Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eternal Prey--chapter 17

Sorry, guys. I had a headache yesterday. Read as "migraine". Read as "the kind of migraine that smells purple" if that makes anything resembling sense.

So when we last left our heroes, they had defeated this novel's big bad by means of ladybug.

You know, I have many many MANY insecurities re: my writing, but I can say this: I make my characters fucking buy their happy endings. And I have never beaten a bad guy by means of handing them a beetle.

Oh, and Utah proposed to Lia. So how long do we have to wait for the wedding? Not long at all. It's being preformed now. Right now. As in chronological seconds after Lia agreed to marry her very special Flaming Bag of Dicks, the wedding has to happen. Because:

“It’s our mating ceremony. It’s a little different from a human wedding.”
Right. Because all humans get married in a church with the full ceremony and bridesmaids and a year's worth of planning.

I've had close relatives marry with literally one day's notice, and I've been greatful to be allowed to attend the ceremony. Suffice to say the assumption has me feeling more than a little grumpy.

This is really going to be weird, isn't it? Please don't involve blood letting. Please. 

Utah raked his fingers through his hair. “Look, marrying any of us comes with a shitload of ugly baggage. Any woman who loves us should understand what she’s signing up for, and then decide if she’s willing to make a lifetime commitment. During the ritual, you’ll see some of my past— the good, the bad, and the oh-crap stuff.” He smiled as he touched her lips. “Because you know this, Lia, we will be bonded forever. I’ll never let you go.”

AND the flaming bag of dicks gets the "Stalker of the Year" award.

There is nothing more romantic to me than a couple politely agreeing that unhealthy behavior WILL negate the marriage if it perpetuates. Because, you know, this indicates that they value the well being of the other party more than they do their own pride.

And apparently this means that Lia has to literally enter Utah.

“My love for you creates a physical response that opens me to you.” “You do know that what you’re describing has a major ick factor.” She tempered the words with a smile. “What I meant is that my body becomes incorporeal so that you can enter.”
The further I venture into this chapter, the more I realize that I probably blocked it out due to traumatic experiance.

Utah sends her to go find Tor. She does, and then comes back. Meanwhile, her Mommy issues are healed by means of scabs.

 I have no idea.

 So Lia enters Utah and ventures into Jurrasic Park, and experiences the end of the dinos. Great. Then she goes further back, and finds Utah as a human. And he was married with a wife and child who died horribly and randomly.

Please don't be Atlantis please don't be Atlantis PLEASE DEAR GOD DO NOT BE ATLANTIS.

Fin shows up randomly, makes Omnious Pronouncements, and then vanishes. Good for Fin. Lia runs around in the ruins of Unnamed but Cataclysmically Destroyed City (that is probably Atlantis) until she finds Utah again...AND EVERYTHING EXPLODES INTO RANDOM LIGHT.

So just so we're all on the same page, Utah is a flaming bag of dicks because at some point Fin's cycle of immortal destruction killed his wife and child. Because that backstory wasn't done to death fifty years ago.


“I went, I saw, and it scared me witless, but I still want you, raptor.”
At this point, Utah is the soul of a man that posessed a dinosaur that then posessed a human. This is now the mobius strip of WTF.

And nothing about what we read is scary.

Much romantic bickering ensues. None of it is interesting.

Adam died offscreen. He contributed exactly shit to this narrative. I'm so glad he was here. However, he is useful in death, because Lia insists on Fin giving them a wedding gift by shoving Rap's soul into Adam's dead body. 

There is so much wrong with that. SO MUCH WRONG.

And this actually happens.

So basically now Fin has a guy in control of every vampire ever. AND THE DUDE DIED OFFSCREEN.


And then we get dialogue that is either terminally stupid, or incredibly cool. I can't tell:

Rap grinned. Then he frowned. “I’m not in the same body. What do I look like?”

Lia studied him. “You’ve got dark hair, gold eyes, and a perfect face. Women will love you.”

Rap looked relieved. “Good. Women are important.”

Please, Loyal Readers. Tell me how to feel about this.

Lia and Utah drive home. Nina Bangs fails at physics:

Finally, she spoke. “You know, I think I’ve figured things out.” “Uh-huh.” One mile to Fin’s. “It’s all about perspective.” “Sure.” A half mile to Fin’s.
I know we can drive really fast, but I doubt you can consume an entire half mile in the space of one sentence.

 Lia decides that 2012 is the beginning of all things and the book ends.


SO. IN LIGHT OF THIS ENDING I have gone though the library and I have these suggestions, some good, some horrible:

-More LKH.
-James Allen Gardner's Expendable. It's space exploration as told by redshirts, IF the redshirts were redshirts because of hideous deformity. It's one of the best sci-fi series I've ever read.
-Something by Julian May. Either the Jack the Bodiless series or the Hundred Concerns series. Both series kick ass.
-David Eddings. We can do either Redemption of Althalus or the Eleniad/Tamuli. (It's a six book series and I would do the ENTIRE THING)
-More Mission Earth
-More Gor.
-Sequel to the Lake Sex book. 

It is up to you.

If you do not vote it will probably be either Althalus or Expendable. It depends on how I feel. I'm just in the mood to do a book I'd enjoy for a change.


Friday, August 30, 2013

More artwork

So yeah. Moved the picture down because the composition worked that much better as a book cover.

I hate her dress. I hate her dress. I really hate her freaking dress. WHY DO I HAVE TO GIVE CHARACTERS LONG FLOWY THINGS TO WEAR. IT IS SUCH A PAIN TO PAINT.

Every time I do a painting I feel like Jeff Goldblum in Lost World. Yeah, it's oooh ahh now but you missed the running and the screaming.

Also: White is not white. White is never white. White is all the colors, and if you do it wrong you get purple. I remember reading that part in Catching Fire where Peeta tells the dying stoner babe about how colors work and thinking "YEP. PREACH IT".


In short: Things are going rather well.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eternal Prey--Chapter 15-16

What happens in Chapter 16: Seir and Fin break Lia's brainwashing and Lia and Utah have sex.

Neither segment is all that interesting. We discover that Lia is afraid of ghosts. Fin and Seir have Family Issues (No shit) and want to stay apart even though they really do love each other. Nina Bangs can actually use the word "cock" in a sex scene and manage to make it kind of sexy. Lia feeds as a vampire and is able to stop from killing Utah in the process through the Power Of Love, though she refuses to actually say "I love you" because Lia Has Mommy Issues.

In other words, we've shot the plot dead for sex. Again.

I hate sex scenes in books.

So we're going into chapter 15 now. We've got no idea where Christine is, where The Thing Lia needs to kill Christine is, or how to move forward, and emotionally, all the salient plots that have driven this book have been resolved. Only one left is killing Christine, and honestly, have any of us given one flying fuck about the entire plot of this novel? Christine wants to grow a garden that Oscar Wilde's Nightengale could be proud of. Get back to us when she starts killing puppies.

In other words, it's time for the Plot Resolution Fairy to come flying out of somebody's ass.

Next chapter:

I swear to god half of these things have started with somebody banging on a door. At least it's not a dry twig.

So everybody has to go to the Media Room. Much lingering and kissing is done before Utah and Lia head down.

I have also just discovered that there is a character named "Lio", short for a dino name I will never be able to pronounce OR spell. Up until now I thought that was a misspelling. Yeah, it's not smart to have two characters with names one vowel apart, unless they are related fraternal twins who always appear together and their mother is supposed to be an uncreative hack with a heavy side of the cutesies.

Fin shows up and says that the city is about to be evacuated because RANDOM VOLCANIC EXPLOSION (and also bribed city official). Apparently this is Christine's going away party.

Well, as Plot Resolution Fairies go, this one is at least a little inventive.

Also: Kione and the Vampire Five will be working together.

So they all go to Random Explody Mountain, and Utah tries to talk Lia out of being the hero because he loves her and he doesn't want her to die (...legit. That ain't "you're a girl" talk, that's "you're valued over and beyond my own hide" talk.)

Seir shows up randomly. His dialogue summerizes the entire book:

“Live volcano, psycho immortal, wacko followers. Not a great place to take your date, Utah.” Seir wasn’t smiling.

Everybody hikes up the mountain in a melodramatic fashion. We must fight but I don't want to die and MOUNTAIN EXPLODING sums it up pretty well. The dino guys go dino.

Utah still takes time out to examine Lia's ass. Flaming bag of dicks, ladies and gents. He'll never change.


When he had finished, he was surrounded by dead wolves, blood, and . .  . a yellow flower...Lia would want the flower. The flower was important.
Oh. Oh my god. I totally forgot about this.

So Utah turns back into a human and picks the yellow flower and takes it over to Lia, who is having an "OH SHIT I FORGOT ALL MY KICK ASS WEAPONS" moment, because she forgot all her kick ass weapons and is standing right in front of Christine.

Christine started to turn when Lia was about twenty feet away from her. Oh no. Lia looked frantically around for a seven— buttons on a shirt, anything. Where the hell was the freaking seven Fin had said she’d find?
I am laughing so hard right now I can barely type.

Christine laughed. “How sweet. He’s bringing you a flower. We’ll put it on your grave.” Her laughter faded. “I could’ve destroyed all of your little attack party if Fin hadn’t used some of his power to protect you.”
You can't top this. You just can't.

