[identity profile] blogfloggery.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] lkh_lashouts
Link: New Pub Date for Crimson Death
Disclaimer: This blog entry is verbatim, as originally posted on LKH's blog. Copyright belongs to Ma Petite Enterprises.

Crimson Death, the new Anita Blake novel, will be published on September 13, 2016. For those of you who follow my blog, you know I’m still writing the book, what you don’t know is that I finished it once already. I typed, The End, one glorious morning as I watched the sun rise; but once the euphoria of the writing high faded and I got some sleep, I knew something was wrong. I’d known something was wrong for weeks, maybe months, but definitely weeks. I was too close to finishing the book, so I ignored my muse and my characters arguing with me. One character in particular wasn’t happy. Damian, who started life as a Viking until one dark night he and his brothers in arms tried to raid the wrong castle. She-Who-Made-Him, a master vampire that traumatized him so badly he’s afraid to speak her name, held him as a virtual slave for centuries. She let him go, and he still doesn’t know why, but he was allowed to go to America where he became a manager at one of the hottest dance clubs in the country, Danse Macabre. In fact, he first appears in the book that introduces the club. The Killing Dance is the sixth book in the series, and this is Damian’s introduction:

“I TURNED to find another new vampire. He was tall and slender with skin the color of clean white sheets, but sheets didn’t have muscle moving underneath, sheets didn’t glide down the steps and pad godlike across a room. His hair fell past his shoulders, a red so pure it was nearly the color of blood. The color screamed against his paleness.”

Originally, I thought Crimson Death would be a short novel like my books, Micah and Jason, called Damian, but very quickly I realized it was going to be a big book. I believe my largest word count was 300,000 words. I’m one of those writers that writes long and then cuts, but this was excessive, even for me. It was another clue that my muse and I were debating with each other. The original plot had Damian kidnapped and Anita coming to his rescue. It would take me typing to the end, or what I thought was the end, to be willing to listen to my muse, and to Damian. He finally got through to me and not literally said, but basically told me, “I’ve been in the series since book six and now I’m finally getting my own story in book twenty-five and I’m just the damsel in distress. All those newer characters that have come on stage and been heroes, or major love interests, or something more than just the victim du jour, and now I’m just as unhappy, just as powerless, just as afraid as I began. Nineteen books and I haven’t grown at all.” He was right, and it was unusual for me, because I’m all about the character growth and letting my fictional friends have interesting lives, except for him. Damian had been almost static, I don’t know why, but he finally stepped up and threw the gauntlet down.

“You can do better than this,” he told me, and he was right. I turned my plot on its ear and now Damian is going back to Ireland to help solve a mystery. He’s going back to face his greatest fears to save lives as a consultant with the Irish authorities about their sudden vampire problem. Sudden, because Ireland isn’t supposed to have any vampires. It’s one of the few countries on the planet that has no folklore about them. The only dead that walk in Irish myths are ghosts and the shades of heroes. But Damian knows differently, he knows that there is a vampire so powerful and so frightening that to even speak her name is to risk her power seeking you out, even across an ocean. She-Who-Made-Him says the vampires plaguing Dublin are not her doing, and that she’s grown weaker since Damian left her side. U. S. Marshal Ted Forrester, AKA Edward, is already there acting as a consultant. He wants fellow marshal Anita Blake to come help hunt the undead and to bring the only vampire that might know the truth about what’s happening. Anita thought Damian was going home, but Ireland was never home, it was the place where he died.

Date: 2016-04-14 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jya-bd-cp-ttgb.livejournal.com
*puts head on desk* He finally got through to me *snips for length* I don’t know why, but he finally stepped up and threw the gauntlet down." Maybe it's the lack of sleep, the lack of caffeine, or I've finally lost my fracking mind, but I know what she's talking about. Characters coming up and beating you over the head with their stories. I've wanted something of mine to go one way, but when I get into the writing zone, something completely different happens. Lady bless me, I'm gonna be nosy and slap a sticker on this so the library'll throw me a copy when it comes out. I'll regret it, I'm sure, but hell, if it's the only thing I do this year I regret, I'm doing pretty damn good.

