Monthly Archives: October 2014

We have Winners!

We have winners! Actually, everyone was a winner, because there were some seriously inspired submissions for this year’s Halloween Contest. And then the rest of us got to read/see them! So good all around. But some stood out even above the high level of the overall competition, and as promised, three people win Amazon or B&N gift certificates for being that little bit of extra awesome! May I have a drumroll please?

Winner in the written contest: Mary Burden for her great story on Dory/Dorina:

“So, what are you dressing as?” Claire asked Dory.
“I really don’t know. Most historical figures are out. The really interesting ones ended up as vampires anyway and it’s just tacky to dress as someone you might run into.”
Caedmon suggested, “You could go as Lady Godiva.”
Claire pointed out, “Dory doesn’t have long hair.”
“So?”
“You need the hair to cover the fact that Lady Godiva was nude.”
“Why would you want to cover that?” he asked.
“Shut up,” Claire and Dory said together.
Ray offered, “You could always go as Faith from Buffy.”
“Ummm well, see I ran across Joss Whedon when he was young, I’ve never been sure if Faith was based on me.”
Everyone went quite at that.
Then Dory started to laugh softly.
Dorina had put her opinion in, “Why not go as me.”
 

Winner of the image contest: Leanne Smith for Pritkin as Dr. Who and Cassie as the Tardis! Inspired. And, as Cassie would say, she always knew she was just a taxi!
Pritkin as Dr. Who

And, finally, our overall winner, with nine, count ‘em, NINE pics: Susan Toth! Her win comes for Pritkin as Constantine.

pritkin as constantine

Will the winners please email me your preferred address for the gift card? I can send electronically or snail mail, your choice. Also, please specify whether you’d like B&N or Amazon. Thanks!

A big thank you to all who entered, and I hope you have a great holiday.

Halloween Contest 2014 Written Entries

So there were a nice number of written entries to the Halloween contest this year. The theme was “What Would They Wear?” or what would your favorite book characters choose as a Halloween costume? Here are the answers, in no particular order–enjoy! And vote for your favorites, here or on Facebook!

 

1. A Dory Halloween

Louis Cesare and I lay quietly in bed with Stinky between us. The little duergar had just had a bad dream and I knew this was the best way to comfort him. He had finally fallen back to sleep and it was late. Stroking Stinky’s back, I was thinking about the upcoming holiday, Halloween. This needed to be fun for him, it’s his first one.

Claire already had most of the party planned so that Aiden and Stinky would enjoy the holiday. The invites had gone out to family and close friends. Mircea and Radu would be coming. All this family togetherness was getting a little nerve racking, but I was happy that they wanted to be part of Stinky’s life. Mircea treated him like a grandson.

The big question of the day was what to dress as. Aiden had decided to go as a Captain America and Stinky was going as Spiderman. The interesting and novel challenge is what Louis Cesare and I were going to be. Scooping up a sound asleep Stinky I got up and moved him to his bed. Once the task was complete I settled into a very snugly Louis Cesare.

“Are you awake?” I asked him as he gently traced his fingers up and down my spine.

“Oui.” He said sounding sleepy.

“I was thinking about Halloween and the party. Normally not my thing but I want Stinky to have a good time. I just can’t figure out a costume for us.”

Louis Cesare sighed and continued to stoke my back. I had a feeling this was going to be a very one sided conversation. “You could walk in naked and the room would stand still.” I smacked him lightly on the shoulder.

“That’s not exactly appropriate in this situation. Family Party remember.” I giggled. When the hell did I start giggling. “How about we go as Thelma and Shaggy?”

OK that earned me a snort. “I think not. What about Batman and Batgirl?”

My turn to snort. “Ok, you would look hot in the tights but I don’t see me as BatGirl. I know this whole thing is weird for us we didn’t grow up with this as a tradition.”

“True. But I know what we should go as I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry Dory, go to sleep.”

So I did.

