Virginia Nelson on Judging a Book by its Cover
Virginia is someone I met only recently but, like a few other online friends, she just clicks with me. I think she’s fantastic and I’m sure you will too. Please welcome Virginia Nelson.
As both an avid reader and writer, I love books in an almost obsessive way. I read everything I can get my hands on and I read it fast. So for a book to grasp my attention and keep me enthralled it has to really be something. If I am going to reccomend a book, well, it has to be outstanding in the flood of words.
I like my female characters strong and I like them to save themselves, not sit around wailing and waiting for some buff man to rescue them.
When a cover has a picture of the man on top… it doesn’t mean he can’t be topped. But when I crack the book and he does all the work due to his “desperate need to protect her…” and she just lets him…
When I write my characters I keep the same standards. If Janie, the main character in Odd Stuff, had sat around and waited to be rescued by her vampire boyfried, she would be dead as a doornail. Then again, it would never occur to Janie to sit around and wait for anyone. She is far more likely to plunge into the darkness, knife in one hand, super powers in the other, and hope for the best. She even rescues him upon occasion.
That’s my girl. *wipes tear from eye* And my cover showcased this nicely. As a matter of fact, neither of her “boyfriends” are even on the cover… Just Janie.
Here is an excerpt from Odd Stuff, my new release with Sapphire Blue Publishing, that shows she is no wilting flower:
Pushing the door closed, I hit something.
Or someone, as it turned out.
The man stood, looking like he had died last week. His eyes sunk into his face and were surrounded by shadows so deep they looked like bruises. And they glowed. Shit you not, they glowed. An eerie blue shone out from the waxy, white skin. His face seemed dried out somehow, pulling the skin tight, and his lips seemed shrunken because of this, showing teeth that had horribly distended canines. His hair hung nearly to his waist in a knotted black mass that had dust and God knows what tangled in it. His clothes had either mud or dried blood on them and both seemed equally possible.
And he stunk. Like death. Like dog shit. Like dead dog shit.
All of this took less than a second to imprint on my mind as I shrieked and fell gracelessly to my ass. I scrambled in a crab walk as far as I could, against the far wall.
And now, two seconds into my encounter with whatever was rummaging in the refrigerator-It hissed at me. It seemed wrong, somehow, to think of this creature as a him. It wasn’t a him. It was a nightmare.
I shrieked again in terror. Not that screaming had done much good the first time, but just because that seemed to be the only thing I could think to do right then.
It came at me. I dove for the butcher block full of knives, but the Thing was faster. I found myself pinned to the counter, then before I could think, It had whirled me around and had me pinned to the wall, facing It.
Dear God, I was going to die.
I concentrated on breathing as the monster’s cold, slim fingers moved at my waist, fumbling at my jeans. I pinched my eyes closed, and I breathed in the stink of the monster. The fingers slid a bit down my thigh, and I wondered if I was going to get raped before It ate me. Monsters never raped first then ate the victim in the movies. My mind tried to work its way around this, and I didn’t even notice that the hand had found my key ring and attempted to remove it.
I shrieked for the third time, and the Thing spoke.
“Open your bloody eyes.”
Huh. The monster spoke. I tried to open my eyes. Nope, couldn’t do it. When I was a little girl, I had been sure that as long as my eyes were closed and every part of my body was under the blanket, no air even getting in, the monsters couldn’t get me. Some part of this had come back now. So long as I did not open my eyes, this wasn’t happening.
“Open your eyes, dammit.”
The voice was like rusty air. Hardly any sound at all. Just a raspy air sound that barely formed words. I shivered at the lack of humanity in the sound and the fear that choked me.
“I can’t.” I finally managed to say and was happy that I had a voice at all. My voice, when I spoke, was hardly louder than the creature’s.
“Why the hell not? I can’t get it off. Take it off.”
Take it off. Oh God, I was going to get raped before It ate me.
“Girl! Do you hear me? Take it off before, ohhh.”
The last part came out a sigh.
“Type O positive.”
Lips nuzzled at my neck. The reek worsened and the nasty cloud of hair tickled my face. I choked on the rank musty smell of him.
I whimpered weakly.
The door leading downstairs opened, and I finally managed to pry apart my eyelids. Sven barged into the room. “O-mi-God, Vance!”
The creature murmured into my neck. I wondered why Sven was calling for Mia’s friend when we had a situation, here.
I flapped my arm at Sven. “Sven! Help! Run away! Get Vickie and run away! Help!”
I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Sven caught the monster by the shoulder, and pulled him back like he weighed nothing. Then again, to Sven, maybe the monster didn’t.
“Dude! Everyone thought you died!” Sven hugged the monster thing.
Okay, I fell asleep because the store was so slow, and I am having a dream. A very weird dream.
“Can’t you smell her?” The thing asked, trying to get to me. I jumped on the counter top and backed up to the cupboard doors, one foot sliding into the sink.
“What?” Sven reached up and grabbed the key ring off the belt loop of my jeans. He pulled the Thing to the fridge and unlocked the drawer that held all of the blood.
“Dude, why didn’t you just rip the friggin’ drawer out?”
The Thing dug its teeth into the bag, gulping frantically.
When the bag was emptied, the Thing threw it in the garbage and gracefully wiped his face on his arm. “I did not want to ruin Mia’s pretty kitchen. Gimme another bag.”
I stared at the creature. Was it just me or was It looking more human? Yes, the face was fuller, and a rosy color tinged the monster’s skin. Even Its hair glistened more. The monster’s lips had filled out into sensual curves. Long, curling lashes framed heavily-lidded eyes and enhanced a graceful brow. The Thing in the kitchen had transformed in less than five minutes from dead looking monster to Greek god.
Somehow the transformation made the Thing more terrifying and less real all at once, which somehow worked out as a mood changer for me. I found myself making a transformation of my own-from terrified blubbering idiot to pissed off-in less time than it took the Thing to finish the second bag.
I jumped off the counter. With a butcher knife in one hand and a steak knife in the other, I lunged at the Thing.