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Dec 30, 2012

Guest Post: Speech Patterns

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and more. 

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. 

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website 

Every character speaks differently. They use different phrases, according to their age, education, background and personality.

Whenever one of your characters says something - even if it's just a greeting or thanks - let their personality shine through.

Here are four different characters talking about the same things:

Dec 29, 2012

Author Interview: Paul Dail


Today, Paul D. Dail, author of The Imaginings, joins us to answer questions about his fiction.

1. Describe the flavour of your fiction in six words.

Thought-provoking, unpredictable, spiritually ambiguous, darkly humorous.

2. What do you enjoy most about writing horror fiction?

Absolutely everything. I've loved horror movies and books since I was little, so while these days I enjoy reading almost any genre, when it comes to writing, I'm happiest when I'm writing horror.
Oh, and I love the opportunity to give someone the creeps. I recently read a story of mine to my classes that I thought was fairly innocuous, but was pleasantly surprised when many of my students said it was "freaky."

3. Many people enjoy reading stories about undead creatures - ghosts, vampires, zombies.
What do you think is the appeal?

I think these three examples appeal on different levels. If I were to oversimplify, I would say people like ghosts because it gives them a sense of something beyond death. Vampires is a desire for immortality. Zombies... well, for that one, I think it's more about the characters other than the zombies that has the appeal. People want to believe that in a zombie apocalypse, they would be able to survive.

4. Have any of your stories been inspired by mythology?

Actually, yes. My story "The Interview" was heavily influenced by mythology, specifically the story of Phineus, a Phoenician king who was blinded by Zeus for his ability to see into the future.

5. Your story “Another Oldie But Goodie” in Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies (edited by Rayne Hall) starts with a retirement home resident hearing music nobody else can hear, and leads to raising a long dead person from the grave. Where did the ideas for this story come from?

This was originally a flash piece for the Vamplit Publishing blog. The theme for the week was "Love in the Cemetery," I think. Then it was kind of a perfect storm of events that brought the actual story together, the biggest of which being when my 99 year-old grandmother, who doesn't move very fast but is still sharp as a tack, informed my father and I one day while we were visiting that she had been hearing the song "Ave Maria" at various points throughout the day where no one was actually playing it. At that point, I started putting together the story of the nursing home resident, and I knew it was her dead husband that was singing to her (don't worry, this comes out in the story pretty early). From there it was a matter of picking out the song, something fitting for the time. And the rest of the pieces just fell into place, especially the ending.

Thank you for joining us, Paul. May 2013 be a year of many more creative ideas and fantastic success.

==========================

About Paul D. Dail

Paul D. Dail is the author of The Imaginings, a supernatural/horror novel, as well as several other horror short stories. While he will quickly tell you that the people he has met in the many places that he has traveled have been the best schooling he could get, Paul received his formal education in English with a Creative Writing emphasis at the University of Montana, Missoula.
In addition to his fiction, he has had a non-fiction submission published in The Sun magazine's Reader's Write section entitled "Slowing Down" about the birth of his daughter.
Currently Paul lives in southern Utah, amid the red rock, sagebrush and pinion junipers. He teaches Language Arts and Creative Writing at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts.
 
Blog and Additional Contact Info:

www.pauldail.com  A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog
www.amazon.com/author/pauldail  Amazon Author Central page
@PaulDail  Twitter

Dec 28, 2012

Author Interview: Douglas Kolacki


Douglas Kolacki writes exciting fantasy stories, often with a Christian flavour, about zombies, pirates and almost normal people. Today he tells us about his writing pleasures and inspirations.

1. What do you enjoy most about writing fantasy fiction?
 Remaking this world into a place more to my liking, where all the rules change and fantastic things come to life.



 2. Many people enjoy reading stories about undead creatures - ghosts, vampires, zombies. What do you think is the appeal?
 I think that in the case of ghosts and vampires, it's the mystery of it all--who hasn't been intrigued by ghosts and the undead? In the case of zombies, there's a sense of adventure in combating all these people-turned-monsters that can't be parleyed with, bribed or placated; you have to use your wits and whatever you can scrounge, do or die.


3. The story selected by editor Rayne Hall s for the anthology Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies features a human who adjusts to life in a zombie body. Where did this idea come from?
 I wanted to tell a story from the zombie's point of view, and not only that, one that has a conscience. What if, as one of those who's been "initiated" into that kind of existence, he's seen how they get that way, and along with that comes a possibility of gaining your eternal rest at last? Most zombies don't have the awareness anymore to understand it, but this guy does. He determines to do something about it.

