Happy New Year!!!!

I see I still have some questions to answer for the Q&A, which ends at midnight tonight. Midnight in New Jersey, I should say. Well, heck, it doesn't really matter since I'm not going to sit down an post the answers until tomorrow after I see Avatar.

Speaking of questions, I'm still looking for more in the form of "What is your favorite ____?" You can post them here or back where I answered the Infamous Harry Potter questions.

Speaking of Harry Potter, have you all checked out the awesome, A Very Potter Musical? This is a fan made parody show that takes you through all seven books. It's beyond cool.

Happy New Year's and stay safe. Here's a funny video with the voices of the South Park kids dubbed over a scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Harry Potter & South Park 7 (cartman Gets Bitch Slappped) - Click here for this week’s top video clips


Q & A Part I

As part of my continuing effort to remain out of blog prison with a bunch of angry garden gnomes, I have been asking folks to post "What is your favorite _____?" questions that I will endeavor to answer right here.

I'm looking forward to the questions and the beads of sweat forming on my prodigious forehead as I hatch the answers. I'll continue to take answers right up until New Year's Eve, and will answer the last set of questions New Year's Day. All of you -- my faithful death eaters -- er, I mean my loyal and not so loyal followers, you can ask more questions right here, or on where I answered the Infamous Harry Potter questions.

So, without further ado....

Annie's questions:
Q) What's your favorite song from the 1980s?
A) Why not start with the most difficult question of all time. The 1980's - High School. College. MTV playing music videos. There are so many possible answers, one more trite than the next. I will go with Don Henley's, New York Minute, off The End of the Innocence.

Q) What's your favorite season and why?
A) Summer. I can walk the pug at 11pm in shorts and a t-shirt. It doesn't get dark till late. Barbecues!!! I don't have to shovel.

Q) What's your favorite movie BESIDES Harry Potter?
A) Now who said my favorite movie was Harry Potter? None of the HP movies are at the top of my list. My favorite movie(s) are Kill Bill, Volume 1 and Volume 2. Quentin Tarantino at his best. Uma Thurman. Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine. The music. The action. The BLOOOODDDDD!

Frankie's questions:
Q) What's your favorite ice cream?
A) Chocolate Peanut Butter. The peanut butter chunks are critical.

Q) Who was your favorite teacher? (dig into the memories, kiddo)
A) I attended the State University of New York at Binghamton (oh, SUNY Beeee, oh SUNY Beee). Professor Warran Wagar taught two particular courses I took: History of the Future and World War III. Yes, those were real courses and were phenomenal. The lecture hall was enormous and his courses were always full. He was a fantastic teacher and he turned all of us on to reading a lot of fantastic science fiction.

Q) What's your favorite tree/plant?
A) Red dogwood for the color. Also, most any evergreen in winter. My least favorite? My neighbor's cottonwood tree that sheds cotton all over my backyard, rendering it useless for several weeks each summer.

Q) What's your favorite sky? (Weird, I know. Sunset, sunrise, storm, etc.)
A) Sunset on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The horizon is stunning.

That's all for now. Keep those questions coming!!!!


The Gernumbli Gardensi award

My buddy and fellow New Jersey resident, Annie handed me out a blog award, and I'm going to post that sucker up here later this week. She's the sweetest thing - really she is.

For now, though, I most humbly accept this award of the Gernumbli Gardensi, or, as it is more widely known, the Favorite Gnome Approved Blog Award. It's all down to Mireyah. What ever would I do without this young lady from down in Loooziana.

Here are the rules, and I must follow them, lest I wind up in blog jail with a bunch of angry garden gnomes. All of you folks reading this, please go ahead and post a bunch of "What is your favorite ___" questions. Post them as comments right here on the faulty brain. I'll be taking questions right up until New Year's Eve, and will post answers throughout the week up through New Year's Day, at which time I'll nominate some folks for this most excellent award.

And now, so as to keep the Gernumbli happy...

