Okay, for real this time…Remember to Vote!

So, when I last posted, I did not know they were spreading out the first round of the tournament into sets, so I told everyone to vote when they literally couldn’t.


But now you can! Today only, from noon to midnight, you can vote for The Last Hour of Gann. Just go to dabwaha.com or click the dabwaha button in the sidebar to the right and vote! If I win this round, there will be other rounds, so consider this a practice run. Remember THIS is the vote that counts, so even if you think you already voted, if you didn’t do it today, March 21, between noon and midnight, it won’t be counted toward THIS ROUND.


Last I checked, I was 47% to Hero’s 53%, but it’s early yet. If I win this round, I will host a giveaway on my blog for a signed copy of my new book, The Land of the Beautiful Dead (coming soon!). If I don’t win…well, I guess I’ll lie in bed all day, watching MST3K and eating Girl Scout Cookies, just like I did when Heat failed to win me an award. I mean, I’ll live, but I’d sure be happier with a win. So be sure to vote and tell all your friends!

Don’t Forget To Vote!

The Last Hour of Gann is up for best sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal, so please head over to dabwaha.com and vote. Time is limited, just today and tomorrow (March 20-21) and please remember, this is a tournament, so even if you think you already voted, you have to do it again during this time period or it won’t count. (If Gann wins this round, you’ll even have to vote again! Isn’t this exciting?)

The Nominations are In!

Yesterday, I was notified that The Last Hour of Gann was a finalist in the DABWAHA Tournament! Behold!

Dear R. Lee,

Congratulations on being nominated for the DABWAHA, the tournament of romance novels run by The TBR LLC, Dear Author and Smart Bitches. We’re kicking off our tournament on March 23, when readers and authors can make their bracket selections, but the announced categories are available at Dabwaha.com. Currently, Last Hour of Gann has been nominated in the Paranormal/Scifi/Fantasy bracket.

Let the fine tradition of trash talking begin. Congratulations again!

Best of luck, Amanda

Yay for me! What does that mean, you ask? Don’t be embarassed, I had to ask too. DABWAHA stands for Dear Author Bitchery Writer Award for Hellagood Authors and every year, they nominate some books and run them in a kind of Month-that-rhymes-with-Larch Madness tournament. There’s still time for readers to nominate the People’s Choice Pick in each category, by the way, so click here to get in on that if you’ve read a really good book last year.

Anyhoo, The Last Hour of Gann was nominated in the category of Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction and as a self-pub with no marketing skills, I could use all the help I can get. So if you liked my book better than the others on the list, please pay attention to the tournament schedule and remember to vote as often as they’ll let you. Get your friends to vote. Shave your beard, change your name and vote again. Let’s Tamminy up the joint, but please, no trash talking. Some fine traditions deserve to die out.



Interspecies Relations Part Six

The last snippet from my Confluence 2003 Short Story Contest Entry!

* * *


Nix plucked at its stockings, fussed briefly with its garters and finally said, “We will make much honey, then.  This moon and every moon.  Yes.  Your daughter will be a good wife to me. And I will be a good wife to her.”

Hannah and her mother both snapped to rigid attention.  “Wife?” they yelped in unison.

Nix flinched, chittering.

Hannah’s mother recovered first, rounding on her daughter.  “Did it just say wife?” she demanded shrilly.  “I knew it!  I knew it when you cut your hair!  I told you it made you look like a lesbian and you rolled your eyes at me and now look at you!  Oh thank heaven your father didn’t live long enough to see his baby girl pitching for the other team!” She broke off there, grabbing at her chest. “You are pitching, aren’t you?  Hannah Winnifred Fuller, you look your mother in the eye and tell her that thing does not pitch in this relationship!”

Hannah had been experiencing a growing sense of unfettered doom.  Now, desperate, she flung her arms out and pasted on a huge, ridiculous-feeling grin.  “But hey!  Where are my manners?  Mom!  Let’s go chew up the cardboard!”

Nix perked up, stretching out its feeler-hands in a clumsy parody of human invitation.  “Yes!  To make pulp?  Yes?  Together?”

“You want me to eat cardboard?” her mother gasped, backing slowly towards the door.

“Oh, we’re not going to eat it,” Hannah said soothingly.  “We’re just going to spit it on the bed.”

Nix hopped a little closer, snapping her blood-bright mandibles in what it probably thought was an expression of optimistic goodwill.  “And then we mate.”

Mrs. Fuller smashed into the door twice before she managed to unlock it and run into the mob of reporters.

“Oh dear,” said Hannah.  She closed the door.

“Distress,” offered the translator as the Tharku washed its eyes.

“Listen, I’m…I’m really sorry about the things she said.”

Nix stretched out a feeler-hand and patted Hannah’s shoulder, as if for comfort.  “I understand this, my wife.  Mothers are the great Universal.  Yes.”  Nix patted her again, somewhat uneasily.

