The winner of a signed copy of Black Magic Woman is....
drum roll please....
Sheila Deeth! Congratulations Sheila!
Please email me with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org so that Justin can send you your copy!
I had intended to start a weekly ritual this past Saturday called Saturday Sillies. Unfortunately, it didn't work out because the Sandman forgot to shut off my dose of sleeping dust and I slept all day, except to use the facilities, and then it was back to sleep. In fact, he not only forgot to shut it off, I think my regular dose has been doubled! I overslept my post, which doesn't normally happen since I am usually awake all night, but again, I slept all night. I was lucky that I remembered to get Justin's post up for Sunday. Even now, after all of the sleep I did get, I still feel sleepy and groggy. I've been up for over an hour and half.
In my sleepy haze, I tried to think of what to write about, but I was drawing a blank. Not sure what exactly inspired the thought, thank you muse - wherever you are - for the inspiration of today's topic.
I'm a big sci-fi fan but I can appreciate softer side of sci-fi that is represented in paranormal and urban fantasy as well as the likes of J.D. Robb's In Death series. With all of these types of stories, science isn't really counted on to explain what's going on, so you have to be what's called, "suspended in disbelief," in order to accept certain unrealistic or unbelievable things and situations that occur in these stories.
Think of an author you've read that fits the criteria.
Tell us, what is it for you that grounds you into the stories that author writes? What is it that helps you relate to the characters and make you feel like you're really there? What helps you feel like these situations are occurring as you're reading the story?
Similarly, what is it that can make you feel like a character is just a bit off, not quite believable? Nothing necessarily so major that you wonder why the story got printed, but something that can make you disconnect from the character somewhat, but not necessarily from the story itself? It might be something slight enough that you can ignore, but it still has you wondering, even after the story was over.
Please provide examples wherever possible. Thanks!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Whispered by Carrie at 9:26 AM
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Happy Sunday Everyone!
I hope that part of your celebration today involves checking out the second part of our interview between Libby Chastain and Quincey Morris. This is the third part in a series of blogs by Justin Gustainis.
Last week Sunday, Justin graced us with the real ending of Bram Stoker's Dracula, a tale that fell into his hands through a twisted tale. If you are just coming in and would like to catch up with the intro and part 1 of the interview, follow the links below:
How Dracula Really Ended
A Day of Mayhem with Justin Gustainis - Part 1
If you've read those are waiting on pins and needles for the second part of the interview, as am I, I won't waste any more time and we'll get right to it.
PLAYBOY: Yes, Cecelia was a nasty piece of work. And not the only one we’ve faced, recently.
MORRIS: Well, it comes with the job, Libby. If it was like petting baby bunnies, then anybody could do it.
PLAYBOY: Well, there were for sure no baby bunnies in Idaho last year. Or if there were, we didn’t get to see them.
MORRIS: Idaho, or Iowa? I always get those confused.
PLAYBOY: Idaho. Coeur d”Alene, to be exact. Where Walter Grobius—
MORRIS: Crazed zillionaire Walter Grobius. Precision is everything, Libby.
PLAYBOY: Well, if you want precision, it should be the late, unlamented crazed zillionaire Walter Grobius.
MORRIS: (Laughs) Okay, you win. Let’s just call him Walter Grobius. And you’re right, it was Idaho. At that huge estate he had out there.
PLAYBOY: Not much left of it, now, is there?
MORRIS: No, I had a guy fly me over the area a few days after … well, you remember.
PLAYBOY: The late unpleasantness.
MORRIS: You always had a talent for understatement, Libby. Okay, a few days after the late unpleasantness, I flew over Grobius’s estate. Looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off in there.
PLAYBOY: Whereas the reality was so much worse. Hellfire doesn’t discriminate. Ait destroys everything – and everyone -- in its path.
MORRIS: Served the bastard right. You were almost killed twice during that mess.