Thank you, Douglas. We wish you and your stories a successful 2013.
============

About Douglas Kolacki
Douglas Kolacki has lived in Australia and in Naples, Italy, where he began writing. His specialty is creating fantasy worlds out of everyday modern life. He currently lives and writes in Providence, Rhode Island. His novels are Elijah's Chariot and On the Eighth Day, God Created Trilby Richardson. His stories have been featured in Weird Tales, Dragons Knights and Angels, Big Pulp, The Devil Eats Here, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and Spells: Ten Tales of Magic.

Dec 27, 2012

Author Interview: Tracie McBride


Today's guest is fantasy author Tracie McBride, renowned for her reality-twisting stories.
  
1. Describe the flavour of your fiction in six words.
Dark speculative fiction launching from reality.

2. What do you enjoy most about writing fantasy fiction?
The license to make stuff up!

3. Many people enjoy reading stories about undead creatures - ghosts, vampires, zombies. What do you think is the appeal?
I think the appeal differs from reader to reader. Some are fascinated by the possibility of a continued existence after death; some find the idea terrifying or abhorrent, yet feel compelled to explore or that terror.

4. Have any of your stories been inspired by mythology? 
I have a story coming out in Dagan Books’ FISH anthology in January 2013 which was inspired by a Maori mythological creature, the taniwha. I use the term “mythological” loosely; some Maori believe that taniwha exist.

5. In “Last Chance to See” published in Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies (edited by Rayne Hall) the main character gets reincarnated for twenty-four hours to say farewell to her friends and family. Where did the idea come from?


“Last Chance to See” has a deeply personal origin. One of my aunts was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. The family organised a small reunion, and I drove with my three young children from one end of the North Island of New Zealand to the other to see her (you can do that in one day if you start early; New Zealand’s not very big). It felt something like a wake, only with the “guest of honour” still present and participating. There was more laughter than you might expect, naturally a few tears, some blackly funny moments as my aunt told us of her experiences going shopping for something to wear in her coffin, and even although it was a momentous and meaningful occasion, the banal necessities of life still had to be attended to. I got to thinking – what if everybody had the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones before they departed for good? 
 
Thank you for answering our questions, Tracie. May 2013 bring you many more twisted ideas for great stories!


About Tracie McBride
Tracie McBride is a New Zealander who lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in over 80 print and electronic publications, including Horror Library Vols 4 and 5, Dead Red Heart, Phobophobia and Horror for Good. Her debut collection Ghosts Can Bleed contains much of the work that earned her a Sir Julius Vogel Award in 2008. She helps to wrangle slush for Dark Moon Digest and is the vice president of Dark Continents Publishing. She welcomes visitors to her blog at http://traciemcbridewriter.wordpress.com/

Dec 26, 2012

Guest Post: Rayne's Five Favourites: Short Story Collections


Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and more. 

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. 

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website



Here are five short story collections I enjoyed, each by a different contemporary author, each published recently in ebook format.  The selection is highly subjective, based on my personal taste. I like stories which are creepy, quirky, twisted or dark, or which allow me to peek into different cultures and faraway places.

Dec 24, 2012

the country breathed a timeless life



"The low, undulating Danish landscape was silent and serene, mysteriously wide-awake in the hour before sunrise. There was not a cloud in the pale sky, not a shadow along the dim, pearly fields, hills and woods. The mist was lifting from the valleys and hollows, the air was cool, the grass and the foliage dripping wet with morning dew. Unwatched by the eyes of man, undisturbed by his activity, the country breathed a timeless life, to which language was inadequate.

All the same, a human race had lived on this land for a thousand years, had been formed by its soil and weather, and had marked it with its thoughts, so that now no one could tell where the existence of the one ceased and the other began. The thin gray line of road, winding across the plain and up and down the hills, was the fixed materialization of human longing, and of the notion that it is better to be in one place than another."

-- Isak Dinesen, Winter's Tales

Guest Post: Danger in the Dark


Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and more. 

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. 

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website


Does your story have a scene of danger or horror? Is it scary enough? Do you want your readers to fear for your main character's safety? Here's a simple technique on how to make a scene seriously frightening:

Turn the lights off.

Darkness makes people nervous, and everything is much more frightening in the dark. Can you change the time or location of your scene so it happens in darkness? The darker, the better. Absolute darkness is the scariest, when the protagonist sees nothing at all and has to grope their way. However, partial darkness can be spooky, too, especially with flickering lights and shadows.

Dec 23, 2012

Guest Post: When Magicians Make Mistakes


Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and more. 

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. 

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website

 
You can create exciting plot complications if the magician who casts a spell gets it wrong.

Here are some ideas you can use in your fiction. Although I've used the female pronoun, everything applies to magicians of either gender.

