Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guest Author: MaryJanice Davidson

MaryJanice Davidson, author of Undead and Unfinished, has been kind enough to stop by Reading with Tequila to tell us about her newest book.


“I have to tell the truth,” the AntiChrist said through a mouthful of popcorn. “Al Pacino is a terrific Satan.”

“Tell me.” I was on my seventh strawberry smoothie, furtively slurping because my snobby fink husband thought frozen berries were worse than early morning Mass. In the summertime that was fine; all the good stuff was in season. In the winter, I had to be stealthy with my smoothie fixins. “Although tell me anything Al Pacino isn’t terrific at—ah! Cool, I love this part. Look, he’s gonna jam his finger into holy water and make it so you could boil an egg in there.”

“What is the purpose of that?” Laura asked, aghast and amused.

“Who cares? He’s Al freakin’ Pacino!”

Munch. Crunch. “He is Al freakin’ Pacino.”

We’d gone through The Omen (“Have no fear, little one. I am here to protect thee.”), Rosemary’s Baby (“We’re your friends, Rosemary. There’s nothing to be scared about. Honestly and truly there isn’t!”), and now we were coming in on the home stretch with Big Al.

Laura, after her initial resistance, was gorging on these movies like I wolfed down chocolate shakes (or strawberry smoothies out of season). It definitely had the look of forbidden fruit. And whenever we heard a door slam in another part of the house, she’d jump a little, like she was afraid of getting caught.

Her parents—her adoptive parents, I mean—knew she was the devil’s daughter. Laura had told them. Satan had told them (she’s a big believer in partial disclosure at the worst possible time).

And I think...I think Laura tried to make it up to them for being the Anti-Christ by pretending indifference or even dislike toward any pop culture Anti-Christ references.

Because she sure as shit couldn’t get enough of these movies now. Presumably this wouldn’t come back to bite me in the ass. Right? Right.


“What’s your favorite?”

“Elizabeth Hurley. Bedazzled. ‘Most men think they’re God. This one just happens to be right.’ Also she was a great traffic cop. And candystriper! Giving M&Ms to the patients instead of their meds...it’s kind of like belonging to a really sucky HMO.”

“My mother...”

“Yeah? Your mother?” I tried not to sound too eager to prompt her; Laura never talked about this stuff. I was afraid to even move, sprawled on the loveseat as I was with one of my shoes upside down on the floor and the other dangling from my big toe, I didn’t want to break the spell. “Your mother, Satan...”

Laura shook her head so hard, I couldn’t see her face for all the blonde strands whipping around.

“Come on! Laura, you’re the Anti-Christ and I’m the queen of the vampires. You’re still a virgin and I lost mine after Prom to a guy named Buck. Buck! You beat a serial killer to death and I once passed off a knock-off pair of Louboutons as the real thing. I’m just as sick and evil as you are. I’m in no position to judge.”

“Oh.” Then: “Buck?”

“Well, jeez, don’t judge me, either.”

“Oh, never. Um. Really, your virginity? Well. I’ve been seeing her.”

“Your biological mother.”

Laura smirked. “I’m not even sure that’s so. I wasn’t born of her body; I was born of your stepmother’s body. The devil fled back to Hell after I was born.”

I nodded. “Yeah, living with a newborn just must be so incredibly awful, if Hell seems like a respite.” Memo to me: be thankful you have BabyJon and quit bitching about never being able to get pregnant and force another human being through your uterus and out into the world.

“I’m not her biological child at all.”

“Do I look like a geneticist expert to you? Or a theology expert? It’s just all kinds of supernatural fuckery. Who knows how it works? Not me; I’m still trying to get through the Vampire Queen manual. You’ll give yourself a migraine if you try to make this Anti-Christ vampire werewolf ghosts and half brothers who are wards and weddings and funerals and suicides and kings and queens and coups...you’ll drive yourself nuts if you try to force it all to make sense. So, your mom’s been popping in a lot uninvited?”

“She’s always uninvited.”

“Yeah, tell me.” The devil occasionally dropped in on me as well. And I thought the ex-boyfriend pop-in was traumatic. Worse: the heartless cow tempted me with shoes! Wonderful, beautiful, sinfully delicious and hard-to-come by shoes. Oh, she was a diabolical wretch. Also, she looked weirdly like Lena Olin: cougar hot, with sable-dark hair shot through here and there with grey strands. Killer legs. Great suits. And the shoes...let me not get started on the shoes...

“She’s been telling me things.”

“Eh?” Oh. Right. Laura was opening up about her mom. I should probably pay closer attention. “Okay.” I was fairly certain this was going to be bad with a capital B-A-D.

“And I...I’m curious about her.” Laura almost whispered that last. Like it was bad. Like it was shameful; like she was.

I laughed. “Oh, honey, is that’s what’s bugging you? Shit. What adopted child hasn’t been curious about their parents? What, you think that makes you a bad daughter? Like it’s disrespectful of your folks, who raised you?” I laughed again. I didn’t want to, but it was funny, and I was relieved. “Stop kicking your own ass for being normal, okay?”

