Thursday, April 4, 2013

Winning is in the House!

Hey there, I'm still alive!

Miss me? I've missed you! I'm still feverishly working on Alien Research, but there's so much going on -- including a delivery that's sure to make a lot of you VERY happy -- that I just had to pause share. (Truly, read this all the way through -- you'll be glad you did.)

First up, let's hit some reviews. RT Book Reviews has given Alien in the House it's coveted Top Pick award! Their full review is in this month's issue. Publisher's Weekly also recommends Alien in the House! Whoo hoo!

After checking those out, head over to see what KD Did It thought of Alien Proliferation. Then see what boeklogboek thought of A Cup of Joe by Anita Ensal (yes, that's moi). After that, see what A Buckeye Girl Reads and Readaholics Anonymous thought of Amazing & Waiting: Two Novelettes by Jemma Chase (also moi).

Next up, I'm thrilled to share that my awesome editor at DAW Books, Sheila Gilbert, and my awesome cover artist, Dan Dos Santos, are both up for Hugo Awards this year! If you're a voting member (went to WorldCon 2012 or are registered for WorldCon 2013), I encourage you to vote for Sheila Gilbert for Best Editor, Long Form, and Dan Dos Santos for Best Professional Artist. They both deserve these nominations and more than deserve to win.

Winning Reminder: You still have a few more hours to enter to win a signed, personalized copy of Alien Tango over at Ex Libris.

And speaking of winning, now it's time for what I was hinting at earlier. Penguin is no longer doing ARCs for authors to give away. But before you all cry too loudly, DAW made up for it and has sent me MANY shiny NEW, FINAL, EARLY RELEASE copies of Alien in the House!

And you know what that means, right? Of course right! It's contest time! But, as always when it's really cool, it's for my Hook Me Up! subscribers only. Not on? Now's the time to GET on! Send an email with "Hook Me Up!" in the subject line to and you'll be sent the contest rules right away.

Hook Me Up! Gang, check out the contest info under the signature, and good luck to all!

That's it for today. More's on the way, but probably not much more until I've gotten Alien Research turned in. So, enjoy the downward slide towards the weekend, and let's be readers out there. Peace out, my li'l gangstas, and I'll catch you on the flip side!


Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini have learned the ins and outs of Washington politics, not to mention how to prevail in intergalactic war and foil dangerous plots. But, in the aftermath of Operation Destruction, the Gower girls’ powers are burned out, the entire A-C population has been “outed” as the aliens living on Earth that they are, and, worst of all, ACE is nowhere to be found.

Then murder and mayhem are served up at an important dinner party at the American Centaurion Embassy, and when the dust settles Alpha Team and the Diplomatic Corps have more problems than just a dead Congressman.

Is there a single criminal mastermind—or multiple enemies—behind all the conspiracies that want Kitty dead and the A-Cs gone or co-opted to become the War Division?

The return of the best assassins in the business, the reappearance of two individuals long-presumed dead, Agent Malcolm Buchanan felled by something no one can identify or cure, and new technology that can block even the most powerful empath on Earth … all of this means the game’s officially afoot.

Then Vance Beaumont comes to Kitty with a wild theory that someone is systematically killing off the House of Representatives…

It’s up to Kitty and the rest of the gang to find out what’s really going on and why. But will they be able to stop the killer or killers before the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives become casualties? And will the replacement Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd District, who happens to be Jeff Martini, be the next to die?


DAW has sent me many shiny, final, early release copies of Alien in the House, and that means I'm giving them to you! I have not one, not two, but FIVE (5) copies to give away. I know! It's too happy to be true! But true it is!

So, Hook Me Up! subscribers, answer this question: What's the worst dinner party you've ever thrown or attended?

Contest will run weekly from Thursday, April 4th through Sunday, April 14th. Winners will be announced in the week of April 15th. Winners will have until the following Sunday, April 21st, to check in -- any prize not claimed by then will be pulled back by the Gods of Random and a new winner(s) will be chosen.

This an international contest -- as long as you're on Planet Earth, you can enter and win. You must have a deliverable address, though - no P.O. boxes. Prize may take 2-4 weeks to ship; it may take 6-8 weeks for international or longer.

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Blogger NoraA said...

