Hi Mindy! Thanks for being with me on SlipperyWords! I just finished George Knows and wanted to ask a few questions. (Readers, please note, anyone who leaves a comment is entered into a giveaway for a free copy of George Knows. If you have children ages 7 and up, or are a child yourself, ENTER by COMMENTING. Seriously, it is total fun.)
- I LOVE how the book is told from George’s perspective. How are you able to get into a basset hound’s mind so well?
George: You are asking the wrong person. I dictate my life to my secretary and she just has to use her fingers to put it down. If I had fingers, I’d do it, but they are stupid for most things. Like, how do Peeps dig with those week nails. They developed the Computer with the help of a Border Collie, but decided that bigger keys didn’t work for them. Now we just let them do the work.
Mindy: Seriously? You’re a figment of my imagination.
George: Figment this: *Pfffffffffff*
George: *Fans face*
George: I wouldn’t be hungry if my Peeps would remember to feed me.
Mindy: Or the dogs would remember that they ate. Yes, basset hounds and springers can’t get enough food. Unfortunately, it’s bad for long-backed dogs to get heavy, it can hurt their spines. Then again, all dogs (and People) should be at a good weight for their size. For dogs, you should be able to feel their ribs and see a tuck up. You don’t want too skinny, so feel, not see ribs for most breeds.
3. The Hodag is an interesting creature. Where did you get the concept and think of the name?
George: It was in the magic book I opened with my drool.
Mindy: The Hodag is actually a logging tool. In 1896, Eugene Shepherd pranked Rhinelander, WI, claiming to have caught a Hodag. He had to ‘Fess up when scientists wanted to come by to investigate it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hodag I never give the city a name, but it’s sort of Rhinelander…but not really.
4. Is there really such a thing as tuna fudge? And do dogs really eat it?
George: Are you kidding? It’s the best thing in the whole world. Everyone should have Tuna Fudge. Peeps seem to be immune to its charms, which just leaves more for me.
Mindy: I’ve been an instructor and dog trainer for many years. My partners and I have reached the top levels of obedience and one of the things they’ll do just about anything for is Tuna Fudge. Recipe below.
5. I am fascinated by the concept of a dog as a familiar. No cats? Can any animal be a familiar?
George: Of course there are other creatures that are familiars. No bugs, though. Cats are inferior, but they exist. Auntie Heather’s Familiar is a Raccoon, named Roque. He’s okay, very sneaky. He promised to teach me how to be stealthy. I’m still waiting.
Mindy: What he said, I guess. I’ve never actually MET a familiar.
Tuna Fudge Training Dog Treats
By MSZANZ on May 01, 2005
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 1 pan
About This Recipe
“This is a wonderful training treat for dogs. It has the consistency of fudge so you can break off different sized pieces and the dogs can eat them quickly without a mess. It is also “smelly” so your dog can anticipate the treat! You must store it in the refrigerator or freezer.”
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna ( do not drain)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until well blended.
- Spread mixture into a greased 9×9 cake pan.
- Bake covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Store in refrigerator or freeze.
Serving Size: 1 (655 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Calories from Fat 341 24%
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Total Fat 37.8g 58%
Saturated Fat 12.5g 62%
Cholesterol 523.2mg 174%
Sugars 1.5 g
Sodium 666.2mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 138.3g 46%
Dietary Fiber 20.1g 80%
Sugars 1.5 g 6%
Protein 126.8g 53%
Hey everyone. Tomorrow I feature Mindy Mymudes and George. George tells this story — it is completely from his point of view — and is easily the most charming Basset Hound you’ve ever met. George is a familiar to a witch-in-training, Karly, and they must solve the mystery of the old bones and what is hiding in the forest. Lovely, lovely story for kids of all ages.
And the best part is, Mindy (George’s human assistant) is giving away one book. To enter, just comment in the Comments section in the post tomorrow. (Not today.)
Things to know about George: He’s always hungry. He’s got a great nose. He uses a leash to keep track of Karly, because he doesn’t want her to get lost, and he loves tuna fudge.
