Showing posts from 2005

Happy New Year!

"Dontcha just love New Year's? You get to start all over. Everybody gets a second chance." -- Otherwise Twit-like Girl, FORREST GUMP Best description of New Year's ever, in my humble opinion. And we all have our resolutions (or our resolve not to do resolutions). It's a time of reflection. At least until the champagne pours. As always, I am grateful for my wonderful readers, for those in this group and the teeming hundreds elsewhere that do me the honor of paying me for my words. It's a miracle that never ceases to amaze me, and one that I hope will always leave me humbled. Without you guys, I'd just be talking to myself. I hope the very best for you all in the coming year. May you have health, happiness and the fellowship of your loved ones. And if any of these fall short... it can always be worse. Just think, you could be a character in one of my books.

Richest Man in Town

I admit it: I cried like a little girl. The end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Seen so many times it’s like a cliché. It’s the hokey ending that solves all the problems in one beautiful bow, the sort of thing that never happens in real life. From his barstool on “Cheers,” Norm (George Wendt) even grouses that during the many times in his life he’s been in trouble, no one ever came to his door with a sackful of cash to bail him out. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is certainly dated, if that is a crime. It has its flaws of logic and characterization – for all Mary’s strength and self-assuredness in the original timeline, where is it in the alternate timeline? Are we to assume that her strength came only from her husband, when she certainly showed it long before she became Mrs. George Bailey? Is it logical that the good people of Bedford Falls would have become a seedy crowd of rabble-rousing drunkards without a Building and Loan? While loss and grief would certainly change a person, is it likely

New Book!

Coming next month: SETTING SUNS, an anthology of twilight tales. A nightmarish funhouse turned deadly. A couple trapped in a futile journey through time. A single baleful eye watching from the deep. An assassin waiting in a snow-covered tree. A pair of soldiers trapped between death and something worse. These are the tales and terrors of Elizabeth Donald, award-winning author of the Nocturnal Urges vampire mystery series. These stories and more are contained in this volume of terrifying twilight tales. In that space between evening and nightfall, between consciousness and sleep, the moment when the light fades and the shadows take over... These are the lands of the Setting Suns. "The stories in SETTING SUNS are imbued with a haunting lyricism, but frequently there are moments of pure terror that arrive like a devastating punch to the gut. Donald's is one of the strongest and freshest new genre voices out there." --Bryan Smith, author of House of Blood and Deathbringe

Review: Crone's Moon (M.R. Sellars)

Sellars does it again. If you haven't discovered the Rowan Gant mystery series, hie thee hence to your local bookstore and demand it. Get your hands on this series. You will have to read them in order, but you won't mind in the slightest. This series never fails to be a page-turning, heart-thumping read, and CRONE'S MOON delivers once again. So who is M.R. Sellars? He wrote the first Rowan Gant mystery, HARM NONE, and tried to sell New York on the idea of a practicing Wiccan as the detective. New York was... New York. Thus the series went to the small press, and thank Goddess. :) (And if I have to put in my usual disclaimer that Wicca does not equal Satan-worshipping, I will thump you.) Rowan Gant faces another serial killer in CRONE'S MOON, but more than any previous book, he's facing the killer on the mystical plane instead of the flesh-and-blood world of police forensics. Sellars always has the note of realism in his police procedurals, but with this book Gant

a brief fangirl pause: subtext in Stephen King books vs. movies

This originated with a discussion on the Stephen King bulletin board hosted by his publisher, examining why King's books have been hit-or-miss in the theaters, while J.K. Rowling's are nearly universally loved. It's a hard comparison because Rowling is writing one series, and King has written a great variety of works in several universes. But that never stops me from shooting off my mouth. I think King's movies have always been hit or miss because of the filmmaker's preconceptions. Unlike many horror authors, King's books are about one thing on top - usually a googly monster - and something far more serious underneath. Examples: 1. CUJO is about a rabid St. Bernard on top... and about the strains of failing marriages underneath. 2. IT is about a shape-shifting evil on top... and about the strength of childhood imagination and friendship underneath. 3. THE SHINING is about a haunted hotel on top... and about alcoholism as a personal demon underneath. 4. SALE

a man of the cloth

John Sentamu is now the first black archbishop in the Church of England. (Brief organizational pause: The Church of England is the British part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the American part. So Sentamu is part of the greater communion, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but not a direct superior to us Yanks. Got it? Good. I have a chart with colored pushpins if you need it.) At first I was nervous, because Sentamu is from Uganda. Why such a reaction? It's the African bishops who have raised the most hell - pardon the expression - about we pesky Americans ordaining a gay bishop. But Sentamu seems to be one of the good guys, as much as you can tell from newspaper accounts. Born the sixth of 13 children, he survived childhood illness and a famine to become a Ugandan barrister and judge. In the 1970s, he publicly criticized the Amin regime and was forced to flee Uganda for the U.K. He studied theology at Cambridge, and intended to return to Uganda


