Feb 26, 2009

Upcoming Event - Inteview and Contest with Theresa Meyers

Stop by on Monday March 2 to read an interview with Theresa Meyers author of the vampire romance Salvation of the Dead. Silhouette Nocturne Bites, 2009. There will be a contest with a prize package offered by Theresa.

Internet Sites of Paranormal Interest Feb. 26, 2009

Read about vrykolakas, the Greek of the vampire in an article entitled The Bloodless Vampire at Paranormal Weird News.

I find it fascinating to get into the mind of an author. Paranormal romance writer Jade Lee describes the story of her first sale at Dear Author

The 2009 Vampire Film Series & Festival returns home. New Orleans - Autumn 2009

Read chapter one of Bad to the Bone (Pocket May 16, 2009) by Jerri Smith-Ready.

Wicked Game(Pocket Books, May 31, 2008). Plenty of vampires, DJs and rock n roll! See my review here.

Attention Writers: Writing Opportunity: Online Pitch to Silhouette Nocturne Bites Editor! ... To enter, send a 2 paragraph blurb of your manuscript to our board host Rae by April 6th.

Listen to an audio of Drood by Dan Simmons Little, Brown and Company, (February 9, 2009)
From the publisher: "On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?"

Win a copy of The Accord by Keith Brooke . Solaris, March 2009. Go to Fantasy Book Critic to a enter. The publisher will give away ten copies. Contest ends March 2, 2009.

Talk Radio with paranormal romance authors:
"The Beyond continues its series with Fangs Fur and Fey. Join authors Yasmine Galenorn (bestselling author of the Sisters of the Moon series), Marie Brennan (Midnight Never Come), Patrice Michelle (Scions series), Marlene Perez (Dead is the New Black), and John Levitt (Dog Days) as they discuss the craft of writing. Listeners are invited to call in to ask the panel questions LIVE or enter the chat room on the day of the show to send questions in real-time. This discussion will be moderated by Eos Executive Editor, Diana Gill."

Feb 23, 2009

Interview with Marta Acosta

Today meet Marta Acosta author of the hilarious Casa Dracula series. The books thus far: Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Midnight Brunch (Casa Dracula Series, Book 2), and The Bride of Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula, Book 3). This is a terrific series. I highly recommend it.

At the end of this interview check for contest information. One lucky reader will win a copy of Happy Hour at Casa Dracula.

Welcome Marta!

PVN: Please discuss Milagro De Los Santos, the heroine of your Casa Dracula series. And how much of you is in Milagro?

Marta: I adore Milagro! I created her by thinking about all my favorite characters and the traits I loved. She’s bright, funny, intrepid, witty, wears her heart on her sleeve, and is impetuous. She’s gullible, not because she’s stupid, but because she’s young and optimistic about people.

I wish I had Milagro’s good-nature and optimism. I’m quite cynical. She’s isolated in the world, and I’m very much connected to my family. We do share our love of books, love of fun, sarcastic sense of humor, and culture. I was also rather aimless after college, more interested in going out with friends than a career, and wanting a real relationship. But I think this is common to many people, which is why they identify with Milagro.

She writes eccentric stories, and no one takes her seriously. So make of that what you will!

PVN: There are some wonderful, wacky characters in your books - Edna, who doesn't take kindly at first to Mil; the sexy brother/sister duo Cornelia and Ian; Mil's rich friend Nancy, and so many other. Discuss some of them, please. Do you have favorites? Are any based on real people? Did any of them "pop up" on their own while you were writing?

Marta: Thanks for the kind words about my secondary characters! Edna came to me whole. I could imagine how she looked and spoke, and I find it very easy to write her parts. I think she’s the result of all those fabulous older women I’ve known – smart, sharp, sexy and attractive. You want to be them.

I’ve always liked the sophisticated and troublesome brother and sister in The Europeans by Henry James and the mischievous, morally-compromised brother and sister in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. These siblings were my inspiration for Ian and Cornelia Ducharme. I wanted characters who would blow in, wreck havoc, and sail away. Of course, they get more than they bargained for with Milagro.

Nancy reminds me of one of my good friends in college. She was delightfully silly, blonde, and cute and she had lots of rules about the proper way to iron clothes, wear perfume, and eat soup.

