Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eulogy for the Paranormal Romance

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

I’ve heard the proclamation from NY that the paranormal is ‘dead’ before. The first time was back in the ‘90s when the first three books of my “Midnight” series caught the beginning wave of the vampire romance craze. The genre was so new booksellers didn’t know what to do with the books. MIDNIGHT KISS was mistakenly shelved as horror (of course with that green guy on the cover I can’t say I blame them!). With Anne Rice leading the charge (of course we know Anne Rice’s books aren’t romance!), authors like Lori Herter and Maggie Shayne stirred up a feeding frenzy. Publishers snapped up anything in which “What’s your blood type?” replaced “What’s your sign?” until quality suffered for the sake of quantity. And just like that, the paranormal was buried beneath the sheer volume of bad books, and from its ashes a desire for the Inspirational took wing.

But readers who LOVED the genre didn’t go away. They just started looking elsewhere for their preternatural fix, turning from the Big Six publishers in New York to a new trend of small presses, starting with ImaJinn Books, to feed their need.

We know how the story goes. Bam, the Twilight books and suddenly everything as sparkly again as younger readers sunk their teeth into the genre. This time the popularity of the paranormal became a monster that consumed the industry for decades. Editors demanded preternatural elements, looking for that new blood (translated to mean Blockbuster) to keep the tide high. Shifters, Steampunk, gargoyles . . . you name it, they were crazy for it. And then a little piece of Twilight fan fiction buried even the best paranormal authors with the insatiable lust for any shade of gray. And the word from New York was change to writing bondage-crazed billionaires if you want to stay under contract. No paranormals need apply.

But those who LOVE the paranormal didn’t give up on the books they wanted to read. And again, they turned from New York in search of what they couldn’t get enough of, this time within the realm of Indie authors. Great paranormal reads still flourish, they’ve just gone underground. And because I don’t want to write what I don’t like to read, I’m not willing to wait for that trendy tide to turn back to walks on the dark side of romance.

My first Indie title, REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT is a paranormal romance filled with all the things I adore in the genre: larger than life tortured hero, kick @ss heroine, sizzling romance and heart pounding action. And I’m happily working on the next book in the series. Because there’s a hunger out there for the books I love to write. And I’m proud to feed it.


Because the road to . . .

Clever, cool and preternaturally lethal, Max Savoie is leader of a secretive shape-shifter clan, heir to a mobster’s legacy, and the love of New Orleans’ top cop . . . but he can’t remember any of them. The only way to recover his past, and his rightful place in the arms of the woman who risked all to save him, is to surrender to a mysterious visitor who could use him as a weapon against all he’d loved.

Happily-Ever-After . . .

After rescuing her mate from his ruthless captors in the North, hard-hitting Detective Charlotte Caissie is now painfully vulnerable—a stranger in his eyes . . . and in his bed. The key to his memories is locked in a tortuous past. To reclaim the strength of their passionate bond, Max must learn to trust her enough to face that darkness at her side before the threat it hides exposes the secret Cee Cee carries.

Is never smooth.

When an investigation into grisly deaths in an underground Shifter fight club points to more than just dangerous clan rivalries, Cee Cee enlists Max’s help to find a traitor in their midst while there’s still time to turn a deadly invading tide. But the cost of saving their treasured future may mean sacrificing his past. Especially when the enemy they pursue . . . might be Max, himself.

“Every delicious word Nancy Gideon puts on the page exhilarates with a sensuous ferocity. Hopelessly addicted.”Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author

Monday, February 23, 2015

Boosting the Signal - the SFR Galaxy Awards!

It's hard at times to find books that you might be interested in - there's so many out there and depending on where you search you might find yourself either swamped by too many choices or not enough. But for those of you who like science fiction romance you won't find a better way to fill your reading list than to visit the SFR Galaxy Awards!

And I'd be amiss if I didn't brag a little - IN THE BLACK was lucky enough to win three awards! Most Mysterious SFR, Most Elegant HEA and Best Shipboard Mystery!

But there's way more than just my 'lil offering here - and if you're looking to stack your TBR pile with plenty of excellent reading you couldn't find a better bunch of books to start with!

So fight the cold with some hot and heavy science fiction romance where the action never stops and the stories always reach for the stars!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Where did I put my sweatpants?

By Stephanie Beck

Where did I put my sweatpants? This is not a question I've had to ask this winter, because I've pretty much worn a pair every day since November. Oh sure, I put real pants on, even dresses and skirts on occasion, but sweatpants...they're awesome.

Pst. I even bought 2 pair this year to replace a few pair I'd had for years. It was hard tossing the worn out, over washed and dried pairs in the trash. They were like old friends, but there was no life left in them.

My new ones are great. We're going to get to know each other well, because, I live in Minnesota, and heaven knows spring is taking its sweet, sweet time in getting here.