PLAYBOY: Three times, actually. But who’s counting? And we both nearly bought it in Kent, Ohio, when Grobius hired that sorcerer to get rid of us.
MORRIS: Oh, yeah, the devil bats. I still have nightmares about those things.
[Editor’s note: Readers curious about Morris’s reference to “devil bats,” may find the following passage enlightening]
Roderico Baca stood on one of the hills overlooking the Shady Tree Motel and prepared to release Hell – or a reasonable facsimile thereof. He knew that Chastain was down there – he could smell the bitch. He would assume, for now, that the man was with her.
Baca had spent almost an hour in preparation, once he had set upon the method by which he would destroy Chastain and her companion. Several others might well join them, constituting what the U.S. military calls “collateral damage.” Baca was not bothered in the slightest by this prospect.
He had chosen the spell he was using with great care. Pardee had said he wanted Chastain’s death to be nasty. “Nasty” was one of the things that Roderico Baca did best. He had drawn the necessary symbols in the earth, using a silver dagger he had made with his own hands. Then he mixed four of the key ingredients in proper proportion, all without the use of any kind of light. Baca had acquired the ability to see in the dark. That was appropriate, since, in a sense, it was where he lived.
Once the dry ingredients were mixed, to the accompaniment of the proper incantation, Baca was ready to add the final component. He reached into his leather bag and produced a small glass vial of baby’s blood. The ancient spell specified that this ingredient be fresh -- blood that is not refrigerated tends to congeal into an unworkable sludge vey quickly.
Baca had made one stop on the way here. He knew the ingredient was fresh.
Although it is theoretically possible to perform black magic at any time, Baca much preferred the night for his work. Quite apart from the symbolism (and in magic of any kind, symbolism counts for much), it was known that the Dark Powers were stronger and more active after the light had fled. The darkness was also beneficial for a more pragmatic reason: some of the creatures that a black magician will call to do his bidding only come out at night.
Bats, for instance.
Despite their association with vampires in popular culture (which was a laugh, because, as Baca knew, vampires had no power to take the form of these creatures), bats are generally harmless to humans, the exception being the rabies virus that they sometimes carry. But rabies takes weeks to incubate before it kills, although its victims’ final hours are very painful, indeed.
Disease aside, bats constitute no threat to people. They are generally small creatures, and most species eat nothing but insects or fruit. Even the fabled vampire bat, native to South America, will take less than a fluid ounce of blood from its host, whether animal or human.
But just because bats were harmless by nature didn’t mean that they had to remain so.
Baca first sent out his power to call the bats to him, and from the skies for miles around, they came, by the thousands. Soon, they were flapping in the air above Baca in a great, circling cloud. He had them flying high above, lest the squeaking they use to navigate be heard on the ground and give warning of what was to come.
The Summoning was done. That was the easy part of the spell. Now for the Transformation. Baca spread his arms wide apart, summoning the power of the Dark master he served, directing that power into the great mass of bats above him, causing the creatures to transform.
To grow – the bats began to double in size -- some of them, to triple
To change – even the largest of the bats had fangs less than a half-inch long. But no more. Under the command of Baca’s magic, the bats’ teeth grew, until they looked like parodies of Halloween decorations. The teeth were long now, and they were pointed, and they were very sharp.
Then, to become savage – bats have little capacity for emotion, but Baca’s spell increased that capacity, then filled it with rage and the need to destroy. Any moment now, they would start fighting among themselves. But Baca had better quarry in mind.
Finally, he said a word of power five times and pointed at the motel room where Chastain and her boyfriend were staying. The bats could not see him point, of course; Baca’s purpose was to focus the bats’ energy and fury on one place.
And so he did.
Thousands of the devil bats dived, almost as one. Their goal was the building down below. Their need was to use their new, razor-sharp fangs to kill the warm-blooded creatures inside.
They descended on the Shady Tree Motel like a great, black tidal wave of death.
PLAYBOY: Those bats were about the scariest things I’ve ever seen. And it seemed like there were millions of them.
