Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Sequels, Prequels and Social Networking…Oh My!

TODAY’S BREW: some weird thing from Hannaford

It’s late.

Kristen just returned seconds ago from some big movie makeup job (yay, Kristen!), and I just returned from an hour nap with my 5 year old. Get ready to work!

Now, not so long ago, this is the time when both of us would have immersed ourselves totally in writing our first novels. We would both be in pajamas, drinking coffee against our better judgment, running up and down stairs doing laundry, talking about Callie and Tristan and Eliza and Nicholas like they were right there in the room. TV would be on, usually something more to amuse Kristen’s cockatiel than to amuse us, but occasionally I would be forced to watch Chronicle. There was always cookie making at the same time (God forbid we sit still), or minimally cookie-eating of Oreos. There was a pattern, and it was comfortable, and creative, and we flourished with it.

Kristen’s cockatiel, McGee.

Here we are, a year later, and the process of writing novels has evolved immeasurably. Just two days ago we sat together, room silent, looking at each other.

Julie: Wanna read what I wrote?
Kristen: Yeah! Eat some pizza.
Julie: I have no cash.
Kristen: Did I ask if you had any? Eat some pizza. What do we need to do tonight?
Julie: We gotta post my book on Authonomy. And we gotta check out how much it costs to go to the Agent Hoopla in November. Could go over some blog ideas.
Kristen: Are we writing at all? Are we drinking at all?
Julie: We could. Let me see what you have. And let’s go to the liquor store.

It was then that we realized that for the first time in a long time, our agenda was pretty undetermined. No agent queries to pull our hair out over, no blogs to worry about, now that we had a steady process between us for that, no laundry to do.

And no novels to write.

The fact of the matter is, we both have clear visions of where our stories go next. We can bounce our ideas off of each other and edit each other’s works in small doses, but we both prefer the most creative parts of the process be done alone now. Our sequels are both well underway, and now our biggest problems are just how in Hell do we do everything we need to do to ensure the success of our first novels while writing another one? Or two?

So, it was 11:00, and we went to Walmart. We wanted a dry erase board, and had no other serious pending matters. Dry erase board seemed like the answer to all of our problems. Office supplies change the game. We needed somewhere to write everything…big…that we need to do in a day from blogging, to writing our sequels, to writing our prequels/spinoffs, to stalking our backers on Authonomy, to facebooking. Looked like our job was a lot more now about social networking than it was about just nurturing our creativity. So, what do we do when we are together now? Sometimes, there is so much on your plate, it looks like there’s nothing on your plate. This is where we find ourselves now. Our routines require total recall, and we need to take the writing adventure to the next level.

What we have determined is that we both need to come to the table with a minimum of one new chapter per week to discuss. I need to work 5 days a week on Running Away, book 2, and spend the other 2 days on the prequel, with no more than 2 hours spent social networking of all kinds. Kristen just needs to survive her workweek in Movieland. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that we endlessly support each other and remain committed to keeping each other committed. We know that we will hold each other responsible for continuing this journey that has begun, and to make it into something greater than it is already.

The Undead Duo never rests in peace! (Get it? Rest in peace?)

Follow Kristen on Twitter! It’s fun. I promise.


The Social Writer: Being Social Isn’t Just for Drinkers

TODAY’S BREW: Hazelnut. I like to call it Hazelnut Madness. No reason.

Last night, Kristen and I were up until the wee hours again, working on our aspiring writing careers. Sure, we drank, but not a lot, and it was Friday night, after all. Yeah, there was pizza, but a girl has to have an inspirational dinner, right? By the end of the night, though, we had posted Running Home on Authonomy for the world to see, we had reviewed ideas for a prequel to Immortal Dilemma, brainstormed on both of our sequels, and come up with a solid expectation for ourselves on how we need to divide up our days. After all, this adventure is no longer just about writing a fun little book. We have sequels to work on. I am working on both a sequel and a spinoff Young Adult novel. And the politics of social networking is a full time necessary evil.

I think I speak for both of us when I say that we both greatly look forward to these nights we have together. And we know how lucky we are to have them. It seems the resounding theme of writers everywhere is that being a writer is a lonely job. Sure, there are no teambuilding excercises, or weekly conference calls, or training modules with 20 people or more that you don’t want to associate with, like in Real Job X. I will go out on a limb so as to say that most of us might feel a little lonelier in the company of a bunch of people who don’t know we are writing books in our heads all day.