Lia realizes that the flower does not have seven petals, she drops it to the ground, falls on her knees in front of it, waits to die...and then sees something that she missed the first time.

And as Christine reached out to take her heart, Lia scooped up the ladybug with its glorious seven spots from the flower’s petals and placed it on Christine’s outstretched hand. “There. A going-away gift from me to you, bitch.”
So just to recap what this book is:

It's a book about men posessed by the ghosts of dead dinosaurs, Bella Swan with a sword, perm and spine, Number-obsessed immortals who have the collective maturity of a two year old, a random dark Elf who we borrowed from Merry Gentry for a while, Random Panthers, Random Otherkin, Random Exploding Mountains and the big bad of the week gets defeated by a freaking ladybug.



Christine begs Fin for help. Fin is suddenly really interested in his manicure. She disappears. Adam appears! He wants to kill Utah. Utah talks him out of it. Lia and Jude share a "Let's kill Adam in his sleep" look.

Utah and Lia discuss her last minute, I'm-going-to-die-now "I love you". Utah did not reply with "I know". There is no justice in the universe.

Utah proposes. Lia says yes.

There is still another chapter in this book.


-More Laurel K. Hamilton.
-More Mission Earth
-The sequel to that book about the woman who has sex with a lake.

-Something by Frank Peretti (IE The Oath, This Present Darkness, basically he was the John the Baptist for the Left Behind series)


Color sketch for Dragon Breath Part Two: Knights is ready for showing off!

This one is going to be a challenge. I've never done this before. It ought to be fun.


Ah, well. Manuscript is sent off for editing, this shouldn't take too long...ETA is now Saturday, September 7th.

Mark your calendars accordingly.

(Donators: I will need e-mail addresses and preferred file type for your rewards. I should get that from Indiegogo but I'd like to double up just to be safe.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eternal Prey--chapter 14


First of all, the Indiegogo campain fell a little short of the stated goal, but it's exactly what I needed to get this finished. You guys rock so hard it is incredible. I have no idea how I'm going to make the next segment, but that's on my own lookout, not yours. I may run another campaign someday (IE several months from now) but not immediately. You guys got me through an INCREDIBLY hard time in my life. Someday real soon I'll explain exactly what it meant that ya'll came together like this.

Speaking of which: DONATORS: I will require your addresses please.

OTHER GOOD NEWS: Edits on my end are done. It flows as well as I can make it, and it will be sent off to the editor very soon. (YOU GUYS ROCK. Have I said how much you guys rock? YOU GUYS ROCK) ETA is now the weekend of the seventh. I'll know more when I get some dates back from the editor. BUT WE ARE NEARLY THERE. And that means next week THERE WILL BE ARTWORK.

Now, for the not so great news: I am going to publish the next Gray Prince book without an editor. Yes, Editor-Nonnie, I know that's not kosher. But my finances are strapped tight for the foreseeable future. When I started the editing, my circumstances were real different, and I had to make a few judgement calls that put my personal welfare over being able to afford making the books read pretty. Getting the editing was a good call for the books, but it was the wrong call for other reasons. I am still really, really glad I got it, and I'm going to try to keep the habits it gave me so that the next time I have the cash--and I'm gonna try really hard to have it set up solid for the next Starbleached run--the writing itself will be better, and it won't be quite so expensive.

Now, if things change between now and then, you bet your freaking buttons I'm gonna let you know.

Second item on the not-so-good news list: I need to take time off from publishing to write more books, so I make no promises about the next Gray Prince book. I really, really, really want it to drop in November, but I also want to have a little bit of a backlog to plow through. We might be looking at December. IDK, I'll let you know. Just, you know, be aware. 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring up concerns in the comments if you have them. This is now officially a cooperative thing between me and you guys, and your feedback, even if it's completely negative, is very valuable to me. Like I said: I would not have made it through the last six months without you guys.

Oh, and I haven't posted an excerpt yet because EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER contains massive spoilers for the end of Part One. I've spent the entire editing period going "Well, we could post this How about This one? Nope. Well, here's a sentence that maybe...nope. Well, damn."

Right. On to crazy book.

I have a massive issue with this first paragraph. Lia sees Kione show up and thinks about how seeing the fact that he'd suffered and loved had given him a touch of humanity:

You couldn’t judge someone’s humanity on a sliding scale. And being human didn’t guarantee goodness and light.
The problem I have with this is something I've already touched on: the non-human characters are only good (AND WELL DEVELOPED) when on the good guy side of the book.

I love David Weber. I love Honor Harrington. Mostly because the cast is freaking awesome, on BOTH sides of the line. Honor is cool because Honor. And then you've got Scotty and Harkness and Alice Truman and Queen Elizabeth and Nimitz and Benjamin and Berry and Ruth and Alistar McKeon (sob) and Andrew LaFollet (SOB!)...and then on the Honorverse version of Team Evil AKA The Republic of Haven you've got Pritchard and Thiesman and Tourville and Shannon Foeraker and Giscard and Cachet AND I CAN GO ON LIKE THIS ALL NIGHT. Many many MANY of the battles in those books were exciting because you genuinely liked both sides, and much as you wanted Honor to kick Thomas Theisman's butt AGAIN, you also didn't want Thomas and Shannon and their awesome awesome underlings to die.

Which is why one sided villians are a bad idea. Even when Weber HAD one-sided villians (Rob Pierre, Oscar St. Just, Esthar McQueen, oh holy fuck Cordelia Ransom) (Yeah, let's see if you can guess what period in history Weber's working off of) they had plots and ambitions and concerns that had nothing to do with Honor or Manticore. It's not the most subtle of books (Yes. Seriously. One of the villains is a revolutionary government leader named Rob Pierre who almost immediately starts killing anybody who calls him a blood thirsty idiot.) but you liked the good guys and the good bad guys, and the only thing better than watching the real bad guys plot was watching them die.

That's not happening here. We don't know who the five vampires are, save for being rapist scumbags. Whoo hoo, Christine/Seven was once Fin's girlfriend....aaaaaannnnnnnd that's all she gets. (At least Weber gave the fucking Committee of Public Safety--yes, Rob Pierre's government really is called that--hobbies, romances and guilt trips) Adam is an asshole, but so are Utah and Fin and they've got...uh...relatively more depth? The other side is about as faceless as the storm troopers for the Empire, and they were clones in fucking face masks. You quite literally do not give a flying fuck about these bad guys winning OR losing, and the only reason you root for the good guys is they've got the Designated Good Guy Flag flying outside of Fin's condo.

It'd be boring if it weren't about dinosaurs and vampires being driven around by Otherkin.

It doesn't really backfire until the characters start trying to play this sympathy for the vampires card that never gets extended past the immediate cast. Kione is good because Designated Good Guy Flag. Christine is bad because they say so. And they SAY they want to kill humans, but they haven't so much as kicked a puppy onscreen yet, let alone made a pencil disappear.

For all the attempts at shades of gray moralizing, it looks pretty black and white to me.

Oh, and Adam called Utah and Lia in because he's made a deal with Christine. Like we couldn't see that coming from six blocks away.

Adam’s eyes glowed with excitement. “She’s leading more than just vampires. Once she’s gone, I’ll control all the shifters, demons, and other nonhumans she’s gathered together.” He licked his lips. “I’ll control the world.”
Yeah. Lia, if you couldn't smell the meglomania coming off this dude before, you're dumber than a bag of rocks.

...still smarter than Bella Swan, though.

Adam tries to make Kione disappear with incantations and whatnot. It works about as well as you'd expect:

Utah waited until the moment Adam’s attention switched to Kione. That moment was all he needed.
Utah switches to Raptor and...yeah, I have yet to get ONE paragraph of description on the raptors. Or ANY of the dinosaurs. I mean, I've stablished my headcannon is feathery death cannons all around, but for fuck's sake, could we get a color?

Meanwhile, Lia goes utterly batshit insane and starts pulling vampire heads off, and this is actually REALLY good. Finally a Random Dude pulls her out of the bloodlust and back to reality. Utah is a little freaked and Kione is still doing his emotionless Spock thing.

...we're seriously going to keep playing that "I don't think I can love you" game? Seriously? We're still wasting words on that?

Oh, and there's a random murder snake. No big deal.


“That’s an inland taipan, also known as the fierce snake. One bite has enough venom to kill one hundred adult humans.”
...did the wiki article tell you all that?

This is Shen, who I think brought everybody coffee once and then disappeared. So yeah, random murder snake.

...why would vampires die from snakebite venom? How would that even work?

And Adam escaped. Nice that Lia was too lost in bloodlust to notice.

Talking about bloodlust. “Don’t get any closer.” Even now, she could feel the compulsion to turn and kill him tugging at her. “Oh, and so we keep my killing urges straight, what I’m feeling now is Zero’s compulsion. What I felt back there was just a new vampire’s killing high.” She made an impatient noise. “I always thought I could control the bloodlust when I became vampire. Shows what I know.”
Also, nice that becoming a vampire didn't teach Lia how to talk like a human.

Lia's freak out over her bloodlust continues through the tunnel, outside where they trade cracks with the dino-guys who apparently just came for the show, and into the car, where she scrubs down with wet-naps until she's rubbed places raw. Because, you know, it's bad for somebody to enjoy their own bloodlust. And the best way to show that badness is hysterical cleaning breakdowns.

Lia and Utah discuss her compulsion rationally...ish...and decide to go to Seir for help.