Hi Gini, FYI I screwed up on the e-mail so there are 2 of them. The first one had the PO Box addie I use for contests, and review books.

I followed it up with a second one using my partner's brick and mortar street address.

Last 4 months killed me. From father in law's cancer radiation treatments, to Mother's doing a 3 week swan dive (sending me on a 24 hour round trip to Florida for funeral)to Passover and turning the house into a B&B for 3 of the kids in rotation.


April 4, 2013 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger Bryan Teague said...

Aborts dinner party had to be one I attended for a security group doing a company audit. No one wanted to say anything that might be misconstrued or used against them!


April 4, 2013 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Dee Astell said...

Hola, Gini!

I hope you manage to stop and smell the flowers every now and then between writing chapters. We don't want you to burn yourself out before at least another 15 or 20 or 100 more books. ;)

Travel Poof sends kisses and hugs!

April 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Oh boy it was terrible. We'd just moved into our brand new house so we invited my husbands eldest sister and her family over. I made (failed) baked BBQ chicken. Never having an electric oven I messed up so bad. The meat was so dry you couldn't eat it. They all tried to be nice and finally hubs said he'd go get pizza. Thank heaven. Pizza, wine and beer saved the night.


April 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I had a costume party once in high school... Totally decorated the whole house, food, punch, and the works.
One one person showed up.

I know I am super cool right....

Oh and it is Tax Season so I would LOVE to win something :)
Love you Gini!!!!


April 4, 2013 at 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Kent Schassberger said...

In the 70s, my parents would have me manage the house when they went off on a long vacation someplace i put on a party with hopes of attracting a young lady, had group of about a dozen friends over, and i was a bit tired and said i was going to close my eyes a bit but accidenty fell into a deep sleep. i was so embarressed, i do not remember what i had made other then the food was good, filling, and made me sleepy. Thankfully they were friends.

April 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea Rittschof said...

The worst dinner party I ever had was for Thanksgiving, right after a friend of ours had passed away unexpectedly. Not only did all our friends miss her terribly and of course wish she was there, but it was a such a bad time for her husband and in the middle of that mess, we also had two other friends decide they didn't want anything to do with my husband and I anymore. Yeah, worst dinner ever!

April 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Bananas in the Void said...

Recently I went to a house-warming party of some friends. There was a least 30 people invited, that came and went during the night and I knew just 4 of them !

that was really weird to see so much people I didn't know, with whom I realized I didn't a lot in common...

I talked a bit to the ones I knew and left like a ghost few hours after arriving.

April 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Sullivan McPig said...

Any dinner party where people serve pork is a nightmare in my opinion. When will people stop being so insensitive to try to serve me my cousins? And my owner is worst of all! She keeps eating bacon while I sit next to he and have to watch! *shudders*

The worst party I've thrown has got to be the one were I served eggs and Voodoo Bride's date turned out to be a rooster. Still get angry glares from Voodoo Bride about that one.

April 4, 2013 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Barbara E. said...

The worst dinner party I've thrown has got to be the one where I invited my boyfriend's parents over for a barbecue. While the meat was on the grill, juice started falling on the coals and everything caught fire. We were able to put it out by putting the lid on the barbecue, but my boyfriend and I were pretty freaked out. Luckily we could salvage most of the meat and had enough side dishes to fill in. But the prospective in-laws weren't too impressed with my entertaining skills.

April 4, 2013 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

While it was, strictly speaking, a dinner party, my worst experience was at a press party. Back in my youth I was an entertainment critic, and went to a press party where I expected to conduct four interviews with four groups of musicians. Because of transportation problems, ALL of the musicians arrived at the party hours late, so it was arranged that I would conduct one massive group interview with all four bands at once.

Only when the interview started did it become apparent that the musicians had all passed the hours of their flight delays at the bar in Heathrow Airport, before drinking their way across the Atlantic. Bottom line: I was trying to interview about twenty complete drunks!

It was ugly.

April 4, 2013 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger lillygirl10 said...

Worst dinner party ever was hosted by a group of young entrepreneurs and had a lot of business owners to speak and give tips. No one seemed to want to talk to each other and the food was terrible. I had never seen or realized that a country club could actually ruin food. All conversations seemed forced and awkward. My husband acknowledged that I must love him to sit through that for him. Thankfully he hasn't had to go to anything like it since.

