Welcome back readers! It’s nearly St. Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means! No, not zombies this time…well, ok zombies, but only a few… It means Romance! Pink and red decorations, creepy teddy bears, and candy that tastes like plastic abound! Oh, also love. Love probably abounds too. And the Friday Fiction Feature is not to be left in the dust, we’ve got stories of timeless love and romance against all odds (and some physics). It is Friday the 13th after all…
The Professor’s Daughter by Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert
Our first romance is one for the ages. Literally. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I at least have often wondered about this “one person for everyone” thing; what if that one person is in the South Sandwich Islands while I’m trapped up here in Minnesota? What if the deity in charge of romance mucked up and my one true love got born 30 years too late? Well, The Professor’s Daughter suffered from this very crossing of the stars, but wasn’t about to let a little thing like thousands of years and ancient embalming techniques stand in her way!
Three thousand years may seperate them, still… they love each other.
19th-century London. She is the lovely daughter of renowned Egyptologist Porfessor Bowell, he the dashing mummy Imhotep IV, owned by the professor and awake for the first time in thirty centuries. They stroll through London arm-in-arm and find their way into an abiding love, but everything seems to be getting in the way of it.
Murder, adventure, mystery kidnapping, Queen Victoria tossed into the Thames–what more could you ask for?
Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth #26) by M.C. Beaton
Sadly not all love can go as smoothly as the professor’s daughter’s, for some, like the unfortunate Sergeant Macbeth, tend to see death as an impediment to romance, even when it is not his own. But, alas, for some the Death of a Valentine will always spoil a good date, if not because the valentine is your own, then at least by keeping you too busy to tend to your own lovely lad/lass. (So I suppose the romantic tip here is to stay away from corpses, at least until you’re married. Sound advice.)
Amazing news has spread across the Scottish countryside. The most famous of highland bachelors, police sergeant Hamish Macbeth, will be married at last. Everyone in the village of Lochdubh adores Josie McSween, Macbeth’s newest constable and blushing bride-to-be.
While locals think Josie is quite a catch, Hamish has a case of prenuptial jitters. After all, if it weren’t for the recent murder of a beautiful woman in a neighbouring village, there wouldn’t be a wedding at all. For it was a mysterious Valentine’s Day package–delivered to the victim before her death–that initially drew Hamish and Josie together on the investigation. As they work side by side, Hamish and Josie soon discover that the woman’s list of admirers was endless, confirming Hamish’s suspicion that love can be blind, deaf . . . and deadly.
My Zombie Valentine (Dark Ones #4.5 (Bring Out Your Dead)) by Katie MacAlister, Angie Fox, Lisa Cach, & Mari Mancusi
We bring you next a selection of lovers so devoted, so connected to each other (or at least bits of each other), that Macbeth’s advice to avoid corpses is just the mantra of a quitter. For some devoted sweethearts to whom the underrated cry “Bring out your dead!” sounds like an invitation to speed-dating night pick up My Zombie Valentine and see some love that really never ends!
Four women who are about to dig up the truth!
Tired of boyfriends who drain you dry? Sick of guys who stay out all night howling at the moon? You can do better. Some men want you not only for your body, but your brains. Especially your brains.
It’s true! There are men out there who care–early-rising, down-to-earth, indefatigable men who’ll follow you for miles. They’ll take the time to surprise you, over and over. One sniff of that perfume, and you’ll have to use a shotgun to fight them off. And then, once you get together, all they want is to share a nice meal. And another. And another.
Romeo and Juliet, eat your hearts out.
