Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today in my hotseat I have YA and adult author JR Turner! JR is, in addition to being an author, an acquisition author for Quake, the YA arm of Echelon Press (EP Adult arm has also published the Human’s book, Witch’s Pawn). For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, here’s a bit about JR:

Award-winning author J.R. Turner lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She began writing in high school, and after a decade working as a commercial artist, started her first novel in 1999. Aside from crafts, camping and cooking, she loves holidays. A favorite is Halloween, a combination of spooky supernatural fun and chocolate. Visit her at http://www.jennifer-turner.com/ to learn more!

And now, onto the interview!

R: Hello, JR and welcome!
JR: thank you, Rocco.

R: Tell us a bit about yourself and your books
JR: What I am most passionate about tends to come through in the characters and themes in all my stories. I'm very much into social justice and anti-discrimination. While I enjoy a wonderful family life today, that wasn't always the case, and general themes about the struggle between the need for self-reliance and the desire for human connection always intrigue me.

R: You write both adult and YA fiction. Which do you prefer to write and why?
JR: This is hard to answer—it's a little bit like asking which of my kids do I love most! Writing for teens (or younger) is fascinating, especially as I watch my children age and how their understanding of the world around them changes each year. When I write YA or younger, I feel as if I'm getting a little closer to them, in my own creative way, recalling what it was like for me at that age and appreciating their situations all the more.
Writing for adults is a very different experience for me. Some days, it's the excitement a kid gets when they see the dessert table at a huge family celebration. All those goodies! All those treats! Other days, it's the panic of having too many choices from a banquet of ideas where I'm not sure how anything will taste until I give it a try. I get to be a lot more exploratory and that keeps me coming back for more time and again.

R: What’s your favorite genre to write in/read?
JR: I really love books that take me darker places—either in theme or emotion. I prefer horror, supernatural, and thrillers where life and death hang in the balance. I think this goes back to that struggle to survive I find most compelling in the books I read—which translates very directly into what I love to write.

R: Where do you find your inspiration for your novels?
JR: Everywhere. Sometimes it will be a single word, sometimes it will be a situation I imagined ending differently, or a character who is just too good (and noisy!) to ignore.

R: What do you find is the biggest challenge to you as an author?
JR: I always vacillate between character-driven or plot-driven and I think sometimes, it shows in my work. When I know I'm going into one or the other, it works out best, but sometimes, stories jump track and it can be a bit hard to find your footing again. I believe knowing what not to write is just as important as knowing what to write, and often, that's the difference between a character and a plot driven book.

R: You are an acquisition editor as well as an author. Which do you prefer, and what do you love the most about your work?
JR: When I'm doing one or the other, that's the one I love, so I guess it's almost an equal thing. Before I became the acquiring editor for Quake, my favorite part of a manuscript was the second draft. The first draft always feels like putting a puzzle together, making sure everything connects the way it should–but then I get to add the razzle-dazzle, play with language, and sink deeper and deeper into the characters of my book. Now, as an editor, I love seeing a new book become more and more polished and really enjoy the process of helping the author make it the best story they can create.

R: Can you still find time to read yourself? If so, what is one book on your TBR list you cannot wait to read?
JR: Oh yes, I've got a TBR pile that is towering over my bed right now. A friend of mine turned me on to Kathy Reichs, the author of the Temperance Brennan books, the basis for the television show Bones, which I really enjoy. I've just started Deja Dead and I'm already hooked. I have a feeling this winter will be spent eyes-deep in forensic anthropology.

R:What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
JR: Most likely the craziest, but also the best thing I've ever done, was to move across state to live in a friend's basement. We had no jobs, no work prospects, no family–a very tough transition. Our family was just not happy in the city, though, and without taking that frightening leap, we may never have fulfilled our dream of living in a small town surrounded by fresh-water lakes and rivers, and a wonderful north-woods landscape.

R:What advice do you have for writers just starting out?
JR: Don't try to write what you think is hot at the moment. Dig deep and write the most compellingly honest and emotional story you can–even if it's a space opera or a Western or high fantasy. That emotion, that visceral connection with a character is far more important for a reader than any complicated plot twists.

