Urban Fantasy Book Covers

June 19, 2009 at 1:49 am (Guests, Sites, or Books, Vampire Blogs and Webs) ()

Urban Fantasy has become its own sub genre, easily recognizable by the cover of the book. Perhaps too easily recognized.

I discovered a new blog, Stomping on Yeti The tagline says They don’t deserve it, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Ah, someone with a sense of humor.

He was blogging about why he refused to buy Daniel Abraham’s latest book because of the cover and the sameness of Urban Fantasy covers.

He also had a video, which I have managed to get working here as well. It is a real eye opening experience.

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Carmilla

June 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm (Classical Vampire Literature, Vampires around the World) (, )

The next classic vampire story is Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, There is much similarity between this novella and Dracula like Gothic atmosphere and writing style, the isolated castle in distant foreign lands, in this case Styria in Austria. The innocent young heroine who suffers from a mysterious illness and who must be save from the evil fiend. Why there is even another poor innocent, who despite best efforts is lost to the fiend like Lucy. Enter the smart older professor/vampire hunter, who knows the secret and leads a band during the daylight to find the crypt and destroy the creature in the traditional way, with stake, decapitation, and burning.

The major difference is that the vampire is female.

Carmilla was part of a collection of Le Fanu’s short stories published In a Glass Darkly in 1872, over 20 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is clear Bram Stoker was strongly influenced by it, although there is no concrete proof.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was born to a wealthy family in Ireland. He went to Temple University and studied for the bar, but turned to writing. Le Fanu’s best-known works include Uncle Silas (1864), a suspense story, and The House by the Churchyard (1863), a murder mystery. He is called by some the father of the modern ghost story, because his stories turned away from the Gothic’s emphasis on external sources of terror and toward the effects of terror, creating the psychological thriller. He was one of the most popular Victorian authors, but his popularity did not last much past his death.

He can’t be called a vampire author. Carmilla appears to be his only vampire novel, but it became one of the most influential.

Next week more about Carmilla.

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Donovan

June 15, 2009 at 1:22 am (Darkhour Vampires, Uncategorized) (, )

Donovan Reed is a psychiatrist who runs a small private clinic in Fillmore Grove, Oregon. His patients include those with the psychosis that they are vampires. He is a recognized expert on the subject. What people don’t realize is that he is a vampire himself and often treats vampires. One of his jobs is to find newborn vampires and help them make the adjustment.

When Thom Barber is killed in a car crash and wakes up in the morgue craving blood, Donovan notices the news clipping about a missing body and later the unusual death of a wino. He hunts down Thom and stops him from killing again, taking him back to his clinic, where he helps him come to terms with his new existence.

Finding newborns and helping them adjust is a job Donovan has done since the Civil War. That is where he met Cassandra. Next time we’ll meet Cassandra.

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Journal

June 14, 2009 at 1:23 am (Writing Journal) ()

Friday, instead of writing, I spent the afternoon visiting Doctors. Learned that my second mammogram shows no signs of cancer and that I officially have severe carpal tunnel in my right hand and the recommendation is  surgery. At least go see the surgeon. What bothers me is that they don’t seem to be prepare to do any treatment except surgery. They seem to have no non-surgical methods, except sleep with wrist braces. I’ve done that for years. I also have sleep apnea so I wear a CPap mask, and end up looking like a space alien warrior when I go to bed.

I’m not keen on surgery, and I wasn’t keen the last time they diagnosed carpal tunnel and suggested surgery. That was 1985. Maybe I can find some alternatives this time too.

But after a long afternoon in waiting rooms, my husband took me to dinner at Marie Calendars. I enjoyed the meal (ribs, shrimps, bacon and cheese mashed potatoes.) Too full for pie. But they were having a special, so we brought home pie.

Then we decided to go see the new Star Trek movie. I enjoyed it and was glad we had gone. But afterward raised the issue of whether or not they would be able to do a sequel. I want to say, the movie sucked me in and definitely held my attention. It is only on later reflection that I found myself finding it wanting. First, it was not what I call a “Star Trek” story. It is hard to explain, but Star Trek stories had something unique about them, the fact that they tackled social issues, that they gave us hope for the future. That was missing from the script. Second, they ended up with caricatures of the characters and unfortunately the actors didn’t have the charisma to make me like them enough to want to come back and see them in another story. Although they certainly opened up the possibility for new and interesting future stories. The story concept was pretty brilliant. Not to give anything away for you that have yet to see it. As a long time Star Trek fan, I think you probably will want to see the movie and I don’t think that you will be disappointed. I wasn’t. But it just isn’t strong enough to support a sequel. But who knows, they might get the chance anyway to develop it. If it was the start of a new TV series, I might be interested in watching it, but big screen movie, I’m not sure.

