Everyone needs one.
Q: How did I get so much writing done today?
A: Hound help
Jack Reacher addresses my issues with dangling particples.
But he is only willing to work so hard. A hound must rest.
My artist Amalia Chitulescu works with me as if she’s psychic. She understands the mood and tone I want for my covers, and the results– if I may say so– are spectacular.
When I was sending her notes about the direction for the cover of The Forest Bull, she immediately keyed on what I was attempting to describe.
We began with the forest primeval. Simple enough, but the quality of the first image is stellar.
So the mood is set. It’s deep, ancient, and a touch threatening, just as it should be. Then, we needed a model who was elegant, thin, but in motion. She had to possess the quality of beauty that was both threatening and disdainful.
That, as the story goes, is Elizabeth. We had to remove some of the accessibility and warmth. Fair enough. By using blues and cool tones, we end up with a mystery and a woman who is at the very heart of it all.
And with that, the danger and unknown come to life. The Aurochs walks behind Elizabeth, regal in his domain, but we can tell there is much more to the story.
And much more to Elizabeth.
I’m featured over at their site. They’re totally dedicated to all things that go bite in the night.
If you enjoy paranormal, vamps, ghouls, or refugees from the DMV, then stop on over. We’ve got something for you.
*As interviewed by local reporter J. Burton (His questions are in regular type)
Miss Delphine, thank you for speaking with us today.
It’s my pleasure. I appreciate your asking in such a proper fashion. Manners are so scarce.
Thank you, as well. And the cake is a nice surprise. The wine, too.
(Laughs) Well, if one cannot bring baked goods or wine, then a smile will have to do. I bring all three.
According to your—er, boyfriend, Ring Hardigan—
–He’s not my boyfriend.
He’s not? But you are in a relationship?
Yes. But as I am older than Jesus Christ, I find the notion of a boyfriend to be rather childish. We’re two adults in a—well, it is complex, but relationship will have to do for now.
You are. . . more than two thousand years old?
(Frowns). Two thousand, three hundred and forty or so, but it’ rather rude to ask a lady her age or weight.
My apologies. You were saying?
Ring and I are connected, yes, and to clarify, I am immortal, and Ring hunts immortals. His partners, Risa and Waleska, assist him in this pursuit. He is—pardon me, they are—I must give credit where it’s due—quite skilled at removing Undying from the earth. The three partners are utterly without fear, capable of holding a grudge that makes me seem mild in comparison, and oddly compassionate. I confess, they frighten me somewhat, even though I am rather skilled in my own right.
Skilled as an immortal?
Could you elaborate?
I prefer not to, unless you’ve a need for a demonstration?
Ummm. Would this demonstration hurt?
(Laughs) Sweetheart, nothing I do to man hurts. Unless he wants it to.
Well, let’s just continue with the interview for now, please.
Very well. But I haven’t had. . . lunch, yet. If you’d care to get better acquainted. I do enjoy a man with a thirst for knowledge.
So, Miss Delphine, could you describe your career to us?
Certainly. Where to begin? I was born nearly twenty-four hundred years ago off the coast of Scotland. After raiders put my home to the torch, I was saved—cursed, really, by a woman who aspired to be the queen of Hell. After centuries of strife and wandering, I finally settled in New Orleans, some two centuries ago.
The Queen of Hell?
Yes, Elizabeth really did think highly of herself.
Elizabeth? And where is she now?
(Laughs). Honey, Ring Hardigan sent her to meet her maker. It did not go well for her, I might add.
He killed her?
In a sense, yes. He’s killed dozens of immortals. As I said, he’s very good at it.
And yet he has not killed you? Why, may I ask?
(Pause) Because I am reborn. I have begun the long path to make amends for my sins. And I am very, very good in bed.
(Laughs) But aren’t you a succubus who kills men for money? Wouldn’t he die from— being with you?
Oh, child. Ring, and Waleska and Risa? They’re becoming immortals as well. And Ring knows that every erotic moment with me only makes him stronger, and more capable of killing that which he is changing into. Plus, let us not forget that I have never killed men for money.
No, sweetheart. (Laughs) I only kill for the kisses.
