Monday, December 19, 2005

I've been Tagged!

Michele Hauf tagged me, so I'm going play the game and her seven questions:

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:

(1)--Become a member of the exculsive University Club on Summit Avenue. (Really, all I need is money to join, so I guess "make some money" should really be the answer instead) and/or attend a "Renaissance Weekend."
(2)--Be a best-selling author.
(3)--Learn Gaelic
(4)--Win a Hugo
(5)--Punch or be punched by Harlan Ellison
(6)--Be asked to be a commencement speaker at my alma mater (either high school or college) and turn them down.
(7)--Edit my own science fiction/fantasy magazine.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

(1)--Spell "Cannot." (I always think it's can not.)
(2)--Read quickly. (I have mild dyslexia.)
(3)--Drive a motorcycle. (Though I'd like to).
(4)--Dance. (I do it anyway, but, really, anything that requires coordination is out of my league.)
(5)--Leave the table without one more taste.
(6)--Keep my mouth shut. (I love to argue. It's actually my religion -- I was raised Unitarian.)
(7)--Answer questions like this concisely.

Things that Attract Me to Men

(1)--The "ratio." (Shoulder to waist.) Like my character Garnet, I do so love that triangular shape.
(2)--A sense of humor. (Has to have one, to get along with me.)
(3)--Brains. I dated a "gnarly" California surfer boy once who was quite pretty in my opinion, but, really, at the end of the day I like them at least as smart as me, which isn't actually asking for a whole lot.
(4)--Hair. I'll admit it. I like a guy with good hair. It doesn't have to be long or short (or even there, a bald guy can be very hot), but I can't stand it when otherwise hot guys like Brad Pitt get what I call the stupid-boy cut. Do something intentional with your hair, guys. And for God/desses' sake, DON'T CUT IT YOURSELF. See a professional.
(5)--A sense of adventure. Even if he's an armchair warrior, I like that warrior.
(6)--Fearlessness. I want a man unafraid of love.
(7)--Fangs. Okay, not really, but I saw them, I'd be very, very intregued.

Seven Things I say Most Often

(1)--"Dude, get out of the way!" (While driving.)
(3)--"Wait, wait.... one more thing."
(4)--"Actually, if I may interject..."
(5)--"If I had a million dollars, do you know what I'd do?"
(6)--"Just once it would be cool to win." (While losing at Hearts or Mah Jongg or Scrabble or....)
(7)--"I love you, even though you vex me." (To Mason and my SO.)

Books or Series I Love

(1)--The Weather Warden Series by Rachel Caine
(2)--Wandering Stars: An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Jack Dann.
(3)--Nueromancer by William Gibson.
(4)--The Retrieval Artist Series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
(5)--Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
(6)--The Marid Audran series by George Alec Effinger.
(7)--The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evonivich.

Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

(1)--"Star Wars: A New Hope."
(3)--"The Matrix."
(4)--"Pillow Talk"
(6)--"Lost Boys."
(7)--"Sprited Away."

People I Want to Join In (Tag You're It)

(1)--Naomi Kritzer
(2)--Peg Kerr
(3)--Any of the Vampire Vixens
(4)--Rachel Caine
(5)--Neil Gaiman
(6)--Sharon Stiteler
(7)--Will Clark

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Good Book

I have another book to recommend. It's by Ann Tonsor Zeddies and it's called BLOOD AND ROSES: A JAYNE TAYLOR NOVEL. It comes out from Phobos Impact and it's a science fiction alternate history book, not unlike the Jay Lake book I talked about earlier. Only this one takes place in the Jazz Era. Bootlegging, Aliens, and "an insidious conspiracy involving the Empire of Japan." How can you go wrong?

You can't.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Remembering How to Write

It's the weirdest thing.

Every time I finish a novel, I go through a period -- usually a couple of months -- where I completely forget HOW to write. I remember that I'm supposed to put words down on the paper, but I forget how to make them "sing," you know? I usually try to eke out a short story or something (see previous entry about erotica, which I finished, btw,) and end up feeling like writing sucks and I wonder how the hell I'm ever supposed to be able to do this again.

I imagine what it's really about is my brain begging for a break. Science fiction writer Alan Steele talked about it once as needing time for input, (as opposed to output.) So, I took Mr. Steele's advice and read a lot of stuff... and walked around in the snow with my son.

It seems to have paid off, last night, for the first time in what seems like forever, the floodgates opened and words poured out. I actually had to tell myself it was time to quit, since it was getting late and my son wakes the household up at 5:00 am every morning.

I like writing again.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recommended Books

It's Thanksgiving break and I should be writing.

Instead, I've been reading like crazy. I just finished a great book called RADIOACTIVE REDHEAD by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem. As they say in my hometown, it's a hoot. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good romp and silly, over-the-top humor. According to it's not out until December 6, 2005, but order it now. It'll make a great stocking stuffer, IMHO.

I'm now onto Jay Lake's ROCKET SCIENCE. A complete shift in gears (going from a futuristic PI with a transexual AI implanted in his head to a period piece involving NAZIs and alien space ships), but I'm also really enjoying it. I'm a relatively slow reader thanks to mild dyslexia, but I picked up Lake's book today and I'm half way through with it. If it sounds like your sort of thing, I'm going to recommend it, even without having read to the end.

On that note, however, I'm off to write.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blog Guilt

Father, it's been almost a month since my last confession... er, blog.

I have sinned.

I wish I could say that I've been off doing something IMPORTANT, but, no, not really.

I have been trying to write some science fiction erotica, though. I can't imagine that it's going well, as I have ten manuscript pages written and so far... no sex. Although my friend Bill Stiteler suggested to me in a letter that "someone once described erotica as porn that wants to separate itself from the boner of the common man." So maybe I'm on the right track. God(dess) knows, I have a _story_.

What's funny about this to me is that I was struggling and struggling with the concept I'd come up with and finally I sat down and decided to take my own damn advice. I've been teaching a class at the Loft and I have told my students a million times that the most important question you need to ask yourself before you begin writing is: "What's at stake for the main character?" I realized that my previous stops-and-starts happened because I had no idea. I was meandering my way into the character (and the plot, really,) and coming up with dead ends.

So, I sat down for a few minutes and came up with the answer. And, for erotica, it's kind of a deep issue. The main character, Edie, has lost her faith because her prayers weren't answered. The whole story is kind of her journey back to faith... uh, through sex.

