Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween~Last post: Meet Drakulya

Vlad Drakulya (The Impaler)
Well, hello, my pretties and Happy Halloween. I'm sad to say that my Halloween posts have come to an end with this one. If you have been following these, I've been devoting my posts toward vampires and Dracula.

Today I'm sharing with you a portion of a chapter out of Vampire Nocturne, where Sabrina Strong meets Vlad Drakulya--the real one, who has found a way to turn himself into a vampire, and lives in another world where vampire's out-number humans ten to one, and where Drakulya is ruler of his own realm. I had to do a good deal of research on Dracula, and also about Victorian dress for this book. I hope you enjoy it and if you have not bought it, or any of the other Sabrina Strong series, I hope you take advantage of the sale price going on now through November 3rd--all my books are $0.99!
Now without further ado...

I hesitantly stepped into a large study of wall-to-wall bookcases and one huge fireplace. A normal-sized person could easily stand upright in the fireplace at the other end of the room. Gas-fed light washed the room in gold, bronze and browns. Wingback chairs were positioned at angles before the fireplace. Mahogany panels covered the ceiling giving the room a gloomy atmosphere. A large mahogany—or cherry—desk with ball-in-claw feet was stationed in the corner. Odors and scents ebbed and flowed conflicting with one another as I paused a few feet inside the vampire's lair. Drakulya's aura hit me first. Impressive. It was the scent—or, in this case, stench—that bowled me over. As with every vampire I've ever met they all had their individual scents. Dracula smelled of a dense musky odor of an old house, with a pungent reek of decay cloying around it. I had to hold my breath against it.
The door shut behind me with a terrible thud.
Without warning an unbidden vision flitted through my mind: A dark haired child huddled in a filthy cell where plumbing was not available, and soap and water were not involved in regular hygiene either. Someone screaming in the background... the dark haired child smiled cruelly... “I know what they do here... they like little boys... my stupid brother bows to their whims... they know I will resist them... ”
I pushed the scene out of my mind and scowled at the man standing across the room from me. I presumed he fed me this scene to give me an idea of how fowl he can be. Vampires were able to give you any visions they wanted, whenever they wanted. For some reason this was something he wanted me to see, and I knew this came from when he was a prisoner as a child in Transylvania.
Woodsmoke, the burning gas lanterns, and some other odd scents came to my olfactory's rescue. It nearly concealed Drakulya's unpleasant vampire odor. I cursed my werewolf heightened sense of smell. A dozen cans of Lysol, and twenty bottles of Febrize would not help, I decided. I resisted the need to pinch my nose. If only I had a jar of Vick's to plug up my nasal cavities. I was relieved that his vampire scent was so repugnant. He would have to be appealing to someone in order to have kids. Or, maybe not.
I stood facing the back of the vampire who had summoned me. He wore a red tunic made of the richest velvet, belted in a gold mesh and held rubies the size of quarters. The gold and rubies glittered in the candlelight. His legs were ensconced in scarlet hose, black boots came up to his knees, then doubled over, pirate-style showing off their fur linings. I found it odd that he chose to dress in attire which did not reflect what I'd been seeing. He rejected the 19th century apparel, apparently. Dark hair threaded with silver flowed down his back in tight curls and it reminded me of Vasyl's mane, but not as black, and not as shiny—or as clean. The thought of Vasyl turned to a longing; I wished Vasyl were here now, because he would be able to protect me from this vampire. Would I never be able to separate myself from the male who could protect me? I now felt foolish for traipsing into this by myself.
I'll be fine. Right.
You are a stranger in my land,” his accent thick, his voice deep and rich. I imagined he could, were I not wearing my ring, put me under his thrall the second he spoke. He was most likely wondering why I wasn't at this very moment kneeling before him, holding out my unprotected wrist or neck for his drinking pleasure.
This is true. I am a stranger to your world,” I said, keeping my voice even in tone, trying not to sound scared to death. I should be nominated for an Oscar, because I was scared shitless.
I have been told you are from the Earth realm.”
This is also true,” I said. I had expected the news of my visit would precede me. I had guessed correctly.
Since I am also from Earth, do you know who I am? Who I was, when I was a living man?”
Yes.” I didn't pause. I could see he wanted to bask in his own egotistical thoughts of himself as a great man. I decided to oblige him if only to inflate his already over-blown ego. It wouldn't hurt. Vampires might be cunning, but they were push overs when lavished upon with utterances of how great they are—or in this case, were. “Vlad Dracula, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, prince of Wallachia—sat upon the throne at least three times during your life. And also a novel named after you was written in a later century by an Englishman by the name of Bram Stoker. You are called Count Dracula in it.” Dracula was a prince, not a count.
Am I handsome in this book? Brave? Fearless?”
You are a vampire who attacks humans. Women, mostly.”
A sharp bark of laughter told me he found this delightful. “But of course,” he said, sounding impressed with himself and I saw him go up on his toes a little bit and bounce some. Relief wash through me. This news delighted him. But I knew it would be short lived.
How does it end?”
You are killed.”
How?”
With a stake through the heart, I believe.” I had never read the book. But I caught the movie version of it in all its erotic overtones and blood, in different versions remade in different decades. I enjoyed the one in which Gary Oldman played Dracula. He had done a fine job, but the real Dracula standing here had me wringing my one glove, my mouth became parched. The real Dracula would tend do that.
Drakulya laughed. It was a crude and cruel laugh and stopped abruptly. His head leaned back, eyeing—I supposed—the large painting of himself there above the mantle. He gestured toward it. “I was the Prince of Wallachia. I ruled with an iron fist.” His hand clenched. He then relaxed and dropped his hand to his side and finally half-turned to look at me, his head cocked in a curious pose. In the light of several tapers, I took him in. His eyes were Byzantine large, the nose somewhat long and thin—aquiline—the end of which fell over the bushy mustache. His lower lip seemed ruddier that it should have been for a man, but common for a vampire who may have just fed. The high cheeks were sharply defined in this light. The mustache rose with what may have indicated a smile, but it was not a friendly one. I could not see his upper teeth, only the lower ones, and they were not perfect; some were crooked one gaping hole revealed a missing lower incisor as well. It isn't true that all vampires are beautiful, or perfect. It depended upon what their human life had been like. In Dracula's day there were no dentists. Having lived the life of a prisoner for nearly half his life, a warrior-prince the other half of his 45 years, had taken a toll on his over-all appearance. There were scars on his face, hands, and I suspected there was one that ringed his neck where he'd been beheaded during his last and final battle against the Turks. This one fact flashed in my mind. How was he here now? Vampire or not, the decapitation of the head was a stalling point I couldn't get my mind around.
