The Vampire’s Privilege

Why vampires?

As an author with vampire series, it’s a question I hear often.

The short answer is because people still like them…and so do I.

JanissPredatorModeSquareAvatarSmallTo my mind, it is perfectly understandable why people continue to identify with vampires. It isn’t about becoming a reanimated corpse or the need for blood; it’s the promise of eternal life after death and finding empowerment in a curse — turning a negative into a positive. Yes, there’s sex and blood and rock n’ roll, but the part that makes it so relatable — even desirable — is the empowerment.

To quote Tyler Durden from Fight Club: “All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me. I look like you wanna look, I f**k like you wanna f**k, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.” Like Tyler, the laws of men and death no longer apply to the vampire; the undead dictate their own rules and they follow their own code. Both cursed and blessed to watch the world die around them while they endure, vampires are elevated demigods who remember once being merely human.

The promise of being insulated from the ravages of time, to become a spectator rather than a mere participant in the human condition, is the vampire’s privilege.

Any questions?

LichheadTransparent

Advertisements

A Writer Writes… Except When They Don’t

An interesting article was pointed my way by J.H. Moncrieff entitled “Writers, We Need to Stop Saying This.” It makes a case for the once-defining advice that “a writer writes.” That’s true in context — you aren’t a writer if you’ve never written — but it can also be a source of frustration for the writer who HAS already written. The reason is obvious:

Writer’s block is a real thing.

Sometimes it’s pressure to perform or succeed, to break in or break out, or to duplicate a previous success. Sometimes it’s intruding external life events or a complete lack of inspiration. But when you’re told a writer writes and you’re not writing, those self-worth doubts begin to creep in — a self-fulfilling prophecy.

BookhouseAs any career writer will tell you, there is a degree of luck involved to being discovered and becoming popular or recommended, but a body of existing work is the best way to not only become successful but to be ready for it. But I offer a counterpoint for the writer who has already written:

A writer THINKS about writing even when they’re not.

When it’s time to write, I write. When it isn’t and I’m not writing, I think about writing…a lot. I take notes. I imagine scenes and let them play out over and over. I entertain myself with ideas. I wait until I’m so ready to write because I haven’t been writing that I can’t wait to write.

Then — and only then — I write.

It’s a form of self-encouragement, anticipating the impending work of the wordsmith. When inspiration is lacking and real life keeps you from escaping into imaginary worlds, screaming at a blank page isn’t therapeutic for everyone, and neither is beating yourself up about it.

One trick I use is writing to an ending — meaning I know my ending before I get there. This keeps me excited to reach that ending and drives my first draft, but I’ve learned that a weak story and a bad ending can also gum up the machinery, and sometimes you have to walk away. This doesn’t work for everyone, but I know when to stop because I know when I’m done. It also doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind over the ending. Good realistic characters can surprise you; let them, but also remember what makes a story work: a beginning, a middle, and an ending that fit together.

Stories need to make sense because, far too often, real life doesn’t.

There’s a fun little 1992 flick with Tom Selleck called Mr. Baseball about an American pro ball player traded to a Japanese team. The new coach recognizes that his player is disenchanted with the sport, seeing that Tom anticipates the worst possible results… and gets them. The coach takes him off the team to make the player hit golf balls with a bat at a driving range (while others are using actual clubs) and to hit other things. After a while, the angry and frustrated Tom finally screams, “I’m sick of this crap! I want to hit a baseball!” After making the player repeat those words until the lesson is learned, the coach replies, “NOW you’re ready.”

Are you ready?

The Darkness and the Light in Storytelling: Contrast and Supergirl

I’m a horror writer. I prefer weird fiction. But not everything has to be blood, guts, and gore all the time; not everything has to be evil. In fact, the beauty of the Dark is that it balances the Light. Without the Light, there is no contrast.

So today I champion the Light.

Yes, I’m talking about general concepts. The Light is seen as being bright, positive, and giving of itself while the Dark is supposed to brood, call attention to the flaws of the world, and celebrate the non-conformist standards that feel a world away from childhood innocence. Ever notice how “good” is spoken of in simple terms while “bad” contains an inherit complexity, ideas that come with experience: life isn’t fair, good guys don’t always win, and not everyone gets the boy or girl?