Kristen and I make writing a social event. The first time we wrote Immortal Dilemma together was in a bar, for crying out loud. We get out of our comfort zone (mentally…physically we are in sweatpants mostly), and we tell our crazy ideas to the other, out loud. It’s one of the only times we both feel really understood. And writing together has given us the courage to get our dreams out in the open. I tell people with pride now of my accomplishments thus far in writing…and immediately, I tell Kristen who I told and what the reaction was. Because we are in this together. Anything but lonely.

So, for all those lonely writers out there…writing is only lonely if you keep it to yourself. Get your craziness out there, so that you can be celebrated for being an original. Being alone and being unique are two different things.

Not Everybody Has to Like You…the rejection letter

TODAY’S BREW:  chocolate something or other

So.  It happened today.  Both Kristen and I got our very first rejection letters from an agent. The very same one. Form letters. They weren’t bad, they just said that she wasn’t that in to us and she thought it was best if we all saw other people.

This is not the point where we start to wonder if we are going down the right path or not.  We made damn sure that we were.  We have been very careful every step of the way.  And in being so cautious, we also knew that our first query letters, no matter how good we thought they were, would not be our best ones.  Confidence gets gained along the way of this process, and it shows in the query letter.

However, I will never be confident in using the word “query.”

We didn’t send out 40 letters to 40 agents randomly.  We carefully selected a long list of agents that represent the genre, first and foremost, and who we think would have interest in our works.  From that list, we picked who our dream agents would be.  Then we gave them nicknames without trying to. It was kind of like picking a list of colleges to apply to.  We sent out our first five queries.  Even though we knew these were not probably going to pan out, we did extensive research on each one.  We worked together on our queries.  We put a lot of care into them.

This is usually where a person would feel bitter disappointment and start questioning their own abilities and judgment.  But we are not those people.  I am not going to sling you crap about what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  I will tell you that being rejected was part of the plan.  That’s why we started off slow, and with our worst bets.  Sure, we both wondered, ‘what if this one wants to represent me?’  but we knew the chances were slim.  And we know where we are going from here, hopefully with some insight.

While we await more replies, we continue to have people read our works.  We take all criticism seriously, and consider common themes, while continuing to stand by our original ideas.  We are putting the full manuscripts on Authonomy for more solid critique, and some community.  And we write our sequels.  We treat these novels like a small career, and work towards making that happen continuously.

In my long and illustrious career in panty sales for the most prestigious ladies underthings company in the world, I was often given the reins of deciding who to promote, or put in charge of special projects or what have you.  Always someone who wasn’t chosen and thought they were a shoe-in was disgruntled.  Always there was someone asking what was wrong.  And the answer was always the same:  “She didn’t give it to me.”  Inevitably, I would end up having to pull this person aside for their unprofessional attitude, and once again address why they had not been promoted.  Every time I would get a long list of excuses why they had been dealt bad cards.  My answer to them was always the same: “It’s not why I didn’t give it to you…it’s why you didn’t get it.”

Whatever the rejection, the way to see through it is to take control of it.  What, if anything, do I need to change to get to my goal?  Have I given the best of myself to be considered, or is there something that I am holding back?

So, rejection letter #1 will have me go back, and reevaluate my pitch, and whether or not my voice came through.  I am willing to bet that my mind-numbing fear in sending it showed.  The next one will not have a note of fear in it.  I will refine, and build the confidence on paper that I feel in my heart for this novel.  We see the forest through the trees.

And Kristen and I will repeat our mantra: Not every agent has to like it.  Just one.







Ellie Morgan, meet Kings of Leon

TODAY’S BREW:  tea.  just regular black tea.  that’s okay sometimes.

(Note from Kristen:  I couldn’t embed video in this post like I thought I could, so to hear the song, click on the links.)

So, I have a revolving soundtrack to my life, as I am sure many of us do.  Since writing Running Home has encompassed a major portion of my life, even before I became partially unemployed, it has its own soundtrack, too.  It’s not always one that I expect…I listen to so much Rob Zombie, (doing it right now at Kristen’s), it would be natural to assume he appears in there, but shockingly, he does not. Much of the time I will hear a song while driving, the only place I occasionally get to hear grown up music, and it just fits into something I am working on, like it naturally gels with my brain.