MORRIS: Yeah, we’d have been right screwed that time, if it weren’t for Hannah.
PLAYBOY: Poor Hannah. She had issues, for sure, but there’s nobody I’d rather have watching my back. Present company excepted, of course.
MORRIS: Of course, and thank you. I don’t suppose there’s any chance that Hannah made it out of there?
PLAYBOY: I don’t see how. You saw what was left of the place, Quincey.
MORRIS: Yeah, but her body was never identified.
PLAYBOY: There were quite a few bodies in there that were never identified.
MORRIS: I know, I know. But if anybody could get out of that conflagration alive, it’d be Hannah. What did that FBI guy, Fenton, say about her?
PLAYBOY: I believe it was, “That lady’s just too damn mean to die.”
[Editor’s note: This appears to be a reference to “occult bounty hunter” Hannah Widmark (1966-2008?). Readers unfamiliar with this remarkable woman may find the following passage interesting]
Gunther Krause slipped into the abandoned house through the back door a few minutes before sunrise. There were stories that the undead could take the form of mist that could be directed anywhere they wished to go. If that were true, Krause had yet to figure out how to manage it, which was a pity. It would have made his existence much easier.
Krause was four paces from the basement door when he suddenly realized he was lying on the floor. A moment later, the pain hit him – a searing, merciless agony at the base of his spine that only one thing could have caused. Silver.
He heard them then, the sounds of boot heels crossing the uneven wooden floor. A few seconds later, the owner of the boots came into view. Krause didn’t really need to breathe anymore, but he gasped, nonetheless. He had in an instant taken in the black hair, the pallor, the scar along an otherwise beautiful, if hard, face. The woman’s shirt and pants were black, to match the boots. In one hand she held the still smoking, silenced .25 automatic that she had used to fire a silver bullet into his spine.
Through teeth clenched tight in pain, Krause managed, “They say you don’t … exist A legend … a myth, no more.”
The woman let a tiny smile appear on her face. “And now you know better,” she said, in a beautiful soprano voice that sounded like angels singing. “Pity you won’t get the chance to spread the word.”
“Who … who sent you?”
“The family of your second victim. The second in this town, anyway. You didn’t disguise your work quite as well as you thought. They figured out that it was one of you leeches who killed him.”
Her boots tapped out another slow rhythm on the floorboards as she walked over to the nearby window. Miraculously, its shade was still intact. She moved it aside a few inches and glanced outside. “Sun’s almost up,” she said, conversationally, and walked back to where the wounded vampire lay.
“What are you … waiting for?” Krause moaned. “Finish it.”
“In due time,” she said. “Which will be very soon, now.”
“Just … because your first shot … missed ….”
She laughed with what sounded like genuine amusement. “Missed? Oh, dear gracious me, no. That bullet went exactly where I wanted it.”
“Why maim … not kill?”
“Because I wanted to spend a few minutes having this little chat with you, Gunther. You don’t mind if I call you Gunther, do you?”
A few minutes later, she sauntered back to the window and peered out again. “Ah, sunrise!” she said. “Looks like it should be a beautiful day.”
She turned back toward Gunther Krause again, and for a moment there was something in her face that would have frightened half the demons in Hell. Then she reached down slowly and grasped the bottom of the window shade.
“Any last words?” she asked pleasantly.
“Screw you … you sick, twisted … bitch.”
Hannah Widmark, known in some circles as Widowmaker, smiled broadly. “Well, those will serve, I suppose.”
She yanked the bottom of the shade down hard, then released it.
She stood there for a full minute longer, watching impassively and listening to the screams.
Then she left, her boots crunching as they walked over the gray ashes that lay strewn across the floor in the shape of a man.
PLAYBOY: So, what’s next for you, Quincey?
MORRIS: What’s next for us, you mean?
PLAYBOY: If you prefer. I’m just trying to maintain some literary distance here.
