About: The One And Only Z

I'm the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies around the world, as well as the spin-off series, The Slayer Chronicles, The Cemetery Boys, The Blood Between Us, Madness, and too many short stories to count. Also, I like cats. Oh, and I run this forum. Probably poorly.

Recent Posts by The One And Only Z

Bound by Blood

A curious thing binds readers together and I'm not certain it can be put into words. Whenever I read a book that sucks me in and makes me forget the world outside of it, I've always got someone in mind that needs to read it. My most recent book-push was Martha O'Connor's The Bitch Posse, which I gifted to my older sister. It's ripe and raw and real. I knew she'd love it and, it turns out,

Tasting Rubies

As a writer with higher aspirations than blogdom, it's important to have your name seen in as many places as you can possibly get it. Hopefully, one day people will recognize it and, with any luck, they'll be standing in a bookstore, perusing a shelf that happens to hold your book. A spark of recognition can quickly turn into a long-burning fire of admiration and ~WHAMMO~ you've got yourself a fan.

That's how it's supposed to work.

Muzzling Your Inner Child

I've learned a lot in recent months about the vast differences between writing for adults and writing for teenagers. The biggest detail? That teenage characters, much like teens themselves, won't take crap from anyone--least of all their creator.

I've said before that my characters speak to me, that the process of writing can be described as hearing voices in my head. Well, what do you do when your teen character stops talking? You can take the easy

Haunted by a Teenage Vampire

I dreamt about Vlad last night. Weird dream too. He was sitting in his Aunt Nelly's house and pouring over all sorts of evidence that I'd last left him with, coming to a pivotal realization and he looked up at the, well, the camera is what I want to say, because I wasn't there. I could just see him like a movie. And he said, "Don't leave me alone now. I've got to get through this." So...huh.

A Scribbled List of Victims

I suck at writing query letters.

Wait, let me rephrase that.

I absolutely suck at writing query letters. Well, that's not true either. Vlad's query letter for EGB practically wrote itself--what's more, the idea that sparked in my brain inspired me to write an excellent query letter and that became the jumping point for me to write the book. I guess that just proves that there is no formulaic way to do these things.

For

Beheading Your Wordcount

Last night I deleted 2,600 words from The Rapture Café.

Ouch.

But after reading through page after page (after page) of needless dialogue and the overpowering ickiness of telling, I assure you, it's better off. Sometimes I go back and reread something I've written, only to retch and wonder aloud, "what the hell was I thinking?" while reaching for my beloved Delete key. I've been told that means I'm growing as a writer. I can see

Somebody Kill Me

Today I'm writing through a writer's worst enemy: the sinus infection. Now, normally I'm not a play-through-the-pain kinda gal, but last night, in my medicated lunacy, I had an epiphany and the muse fluffed up his tutu and got to work. So here I am, working away despite my head weighing three tons and my nose turning into a firehose.

Ew. Nice visual, there, Heather.

But my point is that inspiration can hit at the oddest

On Becoming a Ghost

How many of you belong to writers' groups (I'm talking both on and offline)? I'd wager a few. I belong to three such groups, but my drive to participate in them has severely dwindled over the past few months. They're an excellent source of information, of course, but have far too much shiny object draw to them for the would-be writer. It's too easy to chitty chat your day away and, as a professional procrastinator, I can attest

The Metallic Taste of Success

I've known writers who refused to celebrate the small successes in their career, holding out for the big one, ie publishing their book. And, while I'm not popping a cork for every little thing, I do think it's important to take a moment to reward yourself for the little things, because let's face it...the big one might never happen.

Last night I finished the second chapter of The Rapture Cafe. Rapture is the second book of The

Coffin Up New Scenes

(Get it? Coffin--coughing? Oh man, if that title doesn't win the Cheesiest Title of the Year Award...)

At times, a writer may face the perilously icky task of inserting entire new scenes into their novel-in-progress. There are two options for exactly how to do this. Option #1: Curse, throw a hissy fit, toss your computer & every disk (don't forget the flash drive) you have that deals with your book's contents out the window, flat-out refuse to

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