Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Guest Post Fantasy Vampire Author Joleene Naylor

I love to showcase my friends. I think they're all brilliant and today's guest is no exception. I've known Joleene Naylor for a number of years and I'm a loyal fan of her 'Amaranthine Series.' I challenge you to read one of her books (I suggest 'Shades of Grey' to start or preorder 'Brothers of Darkness' and you'll find that you can't set it down and when you're finished, you absolutely must start the next book.

I'll tell you, those books are addictive and they're not for those who want a sweet cutesie vampire to drool over. Jo's done some heavy research and her vampires and their world are the kind you don't want to anger or run into in the middle of the night. But her characters are very real and right off, you pick your favorites and hide from the others.

I mentioned that my favorite vampire is David Lee Summers' Desmond Draco, and he is, but in the Amaranthine World there are those that I'd follow around like a puppy dog. Who wouldn't want the brooding dark haired Jorick? Or Oren who seems eternally unhappy? Or Verchiel - the vampire that loves to drive other vampires insane? Well, there's honestly too many to name, because Joleene's characters are so well defined, you can see each clearly - and some you'll dream about and some will absolutely terrify you.

Jo isn't only a successful Indie Author. She does book covers (she's designed most of mine), a talented artist, and an overall creative genius. She's one of the most hard-working authors including spending time on marketing, which most of us avoid. And Jo is about the best friend you can have in this business. She supports, promotes, and encourages her friends.

Jo's been working on a new book; one that's taking her years to polish and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Patrick's story is a horror story from his first encounter with a vampire, so let's see what Jo has to say about it:

Thanks so much to Donna for hosting me today! While I have the chance, I’d like to talk about Brothers of Darkness, the prequel to Shades of Gray. It tells the story of Patrick and his brother, how they got tangled up with the vampires, and how they tried to escape.
“Not a love story…a dark spiral into blackness.”
“If you’ve read Shades of Gray, you know how this has to end.”
 When Patrick’s missing brother Michael returns, he brings with him a world of darkness. Turned into a vampire against his will, Michael is the coven’s whipping boy. When Patrick tries to help, he’s claimed as a slave who spends his weekends preparing victims, scooping ashes, and falling prey to the vampire’s twisted desires. 
There’s only so much hell he can take, and when vampires from a warring coven offer sanctuary in exchange for cooperation, Patrick quickly agrees. What he expected to be a few months drags out into a long smear of nightmares, and though he fights for hope and freedom, the cost of victory may be more than he bargained for.
If you’ve read Shades of Gray, you know I never wrote Patrick as an active character (and if you haven’t, it won’t be a spoiler!), so when someone requested him for a character interview I didn’t know what to do. I had no feel for him, no idea about his personality except what Katelina thought about him. When I did the interview I was surprised at how angry he was, but I set him aside and went on to the next interview.
And then my cousin sent me the song Anarchy by KMFDM – and the first verse was it! That was him! And suddenly he wouldn’t stop shouting at me. I even dashed out:
Snow fell from the sky in heavy fat flakes. They landed in Patrick’s hair, and lent an air of purity to a world of horror. As he walked through them, he could feel the eyes on him; always on him. Burning, angry eyes. Hungry eyes. The eyes of the vampires.
He lurched to a stop, then spun in a slow circle, arms out.
 “Come out!” He shouted. “I know you’re there! Fucking come out and face me!” 

