The Good Stuff

It’s been a hard day. I don’t like to get political in this blog, preferring to keep my personal and professional life separate, but that’s a hard thing when you’re a writer–a career that, inherently, requires you to expose so much of yourself. So it’s been a hard day. And I know I’m not the only one who’s feeling that way.

I have a tendency to be very self-deprecating (and even self-defeating) at times. It can take a toll on my confidence. One of the things I’ve done through the years, when I get into that mindset, is write down all the things I like and value about myself–the hell with what everyone else things. Today, though, what I need is a reminder of what I like about the world–all the stuff that brings me joy and strength. So here it is, in no particular order.

  1. My amazing husband, whose joy and optimism and zest for life are just unparalleled. There’s so many sub-bullets I could put under this. Hugging my husband. Spending time just chilling with him. Watching movies. Listening to him talk. How he makes me laugh all the time. The way he’s so good with animals. He’s the coolest person I know, and I adore him.
  2. Our cats, cuddly and goofy and crazy.
  3. I have the same best friends I’ve had since high school.
  4. I have in-laws who actually like me!
  5. I’m closer to my brother than I ever thought I would be.
  6. I have the coolest social media friends ever. Every time I scroll through my Facebook feed, I feel like I’ve found my people, weird and geeky as they are. But they’re also so intelligent, and they challenge me to think about things outside my own experience. Even when things get political–as they often do on Facebook–it never devolves into the kind of name-calling and straw-man arguments that I see elsewhere on the internet.
  7. I am following my dream of being a writer!
  8. J. and I have a cozy, lovely house–and it’s ours, not a rental!
  9. Volunteering at the shelter. Much as I love my own cats, I can’t overlook how much joy it brings me to help other people find their Annabels, their Shays, their Jupiters.
  10. We have the most ridiculously comfortable sectional couch ever made. I spent many hours napping there.
  11. BOOKS! SO MANY BOOKS! All the world of books!
  12. I work in a cool office where intelligent, challenging discussions are par for the course.
  13. Guapos (the Mexican restaurant down the street).
  14. Disney World.
  15. The traveling I’ve done, and the traveling I will do.
  16. Creating new worlds in my imagination.
  17. Starbucks Frappucinos.
  18. The excitement of knowing you have a package on the way.
  19. Streaming video, whether TV shows or movies or whatever. I can watch what I want INSTANTLY! Technology rocks!
  20. My childhood teddy bear, Hugge, which is still sitting on our chest of drawers.
  21. Ghiaradelli’s Milk Chocolate and Caramel Bites.
  22. Going to the gym. I forget it sometimes, but I shouldn’t, because spending a few hours a week sweating just makes me feel better about myself and my body (which I’ve always had a fraught relationship with).
  23. The sci-fi/fantasy-themed artwork we have scattered around the house.
  24. Going to conventions.
  25. Sleeping. There’s nothing like curling up onto a nice, warm bed (or couch) and drifting off to dreamland. I nap often.

That’s not everything, but it’s enough for today.

So that’s my advice to you for today: find your joy. Take care of yourself. Do stuff to make yourself happy, even if it’s just a little, and even if it’s just for the moment. There’s strength in your happy place, and there’s nothing wrong with needing to escape there for a while.

How Should Star Wars Handle Carrie Fisher’s Death?

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It’s only been three weeks since Carrie Fisher’s sudden and untimely death, but already the question has emerged: how will the Star Wars franchise handle Fisher’s death? We already know that Fisher completed filming before her death, and that she’ll have a larger role in Episode 8. But that still leaves filmmakers with a dilemma for Episode 9, the final act of the new trilogy.

A few days ago, rumors emerged that Disney was negotiating with Fisher’s estate for the rights to use her digital image, which was, not unexpectedly, met with the predictable freak-out on the internet. The next day, Disney denied the rumors.

But that still leaves Disney with a problem. If Leia was, as reported, supposed to have a significant role in Episode 9, how should the franchise handle her death?

