Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Plan C: This Is Our Perfect Crime

Today’s Brew:  10 percent alcohol pirate beer

Here is the latest installment of The Plan, quickies by Kristen and Julie.  For those of you are new to The Plan, Julie and I use our old fashioned, tried and true technique of passing a notebook back and forth to write monthly flash fiction about our pet serial killers. Catch up on Plan A and Plan B here.  Enjoy, loves.  This should get you in the mood for Stories To Strip By.

I could smell the cinnamon and vanilla a seat away.  Nipple tassels and a Walmart G string did nothing to cover her, and I almost slipped a couple of times as she wound herself around Jeff, grinding him like the whore she was.  I didn’t care if she was just trying to do her job.  Bitch, he belonged to me.

“You want more, baby?” Her voice was as sick and wet as the rest of her.  Jeff groaned into her ear and my own ears pounded full of blood.

Unbelievable.

I saw him slip her something that looked an awful lot like money. Really, Jeff? She smiled (at least she had all her teeth), arching her back as she slipped the new acquisition into her pleather thigh high boot.

If he thought he was going to fuck me after sticking himself inside that rancid pussy, he could think again.

His mouth slacked and his eyes glazed over as she unzipped his fly and jutted her breasts forward.  Jeff ripped off one of her pasties with his teeth, exposing her hard nipple, and spit the debris in my direction.  He went to work on her naked breast. I crossed my legs and looked away, trying not to slam both of their heads against the table.  I thought better of it, not wanting to spill the over priced strip club beer.

Anyway, I needed Jeff alive.  What other sick fuck could I find on such short notice?  I needed to do this like I needed to breathe now.

If I was going down, it wasn’t in the world’s seediest strip bar.  My feet stuck to the floor with God knows what kind of goo and my blood boiled, knowing his cum was about to join the stew.

I turned back towards him, glaring.  I hoped he at least thought to use a condom. He held the whore by the hips, guiding her up and down in a way that would bruise even a cheap slut such as herself.  She threw her head back, screaming, loving every second of it. I looked away again, wishing it was me screaming like that, and realized Jeff and the whore attracted a healthy sized group of admirers.

At least if he was going to fuck this filthy girl in public, he did it with enough panache to draw a crowd. My groin pulsed, betraying me, and I tried my best to keep my envy at bay.

I would have fucked him in a room full of people.  Who knew he was into that? All he had to do was say the word. He could have saved himself the inconvenience and the discomfort of the gonorrhea shot he had coming to him.

“Hey buddy! That’s not how you treat our ladies!” A burly, roid ragey looking bouncer tried to restore some decorum to this fine establishment. When Jeff just went on pounding the whore, the bouncer responded by pounding Jeff on the back of the head.

“What the fuck?!” I leaped to my feet, grabbed the behemoth by the shoulder, having at him.  He was too big for me to move.

The whore backed away like she hadn’t begged Jeff to fuck her in exchange for his money. “I don’t know what happened, Bruno, he just started doing it!”

I wanted to rip her trachea out with my bare fucking hands, pull her hair like Jeff did when he plunged inside her, and watch her bleed out all over the sex stained floor.

She just knew I’d kill her without a second thought.  Maybe she wasn’t so dumb after all.

I smashed my Heineken bottle on the table, sending the empty bottles flying, and twisted it around to look at it’s shattered neck as men swore and strippers screeched all around me. Jeff struggled to stuff his still hard dick back into his pants, rising to his feet to square off with the bouncer.

Before he had a chance to strike, I jumped on the monstrosity’s back and gouged his throat with the broken bottle, smiling as I heard the satisfying snap of his arteries.  His blood gurgled as it gushed all over his polo.

I looked directly at the whore, plunging the glass shard deeper into his neck.

“You’re next.” I mouthed to her. I couldn’t have wiped the shit eating grin off my face even if I wanted to.

She ran, naked body parts still attached.  I screamed at her to stop as I jumped off the oaf’s back.  He hit the floor with a thud, knocking over chairs and tables in his wake.

“Kendall! We gotta go!” Jeff grabbed my cheeks forcing me to look back at him. “I think I heard sirens.”

