Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Family Truth behind "The Shadow Lord"

Vampires based in Fact

            It was a lovely Southern summer afternoon—late afternoon, in fact.  What the townspeople called “evening,” that time before day turns into night and the sun begins to dim.  It was around six o’clock when Warene de Vissage stepped from the dining room of the house onto the back porch, calling to her child to come in for dinner.  The sinking sun was shining on the back side of the house and Warene was sheltered from its rays by four walls and a roof.  Nevertheless, she could see the heat rising in shimmering waves  from the sidewalk fifteen  feet away behind the barrier of a running rose-covered picket fence.  She could also feel that same heat touching her skin and surrounding her like a prickling aura.

            Wrapping her arms protectively across her chest, she hurried back inside not waiting for the child to obey.

            The next morning, Warene awoke in agony.  Her skin burned, felt hot and tight.  Staggering out of bed and to the mirror above her vanity, she stared at the horrorific image before her…its skin crimson and scorched, blistered and scaling, the burst edges of blisters curled and inflamed.  As if someone had held her over an open fire.  To touch her face brought excruciating pain.  To look at it brought tears.  It itched, it burned, and the awful part was…she knew why.

            The sun…reflecting off the pavement. 

Hadn’t she felt its heat?  She’d dared step outside during daylight, thinking just this once, it wouldn’t matter…just this once, so late in the day, she wouldn’t suffer, but though she hurried back inside, that damnable sun still found her, and did its work.

            It would be weeks before she would heal.

This may sound like the beginning of a vampire story, but it’s true, taken from my own mother’s life.  Maman suffered from PMLE.  Polymorphic light eruption is one of the less virulent forms of XP, xeroderma pigmentosum…a condition in which an individual’s DNA cannot repair the damage done to the skin by ultraviolet  rays.  There is also the danger of cancer ( 2,000 times stronger than for an unaffected individual) or progressive neurological damage.

Not much was known about it back in Maman’s day and she was given no treatment,  except the usual and customary treatment prescripts for an “allergy,” which did absolutely nothing in the way of alleviating her pain, and definitely didn’t provide a cure.   One doctor actually suggested ultraviolet treatments, and the result of that…you can imagine.

Although they now say that PMLE generally resolves itself by age 30, there’s no cure for XP. XP suffers never come out in daylight; they live their entire lives after dark.  Maman, however, refused to do that.  Probably because she had no true knowledge of what she was suffering from, and because she had a family to take care of, she simply forged ahead with her life.  She was  never  able to go into the sunlight without being completely covered from head-to-toe, even on the most overcast days.  Long pants, knee socks, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves,  a neck scarf, and a wide-brimmed hat were her usual attire when leaving the house, plus the addition of an umbrella…and still, she could be touched by sunlight reflecting from the pavement or any surface, and going through her clothes to cause first degree burns.

PMLE/XP appears to be hereditary,  though the occurrence is one in a million, so I was lucky; even with my blond hair and fair skin, I can walk in sunlight with no more than the normal fear of getting a sunburn.  SPF-70 sunblock and I are old friends, however, and I use it faithfully.  My mother’s skin, where it wasn’t scarred by old, healed burns (mostly on her arms), was as pale and translucent as a piece of alabaster.

In hindsight, I imagine this condition also contributed to her death of ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

Okay, you’re probably saying about now.  This is all very interesting, and you have our sympathy, Tony-Paul, but… What does this have to do with vampires? I want to hear about your latest novel,  not your familial illnesses.

The inference is obvious, and may be one of the ways the vampire myth began.  If you were a superstititious person living in a primitive time when it was believed the sun sank into the sea every night and rose from it every morning, and you saw someone actually burned by that same sun…someone who was only comfortable after dark and only felt he could safely come out of his dwelling in nighttime…what would you think?  Other opinions have been offered:  premature burials, porphyria, lycanthropy.  I’m certain all these—plus PMLE and XP—attributed to the legend a good many of us who are writers have used to our advantage.

When I began my series The Second Species, I wanted my vampires to be different, not the usual Undead, sleeping-in-a-coffin type.  So I made them a living people, a second species of Mankind, divorced from their human brothers because of their differences.  They have many characteristics of the Undead but I’ve given them  acceptable  reasons:  the entire group suffers from XP, therefore they can’t emerge into sunlight.  I explained away other vampiric characteristics.  They have allergies—the most powerful one being to garlic and certain herbs.  Their refusal to look at crosses, etc., is not because they are repulsed by them but because their own religion demands they not look on the sacred objects of other faiths, and so on.  They have certain Laws, Canon handed down from their gods, to govern their behavior,  especially in regard to humans.  Understanding how normal people fear them, they have hidden themselves away in the cloud-covered peaks of the Carpathians where the sun never penetrates and whenever they emerge, tragedy inevitably follows.