The day of the party is here and I still haven’t see the costumes Louis Cesar picked out. He won’t show me and that does not make either half of me happy.

“Hello.” He walks into my kitchen and kisses me on the cheek. “Voila.”

He pulls two costumes from behind his back. His is Hans Solo. I can see that a little bit wise ass but loyal and trustworthy. Mine I’m not so sure of it’s Princess Leia when she was at Jaba the Hutts lair. I make a face.

“It’s how I see you. Stong, Sexy and capable of anything regardless of what you have on.”

 

2. I Hate Halloween

‘I hate Halloween’ I muttered as I rummaged through the wardrobe trying to find the elusive piece missing from my costume. ‘I’m Pythia, why can’t I just stay at home with a mug of hot chocolate, a bubble bath and a scary film like I want to?’ I’d received the invitation this morning, from the Consul no less. To not attend would probably cause some political incident but at that exact moment, all I wanted were my fluffy slippers and chocolate. I was running out of time and I swore I’d seen the item I needed in here yesterday. ‘Why is nothing easy to find in this….bingo!’ I pulled the last piece of my costume out and slipped it on, turning to the mirror I laughed at my reflection. ‘Perfect’, now all I had to do was to make it back to my room without anyone seeing me. I headed for the door when it was abruptly flung open and an annoyed Pritkin strode into the room.

‘Why the hell weren’t you in your room? You’re supposed to be getting dressed…’ He stopped, taking in my outfit. For a full 10 seconds he just stared. Not sure what to make of his silence I took a step towards him. Pritkins gaze snapped up and he looked at me with a horrified expression on his face. ‘You can’t be serious?’

‘Serious as a heart attack, this is what I’m wearing, live with it.’ I did a little twirl and I swear he turned a shade paler.

‘But, you can’t wear that you’ll…’ Pritkin trailed off as he peered closely at my costume, his eyes narrowed. ‘Is that my coat?’

I looked down at my outfit, khaki t-shirt, khaki trousers, and the khaki coat I’d just borrowed. ‘Yep. Sure, it’s a bit big but it’s surprisingly comfy too. I expected it to be heavy or self-destruct when I picked it up considering I can feel stuff hidden in the pockets..’ I trailed off as Pritkin stalked towards me looking murderous. Backing away, I stepped on the hem of the too long coat and stumbled. He caught me before I hit the floor and yanked me roughly to my feet. Annoyed, I pushed at his chest, ‘don’t you like my costume, it’s war mage chic. I thought it’d be fun to be you for the evening…’

Pritkin grabbed my arms and shook me, stopping my rambling, his expression serious but a glimmer of something I didn’t recognise appeared in his eyes. ‘That coat is filled with dangerous weapons; you could have been killed twirling around in it like a bloody ballerina.’

Angry, I snapped, ‘Trust me, I remember. You wore this thing when you tried to kill me at MAGIC when we first met or do you not remember throwing knives at me or trying to blow me up!’ Pritkin whirled away from me, but not before I saw the hurt my words had caused. Concerned, I walked to face him, his eyes were closed and as I put a hand on his arm I felt a slight tremble. Shocked I reached up to cup his cheek, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.’ He placed his hand over mine and leaned into my touch. Opening his eyes I saw the ghosts that haunted my brave, strong war mage. He carefully slipped the coat off my shoulders and placed it back in the wardrobe quickly.

‘We’re going to be late, please go and change, Miss Palmer. I left your costume on the bed.’ Pritkin murmured. Not knowing what to do, I fled to my room. Stripping off my clothes as quickly as I could I went to the bed to find a floor length blue dress with a shimmering blue gauze trail and instructions to braid my hair. Sticking my head out the door I yelled down the corridor ‘Elsa, really? I should never have let you watch that film!’ I slammed the door on Pritkin’s muted chuckle and resigned myself to my fate.

