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Messy, last night I dreamed that the Vampire Mafia was comin' to get me. A gloomy troupe of dour beings surrounded me on the mesa, muttering threatening imprecations at my many scandalous blasphemies. How dare I not worship and adore their Goddess... yes I have said baaaad things against that big blind larval Queen Mother... but I was able to disperse them with a gallant wave of my stubby red pencil, a pencil yes that was handed down to me from my Bob Daddy-o, the meanest and crankiest editor in the business of red-penciling...

As the gang of vicious venomous vampires were dispersed, it was then in my dream that an apparition as big as an elephant, as huge as a house, as monstrous as a monster, came gallumphing forth in a blind rage. Trumpeting her rage, seething at mine umbrage! I in defense could only hold up in mine leetle paw the talismanic familial stubby red pencil... with this poor weapon I slashed and I slashed at this monstrous thing, but I could not make a dent in it. This Beast roared in triumph... this Beast was .... MESSY ANNE RICE!!!
At the urging of my boyfriend, Chi Chi and numerous others, I've finally started reading Ms. Rice's magnum opus, THE WITCHING HOUR. I've never read any of her witch-related books, only the vampire ones.

In my own (unfinished) novel, I stand behind my recent decision to leave out a large backstory section on my principle character. All that backstory was self-indulgent, it slowed the action and my manuscript is now much better as a result of cutting the fat. Besides, it's the mark of superior writing to weave in relevant backstory details in more subtle, interesting ways during later chapters.

So imagine my surprise then at being confronted with some 40+ pages of mostly irrelevant backstory on the character of Michael Curry no less than thirty pages into the book. What was Anne Rice thinking? It became clear that she never wasted a SINGLE SENTENCE of her rough drafts, no matter how much it weighs down the art like an anvil strapped to the reader's ankle. Of course not having finished the book I can't say for certain which details of all that flatulent backstory are important and which aren't, but there is no way all that minutia can possibly be pertinent to the plot.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. Mind you I do enjoy melodramatic, wordy, flowery prose and soap opera. But come on.

That said, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the descriptions of the old New Orleans townhouse/mansion (its crumbling beauty -- how gorgeous!), the Garden District and San Francisco. Ms. Rice really loves these places so much that the locales become characters themselves in the story. I really admire that and emulate that quality in my own work.

Now, when do I get to meet Lasher? ....

(to be continued)
THE WITCHING HOUR ended up consumming a large part of my summer reading. Having finally met Lasher, he turned out to be a footnote to the whole action at the end and ultimately took a backseat to the great dynasty of witches themselves, the Mayfairs, a family I wish I'd been born into! I loved, loved, LOVED the Talamasca file on the family tree, the personalities like Julien, Mary Beth, Katherine, Marguerite, Stella, Antha, Diedre, Cortland, etc and the luxurious evil that unfolds like the petals of a poisonous rose. Their escapades and vast wealth, Julien's trade, Mary Beth's ruthlessness, the endless cousins and scandals, the parties .... I really enjoyed that part. You're right Daddy, Lasher was nothing like I expected ... thought I'd get another Lestat rip-off, but still did not find him as interesting as the witches themselves.

I also loved Micheal Curry's restoration of the great house on First Street. Like reading a series from Architectural Digest.

Not sure if I should continue on with books 2 & 3 (Lasher & Taltos), but will decide after taking a break to read something else.
Last edited by Luxury Lex
Lex, I agree with Bobby. The first couple o' chapters in Lasher will raise your eyebrows, to say the least, and make you love Mona.

And, Bobby, I think I read Cry to Heaven and Feast of All Saints within days of each other after having found and finished Witching Hour. I must have been 15 or 16 and soooo angry that I had to wait for her to publish what happened to Rowan. Reading the other books certainly let me know that there was wide world that I could get into after high school. The funny thing is is I was more agog at the relations in Heaven (read: men of the cloth) than any of them in the Witching Hour series, excepting the escapades with Mona - I love her. And What's-Her-Face, that blond hillbilly relation with the big boobs and the violet eyeshadow. I love her, too.
I haven't read Anne Rice since Servant of the Bones, but this sounds like it could be quite good.

The Gospel According to Anne

The queen of the occult has been gone awhile. What's Anne Rice been up to? Getting healthy, finding God"”and writing her most daring book yet.

By David Gates

Oct. 31, 2005 issue - Sometimes Anne Rice won't leave her bedroom for days on end"”and neither would you. Glass doors open onto a terrace that looks over the red-tiled roofs of La Jolla, Calif., to the Pacific Ocean. A live-in staffer brings meals to the table at the foot of her ornately carved wooden bed, which faces an ornately carved stone fireplace. She exercises in a huge bike-in closet. She's got two computers and enough books to last her a year. Splendid isolation? Splendid, sure. But she's often got family visiting in a downstairs guest suite, she reads The New York Times every morning"”"Nicholas Kristof is a hero to me""”watches news "till I can't stand it anymore," and spends up to an hour and a half a day e-mailing with her extraordinarily faithful readers.