The last time you listened to him you walked into a trap. I DO NOT THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA. However, Lia begs and Seir agrees to help Fin fix her head, as long as they do it outside. Fin zips right down, though he takes the time to curse at them for moving without his permission.

This is a lovely cast. Isn't it just a lovely cast?

Seir takes just enough time to let everybody know that he hasn't touched either of his brothers in a long time because weird things happen, clarifies that "half the world vanishing" counts as weird, and then grabs Fin's hand.

End of chapter.

Eternal Prey--chapter 13

The biggest issue I have with this book is the filler factor. Everything that happens between Lia's change and when the bad guys finally get taken down is filler that does not effect the plot in any way whatsoever.

It drives me nuts. I have the same issue with a couple other series I'm reading. Long-running series tend to have this issue if the writer isn't careful. In CW's Theories On Writing (consume with grain of salt) you have two plots in every book: A macrocosmic plot--this is the universe as a whole--and a microcosmic plot--this is what is happening with the main character. Sub-plots are microcosmic plots that happen to characters who are not the main character. They ought to be plotted the same as the main character and ought to take the same amount of time and effort to resolve; you just don't see the in-between bits. In a single book, the macrocosmic plot and the microcosmic plot should be given equal importance. In a series, your micro-plot IS the plot for that book, and your macro plot is the one running through the whole series on slow boil. If you get the balance right--and this is very hard to do--then your macro plot's build up will be seamless with your microcosmic plot--ie in Harry Potter, Riddle's diary is introduced as the climax of the second book AND as build up to the seventh book's quest for the Horcruxes--and the reader won't pick up on the macro-plots twists until you're ready to reveal them...and they also won't be overly surprised.

This book's biggest problem is that Nina is alternating between macro plot-points and micro-plot points, and it is OBVIOUS. She might as well have a sign posted next to certain scenes saying "THIS WILL NOT BE RESOLVED IN THIS BOOK, READ THE NEXT ONE".

The first scene in this chapter is one of those scenes.

Apparently Fin decides to stick around in the rose garden after the Dino boys and Kione kicked the crap out of it, because he's got to clean it up so humans won't notice. Hey, his character isn't very well developed past "immature". How about we get another character trait in there?

Now it seemed as though Utah was walking down the same path (Note--of falling in love with a human. CW). Fin recognized the signs. Maybe there was still hope, though. Lia was vampire, and Utah might not be able to get past that. Too bad Fin didn’t have a close relationship with his men. He could tell Utah that love was a bitch who walked away from you when you needed her the most.
...misogynistic asshole was not what I was going for.

Seven is still in the garden when he gets there, and it turns out the two of them have a history. A romantic history. And Seven/Christine apparently walked away from Fin when Fin walked away from the "Destroying things on earth to make way for other things" movement. And Fin is not happy about it. And none of this has one shit to do with this book's plot.

Now, it should be time to have one of those "Asshole with a heart of gold/I'm only this way because I was hurt/I need a co-dependant woman to make me all better" scenes.

She called his name. The name he hadn’t heard for millions of years. He paused but didn’t turn around. 

“Come back to me.” Her voice was soft with all that had been between them. The need to turn around, to go back to her, almost won. Then he drew in a deep breath and closed his eyes.
 “That name belonged to someone from a long time ago. He’s gone. Forget it. Forget him.” And every word dug into his heart— the heart his men believed he didn’t have— and he bled.
I'm gonna confess that I actually do like that trope--Beauty and the Beast, the dangerous asshole--but I understand that dear fucking GOD is that a dangerous plot to run. It re-enforces a very, VERY dangerous idea--that a sick man can be Healed By Love if you love him enough--and needs to be handled very carefully. (My theory is that you have to treat the romance, not as the mechanism for healing, but as the reward for both people working on their issues. They're more healthy then when the novel started, and they've shown that both parties are willing to walk away the second things get unhealthy, so they get to be in love right now. You can like the bad boys/girls as long as the bad boys are working on being safely bad. But call them on their shit, kids.)

Yeah, I wouldn't want to have a relationship with Fin. Or Utah, for that matter. They're bad boys, but they're immature bad boys. You get the idea that they'll break their toys as soon as they get a little irritated. Who do I like?

You know, his entire motivation changes when you realize that an IRL labyrinth is a twisting path with no alternatives, leading to a single destination. Once you walk in, you're only going one place. Kind of good if you want a spoiled rotten teen to make a solid 180.
After showing us that he's Really A Person In There (gag) he goes back to the condo and finds Lia standing outside with a cooler full of bagged blood.

It really says something that this is the first modern day vampire book I've read where the main vampire goes to a blood bank. This solution ought to be freaking obvious.

Also, Lia tells Fin that she had to talk real fast to keep her daddy from hunting Christine down and making her a dead not-a-vampire.

She randomly calls attention to his ring while they're talking. Great. Either that's the Object she needs to kill Seven, OR that's YET ANOTHER FUCKING PLOT POINT that isn't going to get resolved in this book.


 Lia repeats: She fed off Zero and now she wants to kill Utah and doesn't want to hunt Christine anymore.

It takes Fin two pages to realize Lia has been brainwashed. WE ALREADY KNOW THIS; this just makes him look stupid.

We switch to the next day, when Utah wakes up. He heads to the common room, where everybody and their wives are there, and we get this lovely conversation:

Kelly poked him with her elbow. “In her own subtle way, my sister is hinting that your backbone is a little rubbery.” She turned to her husband. “Speaking of poultry, did you know that scientists believe chickens are the descendants of the mighty T. rex?”
Given that Ty, like Utah and Tor, ought to be covered in feathers to be scientifically accurate? This should not be a big surprise.

Ty, however, is mortally offended.

Utah and Lia spend a few pages wallowing in sexual tension while Utah eats bacon.

Fin reveals that he and Christine/Seven have a history, and that she's going to have a big celebration in Pittsburgh before the book is over...and that it won't be nice for humans. Because you really can't foresee that a book will have an explosive climax. It's kind of unusual, that whole "climax" thing.

Plot Point That Won't Be Resolved In This Book: Apparently the dino-guys are remembering whatever they were before they were dinos, and it was a "nightmare world" and Fin is fully justified in keeping this from them.

Were they Cthulhu? Cause otherwise, Fin is still an asshole.

 Utah and Lia get a personal conference, where everybody spends a few minutes proving who the biggest and baddest thing in the room is (it's a tie, and not because they're all that powerful) and then Fin convinces Lia that she's been brainwashed. Which we already knew.

Wow, that whole brainwashing plot sure was epic. It took three chapters for it to get partially resolved!

Adam has summoned them too, so they all get shipped out to Vampire Central with Greer the Therianthrope/Otherkin at the wheel. Because they need a human at the wheel and I guess souls don't count.

They get there and Kione, who has been missing for ONE WHOLE CHAPTER, shows up outside of Adam's place! And then the chapter ends, so I guess we're supposed to hear dun-dun-dun and flashing lightening.

Not exactly.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Eternal Prey--Chapter 12

So there is a kickass fight between the Dino Dudes, Kione and the vampires, and it doesn't matter for anything because Utah is sitting it out. He's more worried about Lia, who is freaking out a little bit because her reaction to Utah--thanks to Zero's brainwashing--isn't normal for a vampire. Only she doesn't remember being brainwashed, so...

Kione calls down random lightening bolts and ends the fight with his five. WOW that was easy. But Lia points out that they're under Jude's protection. Jude has to come to their rescue if he wants to keep his street cred. So now the conflict is that if he kills them, Jude will attack him, he'll kill Jude and then Lia will be sad.

Seriously. This book has no idea how it feels about vampires. When they're attached to a human, they're good. When they're not, they're effectively tissue paper.

Fin and Lia both tell Utah that they have to keep Jude alive, and that means keeping the five vampires alive before Kione kills them and eats their liver. But why oh why is Kione justified in killing their undead asses? Is it just the curse? Is it a long feude a'la Hatfields and McCoys?

Nope. It's rape.

Remember how Kione can make people feel lust? Well apparently the Five Vampire's old  (and now dead) clan couldn't "stand to attention" anymore until they found out about Kione. So they did the natural and reasonable thing, which was to kidnap his girlfriend, chain him to a post, point knives at the girlfriend, and rape him for several months because WHAT THE FUCK AM I READING.

Okay. It's one thing in the Anitaverse because EVERYTHING IS RAPE. Is there chastizement of a supernatural in the Anitaverse? It's rape. Is there a crime? It involved rape. Is Anita hungry? Here's rape with a side of rape, would you like fried rape with that? But weird and crazy as this book has been, we've been pretty careful on the consent thing.

So hey. Let's have a random rape and torture scene with a garnish of female suicide. Yeah. Kione's girlfriend--who doesn't get a discription beyond "Pretty woman", let alone a freaking name--throws herself on the vampire knives to free Kione from being raped until the girlfriend died of old age.

And just to add extra spice to this WTFery, when Kione plays the memory for everybody, Utah takes on the POV of the rapists.

So what does this add to the book? Kione is so very much a side character you could replace him with a lamp that shoots lightening at random intervals and nobody would notice. WHY DO WE NEED TO HAVE THIS IN HERE.