I've started a new book. It's the third book in the NOCTURNAL URGES series, and so far I'm more excited about it than anything in years. It's the book that will transition the series out of erotic thrillers into straight horror. And we're starting with a bang. Literally. It occurs to me that I really should be recording my thoughts as I work on this book. Here's what I've done to date: MONDAY, NOV. 28 1,460 words Got through the prologue. Don't like it. Will fix later. Got into the Christmas party. Loved it. Everyone's dancing. Everyone's happy. Hail hail the gang's all here. It helps to have smart family - I needed Ryan to reference some kind of music popular at the end of the nineteenth century, but not fussy parlor music that he (as a member of the vampire underclass) would not have heard much. So I called my mother, classical music professor as she is, and within an hour she had half a dozen suggestions. Thanks Mom. For the record,

Our Town

Sometimes you don't realize you've found a happy little liberal enclave until you see it in the PTA. Yesterday the Buzz Book arrived. It's the annual phone directory at my son's school, compiled by the matriarchy of the PTA. You can opt out if you're paranoid, but most of us choose to participate. That way when somebody is crazy enough to invite the entire class to a birthday party or they need volunteers for Open House or you want to set up a play date, people can find you. I've always been happy with the Buzz Book, because unlike many other parent listings I've seen, they have a space for the parent's full name. I can't tell you how often I was "Mrs. Smith" when my son was in preschool, simply because they didn't have a space for my last name. So I was flipping through the Buzz Book, noting the phone numbers for Kiddo's little friends. I scanned his class list, and saw that while 3/4 of his classmates have a mom and dad, ther

How To Survive a Horror Movie

I have learned my survival skills from horror movies, the residents of the Stephen King Bulletin Board and my own father, Dr. Ralph Donald, who once wrote a tongue-in-cheek article applying the laws of Darwin to horror flicks: i.e., the stupidest die before they can reproduce. Therefore, I bring to you the 2006 edition of THE RULES: What You Can Do to Save Yourself and/or The World. First off, JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, ANYWAY? If your name isn't one of the first two in the credits, you WILL die. If you have the biggest boobs, you WILL die. If you're stupid enough to investigate that strange noise, you're deserving of a particularly gruesome death. If you are the one playing hard to get and don't bump uglies, you will probably be safe. Chances are, either the hitchhiker or the driver is criminally INSANE. If you're the sane one, get out of the car. Even if it's moving. If you are the CEO of a corporation that has polluted the water/soil/air of

Venerating Our Symbols

I love the Onion. Parody news is barely distinguishable from real news these days, and the Onion skewers everyone with equal fervor. After all, when CNN runs stories about a cat with two tongues and the internet is abuzz because Camilla wore one of the Queen's tiaras... You get the drift. I personally believe the White House should have much more important things to do than bug the Onion about using the presidential seal. I mean, we've got an unwinnable Vietnam - er, Iraq, a hopelessly unqualified Supreme Court nominee, plummeting approval polls, ghastly gas prices while oil companies post double-digit profit margins, those pesky grand jury investigations of the Vice President's office and half the Republican leadership posing for mug shots. By the way, there's terrorists on their way to kill YOU, and remember Osama bin Laden? The guy who blew up 2,000 Americans? Of course not. Nobody else does. There's also First Amendment issues. I do not believe our symbols s

Leggo My Ego!

The following is an essay written for the Writers' Circle, a group to which I have belonged since 2001. It was my turn to inspire them. Poor souls. Note: the group is based on, a writers' community online. LEGGO MY EGO! I'm sitting in front of my laptop. It mocks me with its cool white iMac grace. It's ready to receive my brilliance and disseminate it to the universe. Meh. Instead, I turn to iChat and dial up my dear friend Frank Fradella. Frank is the author of VALLEY OF SHADOWS, SWAN SONG, DEAD THINGS and other terrific tomes. He's the publisher of New Babel Books and CyberAge Adventures Magazine and has his fingers in all sorts of interesting pies. He's been slugged by Harlan Ellison, man. That's a quasi-elite club. ME: It's my turn to write an inspiring essay on writing for the Writers Circle, and I'm empty. I already used my Mozart speech on them the last time. FRANK: Talk about the importance of ego. ME: Mine or theirs? F

Supernatural, episode 1:2

SUPERNATURAL episode 1:2 Previously on Supernatural, the whole series happened. Da Boyz had a mom and a dad, only something killed Mom in a burst of flame and Dad went on a decades-long crusade to find out what, only now Dad’s disappeared. Also, the younger brother’s girlfriend died in a burst of flame Just Like Mom. The younger brother looks like Ashton Kutchner, so that’s what I’m calling him. The older one is played by the actor who played Tackling Dummy (a less-than-bright assistant football coach) on SMALLVILLE last year. We are now in Lake Manitoc, Wisconsin. I happen to know this episode is being aired out of order, so we’ll give the WB an honorary Fox Award for stupidity and pretend that the itinerary for the Brothers Grimm makes sense. Oh, come on. It was that or call them Sculder and Mully. We’re in some Wisconsin house, and either my VCR has taped this really badly or it is super-nasty-dark. Considering this is a cheerful, well-lit kitchen and I know how dark this show

