MaryJanice Davidson invented a) her children, and b) the vampire chick lit genre. Also the Internet. She is kind to (some) children and (occasional) small animals, and enjoys referring to herself in the third person. Appearing several times a year on the best-seller list, as well as occasional Federal "person of interest" sheets, she takes time from the living hell that is being paid to do what she loves best to seek out the nearest Cinnabon franchise. Her goals include working for world peace, figuring out how to make pot stickers, and speaking at writer and reader conferences around the world. (Australia is still recovering.)
Visit her blog to check out the antics of some of MJ's heroines (Vampire Queen Betsy, FBI Agent Cadence/Shiro/Adrienne, and Jennifer Scales), eyeball book excerpts, see where she'll be any given week, play the "who do you want to play Betsy/Cadence/Jennifer in the coming movie?" game with other fans, and mock her weekly. She occasionally tolerates getting mail from readers at email@example.com , has a Facebook page, and absolutely zero interest in Twitter.
First up, I have a short "Dear Reader" post from Betsey, Queen of the Dead, provided by her royal scribe, MaryJanice Davidson, then there's a nice long excerpt from her new book, "Undead and Unstable" (Betsey's always been a wee bit unstable IMO, :D). Enjoy!
People ask “how’s it going?” or “whatcha been up to?” when they don’t especially care, when they just need a way to fill up a few seconds of dead air when their iPods aren’t handy. The reason I’ve noticed this is because I actually have news, but it’s nothing I can really blurt out right now. Things were going from annoying to bad to terrible to horrifying...but it’s gonna be better. Much, much better. That’s about all I can say.
All right, I’ll say a little more. To answer “whatcha been up to?”, I’ll tell you: murder (self-defense, but still: I knew one way or the other I’d eventually kill them). That’s what I’ve been up to. Is it wrong if you kill someone to save someone else? I’ll bet that’s an old, old question. I have the answer, at the ripe old age of thirty (thirty forever, which is okay because I was a stone fox in life and thus am doomed to be one in death): it depends on who you’re trying to save. And who’s gotta go if you’re gonna save them.
So. That’s what I’ve been up to.
Like I said, I can’t really get into it now. I’m not being coy, but when you live with a cop you tend to be careful about saying things that’ll get you pinched for felony assault, trespassing, murder, and disturbing the peace. But it was all worth it, even if I do get pinch. It’s going to be okay now. I’m almost positive. And guess what? If it’s not? If I’m wrong? If things aren’t going to work out just the way I need them to, if the dice are gonna keep tumbling and then come up snake eyes, I know how to fix it. That’s the other thing I’ve been up to: learning from my mistakes. Hey: everybody needs a hobby.
St. Paul, MN
Shoe size 9.5
*************************************************************************************************UNDEAD AND UNSTABLE
By: MaryJanice Davidson
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Genre: FICTION, ROMANCE, URBAN FANTASY, HUMOR
Format: EBOOK, HARDCOVER
Length: 325 KB, 336 pages
Release Date: JUNE 5, 2012
Minor spoilers if you haven’t finished Undead and Undermined
Spoilers the reader discovers in the first thirty pages of Unstable
“I should pop by more often,” the devil decided. “That was fun.”
“Why are you here?” I asked, going from relieved to pissed. “Lose a bet?”
“Oh, just keeping an eye on things.”
“You can’t watch us on your plasma screen in hell?”
Satan shrugged. She was wearing a black suit this time—she didn’t wear red anymore. She told Laura it was beyond clichéd. “Next you’ll want to see the pitchfork,” was how she had put it. Hey, nothing wrong with the classics.
“It’s not as much fun not being there when it hits the fan,” Ancient Me pointed out.
Satan quit smirking and looked like someone had jammed a lemon through her teeth. “Touchier than usual, darling? Careful. Someone might think your faith has been shaken.”
“My faith has never been an issue.”
“What are we talking about?” Marc wondered aloud. “I’m having a little trouble keeping up with the cast of characters. Is there a reason why both Betsys and the devil and the Antichrist and Jessica and her belly—”
“Faith isn’t anybody’s issue,” I said, exasperated. “We all know there’s a God, we just can’t be sure He’s not on permanent vacation.”
“Hold up,” Nick said. “It’s not that simple.”
This time we all heard the footsteps. Someone in a hurry, not bothering to be quiet. I was almost afraid to see who was about to join the madness.
The door swung in. Antonia peeked in. “What the hell’s going on in here?”
“We’re having a debate,” Satan said helpfully. “About—”
“Don’t care.” The door swung shut. The footsteps went the other way.
“I never thanked you for taking her off my hands,” Satan commented.
“I knew you agreed too quickly.”
“Yeah, great, listen—getting back to what we were talking about, I don’t remember seeing a white light,”
Marc protested. “So we don’t know there’s a—”
“Oh, of course we do,” I snapped.
This was a bad idea. A very bad idea. I knew better. We all knew better. We’d all been in chat rooms. Debates over religion were a baaaad plan. Next we could start chatting about abortion. And then politics . . . that’d go great. “We know there’s a devil, right?”
“Here!” Satan said brightly, raising her hand.
“Ergo . . . right?”
