I was determined to see Carrie Vaughn. I had spoken to her at the 2011 Worldcon in Reno, Nevada. My novel manuscript Dust after Slaying features a unique main character for an urban fantasy—a married woman.
Just about all urban fantasies with a female protagonist highlight her as very single, at least at the start of a series. That way she can fall in love with a good guy, or more commonly some bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Sometimes the good guy is the bad boy. And there was at least one urban fantasy where the female protagonist had three different guys of three very different ages interested in her.
So I had asked Carrie Vaughn if she knew of any urban fantasies where the woman starts out married. She did not, and she said her own character of Kitty only got married in the fifth book of the series. But she encouraged me in my efforts, saying I should write something different in the field.
She did a reading at this year’s Norwescon, and I managed to thank her at the end for her encouragement. She looked gratified—I didn’t realize how much an established writer would enjoy seeing her effect on an aspiring one.
I was going to ask her for an autograph on her young adult novel Martians Abroad, but there really wasn’t time.
The cover art is especially good. Polly was raised on Mars, which has one-third the gravity of Earth. Notice how elongated her torso and limbs are.
But obviously, I have to use this entry to post an excerpt from Dust after Slaying. Dee is talking on the phone to her best friend, Hope. Dee’s younger brother is Jeremy. As a married urban fantasy character, she has to deal with a real difficulty: babysitting.
“Okay, we strike back twice as hard. We strike at Issaquah this afternoon. If you’re too distraught to make it, let me know.”
“I’ll be there.” Hope’s voice was convincing. “Childcare?”
“I can’t raise my parents on the phone for some reason. Since Jeremy’s already there with you, and if we can use your SUV for any unforeseen rough travel, you can bring him over with your kids to babysit both yours and mine, then we take off in the SUV.”
“Someday, we’re going to get confused and have your mother babysit my kids at Doctor Teutonicus’ office. Implements?”
That was their term for weapons. Dee glanced around. For this conversation, she knew it paid to make sure neither child popped up beside her like mushrooms after a rain. Nathan was taking a nap, after some scrubbing had finally managed to get the gooey smell of butterscotch off his fingers. Miriam was busy drawing a salmon based on her own observations, to compare with the same from the Lewis and Clark expedition. “Bring sharpened garden stakes. Road flares. Garbage bags, in case we have to be neat.”
“Okay. Abel and Seth, garden supplies, car safety implements, and garbage bags to be tidy. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah. Jeremy. Did you want to say something to your sister?”
His voice came on, resigned. “Wherever you go, there you are.”
“Thank you, Thomas à Kempis.”