But I'm not weather whining, I'm celebrating sweatpants. And you should, too.

Best thing to do while wearing sweatpants? Read!! And knit!! Even better than best? READ ABOUT KNITTING (and werewolves).

Unraveling Midnight
by Stephanie Beck

Creating home, #2

An entanglement with a werewolf brings unexpected turns.

Scott, a lone werewolf expelled from his pack, bends over backward to give his kids everything he can—including knitting lessons for his daughter. Learning to knit becomes much more appealing with Lucy Jamieson as the teacher. His heightened senses tell him the compassionate and beautiful human might be what he and his little band need, yet getting involved with Lucy means exposing her to his paranormal reality.

Although Lucy’s childhood skewed her expectations of family, she recognizes and respects Scott’s desire to protect and provide for his kids. When Scott is hit by a truck, Lucy offers to help with the kids--and gets more than she bargained for after learning Scott’s true nature...

44,000 Words

Buy Now and do those sweatpants justice!

All the best,
Stephanie Beck

Friday, February 13, 2015

World Building: Aliens

Last month, I wrote about considering transportation in building your world. Thanks to watching all four seasons of “Farscape” I came up with the idea for this post. Nonhuman characters.

Somehow, I missed “Farscape” the first time around (1999 to 2003). I saw some reruns and couldn’t make heads nor tails of the premise. When I found all the episodes on Amazon Prime, I figured why not watch.

Aside from the major plot line—and American astronaut gets sucked through a wormhole, ends up across the universe, and strives to get home—and the romance between the astronaut and a humanoid, I became fascinated by the aliens. I don’t always pay attention to credits (shame on me) so it was a few episodes before I realized one of the producers was Brian Henson (Jim Henson’s son). Hubs and I were fascinated last year by the reality show “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.” So it was no wonder that makeup of the characters on “Farscape” were so well crafted.

And were there a lot of alien characters! I can’t imagine having so many different species in a novel if you had to describe each one. In a television show or a movie, this isn’t that big of a problem. But in a novel? If you don’t want to confuse your readers, you would almost need a cast of characters at the beginning.

A fun exercise I thought of while watching “Farscape” was trying to figure out why the aliens looked the way they did. What type of environment did they come from? What was their planet like? Did their culture or religion determine their makeup and clothing? Were they warriors or peacemakers? Conquerors or slaves? What physical features were prized? What personality characteristics?

Whether you write sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary or historical novels, you build the world your characters inhabit. Those characters have backgrounds. We all develop the history of our main characters. We can’t skimp on the secondary or tertiary characters. If you give them a name, you need to know their background. The reader doesn’t need to know everything the writer knows. Think of character development as an iceberg. Ten percent above water (what the reader gets) and ninety percent below water (what the writer knows).

I found so much I could use in my science fiction romances, I considered the time watching “Farscape” research. What a lot of ideas.

I’m participating in the Love at First Sight Valentine’s Day Author Blog Hop, sharing a little bit about my characters from The Pilot, the first book in my Outer Rim series. The Hop runs through Saturday. If you want to have some fun, come on over.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cold as a witch’s…

Well, you know the rest.

Slept late, woke up to temperature of 27° yet weather forecast says throw in the wind chill factor and you have a “feels like” 13 ! I’m inside but my fingers are just warming up because I was outside for a minute, exactly long enough to know I wanted to be back inside, and I am with hands hugging a hot cup of coffee!

What’s new with everyone? Recently, I wrapped up Hold Me Hard, book 3 in the Dirty Rotten Vampires series at Changeling Press and, lo and behold, another character seeks life in the pages. Vald Gerlach appeared briefly in Love Me Madly, book 2, plays a larger role in book 3, and now he hopes I’ll give him and both demons he lusts after some write time.

Authors: do you plan a series of stories only to have new characters pop onto the page looking for the time of day? Readers: do you pick up a series of books and discover a character in the story you wish the author would bring to life? Both scenarios happen to me more often than I’d like. My reading and writing schedule is chocked full, damn it!

Ignoring this crazy, sexy, and ancient-as-hell, vampire was not going to happen if he had anything to say about it! Vald held me captive night after night. He invaded my sleep time, work time, hell, he took over my day-to-day life until he wrangled the following out of me, which he knew would seal our fates together forever.

Dared once, it’s game on. Let’s play!
Vald Gerlach is the oldest vampire alive and the power encompassed in his body should only exist in one monster at a time. Today – he’s that monster. With thousands of years to devise ways to make a creature beg, Vald will test many on Drecara whose hot, curvaceous body he desires above all else. And for the hell of it, he plans to experience the charms of Mictain, her protector, just to feel his fire. Vald hopes the extraordinary demons are up for a challenge because the game is on!

