Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why we need vampires.

I posted this on GetFanged.com on April 24, 2011, where it became a featured blog post! Pretty good for my first on one the site. So here it is for you to enjoy.



At the basic level, vampires are a personification of the fear of death. They are not the only one that we made. We also have The Grim Reaper and the Banshee, but vampires stand out. Because of all of the personifications, they have become the most human (some will complain, lately, too human).

Vampires were a warning to the family and friends of the deceased to make sure they followed the funeral rites completely. If something had not been done, the recently dead would come back and take you with them. It makes sense. Someone that was improperly buried or cremated might still spread disease. Vampires came back to the family first. The ones closest were the ones that were in the most danger.

Fear of death and the lack of understanding of what happened when people die, led to our idea of what a vampire was. Most of them were corpses, closer to our idea of zombie. Most were mindless, but many did retain their memories of their former life. Sunlight was not the deterrent, some vampires needed the sun. Holy relics had no affect on them. Those pieces of protection came later.

As we changed, so did the vampire. Traits of the incubus and succubus were blended into the corpse. Some would come back and exhaust their former wives or husbands to death. Others would sire children. The sexuality of the vampire was born. Now the vampire was not just a creature that would bring death, but could seduce and tempt you to join them.

But what happened? What happened to the fearsome creature that anyone that came across would have to find a way to escape? Many modern vampires come across as, non-vampire. The only thing that defined them as vampires was the drinking of blood. But even now, that is being ignored. Many vampires do not drink blood any more.

Why blood? Blood is life. Without blood you die. Vampires would take the most precious thing from us and use it for their survival. Some would go further and eat the flesh too. Anyone that has tried to sleep the night in a room or tent full of blood sucking bugs, knows that you wake up tired and sick. A vampire visit would do the same.

Some modern vampires look down their noses at blood drinking. They would rather drink animals, or take their energy from people around them. Does this make them any less of a vampire? As much as I hate to say this, no. They have changed with us again. Zombies have taken over their role as mindless killers. Vampires had to change, they had to become more like us.

But as they change, a bit of the fear still remains. These new breed of vampires may seem nice, and sweet, but if they truly are following in footsteps of the vampires that came before, we should still fear them. Because what a better way for a killer to let himself or herself into your life, than appearing as your friend.

We still need vampires. Maybe the violent killers will make a comeback (I hope so, those are type I write about). Or maybe we will see them evolve yet again. Time can only tell.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Got an Award!

And not one from the dollar store, sheesh.


YAY Thank you Go-Go Rach for the Blogger Award



The Versatile Blogger Award

****

The rules for this award are:


    * Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
    * Share seven random facts about myself.
    * Pass the award along to 15 new-found blogging buddies.
    * Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

Seven random facts about Mari Miniatt

1. I was named Mari, because my oldest brother is named John and my mother wanted to end with a Mary, but she wanted something differnt. So Mari.
2. My father had been a hobo, a real one. He did ride the rails looking for work.
3. My husband and I grew up seven miles apart, but did not meet until college.
4. Every time I get a black cat, it's named Frankenstien.
5. I helped raise rabbits as a child. We had 75 of them at one point.
6. Youngest of seven children. Husband is too. We stopped at two kids. If we would have had seven, the seventh would have been a vampire, or a wizard.
7. I've met the actor Jason Isaacs. Who is a very sweet and nice man, even though he plays real nasty people usually.


Who do I give this award too?

Josh Shear   http://joshshear.com/
Kate Jonez http://katejonez.com/blog/
Derek Haines http://dereksvandalblog.blogspot.com/
The Feckless Goblin http://fecklessgoblin.blogspot.com/
Goths In Hot Weather http://gothsinhotweather.blogspot.com/
Self Published Author's Lounge http://selfpubauthors.wordpress.com/
Sarah Nicolas http://sarahnicolas.com/
Sabrina E. Ogden http://myfriendscallmekate.blogspot.com/
Annikka Woods http://lifewritingandmiscellany.blogspot.com/
John Harford http://www.johnharford.com/
Jeremy Wagner http://www.jeremy-wagner.com/
Alexis Flint http://lexiflint.wordpress.com/
Demon Writer http://jeffreyskupperman.com/
Dahg Mann http://www.mrmathias.com/
Crooked Fang http://www.crookedfang.com/

Sunday, April 24, 2011

#SampleSunday - A bit of my current WIP about Trolls

Unedited: so read at your own risk.

