Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guest Author - Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires)

It is with great pleasure that I welcome back urban fantasy writer Chloe Neill. Chloe was here for the launch of her first book Some Girls Bite back in April. Her most recent book in the Chicagoland Vampire series, Friday Night Bites, hit the shelves yesterday. The series main characters, former graduate student and newly minted vampire, Merit and master vampire of Cadogan House, Ethan, very quickly earned rave reviews and a popular following. Some Girls Bite is one of my favourite debuts so far in 2009.

To celebrate the launch of Friday Night Bites, Chloe has generously offered a giveaway of one of her Cadogan House tote bags filled with Cadogan House goodies. I also have a copy of Friday Night Bites for giveaway as well, so we will have two lucky winners. Details on the giveaway can be found at the end of the post as usual.

Visit Chloe Neill at her website or at her blog The Daily Snark. At least two more books in the series are planned with Twice Bitten (Book Three) scheduled for July 2010 and Hard Bitten (Book Four) after that.

I made a few suggestions to Chloe for her guest post and she has prepared the "The Latest Low Down" for our reading pleasure. Welcome Chloe and take it away!


Good morning, everyone! Mr. SciFiGuy suggested that I spend a little time today chatting about "what I've learned"during the first few months of being an author, and what's coming down the pipeline in the future.


God willing, if you asked my fabulous editor, she'd tell you that I've learned *something* since April 7. I've definitely learned four things about editing: (1) there's never enough time for it; (2) it's always spelled "T-shirt"; (3) editing is not my favorite part of the process; and (4) a brunette is female, not male. Who knew?

Although I'd learned a lot about the editing/publishing process prior to April (as I was getting SOME GIRLS BITE ready for print), I've learned so much more since then...about marketing, bookstores, writing, deadlines. I'm sure what I've learned is only a drop in the publishing bucket. But here's a list. ('Cause I like lists, and it's my guest post, so there!)
  1. Marketing should be carefully targeted...but not too targeted. The first time around, we bought postcards advertising my first booksigning. Sadly, not a single person who came to the booksigning did so because they saw a postcard. That was a little frustrating, as it felt like a waste of money, but I learned some valuable tips. One, folks might buy books because they've seen a postcard, but they apparently don't work (at least in my area) for booksignings. Two, lots and lots of people put out postcards at coffeehouses. It can be hard not to get lost in the shuffle. Three, it may not be worth it to spend money to market a single event; rather, market yourself and your work.

    People are more likely to show up because they love your book, than they are to show up just because they were bored and decided to attend a random booksigning.

  2. Meet your booksellers. I can't emphasize enough how important great booksellers are. I am very fortunate to have a couple of particularly supportive bookstores behind me, who've done a great job of keeping my books on the shelves.

    It's hard to sell a book if folks can't find it while they're browsing. More importantly, selling more books works out for both a bookseller and an author, so if you know you've got strong numbers, ask your bookseller if you can put out some bookmarks, put your books on an appropriately-themed table and sign the copies they have in stock. And most importantly--be NICE. Remember that they're doing you a favor; not the other way around.

  3. Online? Yes. At first, I wasn't sure about all the online blogging and guest-blogging and Twittering. But I can only get to so many booksignings at a time, and it's really the only way to keep in touch with fans. Besides, when times are low, I can't tell you how rewarding it is to know that folks are talking about my books--and that doing that talking makes them feel better, makes them laugh, or gives them a few minutes away from the worries of the regular world.

    (Thanks, Team Eel!)

  4. Yes, Chloe, you must outline. But I've abandoned the traditional outline form (the kind we learned in high school) or the really long, paragraph-by-paragraph synopsis. Instead, I do a day-by-day, chronological list of events, so I can see how the story's going to flow along, and I can be sure that I've addressed everything that I need to address.
Now...those things covered, what's coming down the road?


As you might know, in January I'm making the transition from urban fantasy author to urban fantasy AND young adult author. I'm very excited about FIRESPELL as a novel, but also as a connection between me and a new set of readers. I really think Lily will appeal to readers of Merit, but I also hope FIRESPELL appeals to folks who might not have previously read my books (including the younger readers among us for whom the CV books are a bit too adult).

