Sunday, May 30, 2010

Berserk

berserker
Main Entry: ber·serk
Pronunciation: \bə(r)-ˈsərk, ˌbər-, -ˈzərk; ˈbər-ˌ\
Variant(s): or ber·serk·er \-ˈsər-kər, -ˈzər-; ˈbər-ˌ\
Function: noun
Etymology: Old Norse berserkr, probably from ber- bear + serkr shirt
Date: 1818

1 : an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable
2 : one whose actions are recklessly defiant
From berserker


I have talked a lot about my vampires, but what about the others that are in my novel?
The first one you met is Swen, the berserk.

Berserks are not used much in modern fantasy stories. You can find them a plenty in any stories based in Norse mythology. But what about modern times, could berserks be around?

First who where they?
The name berserker arose from their reputed habit of wearing a kind of shirt or coat (Old Norse: serkr) made from the pelt of a bear (Old Norse: ber-) during battle. In earlier studies, the element ber- was often misinterpreted as berr-, meaning "bare", understood as indicating that the berserkers fought naked. This view has since been abandoned
From Wikipedia

The simplest explanation is given above. They were warriors that were unstoppable in battle that wore bear furs.

But there is more to it.
The berserker, too, was often said to change into bestial form, or at least to assume the ferocious qualities of the wolf or bear. Kveldulfr in Egils Saga Skallagrímsonar was spoken of as a shapechanger (Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans. Egil's Saga. NY: Penguin. 1976. p. 21), and Hrolf's Saga tells of the hero Bjarki, who takes on the shape of a bear in battle:

Men saw that a great bear went before King Hrolf's men, keeping always near the king. He slew more men with his forepaws than any five of the king's champions. Blades and weapons glanced off him, and he brought down both men and horses in King Hjorvard's forces, and everything which came in his path he crushed to death with his teeth, so that panic and terror swept through King Hjorvard's army..." (Gwyn Jones. Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas. NY: Oxford Univ. Press. 1961. p. 313).
From Viking Answer Lady

So Swen changes into a bear. Doesn't sound too bad.

Berserks were tied to the god Odin.

It is likely that the berserk was actually a member of the cult of Óðinn. The practices of such a cult would have been a secret of the group's initiates, although the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII refers in his Book of Ceremonies to a "Gothic Dance" performed by members of his Varangian guard, who took part wearing animal skins and masks: this may have been connected with berserker rites (Hilda R. Ellis-Davidson. Pagan Scandinavia. NY: Frederick A. Praeger. 1967. p. 100). This type of costumed dance is also seen in figures from Swedish helmet plates, scabbard ornaments, and bracteates which depict human figures with the heads of bears or wolves, dressed in animal skins but having human hands and feet. These figures often carry spears or swords, and are depicted as running or dancing. One plate from Torslunda, Sweden, may show the figure of Óðinn dancing with such a bear figure.
From Viking Answer Lady

So Swen changes into a bear and worships Odin?

Correct.

In my story Swen is an Asatru. A former Marine that is now the bouncer at the Burgundy Rathskeller. He can turn into a bear when provoked. The problem is once he is a bear, or a bear-like being, he is unstoppable and will attacks friends as well as foes. He has to literally cool off. I can no longer find the reference of one berserk that had to be dragged behind the ship in the ocean, until he calmed down. But that passage influenced how I see Swen

Swen is loyal and expects loyalty back. If he finds you to be an honorable person (or vampire), he will help to protect you. But when he turns no one should stand in his way. The people around him have learned how to help him control his rages. His girlfriend Cassie, is easy going, and loves Swen dearly. He would never harm her, even in his rage (he says). Vincent can order him, but is still cautious around him.

I do promise Swen's role becomes much larger as the series progresses, but for now, just don't piss off the bouncer.

Update time!

I have had to put my one of my  WIP's on the back burner and concentrate on my next novel coming out.  Because If I don't. It won't be copy-edited in time to publish.

So where did I leave off.
Lucas is almost done, I am at the final battle, that sets the tone for the next part of the series. Shelved for now.

Minstrels!! I got them to the main town. They are about ready to take over the last act completely.

But the second book in my current series. Is coming along nicely.  I added a whole chapter last night. It finished a minor arc for the MC and gave you a look into his darker side. So the fight that is coming up, will not be such a shock.

The editing is moving well. I have a beta reader too. She really gives me good insight and funny comments. (still giggling over the Chuck Norris one)

Keep you posted.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Quick recap on the book launch

Overall, being a first time author, with no name recognition. It went good. Oh hell, IT WAS AWESOME!.

I sold nearly half of the books I brought down. I was hoping to sell all (we all hope that), but I think the amount I sold was still very good.

Some highlights and praises.

One woman had taken a copy she got last week to California. Her niece is a big Twilight and True Blood fan. So one day, her niece makes the woman sit down to watch Twilight. The niece picks up my book, scans it, starts reading it while the movie is going. She didn't realize the movie had ended and WOULD NOT give the woman my book back! So she had to buy a new copy!

Necks were bitten, but sorry until the pictures come out, it's hard to explain why....

I got another local bookstore interested in carrying the book, the woman did not have the authority to say okay, but she will help me set up a meeting with the right person.

I met another woman that has fallen in love with one of the characters (Vincent). When she found out that he is the main character of the next book. She wanted to pre-order three copies that night.

But the best part of the night was meeting the people and talking with them. The conversations were about the book, how I did it, why I did it, how much they like it, etc.

I could get used to this.

One of my best customers, didn't buy a thing, but purred encouragement.

By the way. It was such a success, we are setting another up in the middle of the summer on the weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why not call it horror?

