||21. Baby Makes Three
This one gave
me a hell of a hard time getting started. I almost gave up on it. But I'm
glad I didn't, because it turned out really fun once I got an angle on
I'd had a scene
sitting around ever since I finished Ever After, in which Demona goes to
the OB-GYN for a checkup, and I'd joked with some people about what labor
would be like for MacBeth. But every time I tried to turn it into a story,
I'd get stuck.
And then I decided
to cross over with ER. At once, everything fell into place and from then
on it was easy as could be. Poor Carter having to deal with an apparently
injured-then-healed MacBeth, Doug Ross checking out the Weird Sisters ...
Needing a reason
to get them sent to the ER in the first place, I introduced Bryce Canmore,
and hot on his heels was Orpheus Bluestone. Until I wrote this one, I had
no idea Matt and Eurydice were going to have a kid. Bryce's remark about
his father killing Orph's father was one of those things that just happens
and spawns its own storyline.
Title: It was
almost "Here Comes Demona With a Baby Carriage" but that was too long,
so I just chose something a little more manageable.
Never before in history had a man known just what it was to give birth.
22. Mother's Day
Another of my
favorites. I had not written much with Fox, but the idea of exploring more
of the relationship between her and her mother was appealing (and partly
triggered by a mailing-list discussion about the fates of New Yorkers during
Oberon's sleep spell).
Then some things
occurred to me -- Demona and Titania had quite a lot in common, and had
probably met before back in the time of Shakespeare (I just know I am eventually
going to have to write something
set in Elizabethan England). Their conversation over brunch was one I greatly
It was time for
Jericho to make his debut. Even then, I never expected he would turn out
quite so bad. I knew Demona was going to corrupt him, turn him against
humanity the way she failed to do with Goliath and Angela, but I had no
idea he would get that bad! Honest!
In an RPG a few
years back, I did a mean thing to the players and trapped them in the fairy
realm for what they thought was a week. When they emerged, twenty years
had passed in the outside world, and their own children had grown up. One
of the NPCs, a woman of odd psyche named Raven (someday, there will be
fantasy novels starring her), found herself falling in love with her own
So that probably
set the groundwork for the direction the Demona and Jericho story developed.
Given the gargoyle way of looking at things, they weren't inclined to see
each other as mother and son -- Demona's
attitude on the whole subject seems more possessive than parental anyway,
even in her dealings with Angela -- and were of the same apparent age.
Once Demona noticed that Jericho, who was mateless and none too pleased
about it, found her attractive, she certainly wouldn't be above using that
to help her attain her goal of absolute
case of the obvious.
"It is my intention to get ... what do they call it? ... shitfaced." "To
the Dragon with Goliath and what he will or won't allow!"
I am at heart
a matchmaker, and nothing tickles me more than bringing characters together.
It was time to mess with Beth Maza's life. And there was never a question
in my mind who the perfect candidate was. It made for sort of the flip
side of the Jericho thing -- Coyote isn't related to Beth, but looks
just like a younger version of her father, which adds a forbidden spice.
Speaking of spices,
I was planning to introduce the three identical humans with links to the
Weird Sisters in this one, and I was going to call them Pepper, Ginger,
and Saffron. But then I came to my senses, realizing they'd be the Spice
Girls and I would probably barf all over my keyboard. I had prophesied
the "Archmage's curse" in Mother's Day when I introduced Gabriel's three
mates and it was on my mind nagging me because it was one of those things
that wrote itself and I had no clue where it was going to lead.
Anyway, I thought
better of it, thankfully, and just focused on Beth and Coyote. Wild, carefree
outdoor sex with a hint of Native American mythos (of which, admittedly,
I know next to nothing).
Title: was originally
going to be "Mark of the Coyote," to go along with Mark of the Panther
and to refer to Beth's cute little tattoo. But I didn't like it. So I wracked
my poor overheated excuse for a brain until
I came up with Whirlwind. A whirlwind romance, a guy who travels via dust
devil ... it worked for me.
"My, my, Maza, look what you've got."
24. Lost and Found
I used to not
like stories that didn't involve the main clan or characters. I avoided
reading fanfic that was only based on Gargoyles but had whole other
clans in whole other places with little or no connection to the actual
show. Call me a snob, I know, I know.
So it kinda troubled
me when I would get requests from readers for "more about Aiden," for instance,
or other of my own characters.
But I finally
decided I would take a stab at writing a story set mostly completely apart
from the clan yet still connected to it. I watched the Avalon episodes
and, as I'd already had Mary and Finella wash up near Castle Wyvern in
the 1970's, got to wondering what would happen if they'd had a stowaway
form of a misplaced egg. An egg which would,
thanks to the peculiarities of Avalon time, only be of an age equivalent
to a human pre-teen.
was right around here that Christi Smith-Hayden
introduced her Little Blessings, and got me thinking about hatchlings
and what it would be like trying to raise a gargoyle on your own.