Story so far. Cheri had fell into a stream, almost drowned. She woke up in the troll realm. Her real family is taking care of her and trying to help her understand what she is. They are planning a pig roast in her honor. Ber is her twin brother. Rosa is her real mother. Halvard is a friend of Ber's.

When Cheri woke up, the room had darkened. She sat up, not feeling as dizzy as before. Cheri felt the bump on her head, no change. She opened the door.

In the next room, Rosa sat in a rocking chair knitting. Linnea had her hands folded on her lap, her head bowed to her chest. Cheri could hear her snore. Rosa looked up.

“Do you feel better?” she asked.

Cheri's stomach growled. “I'm hungry.”

“That's a good sign. I kept a plate warm for you.” Rosa put her knitting down.

“Where are the rest?” Cheri asked as they entered the kitchen.

“Outside tending the pork. By now they are probably drinking too.”

Cheri smiled. “Typical.”

Rosa pointed to the table. Cheri sat down. Rosa put a plate down in front of her. She pulled her hand away, almost dropping the dishcloth that she had used to protect her hand.

Half a chicken, a large potato, and carrots sat on the plate. Cheri picked up a fork. She took a bite of the chicken. It might have been her hunger, but it tasted perfect. She ate more of the food, while Rosa poured her a cup of water.

The outer door opened. Halvard and Ber walked in laughing. Ber slammed his stone mug on the counter. Halvard sat down opposite of Cheri. His hands were stained with blood. Blood also covered the apron he wore.

“She's awake?” Halvard asked, chuckling and staring at Cheri.

“No. I'm sleep eating,” Cheri said.

Ber giggled. Halvard leaned over the table. “You know you are not supposed to eat any food here.”

“Really?” Cheri asked. “I thought you were trolls, not faes.”

Ber filled his mug. “He is.”

“Ber!” Rosa shook her finger at him.

Halvard locked his dark eyes on Cheri. “You're not a troll.”

Rosa snapped the dishcloth in Halvard's face. “You mind your manners too.”

Cheri picked up the chicken with her fingers and made a show of taking a bite of the leg. Halvard chuckled. Ber slid a full mug over to Halvard.

“Drink up, we have to go finish that side,” Ber said.

Halvard picked up the mug, he tipped it in Cheri's direction. “Maybe you want to come and help? But you probably don't want to get bloody.”

“She is resting,” Rosa said.

Halvard downed the contents of his mug. Cheri noticed his muscles. He had biceps that some of the lawyers she worked for would spend hours in the gym for. When he wiped off his mouth with his forearm, his long nose bent against his arm. He put down his mug.

“Are you going to eat that potato?” he asked.

Cheri picked it up like an apple and took a big bite. Ber snickered. Halvard stood up. He held out his hand.

“Sorry about scaring you,” he said.

Cheri watched his eyes. A slight twinkle made her pause. But she held put her hand in his palm to shake. Her palm hit something wet and sticky. Halvard laughed.

“Don't worry, it's only pig's blood.”

Rosa grabbed Halvard by the back of his hair. “Get out and finish with that boar.”

She pushed Halvard out of the house. Ber followed, chuckling. Cheri grabbed the dishtowel and wiped her hand off.

“Is he always that nice?” Cheri asked, throwing the dishcloth into the sink.

Rosa sighed. “He's trouble. But him and Ber are inseparable.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Giving Your Characters Life: Online

I am cross posting this on MariMiniatt.com and the Self Published Author Blog

I did something crazy, but fun this weekend. Something other authors have done, but I was a little nervous to try.

Giving your fictional characters on online presence.

I used Twitter for one. Facebook for the other.

How do you do it?

Things you need.

