Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
So, now that it's done, I rewrote my back-cover blurb for Scorched:
Sidra is obsessed and teased by the thought of fire. It consumes her every waking thought and is the focus of all her art. Nothing matters as much as capturing the light and depth of reds, oranges, blues, purples, and the occasional common yellow.
Well, that's not true anymore.
There is something decidedly strange about the hot new guy in school, Asher. He doesn't seem to care about popularity or grades. Associating with her certainly guarantees his social life will go up in flames. Plus, he asks a whole lot of questions about why she is called "Scorch." When mysterious fires get closer, Sidra knows it's only a matter of time before they start asking "Scorch" questions. People are already staring--well, it's mostly just them--those guys that all look alike.
Hopefully, no one finds the paintings of the fires that she painted before they happened. She didn't set these fires, though. Really. She's too busy fighting ghosts that like to chew on her underwear and deal with her father's past sins that haunt her. He pretty much smoked their little family. She doesn't have time to set fires.
Asher, though--he's been at all the fires, and he casts a strangely dark shadow. What about that dog? The dog that sometimes is with him. It's huge and dark but disappears like a fire jarred.
As things start to make sense--someone else steps into the heated circle. The guy she's been dreaming about is real--like really real--and he might like fire a little more than Scorch. He certainly knows about heat.
Asher. Demons. Dogs. Fire. Maybe it's time to sit back and chill.
Scorch can't, though. What--are you kidding? She just loves to play with fire. She might get burnt, but with Asher around--she'll probably get scorched.
On a completely different subject, I want to work on querying Honor Among Thieves. I'm looking for two or three betas to read the first three chapters. Let me give you the low-down on it. Actually, I'll just give you the back blurb on this too.
Honor is accustomed to meeting monsters, so it should come as no surprise to her that the man she met in the bookstore is more than he appears. Speaking of monsters, the killer that has been dogging her steps for years has hunted her down. Honor may be a thief, but she had no intention of stealing the lives of those around her just for her own protection. Even if all these vampires are twice her size, can they really keep up with her?
The Tiger is coming for its prey, and Honor may have to be a team player if she wants to live. Sure this new guy can growl, but how's his bite? Wait... she knows that already.
As her past and present collide...
Who is fiction?
Who is real?
Who is just a monster anxious for her blood?
So, I'm looking for betas that WILL enjoy the premise of an adult vampire urban fantasy with a twist. I've had dozens of people that have enjoyed this book, so I'm looking for someone to make sure my hook is right and early enough and Honor's voice is clear. So, if you didn't enjoy Twilight... consider this outside your realm of interesting--even though it's a book for adults. I'm really overly protective about this book--so I'm also not looking for strangers. In fact, I might have Di help me eeny-meeny-minie-mo based on who would be the most helpful.
Wow. I'm quite the picky person to be asking for help. Please help...NO..NOT YOU...Anyone but you!!! Not you either!!!
Yeah. I'm a freak, but you all knew that.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Mike raised his glass. "And lastly, I'm thankful for the Witness Protection Program."
His new father-in-law was the first to break the awkward silence. "What's that supposed to mean?" Don Marcos asked.
"It was a joke," Mike said weakly. He'd eloped with their only daughter, and they hadn't taken that lightly. Apparently, she was to have had a giant, lavish wedding with someone who was "people." Mike was not "people." Whatever that meant.
Don looked around at the others. Maria's brother, Little Don, shrugged and cracked his knuckles. Her father's accountant, Two Thumb Tommy, frowned and eyed Mike before shaking his head.
Maria rolled her eyes and said, "Guys, it was a joke."
Big Don laughed first and the others joined in. Don's wife brought in the turkey and handed Don the largest knife Mike had ever seen.
Standing up, Don said, "This here turkey, Mike--strangled it myself just for looking at me funny." A tense moment went by before Don smiled and said, "That was a joke too."
Everyone but Mike laughed. He was fairly certain it wasn't a joke--he'd seen it happen after all.
"Idiot," Tina muttered beside me.
My boss, Jack, raised his eyebrows and reached over to the switch. All of the lights went out. The crew groaned, and someone hit me on the back of the head.
"The newbie here brings up a good point. You'll need to know this place in the dark just as well as in the light," Jack said.
"Idiot," Tina muttered again, kicking my leg. "I vote Slim here tries first then."
"Okay," I said--if for no other reason than to get away from Tina--just so I wouldn't accidentally kill her.
I made my way through the house. I was cheating, of course. They couldn't know that I could see in the dark. I kept that secret. It was more comfortable to be in the dark actually. The air seemed cooler and more comfortable. I was anxious for the coming nights when I wouldn't have to venture out during the day. It had been a while since I'd held down an actual job.
The giant spider hung in the air, limp and plastic, and I smacked it as I ducked beneath it. Walking through the indoor graveyard where I'd be "sitting," I skirted all the gravestones. The sacrilege was barely palatable. If only I'd been able to be in one of the dark hallways. Death had my respect. The quasi-mockery of the dearly departed's remains didn't sit well with me. Still, I was the house's vampire, and where else would I be? Besides, this room didn't have those damn strobes. Why haunted houses all had strobes--I had no idea.