R: What would our readers be most surprised to learn about you?
JR: I was a head-banger back in the eighties. Spandex, boots, big hair, the works.

And Now, Just for Fun:

Day or Night person? Night—but I'm stuck being up in the day!
Cat or Dog? Dog (Ahem – well, I guess we can’t all be cat people, now can we???)
Mountains or Beach? Mountains, with a beach :)
Favorite Drink? McDonalds Caramel Frappe
Favorite TV Show? Supernatural
Favorite Movie? True Romance
Favorite Author (other than yourself :) Julie Garwood

R: Thank you for sharing your time with us, JR! (Even if you like dogs better…)

JR: Thank you, Rocco!! :)

Folks, to learn more about JR Turner and her upcoming releases, visit her website at http://www.jennifer-turner.com/

Meow, Kitties! Enjoy!

We shall see you the week of October 3 with more mews...and some announcements! Stay well.



A Word on Dancing....

With the Stars! Premiere last night was good, but the dancing, in this cool cat's opinion, wasn't as good as in previous seasons.

My vote for Biggest Surprise: Chaz Bono! Hey, the cat's got moves!
My vote for Best Dance of the Night: Ricki Lake
My vote for Most Entertaining: Carson Kressley

Everyone seems pretty evenly matched - should be an interesting competition.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall, Fall...wonderful Fall

this Friday heralds the first day of Fall....one of my favorite seasons! Fall also is the beginning of the Human's two week vacation, so, after my "hotseat" interview with JR Turner, we shall not be posting until the week of October 3!

But there is lots to think about.

the Human will report on her trip to Arizona, and hopefully get to meet with Denise Gary of KIDS NEED TO READ. We are in the midst of finalizing plans for another fundraiser.

Human's novel is out on sub, so there will be nail-biting as she finishes up more manuscripts (and hogs the computer)

I will be continuing my campaign for a BROWNCOAT, as well as my own laptop...well earned, I think.

I must be a good boy and not pull the DVR out of the wall again. :)

And...more hotseaters are in our future!
Michelle Rowen
Mary Janice Davidson
Jeaniene Frost

PLus some old favorites return to guest blog!

Yes, Fall promises to be very promising....do stay tuned.
Enjoy the interview with JR, and see you after vacation!


Emmies, anyone!

Anyone who knows this cool cat knows I loves my awards shows...and last night I was in kitty heaven, watching the Emmies! (Of course none of my favorites won - except for Melissa McCarthy - and Julianna Marguiles - but i like watching it anyway heh heh )

Biggest upset, in my kitty opinion, was Kyle chandler's win for best actor in a drama, beating out Mad Men's Jon Hamm. (My personal favorite, Hugh Laurie, has been sadly neglected in this category for years.....)

If i were giving out the awards, meow, they would have been much different:

Best Actor Comedy - Nathan Filion, Castle (c'mon, the show has comedic elements)
Best Actress Comedy - Stana Katic, Castle (same reason as above)
Best comedy - the 6 o'clock news
Best Actor Drama - Hugh Laurie, house (People - the accent alone!)
Best Actress Drama - Julianna Marguiles (we lovey GOOD WIFE)
Best Drama - How I met your Mother (come on, the tension of wondering who Barney marries and who Ted finally hooks up with - better than a soap!)

I've posted some links below. Enjoy!
and Wednesday - JR Turner in my hotseat! MEOW!

For the real Emmy winners, click here:

And for the most important part - the lowdown on the fashion! (Loved Julianna's gown!)
click here:

Friday, September 16, 2011


Yes, the HUMAN will be leaving for Phoenix a week from today so that means - yours truly will be partyin' it up with his sibs! (unfortunately not too much partying - there was that DVR incident, after all) I have sworn on my kitty paws to be good and will probably spend much of the time pushing the others away from the foodbowl, cat-napping and preparing October's blogs.