I loved writing
about Angus, the way he wailed with a piece of shell still pasted to his
nose, the way he'd lay on the floor
to drink milk from an old hot water bottle. And, like every new parent
can attest, the idea of a kid that
sleeps through, solid as a rock, for hours on end, is a veritable dream!
This one is a
sad story but also weirdly uplifting, at least it is for me. Here's this
woman, Eihblin Driscoll, who has
lost everything. Her husband, her son, her brother. She's alone in the
world with no one to love, no one
to care for. And then she finds an egg, which fills that emptiness.
Title: again fairly
obvious; his egg had been lost and now was found, but also Eibhlin's purpose
and lease on life.
She could see the tiny wings sticking up over the edge of the nestlike
shark fins as the creature moved and struggled.
25. Love Machine
This is the second-tackiest
thing I've ever written, but
this one, I'm also insanely proud
In my circle of
acquaintances ... and this is gonna come
as a huge shock to you all, I'm sure ...
I am the dirty-minded
wicked one. On one occasion, the gang decided
to buy an
inflatable sheep as a gag gift for a friend,
and I was the only
one who dared go into the shop (Lover's
Package; and as it
happened, it wasn't a matter of me having
to dare to go ...
hell, I had a punch card!).
I was also at
one time going to become a home-lingerie-
party saleswoman. Like Tupperware, only
lots more fun, going
around to parties selling naughty nighties,
potions & lotions, sex
toys, etc. But then I got pregnant (not
as a direct result, might I
add) and since I had evening sickness
instead of morning
sickness, it kind of took the fun out of
going to such parties. Not
to mention that it would send a weird message
when it came time to write the story
of Goliath and Elisa's bachelor/ette parties,
it was no contest at
all. In fact, much of Love Machine is autobiographical
Victoria, with drag queens followed by
strippers, is based on a
place in Portland where my friends took
me for my
Yes, all of the
merchandise Fox shows to Xanatos really
does exist. No, I do not own all of it.
No, I won't tell which ones.
Yes, there are
places that make cakes like that: the one here
in Seattle is called "The Erotic Bakery"
and the things they can
do with marzipan would curl your hair (in
my defense, I could
say that I only go there because it's the
only place in town to
buy those "Darwin fish," but I doubt such
a statement would be
I am sometimes
asked if I have ever gone too far in
fanfic. And I have to say yes. The end
of this story is too much.
When Jackal's extendo-thingie wraps around
Fox's neck ... too
I really disliked
Jackal and Hyena after Upgrade. I
thought they became way too comic-booky,
too far removed
from realistic (I thought about writing
a naughty Inspector
Gadget crossover but since I've never watched
that one, I
doubted I could manage). But anyway, that's
why I presented
Jackal in the most ludicrous possible light.
This gave me the
chance to introduce Godiva (inspired
in a roundabout way by Galatea from my
third-ever fanfic, the
ST:TNG one called "Fully Functional"),
and to do fun things such
as get Owen plastered and basically show
off their shoes and having a good time.
It was written
extremely fast. Like Kittens, this one
just wrote itself, and was a
smooth, delightful ride all the way through.
Some brave souls
have asked me what the rest of the
joke is, the one that we only hear the
punchline, "all I got was
hand lotion." It is a real joke, so feel
free to e-mail me if you
want it in its full gross glory ; )
Title: this one
was a pain in the butt! I couldn't come up
with anything I liked. I was going to just
call it "His and Hers,"
because it was about his party and hers.
But I hated it. The
story was almost done and still had no
title. Then I was saved
by the radio. Saturday Night Fever,
Star 101.5. I walked into
work that night, got shift report and did
my paperwork, and sat
down to try and write while in the lobby,
the residents were
gettin' down to the disco music. And then
... the song began, that
five-beat followed by "I'm just a love
machine, and I don't work
for nobody but you ..." and I leaped up
and screamed in joy!
All of them ...
26. The Wedding
temptation, I decided to be nice to
Goliath and Elisa, and let them have a
perfect wedding. No
interruptions, no laser fire, no attacks,
just a sweet and
And I got to use
what I think is one of my best opening
lines ever: "Aunt Agnes, this is Goliath."
That line is like
dropping a cherry bomb in an outhouse ...
you just hold your
breath and wait for the explosion. But
then, to have further fun,
I didn't bring on the explosion the way
Rather than go nuclear, Aunt Agnes starts
getting on Goliath's
case about not being gainfully employed.
I love it!
Having been so
nice to Goliath and Elisa all through the
wedding, then I got mean and gave them
their first almost-spat,
their guilt-and-longing disagreement about
children. This was to
make it have even more impact when they
Instead of seeing her as an abomination,
she represents their
hope made real.
took a long time and choked me up.
He's normally so undemonstrative that to
have him do that,
express his feelings in front of everyone,
was a big step.
The goblet they
use -- we have one, a gift from Tim's
parents, two that fit together to make
one. It was so neat that I
had to include it.
there was never a question of what to call it.