Having become initiated, so to speak, in vampire lore, I had looked up anything to do with vampires, and Dracula had come up in my search—the historical, and Bram Stoker's Dracula. How Dracula's body and head had wound up reunited, I couldn't guess. The head had been severed in battle, and sent south to Constantinople and displayed on a spike for the sultan to gloat over. Meanwhile, his body was buried in a hidden grave on an island outside of Bucharest. How he'd become a vampire was his little secret, but I didn't doubt that some sort of black magic was involved. It wouldn't be wise to pull up the memories of his human downfall, or ask Vlad the Impaler details of his transformation from death to un-death. But my curiosity was really spiked.
He had an eager look in his his large dark eyes and I knew by the way they swept over me while the mouth curved down with something like disdain, I'd already insulted him.
You are a warrior?” he asked me, turning to face me fully now. One hard knuckled hand at the hilt of a large knife, the other sweeping toward me in his gesture at my choice of clothes.
I looked down at myself. It had not been the first time tonight the men found my attire unbecoming, or unwomanly. What could I say? Get over it, already.
Yes.”
He smiled now, the upper teeth flashing, fangs drawn. Shit!
You are human, and yet I cannot thrall you.” He surged toward me in long, threatening steps, his voice carrying through to the towering reaches of the ceiling. If he'd wanted, he could have been on me in a second, but wasn't, and I wondered why in the one and a half heart beats I had left to think.
I stood my ground, thinking to go for my squirt gun would be a foolhardy move; his six-foot frame had crossed the room in a matter of two seconds, which didn't give me enough time to draw a gun and properly point and pull the trigger. But I had to stop him, and stop him now. Quickly, I reached for the only other thing I knew would stop him: the chain around my neck attached to the crucifix. I knew for a fact he had been a Christian in his human life. I hoped the sight of it would stop him in his tracks.
It did. He stopped within inches of me, but he didn't hiss and cover his eyes or glance away, like Nicolas had, who was 200 years younger than Dracula. I stared into his dark, malevolent eyes—something I probably shouldn't have done, but if I didn't challenge him he would think me a sniveling cowardly woman in man's garb. My hackles were up, and really, I was not going to back down from this asshole who had some how cheated death. If the wolf came out and I chewed him to pieces, I figured I saved this world from his tyranny.
His eyes flitted from my face to the crucifix and gazed at it for a long moment with what I could only call self-pity.
It pains me that I can no longer wear a crucifix, let alone touch one—the cruelty of it all!” He looked longingly toward the object, licked his lips, then turned on his heal and stalked back toward the fireplace. Hissing his frustration, he leaned against the mantle with both hands, head bent. “I, who was responsible for five monastic foundations and endowments, I built churches for those ignorant cur to pray in!” He threw something. It crashed to the floor steps away. I jumped as shards hit my legs and boots. “I was voevod!” he roared and twirled around. “I never let the boyars think that they could get away with anything!” Swiftly he crossed toward me again, but not as quickly. He stopped an arms-length away, swinging one hand in the air above his own head. “I made them pay! All of them! I impaled five hundred of them on the spot! I knew among them were my father's enemies—those who plotted against him and caused his death!” Fists balled up, he was in my face. Spittle hit me. It was all I could do to remain stock still and not run for dear life. I knew if I did show any sort of fear he'd be on me like a pit bull. He would use my fear in a way only a vampire would: To feed on me. Fear enriched the blood, I was told once. Thus it would feed his jaded need for something more than mere calm, sedated blood. His cocktail consisted of the fear-induced, not those he could simply enthrall. No. He wanted to terrify me. But, I wasn't playing along, and I think that really pissed him off more than anything.
What faith are you?” he asked, eyes darting from my face to the crucifix and back again.
I—uh—I'm Methodist.”
His lip actually arched into a snarl, the mustache lifting, like a black cat arching its back. “Methodist,” he repeated as though the word was repugnant. His mouth fell open in a feral pose, the mustache trembling slightly. Fangs glistened.
Yeah.”
Do you pray, Sabrina?” Right now I am.
Yes. Occasionally.”
Leaning toward me, the flesh of his face like a tight mask over the bones of his nose, cheeks, chin and skull. Still grimacing with that hideous open-mouth as if ready to strike me like a viper, he stared intently into my eyes, willing me to bend like a blade of grass to his mind-touch. “Why can I not bend you to my will? You are human, yet your blood—it is different somehow.” He wanted me to put away the crucifix. Na-a-a-a-ah.
I've been bitten by a werewolf,” I said, hoping he would buy it.
No. That is not it.” He turned away, swiping a hand to dismiss what I'd said.
I also belong to a master vampire, older than you, at home waiting for my return.”
Renewing his efforts, he swiftly twirled back to me, the cape flying wildly. Once more he was before me, eyes darting over me, searching for something that would reveal the clue to my abilities to resist him. “I am told you wear a ring.”
Oh, God. Skrlock had told him about the ring. The rat fink!
Before I realized it, he grabbed the wrist of my right hand and held it up to examine the mystic ring. His grasp crushed my wrist enough to make my knees bend. I winced, tears burst to my eyes, but I held back my scream of pain. Instead, I growled a warning, my own teeth now bared. The Were in me wanted to come out. Another moment, it would have. I knew from the last time someone tried to really harm me, full moon or not. I didn't care what Jett and Skrlock had said about me not being able to go into a complete change here.
Perhaps if I cut your finger off? See if that makes the difference.” A large dagger was in his hands, blade shimmering in the light.
And let's see what my crucifix might do to your flesh!” I countered between gritted teeth. The holy object automatically in the fingers of my other hand, I pressed it to his face. I touched him for barely a second, before his eyes flashed wider with realization and I smelled the stench of burning flesh. Crying out angrily, hissing a curse in his language, he let me go and flew across the room. Winding up next to his fireplace, he bent slightly at the waist, holding his hand to his face. His burned flesh would heal quickly. Within seconds, in fact.
In the meantime, my wrist felt as though it had been held in the jaws of a vice grip, and it had simply released me. Residual pain still throbbed through me to my core. Gasping, and bend at the waist, I thought the bones might be broken. After a few moments the pain eased and I straightened. I slowly opened and closed my fingers to test them. Painful, but not unbearable. My Were blood working on the healing process already. As the vampire healed, I healed. I don't think he understood I too could become a mindless creature, filled with the blood lust. Possibly Skrlock had been right about my not changing completely into a beast, but I would become more violent. Which suited me just fine at the moment, considering the company.