MORRIS: Well, I recently stumbled upon a rumor that bothers me some. And if it’s true, I expect it’s gonna bother me a lot.
PLAYBOY: If you’re waiting for me to feed you the next line, then I will: what’s that, Quincey?
MORRIS: It’s possible, just possible, mind you, that a future Presidential candidate is … possessed by a demon.
PLAYBOY: Isn’t that usually the province of Vice Presidential candidates?
MORRIS: I’m serious, Libby. And if it’s true, and this dude manages to actually get elected, the result could be ….
PLAYBOY: Hell on earth. Literally.
PLAYBOY: Well, then I suppose we’d better do something about that, shouldn’t we?
MORRIS: I was fixin’ to. Can I count you in?
PLAYBOY: Can’t you always?
Hmmm. I'm not so sure about that. It's quite possible we might see these two again when their next story is ready to go public. I'll keep you filled in!
Remember to make a comment to enter your name into a drawing for a signed copy of Black Magic Woman!
Whispered by Carrie at 5:23 AM
Friday, May 8, 2009
Fantastic Friday! *waves*
I subbed my novel, Bloodlines, this week and received a request for the full manuscript! Now, I’m anxiously awaiting a response. You know the routine…can the remaining chapters hold the interest of the editor the way the first three chapters did? Will the editor like it, love it or hate it? Then on top of that I have my husband who is trying to tell me he knows more about this business than I do and how I should have handled the situation differently. *bangs head against the wall*
But my topic for today is Mother’s Day. All of us women either are a mother or have a mother, so let’s celebrate it a couple of days early with some facts. All received from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother):
Anna Jarvis founded the modern day Mother’s Day holiday and in the United States it is always celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Ms. Jarvis created Mother’s Day at the starting of the 20th century. However, in the 16th century the Christians and early pagans celebrated Mothering Sunday. Most countries derived their Mother’s Day holiday from the United State’s original celebration, with the exception of Mothering Sunday in the UK.
Mother’s Day became so commercialized after nine years that Anna Jarvis became a major adversary to the holiday. She saw the purchase of greeting cards as being too lazy to pen something more personal or heartfelt. In the end, Anna Jarvis wished she had never started Mother’s Day. Ms. Jarvis felt so strongly about Mother’s Day that she spent the remainder of her life and all of her inheritance fighting against the commercial abuse of the celebration.
Here are some staggering facts according to Wikipedia: “[A]ccording to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts—like spa treatments—and another $68 million on greeting cards. Mother's Day will generate about 7.8% of the U.S. jewelry industry's annual revenue in 2008, with custom gifts like mother’s rings.”
I was asked this year by my husband and two sons, “What do you want for Mother’s Day.” My response was “nothing”. Seriously, there isn’t anything I want and I do not need to be honored for something I feel blessed to be 365 days a year. Besides, the best gifts have always come from the heart, which means they are homemade. All those store bought gifts…*shrugs*…I can’t tell you where they are. All those flowers...I hope they're dust by now. But those homemade ones, I have them all in special spots throughout the house. I’ll cherish those until the day I die. Some of my favorites, the book marks with their fingerprints on them, little ceramic dogs and cats painted with enthusiasm for me, cards with their misspelled words of love, but most of all, I’ll remember the smiles of pride when they hand me those gifts and their big hugs when I exclaim over them.
So, what do you think? Do you want paper or plastic? LOL No, I’m just kidding. But if you’re a mother, what do you prefer as a Mother’s Day gift? What have been some of your favorite gifts? If you’re not a mother, what kind of gifts do you give to your mother on Mother’s Day?
To all the mothers out there, I hope each of you have a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Growing up in Wisconsin, you'd think I would have heard plenty about the homegrown authors we have in this state, not to mention a RITA award winner, but no, I had to go to an author blog to discover her! When I read her blog post, I thought to myself, wow, it never ceases to amaze me how neat a lot of the authors I meet there are. Then, imagine my surprise when I found out she was from Wisconsin! Not only that, but lived in the same area I do and graduated from the same college I just graduated from! I've been attending that school for a long time, and I had yet to hear of her! Shame on my alma mater for not trying to do more to advertise her!!!
