preston and i chatted about heir

Preston and I had a chat about Heir last year, when it was still in developmental stages. Here’s a repost of that discussion:

Q – Knowing what I know about Michael from the second book, when they go to Sugar Run late that night (in the first book) and Sami exclaims that she used to have picnics there when she was younger, I almost see it as an attempt to connect by Michael to the youth he didn’t get to experience with her, because he already knows how she is to him.
A – Thing is, Michael was driving by Sugar Run as that was the closest route to take from Middlesborough to his house out in Bum Fuck. Although, since you mentioned it, in retrospect his conversation with Sami about family would more qualify for what you’re discussing here. Remember, vampires are telepathic. So Michael heard Sami wondering to herself why she had almost yelled “Mom” when she was scared. He said that she never spoke about her family, but he could hear the things she left unsaid. This is, of course, why he left the room so quickly, when otherwise he wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving her alone and upset.

We see a glimpse of his knowing her in the first book when he introduces her to the Family gathered around the dining room table, when he says, “Everyone, this is Samantha.” You get a sense that he’s discussed her with them, or at least with some of them, at some point. I always felt that she missed the inflection in his voice when he said “this is Samantha”, particularly given her mood and emotional state at the time–and perhaps because he wanted her to miss it? And I feel that maybe the “dark-haired girl” who touches Sami’s arm is Elissa from the second book.

Q – Michael gave Sami more than she realized when she became the new Elder. And at some point, might she realize that…the act of transferring his power is what began his decline in vitality? Will we see a steady decline in Michael’s vitality as well as realization from Sami that this is happening?
A – Yes, Michael begins to decline the night he and Sami exchange blood and energy; we see the outward, physical signs in the way he looks and behaves. Of course, as time goes on, Sami does understand that something is wrong, but she doesn’t see just what until it’s too late. The realization likely comes in retrospect. (ie, I’ve not gotten this written yet!)

Q – At some point does Sami begin to realize exactly how much power she gained from Michael? Not secular power, but real spiritual magical power…vampiric power.
A – Of course she does! 😀

Q – How are Houses identified? Do they have names? Are the names based on the person who is their leader?
A – Well, there would be no true Family identity or continuity if the House names changed with each new Elder every thirty or forty years. Houses are named according to Family identity and heritage. For example, “Michael’s” House is called Anethdraeg, which is a bastardized Anglicization of annedd and draig, house and dragon in Welsh, respectively; even though the family bloodline is more likely English, they seem to identify more strongly with Welsh heritage.

Q – The mysterious other House in the area that Michael mentioned once in the first book and never mentioned again–anything about this in the future?
A – Perhaps. :warped:


retyping hell

Yesterday I started retyping Elders. The stuff that had actually been saved and recoverable was from waaaaay back in March and pretty much useless. So I have the printouts sitting here on my desk, along with the handwritten additions. What’s missing, though, are several scenes that I never got a chance to print out–including a particularly poignant scene between Sami and Phillip at the end of the story. I sat down and cried yesterday when I realized I’d lost that.

So yeah. I have parts that I have to rewrite thanks to the lords of the hard drive crash. I can’t say I’m handling either point very well. The things I’m rewriting just aren’t coming out with the same…”flava”. And then there are the scenes I know I lost, but I can’t remember what they were. :headdesk:

Anyway. With both myself and Preston tackling this retyping job, I do still hope to get Elders out to first readers around the first of November…

music and me

“I hate music, especially when it’s played.”
– Jimmy Durante

I have to say when I first saw that quote, I was floored; those words just went right through me. “Huh?!” didn’t even come close to how I felt. Then again, I’ve heard people say they never listen to music. :boggle: How can you go through life without music? I can’t imagine life without music. I remember when I was little flipping through Sandhi’s collection of 45s – there were some gems in there, including The Beatles Yesterday and Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound.

Music can be as annoying as it is moving, though. I’m not saying all music is good by any means. lol I can’t stand hiphop or most rap; some country (the newer “new country” like from the early 90s forward) I can stomach on occasion when I have to. Rock music started going downhill sometime in the mid-90s, and honestly, I didn’t listen to a lot of radio from the time just before I moved up here until within the last couple of years. Then again, it’s hard as fuck to get radio in Harlan County – mountains block the signal, even the local signal, and what selection their local “rock” station had blew hairy chunks, so we didn’t really miss anything, anyway. What music we listened to down there, we got from tapes and cds.