The one time I actually heard a song for the first time, and was inspired to write a scene from scratch, was with Kings of Leon’s “Closer.” I still remember how I had to remind myself to relax because I was freaking out to get home and write when I heard it.  I listened to it about 15 times in a row.  Still do, actually.  My five year old likes it, too, thank goodness, or I would never hear the end of it every time I start it over.  “Closer” is one of the major inspirations for my novel.  It just opened up a lot inside me, and really had the same tone and feeling that this novel has. If a song could play when you opened the cover, this is the one you would hear when you open the theoretical cover of Running Home.  It almost makes me cry how perfect it is.

But one scene in particular was born because of this song, would never have existed if I hadn’t become a little obsessed with it.  So, here it is…from Chapter 26…

I awoke from the most gratifying sleep I have ever had with not a hint of drowsiness in my body.  I felt tingly with life, ready for anything.  But I knew exactly what I was most ready for.

I swung my legs out of Nicholas’s low bed, and grabbing a sweater he’d left in a heap near the door, ventured to the kitchen.  The back door still wasn’t perfectly aligned, so it squealed as I pulled it open.  The workboots Nicholas wore to shovel were at the door.  I slid into them like a child playing dress-up.

This was no game.  I had no time to waste.  He was coming.

I walked out into the cold, crunchy snow and still darkness, across the vast lawn that rose into the hills, topped by the larger than life forest.  The night was bruise black but for the immense full moon that appeared so close I wanted to reach out and touch its cratered surface.

Then something more incredible came into view.

He appeared, rising over the hill as he trudged through the snow at the edge of the woods.  The silver moon illuminated him, a halo around his silhouette of curls and luminescent face, an angel.  The rest of his powerful frame began to appear over the hill.  He was shirtless, wearing only the ordinary black jeans from days before, so out of place on such an inhuman creature.  The angles and curves of his herculean body glided across the snow, radiating power and agility.  He was a god, a beastlike angel, moving between worlds in one night.  I could not even lust after his perfection, so extraordinary and otherworldly he was.

As he grew closer I realized how I gawked, paralyzed by his flawlessness, and went quickly to him, but he crossed far more ground than I in the short time.  He stopped, inches from me.  His scent was of blood and earth, like a jungle cat would smell.  I breathed relief, knowing it made him whole.

That’s enough!  No more book for you!

Thank you, Kings of Leon, who I think are always fighting nastily with each other, but they did great things for me.

Callie’s In Over Her Head

To continue the Ferris Bueller analogy, life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around, you may miss it.  And as you can see from our last post, teenage girls can get in over their heads pretty quickly when left to their own devices at rock concerts.  And here is what happens to Callie out at a show for an evening.   This is an excerpt from Chapter 50:

I hit the bathroom door a little too hard and felt conversation stop on the other side.  I smiled nervously at the women in there smoking.  Smoke filled my nostrils and fogged the whole bathroom, but not too much for me to see one of the girls wearing the very same dress I was wearing.  And the same shoes.  The salesgirl from the store!

“I knew it!” she said, with a too-friendly smile.

“Hi,” I mumbled, and closed myself in a stall, eyes shut.  When I opened them, the visual I had to match the smell in there was Immortal Dilemma graffiti and stickers all over the door.  I rolled my eyes, and tried to just ignore it all as I just stood in there.  I needed just a minute to breathe, even this air, and remind myself that this was all for Blade, and me, and not about anything to do with Immortal Dilemma, or Tristan.  I wouldn’t let it be that.

I opened the door, knowing that the salesgirl and her friends were still there, but went about my business, washing my hands and not looking too nervous I hoped.

“So, it’s true, then?  Immortal Dilemma’s playing here tonight, right?”

I pursed my lips and looked the one who had spoken in the eyes.  “No.  No, they are not.  Have you seen the flyers?” I said pointing at one of the flyers on the wall advertising Blade’s show that night.  She smiled at me, like we had a secret, and I went back out to the bar.

On the way there, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the people in this rather excessive crowd thought they were catching an impromptu Immortal Dilemma show.  How many of these girls were here for Tristan?