“Bring Out Your Dead” by Katie MacAlister
“Gentlemen Prefer Voodoo” by Angie Fox
“Zombiewood Confidential” by Marianne Mancusi
“Every Part of You” by Lisa Cach
My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon by P.N. Elrod, Marjorie M. Liu, Katie MacAlister, Lilith Saintcrow, Ronda Thompson, Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, & Caitlin Kittredge
There is a trend in romance tales which I imagine must be obnoxious to the happily married/partnered/living-together-and-please-stop-asking-when-we’re-getting-married-or-we-never-will-just-to-spite-you. It seems like all the best stories (practically all the stories actually) are about finding new love or getting engaged. There is a terrible dearth of actual happy couples who have been together for more than two years. (Unless you count the protagonists’ parents, and no they don’t count because I’ve seen those movies, and the parents never count). Fortunately we have My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon to at least fill in the next step in the romance genre. Picking up where the romance novels end, these stories will get us all the way through the wedding and at least to the following day! (Hey, it’s progress).
Nine popular fantasy and paranormal romance authors celebrate marital bliss supernatural style in a collection of honeymoon tales populated by demons, vampires, shape-shifters, magic-users, and other unusual characters.
What newly married couple doesn’t dream of a romantic retreat where they can escape the world for a while — but what happens when supernatural forces intrude on their wedded bliss?
Nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors answer that question in this all-star collection of supernatural stories. Can a vampire-hunter enjoy her honeymoon after learning that her new hubby is a werewolf? How can newlyweds focus on their wedding night when their honeymoon suite is haunted by feuding ghosts? And what’s a wizard to do when a gruesome monster kidnaps the bride on her way home from the wedding? With so much otherworldly mayhem awaiting our newlyweds, will they ever get around to the honeymoon itself? Find out in…My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon.
Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman & John Bolton
Of course, some of you will not be completely impressed by my lineup of romance for (and across) the ages. Some of you prefer more
boring traditional romance stories. Well, I have just the thing. One of the oldest romance stories we have, and the namesake for an entire industry of trashy romance; Harlequin! Because I also know my audience won’t want me to just push them towards an old story they may have heard time and time again, I’ve swapped out the original for a version updated by one of our favorite authors here on the Fiction Reboot.
In this modern retelling of a classic commedia dell’ arte legend of tomfoolery and hopeless, fawning love, creators Neil Gaiman (Sandman) and John Bolton (Manbat: Batman) update the relation of Harlequin and Columbine. A buffoon burdened with a brimming heart, Harlequin chases his sensible, oblivious Columbine around the streets of a city, having given his heart freely. Consumed with love, the impulsive clown sees his heart dragged about town, with a charming surprise to bend the tale in a modern direction. Gaiman’s writing is poetic and as loopy as the subject matter. Bolton’s art, a combination of digitally enhanced photo-realism and dynamic painting provides sensational depth with bright characters over fittingly muted backgrounds. Those who have spent Valentine’s Day alone know that the cold February holiday can be hard to swallow. Gaiman and Bolton want you to know that all it takes is a steak knife, a fork, and a bottle of quality ketchup.Contains an additional 8-page backup feature written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Bolton on the history of commedia dell’ arte!
Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne
This last book aside, I doubt that many of you actually clicked on my Valentine’s edition hoping for some straightforward boy-meets-girl-meets-unnecsarry-problem-solves-problem-gets-happy-ending novels. So to get us firmly back on track, and in true Friday Fiction Feature spirit, we’re ending on zombies with Breathers, a tale of love, loss (of life), and class action law suits. (and for those of you who–like me–thought the movie with a living person dating a zombie was just ucky, don’t worry, everyone’s undead here. Nothing ucky about it).
Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.
Darkly funny, surprisingly touching, and gory enough to satisfy even the most discerning reader, Breathers is a romantic zombie comedy (rom-zom-com, for short) that will leave you laughing, squirming, and clamoring for more.
*P.S. rom-zom-com might be my new favorite appellation.
So from all of…me here at the Friday Fiction Feature, happy Valentine’s Day!
(And singles, please stop calling it Singles Awareness Day…that’s just sad. Literally SAD. That’s what it spells! You should celebrate this day of plastic candy too, just please, please come up with a new name!)