Aug 30, 2009

Upcoming Event - Interview & Contest with Michelle Rowen

On Tuesday Sept. 1 PVN welcomes Michelle Rowen multi-published author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is best know to vampire aficionados for her Immortality Bites series. Book 5 Tall, Dark & Fangsome
has just been released. You can tell from the title that Michelle injects plenty of humor into her stories.

"Sarah Dearly’s vampire life is not all B-positive cocktails. A curse made her a nightwalker, the most vicious vamp there is; the charm she wears to curb her deadly tendencies is losing its juice; and a hunter from hell is turning up the heat. Gideon Chase will kill the ones she loves most if she doesn’t obey his orders – that includes breaking up with master vampire Thierry and turning Gideon into an immortal vamp via her bite so he can escape a doom of eternal hellfire.

Making things worse are Sarah’s growing feelings for Gideon, a bad boy who keeps showing a vulnerable side…but is it for real? Will Sarah’s dark side take over? Or can she cure herself of the nightwalker curse in time to stop Gideon and finally get the chance to live happily ever after with Thierry?"

Michelle will give away a signed copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome (Immortality Bites) to one lucky commenter!

Undead Update - August 30, 2009

All the Vampire News (Mostly) Fit to Print

News from Tate Hallaway author of the Garnet Lacey books like Romancing the Dead (Garnet Lacey, Book 3) (Berkley, 2008).

"My fabulous agent just negotiated a three-book deal for a NEW young-adult series. The books as they're conceptualized right now will feature a fifteen year old Saint Paul girl who's father is a vampire prince and her mother's a real Witch!"

Visit Eerie Cuties a cartoon featuring a cast (for now) of 2 teen vampire girls, a teen werewolf boy, a possessed doll, a failed 14 yr old succubus, one human, and 2 of unknown origin.
Published 2-3 days a week.

Fangs and Fur is sponsoring a cruise. Ship leaves from Miami on Jan. 2, 2010 and returns Jan.9.
"Join us for 7 thrilling nights (and days, of course) on a special Fangs and Fangs Seminar at Sea! The date: January 2-9, 2010. The Ship: Carnival Liberty, leaving from Miami. Our exotic Western Caribbean ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios."
"Our guest speaker is screenwriter and famed screenwriting teacher Judy Burns (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, MacGuyver, etc.). Judy will show you how to enrich your enjoyment of the Gothic fiction genre, or how to write books, screenplays or short stories that people will buy."

I won't list all the events that are planned, but It does look like a lot of fun. Have to talk to my husband about this.

Caridad Piniero is posting chapters of her novel Undead Uprising online.

"This week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you."

From Vampire Bill Compton to Join the Cast of Priest
" Dread Central reported today that True Blood star vampire Stephen Moyer will be joining the cast of the upcoming vampire movie Priest....Priest is set in a world devastated by centuries of war between man and vampires." More

The CW channel where Vampire Diaries will premiere this fall has joined with the Red Cross encouraging humans to donate blood.

Bram Stoker Takes a Bite Out of LicenseBox
Read this brief article by Samantha Loveday. The Stoker family has okayed a deal to manufacture Dracula stuff!!
We have to wait until November though. (Sigh)

MaryJanice Davidson sold 2 new Undead and a story collection to Berkley.
(Source: Locus August 2009)

Her most recent in the series is Undead and Unwelcome (Queen Betsy, Book 8) Berkley, June 2009

Recently finished Dracula The Un-Dead
by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt. Dutton, Oct. 13, 2009
Dacre Stoker is Bram's great grandnephew.
I'll be posting a review soon.

I also noticed on Amazon that a book titled Dracula the Undead by Freda Warrington (Severn House Publishers will be coming out December 1, 2009.
It looks like it has already been published in the UK. There is one review for it.

Aug 25, 2009

Interview and Contest with Author Elizabeth Leiknes

The contest portion is now closed

Today Patricia's Vampire Notes welcomes Elizabeth Leiknes author of The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns, Bancroft Press, 2009

Read Elizabeth's bio. It neatly displays the wonderful sense of humor found in her novel.

"Elizabeth Leiknes grew up in rural Iowa and can make thirty-seven different dishes featuring corn. She attended The University of Iowa as an undergrad, and The University of Nevada, Reno for her Masters. Her most recent accomplishments include publishing an article entitled “Writing Spaces: Expanding the One Story House” in The Quarterly, and completing two other novels, Black-Eyed Susan, and The Understory.