Okay, now that I knew she existed, I had to "hunt" her down. I checked out her website, which is awesome by the way, and signed up for her newsletter so that I could get In the Beginning, the short story that kicked off the Phoenix Chronicles. I suggest you do this. I did and I don't regret it because not only did she have me hooked to her story by page two, I can tell that her other stories must be just as fabulous. All this lead me to interviewing her for my Genres column in The Leader, a student run A&E magazine at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus. Without further ado, here's Lori!!!
I'm often asked how I get my ideas for both plots and characters. For me, plot comes from character. What happens grows from those who make it happen with the decisions they choose, based on who they are.
In my new urban fantasy series, the POV character of Elizabeth Phoenix has so many layers--many I don't even know about yet. I love learning new things about Liz with each and every book.
Liz is like you and me in many ways. A former cop turned bartender, she’s lost things—her partner, her job, a man—but she keeps going on.
However, Liz is different too. She’s psychic, which has caused her no small amount of trouble in her life. Now that talent just might save her life and the lives of everyone around her.
The concept for Any Given Doomsday--the first book in The Phoenix Chronincles--came to me several years ago when I was researching another book and read about the legend of the Grigori. It fascinated me. I bought a bunch of books on prophesy, Revelation, angels, demons and read them whenever I had the chance and an idea started to nag at me—one of those ideas that captures an author and won’t let go.
In between contracted projects, I spent whatever time I had in the world of The Phoenix Chronicles. I loved it there! I showed the first few chapters to my agent, who immediately gave them to my editor at St. Martin’s during a lunch meeting. Jen read the first page and said, “I love it!” An author’s dream come true!
In the world of the Phoenix Chronicles, the Grigori, or the fallen angels of Biblical lore, have mated with humans and produced a legion of supernatural creatures known as the Nephilim. They’ve been here since the beginning of time, wearing human faces but beneath they are all the monsters of legend—vampires, shape shifters and more. There’s a secret society that fights them and Liz has just been put in charge of the ground troops.
What I've really enjoyed about this urban fantasy series is juggling two love interests for Liz--her former lover, Jimmy Sanducci and the Navajo shaman, Sawyer. These guys are CHARACTERS.
Jimmy Sanducci has been trouble since the moment Liz met him when they were foster children in a group home on Milwaukee’s south side. They fell in love at seventeen; he disappeared at eighteen. But now he’s back and right in the center of a huge mystery. Who killed their foster mother and why? Jimmy’s always had secrets and now Liz is discovering more about him than she ever wanted to know.
Sawyer is an enigma. A Navajo witch and shapeshifter, Liz was sent to him when she was fifteen to learn how to manage her own psychic ability. He scared the crap out of her then, but may be her only hope of salvation now. Sawyer has more secrets than Jimmy--for instance, is he on their side or isn't he?
With the release of The Phoenix Chronicles-
Any Given Doomsday-Nov. 2008
Doomsday Can Wait-April 28, 2009
Apocalypse Happens-Nov. 2009
Chaos Bites-May 2010
I decided to re-do my website. Check it out at www.lorihandeland.com
We went with a graphic novel look for both the site and on the latest book trailer for Doomsday Can Wait, which you can also view there. Graphic novels are on the upswing and The Phoenix Chronicles translate to this format very well.
On the site you can also read excerpts from the first two books or join the Full Moon Club, where you will receive a newsletter around the time of the Full Moon each month with moon lore, supernatural legends, paranormal recommended reads, recipes, contests and more.
I'd love to hear what you think about urban fantasy. Do you enjoy it? Do you prefer paranormal romance? And what do you like most about your chosen genre?