Having realized I had a weapon, and I could not be thralled, Drakulya returned to his spot near the fireplace. He still didn't know I had something worse than a crucifix. Something I could throw him across the room with the magic of my ring. But, I didn't want to piss him off even more, because I couldn't kill him with anything I had at my disposal, plus I didn't feel the ley line I would need to get out of here pronto, big chicken that I am.
He leaned again against the fireplace, but then he straightened, looking wary of some other presence. His eyes flashed to the other end of the room. Odd that I hadn't noticed it before, but someone in a full-hooded black cloak stood there. Because he stood so still and wore black, he simply blended in with the shadows. He made no noise and stood absolutely still. I could see no face within the deep cowl, and his hands were hidden inside the roomy opposite sleeve. He looked like someone in a Halloween costume assuming the persona of Death. I really hoped this was not an omen. My Knowing told me this being wasn't human, but something more. Supernatural, but what, I wasn't sure. I couldn't get a read from it. Not at all, and I couldn't feel an aura. Almost as though the thing didn't exist. Even a ghost would give off something I could read. I became aware of an oppressive feeling of dread emanate from it. I shouldn't have gotten that at all.
Drakulya flung a book across the room at this cloaked thing. The wrath vanished like a ghost. The book hit an object, and crashed. Drakulya cursed again, raged toward the place where the strange spirit had been. He muttered something and spun around. His hard frown turned to a smile that widened as his eyes glared at me.
As if forgetting about the apparition, Drakulya moved back across the room.“I understand you seek someone from your world?”
Skrlock and his big mouth. I'd have to remember the man was a big squealer. Possibly he was Drakulya's spy. Whatever. I would never trust saying anything in front of him again.
Yes.”
She is a relative, or a friend?”
Relative. A cousin,” I said.
And what will you do once you find her?” he asked, thumbs hooked on his belt, looking down his long nose at me.
Take her back,” I said.
He chuckled dryly. “You can try. But you will fail. Anyone who crosses through the Black Veil, can never go back.” I cringed at the expression on his face. The worse I had yet seen—it was an almost feral smile with sexual undertones.
I swallowed. “So I've been told.” I had done it once before, I knew I could do it again. All I needed to move from this world back to mine without really trying was a ley line. Odd that Skrlock had failed to tell him this one talent of mine.
You might as well consign yourself to becoming my Blood Dame, because that is your destiny here.”
I snorted. I know. A bad time to show my confidence, but I couldn't help it.
You doubt me?”
I'm sure we'll both find out soon enough.” I knew I would not win a battle of wits with The Impaler. In fact I'd probably dig myself in deeper. Time for a different strategy. I glanced around the richly decorated room. “Actually it wouldn't be bad living here.” I stifled a yawn. This conversation had come to a boring conclusion and I wanted to find a ley line. I would pop back home for a while, and re-group, find a larger crucifix, and maybe buy a flame thrower come back and take out a couple of vampires, starting with Vlad here.
Drakulya pulled a satin length of cord which hung from the ceiling. The door opened behind me. I turned as the majordomo stepped inside.
Yes, master?” He bowed deeply.
Take this one upstairs, for my entertainment later,” Drakulya instructed.
Yes, my lord.” He bowed again.
I want her to be treated in the same way as all those I have sent there,” he added, as if secretly imparting something that only the servant would know.
Very well, master.” Rumbel bowed more deeply.
Sabrina.” I was half-way out of the room when Drakulya called to me.
Turning to glance back at him, I swung my hair off my shoulder. I gave him a raised-eyebrow look.
Do not play the fool with me, Sabrina. I have killed lesser women than you.”
So I've read,” I said. “Gutting them like fish and impaling them takes absolute detachment. ” And an absolute lack of empathy. “You must get really bored with yourself.” Psychopath.
Face burning, I turned and swiftly left the room. My spine tingled. My hand went to my water pistol filled with holy water underneath my jacket. What I wouldn't give to have had the Dagger of Delphi on me. My ears cocked, listening for the slightest rustle of his clothes should he move a muscle.
The door shut with a definitive click, and I strode along the hallway with Rumbel leading me up the curving stairway. I realized it was carved out of marble. The carvings were exquisitely done, if only I could get past the fact each and every newel was an impaling. The good old days personified in marble. Lovely. He had not impaled anyone here recently—like within the last two months. I would have read it from the occupants of the dining hall, and seen the impaled carcasses along our way here. The only one in recent history was the werewolf lady Jett had mentioned. From my estimation, Drakulya had graduated from the need to let blood flow on the ground, to drinking it to his fill. Thus, impaling was not his ideal mode of punishment any more. I had yet to meet any of his Blood Mares—no they were not Zenyetta and Chairelott. I had to wonder where they were kept. Probably locked in one of those special rooms like I would be tonight.
A comfortable room opened up to me. It wasn't exactly the Hilton. However the bed had a canopy, the colors were warm. Atmosphere, if I were to describe it: Old World Quaint with a dash of Psycho. A fragrant vase of flowers—much like the ones in the dining room—resided on a sideboard. A frilly nightgown was laid out for me. I made a half-chuckle at the sight. As if! I understood tonight's meeting with Vlad was a prelude to other activities.
Pervading the whole room was the stench of blood, which sort of put a whole new spin on “Old World”. You can't get blood out of carpet no matter how much you scrubbed. And with my heightened scenting abilities, I knew human blood when I smelled it.
The key on the other side of the door clicked. Drakulya was not messing around. He would visit me tonight. I was to become his Blood Dame.
No. Frigging. Way.
There were no windows, so the room felt more like a prison cell than a bedroom.
And there it was. That little tingle in the bottoms of my feet. A ley line. Perfect!
I stepped toward the bed. I had been able to go from my world to this one and back again the first time, without stepping into a damned portal. What had summoned me here in the first place? That's how it all had begun. I did have a ley line run beneath my own house, and there had to also be one here beneath this palace, so knew I could tap it, if I concentrated. The network, if it worked like Joha had claimed, would take me precisely where I wanted.
Maybe if I relaxed some and thought about home I could do it. Dorothy's mantra went through my head: “There's no place like home... there's no place like home...”
I settled on the bed, and found it soft—it was stuffed with wool and goose down—suddenly I had flashes of all sorts of things that went on in this room, and knew I wanted no part in vampire games. I also knew that this was not the original mattress. This one was new. It had never been tried—so to speak.
Pushing out images that wanted to play out in my head, I suddenly felt exhausted. Adrenaline gone from the meeting with Drakulya. My muscles ached and I reached to rub my opposite shoulder. I'd had a long night, come to think of it. I couldn't remain here, in Drakulya's palace—in this room especially. What happened to Johnathan Harker was nothing compared to what may happen to me.

