Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Off to Backspace!

Today’s Brew:  Halloween Candy!  Boo!  All things are possible with a sugar high.

Tonight after trick or treating, Julie and I are off to the great state of New Jersey to attend the Backspace Writers Conference tomorrow in New York City.  Yeah, that New Jersey and New York that just got their asses handed to them in Hurricane Sandy, also known as That Big Bitch That Messed Up Everything.  Our trying to get to a writers convention pales in comparison to the real problems the people of that area are facing, but it’s definitely made planning this non refundable trip a challenge.  I found an amazing website with real time traffic and traffic cams that showed me the area we need to be in is dry and functional.  I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for busing via The Lincoln Tunnel.

This is even extreme for our road trip history. Can’t say we don’t bring the party.   Check out “Tonight We Rock Hartford” for the tale of our first road trip.   

Our mission of this trip is clear:  Get Julie an Agent!  The conference is toted as a way to get your work ready to shop around, but when I told the organizers that Immortal Dilemma was offered representation, the real objective came out.  The agents are there looking for clients. The lucky ones will have a chance to scoop up Julie and Running Home.  There are also critique groups and talks from world class authors and agents.  For both of us, it is our first conference, so I am looking forward to soaking in all the information that I can to apply to my future writing career.

We plan on taking plenty of pictures of our adventure, so as long as we don’t look too gross in the photos, we will share them when we come back!


How Naming a Character Tristan Instantly Makes Him Ridiculously Hot

Today’s Brew:  As much caffeine as it takes to make this headache GO AWAY.

Reblogged from  Not only do we share a name, we also feel the same about another one, since Tristan is a driving force in Immortal Dilemma.

I’m a firm believer that some names just destine a person for particular behavior or traits.

Take the name Tristan, for example. Have you ever met a Tristan who wasn’t ridiculously attractive, slightly poetic, and swoonworthy romantic?

The first place I heard the name was from the classic tale of  Tristan and Isolde, the tragic romance of the knight and Cornish princess.  If you’re not familiar with the story, the theme is similar to Guinevere and Arthur – some even believe that this tale inspired the story of Guinevere and Arthur.  At some point the two legends were blended to the point that Tristan became a knight of the Round table.

Tristan and Isolde, Tristan

I pretty much picture every Tristan like this, by the way. You know – poetic, romantic, and noble. All the traits of a loyal romantic hero.



Tristan is originally a Celtic name. There isn’t a general consensus on the meaning of the name. The most common theory is that it means “bold and melancholy”  or “bold and sorrowful”. I would take a safe bet that these name meanings come solely from the tragic tale of Tristan and Isolde, and not from any actual meaning – which is good if you are superstitious about naming characters or babies.

The name is most likely derived from the Old French Drustan or Drystan. Both of those mean “riot, tumultuous.” Take that for what you will when deciding how you want to interpret Tristan’s meaning.

Variations: Trystan, Triston, Tristen, Tristin

Diminutives: Tris, or Trist – if you like to nickname people as affairs. (I do not).

Famous NameBearers: Knight Tristan

Okay, so I can’t think of anyone real. However Brad Pitt’s character in Legends of the Falls was named Tristan. This gives points to my hunky name theory, right?

Google found  Tristan Rogers, Tristan Gemmill, and a very hunky adult film star who shall go unnamed. I rest my case.

USA popularity: Tristan has been ranking between #87 and #81 in the US for the past five years.


What’s your favorite hunky and romantic name?
About Kristen Jett:  Kristen (or KJ) writes YA fiction – often with a touch of paranormal presence. She hopes if vampires exist that it’s the drop dead gorgeous kind, and not the eat you for dinner kind.

It doesn’t get much clearer than this.



If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript.  You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping  your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.


Those first pages are critical and that is the purpose of the First Five Frenzy.  To get an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first five pages of a manuscript.  By reading each agent’s comments, I hope you will learn how to make your MS a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.