April 4, 2013 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Amanda Tamayo said...

"What's the worst dinner party you've ever thrown or attended?"

The worst one I attended was held by some wonderful friends of mine, and it went great.....until the neighbor's dog, who'd come to visit, ran out in the street and was hit [twice] by cars. We rushed him to the vet [the neighbor didn't want the expense] but ended up having to have him put to sleep =( I was the one who found him [he dragged himself off], carried him, and held him for the ordeal. Yeah, I had nightmares for a while.

So here's some brainbleach for that mental image >_< *passes over the gallon jug of it*

April 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger miki said...

Congratulations on your success, it's well deserved.

As for the worse dinner i had to attend... the first christmas after my father death...everything was so strange, we had decided to stay at home which was better because we all fall apart rapidely and his absence was too strong

thank you a lot for keeping your giveaway international! i do want to win a copy of Alien in the House!

April 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM  
Anonymous writewithbutterflywings said...

Ah, the worst? I have read the comments above and I know this isn't as horrible as some of them. But there is something about living through the event for yourself, isn't there?

He picked me up in his usual Levi's and T-shirt. I dressed in my usual casual clothes, Levi's and a nice shirt. Nothing fancy. I thought he was taking me out to a party, restaurant, whatever. You know- the same old places as usual. 

Then we drove into the nice neighborhood. PANIC! I had no idea he came from money. Hehe. I guess I felt like Kitty when she first arrived at the Martini Mansion. Sort of overwhelmed and completely underdressed. 

He pulled (nearly literally) me into his house where we arrived late to a formal dinner. Come to think of it, I'm really glad it was a family only event. I'm now imagining arriving late to one of his father's business dinners. Shudder!

I think the awkward pause could have lasted a few hours if the help hadn't rushed two plates onto the table almost as soon as we arrived in the dinning room. God bless her! 

I swear his mother thought he might propose - or announce a proposal. I couldn't tell how long I'd live after that. She didn't seem happy to see what her son brought home. Like I was a frog from the lake he wanted for a pet. 

She warmed gradually. Probably because I mentioned a few hundred times that my dear 'friend' hadn't told me we'd be joining them and how sorry I was that we'd arrived late. 

It took the entire meal for me to realize she was happy, and shocked, to see him. Towing a girl might have added to the shock, but her heartfelt pleas that we return soon cinched it. She missed him. I felt so bad, the evening had been horrible because I'd been panicked about her initial reaction. Reading minds would really come in handy, yes?

OH! And here's a housewarming gift for Kitty! Yeah, a stupid houseplant, I know. It felt like the required gift- everyone always gives them to me. Feel free to kill the thing. I always do! (Slips an iTunes gift card to Kitty) Because you can NEVER have too much music. And who knows? Singing to the plant might keep it alive, right? ;)

April 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in! My favorite way is to read with a real book but I've been doing a lot with ebooks for the ease of travel. =)

Currently on book 2 but I'll be ready when this one rolls out.

April 5, 2013 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

I'm not quite clear on why God created spammers. I would have thought that fever blisters and political campaigns were punishment enough.

April 6, 2013 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger JoAnna said...

I can't really think of a bad dinner party that I have attended. Not saying there weren't any but I'm guessing I blocked them from memory. Family dinners are always interesting. Conversation always ends up very inappropriate.

April 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger S.M. said...

Shelia Horne:
"What's the worst dinner party you've ever thrown or attended?"

Most of the dinner parties I've gone to were when I was little; I can't really remember many.

I'm hard-pressed to choose between a meal with another military family that happened to be from Guam--or was it Vietnam? Either way, there was a great deal of unidentifiable food side-by-side with all too identifiable..."parts". < shudder >
Spitting on grandma's lace tablecloth is not diplomatic.

The other one would be when I was in my mid-twenties, hanging out with a bunch of college kids. There was this young hottie working the counter at my neighborhood Blockbuster Video store -where i spent w-a-a-y too much time- who got me hooked on Pokemon cartoons and anime conversations. One day, I went to dinner at his apartment, with his wife and her best girlfriend.
After we'd barbecued and stuffed ourselves, we all crashed on the futon in front of the tv.
The wife pulled the futon out flat so that all four of us would be able to stretch out.
The next thing I knew, I had a handful of popcorn halfway to my mouth, when the wife and her friend stretched across me and the husband from opposite ends of the futon with their tongues stuffed down each other's throats while ripping each other's clothes off. AWKWARD.

