Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cliff hanger!

So in an effort to win a contest (competitive? Me? Noooooo!)I am posting a snippet from my finished novel. The constraints? 500 words, ending in a cliffhanger. Hmmm here we go....

“Princess, I can't say any more than I have.” I could hear the pain in his voice. “Back to my inappropriate laughter. You have a choice. Do you want to go to your full moon meeting weak and easy to overlook? Or will you walk in with all the powers you were born to have?”

“What do I have to do?”

“The faeries of the Star Court get their magic from the stars and the water. I laughed because I was afraid you didn't have any real magic. You have a glow. You radiate a weak power, and you haven't been in a source in sixteen years. Mandi, you take after your mother.” For once, Hayune sounded like his old self.

He was warm, but my heart was cold. Tears welled up in my eyes. “You mean I'm weak? That I scurry around after a man that isn't fit to rule dogs?” As soon as I said it, I regretted it.

“No one knows why our queen defers to her king so. It defies tradition.” I could almost feel his cold facade snap into place.

“Do you even notice you go all stiff whenever you talk about them?” I missed Yuni. I wish I knew a way to get him back. I mulled over all of the things he had just told me. “Hey! You called me Mandi!”

He didn't answer, just grabbed my hand and led me out of the dark woods. We crossed out of the woods and stood near the shoreline. He turned to me.

“What is your choice, Princess?”

I gaped up at him, tears pooling in my eyes. If I wanted to find out who killed my father, if I wanted to walk into my meeting with King Spinel with any leverage, if I ever wanted to be all I could be, I had to face my greatest fear. And damn it, he was back to calling me 'Princess' again.

“Are we going for a swim?” He goaded me.

It was as simple as that. Face my fear and accept a new, possibly dangerous, fate or stay dry and unremarkable, but safe. And dry. I scanned the dark lake; the sound of the water lapping against the beach taunted me.

“I didn't bring a bathing suit. Hell, I don't even own a bathing suit.” It was weak, but I had to put up some resistance.

He looked at me a wry smile on his face. “Neither do I.”

“If you expect me to strip down here and just walk into that lake...” I could feel the panic rising. I tried yoga breathing, but just ended up heading toward hyperventilation.

“Do you trust me?”

Friday, October 22, 2010

NaNo is coming NaNo is coming!

So I've decided to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)this year. For those who don't know in November everyone who has ever considered writing a novel decides if they are crazy or not. If the answer is in the affirmative, they chose to sign up to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Yep,turns out I'm crazy.

So here is what I'm working on.

Satan's Local Soul Stealers' Union 666

Malorie didn't sell her soul. She just sort of...pawned it. Working for the Devil has serious drawbacks and a serious lack of benefits- but Mal is ready to change all that. She's decided to organize-- unionize. But when she starts to get the other girls together, they start dying. Hell might have a better union buster than Mal imagined.

And the opening goes like...

I snapped the book closed and crossed the room to warily eye my carefully constructed shrine. With matches I lit the two slightly dented white tapers that sprouted out of the mis-matched candle holders. I pushed aside my doubts and settled myself on the floor before the shrine-- Indian style.

Buddhism. After reading-- okay skimming-- a book on comparative religions, I was sure that this was my answer. Buddhists didn't believe in God. That was key. Because if i could stop believing in God, then I could stop believing in the Devil. And if I could stop believing in the Devil, then...

A sharp kick sent my front door slamming into the wall. Baz sauntered in, looking as innocent as a demon could make himself.

Of course, all of this is subject to change. I am crazy after all ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Must Love Hellhounds Harris/Singh/Andrews/ Brooks

This little beauty was a grocery store find.

Must Love Hellhounds
Here's the Synopsis (stolen from
In these four original novellas, readers follow paranormal bodyguards into Lucifer's realm, where they'll encounter his fearsome four-legged pets; seek out a traitor in the midst of a guild of non-lethal vampire trackers, one who intends to eradicate the entire species of bloodsuckers; find out why the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades has left the underworld for the real world; and embark on a perilous search for the kidnapped niece of a powerful vampire alongside her blind-and damn sexy-companion and a hellhound.

First, I have to say, I love the idea of novellas. Realistically, I don't have time to read or even vet everything that I want to read. My "to be read" pile gets larger and larger and NaNo looms closer and closer. This type of novella collection is great to be able to get a flavor for the world building of a particular author and to find out whether he or she belongs at the top of the pile, the bottom...or in the "I bet so and so will love this for Christmas" pile.

That said, the stories in this collection are goodish, but there are definitely winners and also-rans in this bunch.

I loved Nalini Singh's Angel's Judgment. It pulled me directly into her world and I wanna know more! Her hero is HOT her heroine is strong and while I got a great sense of her world, I never felt bogged down by back story.