"Does changing diapers cross your eyes, mister Goliath?" and His tuxedo
exploded off of him in shreds ...
27. Fallen Angels
I am not at all
in touch with popular music. I listen to
classical, with occasional forays into
the mid to late 1980's.
Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Stray Cats,
Duran Duran ... those are my
bands. I'm officially an old fart because
I hear music nowadays
and don't get it, don't see what "kids
today" see in it.
So, when I made
Scarlet Angel, I knew they were
destined to be exceedingly minor players
in my universe. Yet,
much to my surprise, although they'd only
appeared in one
story and been mentioned in a few others,
they had gotten
something of a following. People were sending
Asking me if they sounded more like (some
band I'd never
heard of) or (some other band I'd never
It was weird.
And it made me feel bad, because here's
all these people liking them, when all
along I'd planned to kill
Did I let that
stop me? Nope.
I am, as I've
said before, a wuss about killing characters.
I didn't want to give Julianna, Aquarius,
and the others the "Vito
treatment." Not just quick-boom-over. I
wanted to make Ebon
suffer, and I wanted to show just how much
Jericho had been
twisted by Demona's expert psychological
This story mostly,
though, came about because I'd gotten
this idea in my head about Demona seducing
then changing halfway through the act.
Like many ideas, it
wasn't going to die out on its own. I had
to write it. But how to
make it fit? That's how I came up with
the memory-drug angle,
and Gustav Sevarius (who is one of my all-time
Now, it stands
to reason that the clones were given
those L.A. area names was because that's
where Disney is
located. But why would Demona choose
Unless she'd spent some time there. Sigh
-- there's another story
I'll have to write someday. At the time,
I was reading "They
Thirst," by Robert McCammon (one of the
best vampire novels
ever) and it is set in L.A. so I
borrowed its brooding horror-
By this point,
I was realizing that Jericho was much
more than I'd bargained for. His ... "solo
scene," shall we say ...
proved that. And proved how Demona was
getting caught in
her own game.
He had totally
taken on a life of his own, and between
him and Gustav, I had more villains than
I knew what to do
with (and here I was planning to have Thailog
go bad again ... I
wound up having him focus his revenge solely
meaning. It chronicles Jericho's fall from
grace (his first deliberate murders and
other assorted sins and
evils). It is also about Demona, how far
will she fall to achieve
her ends? And of course Scarlet Angel,
who now number
among the fallen ...
What would he do, she wondered, if he could see her like this? Would he
flee from her in shame, or fall upon her with a frenzied lust?
Elaine Kristen is back! I used to play
the occasional superhero RPG, and she was
the annoying nosy
28. Lead Me Not ...
waterfight is one of my favorite
scenes (and even includes a none-too-subtle
plug for my own
I had been accused
of having all my female characters
be sexually assertive and multi-orgasmic.
To which I replied
with great blinking innocent eyes, "Are
you telling me that's
not the way it is for everyone?"
But it wasn't
an inaccurate point, and certainly one that I
had to take into consideration when it
came time for Aiden and
Lex to go all the way. Because if there
is any character who is
the antithesis of sexually assertive and
multi-orgasmic, it's gotta
be Aiden. This time, I had to craft a scene
that was fraught with
adolescent awkwardness, haste, guilt, and
fear of being caught.
This story took
a lot more planning than I usually do,
because instead of only involving a few
characters, I had
everybody running around doing stuff. For
as long as it is, it
wound up surprisingly fast-paced and I'm
pleased with my
action scenes (something that usually gives
I got to have
a blast with Birdie, from her brazen visit to
the men's room to her theft of Elisa's
car to her Speedy
Gonzales impression -- in fact, it was
here that Birdie's talent for
mimicry first showed up. This also marked
the first appearance
of 23rd Precinct studmuffin Rick Alvarez
(who is based on a
character Tim played in my last game, Rick
Avery; I have
written quite a few stories about Rick
and his previous
incarnation, Sir Richard). And I
introduced Broadway to
Elektra. Whew. I was busy.
All that and killer
this was to be called "Dark Side," and
Demona was to try and recruit Aiden with
promises of power,
ya know, "come over to the dark side, Aiden."
But I just couldn't
do it. Aiden is too damn nice! She
didn't have a dark side!
The more I wrote, the less the title fit.
Then I got to the part
where Demona supposedly rescues Aiden from
kidnappers, and it reminded me of how she
tried the same
thing on Brooklyn. So I recycled the same
dialogue from that
episode, and used the title "Lead Me Not
..." because the rest of
the quote is " ... into temptation," which
was the name of the
episode ; )
"What bees these mortals fool." and "Uh ... what's this part about a 'chaste
A bunch of little
ideas were cluttering my head, so I
found a common thread, tied them all together,
them as a story in three sections.
