Sunday, December 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: D. B. Reynolds

The winner of DB's book is: Patricia Altner! Congrats, Patricia. Give me your contact info and I'll pass it along to DB. Thanks to everyone who participated.
As a writer, one of the most common questions I get asked is where the ideas come from. And the answer is always the same . . . some of them just pop into my head during idle brain time, like in the shower or stuck in traffic, or just before I fall asleep. Some ideas are triggered by something I see. I once wrote a short story because I saw a weird plant on the canyon wall near where I live and decided it was probably an alien peephole of sorts, that there was a hidden chamber behind it and they’d been here for years spying on us.

But when it comes to my vampires, well, there’s a bit more to that story. Some people think vampires don’t really exist, that the entire myth is nothing more than the creation of a writer’s fertile (and some would say unhinged) mind. But that begs the question, why does this particular myth keep coming back? As far as I can tell, the first vampire story came from John Polidori in 1819, during a long summer spent ‘round the fireside with Mary Shelly and others. The first published novel was “Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu in 1871, about a lesbian vampire who preyed on a lonely young woman. And here we are nearly 200 years later and vampires are still making headlines in the world of fiction.

But is it truly fiction? Let me tell you a story about a neighbor I had when I lived on the beach in Malibu, California. This was before I met my husband, and I was living in a condo right on the sands of one of the world’s most famous beaches. Unfortunately, I was also in the middle of a vicious writer’s block.

So, there I was, sitting on my balcony in the dark, a full moon riding low on the midnight horizon, making the ocean look like a sea of mercury, all slick and silvery. It was early fall, so it was a warm night, the air soft and moist. My favorite time of year. And as I sat there, I heard movement from the condo next to mine. I knew someone lived there, of course, but I’d never seen anybody coming or going. And that was pretty much fine with me. Californians are polite, but not necessarily friendly. We always nod to our neighbors, but we don’t really want to have a conversation with them.

The sliding glass door of the neighboring condo slid open and, as I watched, this tall, dark and handsome type stepped out onto the balcony. I didn’t say a word, didn’t even turn my head to check him out beyond that first quick glance. For several minutes, he leaned against his few feet of railing, staring out at the water silently, just as I was doing. And then he spoke. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

His voice was deep and mellow, one of those voices that makes you turn your head when you hear it in a crowd. I looked at him then and caught a reflection of the silver light in his dark eyes. “It is,” I said. “It almost makes it worth the cost of living here.”

He laughed softly. “Indeed. You’re the writer.”

I tilted my head curiously. “How’d you know?”

“I see you come and go. The others talk.”

I frowned. The others? Wait, he’s been watching me?

“So, what do you do?” I asked, somewhat irritated.

He smiled, as if he found my temper amusing. “Attorney.”

“Ah.,” I commented. “A bloodsucker.”

He laughed out loud then, throwing his head back in full-throated enjoyment, teeth flashing white in the moonlight. “You could say that,” he agreed. He turned to face me for the first time, stepping close enough to touch the short wall between our two balconies. “May I?” he asked. He didn’t wait for my response. He put one hand on the wall and pushed himself up and over, executing a graceful leap into my tiny slice of solitude. Two more steps brought him to my side. He was much bigger than I’d thought.

And much better looking.

I stared into his dark eyes, so close to mine now, and I shivered.

“Are you cold?” he asked silkily.

Unable to speak, I nodded, even though it wasn’t true.

“I can make you warm again.”

I blinked, feeling an embarrassed flush cross my cheekbones. “Who are you?” I asked lamely.

He smiled. “Names don’t really matter, do they?”

“No,” I whispered in agreement.

His mouth touched my lips, but didn’t linger, gliding along my jaw and nibbling at my ear before I felt the feather touch of his breath on my neck, a warm, wet brush of sensation as his tongue tasted my skin. I shuddered and heard him chuckle softly. “Relax, little one,” he murmured.

There was the press of something hard and sharp, a brief flash of intense pain and then a rush of impossible pleasure, from zero to infinity on the orgasmic scale in the space of a few seconds. I heard my own voice crying out and then …

I woke the next morning, tucked safely in my bed, the sun streaming into my bedroom through open curtains. I groaned at the light and rolled over, closing my eyes determinedly. Thoughts of the previous night flashed through my morning dull brain. My eyes flashed open and I sat up, searching wildly for my laptop.

“Vampires,” I whispered.

One year later, and I was sitting behind a table stacked with books, the first signing for my new Vampire series. It was evening and this was a busy office mall, with workers stopping by the bookstore, putting off the inevitable rush hour crush to get home. People were lined up in front of me, one after the other. A book would slide into my line of sight, I’d sign it, look up and smile, exchange a few words and then a new person would appear and it would start all over again.

Until I heard a familiar voice. “Are you warm enough yet?”

I looked up into those dark, dark eyes, unable to turn away. He handed me a book to sign.

“What’s your name?” I managed to say, my throat almost too dry to speak.

He smiled. “Names don’t really matter, do they?”

“No,” I whispered. I signed the book blindly and handed it to him. His fingers brushed mine as he took it, and then he was gone. My vampire.