Date: 2016-04-14 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desert-vixen.livejournal.com
Translation of all the above: Someone's actually really making her edit and work.

Date: 2016-04-14 09:47 pm (UTC)
lliira: Fang from FF13 (Fang2)
From: [personal profile] lliira (from livejournal.com)
He finally got through to me and not literally said, but basically told me, “I’ve been in the series since book six and now I’m finally getting my own story in book twenty-five and I’m just the damsel in distress...Nineteen books and I haven’t grown at all.

I bet all of this is nearly a direct quote from her new editor, not "Damian." Including “You can do better than this."

Date: 2016-04-14 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duamuteffe.livejournal.com
And she *can* do better- the small bits of DI that were edited proved that. So now we can hope that the editing staff is standing firm and demanding a real round of drafts and rewrites, and that means there is a slim hope that we might get something readable.
But that plot sounds super thin. Super thin. Especially since Ireland totally has myths of bloodsuckers. And also Bram Stoker. It's one thing to say that in your world there were no vampires in Ireland (except for Damian's master apparently, and Damien, and anyone else she turned- did no one notice them for hundreds of years or something?) but quite another to claim the real-world country (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhartach) has no vampire myths. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_folklore_by_region#Celtic_.28Gaelic.29_Nations)

Date: 2016-04-15 12:33 am (UTC)
lliira: Fang from FF13 (Fang2)
From: [personal profile] lliira (from livejournal.com)
But that plot sounds super thin. Super thin.

It really does. Usually I can look at one of LKH's 72 plotbunnies that show up in her novels and figure out how each could inspire a full plot pretty quickly. This one, I've got nothing. Maybe if Damian turned out to be behind it all, idk, but we know that won't happen.

And saying Ireland has no vampire myths honestly makes me embarrassed for her. She didn't even bother to read the Wikipedia entry. 2/3 of those examples are clearly undead!

Date: 2016-04-15 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duamuteffe.livejournal.com
Maybe she asked one dude in the pub one night about vampires and he didn't know anything, so she assumed the "research" was done?

Date: 2016-04-16 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] openidwouldwork.livejournal.com
Or she bought an 'Irish Tales' calendar and no month was dedicated to vampires?

Date: 2016-04-18 03:10 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-04-16 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] openidwouldwork.livejournal.com
The legend of ... (pronounced) Droc-ola...

Nope, no Vampire folklore at all! *headdesk*

Date: 2016-04-14 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suzycat.livejournal.com

For "muse" read "new editor", right?

Date: 2016-04-15 10:15 am (UTC)
ext_6977: (Angel cracked)
From: [identity profile] viridian5.livejournal.com
Her first non-fictional "friend" who makes her write something?

Ireland isn’t supposed to have any vampires. It’s one of the few countries on the planet that has no folklore about them. The only dead that walk in Irish myths are ghosts and the shades of heroes. But Damian knows differently

So either she did no real research about Ireland's folklore, or her Ireland's vampires are much, much smarter than every other vampire in her series.

Date: 2016-04-15 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelightofdawn.livejournal.com
Her initial description of Damien reads like something someone generated deliberately to be ridiculous. We don't actually need a white-as-sheets comparison to understand how white a white vampire is (and I do not have time to go off on the inherent issues of exoticizing and simultaneously whitewashing cultures, but, NO). Adjectives are your friends and can even be deployed as spectacularly as an analogy. Do not take the reader out of the moment by making us picture a set of hotel sheets wandering down stairs with a wig rejected by Hollywood Toys and Costumes. What a great/wasted opportunity to discuss vampire aging and how vampire physiology works or maybe even throw in some goodies about Anita being pensive and think-y about who someone might become in the amount of time it would take Damien's hyperwhite skin to look that way and what happens psychologically when vampires age.