* The magician summons a spirit (e.g. a demon) to do her bidding - but that spirit is malevolent and more powerful than she expected, and she is unable to keep it under control.

* The magician creates a protective circle around herself which shields her from the summoned spirits and from evil - but then she accidentally steps out of the circle.

Dec 22, 2012

Guest Blog: The Myth of the Perfect Price

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and more. 

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. 

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website


Here's sadly common conversation from an indie forum, quoted from memory.

Newbie Writer 1:  "My book has been published on Amazon for three months, and nobody is buying it. What is Amazon doing wrong?"

Newbie Writer 2: "You have to lower the price. It's all about price."

Newbie Writer 1:  "Is $15.99 too much? But I put in all this work! I deserve the money."

Newbie Writer 2: "The authors who sell books for $0.99 rake in tons of money. I've read an article about it. They're all millionaires."

A glance at the book in question reveals that it's something I wouldn't download even if it were free.

Sadly, many indie authors are fixated on price, convinced that there's nothing wrong with the quality of their book and that they'll rake in riches if only they can hit the magical formula for the perfect price. 


Dec 21, 2012

Guest Post: Using the Senses


Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and more. 

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. 

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website

The five main senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.

Seeing

This sense is the easiest to use, but it can be boring if used a lot. Choose details which characterise the place and show only what the point-of-view character would notice. To create atmosphere, describe the source and quality of the light. Examples: Blossoming dittany spilled over the slope. Black clouds smeared the sky. Punchbags hung like giant misshapen sausages from the wall. Tiny lizards darted across the broken floor tiles, tongues flicking. Golden sunlight dappled the lawn. Sundown bloodied the horizon.

Dec 20, 2012

Not Another Romance Blog: Caught in a Snowstorm...with Valerie Bowman (+Give...

Not Another Romance Blog: Caught in a Snowstorm...with Valerie Bowman (+Give...: Caught in a Snowstorm   on Christmas Eve  by  Valerie Bowman


Caught in a Snowstorm on Christmas Eve
by Valerie Bowman

The music room was on the first floor at the end of a long hallway. James made his way toward it, each step making him more sure that he didn’t know what he would say once he saw her. But Kate was here. Kate. Surely, he’d think of something—the right thing—when he came face-to-face with her.
He stopped several paces from the door. The strains of Moonlight Sonata floated out of the room. She was playing the pianoforte again. She loved that piece.
Taking a deep breath, James opened the door without knocking. He stepped inside the darkened room. The music stopped. Only a single candelabra burned on top of the instrument.
Kate glanced up at him, her blue eyes wide.
“James.”
He expelled his breath. He’d thought it might be a dream, her being here, some cruel joke Lily had played on him. But there Kate was, sitting on the piano stool, across from the French doors, wearing a ruby red gown that made him shudder. She looked like a dream come to life. He squinted. The firelight bounced off her silken hair. He longed to run his fingers through it.
“Kate,” he breathed.

The Secret Behind the Mayan Apocalypse!


Remember, the world ends tomorrow! We, personally, are bugging out to our secret nuke-proof shelter under the Rocky Mountains!

Penguin Group Makes Separate Peace on Ebook Lawsuit


(Huffington Post) WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department announced Tuesday it has reached a settlement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. in its lawsuit accusing the nation's largest book publishers of colluding with Apple Inc. to raise e-book prices on customers.
The settlement, if approved by a federal judge, leaves Apple and Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, which does business as Macmillan, as the only defendants standing against the federal government's charges that Apple, the multimedia and computer giant, conspired with several publishers in the fall of 2009 to force e-book prices several dollars above the $9.99 charged by Amazon.com on its popular Kindle device.
The Justice Department, which sued in April, settled with Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc. earlier this year. The trial is scheduled to begin in June.
"The proposed settlement with Penguin will be an important step toward undoing the harm caused by the publishers' anticompetitive conduct and restoring retail price competition so consumers can pay lower prices for Penguin's e-books," said Jamillia Ferris, chief of staff and counsel at the Justice Department's antitrust division.
Apple Inc. has said the government's accusation that it conspired with major book publishers to raise the price of e-books is untrue.

Dec 19, 2012

Excerpt - A Vampire Carol, Part 2



FREE right now on Amazon and Kobo.


A Vampire Carol

The last thing Alex wanted was to become a vampire for Christmas...

