Monday, February 13, 2017

Vampire's Day Soiree 2017: The First Hunt

It's mid-February and once again, a very special day has arrived, and it's one that I always look forward to. No, I'm not talking about Valentine's Day. Instead, I'm referring to The Vampire's Day Soiree, an event which has been hosted by my blogger friend, Holly Strange, for six years now.

Since Ms. Holly liked the description of the event I used in my post last year, I hope that neither she nor of my readers will mind me plagiarizing my own material by adding it here once again:

"The Vampire's Day Soiree always takes place on Valentine's Day as an alternative for those of us with a darker outlook on things. Besides, what could possibly be more romantic than an encounter with the right vampire? No doubt, vampires are dangerous, blood-thirsty creatures, but they are also sensual and romantic."

If you'd like to participate in this event, all you have to do is follow this link to Holly's Horrorland and follow the simple instructions. Then, you write something on the topic of vampires on your own blog and link back to Holly's site. That's all there is to it.

As always, I like to celebrate The Vampire's Day Soiree by including a few paragraphs from one of my short stories. If I remember correctly, last year I took an excerpt from a piece called Horror in the Tunnel. At the time, I explained that the story would been included in my next book. For better or worse, I tend to be a slow writer and even my short pieces seem to take me longer to finish than they ought to. I also have far too many distractions. So, as I add something today from a newer piece of fiction called A Fall From Grace: The First Hunt, I'd like to say that I'm close to beginning publication on this next book. I refer you to the preceding post where I discussed my plans for the next publication. So, if you find today's entry a bit of a cliff hanger, please keep in mind that I hope to have my next collection of short stories available within a couple more months; that is, barring any unexpected complications. So then, and without further ado, here is my entry from The First Hunt, which incidentally, is the third in my A Fall From Grace series:

Suddenly, she averted her gaze and his vision ended abruptly, bringing her victim back to reality.
“Ugh!” He shouted, confused by the sudden cut off from the titillating experience. “Wh....what happened? Why don't ya do what ya want to and get it over with?”
“Because I got what I wanted,” she responded. “You just damned your god and everything you've ever stood for. I have now prepared you to enter the place that lies beyond the gates of Hell.”
Canton realized the truthfulness of what she spoke. He had indeed done as she'd said.
“You tricked me with all that sexy stuff,” he informed her. “You tricked me!”
Lady Andrea laughed heartily before responding. “Do you really believe that I'd want to provide you with pleasure after you smashed my Jessie's head with a rock, killing him? No, there is another who will have the pleasure of draining you of your life's essence, and I will lead you to him.”
She began walking in his direction; the self-confidant smile and hungry expression never disappearing from her face. The frightened man dropped his fishing tackle and moved quickly in the direction of the bayou, screaming as he ran. “Help! Somebody help me!”
Eddie Canton's gait outpaced his limited field of vision. More than once he blindly stumbled over the underbrush, only to quickly right himself and continue on toward the bayou.
Moving through the darkness, Eddie could hear voices calling to him from the direction of the camp. “Over here,” he shouted with a shortness of breath. “Over here!”
The thick woods abruptly opened up before him, revealing the same location where he had spent the last couple of hours fishing. As Eddie rushed toward the water's edge, a dark figure, as if from out of nowhere, took position directly in front of him, blocking his path. The dim light of the lantern shone upon the figure's pale features, and the panic-stricken man gasped in sheer horror.
“Je....Jessie? Is that you?”
The strange figure inched closer to him as he spoke. It's Jess of the House of the Crescent Moon now, Eddie. Are you surprised to see me?”
Canton attempted moving backward, but his escape was blocked by the woman.
“How can this be?” Eddie asked. “You're ….”
“Dead?” Jess responded. “Indeed I am; and yet, I'm standing before you. Pray to your god,” Jess continued, “for you too are about to join the ranks of the deceased.”
 
 Well, there you have it; my contribution to this year's event. Please make sure to visit Holly's Horrorland in order to check out lots more vampire material. Enjoy!

