was an unpaid intern before that.

I'm still technically an assistant.  I'm an agent in my own right, and damn proud of it, but for at least a few more months, I'm also Peter's assistant.  I interact with assistants at every major publishing house on a daily basis, and I know plenty of assistants at well known literary agencies.

Which is why I'm wondering who was actually interviewed for this article and if their words were taken out of context.

Because not one assistant I know would read this and say it was an accurate portrayal of publishing.

"THE ASSISTERATI ARE hired for their taste, their poise and their pedigree, but once they settle into their cubicles, these traits are about as valuable as perfect punctuation in the cover letter of a slush submission."

Actually no. Sure does a college degree from an Ivy League impressive? Yes. But as someone who has has co-coordinated an intern program and placed all of our interns last semester in a job at major publishing houses, it's damn hard to get a job in publishing. You can't just have impressive credentials and pedigree. I know an assistant who got her job after three rounds of interviews, two writing assignments that included reading two whole manuscripts, and then having a former intern supervisor forward multiple examples of her stellar editorial work on the job.

""The things that are the hardest, or maybe scariest, for me are admin things, like phones, paperwork—especially tax forms!" a 22-year-old assistant to a literary agent told The Observer from her office, over Gmail chat."

Administrative tasks are scary when you're in your first job anywhere because the potential to screw up is HUGE. Um tax forms, they may not be glamorous, but they're important.

"A distinguished if not currently prominent author recently took a meeting with the assistant's boss and upon arrival, standing not three feet from her desk, said, "Have your girl print my boarding pass for my flight this afternoon and bring me a coffee.""

Have I occasionally run into chauvinistic men who've asked me to get their coffee? Yes. But not while I've been in publishing. Oh, I'm sure it exists, just like it exists everywhere. You ask any female recent college grad about her experience in the workforce, and she'll have a story.

"Thanks to industry-endemic budget tightening, the publishing assistant's duties have steadily declined on an asymptote toward the menial. More and more time is spent scheduling lunches, taking minutes and mailing galleys (often to the other members of the Assisterati, with chatty notes on their personal stationery). They may be drafted into bartending a party—a debasement of one of the job's few perks. Little of their workday is left to discover the next Lorrie Moore; to read the thousands of manuscripts you have to mine to find The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, they sacrifice their weekends."

Actually due to industry-endemic budget tightening, the publishing assistant's duties have doubled or tripled. They might be scheduling lunches, taking minutes, and mailing galleys (I've done all three), but they're also editing for their bosses, acquiring their own projects, and working nights and weekends in order to get it all done. As a general rule, when an industry tightens its budget and lays people off, but then still produces the same output, it means the people who still work there, take on more work.

"The Assisterati's bosses are the gatekeepers to the kind of meaningful work—acquiring or editing books—that they must master in order to move up the ladder."

Welcome to real life. Bosses are bosses in every industry. When you take an entry level job, you put in the work in order to learn and move up.

""I spent easily 80 percent of my workweek with my boss," remembered Lilit Marcus, author of Save the Assistants. "He would talk to me about his kids. I knew his Social Security number. I still know his doorman's cell phone number by heart.""

I know similar details about my boss, and I also spend a similar amount of my official workweek with him. And I can list all 40+ of his clients and tell you not only what titles they have coming out in 2011 and 2012, but what those books are about, what publisher is putting out, and what some of those clients are working on now.

And the 19 hours a day I spend working or the weekends I'm in the office ? I'm working on the manuscripts for my clients so I can add to the deals I've done.

"Only one of the mostly early-stage Assisterati The Observer spoke with at the party betrayed such fatigue. She likes the work, but it's not a good fit personality-wise, she said with utmost diplomacy. She'll consider leaving after the one-year mark. The rest of the crowd still wore a honeymoon glow."

Right. This is because the writer of this article most likely came in with preconceived notions (which were wrong) about the industry and then did a terrible job listening to the assistants he/she interviewed and getting the true story.

All in all, one of the worst articles I've read from The Observer.

(For Mer Bear's reaction, she blogged about this HERE.)
You can thank Skendall for this. Tonight, she asked if I'd ever seen the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Video, like the original one from back in the day.

I said no, and she made me watch the first minute of it, just to get the full scope of how terrible it is.

Now you watch.

Then she showed me THIS. Which is the funniest thing I may have every seen on the internet.  My life is now, more complete.

Make sure you watch until the end. My favorite line is the one about Hogwarts.

The next installment of George RR Martin's Song of Ice & Fire epic fantasy series will be released by Tor on July 12. A Dance with Dragons is "close enough to being finished" and comes six years after the previous series entry.
This is Bolt.

Bolt belongs to Nikki.

This is Cody.  

Cody belongs to Monica.

And these two pups belong to Kerry and they wrote me,
PeeWee Stampfel-Volpe, my very first dog-to-dog email.
It was cool!

And today's winner of Bobbie Pyron's A DOG'S WAY HOME goes to...Nora Coon!
So everyone give a big woof! of congrats, okay??  And if you haven't bought the book to read to your doggie pal yet, what are you waiting for?? You can buy it here, here, or here. 

Come back this weekend to meet Black Dog, Henry, Freddy, Cooper and Buddy!  And also to find out who the THIRD winner of A DOG'S WAY HOME is!

Woof, woof!

A month ago I finished reading The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas and it's been on my mind ever since.  Seriously.  I haven't been able to stop talking about how amazing it is.  I was so incredibly sucked into the story and so sad when it ended, that I wanted to turn back to the first page and start it again.

So, it's a good day for you, since it's now in bookstores!  Happy Release Day to Elizabeth!

In a city-state known for magnificence, where love affairs and conspiracies play out amidst brilliant painters, poets and musicians, the powerful and ambitious Alfonso d'Este, duke of Ferrara, takes a new bride. Half of Europe is certain he murdered his first wife, Lucrezia, the luminous child of the Medici. But no one dares accuse him, and no one has proof-least of all his second duchess, the far less beautiful but delightfully clever Barbara of Austria.

At first determined to ignore the rumors about her new husband, Barbara embraces the pleasures of the Ferrarese court. Yet wherever she turns she hears whispers of the first duchess's wayward life and mysterious death. Barbara asks questions-a dangerous mistake for a duchess of Ferrara. Suddenly, to save her own life, Barbara has no choice but to risk the duke's terrifying displeasure and discover the truth of Lucrezia's death-or she will share her fate.