DoctorHorribleCaptainHammerThe flip side of that coin is what those who embrace the Darkness often understand better than their counterparts: the Light is acceptance and being accepted, those who gain attention. Beautiful, strong, privileged, and loved…never mind it can all be a mask. “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” may be the best-ever example of showing heroes and villains in the simplest terms of how backwards things can get when our expectations are taught rather than learned. The hero is villain; the villain is the hero. We are meant to relate to being the loser who is destined to lose.

Storytelling is drama; it creates meaning to all of life’s randomness. Fate, Destiny, Kismet, and all that. But the Darkness is a place that the Light fears to tread, and rightly so. When love and affection is taken away; when the means to support yourself within the established system can’t be meant; when life must be lived on the fringe and fought for every day both within and without.
Continue reading “The Darkness and the Light in Storytelling: Contrast and Supergirl”

Vampire Books for Blood: Buy a Book, Feed a Vampire #VampBooks4Blood

Buy a book, feed a starving vampire. No, wait…is that right? Spread the word!
http://www.wtfbooks.net/Vampire_Books_for_Blood.html

2015MatriarchVB4BPromo

#VampBooks4Blood

First Reviews for The Matriarch: Changeling

2015ChangelingA few early reviews are coming in…and the responses are positive!

I’m so glad that I found out about this series a few years ago. The third book of his series does answer a lot of questions, and I’m excited that there will be a fourth book. Do yourself a favor, and get into this story as soon as possible. You won’t regret it. The author makes it easy to read and to care for Janiss right away.

And also…

This is a great series for fans of vampires and mystery…the one thing that stays consistent (are) the vampires themselves. They are modern, sleek and still extremely deadly without being parodies of themselves…Despite being unable to age, (Janiss) has grown up quite a bit and has adapted to her role in the series. She’s quickly becoming a favorite vampire character to me. The new vampire in the book, Nancy, piqued my interest and the way she acts; her past and her sometimes questionable intentions kept me reading as fast as I could.

Get the new book for yourself today!

2015ChangelingBaseAdBlock3072px

The Penultimate Matriarch: Revelations

TheMatriarchNovelsNow that The Matriarch: Changeling has published in its final form, I can share a few ideas.

It’s probably my worst-kept secret: The Matriarch was never intended to be a series. I left a few questions unanswered because I had told the story I wanted to tell: when you’ve lost everything (your dreams, your life, your best friend), how do you go on? The main character Janiss finds a way, but the story doesn’t end with “happily ever after.” How could it? The ending was intended to be satisfying, but it still leaves the mystery of “what might happen next?” with little more than “you decide.” I ended up tricking myself; I started to think about exactly what the continuing story would be and realized I wasn’t finished.

Why four planned books instead of a trilogy? A tetralogy isn’t uncommon in fiction, but the truth is I WAS writing a trilogy…if you envision the original novel as a prequel: “Janiss Begins,” making the second, third, and fourth books a “sequel trilogy” to the first novel. To continue her story and her growth as a character, she couldn’t do it alone, especially after all the deaths and demise in the original novel. Janiss had accepted becoming a vampire and resolved to exist as one, but she hadn’t yet accepted the full responsibility and legacy that Louisa had left for her. The Matriarch: Guardians is about her stepping up to become a protector and making decisions, to accept her role as a leader.

TheMatriarch3WorkingTitleLogoSmallIsn’t a changeling a fairy child secretly swapped out for the real one? Yep, but like many ideas in this novel series, the use of the term in the title The Matriarch: Changeling is a metaphor. In continuing her story, Janiss has grown comfortable at Cedarcrest Sanctum; it’s easy to be a “good” vampire when all your needs are catered to, but what do you do when all of that is gone? The interesting part of the third novel to me is that no one even knows Janiss is missing, so no one is looking for her! It’s an interesting turning point including the real temptation to walk away…offered up by none other than the Devil in disguise.

So, what’s left to tell? Louisa and Timothy always had a plan for Cedarcrest Sanctum, and it may not be what you think. The final book is about relevance and dealing with immortality. While the story of Janiss is part of that, it’s also something that all of the characters will struggle with…and not everyone is going to make it. Sad? Yes, but also realistic. The tone of this series is and always has been there is no happily ever after – there is only what happens next.

LichheadTransparent

New Key Art for The Matriarch: “The Waiting Tree”

Inspired by a scene from the new book, Janiss prepares to vanquish a foe. Even though she’s vamped out and her eyes are blackened, she has also chosen to arm herself with a Decapitator. I may have to make this into a poster!

2015ScaryTreeJaniss
LichheadTransparent