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Friday, August 31, 2012

Blurring the Lines...


Can I tell you a secret? Come closer...closer...clo...hey! Back up a little, dude. Okay, there, that's good.

I like mix and match stories.

Yup. It's true. 

As much as I enjoy reading clearly defined, particular sub-genres of romance, I do love a good mash-up. Point in case, our own lovely Ava Stone writes with her partner, the talented Tammy Falkner, as Lydia Dare, creating a Regency world in which vampires, witches and werewolves exist. And they do a darn good job of it! 

Tammy also has a new line of Regency paranormals coming out under her own name- the first in the series is titled A Lady and Her Magic

(It's about the Fae! I CANNOT wait.)

So, in keeping with the tradition that I think nothing is considered holy ground anymore, one night Marquita Valentine and I, and a few other people, were joking around on Twitter and we came up with a great idea for a story. Well...maybe not great, I don't know, but it sure is a fun one. I certainly laughed myself stupid writing it. (Don't say a word.) Here's the first little bit, a part I wrote...

June, 1824
London, England

Lord Calford Whitley, the Earl of Gatling, leaned against the terrace balustrade and lit his cheroot. He inhaled deeply and contemplated the muted noise coming from behind the glass doors he had just exited.
Despite the dangers, his mother could not be persuaded to cancel her annual celebration of the close of Season in London. She insisted that hiring fifty armed guards should do the trick and had stubbornly forged ahead with her plans.
As if armed guards had saved Prinny from being savagely attacked by a zombie last month during his sojourn to Bath.  The fool had dismissed his guards from the bathing hall, deeming himself safe within the steam and vapors of the ancient springs.
Who knew zombies could swim?
The result was that Prinny was locked up in his suite—a slavering, flesh eating monster, and the country had fallen into a bit of chaos. The only reason Cal was still in London instead of helping secure his estate against attacks was that what was left of the House of Lords had called an emergency meeting. 
          Of course, most them were inside with his mother, fiddling away as Rome burned down around them.
Throwing down the cheroot and grinding it against the slate with his boot heel, Cal sighed. He really should be getting some sleep, in order to deal with the panic that was sure to infest the House on the morrow. Instead, he was here, dancing and—
A noise, off to his left, brought Cal’s head up sharply.
There it was again. A rustling in the bushes, a low moan. It could be one of the stable lads and his girl, or it could be…
A large zombie crashed out of the trees, not twenty yards from where Cal stood. Its matted hair and ragged clothes were revealed in the bright light of the full moon.
Dash it all.
How did it make it this close to the manor? There would some poor guards who would have to be hunted down and put out of their misery—but that was later. Now, he needed to stop this thing before it forced its way into the house and set upon the unsuspecting revelers.
Had to think of the animated corpse as an it. Couldn't contemplate that it used to be a human, one who had once loved and laughed, and probably never suspected he'd someday be wandering around looking for someone to chew on.
Cal cursed as he fumbled for the knife in his boot and the zombie turned toward him, its milky eyes searching the terrace. It spotted him and groaned, the hungry sound sending a chill racing up Cal’s spine. He had been a fool to let his mother persuade him not to wear his brace of pistols to the ball.
The monster’s shambling walk became quicker and disconcertingly more agile, as it neared the terrace and scented Cal. It lumbered up the steps to where he waited, blocking the glass doors.
“C’mon, you nasty, crumbling git. Come and get it.”
Cal waved his knife slowly in the air, tilting it to catch the moonlight, and the zombie's attention. Better focused it on him, than on the easy prey inside. He may not be sufficiently armed but he wasn’t going down without a fight.
The zombie darted forward, spittle flying, as it stretched its arms out in a grotesque imitation of an embrace. Cal dodged to the side and ducked, circling around and thrusting his knife into the monster’s back. It let out a shriek of thwarted rage and whirled, almost yanking the knife from Cal’s grasp as he pulled it back out with a wet slurp. Blackened liquid coated the shine of the blade, thick and gooey. Cal grimaced, but didn’t wipe it off.
Everyone knew that if a zombie bit you, you were as good as dead, but he wasn’t taking any chances with its blood. It hadn’t been proven out that the blood was not infectious as well and he was not in the mood to experiment.
The zombie lunged forward again and this time Cal used his elbow to smash it in what could barely be called a face, following it up with a powerful stab to the zombie’s throat. Dark blood spurted out the side of its neck, spraying the glass door and pale yellow brick, but the monster didn’t notice.
It kept coming, darting forward with a snarl.
“Shit!” Cal scrambled back, attempting to stay out of reach. The damn thing just wouldn't, well, die, for lack of a better word. He tripped over something unseen behind him and went down. The knife flew out of his grasp and skittered across the terrace. 
He scooted back, knowing he wasn’t going to have enough time to gain his feet. Damn it all to Hell and back. This was not how he wanted to die. Alone, on Mother’s terrace, having his face eaten off by the undead.
The zombie howled and towered over him, what was left of its decomposing muscles bunching in what was sure to be the attack that would end his life. Cal was no coward but he squeezed his eyes shut. He did not want that face, with its milky, rotting eyes and sloughing flesh, to be the last thing he saw.
There was a loud boom, and Cal flinched as he was sprayed with bits of gelatinous goo and liquid. A chunk of something hit his cheek and slid down to land inside his cravat.
Silence rang in his ears. No more moaning or howling. Only the whisper of cloth against stone, and then—
“Well, well, what do we have here?”
Cal’s eyes popped open at the soft, amused feminine drawl.
The hem of a lace trimmed ball gown brushed his bloody boots, and the corpse of the zombie that lay at his feet. His gaze traveled upward, over the slight swell of hips, the shapely bosom, the arms that cradled a large dueling pistol as gently as they would a babe.
A pistol that appeared familiar. In fact, it looked to be one of the two that hung over his late father’s desk, in the library.
Cal’s eyes snapped to the lady’s face, taking in the cupid’s bow mouth that was struggling not to laugh and the dancing, devil-blue eyes. She cocked her head and arched one arrogant brow, shaking back a wealth of honey blond hair.
“I took care of your little zombie problem, Lord Kick-Arse. The least you could do is thank me.”
Oh, he wanted to thank her, all right. All night long and right into next week.