This isn’t the first time an actor has died or left a franchise, so it’s not like there isn’t precedent. Based on how this has been handled in the past, Disney has four options.

The Dumbledore Option

Beloved British actor Richard Harris–the guy played King Arthur, FFS–played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies. But Harris died shortly before the premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Michael Gambon replaced him as Dumbledore for the remainder of the series.

Pros: To me, this is the best option. There’s no getting around the fact that Fisher is dead. But Princess Leia is an integral part of the Star Wars universe, and ending her story prematurely would be a disservice to the fans who have followed this story for 40 years. This way, Disney can say, “Yes, Carrie Fisher is dead, and we’re not going to hide that with camera tricks or digital imaging. We’re going to bring in a different actress as Princess Leia, so that we can finish telling the best story we can and honor the character that Fisher created.” Not to mention the fact that there aren’t a whole lot of roles out there for late middle-aged women. I’m sure there are many talented actresses who could bring something unique to the role.

Cons: Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing her, no matter how talented. Whoever replaces Fisher is going to have a hard time living up to that, and will likely be torn apart by critics and fans alike.

The Grand Moff Tarkin Option

Disney may have denied that they are negotiating with Fisher’s estate for the rights to her digital image, but you can’t tell me this hasn’t crossed their minds. Just last month, Disney successfully used CGI, along with a stand-in actor, to bring Peter Cushing back to play Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One. Cushing died in 1994.

Pros: This would allow Fisher to “perform” the role that she originated 40 years ago. And personally–as I wrote in my review of Rogue One last month–I thought the use of CGI to replicate Cushing was amazing! I’ve spoken to some casual fans of the series, who had no idea that Cushing was dead, and that his performance was a digital rendering.

Cons: Cushing had been dead for 22 years by the time Rogue One released, and he was never as integral to the Star Wars franchise as Fisher. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, you know that Fisher has died, and the wound is much more recent. I’ve also spoken to fans who thought that the digital rendering of Cushing was creepy and unrealistic. Based on the reaction to Cushing’s appearance, I feel like viewers will likely spend more of their time scrutinizing the digital rendering of Fisher than paying attention to the story. Then there’s also all the ethical questions raised by this technology to consider, specifically pertaining to how much control actors have over their voice and images, even after their deaths.

The George McFly Option

Crispin Glover played Marty’s awkward father George McFly in Back to the Future. But when he famously refused to return for the sequels (over disputes over money or the script, depending on who you ask), filmmakers reduced the role and used a combination of another actor and splicing in footage of Glover from previous films to conceal the absence.

Pros: With a reduced role in Episode IX, Fisher’s absence will be noted but less noticeable. Filmmakers can also use a combination of recasting, CGI effects, and archive footage to have Leia in the film to a limited degree instead of writing her out altogether. This is probably the option that will get the least backlash from fans.

Cons: It may be the safest option, but it’s also the least satisfying. Leia has been an integral part of the Star Wars universe from the beginning, so to turn her into a bit character does a disservice to both the story and the fans. This option is also not without ethical implications; Glover successfully sued over the use of his image and facial prosthetics in the Back to the Future franchise. (That said, I think Disney will be smart enough to negotiate the necessary rights with Fisher’s estate ahead of time. Which, to be honest, is going to be a necessary evil no matter how Disney resolves this.)

The Sarah Connor Option

When Linda Hamilton elected not to reprise her role as Sarah Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, filmmakers killed her character off-screen. (We’re told she died of cancer years before the film is set.)

Pros: Since Disney does have the option of negotiating with Fisher’s estate, as well as access to all of Fisher’s archive footage and the Lucasfilm digital technology, we’ve got to assume they’d be able to come up with something better for our beloved princess than offing her unceremoniously off-screen. Story-wise, Kylo Ren has already killed one of his parents; it would make sense that he might kill another. It would also be a great way for filmmakers to say, “We can’t replace Carrie Fisher. We’re not even going to try.”

Cons: Killing Leia might be a salve to Fisher fans, but I don’t know that it would serve the story. Han Solo’s death was probably the most shocking moment in the Star Wars franchise–and one could argue it’s one of the most shocking moments of film history. Wouldn’t killing Leia just dilute that?

