Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

The End of it All by Richard Ankers

TODAY’S BREW: A lot.

By Julie

I was so excited when Richard Ankers told me he was working on a vampire novel, I screamed at him through the Twitterverse to send me what he had written. See, this guy wrote this book called The Snow Lily, an amazing piece of literature that astounds me is unpublished. You can find out more about it here. http://t.co/Fp7MLhTUBz and follow Richard @Richard_Ankers.

A wonderful man and a wonderful writer, he sent me this, the first chapter of his latest work, and I fell in love. IN LOVE. This is classical vampire writing done well. This is absolutely stunning. Enjoy.

 

I took her cold, dead hand in mine and led her out onto the balcony. A slight breeze stirred the silks of her gowns and tousled her flowing, raven locks. Geranium bushes emitted the faintest of pomades into the night circulating in the air currents and mixing exquisitely with Chantelle’s own luxurious scents. She was everything a man could desire, perfection personified. I pulled her to me and felt her hidden curves press against my flesh. If I could have remembered what it felt like to be happy, I imagined this would be it.

I gazed at the blood that flowed where once turbulent waters rushed, as it made serene passage down the Danube. The river looped around the end of the grounds and formed a natural barrier to uninvited guests. This was exactly the job it had been designed to do. I watched its unctuous form as it trundled past.

My mind was pulled away from the river by the reinvigorated orchestra who started to play anew. There was only one kind of music for such an occasion: Strauss. We waltzed in circles to the ironic notes of the blue Danube. I didn’t think the composer would have been able to generate the same response to his creation if the title had been changed to red. The moonlight shone down upon us like a searchlight as we twirled across the polished, ebony floor. Could there have been anything better? I very much doubted it! Just because you were dead did not mean you couldn’t appreciate the finer things in life.

I had been experiencing the best of life for the last five-hundred or so years and unlike some, I’d enjoyed every second of it. What was there not to have liked? To have wined and dined with those of undeniably good breeding, shared tailors with kings and queens, walked along gothic promenades without fear, this was the life, or death, I had dreamed of. I had never missed the sunlight it was terribly overrated. The sun gave such a false sense of wellbeing to the living. Only in the crystal clarity of the sparkling moon did the reality of an object truly show. The snake was not a slithering, ugly beast, but a sensual, seductive, coil of a creature. The bat far outshone the bird for it required none of the adulation that the avians so craved. And the wolf, ah, the wolf, what was there to say? To see one of the ancient grey wolves of old, backlit by a hunter’s moon, was a thing of surreal majesty. I envied them their freedom the one thing I did not possess.

“Shall we remain out here under the stars, Monsieur?” The beautiful french accent of my partner snapped me out of my musings and I smiled down at her from my greater height.

“What is your wish?”

“To be with you.”

“You can be with me anytime, but only in this moment once.” She tilted her head to one side as if it helped her think. When in truth, all it did was reveal her elegant porcelain neck. It was a momentary thing, quite beyond my control, as I plunged long fangs into her neck and sucked; and savoured; and drank. I did not know how long of her I sated, but it was too long. By the time I had finished, the metallic tang of her blood saturated my tongue, and she was gone. I had taken her past the point of no return where vampire lust and immortality merged.

I had killed Princess Chantelle of the New European Alliance and for the first time in an age, panicked!

I was usually quite unflappable. After all, what was there to get in a flap about when you were already dead? But this certainly qualified. I kept on dancing, holding my partner to me, and edged my way past the double doors we had exited from and to the edge of the balcony. Twisting our conjoined forms around, I surveyed the merriment within the ballroom and once sure of my being not watched leapt over the rails with my burden. It was a drop of about thirty feet, nothing to such as I, and I quickly made my way into the trees that lined the riverbank. Holding Chantelle close to me, as a lover might, I again made very sure of my solitude. We were quite alone. Where my vampire eyes could not see my senses, scent, and hearing, took charge. They all confirmed there was nobody around but me and my corpse. Accordingly, I flung her departed form far into the black liquid and watched her sink slowly below the surface. I would like to say I was sorry to see her go, but to be quite honest I was at best indifferent.

Retracing my steps to below the balcony, I had a sudden epiphany. I could not go back the way I had left for people were bound to have seen me step onto the balcony with the princess. No, I had to think of something else! Not wishing to be found outside I found some sturdy looking climbing ivy and in a reversal of parasitic behaviour, hastily scaled it all the way up the side of the palace. I felt no lack of energy as I hauled myself up and over a particularly hideous gargoyle and onto the palace roof, the princess’ blood had reinvigorated me, if nothing else. Always being one for a spectacular view I took a moment to savour my surroundings. It really was incredible! Class told, and that most opulent of pleasure domes dripped in it. Positioned with a full view of both mountains and river, the Comte de Burgundy, a clever play on colour as he was certainly of no royal heritage, could keep his vampiric eye on all and sundry. I envied him this place. If he had had it built for him, I could neither remember nor recall witnessing, but it certainly showed him in a finer light than he deserved. I could not stand the little runt, otherwise.

