Remembering Anne Rice

I think everyone who got exposed to Anne Rice’s writing at a formative age was changed by it. When I was growing up in the early nineties and the movie Interview with the Vampire came out, it was incredible. It was the same year that The Crow came out, and let’s just say the goth world was never the same. Everyone in the grunge, goth, and horror circles came together to gush over the film. Despite a very rocky history, it’s considered a classic today. It also served as my introduction to the Vampire Chronicles series.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a fan of all of her work, but as I read book after book of her luscious prose with gorgeous vampires questioning the religious and philosophical meaning of life, I was in awe. Her writing is simply brilliant. I believe it would be difficult to find a vampire author today who hasn’t been impacted by her work.

Louis’ philosophy and struggles in Interview with the Vampire, Lestat’s love story to glam rock in The Vampire Lestat, Armand’s remorse and detachment in The Vampire Armand, and the incredible, colorful world she created throughout it all blew me away. Even though later stories had some ridiculous moments (an unexplained talking scarecrow asks “What’s the meaning of life?” in Pandora), there was always something poignant and questioning in her novels. Her characters always searched for something bigger than themselves, something to give them purpose–even if it did make them more gullible for manipulators along thew way.

Through her work I discovered my love of writing, something I never seriously considered until then. I also found an incredible group of online friends who I joined in a trip to New Orleans back in the early 2000s. It was a testament to our love of her books that we dressed up and walked down Bourbon Street on Halloween and went on vampire tours. We’re still friends today, still connected by her books.

Her writing spoke to people, mostly those who didn’t have a voice. During the AIDS epidemic, Anne’s books brought a celebration of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Why should vampires care about gender norms? French aristocrat Gabrielle has an entire scene in The Vampire Lestat where she embarrasses her son Lestat by cutting off all her hair and dressing in men’s trousers as soon as she is turned into a vampire. Heck, Lestat spends most of Interview with the Vampire pining over Louis, and in The Vampire Lestat he is openly sharing a flat with his good actor friend Nicholas. It was a stark contrast to the landscape of the 80s and 90s, where the government turned its back on the LGBT community.

Her books brought a revitalization to the gothic culture. The vampire goth was born. She fed into the culture by hosting annual Halloween Vampire Balls each October and dressing in gorgeous and elaborate mourning dresses.

She made such an impact on New Orleans that you can’t mention the culture of the city now without mentioning Anne Rice. From vampire tours to vampire bars, t-shirts with her face on them, and even mannequins of Louis hidden in shop corners. I’ll be the first to admit she made some ridiculous and outrageous decisions sometimes, her impact, talent, and imagination can’t be understated.

Rest well, Anne. Thank you for sharing your incredible world with us, and for creating so many timeless, beloved characters.

Story Unlocked: Against Our Better Judgment

I’m pleased to announce that my Instagram followers have just unlocked a new story!

Against Our Better Judgment

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A vampire and a werewolf meet in a New Orleans graveyard to settle an old score. Then things go horribly wrong. When their scuffle is interrupted, the two are forced to put aside their differences and try working together for once. The results are a mixed bag of action, deception, and a sprinkle of humor.

Read the new Story Unlock: Against Our Better Judgment

Story Unlocks

Congrats to my Instagram followers for unlocking the first story in my Story Unlocked series! Check out the link in my Profile page to read it. πŸ’–

What happens to stories that are lost or forgotten? Sometimes they can be picked up in a reprint anthology, but most writers will tell you that unless you are a huge name, that is not common. For those quirky stories that don’t fit cleanly into those anthologies, they get lost to time. Out of print means that the book isn’t even printed on demand any longer, and the only sellers are the ones who have copies of their own to sell. So the price goes up, and the chance to read those stories goes down.

I don’t like that. I want my work to be accessible to as many as possible. Even my older stories which may not be as refined, but are just as fun. What about if I mixed it with new stories, ones that are homeless and don’t quite fit what editors are looking for? That’s when my Story Unlocked series was born. The more milestones I hit in Facebook and Instagram (my main hunting grounds), the more stories I’ll post. What are those milestones? That part is a secret. You’ll know once they get hit. πŸ˜‰

Part game, part unearthing, part sparkly and new, I hope this series is as fun for my readers as it is to put together. Eventually I’ll probably collect them into an anthology, but who wants to wait for that?

