I will forward this with YES I AM EDITING MY BRAIN OUT. This is what I've been doing while my brain is cooling down from being that picky over which word to use. Those of you who have read Starbleached will know exactly what this is.
Probably the best part of this picture is, it's the first new pallate I've mixed in a couple of years. I love art. I love colors, I FUCKING LOVE this whole purple and green thing, and the upper right hand corner is what happens when you give me Photoshop and a brand new brush set. When I am done here I will probably edit another twenty pages and then paint until my brain falls out. And then sketch the cover because This Is Not That.
What is interesting is I HATED this when I left this afternoon. After eight hours (...and a beer)? I love it. Welcome to Dorofey, boys and girls. Let's not live here.
Also: Earlier I ranted about not having Starbleached themed music, which is kind of weird I know. Well...I kind of use music to make myself start thinking in terms of story. Exiles has this massively long soundtrack that has the same starting music (Bitter Tree, by David Baerwald) and a song or two for each scene in the Novel that Will Never Die AKA The Book, and when I was editing The Book I'd jump to that song or two and be instantly in the mood to work on it, because I'd conditioned myself to work with that music. I haven't gotten that with Starbleached yet.
Also, for all of you who have ever waited tables:
You now have a theme song. You're welcome.
Right. Anita Blake.
So apparently Asher screams "Vampire" and not "Weird gay goth dude" because everybody pulled guns when he showed up. Also: this AU St. Louis has the worst bodyguards EVER. You'd think they'd be able to see a dead guy sneaking up on them, but I guess not.
Anyhoo, Anita is all like "Friend" and everybody else is like "He's no friend of ours!" and I'm all like "POINT PLEASE" which we apparently get to quickly enough. Something has Asher freaked out enough to forget about English and the whole undead superpowers thing, and he appeared because Emergency.
So apparently we are four chapters in before the actual story starts.
...You know why Starbleached is my play in non linear storytelling? It ain't because I wanted to be clever. I knew that if I didn't do the whole then/now thing, we wouldn't get to Dorofey until halfway through the fucking book, and much as I love watching Bry and Adry be together I knew that wouldn't be very interesting (It also would have meant a lot more Mich, and I don't like Mich much). In other words, Writer-readers: START THE FUCKING BOOK WHERE THE FUCKING STORY STARTS TOO. Your readers are smart. They'll catch up.
Anyway. Asher. The cops calm down and we are left with Nichols, one of the bodyguards for the insurance guys.
Writing fail part the second: Characters. I love characters. I love sticking a bunch of characters into one room and watching what falls out, especially if it's body parts. But characters should work like a restuarant; a significant turnover is allowed, but not desirable. (...yes, we HAVE entered a significant hiring phase at my workplace. Why do you ask?) Hiring new people requires training, introductions to the regulars and a significant amount of breakage while you learn how to balance four salad plates on two hands. New characters require introductions, you have to overcome that "I don't give a shit" attitude on the part of the reader (we all have that) and then you have to prove that Newbie A has the chops to stand up against the veteren character who knows how to survive the author's favorite plot bunnies. The fact that Nichols is getting a fair amount of face time seems to be indicating that he's going to be a major character, and I don't like him much. Possibly because Anita seems to like him and she was joking with the cops a few minutes ago about how a possible suicide was justified because the wife was being a little upset. The reason why Nichols is writer fail and not just an iffy character is...why couldn't this character be Dolph or Zerbowski? Or one of the other nine million goodguy cops introduced over the course of this series? If one character can fulfill a certain role and you find you have that role in an upcoming story use that character in the fucking role. DO NOT REINVENT THE WHEEL HERE is what I am saying.
(and once more I am reminded that I have three characters filling the same goddamned role in Exiles and I have NO idea how I'm going to fix it. My house is made of glass, folks.)
Right. Shitty book.
So Nichols asks what the rush is and Asher says this:
“Musette has been gravely injured. I came to take Anita to her side.”
My reaction is "fuck the what now?" but Anita's is more "OH FUCK WHAT NOW" and apparently Musette is Bella Morte's emmisary who is due in several months but who has decided to show up now. And Musette is apparently a very bad lady because Anita is now worried about her people getting hurt by Musette. She asks for permission to leave, gets it, we get an info dump on how bad Musette is, and I have to ask the other anti-fans, has Musette appeared in ANY OTHER BOOK before now? I swear to fucking GOD I do not remember this chick appearing before, but it reads as if this is a recurring character and I am tres confused here, folks.
And then we move on to how pretty Asher is. Because the men must be established as being very pretty. And I have to say it, kids, for all the emphasis we put on eyes? They're not that important. Oh, don't get me wrong. They are very important in a visual medium, because we recognise faces from the top down. But this is not a visible medium. You are allowed one adjective per eye. Blue. Green. Hazel. Brown. And if (and only if) they are non human you are allowed gold or silver or magenta. But this?
The one eye that was visible was a clear, pale blue like the eyes of a Siberian husky dog. Human beings just didn’t have eyes like that.
