[Vampire Month] A stake in the heart

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Waiting for Dawn

Well, that is Vampire Month over with for another year. I’d like to extend my thanks to all the talented writers who have contributed to the fun this month and made this the very special event that it always is.

I’d also like to thank Ste and Izzy of Quattrofoto for supplying some of the photos we have showcased this year including the lovely one above of me as a Buffy style Watcher. They do weddings and other special occasions too and promise to only add lightening bolt special effects and demon horns to your wedding memories if you ask them to.

We’ve learned a lot this year. How to date a vampire, why they are so appealing, a little of the history of Vampire literature and why Alex Campbell rarely gets any sleep (because of all the famous vampires knocking on her window). I was going to contribute a post of my own to add to this collection but frankly I’m in awe and would feel out of place amongst such great articles. Also, the evil time goblins stole all my free hours. Oh and I did my Pratchett obituary and revealed how this blog helped stop the vampire apocalypse, so that was sort of my slot anyway.

Vampire month will be back next year. Same Vamp month, same Vamp url. If you want to get involved, feel free to contact me. We accept contributions from any writers, artists or academics with an interest in the topic of vampires. The format rarely changes – an interview and a guest post, spread over the course of a week. Four victims a year, repeat offenders welcome. First four to contact me get the four slots.

Also get in touch if you want to make suggestions about how to make Vampire month even more awesome than it already is. Suggestions for article topics feedback on posts… anything you want to talk about. You can email me on: dalascelles-writing@yahoo.co.uk, leave a comment below or find me on Facebook or twitter

I’m still waiting for Ann Rice, Rachel Caine or Bram Stoker to get in touch… Though Stoker is proving very difficult to contact for some reason. He doesn’t even seem to have a Twitter account…

[Vampire Month] The Vampires of my life by A.J Campbell

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For her guest post, Alex gives us this quirky little play… Spot the not so subtle political metaphor for bonus points…

Scene: A bedroom, at night. Long white curtains billow at a casement window. Three redhaircandles, in a tall wrought-iron stand gutter threateningly in the draft. Our protagonist lies, in a gauzy nightgown, on the high four-poster bed. Suddenly, she awakens to a rapping at the window.  

Protagonist: Who’s there? What is it? [Through the window enters a small, scruffy boy, ghostly pale with small fangs poking over his bottom lip.]

Boy: Muahahaha! I am here to suck your blood!

Protagonist: What? Who the… Oh, it’s you.

Boy: [Strikes a pose] Yes! ‘Tis I. The nightmare of your childhood! The creature who gave you sleepless moonlit hours and began your life-long fascination with the denizens of the night!

Protagonist: You’re The Littlest Vampire, aren’t you? When did you learn a word like “denizens”?

LV: Ah… you remember me!

Protagonist: Yes, I remember you. I remember hiding your book as far away from me as possible in my room so you wouldn’t crawl out of the pages and nibble on me in my sleep. I was still in junior school at the time though.

LV: [Looks pleased with himself] And since then? Do I still terrify you?

Protagonist: Are you kidding me? I used to think that sleeping with a scarf on would stop you being able to get to my neck. You were a good first introduction to the genre, but the only thing making you scary was the fact that I was a bit too young when someone gave me your book to read.

LV: [Subsides, crestfallen] Oh.

Protagonist: Go on. Go home before it gets light.

[The Littlest Vampire exits, and our protagonist settles back down to sleep, but is soon awakened once more by a knocking at the window.]

Protagonist: Littlest Vampire? I thought I told you to go home.

Sultry Voice from Outside: “Littlest” Vampire?

[At the window, David Boreanaz appears, doing his best to smoulder.]

Protagonist: Oh my… What are you doing out there?

DB: I can’t come in unless you invite me.

Protagonist: Oh yes… I remember that little bit. That’s about the first thing that stopped me being quite so terrified of Vamps. The idea that they couldn’t get at me unless I let them in. Problematic idea, really, tallying with notions of victim-blaming and bad things only happening to bad people. But it’s very much a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, only able to be countered with a lot more knowledge. Like the time we did the Black Death in school, and I had nightmares for weeks until Mum told me about Penicillin.

DB: So…

Protagonist: Oh no, you’re not getting an invite. You can stay right there, mister. I remember Angelus. And your Irish accent Sucks.

DB: You’re a… fan then?

Protagonist: Oh, I used to love Buffy. Still do. It’s a cult classic. Makes me feel very old knowing it finished over ten years ago now. It was something of a defining feature of my teenage years – forget Edward or Jacob – the question was always whether you fancied Angel or Spike more.

DB: Which team were you on?

Protagonist: I was a geek. I fancied Xander.

DB: Oh. I should probably go then. See, I had this whole bit worked out about coming in, representing your every teenage fantasy, showing you how sexy vampires can be…

Protagonist: Nah. Sorry. Not tonight. Whilst it might be fun someday to revisit my burgeoning youth, I just want to crack out this article and get to bed.

DB: Another time then?

Protagonist: Perhaps. Shut the window on the way out?

[Boreanaz blows a kiss, and exits. Our protagonist again addresses herself to sleep, when a further knock on the window disturbs her attempt at slumber…]

Protagonist: Again? Really? Who is it this time?

[A tall, immaculately dressed Victorian gentleman appears at the window, incongruous only because of the small, round, black-tinted spectacles he is wearing.]

[Guest Post] What is Horror? by Rebeka HarringtonProtagonist: [Squealing like a completely star-struck fan-girl] Oh My God, it’s Garry Oldman as Dracula… Oh, this is the Francis Ford Coppola version! I remember this! I’d just read Bram Stoker’s book, and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread! My English Teacher at the time had this theory that if Stoker was alive today he would have published the book as an interactive work – just a box full of diaries and notes and newspaper clippings and “phonograph recordings” which would probably be MP3s or something these days. You’d get the entirety of Dracula on a USB stick and have to piece it all together. Wow! And I saw that film, and I was thinking, I don’t remember all those sexy bits in the book, but I was seventeen, so I didn’t care, and… and… and… Keanu Reeves was a perfect Johnathan Harker, because he has all the acting ability of a wet dishrag, and that’s absolutely fine, because Johnathan Harker is a wet dishrag – seriously, who cuts themselves shaving, watches a grown man that he’s only just met lick the blood off the razor and then hurl the mirror out of the window, and his only thought is “That’s most inconvenient, I’ll have to get a new shaving mirror.”? Oh my God, I am amazingly psyched to meet you, sir, this is fantastic.

