From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Palin approved and expanded the state’s aerial predator control program, where wolves are shot from aircraft and bears hunted from aircraft and killed upon landing. This year, her state biologists even dragged 14 newborn wolf pups from their den and, having already shot their parents, then shot each of the pups in the head at close range
Because I have readers of every political persuasion. But I am a wolf-lover, as many of my books will attest. I find little so sickening as the idea of hunting wolves from the air.
From Andrew Sullivan's Blog: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/09/matt-scully-and.html
Gov. Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska's wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.
Palin engineered a campaign of shooting predators from airplanes and helicopters, in order to artificially boost the populations of moose and caribou for trophy hunters. She offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an economic incentive for pilots and aerial gunners to kill more of the animals, even though Alaska voters had twice approved a ban on the practice.
This year, the issue was up again for a vote of the people, and Palin led the fight against it -- in fact, she helped to spend $400,000 of public funds to defeat the initiative.
What's more, when the Bush Administration announced its decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Palin filed a lawsuit to reverse that decision. She said it's the "wrong move" to protect polar bears, even though their habitat is shrinking and ice floes are vanishing due to global warming.
It's that time again. My contract with HQN will be up when I turn in my current manuscript, Lord of Sin, on November 1. That means I need to get together some proposals, both for HQN and, I hope, for a fantasy publisher as well.
I'm currently in the process of developing several projects: One a new, projected series of romance novels about the Kerberoi, genetically altered humans from a devastated future who return to our time and become a potential threat to the "ordinary" humans of the modern world. I'm looking at a trilogy; it would be my first contemporary outing in some time, a change I look forward to.
I'll also be looking at another possible book in my historical "Lord of..." series, which technically began with The Forest Lord way back in 2002. Since then, HQN has published Lord of the Beasts, and will be publshing Lord of Legends (a unicorn who becomes human, April 2009) and Lord of Sin (my current manuscript, featuring characters introduced in The Forest Lord and Lord of Legends.)
Finally, I'm working on a detailed proposal for a fantasy series, which combines elements of SF, urban fantasy, and traditional fantasy. It's set on an alternate Earth and two parallel worlds, one of which contains a culture that is the offshoot of Maori, Japanese, and English peoples "cast out" from Earth in the 17th century by some phenomenon the scientists of "our" world have never been able to define or explain. Now the leaders of Arashi, the harsh and violent world of storms, have found a way to return to Earth. using their dream-magic to pave the way for agents sent to establish hidden cells throughout the Commonwealth of North America. But there are warring factions in both worlds that are determined to create chaos and use violent means to prevent any hope of peace--the Arashians who believe they are meant to take the place of Earth's corrupt inhabitants, and the Commonwealth's Department of Internal Security, who have formed their own black-ops force, the Indigos, for the express purpose of destroying any Arashian who enters our plane. The female protagonist is one of the Indigos, who, like most on her level, believe that the Arashians are invaders bent on murder and destruction of the Commonwealth; the male protagonist is an Arashain agent. And yes, this will be fantasy, not romance, though there will be some romantic elements throughout the books.
I hope to finish the initial world-building, write a detailed synopsis and three chapters by the end of this month ... a tall order when I also have my current book to finish and, any day now, revisions to do on my previous manuscript. Wish me luck!
My next romance novel is due to be released any day now (if it hasn't been already): Come the Night
, the third in the vampire/werewolf trilogy set in the 1920's.
Romantic Times BookClub magazines gives this a 4 1/2 star rating and a Top Pick:
"Krinard sweeps readers into both the werewolf realm and the atmosphere of the 1920s in a fascinating story of a forbidden love. Fast paced and riveting, this is another example of the author's extraordinary storytelling ability - as well as her talkent for crafting non-stop reads."
