Jun 30, 2008

June Contest - And the Winners Are!

Congratulations to voxy.grl and gretchengolden! You each have one a copy of From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris. Please send an email to paltner@verizon.net with your snail-mail address.

Jun 27, 2008

Good Undead

Alert reader Kate S. noticed that in the trailer for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Brendan Fraser has an interesting throwaway line. Referring to an army of recently raised skeletons who are supposed to be on his side, he says, "So, these are the good undead guys...right?"

OK, this doesn't have much to do with vampires, but I love the Mummy movies and can't wait to see this one. Be sure to check out the web site and watch the trailer.

Jun 26, 2008

Attnetion Dark Hunter Fans

St Martins Press is offering a free e-book copy of Seize the Night (Dark Hunter, 7) by Sherrilyn Kenyon in celebration of the upcoming release Acheron in August 5, 2008.
"Prepare for Acheron the biggest event in Dark-Hunter history..."

Here is the blurb:

"The most anticipated story in the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series. The never-before-revealed story of the Dark-Hunter leader, Acheron. He was made human in order to escape death, but in death he was reborn a god. . .

Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, Acheron became the sole defender of mankind.

Only it was never that simple. For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.

Now his survival, and ours, hinges on hers and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.

War has never been more deadly... or more fun."

There is even a link so that you can "friend" Ash on MySpace if you are so inclined.

The books in Kenyon's vampire romance series - Dark Hunter - are quite well written as well as very popular.

Kelley Armstrong

The first Kelley Armstrong story I read was Twilight which appeared in the vampire centered anthology Many Bloody Returns (2007). The vampire Cassandra tells her story and the importance of her rebirth day. The only time of the year when she must kill and drink her victims blood, but this year she feels little need to do the deed even though her very existence depends on it. In a brief review for Library Journal I called it a mesmerizing tale and upon rereading find my feelings have not changed.

Cassandra belongs to the Women of the Otherworld, Armstrong's series featuring a variety of narrators. Over the past couple of years when making frequent bookstore rounds I have picked up at least three Armstrong titles including Bitten (2002) which is the werewolf Elena's story. Here is the publisher's description of the novel. "Elena's trying hard to be normal. She hates her strength, and her wildness, and her hunger for food, for sex, for running in the night, for the chase and the kill. She wants a husband, children...even a mother-in-law. Or at least that's what she tells herself. And then the inevitable happens. The Pack needs her. The Pack she loves and hates is under siege from a bunch of disreputable and ruthless mutts who are threatening to expose them all, breaking all the rules that have kept them safe. The loyalty of her nature calls her home, and into the fight, which tests just who Elena is: the wild woman or the wistful would-be human."

Most every reviewer praised the author and the book, and it found a prominent spot in my to-be-read pile. I left it there because it's about a werewolf and I concentrated my reading time on vampires about which a thousand novels appeared every year or so it seemed. In April of this year book number eight of the Otherworld, Personal Demon, was published. This does not count the novella and short stories like Twilight.

Time, I decide, that I read at least one of the novels even though, thus far, neither Cassandra nor any other vampire is the featured protagonist. But instead of picking up a book I own I selected the one prominently displayed in the new book section of my local library. (I frequently and shamelessly haunt libraries and bookstores).

This past weekend I read No Humans Involved about a necromancer and medium named Jaime Vegas . An important Hollywood producer will select one of three mediums for the grand prize of a television show of their own. For Jaime seeing dead people is a common, everyday experience. Walking into a dining room she sees the putrefying corpse of suicide hanging from the chandelier. Years of practice has trained her not to grimace when theses psychic shadows appear. No one else can see them so if she gasps or shrieks in horror at some apparition normal people will assume she's having a nervous breakdown. In this novel it is Jaime's ability to see and communicate with ghosts which allows her to solve the riddle of a young man's horrifying death by fire and find the humans behind the human sacrifices of young children. It is their suffering ghosts that must be put to rest. Fortunately there is little graphic material, plus the story is well told and includes humorous dialog. It's also nice to find a sexy heroine of 44! Next on my list is Bitten. Nothing like going back to the beginning.

On her website Kelley Armstrong has a list of the Otherworld novels and stories in order of publication.

I recently discovered that a new book in the series will be published in November. It's entitled Living with the Dead. Kelley describes it this way: "When Robyn Peltier—a very human PR rep—is framed for murder, the two people most determined to clear her name are half-demon tabloid reporter Hope Adams, and necromancer homicide detective John Findlay. And suddenly Robyn finds herself in the heart of a world she never knew existed—and which she is safer knowing nothing about..."