Lucy Burns was “born” somewhere between a third and fourth helping of Captain Crunch in Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy with her first child, but the majority of Lucy’s story was written during her maternity leave somewhere between debilitating bouts of new-mother panic attacks, and squirting milk in various inappropriate locations about town. Elizabeth has a love/hate relationship with great white sharks, and a slight penchant for speaking in hyperbole, which she says she never does. She now lives and teaches English near Lake Tahoe with her husband, two sons, and mentally ill cat."

Welcome, Elizabeth!

PVN: You have created such diverse, interesting characters I would like to know more about them. Tell us about Lucy. What is she like as a person? What is her relationship with the Devil?

Lucy is a lot like all of us—a little bit good and a little bit evil sometimes. Okay, on a bad day she’s a whole lot of evil, but it’s really her circumstance that dictates that. I don’t really believe that anyone is one hundred percent saint or sinner, but often an amalgamation of both. Deep down, Lucy knows right from wrong, which is why she desperately wants out of her contract with the devil. Her relationship with him is strictly business-as-usual for him, and fear-based for her. When she doesn’t do what he wants, her family pays a dear price. What Lucy really wants is to see her family again, and also to create a family, a real family of her own.

PVN: Teddy Nightingale. What's his agenda? Is he based on anyone in particular?

Teddy really has no “agenda” in the book since his dark days are long since over. (I don’t want to give anything away!) Indeed, his character was based on my own 70’s musical icon, Barry Manilow. In the height of the seventies, my sister and I used to listen to Barry Manilow records religiously. Truly. Every Sunday morning. In my first manuscript of LUCY, he was a huge part of the storyline, but the powers that be disallowed the use of his name. After lots of sulking, (I really didn’t think I could write the book without him in it) I decided to give it another go. I think it’s actually funnier without him, and writing the made-up lyrics was quite fun.

PVN: I love dogs. Please talk about Pluto and his role in the story.

Elizabeth: I wanted a powerful dog to accompany the ominous and gothic door to Lucy’s “basement” so I created Pluto—a not-so subtle reference to the god of the underworld with a splash of Disney!

PVN: Tell us about Luke who has what most would consider a handicap, but doesn't slow him down one bit.

Elizabeth: Luke’s blindness allows Luke and Lucy’s relationship to flourish, I think. Lucy is stunningly gorgeous on the outside, but Luke can’t see that, so he is forced to see her for who she really is, a flawed person trying to achieve redemption. I wanted him to be smart and capable despite his handicap, so I chose to focus on what he could see rather than what he couldn’t.

PVN: This book is one of the funniest I have ever read. Would it be fair to say that humor comes easily to you?

 First of all, thank you--what a lovely compliment. I don’t consider myself all that funny, really, but I definitely enjoy making people laugh. I’m the youngest of seven children, and I think I used humor to get attention when I was little, and perhaps I still do. Readers who know me tell me that Lucy acts and talks exactly like me, which is simultaneously flattering and horrifying!

PVN:What attracts you to the paranormal?

Elizabeth: Well, for starters, I’m not a big fan of “normal.” It makes me nervous in an everything’s-perfect-and-average kind of way. I tend to find empathy for and interest in things that aren’t normal. Lucy isn’t normal, her situation certainly isn’t normal, but her courage to eventually do the right thing is exceptional, and I think we like her because of that.

PVN: Do you consider yourself a paranormal writer?

Elizabeth: I never thought about it, but I guess I am drawn to stories that have some sort of supernatural element, even if it’s just a sense of magic or whimsy. Magical realism gets a bad rap sometimes, I think, but I do appreciate stories in which the unexplainable plops itself square in the middle of our predicable, real lives.

PVN: What projects are you working on currently?

Elizabeth: Currently, I have three different stories bouncing around in my head (and chicken-scratched all over crinkled napkins and discarded envelopes in my purse.) One is a non-fiction story about my two sons, one is a young adult novel, and another is a novel about someone who has done something really awful, which seems to be a favorite theme for my protagonists!

Describe your writing environment and your writing day.

Elizabeth: Well, in my head, I’m at a grand, important-looking desk, writing in front of a picture window, which overlooks a quaint pond in a beautiful, but mysterious forest. In real life, I’m sneaking in a few sentences of writing in between being a full-time teacher and full-time mother of two. The only constant I have is coffee. Copious amounts of very strong coffee. I generally write when my children are sleeping. Thank God they still nap.

PVN: Which authors have inspired you?

Elizabeth: I’m a big fan of Stephen King, both his fiction and non-fiction. Switching gears, I love anything Lorrie Moore writes…same thing goes for Aimee Bender and Julia Slavin.