That’s the question I asked when I moved “South”.
Technically, I moved North to go South, as my home area, deep at the end of Florida, is more akin to Brooklyn with palm trees and better weather. Regardless, I found myself wondering what roadside memorial crosses were as they were new to me. Some were garish, others dusty and forgotten; all were sad. This short horror story is the genesis for my series “The Fearless”. I hope you enjoy, and please– let me know what you think. If you love it, great, and if not? I’ve got a callback at Target in their pet department (I can lift heavy things).
Without further ado:
Dear Publishaurus: It’s over.
You had a good run. As gatekeepers, you were able to determine what was “good” or “bad”. You mercilessly sheared artists for the bulk of their rightful funds, and you did so all while demanding that the clamoring masses come to you in your shrine (New York) in order to reinforce this system.
Then came Napster.
I can draw a direct line between the immolation of the music industry and the ongoing crumbling of what has been a model of archaic business practice– the publishing world. Amidst the cheers of this new landscape, there are stalwart detractors who immediately use the same arguments in order to stave off the inevitable.
“Traditional publishers protect the public from poorly crafted art.”– Uh-huh. And where were you during the heady days of soft core smut that flooded the market and made dump trucks of money for you and your authors who tapped into the frustrated sexual zeitgeist of middle class women? Do the names Pat Booth, Judith Krantz, and Sidney Sheldon mean anything to you? They wrote, in my opinion, some of the most marketable fiction (that happened to be soft-core porn) of the past forty years, and yet I didn’t see them being held back from the delicate palate of the general public. Perhaps I missed that altruism on your collective part, but I doubt it.
There are absolute gems among the Indies of the publishing world, and anything other than embracing your new overlords is a death rattle that wastes your dwindling freedom on arguing a point that smart publishers will have conceded five years ago. The barn door isn’t just open, it’s off the hinges.
“We provide business acumen that independent authors cannot understand.”– That may have been true prior to the digital age, but now, that assertion isn’t merely false, it’s lazy. The speed with which Indies act is beyond anything that a publishing house can muster. Another issue: Indies share. Indies help one another, and we do it in a manner that is organic, inexpensive, and result-oriented.When your budget is smaller than most grocery bills, creativity and firing for effect become the norm. Lean becomes efficient, and that leads to– with the proper product– sales that weren’t generated by an ossified industry that still regards the right to determine artistic value as their own domain. And much like the larger dinosaurs who had primitive yet redundant nervous systems, the death throes are already occurring at the other end of the beast.
Don’t worry. The head will catch up soon, and when it does, the surprise will be as genuine as we in the Indie community expect.
Remember, we’re watching from the front.
Sometimes, research can be rather lovely.
I type that in the most reserved terms possible, but only in honor of the proverbial stiff upper lip of the British. I realized that my next character was going to be:
3) Really British
4) Beautiful in a refined way.
With apologies to the rest of the planet/galaxy/universe (in honor of James Joyce, who isn’t British, but was in the vicinity), I stayed close to home, so to speak, and looked at women who were already considered to be the prototypical Rosa Brittania. The results were decidedly elegant and more than a bit surprising. As it turns out, these women were often dark of eye and hair, yet retained some of the qualities that are traditionally associated with British women, such as the tendency to burst into flame under direct sunlight.
For your consideration , here are a few of my finds:
The lovely Jessica Raine. She’ll do.
Did I mention the character is, naturally, partially evil, morally conflicted, immortal, and possesses a high libido? I write the words, so I make the rules. Leave Freud out of this one.
Moving on. How about Kelly Brook, a woman of whom I was unaware. How that happened, I attribute to my diligence at writing and general ignorance about celebrity across the pond.
Which brings me to my last, logical choice. Lady Mary Crawley. Never has prim looked so hot. With that in mind, I find myself cheerfully writing about a reformed blood-drinking murderess and imagining– with every phrase– that she speaks with such precision, it would be impossible to brand her cretinous. Except for the whole eating people over twenty centuries thing.
So, that’s the state of affairs this early Sunday morning, as I settle in to write a bit more, edit a bit more, and dream a bit more of finding out that manners– like the immortals– are here for the long haul.