Tag Archive: vampires



      Today we have the pleasure of welcoming Author Sheryl R. Hayes as our guest blogger who shares her insights about writing and tells us about her exciting debut book “Chaos Wolf”.  Take it away Sheryl…  

Sheryl R Hayes Author Photo

Stringing Words Together To Create A Yarn

    Aside from using tools that are stick-shaped, you wouldnt think that theres much similarity between writing and knitting. Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels.

      I have been a knitter and crocheter for about ten years, and creating costumes for the last six. I have been writing in some form or another for over twenty years, but started my novel about six years ago. My processes for writing a book and creating a costume are strikingly similar.

    I start by deciding on what I am going to make. Be it a Cruella De Vil or an urban fantasy novel about werewolves and vampires, I need that seed idea to nurture.

Cruella De Vil

    Next I figure out how I am going to do this. I study other costumes similar to what I want to do. I choose my yarn and pick out patterns to modify. I read other novels in my genre. I make up my characters and write my outline.

     You would assume this is where I dive in, but Im not quite there yet. If Im not sure if this will work, I make a few samples. Ill make what is called a swatch by knitting a four by four inch square. From that I will get an idea of how the finished project will look and can estimate how much yarn it will take. I will write a short story or a few scenes to get the feel for my characters. Once I feel comfortable, I begin the actual creation.

     Now begins the hard part. I begin the fabrication, which takes up the bulk of the work. At first its cheery because I am MAKING SOMETHING AWESOME. (Yes, I think about it in capital letters.) But as my fingers start to get sore and my brain stops providing the words, I start to wonder WHY DECIDED TO DO THIS and WILL I EVER FINISH???

     Then, I start noticing the errors. Plot holes appear in my beautiful prose. I discover on row ten that I knit row seven twice, or worse yet, dropped a stitch. Sometimes they are small holes that you can fix easily with a few stitches or a few words. Occasionally they are large holes that require you to rip parts out and, in a bad situation, start over. I pull the yarn off my needles, open a new file, and begin again. Lather, rinse, repeat until to my surprise, I have all the parts made. No more holes to fill. Now it is time to put it all together.

     Once I have all my pieces in place and all my prose written, I work on assembling the finished product. I start sewing pieces together to create the base of the costume. I pick any accessories that I need to add that finishing polish. I send my writing out to editors and beta readers to find out what needs to be rewritten to make the prose sing. Ill hire a cover artist and write the bits and pieces that will be used to promote the book.

     And when Im done with all the knitting and the typing, I have something I am proud to show off to the world.

Bio:

     Sheryl R. Hayes can be found untangling plot threads or the yarn her cats have been playing with. In addition to writing, she is a cosplayer focusing on knit and crochet costumes and works full time at a Bay Area water company. You can follow her at her blog http://www.sherylrhayes.com, on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/sherylrhayes, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sherylreneehayes

Chaos Wolf:

Bitten by a werewolf. Taught by a vampire. At this rate, shes going to start a war.

     Literature major Jordan Abbey ordered a double mocha latte, but it wasn’t supposed to come with a side order bite by a love-sick werewolf. When a vampire comes to her rescue, gut instinct tells her he has questionable motives. But hes the only one she can trust to help get in touch with her inner animal.

     Within a week, her smart mouth lands her in trouble with the hostile alpha of the local pack and the stiff-necked vampire elder. She now has less than a moon cycle to master shape changing… or else. And the besotted werewolf who started this whole mess is stalking Jordan and killing her friends. He won’t take no for an answer.

     In the Northern California town of Rancho Robles where the children of the Wolf and the Bat share an uneasy coexistence, one woman makes an epic mess of the status quo.

ChaosWolfFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700

Chaos Wolf Excerpt:

     He gestured toward the couch. “Would you like tea, coffee, or soda?”

    “Soda, please.” Although she wasn’t thirsty, accepting what he offered seemed the polite thing to do. She sat down on the leather couch and rested her elbows on her knees. “Don’t you only drink… um

     “Blood?” Montgomery finished the question for her. “No.” He stepped into the kitchenette. “I can and do drink and eat other things. It’s kind of like eating junk food. There’s no nutritional value. I enjoy the flavors and textures. I don’t like to do it too often, though.”

     Jordan tilted her head to one side. “Why not?”

    His lip curled into a half smile. “I can’t digest matter like when I was mortal,” he explained. “I have to purge it in a different way.”

    She blinked, puzzling it out. Understanding dawned on her face. “Oh… Oh!”

    One red-and-silver can in hand, Montgomery stepped out of the kitchenette. “When I last saw you, you were hightailing it out of here, never to return.” He gave her the soda and took a seat in the chair sitting at a right angle to the couch. “What happened?”