Today, I am proud to share Literary Agent, Kate McKean’s perspective on what is important in those first five pages…


Amy:  Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader…

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The Rhode Island Vampire Girls

TODAY’S BREW:  Pumpkin from Dunkin’s, mid-range quality

When you think of the lunatic crazy deaths of young girls in New England history, particularly during the Halloween season, Salem is the first town that pops to mind. But the fear of young women in superstitious New England didn’t stop at witches.

In the late 1800’s, disease ravaged New England in the form of tuberculosis mostly.  It claimed entire families in mere months.  With no knowledge then of “Consumption” being a virus, or of any kind of germ for that matter, frightened townspeople jumped to conclusions as to how death had spread so quickly.  Vampirism.

Rhode Island seemed to really take the vampire idea and run with it.  Two young women come to mind:  Mercy Brown and Nellie Vaughn.

In Exeter, Rhode Island, the family of farmer George Brown saw a terrible thread of deaths due to Consumption.  After three deaths, including young Mercy Brown, George’s son Edwin became very ill as well.  Family and friends could only attribute the suspicious contagion to the work of vampires.  And Edwin claimed that his sister, Mercy, had come to him at night, sitting on his chest to suffocate him.

A distraught George exhumed the bodies of his family with the help of villagers to determine who was the vampire among them.  While Mercy’s mother and sister had decomposed significantly, Mercy sent a panic through the community.

She was virtually unchanged. Her cheeks were flushed.  Her hair and nails had grown.  She had moved in her grave.  And blood was still in her heart and veins.

Convinced that the blood was Edwin’s and that the vampire had been found, Mercy’s heart was removed and burnt.  The remnants were mixed with water, and given to Edwin to drink, to “cure” him.  He died two months later.

While Mercy Brown is the better known vampire story, that of Nellie Vaughn is just as interesting.  She was not a victim of a rash of tuberculosis, but an isolated incident of pneumonia.  Her body was exhumed, but only to be moved.  It is not until recently that Nellie is suspected of being a vampire.  Author and vampire expert Michael Bell feels she is a case of mistaken identity, being the same age as Mercy, and having died at a similar date. But the mystery around the young lady still is evident.

A resident of Nellie’s area, Marlene Chatfield, is almost an expert on Nellie these days, with the number of run-ins she has had with the deceased girl.  It began with Marlene doing a grave rubbing on Nellie’s tombstone, when the paper became mysteriously destroyed and her charcoal disappeared.  In August of 1993, Marlene returned with her husband to the grave.  Her husband heard a woman’s voice say “I am perfectly pleasant,” while standing at the gravesite.  Hardly pleasant, he than found himself covered in red scratches on his face that drove him from the cemetery.  Still not to be deterred, Marlene returned again in September, where she struck up conversation with a young lady who claimed to be of a local historical society.  When the subject of Nellie being suspected as a vampire came up, the girl became so agitated that Marlene left the cemetery.  When she turned around, the girl was gone.

Other stories associated with Nellie include visions of a woman hovering over her grave, pulling out her hair in despair. Several accounts of hearing “I am perfectly pleasant” are recorded, though no others include the assault Marlene’s husband underwent.

Nellie’s grave is frequently visited, but nothing ever grows there.  Though her tombstone has been repeatedly vandalized and broken, it is still clear what it reads…

“I Am Waiting And Watching For You.”

Light up the Night

Today’s Brew:  Dayquil
I wrote this for a makeup blog I worked on last year.  It’s a cool product and if you’re still thinking on your Halloween ensemble, this can make any look instantly cool.

Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year so we have two weekends to be frightening and fabulous! If  you’re not still quite sure what your Halloween costume (or costumes!) will be, consider planning a look with Make Up For Ever’s  fluorescent pigment, called Fluo Night Black Light Pigment. After Halloween passes, Fluo Night will be a fun way to get a second look out on the dance floor.

