Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vampires! Dark Elves! A horse! Oh, MY!

*Chance crawls out of her hammock and staggers to the bar, determined to be more alert than was the norm for a Friday on the Revenge. The time change be hard on a west coaster! She had a guest coming aboard and wanted to give the appearance of attentiveness, even at this ungodly hour of the morning.

- Blast the rest of this blog being on Eastern Standard Time! The sun were barely up here on the left coast!

*She snorts and pours herself a hefty portion of pineapple rum. That way she got her fruit portions out of the way!  She wipes the bar and sets out the morning chocolates, then looks up as Barbossa comes sauntering onto the ship, on his arm, the lovely Pat Kirby.

He winks at the author, then hands her off to Chance, pulling out a bar stool for her. Only then does he take a seat to gaze at the bartender with his normal intent gaze. He taps the bar and she congenially sets up a bottle of Kraken Rum with a glass.

- Pour it yerself, I gots a guest!

- Aye, she was telling me about her book. Vampires and magic! Sounds quite enticing.

- Stop spillin’ ‘er secrets, Hector! I needs ta chat wit’ her! Now, Pat, let me say I do love the title a’ this book ya broughts on board wit’ ya. The Music of Chaos…jus’ spins the brain inta all sorts a’ flights a’ fancy. What be the music part a’ the story?

*Does finger wave at Barbossa. Starts slipping chocolates up her hoodie's sleeve for later.*

Regan O'Connell is, in her words, the improbably outcome of human and vampire sex.  There's also a bit of elf in her lineage.  You'd think, given that lineage, that she'd have magic wrapped around her little finger.  Magic, however, didn't get the memo.  More often than not, Regan has trouble casting the simplest spells.  Or her spells go awry and someone ends up on fire.

But she has a workaround.  If she sings her spells, they work.  This kind of magic, however, is only seen in a certain species of demon. Which means her power makes her a bit of a freak. (As if being a vampire/human/elf, isn't freakish enough.)

- So, yer heroine certainly sounds Irish, and a songsmith! Wondrous. I sing, too, ya know. (grins at Hector who raised one eybrow at her) Now, wi’ a name like Regan O’Connell, she had ta be Irish! So, she were born wit’ this magic  she ain’t got the best control over?

Regan's father is Cullan O'Connell.  Cullan is an ancient vampire who owes his vampirism to an elf witch named Morrigan. See, Blood gift is a kind of battlefield medicine, where one elf gives his (or her) blood to a dying comrade.  Elf blood, when given to a dying human, just makes 'em dead quicker.  But with all that elf magic zipping around in their system, dead humans don't stay dead for long.  Voila.  A vampire. 

Morrigan, who had a bit of a "thang," for Cullan, found him dying after a tribal battle. (Not much to do in prehistoric Ireland, besides steal your neighbor's cattle and kill said neighbor when he took umbrage to said theft.)

- Well, I be Irish, so I know we do love ta fight. I’d rather drink, but that be pretty Irish, too? What else can ya tell us?

She gave him Blood Gift and soon after, he joined the ranks of those with lethal sun allergies.  Except Cullan, before becoming undead, was a half-elf, so he wasn't as dead as your average vamp.

Two millennia later, he met a lovely Irish witch who literally charmed his pants off, and nine months later...Regan O'Connell.

- So, after all this trouble, she got these vampire sorts in charge a’ her destiny. I sees from the blurb ya sent that she ‘s gonna learn ta handle her own decisions…including fallin’ in love wit’ the wrong sort. Chance glances at Barbossa, I know all ‘bout those difficulties!

He snorts, takes a hefty bit of rum and remarks. As do I.

Pat slaps the pirate on his shoulder, “Aw, quit your whining, Barbossa.  You couldn't live without the torment, you old, scallywag -

Anyway...Jason Lake is tall, sexy and a chemical engineer.  And nothing gets Regan hotter than a big....brain.

One of Regan's co-workers, thinking Regan is just an ordinary human woman, sets her up on a date with Jason.  Unfortunately, Jason is a Holder.  Holder's are an all-human organization dedicated to making sure paranormal folk behave themselves while on Earth. The Holder's methods of enforcement are often brutal, sometimes lethal.

