When I started planning my BLOGAVERSARY celebration, I knew right away who I wanted to approach for a guest blog: the fabulous queen of vampire chick-lit, MaryJanice Davidson! MJ graciously got on board with not only a guest post/teaser from her new UNDEAD novel, she also got on board with a fabulous giveaway for two lucky readers!
So, without further ado, in the words of the Pointer Sisters, I’m so excited to welcome back to my blog, MARYJANICE DAVIDSON!
I thought, as tribute to Rocco the author-interviewin’ ass-kickin’ cat, I’d share an excerpt from UNDEAD AND UNSTABLE, the next Betsy book, which hits shelves this June. Although I’m a dog person, Betsy is not...as your readers (and Rocco) are about to find out!
Rocco’s blog is the only place readers can read this UNSTABLE teaser. I’m not sure if that’s a threat or a promise. - MaryJanice
Giselle, Betsy’s cat, dies a relatively peaceful death in the mansion, which adds to Betsy’s already stressful to-do list. It’s a minor spoiler, as her death is discovered within the first twenty pages of UNSTABLE.
(‘nother minor spoiler)
Anyone who has read UNDEAD AND UNDERMINED, and/or WOLF AT THE DOOR, knows that in the new-and-hopefully-improved timeline, Jessica (Betsy’s bestie) is hugely pregnant. (It’s always the quiet ones.) For those who haven’t had a chance to read the latest, her pregnancy is also mentioned very very early in UNSTABLE.
* * *
“What are you talking about, she’s dead?”
“Betsy, I’ve got a zillion things to do what with creating life and all, so could you pay attention when I talk? Did you not see my lips moving?”
We stared down at the body with more than a little surprise. “What happened?”
“No idea. I was headed to the basement and I almost tripped over the body.” Jessica patted her gigantic belly. Like the stairway wasn’t dusty and dark and claustrophobic enough without The Fetus of the Darned hogging her stomach, and also most of the stairwell. “I could have broken my neck! Do you know what a fall could have done to me at this stage of my pregnancy?”
Nothing. Nothing at all; the Michelin Man had less padding. I didn’t say anything, though. I wasn’t ever going to be lauded for my genius, but that didn’t mean I was an utter dumbass.
This is going to sound terrible (even for me), but you know that series Game of Thrones? I guess the show did so well that now there are books about the Game of Thrones. Or maybe the books came first—I dunno. I quit reading fantasy before I was voting age. There was just too much of “I shall draw the mystical sword of Eldenwurst, thus named Soulsucker, and with mine eldritch blade will smite all enemies of the fey but fear not, all ye who tremble before Soulsucker, I shall rule with a just hand and also the Council of Geeks, now ye and ye, bring me fifty virgins and lots of mead”. Those books lose me right around chapter two. Anyway, I’d never read the books, but the show was pretty cool, and I got hooked on it.
I’m bringing this up because in the first season of Game of Thrones, the unborn baby of one of the main characters was called The Stallion Who Mounted The World, a scary yet cool nickname. Jessica was sporting The Belly That Ate The World. She claimed she wasn’t due until summer, but I had my doubts. She was just...gigantic. Gah: twins? Triplets? Just what this place needed, three pissed off newborns continually crying and pooping.
“I’m glad you didn’t trip.” I sighed and glanced back down at the dead cat. “She’s looked better.” An understatement. Giselle didn’t look like she was sleeping; dead bodies never looked like they were sleeping.
And Giselle, the cat who’d gotten me into this whole vampire queen mess in the first place, was most definitely not sleeping. Her eyes were cloudy slits. Her mouth was frozen, half-open, and she was thin, but not dangerously so...she’d always been scrawny. And she was old...I’d had her for over ten years. She just showed up one day and refused to leave, so I got in the habit of feeding and sheltering her. I guess that’s how babies and roommates show up, too. You feed ‘em and they just never leave.