Would you talk a bit about your family life?

Elizabeth: My husband teaches English, and he’s the funniest, most honest person I know. Hardy, my five-year-old son, is interested lately in the “Who would win, Mom?” debate. Yesterday, he asked me, “Who would win, Mom, a triceratops or one-hundred ferrets?” And my son Hatcher is the funniest three-year-old on the planet. He likes to make up really ridiculous numbers like forty-seven-hundred-twelve-twenty. And I love them both so much it hurts my heart.

PVN: Where can readers find you or how can they contact you?

Elizabeth: I love hearing from readers! Check out my website at, click on “Contact me” and leave me a message.

Now for the contest.

One lucky commenter will each win a copy of The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns

To be eligible do one or more of the following:
* Leave a comment
* Ask Elizabeth a question
* Link this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL
If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.

Contest ends August 27, 2009 at 11:59 Hawaii Time
The contest portion is now closed Thanks to everyone who participated!

Read a review of The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns.

Aug 23, 2009

Upcoming Event & Contest with Elizabeth Leikness

On August 25 PVN welcomes Elizabeth Leikness author of the hilarious The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns (Bancroft Press June 15, 2009). There will be an interview and a contest for a copy of Lucy Burns.

From the publisher: Lucy Burns wants a normal life: friends, love, and a family of her own. And she could have it all if only she could break free from the job she hates.

That job? Facilitator to hell.

And her boss is a real devil.

At the age of eleven, to save her sister's life, Lucy writes a desperate letter to "To Whom It May Concern", but when He writes back, Lucy is bound for life. There are perks: sure she's ageless, she's beautiful, and she can eat as much chocolate as she wants and never get fat, but there are also consequences.

She can never see her family again.

She can never have a boyfriend.

She must spend her life leading sinners to their demise.

After nineteen years of doing the Devil s dirty work, Lucy wants out, but it all seems hopeless until Teddy Nightingale, her easy listening music idol, gives her the answer: a little-known loophole.

If she succeeds, Lucy gets love, happiness, and everything she ever really wanted. But the consequences? They're considerably worse than death. To make it through, Lucy must decide what is evil and what is good, what is right and what is wrong, and if, in the end, there's ever any way to truly know.

Smart, sassy, fun, and wickedly funny, "The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns" is a fast and stunning read perfect for any occasion. Elizabeth Leiknes's fresh writing and comic wit will stick with you long after you've put the book down.

Read a review.

Mortal Touch - Vampire Book Review

Mortal Touch
by Inanna Arthen
By Light Unseen Media, 2007

It begins with a mystery. In recent months several people have been attacked in a similar manner. They are left with a large, swollen bruise on the neck and no memory of assault or the perpetrator. Hiram Clauson, psychologist acquaintance of Regan Calloway has been investigating these reports and believes that she can perhaps be of help.

What follows demonstrates how lives become intertwined in the most unexpected and sometimes tragic ways.

Regan is a psychic. Her gift allows her to hold an object or touch a person and see images associated with them. As she cautions, however, at times her psychic abilities don't work. She also reminds Hiram that after her last case she is reluctant to involve herself in anything that could bring media attention. Hiram persists and Regan reluctantly agrees to meet a recent victim on the chance the she might discover something other investigators have missed. And that is exactly what happens. In a strange twist Regan sees events through the attackers eyes which leaves her reeling, so much so that she cannot even speak about what she has witnessed.

To support herself Regan runs a junk/antique store. She knows many of the people in the small town of Sheridan, Massachusetts. Her closest friend is Veronica, an attractive, but unsettled young woman who desperately wants to connect with a man. Her current target is Jonathan, a writer, who recently moved to Sheridan. Veronica asks Regan to meet Jonathan, shake his hand, and get an impression of what he is really like - something Regan is loath to do. She begs off for the moment.

Jonathan is a bit of a mystery to people. He is affable and likable although he reveals little about himself. Like many writers he spends much time alone. At least that's the impression he wants people to have. In actuality he has a hidden life, and it's not giving anything away to say that he is the vampire behind the recent attacks - keep in mind none of the victims died or were severely injured.

Sean, a troubled teen from a dysfunctional family, finds a haven with Regan and Jonathan, and a new purpose for himself.

To tell anymore would give away the fascinating way the complex relationship of these individuals plays out.

Arthen gives each character a unique and compelling story. They become people you like and root for especially when circumstances contrive against them. This is an excellent, thoughtful, well written novel!