Cross post with mariminiatt.com

You will notice I call my current novel a dark, urban, fantasy. Why didn't I call it horror?  Because as a horror fan, it did not scare me. I know a couple of readers got scared, but I still would not call it horror.  Some might for one reason. Vampires.

Unfortunately, now a days, putting a vampire in the story doesn't guarantee it's a horror story. Think of the two biggest vampire fictions out there now; Twilight and the Dead series (aka True Blood). Would you seriously tell someone to watch or read them because of the horror? No.

My vamps are more traditional. They can be frightening, so why not call it horror? Because there are no scares. Well, not a lot. I wanted to tell the story from the vampire's side. So what they might do would be horrific from the human stand point. To them it's just part of their unlife. Why should it be such a dilemma to ingest blood, when that is what you were made to do? Only a human would find it disgusting.

I have a few horror stories, shelved away for future use. Another vampire story, a ghost story, even kicking around the idea of a mummy story, too.  Those are more horror because I focus on the fear.  Fledgling focuses on adjustment and acceptance.

And even though two of the characters end up a couple. I will not call it paranormal romance either, but that is a whole other blog topic.

Why not call it horror?

You will notice I call my current novel a dark, urban, fantasy. Why didn't I call it horror?  Because as a horror fan, it did not scare me. I know a couple of readers got scared, but I still would not call it horror.  Some might for one reason. Vampires.

Unfortunately, now a days, putting a vampire in the story doesn't guarantee it's a horror story. Think of the two biggest vampire fictions out there now; Twilight and the Dead series (aka True Blood). Would you seriously tell someone to watch or read them because of the horror? No.

My vamps are more traditional. They can be frightening, so why not call it horror? Because there are no scares. Well, not a lot. I wanted to tell the story from the vampire's side. So what they might do would be horrific from the human stand point. To them it's just part of their unlife. Why should it be such a dilemma to ingest blood, when that is what you were made to do? Only a human would find it disgusting.

I have a few horror stories, shelved away for future use. Another vampire story, a ghost story, even kicking around the idea of a mummy story, too.  Those are more horror because I focus on the fear.  Fledgling focuses on adjustment and acceptance.

And even though two of the characters end up a couple. I will not call it paranormal romance either, but that is a whole other blog topic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Preview Wednesday: Chapter 20

This is where they find some interesting pieces of Jewelry.
 
   This room reminded Beka of the living room at the homeless shelter she had stayed at. Functional, but not lived in. She doubted that there was anything here. It would have to be somewhere more private.
  She turned to Jimmy. “Can I use your bathroom?”
  Jimmy nodded, not taking his eyes off Andi. He waved his hand to the stairs.
  The upstairs had one long hallway with many doors along it. Beka opened the first one. It was a bedroom. The bunk beds and cots were arranged in the room, to fit as many people in it as possible. Each bed had a small chest in front of it.   She shook her head. She had more privacy when she was in the hospitals.
  The next room was set up the same way. Beka tried the next door, it was the bathroom. It was modest in size, but spotless. The room looked like it was a picture in a magazine. Something was very wrong about that. With this many people in the house, Beka thought, there should at least be a piece of used soap.
  On the other side of the hall was the first single person bedroom she found. It was no bigger than her closet. A small cot, desk, and little space for clothes. There were four other rooms arranged in the same way.
  She came to the door at the end of the hall. It was locked. Beka forced the doorknob and broke the lock. When she saw the coffin in the middle of the room, Beka thought, Bingo.
  The coffin laid in the middle of the room, open and empty. Beka walked behind it, now straining her ears to listen for anyone coming up the stairs. She could hear Jimmy and Andi talking, the two video game players, and Steopa looking through a book.
  She forced open the old roll top type desk. A locked box and a book were the only things inside. She flipped through the book. There were many illustrations of the human body, but it was written in Latin, so Beka could not read it.
  The illustration of a mouth caught Beka eye. The long canine teeth had little tubes running from their tips to the esophagus. The illustration next to the first showed a thin tube running from the tip of the tongue to the heart.
  She turned to the last page and a card fell out. Beka picked it up. It was the business card for the antique store that had been a site of some of the murders. She closed the book and stuffed it down the front of her pants, using her loose shirt to cover any sign that she had taken it.
  She paused and listened. No change in the sounds downstairs. Beka opened the locked box. She found letters, written in a language she didn't recognize. A few photographs. One was a photo of a group of large, mustached businessmen, standing in a circle. The handwriting on the bottom of the photo was, “Order of the Vril Orphans.” She recognized where the photo had been taken: in the altar room under the Rathskeller. She quickly slid the photo in her back pocket.
Beka noticed a small black box in the coffin. She opened the box. A ring and a necklace sat on a black velvet inside the box. Both pieces of jewelry had liquid inside the jewels. As she rocked the box back and forth, the liquid moved.
  She heard someone walk up the stairs. Beka pocketed the box, closed the lock box, the desk, and the room. She had just got to the bathroom door, when one of the video game players came down the hallway.
  Beka walked pass him and downstairs. Steopa looked up, she winked.
  Steopa turned to Andi. “We have to go,” he said.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Here it comes.... with thank yous

This Thursday from 3 to 8 pm, my book will be officially launched into the public.A case of the nerves? How about a warehouse full?

So this craziness has put the podcast on hold, but I think it's worth it.

How did I get this far?  I have spoke about the girls at the Enchanted Bazaar before. Last year I mentioned I wrote. Flora wanted to see one of my works. Her reaction to chapter one was the reason I jumped into this. If one person could scream out in a busy store "Oh My GOD! He's gonna kill her!" then I had something worth showing to others.

