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Pay Your Blood Debts

Blood Debt by Tanya Huff is the fifth book in the Blood Book series, and it is the most emotional yet for the reader, especially if you are invested in the Henry and Vicki portion of the triangle. How does one repay their lover or friend for changing their life so profoundly? That is the greater question that comes to mind after reading this book.

I’ve read on the Web that Vicki chooses one of these men, but thus far, I have not seen a conscious choice made on her part. In fact, this book to me shows the choice being made for her. She is forced to accept a decision made for her at the end of the last book and the beginning of this one.

****Spoiler Alert***

The bodies are piling up again with organs missing. The clinic and philanthropist involved with a surgeon are selling organs to the rich and powerful. The bodies become ghosts that haunt Fitzroy and he’s forced to call in Vicki from Toronto. She and Celluci, who reluctantly agrees to come along, jump into a van with a blacked out room in the back to drive across Canada to Vancouver.

The trip across the country is nearly as eventful as when they arrive in Vancouver and Vicki and Henry are forced to occupy the same city, let along small space. You may have guessed by now that this is the book where you find out Vicki is no longer mortal and she and Henry cannot live in the same city because they are territorial beings, except when engaged in mass killings of gang members and murderers.

My one qualm with this book is that it starts the year after the change occurs in Vicki, leaving the reader in the dark about the love and teaching that must go on between Henry and Vicki as he teaches her how to feed and control her dangerous urges. I do love how she no longer has to deal with the eye degeneration. That was something I expected when I presumed on my own that she would become immortal. I only wish that had been her choice and not that of the men in her life.

***End Spoiler Alert***

The questions this book raised for me were how does one repay their friend or lover for changing his/her life so profoundly and irrevocably? I’m not simply wondering this from a vampire/child point of view, so much as a friend impacting another friend. Vicki’s profound effect on Fitzroy’s traditions and notions about how his kind reacts and interacts with the world around him, allow him to hopefully evolve beyond his own imaginings and consider alternative ways of being. It’s not that Fitzroy is out of control and killing anything that walks, but he does hold specific notions about how his kind operates in the world and with one another. He never once questioned whether those notions or teachings were accurate or impossible to circumvent until he requests Vicki’s assistance with the ghosts.

The dynamic between these characters goes beyond the sexual tension and jealousy of a love triangle and illuminates how human interaction–or inhuman in this case–can improve an individual’s outlook on life and their ability to improve their own interactions with others, as well as how they can impact traditions and humanity as a whole.

It’s now onto the next read Blood Bank.

Producers Stink; Blood Ties Saga (Repost)

I just found out online today that the last two episodes of Blood Ties on Lifetime will not be aired on television, but online.

I have three problems with this idea.

1. It is inconvenient for viewers to track down episodes on the Lifetime Website, which I generally find confusing and hard to use in the first place.

2. Paying for episodes on iTunes when I already pay for the channel and service through my cable provider is like paying twice for one haircut. I find that to be a rip-off.

3. Isn’t this exactly why writers are on strike in Hollywood? So they can be paid for their work appropriately regardless of what medium it is shown on?! I am appalled by the business of Hollywood and the lack of respect given to writers whose creativity and ability to string words and images together is the reason television and movies have blossomed in the first place. As a writer, I find it completely unprofessional for a firm to not pay me for work. It takes a while to come up with the best images and words to convey a story, poem, play, or show. My hard work and that of other writers should be appreciated in the same way that construction workers’ sweat is appreciated.

I’ve grown to love Blood Ties and the characters, but do I love them enough to watch episodes online and deny the writers payment? I think not. I am appalled by Lifetime’s decision. I watched Blood Ties on a whim, and then got involved with the characters to the point that I needed to get the books to read those stories. I hope that the outraged viewers can send a message to Hollywood and Lifetime, especially about the Blood Ties show.

Don’t forget to weigh in on the dilemma in this week’s latest poll.

Blood Ties That Unwind a Confused Love


Tanya Huff‘s Blood Pact is the best of the books thus far. I read through this book quickly, and though I knew the inevitability of the series, I was unprepared for the final outcome. Throughout the series, there have been werewolves, mummies, vampires, and now Frankenstein monsters. When you deal in the unknown, mad scientists are bound to come out of the woodwork. I guess I never expected the mad scientist to be so young. Though Catherine is a genius, she is utterly naive about her work and why the administrator, Dr. Burke is interested in her work. While many of us like to think we are smart and on the verge of discovery or just great work, we often fail to recognize our own motivations or those of our colleagues and bosses. Even now, this may be the case.

****Spoiler Alert*****

Vickie Nelson’s mother is in trouble, worse than a life or death situation can be. Marjory, who has driven her daughter crazy with her questions and advice, becomes a scientific experiment of a young graduate student at the Life Sciences unit. The conspiracy to create Frankenstein-like creatures goes beyond the graduate student’s ideas and genius to reach up into the upper ranks of the University’s bureaucracy.

Vicki finds her mother’s body has been stolen and she buries the pain of loss to search for her mother’s “kidnappers.” The struggle to keep the loss inside and remain removed from the situation enough to find her mother’s body and the criminals who took her is apparent in all of her actions and interactions with Henry and Celluci.