...because he makes Lia cry and prove that she's still human inside. NO. REALLY. THAT'S THE ENTIRE PURPOSE:

Maybe tonight, with this man, she’d allow herself to be human once more, with a human’s unapologetic expression of horror and grief for what Kione had endured. Sort of ironic that she should turn to her human side when she was no longer human. Dad would applaud.
This would all be great if the five remaining members of the Vampire Clan From Hell didn't get away with it.

Lia brings up that Jude will die if Kione kills them. Jude shows up and is all "Let's get ready to Rumble, Elf-dude", and the vampire five offer to take the curse off IF Kione can prove that what he showed them is true. Rather than turning them into undead smears, he randomly teleports another surviving member of the clan--yes. The clan where ONLY FIVE MEMBERS SURVIVED, and these because they were not at the hell-orgy, has one extra member there to testify to the truth of Kione's words, which probably means he WAS there when Kione was raped and his girlfriend murdered, and that means that he probably PARTICIPATED, and Kione let him live because he might need a wittness.

When everybody agrees that these vampires are bad mojo and that Jude was nuts for taking them in in the first place.

Hey, let's take a second out from this rape plot line to establish that Lia has issues with her bloodlust due to being brainwashed. Established now? Yes? Good. Back to "Kione lets his rapists get away because FORGIVENESS!"

Lia argues for saving the Five so that Jude doesn't have to fight Kione and won't have to die. The most obvious solution--Jude says "FUCK this shit, you did NOT put this on the program guys" and lets the rapists die--not being employed, Lia argues that Jude is valuable to the fight to save humanity. Kione reacts reasonably:

“So you’re saying that the survival of the human race is more important than my puny complaint.”
There should be a question mark on the end of that sentence. Other than that, though, it's a really good point. Kione was hurt badly, Kione's girlfriend was hurt badly, and these five assholes might not have participated in THAT, but they participated in making Kione's life a living hell ever since and NOTHING says these idiots have actually learned a damn thing about being good people. How does Lia respond?

She glared at him. “Stop putting words in my mouth. No one thinks your complaint is puny. But they’ve agreed to remove the curse. They weren’t even there when everything happened.

Yes. The rapist asshole vampires have agreed to stop torturing the rape victim, and this should make everything okay.

I don't like this book anymore.

(Seriously. I don't remember reading this the first time.)

 Utah and Jude both confirm that they won't let Kione kill the vampires, so Kione agrees to let them go if they take the curse off. KIONE'S ARC IS NOW OVER. CONGRADULATIONS I AM SURE THIS ENLIGHTENED EVERYONE.


And now we go back to Lia's bloodlust, because that's more important than the sufferings of a thousand year old rape victim.

Lia wants to kill Utah. Fin senses this. She tells him she fed on Zero, which should ring warning bells, but Zero is his usual, charming self:

 “Congratulations. I’m sure you’re the first. Tell me if you feel yourself changing into a megalomaniac.” Fin turned and walked away.
The defender of humanity, folks. DUDE. GET OFF MY SIDE.

Fin elects to send Lia home with Jude until she can get her bloodlust under control. The chapter ends with her telling Jude how weird it is that the only person she wants to feed on is Utah, and that she wants to kill him in the process.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Eternal Prey--Chapter Eleven

So Kione and Utah are crawling around Pittsburgh trying to find Lia. And they can't, because Lia is now a vampire and Kione can't track her somehow. It's not real clear. Utah spends his time being generally worthless while he burns what limited character development he actually has. His one character trait other than "Flaming prehistoric ass" is "I hate vampires". He HATES vampires. Vampires are not human. WE HAVE THOROUGHLY COVERED THAT UTAH HATES VAMPIRES. Kione explains that he can't find Lia because Lia is not the Lia they knew, and Utah returns with this:

“She’ll still be the same person inside the same body.”
Going from "Vampires suck" to "WE MUST SAVE LIA" is not good consistent character development.

And then we get a random psychic jaguar. NO. REALLY. THAT HAPPENS.

“I am Balan, the messenger for those you call by numbers. I am honored to meet another God of the Night and a mighty fae prince.”
Oh, and he goes out of his way to say that he works for the bad guys. UTAH. BABY-DINO. THIS IS WHAT SHOTGUNS ARE FOR.

They listen to the cat. OF COURSE THEY LISTEN TO THE FUCKING CAT. The cat tells Utah that Zero has Lia and is willing to trade her for Seir. Who was already working with him, but who walked right into Fin's hands without any pressure. GEE. DO YOU THINK THIS COULD BE A TRAP?

...also, Nina? Jaguars like getting wet. So when Balan AKA RANDOM KITTY gets rained on? He wouldn't squeal and rush off like that.

Kione confronts Utah with his feelings for Lia. You fucked her in a vampire storage room. It's a little late to be playing the virginal choirboy, Dino-dude.

 So they rush off to tell Fin about the exchange and fail to mention that it is AN OBVIOUS FUCKING TRAP (seriously guys can you be any dumber?) and Fin greets them like any mature omnipotant being would:

 “I hope this is important, Utah, because Zero just finished frying my brain, and I’d really like to kill someone.”
I really hope these guys don't actually turn out to be gods later on in the series (...yes. there are many more books) because DAMN.

Also, he only points out that Seir is the more dangerous brother before he agrees to the trade. DUDE, I could cut Utah some slack because his sentience is younger than my tennis shoes, but FUCK, YOU ARE A GOD-LIKE-BEING. THIS IS SCREAMING OBVIOUS TRAP. WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING.

Well, it's time to go tell Balan that they're walking into the mouse trap with their arms open wide:

“I could make an exception for you.” He shifted his attention back to Utah. “Each side will be allowed ten representatives plus their leader. We will meet with you at two A.M. tomorrow at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park.” 

“A rose garden?” Utah glanced at Kione, who shrugged. “How do we get there?”
 “I would suggest Google Maps.”
Okay, on the one hand, that's a pretty good response to Utah's sense of entitlement (Dude. This is the bad side's messenger. What do you expect?) But dear holy God, Google Maps/Google Earth have no bleeding business being in paranormal fantasy things. It's like "Elves elves elves vampires elves shapeshifters elves ghosts elves mermaids elves GOOGLE EARTH MOTHERFUCKERS and now we're back to elves." ONE OF THESE THINGS JUST DOESN'T BELONG HERE.

Also: At this point Google Earth has contributed more to this quest than Utah. Just saying.

They go back to Seir's room, and the conversation makes about as much sense as it would if you gave Q a bottle of whiskey and made him play "Never have I Ever" with Zeus. It ends with Seir warning Utah that he should run if the three brothers ever get, like, touching close.

Utah heads to bed. He angsts for a while. And then we get a hard scene cut to the Rose Garden.

...I am not complaining about an abrubt scene jump because Anita Blake showed me bad jumps are better than writing every single red light (and sex scene) is a bigger error...but this part is SCREAMING to be its own chapter.

Moving on.

...Yeah, Utah? It's a rose garden. Christine likes green things. Get over it.

...and it's apparently February, which makes the blooming roses weird. Yeah, they probably are. You know what's even weirder? THE RAIN HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK. This is the first date we've gotten so far, and I'm not 100% sure but I think it'd be SNOWING right now.

“Christine is doing this. She always brings the heat. She’s a life freak. She’d try to grow stuff in the middle of Times Square and water it with tourists’ blood.” Seir’s mockery was back. “She’s bought completely into Zero’s out-of-death-comes-life crap. Kill the human polluters, and Earth will bloom again.”

...every word of that last bit is probably true. I'd really like to avoid such a draconian solution, though.

The two sides spend some time growling. What's not so good is that Jude brought the vampires that scarred up Kione, and Kione is more interested in killing them than he is in saving Lia.

One good person in this cast. That's all I ask.

Adam is there with Seir and Seven, and he apparently rigged it so the five vampires will kill Kione. Popcorn should be distributed all around, but instead everybody clears the floor and looks antsy. Utah figures Adam set this up. No shit, Sherlock.

Utah also gets disgusted when Lia's hypnotic suggestion to kill him kicks in. Great.

You know, that "confused rejection" trope is my least favorite romantic things. There are so many realistic ways to fuck up a relationship, muddled confusions because NOBODY CAN FUCKING COMMUNICATE THINGS should be down there with "canned spinach" as breakup reasons.

The Five Vampires and Kione exchange threats. They're both cheesy, but only Kione's is grade A Stilton with a side of red whine:

“I’ve waited centuries for this moment.” Kione began to glow. “I’ve suffered with your fucking curse, and I added every moment of agony to what you owe me. Tonight your bill comes due. I hope you die hard.” His smile would send grown men screaming into the night.
Bruce Willis called. He said "Russia was enough, Leave me the fuck out of this one."

Darkness swirls. Dinos prepair to let loose with their bad prehistoric selves...and the chapter ends with Utah excercising self control and doing, you guessed it, absolutely nothing. 


Book update+General gratitude.

I've decided I really need to overhaul my book-publishing schedule. I've got no backlog ATM and that's kind of bad for both me and you guys. Trying to make plans lately hasn't exactly worked out. I also haven't heard back from my chosen editor yet, so I can't give you an ETA on DB PT2 until I have things all set up with her.

I've decided my favorite part of having a real editor is having to chop things out so I can afford it. It's not fun writing wise, and I don't necessarily say it's making things better, but it makes me double-think a lot of things. If there's any doubt, throw it out. I've tossed a lot of things that I liked, but that made me feel more than a little uneasy.

