Sep 29, 2008

Quiet Time

Things will be a bit quiet on PVN this week. I'm going to have minor surgery and won't be doing much blog work.

I should be able to post the September winner of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12) b by Friday.



Winner - Adrian Phoenix Contest

The winner of A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix is ddurance.

Congratulations! Please contact me at

Once again my thanks to Adrian and everyone who participated.

Many great true ghost stories were posted in the comments. For anyone who hasn't had a chance to read them I encourage you to do so.

Remember Adrian will post Ghosts part 2 on Oct. 8th and part 3 on Oct. 22nd. A contest will run with each post

Sep 25, 2008

Adrian Phoenix Writes About Ghosts - Part 1


Today Adrian Phoenix, author of Rush of Wings (Pocket, 2008) and the sequel In the Blood (Pocket, January 2009), treats us to part 1 of her articles on Ghosts. This is spooky stuff! Deep down inside even the most skeptical among us wonders if maybe there might be something to this. At the end of this article look for contest information.

Welcome, Adrian and thanks for guest blogging today!

Thanks for inviting me to your Vampire Notes, Patricia. I love this site and its musings on the paranormal, and I appreciate the opportunity to toss in a few musings of my own.

What follows is part one of three; an inquisitive and spooky lead-in to Halloween – Samhain – the night the gates between worlds swing open and the dead mingle once more with the living.

What is a ghost? The soul of one who has died? A memory seared into the fabric of time by the raging fire of emotional intensity? A person in another time, living still, but seen through a thinning veil? Parts of our darkest and most primal selves, lashing out as poltergeists?

All of these and more – so I believe. Of course, these are only my reflections, my musings, my experiences.

Part One: Souls of the Dead

I believe in ghosts, even though I’ve never seen one. (I‘ve felt them, however, heard them and, sometimes, smelled them.) But I’m not always sure that what is seen is the departed spirit of a dead person. Sometimes, yes. On other occasions, I believe the veil of time thins and two periods hundreds, even thousands of years apart, parallel each other briefly. And on both sides of this translucent veil, each side believes the other to be ghosts.

The question of ghosts isn’t a simple one. Nor will the answers be, if found. But I can tell you this, I love the possibility of ghosts and what their presence represents: We go on in some shape or form. And the world is yet full of mystery and magic and always will be.

My father bought a series of Time/Life books when I was a kid and the one that fascinated me the most was one on the supernatural and unexplained. I’d study the photographs of supposed ghosts, fascinated and just a little scared. Reality would seem to ripple as I imagined looking up from the book to see a transparent figure glide past, its face nothing but darkness beneath the cowl of its hooded black robe. (A photo taken in a church, I believe.) Looking at that picture always goosebumped my arms and chilled my blood.

I realized then that we lived in two worlds – the seen and the unseen. The unseen flowed around us like water around rocks. But sometimes this stream pooled in shadowed, quiet spots. Sometimes it sieved through rocks scraped thin by time or pocked full of holes like hardened lava.

And in these quiet places and pocked rocks, the seen and unseen entwined, shaping mystery and magic into our world, our lives. And even into our deaths.

The question is: why do the souls of some people remain after death instead of moving on? Do they wish to stay? Are they trapped somehow?

(Perhaps they didn’t receive a Now that You Are Dead primer once they kicked the bucket. Damn UPS!)

During times of violent death, murder, or even unexpected death – an accident, a sudden illness – the spirit remains in his home or returns to it if his death occurred elsewhere (as if not knowing where else to go). Often the spirit will linger at the site of her death. Some flit between the two, home and death-site.

In the case of accidental death, perhaps they are not even aware they’ve died. They slip from their bodies and return home as if everything was normal. Except now, no one sees them or hears them, and all attempts at communication fail.

And some are lost, frightened, and alone. Others are merely stubborn – refusing to accept either their death or the need to move on. Or so we imagine. I’m not sure if a ghost has ever revealed exactly why or how they haunt the living world. I wonder if they even know.

A few, I think, are not aware that they are dead and carry on in a dazed fog as though all was as it had always been. Think of the movie The Others starring Nicole Kidman. Better yet, watch it. A creepy and chilling story. And one, in my opinion, brimming with truth.

Another example: A young man who worked with his father and brothers at a lighthouse, was killed on his way to the lighthouse when a rock tumbling from the cliffs above struck his head. Shortly afterward, his father (unaware, of course, of the young man’s accident and death) saw his son open the door and enter the lighthouse, a dazed look on his face, his head bloodied, his mouth open as though he was trying to speak. When his father rushed to him, the young man vanished. His body was discovered later. I’ve read and heard many variations of this story.

It seems that the young man, knowing he’d been hurt, was seeking help, unaware that he’d died. I’ve also heard many instances of visitations from the recently deceased attempting to soothe their loved ones – very aware they were no longer a part of the mortal world – their words full of regret and love.

Does our grief sometimes bind the dead to the physical world and to us? Keeping their spirits sorrow-caught like autumn leaves upon thorns? Or is it that death doesn’t sever the ties and relationships between us? A mother still wants to comfort her son, a husband, his wife. A child still seeks his father’s strong arms.

With violent crime or murder, it often seems that the death site is haunted by both victim and killer. Fascinating, if true, because they would’ve died at separate times, probably decades apart. What would summon a dead killer to the place where he murdered his victim? Is he seeking the spot out of nostalgia? Because it was a time when he’d wielded the ultimate power over another? Could it even be regret, a desire to turn back time and undo his murderous act?

Is it because the murder victim still seeks justice? Or did the violence forge psychic chains binding both victim and killer to the bloodstained ground? Sometimes, the crime and the body have been hidden, and the victim wants to reveal both and point a finger at the guilty party.

Here’s another intriguing thought: When an ancient castle, hold, or manor house is haunted by more than one ghost, are they aware of each other? Do they interact? Fall in love? Even if they’ve died centuries apart?

I heard a story about a manor house in the UK that was haunted by ghosts from several eras. Glowing orbs, moving objects, and apparitions had been recorded over the centuries. But one thing had been constant – a chair that’d move from a sitting room to a position at the base of a staircase. It’d be easy to imagine that the chair had once, indeed, belonged in that spot and that whoever/whatever moved it was returning it to its rightful place.

Easy, yes, but wrong. A chair was always moved to the same spot at the foot of the staircase, but it wasn’t always the same chair. It seemed to be whatever chair was handy. A chair mysteriously moved. For what purpose? The answer intrigued me.

