Dec 8, 2007
This interview was conducted in June in preparation for the Library Journal column From Shelf to Screen (Oct. 15, 2007). In 2008 HBO will air the TV series True Blood (tentatively scheduled for March) based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries featuring the mind-reading Louisiana barmaid Sookie Stackhouse who finds herself intimately involved with the vampire subculture.
1. Although you are the author of the Southern Vampire Mysteries you have had to turn over creative control to Alan Ball (producer of Six Feet Under). You obviously have a lot of confidence in him, but how were you able to let go of your own creation?
It won't be my creation any more when it's on television. It'll be Alan's creation, and a completely different animal. I'm looking forward to seeing the books from a completely different point of view.
2. Producer Alan Ball is obviously a fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries. What information have you shared with him on developing the characters, especially Sookie.
I think all the sharing I need to do is right there in the text. When I was trying to decide who to go with, of the offers in front of me, Alan was the one who convinced me he understood what I was doing with the books.
3. Have you made any suggestions for the True Blood stories? Will any of the novels be a basis for an episode?
The pilot episode is Chapter One of Book One, "Dead Until Dark." The plan now is to follow the books chronologically.
4. Has filming begun? Have you been on the set and if so what was it like for you?
Filming starts June 7, last I heard. I have been on the set while it was still being built, and I've met some of the production crew. Without exception, they struck me with their questions, their interest, and their knowledge of the books. It was a really pleasant shock to find out they cared about the books and hoped their vision enriched mine.
5. What do you think of the actors who have been cast? What do you think they will bring to their roles?
I am confident that Alan and his casting director have picked the right people for the right roles, because that's what they do for a living, and their track record says they're pretty good at it. I don't know squat about acting, and I'm really fascinated by the process. It may be I'll learn something about the characters from watching their interpretation!
6. Will there be any kind of publicity touring or interviewing that will include you in helping to launch the series?
I don't think touring . . . I just toured for ALL TOGETHER DEAD, the seventh Sookie. I'm doing quite a few interviews about the show, and I'm sure there'll be more right around the premier, if that's not too grand a name for it.
7. How firm is the Jan.'08 launch date?
I have no idea. After HBO executives view the pilot, that'll be firmed up.
8. Will there be a prescreening of the first episode? Will you be involved in this or will you watch it for the first time along with the rest of us?
Alan has mentioned that I should come to LA for the prescreening, and I'm thinking about it. Depends on what's going on with my family then.
9. Any other comments you wish to make would be welcome.
I've read the first two scripts, and I couldn't be more pleased and excited.
10. Do you have any comments that you would like to make to the library community? It's impact on you or your work?
Sure. My mom (until her retirement) was a librarian, and my sister in law (until her untimely death) was a librarian, and I think it's a super job. It's no coincidence that two of my best friends have been librarians. When I think of how much libraries do for people who need the dreams and the information books hold, it makes me regret I didn't get a degree . . . though I realize that sounds very suck-uppy, as my daughter would say.
Note from Patricia: I love the Southern Vampire Mysteries and was hooked after reading the first book Dead Until Dark (Ace, 2001). What better combination than mystery and vampires? Book number eight From Dead to Worse will be published by Ace in 2008. Like Harris's many fans I look forward to watching the HBO series. Unfortunately the debut date is very dependent on when the current writer's strike is settled. For more thoughts on Charlaine Harris and her vampire series look at Patricia's Vampire Notes for May 12, 2006.
Dec 3, 2007
Last July I interviewed Tanya Huff author of the Vicki Nelson Blood books for an article that appeared in the Oct.15 issue of Library Journal as the column for From Shelf To Screen. The article concerns vampire centered television series which originated in print.
Ms Huff has written a great deal of fantasy fiction, but the allure of the five Vicki Nelson novels holds true till this day. The first season of the series, Blood Ties, has aired on the MyLifetime channel. There is still no final word on a second season. Check Tanya Huff's LiveJournal for the latest information.
Since much of the interview did not make it into the article, I am placing it on Patricia's Vampire Notes. The Vicki Nelson stories are such favorites of mine as well as many other readers, and I felt that the TV adaptation was true to the characters. I have my fingers crossed for a second season.
See my April 8 post for information on Blood Price the first book in the Vicki Nelson series
The Interview with Tanya Huff follows:
1. Will we see any story lines from the TV series show up in any of your future short stories?
No. The show and the books are two separate creative endeavors. The creators of the show have paid for the right to use the five Vicki Nelson books as the basis for Blood Ties but it doesn't work in the other direction.
2. Discuss your working relationship with Executive Producer Peter Mohan as well as the writers of Blood Ties.
Although he was under no obligation to do so, Peter has kept me involved from the beginning. He had me come in to the writer's room early on and talk with the writers about the characters and how they interacted. I was incredibly honoured to have him ask me to write one of the first season episodes -- episode nine, STONE COLD -- and during that process he was patient and insightful and willing to use time he certainly didn't have to spare to help me make it the best episode possible. He came into the show loving the books and that's shown in everything he's done.
3. While on the set do the actors or director solicit your input?
While I'm on the set, I'm doing my best to stay out of the way. The actors and the director are working -- and working very hard, the hours in television are insane -- they say hi and then pretty much ignore me.
4. I loved that in the books Henry is a romance writer. Why the change to graphic artist?
Unfortunately, a man -- even a man as attractive as Kyle Schmid -- sitting and staring at a computer monitor makes for boring visuals. Television is a visual medium and having Henry be a graphic artist opens up a number of different visual possibilites. Henry drawing, the books themselves, the comic book store...
5. When do you actually watch the show. Sunday night with viewers? or do you get a peak beforehand so you can get going on your blog?
Actually, I'm in Canada where the show won't begin airing until August so I've been watching DVDs provided by the wonderful people at Kalidescope. I've seen the pilot at least a dozen times and many of the first twelve episodes almost as often. I did rewatch each episode on Sunday night as it aired on Lifetime though and then wrote the blog right after that. (Okay, honesty forces me to admit that I wrote two of them early because I was traveling and they were held until Monday morning.)
