Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Garden of Darkness prologue

Happy Halloween!
This seemed a good day to post a little snippet from Garden of Darkness. The odd thing about this prologue is that it was page 200 in the first draft. While working on the second draft, I decided to move it to the very beginning.



Where does the wind begin?

A dank breeze rose from the ground like one long exhaled breath. It lifted fallen leaves and swirled them up into the night sky. The leaves moved as if they knew where they were going, as if they had a destination. They flew past open windows where children were tucked in bed, hushed words snatched from sweet mouths and replaced with new ones.

“Where does the wind begin?” one child asked another.

“The Tuonela River,” the other child replied.

“What’s going on up there?” a mother called from below.

The children looked at each other in fear. “Nothing.” But they felt strange. Had a soft hand caressed them? Just a brush down the cheek, leaving a trail of goosebumps behind?

Sweet, sweet babies.

He drew nearer and inhaled their soap scent, and his breath stirred the fine hair on their heads.

Time was different here.

He could smell the river: wet driftwood, shells and bones gleaming on the shore. In the black mud of the river bottom, giant catfish slept the deep sleep in filtered light that was bent and reshaped. Never surfacing, the catfish waited patiently for prey to come close enough to catch and swallow whole.

Sweet, sweet life.

The damp night wind was tinged with sorrow and loss and longing.

Oh, to be complete, to be whole.

Some people said he was bad. But that was like saying a bear was bad when it caught a fish. It was like saying a cat was bad when it ate a bird. It was all about survival and nature. The bear wasn’t bad. The cat wasn’t bad.

He wasn’t bad.

Two places called to him, the old and the new.

For a moment he was confused. In his mind the two places meshed and he couldn’t separate them. Time moved forward and backward and the passage of a hundred years seemed like hours. Time unfolded and turned in on itself and his loss became something that hadn’t yet happened, and the strength and power he’d once known could possibly be found again.

He left the children and soared from the house, up through the roof but not as far as the stars. He joined a flock of night birds as they moved out of town, shifting and changing, blocking the moonlight.

On the ground far below, a man walking his dog felt the curious movement of air. He looked up, his face a white oval. He seemed to shrug and dismiss the sudden heaviness. But when the dog whimpered, he turned and hurried home.

Something was coming. Something had been coming for a long time. Something big. Powerful. Something that would shake the residents of Tuonela.

He soared.

To the old place.

His home.

Over the house built from native stone. Over the bare, rolling hillside that met dark woodland. Through the trees, silent and secret.

A light in the night.

A lantern and the sound of a shovel striking rocky ground.

This must be what it was like to astral project. To find yourself watching yourself. Because the man below was him, but not him.

The dead – they were everywhere. He could see their faces in the bark of the trees and the patterns made by the twisting leaves. Like him, they were looking for bodies to inhabit. Unlike him, they would take any vessel. He wanted one and only one.
The man on the ground seemed unaware of the dead surrounding him. He remained focused on his digging, never looking up. His heart pounded from exertion; steam rose from his shoulders.

Go inside.

The coaxing command seemed to come from the faces in the bark and the faces in the leaves. Who were they?

Don’t you remember us?
Don’t you remember your followers?

One face in particular became more distinct, the voice seeming to separate from the singsong chant of the others.
The scent of sage and lavender invaded his head. And somehow he could feel the softness of her skin under his fingertips.

Come inside, Richard.

Richard. That’s who he was. Richard Manchester, the Pale Immortal. And this was his land -- the land of the dead.

Come inside.

The man below stabbed the shovel into the ground, then released it and straightened, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand.

The night birds were gone. They had done their duty by bringing him here, and now they were asleep in the trees, heads tucked beneath black wings.

Richard hovered above the man with the shovel. Foolish person. Digging for secrets on the ground when the secret is above you. When the secret is in you.