Damn, just when I was about to make good on my promise.

“Okay, baby.” We ran out a side door.  Some filthy guys chased after us, but most were too drunk to care.

We didn’t stop running for seven blocks.  Sweating and panting like  the whore I was sorry I didn’t get a chance to kill, we ducked into an alley.  We laughed until we fell on our asses.

“I don’t think we should go to another strip club for a while.” I said, fighting the giggles, as I tried to catch my breath. I was so happy to share this moment with him.

“I don’t know what you mean, Kendall.  Fucking strippers, killing bouncers. It felt pretty good to me.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Baby.”  He kissed me with bloody lips.  “This was our perfect crime.”

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Vampire Genetics

Today’s Brew:  Julie’s shunned favorite, French Toast coffee.  But the real news is the waffles with the real maple syrup.  Pancake goo is for people who hate life.

by Kristen

I’ve always found it fascinating that ancient vampire myths from all cultures share certain characteristics: nocturnal beasts that drink blood.  It’s not like they could Google these things hundreds or thousands of years ago.  The printing press wasn’t even invented until 1450, so books weren’t readily available.  No libraries for research.  Information could only be passed by handwritten letters, if you could read, write, or even afford paper, or by spoken word.

So what caused the link in the myths?  It had to be routed in some sort of truth.   Could it have been a genetic disorder that medicine had yet to explain?

One explanation of these myths could be porphyria.  Now known as a group of disorders, people affected with this disorder are unable to make heme, a part of hemoglobin, properly.  The disorder is hard to diagnose but symptoms include extreme sensitivity to sunlight, neuropathy, severe iron deficiency,  hallucination, paranoia, and necrosis of the gums, causing the tissue to recede and giving teeth a fang like appearance. Many people affected by this disorder crave iron rich foods. Treatments now include heme infusion therapies.  In the 1950’s porphyria was treated by shock therapy, as the condition was not yet fully understood.

In a 1985 scientific paper, David Dolphin, PhD, suggested that before the disease was understood, people with porphyria may have drank blood to instinctually treat themselves.   At first Dolphin’s theories were celebrated, but then dismissed as many inconsistencies were discovered. People with the disorder considered Dolphin’s findings embarrassing and humiliating. But Dolphin felt that the vampire myth had to originally be routed in fact.  Porphyria affects all races:  Africans, Asians, Australian Aborigines, Caucasians, Mexicans, Native Americans, and the list goes on.  It also may be the root of werewolf legends, as cutaneous porphyria can cause increased hair growth on areas of the body such as the forehead. All of these cultures have vampire legends rooted in blood drinking and sensitivity to the sun.  Sixty years ago, “modern” medicine treated these disorders by shock therapy.  Medicine and understanding had a lot of catching up to do!

Some believed famous historical sufferers of porphyria include King George III, Mary, Queen of Scots, and, ahem, Vlad III the Impaler.  From Vlad, people believed that vampires were allergic to sunlight.

Whether it’s the true root of vampire legend or just a coincidence, I found this discovery fascinating.  People affected by this disorder shouldn’t find this connection embarrassing at all.  I think it’s pretty bad ass. After all, who’s going to mess with a vampire?

Thirsty for more vampire mythology?  Julie has done quite a bit of regional research:
Bonjour!  French Vampire Mythology and Sightings
Vampires, Eh? What’s That All Aboot?
The Reason NYC is the City That Never Sleeps
The Japanese Do It Right: Gashodokuro & Hagoromo Gitsune
The Rhode Island Vampire Girls

Mari Wells also does an excellent series on vampire mythology weekly on her blog.

Sources for this post include Bloodlust by Carol Page, Harper Collins 1991, and www.porphyriafoundation.com.

Welcome To My Nightmare

Today’s Brew:  blueberry pomegranate juice…and jelly beans

by Kristen

Last night I had the weirdest dreams.  One had to do with giant jellybeans.  In another, Julie had adopted a Korean girl just a few months older than her youngest.  God, that kid was heavy! I had to wake up to make this one stop.  I realized as I tried to fall back to sleep, that it might make a pretty cool short story, so here goes.  (DISCLAIMER:  I understand there are quite a few medical inaccuracies.  I wanted to stay true to the dream, so instead I disregarded science and anatomy.)