They've been worried about her. After 25 novels in 25 years, Rice, 64, hasn't published a book since 2003's "Blood Chronicle," the tenth volume of her best-selling vampire series. They may have heard she came close to death last year, when she had surgery for an intestinal blockage, and also back in 1998, when she went into a sudden diabetic coma; that same year she returned to the Roman Catholic Church, which she'd left at 18. They surely knew that Stan Rice, her husband of 41 years, died of a brain tumor in 2002. And though she'd moved out of their longtime home in New Orleans more than a year before Hurricane Katrina, she still has property there"”and the deep emotional connection that led her to make the city the setting for such novels as "Interview With the Vampire." What's up with her? "For the last six months," she says, "people have been sending e-mails saying, 'What are you doing next?' And I've told them, 'You may not want what I'm doing next'." We'll know soon. In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and"”under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure"”of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord." It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming" announced that he'd been born again.

Meeting the still youthful-looking Rice, you'd never suspect she'd been ill"”except that on a warm October afternoon she's chilly enough to have a fire blazing. And if you were expecting Morticia Addams with a strange new light in her eyes, forget it. "We make good coffee," she says, beckoning you to where a silver pot sits on the white tablecloth. "We're from New Orleans." Rice knows "Out of Egypt" and its projected sequels"”three, she thinks"”could alienate her following; as she writes in the afterword, "I was ready to do violence to my career." But she sees a continuity with her old books, whose compulsive, conscience-stricken evildoers reflect her long spiritual unease. "I mean, I was in despair." In that afterword she calls Christ "the ultimate supernatural hero ... the ultimate immortal of them all."

To render such a hero and his world believable, she immersed herself not only in Scripture, but in first-century histories and New Testament scholarship"”some of which she found disturbingly skeptical. "Even Hitler scholarship usually allows Hitler a certain amount of power and mystery." She also watched every Biblical movie she could find, from "The Robe" to "The Passion of the Christ" ("I loved it"). And she dipped into previous novels, from "Quo Vadis" to Norman Mailer's "The Gospel According to the Son" to Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins's apocalyptic Left Behind series. ("I was intrigued. But their vision is not my vision.") She can cite scholarly authority for giving her Christ a birth date of 11 B.C., and for making James, his disciple, the son of Joseph by a previous marriage. But she's also taken liberties where they don't explicitly conflict with Scripture. No one reports that the young Jesus studied with the historian Philo of Alexandria, as the novel has it"”or that Jesus' family was in Alexandria at all. And she's used legends of the boy Messiah's miracles from the noncanonical Apocrypha: bringing clay birds to life, striking a bully dead and resurrecting him.

Rice's most daring move, though, is to try to get inside the head of a 7-year-old kid who's intermittently aware that he's also God Almighty. "There were times when I thought I couldn't do it," she admits. The advance notices say she's pulled it off: Kirkus Reviews' starred rave pronounces her Jesus "fully believable." But it's hard to imagine all readers will be convinced when he delivers such lines as "And there came in a flash to me a feeling of understanding everything, everything!" The attempt to render a child's point of view can read like a Sunday-school text crossed with Hemingway: "It was time for the blessing. The first prayer we all said together in Jerusalem ... The words were a little different to me. But it was still very good." Yet in the novel's best scene, a dream in which Jesus meets a bewitchingly handsome Satan"”smiling, then weeping, then raging"”Rice shows she still has her great gift: to imbue Gothic chills with moral complexity and heartfelt sorrow.

Rice already has much of the next volume written. ("Of course I've been advised not to talk about it.") But what's she going to do with herself once her hero ascends to Heaven? "If I really complete the life of Christ the way I want to do it," she says, "then I might go on and write a new type of fiction. It won't be like the other. It'll be in a world that includes redemption." Still, you can bet the Devil's going to get the best lines.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
After writing about vampires, witches, ghosts and the Devil for so long (even mummies!), I suppose there was really nowhere else for her to go except to Jesus himself. (has she ever written a werewolf story?) I'll be interested to read her next effort. I think writing 25 books in 25 years is pretty awesome.

And FINALLY -- the gastric bypass surgery. Gorgey, hon.
Hail Madge, Hail Lexxy,
Lexxy if you had a staff of 40 + people you would probably write a book a year too.
Barbara Cartland wrote 500 before she kicked off.

