Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for...Zeus by Matt Posner


Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE!  


Can you believe it? This is it, the last post in the A-Z Challenge. Who better to wrap things up than Zeus, king of the Greek gods? Join Matt Posner as he gives us the scoop on some cool Greek mythology. Zeus was a naughty god indeed, but he may have had a little non-Grecian help. Read on to see what I mean!

Z is for...Zeus 

Z is for Zeus, which is the English spelling of the Greek king of the gods. Zeus is a character that has transformed from a genuine Greek religious figure, to the Roman god Jupiter or Jove, to a hero and villain in 21st-century movies. First I'll tell you a selection of mythology regarding Zeus' origin and personality; then I'll tell you a theory of how Zeus came to be how he is.
Zeus & Europa 
The mythology states that at the time of creation, there were male and female gods called Ouranos, or Sky, and Gaea, or Earth. These two mated and produced a generation of gods called the titans. The leader of the titans was Cronus (Time). He rose against his father, defeated him, and became the new king of the gods, taking as the queen of the gods none other than his sister, Rhea. (Incest taboos don't apply to primal beings like these, you see.)  A prophecy from their parents stated that his son would overthrow him, just as he had overthrown his father. Thus, Cronus decided to swallow his children as they were born. Rhea was tired of having her children disappeared, and so she substituted a stone for the latest one, who was Zeus. Then Zeus was raised in secrecy, and when the time came, he rose up and defeated his father, as prophesied, restoring all of his brothers and sisters from inside Cronus.
After assigning roles to his existing siblings, Zeus married his sister Hera and got busy making baby gods.  Each of the major gods, the Twelve Olympians, has a varying heritage, some being siblings, some his children. There are also a lot of heroes that owe their birth to father Zeus. Zeus, you see, was a sexually active king of the gods. He went around sleeping with divine and mortal females alike. Once, in the case of Dionysus, the youngest of the twelve Olympians, a god resulted, but most of the time, it was either a mortal hero or a demigod (like Heracles). Hera couldn't do anything about this cheating, because Zeus was so much more powerful. In the Iliad, Zeus claims that if he had a giant tug-of-war with all the other Olympians combined, he would win. No doubt true.
Zeus courting Ganymede
Why was Zeus so dominant and so eager to spread his divine legacy?
Greek historians record the ancestral belief of the Greeks that their ethnicity was formed by conquest. A people living on the Greek peninsula were taken over by invaders called the Dorians. This isn’t a proven event, but it’s at least plausible that there was a big cultural shift in ancient Greece at a time before writing existed there.  If there really was a Dorian conquest, then Zeus is the Dorian god, and his conquest of the prior generation of gods makes sense. It's a means of political and religious control for the new people to dominate the indigenous ones. Here's the message:
"We conquered you, and our god Zeus conquered your gods. Not only that, but if you worship a goddess, then Zeus has had sex with her, either consensually or through rape, and so Zeus is the father of your local hero or city founder also."
The Jupiter
of Smyrna
Here's a hypothetical. Let's say that in the region near Argolis, the eastern Peloponnese, the local mother goddess figure was called Alcmene. Along come our hypothetical Dorians, conquer the area, and then explain how it REALLY happened. Zeus disguised himself as the father god figure, Amphitryon, and became the REAL father of their famous offspring, Heracles, also known by his Latin name Hercules. Over time, Zeus gets all the credit, and both Alcmene and Amphitryon, formerly local gods, are re-imagined as mortals who got played by the much more powerful Zeus. And the mighty fertility god Heracles, known for being shown with a large penis (his "club") and for always fathering a child with every woman he gets with, become a demigod hero rather than a major deity as in the older culture.
Worship of Zeus, as the Roman god Jupiter, was obliterated in the centuries after the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Zeus became a marginal literary figure, and most major images of him, including the world-famous statue at Olympia by the Greek master artist Phidias, were destroyed as obscenities. In the Renaissance,  Zeus was redeemed as a cultural figure, and Greek mythology enjoyed several centuries of popularity in Europe.
Zeus by Buscema and Palmer
Zeus has had a long history in literature and movies. Moving forward from his roles in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, he has been part of both serious and comic stories and art. Recently, Zeus has been seen in the Clash of the Titans movies, being actually killed in Wrath of the Titans, which came out in early April. My favorite recent incarnation of Zeus is in Marvel comics, where he is a giant red-bearded dude who flies off the handle a lot. Zeus' best musical rendition is "Jupiter, the God of Jollity" by English composer Gustav Holst.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz0b4STz1lo
This is about half of one percent of what can be said about Zeus. If you liked it, please go to Amazon.com and buy all my School of the Ages books. For links, go to my website http://schooloftheages.webs.com and scroll down to the bottom. 
****
Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, Florida, he does what he can to make young people's lives better. 