My next favorite was Blind Spot by Meljean Brook. Again I didn't feel inundated with backstory, though this one came with a bit of baggage. Blind Spot did the best job of using the "hellhound" prompt, though I think that Sir Pup might be a regular character in her series. Ms. Brooks manages to put a long history between the Female MC and Male MC-- without the Female MC being aware of it.

The other two were slightly less successful, mostly because they felt like throwaways to me. I have not read anything else by Ilona Andrews, but it seems to me that the POV character in Magic Mourns, Andrea Nash, is generally a side kick to the oft mentioned Kate Daniels. I might feel differently if I had read the series ( I probably would actually- i would be all- Oh! I love Andrea...and look she's got her own story! Sweet!) But as it was, I had a hard time connecting to her. She spent a lot of time not quite bitching about being in her BFF's shadow...but she couldn't get anything done without an assist form the ever off screen Kate. The world is really interesting, though. A world where magic rises like the tide,rendering all mechanical devices useless... I might have to dip my toe in.

The last one to review is The Britlingens go to Hell by Charlaine Harris. First-- I should make this clear. I am a Sookie Stackhouse fan. I have met Ms. Harris and she is a wonderful, charming, fascinating woman. I bought Must Love Hellhounds because her name was on the cover. That said. I did not love The Britlingens go to Hell. This story comes fro the "Sookieverse", but the characters come from an alternate reality. Explaining all of this and how it connects to the Sookieverse and how the society works and mech and magic and how Hell isn't really hell... It ends up bogged down in a ton of back story that was difficult to slog through.

Which is a shame, because I dig me some Britlingen warrior women!

So? Did you read it? Do you love these authors? Do you have a novella collection I just has to buy? Lemme know!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

As the Plot Thickens: September Winners and October Books

Writer friends! Win gret books just in time for NaNo! Go visit As the Plot Thickens!

As the Plot Thickens: September Winners and October Books: "I'm back from Florida (made it back last night--thanks to everybody that sent me well-wishes), and it's time to announce the winners of my S..."

Dead Darlings

For my writer friends the term "Dead Darlings" is probably familiar. We are exhorted to kill our darlings, the things that when we write them seem so clever, so cute so damn funny- but don't actual develop character or move the plot forward. In fact sometimes these "darlings" drag our prose down.

The section below is a piece that was stricken from my latest work- which will hopefully one day make it to bookshelves:) It is totally a revenge fantasy and it didn't belong in the larger story- but what the hell? Maybe you all can enjoy it! The set up here is our heroine, Mandi, is at her 10th high school reunion.

