I’d like to welcome guest RACHEL HAIMOWITZ. Rachel has just begun a blog tour for her newest Release Anchored. Welcome!

I’ve always been fascinated by barely-alternate alternate universes in stories. Secret vampires running detective agencies in modern LA, secret dog shifters owning bars, secret succubae who don’t know what they are but accidently eat people’s chi on occasion . . . and yes, yes I do watch too much paranormal TV, why do you ask?* Stories where the world isn’t so fundamentally different from our own, where just one small thing is different (well, okay, maybe a big thing, but small on a quantum scale), birth some fascinating contrasts at the crossroads.

Stephen King is a master of the barely-AU, and long one of my idols in that regard. From The Stand to the epic Dark Tower series, everything he touched was just a little sideways. Stargate has done some great work with it too, whether through the quantum mirror or a rift in space-time. And let’s face it, it would have been hot to see McKay make out with Rod.

But I digress. After twenty-odd years of watching and reading the masters of the barely-AU, I knew I wanted to try one myself. But I didn’t give it much thought until one spring when I found myself in the middle of a busy newsroom floor at a 24-hour cable news channel. I was working fourteen-hour days logging tape, doing research, and running scripts for an evening broadcast. Our anchor was hosting a big panel one night on, of all things, the Aqua-Teen Hunger Force Lite-Brite bomb scare in Boston. (I. Shit. You. Not.) They needed extra make-up artists to get all the guests ready on time. Zaula Pahn’s** (remember her? Don’t worry, neither does anyone else) makeup artist was sitting in her little work-room right off our news floor, chewing gum and reading a magazine. I was sent to fetch her. “Sorry,” she said. “I only touch Zaula Pahn.”

Well, if all that wasn’t me stepping through a barely-AU portal into a New York where Lite-Brites shaped like cartoon characters shut down entire cities and makeup artists were salaried to work for 30 minutes a day, I don’t know what was.

So, with TV news swallowing my life, and the idea of the barely-AU having crawled and nested firmly back in my brain, I sat down to write Anchored, a barely-AU set in modern Manhattan and starring a slave news anchor owned by his network. TV news staff often work 80-hour weeks anyway, and Zaula Pahn already seemed to own her makeup artist; it was hardly a stretch. 

Forming the Anchored world—one with iPhones and gluten-free bagels and copies of The Economist and also, oh yeah, institutionalized slavery all around the globe—was some of the best fun I’ve had at work in a good long while. I finally got to write my barely-AU, and I didn’t even need to whip out a bunch of goatees to do it.

Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who’s owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.

Daniel’s not stupid; he knows there’s only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it’s got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he’s never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won’t survive the experience with his sanity intact.

He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn’t willing to take it, and Daniel’s not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there’d been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel’s turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?

***GIVEAWAYS *** Rachel will be giving away…
* 1 ebook copy of Counterpoint: Book I of Song of the Fallen
OR of Sublime: Collected Shorts (winner’s choice).
* 1 swag pack featuring cover art from Anchored and my other works.
* 1 extra swag pack to the first commenter to name all three shows
referenced in the first paragraph of this post

And continue to follow RACHEL on the rest of her tour. And visit her blog on JANUARY 23 for your chance for more prizes.

0 Responses to One World Over: The Barely-AU and the Birth of Anchored

  • Love the concept – well, in that yes slavery is bad kind of way. Looking forward to surfing along with you on your tour. Good luck!

  • Heh, yeah, I know what you mean. Personally I find the idea of forced slavery in fiction to be quite hot, but then you’re left with this sort of oily uncomfortable feeling when you’re faced with the reality of how awful it is. That said, I’m finding myself having trouble letting go of this world, so there’ll be at least two more stories to come in it :)

    Thanks for joining us on the blog tour and I hope you have a fabulous time!

  • This sounds bizarre and very original. Good luck with the release!

  • LOL, thanks kindly, Lisabet!