In the "killing room" the chainsaw that Tina would be pretending to be "killed" with caught my eye. Tina was so annoying--and yet--tasty. My fangs rubbed against the inside of my mouth--elongating at the thought of her smooth neck, running rich with fragrant blood. She was type A negative, and it was one of the few things I liked about her. She would be the first to disappear into the dark of my own personal haunted house.
I could hear the others stumbling around in the dark behind me. Oh yes. Say what you will about Christmas, but this was the true season of giving in my world. These silly little freaks had so much to give.
"What would that be?" I asked, ignoring the shocked look from some of my cousins. They saw my grandmother rarely and didn't realize how deeply senility had set in.
"Hussy. She wore black nylons to church when she was there for her grandfather's funeral. Then, she married him, and he's no better." Down came the knife--cut, cut, cut.
"No, he isn't," I agreed.
"He's a gold digger. He's after my money, but I'm going to trick them. I'm going to live forever."
"You do that, Grams," I said, pulling out silverware.
"Oh, dear, not that silverware, Sweetie," she said gesturing at what I had. "Put out the stuff with the little flowers on them. I like those better." She called all of us "Sweetie." It was easier that way.
"You don't have any silverware with flowers on it," I said, looking in the drawer.
All eyes swung to me.
"No?" she asked, confused.
No, my gold-digger of a husband had stolen them last year before I'd divorced his sorry butt. That was a year after I'd worn black nylons to my grandfather's funeral. That marriage was a year too long in my opinion. It was strange the things Grams remembered and the things she forgot.
"Whatever is fine, then, Sweetie," she said, going back to cutting. Cut, cut, cut. "You know that Tessa is no better. Why do you remember that one time when she got drunk at the wedding and went home with one of the waiters?"
I smiled at my cousin, Tessa, whose mouth had dropped open in a large "O." Hopefully, there was a word invented for her too. I saw the moment it dawned on her that she couldn't respond.
Yes, sirree, I was thankful for an interesting family at times like this. I half-way wondered if my Grams was faking this just so she could say all of this to our faces and see our reactions. I was going to be just like her when I got old.
"Then, there was that one Thanksgiving when your Uncle Joe told us that he was dreaming of cross-dressing. No, wait. Maybe he just told me...."
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
This new recruit they'd stuck me with was as dumb as they came. I'd been bailing him out of one mess to the next.
"Trevor," I yelled again. "Oi! You're supposed to be aiming for the middle of its chest, you git!" All he'd managed to do thus far was to make sure the stupid vamp could never have children. How was his aim THAT bad?
"He keeps moving," Trevor yelled back.
This was what came of dropping the benefits and making it contract work. No decent person wanted to stake effin' bloody vampires at five a.m. when the only company was the sanitation workers.
"Training another?" Tim asked as he dumped the trash from a nearby dumpster into his truck.
"Always," I said. "I'm always training another. We're starting off slow-like here in the burb park, but I think it might be a week before we even make it into the city."
Tim laughed and asked, "Hey. Can I have a try?"
I tossed him a stake. Like a javelin, it flew from Tim's hand and right into the vamp's chest as he was trying to fall on top of Trevor. (Why was Trevor laying there?) The stake had just the right amount of power to dust the vamp, but fall effortlessly next to Trevor.
"That was bloody amazing," I said, impressed.
"Thanks," Tim said.
"Would you ever...?" I started to ask.
"No! Are you kidding? I make twice as much doing this," Tim said. He waved and his truck took off.
Trevor wandered back to me. "He kept moving."
"Yes," I agreed.
If you wanted to call that moving.... The old man had been moving slower as a vampire than he probably had in life--and he looked to be over a hundred.
"You just don't have the killer instinct, Trevor. Come on. Let's go back to the building. Dawn is about to break." I tossed him the spare stake bag to put in our trunk.
"What's with all the pouches of blood in the back?" Trevor asked as I opened the driver's side door.
"Bait. If we can't find any, we drop a bag of blood, and they come for miles."
Trevor nodded and slammed the trunk shut.
It was a quiet drive back. I drove Trevor through some of the more vampire-rich areas on our way back--as a sort of inspirational ride. They scurried around in shadows--just waiting their turn to be staked.
We'd parked the car and gotten out when I heard them.
"What the...?" I asked as I stared into the darkness.
"What's that sound?" Trevor asked.
I saw it... a large pool of blood trailing from our trunk out into the street.
"Aww, Trevor! How'd you manage to get blood all over that?"
There was at least a dozen of them snarling in the dark. I opened the trunk to get out the stakes. That's when I realized that Trevor had upended the bag of stakes on top of the now empty bags of blood. We'd been dragging blood all over the city, and now we most likely had dozens of the giant blood-sucking cockroaches heading for us.