A very good friend asked today if I was planning wearing anything different to a FIRESPELL signing than an FNB signing. I think that's an excellent question. Maybe a little darker shade of nail polish? :)


Finally, Mr. SciFiGuy has also asked me to tell you five things about me that no one else knows. Here goes:
  1. My Mom says I could read at age three.
  2. When I was in high school, my dream was to move to New York and become a (starving) artist.
  3. I very rarely pass through a big city without taking home a souvenir from a local NCAA Div. I school. (Chicago is an notable exception...but I brought home Chicago souvenirs, so I figure that counted.) 
  4. I, like Morgan, am a Packer fan. But I, like Merit, am a Cubs fan. Go figure!
  5. My favorite TV show is 30 Rock.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks Chloe. So everyone rush out and get the newst book or the series if you haven't started it yet, but first enter the giveaway.

  1. To enter, leave a comment, tidbit or piece of trivia about Chicago. You can also leave a comment or question for Chloe Neill..
  2. Open to everyone.
  3. Remember to leave a way to contact you.
  4. Blog, tweet, post, etc., about the guest spot for an extra entry.
  5. Giveaway ends Monday, October 12 at 11:59 PM EST. Two winners will be announced, one for the Cadogan gift pack and another for a copy of Friday Night Bites.

The story of a young heiress's initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues...

Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they're enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.

So now it's up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn't want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge...

First in a brand new series about a Chicago graduate student’s introduction into a society of vampires.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker—and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude— and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.


  1. The book sounds awesome! It's fun walking around Chicago and discovering places to eat and shop while I was there on vacation, and I definitely loved Chicago at night.

  2. oops forgot my email!

  3. Chicago is the home of the Oriental Institute, which I've always wanted to visit. It's world-renowned for the study of Egyptology and the Ancient Near East.
    I'm very interested in reading Chloe's books, as her heroine is/was a graduate student, and so am I!
    Thanks for stopping by, Chloe, and thanks to both of you for the awesome giveaway!
    beax0002 (at) umn (dot) edu

  4. I have always wanted to see more of Chicago than the just airport. I want to enjoy a Chicago Hot Dog. I hear they are the best!!

    My question is who is your favorite secondary character in your books?

    Which character is the hardest for you to write about?

    I posted on myspace blog

    Thanks so much

  5. *adding books to my TBR list*

    One of Chicago's Sister Cities is Toronto.

  6. Hi :)
    Thank you for an excellent guest post Chloe!
    I'm looking forward to your new series.
    I have never been to Chicago but I will visit some day. 2nd City started there (improv). Al Capone. Oprah Winfrey. Barak Obama. Chicago the Windy City is historical.
    All the best,

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hi Chloe :)

    Since Merit (like me) is obviously into books, I'll post a Chicago book fact: In 1871, Queen Victoria and the people of Britain shipped cartons of books to Chicago. English novelist Thomas Hughes helped organize the books, which were the basis of the city's first library.

    I've never been to Chicago, sadly, and I can't think of any questions off the top of my head, but Alicia0605 posted some good ones :)


  9. Hi Chloe - Loved SBG, FNB looks very good. I'm in fictional love with Ethan and Morgan, poor Merit!

    Chicago factoid: The Harold Washington Library is the world’s largest public library, containing about 2 million books.

    My question: Did you write any of yourself into Merit?

    Posted on my contest sidebar:

    Thanks! pspinney AT cox DOT net

  10. Hi Chloe,

    I really enjoy this series and I'm looking forward to Firespell.It sounds great.

    Will we be seeing more of Merit's family in future books,mainly her siblings, and Nick?


  11. Here is my Chicago fun fact-The claim that Catherine O'Leary's cow knocked over a lantern in the family barn caused the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is a myth. Chicago Republican reporter Michael Ahern admitting to fabricating that tale in 1893. Mrs O'Leary, who passed in 1895, spent the rest of her life thinking the fire was her fault.

    I am glad Chloe didn't ignore the importance of bloggers. The last 5 titles I purchased, which included two of hers, were because I read some great blog reviews.

    I posted a link on my contest sidebar @ Great interview SCiFi, your the greatest! (sigh)


  12. I can't wait to read this series. I'm super excited about Fire Spell too! :)

    I've never been to Chicago.


  13. My question is is merit going to have to protect mallory at some point. I noticed in the first book that Catcher gave a hint to Merit about that.

    my email is

  14. My question is is merit going to have to protect mallory at some point. I noticed in the first book that Catcher gave a hint to Merit about that.

    my email is

  15. Hi Chloe,

    I really enjoyed Some Girls Bite and can't wait to get my hands on the new book! I'm also a graduate student and love that Merit is/was a graduate student too! Maybe in the future she could go back. I've never been to Chicago so my factoid came from the Rachel Maddow Show: Chicago cab drivers want to charge a $50 fee for puking passengers. Thanks for the contest.