GO: [Mildly perturbed] Are you going to be like this all evening?

Protagonist: I’m sorry, I may settle down soon, but I’m not at all certain.

GO: In which case, I think I’d probably better go. It was a pleasure meeting you. [He tips his top hat]

Protagonist: No, don’t go! See, that’s exactly why you were amazing, you showed how vampires could be suave and sophisticated, yet also menacing and creepy and sexy and… and… [realises how over the top she is being.] Ok. I get it. You probably should go. I’m really sorry, I’m not usually like this. I don’t know what’s come over me…

[Gary Oldman turns into a bat and flies away, blowing the entire special effects budget in the process. With a sigh, our protagonist once again turns to the bed. She has not long laid down when there is a clicking sound, like that of a camera shutter, and a doctorwhotwilightsmall flash of light.]

Otto Chreik: Vonderful! Simply vonderful! Ze vay ze candlelight shines on ze flowing curtains, and ze hair spread like zat on ze pillow! Ya, ya, von more! Svoon please! Ya, more svooning, zat is perfect!

Protagonist: Otto?

Otto: Ya? Von second please… [he takes another picture, then puts down the camera.] Can I help you?

Protagonist: Otto Chreik? Otto: Ya, ya, it is me?

Protagonist: You must be here to represent my Pratchett phase. Which, in fairness never really ended. It’s wonderful to see you. I’m so, so sorry about Sir Terry. He was a master of the genre, this must be a terrible time for you.

Otto: Ya, ya… Vell, unlife goes on, as they say.

Protagonist: Pratchett’s vampires taught me so much about the genre… Count Magpyr and his family – the fact that the worst villains are those who pretend they’re doing this for your own good…

[A spectre of David Cameron floats lazily past]

Cameron: Don’t mind me, I’m just a metaphor.

Protagonist: [after his retreating back] Now there’s a vampire I could quite happily stake.

Otto: Indeed.

Protagonist: Even the comic vampires – I’ve always loved comedy, wish I could write it myself, but I tend to overdo it. Comedy is the best teacher, because it allows learning to sneak in round the edges while we’re laughing. Even a character like yourself can show us that there is so much that vampires can teach us about the nature of humanity, the nature of evil – your own comic persona being just that, hammed up round the edges deliberately to seem non-threatening, because we all know where we are vis a silly accent, and we forget about the blood.

Otto: [Bows slightly] Vell, I’m glad to haf been of service. But now, I really must be goink, I haf a scoop to catch for ze evenink edition.

Protagonist: Send me a copy of the pictures, won’t you?

[Otto exits with a dramatic flourish.]

Protagonist: Well, that really must be everyone – I can’t see how…

[At this point Edward Cullen pops up at the windowsill]

EC: You know, you’re like my own personal brand of…

Protagonist: No! No, no, no, no, no! You can fuck right off! I had to read your books when I was considering writing my PhD, but that was only ever so I could rip them apart!

EC: But teenage girls love me! Protagonist: Yes, and I probably would have done so when I was fifteen, but I’m a lot more savvy now, and I’ve discovered feminism, so screw you and the dodgy paperback you rode in on! You’re as bad as Fifty Shades of Grey, what with teaching impressionable young girls that stalking is the basis of a good relationship. And I don’t even think you’re a real vampire – you’re some sort of crystalline blood-powered golem anyway. Vampires don’t sparkle!

EC: I’m only sparkling because I love you…

[At this point, our protagonist punches Cullen square in the face, causing him to fall out of the window. There are loud cheers. She then pulls down the casement and locks it firmly against any further night-time intrusions. Finally, she manages to get a good night’s sleep, though what she dreams about is anyone’s guess…]

Bio

Alex Campbell was born in the wilds of Northumbria, and from an early age cut her teeth on legends like that of the Lampton Worm, which formed the inspiration for her first book, Wyrm’s Reckoning, out later this year..

She obtained a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick, then in a shameless attempt to avoid Real Life, followed this up with two Masters Degrees in Science Fiction and in Writing from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores respectively.

Now, she lives in Portsmouth, at what she insists on referring to as the “wrong” end of the country, with her fiance and a number of dead house-plants. She is a keen gamer and LARPer, for which she makes many of her own costumes. She is not ashamed of being a geek

You can find her on her blog:  https://galacticavoice.wordpress.com/ and also on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AJ-Campbell/1525096601059912

[Vampire Month] Alex Campbell Interview

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redhairOur final entry into the Vampire Month interrogation suite (four interrogators, no waiting) is Alex Campbell. I’ve known Alex for a few years now but was not aware until I did this interview one thing we had in common – the region we were both born in.

Alex is currently working on her debut novel, Wyrm’s Reckoning which is due out in the summer. We’ll be seeing more of her when that happens.

Oh and if you are wondering where you may have seen Alex before… well, look back at our past fantasy photoshoots with Quattrofoto where she modelled as a psychotic elven Empress and an undead sorcerer. In real life she is not anywhere near as evil.

  •  What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?

I actually still have my first “book”. I wrote it when I was about 3 – probably a little older, but the writing is about one sentence to a page, so not much older. It was a very twee little story about woodland animals going on a picnic. It was genuinely awful.

  • When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer – I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, and it’s always made me happy being able to share that writing with other people. Even from the days of GCSE physics class, which I mostly spent writing Pratchett pastiches and passing them round the bench. I made several attempts down the years to go pro, but it wasn’t until last August that I finally managed to find a publisher. I think, in my heart I’ve always been a professional writer, but it’s probably still going to be some time before I’m making enough money from writing for it to be my only career.

  • What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?
Photo courtesy of Quattrofoto

Photo courtesy of Quattrofoto

Greatest strength… probably the fact that I’m an avid reader and always have been. It’s left me with an extensive vocabulary, and also a good sense of the flow of prose, so I can instinctively tell if something feels natural, which helps a lot. As to my weaknesses – an inability to judge subtlety. I either tend to make things glaringly obvious or completely overlooked, and finding a happy medium is a challenge. Overcoming it is basically all about practice.

  • Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?