This is also the reason I went self published. Believe me, I wanted to go the traditional path. I did want to prove myself by sending off the manuscripts and hoping it would make a connection with someone, BUT I had people asking me, where's the book?  I want a copy, how long until it's out? Why should I have kept them waiting?

Times are changing. When you can download a movie in a matter of minutes; get an album in less time; and connect with people all over the world in a matter of seconds; waiting YEARS for a book to come out, is getting old.

I did not want to disappoint my readers.  I tried to put out the best possible book I could, although I admit I am still wincing at some of the writing, but the people that have read it, don't notice. I didn't want to put out just anything. So I got an editor (THANKS JOSH!), worked with my husband on the cover (back off, he's an artist!), and picked the brains of some of the best self publishing sites out there.

I am going to be honest. This will not be my best work. But then I look at the work of Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic is good, but not as good as his later stuff. Same with Steven King. Carrie is a great story, but Misery is so much better.  I will work to make my novels better, that is a promise.

So here it is, my thanks to all the people that put up with this craziness (if I forgot to list your name, you know who you are, don't worry it wasn't meant to mean anything mean, I have a long list)
Matt, Miles, Alex, Veronica, Jeremiah, Flora, Teri, Morgan, People at Critter.org, Maurice, Laurie, Josh, NaNoWriMo forum posters, Joyce (dino), Joyce (J.J), Autumn, Downtown Writers Center (promise I will take another class when I have the time), people from #writechat, #amwriting, #storycraft, Mike, Cathy and Mike, and so many more.

THANK YOU

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Movie of my book, why not? X-post

This was posted at my main blog, but it's about the book, so I will share it here.

Over at Werewolf Kibble M.T Murphy asks  fellow authors to dream a little.
Assume you have just won the equivalent of the literary lottery and a major film studio wants to turn your work into a big-budget motion picture. Which of your stories would you like to see as a film, and who would you want to be involved (actors, director, etc.)? Also, CGI or no CGI?
So here is mine for Fledgling. Some of these have been cast in my head since the story began.

Director
Ohhh toss up here. I have three that if they called me, after I stopped chanted "I'm not worthy", I would gladly hand over the movie interpretation to.

Guillermo Del Toro: Hellboy, Pan's Labyrith, The Orphange, etc. He knows how to tell a good story. He likes the monsters to be interesting. And his vampire book kicked ass.


And next to Del Toro is choice number 2:
Peter Jackson: I loved Lord of the Rings. But it's what he did with Frighteners and Lovely Bones is what I think would work with my story.

Number 3: Mr. Rob Zombie:


I didn't care for House of a 1,000 Corpses, but I loved Devils Rejects. And I did like his take on Halloween (ducking for cover from the vocal haters). As you see who I want cast, you can see he would make a great choice.

Characters
Beka
Joy Nash:
You don't know who she is?
She came to You Tube fame in her Fat Rant videos. I love her honest take on what us, fuller figure gals have to put up with.

She would be great as Beka. In one video she plays multiple parts. I really think she could pull off Beka's change from a self centered, drama queen, to a vampire.



Steopa
Here is the hard one to cast.  For one you have to find some one already tall, and make them look to be 7 feet. There is one that comes to mind.



Tyler Mane

He's already close to 7 feet tall at 6' 8".  I don't think he would have any problem with the physical aspects of the character. I would like to see if he can pull off a good Slavic accent.


Vincent
Tough call: A good looking smart ass.

Jude Law

I think he would be an interesting choice. He has the right smile for the part.



Ogden
Only one choice for me:

 Jason Isaacs:

Great at playing the villains, but what really swayed me was his double roll in Peter Pan. One extreme Mr. Darling, the hardworking, nervous father. Then you had him playing Hook.
He could bring just enough menace to the proper vampire.


John
Another tough call. So I will chose someone not expected.

Patrick Wilson

Most people will know him as Nite Owl. I think he would make an interesting choice. John is a minor character in the Fledgling, but he has an important part. I think someone with a good theater background could make the part bigger.


Lorelei
Well, if Rob Zombie is a director. There is a part for...

Sheri Moon Zombie
I like the roles I have seen her do. But it's the role of Micheal Myer's mother that would make her perfect for Lorelei.
Lorelei runs that bar, and has to keep the vampires and all of the other craziness in check. Not a weak woman at all.


Andi
Here is where you could get the latest Disney star. But I want.

Lily Cole

I loved her in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. She can be cute, and  mean at the same time. She can pull off the extremely young looking Andi, while having the maturity to play her real age.


Swen
The perfect physical look for Swen is a guitarist that will not be named. So I will have to pick...

Gerald Butler
If he is willing to go blond, I think he would make a great Swen. He's already played Beowulf and Attila. So that is a great pedigree for the role.




Special effects.
Except for one or two scenes. Most of the shots could be done without CGI. I would want it used sparingly. I think it would a nice homage to some of my favorite vampire films that didn't use a lot of special effects.
Thankfully, there would not be a lot of "wire fu" in this either.

This was a lot of fun. If it ever gets made (one can dream), I hope they find this blog post and have a good laugh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Preview Wednesday: Chapter 19

As I get closer to the end of the book it's getting harder to find a preview that doesn't give much away....