That is the story behind the creation of my “vampires,” based in fact, elaborated in fiction.  The first novel in the series, The Shadow Lord, will in the early months of 2013 by Double Dragon Publishing.  Look for it…I think you’ll enjoy it…and feel a little sympathy for those true suffers who are “deprived of God’s holy sunlight.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dark God Descending

Tony-Paul de Vissage Author Bio:

One of Tony-Paul de Vissage’s first movie memories is of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter, on television, and being scared sleepless—and that may explain a lifelong interest in vampires. 
This was further compounded when the author crossed paths with a band of transplanted Transylvanian vampires sightseeing in the South.  Thinking nosferatu were getting a bad press and in need of some favorable publicity, he decided to use his writing to change that attitude.  Though it may be argued his efforts have probably done the opposite, no vamp has complained…yet.

A voracious reader whose personal library has been shipped more than 3,000 miles, Tony-Paul has read hundreds of vampire tales and viewed as many movies
The Maya Gave us Something More than a Calendar

I guess we can all relax.  Archaeologists excavating in Xultun, Gautemala, have uncovered a hidden room which houses wall paintings indicating the world isn’t going to end on December 22, 2012. The walls reveal the oldest known astronomical tables from the Maya, dating from about 1200 years ago and extending 6,000 years into the future, proving that Time will indeed “keep marching on.”

Since that problem’s out of the way, let’s turn to something also Mayan but a lot less worrisome.

Recognize this plot?

In the jungles of the Yucatan, a lost city flourishes.  It’s stumbled upon by scientists who carry away some object precious to the inhabitants.  In doing so, they bring a curse upon themselves as the embodiment of the sacred object, itself mindless except for the desire for revenge, brings the wrath of the gods upon the wrongdoers.  Various minor characters are killed off as the hero struggles to save his friends and return the sacred object to its home...and the inevitable happy ending flashes upon the screen.

My soon-to-be-published vampire novel Dark God Descending touches on a few of these points, and then goes flying wildly away, as is my usual wont when writing about familiar themes.

There’s a lost city—Nikte Uaxac, where life is going on as it has for thousands of years—and a sacred object is definitely stolen from the city, but there the similarity ends.  The stolen object is the Emperor himself, Semris II, son of the god of Death, a vampire godling with too much curiosity about the Outside World. and Semris himself is the first to admit it.  In fact, it’s his “insatiable curiosity” that gets him kidnapped in the first place.

To the Maya, the vampire wasn’t a cursed creature but simply another of their gods, several gods in fact.  First and foremost was the God of Death, called by various names of Yum Cimil, Cizin, and Au Puch. Yum Cimil’s companion in the Underworld was Cama-Zotz, the demon bat, also known as Ikal Ahau, a gigantic bat who ate raw human flesh.  There was also a god called Zotzilaha, depicted as a tall man with wings and fangs.  Zotzilaha was supposed to have power over the living and was offered the sacrifice of human life.

Semris most closely resembles Cama-Zotz except for the fact that he is slowly in the process of becoming as human as the mortals over whom he rules.  When the story opens, he’s already lost his protective armor of scales, and he’s never taken blood directly from a living being.  He’s actually a “blood virgin” until his captors nearly starve him to death and he does the only thing he can.  He attacks the one man who’ll soon become his friend.

From the moment Semris sinks his fangs into Tuck’s arm, their lives will never be the same again.

