Author Archives: Bek Harrington
As many of you already know, my writing career started writing for newspaper. Fresh out of high school I was offered a cadetship with the local paper and I jumped at the chance. However a chronic health condition (which I still suffer from) stopped me from pursuing journalism as a career.
The reason I mention this is writing for newspaper and writing fiction are two distinctly different styles.
Back when I was working on the newspaper my Editor was a complete Nazi (in a good way). He drilled into me the prinicples of reporting and to stick to the facts, quote verbatim, do not editorialise. It was my job to report the story accurately and objectively, not to add colour, embellish or spout my opinion. Writing fiction on the other hand, is all about painting a story; making it come alive in the readers mind.
A few days ago while surfing the net, I’d like to say I was researching but the truth is I was procrastinating, I came across a review of both Vampires Revealed and Desires Revealed by the same reviewer. Their single complaint about both books was they were too short.
This is not the first time I’ve seen a reader complain they wish one or both of my books were longer. But I can assure you, it has forced me to take a good hard look at myself and my writing. I think it’s fair to say that to a certain extent I am still struggling to move past the rules of writing for newspaper and to embrace the style of writing fiction.
While I am now acutely aware of my habit of being overly succint, I will not write more simply for the sake of reaching some arbitrary word count. I will always be aiming to write enjoyable stories and I will try to be mindful of adding more information where it is needed. But I will not write Words for Words Sake!
Originally it was planned that my next book would be titled “The Unseen Hand”. The story, plot and twists were all worked out, until…
Well once I started writing the characters took over. This is not unusual for me, all my characters become larger than life once I start writing them.
Anyway, Reseph was most insistent about what he thought to be the ‘important’ part of the story, so that is where the story has gone. I’m afraid to say the next book is now going to be quite different than I had originally planned. You’d think I’d learn from past experience and realise my characters will always take over.
So now that Reseph has jumped and down, yelled and screamed at me what he wants, I find have to rename my next book. It will now be called ‘Reseph Revealed’.
A pretty boring title if you ask me, but the decision was not mine; blame Reseph if you don’t like it. Anyone who wants to take issue with the choices of a 3000 year old Herashevn vampire is braver than me.
I will be posting to my Facebook page what was going to be the beginning of the Prologue to the original story. It’s very short, but I hope that you will enjoy it anyway.
For those of you who are patiently waiting for the release of the next book, you will be pleased to know that I have made significant progress; despite many, many distractions. Okay, I admit it, I’ve been wasting time playing games when I should have been writing. To be honest, I think I’ve been somewhat battling over whether or not to stick with my original plan for the story, or let it go the way Reseph wanted it. We all know who won that war. No matter, I’ve written about one third of the first draft and still plan on a release later this year.
If you are keen to know what is happening with the book you may want to ‘Like’ my Facebook page, as I occasionally posts lines from the book as I’m writing. It may, or may not as the case may be, give you some insight into where the story is heading or what is happening.
Chapter 8 has been taunting me for a little while, but I reckon I’ve got it sussed now so I better get back to the grindstone and pumping out those words.
Ever had one of ‘those’ days that turned into one of ‘those’ weeks, that turned into one of ‘those’ months etc. I think you can figure out where I’m going with this. Well, that is what life has been like in my part of the world, for what feels like forever.
So lets get the bad news out of the way. I am no closer to finishing my next book than I was the last time I posted. To my infinitely patients readers all I can say is, “I’m sorry” and beg you to be patient a while longer. In Utopia, where I do my best writing, I don’t have to run a business, deal with health issues or anything other than my characters. Unfortunately in the real world, where I actually live, circumstances conspire against you to ensure you never have enough time to devote to all the things that need your attention.
Now for the good news. I’m not dead! I remain upright, conscious and breathing; which means there’s a good chance I will get this next book written…eventually But seriously, I have just had four weeks of ‘holidays’ working like a Trojan so that I may have some time to focus on writing.
While life continues speeding forward, seemingly leaving me behind at times, it is always good to pause and take stock. I was reminded of this when I came across an email from one of my readers.
I’m not a bestselling author, in fact barely anyone on the planet even knows who I am as a writer; so getting ‘fan’ mail is a big deal. When I read this particular email, explaining how much they loved my writing and they way in which I made vampires seem real amongst other things, I had to stop for a moment and say “Wow!”.
My characters are very real and dear to me and when I’m writing, I hope only to do them justice as I put pen to paper. The notion that someone who does not know me, will pay money to buy my book, take the time to read it and then take the time to contact me is totally incredible. Seriously, I have to pinch myself to realise I’m not dreaming. And so it is I have acquired newfound determination to deliver only my very best to those of you I am honoured to call my readers.
I can’t promise that my blog will become anymore regular in the near future, nor that life won’t continue to be crazy and throw obstacles in my way, but…. What I do promise is that I will not take for granted the financial, emotional and time investment you my readers make in my writing, and that I will work harder than ever to give you the best I can.