"She invariably wore huge pink dresses (pink 'helps our brain' she said), did her eyelashes with boot polish (which would not run, despite tears), sported thick coats of makeup, and carried a lap dog while riding in a white Rolls. "She grew old in a unique style that she thought graceful," the Times said. "Perhaps she simply did not understand the idea of caricature."

Now THAT's a writer!

Now that Ms. Rice n' Beans has glutted the alt.culture folks with her flatulent blather, now she can suck up to the Xian market... and sell millions and millions and millions more pages!
Maybe she will reach her orgasmic epitome of cashflow, and become required reading at Bob Jones University!

What a bloodie waste of trees.

Hail to the Gastric Bypass!

Hail to the Voided Bowel of Reason.
"Hail to the Voided Bowel of Reason"!!!!!

Oh Stanley, she is not on your level that's for sure. But I just read about four pages (I'm saving it for Mexico) and it's good. Jesus is the new Lestat. The only prob is that it is about 200 pages of huge print. She probably wrote it in a week. I know I'm cheap but $30.00 is a lot to pay for an essay.
Well, I finished it. (in about an hour) I liked it. Of course I love that period of herstory. It's really not that much of a stretch for her. The Veil Of Veronica", "Servant Of The Bones", "Memnoch The Devil" this is not really that different for her. I don't know what all the hub bub is about. It's not at all "preachy" It's a typical Anne Rice historical novel. It's not her best writing and not her worst. What she does REALLY well is bring the day to day world of first century Jews to life. I loved that aspect of it. The biggest problem, obviously, is that we all know the story. There are no surprises. Of course we all know how it's going to end but even the little plot twists I knew from Sunday school. The only mystery in the book (and it's a pretty good one) is seven year old Jesus slowly trying to figure out who or better, what he is. I mean everybody goes through this but not everybody kills the neighborhood bully with the blink of his eye and then brings him back to life when his family gets upset. It's hard for little Jesus to figure out why he can cure a blind man or make it snow at the drop of a hat. And finding out that you are the begotten son of God by age eight is enough to make anyone crazy. It's all told in the first person by Jesus.
Very clever.
And if I'm spoiling the story for anyone...
You must have lived your life under a rock not to know this story.


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My boyfriend started to read Anne Rice's new Jesus novel but put it down after 50 pages, disgusted. (he actually bought the book for me as a Christmas present but I haven't gotten to it yet). He declared the prose "simple and dull, dull, dull" and refused to waste anymore time on it when there are stacks of other books in our kitchen from his "To Read" list that are still unread. A tepid bore, according to him, and it's no accident that it's printed in giant font. Haven't picked it up myself but I'm curious now.
This article made us sad:

Anne Rice comes to Jesus

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- It's Halloween, and Anne Rice has a new book -- a memoir, in fact -- that's climbing best-seller lists. Everything is normal, then.

Anne Rice says she hopes to take her skills writing vampire books and "redeem myself."

Normal if it were 1994 -- the height of Rice's megaselling fame as a queen of Southern Gothic pulp.

For those who haven't been paying attention lately to vampire lit, America's most famous chronicler of bloodsuckers doesn't live in New Orleans anymore -- and hasn't since before Hurricane Katrina hit -- and she's riding new waves of enthusiasm: the memoir and Christian lit.

Her memoir, "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession," is the latest piece of evidence that Rice is reinventing herself in an attempt to build a reputation as a serious Christian writer.

In the memoir, the 67-year-old writer doesn't disavow the two decades she spent churning out books on vampires, demons and witches -- with a batch of S&M erotica thrown in -- following the breakout success of her first novel in 1976, "Interview With the Vampire."

But she's clearly moved on.

In a telephone interview from her mountain home in Rancho Mirage, California, Rice laid out her goal:

"To be able to take the tools, the apprenticeship, whatever I learned from being a vampire writer, or whatever I was -- to be able to take those tools now and put them in the service of God is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful opportunity," she said. "And I hope I can redeem myself in that way. I hope that the Lord will accept the books I am writing now."

The memoir follows the release of two books in a planned four-part, first-person chronicle of the life of Jesus.

And in this new 245-page memoir, Rice presents her former life as vampire writer as that of a soul-searching wanderer in the deserts of atheism; as someone akin to her most famous literary creations -- Lestat, her "dark search engine," Louis the aristocrat-turned-vampire and Egyptian Queen Akasha, "the mother of all vampires."

"I do think that those dark books were always talking about religion in their own way. They were talking about the grief for a lost faith," she said.

In 2002, Rice broke away completely from atheism -- nearly four decades after she gave up her Roman Catholic faith as the 1960s started. It happened when she went off to college and found her peers talking about existentialism -- Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre. Religion, she writes, was too restrictive to the young Rice. Too out of step.

Yet, religion had to come back into her life, she writes. For her, it was something she'd have to face up to again like an absent parent or a long-lost love child or Banquo the ghost in "Macbeth."