Tuck walked over to the cage.
Oh, God, did that last shot kill him? As far as he could tell, Semris hadn’t moved.
When he saw the slow rise and fall of the bare chest, he felt abrupt relief. He also saw the golden amulet, recognizing it as the twin of the one that had started all this unpleasantness in the first place.
The fruit hadn’t been touched, was rapidly darkening, the sweet, overripe smell permeating the cellar, attracting flies. How the Hell did they get in here, anyway? Several big bluebottles were buzzing around inside the cell, hovering over the peaches, a couple crawling along the edges of the plate. One was floating in the water glass, wings fluttering and making little splashes.
Tuck knelt and opened the little flap, reaching inside to remove the glass. As he reached back in for the plate, it happened. so fast he didn’t even realize Semris had moved until he felt the iron grip upon his wrist, saw the fangs drop and the dark head covering his hand.
He screamed as twin razor slashes struck through his wrist...knowing no one could hear, struggled desperately to get away. Frantic, disbelieving thoughts whirling through his mind. Oh, God, this is why he didn’t eat the fruit. He’s a vampire! Sweet Jesus, he’s going to kill me! Help someone, help me! Why should they? I didn’t help him.
The pain went away, his arm numb from wrist to fingertips.
He knelt there on the floor, watching the pale body crouched so near he could have reached out and touched his shoulder...his bare, wingless shoulder.Where did his wings goWhat happened to them? All he could do was watch those shoulders heave with the strength of each deep swallow, feeling his life ebb away, and a vague surprise that it didn’t hurt at all.
Eyes rolling up, Tuck gave a little sigh and collapsed against the bars. He was barely conscious as he saw Semris raise his head and release his arm. In spite of being only slightly aware, he felt a stab of surprise as the quiet voice whispered, “Gracias. Gracias por su sangre.”
He’s thanking me? Thanking me for letting him kill me? With an effort, he made himself withdraw his wounded arm, cradling it against his chest with his other hand. Forcing his eyes open, he stared at his wrist, fighting the wave of blackness floating before his eyes.
There was no bloody ripped-away flesh as he’d imagined, only four deep punctures. Two of the five little veins had been pierced, but the wounds were clean and already clotting. Tuck forced himself to take a deep breath, then let it out, and repeated the procedure. Keep breathing! Don’t pass out. He might decide to have a second helping.
“I took too much. I am sorry. I was too hungry.”
There was such concern in Semris’ voice that Tuck found himself replying, “That’s all right. I-if I’d known, I… Oh, God, what am I saying?” He fell silent, feeling a bout of hysteria galloping toward him.
Something was thrust into his hand. One of the peaches. Semris’ hand, between the bars, holding it out to him. “Aqui. Come. Pronto.”
So he took the peach and bit into it, choking slightly as the rich, sweet juice slid down his throat, but forced himself to keep chewing and swallowing. As the fruit sugar hit his stomach, he began to feel better.
“That was good.” With a sigh, he tossed the peach pit aside.
Through the bars, hands helped him to his feet. He leaned against the door, hanging onto it to keep his balance as dizziness flooded back.
 “Again, I am sorry. He looked up, meeting Semris’ eyes, startled at the concern in them. “It has been so long since I have had the living wine.”
Living wine…what a beautiful way to describe it. Tuck still felt a little groggy, wondered if he was now under the vampire thrall. He decided to find out. “Am I your minion now?”
“Why would you think that?” Semris sounded genuinely puzzled.
“Well, you’ve taken my blood. Generally, when a vampire--”
Vampiro! Donde?” Semris looked around quickly, arms crossing over his throat in a protective gesture.
You.” Tuck answered, feeling he’d made a mistake. “Aren’t you a vampire?”
“Of course not!” The answer was disdainful that Tuck might mistake him for such a vile creature. “I am a Dark Lord. Un demonio.” The pale chin lifted proudly. “Los vampiros are creatures accursed.”
Tuck thought that over. “And you’re not.”
“No.” Semris shook his head, the dark hair swinging. “I am not.”
Tuck realized he must be feeling better, to be able to marvel at the absurdity of this conversation.

That’s grad student Tuck’s introduction to Semris, with whom he soon develops an emotional bond, as they communicate through an archaic form of Spanish. 

It’s the relationship between these two men—separated by millennia but joined by their unexpected friendship—that makes up the majority of the story.  Oh, there’s a love story, too, don’t doubt it—as well as a love triangle, but it’s the interaction between Tucker and Semris, and their attempts to learn about and accept each other which eventually changes both their lives, gaining one immortality and the other humanity, as well as affecting their loved ones and their people forever.

Dark God Descending has been described as a “unique, stay-up-all-night read.” by Margaret Marr, and received 5 Angels from Dark Angel Reviews.  House of Toad called it “a classic Indiana Jones adventure with a dark and bloody spin.”

As prejudiced as I am, I think it’s got something for anyone who likes the paranormal genre.  Adventure, suspense…sex, of course, most definitely.  Wouldn’t be a love story without it.  There’s some humor, as a staid and upright physician loses his inhibitions enough to become a permanent resident of his own particular Twilight Zone.  And don’t forget the blood and violence.  Plenty of that, too.  After all, it is a story about a vampire.  And the villain’s fate?  Totally and completely fitting, and at the same time ironic in the extreme.  If it were a movie, the audience would cheer!