  He walked over to the sword display. He took one down and swung it around a few times, then he placed it in a scabbard on his side.
  “You know how to use them?” Beka asked.
  Steopa nodded. He flung his long hair back as he reached for his long overcoat.
  “My dad wanted me to learn how to fence,” she said.
  He lowered his hand. “Did you learn?”
  Beka shook her head. “No, mom didn't think girls should play with swords.”
  “Fencing is not playing,” Steopa said.
  He pulled the sword out of his scabbard. He brought it over to Beka, holding the blade flat against his other hand. The thick blade was a few feet long. One edge of the blade was sharpened, the other edge looked like a large steak knife.
  “This sword is not for fencing,” Steopa said.
  “What is it for, then?” Beka asked.
  “Killing.” He turned the blade side down. “These teeth here rip out flesh.”
  He slapped the flat of the blade against his hand. “It is heavy enough to be used as a club.”
  He flipped the sword around and held it out to her, handle out. “Take it,”
  She wrapped her fingers around the sword handle. She could feel its weight. A few days ago she would have had trouble lifting it.
  Steopa pulled it out of her hand. “We will have to work on your grip.”
  “You'll show me?”
  “Yes. We can use our claws and teeth, but sometimes you need to have a weapon in your hand.”
  Steopa slid the sword back into the scabbard. He put on his long coat, adjusting the scabbard so it would not show.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Digging through the mud

Two posts in two days, what is wrong with me?

This is about the "advice" you will get when you decide to take the plunge and become an Independent Author.  I am not talking about the good advice you will get, such as from The Publetariat. No, I am talking about the advice that should send your b*llsh!t radar into over drive.

Biggest one: Write your book fast, find your niche and SELL.

The ones that tell you this are A: Selling their book that they wrote fast. or B: Selling you an overpriced service. And C: Have nothing to do with fiction writers.

Write your book fast:  I do write my first draft fast. I can put a full length novel out in 30 days. But that draft is utter crap. You have to edit, rewrite, ask readers, edit, rewrite. I can put a book out in six months, if I work really hard at it. But some of my titles won't see the light of day for years. You can write fast, but it won't be good.

Find you niche: This advice comes from the idea of thinking of the business end over your writing. Keep the business in mind. But the way this advice works is that you find something that has not been done before and do it. My problem with that is, you might get lucky. If no one has ever seen a book on how to train your bamboo plant to cook, but it takes the fun out of the writing.
Write what you know, write what YOU want to write. Readers are smart, they can pick out a book written to compete with the latest book trends. Those books are cookie cutter and lack emotion. If you are really passionate about your writing, the readers will be passionate too. And it won't matter that it's not the latest book trend.

SELL  Selling is important. But the advice above, its SELL, not sell. In other words they want you to shove your book down people's throats. You know what that is going to do, turn people off. You do have to get the word out about your writing. You do have to let people know it's there. But don't be a jackass.
Also they don't take in account that if you have written a book that others find fun, they will help you sell. That's how I landed my book launch party.  Use the idea of the street team from music. Once you have your product out, get a fan base going, make it fun for your fans to promote. That works in a lot of places. And with social media, is a lot better than BUY MY BOOK!!!!!

The other thing to watch out for is large promises.
I MAID $35,000 WITH MY BOOK IN ONE WEEK (spelling error intentional)


Don't look at those posts, throw the snail mail away. It will not happen, unless you are lucky enough to be a blockbuster author. I'm going to be happy with breaking even in THREE years or less. Many of us are publishing our books because our family and friends want copies, or we just want to share, or we would like to make some money, but we know it's an up hill battle.

Don't buy the hype. Do what you love first, then get the good advice.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Movie of my book, why not?

Over at Werewolf Kibble M.T Murphy asks  fellow authors to dream a little.
Assume you have just won the equivalent of the literary lottery and a major film studio wants to turn your work into a big-budget motion picture. Which of your stories would you like to see as a film, and who would you want to be involved (actors, director, etc.)? Also, CGI or no CGI?
So here is mine for Fledgling. Some of these have been cast in my head since the story began.

Director
Ohhh toss up here. I have three that if they called me, after I stopped chanted "I'm not worthy", I would gladly hand over the movie interpretation to.

Guillermo Del Toro: Hellboy, Pan's Labyrith, The Orphange, etc. He knows how to tell a good story. He likes the monsters to be interesting. And his vampire book kicked ass.


And next to Del Toro is choice number 2:
Peter Jackson: I loved Lord of the Rings. But it's what he did with Frighteners and Lovely Bones is what I think would work with my story.

Number 3: Mr. Rob Zombie:


I didn't care for House of a 1,000 Corpses, but I loved Devils Rejects. And I did like his take on Halloween (ducking for cover from the vocal haters). As you see who I want cast, you can see he would make a great choice.

Characters
Beka
Joy Nash:
You don't know who she is?
She came to You Tube fame in her Fat Rant videos. I love her honest take on what us, fuller figure gals have to put up with.

She would be great as Beka. In one video she plays multiple parts. I really think she could pull off Beka's change from a self centered, drama queen, to a vampire.



Steopa
Here is the hard one to cast.  For one you have to find some one already tall, and make them look to be 7 feet. There is one that comes to mind.



Tyler Mane

He's already close to 7 feet tall at 6' 8".  I don't think he would have any problem with the physical aspects of the character. I would like to see if he can pull off a good Slavic accent.


Vincent
Tough call: A good looking smart ass.

Jude Law

I think he would be an interesting choice. He has the right smile for the part.



Ogden
Only one choice for me:

 Jason Isaacs:

Great at playing the villains, but what really swayed me was his double roll in Peter Pan. One extreme Mr. Darling, the hardworking, nervous father. Then you had him playing Hook.
He could bring just enough menace to the proper vampire.


John
Another tough call. So I will chose someone not expected.

Patrick Wilson

Most people will know him as Nite Owl. I think he would make an interesting choice. John is a minor character in the Fledgling, but he has an important part. I think someone with a good theater background could make the part bigger.