I breathed out, settled my hands in my lap, rolled my shoulders, and closed my eyes. I breathed in and let it out again. I thought and concentrated on my own room, visualizing it in my mind's eye. I yawned. Yawned some more. 

I've opened up my Archives...

Hello, my pretties and

I'm posting a link to my "Archives" today, in honor of Halloween. There are a number of excerpts from my novels there for your perusal. Just pay no attention to the links, as they are no longer viable. (I still need to work on this blog site and a few others to get them up-to-date. I have not posted there since last summer, so excuse the state of things!) There are first chapters from my books there, if you have time to read them.

At any rate here is the link to Lorelei's Archives


ALSO REMEMBER ALL MY BOOKS ARE $0.99 UNTIL NOVEMBER 3rd!
So take advantage if you need one of my books in the Sabrina Strong series, or, have wanted to grab Spell of the Black Unicorn (it's a hoot!)!

I'll be back later on today to post something else from third book Vampire Nocturne. Today the subject is, of course, Drakulya!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

TRICK or... TREAT?

Hello, my pretties. Oh, I see you are all dressed in your Halloween costumes! How wonderful! Well, this calls for a treat, I believe. Just let me look for my plastic pumpkin for some treats... oh, yes. Here it is right next to my coffin. *grinning as wide as in the picture of pumpkin above*

Now, if you were paying attention to my blog this past week you'll remember I said I would be reducing the price of some of my books. Well, I lied. I reduced them all!

But, before we get to this I want to do a few announcements. As of today, only a few of you have made comment on the blog "In Search of Dracula" in which you are eligible to win any one of my eBooks for free. I've so far got four names to draw from. Poor turn out, my dears. I would love to have a few more of you stop by and join in the discussion. In order to get on the list of possible winners you must leave a comment on the blog. It's a very simple contest. Nothing else is required for you to do. You don't have to come and "Like" me on facebook, or jump through hoops.