If you're curious about the interview I did with Lori or any of the other articles I wrote, click here: Genres Column
Whispered by Carrie at 6:32 AM
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
For writers, the subject of inspiration comes up a lot when we are being interviewed or commenting on blogs. Most times, it is in reference to what inspired a story or what inspires us to write. But this is only a small sampling of what can be considered inspiration. For me, inspiration can come in many forms, but one of the things that most inspires me is talent. The talent to draw, the talent to sing, the talent to act. But perhaps the most powerful of those talents to me is the talent to make people laugh, especially in times of strife.
It is with a heavy heart that I remember three phenomenal talents of comedy, all lost to us within the past two weeks. Two of the names you will no doubt recognize immediately and the third you might not know unless you've been to Vegas or caught him on the Bonnie Hunt Show, as I did. I am talking about Bea Arthur, Danny Gans, and Dom Deluise.
When I think of Bea Arthur, I immediately remember her in Golden Girls, which I watched voraciously when it was first on and still catch in reruns to this day. The way she interacted with her costars and delivered her lines...I always wondered how she could deliver her lines with a straight face when up against the zingers of her costars. But she got in a few of her own and made that a memorable show that is as funny today as it was when it first aired. Watching a Golden Girls marathon this past Sunday, I often found myself laughing out right at some one-liner, joke or antic. Just as I did then.
Dom Deluise. Robust. Full of life. The funny man who couldn't stop laughing himself. Some of my fondest memories are of watching him in movies with Burt Reynolds. And the outtakes! They were often funnier than the material left in the movie and I rejoiced at the silliness and joy he shared with his good friend, Burt. He was just a lovely man who loved life and his family and his laughter will be missed.
Perhaps the lesser known - but not less talented - of the three, Danny Gans, was billed as "the man of a thousand voices" and he truly lived up to that name. When I first saw him on the Bonnie Hunt Show a few months back, I literally stopped what I was doing and sat, enthralled, by his talent. He very easily went from impersonating Dean Martin to Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett to telling an inspirational story about how he came to be in the business. And the whole time, thorughout the entire interview with Bonnie, his eyes just sparkled with a joy fior life that could scarcely be contained. Do yourself a favor. Find the video online and watch this amazing man and you, too, will think he was lost too soon.
Three amazing talents. Three great resources for inspiration.
To Bea, Danny and Dom, thank you for being a friend.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
If you haven't read this past Sunday's post, "How Bram Stoker's Dracula Really Ended," you might want to go back and do so first. Why? Well, because it gives a little background where today's interviewee, Quincey Morris, comes from.
Our interviewer today is Libby Chastain, a friend and partner who helps Morris in many of his investigations. In his circles, Quincey Morris is considered to be one of America's premiere ghostbusters. Because of his popularity and notoriety, he is highly sought after by many magazines, of all kinds.
Chastain       and       Morris
that recently appeared in his regional Playboy Magazine:
There seems to be no shortage, on screens both large and small, of characters dedicated to fighting supernatural evil. In television land, Kolchak begat Mulder and Scully, who begat Buffy, Angel, and the Scoobies, who begat the Winchester brothers, and so on. The movies have given us (Gabriel) Van Helsing, Hellboy, John Constantine, and, next year, Guillermo del Toro’s take on venerable comics hero and enemy of occult evil, Dr. Strange.
But, by all accounts, Quincey Morris is the real deal, for all that he appears to be descended from a fictional character born in the mind of Irish writer Bram Stoker. Morris has fought the forces of darkness wherever he found them, and always come out on top – so far. Vampires, witches, demons, werewolves – they’re all in a day’s work to the man who Newsweek described as “the world’s preeminent champion in the ongoing battle of light against the darkness.” To paraphrase a line from the first Hellboy movie, when things go bump in the night, Quincey Morris is the guy who bumps back.