Here's the blurb from the back of the book:
October 2008 The Great War has ended and Gillian Maitland is to marry a werewolf of her father's choosing -- ensuring the purity of their noble bloodline. Still, she can't forget Ross Kavanaugh, the American whose forbidden touch unleashed a passion she had never known. And when Ross returns unexpectedly to England, he's no longer the man she remembers, but a hard-boiled ex-cop who harbors a dark secret.
The discovery that they have a son makes Ross even more determined to prove his worth to Gillian, despite being merely a quarter werewolf. The a mysterious spate of murders cast him under a pall of suspicion, and, torn between duty and desire, Gillian knows she must drive Ross away. Even as their hunger for each other grows by the hour...
Here's an excerpt:
Cumbria, England, 1910
“Change, damn you!”
Her father’s voice was little more than a hoarse whisper, but to Gillian it sounded like a shout. She curled into a tighter ball and concentrated as hard as she could.
Change. Oh, please Change.
It seemed as if her body was doing everything possible to resist ... everything possible to make Papa angrier with her. He’d already chastised her numerous times for lagging so far behind most loups-garous children.
“You aren’t trying hard enough,” he’d accused. “You wish to shirk your responsibilities. Well, I won’t have it. You’ll do as I tell you, even if I have to beat it into you.”
Gillian had believed him. He’d resorted to the belt more times than she could remember, for far less terrible infractions than this. But oh, if she could only please him ... the sun came out in his eyes, and the beatings were forgotten.
She wanted so badly to please him.
She squeezed her eyes shut with such force that little white lights danced behind her eyelids. Her muscles twitched and protested. She imagined what it would be like when she became a wolf ... how different the world would seem, how beautiful, how perfect.
You’ll be like the others. You’ll belong.
Without understanding why she did so, she let her mind go blank and her body relax. Her arms and legs went limp. She could still hear Papa’s voice, but it seemed very far away. A softness flowed through her like liquid sunlight.
And then something shifted, as if invisible gears had clicked into place. She had expected it to hurt ... surely something so difficult would have to hurt ... but it didn’t. There was nothing strange about it at all. One moment she was a fourteen-year-old girl, neither particularly pretty nor unusually bright, as her father so often reminded her. The next she was crouched on four large paws, and the universe was exploding with sounds and smells she had never known in all her life as a human.
She straightened and shook out her golden fur. There was nothing awkward about her now, nothing to make Papa ashamed. She looked up at him, daring to allow herself a shining moment of hope.
Papa was smiling. The warmth of his approval spilled over Gillian, bathing her in relief and joy. She jumped up high, twisted in mid-air, landed again as lightly as a feather. Every muscle and tendon obeyed her to perfection. She turned toward the wood behind the house, longing to escape into the fells, to feel the power of her new shape in all its glory.
But it was not to be. “Enough,” Papa said. “I have business to attend to.”
He had already turned away by the time she Changed back. The crisp morning hair brought goose pimples to Gillian’s naked skin. She pulled on the dress she had left lying over a bench, skinny and plain and awkward once more, and berated herself for her foolish expectations. Why should there be a celebration just because she could finally do what any werewolf was supposed to do? Why should this day be any different?
She slipped her shoes and trudged through the kitchen garden to the servant’s entrance, praying that no one would see her. Not even Cook’s sympathy would make her feel better now; Cook was only human, and couldn’t possibly understand.
No one stopped her as she climbed the stairs to the nursery. She was briefly cheered by the thought that Papa would no longer force her to remain in the room she’d occupied since infancy; she’d proven herself a woman today.
A woman whose future was already decided.
Gillian slumped onto her narrow bed and covered her face with her hands. She barely felt it when someone touched her drawn-up knee.
“Gilly? Are you all right?”
She opened her eyes. Hugh stood beside the bed, his normally cheerful face overcast with worry.
Gillian straightened and found a smile. “Of course I’m all right,” she said. “I Changed today.”
Hugh’s mouth formed an “o” of surprise. “Cor blimey!”
“You ought not to curse, Hugh.”
“Did you really Change, Gilly? What was it like?”