A man who’d lived in the manor house as a servant several centuries before apparently still tended to the house and its occupants. And a young woman who’d died from an illness a century later walked it’s upper floors. The dead servant was moving the chair so he could sit and wait for the young woman to step from her room. He watched her every day.

Was it possible that a spirit from one era had not only seen a ghost from a later period of time, but had fallen in love with her? Did she respond to him? Did she descend the staircase to join him for a walk in the garden?

Did either of them know they were dead?

And what happens during those long and quiet and dusty years when the manor house is empty? Do its ghosts wander its stone and timbered halls, rock empty cradles, move a cup from a cabinet to the sideboard? Do they glance at one another as they pass? Or do they divide their domain into territories? And if their deaths are separated by centuries, how do they view each other and their world? Do they each see it as it was during their time? Or are they silent witnesses to the changes each new generation of living bring to their world?

One of my favorite shows (even as cheesy as it can be at times, adding to its charm – for me) is Most Haunted. They are doing what I would love to do – traveling to ancient locations in the UK to verify their haunted histories. And, even more importantly, trying to prove the existence of life after death. Hoping to communicate with those who still linger in the dust and cold shadows.

In one episode of Most Haunted, a medium described a “spirit-person” walking briskly through the room, then disappearing into a wall. A check of historical records revealed a door had once been in that wall. For that particular “spirit-person”, the building was as it’d been during his time.

Now here’s another thought I’ve mulled over: When the house or castle or whatever is empty, do the ghosts hibernate like a computer monitor or a slapped snooze button? Do they switch off? When there’s no living person to witness their ghostly actions, do they carry on as usual? Is a place still haunted if there’s no one to witness it?

I believe our living energy awakens ghosts, sparks them into action. Batteries often fail in heavily haunted locations, drained of all power, and intermittent problems with electricity in the same locations aren’t unusual. But most ghosts aren’t just mindless apparitions feeding like vampires on energy. Some are aware of their condition, their surroundings, and even the mortals in the room trying to communicate with them via rappings, Ouija boards, (My advice? Don’t.) table tipping, etc. Some even manage to swallow enough energy to become partially visible or to make sounds, even words. And some use a medium’s body like a meat puppet.

Note: I find some mediums to be dramatic (and sometimes amusing) frauds and I find others to be genuine. Now, back to the meat puppet.

And what does a ghost convey through a medium’s mouth? The things that had happened to them centuries ago, the emotions as raw as if the death/murder/illness/rape had just occurred. And maybe that’s why they haven’t gone wherever the dead are supposed to go – time hasn’t diluted their anguish or rage or sense of abandonment or loss. It’s as sharp as thorns in their hearts and restless souls.

Souls whirling around an astral roundabout, unable to exit into the afterlife.

Some have revealed that they stayed behind to care for others – a nanny for a child, a mother with her baby, a man for his lost love, always searching and calling for her – choosing to remain in the mortal world.

Skeptics ask (understandably) why the dead never tell us anything useful, never reveal anything new, never offer any convincing proof of life after death.

I believe the only spirits we can contact are those who are stuck here, by choice or by accident. (Other things might respond pretending to be spirits of loved ones, but that’s yet another subject.) The souls that have passed on, can’t answer us. They are gone forever, hopefully well on their way into the next part of their journey. They can’t be summoned back by medium, Ouija board, or spirit cabinet. And they are the ones who know the answers to some of our questions. Maybe no one, living or dead, knows the big picture, just parts of it.

For the spirits remaining behind for whatever reason, their world consists of the walls surrounding them, their slice of frozen time, the events of their ending or of their happiest time. They don’t know any more than we do about the afterlife. If they did, they wouldn’t be here.

After decades or centuries of being isolated in a twilight world with no true way to communicate to the vibrant beings whirling through and past you, just how sane and coherent would you be?

It’s also possible that we are nothing more than shadows in their world, annoyances disturbing their routines as our worlds intersect and we brush past one another.

And I believe it happens all the time. The seen and unseen swirling together.

Think back on all those moments when you felt watched, the hair prickling on your neck. Think back to those moments when you heard someone walk up behind you and turned around to face an empty room.

Ever awakened abruptly at night to the sound of your own name and thought maybe you’d only dreamed someone was calling you even as the echoes rippled away into night’s black stream?

Those quivering movements you catch from the corners of your eyes – vision disturbances or a shadow’s stealthy slide?

Ever see a person in a place they didn’t belong? A person no one else saw? Or a tall shape at the foot of your bed?

Even when we’re by ourselves, we’re never alone. Whether that’s a chilling or comforting thought depends on you. And whatever’s standing just behind you.


Contest Information

At the end of the article Adrian asked some provocative questions. Can you answer any of these? Do you know a "true" ghost story?

*Each answer to a different question will count as an entry.

*Ask Adrian questions. The first two questions each count as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.

The contest runs from 8am on Sept 25 to 11:59pm Sept. 26

Sep 24, 2008

Mindight Reign - Vampire Book Review

Midnight Reign by Chris Marie Green. Ace, 2008

Hollywood stuntwoman Dawn Morgan continues the search for her father Frank who went missing in Night Rising, the first book of Green's Vampire Babylon series. Along with her team, the psychic Kiko and the tech savvy Breisi, she has learned that within an area called Underground lie many of the secrets that may help her learn the whereabouts of Frank as well as solve the mysterious and vicious vampire-like murders of two young women. The Underground is the haven where the undead and their master Dr Eternity reside.

Unlike many recent urban fantasies with witty, fast-talking female narrators, this tale has a darker tone. Dawn is intelligent, serious minded, with deep psychological scars that continue to plague her. Chasing and fighting off the undead does not help her mood. Neither does her reasonable paranoia that certain people she encounters may still be human but also have links to the Underground. She, Kiko, and Breisi have committed themselves to the task of tracking down Dawn's father and destroying the Underground.. Leading them in this quest is The Voice, a man Dawn has yet to see, who feeds them information and guides them toward their mutual goal. He also has the mystical help of a group of beautiful spirits called Friends, who reside within portraits lining the walls of his mansion. Although the descriptive passages are not graphic Dawn's strong erotic feelings come to the fore when in the presence of the masculine tones of The Voice.

The novel's tone is dark, dramatic, and sensual. Green writes a complex story with well defined characters and more than enough paranormal mystery to keep readers enthralled from beginning to end.