Well, it *is* erotica, after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Banker's Hours

I was a weird teenager.

In high school, I used to love to get up well before dawn, make the family pot of coffee, and head out for a walk. My favorite time of year was right about now -- mid-October, when the air was cool and the mornings dark.

Being up before anyone else was cool. I liked the solitude of the pre-dawn, the lack of hurry. And in some ways, I enjoyed observing the morning stretches of town -- the Perkin's waitstaff arriving at work, lights flicking on in various houses I passed, the whiz of a bicycle out delivering morning papers.

I don't have much to say about all that, except that I think having that early, early morning experience made me very aware of how strange it would be to have your existance be the opposite of 80% (or larger) of the world. Think about it. For that vampire to have a simple banking account where s/he is gaining compound interest, they'd have to have found a bank that was open after 5 pm (or before 6 am in the winter -- in the Midwest, anyway). I know, in this 24-hour economy, there are more and more banks that offer late night or even all-night services (on line), but that's changed *in my lifetime. * I remember when having "banker's hours" was a slur.

Normally, to open any kind of bank account you have to show up in person (no proxy, unless you're a minor) with some form of actual cash. When would our hero get a chance to put his/her money in?

Of course, in early America bankers would make house calls to collect on debts, etc. (I know this because when I worked at the Minnesota Historical Society, one of my various duties included transcribing letters from a German banking family, and they often commented on business interactions.) I don't know, however, how many of those family banks still exist. I'm not even sure if that family bank dealt in whatever passed as dollars in pre-Civil War era (though I do have a vauge memory of discussions about the gold standard), but instead may have used German marks, which was the currency of that particular immigrant group. Which wouldn't have to be a problem for our hero, until the NAZI occuption of Germany, because I believe the NAZIs changed the money system. (I say this because I have somewhere in my possession what appears to be a NAZI coin.)

Of course, one way to solve the problem of getting our vampire into a bank is to have him/her be from somewhere close to the artic circle -- Finland, Iceland, etc. There, at least, our vampire would be likely to experience part of the year when s/he could wander about during 9 am - 5 pm hours.

I don't know what, if anything, happened to Finnish banks when America had its Crash on October 29, 1929. I do know that American banks were not insured for loss before the Depression, so I suspect that most European banks were not either. This was important during the Crash because banks ran out of money. Banks foreclosed. Even people who did not invest, but people who had saved wisely found themselves locked out and out of luck. So, our vampire who is depending on compound interest could still have lost a fortune if they had their money in an American bank before 1929.

Not that our vampire could have done much about it, sleeping the day away.

I still want to know where this vampire got his/her money to START with.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cover Art & More

I got the cover art from Anne, my editor at Berkley. What do you think? As I predicted, it's _very_ chick-lit. Which, as far as I'm concerned, is a bonus. The cover was designed by Monica Benalcazar and the artist is Margarete Gockel. Great work, ladies! Also, I noticed that the book is available for pre-order on If you don't want to miss it (or if you want to boost my first week sales figures) please consider placing a pre-order. Other important ordering information -- the book's "street date" is May 2, 2006, and the ISBN is 0-425-20972-5. Of course, all of this stuff serves to make me completely nervous. Excited, yes, but also deeply freaked. The closer we get to the street date, the less "potential energy" the book represents. It's getting real now. Sales figures are going to start to matter. And, because of my previous life as a failed science fiction author, sales figures make me want to throw up.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The True Power of Netflix

In that much referred to previous life, I used to be a movie reviewer for a regional newspaper. During my short stint working there, I discovered something very important about myself. I suck as a reviewer. Why? Because if I receive something -- anything -- without having to pay for it my brain does this math: free = good. The year I was reviewing movies was the same year that such doozies as the remake of Godzilla and the remake of the Avengers came out. I hold the dubious honor of being likely the only print reviewer who actually enjoyed both movies and recommended people to see them. Shortly there after I stopped working for that paper. Though probably not for the reasons you might think. The paper stopped paying for my movies. When I stopped getting comp tickets, I found the job deeply tedious and went diva on my editor, insisting that I should only have to see movies I WANTED to see if I had to pay for the damn things out of my own pocket. I give you this preamble because I just saw Constantine through Netflix. Netflix isn't exactly like seeing a movie for free, but it's not unlike the experience. Netflix is cheap and easy. I've watched dozens of movies I would NEVER have considered spending good money on, and, consequently, found them mildly enjoyable. I found Constantine mildly enjoyable. I was a fan on the comicbook on which the movie was based, Hellblazer. I long ago advocated for a movie version of this comic, if only because I really craved Cheezy Voice Over guy booming out: "John Constantine is.... Hellblazer." They did not give me this moment in the film, alas. Anyeay, I believe I own Hellblazer #1 (as well as the first Swamp Thing in which John Constantine makes his appearance.) The fact that I was a fan of the comic probably saved me a lot of head-scratching. I also tend to enjoy Keanu Reeves, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. Yes, he's stupid. Yes, he's a terrible actor. But he's damn fine to look at, and, frankly does "uncarved block" very well. (I was not at all surprised he was tapped to play the Young Buddha.) Which is to say, he was the worst choice in history to play John Constantine, the world-weary, smart ass, uber-mystic. What made the movie mildly enjoyable to me was the character of Gabriel, the archangel. He ruled. Partly because the director of the film cast Gabriel as a manfully beautiful woman, and really VISUALLY pushed the whole angels are both and neither gender thing with her appearance. Then, of course, in the way of Hellblazers, Gabriel is clearly insane. And, as it turns out, abandoned by God... which, of course, totally fascinated the old me -- the one that used to write about angels all the time. S P O I L E R S In fact, for me, the last, oh, twenty minutes of the film was almost worth sitting through the first hour and a half -- because John Constantine is dead, and the action is happening between Lucifer and Gabriel. I just love a good theological debate, especially when you throw two angels together. In this case both were insane, one fallen and one who doesn't realize "no one has his back." There's this great moment where Gabriel reaches out to punch Lucifer, and Lucifer stops his hand. It's filmed in such a way that you sense that the punch should be an unstoppable force, but Lucifer's will is an unmovable object. Only the fact that Gabriel is no longer in God's grace keeps the world from shattering with that impact. I'm probably -- as usual -- reading to much into it, but the visuals were cool. If I were the director/writer, I'd have ended it with the scene that follows in which a fallen-human Gabriel dares Constantine to kill him. Gabriel's last line to Constantine is something like, "You only hit me when you could have killed me. You're doing so WELL!" It was, honestly, a funny and vaguely touching scene. And it could have summed up what was the theme of the film, if the rest of the film was worth mentioning. So. Don't spent any money on it, but I enjoyed moments of it. Maybe if you can get it for free (or nearly so), you will too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cute Writing-Related Stories