Halloween is only a few days away! I will be picking a winner from my plastic pumpkin (which is an antique because I've had it since childhood), and will be announcing the winner on November 1st. So, if you haven't done so, and would like to get a free bee (your choice of the following titles), go on and leave a comment at the post mentioned above. (just click on the title "Searching for Dracula")

But there's more...

FOR ONE WEEK THE FOLLOWING BOOKS' PRICES HAVE BEEN KNOCKED DOWN TO .99!!! 
That's right! From October 27th Until November 3rd, the prices have been reduced and you never know when I'll get the itch to do so again!
Vampire Ascending
Vampire's Trill
Vampire Nocturne
Spell of the Black Unicorn



You've only got 5 more days to join in on the giveaway contest, so if there is a title you have not gotten yet, and want to get it for free, go and make a comment at the blog above. Or, in case you are not the winner and sure did want one of these books you've got until November 3rd to grab it while it's .99!

(Prices in other countries may take longer to go into affect, so if it hasn't been reduced, wait an extra 12 hours for Amazon to make the change.)

There you have it, my pretties. Happy Halloween to you all!
Oh! almost forgot... here's my costume...


Thursday, October 24, 2013

In Search of Dracula (or vampires) in Novels

One would think that I would choose Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" as my favorite. It is not. It's not even close to my favorite novel about vampires. I don't want to review it or give my reasons, except to say that Dracula (the vampires) was looking for love in all the wrong places. To me he's a tragic hero, and always will be.
Bela Lugosi as Dracula in 1931 film 

A little History on Dracula
To be accurate, Bram Stoker's novel was not the first time someone ever wrote about vampires in fiction. Stoker published other works, which did not garner as much attention as his master work "Dracula", which was published in 1897. It is said that he had read "Carmilla", which was first published in 1972, and obviously did a lot of research on vampires, and on Vlad the Impaler. Add to this nightmares (who among us writers don't have them once in a while that leads us to write them down?), in which he saw a a vampire rising from his tomb. It was also probably suggested that he tell the story from several different characters from another work by Wilkie Collins The Moonstone.

During the time of the publication of Dracula, Stoker actually led a four-hour reading of his book. Stoker (1847-1912), did not die a wealthy man. His wife inherited Stoker's copyrights and had some money coming in from sales. It was in 1921 when Freidrich Wilhelm Murnau made a film version of Dracula, and by altering the names of characters, and changing the setting to Germany and also giving it the title of Nosferatu, he went ahead with it without obtaining copyright permission. Of course Mrs. Stoker sued. The court found in her favor and ordered all copies of the film destroyed (thankfully someone didn't hand over all of them, because one still survives and to this day is considered desirable among collector's of vampire films, since this was the very first one ever made.

In the meantime, a playwright by the name of Hamilton Deane obtained permission to adapt the novel to the stage. The play opened in June of 1924, and eventually opened in London in 1927. It was the 1931 film in which a little known actor by the name of Bela Lugosi who starred in it. Dracula went on to become the most frequently film adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel.

Anne Rice
Interview with the Vampire - The Vampire Chronicles
With her novels, I must say that Anne Rice did all the writing world (of vampire fiction) a favor and changed the whole idea of vampires with one novel.

I must admit to coming across Interview With a Vampire (published in 1976, and became an unexpected success), rather late, but I saw the movie first and finding it intriguing, had to have the book. I found it in a resale shop in Arizona a number of years ago. May I say it is dog-eared to death, and the spine is so creased you can't even read the title.

If you enjoy reading about rogue vampires, or have always wanted to read this one, it's a must read. Some have been unkind to Rice for a number of things about her writings of vampires--and then her complete turn around later on. I'll go on the record as saying that she changed the landscape for those of us struggling with the status quo of how to write vampire fiction--which was pushed under the heading of "horror" for a very long time. Later on, (I'm not sure if it was the 90's?), when vampire fiction finally came under it's own headings of either "paranormal romance" or "urban fantasy", and there's still some that are called "dark horror". There's a few more, but I'm not going to mention them here as they come under the erotica heading, which I'm not a great fan of. Many people objected over the fact that a small child was turned into a vampire in this first book--my mother-in-law among them. As told by 18th century plantation owner Louis Pointe du Lac, in this "interview". For literary aficionados who are into either vampires or Anne Rice, your money will be well spent and the time to read it during the darker October nights while curled up on the sofa with only one light on, and something hot to drink, might be the ticket.

End Note: I enjoyed the film adaptation much better with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.



Anno Dracula by Mr. Kim Newman


If you are looking for something totally different, something that is off-the-wall, and a mishmash of history (1888), literature (of the Victorian period), and historical figures who happen to be vampires, mix with that the mysterious murders being committed in London of young vampire women somewhat reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, and if you can imagine all these things coming together in one novel, well, there you have Anno Dracula, in a nutshell.

It took me a while to get into this book, as it is written in the flavor of books of that time (1880's), but tongue-in-cheek, with references to things that simply went over my head because I'm not British, and a few historical figures were not familiar to me. It's a rather long tale, but it will keep you guessing as to who the killer is, and how he is caught and so forth. A good read for those of you who like long books (400+ pages). It has its moments. It really is quite silly and unless you have the fortitude for it (sort of like watching the Three Stooges and getting it), I don't suggest you attempt to read this one. However, if you're curious at least check it out at the library first.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Description:
"Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written. The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe--in a feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world.