Thus, Dare Me Once, Dirty Rotten Vampires 4, is born! Now, to get it contracted…

In the meantime, here are buy links to other Dirty Rotten Vampire stories to warm up those page-turning fingers and heat to boiling the blood racing through veins to every nook and cranny of your hot body! *smile*

HURT ME GOOD, DRV 1 – Read more

LOVE ME MADLY, DRV 2 – Read more

J Hali Steele

Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love and Jealousy

It's February! So everywhere you look there's something about love, love, love! So let's talk a little about love, and not just what you're thinking for the big V-Day, but how about things that you love in your life that may not be of the flesh and blood variety? (I know this is Paranormal Romantics, but I'm not talking about aliens...unless maybe you love aliens.)
For me discovering what is it I love, what competes for every minute of my attention, is easy to identify. I actually put it in the front of my book, Destiny Calling, to my hubby...
"Who understands my love affair with words." 
Because what comes hand in hand with love...jealousy. 
For an inanimate object you say? Why yes...Jealous: demanding complete devotion. 
 Wherever I go, I've almost always got my laptop with me, or a tablet, or a sticky pad, or even loose papers or napkins because I find it hard to stay away from the lure of a sentence or idea that comes to mind unexpectedly and can be lost just as quickly. I've noticed the way my hubby will sigh, or glance at the laptop with irritation as I multi-task by 'watching' television while writing. He knows I'm often there in body but my mind is captivated by beautiful, sexy words and characters whispering in my ear.  
Although my hubby can't complain too much, as he has his own things that have captured his heart.
From my blog on 10/25/2009 entitled:

My Husband's True Love...

My husband is having an affair. It started months ago, as the weather got warmer. The changes were subtle at first. The way his gaze drifted away as I talked. I knew who he was thinking of, her. How he’d look longingly toward the garage, as if awaiting an opportunity to escape. He’d be gone for hours and return with his hair disheveled and a satisfied smile on his face. I’d see him with her. They way he’d caress her, I’d have to turn away. He’d wrap his legs around her and she’d purr at his touch.
He adorned her with ornaments. Then proudly showed her off to all of his friends. He met other like-minded men with a similar obsession. The love he displayed, made it more than a possession. She dominated his waking thoughts, and I suspect, filled his dreams. How could I compete with such a force, that provided more than it seemed? Freedom, restoration of youth and endless adventure.
The season changed. He slipped away less and less. Their love couldn’t withstand such climatic ranges. My husband was back. To have and to hold. I thought he was mine to keep, at least while it was cold. She was out of the picture, at least until spring.
I've posted her picture below, if you'd like to see her...

If you can't beat em, join them! When I can, I hop on back behind my bad, boy biker hubby and let my mind wander to write my stories.

That big, beautiful bike you see above...just might be the inspiration for Griffith's bike from Destiny Calling.

So tell me....what (not who) do you love?

Find me at my favorite spots-- hanging out on Facebook  or Twitter 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I tend to be a jack-of-all-crafts and hobbyist. At an early age, I learned how to fish, crochet, quilt and make something from virtually nothing. Growing up in the woods will do that to a 5 year old.

Around five, my grandfather lined up a string of empty beer cans along a fence, handed me his .22 revolver and said hit the cans. I hit the fence, knocked all the cans down, jumped up and down with great enthusiasm and asked, “How’d I do?” thinking I did great! He laughed then lined up the cans again and told me to hit one at a time. Guess I didn’t do as well as I thought I did.

(yep, that's me out by the tent)

By the time I was six I went on my first deer hunting trip. Of course, at six, I couldn’t handle the 30.06 or the 30.30 so I mostly watched and played quietly with the dirt and rocks on the ground while Granddaddy laid out for a couple hours waiting for the deer to stroll by. He landed a buck which I was expected to help field dress. Returning to the camp, my grandmother gave me lessons of tanning the hide while my grandfather dressed out the deer.  By the time I was eight, I could not only field dress a deer I could tan the hide and process the meat by myself. During that year I was also making quite the living for a young kid, cleaning catfish, trout or whatever the many fisherman caught at a dollar a bucket. Long days and a lot or work, but it kept me in pin-ball machine quarters. (Another grin)
By the time I hit 30, I'd pretty much given up hunting and shooting for other sports, although I never did quit fishing. It wasn't until recently my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas. For some odd reason (perhaps it was because I was writing a scene which involved my heroine and her new gun), I asked for a new pistol. Needless to say, it took my hubby by surprise since he has quite a collection of firearms and I'd never asked to shoot any of them. Well, to make a long story short I got my new pistol and now several weeks later I wonder why I ever gave it up my old love. I love shooting and being outdoors.
Yesterday was spent shooting my grandfather’s old 22 – not the one I learned to shoot with but the one I inherited, my new Ruger LC9 semi-automatic, and the old man’s 357 mag. What a day we had and it appears I’m getting better with each trip out.

