Saturday, May 28, 2011

In Which I Enter The First Page Contest

Title: Any Fae May Apply
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 90,000

I took stock of my injuries. I hadn't even been on the job a month and I had 14 bruises, a concussion, multiple cuts and abrasions, a broken arm, and now, a gunshot wound. Being a Tooth Fairy shouldn't be this hard.

It wasn't like I always wanted to be a Tooth Fairy. When you're a troll, jobs tend to fall into the three Bs. Bridges, bouncer, and bodyguard. Taking tolls at bridges is boring, and no one wants a girl as a bodyguard, which leaves bouncer, when I can get it. So I think Fate had a hand in my becoming a tooth fairy, though I didn't know it at the time…

…At the time, I thought it was a typical evening. The sun had set and it was safe for me to leave the library. I headed out for my nightly cuppa tea, when a shooting star raced across the sky.  I crossed my fingers to make a wish. It was a kid thing and I was too old for that now. How many times had I wished for friends? But I'd already crossed my fingers, it was too late now. I wished for something interesting to happen.

I walked in and out of the pools of light from the streetlights, the soft jingle of the silver charms on my pockets accenting each step. Sometimes car headlights would pick me out of the darkness, but I wasn't concerned. My glamour was up and I could pass for human.

Details for the contest here. Go! Enter!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Which I Show the Link Between Tooth Fairies and the Black Death

I know you've been torturing yourselves with wondering, since my last "secrets of the tooth fairies" post. How in the world are tooth fairies and the Black Death linked?

It's a long story. First, humans and the fae had been at war for a very long time. Humans were winning. They're better at killing, and they breed like rats*. The fae could see three options. Disappear into The Gloaming, make humans more like fae, or get better at killing humans. There was much debate (and it still hasn't been resolved) but finally a new fae was introduced. Oubliette, who had the power to kill humans with just a scratch. Oubliette (the tales aren't clear if Oubliette was one fae, a family of fae, or a new race) was incredibly good at her job. Humans were dropping like flies. They called it "The Black Death" and in later years humans wrongly assumed that it was a form of the bubonic plague.

The fae might have won the war, except for one thing. Oubliette did not discriminate between children and adults. Because fae take so long to have children, they are considered precious, and Oubliette's actions were horrific to the other fae. She argued that she didn't know they were children. That humans couldn't even tell the difference between children and adults, so how could she? The markers of adulthood (marriage, living on your own, etc) could happen to a human at any age. More debate and it was determined that once a child lost its "baby teeth" and adult teeth were growing in, it was no longer a child.

Oubliette took this to mean when a child lost its first baby tooth, and her kill rate didn't noticeably drop. Fae and humans finally signed a pact. If a human gave an offering of blood and bone to the fae, and received fae silver in exchange, they were promising not to harm the fae. They would be safe from Oubliette. Humans forget their pacts almost as soon as the ink dries, but they remember the important part, and give a child's first tooth to the fae. In exchange, fairy silver is left behind (which changes into what ever money the family expects to see.)

So, children are safe from Oubliette until they lose their first tooth. They are safe from Oubliette once they've given their first tooth to the tooth fairy and gotten money (or something) in exchange. But for that one night, the children are terribly vulnerable.

*This is why "rats" is a fae term for humans. Any fairy tale you've read, like The Pied Piper of Hamlin, that has rats in it, is really a fae story about humans killing fae.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In Which My Friend Has Big News

I'm putting off my post about what the Black Death had to do with the creation of tooth fairies in favor of this public announcement.

My friend over at The Word Counter has big news! Awesome news! Better than awesome news! Totally deserved and yet still awesome with awesome topping news! Go congratulate her :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In Which There is Another Awesome Contest

Shelley Watters is having another awesome agent pitch contest on her blog. Check it out, spread the word and enter!

This will be the first 250 words of your novel, and will be judged by Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates.

In Which My Husband Compares Me to Orson Wells

Last night I was stressing about Troll Wife (probably changing to Troll Maid). I've blended fact and fiction, and was worried that readers might think that some of the fiction was actually fact. Which I kind of want, but I also don't want people walking around blatently misinformed, either.

