[Vampire Month] Five Ways to Attract a Vampire by Jen Ponce

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For her second post for Vampire Month, Jen Ponce offers us her dating tips…

5 Ways to Attract a Vampire

Who wouldn’t want to have a powerful, immortal vampire as a lover? Perhaps you read the Vampire Lestat as a teenager like I did, and found yourself yearning for a long-lived French blood sucker who also sings rock-n-roll. Maybe you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and lusted after Spike, hoping Buffy would go fall in a grave so you could grab him and give him a big, fat smack on the lips. (And then beg him to bite you.)

Instead of sitting around sighing, follow these five steps to attract a vampire and you, too, could be sucking the blood out of perfect strangers in no time!

1. Cultivate clumsiness
Vampires are predators. The clumsier you are, the more attractive you are as food. The whole point is to lure the vampire in close enough for you to have the opportunity to fascinate them. According to legends, you can toss rice on the ground at your feet and the vampire will be forced to count every grain before he can leave. This will give you the chance to fall down in a gracefully clumsy way, thus attracting the vampire’s acute adoration.
JensHead2. Don’t eat garlic, onions, or silver shavings
Really? You would eat any of these things and still call yourself a vampire lover? Everyone who knows anything about vampires will know that garlic is an anathema to the fangers. Only two people (and they both live in Transylvania) know why vampires hate garlic, but the why isn’t important. Just know that vampires don’t like stinky food. I mean lovers.

Vampires also don’t like silver. At first it was just werewolves, but then vampires had to get all, “Omg, we need to be allergic to silver too,” and that was that.

3. Eschew pointy wooden objects
That white picket fence you have out front? That’s like a chastity belt. You might as well smother yourself in garlic and sunbathe, that’s how likely you are to meet a vampire with a fence like that.

You also might want to stop using pencils. There are plenty of other writing utensils in the sea. What about the pen? The quill? A laptop? Your phone, for the love of all that’s unholy. There’s no excuse for pencils in a vampire lover’s home.

4. Come to love the night
Vampires don’t like sunlight or skin cancer. Invest in some heavy curtains and sleeping pills, because you’re going to need them in order to readjust your sleep schedule to accommodate your vein-drainer. It’s a no brainer. Say no to sunlight. Say goodbye to Vitamin D.

5. Enjoy pain
No, this isn’t a sly 30 Colors of Silliness reference. Vampires bite. It’s what they do. If you still scream when the doctor needs a blood sample, you really need to rethink your desire for a vampire lover.

Now, some vampires can mesmerize you so that you don’t feel pain. DoBlood Curse 2.0 Front Onlyn’t count on getting this kind of vamp though. You could very easily get one that has a mouthful of sharp teeth instead of the two civilized fangs. Vampire dating is a crap shoot. It’s all worth it, though, right? Nothing says romance like lurking in shadows waiting to feed on an unsuspecting human with your vampire lover. “Would you like the first bite?” “No, no, you go first, please.” “You’re so kind.”

There you have it, five ways to attract a vampire. If you have any luck, drop me a line over at my website and let me know: www.JenniferPonce.com

If you’d like to read my dark fantasy/horror novels with vampires, check out my Devany Miller series here:  http://bit.ly/BazaarBoxedSet1-3 and my book Blood Curse here:  http://bit.ly/BloodCurse.

Bio for author Jen Ponce

I’m a voracious reader and growing up, I constantly looked for heroic female characters. To my disappointment, so many of the women in the genre fiction I was reading were doormats, weak-willed, boring, incapable, or even downright dumb. That’s why my fiction features strong women. Women who are heroic, women who don’t fall in love and forget who they are, women who fight for what they believe in. If you are looking for character-rich stories that drive you relentlessly toward the big finish, then you just might like my books. Keep in mind I’m a big fan of blood and horror too. Do you like to be scared while you watch a kick ass woman save the day? My books might be just the thing to keep you up all night long.

I’m a writer, a mother of three boys, a cat herder and zombie apocalypse aficionado. I also love vampires, so if you meet one, send ‘em my way, okay? I would appreciate it.

If you’re interested in my Kick Ass Woman’s Manifesto, please visit my website here: http://jenniferponce.com/kick-ass-womans-manifesto/ and follow my blog if you like what you see.