I don't buy for a second that she "writes long and then cuts." It drives me nuts that she has to perpetuate this myth. There are too many issues with word/phrase repetition, grammar, spelling, inconsistent details, and basic timeline to give any indication anyone even ran a spellcheck. The fact that she spends so much time info-dumping and only has any form of revelation occur at the end of any segment or chapter is evidence to me that she's working through her thoughts on the material as she goes and never restructures so that there's distributed story ballast to make sure the whole thing floats. Entire books work that way, with most of the action happening in the epilogue, after the emotional denouement that she wanted has had its moment.

“I’m all about the character growth and letting my fictional friends have interesting lives.” The sound you just heard was the primal scream of a thousand sporkers. I can't even comment because there is no way to negate that enough. Her whole 'Damien came to me and lectured me about lack of character development' business smacks of an editor, or maybe Jon Her Husband Jon aka her only beta reader decided he identified with Damien and wanted mainstage-worthy story in which he got to fulfill Hamilton's vaunted performative masculinity fetish. I am actually intrigued by the notion that she might have an editor with some integrity and influence working with her, though. Is it wrong that that gives me hope (and also a little schadenfreude)? And the whole damsel in distress line... I just cannot with her dismissive, hateful feminine framing of being in a position to need assistance.

People have been living in Ireland since 10,000(ish) BC, and there have been some major influxes of peoples who settled there and contributed culturally and genetically, so even as an armchair critic and supernatural fiction fan, there is a lot to work with if you are writing about someone who specializes in the dead and the supernatural. This could be fascinating in the hands of a competent author. I am already cringing over how she will inevitably latch on to a few shreds of incomplete historical factoids and try to paste together a whole world out of it. She works against herself, because the moments in which she dangles the world-building possibilities often have potential (which she then further complicates with all of her racial, gender, and religious garbage). Sorry, Ireland.

How did Ted end up here? I feel like she skimmed the back panel of a Robert Ressler book and decided it was the best way to justify Anita and her Manly Circus going on a field trip, and throwing in Tedward is a fanwank choice. Plus, if she just turned the plot on its ear, and made it into some kind of vampire mystery it was not before and Damien is now the protagonist (kind of), isn't she now writing an entirely new book? One which is still not a noir mystery explored through the eyes of a complex, morally-grey animator with major identity and existential crisis and deep ties to the supernatural community that often conflict with her strong personal attachment to law enforcement. Which is what we all signed on for. She didn't care about this at best tertiary character for nineteen books. I am skeptical that she can make anyone else care about him now, no matter how terrifyingly huge his penis is.

Date: 2016-04-16 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] openidwouldwork.livejournal.com
Well, I've only ever felt sorry for Damien; I don't know how many times Anita has almost killed him by refusing to do basic chores like, say, eating...

Date: 2016-04-16 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelightofdawn.livejournal.com
Because making us understand that she is so virtuous she doesn't eat (because, you know, eating disorders are the best demonstration of womanly virtue evar) is so much more important than managing the ardeur or not killing her subordinate triumvirate.

The eyeroll this inspires is downright painful.

Date: 2016-04-16 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desert-vixen.livejournal.com

Not to mention the fact that he would clearly prefer to just be with Cardinale/Cardinal as opposed to part of the cast of thousands.

Date: 2016-04-16 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dagonista.livejournal.com
That smile is the very definition of the word "rictus."

Date: 2016-04-18 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magdalen77.livejournal.com
And as people have pointed on Amazon the dark shades are hiding her reddened eyes anf tears of rage.

Date: 2016-04-16 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com
I guess I can kiss goodbye my long-standing headcanon of Damian running D&D nights in the basement and hand painting LOTR figurines. RIP nerd Damian.

I really can't wrap my mind around Damian's supposed Viking history with the Irish history I learned while travelling last year. If Damian was a Viking raider and got vampired on the first castle he and his buddies came to sack, WHAT CASTLE AND WHERE. Because I'm pretty sure the English would have a thing or two to say about Dublin Castle being used by vampires, likewise on a few other fortresses in the countryside and I'm pretty sure a lot of those were built well after the Vikings landed. And, like, if Damian was one of the Viking settlers of Dublin, it makes no sense that he'd then also go raiding in his own backyard, not when he's likely got livestock and/or crops to look after.