The first, Girl
Talk, came about because I'd gotten some
pleas from readers for more Brooklyn. When's
to get lucky? Which is something I'd been
meaning to do, but
hadn't come up with any good ideas (though
there was one
about Angela seducing him while he's in
the driving simulator; I
don't know if that one will ever happen,
maybe, who knows?
<g>). I get tired of writing the same
kind of sex over and over, so
I am always trying to experiment with different
acts. And I've always felt that those little
talons up on top of
their wings can be used for something ...
The second, Fairy
Favours, continued this theme of
experimentation -- the question had been
raised as to whether
or not the Third Race viewed/had sex the
same way as
mortals. I wanted to get Puck's point of
view, especially as until
Aiden cast her spell, both Puck and Owen
It was also a chance to take a look into
Owen and Cordelia's
The last section,
First Date , had to be done because I'd
let Preston Vogel and Robyn Canmore meet
at Goliath and
Elisa's wedding and figured they better
go out before too long. I
didn't have a very good feel for either
character, though, and
don't really like my finished product.
Though I did like the
exchange between Robyn and her brother
John, and the
appearance of Bryce's mother Brianna.
Title: half the
people who sent feedback about this one
made some remark about a certain Kathleen
Turner / Michael
Douglas movie ; )
"Owen? You might want to change clothes first. There's a peanut-butter
clawprint on your --"
30. Playing God
Ever get in a
mood where you feel like making
Ever try to take
the most implausible thing you can
think of and make it work?
Those two factors
made this story. I took the utterly
absurd idea of bringing the computerized
mind of Anton
Sevarius (saved on disk ever since Kittens)
and having him
possess a robotic exotic dancer. It should
not have worked.
Sevarius as Godiva? Everyone I told about
it before I released it
thought I'd lost my last marble. Yet, somehow,
testimony to my phenomenal skill <g>,
it worked just dandy!
who has the biggest God complex I've
ever seen, I always seem to wax Biblical
(as in Sins of the
Father). Not easy, given that I know so
little about it. I had to
struggle quite a bit to make that pillar
of salt business come off
Side note -- Shari
later told me that there actually is a
saltwater purification plant, how about
that? And here I thought
I was just making it up so I would have
some excuse to get that
salty goopy residue!
I feel bad about
Claw ... poor guy has been in a coma
ever since Jericho slammed his head into
the concrete. And
here I was trying to show a nicer side
of Jericho by having him
spare Maggie and the kids, too ... I was
trying to set up for his
eventual reaction to Elisa's pregnancy,
but it would eventually
not work out exactly as I'd planned (this
was back when I
thought Jericho might still be redeemable,
The opening scene
with Sevarius regaining his form of
consciousness owes a lot to a John Saul
Title: Yep, ol'
Anton's playing God again, and also
playing God-iva ; )
Fang's -- "Helloooo, Nurse!," and "Do I get
fries with that shake?", and Gustav's --
"You look like Succubus
Barbie," and "The words for which you are
Jericho, are homina-homina-homina."
31. On the Rocks
What's the deal
with this one? Why was it removed?
Who is Spider Robinson, and why did he
make you take it
These are some
of the most frequent questions I get. So
here is the deal:
is an author who has, among many
other works, written a fabulously funny
series of books and
short stories revolving around a bar called
Callahan's Place. His
motto is that shared pain is lessened,
shared joy increased, and
he comes up with some of the most appalling
puns anyone has
ever or will ever read. In his bar, there
have been aliens, time
travelers, transvestites, talking dogs,
telepaths, immortals, a
refugee from a mirror universe, and a bunch
of good people
who take it all in stride.
I set myself to
a challenge -- could I write a crossover
that would do justice to the flavor and
feel of Spider's stories?
What would happen if I dropped a gargoyle
(literally; leaving a
hole in the roof) into the bar? It was
because the bar is located in New York
I decided to give it
a try. With the help of a book called
"Too Much Saxon Violence," and after reading
all of the
Callahan's books back to back, I put the
Ebon/Thailog smack in the middle of things.
It turned out
fairly well, I thought, and I got some
positive feedback from people who were
familiar with Spider's
work (and inspired quite a few who weren't
to go out and buy
his books <g>). But it turned out that
someone who knew
someone who knew Spider read my story,
and word got
around, and as Spider has a no-tolerance
policy of fanfic, he
requested that I remove it. Nothing personal
against me or my
writing; he hadn't read it or anything
like that; it was just his
Title: a pun,
of course, relating to drinks and to
lots of the puns in here are real groaners,
but I can only take credit for the rock
ones and the final one.
32. Flashie Thing
Guess which movie
I'd seen recently? ; )
In previous stories,
I had let fall a few hints about Matt
Bluestone's family. There was a mystery
around his father's
death, something that had no doubt contributed
to Matt's interest
in conspiracies and cover-ups (I'm big
on motivation; figuring
out why someone does what they do or why
they turn out a
This was one of
those nice and tidy occasions when a
problem created itself and then solved
itself. I wanted Matt to
be immune to the effect of the neuralyzer,
and I wanted a good
reason why his father had joined the MIB.