Book three Break of Dawn is available as of Sept. 2, 2008.

The Chosen Sin - Vampire Novel Review

The Chosen Sin by Anya Bast. Berkley Heat, Oct. 2008

Events in this novel take place in a far future when humans have colonized outer space and even moved on to another galaxy. Daria Moran, a human agent for the Allied Bureau of Investigation, has volunteered for a dangerous assignment. Her partner is Alejandro Martinez one of the Chosen, a vampire. He and Daria are to enter the compound of the notorious vampire Christopher Sante, who seven years earlier had passed for human, became Daria's lover, and betrayed her. Now she wants nothing more than to go after him and make him pay. Not only did he hurt her so deeply that she's never been able to trust another man, but even worse Sante was responsible for the death of her closest friend Julia.

The handsome Alejandro has long been attracted to Daria. Now she needs him since the only way to enter Sante's sequestered area is to become one of the Chosen. It is Alejandro who will bestow the dark kiss that will take her into the vampire world, and he will work with her to bring about Sante's downfall.

The sexual tension between Daria and Alejandro is intense and hot! (note the name of the publisher imprint.) When these two get together the sparks really fly even though Daria fights her passionate desire for him. The plot also has plenty of adventure so there is nary a dull moment.

My main quibble with this story is the "futuristic", science fiction aspect which makes little sense. Neither is it necessary. There is nothing abut the far future and outer space that is pertinent to the story. Perhaps as a science fiction reader I am more bothered by this than some would be. Other readers may not care, and for them Anya Bast's erotic romance would make a good choice.

Sep 22, 2008

Adrian Phoenix - Upcoming Event

On Thursday Sept. 25 guest blogger Adrian Phoenix, author of Rush of Wings (Pocket, 2008) and the sequel In the Blood (Pocket, January 2009), treats us to part 1 of her articles on Ghosts.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Rush of Wings. Be sure to stop by!

Eleonore von Schwarzenberg - Inspiration for Dracula?

The History Channel will present a documentary on Princess Eleonore von Schwarzenberg who some believe inspired Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Scheduled dates are Oct. 15 and 16.
"Everyone knows the grim story of Count Dracula an aristocratic demon hunting for fresh human lifeblood, who strikes unsuspecting mortals at night. Is it a legend from medieval Romania or an interpretation by a writer of horror stories in Victorian England?
Now archaeologists, historians and forensic scientists can reveal the truth. The vampire story as we know it is not modeled on a medieval count from Transylvania but rather on the fate of a Bohemian princess from the early 18th century."

Twilight Tourism - Forks, Washington

'Vampire tourism' breathes new life into small town

Timber town welcomes fans of Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight' with open arms

"Pounding rain and heavy mist are constant in this timber town where logging's decline left a graveyard of rusting timber mills and unemployment. Businesses shut down. Parts of the local high school were condemned. Families started to drift away.

"Until an unlikely cast of vampires breathed new life into the town. Read more

Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist

Many thanks to the blog site Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist for the kind mention about Vampire Readings and Patricia's Vampire Notes.

Diary notes books and blog sites of interest to fellow vampire enthusiasts. Quite a good reference source.

Lynda Hilburn - Contest Winners

Dina has won a copy of Dark Harvest, and Tricia has won a copy of The Vampire Shrink.

Congratulations to both!

Thanks to everyone who participated by posting questions and comments.

Remember there will be more interviews and guest bloggers with contests and prizes as we Count Down to Halloween

Sep 19, 2008

Blood Memories by Barb Hendee - Review

Blood Memories by Barb Hendee. Roc, October, 2008.

The lovely Eleisha Clevon has spent the past hundred years in Portland, OR. Her house is secluded, not easy for anyone to find, and that is as it should be. She does venture out at night, sometimes with her only friend Edward. When hungry she hunts for a victim, and often finds one in the seedy bars of the city. When she has them alone she acts quickly, tears out a portion of the neck and drinks their blood, the only life force that can sustain her. Eleisha doesn't like to kill, but she must in order to survive.

Her life had a sameness that is shattered one night when she rushes to Edward's house knowing he is in desperate trouble. The sweet smell of decay assaults her as she enters. Edward romps around the room unaware of the horrid existence surrounding him. Vampires never keep victims near, They never eat, indeed cannot eat, solid foods. Rotting garbage and decaying animals lye in heaps. Eleisha tries to reach out to Edward. He retreats. He wants to die and he will not let her stop him. As dawn approaches Edward throws himself off the porch touching the first ray of sunlight. He immediately bursts into flames, and Eleisha feels the agony of his death. She is not the only one.

A police man, who was nearby, also feels it and screams at the horror of what fills his mind. Eleisha knows this cannot happen to a mortal, but there is no time to think about it. She must make her way to the basement and its dark, secret hiding place.

Now at least one mortal senses that her kinds exists. She needs to leave the Portland immediately. When she awakens that night she rushes back to her home, grabs her elderly charge William, and catches a flight to Seattle. But her placid way of life will never return. The policeman and his partner are on her trail. Eleisha begs to stay with the one other vampire she knows about, Maggie. They are not welcome guests. Danger comes to all three from Julian the oldest of the undead and the one most feared.

An unusual group forms when Eleisha and the psychic police officer begin to understand what they have in common. Eventually another vampire joins them. Hendee not only builds heart stopping tension, but also bares the soul of each protagonist. It is Eleisha's strength, a strength she hadn't realized she possessed, that brings a ray of hope to a desperate situation.

In the dark urban fantasy Blood Memories Hendee has written an engrossing tale of vampire death and evolution.

Barb Hendee is best known for the Noble Dead Saga co-authored with her husband J. C. Hendee

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

This past Tuesday during the discussion with Jeanne Stein about Urban Fantasy, Sewicked brought up the title War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Turns out that Tor is offering a free download of this book for anyone who registers with them. Go to

Talk about a cosmic coincidence!

According to Wikipedia War for the Oaks is considered the first in the urban fantasy genre. So now I have it on my computer, and will read it when I get a chance.

Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia: Walking home one night through the streets of Minneapolis after quitting her rock band and breaking up with her boyfriend, Eddi McCandry discovers that she is being pursued by a threatening man and an even more threatening black dog. They turn out to be one and same: a shapeshifting prankster faerie known as a phouka, who drafts Eddi to be the key linchpin in the ongoing battle between faerie's good and noble Seelie Court and the evil Unseelie Court, ruled by the Queen of Air and Darkness. Eddi soon finds herself in a struggle for survival against the Unseelie Court, all while trying to put a new rock band together. Meanwhile, her initial feelings of resentment toward the phouka develop into gratitude for his efforts to protect her against the dark queen, and ultimately turn into love. The novel climaxes in a rock concert playoff between Eddi and the Queen of Air and Darkness, which decides the fate of both faerie courts, as well as the fate of her loved one.

If anyone has read it, feel free to post a comment.

Contest Results for Legacy

Rachel has won a copy of Legacy by Jeanne Stein.


The subject of Urban Fantasy stirred up quiet a bit of discussion. My thanks to Jeanne and everyone who participated!

Sep 17, 2008

Interview with Lynda Hilburn

Lynda Hilburn has had a life long fascination with the paranormal world. She says, "After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer." In 2007 Lynda published The Vampire Shrink. This October 1st the sequel Dark Harvest will be available. Recently I reviewed The Vampire Shrink and found it completely mesmerizing. I will be reading Dark Harvest as soon as possible!

Following the interview look for contest rules. Two lucky commenters will win either a copy of The Vampire Shrink or Dark Harvest.

PVN: Lynda, welcome and thanks for being here!

PVN: There is a minor character I found so intriguing - Cerridwyn - the Tarot Card reader. Could you talk a bit about her? Will she appear in other works?

LH: Cerridwyn is a composite of several tarot readers I know (including myself). When I wrote about her being on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, I used my experience from years ago, when I gave tarot readings in Boulder on the Pearl Street Mall. She combines the best qualities of all my psychic friends: wise, funny and very gifted. I do expect she will show up in other books, probably the third one where Kismet becomes more involved in expanding her own intuitive abilities. She’ll discover her new circle of friends includes Cerridwyn – who is likely to become one of Kismet’s teachers.

PVN: How much, if any, of yourself is in Dr. Kismet Knight?

LH: She’s a fantasy version of me. She’s younger, prettier, thinner, having much more sex and lots more fun than me! LOL. She has my social awkwardness, my impatience, my tendency toward perfectionism, my cerebral nature, and my bizarre sense of humor. I get to live vicariously through her and her adventures. In the first book, Kismet talks about having lost the initial enthusiasm she had for her career as a psychologist, and she begins counseling the vampire wannabes in an attempt to remedy that lack of excitement. As a therapist, I can relate to that. I still love my work, but sometimes I daydream about opening my waiting room door to find a handsome, extraordinary (vampire?) male waiting for me. If he’s decked out in leathers, that would be okay, too! My clients bring paranormal issues to therapy, but so far I haven’t met a real vampire. (But there’s always tomorrow.)

PVN: Devereux is a complex character - he is highly moral, a lustful seducer, a sorcerer, and perhaps we'll learn more about him in the future. How would you describe him?

LH: Even while mortal, Devereux was wise beyond his years. He attributes his wisdom to his lineage, which is made up of witches, wizards and Druids. In the first book, he talked about the influence of his mother, who was/is a force to be reckoned with. He was born with the gift of Sight. When he became a vampire, and acquired additional preternatural abilities, he kept his strong personal foundations. He’s moral, but not in any human sense. He doesn’t concern himself with things humans would consider important, but he adheres absolutely to his own ethical code. He has lived so long (800 years), and has recognized and assimilated his primitive, vampiric nature. It is my intention to show him as multi-layered: he’s not only a powerful vampire – a natural leader – but he has retained the best of his humanity and expanded/deepened it. He has emotional depth, a quest for knowledge and an understanding of higher consciousness. Plus he’s great looking! He believes Kismet is his mysterious “mate.” We’ll find out more about Devereux as the series unfolds.

PVN: Besides vampires you mix in other paranormal persons a ghost, a mystic tarot reader, and a witch and sorcerers. (Did I forget any?) How were you able to blend all of this so smoothly into your story?

Thank you for saying I blended them smoothly! I appreciate that. I love to write about what I know, so adding ghosts, mystic tarot readers, witches, sorcerers, etc. is easy for me. I’ve experienced ghosts, auras, and all things psychic my entire life and I have lots of friends, acquaintances and clients who identify themselves in the other categories. I’ve always been lucky to surround myself with other people who are as fascinated with the paranormal/metaphysical as I am. Most urban fantasies today have various supernatural – or at least unusual – characters. I just added vampires (I simply love them) into the mix.

PVN: Without any spoilers would you tell us what to expect in Dark Harvest.

LH: Dark Harvest takes place 5 months after the end of The Vampire Shrink. Kismet is still trying to get used to the bizarre paranormal Pandora’s box she opened when she began counseling vampires. She’s also trying to figure out a way to have Devereux in her life without losing her independence. He is definitely used to getting what he wants. Kismet appears on a morning radio program where she’s contacted by a day-walking vampire: Lyren Hallow. From that moment, everything is madness. If she thought being involved in the vampire underworld was frightening before . .

Where does this series lead? Will there be more books?

I hope there will be more books! I’ll have to finish writing the third one (in progress) and sell it. Fingers crossed! In my imagination, there are at least 10. There is simply no end to the situations Kismet can get herself into.

PVN: What attracts you to the paranormal?

LH: Originally, I was attracted to the paranormal because it was exciting. Growing up as a very weird child who saw and heard things others didn’t, I felt comfortable with the idea that the universe is more amazing than we can imagine. I was like a kid in a candy store: there were so many things to explore – so much to learn – so many doors to open. I’ve always had a foot in both worlds: “normal” and extraordinary. And, within those two worlds, I balanced between the psychic aspects of myself and my Inner Scientist. I’m still just as fascinated by neuropsychology and higher consciousness studies as I am by ghosts, reading auras and doing candle magic. Today, since I work with clients who have a wide range of everyday issues, I enjoy writing about characters who are not normal – not usual. I guess I just find the paranormal universe astounding.

PVN: What sort of books do you like to read? or TV or Movies that you like to watch?

I read vampire books – and – paranormal mysteries, paranormal romances, paranormal chick lit, urban fantasies, dark contemporary fantasies, some horror, humor, psychological thrillers, psychological mysteries, and lots of nonfiction in my various fields of interest (psychology, hypnotherapy, psychic abilities, tarot, etheric energy healing, sound and music healing). I will (of course!) watch anything on TV or at the movies about vampires. I’m a “House” fan, and I enjoy shows like “Criminal Minds,” “Dexter,” “Torchwood,” “The Closer,” “Burn Notice” – LOL! I think I spend too much time watching TV!