    Jordan stared down at the soda and rubbed her thumb over the frosty top. “After I left, I went home. I didn’t tell anyone about you.” She gestured in Montgomery’s direction. “I went out to try to forget what happened. When I came back, I found out my roommate’s boyfriend had been mauled to death.”

    Montgomery stiffened. “Did you see the werewolf?”

    “No,” Jordan said. “I didn’t even think he was real until” She paused and shivered, sloshing the soda in the can. “All I could think about was finding you.”

     Montgomery’s lips moved to form a curse. “Did you come directly here?” He stood up and crossed the small space separating the chair and the couch. “Focus. It’s important. Do you think you were followed?”

     “No. The police took me and Molly to the station. We’re not allowed to go back to our apartment until sometime tomorrow after the super gets someone in to” Jordan’s voice broke. She swallowed. “Clean up. I spent two hours getting on and off buses to make sure I wasn’t followed.”

     Montgomery sat down on the couch. “Good thinking. If the werewolf was following you by scent, that should have thrown him off your trail. If he was tracking you by sight, you would have spotted him. Or he would have broken in here by now. You’ve been lucky.”

    “Lucky?” Jordan’s shoulders tightened and her fist clenched, denting the can inward. “I’m being stalked by something out of a horror film and you think I’m lucky?”

     “Yes,” Montgomery countered. “If you had been there instead of your friend, the werewolf would have finished what he started.”

     “Finished what he started?” Jordan put the soda on the table unopened. “You make it sound like he let me live.”

     “He did,” Montgomery stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

     She stared at him with an open mouth. All the movies and books she had seen taught that a werewolf would rip out her throat as soon as look at her. The female victim never survived the attack. “But why?”

     “You haven’t figured it out yet?” Montgomery appeared nonplussed by her reaction. “He wasn’t trying to make a meal out of you, Jordan. He was claiming you as his mate.”

Universal Book Link: https://www.books2read.com/chaos-wolf

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B2RTFCV/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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I first encountered Mr. King’s works back in the late 1970’s and quickly became a huge fan.  I even got to meet the man himself in 1983 when I was attending Nassau Community College.  Mr. King had come for a politician who had been running for the Democratic Presidential ticket (the man in question later dropped out after having been caught out by the press for having an affair).

Back to Stephen King, I was in awe of him back then and I still am today.  I will admit some of his books are not always my cup of tea these days, but he is still a brilliant writer whom I look up to and respect.  “Salem’s Lot” is one of the reasons for my admiration.  Check out the review I created for Goodreads.com below and perhaps you’ll get a better picture as to why I love this particular book so much.

5-STARS
Salem's Lot

Possibly one of the best modern-day vampire stories I’ve ever read.

‘Salem’s Lot is a nice little town up in Maine. A charming community where everyone knows their neighbors, but not all their dirty little secrets. Even the most picturesque towns has it’s share of dark tales. Take the Marsten House where Hubie Marsten murdered his wife and then hung himself. No one has lived there for years, but now someone has bought the place.

At the same time Ben Mears, the famous author, has returned to ‘Salem’s Lot to do a story on the old place. He’d gone inside once on a dare and has been trying to reconcile what he saw that day inside the old abandoned place. But while he tries to wrestle with old ghosts, a greater threat has come to town.

First a beloved dog is found hanging on the cemetery gate, mutilated in a most bizarre and ritualistic fashion. Soon a small boy disappears and his older brother contracts a fatal illness with anemia-like traits. Soon darkness spreads across the town, but no one is willing to talk about it. Some ponder but none are willing to acknowledge or admit to the possibility of something ‘supernatural’ taking hold of their community…

I have always loved this story because it felt so believable to me. We are taught to be rational and intelligent. To not believe in bogeymen, werewolves, or vampires. So I could easily see an entire town slowly being turned into the living dead through the old “you bite two friends, and they bite two friends, and so on…” method. And who would believe it if you told them this was happening? The police? The clergy? The newspapers? Or would you have to create your own little band of slayers to fight the threat? People who’ve seen and now believe and are willing to stand with you? Or do you simply turn and run, leaving the town to it’s fate?

For me, this is one of Mr. King’s greatest works


NEW 4 STAR REVIEW OVER ON AMAZON FOR OUR LATEST RELEASE… 

PICK THIS UP IF YOU LIKE VAMPIRES!