The Infamous Harry Potter Questions

Favorite Book?
I was going to say Half Blood Prince because of Tom Riddle's backstory, Harry & Ginny's budding romance and Hermione winning out over Lavender Brown. But then I realized my favorite chapters and scenes were actually in Deathly Hallows, and it's the book I've reread most. It's sprawling. It ties up a million loose ends. It's emotional.

Favorite Chapter?
I have two, both from Deathly Hallows.
Chapter Nineteen - The Silver Doe. Ron returns. That whole chapter is just chock full of stuff.
Chapter Thirty-one - The Battle of Hogwarts. Ron & Hermione kiss (I mentioned it before). The diadem is destroyed - thanks to Crabbe, who dies. Fred dies. *sniff*

Favorite Scene?
The final battle - Molly Weasley shoves Harry out of the way and stands between the girls and Bellatrix. "Not my daughter, you bitch!" There. I just got goosebumps again. The woman was a lioness.

For laughs, though, when Kreacher brings Mundungus back to Grimmauld place and whacks him with a frying pan... Physical humor. :-)

Favorite Muggle?
Dudley. He was a product of his parents -- not a good one -- but in the end, he completely came around. Leaving Harry tea outside his bedroom, wondering where Harry would go, and admitting Harry saved his life. In the end, I liked Big D, and hoped that "nineteen years later", he was Uncle D to Harry & Ginny's kids.

Favorite Teacher?
Minerva McGonagall - She was tough but fair, and who couldn't love how she stood up to Umbridg?. Who wasn't outraged when she took all those stunners to the chest in Order of the Phoenix?

Favorite Class?
For one year, I think potions with Horace Slughorn might have been cool. I could do with a shot at Felix Felicis. Over the long run, though, Defense Against the Dark Arts, except for the year with Umbridge. I like hands-on type stuff.

Favorite Gryffindor?
Ron Weasley - the dude is just too funny. He's like Ben Stiller in all the "awkward guy" Ben Stiller movies.

Favorite Hufflepuff?
Ernie Macmillan - He's hilariously pompous.

Favorite Ravenclaw?
Luna Lovegood! - “Luna, my love, if you feel the need to burst into opera or speak in Mermish or any other unique talents, do not suppress it! You may have been gifted by the Gernumblies!”

Favorite Slytherin?
Horace Slughorn. Oh, does it need to be a student? Hmm. Snape. Courage like that doesn't come cheap.

Favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts Prof?
It's a toss up between Remus Lupin for his overall goodness, and Alastor Moody (Barty Crouch Jr.) for his sheer nuttiness.

Favorite Quidditch Match?
The one that Harry wasn't in - in Half Blood Prince. Ginny is the seeker. They win and she and Harry have their first moment of snogging at the party.

Favorite Quidditch Player?
Harry - because he is human and does make mistakes and does lose.

Favorite Wand Ingredient?
Phoenix feather. But only from Fawkes

Favorite Wizard Band?
The Weird Sisters. Because, well... yeah. Probably not Celestina Warbeck, the singing sorceress.

Favorite Library Book?
Moste Potente Potions - if Hermione hadn't figured out how to brew polyjuice potion, how would they have managed to get the locket in Deathly Hallows?

Favorite Text Book?
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore. Because.... well the author's name is just so perfect.

Favorite Hogsmeade Store?
The Three Broomsticks - Yeah, that was such a typical answer, but I don't like to drink with goats wandering about the place. That leaves out the Hog's Head.

Favorite Diagon Alley Shop?
Tie between:
Ollivander's wand shop - I'd love me a wand.
Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour - I love me some ice cream!
Flourish and Blotts - I love me a book store.

Favorite Weasley Twin?
This is impossible for me to say. They were both hilarious. George lived. Fred died. And I still feel bad about it.

