Mar 31, 2011

Daniele Lanzarotta - Guest Blog and Contest

Please welcome Daniele Lanzarotta author of the YA vampire series Imprinted Souls (also the title of the first book). Daniele writes of a young girl's loss and love. Here is a brief description:

"Entrapped in her grief and sorrow, Lexi roams through life with no purpose. She has not been the same ever since an accident took away her high school boyfriend and soul mate. For a while, Lexi could still feel Matt with her and the dreams reassured her that they were still connected, but with time, the dreams started to fade and the pain of his absence deepened. She was convinced that he was gone, and with him, so was part of her soul, the part of her soul that had been imprinted by Matt.

"It would take a different type of imprint to bring Lexi back to life, but that imprint would come with a price. The dangers of being with a vampire who still has strong ties to his human life, and the possibility of losing what is left of her connection with her one and true soul mate, Matt; a hidden connection that still lives within the shadows of what is left of her soul."

Today Daniele discuss the allure of the handsome guy with the dark kiss.

The Year When Prince Charming Grew… Fangs?!

It wasn’t long ago when a girl’s dream guy (or at least dream fictional guy) was the average guy, funny, friendly, sometimes tanned, and who liked to take her out for dinner.  Then, that whole perception got turned around, and well… prince charming grew fangs, became pale, wouldn’t go out during the day (in most cases), and had YOU as a dinner.

Weird… right?

But let’s face it… Who wouldn’t want a hottie vamp around?

In Imprinted Souls, Tyler was the prince charming I had in mind.  Hot, understanding, and protective (not in a creepy way).  He entered Lexi’s life and was the only one able to pull her out of the state of depression from losing her soulmate. Throughout the series, Tyler goes through a lot to protect Lexi.  He endures a great deal of pain, including having to deal with his role as a minion, and the limits such role puts on his ability of making his own choices.

But even this version of a perfect guy was challenged when the not so bad, bad guy (I call him my bipolar vamp), showed up.  Nicholas is what every girl should run away from.  He is a player and has been called ‘mouthy’ by some, but there is something about his sarcastic sense of humor and his confidence that makes every girl love him or at least, love to hate him.

Whatever your version of prince charming may be… I hope you find him in the Imprinted Souls Series.

-      Daniele Lanzarotta –


* Daniele is offering an ebook copy of Divine Ashes (Book three) on Kindle or Nook format, along with a signed bookmark to one lucky reader. (winner can request book one or two instead)

* Leave a comment for Daniel about this post for a chance to win.
* Be sure contact information is included with your comment.

* Contest ends April 14, 2011 at 11:59pm EST

* Contest is international

Imprinted Souls (Book one) read a preview

Bloodlust (Book two) read a preview

Divine Ashes (Book three) read a preview

Mar 30, 2011

New Vampire Releases for March 2011

The March list is not overly long even though I added at least two books from February that I accidentally left off - Thirteen Years Later and The Annotated Carmilla.  Still there is plenty to enjoy.
Afterlife: An Evernight Novel
by Claudia Gray
HarperTeen (March 8, 2011)

Destiny awaits Bianca and Lucas . . .

Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.
Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help . . . Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.

A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They've overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?

The Annotated Carmilla
Authored by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Preface by Andrew M. Bolan
Notes by D. MacDowell Blue
Introduction by David A. Sutton
Thornkirk Press, Feb 27 2011

Growing up in the lonely forests and valleys of Styria, Laura had only her father and two governesses for company. Until she came. Carmilla. Beautiful and fragile. Kind and friendly. As mysterious as she was devoted. But also ... hungry.

For the first time since it was published n 1872, here is a complete guide to Le Fanu's classic vampire tale. Over four hundred footnotes give detailed answers to dozens and dozens of questions. Where is Styria? When is this story taking place? What is an awl? An escrutcheon? A hippogriff? Why did Carmilla seek out Laura? Also, unanswered questions and intriguing possibilities are charted out, one by one.

Included is a preface about Carmilla from Andrew M. Boylan (of "Taliesin Meets the Vampires" fame) and an introduction about Le Fanu himself by horror author/scholar David A. Sutton.

Blood and Destiny: Ladies of St. George, Book 1
by Kaye Chambers
Samhain Publication, March 2, 2010

When the past bites, bite back.