Up until The Music of Chaos begins, Regan hasn't had much of a love life. She has her mother's ability to magically charm potential mates.  One kiss turns nice guys--undead and human--into stalkers.  Puts a damper on romance.

So even if Regan and Jason can get past the whole "paranormal Romeo and Juliet" thing, getting romantic with Regan could turn Jason into a Fatal Attraction-style psycho.

- Can ya give an example a’ how this stalkin’ thing works? Eyes Barbossa with a narrow eye. I think I might know somethin’ ‘bout this sort ‘a thing!

A few decades back, Regan made the mistake of kissing one of her dad's buddies, Breas Montrose.  He isn't happy about his obsession with Regan and expresses his distain by moving into her house, refusing to pay rent, and ordering expensive televised sports programs.

- I guess a pirate followin’ me ‘bout ain’t so bad! Now this story sounds a bit dicey! Now, how did ya come ta write this book and do ya have a call story? The pirates all love a good call story! Would you like another drink? And never mind the calories, all the snacks on the Revenge be calorie free!

The Music of Chaos is my first book. It was written with the intent of being the antithesis of gritty urban fantasies featuring, bitter, loner, heroines who are estranged from their families.  (Regan loves her family, undead though they may be. Though snarky, she's quite cheerful.)

Technically, The Music of Chaos has had a few call stories.  I got two offers for it several years ago.  One from an ebook publisher.  Another from a small pub who did ebooks and print.  Because print makes an author tingly in her nethers, I opted for the second.  The pub went out of business the instant the ink was dry on the contract.

The manuscript then languished on my hard drive, while I moped.  Eventually, I shook off my angst, and sent it out again.  It got another offer, but the contract was...icky.  Politely rejected that offer and send it out to another pub. And it finally found a home (un-scary contract) with Decadent Publishing.

- Where can the pirates find it? We be the good sort a pirate, we not be lookin’ ta steal her words. But be careful, we would lift yer wallet…afterall, we be pirates!

You won't find much in my wallet besides lint, hay, and my eyeglass prescription. But, knock yourself out w'the pickpocketting.  Practice makes perfect, no? The book can be found at Decadent Amazon  and Smashwords 

- Well, I hopes ya be plannin’ on sticking around ta answer questions from the lasses. Nevermind the lads wanderin’ ‘bout wit’ lots a skin showin’. They jus’ be the hotties and swab the deck fer us! Da ya want ta ask us anythin’? She’s got ‘er own blogs, swabbies and it looks ta be as lighthearted as this one!

Oh, and I saw in yer bio, you are co-owned by an Arabian horse… Cap’n! You hear that? She’s inta HORSES! There’s some pictures on her website!

*Chance ducks in preparation fer the rush a’ Cap’n Hellion comin’ forward ta talk horses with Pat.

*Points  toward the mast.*  Look!  Shiny swag! *Sweeps rest of the chocolates into her hoodie pocket.* 

Um, before I go, I was hoping you could help me with a problem.  *Pulls something from behind her back.*  Meet, Beaky, the baby kraken.  Beaky is already housetrained; he walks well on a leash; has all his shots; and he graduated first in puppy kindergarten at PetSmart. (On account of he ate all the other puppies.)  I hoped to give him a forever home, but unfortunately, the greyhound has developed a taste for hookers and booze that would make Charlie Sheen green with envy. I can't afford to keep them both.

Could you, or perhaps some other fine pirate family, could give Beaky a home?  Beaky's a real people pleaser and he's looking forward to a long career terrorizing the high seas.

-Ya know, the kraken been naggin’ me fer an apprentice…think he’ll like some tasty inner critics!? Thank ya! Ah, ain’t he cute? No! Ain’t a good idea ta bite the undead monkey, ‘e might bite back! Now, Pat gonna be visitin’ wit’ us, so any questions, ask away. She brought us a blurb as a taste a’ ‘er book. And is willin’ ta give a copy ta one lucky commenter!

Blurb -  
***The Music of Chaos***
Regan O’Connell seems to have it all. She has a PhD and a good paying job as a project manager with a consulting company. Unbeknownst to her co-workers, she’s a one hundred and thirty-year-old demi-human, with a magical pedigree that includes vampires and elven royalty.