My current novel is actually set where I grew up, in Northumbria and Tyne and Wear. It’s inspired by a folk-tale from those parts – the tale of the Lampton Worm – and I’ve tried very hard to root the story in the area. Sense of place is very important to me, and almost every scene in the book features, or is inspired by locations from Up North – Penshaw Monument, Belsay Castle, the beach by Tynemouth Priory… it’s a beautiful part of the world, and it’s one that doesn’t get a lot of press. People think of Newcastle as a very grey city, full of football supporters and flat-caps and an unintelligible accent, but like anywhere, there’s far more to it than the stereotype suggests.

  • Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. For this particular book at least.

  • What drove you to write about Vampires?

They’re such a staple really. I wanted to include a lot of fantasy elements to the novel, and I couldn’t leave them out. I’ve always found them interesting, and you can do just about anything with them. In my case, that translated to East-European gun-runners, but I’m looking forward to playing even further with the tropes in later books.

  • What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?

Lots of reasons. Vampires allow us to talk about the big questions of what it means to be human, what it is to be evil, and how the two collide. But I think a lot of it comes down to sex. Vampires (well, the good ones at least) are suave and charismatic and dangerous, and there’s something very primal about them. They look just like us, but they’re not, they’re other. They’re predators, and yet so very seductive and compelling… in a lot of ways they’re a metaphor for the allure of the opposite or sometimes the same sex. They’re forbidden fruit, and so they’re always going to be popular.

The Lampton Worm, a popular North East legend

  • In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?

The Old Count Magpyr from Pratchett’s Carpe Jugulum. He might not actually win in a physical fight, but he’d make sure he’d win the war, through patience and knowing how to play the game.

  • What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?

Sexiness is all about personal preference, but for dress sense I’d go for Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger’s books.

  • How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?

Probably quite badly. They’re currently taking time out from a war, so they’re not in any condition to take anyone on in a fight, and dress sense… well unless refugee chic is a thing…

  • Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.

It’s a modern-day urban fantasy set in the North East. At his uncle’s funeral, Richard Lampton suddenly finds himself heir to a deadly curse; he is being hunted by the Lampton Wyrm, a monster from the Dark Ages set on annihilating his bloodline. He has a week to shape up and become a hero, with a little help from a packed cast of weird and wonderful characters he meets from myth and legend, and a fledgling Jackdaw called Bobble.

 Bio

Alex Campbell was born in the wilds of Northumbria, and from an early age cut her teeth on legends like that of the Lampton Worm, which formed the inspiration for her first book, Wyrm’s Reckoning, out later this year..

She obtained a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick, then in a shameless attempt to avoid Real Life, followed this up with two Masters Degrees in Science Fiction and in Writing from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores respectively.

Now, she lives in Portsmouth, at what she insists on referring to as the “wrong” end of the country, with her fiance and a number of dead house-plants. She is a keen gamer and LARPer, for which she makes many of her own costumes. She is not ashamed of being a geek

You can find her on her blog:  https://galacticavoice.wordpress.com/ and also on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AJ-Campbell/1525096601059912

[Vampire Month] A 90% eclipse of the heart

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So today there was an eclipse. A solar eclipse, in fact.

Luckily, the Vampires did not take the opportunity to rise up and eat us all. I’m choosing to take that as a success, since clearly the awareness campaign that is Vampire Month on this blog has them running scared. Score one for the good guys. Well, the slightly more good than some other guys…

Of course some might say this was only a 90% eclipse and Vamps wouldn’t get out of bed for less than 100% but to those doubters I say pah!

Anyway, I took a photo of the eclipse (safely, without looking) and here it is…

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I might post a better (edited) one later…

[Vampire Month] Modus Vamp-erandi by R.A Smith

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R.A Smith now shares with us his thoughts on Vampires, including how they relate to the infamous ‘Inverse Ninja rule’… Take it away, Russ…

R.A Smith at the Labyrinth Literary Festival

R.A Smith at the Labyrinth Literary Festival

So, vampires then.

I’ve actually been hoping to get on this little tour for some time. Which, if you’ve been reading any of my published works, you might find a little odd, as I haven’t had anything published about vampires at all. I suppose before I start, it might be an idea then, for me to let you into two or three little secrets of mine.

 

–              I am a big fan of vampires

Well, by now you’ve read my first post, and so will know that. I was big on the Hammer films, but have had the likes of The Lost Boys, Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, the exceptional Near Dark and the wonderfully amusing John Carpenter’s Vampires to keep me going on screen. By book, I think we’re spoilt for choice.

–           My first NaNoWriMo win was a vampire story.

It is not ready for public consumption at the moment. Far from it. But there are a few ideas in there I like, some I really like. Rest assured, when I’m happy to unleash it upon the world, it will be because I’ve reached a truly happy place with the manuscript.

-  I’m afraid of vampires— though not in the way that you might think. I’m afraid of writing them. More to the point, I’m afraid of writing them badly. Here’s the thing. These bloodsuckers are such an ubiquitous part of our lives now that it’s getting harder and harder to write something truly new and cool with them. But to write them, you have to get to know them. How they work. Where and what to look for.

They hide in the shadows, they own the night. Occasionally, they change into beasts, rarer times see them shift into fog, and of late, some are even capable of becoming a golden glitter. Were it that Dracula found himself capable of such an alteration, then perhaps Van Helsing would have never stood a chance against something so devastatingly dazzling.

Where vampires haven’t changed much at all is that they live off us humans, deliberately, or by necessity. That’s not like a small squad of leeches (who, it must also be pointed out, have lent their medical qualities to us over some centuries for a small food parcel from time to time). That’s not like being caught out swimming with hungry sharks, when you might just happen to be around and they decide you’re worth a nibble. Nope—often, you’re the main course, and won’t be able to just walk the other way from the big, vicious beast roaming your backyard. These days, a vampire will appear just as one of your neighbours, leaving you unaware you’re in any danger at all until the last minute.

Perhaps the greatest change that has happened over the time has not just been the look, or the style, it’s been the attitude. Though vampires have been in mythologies worldwide in many different flavours for a long time now, the 19th century saw a massive rise in popularity by way of the Gothic novel. There, we had the likes of The Monk, Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla and of course, the original Prince of Darkness himself brought to us by Bram Stoker: Dracula. These were solitary creatures, a mighty monster in the shadows usually somewhere around a nice quiet village or an otherwise ordinary existence. They would come along and turn an idyllic, or more likely dreary, set of lives on their head, often fatally for some.

