Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vampire Sightings. Is House a Vampire? Johnny Depp?

It's true. I'm strange. Unusual. Not normal (whatever that is). But, that's okay. I have no problem disclosing my bizarre undercurrents.

Not only have I always seen things other people couldn't see, felt vibes other people said they didn't, and heard conversations nobody else acknowledged, but I enjoy "outing" vampires. Or, at least letting them know I "see" them. It's my way of tiptoeing along the edge of danger. Feeling alive.
Seriously. I'll bet I'm not alone.

Since I've spent so much of my life in "alternative" settings -- psychic fairs, goth events, seances, witches circles, hands-on healing sessions, trance dancing, hypnotic explorations, etc., etc. -- not to mention sleep-overs as a pre-adolescent girl where we each used only one finger to lift a volunteer into the air -- and fundamentalist revival meetings in tents during my early childhood, where I witnessed things I still haven't made sense of -- I tend to attract paranormal/supernatural/metaphysical experiences.

I've always recognized vampires.

Maybe because I'm obsessed with them. Or maybe because the dark aspects of my own nature resonate naturally with them. Or maybe because there's something about the way they hold eye contact . . .

Anyway, I see them everywhere.

Recently, I waited for friends in the bar area of a Denver restaurant and I felt the force of a gaze on the back of my head. Unable to resist, I swiveled in my seat to find intense dark eyes staring at me. He was very young. His purple hair spiked up in a rigid Mohawk, his lips spread in a smirking grin. He wore a very trendy leather coat. I was old enough to be his mother, so I didn't experience any confusion about his communication. He wasn't hitting on me. His energy simply tapped me on the shoulder. Unconsciously. He knew that I knew. I nodded and he did the same before gliding toward the door. What the hell was that? I said to myself. What had he seen in my energy field?

I moved to Colorado in 1977. My first extended visit to Aspen came many years later, when I drove up to participate in a psychic fair with one of my spiritual teachers, the magnificent Brian McCarthy (who has since stepped into the void -- transformed -- and is no longer present in the physical). I had never seen so many vampires in one place before. Some of them were garden-variety psychic vampires, but the others . . . Doing tarot readings for them was like stepping into a landscape deficient in oxygen. I now know what empty eyes look like and I understand the skin-crawling awareness of "other."

Of course, I run into psychic vampires every day. I had a clear experience recently at an author event. I met a man who was blatant in his attempt to solicit benefits from his connection with me -- who tried to join my energy field and siphon it away. I knew just how to handle him. Flicked him off like a mosquito. Psychic vampires can't help themselves. They suck energy -- emotions (and, they suck in general, as well). They give new meaning to the word "narcissism."

I often suspect certain politicians are vampires. And, of course, movie stars. Have you noticed?

So, what about you? Do you encounter vampires on a regular basis? Occasionally? Rarely? We'd love to hear about your experiences with the nightwalkers . . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meljean interview at Vampirewire and Paranormality nominated by three other blogs!

Here's a link to the Meljean Brook interview on my friend Marta Acosta's Vampire Wire. Check it out!!

Paranormality was nominated by:

SciFiGuy: Best blog for paranormal guests
Amberkatze: Best Author Interviews
Patricia's Vampire Notes: Best information about paranormal topics

Thanks so much!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guest Blogger: Emma Petersen

The winner of Emma's book is: JSB (Jana)! Congratulations, Jana. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Emma. Thanks to everyone who participated.

So this weekend friends and I went to see Twilight. They had been after me for a month or more to see it and finally after a bit of trickery (on their parts) we ended up in our local theater.

Let me preface this by saying like many of us, I grew up on Anne Rice and Bram Stroker. Until much later, after the paranormal/urban fantasy genres exploded, Anne Rice and Bram Stroker's world building and mythos were the only ones I knew. And even though I had started reading the books in my pre-teen years, neither book could be mistaken as young adult.

And maybe that is why I was barely, barely able to sit through Twilight. I'm embarrassed to say that even though I had gone to the theater (albeit unwillingly) with the understanding that the movie and the book it was based upon were targeted for a much younger audience, I didn't realize there might be an absent of "darkness" and/or violence.

I know, I know, silly Emma these vamps are for kids. Maybe I'm desensitized. Okay, I've been quoted as saying Saw was the feel good movie of the year and have been known to laugh at the most inappropriate times during "scary" movies, so yeah there's a good possibility I'm desensitized. But to the point where I would wish for blood and violence in an almost children's movie?

Umm yeah. I waited. Hoped. Prayed that one the Cullen clan would be reminiscent of Claudia or that Edward would lose control around Bella and bite her. Hard.