Suppose Dad, like
Agent K, had seen something? But they couldn't
just erase him;
it was a case of kill or recruit. Like
with Aiden's magic, though, I
wanted to have at least a halfway sensible
explanation for his
immunity. "He just is," didn't do it.
Luckily, I had
Gustav Sevarius, the memory and mind
control expert! I also got to sneak in
a few more Stephen King
references, particularly from Firestarter
-- Dr. Wanless and the
Shop, the setting in Vermont.
And all of a sudden,
here's Rick Alvarez, insisting on
being more than just an eye-pleasing background
Ooh, the letters I got over him making
flirty at Elisa! How dare I
even hint at the possibility of maybe there
being a thought
along the lines of giving them that sort
I have not done
much at all with Bronx; it was nice to
get him out of the castle for a change.
Title: at first
look, that seems like a hell of a weird
choice, but the moment the MIB come into
play, it is of course
Maria Chavez steepled
her fingers beneath her chin. "All right, what does he think it is this
time? The Rosicrucians? Elvis? Jim Morrison? The six thousand Kennedy assassins?"
quite meet her boss' gaze. "Aliens."
33. Broadway Goes to Avalon
I thought it might
be fun to do a little world tour of my
own. Elektra was hoping that Avalon would
send her to find
Jericho, but capricious isle that it is,
it had a few other things in
mind for her first.
Elektra owes much
of her development to Stephen
Sobotka. He, intrigued, asked to include
her in his own fanfic
universe, and showed me just what potential
she had. She is a
fascinating character, trying to come to
terms with her lineage
and fearful that others will scorn her
(in a way, she is the
opposite of my fantasy heroine Cat Sabledrake,
who is a
human/elven crossbreed but doesn't try
to hide it and is much
I knew that before
Elektra could fully accept herself,
she had to share the truth with her clan,
and her half-sister
Princess Katherine. Their reactions would
shape how she felt,
mattering more to her than the enthusiastic
found with Goliath's clan because they
were still very new to
There is something
inside us that wants to prove
ourselves to the people we grew up with.
No matter how
popular and successful someone might be,
unless it matters to
the ones who shaped our self-image while
we were young, it
leaves us with a twinge of never quite
being good enough.
Look at the interactions
between David and Petros
Xanatos, for example. Here's D.X., one
of the richest and most
powerful men in the world, but he still
feels a need to prove
and justify himself in front of his father.
Anyone who's ever
gone back to their hometown, class
reunion, or family event determined to
"show them" knows just
what I'm talking about here. So does anyone
still haunted by
the memories of childhood taunting and
I was also eager
to have the chance to get to know the
Avalon Clan a little better, and stir up
some dissent among
them. Eventually, I know Tourmaline is
going to persuade some
of her fellow dissidents to leave Avalon,
and I can't yet even
begin to imagine how well she, being sort
of Jericho's ex-
girlfriend, is going to get along with
Demona ; )
of course, from the TGC episode
Broadway Goes to Hollywood; and another
of those cases
where that was the title all along and
I never had to think about
"At least if she chose a mate, she could breed ... she's no barren
34. The Wreck of the Margot
I finally figured
out who the humans were that went
along with the Weird Sisters and Gabriel's
mates. I've always
responded strongly to books in which the
"in crowd" of rich
snobs act all haughty on the outcasts --
comes from being a
lifelong outcast, not that there were any
rich snobs where I
grew up. The idea of the superficial, painfully
brats gave me Tiffy, Muffy, and Babs.
Muffy, btw, is
the nickname of warrior babe
extraordinaire Maureen Birnbaum; if you
have not read any of
George Alec Effinge 's stories, I urge
you to do so because they are a laugh-til-you-pee
riot. As for what my Muffy's real name is, I
don't think I've mentioned and I don't
think I've decided.
created Chas, and the moment I
first read about him, I knew he was exactly
right. I'd never
given any thought to the rest of Birdie's
family, just that her
aunt was Margot. But Chas, preppy-boy Chas
who gets along
with and is bemused by his wild sister,
Like in Playing
God, this was a case where I wanted to
do something absurd and make it work. I
and Elektra to have a third party on the
boat for a variety of
reasons -- as a chaperone <g>, as an
outside voice through which
I could show their relationship, and to
have a human there to
do the daytime watch. I wanted the absolute
anyone would expect, and to make that person
halfway heroic and decent. I chose one
of the least-explored
characters from the show, Brendan.
Now, because I
wanted Birdie and Margot to be blood
relatives, yet they had the same last name,
that meant Margot
had to keep Yale as her maiden name. So
Brendan needed a
snooty-snotty-old-money name of his own.
I loved slipping
in a few cameos from diverse and
oddball sources -- Frasier, Rugrats, etc.