Back in the day of the gothic novel, there’d be some notice, in that a discerning villager would know where to look—or more specifically, where to never, ever go. “Oh, that castle up the top of the hill, you don’t wanna go there,” they would fruitlessly attempt to warn the latest newcomer to their residence which no outsider had previously ever visited. Naturally, said tourist couldn’t help but rush headlong into the mystery of the cursed/oppressive ruling noble, and thus be thrust into the centre of a likely perilous adventure.

Now, these tourists had a rather frequent habit of landing a few villagers in even bigger bother than normal, whilst dragging some of their own friends, family and lovers on to the vampiric silver platter (no, wait—not silver; in quite a few imaginings, silver ranges from inconvenient to terminal for vampires. Let’s just go with dinner table, shall we?), which tends to end in pitchforks and torches, possibly stake for a main course for the vampire and a bunch of villagers safe from being preyed upon by an ancient terror.

No doubt down to this frequent occurrence, vampires often moved away from the village model and went for a less conspicuous approach of just blending into a big city. With the increase in population, the advent of nightclubs and the presence of corporate head offices, it’s possible to cram in quite a few bloodsuckers these days, and often in a way that makes them much less literal, and more metaphorical. And so from the creeping horror we had back in the days of the gothic novel, and even quite often bypassing horror, we have now moved into keeping young adults entertained, as they experience the vampire in a whole new context of creepy.

Along the way as well, vampires have joined many other supernatural creatures in finding their way into urban fantasy, which is where I tend to live. Believe it or not, it turns out that some of the denizens of the night aren’t happy with their lot, even if they are vampires themselves, or half vampires, a lot of the time (don’t ask). They won’t be tourists, because this is their city, dammit, but it’s rare our (anti)hero will be at top of the vampire tree. A change in theme then, from mysterious monstrosity in the shadows to an attempt to change, or destroy, the system from within.

And in here lies one of the first great constants. Your lives are never quite going to be the same with even one vampire around.* The reasons are varied, the choices are few. And like it or not, they’re fascinating creatures, sometimes in an involuntary sense. The thing is, human beings are rather accustomed, in nature’s hierarchy, to being at the apex of the food chain. We have technology on our side, even in what we believe to be the most primitive of civilisations by our thinking. We can make fire, store water, manipulate air and mine the earth. We have hundreds of languages and many methods to ease communication. And we can replicate just about anything else Mother Nature is likely to throw at us in one method or other. And if we can’t, you can bet your car keys that someone is working on it as we speak.

I guess what I’m saying to you is this: if your boss *really* doesn’t do mornings, someone accidentally splashes you with quite a lot of water just to check if you do anything other than curse them (another poor choice of words) or a club or pub you rock up to has a suspiciously high quantity of mirrors, there is a chance of vampiric activity in your very town! But don’t worry—they’ll keep to themselves. If you do decide to check into some local history though, do tell me. I’d be keen to know if you turn up anything I might need to know about…

 

*There is a Law of Diminishing Vampires, which leads me to consider they may have more in common with ninjas than they let on. One alone is usually some master type and tough as nails, but if they turn up in a mob, a team of suitably experienced and determined (not to mention appropriately armed) mortals should be able to handle themselves as their relative strength is frequently diluted.

R.A. Smith

Russell is a displaced Londoner, now living in Manchester, and is writing in the hope of funding his car addiction. He lives with his girlfriend, two kittens, a small army of bears and two larger armies of miniatures.

An avid gamer, he is happy mashing buttons on a Playstation pad but happier mashing his mates in a field at weekends or slaying demons with dice, a pencil and paper.

He has held an eclectic collection of jobs, including editing a student magazine, several stints as a Tudor soldier and a mission in Moscow. He still does hold a Masters in Creative Writing, which he took to force himself to finish at least one novel. The plan worked better than expected.

Feel free to stop by on Twitter: @RASmithPSL or the blog site projectshadowlondon.wordpress.com. There’s also the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Mister.R.A.Smith.

[Vampire Month] R.A Smith Interview

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This week we have R.A Smith in the chair, being expertly probed with Vampire mesmerism and ‘love bites’. He is the author of the Grenshall Manor series of books. Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm are out now and he is currently working on book 3 which also has Storm in the title but I am not going to reveal it in full yet…

R.A Smith at the 2014 World Book Night at FAB cafe

R.A Smith at the 2014 World Book Night at FAB cafe

What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?

A solid memory comes from an English class, in which I got the best news ever in that our assignment was simply, “Write a story.” Not being a hugely keen on homework pupil, but brimming with ideas, I went away and worked on one for just about the entirety of the weekend. There were aliens involved, is about all I can remember, and it was in secondary school. We got back in on the Monday and our teacher happened to be in a bad mood, and decided, at length, to give the entire class a dressing-down. He spent longer with some of us than others, however, and I was called out in front of the entire class for having written “seven sides of rubbish.” To this day, I haven’t forgotten. I tend to remember harder when I need motivation the most.

When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?

A combination of unemployment and some unfinished business from my M.A. course got me started with what eventually became Oblivion Storm. It was a strange thing to be busier in out-of-work patches than I have been in 9-5 days, but set me on a path from which I’ve never truly stopped.

What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?

I think I have two big strengths: a love for writing a good action scene and a willingness to continue to learn new things about my craft. I love working out action scenes work and putting them into action. On the second point, I like the ‘research’ elements of reading in multiple genres, watching films and listening to songs and finding inspiration in these things. Sometimes it is a simple, “how would/should I approach this?” and other times just an appreciation of how wonderful a scene/character is to me.

Weakness? As usual, these things tie into strengths nicely. I can struggle for focus in slower scenes which are nonetheless essential either for exposition or another story purpose. You know the bits where things aren’t really happening but a conversation, flashback or even a painting which happens to be important to the tale can just feel like a grind at times. I handle it the same way as I do any other scene though, try and bring myself into the atmosphere a little with music or other ambience (within reason). Or, you know, I just double up on writing session snacks.

Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?

I currently reside in Manchester, but was born in Croydon, much further south in England. My home town has definitely had a part in my work before—specifically, a pub I grew up passing just about every day called The Half Moon. It closed down years ago but that actually kind of made it all the more useful for a fictional urban fantasy section. It was as it was rather than as I remembered it, having been way too young to go into it when it actually existed! There’s another venue before my time, a much more famous one, that I will be incorporating into my WIP, but its exact geography is almost a point in itself…

As for Manchester, well, it’s where Kara, an ever-present in the Grenshall Manor Chronicles so far, hails from. It’s another I’m hoping to delve into a little further in the next work.

Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?

This is what I like to call an evolving question. It’s amazing how I’ll change my answer to this from one week to the next, or depending upon where I am, who I’m talking to and/or what about. Because this is Vampire week, and because it comes up a lot, I’m going to choose Bram Stoker’s Dracula here. Just how much has been spawned from this one book? I find it incredible, and very inspiring.

What drove you to write about Vampires?

I’m kind of cheating here, in that I haven’t officially released a vampire novel as such. I have a scruffy manuscript at home on an idea I really want to come back to and develop one day, but I’m not ready to make it what I want to yet. It has very much been a spin-off tale from the Dracula universe though, I can tell you that much.

That said, certain aspects of the vampire novel live in certain Grenshall Manor Chronicles characters, in particular Lady Mary Grenshall and Aurelia Raine. They are very opposite sides of the coin in their inspiration though, with Raine’s main traits very firmly entrenched in the predatory aspects that only an adversary with her resources can. Wealth, status and access to raw supernatural power make her a foe to be reckoned with in Oblivion Storm.

The new cover of Oblivion Storm

Mary’s own power is as much a curse as a blessing, which I very much equate to the vampire’s necessity for blood to survive. It doesn’t work quite like that, and she won’t be biting necks any time soon, but in Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm, the reader will see her struggling with the significant price her powers come with. You’ll notice that if she cuts loose with everything she has, she is utterly formidable, but every power has a consequence. She can gain inhuman strength, but has to drain another mortal’s life energies by touch to do it [editor note: This is actually a good definition of a vampire – gaining power from the lifeforce of others]. She can extract memories from others by the same means, but she can’t just ditch them once she has them. If she really wants to, she is capable of raising the dead. BUT.

What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?

I find vampire fiction tends to gain popularity in cycles. It is often easy to equate to current social trends, to which I must point you at one of the greatest Cracked.com articles ever written in my opinion [link here: http://www.cracked.com/article_19402_6-mind-blowing-ways-zombies-vampires-explain-america.html ]

Also, since we decided there is a genre for just about everything going from A-Z, it’s a measure of the strength of bloodsuckers in our culture (allegorical or no) that they can be found under several headings. Gothic? We were there from day one, man. Urban Fantasy? Pretty much a staple along with their hairier counterparts (and often foes). Horror? You betcha! Comedy? Sometimes. Children’s stories? Plenty. The rules may change, but the game remains the same.

In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?

Despite Anne Rice’s Lestat being an epic-level vampire, I’m going to continue being a terrible Stoker fanboy and going for Dracula again. However I have the firmest possible reasoning. Count (pun intended) the number of times that Drac has been destroyed that you can recall. Now see how often he stays dead. Even BUFFY couldn’t keep him slayed! Should tell you everything!

What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?

Pam from True Blood. One of my favourite characters anywhere, let alone one of my favourite vampires. Her wit is sharper than any vampire’s dress sense, and those bloodsuckers are dapper as hell.

How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?

I doubt most vampires would want to go anywhere near any of the self-labelled New Musketeers. However, if I had to pick a champion, Lady Mary Grenshall is any vampire’s worst nightmare. She’s poor nourishment for them for a start, and can guarantee any one of them a bad night just by turning up.

The old (first edition) cover of Oblivion Storm

The old (first edition) cover of Oblivion Storm

Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.

My latest released novel is Primal Storm. It follows a year on from Oblivion Storm and shifts the focus from high-octane adventures with the undead to an action adventure in the living world—and beyond. Jennifer Winter, one of Mary’s new friends from book one, steps up to her own tale and we start with her attempting to get herself fighting fit almost a year after sustaining grievous injuries at the hands of one of the main villains there (note I am working hard to avoid spoilers to those who haven’t read Oblivion Storm). Though Jennifer, being way beyond normal human physical capability, needs to push herself a little harder. She takes up parkour and runs around London, straight into a daring robbery attempt upon the British Museum! What initially appears high-tech turns out to be something else entirely, and her interference sets her on a path which delves into her own origins, some of which she doesn’t know herself! Jennifer must endure a harsh voyage of self-discovery in an entirely new world before she and her friends can face their new enemy. Discover the prophecy of the Face of War and who or what is truly behind the robberies right here!

 

Bio

R.A. Smith

Russell is a displaced Londoner, now living in Manchester, and is writing in the hope of funding his car addiction. He lives with his girlfriend, two kittens, a small army of bears and two larger armies of miniatures.

An avid gamer, he is happy mashing buttons on a Playstation pad but happier mashing his mates in a field at weekends or slaying demons with dice, a pencil and paper.

He has held an eclectic collection of jobs, including editing a student magazine, several stints as a Tudor soldier and a mission in Moscow. He still does hold a Masters in Creative Writing, which he took to force himself to finish at least one novel. The plan worked better than expected.

Feel free to stop by on Twitter: @RASmithPSL or the blog site projectshadowlondon.wordpress.com. There’s also the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Mister.R.A.Smith.

[Vampire Month] Review of Cranberry Blood by Elizabeth Morgan

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As we have just had a week of Elizabeth Morgan, it seemed appropriate to post my review of Cranberry Blood. A review that has also gone to Goodreads and Amazon.

Cranberry Blood by Elizabeth Morgan

Available from www.e-morgan.com

Heather Ryan is a Slayer, the latest in a long line of family members dedicated to the lifelong quest of killing a particular very old vampire – Marko Pavel. If that is not complicated enough, she was also born infected with Vampire blood, a condition she manages with the help of a concoction of Cranberry juice and animal blood (hence the title).Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00064]

One day her life is saved by a werewolf called Brendan who claims to have been sent by her recently dead grandmother.  It seems grannie had seen the need for them to be together in one of her visions, which are usually scarily accurate. Though Heather always respected her grandmother’s abilities as a seer, she finds it hard to come to terms with why she now has to put up with the irritating Brendan – what danger is he supposed to protect her from?

Morgan quickly establishes a dynamic between her two main characters, one of sniping and arguments. The over protective alpha male with the snarky alpha female rebelling against his attempts to ‘save her’ is a common trope in urban fantasy but one which is presented very well here and will appeal to fans of this genre. This relationship is threaded throughout the plot, which revolves around Heather’s attempts to track down her ancient nemesis and his attempts to use her for his own ends, and adds an appropriate level of zip to an already fast paced story. In my reading of this, there was no thoughts of ‘will they/won’t they’ because it is clear from the first page Brendan appears that they will. The question is more when and how many buildings will be destroyed in the aftermath.