I meandered across the inclining roof looking for somewhere to gain access to the main halls when I realised I had been revealed.

“Good evening, Jean” came the whining voice of Sir Walter Merryweather.

“Good evening,” I responded, as casually as possible.

“Taking a stroll?”

“No, I am in fact lost. I was looking for the latrine and somehow found myself in front of the wrong kind of pot.”

“Tee-hee, yes quite.”

“And you?”

“Boredom, as always.”

“You could get into quite a lot of trouble for saying something like that.”

“I could! But I won’t.” He gave me a wink and touched the side of his nose with a velvet gloved finger.

“Incredible view, isn’t it?”

“Always. The Danube is a most impressive little stream. I never tire of watching it pulse across the land like some bulging virgin’s jugular vein. Ah, those were the days,” he added, with a stifled yawn. “Ditched Charlotte, have you?”

“Chantelle,” I corrected. “And I would rather say I have eluded her cloying over eagerness, for at least a short while, anyway.” I watched Walter closely, but he did not react and I suspected my secret to be still my own. “Do you wish to return to the ball?” I asked.

“Not really. I deplore all that showy bravado. My fangs are bigger than your fangs, etcetera, etcetera. Have we really become so melodramatic?”

“Well, this is the end of the world, or so they say. May as well go out with a flourish.”

“May as well,” he agreed. “I’d still prefer to be ripping out some human throat and sucking out their soul though.”

“Wouldn’t we all?” I concurred, as he stood brushing the moss from his green velvet outfit.

“Right then, lets be off, rejoin the tedium and all that.”

“After you,” I said, gesturing with my hand. Always smooth under pressure. I smiled to myself and followed him off the roof through a door I hadn’t noticed back to the strains of more Strauss. I didn’t think I’d feel the same way about him again. I’d sooner have Wagner any day of the week.

Merryweather led me through a labyrinthine set of passages, the purpose of which quite eluded me, before we eventually reappeared in one of the royal boxes that looked down upon the twirling throng.

“Makes you sick doesn’t it Jean?”

“What does?”

“All of this.” He spread his arms out wide, encompassing all of the massive hall, without any apparent care for who might see him.

“It provides some entertainment,” I said, whilst wiping a long dark lock from my eyes.

“Bah! Entertainment indeed. We have machines that can move mountains, the ability to create near endless resources, yet this is the sum of our achievements, to frolic.” Merryweather slammed one velvet gloved hand down upon the balustrade. I was sure for effect rather than real anger.

Already bored of the fop despite his sudden leanings to rebellion, I decided to make my leave. “I really should be finding the princess before some other dashing vampire sweeps her away before dawn.”

Merryweather regarded me with something akin to suspicion before doffing an imaginary hat to me. I was dismissed. I didn’t need telling twice either. After a quick check below I jumped over the parapet and dropped the rather long distance to the floor, landing conveniently at the feet of the Marquise de Rhineland. It was a pompous title for a pompous woman, but she did have quite exquisite legs.

“Ooh, Jean, you’re looking particularly delicious tonight.” Her ice-blue eyes shimmered in the light of a dozen chandeliers.

“As do you, Marquise.”

“Oh, Jean, you know to call me Portia.”

“Sorry, Portia, I forget myself at times.”

“Are you not with the princess?”

“I was, but I think I may have upset her and she is punishing me by her absence.”

“Is it really such a punishment?”

I leaned in closer, or as close as I could to someone dressed as a trifle and whispered, “Not really.”

“Ooh, Jean, you are a very naughty vampire lord.”

“I could be!”The glint in her eyes matched the licking of her lips: wanton.

“Would you like to leave this most boring of balls?”

The marquise looked about, as though searching for somebody, before grabbing my hand in her gloved own and languidly leading me from the ballroom. Nobody spared us a second glance, all far to advanced in their merrymaking. Out through the gold laden double doors, and into a corridor of polished ivory we strolled. It gave me chance to pretend to admire some of the more dramatic murals that covered every spare inch of the place: a sure sign of overkill and bad taste. Then, out through the crystal front doors of the palace and onto the grand staircase. Taking a dramatic stance, the Marquise beckoned a footman who had her carriage brought forth post-haste. What drew the carriage, I had no idea, unless it was of horses who’s colouring perfectly matched that of the night? With no acknowledgement to any of the scurrying servants she climbed the inlaid tortoiseshell steps into her mobile boudoir and sat with her back to the coachman. I followed her in, doing my best to avoid standing on her gowns and took a white leathered seat opposite.