Harnessing her magical ability has never been easy. Immature by the standards of immortals, she has little-to-no control over the magic that simmers in her blood. For more than a century, she has worked as a secret operative for the vampire syndicate the Grey Brethren. For just as long, she has hidden her magical disability, struggling with one paranormal misadventure after another. Tired of her shenanigans, the Grey Brethren station her in Albuquerque, far out-of-the-way by paranormal standards.

The arrival of a mysterious user of chaotic magic—a world destroying power—spells the end of Regan’s trouble-free existence. Soon after, her vampire employers issue an ultimatum: find and neutralize the chaotic magic user or find a new job. To make matters worse, she has inadvertently started a war and developed a surprising attraction to a human. Sorting the mess out will require a little help from her friends, some growing up, and acceptance that she will never be a practitioner of conventional magic.


A lifelong resident of the desert southwest, P. Kirby grew up in El Paso, Texas and is a graduate of New Mexico State University. Though an avid reader, she only started writing fiction in 2003. She prefers to recast familiar, villainous archetypes – dark elves, vampires – in a more heroic light and avoids traditional “big-bad out to destroy the world” story lines. Home is a tiny house in the desert, shared with her long-suffering husband. She is co-owned by an Arabian horse and a Greyhound. She has never owned, or been owned, by a cat.

Well, me pirates, she be ready ta chat! Ask away.


2nd Chance said...

Now, pirates, be kind ta Pat. She's up early but has to spend time takin' care a' her animals first! Priorities! Especially 'er horse!

Donna said...

Pat, welcome aboard! This is my second try at a comment -- LOL -- I went to look at your website and lost this one.

Your story sounds inventive and creative, and I love Regan's "workaround" of singing her spells.

And I'm sure Beaky will fit in just fine around here. *slams door to my quarters and locks it while giving Beaky a warning glare* I just hope nobody slips and falls on his slime.

So what story is coming up next?

Marnee said...

I love the music aspect of this story too. And I feel sympathetic toward Regan already (poor thing!) and I haven't even read a word. :)

Thank you for giving us Beaky. I love babies. Especially babies that don't require regular diaper changes. Those are the best kind! :)

Thanks for visiting with us!

Donna said...

I wondered that too, Bo'sun, but decided to go along with it -- especially since I don't have a blog post for next Wednesday. (I gave it up for Chance.) LOL

Hellion said...

A guest who shares her awesome book, owns an adorable Arabian *petting said Arabian and offering an apple*, and gives us gifts. *offers Beaky a puppy* Those are the best guests of all!

Beaky is awful cute.

I second the question about what are you writing next. (And I applaud you for twisting the UF trope of giving the heroine a crappy family and giving her one she loves instead. Nice change of pace!)

I'm going to have to ask about the horse: what's its name? What's its favorite trick to do? (My horse used to like to act like she was being all laid back and lazy, then when a flock of birds practically flew up her nose, she'd shy sideways so violently, I'd fall off (still holding the reins--this wasn't my first time with this trick). My horse also liked Pepsi, not that I shared often.

2nd Chance said...

Oooops! Grumble. This is what happens when ya write three guest blogs in two days, ya get yer days mixed up. Not not Pat, she's is supposed ta be here today, but me! I got the day mixed up when I wrote it. I am draggin'...errrr...asked another guest next Wednesday and a third the Monday after that.

I got social wit' me fella Decadent authors...

Don't ya like the song stuff? Makes me think a' The Kings Speech, when he got 'round the stutter by singin'!

Pat said she'd be here once she got the animals hang about!

Think I'll go inta the file and change that Wednesday...

Bosun said...

Right guest, right day, ignore me. LOL! (Though I think my text message may have woken Chance even earlier than she wanted.)

I don't usually like UF or paranormals of any kind. Especially not vampires. But, Pat, you manage to make this all sound fun and really interesting. Kudos to you! I love that she's 130 yrs old and considered immature. LOL!

That she can sing the spells is making me think of the State Farm commercials where they sing and the agent appears. They totally stole your idea!

P. Kirby said...

Oh, boy. You folks do get up early. Me, I'm still in the not-quite-human phase of my morning. next published book will probably be The Canvas Thief, a paranormal romance in the same "universe" are TMOC. (It features Breas, the vampire, as secondary character.) I got The Call on Wednesday, and am waiting for the pub's legal department to send me the contract.