Cranberry Blood is a very British Urban Fantasy novel. Heather is an Irish girl living in London, Brendan is described as having a northern accent and it turns out his pack live in Scotland. The action moves from inner city London to the wilds of Scotland giving this more a Being Human/Dog Soldiers vibe than most US based UF. This is a refreshing change and reminds readers that the Vampire and Werewolf myths that most UF take from originate in Europe. This is played upon in the characterisation of some of the characters – the Vampires are very Eurotrash in their attitude, for example. It certainly makes for a more familiar setting to those who live in the UK than the often unreal skyscapes of New York or Chicago. This may alienate US audiences but then again it may not as there are many Anglophiles on the other side of the pond who may also be looking for something that is different to standard UF.

If I have one issue with Cranberry Blood it is the concept of a Slayer. Now, I am happy with the idea of a family dedicated through many generations to killing a specific Vampire menace. It makes sense – you have to play the long game when dealing with immortal bloodsuckers and I really like the thought that has gone into this. However, I am not sure I would have gone so far as to have made that into a proper noun. Not only is there an issue of Joss Whedon potentially considering it a challenge to his IP (though not a huge one as the similarities basically end with the name and the fact this particular one is female) but I am not convinced that it really deserves that capital letter. That implies there is some official title involved when really it is a private, internal family thing. Had there been a secret underground organisation that trained multiple people to fight vampires (such as the Church order detailed in Skyla Dawn Cameron’s novel Hunter) and that organisation granted graduates of their training programme some form of official title then I’d be happy that they could be called Slayers. Using it in a family seems wrong to me. However, this is only a very minor gripe in what is basically a very well written and fascinating novel.

Overall, Cranberry Blood is a novel worth taking a look at. A very fun romp through a very British urban fantasy landscape. I’d like to see more UF set in this country.

Terry Pratchett 1948 – 2015

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Over the last few months it is becoming increasingly clear who is writing 2015. With so many popular characters leaving us for the great VIP party in the sky, Nimoy and now Pratchett, it can only be GRR Martin calling the shots. In light of today’s sad passing, it is I feel appropriate to briefly interrupt Vampire month to mark this occasion.pratchett quote

I first encountered Pratchett when I was at school. There was a brief extract from Pyramids in a roleplaying magazine I bought frequently and an article on how to run a Discworld style roleplaying game. I was intrigued and bought a copy of Pyramids and later a copy of Good Omens. The same year I went to a signing at Dillon’s bookshop in Newcastle and met the man himself. Since then I have bought pretty much every book he has produced and seen his development into a great author. I have in the past commented on how his writing developed - from the blatant parody of The Colour of Magic to the subtle satire of his later books – a in particular how Ankh Morpork moved from a copy of Lieber’s Lankhmar to something akin to a cross between Regency London and modern New York.

His books have influenced my life. Each one he produced getting better and better. I remember buying a new one every weekend and reading it in an afternoon. Even though I read them so quickly, they never seemed to end. Nor did they ever lapse in quality. As a writer myself I have always been impressed by this level of output and I am sure many other writers, published or otherwise, would love to be able to replicate this. The style he wrote in was also unlike any other author I have ever seen. He rarely used chapters, he wrote in his own unique stream of consciousness narrative, he added footnotes! To fiction! As if it were some form of academic essay! What a way to break the rules in style! I think that the daring and ability to break the rules so blatantly is a sign of true genius.

When I was running the Vampire LRP at Manchester Metropolitan University in the mid 90’s there was an ongoing theme in the In Character rumours published in our newsletter over Pratchett (and his Hat) dancing at Rock World with Neil Gaiman (and his leather jacket). Players of that game may or may not be surprised to learn there was actually no plot significance to these just me nerding out at two of my favourite authors. I very much doubt any of the copies of those newsletters still exist…

And if you are in any doubt about how much he meant to me, you can consider that earlier this week I was teaching about inspiration and creativity in science and this quote was in my mind all through the lesson:

“It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There’s a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer’s head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist’s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different.*

*Though certainly a lot faster and only licensed to carry 4 people”

Terry Pratchett, Sourcery.

And with that I close my remembrances and raise a glass to the memories of childhood reading.

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on https://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaLascelles

Twitter: @areteus

Buy Lurking Miscellany (paperback)

Buy Lurking Miscellany (Kindle)

[Vampire Month] Let’s Talk About Vamps by Elizabeth Morgan

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So the end of the week is in sight and Elizabeth is back again to wow us with her guest post… here she talks about why she loves vampires so much.Elizabeth Morgan

Let’s talk Vampires and why I think we love them so much.

What is it about these creatures of the night that excites us as readers? Is it their immortality and the idea that they are endless; that they can see how the world changes? That they can experience everything the world will ever have to offer them over time? Is it the fact that age does not touch them? That they will remain young and possibly perfect forever? Is it that they are dangerous? That they are killers and there is a part deep in all of us Vamp lovers that longs for their redemption? Is it their kiss? Bloody, and deadly, yet said to give a form of pleasure that no human could possibly imagine? Is it their allure? The fact that deep down we know they are dangerous, but we yearn for such risks? Is it that we find them romantic? They’re mature and full of knowledge; the fact they are from a different lifetime?

Vampires are ageless, and I don’t mean in the sense that they are the undead and frozen at a particular age. There are myths descending back further than the 14th Century which tell of creatures that prey on the weak and thirst for blood. Every culture in the world has its own brand of Vampires. Thousand – if not more – books have been written on this particular species and a ton of films have been made. No one, despite the ever wavering interest in this particular being, will ever tire of hearing about Vampires, but why? What is it that we love so much about them? I have been a fan of Vampires since I was a child. That infatuation first began when I watched the movie Bram Stokers, Dracula. Now, I can hold my hands up and say that the big appeal was naturally the love story. I’m a sucker – forgive the pun – for love. I’m a huge romantic, and the idea of a man condemning god and turning himself into something so beastly, so evil, simply because he felt betrayed and was grieving for his soul mate . . . Well, be still my heart. We have centuries of heartache and turmoil and undying hope mixed in with that, and hot damn, it’s magical.