TL;DR: All of these options SUCK, because all we really want is for Carrie Fisher to come back and finish playing the role she originated in 1977. But I hope that Disney will think long and hard about the best way to serve the story, the character, and fans of Carrie Fisher.

A Writer’s Christmas Wish: Reviews

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If I could have one thing for Christmas this year, it would be more reviews of The Demon Within on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and other retail and review sites.

We are in an era where new books are being published in hard copy and electronic format every single day. But what that means is that any individual book has a harder time standing out from among the masses. We’re competing for people’s time and entertainment dollars with not just other books, but with television, movies, computer games, smartphone apps, etc., etc., etc.

With so many books out there, it can be hard to separate the ones we’ll like from the ones we won’t. It’s easy to be skeptical about a book when it only has a few reviews, and it makes people less likely to want to spend their money on that book.

Andi Cumbo-Floyd, an author and editor I’ve gotten to know this last year through her blog and social media pages, posted a video a few months ago about the importance of reviews, particularly Amazon reviews. (Amazon uses its review system to do a lot of cross-promotion through those “You May Also Be Interested In” links and their direct e-mails.)

So that’s why I’m asking if you could do me a solid this Christmas. If you’ve read the book, I would be super duper grateful if you posted a review. It doesn’t have to be long or involved. Just a couple of sentences saying what you thought about the book.

And hey…even if you didn’t like the book, I’d still appreciate the review. Don’t get me wrong: I’d much rather you liked the book. But I get that my book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. What you disliked about the book may be exactly why someone else likes it. All reviews are helpful, because they give people different perspectives.

I’ve got to admit, I’m a pretty negligent reviewer. I read a lot, but I don’t review nearly as often as I should. But I’m going to try to remedy that this holiday season. I’ll be spending some of my time off writing reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year, especially for the authors who are not as well known.

Whether it’s for me or someone else, it’s a small thing you can do that will make a huge difference to an author.

 

 

Rogue One: A Good Movie That Should Have Been Great

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Rogue One is a good movie. But it could have been a great one.

So let’s start with the good stuff. This is the darkest of the movies in the Star Wars universe. Not necessarily the bleakest—I think that award goes to The Empire Strikes Back—but thematically and tonally, it is the darkest. The irony here is that the movie spends a lot of time talking about the necessity of hope. It is, ultimately, hopeful—but it also shows you that the cost of hope can be insurmountably large.

It feels much more like a war movie than the other films in the Star Wars universe. Yes, tragic things happen in the other films, but they’re so largely focused on the hero’s journey that they feel, by and large, like adventure movies with coming-of-age themes. In Rogue One, we’re focused more on the scope and the costs of the decades-long rebellion against the Empire—one that has lost almost all hope.

Anyone who has watched A New Hope knows how our rebels’ mission—stealing the plans for the original Death Star—is going to turn out. But still, director Gareth Edwards has managed to give us a movie that is exciting and suspenseful. He’s aided in no small part by a great cast, led by Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso.

I’m absolutely in love with the fact that they brought the long-dead Peter Cushing back as Grand Moff Tarkin. When I heard they were going to digitally insert him into the movie, I figured he’d be in the background for maybe a few seconds, but no—he’s actually got a substantial role in the story! The process of bringing Cushing back involved CGI, a stand-in, and a voice actor. Others disagree with me, but personally, I thought it looked fantastic. I would not have known that there was anything different about Grand Moff Tarkin if I didn’t realize that Cushing had been dead since 1994. (Also, I really, really hope his estate got compensated for this!)

(On a side note, I’m very excited to see where this technology goes as it improves. Could we get a screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and George Clooney? This is a thing that absolutely must happen!)