Favorite Fight?
Mrs. Weasley killing Bellatrix Lestrange

Favorite Couple?
I had a back and forth with Mireyah about this one. I was heavily leaning toward Harry & Ginny because the build up and actual romance all occurred in one book. And I like Ginny because Harry does and for all the same reasons. Talk about bringing us into the character's POV!. But in the end, I'm going with Ron & Hermione, because it took much longer to build, had many fits and starts. The hospital bed scene when an unconscious Ron makes his choice of Hermione over Lavender was great. The whole Ron reading about how to interest witches was fun and all, but it was Ron being artificial. The real thing - the culmination occurred when Ron said they needed to get the house elves out of Hogwarts during the battle. Hermione dumping the basilisk fangs and jumping him then... that was way cool.

Favorite Scene in a Graveyard?
For sheer creepiness, the first true creepiness - in Goblet of Fire when Voldemort is brought back to life. For sweetness, in Deathly Hallows when Harry & Hermione walk the graveyard in Godric's Hollow.

Favorite Villain?
Voldemort - honestly, he had the most depth. He was the most three dimensional. Bellatrix was incredibly over the top and was a lot of fun, but pretty one dimensional.

Honorable mention goes to Umbridge.

Favorite Trewlany Prophecy?
Hmm. THE prophecy, or the one in Prisoner of Azkaban? THE prophecy is surely the linchpin of the whole thing, so it's key. But I like the little details more sometimes. Consider the tarot card reading in Half Blood Prince, where she's wandering Hogwarts and muttering, "A dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner." She got it right!

Favorite Ron Line?
At the end of Deathly Hallows, after Peeves has just finished his victory song, "... And Voldy's gone moldy, so let's all have fun." Ron utters - Really gives a feeling for the scope and tragedy of the thing, doesn't it?

Of course, in Order of the Phoenix, there is this chestnut - Accio Brain!

Favorite Dumbledorism?
For goosebumps (Order of the Phoenix) Don't be silly, Dawlish. I'm sure you are an excellent Auror, I seem to remember you achieved 'Outstanding' in all your N.E.W.T.s, but if you attempt to — er — 'bring me in' by force, I will have to hurt you.

For simple amusement (Half Blood Prince - referencing the Gaunts) The shock of her desertion may have contributed to his early death – or perhaps he had simply never learned to feed himself.

For shedding a tear - (Half Blood Prince, upon their return from the cave) "I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."
I love that line because Harry had told Hermione & Ron that he had nothing to worry about because he would be with Dumbledore.

Favorite Beast?
Dobby - I loved Dobby. My son loved Dobby. He wanted to know who died before he read the book, and I remember being sad when I had to tell him Dobby had died.

Favorite Movie?
For staying close to the spirit of the books - Sorcerer's Stone.
Overall - Goblet of Fire.

Favorite Scene in the Hospital Wing?
Half Blood Prince - Bill recovering from his werewolf bite, and Fleur standing up to Molly, asking if she thought Bill would no longer want to marry her. She then declared she was beautiful enough for both of them. I did get chills during this moment.

Half Blood Prince - Honorable mention to Ron recovering from the poisoning, and muttering Hermione's name in his sleep. The film did this justice.

Favorite Method of Getting to Hogwarts?
The Hogwarts Express, of course.

Favorite Patil Twin?
Tricky. Padma was a prefect, good student and very quiet. Parvati was outgoing and loved divination, but... she really stood up for her friends (she did so for Neville when Draco took his remembrall). I'll go with Parvati as she was a Gryffindor.


Official Kissing Day Blogfest

See the details and full blogroll of the Official Kissing Day Blogfest.

This is a scene from my WIP novel, Mythos. Our protagonist, Zydeco, is one such Mythos, a former mythological creature who was banished to our world, where he has become a sixteen year old human. In this scene, he is at the prom with his girlfriend Tameina. Having been a Griffin for most of his life, he's not adept at dancing. The incredibly sweet Tameina has him on the dance floor and is trying to make him feel comfortable.

“It’s easy,” said Tameina, teasing my neck with cool hands as we moved. “Just go along with me.”

I nodded. “I can do this.” When I gazed down at her, I realized I was looking down her dress.

