Posts Tagged ‘Vampires’

It’s Friday, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday! It’s also the first night of Passover, also known as “that holiday the Jews have where they remember getting out of slavery and celebrate with tasteless food and crackers.” Yeah, the diet is my least favorite part of the holiday, if you couldn’t already tell.

Now if you’re unfamiliar with #FirstLineFriday, here’s how it works. On Fridays, you:

  1. Write a post on your own blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed or published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and encourage them to try #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs, tagging if necessary.

This week’s entry is from a vampire story I’ve been churning in my twisted mind for a while. I’m waiting to write it, though, because a certain book series kind of changed the image of vampires in the public consciousness a bit, and not for the better, in my opinion. Anyway, I have a few different openings I could use with this story, so I’m trying one today that could start the book or instead be used to open another chapter. We’ll see how I’m feeling when I write this bad boy. Enjoy:

I guess I’m what you would call a vampire. And before you ask, no, I don’t fucking sparkle.

Thoughts? Errors? Let me know in the comments below.

And while you’re at it, why not try #FirstLineFriday yourself? It’s a lot of fun, and for writers, it’s good practice when doing openings. In fact, I’m going to prove a point by tagging one of you! This week I choose Victo Dolore of Behind the White Coat. Victo, you have to do #FirstLineFriday either this Friday or next Friday. Have fun with it!

That’s all for now. I have to get ready to relive the Exodus from Egypt, but if anything comes up in the meantime, I’ll let you know. Have a great weekend, my Followers of Fear.

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Recently I was contacted by Man Crates, a new company that “ships awesome gifts for men in custom wooden crates that he has to open with a crowbar!” Don’t worry, I think they send the crowbar with the crate. Anyway, they asked me to come up with what I would include in a crate to survive the duration of horror movie, especially since it’s October and this is the month for that sort of stuff. I was intrigued, so I decided to take up the challenge and see what I could come up with.

Turns out that list is actually pretty exhaustive. The thing about horror films, what you need to survive them besides wits and luck really depends a lot on what you’re facing. You can’t use a weapon for a werewolf on a ghost, and an exorcism for a demon won’t do much good on a serial killer. If I tried to prepare for every possible situation, I would need an entire house to stalk my supplies rather than just a crate.

So I made my list with this thought: “If I knew I was going to be in a horror movie but I didn’t know what I’d be facing or where I’d be when it happened or how long I’d be in this situation, and I could pick items to bring with me to help me survive, what would I bring?” Thus resulted my list, an entire catalog of supplies that would apply in just about any horror situation without being too specific.

I’m not sure if Man Crates were to actually compile everything from my list if they could fit it all into one crate, but I think they’d find it very helpful no matter what the situation is. So without further ado, here’s what I would want in my crate for surviving a horror movie:

Machetes: as deadly as a gun, as silent as a knife.

  • Weapons. Obviously, I need weapons. Chances are, most of what I’d likely face would be susceptible to some sort of weapon, and I can think of a few that would be helpful. First, a shotgun. Werewolves, zombies, serial killers, and occasionally vampires and some kinds of ghosts can be killed or injured by firearms, and if I needed to hunt for survival, a shotgun would be helpful. I also would like an ample supply of three types of bullets: regular, silver, and rock salt. The first two are obvious, they can kill most creatures, human, supernatural, or other. The rock salt is special, though: according to many traditions, salt can cleanse or keep away impure beings like ghosts and spirits. I figure a rock salt bullet might weaken a spirit if I’m attacked, and if I’m not facing a spirit, then rock salt might hurt or drive away anything else.
    I also would benefit from a machete and a hunting knife. If the shotgun fails, then a machete and a hunting knife would be helpful in close quarters combat or against a horde of zombies. They can also be used in stealth attacks, unlike the shotgun, and the knife in particular would be helpful in hunting. Obviously I’d need something to make sure the blades stay sharp and clean, and something to keep the shotgun in working condition, so add those to the crate.
  • Survival gear and supplies. When I saw author Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z) at Ohio State a couple years back, he pointed out that besides weapons, you need supplies if you’re going to survive any long-term terrors. While I’m trying to be more general here, I have to admit he has a very good point, and I should plan in case my survival needs happen to be longer than until the sun rises.
    A lot of what I would need are also things that I might consider taking with me on a camping trip. Flashlight and extra batteries would be the first things I’d pack. If I’m going to be fighting for my life at night, a light source will be important. Lighter fluid and matches would also be helpful. Even if I’m not in a situation where I need to assemble a cooking fire in the woods or something, some things can only be killed with fire, which means I need something to get the fire really going.