Excerpt:

Alex stayed in the dumpster until nightfall. He crept out and stood in the alley, trying to understand, trying to believe, and failing. He recognized the back of his office building.
His car was still parked in the parking garage, on the fifth floor. The keys were in his jacket pocket. Dazed, he opened the car, but for a long while, he sat in the driver’s seat, with his key in the ignition and his foot on the pedal, without turning on the engine. His mind refused to work.
He knew he should go home because Lynn would be worried, alone with baby Bradley. Lynn would have questions though and a long list of ways this was his fault. He couldn’t fight with her right now. He needed support. He needed a friend.

Justin lived with his brother, two years younger, who attended school part-time and worked part time, in a pale blue house at the end of a cul-de-sac. Justin had his degree and was a sys admin, like Alex, at a different company. Alex and Justin had been buddies since college, although since Alex married and had a baby, and Justin stayed single, they had found themselves divided by the secret segregation that keeps Married Couples apart from Single Guys.
Alex knocked at the door. No answer. He pounded.
Gary, Justin’s brother answered the door.
“Hey, Alex.” Gary took a swig of a beer. “Justin’s out.”
He was the first person Alex had seen since waking up in the dumpster. Gary looked…strange. A faint but hot mist steamed from his skin, creating a ruddy glow around his body. The aroma was savory.
Gary turned and padded down the hall, leaving the door opened. Alex tried to follow, but when he tried to cross the threshold, it was as if he were trying to walk through invisible taffy. It wasn’t like walking into a wall, but it repelled him all the same. He couldn’t follow Gary.
And he wanted to, very, very badly.
Gary looked back at him. “You okay?”
“I….” Alex licked his lips. He clenched and unclenched his hands. His stomach hurt, and his throat felt as though he had swallowed broken glass.
“I’m thirsty,” he whispered hoarsely.
“Come on in,” said Gary.
The invisible taffy dissolved so abruptly that Alex, who had been leaning into the force, stumbled forward. He caught himself against the wall, panting. His vision narrowed to a tunnel, focused on the red mist around Gary. Alex could hear Gary’s heart beating, and the gurgle of his blood pumping in and out. The delicious smell, the throbbing sound as loud as music at a rave, the hot, red mist…
Gary rummaged around in the fridge and pulled out another beer, which he held out to Alex.
“Would you like a drink?”


Or on your Kindle. 

Write Like the Wind




I know from personal experience that fans get grouchy if they have to wait for the next installment of an epic fantasy. Granted no one has made me a YouTube video yet... or an HBO show. *grin* I like the part where they go over how long various authors took to write various projects. Also, the dueling drumsticks.

And, yes, I am working on Blood!

A Measure of Rice (Short Christmas Story)



Rice in North Korea was distributed by the government. Despite the official Communist ideology of “equality,” everything, even the daily ration of rice, was regulated by a strict caste system.

During the 1990s, rampant corruption and government mismanagement of the country’s resources resulted in a terrible famine. Rice rations were cut across the nation, but especially for the less “desirable” castes.

The Kwons were one such couple. Every day, while her husband watched carefully, Mrs. Kwon distributed their rice into equal amounts….equal amounts of less and less.

Mrs. Kwon stared at the small amount of food and despaired.

I can survive on less because I am a woman, thought Mrs. Kwon. But my husband cannot. Better that at least one of us survive.

As soon as her husband left the room, Mrs. Kwon took one measure of rice from her bowl and added it to her husband’s bowl. Then she went outside to fetch water.

As soon as she was gone, Mr. Kwon, unaware of what she had done, looked at the small bowls of rice and despaired.

I can survive on less because I am stronger, thought Mr. Kwon. But my wife is so slender to begin with; if she tries to live on this she’ll waste away to nothing. He took one measure of his rice and added it to her bowl.

This became their custom every morning. Neither of them could understand why the amount of rice never seemed less.

But the famine grew worse. Once again, the ration of rice was lowered. When Mrs. Kwon tried to put a measure of her rice into her husband’s bowl, there were only a few grains of rice left in her own.

“Where is your rice?” he asked, when she handed him the bowl.

“Oh,” she said. “I ate it already.”

“That was fast,” he said.

“Rice runs away so fast these days,” she said. “Mine ran out the door before I could eat it!”

He laughed, as she meant him too, but as soon as she went outside to fetch the water, he scooped all his rice back into her bowl.

“What is this!” she cried when she saw it.

“You were right about the rice!” said Mr. Kwon. “It did run right out the door, but it was only doing a lap around the house for exercise. It ran right back in and jumped into your bowl again!”

They looked at each other and each realized then what the other had been doing for so long. They realized that they could not continue like this any longer, so that night they made the decision to escape to China.

It was a long, perilous journey, made all the worse because they had to cross in winter, when the river that divided the two countries was frozen. But eventually they made it, and once in China, they were able to hide in an embassy until a church in the United States sponsored them to come to America. Even after they were safe and prosperous in their new home, however, every Christmas they would each exchange a spoonful of rice, to remind themselves of the love that had endured the worst hunger.