But then Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Static-X, Three Days Grace, A Perfect Circle, Thousand Foot Krutch, Nickelback, Dark New Day, Cold, Saliva, Hinder, Trapt, and others started popping out of the woodwork, and I started listening to the radio again. Since then, I’ve amassed quite an mp3 and cd collection as well. My boys and I listen to a lot of the same music, too. Thomas was as on edge as I was waiting for the new Breaking Benjamin cd to come out in early August, and Tayler’s on this big hang-up with both AC/DC and Pantera lately. In fact, I saw Breaking Benjamin in concert last Fall at the Kentucky downtown. I felt like the oldest fogie in the crowd, but damn – I’d pay double to go see them again and am praying they come back on this current tour.

But as I referred to above, music can be moving. In fact, it’s possible for music to pull a person through a gamut of emotions. I’ve had songs leave me in tears and others leave me rolling in the floor – thank you, Weird Al! […Baby, I love rocky road! So weren’t you gonna buy half a gallon, baby? I love rocky road! So have another triple scoop with me. Ow!] There are some songs out there that I just can’t listen to without tears rolling down my face. Some may just be on the overall “corny” factor list – odd memories, etc – but others are just that evocative, that emotional to me. Others get me into some serious “dancing where I sit”, while others bring me to my feet – such as Thousand Foot Krutch’s Move:

…Move and show me what you can do
When you step into the circle and shake like we do
And move when you just can’t take it
And move if you just feel like breaking it…

There are songs that I know and can sing all the way through and songs I only know parts of here and there and have to Eddie Izzard my way through. There are songs that I love to crank up and sing at the top of my lungs when I’m out driving in the car – or in the shower – Meatloaf’s Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back or Blue October’s Hate Me, for example. There are songs that move me to dance, as I’ve mentioned before, and the cat hates that sometimes. Sometimes I pick her up and make her my dance partner. She looks so indignant – but she does a mean Hustle!

And gods only know how much music W and I listened to while we were driving aimlessly or sitting around remote spots while we were in Harlan together, especially back when we first met. Queen, Nirvana, Metallica (Master of Puppets Metallica), Stone Temple Pilots, Concrete Blonde (Jonette!), Alice in Chains, Live, Tonic…And Styx. I was flipping through albums in his room one night and found a Styx LP and put it on the stereo. (I miss records – but that’s a whole ‘nuther post all by itself!) But we pretty much had a “Harlan Soundtrack” that we lived by back then. It’s that music I listened to while I was writing Midnight.

Which leads me to writing with music in the background. I actually created a soundtrack for Heir when I started writing it. With Midnight, I had a playlist on winAmp and several “writing cds”. With Heir, I created something more specific – akin to a movie soundtrack, but stacked; it has something like 30 songs on it, and my cd player hates it (it’s older (from April ’99) and doesn’t handle mp3s or cds with more than 16 trackswell). Anyone can flip through my cd collection and find several mixed cds called “vampire music”. I use those to write by, as well. They evoke a mood – and mood is important with the Harlan Vampires! 😉 I have noticed that when I’m writing certain characters, I want certain music on; it helps me get and stay in touch with their particular idioms. Sami is more Stone Temple Pilots and Destiny is more Staind, while Mick is more Hurt and Laurel is more Breaking Benjamin, for example.

And, last but not least, here are some of my favorite lyrics, regardless of mood or reason:

Stand up
I have had enough
Walk away before I finish what you started
Face to face I will put you in your place
End this game before I finish what you started
Face to face everything will change

[Stand Up, Trapt]

Can you feel pain inside?
Can you love?
Can you cry?
I wanna run through your wicked garden
Heard that’s the place to find you
Cause I’m alive
So alive now
I know the darkness blinds you

[Wicked Garden, Stone Temple Pilots]

I’ll show you how to take me
Go down go down
And I’ll show you how to turn me
Right on right on
And I’ll show you how to touch me
Right on right on right on
Right on right on right on

[Independent Love Song, Scarlet]

I alone love you
I alone tempt you
I alone love you

[I Alone, Live]

Run away
Make hate
And get laid
And get laid
You tie me up
I’ve had enough
So medicate

[Medicate, Breaking Benjamin]

How do you cool your lips
After a summer’s kiss
How do you rid the sweat
After the body bliss
How do you turn your eyes
From the romantic glare
How do you block the sound
Of a voice you’d know anywhere

[Insensitive, Jann Arden]


I have been writing my ass off! Yesterday I got 2800 words on “book three” and did some retyping on “book two”. Today I got 4240 words on “book three” and did some retyping on “book two”.

Me ready for nap now.