Category Archives: Updates from Toni

I humbly accept this part of an award nomination…

Yesterday I got good news from the multi-talented Bill Crider, who published my story “Kids Today” in his anthology Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying. DND2 has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology! The Spinetingler’s are given, appropriately enough, by Spinetingler Magazine.

The full list of anthology nominees is:

I’m really delighted to be included on this list, even though my story is only a small slice of DND2. Bill Crider and the late Dave Thompson are the ones who put it together, Ben LeRoy helped shepherd it through the last stages of publication, and of course, there are a whole lot of really excellent contributors. But that’s the good thing about award nominations–the more people who are involved, the more of us who get to be winners!

If you’re interested in voting for any of the Spinetinglers, go check out their site.

Table of Contents for Home Improvement: Undead Edition

I know I posted the contributors for the forthcoming Charlaine Harris-and-me anthology Home Improvement: Undead Edition, but I don’t think I ever put up the final table of contents. So here it is, to tantalize you until our August release date. I’m mean that way. But to keep me from being a total meanie, I’ll add a few hints about the stories and/or authors.

“If I Had a Hammer” by Charlaine Harris
Yes, it is a Sookie story.

“Wizard Home Security” by Victor Gischler
At one point, I e-mailed Victor to ask about something, and he responded that Marvel was slamming him with X-Men deadlines. I have been an X-Men fan for years, and I squee-ed as loud as Havok yells when I got that note. (You have to be a fellow X-Men fan to get that reference.)

“Gray” by Patricia Briggs
Not werewolves or shapeshifters this time–vampires!

“Squatters’ Rights” by Rochelle Krich
I don’t even know how to describe this one. But it’s delightfully creepy!

“Blood on the Wall” by Heather Graham
Heather gives us nasty murders in New Orleans, cultists, and a PI with strong family feelings.

“The Mansion of Imperatives” by James Grady
Yes, this is the James Grady who wrote Six Days of the Condor. When I told my father he was going to be in the anthology, he squee-ed. In a manly way, of course.

“The Strength Inside” by Melissa Marr
Don’t you just hate home owner associations?

“Woolsley’s Kitchen Nightmare” by E. E. Knight
It’s hard work putting the perfect dining experience together.

“Through This House” by Seanan McGuire
Yes, it’s a Toby Daye story!

“The Path” by S. J. Rozan
Nobody writes about China like S.J!

“Rick the Brave” Stacia Kane
How can a guy named Terrible be such a wonderful character? And Chess is there, too.

“Full-Scale Demolition” Suzanne McLeod
Suzanne has published three of her amazing Spellcrack books in the UK, but so far only one is out in the US. You’ll want to buy it.

“It’s All in the Rendering” by Simon R. Green
Some houses have doors on both sides–and some Houses open onto more than one world.

“In Brightest Day” by Toni L.P. Kelner
In which I exploit the hitherto neglected sub-genre of zombie mysteries.

That’s all you get until August! But unlike most construction projects, this one should be on time.

New Editions

One of the lovely things about writing is when a new edition of my work show up. It always feels like a freebie–I get a new book for my brag shelf without having to do any more work. What’s not to like?

Recently I received editions of two different anthologies. First was the French edition of Crimes by Moonlight, the MWA anthology edited by the astounding Charlaine Harris. It contains my story “Taking the Long View,” or as the French say, “Long terme.”

Interestingly, this is not the cover that showed up on, which is:

I like both, and would be hard-pressed to say which I prefer. Dana Cameron, who has a story in here, too, says she thinks the red-and-white design says vampire, where the one they used says werewolf. I’m just hoping that it says Buy me!

I also got a copy of the large print edition for Death’s Excellent Vacation.

Now to place these with pride on my shelf!

Big News!

After meeting with my illustrious co-editor Charlaine Harris and our ace Ace editor Ginjer Buchanan at Boskone this weekend, I can officially announce that Charlaine and I have made a deal for two more urban fantasy anthologies.

The first will have a school theme, and is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2012, with the second still undecided. (But don’t think you have to wait that long for another short story fix. Home Improvement: Undead Edition will be out in August 2011.)