Website:  http://schooloftheages.webs.com
Twitter  @schooloftheages
Facebook:  search "school of the ages series" 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's Release Day!!!

"'Serenya's Song' is a masterpiece." ~Jenny Twist, author of Domingo's Angel

Serenya’s Song Available Now!


***For a LIMITED TIME***

Buy ONE signed, print copy of Serenya’s Song, get ONE signed print copy of A Ranger’s Tale absolutely free (US only)! For details, contact me using the message link in the sidebar.

I'm so happy to announce the second book in my Tallenmere fantasy romance series, Serenya's Song, available now from Melange Books!

In case you’re wondering, Tallenmere is a fantasy world that is rather Tolkienesque. In the first three books, the focus is on the elves, whereas in The Lord of the Rings, our pointy-eared protagonists existed as more of a whimsical side plot. If you enjoy fantasy mixed with sensual romance, you'll enjoy this series!

Readers from every corner of the world fell in love right along with Caliphany and Galadin in A Ranger's Tale and felt the twang of Jayden Ravenwing's broken heart. Now, Jayden, the sexy wood-elf secret agent, gets another shot at love.

Take a look at the blurb and this exciting excerpt to see what's in store for him and his perfect match:

In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, no one ever said love was easy...
Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she's no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she's endured gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she's ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.
Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.
When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in the town may die.
Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they've always dreamed of.

Excerpt from Chapter 25:

Serenya
Jayden caught my gaze. “What is it?”
 “Only that…I wish this dance would never end.”
 “Maybe it doesn’t have to.” He pulled me close, and his lips brushed my ear. “I love you, Serenya. And I’ll do whatever it takes to prove it to you.”
Pain squeezed my heart. In Jayden’s arms, I felt safe, warm, and wanted. The beauty of his words rushed through me, but they were bittersweet, not knowing what the future held. It was too easy to get lost in the illusion. But, just for a little while, I let go and welcomed the feelings I’d tried to suppress for so long.
We moved as one, like the time we spent in his cabin. Heaven itself couldn’t outshine the tiny space we occupied on the dance floor. The crowded ballroom faded to a backdrop for our masterpiece. Every step composed the notes of our secret melody. We searched each other’s eyes with an unflinching song of hope and possibility.
Whispers cut through our heaven and slashed at my happiness.
“Look at the poor thing. Couldn’t have a baby.”
“I’d wager forty gold the Earl has a bastard child somewhere.”
The dance ended. Everyone applauded in polite appreciation for the musicians. I shook my head to try to clear the voices.
Jayden took my hand. “Are you all right?”
“I think so.”
“I’ll walk you to the bar.”
I put my arm in his and let him lead me there. The voices kept coming.
“Wonder if that wood-elf’s ever seen her claws. He’d run screaming for the hills if he had.”
Jayden leaned close to my ear. “It’s time. I’ll be right back.”
I nodded. He slipped through the crowd toward the ballroom entrance. I scanned the room and pinpointed cliques of guests several feet away. Their whispered voices shouldn’t have been audible, but I watched their lips move as they spoke.
“The Earl’s a saint for marrying her. Or a martyr.”
 I wanted to run outside and bury my head in the cool garden soil.
 I put my hands to my ears and whispered, “Stop it, stop it, stop it.”
 The voices died down to a dull drone. Was Lilly wrong? Was I mad after all? A sharp trumpet blast startled me. The crowd parted for a small procession of clowns, acrobats and musicians from the Traveling Opera. Cheers and laughter grew in volume as the people stopped to look.
 I’d completely forgotten that I’d arranged this part for Lilly. She stepped over to me, lifting her shoulders with an incredulous shrug.
         I smiled apologetically. “Surprise!”