As a lot of you would know I own and manage a boutique entertainment agency. The last twelve months have seen incredible growth for the business. Which is great, but… Being so busy leaves me very little time (or energy) to devote to my writing. So at the moment I’m sitting with a draft chapter one and have been for about five months.
Alright then, my writing schedule has hit a bit of a snag, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my readers. You and my characters both have cause for complaint, but I hope you will forgive me.
The good news is that shortly I am taking an entire month’s break from work. This time I plan to put to good use and spend some quality time with Reseph who the next book focuses on.
Alas those of you desperate to know what happens to Oskar and whether or not Bektamun and Nicole give him what he deserves, you will have to wait a little longer. Remember there are 12 Herashevn and each have lived a multitude of lifetimes to explore on the page.
Destiny’s Daughter by Anthony Sunderland
She is pitched straight into her first assignment. An alien craft has been shot down, and an alien, a ‘Greae’ captured by the military. The creature communicates telepathically with Dawn to warn her that a young boy is trapped in the blazing wreckage of the craft.After rescuing the child Dawn wanders off alone in search of the co-pilot. She finds it in a cave, injured and afraid. She sits down, hugs the creature gently, whispers, “I won’t let anyone hurt you.” Then snaps its neck.What is the dark secret Dawn is hiding from the FBI, what was the boy was doing onboard the alien ship, and what is the shocking truth about why Dawn murdered the alien? Can she keep her true nature a secret?The Destiny’s Daughter alien mystery series will follow Dawn’s adventures at the heart of the FBI’s elite alien hunters. They will investigate sightings and encounters with strange creatures, unexplained events, and experience terrifying adventures and confrontations.
Available for Purchase
’59 Valiant – Part Two by Anthony Sunderland
All contact with the two ships on the Icarus mission to Proxima Centauri has been lost. Twenty year old Janine Lewis hates her brother Sean for the accident that left her beloved ‘Uncle’ David Stirling, commandant of the space academy, in a wheelchair. She also despises him as a coward. When Sean refuses to re-enlist as an astronaut to search for their missing father, Janine vows to Join the academy, against her mother, Cindy’s, wishes.
418 days after the mission launch the Valiant returned to our solar system, badly damaged. The sole survivor died in the arms of the rescue crew before she could tell them what happened.
Janine’s search for her father looks doomed before it has even started. She faces envy from other cadets, as well as hostility and jealousy from lecturers and officers envious of her father’s reputation and fame.
A vicious fight with another cadet, and the continuing hostility between them threatens to have both women thrown out of the academy in disgrace.
Prospects for finding the missing ship deteriorate drastically after the search mission’s lead ship explodes on reaching light speed.
With Janine facing setbacks and abuse from all sides, Cindy vows to keep a terrible secret from her daughter.
Available for Purchase
Ishtar Rising (Book 4 of Sinnis) by Natalie Gibson
Tara Kay, or Special K as she likes to be called, has come back to her family home after the violent theft of her magical ability and surrender of her position with her order, the Daughters of Women. Her return is not so celebrated as she expected and she finds that without her skills, her home town is not only unwelcoming but downright dangerous. Her fear awakens her Guardian from his 5000 year slumber but his is not the only new face in town and they must defeat an unfamiliar enemy who possesses a powerful weapon. To to this Kay and her Guardian must wake old allies, create new ones and trust in the growing but fresh bond between them. Will Special K rediscover her magic in time? Can the family land she loves protect her? Does the goddess rise to save her chosen?
The Indiana Jones Moment and Dracula by James Lyon
Greetings from Sarajevo in the heart of the Balkans.
Whether you like them or not, you just can’t seem to avoid vampires these days. There are comic vampires (Johnny Depp, George Hamilton, Leslie Nielsen), classic vampires (Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee), sparkly vampires (You-Know-Who), and Gothic romance vampires (Anne Rice, True Blood, romance novels). We lack only tap-dancing vampires with top hats, tuxedos and canes. I wanted to put tap-dancing vampires in my new novel, “Kiss of the Butterfly”, but they refused to attend dance lessons. J
Here in the Balkans, vampires have an entirely different context than they do in the outside world. The reason is simple: this is where the creatures known as vampires originated. The word “vampire” entered western languages in the 1720s from what is today Serbia, from the Serbo-Croatian word “vampir”. Today, throughout the lands of the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia), one finds that vampire lore is still present, and that in the villages in particular, many people still fear or believe in vampires.
I am an historian, and I had an “Indiana Jones Moment” many years back. That is the point in the movie where Harrison Ford is thumbing through some dusty old book and he comes across an interesting tidbit of information that sends him scurrying off on an epic quest. Well, my “Indiana Jones Moment” occurred in an archive decades ago, where I found a dusty old book with a reference to Dracula’s last military crusade in 1476, when he carried out a horrific massacre in the Bosnian mining town of Srebrenica. Then in 1995, Europe’s worst massacre since World Ware II took place in Srebrenica, with the murder of 8,000 men and boys. I began to wonder if there was a metaphysical connection to Dracula.