Happy reading!

http://www.JenniferPonce.com

http://www.Facebook.com/JenPonceAuthor

http://www.Twitter.com/JenPonceAuthor 

 

[Vampire Month] Jen Ponce interview

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Today we meet the first of this year’s Vampire Month authors – Jen Ponce. I first met Jen through the Dragon’s Rocketship Facebook group and am welcoming the chance to learn more about her here. You can find out more about her on http://jenniferponce.com/about-jen-ponce/

1. What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?
I wrote a lot, but the first thing I remember writing and getting an audience response from (which was epic, by the way) was a play I wrote and then performed with my Animal puppet. I was ten. I remember futzing over that little script for days, wanting it to be perfect. My older sisters (both in college), my brother-in-law, my nephew, and my mom were in the audience. I squatted behind the couch and let Animal do the talking. I remember it was a play about the Fourth of July, but I can’t remember much else about it except that my audience all laughed when they were supposed to laugh. That moment made me a writer.

JensHead
2. When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?
The moment I decided to become a professional writer was the moment I decided I was going to sit down and finish a novel. I’d written several with friends, but I’d never finished an entire book myself and I burned to do that. I set myself a goal and dangled tantalizing bait at the end: the DVD set of A & E’s Pride and Prejudice. I knew I’d never be happy with myself if I didn’t hold a book in my hands with my name on it. I knew that I wanted to be a professional writer ever since that moment I made my family laugh with something I wrote.
3. 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 my greatest strength would be the ability to build suspense and my characters. I write by feel: does this chapter feel like it ends on a high note? Does this sentence feel scary? It’s kind of a weird thing but I think I’ve read so many books that the pace and rhythm of novel structure has settled into my muscle memory.

My greatest weakness would be settling into the story long enough to show what’s going on. I sometimes have a tendency to set the pace, to drive toward the end, that I forget some people like to know what the setting looks like, what the characters look like, etc. … I’ve been working on slowing down my prose long enough to settle readers firmly into the place of the book, into the physical body of the character. It helps to have writer friends with those strengths, who can point out places where my setting is thin so I can fix it. I’ve found that being more detailed is fun, though I’m still a “go go go” kind of writer.

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 live in the Panhandle of Nebraska, which is a very homogeneous culture. Whenever I go places, I’m so grateful for diversity it’s silly. Nebraska is a beautiful place and it’s home to people with a great capacity for independence and self-sufficiency.
One place that I visited that inspired the creepy setting of one of my books, Bug Queen, was a coffer dam in Cisco, TX. It used to be the hub of all things social and fun: a gigantic pool, a small zoo, a skating rink. It was an extremely busy place … until there was no more money to keep it running. When my friend and fellow writer Kathy took me there long ago, it was a silent and eerie place. The pool water was covered with green and the remnants of one of the ladders for the diving board still jutted from the murky depths. It was the perfect spot for my alien fungus to drive its victims, to store them, and to let the fungus wriggling inside them grow.

5. Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?
That would be hard to say. I read and write in several genres. Stephen King’s It is probably one of my favorite books of all time, if I had to pick one. I am still awed by its complexity and the way he wove in the past and the present, all those characters, all those stories, into a novel that still sucks me in when I start reading it, even after many read throughs, even after all this time.

BazaarFrontCoverSkull6. What drove you to write about Vampires?
The Hammer Brothers films started me loving vampires. Those films gave me delicious nightmares when I was a kid, (and if you know me at all, you know I love nightmares—that’s where a lot of my stories come from.) The thing I always wished for was the vampire to live and was disappointed time and again that the vampire would get staked and the world would turn back to normal. Who wants normal? Love At First Bite gave me a good ending—the vampire gets the girl and they fly off into the sunset. Yay! And then the Vampire Lestat came along. If I wasn’t hooked already, I would have been. Anne Rice opened up a wider world view for me and made me hunt for more books about vampires. Some were hits and some were misses, but it was all story fodder.

7. What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?
For me, vampires are the promise of something magical. This world is so mundane that we humans are always inventing things to make it more fantastical. (Think Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy.) Why do we have these things? Why did our ancestors believe in jorogumo, fairies, daemons? Partially because there were gaps in our scientific knowledge, sure, but also because it makes life easier to think that just around the corner there could be a leprechaun we could catch to win some gold, or a genie to grant us wishes. I’ve always wanted to become a vampire and gain immortality—think of all the books I’d have time to read! Vampires give us magic and they give us sex and they give us darkness. There are things we don’t want to experience in real life that we enjoy reading about. We don’t want to murder (most of us, I hope) but we settle ourselves into the skin of a vampire main character and murder people. We relish the blood, the violence, the power, and then we go back to our fairly safe, mundane lives. Vampire fiction gives us an outlet, it’s a waking dream. Then we close the book and become human once more.

