Category Archives: Guests
Interviews, commentary and news from guest bloggers.
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
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
Skolthan – Witches, magic & mystery by Damaris West
Skolthan is a book about an island. In a sense it’s an island within an island within an island because an isolated community goes all out to defend a physical island (based on real life), while within and beyond that physical island is a place so wonderfully beautiful, tranquil and perfect that evil forces wish to get hold of it and corrupt it so that they’ll have destroyed the goodness at the heart of the universe itself.
I was inspired to write the book by the original island on which it’s based, which is Scolt Head Island off the coast of North Norfolk. It’s uninhabited, apart from a Warden looking after the birds, and you reach it either on foot at low tide, or by boat. It has golden sands and white-winged terns like I describe.
My protagonist Hilda is a reclusive alter ego who lives in a tumbledown house on the site of a bungalow where we spent family holidays until I was about 6, on the seaward side of Holme-by-the-sea. I remember so clearly the shimmering heat on the marsh, and finding everything interesting, mysterious and timeless.
The evil characters in the book reflect the fact that eccentric people are readily absorbed into a Norfolk village. My characters have the hypocrisy as well as the wickedness to want to take over the whole world for their own purposes which are essentially negative, much like Lucifer’s. There could be no more sinister job for a snatcher and sacrificer of babies than a midwife.
In the climax of the book, I wanted to show that in their effort to preserve good, the good people almost tip themselves over into evil. It’s not a happy ending exactly, but I think it’s an appropriate one.
I would hope that people would read my book both for its strong atmosphere and the power and mystery of its storyline. After all, the ‘good’ people are made up of a bunch of semi-impoverished coastal-dwellers, holders of a secret which they can impart to no-one else, not even their spouses. The equivalent of their combating the witches and warlocks might be the waving of a rather thin stick at the advance of a tank.
I wrote the book while I was working alongside my husband as Director of a Tuition Agency. I was determined to allow myself time to write, so I set aside Fridays for that purpose. They were not always respected, but I did try. We actually called those days ‘wobbly cat’ days because I did my writing on a laptop which required many attempts and much patience to get started; the customised start screen which I was trying to reach was a cat that sort of shivered.
Written just on Fridays, and including some drastic cutting and revision, the book took me 2 to 3 years. The most difficult part was definitely picking up the threads when I’d had a week to totally forget where I was.
The title ‘Skolthan’ obviously derives from ‘Scolt’. I wanted it to have an Anglo-Saxon or Viking ring about it because it’s on the East coast. The cover design is a composite of some of the elements of magic and mystery found in its pages.
I did a lot of research for the book, mainly for individual scenes so that I knew how to make elderflower wine, and how much would be left of a human body after it has been burnt. My evil forces are fairly original so I didn’t have to check them against anything, but I did do research about talismans, leylines, dream sightings and the like so these would line up with people’s experience of reading about them.
The main thing I learnt from the actual writing of the book is that it’s important for me to write where possible ‘in a rush’, so I don’t waste time picking up the threads of my thought. I also found out how much I enjoy writing about evil characters.
I would say to my readers: bear with the scene-setting at the beginning as it’s definitely going somewhere!
Review: “So if you love Witches, magic and all the rituals that go with it then this book is for you.”
About the Author
Damaris West (born Damaris Naylor) was brought up in Cambridge, but it is her family’s property near the sea in Norfolk, where they went for every holiday and all the weekends they could manage, which has inspired much of her writing. It was a row of four farm labourers’ cottages with three-quarters of an acre of land, and to her it was the Garden of Eden.
Following gaining a degree in Modern Languages at Oxford, she went on to train as a librarian and then as a Montessori nursery teacher.
After meeting her husband, Clive, she used her skills and knowledge to home-tutor pupils with ages ranging from three to eighty. When it became clear that demand for tuition exceeded what they were jointly able to offer, they set up a tuition agency which over the course of its operation achieved national coverage.
Damaris’ work so far consists of a large body of poems, short stories (some of which would be enjoyed by children), a collection of anecdotes about her life in Italy, and two novels – Queen Anne’s Lace and Skolthan.
Clive and Damaris now live in a rebuilt farmhouse in the Umbria region of Italy with their three dogs, all originally rescue puppies. As the main Italian-speaker of the family, much of Damaris’ time is spent on domestic and administrative duties to do with the house and its occupants, but she escapes whenever she can to work in the garden and orchard, and writes a daily blog about her life and the natural history around her.