I lost interest in his pretty eyes at "Siberian".
(FYI I am auditioning all the music I scrubbed from the Exiles soundtrack four years ago. Minds Eye by Sirena has just become part of Starbleached permanent playlist. I am sure you all wanted to know)
So Anita and Asher get into her car and start freaking out about how Musette has arrived, and how Musette has brought people with her and OH FUCK I remember what exactly she brought with her. OH FUCK. OH FUCK GUYS, I HAD BLOCKED THAT FROM MY MEMORY COMPLETELY.
French words are used to make Musette seem magically special, but to cut through the bullshit she's officially Bella's ambassidor and hurting her hurts Bella because that's how ambassidors work. Anita wants to tell Bella to get fucked due to Musette being rude. Asher says this is a bad thing because Bella is the fountainhead for their bloodline and this is less a political play and more Mom dropping by unannounced to make sure your weed stash hasn't migrated from your bed to your cookie jar.
Anita says she doesn't get it. Asher says she has never known a king or a queen as a rular, of course she won't get it. Anita says they can't afford to let Bella think they are small fish and Asher says "DUH THAT IS WHAT WE ARE" and then the chapter ends.
Next chapter: Anita does not like being thought of as little fish.
IS THERE A REASON WHY LKH IS THIS COMFORTABLE LETTING HER UNCONSIOUS OUT? I mean, DAMN GIRL, I know writing is a good way to work through your issues, but you didn't have to share like this, you know?
Meanwhile Anita does the first smart thing she's done in two books and calls everybody who isn't a vampire to let them know the bad guys have dropped by. Thanks for that.
And then...oh, brace yourself boys and girls:
I let Asher leave the message on Richard’s machine, sometimes he erased messages from me without listening to them. It depended on how bad a mood he was in that day. Though he’d dumped me, not the other way around, he acted like the wounded party and blamed me for everything.
Anita. Honey. Baby. YOU RAPED HIM. Did you get amnesia fighting Chimera or something? YOU fed on HIM when he had fucking clearly fucking told you fucking no. And just because the American legal system does not define forced envelopment as rape the way it does forced penetration, IT IS STILL FUCKING RAPE.
And hey, you know what else that paragraph tells me? YOU ARE CALLING HIM MORE THAN YOU NEED TO. You are now officially that scary stalker girlfriend. Congrats. And yes. He is the wounded party. You raped him.Grow the fuck up.
They park at the circus, and Asher reveals that he has issues with Musette:
He shook his head. “You must know. Anita, Jean-Claude didn’t send me to you because I travel faster than anyone else. He sent me to get me away from her.”
Can we JUST FUCKING ONCE have a bad guy who isn't a sexual predator? It's fun when it's your big bad and you build up to it, but when it's every single day you start hoping for terrorists and home grown militia crazies. There are a lot of sexual predators in the universe, kids, but this is like rolling sevens every single time.
Damian shows up. He has red hair and green eyes. This information is delivered with enough adjectives to make a christmas tree look restrained. Damian is Anita's vampire servant. I had forgotten this. She accidentally mind raped him into a permanent psychic tie. They have to touch because...thin justification? I can't say "plot" because that has nothing to do with this. We get a long description of how much Anita's fingers hurt from all the finger pricking she's done lately.
YOU RAISED ONE ZOMBIE. ONE. IF YOU ARE RAISING ONE ZOMBIE A NIGHT YOU SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO HEAL BETWEEN PIN PRICKS. IF YOU ARE RAISING MORE YOU SHOULD STOP USING YOUR FINGERS.
Jason shows up. He's the werewolf.
Jason mentions that Musette has offered to share her pomme de sang aka regular meal with Jean Claude if Jean Claude will share Jason with Musette.
Musette is blond, isn't she?
And then Jason drops this fun little bombshell:
Jason’s grin faded. “Her pomme de sang is illegal in this country, so Jean-Claude had to decline.”
“Illegal,” I said, “in what way?”
He sighed, looking decidedly unhappy. “The girl can’t be more than fifteen.”
You know, at least Kitto wasn't a fucking human being. Yep, we've got another minor in this game, and this time I can't even call them a fake. Musette apparently likes to take blood from kids, and she's brought a couple child-vampires with her as well as the kid she's using as a blood bag. Anita is all shocked and shamed.
Did you know that Caressed by Twilight was written before this book? So Kitto predates Musette and her child entorage? Did you want to know this? Because I sure as fuck did not.
Anyway, this is a poltical move because Anita will be justified in killing Musette the second her fangs touch underage skin. Except she can't because Plot, and the politics here are wheels within wheels of stupid.
And then they have an aside about how Damian is helping Anita keep herself under control and they should bolt the two of them together for the duration of the meeting. Nice. Anita can't control herself without the presence of a man.
And they said this series promoted an independant female.
And that's pretty much it until the end of the chapter. "Musette is dangerous and we can't kill her" followed up by "Damian, it's your job to keep Anita from killing her," repeated over and over until a random conversation about stripping and handcuffs with Jason.
I already hate this book.