So yeah: Nonnie who pressured me into getting an editor: THANK YOU.

In fact, I really just need to say thanks in general. The last few months of my life have been this morass of ick, and I do not think I would have pulled through without you. There have been times this past year where you lot are the only positive influence in my life. I've tried to keep my emotional issues and negativity off the blog, and I think I've managed to keep like 75% of it under wraps, but I do not think I could have made it through this year without you. ALL of you. You guys are AWESOME. I'm blown away by your support--even when it's prickly advice I don't like, it's awesome that you do it. You're here, you're talking, you read my books. Stories don't really exist if only one person knows them. When ya'll read my stuff, it's like you take the part of me that I value the most and you let it be real. It's validation, and the fact that you do that over and over and over again is completely awesome. Every time I think I get you guys, you do something that blows me completely away. Yeah, writing is awesome and it's fun to write, art is awesome and it's fun to do that too. But you guys are the real deal. Without you, none of this would count for a thing. I mean, even if you're here because I'm a trainwreck...dude. You're here. You're a part of this thing, and I'd say you're a bigger part than I am. And I'm grateful for you no matter what.

Pat yourselves on the back, have an e-cookie (or a beer). And stick around because I think this next year is going to be fun to watch.

Yeah. Sorry for the sappy. I just felt like it was time to tell all of you how very, very cool you are.

Eternal Prey--chapter 10

So my obsession, when I'm not editing, writing, or (...I still can't talk about it, but it's REALLY COOL. Not life-changing book deal cool or anything like that. But it's cool. So yeah. CENSORED) has been this game called Flight Rising.

I have not shared much about this because we kind of collectively broke the servers and they shut down registration about a week after I joined, and I didn't feel it was fair to share the awesome when I'm the only one who gets to participate (unless one of you have an account. DO YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNT?)

Anyway, It's a dragon breeding site. It's PRETTY. 

It's also an AMAZING drama magnet, and I'm definately a car-wreck sort of girl. For example, tonight a new breed came out, and we almost broke the new servers. I've been camped on the FR tag on Tumblr going all:

It's digital pictures of dragons, guys. DIGITAL PICTURES OF DRAGONS. CALM THE FUCK DOWN

So yeah. I thought I'd share. And give you fair warning because I am going to DEMAND ya'll show up over there and we do the dragon thing together just as soon as they start letting new people join. So. You know. Bookmark.

(FYI I get to spend about an hour or to on the site a day. It'd be real nice if I had friends there)

So. When we last left our heroes...

Fin is about to meet with his long-annoying brother Seir. The other dinos have showed up with their wives and Utah is still a flaming bag of dicks. He's got to go rescue Lia. Because, you know, there's no way she could rescue herself once she's a vampire. It's not like Bella-with-a-sword will go "LIA SMASH" as soon as she's awake, right?

Seir teleports into the room--he'd better fucking teleport everybody into Lia's mortuary, otherwise this book gets the finger--and the family sniping begins. Apparently Earth is Fin's favorite toy and he doesn't like sharing because Zero tends to break it. Seir's position is basically Q. Again.

Utah hears a random heartbeat. Okay.

Christine/Seven moved everybody out after they turned Lia, and Seir has no idea where she is now. Great, we've handwaved that conflict away. What now?

Ty asks how Fin is connected to Zero. Fin, being a reasonable simi-omnipotent deity-thing, fucking mind-wipes the entire room. Except for Utah. Apparently he is developing the Powers of the Sue and it's putting a real cramp in Fin's style. Even Seir picks up on it.

Fin decides to trap Seir in the condo so that Seir will stay out of trouble and maybe start talking. He fights it, shaking the condo's foundations, knocking pictures off walls, breaking glass, and basically demonstrating that he's also a simi-omnipotent deity-thing. How does he react when he discovers he can't escape?

“Jerk. Where’s my room?”
Four. You're four. Here's a rubber ducky and a pair of footie pajamas.

Utah and Tor start to discuss planning. Seir follows them:

“You’re supposed to show me to my prison cell.” Seir stopped beside Utah. “Will you chain me to my bed?” A wicked little smile worked at the corners of his mouth. “The kink calls to me. Maybe you . .  . or your brother could entertain me there.”
Random ellipsis for the win. Random incest, not so much.

So they drag him to his room, and then go back, and Fin tells them they're looking everywhere for Seven, who has a real fetish for living things, as long as said things aren't human. Utah gets paired up with Kione.

...the flaming bag of dicks and the emotionless pointy eared non-human. Holy shit, this is based on a Star Trek fic, isn't it?

Also: Fin. I don't actually give a fuck about you, but it's really hard for me to take your badassery seriously when you stay behind to "mentally mess with" your brothers. Oh, yeah, Zero is totally Fin and Seir's brother. As if you couldn't guess.

Meanwhile, Lia wakes up. And THANK FUCKING GOD it is short and sweet and there are no descriptions of dust motes. There is a strange man at her bedside giving her blood. I would be freaked. She's just hoping that the source isn't unwilling.

You're in the bad chick's lair. I do not think Seven is going to have your first meal fill out a permission slip and consent form.

But it is apparently the Best Blood Ever, and of course, when he turns on the light it is Zero, who else would it be. He isn't identified but glittery tinsel hair is the dead giveaway. His is red.

 Lia flipped off her awake switch before he finished his sentence.
You know, I can't decide if Nina needs to stop using tech to describe things, or if she needs to describe all the things, because I am not tired of it yet. AWAKE SWITCH. FEELING FIELD. 

Zero apparently has hallucinogenic blood, because he hypnotizes Lia into wanting to feed on Utah until Utah is dead, the next time she and he are alone. Oh, and she won't hunt Seven, because protecting your assets is TOTALLY secondary to breaking up a romance novel's primary couple.

The chapter ends with Lia falling back asleep. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

State of the CW

So, yeah, no update today. Maybe later today. Why?

 I'm in a transitional phase. The upside is, IT IS FREAKING GOOD. The downside is it's delaying a lot of projects and kicking the everloving tar out of me.

So here's the good news: I'm okay. Actually, there's a lot of OTHER good news but I cannot talk about it for Reasons. And I can't give the reasons publicly either. So let's focus on that part: I am okay and really, really happy right now.

The bad news: I'm going to have to delay publication of DB pt 2. Not by much--couple days, five at the most. It depends on what I set up with the editor--but it's a delay, and given how much you guys have given me it's shitty to pull. And again: I cannot discuss why I have to do this publicly. Which is also shitty.

It is not that I don't want you to know--you deserve explanations.  But I can't discuss the reasons, and I can't discuss why I can't discuss the reasons, here in public. I do NOT expect you to take this on faith, however, so if you are an Indie-Go-Go donator and you've got issues with delays or my radio silence, either drop your e-mail in the comments or drop me a line (Christwriter AT hotmail DOT com) and I'll give you the skinny.  You do deserve to know what's going on. It's not that I can't talk about it, boys and girls. I just can't talk about it here.

The really good news: The indie-go-go campaign is really close to where I need it to be to make the editing possible.  We're not there yet, and the out-of-pocket expense on my end is still almost prohibitive, but we're VERY close.

The hard number here is 300 bucks. If we break 300 I'll be able to make up the difference. 500 would be awesome but that's more than a little out of reach IMHO.

If you have not donated yet, and you intend to, NOW IS THE TIME FOR NOW. If you HAVE donated, thank you, you are awesome. Spread the word, let's make it work.

You guys are wonderful, awesome possum people, I am glad to have you with me on this ride. Stay safe, stay awesome. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eternal Prey chapter 9

So. How does Lia react to being told Christine is not a vampire?

Lia thought her head would explode. Too many life-altering events crammed together. She couldn’t get a handle on the bam, bam, bam effect. Sort of like a giant pileup on the interstate during a fog.
You know, when you're fishing for a word you're kind of sort of supposed to actually find a word. That said, never change Nina. I am entirely and completely entertained.

Utah finally stumbles through the obvious--Christine is Seven--and this leaves our heroes still trapped in a vampire storage room. Only with no magical telepathy, and Lia still becoming a vampire because Plot (and also because I don't think I could take another half of a book where the heroine's main motivation is to change species due to Mommy issues)

“Fin had a vision of me. At some point, I’ll be in a position to touch Christine with something symbolic of her number. Fin didn’t see the where or what of it. He did see that I’d be someplace outside with smoke rising behind me.” She took a moment to curse the vagueness of his stupid vision.

I’ll be in a position to touch Christine with something symbolic of her number.
THAT is how you defeat Zero's immortals? THAT? THAT MAKES NO FREAKING SENSE. 

First of all, since we're now in the universe of symbolism and metaphysics (AKA This Means Whatever You Want It To Mean land) the word "seven" itself is symbolic of the number. There is no connection between "seven" the word and (.......) (count the dots) or, for that matter, 7 the numeral. It's all an agreed-upon symbol for that thing you have when it is one more than six. So you could argue that touching Seven with, IDK, THE WORD SEVEN would do the trick. If this is how these things are beaten Lia could drop a Seven-Eleven sign on Seven and solve everyone's problem.

But there's a bigger problem.

FIN NAMED THE IMMORTALS. Seir and Zero both acknowledged that the names they're using are Fin's invention. He's got this number obsession. Which means that basically you're killing the bad guys with the names the OCD brother gave them that they've agreed to use this time around because they want to humor their fellow immortal.  