“Wonderful,” she lied. “Beyond anything I ever imagined.”
He shuffled his feet. “Now that you’re grown up, you won’t play with me any more.”
“Nonsense.” She slid off the bed and wrapped her arms around Hugh’s thin shoulders. “I’ll still be close by. Nothing will really be different.”
Hugh allowed her to hold him for a few seconds and then stiffened to indicate that he’d had enough coddling. He’s growing up, too, Gillian thought. But it would be easier for him when it was his time. He’d always been Papa’s favorite. That was a fact Gillian had accepted long ago.
Just as she had accepted that he must never know how badly Sir Averil made her feel.
She pushed Hugh’s brown hair away from his forehead. “It’s almost time for lessons,” she said. “Would you like to go outside and throw the ball for a little while?”
Hugh’s grin was answer enough. He ran to fetch the ball and raced ahead of her down the stairs, his small feet clattering loudly in the stillness. Papa might take him to task for his noise ... if Papa were paying any attention. If Sir Averil Maitland was involved in his “business,” nothing else would matter.
Gillian descended the stairs and joined Hugh on the lawn, catching the ball and throwing it back with just enough force to satisfy a rapidly-growing boy. She’d almost forgotten that she was to meet Ethan by the beck this evening after supper, when Papa was in the library with his books. Ethan was human; there were a lot of things he couldn’t understand. But he she’d told him about loups-garous years ago, and he wasn’t afraid. He’d listen patiently, the way he always did, and in the end she’d feel just a little bit better.
Mrs. Beattie rang the nursery bell, and Hugh heaved a great sigh. It was time for lessons, and there would be no more play for the rest of the day. Nothing had really changed. Except that now Papa would begin thinking about a suitable mate for Gillian, a man of pure werewolf blood who would be the father of her pure werewolf children.
Gillian looked one last time toward the woods and reminded herself all over again that there was no such thing as freedom.
Well, I'm scheduled for total knee replacement surgery on November 12.
It's been a long road. During May of last year, while visiting a friend in Indiana, I "fell" the first few steps down some basements stairs (due to my own stupidity ... I grew up in CA, where there are no basements, and so didn't realize the door opened onto stairs going down.) I twisted my knee and began to limp heavily, so went to have it checked out. I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon, and after a long wait to see him, was advised to get surgery. (It's highly likely that I was already on the road to surgery even before I fell ... my knees had been bad for some time.)
The surgery consisted of three procedures, all done with athroscopy: a lateral release, the trimming of a torn meniscus, and a "microfracture." The microfracture, the creation of numorous tiny cracks or holes at the end of the femur, was intended to allow bone marrow to "leak" through and provide a new cushion where the meniscus was worn away.
Short story ... it didn't work. I went back for a new x-ray and it's now bone-on-bone. The only solution is TKR ... either now or in a couple of years. And since I'm limping every day, often in pain and unable to do any of my ordinary activities (low-impact aerobics, climing stairs, walking any distance, etc.), I opted for "now."
After my original surgeon said I couldn't get in for the surgery until February, I didn't know what I was going to do. Then our neighbor recommended the surgeon who had done his knee. I visited the new doc, loved him, found out he'd done lots of these, and discovered that he could get me in within four weeks! I couldn't take him up on that offer, since I have a book due November 1, but I was able to choose my own date.
So, in mid-November I can look forward to major surgery, lots of pain (yikes!), staying in the hospital three to four days, and then trying to lug myself around as long as it takes for the thing to heal. Some seem to be up and about in three weeks; I hope that's the case with me. And I hope my pain isn't too bad ... I have a very low pain threshold. I know I won't be able to drive for six weeks ... poor Serge will be stuck playing chauffeur.
At long last, I'm going to begin blogging again.
It's been a very busy two and a half months since my last post. I was gone for three weeks from late July through mid-August, first at the RWA conference in San Francisco (only an hour's BART ride from my parents' house in Concord) and then, with Serge and my good friend Julia, to the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Denver.