What do you think? CLEARLY a shoo-in for a RITA. (Marquita came up with the hero's rocking nickname, heehee...) We even have our own Twitter hashtag- #RegencyZombies ;) Is anyone else doing Zombies in 19th century England? DIBS!!! Hahaha...

So what are your favorite sub-genres of romance? (Ex: paranormal, contemporary, historical, etc.) Do you like vampires in your historicals or time-traveling in your romantic suspense? Or do you just like to keep everything clean and in its own proscribed place?


  1. Olivia,
    I love it! I'm a total zombie fan. I love the post-apocalyps settings, and to have it in Regency England both cracks me up and intrigues me.

    I'm not a huge paranormal fan, but I like the mixing of genres. I enjoyed Kristin Callihan's "Firelight", which is a paranormal set in Victorian England. And of course, I've had a great time reading Lydia Dare's books. In fact, I wouldn't read paranormal before Lydia. It just wasn't my thing. I'm looking forward to reading Tammy's Fae stories.

    1. Zombies usually scare the ever-lovin' bejeezus out of me, but not when I WRITE it, oddly. Go figure, lol...

    2. My son - who is obsessed with zombies - makes me watch every zombie thing that hits the market. Then I have nightmares. He finds this amusing. I find him evil. ;)

    3. My son is into zombies, too, but I love watching zombie shows with him. The only things that scare me are demons or ghosts. Those things give me nightmares.

  2. This is so awesome, Olivia! I think you should write Zombies in Regency England, starring Lord Kick-Arse! ;p

    I like mashups of genres. Steampunk is a favorite of mine. Love Lydia Dare books. It was hard to decide what I loved better: lycans or vampyres.

    And I'm super excited about Tammy's Faerie Series!!! :))

    1. I just started reading steampunk this year, with Zoe Archer's Skies of Fire novella. I would like to pick up a Karina Cooper soon, I hear she rocks. :)

  3. Not a real zombie fan but this was funny. Love the lady saving him. I usually read Regency and Paranormal romances. I have to say I'm playing more in the fantasy realms than paranormal these days.

    Only one more day until my Nook will let me download Tammy's story. Can't wait.