PVN: Where and when do you write? Describe the ambience.

I have my computer set up on a table in my bedroom, and I can’t have music playing while I’m writing. It’s too distracting. I do like to keep the TV on in the next room just for background sound. I don’t have a particular time of day that I write – just whenever I can. While I was working on the second Kismet book, I had a nice routine going of writing a few hours per day. After I turned that book in, my discipline fell apart. So, I need to institute some new structure! I tend to write a few paragraphs, get up and stroll around for a few minutes, then sit back down and write a few more paragraphs. It would be okay with me if I found a more productive schedule!! It was easier to get my writing in every day when I only worked for myself. I saw clients when I wanted to. Now I work three days per week at a community mental health center, so I’m not home as much, so I have to take advantage of whatever extra time I have.

PVN: Do you have other fiction or nonfiction projects you are working on?

LH: In addition to working (slowly) on Kismet book #3, I’m finishing a short story which I sold to an anthology. The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance comes out Feb., 09 and my story will be in it. I love anthologies and would like to be invited to do more. I’m also brainstorming a series about a psychic who lives in my home town of Boulder, Colorado.

LH: More information about me and my books can be found on my website:, my blog:, and my MySpace page:

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Patricia! I appreciate it.

It was my pleasure, Lynda!

Now for the contest information.

Two lucky commenters will win either a copy of The Vampire Shrink or Dark Harvest. (Thank you, Lynda!)

For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Ask Lynda a question. Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at 11:59 pm September 18, 2008.

Winners will be announced later in the week.

Sep 16, 2008

Upcoming Event - Lynda Hilburn Interview Sept 17

In 2007 The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn was published to high critical praise, and with good reason I might add. It beautifully combines several elements of the paranormal world. One of those hard to put down books. On October 1st the sequel Dark Harvest will be published.

On Wednesday, Sept 17 PVN will be interviewing Lynda
. There will also be a contest with two lucky winners!

Sep 15, 2008

Jeanne Stein Writes on Urban Fantasy

Today I'm happy to welcome back Jeanne Stein, author of the popular Anna Strong series. Jeanne was interviewed at PVN on August 26. Today she is here to discuss the subject of Urban Fantasy. Most of us are familiar with the term, but how do you actually define it? Jeanne will answer this question for us.

She has also graciously offered a copy of her most recent book, Legacy (Book 4 in the Anna Strong series) along with a set of magnets to one lucky reader. [note: the contest portion has ended]

Urban Fantasy-- what is all the fuss about?

Thanks to Pat for the chance to share my thoughts. I recently finished teaching an online course about this very subject. About the same time, I attended DragonCon in Atlanta where it was a subject on every paranormal romance/fantasy panel. So just what is Urban Fantasy? Let’s see if we can figure it out The obvious place to start is what it isn't.

Until about two years ago, all paranormal works (and I’m using this term to refer to the type of book in which science or technology do not play a major role in the story) were categorized as fantasy, horror, or paranormal romance. Each was specific in its content and readers knew what to expect when they picked up a book from Carol Berg or Robin Owens (fantasy), Anne Rice or Stephen King (horror), J. D. Robb or Christine Feehan (paranormal romance.)

Paranormal romance, in particular, was (and is) a hugely successful genre. However, there are rules to be followed in any romance category. The most important is that by the end of the book (or story arc if it’s a series) the hero and heroine MUST end up together. Happily-ever-after is not only expected, it’s demanded. The romance is the driving force of the book whether the characters are human, otherworldly, or a mixture of the two.

Into this mix came a new type of book. Edgy, contemporary, set in an urban (or suburban or rural) setting, generally written in first person with a kick-ass hero or heroine who does not depend on a partner for protection or to save him or her when the going gets tough. The biggest distinguishing factor, however, is that at the end of the book, there will most likely be NO happily-ever-after for our protagonist. He or she may have a lover, may even end up in a committed relationship, But in urban fantasy, that relationship will be constantly challenged and will not define who our hero or heroine is or how they live their life. The romance, if it’s there at all, will play a minor role in the story.

The tag “Urban Fantasy” was coined specifically to differentiate these stories from paranormal romance. There’s nothing worse than buying a book with certain expectations and being disappointed when those expectations are not met. The interesting thing, however, is that readers of paranormal romance are making the shift to UF in record numbers. Not in place of paranormal romance but in addition to it. It’s a win/win situation.

UF appeals to a wide audience. More than any other genre, mystery, romance and fantasy combine to attract readers in a unique way. UF crosses genre boundaries. I’ve had many people tell me, for instance, that they usually don’t read “vampire books.” They like mine because there’s always a mystery to be solved as well as a world that they recognize—today’s world—with the twist that there are otherworldly creatures walking amongst us. Creatures who have integrated into society, hold down real jobs, might even be a neighbor, your child’s teacher or San Diego’s Chief of Police. The paranormal is the glue that binds the mix.

That’s my description of Urban Fantasy. Another can be found on the Wikipedia site. They also include a list of authors, which is by no means inclusive or complete. It just gives you some choices if you are looking for examples and a history of those who first wrote what we now call Urban Fantasy. To the list of pioneers, I would also add Ira Levin. Rosemary’s Baby, published in 1967, is UF through and through.

There are other UF sites as well. Urban Fantasyland at and Book Think at all offer their own interpretations and definitions. The one thing they all agree on, though, is the idea that UF offers readers a glimpse into a secret world within a world—our world.

Which is why I believe Urban Fantasy is here to stay. It’s the “what if” factor—what if there really are vampires and werewolves and fairies and shape shifters? What if that strange old man living down the block is a warlock practicing the black arts? What if there is a secret community of supernatural creatures trying to exist and survive in a world not ready to acknowledge its existence?

I know the popular theory is that if you write to what’s “hot” now, by the time the book is ready for publication, the wave has passed. I have a different take on the subject. If you write the book of your heart, if it’s well written and offers a compelling story, it will sell. The trick is to make it unique. Put your own spin on the Urban Fantasy phenomenon and watch what happens.

The genre is wide open.

If you have a question or comment, please feel free to send it along. You may win a copy of Legacy and a set of book cover magnets.