So... this is actually a cross-post from the Vampire Vixen's site, but it's such a cute story, I wanted to share. Okay, so, my son, Mason, who is two, recently discovered that certain paperback novels have author photos in them. In my other life, I published four books, each of which have my ugly mug on the back page. When I showed Mason these, he was delighted. "Ima!" (pronounced eee-ma) he told me with a great, big smile. And, I nodded, feeling really proud, "Yes, ima wrote these books." Now, whenever he picks up a book -- even if it's the dictonary -- he quick flips to the back page to see if ima wrote this one. More often than not, I have to disappoint him and say, "No, honey, that's Neil Gaiman." Speaking of which, Mason has also, for reasons known only to a toddler's brain, bonded with a photo of Neil Gaiman that he found in one of the many LOCUS magazines lying around the house. He can actually say, "Gaiman! Gaiman!" and will present us with the magazine and want us to play a strange sort of peek-a-boo with Neil's photo. Mason wants to go hide behind the radiator, and then have us whip open the page of his favorite Neil photo, at which point Mason squeals with delight and says, "Gaiman! Again!" He's such a little fanboy, already. I'm so proud.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Eat the Rich

I resist the idea popular in immortal fiction (not fiction which has become immortal, but fiction about people who live forever) that the longer you live the richer you are. There's this idea that any vampire who "invested a penny in 1776" is now sitting on a tidy nest egg. Granted, I know jack about the stock market. When I hear someone talking about an IRA, I assume they're discussing Irish nationalism. Everything I know about the early stock market comes from fiction -- specifically from David Liss and his books Conspiracy of Paper and Coffee Trader. But, my sense of the very early stock market is that it was a much easier place to lose a fortune than to gain it with any kind of permancy. Even with an amazing broker (since our investing vampire can't go out in the daylight, aka bankers hours), the moment Johann's ship sank on its way back from the Golden Triangle or Black Monday hit everything would be lost, like it was for so many. Maybe the assumption is that our investing vampire is psyhic. He can see into the future and know that investing in some crazy start-up called "Microsoft" is an excellent idea. Before his broker Igor shows up, our vampire casts the bones and they tell him "Coca-Cola," "IBM," and "Plastics." And the bones are NEVER wrong, and he also has some kind of early warning system that causes him to sell at a profit before all the various crashs and bursting bubbles that plague most people deeply involved in the financial world. Or maybe we're supposed to assume he's a member of the Illuminati, and so he actually orchestrates all of these financial ups and downs for his own profit and amusement. The other thing that irritates me about the whole penny in 1776 scenario is this sense that money itself -- and what is valuable -- hasn't changed drastically throughout history. You can't spend that 1776 penny today at the SuperAmerica (--hell, my SuperAmerica barely likes the Susan B. Anthonys and two-dollar bills I occassionaly try to spend there). I charge you to even dig through your pockets and find a penny minted before 1945. Unless you're a numismatist, you probably have never even seen that 1776 penny. I haven't. I'm not even sure a "penny" even existed as such in 1776. The earliest ones I've seen are from 1911. So maybe our vampire is, like some dragon, sitting on a pile of gold. So then there's the gold standard. That's changed too. If someone on the street today were to offer you fifty bricks of gold or a million dollars (US) cash, the choice -- at least for me -- would be simple. I'd take the cash. I can spend it right away. My bank takes it. Gold -- okay, it might actually be worth more than the cash, but the logistical problems alone would stop me... how could I even carry that all the way to the bank? Can the bank take gold and give me money? SuperAmerica isn't going to take a brick of gold in echange for a full tank of gas (although that's about how much it costs). Our vampire also has to have a place to keep all this gold of his. I guess this is why so many vampires own castles. You'd have to keep up that castle and protect it from invaders throughout time, and as the Windsors know, all those servants and such cost money. If you don't have new money coming in, even sitting on real estate like Buckingham Palace isn't going to amount to squat. Your gold is going to get spent just keeping your gold safe... because even safe deposit boxes cost money (and money kept in banks only started being insured AFTER the stock market panic of 1929.) All, but what about all those antiques laying around the castle... surely those are worth a small fortune? Well, with the assumption that our vampire has exquisite and rare taste and the money to buy the stuff in the first place, he'd still have to be pretty psychic. He'd still have to have a moment of brillance to say to himself, wow, this Tiffany lamp is the one for me... as opposed to this equally intesting Bob Smith fixture. You've all seen Antiques Roadshow. Doesn't it seem like the ugliest stuff is worth the most? Can't you just see a vampire watching that show saying, "D'oh! I had that, but it was so ugly I gave it to my buddy Elias for two bucks." And there's Elias grinning out of the screen saying, "It's worth how much???" The other way antiques get value is if they come from the right moment in history. That would involve our vampire making sure he was in all the historical hotspots throughout time. I'd love to see a vampire who laments his bad luck... "Oh, crap, I spent the American Civil war vacating in Iceland." Or, "Elvis music? Who would listen to that crap? It's so damn loud." So, the point is... I don't buy it. Being alive a long time isn't going to make anyone rich.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Vampire Appeal