“Hey,” she said, freeing a hand and cupping my chin with it. “I’m up here.”

“Sorry,” I said as an involuntary giggle escaped. Shutting my eyes for a second, I contemplated just how uncomfortable dancing made me feel, and vowed to avoid it in future.

But when I opened my eyes, her heart shaped face had broken into an endless smile. “Kiss me.”

I took a breath, as if I’d forgotten how to do so, but now remembered. And then I leaned in and kissed her. We moved with the music, unconsciously, eyes shut. The touch of her skin on mine and her delicate scent filled my senses. The dance floor was empty except for us.

A tap on my shoulder and a throat clearing in my ear made me open my eyes and pull back. Mr. Borkin stood beside me, something twitching beneath his thick beard. “Why don’t you two take a short break?”

Hand in hand, Tameina and I walked dreamily to the table. Maybe this dancing thing wasn’t so bad.

Okay, I'm not looking for any critiques, and in fact, I just wrote this scene a couple of days ago. It surely needs tons of work, but it's a start. It was between this kissing scene and the scene in which Zydeco realizes he quite likes Tameina and asks her to the prom.


Over the Top

I nearly forgot to say thanks to Mireyah for this prestigious award, which will definitely man up this blog in a way that filthy sweat socks and the stink of oil and gasoline could never manage.

As part of the deal, I'm supposed to answer the following questions with one word each. I'm not massively outgoing, but once I get started, I'm not good being brief. Let me give it a go.

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket

2. Your hair? Limited

3. Your mother? Florida

4. Your father? Autograph on the moon

5. Your favorite food? Cheeseburger

6. Your dream last night? Nyquil

7. Your favorite drink? Diet Cherry Vanilla Doctor Pepper

8. Your dream/goal? Published.

9. What room are you in? Family room.

10. Your hobby? Writing.

11. Your fear? Loss

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Published, writing full time.

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. Something that you aren't? Sure

15. Muffins? Chocolate chip or blueberry

16. Wish list item? Empty - I'm not easy to shop for

17. Where did you grow up? Long Island

18. Last thing you did? Helped my daughter w/ her legos

19. What are you wearing? Sweater and jeans

20. Your TV? ESPN

21. Your pets? Black Pug

22. Friends? Yes. Few good ones.

23. Your life? busy

24. Your mood? even

25. Missing someone? Dad

26. Vehicle? Prius - cheap fillups

27. Something you're not wearing?  Um, hat?

28. Your favorite store? Borders

29. Your favorite color? Green

30.When was the last time you laughed? An hour ago

31. Last time you cried? About three years ago. Dog hit by car and died.

32. Your best friend? In North Carolina, hardly ever talk. Dang.

33. One place that I go to over and over? Work.

34. One person who emails you regularly? No single person

35. Favorite place to eat? Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - can't afford it very much

And today's Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol posting:


I Used To Be Funny

Because I'm busy writing Creatures (finally, again), and because I appear to be sick as a dog (the thermometer doesn't lie), I'm posting something I wrote a couple of years ago for web site on which I was to be a regular columnist. Sadly, it never launched. I hope you enjoy. And now I'm going to make some tea.

I used to be funny. Actually, this might not be true. I may never have been particularly funny. You see, the key difference between me, twenty years ago and the me of now, is that the me of now spends much more of his waking life lucid. Now that I think about it, I spend much more of my life awake. What if I was not as funny as I thought? Oh heck, most 20 year-old guys think they are funny. At least that’s what the 20-year-old girls said back then. Therefore, by my very 20 year-old nature, I was funny. In any case, I digress.

