Secret Kiss From One Boston Terrier to Another

By Madeline Iva

Kim Harrison, Jeaniene Frost, Pamela Palmer, and Vicki Pettersson– four sirens of the urban fantasy landscape hung out with me at The Virginia Festival of the Book a few weeks ago sharing their secrets before an overflowing crowd of UF fantatics.

The panel was called Strange Brew: Urban Fantasy Authors ‘Spell’ Out Their Secrets.  The spillage was excellent.  Here’s some of what we learned:

KIM HARRISON’S MAGIC: How does she create that edgy relationship between Rachel and Ivy in her Hollow’s Series?

The Hollow’s main heroine Rachel is a kick-ass witch living with Ivy, a bi-sexual vampire who’s chosen not to feed.  Rachel and Ivy also co-own a sleuthing biz.  Close proximity puts Ivy in a constant feeding hunger around Rachel and the sexual tension gets really thick. Rachel  accepts Ivy as she is. Yet that knife-edge tension remains between them. How long can Ivy hold back before she has her way with Rachel?

HER SECRET: Harrison says if she had tried to write about such a relationship it never would have worked.  It just popped out onto her computer screen one day. She stared at what she’d written, scared witless. If Harrison had buried the birth of the first Ivy/Rachel homo-erotic moment, she would still be regretting it to this day. Harrison advises you to scare yourself with what you write and don’t ever stop.


JEANIENE FROST, PAMELA PALMER & Their Hero’s Allure : How do Frost & Palmer write such incredible bad boy heroes that readers find incredibly hot instead of incredibly villainous?

Palmer reports thriving on writing a seriously flawed hero. PALMER’S SECRET: Her hero needs to find a serious commitment in order to change.  He’s got to dig down deep to touch base with the better man within and the heroine’s love is crucial in that slow journey.

After all, what woman doesn’t love a challenge? Her sexy guy always gets a moral make-over, while Palmer’s heroine has got to be strong enough for two.  

Palmer’s latest series: VAMP CITY involves a heroine so desperate she chooses a vampire who feeds off her fear as she fights to survive.  The hero is semi-traitorous, yet he’s the heroine’s only hope–her one small flame in a dark—I mean literally dark–world.

Frost, meanwhile, maintains that her new hero, Vlad the Impaler, is over his pointy stick phase.  He’s come through the middle ages with all of grim history shaping him into who he is.  So yes, he’s taken the heroine’s friend and tortured him for information.  Yes, he can set people on fire just by looking at them. It’s been a hellishly long 600 years of history, most of it was violent and bleak, so sue him for being a little slow in learning compassion and mercy.

Yet no matter whom her hero skewers, his heroine is always safe in his arms.  

FROST’S SECRET: if the hero is trustworthy when it comes to the heroine, then we know we can trust him too. Vlad keeps his heroine safe and everyone else in danger–a sexy combo of protectiveness and threat in one package.