The love triangle also rears its ugly head in this book, though both men agree to be civil to one another and put Vicki first. It’s admirable, but in the end, one of them has to choose to let her go and leave her forever.

****End Spoiler Alert****

Now, in this series, there is one particular tidbit of the Vampire reality that I do not find very conducive to love stories per se, but I can see why it was written into the story because the love triangle would never have ended. For all of Vicki’s strength, she has this uncanny ability at being unable to commit. She cannot commit in her personal life and she is inevitably forced to commit because of circumstances within and yet beyond her control.

There is a great deal of inner turmoil in this book. Vicki, Celluci, Henry, and even Dr. Burke. It also highlights some of the most interesting problems in graduate schools among naive yet intelligent students and faculty. I cannot wait to see what happens in the fifth book, Blood Debt.

Can We Understand Our Own Lunar Eclipses?

Carol Dine’s Trying to Understand the Lunar Eclipse is like many other works of poetry. It is wrought with imagery and vagaries, leading the reader to come to their own conclusions about the subject matter. However, what sets this book of poems apart from others is that it is not pretentious. It deals with real-life issues in images easily understood and pictured in a layman’s mind. This is not a book merely for academics. It is not the tactile nature of this book that captures my attention, on the other hand.

There is an undercurrent or a subtext throughout the poems reflecting an inner turmoil regarding her past, her present, and her future as a mother, daughter, wife, lover, and woman.

For instance, “In the Everglades” begins with a woman on a journey to find her former self and through images of the swamp, heat, and groves of trees, she finds the “Pods burst, perfect seed,/moss and sea water,/a daughter/curled like a fern.//” The narrator finds herself curled like a fern, though ferns are not the first image one would expect to find in the Everglades. So I wondered about this poem and whether it was an actual journey a woman went on or if it was a metaphorical journey into herself and the heat and swamp she faces are those memories and regrets we each carry with us about our life choices.

Another of my favorites from this book “Woman in the Cafe” is an observation piece of an older woman sitting in a cafe with a tattoo on her arm. But it is the end of the poem that reveals the observation is much more than a look at body art on someone in her 70s. Its a testament to the stains, the memories, the life choices made by each of us that we can either bury within or carry on our sleeves.

The more personal pieces, or what I would consider personal pieces about her family, and in particular about her father, are especially revealing. The undercurrent of not so much rage as disappointment and misunderstanding come bubbling to the surface. “On a Self-Portrait by Jim Dine” the lines that illustrate this are “Where the robe knots,/I see him burning at the stake/made from an easel.” But in “My Father’s Voice on Tape,” which is broken into parts marked Side 1 and Side 2, the eerie lines “Seven years and still you’re speaking/from behind your throat like an oboe.//” and “The sun lights your face./You close your eyes, too sad/to be the ice cream man.//” mix images of beauty with grim images of a man tormented or as a hidden tormentor.

Finally, “Painting Abstracts” symbolizes to me a rebirth of sorts. In it the narrator shapes items, colors objects, and generally is free to do what she pleases. “I cover the landscape with oils and marble dust,/deep green and earth brown.// I break up colors and shapes:/cloud caught in a tree, the pull of tree from sky./” Though not the last poem in the book, I think it propels the undercurrent toward a resolution, though it may not be an immediate resolution.

I highly recommend this book for even the casual poetry reader.

Holiday Exchange on Blogger


This is me spreading the word about the Christmas Exchange. From Things Mean A Lot:

Think about and participate. It should be a great time. Although it looks like I may have found out about this after the deadline passed by. Darn it.

Draw Blood Lines Through It

Blood Lines by Tanya Huff, the third book in the Blood Books Series, has one of the most disturbing scenes in it. I read the first two books without cringing, but there is one section in this book that had me cringing even after the section was gone.

Vicki Nelson, Henry Fitzroy, and Mike Celluci return in this book to fight an ancient Egyptian mummy. Yes, not only are werewolves and demons in the same book as a vampire, but now a walking mummy. This mummy isn’t just wandering around in ancient rags terrorizing the city, he has a purpose, and that purpose is to feed on souls and resurrect a god.

***Spoiler Alert***

Henry’s ka, or soul, attracts the mummy because it burns brightly, and Henry is almost tempted to take the mummy up on his offer of companionship, until he finally realizes that he is not the one in need of companionship. This book also sheds further light on the triangle created by Vicki, Henry, and Celluci. Vicki is very torn between the two, and the men are very aware of how each feels for her, which raises the tensions between them even further–especially when they work together to corral the mummy.

***End Spoiler Alert***

I will not go into detail about the disturbing section of the book, but I will say Vicki is a much stronger woman or better at hiding her pain than I would ever be. After her ordeal, she does not curl into a ball or dissolve into a puddle when it ends. If anything, she fortifies an even stiffer protective wall around herself, which I’m sure plays into her overall character development throughout the series.

I can’t wait to start the fourth book in the series, Blood Pact.