One of my favorite characters is the tabloid writer and high school English teacher, Bernie Vines. He tells Milagro, “Everyone knows writing isn’t work,” and scams her, but also is there to help her out when she needs help.
Despite the titles of your books the vampires are certainly not the traditional Dracula type. In fact they don't even like the term. Tell us about your vampire creations.

Marta: I’ve never been fond of the vampire as romantic hero. Because they’re dead and cold and scary old. So I came up with vampires who have an attitude and a genetic “condition.” After all, there are people with strange food cravings, those who are allergic to sunlight, and those with heightened immune systems. Many vampires in fiction are also wealthy, stunning, and worldly; it follows naturally that they’d be terrible snobs and look down on an aimless, broke, snarky young woman.

PVN: Humor is an essential part of the Casa Dracula series. Why do you use humor to communicate?

Marta: I use humor to amuse myself. But it’s also a way to convey messages without boring or turning off your audience. There are real messages in my books – about exclusion, isolation, greed, bigotry – but I don’t want to preach to the choir. I want people who might not ordinarily consider my ideas to be so entertained by the humor that they see things from a different perspective. Humor is all about perspective.

PVN: Would you discuss your own background. Education? Writing struggles? Being bilingual? Or anything else you would like to mention.

Marta: I’m the second child of Mexican parents. I think my love of reading is partially because I was an only daughter and because I really didn’t fit in. Books not only entertained me, they taught me about the world I lived in. I always wrote, just because it seemed natural. I was a good student and studied literature, theater, and writing at Stanford. But I didn’t know how to go about getting a writing job after that, and I didn’t have the sort of connections that get young people in the door. I needed to pay rent, so I’d take whatever jobs came my way.

One of my biggest struggles is that I don’t write what people expect. If you write what’s expected, you’re rewarded. People expect Latinos to write magical realism, but I’m not interested in writing magical realism. My natural writing voice is dark and cynical, but editors ---and most readers – want sympathetic characters. I’ve always loved writing humor, too, but most people assume that humorous writing takes no real skill.

Right now I’m struggling with publicizing my books. Because I have a paranormal element, people assume my books are paranormal romance. Real fans of paranormal romance are disappointed if they buy my books wanting romance conventions. People who don’t like romance won’t pick up my books because of the covers. My books are shelved in general fiction, but even bookstore clerks don’t know they’re there. I wish there was a section of the bookstore for hilarious books by women.

I’m not bilingual, though I wish I were.

PVN: What response, if any, has there been from Latino readers?

Marta: The response from Latino readers has been really positive. Many of them write to tell me how much they identify with Milagro, who often feels like an outsider, but just as often wants people to know that she’s a regular human chica.

One of the most gratifying things to me has been the positive response from teenage readers of all types. I think they connect with Milagro’s sense of alienation, her snarky humor, and her hopefulness.

PVN: What writers have most influenced you? Why?

Marta: I’ve been influenced by Mark Twain in my use of a first-person, colloquial voice for humor. I’ve learned many lessons from Jane Austen, and like her heroines, Milagro deals with issues of social class, manipulative secondary characters, and misunderstandings. But I’ve been influenced by many writers, from Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books to writers of absurdest humor.

I’ve always liked television shows and movies which combine humor with paranormal elements, too. “The X-Files,” “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” “Dead Like Me,” “The Frighteners,” and “Supernatural” all have characters who use humor to cope with the insanity of their lives.

PVN: Describe your writing environment.

Marta: I have a little alcove off my bedroom with a window out to my back garden. There are piles of paper all over the long table I use as a desk, and piles of paper and books on the floor. My dogs, Betty and Bosco, frequently keep me company while I work. I listen to music, look outside to see the hummingbirds, butterflies, and squirrels, and work away. I feel pretty damn lucky.

PVN: What are your current projects?

Marta: I’m working on a romantic comedy tentatively titled Nancy’s Theory of Style. It features Milagro’s wealthy, style-obsessed friend, Nancy, and her effort to start an event planning business. It goes without saying that mayhem ensues. My editor is not sold on the title, but I like it.