Volunteer Duty

I wanted to give something back.  The images of people lying alone in a hospital or nursing home haunted me.  Where were their families and friends?  Why wouldn’t anyone come visit them?  What did they do to wind up alone when they needed someone the most?  I never wanted to be alone when I felt under the weather.  My ailments only lasted days.  These poor people might be sentenced here for the rest of their lives.  They deserved comfort and some company.

Volunteering at the hospital seemed like a no brainer for that reason.  Old people already flocked to me on a regular basis.  They knew an ally when they saw one, even if they had cataracts. I couldn’t wait to go spread my sunshine to these people.  My friend Sarah already volunteered at the hospital, she didn’t say much about it, but I think she liked it.  My other friend Claire actually worked there.  She didn’t like anything, so I took whatever she said with a grain of salt.

My heart beat faster putting on my pastel pink smock.  Already I was pumped.  Sarah worked today too.  Today she was quieter than usual.  I didn’t think much of it.  People act differently at work. I waited in the locker room with her for my first assignment.

My face brightened when Claire came into the room to delegate rounds to the small group of volunteers.  She knew my passions well.  I’d be put to good use.

“Kristen, you can go with Sarah.  She’ll show you where the OBGYN department is.”  Claire barked.  I’d worked with her before, so I knew to let her tone roll off.  But OBGYN?  Why not geriatric?  Everyone visited the babies. What about my old people? She forgot about them too?

“Claire, are you sure you have that right?”

“Do you work here? No.  It’s your first day as a volunteer.” She sneered, discounting my efforts.  I bristled, rocking back and forth in my sneakers.  “We need you in OBGYN.  Sarah knows what to do.”

“Okay,” I sighed.  We’d talk over drinks later.  I knew better than to challenge her at work. Sarah didn’t say a word as she led me down the maze of hallways that led us to a waiting room full of impatient looking young women.  She pushed through the door into the back room, dank and just as cluttered.  Tired tables that looked like they got used for physical therapy lined the back wall.

Sarah waited by an empty table.  “Take the one next to me,” she mumbled without looking at me.

“What are we doing?”

“They’ll show you.  It’s easy.”

Claire burst through the door followed by a man who looked like a doctor.  He wore a white coat and carried a clipboard.  A group of nervous young women trailed behind.

“Get on the tables.”  Claire instructed to the women who just arrived. Her bedside manner left much to be desired.  It wasn’t just me she barked at.

A young woman smiled weakly at me before she laid face down on the exam table in front of me.  No one said a word.  Everyone seemed to know what would happen next, but me.

I must have been on the wrong list.  I wanted to bring people meals and flowers and talk about grandkids.  I shouldn’t be touching people. Unless they wanted a hug.

The doctor came around the room with a basket.  Sarah took an object out and nodded.  I did the same.

A box cutter? What the fuck?

“They need their tubes tied.”  The doctor announced.

“What?”  I began to panic.  “This isn’t what I’m here for.”

“Just do it, Kristen.” Claire rolled her eyes.

I looked over at Sarah to protest, but already she concentrated her project.  She carved into the back of the young woman in front of her. No one made a sound.

“I can’t do this!” I protested.

“It gets easier.”  I don’t know that was Sarah’s attempt to comfort me, but it didn’t do the trick.

“I don’t want it to get easier!  I don’t want to do it.”

“Everyone knows how to do it.  Here, I’ll start.”  Claire snatched the box cutter from my hands and pushed up the shirt of the girl who lay still in front of me.  She didn’t even flinch at Claire’s rough touch. Without any preparation, Claire slashed through the girl’s tramp stamp.

She held the box cutter up to me.  “Here.  Go.”

My shock betrayed me and I took the box cutter back from Claire. She walked away without another word, leaving me there with this poor bleeding girl and Sarah, still hard at work on her girl.

“I don’t know what to do!” I wailed.  Why didn’t I just run out of here?  I wanted this poor girl in front of me to get the proper help she needed.