I LOVE to hear from my readers—please leave some comments at the links below!  ~Mysti

Five Stars From Jenny Twist, author of Domingo’s Angel: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/312804857





Saturday, April 28, 2012

Interview with Jess C. Scott, co-author of "Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships"

Coming Soon!
Hiya peeps! I'm thrilled to have Jess C. Scott here today, talking about the first non-fiction book featured on Unwritten. She, along with Matt Posner, who I've had the pleasure of interviewing and hosting for contests, have written the Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships. Long ago and far away, I was a teenager myself, and this book might have come in handy! Let's see what it's all about.

Welcome to Unwritten, Jess. First, please tell us what you do when you're not writing about teenage angst.

Thanks for having me today, Misty (and "hello" to all your blog readers too)! 

Great question. When I'm not writing about teenage angst, I guess I'm writing about adult angst (there's usually some kind of interplay between love and sex, thought and emotion, and other "conflicting desires/motivations").



I'm always interested in how collaborations come about. First, how did you meet Matt, and where did this idea come from?

Back in 2010, Matt saw a message I posted on Amazon (I think it was a request for some proofreaders for one of my books). We exchanged some emails and supported each other's novels in terms of cross-promotion on our various social media platforms.

Matt and I enjoy writing in different genres (fiction as well as non-fiction). One of the genres I specialize in is relationship-based erotic fiction (where the focus isn't solely on "graphic scenes" meant to titillate the reader). 

In late 2011, Matt asked if I'd be interested in co-authoring a book he'd had on the back-burner for a while. He described it as a book that offered "straight talk about sex to teens" via both a male and a female perspective on similar issues. 

The concept was cool and sincere--I'd have to be insane not to have jumped at the opportunity to contribute to the project!


I snooped around your website, jessINK publishing, and see that the book is in a Q & A format. Did you ask teenagers to send in the questions for this book or did you just do research to find out what concerns teenagers have in this area?

Thanks for snooping! The questions are based on informal knowledge and experience, with no attempt to be particularly scientific or thorough. We wanted to provide mostly common-sense and basic information, written for those who know very little or are confused. 

We did enlist the help of some teens who were kind enough to beta-read the first draft and provide us with some feedback. We ended up incorporating a couple of questions that were requested by the very insightful beta readers.


I know Matt is a NYC teacher, so how big of a role did his vocation play in this project?

Yes, and he's a very hardworking teacher. I think his vocation was one of the motivating factors for the project. As a city teacher, it's tough for Matt to give straight talk about sex to teens without the risk of being accused of sexual harassment. Teachers may observe teens engaging in risky/dangerous behavior without understanding how to handle the minefield of 21st-century sex and relationships, but it's difficult for teachers to directly intervene. As a writer, though, Matt knew he could still put his ideas out there and potentially help someone.

It's been a while since I've been in high school. Have you discovered that things have changed over the past twenty years when it comes to teenagers and intimate relationships, and if so, how?

I grew up in Singapore and graduated from high school about ten years ago--I think the "speed" of life tends to increase with each new generation. There are smart phones and an endless amount of entertainment being produced (in the form of books, movies, music, magazines, etc), though I think these things can sometimes be a form of "information overload." 

A person (whether they're a teenager or an adult) isn't exactly encouraged to reflect on things or pay attention to their emotional health, so to speak. People might be connected via social media and technology, but this doesn't necessarily mean the actual quality of their relationships is better. In the long run, it is important not to sacrifice quality for quantity (whether it's with human relationships or anything else in life). 


Jess, I hate to break it to you, but no one is immune to my random questions, not even non-fiction writers. So, here's your, though you may find it not-so-random: If you could go back and give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would that be?

Randomness Rules (it keeps things fresh and interesting).

I think I'd tell my teenage self to "carry on" with the way she'd done everything. As a teen, I'd do whatever I was passionate about because I liked giving my 100% when I cared about something. It's a "tradition" I'm proud to continue into my mid-twenties.


Lastly, would you give us an excerpt from the Teen Guide?


Sure--here's a short excerpt:


Qn. Should I undergo plastic surgery to look more attractive?   