Tuna fudge is a real thing, and Mindy, who is an expert dog trainer in her other life, provides the recipe.
Read tomorrow and ENTER!
TS: First off, a HUGE thank you to SlipperyWords for having me on the blog! I’m extremely excited to be bringing a brand new series (The Sabrina Grayson Series) out and this book, I feel, is a better representation of my writing (and how intricate my brain is for world creation) and my strange imagination. Mark of the Necromancer is currently available for pre-order on my site and will roll out September first, just days before I attend Dragon Con to speak on panels and sell it in paperback for the first time as well. Note: It will be available on Smashwords.com in all E-copy formats and on Amazon in both print and e-copy.
SlipperyWords: I was there the day you read a bit from your manuscript at DragonCon. I remember telling you that you should continue writing it. I believe John Hartness said, and I quote, “Keep writing that shit.” What was it about that validation that helped you keep writing?
Tamsin: LOL! Yeah, John said that, and actually, yes…the comments that day by you, him, and a few others are the reason I kept it going. Interestingly enough, John Hartness also said to me, “You’re finally getting out of your own way.” That had a profound impact on me (though he doesn’t know that, well, until now I suppose? Ha!) and thus I kept working on it and made sure I stayed out of my own way (meaning, I didn’t go back and overthink if the style was right).
SlipperyWords: Will the next novel deal more with the concept of God and good vs. evil?
Tamsin: Yes, again! It’s no spoiler to say that Sabrina meets Lucifer in the first book (how she gets to him is one of my favorite scenes though…the 3 B’s make me laugh, I might be the only one, but that’s okay too…). So obviously I bring up God near the end of the first installation of the series. I did that because I do plan for us (Sabrina and I) to explore the idea of God in this world I’ve created in Book Two…which has a current working title of Cauchemar’s Charge. I have some ideas…but they won’t really solidify until I put the fingers to the keyboard and write it. But I do want to explore the idea of good vs. evil in the series and see where it takes me and how it affects my protagonist and her team. I mean, let’s be honest…it’s not like Sabrina can kill Lucifer or take away his power/hold on the Earth…so what would really equal a “win” for Sabrina and Alex? Only time will tell…
SlipperyWords: Will we get to know Lucifer more in the next book as well? I really like the model for Lucifer on your book cover. Sheesh!
Tamsin: Oooh…a two-parter…
1) Yes! We’ll be seeing a lot more of Lucifer as time goes…in fact, by the 3rd book, he’ll very likely be on the cover with Sabrina (With or without Alex? You’ll have to wait and see…we’ve already taken the pics though and they are great!). So…have no fear, Lucifer is here to stay. LOL! (Who would’ve ever though I’d type that!?)
2) HA! Well, you’re not the only one. My graphics designer, myself, and others really like the model for Lucifer, too! I actually know him, Jason Griffith , from my previous life…as in back when I was neck deep in the theater world of NYC (I ran a company here in the city for six years or so and directed/designed for other companies as well during that time). I met him when I was directing a cabaret show in the West Village because he is really good friends with the producing team. In fact, a member of that team who’s been a great friend of mine since college at Winthrop University (Cedric Jones, who is also in my web series, Skye of the Damned as Vamp Detective, Ethan Vale) is who reminded me of Jason when I came to him for ideas to recast (originally Andrew Rogers, also in SKYE as Silas Winters, was going to model for it) Lucifer for the shoot.
What you might not know is that Jason is more well known for his work on Sonic the Hedgehog and other voiceover work…so the fact that I used him for just print is a bit different for him I think. I will say this, Jason is just one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet and so easy to work with. I secretly hope I need to do more projects with him in the future! I think others do too, if feedback serves me correctly. 🙂
SlipperyWords: I sense there may be more to Katie than meets the eye. Any hints?
