Friday, July 26, 2013

Deadhand Control, Book 4 of the Series - Kickstarter Project launched

Kickstarter Project Launched for Deadhand Control, UBA Book 4

This week, Maryanne Wells launched a Kickstarter Project to fund research for Book 4 of the Undead Bar Association Series, a book she's titling Deadhand Control.

"I'm excited about this launch," said Wells, from her home in Amarillo, Texas. "The plot of Deadhand Control involves a lot of history, so it's the perfect book to invite readers into the research experience. For contributors, I'll be recording video updates of my research trips, sharing the good, bad, and ugly."

Deadhand Control picks up where Book 3, Binding Deceit, left off. But, readers do not need to be familiar with the earlier books to enjoy this new addition to the Undead Bar Association Series. Like each book Wells writes, Deadhand Control is a novel that can stand alone.

The historic focus for the book is the Red River Indian War in  1874 and the immediate preceeding events. Wells plans to send modern characters back in time.

"Imagine a woman in her twenties, an African American man, and a US Army vet who served in Afghanistan, being sent back to the 1870s. Each one of them will face a unique kind of culture shock," promises Wells. "Add in evil Vildru sorcerers and Indian medicine men, and the scene is set for some powerful magic."

Though Wells only recently confirmed the book's plot, she's been thinking about one of the characters for decades.

"I started researching General Ranald S. Mackenzie in high school," Wells reports. "Someone told me the Civil War hero was a distant relative, and I read everything about him I could find. When I moved to Amarillo five years ago, I realized that one of his most significant Post-Civil War campaigns happened just down the road. Mackenzie is a complicated and ultimately tragic figure. As a character in Deadhand Control, he'll bring a lot to the world of the Undead Bar Association."

Contributors to the Kickstarter project for Deadhand Control could receive Undead Bar Association Books, coffee, and the chance to name a character in the book. Product received depends on contribution level. There are a total of 14 contribution levels offered, ranging from $1 to $1000.

"Most of the contribution levels are unlimited, but there's room for only one fan at the $1000 level," Wells explained. "At that level, the contributor has the chance to name a recurring character, plus receive books and coffee.

"The character at the $1000 level is a puppy. Maybe that sounds strange for a book about the undead, but really, it makes sense. One of the historic characters in the book had a dog who had puppies about the time action in the book occurs. I decided to use one puppy in the book, and fans with whom I discussed the plot already convinced me to include the puppy in other stories, too. So, whoever gets to name that character pledges top dollar to be the Top Dog. Pun intended."

To learn more about the Kickstarter project for Deadhand Control, visit Kickstarter. The project will be open to contributors until noon on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Publish date for Deadhand Control is early February of 2014.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Alice in Wonderland and the Undead Bar Association

Many themes run through the Undead Bar Association series. One of the clearest is consistent reference to the works of Lewis Carroll. Symbolism and characters from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass appear in each of the first three Undead Bar Association books, and I plan for that trend to continue throughout the series.

Here's a sample of how Carroll's work is referenced by the UBA:

Maryanne / Mary Ann - in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit mistakes Alice for his maid Mary Ann. In the Undead Bar Association series, the main character is named Maryanne. The coincidence is not lost on some of her literary minded acquaintances. Consider this passage from UBA Book 3, Binding Deceit:

“Tell me, Maryanne,” the vampire said; “Is Robert your white rabbit, here to lead our little Alice down the rabbit hole of my black soul?”

Smiling grimly, I said, “No, I already met the white rabbit.”

“Are you sure? Robert fit the part so well, I thought.”

“Oh, I'm positive. The white rabbit called me Alice when we met; later he called me Maryanne, scolded me for not shutting a door, and told me to clean up someone else's mess. Proof positive to me,” I said dryly, recalling my first months in Dallas.

Phil / White Rabbit - the White Rabbit referred to by Maryanne is Phil, a court investigator and vampire shadow working in Dallas, Texas. Maryanne first meets Phil in Book 2, Shadowed Demise:

Phil handed me a silver key; pressed it into my palm.

“What's this?” I asked.

“Let's call you Alice, and say that Dallas is Wonderland. That's your key to the rabbit hole. It's a green metal door in the Kirby's basement, past the laundry room.”

“And who are you supposed to be, the white rabbit?”

“Oh, sure. All white rabbits with hats are named Philip or Thomas. You didn't know that?”

He turned abruptly and walked away, leaving the courtroom.

“Wait, when am I supposed to go down there?” I asked.
Phil was already gone.

The Rabbit Hole - In Binding Deceit, "rabbit hole" is bartender Robert's pet phrase for "weird stuff is going down". That phrase and other Lewis Carroll references it calls to mind form the beginning of Robert and Maryanne's friendship.

Dr. Bricks and Robert / The Mad Hatter and the March Hare - Maryanne declares in Binding Deceit that Dr. Bricks is the Mad Hatter and his son Robert is the March Hare. It's not the nicest remark she could make, but given the secrets Maryanne knows about the Bricks, it makes sense.

Jabberwocky / Inceput vampire - A new vampire is introduced in Binding Deceit, one who presents a very real and personal threat to Maryanne. Being the Texas panhandle gal she is, Maryanne doesn't back down easily:

“Maybe you are the jabberwocky,” I said with deadly calm; “If I ever take your head off, snicker-snack, with a vorpal blade, we'll know it's true. You'll sure as hell know. Now, get off this damn train of nonsense and back to the subject at hand: sfi vows.”

White kitten - This is the most subtle Carroll reference in the series thus far, and it's in the first UBA book, Matriculated Death.

At the beginning of Alice Through the Looking Glass, Alice says: "One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it ..."

The same holds true in Matriculated Death - the white kitten had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

So, be on the lookout  for more references to the works of Lewis Carroll in the Undead Bar Association Series. You're sure to find them. After all, in the words of a certain cat,

"We're all mad here."

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Growing Collection

Books 1-3 of the Undead Bar Association series. Big announcement about Book 4 coming next week.