8. In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?
I’m liking Leo Pellissier, from Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series. I considered Lestat, but he does a lot of navel gazing and pondering the numinous, and I considered Akasha, but of course, Lestat does defeat her, so probably Leo. “Go Leo!”

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

Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series would win sexy male. (Sorry Leo and Lestat, you’re cute too.) Ivy from the Rachel Morgan series would win sexy female. I crushed on her hard the whole time I read those books. Kisten too, but my heart is still sad over him.

10. How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?
Lady Catherine would win against Leo. She is evil and sadistic and worse, it takes a specific person’s blood to even kill her. She’d have Leo’s head off and he’d be deader than a doornail in minutes. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would think she was sexy though. Evil has a way of shining through and hers is a very base kind of evil.Blood Curse 2.0 Front Only

11. Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.
Blood Drunk is the sequel to Blood Curse (featuring the evil Lady Catherine.) It’s the story of Claudia, a vampire focused on revenge against Patrick Montgomery, one of three brothers who figured out how to use vampire blood to lengthen their lives without turning. She thinks him responsible for the horrors she experienced at the hands of the Marquis de Chaval. (I based him on the notorious Marquis de Sade. I figured I should get something out of the horrors I experienced reading his books. Eep.)
Before Patrick became a vampire hunter, he was a pirate, and he was the one responsible for Claudia’s husband’s death. But of course, all is not as it seems, and as the story unfolds, the truth comes to light.
The main characters of Blood Curse, Lorelei and Issala, return in this book, as do Patrick’s brothers and Lorelei’s insane twin, Morganna, who seems to be following in Lady Catherine’s dainty footsteps. I’m planning two more books, each one focusing on a different set of characters and their individual stories against the backdrop of a larger, more complicated story line. Blood Curse sat for a short while at #1 on Amazon in the lesbian horror category and it consistently sits in the top 100. Since the next book’s focus is not on Lorelei and Issala, it’ll be interesting to see how it fares.

Bio for author Jen Ponce

I’m a voracious reader and growing up, I constantly looked for heroic female characters. To my disappointment, so many of the women in the genre fiction I was reading were doormats, weak-willed, boring, incapable, or even downright dumb. That’s why my fiction features strong women. Women who are heroic, women who don’t fall in love and forget who they are, women who fight for what they believe in. If you are looking for character-rich stories that drive you relentlessly toward the big finish, then you just might like my books. Keep in mind I’m a big fan of blood and horror too. Do you like to be scared while you watch a kick ass woman save the day? My books might be just the thing to keep you up all night long.

 I’m a writer, a mother of three boys, a cat herder and zombie apocalypse aficionado. I also love vampires, so if you meet one, send ‘em my way, okay? I would appreciate it.

If you’re interested in my Kick Ass Woman’s Manifesto, please visit my website here: http://jenniferponce.com/kick-ass-womans-manifesto/ and follow my blog if you like what you see.

Happy reading!

Find Jen on Facebook and Twitter

 

  

 

[Vampire Month] The return of the undead never dying month

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So here we are again, another year, another March, another month of dark posts about evil blood sucking parasites with a strong aversion to sunlight and the vampires they write about.Vampire

This year looks to be an interesting one, not least because I filled all the available slots way back at the end of last year rather than the usual last minute panic. The keen is strong in the writers we have this year and I think there may well be some fascinating topics covered in the guest posts.

The line up (in no particular order) is:

Jennifer Ponce, author of Blood Curse and its upcoming sequel.

R.A Smith, author of the Grenshall Manor series. Book 3 is currently in the process of being written

A.J Campbell, a newly published author with her debut novel, Wyrm’s Reckoning out soon

Elizabeth Morgan – author of Cranberry Blood

We are also featuring the photography of Ste Manns from Quattrofoto, who you may remember from the Realm fantasy shoots.

Waiting for Dawn

 

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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)

Death and the Maiden

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So, yesterday there was an announcement that Michelle Gomez would be reprising her role as Missy (AKA The gender switched Master) in the upcoming series of Doctor Who.