 

3. Mike’s

The first thing Cassie thought when Mike told her about what a good idea it would be, considering the pub’s theme, to dress Tomas as Tonto for Halloween, went something around the lines of: And how the hell does that have something to do with the pub?

She had to admit she was still impressed by the result.

Mike’s somewhat free version of the Lone Ranger’s inseparable partner had managed to actually match the dungeon, not like anyone would have cared if it hadn’t. She herself had had a little trouble prying her eyes off of Tomas, and she liked to think she wasn’t as obvious as the girls (and some of the boys) who frequented the place willing to throw away money in not exactly cheap drinks, all in exchange for five minutes of attention.

The black leather attire had been eye-catching as hell, with the make-up, the raven, and all -very unlike her improvised Gypsy attempt. But at least it matched what she’d been doing: You know, tarot, gypsies… see what she did there?

She had enjoyed the party, though. Not like she was having so much fun now, as she climbed up the stairs to the apartment she shared with Tomas. She stared in despair at how much she had left, and for once she wished she had some kind of superpower to just… teleport to bed, or something.

But she was making progress… Three, two, one… Finally! She opened the door, and dragged herself to her room.

Only to find one of her sheets floating over the bed.

It wasn’t doing anything at all, just hanging there, like some kind of bizarre white column. “Booo…!” Said the column in a very familiar voice.

“Billie?” She asked. “What are you doing?”

“Can’t you see?” He said, merging from out of the sheet and letting it fall to the bed. “I’m a ghost! Now, treat or treat?” He asked, grinning.

“Neither.” She said, laughing, and let herself fall onto the bed.

 

4. A Dory Halloween #2

“What is he wearing?”

“Ermmm…” Dory looked up at the glaring woman in the doorway. Hair a massive halo around her head, but otherwise adorned in a beautiful gown and the world’s ugliest flower pinned to her shoulder. Oh, and she was glaring. Something she had grown very adept at since discovering her dragon half. Or perhaps it was motherhood… Dory wasn’t sure, but the glare made her feel instantly guilty. Even when she wasn’t, which was just plain unfair.

“Why have you got the plant from the Little Shop of Horrors pinned on your dress?” she countered. Had the flower moved?

Taken back for a moment, Claire hurriedly looked down. “It didn’t move did it?” she asked in a high pitch tone.

Intrigued, Dory moved closer. She could see on closer inspection that the plant looked a little… beaten.

“It twitched a little. What is it?” Dory asked, and reached across to prod it. When her finger was a mere inch from the little flower, its ugly little head reared up and snapped at her.

“Woooh!” Dory snatched her hand back and blinked at it.

Claire sighed forlornly. “Caedmon has taken an interest in human customs after Aiden told him about Halloween. So now he’s added a theme to the ball but it appears he missed the point of it being… well… harmless. The corsage was a gift. It keeps trying to bite me.” The little plant head, took a few more half hearted swipes at its host before wilting. Claire extracted it carefully from her dress with a pair of kitchen tongs. Although, Dory noted, Claire still gave it some water in a little jar.

“Now,” Claire’s glare returned, “why is my son dressed as dragon?”

“It’s Halloween.” She shifted from foot to foot. Damn guilt!

“Yes,” said Claire slowly, “but a dragon? Really?”

“It was the last one left in the store. And look, Stinky is dressed as a fairy.”

Claire stared at Stinky for a full minute before commenting. “He’s eaten his wings. And where exactly is your costume then?”

“I am in costume! I’m Lara Croft, you know, Tomb Raider.”

“You’re wearing what you always wear. How is that Lara Croft?”

“Hey, I’m wearing shorts. That counts! And look, the guns are pretend…. Mostly.”

“Oh my god, when did you get that bruise? It’s got blood spots in it.”
Dory looked down at the back of her leg. “Ah, yeah, errrr. I better go change….”