    Sometimes the simplest things will save you.

    And speaking of cooking fires, put some water bottles and energy bars into the crate. Keeping yourself hydrated and energized is important if you want to stay alive, so better have something that is easy to transport, lasts awhile, and can carry your nutrition needs. A first aid kit with the works–gauze, disinfectant, antibiotics, needle and thread, etc.–could also mean the difference between life and death, so I’d want one of those.
    Finally in this category, I think we could include an outdoor survival guide–I am not the most outdoorsy sort of guy, so having a guide would be very helpful–as well as a portable cell phone charger to call for help if things get too crazy and maybe a satellite uplink device in case I’m in an area with poor or no cell reception. Hey, you have to be prepared for as many situations as possible.

  • Other. These don’t fit into the other two categories, and I can’t think of a proper name for them, but they would be handy in a horror movie. First, night vision goggles: good ones are usually a little expensive, but if the situation becomes such that you wouldn’t want a flashlight because then someone or something might see the beam, then it’s worth it. Also, bring along The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. Even if you’re not facing a zombie apocalypse, it has some very good tips to survive out in the world when the stuff hits the fan, so it might prove useful. And a thick notebook and a supply of pens would also be pretty handy, especially if you need to be on the road for a long time or you’re facing something unseen before in human mythology or history and you want to record its weaknesses.

    Get me something slightly smaller and less clunky and cumbersome, and I think I’ll be good.

    Finally, a pack or something to make carrying this all easier would be nice. I mean, this amount of gear might be heavier than the suitcase in my hotel room, I would like something to help make carrying it all a little easier.

That wraps up my list of things I would have in my crate should I find myself in a horror movie and I’d like to survive till the end, especially if the end is several months or even years away…ooh, I hope I don’t end up in any of those movies! Anyway, thanks to Man Crates for inspiring the post. I had a fun time coming up with this list. Check out their catalog, you might find the perfect gift for a guy you know to indulge in his masculine side.

And beware of monsters! They’re everywhere this month.

What would you want in your horror survival kit? Anything here that I missed?

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I think this interview has been a long time in the making, and I’m glad it’s finally happened.

Today’s author is a woman who you might have seen commenting a lot on this blog. She’s an author of several vampire novels, as well as a contributor to Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, and a contributor/editor/compiler/whatever to the Ink Slingers’ anthologies, including Strange Portals and the recently published When the Lights Go Out. It’s Joleene Naylor, and I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say!

Welcome to the blog, Joleene. So tell us, what are your short stories about and what inspired them?

Unforgotten is about a pair of old school chums in the UK who go on an annual trip every year on the same date. This years’ trip is complicated by Gordon’s missing wife and the ghost of a little girl who wants to be found. It’s actually based on a dream I had. It started out the same: in a car discussing having been interrogated by the police. Only there was no ghost girl.

In Beldren, a group of former indentured servants decide to take what they feel they are owed from an easy mark; a household of women. Their plan is perfect except for one thing: the women are vampires.  This one was inspired one night when a pickup kept going around and around past our house and my brother got nervous they were “up to something” and I thought, “I wonder what would happen if robbers broke in and found out the people of the house were serial killers? Or vampires? Hmmmm… That could be an interesting story…” Hopefully it is.

I read the first one and liked it, so I have high hopes for the second one. Now what else have you written?

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The Amaranthine vampire series. Shades of Gray is the first, and the newest is book seven, Clash of Legends. I’ve tried to make the story creepy and disturbing, and at times bloody and horrific, instead of just the usual romantic sop that a certain YA book has turned the vampire genre into. There’s no sparkling and no high school, just blood, fighting, and vampires who feed on humans and burn in the sun.

Are you a traditionally or self-published writer?

Self published because I want to own the rights to my own work.

What got you into writing in the first place?

My mother was a writer and poet, so it never occurred to me not to “make up stories”. My brother and I used to make (and illustrate) books for fun when we were children. (I also used to draw book covers and catalogs, complete with product descriptions – I was strange.)

What is it about scary stories that you think draw people in?

People enjoy being scared – safely. We like that little “Oh!”, the tiny burst of adrenaline and that aftermath giggle, but we like when we know we’re not *really* in danger, and a scary story can give us that.