6. Discuss your experience as a script writer for Stone Cold compared to writing a Vicki Nelson novel.
Writing a novel is a solitary experience. I go into my office and I write approximately six hours a day for about a year and then I send the completed book to my editor. Writing a script is a collaborative experience -- all the writers involved in the show have input, the producers have input, the network has input, and most of all, the people in charge of the check book have input. (There is never enough in the budget to shoot anyone's initial concept but you might as well aim high.) With the book, there's almost no change between what I hand in and what you read. But with scripts, change is constant. Scripts aren't written sequentially, they're written concurrently so as each one goes before the camera, changes cascade throughout all the following episodes. Peter has rewritten lines of dialogue while the cameras are rolling.
I very much enjoy novel writing but I had an enormous amount of fun writing STONE COLD and I'm incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity.
7. What is the allure of the paranormal for you?
I originally wrote a vampire novel because I wanted to move out of the city and to do that, I needed a mortgage. I was working in a bookstore at the time and I noticed that vampire readers are incredibly loyal to their genre. They'll read anything with a set of fangs on the cover in the hope of finding something decent so I thought that if I wrote a good vampire book, I'd have an audience. And I did.
8. What has been done to modernize your Vicki Nelson books for Blood Ties?
One of the few things that really dates the Vicki Nelson books is the total absence of cell phones and the internet. Both have been added to the show. The cultural references are current -- instead of mid-90s -- although Peter wouldn't let me have Coreen say, "Dude." (I'll try again should I get the chance to write another script.)
9. How has the TV series affected the popularity of the print books? I know they have been republished.
The TV series, particularly the fact that it's been shown on Lifetime, has brought me a number of new readers. Lifetime's usual demographic didn't tend to be fantasy and science fiction readers and although "paranormal romances" have become very popular of late, BLOOD PRICE came out in 1991 -- it's sixteen year old. If it could learn how to parallel park, it could get a driver's license. There's a whole generation of readers discovering the books who were way too young to read them the first time around -- and many of them seem to be a little annoyed about the ending. This fall, DAW will be republishing the books with Blood Ties tie-in covers.
10. It seems to me that the Vicki Nelson stories followed by Joss Whedon's Buffy started a trend with strong female lead characters interacting with vampires and told with big dollops of humor. Any thoughts on that?
I'd be thrilled and honoured to be considered a part of any movement that involves Joss Whedon -- I'd give the man a kidney if he wanted one. Because I live in the middle of nowhere, I'm a bit out of touch with what's happening in the genre as a whole but I do know that paranormal romance novels have become one of the top performers in the market and if I was one of the people who kicked that off... well, that's pretty cool.
11. Anything else you would like to say to the library community about the Vicki Nelson books or the Blood Ties series?
There have been a number of people who have expressed dismay at the changes in the books. I'd like to remind them that the books haven't changed. No matter what BLOOD TIES does, if it runs for half a dozen seasons or just gets the one, the show doesn't effect the books. They're exactly the same as they were when I wrote them and you can reread them any time. If it helps, think of the show as this incredible alternative universe that broadens the mythos as I wrote it rather than detracts from it.
In general, I'd like to say thanks for your support. Libraries pretty much kept me sane while I was growing up and the thought that my books are now in libraries is one of the best parts of the whole business.
See the Blood Ties Blog on MyLifeTime
Nov 28, 2007
In October my review of book one Once Bitten, Twice Shy appeared in Library Journal. I have posted it below:
Rardin, Jennifer. Once Bitten, Twice Shy. Orbit, October 8, 2007. ISBN0-316-02046-X. 291p. $12.99
The moody, sharp tongued Jasmine Parks, aka Jaz, works as a CIA agent. In her earlier career she assassinated vampires, but now she partners with one, the almost three hundred year-old Vayl. He is one of the good guy undeads who works with humans to help rid the world of the evil of his kind. In this first adventure of the Jaz Parks series Vayl requests that Jaz be his partner because he knows that her special gifts as a sensitive could be made even more powerful with his help. Their current adventure begins in Miami where they have been sent to infiltrate the world of the extremely wealthy Abn-Assan who is suspected of filtering money to a terrorist organization. Complicating things are an attack which nearly kills Vayl when his only blood supply is contaminated. To save him Jaz insists he take some of her blood. When he acquiesces their personal bond and paranormal powers increase. There are a host of characters and a plethora of plot twists in this fast paced tale. Recommended for popular reading collections. Patricia Altner, BiblioInfo.com
Right now I am in the middle of Another One Bites the Dust and thoroughly enjoying it. I will post a review in the next week or so.
Nov 15, 2007
The next time you feel like curling up with a scary book, get a copy of author Mayra Calvani's Dark Lullaby, a riveting page turner that will keep you reading straight through until the end. The story begins in Baltimore where Puerto Rican born Gabriel Diaz meets the lovely young woman Kamilah. His friend Liz is with him when Kamilah, overhearing the two discussing the philosophy of good and evil, invites herself to join them. Liz immediately feels there is something eerie, even frightening about this stranger and quickly excuses herself. Gabriel, however, seems completely oblivious. Very soon she has his undivided attention. Kamilah tells Gabriel that both good and evil exist equally in the world and that both are part of God's plan. Gabriel finds this lovely lady fascinating although he thought her philosophy rather superstitious unlike his own realistic ideas.
Tension builds as Kamilah works her way into Gabriel's life. They spend almost every moment together, and it is then that his nightmares begin. A part of him suspects a connection to the new woman in his life, but ultimately his attraction to her pushes his concerns aside. In his apartment are photos of his twin sister Elena who is expecting a baby in a few weeks. He is anxious about Elena because her first child died soon after birth. Gabriel is very close to his sister and has promised to be with her when this child is born. Kamilah finds this admirable and wants to hear everything about Elena and her efforts to have a healthy baby. But first the exotic beauty convinces Gabriel that he has time to come with her to her family's small cottage in a beautiful, somewhat desolate area of northern Turkey. Just for a week, she says. Gabriel agrees then quickly regrets this decision. His nightmares worsen. He hears sounds of frightened children in the forest, and sees grotesque faces of babies in the bark of trees. All too quickly the nightmares become reality.
Dark Lullaby is a must read for those who enjoy novels of horror. Calvani keeps the tension tight throughout this gripping novel.