Things seemed a lot funnier twenty years ago. Don’t get me wrong, though. Things are funny now. I laugh like a 12-year old boy when on Family Guy, I see Peter Griffin put on Stewie’s onesee to prove that if he’s fat, then little matricidal Stewie is also fat. Moreover, when Mr./Mrs. Garrison explains evolution on South Park, stating that, in conclusion, we are all descended from retarded monkey-fish-frogs, well, I laugh like a retarded monkey-fish-frog might. Nevertheless, the fact that I need to sit in front of a cartoon on TV in order to laugh like that is a leading indicator that laughter is more difficult to come by nowadays. Didn’t we used to just sit around, drinking Seagram’s 7, chasing it with Dr Pepper, cackling because we forgot what was so funny? It seemingly always started with Pink Floyd’s The Wall, or the Who’s Tommy, and a bottle of Seagram’s, or some cheap Vodka, but somewhere along the way, there was cackling laughter. I am certain of it.

So, what happened? Darned if I know, but I have some ideas. First came the whole “job” thing. Having to go to the same place, every day for most of the day kind of sucks the pleasure out of going to bed at four in the morning. Let’s face it people. Your only concern at that hour was, “Will I have enough Captain Crunch when I get up?” and “Idiot - Don’t forget to set the alarm clock for noon. You have classes starting at 2:45pm, Tuesday through Thursday, and tomorrow is – oh, it’s Friday. Turn off the alarm.”

Next, you get married. I do not believe the event itself has a huge immediate impact on how funny you are. However, after being married for several years, a couple of things are likely to happen. One is kids, and for those with young kids, we will assume you are reading this at work or you are home and it is after 10pm and you are just hanging on to consciousness. The other thing that happens is something I like to call “selective retention” and I will come back to it shortly.

The impact of having children cannot be overstated, unless you have only one. Let me say right now that, if you only have one, it does not count as having kids. It is not much different from having a dog. You need to feed it, give it shelter, let it crap on your lawn, express its anal glands every now and then, and groom it. Well, maybe not groom it. It is not that complicated and things do not get very challenging. Remember. This is relative. With one child, anything you find broken in your home was obviously broken by that child. With more than one child, I promise that without surveillance cameras in the house, you will never know which one did it. I am also convinced that if you did have cameras, they would figure out how to disable them just as soon as they learn to walk.

Now, for those with kids (plural), you may notice that you do not have a whole lot of time to be funny while you deal with the constant bickering. You will realize, that if these small, noisy creatures with flailing arms and legs that invariably find your balls were adults, they would be diagnosed as psychotic. Once you do realize this, you are right there with me. You may find humor in the creativeness your children show in being psychotic, but do not let them see you laugh. They will not stop trying to make you laugh, and believe me; their attempts are as funny as the knock-knock jokes they keep “inventing”. Your teeth will hurt just listening to iterations five through seven. We do love them though.

I also mentioned “Selective Retention”. This best describes a phenomenon I noticed that occurs after several years of marriage. Here is some background. I recall being more than just funny years ago. I once was useful. When we got married, I could cook. I could fix things. I could build things. Nothing complex, mind you, but I held my own. I also knew what plans we had for any given night or weekend. Well that’s all shot now. I hardly ever cook – maybe some pancakes or eggs for breakfast. I don’t fix or build things, at least in my own house. Not that I wouldn’t try, but I am not allowed to anymore, and this is probably wise. However, I can still build IKEA furniture with the best of them, and nobody can take that away from me. I can no longer keep track of where I am supposed to be, and who I’m supposed to be with. Which kid am I taking where? How long do I stay? Who do I give this thing to? The kid will point to the right parents? Cool. Heck, my selective retention even bleeds to my work life. Microsoft Outlook is, for better or worse, my eWife. She tells me where to go and when to get there. If she doesn’t know about it, then I don’t know about it. If the mail server is down… sorry, I’ll be in my office until someone comes and gets me. You may be wondering how this relates to being funny. Well it doesn’t, exactly, and I hope you don’t feel bad about having been led down this path. However “Selective Retention” is, in my mind, one of the many reasons why some of us are not what we once were.

Then of course, the world is a somewhat depressing place. We are all much more on edge and 9/11 was definitely a big reason. My kids were seven and two years old on 9/11, and, hundreds of miles away from me. My flight had landed in Boston’s Logan Airport about 30 minutes before the planes hit the towers. This was not funny. How do you protect your kids from things you cannot directly control? When I eventually got home, Comedy Central was not on the air. Was humor dead?