Fluo Night is an extra fine fluorescent pigment which glows when exposed to UV light.   It’s transparent so you can simply add it to your every day makeup for an easy transition to night time or you can combine it with your face and body makeup to create a unique character look.  Like all Make Up For Ever products, it’s formulated for long wear so you glow all night long.  Because it’s a powder, it’s a great way to set cream shadows and makeup.  For a Halloween look, it  adds extra spook to a skeleton makeup.  For a club look, Fluo is  fantastic over lipstick or gloss, or  adds just a little hint of glow over a winged cat eye liner.

A couple of things to keep in mind when using Fluo Night:  It is not glow in the dark.  It is black light, like those old velvet posters from the 1970′s.  It needs a UV light to create the glow.  If you were hoping to have a glow in the dark look while trick or treating or at the club, it won’t happen unless you are near a UV black light.  Also, since this is a transparent powder, you need to be super careful with your application.  You may not be able to see fallout until it’s too late.  You know how lint looks on a sweater under black light?  Don’t let that happen to your makeup!

Apply the makeup where you will be using Fluo Night first and then clean up any areas you might get fallout like cheekbones or around your mouth with moisturizer on a sponge, and then apply makeup as your normally would to the rest of those areas.  If you are accentuating a cream makeup character look such as a skeleton, apply small amounts of the pigment at a time with a brush to the areas you wish to highlight.  Make sure to tap the brush to dislodge any extra pigment before bringing it up to your face.  The pigment is very blendable, so you will be able to create stunning accents.

Make Up For Ever Fluo Night Black Light Pigment is limited edition and  available exclusively at Sephora.

Looking for more Halloween makeup tips? I’ve got ’em for you right here!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Zombie Pinup Calendars are available for order!  Click here to get one for you or to start knocking off some of that pesky Christmas shopping.


They Like Me! They Really Like Me!!

Today’s Brew:  Gypsy Cold Care Tea and OJ.  I’m siiiiiiick.

Kristen Strassel is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larsen Pomada Literary Agency in San Fransisco.

Is that not the sexiest sentence you have ever read?  It’s all true.

It all happened very fast and I have to keep reminding myself this is for real!  Someone retweeted that Pam was looking for Paranormal Romance. That’s Immortal Dilemma, so I sent her a query and her requested amount of pages.  That night she requested a full manuscript.  I sent it off and sat on pins and needles, hoping that she would love my characters and story as much as I loved writing it.

Last night, I was working on Seasons In The Sun (the prequel to Immortal Dilemma) when the phone rang.  It was Pam, offering representation!  I accepted.  Now we begin a whole new journey.

I haven’t had a chance to celebrate yet.  When she called, I was sitting in my Muppet PJ bottoms finishing up my Walmart knockoff Kraft mac and cheese (not because I’m poor, because I’m sick and I wanted it.)  I spent a good portion of the night calling friends to share the good news and wandering around the house aimlessly not exactly sure what to do with myself.

I had to let Callie, Tristan, Blade, and the gang know that they have real jobs now and people are paying attention to what they do.  I’m sure they won’t improve their behavior just because you’re watching, and I’m sure you don’t want them to.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far on this journey!  All of your feedback and comments on Immortal Dilemma and all of the blog posts here mean so much to me and Julie.  Next mission:  Getting Immortal Dilemma perfect for sale and publication and readying Julie so she can make this very same announcement regarding Running Home!

The Plan: A Short Story That Happened When The Undead Duo Got Bored

TODAY’S BREW:  Hot chocolate with butter shots.  Jealous?

Kristen and I did something we have done since days of old.  I wrote a line, passed Kristen the notebook, she wrote the next line.  Then I took over the middle because I am bossy.  The end was my idea, but Kristen wrote most of it.  It is a work created by the people, for the people and of the people.

Was there any reason not to do another shot?  The room spun, my stomach swam, but I braced myself to lift the little glass to my lips and down the booze.  This was all there was, all there would always be.  Jeff would always be my friend.