By Da Man on June 15, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Do not pick this book up if you think you know everything about vampires! It will completely change your thinking about them…

Click on the link below to see the rest of the review and what others have been saying:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDO8SLO/ref=series_rw_dp_sw


Book review time again.  Today I wanted to share with you my review on what I consider one of THE best  collections of vampire stories ever compiled.  It covers some of the earliest vampire tales known and finishes with more modern ones from the 1980’s.  With the many takes on vampires we see these days from Anne Rice to Stephanie Meyer, I thought it might be interesting for you all to check out some other takes on the vampire genre done by other authors over the decades.  So without further ado, allow me to introduce you all to…

 



THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VAMPIRE STORIES is one of the best anthologies I’ve ever found. Part of the reason is that it covers authors who’ve touched on this subject as far back as 1816 and goes up to 1984. There are a number of familiar names in this book like Clark Ashton Smith, Sheridan Le Fanu, Tanith Lee, and August Derleth to name just a few. But what fascinates me the most is seeing how the vampire legend is explored. We meet the legendary “Varney The Vampire”, the seductive and dangerous “Carmilla”, as well as Stoker’s missing chapter from Dracula which was released as a short story several years after the novel itself was published. I understand in some later printings, it was put back into the novel where it belonged. Alas my copy of Dracula is one of the ones without it, so finding this missing chapter in this collection was a treat for me.

 

The first 2 installments in this collection: “Fragment of a Novel” (1816) and “The Vampyre” (1819) were of particular interest to me since their creation were the direct result of a bet made between the poet Percy Shelley, his wife Mary, Lord Byron and John Polidori. The four were spending a summer together and during a particularly boring rainy night they all agreed to a little contest. Each was to create a full length horror story within a certain amount of time. These 2 stories were the entries by Byron and Polidori respectively. Neither is fully finished. In fact Mary Shelley was the only one to complete her story the legendary “Frankenstein”. 

 

Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” is another brilliant piece in this collection. Published in 1872, it predates Stoker’s more famous “Dracula” by a few decades. Considered a ‘lesbian’ vampire story since both the victims and the antagonist are women. But it’s here where we really find one of the first demonstrations of the sensuous behavior that has been built upon by so many modern writers of vampire fiction. Yet, it is not love or real affection. I’ll quote a passage from the story so you can see what I mean.

 

“…the vampire is prone to be fascinated with an engrossing vehemence, resembling passion

of love, by particular persons. In pursuit of these it will exercise inexhaustible patience and

stratagem, for access to a particular object may be obstructed in a hundred ways. It will

never desist until it has satiated its passion, and drained the very life of its coveted victim.

But it will, in these cases, husband and protract its murderous enjoyment with the refinement

of an epicure, and heighten it by the gradual approaches of an artful courtship. In these cases

it seems to yearn for something like sympathy and consent. In ordinary ones it goes direct to

its object, overpowers with violence, and strangles and exhausts often at a single feast…”

 

So here we see that alluring nature that is so eroticized these days. But clearly in this passage we see that clearly there is no real affection for the victim at all. It’s fascinating to see how one idea is singled out and made romantic, while the consequences are ignored these days. However, I cannot criticize modern writers for this. Every author wants to put a different spin on an old legend and this can be seen throughout this collection.

 

We have “Luella Miller” by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman in 1902. No blood letting here, but the title character definitely has a kind of vampiric nature, willing or otherwise. She is almost a sympathetic character in some ways. 

 

Later we find C. L. Moore’s “Shambleau” in 1933, where the author takes us on a science fiction journey to another planet where we meet a vampire-like being, who also shares some resemblance to the legendary Medusa of ancient Greece.

 

There’s also the legendary Fritz Lieber’s offering “The Girl With The Hungry Eyes” from 1949. Or August Derleth’s 1939 “Drifting Snow” where we meet a pair of Snow Vampires. 

 

For almost a century authors have been putting their own spin on this famous myth and many will continue for years to come, myself included. 

 

I give this collection a full 5 STAR rating and highly recommend it to any fan of the genre.


Well, 2013 was a rollercoaster of a year for me.  There were some great highs but an awful lot of lows that really made this a tough one for me.

 

Losing my father-in-law was probably the hardest thing to go through.  I looked up to that man so much and he gave me such great advice and encouragement.  To watch him fight the good fight and then lose to something other than the cancer, was gut-wrenching.  However, to see my wife’s family pull together and know I was a part of them, helped a lot.  As did this Christmas.  This was the first one without him and was going to be especially hard for my mother-in-law.  Helen (my wife) and I had her and my brother-in-law over here for the holiday where we decked out the place and managed to create a magical Christmas in which it felt like he was right there with us the whole time.  We all felt his presence, and that made me feel so much better.

 

My debut novel “The Bridge” came out and 1477 copies were grabbed up.  Most of these were thanks to free e-book giveaways (about 1370) by my count.  Was it worth doing that?  I think so, because as a 1st time author I needed to get my product and my name out there.  I’m hoping this will translate to a large number of people willing to actually buy the second book when it comes out in March 2014.  Because I won’t be doing free promo-giveaways again because in order to do that, I’d have to first release the book to Amazon only for 3 months.  That would leave all my Nook, Apple and Sony e-reader fans waiting on the sidelines.  I don’t like that idea, it seems unfair to my audience and I cannot operate that way.  I care about the people that are interested in reading my work.