“You just do it.”  Sarah mumbled.  What the hell had come over her?

Still, the girl in front of me didn’t move or make a sound.  Did she expect such treatment?

Claire returned, growing more annoyed, with a small TV on a cart.  She positioned it in front of the girl and snapped it on.  “Here.  Watch a video.”

“But I don’t want her to think I don’t know what to do.” I whispered to Claire.  She wouldn’t even look at me when I walked away.

The video started.  I crouched down next to the girl to make sure I absorbed every detail.  There was no room for error. It just gave simple illustrated instruction of the female reproductive organs.  I needed to cut the tubes.  But where?

“Where do I cut?” I whispered to Sarah.

She shrugged.  “You just cut.”

“But I need to do it in the right place!”  I still didn’t speak loudly. I didn’t want the girl to know I had no idea what I was doing.  The panic rose from my gut.  I didn’t want to maim her any more than necessary.

“Just cut.  Everyone knows where you do it.” Claire yelled from across the room.

“Just cut.” The doctor confirmed. He hardly looked up from his charts.

“I don’t know what to do!”

“Cut the tubes!” Claire demanded.

I started to sob.  “I can’t.  No one will tell me where to cut.”

A group of women I hadn’t seen before gathered at a table in the corner, enjoying cocktails while we worked.  My friend Laurie sat facing the room.  “You cut above the hood, Kristen.  God, anyone who’s had sex knows this.”

The group laughed.  I couldn’t admit I didn’t know what the hood even was.

I looked at the slice in the girl’s back.  The bleeding had almost clotted.  There was no way this slit was big enough for me to reach in and do anything to any tube in her body.  One last wave of panic rolled through me.  I dropped the box cutter on the floor and ran out of the room.

The Love Abominable

TODAY’S BREW: Santa Nuts. Or, hazelnut mingled lovingly with Santa’s White Christmas blend.

By Julie

Here’s a little ditty that I have been dying to write.  The first short story based on characters from my beloved Running Home and work in progress, Running Away.  I am really excited to give a little insight into the mind of a secondary character, who also happens to be Kristen’s favorite.  Enjoy!  Jeffrey Donovan of Burn Notice, pay attention. You’re playing this guy in the movie.

The Love Abominable

 

Beneath me. 

This entire state was beneath me, with its moose and bears and flannel shirts and Live Free or Die license plates.  Boston was perfect.  When it was time to kill, there were just enough willing bodies ready.  Masshole women flocked to me like lemmings to the cliff.  Pathetic, how an Italian suit and the word “attorney” catches the heart of a woman with nothing to live for.

I kicked snow off my shoes in aggravation as I entered.  The “law office” was depressing.  A glorified old country house bristling with old men and the smell of mildew.  A surge of anger stifled the sadness as I recalled the office I left behind in Boston.

I had to get away from the other vampires.  Fate reared its ugly head when I was offered this job.  I was hoping it would be close enough that my Creator felt he could watch me intently, but far enough that I could do as I wished without his interference.

I could not handle any more stifling interference.  I was a force that needed to run free.

And here I was, a god among men, degraded into a petty job for the sake of running away. I was a child, desperate for freedom at any cost.  It was all I could do to retract my fangs, because I knew I would not be able to hold up the shield in my fury, to hide them from the useless mortals that would work side by side with me.  People with no fate, living without reason.

I knew my reason.  And it would be the death of them.

“You must be Chris.”  I smelled her behind me.  Peonies.  In the dead of winter.  She was strong and unassuming.  I knew this before seeing her.

I spun to see what creature could catch my attention in this beehive of worthlessness.

Fiery locks licked her shoulders.  Petite, with stunning curves and alabaster skin, she was a porcelain doll that I longed to break. Her eyes flitted with hummingbird life that I wanted to watch die.

For that briefest of moments, I didn’t hate moving to this hick New Hampshire town.

I didn’t give her the smile right away.  That smile sealed more deals than I could remember.  I wanted to savor this one.  I let her look into my eyes with her own chocolate browns, wanted her to fall for the intensity she would see there.  When I gave her the smile, she curled in on herself a little, lips twitching.

