After much ado with missing links, broken links and obstinate computers, I can now present B Snow, at long last.
Thanks for being patient. You will be well rewarded by not only B’s interview but by a giveaway she’s offering if you respond to this post before Nov 25. (This deadline will probably be extended since we have had such trouble getting this posted in a timely fashion). Don’t forget to leave your email address.
Without further ado:
Many thanks to Brynn for allowing me to guest blog, and apologies for being late! If you’ve been to my blog [link: http://bsnowwriter.blogspot.com/%5D, then you’re not surprised by this news. >.<
(If any of these pictures belong to you and you’d like me to take them down, please let me know.)
Brynn is helping me promote my novella, “A Cunning Plan”, which is my first non-anthology published story. It’s a Regency romance with a touch of paranormal, and it always makes me think of foxes, even though they really don’t appear much. But they play an important role.
So of course, as soon as I start thinking of foxes, they appear everywhere. There’s my browser:
And the type of cute pictures that people post on fb:
And of course, the cracktastic viral hit of the summer:
[video: What Does the Fox Say? ]
[or here’s the link if that doesn’t work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jofNR_WkoCE%5D
Foxes have a reputation as tricksters, probably because they’re so smart. Is this the most perfect casting, or what?
And tricksters are sexy (which gives me a reason to post a picture of Tom Hiddleston as Loki, even though that has nothing to do with foxes.)
What was I talking about?
Oh, right, foxes and the novella.
One scene in my story is based on an actual fox we saw in Germany a few years ago. On our first trip there, my husband and I rented a car to drive from Herrsching to Neuschwanstein Castle and then to Obing, and we got very lost that night. It was partly our fault for not having a GPS and partly our fault for not speaking German, but honestly, what sort of place makes its “Detour” signs in exactly the same shape, color, and font as its signs pointing to the next town? We drove through Bad Tolz, saw the sign pointing towards Umleitung (which we found out the next day meant “Detour”), and said, “Well, we know we don’t want to go there,” so we went the opposite direction.
Somehow, it turned out like Alice Through the Looking-Glass: every time we tried to leave Bad Tolz, we ended up driving right back into the center of it. Finally, we took a road that went somewhere, we had no idea where. I just said, “Let’s take this road just to get away from this city, and then we can find another road and maybe put this cursed place behind us.”
It worked. After literally over an hour, we got away from Bad Tolz and eventually worked our way towards where we wanted to go. At some point I remembered that I’d printed out directions, showing which way to turn at each intersection, and I dug them out. They didn’t always help much, because if streets weren’t marked, we still didn’t know where to turn.
At about 2 AM we pulled over on the side of the road to look at the map again, and at the directions. A car pulled up next to us to ask if we needed help. Of course, the people spoke English – I hate being a lazy American, but German is harrrd! So thank you, rest of the world, for speaking English. They gave us some directions, which we thought were wrong, but we thanked them before they drove off.
As we continued trying to sort out where we were, I saw a fox walk into the road, maybe 20 feet behind the car. I’d never seen one in real life before. It stood in the middle of the road, looking around, not moving, like it was a totally normal thing to just hang out there. After a while, it walked off into the night.
We eventually did get to Obing, which has the best Italian restaurant EVER, or at least it did in 2009. It’s a nice little town and I recommend a visit. I do not recommend driving there at 2 AM, because there’s no guarantee the fox will show up again. I will admit that seeing it standing in the road was so magical, it temporarily wiped out the frustration of being completely lost on the backroads of a foreign country in the middle of the night.
So here’s an excerpt from the novella, the scene that was inspired by our late-night German friend. At the stat of the stoy, Alec, Earl of Whittlesey, is having a very bad night. He sneaks out of the house party at which he is a guest and takes a bottle of brandy for a walk in the woods. When he gets to the lake, he thinks about happier times, when he and his younger brother, Hugh, were children:
When he found a comfortable, mossy patch of ground at the base of a tree, he sat down and let himself fall fully into the memory of the last time he and Hugh had visited the lake at night. As they headed home, they heard a noise behind them. When they turned to look, a fox stepped out from behind a tree. They stared at the animal, which stared back at them.
“Alec? Is it going to bite us?” Hugh asked, his voice quavering.
Alec made sure to keep his own voice steady when he replied, “No. It’s just curious. Let’s keep going.”
They turned away from the fox. Ten-year-old Alec pushed seven-year-old Hugh in front of him, and they began walking again. After a few feet, he looked over his shoulder and saw that the fox was following them. He stopped and turned to face the animal.