How much did I have to do with that?

“Is there anywhere we can be a little more…private…for a minute?” I asked Blade over the loud music when I got back to him and the small crowd that he had amassed. He smiled at me and nodded.

I followed him up a flight of winding stairs near the back of the club, where things were much quieter, and the crowd had thinned quite a bit.  My mouth was dry with nerves that Blade had noticed how many of this crowd was wearing a little too much leather, black eyeliner, and other Immortal Dilemma garb.

He quickly turned on the staircase, and I gasped with surprise as he caught me up in his arms, bending me backwards over the railing, and kissed me with such intensity that I forgot where we were, or that anyone else even existed but him and I.  When he let me go, it took me a minute to open my eyes.  I could feel my dumbstruck smile.

“Did I thank you for coming tonight?” he whispered in my ear.

Follow Kristen on Twitter!  @Kristen Strassel

Read the synopsis for IMMORTAL DILEMMA here.

Thank You!!!

TODAY’S BREW:  we are both doing hard time on water.  Don’t love it.
Deadly Ever After has been alive and kicking for a whole month!  We are ECSTATIC about the interest all of you have taken in the foolishness we have posted.  More importantly, we could not be happier in the support we have gotten thus far for our first novels.  Your encouragement is appreciated like you would not believe.

We are psyched to have actual followers! I mean, it’s just us!  The people we have had the chance to interact with from all over the world in just one month is nothing short of inspirational. For the first time, we feel a real sense of community with other writers, and we owe it to you.

Feel free to comment, on any old thing!  All of your opinions are sought after, at least by Kristen and Julie.  Your input has everything to do with the success of our writing careers, so don’t be shy!  We can take criticism like champs…we want it, even.  Tell us what you would like to see more/less of, or how you feel about the excerpts we have posted.  Tell us what works for you.  We pore over this blog like it’s a tiny little bird that we have to feed every hour.

Next, we want to hear from Russia.  That’s right, the ol’ hammer and sickle is very quiet!

Thank you all again, and keep reading!

Tonight We Rock Hartford

Tonight’s brew:  Starbuckian Goodness that cannot be touched until the wee hours of the morning when Kristen hits the road for work.  Yes, I have to be up at 3:30 in the morning.  And you thought show business was glamorous.

Kristen: One of my beta readers for IMMORTAL DILEMMA remarked that she was surprised that Callie could get in over her head so fast.  She is eighteen and trying to navigate her way through Las Vegas and the rock and roll scene with very little guidance.  I moved to Las Vegas when I was in my late twenties and found myself in over my head!  So here our real life account how fast things can get out of hand when two teenagers hit the road to see a show.

When I get an idea in my head, there is no telling me no.  Especially when I was a teenager.  I was always the social coordinator.  If someone came up with what they thought were valid, concrete reasons against whatever I was campaigning for, I would always figure out away around them.  I’d scrounge for change.  I’d let people say they were staying at my house to get them out for the night.  I’d figure out rides for dozens of people.  I’d always worm my way in.  Back then, there was no such thing as this internet machine that tells us everything instantly, so I used to have to go hound my friendly neighborhood Ticketmaster outlet for details on when my favorite bands were coming.  They’d give me all the information for all the shows in New England.  Bad move, friendly neighborhood Ticketmaster outlet.  Even back then, distance was never an obstacle for me. Too many times there was a map laid out on the floor of the apartment, Julie and I poring over it, determining where our next path of destruction would take us.  It may help in explaining why I’ve already worked in seven states this year.  So anyway, when I found out Metallica was playing in Hartford, it was mandatory for Julie and I to attend.

I managed to secure my mom’s car for the overnight trip, as long as I dropped her off for work in the morning, which happened to be at our high school, a place we didn’t think it was necessary to grace with our presence that day.  This was to happen often, for reasons like watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and sunbathing.  My mother reluctantly agreed, albeit really quickly, and told us, “Fine, just pick up your Memere and bring her back with you.”  Deal.  Julie’s parents thought this was such a good idea they financed the trip.  (side note:  thanks, Julie’s parents, who did not have a pot to piss in.)  They even got us a hotel room in what we thought was the nicest hotel in the city, which we hoped the band was also staying in.  We were golden.  Julie’s sister, Marie, also always full of ideas, both good and bad, was attempting to drive big rigs at the time (not one detail in this story is made up, not even this one), so she helped us map out the most direct route to Connecticut.  Our bags were packed with our best concert finery and our bottle of Captain Morgan tucked securely inside and we were ready to hit the road.  (How we secured said bottle is not relevant.)