My sister instantly loosened up...her shoulders lost the bowed-in look of somebody in the middle of a serious stress-out. She leaned forward and brushed her hair out of her eyes. “Okay. So, Baal keeps—“

“Whoa, whoa. I’m gonna have to ask the audience for a replay on that one. Ball?”

“An old name for my mother.”

“Really old, because I’ve never heard of it. I guess it’s slightly less offensive than ‘crack whore’.”


“I prefer Beelzebub, personally.”

“Call her Old Scratch if you like. Call her the Lord of Lies. Call her Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. Whatever name she uses, she wants me to visit her. To see her.”


“See her world. Her lands.”

“Your mom wants you to go to Hell.” I paused, chewing that one over. “Literally.”

Yeesh. And I thought my mom was a pill when she made me come to the all-Faculty cocktail party when I was seventeen. There’s no group duller than a group of academics with inferiority complexes. So, not just any historians. Bragging historians.

“And I won’t deny I’m tempted. I’d—I’d like to see it. I’d like to...I don’t know. I’m just so curious, all the time. I have so many questions. And to think, if I hadn’t met you, I never would have thought it was okay to—“

“Whoa, whoa. Nuh-uh; this is not my fault, it’s not going to be my fault, do not drag me into this.”

“I’m not blaming you; I’m thanking y—“

“Well, stop it! Whatever happens after this moment, whatever happens the rest of November, none of it was my fault.” Being dead the last couple of years had made me paranoid beyond belief. And I was starting to smell disastrous situations that started out cutely innocent and ended up with me almost dying, or my husband almost dying, or one of my friends actually dying. Or a parent dying, or a thousand werewolves out to get me.

What can I say? Fate likes me to keep busy.

* * *

Families are complicated. Even the ones not formed by blood, murder, devil worship, felony assault, or clandestine purchases on Ebay. In UNDEAD AND UNFINISHED, the generally unsinkable newlywed vampire queen, Betsy "Not Sink Lair, NOT Sink Lair!" Taylor find she has to escort her sister to Hell and back. Literally. ("Don't get excited. It's not as fun as it sounds.") And while Betsy is trying to learn from disasters of the past, she knows from the very beginning that things will get complicated and weird and aggravating.

* * *

I...said...okay! You’d think I hadn’t been paying attention the last four years. Okay, I haven’t been. Still: how could I not see the coming disaster? It shouldn’t have mattered that the Anti-Christ needed a new pair of loafers. I should have realized that an innocent quest for fine leather footwear would have ended up with me in Hell and the Anti-Christ freaking out. Again.

* * *

My readers can relate to Betsy for the same reason I can: when put up against the disaster of the day, we often make the same choices. Even if you can see that all choices will lead to chaos, when it comes to family...well...you just gotta get in there. And you gotta STAY in. Until it's done. That's what I would do. And that's what Betsy does. It's one of her less aggravating qualities.

ME MYSELF AND WHY, September 2010

About the Author

MaryJanice Davidson is The New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the Undead series. MaryJanice’s inimitable style has also delighted fans of the Mermaid series (Sleeping with the Fishes), the Wyndham Werewolf series (Derik’s Bane), and the Royal series (The Royal Treatment). With her husband, Anthony Alongi, she also writes a series featuring a teen were-dragon named Jennifer Scales.

About the Book

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor returns in the ninth novel in the New York Times bestselling series.

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor is having a tough time getting through the Book of the Dead-until the Devil strikes a bargain. She offers Betsy a chance to finish the cursed (literally!) thing, and finally discover all its mysteries. There's just one catch...

Betsy and her half-sister Laura have to go to Hell long enough for Laura to embrace her dark heritage (after a rebellious youth of charity work) and finally make nice with her mother, aka Lucifer. That means interacting with their family's past. In doing so, they're impacting the future in ways they never anticipated. Of course that's what Mother wanted all along. Damn her.


  1. I love the Undead series, although I've only read the first couple, but after Undead and Unwed I went on Amazon and one-clicked the entire series! Thanks for the post :)

    1. I know this is years old but someone tell me...what the heck happens to Laura's adoptive parents and why does everyone act like laura doesn't have a good mom? they'll talk about her 2 moms, Satan and the ant...well....what about the woman that raised her?

  2. I have gotten up to Undead and Unappreciated, I love this series though and I plan on finishing them soon.

  3. This is my favorite vamp series and has been for years. Thanks for the post!

  4. I love the Mermaid series but havent read the undead yet.I plan to read them soon!

  5. MaryJanice's writing always makes me laugh out loud. I love her wit and her characters.

  6. I am a new follower and love your blog!!! I am looking forward to reading more from you!!! Feel free to come on over to mine at Addicted To Romance

    Happy Reading!

  7. @Book Chick City - I've been loving your Undead reviews. It's like getting to relive the books I read years ago. Glad you're enjoying them!

    @LilyofDarkness - I finally caught up and am impatiently waiting for the release of Undead and Unfinished.

    @Beth - I love it too!

    @Darlyn - I've only read the first 2 Fred the Mermaid books, but I'm a huge fan of the Alaskan Royalty series. Love it!

    @cel.ia - Yes, the humor is great and remains constant through all her series. MaryJanice is definitely one who can be counted on to be funny, no matter what the topic.

    @Lover of Romance - Thanks so much! I follow you now too!