As you can imagine, there is much joy in Massachusetts! Cavorting, gamboling, cheering, doing the dance of joy–I’m doing it all. We have so much fun putting these books together–people send us such amazing stories, and of course, I have the best editing partner in the world.


The New Arrival

It’s always a happy day when I get to hold my new book in my hand. In this case, it was an early copy of Blast from the Past, which will be out February 2. (Groundhog Day… There’s a joke in there somewhere, and I promise to discover it and then share it before the big day.)

In the meantime, here’s me holding proudly. I even took it out to lunch to celebrate. (We took our pal Dana Cameron with us, too, just to liven things up.)

So tomorrow I’ll be hunkering in the house, hiding from a raging blizzard, but I’ll be happy because I’ll have my new book to hold onto.

Bon jour!

The other day I stumbled across the cover of the French edition of Crimes by Moonlight, the MWA anthology edited by Charlaine Harris. Or if you’ll excuse my French, Crimes au clair de lune.

This is way exciting for me because the anthology includes my story “Taking the Long View” making this my first appearance in French.

I do love the idea of my stuff being read elsewhere in the world. Not including my French debut, I’ve had stories or novels translated into German, Polish, and Italian. There are also UK editions of some of Charlaine’s and my anthologies, but I don’t think there was a lot of translating involved.

I do, however, worry about the translations. I mean, I can’t read French and I have no idea how they’ve translated my vision of vampires and bad jokes–two strong themes in “Taking the Long View.”

With the Laura Fleming novels, I’d have been worried about Southernisms, and with the “Where are they now?” series, I worry about the references to old American TV shows.

At least I know the Italian translation of Curse of the Kissing Cousins came out well. Or, if you prefer, Cugini Maledetti, published by Delos Books.

My husband works for an international company, and Duccio Alberti, one of his Italian colleagues, actually took the trouble to read both versions. Grazie Duccio!

If there are any bilingual readers out there, I’d love to find out if the other translations have been decent. In the meantime, I’ll just shelve those foreign editions and try to look linguistically sophisticated.

Damn Near Dead 2

I’ve been so intent on catching folks up on upcoming projects that I neglected to mention an awfully nifty project I was involved in last year. In November, Busted Flush Press released Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying, edited by the illustrious Bill Crider.

As people who’ve read my work know, I don’t usually hang with the noir crowd, but when Bill invited me to submit a story to this book of “geezer noir,” I couldn’t resist giving it a try. I drew inspiration from my grandfather, who was devoted to Finch’s Restaurant in Raleigh, NC. And by devoted, I mean he ate breakfast there every weekday and many weekends for as far back as I can remember. He knew every waitress, and though the owners changed a couple of times over the years, Granddaddy’s order never did. (Two eggs, over easy, dry toast, and streak-o-lean.) My parents have a similar relationship with Skyland in Charlotte, NC.  I drew on both places to come up with my story “Kids Today.”

As you can see, artist Jeff Wong created a dynamite cover, and the stories inside are pretty darned good, too.  Just check out the table of contents:

“Sleep, Creep, Leap” by Patti Abbott
“El Conejo” by Ace Atkins
“Stiffs” by Neal Barrett, Jr.
“The End of Jim and Ezra” by C. J. Box
“Out Stealing Buddha” by Declan Burke
“Love Story” by Scott Cupp
“All About Eden” by Christa Faust
“Flying Solo” by Ed Gorman
“Neighborhood Watch” by Carolyn Haines
“Memory Sketch” by David Handler
“Some Things You Never Forget” by Gar Anthony Haywood
“The War Zone” by Cameron Pierce Hughes
“You’re Only Dead Once” by Dean James
“The Sleeping Detective” by Jennifer Jordan
“Kids Today” by Toni L.P. Kelner
“The Old Man in the Motorized Chair” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Angel of Mercy” by Russel McLean
“Miss Hartly and the Cocksucker” by Denise Mina
“Sometimes You Can’t Retire” by Marcia Muller
“The Investor” by Gary Phillips
“Bill in Idaho” by Scott Phillips
“Zypho the Tentacled Brainsucker from Outer Space vs. the Mob” by Tom Piccirilli
“Trade Secret” by Bill Pronzini
“The Summer Place” by Cornelia Read
“Warning Shot” by James Reasoner
“Cutlass” by Kat Richardson
“Chin Yong-Yun Takes the Case” by S.J. Rozan
“Granny Pussy” by Anthony Neil Smith
“Old Men and Old Boards” by Don Winslow