I looked up at him and smiled, embracing the warmth that spread through my body from the shot.  “Let’s go.”

“It’s that easy, huh?”  He smiled back, a familiar smile that I had known for almost forever.  Non-threateningly sexy, smart.  I was ready, finally, to do whatever he said.

“You know, once we do this, things will never be the same between us again,” he said, his shot glass hovering near his lips.

I closed my eyes for a second, sinking into the barstool, just praying not to fall off of it.  “I don’t want things to be the same.”

He curled a finger into my hair, a touch I wasn’t used to from him.  Were we ready to start doing things we’d never done before?

He chuckled darkly, grabbing the bar with both hands.  “Well, I can pretty definitely say you will get your wish.”

My heart pounded.  I smiled at him, putting my hand on his arm.  “I wonder what it will feel like?”

He bit his lip, his eyes watery with alcohol.  “Let’s find out.”

The cool crisp air slapped me in the face as we left the bar.  I scanned the parking lot.  “Over there.  That’s the one.”

He nodded.  Our pace quickened toward the woman in the back of the lot, fumbling in her purse.  She was perfect.

Tonight, we would find out how it felt to kill someone, and she would see how it felt to die.

Fine, You Win “The Mist”! Officially Too Scary For Me

TODAY’S BREW: Hazelnut.  No apple juice in it.  Refer to yesterday’s tweet…actual occurrence.

I love horror movies.  I love B-raters, and big screen, I love them all.  (Cannot WAIT for Silent Hill 2, the first of which is possibly my favorite horror movie.)  But this is not about that movie, which I would see over and over again, but about a movie that made me so uncomfortably afraid that I will never see it again.  It joins the league of only one other movie I will never see again…Eraserhead.  The creep factor there is too much, even for me.  No thank you.

I am talking about The Mist, based on the novella by Stephen King.  Now, everybody loves The Shining, and I am no different, though the book is worlds scarier than the movie.  Big fan.  But The Mist packed a punch that I suppose I was not expecting.  It does what Mr. King does best…show the absolute worst of people at the absolute worst of times.  This movie is flawlessly frightening to me.

Based in a small town in Maine, King’s calling card, a severe thunderstorm hits and rips the town to shreds.  Residents flood to a local supermarket that is running on a generator alone, to stock up on supplies.  Once there, they all become trapped by a supernatural mist, rumored to be the product of a government opening of a dimensional portal.  All sorts of terrifying beasties, including giant nasty flying things that smash windows with their freak beaks, live in this mist, cornering people and tearing them limb from limb for all to see.  All in good fun.  But the real horror is what the survivors are driven to do to each other, rather than band together to survive.  A nightmare group of religious fanatics take over the store, accusing and plotting like crazy.  They become the ones to escape, rather than the creatures in the Mist, and it drives some to suicide, others to violence of all extremes.

But it is the end of this movie, which was actually made darker by director Frank Darabont, that literally left me nauseous and crying.  Good show man!  I mean, to darken up a Stephen King work, that is a tall order, and one Frank was not afraid to fill.  That’s high praise.

So, wanna feel sick and cry yourself to sleep speculating “what the hell would I do?”  Go see The Mist.  You might not thank me.

This fits in with our Vampire Legends series nicely…thanks Mari!

Mari Wells

I don’t think a Creature of the Night would have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but if you look into ancient legends. .
It would lead to the conclusion that they do.

Old legends say, bury the suspected vampire with mustard seeds in his coffin. When he wakes for his nightly wanderings, he will have to stop and count all the seeds before he can leave his coffin. If you didn’t “remember” to add the seeds inside the coffin, you can scatter them around the top of his grave. He will have to gather them and count them.

Fishing net or knotted ropes/cloths will also work, (same idea, the vampire will have to count each knot).

Seems like OCD behavior to me.

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