Category Archives: vampires

Get Bitten Rafflecopter Giveaway!

ITB Tote

Between Monday, March 19 and Monday, April 2, I’m doing a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win:

  • a free tote bag
  • the first two ebooks in my Blood Royal Saga vampire series

A $30 value!

Click on the link below for all the ways to enter:

Get Bitten Rafflecopter Giveaway!


No Rest for the Wicked

In The Blood is Finally Here!

I am so excited that In The Blood, the first book in The Blood Royal Saga is finally out there for people to read and enjoy.

img_0117For those who are interested in purchasing a copy of In The Blood:

Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-00-7

  • Amazon (Link goes to the US Amazon link, but if you search using the ISBN number, you will find the copy, no matter what country you’re in)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Or you can request an order from your favorite local bookstore

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-01-4
Available from your favorite online outlet

Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.

I’ve been sending out a lot of signed copies, and it’s amazing and humbling to me how many countries it’s reached. I’m considering getting a big world map and pinning all the locations I’ve mailed to. Yes, I’m sending them out myself, so if you order one of these, I’ll be the one mailing it out to you.

It’s been a very long road to this day, but one week into the sales, and I’m pretty pleased with the comments I’ve gotten back. I’m hoping people find the book exciting and interesting and that they want to keep coming back for more.

I’ve tried very hard not to swamp people with too much advertisement. Some of it is necessary, but it’s hard to find a balance between simply sharing your excitement and feeling like you’re spamming people. I hope I am doing the former rather than the latter. No one likes constant advertising, and I don’t want to do that to my friends.

I know I can’t just sit around and wait for people to buy, however. It’s not just going to become a success without effort.

Help Spread The Word

Some people have asked what they can do to help me get the word out. There are a few things, if you’re so inclined:

  • Post about it on social media to help me find new readers
  • Write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
  • Tell people you think would enjoy it
  • Request the book at your local bookstore

Those things will help more than anything else, and would be greatly appreciated.

Release Party

On July 15, I’m hosting an afternoon release party open house celebration at my house for anyone who is local. I’ve ordered a cake from The Upper Crust bakery in Columbia (LET THEM EAT CAKE) which I cannot wait to see (It’s supposed to look like my book cover). We will also have champagne, though there will also be punch and coffee for those who prefer it. So far, we’ve got about sixty five people or so who have confirmed that they’re attending, though there may be more.

At the party we will have special guest Marie Antoinette in attendance, and you can have your photo taken with her to celebrate.

With as many people as we are anticipating, we’ve spent a lot of time getting the house ready for the event and have purchased a canopy tent thing where I’ll set up outdoors to sign copies for those who want them. I’ll use the canopy for festivals and outdoor events later on, and may even take Marie on the road with me.

Camp NaNoWriMo and Sequels

Thououtforbloodcovergh this first week of July has been hectic, I still set myself the goal of doing Camp NaNoWriMo and using the time to complete revisions on Book 2, Out For Blood, before sending the book to an editor. I’m planning to finish my work on the book this month so I can publish the book by December, and even get a head start on finishing Book 3, Trial By Blood which I plan to publish in 2018. I don’t want to make readers wait too long for the sequels.

I’ve also made a mockup of the cover of Out For Blood, and I’m very excited to see it come to its fruition. I’m feeling more confident with InDesign, and I truly enjoy that aspect of the job as well. Though being responsible for every aspect of the project is extremely hard work and sometimes I feel like Dick Van Dyke’s One Man Band in Mary Poppins, it’s so rewarding to have every part of the project be something I had a hand in. Every choice has been mine, from font to layout to cover art. Having creative freedom also means creative responsibility, but it’s an aspect of the job that is extremely satisfying to me.

Public Radio show and Podcast

After meeting with the station manager of the local public radio station, KPIP, I’ll be hosting my own show regularly, and that will then be posted online as a podcast. The schedule has to be set, and I am still working on a title for it, but I’m really excited that this is a thing that’s going to happen.

One segment of the show will be me reaching a chapter of In The Blood a week. I intend to compile those once I’m through and put out an audiobook.

I’ve bought a microphone and headset to do the recordings, and the equipment will work on both my desktop computer and on my iPad. That means I can take it with me to events or on research trips and do recordings on the road as well. As soon as I have more information, I’ll be posting about that so people know where to listen in.

As part of the show, I’d like to host regular interviews with other writers as well, and if you’re interested in participating in that, please let me know. I’m happy to do that, and I’d love to hear from you.