Lorelei
Well, if Rob Zombie is a director. There is a part for...

Sheri Moon Zombie
I like the roles I have seen her do. But it's the role of Micheal Myer's mother that would make her perfect for Lorelei.
Lorelei runs that bar, and has to keep the vampires and all of the other craziness in check. Not a weak woman at all.


Andi
Here is where you could get the latest Disney star. But I want.

Lily Cole

I loved her in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. She can be cute, and  mean at the same time. She can pull off the extremely young looking Andi, while having the maturity to play her real age.


Swen
The perfect physical look for Swen is a guitarist that will not be named. So I will have to pick...

Gerald Butler
If he is willing to go blond, I think he would make a great Swen. He's already played Beowulf and Attila. So that is a great pedigree for the role.




Special effects.
Except for one or two scenes. Most of the shots could be done without CGI. I would want it used sparingly. I think it would a nice homage to some of my favorite vampire films that didn't use a lot of special effects.
Thankfully, there would not be a lot of "wire fu" in this either.

This was a lot of fun. If it ever gets made (one can dream), I hope they find this blog post and have a good laugh.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fell behind

Last week was not a good week for my writing. The head cold made it hard for me to think. I hurt my neck, hard to stare at the computer screen. I fell behind in my WIPs, luckily I was way ahead of my goals, so I did not fall so far behind I felt like giving up.

Book Launch Craziness

To the left of this post is a countdown timer to my book launch party. This is not a book signing, that is only a part of it. This is a PARTY.
There is a lot of things to take care of. Food, drink, games, music, of course me and my books. And the store, Enchanted Bazaar, has been wonderful in helping set it up. For those of you that want to do more of a party and not just a signing. Here's what we have done, so far.

Choose a good date.
We picked May 27th, because was the closest day to the Memorial Day weekend that the owner of the shop could be at the store. But because of our location, we should get a lot of curiosity seekers.

Location
A bookstore might be your first choice, but this shop is an art / metaphysical gift shop. I am a local author, the shop promotes local artist of all kinds. It is also next to Dinosaur BBQ , a nationally known local place. It is always packed, but being the start of a holiday weekend, we expect a lot of people wandering in from that.

Advertise
I could have done better here, but the budget was thin.  What we did (the shop did a lot) is I made fliers to hand out. I posted the Facebook event page. But most of the work was done by the shop (if you get one like this be extra good to them). They got the fliers into Dinosaur BBQ, they handed out the fliers to anyone that walked into the store, Sent out invites on the email list (so far 20 confirmed from that!), Arranged for an interview with a local paper (Still waiting for the call). They did a lot more than me. But keep in mind some places will expect you to do it.


Fun Stuff
If you can only set up a table and sign books, you still have to get people over there and keep them. A little easier with my set up. It's a full party. Along with the signing of the books and planning the party trays (split half and half with the store, did I tell you how much I love them!). I planed a few contests and they did too.

  1. Vampire trivia (30 questions that only a real student of vampires would know, I will post them after the party)
  2. Word search. Took only a few minutes to set up at Armored Penguin.
  3. Costume contests. 
  4. Of course, readings from the book
  5. Music. To fit the mood, I am only allowing music from 1996 and before.
Books
Don't forget to bring the books! When we first set this up, I thought 30 would be fine. But now I am bring 50, they have sold 3 already!  So what am I going to do when I run out! We have a plan in place, they put their money down, with phone number and email. When the books arrive (about a week) they will be called. If someone is from out of town, I will direct them to my store on Createspace or to Amazon.

Incentives
I have one little incentive. A bookmark with a coupon to get the ebook version for free.

That is it for now. I will post later updates and of course pics from the event later. I hope this is helpful for anyone planning to do more than just a book signing. I wish you all luck.

My intentional changes to the vampire stereotypes.

I admit it, I did think hard about what type of vampires I wanted to write about.
There was a time when the story was more of a romance, but it seemed boring to me. And each vampire seemed a cookie cutter version of a movie vampire. Again boring.
So what I did was take each vampire and give them each a twist.

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
Art work By (c) Matt Miniatt



Rebecka "Beka"
What type of vampire does she become?  When you looked at the folklore, it was the mother, the brother, the husband, the son, someone close to the victims that was the vampire.

In Rhode Island this belief led to Mercy Brown's body being exhumed, her heart burned, and the ashes used in a drink, to try to cure her sick relatives. They believed that she was coming back after her death to make them ill.

She is that type, the most common type of vampire. The ones that comes back to their families. The difference is that her brother is cool with it and she doesn't want to feed off him.

So what is the twist?  I won't give it away, but I was inspired by Japanese anime and telekinetic powers that some vampires have.


Steopa Rodovitch
Steopa is the classic Slavic vampire. He speaks with the accent. Gone is the opera cloak, but he wears a Soviet military overcoat in it's place. He can be the most brutal vampire in the story. His strength is amazing. He will use his claws and his fangs to rip you apart.

So what is his twist? The big twist, I cannot say at this point. A minor one is the hair. His hair can move on it's own. Think of Medusa without the snakes.





Vincent Hugh
 The American vampire. The charmer, the seducer, the guy everyone likes. All so he can get you into his little room and have a meal. He doesn't have to kill you, but could.

He can turn to a mist (when is the last time you have seen that in a vampire movie?), he can get inside your head, and he get inside your body (mind out of the gutter, please.)

What's his twist? It is hinted at in this story. All I will say is that I was influenced by Pacific Islander Mythology.




Ogden Phelps
Here is the aristocratic vampire. The strange, rich man that lives in that mansion. You won't speak ill of him because you know he is powerful. But there is something odd about him.