Ladies of St. George, Book 1

For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend’s looming wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses—and dinner entrees—she’s stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help.

Knowing that pressing Destiny is not the way to convince her to give their relationship another try, Marcus has been waiting her out—and his patience is rewarded when she steps into his nightclub. Now is his chance to lure her back into his arms. This time, he plans to keep her there.

Destiny’s not sure which is worse: working with Marcus, or trying to remember all the reasons she called it off with him. And when it becomes clear the case is an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct—while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim’s life…
Warning: Vampires determined to take more than a bite out of the heroine. A lioness sure that she’s going to have the last word.

Dead Streets: A Matt Richter Novel (Matt Richter Novels)
by Tim Waggoner
Angry Robot; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)

The return of Matt Richter. Private Eye. Zombie.


You've got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It's a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn't manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him.

Zombie detective Matt Richter and his glamorous she-vampire companion Devona are back on the case, with another wild and wonderful investigation.

Fangs Rule: A Girls Guide to Being a Vampire
by Amy Mah (Vampire) (Author), Nicholas Reardon (Author, Editor), Heby Sim (Illustrator)
Reardon Publishing (March 2011)
Young Adult

A self help guide by Amy Mah (Vampire) for teenage vampire girls, the guide is fully illustrated by manga Artist Heby and is written in an easy to follow A - Z format explaining everything a teenage vampire girl would need to know about living life as a modern Vampire. What is fashionable to wear when eating out? Fang maintenance & how to keep your claws sharp. Should you let a boy bite you on the first date?

Easy to understand clear advice is given to every day problems Example: When you get an urge to bite: We all get those normal urges to bite things, and I must point out it is very normal, Claws are all well and good in a fight but a bite gives the extra advantage of getting a refreshing drink at the same time. Lots of girls worry about showing their Fangs in public believing that to show your fangs is rude, but don't be shy they can be a girls greatest asset (ok second greatest asset) if a boy is being rude to you, don't just snarl at him, just bite him! You are a vampire why do you think you have sharp teeth if not for sinking them into a boy that is being rude to you.

Immortal with a Kiss
by Jacqueline Lepore
Avon A; Original edition (March 8, 2011)

Born by blood to be Dhampir—a vampire hunter—Emma Andrews nearly lost her life and everyone she loves at Dulwich Manor. Now something evil is preying on students at a northern Lake District girls' school—the same school Emma's mother attended years ago.

Drawn as much by the desire to learn more about her family's secrets as the possibility of vampires, Emma finds the schoolgirls in the grip of a terrible legacy—the ageless evil of the Cyprian Queen, a dark goddess of ancient legend. Now Emma must tread a careful path—along with her old friends Sebastian, Father Luke, and the mysterious and dashing Valerian Fox—deeper into the darkness to face her most paralyzing fears . . . and perhaps come one step closer to the Dracula himself.

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9) by J. R. Ward
NAL Hardcover (March 29, 2011)

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury.

Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates the

Pale Demon (The Hollows, Book 9)

by  Kim Harrison
HarperCollins, March 1, 2011

Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after.
But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.

For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

Thirteen Years Later
Jasper Kent
Pyr, Feb 2011

Aleksandr made a silent promise to the Lord. God would deliver him--would deliver Russia--and he would make Russia into the country that the Almighty wanted it to be. He would be delivered from the destruction that wasteth at noonday, and from the pestilence that walketh in darkness--the terror by night...

1825, Europe--and Russia--have been at peace for ten years. Bonaparte is long dead and the threat of invasion is no more. For Colonel Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, life is peaceful. Not only have the French been defeated but so have the twelve monstrous creatures he once fought alongside, and then against, ten or more years ago. His duty is still to serve and to protect his tsar, Aleksandr the First, but now the enemy is human.

However the Tsar knows that he can never be at peace. Of course, he is aware of the uprising fermenting within the Russian army--among his supposedly loyal officers. No, what troubles him is something that threatens to bring damnation down upon him, his family and his country. The Tsar has been reminded of a promise: a promise born of blood...a promise that was broken a hundred years before.

Now the one who was betrayed by the Romanovs has returned to exact revenge for what has been denied him. And for Aleksei, knowing this chills his very soul. For it seems the vile pestilence that once threatened all he believed in and all he held dear has returned, thirteen years later...