    Rose S

  16. In 1922 The National Football League franchise transferred from Decatur, Illinois, to Chicago. The team took the name, Chicago Bears or, as they say in the Windy City, "Da Bears." I would love to go back to Chicago and see the sights.I've been there for world con in the nineties but didn't get to look around. Wish I had.
    This series is on my tbb list and sounds good.

    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  17. I'm not a fan of editing either, although it's not been too much of a chore lately. And 'brunette' -- crap, I think I referred to a male as brunette in my book, and I should have known better -- I took French for 6 years!

    I loved Chicago when I was there in Fall '98 -- lots of city atmosphere, but the thing that really struck me was the wide sidewalks -- you could really enjoy a stroll down the sidewalks without bumping into people.

    Good luck with book #2 and I'm putting book #1 on my to-read list!

  18. Excellent post, Chloe.

    I would very much like to read Friday Night Bites. Chicago vampire rock!

    Chicago tidbit - back in the dark ages there was a radio and early TV program called the Breakfast Club.

    And I have to admit that I like Oprah.


  19. Well I've never been to chicago =(
    In fact I'v ebeen out of Quebec only twice in my life.
    Once to ottawa (oh so far away lol) to see a senators va canadiens hockey game.

    Once to some visious and scary forest in the state of New York in january and I wanted my mom back =(

    Thanks for stopping by Chloe!
    I'd love a chance to win your books!

  20. I'm really itching to start this series. I'd love to be entered. Ms. Neill, how many books do you plan in the Merit series? And I'm thrilled you're jumping into YA as well. :)

    Please enter me.
    angiegirl (at) gmail (dot) com

  21. Chicago back in the mid 90's had some of the most beautiful old Victorians have ever seen, also some very quirky sites to visit as a tourist.
    I am sad to say have not read either book in the series yet but Merit and the gang are on my Barnes&Nobles to buy list next online order made in the next week or so.
    I am also excited about the new series coming out, love books about demons almost as much as vamps.....
    Chloe cannot thank you enough for the hard work you are obviously going to in the promoting of your works both already published and those in the future to be written. We the fans appreciate the fact that unless we are told about you and all your books we will never know they are out there to buy and that would be a real shame because look really interesting and from all the information have read so far well worth buying to read more than once...
    Good luck in the future in the literary business and thanks for the opportunity to win something...
    Posted the link to interview and contest on my blog

    Jackie B.
    jacabur2008@gmail .com

  22. In Chicago it's illegal to eat during a fire. And it's illegal to drink alcohol in a standing position. *grin*
    Thanks for the contest!

  23. Probably a fact that was already mentioned, but oh well. There was the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 I believe that killed hundreds of people and destroyed around 4 square miles of Chicago.

    On a more fun note, Chicago is home to Navy Pier a fun amusement park of the pier of the river. There is also the Chicago Art Museum that is home to Sue the dinosaur! Or it was when I was last there!

    email: jessbess2505[at]yahoo[dot]com

  24. I'm a little over halfway thru the second book and loving it. I have a close friend who lives in Wicker Park and I try to visit Chicago once a year. Awesome city!

  25. I would love to go to chigago sometime, its a shame its too far away from where i live.
    battyaboutbats at

  26. Chicago is the third largest city in the United States.
    Chloe's books sound great.

  27. These books sound great. I discovered them on Amazon when I was ordering other books.

    One thing about Chicago that you must know is that it has the best pizza on the planet. My favorite in the city is Pizzeria Uno or Pizzeria Duo. Just a heads up-it takes an hour to bake so call ahead.

  28. Thanks for the great guest post Chloe and thanks for the contest Doug.

    My Chicago tidbit is that Northwestern University, the first university in the Chicago area, was founded in 1851. I figured I'd throw in an educational tidbit since Merit's a or was a grad student.


  29. Great Interview! Thanks so much. Loved both SGB and FNB. Love Ethan, Morgan needs to go away.(Just my view)
    The first Ferris Wheel was debuted in Chicago in 1893 at the World's Columbian Exposition.