Damaris writes for Any Subject Books (www.anysubject.com).
Connect with Damaris
From the primitive cottage where she lives a hermit-like existence, Hilda can reach a tidal island which gives her access to a beautiful world, a fragment of the one-time Garden of Eden.
She is almost unique in possessing the gift to pass through to this other world, but her gift puts her in danger from sinister forces that wish to use the island’s power to secure their own domination.
In a bid to rescue a mother and her unborn child, the intended victims of a horrific ritual with cosmic implications, Hilda and her friends must outwit a charismatic warlock (Hilda’s former husband) and the arch-witch Alice, embodiment of evil, who masquerades as a midwife.
Their mission culminates in an act which threatens to tip them over the edge into the same evil world which they are so anxious to destroy. Nonetheless, good prevails, but at a terrible price …
Available for Purchase
Why I Write by Anthony Sunderland
It is amazing when and where life changing moments can occur. There is no accounting for random acts that can drastically alter your life’s course or give you a purpose you could never have dreamed of previously.
My defining moment came about when I was watching the idiot box. I had always loved Buffy TVS, but the season one finale just totally blew me away. Sarah Michelle Gellar went through just about every emotion under the sun in a forty two minute tour de force.
I had seen other brilliant performances before and was a fan of several actors and liked to se everything that they were in, but until that moment I could never understand why so many people go nuts about any performer – whether actor, sportsperson, or musician.
I certainly couldn’t understand why people want to collect everything that celebrities appear on or put their names to. That’s not a confession that I went mad buying everything Buffy all of a sudden. I did want one of the lifesize cut outs but quite honestly was too tight to buy it. One large poster does have pride of place in my house. But that’s the lot, I swear!
I can’t remember exactly when that life changing decision occurred. Right then, the next day, or the next week, but something inside me clicked. I decided, or a passion awakened, that I wanted to write a screenplay as fantastic as the one I had witnessed. I wanted to write something so great that it would test Sarah Michelle’s incredible talent to its limit. Something so good that as soon as she read the script she would be begging to play the part.
If you had told me then how difficult it is to write a great screenplay, never mind how tough it is to sell it, then I would have probably ditched the foolish idea right there and then. Fortunately, or not, nobody did. It has been incredibly difficult to learn about the techniques of writing, and the technical aspects, formatting, presentation etc, and great fun. It has also been a time consuming and expensive education, but a choice I’ve never regretted.
I have written four full length big budget screenplays on spec. here’s another harsh lesson: nobody told me beforehand how expensive they are to produce.
So my next step was to look at producing a graphic novel as a web series. This was just before Hollywood started snapping up everything graphic novel and before the House of Mouse paid $billions for Marvel. See, I can think ahead of my time.
Unfortunately life got in the way. No excuses here. To some degree I let it. Looking back I wasn’t either focused enough or daring enough. Not willing to commit fully for fear of falling on my face.
I eventually found two enthusiastic art students at Calderdale College, Anna and Kelsey, who have produced some great design concepts. I found a very talented artist who could produce the exact look and feel that I wanted. His price of 20K for the project was reasonable, but he wanted half up front. A deal breaker.
After that I was promised the Earth by a group of designers who simple spent the next six months trashing and redoing the great concept artwork that I already had. Arghh!!
Up until this point I had ignored the Kindle although I had heard of some of the success stories. I still wanted to write for the screen, to describe images and have other people make them come alive.
Part of me remembered a piece of advice from a screen writing workshop regarding the difference between writing a screenplay and a novel. For the script you just need to write “A typical Bangkok whorehouse,” and then it is someone else’s job to create that exact set. For a novel you have to describe it, in as few words as possible, in such detail that your mother would grasp the feel and smell of the place without ever having stepped inside one.
No, I really didn’t fancy the idea of putting that much effort into writing a story.
So why have I ended up with four novella length stories published on the Kindle? Numbers 5 & 6 are on their way shortly. Because it is my passion to tell these stories. I won’t quit unless or until I have exhausted every possible avenue of producing and marketing them.
I may not be the fastest or most brilliant person at doing things, but I keep on going when all the easy pickings, and instant riches seekers have given up and moved on to pursue the next shiny object. I really hate giving up. I am still standing, battling to achieve my dream.