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives
edited by Justin Gustainis
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy; 1st edition (March 1, 2011)

Got Vampires? Ghosts? Monsters? We Can help!

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives, is your one-stop-shop for Urban Fantasy’s finest anthology of the supernatural. 14 sleuths are gathered together for the first time in all-original tales of unusual cases which require services that go far beyond mere deduction!

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives brings together popular characters from many Urban Fantasy paranormal investigative series, for your enjoyment.

Meet the Detectives:

Danny Hendrickson - from Laura Anne Gilman's Cosa Nostradamus series.
Kate Connor - from Julie Kenner’s Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series.
John Taylor - from Simon R. Green’s Nightside series.
Jill Kismet - from Lilith Saintcrow’s Jill Kismet series.
Jessi Hardin - from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.
Quincey Morris - from Justin Gustainis’ Morris/Chastain Investigations series.
Marla Mason - from T. A. Pratt's Marla Mason series.
Tony Foster - from Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Shadows series.
Dawn Madison - from Chris Marie Green’s Vampire Babylon series.
Pete Caldecott - from Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series.
Tony Giodone - from C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp’s Tales of the Sazi series.
Jezebel - from Jackie Kessler’s Hell on Earth series.
Piers Knight - from C. J. Henderson’s Brooklyn Knight series.
Cassiel - from Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season series.

Demons may lurk, werewolves may prowl, vampires may ride the wind. These are things that go bump in the night, but we are the ones who bump back!

The Vampire Voss
by Colleen Gleason
Mira; Original edition (March 22, 2011)

Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule—a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls—the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral…until Angelica.
Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger—for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him—to protect her.

Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica…but this vampire never backs down from a fight.

Mar 28, 2011

Marie Treanor - Guest blog and Contest

PVN is delighted to welcome back Marie Treanor author of the sensuous Awakened by Blood trilogy including Blood on Silk and the soon to be released sequel Blood Sin (April 5, 2011). Blood Eternal will be published in October or this year. Today Marie discusses the vampire as created in her imaginative world. She is also offering one of her current titles to a lucky reader. [See end of post for details]

[Read an interview with Marie.]

Vampires Behaving Badly – or are they?

Like everyone else around here, I love vampires. I love reading about them, and I love writing about them. To my way of thinking, there’s room in the literary world for all varieties and characters of the undead, and I can enjoy all of them. But… I confess to a sneaking preference for vampires who  behave rather more dangerously than humans with a dietary requirement. In my own writing, I have great fun with this.

When I began Blood on Silk, the first of my Awakened by Blood trilogy, I knew my vampires would behave badly. Even my hero, Saloman, behaves badly – in fact he’s better at it than his fellows – but what makes him stand above the others is that he has a mission beyond his next meal and the kudos of bossing around a few weaker vampires. It’s not exactly a selfless mission, since he wants to rule the human and vampire worlds, and in Blood on Silk we’re never very sure whether it’s even a benevolent mission. Elizabeth Silk, my heroine, doesn’t think it matters, since she’s against tyranny of any description.
Now that Blood Sin, the first sequel, is about to hit the bookshelves on 5th April, I’ve been thinking again about what’s changed for my characters and their world; are my vampires still behaving as badly? Blood on Silk was all about discovering the vampire world and my characters’ places in it. Blood Sin is about developing these things.  And to be honest, this development was the hardest as well as one of the most exciting parts of writing Blood Sin.

Elizabeth, the academic, who has discovered she can fight as well as think, wasn’t so difficult: she’s faced up to her responsibilities as an unofficial vampire hunter while still pursuing her academic career. And of course, she’s been learning to live without Saloman, whom she loves and can never be with. Or so she believes until she unexpectedly walks into his arms at a party of celebrities, and all her old conflicts of love and loyalty are given increased edge when she agrees to work with him to find Saloman’s missing sword - which could be a devastating weapon in the wrong hands.

Saloman and the vampires required a bit more thought to develop. I had fun getting to know some of Saloman’s friends and enemies. But most of all in Blood Sin, I had to get deeper into Saloman’s head, and show him in a more revealing light to both Elizabeth and the reader. Working together could teach him and Elizabeth the value of each other’s views… or it could lead to greater tragedy and death.

