Thursday, June 03, 2010

Guest Blogger Lori Handeland

Today, we welcome back Lori Handeland to the Playground. In the past, she's thrilled us with werewolves and psychic detectives. Now, she's taking a new spin on one of my favorite subjects - Shakespeare! With zombies and vampires!

On June 8 I will have a book released that is both different from anything I've ever done and somewhat the same.

SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD is a paranormal. It contains vampires and zombies and a kick ass heroine. These are all familiar and beloved territories for me.

SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD is also a historical. I've written those, yes, but none set in England, none that take place during the 16th century and none with a famous character as the hero.
Wow, it was fun!!

Every day while writing SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD, I could not wait to get to the computer and discover what vampire Shakespeare and his zombie hunting "dark lady" were up to. I had a ball picking things from Shakespeare's works to use in the book. (Who'd ever have thought that those Shakespeare classes in high school and college would actually be good for something!)

I became fascinated with London and Tudor England the way I hadn't been since 8th grade. (I had a Tudor phase then. Yes, I was an incredible nerd.)

Have you ever found yourself adoring something you didn't think you would? Or rediscovering an old love you'd thought you'd outgrown?

For me it was Shakespeare and I'm so glad I found him. Hope you will be too.
Here's a taste of SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD, being released on Tuesday! (June 8)

Will pulled the sheets from inside his doublet, the ones he’d been working on all night, the ones that held the lines he wanted to say with her.

He offered some; she took them from him. “A new play?”

“I’m not sure. Can we--? Would you--?”

“Read with you?” Her smile bloomed as bright as the sun. “I’d like nothing more.”

They faced each other, and he began. “Even as the sun with purple-colour’d face had ta’en his last leave of the weeping morn.”

Kate read her lines from the page as if she’d read them a hundred times before. “If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed. A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know: Here come and sit.” She spread her graceful hand to indicate an imaginary stool. “Where never serpent hisses, and being set, I’ll smother thee,” she lifted her gaze to his, “with kisses.”

Will’s throat went dry. He had to swallow twice before he could continue. “Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty: A summer’s day will seem an hour but short, being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.”

“Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine.”

Will didn’t know when he’d moved closer, but he had, and now they stood hip to hip, chest to chest, her face tilted up, shaded by her cap, yet he could still see the full, ripe beauty of her-- “Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red. The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine.”

He leaned in and brushed their lips together. Her breath caught; so did his. Just that slight touch he felt everywhere.

Kate’s face flooded with heat, and she glanced down, the brim of her cap scraping his nose. Will stepped back, then stretched out a hand to cup her chin. “What seest thou in the ground?” He lifted her exquisite face. “Hold up thy head: Look in mine eye-balls, there thy beauty lies; Then why not lips on lips since eyes on eyes?”

“Why not indeed?” she whispered, and kissed him.Will forgot his next line; he could no longer remember hers. The paper slid to the floor as he cupped her face.

Ah, but soft.

She went onto her toes and pressed herself against him—her lips, her tongue, her chest--she wore too many clothes. Her skin so smooth, he wanted to touch every last inch of it.

Suddenly she pulled away—from his mouth, his hands. Her fingers rose, and she touched her lips, her eyes wide and a little scared.

He’d knocked her cap from her head. He had no recollection of that. Her hair, pinned tightly, had begun to tumble down. She appeared as if she’d been loved and well. He reached for her, and she stepped back. Words gushed into his head like water through a sluice.

“Beauty within itself should not be wasted. Fair flowers that are not gather’d in their prime rot and consume themselves in little time.”

Her hand fell away. “Rhyming,” she said. “A poem perhaps.”

“What?” Will shook his head, which was full of more rhyming words. “Even so she kissed his brow, his cheek, his chin, and where she ends she doth anew begin.”

Kate smiled and stepped closer. Then she kissed his brow, trailing her lips to his cheek and chin before leaning back, staring into his eyes. “Like that?” she whispered, and he was lost.

I you'd like to read the first five chapters go to:

One lucky commenter will pick up a copy of Shakespeare Undead and a Shakespeare Little Thinker Doll!


Playground Monitor said...

Now this is what I call REALLY thinking outside the box.

I've been attending the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival the last few years. The director takes a play and reworks the setting. A Midsummer Night's Dream was put into the depression era South. This summer's offering, The Two Gentlemen from Verona will involved country music and two guys from Verona, Tennesse. The director's goal is to bring Shakespeare to the masses and it's performed under a big tent with festival seating.

Who knew Shakespeare could be such fun -- either set in Tennessee or done with vampires and zombies?

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome, Lori!

I have to say I'm intrigued. I love Shakespeare and my favorite historical subject is Tudor England. I've been reading the Phillipa Gregory books recently and watching the last season of the Tudors on Showtime. Vampires and zombies should fit right in amongst the beheadings and other various torture they dished out back them.

Will this book be a part of a series?

CrystalGB said...

Hi Lori. Shakespeare Undead sounds good. What a refreshing idea. :)

Lori Handeland said...

The TN festival sounds right up my alley. What a great idea!

I love Gregory's books too. I'm behind on the Tudors. Only up to Jane Seymour, but I love it.

I don't think this book will be a series since their story is pretty much told here.

Lori Handeland said...

Thanks, Crystal! It was a lot of fun for me.

Laurie said...

I only remember reading Julius Caeser and Romeo & Juliet in HS.

I liked Eloisa Jame's books with Shakespeare themes.

I'd enjoy reading Shakespeare Undead! Good luck with this series!

Angel said...

How totally cool, Lori!!! I can't wait to bop over and read the chapters.

How did this idea come to you?


traveler said...

I am captivated with this unique idea. This book sounds incredible and enthralling. Years ago I went to the Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ont. What a wonderful experience that was. It was memorable and special.

gigi said...

Hi Lori,
I loved the excerpt. I am a real fan of the books, movies and shows set in more medieval times.
I loved Shakespeare in Love and I have all the seasons of The Tudors that are available.
If it wasn't for the lack of dental and medical care I would loved to have lived back in that time.
I envy the play friends that live close enough to experience a Renaissance fair. I would love to get the chance to get dressed up and be a lady for the day.

tetewa said...

I've been hearing alot about this one, sounds good!

catslady said...

A very original premise!! I'm always looking for variety and since historicals are my favorite and I've just gotten into paranormals, this sounds like a real winner.

Lori Handeland said...

Thanks, everyone! I hope you enjoy. I've been trying to post and blogger isn't liking me, so hope this one goes through.

Lori Handeland said...

Okay, looks like I'm back in blogger's good graces.

I got the idea at an RWA lunch when my editor told me the title. It had just come to her and she though it would be a good one.

Well, I had all sorts of ideas, so I sent her a proposal and voila!

karenk said...

a great posting...would love to read this fabulous book :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

mariska said...

Hi Lori,
Shakespeare Undead sounds a GREAT read ! i'm intrigued :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

Problem Child said...

Where did my comment go? ~sigh~

Welcome back Lori and cool! I'm such a Shakespeare geek, so this one just went on my TBR list...