Speculative Fiction Review Blogs on the Internet

"Welcome to the second edition of the book reviewer linkup meme. Here you will find a list of many of the best speculative fiction review blogs on the internet."
[Courtesy of John Ottinger at Grasping for the Wind: Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reviews]


7 Foot Shelves

The Accidental Bard

A Boy Goes on a Journey

A Dribble Of Ink

Adventures in Reading

A Fantasy Reader

The Agony Column

A Hoyden's Look at Literature

All Booked Up

Alexia's Books and Such...

Andromeda Spaceways

The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Ask Daphne

ask nicola

Audiobook DJ


Australia Specfic In Focus

Author 2 Author



Barbara Martin

Babbling about Books

Bees (and Books) on the Knob

Best SF

Bewildering Stories

Bibliophile Stalker


Big Dumb Object

The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf

Bitten by Books

The Black Library Blog

Blog, Jvstin Style

Blood of the Muse

The Book Bind



Booksies Blog


The Book Smugglers


The Book Swede

Book View Cafe [Authors Group Blog]

Breeni Books


Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]

Charlotte's Library

Circlet 2.0

Cheryl's Musings

Club Jade

Cranking Plot

Critical Mass

The Crotchety Old Fan


Daily Dose - Fantasy and Romance

Damien G. Walter

Danger Gal

It's Dark in the Dark

Dark Parables

Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews

Darque Reviews

Dave Brendon's Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog

Dead Book Darling

Dear Author

The Deckled Edge

The Doctor is In...

Dragons, Heroes and Wizards

Drey's Library

The Discriminating Fangirl

Dusk Before the Dawn


Enter the Octopus

Errant Dreams Reviews

Eve's Alexandria


Falcata Times

Fan News Denmark [in English]

Fantastic Reviews

Fantastic Reviews Blog

Fantasy Book Banner

Fantasy Book Critic

Fantasy Book Reviews and News

Fantasy Cafe

Fantasy Debut

Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings


Fantasy Magazine

Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin' News and Reviews

Feminist SF - The Blog!


Fiction is so Overrated

The Fix

The Foghorn Review

Follow that Raven

Forbidden Planet

Frances Writes

Free SF Reader

From a Sci-Fi Standpoint

From the Heart of Europe

Fruitless Recursion

Fundamentally Alien

The Future Fire


The Galaxy Express


Game Couch

The Gamer Rat

Garbled Signals

Genre Reviews


Got Schephs

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

Grasping for the Wind

The Green Man Review

Gripping Books



Hero Complex

Highlander's Book Reviews


The Hub Magazine

Hyperpat's Hyper Day


I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending

Ink and Keys

Ink and Paper

The Internet Review of Science Fiction



Jenn's Bookshelf

Jumpdrives and Cantrips


Keeping the Door

King of the Nerds


Lair of the Undead Rat

Largehearted Boy

Layers of Thought

League of Reluctant Adults

The Lensman's Children

Library Dad

Libri Touches

Literary Escapism

Literaturely Speaking

ludis inventio

Lundblog: Beautiful


Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review

Mari's Midnight Garden

Mark Freeman's Journal

Marooned: Science Fiction Books on Mars


Michele Lee's Book Love

Missions Unknown [Author and Artist Blog Devoted to SF/F/H in San Antonio]

The Mistress of Ancient Revelry

MIT Science Fiction Society

Monster Librarian

More Words, Deeper Hole

Mostly Harmless Books

Multi-Genre Fan

Musings from the Weirdside

My Favourite Books


Neth Space

The New Book Review


Not Free SF Reader



OF Blog of the Fallen

The Old Bat's Belfry

Only The Best SciFi/Fantasy

The Ostentatious Ogre

Outside of a Dog



Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

Patricia's Vampire Notes

The Persistence of Vision

Piaw's Blog

Pizza's Book Discussion


Post-Weird Thoughts

Publisher's Weekly



Random Acts of Mediocrity

Ray Gun Revival

Realms of Speculative Fiction

Reading the Leaves

Review From Here

Reviewer X

Revolution SF

The Road Not Taken

Rob's Blog o' Stuff

Robots and Vamps


Sandstorm Reviews

Satisfying the Need to Read

Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics

Science Fiction Times


Sci-Fi Blog


Sci-Fi Fan Letter

The Sci-Fi Gene

Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]

SciFi Squad

Scifi UK Reviews

Sci Fi Wire

Self-Publishing Review

The Sequential Rat

Severian's Fantastic Worlds

SF Diplomat



SF Gospel


SF Revu

SF Safari

SF Signal

SF Site

SFF World's Book Reviews

Silver Reviews

Simply Vamptastic

Slice of SciFi

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Solar Flare

Speculative Fiction

Speculative Fiction Junkie

Speculative Horizons

The Specusphere


Spiral Galaxy Reviews

Spontaneous Derivation

Sporadic Book Reviews

Stainless Steel Droppings

Starting Fresh

Stella Matutina

Stuff as Dreams are Made on...