Saloman is re-organizing the chaotic vampires of the world, forcing them to live by his rules, ruthlessly squashing opposition and extracting allegiance from their petty leaders. It was tempting, since he is such a strong and irresistible character, to let him overcome the vampires with ease, but somehow this didn’t ring true. My vampires are independent, hedonistic and selfish; they just wouldn’t submit without very good reason. And so, while I made it easier for him in Europe, where he is based and where his past and present reputation is strongest, I’ve given him a harder job globally.

Take America - divided between two powerful vampire factions - which still refuses to bow to Saloman. Although this gives the vampire hunters hope of a halt to Saloman’s inexorable power grab, there is also new danger in the inevitable vampire clashes – people get caught in the cross-fire of New York street battles. A politically powerful human wants to become a vampire. The vampires all still want to kill Elizabeth, the Awakener, and will do anything to gain the power of Saloman’s sword.

So, yes: my vampires are still behaving badly!
When, in the midst of this mayhem of battle and blood-drinking, Elizabeth allies with Saloman, the hunters’ relationship with Elizabeth must also surely change. Can she keep her love for Saloman a secret from her friends, who would consider it betrayal? And walking this tightrope of divided loyalties and conflicting aims, can she maintain her own principles in the face of Saloman’s powerful and seductive persuasion?

I’m not going to tell you here. Blood Sin is out on 5th April. I hope you’ll read it and find out for yourself!

Marie: I’ll leave you with a question: how flawed do you like your heroes? How badly can they behave before they lose you? 


* Marie is offering a copy of Blood on Silk or Blood Sin - winner's choice
* Leave a comment on Marie's question for a chance to win. 

* Be sure contact information is included with your comment. 
* Contest ends April 11, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
* Contest is international.

Blood on Silk, Awakened by Blood 1, is available now.
Blood Sin, Awakened by Blood 2, will be released on 5th April. It is available now for Pre-order.
Blood Eternal, Awakened by Blood 3, will be published in October 2011.

Mar 24, 2011

Miguel Conner - Interview and Contest

Please welcome Miguel Conner who visits PVN to discuss his recently published SF/vampire adventure Stargazer (The Dark Instinct Series).

Here is a description: Before The Matrix Trilogy, True Blood, Twilight, Daybreakers, Morrigan's Cross, and Blade there was only Stargazer-- the fountainhead of so many modern vampire and science fiction epics. Originally published as The Queen of Darkness, the classic saga has been rebooted, revamped and rewritten in its second edition to further take its place among the greatest vampire tales ever written.

Five hundred years ago the Stargazers, let by their immortal MoonQueen, sparked global nuclear war, blotted out the sun, conquered the world, and rewrote history. Now humans are cattle whose blood feeds the master race, the glorious rulers of high-tech cities. And no one calls Stargazers by their true name. Vampires. Yet some impulse is stirring in the slave farms, an echo of a forgotten pride. Byron, a rebellious young Stargazer, is assigned to investigate the 'Warm One's--in other words, destroy any threat. But when a beautiful human shaman shows him unbelievable truths about his past, his origin, and his destiny, a vampire will discover that his immortal enemy is his living Goddess, The MoonQueen. 

Miguel is offering a copy of this book to two lucky readers. 
[See contest details at the end of the post.]

Thanks for stopping by, Miguel!

Explain how your novel The Queen of Darkness (published in 1998) relates to the recently released Stargazer.

It’s the second edition, almost identical except for added modifications and scenes that further set the grander and bloodier stage for the rest of The Dark Instinct Series. When The Queen of Darkness came out, it was heavily lauded by critics and even nominated for Best New Novel by the Horror Writers Association. Unfortunately, two negative events never allowed the novel to blossom commercially:

--Warner Books decided that its Aspect division would no longer publish or promote the vampire genre, only traditional science fiction and fantasy. This left the recently-released novel out in the cold and with no warm prey.
--I gained my sanity and abandoned writing to lose myself in the real world. In the last few years, I have lost my mind again and decided to become an author for a second incarnation.

It’s more complicated than that, as with anything, but even with virtually no marketing The Queen of Darkness sold its initial 20,000 print run. Now that it has been rebooted into Stargazer, hopefully it will reach its full potential. We can finally find out what happens in the ongoing, Ragnarok battle of man against vampire against god and against God knows who else wants to stay atop the food and soul chain.

Stargazer is book 1 in The Dark Instinct series. What is the central theme of the series?