As for the not-so-good…

The movies in the Star Wars universe are at their best when their focus is on characters. That’s where Rogue One fails. Story-wise, Rogue One had the potential to be better than The Force Awakens. Rogue One charts out entirely new territory in the Star Wars universe, whereas much of The Force Awakens feels—purposefully, I would argue—like a re-tread of A New Hope. But The Force Awakens introduced new characters, showed you who they were and what their motivation was, and made you care about them. By the end of the movie, I was completely invested in the fates of Rey and Finn.

But the characters in Rogue One—even Jyn herself—feel terribly underwritten. There are six—six!—leading rebels in Rogue One. Each of the characters seemed to have potential, and if Rogue One had been a television miniseries the large leading cast could have been an asset. But in 2 ½ hours of screen time, each of them kind of blends into the background. If they had halved the leading cast, and dug deeper into each of them, the movie would have worked much, much better.

And so we’re left with a movie that could have been—should have been—incredibly powerful and emotional. Instead, when I left the theater, I was like, “Okay, that happened.” Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the movie. But it’s disappointing when I think about how much better it could have been.

Sale on THE DEMON WITHIN

Amazon has The Demon Within paperback on sale now for $4.73. I have no idea how long the sale is going to last. So if you’re thinking about buying the book but you’re short on cash, now might be a good time.

Second…I sent out the Goodreads giveaway books on Saturday. US residents should have received their books today. Canadian residents should get them in another week or so. If you don’t receive your book, please feel free to contact me via the e-mail listed on my website.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I’ve been a little busy of late, but I promise a more substantive update soon.

Goodreads Giveaway Update

I finally signed and addressed all the books from the Goodreads giveaway. They will be in the mail tomorrow morning.

Winners were notified by Goodreads. If you don’t receive your book in the next few weeks, feel free to contact me via the e-mail address on my contact page.

I hope the winners enjoy! Stay tuned for more giveaways soon.

Gilmore Girls: What the F*ck Happened to Rory Gilmore?

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Just finished watching the four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and I feel the need to rant.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Okay, first of all…there is a lot to love in the revival. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are in top form as Lorelai and Rory, and the supporting cast seems to have slipped back into their old roles quite comfortably. (Particularly Liza Weil as Paris Gellar, who steals every single scene she’s in. I wish she had been featured more prominently in the series.) And Kelly Bishop was, as always, pitch-perfect as Emily Gilmore. Because of the real-life death of Edward Herrmann (who played patriarch Richard Gilmore), Bishop was given a meatier and more complex storyline than she ever had in the original series. The scenes between Graham and Bishop were the best in the revival–and yes, I’d even say, better than the original series. They had me both laughing and crying multiple times. If either Graham or Bishop don’t pick up an Emmy nod for their roles, I will be very disappointed.

But then there was Rory. What the hell happened to Rory Gilmore?

Before I go on, let me caveat this with some of my own personal biases. I am around the same age as Rory. I, too, was the nerdy, ambitious girl with awkward social skills. I also loathe the stereotype that millennials just can’t get their shit together because they were awarded too many participation trophies growing up. Every time I hear it, I grind my teeth–and then remind myself that Paul Lynde was singing that he didn’t know what was wrong with these “kids today” back in 1963, so obviously this suspicion of “youngsters” isn’t a new phenomenon.

Anyway…

In 2000, Rory Gilmore was introduced to us as a hard-working, intelligent, driven 16-year-old beginning her time at a competitive private school. She later becomes valedictorian of her class. She gets accepted to both Harvard and Yale, but chooses Yale because it’s closer to home. Then after graduation, she gets offered a job as a reporter embedded with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Fast forward to 2016. Rory is adrift. She’s doing freelance work in the journalism industry, but she cannot find a more stable position in the industry–or even manage to find regular freelance work, for that matter. She tries several things, including writing a biography of an erratic British feminist and taking over as editor for the Stars Hollow Gazette (for NO salary!) before deciding that her calling in life is to write a memoir of her and Lorelai’s life.

Sadly, her personal life is in even worse shape. She’s dating a guy named Paul, who is so unmemorable that she literally cannot remember to break up with him. She’s also having an affair with her ex-boyfriend, Logan, who is engaged to a French socialite.

Seriously?

