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**Review of The Slayer coming soon ~ Stay tuned to RLAD!**
Why Rain Makes the Best Writers
Since I’m here today at It’s Raining Books, I thought it only appropriate to talk about why rain makes the best writers. I live in Washington, so we get plenty of opportunity to test the theory. But if you look at the writer’s groups locally, there’s a plethora of fantastic writers. I blame the rain. Seriously.
When I lived in Arizona, there were days you looked out at the cloudless blue sky in the morning and wished for some kind of cloud or weather disturbance, just to break the monotony. Having spent a good part of my teens in the Pacific Northwest, I had this inexplicable urge to be working outside whenever the sun was out. It’ was like a mandate from Mother Nature, which conversely meant that I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done unless it was pen on paper and I detest writing in long-hand because I can’t keep up with my own story in my head. Now it might have been having two teeny people in diapers and nursing at the same time, but I like to think I could have worked on stories even then.
But when we moved back to the Pacific Northwest after about a decade a wonderful thing happened: rainy days. When it’s raining outside, there is no compulsion to get out of your desk chair, away from your computer and work outside. You know it’s ridiculous so you don’t even try. It’s far more tempting to settle in with a nice hot cup of tea at the keyboard and let the imagination soar.
That’s one reason I think rain makes better writers.
The second is because once you’re housebound, you don’t have much choice but to deal with the stir-crazy stories in your head. Writers are a little different than most people. One of the questions I often get, especially when I talk to groups of young writers, is “Where do you get your ideas from?” I try to explain that it’s not so much a process of going out and searching for the ideas as siphoning them off of my brain so that my head doesn’t explode with the sheer volume of them crowded up in my cranium. Writers see stories everywhere. They materialize just when we’re the busiest, on deadline, trying to juggle dinner, homework and the checkbook, or when we are doing the most mundane things like washing dishes or walking the dog.
That’s why I think the rain helps. In Arizona, when the rain comes it pours down in buckets and sheets like someone unzipped the sky and let it all drain out in one big slosh of water. In Washington, it’s more of this constant. It might be a drizzle that you feel like an idiot taking out an umbrella for, but you’ll get soaked if you don’t. Or it might be this steady pelting that goes on for months. But because it is somewhat of a constant (except for those glorious few weeks of summer and a few nice days in mid-winter) it becomes mundane, like walking the dog. It somehow lulls the brain into a state of creativity.
Of course, it’s also far easier to imagine the Victorian streets in their misty haze, when our weather in Washington isn’t much different than London’s. Which makes writing steampunk, like my latest release THE SLAYER, so much easier. It’s not like I had to go that far to know what being soaked to the skin in a hazy drizzle feels like.
The third reason rain makes better writers is because of the old saying “April showers bring May flowers.” The rain allows us to be creative for long stretches, but it also allows us to appreciate so much more the end result. It’s like a sunny day here in Washington. When it comes, you revel in it. Those spots and momentary celebrations are exactly how a writer’s life goes. Work for long stretches, more of it dreary than not, and in the end you get a brief moment of euphoria. It’s enough to keep you going because that moment is so brilliant and bright.
So say what you will, but I think the rain makes us better writers.
Book Two of the Legend Chronicles
By Theresa Meyers
Zebra - Steampunk Romance
April 3, 2012
Brothers Winchester, Remington and Colt know the legends—they were trained from childhood to destroy demon predators, wielding the latest steam-powered gadgetry. It’s a devil of a job. But sometimes your fate chooses you...
Winn Jackson isn’t interested in hunting nightmares across the Wild West—even if it’s the family business. Unlike his rakehell brothers, Winn believes in rules. As sheriff of Bodie, California, he only shoots actual law breakers. That’s what he’s doing when he rescues the Contessa Drossenburg, Alexandra Porter, a lady with all the elegance of the Old World—grace, beauty and class. And then he sees her fangs.
Alexandra isn’t just some bloodsucking damsel in distress, though. She’s on a mission to save her people—and she’s dead certain that Winn’s family legacy is the only way. Luckily, aside from grace and class, she also has a stubborn streak a mile wide. So like it or not, Winn is going to come back with her to the mountains of Transylvania, and while he’s at it, change his opinions about vampires, demon-hunting, and who exactly deserves shooting. And if she has her way, he’s going to do his darnedest to save the world
About Theresa Meyers:
Raised by a bibliophile who made the dining room into a library, Theresa has always been a lover of books and stories. First a writer for newspapers, then for national magazines, she started her first novel in high school, eventually enrolling in a Writer's Digest course and putting the book under the bed until she joined Romance Writers of America in 1993.