The announcement is here for those who wish to read it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/doctorwho/entries/6a78885d-e0b1-49a0-b7e8-cecba867a99f

Now, do not get me wrong I am in a way pleased by this announcement as I did enjoy seeing the Master reimagined as a woman and I think it is good to get the character back. However, I  have one very  huge misgiving about it… the character has really been killed far too many times now.

The Master was originally on his last (13th) regeneration in the Tom Baker episode The Deadly Assassin, the story which in fact established the canon that there are only 12 regenerations a Time Lord can have before they are finally and completely dead. Later stories in the Tom Baker/Peter Davison crossover point (Logopolis and Keeper of Traken) established a plausible means for keeping him alive a little longer using the possession of another character who looked remarkably like his original goatee bearded form (to the extent it probably is not a spoiler to tell you which character would get possessed…) as a reasonable excuse. This, however, did not give him any more regenerations – once that body (which was not a Time Lord body) died that was it so his quest from that point was to gain more regenerations. This was a fact the Time Lords themselves used as a bribe to get him to perform a task for them in the Five Doctors – the promise of a whole new regeneration cycle*. His appearances since then (some Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy episodes, the Paul McGann movie) were all aimed at that goal – for example trying to steal the Doctor’s remaining regenerations.**

Then at some point he finally did get given the new regeneration cycle because of his promises to help during the Time War and that leads us to Uptopia and the wonderful portrayal by Derek Jocobi who I would have liked to have seen more of before his regeneration to John Simms but the fact he did regenerate shows he had been paid in full by the Time Lords before legging it all the way to the end of the universe and activating his Chameleon arch.

So far so good. John Simm was a good Master and managed to give across the right level of insane evil coupled with that empathic bond with Tennant’s Doctor which rightly portrayed the Xavier/Magneto relationship inherent in their associations – two people who were as close as brothers driven apart by wildly different ideologies.

Then Simm’s Master died. Not in a ‘it’s ok, I will regenerate’ way and merely be played by yet another actor but in a ‘no, there is no way I will regenerate’ way.

Then he came back… in a way that was a little unrealistic and far fetched even for Who.

Then he died again… this time also in a way that seemed to preclude regeneration.

And then with very little explanation as to how it happened, ‘he’ came back as ‘she’. Perfectly fine if it had been a regeneration – oh how much we have wanted to see a regeneration from male to female – but again that was apparently not an option. He was dead and gone, no coming back. Yet suddenly she is back… did they give a reasonable reason why? Not that I noticed…

Finally, at the end of the last series, she is also killed and again regeneration seems unlikely… yet here she is, back and ready for more.

Now, to be fair, that last death may be more than it appears. I am willing to accept that since that episode’s final moments were all about lies (the Doctor’s lies to Clara about Gallifrey, her lies to him about being happy) its possible that her death was an elaborate illusion and she was merely teleported somewhere else with the appearance of being totally vaporised. It’s a trick used before in Who (the Big Brother episode in the Ecclestone series, for example) so I am willing to accept it is possible. However, it does not detract from the fundamental issue. Death should not be cheap.

Some characters are famous only for being killed…

Killing a character should have an emotional impact. Equally so should bringing them back from death. Having grown to love or hate them over the course of your reading or viewing of them, to have that character suddenly be taken from you should be a vicious and painful experience. As a reader or viewer you should feel that pain. However, the more you kill them and the more you bring them back the more you stretch the suspension of belief and the more you dilute the emotional impact. Recurring villains are great, a much loved staple of fantasy and SF and even less fantasy based stories such as the Three Musketeers, and used right they can be wonderful creations. However you can push it too far and using the ‘they’re finally dead for good and this time we mean it. Oh no, we totally didn’t mean it’ card too many times (or more than once, really) is not good storytelling. If you have a popular character who you think may be worth a reappearance it is better planning to not kill them off. Have them escape from being captured (the Master has done this a few times too) or simply slip out the back door while the heroes are battling the convenient distraction they arranged for them. This applies doubly to Time Lord enemies. After all, you already have a convenient and perfectly plausible method for them to come back from the dead (regeneration). Why have to go to all the effort of making up some new ways to bring them back after managing to eliminate that as an option? Fans would rather the enemy were still alive – so they and the heroes know they are still a threat – or able to come back in a way which does not seem too ridiculous and fits in with previous observed metaphysics of the way the universe works.