P.S. None of the characters in the two sci fi series I’ve published so far are inspired by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
About the Author
Anthony is an electrician living and working in Yorkshire in the UK. He was inspired to start writing after watching the seaon one finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
He likes watching and playing most sports from pool and snooker to football and badminton. He’ll try most extrme sports, including parachuting, bungee jumping, fire-eating, and is a qualified glider pilot. Diving with sharks and bungee jumping off a bridge or cable car are on the to do list.
Anthony has written four full length screenplays on spec and is publishing the Sci Fi epic ’59 and the Destiny’s Daughter alien mysterys series on the Kindle. His goal is to see his work on the big screen.
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Max & The Gatekeeper by James Todd Cochrane
For me, writing is an adventure. I am one of those authors who knows pieces of a story but not how the whole thing fits together. It must be the way my muse likes to toy with me. Give me a little information so that I have to start writing to see what happens. So, when I write the rough draft, it’s as if I’m reading the story for the first time.
As a young adult author, I have had a chance to visit with over seventy schools in eight states. Meeting with people who like your books has to be the second best thing about being an author. The students are who have motivated me to keep writing. I’ve actually had a couple of classes help me develop characters that have been incorporated into my stories.
Currently, I am working on The Dark Society (Max and the Gatekeeper Book IV). I am hoping to have it ready for spring or early summer of 2013. This has been the hardest of the four books to write as I am tying in current events happening around the world into the story. This added with the fact that I have a lot more subplots in this story are making it a complex book to write.
I have ideas for five books in the Max and the Gatekeeper series. I have several other stories which are unrelated to Max and the Gatekeeper rattling around in my brain. I hope to start on one of those in the next couple of months. One is a science fiction that wasn’t intended to be a young adult novel, but I have thought of a way to make it for young adults.
I currently live in Madison, Wisconsin and am taking sailing lessons. I am know wondering if I can think of a pirate adventure or maybe some kind of horror at sea. Water can be dark and mysterious but also life giving and full of promise. There are lots of stories waiting to be written.
James Todd Cochrane was born in Fremont, California. He received his BA from Utah State University, where he majored in Business Information Systems with a minor in German.
A writer since elementary school, he published his first novel, Max and the Gatekeeper, in 2007. The sequels, The Hourglass of Souls and The Descendant and the Demon’s Fork, followed
He now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he writes part-time while working as a computer programmer.
His first novel, Max and the Gatekeeper, is on the Accelerated Readers List and was a 2010-2011 Alaska Battle Book.
Connect with James:
Max & The Gatekeeper
A war has been waging for centuries; a magical and technological battle between good and evil. This conflict will affect life everywhere, but not everyone is aware it exists. When twelve-year old Max Rigdon is sent to stay with his grandfather for the summer, he unwillingly enters the fight.
The day Max steps off the bus he is marked with an evil curse and immediately becomes the target of evil men and creatures with designs on ruling the universe. Not only does this curse cause Max physical pain but it allows his enemies to track and find him. He soon learns that the reason for this unwanted attention is because his grandfather is the keeper of a gateway; a powerful machine that makes travel to hundreds of strange unknown worlds possible. The enemy will do anything to gain possession of this power in their quest to control all worlds.
With the help of his friend Cindy and others, Max must quickly learn the necessary skills to survive if he is to avoid the deadly trap that has been planned for him and his grandfather. A trap that has been decades in the making with Max as the missing piece. If successful it will change life as we know it.
The Undead Meet High-Tech in S.W. Tanpepper’s GAMELAND
Without a doubt, the cold undead are hot commodities right now. Zombie Walks are scheduled from coast to coast, often in conjunction with apocalyptic conventions. The Walking Dead series is hugely popular on television and zombie literature is enjoying a wave of immense popularity. A quick look at GoodReads and you’ll find a half dozen very active zombie groups, not to mention a couple dozen more where zombies and their fans have infiltrated.
What’s all the fuss about?
How many different ways could there be to tell a story where the main characters try to avoid being eaten by their once-living brethren? Apparently, quite a lot. The reason is because zombies aren’t simply antagonists. They aren’t Lex Luthers or Voldemorts or Magnetos. Most zombies do not have special powers or strengths or speed. They’re actually kinda dumb and slow. And stinky. They don’t glisten in the sunlight, so they don’t make for good romance stories. Usually.