Now, it’s not like Rory hasn’t stumbled in both her personal and professional life before. Once upon a time, she cheated on her first love, Dean, with bad boy, Jess. Then Jess left town, and she lost her virginity to Dean–who was married to someone else by that time. On the professional front, a bad performance review during an internship causes her to steal a boat, get arrested, and drop out of Yale. Talk about an overreaction!

That said, while she was losing her virginity to married guys and stealing boats, she was in her late teens and early 20s. I think most of us did some stupid things when we were that age.

But young Rory was, for the most part, exceptionally mature and driven. Thirtysomething Rory seems to be anything but.

And this is my main complaint: I think Amy Sherman-Palladino got it wrong. The trajectory Rory took just doesn’t seem to make sense, given everything we know about her.

Rory has spent almost a decade working in the ultra-competitive, ever-changing journalism industry. She’s been published in several prestigious publications, but she can’t manage to get freelance work? She goes to an interview with a Buzzfeed-esque website, but she doesn’t even have one pitch ready? I was never convinced that journalism was the right path for Rory. But after nine years, she wouldn’t have stopped and said, “Maybe this isn’t working out for me. Is there something else I can try instead?” Rory was intelligent and driven and, oh, by the way, pretty much the epitome of class privilege. But she hasn’t been able to figure out something better than groveling to write articles on spec about waiting in line?

I can be a little more sympathetic to her ongoing affair with Logan. Who wouldn’t want someone who makes them feel good and still treats them like they’re at their best, when Rory feels anything but. What I don’t understand is how the child of a single mother who got impregnated as a teenager would, apparently, forget to be on birth control. (Could she not afford her Obamacare premium?) Not to mention the fact that she and Logan are both sleeping with other people,* so wouldn’t you be worried about STDs? Honestly, Logan always seemed like he’d be a petri dish of venereal bacteria to me.

*I am assuming Logan is the father of Rory’s baby because, both timing-wise and story-wise, he makes a hell of a lot more sense than Paul the forgettable boyfriend or the unnamed Wookie.

As any good Gilmore fan knows, the last four words are the four words, the very ones Amy Sherman-Palladino planned from the very beginning of the series. And I get what Sherman-Palladino was trying to do. Everything comes full circle. When the series started, Lorelai was a single mom without the involvement of the baby’s father, and now Rory’s facing the same fate. Lorelai and Rory have parallel stories.

Except Lorelai and Rory, for all their closeness, were never the same. Lorelai was the flighty wild child, while Rory was more grounded and serious. Lorelai was endlessly talkative, while Rory was quieter. Lorelai blew off school, while Rory was always studying. Lorelai got pregnant at 16, while Rory didn’t get pregnant until 32–not a teen pregnancy by any stretch.

But by 32, Lorelai was raising a teenage daughter entirely on her own. She was the manager of a successful bed and breakfast, and on her way to owning her own business. Meanwhile, at 32, Rory can’t even manage to find her own underwear.

I just don’t buy it.

 

 

Five Reasons You Should Read Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Books

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The latest book in Seanan McGuire’s long-running October Daye urban fantasy series, Once Broken Faith, came out a little over a month ago. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a McGuire fangirl. I love her writing, and I recommend this series every chance I get.

But now we’re 10 books in…and frankly, it can be a little intimidating to start a long-running series. I’ve seen many series lose steam and direction after a few books are out.

That’s not the case here.

I thought I’d break it down, point by point–the five reasons you should pick up the October Daye books if you haven’t already:

1) The long-term payoff. One of the big problem with long-running series is that they often lose focus as they go on. Not true with the October Daye books. You can tell that McGuire has a firm hand on her world and characters. Information will be revealed in one book that may not pay off until several books later. Even 10 books in, we are still waiting for answers to a lot of important questions. A lot of the tension in the story builds from the fact that other people know things that Toby herself does not. McGuire uses this tension skillfully, and it’s very much to the story’s benefit.