OK, yeah, in some universes (Marvel and DC I’m looking at you) the afterlife has a revolving door and characters pop in for a brief break between adventures only to pop back when sales of the comic drop. And let us not forget poor old Kenny in South Park. However, in most fictional universes, it is better to stick to a more realistic means of death in order to keep the audience with you. Less South Park, more Game of Thrones, make every death meaningful not a cheap joke or marketing ploy.

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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)

 

*Which incidentally also set up the canon that they can do that leaving the way clear for Moffat to have it happen to Matt Smith’s Doctor.

** May have been interesting at some point in all this to have seen a episode where he was trying to keep the Doctor alive out of enlightened self interest. After all, the more the Doctor dies and regenerates the less there is to steal…

[Cover reveal] Dianna Hardy’s Summer’s End

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Today we have a cover reveal by an old friend – Dianna Hardy of Vampire month fame (I believe she has done other things too… :) ). I’ll say no more and let the cover speak for itself.

Once Times Thrice is a series about loving big, living big and trusting big.

Contemporary romantic fiction, with just a touch of magic.

eBook Cover

Title: Summer’s End

Author: Dianna Hardy

Genre: Contemporary Romance with a Touch of Magic

Release Date: Autumn, 2015

Book 1: The Spell of Summer

ON SALE FOR 99c

ON AMAZON


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Lurking Miscellany trailer

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Now the book that is sort of named after this blog has a trailer that is also sort of named after this blog!

Thanks to the wonderful Rachel Bostwick (member of the wonderful Dragons Rocketship group and an excellent graphic designer whose custom work is available on Fiverr) you can now see Lurking Miscellany in AV format. Well, a trailer for it anyway.

And here it is:

Next up will be the trailer for Transitions…

 

Doctor Who: Agents of UNIT?

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I had meant to post about this not long after the final episode of the last series of Doctor Who aired. However, real life intervened and made my life a hell of busy days and frantic brain goblins. I’ve finally got some time now to get back into blogging and today saw me spot two articles online which triggered me to revisit some thoughts I had following the last episode.

Osgood: Phil Coulson for the Whoniverse?

First there was this one:

The Doctor could be female

Yeah, I feel it was fairly obvious that Moffat was using the gender switch with Missy as a way of basically setting a precedent to be used to allow the Doctor to one day have a similar switch. He also did the same with River Song – showing a regeneration from a young woman of colour to a middle aged, white woman. You can dredge up even earlier references to Time Lords even changing species, though Romana’s regeneration into several alien forms in Destiny of the Daleks is largely considered controversial for a number of reasons, it still shows the possibility exists. Not that this has triggered a similar change in the Doctor yet (unless you count Scottish as a change of race?) but the indication that Gallifreyians are basically blind to gender (and also likely race and species) is an encouraging thought and I hope that it is acted on sometime soon. Could this be an indication that Lenora Critchlow now has a good chance of being picked next?

c7de3-lenora_crichlow_2345432If it should happen that the Doctor becomes female I do hope that it is handled with sensitivity rather than being merely a gimmick. It needs to be done in such a way that the viewers can believe it is the same character and this is not always possible even with a male actor. As for any casting, it needs to be based on who can do the job well rather than focussing on any criteria like ‘has to be female’.

Next there was this little gem:

Bad news for Osgood fans

Now, when I first saw Osgood’s death (and man that hurt…) I did have a little suspicion. You see, the whole set up seemed remarkably familiar. Ancient, evil nemesis of one of the heroes is captured by secretive, government sponsored agency keyed to battling alien threats. Said nemesis escapes and in the course of their fiendishly clever plan to get out, manages to kill a high ranking, popular and geeky member of that agency. Was I the only one who was thinking ‘Avengers’? Whether it was deliberate tribute or unconscious copying, you cannot deny there is a link there between Osgood and good old Agent Coulson.

The British version has a better scarf

Which did make me wonder if the plan wasn’t to kick off a spin off series in which a mysteriously resurrected Osgood is put in charge of a rag tag group of UNIT agents and set to fly around the world in a converted jet solving problems and fighting HYDRA… erm, I mean, Daleks… who have infiltrated their organisation. Just picture it, the complicated spy games as they try to figure out which UNIT agents are actually Daleks in disguise (hint: if they can answer a question without using the word ‘Exterminate’ they are probably safe) and the big twist when they realise that one of their own is actually a traitor (they probably should have realised that Dr. Darian Alek was dodgy from his computerised voice and the sink plunger attached to his chest) and the emotional fallout that emerges from that. Has to be compelling viewing.