When I was a child, Vampires were terrifying, but seemed really cool at the same time; they were like the bad boys and girls, rebels, dangerous, and otherworldly. What kid didn’t imagine possessing powers and getting away with all sorts of kick ass things? Naturally, once I was older I began to see other sides of their appeal. They are flawless, sexual creatures. Who doesn’t love that? Who hasn’t at some point in their life liked the idea of being that appealing, or of having someone that hot and mysterious pay them attention? I’m not afraid to say I have, and on many occasions. Then there is power; they are strong, and fast, and they remain healthy. They are past death; something very appealing for anyone who fears death, or for someone who feels they haven’t had enough time in this life. Vampires move with the ages, they can watch the world climb and falPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00064]l around them. They can be a part of history. Just think of all those experiences!

Lastly, and probably the most appealing side to these beings, would be the fight for their soul – whether or not you believe they have one. As readers we all want to believe that these dark and sometimes tortured creatures can be saved, and naturally, we want the heroine/hero – heck, sometimes we want to be in their place – to do the saving. We want the vampire to be redeemed, and to have hope, and love, and happiness. We want a happily ever after for these bloodsuckers.

In my opinion Vampires – or rather the paranormal genre in general – is limitless. Each person will have their own idea of what a vampire is, how they should look, how they should act. In my Blood Series my Vampires are the bad guys and they look similar to the guy from Salem’s lot. They have human features, but when they are ready to feed or fight, their hair falls out, their jaws dislocate and their fangs extend to a horrible length. You really wouldn’t want to bump into them. Trust me.

No one’s view of Vampires is wrong. It is interpretation and belief. It is what a person’s imagination creates. As I said earlier there is a variety of different type of Vampires, depending which country they come from. Every writer will create them differently, tell them differently; some have souls, and some don’t. Some look human, but with fangs and others will shift forms. Some Vampires sparkle and some are blue, bald, and completely terrifying, but no matter what form they come in or how handsome or scary they are, we love them. I think the reason for that is because they are an altered, magical, and limitless version of ourselves. They are the impossible. Humans “aren’t” supposed to survive after death; they “aren’t” supposed to live forever, and they “aren’t” supposed to remain ageless. Vampires break the natural code; heck, they break all the rules and they do it with such style.

Whatever the reason may be for why we are fascinated by this particular species, I honestly believe that they will continue to be one of the most – if not the most – written about species in literature.

 

About the Author:

Elizabeth Morgan is a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal, erotic horror, f/f, and contemporary; all with a degree of romance, a dose of action and a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but you can be sure that no matter what the genre, Elizabeth always manages to give a unique and often humorous spin to her stories.

Like her tagline says; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”

And that she does, author of erotic ménage horror, Creak, paranormal erotic horror and UK, US & Australian Amazon best seller (Gay/Lesbian, Fiction, Lesbian), On the Rocks, erotic romance, US, UK & Spanish Amazon bestseller (Erotica Short Story) Truth or Dare? And sweet contemporary romance, UK & US Amazon bestseller (British/Drama & Plays) Stepping Stones.

She also has her hand in self-publishing. Look out for more information on her upcoming releases at her website: www.e-morgan.com

Away from the computer, Elizabeth can be found in the garden trying hard not to kill her plants, dancing around her little cottage with the radio on while she cleans, watching movies or good television programmes – Dr Who? Atlantis? The Musketeers? Heck, yes! – Or curled up with her two cats reading a book.

Where to find Elizabeth Online:

Website: www.e-morgan.com Blog: www.xxxxmyworldxxxx.blogspot.co.uk Twitter: @EMorgan2010 Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ElizabethMorgan Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.morgan.944 Blood Series Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheBloodSeries?ref=hl Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elizabethm2012/boards/ TSU: https://www.tsu.co/ElizabethMorgan Blog: (Shared with Dianna Hardy): http://notjustastiffupperlip.blogspot.co.uk/

[Vampire Month] Elizabeth Morgan interview

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This week the Vampire interrogation chair welcomes Elizabeth Morgan, author of Cranberry Blood to answer its brutal and probing questions, which it asks with all the pain and suffering of a Klingon Hug Dungeon…

I first met Elizabeth last year at the Leeds Steampunk market and will be sharing a stall with her at the upcoming Yorkshire CosPlay Con in April… if you are in the area pop by and say hi! Click the links to find out more details about these events…Elizabeth Morgan

Now, over to Elizabeth…

1)      What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?

Gosh, earliest memory of writing. When I was in primary school I remember my year sixth teacher reading out, god I think it was like a paragraph of some little story I wrote for some assignment in English. He was very impressed. Can’t remember what the story was about, but I think there was snow involved. As you can imagine it was a long time ago, but writing started off for me in my English lessons. If I was told we had to write a story, I would gladly do so and aim to write something good.

2)      When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?

It was 2009 when I decided I wanted to write a book with the aim of publishing it. During my last year in college – 2006 – I started writing scripts – I studied Musical Theatre so I was very in to acting and shows etc – I did this up until 2008 until a friend of mine suggested I try and write a book. I was always very detailed with my scripts, too detailed for scripts really. So yeah, it took me a year to come up with something that I wanted to write and once I had the story I just dived right in.

I’ve wanted to act since I was about four – part of me still does now at the age of 26 – but during my final year of college it dawned on me that as much as I loved performing, and I did, I had an imagination that was constantly throwing ideas out at me and it seemed like such a shame to waste those ideas; to waste my imagination. So, that’s why I started writing with the aim to be a professional writer.

[Guest Post] What is Horror? by Rebeka Harrington3)      What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?

I don’t really feel that I have a strength. I would like to say my stories are interesting, funny, different, and sexy or that I at least have a good voice, strong characters… but I honestly don’t know.

Weakness is easy, and I am utterly ashamed to admit it, but grammar isn’t my strong point. I’m terrible at editing, which I suppose is a good thing because my editor would be out of a job if I was great at tidying my messy writing up. Naturally, it comes down to practice. I’m better than I was when I started writing. You pick things up as you go and notice those bad habits you have.

*Hangs head in shame*

I feel like a bit of a fraud; a writer who isn’t very good with grammar? Terrible. I have an imagination, though. I feel it’s a pretty damn good imagination. I can write a story, tell a -hopefully – good story, but I definitely need my editor to whip everything in to shape before it is ready for the public’s eyes.

4)      Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?