For ten years we pretended the other one didn’t exist. Our only interactions were during meal times. (Hers. Not mine.) And since I’d moved us into the mansion way back when, plenty of other people were happy to take over the chore. The mansion was so big, my pet (except I’d never really had that warm connection to her, and you couldn’t say I was her pet, either: see above, lack of connection) and I would go days without seeing each other, which suited us both.
I’d been killed the first time trying to coax Giselle into coming out of bad weather. I wasn’t paying attention during the snowstorm while I coaxed, and got creamed by a Pontiac Aztec. Giselle, natch, scampered off without a scratch. She was the only mammal in my life that found my resurrection boring.
Now here I was, looking down at her skinny dead body and realizing I had one more task to finish before I could consider all my pet responsibilities fulfilled.
“Are there shovels in the shed?”
“There are? Really?” What terrible news; I couldn’t pull the old ‘I can’t do this unpleasant chore even though I really want to because we don’t have the right equipment’ ploy.
Giselle, you insensitive jerk, you couldn’t have done this a month ago? Or a month later? You gotta do it now, while fate and/or karma is really piling it on, and Jessica wouldn’t have pedicures with me, and we’d burned out the motor on one of the smoothie blenders? Typical cat: not one thought for how her death would inconvenience me. Andrew Vachss, the best noir-ey writer in the history of the genre, called cats the lap dancers of the animal world. Give them attention, they’re there. Stop, they’re outta there.
Well, she was outta here, all right.
“Next time,” I announced, “I’m getting a dog.”
Jessica snorted. She knew that was a lie. She knew why it was a lie, too, but was too nice to call me on it just then. “If memory serves, you didn’t exactly get Giselle.”
“Your memory serves.” I bent and gingerly picked up the body, then held it at arm’s length like a luau platter. “Yuck.”
“Oh, will you suck it up? You’ve seen how many hideously mangled dead vampires, never mind mangled regular people (who were bad, but still mangled), and friends have been shot in front of you and/or killed themselves in your house, been to Hell and back (literally!) but you’re squicking out over a cat? That cat? Hey, I just said suck to a vampire.” Weirdly, that seemed to please her. “That’s all you’ve been doing lately, complaining about how awful it is to be white and pretty and married to the hottest guy in the state of Minnesota. Pardon me while I waaaaaaaah.”
I gave her a look, but decided not to shove her down the stairs. She’s creating life, she’s creating life. Oh, and she stuck with me when I came back from the dead. Also: creating life. “Can you go grab me an old sheet or pillowcase or something?”
“Sure.” My hugely pregnant pal was looking right at me, her brown eyes thoughtful. Since she was a couple of steps above, I started to get scared. If she tripped, she’d kill us both. “Sorry about this, Betsy. And sorry about a couple of seconds ago. My back feels like someone’s resting a set of barbells on it, and the barbells are on fire. It’s not doing much for my mood. And, you know...” She let out such a gusty sigh, I wondered if she’d float off the stairs like Mary Poppins. “The random deaths and stuff.”
I waved it away, all of it, along with my fears of being squashed to death by a pregnant woman while clutching the dead body of my cat and fretting over my lack of pedicures. “Par for the corpse. Whoa. At least that didn’t come off as a Freudian slip or anything.” Had I said that? Had I really?
She giggled, thank God, then turned and started climbing the stairs again. Non-pregnant Jessica was rail-thin and favored nail polish in colors like Day Glo Orange or Aged Chartreuse (which, in case you’re wondering, looks like vomit dried on a nail bed). Pregnant Jessica was not rail thin. At all. Quite the opposite of rail thin. What would that be, bovine fat? And she was avoiding all the chemicals she could. All of ‘em! Which was only impossible.
So among other things, she wouldn’t go near a salon, (or sushi, of all things...like eighty-zillion Japanese women didn’t eat sushi when they were knocked up?), which was a personal disaster for me. She was using all natural deodorant (the kind that didn’t work), natural hair product (the kind that make her look like a pissed-off Rastafarian), and when I gently suggested a fetal-friendly salon massage, she slammed the door in my face (so to speak). All of this to say: this sucks. Who goes to a salon alone? Big-time boring.