  • Hmm. I don’t watch that much television but I looked up your clues and came up with Angel Investigations,True Blood and Lost Girl: A Succubi’s Tale. I’ll be interesting in seeing what the Real answers are! And I look forward to getting a chance to read Counterpoint. I’ve heard good things about it.

  • Dlee, I was about to say “Almost but not quite,” but then realized that Angel was in fact a secret vampire detective, so I think I’ve gotta give you this one. I was actually referring to Moonlight (starring my current tv-boyfriend/hottie Alex O’Loughlin), but your answer works just as well. Drop me an emal at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com with your address so I can send out your prize :)

    (Swag should be arriving to me in about a week, so expect it to you in about two weeks.)

  • I’ve read a few fantasy books which have slaves as part of the culture, but nothing set in modern times. It’s an interesting concept, and I think you are right, Rachel, it makes you feel a little uncomfortable but fascinating non-the-less.

    • Jenre – I think it’s a a good thing when a ficticious world makes readers a little uncomfortable especially if it makes us look at our own world with critical eyes.

      • Agreed with both of you. A story like this can certainly turn a focused lens on our own world and our own expectations. And, like you, Nina, I enjoy entertainment that makes me a little uncomfortable. Not just in books, but also tv, movies, even activities: I’ll do things that scare me a little (skydiving, say), and I enjoy darker films that expose the seedier underbelly of human nature. In a way, Anchored does the same, though at heart it’s very much a love story.

  • It’s a strange dichotomy, a little hard to reconcile, quite frankly. We think of ourselves as so modern and cultured, but then, so did–and were at the time–the Greeks and Romans, and they had slaves too. I wish I’d had a little more space in Anchored to explore the Belonging world and its politics, but Anchored is more Daniel’s story than anything (though that is by nature a reflection of the world in which he exists), which is why my brain is already turning over sequels :)

  • Nicely done. Loved the quick pace of your writing. Does the book have a lot of comedy?

    • Thanks kindly, James :) Anchored doesn’t have much room for humor, I’m afraid, although there is one line in there that kills me every time, even though I’ve read it probably a hundred times over now. There’s a lot more snark and humor in Counterpoint, but there was room for it there: Counterpoint had two alpha heroes butting heads, and one of them was quite sarcastic. In Anchored, while Carl is rather quite a lot on the sarcastic side, he mostly holds it back for Daniel’s sake. And poor Daniel is too well trained to let his tongue wag, no matter how much he might want to.

  • The story is different…..I will be checking the book out for sure….Great blog post…

    • Thanks kindly, Savannah! There’s lots more fun coming on the blog tour as well, in particular tomorrow’s stop at L.C. Chase’s blog. She’s put together some newspaper ads that are easily ten kinds of f@*ked-up awesomeness 😀

    • Savannah – Thanks so much for stopping by. I do love Rachel’s premise, it certainly is a unique world she’s set her story in.

  • Looks like a PAR-TAY, Rachel! Congratulations!

  • “Aqua-Teen Hunger Force Lite-Brite bomb scare in Boston” Now that’s the name of your next book right? LOL. But seriously the blurb sounds really interesting! Good Luck on the blog tour and with the release.

  • Really interesting first post and I’m so looking forward to reading all of them. I also love to watch/read the barely-AU. It’s great fun to try to find all these sublime differences.

    Also, I can’t wait to read Anchored. I hope I’ll be able to do it soon :). I wish you good luck on the blog tour and with the release~! :)

    • Thanks kindly, Barbara! This genre really fascinates me, and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the Belonging world in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. As for Anchored, just two more days til release . . . I’m so excited! 😀

      • I’m also excited and can’t wait to read it. Also, It’s great to hear that you’re planning to write more about the Belonging world in the (I really hope so) nearest future :).

        • I think I won’t be able to get to anything else in this world until April, but it’s all already mapped out in my head, so once the writing starts it should be fast (fingers crossed!).

    • Barbara – Rachel’s world that’s only slightly altered definitely intriques. I’m glad you stopped over.

  • I enjoyed the post and the blurb. I look forward in reading Anchored.

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