Who better to interview this intrepid spook hunter than his longtime partner, “white” witch Libby Chastain? When Playboy first approached Ms, Chastain, she was offered a package deal: the interview with her friend and business associate, as well as a pictorial of the lady in all her (not inconsiderable) glory. Libby declined to appear nude in our pages, but did agree to undertake the interview. She spent almost a week with Morris, at his Austin, Texas home, the results of which follow.
PLAYBOY: I’ve got to confess, this is kind of weirding me out, Quincey.
MORRIS: (Laughs) After all the stuff we’ve been through together, I never thought I’d hear you say that about something as mundane as an interview, Libby.
PLAYBOY: Maybe that’s the reason. After saving the world together – how many times?
MORRIS: Depends on your definition, but … twice, anyway. Maybe three times.
PLAYBOY: Exactly. After all the danger, and blood and pain we’ve gone through combating the forces of evil, this seems so ….
MORRIS: But it’s not like we don’t hang out together, sometimes. You were down here last 4th of July, for the big barbecue. Folks are still talking about that.
PLAYBOY: Oh, you mean because of that guy, the drunk one …
MORRIS: Elmer Davis, yeah. He had a few too many, then made a pass at you.
PLAYBOY: It wasn’t the pass I minded. It was that he wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. He assumed that, just because I’m bisexual, I’m some kind of skank. He got quite obnoxious, after a while.
MORRIS: So you turned him into a toad.
PLAYBOY: Well, it’s not like I hurt him. And I did change him back, almost immediately.
MORRIS: (Laughs) Right after you picked him up and threw him into the pool.
PLAYBOY: Well, it seemed like the natural thing to do – you know, water and all. How was I supposed to know the jerk couldn’t swim?
MORRIS: Good point. And you did levitate him back out before he could drown.
PLAYBOY: Of course I did. White magic can’t be used to hurt anyone, you know that.
MORRIS: Changing somebody into a toad doesn’t hurt him?
PLAYBOY: Well, if I left him that way, maybe. But, as it was, I just gave him a … change in perspective. Anyway, aren’t I supposed to be interviewing you?
MORRIS: So, ask me something, Ms. Interviewer.
PLAYBOY: Okay, let me start with the obvious one: how did you become a ghostbuster?
MORRIS: I prefer the term “occult investigator.”
PLAYBOY: Whatever. Answer the question, Tex.
MORRIS: Well, I guess you could say that I just went into the family business. It all goes back to Great-Granddad.
PLAYBOY: The guy Stoker wrote about.
MORRIS: Right. Most people think Dracula’s a work of fiction. They don’t realize that Stoker got his hands on those documents – the diaries, letters, clippings, and so on – from Dr. Seward’s estate, and just edited them. He called it a novel, because nobody back then would’ve published it as non-fiction.
PLAYBOY: So, the first Quincey Morris, the man who died outside Castle Dracula, was a real person?
MORRIS: As real as I am. Or you.
PLAYBOY: Which means that Count Dracula was real.
MORRIS: He sure was. Until Great-Granddad, along with Van Helsing, the Harkers, and the rest destroyed him.
PLAYBOY: So vampires really exist.
MORRIS: You know the answer to that, same as I do, Libby.
PLAYBOY: Of course. But this isn’t about you and me – it’s an interview, remember? This is for the readers of the magazine.
MORRIS: Bet they only buy it for the articles. At least, that’s what I told my Mom when she found my collection, back when I was fifteen.
PLAYBOY: Answer the question, Quincey. Get it on the record.
MORRIS: All right. Yes, vampires are real. And werewolves. And witches.
PLAYBOY: Well, duh!
MORRIS: I meant the other kind, the practitioners of black witchcraft. The kind that can hurt you.
PLAYBOY: Like Cecelia Mbwato, who we encountered a while back.
MORRIS: Yeah, exactly. It’s like we don’t have enough problems with black magic in this country. Old Cecelia had to come all the way over from South Africa to add to it.
