Hanover Book Expo 2021 Wrap-up

I made it to the Expo yesterday. Though less prepared and more harried than I had wanted to be. I had ordered t-shirts to sell along with my books, but they did not arrive in time, despite the express delivery and promise of being delivered earlier in the week (I still don’t have them). Also, the night before the Expo, I nicked myself while cleaning a kitchen knife (I’m ok, folks!), which ate into the time I had left to pack and practice. In the morning, with very little time left to get to my destination, I wanted a bite of something and stopped to get a donut, a blueberry muffin (to cancel out the donut), and a coffee. But once I got through the door of the Expo, I was told I could help myself to donuts and coffee! Just my luck.

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Book 2 of The Shadowless Update

I have momentum to finish another round of editing by early next month. This round is focused on the beginning chapters. I had to take a different approach than the initial draft. Nothing was wasted. I’m excited by this new version which not only adds more tension from the start but also puts something that has been a question I’ve had for many years. And it’s addressed in the beginning.

The question is, how does a person go up to a stranger and bite them? Think about it–a decent person has been made a vampire and now must feed on human blood, how does that person go about it? It’s not hypothetical to our protagonist Reed Williams who must do just that.

Do you have a strategy? What would you do?

Review of The Company of Death

The Company of Death by Elisa Hansen

The most enjoyable novel I’ve read this year. Original, page-turning, fun and scary.

The personification of death, skeletal and robed, has lost its horse, scythe, and purpose in Elisa Hansen’s post-apocalyptic world. Death must reach New York in order to set the world right and resume its life-reaping ways.

Told with multiple points-of-view characters, the story centers around Emily, one of several humans who works to free their kind from enslavement by vampires in locations called communes. Apparently before the world fell apart, technology such as robotics and artificial intelligence was further along than today, though now quite hampered by the scarcity of fuel and electricity.

When a planned raid on a commune goes wrong, overrun by zombies, Emily’s life takes a strange and unprecedented turn. Even Death is stumped. Their destinies now entwined, Emily accompanies Death on its march to Manhattan.

Along the way they encounter Scott, also a human heading east. He had twice missed a chance to get to NYC by airship before the world ended. Now he’s running on fumes, though not alone. With him is Carol, a laser-packing robot who reminds Scott of his sister, because she had built it.

With plenty of mistrust among the four, they must nonetheless work together to reach their destination, all the while being pursued by Leif, a long-lived vampire with his own agenda.

Hansen wonderfully sets up the characters and their motivations, and also raising the intriguing question: what happens when Death no longer reaps?

This is Book 1, so there is more to the story, but I think it ends at a good point after a suspenseful climax.

UPDATE/Spoiler-ish

I loved the scene when Emily is alone in the shed with Scott and her nose catches an irresistible scent. She must… she can’t… but maybe just a little bit… no!

Vampire Haiku: A Quick Bite of Dracula

Inspired by my recent Working Title podcast with poet Hope Whitby and in honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I’d challenge myself to write some haikus this month.

But I need focus. What can I base these brief poems on? Vampires, certainly. Hmm. Guess I should start with Dracula. Warmer. Ah-ha! How about a haiku summarizing each chapter of the eponymous novel?

So that’s what I will be posted below. Each day I will add a haiku for the next chapter. Let’s see how it goes.

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