    Thanks again,

  30. Have heard great things about this series and have it on my wishlist! Here's my fun Chicago fact.....Roller skates, steel frame skyscraper, elevated railway, cracker jacks, zipper, window envelope, hostess Twinkie, pinball game and spray paint were invented in Chicago.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  31. I was just wondering if Ethan would ever loosen up to Merit instead of being a tightwad. I have just started reading this series because my daughter has been waiting for the FNB book to come out and she was waiting at bookamillion for them to open to get a copy. I do so very much enjoy what I have started reading and plan on prying FNB from my daughter’s fingers when I get the chance.

    Also here is some good facts about Chacaigo: Though Chicago is called the "Windy City," average wind speeds are greater in Casper, Wyo. (12.9 m.p.h.), Boston (12.5), Buffalo (12), Milwaukee (11.6), and Honolulu (11.4). Chicago with a gusty 10.4, actually got its nickname from long-winded politicians, not the weather. Incidentally, America's windiest city is Blue Hill, Mass., with an average velocity of 15.4 m.p.h.

    Chicago’s downtown area is known as “The Loop.” The nickname refers to the area encircled by the elevated (‘L’) train tracks,

    The game of 16-inch softball, which is played without gloves, was invented in Chicago.

  32. oops forgot my email its


  33. Chicago has the United States oldest planetarium.

    deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

  34. Your books are on my to read list. Chicago seems to be the center of every book I've read lately. Maybe it's a sign for me to go there and visit.

  35. Chicago hot dogs are messy, sloppy affairs. =) "Da Bears Still Suck" is a polka in Wisconsin. The last time I was downtown, Grant Park parking was $10 for a weekend day. I almost applied to grad school at U of C.

    dreyshouse at gmail dot com

  36. Chloe,

    What is your opinion on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

  37. Great interview!
    The only place I have been to in Cbicago would be O'Hare airport and that was an experience itself.

  38. Hello, everyone! Thanks so much for dropping by today!

    @Alicia - My favorite secondary character is Mallory. Although she'd probably object to being called a secondary character. Morgan is the hardest for me to right, since he's not yet sure who he is.

    @Patti - Not intentionally. I know she has my sarcasm, but she is definitely her own person.

    @elaing8 - Yes to both.

    @jamielee- I'm going to have to skip your question. It involves spoilers. ;)

    @Angiegirl - I have eight books in mind, but there are currently 4 under contract.

    @jacabur1 - Thank you so much! I truly appreciate hearing that. :)

    @pattyv - LOL. I'm hopeful that Ethan can learn to stop being so uptight in the future. But the hard work is up to Ethan. :)

    @booklover0226 - Interesting question! I've never done a book trailer, and I think I've only watched one or two. I'm not sure if they help give fans a better connection to the book or not (?)

  39. I live on Ontario Canada and have never been to Chicago, so haven't got any good stories about Chicago.
    A question for Chloe: what or who inspired you to become a writer and why this genre?
    Love the first Chicagoland book by the way and good luck with your second one, I haven't found it in our bookstores yet but I'm sure it will be here soon.

  40. Hi Chloe! Thanks for your guest blog and holding the contest. I've put your books on my book wishlist. They sound really good.

    Chicago tidbit: Chicago is essentially on Lake Michigan, a lake so large it has its own tides.


  41. I enjoyed your blog, Chloe, and FIRESPELL also looks awesome!

    Here's my bit of Chicago trivia:

    Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery (1865).

    karenwitkowski AT aol(dot)com

  42. Chicago is a great city. I really enjoyed it when I lived there during and right after college. Its great to see a series set there and know the places being mentioned.

    My fun facts are:

    There are bullet holes in the cornerstone of Holy Name Cathedral from the mafia era.

    Parts of the movie Flatliners was filmed not only in the city but on the campus of Loyola University. The building where they killed themselves was the chapel under renovation.

    The "Second City" is also Gotham City in the recent Batman movies.

    A great book with non-fiction and fiction mixed that tells you about the background of the Chicago Worlds Fair and Chicago architecture is The Devil in the White City.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  43. @Diane - I've always been a big fan of PR/UF books, so it writing urban fantasy was the only thing I wanted to do. I'm not sure there was an individual person who inspired me to write, but I tried to follow in the footsteps of fabulous writers like Rachel Caine and Kim Harrison.

  44. What a fabulous giveaway!
    I have a friend who attended the Chicago Art Institute School.
    It was fun visiting Chicago for the first time and checking out the school with her.
    Thanks, Cindi

  45. "Tweet!"
    Thanks for this fun prize contest!

