Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Rejection for Finding the Briar Rose

Samhain finally rejected my futuristic take on Sleeping Beauty. I say finally, because I submitted it for the Hot Fairy Tales anthology at the end of January–and all of the stories for that were chosen by February 15th. Anthology editor Laurie Rausch forwarded the manuscript to my editor, Lindsey Faber (who has been super busy this spring and summer). And Lindsey e-mailed this weekend that she’s going to pass.

Well, good. That means I have time to work up the other two fairy-tale-in-space novellas for my own anthology. Why yes, I do have an evil plan; I thought you knew.

In the meantime, I need to get cracking on the redemption of Talyn Penthes, who finds herself outcast, a Unique in a world of clones. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to try to kill your identical twin.

So Important to be Right

Recently, someone discovered that he (or she) had given me erroneous information during the course of the Evil Day Job and admitted the error with the words, “Oops, I lied.”

No, this person hadn’t lied. She (or he) had made a mistake. When did it become so vitally important to be right in our society that we would rather be known as liars than admit to a human error?

After all, they don’t send you to jail for making a mistake under oath, in a court of law. But there’s a word for deliberately withholding information or giving false information, and a recommended jail term to go with it. Perjury, however, seems to be preferable in ordinary workplace conversation than human error.

I’m not perfect, and I’m not afraid to admit that. I’ve also noticed that if I admit the error before anyone else can pounce on it to point it out to The Powers That Be, I don’t get into trouble. A simple, “Yup, I screwed up, let me fix that,” and we can move on. No confusion, no raised blood pressure, no finger-pointing. Done. Filed.

But, when someone else makes an error and starts trying to duck responsibility for being human, well. Then I have to pull out all my CYA files and protect myself. I’ve been trained well over the years, so I keep very good CYA files, and it annoys me no end when someone else tries to blame something on me that I didn’t do. They get both barrels, because I’m stubborn; I take enough blame for my own mistakes, thank you very much.

So maybe the difference between the people who lie (even accidentally) and the people who make honest mistakes is emotional maturity. But, really, is it so bad to be wrong once in a while? Wrong can be fixed. Lying, well, lying can be a crime. Just ask Bill Clinton how much trouble it can cause you. Ha!

On an almost entirely unrelated note, we’ve confirmed Sherrilyn Kenyon and Michael Hauge for Mayhem in the Grove 2011 (the conference formerly known as Murder in the Grove). The new website is scheduled to go live at the end of July, fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong. And then we’ll be able to open up the call for proposals Sept. 1.

Who Moved My Coping Beans?

My friend Kelly has this theory…about coping beans. Coping beans are kind of like hit points in a role-playing game–you only get so many, and some people have more than others; some people are better at coping with physical danger while other people are better at coping with mental stress. Occasionally we can run across a super-coper and be amazed.

I visualize coping beans as being various colors, like jelly beans. They can be consumed, or they can merely be in use, ready to be released from one form of coping to another.

Well, somebody moved my coping beans on or about Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve barely seen a flash of them since. Why? I don’t really know.

Maybe it was the confluence of the book coming out in paperback and my birthday–both hit July 7. Maybe it was all the off-line promotion energy I’ve been expending (most of my coworkers at the electronics factory are buying a copy & want them autographed), or the energy going to Mayhem in the Grove 2011 (Sherrilyn Kenyon and Michael Hauge, both in Boise next June–it gives me goosebumps).

Heck, maybe it’s just a precursor of the 2012 disaster that will end the world. Okay, might end the world. Okay, okay, could make life very interesting for a while.

Or maybe someone moved my coping beans! Could it have been my darling husband, looking for a sweet treat? No, he’s supposed to be cutting out carbs (diabetes). Nor can I blame it on the cats, since coping beans are too small to interest them.

The answer that I really dread is that I put them someplace safe (because I knew months in advance that the book was coming out between Independence Day and my birthday) — and then forgot where they were stashed.

Really, Val? Are you that much of a ditz that you hid your own coping beans from yourself? Tsk. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

My penance is to post a deleted scene from Blade’s Edge–the kidnapping of Crown Prince Talyn by the Heir to the Hauptman cartel, Sharif Tanaka IV. Enjoy!

Varakis was gaining on her, from the sound of footsteps. Talyn dashed around a corner and opened a door without really looking at the other side, then leaned back against it with her eyes closed to try to catch her breath.

“Hello, Little Prince.”

She opened her eyes and realized she had found her way back to the audience chamber with Varakis practically on her heels, and the offworlder was two feet away from her.

“Hello, Tanaka. Sorry, I don’t have time to chat.” She pushed away from the door and tried to step around him.
He caught her by the wrist, digging his talons through her sleeve into her skin.

“Actually, you do.” The door opened behind her, knocking into his arm. He didn’t let go.

Talyn knew who was coming through the door; she tried to run, but Tanaka’s hold kept her where she was.

“I’ve waited fifteen years for this, you royal bi—” Varakis broke off and made a noise like a surprised grunt, which was followed by a clatter that could have been a knife dropping to the floor.

Talyn risked a glance over her shoulder; Varakis had slumped to the floor and Tanaka was holding a strange contraption like a weapon. And the knife had been a large one.

“Did you kill her?” She was amazed that her voice sounded almost normal.

“No. You and I need to have a conversation too personal to shout it across an empty room.” He let go of her arm long enough to move Varakis off his foot.

“I won’t go quietly,” she warned, even as she was backing away.

“I didn’t think you would, so I brought some insurance.” Tanaka smiled and lifted the weapon. “It’s a tranquilizer.”

Too late, she realized he was crowding her into the corner next to the door. “The entire planet knows Taryn is better than I am, now. She’s stronger, faster, more talented.” She felt a wall at her back and knew she couldn’t run from her fate any longer. “Just kill me. I don’t need to be humiliated any more.”

“I have no interest in killing you,” he said.

“There she is!” was followed by running footsteps, but Talyn had no way to move.

He frowned, then pulled up her chin. “My apologies, but I refuse to put up with continual interruptions.”

“You, offworlder! Hand over the imposter.” It was practically a growl. Talyn peeked around Tanaka and recognized one of the men who had accompanied the Barian Crown Heir on his trip into Zona.

He sighed. “You see what I mean?”

“I’m talking to you, blue-head.”

Tanaka twisted his torso, his weapon shot out almost faster than her eyes could follow, and there was another surprised grunt. “And now, Little Prince, it’s your turn.”

Something touched her neck, there was a tingling, and then the world went away.

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