As for the remainder of September, next week we will have a HOT SEAT with Echelon author/acquiring editor J.R. Turner! and then, sadly, no posting until after October 1 as I prepare my blogs (and for some odd reason the HUMAN does not like me to go on the computer when she's not around to monitor)

Then again, when have I ever listened to a HUMAN?????????


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows - Too Pasty? (Frankly, the fedora is what worries me)

Meow! A few words about the Human's passion, DARK SHADOWS!

Photos of Johnny Depp as Barnabas (as in the above) recently leaked at various websites. Here's one of them:


Opinions vary, but i must say, that fedora definitly has both the human and I concerned. Barnabas in a fedora? Is this supposed to give off a "SuperFly" vibe? Since when does the coolest vampire ever wear a fedora???????? The times they are a'changin' definitely!

But, we shall reserve judgement until more information is available...there's still time to lose that hat! and for anyone interested in the 2012 movie synopsis, here's the site:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back By popular Demand...Caitlin Kittredge in Rocco's Hotseat

Hope that everyone had a stellar weekend....thoughts of what happened ten years ago on 9/11 not far from our thoughts.

Today, we're going to repost a recent interview with UF author Caitlin Kittredge in my hotseat! Enjoy!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, here’s a bit about Caitlin:

Caitlin started writing novels at age 13. Her first was a Star Wars tie-in. Fortunately, she branched out from there and after a few years trying to be a screenwriter, a comic book writer and the author of copious amounts of fanfiction, she tried to write a novel again. Her epic dark fantasy (thankfully) never saw the light of day but while she was struggling with elves and sorcerers she got the idea of writing a story about a werewolf who fought crime.
Two years and many, many drafts later, she pitched Night Life to a bevy of agents and one of them sold the series to St. Martin's. Since then she’s written a plethora of other novels, including THE ICARUS PROJECT series with Jackie Kessler; THE IRON THORN, a steampunk YA UF series, and her latest book, DEVIL’S BUSINESS, in her BLACK LONDON series, is available in print and e-book August 30.
When not writing, Caitlin collects comic books, print books, vintage clothes, and bad habits. She loves tea, loud music, the color black (especially mixed with the color pink) and ghost stories. She can drive a stick shift, play the violin and knows more English curses than American ones.


R: Hello, Caitlin and Welcome!
CK: Thank you, Rocco.

R:Tell us a bit about yourself and your books
CK I can't remember a time I wasn't writing (okay, I remember a time in kindergarten when we had to keep a daily diary and I didn't want to, because I'd just made a bow and arrow and wanted to go outside and try to shoot at things), but I only got serious after college. I finished my first novel and queried it, and the rest is history. As for my books—I write what I describe as dark fiction, and what my marketing departments describe as either urban fantasy or steampunk fantasy, depending on the series. I love stories about the dark side of the paranormal, and of the real world too, so I think it's natural that's what I ended up writing. I finished my first series, the Nocturne City books, which are about werewolves, and I also write the Black London series, about a secret, supernatural London and now I'm in the middle of writing a YA trilogy, the Iron Codex, which is steampunk with a dash of Lovecraft.

R: The paranormal genre has grown in the past 5 years. Why did you decide to write within this genre and how do you think your books stand out?
CK: I try to inject humanity into all of my stories, even the ones about completely inhuman characters. I think the point of connection for readers is the most important thing. We use fantasy to understand the real world, to talk about social issues, to escape. Fantasy fiction can be used for so many things, but I think so many authors limit themselves to what's safe and comfortable. I always try to push mine and the reader's comfort zones, and to keep my characters as true to life as possible, even if they're ghosts or demons or werewolves.

R: Other than paranormal, what’s your favorite genre to write in/read?
CK: Definitely mystery fiction—the more hardboiled and noir the better. I love a good unhappy-ending noir novel, or books like Jeff Lindsay's Dexter, where the main character might be evil, but he's also the most competent and coolheaded—the monster you'd want on your side. I also love comics—usually independent books or Vertigo titles, but I love Batman, the Avengers, and big flashy superhero stories too.