Anyway, I have been at the computer for almost 12 hours and frankly I am bushed. I didn’t finish my blogging, so it will be a long day tomorrow. But at least I have something to post for my Sunday journal entry.

P.S. I was twittering and checked what others had to say about Star Trek. I recommend Passing the Phaser: 10 Tips for turing your kids into Trekkies You are sure to laugh.

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Wings become Crimson and Soar

June 13, 2009 at 10:35 am (Uncategorized)

Wings Press has been my publisher for 7 years and I can only applaud their step forward. Since I am sure that there are some readers here who write paranormal erotic I thought I would share the following announcement.

Press release: New Erotic Line Opening for Submissions

June 8, 2009

Crimson Moth Erotic Romance

In 8 years, Wings has transformed from a simple group of ladies wanting to make their dreams of publishing a reality, to an industry leader with those same dreams at its very foundation. The current economic climate is probably one of the most serious challenges we have ever faced. Many companies see it as a parapet that is showing them the end of their existence, but we see a different view… a launching pad from which to fly… we are Wings after all.

We are thrilled to announce our latest adventure Crimson Moth Erotic Romance.

On June 15th, 2009 we will launch Crimson Moth, and begin accepting submissions of highly sensual, plot-driven romances filled with passionate, monogamous relationships.

September 15th, 2009 marks the opening of our cyber doors, giving our readers the opportunity to soar with Crimson Moth romance.

When we began Wings we never dreamed we would be where we are today. We cannot abandon who we have become or where we came from, but we can continue to move forward to achieve more than we now believe possible. If we stand together and face the future, we can take off from here and fly into a success; a success that will transcend the current climate and glide us through to the brighter times ahead.

Visit our website at www.crimsonmoth.com for submission guidelines.

Direct questions to Senior Editor Elizabeth Struble  editor@crimsonmoth.com

***********************************************

permission to forward definitely granted

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Journal

June 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm (Writing Journal) ()

As I was reading Chester Campbell’s blog today called The Odyssey Project about where authors get their ideas, I kept wanting to add comments to what he said. In this scientific project, authors were studied to find out where we come up with our ideas.

I have a unique perspective because I am a handicapped writer.

Chester says: Authors’ pharmacy records were surreptitiously gathered to determine the possible effects of prescription drugs on fertile minds.

Yes, drugs to affect the mind. The pain relief I feel is at the cost of  no longer being able to fantasize. I no longer dream.

Chester said: Their final report was brief but concise. “These people who call themselves authors are nuts. They have no clue where this stuff comes from, and neither do we.”

But I do have a clue.  Because I no longer conscious  create, I have learned to rely on my subconscious.

Today I was writing a new scene for my book Revenge. Thom is trying to find Donovan. It is a simple scene and suddenly out of nowhere I found myself writing about the Incident Room, which resembles the NASA control center, where the vampires monitor what is happening, looking for signs of newborn vampires. It is a brilliant idea but I had no idea of writing about it. It came from my subconscious and I rejoice in the gift.

For me writing is full of these unexpected surprises. It makes it difficult, but it also makes it exciting.

Yesterday and today I managed 6 hours on my story. Wow, I am actually making progress.

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Some Fun

June 12, 2009 at 1:54 am (Guests, Sites, or Books, Vampire Blogs and Webs)

I spent some time on Google looking at vampire sites for something interesting to share here today. I added to the links list under Handy Resources a bunch of links to sites with lots of information about vampires.

But interesting and different sites, there weren’t very many.

The first was a video, actually it is a 9 hour movie, INTERVIEW WITH AN EX-VAMPIRE. http://www.exvampire.com/ – A real live vampire. Maybe.

Then I cam across a serious article exploring vampires and vampirism, especially as it relates to energy. Again real live vampires. I found the article interesting. http://www.earthspirit.com/fireheart/fhvampire.html

Just for fun, check out the Vampire Name Generator http://www.emmadavies.net/vampire/

But DO NOT take the test to find out if you are a vampire or which Twilight Vampire you are at www.dumbspot.com They keep bleeding you for personal information and commitments to buy stuff.

Finally I found Cracked.com and their discussion of The Evolution of Vampires in Popular Culture. Funny and insightful, worth scanning.http://www.cracked.com/funny-69-vampires/

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“I don’t like vampires,” she said. Part 2

June 12, 2009 at 1:17 am (Guests, Guests, Sites, or Books) (, , , )

Patricia Stoltey

Patricia Stoltey

Linda Suzane

Linda Suzane

Patricia Stoltey made a comment that she didn’t like vampires or werewolves, and I said I’d be interesting in finding out why. So though neither one of us had done much chatting, we managed to connect. This turned out to be a long chat, so I broke it into two parts. Continued from June 5, 2009.