All Author Bash

From author AJ Hampton:
Join me and several other authors on June 27th for an all day author bash! There will be games, prizes, cover contests, excerpts, review sites & publishers! Come stop by All Author Bash on June 27th for some fun!!!

Jun 23, 2008

Interview with Maria Zannini

Maria Zannini is from North Texas. Her first book, Touch of Fire came out in May 2008 from Samhain Press. She is a busy, prolific writer juggling several projects including an upcoming vampire story.

Maria, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview!

What contemporary authors have influenced you?
Jim Butcher is at the top of my list. And Ann Aguirre is a new writer (to me) who has quickly made me a fan too.

Tell us about the world you have created for Touch of Fire.
Touch Of Fire is set 1200 years in the future. The centuries have forgotten all technology and society knows only Elemental magic, the kind wielded by the fae, mages who can control one of the four Elements: earth, water, air and fire. When a dangerous alchemist’s book surfaces, Leda, a young fire mage, is ordered to find it before it lands in the wrong hands. The trail leads her to Greyhawke Tams, an ex-soldier turned scavenger who has no intention of helping her or her kind.

Grey and Leda live in a world that gives very little quarter to the weak, where people die a cruel death or suffer a worse fate by not dying at all.

I thoroughly loved weaving little clues throughout the story that reminds the reader that there are still bits of the Earth we know buried in artifacts and rituals. I think that’s the part most people will get a kick out of. You recognize this world—and yet you don’t.

What inspired the story?

I am fascinated by post apocalyptic stories, pagan rites and magic. One day I read an article about how the Mayan calendar abruptly ends on 12-21-12 and I thought: What a marvelous jumping off point for a novel. It gave me a chance to use familiar things of the 21st century and blur their meanings.

How did the characters of Leda and Greyhawke evolve? Will they be featured in the sequel?

Oh, I love these two. They’re damaged goods, but they’re not bitter—just set in their ways. I wanted them to start out with baggage that they’ll have to deal with in order to beat the bad guy. Despite themselves, they fall in love.

And yes, they’ll be back! If you read Touch Of Fire, it will give you the segue into the sequel. This time an Elemental witch meets a coven of 21st century witches. Expect a lot of hex play.

Should readers deduce from the steamy cover that there will be plenty of steamy scenes within?

LOL! Absolutely. This isn’t erotica, but it is a sensual romance. You might want to have your significant other nearby. (wink) It is at heart a love story, but it’s also about physical attraction and how we’re sometimes our own worst enemy when we see somebody we want.

Will you continue to write in the fantasy genre?

Yes. I love this genre! While I sometimes have a thin thread of science fiction in my books, it’s only to give the story some credence in the real world. I think what makes a story more chilling is when there’s a sliver of truth within the paranormal elements that are woven into it. But I’ve been a lifelong student of the paranormal—and sometimes a participant. I write what I know best.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two novels simultaneously and a third one that’s in the outline stage. Something I thought I’d never do. I am finishing up the edits to a paranormal historical full of pirates, werewolves and gargoyles that like Touch Of Fire will have a twist at the end. I’m also fleshing out the first draft for the sequel to Touch Of Fire. The third project does involve a vampire, but it’s not blood he’s after. It’s the victim’s ch’i.

What is your writing environment like?

Tomb silent. (Cue creepy music.) I need the silence so I can hear the voices in my head.

What are you reading at the moment?

Sadly, mostly dry research material. When I write my books, I want to make sure I have all the facts straight, so I’ve been poring over wiccan culture, and all the latest theories on time travel.

Where can we find you most days?

I blog at least 3-4 times a week at www.mariazannini.blogspot.com and my website is updated weekly, Between the two you can usually find me at my computer, head down and fingers blurring across the keyboard. I do this to convince my husband that I am indeed a working author. For some reason he doesn’t think staring out the window constitutes a legitimate work activity.

I tell him it’s research. (grin)


Thanks for having me, Patricia! It’s been a pleasure.


Jun 19, 2008

From Dead to Worse - June Contest

Remember this month 2 winner will be chosen from those who subscribe by email to Patricia's Vampire Notes.

The prize - a copy of From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (Ace, May 2008)

Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton

I must admit I have not read Blood Noir the latest Anita Blake Vampire Hunter adventure. Although a fan of the early books, since Narcissus In Chains (2002) I have not been as enthusiastic. Missing is the sense of mystery and suspense that at one time was the essence of an Anita Blake story. Instead there are many scenes each several pages in length detailing Anita's numerous sexual adventures.

