Friday, September 11, 2009

New Cover!

Here's the preliminary (but 99.99% finished) cover for my new young adult novel, ALMOST TO DIE FOR, which is scheduled to be an NAL Trade in August 2010.

In case you've forgotten, the back cover copy says:

On her sixteenth birthday, Anastasija Parker’s present winds up being the shock of a lifetime. When her mom referred to her absentee dad as a deadbeat it was actually half true—he’s a vampire. And a king, no less. A king who wants his daughter to assume her rightful position at his side. But, thanks to Ana’s mother, the blood of a witch also runs through her veins…

Too bad vampires and witches are mortal enemies.

With her parents gearing up for an all out brawl over her destiny, Ana’s about ready to scream. But things get even crazier when a male witch and a brooding bad boy vampire start vying for her affection. Then the barely leashed tension between the vampires and the witches starts to boil over, and Ana has to figure out once and for all if she wants to become heir to her dad’s throne. And deciding your eternal destiny is a pretty big deal for a girl who just wants to get through high school

Slacktivist on Vamps

My friend and fellow writer Naomi Kritzer pointed me to this post on vampires and the effect of the Christian cross on the Slacktivist's blog. Even though I'm not a Christian, I like this interpretation quite a bit, especially when you consider what the Slacktivist says about what s/he considers "true" vampires.

The question comes up: why does garlic work? The answer I always heard was that it was a well-known folk cure to thin the blood. Those of us with heart problems in their family history would *still* do well to consume a lot of garlic or take garlic supplements. (It's a natural cholesterol lowering agent.)

But I also liked the commenter who brought up the "smell of the grave" bit. I hadn't heard that.

In other news, I got my cover art for ALMOST TO DIE FOR yesterday. As soon as I find out if it's okay to do so, I'll post it here. Preview: it's awesome!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twitter Dweeb

Someone from another group sent out a link to Inkygirl's blog Twitter for Writers (Part 1). And, I have to say, I feel like a complete idiot. I had no idea about any of this stuff. Twitter chats? Wow. Who knew? You kids and your interwebs. You're so inventive.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Happy Endings and Personal Taste

Interestingly, they were talking about happy endings over at Wyrdsmiths yesterday. I was thinking of this on Sunday, because I had a chance to finish a book I checked out from the library called THE MAP OF MOMENTS by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (Bantam, February 2009), which I rather enjoyed.

The story follows a history professor, Max, who returns to New Orleans for the funeral of an old lover, Gabrielle, who died in Hurricane Katrina. Gabrielle betrayed him with another man and Max left her and the city behind after that fateful day that he stumbled in on her and her new beau. Very quickly we learn that all in not what it seemed with Gabrielle. She was part of something dark and strange that’s tied to the very history of the city. In a drunken romantic impulse, Max allows himself to believe in a magic potion that a conjure-man, Ray, gives him along with a mystical “map of moments.” (Which is one of the coolest bits in the book).

As I mention, the setting for the novel is New Orleans six months after hurricane Katrina. I have no idea how accurate the descriptions are, but they’re certainly fascinating and heart-wrenching. Some parts of the world-building/magic system were also compellingly interesting – the map, a swamp demon, etc. Although I’d be curious what my friend Harry, a native of New Orleans, would say about it all, honestly. But, not knowing any better, I found both the setting and the world-building carried the story when the narrative stumbled.

Which it didn’t do often, although I’m not sure how I felt about the ending. I always tell my students at the Loft that for a story to feel complete, the hero/ine has to change. Max certainly does that over the course of the book. But, quite intentionally, the book ends in the same place as it began... and, well, it’s sort of depressing. My friend Eleanor says she won’t write a novel or a story that doesn’t end happily, because too much of life ends in complicated unhappiness. It’s this later place that MAP OF MOMENTS leaves the reader in the final chapter. I suppose it’s a rather grown-up place that should be satisfying in a complex and dark world, but, well, I was left wishing things had gone differently. I can’t say that’s a flaw, however. It’s a matter of taste.

In the end, I decided I was satisfied, even if I didn’t like the conclusion. So I give it a thumbs up.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

I don't know how many people really celebrate this particular holiday, but my family always gathers in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (my hometown) to sit on a curb on the northside of town to watch local union members march carrying flags and toss candy. I wish, actually, I'd remembered to pack my National Writers Union t-shirt that reads, "Metaphors Be With You" on the front and shows the united autoworkers logo on the back (the NWU is a sub-local of the UAW, which always made me weirdly happy.)

After that, we're going to pack up and head back to the Twin Cities. I'd hoped to get my proposals started this weekend, but instead it became a sort of last hurrah of summer, with hikes in Hixon Forest, the LaCrosse River marsh, and the Copeland Park water park. Mason actually spent several hours on the banks of the LaCrosse smearing mud all over his body and being admired by passers-by on the overhead bridge.

Tomorrow, I'll begin work in earnest as it's Mason's first day of FIRST GRADE. Big day!