Ah, yes. I remembered why I had never taken to Judy as a good friend. One, she was too freakin' perky and two, she refused to see the inherent evil of Heidi Robieson. She led us through the crowd. As she did I nodded and smiled at the faces I recognized, but Judy was on a mission and nothing was going to dissuade her. She deposited me in front of my old nemesis like a dog retrieving a dead duck. My smile stretched and hardened. Bitch. With. Moxie
“Heidi.” From a distance she was the same as she always had been, only better. More blonde, more curvy, more more. On closer inspection, she looked less, and she probably worked extremely hard to look the way she did.
She was painfully thin. You could cut glass with the bones of her face; her collar bones were like blades. She tried to soften her looks by bloating her lips to comic proportions. I obsessed over my own oversized lips, did they look like that?
She batted her fake eyelashes at me and tossed her very blonde hair extensions over her shoulder. “Mandi!” She tried for the condescending sneer she had been famous for a decade ago, but her puffy lips, spider eyes, and crazy yellow hair conspired to make her look clownish.
I tried to hold myself together. I did. But after caring what this bitch thought of me every day for four years, and carrying the sneer around in my head for a decade; I utterly lost it. I started to giggle.
“Heidi. You look,” I tried to push my lips together to stifle my giggles, but to no avail, “great. What have you,” another attempt to stem the tide, without success, “been up to?”
“I'm on the Kumquat Diet. Keeps me incredibly energetic. My husband, Doctor Robert Keller, invented it. What does your husband do?
“The Kumquat diet?” I looked at her with blank incomprehension.
“Yes, I eat twenty-eight Kumquats every day.”
“That's it?”
“Don't be ridiculous. I eat four Brazil nuts and seven cups of water.”
“Yes, I am being ridiculous.” I mulled for a moment, “Seven, four, twenty-eight?”
“Now you are seeing the sense of it. The numbers four and seven were sacred to the Lakota people. I am carrying on a rich cultural tradition.”
“But kumquats grow in China.”
“I'm one-sixteenth Cherokee on my mother's side, so it is an important part of my heritage.”
“You know the Lakota and the Cherokee are two different tribes, right?”
I could tell she wanted to make a face, but the massive amounts of botox made it so she couldn't quite pull it off. “Your husband, what does he do?” She demanded.
“I'm not married.”
I watched pleasure flood her face. The other famous facial expression appeared, haughty self-superiority. I got control of myself.
I continued, “I graduated from Tufts with a double major in History and Western European Studies. I own my family's jewelry store, you know, Re'alta's in Center City?”
“R`ealta's? But you are a Croach. I would have thought you would have gotten married just to be rid of that awful name.” Wow, pushing thirty and still with the last name jokes.
“My mother's family.” I tried not to be annoyed by such an old, harmless joke; but my hackles rose, nonetheless. She smelled blood in the water.
“Isn't she dead, I mean, didn't she die a long time ago?” I couldn't believe she was going after the dead mother angle. Wait a minute, yes I could.
“That's how I inherited it. My aunt ran it until I graduated; then control of the company came to me.”
“Well, at least some good came out of it.”
My jaw locked shut. I had to talk through clenched teeth. “What have you been doing? Job? Kids?”
“I am the wife of a prominent physician.”
“There was talk of you studying abroad. What happened to your dream of working in politics?”
“I went to the University of Toronto. That's where I met my husband. I've yet to see an attractive woman make it in politics, so I'm waiting till I'm too old to look good to even bother.”
“Charities then? You have to be keeping your hand in somehow.” I was determined to find something redeeming about this person.
“Paying people to beg for money? I don't think so. I stay involved by having a little blog that explores the personal lives of prominent politicians. I'm writing a book about the failure of our political system. Beautiful women sell books. I already have a publisher, all I have to do is take a moment to scribble some thoughts down.”
“Thanks.” I smiled. All tension over what could possibly happen this evening melted away.
“You are welcome, but I must ask what you are thanking me for.”
“For years I envied you; it was a poison in my well. I would say I spent the last fifteen years wishing I was you. Now, thanks to this wonderful encounter, I can spend the next fifteen feeling benign pity for you.”
“Well, I'm glad I could be a role model for you when you so obviously were lacking.”
I pondered the depth of her shallowness and considered turning and leaving without another word. I, up to this point, had managed to stay classy. Screw classy. She didn't deserve classy. 
"You went to college, got an MRS. degree and since then the only thing you've done is your lips, cheekbones, your tits and I'm gonna bet your ass too. That's nice. Truth is, your best days are behind you; you aren't relevant anymore. No one, with the exception of maybe Judy here,” I looked over a Judy, who looked like a deer who expected headlights, got prepared for headlights and ended up face to face with a spaceship, “cares what you think of them anymore. You were queen of a very small kingdom, and your reign was a hideous, but thankfully short, four years. Now, you're just the bimbo with a boob job and fake hair.”
“No, Miss Croach. I'm a physician's wife, soon to be best-selling author slash political commentator. I'm going to be on television. I'm going to shape opinions, and set standards for beauty world-wide.”
Nothing she could have said would have been more frightening. I turned on my heel.
I heard her hiss as I walked away, “Crazy orphan bitch.”
Judy wrapped her arm around Heidi's bony shoulder and consoled her fiend... I mean friend. As I walked away the whole hive swarmed around their queen, and all the angry buzzing indicated I was still not winning any popularity contests.
Out of the huddle, Heidi's voice rang out. “Just so you know, Croach, you'll be able to buy my husband's book real soon. Looks like you could use a little time on the Kumquat Diet."

Sooooo...I guess it's pretty obvious that I didn't get fabulous till well after high school!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just so's ya know

I'm reading Must Love Hellhounds- a collection of short stories. I'll have my review up soonly :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Haven't read Sandman Slim yet?
Get the e-book FREE at Amazon right now!

Free Sandman Slim E book!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

After being Waylaid by a certain Swedish crime novel which took For. Ev. Er. to read, I am happy to be back with a book that I actually enjoyed! Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim. This was another book recommended by Broguely McBookstore, which means he now has a .666 average. ( No, he was not responsible for the Swede, that was the fault of well meaning family. He did recommend a book that I didn't care for. I won't be writing a review)

The BOB blurb for SMS goes like this : (Stolen from B&N)
Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.
Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.
Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

First off-- I loved this. It is just the sort of thing that I wanna write when I grow up. Gritty, irreverent and so playing both sides against the center. Stark is a 19 year old in an "old man's body" and Kadrey manages to make him think that way all the way through.

The pace is so fast in this book, it is hard to write a coherent review-- It is a bit like getting off a roller coaster, then sitting down to do a detailed critique of just how each loop made you feel. My overall impression here? Weeeeeeeeeeee!

I continue the trend of reading books with no sex in them! While Stark gets wood for every pretty girl he sees  (including those that are actively trying to kill him) his heart belongs to dearly departed Alice. The sexual tension is a bit ambiguous, with hints toward warm feelings for two of the major players-- but as long as something is getting blowed up every three pages, I was along for the ride.

Apparently I got on the band wagon just in time, too. The second in the series, Kill the Dead, came out on Oct. 5th and I shall be getting my grubby paws on it post haste!