“Huh. Well. I guess . . . but it seems like a cop-out.” Marc was looking from Laura to Satan and back to Laura. “Knowing. You know?”
“It’s worse than that.”
“How can it be worse?” Nick had started making himself useful by putting away the rest of the groceries. Jessica had produced the sadly depleted bag of chocolate chips and started munching by the handful. “This thing people have had wars over. Slaughtered entire civilizations over . . . you just know. You guys know. Kind of cool, maybe.”
I shook my head. “You think it’s easier, not just having faith in God but proof of God?” This time I did hear footsteps, and knew my husband was just outside the door. Tina must have given him a heads-up. “Not only do I know there’s a God and a devil, I know He knows little kids starve to death and get raped. He knows there are suicide bombers and leukemia and plague. Shit, if you believe the Bible, He’s sent plague.”
“Okay . . .” Dick still looked doubtful, but I noticed Marc was paying close attention. Made sense . . . he’d died, and then he got better, and by his own admission, there had been no white light. So what did that mean for him? For any of us?
Sinclair silently stepped into the room and nodded at me. I wasn’t sure what that meant . . . he was still keeping his thoughts to himself. Smart man.
“God exists, and He’s got a little explaining to do.” Rattled by my husband’s appearance, I tried to gather my thoughts. “I—I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but I think in a lot of ways, it’s worse to know. ‘God works in mysterious ways’? More like, God’s a dangerous lunatic and needs to be stopped.”
“I didn’t think of it like that.” And Marc sounded like he hadn’t wanted to think of it like that.
“Sorry,” was all I could think of to add.
Satan was smiling at me. Brrrr. “So you’re a dystheist.”
“Yep. That’s me all over.” I wasn’t gonna ask. I wasn’t gonna ask. I wasn’t—
“You think God exists, but isn’t all good.”
“Yes! Holy cow, I am a dys . . . dis . . . what you said I was. That’s me all over: God’s an omnipotent entity that is so powerful yet disliked, like the DMV.”
“I’m not saying this isn’t interesting,” Jessica began, sitting down and sighing with audible relief once she was off her feet, “but maybe we could make some sandwiches or something while we crush each other’s deeply held beliefs?”
“Interesting that you should feel that way about God, when you’re the one running around mucking up the timeline.” The devil made this observation in a perfectly pleasant tone of voice.
“Well . . . I . . . um . . .” Damn. She had me there. Stupid impressive-looking black Donna Karan suit.
“He has an entire universe to look after. You only need tend to the needs of the Undead.”
“And it’s ridiculous that I should have to do that,” I added. At their stares and raised eyebrows I added, “What? I’ve always maintained it’s ridiculous that a thirty-year-old unemployed office worker has to be the boss of a bunch of ancient vampires, all old enough to be their own mommies.”
“You’re wrong,” Ancient Me said. She’d poured herself another glass of milk . . . hope she was a little more careful with that one. “They need a leader . . . a good one, not another Nostro. Otherwise . . .” She shrugged and took a sip.
“Seriously? You guys?” Jessica wriggled in the wooden kitchen chair. “We’re really gonna keep debating about God and the universe and vampire bosses and stuff? What are we, freshmen in college?”
“Otherwise what?” Sinclair asked Ancient Me.
“Otherwise the future,” she replied, and took another sip. I had the distinct impression she was rattled to be talking to him.
She is, my own.
Ah-ha! There he was.
“The bottom line is, you had no business screwing with the timeline.” Unfortunately, she wasn’t at all rattled to be talking to me. “Either of you.” She nodded at Laura.
“Hey, I’m with you! I’m with you, for once, a hundred percent.” I turned to address the group—and what a group!—as a whole. “You guys. Haven’t I been saying it all along? Isn’t it just the most fundamental thing you’ve ever heard? I, Elizabeth Taylor—”
“Oooh, she’s calling herself by her full name and also referring to herself in the third person.” Jessica looked at once interested and terrified. “Brace yourself. This will not be cool.”
“—should not be the boss of you! Any of you! I have never, ever refuted that.”
“You’ve also never accepted it. Instead of hiding from your—”
“If you say destiny like we’re stuck in some lame made-for-TV sci-fi geektacular miniseries, I won’t be responsible for what I do to your face.”
“—responsibilities, you should embrace them. You don’t want to rule? Boo fucking hoo. You’re the queen. You don’t want the timeline to be changed? Tough nuts; it is, so you’ll have to deal with it. Not talk about it. Not bitch about it. Not wish it hadn’t happened. Deal with it now. You want other people to police themselves? If we could do that, every cop on the planet would be out of work . . . would have been out of work for centuries. We needed cops a thousand years ago and we need them now and we’ll need them five hundred years from now and a thousand years from now. And do any of you know why?”
Satan raised her hand. Luckily, Ancient Lecturing Me ignored her. “Because as a species, we are not toilet trained! Betsy: either you are, or you aren’t.”
“In charge. So: yes or no? Are you or aren’t you? That’s it.” She finished her milk and set down the glass. She stood. “That’s all there is.”
And walked out.
“Maybe a ham sandwich?” Jessica asked. “Or an omelet? Who wants eggs?”
No one wanted eggs.