MATT

A girl may think that if she has bigger breasts, boys will like her, or that if her nose were smaller, she would be more admired. She may think she is ugly and that plastic surgery is necessary to make her beautiful. However, a genuine smile or a laugh can make even a relatively unappealing face attractive. I have met plenty of women over the years whom I did not consider attractive but who had husbands and children. Confidence, happiness, and sincerity are attractive. Being in good health helps, too. Your physical look does matter, and some girls get overlooked while others get a lot of attention, but eventually, this always sorts itself out.

JESS:

Looks eventually fade--aging is a part of life. One might spend a lot of money and/or many hours a day (or week/month) on looks, but those hours are not going to help a person become a better person.

I've always thought that there's more to human life than external looks. One has a mind and personality and heart to cultivate. I think these things deserve as much, if more attention, than one's physical appearance. Just because vain and shallow values are prevalent doesn't mean they're good values for society. And you don't have to buy into any message or brand or product, if you decide not to.   

Thank you very much for stopping in, Jess, and I hope you can return!

****

For more information on the Teen Guide and on Jess C. Scott and her work, visit her website at: http://www.jessINK.com/teenguide.htm

Y is for...Yggrich by Mysti Parker


Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE!  

Can you believe we're almost to the end? And since no one else wanted poor letter Y, I thought I'd share a little more of my fantasy world with you. "What the hobgoblin is Yggrich", you ask? "I can't even pronounce it." Not to worry, because you won't see it that much. Yggrich is not exactly a vacation spot. It's a province covered almost entirely in swampy, mossy forests at the southern tip of Innessa, the main land mass where my Tallenmere series takes place. Sit back, children, and let me tell you about the inhospitable Yggrich, where ogres and trolls fight for domination.

Y is for...Yggrich 

You hear the word ogre, and you immediately think of Shrek, with all his onion-y layers of goodness. Sure, he's big and loud and smelly. He loves his swamp and is fond of his bodily functions. But, shall we be truthful here? Shrek is really just a lovable teddy-bear in green skin.

Not so in Yggrich. The ogres and trolls didn't choose to be there. Oh, no. They would much rather live on the rich, fertile fields of Leogard, take over the palace, dance on King Leopold's throne, and do unspeakable acts on his banquet table. Had it not been for magical wards and the efforts of paladins and rangers, they would still be roaming the Southern Plains, doing their best to feast on anything that moves. Trolls find elven meat highly desirable, second only to halfling meat and the occasional sheep. Ogres aren't picky in the least, which is one reason the trolls detest being forced into close contact with them.

Yet, they both agree on one thing. They hate the dark, dank province of Yggrich, where the only things to eat (besides their neighbors), is what lurks beneath the slime-covered waters and slithers along the limbs of night willows. Some of those things are small and spear-able. But, that's not the problem. The problem is that some of those things are big enough to eat the hunter. No, Yggrich is not a place anyone wants to be.

Every once in a while, a rogue ogre or band of trolls will make it past the borders, desperate to get out of their forced relocation. To illustrate, let me show you this scene from A Ranger's Tale:

From Ch. 28 (Caliphany):


I pried at the crude metal bars with my fingers. “Let me out of here, you ugly monsters!”
That only prompted more laughing from my victorious green captors.
My first mistake was coming here alone to face an unknown number of foes in unfamiliar territory. I had spotted three trolls around a campfire, and then I spotted the makeshift sheep pen some distance from them. Another bout of nausea overwhelmed me, and when I decided to let the sheep out before killing the trolls, I made my second mistake. As soon as I opened the gate, the stupid sheep tried to pour through all at once, trampling each other and making quite the ruckus.
The three trolls from the campfire came running. I had to drop concealment to pull off my shot. Nocking three arrows along my bow, I held it horizontally and fired. They all fell, but before I could celebrate my first successful multi-arrow kill, three more grabbed me from behind. And then I was stuck in a cage, dangling from a tree.
“What’s we gonna do wit dis one?” asked the smallest troll. “Cans we puts her on da fire? She will be’s yummy, yes?” He tossed some kindling on the roaring fire and danced around excitedly.
The largest troll scratched around the warts on his chin and shook his head. I presumed he was the leader of this band. “No. Look at her. She one of dose pretty elfies. She fetch a high ransom, me bets.”
When I held up my hands to incinerate them all, a slender troll with feathers on his head held up a reed and blew a dart into my thigh. I pulled it out, but my vision blurred. The rough metal edges of the cage bottom pressed painfully into my cheek as I fell. Try as I might, I could not hold my eyes open.
I heard the echoing voice of the troll leader as the poison lured me into unconsciousness. “Good. Now she quiet. We send word into Leogard city—give us thousand gold or no see pretty elf again. Two days we give dem. Then you’s can eats her, Grak.”