I actually started thinking about this question over at the Vampire Vixen's blog, but no one there seems as interested in it as I am. So, I thought I'd talk to myself. Out loud. Which is what I've decided blogging is. Anyway, the question is this one: why are vampires still so popular? I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm going to suggest that, beyond the obvious answers (power = sexy and la petite mort and all that jazz), there is an element of class. By class I don't mean a sassy attitude and Prada handbags (ie being "classy"-- although in some of the chick-lit books like Davidson's Undead series that seems to be part of the appeal), but like, hard-core social, economic class. Like upper, middle, and lower. I suggest this based on a personal experience I had. I used to, in the late 80s, belong to a listserve that focused on vampires. A group of us also posted what was called "fluff," aka fiction. Anyway, I wrote about a vampire who had, as a human, been a heroin-addicted male prositute. He was identifably ethnic -- although well within the traditions of vampirism, as he was Ukrainian. I didn't get a lot of feedback about the story as I posted it, but I didn't really think about that much (after all, why write, if not for yourself?) Until I posted a story that featured a much more traditional vampire -- that is to say, he identified as being way-way back of Eastern European stock (though "lightly" eastern, being as he was from Vienna, Austria), but he was currently living in London and was landed, British gentry. The people on my list loved the story. That got me thinking about vampires and class. Why are so many vampires in literary tradition rich? I mean, I get the appeal on basic levels. Rich people have more toys. More toys = more fun. Generally, rich people -- even those allergic to sunlight -- have more mobility. That's more interesting than a vamp stuck in the projects because he doesn't own a car (or as in a story I tried to write, a vampire stuck in a gold mine in the 1800s because he needs a job he can do in the dark so he can afford a place to live and clothes for his back). Plus, for most of us being rich is a completely foreign experience, which we assume we'd enjoy immensely given the opportunity. If I had a million dollars, etc. So, that's fun. I get that. But, I think there's more to it. I think it has to do with the roots of the literary vampire. I've read exactly one book that traces the literary tradition of the vampire. It's by Clive Leatherdale and is called Dracula: The Novel and the Legend. It was probably his English literature dissertation on Bram Stoker's Dracula, becuase the bulk of the book is fairly detailed literary criticism -- but, one of the reason I read and re-read the book for the sections about the history of the vampire as a folk tradition and the rise of the literary vampire in Europe. One of the things that Leatherdale suggests is that, while the folklore vampire has existed probably since about the time that humans realized blood kept people alive, the literary vampire never really took off in popular culture until the Romantic period (as he puts it, "the second quarter of the 18th century"). Shelley, Keats, and Byron all wrote poems about the vampire. The Romantics really used the undead the way we modern writers do. That is to say, they took the folklore vampire, who was an ugly, smelly, stupid, scary corpse, and made him youth and beauty undying. Their themes were all about vampire love -- the young, murdered lover returning from death to persue his unrequited passions. These were upperclass dead guys, who had a lot of tragic angst about their lust for blood. The vampire is kind of uber-human in terms of his intellectual naval-gazing about the state of his humanity. He's the gentleman scholar who is burdened by his immortality. As opposed to the stock horror mosters of Bloodsuckers who relish the sucking and eating, this is a "hero"/antihero who feels really bad about draining the life out of his victims. Oh, woe is me, I am so horrible... yet I'm compelled to continue to be horrible. This is not to say that I believe that the lower class vampires aren't as equally interested in the intellectual naval-gazing. I just think that the popular mindset is such that we're more willing to allow that the idle rich may have more time for such persuits, and we perceive the lower class already engaged in a fight for survival that doesn't seem to lend itself to the same sort of angst. The idea/prejudice is -- if you've killed someone for bread to eat, killing them for their blood isn't going to keep you awake at night bemoaning your lost humanity, you know? I'm woefully off track here, I think. But, there may be something more worth persuing on this. I've talked enough to myself for today, though.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ideas that Die

After finishing the revisions on TDD, I've been taking a break. The idea was to get a few short stories written, and to generally do a lot of "in-take" (a.k.a. reading.) It's time now to get back to novel writing, and I find I've completely forgotten how. Actually, I should also say that during this hiatus I managed not to get much done in terms of short story writing, either. I think part of the problem is that, with the short stories, I've been attempting to write to market -- something I very rarely do. While looking for a market for existing stories of mine, I came across John Scalzi's call for submissions for his themed issue of Subterranean Magazine. He's looking for stories, as he puts it in his guidelines, which feature "Big Honkin' Science Fiction Cliches." For some reason that idea totally appealed to me, especially when I followed some of his links to lists of SF cliches. I started a story about the last man on earth, but I haven't gotten farther than a few paragraphs. I guess the idea didn't quite grab me as much as I thought. Also, as most writers know, it's one thing to get fired up about an idea, and another thing to craft a living, breathing, publishable short story out of one. The other market I got interested in submiting to was Lynne Jamneck's Erotic Lesbian Science Fiction Anthology. Part of the appeal of that one was that I was thinking that I could set a short story in a world I used to write in. I have another great idea, which even satisfies the guidelines request that "both the erotic an science fiction aspect are crucial." But, once again I find myself writing a few lines and then petering out. This is one of the great mysteries of writing, as far as I'm concerned. The few short stories that I've sold, all came to me in a flash and were written quickly (albeit over the course of a few weeks, but the words poured out without much struggle.) The stories I've finished but haven't sold were written with more struggle. And, then there's the multitude of Ideas that Died. Half the storage space in my fiction directory is full of these half-starts. Some of them are several pages long. Some, when I open them again, I diddle a few more lines on to them, but they never seem to light a spark under me for whatever reason. Why do some stories spring from my head like Athena, fully-grown? And why do some of my "coolest" ideas fail to germinate? Well, let's think about that. Obviously, one of the issues is what I mentioned earlier. Ideas do not a complete story make. Ideas and characters sometimes aren't even enough. Let me think back to one of my most successful stories. The idea, world, main character and basic conflict hit me one day after talking about the idea with a writer friend of mine over lunch. I started writing that afternoon and had a completed draft by the end of the week. I don't remember having a clear idea about the ending, but I did have a strong sense of conflict and world. Maybe those are the crucial items for me. If I have a conflict, the resolution comes over the course of writing the story. If I know the world I'm writing in, the story begins to feel alive. I think, as a writer, part of what gets me going is having something to say. Theme, I guess. I know for a fact the story I'm referring to above, had a strong, definite theme. I had something I wanted to say about a certain segment of the population. I had a gripe with an ex that needed airing. But, that's not always true. I have written published stories that didn't have that thematic fire in the belly. I can think of one, my first published story, which really was just a cool idea. Of course, it was flash fiction, so maybe that was part of it. I don't know. This mystery is probably deeper than I can handle in a single blog.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