Our mapping process did not include locating gas stations, a detail that I am not sure would even have been possible back then.  Though we did roll into a gas station on fumes, literally, the trip went without incident besides.  Until we arrived at the Sheraton Hartford.   We headed to the desk with all the confidence of Ferris, Cameron and Sloane getting a table at Chez Quis.  We might as well told them we were also Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago, because the front desk said no can do to your reservation, little girls.  Somehow, Julie’s mother had got a new credit card in the meantime and the number the hotel had on file was no bueno.  We had to dig for change and find a pay phone to call her long distance to let her know about the problem.  She then called the new number into the hotel and it was game back on.  However, the hotel changed our room one more time, putting us in a room with no plumbing, so then we were changed once again.

There was a mall that connected the hotel to the arena, which we thought was the coolest thing we’d ever seen, so of course we went shopping.  We set off an alarm in one store looking at music magazines.  We needed a mixer for the Captain, so we stopped at the liquor store (yes, there was a liquor store in the mall) and got some pineapple juice.   The clerk proclaimed up “healthy metalheads” and seemed a bit disappointed when we enlightened him on its real purpose.

Our new room was on a floor full of concert goers, so we joined in the pregame festivities.  We had nothing to mix our drinks with so we used our fingers.  Of course, being obvious high school students, we were a bit popular with some of our new neighbors, but of course being much more naive than we would have ever owned up to being, we thought nothing of it.  We prettied ourselves up between cocktails and headed to the show.

Of course, the show was awesome.  Our friendly local Ticketmaster outlet did not do us wrong, we had great seats.  These were the good old days, when the crappiest thing Metallica had released was the Black album, so all the songs they played were epic.

On the way back to the hotel, we either went the wrong way or forgot something we needed, or who knows, but we had to convince security to let us back into the hotel.  The party continued on our floor on a smaller scale.  We were intercepted by the guys we had found before, one of which loved my striped tights, and he kept asking me if I was safe, like an umpire.

Julie and I ordered a pizza and began plotting how we were going to go party with the band.  They had to be in this hotel, right?  Apparently, we guessed wrong, and everyone including the pizza guy told us they would be staying at the JP Morgan. Our new friends had other ideas for us that night for partying, and things were about to get out of hand, quickly.  All 5’1″ of Julie, who they never took as a black belt in karate, kicked them out all in the knick of time.  After we recovered from nearly being violated, we headed out on foot to find the JP Morgan.

A few blocks later we arrived.  Confidently, we headed right for the elevator.  We were so excited that we’d made it and in a matter of mere minutes, we were going to be partying with Metallica.  Julie started jumping up and down.

Note to all readers:  NEVER jump up and down in an elevator.

The elevator sensed panic and trauma and refused to budge.  The doors wouldn’t open, it wouldn’t go up, it wouldn’t go down.  There was another elevator, so no one thought that much of it since there was no inconvenience.  We had no cell phones, so we tried the emergency phone in the elevator, to which we were greeted with “If there’s a fire, fuck it.”  The elevator was located just off the lobby and the clerk couldn’t hear us yelling for help right away.  When they finally realized something was wrong, maintenance was unable to get the doors open and they had to call in an emergency repair person from Massachusetts.  We were in there for hours.  The hotel staff felt terrible for us, and tried to get us food and drink when we were finally free, but we just wanted to get the hell out of there.

They asked us if we were guests of the hotel, which we weren’t, but being young and scared we said we were and gave them room 301.  They comped that room, once we learned we were allegedly staying with someone named Michael Fawcett.  We found this hysterical since we went to high school with a Mike Fawcett.  The hotel must have thought we were hookers.  We apologize, Michael Fawcett, for the confusion we caused, as well as the possible damage to your reputation up to and including your marriage if it went that far…but we do hope you were pleasantly surprised to find out your no doubt uber expensive room was free.