I recently came across a review by Robin Kavanagh in Blogcritics Magazine that not only critiqued the current book, but also gave a nice summary of the Anita-verse as it has evolved over 16 books. No doubt I will read Blood Noir at some point. Despite my grumblings and misgivings I admit that Laurall K Hamilton is a remarkably good writer and often in between the sex scenes a good story can be found. Ms Kavanagh enjoys the Anita Blake series and I believe you will enjoy her review.

Dracula - Online or PDF

Interested in reading Bram Stoker's Dracula from the original 1897 edition? Even download it as a PDF file. Check out Google Books here

The story begins with a journal entry from the innocent perhaps, better to say. naive young man named Jonathan Harker. He has made his way from England to the Carpathian mountains of eastern Europe, and expects to meet soon with the wealthy inhabitant who signs his solicitous notes, "your friend, Dracula".

Poor Jonathan. Is he ever in for a surprise!

Jun 12, 2008

Even More New Vampire Titles for 2008

Also see More New Vampire Books for 2008 and New Vampire Books for 2008

Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter
by Nancy Atherton (Author)
Viking Adult, Feb. 2008
(This book is listed ONLY because of the title)

Break of Dawn: Vampire Babylon Book Three
by Chris Marie Green
Ace, September. 2008

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4),
by Stephenie Meyer
Little Brown, August 2, 2008

The Chosen Sin
by Anya Bast
Berkley, October, 2008

Deadly Liaisons
by Terry Spear
November 2008

by Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin, February, 2008

Embrace the Night (Cassandra Palmer Series, Book 3)
by Karen Chance
Roc, April 1, 2008

Embraced by the Shadows
by Mayra Calvani
Twilight Times Books, June 2008

by Claudia Gray
HarperTeen, May 27, 2008

Fall with Honor (Vampire Earth, Book 7)

by E. E. Knight
Roc, July 1, 2008

The First Vampire
by Woodrow W. Walker
CreateSpace, April 2008

Forgotten Kisses
by Rena Marks
Ellora Cave, 2008

From Demons to Dracula:The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth
by Matthew Beresford
Reaktion Books, November 2008

Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Book 2)
Richelle Mead
Razorbill (April 10, 2008)

Lady & the Vamp (Immortality Bites, Book 3)
by Michelle Rowen
Forever, April 2008

Lover Enshrined
by J. R. Ward
Signet, June, 2008

Lover's Bite
by Maggie Shayne
Mira, 2008

Ninth Grade Slays (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 2)
by Heather Brewer
Dutton Children's Book, 2008

Night Child
by Jes Battis
Ace, June 2008

Night World No. 2: Dark Angel; The Chosen; Soulmate
L. J. Smith
Simon Pulse, December 2008

One With the Darkness
by Susan Squires
St. Martin's Press, June 2008

by Melissa De La Cruz
Hyperion, October 28, 2008

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, Book 3)

by Richelle Mead
Razorbill, November 13, 2008

Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of MinaHamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe)

by Kimberly Pauley
Mirrorstone, August 2008

The Vampire...In My Dreams

(above link is for Amazon's Kindle edition)
by Terry Lee Wilde
August 26, 2008

Vampire, Interrupted (Argeneau Vampires, Book 9)
by Lynsay Sands
Avon, February 2008

Vampire Kisses 5: The Coffin Club

by Ellen Schreiber
HarperTeen June 24, 2008

by Nancy A. Collins
HarperTeen, July 22,2008

Vunce Upon a Time
by J. Otto Siebold and Siobhan Vivian
Chronicle Books, September 1, 2008

True Blood - Recent News

The latest word is that True Blood, the series based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris, will debut on HBO in September, 2008.

A recent article by Brian Ford Sullivan gives more detail.

Remember this month's two contest winners will receive a copy of Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris. All email subscribers are eligible. See the information in the left hand column on how to subscribe.

History of the Vampire

I recently came across quite an interesting blog called Magia Posthuma

Owner Niels K Petersen describes its mission. "On several occasions, particularly on the periphery of the Habsburg Empire during the 17th and 18th centuries, dead people were suspected of being revenants or vampires, and consequently dug up and destroyed. Contemporary authors named this phenomenon Magia Posthuma. This blog is dedicated to understanding what happened and why."