The Sudden Curve

The Sword Review


Tangent Online

Tehani Wessely

Temple Library Reviews

Tez Says

things mean a lot [also a publisher]

True Science Fiction


Ubiquitous Absence



Urban Fantasy Land


Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic

Variety SF


Walker of Worlds

Wands and Worlds


The Wertzone

With Intent to Commit Horror

The Wizard of Duke Street

WJ Fantasy Reviews

The Word Nest


The World in a Satin Bag




Young Adult Science Fiction



Cititor SF [with English Translation]




Foundation of Krantas

The SF Commonwealth Office in Taiwan [with some English essays]

Yenchin's Lair






Fernando Trevisan

Human 2.0

Life and Times of a Talkative Bookworm

Ponto De Convergencia




Fantasy Seiten

Fantasy Buch

Fantasy/SciFi Blog


Welt der fantasy

Bibliotheka Phantastika

SF Basar

Phantastick News



Phantastick Couch


Fantasy News

Fantasy Faszination

Fantasy Guide

Zwergen Reich

Fiction Fantasy


Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German

Aug 20, 2009

Laced with Magic - Book Review

Laced with Magic
by Barbara Bretton
(Berkley Trade August 4, 2009)

Maple Sugar has one fully human resident, Luke McKenzie, interim police chief and the love of Chloe's life. He loves her as well, but he finds himself in a peculiar situation. Says Luke, "I have a girlfriend who happens to be a sorceress-in-training locked in mortal combat with a banished Fae queen." He forgets to mention that she is also a passionate knitter and owns the shop Sticks and Strings with every sort of luscious yarn imaginable.

Isadora, the Fae queen in question, threatens to take Sugar Maple out of our world and beyond the mist. Only Chloe's burgeoning powers stand between the town and Isadora's evil intent. There is one further complication. Luke's ex-wife Karen shows up claiming to have heard the voice of their daughter who died at the tender age of six.

Although Bretton's wit is just as apparent in this novel as it was in Casting Spells, she handles the delicate subject of a child's death with care and sensitivity. Anyone who has gone through anything similar will recognize this.

For the knitters and crocheters there is a special treat, a collection of knitting tips and a scarf crochet pattern for the beginning level. I might give that one a try.

And finally, in an author's note, Barbara Bretton pays tribute to her mother, the wonderful lady she misses so much and who taught her how to knit.

Contest Winners - Books by Barbara Bretton

Five winners have been chosen for the contest in connection with the interview of Barbara Bretton. The prize includes: The prize includes copies of Casting Spells and Laced with Magic as well as a tote bag.

Congratulations to:






Special note for all who commented: Barbara would like to send a free bookmark, fridge magnet, and book plate to you. Contact her with your mailing address at

Aug 18, 2009

Bleak History by John Shirley - Contest

Thanks to the good folks at Pocket Books two commenters will win a copy of Bleak History
by John Shirley, Pocket (August 18, 2009).

From the publisher:


Subject: Gabriel Bleak. Status: Civilian. Paranormal skills: Powerful. Able to manipulate AS energies and communicate with UBEs (e.g. "ghosts" and other entities). Psychological profile: Extremely independent, potentially dangerous. Caution is urged....

As far as Gabriel Bleak is concerned, talking to the dead is just another way of making a living. It gives him the competitive edge to survive as a bounty hunter, or "skip tracer," in the psychic minefield known as New York City. Unfortunately, his gift also makes him a prime target. A top-secret division of Homeland Security has been monitoring the recent emergence of human supernaturals, with Gabriel Bleak being the strongest on record. If they control Gabriel, they'll gain access to the Hidden -- the entity-based energy field that connects all life on Earth. But Gabriel's got other ideas. With a growing underground movement called the Shadow Community -- and an uneasy alliance of spirits, elementals, and other beings -- Gabriel's about to face the greatest demonic uprising since the Dark Ages. But this time, history is not going to repeat itself. This time, the future is Bleak. Gabriel Bleak.