In 2005 she was selected as one of eleven finalists for the American Title II contest, the American Idol of books. She is married to the first man she ever went on a real date with (to their high school prom), who she knew was hero material when he suffered through having to let her parents drive, and her brother sit between them in the backseat of the car. They currently live in a Victorian house on a mini farm in the Pacific Northwest with their two children, three cats, an old chestnut Arabian gelding, an energetic mini-Aussie shepherd puppy, several rabbits, a dozen chickens and an out-of-control herb garden.
You can find her online on Twitter, Facebook, at her Web site or blogging with the other Lolitas of STEAMED!
Excerpt: The Slayer
Outside Bodie, CA
“Put down the gun, Hoss, fore I blow that oversized melon of yours to kingdom come.” Winchester Jackson’s cold, steady voice cracked through the canyon sure as a shot. Although Hoss Dalton, seated on his horse, had his rifle stuck under the leather flap of the stagecoach window, Winn knew the outlaw never robbed alone. Somewhere, hidden by the rock walls, sagebrush, and dead grasses of the canyon, Hoss’s ragged band of fellow thieves lay in wait.
The stage perched precariously on the shaley edge of the dirt road leading from Carson City to Winn’s town of Bodie. Inside a woman whimpered and a small dog yipped.
This was getting old. It really was. And it was unlikely this would end well. Hoss was two bricks shy of a load and perpetually half-drunk. But then anyone who’d seen and done the things an old Hunter like Hoss had would want to drown themselves in whiskey most of the time. “Hoss? You hear me?”
The female whimper was cut off instantly. Even the hot desert air scented with creosote and sagebrush in the rocky chute of the canyon stood still.
Hoss, turned slowly. His rifle, which was pointed at the occupants hidden within the dark interior of the steam stage, wavered at the I-won’t-tell-you-again tone of the sheriff’s voice.
Attached to the front of the stage, the mechanical horses, big copper beasts the size of Clydesdales, pinged, hissing steam through their venting nostrils as the metal and gears cooled.
Winn kept Hoss in his sights. The old man’s eyes, rheumy from too much rotgut whiskey, flicked to the star-shaped silver badge on Winn’s chest, but his rifle didn’t waver. Sonofabitch, was the old fool going to shoot a stage full of people right here, ten minutes from town, for a measly payroll?
The brilliant sun hung white hot overhead in a cloudless field of brilliant blue.
“Countdown is at three, Hoss. Drop that, or swear to God, I’ll shoot you where you stand! Tommy Sutton? You stay right where you are!” he yelled. He didn’t know if Sutton was there or not. Didn’t have eyes in the back of his head either, but the rustle in the grasses off to his right stopped.
“Damn, Winn. You ain’t nothin’ like your old man.” Hoss’s tone conveyed his deep disappointment born of familiarity.
Winchester Jackson peered down the length of his rifle barrel aimed at his quarry’s heart. “Thank you for the compliment.” Fact was, anything that distinguished him from his notorious outlaw father and supernatural Hunter, Cyrus “Black Jack” Jackson, pleased him enormously. He didn’t want any part of that life. Not now. Not ever again.
“Cain’t you jest let me go, for old time’s sake?” Hoss and his group of bandits had once been Hunters alongside his father. But tough times had turned them from protecting humanity to protecting their own self-serving interests. They’d robbed this stage four times in the last month, hoping for a payroll run for the Black Gulch Mine.
Winn was damned if he was going to let it be five. He had a murder a day, sometimes more than one, to contend with in the rowdy mining town. Having the miner’s pay stolen and travelers threatened on a regular basis was a pain in his ass. He’d stuck Hoss and his cronies in jail three times for doing exactly this. And every time, Hoss’s nefarious connections had gotten them out. But enough was enough.
“If I let you go, then I wouldn’t be doing my job, now would I? Get your hands where I can see them.” Winn pulled down the lever on his repeating rifle preparing it to fire.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Four other guns cocked and pointed at Winchester’s head as the rest of Hoss’s group emerged from the jagged tan rocks of the canyon. A perfect place to stage a hold up.
“Not this time, Winn.” His wide smile a mess of gaps and yellowed teeth, Hoss stepped forward and pulled the rifle from Winchester’s hands. “No one would have figured you for the rotten apple in the barrel. A lawman!” His lip curled with contempt. “That would jest make your pa spit nails.”
Winchester resisted the urge to tug on the hardened tips of his heavily waxed black mustache, a habit he’d developed when agitated during his last five years as sheriff of Bodie. “My pa would have spit anything he could chew.”
A metallic clink and rattle of gears alerted Winn that the steps of the coach were being lowered. “Stay inside,” he shouted to the fool preparing to alight on a mountain pass with five armed men holding mere feet away.