We told the JP Morgan folks we needed air, and we hot footed it back to the Sheraton, where we called it a night.

The next morning, we packed up before headed to pick up Memere, and discovered our party guests the night before had been after more than a roll in the sack.  We were horrified to discover we were missing a tour program and some money.  How could this happen?  We thought we had everything so under control.

Our hotel room included continental breakfast, so armed with our tickets, we headed to the swanky restaurant and ordered everything on the menu that appealed to us.  Why not, it was free, right?!  At the end of the meal, we handed in our tickets and the waitstaff was horrified to have to explain the difference between a continental breakfast and the fifty dollar feast we’d racked up.  We sweetly explained to them that all our money had been stolen the night before and we had no way to pay for this breakfast besides these meaningless coupons.  They actually let us go.

I’m not sure we are ever allowed back at the Sheraton Hartford.

Memere was looking forward to our arrival, and had prepared an appropriately absurdly oversized grandma style lunch spread for us.  We were still stuffed from our breakfast, but Memere was a pretty awesome cook, so we did our best to show our appreciation for her efforts.  Julie was pleased to see she’d cut up a candy bar and had it in the refrigerator for us later.  As we ate and recounted the G rated version of our evening, Memere flipped through our one remaining tour program.  She called the band “Metal-eeeka.” On every page, she expressed her appreciation for James Hetfield.  “Now he is handsome….that’s my kind of guy.” (Note…today would have been Memere’s 99th birthday.)

We cleaned up from lunch, got Memere’s belongings in the Cavalier, and with a responsible adult riding shotgun (and Julie sleeping in the back seat), we made it home without any other incident.

Follow Kristen on Twitter!  @KristenStrassel

Read the synopsis of IMMORTAL DILEMMA  here.

Since we just posted about dormitory eating in the first chapter of Immortal Dilemma, I thought I’d share this great post from Texana’s Kitchen!

Texana's Kitchen

Since back-to-school time is quickly approaching, I thought I would dedicate a post to it.  I am going to discuss cheap and easy foods for college students and others on a tight budget, and with limited kitchen access…..There will be ramen noodles.  And meat that comes from a can. My friends and readers in the culinary business, or die-hard foodies, may want to avert their eyes for this post.  

My sisters and I were fortunate growing up, in that my parents could afford both to send us to college, AND to feed us while we were there.   Bonus!

We were also fortunate in that we got to live off campus in nice apartments, with actual kitchens, and full size refrigerators.  I know that we all took this for granted, because in fact, we didn’t see much of what was going on behind dormitory doors. 

We did see dormitory life, but…

View original post 891 more words

Our Other Favorite Vampires

TODAY’S BREW:  chocohazelcinnanilla (the bottom of the container when the last of coffee grounds mix together)

You guys are on a need to know basis.  You need to know who our favorite vampires are.  I tried to just pick one, but couldn’t.  Now, I love Edward as much as the next non-Kristen girl, but he did not make it to the tie-breaker that never actually broke.  Sorry, buddy.

Julie: My first winner is Dracula.  How could it not be?  He gives all vampires street cred.  The ultimate tortured beast, he was the original vampire I fell in love with in junior high. Mind you, I was in junior high in 1987, putting me ahead of the curve. I wanted him to want me the way he wanted Mina.  So did you, admit it.  I’m talking Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, which I read as soon as I started reading adult novels.  (I had my dad’s taste in novels, which was admittedly weird for a ten year old.  I read Rambo when I was eleven.)  Then, the movie came out with Winona Ryder.  And Gary Oldman.  Who knew?!  A guy named “Old man,” right?!  I am thankful he never played Frankenstein’s monster, because that crush would not have made me the cute kind of weird.  Based on length of love for Dracula alone, and to this day if Dracula is in the title, I have to check it out, the impaler is a clear winner.  Throw in super cool creep factors–the hair?  Original coffin naps?  Turns into vermin?  Then there’s the harem and the impaling.  Awesome.

Then, the beginnings of all good things happened.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And Spike.