AWP Writer’s Conference 2008

It is that time again. The upcoming AWP Writer’s Conference will be held in New York City, NY, next year. I hope to go to the conference, since I have not been to a writer’s conference, other than the one-day conference in Bethesda, MD, at the Writer’s Center.

I’m excited about the New York City Conference because Yosef Komunyaka, Bruce Weigl, Joyce Carol Oates, Billy Collins, Frank McCourt, Robert Pinsky, Ha Jin, and John Irving, among others will be there. Poets and writers I just love. Listening to their wisdom and possibly meeting them would be a great bonus. Mostly, I just want to see what these conferences are like for myself and determine if they are even worth the money.

While everyone I have talked to says the AWP conference is good and bad, many do not regret going at least the one time they went. The brochure I received yesterday has information about possible discounts on hotel rates and airfare. I will have to call and see how discounted those rates actually are, considering I’m one of the more poor writers in the world. I also have to account for the AWP conference registration, which is quite hefty.

It would be great to go with a fellow writer to the conference, but all of us seem to be really poor at the moment.

Opinions Please…

Please take a look at this slideshow and tell me which photo you prefer. Please leave your selection, either by number as it appears in the slideshow or by title of the photo, in the comments.

Thank you all.

Where There Are Vampires, There Are Werewolves, Naturally


Follow a vampire long enough and you are bound to enter the world of werewolves. While many books pit these creatures against one another, there have been a few cases in which authors and movie script writers bring these factions together for the greater good of “humanity.” Blood Trail by Tanya Huff is no different in this respect, but the werewolves in this book and Henry Fitzroy do not merely set aside their differences for a specific event, but are friends and have been friends longer than Vicki Nelson has been in the picture.

***Spoiler Alert***

Rather than Vicki seeking the help of her new vamp friend, it is he who turns to her for help. He ropes her into more supernatural events, but this time with werewolves. The wer family live in the country on a farm, which is a far cry from Vicki’s city existence and very dim in terms of lighting. Henry needs her to investigate during the day, while he sleeps in a storage closet at the home, and he can hunt for the mysterious hunter killing his friends by moonlight.

This book develops these characters and their relationships even further, and it is apparent that Vicki struggles internally not only with the supernatural world she has stumbled upon, but also with her feelings for Henry and Celluci. Most of the book is spent on the farm and Celluci is no where to be found, but it is when she needs him most that he appears in his armor to save her and her friends in spite of his suspicions about Henry. The only spoiler I will put in here that you may not want to know is that Celluci believes Henry is involved in Organized Crime. This cracked me up to no end. I could not stop laughing every time he mentioned it to Vicki or to himself. How this man is a detective and cannot figure out this man is a vampire I have no idea. It’s fun to watch his deduction skills in action though.

***End Spoiler***

Again, the dialogue and interactions between these characters kept me reading. Blood Trail leads you and Vicki into the woods and does not lose its grip on you until the very end. I couldn’t stop reading last night because I knew I was near the end of the novel. I cannot wait to start Blood Lines today.

As for Blood Ties on Lifetime, I recommend readers check out the show because the actors do such a great job portraying the essence of these characters as they are written. It appears the show is struggling ratings wise, which would disappointment me if it was cancelled. I just love the show and generally these shows become cult classics, but I think the stories and the characterizations are enough to hold onto the attention of mainstream audiences if they know what channel to watch.

Sensual and Sarcastic Vamps


Photo Copyright of the Blood Ties television show.

Tanya Huff is a whiz with characterization. I thought I loved watching Vicky Nelson and Henry Fitzroy on the television screen, but I enjoy reading about them even more. Book 1, Blood Price, does not disappoint. There is certainly enough blood to go around. Poor Vicky; she gets so beat up in this first book. It makes you wonder how she copes with the supernatural in later books, but I guess she toughens up after this first experience with the demons.

***Spoiler Alert***

Vicky is full of sarcasm and equally arrogant about her abilities despite her loss of peripheral vision, and her ex-partner, ex-lover, Mike Celluci is pigheaded and arrogant as well. Coupled with the ageless Henry Fitzroy how could the supernatural possibly win out. Have I mentioned that Fitzroy, who prefers to be called Henry, happens to be a Vampire? Much of the book focuses on Vicky’s story and how she stumbles upon a murder on the subway, and how because she quit the police force she feels abandoned and useless. She left the force of her own accord and continues to fight the feeling of uselessness throughout the book until she comes to a realization at the end that she is not useless and that she has a great many skills to use in solving even supernatural crimes.

Mike takes turns as the bad guy reminding her that she left the job she loved and reminding her that she is still needed by him, at least. While Henry spends a great deal of time trying to place her; where has he seen her before; why has she entered his solitary life; and how should he deal with this newly budding relationship. Henry is drawn to her, not only as prey but also as a companion in the modern world.

***End Spoiler***

I won’t spoil the whole story for you, but I will tell you that the book is fast paced. The dialogue and interactions between Vicky and Henry are hilarious and had me laughing for much of the book’s latter half. I was equally amused by the conversations with Celluci and Vicky. Even the supporting characters, like Coreen and Norman, are quirky but not beyond total belief in this horror/fantasy novel.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in vampires or great characters.