I particularly enjoyed the Denver con, where I went primarily as a reader, though did participate in two panels on the subject of crossover fiction, and also did a "signing" (for which about six people showed up ... more than I actually expected given that I write romance and this was a SF convention.) I also met several times with my agent, and with our friends Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (the Liadan books.) The weather wasn't the greatest ... lots of gray skies and rain. And my knee was really acting up. (I'm scheduled for total knee replacement in November, after my latest book is turned in.) I also came down with a terrible flu a couple of days after the convention, which knocked me out for a week, and I'm only just now feeling back to normal.
Now I have to start up my exercise regime from square one ... sigh. I was getting pretty good there until I took all that time away.
Meanwhile, the weather here is beginning to cool, at least at night. Days can still get up into the 80's and a high of 90 is expected today in Albuquerque. Still, my garden looks a little worn down (some plants have died, as usual) and it'll be fall planting time in a couple of weeks ... I have a number of vernoicas coming in, as well as a few others, from Bluestone Perennials.
I'm pleased to announce the release today of my story "Ride a Dark Horse" in the anthology Hotter than Hell, edited by Kim Harrison and published by Harper.
When Catalina O'Roarke travels to Taos, New Mexico, to get away from Los Angeles and bad memories of her recent divorce, she meets the devastatingly handsome and mysterious cowboy named Andrés--a man with an uncanny power over horses... and her soul. She doesn't realize she'd known him in another life... or that he's so much more than he seems.
Here's an excerpt:
They were every color men had named: buckskin and Appaloosa, chestnut and bay, pinto and sorrel, white and gray. Their eyes glittered with starlight; their hooves flashed like dark jewels. Cat's heart surged into her throat. She clung to Kelpie's reins and closed her eyes. The herd rushed on, implacable, parting at the last moment to flow around woman and horse in a swift and savage tide.
An incredible feeling claimed Cat's body. Her breath came in sharp bursts. She flung back her head, surrendering to sensation. Her legs buckled and she dropped to her knees, dizzy and stunned.
"Are you well, señorita?"
The voice was soft, but it carried through the darkness like a roll of thunder. Cat tried to stand, but her legs refused to obey her commands.
"Hello?" she said, using her courtroom voice. "Who's there?"
The man seemed to appear little by little, as if the shadows gave him up with only the greatest reluctance. Cat's first impression was of dark hair and broad shoulders, a lithe and muscular figure that moved with the grace of the horses that had preceded him. He wore the typical uniform of a working cowboy: battered leather boots, scuffed jeans, long-sleeved shirt, sweat-stained Stetson. The jeans fit him like a glove, molding strong thighs and an imposing package.
Cat shivered and looked up. He wasn't particularly tall. His face was a little too angular to be handsome, but no one could have denied that it was striking. The long, thick hair that trailed from beneath his Stetson was jet-black. His lips were sensuous and slightly curved, his nose a little arched, his eyes...
Oh, his eyes. They welcomed the moonlight like a lover. Pale they were, though she couldn't make out the color. They stripped Cat naked and left her utterly defenseless.
"Señorita," he said, touching the brim of his hat. "How may I assist you?"
Cat grabbed Kelpie's stirrup and pulled herself to her feet, half afraid she might fall without the gelding to support her. The stranger spoke only the simplest of phrases, and yet his faintly accented voice raised goose bumps on her skin.
"It's nothing," she said thickly. "My horse ... he stepped in a prairie dog hole. I'm taking him back to the ranch."
"Indeed. Would that be the Blue Moon, señorita?"
His tone was mild and courteous, but the steadiness of his gaze unnerved her. She tried to calculate how much farther she and Kelpie had to go ... how far she was from any help at all. She'd never thought to bring her pepper spray. She'd fight, of course, but he was all whipcord muscle and supple strength. She wouldn't last long....
What in hell's wrong with you? He'd offered no threat whatsoever. He wasn't armed. He didn't even have a horse that she could see.