And then I finally set down months later to write his short story for the Vampire morsels – except he wanted more than a short story, so I worked on a novella – only he wanted more than a novella – and now I have a full length novel to be released October 11th.
Unlike the rest of the Amaranthine series, Patrick’s story is NOT a romance. It’s a straight up horror novel. He didn’t want it written any other way.
You can pre-order Patrick’s Story: Brothers of Darkness for the special price of $2.99 (It will go up after release day!) from:
For once Claudius wasn’t having a party, just an informal gathering of ‘the favorites’ in a room that looked like a parlor - If the Windsor Castle had a parlor. Gilt framed paintings and expensive knick-knacks littered every available space. Rather than a victim in a punch bowl, Claudius made them pour bags of blood into crystal serving pitchers and stand at the ready, filling glasses as requested. The bags were the thick plastic kind, like the hospital used, but Patrick knew better than to ask where they came from.
Amanda stood behind one ornate sofa and Patrick stood behind the other. A sexy vampiress lounged in a chair across from him. Against his will, his eyes were drawn to her again and again. A dark haired male hovered near her. Though she tolerated him, she seemed to enjoy watching his eyes flame brighter and brighter as she flirted with the other vampires.
Not my business.
Then he called her Yulia.
With that name came nightmare memories of the basement, of the whip, of the darkness. He’d imagined her face a hundred time, but it never looked like that; full red lips, heavy eyelids, and foreign cheekbones framed by long glossy black hair. She dripped jewels and grace, as did the others, and suddenly Patrick understood Claudius’ ranking system. There were two tiers of favorites; those like Troy who were dumb muscle, and those who gained favor with their beauty and refinement, as if surrounding himself by elegant vampires would make Claudius elegant by default.
A dark complexioned vampire strode into the room. With his rugged features and long wild hair, he looked like a Native American. The scar on his cheek and the curt sharp way he moved showed which of the two groups he belonged to.
He bowed stiffly before Claudius. “Master, there is a messenger for you.”
Claudius sipped blood from his goblet, his expression bored. “Who is it, Joseff, and what do they want?”
“They’re from The Guild and they will only reveal the message to you.”
Claudius motioned Joseff aside. “Very well. I’ll deal with them.” He swept to his feet and towards the door. Joseff started to follow, but Claudius waved him back. “I can handle this myself.”
Joseff stepped back among the beautiful ones and shifted from one foot to the other. Yulia caught his eye and smiled. He grunted and looked away, but soon his gaze drifted back. She smiled and played with her low cut bodice, tracing her bright silver fingernail over the fleshy bubble of her cleavage.
The conversation tinkled around them. The pitcher and tray were heavy and Patrick’s arms sagged. He distracted himself with the unfolding drama. Joseff eyed Yulia and the jealous dark-haired vampire eyed Joseff. Patrick wondered how long until it came to blows.
Patrick jumped and spun to find an angry vampire standing next to him, glass extended.
“I shouldn’t have to tell you twice!”
Patrick hefted the glass pitcher with one hand, the tray balanced in the other, and poured out the blood in a thin stream. Patrick’s muscles spasmed. His arm shook. The stream buckled and slopped over the edge of the goblet onto the vampire’s shiny black shoes.
“You idiot!”
He slapped Patrick hard enough to knock him backwards. The tray flew out of his hand and the contents of the pitcher sailed through the air in a spiral of crimson. It splattered on the floor and splashed the nearest vampires.
They leapt up as one. The reaction was mixed. Part of them licked the ruby spots from themselves, their eyes gleaming, and the others screeched about their ruined clothing.
Patrick righted himself in time for the vampire with the shiny shoes to grab him by the scruff of his neck. “You made the mess!” he screamed. “Now lick it off!”
Before Patrick could comprehend the words, the vampire forced him to his knees and shoved his face against his shoes. The smell of leather and polish mixed with the scent of blood, and he choked.

You can find more about Joleene Naylor and the Amaranthine world on http://JoleeneNaylor.com

Thanks, Jo.
Do preorder this book, follow Jo's blog, and jump in to the World of Amaranthine.
Follow and like this amazing author:

Love, Honor, and Respect 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Guest Post by Author and Astronomer David Lee Summers

I'm very excited for this guest post. David Lee Summers has quickly become one of my top favorite authors writing fantasy/sci fi/steam punk.

I met David at Wordpress and I was impressed with his blog posts so I did more research on him. Right off, I was attracted to his 'The Pirates of Suffiro.' I read all three books and loved every one of them. Then I discovered that he wrote vampire novels too and I had to read them. Now, I'm about to embark on a journey I never thought I would take - reading a steampunk novel. I'm giving his Clockwork Legion Series Book One Owl Dance a try. I've never been disappointed with his writing, so I suspect I'll become a fan of this series too.

The vampire series starring my favorite vampire character, Desmond Draco:

David is highly intelligent, creative, and a hard worker. He's also extremely interesting and a very kind man. And one of the best authors to come along in a long time. His books are well priced and well worth the cost.

So, let's have a read of his guest post:

Going Back to Horror's Roots
David Lee Summers

A good case can be made that science fiction and horror were born together during a retreat two hundred years ago in the summer of 1816.  Two of Britain's great poets were there for the occasion.  The poets were Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.  Lord Byron's doctor, John William Polidori, and Mary Godwin, who later married Percy Shelley, accompanied them.  During the course of the retreat, a challenge was issued to create the scariest story possible.  Mary Godwin's story was Frankenstein, which many see as the first science fiction novel, but can also be seen as horror.  Another story that came out of that retreat was The Vampyre by John Polidori.  Though it's not as famous as Frankenstein, The Vampyre did influence Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula.

My own writing owes a lot to that retreat in 1816.  I've been a fan of vampires since I first read Dracula when I was ten years old.  My interest grew in the 90s, when I first worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory.  Several of us who operated telescopes called ourselves the "vampires of the mountain" because we were only seen at night.  I discovered such writers as Anne Rice and Suzy McKee Charnas around that time.  A few years later, a friend of mine, Janni Lee Simner, was visiting me at my home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Las Cruces literally means the city of the crosses and Janni pondered what a vampire would do in a town where there were crosses absolutely everywhere.  She wasn't interested in writing a vampire story at the time, but said if I came up with a story to go with the idea, I was welcome to it.  A few weeks later, I wrote the story "Vampire in the City of Crosses", which sold soon after to Margaret Carter's magazine, The Vampire's Crypt.  