There are many important themes, but I think this book is more relevant than when it first was published. One of Stargazer’s major themes is about how dripping doses of fear, complacency and ignorance can turn into the perfect narcotic for a fascist society. In a nuclear dystopia sometime in the near future, Stargazers (vampires) rule humans with an iron hand; yet the vampires themselves are also oppressed by their own elite, especially their eccentric and amoral goddess, The MoonQueen. It’s the perfect police state where the waterboarding of commercialism and political propaganda leave both vampire and human always looking over their shoulder, always uncertain about the future, and always ready to sell their own values or neighbors for another meal. In a sense, our civilization is almost a mirror of the Stargazer plight.

Hell is paved with good intentions, but when vampires have good intentions it’s Hell on Earth. The Stargazers caused a nuclear war to usher an apocalyptical brave new world. They crowned themselves as the honorable stewards of the planet after thousands of years of human abuse; yet they had to break a lot eggs to make their Utopian omelet, one of the eggs being the entire ecosystem. But now that the revolution is long over, Earth screams out for life under a radioactive tarp and even the vampire population wonders if what they did was right (in silence, of course). Meet the new lifeless boss, same as the old lifeless boss you complain about at work. The only confident immortal is The MoonQueen, who sees destruction and mass trauma as part of her vengeance against the Mad God who threw her out of a distant Heaven once upon a Creation. To The Queen of Darkness, this is only the beginning of making reality itself in her own image.

The other central theme to Stargazer is about remembering who were before we sold our innocence, individuality and innate heroism to become pack and hunter animals for the cruel masters of our lives. This is conveyed mainly through the central character, Byron Solsbury, favorite of the MoonQueen since he happens to be just as destructive and mercurial. The MoonQueen is rebelling against Creation; Byron has been steadily rebelling against She who made him into a god. Byron finds not only redemption but his knightly destiny because he eventually cannot accept a counterfeit reality and his infernal curiosity plunges him into the truth regardless of the consequences (something all of us have to start doing before it’s too late).

Byron’s dual metamorphosis into hero and antihero is accelerated on a mission to one of The Farms, where humans are bred for chattel purposes. He is charged to dismantle a possible human insurrection. By interacting intimately with humans and researching the past of his kind, something virtuous begins to stir within his dead heart. He realizes there is a synthetic history concerning the rise of his race to the top of the evolutionary ladder. Byron’s transformation culminates with his deepening relationship with the leader of the humans, the Shaman Medea.

 The human eventually becomes both his nemesis and great love after the revolution unfolds that certainly echoes what is occurring right now in the Middle East. All this inner and outer conflict sparks a remembrance in Byron of what it means to be truly alive and truly divine beyond the canard of brute power. Ironically, Bryon also finds himself being the mortal nemesis and great love of the MoonQueen. Thus, he is caught between two kinds of desire, between the living and the undead, the awakened and the ignorant, the holy and the unholy, and in a sense becoming a cosmic Messiah that has to bring balance at the cost of being despised by all sides. And perhaps the cost of another global destruction.

Like all insurrections, this is a messy affair. And vampires, especially volatile ones like Byron, make this one very messy. Even after he is defeated and rebooted several times, understands that his loyalty is with freedom and thus against the Stargazer governments, Bryon must take extremely drastic measures and make costly decisions.

Recalling who you truly were before they sold your individuality to the highest bidder, truth without veils or boundaries, and freedom from the illusion of freedom are the novel’s main motifs. This includes the price we all have to pay for these things, whether we’re the monsters, humans or gods in the grand theater. Oh, and love too is a theme…in all its strange, warped, emancipating, crucifying and Orpheus ways. There is an eternity of hatred from the MoonQueen that must be steadied by the small, infinite moments of love between the various characters who challenge her rule.

What are the characteristics of your vampires?

The Stargazers are fueled by the unholy spark of the MoonQueen, which is called the Dark Instinct. Although making them godlike, regulation after regulation limits their potential to being the basic vampire you see in most stories. Byron is in a league of his own, and learns to cheat or more like loves to cheat to get his way. The other difference is that the Stargazer population’s ability to create other vampires has been deleted from their memories. They believe only The MoonQueen can bear new Stargazers. Beyond population control, this makes it easy for Stargazers to feel little empathy towards humans (or Warm Ones), who they regard as primitive beasts or non-divine entities.

