Wednesday, 30 January 2013

11 signs that your colleague is a vampire

Sketch of a vampire by Ceskino,
By Lucianne Poole

In keeping with my vampire book, The Shadow Service (a tale of vampires working in Canada's federal government), I'm providing a public service (you're welcome) by sharing these signs that you may be working with a vampire:

  1. Over-enthusiasm about office skating parties or other events in which bloodshed may be likely.
  2. Unusual habits such as hanging upside down in storage closets.
  3. General dislike of Middle Eastern food and any other cuisine containing copious amounts of garlic.
  4. Compulsive use of breath mints to hide bad breath.
  5. Preference for archaic swear words, possibly in dead languages eg. "Thou knave!" or "God's wounds!"
  6. Empty blood packs in the kitchen garbage.
  7. High number of absentee staff (i.e. they're too weak or too dead from having their blood sucked).
  8. Multiple invitations for a "bite to eat".
  9. Glazed expression and salivation at close proximity when you wake up from your post-lunch nap.
  10. Use of telepathic communication instead of email (this also explains your mysterious headaches).
  11. Long incisors, which may or may not be hidden by expensive dental work.
Disclaimer: If your suspected colleague only meets one of the above criteria, it's unlikely he/she is undead. However, if your colleague meets all the above criteria, that's a different story (good luck).

Why do you suspect your co-worker of being a vampire? Feel free to share suspicious traits.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Writing Contest Mania . . . a preview of the novel

By Lucianne Poole
A sketch of a wedjat eye, a stylized design of an eye that the ancient Egyptians used to ward of evil.
Ancient Egyptians used the wedjat eye to ward off evil.

You may (or may not) have wondered about the novel I've been blathering about in regards to the Writing Contest Mania posts. So, here's an excerpt.

The genre is urban fantasy (or paranormal) and blends historical fiction and romance. It's a dark tale of reincarnation and obsession that begins in ancient Egypt and continues in modern-day New York City.



1862 B.C.

Itjtawy, capital of the Two Kingdoms (ancient Egypt) 

Threads of smoke curled from under the closed double doors. Screams of terror filled the air and running feet shook the floor.

 Anhai flinched as the queen seized her arm.

“This is your only chance,” the queen hissed, her hennaed fingertips biting into Anhai's flesh. They stood alone inside a chamber off the harem hall. “The palace is in an uproar. You should be able to slip away unnoticed, but if anyone catches you, I swear by Isis, I will kill you myself.” She abruptly released Anhai, making the girl stumble.

Anhai regained her balance and bowed gracefully, her ragged appearance at odds with her noble bearing.

"Fool! You must cower like a slave if the disguise is to work," the queen snapped.

“May the goddess reward you for your kindness, Your Majesty,” the girl replied tremulously. Rising, she pulled her filthy shawl closer to hide her face and the gold amulet that hung from her neck. It was a wedjat eye to ward off evil – the only piece of jewelry she dared to keep, needed to keep.

The queen’s cat-like eyes glinted. "Now, get out!"

Hatred contorted the queen's delicate features, giving them a feral quality. Perhaps the rumours about the beast and her royal highness were true. Still, Anhai hesitated. The road ahead could bring death, but . . . no, better to risk her life than return to his bed.

To be continued . . .

Let me know what you think, and what genres of novel you read (eg. thriller, mystery, romance, etc.).

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Lost and found list

By Lucianne Poole
A sketch of a box containing a passport, a bone and a cat. "Lost and Found by Lucianne Poole" is written on the side of the box.
Here is an incomplete list of items I found (and left!) in a box next to a Staples photocopier on March 30, 2006. Think of this list as a cautionary tale ie. check the photocopier when you're done.
  1. One maroon passport printed in Arabic
  2. One marriage certificate, dated 2005 (Picton, Ontario)
  3. One wedding photograph
  4. One list of frequently asked questions about evolution downloaded from the Internet
  5. One mental health assessment
  6. One worn paperback entitled Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways by Susan Jeffers, PhD
  7. One handwritten bill for a $245.00 lock from Avenue Lock on Bank Street
  8. One certificate for 100 shares in 11351320 Ontario Limited, dated November 19, 1999.
  9. One T4 slip for the 2005 tax year
  10. One collection of recipes, including one for Scottish raisin scones, handwritten in a journal printed with a Lord of the Rings motif and entitled A Hobbit’s Travels.
  11. One current Ontario drivers license
A note was attached to the box: “Originals should be discarded after two months”.

I submitted this list to Geist magazine, which publishes such ephemera, but they never replied.

Have you ever found anything interesting in a photocopier?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Writing contest mania - what happened!

By Lucianne Poole

A sketch of a woman with glasses writing with a quill pen: Writing contest mania continues by Lucianne Poole.
Last-minute artwork by Lucianne Poole.
Have you ever been brutally disappointed?

I had hoped to start this post by saying something like "I won!" or "I have an agent!", but, as usual, life is neither so predictable nor cooperative.

It started with a writing contest

You may remember, I entered a popular online writing contest in November 2012 called The Baker's Dozen Agent Auction organized by Miss Snark's First Victim. I was ecstatic when I became a finalist.

Agent interest followed

The ecstasy continued when a well-known New York City agent bid on my entry, asking to see the first 20 pages. Interestingly enough, the same agent rejected the same novel two years ago, after I sent her a query letter.

Back to the drawing board

Unfortunately, history repeated itself when she decided again she didn't want to represent me, but she offered some useful feedback. More importantly, I got about 15 comments from the general public on my submission: the 65-word description and the first 250 words.

Feedback is gold

So why my keen interest in the public's comments? Because they may buy my novels one day.

Also, the description and first paragraphs are the most important. Think of how you choose a book. Chances are someone may have recommended one, or you've read a short description of the novel that's sparked your interest. You may even have read the first paragraph or so. If you're still interested, you'll buy the book or read it.

So I've tweaked my description and first 250 words based on the feedback. Thanks to anyone who visited the contest online and left a comment (real or imaginary).

Vampires on the horizon

Meanwhile, I've finished writing my vampire novella (I posted an excerpt called the Dark Office in November). I'm pleased to say that my mom read the whole thing in 45 minutes and liked it! This is saying something as she speed-reads two novels a day and skips the boring bits. A few others have kindly agreed to read the vampire story, then I'm going to pitch it directly to a publisher, and see what happens.

A New Year's wish
And to my readers; "fangs" for reading my blog. May your hopes and dreams come true in 2013!