Dark God Descending is scheduled for a very appropriate December release by Class Act Books, December 15, to be exact.  I tried to get it scheduled for December 22, but the publishers just wouldn’t agree.

NOTE:  To celebrate the discovery of the “new” Mayan calendar, I’m offering a copy of my novella Vampires are Forever to one lucky commenter who can answer this question:  Which Mayan vampire god does Semris most closely represent?

Author website:
Twitter: @tpvissage

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review of Jack Thompson's "Godmachine"

Jack Thompson’s Godmachine is a fascinating futuristic thriller reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, with a touch of Isaac Asimov’s I Robot thrown in, except the willing relinquishment of individual freedoms to an ever invasive government/Godmachine supercomputer in the name of greater security takes place on the planet Plixon rather than on Earth. Subservience for the “greater good” seems reasonable at each step of the way … until the tampering by elitists is revealed.

The story unfolds after a strange object is discovered on Mars, which is determined to be a recording device with a stern warning message from Plixon. The astronauts who discover the device decipher the message and send it to their superiors on Earth, but when the astronauts and the device are destroyed on re-entry, the reader is left with the empty feeling that political powers on Earth are not capable of heeding it. The Godmachine is a clever story, itself a stern warning about complacency. And just when you believe there is little hope humans can learn from the mistakes of others, the saga ends with a hint of hope for us all.

My take: this novel’s editing is outstanding—I didn’t find a single error. It is also a five-star read. Sci-Fi fans will love it, but those in favor of massive government control of individual lives might find it offensive. But hey, I believe that was the point.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review of: Church of the Path of Least Resistance by V. Mark Covington

V. Mark Covington
I was delighted Mr. Covington saw fit to send me his latest novel, Church of the Path of Least Resistance.  I have enjoyed every one of his books, and this one was no exception. I believe his material is fresh in concept and delivery with subtle humor throughout. Frankly, that is my favorite material to read, regardless of genre.This one falls in the fictional mystery category. If you try it, you will love it. I've given a few detailed thoughts below. Here's my five-star review.


What do Margaritas, Hurricanes, mud wrestling, hushpuppies, the Red Cross, and Patrick O’Brien’s New Orleans bar have in common? Not much is probably the correct answer; however, V. Mark Covington’s new novel, Church of the Path of Least Resistance, brings all these things together in a Forest Gumpian swashbuckling modern-day/flashback pirate story that is sure to please. The plot is complicated, but I will try to summarize without being a spoiler.

Mike Campari, a youth guidance counselor, searches for Jack Wolfe, a teenaged boy who has been abducted by a cult. Mike’s life is turned upside down when, for no apparent reason, he is marked for death and must run for his life to a hideout in the slums of Atlantic City. Desperate, Mike calls on lifelong friend and bank computer techie, John Wyle, and they both become hunted. John is organized and serious; Mike is carefree, a pretty Italian “Adonis” who always makes time for the ladies. The guys are like oil and water, but interact in comical ways with charming banter throughout the story.

John is the great-great-grandchild of Captain William Beauregard Wye of the Confederate States Navy ship, Tyranny Unmasked, who, in 1865, was ordered by President Jefferson Davis to protect the CSA gold when the Union Army overran Richmond. The story interweaves Mike and John’s history of friendship, their search for Jack Wolfe and their near-death encounters with assassins with the historical life and loves of Captain Wye, the CSA gold, the Caribbean, pirates, a treasure map linked to an old CSA flag, New Orleans, French prostitutes, and a cult called “A-Cent Youth Rescue Mission” in twisted turns that make the book almost impossible to put down.

Mike and John eventually discover the hit men are linked to the A-Cent compound in Arkansas, where Jack has been taken. As they plot to rescue Jack, they meet Molly, another escapee from the compound, and, through even more historical links to Captain William Wye, devise a plan to infiltrate the cult with a group of Civil War re-enactors and fifteen live-fire Civil War replica cannons. That’s when the U.S. Government gets involved.

Before it’s all over, many bodies are left in the wake of this story, and the reader is treated to surprise after surprise as the “origins” of mud wrestling, hushpuppies and the like are revealed. Do the boys save Jack, get the girls and the gold … or does the evil IRS win the day? I’m not telling, but I will say the story has a delightful ending that will leave every reader smiling … if not slapping his forehead and wondering, “Why didn’t I see that coming?”