The sequel to TMOC is 2/3 done and I trying to untangle a nasty snarl of plot threads.

The horse...His online names are the Wonder Horse or Professor SnottyPants. (Offline, he goes by his registered name, which oddly, is just one word.)

The Professor is so-named because he is opinionated and spoiled. And because he has taught me so much about patience and the intelligence of horses. More so, than any other horse. I adore him even though he's a sh*t head.

He is clicker trained and does all kinds of tricks: plays fetch, bows, understands hand signals, etc. He follows me around like a big dog. Hence, the Wonder Horse.

Thanks for asking. And thanks for having me over for a visit. Please take good care of Beaky.

2nd Chance said...

Somehow, a horse that likes to act like a dog would seem to be a bit of a problem...what if he begs for table scraps?

Did you do all the training?

And congrats on the new contract! I be pitching more to Lisa at RT!

P. Kirby said...

Oh, and I'm supremely jealous of all ya'll that are going to RT. Sounds like so much fun.

P. Kirby said...

Chance. Maybe I should teach him to "sit up and beg." :)

The nice thing about clicker training is that it actually eliminates "mugging for treats." The animal learns to associate the click with good things, and works to earn the click (not the treat).

An interesting side effect is that the animal will start inventing behaviors, hoping to earn the click. So a bunch of WH's behaviors, including bowing and posing (neck arched), are things he tried when he thought he wasn't getting enough attention. I thought, "Cute," and did the click/treat thing, and he had a new trick.

Interesting side note. It took my dogs a week to initially associate the click with the treat. It took the horse 5 minutes. Who's the smarter animal, eh?

2nd Chance said...

Well...dogs just figure out ways to get around the clicker! I wonder if maybe horses are more sensitive to certain noises?

Well, I'm the only pirate making don't be too jealous here on the ship!

Bosun said...

Chance is the only one among the crew who is going. I've attended an RT booksigning, but never the actual convention. Have you attended before and did you find it helpful?

P. Kirby said...

I've never been to any writing conference. Out here in the wilds of New Mexico, there isn't much goin' on. And my teeny budget and other constraints make travel difficult.


2nd Chance said...

So, Pat...You are writing the sequal to TMOC and you have a secondary set in the same universe. Are you like me and once you create a world, you tend to keep your writing in that world for awhile?

And how did you sell the first one to Decadent?

Hellion said...

Interesting side note. It took my dogs a week to initially associate the click with the treat. It took the horse 5 minutes. Who’s the smarter animal, eh?

I've always thought horses were smarter. *LOL* After all, don't they always walk faster when they're going home and know there is probably some oats and a lovely rub down in the waiting?

P. Kirby said...

I admit it. I never thought horses were stupid. But coming up, I never gave them much credit.

It's only in recent years, that I've realized your average horse is able to learn hundreds of commands, many quite subtle.

Meanwhile, most of us can't even get our dogs to stop jumping on company.

2nd Chance said...


Come on, Pat...don't be shy...push the book! I want to know how you sold the first one!

2nd Chance said...

Pat - Me sis has a question. She don't log on, but I ask 'em for her. She wants ta know if you came to write this paranormal book via a love of romance or a from a scifi/fantasy background.

She's recently become addicted to paranormal romance and likes how it turns the straight fantasy conceit of stereotypical females around.

I know you said earlier that you wanted to balance the whole miserable family stuff that is the norm for urban fantasy...

P. Kirby said...

TMOC was accepted by three publishers before I finally went with Decadent.

My two early acceptances were with a version that I now dislike. I'm glad that they didn't work out and that I was forced to revise, again. This version, while retaining it's original snarky and funny tone, is tighter and much more mature.

Right before the Decadent acceptance, another, more established epub accepted it. But their contract was a train wreck: secondary rights misidentified as primary rights, contradictions, etc.

Honestly? Though the pub had a decent rep, I really didn't have a hard time turning down that contract.

I queried Decadent on a whim and accepted on a gut feeling. (Note to newbies. NOT really a good idea; seriously; but so far it's worked out well.)

2nd Chance said...

That is interesting, that the contract pushed you away. Situations like that I'm so glad I have an agent to hammer all that stuff out!

Once you had it all signed and sealed, how did you celebrate?

P. Kirby said...

"has its root..." Ugh. Hate it when I do that.