Nov 3, 2007
It is a brief retelling of Stoker's Dracula, but this time from the viewpoint of Quincey Morris, one of the suitors of Lucy Westenra. As Stoker told it Lucy had three men who wished to marry her. After careful consideration she chose the English aristocrat Arthur Holmwood. Quincey considers Stoker's attempt at telling the story the ravings of a feverish mind. In truth Lucy and Quincey chose each other. They had a love so deep that few mortals would ever be able to understand. As the story begins Quincey, dressed all in black, drives a wagon across the boundless land of his home state of Texas. In the wagon is a large black box that carries his most precious love. He had made a promise to Ms Lucy and now he meant to carry it out.
The story shifts back and forth between the torturous happenings at Whitby, England and the bizarre events that Quincey sets in motion in Morrisville, Texas. At times the incidents from both places intertwine as if Quincey was going through a time of nightmare until, somehow, he sorts his thoughts and comes back to reality. He knows his task to be a difficult one, but despite the many obstacles he faces he does not hesitate to carry them out.
As far as I know the most recent publication to carry this story is Women of the Night, edited by Martin Greenberg. Barnes & Noble, 2007. My first encounter was in Love in Vein: Twenty Original Tales of Vampiric Erotica. edited by Poppy Z. Brite. HarperPrism, 1994.
By the way the story title comes from the cowboy song Red River Valley. Some of the lyrics can be found in the story. For instance:
Come sit by my side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley,
And the cowboy who loved you so true.
Oct 30, 2007
First episode was (9/28). In my opinion the jury is still out. I like the vampire hero. He's masculine without seeming over the top with testosterone. He is believable as a character and as a vampire. The episode, No Such Thing as Vampires was a good introduction to the hero Mick St. John. We meet his vampire boss Joseph, played by Jason Dohring, a likable anti-hero who's fast talking patter about Mick's liking for mortals, and his weakness for them, brings more than a few chuckles. In this story a woman is found dead with 2 puncture wounds in her neck. An "intrepid reporter", comes to the scene and take clandestine photos with her cell phone. Then Mick suddenly appears feeling very concerned about her. He looks familiar to her although he denies they have ever met before.
I find reporter Beth Turner to be more than a little annoying. Her face is so smooth she look to be as vacuous as a Barbie doll. She has bsolutely no depth in appearance or voice. Is it the character or the actress that is so distracting? Perhaps a mixture of the two. Of course it is the script that makes her walk stupidly into an extremely dangerous situation where she must be rescued by a hero who, naturally, turns out to be our vampire Mick.
Since the debut episode I have watched one or two others and have continued to be annoyed by the vapid reporter. I've also looked at some blogs that follow ratings, and those have not posted anything very positive. Of course my unscientific poll proves nothing. Maybe Moonlight will continue to be shown. I just wish someone would do major surgery on the Beth Turner character.
Oct 24, 2007
Patricia: What brought about your interest in the supernatural?
Mayra: I was an avid reader when I was a child and from an early age began to love scary films—those old black & white movies about mummies, werewolves, and vampires. They must have made a deep impression on me, because since then I’ve always been attracted by the supernatural. I was a quiet child and reading was my escape into a world of mystery and adventure, a way to live ‘on the edge’ yet be safe at the same time.
Patricia: What inspired you to write Dark Lullaby?
Mayra: I’ve always been very interested in moral dilemmas and in the concept of a higher good. For instance, is it okay for a man to steal in order to have money to save his little girl, who is dying? In the case of Dark Lullaby, I went a step further: is it okay for a man to kill for the higher good? As far as the location goes, I lived four years in Turkey, so this was a big influence. I was intrigued by the stories I heard there about the cin (jihnn), and by the fact that so many people believe in them. My brother, who is an astrophysicist, was my inspiration for the main character. This is the first novel I write with a male protagonist, and I have to say it was very interesting getting inside the head of a man.
Patricia: Talk about the story and especially the hero Gabriel Diaz. It's interesting to me that he is an astrophysicist.
Mayra: Dark Lullaby is about a young astrophysicist from Baltimore who is lured into the Turkish countryside by a mysterious young woman—of course, she ends up being something totally unexpected. In the end, he has to face his own demons in order to save his twin sister’s unborn child. More than horror, it is a bizarre, suspenseful tale. I tried to make it strongly atmospheric instead of using graphic gore, which I detest. The full blurb can be found on my website.
Gabriel Diaz is a brilliant guy with a big heart and a grand sense of justice. He’s also a bit naïve, which together with his smarts, is somewhat unusual. But he is haunted by a dark childhood, one he would rather forget. When he meets the anti-heroine, Kamilah, she does everything in her power to bring his dark, buried feelings to the surface, leading to tragic consequences. I think readers will like his sense of goodness and justice, as well as his total loyalty to his sister Elena. At some point in the story this sense of justice somehow gets twisted inside his head… and he does a pretty terrible thing, something which readers may not agree with, but I’ve made Gabriel with plenty of faults and as real as possible, and this is really part of it all. He’s too temperamental and impulsive for his own good. Plus money simply slips from his fingers. I wanted the protagonist to be a scientist because I thought it would be interesting to see his reaction when confronted with the supernatural. So it worked perfectly, because, as I said, I was inspired by my brother (though of course, for plot purposes, I brought Gabriel to the extreme in the book!)
Patricia: Why did you pick Turkey as the setting?
Mayra: As I said, I lived there for a while, and the tales I heard about the cin took place there as well, so it was an easy, logical decision. I know the language, the people, the culture, etc. I did some research on the little town where the story takes place, but having lived in the country really gave me an advantage and made it easy for me to describe it.
Patricia: What environment do you like to work in? Please describe it.
Does the type of book you are working on decide your working environment?
Mayra: I like to work in a quiet environment devoid of people and telephone calls! LOL. No, really, I need to be alone when I’m working on a book, though I usually love atmospheric music for inspiration. I love violin music, and also soundtracks from various movies. For instance, I wrote Dark Lullaby while listening to the soundtrack of The Village. I would just listen to it again and again; I can get obsessive like that and never get tired of the music. My desk is filled with Post-its, thesauruses, notebooks, etc. Not the most neat, organized desk. I try to keep a balance of chaos and order. If I really need inspiration, I’ll light a candle or even whole candelabra. I love candelabras! I also have my violin close by and when I get stuck, I play a little to get rid of writer’s block. It works!