R: Where do you find your inspiration for your novels?
CK: Everywhere. I've been inspired by songs, by dreams I've had, by mythology and folklore, and also by real-life history and true crime stories. I could never point to just one source. A good writer is open to all influences for inspiration.

R: What do you find is the biggest challenger to you as an author?
CK: Time. I never have enough hours in the day for all the stories I want to write.

R: What do you love the most about your work?
CK: That I get to make stuff up for a living.

R: Can you still find time to read yourself? If so, what is one book on your TBR list you cannot wait to read?
CK I do make time to read, and I have literally probably 200 books on my TBR list. I don't have a stack—I have an entire bookshelf. I can't wait to read all of them!

R: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
CK I've never jumped out of a plane or anything extreme in that sense. I think the craziest thing ever was probably quitting my well-paying game design job to write full time. I had only one contract at that point, but I knew I had to devote more time to writing or I'd never be able to land more deals and enable myself to make a living off of my novels. It was terrifying, but I'm so glad I did.

R: What advice do you have for writers just starting out?
CK: Develop a routine and stick to it. It could be writing every day, it could be writing only one day a week, but learning to write consistently is the hardest part for most new authors.

R: What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?
CK I'm an avid runner even though I'm fundamentally lazy, and I've competed in several 5k and 10k races. It was hard to get off the sofa initially, but now I'm sort of addicted.

Just for Fun:
R: Day or Night person?
CK: Night person, for sure. I fear daylight.
R: Cat or Dog? (heh heh)
CK: Cats, (R: GOOD ANSWER) but I love dogs, rabbits, or anything else with fur that has the potential to destroy my furniture.
R: Fantastic Four or Justice League?
CK: Justice League
R: Batman or Green Lantern?
CK: Batman. I don't see how that's even a question.
R: Favorite Drink?
CK: Tea, closely followed by diet Coke, coffee and anything else that will keep me from passing out on my keyboard
R: Favorite TV Show?
CK:Burn Notice
R: Favorite Movie?
CK: The Big Lebowski
R: Favorite Author (other than yourself )
CK: Too many to count, and I'd hate to leave someone out!

Meow, Thank you, Caitlin!

Folks, to keep up with Caitlin’s works and appearances, visit her website:

Meowingly yours,



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's all in the accent!


Whilst flicking through the tube over this Labor Day Weekend, I happened to notice just how many British/Australian actors there are who - ahem - sound more American than Americans! So being the cool cat that I am, I've prepared a list of my favorites, so here goes:

The Sunday night special on THE GOOD WIFE is what started my kitty cells thinking: Who knew Archie Panjabi was British? Colinda sure doens't sound it on the show! LIkewise Eli Gold. His portrayer, actor Alan Cummings, is - can you believe it - Scottish!

The Mentalist's Simon Baker is Australian. Julian McMahon, of Charmed and Nip/Tuck fame, is also an Aussie.

I loved Christian Bale in Batman Begins and American Psycho - but when I heard him speak at the Golden Globes this year I nearly fell off my chair! when he's portraying Bruce Wayne there's no hint of his thick British accent.

But the big kudos go to ...drumroll please...HUGH LAURIE! Not only does he sound more American than most American's, he's got the sarcasm down pat!

So, c'mon. Who are some of your favorite non-American actors who play Americans!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I throw my paws up in the air sometimes
So frustrated, so frustrated
My human just doesn't understand

I love Firefly and Browncoat Redemption

(And Nathan Fillion, but that goes without saying)
To distraction, to distraction
Sci Fi Blogging Cat that I am

Oh when will I see
a hint of the cat I'm meant to be
Once i have my own Browncoat, shiny and new

How cool will i look head to toe
In a Browncoat, my very own Browncoat
The envy of all the other kitties

Oh, and it would be so nice
to have one, just to have one
to rest my head on, to rest my paws on

And I would be so good :)

I throw my paws up in the air sometimes
so frustrated, so frustrated
The only thing that keeps me goin' is knowin'
a Browncoat must be in my future.

Sci Fi Blogging Cat