—– Our chat on Mon, 6/1/09 4:35 PM —–

Linda: So why don’t you like vampires?

Patricia Stoltey: This one is a lot more complicated. The earlier vampire movies weren’t all that scary to me. The old stars, by the time I saw them, were just silly. I think when I really started getting freaked out was when I read “Interview With a Vampire.” After reading that one, I couldn’t even try “The Vampire Lestat” for several years. After that, I quit until I decided to read Lynda’s book because I wanted to make her interview better. Vampires are a tangled mess of erotica and death and the sad thought of living
forever when everyone else dies around you, etc. etc.

Linda: I’m trying to remember “Interview,” I tried reading it, but never really got into it, finally finished it, but I didn’t think it was such a great book.

Patricia Stoltey: There’s something troubling to me about the popularity of vampire lovers…I sure wouldn’t want one of those guys showing up at my door, no matter how sexy looking he was.

Linda: I’ve done a lot of thinking about why I do like vampires. I think it is about having power, not living a long time. My short story was about a mother of 2 typical teenagers who also happened to be a vampire, an identity she kept secret. I wrote it when my daughter was a teenager. I felt weak and powerless in the face of a rebellious teenage daughter and the thought of have a cool secret identity and being powerful was a strong draw.

Patricia Stoltey: Ah, power. That’s interesting. I think, however, I’d choose to be a secret Wonder Woman (laughing). Don’t like the taste of blood all that much.

Linda: Vampires are for a lot of people about giving into our fantasies, yes, even erotica, being seduced, powerless, giving into pleasure, and yet the creature himself is the ultimate victim, he succumbs every dawn.

Patricia Stoltey: And wouldn’t vampire power be more like the power obtained by selling one’s soul to the devil? Which also makes a great story, but once done (according to literature) the deed can rarely be undone.

Linda: My vampires are typical, sell your soul to the devil. They are actually an infection, a blood disease, which 5% of the population can catch.

Patricia Stoltey: Sure hope I don’t get it.

Linda: Oh, you have to be bitten, actually exchange blood 3 times. But you probably wouldn’t know it, they have the ability to wipe your memory, or use the fact that you don’t believe in vampires to convince you that it didn’t happen.

Patricia Stoltey: But wouldn’t I then start craving blood and eyeing my friends’ necks?

Patricia Stoltey: I have a lot of trouble with putting vampires into YA lit.

Linda: For YA, they are the ultimate outsider, which is what most YA literature is about, dealing with feelings of being the outsider.

Patricia Stoltey: I can see the outsider thing. That makes sense.

Linda: Yep, that’s why YA vampire literature was popular even before Twilight. There are some really good books, like Amelia Atwater- Rhodes series Den of Shadows series or Annette Curtis Klause’s Blood & Chocolate just to mention a couple.

Patricia Stoltey: I didn’t know that. I thought the Twilight series brought the idea to the youngsters.

Linda: Nope, Vampires aren’t new to YA literature. Twilight is just the latest, and possible not even the best.

Patricia Stoltey: It’s doubtful I’ll ever become a fan of vampires, but, as far as werewolves go, I have to admit I’m a fan of Native American mysteries involving shape shifters. And werewolves are a form of shapeshifter.

Linda: I agree. I probably won’t write about werewolves, but I enjoy reading the new Urban Fantasies, such as Patricia Briggs’s about a coyote shapeshifter from Kennewick Washington, Carrie Vaughn’s series about a D.J. who happens to be a werewolf.

Patricia Stoltey: Great. I can’t believe nearly half an hour has gone by so fast.

Linda: I know you’ve got to go fix dinner. Thanks for sharing with me.

Patricia Stoltey: This was great fun. Yes, must go fix food for husband. SO he doesn’t turn into a werewolf or something. So Bye.

Patricia Stoltey is a mystery writer. Her latest THE DESERT HEDGE MURDERS will be available in August 2009 from Five Star. It is the second in the Sylvia and Willie mystery series. The first is THE PRAIRIE GRASS MURDERS. We are members of an online class, Blog Book Tours.