John Shirley is the author of numerous books and many, many short stories. His novels include Crawlers, Demons, In Darkness Waiting, and seminal cyberpunk works City Come A-Walkin', and the A Song Called Youth trilogy of Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona. His collections include the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild award-winning Black Butterflies and Living Shadows: Stories: New & Pre-owned. He also writes for screen (The Crow) and television. As a musician Shirley has fronted his own bands and written lyrics for Blue Öyster Cult and others.


To be eligible do one or more of the following:
* Leave a comment
* Link this contest to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL

If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.

Please note: you must have a US or Canadian address.

The contest will run from August 18 until September 8 at 11:59 PM Hawaii Time.

Aug 16, 2009

Gideon Redoak - Vampire Book Review

Gideon Redoak
by Anne Fraser
By Light Unseen Media, August 15, 2009

Raised by a stern, puritanical father Gideon Redoak considered himself a worthless sinner. Life eased for him somewhat with his father's death. Gideon was now Baron Redoak. He grew closer to his sister and his mother and helped them in ways impossible while his father lived.

"I was very young and didn't know that evil could walk abroad in the guise of a handsome man" [Gideon looking back at his first meeting with Etienne.]

Evil encroached on his happiness. The seductive vampire Etienne Corbeau insinuated himself, telling Gideon how very much he was loved, but Etienne lied. He betrayed Gideon. Turned him into a vampire slave. Tortured and abused him without pity until one day, with the help of Evan Jones and Genevieve de Monet, he is rescued. They gave sanctuary to Gideon, a safe place to heal mentally and physically.

"I see a young man who was cruelly betrayed. I see a fledgling vampire who has learned the darkest possible ways of our kind, who knows only the blood and the killing, but who has not surrendered to them. I see someone who is stronger than he believes, who has survived the unthinkable. I see a wound that needs healing, but a wounded one who is not beyond hope." [Genevieve on first meeting Gideon.]

To Genevieve vampires need not be predators. They can tame their urge and sustain themselves in other ways. She also teaches him how to use his powers and what their limitations are.

Evan introduces Gideon to Le Societe des Gardiens, a movement created to rid the world of monsters like Etienne, and teach vampires that killing is not necessary for survival.

For all the pain Gideon had to endure he never lost his basic decency. He joins the Societe's crusade, eventually journeying to the new world to band with other paranormal inhabitants. Ones that have his ideals.

There were times I forgot I was reading fiction. Fraser constructs characters so real, so believable that I felt like I was right there with them. Her writing has a beautiful poetic rhythm. I've tried to convey that in the quotes above. Of course you have to read everything in context to completely understand.

I would sum things up this way - Gideon Redoak's story of a vampire's perilous existence is a gripping tale told through the poetic writing of Ann Fraser.

Ann Fraser Remembered

Sadly Anne did not live to see the publication of this, her first print book.

Her friend and publisher Inanna Arthen has this to say, "Although Anne lost a courageous battle with cancer in April, 2008, she will live forever in the memories of her friends and through her lively and entertaining fiction." Read more about Ann at By Light Unseen Media

Bretton Contest Deadline Extended

Barbara Bretton has generously offered to give away - a copy of Laced with Magic + a copy of Casting Spells, + one book bag - to 5 lucky commenters.

It seems that the evil fae queen Isadora was messing with Barbara's computer causing her difficulties in responding to comments.

Barbara values what you have to say, so she has also asked me to extend the contest deadline to 8-17-09 at 11:59 PM Hawaii time.

Keep those comments coming. See original post

Aug 13, 2009

Interview and Contest with Barbara Bretton

The contest portion of this contest has closed. Thanks to everyone for participating!

Please welcome today's guest Barbara Bretton author of Laced with Magic (Berkley, August 2009). She is an excellent story-teller and has a marvelous sense of humor, both things evident in Laced as well as it's predecessor Casting Spells (Berkley, November 2008)

Besides being a prolific writer (more than 40 novels) she loves to knit. Both novels, set in the magical small town of Maple Sugar, Vermont, are filled with offbeat paranormal inhabitants and happenings along with knitting advice and the thrill of all those lovely yarns.

Read a Review of Casting Spells

See contest details at the end of the interview.

PVN: Hello Barbara. Thanks for joining Patricia's Vampire Notes today.

PVN: You have created an amazing world for Chloe Hobbs. Would you describe what makes the small Vermont town of Sugar Maple so special?