Jeanne C. Stein
The Anna Strong Chronicles

Jeanne, thanks so much for your insightful explanation of Urban Fantasy. You know the welcome mat is always out for you at PVN.


Contest information

For a chance to win a copy Legacy with a set of book cover magnets do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment or ask a question on Urban Fantasy, the Anna Strong Chronicles, the writing life, etc. Jeanne says "I'm up for questions about anything!"

*Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at 11:59 pm on September 16, 2008.

Winners will be announced later in the week.

Sep 12, 2008

Wicked Game - And the Winner Is!

We have a winner for a copy of Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready.

Congratulations to Amy C

Amy, Jeri will contact you offline.

Thanks to everyone for your comments, questions, and links!

True Blood Contest Sept. 7 - Announcement

Judi has won a copy of Definitely Dead!

To everyone - Thanks for participating!
The offer to commenters still stands. For a free copy of Vampire Readings contact me at

Some of you have emailed me about this.
I'll send your copy this week.

Thanks for your interest!

Vampire Thingies - Perfect for Halloween

While tooling around the Internet I came across I haven't dealt with this company or am advocating that you should or shouldn't buy from them. All I'm saying is they do have a very interesting inventory. Prices range from $5.00 to $2,000+.

Above is Dracool Zombaby

Product description: Adopt one of our little devils today. Zombabies will make any home feel like hell on earth. Dropped off at the Village of Despair Orphanage in Transylvania, their biological parents just couldn't take the heat. Of course they all have their problems, but we're sure it's nothing years of psychotherapy and an exorcism couldn't handle. Dracool is a baby with a taste for blood. He has a cool blue coif with a shocking white stripe, and little red wings. Made of foam filled latex. 20 inches tall.

Below is Life Size Undead Bride

Product description: Vacant eyes, matted hair, and a taste for blood. Our lifelike undead bride wears a ghastly white wedding gown, and is approximately 55 inches tall.

Unfortunately she is out of stock, but you never know when she'll be baaaaack!!!

Sep 10, 2008

Interview with Jeri Smith-Ready

Maryland writer Jeri Smith-Ready author of Wicked Game (Pocket 2008) and several other fantasy novels also, somehow, finds time for gourmet cooking and fostering shelter dogs in conjunction with Tails of Hope Sanctuary. She is a very busy lady.

Following the interview look for contest rules to win a copy of Wicked Game.

PVN: Jeri, it's a pleasure to welcome you today. Thanks so much for joining us.

PVN: Tell us about WVMP radio as well as

JSR: At WVMP The Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll, all of the DJs are vampires. The public thinks this is just a marketing gimmick, but no, they really are vampires! In the universe of Wicked Game, the vampires are stuck psychologically and culturally in the era they were turned. They still speak the slang and wear the fashions of their Life Time. It makes them weird conversationalists, but fabulous DJs. No one understands an era’s pop culture better than those who lived through it, right? is a joint web project of my husband’s web design firm (Christian Ready Web Services) and Henderson Creative, Inc. . It’s a real website with real music (and real Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll merchandise). You can learn more about the DJs and listen to a sample of songs from their shows. Soon I’ll have a weekly vampire DJ blog, in which one of them will discuss a musical topic from their era.

Future plans for the website include featured “non-fictional” bands, reviews of vampire books and movies and interviews with their creators, and eventually DJ podcasts. I’d love for it to someday become a place where music fans could hang out and discuss their favorite bands.

PVN: What a unique idea - vampire DJs who only play music from their own era. Where did that idea come from?

JSR: It was total serendipity. I was driving to work flipping the dial and came to a classic rock station playing “Bad Company” by the band of the same name. I thought, Hmm, “Bad Company” would be a perfect title for a paranormal book with a shady main character. Ooh, and there could be a whole series with “Bad” songs as the title: “Bad to the Bone,” “Bad Medicine,” “Bad Moon Rising”…

By the time I got to the office, I had a fully formed idea for vampire DJs stuck in time and a heroine with a criminal past. If I hadn’t been listening to that station at that moment, the series would have never been born. (Cue Twilight Zone music…)

The punch line is that even though it all began with “Bad Company,” the publisher ultimately asked me to change the title.

How do you know Weasel (a DC area disc jockey)? Has he influenced your taste in music?

I don’t know him personally, but he’s been my favorite DJ since the 80s when I started listening to WHFS, which was an alternative/indie radio station here in the DC area. After WHFS died a slow death earlier this decade, he moved to 94.7 WTGB The Globe, which is also a great station—a mix of classic and contemporary rock that has a lot more variety than most stations. Weasel is the most amazingly knowledgeable DJ I’ve ever known.

So anyway, I figured as a long shot, I’ll write him an e-mail and see if he’ll give a cover quote for the book. He did it! Even better, he said it was true to life and based in reality, and that he could relate to the vampire DJ characters (I know, scary, huh?). I was thrilled beyond belief—to me, this was the ultimate validation that I had done my research and brought the characters to life.

PVN: Talk about the playlist at the beginning of the book.

JSR: Music is an integral part of the story, and when I wrote the book, I put music into most scenes. For instance, a song might be on in the background, or Shane might play Ciara a tune on the guitar. Or a song might change the heroine’s mood, as it does at the end of the first chapter.

So my publisher asked me to make a list of all the songs mentioned in the text, and that became the “playlist” that is literally a soundtrack to the novel (which can be heard on my website).

The fun part of forming the list was figuring out which songs to choose when they were mentioned only obliquely. For instance, the text in one of the creepiest scenes said that a Cure song was playing on this old 1940s radio. I chose “10:15 Saturday Night” because it’s a particularly haunting tune, providing great atmosphere.

Are your tastes in music similar to Ciara's?

JSR: Ciara’s a lot hipper than I am. If you go to our MySpace pages ( and ( you can see that her favorite bands include more contemporary artists than mine does. I do like a lot of new bands, though—I’m not stuck in time like the vampires—just not as many as Ciara does. But she’s younger than I am, so that’s my excuse. ;-) My tastes in general are closer to Shane’s and Regina’s—indie, punk, Goth, etc. Hers are a little lighter, more funky, and pop-oriented.

Ciara's a con artist. Will her "expertise" in this field be useful in future adventures?

JSR: Absolutely! In the sequel, BAD TO THE BONE, she goes “undercover” to infiltrate a sinister organization called the Fortress, which is trying to shove WVMP off the air by pirating its signal (oh, and by tossing Molotov cocktails at it).