What's the twist? There are two, but only one I will mention here. He is also a mage. Wizard if you prefer. (less Harry Potter and more John Dee). If he can't stop you using his vampire powers, he might just call up a demon to finish you off.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Preview Wednesday: Chapter 18

   Ogden stopped before he entered the room. He sat the bag down on the floor. “My goodness. Who used this before?"
   “A human who thought he could control the world,” Vincent said
   “I see, a madman,” Ogden said.
   Vincent and Ogden walked into the altar room. Beka paused at the door. The pressure from inside the room pushed her back. She turned to Steopa. He nodded once.
   “Yes, I feel it too.”
   “I don't know if I want to go in there,” Beka said.
   Steopa laid his arm around her shoulders. Beka crossed the threshold with him and the pressure changed. It felt as if something was pulling her into the room.
   Ogden walked around the altar, tapping the stones with his walking stick. He stopped and examined the step in the back. “This force is strong and it shouldn't be here. Do you think that human brought it here?”
   “I don't think so,” Vincent said. “I mean, he had traveled all over the world and picked up some strange stuff. But as for what's here, I think it was here already.”
   “A normal human should not have even known it was here,” Ogden said. “Was he a mystic?”
   Vincent shook his head.
   “Then he must have dabbled in magic,” Ogden said.
   “He thought he was a great wizard,” Vincent said, rolling his eyes.
   “He was lucky then,” Ogden said. “I really didn't understand the danger until I changed.”
   He laid his hands on the altar and pulled them away as if he had been burned. Ogden rubbed his hands. “That was unexpected.”
   He pointed to Beka, “Could you bring that box over?”
   Beka picked up the box and forced herself to walk to the altar. Even though the pull was strong, her body wanted to get away from it. She shoved the box into Ogden's hands.
   “Thank you,” he said.
   Ogden removed a crystal ball and a shallow bowl from the box. He placed the ball into the bowl, then sliced his wrist open with his thumbnail. He let a few drops of blood drip over the crystal ball and down into the bowl.
   “This power wants blood,” Ogden said. “The problem is that it had been getting the wrong kind. Animals would have only held it off for a short time. Human is what it craves.”
   Ogden pulled his wrist away. “But what it really wants is our blood.”
Drops of his blood slid over the edge of the bowl and down its sides. The drops hit the top of the altar. The altar glowed. The pressure stopped pulling Beka, it surged against her.
   “Are you trying to feed it?” Vincent asked.
   Ogden shook his head. “It doesn't want to feed from us. But it does want our blood.”
   “What's the difference?” Vincent asked.
   “It only wants a few drops. Perhaps it needs to make a connection to us,” Ogden said. “But when it wants to feed, it wants as much as it can get.”
   “Could there be a vampire buried there?” Beka asked.
   Ogden shook his head. “Not likely.”
   “When we hide in the dirt,” Steopa said, leaning over Beka's shoulder, "We shut down, just like a corpse. There would be no way of knowing if we were in the ground.”
   Ogden studied the crystal ball with his finger pressed against his lips. He reached into the box and pulled out a clear crystal. He tied a piece of leather to the crystal.
   “I think it is intelligent,” he said.
   He held the crystal above the bowl. The crystal started to swing erratically. Ogden pulled the crystal back. He walked around altar.
   “How well can you protect this spot?” he asked Vincent.
   “So far, so good,” Vincent said.
   “This vampire, Jalmari, correct? He is possibly looking for this item. Does he give up easily?” Ogden asked Steopa.
   Steopa shook his head.
   “We have to dig it up and move it,” Ogden said.
   “I suppose you want it?” Vincent asked.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Assignment for #storycraft

#storycraft is a great little chat on Sundays on Twitter. Everyweek we are given an assignment. This week was:
"Tell a story w/ 300-500 words of dialogue Tags &action description ok but no exposition!"

Here is mine, a bit from my WIP about Kat. This is the middle of a long dinner scene. To catch up, Kat was injured by a creature. Her brother, a friend of the family, her boyfriend, her biological parents, and her adoptive parents are all around the table.
 