I’m also working on Casa Dracula Book Four. No title, yet, and I’m not going to give away the plot, but Milagro matures a little, faces danger, and finally comes to terms with her heart. Both Nancy and CD Book Four will come out next year.

Patricia, thanks so much for having me here! I subscribe to your newsletter and tell fans of vampire fiction that they should, too!

Thank you, Marta, I'm blushing! It was great having you here, and I'm really looking forward to reading Milagro's and Nancy's new adventures.

Visit Marta at her home page on her blog site or at Vampire Wire

Now for the contest information:

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Happy Hour at Casa Dracula

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 Marta 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 your email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at 11:59 pm February 25, 2009.

Feb 21, 2009

Upcoming Event with Marta Acosta

On Monday February 23 there will be an interview and contest with Marta Acosta author of the acclaimed Casa Dracula series.

Stop by, read the interview, comment or ask Marta questions, have a chance to win a copy of Happy Hour at Casa Dracula!

Immortals: The Reckoning - Review

The Reckoning (Immortals)
by Jennifer Ashley, Joy Nash, and Robin T. Popp
Dorchester, March 2009.

The Premise of the Immortals: "For centuries they have walked among us--vampires, shape-shifters, the Celtic Sidhe, demons, and other magical beings. Their battle to reign supreme is constant, but one force holds them in check, a race of powerful warriors known as the IMMORTALS."

This is an anthology of three novellas by the authors who write the Immortals paranormal series. Although at least one of the Immortals make an appearance in each story, the plots revolve around the magical creatures - the ones the big guys are supposed to keep in check.

Wolf Hunt by Jennifer Ashley

The beautiful demon Nadia is begin hunted in a forest by werewolves. Logan, former werewolf Pack Master and now a member of the LAPD, receives her frantic call for help. He races to her rescue only to fall into a trap set by an old enemy.

Blood Debt by Joy Nash

Jackson Cabot seeks revenge. One hundred years ago the gorgeous Sidhe Leanna had used her sex magic on him leaving him weak and vulnerable. Before he fully recovered the vicious vampire Legrand found him and made him one of the undead, an existence Jackson despises. Now he has a chance to put thing right.

Beyond the Mist by Robin T. Popp.

Jenna Renfield has lost her sister Sarah who was kidnapped by an evil genie. Unfortunately magic failed to save Sarah, and Jenna blames herself. Her friend, the spirit-walker Dave Runningbear, tries to tease her out of her depression but to no avail. Only when both face a dangerous plot hatched by the god Poseiden do they work together in a way that allows them to acknowledge their deep soul connection.

Although I have not read the previous books in the Immortals series this collection tells me I have been missing some engrossing, tantalizing reading. All three stories have a terrific combination of adventure, danger, and spicy sex.

See Immortals web site for complete information about the series.

Meanwhile watch the trailer of The Redeeming for an idea of what these books are about.

Immortals: The Redeeming by Jennifer Ashley

New Hachette Book Kitty Winner

A recently announced winner, Fantasy Dreamer, won the Kitty series in another contest and has requested that PVN selected a new winner.

Thank you, Donna. I will do as you suggest.

Once again using Random.org I have a winner - okibi-insanity

Congratulations Sue - okibi_insanity! Please send your mailing address to me at paltner@verison.net

Feb 19, 2009

Hachette Books Kitty Winners

After a short trip to Random.org five winners have been chosen.

Congratulations to donna, eyeslikesugar, purplg8r, sisuzine, and Fantasy Dreamer.

You have each won a copy of Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Kitty Norville, Book 5) and Kitty Raises Hell (Kitty Norville, Book 6).

Please send your mailing address to paltner@verizon.net. I will forward this information to Hachette Books, the sponsors of this contest. You have until Feb. 27 to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated! I enjoyed reading your comments.

Once Bitten by Kalayna Price - Review

Once Bitten by Kalayna Price. Bell Bridge Books (January 9, 2009)

On the run from the hunters of her father's world which lies beyond the portal, Kita almost losses her life in the town of Haven. When she regains consciousness she realize that she can no longer summon the power that allows her to shift into her other form - that of a kitten. It seems the vampire Nathanial had found her in trouble and saved her. However, in order to do that, he had to give her some of his own blood. So now she has joined the ranks of the undead which has, at least temporarily, affected her shifter abilities.

