Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I’m really excited to be here, and be able to talk about my new novel Pazuzu’s Girl. It was released from Journalstone Publishing on February 10th. A lot of times I know people write what they know, and I had a great time with the YA Indie Carnival’s Interview With A Villain post week. I think most of my favorite characters are the villains, or at least the characters who aren’t snowy pure.
So, I thought I’d talk for a second about how Pazuzu’s Girl evolved. I had never written a novel before, not an original one. I’d written a fan fiction novel of the Babylon 5 universe, my favorite sci-fi show. I mostly only wrote short stories. I never thought I’d have enough to say to fill up a novel. Then I joined the Denver Fiction Writers Critique Group, to learn more about editing. And I got caught up in National Novel Writing Month. It was intense. My favorite thing about NaNoWriMo is the motto ‘permission to suck’. I think that really freed me to barf out whatever was in my head onto the pages and just see where it went. Pazuzu’s Girl started with a couple ideas: the brief amusing thought of how a demon might handle regular people issues like raising a teenager, and that thought came from projecting into the future of what raising our future teenager will be like. Then as I did more research about the Mesopotamian gods, the Sumerian myths like the Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh epic, the story got more complicated when I thought about how myth transformed in the mix of different cultures.
I didn’t write it in one month as is the goal for National Novel Writing Month, not even close, but I found having a crazy goal like 10,000 words a day really lights a fire under your butt. And so if I had a piece of advice for beginning writers, it’s take advantage of events like National Novel Writing Month, and don’t be afraid to put stuff down on the page, you can fix it later. But you can’t fix a blank page. I guess that makes me more of a ‘pantser’, someone who doesn’t have a complete outline to start with.
So here is an excerpt from Pazuzu’s Girl, I hope you like it!
* * *
Morpho shook out her brilliant blue hair in front of the mirror behind the door of her pink room. She threw on her torn leather jacket over a ruffled pink sock that passed for a mini-dress. She flounced down the stairs, grabbed her Tinker Bell backpack and the peanut butter toast her father’s servant had left, and plopped her skateboard on the tiles of the front porch. One of them dislodged as she jumped the board down the steps.
A loud chatter emerged from the thousands of grasshoppers that hid throughout the partially eaten lawn and manicured bushes. She heard them as though they spoke in English.
I know you’re mad at me, but was that really necessary? Lugal just fixed those. Are you angry with him as well? A couple of grasshoppers fluttered after her and hitched a bumpy ride on the strap of her pack before crawling up to her shoulder.
She rolled her eyes and did a rattling jump just for their benefit. “No, Dad. I’m not mad at him. And not everything I do is just to piss you off.” Her lips set in a grim line and she rode in silence.
The grasshoppers twittered and hung on as she took the curbs as hard as possible. Then to what do we owe your sunny mood?
She glowered. “I’m a freak. We are freaks.” She whirled her finger in a circle to include everyone around her in freak-dom.
You dyed your hair blue. That’s generally not what people do when they are trying to avoid attention, her dad gently reminded her.
“I’m laying my cards on the table. We have to replace the lawn and shrubs every couple days because you eat everything in the yard. And everyone thinks Lugal is your love slave. Our differences aren’t exactly ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ By the way, we got another fine from the stupid housing association. They’re threatening to send pest control.”The grasshoppers chirped. “I’ll deal with them. And I thought you liked Lugal.”
“I do like him. But you might want to let him know everyone thinks he’s your boyfriend, partner…whatever.” She flipped her board up and stormed into the school hall, late for class, as the grasshoppers flitted away.
* * *
Thousands of grasshoppers emerged from nooks and crannies throughout the denuded sod in front of 248 Rowan Street, Ken Caryl, Colorado. As they flooded into the hallway of the house from the moist April breeze outside, the swarm of glittering wings and golden-brown bodies condensed into the figure of a tall thin man with golden eyes, black hair and slightly canine features around the mouth. Pazuzu, Demon of the Air and the Southwest Wind, stalked into his suburban home to deal with the four-hundredth letter from his homeowner’s association and ruminate on how to handle an angsty teenage daughter.
Lugal, an equally tall, sturdy man with dark features and a hawk’s nose, dropped to his knees and bowed his face to the floor as Pazuzu entered. His palms flattened on the ground in obeisance. His right hand was marred by rough white scar tissue across the palm and wrist. “Lord, what is your will?”
Pazuzu motioned the man to his feet. “I accept your loyalty,” he nodded, “but you have not bowed to me since the first time we met, except when you have done something you knew would displease me. What have you done?” He glowered.
Lugal raised a carefully-groomed eyebrow and his eyelid twitched for a moment. “I have not seen such a look on your face for many years. I thought you might benefit from an old formality.”
Pazuzu’s lips curled up in a smile that looked like a grimace. “Did you see Morpho’s attire? We are supposed to maintain a low profile!”
Lugal’s white teeth flashed and the other eyebrow rose. “Forgive my impudence, Lord, but have you seen some of the other children at the high school? She is fitting in.”
Pazuzu met the dark man’s eyes and they both burst into deep rolling laughter. Pazuzu sank down into the tasteful but nondescript kitchen chair and picked up the HOA letter. He took the content in at a glance and tossed it back on the table. “She told me about this.”
“What will you do?” Lugal brought pungent-smelling cardamom tea to the table.
“I will be the indignant homeowner at one of their silly meetings. They have been fining us since we arrived more than a year ago. It gives them something to do and makes them feel important, happy with their power. Happy neighbors are quiet neighbors.”
“But they have threatened to hire extermination services.” Lugal sipped his tea, watching Pazuzu warily.
Pazuzu leaned forward slightly, and his golden irises lit from within, then faded. “I will dissuade them.”
Lugal was silent for a moment. “Has there been any sign of her? Of the Scourge? My spies have detected nothing yet.”
Agitation distorted Pazuzu’s lips into a snarl, making him look more canine than ever. “No. Not aside from the usual events in the news lately. The bombings, the shootings, in many of the nations near the old kingdom, near Uruk. I see nothing direct, only her influence.”
“She is subtle. That is how she gained her power before you left her. What will you do should she find Morpho?”
Pazuzu’s eyes flashed and a rasping breeze lifted in the room. Lugal quietly placed his scarred hand on the napkins to keep them from skittering off the table. Pazuzu’s voice was like the sound of a million furious, buzzing insects as he answered, “I will protect my child.”
* * *
Pazuzu’s Girl is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Journalstone website. It is available in both paperback and e-book. And as a special for Fisher’s site for her awesomeness in hosting me, we’re doing an e-book giveaway today. If you get the book for the giveaway it would be really terrific to hear what you think! Please review it on any of the above sites or Goodreads .
I am a fan of Fisher, and hope to host her soon on my website as well, at www.rachelcoles.wordpress.com to feature her engaging books, The Understorey and her most recent release Callum and Harper! So stay tuned!
Thank you so much for being here, Rachel! Brilliant excerpt!!! Can’t wait to read!
Rachel is also giving away a fabulous copy of Pazuzu’s Girl! First to comment wins a copy!!!!!!!!