The Church of the Path of Least Resistance is intricate, well-researched and fast-paced. It was a joy to read. I cannot imagine anyone giving it less than a five-star rating.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This week I had the pleasure of reading Baby, Species Intervention #6609, a novel by J.K. Accinni (edited/published by Skinny Leopard Media). As fate would have it, only last week I blogged about the reasons I read/write Sci-Fi at the Sweet N Sexy Divas blogspot, and it is against that blog I rate Baby as a solid five-star read. As stated in my blog, my criteria for outstanding Sci-Fi are imagination, technology, believability and some link to a fundamental force in the Universe larger than us. Baby brought all of those elements together, plus a compelling story that I couldn’t put down.

Baby tells the plight of a poor young woman, Netty, who escapes a brutal and violent marriage. Netty’s husband, twenty-two years her senior, is a corrupt judge during the time of prohibition (1929). As a lawyer years earlier, he discovered Netty inherited land and money she knows nothing about, and he married Netty to get her wealth. When he plans Netty’s death several years later, she escapes to a childhood hiding place. It is there she encounters a dying Oolahan, a creature who crash-landed on earth. That’s where the story gets incredibly interesting.

Author J.K. Accinni
The Oolahan can heal living things, but not themselves. Netty nurses the creature back to life, and they establish a lifelong bond. Astonishingly, Netty’s dilapidated farm undergoes a metamorphosis that defies logic as the Oolahan gets stronger, and J.K. Accinni develops the relationship between the two so carefully the reader will fall in love with them both. Hard work brings some success to Netty, but she can scarcely keep up. She subsequently saves Wil, a younger man, from freezing to death, and the two become close as he pitches in to help with the chores. Wil eventually discovers “Baby,” the Oolahan, and the three of them blossom into a loving family.

There are, however, downsides. Both Wil and Netty are changed, physically and mentally, by Baby. Alas, Netty’s  husband  remains a mean-spirited brute with far reaching influence. When her husband re-discovers his wife, and realizes his claim to her inheritance could be challenged, he moves to have everyone associated with her eliminated. Murder after murder follows, and the story of love becomes one of heartache and horror.

But wait, there’s more. Netty, Baby and Wil have all changed … to the point they transcend death. And Baby has produced an offspring of his own. The retributions begin, and we find even the kindest creature imaginable is capable of vengeance.

Beyond a fantastic and imaginative storyline, there is also this: the book is extremely well-edited and the vocabulary is refreshing. J.K. Accinni is an articulate and masterful storyteller with a solid understanding of grammar. I loved reading this novel. You will too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Notes from Annual NM Chili Cook-off

For those of you who have lived in New Mexico, you know the truth of this story. The annual Chili Cook-off is held about the time Halloween comes around, and takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the Santa Fe Plaza. Judge #3 was an inexperienced chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from  Springfield, IL.

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native New Mexicans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge #3."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:


Judge # 1 - A little too heavy on the tomato.  Amusing kick. 
Judge # 2 - Nice, smooth tomato
flavor. Very mild. 
Judge # 3 (Frank) - Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These New Mexicans are crazy.


Judge # 1 - Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang. 
Judge # 2 - Exciting BBQ flavor, but needs more peppers to be taken seriously. 
Judge # 3 - Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste
besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


Judge # 1 - Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. 
Judge # 2 - A bit salty; good use of peppers. 
Judge # 3 - Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting
 Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back. Now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shitfaced from all the beer.


Judge # 1 - Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing. 
Judge # 2 - Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili. 
Judge # 3 - I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This very ugly woman is starting to look HOT ... just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?


Judge # 1 - Meaty, strong chili.  Jalapeno peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive. 
Judge # 2 - Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the jalapeno peppers make a strong statement. 
Judge # 3 - My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue
from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.


Judge # 1 - Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers. 
Judge # 2 - The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 - My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

Judge # 1 - A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers. 
Judge # 2 - Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably. 
Judge # 3 -You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing.  I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing. It's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting
any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the four-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 - The perfect ending. This is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence. 
Judge # 2 - This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor fella. I wonder how he'd react to really hot chili.
Judge # 3 - No report.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vampire Tales from the Mind of Tony-Paul de Vissage

Did anyone hear about that little vampiric uprising that was held back in 1422 in Transylvania?  It made all the newspapers at the time, and the town criers were yelling about it from one street corner to the next.