As the years have passed since that horrible day, I have noticed life rolling on, much as my children grow. They are relentless about that. There is humor and even though I’m not funny anymore, I can still recognize the kind of humor that makes me laugh. When I watch a Family Guy or South Park episode, and my wife comes in during one of those scenes that leave me choking with laughter on the sofa, she laughs too. Of course, she will only laugh the first time she sees it, but will also deny it ever happened. She might have mentioned that what she was really laughing at… was me. Well now -- maybe I am still funny.


The Superior Scribbler

I'm pretty sure I owe Mireyah any and all followers I've got on this here blog o' mine. She's gone and given me a couple of them new fangled blog awards! I really like the most recent award, especially because the image you see here on the left (unless you're on a Blackberry or something) is about what I look like when I'm writing with a manual implement of scribbling. Okay, the dude has more hair, and his tongue isn't sticking out, and I generally sit at a keyboard, but still. That's how I imagine myself.

Mireyah - all kinds of thank you's. You've no idea. As Shakespeare said, "With great power comes great responsibility." And even if it was Spiderman's Uncle who really said that, the point is, I need to pass on this Superior Scribbler award to five blogs have I quite enjoyed recently.

Here they are, in all their crowning glory. 

Dutch Hill News - Annie McMahon's got such a positive outlook, and y'know what? She lives in the Garden State, too.

Brooklyn Arden - Cheryl Klein's blog and tweets are always interesting. Her talks on writing are fabulous as well. I've followed her ever since she spoke at SCBWI NJ a couple years ago.

Help! I Need a Publisher! - I can't tell you how many writing/publishing/editing tips I've picked up on Nicola Morgan's fantastic blog.

Jo Treggiari/Feltus Ovalton - Jo's blog is chock full of interesting stuff, and she's constantly tweeting equally interesting bits about writing & publishing. And I'm still waiting to hear her fabulous news!!!

The Spectacle - I've been following these ladies' blog for months now. The six writers know how to put together constantly engaging discussions about books and writing, most of which leave me itching with something to say.


When you CAN put a book down

I read a lot of books - relatively speaking, I mean. I'm a slow reader, because I take in every word and can often recall entire passages. Sadly, my son has inherited my pace, which makes getting through all his Advanced Lit reading in high school a bit painful. My daughter has no such problems. In fifth grade, she cranks through books, having inherited this ability from her mom. She'd read every Harry Potter book on her own by the age of nine. She finished Deathly Hallows in less time than it took me.

So reading is an investment for me. Between working, writing, the occasional TV show, sports, family, etc., a book has to engage me fairly quickly. It has to make me want to know what's going to happen early on. This may be one of the reasons I read a lot of YA nowadays, apart from the fact that it's also what I write. These books often grab right away.

Some of my favorite recent non-YA books were either "immediate grabbers" or offered up familiar characters. Sandman Slim -- not exactly YA -- is a great example of the former. This book grabbed me by my earlobes and dragged me along. The Lost Symbol is a solid example of the latter. Robert Langdon is a braniac/everyman sort of hero.

And then we have the books that I grab with every intention of reading cover to cover, but for one reason or another, I bail. The worst example is a high fantasy novel I picked up at the local library a couple years ago. Honestly, I don't remember what it was called. At the time I was reading a lot of high fantasy because, technically, I was writing high fantasy. (That's debatable, but it's where my story landed). The book seemed interesting enough - it took place in a completely fictional world, and I fully expected to be immersed in a whole mess of world building.

I made it through two chapters before I returned it to the library.

It was here I discovered my lack of passion for "true" high fantasy. Lord of the Rings is the primary exception, but generally I need a little grounding in "our world". I want to experience the journey into fantasy with the characters. If I'm going to invest in learning all the intricacies of an entirely new world, then I need to like the characters a whole lot. I didn't like them. Not soon enough anyway. And so I didn't experience the fantasy because I'd checked out.