“It seems a very long time since I last had you alone like this,” she purred.

“It must be the better part of a century, I should imagine,” I replied, combing back my hair from my face.

“I see you refuse to submit to the whims of others, ever the rebel.” The Marquise lifted her chin to my jet black attire.

“You know me. Old habits die hard.”

“I know exactly what you mean.” If the Marquise was about to further enlighten me of her thoughts the juddering start to our drive prevented her from doing it. She never did not like to be anything other than in full control of a situation. In a moment of fang baring, the Marquise bashed twice upon the frame of the carriage and shouted to the coachmen to not jolt her again. The crack in the side panel where fist met wood made me realise just what a facade of decorum she was perpetrating. As always, I found it disgusting.

Turning back to me with the face an angel would die for, again in control of herself, she continued. “Have you missed me, Jean.”

“I’ve seen you on many occasions. This formulated world is too small to miss someone for too long.”

“You know what I mean,” she giggled.

“Not really,” I answered honestly.

“Hm, playing tough won’t work with me. I see through your veneer of disdain.” The moonlight shone through the carriage window and gave a strange look of madness to her eyes, as she lent closer to me.

“There is no veneer with me. My feelings to this life have not changed for centuries.”

Sitting back in her seat again, I can see the Marquise pondering my words with the look of a child completely unable to comprehend a question. “Do you really hate it so?” She eventually asked.

“Yes.”

“But, why? We have everything our hearts desire and even when we don’t we simply create it.”

“That is exactly why.” I gaze out of the window and watch the dramatic scenery sweep past.

“You are a most mysterious man,” she chuckled as she eased her way into the seat beside me. “Beautiful, isn’t it,” she purred into my ear.

“Perhaps, if you like amalgamations of your Alps and Himalayas. It just so happens I prefer the originals.” If the Marquise heard me I do not know, as her mouth closed about my neck. I squirmed a little in my seat at the twin pressure she applied but not enough to break the skin.

“Now, tell me that you still haven’t missed me,” words of honeyed silk poured from her mouth.

“I still haven’t missed you,” I breezed, as our mouths met and, for a time at least, I submitted to her as the toy I once was.

Time and motion blurred together and I suspected the Marquise of having manipulated at least one or the other to her benefit. I wasn’t complaining. Her attentions were a surprising relief from what had occurred at the palace. I was of course used to women throwing themselves at me for one reason or another. However having two quite so powerful ones do so in the same night was a new experience for me. The first new experience in longer than I cared to remember.

I had barely buttoned my trousers back up when the carriage came to a shuddering stop. I was flung head first into the Marquise corsets, for a second time, and was most disgruntled to be found in such a position by the coachman who efficiently opened the carriage door in double quick time. If he thought it odd he didn’t show it, as the Marquise let out a most undignified growl from the back of her throat.

I uncoupled myself and languidly strolled from the carriage offering my hand to the Marquise before viewing where we were. “Very impressive, Marquise,” I said, looking the fairytale castle up and down. “White marble?”

“If you call me Marquise once more, Jean, I shall rip out your tongue,” she hissed. “And no, it is actually polished ivory.”

“That’s an awful lot of elephants that have perished for your pleasure.”

“Always the joker! Anyway, I’m a little sick of the site of it, in truth. I may have it remade on jade. I think that should look sufficiently different to the norm.”

“Is there such a thing these days?” I replied.

She just smiled and led me onto a moving stairs, rather like an elevator, that somewhat distracted from the overall effect of the place. Hidden servants appeared as if from nowhere and removed the Marquise of her excess outerwear then bade a hasty retreat.

“I see you still rule your home with an iron fist, Mar…Portia.”

“There is no other way, Jean. I work on the principle that if I treat everybody with the same lack of respect those that deserve it will get the message whilst those that don’t will at best complain.” The accompanying fanged smile did nothing to encourage my acknowledgement of her methods. Not that it was asked for.

“May I ask where we are headed at this time of oncoming daylight?” I enquired, with as much disinterest as I could muster.

“Why, the view of course. You didn’t think I had this castle built especially for the sentimental value.”

“I was under the impression your husband was the one who’d had it built.”

“He thinks so! But we all know men have no real ideas of their own, don’t we?”

I had a sudden desire to strike her head from her arrogant, elegant shoulders. I even think the Marquise shuddered a little as the thought showed fractionally in the flash of my eyes. As her birthright decreed, she soon recovered, and continued her gliding passage through the brilliant white halls of her home. I walked slightly behind and to the right of her. This was mostly so that I didn’t have to look at her face, I was already quite bored of her, and secondly so that she was dawn side of me. I much preferred the Marquise to experience the sun on her face before I if it did indeed appear during the course of her showing off.