Patricia: You write in a variety of fields. How do you plan which project to work on next? Do you ever work on more than one at a time?
Mayra: I guess I’m one of those writers who could never write in only one genre. Many things inspire me and I write what I love. It’s like switching to different modes. When I write children’s stories it’s as if a switch turns on and I’m in my children’s writer mode. When I write horror, the horror switch turns on, and so on with the other genres. I love the idea of being a multifaceted author and don’t really care about branding my name specifically with one genre.
I’m usually working on several projects at a time, but never in the same genre. For instance, at the moment I’m finishing an adult paranormal novel, editing a tween mystery/fantasy manuscript, and working on a proposal for another tween novel in a different genre. In between these I can always write/work on a children’s picture book. But at the moment I’m swamped. I strongly prefer working on only one project at a time. It can be quite stressful planning your schedule and finding the time to do all these things. As far as planning goes, it’s a combination of personal preference and any deadlines I might have.
Patricia: You are from Puerto Rico which is the setting for your vampire novel Embraced by the Shadows. Talk a bit about this exotic American locale.
Mayra: A colorful blend of various cultures. Lively, hot, sticky. People there really know what the word ‘party’ means. They also know how to make a killer pina colada. I left the island when I was 18, so it makes me melancholic talking about it. It is a lovely tropical place. Unfortunately, the crime situation is pretty bad, which is a real pity.
Patricia: What is the story of your vampire novel Embraced by the Shadows?
Mayra: Embraced by the Shadows is about a young woman’s inner turmoil, a woman split between a love she cannot resist and a life she cannot accept nor understand. The bond between the hero and heroine is dark and obsessive and borders on hate. It’s also about the power of one being to mesmerize another. I suspect under the horror/love story there’s a hidden metaphor, an allegory for something else, though what that ‘something else’ is I’m still trying to decipher.
The full blurb can also be found on my website.
Patricia: Why the vampire theme?
Mayra: After I read Anne Rice’s Lestat and Interview with the Vampire, I was hooked. The idea of immortality fascinates me. I also love the image of the spiritually tortured, beautiful, sophisticated vampire, a complex being that is not necessarily evil but is trapped by his/her nature.
Patricia: What type of reading do you do for inspiration or pleasure? Any favorite titles you would like to share?
Mayra: Nowadays I love reading paranormal suspense, mystery, young adult, romantic comedy, and literary. But I review a fair amount of children’s picture books as well. Oddly, I don’t usually read horror—I get scared! LOL.
My favorite books are: The Stranger, by Albert Camus, and The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. Two very short, very powerful novels. I can read these books again and again and never get tired.
Patricia: Anything else you would like to add?
Mayra: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Patricia! I’d just like to list some links to my websites and blogs:
My official website.
My book review/author interview blog.
The Slippery Book Review Blog (very new, in construction).
For my children’s books:
Myra's Secret Bookcase.
Myra's Secret Bookcase Blog
Oct 22, 2007
Oct 16, 2007
The article can be found here
Sep 27, 2007
When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.
Sep 6, 2007
Aug 30, 2007
What a wild magical and disturbing ride. "Slam the ride" is what the Remote Viewers (RV) called it when they broke into psi-space to catch glimpses of the thought and memories left by others. Gabriel is one of the most talented of RV's recruited by Eyestorm a private British company based in Oxford. With him is Cecily Franke, nicknamed Frankie. They are the two youngest recruits and amongst the few that make the final cut. They receive training from Mullins the stern leader who insists they work as a team, but Gabriel prefers to work alone. In the end his own arrogance and the death of a young woman cause him to pick up and leave. He does this without even saying goodbye to Frankie - his lover and friend.
Years later he is working in London with a computer geek named Isador. This talented fellow can hack into any system ever created. Gabriel and Isidore are partners in an illegal company that steals information for one company from their competitor. A very lucrative business being information thieves, but Gabriel has not left his past behind as he had hoped.
Frankie calls on him years later. She is married to a very wealthy man whose adult son, Robbie, is missing. He was last seen in the company of two beautiful women, the Monk sisters, Morrighan and Minnaloushe. Morrighan with her luxurious black hair and Minnaloushe a ravishing red-haired beauty. His father felt his son was bewitched by them. Robbie wanted only to be in their company. Then one night he disappeared. Frankie used her RV talent to try to find him or at least discover what happened to him, but she could sense nothing. She begs Gabriel to "jump the ride" and use his stronger talent to find Robbie. He accepts this job reluctantly, but one evening - almost without trying - he slips into psi-space and, using Robbie's memories, travels with him through a house of many rooms, a manion with hundreds, maybe thousands of doors, and Robbie knows precisely which doors to open and in which sequence. Then a woman wearing a black mask appears and leads him to a doorway he knows to be wrong, but he is so enchanted by her that he follows her to what is ultimately his death.
Gabriel is intrigued. The secret to Robbie's disappearance is obviously linked to the Monk sisters, and Gabriel promises to unravel the mystery. This leads him into a world more dangerous than he ever imagined, one of Solar witches with powers that transcend reality. One of the sisters is surely a killer, but Gabriel is so captivated by them that he becomes much like the besotted Robbie and cares only about being with these enchantresses and their magic. It is solely, though the love of a special someone that he has any chance of survival.
Aug 22, 2007
After months of fielding questions from fans desperate to know if Sci Fi was ever going to make a decision on the fate of its clever private-eye/fantasy hybrid The Dresden Files, it's official: The show isn't returning for a second season.
A shame, but hardly a surprise, given the reticence to discuss the matter every time I brought it up to Sci Fi or NBC Universal Cable execs during the recent TCA press tour. In their world, it's all about "running the numbers" (in other words: looking at the ratings and budgets, etc.) and to them, Dresden just didn't seem to measure up.
This confirmation came my way the same morning that there are reports in the trades that Paul Blackthorne, Dresden's very appealing star, has joined the cast of ABC's Big Shots in a recurring role as what's being described as the show's "fifth CEO... a sophisticated, iconic tycoon that the [other] four (Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Christopher Titus, Joshua Malina) aspire to be."