Barbara: What a great question, Patricia! Twenty-three years ago my husband and I moved from a working class neighborhood on Long Island to a semi-rural, upwardly-mobile small town in central New Jersey. Just a few miles north of Princeton, our town looked so perfect to my eyes that it gave me the creeps. Don't get me wrong: I loved it here and was glad we had made the move but the bucolic perfection was downright unnerving. There was no litter, no graffiti, no noise, no weeds, no rowdy kids. Bambi actually grazed in my front lawn.

Well, I'm a writer and sometimes my writerly imagination tends to get the better of me. Suddenly I was conjuring up a whole Stepford scenario that had me checking neighbors for signs of animatronic tendencies.

Is it any wonder that years later I created a picture-perfect New England village where things aren't exactly the way they seem?

I have to admit I love the idea of hiding in plain sight. I love the notion that the woman sitting next to me in a yarn shop might be a vampire or that the friendly hardware store owner is descended from a line of werewolves. The world is a big and wondrous place where anything is possible. Sugar Maple is proof of that!

PVN: What is Chloe like? Is she by any chance an alter ego!

Barbara: Have you been talking to my husband? Chloe and I share an embarrassing number of traits. (Except for the skinny one, darn it.) We both love Chips Ahoy, so-bad-it's-good tv, great yarn, ice cream, and a certain 1985 Buick that happens to live in my garage.

Want to know a secret? There's part of me in every single character I've created. (Even the not-so-nice ones.) But for some reason I seem to understand Chloe better than most. I know what it's like to be on the outside looking in, of feeling that you just don't quite fit in with everyone else. Our reasons might be very different, but the underlying loneliness? That's something I definitely understand.

PVN: Do you ever dream of opening your own yarn store? If so what would it be like?

Barbara: Well, there would definitely be magic at work, I can tell you that! No more dropped stitches for this knitter and I would finally be able to master lace work without muttering words not fit for print. Of course I would be independently wealthy and able to stock every yarn from every manufacturer, including the gifted indies, and I'd offer every color. The space would be large and welcoming with over-stuffed chairs and couches, big work tables, great lighting, a roaring fire place in the winter and lovely central air in the summer. And there would be a cat. There has to be a cat. I don't think yarn shops are allowed to operate without feline supervision.

PVN: Vampires do exist in your world. What are there characteristics?

Barbara: My vampires are middle-aged and older. They live in a world where the "hunt" is no longer necessary. Modern technology can take care of their needs with no muss and no fuss. But same as in the human world, the younger generation is looking for something different and are leaving Sugar Maple to build lives that are substantially different from their parents' lives. Which means a return to the old ways.
It's a topic I hope to dip into in future Sugar Maple books.

On a side note, I have a bit of a vampire reputation myself. I'm a night owl by nature. My brain doesn't start clicking until well after dark. My body clock runs totally counter to the norm and always has. Drive by our house at two or three in the morning and you're likely to see the lights burning. I do my best writing just before dawn.

PVN: How many books are planned for the series?

Barbara: I'm delighted to say there are two more planned for 2010 and 2011. Beyond that is anyone's guess.

PVN: What attracts you to the paranormal?

Barbara: The same quirk in my personality that created Sugar Maple. Deep inside this middle-aged body there's a little girl who still believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and elves and even the Tooth Fairy. Even the movies I fell in love with as a child (and love still) contain a big splash of maybe. The Wizard of Oz. Miracle on 34th Street. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. There's something wonderfully appealing about the notion that our reality is only the beginning.

PVN: Describe your writing environment and your writing day.

Barbara: I have a lovely office on the second floor of our house but I can't say too much writing happens there. I'm a "have laptop, will travel" kind of writer. You never know where I'll turn up next. The kitchen. The deck. I've even been known to perch on the staircase and turn out a few paragraphs. I hate the idea of being tied down to any kind of routine or schedule. I know that runs counter to the conventional wisdom about writers and routines but structure makes me itchy.

And it doesn't help that we share our house with three parrots, all of whom seem hellbent on popping the keys off my keyboard and scattering them from one end of the house to the other.

PVN: Which authors have inspired you?

Barbara: I'm an unabashed fan of Bertrice Small's work. (Loved the Skye O'Malley series and her Hetar books especially.) Laurie Colwin's work has been a big influence on my own. Maeve Binchy. Robert B. Parker. Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar and Youngblood Hawke. I was maybe twelve when I read the latter and I was totally swept up into the world of a young and gifted writer who hand wrote his manuscripts (!!) while eager editors willingly typed them up for him. Talk about a fantasy!

PVN: What are your current projects?