 

5. A Dorina Halloween     

 

“So, what are you dressing as?” Claire asked Dory.
“I really don’t know. Most historical figures are out. The really interesting ones ended up as vampires anyway and it’s just tacky to dress as someone you might run into.”
Caedmon suggested, “You could go as Lady Godiva.”
Claire pointed out, “Dory doesn’t have long hair.”
“So?”
“You need the hair to cover the fact that Lady Godiva was nude.”
“Why would you want to cover that?” he asked.
“Shut up,” Claire and Dory said together.
Ray offered, “You could always go as Faith from Buffy.”
“Ummm well, see I ran across Joss Whedon when he was young, I’ve never been sure if Faith was based on me.”
Everyone went quite at that.
Then Dory started to laugh softly.
Dorina had put her opinion in, “Why not go as me.”

 

 

 

 

Cassie at 1,000,000!

Just realized something as I was looking over RTW. I have now written 1,000,000 words in the Cassie Palmer series! That includes her seven books and the shorts featuring her (and the people like Tomas, who are only in her storyline) but excludes the Dory books, Masks, and the other shorts. If you add everything in together, it comes to somewhere around 1.6 million words. To give you some comparison, the Harry Potter series clocked in at 1,084,170, and G.R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (so far) is at 1,770,000. I’m gaining on you, George! I’m gaining! Anyway, I thought it was interesting. Feeling all accomplished now, lol!

Halloween Contest Entries

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Some great entries are already coming in, and made me laugh so I just had to post! I also have one short story entry, but will wait to put that up that until I get a few more. Enjoy!

Halloween Contest 2014!

Halloween Contest 2014

What Would They Wear?

Came across this on Disney characters and their Halloween costumes and couldn’t help wondering what our gang would wear. I can totally see Dory as Laura Croft, Casanova as Zorro, Mircea as Han Solo and Radu as one of the Three Musketeers (hey, he wouldn’t even have to buy the costume!) Then I thought, hey–wouldn’t that make a great Halloween contest?

Edit:

We have winners! See them here.

Want to see all entries? Check ’em out here for the written entries.

And here for the images.

Q and A # 52

Question 1: I really liked Masks and felt like it gave me a much better sense of Mircea’s character.  I don’t want to spoiler those who haven’t read it, but given his history with the Consul, where is her paranoia about his loyalty coming from? Yes, he’s powerful, but it sounds like he’s proven himself and his value to her many times.

But it’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Someone powerful enough to be a major asset is also powerful enough to be a major threat. And the consul hasn’t stayed in control this long by ignoring threats. Plus, there’s the burning question Mircea either doesn’t answer or answers in such a way that isn’t convincing: why was he at Tony’s for a year? He has charmed first level masters who hate the senate in a week, yet he needed a year with this child? Why?

He said it was because he wanted to ensure that Cassie would be on the senate’s side if she was to grow up and inherit the pythian power, which sounds good on the surface. But then again . . . a year? A year away from his court, a year of putting up with Tony, a year in a run-down farmhouse outside Philly? And a year in which he never got around to mentioning that he had found a possible pythia until Marlowe discovered it himself. Why a whole year? And why the secrecy?

It bothers her, and it bothers Marlowe, because Mircea is not the kind of man to do something for no reason. But she doesn’t believe his reason here, or doesn’t think that’s all there is to it, and that’s a problem. That is potentially a big problem considering that Mircea has a very powerful family, has a gift for making allies, has mental abilities that she doesn’t know the full extent of, has a close tie to one of her greatest rivals (Ming-de) and now . . . he also has a pythia. Who is loyal to him, and not to her.

Wouldn’t you be worried?

 

Question 2: I love the Marlowe character and his interactions with Mircea and Dory!  I was wondering, if a master’s child ends up committing a major crime (e.g., high treason), is the master ever punished for not having managed his/her child better / not having known?  Is it a spoiler to ask how Marlowe reacted when he learned about Lawrence’s betrayal?