Seems Baslo Rigla, Domnitor (that’s leader, to you English-speakers) of the nosferatu had to put down a revolt by one of his fledglings. They met in Transylvania, in a little place called, appropriately enough, Vale lui Destrugere (Valley of Destruction) and believe me, it was. All the rebels were killed, except one, and he—the upstart who started the whole mess, one Vlad Chemare by name—suffered the most extreme punishment of all. While his followers were burned to ash by the morning sun rising over the valley, Vlad was buried alive in an unmarked grave.

Rigla laughed all the way back to his castel and a long time afterward, as he sipped from a good dark wine, vintage Romanian Nobility, 1399. Unfortunately for Rigla, he forgot that Vlad had a very faithful thrall who was determined to find his master no matter how long it took.

So, in 2012, when a certain Marius Racleta flew out of Aeroportul International Bucuresti Henri Coanda from Bucharest, Rigla had no idea what was going to happen.  Had he known, perhaps he wouldn’t have been so complacent, sitting there in the ballroom-converted-into-an-audience-chamber in the abandoned mansion in Savannah, Georgia.  For that plane carrying Marius also carried a coffin in its luggage hold, in which a certain still-rebellious but now very much older and wiser nosferatu rested, in his sleeping heart a desire for revenge a-simmering…until he reached the Land of the Free and the Home of the Prey and ran into very much Undead Valerie Swanson and her equally alive twin, Meredith, and got slightly sidetracked.  But not for long.

After all, a woman is just a woman, but revenge is a dish best served cold.  And 700 years can make for some mighty chilly morsels!

The Last Vampire standing will be available from Class Act Books on October 15.

My new novelette, Blood Will Freeze, is now available from Silver publishing,

EXCERPT: (Vlad is introduced by Valerie to her sister, Meredith)

“So you’re Valerie’s boyfriend?” as he nodded, I went on, “At least her tastes have improved.” I decided I’d better act like a hostess. “Can I get you anything? I’ve got coffee, some homemade wine, and milk.” I knew vampires could tolerate the first two. Milk I wasn’t so sure about.
“I never drink…milk,” he intoned solemnly but I swear those fantastic eyes were twinkling.
“Of course you don’t,” I murmured. And apparently you also watch vintage Universal horror movies. “So how about a glass of wine? Homemade,” I repeated, as if enticing him. “132-proof.” Actually I had no idea what proof it was or alcohol by volume, either. But I’d discovered that the guys I occasionally dated went for it if they thought it was particularly alcoholic.
He laughed, revealing the expected pointed incisors. “In that case, perhaps not. I doubt you’d want a tipsy vampire floating around in your living room, knocking things off tables with his wings.”
That conjured up a picture that made me laugh. So vamps can get drunk? On alcohol?  How about blood? That brought another, less comical picture. I shivered slightly and turned toward the fridge.
“Are you chilled?” It came out so solicitously.
“No. Why do you ask?”
“You were trembling.”
“Don’t worry about it.” As if he didn’t know.
“Perhaps I should. If I was the cause.”
So he did know. That conceited smile said a lot. “You certainly have a lot of self-importance if you think you can make me tremble.”
“My dear Meredith.” His voice dropped to a whisper and he sidled closer. Slowly, not that quick-as-a-wink movement Valerie’s so fond of making because she knows I hate it. More a shifting. “I’d do more than that…” He brushed a stray strand of hair from my face, tucking it behind my ear. “…if you’d let me.”
“Back off, buddy.” Nevertheless, I was the one who moved away, untucking the hair as I did so. “There’ll be none of that.”
“Whyever not?” He gave me a wide, transparent, and totally ingenious stare but didn’t follow me.
“Duh! Because you’re my sister’s boyfriend.” Really. Did he have to ask?
This guy was unbelievable. He sincerely looked as if he didn’t have a clue. “So I don’t poach on Valerie’s property.” Though she’d certainly done it to me enough. So why not turn the tables? The thought flashed through my mind. I shoved it back out before it could park itself and cause trouble because Vlad was definitely looking as if he were interested… Stop it right there, Meredith. You don’t do that kind of thing. That’s Valerie’s department. 
“I’m no one’s property.” It was said so quietly that it sent another chill through me. I’d insulted him by referring to him that way. “I’m the one who does the possessing.” He cocked his head to one side, as if viewing something fascinating. Could he read my thoughts? Damn, I’d never thought to ask about that. Valerie had certainly never volunteered the information and I doubted if she could. You have to have a mind to read one. “And I’m wondering who claims you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blonde Cookbook!