  And finally--up until now this was not the vision. The vision was that Lia would be there, she would defeat Christine/Seven and there would be a Thing in her hand, and they needed to find the Thing. NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN the Thing is something symbolic of the number seven, and Lia only has to touch her with it.

Lia tries to convince Utah that her becoming vampire is the best thing to do. Utah does not take this well. Lia has to ask Christine to put Utah in restraints so he doesn't kill somebody, probably Jude, trying to keep Lia human.

Well, she's not changing all her plans for a guy, but she's feeling really guilty. Replace "Vampire" with EVERY OTHER CAREER CHOICE EVER and you can see why Utah is still, true to form, a flaming bag of dicks.

Christine freezes Utah in place, and we've got another continuity error when Lia remembers Eight doing the same thing to Kione back in Philly. SHE BARELY REMEMBERED KIONE. It was like "Oh yeah, you were kind of there" when he was introduced. NOW she remembers somebody else putting him in the magical version of Thorazine? REALLY?

Christine takes them to the garden center in her hardware store. No. REALLY.

They were in the store part, surrounded by gardening tools, pots, and other stuff.

"Stuff". That is a very eloquent description. Please continue.

Christine has an altar straight out of a Vincent Price movie. She makes Lia put on dramatic clothing. Lia is more than a little put out by this, but she does.

Oh, and Christine? Is utterly batshit insane:

“I took it over three weeks ago. The first thing I did was drink to the former owner.” She put her fingers over her mouth and giggled. “Oh, wait. I meant that I drank the former owner.”

Christine is obsessed with plant life. It is everywhere. And she really likes vampires and demons and were-whatevers, assuming this universe has them. She just doesn't like humans because...oh look, horrible dialogue!

“Don’t block my view when you drain her. I don’t want to miss a single drop. You don’t get this on HBO.”
...obviously you need to get caught up on TrueBlood.

Lia melodramatically looks at Utah one final time...about fifty times, because it's every time she turns around, and she LOVES him and she just MET him and she can't LOVE him and let's look at him again. Jude sinks his teeth in and we cut to Utah's POV.

This is worth noting. It's the first in-chapter POV switch that actually gets its own scene break to indicate it.

 Utah is angry. Utah has rage. Lia has acheived the major goal she's had ever since she was a kid and now Utah is pissed that this should happen and ruin his sexy fun times. Utah smash.

Seven tells him he ought to be happy.

These are both worthless characters and I'd hope they kill each other if I hadn't already finished the book.

Seir shows up, randomly, and says that Seven has ordered him to take Utah to his room. Utah actually pauses to ask him what the hell he's doing.

Which is apparently breaking Utah and Jude out, because this was not his plan.

I am beginning to doubt Seir has a plan. Jude shows up, Utah starts to ask him how they're gonna get out of there, and Seir freaking teleports Utah and Jude to Fin's Condo.

What. You couldn't plot a running fight to escape? Utah could have flung Lia's undead body over one shoulder. It would have been something closer to awesome than this.

I don't think I've ever seen a backfiring Deus Ex Machina before.

Utah realizes he has no fucking idea where Lia is, and decides to go talk to Fin to see if Fin can get Seir to show up and IDK, TELEPORT THEM BACK. Fin is grumpy. The chapter ends with Fin announcing that Seir is going to show up for a family conference in a few minutes, and that he's a little miffy about it.

...I still love this book.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eternal Prey--Chapter eight

There's supposed to be a big plot twist this chapter, so I'm going to spoil it because THE BOOK ALREADY DOES THAT:

Lia gets turned into a vampire as soon as Utah and her are done fucking.

We know this because she says THIS:

Now things got tricky. “Maybe the last few hours reminded me of my mortality. Maybe I don’t want to pass over to the other side with unfinished business.”
Which is like, the worst excuse for sex ever. And then she follows it up with this:

If that crease between his incredible eyes wasn’t so cute, she’d probably plant her fist right there. How could he not realize what she was trying to say?

And yeah, she's known him all of two days, and most of that time was spent playing "Anything you can say I can say shittier and meaner because I have to compete with Buffy for "badass" without actually understanding what made Buffy cool."


 He took her mouth in a long, drugging kiss.
Is it Thorazine? 'Cause that would explain a lot.

His taste. Nothing as dull as toothpaste. He tasted of the elemental and dangerous, of something that beckoned to the wild child in her.
...AKA the flavor of vampire bits stuck between your canines. Utah hasn't brushed since he chewed on the vamps, remember?

“You supersize my feelings, raptor.”
...We're starting to give LKH a run for her "shitty sex dialogue" money here. That's not a good thing.

“I’m thinking that years from now they’ll find my remains, just a pathetic little cinder cone, all that’ll be left of Mount Saint Lia.” 
 Yeah. Like orgasms haven't been compared to volcanic eruptions before. Can we top that for cheese?

“Your words are expanding my feeling field. They’ve gotten all the way to here.” He reached between his thighs and wrapped his fingers around his cock.
...that is the most beautiful line in this book so far. And by "beautiful" I mean that I've been laughing for five minutes straight and I still can't stop. The best part? Those two paragraphs are consecutive.

Now, now, now! She stopped breathing as her orgasm took her and shook her like a giant castanet.
It's precious.

And immediately afterwards Christine flings Jude into the room, and Lia confesses that she's got to become vampire, that she talked Christine into dragging Jude here to be her maker, and she tricked Utah into sex because LOGIC.

Utah does not take this well. After he calms down, he asks Jude to fake it. Jude says he can't. And then Jude drops the bombshell that Christine isn't a vampire, and that's where the chapter ends.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eternal Prey--chapter seven

So now our band of Dino-souled humans, Otherkin and vampire wannabes are heading off to the bridge they found via Google Maps to go kill other vampires who are the bad guys because Plot Says So, That's Why.

Lia does not trust this. Gee, I can't imagine why.

Bonus Round: I love it when a book has a major, non-evil character turn to another character and say "This plan sucks" in extreme and accurate detail. This means that even the writer's subconsious is saying "THIS IS A VERY BAD PLAN" and the writer didn't listen. Yeah, when that happens? It means the writer knows the plot sucks.

Fin is being arrogant and snitty, Utah is still a flaming bag of dicks, Kione is probably the best character in the book with the exception of Seir, which is probably because both characters are Star Trek clones (Spock and Q) with fantasy hats on.

Utah tells Lia he's worried that she might get dead for-reals while on this little field trip. She says she'll come through alive because her mommy issues won't let anything else happen.

...Once, just once, can these people be motivated by their happy, well-adjusted homelives? If Morticia from the Addams' Family can manage to be a good, supportive mommy there's no reason why Not-Bella's mom couldn't have been more loving and kind. It certainly would have solved most of Lia's issues AND made her desire to be a vampire make fucking sense. Yes. When you are in an abusive relationship with anybody it takes a while for the urge to please them to wear off. But after the first year or so, especially if you're in a healthy situation and didn't make a lateral move (it's not your fault if you do, FYI, but it's not healthy either) you reach a point where you can look at their memory and say "Fuck you" most of the time. Lia has openly acknowledged that her mother sucked. She should be ready to trade in a fucked-up value set for one that actually has meaning.

They visualize making out. Right before they storm Vampire Bridge.


Fake-Q asks Fin why he's here. Fin says he's here to keep humans away and to be there in case Seven shows up. Lia reminds him of his vision, and he turns around and shoots his character development in the face. Again:

“My vision showed a possible solution. It wasn’t proof that Seven wouldn’t kick all your asses along the way. I don’t want to be ticking off names on my active roster.”
No. You said that the vision was absolutely going to happen. That Lia would kick Seven's ass, that she did not get a choice. NOW, when there's a need for tension, it's only a POSSIBLE solution. Rather than, you know, a sign that the only person to survive MIGHT be Lia.

You can't do that. You can't assure the reader that a prophesy is set in stone and then waffle when the tension needs building.

A few of the Dino-men become dinosaurs. Fin kills the lights. On the entire bridge. Because he's trying to be inconspicuous and this isn't calling attention to his powers at all.

And then every vampire ever apparently decides to attack. Guess what! Either Adam or Seir set up a trap. Because OF COURSE THEY DID. Both sides benefit more if Fin is disabled and the Dino-team taken out. WHY WOULD YOU TRUST THESE PEOPLE I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

The Dino-boys chew on vampires for a while, and then Lia starts waving her hands like "OVER HERE" and a vampire comes and attacks her. Utah goes apeshit and eats him more than he was eating all the other vampires, and Lia protests that they need one alive for questioning. And then, because resolving this plot thread was never the book's goal, a woman shows up.


And she does. Random Woman touches Lia and teleports away right in front of Utah, and then comes back and kidnaps Utah because HEY WHY NOT.

Yeah, this chick is Chris, AKA Christine. As for her character, think Batman and Robin Poison Ivy:

“I keep my favorites alive. I sip from them and savor their unique flavors.” She leaned down and trailed her tongue over his pounding pulse. “It would be a sin to gulp someone as wonderful as you.”
OH HAI ANITA BLAKE. how did you get in this book AND HOW'S YOUR SEX LIFE?