Though, wait a minute… Doctor Who has already had a popular character killed by a nemesis who mysteriously came back to life to lead a rag tag group of agents of a secretive organisation… Could Torchwood’s Captain Jack have actually been the inspiration Joss Whedon used for Phil Coulson in Agents of SHIELD?

I guess we could trace tropes ad infinitum and claim that all modern SF is actually derived from a stone tablet found in Babylon (probably written by Asimov or Jules Verne) because there isn’t really anything new anymore, just different ways of presenting the same ideas. But I suppose it is not too much of a stretch to wonder if Joss Whedon was familiar with the concept of Torchwood before he developed Agents of SHIELD.

So, in all, I think it is a shame that Osgood has been declared as ‘officially dead’ by Moffat. She was a wonderful character with a lot of potential. Certainly far better companion material than some that have been in that position in recent years. While as a writer I can see the benefit in killing off a popular but not critical character, I feel Osgood’s death was maybe a step too far.

Though, despite all this, I think Moffat is still being beaten by Whedon in the bastard of the century competition. After all, he did kill Wash. You have to be far more brutal in killing off your beloved characters to beat that.

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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)

[Cover Reveal] Popstars: Friends and Lovers by Karen Gordon

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“The poorest man is not the one with no penny in his pocket, but the one who has no dream.” 
– The Burnouts, Class of ‘99

Popstars, Friends, & Lovers (Burnouts #2)

Karen Gordon

Goodreads

Genre: NA Romance

Blurb

For two weeks Steve Shrader lived a dream. A dream that he didn’t even know existed until he felt it. For two weeks the kid with no mom had good food, clean clothes and sheets and Christmas. For two weeks he had love – in the form of Hello Kitty bandaids and hot soup and his best friend, MG. Then he screwed up, like he always did, and the dream he was living went away. 

Now school is over, MG is gone and he’s headed down the same path as all the adults in his life; drifting along, dodging or dealing with one sh*t-storm after another, numbing themselves with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. But he’s seen a better life. He’s seen what he wants. He wants MG. The question is how to get to her from where he is now.

MG dreams of living large in New York City. (OK, to tell the truth, it’s her mom’s dream, and she is just along for the ride.) But she’s gonna make it work – in a kick-ass, cool apartment, with a glam fashion job and photo shoots with rich friends in magazines – or not. She left everything she was sure of back home in St. Louis and almost everything she thought she knew about Manhattan and life isn’t turning out to be true. 

When her false dreams crumble and fall though her hands she’s left with what’s real. A real life with a real job and real love; and it can all be hers if she’s brave enough to believe in herself and go after what she truly wants. 

Their love story started in Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks: a love story, now it continues in Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale. MG, the best friend with a talent for trouble, and Steve, the most laid back hero in romance novel history, are back. With old friends from high school and a crazed array of new ones they go for a win in the game called life.

Expected Publication Date: November 2, 2014

 

Excerpt 

Junior Prom, 1998

They all piled into the limo, ready for food and a reprieve from the stares and drama that had been prom. Steve scooted across the bench seat to make room for his dates: Carrie, Casey, Gina, and MG. Casey wanted the window seat so she crawled over his lap, almost kneeing him in the balls on her way.

 “Case, jezus!” He doubled over, protecting himself.

Her look of surprise said she hadn’t really noticed who she had just climbed over.

Gina and Carrie arranged themselves on either side of him, popped off their high-heeled shoes and draped their legs across his to rest their feet. He unconsciously grabbed their toes and started rubbing, causing both of them to moan in ecstasy. But his mind was on MG, kneeling on the rear facing seat with her butt squarely in his field of vision while she gave the driver directions to the all-night pancake restaurant.

At least fifteen different guys must have come up to him tonight and high-fived or fist bumped him for having four dates to prom. Fifteen guys who normally never talked to him but probably talked about him as a burnout, drug addict, loser. He’d never considered himself the smartest guy, but he was sure as shit smarter than them when it came to girls.

It started when he was fourteen. Girls started coming on to him, usually older ones. That was the summer he grew five inches and towered over all his friends at a gangly six feet tall. That was also the summer that his dad stopped making him get his hair cut. Women of all ages couldn’t seem to keep their hands out of the dark brown waves.