After a seemingly endless walk of which I even started to whistle to communicate my boredom, the Marquise stood before a pair of the longest, red velvet curtains I’d ever seen which she threw aside with a flourish. The reflex to pull back from what I thought would be my doom was hard to resist but I thought even as big an imbecile as the Marquise would neglect to kill herself off so readily and stood my ground. I think she was quite impressed to turn and see me there when others would, and probably had, previously fled.

“So?”

“So what?” I replied, not wishing to add to her grandeur.

“Is it not the most beautiful of sights,” she pointed across a valley of staggering depth to something in the distance.

I stepped closer, trying desperately to remain nonchalant, but couldn’t help not let my inquisitive side marvel at what she pointed to. It was a palace of some sorts, difficult to be completely certain of, but something ancient and rather spectacular. Of that fact I was quite sure.

“It is Shangri-La, Jean. I have had it moved here. I knew you’d appreciate the grandeur of it.”

I shook my head in disgust, turned my back to the pompous fool, and made my way up to the bed chambers. It would be a long day before I could be rid of the woman.

Chynna Blue Scott’s Twilight Initiation

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate cappu-waiting for pumpkin spice.

By Julie

For Vampire Week, the honorary third member of the Undead Duo, Chynna-Blue Scott, has given us a kick ass post, and I love her for it. What I love the most  is that she’s one of us who doesn’t just say like what you want to like and screw you if you have a problem with it, she actually sticks to her guns.

Read. Then follow her at @chynnablueink and read her killer blog, which includes the masterful Zombie Project, http://t.co/lgf7zrdInN. SHE IS MY BRITISH LITTLE SISTER, SO DO IT.

My Twilight Initiation

I’m listening to Thnks Fr Th Mmrs by Fall Out Boy whilst writing this. I thought it was appropriate.

And I’m going to start this post by saying something really, painfully cliché.

Which is that when I was a little girl, I never wanted to be a princess.

Yeah, I know that’s the ‘said’ thing nowadays. And I also know the title of this blog post made your arm hair stand on end and your back teeth grind like someone just ran their nails down a chalkboard. But bear with me. You wanna see where I’m going with this.

So, returning to my original point – and thank you for sidetracking me, by the way – I want to clarify that I wasn’t a tomboy. No way in hell. Glitter, dresses, I loved that shit. But the sweetness and light? That never appealed to me. It wasn’t that I shied away from ‘girl’ things – it was that I didn’t want to be that kind of girl. In my head, I was strong, dark and pale. I’d go for red lipstick and a black dress before you’d find me in a pink fluffy tiara.

And I never really had anyone – or anything – to identify with. Not like today, with the Monster High Dolls, the boom in the supernatural trickling down until it permeated the world of little girl toys. That’s something we can really thank Twilight for, much as some might hate to admit it. Twilight is pretty much responsible for the sudden surge in paranormal and urban fantasy YA, and the diversification of kids toys and TV programmes that are a product of it.

I’m going to admit something here.  Although I’d always run to the red tartan and black turtlenecks, though I watched Charmed and Buffy, I still wasn’t really sure what my passion was, where I fit. I was into witches, but it was all a little too Mother Earth for me. And the vampires on Buffy – apart from Spike, of course – didn’t call to me. Maybe it was the fang face. I don’t know. It was all a little too ‘The Blob is Alive!’ for me.

And then I found Twilight.

To paraphrase Heathcliff, you may look cynical, if you please! I know, I know they aren’t your traditional vampires. I get it. And since my initiation into the world of vampires, I’ve found other books with vampires who fulfil the more traditional role, vamps I’ve fallen in love with. Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, for one. But what Stephenie Meyer had given me was an outlet for that need. Did I want to be eternally young, to sparkle in the sunlight, to have the ability to stop cars with my hand? Hell yeah. Do I still? You’d better fucking believe it. I wanted the gentleman vampire to fall in love with me. I wanted a world that where life and death was real, where being dark and different and weird was an attractive thing to be. A world where being popular and typical made you one of the herd. She introduced me to what I’d been searching for.

Vampires. That night world of beautiful darkness and blood called to me from the beginning. Nowadays, anyone who knows me knows I love them. In whatever form I can get them. The diversity in literary vampires is delicious. The supernatural boom has given us a plethora of undead, and shot life into the subculture already brewing in the wake of Anne Rice and Stephen King.

I’ve broadened my horizons, moved on to darker and more dangerous pastures, but I’ll always be thankful to Twilight for my initiation into that world. Like a soft gateway drug, it pulled me down the rabbit hole. And though now when I look back, I can see the writing isn’t the best it could be, and there are definite issues with it, I still love that damn book.