Then we have Stephen King. I love his collected works. But it's kind of like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel in that, as many of their fans have said over the years, "I prefer their old stuff." The man writes tomes. Going back to The Stand, It, The Talisman (my 3 favs) - these are long and I adore them. His later work is a bit more literary, which is cool and I quite liked Duma Key and the Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. One of his most well-received books of a few years ago -- Lisey's Story -- is still sitting on my night stand. I'm a little less than halfway through it. It's good, but it's kind of my rebound date. When I don't have another book to read, I go back to it and read some more. But it doesn't hold me like the others do. I suppose if I spend enough time with it, we'll go all the way.


Oh, and I can't wait to read The Dome.

My final example is Douglas Coupland's, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. I couldn't put down his book, Microserfs. It's really one of my all time favorite novels, because of the characters and the setting (I'm a techie, geek writer, after all). Since I'm a gen-X'er, I decided I had to read this book, and so I began. I read about fifty pages before putting it down for good. Up until that point, it was three characters telling a variety of little stories, while revealing bits of character detail and back-story. It didn't grab me and was taking me too long to get through. It just wasn't for me. I've become crotchety and impatient.

I feel bad when I put a book down for good (or cheat on one book with another, only to return later, tail between legs). Do I give everything a fair shake? Yeah, I think I do. Fifty pages, minimum. All bets are off after fifty pages, though.


Birth of a Novel - Part 7

This is the thirteenth entry in my Birth of a Novel series of posts, where I talk about the development of my new YA urban fantasy.

I was well into chapter ten of Mythos when I realized I hadn't chronicled chapter nine. Doh. Chapter eight ends with Zydeco and Blaine seeing an awful thing. It's bad tidings for the Mythos in the city. Chapter nine takes place weeks later, and the Mythos are living in these somewhat dark times, worried about themselves, their families and friends. I returned to Blaine's apartment for brunch, this time with Magenta joining everyone. As opposed to our prior visit, however, the mood is far more somber.

Alright, I need to come clean now. I was struck by the mood in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when all the witches and wizards are in constant danger of disappearing, of losing their own friends and family. People go into hiding. People run. Some people stay and fight, but often lose. There are many books along these lines, and they always remind me of Germany, Austria and Poland before and during World War II. For the small population of Mythological creatures living in a large city, it's a microcosm of all of the above. Mythos is a smaller book, and Phineas Malice is neither Lord Voldemort or Adolf Hitler. He has his own reasons for what he's doing, but I wasn't going for anything so overly evil. Hmm. I hope I haven't sold Malice short. He is evil. Really he is.

He’s calling us criminals, you know,” said Magenta. “Drug dealers.”

Edward nodded. “Yes, I’ve noticed that.” He narrowed his eyes and spoke in a barely audible voice. “I wonder what he was.”

Magenta shook her head. “Well, thank you for brunch, Emma. Edward.” She didn’t lean in for a kiss. She wasn’t like that. Instead, she took their hands and smiled. “But if I don’t get out of here and have a smoke, I’m going to bite someone’s head off, and what kind of gratitude would that show?”

What with all of this going on, plus constant studying for finals, Zydeco's mind isn't entirely focused on the fact that he's asked Tameina to the prom. The pair of them have spent an awful lot of time together studying, and he's clearly got strong feelings for her. He's so worried about his future, though, that he hasn't been able to organize his thoughts on the matter. The chapter ends with a reminder that certain aspects of a teenager's life are immutable. I'm surprised at how easy I find developing the Zydeco/Tameina relationship. It feels really sweet and honest and I hope it comes across that way.

Overall, I think I did alright with this chapter. I already know I need to go back and add a bit more background tension - that someone is always watching and that peril lies just around the corner.... Because it does, truly. MWAHAHAHAHAHA

But first, they need to get to the prom. Its going to be like Carrie without all the blood. >-)

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Feel free to jump ahead to my next Birth of a Novel post
Or to read about the last chapter, saunter on back to the previous entry.