Tamsin: Katie? Well, she’s human and the plan for now is that she stay human, but A) I don’t always have control of what my characters become and B) if she stays human, that doesn’t mean she isn’t wicked important. I can tell you that currently she has no secret powers, unless you count being a good friend and an amazing cook/chef. She is very vital to the storyline because of multiple reasons, but none of them hinge upon anything supernatural. Now…Ginny on the other hand…I plan to really do some fun stuff with her masterful ghostiness (which isn’t a real word, but whatever). Not only that, but you’ve not seen the last of Fan-Chin or of a certain dress maker (or her butler), so hang tight…cause the world I plan to build will be diverse, complex, and suck you in like a whirlpool…but in a good way. 😉
SlipperyWords: You and I are both short. Did you choose a heroine with long legs just to imagine what it must be like?
Tamsin: LMAO! Is Sabrina tall because I wish to be tall? Nope! But Atlanta is tall because I always have wanted to be taller (she the heroine in my Windfire Series). Denika is short (she’s the heroine in Moon Over Manhattan, which will come out in the next year) but Sabrina is tall because I wanted someone who looked nothing like me. She’s blond, with golden brown eyes, blond hair, and wears heels. Though, on all the book covers her jewelry will rock…and that’s all mine. In fact, on the cover of book one she’s wearing a earing/necklace set made by a friend of mine. If you look at it and recognize what it is, you’ll see my silly little inside joke. You know, considering the title of the book and Sabrina’s title by the end of the book. I’m weird, what can I say?
SW: We are all weird, Tamsin, in our own ways! And congrats on the book. For those keeping score, Tamsin is indeed a friend, so I acknowledge that ahead of time. I should also mention that I helped a little with the editing. Having said all of that — I really do recommend the book. It is a complex urban fantasy with some really cool new elements. Get in on this series from the beginning.
Tamsin L. Silver
WINDFIRE Series (YA Urban Fantasy)
SKYE of the DAMNED (Online TV Show)
MY WEBSITE: http://www.tamsinsilver.com/
MY BLOG: http://tamsinsilver.blogspot.com/
SKYE FB PAGE: www.facebook.com/SkyeOfTheDamned
SKYE WEBSITE: www.SkyeOfTheDamned.com/
Have you ever heard of a necromancer vampire? What is Death’s Highway? And oh, by the way, Tamsin wrote this book on her her phone! Read this interview with my friend, Tamsin Silver, as we discuss her new book, Mark of the Necromancer. Then read her post on Wednesday on www.magicalwords.net and THEN, if you are there…say hi to her, and me, at DragonCon.
Hi Kim! So glad you could be with me on Slippery Words today. I just finished The Drafter, and I’m very excited to share a little bit about it with readers. I think your fans will be amazed by this new character. The Drafter is the quintessential example of keeping readers on their toes and turning the pages!
Thank you Joelle. I’m pleased to be here and have the chance to talk to your readers today. That’s wonderful that you enjoyed the Drafter, and I’d love to talk a little about it.
- I try not to ask questions like, “Where did you get your ideas?” but I do want to ask if there was anything specific that inspired the concept of the drafter and the anchor? The ideas are so totally new that I can’t help but ask how those concepts clicked in your mind?
Being able to cheat time is something I play with a lot in my work. The protagonist of my YA series (Once Dead, Twice Shy) is a grim reaper who can rewrite time to save a life. I sent one of my characters back in time in The Truth Series, (written under the name Dawn Cook). But the idea of a drafter who shifts time, and an anchor, who keeps the drafter sane after doing it, was born from the need to have limits. Peri was already going to be incredibly gifted in terms of kick-butt-attude, and needing to depend upon someone to such a high degree to maintain her sanity helped balance that out. That this dependency is a lie, fostered by her employer to maintain control, gave me an opportunity for a lot of character growth.
- You’ve been writing the Hollows books. How long has this new character and world been running around in your head? Did you wait to write the book until you finished the Hollows or did you finish with Rachel and then find Peri?
Peri is actually fairly new to me, her first draft being started about three years ago, somewhere between beginning the last Hollows book and ending it. It was a toss-up between Peri and another story, Grace, as to who would be developed first. Grace, by the way, has been in my head for over a decade, her story evolving as my own life become more complicated.
- Peri is in the middle of two entities and two worlds, and two men, really. She’s not fully part of anything in this book. Was her name an homage to this? I’m thinking of the definition of the prefix as being “near, about or around.”