Desiree was sixteen and lived in his apartment complex. She gave him his first joint and first kiss and he was hooked. He loved everything about both, especially the way they made him feel. Having grown up with only his dad and brother, girls were exotic to him and he couldn’t get enough time hanging out with them. He wanted to hear what they had to say, study their bodies, taste them, smell them, make them smile. Desiree and her friends taught him how to do just that in a way that guaranteed they couldn’t get pregnant. He had hours and hours of oral lessons from his first girlfriends. When he met MG he volunteered to teach her, then Casey, then Gina (though they never got that far). He’d be happy to go over the finer points with Carrie too if she ever asked.

“Don’t stop!” Carrie moaned and he went back to rubbing her feet. Casey took off her shoes and stuck her feet on his lap too. He rotated rubbing Carrie’s, then Gina’s, then Casey’s. MG’s were notably missing.

♪   ☺   ♥

The tough-looking night shift waitress at Paul’s Pancakes flirted with him. She teased him about what he had to keep four dates happy then passed him her number on the back of the check.

Gina saw it first when she grabbed the check to divide the total by five. “So, who do you think this is for?” She joked as she held it up to show the others. They all smirked at Steve.

He shrugged off his innocence. “What?” There was no jealousy in the group. If he wanted to call the waitress he could. But that was the problem too, there was no jealousy, especially not from the one he wanted it from.

MG wiped the last of the syrup from her plate with her finger and licked it off. Steve watched her with rapt attention. Try as he might he couldn’t give up the hope that she might really care, that he hadn’t majorly fucked up when he told her that he loved her. He breathed out his frustration and looked away. Carrie caught him and gave him a small smile of understanding. She had it just as bad for her neighbor Ben as he did for MG.

He thought back to the two weeks when he had lived at MG’s house. His older brother Tony (better known as Stony) had come home wasted and beat the crap out of him. When he got to a pay phone the only person he wanted to call was MG and she didn’t hesitate to drive in a snow-storm and come get him. Then she took care of him, well, her and her mom. She put Hello Kitty band-aids all over him and made him laugh through his pain. She made stupid airplane noises and fed him soup because he could hardly move his shoulder and his lip was too swollen to eat solids his first day there. She fell asleep, spooned against him, watching movies on the couch in her upstairs TV room. He even stayed through Christmas. She bought him fingerless gloves and a hat, and her mom spent way too much on a new leather jacket for him. Best damn Christmas he could ever remember. Best two weeks he could ever remember. He wanted more of it.

But he fuckin blew it. Somewhere in the middle of telling her about his memories of his step-mom, he told MG that he loved her. He meant it, but he should have kept his mouth shut. Ever since then, they were still friends, but … it just wasn’t the same. She barely touched him anymore.

♪   ☺   ♥

After pancakes they were all back at MG’s house where Steve was sprawled on the couch in the upstairs TV room. He had changed out of his tuxedo and was waiting for the girls to finish changing. It was past two a.m. and he had really had enough for the night, but MG insisted they needed to stay out all night. He slumped over the plump arm of the soft chenille sofa. Gina came in and flopped across the giant bean bag chair, looking like she had had enough too. Carrie and Casey both stretched out on the carpeted floor, sharing one of the big floor pillows for their heads.

“Don’t go to sleep,” he warned. “She’ll drag your ass down the stairs and out the door.” When it came to fun, MG was determined. If she wanted to stay out all night, they would all stay out all night, even if she had to drag them kicking and screaming.

But MG took too long to get ready (nothing new there) and they were all breathing deeply, sound asleep, when she came in the room.

“Come on you guys,” she pleaded to the silent room, then gave up when no one stirred and pulled a pile of blankets from the hall linen closet. Through half-open eyes Steve watched her drape a blanket over Carrie and Casey, then Gina. He closed his eyes when she sat on the coffee table in front of him, wondering what she would say or do if she thought he was asleep. She reached forward and twirled some of his wavy hair around her finger. She had been doing that ever since they met sophomore year. It made his hair stand up and her laugh.

He was half on the couch, one leg still on the floor. She laid the blanket over him and leaned in and sniffed his shirt when she tucked it around his neck. Hopefully smelling his cologne (not that he owned any). He had stopped by Walgreens to use a sample on his way to her house.