    1. I figure, if I'm going to put zombies in Regency England, I can totally get away with flipping the Damsel in Distress trope. ;D

  4. Olivia, Teehee! This made me chuckle. And always with your regency writing, I learn new lingo, yo (which I will then misuse horrifically). I really enjoy a good mystery with just a hint of paranormal. I like the pairing of the logical with the fantastical. Makes my multiple personalities quite happy. ;}

    1. I too love popping in the unexpected where no one would would ever...uh...expect it. Lol...
      And I enjoy watching you mangle Regency-speak. Highly entertaining.

  5. I've already started reading A Lady and Her Magic. And I LOVE it. :)

    Can't wait to hear Ava's take on your Regency zombie piece. LOL. I already know her opinion on writing zombies into romance...

    I think that's hilarious. I love that some people can think like that, can come up with these sorts of ideas and scenarios. My brain just doesn't operate that way. I like to read and watch things with the paranormal elements. I just can't think it all up on my own. Good stuff.

    1. Agggh! You HAVE A Lady and Her Magic?! I'm verrra, verra jealous! I hear it's really great. Can't wait until it hits the stands!
      I don't know if I could write a full-length book on this, but the first chapter sure was fun...

    2. I was holding my tongue about the zombies. Everyone knows what I think about zombies in romance. So I'm being good and *not* commenting on Olivia's post. ;)

    3. Pffft! :P

      It's all in good fun! Although...I might write this series now, just to irk you. HAHA!

    4. And when you're successful with it you can blame...er...I mean...thank me. ;)

  6. Haha. Most definitely hear winner here. And the Rita goes to...

    I love the paranormal novels that takes place in the regency area. Love the Lydia Dare books. They will be feature of my October on my blog. I even have the theme: WEREWOLVES, VAMPIRES, AND ZOMBIES OH MY month. I'm so excited about that.

    I'm starting to love all romance novels.

    1. Lol! I love that theme...and GREAT for October! I love all romance novels too. If it has a HEA, I'm in. I don't care if it has vampires, firefighters, Russians, Texans, no sex, lots of super steamy sex... doesn't matter. I embrace it ALL! ;D

  7. I love it. I wanted to read the whole thing. And I'm one of those people who laughed at the prospect of Zombie love. lol! But hey, you made the Zombies real...or as real as the undead can be. You didn't make this a zombies in love romance. IMHO, if I can write vampires in a modern day setting, why not a historcial one. The original Dark Shadows did both. And I loved the original!

    1. Heehee, thanks Lilly! And yes, I would NEVER do actual Zombie love...ewww! ;D

  8. Get this sucker up on Amazon and I will TOTALLY buy this!

    1. Wow, that's a nice compliment! Thanks, Lorenda! I don't know, maybe after I finish (HAHA!) working on my current WIP, I will take a shot at it, lol... Could be fun. ;D

  9. Lol at the zombies. They're not really my thing, I'm more of a vampire/werewolf kinda girl with a little demons thrown in for spice and a side of fallen angels :)

    I love Lydia Dare too. I didn't even know there WAS a Regency paranormal series out there. I'd definitely like to see more Regency paranormal romances out there because they're a mix of my two favorite genres.

    Breath of Life Reviews

    1. Oh, Adria, if you like angels, fallen or just big, arrogant pains in the butt, you need to check out Andris Bear's upcoming Angel Unborn! She's releasing it soon, and I can tell you, her hero is unforgettable... :)

  10. I do like variery & do like to mix it up with genres. Haven't read the version of Angels yet & not too sure about the Zombies, but have enjoyed wolf shifters (tho need to try other types of shifters).

    1. I think Andris' book comes out next month? Andris? Anyway, it's really fun, mixing up angels and mortals and demons, and Satan is a bit of a surprise... ;D
      I do like the shifters also. One of my favorite kinds of paranormals to read, actually!

  11. Olivia, Awww, you're so sweet to mention my book (how much do I owe you? Ha!). It releases early next month and I'm so excited I could barf. ;}

  12. I think at this point my favorite sub-genres are the mixed ones. I like paranormal historicals, suspenseful contemporaries, etc...

    AquarianDancer at gmail dot com

  13. I love a good regency/historical/gothic novel all combined with a delicious mystery, a beautiful heroine (particularly a governess), a sad and lonely master of the house and that takes place in a huge castle in the middle of the moors. Now, is that like trying to find a needle in a haystack? :-)

    Connie Fischer