 

Foolish? Maybe.  Idealistic?  Certainly.  But that’s couple of things that make me who I am.

For 2014 I’m hoping to put out at least 2 new books.  “The Ship” of course in March.  Then I’ll be introducing a new set of characters and their first story in December.  “The Vampire Blogs” will be my first Christmas story.  My protagonist will be a blood-sucker with most, if not all, the usual powers and weaknesses and no sparkling.  He will also be a good-guy.  I have plans of starting a blog dedicated to events in his and the other characters lives before the book actually comes out to give the audience sneak preview into the workings of their minds and how life shapes their personalities.  Please let me know if you like this idea in the comments section below.  Most of what will be shown in the blog will probably not show up in the book, so these ‘blog’ entries will be an added treat for my readers.

 

Depending on my schedule in the coming months, I might have a third book come out which will involve Alex, Veronica, Cassie and Julie once again and take up where both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” leave off.  Little hint for everyone about the final scene coming up in “The Ship”.  Hee-hee…

 

I will be attending more classes at my local Community College starting in Feb., with the hopes of entering University in the Fall of 2014.  We’ll see how everything goes and how life is treating me.  The amount of free time I have will have a definite impact on how much writing I get done.  So keep your fingers crossed for me.  I’m dedicated to getting “The Ship” and “The Vampire Blogs” out for certain.

 

Other goals and dreams for 2014 involve spending more time with my wife and hoping our financial situation improves so we can get out and try more things.  Kayaking, Parasailing, Ballroom Dance and other activities have long been on our list of what we’d like to try or do more of.  We’ll see how things go.

 

So, as 2013 comes to a close, I pray the coming months are kind and treat you all even better than the last 12 have.  More writing tips will be coming soon so stay tuned.  In the meantime, if you must travel please be safe and stay well.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL… and keep writing.

 


Okay, in my last entry I disclosed I was working on a vampire novel.  Now this is a genre that has been done and redone so many times it’s unbelievable.  And almost every time there are new twists and turns added to it that they barely seem to resemble the traditional vampires that Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee made legendary in Hollywood.  Today we have vampires that just totally ooze sex appeal, can sparkle in daylight instead of turning to dust, can have sex and produce offspring, are either monsters or saints, etc.  And they are still as popular as ever in spite of all the changes to the original legend.

Now I’m not just talking about Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”.  That was not the first vampire story.  There were many others. If you ever get the opportunity check out “The Penguin Book Of Vampire Stories” and you’ll see ones that predate Mr. Stoker’s work by quite a few years.  But in that collection you’ll also meet other kinds of vampires: snow vampires, ones who hide inside portratis, aliens on different planets, etc.  In this collection there are creatures of all sorts and shapes that are still called vampires.

This brings me to today’s subject.  How can you breathe new life into a genre that has been written about so many times over?  Well that’s up to the writer.  As in the case of Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer and others, they tweek the original vampire concept to suit their story ideas.  Sometimes they provide and explanation about why their creations don’t adhere to all the old legends, sometimes not.

So, you may be thinking, “Okay Allan, how are you going to ‘tweek’ the vampire concept and make it fresh and different?  What changes are you going to make to the traditional weaknesses and rules?”

Here’s my answer.  All the traditional rules of garlic, being welcomed into a place, avoid sunlight, shape-shift, control minions, etc. will be in effect.  So where am I making the change?  Simple, my vampire is NOT undead.

At this point I’m sure a number of you are thinking if he’s not undead then he can’t be supernatural.  So how can all those limitations and vulnerabilities still apply to him?  That’s where the creative writing process comes in.  All of these things will be addressed in the story.  And it won’t just be about a biography about my vampire.  There will be dangers.  The internet allows people access to a lot of information.  And this story will be taking place in modern day.  So there will be suspicious townspeople, cops on the hunt, the threat of discovery, a ghost, and villains (human and otherwise) to be battled.

So there you have it.  A new take on a much used subject.  But instead of changing all the rules, I’m working with them and making new reasons for why they apply.  And in doing so, I’m hoping that a number of you are already really intrigued and are looking forward to checking the story out when it’s ready.  If this is the case, then I’ve succeeded in breathing new life and interest into a genre that has been worked and reworked many times over.  And it can be done with so many other genres such as fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, you name it.

So what genre or legendary creature/being have you thought about working on?  Is there one close to your heart that’s been done a lot already?  If so, how can you make it new and interesting?  Are there rules for how it behaves or can be dealt with and what are the explanations behind it?  Is there a new way to approach these things?  Give us a new spin on it that still makes sense and intrigues us.

I’d love to hear from you and so would other people who read this blog.  Leave comments below and tell us a little about what you are working on or have in mind.  Be careful not to give your whole idea away.  Just leave tantalizing hints that will get us revved up to check your work out as soon as it’s ready.

Until next time,  keep writing.

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