(not too bad for someone that's out of practice and at 25 yards)
Next week I’ll try my hand again at the rifles. I’m dying to try out hubbies 8mm Mouser, the one his dad brought back from WWII.

Until then all I can think about is what I want for next Christmas. Can you say AR-15?

(and I won't even ask for a bow around it.)

Why am I sharing this? I may write paranormals, but there is a lot of gun and knife play in my series, so I thought it was time I shared a personal bit about myself. They say we write what we know and if we don’t know it, we research it. So what are your hobbies and favorite pass times? What are you researching now?

I’ll keep you posted on my whereabouts and if my next Christmas present turns into a reality… “Hey Honey, Valentine’s Day is coming up… Want to know what I want?”

Always, V
Writing as V.S. Nelson
Sekhmet’s Guardians

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Is Your Antagonist an Evil Overlord?

Hi all,
Is your Antagonist an Evil Overlord?

Check Peter Anspach's list and find out!

Being an Evil Overlord seems to be a good career choice. It pays well, there are all sorts of perks and you can set your own hours. However every Evil Overlord I've read about in books or seen in movies invariably gets overthrown and destroyed in the end. I've noticed that no matter whether they are barbarian lords, deranged wizards, mad scientists or alien invaders, they always seem to make the same basic mistakes every single time. With that in mind, allow me to present...

The Top 100 Things I'd Do
If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord

1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.

2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.

4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.

6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.

7. When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."

8. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.

9. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.

10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.

11. I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.

12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.

13. All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.

14. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.

15. I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.

16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."

17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.

18. I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.

19. I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.

20. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

21. I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set.

22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.

23. I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.

24. I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)

25. No matter how well it would perform, I will never construct any sort of machinery which is completely indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.

26. No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my bedchamber.

27. I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.

28. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.

29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.

30. All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards, and cowardly thieves in the land will be preemptively put to death. My foes will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic relief.

31. All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.

32. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.

33. I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.

34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.

35. I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.

36. I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.

37. If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.

38. If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.

39. If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.

40. I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in reserve.

41. Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.

42. When I capture the hero, I will make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute little animal capable of untying ropes and filching keys happens to follow him around.

43. I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I capture the beautiful rebel and she claims she is attracted to my power and good looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my plans.

44. I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those who work for the pleasure of the hunt tend to do dumb things like even the odds to give the other guy a sporting chance.

45. I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say "And here is the price for failure," then suddenly turn and kill some random underling.

46. If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.

47. If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.

48. I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.

49. If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.

50. My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.

51. If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in the beautiful princess' cell, I will immediately transfer him to a less people-oriented position.

52. I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know about.

53. If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will say "Oh well" and kill her.

54. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.

55. The deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of Terror. However before I send them out on important covert missions that require tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.

56. My Legions of Terror will be trained in basic marksmanship. Any who cannot learn to hit a man-sized target at 10 meters will be used for target practice.

57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.

58. If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.

59. I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am.

60. My five-year-old child advisor will also be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using. If he breaks the code in under 30 seconds, it will not be used. Note: this also applies to passwords.

61. If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them.

62. I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight.

63. Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.

64. I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.

65. If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.

66. My security keypad will actually be a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who watches someone press a sequence of buttons or dusts the pad for fingerprints then subsequently tries to enter by repeating that sequence will trigger the alarm system.

67. No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency.

68. I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.

69. All midwives will be banned from the realm. All babies will be delivered at state-approved hospitals. Orphans will be placed in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures of the wild.

70. When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of quizzically peering around a corner.

71. If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.

72. If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.

73. I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for them to win.

74. When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.

75. I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and attack one or two at a time.

76. If the hero runs up to my roof, I will not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. I will also not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)

77. If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutentant, I will retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer.

78. I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is reasonably practical."

79. If my doomsday device happens to come with a reverse switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made into limited-edition commemorative coins.

80. If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress.

81. If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.

82. I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing in front of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structure.

83. If I'm eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his goblet, then have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new drinks for both of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to switch with him.

84. I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.

85. I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."

86. I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.

87. My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.

88. If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task again.

89. After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.

90. I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.

91. I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.

92. If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)

93. If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is scheduled to go first.

94. When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.

95. My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.

96. My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.

97. My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.

98. If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.

99. Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.

100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.

Of course, these are merely the Top 100 Things I'd do. Other suggestions have been sent to me which didn't quite make the Top 100 List. But they are still so good that I couldn't bear to throw them out. Therefore, as an expression of gratitude, I have tossed them into...

This Evil Overlord List is Copyright 1996-1997 by Peter Anspach. If you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post it anywhere, provided that (1) it is not altered in any way, and (2) this copyright notice is attached.

If you’d like to read about my antagonist, Lailoken, be sure to pick up a copy of Protect Her. Available at Amazon.

Sophia Kimble