Why the location of Sherwood, MD?

JSR: It’s a fictional version of the smallish town I live near. Because there are so many vampire books already out there, I tried with each element of Wicked Game to do something different. I thought it would be interesting to put vampires in a non-traditional setting—not super spooky gothic, but not a city either. Then we could see how they interact with the kind of world most of us can relate to.

Also, Sherwood is accessible to a number of interesting cities (Baltimore, Gettysburg, Washington, DC) that could provide great locations. For instance, in Wicked Game, our gang visits a group of ancient vampires who live in a cult compound out near Camp David (hey, it’s secure from flyovers!).

PVN: What attracts you to vampires?

Wow, where to start?

First, they’ve conquered death. They’ve been resurrected, which is the most powerful mythological act imaginable. It would shake a person to the core of his soul to travel toward that light or whatever and be yanked back into a whole new life. I imagine most of them would have trouble adjusting, to say the least.

Second, they’re predators. Even my vampires, who are very human, possess the instincts and heightened senses of a hunting animal. That makes them dangerous and exquisitely sensitive.

Third, they’re nocturnal. There’s a poignancy to this restriction—if you could never see the sun again, it would feel like a punishment. It would also require a lot of caution, not to mention ingenuity, especially when traveling.

I firmly believe that in fantasy, magic and power should have a cost. Creatures who are immortal and strong and fast and mesmerizing should have serious vulnerabilities, to maintain balance in the universe. Otherwise it feels like cheating.

I could list a fourth, fifth, and sixth reason why vampires fascinate me, but my fingers would fall off, and I sort of need them.

PVN: What are you working on now?

JSR: I’m getting ready to rewrite the Wicked Game sequel (BAD TO THE BONE), which will be published May 12, 2009. My rewrites are usually pretty extensive—I often change the ending and eliminate subplots; often characters who once lived will die in the rewrite and vice versa.

To tide readers over until BAD TO THE BONE comes out next May, I’m writing a series of free tie-in short stories, to appear on my website roughly once every other month, that depict the “turning” of each vampire DJ. These are very secret tales they only share with people they trust with their lives (like me). Subscribers to my quarterly newsletter will get a week’s early access to each story. Sign up at my website!

Monroe’s story, “Crossroads”:

Spencer’s story, “Rave On”:

I’m also very excited about the final installment of my ASPECT OF CROW trilogy, THE REAWAKENED, which comes out November 1. This epic fantasy series takes place in a world where everyone has magical powers bestowed by the Guardian Spirit Animal (some might call it a “totem” or “power animal”). I sometimes describe it as X-Men meets Clan of the Cave Bear.

What type of literature do you like to read? Any favorite authors or titles?

My tastes are pretty eclectic. I read a fair amount of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, of course, because it’s part of my job, but for a break I return to mainstream fiction or contemporary romance—the funnier the better. I also enjoy YA fiction, both paranormal and mainstream, because it often deals with deep personal issues in a more unflinching way than adult fiction.

Some of my current favorites are Caprice Crane, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Charlaine Harris. When it comes to vampires, my favorites (in addition to Harris) are PC Cast/Kristin Cast (House of Night series), Jenna Black and newcomer Adrian Phoenix. My all-time favorite book is probably GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

PVN: What is your writing environment like?

JSR: Because I use a laptop, I can write anywhere. For actual creative writing I tend to find a place that’s sort of cavelike. The bedroom, the guest room/cat room, or the family room in the basement. When it’s raining (or nighttime), I can write anywhere, because the whole world becomes like a cave.

I generally do business stuff at the dining room table. Lots of pointing and clicking (for working on the website or whatever) requires a mouse instead of this horrid little touchpad. Then when I move into the Cave of the Day, I feel like I’m ‘going to the office’ to write.

That’s the theory, anyway. Most of my time is spent tricking myself into working.

I’ve finished the last several books in the guest room/cat room, which is technically my office. It has a desk (which is incredibly tidy as a result of its disuse), but the chair long ago moved out to the dining room, and now there’s a litter box under the desk.

So I’m not one of those authors who has pretty photos of her office on her website. To me the only space that matters is the one inside my head, and you really don’t want to see pictures of that.

I love to hear from readers, so I encourage anyone to contact me through my website, I also give away free bookmarks and signed bookplates for any of my books and frequently hold contests on my blog and in my newsletter.

For more about Wicked Game, check out To visit the DJs and listen to a sample of their shows, go to Ciara and Shane and I can also be found on MySpace, though mysteriously never at the same time. Ciara and Shane love to get fan mail and blog comments—it makes them feel all real and stuff. ☺

Jeri, once again thanks for being here!

Now for the contest information.

Jeri is offering a copy of Wicked Gameto one lucky reader.

For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Ask Jeri a question. Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at midnight September 11, 2008.

Winners will be announced on Saturday September 13, 2008.

Sep 9, 2008

Contest for Book Blog Readers! - FYI

Announcing the BBAW Contest for Book Blog Readers!

September 8, 2008 at 10:17 pm | In Books |
Tags: , , , , , ,

Book bloggers would be no where without our readers. Many readers also happen to have their own blogs, but not all do. During Book Blogger Appreciation Week, we would like to take time to honor those who do not. You are so special to us and we want to recognize you for all that you do for us. If you are a loyal reader to one or many book blogs but do not blog yourself, this is the contest for you!

To enter, simply fill out the following sentence in 200 words or less and email them to me (Jennifer) at literatehousewife (at) gmail (dot)com.... Read more

Sep 8, 2008

The Vampire Shrink

The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn, Medallion Press, 2007.

"I didn't want to think about where I'd been all night. or what might have happened, or the media frenzy that was waiting for me. I absolutely didn't want to think about the possibility that there were real vampires. All I wanted was to be held, touched, and connected, without any expectations, rules, or complications"

Such was the wish of Denver psychologist Dr. Kismit Knight who has been through more than one harrowing moment in the past several hours. A new patient named Midnight told Kismit about the vampire world she had discovered at a great club called The Crypt. This teenager was enthralled with the head undead, Devereux, a handsome hunk by anyone's standards.

