Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Novel in Pictures

Imagine that this is a sixteen-year-old vampire girl. Absolutely gorgeous. Absolutely evil.

One night, she's feeling peckish. So she goes to the local ice cream store. Snacks on the ice cream boy.

She finishes and then notices that across the parking lot, between the dumpsters, there's a unicorn...

She mocks the unicorn for its sparkling shininess. When she's bored with that, she turns to go home. And the unicorn stabs her through the heart.

That's where Drink, Slay, Love begins.

This reenactment is courtesy of the Avenging Unicorn play set, a gift from my fantastically awesome agent, Andrea Somberg. It comes with four different horns and three figures to impale, including a mime.

It's entirely possible that this is the best thing anyone has ever given me. I'm thinking of bringing it to my upcoming events.

Speaking of which... here is my schedule for the next two weeks:

On Thursday, Oct 20th, I'll be participating in the Earthsea Group Read at the Center for Fiction in NYC. A slew of writers, actors, and others will be taking turns reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin as part of the Big Read honoring Le Guin. It will be streamed live online.

On Saturday, Oct 22nd, at noon, I will be reading and signing at Books of Wonder, a fabulous children's bookstore in NYC, with six other fabulous authors: Alison Goodman, Jeff Hirsch, Jon Skovron, Scott Westerfeld, Maryrose Wood, and Gabrielle Zevin.

On the following Friday through Sunday, Oct 28th through Oct 30th, I will be at the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego, CA. Schedule TBA.

The unicorn and I hope to see you soon!

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love Playlists

It is a truth universally acknowledged that vampires love music.

Okay, my vampires love music. When Pearl (my vampire "heroine") hops into a stolen car at the start of Drink, Slay, Love, the first thing she does is switch the radio to "Bohemian Rhapsody."

"I can drive," Jadrien offered.

"I’m sixteen," Pearl said. "By human laws, I’m allowed." She flashed him a grin as he climbed into the passenger seat. It occurred to her that she’d never driven with Jadrien in the car. He was in for a treat. She stuck the key into the ignition and turned the car on.

The radio blared to life, country music.

Pearl winced and flipped the station. She stopped on "Bohemian Rhapsody." Smiling, she cranked up the volume. Shifting into drive, she said, "Seat belts."

"I’m immortal," he said. "Why do I need a seat belt?"

Pearl floored the gas, and they whipped through the parking lot. Jadrien grabbed the door and the dashboard to brace himself.

"Cute," Jadrien said.

"Always," she said.

"Do you know how to drive?" he asked.

"Sure," she said. "This one is the gas."

A bunch of people have asked me about the music in Drink, Slay, Love. So in case you're interested, here's the full list of music in the novel, in the order in which it is heard:

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
"Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds
"Bloodline" by Slayer
"Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones
"Greensleeves" (traditional)
"People Are Strange" by the Doors
"Celebrate" by Kool and the Gang
"Blood Roses" by Tori Amos
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus

You can listen to the songs here.

I listened to a longer playlist while I wrote Drink, Slay, Love. (My normal iTunes library just didn't cut it. For instance, "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul, and Mary... not exactly the right mood. So I created a playlist just for working on this novel.) In addition to the songs above, here is my writing playlist, in no particular order since I listened to them on shuffle:

"They" by Jem
"Ramalama (Bang Bang)" by Roisin Murphy
"Walkin' on the Sun" by Smash Mouth
"A Little Less Conversation" by King Junior
"Rockstar" by Nickelback
"Fable (Rave Mix)" by Robert Miles
"Stray Cat Strut" by Stray Cats
"Don't Let Me Get Me" by Pink
"Terra Firma" by Delerium
"Walkaway Joe" by Trisha Yearwood
"Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
"Sweet Sangria" by Tori Amos
"Mesmerizing" by Liz Phair
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall
"All or Nothing" by Athena Cage
"Calling All Angels" by Train
"Pretty Little Thing" by Fink
"Combat Baby" by Metric
"Somebody to Love" by Queen
"Can't Fight the Moonlight" by Leann Rimes
"Mambo No. 5" by Lou Bega
"Blood Roses" by Tori Amos
"Mad World" by Adam Lambert
"Not Ready to Make Nice" by Dixie Chicks
"Who Will Save Your Soul" by Jewel

You can listen to these songs here. (Note: the rave version of "Fable" wasn't available on Playlist.com so I included the original version. Ditto with "A Little Less Conversation.")


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Monday, October 03, 2011

More Trade Reviews of Drink, Slay, Love

Over the weekend, two lovely new trade reviews of Drink, Slay, Love appeared!!!

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up -- How refreshing to find a stand-alone vampire book with a real twist. Pearl is a typical teen vampire-typical in her world, that is. She is heartless and mostly evil, thinking of humans only as snacks and toys. Then she meets a unicorn, who stakes her with his sparkly horn. When she awakes, she finds that things have changed a bit - for starters, she can now be in sunlight without bursting into flames, and she has started to develop something unthinkable -- a conscience. Timing is bad for Pearl -- her family has just been chosen to host the fealty ceremony for the king of the New England vampires, and she has been nominated to provide the feast in the form of local high school students. The story has plenty of great setups, and Durst does not disappoint in her follow-through. There's catty and dark humor, romance, blood, danger, and, of course, there's the unicorn, whose secrets are revealed. The story transitions easily between the vampire and human world, creating characters, settings, and situations that are quite believable and often funny while still maintaining a respectable level of darkness. Fans of vampire fiction will be pleased to find this one on the shelf. -- Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada

Pearl is a typical teen vampire, avoiding sunlight and preparing to become a full-fledged vampire following a ceremonial feast with the vampire king. One night, after enjoying her regular snack of an ice cream shop clerk's blood, something downright...magical occurs. A unicorn appears from behind a Dumpster, piercing her with his horn. Pearl recovers from her injuries, but oddly, she can now endure the effects of sunlight. Her family seizes this opportunity to enroll her in the local high school to lure her new classmates to the vampire king's feast as snacks. As Pearl acclimates to high school life, she becomes less bloodthirsty and more concerned about her new human friends. She joins forces with several erstwhile vampire hunters and a were-unicorn, and finds herself at a defining crossroads as the feast of the vampire king approaches. Offering a nicely skewed twist on the teen vampire genre, this book features a young bloodsucker enduring a crisis of conscience that causes her to be torn between the traditional vampire way of life and that of a normal high schooler. Pearl is an engagingly written, deeply flawed character, and readers will enjoy her sarcasm-fueled search for the unicorn that altered her life. There is a bit of romance and the requisite love triangle of supernatural beasts, but Pearl is a strong female character who does not lose herself to her suitors. This book will likely appeal to young horror fans who enjoy a snarkier, smarter, distinctly less sparkly brand of vampires. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams


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