Vampires, in essence, seem themselves as the next stage in evolution. It’s the same recipe so many totalitarian regimes have used, like the Nazis and many religions, who dominate minorities once they view themselves as completely distinct and superior. Without empathy, one can create the perfect police state. At the same time, like with the Nazis or Communists, The MoonQueen and her inner circle eliminate Stargazers deemed too weak or too strong, too dependent or too independent, or just to make an example. No one is safe. Average is controllable.

Certainly the most obvious symbol of the novel on what the Stargazers represent happens in the scene at the Slaughterhouses, when Bryon takes Medea to expose to her to the truth of what ultimately happens to her race. Like modern cattle, chosen Warm Ones are placed in assembly lines to be cruelly tortured, butchered, and drained, their remains then taken to the Stargazer city. But who cares about animals when work will set them free, right?

Vampires in Stargazer can also have sexual relationships as in other novels and movies, but that is forbidden by the government because it is considered an act only primitive animals indulge in. Instilling a puritanical society also keeps that sense of oppression lingering over the population.

How many books are planned for the series?

At this point, two more. The second one will be titled Heretic or Centurion. It also serves as a prequel of the vampire history long before they took the reins of power from humanity. Stargazer ends with a cliffhanger, the fates of many protagonists and antagonists uncertain, including Bryon. In Heretic the revolution continues but against the last remaining Stargazer metropolis, where the reader is presented to different species of vampires that make the traditional ones look like mall cops.

 In other words, matters only get harder for those fighting to vanquish the Orwellian empire of the immortals. In fact, if you thought the MoonQueen was formidable, in the second book we are introduced to The Centurion—a very old Stargazer who curiously dipped his tongue under the feet of a certain messiah on a cross…and instead of God and man at once he became God and vampire at once. That’s just one of the bosses! And again, there is a tour of the rise of The MoonQueen in human times, as well as other characters from Stargazer. I’m sure Byron and Medea are hoping right now they didn’t survive the first novel.

The third book, without a title as of yet, really brings the ultimate Armageddon not just on Earth but all of Creation. The battle lines are drawn between seemingly-omnipotent vampires and other entities returned to this dimension; and it seems even the Mad God who created this universe charges in to aid what is left of humanity. It’s going to be surreal, unreal, and a carnage of not only blood but also souls.

I guess I should mention now that many people have told me that they could never finish The Queen of Darkness/Stargazer. Heretic and the third novel will be even harder to digest.

What attracts you to vampires?

Probably the same reasons it attracts most people—their sensuality, dark romantic flare, immortality, cursed and blessed gifts, and how cool they can look with the right wardrobe. I do take mine to the extremes—like The MoonQueen being a nearly all-powerful orphan of the cosmos while possessing an alien morality none of us could ever understand, to Byron who is an infernal Renaissance Man, a fool of fate, yet in the end one of those rare existences that would rather create his own flawed system than be ruled by the safe systems of others.

Intimately, I relate to vampires because I’m an ex-addict and dealer. I understand what it feels like to be in a state of perpetual hunger, never satisfied in between fixes, and ultimately losing your humanity with each passing night of hunting and exploitation. Byron’s story is very autobiographical, and most of what happens to him in the novel happened to me after I wrote the novel, some details eerily exact. I hope I can survive to the second and third book.

Tell us about Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio.

I think my homepage says it best: Aeon Byte is an initiation-by-conversation into the dark corners of myth, magic and meaning; a crash course in cult, culture and conspiracy; a virtuous virus invoking and informing history, holiness and heresy. Each week your host Miguel Conner commandeers your connection to bring the the most accepted and rejected scholars and provocateurs to your attention.

Fun, compelling, and deeply weird, this is the blow-your-mind cocktail party conversation you always wanted to listen in on.

Free weekly podcasts; archive episodes available dirt-cheap on iTunes.

Ready? (read less)
Aeon Byte is an initiation-by-conversation into the dark corners of myth, magic and meaning; a crash course in cult, culture and conspiracy; a virtuous virus invoking and informing history, holiness and heresy. Each week your host Miguel Conner (or Abraxas) commandeers your connection to bring the most accepted and rejected scholars and provocateurs to your attention.