Garden of Darkness
a paperback original coming December 4
from Penguin and Onyx Books

Monday, October 29, 2007

sharpen your brains




Sunday, October 28, 2007

would you buy a book written by this person?

my interview is up at in for questioning, and i finally really, really get why people never believe it when i tell them i'm a writer. heh!!

angie did a fantastic job!!! i had so much fun. a little too much maybe, but that's okay!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In for Questioning

don't forget to check out
In For Questioning

New interviews every Monday. I've even added the link to my google homepage so I can see when a new post goes up. It is all so fun and laid back, which means Angie was able to talk me into a phone interview. gulp. I think that goes up on the 29th. everyone else sounds so together and intelligent. this was my typical response: i dunno. giggle, giggle. i dunno. giggle giggle.

and when she asked for a photo, i happened to come across this:

yep, that's me. that's the kind of photo a person should never let anyone else see. but it's also entertaining and just weird as hell. we were playing around with shadows and intense stage lighting. apparently it revealed the weird old shadowman who lives inside me.

this was taken at the same time:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the beginning!!

Free Image Hosting at

my wonderful mortgage broker appealed the loan rejection, and my file was personally delivered to another group of decision makers. dave called this afternoon to tell me they signed off on it and everything is go again!!!!!!! i'm still trying to process the whole thing. it's like digging up a body after you've had the funeral. so now the last hurdle is the inspection, which will take place next week.

i'm still in shock.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the end

well, i didn't get the place. i was easily approved for the loan, but in the end the unusual property was considered too risky for lenders. i guess because GOD USED TO LIVE THERE. what a farce. took almost two months to reach this end. so apparently the only way to buy an unusual property right now is to pay cash.

yes, i'm pissed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

feeding the addiction

hello MacBook. It arrived yesterday and still needs most of the applications. love the weird, flat keyboard, and the screen is so crisp and clear compared to the iBook screen.

the signing went about like i'd expected. mall signings never go well, not even big group signings. i'm not sure why. maybe the lack of intimacy. small indy store signings usually do much better. i also think there's just too much going on at the mall of america. sensory overload. kind of like holding a signing in the middle of a midway. people don't want to slow down for something like that.

BIG HUG to the people who came and braved MOA on a saturday!! it was nice meeting you!! thanks so much for supporting local writers and the Minnesota Literacy Council!!

the house thing is still in limbo!! i'm discovering that the whole national mortgage mess has made it really hard to buy a home. i can get a loan, but making sure the place is worth what i'm paying has brought everything to a standstill. the appraisal is being questioned since there were no comps in the area. a third party has been brought in to find 3 local realtors who will come up with their own value figures. we've been waiting for them for a looonggg time, and are pretty much at their mercy right now. then it goes through underwriting again. another long wait. at that point they can ask for another appraisal or turn down the loan if they aren't satisfied. and this is all before the inspections, which could turn up something i don't want to deal with. so buying property ain't what it used to be. sometimes i think i should have given up, but i keep thinking each hurdle in the last one. the mortgage consultant, real estate agent, and seller have been amazing through this whole ordeal, which also makes it much easier to follow this through and see what happens.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

RIP iBook

my computer died on friday. i hope to be back soon!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Booksigning and fundraiser

Midwest Fiction Writers and Barnes & Noble come together to raise money for The Minnesota Literacy Council.

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to meet so many local authors and purchase autographed books with a portion of the sales going to The Minnesota Literacy Council. Join us on Saturday, October 6 at 5:30 in the Macy's Court of the Mall of America for this once-a-year event. Hear authors read excerpts from their books. Visit favorite authors and discover new authors. Signing will be Midwest Fiction Writers authors Judy Baer, Helen Brenna, Kathleen Eagle, Anne Frasier, Jay Gilbertson, Lois Greiman, Tate Hallaway, Michele Hauf, Emma Holly, Patti O'Shea. Joining them in this event will be local authors Sujata Massey and Kelly McCullough as well as author and creativity coach Eric Maisel.

Date: October 6, 2007
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Place: Macy's Court, Mall of America