At least he's landed on his feet. Harry Dresden would be proud.
Posted by Matt Roush
Aug 3, 2007 11:02 AM
Dresden in Sci Fi's Circular File - Roush Dispatch | TVGuide.com
Aug 21, 2007
First American edition NY: Doubleday & McClure, 1899. Hardcover.
Stoker's Dracula has come to personify what most readers imagine what a "real" vampire must be like: an undead creature who lives on human blood, prefers to make his rounds at night, has superhuman strength, casts no reflection in a mirror, hates garlic, fears crosses and holy water, and can change into a bat, a wolf, or mist at will. Even though these traits are familiar and countless films have been made about Count Dracula, Stoker's powerfully written novel still rouses fear in even the most jaded heart. Through the journals, diaries, and letters of those besieged by this evil count, the horror builds as Dracula's plan to move his stronghold from Transylvania to Victorian England and create a new "unlife" for himself, seems unstoppable. For anyone not familiar with the story a brief description of the various protagonists can be helpful. These characters often show up in other vampire stories -- individually or as an ensemble.
Count Dracula -- a centuries old vampire of immense evil who has lived his many years in the Carpathian mountains of Transylvania causing endless grief and terror to nearby residents. He plans to leave his ancestral homeland and head for England's shores.
Jonathan Harker -- a young solicitor who travels to Transylvania at the behest of the Count in order to help him prepare for the move to England. Jonathan soon realizes he is not only in the presence of a terrible evil, but worse, is a prisoner in imminent peril for his life and soul.
Lucy Westenra -- a lively pretty young woman with three handsome suitors. She is also Dracula's first English victim.
Arthur Holmwood -- heir of Lord Godalming and the winner in the contest to win Lucy's hand.
Quincey P. Morris -- an American from Texas.
John Seward -- a doctor in charge of a nearby lunatic asylum. When Lucy becomes "ill" and does not respond to treatment, John sends for his former mentor Dr. Van Helsing in hopes that a cure can be found for her.
Mina Harker (nee Murray). -- fiancee (and later wife of Jonathan) who is also a close friend of Lucy's. After Lucy's death, Mina becomes the next object of Dracula's attention. He wants her for his bride. But the scheme is interrupted by Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Unfortunately Mina has been forced to drink some of Dracula's blood and now has a psychic link to him. This link, however, will be used to track him when he flees.
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing -- Sent for from Amsterdam by John Seward, Van Helsing becomes suspicious of what lies behind Lucy's illness. Still he is unable to save her. It is Van Helsing who then convinces the other men - Harker ( who has escaped from Dracula's castle) and Lucy's suitors - that a vampire is at work and must be hunted down and destroyed.
Renfield -- a patient in Dr. Seward's asylum. Renfield practices his own brand of entomology. After quietly studying flies and spiders he then proceeds to eat them. He eventually becomes the human servant of Dracula.
Following is a brief list of modern day novels using characters from Stoker's Dracula as protagonists.
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman.
Blood to Blood: The Dracula Story Continues by Elaine Bergstrom
Bloodline by Kate Cary.
The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman
The Book of Renfield : A Gospel of Dracula by Tim Lucas
The Diaries of the Family Dracul. by Jeanne Kalogridis - a series of three novels which should be read in order.
Covenant With the Vampire
Children of the Vampire
Lord of the Vampires
The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen.
This novel is followed by several others that are based on the closeness of Dracula (in this series he's a good guy) to Mina Harker and her descendants.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Judgement of Tears: Anno Dracula 1959 by Kim Newman
Mina by Elaine Bergstrom.
Renfield Slave of Dracula by Barbara Hambly
Jul 24, 2007
Dear Blood Ties fans
On behalf of all involved in the production we want to thank you for the tremendous support you have given the show. It has, and continues, to mean a lot to us. As we complete production of the 1st 22 eps, it’s time to let Lifetime know how much you like the series, how grateful you are to Lifetime for presenting it, and how much you want them to continue the series with production of new episodes. It is extremely valuable to broadcasters to receive direct communication from their audience, as it gives them a glimpse of the show's performance not necessarily evident in ratings etc.
Your communication should be made directly to Lifetime, if possible to Susanne Daniels, Head Of Programming, and Andrea Wong, President, or to Audience Relations. Enthusiasm is certainly called for, but please remember to be respectful, as they are valued partners in the series.
Time is critical guys, let's let Lifetime know how much we love this show. Please post this open letter everywhere you can think of: Livejournals, blogs, forums, Wiki, WordPress, Yahoo Groups, you name it! Plaster it all over the internet!
Here is the Lifetime address to write to!
Lifetime Entertainment Services
World Wide Plaza
309 West 49th Street
New York, NY 10019
Jun 28, 2007
Jun 27, 2007
Fiction | Spectra Hardcover
August 2007 | $25.00 | 978-0-553-80471-3 (0-553-80471-5)
"From celebrated comic artist Mike Mignola and award-winning novelist Christopher Golden comes a work of gothic storytelling like no other. Reminiscent of the illustrated tales of old, here is a lyrical, atmospheric novel of the paranormal—and a chilling allegory for the nature of war.
'Why do dead men rise up to torment the living?' Captain Henry Baltimore asks the malevolent winged creature. The vampire shakes its head. 'It was you called us. All of you, with your war. The roar of your cannons shook us from our quiet graves…. You killers. You berserkers…. You will never be rid of us now.'
When Lord Henry Baltimore awakens the wrath of a vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. For a virulent plague has been unleashed—a plague that even death cannot end.
Now the lone soldier in an eternal struggle against darkness, Baltimore summons three old friends to a lonely inn—men whose travels and fantastical experiences incline them to fully believe in the evil that is devouring the soul of mankind.
As the men await their old friend, they share their tales of terror and misadventure, and contemplate what part they will play in Baltimore’s timeless battle. Before the night is through, they will learn what is required to banish the plague—and the creature who named Baltimore his nemesis—once and for all.