I explained this already in a question that came up on the sidebar, but I’ll do it here for those who may not have seen it. By the way, asking questions that have short answers works okay in that format, but any that require a lengthy explanation (as in more than a couple sentences) are better submitted as part of the Q&A. It gives me more space to answer.

Anyway, a master is responsible for his children until they are emancipated. After that, they are considered to be responsible for themselves. That is one of the main reasons why masters tend to emancipate powerful servants; they become harder to control, and the master doesn’t want to answer for anything they may do that is outside his control. So Lawrence was responsible for himself, having been emancipated from Marlowe years before. As for Marlowe’s reaction, he was furious. But by the time he realized what had been happening, Lawrence was already dead.

 

Question 3: In that near-death scene in FK, Radu seemed shocked by Dory’s outburst. Was he surprised because he wasn’t used to Dory showing so much emotion or because of the topic of Dory’s mom (how much did he know about that anyway?)

Dory always maintained the façade of not caring, either about Mircea or about a past she couldn’t remember. Radu is intelligent but not perceptive, at least not about people, and it had never occurred to him before that she might be lying. Or how much hurt, anger and resentment she had built up over the years that he didn’t know about. He was also surprised that she would speak to her father that way as he lay dying, and dying because he had just allowed himself to be savaged in order to save her. But Dory knew Mircea better than Radu, and what he needed then wasn’t tears and sympathy. He needed to be reminded of what he once told Rafe: Life isn’t a gift, it’s a challenge. Rise to it.

 

Question 4: In DM, Mircea told Dory that he couldn’t give her memories about her mother back to her. In Fury’s Kiss however, Lawrence was able to show Dory a previously repressed scene from her memory (the pier), and she has also shown signs of mental abilities later on (projecting). Presuming Mircea still has his memories about his wife, couldn’t he share them with Dory that way?

Lawrence isn’t Mircea, and Dory at the pier was not Dory as a child. To elaborate: Lawrence tried to remove Dory’s recollection of that night, but when he got into her mind, he found it to be a scary, scary place. He didn’t know what the hell was going on, and was interrupted before he could try to figure it out (not that he was all that enthusiastic about it, frankly). But the result was a hatchet job of a mind wipe that didn’t actually wipe much at all; it mostly just covered things over a little. If it hadn’t also resulted in the fall of a barrier that fey wine had already weakened to the breaking point, it might not have worked at all.

The memories of Dory’s mother, on the other hand, were removed when she was much younger and much more vulnerable. And the wipe was done by someone both more powerful and more careful than Lawrence. Mircea had to do a good job, or shards of returning memories might have caused the destruction of the barrier that was the only thing keeping her sane.

As far as sharing his own memories, yes, he could. But he can’t give her back her own because he doesn’t have them. He never saw Dory and her mother together, so how can he return what he doesn’t have? Also, when Mircea said that to her, it was in DM, before the barrier came down. He would not have dared try to show her anything at that point.

 

Question 5: How did Tony give Sal orders from Faerie when Tomas got relieved of having to obey when he crossed over?

Who said Tony gave them to her from Faerie?

 

Question 6: Marlowe mentioned that Mircea’s interest in Pythias couldn’t be on the behest of a consul he did not know at that time. Shouldn’t Mircea have already known the consul(s) due to his experiences in Masks? Or do they kinda keep that their dirty little secret, even from the chief spy? What does/did Anthony think of Mircea anyway? Can’t imagine him being overjoyed at him coming to Paris after all…

It wasn’t considered a dirty little secret. It was considered an honor, especially for one as young as Mircea, to be noticed by someone in her position. But it also happened long before Marlowe was even born and, to most people, was not a major incident. Mircea’s part in the old consul’s fall was not made generally known, as the new co-consuls needed the admiration that killing him on their own provided (vampires respect strength). It also didn’t take place at court, where the gossips might have been more likely to keep it alive, and was overshadowed by far more important events in most people’s minds. So not too many people even recall that she had a young Romanian lover for what was, after all, a very short time.