I’m writing this from a hotel room in Paris, France, and it’s all your fault.
It’s a gorgeous sunny day with a light breeze, it’s springtime in Paris, and the hotel room is cute and chic and in an old, elegant building. The bathroom is neat-o with dark red tiles and a towel warmer. I’m here as a guest of my French publisher (Betsy and the gang are in 15 countries, not counting the States! Which blows my mind if I even try to think about it.), here to promote the French editions of the Undead series and to attend La Imaginales, a sizeable sci-fi fantasy convention. “Here as their guest” = “free trip to France”.
Yeah, I figured it was a nasty practical joke at first. Sure I did: why would the French want me? Anywhere? But after I tearfully called them on their sadism (“You asshats! No need to tease me with fake invitations. Not cool, France! Not even a little bit cool!”) and realized they were serious, I hesitated to take them upon their offer. (“Sweetie, I’ll miss your birthday when I’m in France but hey, turning thirteen is no big deal, except for millions of people it symbolizes the entrance into manhood and for millions of other people it’s cool because you’re finally a teenager...anyway, here’s five bucks. Buy yourself a wonderful card from me. Go nuts!”) In the end, I reluctantly (snigger) put the interests of my family aside and sprinted to the airport.
And it’s because of you, Reader. You put me in this chair. You put these French fries (I wanted to order something foreign...to celebrate being in France!) on my plate and the crème brulee (see above: foreign!) in my gullet. You put the kid in the trailer park, the girl who never went to college, smack in the middle of one of those most glamorous and cosmopolitan cities on the planet. If you were here, Reader, there’s a pretty good chance I’d kiss you on the mouth. And possibly offer you a French fry. (But no brulee. I haven’t entirely lost my senses. Mine, it’s mine!)
When Undead and Unwed was published in 2004, I had a SDJ (Stupid Day Job) I wasn’t especially fond of, a husband who worked long hours for the state and the city, a pre-schooler and baby to look after, a starter house to try and keep organized, and on a good die I’d squeeze in maybe ten pages of writing between cooking supper and going to bed myself. Fast forward eleven books later: we’re fortunate to own two homes, the pre-schooler has her driver’s license and the baby just turned thirteen, the SDJs are a thing of the past, and it’s the odd month I don’t fly somewhere to give a speech about writing, romance, the industry, or a combo of the three, and/or teach workshops on writing best-selling novels. And again: you put me here. My kids no longer have to study hard and pray for scholarships; now they can blow off finals and go to a party college!
Even the problems you bums have given me are great to have. I have to pay a ton of taxes. Even if my trip is paid for by the group in question, I spend money out of my own pocket to upgrade to 1st class because I’m a spoiled bitch. Correction: a spoiled tall bitch who craves leg room. Jet lag hit today and I fell on my face and died for four hours, which means it’s 11:00 p .m. here and I’m stone cold bright-eyed and awake. (I know, you want to smack me. I want to smack me! Hearing this litany of problems is making me itch. Fell on my face and died...in a chic cozy hotel room with fresh spring breezes coming through windows that actually open. Oh, the horror of it all.)
What else is there to say? Your hard earned money (and it is hard earned; I was without money much longer than I had disposable income, and even when the economy is great, which it ain’t, hard covers and paperbacks can be expensive) put me in France, in New York City, in Chicago and Australia and Orlando, in San Diego and Los Angeles and the middle of the Smoky Mountains. Book royalties have sent me all over the planet to meet readers, Betsy and the gang are published in fifteen countries, we’ve turned down movie deals (Disney’s a tough negotiator!), accepted other deals, and...well. You get it. You guys liked Betsy enough to keep reading her. Even if you weren’t sure what I was up to, you stuck with her, and the books. (And in Unstable, I think that tenacity will be rewarded. To put it simply: I hate sad endings for the sake of sad endings. And so I’d never write one.)
For someone paid to write, to communicate ideas to as many people as she can, I can’t think of a damn thing to say. I’ve got nothing. Except thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so so much. And may you and yours be as happy as me and mine, always.
