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Archive for June, 2014

Hey, Astrea! Good to have you with us again! 

Good to be here. ::eyes narrow:: Wait, do I know you?

No, no. I’m new at Horse and Hound.  *ahem* Some of these questions will be mine, some from our readers, just so you know.

Okay….

::eyes stay narrowed for a second::

First question from our readers! Did you pass that exam?

Nope. But I was told afterward that the average grade is failing, so I don’t feel quite so bad as I did when I first saw FAIL plastered across the screen. I can take it again, so we’ll see.

Sorry to hear that. And about your dog, too. 

Thanks. We all miss him so much.

::flips a page:: Let’s get some of the odd questions out of the way. What’s your favorite wing sauce?

Teriyaki, but I’ve been known to order them plain fried, in bulk, much to my doctor’s chagrin. Cholesterol, yanno. I’ve been on a fraking diet for a month, so it might be dangerous to sit any in front of me.

As one of your adoring fans, if I’m buying you a drink at a bar, what am I buying?

Depends. If my husband isn’t around, Patrón, no salt, with lemon. If he’s around, a Bud Light and a shot of Jager (he hates the smell of any tequila). If we’re in New Orleans, throw in a cigar and a balcony and I won’t care what you’re buying.

Better dirty drunken song and why: The drunken Scotsman, or the drunken sailor?

Truth be known, I’d rather it be drunken party elves. Randy Thrandy forever! ❤

What’s your French Creole alter-ego name?

Tammany, but I’m not sure if that’s Creole or Cajun, and she doesn’t have a last name that she’ll divulge. She has a sort of prissy name, but she hunts gators, among other things. She’s like a supernatural swamp-trapper bad ass, where I whine if I get bit by a mosquito.

Now to the harder ones:

No one said there’d be hard questions. Is this in my contract with H&H? Christ, I need an agent.

Favorite Urban Fantasy universe?

Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. Harrison’s universe is so rich and layered, and I found LKH’s early books inspiring.

A follow up on that: Do you read any other non-vampire oriented series such as Ilona Andrews’ Edge or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files?

I enjoy Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld because it has such variety.  I have read Jim Butcher and loved every word, though I haven’t read as many of his books as I’d like (Harry is the shit). Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros is awesome. Honestly, I read more non-UF than UF, so I could go on for a bit. My love for Martin is well known. I really like Jaqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, and anything by Phillipa Gregory satisfies the royalty freak in me, so I read lots of different things.  (My hubs likes to pick on me about my Harry Potter books.)

Just so you know, I should shoot you for sending me looking at Ilona Andrews. I’ve never read any of their stuff and my TBR shelf is overflowing as it is, but it’ll be there soon. There’s not enough hours in the day for all the reading I’d like to do.

My TBR shelf grew.

See? Overflowing. And that doesn’t count my unread Kindle books.

I’m curious as to what draws you to vampires. The New Orleans connection is obvious, but what is it about that particular trope?

Damn, we are gettin serious here.

Vampires can be so complex, and yet so simple to create, and I say simple because I’m a unique-history buff.You start at ground level–you need a vampire. The next step can be one of two things: how old he/she is, or where are they from? I’ve had more characters than I can count come to life from me watching random tv, so let’s say I watched a documentary on the Templar Knights. *bam* He was a Templar Knight. That tells you about how old he is, and that it’s a he. If he’s old, he’s powerful, so there’s another answer. Of course, being that old means you have hundreds upon hundreds of years of back story to play with across many books. They can be as exotic, or not, as you like. My Templar vamp’s twenty-first century name is Pete, and he has a friend named Earl. Earl is a fairly newborn redneck vampire of the most hilarious form.  Pete’s complicated; Earl is way not. They can be anything you like, and it’s all interesting, and plausible. Especially in Urban Fantasy.

Then the obvious, a vampire (at least, mine) has to have blood, and I don’t care who you are, bared fangs and that vulnerability to those fangs is just sexy. There’s a dominance, an intimacy, and just a flat turn-on about it. The bite can be one of passion… or death. The difference between them, as little as one draw of blood; one too slow beat of a heart. I’m all in.

And hey, Dracula. 

Of course, I write more than just vampires. The Luce-verse has assorted fae, witches, shifters, etc. Even a zombie.

Why m/m?

In particular, the few UF books I’ve read with much m/m sends the guys off-screen 99% of the time because it’s written from a first person female point of view, and I wanted to know what I was missing. I wanted it on-screen, so I wrote it. Isn’t that what they tell you? Write the book you want to read? I can’t say I have written m/m exclusively, but I tend to lean that way more often than not for that reason. I dunno. I also like to think supernatural creatures have bigger problems in their world than worrying about limiting their date night choices. So, many of my people are, as they like to say, hetero-flexible.

What made you decide UF was for you?

When I discovered Vampire: The Masquerade, I was hooked. It was such a different world than the never-gettin-laid Ricean vampires that I already loved so much. By the time I started writing on a daily basis and visited New Orleans for the first time, I could see all these people in my head, living such different lives than Lestat and Louis. So, you could say that V:TM with its clan rules and hierarchy helped give structure to my universe, while Anne Rice and her vampires inspired style and depth. Then back in the mid-nineties a friend sent me the first three AB:VH paperbacks in the mail and the deal was sealed. I’ve actually had someone disappointed in my writing because they thought I’d have more of a pure Ricean style, but I know where my heart is.

Best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given? 

Threefold: Commit. Say… your character is a powerful, predatory male, let him be that on the page–don’t waffle. Deliver what you promise (which can be applied to writing in a few different ways). And the words “because he’s in love with him” isn’t an answer. There were other things, but that was the best conversation about craft I’ve ever had. I think everyone needs to have that kind of conversation with someone who has been there and done that, but only after you’ve read so much/heard so much advice about writing that you’re sick to death of hearing it, because only then will you listen and appreciate the advice for the wisdom that it truly is. I was fortunate to have had that opportunity.

I think we’re done.

No one has ever gotten me to talk as much as you have. Just sayin.

Can I admit something? I’m not really a fan of UF.

*snap* I thought I knew you.

No, you don’t. At least, not until you’re famous and we do this again. Officially.

You’ve got a deal.

 

 

 

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Goodbye, Mr. Johnson

When Lily wakes up in the morning, she plays pack leader. She walks into the living room to get our Aussie-mix, Baby, then walks into the other room to get her little brother, Clarence. Wednesday morning when Clarence wasn’t there, she looked at me and cocked her head in confusion. The same for Thursday, except she refused to go in the room; she stood at the door. By Friday morning, she must have finally understood he was gone because she headed straight for the back door with Baby in tow.

It was very sudden. One day he was fine, the next… he was not. The vet threw around words like bilirubin and liver disease, possible poisoning, and “maybe congenital,” and finally “we just don’t know.” We will never know.

The only thing for certain is we tried everything we could to save him. We gave Clarence the best home possible, spoiled him absolutely rotten, for the last three months of his too-short life. We had to hug him and kiss him and let him go. Even as our hearts ripped out, we had to do what was best for him.

Goodbye, Mr. Johnson. Daddy says you can have all the cookies you want, forever.

clarence

 

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