Le sigh. I know. I know. I should be ashamed of myself. But I'm not. And while I'm not a fan of vampire light, I'll still watch New Moon when it comes out, no doubt waiting, hoping, praying for violence the entire time because, hey, I'm me and it isn't often that vamp/were movies come out. At least I'll be prepared for the lack of darkness and violence, or I least I think I will.

So my reaction to Twilight got me thinking. (Never a good thing.) How did my early reading selections shape my voice?

1. I write my vamps like I like to read them. Dark, brooding, bent and bordering on evil.

2. Fear is a good thing. And yes, call me twisted (so wouldn't be the first time) but I happen to think fear can be a heady aphrodisiac. (Don't believe me? Here's a paragraph of two from my latest release, the first book in my Dating the Undead series:

As I waited in the lobby for my cab, I couldn't help but notice my heartbeat hadn't slowed, and what I thought was fear didn't feel like the kind I would have experienced normally. What was it about St. Nic that made me need to do stupid things?

What's so stupid about wanting to be with him?

Besides the fact that a lot of predators played with their food before they killed it?

I was getting myself worked up for nothing. St. Nic didn't want me.

Then why did it feel as if he were the one in control of my body? And why didn't I mind more?

I had almost been killed -- okay, maybe a slight exaggeration -- and it turned me on. A lot of girls liked a little pain with their pleasure, but wasn't this crossing the line?

3. Darkness is needed to balance the light. Because a vampire without the darkness is like a mall without shopping. A spa without a masseur. Slipknot without the masks. (My feelings often waver about that last one.)

So what about you? Don't be shy. You're among friends. We won't judge. (much.) Do you prefer vamp light or vamp dark? And why?

Leave your answer in the comments and you'll be entered to win a copy of Seducing St. Nic.

A winner will be selected Tuesday evening and posted here.

Lame! Comments on The Day The Earth Stood Still

Okay. I already knew the movie wasn't really a remake of the original The Day The Earth Stood Still. As I've mentioned before, that 1950s movie was my all-time favorite from that era. Loved Michael Rennie. Loved the idea that humans were finally reaping our not-so-instant karma from our war-mongering ways. (Why are we humans so fascinated by war and fighting and weapons and other horrible things? What's the matter with us? Aren't we ever going to evolve into a higher consciousness? Even watching the adolescent-male-focused previews of coming attractions with all the us vs them made me sick and depressed.) But, even though I made allowances for everything this movie couldn't possibly be, I expected more than . . . nothing. How incredibly lame. No plot. Terrible acting. A crappy ending that made me say "Huh?" out loud in the theater. I went to the $5 show and considered it a waste of $5. I'll hold onto my black and white original and will cheer as intellect overcomes brute force.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guest Blogger: Karen Duvall

The winner of Karen's critique is: mynfel! Congrats to you. Send me your email address and I'll pass it along to Karen. Thanks to everyone who participated.

There couldn't be a better time…

…to write paranormal fiction. Seriously! In spite of the struggling book market today, we've finally reached a point where the sky's the limit for supernatural fiction. I know I'm excited. How about you?

There used to be a time not all that long ago when genre fiction was very compartmentalized. A horror novel was a horror novel. A fantasy novel was a fantasy novel. God forbid another genre leak in to taint the purity of genre fiction. Thanks to innovative small presses that indulged in risk-taking to please an eclectic readership, New York finally woke up and smelled the cross genre coffee.

It's creative originality that I think contributed to the success of paranormal fiction. When paranormal is combined with science, romance, erotica, mystery, thriller, suspense, and/or fantasy, it opens up new worlds of conflict and unique characterization. As long as the story has a cohesive structure and is plotted well with interesting characters readers care about, almost anything is acceptable (in good taste, of course).

I wrote my first paranormal novel about ten years ago. It was a mixture of reincarnation romance, science fiction, futuristic medical thriller, horror, and metaphysics. A decade ago, a manuscript like this was the butt of jokes in editorial meetings and had a reputation for "being all over the place." I remember attending a Colorado Gold Conference in the mid nineties and asking a panel of editors what they thought about paranormal mysteries. After drying tears of laughter from their eyes, they looked at me as if I'd just sprouted a third eye. The Berkley editor responded: "If it can't be labeled one genre or the other, book stores won't know where to shelve it." Now Berkley is one of the biggest publishers of mixed-genre paranormal fiction. Ironic, isn't it?

I called my first paranormal novel a supernatural thriller. Set in Alaska in 2013, it was about the cryonically frozen dead being brought back to life and where their souls came from. The manuscript made the rounds to a lot of literary agents, but no bites. So I started in on the small presses. There were only a few ebook publishers around back then, and epublishing didn't interest me much, so I sought out traditional small presses. I found Speculation Press, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy, in Chicago. They published PROJECT RESURRECTION in October 2000. The book was produced as a trade paperback and it introduced me to a new world of creative, innovative storylines. I couldn't get enough! And if it weren't for small press publishers, I'd never have been able to satisfy my hunger for cross genre fiction.