(which reminds me, I
know that a few writers were discussing
crossovers; could you just see Angelica
Umpteen cars wrecked by gargoyle
activity. I thought it would be fun to
get real extravagant and
destroy his yacht. But of course I had
to have a reason, so that
brought the hijacker/robbery plot into
play. And then I just
thought it would be funny to have Dracon
and Brode, once
they finished beating the hell out of each
other in prison, team
That, by the way,
would not happen ... the way they
got put in the same cell. Oh, the guards
would have talked
about it, joked about it, wished for it
to happen ... but they
would have known they couldn't really.
Or at least I'm
assuming they have to follow the same general
do at my work, in which we can't put the
worst residents in the
same room and hope we wind up with one
Thunderdome model of case management <g>).
I got a little
carried away with Brendan's family, but it
was fun to play with the rich dysfunctional
people. Clive (what
a name! I love it!) and his trophy wife
Ginny and of course
bitch-princess Tiffy and her FoxFire gown;
Here was an example
of how I would go back, find a
loose end from a previous story, tie it
up, and make people
think I'm way good -- I'd introduced Mr.
Harmond in Playing
God, when the gargs saved his car from
going into the sinkhole.
And I had Julianna of Scarlet Angel, who'd
come from old
money but was estranged from her family.
So I made her his
daughter, and bingo, it looks like I'd
planned it that way all
along ; )
Title: when I
was in school, we all had to memorize a
poem and I got stuck with The Wreck of
the Hesperus. A line
from it will appear later as one of Gustav
control code phrases, as a personal in-joke
because he's the
memory expert and that's all of the poem
that I can remember.
Naming the yacht the Margot just made it
a title that
automatically has a hook, making the reader
"Large prawns do not qualify as finger lobster."
There are some
things that almost have to be done in
the course of a long-running show. The
body swap, the
shrinking ray, the evil parallel universe,
that sort of thing. And
the turning of everyone into animals. It
was time for another
screw-up courtesy of Aiden Ferguson.
But just the screw-up
wasn't enough. I had to torture her
a little more on top of that, because Aiden
is such a delight to
torture. Bad enough the only person she
can call for help is her
wiseass friend Birdie; someone else had
to find out what she'd
done to make her feel really terrible about
The person least
likely to understand, from Aiden's
point of view, would be Petros Xanatos.
Writing Broadway Goes
to Avalon had made me think about Petros
and also about
Titania, and I came up with a devious idea
to bring them
together. It seemed like just the sort
of thing Titania would do.
to represent everyone was easier
than I'd thought. I especially liked how
they had to trap Hudson
the bear in the pantry once their animal
Aiden still needed
help getting out of this one, and so
did I. I was stymied for quite a while
until I thought of the
London Clan. I apologize for the fog --
I'm told by someone who
lives there that it is not foggy
all the time, contrary to popular
belief (and I hang my head in shame; I
should know better; it
doesn't always rain in Seattle either but
that's something they
say on purpose to keep the evil Californians
Title: Zoo was
too short and didn't have the right feel.
Birdie often gets the best ones -- "You're
all so, like, heraldic," and "Yee-es! Another
magical blunder from
the people who brought you Owen-and-Cordelia-in-love!"
36. Club Gung-Ho
I did more research
and worrying over this than
anything I've written since college.
People ask me
why I write fantasy. I usually say
something about how it has to do with my
aversion to writing
things technological. Dean Koontz researches
guns until he's
blue in the face so that he can write about
them with authority,
and more power to him; I hate doing stuff
like that. In fantasy, I
can explain things away as being magical
or the will of the
gods or somesuch. Not so in modern or sci-fi.
So I generally
Why, then, did
I write this? Well ... a long time ago I had a
very weird dream about a commando-training
resort. Not at all
the usual type of thing I dream (don't
ask, that's impolite <g>). It
stuck with me after I awoke, until I jotted
down some notes
with the idea that it might eventually
make a cool article for a
gaming magazine. I failed to follow through.
But I hardly ever
throw anything out, and realized it might
make for an
Hudson, like Bronx,
is an oft-neglected character. I
wanted to see what the old soldier could
do when faced with
the soldier of tomorrow. I pried his hiney
out of that easy chair.
But just Hudson wasn't enough. It needed
more. Needed conflict
on a variety of levels.
I knew from the
start that this was going to be an Arnie-
esque high-body-count boomfest, but to
do that I had to have a
villain. Better yet, a band of them, but
with a darker Predator
kind of touch. Enter Wolf, his mutations
having accelerated to
the point where he was subhuman.
I am very remiss
in my knowledge of recent history,
especially the Vietnam era. Most of what
I know comes from
other movies and novels. I hope I didn't
botch anything too
badly in the references to Wolf's and Kostas'
So I had my bad
guys. I had my good guys -- Cannonner
and Tora Hawke (the token chick). I had
my scores of extras to
rack up the dead tally. I had my hero,
Hudson. And, damn it, it
still needed something more! It needed
enforced cooperation to
forge two who might otherwise have been
grudgingly respectful friends.
