Local Color and Vampire Inspiration: The Big Easy

I’ve talked previously about the inspirations for my vampire novel series, The Matriarch Vampires. The central West Virginia locations, Glenville State College, and the character nods. After shelving the original first drafts of the book two decades earlier, why did I feel it was time to dust them off and finally finish the story?

One of those reasons was certainly Jonathan Weiss.

neworleansjacksonsquarenight2010My wife and I enjoy walking through old cemeteries and taking local ghost tours. There are many haunted places around the U.S., often in old cities like Birmingham, Alabama, Savannah, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida. Back in 2010, we traveled to New Orleans and took such a tour, and our guide to the city at night was none other than Jonathan. He looked the way I imagine a time traveler might, combining a classic appearance with a modern sensibility, a person whom has long since reconciled the old and new ways with a natural ease, elegance, and an eagerness to share his experience.

Not having given much serious thought about fiction writing for twenty odd years, Mr. Weiss captured my attention and filled my imagination with stories and embellishments as we toured the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, recounting local legends with intriguing details and playing to the crowd… and yes, much was said about vampires. He and other occupants felt like a necessary part of the city, a piece of its soul that would be lost forever if abruptly cut out.

Yet, as I understand it, that’s exactly what some are trying to do.
Continue reading “Local Color and Vampire Inspiration: The Big Easy”


I have been nominated by action/sci-fi/horror screenwriter Eric Ian Steele from Manchester, England to join the “Meet My Main Characters” blog tour. Today I will be telling you a little about the protagonist of my vampire thriller series The Matriarch.

Matriarch3DBoxCover2013OctWhat is the name of your main character?

Her name is Janiss Annette Connelly, formerly a college senior with one semester to go before she would begin student teaching, marry, have children, and live happily ever after…all of which changes after running afoul of a vampire named Ian Chrisman.

When and where is the story set?

It is set in and around Glenville, West Virginia and at my alma mater, Glenville State College. The story takes place in modern-day, but the roots of the story are steeped in the local ghost story of Sis Linn, a woman who was brutally murdered a century before and was interred in the old city cemetery on the actual college campus. Her murder was never solved, setting up the gray area in history where the story takes place.

What should we know about the main character?
Continue reading ““MEET MY MAIN CHARACTER” Blog Tour!”

“Opening Scene” Book Trailer for Linda S. Cowden’s ‘Grimmie’ Novel

As a few of you know, I am married to a wonderful horror author, Linda S. Cowden. Her book about the Grim Reaper called Grimmie is an awesome read, so last October we shot several still photos with a small cast to create a book trailer based on the opening chapter.

Here it is: shot, scored & cut by me!

Enjoy, and feel free to spread the love around!


Kind Words from K.L. Nappier, Author of the Full Wolf Moon Trilogy

Kevin A. Ranson knows sinister entertainment. Cloaked -literally- in his alter ego Grim D. Reaper, he has made it a labor of dark love and his eerie career for many years via his popular movie review site MovieCrypt.com. Now an author of unique YA/children’s books as well as intriguing mainstream dark fiction, Mr. Ranson brings his prodigious knowledge of what chills and thrills us to the literary world. And the shadowy corners of our book shelves are illumined for the better by the spectral glow of his writing.” ~ K.L. Nappier, author of the Full Wolf Moon Trilogy

Hopeful Not Mournful

Found out a cool young lady I started my training class at my current job with died this past weekend in a car wreck. She was young, full of life, and always happy to see everyone… and now she’s gone. Damn. Kinda depressed about it.

Some people know I dress up as the Grim Reaper for conventions, videos, and other stuff. I’ve always portrayed the Angel of Death as a being resolved to his fate and taking pride in his work. He isn’t evil, just the embodiment of a fear all mortals have of a natural, normal process. Like myself, he celebrates life in spite of it coming to an end, and I prefer to think of that as hopeful rather than mournful.

My friend, to me, was the kind of person everyone talks about being but rarely ever is, genuinely happy to see you and genuinely interested in your well being, happy for no reason and every reason. I’m keeping that as a way to remember her for when she was here, not only for myself but for anyone I happen upon; it’s the least I can do.

Goodbye, April.

Putting the “Online” Back Into the Film Critic Society

I’ve been a member of the OFCS (the Online Film Critics Society) for a number of years. I applied early on in my career as a reviewer and was initially turned away. I took the advice I received only to later learn that I had been watched, my improvements noted, and an invitation extended.

My film website, MovieCrypt.com, was actually a blog long before anyone had coined the term, and in the tradition of the earlier ‘Net, my identity was safely anonymous as a “horror host.” One of the reasons that compelled me to join a critics society, however, was the opportunity to engage in conversation about what I love: film, making films, and filmmakers. There are plenty of reasons why someone might want to be a film critic, but I was most interested in the social aspect and the articulation of others regarding their passion for films. I chose the World Wide Web not only because of its access but because of its interaction; I wanted to find like-minded individuals.

Fifteen years later, the Internet is full of well-organized social networks that everyone is aware of, but as Twitter and Facebook have risen to the top of these networks, I’m finding myself disconnected from many of the OFCS members than I used to engage with quite often. While I understand (too well, in fact) the need to carve out your own online niche and maintain content in your own corners, our “society” has waned, in my humble opinion. I would like to encourage the membership to use the OFCS forums on Rotten Tomatoes or the private OFCS group on Facebook to see what their fellow members are watching, writing about, and thinking about films in general.

I miss a lot of you guys. Let’s be a film critics society online. Again.

Author Interview Up Rai29 Book Read N Review

If you’re into books, spend time online, and are not familiar with Goodreads.com, I suggest checking it out (my author profile is here).
One of the people I’ve met on the site is Rachel, a young adult who is not only ravenous for reading but also reviews young adult (YA) books and interviews YA authors. Check out my interview on her site at Rai29 Book Read N Review.
Here’s a few of the questions:

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
It’s called The Spooky Chronicles: The Terminal People, about a dead boy dealing with still growing up.
4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
This is the second book in The Spooky Chronicles series. The first arc is planned for six books, although I’m doing a one-shot crossover story between the first couple books for a charity anthology. I’m currently working on the third book in the series, Schoolhouse Number Five.
5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing film reviews for almost fifteen years (honing my written “voice”), plus my girlfriend got into self-publishing herself and encouraged me to do it. I’ve seen a lot of scary movies, and the ones featuring young adults rarely seem to show much of the their point of view. One exception is Harry Potter, which I’ve always felt is a lot more YA horror than people want to admit.
7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
I’m pretty handy with the graphic arts and am self-taught, so I created it myself based on a key location in the story from photographs I’ve taken. Most of the current cover was from a picture taken in Savannah, Georgia’s Bonaventure Cemetery. Beautiful statuary there.
10. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
The series trailer is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjXRVIHdR… I love book trailers, but I think many are too much like movie trailers. In a movie trailer, you expect to see scenes in the movie exactly as they appear in the trailer (and are disappointed when they aren’t). So much of what happens in a book is in the imagination, so the less you show, the better. A book trailer, like a book cover, should *feel* like what the book is about, more like those teaser movie trailers that appear before any footage is actually shot.
11. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
I like them all. I intend to translate each of my stories into all of these mediums as I am able to. If you don’t give consumers what they want in the form they want it, someone else will.