“Well,” said Hannah slowly, “I’m glad you understand.”

“Yes.”  The Tharku scratched again at its fishnet stockings and stood there, clicking nervously.  “Mine will arrive in six days.”

* * *

Re-reading this story has been like opening a time capsule for me. It was so tempting to rewrite and edit as I posted it here, but I restrained myself. Hopefully, you all (ya’ll? Do I still say ya’ll? Where is my copy of the Idiot’s Guide to Midwestern Patois?) enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s a pity I don’t have copies of the rest of the stories I submitted to fanzines and such lo those many years ago. Floods and fried computers have claimed much of my early writing, but if I come across anything else, would you like to read it here? Let me know what you think and I’ll try to come up with something else to post about next week!

Interspecies Relations Part Five

More from my Confluence 2003 Short Story Contest Entry!

* * *


Hannah and her mother stared at the alien’s legs.  Eventually, Nix contorted its chitanous body so it could look as well.  At last, and with difficulty, Hannah managed to wrench her eyes away only to clap her hands over them completely.  “Nix!” she wailed.

“Is it…not appealing?”  Nix’s feeler-hands twitched as though longing to wring together.  “Our research has indicated that appearance modifications such as these heightens sexual attraction among humans.”

Hannah heard her mother make a sound never before heard in nature.

A quiver ran along Nix’s antenna.  The Tharku scratched nervously at the stockings with its foreclaws.  “We Tharkan believe a strong sexual relationship is an important foundation to a lasting marriage.”

Hannah’s mother made the sound again.

Nix tried once more.  “I wish to begin this marriage with a pleasurable sexual exchange, yes?  It is the…moon of much honey?” Nix clicked uncertainly in Hannah’s direction.  “I presumed that to be a euphemism, yes?  Much honey?”

“Much honey,” Hannah moaned into her hands. “You got it, Nix.  All the honey.  God.”

“Yes.”  Reassured, Nix approached Mrs. Fuller with cautious bobbing and extended a feeler-hand.  “Perhaps you will wish to witness?  Yes?  No?”

Hannah’s mother said, “…” and pronounced it perfectly.

Interspecies Relations Part Four

More from my Confluence 2003 Short Story Entry!

* * *


Hannah briefly considered, but discarded, the highly attractive urge to fling herself out the bathroom window and escape.  She opened the door.

The inestimable Mrs. Henry Fuller stood bordered by Secret Service men in black suits.  Under her suspicious glare, Hannah found herself toeing the carpet, making up excuses and thinking of all the reasons she’d left home in the first place.

“Um, phone cut out.  Strangest thing.”

“Oh, just let me in before that crazy lady from Channel 5 takes my eye out with a microphone.”  Her mother dismissed her entourage with a royal wave and marched into the foyer.  Hannah shut the door.  Locked it.  Leaned against it.

“And I don’t know why you couldn’t just stay in your old apartment.  Not good enough for the bug, I suppose.  Had to have his own little dung ball to roll around.”

Hannah scowled at the door, wishing she dared to answer that.  The truth was, the Tharku emissaries had in fact refused to allow X’sizza’’ryk’n’a’’a’nix to live in the middle layer of a citizen hive.  There had been discussions concerning a penthouse suite until the aliens learned that even those living on the top floor still had to obey the building supervisors.  Hence the house. Which was a very nice house in an intimidatingly upscale community, with all the things that should have made her mother very happy, like a heated pool and a walled garden and even a meditation room, but if she brought them up, she knew her mother would eventually twist them around and get her to admit that yes, she only had them because Nix’s people had insisted, and that made the Widow Fuller’s only chick and child a kept woman. To a bug.

Mrs. Fuller had her hands on her hips, the better to survey the meager lump of Hannah’s possessions strewn among the great heaps of Tharkan furnishings.  “All right, where is it?” she demanded.  “I brought fly paper.”

“Mom!” Hannah groaned.

“Well, you’d better get used to it.  These are the problems you let yourself in for when you marry a bug.”

“Don’t talk like that in front of Nix.  We’ve both had a hard day, and –”

You’ve had a hard day!  Did you see your daughter on the morning news coming out of the courthouse after getting married to an alien? A courthouse, Hannah! You weren’t even wearing white and the whole world saw it!”

“—and,” Hannah continued resolutely, “you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with your alien in-laws.  Nix comes from a very high-ranking family.  Only the ambassador has more authority here on Earth.”

“Well, they’ve already carried off my firstborn, I fail to see what more they could oh my god!”

Hannah considered the expression of horror as it manifested on her mother’s face, took a deep breath, and turned around.  Nix was striding towards them from the bedroom, waving its antenna and bobbing its head in cheerful greeting.  Its mandibles had been painted fire-engine red with lipstick, and it was wearing a lace-edged apron and two sets of fish-net stockings.