Peri’s name actually comes from Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who fought in the war of 1812 to secure the Great Lakes. After a mediocre career at sea, he valiantly won back from the British a small island chain in Lake Erie, Michigan. It allowed the American troops to retake Detroit, or Michigan might belong to Canada today. I spent a few summers at and around that island chain, and using Commodore Perry’s name for my protagonist felt fitting. He’s the guy who said “Don’t give up the ship!” and while that’s not Peri’s motto, she doesn’t give up anything, even a grudge.
- As a reader, I’d love to see Peri gain more control over her life. In this book, she is both a soldier and in some ways, a victim, as external forces try to control her. Will we see a little more of Peri’s establishing her own personality again in later books?
She is indeed a victim in the beginning, even as powerful and clout-whelding as she is, having been manipulated into believing she needs someone to maintain her sanity. It’s not true, but she doesn’t know that, convinced by the government group that trained her as a way to keep control. I’m already seeing complaints that she’s not kick-ass enough in the beginning, but I think the government would go to ungodly lengths to maintain control over someone who could change time.
- Is the idea of drafting and anchoring a type of magic or a type of science? Or is magic just science we can’t understand yet?
I’ve always thought of it as accelerated science, or science so far ahead that we can only explain it with theory.
Kim, it is an honor to have you on Slippery Words. Thank you for being here.
It has been my pleasure.
Here is a link to Kim’s website and her tour stops:
The Drafter, 9/1/15
The Drafter Tour stops/times
Detroit (Ann Arbor) Mi – Nicola’s
Cincinnati, OH – Joseph-Beth
Lexington, KY – Joseph-Beth
Raleigh, NC – Quail Ridge Books
Charlotte, NC – Park Road Books
Atlanta, GA – Barnes & Noble
Birmingham, AL – Books-a-Million
Nashville, TN – Barnes & Noble
Hi John. Thanks for being with me at SlipperyWords.com! Your writing is always enjoyable and good for some great one-liners and snark, with a little sentimentality thrown in and a lot of fun action scenes. For those who are unfamiliar with John’s Quincy Harker character, he’s a demon hunter with Dracula for an Uncle. He has a guardian angel named Glory, and a posse of associates that help him fight the bad guys. He’s a lot of fun and you should buy John’s stuff. Link to his website below.
SW: If Quincy has to change his name every couple of years, does he just change his first name and keep the last name of Harker?
JH: Harker typically moves around a lot and will adopt a whole new identity with some backstory about being his own nephew and heir, etc. etc. He’ll typically start in an area as Quincy Harker, live there under that name until it becomes untenable, then move and adopt a new name. If he needs to stay in one place, he’ll move across town and take a new name. That’s a lot harder now than it was in the early 20th Century.
SW: Do you ever read your own work and laugh out loud at your jokes? I laugh out loud reading them.
JH: The closest I’ll come is reading back on something and thinking “That wasn’t terrible.” I think I’m hilarious when I’m writing the first draft, and I find myself less and less amusing the more times I read it. So if a joke makes it to publication, it’s usually pretty good.
SW: We know Smith is not human and we get some insight into what he is in this novella. Is his backstory going to be part of the hinted at Quincy Harker book?
JH: I’m slowly unveiling what Smith is. He and his lineage will be a central part of a future novella. Currently, unless someone wants to buy the rights, there aren’t plans for a full-length Harker novel. I really enjoy writing novellas, and my readers seem to like them, so I’m going to stick with this length at least for one more novella, then we’ll see what 2016 brings.
SW: As a Jim Butcher fan, it is fun to see the homage to Harry Dresden. Has Jim ever commented to you about this? I’m sure he would enjoy it.
JH: I don’t think Jim has read the Harker books. I’ve dropped little Easter eggs to various series in several of my books, just a little hat tip to writers I admire or who are friends of mine. I’ve mentioned Gail Martin’s Deadly Curiosities world in a story, I’ve dropped a Rogue Mage RPG book by Faith Hunter into a book. I like finding those little nuggets as a reader, so I wanted to throw a bone to the readers who enjoy them.