  46. The midwest's largest all girls high school is in Chicago, Mother McAuley. I went there. :)

    The best place for deep dish pizza (IMO) is Pizano's on east Madison. Its right by the Art Institute and Millennium park.

  47. Um, Oprah's in Chicago?


  48. One thing I learned about Chicago is that Chicago is the candy capital of the world. It has the most candy manufacturers within a small radius than any other place in the world.


  49. One time a friend and i were vacationing in Chicago, while we were there we went looking for a book that i had seen in the bookstore where i live and i wanted to find it. so we went to every book store within four miles of the Loop. at some piont we got hungry and went looking for a fast food place and we though the nearest was just a block away so we went walking...four miles...then we got in a cab to go to the place and turns out it was one block over from where we got the cab. oh and that book i was looking for...we went back to the first bookstore we had gone to that day and it was there all along.

  50. My Chicago tidbit.. It has over 40 museums.

  51. Chloe's books are my literary find of the year! I live in Rockford, IL and it is great to have wonderful series like this set in nearby Chicago.

    My favorite Chicago landmark? It's gotta be the Art Institute.

  52. Please enter me. Thanks for the chance.

    Are you a Bears Fan? Do you get to see them often.

    lizzi015 at aol dot com

  53. I live in the Chicago land area and it’s so nice to be able to really see the places in the book. I may be partial but I think there nothing prettier then the Chicago skyline at dusk. I have to say that I just loved Friday Night Bites I read it in one day and it left me wanting more. I am also a big Cubs fan so I just love that so is Merit. It would be funny to think of her at a night game, with Ethan eating a hot dog and having a beer.
    Here’s my trivia- Did you know that the Bears played at Wrigley Field, from 1921-1970. And that the original name of the Bears was Decatur Staleys, they changed to the Bears to identify with the Cubs team.
    Once again loved the book and can’t wait till July!

  54. Ok, I do have a question for Chloe, if I'm not too late. Why did you pic a graduate student as the main character. Just curious as a former grad student myself? :)

    If I missed it, a little know fact is that my brother's favorite football players are Walter Patton and Jim McMahon...both from the 1985 SB Champ Chicago Bears.

  55. Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backwards

    +1 I added your link on my sidebar

    A Blog with Bite!

  56. Chicago's one of the greenest cities in the US (and by green I mean environmentally friendly). At least according to En Route magazine.


  57. I've been to Chicago! It was when I was 12 and my godfather lived up there so I don't remember it very well but I enjoyed it.

  58. I have a question I hope it’s not to late to ask. Why did you pick the name Mallory? Is it someone you know that you’re honoring? I have to know because I love looking up meanings of names and Mallory means unlucky. So I guess what I really wanted to know is this foreshadowing that Mallory going to be bad luck for Merit? Or am I just reading too much in to it.

  59. Well, I've never been to Chicago, so I can't say much about the city personally but here's something ya'll might find interesting. I'm from Mississippi (on the river actually) and back in the late 60's and 70's before fm radio took over. In the winter, at nite, we used to listen to WLS out of Chicago on am radio!! That was one of the best stations! It made me want to go and visit.

    Miss Neill your books sound really good and I've also found new authors by going to different blogs

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  60. Hey,
    I think that this book looks like an exciting new read, and any book that has females with a bit of bite is good news :D

    Chicago is the third more densely populated city in the US and shares the border of the great lakes with Canada. As a Canadian, I think it is great when natural wonders are able to be experienced by anyone from any country.

  61. Hi Doug and Chloe!

    Sounds like another awesome read! I would love to win it.

    Since I'm from Illinois, you'd think I'd know tons of info, sadly, no.

    I can say that WLS is both an AM and FM station, the Stevenson is deadly to drive on, and I get lost everytime I visit!! (oh, and people drive really fast there, scary for a downstate rural girl like myself, lol.)

    Thanks for a great giveaway!!

    Dottie :)

  62. The Chicago area has an elk preserve, in Elk Grove, where seven elks live inside a little fenced area.

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  63. I always think of Chicago as one of those fabulous cities which is actually a world unto itself. The deep-dish pizza alone almost qualifies as a planet. Chicago is also the home of the marvelous Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  64. Chicago is known as "the windy city" not because of the wind off of Lake Michigan - it's because of the bluster of their politicians & residents.

  65. I liked your book very very much! I can't wait to read the books that follow!
    I have never been in Chicago, but my mom was inside the airport and she said it was amazing. I heard it was big, and had a form of an aiplane.
    My email is


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