****
Ok, I know what you're thinking. Why even ask for ransom, when they'll likely attract more attention that way? I didn't say they were smart, did I? Just read A Ranger's Tale and you'll see how Caliphany gets out of that mess. She's very talented at getting into messes. Just ask Jayden. Once you're done with that, of course you'll want to read Serenya's Song, and lucky for you, it's coming tomorrow!!!
****
Mysti Parker divides her time between raising three crazy kids (4 if you count her husband), running this blog, and writing about the magic and mayhem of Tallenmere. 

To see the world where these gods and monsters wreak havoc, while ill-fated couples battle unspeakable forces to find true love, read her Tallenmere fantasy romance series, starting with Book One, A Ranger's Tale. *See Publications and where to buy at top of blog*

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for...Xenolith by Nora Weston

Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE!  

I have to commend dear Nora Weston for tackling X. She's written a beautiful poem, so do leave a comment. I'll give her the floor for this introduction:

X marks the spot? X-rays or maybe xylophones could have been my topic for X-day. I considered Xi, which has many meanings, like being a Greek letter and an ancient Chinese state during the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, but no…none of those x-words would do. Xylotrya—a genus of marine bivalves and xyridaceae, plants of tropical to temperate regions and usually found in wet places, were also at the top of my list. Then, I came upon Xenolith, which is a piece of rock of different origin from the igneous rock in which it is implanted, and it just sounded right. I did spin this into a science fiction piece, so if it sounds “out there,” that’s why! Thanks to Mysti, I am now aware of many x-words that I never knew existed.

X is for...XENOLITH By Nora Weston


she, with eyes dipped into the Black Sea,
that weep precisely when the mood darkens
possessing watermelon-glossed lips
and locks of midnight shining almost indigo

Buy it HERE!
she looks like me

ivory flesh sculpted upon bones of depravity
pale enough for some to believe
she should not be, should stay beneath
where the bitter cold freezes cryptic dreams

still, she looks like me

who knows when her slumbering
deep within third planet rock, left her
to bake in an epidermis of distant origin
with stolen building blocks of humanity…
Buy it HERE!

heavens, she has become me

to think she is not alone
rather one of a famished multitude
birthed in a core she cares little for
yet, offers a fully stocked refuge

not that I’ll just give up and die

on foreign soil, from a faraway place                                                                                                       
she does not belong, yet is now embedded
forever to hunt my kind as a cruel reminder
of what may hide behind human eyes

 ****
Nora Weston’s fiction and poetry slips in-between and all around science fiction, fantasy, and horror. The most terrifying things Nora has encountered are teenagers...with driving permits, and she’s taught five of these frightening creatures to drive. Her publishing credits include the novels Guardian 2632 and The Twelfth Paladin, plus anthologies, magazines, and e-zines. Themes found in Nora’s work relate to good against evil, Internet safety, the powerful consequences for one’s actions, and the ability we all possess to improve the world. She’s had the pleasure of reaching people through the airwaves on radio stations throughout the US. Currently, Nora’s work appears in Crack the Spine and BĂȘte Noire. Feel free to download previous interviews and segments from Blog Talk Radio’s Not Picture Perfect, plus B.K. Walker has interviewed Nora at Blog Talk Radio as well.

Twitter: almostsanelady

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for...Wispy by Dan Wright


Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE! 


Golly, I love fantasy critters, and Dan Wright has put a big smile on my face with this one. Plus, it's a little cat creature, and I've been a cat lover ever since I could toddle around and hide kittens under my shirt to sneak them inside. Get ready for cuteness overload and please leave a comment!

W is for...Wispy the Grimalkin


Cats were a much loved animal on Draconica; and were indeed a popular pet amongst many races, due to them being the cuddliest of animals and they had the ability to look after themselves.

But Wispy was more than just your average cat – she was a grimalkin!