Jericho. Of all
Goliath's clan, Hudson was the one who
would to Jericho seem the least threatening.
Maybe because he
was old, maybe because Demona herself still
respects Hudson. Also, Jericho desperately
needed a father
figure but his utter loathing of Goliath
gets in the way. It also
gave me the opportunity to have Jericho
run into a few humans
he could at least tolerate.
Trouble with this
story was it needed all the latest (and
yet-to-come) high tech weapons and gadgetry.
I wrote with
copies of GURPS Special Ops, High Tech,
and Ultra Tech sitting
at my elbow. I stressed. I sweated. I felt
very much as if I was
walking blindly through a room full of
But once I felt
I'd gotten all that stuff as right as I could, I
went on a spree of gore and bloodlust that
was really kinda
fun in a disturbing way.
was the same Clarence who designed
Godiva ; )
Falling from a
high place -- they always do. Well, not
always, but a lot. And it does make
for a nice ambiguous fate
(as well as leaving the hero's hands relatively
clean). Even then,
though, I knew Wolf would be back!
Title: that came
right from the dream, what can I say?
When his head came off, whoever had done it gave a mighty pull, and that
[spine] must have just slithered out of him like a strand of spaghetti;
also "Luck, my furry grey ass."
37. The Horror of Innsbrook
Tim was big on
Lovecraft in college. I'd never read any,
nor played Call of Cthulhu with his group.
Even now, though he
hasn't played in years, he has all the
books, a T-shirt with an
airbrushed Cthulhu on it, a Cthulhu-fish
bumper sticker (like the
Darwin fish, only with tentacles), another
that reads "Cthulhu for
Prime Minister: this time vote for the
Greater of two Evils", a
wood Cthulhu sign that I had one of those
wait guys do at the mall (and did he look
at me funny? you be
the judge), and last but not least, a Rancor
(is that what it's
called? the big ugly monster that Luke
fights in the pit in Return
of the Jedi) with wings and gross rubbery
fake worms bristle-
drooping out of its face.
I gave some of the Lovecraft books a try.
Not bad. Some great word use and word creation.
I never did
buy the whole business about his monsters
representations of the female genitals,
or whatever the hell that
was all about. Pretty good reading.
Much later, thinking
about where I could send Broadway
and Elektra, it occurred to me that introducing
shambling monsters might be fun. A Cthulhu
not? I steeped myself in Lovecraft, reading
nothing else for a
week straight. And then, when my dreams
were getting way
too weird and even my waking thoughts were
affected, I sat
down to write.
Another challenge. Could
I capture the Lovecraftian
style? He is one of the most imitated authors
ever, but often
one of the least-successfully imitated
authors. Now I know
why. That is a lot harder than it looks!
Then I had to
decide why I was sending the travelers
there. It was primarily Elektra's quest,
so it had to have
something to do with her. Thanks to Lovecraft's
own stories, I
knew his yucky oceanic fish-beasts often
liked to mate with
humans, but it was the bad side of such
A warning for
Elektra ... that was kind of grim, was there
nothing hopeful? Then I came up with the
idea of denying the
day. Gargoyles turned to stone, humans
did not, how about a
middle ground? That was the lesson
Elektra could learn, so
that when she had her inevitable confrontation
she'd be able to deliver one whopper of
Title: I wanted
something that sounded suitably
Lovecraftian, and that was. Anyone reading
that title would
have a pretty good idea what they were
Now I remembered! Now I remembered the truth of my father's death, how
he had raged and threatened my mother until she buried in his head the
bloodied cleaver that she had just used to sever the malformed and vestigial
wings from my back!
After the last
two, I really needed something light and
At the time, I
was running an RPG for Tim in which he
was playing a young nobleman with a secret
life as a pirate
and occasional highwayman (this character
of his, Benedict
Tate, is mentioned again in The Scottish
Rogue). I was also
reading an anthology called "Highwaymen!",
in which several
authors had taken their inspiration from
a beautiful and
haunting poem by Alfred Noyes.
And it seemed
to me that Xanatos would make a
great highwayman! I toyed with having
it be a past-life kind
of thing, rejected that idea, and then
thought it was time to do a
"holodeck episode." Then it became something
of an in-joke,
because Riker once fell in love with a
woman on the holodeck,
so I decided to put a little stress on
the Xanatos marriage by
In the second
part, I returned once again to Disneyland
simply because I love it so and wanted
the gargs to have a
chance to enjoy it. I sent Broadway and
Elektra there so they
could have a nice date, a fun evening out
with some friends,
and they could also get a pointed hint
when they witnessed
Lex pop the question.
itself just seemed like one of those things
that someone would have gotten around
eventually, like Xanadu and Xanatopia --
the man has such a
colossal ego! The first section, "Though
Hell Should Bar the
Way," is a line from that aforementioned
poem; the second, "Another Double Date," is a reference to the last time
Lex and Broadway went out, though with Aiden and Birdie.