"Well, Trevor, today you're actually going to earn your minimum wage. Try to stay alive until the dawn breaks in..." I looked at my watch. Yeah. I'd been training a new guy tomorrow. There was no way Trevor would last twenty minutes. Maybe I'd let the new guy stake Trevor.
"Why?" he asks, pouting.
I check my watch. "Um, in about four minutes you're going to want to eat my brains."
I look at him. "Look. We have to end this. We're over."
"Why?" he asks, pouting.
I check my watch. "Um, in about four minutes you're going to want to eat my brains." It's weird to be wearing a watch, but we were trying to fit "in."
"Are you sure we don't need to do it again? I liked that," he says.
I roll my eyes.
"Anyway, I'm pretty sure you're wrong," the creature who'd chosen the name "Bob" replies. "I watched that documentary on mantis too. It was the female that rips the head off the male after copulation."
"Are we sure that mantis and man are similar?" I ask--again.
"Bob" shrugs. "The great overlord told us that we needed to watch educational television if we were to properly infiltrate this alien life form. Man... mantis... they're just different breeds of the same thing. We've copulated and I've given you my seed... you're supposed to rip my head off."
"Do I have to eat it?"
"C'mon, Batty, we went to all the trouble to time from copulation to cannibalism--we even suffered through those stupid hair soap and infant butt padding ads to get the timing right. Don't you want to fit in?"
"It's BETTY not BATTY."
"Whatever. I told you to go with Jane," "Bob" says.
I ripped his head off--he'd made it fun. There was no way I was going to eat it, though. It's not like he'd know.
"I swear, I have a good excuse!"
"You'd better. You've got three seconds to explain."
"I swear, I have a good excuse!"
"You'd better. You've got three seconds to explain."
Three seconds? Last time she'd given me ten seconds. This didn't bode well for our relationship.
"Aliens," I said. "I was abducted by aliens."
Growling, she hissed, "Owen, you little twerp! What is it with you and aliens? It was cute the first time, but this is the third time, and it's just a little ridiculous to hear from a grown man."
"I swear--it's the truth, Court. They picked me up outside my house, did a little probing, dropped me off here. I'll need a ride to my car. It's on the side of the road about a mile from my house."
She scowled at me. It wasn't attractive, but it seemed a poor time to mention it. "Are you ON something?"
"Like what?" They'd asked me to bring out my girlfriend, but I'd declined--maybe I should mention that--win some points back.
Storming out, the beam caught her mid-stride. As they towed her up into the mother-ship I yelled, "Be strong, Court. It's really not so bad--just stings a bit the first time. I'll just drive your car back to mine--if that's okay. Guys, if you could drop her off at my house when you're done, that'd be great."
Looking down at the movie ticket in my hand, I changed my mind. There was no point in wasting nine bucks, and I'd been anxious to see this.
"Take your time!" I yelled up, pointing back at the theater.
The first time took the longest anyway.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
It stared back. "No."
It stared back. "No."
No, of course it hadn't. Wait. "Are you trying to trick me into thinking you're not a talking cat?" I asked the gray tabby. I couldn't believe I was even having this conversation.
"No," it said again. That creaky voice sounded familiar, and the cat's mouth hadn't moved.
"I'm going to go eat all the lemon cookies, do you want some?" I asked.
"Staaay Awaaay from the lemon cookies! They're not yoooours," it moaned. I saw a tuft of gray hair peek above the back of the couch, slightly above the cat's perch.
"Okay, kids, who switched Grandma's meds out with tic tacs again???!!!" I shouted behind me. "You know how weird she gets when you do that!"
Oh look. Here is my date for the next fifteen minutes. He looks like he just got out of prison.
"My name is Doug," he says, sitting down.
"Amy," I reply with a frozen smile. He's date number six.
Meanwhile, Kendra is at the next table with the guy who I assumed was a mortician and unable to smile, and he's laughing his stupid head off. He'd yawned while talking to me and looked at his watch six times.
I hate speed dating. My fake smile is starting to hurt my cheeks.
"Here are some break the ice questions," I say, holding up the sheet I'd been given in case a date isn't going well. It's true that it's too early to call on this guy, but I have a hunch.
Doug leans forward, saying, "Look. Let's cut to the chase. You want me. I want you. You can try on all these other guys but none of them will make smoke come out your ears as you scream their name...if you know what I mean. Let's just exchange phone numbers, and we'll skip this talking crap."
I look at the break the ice questions and answer them in my head on Doug's behalf. No. As black as my soul. No. A naked lady on my bicep. Yes. An STD. OH YEAH. Smashing beer cans with my head. Seven.
"Alright, Doug," I say, writing down Kendra's cell phone number on a napkin. "Sometimes I like to play hard to get--just to keep it interesting."
"I can't wait. I like the hunt." He fakes a bite in the air, and for a moment--I almost feel guilty.
Then, another round of laughter breaks out from the mortician, and Kendra puts her arm around him, giggling.
"Let me give you my work number too," I add with my first real smile.