2000 was right around the time vampires and werewolves were becoming more popular in paranormal fiction. They obviously still are, but there's been talk of a glutted market. I think what they're really saying is that the market demands something new and that change is needed. So we started seeing a shift in mythology for the standard vampire, werewolf, witch, etc. The paranormal world exploded with the exciting subgenre of urban fantasy, where you can get all your favorite fantasy and mystical tropes in one book. What could be better? I've been in reader and writer heaven ever since.

I think writers, unpublished writers in particular, need to not only focus on creative world building, but original mythologies as well. For example, there will always be parts of the werewolf myth that readers expect, but that doesn't mean there's no room for augmentation. Laurell K. Hamilton gave us other werebeasts besides wolves. I don't think werewolves change with the moon like they used to, and it's not even a curse in some books, but a birthright. A species. It's great!

While I was coming up with ideas for new stories, I wasn't interested in playing with what had already been done. I wanted different paranormal creatures, and I wanted to invent myths that were exclusively my own. When I wrote the first book in my urban fantasy Knight series, I decided to create a strong heroine with an unusual ability. So I developed a half-angel, half-human race of female knights from the Crusades of the 11th century. I took an authentic order of female knights called The Order of the Hatchet and had them mate with angels to create super beings who fight evil, and my heroine is a descendant. When an angel procreates with a human, the sin he commits turns him into one of the Fallen. The story also features a living mummy, a one-thousand year old Turkish warrior, a society of evil sorcerers, a nasty gargoyle, some demons, the fae, and a few other unusual creatures and curses I totally made up. Talk about a fun book to write!

My point is that imagination is a key ingredient to getting your work noticed. Knight's Curse got me a fantastic literary agent, and it's the first book in a series, but it hasn't sold to a publisher yet. Instead of waiting until it does, I've started working on another new series. Again, my focus is on originality and creative mythology, so my work-in-progress is a steampunk urban fantasy called MYSTIC TAXI that features half-demon, half human characters set against an industrial age background. I post teasers on my blog every Tuesday. My agent is excited about this book, too, so I'm quite motivated to finish.

Get outside that box when you're creating your story ideas. What's new and different and never been done before? Or what's been done, but can be redone in a whole new way? Those are the stories I like to read, and therefore they're the ones I like to write. How about you?
Karen is giving away a critique of your first 10 pages. Just leave a comment here, answering Karen's question above. A winner will be selected on Friday evening and posted here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Guest Blogger: Caridad Pineiro

The winners of Caridad's prizes are: T-shirt, Zed-Aitch. Desire Calls, tetewa. Soldier's Secret Child, Terri W. Congratulations to everyone! Give me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Caridad. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

I’ve been in love with paranormal things since I was a kid. On rainy Saturdays, my mom, sis and I would sit in front of the television, watching old horror movies. On the days I got my allowance and my sis and I would head to the candy store, I’d bypass the Archie comics and head straight for Superman and Batman. I also loved anything with action and adventure and would likewise indulge in movie fests to quench my thirst for such things.

Those two loves didn’t change very much as I grew older, but I found myself also developing an addiction to romance novels so it was only natural that at some point, all those interests would collide and soon I found myself writing paranormal romantic suspense in the form of THE CALLING vampire novels.

What’s so appealing about a mix of paranormal and suspense? For starters, the suspense aspects of the stories can be based on real life issues, such as a possible terrorist attack in DEATH CALLS, or revolve around more supernatural evil doings like in my upcoming March 2009 release, FURY CALLS. In FURY CALLS, both humans and vampires have to deal with the arrival of a truly evil bad guy who is a Kiang Shi – a Chinese vampire.

Which is the perfect segue into what’s so interesting about the paranormal aspects of such cross-genre books – the variety of vampires and demons with which you can populate your stories. I’ve been able to not only feature more traditional European-style vampires, but also the Kiang Shi and a chupacabra (a goat sucker). Future books will integrate different vampires as well as other supernatural beings.

One of the things that I enjoy is setting the stories in real world locales, such as Manhattan. I love showcasing one of my favorite cities by making it the backdrop for the otherworldly stories. It creates a sharp contrast between things that are real and the make-believe of the supernatural world. To really shake things up, I’ll be sending one of my vampires to South Beach in Miami for some naughty nightlife.

In November, I’m taking that concept a step further with my first single title romantic suspense release – SINS OF THE FLESH. I’d like to call it a paranormal because of some unique elements, but it’s really more of a medical/science fiction suspense although it’ll seem paranormal on its face. Why? Because the heroine has superhuman abilities as a result of a radical gene therapy and some evil doings by the biotech company who developed the therapy. The fun part of this story for me is that I was a science major in college and while some of the things may seem a little out there, they are all based on real life scientific principles and medical practices.