“I’m Chris Lynch.  And you are?”  Formal words, but with a secretive gaze.  It pulled her to me.

She gathered herself, and held out her hand.  Warm, soft, childlike.  I wanted to grow her up and make her mine.  I wanted her death to taste like pure need of me.

“I’m Kat, the receptionist here.”  Her lips moved with such frosting softness, I could tear them off and eat them.   She gave me a manila folder, telling me details of things I would never need to remember, and would not be able to.  Gorgonized.

Her softness was savage.  I would brand myself into her.

“Let me show you to your office, Mr. Lynch,” she said, breezing past me with the slightest whiff of hothouse flowers, peonies on fire.

I trailed her through the dingy “office,” nodding politely at the geysers who brought me here as they pored over papers on old desks.   Archaic all around.

“They gave you the good office,” she said with a toothy grin.

I couldn’t help but laugh.  “This is the only office.”

“Well, there is that.”  Her smile was electric, stinging of vivid sex appeal.  Everything about her was dark pastels, creamsicle orange, jellybean lilac, spring grass green.  I could taste her sunlight.  I would eat her alive.

She sat in my chair, back to the windows overlooking yet more woods, grinning with childlike ferocity.

“Does your wife like it here?” she asked knowingly, meeting my eyes, twisting a strand of hair in her fingers.

I smiled wide, making her head cock to the side with a flirtatious vulnerability at my charm, and called her out.  “She likes it just fine.”

Her face fell, her fingers stopped moving, the slight rock of the chair stilling.

“Gotcha,” I said, waggling my eyebrows.

The laugh she possessed was a work of art.  Honest, feminine, completely unselfconscious.  Gorgeous.  I would strangle it from her when we kissed.

“Did you leave someone behind in Boston?”

Images of screaming, bleeding, bruised and defiled women overcame me, bringing a smile to my lips and a song to my heart that I could not push away.  “I imagine I left several someones behind, but none of them mattered.”

She blinked, unsure.  I gave her the winning smile that made me the attorney I was, that made me ladykiller I was.  No pun intended.  I strolled to the desk, her scent getting closer with every step.  Throwing the file folder on it, I sat on the desk and watched her.  I watched her breathe. I watched her blood pump under the skin of her wrists, her lips pucker and relax, her eyes dilate and undulate.

“I live all alone in a great big house,” I said with mock sadness.  Her glimmering teeth answered me.

“You just moved here.  I’m sure you will meet a great girl in no time.”

“Maybe I already have.”

Kat’s blood flooded to her cheeks, brutally innocent.  Intoxicating.

“I—“ she broke off her sentence with a nervous giggle.  “That’s very nice.” Her tight lipped little smile was equal parts beautiful and unlike her.

I already knew it was unlike her.  The thought boiled me.  I imagined her head lolling backwards, almost severed from her body, soupy scarlet life bubbling and frothing all over her pastel perfection.

She giggled, snapping me back.  My fangs were pricking my lip.  She didn’t see.

“Sorry to be so—I feel like I am being very unprofessional,” she said, sitting up straighter.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

“No, it’s refreshing.”  And I kept talking, despite myself.  “You have a certain natural sophistication that makes you both stand out and blend in.”  Fingernails on my soul to have said such a thing and meant it.  Vomit and torture and peeling the skin back.

Kat’s face softened to a heart-revealing realness that made her the most extraordinary fantasy creature that I had ever seen.

“Thank you,” she said, seriously and with a hint of sadness.

When she shifted, I could smell her peony perfume, flowers reaching to a heaven that didn’t exist, scrambling for a fate they would never meet.

“Kat, I have an invitation to extend to you.”

Want more?  Check out part two here.

Maybe Someday is Today

Today’s Brew:  Protein Shakes, baby.  Still recovering from the NFL Championship weekend food coma onslaught.

roller-derby

by Kristen

Ten years ago my old roommate gave me The Idiots Guide to Tarot Reading and Fortune Telling.  This book seemed so cool to me.  I couldn’t wait to learn how to do it.