Veronica Mars 2:1

VERONICA MARS, Episode 2:1 Previously, everything happened. Veronica is hostess at a coffee shop. Okay, why does a coffee shop need a hostess? I mean, she’s showing the nubile teens to nearby couches. I’ve never seen such a thing. Veronica Voiceover is telling us she’s been working on having a normal life. Uh huh. That’s gonna happen. A yutz comes up to tell her he failed the drug test and he’s off sports, but he’s been clean 10 months. Veronica says she’s retired from the snooping business. Yutz snips at her that she’s back with the ‘09ers. She glares, and he slinks off. A slinky brunette tells Veronica her father is on TV. He’s written a book about Lily’s murder with a New York Times reporter. Brunette says, “Your dad’s hot,” and Veronica gives her an Oedipal stink-eye. Flashback to the big night. Veronica opens the door, and says her line: “I was hoping it would be you.” But Logan (I knew it) is standing facing away from her, and he’s in shadow. Her face changes when he turns

Our Town

Wednesday was Our Town's homecoming parade, and my son and I were there, along with half the town. His former principal waved happily to my boy - calling him by name, for heaven's sake. Is it a good thing that the principal can remember his name? My son was jumping up and down with excitement when the marching band's drum corps came by. The superintendent waved to me - he knows me pretty well, I've harrassed him often enough on the job. And how can you not love a public high school with an Anime Club? It's always in October that I am reminded of how lucky we are to live here. It starts with the homecoming parade, and the folks setting up their camp chairs along Main Street to cheer on the teams that seem younger every year. ("They're not getting younger, I'm afraid. Something else is happening there," said The Tenor at church this morning, with an evil wink. "Shush. I'm in denial," I replied.) It's not so much that any of us ca

Commander in Chief, Episode 1:2

It's a brand new season, folks. Time for the recaps! Not quite TWoP-worthy, but my personal thoughts while watching the best (and some of the worst) TV has to offer. COMMANDER IN CHIEF 1:2 I was running a little late, so I missed half the eulogy for the late Prez. It was given by Speaker Bastard, so I’m not crying. He skates right up to dissing Mac, which is what I’m calling President Mackenzie Allen. I reiterate my wish that The Bastard wasn’t quite so obviously a black hat, but since he’s a SMART black hat, he’s an entertaining black hat, and therefore he can stay. He’s not quite up to Lionel the Magnificent Bastard of SMALLVILLE, but then this show also lacks the HoYay. And Kryptonite. Limo. The First Fam talks about which Veep to appoint, and the First Gentleman tells the kids they have to keep family business private now. I know he’s the First Gentleman because the subtitles told me, and that’s going to get real old, real fast. The subtitles, not his amusing title as First


Okay, folks, let's suppose that an anthology of my short stories could possibly be coming out soon. Like, next year. What should said anthology be called? The short stories were all written in 2000-2003, and share a Twilight-Zone type of fatalistic tragedy. None have truly happy endings; most have fairly tragic ones. If you've come to my readings at cons, you've heard the lead story, SISYPHUS. What? The contest part? Here's the catch: You have to be a member of my YahooGroup. It's easy and free: go to and sign up. I won't be offended if you go for the digest or special-notice format - we're a fairly low-mail group, but I understand how spammed you folks can get. Suggest a title on the Yahoogroup. Of the top five (decided by me), I will run a poll. The winner will receive a free comb-bound copy of A MORE PERFECT UNION, or may elect to wait and receive a free copy of the anthology when it is published. I can'

another nail in the coffin Judith Miller gave in. No, I don't particularly like Miller. And I don't think the story should have run in the first place. So blame Bob Novak, since he ran with it like the good Administration lapdog he is. After that, ignoring the story would have been criminal. Miller never wrote a story, yet spent three months in jail. So now, whistleblowers will see that even sources who are FOR the Administration will be outed once someone issues a subpoena, so telling the press about the evil being done behind closed doors BY the Administration will mean jail or worse. If Nixon were president today, he'd be in no danger whatsoever.

an annoying commercial interruption

"But I don't like ebooks! I'll wait for the paperback." Heard it a hundred times. Yeah, sometimes an ebook just doesn't do it. But you don't have to wait for the paperback, which could be a year or more in the future. I am offering a 9x12 comb-bound printed copy of A MORE PERFECT UNION for $20. That is the actual cost of printing, plus the cover price of the book and includes shipping and handling. I am required by my publisher to charge the full amount. Sorry, folks. The book has a full-color cover and is printed exactly as it appears in the ebook. These were quite popular with the first book, NOCTURNAL URGES, which is also still available for $16. If you're interested, please contact me at Paypal, checks and money orders are accepted, but keep in mind your book will not be ordered until the money is in hand. Sorry, but I don't have the cash flow to front you. Of course, the eBook is available direct from Ellora's C