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Taking It To The Grave 3 (By Guest Blogger Heather Goldie)

 4am isn’t the nicest time of day;  Its cool and dark, and there’s an underlying air of menace. The only people out at this hour are shift workers, crooks and hookers. And me, your lovely hostess, Heather.
 I’m sitting in the back of AJ’s car waiting patiently.  She slides behind the wheel humming to herself and starts the car.  I let her adjust the volume on her radio until she’s blasting Avril. That’s when I lunge forward to put the cloth over her nose and mouth.  I know, I know, chloroform is such a wimpy move, but you should know: AJ’s feisty and she fuckin’ bites.
She was expecting it–so paranoid, jeez–but she was not expecting it from me.Her wide eyes in the rear view mirror show confusion, followed hard and fast by rage. I’m going to pay for this later, but until then, I’m going to have my fun. I shove her limp form into the passengers seat, climb into the front and off we go, listening to her music. *lalala-lala-la-lala What the hell.* I love Avril, too, AJ.
 
It’s a 40 minute drive, but she’s quiet as a corpse the whole way there. Tricky getting her down the stairs. Hope her last tumble doesn’t leave too many bruises. Now AJ’s eyes start to flutter.  The room is dim, lit only by one small desk lamp.  There’s a table and two chairs.  AJ is handcuffed to one, I sit in the other.  The room has an odd smell to it, but not bad for your average basement; could be a lot worse.
 
H: Hey, you’re waking up , eh sleepy head? Sorry ’bout that, but I knew you wouldn’t come here willingly.  Like the place?  I rented it just for you.
AJ: Fffffff-uck.
H:  There’ll be none of that, sweety. See, here’s the thing.  I’ve watched you put your author friends in the “hot seat” lately but noticed you don’t reveal a lot about yourself.  Today, that’s what you and I are going to do.
AJ: Fuck. You.
H: I guess you noticed I changed your clothes for you? Polka dots are so you!  Nice granny panties, by the way.  Seriously?  Kitten-print?
AJ: It’s laundry day, get off my case.
H: So what do you think of your clown costume? Hee hee, you look adorable in that ruffled collar.  *holds up mirror.* We’re going to play a game. K?
AJ: This isn’t anything like “Hide the Lead Pipe” is it? I don’t  like that game.
H: What the–No! It’s called “Send in the Clowns”, ya weirdo. Behind me on the table is the contents of your purse and your glove box.  You have some strange things in there, woman.  Like the ball gag. Might need that, if you start sassin’ me. Why was it in there?  And why does a married woman need a strip of condoms?  Extra large, ribbed for her pleasure?
AJ: Emergency stash. I plan on “bumping into” Jude Law someday.
H: *laughs* Suuuuuure. Now would be a good time to explain the rules.  Whenever you’re a mouthy twat, I’m going to add a little more clown make up and hold up the mirror. How’s that sound?
AJ: Or, you could bite me. That’s an alternative.
H: How rude! *hovers with white pancake make up* Lets start with your eyes.  There that’s pretty.  Now lets play … Whats the most terrifying thing to ever happen to you?
  
 AJ: One of my first boyfriends asked if he could chase me through the woods. I didn’t see the harm; I grew up beside that strip of forest, knew every pathway like the back of my hand. Didn’t occur to me that it might be dangerous in the dark, or that going off the paths would be stupid. I tore through those trees like my life depended on it, left him so far behind that I was feelin’ pretty smug. I found an underused path and pelted through the over-arching branches with my arms up in front of my face–and plowed smack into a stranger. He was more shocked than I was, some skinny 17 yr old girl practically tackling him in the dark. And the thought flashed through my mind–this guy could do anything to me right now and no one would know. I’d be fucking cold by the time some cadaver dog laid down beside my corpse. Luckily, he was just some drunk cutting through the woods. But my heart sure hammered wildly the whole time he stood there, and I’ve never forgotten that helpless feeling. I LOVED it. I get off on being scared. To this day, I have a real deep-seated desire to be chased through the woods again.
 
H: That’s better, good girl.  Have you ever killed a living thing for fun?
 