About seven years ago, a friend gave me a copy of The Rosetta Stone.  How cool is that?  I always have wanted to learn French.  My mom’s side of the family is French (okay, French Canadian) and I always threatened my Memere I would learn to speak French so I’d know what she was saying when she didn’t want me to know what who she was talking shit about.  But when high school came along, it seemed to make more sense to take Spanish.  That decision always made me feel guilty, like I betrayed Memere.  Even though she’s not here anymore, I wanted to make good on my promise.

I dragged these two things around from apartment to apartment, town to town, state to state.  I never cracked them open.  But someday, I was going to do it, damn it.

Do you ever watch Hoarders?  Otherwise known as the world’s scariest show?  So many episodes you’ll see someone who lives in a pile of filth and vermin with some sort of outrageous collection that “someday” they’re going to get around to making a use for.  Is that how it starts?  All of your broken dreams piling up around you?

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I’m more of the school of thought that when fancy strikes, start.  Don’t wait for January 1, don’t wait for Monday.  Just dive in.  But this year, I promised myself I would make good on my promises to myself to do these two things.

So far, I’ve been good to myself on my promise.  Neither of them are earth shattering activities.  But it feels good to finally do something that I’ve promised myself for so long that I would do.  Just that sense of accomplishment.  I may never do anything with either new skill.  Maybe I’ll use them both all the time.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m doing it for me, it makes me happy.

One thing I’ve noticed in life is the more you do, the more you are able to do.  Kind of like Julie’s last post.  You will make the time to do what you want to do.  It can happen.  It’s even a law of physics:  an object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest.  I want to stay in motion.

For my next thing to cross off my to do list:  Roller Derby.  Really.  As soon as I saw it was a thing again probably longer than ten years ago, I fell in love with it.  There are some teams sort of near me, but not really.  With my schedule, I’m not sure I can commit to a team.  Well, does that mean I can’t learn how to do it?  You can still practice with the team.  February 2 the local team is having an open house.  I’m putting it here so you can all hold me to it.  I need to go to that meeting now.

So what’s on your to do list?

The End of Days: The Beauty of Exhaustion

TODAY’S BREW: Santa’s White Christmas blend. Awwwww.

by Julie

Exhaustion brings out the real you.

My Sensei, then seven time world fighting champion Mafia Holloway said this to me as he trained me for endless tournaments, including the Junior Olympics and the Olympic tryouts.  I would start running sprints at six in the morning, we would have breakfast, followed by hours of drills, weight training, repeating techniques, sparring with all manner of inventive twists until my legs burned, my lungs cried, sweat pouring.   Having seen the sun come up, I would train the day away into dusk. By evening, when actual karate class began, I was floored, even with considerable rest periods in the day.  I often did not want to take or teach class, or spar with people who were wide awake  and ready.  But Sensei would always say the same thing:  “The real you comes out when you’re tired.  This is when you let go.”

So I would fight harder, sometimes bringing tears to my eyes, nothing more to give physically or emotionally.  And I fought through it.  Because my heart never tired.  Exhaustion, when done correctly, is the result of having cared so much about something that you don’t think you can possibly commit more.  When someone tells you that you must, even if that someone is you, this is the moment when you throw all your inhibitions to the wolves and surpass your limits.

When my father died when I was sixteen, Sensei was the one who picked me up, drove me to the dojo, and worked me.  Emotion that I was too numb to feel came out in the form of shattering weight bag kicks until I was sobbing, heart breaking with every motion.  I was tired in every way possible.  He showed me how to make my numbness live and breathe, be something strong.  Others might succumb to grief, but I would not.  Because when you’re drained, there is nothing left but to fill up again.

It is for this reason that I would write into the wee hours after grueling work days, and that I get up at 5 to write prior to long days as Mama.  It is for this reason that I wrote Running Home  in the most challenging time of my life.  It is for this reason that when I have seen the emotional bottom of my barrel, I grab that blank page and put my hand to it like a man writing his will on his deathbed.  It is what I must do to make sure the real me sees the light of day.  Those occasional bags under my eyes and the tears I shed even now are my battle scars showing that there is more, always more.

And I will never be too tired to fight.