Finally, I'd like to extend my thanks to Ms. Holly for once again hosting this unique event on her blog and website. 



   

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Interview With A Fellow Writer

A week or so ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by a long-time acquaintance; or more aptly put, my second cousin. Although we spent many days of our childhoods in the company of one another, we had pretty much lost touch before we were out of our teenage years. 

About a year and a half ago I received a Facebook request from him thereby putting us in touch after all those years. When my father passed away last May he came down for the funeral, allowing us to visit person to person for the first time in many years. 

David A. Todd is a writer and the author of a considerable number of books, both in paperback and e-book format. His most recent, if I'm not mistaken, is entitled, Daddy Daughter Day: A Story In Verse. The publications he has authored reflect a fascinating mix of material ranging from American history and the old west to baseball and family relations. Since I am currently involved with the care of my own mother, I must admit to having a personal fascination with one of his publications entitled, Mom's Letter, which I may snag up some time in the near future. 

At any rate, David requested an interview with me and it was published on his own blog yesterday. In way of an introduction, he talks about about our childhood and eventual re-connection. The meat of the interview involves discussion of the goth subculture as well as my book, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror. I also discuss my plans for a second book of short stories, which I hope to have published by spring. I really appreciate his allowing me this opportunity because admittedly, I'm not very good at the marketing aspects of the writing business; and quite frankly, I can use all the marketing I can get. 

Without further ado then,here's the link to the interview.
 
If you're interested in checking out any of David A. Todd's publications, here's his page on Amazon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

An Historic/Ghost Tour With the Wastelanders

I've always been a fan of history; and, truth be told, I've learned quite a bit about the history of the community that I live in. I have also acquainted myself with the local ghost stories. This being the case, I have long considered putting my combined interests to work by conducting historic/ghost tours for various groups.

The idea stayed with me for quite a while until I realized that the need to purchase a commercial vehicle to transport people and rigid regulations would make such an endeavor close to impossible for me to pull off given my limited resources. Sure, I could contact the local taxi/limo company or some other similar resource, but hiring a driver would seriously cut into my own profits. So eventually, I gave up on the idea.

I did mention this interest to a friend, and from time to time when I'd see her, she would urge me to pursue the idea. So, I wasn't surprised when, back in the fall, she suggested that I lead her group, The Ozark Wastelander Society, on such a tour.

So just what is The Ozark Wastelander Society? It is a group that from time to time, creates a fantastic post-apocalyptic world in which they live in for a certain amount of time. Every September, they travel out to the Mojave Desert and join with others of a like mind, spending three or four days in a Mad Max world of their own creation. They enjoy altering their vehicles in such a way as to mimic their perception of what such a world would be like. Some members reportedly face off in futuristic battle-dome scenarios and various contests and/or competitions, oten to the beat of heavy metal bands up on the stage. My friend considers wastelander culture as the new steam punk, and I have no reason not to believe her. These folks design their own clothing for events and believe me, they have a unique style. Some of the participants are goth and some are not, but they're certainly an interesting group.

My inspiring friend, who I'll simply call S, convinced me that I should conduct a ghost tour with her group and assured me, that she could bring them out in numbers. So, I agreed; and on Sunday December 4, I conducted my first historic/ghost tour with a very enthusiastic audience.

Since we would be visiting three different cemeteries, which included the two I'm associated with, the tour had to be conducted during the day. Not only is it against state law to be in cemeteries after dark, but the local organizations maintaining them don't appreciate nightly visitors as too much vandalism takes place during the nighttime hours. Such restrictions made the tour a bit less ghostly, but since it was a cloudy, gloomy day, we still enjoyed a suitable atmosphere fir discussing the supernatural.

Quite frankly, I was amazed at the number of folks who came out and stayed until the end. Also, the introvert in me was a bit apprehensive about meeting so many new people and having to speak in front of them for a couple of hours. Still, they proved to be a great bunch of people and I enjoyed their company.