MONDAY: The recipe for today is angel food cake. You have to beat 12 eggs separately, so I'm lucky the neighbors had some extra bowls to let me borrow.

TUESDAY: Fruit salad supper, serve without dressing. I didn't get dressed at all, as per recipe, and what a surprise when my boyfriend brought his friends home for supper.

WEDNESDAY: Rice pilaf, wash thoroughly before steaming the rice. I took a good bath and washed very thoroughly, even between my toes. The taste of the rice was same as last time for some reason, so washing doesn't seem to help.

THURSDAY: New salad recipe for a change. Prepare ingredients by laying a bed of lettuce one hour before serving. I was rolling around in the garden laying on the lettuce heads for one hour and then I got sunburned. 

FRIDAY: Being Friday, it's great to try some treats, so today it's time to make cookies. The recipe calls for placing the ingredients in a bowl and beat it. I beat it to the grocery store to pick up some more milk, came back, but nothing happened to the ingredients I placed in the bowl. I ended up throwing the whole thing out, what a waste. 

SATURDAY: My boyfriend's parents came to our house and stayed for dinner. I wanted to serve roast but we only had hamburgers in the freezer. I put the hamburgers in the oven, and set the dial to roast. Unfortunately, the taste was still almost exactly like hamburger, just a bit roasted. 

This has been a great time cooking and I'm having a lot of fun. I can't wait until we buy a new and much bigger oven, because I want to surprise my boyfriend with chocolate mousse.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Soon to be Targeted by Homeland Security

It all started on a trip to World Fantasy Con in San Francisco, where I got the splendid idea to set my next Zombie Exterminator novel there.  I had a bunch of great ideas of zombie vignettes at different tourist sites, but no overarching evil zombie plot to make a novel out of.  Later that week, my brother-in-law, who worked for Chevron in Richmond, suggested the refinery would make a great location for a zombie attack.

Karina Fabian
I started the book, I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  It had it all—romance, intrigue, environmentalism…Zombies!  All I needed was to plot the attack on the refinery.  However, suddenly, my brother-in-law took a trip to Kansas (or so they said).  Months of not returning my phone calls—had someone silenced him?

My book in peril, I nonetheless made the journey to WorldCon-Renovations, where I met the mysterious Figment.  Figment had knowledge of chemical plants and emergency procedures, and was only too glad to share it just for the fun of planning a zombie attack.  Like Deep Throat, Figment shall remain anonymous, possibly until after my or his/her/its death.

Thus armed, I returned home to write—but visualizing the locale stalled me.  My brother-in-law, meanwhile had been promoted (or had he?) and they moved to Los Angeles, so I sought a local source for some information about refinery set-up and logistics.  Greg Hardy, manager of State Government Affaris, Rocky Mountain Region, of Chevron, spent a wonderful and informative hour or so with me on the phone giving me ideas on layout and operations…which I totally reworked to fit my refinery.  Naturally, I also tossed in some cliché’s of every cop show that ever had a fight in a refinery—it’s that kind of book.

The book is out—I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  The final attack on the refinery is awesome fun—but I just know, if zombies ever do rise up and attack Richmond, Homeland Security will come knocking on my door.

I Left My Brains in San Francisco
The second Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator book
Author Karina Fabian

Special Favor to Ask:
Could you please let your readers know about the “Are You the Next Zombie Idol” singing contest?  Damnation Books and I are looking for someone to sing the theme song I wrote for I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  I have the words and the tune; but we need a singer.  We are offering prizes for the best singer, the most creative audition video, and are giving one in ten entries a copy of the e-book.  The details are at


Zombies in San Francisco? Call an exterminator! What’s worse than zombies?  Radical environmental terrorists! I Left My Brains in San Francisco.

Blurb: Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator--but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she's looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it'll be a working vacation after all.

Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.


Karina Fabian is an award-winning fantasy, science fiction and horror author, whose  books make people laugh, cry or think—sometimes all three.  Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem) and a Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky twists that keep her--and her fans--amused. Check out her latest at

If there’s such a thing as ADD of the imagination, Karina Fabian has it—in spades.  Craft books, devotionals, serious science fiction, comedic horror and chilling fantasy—she follows her interests and the characters that tell her their stories.