Zombies are inherently metaphoric.
Even without special powers, the Undead still somehow find a way to represent any of the seven classic plot antagonists. They are symbols of man’s struggles against himself and nature; against science and the supernatural; against religion, man, and environment. Perhaps it is because of their lack of defining attributes that make them such a powerful and adaptable antagonist.
GAMELAND is about societal, economic, technological and governmental developments.
Science is not inherently evil. I know this because before writing fiction, I was a geneticist. I helped develop new viruses and new medicines to better the human condition. But the power scientists can wield is immense and could be easily abused. When I wrote the short horror story Gologtha (which ended up becoming the prequel to the world of GAMELAND), I set out to tell a simple tale of scientific research gone horribly awry, both intentionally and accidentally. Science, hand in hand with the military, created the Undead. Science, with the best intentions of Mankind in mind, only made the situation worse. Thankfully, we live in a world where these things are highly unlikely to come to pass.
Out of Golgotha came GAMELAND. It’s fifteen years later and Jessie, the daughter of the man who helped create zombies, finds herself in the dubious company of other young computer gamers and hackers. They reside on the fringes of society by virtue of their economic status (and, in Jessie’s case, the destruction of her family and its reputation), fringes that are, ironically, comprised of the majority of the country’s population. Can we say 99%? Oh, and the country itself has become fractured, broken apart because of disagreements between States on how to utilize the Undead to make life easier for the living.
Long Island has been long abandoned to the Undead after an outbreak there forced a rapid evacuation thirteen years earlier. The disease is tenuously managed and the Infected controlled by mandatory neural implants, which everyone receives while still alive. Life expectancy is regulated and capped, and taxes are minimized because zombies have been pressed into civil and military service.
Along comes Arc Properties, a megalithic corporation with their hands in everything from biotech to high tech and the government. They’ve built a gaming arcade on Long Island called Gameland, and the rich and privileged get to “buy” zombie Players to act out their primal violent fantasies, which the underprivileged get to witness second-hand. Entertainment is big money, and nothing raises ratings better than violence. Jessie and her gang decide to break in, and Arc doesn’t want them to leave.
What ensues is a dark drama that will eventually be played out on a world stage, but for the kids, surviving is all that matters. In the course of trying to escape, they struggle against each other, against their inner demons, against ideologies and societal complacencies. They battle the natural environment. And, of course, they battle the Undead. Yes, there is gore, but it’s not featured as it is in most zombie survival stories. Gore is not what this story is about. It’s about characters living in a world where values have all gone to whack and hope becomes the only currency left to spend.
Given the epic scale of the story and the necessity for “room” to develop the many themes and characters occupying it, I chose to serialize the book. This current story arc (season?) begins with the group deciding to break into Long Island and will end with their final escape. Not all of them will survive, however; and not all of their motivations will be revealed. Along the way, they’ll learn a lot about themselves and the world, and, hopefully, so will GAMELAND’s readers. One new episode will be published on the first of each month from May thru December 2012.
Six young tech-savvy gamers and hackers break into Long Island’s Gameland, a militarized wasteland abandoned for years to the Infected Undead. The island is in the process of being reclaimed by a government-backed company hoping to profit by creating a reality survival gaming arena using neurologically-controlled zombies. But while breaking into The Game turns out to be a lot easier than they could ever have imagined, breaking out is one hell of a killer.
[NB: a free sneak peek at the entire series is located here: http://www.tanpepperwrites.com/gameland-sneak-peek.html]
Deep Into The Game (Episode 1; ~50K words)
Jessie and her gang of game jackers discover a way to break into Gameland, but it requires the assistance of an outsider whose inclusion raises tensions within the group, particularly between Jessie and her boyfriend, Kelly. After a nearly-fatal accident during preparation, emotions run dangerously high, but they stubbornly push on. What they don’t know is that one of them has a secret reason for going, and it doesn’t involve any of them returning any time soon.
Failsafe (Episode 2; ~50K words)
Jessie and Kelly clash after one of their group gets stranded among the Infected Undead, forcing Kelly to make a rash decision which will ultimately deliver them into the hands of those who would turn them all into mindless players in The Game.