"The Blue Moon, yes," she said. "They'll be waiting up for me."
He smiled as if he fully recognized the false bravado in her words. "I have no doubt," he said. He reached for Kelpie's head. The gelding stood very still. Cat held her breath.
"So, querido." The man stroked Kelpie's muzzle, but his gaze remained on Cat. "Shall we see what ails you?" He knelt to examine the gelding's leg, murmuring in Spanish all the while. "It is not so bad, mi amigo. A poultice, a few weeks' rest ..." He rose slowly. Cat felt as though he were running his hands over her body. "I will guide you back to the ranch, señorita," he said.
"Thanks, but that won't be necessary."
"But you are traveling in the wrong direction," he said. "Those who wait for you will surely worry."
Was he mocking her? She drew up, all her anger against men spilling into her chest. "I'll be all right."
"Will you?" He moved closer. "It is not wise to travel alone, even in a place like this."
He smelled, she thought, of sagebrush and horses and a unique, completely masculine scent that threatened to overwhelm her senses.
He was dangerous, but not in the way she'd feared.
I'v edecided I'll begin to post irregular excerpts of my work-in-progress, Lord of Legend. This is, of course, the first draft and subject to change between now and final edits, but here goes:
Cambridgeshire, May 1884
Mariah Marron crossed the well-groomed park, her walking boots leaving a damp trail in the grass. Tall trees stood alone or in small clumps, strewn about the park in a seemingly random pattern that belied the perfect organization of the estate.
Donbridge. It was hers now. Or should have been.
It is. No one will ever know what happened that night.
The maids had blushed and giggled behind their hands when she had descended from her room into the grim, dark hall with its mounted animal heads and pelts on display. She had run the gauntlet of glassy, staring eyes, letting nothing show on her face.
They didn’t know. Neither did Vivian, the dowager Lady Donnington, for all her barely-veiled barbs. Giles had left too soon ... suspiciously soon. But no one would believe that the lord of Donbridge had failed to claim his husbandly rights.
Was it me? Did he sense something wrong?
She broke off the familiar thought and walked more quickly, lifting her skirts above the dew-soaked lawn. She was the Countess of Donnington, whether or not she had a right to be. And she would play the part. It was all she had, now that Mother was gone and Father believed her safely disposed in a highly advantageous marriage.
Lady Donnington. In name only.
A bird called tentatively from a nearby tree. Mariah turned abruptly and set off toward the small lake, neatly oblong and graced by a spurting marble fountain. One of the several follies, vaguely Georgian in stark contrast to the Elizabethan manor house, stood to one side of the lake. It was circular, with white fluted columns, a domed roof and an open porch, welcoming anyone who might chance by.
Mariah was sorely in need of a welcome. She set off, her eyes fixed on the structure as if it were the very gates of Heaven. As she drew nearer, a large flock of birds flew up from the lakeshore in a swirl of wings. She shaded her eyes with one hand to watch them fly, though they didn’t go far. What seemed peculiar to her was that the birds were not all of one type, but a mixture of what the English called robins, blackbirds and thrushes.
Closer to the folly, she disturbed a pair of foxes, several rabbits and a doughty badger. The fact that the rabbits had apparently remained safe from the foxes was remarkable in itself, but that all should be congregating so near the folly aroused almost enough of Mariah’s interest to help her forget her wedding night completely.
She proceeded the rest of the way with greater caution, only vaguely aware that the hem of her walking skirt was soaked through and dragging against her boots. Something was pulling her, tugging at her body, whispering in her heart. Not a voice, precisely, but something ...
Her heart stopped, and so did her feet. You’re imagining things. That’s all it is.
Perhaps it would be best to go back. At least she’d have the servants for company. But then she’d have to endure her mother-in-law’s sour, suspicious glances. You drove him away. What is wrong with you?