Would you like to read this and other stories on your Kindle?  

 

Dec 18, 2012

Excerpt: A Vampire Carol



About A Vampire Carol

This is not, despite the title, another re-telling of Dicken's classic. (There are already several vampire and zombie versions available, if you want one, don't fear!) It's a story I've had knocking around my brain bins for a while. But I didn't know what to do with it.  Vampire vs Werewolf would be trite on its own, if there were not some other interest, but this story was too brutal for the comic My Three Werewolf Sons story I was originally contemplating. (I haven't given up on that idea either, however.)
Most authors have half-finished stories which languish, abandoned, on a drive or in a drawer, because the author has no idea how to complete it. Then suddenly, and brilliant idea brings everything together—like how about spicing up an overripe premise of vampire-werewolf rivalry with a fiber optic Christmas tree and a life-size nativity set?
For copyright reasons, this is available as a stand-alone only on non-Amazon sites. For Kindle readers, it can be found as part of the Christmas Tales anthology.

Back Cover:

The last thing Alex wanted was to become a vampire for Christmas... or to feed on his best friend's brother. His friend will do anything for revenge. Even become a werewolf.

Can there be such a thing as forgiveness for monsters?

This is an urban fantasy novelette, with some romance, some violence, some Christianity and three Christmases.

Excerpt:

Last Christmas (Year One As a Vampire)


Vivian from Accounting cornered him in the copy room, at the office Christmas party. She wore a red dress that looked as though it had been spray painted over her voluptuous body, a Titanic-sized ruby heart necklace, and scarlet lipstick. From the minute she’d walked into the party, Alex began committing adultery with her in his heart.
“Take my advice,” said a man next to Alex. “She wants to sell you something you don’t want to buy.”
A song throbbed in the background: Last Christmas, I gave you my heart…
Alex didn’t know him. The man had the face of magazine model, and wore all black: a black silk suit that was much too Italian for any employee of their fashion-challenged tech company, over a black shirt with a black tie and an onyx cross tie pin. He pulled out a bottle of tiny pills and popped one, just as Vivian hurried reached them.
…but the very next day, you gave it away, crooned the song.
“You weren’t invited, Michael,” Vivian said with undisguised hostility.
“Obviously I was.”
“You don’t work here.”
Michael shrugged elegantly. “I was just leaving.”
This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to somebody special
Michael waved to Stacy, a three hundred pound sys admin with eczema, Alex’s good friend since forever and fellow sys admin. When Michael took her arm with a suave gesture, the mismatch was obvious to everyone, even Stacy, who blushed, star-struck, and made no argument when he made their good-byes even though they had just arrived. He led her away. Alex bristled.
Poor Stacy. Her best hope was that Michael was just using her for sex.
“Wow,” said Alex. “What was his problem?”
“Can I talk to you in private, Alex?” Vivian asked.
“Uh…”
once bitten, twice shy, I keep my distance but you still catch my eye
She touched his arm and sauntered away, and he followed like a puppy. It occurred to him that Vivian outclassed him as much as Michael. Michael was probably Vivian’s ex. Michael was probably a martial arts expert—he moved with that kind of self-assurance, everything manly that Alex lacked—and was waiting in the parking lot to kick Alex’s butt even now. The thought made Alex rebel. Screw him. It wasn’t like Alex had done anything with Vivian. He hadn’t even kissed her.
As soon as they reached the copy room, Vivian shut the door, pushed Alex up against the copy machine and kissed him.
Alex pushed her away. “No…no…You’ve got the wrong idea.”
Damn. He was a little drunk, she was sexy as hell, and this could go south fast, so he fumbled in his pocket for a picture. It was a nine-month-old baby with big blue eyes, sitting in front of the Christmas tree. Lynn had taken it just last week, to put on their holiday cards. He held this between himself and Vivian the way a priest would hold up a cross at an exorcism. Even if his marriage to Lynn had been a mistake, which they had both realized too late, Alex wouldn’t cheat on her, or desert her, for the sake of that little boy.
“That’s my son,” Alex said. “His name is Bradley. So we can’t… you can’t… I can’t....”
“Aw.” Vivian took the picture and tucked it back into his pocket without looking at it. “That’s so sweet.”
She grabbed his suit lapel and pulled him closer. “It just makes me want you more.”
“Look, Vivian…”
Her grip was surprisingly strong, and he couldn’t break free when she began nuzzling against his neck. Alex thought she was giving him a hickey, until he died.
…and this year won’t be anything like last Christmas.


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