AJ: For fun? No. Not even as a kid. I grew up in a house where my mum would name spiders she found in the house, or capture them in her hands and put them outside. I’ve laid in a field of dandelions surrounded by bumblebees. Oh wait … I retract that “no”. I do yell triumphantly when I smack a mosquito on my arm and leave a little bloody smear. That would qualify as killing for fun … I love crushing those fuckers.
 
H: Nice.  Bloodsuckers.  That leads me to this one.  Tell me about the Harry Dreppenstedt character in “Touched“. Why did you make him a “revenant”? Why not some other supernatural creature? Where did the inspiration for Harry come from?
 
AJ: I decided to use the old word “revenant” because the glut of paranormal romancy-vamps (while certainly having their appeal) did not match up with the creature I was trying to create in Harry. The word vampire has come to mean something that I did not associate with the immortals in my book. Harry is technically a vampire, in the most classic sense of the word. I’m talking classic as in “monster”, no doubt there. He is not the beautiful, perfect prom date. He is cold, and undead, and has all the traditional vulnerabilities: sunlight will turn him to ash, holy water will melt him, he loses power when near running water, beheading will kill him, as will a stake of rowan wood in his unbeating heart. I added a couple of things: my revenants carry “crypt plague” and break out in hives near priests and crosses. He must rest during daylight hours in a safe dark location, preferably his casket. He is 400 yrs dead, has old world charm and devotion in spades, but is emotionally unavailable & entirely incapable of love–as all dead guys should be, imo. He survives only on the blood of human beings–animals won’t cut it. He cares for Marnie as his primary caregiver,  to whom he gives a partial gift of his Talent, his specific psychic abilities. This is where Marnie gets her power. He is not a romantic partner–nor is he a sex partner in the beginning, because to offer Marnie that sort of intimacy would be giving her access to his complete range of powers, and she’s a total wackjob as it is. A wackjob with extra power? Harry’s concern is that she’d use it badly, as did all of his prior DaySitters. That being said, with all his faults, he is a marvellous check and balance for Marnie: he attempts to keep her grounded.
 
H: I love Harry.  He’s sweet.  Why has it taken you so long to finish a novel? Why this one? You’ve started so many over the years, what’s different about this one?
 
AJ: I’ve been writing since I was 13 years old, after my dad got me to read David Eddings’ Belgariad series. I loved it, but kept picturing scenes that I wished had happened. I started re-writing, inserting my own ideas, taking Eddings’ characters on my flights of fancy. When I showed my dad, he said that wasn’t allowed. I tried again; 4000 pages and ten years later it was still blatant plagerism. I took a break, and came back to it some years later, but it felt like I’d never get it right. Touched” started as a vacation from the fantasy. I’d had this spazzy psychic detective character in my head forever … she amused me because even though she was psychic, she could never solve a fucking thing, and even though she lived with this hot vampire, she could never get laid, and the one guy who might screw her couldn’t, because they worked together. She was just a failure in almost every way … and I loved her anyway. I rooted for her, wanted her to pull up her big girl panties and get something done. She cracked me up. And once she got rolling, she tripped headlong into success– not the hero way, but eventually bumbling to victory like Mr. Magoo … if Mr. Magoo had ever been bamboozled by witches, whomped by ghouls and pounded by an old lady. I wrote a bit and shot it off to my friend and editor Berenice, who told me to take a break from the fantasy and play around with this mystery. That was all the permission I needed. I showed some to you (my beta reader, Heather *flutters eyelashes*), and you laughed; best sound ever, laughter coming from something I had written. You told me where it dragged, pointed out where it was stupid, but kept me trying again with those laughs. I wrote quickly just to hear that laughter, it became like a drug. 6 months later I was done the first draft.
 
H: What is with your obsession with pickle forks?
 
AJ: I’m blind. Let me explain that: I’ve had poor eyesight since 9th grade. It’s been getting steadily worse, and over the past few years I’ve needed a lot of help. This is why I say I “stalk my eye doctor”. I feel like I’m hanging out in his series of little dark private chambers because I have the hots for him or something. And I totally do–but only because he’s a man, and I’m a horny bitch with the moral aptitude of a crocodile. My point is: I’m terrified that I’ll lose my vision completely, and the idea of eye surgery, to me, is on the same horror scale as having someone jab metal instruments in there for fun and torture! My mum has these tiny plastic-handled forks for olives and cocktail onions and beets … it was a simple leap for me to notice them one day and go, “hey, it would be ASSNASTY if someone used that to dig around in my eyeball”. Normal people do think of shit like that, right?
 