An email with an alias.

A third party client like Hootsuite. Not really needed, but makes it easier to manage.

Email with alias

You are going to need an unique email. You could go through the process of registering for a new email. OR if you have gmail (maybe some others) you can make an alias email address.

1. Log into your gmail. At the top, next to the search box, there are two choices. Click on "create filter"



2. In the TO: box. Enter your email with an alias, so it looks like this email+alias@gmail.com. Your email name with +alias then @gmail.com. Use an alias that is unique, because it is your character, their first name is perfect. Click on Next Step.


3. Create a filer: click on Apply a Label. Use the drop down to make a new label. Enter your character's name. Now everytime an email comes in for your character it will be sorted for you.


4. Last step. Send yourself a test email to see if it work. From you. to You+alias.

All done. Good.

Twitter

You set up your fictional character profile, like yours. BUT use the alias email. Twitter only allows one profile per email. The alias email gets around that.

Here is mine for Steopa: @SteopaR

Noticed I did not come out an say he is fictional. But anyone reading his bio should figure that out. For the website, use yours. Unless you are maintaining a website for the character as well.

Here is another good example: @crookedfang


Facebook


YOU CANNOT CREATE ANOTHER PROFILE. Facebook will kick you off for that.
What you have to do is make a page:

Very simple.

1.Go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages

2.Click on create page.



3.Choose Entertainment


4. In the drop down box. FICTIONAL CHARACTER!

Facebook made it easy. Follow the rest of the instructions as you make the profile and page. As you fill out the profile; you could use your alias email as the characters email. But, it will be visible.

Once you get 25 likes; your address for you page changes from https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Vincent-Hugh/149281288471540 to https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Hugh

What can you do with them?

1. Interact with fans as the characters.
2. Help promote your book.
3. Help you practice writing in your character's voice.
4. Have fun.

Don't go too overboard. Plan it so you only have to spend a few minutes to an hour a day maintaining them. That is where a program like Hootsuite will help. On the free version you can link up to 5 different social networking profiles. I find it works better for keeping twitter straight. Facebook moves slow enough that all I have to do is log into the page or twice a day to keep it maintained.

I hope this helps and gives you some ideas.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Contest 1 Winner finally!

I had to make a second choice for the gift card. It went to Autumn!!!
Congrats.

Contest Update again

Alright, the first person chosen by random.org to win the gift card, Never responded to my repeated emails. So I am choosing another. Watch your emails.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contest Update.

This is good or bad news, depends how you look at it.

I have sent two emails out to the winner of the $25 Amazon card, but no response. PLEASE check your emails. Including the spam folder. If I don't hear from this person soon. I will pick a new winner on Wednesday.

I still have three more contest to enter. Click on the Contest tab at the blog to see them.

Thanks

Sunday, April 17, 2011

#SampleSunday

A little bit of Patriarch. Still being edited. This has been censored for swears. Story so far, Steopa and Rebecka took a new vampire out to show him the ropes. They run into vampire hunters. Gene is one of the hunters.

Steopa saw Rebecka start.

Gene's head snapped up. He scanned the alcoves with his eyes. Steopa faded deeper into shadows. Gene picked up a flashlight. It had two lights on it. A normal white light and on top of it, a blue one. Gene turned it on and shined it over the alcoves. It passed over the alcove that Rebecka stood in. Then over Steopa. The blue light blinded and burned him. Steopa bit his lip and stood still.

The light moved off him. The burning sensation ended. Gene moved the light over to the alcove that Jimmy hid in. The light stayed on the alcove for a few moments. Then Jimmy cried out.

Gene kept the light on Jimmy. Jimmy screamed. Randy grabbed an ax. He ran to the alcove while lifting the ax. Steopa stepped out and grabbed the ax out of Randy's hand. He swung it around and brought it back into Randy's chest. Randy's body lifted up and slid further down on the ax head.

Gene dropped the light and grabbed the crossbow. Steopa pulled the ax out of Randy's body. He tossed it into his other hand and advanced on Gene. Behind him, he heard Rebecka run out of the alcove and over to Jimmy. Steopa felt another vampire coming closer. He paused.

