Much Ado About Vampires: Writing The Matriarch III

Whether you love or hate the Bard…or vampires.

TheMatriarch3WorkingTitleLogoSmallWhen I expanded my stand-alone vampire novel into a book series, it required me to re-envision the first novel as “part one” to create a story progression (don’t you hate when a great story falls apart at the end?) I tried to think of The Matriarch as a trilogy, but it was going to take four books to get to the ending I wanted and wrap everything up with a bow.

This meant each self-contained novel – intended to be enjoyable unto itself – had to seed the entire arc to show the main character progression, especially in her capabilities and the challenges she would have to overcome. Those knowing the story line of my current work in progress, the untitled third, have dubbed it “Shakespearean” in reference to characters withholding critical information that escalates the situation. The Matriarch: Guardians did this, too, but to a much smaller degree.

It’s a classic and flexible trope: if Boy-X would have just told Girl-Y about Suitor-3, Villain-Z wouldn’t have tried to kill Girl-Y over the perceived slight from Boy-X. Then there’s my favorite: the character who knows everybody’s secrets but keeps them to manipulate others and/or just enjoy the show. If we would all just learn to talk to one another, we wouldn’t have to go around threatening to kill everyone…I know, I know: where’s the fun in that?

The first draft of The Matriarch III is nearly complete! I credit Linda S. Cowden with the title of this post; I love my wife!

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“The Decapitator” from The Matriarch: Guardians is complete! #VWSG

This is what happens when you give a couple of Texans a description for a new kind of vampire hunter weapon: they build one, and the case it comes in.

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The modular fauchard, aka “the decapitator.” Designed for ghouls to subdue and/or destroy neophyte vampires. Not recommended against elder immortals with a true understanding of their power. This weapon is featured in The Matriarch: Guardians.

Special thanks to Dragon’s Fire Forge who hand-forged the blades, created the connecting polearm and stake tips (mmm…steak tips). Box, “Osage Orange” stakes, and leatherwork by Tobin’s Turnings. These folks really outdid themselves, didn’t they? Here’s the original text this was taken from along with a hasty sketch I cobbled together:
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“The Decapitator,” an Original Vampire Hunting Weapon

For the second book in my vampire novel series, The Matriarch: Guardians, I began to invent items unique to my vampire-infested world. One of them was a modular fauchard – affectionately dubbed “the Decapitator” – designed to hunt neophyte vampires too new to their undead world to fully understand their abilities. Yes, that’s real…and currently being built as a show-piece prop; it’s what all the cool vampire hunters are carrying most nights.

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Meet Me @AncientCityCon in Jacksonville, Florida on July 18th-20th!

Gamers! Cosplayers! Cinephiles!

Lend me your ears…that’s disgusting; take those back this instant!

AncientCityCon2014After taking a year off to concentrate on my burdening…no, bludgeoning… wait, *burgeoning* writing career, I’m a guest at this year’s Ancient City Con at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront on July 18th-20th, 2014. I’ll be bringing a bunch of books: copies of The Matriarch and The Matriarch: Guardians. If you already have one or both, bring them by to get those dead-tree editions signed at no charge! There will be panels…oh yes, there WILL be panels…including an all-new edition of The Ultimate Occult Showdown with myself and Brett Link as your enforcers…whoops, I meant “hosts!”

C’mon down, get a hotel room right on the waterfront, and party with us for the eighth-annual Ancient City Con this mid-July. Seriously, there’s nothing else to do that weekend in Jacksonville…I promise. Would I lie? I mean, when it’s important?!

See ya there!

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Are Strong Female Characters in Supporting Roles Mostly Useless?

MatrixTrinityA friend pointed an article my way called “We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome,” citing a concern that, while storytellers in film have come a long way in empowering female characters, those characters are often reduced to mere plot devices.

There is an essential truth to this: they ARE plot devices.

And the reason for this is just as true: secondary characters support the Protagonist’s story.

Before we crawl under the hood, understand that I am not advocating the treatment of Strong Female Characters in many works – the author of the article makes a fair point of this – but we’re not talking about Ripley from Aliens or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” because those are their stories. We are also not talking about “Women In Refrigerators,” a trope concerning violence against women in comics as a plot device to “hurt” Strong Male Characters.

The article outlines eight questions writers should ask themselves about Strong Female Characters, everything from “(can she be) seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it” all the way to “deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero” pointlessness. The article contends that writers should rise to the occasion to create someone worthy of the name Strong Female Character, but these could all be reduced to a single, far simpler question: Can your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced by a Strong Male Character? If yes, all’s good; if not, why not?

Continue reading “Are Strong Female Characters in Supporting Roles Mostly Useless?”