Mariah pressed her hands to her mouth. Coward. She would not stand here, undecided, like a weakling. She wouldn’t shame herself any more than she already had.
With a grim sort of humor, she continued toward the folly. There were no more unexpected avian or animal visitors. The area was utterly silent. Even the birds across the lake seemed to stand still and watch her.
Neck prickling, Mariah climbed the several stairs to the peristyle and stood there listening. It wasn’t only her imagination, or worse; she could hear something. Something farther into the small building, inside the door that must lead to its interior.
She tested the door. It wouldn’t budge. She walked completely around the enclosed rotunda, finding not a single window or additional door. Air, she supposed, must enter the building from the domed roof above, but the place was so inaccessible that she might almost have guessed that it had been built to hide something ... something the Earl of Donbridge didn’t want anyone to see.
Immediately she suppressed such thoughts and returned to the door. It really wasn’t any of her business what might be inside. Perhaps this was where her prodigal husband stored the vast quantity of guns he must need to shoot the hapless game he so proudly displayed on every available wall.
But I am Lady Donnington. I need to know everything that goes on here.
And she was used to knowing everything that went on in her own home. Years of playing her father’s hostess during Mother’s absence and disability had made such knowledge an absolute necessity.
This is not and can never be my home. But once again she pushed aside such dark and unproductive thoughts and began searching the porch and then the general area around the folly. Experience prompted her to look under several large, decoratively placed stones.
The key was under the smallest of them. She flourished it with an all-too-fleeting sense of triumph, walked back up the stairs and set the key in the lock.
The door opened with a groan. Directly inside was a small antechamber with a single chair. It smelled of mice.
That was what you heard inside, she thought to herself, laughing at her own stupidity. She also detected the scent of stale food. Someone had eaten in here, perhaps sitting on that rickety chair.
She stood facing the second door, wondering if the key would fit that lock as well. There was certainly no reason not to try. She walked slowly to the door, bent, and pushed in the key.
It worked. Though the lock grated terribly and gave way only with the greatest effort on her part, the door opened.
The smell washed over her like the heavy wetness of New York summer afternoon. A body long unbathed, the stale-food odor, and something else she couldn’t define. She backed away even before she saw the prisoner.
He crouched at the back of the cell, behind the heavy bars that crossed the semicircular room from one wall to the other. The first thing Mariah noticed was his eyes ... black, a deeper color than her husband’s and twice as brilliant, like the darkest of diamonds. They were made even more striking contrasted with the prisoner’s pale hair, true silver without a trace of gray. And the face ...
It didn’t match the silver hair. Not in the least. In fact, it looked very much like Lord Donnington’s. Too much.
She backed away another step. I’m seeing things. Just like Mother. I’m ...
With a movement too swift for her to follow, the prisoner leaped across the cell and crashed into the bars. His strong, white teeth were bared, his eyes crazed with rage and despair. He rattled his cage frantically, never taking his gaze from hers.
Mariah retreated no further. She was not imagining this. Whoever this man might be, he was being held captive in a cell too small for a dog. A violent captive who, should he escape, might strangle her on the spot.
It had been no marriage at all.
I'm not usually one for blonds, but give me Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ... please!
He's the star of the new fantasy series New Amsterdam, which I admit I love for one reason: Coster-Waldau. Well, not quite the only reason. I also love stories about immortals and flashbacks into the past. But most of all I love the chiselled features of our hero, the intensity of his gaze, the way his hair falls over his forehead, his voice ... ah. It doesn't hurt when he climbs out of a pool naked, either. (How shallow you are, Sue!)
The real bummer is that Fox only produced seven episodes, so I only have three more to go. I hope they revive it as a midseason replacement, but I imagine they won't. It is an axiom that if I really like a series, it will be gone in one season or less.
Let me also mention that I loved the series Life, which also met a premature death with the writer's strike. Another hunk in Damian Lewis, though of a very different kind. Loved his sweet smile and bright eyes.
Alas, alas. All my hunks disappear one by one.