Gene shot the bolt. It hit Steopa in the shoulder. The silver tip burned. The pain started cold then heated until it felt like he was getting branded. Lowering the ax, Steopa reached for the bolt to pull it out. As his fingers curled around it, it exploded.

He dropped to his knees and felt his shoulder. His hand covered the gaping hole where his flesh had been. He heard Rebecka scream. It could have shattered glass. Gene turned his head away, to try to block the sound and load another bolt at the same time. Steopa saw her grab her shoulder, as if she had been hit.

Gene spoke into a small mouthpiece that hung off his ear. “Tell her we found the giant.”

Steopa slammed the ax into the ground, using the handle to push himself up. Exploding stakes, that is new, he thought. Jimmy jumped over him. He raised his claws. Gene pressed the crossbow against Jimmy's chest. Jimmy looked down, surprised.

Rebecka came to Steopa's side. Her face had lost any color it had. She favored the same shoulder that had been injured on Steopa. She tore off her jacket and tied it around Steopa's wound. The other vampire felt closer. Steopa could almost name who it was. “Help Jimmy.” He whispered to Rebecka.

Jimmy did not move. Gene pulled back the trigger. Behind him the shadows dissipated. A shotgun barrel came out of the fading shadows and rested against Gene's head. The chubby vampire holding the gun, shoved the end into Gene's cheek.

“Okay mxxxxxxxxxxx, are you faster than my shotgun?” The vampire asked.

Gene's finger twitched. Both barrels exploded. Gene's body, now headless, fell with a thud on the ground. The chubby vampire wiped the blood and brains out of this cropped hair. His eyes rested on Steopa.

“Steopa,” he said. “Oh sxxx.”

He ran over to Steopa, pushing Jimmy aside. Jimmy stared at the headless body. The bolt in the crossbow exploded, destroying most the crossbow. Steopa reached out with his good arm.

“Jeremiah?”

“Shit, you're gonna need a lot of blood to heal that,” Jeremiah said, putting the gun down.,” Jeremiah said, putting the gun down.

Rebecka lifted her head. Her face streaked with bloody tears. “Blood?”

Jeremiah knelt down to help pick Steopa up, “Yeah, damn, I don't know if we could get enough.” Jeremiah pulled Steopa to a standing position. “I don't know any blood banks.”

Rebecka looked back at the memorial. “I have a better idea.”

Jimmy snapped out of his daze. “That head just evaporated,” he said. “Fxxxxxx awesome.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Contest Update!

One contest it over!

Contest 1. $25.00 Amazon gift card. The winner has been contacted. I will be putting their name up as soon as everything is in order.

One contest begins!

Contest 4
4/15 to 4/30
Point contest:
You accrue winning points by doing any of the following. The more points, the better your chances.
You will win The Guardian Poster before it's available at the Zazzle store.

Honor system:
Leave a comment on this post: 5 points
Link your blog to mine: 5 points
Blog about these contests, or give me an interview*, or post your review: 15 points. (yes, if you do all three, you can earn 45 points)
The next ones can tally up points fast. But I have put a limit of once per day / per site, I don't want anyone to accidently becoming a spammer.
Mention Fledgling on social network site: 1 point
Mention this blog on social network site: 1 point
Mention my facebook page (http://facebook.com/mariminiatt) on social network site: 1 point

Email me – mariminiatt (at) Gmail dot com Subject: Point Contest
Tally up what you have done. If you have linked your blog to mine, make sure to give me the url or your blog, so I can return the favor.
In the event of a tie, winner will be chosen by random drawing.

*The interview does not have to be done in April. But can be sceduled for a later date and still count.

We still have two other contests going on!

Contest 2:
Enter until 4/30

If you have read the book: Send me a link to your review of Fledgling. This review can be on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, etc. If you haven't reviewed it yet, please do. Yes, even a "bad" review will count.

Winner get to have their name as a character, that gets killed off in Patriarch.