Love, love, love,
Expected Publish Date: June 5, 2012
You can find MaryJanice Davidson here:
Blog ★ Twitter ★ Facebook
What’s really bothering Betsy is that ever since she and Laura returned from visiting her mom in Hell, Laura’s been acting increasingly peculiar. Maybe it’s Laura’s new job offer: as Satan’s replacement down under. Unfortunately, the position comes at a damnable price: killing Betsy, her own flesh-and-blood.
Over Betsy’s dead body. And for that matter Marc’s, too, since he’s not quite as buried as everyone thought. Now a war has been waged—one that’s going to take sibling rivalry to a whole new level, and a dimension where only one sister can survive.
**spoilers if you haven’t read Unfinished and Undermined, and one spoiler found within the first 40 pages of Unstable**
“Well done, my Queen.” Sinclair looked and sounded impressed. Which made me feel awful. I didn’t want to be logical and calm and smart. I didn’t want to grow into the talking ice sculpture that was Ancient Me. I wanted to be a flapping dumbass. I wanted to be the kind of person who was so dumb, when they played Russian Roulette they loaded all the chambers. I did not want to be smart. Not if it meant being her. Never, never her.
Sinclair seemed to read my expression pretty accurately, because he added, “I do not believe it. You could never hurt me, as I could never hurt you. I do not believe it.”
“You do, too!”
“Very well.” He instantly reversed course, the better to soothe you with, my dear. “I am not afraid.”
“Well, you would be if you’d been paying any attention the last five years.” I sniffed, comforted. “What are we going to do, Eric?”
“Truly things have come to a wretched pass.” He put his hands over his heart and made like he was going to swoon. “Calling me by my first name, almost as if we were husband and wife. The horror of it!”
“Shut your cake slot, Sink Lair.”
“Much better.” Weirdly, he did seem relieved.
“We’ll fix it, Betsy. Of course, I have no idea how . . .” Marc was stroking his chin and looking thoughtful. And Laura looked like she’d been given a death row reprieve. “But we will.”
“We absolutely will,” Laura agreed. “Betsy, I’m so sorry about keeping this from you . . . I couldn’t tell you. I thought I could fix it—head it off—if I kept the Book from you while I figured out what to do, but my mother jumped in with both feet and . . . and . . .”
“I don’t blame you, Laura.” Though in that moment with Sinclair I had forgotten she and Marc were even in the room. “I know you wanted to help. I shouldn’t have assumed you’d gone klepto out of spite.” I looked around the room at the glum faces. “C’mon, guys! It’s not the end of the world. At least, not yet.”
They obviously didn’t believe me, but were too polite to tell me to my face. So I forced brisk cheer into my tone, as much for my own sake as theirs. If I didn’t fake cheer, I was gonna go into some very real hysterics, possibly for several months.
“I’ll tell you what. We’re gonna fix this. And here’s the fun fact: I don’t give a tin shit how many laws we have to break or how much blood we have to drink. If we have to lie, we’re gonna do it.”
Marc was rubbing his temples and staring at the floor. “Time is a wheel.”
“Don’t start with the wheel . . . if we have to cheat, we’re gonna do it.”
He rubbed harder. “There’s something familiar about this . . .”
“As God is my witness, Sinclair will never be skinned again!”
“That is sweet, my own.” Which sounded sincere until Sink Lair lifted a hand to his mouth to turn his laugh into a cough (“Hee-hhmmphhhh!”) and then fake-cleared his throat. “I think I just fell in love with you all over again.”
“Gone with the Wind!” Marc shouted, leaping to his zombie feet. “You’re cribbing prose from the estate of Margaret Mitchell, you thieving whore!”
“Am not. And I am not a thief. Okay, I am. Who cares? Focus, Lazarus. We’ll fix it. It’s gonna be fixed. Okay?”
I forced a smile. They did, too, and their smiles were about as real as mine.