It truly is one of the best online resources on the internet on the occult, mysticism, comparative religion, mythology, conspiracy theories, freethought and plenty more…including and especially the ancient magician heretics known as the Gnostics.

I’ve done over 200 episodes with over 80 guests that include today’s greatest scholars, mystics and theologians of the forbidden, fringe movie and documentary directors, various celebrities, and probably a vampire or two. Check it out and check out of mundane reality for a moment to spell at

What other projects are you working on?

I’m editing Heretic and finishing the touches on a fantasy novel with very Gnostic themes (although The Dark Instinct Series is pregnant with them, very Philip K. Dick but with Red Bull ultraviolence). Also soldiering on with the usual shorts stories, scholarly articles, and my eternal quest to finally get my cats to do as I say! I can create futuristic worlds with epic champions, why can’t they learn to stay out of the trash!

What is your writing environment like?

I just mentioned cats. I love it when they jump on the printer and somehow literally create a time machine by stepping on the perfect sequence of buttons. Other than that, it’s filling my veins with enough nicotine and caffeine to kill a Balrog and off to agonize before the oracle that is my computer screen.

Which books or authors have inspired you? Why?

I love the pulp sci-fi/fantasy authors of the sixties and seventies because they were more philosophical and speculative. These days sci-fi/fantasy is too much about entertaining and not so much about understanding the human condition and breaking down the walls of imposed reality. I am very influenced by Philip K. Dick, Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, and their generation. Even with horror I prefer the writers who dive deep into the recesses of cosmic existentialism like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman or Clive Barker.

And it’s very hard to top HP Lovecraft, Franz Kafka, Edgar Alan Poe or the local news, so I’ll never bother going into traditional horror. All of the authors mentioned have certainly used Gnostic themes in their works, probably because the Gnostics were the first group to look at the universe as a living horror that fed on our very souls. When the Smashing Pumpkins sand “the world is a vampire” they didn’t go far enough. As for vampire fiction, I can honestly say I haven’t read any work that has scared, touched, or transformed me as of yet. There’s an author called Poppy Z. Brite who came close. I’m both afraid and intrigued at one day meeting her.

Anything else you would like to add?

Two things I always say on my shows:

--Follow your bliss, live for you bliss, and ultimately die for you bliss.
--Write your own Gospel and live your own Myth.

If you do these two things, there’s a small chance you might get out of here with your soul intact. But I’d rather face annihilation as a free person than an eternal slave of a Mad God and his abused daughters. I guess I am like Byron, except without the cool wardrobe.


* Miguel is offering a copy of  Stargazer  to two lucky reader.
* Leave a comment about this post for a chance to win. 
* If you are an email subscriber to PVN please note this in the comment section for an extra chance.
* Be sure contact information is included with your comment. 
* Contest ends April 27, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
* Contest is international.

Mar 22, 2011

Justin Gustainis - Interview and Contest

This is a special day! Justin Gustainis, author and now editor, has graciously given  precious time for an interview here on PVN. He is also offering a copy of Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (published this month) to one lucky reader. [see contest details at end of post]

Read a review of this excellent anthology.

How did this anthology project come about?  Did someone approach you or did you approach someone? Then what happened next?

I made the pitch to Brian Hades (yes, that’s his real name), head of Edge Publications, at the World Fantasy Con in October, 2008. I heard back from him with a “Yes” in, I think, March of the next year. Then the long process began.

How did you choose contributors? What exactly did you ask them to do?

I wanted urban fantasy writers who had a series going with an “occult detective” protagonist. As you can tell from the book, I defined “occult detective” quite broadly – as any character who regularly contends with the supernatural.

I asked them if they would be interested in writing a story which featured the same protagonist as appeared in their novels. If they wrote more than one series (as was often the case), I specified the series I meant. I also mentioned some of the pragmatic details, such as word length and compensation.

How long from the beginning of the project until publication?

The date of the beginning depends on how you define “beginning.” I made the pitch in October, 2008; heard back in March, 2009; started contacting authors in April, 2009. The end is easier: the book was published this month. However, I turned in the manuscript in January, 2010. The book was originally due for publication in November, 2010, but the publisher changed distributors, which pushed publication back until now.

There is quite an assemblage of well known talented writers. What would you do for an encore?  What writers or type of writers would you want for another anthology?