In Mary Shelley's novel, the central problem is that Dr. Frankenstein has created new life without fully understanding the consequences.  As my vampire stories evolved, I began exploring that same idea and ultimately, the novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order was born.  In the novel, a group of vampire mercenaries go up against scientists who are trying to create a new breed of vampires that can be used as super soldiers.  You can learn more about the novel and find out where copies are available by visiting: http://www.davidleesummers.com/VSO.html

I followed that novel with Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order, where I tell the origin of the Scarlet Order vampires. A Greek slave who found freedom through vampirism meets two vampires who are contemporaries of King Arthur.  They find a way to serve human interests and satisfy their needs during Europe’s dark ages.  I have more information and a sample chapter at http://www.davidleesummers.com/dragons_fall.html

Just as Mary Shelley benefited from the company of Lord Byron and her husband, Percy Shelley, I have benefited from working with other writers.  One in particular, is Lee Clark Zumpe, who shares my passion for vampires.  Over the years, Lee and I admired each other's works in magazines such as The Vampire's Crypt, Night to Dawn, and Blood Samples.  Lee and I pulled several of our vampire flash fiction pieces together into a collection called Blood Sampler and the book is now available from Alban Lake Publishing.  More information is available at http://www.davidleesummers.com/Blood-Sampler.html

In this year where we celebrate the bicentennial of both science fiction and horror, I’m wrapping up work on a new novel that has elements of both called The Astronomer’s Crypt.  Inspired by my “day” job operating telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory, this novel imagines what happens when astronomers, ghosts, a drug cartel, and a monster from the beginning of time collide at a remote mountaintop observatory on a dark and stormy night. I don’t have a formal publication date yet, but edits are nearing completion and I have my fingers crossed it’ll be available in time for Halloween. To get updates, follow my blog at http://davidleesummers.wordpress.com or visit my homepage http://www.davidleesummers.com and subscribe to my newsletter by entering your email address in the field at the bottom of the page.

Isn't he interesting? Be sure to follow him on his wordpress blog and his official page. Also, David and his books can be found on  Amazon and Facebook.

Try one of his books. You'll get hooked on his works too.

Love, honor, and respect to all.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Guest Post Author and Humorist Mark R Hunter

I mentioned that I'm spending this week spotlighting authors and having guest posts. Well, today is one of my favorite authors and friends, Mark R Hunter. I've known Mark for many years through author groups and really enjoy his friendship. He has a quick wit and is a talented author. I've read his Romance books and they're on my 'favorite reads' shelf.

Mark sent me three guest posts to choose from, and I couldn't decide which I liked, so you're going to see him two more times on my blog.

Mark is a fireman, humor columnist. author of several books, and all-around nice guy to know. He's married to a very talented woman who supports him in his career (and I tell him often, he's lucky to have her). His latest book is 'Hoosier Hysterical', a book, as he says,  about how the west became the midwest without moving at all. (Mark is a naturally talented humorist, can you tell?).
Here's Mark's first guest post:

My friend, author DM Yates, says you should believe in yourself. Don’t deny it, DM! I have it in writing.
Confidence, that’s what it’s all about. Some people have too much of it; some too little. Very few people have just enough.
With writers it’s usually too little, but in a weird, multiple personality kind of way. Most of us tend to have low confidence levels; most of us also tend to be introverts, and I suspect they’re connected.
And yet we write, and we hope someone else will take time out of their busy lives to read that writing. We sit at our laptops/typewriters/notebooks with two voices screaming in our ears like the little angel and devil from all the movies. One screams, “You have something to say! Something interesting!” The other screams even louder, “What makes you think people will waste their time reading you! You’re boring, and it’s all been done before. You’re writing is worthless, and your feet stink. I know, I was just down there polishing my pitchfork.”
Then, if we manage to fight our way past the little devil voice and actually get something published, we discover it’s time to promote. Promote what? Ourselves.
So there we are, the low confidence introverts, forced to stand on a tree stump and yell, “Look at me! Look at me! My book is worth reading, even though there are 5,223,191 books selling better than mine on Amazon!”
Then we start drinking heavily, and no one understands why.
And yet so many of us persevere. Why? There are now ten published books with my name on them. (Eight of my own, two anthologies.) If the publishing business is so hard, and I have to struggle so much to convince myself that people will want to read me—let alone convincing the actual people—how do I do it?
Well, that’s simple: I don’t think about it.
You know the old saying that not thinking about a problem doesn’t make it go away? Absolutely true. But I don’t think about publishing while I’m writing. I worry about it later, and by that time I have a book written, so I might as well get it out into the world.
I just encapsulated my entire publishing career, right there.
The only thing to add is that as I’ve gotten published, sold copies, and seen my work praised, I’ve gained confidence. I’m more likely to take risks in what I write about, and I’m better able to justify putting time into my writing career. That’s resulted in those ten books, over the space of just five years.
My newest is a humor book about Indiana history, and if I’d thought about that in publishing terms I’d never have started the thing. Publishers don’t want humor books unless they’re by people who are already famous. Readers don’t seem to be reading humor. Nobody seems to learn from history.

Thank you, Mark. Great post, wasn't it? And he's so right. It's a tough industry but we write because our muses refuse to quit nagging us to publish. The promoting part is the hardest so let's help each other out and support one another.
Grab one of his books. They all make great reads. I'm reading 'Hoosier Hysterical' right now and loving it, so I recommend that. Just click on the book above and it'll take you to Amazon where you can read more of the book or purchase it.

Follow Mark and his lovely wife Emily. He's well worth your time:

Love, honor, and respect to all