[Editor’s Note: to understand the reference to Cecelia Mbwato, readers may find helpful this brief excerpt from Black Magic Woman:]
The Media Room at Glassboro police headquarters contained a single TV/monitor that was hooked up to both a VCR and a DVD player, and four chairs. Three of these were now occupied.
"I appreciate your letting us take a look at this without a lot of preliminary paperwork," Fenton said to Detective Hank Mulderig.
"It's okay, no problem," Mulderig said. He was a big, untidy man with white hair and bushy eyebrows, with a gut that showed he hadn't had to pass a physical fitness test in a while. "Thing is," he went on, "I don't see why the FBI should give a shit about some two-bit gas station hold-up, especially since we already got the perp in custody."
"We're less interested in the perp than we are in the woman who blinded him," Fenton said.
"Yeah, wasn't that somethin'?" Mulderig said. "Last I heard, the docs still haven't figured what was in that powder she used on him. Kid’s a damn meth-head, name of Tommy Carmody. I've busted him twice, myself. What happened served the bastard right, you ask me." He stopped, looked at Fenton, than Van Dreenan, and back to Fenton. "This some kind of terrorism thing?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes it is," Van Dreenan told him.
"Damn," Mulderig said softly, as if to himself. He picked up the remote and pointed it at the monitor, which came to life immediately. Then he aimed at the videotape player and pressed another button. "Okay, this is the footage from inside the store when it all went down."
The tape began to play, producing an image, black and white but very sharply focused, of the interior of the convenience store. There was, of course, no audio.
They watched the clerk taking packs of cigarettes from a carton and stocking the shelves behind the register. They saw the twitchy young man in the dark jacket, whom they now knew to be Tommy Carmody, approach the counter. And they saw the squat black woman who came to stand a few feet behind Carmody, holding a small bag of some kind of snack food.
Fenton thought he heard a sharp intake of breath from Van Dreenan, but didn't say anything.
They watched as Carmody drew down on the terrified clerk, then turned to train his gun on the woman. They saw him speak to her, yelling probably, threatening her with the gun. They saw her hold out the bag, saw it fall just short of Carmody's grasp, saw him bend forward to pick it up, then the woman's other hand coming up quick as a striking snake, the small cloud of powder suddenly in the air between them, Carmody staggering as he clutched his ruined eyes.
Each of the three men was privately glad he could not hear the screams.
They watched as the woman picked up her bag and scurried out the door, seemingly oblivious to the chaos she was leaving in her wake.
Mulderig pointed the remote again and stopped the tape.
Fenton was tapping a couple of fingers on his knee, a frown creasing his face. He said to Mulderig, "Mind if we see it again?"
"Sure, whatever." Mulderig pressed the Rewind button.
Fenton noticed that Van Dreenan was rubbing the bridge of his nose between two fingers. "You all right?" he asked.
"Fine," Van Dreenan said, his voice sounding a little husky. "By all means, let us watch it again."
Fenton looked at him for a moment longer, then turned back to the monitor. When the tape reached the point where the woman blew the powder into Carmody's eyes, he said, "Stop. Run it back a little bit, then play it again, will you?"
Mulderig did as he was asked. This time, as the scene played out, Fenton said, "See that? The bag didn't slip out of her hand, she's letting it fall, deliberately. It's a sucker play. She wants what's-his-name, Carmody, to lean forward and get it."
"Why the hell would she do that?" Mulderig asked.
"To decrease the range," Van Dreenan said quietly. "She wanted to make absolutely certain of her aim."
Mulderig's eyebrows went up, then he looked back at the video monitor. "Jesus. That is one cold, calculating bitch."
"Ja," Van Dreenan said. "That is exactly what she is."
[Interview continues, p. 137]
Wow! That's some pretty interesting stuff! Makes you wonder what else from your nightmares really exists!
Tune in this Sunday for the second half of this interview!
Don't forget to comment today, to snag a signed copy! If you don't win today, there's a second chance on Sunday!
Whispered by Carrie at 6:32 AM