'Baltimore is an old time rootin' tootin' sense of wonder story dragged through a modern blender, then slow baked in hell. I loved it. It was velvet bullet—speedy and rich in sensation. Go boys, go.'—Joe R. Lansdale
'With Baltimore, Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden lay siege to the reader's imagination with a grim battalion of gothic images and a thunderous barrage of narrative artillery. This is not a novel: it's a war machine. Surrender immediately.'—Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shapped Box
'I have admired Mike Mignola both as an artist and as a tremendous story teller pretty much since his career began. In this collaboration with Christopher Golden, it’s fair to say he surpasses himself. He and Golden have produced a witty classic of supernatural fiction.'—Michael Moorcock, bestselling author of The Elric Saga"
Note from Patricia: I first became acquainted with Christopher Golden's work when reading his vampire series The Shadow Saga. He has also written Buffy and Angel novels. He is quite a good writer, in my opinion.
May 24, 2007
Below is the first sentence of the article and a link to the web site.
"Is there anything left to say about vampires? The question answers itself, but get ready for a new vampire movie, Daybreakers, starring Ethan Hawke"
Sam Neill Joins Ethan Hawke's Vampire Pic 'Daybreakers' - Cinematical
May 17, 2007
From: Yahoo! Movies: Movie News -
Thursday May 17 12:58 PM ET
There have been countless spin-offs, take-offs and rip-offs of the original vampire character, but The Un-Dead has a pedigree.
By Dennis Michael, FilmStew.com
From Count Chocula to Grandpa Munster, thousands of characters owe their undead existence to the fact that Dracula is a public domain character, in the United States at least. But now a new chapter in the Dracula story has the proper, shall we say, bloodline. The Un-Dead, a novel by Bram Stoker's great grand-nephew Dacre Stoker, is on its way to the screen.
The Un-Dead will be made into a film, with a script by Stoker's co-writer Ian Holt. Ernest Dickerson is set to direct, and the entire project has the endorsement of the Stoker family. Shooting will begin late this year in Eastern Europe with some private financing shoring up production investment by AEI and Jan De Bont's shingle Blue Tulip Productions.
The storyline of The Un-Dead picks up 25 years after the end of the original Stoker book, and ties in Jack the Ripper and the notorious Madame Bathory in the plotline. Reportedly some details in The Un-Dead were originally in Bram Stoker's Dracula, but the book was reportedly heavily edited when it was first published. No casting has been announced as yet.
May 6, 2007
I wrote these reviews for Library Journal.
Fat White Vampire Blues.
Ballantine. Jul. 2003. c.352p.
ISBN 0-345-46333-1. pap. $13.95. F
Jules Duchon is one of the undead, a big, fat, white vampire weighing in at over 400 pounds. In his beloved New Orleans, his home for more than a century, he thrives on the food and jazz and drives a cab to make a living. He isn't the brightest guy in the world, but he is fairly content and manages to get by. All that changes, however, with the appearance of another vampire, a really mean fellow called Malice X who threatens Jules with permanent death. It's up to Jules, with the help of Maureen, the plus-sized vampire who transformed him, and a cross-dressing vampire pal named Doodlebug to find a way to eliminate a frighteningly real threat. This wry, witty, and often hilarious first novel delivers a wonderful mixture of characters and lovingly evokes the charm of the Big Easy.
This review is reprinted by permission of Library Journal. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Bride of the Fat White Vampire.
Ballantine. Aug. 2004. c.448p.
ISBN 0-345-46408-7. pap.$14.95. F
Jules Duchon of Fat White Vampire Blues is back, bigger than ever. When last seen, the unhappy vampire had changed himself into 200 white rats, living on restaurant refuse and hiding in storm drains. Now the snobbish vampires of the High Krewe need Jules's intimate knowledge of New Orleans's seedy brothels, low-life taverns, and trash-strewn alleys. A fiend has mutilated two beautiful female vampires, and only Jules has the expertise to find this creature. Doodlebug, Jules's cross-dressing
pal, transforms his friend back to his normal fat form. Jules agrees to do the job for the High Krewe but wants something for himself: the return of Maureen, the vampire woman he loves who was transformed to dust a few months earlier. Everyone looks to Doodlebug to find a way to accomplish the impossible. A wonderful cast of extraordinary but believable characters--human and vampire--populate this witty novel. The story's leisurely pace reflects the laid-back ways of the Big Easy.
This review is reprinted by permission of Library Journal. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
May 4, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact: Bonnie Johnston
Fans Rally to Support The Dresden Files
Campaign launched for renewal of SciFi Channel's original series
(May 1, 2007) – Since the first season of SciFi Channel’s original television series The Dresden Files ended its run in mid-April, an avid fan base has been actively campaigning for a second season of the show through online petitions, discussions in various online forums, and letters and postcards to SciFi Channel executives.
The Dresden Files, starring Paul Blackthorne as Chicago private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, is based on the popular books by author Jim Butcher and features fast-paced, unique stories that blend the best of traditional detective work with the supernatural…as well as just enough humor and wit to make things more interesting.
The show, which also stars Broadway veteran Terrence Mann as Harry’s ethereal assistant Bob and Valerie Cruz as Chicago police detective Lt. Connie Murphy, has won numerous fans due to its clever mixture of drama, comedy and edge-of-your seat suspense.
The Save Harry Dresden website contains contact information for SciFi Channel executives, as well as letter-writing tips to help fans get their letters started. For those who want to do more, the site also offers contact information for the show’s producers and advertisers; a link to dresdenfiles.org's online petition; and downloadable flyers that can be printed and posted in bookstores and other places where Dresden Fans are likely to gather.
Overseas fans who want to participate in the campaign, but aren’t sure that their letters will reach the SciFi channel in time, may submit their pleas for renewal to the website: all overseas letters are being printed out and forwarded to the appropriate SciFi executives and to the show’s producers. In the first 14 days of the campaign, letters have poured in from around the world -- Portugal, the Netherlands, Argentina, Taiwan, Australia, Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Canada, and the United Kingdom -- proving that Harry Dresden’s fan base isn’t limited to the United States.
Enthusiastic reviews of the show posted in the website’s guestbook by visitors are also being sent along to the powers that be. What are fans saying about the show?