Even before she could write, Karina strung tall tales about everything from making human pyramids in Kindergarten to visiting alien worlds.  Her first attempt at novel writing was in fourth grade; she completed her first novel in college.  However, her first published work was an anthology of Christian science fiction, Leaps of Faith, an EPPIE finalist for best anthology in 2006.  Her next anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God, featured Catholic characters and themes and won the EPPIE for science fiction.   The second Infinite Space, Infinite God anthology came out in 2010.

Watching the comedy improv show, Whose Line Is It, Anyway, inspired her noir-style dragon detective, Vern.  Vern and his partner, Sister Grace, have solved mysteries and saved the Faerie and Mundane worlds numerous numerous times in the DragonEye, PI stories and novels.  Their serial story, World Gathering, won a Mensa Owl; and the novel, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Fabian’s first published novel), won the INDIE for best fantasy in 2010.  The second DragonEye book, Live and Let Fly, came out in April 2012.

At a friend’s request, Karina wrote a funny story about a zombie exterminator, which grew into the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator novels.  The first, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, won the 2011 Global E-Book award for best horror, and was runner-up in the eFestival of Words for best YA.

She also writes serious science fiction.  Her SF novels, Discovery and The Old Man and the Void, are currently under consideration, and she’s working on the next DragonEye novel, a superhero spoof, Gapman.

Karina has a strong faith, which she explored in her devotional, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, which she wrote with her father Steve Lumbert, and which won the 2011 Christian Small Press Publisher Award.  She also writes Catholic school calendars and has written three craft books for the Little Flowers/Blue Knights clubs.

Fabian is married to Colonel Robert A. Fabian of the USAF, and they are currently enjoying a long distance relationship while he’s stationed in Iraq.  They have four children, an overgrown pup, and a harried cat.  When not writing, teaching writing, or chatting about writing, she’s hanging out with her kids or swinging a sword in haidong gumbdo.


"Hi! Welcome to Zomblog!  It's ‘Time to Re-kill!’  This is Kelsey Gardenberger, and we are reporting to you live from Fisherman's Wharf, where zombie exterminators Rii and Hi Lee of Bay Exterminations have been called in to take out a zombie."
Police held back spectators who had cell phones to film the event.  On the ground lay a man in a black-and-white striped shirt, black pants with suspenders and gold makeup on his rotting skin.  He pounded on the air with imaginary fists, and then felt along imaginary walls with his hands.  Where he should have had fingers, only mangled skin and bare bones showed. Rii and Hi, both in protective gear, watched the prone figure and spoke among themselves.  The zombie continued his act unconcerned, except to pause now and again and make drinking motions before pointing to the top hat waiting beside him.
"It looks like Rii Lee and Hi Lee have decided on their strategy.  Despite the fact that the zombie appears so docile, it could turn violent at the slightest provocation--and if you don't believe me, check out 'Don't wave that thing at me!' on the Zomblog archives.  They're starting!"
While Rii stood by with a power blaster of anti-zombie foam, Hi ambled up to the prone zombie, sword relaxed but ready in his left hand.  He watched the undead mime its struggle against the imaginary coffin, nodded appreciatively, and tossed a twenty into the hat.  The Wasted Mime started clawing with fervor, dug himself up, and brushed himself off.
Some of the crowd in the front stepped back.
It picked up the hat, checked the money.
The crowd took in a breath.
It faced Hi.
Hi bowed.
The crowd gasped.  Cameras flashed.
The zombie bowed back, deeply and theatrically.
Hi lashed out with his sword, its blade cutting deeply and theatrically into the zombie's neck.
The re-killed corpse folded over.
The crowd broke into wild cheers.
Kelsey smiled big for the camera.  "And there you have it!  Looks like a mime isn't such a terrible thing to waste after all."


Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday. 
Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee.  Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting.  Was it only last Christmas? 
He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind.  “You want to live!  We want to live!  That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”
Yeah.  Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.
He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.
God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back.  Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside.  He needed to delete Marley's old code from it.
He cleared his throat.  “Listen up!  You want to live!  We want to live!”
The exit door clicked.
“That’s impossible!” he declared.  The store fell silent. 
“Boss?” Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.
“That’s not what I meant!  Security team to customer service!”
He reached under the counter for a shotgun.  Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw.  They had filled them that morning—another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.
The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.
Clint to blasted him with the shotgun.  The impact knocked the Marley out the door.
Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot.  “He brought friends!  Call Nine-One-One.  I’m putting this place on shutdown.”
“Screw that!  I’ve been prepping all my life for this!”  With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door.  She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.
Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.
He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1.  It’d be too late by the time they got there.  All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.
God bless survivors.

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