Friday, March 6, 2009

You Wanna Be a Vampire?

Before we get to the part about you being a vampire, I just want to share some wonderful news: Horrible Spider molted yesterday! Yay!

Who is Horrible Spider, you ask? Only the most beautiful Guyana Pink Toe (Avicularia avicularia) tarantula in the whole wide world. That's her on the left. For those of you who aren't all down with the spider thing, as they outgrow their exoskeletons they molt and get rid of the old ones. It's a bit like switching from your winter wardrobe to your spring wardrobe.

About three weeks ago HS stopped eating and closed up the entrance to her web, so I figured she was about to change her clothes. But then she didn't. All she did was come out every so often to stare at me with her eight eyes and think spidery thoughts. I started to worry that she was getting all emo on me, particularly as she tended to emerge from her log whenever I played the Cure.

Then yesterday I glanced over at her web and thought, "Why are there two spiders in there?" Behold! HS was molting. And she did a great job of it, at least from what I can see. She seems to have gotten all eight legs out (sometimes one will break off, but don't worry, it grows back). Now I just have to give her a few days to toughen up (they're all soft after a molt) and I can open up her web and take the exuvium (that's fancy science talk for her old skin) out. I'll post a pic of it, as I know you want to see it.

I should also say that now that she's molted I can finally find out if she really is a she. I'm hoping she is, as female spiders live way longer (as in up to 20 years) than males (only 2 - 5 years). Until they're fairly big, though, it's hard to tell unless you subject them to being turned upside down and viewed under a microscope, and really who needs that? But now I can look at her underwear and figure it out. Or someone with a big brain can, anyway.

I know you want to see more of HS, so here's another pic. This is her being all fierce for the camera. But really she's a sweetie.

So now about you being a zombie.

A couple of months ago I ran a raffle to help a friend who's part of a photography group I belong to achieve his dream of coming to America (he lives in the UK) to attend Burning Man. I know, it's a weird dream. But whatever. He's a really sweet guy and he wants to photograph this and experience whatever it is people who go to Burning Man experience. Sand and sunburn and chafing, I imagine.

To raise the funds I auctioned off the opportunity to appear as a character--or to have a friend/child/dog/whatever appear as a character--in one of my upcoming novels. There were four winners.

I'm holding one more raffle to raise the final amount needed to bring Os over. The goal is $200. How it works is this: for every $10 you donate you get one virtual raffle ticket. Donate $20 and you get 2 tickets, $50 and you get 5. You get the idea. As soon as all 20 of the tickets are gone I put them into a hat and pick one winner. That winner gets to be in one of my books.

I've done this before and it's big fun. Who doesn't want to be immortalized in a novel? And you have several novels to choose from. It can be one of my young adult novels (a perfect surprise for a young relative or your own child), one of my Jane Austen zombie novels, or one of my other novels for adult readers.

Now, you won't be a main character (unless you happen to fit what I need), but you'll get some screen time and I'll work with you to make it as fun for you as I can. And keep in mind that the novels I'm working on now won't be out until late 2010 or early 2011. So don't expect this to be the perfect holiday gift for this year.

If you want to participate, head on over to Paypal, select Send Money, and send your donation to Once I receive confirmation of its arrival I'll put you in the drawing.

I'm planning on holding the drawing on March 15, so don't sit around. Just do it already.

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