Lucas passed the vegetables on to Kat without taking any for himself.
What were you doing out there anyway?” Swen asked Kat.
We had gone out the night before,” Kat said.
Where?”
The boat burning,” Lucas said.
I told you we should have gone,” Cassie said.
You couldn't get back to the college?” Swen asked.
She was safe,” Perun said. He picked up a piece of the roast beef with his hands and took a large bite.
Ogden coughed. “The question is what are those things. From what I saw of Kat's injuries, their attack is nasty.”
They paralyze you, then your skin starts to fall off,” Lucas said.
Lucas,” Swen said.
Rebecka chuckled. She composed herself, “So some sort of neural toxin?”
That is what I am thinking,” Ogden said.
Lucas sopped up some of the juice from his roast beef with a bun, “But those things are nothing but slime.”
Like a jelly fish,” Kat said.
Where did they come from?” Cassie asked.
We saw them at Karabash,” Rebecka said.
Where?” Swen asked.
Karabash, in the Ural mountains,” Lucas said, after he ate the drippings with his bread. “It's the most polluted place in Russia.”
I thought that was Chernobyl?” Cassie asked.
Why were your in Russia?” Ogden asked.
Perun belched.
Kat nudged him.
What?” Perun asked.
Say excuse me,”
Why?”
Ogden shifted in his seat. “When did you go to Russia?”
We got back this week,” Rebecka said.
One of my descendants needed my assistance,” Steopa said.
Does he live in Karabash?” Ogden asked.
Steopa shook his head.
She doesn't,” Rebecka said. “We travel through the town.”
Yeah, but one of those things slimed me and nothing happened to me,” Lucas said.
You didn't tell me that.” Kat said.
I didn't have time,”
You were with them?” Swen asked.
Lucas nodded.
And you didn't tell us?”
It was a spur of the moment decision,” Lucas said.
You could have sent a postcard or something.” Swen said.
It's alright,” Cassie said. “I don't blame him. If I had a chance to run through Europe at his age I would have.”
Still,”
Cassie patted Swen's arm. “Hun, they're adults now.”
Swen smashed his potato with his fork. Cassie refilled her wine glass.
The ones at Karabash were not near a dump either,” Rebecka said.
That dump is not legal, is it?” Ogden asked.
Kat nodded.
Legal or not, it's hurting the land around it,” Perun said. He ate the potato like an apple. “But who ever is doing it, doesn't want people to find out.”
Ray thought I was going to be in danger, because I lost my phone there,” Kat said.
Swen put down his beer mug. “Who's Ray?”
Just a guy from school,” Kat said.
Perun,” Ogden said. “Can you tell how bad the land is hurt?”
Perun nodded. “Yeah,” he said with a full mouth. “The ground is dead around the site. Those creatures are now leaving to look for more food. They are not natural either.”
Ogden rubbed his chin.
Anything else I should know, Kat?” Swen asked.
Lucas shoved his plate away. Kat glanced at Lucas, his face looked a lot more paler.
About what?” Kat asked.
Anything?”
Taylor Winter and I are organizing a costume party for Ogden,” Kat said.
Ogden nodded.
Taylor Winter?” Cassie asked. “How do you know her?”
I tutored her in chemistry, and she likes me.”
That is so neat.”
How did you meet Perun?” Rebecka asked.
She hurt her leg.” Perun said. “You know the running trail comes close to where I stay.”
Yeah, and I also know why you like it,” Rebecka said.
Perun grinned.
Why's that?” Cassie asked.
Rebecka bit her lip, “Ah, well, um.”
I like having the young women come near me,” Perun said.
Steopa gave Perun a glare. Perun chuckled and took a swig out one of the bottles.
Wait a minute,” Swen said. “You're not the guy that lives in those woods and has his way with the female students.”
Perun nodded. Cassie giggled.
I thought it was an urban legend,” Swen said.
I haven't heard the stories,” Perun said.
Kat glanced over to Steopa. He glared at Perun. Kat pushed her plate away.
I think I am going to go an lay down,” she said.
But Kat could tell you about it,” Perun said.
Kat stopped pushing her chair back. Oh god no, she thought.
What do you mean?” Swen asked.
Perun glanced up at Kat. “She hasn't been sleeping in her dorm room.”
What?” Swen said, slamming his stein down.

Favorite vampires with pictures!

Just where did some of the influence for Fledgling come from?  Really I don't know, but I will share some of my favorite things that probably played a part. So here are some of my favorite vampires.


 
  • Otto Von Chriek From Discworld, comes my favorite vampire iconographer. It takes a lot to be a vampire that likes to take pictures. Considering that every time the flash goes off, you turn to dust.





  • Kain The main character from the Legacy of Kain video games series.  I wrote about the game before. What is so great about Kain is that he is looking out for himself at all times. He knows he is being used and tries to find ways around it. Even if that means taking on a god.






  • Vorador Another vampire from Legacy of Kain. Vorador was the first human to become a vampire. After the ancients lost the ability to have children. He is the oldest. He has the best mansion. Hints of a decadent lifestyle. And yet badass enough to kill most of the Pillar Guardians. He is also the most honest of all the characters in the game as well. You might not like what he has to say, but he is right.



    • Dracula Of course Dracula would be on this list. If I have to explain to you why he is included, then go read the book, watch the movies, and see for yourself.


      • D D from Vampire Hunter D. He is from the future where monsters run rampant over the planet and he is the best vampire hunter around. Technically half-vampire. When you figure out who his father is, you understand why he is so good at what he does.


        • Alucard Vampire Assassin for the Hellsing Organization. Alucard is a great mix of European vampire myth and H P Lovecraft. Even though he uses guns, it is apparent that he doesn't need to, but he keeps his power in check. 


        •  Severin From the movie Near Dark. Here is a vampire that has no problem killing you. He loves his life as a vampire and enjoys the destruction he causes. 


        • Eli from Let the Right One In. For those of you not familiar. Let the Right One is about a disturbed boy, Oskar, whos new, and only, friend is a young looking vampire named Eli. If you are thinking "Oh sweet, like Twilight." You are very wrong. Eli has found a way to survive, by forming dangerous and interesting relationships. Eli is a killer.Oskar and Eli have a lot in common.
        There are so many more. But as you can see, most of the vampires on my list, have no issue with what they are. They find their own ways to survive and not try to be something they are not.

        ** Okay you can argue that Otto does hide who he is. He is a black ribboner, he vows never to drink the "b-vord". But I would argue that he only does that so he can live in Anhk-Morpork without having to worry about explaining his habits. Even though he does not drink blood, he still is a vampire in many ways. (read The Truth and you will see what I mean.)

          Saturday, May 8, 2010

          Looking for some blog authors.



          I would like to have some other blog authors have a say on this site. I know it's about me, but I am not a narcissist. So I will open up for anyone to send me a nice little essay about a question I propose. If it takes off maybe I will make it a monthly thing.


          The first question is: Where do you see the "old time" monsters in a few years?

          Do you see vampires loosing their teeth? Werecats becoming more popular than werewolves? Mummys making a come back?

          What are your thoughts?


          email me at mariminiatt (at) gmail (dot) com with your post.