Barbara: I'm embarking on Book #3 of the Sugar Maple Chronicles. I can tell you that there will be a road trip involving Chloe, Luke, Penelope the cat, and a Buick stuffed full of yarn.

PVN: Tell us about Romancing the Yarn.

Barbara: Romancing the Yarn is truly a labor of love. Three years ago I contacted a group of published authors I knew who also happened to be writers and suggested we start a blog. I didn't have a clue if it would work or even if we would still be posting to it six months later but I was delighted when they agreed to give it a shot. And here we are, still writing, still knitting, and still talking about it. We have a lot of fun at RTY and give away tons of fabulous yarn. Needlework lovers of any ilk are invited to join us. And even if you don't knit or crochet, stop by anyway. We talk about life and books and writing as well as needlecraft.

PVN: Where can readers find you on the Internet?

Barbara: I'm everywhere these days! Let me list some addresses for you:

Personal blog:
Romancing the Yarn:
Twitter: BarbaraBretton
Facebook: BarbaraBretton
Ravelry: wickedsplitty

My email address is and I'm probably crazy but I still answer all of my own mail. It might take me awhile but I promise you'll hear from me. (Did I mention I have free bookmarks and fridge magnets and book plates available?)

What fabulous comments! I was away for a few days so apologies for delay in reading (and savoring) all of your questions and remarks. Give me an hour or two to add caffeine to my blood stream (yes, I know it's 1:30 in the afternoon but you already know I'm not exactly a morning person) and I'll be back to tackle every single one of them. You guys are great!

And while I have your attention, let's add Casting Spells to Laced with Magic for the winners. They go together, right? Who am I to separate them. A totebag will also be included. AND there will be 5 winners!

Thank you, Barbara!

The contest portion of this contest has closed. Thanks to everyone for participating!

One lucky commenter will each win a copy of Laced with Magic and Casting Spells

To be eligible do one or more of the following:
* Leave a comment
* Ask Barbara question
* Link this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL

If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.

Contest ends August 15 at 11:59 PM Hawaii Time

Aug 10, 2009

Interview and Contest with Author Barbara Bretton

On August 13 PVN will present an interview with Barbara Bretton.

She is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. Her most recent title, Laced with Magic (Berkley Trade August 4, 2009), received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries. Barbara lives in New Jersey with her husband but has many online homes.

"Knit shop owner and sorcerer’s daughter Chloe Hobbs felt the Fates finally got it right when she met Luke MacKenzie. And no one could have convinced her otherwise—including the trolls, selkies, or spirits who also call Sugar Maple, Vermont, home. But then out of nowhere Luke’s ex-wife suddenly shows up, claiming to see the spirit of their daughter, Steffie—a daughter Chloe knows nothing about.

Steffie’s spirit is being held hostage by a certain Fae leader. And if Chloe weaves a spell to free her spirit, her nemesis will also be free—free to destroy her yarn shop and all of Sugar Maple. But if she doesn’t, Steffie won’t be the only one spending eternity in hell. Chloe’ll be joining her, cursed with a broken heart."

Laced with Magic is the sequel to Casting Spells (Berkley Trade November 4, 2008)


Casting Spells - Book Review

Casting Spells
by Barbara Bretton
Berkley, 2008

The title tells a lot about the setting of the story. The heroine, Chloe Hobbs, owns and operates Sticks and Strings, a yarn shop situated in the picturesque town of Sugar Maple, Vermont. Chloe teaches knitting (casting on) to the many visiting tourists. Her mother, a practicioner of magic (spells) died in a tragic accident when Chloe was only six years old. All the inhabitants of this little village have some sort of paranormal connection. A vampire family runs the local funeral home. A golden blond god look alike named Gunner, a member of the fae, is head over heals in love with Chloe. Unfortunately she can only think of him as her best friend in the world. And wouldn't you know, Gunner has an evil twin named Dane, and an even more evil mother called Isadora.

The murder of a lovely young woman, crime never happens in Sugar Maple, brings unwanted government attention to the town. That unwanted attention appears in the form of Luke MacKenzie, a detective from Boston who has been wanting to leave the big city for the quieter life of a small town. He jumps at the chance to take on this case. Sparks literally fly when he and Chloe meet.

Another thing to keep in mind, Chloe has yet to come into her witch powers, and if that doesn't happen soon the nasty Isadora has plans that threatens the town's unique place in this world. Casting Spells is a charming mystery/paranormal romance. Not only is the story fun and captivating so are all the quirky characters that populate the town. Barbara Britton delivers an entertaing plot told with insight and humor.