Sadly, this was one of the last projects from the late David Thompson, who founded Busted Flush. But I recently learned that his wife McKenna Jordan will be taking over the reins, and I think that David would be proud to know that.

Cover Girl!

Another upcoming book I’m excited about is the August release of The Wild Side, edited by Mark L. Van Name. It’s an urban fantasy anthology with an erotic edge, and it includes my story “For a Good Time, Call…”

This week, I got my first look at the cover and there has been much rejoicing.

First off, as you can see, it’s a dynamite cover.  The artist is Dan Dos Santos, and he’s just terrific.

But what really got me squeeing in delight was seeing my name on the cover. I’ve never had my name on the front of an anthology, other than my own, and it’s really a thrill.

I’ve only read my story and Dana Cameron’s, but from this list of writers, I think it’s going to be a winner.

Tanya Huff

Gina Massel-Castater

Toni L.P. Kelner

Diana Rowland

Sarah A. Hoyt

Ticia Drake Isom

Dana Cameron

John Lambshead

Mark L. Van Name

Caitlin Kitterege

The Wild Side will be a trade paperback release from Baen, and I imagine electronic versions will spring forth wildly as well. I will warn people that this is not a child-friendly book. My own story is the most graphic thing I’ve ever published, and writing it was a new experience for me.

Home Improvement: Undead Edition

In August I put on my editor hat once again for the release of Home Improvement: Undead Edition, the fourth anthology edited by NYT bestseller and overall nifty person Charlaine Harris and myself. This time the theme is the horrors of home renovations, a daunting prospect even for vampires, werewolves, and demonic sorts.

We’ve got another stellar lineup of authors:

Patricia Briggs

Victor Gischler

James Grady

Heather Graham

Simon R. Green

Charlaine Harris

Stacia Kane

Toni L.P. Kelner

E.E. Knight

Rochelle Krich

Melissa Marr

Seanan McGuire

Suzanne McLeod

S.J. Rozan

And did I mention that Lisa Desimini has created yet another outstanding cover illustration?

Here’s a secret about the cover. It was actually completed before we handed in the final draft of the manuscript–once again, I may have been a touch late on my deadline–and my contribution was inspired by the illustration. I mean, doesn’t that look like a zombie hand to you?

Home Improvement: Undead Edition will be a hardcover release from Ace, and Ace will be releasing various electronic formats at the same time for you Kindle, Nook, and iPad users. (And quite possibly for gadgets I don’t know about yet!)

Forward, into the Past

It’s 2011, and now that the Christmas decorations are put away–more or less–it’s time to think about what’s coming up, and I’ve got lots to look forward to.  In fact, I’ve got so much I’m breaking it into more than one post to keep this from being too long!

The big excitement of the new year is the February 2 release of Blast from the Past, the third “Where are they now?” mystery.

This time freelance entertainment reporter Tilda Harper is immersed in the worlds of comic books and movies. Before becoming an action film star, John Laryea appeared on The Blastoffs, a cheesy Saturday morning kid’s show about a rock band in space. His former co-star, Pete Ellis, now drives a limo for a living. So when someone tries to run Laryea over, Ellis becomes the prime suspect-and it’s up to Tilda to clear his name.

I love this cover, and here’s a secret about it. It was actually completed before I handed in the final draft of the manuscript–I may have been a touch late on my deadline–so I changed the name of a store in the book to match the Choco House on the cover.

Blast from the Past is a mass market paperback release from Berkley Prime Crime, and there will be various electronic editions, too. I’m just glad the folks at Berkley take care of all those conversions.