H: Where do you get your insane ideas?
 
AJ: Often they pop in my head while I’m soaping up. I just shared too much, right? No, the soap part is a joke. Mostly. In the shower is where I get most of my great “omgwhatifthathappened?”moments. That’s the reason you’ll hear me snort-giggling in the shower by myself. The ONLY reason. Also: I love my sister but she is a fucking nutbar. When she and I get together for tea, I end up with enough dialogue to do me for two chapters. 
 
H: Ya too much information there, I think. Do you children fear you?
 
AJ: It would be far more accurate to say they roll their eyes and one-up me at this point. I did make sure when they were little that I had respect and obedience: I can’t stand kids who boss around their parents. I see it a lot, it’s totally unacceptable, and there was no way in hell that was going to happen in my house. They know I’m the boss, but they also know I’d never hurt them … and I’d slaughter to protect them. That being said, I don’t think anyone could shock my kids. Their mother’s attitude has prepared them for all manner of weirdness. I’m kinda proud of that. They’re tough little nuts.
 
H: Nice pretty blue eyebrows I think…
AJ: No! No! I answered your Q! No fair!
H: … we want you to look extra happy.  Sit still! When was the last time you stabbed someone?  
  
AJ:  I think a normal person would ask, “wtf kind of Q is that?” That’s what I should probably say. I stabbed myself a few months back. Or, technically, my husband stabbed me. I was hastily emptying the dishwasher, reaching for the clean cutlery, no hesitation, just grabbing … and a steak knife had been put in blade-up. BLADE-UP!!It sank about 2-3 cm into the meat of my palm. All I felt was cold. When I lifted my hand, the knife came WITH IT. I stared at it, totally stunned, while blood started to river down the handle, thinking, “Hunh. So that’s what it feels like. That fucking hurts. OMG those poor people who get stabbed to death. That IS a bad way to go.” And then, delayed reaction: “Uh, I should take this knife outta my hand, maybe?” 
 
H: Do you have any little writing secrets or tips? Something you’re willing to share?
 
AJ:  Write every day. Every. Single. Day. A habit–good or bad–can be formed or lost in as little as two weeks. You may not feel like writing every day, but maintaining the habit of sitting down with the intention of writing is even more important than your daily output. I think writing every day (even if you can only spare 15 minutes) is the most important tip you could possibly incorporate into your routine. Also: if you sit down every day to write, you will take writing more seriously, like a job, a business, a career. And it is. You have to show up for your dream job. Also: don’t wait for your muse to come–TELL your muse when you expect him to show up, and start work with or without him. Picasso said “inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” I heartily concur. 
 
H: I’ll try that…thanks.  Lets go a little more personal: I hear you burn a lot of bacon…are you REALLY that bad a cook?
 
AJ: *hangs head*  “Burning bacon” is an inside joke term a certain friend and I *cough* made one day because (am I really telling this to the web? bloody hell) I was frying bacon early one afternoon so I could make nice chicken caesar salads for supper. It was taking forever, so I thought I’d pop down to my room to, y’know, erm, “pass the time pleasantly”? (the life of a full time writer–I know, rough, right?) It took longer than I’d counted on and when I came upstairs, I thought, “what’s burning?”. I’d TOTALLY forgotten about the bacon. Later, when hubby asked why there was no bacon for the salad, I just about choked on my tongue I was laughing so hard. Aaaand I’m sure my folks are really enjoying this little insight into their daughter’s hopeless hedonism. First person to buy me a package of bacon as a joke is gonna lose some teeth.
 
H:  OMG!  I might pee myself… Hey, Mom and Dad A.!  Sorry ’bout this.  How do you think they’ll like this one?  Weirdest place you’ve ever had sex? 
 