As if that weren't enough a man magically appears, declares himself a judge come to sentence her to death for having created the rogue shifter guilty of several killings in the human world. Kita protests her innocence to no avail. Fortunately Nathanial convinces the judge to give Kita 2 days to find the rogue. If she doesn't complete her task, then her life is forfeit. Kita's time in Haven has gone from one horror to another.

Two others help her in the search for the rogue - Bobby, also a shifter and Kita's childhood friend; and Gil a rotund lady who is a mage and a scholar. The four turn out to be quite a formidable team, when not squabbling with one another that is.

Each urban fantasy writer brings a twist of their own. Kalayna creates a dark world peopled by characters with quirky charm. Kita, a runaway from the land of Firth, has problems with her father and his future plans for her. She barely survives in the human world and must always be alert for the shifter/hunters. She's a young gal burdened with a lot of baggage, and her problems aren't helped by having to learn the vagaries of being a vampire plus facing judgment day for a crime she did not commit. Still the smart, resilient Kita is fun to watch as are Nathanial, Bobby, and most certainly Gil, a rather eccentric lady whose actions lend humor to the story. Once Bitten is imaginative, thoroughly entertaining, and easily keeps a reader's attention.

Feb 13, 2009

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand - Review

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Kitty Norville, Book 5) by Carrie Vaughn. Grand Central Publishing (February 1, 2009)

It seemed like a simple plan. Rather than a big expensive wedding Kitty (a werewolf) and her handsome lawyer, fiance (also a werewolf) will tie the knot at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. And while here Kitty will take her Midnight Hour talk show and present it on television in front of a live studio audience. In between there will be time for relaxing by the pool sipping froufrou drinks. What a perfect way to spend a weekend!

Not so fast, Kitty! Things have a way of turning menacing around you. This time is no exception. Upon entering the Vegas hotel, Kitty and Ben discover there is a big gun show with lots of enthusiasts around, some of them bounty hunters. Their prey - supernatural creatures like werewolves, vampires, and any others they suspect of not being human.

Then there is the magician Odysseus Grant who uses real magic in his act. Throw into this mix an animal act with cat lycanthropes. Although the human audience is not aware, Kitty's nose tells her immediately that shifters are involved. Odysseus warns Kitty to stay away from this group but refuses to tell her why he thinks them dangerous. Last but not least is Dom, owner of the Napoli Hotel and Casino as well as the gregarious vampire master of the city. He proves to be a most gracious, though not always helpful, host.

So there is plenty to keep our heroine busy and it helps her immensely that a good solid man/wolf like Ben is with her. Unfortunately his presence also complicates what rapidly becomes a most dangerous situation. Of course that's part of the fun of reading Vaughn's Kitty Norville books. I have loved these stories since book one, Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, Book 1), which came out in 2005. This gal is strong, tenacious, and smart, but also understands what it is to be afraid. The thing is she never lets it stop her! Here's another winner from Carrie Vaughn!

Read the first chapter.

For information on the contest to win a copy of this book as well as Kitty Raises Hell (Kitty Norville, Book 6), Grand Central Publishing (February 24, 2009) go here

Vampire Sites for Valentine's Day

Author Catherine Carp at Suburban Vampire has a list of Vampire Valentine's Gifts. My favorite is Th1rte3n's Closet- Home of Hand Made Deadly Bears.

At Sidhe Vicious Reviews there is a contest for an autographed copy of Amanda Ashley's latest book Night's Pleasure, Zebra, Feb 2009. Contest runs until Feb. 23.

From the publisher: Savanah Gentry's life was so much simpler when she was a reporter for the local newspaper. That was before her father's sudden death drew her into a mysterious new world she was just beginning to understand. A Vampire hunter by birth, Savanah has been entrusted with a legacy that puts everyone she cares for in danger - including the seductive, sensual Vampire who unleashes her most primal desires. Rane Cordova has always been alone, half hating himself for his dark gift even as he relishes its extraordinary power. But one look at Savanah fills him with the need to take everything she has to give and carry her to heights of unimagined ecstasy. And though he never intended their relationship to go this far, now Savanah is in more danger than she knows - and facing a relentless enemy determined to eliminate Rane and all his kind.