A rustle of taffeta accompanied a length of silky calf and dainty half boot onto the first step. From the dim recesses of the stage stepped an elegant woman.
Winn felt a rush of unwanted heat as she emerged into the dusty sunlight. Dark, glossy curls were capped with a jaunty little top hat sporting a cloud of black feathers. Her expensive-looking bustled gown, the blue-black iridescent color of raven wings, hugged her slim waist and suggested a silhouette that was amply curved by nature rather than artifice. But more stunning than her figure was her face.
Seeing her beautiful, exotic features made Winn’s heart knock uncomfortably, and caused his palms to sweat. Sure he’d seen women. Plenty of them. But nothing like this roamed the likes of Bodie. Lips, a shade too full to be fashionable, and high cheekbones accented a pair of piercing whiskey-colored eyes that stole his breath away.
The woman’s dusky beauty was both dark and alluring, but the undercurrent of danger surrounded her like a storm cloud charged with lightning. Upon the black kidskin leather of her gloved hand was a large ruby ring, which matched the blood-like droplets of rubies at her ears. Her every mannerism screamed wealth and privilege.
“Is there a problem, gentlemen?” Her voice was soothing and rich like warm honey, and her heavy Eastern European accent made “gentlemen” sound more like “zhentlemen.”
Hoss gave an impatient jerk of his head toward the stage, even though his gaze lingered on the woman. “Wait your turn missus. Get back in that coach. We’ll have us a fine time when I’m done with my business.” His suggestive tone made Winchester want to punch him—hard, and preferably more than once.
“I think not,” she replied smoothly.
The hair pricked up porcupine fashion on the back of Winchester’s neck as the scent of sulfur tainted the air. Something about this situation wasn’t right.
He turned away from the woman, focusing instead on taking down Hoss. Sure, he’d probably get shot by one of the Dalton gang, but if he did it right, it wouldn’t be more than a flesh wound and Hoss would take the brunt of his gang’s shots. He bent his knees slightly, preparing to lunge at Hoss’s middle, but before he could even move, all hell broke loose.
The woman’s face warped, her brows protruded, her eyes turned crimson, and her full lips bracketed a pair of perfect pearly fangs. She hissed and every head turned.
“Vampire!” Hoss yelled to the others.
Taken off guard, they fumbled with their weapons, trying to exchange regular bullets for silver, but they weren’t fast enough. In a blink she had stripped the men from their horses and savagely ripped out their throats with her delicate gloved hands and razor-sharp fangs.
Winchester grabbed his rifle out of Hoss’s loose grip and trained the weapon on the monster in taffeta. She turned back, facing them, her lips slicked with bright red blood. The tip of her soft pink tongue stroked one fang, making Winchester’s gut contract involuntarily.
“A bit rustic, and a little too well marinated in whiskey, but substantial,” she said, as if discussing the vintage of wine. She pulled a black silk handkerchief from the sleeve of her gown and dabbed at the blood remaining around her lips and chin, removing the last traces of her unladylike activity.
“Well don’t just stand there, goddammit, shoot her!” Hoss yelled, shuffling behind Winchester. Winn stood his ground, the rifle pointed straight at the vampiress’s heart. Not that it would do much good. What he really needed was a machete or a broadsword to lop that lovely dark-haired head from her slim shoulders.
“Don’t come any closer,” he warned.
She tilted her head slightly like an inquisitive bird of prey, her eyes returning to their original amber color and her face returning to its regal profile. Only the fangs still remained.
“You have nothing to fear from me. Look around you, Hunter. Have I harmed the innocents in the coach? Have I harmed you? No. I took only the lives of those who were contributing nothing to your society in the first place. Hardly a crime.” She peeled the soiled black gloves from her fingers one at a time, then tossed them into the air where they disappeared in a swirl of dark smoke.
Winn’s finger rested heavy on the trigger, just needing a finite amount of pressure to fire the rifle at the vampiress. Only one thing held him back.
Everything she’d said was true.
He glanced at the wooden steam-powered stagecoach. The occupants huddled inside, whispering and peering with wide frightened eyes from behind the dusty leather window coverings, afraid to come out, but they were unharmed. Hoss’s men lay in crumpled bloody heaps and Hoss himself was still cowering behind him, but she hadn’t attacked him.
“What d’you want, vampire?”
“I am the Lady Alexandra Porter, Contessa Drossenburg, embassary of his vampiric imperial majesty, Emperor Vladamir the Fifth. I’ve come to seek out the eldest of the Chosen, Winchester Jackson. I was told he resides in Bodie.” Her gaze flicked to the cluster of sun-bleached wooden and brick buildings down in the valley below, then drifted to the star on his chest. “Do you know him?”“Lady, I am him.”