P. Kirby said...

Chance. Ugly confession. While I love the "idea" of romance, I rarely read romance novels. I find that the (over) emphasis on Teh Relationship actually diminishes my belief in the couple's viability as a couple. I.e., it feels forced and ignores that fact that people are individuals first. I hate saying anything negative about romance, because so often critiques of the genre are based in sexism and a notion that anything for "women" is inferior. (As a feminist, that really pisses me off. Yes, I'm a feminist and proud of it.)

My writerly influences are primarily non-romance: SF/F/H. (My pseudonym comes from my origins as a horror writer.)

TMOC has it's roots in fantasy, with my magic systems influenced by the science, notably string theory.

But I can't not-write a story without some romantic sub plot. Romance, lust and attraction are part of the human* experience. Excluding that also feels...wrong.

Even when the characters aren't human*. The reading audience is human, and therefore, romance and romantic entanglements are more relateable.

Thanks to your sis, for asking.

P. Kirby said...

Chance. You have an agent? Argh. More envy. :)

There wasn't that much to Decadent's contract, but I think this coming contract is going to take a while to go through. I find it...scary.

Here' the weird thing about TMOC. It took so long to get there, if felt anticlimactic. I'd already gone through the celebration phase years before (and been sorely disappointed.) So I sort of shrugged and went on with my business. I didn't believe it would get published until it actually showed up on Decadent's site.

I'm currently in the "Duuuude? I have a book? Really?" phase.

Janga said...

I'm with the Bo'sun. Paranormals and UF are not subgenres that I usually read, and I generally run fast in the opposite direction when vampires are mentioned. But I have to admit that The Music of Chaos sounds fascinating. Great title, BTW!

2nd Chance said...

No, I'm about the same way about the romance aspect of things... I'm still not always certain I'm writing romance, but I am writing romantic fiction! Romantic adventure, romantic fantasy, etc!

See, my sis has never read straight romance, but she is totally digging romantic paranormal!

Yup, I got an agent. The e-agent, Saritza time she opens to submissions, I'll clue you in. I let her handle the contract stuff, which she loves!

To each her own!

P. Kirby said...

Chance. Romantic fiction, particularly SF, rocks. I mean, adventure and and love go together like pizza and beer. (I've still got money to burn at Amazon; your novels are on my buy list.)

Janga. Thanks. Obviously, I'm waaaay biased, but I think The Music of Chaos is a lot of fun. I wanted there to be lots of laugh out loud moments; good camaraderie between the characters, with just enough angst and gravitas to keep it from sliding into silly or campy. I really enjoy looking at the more absurd aspects of modern living and how non-human beings like elves, fairies and vampires perceive them.

2nd Chance said...

Oh, I like that idea... how non-humans beings like elves, fairies and vampiers percieve them.

Hell, we can't figure ourselves out! How the hell would unnaturals figure it all out? I imagine they'd see us as total infants...

P. Kirby said...

Sigh...talking about my writing feels so self-involved....

A big influence on The Music of Chaos was Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Regan O'Connell started out as the standard, ass-kicking, chip on her shoulder, UF female. Not that there's anything wrong with the archetype. But it's been done; done better than I could do it. After reading Evanovich's novels, I starting thinking about a paranormal agent who desperately wanted to succeed, but always found that things (literally) blew up in her face.

I also didn't want to go with the usual vampires are evil, demonic things, and instead play more with the the idea that vampires are predators, not unlike lions or wolves. Not evil; just not human anymore.

FWIW, The Music of Chaos is part one of a five or six book story arc, which is, essentially a romance with a HEA.

2nd Chance said...

Uh, me sis wants ta chide Hellion fer feedin' a puppy ta the new kraken... She's right, if'n we start 'im out eatin' puppies, he'll gradutate ta dogs, then horses...

We'll let Krakey learn 'im how good an inner critic tastes! And they are plentiful!

2nd Chance said...

I've always thought it would be fun ta write vampires that are pretty much human, jus' wit' different dietary needs! Me waltzing vampires in The Kraken's Mirror are a bit like that. Though they also be part a' Tortuga's defense forces...because they are still predators.

Pat, I'll tell ya one day 'bout me long, long, long series a' romantic pirate adventures!