Julie and I want to print this on posters, bumper stickers, what have you. Read it. Live it.

LAVINIA IN LONDON

Every day I see people that are afraid. Afraid to stay up till late because they won’t wake up in the morning, afraid to take a holiday because they might lose their jobs, afraid to speak their mind because they might be ridiculed, afraid to wear a bright color because it is too much, afraid to do whatever makes them happy because it is not age appropriate, afraid to say “fuck” every now and then, because it is rude.

I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want to be afraid to go away for a few days, if I need it, to tell a boss he might not be right, to tell stupid jokes, to make people laugh, to wear red and pink and purple or to wear something that is so out of fashion just because I like it. I don’t want to be afraid that my dress…

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Wait, You’re Not Done?: Personal Interviews on Our Second Novels

TODAY’S BREW: Woodchuck Hard Cider for Julie.  Pumpkin Spice coffee for Kristen.

by Julie and Kristen

Without trying to explore All The Feelings in this blog post, Kristen and I wanted to take our super-emo blog post run from earlier this month and link it to how our feelings link to our new novels.  Again, we find ourselves working at the same pace on our newest novels, but with much different results and much different processes.  Not working on our first novels is a major change! And with change comes growth.  We decided to interview each other in 5 questions as to what makes our second books our second books with a life of their own.

FIRST KRISTEN!

1)What’s new in your second book?

There is a lot more Tristan, my smokin’ hot rockstar vampire main character, in Immortal Forever, which should make everyone happy.  A lot more Talis too, much to Callie’s dismay.  Talis wants Callie, our protagonist, out of the Immortal Dilemma picture.   Callie has a mentor to show her the ropes in the Vegas vampire world, to which we get more of a bird’s eye view.  Of course, there are new conflicts and challenges for them to face and overcome.  Not everyone gets out alive, but do they make it to the afterlife?

2)Have your main characters changed since book one?

Callie is no longer the naïve girl who started college in September.  She’s back for her second semester to battle a world she wouldn’t have believed existed just five months ago.  She’s not exactly sure what she wants, but she’s ready to fight against what she doesn’t want.  Callie is not a girl to put up with a lot of crap. Her attitudes towards Tristan and Blade, her love interest, have changed as well.

3)How have you changed since book one?

My life got completely up ended between the start and finish of Immortal Dilemma.  I lost my mom, I l had to give up my house, I lived in a hotel.  Last year at this time was the scariest time of my life.  But I got through it, and landed on my feet. A lot of people would have given up.  I think of it every time I pass someone at an intersection with a cardboard sign, asking for food or money.  That could have been me.  It made me stronger, and made me fight harder for everything I have.  There is no lay down and die.  I think that is reflected in my writing, and my characters.  They don’t give up.

4)What’s harder about the second book?  Easier?

Technically, Immortal Forever is the third book in this series.  I also wrote a prequel starring Callie and Tristan called Seasons in The Sun, which covers the backstory of their relationship.  When I began writing Immortal Dilemma, never did I imagine I’d have a literary agent when I started to write it’s sequel.  In fact, when I started Immortal Dilemma, I thought the whole story would be told in one book.  But as the story unfolded, I realized it need a To Be Continued.  Having an agent means people are paying attention.  This can’t suck. I’m probably being way too hard on myself, but that’s how I roll.  The characters have chosen their paths, and I need to follow it.  It’s not such an anything goes format anymore.  On the other hand, now that I know the main characters so well, their personalities are come through very easily now.

5)Do  you have a new soundtrack for your second book?

Seasons in the Sun had more of a country soundtrack.  Immortal Dilemma has more of a glam metal soundtrack.  Immortal Forever so far has a bit more of an industrial/alternative soundtrack.  It has a bit of a darker feel than the other two books, and the music that compliments it reflects that.

NOW ME, NOW ME! (JULIE)

1) What is your second book (Running Away) about?

Eliza and Nicholas find their comfortable New Hampshire world, and are forced to go to the Japanese temple where Ellie will commit herself to becoming something else.  Not to give too much away.  There are lots of new vampires in Japan, a lot of new interactions and relationships, and the characters you know from Running Home are put to the test in every way possible.

