Not much personal commentary from me because it’s all writing, all the time until this book is done :). In lieu of my prattling on, I offer you the first eight quotes from the now-running Quote of the Day. Never heard of Quote of the Day? It’s where the Frost Fans site moderators take random quotes from Up From The Grave and post them each day during the month of January, leaving readers to guess who said what, or why, or both. For daily quote updates from now until Up From The Grave releases on January 28th, go here. Here’s what’s been posted so far:
Quote #1: “Missed me, Kitten?”
Quote #2: “You must be taking a piss on me.”
Quote #3: “You know family.” My tone was clipped. ”Always a pain in the ass.”
Quote #4: My queen, his thoughts said reverently. My ass, I didn’t reply out loud.
Quote #5: Spade let out a sound; half growl, half hiss. “Don’t threaten me, Crispin.”
Quote #6: Of course. Because a six-foot-two, muscled, Master vampire known to be a centuries-old badass was the picture of helplessness.
Quote #7: “Why do you bother, Crispin? You married a fighter, so stop trying to convince her that the sidelines suit her better.”
Quote #8: “And you’re the same overbearing asshole you’ve always been,” Tate replied, eyes glinting green. ”But you’re right. For this, I’m your man.”
And now, here’s a scene snippet from Up From The Grave. As a brief set-up, Cat needs something from Marie Laveau, and she knows the ghoul queen isn’t going to want to do it.
A tropical storm churned up the waters in Lake Pontchartrain, tossing around the boat we’d stolen as if it were a toy in a bathtub. That wasn’t what had my stomach clenching in nervousness, though. Compared to what I was about to do, having the boat capsize would be a fun.
In the distance, the coastline we aimed for wasn’t lit up as much as usual. The storm had knocked the power out in several places, but loss of electricity was never the biggest concern for New Orleans. It was the levees. The CrescentCity was getting a direct hit, though luckily, with a tropical storm instead of a hurricane strong enough to breach the levees.
I didn’t know if the bad weather would help us or hurt my mission, but when Bones said, “Now, Kitten,” I jumped off the boat without hesitation. The weights I’d strapped on kept me well below the surface, yet as intended, they weren’t enough to send me to the bottom. The storm had made the water murky, though. Even with the mask keeping saltwater out of my eyes, my vision was limited to only a dozen feet in front of me, disorienting me.
I pressed a button on the specialized dive watch around my wrist. The green light it emitted matched the glow from my gaze as it showed a digital map. Then I gave a few experimental kicks with my new diving fins, pleased with how smoothly they propelled me through the water. I wanted all the help I could get to conserve my energy.
A few hours later, I crawled up the seawall that bordered the Mississippi River, stripping off my mask, full-body wet suit, and fins once I was back on land. Beneath that, I wore leggings and a long-sleeved top, both black like my dive shoes and dyed hair.
It might not be the ideal outfit for a steamy night in New Orleans, but my skin would announce me as a vampire to those who knew what to look for, and I didn’t want anyone to know I was paying a visit to the city’s most famous resident tonight. Marie had spies at every airport, train station, boat dock, and highway into New Orleans, but not even the voodoo and ghoul queen could have every square foot of the river watched, let alone the canals that led from Lake Pontchartrain to the mighty Mississippi. That’s why I’d swum in beneath the concealment of the waves, and why I now walked with what felt like agonizing slowness across the highway and up Fourth Street, heading toward the Garden District.
I didn’t need the map on my watch anymore. I’d visited the Garden District on my first trip here years ago with Bones. Like many others, I’d marveled at the beautiful, stately houses, some built before the Civil War. Prytania Street had been one of my favorites, and the two-story beige-and-pink house bordered by a gate with honeysuckle blooms peeking through the iron bars was one I remembered well.
Don had remembered it, too. It only took one glance at the online photo collage for him to say “That one,” while pointing a transparent finger at the screen. He’d been drawn to Marie’s home when he was hopping ley lines looking for me back when I had her grave power. For that reason, most ghosts probably knew where Marie lived. Other vampires and ghouls did, too, but only someone with a death wish would drop by unannounced.
That’s why Marie didn’t have guards posted. Her house also happened to be one of the few in the city that didn’t have ghosts loitering around it. Don told me that it felt “shielded,” meaning Marie had it stocked with burning sage, weed, and garlic. Even the voodoo queen must want a break from the supernatural once in a while.
Tonight, she wasn’t getting it. I hopped over the gate surrounding her property and strode up to the front door. Instead of knocking, I leveled it with one kick. That should get her attention, but in the unlikely event that it didn’t …
“Marie,” I called out in a loud voice. “We need to talk.”
Of course, my dramatic entrance would be wasted if she wasn’t home.
“Is that you, Reaper?” a familiar voice drawled, dispelling that concern. “And if so, have you lost your mind?”
Marie appeared at the top of the staircase on the second floor, wearing a white silk robe over a long ecru nightgown of the same material. Either she was calling it an early night or she’d been entertaining in a personal way. I didn’t care which I’d interrupted.
“Never been thinking clearer,” I responded shortly, “and I’m sure you know why I’m here.”
Marie smiled in that gracious way Southern women had perfected, but I didn’t let her pleasant expression fool me. She wasn’t a steel magnolia. She was an attack tank covered by a veil of roses.
“If you leave now, Reaper, I’ll consider not killing you.”