A Mid-Summer Sale

It’s been a busy summer so far, and it’s only July! I’ve got lots of new projects coming down the lines, including a whole slew of weird horror shorts.

NIGHTFEEDERS ii.iiSmashwords is running a sale for the month of July, I like to think of it as Christmas in July. Authors can opt-in to have deep discounts on their books. So for this month only you can get Night Feeders for FREE over on the Smashwords website, which means you can download it for whatever e-reader you prefer including Kindle, Nook, tablet – heck, you can even get it in PDF format.

All you have to do is go to the Smashwords listing and enter the Coupon Code on checkout: SW100. And if you’re interested in seeing what other books are on sale right now, check out the full July Summer/Winter Sale (you know, depending on what end of the globe you’re on).

And if you like it, I sure would appreciate a short comment or a quick rating on their site or elsewhere.

Fair warning though that this story has been known to give “stressmares” if read before bedtime…

And done!

At a total of 58,737 words, Ghosts of Pikes Peak is finally finished!

YAAAAY! *Happy dance!*

Is it perfect? No. Do I care? Absolutely not! Having the first draft done just feels so very good. Tonight’s writing was all the epilogue. It delved into some real philosophical parts at times, but ended up on a high note which is how I prefer to end my novels. (Omg I can say novels now. With an s!)

I looked over my blog posts and realized that I started writing this piece on April 5th, or at least that’s when I first blogged about it. I hadn’t expected it to balloon up into a full length novel then, and my maximum expected length was around 10k. I guess that got thrown out the window. πŸ˜› Took me two months to churn out the first draft, and compared to my (much more dense) Secrets of Leekston piece which has been a WIP for over a year, that’s not half bad!

I had other stuff I was planning on blogging about, like Amazon’s request for proof that I owned the rights to publish Clawbinder which was kind of weird. I have links all over that piece about where it was originally published (also where it still is listed), and describes when that happened, but I guess I have to reaffirm that for them? I don’t know, but I’ll go into that mess later.

I also wanted to talk about how I’ve been ritualistically checking Zharmae’s Twitter page to see if I placed in their contest. They’re supposed to be announcing the top five winners later on tonight and they’ve been doing a countdown of their top 27 pieces. I haven’t seen my name yet which could be good or bad. Probably a bad idea to be checking so much if I don’t get in, but oh well! Right now, I’m just tickled to have another finished draft on my table!

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 58,737
New words written: 2,445

Progress in Story: Finished! Isn’t that all that’s needed? πŸ™‚

Total Words for 2012: 71,260

Two actors were playing their audience

Went to the zoo today, and took a ton of videos and pictures. Here’s one of my favorites!

White peacocks are so beautiful. Seeing one showing off his feathers like that is a real treat! I remember going as a kid to the zoo, and how the peacocks would just wander all over the zoo grounds. I’m sure it was dangerous for them, so I’m glad that they don’t allow that sort of thing anymore, but I still miss it. It was always amazing to come around the corner and see one doing a beautiful display like this.

Had a great time being the DM last night, even though one of my monsters ended up being a friend of the party. Long story short, they now have a half-human, half-machine “scarecrow” to keep them company. Even though touching him causes a person to go into fits of screaming and terror, they still like him. I guess you could say I have a pretty unique party to work with. πŸ˜‰ He’s pretty awesome, so I certainly wasn’t going to prevent it from happening. Some of the most fun games come from just allowing stuff to happen like this, and I love that sort of thing.

Today’s writing updates:

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 56,292
New words written: 3,381

Progress in Story: So I admit, I did a little bit of extra writing last night after I made my blog post. πŸ˜‰ Epic battle has finally been resolved, though it is rather bittersweet in the end. Now its just finishing up, which really isn’t as easy as it sounds! I found this site to be pretty darn awesome for inspiration too.

Mythical Creatures List – I love how it shows where the myth came from, what kind of landscape they’re typically found in, and what part of the world they originated. This is just perfect for my needs. Sure, browsing through the site is fun, but doing a site search with Google makes this a requirement in my future fantasy research.

Total Words for 2012: 68,815