My “Indiana Jones Moment” prompted me to do two things: 1) start studying local Balkan folklore about vampires; and 2) buy an Indiana Jones hat. My wife drew the line when I asked if I could buy a bullwhip. But now that she’s read “50 Shades of Grey”, perhaps she’ll reconsider. But I digress.
Balkan folklore and history hold numerous mentions of vampires. Did you know there was a famous law passed in 1349 by the Serbian Emperor Tsar Dushan that forbade digging up graves and impaling the body? The penalty was the blood price in gold for killing a live person, and any priest who participated would be defrocked for 7 years. In the 1660s there was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer wannabee running around the Dalmatian coast in armor with a stake. In the 1730s, twelve people were put on trial for vampire related charges in the Adriatic coastal city of Dubrovnik – shades of the Salem Witch Trials!! Also in the 1730s, an Austrian army surgeon conducted autopsies of suspected vampires in Serbia. Even today, you will find reports of suspected vampires in Balkan media.
I tried to base the vampires in “Kiss of the Butterfly” entirely on characteristics
found in Balkan folklore and history. This means that they may be different from any of the vampires you have encountered up until now.
So to give you an idea of how they differ, I have put together a short 12 question quiz.
1) What shape and color are a vampire’s eyes?
2) What are a vampire’s teeth made of?
3) Where does a vampire’s power reside?
4) Which side of the body do vampires feed from?
5) How does someone become a vampire?
6) How do you kill a vampire?
7) What time of year are vampires most active?
8) Where do vampires like to hang out? (not the blood bank)
9) Where can you always find vampires on Good Friday?
10) What are the most common professions for vampires? (telemarketers do not count)
11) Can vampires have sex?
12) What is the relationship between a vampire and a butterfly?
The answers to all of these questions (and more) are in “Kiss of the Butterfly”. Although it would be unfair to give away all the answers (spoiler alert), let me note that vampires must always return to sleep in their graves on Good Friday. Therefore, if you must visit the grave of a loved one at Easter, make sure you take a sharpened Hawthorne wood stake (other types won’t work), a hacksaw, as well as matches and copious quantities of lighter fluid. And avoid any butterflies you see hovering around the graves. Just in case.
Now, where I can find a bull whip for sale?
About the Author
James Lyon is an accidental Balkanologist, having spent the better part of 32 years studying and working with the lands of the former Yugoslavia. He has a Ph.D. in Modern Balkan History from UCLA and a B.A. in Russian from BYU. He has lived in Germany, Russia, England, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, and California, and spent the better part of 18 years living in the lands of the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia, and has worked in Macedonia and Kosovo.
He has traveled widely, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East, and all over Europe. He currently works in Sarajevo and bounces back and forth to Belgrade. In his spare time he likes sailing through the Dalmatian islands and eating Sachertorte in Vienna at the old Habsburg Imperial Court’s Confectionary Bakery, Demel. He lost his cat in the forests of Bosnia and can’t find it. If you see a black and white cat that ignores you when you call the name “Cile II”, a reward is being offered…provided the cat hasn’t turned into a vampire.
Kiss of the Butterfly is available for purchase at Amazon
’59 – Part One by Anthony Sunderland
January 24th 2059: The exploration ships Intrepid and Valiant set sail on the first mission to Proxima Centauri. Finally the stars were within our reach. We would step out onto unexplored worlds, in our quest to reach out into the galaxy in search of exciting discoveries and new life.
Mission Commander Donald Lewis promised his daughter Janine that he would return from the nineteen month mission in plenty of time for her twenty first birthday.He never came home.Janine vowed to discover her father’s fate, no matter what it might cost her. This is a quest that will test young Janine’s courage and resolve to their very limits. A journey fraught with massive obstacles and terrible dangers at every turn.
Available for Purchase
Y1 by Sherrie Cronin
Zane is a twenty-four year old who just wants to be himself. He doesn’t believe in magic, and he’s gotten a whole degree in neuroscience just to try to figure out how he can alter his body the way that he does. Unfortunately, that degree has landed him in the sales department of Penthes Pharmaceuticals, and the more he learns about the company’s secrets the more uncomfortable he becomes.Good thing he has always excelled at blending in. Then upper management discovers him and his life gets far more complicated.A sales boondoggle in the South Pacific lets him learn that he isn’t alone, and that others have problems far worse than his. As his new friends flee those who would control their lives, Zane would like to help, and their freedom-loving philosophy of y1 calls to him.But first he has to deal with a murder charge, an unsavory boot camp manager, and serious repercussions from the fact that not everyone at Penthes likes him, or wants him to knows the mysteries that the company has worked so hard to keep hidden. In fact, it may take all the talents he has just to keep himself from going from a murder suspect to a murder victim.
Available for Purchase
About the Author
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first and only science fiction short story in the November 1979 issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to please calm down. He explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well paying. The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently, she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. “It’s about time,” were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie’s head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She has been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
Connect with Sherrie at the Y1 Blog
See XO also by Sherrie Cronin