(...that's a reference to the Room. I don't actually want to know this)

Anyhoo, Chris sexes up Utah, and then leaves to go bring Lia into the room, because Romance Plot is ALWAYS more romantic when one or both of you are tied up, kidnapped and in peril. Lia is shaky, by the way, as if she's been confronted with horror too terrible for words. Chris wants Lia to work for her, same as she wants Utah, and whatever conditions she attached to her offer has Lia almost shattered. Gee, I wonder if it's time for deep character development, sharing, bonding, and escape plann--

“Make love to me, Utah.”
You are in your captor's fucking basement, Lia. I understand that you have the right to have sex without condemnation but NOW IS REALLY NOT THE TIME TO HAVE SEX. Get away from the crazy vampire lady, then have sex.

End of chapter, by the way. It ends with that quoted bit right there.

I've got a long day tomorrow, so it's bedtime.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Eternal Prey--chapter 5

Well, blog readers, I'm sorry updates have been spotty. I cannot promise that this won't continue OR that I'm going to meet the blasted deadline for Dragon Breath. I also can't say anything else on the subject. Just know that I'm sorry and I'm doing my best to fix things.

So. Where were we?

Right. Lia and Utah are meeting Seir, Fin's brother. AKA gold-haired Q. Apparently Seir has been stalking Fin and the Dino Corps across the country, and while it's getting rather annoying he's been useful more than once. They'll put up with him.

Like Fin and Zero, Seir is pretty. She likes Utah more.

They discuss things, like family, and how fucked up family can be. He says all he wants is to talk to Fin for a little while, and then he drops that Adam's competition is feeding under a specific bridge and they need to go there. Lia and Utah head back inside. They flirt. She has a headache. They go to bed.

Sir meets with Zero, who is apparently his other brother. We also find out that Fin's real really for real name is not "Infinity", and that he picked that name out for himself, and he picked out Zero's name for him too. So I get the feeling that Fin has the maturity level of your average Mega Man/Sonic fanfic writer, and that the universe is kind of tolerating it.

Seir asks Zero why he doesn't just obliterate the earth with an asteroid, and it is apparently because he thinks the non-humans are kind of cool and that they deserve to fight for their right to party rule the earth . He says if his group fails, he'll just do the asteroid thing again.

The expositional dialogue is horrible:

“Fin and his damn obsession with numbers. Who would name themselves Fin meaning infinity?”
 Better question: WHO WOULD TALK LIKE THAT.

 In the morning Fin lets Lia know that he watched her entire conversation with Seir, I also have to say that I do like the ambiguity around Fin, Seir and Zero. Zero is batshit. Seir is, as I have already said, Q. Fin is not trustable. At all. It's good that we're not entirely sure we're on the right side. Saving the planet is very good, but who are we saving it for? 

What do I not like? 

 “Millions of years ago, I had a series of nine visions. They detailed where and when each of Zero’s immortals could be defeated. The visions also showed me the nine human women necessary to do it.”

Yep. Lia is a Child of Prophesy. A Chosen One. Also apparently she is destined to defeat Seven. He gives her no clues, but he accepts this vision thing as a gosh darn given. Oh, it's presented as them needing her, but not as if she has any choice in the matter. Nope, you're already going to do it. Get used to your new role as savior of the human race. Lia even asks "what if I walk away" and Fin replies thusly:

“You won’t. The visions don’t lie. It will happen. The tough part will be finding whatever you were holding in your hand.”
See, the problem with making your wonderful heroic heroine a Child of Prophesy is it kind of takes her agency out of the equation. This isn't happening because Lia is a good and strong and durable heroine who takes no shit from no one ever. Nope. It's happening because Fin had a vision. Even Lia voices surprise that the heroines of this age are "Nine human women".

...speaking of which, if the heroines are women, what the fuck are the dinos for? Are they bait? They are.

Yeah, so that part's kind of icky.

 Fin scares the shit out of Lia by showing her a hint of his true nature--again, who are we saving the earth for?--and Kione shows up. It's like watching a Doberman circle a Felia Brasillero, and Kione is the doberman. You're out of your league, Mr. Dark Sex Elf.

Oh, and Fin talked to Lia's dad:

  • Fin smiled at Lia. “I spoke with your father. I assured him you hadn’t asked the first vampire you met to change you.”


Lia was not amused. “Dad needs to stop checking on me.” Every time her father did something like that it reminded her of the insecure little girl who wasn’t brave enough or strong enough to make her mother love her. She hated the feeling.
Yeah, so Lia's motivation with this whole "ruler of Philly vampires" thing is not, you know, power or wanting to do a good job or any of that jazz. It's her mommy issues. And her Daddy is probably planning a shotgun wedding with the creep that turns her because this is just not creepy enough.

...But it's still not Anita Blake.

And then we meet the best part of the book's batshit insanity.

His name is Greer. He appears in this scene and this scene only. He gets no real development. He doesn't really do much at all. Why is he here? Why do I find him so very very very entertaining?

“Greer is Otherkin. His soul is tiger, but it’s trapped forever in his human body.”
Greer is Otherkin

Greer is Otherkin

Greer is Otherkin


Now, if you've been on the 'net longer than a few minutes you probably ought to know what this is. If you do not, well...let's see if I can do this tactfully.

 There are people who believe exactly what it says up there. Their souls are Insert Animal Here, they are trapped in a human body, and they want to get out but they can't, and they can feel their animal form poking out sometimes, animal instincts and whatnot. They look human, they were born and raised human, but they really are a wolf complete with instincts and pack behavior.

Oh, but this particular rabbit hole gets even better. 

See, far as I can tell Nina Bangs is using this Very Special Internet Term wrong, and it is rather sad that I actually know this. What she's describing (IRL animal in human body) is more frequently called a Therianthrope. "Otherkin" are people who believe their souls are well...other. Elves. Fairies. Dragons and basically anything from Tolkienesque DND. There's another layer called Otaku-kin, but we won't be going into that one just now.
And it was not until I read that term in this book that I realized there are some Very Special Internet Things that should never appear off the internet ever. Especially in something trying to mainstream. First, because it makes you laugh very very hard. Second, because the mainstream thing will get it very wrong (the furry CSI episode, anyone?).  

I am not going to say that all Therianthropes and whateverKin are crazy, because there probably are a lot of sane ones out there, and if I get to believe in a three day old zombie-god who died for my sins, you get to believe that your soul is a tiger. BUT HOLY FUCKING SHIT does this attract a lot of insanity. 

 Meanwhile, Kione reveals that he straight up murdered a clan of vampires, leaving only five survivors that nobody but Jude (that vampire from a few chapters ago) would touch. Jude took them in. They got their revenge by torturing Kione with a very painful curse. The only thing he can wear is this enchanted robe that keeps the pain away. He's here to kill those last five vampires so that he won't hurt anymore.

. Fin decides to draw off Kione's pain into himself so that Kione will become his buddy rather than Adam's. He does, only Utah's pack instincts kick in and he decides to interrupt to spare his master the pain. Things get icky almost immediately. The pain goes into Utah, and somehow Lia takes some of it too...and then everything gets better and somebody goes to get Kione a shirt.

So that was completely pointless.

They discuss the Burnside Bridge, where Seir said Adam's enemy is feeding. They decide to look it up on Google Maps. 

Yes. Google Maps. It's in the book. 

They decide the best thing to do to capture the vampire is provide bait. 

Namely, themselves.

End of chapter.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Art-related things!

Alright, folks. I've been considering and debating it for a while, and now it is official: BOOK COVERS FOR ALL.

Information is here.

If you are interested (or you have a friend who is interested) CONTACT ME PLEASE. Everything is negotiable.Please spread the word amongst yourselves and your buddies.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Eternal Prey--Chapter Five

It is now time to ramp up the romantic tension. Oh, goody.

Lia and Utah are driving through the darkness, and Lia is thinking about how much her life sucks. Admittely, she's right--abusive vampire-mom, generally lousy upbringing, constant death threats and the knowledge that she has to either hit un-death or death-death--and we'd be kind of interested if she were not CONSTANTLY WHINING ABOUT IT. I have UNDERPLAYED the amount of "Oh I'm no good as a human I'm going to be a vampire soon THE VAMPIRES ARE MY PEOPLE" that Lia does in every. single. chapter. 

 By the way, Kione? He's evesdropping on her thoughts. And he's irritated that she's so very boring. Kione is my man.

Except for the whole "Violating thoughts" thing. That's icky.

Kione also points out that the urge for sexy-sexy with Utah is entirely hers. She has to be actively looking at him for the urge to sex to kick in. I seem to remember that not quite working like that, but how should I know. But hey, at least this isn't chock full of unsexy non con fantas--

Kione’s laughter was a harsh rejection of Utah’s sympathy. “You think that no one ever looks at me? Think again, raptor. I have my own army of stalkers, beings that can only feel sexual excitement when they’re looking at me. I’m not always the user.” Bitterness laced his last sentence.
...oh. Okay then.

Utah and Lia discover that Kione doesn't have a change of clothes. This takes a couple paragraphs to resolve. I think the point is OH UTAH FEELS SYMPATHY but it's more like "sixth-grade slumber party".

Lia wonders why Utah's so akward when it comes to caring, and then she remembers: DINOSAUR. IS NOT USED TO HUMAN EMOTIONS. KIND OF FORGETS HOW TO HUMAN FROM TIME TO TIME.

