Spent yesterday Christmas shopping. James’s nieces and nephew are the killer–the one niece loves…god help me…Lisa Frank. The less said about the time I spent trying to pick out Sparkly Glitter Stationary, the better. A piece of me died in that store aisle.

I long for the days of Hello Kitty.

In writing news, Scarn keeps on surprising me by doing these things that work, but which are not very nice at all. I often have heroes surprise me–in case anybody’s read “Black Dogs” (not spoilering) the Big Reveal at the end came as a helluva shock for me–but generally not over and over. I think he may be the most purely ruthless hero I’ve ever tried to write. It’s not that he’s a bad guy, exactly, but he’s very, very practical and in his world, there are no innocent bystanders and no such thing as collateral damage and absolutely everything is justified.  He engages in no soul-searching whatsoever. It’s a sort of moral feedback loop–“I have total confidence that I am right, therefore anything I do must be right and justified, because it’s me doing it.”

It dovetails nicely with Rail, who is quite sure some of what she does is reprehensible, but believes firmly that her ends justify the means, because after all, it’s her doing it.

As I learned long ago with Sev, self-confident characters with only partially functional moral compasses are really a lot of fun. ‘Course, I had to re-introduce Father Maxwell just to get a genuinely decent character into the mix, otherwise my protagonists would probably have talked themselves into a terrorist spree and started burning down buildings out of their own sense of self-justification. Hell, they still might…

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