Saturday, October 29, 2011

35th six sentence Sunday, sometimes it's hard to be a vampire hunter...

Back into the six sentence Sunday habit, from The Falstaff Vampire Files. Psychologist Kristin Marlowe meets a vampire hunter who has never met a real vampire:

I stopped halfway in the middle of sitting in Larry's cozy, burgundy-colored wing chair. "Did you say vampire cults?"

"Wait a minute," I said putting the name and the subject together. “Wasn’t there a Professor Van Helsing in Dracula?"

"That was fiction, but as a kid when I found Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula, I got interested in the culture," Bram said, settling back on the sofa. "Even if it were in my blood to hunt vampires there would be the small problem that really aren't any, so I have to make do."

Meanwhile over at at Six Sentence Sunday Central, upwards of 160 writers are massing for Halloween snippets Six Sunday

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dreams and nightmares

The Six Sentence Sunday site is taking a vacation weekend Sunday.

After 34 weeks, I've got the habit of posting something, so I thought I would share how dreams sometimes make their way into my books. We talked about this a little during the last Pearlsong Conversation. The entire call is available at Pearlsong Conversations

Sometimes a dream just offers a fragment or an attitude that I use the way a quilter would cut up and stitch in an interesting fabric to contribute to an overall pattern. I think they actually do serve a purpose but I don't always know what it is for quite a long time afterwards.

While I was writing Larger Than Death I had a dream that I pretty much put verbatim into the book. Josephine Fuller has just rescued Raoul, the cat, from his hiding place from her murdered friend's apartment, and both she and the cat are on edge.

From Larger Than Death:

I lay down for a moment on the day bed. Suddenly a mass of aches and pains surfaced that I hadn't felt until then. The cat put his paws up on the bed and gave a meow of inquiry. "Well, I'll forgive you for scratching me, if you'll forgive me for scaring you," I told him. He regarded me steadily for several seconds and then hopped up beside me. His coat was slightly matted. "I'll get a brush for you," I promised. He purred in answer and I slipped into a dream.

In the dream I was trying to take Elvis Presley to detox. I was helping him down the front steps of a mansion very much like Claude Rains' mansion in Rio from the last scene from Hitchcock's Notorious. Like Ingrid Bergman in the film he was too drugged to cooperate or resist. I kept encouraging him, "Come on, Elvis, we're going to the Betty Ford Clinic. You'll meet lots of other famous people and you'll feel much better." But it was hopeless. His handlers spirited him away as a crowd of screaming fans drove up.

I woke up. The shrieking was Groucho, the Macaw, demanding attention in the front room. The cat had deserted me. I heard him in the kitchen row-ow-owling at Maxine, probably begging food. Maxine said something. A man's voice replied. I got up and went to investigate.

I'm still not sure what it meant, but it made me smile and I couldn't resist using it. After seven years I think it expresses Josephine's wish to help and frustration at not being able to do anything.

Now about nightmares. I'm not going to quote from The Falstaff Vampire Files, but the really shuddery critters in that book came from a nightmare that scared the hell out of me.

Oddly enough fearsome things from my nightmares don't terrify me as much as my basic homegrown phobias. Those things scare me so much that I'll never use them in my stories. I also refuse to read about them when other writers use them. And no, I am not going to tell you what they are. But using material from my nightmares somehow takes away the reality factor enough that I can handle the material.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

34th Six Sunday snippet - enter the vampire hunter

From The Falstaff Vampire Files. Therapist Kristin Marlowe is shocked to discover that the client she mainly thought of as having a vampire fixation has just got engaged to Kristin's own, younger lover, whom the client describes as a wannabe vampire. Kristin goes over to a fellow therapist's place to vent, but his door is opened by a most interesting stranger:

"I'm Abraham Van Helsing," he said over his shoulder, leading the way down the hall. "But please call me Bram. Abe just didn't suit me--Honest Abe Van Helsing sounds like an accordion-playing, used car salesman."

I laughed and felt a little better.

"Did Larry warn you about me? He can't have that that many friends who’re researching vampire cults."

For more fun in six sentence snippets check out the 160+ writers at Six Sunday, where the cover to The Falstaff Vampire Files still occupies part of the right hand frame--yay!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

33rd Six Sentence Sunday...From The Falstaff Vampire Files - a little hope at the end of the day

From The Falstaff Vasmpire Files, therapist Kristin Marlowe's day goes off the rails when her client's vampire-obsessed fiance is revealed as Kristin's own younger lover. After this bombshell, she must listen to a married client whine for an hour about how he can't find "no strings attached" romantic love in the personals. Kristin walks over to a fellow therapist's house to vent and a stranger answers the door.

This man was not handsome, but commanding with unruly gray streaked dark hair cut short but starting to curl already. Startlingly black eyebrows framed penetrating green eyes with sparks of hazel. What really caught my attention was the mischievous quirk of his mouth as if he were just about to tell a great secret. I liked and trusted him instinctively without knowing why.

Of course, I’d been wrong before--witness my reaction to Hal. But something about this man drew a pang of attraction from me that was welcome in that it dulled the pain of Hal’s betrayal.

For six sentence snippets in many different genres, check out the talented writers at Six Sentence might happen to notice The Falstaff Vampire Files cover in the left-hand frame of that page--an appreciative "thanks and YAY!" to Sara Brookes for this opportunity!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

32nd Six Sentence Sunday - When therapist and client have way too much in common

From The Falstaff Vampire Files, Kristin has discovered that her client's fiancé is her own lover.

I wouldn’t say anything till I confirmed it with Hal, but my gut told me Mina’s fiancĂ© was my Hal. She had shyly showed me the exotic, blue diamond engagement ring Hal had found for her in some Eastern European capital and as I leaned forward to look, I noted that I had been touching the antique amethyst necklace Hal had brought back for me from his last trip. I dropped my hand as if the stones had turned red-hot. Dammit, Hal!

Now my hands were shaking and I wondered if I could make it through the next hour, the next client, who of course chose that day to be a quarter hour early.

Luther Kemper was the absolute worst client to follow Mina's announcement.

To find all kinds of action in six-sentence doses click the links to other writers' six sentence snippets at Six Sunday.