My husband said, "Well, you need to decide if you want to be Orson Wells or not."

I laughed and said, "I love you."

He smiled and said, "I love that you know what I'm talking about, without explanation."

For the record, yes, I want to be Orson Wells. Only, you know, without the panic and traffic jams.

Monday, May 16, 2011

In Which I Share When Tooth Fairies Were Created

JEFritz wanted to know when the tooth fairies were created. Tooth fairies first appeared in America in the 1920's. However, they didn't appear in print until the 1940's. Before that time a child's first tooth was either burned, buried, taken by mice or rats, thrown over the roof, tossed in a river, etc. Even in cultures where the tooth fairy doesn't exist*, these other methods are still used.

Basically, in almost all cultures all over the world, (but most heavily in countries that were affected by the Black Plague), a child's first tooth is ritually disposed of, and not just thrown out.

Why the connection to the Black Plague? I'll save that part for the next post :)

*Aunt Nancy, the head of the tooth fairies, wants to expand tooth fairies to those other cultures. Movies about tooth fairies may be a way for her to start expanding the territories of tooth fairies.

Friday, May 13, 2011

In Which I Share Secret Information About Tooth Fairies

After literally years of research, I can now say that I am an expert on Tooth Fairies. I've decided not to let all that research go to waste, so I'm going to start sharing Secrets of the Tooth Fairies.

The first secret is "tooth falling season". There are a couple of times a year when baby teeth, like tree leaves, fall. If you've lost a tooth during tooth falling season, and it's not your first tooth, the tooth fairy may take several nights to get to your tooth. Nothing personal, it's just that the priority is to protect those children that have lost their first tooth.

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about tooth fairies. If you don't ask, I'll share anyway :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Which I Have Thinks About Troll Wife

I have been giving some serious thought about my Troll Wife story. First, there are just too many people that only know the modern term of "wife". "Fish wife" and "ale wife" have disappeared from our language, and aren't likely to return, even if a troll runs around threatening everyone. :) I can't explain the term to every reader, and I'm afraid most readers (read agents) won't last long enough to get to her explanation of the term.

So, my first think is to call her something else. Troll Maid perhaps?

My second think is about the title. I'm toying with a subtitle. Something like, "My life beyond bridges, bouncers and bodyguards".

Lastly, I'm thinking about reworking her character. Don't get me wrong, I love Troll Wife and I love her story. I'm not going to change her age (19 in human years, 50 in troll years), but maybe I need to tweak her voice. Still snarky, defensive, but maybe remove some of the cynicism. I've met plenty of cynical 19 year old. Heck I am one (at least I'm 19 in my mind). But maybe she needs a more hopeful train of thought?

I'm not sure about this and I'm not going to start rewriting till I am sure. Why? Because in my experience, endless rewriting is easier to face than sending the story out in the world. I want to make sure that I'm rewriting for the right reasons. Fear and avoidance are not the right reasons :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

In Which There is a Contest

Shelley Watters over at Is It Hot In Here Or Is It This Book? Is having another contest. Comment on this post, and she'll do a 10 page critique of someone picked at random.

In Which Everything Old is New Again

My son has ADHD. He is distracted by anything shiny, or soft, or cats. He is delighted by many seemingly insignificant things. Over the weekend my family went to Jack in the Box. Michael was enchanted with the fact that they had new straws at Jack in the Box. Oh, and a crow that was outside on the grass.

Randy said, "I wish I had ADHD, so the world was constantly full of wonder."

We also had a talk about how many of the best and most interesting characters have ADHD. Steve Irwin. (Would he have gotten his own show, if he didn't have ADHD?). Ty Pennington. Doctor Who. Many of the most interesting characters in various books. Plucky sidekicks in many situations.

I think we love grownups with ADHD because they are so out there. When they're excited, they share that enthusiasim with everyone. They don't hold back, or think "I'm an adult, I should be calmer about this". They jump in without looking, think outside the box, and remind us of how wonderful things can be. On the down side, they share their enthusiasim with everyone, they don't hold back, they don't think "I'm an adult", and they jump in without looking. This can cause delightfully sticky situations for your characters.

Do you have a character that could benefit from a little (or a lot) of ADHD?