One of THOSE days

Attitude is everything, I've decided. Like today. It's 11:00 in the morning, and today should suck. On my way to taking my partner to work, the car died. Just ran out of gas. The gas gauge has been wonky for some time now, but I usually keep a careful watch on the miles I've gone on the odometer. Except today. Today I spaced. So, we rolled to a stop ten blocks from my partner's work. She hoofed it in high heels, and I entertained Mason, our two year old, while waiting for Triple-A to show up. Entertaining Mason is ridiculously easy. I should mention that the place we broke down was a gorgeous part of Saint Paul called Summit Avenue. We were up at the "top" of Summit, which also known as Cathedral Hill, because the Saint Paul Cathedral is right there. The houses are mansions -- grand, grand mansions. The lawns are expansive and expertly maintained. Huge, ancient oak trees line the broad boulevards. Flowers bloom in profusion. Birds sing on every branch. It's like paradise in the middle of the city. Not a bad place to have to sit and wait. And today is simply gorgeous. It's one of those amazing end-of-summer days where the sun shines brightly, sky is crystal blue, the clouds are fluffy and white, and the air holds a touch of autumn chill. Mason and I strolled around near the car, picking up fallen Maple leaves and arranging them according to a toddler's sense of order, which in this instance meant we moved the leaves from the sidewalk to on top of a retaining wall. Then the big truck came and loaded up the car and took us all for a ride to Grand-Wheeler Sinclair service station. I had them tow us because it would bring us closer to home, and I had other things I wanted my mechanic to tune-up on the car. Then, we wandered home -- toddler pace. Lots of stopping to chase squirrels ("icicle!" For some reason the way Mason says "a squirrel" it comes out more like "i - cicle!"), lots of clambering up on to my shoulders so we could read the pine cones in the various pine trees we passed, we even stopped at our local park ("ding-ding" park, so named because it's near a fairly active rail road crossing) for a romp on the monkey bars. We got home after a few hours, and I discovered that I forgot my house keys in the car back at the service station. Luckily, I live in a old house -- it was built in 1911 (Taft was president), so it's actually fairly easy to pop a window screen and shimmy in. I left Mason on the front porch with some "bon-bons" (his word for candy), and I broke in. Because I'm usually pretty good about closing the windows so someone else can't do this, I had to clamber in the small kitchen window, which is actually a few feet off the ground. To this involved climbing up the gas pipe and throwing myself at the screen. I wish someone had been around to film it. I'm sure I looked hillarious trying to wedge my big butt in through that small window. I managed to get in and not fall on my face. Triumph! All this without my first cup of coffee. I should be grouchy. I should be pulling hair or gnashing teeth. But, I was in the right frame of mind, and we had nowhere to go and no time we had to be there. It's been a beautiful day.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Vampire Vixens

I recently joined a group of vampire authors, known as the "Vampire Vixens." Check out their web site, at The Vixens are also doing a joint blog, which I thought I would attempt to post to occasionally (though I'm having trouble keeping up with this blog.) If you want to check out that blog, you can find it at:

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cover art

I heard from my editor about the design idea for the cover of TDD (a.k.a. Tall, Dark, and Dead). She said that they're going with a cartoon -- which would put the audience they're hoping to capture squarely in the chick-lit demographic (works for me!) The image my editor described is of Garnet at the book shop with Barney the cat. She said the style they're going to try to shoot for is not unlike that for Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair. This sort of thing is exactly what I was hoping for. As a reader in the target audience, these kinds of covers have been catching my eye. If you're wondering what input I had into the design, the answer is none. These sorts of decisions (at least in my experience with a large publishing house) are always done in committee. I'm not going to comment as to whether or not I think that's a bad thing, not because I think it is, but because the hows and whys that some books sell well and others don't is a complete mystery to me. I've heard it said by other professionals in the field that they believe their book sold well because "orange" was the hot color to have on a romance cover (this is an exact quote from a colleague of mine in RWA, and she was being dead serious.) And, when people in the field (particularly editors and agents) talk about why the books written by my dear friend Lyda Morehouse didn't sell well, they all bandy about their catch-all phrase "bad packaging." Whatever that means. I do know that covers sell books. People do judge books by their covers (and their back cover copy!)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Narrative Voice

Do you remember that thing all your English professors and writing instructors told you about adverbs and adjectives? I can't even count how many time a fellow writer has told me that I should go through my manuscript and delete all the adjectives and adverbs. I decided today that's bullshit. You want in on my epiphany? Here it is. Adjectives define narrative voice. In the kind of writing I do (mass market, first person) adjectives and adverbs are exactly what give my character a distinctive voice. Sassy ass-kicking verbs can only do so much. An ocassional, well-placed modifier can do a whole lot of character-building. This is not, in any way, an endorsement of Tom Swifting your manuscript into purple prose. Clean prose rules. It has a kind of universalism that will serve it well in the minds of readers decades from now. The problem is that you have to be a very, very skilled writer to make the subject and verb enough, especially for an entire manuscript. You have to find a way to make simple sentence contruction have personality plus. So, what's the harm in some colorful modifiers, I ask? Nothing, damn it. I say all this because I've been thinking a lot about narrative voice. Like, how do you make your "narrator" (especially a third-person one) come alive and have personality in the minds of your readers? First, of course, you have to make your narrator limited third-person, in my opinion. That is to say that your point of view sticks closely to the inner mind of your narrator, even if you're writing with he/she in the text. I know a lot of writers, especially those who have grown-up with T.V. and movies, believe that it's perfectly okay to write with a "camera's eye viewpoint," which they mistakenly think is the same as third-person omniscent. It's not. Third-person omniscent is very old-fashioned, and works best, IMHO, when done in conjunction with a fairy tale or mythical style story. Third-person omniscent is actually a bit of a misnomer, because there is often an unidenified "person" who is telling the story, ala the narrator in a fairy tale. Someone who might actually break the narrative flow with a "gentle reader" comment, or, as in the case of a modern master (mistress) of this style, Eleanor Arnason, the narrator give a command to the reader or poses a question to them -- something like, "Imagine a red cloth over a tall oblesik!" (Which is not something Arnason wrote, but not unlike something she might.) Thus, even in omniscent third-person a good writer will imbue a sense of personality in the narration. For a limited third-person narrator, I feel this job is best done by allowing the character who is the point of view to express their internal opinions about their environment or people they meet in what is essentially the exposition. So instead of just saying "The auditorium was big" you might write, "Harrold felt small when he walked into the auditorium. The ceiling vaulted above him like a cathedral. Even though he'd travelled thousands of light years to reach the council chamber, he wondered if he could make his speech, after all." Instead of simply reporting the dimensions of the room, you make it all about Harrold and his experiences with the space. Granted, I gave myself more sentences to do that in the second version, but that's only because I was instantly more engaged in the second version and wanted to, even in my only silly example, find out more about Harrold and why he felt the way he did. I didn't go overboard with my adjectives or adverbs, but I did gleefully use them. But, in the end of the day, all of this comes down to personal style. A person could be more faithful to the "reporting" style of writing, and simply chose more expressive adjectives and adverbs. You could write, "The room extended into the stratosphere." Which is likely hyperbole (although in SF/F you can never be sure), and my English composition professor would give me a hard time for that, I suppose. I guess the point of this mini-rant is that a person should take writing advice/rules with a grain of salt. It's good to practice clean prose, but you shouldn't let that keep you from writing with verve. Maybe sometimes it *is* best to say, "She was really, really, wickedly, wildly happy" instead of telling yourself you can't because adjectives are evil.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