Grimalkins were one of the most unique creatures on Draconica – they were one of the first animals that learned to speak human language. How this was possible, no one knew – many believed it had to be down to magic. 

Nevertheless, this didn’t stop many alchemists on the planet using the grimalkin as a basis for magical experiments – creating more talking animals.

As the pet of the Dragonkin family (ruled by Queen Daniar), Wispy lived a very idyllic lifestyle – being fed on regular occasions, given soft pillows to sleep on, and being allowed to come and go as she pleased. Wispy often had ways of getting what she wanted, due to her cute looks. All she had to do was widen her eyes and lower her ears, sometimes letting out a tiny meow and she could melt even the hardest of hearts. She even had formed a pretty good friendship with Daniar’s son, Benji Dragonkin – who was training to be a warrior like his mother.

Yes, life was good for Wispy.

But it wasn’t always that way. Wispy could still remember the days back before now. Days she’d rather forget. The cold rain against her fur, her mothers’ still body that wouldn’t move no matter how many times Wispy rubbed her head against her, Wispy crying in the night whilst trying to shelter from the terror that lurked in the dark.

There wasn’t a day that went by that Wispy didn’t count her blessings on how lucky she was. But she could never forget those days.

(Illustrations by Alexis M Centeno – Story and characters by Dan Wright).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Wright lives in Canterbury, UK with his brother and their cat – although he spends most of his time in a fantasy world! A writer of Fantasy that was strongly inspired by Manga, Dan currently is writing a series of books set in the world of Draconica, where dragons once ruled as gods! He is heavily inspired by medieval fiction, Greek and Egyptian mythology and a few RPG’s. And did I mention his favourite animals are pandas and cats?

He has written two books, Trapped on Draconica and The Wandering Valkyr with more planned for the year. The above is an excerpt of a children’s book that he intends to write in the future. He also reviews books for the website Read2Review and always likes to promote new and independent authors. His favourite book of last year was, believe it or not A Ranger’s Tale.

Please visit his website for more details of his work and reviews.

Website and Blog: http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for...Vampire by Ian Hall


Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE!


I think you'll find today's post quite informative! If you've ever wondered why on earth vampires are so widely popular, why thousands of fans line up to see them sparkle...ok, ok, I won't go there, but Ian Hall sheds a little light (sorry to the vamps who don't like that) on this cultural phenomenon in...

V is for Vampires

Since their introduction in 1897 into modern culture by Irish newspaper hack, Bram Stoker, vampires have rarely left the public interest.
However, although he was the most famous vampire novelist, he wasn’t the first. “Dracula” was inspired by John Polidori’s 1817 novel “The Vampyre”, and “Carmilla”, Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 tale of a lesbian vampire who preyed on defenseless women, and back in 1847, “Varney the Vampire” was a penny pamphlet, in a series that lasted two years.
In fact, going back to 1748, there are at least 17 different literary references to vampires before Bram Stoker took up the challenge.
And from that day to this, we’ve been obsessed with the fiery-fanged creatures.
So what’s the deal with vampires? Because, unless you live under a rock, they’re still around, the vampire genre is still making lots of money in every media, and still has the most fanatical of followings.
Well, as one of the newest vampire novelists, and after four novels and many shorts, I should have something of an explanation, but actually I’m still not quite sure.
Buy it HERE!
The only thing I know is that we love writing them, and our readers reflect the sentiments. The alter-world in which they exist is almost sci-fi, but not quite. Their aggression is often linked to sexual passion, and who doesn’t mind a bit of that now and again? On the screen and on television, the actors are perfect, beautiful, and sometimes glittery/sparkly.
Every author writes their own set of vampire rules, and then goes and breaks them, just for the fun of it. Vampire romances are the new Mills and Boon for teenagers, and they sell in millions.
So now, no further forward, I lift a glass to the curving canine teeth that spawned many generations of writers and readers, and slip another carefully garlic-rubbed stake onto the bar-b-que.
(And, yes, I did spell ‘stake’ correctly.)
****
I am Scottish, born in Edinburgh, and spent the first 41 years of my life, not far from my fair and bonnie "Athens of the North". I now live in Topeka, Kansas, with my wife (bless her), no pets (don't like 'em), no children (all moved out), and with many gallons of home-made wine bubbling as I write.