Yeah, I’m a sucker for Edward. So sue me.

THE LONG GAME Cover Reveal

Today’s Brew: Creamy Chocolate Coconut

by Kristen

Smooth talking. Ambitious. Loyal. Twenty-year-old Shay Reilly has proven himself to his Irish-American Gypsy clan on small-scale cons, but now the clan leader has a bigger mission for him: playing the long game. 

To rake in the big score he’s after, he needs to con co-ed Spencer into falling in love with him. He knows he should see Spencer as a mere means to an end, but that’s easier said than done when there’s a witty, attractive girl in your arms. 

Now the only thing that can keep them apart is the thing that brought them together: Shay’s plans of revenge against someone who wronged his clan and family years before—Spencer’s father.

The Long Game

The Long Game

The Long Game sounds refreshing and different!  It will be released on October 7, 2013.  In The Meantime, add it to your Goodreads list to get all the updates!

J.L. FynnAbout the author J.L. Fynn: J.L. Fynn is the public face of a private identity. She enjoys making up stories about iniquitous heroes, providing Delphic answers to unasked questions, and obfuscating the truth just for laughs. But then, what’s an author but a professional liar? If you send her an email she might let you in on her little secret—assuming she likes your moxie.

J.L. Fynn on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173188.J_L_Fynn

J.L. Fynn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JLFynnauthor

J.L. Fynn on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/jlfynnauthor

J.L. Fynn on the web:http://www.jlfynn.com/

Anatomy of a Vampire: Because The Night Style

Today’s Brew: Back to the water thing.

by Kristen

I loved this so much when Julie did it, I had to add to do it for my vampires as well. It’s a great way to show our take on the mythology and what makes our vampires different from each other.  So without further ado:

Tristan

1. My vampires can feed off of energy, which is perfect for rock stars. They have crowds of adoring fans surrounding them all the time, so they feed off of their adrenaline.  However, they can also pick up on negative vibrations, which can bring them down or drive them crazy, so they have to find a way to deal with that.

2. Blood is erotic for my vampires.  They don’t need it, but they certainly do like it. They can feed from humans and humans can feed from them for an out of this world sexual experience.  The blood also makes them stronger.

3. My vampires can’t go out in sunlight.

4. They become unconscious during daylight hours.

5. In Because The Night, we don’t learn that much about other abilities that this particular vampire clan has.  Tristan is in a sort of denial and a bit apathetic towards what he is.  We do know they have superhuman strength and speed.  Later we learn that they can see and hear things that humans cannot.

Blade

6. Only creators can read the minds of their “children.”

7.  Bloodlust is the thrall.  It attracts fans to the bands, and therefore provides them with an endless energy supply.  Bloodlust is also the sexual experience when blood is shared.

8. My vampires can and do drink alcohol and do drugs.  Like blood, they are metabolized as energy.  After all, their rock stars. Rock stars have vices.

9. They aren’t meant to be monogamous.

10. Women vampires are the most powerful, and there are very few of them.  They are usually clan leaders.  Two females in the same clan will not play nicely together.

The Anatomy of a Vampire: Running Home style

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate cappuccino stuff. Also known as Waiting For Pumpkin Spice.

By Julie

VAMPIRE WEEK, BABY! And yes, the anatomy of a vampire, but not like that. Come on, dirty birds.

This is all about my vampires, and what makes them mine. Not their personalities, but what makes them up, the bones of them.

The Shinigami vampires of Running Home have this stuff going on:

1.  They feed on whoever they are called to feed on, a fated urge to take the life of a specific human, for reasons revealed in the book. If they don’t do it, no other blood will be able to nourish them. They will wither to the brink of death, but never really die. WAY WORSE.

2.  When they feed, they’re left with a human residue, certain aspects of the human’s personality that they carry around in themselves for indeterminate amounts of time. Sometimes the human’s memories invade their own, making life for them kinda sucky. If they feed on an animal, they take on the traits of that animal, as well.

3.  My vampires can go out in sunlight if they drink the blood of a person who is essentially good. The better the soul, the more light they can withstand and enjoy. But if they drink the blood of an evil man, they are condemned to live in darkness until the blood wears away, and it becomes a darkness of the very soul.

4.  They create a shield of sorts, a bubble that protects them from the view of humans. Some are better at it than others. Lynch, for instance, isn’t disciplined enough to bother sometimes, while Nicholas has made it an art form, as expected.

5.  When the Shinigami vampires get angry or turn into their vampire selves, it creates a blast of cold that can actually radiate a frost from them and chill everyone around them. Again, the stronger the vampire, the more this is felt. Nicholas is entirely unique in his abilities with cold. READ THE DAMN BOOK, WHAT IS THIS, YOU WANT ME TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING?