SW: Did you watch the Constantine TV show? What did you think of it? And will we see more of Glory in upcoming stories? (and, yes, I know I stuck an extra question in here…)
I watched some of it, and I enjoyed it, and would love to see it on a network that could really do justice to the character. I’m an old-school Hellblazer fan, from the Garth Ennis days, when Glenn Fabry was doing the amazing covers and Steve Dillon was drawing the books. I love that character, and Harker has a lot of ol’ Con-job woven into him.
Glory will definitely be back. Hell of Heels wasn’t a global-reach kind of story, so Glory didn’t feel the need to stick her nose in. She’s more the cosmic-level storyline cameo, and I have to be careful where I use her, or the story gets too big. I wanted Hell on Heels to be a smaller story, as much about Quincy and Luke’s memories as about a fight, so I kept her on the sidelines. But she’ll definitely be returning to action soon.
SW: Bonus question 6: Have you studied weapons and martial arts extensively to be able to write the fighting scenes? I’m sure you grew up with guns, but what about some of the other martial arts weaponry you refer to?
JH: You know, you’d think I had a lot of experience with guns and weapons but I really don’t. Growing up, we had a shotgun on the back porch for snakes, but that was the only gun in the house. I learned to shoot when I was eleven or twelve, and I was actually quite a good shot, but I never hunted, and never owned a gun until relatively recently. The only gun I currently own is my own 12-gauge shotgun – no rifles, no handguns, nothing.
As far as any other combat training, I’ve had none. I’ve been an actor and theatre director for over twenty years, and blocking out complicated movements on stage allows me to write decent fight scenes. I play a Jason Statham or Jet Li movie in my head, and I write down what the characters do. I would like to say that I’m a total badass like Jon F. Merz or some of those guys, but not really. I just let the movie in my head play and write down what happens.
Thanks for being with me today, John! For those who want to learn more about John and buy his stories, which I totally recommend, go find him at www.johnhartness.com.
Through the generosity of the lovely Kim Harrison, I got to read an ARC of The Drafter this week. I will be featuring a 5 Questions in 5 Minutes with Kim soon.
In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about the book. I liked it. I really did. In fact, I rushed home from work yesterday just so I could finish it. If keeping your audience guessing and unbalanced is an art form, Kim is a master. The concept of Trust No One is taken to the nth degree here, and you’ll want to keep reading just to find out what happens next.
The concept of the book is an entirely new one and I’ve asked Kim some questions about it that I’ll save for the 5Q5M.
The main character, Peri, isn’t Rachel, so if you are reading this for a similar look and feel and ethos as the Hollows, you will be disappointed. I admire Kim for branching out and taking such a new stance. It would easy to write a Rachel 2 character and world and just carry on without changing and growing, but Kim has not taken that easy path. She’s innovating here, and I absolutely love that.
Peri, our heroine, is a kind of super-secret agent for an organization called Opti. She has an unusual power called drafting, that allows her to slip back and change a timeline. This power manifests if she’s been shot or seriously injured and her life is at stake. The problem is that drafters cannot mentally withstand having two timelines in their heads, and so they need an anchor to help them defrag the memories into one cohesive timeline. In this story, Peri has to figure out who she can trust, because her memories and sense of self are determined by her anchor and what he or she allows her to remember. She is quite vulnerable, which is a consistent theme with Harrison’s books, but has an inner strength that I suspect will assert itself more in coming stories.
Watch for the 5Q5M with Kim soon!
SW: For my first question: This book felt infinitely more complex than the first one in the series. Did you do something different in planning out this book that allowed you to create such a more complex plot?
DBC: Thanks. I did have a lot of elements I wanted to bring into this book and I agree with you that this made for a more complex narrative. I think in part this is a result of knowing the characters and the world better, and having a better feel for the magic system. And I think as well that I came to this book more confident in the voice and the conceptual underpinnings of my story. As a result, I was willing to take more chances and really build on the foundation I’d put down with the first book. I actually find that this is the case in many of my series. The first book introduces the reader to the various story elements, but it also introduces me to them, so that in the subsequent volumes I can dive in and do more.