Are you working on anything these days?

I’ve reworked Patrick: A Prequel, but I need to edit it. I am also working on Masque of the Vampire, the eighth book in the series, and the Tales of the Executioners short story collection. There are four of those, three are available for free through most retailors (except Amazon) and the fourth, Beldren, is included in the When the Lights Go Out anthology.

What is some advice you would give to other writers, regardless of their level of experience or background?

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Write what you want to read because if you want to read it, then edit the heck out of it. Change words, shorten scenes, add scenes, delete scenes. The original version may seem like a masterpiece to you, but it isn’t – it’s a rough stone that needs cut down and polished in order to shine.  That may be hard to admit sometimes, or to acknowledge, but it’s the truth for everyone.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would you take?

I think short story collections give you more bang for your buck when it comes to being stranded for a long time, so: The Complete Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, The Faun and the Woodcutter’s Daughter by B. L. Picard, and right now I really, really, really want to read A Candle in Her Room by Ruth M Arthur, only I can’t find a copy priced at anything I can afford, so in fantasy land I would have it. Alternately, if it has to be a book I owned, I’d swap it out for My Sweet Audrina by VC Andrews.

Well, thank you Joleene for joining us today. Really enjoyed picking your brain. And readers, if you want to check out more of Joleene, you can find her on her website, her blog, her Facebook page, on Twitter, and on Goodreads.

Also check out the Interviews page for my talks with other authors and even some characters.

And make sure to check out When the Lights Go Out, available from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. It’s the perfect way to start the Halloween season.

My crazy, busy life finally gave me time to read the continuation of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, so I downloaded it to my Kindle at the first opportunity and started reading. And it was awesome, and shows that even over a decade later and after a fad of sparkly vamps that many wish had never surfaced, Anne Rice and her vampire characters, particularly that rascal Lestat, can still tell a mesmerizing and heart-pounding story.

In Prince Lestat, the vampires have proliferated all over the world and the vampire world is in chaos. There is a need for the Children of Darkness to come together, and Lestat’s name has been floated as someone who could lead the change. Of course, the Brat Prince, between wandering in isolation and trying to figure out his iPhone, would rather not have that sort of responsibility thrust upon him. That is, until a horrific tragedy, worse than when Akasha rose from her sleep, strikes the global vampire community, and Lestat may be the one to put an end to this cataclysm, whether he wants to or not.

The book starts out with a quick guide to the world of the Vampire Chronicles (perfect if you’re like me and you haven’t read the books in a number of years) before sliding into the story. And at once, you are transported by Anne Rice’s storytelling, which is poetic, prosaic, melodic, sometimes erotic, and a few other -ics all at the same time. It’s wonderful seeing all these characters again and how they’ve changed over the years, and meeting a few new ones who impress themselves upon your hearts almost immediately.

The plot is also fun, exciting and mysterious, with each twist and revelation making you pause to take it in. And it’s interesting to read how the vampires have adjusted to the Internet Age. Some have adjusted quite well: Benji Mahmoud from The Vampire Armand has his own Internet radio show, which has become like a staple of vampire culture in this day and age. Others, like Lestat…well, you saw my summary above.

It’s also interesting to see some of the evolutions taking place in Rice’s style. In previous reviews of her books, I’ve mentioned how she’s incorporated science into her books where before she’s preferred to use magic and the supernatural. In Prince Lestat, she brings science into the story through two new characters who act as vampire doctors and scientists with the goal of studying vampires. You read that right, she has vampire scientists! Not what I expected either, considering how many vampires have been or are musicians or patricians or artists or whatnot. They and their work are a fun twist in the whole saga that lead to some interesting plot points, as well as making the reader rethink the whole series through their perspective.

There’s much more I could say about the book, but I’ll wrap up by saying that if Anne Rice is looking to write a whole new series of vampire books, she’s done a great job launching it with Prince Lestat. As magical as any of the other books, with enough characters to make you think you’re having a reunion with old friends and a plot that not only is intriguing and holds up on its own but with an ending that sets up for future books, which from what I hear we can look forward to.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving Prince Lestat a perfect score of 5. It’s a moving cannonball back into an intriguing universe, and I cannot wait to find out what happens in Blood Paradise when it comes out.

And I wouldn’t mind another werewolf novel. And I would really like to know what happens next to Toby O’Dare, so when can we expect the next book in the Songs of the Seraphim series? Just asking.