Writer Grab-ass 2: Electric Boogaloo

 Visual approximation of Tex Thompson.So, agency sibling, feline wrangler and all-around kickass human being Tex Thompson shot some questions my way in a new game of "Tag The Writer". (You need to check out Tex's blog. She has a great voice, a stellar wit and the book she's written will knock your stripey socks right the fuck off.)I know that you do not, in fact, mess with Tex(as), so I had no choice but to do as she bid me. The mission I've accepted? To tell you about my Work In Progress. Well, the thing is I can't tell you about that because it would be all spoilery and stuff. Currently I'm working on edits of Book 2 in the C# series, plotting (and soon to be drafting Book 3), a short story set in a completely different 'verse and a Super Secret Project that has no title. BUT! I can tell you about the book my agent and I are currently shopping around, Book 1 in the Etudes in C# series "Technical Difficulties"**.

What is your working title of your book? "Technical Difficulties", so named because this book focuses on Trickster gods and technomancers. If you've ever tried fixing a computer or dealing with chaotic gods, you know as well as I do that things don't go smoothly. Thus, my protagonist experiences ... Technical Difficulties.

Felicia DayWhere did the idea come from for the book? I thought it would be a lot of fun to play with a character named C. Sharp. At first, her name was "Candice", but I really hated the idea of her being called "Candy". And while I know every urban fantasy heroine these days is called "Cat" (or "Kat"), I went with Catherine. There are other reasons for this choice, but if I told you I'd have to stuff you in a box with rats and rutabagas. Or Lou Bega. *shudder* You don't want to know where he keeps that little bit of Monica.

Anyway, I wanted to play with a character with that name. I also wanted to explore other careers for urban fantasy heroes. We've got private investigators coming out of our ears. A mechanic here. A waitress there. Then there are specialized vigilantes or those who freelance their power set. Me? I wanted to take a 21st century working class geek. All hail the Code Monkey!

At the same time I was kicking around this idea of a game of poker among trickster deities. After doing a proof-of-concept piece (my short story Ante Up), I decided to flesh out that idea and it snowballed into a 5-book series from the point of view of one Catherine Sharp, your personal Ms. Fix-it when it comes to all things tech.

What genre does your book fall under? Urban Fantasy. However, the constant temptation from a snarky satyr named Marius could make an argument, I suppose, for Paranormal Romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Oh, honey. I have whole files full of images that I use for casting my characters. Catherine would be played by Felicia Day. In a perfect world, I'd go back in time and kidnap Jason Carter from around 1997 for Marius, because that man's voice IS Marius. But, since I can't do that, I'd go with David Tennant. The long hair/goatee he sported in Fright Night? Hummina. Totally Marius. Supporting cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth and Zoe Saldana.

Just add horns and David Tennant is my Marius.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? When Catherine Sharp discovers that her soul is a bargaining chip in the poker game of the gods, she must turn the tricks back on the deities in order to win her freedom. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Agency. In fact, those interested in this title should contact my spectacular agent Jennie Goloboy at Red Sofa Literary. (Available while supplies last. Have your credit card ready. Please expect 6-8 weeks for delivery. May cause shin-splints, frizzy hair and a desire to shout YOUR MOM! at random passers-by.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Three weeks. (Of course, that was 14 months ago so factoring in inflation...carry the one...) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? My book fits up there with American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore and WebMage by Kelly McCollough.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? At the root of it? A strong desire to see someone paint a picture of the Tricksters (Coyote, Anansi, Loki, Eris and Maui) playing poker. I want this picture (preferably on black velvet) hanging in my house. Make it so.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Catherine is a geeky, snarky, adept heroine coming into her strength. She's got her flaws and secrets--some of which she tries to keep from herself. As far as protagonists go, Cat is a sympathetic, multifaceted narrator with a great sense of self-deprecating humor. Her partner in crime, Marius, is a bitter satyr with a black-belt in seduction. He's got his own problems and debts to Eris to deal with, and if he can slither out of the trap he's been caught in for centuries, he will do it no matter who it hurts. Together they run around Las Vegas taking the best and worst that some of the stronger trickster gods can dish out while trying desperately not to kill one another. What's not to love? I have had a blast working on this book and its sequels/side-projects, and I really think that translates to an enjoyable ride for the reader.

So that about does it for this foray into obscurity  silliness. Seriously, go check out Tex Thompson's blog. She's awesometastic and you'll want to watch her. Good things are in her future. Also, the meme says I should tag 5 other authors to do the same. While I would love to see them do this for their own works, I'll just name drop some authors you REALLY need to check out.

Joe McCourt - Go bug him and tell him he needs a blog for his snark. Rebecca Blain - See? She's on top of this shit and has her own site! Danielle E. Bowers - I'm totally going to get a banned book before her. Janet Nye - Because she's a blast to tweet with. Kerry Schafer - Because her debut novel BETWEEN comes out next year!

Until next time, kids, just remember to keep your souls away from nefarious gods or satyrs.


**EDITED 16 September, 2013: This book has a new name! Henceforth it shall be called WILD CARD.

Practical Magic

So, back in 1999, my mother and I sat down one lazy weekend and made our very own pouches of Faerie Dust. No joke. I still have mine and I'm pretty sure my mother still has hers. We even stitched together the little bags ourselves. The ingredients were oddly precise for something so random. I can't tell you what all went into hers and I won't divulge all that I poured into mine. While there are some universal components, each recipe will change depending on who is making it. After all, my juju is not the same as yours and would make a terrible spell for you to carry around.

That afternoon we wove magic in a very odd way for two grown women. We played. We imagined. We created our own secret recipes for a talisman of sorts, a bit of whimsical power we could carry with us wherever we went. We laughed, we hugged. And I know I won't forget that. I was 19 and playing in a very pure way with my mother. Those bags are still with us...even after multiple moves and disastrous floods.

So you can imagine my concern when my 7 year old daughter came to me today and told me that one of her imaginary fairy friends was out of dust. There's only one thing you can do then... make more.

So, after dinner, K and I got together the necessary ingredients. Again, I will not tell all of the family secrets of our Faerie Dust, however, there are some things that are basic.

Start with a pouch, something that can be closed tightly and that will not spill. So, nothing gauzy. Fill the pouch about half way with fine grain sand from your local craft store. They have some that sparkles, too, so it's even better for this. Add glitter. The amount added and the color(s) used are entirely at the maker's discretion. For girls, also add a spoonful of sugar and spice (your choice as to which, but cinnamon is a good  option).

Then, fill it with the things that are magical to you. Love, music, the warmth of a campfire, a kitten's pur, a spider's web, starlight. Whatever.

Finally, you will need to clap, giggle into the bag and add something jingly. Tie it up, stitch it shut and you've got yourself a bag of Faerie Dust. Keep it safe and keep it closed. The Faeries who need it will come get it in their own way and it won't lose any of its magic.

It took us less than 20 minutes to make K's bag...and yet, there was some powerful mojo in such a small time. I love moments like that.

I hope she does, too.