2) Fantastic worldbuilding. One of the things I’ve always admired about McGuire’s writing is her amazing ability to build worlds. Whether it’s the ghostly Midwest of yesteryear in Sparrow Hill Road or the mythological creature-rich world of her InCryptid series or a boarding school for kids who have been sucked into parallel universes in Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire has an incredible ability to create a world out of the fantastic that feels real in its vividness and complexity. In this series, fae live among humans, hiding in plain sight. There are rules, social norms, dress codes, territories, and conflicts, and they are all drawn out so vividly that you feel like you’re there.

3) Slow-burn romance. These books definitely sticks more to the urban fantasy side of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance spectrum, but that doesn’t mean Toby is completely romance-free. But it takes a long time to get there, and it may not be with the person you initially expect. But by the time you do get some payoff from the romance, you really feel like they’ve earned it. In addition, it’s not—shall we say—graphically depicted, so those who prefer less explicitness in their fiction are in the clear.

4) Real consequences. Some writers seem to believe that “fantasy” is essentially a “get out of jail free” card. Killed off a beloved character? Just bring them back to life! Burned down a major city during your epic battle? That’s okay, you can just use the magic restoration potion to fix everything. But in the October Daye universe, things stick. Bad things happen, and there are sometimes long-term consequences. McGuire is also—be warned—willing and able to kill beloved characters…permanently. But the bad things in Toby’s world make the good things seem all that much more special.

5) Great side characters. Sometimes in urban fantasy, the side characters don’t feel as complex or developed as the protagonist. Not so here. Everyone from the King of Cats to the ancient sea witch to Toby’s teenage squire to Toby’s death omen (long story, don’t ask) have rich, compelling inner lives. As a bonus, McGuire has written several short stories and novellas set in Toby’s world featuring many of these characters as protagonists. (Many of these stories are free on McGuire’s website.)

And as a bonus…

6) LGBT representation. McGuire is a very outspoken advocate for inclusion in fiction, and she practices what she preaches. Bisexuality is the norm in fae culture, particularly among pureblooded fae, so you get to see many of the characters engage in same-sex relationships. One of the secondary characters is also transgender, but we don’t find out until well after the character has been introduced, and it’s dropped into the story so casually you might forget about it. But the coolest part about the inclusion is that it’s not a big deal within the story. Nobody makes an issue of it, and it’s not the defining characteristic for any of these characters. They are not included in the story as the “token” queer characters; they each play roles in the story that have nothing to do with their sexuality or gender identification.

So there you go. If you haven’t done so already, pick up Rosemary and Rue. It’s a great book, and the books get stronger as you go along. And if you have, let me know what you think!

 

DemonWithin CoverOn another note…

My Goodreads giveaway is still running through November 11. I’m giving away 15 signed, personalized copies of my urban fantasy novel, The Demon Within, about a young woman who finds out that she’s half demon–just in time for the entire angelic population of Manhattan to start hunting her down. If you’re interested, you can enter here.

 

Cat Life

The Wake-Up Call

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Annabel in all her adorableness.

ANNABEL: (Jumps on my bladder. Purrs. Hopes for the best.)

 

ME: Blergh. Five more minutes…zzzzz. (I roll over.)

SHAY: (Jumps on my chest. Purrs. When he sees that’s not working, he begins to meow. When he sees that’s not working, he starts making a loud, chewing noise in my ear, kind of like a cow chewing cud. Then he meows some more. Loudly.)

ME: Zzzzzzzzz… (I pull a pillow over my head.)

JUPITER: (Jumps on my head. Gets pushed off the bed. Runs back and forth across the house several times. Jumps back on the bed again. Bites me.)

ME: Ow! What the fu–

JUPITER: Oh, you’re up.

Feeding Time

ME: Okay, it’s time to get food!

(All three cats run into the kitchen.)

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Shay, our scaredy-cat and our chatterbox.

SHAY: I’m so hungry! So hungry! I’m probably dying! I haven’t been fed in five hours! If you ever loved me at all, please feed me!!!

 

JUPITER: I will eat your food, and your food and your food, and ALL THE FOOD!

ANNABEL: (Waits patiently.)