6.  They can’t read minds, folks. Nope.

7.  They don’t sleep because they get tired. They sleep because they become weary.

8.  They do have a thrall, a mesmerizing ability to lure a person in, unique to every human, but scent is usually the one that hits home. The scent of a vampire is ever-changing, speaking to the needs and emotions of the person as they change as well; for Eliza, the scent of peppermint brownies makes her calm down, puts her right at home when she’s at her most restless. Nicholas seems to always have a scent of woods and baked goods for her.  Roman smells differently to her, settles her in a different way that is soothing, but not connected to her heart the way Nicholas is. Roman smells of the ocean and salt air.

9. They’re fast, and strong. Stick to the classics.

10. You don’t just get turned into a vampire willy-nilly. The Shinigami are born and found, and trained before they’re given eternal life.

That was fun for me, and I hope it was fun for you! And please, if you have questions about how I created the mythology, or about the vampire anatomy, please ask here or find me on Twitter!

Talking Vampires With Jeanie Grey

TODAY’S BREW: All the goddamn coffee my heart can handle.

By Julie

Jeanie Grey was one of the first writers we met on Twitter.  She’s stopped by Deadly Ever After before.  Her Lilly Frank series has certain fanged supernatural creatures in it, so this was the perfect time to ask her about vampires, and introduce you to her new book, Awakening 2.  Hungry for more?  Visit her blog.

Awakening 2~Small Jeanie Grey Deadly Ever After Interview

Interview
Julie: Why vampires in your work? Are you a classic or new-fangled vampire fan?
Jeanie: New-fangled in the sense that I don’t ascribe to the vampires-as-monsters-devoid-of-humanity mythologies. But I’m anti-sparkle. Not anti-Twilight (I loved those books), just anti-sparkle
 Julie: Would you want to be a vampire if given the choice?
Jeanie: You know, it’s interesting. I’ve wanted to be a vampire since I was a teenager. There are so many things I want to do and see, one lifetime is not enough for me. And I’m also attracted to the idea of being faster, stronger, having less to fear. (You can see this part of me reflected in Lilly in the excerpt from Awakening 2 that’s in this post.) But Lilly and Torren have been teaching me that, even if you can go out in daylight and don’t have to kill people to survive, being a vampire is actually really damned hard. So now I’m not so sure whether I’d want to be one.
Julie: Tell us about your writing process. What do you need to have, what throws you off? Is there a place in particular you like to write?
Jeanie: Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy for me to get thrown off or psych myself out and get writer’s block, so I try to create a physical and emotional environment for myself that feels safe, comfortable and relatively free from pressure to perform. The best place for me to write is in bed. I think it’s because I’m familiar with my room and there are fewer distractions, but also because it’s a comfortable and safe place, which is essential for letting my Muse take over. I also like to write while listening to music through headphones, usually something without lyrics. It helps drown out whatever other distractions may be around, e.g. a housemate, noise from neighbors, my dog staring at me. Little-known fact: I wrote most of Awakening and Awakening 2 while listening to “The Planets, Op. 32: Neptune” on repeat.

Julie: Travel is important to you. How does it affect your writing?

Jeanie: I LOVE TO TRAVEL. I actually started writing The Lilly Frank series while I was in Madrid, Spain (though the book looked very different then). You might think that I’ve been to Italy, since that’s where Awakening 2 takes place, but sadly I have not. Not yet, anyway. Nor have I spent much time in NYC, where Book 1 takes place. Lilly and Torren’s story has been challenging me, for sure. (And thank God for Google maps and travel websites to give me a sense of these places!) But to answer your question more directly: I’m not sure how travel has affected my writing. It’s a good question. I do know that my longer-term plan is to use research for books as a legit excuse to do more traveling and write some of it off as a business expense. 😉
5. Tell us the coolest thing you’ve ever done.
Hm. I don’t really think of the things I do as being “cool.” I don’t have that perception of myself. I know that other people think it’s cool that I lived abroad for a year, that I quit my job to pursue my dream of being a writer, and that I’ve self-published two vampire romance novellas. Do those count?
Synopsis of Awakening 2
A newly made vampire requires a certain amount of time to get used to her new body and heightened senses. But Torren’s worried that if Lilly doesn’t hurry up, she’ll be dead before she ever gets the chance to adjust to life as a vampire.

Word among vampires is that someone’s hunting their kind, and it’s not a quick death if you’re caught. This killer likes to torture the victims first, and all signs indicate that he or she is circling ever-closer to Torren and Lilly.