Brian Hades and I have actually discussed the possibility of a sequel, but no decision has been made – by either of us. If I were to undertake such a sequel, it would be the same premise, but with different authors. There are so many fine urban fantasy writers out there, I wished I could have asked them all to be in the first book. Then, too, there were some I asked who declined because their writing schedule was packed. I might reconnect with them to see if they can make the party this time around -- IF there’s a sequel.

You are best known for your writing - especially the popular Quincey Morris books. How was it for you to work as an editor?

It was a challenge, but it could have been worse. A few years back, I had the privilege to take part in the Odyssey Writing Workshop, which I like to call “Ranger School for Writers” and whose (unofficial) motto is “Sleep is for wimps.” We had to critique each other’s stories, in depth, almost every day.

Also, the anthology’s authors were all very cooperative and professional – not a prima donna in the bunch. There were some cases when I feared I would get “Who the hell are you to tell me how to write this story?” But that didn’t happen. Not even once.

You have a story featuring Quincey Morris in this anthology. Should we expect more novels with his adventures?

Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain will be back saving the world from supernatural evil this July, in Sympathy for the Devil.  The novel is about a presidential candidate who is secretly possessed by a demon. Any resemblance to actual political figures, living or dead, is unintended and purely coincidental. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Another question about Quincey - why did you pick this "descendent" of the Bram Stoker character as your protagonist?

The original Quincey Morris got rather short shrift in the original novel. It was almost as if Stoker brought him on to act heroic for five minutes, then die bravely. Maybe it’s because he was the only American in Van Helsing’s crew, but I’ve always believed that Quincey deserved better. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to rewrite “Dracula,” so I did the next best thing.

What writers have inspired you?

There have been many, but I’d like to give special mention to Jim Butcher – who is not only a first-class writer (I love Harry Dresden) but a man possessing great generosity of spirit. He was extremely kind to me when I was first starting out. If not for his encouragement and support, I would have given up long before I ever got published.

Assuming you have any spare time between teaching, writing, and editing what do you like to do for fun or to relax?

Fun? Relax? What are these things of which you speak, Earthling?

Anything else you would like to add?

In addition to Sympathy for the Devil, I’ve got another novel coming out this summer, from a different publisher. It’s called Hard Spell, and is the first in a new series about Detective Sergeant Stan Markowski, a cop in an “alternate universe” Scranton, PA, where supernatural creatures really exist – and sometimes they break the law.


*One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives

*Leave a comment for Justin and be sure to include contact information.

*Contest is international and ends April 5, 2011 11:59pm EST

Mar 20, 2011

Contest - Paranormal Books from Simon and Schuster

Simon and Schuster is offering readers a chance to win one of four title: Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf; How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf; Surrender the Dark; Master and Apprentice

Read about these amazing titles from top authors in the paranormal genre. See contest details at the end of the post.

Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf
by Molly Harper 
Pub date 3/29/11

Baring It All 
Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone's throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley's pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. 

What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can't seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can't convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can't afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

For more about Molly visit

Don’t forget to check out Morry Harper's other title How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf! On Sale Now! 

For More of your favorite romance authors visit

by L.A. Banks
Pub date: 3/29/11

National bestselling author L.A. Banks's electrifying new paranormal series is set in a sizzling world where Dark and Light are trapped in an eternal struggle for the fate of mankind.

Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it's not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her, and why. A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing, and only Celeste—with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren—can stand in the way. Together, Celeste and Azrael must gather an army of sensitives to defeat the dark powers that have ruled humanity for centuries, but time is running out.

If Azrael surrenders to his growing desire for Celeste, he risks being trapped among humanity forever. But the longer he stays, the harder she is to resist. To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner—his obsession with her.

To learn more about your favorite author, click on the link or visit

For More of your favorite urban fantasy  authors visit

by Sonya Bateman
Pub date 3/29/11


Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti's side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan—at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti's.

Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian's wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination.

Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help—one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes—but if he doesn't learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.

To learn more about your favorite author, click on the link or visit
For More of your favorite urban fantasy authors visit


*The publisher is offering a giveaway of 2 copies of each title.

*Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Be sure to include contact information.

*You must be a resident of the US. No P.O. Boxes

*Using 8 names will be chosen. Winners will receive one of the titles listed above. [Sorry, no special requests]

Contest ends April 3, 2011 at 11:59pm EST