ME: (Gives Annabel her medicine.)

SHAY: What is taking so long??? Can’t you see that I’m DYING over here? Literally dying! I’m dead. I’m dead.

JUPITER: I want chicken, I want liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix, please deliver!

ANNABEL: (Takes meds. Strolls to water fountain. Drinks.)

ME: (Opens cans of food.)

SHAY: I’m almost dead! Seriously! I mean it this time!

JUPITER: Whee! (Jumps on counter. Eats all the food from the can in one bite.)

ME: Jupiter, dammit! (Carries Jupiter to office–where his food bowl is located, by the way–and shuts door behind him.)

JUPITER: (Crying from behind door.) Torture! Murder! What hast I done to deservest this cruel fate?

SHAY: You? I haven’t eaten in five hours and FIVE minutes!

JUPITER: Whose fault is that? There’s a whole smorgasbord right in front of you.

SHAY: We’re not all heathens who eat Styrofoam take-out boxes from garbage cans! You know how that messes with my digestion!

ANNABEL: (Grooms self.)

ME: (Puts bowl in front of Shay.) Here you go.

SHAY: Finally! (Takes one bite. Throws up.)

ME: Dammit! (Cleans up puke. Turns to Annabel.) All right, Annabel, your turn.

ANNABEL: (Strolls up to bedroom. Waits patiently.)

ME: Here you go. (Sets food down.)

ANNABEL: You know, I was really in the mood for chicken tonight…

Bug Invasion

(A bug crawls up the living room wall.)

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Jupiter makes a friend.

ANNABEL: (Glances up from her perch on the side of the couch. Sees bug.) So there’s a spot on the wall that’s moving. Is someone going to get that? Or something? Whatever. (Goes back to sleep.)

 

SHAY: Oh my God! It’s an insect! It’s so big! It’s got to be about an inch long! It’s going to eat me! I know it’s going to eat me! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (Runs away.)

ME: (Walks into living room upon hearing commotion.) What’s wrong, Shay? (Sees bug.) OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, there’s a bug, it’s got to be at least two inches long, I’m going to die!!!!! (Runs away.)

JUPITER: (Walks into living room.) What’s going on? Where’s everyone going? (Sees bug.) Ohhhh, protein! (Eats bug.)

ME: (Dragging husband downstairs) There’s this HUGE bug on the wall, I mean, it’s got to be about four inches long, with these gigantic tentacles…

HUSBAND: Where? I don’t see any bugs.

JUPITER: (Licks lips.) Could use more salt.

Demon Within Giveaway!!!

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I am so excited!!! I am giving away 15 free copies of The Demon Within on Goodreads. The giveaway runs from now until November 11, and I will sign and personalize each copy for the winner.

The Demon Within is what I’d consider “dark urban fantasy”–it has paranormal elements, and it’s set in a contemporary, realistic world. But it’s darker and grittier than some other urban fantasies you may have heard of, like the Sookie Stackhouse books (on which the “True Blood” TV series was based). It’s not YA; I’d say the appropriate age group is probably 16+.

Here’s the book description:

Heaven is hunting Dale Highland…

For 10 years, she’s been on the run, plagued by violent blackouts and increasingly baffled by a growing array of superpowers–mind control, super strength, enhanced healing abilities.

What Dale doesn’t know is that Heaven’s greatest bounty hunter, John Goodwin, has been on her trail the whole time. When John finally corners her in New York City, he reveals the source of her powers: her mother was a demon.

The forge an unlikely connection and go on the run. In pursuit are his fellow bounty hunters, a deadly guild of angels known as the Thrones. Their goal: eradicate all demons–which includes Dale. As they flee across New England, Dale delves into the mystery of her own heritage and discovers that she’s a key figure in the ancient war between angels and demons.

Only this time, the angels are the bad guys.

Fine print: the giveaway is open to readers in the United States and Canada. Winners are selected at random by Goodreads, and I won’t get the winner list until after the drawing.

I’m very excited about this, and I hope to have more giveaways coming up in the near future.