So this time around I introduced some new characters who will be around for future books, I expanded on the “were” concept, and I delved into other types of dark magic that Jay is going to have to deal with as the series goes on. As a result, I have a more complex story, and so many possibilities as the project moves forward.
SW: Why can’t Justis see the color when the magic is being cast? Why only an afterimage?
DBC: The casting of a spell happens in a scintilla of time — it’s as sudden as thought, as fast as light. And so I suppose that if there was a way for the eye of a conjurer to slow down action the way a movie camera can, he or she might be able to see the magic as it’s being cast. But the human eye doesn’t work that way, and magic doesn’t show up on mechanical lenses. So it seems that the colored glow appears after the fact.
The other thing is, magic isn’t accompanied by a flash of light, or something like that. I think that would be too cheesy. As a result, one moment the glow isn’t there, and the next it is. But again, that is in large part a function of how fast magic happens.
SW: Why the double “ss” in both Fearsson and Hesslans? Is this meaningful?
DBC: You know, it’s really not. I liked the double “ss” in Fearsson when I first came up with the name a long time ago. I liked the idea of him being “fears son,” as it were. But when I made up Patty Hesslan’s name I didn’t even think about the recurrence of the “ss.” I’m sorry. I would love to tell you that there is some deep significance to it, and that I was harkening back to some ancient Celtic naming tradition for druids, or some such, but it was purely accidental.
SW: You have beautiful descriptions of the desert. Is this something that came to you because of your research or did your love for the area drive you to set the story there?
In a way, the setting is an artifact from an older magic system that I had thought to use with this series. I had in mind something that drew heavily on the desert setting. But I rewrote the first book in the series a couple of times, and in one of the revisions totally revamped the magic system. At that point, I could have moved the series to another setting, and it wouldn’t have mattered so much.
But (and this gets to the crux of your question) I have spent a good deal of time in the desert Southwest. I’ve camped and hiked and birdwatched in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and southeastern California. I love this part of the country, and have really enjoyed writing about it. I was very happy to set the story in the Southwest when I thought I needed to for my magic to work, and even after that was no longer the case, I remained committed to writing about that part of the country. There is, I believe something magical and compelling about that stark, austere, dramatic landscape. I think it lends itself to the kind of stories I’m writing in this series. And I love being able to draw upon my knowledge of desert flora and fauna to bring an element of authenticity to my descriptions. So thank you. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the desert descriptions. I’ve really enjoyed writing them.
SW: When Justis casts a spell in Bear’s house, he uses “the three of us, the room we were in and a thick blanket.” Why does the “three of us” count as one element and not three individual people?
DBC: One of the key characteristics of the magic system is the fact that every conjurer brings to his or her magic a unique way of conceiving spells. For Jay, it works best when he recites — out loud or to himself — a litany of elements that make up the casting. Which is a fancy way of saying that it matters less what he says than how he, on a personal level, perceives the spell. The number of elements is important — as he says, “there is power in certain numbers.” Spells with three or seven elements work best. But an element is not the same as an object.
So, if he needed to do so as a mnemonic device, or to get the number right, he COULD count the three of them as three separate elements. But in this case, he doesn’t need that. His spell is designed to dampen their conversation, to keep Saorla from hearing it. And so it is more convenient for him to think of the three of them as a single unit, since they represent a single conversation. The most important thing — as Namid is trying to teach him — is that he concentrate and visualize. The rest is all a matter of personal style.
SW: Congratulations on such a great book!
DBC: Thanks so much, and thanks for the questions!
David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the award-winning author of eighteen fantasy novels. Under the name D.B. Jackson, he writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy from Tor Books that includes Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Souls, and, the newest volume, Dead Man’s Reach, was released on July 21. Under his own name, he writes The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, a contemporary urban fantasy from Baen Books. The first volume, Spell Blind, debuted in January 2015. The newest book in the series, His Father’s Eyes, comes out on August 4. He lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.
Note: Book provided by author. Opinions are my own.