You can find Patricia at
http://www.patriciastoltey.com/index.html
http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com/


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Journal

June 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm (Writing Journal) (, )

I had to add to my skimpy Sunday post. I sat and read The Langauge of Bees by Laurie R. King until almost 11 pm, but I had still about an inch of paper to go through. Should I stay up and keep reading? The adult part of me tells me to go to bed, because Monday would be a busy day. Still the obsessive compulsive part of me wailed that I couldn’t stop until I was finished. So to shut that part up, I finally  skipped to the end of the book and read the last few pages. That satisfied me enough so that I could go to bed.

It was actually Tuesday before I got back to the book. After all I knew how it was going to end, so I didn’t need to hurry.

But this time when it turned bed time, I was only a few pages away, so I stayed up. But it was after midnight before I finished the book. The Language of Bees is the latest in a series about Sherlock Holmes, but this is a much older Sherlock Holmes. After retiring he met a young girl, Mary Russell, and in her found a kindred spirit, a brilliant detective, an assistant, a partner, and later his wife. I have loved every book in the series and The Language of Bees didn’t disappoint me. I didn’t want to finish the book, I wanted more. In fact the book pulled an “Empire Strikes Back” on me. While the story is finished we are left hanging with lots of unanswered question.  I was so frustrated I went to Luarie King’s website and was pleased to find out that the sequel The Greenman is due out in 2010. Still not very satisfactory, but since it was 4 years between The Language of Bees and it’s predecessor The Locked Room, it could have been worse.

So what does this have to do with vampires? Nothing, although Sherlock Holmes did have a story about the Suxxex Vampire, which I’ll have to look up and read again since my mind draws a blank.

But besides vampires, I love mysteryin all its variation.  But I love mystery and vampires even more. I’m trying to incorprate a bit of mystery into my Darkhour Vampires, as I incorporate a bit of vampires in my Fantasy detective story, Eyes of Truth.


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Varney the Vampyre – Part 3

June 10, 2009 at 1:20 am (Classical Vampire Literature, Vampires around the World) (, )

A search of the Internet often takes you to strange and interesting sites. In my research on Varney the Vampire I came across reference to the book in VICTORIAN SUICIDE: MAD CRIMES AND SAD HISTORIES by Barbara T. Gates. This book is reprinted as part of VictorianWeb.Org

The author devotes a chapter to Varney the Vampyre, pointing out that the Victorians found themselves fascinated by monsters such as Frankstein’s creature because it expressed a part of themselves that they repressed.

“Frankenstein’s monster gradually evolves an immoral interior to match his hideous frame and eventually builds his own blazing funeral pyre to consume his own desolate life. This kind of fantasy took hold in the Victorian era, when propriety and self-denial masked a powerful sense of alienation and estrangement … Displaced fears of suicide were relocated in the realm of fantasy where ghoulish other selves became perpetrators of suicide.”

During the Victorian era, the idea of suicide was repugnant, one did one’s duty, one lived lives of propriety. According Barbara Gates, Varney the Vampyre provided the middle class a look into the forbidden, especially the idea of suicide. Varney disgruntled with his immortal existence, seeks to end it by jumping from a ship, where there is little chance of his body being recovered, but it is. His body is placed in a boneyard, when moonlight falls upon it,  he is immediately revived. He later jumps into an active volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, thus ending the story. Barbara Gates points out the similarities to a literary poem of the time, “Empedocles on Etna” by Matthew Arnold (1822–88), where the hero also commits suicide by jumping into a volcano.

Like Empedocles, then, Varney became a surrogate Victorian, another self. Capable of endless resuscitation as Empedocles is of endless reincarnation, Varney fulfills the Victorian yearning for immortality. Guilty of selfishness and blood-letting, he deserves the Victorian punishment of death. Whatever the order of his being, however, Varney seems not to have had the right to take his own life.

Unlike Empedocles, Varney is a distorted, fantastical self, free from most human constraints. Through him working-class Victorians could experience the forbidden, just as Arnold’s more refined readers could through Empedocles. When Varney’s tedium vitae becomes unendurable, the vampire determines to destroy himself.

I suspect that the choice of a volcano had little to do with exploring the issue of suicide in a way that could be accepted by society, as much as a convenient way to end the series, for which interest had dwindled or which writers no longer wanted write. If you have an immortal character that can be killed but is revived by the touch of moonlight, there is very few ways in which to definitely kill off the main character. Conan Arthur Doyle discovered the same difficulties trying to kill off Sherlock Holmes at Reichenbach Falls.

I think the popularity of Varney the Vampire during the Victorian period is for the same reason that Angel or Buffy captured our attention. A good story with lots of action, although Varney wasn’t as good looking as Angel.

To read T. Gates discussion of Varney, http://www.victorianweb.org/victorian/books/suicide/06a.html.

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