AJ: It would be irresponsible of me to say. *prim smile* Wow, lookit that … I don’t always kiss and tell! Who knew?
 
H: K, I’m gonna let that one slide…What’s your naughtiest sex fantasy?
 
AJ: Oh come on!!!  I’m so not telling. Do your worst. I will say this much: I haven’t done it yet. Not sure I’ll ever get the chance. Isn’t that kinda sad? It sure makes me sad.
 
H: Well, that was disappointing.  How about we add that nice bright red smile now?  Now that’s HOT!!  *pulls out camera phone for evidence later* Lets try this…Right now you are my submissive, what do you usually prefer? Dominant or submissive?  
AJ: I hate you.
 
H: No you don’t, you wuv me! Come on, kink, spill it!
 
AJ: I really need new friends … Gimme that clown nose. Next Q! LOL.
 
 H:  What is your favorite obsession?
 
AJ:  I become obsessed with a topic/song/food/subject easily, and just MOW through information or experiences with it for days, weeks, months. Right now, because my second novel has zombies in it, I’m obsessed with death, bacteria, plague and the process of putrefaction, and Haitian vodou. 
 
H: Well, your make up is all done, so I guess we’re almost done hereDeep-seated fear of clowns…when did it begin? What happened?
 
AJ: I think it started when I was about 2 or 3, too young to be out late on Hallowe’en. I was helping mum hand out candy at our place on Bogart St. It was after 9ish, and mum turned out theporch light and said: “It’s too late, now. Close the door.” I went to do so, and teenagers dressed like clowns rushed to the glass door and pounded on it, laughing. For a little sleepy girl past her bedtime, expecting no more kids, certainly not (countlessloomingshovingcacklingpounding)clowns on my porch in the dark, it was a terrible shock. Pretty sure I cried. When I got older, it occured to me that the painted-on smiles aren’t right: they’re smiling even when the man underneath is not. That’s fucking repulsive in every way. It makes my innards shake.
 
H: Thanks babe.  *adds the fluffy red clown hair and pointed hat to her head.* I’ll tell you how to get out of your cuffs.  That’s the easy part.  What I haven’t told you is this *flips the light switch on*
 
AJ: Are those … what the … Heather? What is this?
 
The entire room is covered in pictures of clowns.  Little clowns, tall clowns, fat clowns, skinny clowns.  Smiling and crying…they’re everywhere.
 
H: The only way out of here is down this hallway.  The best part is: the hallway is completely mirrored.  You’ll have to see what YOU look like as a clown.  Isn’t that great??  I’ve turned you into the thing you hate most. 
 
AJ: Don’t you dare leave me here like this!
 
H: Ok, so I guess I’ll see you Thursday?
 
AJ: Bitch, no! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
 
H: Bagel and French vanilla would be awesome.  Love you! *backs up the hall carefully* Cuff keys are in your back pocket!  Bye AJ! *runs from the room*
 
(Editor’s note: AJ would like to thank her guest blogger, Heather Goldie, for turning the tables on her and putting her in the hot seat, and also: for being the most ridiculous person ever. Love ya, girl. Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe it’s time to burn some bacon …)
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13 Responses to Taking It To The Grave 3 (By Guest Blogger Heather Goldie)

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    • Auras says:

      I can totally see how that creepy clown scared you. I hate them too. The picture looks like it was taken from pretty far away though, so maybe Mr. Man is a little frightened as well!

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  12. Madame H says:

    Here’s one of the questions that had to be edited because of the length of the interview…

    H- Right now you are my submissive, what do you usually prefer? Dominant or submissive and why?

    AJ- Not that I’m in any way a pro about that stuff, but I have done extensive research (for books! Yeah, that’s it) and dabbled a tad. In BDSM terms I would be considered a switch. I like my women submissive but my men dominant. Women don’t tell me what to do, or I wanna punch them in the fucking head. No offense. Men, on the other hand, should give orders not take them, and certainly not from me. Ever. I respect a guy who knows how to keep me in line–that’s not an easy task, cuz I’m a strong personality, and it takes balls to put me in my place, but the few who manage deserve props. I know this makes me a horrible feminist, and I’m totally OK with that.

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