          Wednesday, May 5, 2010

          Preview Wednesday: Chapter 17

          FIGHT!!!! And what just came through the door???


          'Stache stared at her blood oozing around his hands. Beka tackled him. She threw all her weight and her new strength into the blow. They skidded across the floor, knocking tables and chairs over in their wake. Beka pulled back her fist and struck him. His face gave way as her fist connected with his skull. She left him laying on the floor, with his brains and blood forming a halo around what was left of his head.

          She ran to the DJ cage. John and Lorelei had locked the door. Beka glanced inside to make sure they were all right. Lorelei had her phone in her hand, yelling, “Just get here!”

          John had power cables looped around his shoulders. “Stay away from the cage,” he said. “We're grounded.”

          Beka nodded and backed away. John had built the DJ cage; he knew what he was doing. She watched John for a moment, as he attached the wires to the metal surrounding the cage. Beka turned around to see if she could help Vincent or Steopa.

          Vincent misted. His attackers looked around confused. Vincent solidified behind one of them and swiped him across the back. Another one moved to tackle Vincent. When the first one turned around, Vincent misted. The first one was tackled by the second one.

          Steopa faced three of the drudges. He picked up a bar stool and swung it around. One drudge tried to attack him. Steopa used the stool to block the attack and then used it to knock the drudge to the floor. The other two tried to attack Steopa. He swung the bar stool back with one arm, knocking the other drudges away.

          From the outside, Beka heard the low rumble of a motorcycle. It had to be Swen. Paulette turned to Adrian and said something to him. Adrian began to walk toward Beka. He bared his fangs.

          Someone hit her from behind. Beka fell forward. She slammed into a table on her way down; the table split in two. Beka rolled over. 'Stache leered above her. The skin on his face had not healed; it grew over the exposed muscle. Beka kicked.

          'Stache stumbled back and into the electrified DJ cage. His body landed in a spread eagle position with his hands high above his head. His body looked like he was dancing. He twisted, setting sparks off. His body jerked and twisted against the cage until the breakers blew.

          His body slumped forward. Beka reached behind her and grabbed the broken table's leg. She snapped it off and flipped the leg in her hands. She ran up to 'Stache while he twitched. Beka raised the table leg and brought it down into his chest.

          From the main entrance, a loud growl, followed by a long scream sounded through the club. Beka turned around. Another drudge ran through the door, looking over his shoulder. He ran into Steopa.  Steopa grabbed the frightened vampire, head-butted him and then slammed him into one of the thick oak tables.

          An animal-like bellow echoed. The doors flew open, splintering off their hinges. Through the flying debris a creature barreled through. On its hind legs, it towered over Steopa. It looked like a bear, but swung its arms like a man. It wore torn jeans and a leather vest that Beka recognized.

          Tuesday, May 4, 2010

          You should write a diet book!!!

          Yes, I should, but I won't.

          As of today, one year of dieting and exercise has made 110 pounds disappear off my frame.

          So here is how I did it, all for free.

          Started with Alli. I did not have the horrible experiences with,  shhhh "anal leakage"  That some people did. The pill did work for me, and for the first few months I stuck to the plan and took my pill,  and lost weight. IT WORKS. But then other side effects happened. I dropped the pill after talking to a nurse, but continued with the diet.

          So what is my secret diet.  Ready?
          • 1800 calories
          • less than 30% from fat
          •  25 g or more of fiber.
          That's it! I have eaten ice cream, pizza, candy, cookies, cheeseburgers, etc.  I have drank wine, beer, and sodas (Just sugar free) and I have lost the weight.  The trick is to record EVERYTHING. Make yourself accountable for what you ate.  And if you mess up, or skip a day (birthday, anniversary, holidays, state fair, book signings, etc). Just start over the next day.

          So there you have it, how I did it.

          I did have great support. My husband is wonderful. A friend, Robin, cheers me on (great job with your 62 lbs lost too!!!).  And a shout out to Underground Wellness.  Sean is a great vlogger about health issues. All his vids on weight lost are here .  A great one is here:



          I might do a cookbook....

          Sunday, May 2, 2010

          It is approved! and one more mistake.

          I got the final proof copy yesterday.  We walked to the nearest coffee shop, so I could get online ASAP and update some info about the book. In walks my editor! Talk about a good sign.

          So it's officially for sale now, but the stores have to be updated first, I will post in my BUY!, BUY!, BUY! page where to buy it when they are caught up.

          There is one big mistake in the book, but I am keeping it. When I discovered it I panicked, again. But then I realized it's salvageable. It has to do with the last name of the big vampire. It is supposed to be Rodovitch, but when one character speaks it, I wrote Radovitch.

          So why am I keeping it. I am currently editing book two. And there is a scene where explaining that she is the only one that calls him Radovitch. I have decided to make it a "running gag", if you will. I have a last name that people stumble over, and I can totally relate.

          Ancient History of Fledgling: Part 8

          The last of these old pictures.

          Nice action shot, even if Vincent's face looks like a jack o lantern!
          This one is unfinished, but I do love where it was going. If it is hard  to make out. Vincent turned to mist just as Steopa ran his fist through him.

          Last one, one of my favorites!


          CHOMP!
          Beka being attacked in the alleyway.

          Cut and Paste I love you

          As I am rearranging and cleaning up the second book of the Coiree Series (Killer), I have fallen in love with Cut and Paste.
          I liked that little function before. But what I love about it now, is that I can rearrange the rough draft, and see how the plot flows, BEFORE I rewrite it. Saving it in a new file, of course.
          This is very nice for a panster writer like me. Everything flows out organically when you start to write, but then you do have to go back and make sure it makes sense for everyone else.