I followed her up the stairs, lugging my dead cat. If I was smarter, or nicer, I’d think something like, It’s sad that the cat keeled over, but Jessica’s baby will be born soon and out of death comes life, a full circle of life, hakuna matata and suchlike.
But I’m not smart, or nice, so what I thought was: And the hits, they keep on coming. Nobody ever considers my feelings when they decide to keel over and die on the basement stairs. And the second I’m confronted with an evil poopie diaper, I’m going to go right out of my teeny tiny mind.
Still: if our situations were reversed, I’d want Giselle to bury me. Wait. I absolutely wouldn’t, since half the time I had no idea if I was dead-for-real and could wake up screaming on an autopsy table or, worse, sleep through Macy’s annual shoe sale, so I wouldn’t trust a cat to know, either. Hell, coroners sometimes couldn’t tell. I actually knew that for a fact; it was a horrible thing to know for a fact: at least two certified medical examiners hadn’t been able to tell if I was dead.
Besides, our situations weren’t reversed. And I could whine and bitch until the sun rose and set and rose again, and it’d still be my responsibility.
I was not a dog person. I wasn’t a cat person, either. I was a Betsy person. And believe me: taking care of myself, feeding and clothing myself and putting a roof over my head, keeping myself from being killed (again) and out of divorce court was enough of a challenge without throwing domestic animals into the mix. Or wild ones, even.
So after Jessica got me a yellowed pillowcase, I stuffed Giselle into it and out I went, into the deep November cold, searching for some meaning in all the crazy crap that had been happening since Giselle got me killed a few years ago. And I was also searching for a shovel. And after this yuck-o errand, I would be searching for a booze smoothie.
Ah, the glamorous life of a vampire queen.
PURR….MJ, thank you SO much for this EXCLUSIVE teaser! (Even though Giselle, one of my favorite characters, bites the big one). I know all my followers and your fans are purring too, with excitement. I cannot wait for the next BETSY novel, UNDEAD AND UNSTABLE, out in June 2012. And purrhaps we will have another interview beforehand – maybe with MJ, or possibly even Betsy or Sinklair, who knows? (although I’ve always been partial to Jessica and Marc, myself…)
THE HUMAN is already trying to make a Whiskey Smoothie….
Anyway, Keep up with MJ’s latest news on her website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/
And her blog: http://maryjanicedavidson.blogspot.com/
Anyway, people, now it’s time for…the giveaway(s)! (PLURAL! ta-dah!)
Not one, but Two lucky readers will win their choice of WOLF AT THE DOOR or DERIK'S BANE. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment in the comments section of this blog, along with your email address. Plus (and this is important) also please specify which book you would like to win. If you want a chance to win both, tell us! YOU CAN ENTER BOTH DRAWINGS. Any entry not specifying a book title will be disqualified.
For extra entries, you can do any of the following:
Mention this blog post/exclusive excerpt/contest on twitter and/or Facebook
Friend “the Human”
Friend me, Rocco, the SciFi Blogging Cat!
Follow me, Rocco, onTwitter @RoccoBlogger
Friend MJ Davidson (if you haven’t already!) or follow MJ on Twitter!
Be sure to mention all you’ve done in your comment so we know how many entries to give you. Contest closes Midnight, January 29th, winners will be chosen at random using random.org on January 30th!
What are you waiting for! Get busy! And thank you to MJ and her marvelous assistant Tracey for their time and generosity with the giveaways!
And don’t forget…my store giveaway is Monday. I shall ask a question purrtaining to one of the Blogaversary posts. All correct answers will be accumulated and the winner chosen by random.org! The winner will win their choice of a t-shirt, mug, or waterbottle from my CafePress store! (with my handsome picture on it…of course)
Monday, January 30th is also ROCCO’s KIDS NEED TO READ DAY! Whereas I will pay tribute to MY favorite charity and it’s co-founders, Nathan Fillion, PJ Haarmsma and Denise Gary!
And kicking off the February portion of BLOGAVERSARY: Guest post and giveaway from Ashlyn Chase!
SCI FI BLOGGING CAT