My biggest achievement to date (apart from the successful parenting of my darling daughter, Lorraine) is my published novel; "Opportunities: Jamie Leith in Darien." I'm not confined by genres, having equal success in Historical Adventure, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Horror and hard hitting gritty Crime.

I watch far too much football (Don't even think of calling it 'soccer'.) and at times chase a dimpled ball along carefully manicured countryside, with a collection of calibrated, graphite-shafted sticks.

I play guitar and sing in a folk/rock band, and would love to have enough money to tour the world's archeological sites until I'm too old to walk.

I love to write, and enjoy literary challenges of all kinds.
My blog is: http://www.jamieleith.blogspot.com
My main website is: http://www.ianhallauthor.com
My Jamie Leith website is; http://www.jamieleith.com

My blog is:
And my website is:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for...Unusual by Tara Fox Hall


Welcome to Unwritten's little corner of the the A-Z Blogging Challenge! If you want to see the whole lineup, click HERE!


Ever since my grandmother had me sitting at her feet begging to hear more of her ghost stories, I've had a love of all things weird. Aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, goblins, and of course, elves. You name it...the weirder, the better. My own life is surprisingly boring, compared to Tara Fox Hall's short biographical piece. Read on and see what I mean!!

U IS FOR...UNUSUAL


            I have always been attracted to the unusual. Who wants to be ordinary; just another face in the crowd? Stand out instead, proudly, and defy the masses! Is it any surprise then that my latest paranormal hero is not a cuddly werewolf, or a sad lonely vampire looking for his teen soul mate, but a weresnake? I didn’t choose a snake for a male lead on accident, but on purpose. I wanted my books to be different; not just romance, or suspense, or scary, but all of the above. I wanted my characters to not only be good and kind, but also capable of great evil and brutality.

            I like unusual pets (snake, again, though there is also a spider in my bathtub whose name is Frank). I have unusual friends (weapons sometimes appear in the mail, like knives, and hatchets). Even my middle name of Fox is a bit unusual, so much so that I got flak in grade school for it from other kids. I like to learn new things (taught myself to knit socks and how to sew on machine, and learned how to repair and maintain machinery, as well as operate it). I enjoy haunting the thrift stores, not only for the money I save, but for the weird and wonderful items I find that are like nothing I’ve seen in a store. Who can resist sequin or beaded jeans, or a tank top that says, “cranky”?

Buy it HERE!
            I’m weird myself (my husband is the first to tell me this, sometimes daily) and I enjoy surprising him. Years ago, I bought a wig with long, burgundy red tresses. I put it on that night, and went to bed, sitting there waiting for him to come home. He came in all smiles, took one look and let out a loud yell. When he recovered, he admitted that he’d thought me a stranger. I, of course, was doubled up laughing.

            Our wedding was a mix of religions and traditions, with a priest and priestess presiding, my invocation of my Heavenly Father, and my mother reading a poem of Apache beliefs. We created our own vows, which we both read, and also a scripted service, complete with athame and chalice (guess which one of us had the knife?). The hand fasting cord that was tied about our clasped hands was one I spent days embroidering with the words “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds”, along with tiny figures of our pets, some flowers, and a few bats and spiders, for variety. We had a traditional music band, but when they went on break, a drum circle began, with my husband drumming and myself and some of the other ladies dancing. It was our wonderful, magical day.
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            Of course, sometimes all this interest in odd things gets me into trouble. I remember looking into numerology when I was a teen, so curious to find out my life number, and other relevant info by assigning numbers to dates when I was born and the letters of my name. Discovering that “666” was in the very middle of my name gave me a shock of terror (yes, its true—see Alphabetic Systems, under Numerology on Wikipedia). I spent a week sure I had to be the antichrist, then moved onto something else.

            But there is an upside to my life of strangeness: I’ve not been bored in many years. If you only get one life—and you do, BTW—why not make it as unusually wonderful as possible?


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Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first full-length action-adventure novel, Lash, published in April 2012. Her vampire series begins in June 2012, with the 1st novel Promise Me. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

Links:
www.tarafoxhall.com


Tara's Facebook Page:

For info on my most recently published work, Lash, click here:  http://www.amazon.com/Lash-ebook/dp/B007UJ6KGC