February 2, 2013

February 2, 2013

Books of the Week:

  • Personal Demon, Susan Sizemore
  • Kitty Steals the Show, Carrie Vaughn
  • Speaking from Among the Bones, Alan Bradley
  • Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs

It’s been a long time since I read Susan Sizemore, and I enjoyed returning to her with Personal Demon. It’s a bit more on the romance side than her Laws of the Blood books, but it operates in the same world. Ivy Bailey, vampire hunter, comes between a vampire enforcer and his target, an errant demon who can convince humans they are reincarnations of past serial killers. Needless to say, the enforcer, Christopher Bell, takes a real shine to Ivy, while maintaining his tough-guy persona. An engaging book all around.


Kitty Steals the Show, another in Carrie Vaughn’s series about bitten werewolf-become-packleader Kitty Norville, is set in London at the first conference openly devoted to the supernatural community. The chronically curious Kitty meets werewolves and vampires and other supes from around the world, and the creatures who want to cooperate with the human world must dispatch the very feisty group that does not. Kitty seems too gee-whiz throughout most of this book, but she’s still a character you want to watch.


Speaking from Among the Bones is a Flavia de Luce book. The De Luce family has fallen on even harder times, and a for-sale sign has gone up at 13-year-old Flavia’s beloved home, Buckshaw. Another upheaval is in the works. Ophelia, her oldest sister, is getting married to one of her many suitors. And St. Tancred is about to be removed from the crypt beneath the church, an event Flavia will simply not be excluded from. However, instead of St. Tancred, the body of the church organist is discovered. Through a convoluted investigation, the brilliant and terrifying Flavia solves the case, only to be stunned by yet another family revelation. You can’t miss this one.


I’m a huge fan of Patricia Briggs, so when I spotted an ARC of Frost Burned while at my publisher’s in New York, I was prepared to steal it. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary, and I returned home with it in my suitcase. I’m not going to reveal anything about this excellent entry in the Mercy Thompson series, but you will not be disappointed! This book will be on the shelves on MARCH 5, so put it on your reading calendar!


I’m not middle-aged any more, unless I’m heading for the realm of Methuselah. I thought of excusing myself from learning anything besides how to write a better book, the pursuit that has driven me for the past 30 years. But when opportunities arise, it seems like scoffing at good fortune to dismiss them. Right?


As a tentative step in that direction, a couple of years ago Christopher Golden and I were talking about a plot line I had. It was this: a girl’s living in a cemetery, and she has amnesia. She only knows someone is trying to kill her. She lives in a crypt.


I couldn’t make this idea go anywhere, mentally. I didn’t see it as a novel, and there were too many ramifications to make it a short story. Chris emailed me a couple of months later and suggested that the concept might make a great graphic novel.


EEEEK. I’d never written a graphic novel. I had no idea of how to format it, where to start. I was daunted. Then I reasoned that Chris was a graphic novel expert. Maybe it was time for me to collaborate? This was another thing I’d never done before. Chris, however, is an experienced collaborator, too. Very anxiously, I made the suggestion to him, and he was gung ho. One problem solved! We were fortunate enough to sell it quickly in America and the UK, and we’ve finished Volume One. The artist is Don Kramer, and it looks fabulous. Volume One will be out in October. We’re working on Two.


Then Chris asked me to be in an anthology of his, “Dark Duets.” Here’s the hitch: the story had to be written by two authors, and it had to be dark, as the title implies. I thought of several people I might ask, but in the end (full of fear) I asked my friend Rachel Caine, who can be dark and horrible.


Though I was as nervous as if I were asking her out on a date, she agreed. We meshed our ideas, she wrote the fabulous first draft, I rewrote it with my own embellishments, and we sent it off to Chris, who accepted it.


My current music listening is in line with the theme. For the first time in my life, I’m listening to opera. I can’t understand the language, but I’m loving the voices. I’m starting on arias. I don’t know if I’ll ever move on to full-length works . . . but it’s a start.


Charlaine Harris