More on Bloodsuckers

I know, I should have better things to do with my time. In fact, I do. There are any number of things I should be doing right now, including the dishes. But, as bad as Bloodsuckers was, it must have been successful on one level: I've been thinking about it a lot. I've been thinking about vampires and vampire-hunters, generally. Bloodsuckers chose to go with the John Carpenter (Vampires, 1988) vampire-hunter model, which is that the hunters are almost more bloodthirsty than the vampires. They go in, guns blazing, and kick vampiric ass into next week, swearing like sailors the whole time. I'm not at all adverse to guns blazing, ass-kickin', or cussin' up a blue streak in my action films, but there's something that happens to me when this is paired up with vampires. I find my sympathy shifts. I start asking myself deep philosophical questions, like, are these yahoos supposed to be the good guys? I think part of my problem is that I'm a vampire fan. I read and watch things in which vampires are imbued with a certain amount of humanity (tortured or demonized as it may be.) Frankly, I'm kind of a classic vampire fan. I don't mind people messing with the formula (no sun, pale skin, coffin-sleeping, what-have-you) but one part of the classic vampire that I really enjoy is the turned-human aspect... or even alien-among-us, you know? I like the vampire who thinks like a human being, albeit a twisted, potentially evil one. What I'm saying is about conflict. I found the "heroes" of Bloodsuckers unsympathetic because they were brutal against an equally brutal and brutish enemy. There was no level of skill or intellect needed to whoop vampire ass. There was no sense, even, of an intellectually equal (or superior) villain. I find I like the vampire who is smarter and more wily than his/her hunter. That makes the game a challenge. It also, strangely, makes the hunter more sympathetic. I mean, it's weird to think I can relate more to someone who is dumber than his/her enemy, but it's true. If I get a sense that the hero actually has to work to defeat the villain (who, in a best case scenario for my enjoyment, is also a wo/man struggling with his inhuman/inhumane nature). Also, I tend to question the line. You know the one. The line that differentiates between a hero and a villain. If our heroes are killers and the enemy must be destroyed because they kill, when does the cycle of violence end? One of the ways in which "Buffy" dealt with this issues was that the vampires literally turned into a pile of ashes at True Death. That served to remind the audience that these were *not* people, they were dead humans inhabited by demons. Thus, Buffy isn't a "true" killer, after all. (She does kill, but only demons). Also, Joss Whedon, being the wise and powerful writer that he is, also gave us Faith, who accidentally stakes a living human, so that we have to deal with the issue of what's the difference between a vampire hunter who kills and anyone else who kills. Also, just to mess with our heads he gave us Angel, the vampire cursed with a soul. And, of course, Spike, who was just plain hot. But, I'm getting off track. The point is, I think that when the enemy is a vampire, it's kind of a cheat to make them flesh-eating zombies without any real intelligence or humanity (or, in the case of Bloodsuckers, alien cultures.) Bloodsuckers could have been a much better film if the writers had done a little world-building and made-up some good reasons why these vampiric aliens did what they did. If they had rituals, relationships, lives, lovers... Anything vaguely resembling something human. Alas, they did not.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bloodsuckers! (A SCI-FI channel original movie)