P. Kirby said...

Hell, we can’t figure ourselves out! How the hell would unnaturals figure it all out? I imagine they’d see us as total infants…

In the next book, one character, a demon, is afraid of his human landlord. So every time he has some kind of problem--leaky faucet, e.g.--he calls Regan instead, who, much to her chagrin, finds herself playing the role of handywoman.

P. Kirby said...

Bwah! Feed the inner critic to the Kraken! Love it!

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, Pat. They come back, but do it often enough and they come back a bit subdued and less likely ta mouth off too loudly.

2nd Chance said...

Now, I'm off to walk the dog... pick up my sewing machine, meet the husband for lunch...Starbucks... I will be back and checking regularly. Pat! Yer doing great!

It’s Free, It’s for Me, Gimme Three! | But It's a Dry Heat said...

[...] just one.  Just today, March 18th, 2011, I’m over at Romance Writer’s Revenge.  One commenter will win a free copy of my ebook, The Music of Chaos.  Stop [...]

P. Kirby said...

Free, free, FREE! Just a reminder that a comment here could get you a free copy of my quirky urban fantasy, The Music of Chaos.

Thanks to the crew for letting me visit.(So far, they haven't made me swab the deck. Whew!) I'm off to lunch. Will drop by later.


2nd Chance said...

Ah, Pat! The after lunch siesta time has struck... I've done me errands but now am headin' fer me lunch break...

Bosun said...

I'm finally back! Sheesh, take on meeting off the ship (read: out of the office) and all hell breaks loose. You'd think I ran this place or something. (I don't, but I might as well.)

The more you talk about this book, the better it sounds. Did it start off as such a long series or did it just turn out that way?

And the classic - Plotter or Pantser? (Has someone asked that? I didn't see it anywhere, but it's a very warm Friday afternoon so my brain is elsewhere.)

Bosun said...

BTW - I keep forgetting to mention how pretty that cover is. I'm really impressed with the covers I've seen from Decadent.

Does she play the violin in the book or is that just to emphasize the music aspect?

Bosun said...

Me again, can you tell I'm typing as things occur to me? LOL!

The only vampire book I've read was last year from Barbara Monajem. Her vampires are not undead, they are totally alive and always have been. They aren't evil or really even predators, in the traditional sense. I like that more authors are changing up the vampire setup and making them less....vampy? LOL!

2nd Chance said...

It's really being one of those afternoons, Bo'sun! the storm that's been plaguing San Francisco finally made it to my bay and now we're getting soaked!

And you know you really do run that office!

P. Kirby said...

Bo'sun. Let's see if my wee brain can come up with something coherent...

I think I always envisioned the story as a series. What has been key for me, is that it is finite. Maybe it's because I'm from a Hispanic background where soaps--novelas--actually end with a HEA.

Pantser, seat of my pants, look out, ma, no brakes. Eventually, after I've written a substantial portion, I stop and evaluate the plot and make course corrections. But since my stories are character driven, I have to know the characters before I get to plot.

Decadent is doing a fab job with covers. Mine is by Dara England.

Regan is a violinist (fiddle player). In a bit of Mary Su-ism, it's a trait shared by me. Write what you know and all that.

I like it when folks play with the vamp canon, as well. (Well, except when they sparkle and chase after teenage girls. I don't hate Twilight; don't much like it, either.)

P. Kirby said...

Chance: Northern California? Wow. That's some beautiful country up there.

2nd Chance said...

Sparkling...gag. Looming, in the shadows...Barnabas Collins...yeah.

Oh, yup! Monterey Bay! Very wet Monterey Bay at the moment...

P. Kirby said...

Dark Shadows. Heh. Yeah. I like my vampires menacing and un-apologetic.

I'm probably bugging out for the day. Hubby should soon be home and then we're off for our chance (per week) to eat out.

Thanks again for letting me visit. I had a blast! Mwah-mwah. Hugs, kisses, and... piratey "Aarghs!"

2nd Chance said...

Kay! We'll figure out which commenter won later! Thanks fer stoppin' by!

kathleen ann gallagher said...

I love the idea of a spell working better through music.

Great story, Pat!


2nd Chance said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathleen! I think Pat has called it a day! But it does sound like a steller read!

Bosun said...

I'm in the anti-sparkle club too!

Welcome, Kathleen.