By the late 1990s, when she went back to Mass, Rice -- the author whose books sold in the tens of millions and who had recharged Hollywood's appetite for vampire-inspired horror -- had fallen on hard times.

Her husband, poet and artist Stan Rice, died of a brain tumor in 2002. And she had become victim to diabetes.

Always over-the-top and beyond the rational, she writes that her return of faith was preceded by a series of epiphanies -- many while on travels to Europe's cathedrals, Israel and Brazil. In one episode, when she visited the giant Jesus statue above Rio de Janeiro, she writes that she felt "delirium" as the clouds broke and revealed the statue.

Her professed revelations recall the religious intoxication she describes of her childhood.

When she was 12, she had her father turn a room on the back porch of the family's Uptown home in New Orleans into an oratory modeled after St. Rose of Lima -- the saint Catholics believe turned roses into floating crosses. She wanted to be a saint, she writes.

In the memoir, Rice describes a familiar Catholic upbringing imbued with opulence and mystery. The incense. The statuary. The stained glass. The darkness. She learned the world, she writes, through her senses, through a "preliterate" understanding of the world. She writes that she possessed "an internal gallery of pictorial images" that, lamentably, was replaced "by the alphabetic letters" she learned later.

"You might call it the Mozart effect, but it was the Catholic effect on me," she said.

In a sense, the memoir also is a confessional about her struggle as a writer to be a reader, a thinker and an author with a distinct literary style. Her stories often are reveries with no end in sight -- and all too often ugly with pedantic unwinding, numbing in detail and overly simplistic, a pastiche of cliches.

Her turn in direction -- from vampire fiction to Christian musings -- still isn't winning the critics over.

In The New York Times, Christopher Buckley slammed Rice's memoir as "a crashing, mind-numbing bore. This is the literary equivalent of waterboarding."

And the bar is high when it comes to writing about Jesus.

"The best may be Nikos Kazantzakis' 'The Last Temptation of Christ,' " said Jason Berry, a novelist and journalist who has written extensively on the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal. "But also (G.K.) Chesterton, Norman Mailer. ... A lot of narrative artists in both literature and film have taken on Jesus, so to speak."

Rice isn't out to impress the critics, though.

"My objective is simple: It's to write books about our Lord living on Earth that make him real to people who don't believe in him; or people who have never really tried to believe in him," she said.

She pressed the point: "I mean, I've made vampires believable to grown women. Now, if I can do that, I can make our Lord Jesus Christ believable to people who've never believed in him. I hope and pray."

For her devotees, whatever she writes invariably goes down like a smooth bloodbath, that favorite Goth beverage sometimes made with raspberry liqueur, red wine and cranberry juice.

"There are so many people dedicated to her. They want her to write more vampire books," said Marta Acosta, author of the popular "Casa Dracula" series, a "comedy of manners" that plays on vampire themes. She also runs the Vampire Wire, a book blog for fans of gore and the undead.

As for her, Acosta couldn't care less if Rice sinks back into the vampire vein.

"People think it's sexual, but it's not. It's suppressed stuff. Southern Gothic," Acosta said. "How many centuries is Louis (played by Brad Pitt in the movie 'Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles') going to whine?"

Never again, it seems.

Rice is busy writing about Jesus as a minister. And that's a tall order, Rice said.
I don't think this is such a stretch for her.
All of her books have had this very Roman Catholic slant.
For me, her books made you look at heaven, angels, saints etc. in a very "real" way.
(The way it did for vampires and witches).
Her first "Jesus Book" (I forget the name of it) was fun to read.
I foolishly paid full price for it as soon as it came out and won't do THAT again but I did enjoy it.
The writing definitely isn't her best, and the story line is... well, VERY predictable but just like when she takes you back to ancient Egypt or Rome or Babylon in her vampire books, she brings the New Testament to life.
I thought it was fun to read and will read the new ones (I'll buy them used at the Strand though).
She's old now and is thinking about eternity.
But I thank God she gave us Vampires and Witches.
The saddest thing about her life (besides the "Queen Of The Damned" movie) is that she will never do the Talamasca books.

Who knows, wait until she gets in to her 70's. She may reinvent hersalf all over once again and be a re-risen sanguinary sipper. Jesus may not bring her the salvation she seeks.

And watch out about going to buy in the Strand Daddy, I know someone who keeled over dead in the aisle one day. Maybe you should carry your crucifix when you go shopping there.

What I think is the real sell out is leaving NOLA for Rancho Mirage!
I just re-read my post.
she brings the New Testament to life.

I sound like some kind of freak!
What I mean is...
Everything about the bible (especially the new testament) is clouded with this heavy sanctimonious overtone. When she writes about an historical period she makes you feel like you are there. It's a gift she has and is very cool.

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