As someone who loves both vampires and science fiction, I felt it was my duty to watch Bloodsuckers (a science fiction channel original movie). In a nutshell, vampires are the dominant species we encounter in outer space, and our heros are a rag-tag band of science fiction stock antiheros whose job it is to hunt down and destroy the aboriginal vamps to make the universe safe for our cultural imperialism and irresponsible environmental policies. You think I'm joking about that last part? I wish I were. S P O I L E R S The main villain of the movie is a woman who leads a group of humans who are sympathetic to the vampires. She and her crew act as a kind of vampire-loving jihad who sabotage human colonies and space stations alike so the vampires can swoop in past the defenses and munch on the humans -- (no discussion for us truly skiffy folks for a) why the alien vampires from space even have a taste for human flesh/blood and why they can metabolize it or b) what happened to whatever alternate indigenous species said vampires must have munched into extinction before meeting us). Her main motivation for going traitor on the human race is the above, almost verbatim. And, yes, she's also a vegetarian. The vampires were distressingly more zombie-like than actual alien cultures. They quite literally went "blah-blah!" and wagged their tongues while dismembering various victims. Also, apparently due to the human race's (and, specifically American) cultural imperialism, they ALL dressed like biker/goths, complete with studded leather. The only vaguely interesting vampire was the one that was part of the human vampire-killing crew. Psychic and into Tantric sex, she was actually, as she explained later, a dhympr -- the sexual offspring of a two, in this case, turned-from-human vampires. She could have been interesting had the writers made more of her story, IMHO. But, other than having some humanity instilled in her from her parents, we really don't know why she's on our side, especially considering the abuse she puts up with from the crew while she drinks her microwaved plasma from a medical bag. Unfortunately, she's not even vaguely conflicted about being a vampire as far as I could tell, despite the fact that she should be embarrassed to speak the same language as the evil sock puppet of doom that the crew meets up with at one point. (Too hard to explain.) The crew held a few surprises. The annoying rookie beta male side-kick who provided the useful character to give all the infodumps to (as you know, bob, this particular species of vampires can be killed simply by "bleeding out" [aka any old puncture wound, like a bullet, instead of needing a stake to the heart] and travels in large packs) ended up being the captain, because the movie was filmed so on the cheap that they couldn't afford their major B-list star, Joe Lando (of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman") for the entire two hours of the film. I will admit to being mildly surprised when they killed off their hard-drinkin', vampire hatin' alpha male in the first 45 minutes. Though it was probably a good move, because I wasn't sure how much of his "let's waste these cockroaches" dialogue I could take -- though, unfortunately, the extra-butch female Asian (with lavender hair, so we know it's the future,) crew member picked up the slack for him. Bloodsuckers was billed as Buffy meets Star Trek. Ah, if only. Speaking of Joss Whedon, however, as the crew milled about on the starship I kept having flashbacks to Firefly. Does anyone know? Did Joss loan out Serenity for this drek of a film? I feel I should come back to my theme about the whiteness of space, but I'm not sure I care enough about this movie to be relatively impressed that we saw at least one black vampire (especially since I'm not sure its an honor to be among the blah-blah! aliens.) The only other member of the crew (besides the Asian woman) with any kind of implied ethnicity was Roman, the slacker space cowboy. His name suggests he might be Russian or Ukrainian, though there was nothing about him other than that which gave any sense of ethnic identity. As a final comment, all I can say is: as stupid and dimwitted as these alien vampires appeared, there should have been no real challenge or conflict for the vampire slayers. The fact that there was says a lot about how bad this movie really was.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I'm one of those annoying writing instructors who always harps on their students about reading. If you don't read science fiction/fantasy, you can't write it. The worst part? I really believe it. It's not just one of those phrases like "write what you know" that I've picked up and transferred to my students without truly embracing it myself. Reading, I believe, is essential to a successful writing career. For me, too, reading is how I recharge my writing "batteries." After months and months output, it's time for some input. I also see it as part of my job. I often pick up books printed in my imprint, just to get a sense how I fit among the other authors in that line. The bonus to that is, of course, if I like a book by a fellow author I have a certain kinship with them which I've been known to use to forge friendships (and to swap industry gossip.) Those who know me, know I'm a big believer in the power of gossip, or should I say "networking." At any rate, I'm currently reading Neal Asher's debut novel Gridlink. It's not a book I would necessarily recommend to people who aren't into hard-core science fiction. But, for those of you who are, this is -- so far -- a good one. I have to admit that my tastes are wonky. I really love light and fluffy, chick-litty fantasy (ala the books I've mentioned before, like Rachel Caine and Mary Janice Davidson's series), and, on the flip side, like my science fiction with a sharp, glittering, razor-blade edge. The above image is from his UK (hardcover) edition, but I picked up the paperback at Uncle Hugo's, so I know its out in the US. My friend and fellow writer Bill Henry pointed out some time ago when we were talking about this year's Philip K. Dick winner and science fiction awards in general, that a lot of the new, good, HARD science fiction seems to be coming out of the U.K. right now. I wonder why that is? It may be partly because I suspect that science fiction isn't selling well in the US. Given the popularity of Ms. Rowling's series, fantasy is the half of SF/F that's the current lead seller. By several million kilometers, shall we say. If I were allowed to talk about my other life previous to Tate, I might be able to say with some conviction that both my editor and my agent steered me away from a career focusing on SF for that very reason. But I can't. So, I won't. Hmmmm, now there's a cryptic way to end this post.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Wicked-Great Fun of Revisions (No, Seriously!)

Here it is almost midnight, and I'm printing out a paper copy of Tall, Dark, and Dead. I know most authors claim to despise the revision process, but I kind of like it. I don't like the tedium of fixing commas, which I will admit I never learn to use properly. Nor do I enjoy correcting my atrocious spelling errors. But, at least at first blush, I find revisions a rewarding part of the process. Why? Because in a lot of ways, I don't like writing. Don't get me wrong, I love story-telling. I can't imagine not spinning wild fantasies in my head. Ever since I figured what my imagination was for, I've been abusing it ever since. I'm one of those people who is playing pretend all the time. I mumble character's lines to myself as I'm shopping at the grocery store. Every night before I fall asleep, my head is full of some crazy story-line or another. What I don't always like (and why I've resisted blogging for so long) is that the actual process of putting words down on paper and organizing my "visions" into proper scenes with plot and purpose. That's the hard stuff for me. For people who know me, it probably makes more sense because the name Tate and organization are rarely used in the same sentence. In that way, I'm a lot like my character of Garnet -- it's an unusual conversation of mine that goes from point A to point B without digressing through G and sometimes skipping around the ideas in Z before finally making it back to what I was talking about. (Not unlike this sentence, really.) So, revisions are a kind of relief. Most of the words are already written when I'm at the point of revising. Revisions are my chance to go back and deepen, stretch, clarify, enrich, and/or dramatize. I actually do a lot of revisions in the course of writing a novel-- or short story, for that matter. I'm in a regularly meeting (live, as opposed to on-line) writer's critique group, and after every meeting after which I've handed out my novel chunk, I get back seven people's opinions of it. I always go back that same week -- usually the next day -- and do the revisions I deem worthy, which to be fair, is often most of them. My group is very professional. Only rarely do I completely blow-off a comment someone has made. I sometimes joke with my partner that writing for me is a series of two-steps forward, one-step back. By the time I get to the first "THE END" the book or short story is already pretty polished. It's officially a first draft, but it's a first draft that contains a ton of micro-revisions. Then, before I send the manuscript to my editor, I have a number of people act as "beta readers." I have these folks read the whole novel, since in critique group it can take months for the manuscript to make it all the way from beginning to end (and my group won't read revised chapters, so they have only the flawed visions in their head.) At this point I do another fairly deep revision. Then, of course, the editor makes suggestions. For Tall, Dark, and Dead my editor emailed me a five page, single-spaced revision letter. Her comments, however, were fairly substantial. So, it was back to the revision table for another deep rewrite.We're not talking about a full scale, rip-out-the-heart-of-the-novel-and-start-over kind of thing. But, I am talking about ditching entire scenes and writing them from scratch. Also, I added a number of paragraphs of clarification or character development. The biggest issue for Tall, Dark, and Dead was finding a way to give the reader the somewhat unsavory bits about Garnet's past, while maintaining the light-and-fun tone I established in the opening line, which carries through the majority of the book. I couldn't introduce the ideas later, because they were critical to establishing the character's main conflict. So, we (me and my editor) ended up pulling out what was essentially a flashback scene and making it a non-prologue prologue. I think it works. You'll have to see if you agree. Anyway, as of 10:45 this evening I finished what I'm dubbing my semi-final, final revisions. I still need my partner to do that spell checking/comma thing, but then it's off to the publisher and I start writing Drop-Dead Gorgeous (book II) while waiting for the copy-edited manuscript to come back for the final-final final revisions. Of course, I'll have to check it over again when the page proofs come back, but that should be the last time I should have to do any major typing. Well, there you go. Just a little meditation on my process.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Whiteness of Space