Thanks for having me here to talk about my favorite genre – paranormal romantic suspense! I hope you’ll drop by to visit me at or to learn more about me and my books. Also look for my December release, SOLDIER’S SECRET CHILD, a straight romantic suspense from Silhouette.

Caridad is offering 3 prizes so there will be 3 winners selected on Tuesday evening. Here are the prizes: a CALLING T-shirt, copy of DESIRE CALLS as well as a copy of SOLDIER'S SECRET CHILD. Leave a comment here for Caridad to be in the contest!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Guest Blogger: Kendra Leigh Castle

The winner of Kendra's book is: Ruth Schaller. Congrats, Ruth! You can contact Kendra here and give her your mailing info: Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

Love with Fangs . . . and Fur

Maybe it’s just all the Twilight-mania going on right now, but there’s definitely vampire love in the air. What’s not to love, though? Well, I mean, apart from the “potentially homicidal” thing. Dark, sleek, powerful men with off the charts sensuality and a healthy amount of supernaturally-charged danger are always going to have a special place in women’s fantasies. And I’ve crushed on my fair share of immortal nightwalkers, for sure. When I set out to write my own heroes, though, the cool demeanor of a vamp just didn’t work for what I had in mind.

Sorry, Team Edward (and put down those rotten vegetables!). These days, I am all about the werewolves.

So what did being a moonstruck shapeshifter offer that being a vampire didn’t? Well, a few things. Take the hero of my recent release, Dark Highland Fire. Gabriel MacInnes is a shaggy-haired, brawny Highlander who would much rather play than work, and has structured his life so that’s what he gets to do. He co-owns a pub, Wolf at the Door, where he’s always got both company and an audience. He loves women (probably too much, but they love him right back), and he’s full of boyish charm, which is what gets him by when he’s misbehaving (which is frequently). Gabriel is a good guy, essentially . . . he just doesn’t know what he wants, and as the second son of his pack’s Alpha, he’s never been quite sure where he belongs.

Lucky Gabe, I worked it all out for him. But that’s not the point. The point is that Gabriel isn’t the sort of guy who would be comfortable stalking the night alone, exuding sexy angst and fixated on the curve of a woman’s neck. He’s hot-blooded, earthy. A little wild. And that’s exactly what I love about werewolves! There’s a lot that’s sexy about a guy so in tune with his basic animal nature, and I’ve turned out to be a sucker for a growl and big golden eyes. My werewolves have my own stamp, of course; that’s some of the fun of being a writer. The MacInnes Pack is a loyal, boisterous, family-oriented crowd who see the furry side of their existence as a blessing, not a curse. They’re capable of changing form at will (though it’s unavoidable at the full moon), and they often do, running just for the joy of it. And as a final selling point to the skeptical vampires-only people, werewolves, my werewolves, anyway, mate for life. They bond quickly, often unwittingly, and when it happens, it’s both permanent and soul-deep.

All of which applies when Gabriel suddenly finds himself responsible for a fiery demigoddess on the run. Oh, did I forget to mention that his pack guards a relic that serves as a portal to a realm populated by a whole bunch of powerful, occasionally hostile, magical tribes? Um, yeah. But that’s another post.

Anyway, that’s my case for werewolf love. I’ll always love vampires, of course. But writing the MacInnes Pack has given me a new appreciation for half-wild alpha males with a penchant for fur. So here’s my question to you: what’s your preference, vampire or werewolf? And why? I’ve got a signed copy of Dark Highland Fire for one commenter! Check back Friday evening for the winner.
Thanks so much, Lynda, for having me here today, and please pop in to say hello, everyone! I’ll be around to chat all day.

Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of Call of the Highland Moon and Dark Highland Fire. The next book in the MacInnes Werewolf series, Wild Highland Magic, will be released in May ’09. You can visit Kendra on the web at

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cover for Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance and a CONTEST

The winner of the Winter Solstice contest is: Chelsea! Congratulations, Chelsea. Send me your email address so I can contact you about your gift card choice. Thanks so much to everyone who participated. Happy Solstice to all!Here's the cover for the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, which contains my story, "Blood Song." It will be released April, 2009 here in the USA (Feb., 09 in the UK). Just for fangs and giggles, I'm going to hold a contest until the Winter Solstice (my second favorite holiday after Halloween/Samhain!). Okay, here's the deal: Leave a comment, telling me what the fellow on the cover is thinking. Be creative (but remember that kids read this blog, too!) I'll pick a winner on the evening of Dec. 21 (the longest night -- what a delicious metaphor) and the winner will receive -- drum roll -- a $25 gift certificate from Borders or Barnes & Noble (your choice).

So, there you go. Have at it!