Let me just say that I've saved my favorite read for last.
There are some who may not understand literary work from regular fiction. It's like comparing a latte to coffee. It's in its own category. Someone who does not like literary for it's refinements should not attempt to read such, and then make comment on it. There, I've said my piece on idiots who don't know the difference and are disappointed.

This book came to my attention when I saw a 20-20 show about the author, Elizabeth Kostova. The title of this particular show was called "A Vampire Summer". Apparently her book came out in the summer of 2006 and it was quite a hit. "How did I not know about this one?" I asked while watching the program. I'd never heard of it. I further questioned: "How would you even guess this is a story, not only about vampires, but about Dracula--Vlad the Impaler?" I was dumbfounded and felt lucky enough to have caught the show.

Let's get down to brass tacks first. Kostova is a graduate of Yale, and holds an MFA (yep, I'm writing this with my pinkies extended). She researched this book for 10 years--and believe me the history she dug into was unbelievably rich, absorbing and each and every time I've read this book (4th time now), I feel as though I need to wash my hands of the old library dust I've collected under my nails.

And, just to make you all jealous (as am I), she had a ridiculous advance of $8 million! Did she earn it back? I believe so, in spades.

When I went to find this book in my local book hub, I had to read the first page before I bought it, of course. Oh, boy. The fact that the opening was told by a 16 year old girl who's mother had died when she was young caught me by the neck. I could relate. There were other things about the girl--being shy and recluse among them--that I could relate to, and the fact her father was raising her. I was hooked at the end of the first chapter. I bought my copy in 2006, and every two years or so, I bring it out and read it again.

It is a suspenseful literary novel, and it's like unearthing a civilization, the further you dig, the deeper you want to dig because it just gets more interesting, and the suspense is built upon with every page. It's told from three or four perspectives. I admired the writing style, the period drama, and the way it kept me waiting for them to "find" Dracula, and what they did once they did find him.

If I were to give this a rating it's five 1/2. Out of all the above reads this one's my favorite (or couldn't you tell?)
~*~

Well, I hope I've given you some ideas on new pleasurable reading. If you have not heard of some of these, I hope you'll check into them at some point.

Have a great weekend!

Reminder: If you are hoping to be included on this GIVEAWAY read below and do the following:

GIVEAWAY RULES:  leave a comment below, and in previous blog post HERE. 
The person who has most comments on these posts (which will continue into next week up until Oct. 31st) will win their choice of my three ebooks.

And all names will go into a mini contest, all you need do is make a comment on any of these blogs up until the end of the contest! Thank you!

Winner announcement will be on Halloween (Oct 31). 



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Search of the Vampire

Max Schrek as "Nosferatu" 1922
Who can turn into a vampire?
The 7th son of a seventh son. Okay, I just won't have seven kids...
Someone who has been excommunicated... those born with teeth or a caul (whatever the hell that is), and unbaptized children can become vampires. So, watch out who you open the door to on Halloween night!

The vampire is not a recent invention by authors or film makers. Sorry, Twi-hards. In ancient Babylon a deity was known to drink the blood of babies. She was named Lilith. It is said Lilith was Adams first wife (and became his ex very quickly. See? Even God thought that under certain circumstances a divorce is probably the best thing). She left poor old Adam and became queen of the demons and evil forces. So, okay, Eve isn't such a bad bitch after all just because she cozied up to a snake and ate an apple? Hmm.

"European vampires are said to have red hair and a harelip". Dracula wasn't a red head.

Records of the Living Dead (no, not the band), were found in China during the sixth century BC. Sightings of vampires have been recorded throughout the world. But it's Europe which was rich in vampires. The Bubonic Plague was believed to be the work of vampires. The movie "Nosferatu" with Max Schreck (above), has scenes of rats on the ship--synonymous with the Black Plague. Nah, no one would think that rats would have anything to do with the plague back then (it was the fleas who were infested from the rats, actually). Anyway, because people were dropping like flies and bodies piling up in the streets from it, they were in a great rush to bury them--sometimes not checking to make sure they really were... dead... Nosferatu really depicts some of these things well. And for a 1922 silent movie it was probably quite horrific, in its day.

Which led to things like people being buried alive and trying to claw their way out of the coffin, and when exhumed they found the body covered in blood from injuries they sustained in attempting to claw their way out of their graves. Which lead to more of them thinking "Yep, by golly, I knew old Ed was a vampire."

In my search for the vampire during my teenage years, I've come across many explanations as to why there were such beliefs. Some are like the above. And there were more bizarre things I unearthed, as follows.

I've uncovered a few interesting facts that is probably so far removed from modern man that you really have to get your brain around some of it and understand how people once lived (excuse me for getting a little Richard Leakey on you here). It was understood very early on by man, the ancient hunter, that blood is the life--literally--because when blood flowed out of the wound of a beast or a man, that life drained away too. Yes, Van Helsing, "Blood is the Life!" Thus such hunters would smear their bodies with the blood of either the animal they hunted, revered, or their enemy's blood. It's probably a good thing we get our meat from grocery stores now.

Stories that have been absorbed into folklore are those that fit nicely with the vampire theme. This is one of those weird stories about diseases which mimicked ideas about vampires.