"…the series has a perfect blend of mystery, fantasy, comedy, and a touch of romance." --Carlos Jackson
"Every episode is better than the previous one." --Angel Arthur
"I adore the series...it's as witty and entertaining to watch as the books are to read." --Kiya Wolfe
SciFi Channel’s own site dedicated to the program includes a very active discussion forum, which currently boasts more than 20,000 individual messages on over 600 topics.
While the first run of The Dresden Files may be over, fans can go to iTunes and download the entire season as another way to show their support for the show.
Apr 8, 2007
Vicki Nelson, former Toronto police detective, has left the force because of the deteriorating eye disease retinitis pigmentosa. She sets up a private detective office where business has been scarce. Things quickly change when late one night Vicki witnesses a brutal murder on a subway platform. The victim is Ian a young man who only moments earlier had been thinking about his girlfriend Coreen and how upset she would be with him for being late. Seconds before his attacker strikes Ian smells a rotting stench. As he opens his mouth to scream the monster throws him to the ground, and tears out his throat. This is when Vicki happens upon the scene. She sees a figure in black bending over the victim. She races the long distance down the platform, but by the time she arrives the killer has escaped, leaving a blood trail into the dark tunnel. Her eye sight being what it is she does not get a good look at the killer. The victim, with his hideous wounds, and body drained of blood, is beyond any help. But the murderer's foul odor cannot be ignored.
Vicki summons the police. When they finally arrive it turns out the lead investigator is her former partner and lover Mike Celluci. She tells him as much as she knows, but she has questions of her own for him. They have had no contact since she resigned eight months earlier, and Mike makes a point of reminding her that she is no longer on the force, and not privy to police information. And he is still furious with her for quitting. He considers it like running away. His attitude angers Vicki but being the pigheaded, charge ahead type that she is, Mike's vitriol only fuels her determination to find out what's going on.
There have been other savage murders like this - victims with ravaged throats and drained of blood. When even more killings occur the press dubs them the vampire murders. This particular designation upsets Henry Fitzroy, romance writer, illegitimate son of Henry VIII, and vampire. The killer is giving vampires a bad name and Henry plans to do something about it.
Now the three main characters that appear in all the series books have been introduced. Vicki, of course, is central, but Mike and Henry, both very attracted to her, will be involved in solving each paranormal mystery.
In Blood Price someone is calling forth a very powerful, blood lusting demon who will literally destroy the world if he is not stopped.
Mar 24, 2007
The sequel is X-Rated Bloodsucker. Rayo, 2007 (February). Felix faces his toughest task ever—navigating the corrupt world of Los Angeles politics to solve the murder of a distinguished young surgeon turned porn star. But both human and vampire alike have reasons to want the secret to stay buried. . .
Below is a brief Q & A with Acevedo
A Conversation with… Mario Acevedo author of
Q. Your book takes place in and around the porn industry in Los Angeles—what’s the connection, in your mind, between vampires and porn?
A. Both porn and vampires tap into the lurid, forbidden recesses of our psyche. Plus, writing this book gave me the chance to look at porn and legitimately claim it as research.
Q. You were once a soldier, and can even fly an attack helicopter. How much of your own personal experience fueled the premise of this, your second, novel?
A. This second novel had little to do with military action. In the first draft I did have some helicopter stuff but the story worked better without it. Plus, people would rather read about porn than helicopters.
Q. Felix, X-Rated Bloodsucker’s protagonist, goes into combat in Iraq and comes back a vampire. Are you making a stronger statement, using an admittedly hilarious vehicle, about how your own combat experience changed you?
A. I was lucky. I didn’t come back with any disorders I didn’t already have. In X-Rated Bloodsuckers I had to remind the readers how Felix became a vampire and that could be an allegory to the lingering affects of war on people.
Q. The Vampire genre continues to fascinate readers—why do you think this is?
A. Vampires tap into our primal fears about death and monsters. While we deny it, death is always nearby and vampires represent the monsters who live among us. That, and vampires wear great clothes and throw fabulous parties.
Mar 23, 2007
The first is Claimed By Shadow by Karen Chance. Roc, 2007 (April, 3, 2007)
From the publisher: Clairvoyant Cassie Plamer has inherited new magical powers-including the ability to travel through time. But it's a whole lot of responsibility she'd rather not have. Now she's the most popular girl in town, as an assortment of vamps, fey, and mages try to convince, force, or seduce her-and her magic-over to their side. But one particular master vampire didn't ask what Cassie wanted before putting a claim on her. He had a spell cast that binds her to him, and now she doesn't know if what she feels for him is real or imagined...
The second - Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert. Dutton, 2007 (April 19, 2007)
From the publisher: Season of the Witch tells the story of Gabriel Blackstone: hacker, information thief, and skilled “remote viewer.” Asked by a former lover to investigate the disappearance of her stepson, Gabriel’s suspicions fall on Minnaloushe and Morrighan Monk, two beautiful sisters who live in a rambling Victorian house in London. Independently wealthy, the sisters spend their time dabbling in alchemy and the ancient Art of Memory — invented by the Greeks and used by alchemists and magi such as Giordano Bruno and Leonardo Da Vinci. The sisters are white, or “solar,” witches, who aim to use alchemy not to turn lead into gold but to attain ultimate knowledge and therefore ultimate power. Gabriel soon becomes convinced that his client’s son had been murdered and that one of the women is the killer. But which one? As Gabriel infiltrates the world of the sisters, he finds himself drawn inexorably deeper becoming entranced even as he realizes that he is in mortal danger. When he is caught snooping, Gabriel must race to unlock their secrets before they can retaliate. To save himself — and the one he loves, presuming she is not guilty — Gabriel will have to fight one of the sisters within the landscape of her own mind.
I will post reviews when I finish reading each intriguing title.
Mar 2, 2007
This is a book not to be missed by any vampire aficionado. I started this book and really had a hard time putting it down. It is one scary thriller.
Below is a copy of the review I recently wrote for Library Journal.