I just Netflixed the new-and-improved "Battlestar Galactica" TV movie, which I really enjoyed. As soon as the first season comes out on DVD, I plan to watch the rest. S P O I L E R S However, I was very struck by the fact that the humanity that was saved when the lost colonies were destroyed by the Cylons is distressingly WHITE. Boomer (who was a black man in the original series) is an Asian woman now, but, as is also revealed at the end of the movie, she's not human at all... But a Cylon spy. Similarily the XO, Colonel Ty, is now a craggy white guy. There is a communications officer (shades of Uhura) who is a black woman, but she's -- so far, at any rate -- a very background character. The actor playing the new Adama, Edward James Olmos is a Mexican-American actor, but his children (namely "Apollo" and Zack, Athena seems to have been forgotten) are not being played by overtly Hispanic actors. So, what am I saying? I'm saying I miss the helicon days when TV producers felt compelled to have at least one "token" African-American actor in every show. The future that my TV used to present looked a lot like my neighborhood, only better. Because somehow I got the sense that in the futures of Battlestar Galactica and the original Star Trek series we all got along better. We'd conquered all this stupid "race" stuff and had become a world government that was really all about the human race. Lately, it seems like TV science fiction deals with race in the future by pretending that if you show a couple of black characters in the background we'll all just assume everything is hunky-dory. I'm thinking of Babylon 5, which was also notable in its whiteness. The exception there, of course, was the doctor, who was actually a "whiter" replacement of a very black African-seeming doctor who appeared in the pilot episode. I think it's especially striking in Battlestar Galactica because of the obvious replacements. I was always a fan of the original Boomer, but the new one was growing on me until it was revealed that she wasn't human. Similarly, it's frustrating that the producers or director or casting people or whoever is in charge of this decision didn't think about having someone in the command circle (besides Adama) who isn't lily white. I also think this struck me because the new Galactica is so much more based on a real military ship (with CAGs and XOs, etc,) and the modern military is fairly highly integrated. The scene at the end of the movie when Adama gives his impassioned speech about finding Earth, I scanned the crowd for color. There was some, but... well, for me, it wasn't enough. And I'm just some white girl from Minnesota.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I would never say I'm an avid reader, though I wish I were. My problem is that I'm mildly dyslexic, which makes reading slow, but more than that I have a very demanding two year old at home who keeps me very distracted. That being said, I read when I can. Right now I'm in the middle of the second book in the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine called Heat Stroke. I love this book. I was talking to Shawn about it yesterday and one thing that occurred to me is that one of the reasons I love this book is because it delivers what's promised. Having read Caine's first installment Ill-Wind, the things I loved about it were the fast-pace, the sassy heroine, and the hottie djinn lover, David. Book II, I'm happy to say, is more of the same. As an author I used to dis the publishing industry for producing what some people like to call "McFiction," which is to say fiction that seems mass-produced with the lowest common denominator reader in mind. The never-ending trilogy called Waste of Time by Author X. You know the books, admit it. But, as a fan, when I'm absolutely honest with myself, what I want is more of the same. There is a fine line, however. I'm also a big fan of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evonavich. I got to about book TEN, when I got sick of what I perceived as "the formula." Stephanie screws up some bounty hunting job (again), her car gets blown up (again), and something outlandishly silly happens with Lulu and grandma (again). Yawn. I hear from my friend Ember that the next book redeems itself, but, it's strange, because while I want more of the same, I want some things to change, too. I want characters to grow -- although not so much as to become completely unlike the original character I fell in love with. For instance, even though the events of Ill-Wind were sobering, I would not like it if JoAnne (our heroine) suddenly went from sassy to angst-ridden and depressed. But, this book satisfies that need because JoAnne (without giving away too much of the plot) does transform, quite dramatically between the last book and this one. I want the romance (if there is one) to deepen. We all like that first flush, but if the characters are going to reoccur, I'd like to see the relationship expand. Evonavich does this, but sometimes I feel like she's holding back Stephanie from truly getting serious with either Ranger or Morelli simply for the "never ending series" reason. That is to say, if this were real life Stephanie probably would have picked one or the other by now, but because these books are popular and fans are equally divided, she never will. You know? These are just a few things I'm trying to keep in mind as I sit down to start writing my next novel. It's hard, as an author, whose perspective is all internal, to figure out what parts of the book are most likely to appeal to the majority of fans... ie, which parts are the parts there should be more of the same of -- while also allowing for some growth of plot and characters. Well, that's all for today. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hello and Welcome

Be nice, I'm a virgin blogger. I know, you're probably wondering how that's even possible. Look, I just never got around to it, okay? I had other things on my mind. But, so, here I am. Oh, right. A little introduction would be nice. I'm Tate Hallaway. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I have three cats, all of them black. Probably the most interesting thing about me is that I have a book coming out next year from Berkley called Tall, Dark, and Dead. Tall, Dark, and Dead would probably best be described as vampire chick-lit. What is vampire chick-lit, you ask? Well, it's the kind of stuff that Mary Janice Davidson is making wildly popular with her Undead series. It's vampire stuff that's funny and sassy and sexy. So, you want a little hint? Here's an excerpt from the proposal I submitted:
Garnet Lacey vowed never to do magic again. Not after that ugly scene with the Vatican assassins in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, magic is addictive: like crack, only without the morning after. Especially if your special brandof magic comes directly from the dark sex Goddess Lilith herself. That's why Garnet surrounds herself with poseurs. She left Minneapolis for the hippy, happy college town of Madison, Wisconin. There she's the manager of Mercury Crossing, Madison's premier occult bookstore and herb emporium where the employees are prime examples of witches without a clue. A perfect place to hide out. Dressed as a poseur, Garnet figures she's safe from the Vatican and from trouble. Just as she's closing the bookstore, in walks trouble, with a capital T for Tall, Tough, and Tasty. He rushes in demanding a highly specialized and infamous product: mandrake. Moreover, he's insistent that it be harvested by new mooon from a crossroads. Garnet might have blown him off as the usual woo-woo fanatic, except for one thing: his aura. He doesn't have one. That would make him dead.
There you go. Hope that seems intreguing enough for you to come back and check out my blog from time to time. If that's not enough, I should say that I teach writing and that I'm a member of the Romance Writers of America and that I intend to use this space to talk about more than just my life. Hey, thanks for stopping by. It was nice meeting you.