Deadman’s Switch (Episode 3; ~52K words)
Unable to escape from Long Island because of the failsafe device implanted inside their brains, the group digs in until they can devise a way to neutralize it. Jessie is anointed as their leader despite Jake’s claims that she is unfit. A final desperate attempt is made to leave, setting into motion a sequence of events that will result in one of them dead, another infected, and all of them running for their lives.
Sunder the Hollow Ones (Episode 4; release 1 August 2012)
Four members of the group attempt to break into the Arc mainframe in Gameland following a mutiny that leaves them all physically and emotionally torn apart. Jessie becomes haunted by memories of her father’s death, and it’s only by the grace of a new friend and her own inner strength that she is able to lay some of her fears to rest.
Saul spent his formative years in a leaky hundred-year-old house overlooking the Erie Canal in Upstate New York. His bedroom was a refurbished attic, which he shared with all manner of creatures, not all, he is convinced, entirely flesh and blood.
After bouncing around the US and Europe for several years, he settled down to pursue a career in the sciences, opting to study the mysteries of human molecular genetics. But despite success in research, as a teacher, manager and biotech entrepreneur, he eventually returned to his true passion of writing speculative fiction.
He now writes full time from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. He continues to be haunted by a variety of creatures, including a wife, kids, four dogs, three cats, six chickens, a wayward rooster, and one very grumpy possum. They are all flesh and blood.
Except, maybe, for the possum, which he’s convinced is the reincarnated spirit of Jack Torrance.
The Real Ghosts of Savannah, Georgia
I know, I know, the title of this guest post sounds like the name of a reality show. When it comes to paranormal activity in Savannah, Georgia though, reality is often stranger than fiction. In fact, a reality show about the ghosts of Savannah has real potential…perhaps it’s time for me to trade in my career as an author and head to Hollywood. Read the rest of this entry
Kickstarter by L Blankenship
People who know me would be surprised if they knew I’m writing a six-part gritty fantasy romance. I’m publishing the first part this year — Disciple, Part I: For Want of a Piglet.
They wouldn’t be surprised by the “fantasy” part — I love fantasy, and always have. And not surprised by the “gritty” part because I’m the sort who’s just as fascinated by the ugly, grimy side of life as the smooth, beautiful side. They wouldn’t even be surprised that it’s six parts, because I love big, meaty stories just as much as the next fantasy fan. Read the rest of this entry
Not Ready To Stick A Stake In My Vampires
Since most of my previously published writing has fallen into in what can best (at the risk of sounding a bit pretentious) be categorised as ‘literary’ – or at least ‘contemporary’ – fiction, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to anyone else when I started down the path of urban fantasy. It was a decision that a lot of people derided: I’ve had more than one embarrassing conversation with friends and colleagues asking about my new book and adding scathingly: ‘it’s not some crap about vampires, is it?’ To which I can only answer a mumbled, ‘erm, yes’ and feel my credibility evaporate. Read the rest of this entry
3 Challenges to Writing Vampire Fiction
Anyone who has written a vampire story can tell you there are unique challenges to writing vampire characters. The things that make them interesting also sometimes make them difficult to write. Here are a few of the challenges writers face:
1. Vampires often have unusual sleeping habits. Some vampires sleep in coffins, while others don’t sleep at all. When you have a character that doesn’t sleep, you don’t have natural scene breaks built into your story. You have to figure out how to add them into the story.
2. Vampires have to feed. If you’re writing a story about a vampire, you need to figure out how they are feeding and how often they need to do it. A vampire might need to kill someone every day or be able to steal blood on occasion. As a writer, you have to figure out how to work it into your story and keep it consistent.
3. Writers need to decide how their vampires look. Some look totally human, while others are barely recognizable. Some have retractable fangs or things that let them blend into the population.
If you’re writing a vampire story, you have to decide how your vampires appear to the readers. Figuring out what’s best for the story isn’t always easy.
Despite all the challenges, people still love reading and writing about vampires. Their versatility and ability to change with the times is the one thing that really keeps them immortal.
Alyson Burdette is the author of Nightfire, a paranormal romance about a vampire named Olivia. currently lives in the small town of Wadsworth, Ohio. She graduated from The University of Akron, where she majored in Anthropology. When she’s not writing, she spends her time on reading, photography, hiking, and dancing.
You can learn more about her at AlysonBurdette.blogspot.com