BLURB for Jabril

Houston, Texas-Cowboy boots, baseball and journeys to the stars . . . right? Wrong. Because Houston is also home to Jabril Karim, one of the eight powerful Vampire Lords who control all of North America. And as Private Investigator Cynthia Leighton will soon discover, not all Vampire Lords are created equal. For Jabril is the face of evil in the new world, a vampire who values no life but his own, who enslaves those he desires, steals whatever he covets and destroys anyone who stands in his way. Running from L.A. and its seductive Vampire Lord, Raphael, Cyn sees the Houston job as a welcome refuge, a place to get away and heal her broken heart. But Texas will be no vacation. For in Jabril Karim, Cyn will confront a true enemy, one who will go to any lengths to satisfy his lusts, enrich his coffers and expand his power. Fighting for the lives of two young sisters, Cyn's journey will take her through the streets of Houston and back to L.A., where the human police are determined to bring Raphael down for the murder of one of their own. But the danger doesn't end there. For Jabril has set his sights on Cyn, and he will stop at nothing to have her.

D. B. Reynolds is author of the best-selling Vampires in America series from ImaJinn Books. The first two books, RAPHAEL and JABRIL, are available now through Amazon, and Book Three, RAJMUND, will release in early 2010.
D.B.'s is giving away a copy of her book to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you've won.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Guest Blogger: Sharon Ashwood

The winner of Sharon's book is: Ashley! Congrats, Ashley! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Sharon. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Sam and Dean never had this problem.

The Winchester boys from the Supernatural TV show have ghostly encounters galore, but then they’re hunters by trade and fictional heroes to boot. A real-life spook watching expedition is quite a different experience. For one thing, the supernatural doesn’t make command performances, so ghost hunting may never move on to ghost finding.

As an author of paranormal fiction, I thought it would be nice to be able to get up close and personal with a spectre once in a while. Besides, the idea of playing supernatural sleuth was just cool, so I thought, “heck, why not?” Maybe we’d get a reality show, or at least a popular video blog out of the deal.

So my trusty companion and I headed out to bag us a spook. As the corner hardware store was sadly short of EMF readers and other certified ghost hunting gear, we took cameras and tape recorders. It was raining, so we started with Craigdarroch Castle because it was indoors. This local landmark has a fascinating history and a few known ghosts. One is reported to appear as a pair of feet in dancing slippers descending the grand staircase.

Like many old places, the Castle has rooms with more than the average amount of atmosphere. Certain corners drew me, others repelled, but I didn’t sense or see anything too specific. The most interesting data came from the photographs we took. We got a lot of “orbs.” While these are considered by some to be energy balls indicating a haunting, some (undoubtedly most) are caused by light bouncing off moisture or dust in the air. Even though the orbs appeared in the room that “felt” the most haunted, it was hard to tell if we’d hit pay dirt or just a spectral dust bunny.

Next, we took on one of Victoria’s other spooky standards, the April Ghost, a woman murdered near a seaside golf course. Lots of people have seen her since her death the 1930s (There’s a YouTube video on this and other local ghosts at We set out near dusk to wander (read: trespass on) the greens where the most sightings occurred. It was perfect weather – moonlit and clear. I took some photos, met a bunch of people walking their dogs, but no ghostly sightings.
What I did experience was a sudden up-the-spine, hair-on-end freaky feeling that screamed close encounters of the walking dead kind. Sadly, I got it in completely the wrong location. The place where this was supposed to happen seemed a nice, dull patch of grass with an ocean view. Was the spook wandering? Playing games? Who knows?

Stupid ghosts.

So far we’re 0 for 2 with no more than a few teasing hints for our troubles. My understanding is that this is typical. The scientific seeker can wait for years before documenting anything, while unsuspecting passers-by can experience all sorts of whacky stuff they don’t want to talk about. The only place spectres appear on demand is TV.

I guess my own reality series will have to wait. Too bad – I was looking forward to inviting the Winchester boys to do a guest spot. In the meantime, at least I’m getting some fresh air and exercise.

How about you? Does the paranormal stay on the page, or do you come across it from time to time?

Blurb for Scorched:

Welcome to the Castle. The price of admission is your soul.

Ex-detective Macmillan always had a taste for bad girls, but his last lover really took the cake—and his humanity. Now half-demon, Mac's lost his friends, his family and his job.

But Constance, a strangely innocent vampire trapped in the supernatural Castle prison, needs his help. Her son has been kidnapped, so suddenly Mac has a case to work—one that embroils him with a mad sorcerer, an even madder city council, and a winged love god. The trail leads deep into the supernatural prison, and Mac soon learns that cracking the case will cost him his last scrap of his humanity.

Fiery, vulnerable Constance will do anything for those she loves, including Mac. He'll be damned if he turns his back on her… and a demon forever if he doesn't.
Sharon's winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you've won.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Holiday Gift Ideas: Hypnosis CDs and Healing Through Writing Email Workshop

My wonderful web woman, Shelley of Webcrafters, has added downloadable versions of my hypnotherapy CDs -- along with the regular CDs -- for sale on my website. The downloads are half the price. 7 to choose from.

You can see/buy them here:

If you try one, let me know what you think!
Also, I offer an email workshop which combines writing with personal growth. Here's the link for information:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Podcast Interview and Book Reading

A while back I was interviewed on Morven's blog radio program. I also read from DARK HARVEST. She recently sent me the links and, for some reason, they don't play well for me, but I hope you can hear them clearly!