Email me – mariminiatt (at) Gmail dot com Subject: Review Entry. A link to your review, and if you would allow me to put a copy on this blog.

Contest 3
Photo contest!
until 4/22

Take a photo of you, or have someone take a photo of you reading Fledgling in PUBLIC. If using an Ebook reader, please show the title page. Send me an email with the photo: mariminiatt (at) Gmail dot com Subject: Photo Entry. I will upload the photos here. One random person will be chosen to win a Fledgling Book Bag.


Now for some of the nitty gritty.
  • Contests 3 and 4 is for people in the United States.
  • The poster is a digital copy of original piece of art work, done by Matt Miniatt, illustrator for the Coiree Guardians.
  • The poster and the book bag will be shipped only in the US.
  • Odds of winning, depends on the entries.
  • The winners will be announced, only after I have contacted them and they have sent me their contact information (depending on the prize)
  • How I determine the random draws. Each entry is assigned a number. I will go to Random.org to generate the random number.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still Missing the Greenman

A year ago, one of my favorite musicians passed away. Peter Steele.

I left rambling post on this blog that night. His death had a surprising affect on me. I cried. I have never cried for anyone famous before. Micheal Jackson dies, I don't react. Dio passes, and I am grateful he was no longer in pain. But Peter Steele's death struck home.

Why?

His age was one reason. 48. My husband is 45. I just turned 40.

What he died of. Heart Attack. That is a killer in my family. I may have lost a 100 pounds, but I am no where near my goal. So that hangs over my head.

And his music.

Type O Negative was a gloom metal band. Most of their songs dealt with death, and the lost of love. I found their music when I needed to find it. I was at a point in my life were I could not listen to pop music. It did not hit the emotions I was feeling. Most bands songs were too happy for me. I could not listen to country. I needed something that spoke to me. And Type O Negative did.



He was an influence on me. It was Type O Negative I was listening to, while I tried to sleep during the day, when I had that dream of Steopa. I used Peter Steele as the physical basis of Steopa (to be fair, almost all my characters physical traits are influenced by musicians and/or actors). Among their fans, I made friends that have lasted for a long time. When he died, some of us that had not talked for a for years, found each other.

We will miss him. He did inspire a lot of musicians, artists, and writers. For someone that was not a pop star, or in the public eye at large, his reach was further than you would have expected. He's gone, the rest of the members have gone on to other bands; Seventh Void, A Pale Horse Named Death. Time moves on. A giant is gone and we will miss him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Flegdling Birthday continues

Another contest begins and two are still going.

Contest 3
Photo contest!
4/07 to 4/22

Take a photo of you, or have someone take a photo of you reading Fledgling in PUBLIC. If using an Ebook reader, please show the title page. Send me an email with the photo: mariminiatt (at) Gmail dot com Subject: Photo Entry. I will upload the photos here. One random person will be chosen to win a Fledgling Book Bag.

Until 4/14
Contest 1:
Enter your email into the feedburner box on my blog. A random person will be chosen to win a $25.00 gift card to Amazon.

Until 4/30
Contest 2:
If you have read the book: Send me a link to your review of Fledgling. This review can be on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, etc. If you haven't reviewed it yet, please do. Yes, even a "bad" review will count.

Winner get to have their name as a character, that gets killed off in Patriarch.

Email me  – mariminiatt (at) Gmail dot com Subject: Review Entry. A link to your review, and if you would allow me to put a copy on this blog.

The winner will be chosen at random.

Now for some of the nitty gritty:
Contest 1 is for only people in the United States.
The book bag will be shipped from the US.
Odds of winning, depends on the entries.
How I determine the random draws. Each entry is assigned a number. I will go to Random.org to generate the random number.
The winners will be announced, only after I have contacted them and they have sent me their contact information (depending on the prize).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Writing about the Opposite Sex.

I put my trolls aside for a few weeks. I got hit with editing fever, so I am editing and doing minor rewrites on Patriarch. When you take 4 minor characters out, the others have to take up the slack.  And I am also in the middle of celebrating the one year anniversary of the the release of Fledgling.