Torren needs Lilly to stop fighting him and start trusting him. Maybe he shouldn’t have deceived her…
Exclusive excerpt
She stretched out alongside him in the bed and rested her head in the cradle of his shoulder. They lay still together for many minutes, and he listened to her breathing, to her heartbeat. Felt her skin against his. His neck wounds had healed almost as soon as she’d stopped sucking, but the skin there tingled, remembering her touch. He could not imagine a more perfect moment than this one.
“What are we going to do?” Lilly asked, her fingers tracing slow, light circles on his chest. “Later, I mean.”
“Later tonight?”
“No, I mean…after I’ve adjusted. Are we staying here? Should I start to think about eternity in this castle? Or is this just a stopping place on the way to somewhere else?”
“We can do whatever you want,” Torren said. It excited him to hear Lilly say “we” when talking about the future. It meant she didn’t imagine leaving him. “We can go wherever you want. What do you want to do? We have all the time in the world.”
“But what about money? Do we have all the money in the world?”
“I’ve been around for a very long time, Lilly. We have more money than we could spend, and it’s only going to accumulate. So no need to worry about being limited by funds.”
Lilly paused, considering. He looked down through his lashes at her. She was worrying her lower lip between her teeth—a habit left over from her human days—but stopped when she realized she’d drawn blood. The smell of it called to him. Her pink tongue emerged to lick the blood off her lower lip, then retreated again. She seemed oblivious to his arousal.
“All the time in the world, unlimited financial resources, and a body that’s super strong and resilient.”
“Yes,” Torren said it to bring his mind back to the conversation, even though he was fairly certain she needed no answer.
“We could climb Mt. Everest to the very top?”
“Yes.”
“Without bringing oxygen tanks?”
“I’ve never attempted it, but I think our bodies could endure it.”
“We could wade into the interior of Papua New Guinea, where no one has ever been before?”
“No human, anyway. And yes.”
“We could roam the wilds of Australia, wrestling alligators and not needing to fear poisonous snakes or spiders?”
“We could still get bitten, and it would hurt, but so long as a crocodile doesn’t take our heads off, we’d be fine.”
Lilly’s eyes seemed brighter as she continued to consider the possibilities.
“We could spend an entire year reading every book I’ve ever meant to read?”
Torren laughed softly. “Yes, we could spend a year reading. We could spend a hundred years reading and still have time for everything else.”
“Could we travel to every continent—no, every country—and spend time learning all the languages and tasting the food?”
Torren sobered a little at the mention of food. She hadn’t yet discovered that human food wasn’t as pleasurable an experience as it might have been when she was human. “Yes,” he said finally. “And you might find that you pick up languages more quickly than you did as a human. Though I’m not sure you’d like food very much now.” It was the best way he could think to put it for now.
“Oh, I don’t care about that,” she said, raising her head for a moment to look into his eyes. “It’s just for the experience.”


Welcome Back to Vampire Week 2.0!

Today’s Brew: Julie is swilling some something out of a can with a mean looking pumpkin on it, and I am drinking water since I have to be up at ass o clock.

by Kristen and Julie (bear with us as we change POV)

TWO VAMPIRE BOOKS, AN UNDEAD DUO, AND A DREAM

Picture it. Last year at this time, Kristen’s living room, which was still a hotel room at HoJos.  Shark Week just ended, and we came up with the idea to do vampire week on the blog. We wanted to make it an annual tradition, and you know we are good to our word.  Vampire week is back.

A lot has changed since last year’s event.  Julie and I had just started querying, and God, were we bad at it.  We’d just started meeting people on Twitter.  We didn’t know what to do about this vampire thing, since apparently, they were the literary equivalent of Mom Jeans.  I mean, we thought they were cool, but everyone else….meh.   So how the hell were we ever going to get these things published?

10 months ago, during Hurricane Sandy…yup, DURING, not after….Kristen and I went to Backspace Writer’s Conference to pitch our vampire books. Well, not really. Kristen had already landed herself an agent (and couldn’t believe someone wanted to represent a book about vampire rockstars! and was excited about it), but she DROVE THROUGH A HURRICANE FOR ME ANYWAY so that I could do the same. That’s a different story. When we got there, we were the girls trying to find any way we could to mask that we had written vampire books. Vampires books were the Voldemorts of publishing. The market had been saturated, vampires had been done too many times. My query got ripped to shreds in front of a room full of people, including Donald Maas and a handful of amazing agents. But I kept my chin up, that was what I was there for, and I learned something. Something that had me scribbling wildly at lunchtime about Japanese mythology: DO YOUR VAMPIRES, BUT DO THEM DIFFERENT. MAKE THEM UNIQUE. MAKE THEM SOMETHING THAT NOBODY ELSE COULD FUCKING DO. Then make all those people who turned their nose up at your vampires eat their words.