April 7, 2013 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Bama said...

*WARNING! This might turn stomachs*

MANY years ago, my dad took my closest brother and I across the bay for the day. We stopped at a local chicken chain for fried chicken to take with us... Some hours later, we begin to eat the chicken when it was discovered that the piece(s) that my brother was eating(I am not certain of how many he was eating at the time.) had MAGGOTS in it/them...

April 7, 2013 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

THAT'S supposed to have "grossest" in the bag? Sheesh. A ways back my youngest son (the one who chose The Home as the place where I'd while away my later years) came home from Trick or Treating one year with a bag full of candy, and dumped it out on the living room rug to sort out his haul. The whole bottom of the bag had been filled with maggots. Some old guy down the block had gotten a good deal on cut-rate candy. The "good deal" was because the candy was really old and wormy.

That's the night that I discovered that my wife, God rest her, had a weak stomach when confronted with crawly things from the wild showing up in our home. Between the maggots and the results of seeing same, clean-up was epic!

April 7, 2013 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

One thing you all need to keep in mind is that the concept of Special Dinner here at The Home usually entails everyone showing for the evening meal with their teeth in.

April 7, 2013 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Jolene and Family said...

The only one that comes to mind was a party my sister threw last summer. My whole family was there and there was lots of drinking :) Everything was great until really late at night when just about everyone left. At that point it was my mom, step dad, my husband and myself, my sister, her husband and my brother. My sister and my brother were hilarious drunk and with my allergy, I always get to be the sober one who laughs at the idiots whilst secretly wishing I could be an idiot too :) NEways, my mom has a tendency to speak before she thinks and things escalated quickly and I spent the next several hours between laughing hysterically and trying to keep the peace between the family while my drunk brother and sister were antagonizing my mom and back and forth. It was exhausting and then I was up half the night making sure I had a bowl ready for my brother :)

April 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

Here at The Home, "Lots of drinking" is the same as saying, "They'll be working overtime at the prune juice factory this month!" We're a fun bunch.

April 8, 2013 at 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Sara Lutton said...

My worst dinner party had to be the one where I had been separated for nearly a year. I had invited a mixture of friends, neighbors, and co-workers to help me celebrate celebrate turning 40 : (

Right in the middle of the party, who shows up but my soon-to-be ex-husband, his really obnoxious brother, and several friends on their big-boy toys (a/k/a, Harleys). They were there to collect his personal items as well as half of the furniture, dishes, towels, etc. Most of them were hammered (he had moved on to such a NICE group of friends). It ended up with the police being called, one police officer being punched in the nose, a bunch of drunk bikers being arrested, and my cake being thrown against a wall. Sure made that day memorable and I had a really great time at work the next week!

Sara Lutton

April 8, 2013 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger Kaylie Austen said...

I hosted a small get-together and made new recipes. My first roasted chicken came out delicious, even though it took a lot longer to cook than expected. Next, I made candied yams...with lots of butter. The recipe called for a baking sheet, and me being a little dumb that day, used my cooking sheet. Unfortunately, it didn't have lips, and the butter melted and dripped off, starting a fire in my oven!
To this day, I'm afraid of using anything with butter that goes into the oven. Actually, I always get nervous using the oven now. It's like those darned bunsen burners from chemistry class that always scared me.

April 9, 2013 at 1:37 PM  
Anonymous writewithbutterflywings said...

No comments for an entire day? But I was enjoying everyone's horror stories!

April 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous writewithbutterflywings said...

Annnddd.... Are you regretting this topic? (I don't see how- I'm about to die laughing, myself). 

Next time you should ask "What's the most disgusting thing you've ever eaten?" - Just to see if anyone answers "Chicken with maggots!" 

Love it!

April 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

One of the problems with being an official Old Fart and living in The Home is that dinner parties are few and far between, around here! To make things even more fun, my memory isn't all it used to be. Lastly, "what it used to be" is "Pathetic"!