I have lived in a terrace cottage in Cheshire for the last five years. It’s a lovely house, and the area is pretty, but no, I have not yet had any inspiration from this area. If I’m totally honest, although all my stories are set in different locations I haven’t had any inspiration from areas I have visited. Usually when I have an idea and I get the feel for where it could or should be set I go on google map, and then on to street view. I don’t really travel very much, which is a shame. I’m sure I would be inspired if I ever had the chance to venture out.

5)      Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?

I wasn’t a big reader as a child. I know, it’s dreadful. I enjoyed my mother reading to me, but I didn’t really read a lot. And then during my first job at the age of 16 my colleague/friend lent me Mooncalled by Patricia Briggs…. I haven’t stopped reading since. I love books. I love stories. I’m ashamed that I didn’t start sooner, but as my friend said, it’s finding the right genre(s) and as crazy as it sounds I wasn’t really aware of how many genres there were until my friend got my hooked on books. That seems so stupid, but like I said I wasn’t a big reader. So Patricia Briggs book Mooncalled. Read it, loved it, read the next book in the series and so on. This was around the time I was writing scripts, around the time my other friend suggested I try writing a book of my own and well, after being introduced to Urban Fantasy I just fell in love with the genre, the possibilities and yeah, my mind was made up.

So, I guess you could say that Mooncalled was the book that inspired me to write my own stories.

6)      What drove you to write about Vampires?

I’ve been dreaming about Vampires since I was a child. I would constantly dream they were chasing after me and my family; they would kill us off one by one and I would always be the one remaining. Yeah, I had issues lol

I’ve always been fascinated by Vampires and the way they have been portrayed through books and films, and well, I decided to pay attention to a very good piece of advice; write what you know and what you love.

I love Vampires. So, I just decided that if I was seriously going to write a book then I might as well write about one of my favourite creatures, so I did.

7)      What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?

Personally, I believe the attraction is that they are altered, magical, and limitless version of ourselves. They are the impossible. Humans “aren’t” supposed to survive after death; they “aren’t” supposed to live forever, and they “aren’t” supposed to remain ageless, or possess great power, or strength. They’re primal and dangerous. They live by their own rules, but there is so many ways you can write these creatures, evil, tortured, good, but their nature will be forever held against them – who doesn’t love to read about inner turmoil. They can be the monster you would run from, or the bad boy/girl you desire, or even the boy/girl next door with a few hidden secrets, but you love them any way and will route for their happy ever after.

They are a more mystical and powerful version of ourselves, and at some point in all of our lives we will wonder what it would be like to be a vampire, or at least wonder what it would be like to be that mysterious and appealing.

8)      In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?

Oh, tough question. You know, I’m going to go with the prince of darkness, Dracula. I’m sure every other vampire in fiction would fight well and give it their all, but Dracula is… well, the man. The undead man, but he’s epic. I’ve got to believe he will live up to his title.

Team Dracula! *cheers*

9)      What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?

Sexiness, well Mitchell played by Aidan Turner in the TV series, Being Human. Irish Vampire, yes please. And yet I still have to say I do find Dracula sexy, he’s the prince of freakin’ darkness, how is that not hot?

I tend to find that most Vampires have rather good dress sense, so I wouldn’t be able to pick anyone out, but Selena from Underworld; totally rocks the leather cat-suit.

10)   How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?

I think any of my characters would give as good as they got. Everyone is capable of being defeated. So, I think they would stand a good chance. I think Heather would be able to kill Mitchell – though it pains me to say that – he was never really a fighter. Selena uses a gun and my Heather uses a sword, so if they were going hand to hand…. well, at present Selena and Dracula would probably beat Heather, but I have faith in my girl and after the U-turn her life is about to take, well, the odds might be more in her favour. ;)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00064]11)   Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.

My current WIP is still without a title – I have two titles in mind, but I can’t decide which one I prefer at present – so it is currently known as Blood 2. Blood 2 is the second book in my Blood Series, and follows on right where we left off from Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One).

Heather Ryan has gone over to Italy to hunt down the second generation Vampire Marie in the hopes of discovering where the ancient, Marko Pavel is so that she can finally kill him. She is also hoping to discover where the three members of the UK Werewolf Pack – whom were kidnapped at the end of book one – have been taken too, but she is in the territory of the Italian Pack who are having a hard time believing that the Vampires are experimenting on Infecteds, Loup-Garous, and Werewolves with the goal of creating a hybrid.

We’re in new territory, we meet interesting new characters, and as I mentioned above the story is really just continuing from where we left off. So, more Heather and Brendan, more sarcasm, humour, action, blood, and the discovery of a few secrets, which will tie up loose ends from book one.

Blood 2 currently stands at 23,500 words. The aim is 60,000, but it’s just a very casual goal. The story could be longer, but I will know once I get to that point. Otherwise the aim is to have Blood 2 released this summer 2015.

For more information on the Blood Series or any of my other titles:

Where to find Elizabeth Online:

Website: www.e-morgan.com Blog: http://www.xxxxmyworldxxxx.blogspot.co.uk Twitter: @EMorgan2010 Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ElizabethMorgan Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.morgan.944 Blood Series Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheBloodSeries?ref=hl Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elizabethm2012/boards/ TSU: https://www.tsu.co/ElizabethMorgan Blog: (Shared with Dianna Hardy): http://notjustastiffupperlip.blogspot.co.uk/

Thanks so much for joining me, and thank you for letting me take part in Vampire Month, David. J

About the Author:

Elizabeth Morgan is a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal, erotic horror, f/f, and contemporary; all with a degree of romance, a dose of action and a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but you can be sure that no matter what the genre, Elizabeth always manages to give a unique and often humorous spin to her stories.

Like her tagline says; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”

And that she does, author of erotic ménage horror, Creak, paranormal erotic horror and UK, US & Australian Amazon best seller (Gay/Lesbian, Fiction, Lesbian), On the Rocks, erotic romance, US, UK & Spanish Amazon bestseller (Erotica Short Story) Truth or Dare? And sweet contemporary romance, UK & US Amazon bestseller (British/Drama & Plays) Stepping Stones.

She also has her hand in self-publishing. Look out for more information on her upcoming releases at her website: www.e-morgan.com

Away from the computer, Elizabeth can be found in the garden trying hard not to kill her plants, dancing around her little cottage with the radio on while she cleans, watching movies or good television programmes – Dr Who? Atlantis? The Musketeers? Heck, yes! – Or curled up with her two cats reading a book.

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