2) What are your biggest challenges in writing the second novel?

Taking my characters from a place that I personally know to a place I have never been from the get-go—Japan.  Making that setting real, both beautiful and frightening for my girl.

3)What is the most exciting part of your new novel?

I love the new characters we meet!  Human and vampire, forced to live together in this secluded place, full of aggression and newness and different feelings, temperaments.  And seeing the changes in Eliza.  She completely reinvents herself, and the outcome is something nobody will expect.

4) What is your writing schedule like?

Early! With the majority of Running Home I wrote after a long night of retail, into the wee hours of the morning.  Now I set my alarm for 5AM to write with the support of the 5AM Writer’s Club on Twitter.  It’s the only time I am truly alone and awake and fresh minded.  Much different!

5) How are you reflected in the new novel?

Aw, Jesus Christ. Ellie is experiencing a detached rawness in the face of a great loss much like I have.  She is emotionless, simultaneously trying to feel and not feel.  She pushes away the one person she loves because she just can’t give him anything, she has nothing to give.  She is void of life.  And she seems strong, but she’s at her most vulnerable, when she needs someone the most, and knows no way to ask for help.  It’s very similar to how I felt after my father’s death when I was 16.  That kind of inner change determines how you react to things for the rest of your life.  Ellie doesn’t become your typical hero, she has a lot of flaws, a lot of choices that are wrong, and she makes no apologies for them.  It’s real, and imperfect.  But I absolutely love the outcome of both of us!

There you have it!  I hope you all are looking forward to the end of the second novel journey the way we are.  But in the meantime, enjoy the ride.

Why Scary Stuff is Good

Today’s Brew:  Water. For some unknown reason I’ve broken out in hives and I’m afraid to have anything more interesting than that.

by Kristen

Quite a few of us are horror fans here, but that’s not the type of scary I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the real life scary stuff.  The stuff that give you unreasonable anxiety and makes you freeze in place at its very thought.

As a makeup artist, I do almost all of my work on location.  Usually it involves a crew of people that I work with on a regular basis.  In a pack, I never mind walking into an unfamiliar location.  But today I got hired to go to someone’s house to get them ready for a concert.  I was terrified.  I’d never met these people, and no one else could go with me.  I’d just talked to the lady on the phone.  Another vendor referred her to me.  Julie, as my emergency contact, had all the info about addresses and phone numbers and she instructed me to check in with her regularly, even though she thought I was being a little ridiculous.

My imagination had kicked into overdrive, as it always does in these situations.  What if they don’t want makeup and they just want to do horrible things to me?  What if they don’t pay me or rob me?  I mean, we’ve all watched the Lifetime movies.  Shit happens.

Thankfully, the people did want makeup.  They were very nice.  They paid me what they were supposed to.  No issues.

Today I made some money and some new friends, just by doing something I usually would have said no to (I don’t usually take that kind of job).  It made me think of all of the other scary things I’ve done in the past.

I’m terrified of planes, but I love to travel.  I used to stress out so badly I scared the other passengers.  If I wanted to see places, I had to get over it.

I quit a good paying full time job to go back to school.  At age thirty one.  I pursued freelance makeup artistry.  In Boston. Not Hollywood, not New York.  I never know when the phone is going to ring, and I have no safety net, but I couldn’t be happier.  I love going to work.  It took a while to build things up, but it was totally worth it.

The first time I posted my writing it was  first 100 words of my book in a Linked In group.  Someone said they’d read more.  I was over the moon.  Through that, I got involved in a monthly short story contest and now will be included in my very first anthology.  When  Immortal Dilemma went up on Authonomy, my very first comment was from someone I’d just read shred another book.  I literally shook while I waited for the comment to load.  She read the whole thing and loved it.  The comment was so awesome I wanted to rent billboard space so the whole world could see it.  Julie and I used to freeze with fear sending out queries.  OK, so the first couple didn’t go so well, but once I figured out what I was doing wrong, things improved dramatically.  Now I can share my writing without any fear.

So what scares you?  Is it holding you back?  You might find it’s not so scary after all.

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