Watch Spook House Dave's Bleeding Heart puppet video.
"Once again, the seasons have turned to the time of year when love and all of its passionate longings fill the hearts of completely average young boys who just happen to live in haunted castles with adopted "families" of monsters and other creepy things. In this special "daytime drama" episode of Spook House Dave!, our romantic hero risks everything for the one true love that may be too scary even for him."
Kinda cute, I think.

Check out Midnight Moon Cafe for Hump Day Hunks. A great group photo of fire fighters at their hunkiest!
(OK, they aren't vampires, but so what!)

Sookie Stackhouse fans be sure to look at the True Blood Fan Art Valentine Gallery

Buffy and Spike

Feb 10, 2009

Hater by David Moody

Below is a description and trailer for the horror novel Hater by David Moody (Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (February 17, 2009)

From the publisher: Soon to be a major motion picture—produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by J.A. Bayona

REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER becomes the order of the day... only, the answers might be much different than what you expect....

In the tradition of H. G. Wells and Richard Matheson, Hater is one man’s story of his place in a world gone mad— a world infected with fear, violence, and HATE.

Feb 9, 2009

Internet Sites of Parannormal Interest

The Paranormal Romance Writers have recently released the list of finalists for the 2008 Pearl Award (Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature). There are eleven categories: Best ANTHOLOGY; Best FANTASY/MAGICAL; Best FUTURISTIC; Best NEW AUTHOR; Best OVERALL PARANORMAL; Best SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY; Best SHAPESHIFTER; Best SHORT STORY/NOVELLA; Best SHAPESHIFTER; Best TIME TRAVEL; And Best VAMPIRE!

This is a great place to add titles to your overflowing TBR list!

Winner of best Vampire for 2007 - Dark Possession (Carpathian Novels) by Christine Feehan with Honorable Mention going to Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) by J. R. Ward.

Congratulations to Neil Gaiman!

It was announced this morning that Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book has won the 2009 Newbery Medal. The Newbery, along with the Caldecott Medal for picture books, represent the pinnacle of achievement in children’s literature in the United States. It is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association, and is an astounding accomplishment for any writer. Read more on Tor.com

The Witchy Chicks
Some of my favorite authors write for this blog.

"We're nine wicked-good women who write about magic, fantasy, and the paranormal. We write across the board--all genres, really. From urban fantasy to mystery, from romance to erotica, from novels to novellas to screenplays to nonfiction, we cover most of the bases between us. From NY publishers to ebooks, we cross yet more boundaries."

Members: Yasmine Galenorn, Linda Wisdom, Lisa DiDio, Madelyn Alt, Terey Daly Ramin, Candace Havens, Kate Austin, Annette Blair, and Maura Anderson.

Devon Monk guest blogs at Voyager Online. Topic: Why I write Urban Fantasy.

Monk is the author of Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom) and the upcoming sequel Magic In the Blood (Allie Beckstrom) Roc, May 5, 2009.

Find a great gift idea for the vampire aficionado in your life. Excellent choice for Valentine's day or any romantic occasion.

Here's a recent headline CW Taking Bite Out of Vampire Fad With “Vampire Diaries“ Plot

The CW network has picked up the pilot based on L. J. Smith's Vampire Diaries. My fingers are crossed. I hope they do a good job with this one.

Most recent book in the series is The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall

The Urban Fantasy Award winners have been announced. Go
here to find out the winning titles.

Listen to an interview with Lynda Hilburn author of The Vampire Shrink (Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series) and Dark Harvest (Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series).

Dark Side of the Net
has a list of Vampire Sites. My thanks to them for mentioning Patricia's Vampire Notes.

Sidhe Vicious Reviews Amanda Ashley's newest vampire romance Night's Pleasure, Zebra (February 1, 2009)

Jeanne C. Stein author of the Anna Strong Chronicles (latest is Legacy (Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles, Book 4))has taken the plunge and joined that crazy bunch at The League of Reluctant Adults. There is a contest for some Anna Strong books. The contest runs through Feb. 13.