First, we assembled at the Confederate Cemetery where introductions were made and we jumped into the history of that cemetery with a bit of background as to the people buried there. Then, I launched into my personal ghost/shadow person experience. After that we walked across the road to the Walker Cemetery where we discussed more history before discussing the area's best-known ghost story, The Legend of Ghost Hallow, a scenario that took place a bit  to the east of the two cemeteries. Unfortunately, Ghost Hallow is quite inaccessible due to an ice storm we had back in January 09. So, we could not actually go there to listen for any ghostly screams.

Next, everyone followed me over to an historic site known as the Headquarters House, which was the scene of a Civil War battle back in 1863, when Confederate forces attempted to unseat the Union occupation of the community. I had lots of history plus another ghost story for the group there, and then we moved on to two more historic houses, each with their own stories to tell before finishing the tour at the Evergreen Historic Cemetery where some of the important players I'd discussed, are buried.

All I can say is, I enjoyed the opportunity to take such a neat group of people on the tour and in a sense, I got to live my dream, if only for a couple of hours. My one regret was that there was a lot more history to discuss than ghosts, but the group didn't seem to mind; and after all was said and done, we ended up at a venue that is legendary in it's own right,  a long-standing beer joint known as Roger's Rec, where we settled in for a hearty-drinking session.

All in all, it was a great time. Since the weather was so damp and cold, a few folks dropped off along the way. Still, you can see all the tough wastelanders and one youngster, who stuck it out until the very end. Hooray for them!



Happy Holidays to all my readers! 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nightmares From the Vampire's Lair

Several months ago I received a Facebook friend request from someone named Judy Shire. As is customary, I followed the link to her timeline before accepting the request. I arrived on her page only to have my level of intrigue immediately elevated by a timeline photo very similar to the one on the left. As a guy, I considered Judy alluring. As a goth, I found myself intrigued by the entire setting. After all, here was a beautiful woman dressed in black while sitting provocatively on a scarlet-colored sofa, which in turn, was surrounded by skeletons, skulls, candelabra, and other ghastly creatures of the night.. Further, I quickly learned that she calls herself Judy Vamp-Shire. What was there not to like? I accepted her friend request.

Judy Vamp-Shire is an entertainer from the U.K. During the weeks and months that followed, I learned that she was working on hosting an internet TV series called Nightmares From the Vampires Lair.

From time to time, she would post teaser trailers designed to keep her followers anxiously awaiting the arrival of her TV series. My favorite features Judy sitting in her lair when she decides to order a pizza. The delivery boy soon arrives and she attacks him (lucky guy), pins him down, and drinks his blood. After seeing that, I hoped her program would be available here in the States. Now, that may sound silly, but there are various internet productions from the BBC and other sources that are simply not available here--even on the net. So, I was quite pleased when Judy announced that her first program would be available here as of Halloween. Ah yes! What a great night for horror! That's what Halloween is all about.

What Judy actually does is host a weekly horror movie-- I'm talking about classic horror films. Think Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. Although I don't believe any of the offerings so far have involved the old Hammer Films, some, such as House on Haunted Hill hearken back to the same era, or darn close to it.

So far, Nightmares From the Vampire's Lair has featured the films Horror Express, House On Haunted Hill, and The Little Shop of Horrors. Tonight's offering is Grave of the Vampire, which I plan on watching after I finish this post and fix myself something to eat. It's getting dark, so the time for horror has almost arrived.

In closing, I'd just like to say that I recommend giving Nightmares From the Vampire's Lair a try. It's
definitely something you should watch if you like traditional horror. I would describe Judy Vamp-Shire's hosting style as classic with a modern edge. You can find the program here
or on YouTube.

Oh, by the way! Judy is also a vocalist who has her own rock band. While I wouldn't quite call her music goth rock in the traditional sense, Judy calls it "vamp rock," and that's a very good description of what she does. Not only does she have an awesome singing voice, but her guitar player is pretty damn talented as well. Interestingly enough, Nightmares From the Vampire's Lair always ends with one of her music videos. So, I think it will be appropriate for me to close out this post with one of my favorites. It's called Welcome to Hell. Enjoy!