Lia reports to Adam that they now have a name: Chris. Which narrows it down by approximately nothing, which Adam is very quick to point out. (Seriously. That doesn't even give us a probable gender)

Lia asks for a bedroom with a real bed and a bathroom, because apparently Adam's closest thing to accomodations are cots or coffins and Lia wants neither. Utah backs her up, threatening to make like Barney if Adam doesn't provide them with rooms with plumbing.

Then Kione adds his two cents to the pot:

Kione moved to the front of the pack. “I side with Utah and Lia. This might be a safe vampire haven, but it really sucks in the comfort category. Don’t try to make us stay. That would upset me. I do things when I’m upset. Like bringing the tunnels down around your head. No more hidey-hole, and the city won’t be happy when a bunch of their buildings fall down.”

...Kione needs to stop talking. It kind of ruins his "scary Vulcan" vibe.

Adam and Kione have a magical staring contest. Papers fly everywhere, bright lights happen, and when it's over Adam kow-tows to the elf.

Utah warns Lia that Adam will kill her when this is over. Lia repeats her whole "I will be vampire" thing. They decide since Adam said he doesn't care where they go, they'll all go back to Fin's condo. Another dinosaur is already there in human form, and he tries to have a staring match with Kione.

Gig transferred his glare to Kione and her. Mostly to Kione. “What’s he?” 

Kione stepped forward. “He is a member of the unseelie court. And he doesn’t have to turn into a freaking prehistoric monster to drill your ass through that wall. And he is in a rotten mood, so back off.”
I don't know which is more precious. Kione's shitty attitude or a shapeshifting dino named "Gig".

 Gig is a Gigantosaurs. Basically, he's Godzilla. And he does not give a fuck. Utah has to threaten him with "the containment room" for him to back down. Apparently "Al" got thrown in there and it made him miserable. So they have a time-out room too.

Gig and Lia trade barbs while he takes them all to the bedroom. The dialogue is nothing to write home about.

Sexual tension continues. Apparently Utah's body heat is enough to light candles in the vacinity. Either that, or we're describing imaginary third digree burns because those are totally sexy. They apologize to each other for being, well, themselves, and make food. They sit together and discuss who gets to watch what on the television.

Lia asks him what he was before he was a raptor. He remembers something but it's not enough to describe. Fin is apparently sitting on these memories and they never come into play in this book.

And then they start kissing.

...apparently Lia tastes like Vanilla and citrus. Okay then. They play until Utah realizes he's about to get scaly--and feathery, if science is right--and Lia decides to stop handling his "little animal" and let him get back under control. He's pissy about it, which means it doesn't take long for him to hit "normal".

Oh, and the first time I read this book, I snorted soda up my nose at this part:

Time for hard truths. “No matter how human I look, I’m still raptor here.” He tapped his heart. “When my brain shuts down, and my senses take over, the beast runs free. Oh, I might not change forms, but he’s still in control. He doesn’t understand words like ‘gentle’ and ‘foreplay.’ He goes for the kill every time.” As explanations went, that was an epic fail. Sounded like he had zero control.
Yeah. "Epic fail" belongs on image macros. Not books.

And then RANDOM GUY contacts Utah telepathically. And by RANDOM I mean RANDOM:

“Forgot to introduce myself. Seir, the bad seed. Hurry. Fin’s not paying attention right now. Don’t know how long that will last. Have to strike while the iron is hot and all that crap.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are about to meet the book's Q. The chapter ends with Utah stating that this is "Fin's brother".

Friday, August 16, 2013

Eternal Prey--Chapter Four

Lia thinks about how Utah is worried about her. She thinks about how he doesn't see her as a vampire--she isn't one, and I actually really like this dynamic. It's dysfunctional as all hell, but I do like that Lia doesn't see herself as human because she wasn't raised around them. It fits--and then thinks about how terrible her mother was.

Utah and Kione go to skulk around in the rainy shadows--of course it is fucking raining--and Lia thinks for a minute, goes "fuck that noise" and heads to the nearest bar, figuring:

why would any self-respecting vampire be out here in the cold and rain when the bar across the street held a full menu of drunken humans?
I think if this book has one major flaw--other than the bat-shit insanity, which isn't a flaw IMHO--it is that Nina Bangs (snerk) likes her some adjectives. She likes them even when they blow the flow, or they repeat something we probably already know. It's a bar. OF COURSE THE PEOPLE IN IT ARE DRUNK.

Lia then decides to dress in her hunting outfit.

 Lia pulled open her coat to assess her battle gear. Leather pants, calf-high boots, and a cute top. She changed cute to sexy with some strategic unbuttoning. Before slipping her makeup case back into her coat pocket, she took out a pair of dangly earrings and put them on. Then she checked her pants pocket to make sure she had enough money for some drinks. Finally, she ran her fingers through her hair and let her curls do their thing.
Well, at least they're not thigh high boots, but we REALLY need to back Paranormal Fantasy off that leather cliff, because leather pants suck.

Lia attracts her vampire by ordering a drink--Amaretto Sour, could be worse, it depends on what kind of sour this bar uses and if they're keeping it in the same fridge as the pickles (pro-tip: Don't do this. Ever.)--and then by bleeding. She pricks her finger and smears the blood around until somebody asks what a pulse like her is doing in a place like this.

This brings up another point: It's the blood that attracted the vamp. Why did Lia have to dress all cutsie? She isn't taking the coat off, and in fact probably has to keep it in her lap because she is still wearing her samuri sword into the bar. Which means the bouncers here SUCK, no pun intended.

She acts bubbly and innocent until they get outside. He admits he's a vampire. She actually manages to giggle the bad guy's name out of him--Chris--and then the vampire collapses in agony. By the way, the giggling takes about two paragraphs. It's a little too easy. I'm also starting to think that Nina is an Eddings fan, because this baddie-can't-talk thing reads a little too much like the opening scenes of Domes of Fire.

Lia needs to deal with her vampire-in-agony before things get too bad. There are probably several ways to do this, and she chooses this one:

 She glanced around to make sure no one was looking before unsheathing her sword and plunging it into his back. Then she wiped the blade on a convenient patch of grass and returned it to its scabbard.

In the parking lot of a bar, ladies and gentlemen. Oh, and she's not trying to kill him. In fact, she tells him to suck it up and then get his ass out of Portland before she actually has a reason to make him dead. er.

(Another especially amusing layer to this story: Corpus Christi, TX, where I'm from? There's this smaller town outside of it called, you guessed it, Portland. So unless I focus really hard this is all defaulted to the parking lot outside of Portland's Kmart, which is probably the only place in Portland TX where you can even FIND a bar. It probably isn't that amusing to anybody else, due to Portland, OR being the famous one, but it gets a couple extra giggles from me)

However, I do think that Ms. Bangs is also a fan of Laurel K. Hamilton. Why?

Adam is out to kill any vampires who’re joining up with the new flavor in town. And the new flavor is going down very soon.
 Kione then announces via telepathy that Utah has a hit. Lia leaves her former drinking buddy bleeding on the asphalt and heads out.

Utah, meanwhile, is bitching about how his soul is too close to the surface and it has needs. One for violence, one for sex. Kione isn't helping, and yep, he really wants to screw Lia.

Oh hey, there's a vampire! He decides to go in for the kill. Except his brother Tor has just showed up randomly, and after talking together LOUDLY they decide to do the hunt together.

...Utah in his raptor form is about twenty feet long. And I know, I KNOW you guys are thinking of the kitchen scene in Jurassic Park...but there's one little problem with the whole dinosaur-badass model that I just remembered. I'd like to know if Nina Bangs also noticed this, but she doesn't actually describe Utah as a dino, save for stating that you can see the shadow of his human form within him (somehow) and that he's twenty feet long. But science kind of stole a lot of a raptor's badass street cred. See, according to the fossil record? Dinosaurs had feathers, and their arms apparently looked like adorable little wings.

Which means that Utah's basically a twenty foot killer chicken. Fully capable of killing you with his impressive toenails, but still:

This is what Wikipedia says a Utahraptor looks like. HE'S SMILING AT YOU.

And oh, yeah, IT IS RAINING. We will now pause for a moment while you imagine a girl with a ninja sword and that twenty foot wet chicken-lizard opening a can of murder on a couple of vampires.

Utah and Tor beat the vampires around until Kione shows up and casually flings Utah against a wall. He gets pissy when he sees Tor, but fortunately Tor has two brain cells and less testosterone and he talks the killer elf (snerk) down until everybody's civilized again.

Tor and Lia exchange hellos. We get another variation on the "Vampires aren't people--yes they are" arguement that adds nothing to the story, but this one is mercifully breif.

Kione questions one vampire using magic that literally fries the dude's brain. Smoke drifts out of the vampire's nose. Lia defends the other one, arguing that the dude is only a couple years dead and he was a teenager when he got turned. Kione tries to push and Utah randomly backs Lia up. I guess we're working on the "we're getting along now" part of the road to fucking. Kione just decides to wipe the vampire's mind and give him a brand new set of memories. And then he does it to the still-living human that the vampires were eating, because having a human tell the press about what he saw would fuck up the story, I guess. It's a cheap get out of jail free card and it irks me.

Kione tries to push the "vampires need killing" arguement, but Lia gets a telepathic call from Adam that nobody else hears, thus ending the scene before things get sticky.

The chapter ends with Utah looking at Lia and thinking about where he's going to sleep tonight. And yes. It fully implies that he wants it to be in Lia's bed.

I love this book. I love it so much.