Doubly does not make sense after LKH retconned fairies out of the ABVH worldbuilding because at least that way you could have handwaved a bunch of stuff as "fair folk."

Date: 2016-04-16 07:11 pm (UTC)
lliira: Fang from FF13 (Fang2)
From: [personal profile] lliira (from livejournal.com)
I guess I can kiss goodbye my long-standing headcanon of Damian running D&D nights in the basement and hand painting LOTR figurines.

No, this is canon no matter what LKH tries to claim now.

I'd expect vampires to have political and military power in the Anitaverse, and the castles that went along with them. But that, of course, would change history in ways that LKH refuses to address.

Date: 2016-04-16 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com
I'm going to quietly sob over the lost potential here. Like, imagine if Bram Stoker worked with a vampire at the theatre in Dublin and that was what inspired him to write Dracula.

Also I refuse to believe that there are meant to be zero vampires in modern Ireland outside of Morvoren's hidden enclave. Planes are a thing! There's a ferry! I'm sure some of them could even fly on their own from Scotland! I refuse to believe that absolutely no vampires arrived in Ireland and went "this is nice," and decided to stay. There's nothing in the Anitaverse to say this couldn't happen.

I feel like I should start a betting pool now to see if LKH lumps the Republic of Ireland in with the rest of the UK.

Date: 2016-04-16 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desert-vixen.livejournal.com
I'm going to quietly sob over the lost potential here. Like, imagine if Bram Stoker worked with a vampire at the theatre in Dublin and that was what inspired him to write Dracula.

Or else have the vampire totally putting Stoker on about what vampires are really like.

Date: 2016-04-17 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com

Especially if most vampires realise it's all bullshit and find it the funniest thing ever. Anita, being the most literal person on earth, gets in a huff about how the book/movies ARE ALL WRONG SO WRONG and that probably just fuels the amusement for any vampire around her. *STARES AT JEAN-CLAUDE* (Also specially since he was giving her shit back in Bloody Bones about maybe hanging out with Vlad Tepes).

Date: 2016-04-18 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desert-vixen.livejournal.com

That would be hysterical...and interesting. So not like to happen.

Date: 2016-04-17 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelightofdawn.livejournal.com
I am salivating over the idea of good vampire AU fiction that accounts for supernatural participation/manipulation of world and regional politics. Other than a shout-out to Belle Morte's magic vajay and Louis the XIV, are there any other instances in Hamilton's canon?

Date: 2016-04-17 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com
Not so much on the vampire side, more of a consequence of having vampires being known - the Inquisition in the Anitaverse hunted vampires and were responsible for Juliana's death and Asher's disfigurement. But then there's nothing on when or why the Inquisition no longer exists, which is a pity because I would love a bunch of warrior priests specially trained to deal with vampires, demons, and rogue necromancers.

Date: 2016-04-19 12:12 am (UTC)
lliira: Fang from FF13 (Fang2)
From: [personal profile] lliira (from livejournal.com)
I'm reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley now. In just this one book, she has so much worldbuilding about how supernatural "others" could change the course of history, while still allowing for a lot of similarities to our own world. People swear differently, religion is different, geography and politics are different, everyone puts magical wards around their homes, etc. But the narrator still works at a bakery, makes cinnamon rolls, and drives a crappy car.

It's a very dark world. And it's not the all-too-common "darkness" hack writers continually go to of rape everywhere. It's dark because of all the things out there that want to eat and kill humans, and because maybe being killed and eaten isn't even the most frightening thing. Becoming one of the monsters is the most frightening thing.
Edited Date: 2016-04-19 12:12 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-04-17 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelightofdawn.livejournal.com
Hand painting LOTR figurines. *dies* You are a treasure.

Date: 2016-04-17 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com
He's got an eye for detail and nerves of steel because he can paint when Anita is upstairs "screaming her pleasure." XD

Date: 2016-04-26 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkese.livejournal.com
dwg that's hilarious lol. I love that image!

Date: 2016-04-26 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com
Why thank you!


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