He was used to non-projectile weapons, and the recoil very nearly knocked
him off his horse; also "That's Aiden! And she's with some guy!"
from the weirdest places ...
I'd known for
a long time that Fox had a very
complicated past. A teenage runaway, headed
to L.A. to try and
become a star -- a lot of young girls get
eaten up that way.
Rebelling against her father, she wouldn't
realize she was
mostly destroying her own life with parties,
and so forth. She had overcome it, put
it behind her. What if it
came back to haunt her?
What if Fox had
borne an illegitimate child and given
him up for adoption, never to think about
him again? And what
if he somehow tracked her down? (the issue
of rights, child vs.
parent, is something that interests me;
I have pet peeves about
courts deciding abused children should
go back with their
parents solely because of the biological
bond; that case with
the little girls switched at birth, etc.,
so I also follow stories
about adoptees and whether their right
to know outweighs their
mother's right to privacy).
But Fox might
be hard to track down. She would have
been under an alias anyway. I was mulling
all of this over for
several weeks, wanting to upset the Aerie
with the introduction of a twenty-something
guy who'd grown
up under drastically different circumstances.
So I'm watching
Pop-Up Video on VH-1, thinking about
what sort of circumstances I wanted for
this kid and how I was
going to get him in touch with his mom.
Then the video for
"Gimme All Your Lovin'" comes on ...
Here's a kid,
growing up in a dying desert town (that
video was filmed in Lancaster, my home
town <g>), and along
comes this amazing car and out hop three
It was like getting
whacked between the eyes. The
Weird Sisters as the ZZ Topp Eliminator
girls! Because, of
course, Fox's son would be just as much
fey as Alexander, so
Titania might have an interest.
Then things got
even more bizarre. Is it just me, or does
everyone portray Oberon as a buffoon
and Titania as the
true power behind the throne? I wanted
to make him do
something for a change. So he concocted
his whole elaborate
scheme just so he could give Titania her
T.J. turned out
to be a neat character. His electro-kinetic
powers, which work only on metal and electronics,
proven to be quite useful. And his attitude,
about striving so
hard to be a normal person despite all
the evidence to the
contrary, combined with his bitter-yet-touching
reactions to Fox
and Alex, make him appealing.
One thing I like
best about this story was Xanatos'
discovery of Lydia's true identity of Titania.
It put him in a
situation where there was no one good choice,
something I love to do in my RPGs because
I believe that most
of the time, that's how it is. Eventually,
though, Fox is liable to
find out, and then it's going to hit the
fan big time.
Title: Fox's design
company is FoxFire Fashions, so
when I wanted a story to focus on her,
it seemed like the right
"Calling a woman plump might have been flattering a few hundred years ago,
but ..." and "Next time I ask you to do a background check, would you please
40. Lyre, Lyre
It took me so
long to write this one that I was beginning
to think I'd never get around to it. I'd
first come up with the title
way back when Orpheus Bluestone
debuted in Baby Makes
Three, but I'd been putting it off because
I didn't want to write
myself into any corners.
That's the thing
about setting stories far ahead in a
timeline. If I later come up with a brilliant
idea, but have already
made it impossible, I want to pull my hair
out in clumps. Future
Imperfect was only a possible future,
so that was okay, but
this was a lot more risky. I didn't want
to give too much away,
and I didn't want to state something as
history that I might then
need to change.
Remember at the
Gathering when Greg was talking
about the Archmage? What a great character
he turned out to
be, what a nifty idea Greg had for him
later ... but he was dead?
Getting out of that required some fancy
footwork on Greg's part,
involving the Phoenix Gate (and sometimes
I think I'm the only
one in the world who grasps the concept
of that sort of closed-
loop time travel without having a brain
I wanted to avoid,
if possible, setting myself up for that
kind of trouble. Yet I also wanted to drop
some tantalizing hints
-- Amber, for instance, who appears in
daylight and is Orph's ex-
girlfriend, and yet it isn't for several
more stories that I reveal
that Amber is Goliath and Elisa's daughter.
I also held back
because I knew I had to kill Matt
Bluestone, and it has been my experience
that killing my
characters is one thing; killing Greg's
can get me neck-deep
in all sorts of hot water.
But I did it,
and then as I was doing it, I realized that
Eurydice was going to go with him. I really
like that scene.
else occurred to me as I was doing
some math. Jon Canmore's kid was due now
too, which let me
make a lifelong link between Bryce and
Orph's power of
suggestion also let me do something
else that needed doing. I'd been really
getting worried about the
Demona situation. Before 2031 when she
and MacBeth were
fated to get together, she needed to have
a change of heart. But
lately in my stories, she'd become really
twisted. I had to have
some catalyst for her change. Orph saved
my bacon, lemme tell
Title: I never
even saw the Jim Carrey movie; I don't
much like anything he's done since Once
Bitten. But it was just
right for a story about the guy who inherits
the Lyre of
"There will always be a Guardian."