Early on I found a book in which I found a curious rare disease known as erythropoietic protoporphyra. Say that three times fast! It was not diagnosed until the 19th century, but it wouldn't take a stretch of imagination to connect the dots. This disorder made the body produce too much porphyrin--a substance basic to red blood cells. The result is redness of the skin, eyes and teeth, a receding upper lip and cracks in the skin that bleed when exposed to sunlight. Doctors of the time could only treat the condition by locking the patients away during the day and encouraging them to drink blood to replace what they lost by bleeding. But the rumors of such nocturnal blood drinkers would probably lead to superstitious folk to sharpen stakes and light the torches.

Yes, I was a vampire (lore) hunter, and was so glad when someone actually went to the trouble of finding out that Dracula--or Drakulya--actually existed. For the longest time we only thought Dracula was the figment of Bram Stoker's imagination. He obviously did a lot of digging into vampire folklore and had gone into Romanian, German, and Hungarian history, for it would be there he would come across the bloodletting tyrant known as Vlad Tepes, aka "Vlad the Impaler" who ruled in the 15th century in--yes--Transylvania. He was a prince and tyrant in times when such people ruled the world and no one went into their country and bombed them because of it. But he was very horrible, and I won't even go into detail on what he did here. If you wish to know more, just Google Vlad the Impaler.

Or...here's a great book and it's still available to anyone who is a vampire aficionado.

"In Search of Dracula" was the most thorough, well researched book of it's kind and I finally had a lot of my questions answered. I bought this book in 1973.
A true history of Dracula and vampire legends
by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu
This book has helped me in researching both the vampire lore, as well as Vlad/Dracula, himself. The history on Vlad The Impaler, was useful when I went to write my third book in the Sabrina Strong series, Vampire Nocturne, because I used Vald the Impaler in this story.

Since I had always wanted to write about vampires, Dracula was always lurking back there, waiting to come out and so here, in Vampire Nocturne, I've written him in as true a form as I could to make him believable.

If you are intrigued and want to read more, tune in again.
Also... I'm asking for people to comment on this post and the next posts up until Halloween when I will be giving away one ebook, of the winner's choice from my three Sabrina Strong books, Vampire Ascending, Vampire's Trill, or Vampire Nocturne (eBooks only, or if need be an HTML version).
I will base winner on how many posts they have commented on. If there is a tie I'll have to do a number in the hat thing. (I hate raffle copters--they suck!) So, do make a comment if you want to win!

So, them's the rules, my pretties. If you have yet to buy a copy and want to win one of these, start commenting. The next post will be at the end of this week, so keep watching for them. Or better yet become a follower and maybe join up on the emailing list. That way you won't miss the next post!

Stay tuned for the next installment: The Historian, an intriguing book by Elizabeth Kostova, and other books of interest.
Please comment if you are interested in the prize of one eBook. Or, if you just want to comment, and tell me either way to include your name in the contest below! Offer ends October 31st!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dracula

Bela Lugosi as "Dracula" in the
film adaptation from Bram Stoker's
book "Dracula"
Dracula
synonymous with "vampires".

Have you ever wondered why?

I did. When I was a teenager, and left to be able to stay up late to watch movies that possibly might be disturbing, I found myself fascinated by the movies about Dracula. No matter when they were made, I had to watch them, as I was fasctinated by the whole idea of vampires and vampirism.

The thought in the back of my mind was that it would be cool if there were such things.  But I knew the reality. But then again, there were things that I experienced in my pre-teen and teenage life that sort of went beyond what we consider "normal". But I wont go into that here.

In the next several days I would like to examine the myth, legends and reality of who and what Dracula is. I will, from time to time offer up suggested reading for you, if you are so inclined. I will talk about Vlad Tepes--the real "Drakulya" (which means son of Dragon or, in some languages "devil"), and how I had always wanted to write stories with vampires in them. 

I had wanted to write the historical Dracula into one of my books, and Vampire Nocturne was the perfect book in which to fit him in. I'll have excerpts of this as well as these next few days up to Halloween. Keep watching as I will be dropping prices of my three Sabrina Strong books.
See you then!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Teaser Tuesday ~ Vampire's Trill - "Leif"




Since I've gone Indie I'm finding older posts which had my ex-publisher's link to the book, and now no longer available through them. Thus I'm republishing this post from "Vampire's Trill". Possibly you may remember it. If not, happy reading.




I turned to find Leif had draped himself in his usual bad-boy pose in the narrow doorway. He had that hungry look in his eyes, and with Leif, you couldn't tell which thing he needed the most—blood or sex. I didn't know where Heath had gone. Then I heard his voice from the other room. He was on the phone.
“Luv, you look absolutely delicious. Give us some.”
“Screw you,” I shot back, having gotten used to his terrible ribbing. Smiling, I turned to open the microwave. I turned back around to find a big, bad vampire invading my space. Gasping with a start, I stopped abruptly nearly losing my grip on the very warm bottles. A thread of fear slid through me as I felt a spike of adrenaline jump-start my heart. The light brown rings of his irises were growing thinner, and the black pupils were growing larger. Crap. He was vamping out on me, big time.
“Only if you participate, luv,” he said. His comeback was the usual raunchiness, and dammed if it didn't pull on my libido.
I made a scathing sound, trying to make believe I wasn't frightened, or suddenly turned-on. I tried to sell it with a roll of the eyes. I didn't want to trip off his pheromones — more than they were already,that is. Leif and I had never been alone together — until last night, of course. I was glad that his brother had come to his aid last night. Him being under this roof alone with me, a vulnerable warm-blooded woman, wasn't in my best interest.
“Was he good, luv?”
“Huh?” I blinked at him in surprise.
“Vasyl. Was he good to you? He make you scream?”
Frowning, I backed away from him, and into the little microwave table. He snagged one of the bottles from my hand and took a long pull from it. Licking his lips in what seemed to me an elaborate display of bloodied fangs, he smiled back at me. He put the free hand on the refrigerator, corralling me in the corner between the microwave, the small breakfast table, and the refrigerator.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finally I've got a new browser!