The rewriting has been interesting. I have been writing about things from a man’s perspective. That has never bothered me before. I never have gotten hung up on gender when I write. But there are a couple of scenes I had to ask my husband to look over, because I needed to have a man verify what I was writing made sense.

How do you write for the other gender?  The same way you write for any character. You get in their heads.

For the most part, writing for a the opposite gender should not cause hang ups. If you keep the some things in mind. If you are writing a modern story set in the United States, there should not be a big “gender gap”. But if you are writing a Victorian romance, you should have researched the roles expected at that time and planned your characters accordingly.

But what if you get into an area, that it is gender defined; like childbirth or erectile dysfunction? You could ask really close friend or significant other to give you their views. Talk to someone that has gone through it. Or, and this one is a little tough, imagine yourself going through the same thing.  You may not have had a child, but have you passes a kidney stone?

But those particular issues are sex defined, not gender defined. There is a difference.

I think some writers get hung up on the difference between gender roles and sex. Having a child, has nothing to do with the gender role. All females are capable of giving birth, barring medical issues. Some chose not to have children, some cannot due to life choices, and some are happy having as many kids as they can.

How is that different from gender roles? Depending on the time period, and culture you are writing, how a woman is expected to have and raise those children is a gender role. A real quick example: Farm families in parts of the United States, in the last century, would have a lot of children. One reason, especially earlier, child mortality. Another reason, on hand labor. But also it was a show of pride. The more children you had, the more well off you were. Now most people can’t afford to have too many kids. Where a family of eight children would not have batted an eye seventy years ago. Now they get a reality TV program.

Think about the role of women at the time too. It was expected that the husband make enough to support the family, so the wife could stay home and watch all the kids. Now, very hard to do. Physically, those are the same women. But their place in society, the expectations, and economics all shaped what was their role.

When you get hung up on writing for the opposite gender. Look at what is really hanging you up. Is is something physical, that only a man or woman could experience. Or is it trying to understand the role your male or female character has to fit.

I have heard male authors say, I don't know how my female character would react to this. Or female authors say, but do men talk about such things?

Stop thinking like that.

Think about your character individually first. How would your character react? What would they talk about? Each character is different, so even if the gender roles are the same, they could react in different ways, than are typical.

If you are still not sure, have a good friend or significant other read it. They can tell you if it sounds right.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rant: Frustrated!!!

I have decided to give up. Not give up on writing, no I have decided that maybe I will sell more if I don't try to perfect my novels. It seems that what is selling, is quickly put together tripe. I can't compete with that.

People now want something they can make fun of. Rebecka Black makes an okay attempt at a first song, with horrible auto-tune, and has a million downloads. Jacqueline Howett gets into a fight with a person that gave her a 2 star review, and her sales increase! Is that what you want? Seriously? Ok I will give it a go.

So here is an example of what I will write from now on. It is a YA/Steampunk/vampire/chik-lit type of thing.

Across the blue sky, the airship Orion roared through the dark storm clouds. It was large and spherical, with a small cabin on the bottom that held the crew. The ship cut through the clouds like a sharp knife through butter.

Pretty stood on the deck. She ran her manicured fingers through her strawberry blond hair. She was the youngest captain in the Royal Navy. The older sailors at first did not like taking orders from a young woman, but she learned how to earn their respect.

Rain splashed on the cabin. It came down the sides of zeppelin in heavy torrents, drenching Pretty as she tried to walk to the boson.

I really don't need this, Pretty thought mournfully. Why do things like this always happen to me just before an inspection.

"Lord Hartman will be here soon," the boson reminded Pretty.

Five o' clock, she thought to herself. I don't have time to change.

Orange lights flashed on the control panel. Lt. Blackheart slapped the wooden and brass counter. She swore.

"Once, just once, I would like to be able to get through a storm cloud with out the turbines frying." Pretty shouted, stamping her feet in frustration.

Lighting strikes made the boson jump. Lt. Blackheart rolled her eyes.

"So, you have reached the end. Look at the letters at the beginning of each paragraph," Pretty ordered.