New York TV producer, Evangeline Harker, travels to Transylvania to interview reputed Eastern European crime boss, Ion Torgu, for a segment on The Hour. They meet one evening in the small town of Brasov where Torgu strongly suggests that they will be more comfortable at his own hotel only a short distance away. Although wary of this sinister man Evangeline reluctantly agrees. The building is in a desolate area. There are no other guests and no staff visible, and that night he locks her in her room. Her attempt to escape takes her down an unlit, fetid stairwell where she encounters Torgu at his most monstrous, chanting words of death and feasting on blood. Back at the New York studio, Evangeline’s family and coworkers realize that she has disappeared and no one can locate her. John Marks has written an electrifying, 21st century tale of horror which pays homage Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Marks, however, goes much further and creates a hideous vampire more frightening and horrifying than anything that ever came from Stoker’s imagination. This review is reprinted by permission of Library Journal. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Mar 1, 2007
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason. Signet (Paranormal Romance), January, 2007
According to the author this Regency romance is very much based on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The heroine, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is the next in a long line of Gardella vampire slayers, and she is quite an engaging character as are others in this book (Number one in a trilogy).
Blindsight by Peter Watts. Tor 2006
Along side the human race live vampires. Humanoids who became extinct during the Pleistocene era and have been resurrected by modern science. Their predatory habits are kept in check, but their special DNA and vast intelligence aids humanity as it ventures into space. A brilliant SF novel!
See Full Review
Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez. Tor, 2005.
A hilarious book featuring two good old boy characters - Duke, a werewolf and Earl, a vampire. They are driving through the desert with their beat-up truck when Duke decides he's hungry and pulls up to Gil's All Night Diner. They are the only customers because, according to the owner, zombies have been scaring people away. Whacky characters and great dialog make a dynamite combination.
Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich. St. Martin's 2002
A novella by crime writer Evanovich. This part of her Stephanie Plum series. OK, this isn't about vampires but it does have a supernatural element in the form of a handsome stranger who suddenly appears one morning in her kitchen. One minute she's alone and the next she's not. A good mystery with a happy resolution.
13 Bullets by David Wellington. Three Rivers Press, May 2007.
Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley of the US Marshall service has the permanent assignment of tracking down vampires. In a time when most humans believe vampires to be extinct Arkeley knows the truth. Twenty years earlier he had led a SWAT team against Piter Byron Lares a vampire creature responsible for a string of vicious murders. Lots of action and gory scenes in this novel. Not for the squeamish!
Click here for a serialized version of the novel
Feb 3, 2007
Feb 2, 2007
Song in the Dark (The Vampire Files). Ace, September 6, 2005. ISBN: 0-441-01323-6 384p.
In the eleventh installment of The Vampire Files series set in 1930s Chicago, protagonist Jack Fleming fights inner demons as well as mortal bad guys. Whenever Jack uses the vampiric power of hypnosis to influence someone, raging pain envelops his mind and body. Eventually he realizes that its cause derives from the horrific torture he endured under the now deceased gangster Hog Bristow (see Cold Streets, Ace 2003). As it turns out some in the Chicago underworld are Jack’s buddies. In fact he runs pal Gordy Weem’s gang while Gordy recovers from mob related violence. As temporary boss Jack must solve the mysterious death of an entertainer at Gordy’s club Nightcrawler. Author Patricia Elrod knows how to pace the action without resorting to the use of cartoon characters. These characters (inlcuding vampires) are believable and many are a pleasure to know. This review is reprinted by permission of Library Journal. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Jan 25, 2007
"Collection of horror fiction reading lists for adults and teens. Topics include vampires werewolves, zombies, horror-themed romance, and more. Also includes suggestions for scary books for children, and reviews of horror podcasts"
Copyright 2006 by Librarians' Index to the Internet, LI
From the Monster Librarian Website. "The Monster Librarian welcomes you! This site is dedicated to all the books that are creepy, scary, and give us the willies. It is meant to be a resource for readers and librarians. For readers of horror, this is designed to be a site where you can find other books that fall into the horror category that you might be interested in reading. For librarians, this site provides tools to help in collection development, readers advisory, and program planning. While the site will have information on current mainstream horror it will also include in the various lists older books that may be of interest."
This looks to be a fairly new site but has a very enthusiastic staff. There is also a Monster Librarian blog that seems promising.
Jan 24, 2007
There will also be another series entitled Young Dracula which is a billed as a gothic comedy for kids.
Go to ContentFilm : News : Latest Press Releases for the complete article
Jan 23, 2007
Description from publisher's website (Scarecrow Press): "Examining young adult vampire fiction and how it fits in both the contemporary and classic vampire canon, the book's analysis begins with a primer on vampire scholarship, including a brief deconstruction of ten seminal vampire representations-five literary, five cinematic-and their impact on young adult vampire novels; the evolution of vampires from scary Gothic enemies into postmodern sexualized heroes is traced throughout the book; and the influence of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
Subsequent chapters examine current young adult vampires novels from such popular horror authors as Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Christopher Pike, R. L. Stine, Darren Shan, and L. J. Smith, and are divided into three categories based on narrative structure: the process of turning into a vampire, humans and vampires trying to find their way in life, and romantic relationships with a vampire partner. Analysis also addresses vampire conventions (the traditions that exist in each vampire universe), vampires and sexuality, and good and reluctant vampires. The human characters who coexist with vampires in these novels receive the same treatment. Additionally, issues of gender, age, and affectional orientation of human and vampire characters are discussed, as are postmodern constructions of good and evil.
Not Your Mother's Vampire contains an exploration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a television phenomenon, which has sparked an entirely new academic field: Buffy Studies. The vampire characters on Buffy and parallel series, Angel, are explored as are a few main humans (slayers and witches alike). The final chapter of the book is an annotated bibliography of seminal vampire scholarship. As the only in-depth examination of young adult vampire novels in existence, this book is essential for students and scholars of the literature."
See the interview here
Jan 18, 2007
From: A WRITER AT LARGE: Bad blood; Bram Stoker seemed a pillar of Victorian respectability, but in 1890 a nightmare inspired him to write the disturbing, decadent `Dracula'. CHRISTOPHER FRAYLING reveals the origins of both a literary classic and a still powerful force in popular culture.(Features) by Frayling, Christopher
Source: The Independent on Sunday (London, England), March 30, 2003.
Via: HighBeam™ Research
COPYRIGHT 2003 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
The full text of this article will be available online until Jan. 25, 2007.