In a sidebar her writes,"
Magia Posthuma is the title of a book written by the Catholic lawyer Karl Ferdinand von Schertz in 1704. In the book von Schertz examines the case of a spectre that roamed about and harmed the living. Several of these cases were known in Moravia where von Schertz published his book, as well as in neighbouring areas. Only two decades later, a similar case was investigated by Austrian officials in North Eastern Serbia. The local people called the spectre a vampire...."

The Danish Mr. Petersen writes in a very elegant English. Love it! Check out his blog!

Jun 8, 2008

Buffy and the Academic World

The Slayage Conference on the Whedonverse
Arkadelphia, Arkansas, June 5-8, 2008
(The url for The Slayage Conference has been corrected. Sorry for any inconvenience.)
Read Mandi Bierly'article 'Buffy' academic conferences' for an interesting take on the conference. For the full article go to EW.com. Below is an excerpt.

" You can check out the program on the conference's site. Which titles speak to you? My picks: Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

• "'When You Kiss Me, I Want to Die': Gothic Relationships and Social Taboos on BtVS"

• "A Sexy Fuddy-Duddy and a Woman Who Knows How to Moisturize: Adulthood, Authority, and Sex in BtVS" [Giles and Joyce!!!]

• "'Kicking Ass Is Comfort Food': Girlie Feminism, Violence, and the Slayer"

• "... And Yet': The Limitations of Buffy’s Feminism"

• "'It's Just... Painful': Love and the Wounded Vampire"

This is just a sampling of the choices. Check out the article and the conference site for more information.

June Contest - From Dead to Worse

This month's contest offers two copies of From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (Ace, May 2008) which means two lucky winners.

All e-mail subscribers to this blog are eligible to win. If you have not yet signed up it's very easy to do. In the left column look for Subscribe to Patricia's Vampire Notes. Click and you're on your way.

Mina Harker's Story: From the Pen of Elaine Bergstrom

Many authors have explored the world created by Bram Stoker in his classic novel Dracula. One such writer is Elaine Bergstrom who imagines Mina Harker's story in two books - Mina: The Dracula Story Continues. (Berkley, 1994 writing as Marie Kiraly. Reissued in 2007) and Blood to Blood (Ace, 2000)


Towards the finale of Stoker’s novel Mina Harker, an unwilling victim of the evil count, journeys to Transylvania with Van Helsing and others, including husband Jonathan, determined to destroy the vampire in his lair. In Bergstrom’s novel the story is told through Mina’s eyes. As she travels with the vampire hunters she admits, only to herself, that her encounters with Dracula have awakened passions she never felt before. Even when it is believed that Dracula has been destroyed her longing for his embrace does not end.

Early in the book Mina describes a meeting with Dracula. "He stared at me, and for a moment, I had an astonishing revelation of where his mesmerizing power lay. All his thoughts were fixed on me as no other man's had ever been. Even Jonathan, on the day I agreed to be his wife, had a portion of his mind elsewhere. But with Dracula, I was the center of all his attention, the one who could satisfy his terrible need, give him strength.... This understanding gave me a heady feeling that made me weak with a desire I found horrifying... (quoted from Mina. Berkley, 1994 p. 6-7). As the story unfolds she also finds herself strongly drawn to the hedonistic Lord Gance. There are several clever, unforeseen twists and turns.


Mina and Jonathan Harker live separately as this novel begins. Mina’s love affair with Lord Gance has ended with his death in Transylvania. She returns to London for the reading of his will. To her astonishment she finds that he has left her his home in Exeter and thus given her a degree of independence known to few women of this era. Her love for Jonathan, however, has not died. Both have had sexual exploits associated with the erotic pull of the vampires. And so they have a certain understanding and sympathy for each other but is it enough to save their marriage?

While trying to sort this out Mina learns that Dracula’s half sister Joanna Tepes has awakened and followed her brother’s trail to England. Although a powerful nosferatu, Joanna has not lost her human soul. She has no desire to kill or harm humans. It is Arthur Holmwood, the man who lost his finance Lucy to Dracula and felt forced to destroy her, who earns Joanna’s trust and offers her the hand of human decency. Mina supports Arthur’s sympathetic view of Joanna, but this lovely picture is spoiled by a mortal killer. He is stalking victims, and all of the protagonist face danger because of this monster.

Both books have an enchanting, erotic air, but the stories are more than that. Each believably describes the thoughts and feelings of every character. I've read and enjoyed Mina and Blood to Blood.