Hugh stopped too. When he saw the fox, he let out a whimper, huddling close to Alec. Alec shushed him, then shouted, “Shoo!” at the fox.
The bold creature sat on its haunches and gave them a look as if to say, “Whose forest do you think this is?”
Alec took a step forward and stamped his foot on the ground. The fox blinked but remained where it was. “Let’s go,” Alec told Hugh, and they began walking again, moving quickly through the forest.
“Is it still there?” Hugh asked again. He sounded near tears.
“No, it’s gone,” Alec said.
But it wasn’t. The fox continued to follow them, keeping its distance but still too close for Alec’s comfort. “Keep going. We’re almost there,” he told Hugh, as he looked around for a rock to throw or a branch he could use to fight off the animal if he had to. It didn’t look vicious, and Alec was fairly certain that if he gave it a kick, he could at least stun it, giving Hugh time to run home, but he hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
“Keep going,” he urged Hugh again. He was afraid that if they ran, the fox would chase them down, so they walked as quickly as they could until finally, after what seemed like hours, they saw the windows of their house, glinting in the moonlight. “See, we’re here,” he said, trying to sound much calmer than he felt. They moved out of the trees and onto the lawn, Alec still pushing Hugh ahead of him. He glanced over his shoulder and nearly wept with relief when the fox stopped at the tree line. Alec walked backward toward the house, keeping his eyes on the fox until it turned and disappeared into the forest.
The boys didn’t sneak out to the lake again. Hugh had nightmares about the fox and ended up telling the whole story to their mother in great, gasping sobs. Their father spanked both of them, reprimanded their nursemaid, and had the vines outside the nursery windows cut down to make sure the boys wouldn’t transgress again.
In truth, Alec wasn’t unhappy about being caught. As if the incident with the fox hadn’t frightened him enough, a few days later the county buzzed with the story of a wild boy discovered in the forest not five miles from their home.
“They say Old Villainy wants to adopt him,” one housemaid told another as they hung laundry on the line while Alec and Hugh eavesdropped from behind a hedge. “Can you imagine, adopting a wild boy? They say he’ll likely kill the old man in his bed. Tear his throat out with his teeth.”
Hugh’s nightmares finally stopped just as Alec began to have his own, full of teeth and claws. He didn’t sleep peacefully through the night again until he returned to school at summer’s end.
Alec shook the memories from his mind and shifted on the ground, slurring a few profanities as moisture seeped through the seat of his trousers. Townsend would not be pleased. Then he laughed at himself. He had disappointed everyone else in his life. Why should his valet be exempt?
The brandy seemed to be losing its effectiveness. He wanted to rub his arms to warm himself, but he kept still, watching deer approach the water, their delicate hooves making almost no sound. Brown rabbits hopped forward to drink, then chased each other away. And finally, a fox arrived.
Just like the foxes of his childhood, the creature moved as if it knew Alec was there. However, unlike the animal that had frightened him and Hugh so long ago, this one’s fur was a pure, snowy white, glowing in the moonlight. Alec shivered, wondering if he was seeing a spirit, but when it lifted its leg against a bush, Alec knew the animal was real—no ghostly urine would give off such a strong scent.
When the fox finished relieving itself, it moved several feet from the sodden bush and then stopped when it saw Alec. The way it stared at him gave Alec the feeling that the animal disapproved of his obviously drunken state. He couldn’t blame the fox; he knew it was bad form for a grown man to sit under a tree at night in the middle of winter, shivering, pouring bad brandy down his throat, and feeling his trousers becoming more damp and cold by the minute. “You don’t know the half of it,” he muttered at the fox. “You’d drink too, in my situation.” He looked down at the brandy he held loosely in one hand. “And if you could hold a bottle.”
You can read the blurb at the link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4429
The release date is November 29, but you can pre-order it today! Offer void where prohibited, allow six to eight weeks for delivery, include two proof-of-purchase seals…Oh, wait, this is the 21st century. Never mind!
And a giveaway!
Comment on this post between now and 11:59 PM EST (East Coast United States) on November 25 for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! I’ll draw one name on November 26. Please be sure to leave an email address where I can send the gift card.
And one last pic, just because it happened to be there among the pictures I’d labeled “fox-(whatever)” so I’d be able to find them later.
Sean Paul Lockhart from “The Velvet Mafia”, back when he went by the name of Fox Ryder (and occasionally Brent Corrigan).