No explanation needed.  You have eyes and ears.  I mean, it just hits you in the face.  I’m a sucker for a black t-shirt and trench coat anyway.  (Think Neo in all Matrix movies, and John Taylor of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series.  Not the morbidly out of shape guy who hangs out near Stop and Shop in the hot weather.)  There was that episode where it was Drusilla’s birthday party, and Spike let her open a gift early, and he asked her, “Do you like it, baby?” Yeah.  I probably rewound that twenty times.  He’s just a bad ass vampire, like they were meant to be, with season-long moments of weakness.  This makes you like him, and think he’s redeemable, but he’s not.  And you don’t want him to be.  Good stuff.

Tell me who your favorite vampires are!  Male or female.  It’s okay if it’s Edward.  I like him too.  I can’t speak for a certain co-blog-founder, though.

Kristen: No Edward here.  Vampires don’t sparkle.  And sorry, Julie, when I hear John Taylor, I think Duran Duran.

I’m going to start out classic as well.  My first real introduction to vampires was sometime in my teenage years, I can’t tell you exactly when because I don’t remember all the details.  That’s how you know I had a good time.  Anyway, I read Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire.  I fell in love with Louis de Pointe du Lac.

I  found him tragic and sensual, and I loved that he seemed to mess up being a vampire because no one taught him how to do it right. I also loved that he cared so much for Claudia after he brought her over.   I always found Lestat to be a cocky bastard.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that Brad Pitt played him in the movie, either.  Although, on the flip side, that movie ruined Tom Cruise for me long before his Scientology hijinks and jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.

My other favorite is a bit more obscure.  He is from a Canadian TV series that aired in the mid 1990’s called Forever Knight.  I discovered it in the middle of the night.  I stopped because I saw a hot vampire, and since it was either watch that or infomercials, you know the hot vampire is going to win out. Every time.  I got hooked on the series.  It basically follows a basic crime drama format with a few love stories thrown in because, hey, that’s how life goes.  The main character, Nick Knight, is a police detective that’s also a vampire.  My favorite character, Vachon played by Ben Bass, is shown above.  I was also pleased to discovered that the pilot of this series is in the form of a movie starring Rick Springfield.  Love me some Rick.

What other awesome vampires deserve a mention?

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Excerpt from “Immortal Dilemma”

Chapter 1

We must have been the only two people that didn’t belong anywhere else.  It’s the only explanation how I wound up with Janelle for a roommate.  I was furious that my mom refused to let me come out to Las Vegas for the college’s early orientation.  Everyone else seemed so happy with their roommates.  I bet they paired off at the orientation.  Oh well.  In mom’s defense, we really didn’t have the money for the extra trip and it was our busy season at the restaurant.  I would have to make the best of it. Roommate trouble isn’t on the top of my priority list.  However, I did want to make it work as much as possible, so I planned to have dinner with Janelle that night.  Nothing fancy, just the dormitory café.  At least this way we’d have a chance to chat face to face without being wrapped up in school work and other distractions.

First impressions could always be wrong, and I’d been wrapped up in trying to get my new schedule deciphered, trying to find my way around a campus full of identical buildings, and quite honestly, my nerves were sometimes getting the best of me.    Maybe I hadn’t given her a fair chance.  It was possible we had more in common than I thought. Janelle seemed to sleep a lot during the day. It was strange I hadn’t even seen any evidence of her buying books. Her focus seemed to be on her nightly social life, the internet, and famous people.  She spent a lot of time talking about people that she didn’t know as if they were close friends.   Some of them I’d heard of, some I just nodded and pretended I knew what she was talking about.  Celebrity gossip seemed so meaningless to me.

I straightened up my side of our dorm room while I waited for her.  The room was small to begin with, and Janelle’s belongings oozed over the imaginary line that designated my side of the room.  Even her stuff was loud.  Her bedding was zebra print with hot pink accents.  Every inch of her wall space was covered with posters of scary looking people and weird lettering. She had poetry pinned up haphazardly, overlapping the posters.  Her clothes, all black, exploded out of her closet and the debris of the last week’s outfits was all over the floor.  I hadn’t brought much along with me, since the logistics of getting things cross country made packing efficiently an art form, but still I craved neatness and order.

Janelle returned about a half an hour later than promised. My stomach was growling so I was anxious to head to dinner.  She immediately opened a bag of chips and flopped down on her unmade bed in front of her computer.

“Weren’t we going to go to dinner tonight?”  I tried not to sound annoyed. Deep down I still hoped this girl had some redeeming qualities.