His heart lurched when he felt her climb over him and under the blanket and snuggle into his back. Her arm wrapped around him and burrowed into a warm spot against his chest. He opened his eyes and swallowed, willing his traitor heart to slow down before she could feel his reaction to her, that stupid hope he worked hard to keep buried. In his mind “Love Sucks” by the Addicts played in a loop ‘til he fell asleep.

 

Burnouts, Geeks, & Jesus Freaks (Burnouts #1)

Goodreads

Publication Date: February 24, 2014

They’re burnouts – a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun. With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity. To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else. 


He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her. 

Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust. 

***This book is recommended for readers age 17 and older due to sexual content. 

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK  

 

 

About the Author

Karen Gordon was born and raised in the suburban paradise of St. Charles, MO, on the outskirts of St. Louis. She earned a B.S. in English from the University of Central Missouri (BS being the operative term) and a M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where, always a rebel, she graduated in a hot pink mortarboard because she didn’t like the school colors.


She currently resides in Olive Branch, MS (formerly Cow Pen) on the outskirts of Memphis, TN with her 2.5 super-smart kids, and an amazingly-funny, cute, geeky husband.
When not writing, she is a stay-at-home mom (chick in charge) and part-time teacher. Any down time is spent reading, catching up with friends and obsessively worrying about every little thing.


Her first novel, “Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks: a love story” was published in March of 2014 with the second novel in the Burnouts series, “Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale” being released in November, 2014. She is currently working on the third, and final, novel in the series, tentatively title “Boi H.E.A.”

Contact the Author

Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter: @joiedemidvivre | Email | Pinterest | Google +

 

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‘Final Empire’, the Conclusion of the Amazon Bestselling series, Includes Art from Marvel, DC, Image, and IDW Talent

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The Arena Mode Saga is drawing to a conclusion with ‘Final Empire’, the third and final book of the bestselling sci-fi/superhero series by Canadian author Blake Northcott.

The 300+ page novel will be available on Kickstarter beginning October 18th, and will include illustrations throughout by a number of notable artists:

  • Natasha Allegri (Adventure Time, Fionna and Cake)
  • John Broglia (God Complex, Unmasked)
  • Joe Corroney (Star Wars, Star Trek)
  • Derek Laufman (Batman Black & White, Marvel vs. Capcom)
  • Mark McKenna (Star Wars: Old Republic, Justice League)
  • Steve McNiven (Death of Wolverine, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • David Nakayama (Deadpool cover artist)
  • Roc Upchurch (Rat Queens)

As well as illustrations from Thor Mangila of Iron Age Comics, and YouTube personality Comic Book Girl 19.

“I know it sounds cliché, but the Arena Mode series has truly changed my life,” says Northcott. “Without these books, I don’t know where I’d be today. I owe everything to the amazing artists who have contributed to the series, and the fans who believed in this crazy idea.”

Combining a novel with comic book art has paid off for the author: the first two books in the trilogy – ‘Arena Mode’, and the sequel, ‘Assault or Attrition’ – made waves in 2013 by generating more than $65,000 USD in Kickstarter pledges. They featured art by an all-star line-up of comic book heavyweights, including Dave Johnson, Barry Kitson, and Dan Panosian.

‘Arena Mode’ went on to become the #1 selling novel on Amazon Kindle UK throughout February and March of 2014 (both in the ‘science-fiction’ and ‘superhero’ graphic novel categories), outselling titles like The Walking Dead and Dr. Who - and the Arena Mode books are now part of a high school curriculum in the state of Florida.

Blake also has personal endorsements from some of the most iconic names in the comic industry; including writers Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted) and Mark Waid (Kingdom Come).

“It’s bittersweet to see the series end,” Northcott adds. “I’ve had so many people ask if I’d consider a fourth book, which is so flattering, but at this point I’d rather leave things as they are. I have what I believe is a very satisfying conclusion planned, and I don’t want to ruin the final send-off by overstaying my welcome.”

Blake is not a fan of some of the rumors regarding bestselling series adding more volumes to appease their rabid fan-bases. “Who wants to see a fourth ‘Hunger Games’ or another ‘Harry Potter’? I loved those books too, but they’re done. There’s nothing left to say. Every story organically comes to a close, and forcing it further will just tarnish everything that came before. I don’t want to end up in that category.”

You can find out more about ‘Final Empire’ at ArenaMode.com, and you can follow Blake on Twitter @ComicBookGrrl or Facebook.

###

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

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