Well, my pretties, I'm in a better mood now...
I have been suffering a while with a slow browser (slow as in defunct, and constipated. In other words I could do nothing much. Especially when it came to posting. I couldn't post pictures. I had to paste files from a document, which got to be a big headache!

But look! I've successfully installed Chrome. You have no idea how depressing it was, and hard it was for me to deal with this--it's been months since I could really post here, like I want to.

Here I have posted a nice little picture of a pumpkin with a sleeping kitty inside. Cute, yes?

And I'm able to write/compose in the space provided me.

HAPPY DANCE!!!!

I'm back in business! Yay!!!!

I'm now able to do a few things here and at facebook, which I was no longer able to do. I hope that I can do a few other things at my blog that need to be done.

So, I will be posting things more often, now. At least that's the plan. Stay tuned for more up-dates!

Have a good day!





Welcome to The Inside of My Head (reposted)


The full moon rises, I've just watched two episodes of Moonlight... Gotta love that Mick St. John. Yum...
Okay, we won't go that far into my head tonight.
So, I was thinking how we writers are like vampires. Yeah. We are. Not that we drink blood or anything like that, or are going to live forever (but when you think about it, our words will live forever), but we're in this private club. We understand one another, what makes us tick and if I say something like I killed off a character, you all get what I mean. Right?
The voice inside our heads is okay, because we put it down on the page. So that makes us only slightly psychotic, and when we do kill someone off, it's only on paper. Er... yeah.
I've been working on edits—which make me more psychotic than usual. And making notes for the next book (WIP) that I'm sort of allowing to unfurl like a rose. No sense in letting this one hammer me to death. Hey, I wrote the 4th one in 3 months—never before or since could I have written something that came so easily to me. Every book has usually taken me about 6 months to a year to complete. No telling how long I'll have to monkey with this one. Things are coming, but not fast and furious like the last 4. I think Sabrina wants to relax in a hammock and float like a dream. I have to wake her up once in a while to remind her I'm watching her and that she'd better get cranking something out.
Well, you all know how you get a book down. You got the ideas and they either work or they don't. When they don't you shouldn't pound your head on the wall or desk or whatever. No. Don't do that. First of all it's very painful and you might ruin the finish or the paint, or something. And your significant other/children might begin to worry about you. Not to mention the neighbors who might be able to hear you screaming: “What? I have to re-write this whole effing chapter!!! Arrrrrg!”
Or something to that effect.
Speaking of which, getting ideas is something you have to do your own way. I do it my way. Which is to keep my eyes and ears open. When I see something that speaks to me, I know. I was about to use some characters from a previous book (you wouldn't know, since you haven't read these books, since I've not published them, but sorry that I write way ahead of myself, but that's just how it is). But these characters were somewhat ho-hum for this book. I needed something better. Something more dynamic and by golly when I saw the characters renderings it just was a drawing in black and white, on someone's blog. I thought “They look sort of cool”, and I had to abscond with the pic because I just knew I wanted to ponder it a while. There was this odd blinking above my head, but it might have been the full moon, but I'm not really sure.
The renderings are done by an artist and I'm not sure who, but I've seen such pictures of character's before, but it makes no difference. It was two guys dressed as butlers. Sabrina seems to have more than her share of men in her life, and so I didn't want these guys to be straight. They had to be gay. I needed this because they were going to be her house help in this book because she actually has a broken leg. And she needed someone to cook and clean for her and maybe do a few other things. But I had to have a pair of them so that they'd volley some interesting dialogue between them that would be entertaining. At least that's the whole idea.
Back in the first few books, I had the twin vampires, Heath and Leif, but by this book they aren't around, so I needed this playful bantering between two guys... it just might work.
So, the moon is rising a little higher out there and there's this fog too. Oh, and the moon is very close to the earth, so much so that it's playing havoc with the tides and flooding places. My husband had no idea that the moon's gravitational pull could do that. He just thought it merely hung around up there in the sky. Ho-ho. Sort of like my brain, it's not just laying around in a heap of gray matter. It's working. Always at work. So much I may just have to take me a sleeping pill. Of course I'll blame my wakefulness on the full moon. It has that effect of me. Odd, but I felt drained earlier in the day and now I'm just unable to go to sleep right now.
OoowwOooooo!
Stop that.
Okay, I'm back.
Oh, and that afghan I began a few weeks back is going fine. It's an interesting pattern. I only had to rip out a line or two a few times. My husband rolled his eyes like I was mad. “You have to get it right or it won't look right in the end.”
Sort of like writing a book. All the rows, stitches matter. Every little bit you put in there is for a reason, even if the reader hasn't a clue. Sort of like the moon's magical pull on things.
Did any of this make sense? I hope so. And it's not even that late, as it's only 9pm. But I've been up since 4 am, so, maybe I'm a raving lunatic by now.
Well, thanks for visiting my brain tonight. Do me a favor, if you're still up and look outside at the moon. Wave. I'm seeing the same moon here in Illinois.
Good night!


Customer Reviews... Good, Bad, and Best!

I always cringe when I see a new review has come up on my books. I'm never sure what they will say. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised,...