“Oh, yeah, you want to go now?”  She replied with a mouth full of food.

“Well, I am kinda hungry. But you just had those chips.”

“No, no, no…not a problem,” Janelle got up off the bed and pulled her T shirt down over her stomach.  She finished off her snack.  “Let’s go.”

Dinner was in full swing and the cafeteria was crowded.  Tonight’s offerings were baked chicken and spaghetti.  I opted for the spaghetti.  One thing I’d have a hard time getting used to here was the food.  It was all so overcooked, overprocessed, and bland.  Not like my family’s restaurant.

“Do you mind me asking you, why did you pick Las Vegas State College?”  Janelle started the conversation after we settled at our table with our trays.  “You don’t seem to like it here very much.”

Janelle was paying more attention to me than I thought. I hadn’t realized I was projecting so of my discomfort. “Well, some of my friends moved here, and I thought it would be a good place to try something completely different than I was used to.”

Janelle swallowed a scoop of mashed potatoes.  “I’ve got to hand it to you for having big brass balls.  I couldn’t wait to get out of Snoozeville, either.  But I knew what I was getting myself into coming here.  My parents have been dragging me here since I was a kid. Didn’t your friends tell you what this crazy place was like?”

“Um…no.  Well, sort of,” If you count my mom badgering me ever since I brought up coming here, all I knew was I was moving to the devil’s playground.  “All I’d heard about was the gambling, and the heat…and the hookers.”  It shocked me to see the trucks on the Strip towing billboards, advertising “HOT GIRLS DIRECT TO YOUR ROOM!”  Equally shocking were the signs just off the Strip proclaiming “CASH FOR CAR TITLES.”  What happened to people, they’d drove here in hopes of winning big, and then had to sell their car to keep gambling? How would they get home?  It just seemed so sad and desperate to me.

“That’s just a myth.  Prostitution is only legal in Nye County.  Pahrump—That’s where you find The Bunny Ranch, The Chicken Ranch, The Midnight Ranch…”

I cut her off.  I wasn’t in the market to hire a prostitute.  “Whatever.  I just wanted to see what things were like here…And I really wanted to see my friend.” So that was the understatement of the year.

Janelle seemed confused by this.  “Your friends, or friend, must have told you something about the city.”

“No….I haven’t actually talked to him, to them, in a while.  Not since they moved here from California.” Saying these things out loud didn’t help my cause.  I pushed my food around on my plate, hoping it would get more appetizing.  I guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought I was.

“Ooooo-oooh it’s a him, huh?  An ex? Or a friend with benefits? How long ago did you did you talk to him?”

“Not exactly a boyfriend.  Four years ago.”

Janelle had moved on to her dessert and was scraping cupcake frosting off of the baking paper.  “Wow.  And you haven’t talked to him at all?  That’s a long time, Callie.  You really moved all the way out here because of someone you haven’t seen in four years?  You were, what, fourteen?”  She licked pink goo off of her fingers slowly as she waited for my answer.  It turned my stomach a little.  That, and actually telling someone why I’d really come all this way under the guise of school.

“It’s, uh, complicated.  I just felt like I had to come here.  Tristan—his name is Tristan.  I just needed to see him again.”  I sounded as ridiculous as Janelle did when she rambled on and on about her celebrities.  Well, at least I knew Tristan.  Or did I?  Four years was a long time.

“Tristan, huh?” She said thoughtfully. “So have you like, friended him on Facebook or googled him?  He should be easy enough to find.”

“Uh no,” That sounded stalkerish.  “Why would I do that?  I don’t even have a Facebook.”  Facebook had been severely frowned upon in my house.

“Huh.”  Janelle took a minute to digest that.  Of course she didn’t understand.  Maybe I should just go back to Martha’s Vineyard and forget this whole thing.  No, there was no going back to my hippie, home-school world where hardly anything, or anyone, new came in, and definitely nobody went out.

Finally, she asked, “Is he hot?”

I couldn’t help but laugh.  “Yeah.”

“Is he a good kisser?  Please tell me you at least kissed him.”

My heart skipped a beat thinking about it.  “Yeah.”

“Alrighty then.  Do you know how to get in touch with him?”

I hoped so.

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