When Kismit meets Devereux the instantaneous and intense even lustful attraction astounds her. HIs enticing voice and mesmerizing eyes threaten to utterly overwhelm her. He can read her thoughts, talk to her telepathically, all the while making her want to melt into his arms. She's not sure how he does it, but the idea of a paranormal explanation is completely absurd. However the notion that he might be dangerous especially to young people like Midnight still concerns her.

Into this mix enters Alan Stevens, an FBI agent with a PhD in abnormal psychology, who is almost as good-looking and alluring as Devereux. And, as it turns out, Alan has been pursuing culprits in bizarre murders where victims have been totally drained of their blood. He knows the victims were dispatched by vampires, yes real vampires. Not only that, he knows Devereux and considers him trustworthy, one of the good undead. Kismit is flabbergasted.

Denial is a strong emotion to which Kismit clings. Not until she is abducted by an overpowering evil and left to die in a chamber of horrors does she begin to concede their might be something to this other reality after all.

It's not easy to combine horror, humor and realistic characters but Lynda Hilburn does it with ease. Kismit is a gal who must quickly learn her own strength. Her survival and others depend on it. Hilburn describes her novel as "urban fantasy romance with mystery elements, sex, dark humor, and a contemporary vibe." I would say that puts the story quite succinctly. Dark Harvest, the next book in the series will be available October 1, 2008.

Internet Sites of Paranormal Interest September 7

Here is an excerpt of The Last Vampire by Patricia Rosemoor and Mark Paoletti. Del Rey, 2008


Cueva del Diablo, Texas, 1993

“Don’t do it, Leah. I’m warning you! Dad told us to wait up for him.”
Stopping, Leah Maguire glared at her big brother Gabe, her helmet’s lamp making his maturing face glow eerily pale against the enveloping dark. The only light in the cave came from their headlamps and flashlights and a single thin beam from the narrow fissure overhead. Right now, everything looked flat, colorless, including his green eyes so like her own. Behind him, the maw leading to the chamber they’d just passed through was still dark, void of movement.
“Dad should be back with another lantern by now.” She couldn’t believe he’d dropped his into a narrow crevasse where it had gotten stuck. “He said it would only take a minute to catch up to Mr. Anderson’s group and borrow one of theirs.”.....Read more


Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun Leaked on the Internet
Bestselling author Stephenie Meyer is scrapping plans to finish the final book in her Twilight series, Midnight Sun, after a partial draft was leaked on the Internet. Read a recent posting on her Web site

Sasha's Tarot Card a Day Blog

A few years ago I became fascintated with tarot cards, had several decks of differing designs, and read books on layouts and interpretations. I haven't done much with it for some time but still find the subject of interest. Recently I came across Sasha's blog. It's well written, even thought-provoking.

Here she introduces herself: "My name is Sasha and I am a professional tarot card reader. I love incorporating the beauty, mystery and magic of the Tarot into my own life and the lives of others. When you trust your own inner voice, follow your intuition, you’ll know more than what the best psychic could ever tell you."

It's well worth checking out.


Forever Knight, one of my all time favorite TV series, has sadly been off the air for several years. Nick Knight was a Toronto police detective who only worked at night because, you know, he was a vampire. A very tormented vampire with a conscience. He agonized over misdeeds spread over several hundred years. He thought of his vampiric self as a monster and desperately wanted to become human.

On a whim I went to YouTube hoping to find something that would satisfy my feelings of nostalgia. The following video helped. It was edited by Kristen Harris. She calls it
"My Own Trailer for the Forever Knight vampire tv series."

Sep 7, 2008

Upcoming Interview - Jeri Smith-Ready

On September 10th Jeri Smith-Ready author of Wicked Game (Pocket, 2008) will be here for a live interview. She is offering a copy of her book to one lucky winner!

See my review.

Contest - True Blood, Tonight, Sept 7 at 9pm on HBO

For those of you who have a chance to watch True Blood tonight (Sept 7) on HBO, I would like to hear your opinion.

Let me know what you think. Positive or negative comments welcome. Say why you feel the way you do. Please be civil. No profanity or ranting. Each commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Definitely Dead (Southern Vampire Series, Book 6) by Charlaine Harris, Ace 2007. Her books form the basis of the True Blood series.

Contest ends September 9 at midnight!

Sep 4, 2008

September Book Contest

This month's contest offers a copy of Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, St. Martin's, 2008.

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 right column look for Subscribe to Patricia's Vampire Notes. Click and you're on your way.

Vampire Book Review - The Bride of Casa Dracula

The Bride of Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta. (Pocket, September 16, 2008)

Milagro De Los Santos became involved with the vampire community when, in Book 1 (Happy Hour at Casa Dracula), she and Oswald Grant accidently exchanged blood. Afterwards she had acquired certain vampire characteristics - rapid healing, increased strength, rapid movement. In Midnight Brunch the virile, charming Ian Ducharmee gave her an infusion of his own blood in order to save her life after a brutal attack. Now Milagro's strength and speed have increased to such an extent that she tries to hide it from the other vampires. Still her differences from them are noticeable enough that the Council reminds her that although she has gained some of their abilities she is still different. She does not share the same DNA nor the same vulnerabilities.

Milagro and Oswald are planning for their upcoming wedding. Being a successful plastic surgeon Oswald has a hefty income which he expects Milagro to spend, spend, and spend at the fanciest stores around. Ready to help her with the details is Nancy, Milagro's rich, air-head acting, fashionista, best bud. In fact Nancy insists she is the best qualified for the job and eventually browbeats Milagro into giving it to her. Nancy was evident in Midnight Brunch, (Book 2) but in the current story we get to know her more intimately. She has an offbeat look at the world, similar to Mil's, except her words have a distinctly upper-crust tone. Her commentary is biting, funny, and right on target.

Because Oswald wants everything to go well with the Vampire Council, Milagro reluctantly agrees to their demands - no physical relations with her fiancee until the wedding and participation in a secret wedding ritual. For the latter their must be a special coordiator. Milagro is shocked when that turns out to be the sexy, Eurotrahy Cornelia Ducharme. Not only is she a magnet for every man within sight, she is also the sister of Ian, a hunk whose lust and perhaps love for Milagro knows no bounds. Oswald hates him.

So much more goes on in Milagro's wacko world peopled with weirdly wonderful characters including wild man biker Pepper, Joseph Arnold owner of the local nursery as well as a gorgeous bod; and the nutty professor Don Pedro who claims he has shared mind altering experiences with shamans around the world. This book is another hilarious addition to the Casa Dracula series!

Read chapter one.