As an FYI, Gini was pretty clear, over on Facebook, that she's (a) not a fan of gross stories, and, (b) most decidedly NOT awarding any "Grossest Story" prize.

What a (dinner) Party Pooper!

April 10, 2013 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous writewithbutterflywings said...

I'm just happy my dinners are served without bugs :) Disasters are fun to read about - Not fun to live. But I agree with Gini's decision not to award based on icky factor. Smart girl. Maybe we can get back to the stories about dishes falling to the floor when Uncle Joe tried to do the magic tablecloth pulling trick after having a few too many. ;)

April 10, 2013 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger ratkin said...

One of my favorite old stories involves a young mother with two children. Her daughter had reached the ripe old age of 5 and was off in kindergarten at the time, but her son was still just a toddler at 2 years of age. The mother was having a group of ladies from the church over for coffee and cake. The house was all straightened up, the cake and coffee were ready, and the toddler was as neatened up as a toddler can be. Mom went into the other room to change her clothes, right at the last minute. Came back, she swears, no more than 4 minutes later to discover that the boy has pulled a box of corn starch from the kitchen cabinet and wandered all over the living room and dining room with it. The path was obvious, since the box was open, you see. Clean-up was only half done when the guests began arriving.

You know the obvious punchline to the story, don't you? I was the boy in question. My mother used to claim that I only survived my younger years and made it to school age because I was cute.

April 11, 2013 at 4:47 PM  
Anonymous writewithbutterflywings said...

That's why we all survive. :) What amazes me is that we aren't murdered off when we become teens. Too much time invested by then? Poor parents.

My parents got back by wishing I'd have a kid just like me. Now I'm feeling the pain. Kids are cute, though, so this one is likely to survive. :)

April 12, 2013 at 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelia, here. (

I just remembered a bad one, if you can call Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house "a dinner party".

My African friend and her atheist husband were very gung-ho on delving into American culture, so they invited 4 or 5 of their friends for Thanksgiving dinner.

A very open-minded group, we all somehow managed to avoid being offended when the um, "tipsy" husband proceded to enthusiastically bash our various governments and ridicule our different religions and beliefs.

A good time was (mostly) had by one and all anyway, and our hostess wouldn't let us help with anything. Though nearly everything was tasty, she was *extremely* heavy-handed with the spices, such that even simple dishes like mashed potatoes were both unrecognizable, and the source of internal combustion once ingested.

Before serving desert, she plopped the largest bottle of Tums I have ever seen on the table, and laughed, saying "Oh, I eat tons of these every night!"

While she cleaned up, we guests moved to the living room to relax with some wine and conversation by the fire. One guest decided to stand while our host pontificated on the pervasive nature of attrocious American "culture". At one point, he leaned against the wall, and put his elbow on the mantle.

It turns out that the knick-knack covered mantle was actually just a board laid across two supports, so that when the guest put his weight on his elbow, the other end of the mantle/board went flying into the air, as did all the mementos on it, before crashing loudly, and messily, to the floor.

Everyone rushed to help clean up. Apparently, the shattered ceramic bust was a very expensive souvenir; the mangled wooden box had belonged to the husband's departed mother, and several other destroyed items were also quite irreplaceable.

The talkative, lecturing husband said "everything's fine", but didn't say another word for the rest of the night, nor did he speak during the multiple 40-minute car trips as he returned guests to the train station over the next two days.

It was an uncomfortable couple of days.

April 14, 2013 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Jolene and Family said...

Wait...I've got another one :) At a bbq with my stepdad and at one of his friends house. My sister and I were out in there yard, playing with their pet rabbits or so we thought they were pets! A couple of hours later, we sat down to eat and my step dad told us it was chicken. We thought it tasted a little different but didn't think much of it. It wasn't until much later and after we had seconds that we were informed we just consumed rabbit. Yes, the rabbit we had so lovingly petted. I am still in shock after all these years and still pissed off. Worst bbq party ever, in my opinion :) I would have been fine with it, if I didn't pet and play with it first

April 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Sullivan McPig said...

@Jolene: oh, that sounds familiar. My owner's parents used to have pigs (which she loved, she'd sit in the barn looking at them fur hours) and sometimes her parents sold one. Only later it turned out they actually ended up on the dinner table. :-0

April 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM  

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