In May, I attended the New England Chapter RWA conference and chatted with a couple of editors from publishing companies.  One of them was really into the concept of my book.  I asked her if the vampire thing was a problem.  Her reply?

You can never be too rich, too thin, or publish too many vampires.

Whaaaat?  In a span of six months, that happened?  It just shows you how quickly things change and how subjective the business is.  Books are like music.  Not everyone likes it all, but there’s something out there for everyone.

We might have mentioned a few times that Running Home is now available, and now Because The Night is coming soon. But we have more news.  If that is possible.

Julie has an agent!  Not any old agent, but THE Eric Ruben, Esq.

Kristen has another book coming out. Soon!  Seasons In The Sun, the prequel to Because The Night, is coming from Fast Foreward Publishing this fall.  Release date to be announced soon.

Point being, WRITE THE BOOK YOU NEED TO WRITE, and vampires are fucking cool. No matter when it is or where, vampires are icons, steeped in history, and there is more to be made.

Kristen and I look forward to making vampire history.

Running Home By Julie Hutchings: Author Interview

I am the very first person our wonderful friend Daevone has ever interviewed, and look at these questions!

Daevone Molyneux

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Hi everybody, today we’re going to be something a bit different. The lovely Julie Hutchings has invaded my blog and we’ll be doing an interview about her and her book. She has a new novel out called Running Home that I’d like you to check out. But first, let’s take a look at the woman behind the words. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Julie Hutchings.

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New Anthology Available Now!

Today’s Brew: Back to coffee.  I’m calming back down after this morning’s rant.

by Kristen

My morning had started off well, with Disco The Parakeet telling me I made his day (OK, it was his person. He can talk but birds can’t type.) and an awesome zumba class.  I hit a temporary speed bump from my good friends at the state, as you have all heard about.  Now, I am happy to announce that the second Giant Tales anthology is available for your reading pleasure!

 

Click here to pick up a copy for your very own!  You can also get the first book in this series, in either digital or print form.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Massachusetts: It’s Not Me, It’s You

Today’s Brew:  I’m going to need a drink.

by Kristen

An Open Letter To The State Of Massachusetts:

Hi. I’m a Mayflower descendant who’s chosen to settle about three miles from where your replica ship hit that fake rock.  I like it here, most of the time.  I even try to be a non obnoxious fan of your sports teams.  Those are hard to come by. I started a business and in the midst of starting another, I pay my bills, I shop local. I do everything you ask of me.

So why do you insist on fucking with me?

1. You sent me a excise tax for a car I don’t own, have never owned, would never own on a bet. Why?  Because someone in your department entered the license plate number wrong.  I know this because the head of the department told me this the first time I called to fix it. But did she take care of it? No. You sent out a warrant for my arrest. For a five dollar payment on a car I’ve never owned. That you screwed up on.

2. The beginning of the year was slow, so I claimed unemployment.  This is money I paid into. Not welfare. You insisted I go to unemployment school to keep my file open. I had to take classes in power point and excel. You wanted me to go to job fairs so I could talk to Lowes. I do makeup. For productions. It’s a highly specialized position.  I wouldn’t have minded these classes if a. I didn’t already know how to do these things and b. If your instructors had been able to answer any of my questions.  They claimed it was too hard to keep up with. Um, this is your job, and it’s 2013. That’s not an excuse anymore.

3. You decided to audit my state tax return.  I already know there was a math error in my return. The federal government told me so. Today you send me a letter telling me this, and asking me to send you my W2s for the third time.  Since the IRS just did this for me, I know the error is in my favor.  If you’re wondering, tax department,  I prefer my spankings over the knee, not in the form of a math lesson.

4. You make health insurance a nightmare. I sometimes qualify for insurance through work. Sometimes I don’t. So I rely on you. But I have a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment. I can’t have gaps in service. And I can’t have you refusing to pay my bills when I qualify for your mandated insurance.

One of these things might have been cute. But all four together in a year make me want to break up with you.  I can’t please you, and it’s getting harder to want to.  There are forty nine other states that would love to have me.  Their cost of living is a lot lower, and some of them don’t even have state income tax.  I want to take this opportunity to remind you, oh great commonwealth, that you should be wooing me, not the other way around. I bring this to a public forum because I know there’s no fighting city hall.  All I can do is point out your stupidity.

If I was as incompetent as you were, I’d be in jail.  But no one will take any responsibility for any of these mistakes.  I am a busy girl.  I don’t have time to be cleaning up your messes.  But what choice do I have?  Every time you send me on one of these wild goose chases, you take time away from my business, or my personal responsibilities.  That’s money not made or spent. Money that doesn’t exist you have yet to figure out a way to tax. So you’re just screwing yourself.

Get your shit together, Massachusetts.  I have United Movers on fucking speed dial.

Love,

Kristen

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