In gearing up for that, as well as to prepare for other things I intend to write, I’m doing some research. Here are just a few of the things on my reading list. If you’ve got recommendations, drop me a line, and I’ll add them to my stack.


So, anyway, that’s what’s happening with me this month. It’s likely to keep me very busy. It’s a good busy, though, and I’m loving the work.

I’m looking forward to having a little time to go on a holiday this fall, though it’s likely to be a working vacation. So much I want to do and only so much time!



In The Blood – Acknowledgements

18891862_1374521462631701_8327685668608727844_oWhen my review copy of In The Blood arrived,  I was a little overwhelmed by holding it in my hand and seeing it in person, feeling the weight of it, breathing in the new book smell of paper and ink.

Those of you who know me and have followed me for a while know that I was devastated last fall by the loss of my former teacher, Nicki Alexopoulos. I had already intended to mention her in the dedication to one of my novels, but I knew it had to be this one after the events of last year. I hope to present a signed copy to her daughter, and I do hope that she would be proud to see the work I’ve put in to make this book happen.

I started writing the book back in 2012, and in the spring of 2013, I made a first attempt to self publish it. After meeting with an editor at the World Horror Convention, however, I was convinced to take it down and do some major revision. He was right. The book was pretty good, but it wasn’t fully ready to be out there yet. Over the four years since then, I reworked the manuscript and spent time learning about the business side of being an author. I took some online classes, went to some writer’s retreats, and even took a course in forensics so I could bring that knowledge to bear in the novel as well. I also quit my job as a library supervisor and adjunct English professor in order to focus on my writing full time.

Though I could have gone the traditional route with an agent, there are very few who are willing to take a risk on a first time author who approaches them with a series rather than a standalone novel. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever be interested in submitting a manuscript that way, but for this series, starting my own publishing house and doing the work myself was a better choice.

Book Two, Out for Blood, will come out sometime next winter. The book is written and is in the process of being edited. Book Three, Trial by Blood will come out in 2018. I don’t want to make people wait too long for sequels. Those three books finish a story-arch. However, I have ideas and outlines for several more books beyond that, so if this series takes off, then I’ll definitely be working on those stories for a long time to come.

There isn’t room in the book to list everyone who’s helped me along on my journey. I’d like to list a few of them here, though the list is by no means complete.

  • My coworkers at Smiley Library – Cindy, Leasa, Carrie, Crystal, and John – who put up with six years of me talking about what I wanted to do and who were supportive throughout the process. They were inspiring, helpful, encouraging, and understanding, and they never made me feel that I was making a mistake when I decided to go pursue my dream. Thank you.
  • Crystal appears as a character in my novel, and I mention her in the afterward of the book. She asked to be in the book, and after I made the character and gave her life, it turned out she has some pretty tragic things happen to her. Sorry Crystal! I swear, the characters made me! And I promise, this won’t be the only time she’s mentioned. What happens to her will have a ripple effect in later books.
  • The students who became like my children were also a great inspiration and encouragement. John, Stazhia, Cameron, Denise, DaSean, Kelsey, Brenna, Cortney, Thomas, Jordan, Kayla, Jessica, Geofrey, Lindsey, Kelly Jo, Eldar, Megan, Tyler, Bailey, Cecilia, Mariah, Roger, Aubrey, Ginney, Wynter, Dani, Danielle, Shamika, Marco, Vin, Drew, Angelica, Darrell, Jane, Adam, as well as my fabulous student intern assistant Miranda….THANK YOU! I love you all dearly.
  • Keith Abernathy taught my forensics course and never failed to come by my desk just to chat and invite me to things. He passed away last month, and I miss him very much. He was so encouraging and helpful and such an inspiration to all his students. I intend to dedicate Book Two to him. I will be forever grateful for the things I learned from him.
  • My online friends are completely amazing. Those I met because of True Blood or through writing amazing characters together are truly some of the best people in the world. Thank you to Julie, Jenny, Louise, Emily, Susy, Shanda, Melissa, Mayra, Shawna, Shyanne, Suzanne, Cassy, Sharon, Joie, Jyoti, Michaela, Elizabeth, Sha, Latoya, Catherine, Tammy, Geena, Anitra, Kristie, Frank, Missy, Kim, Cyndi, Dawndela, Holly, Maxine, Misty, Rima, Rachael, Mimi, Sara, Tiffany, Renee, Dawn, Kira, Sarah, CeCe, Jennie, and especially Wendy and Andrea who are gone far too soon and I miss horribly. These are only a few. There are many more on Twitter, but I think they know I adore them. I try to tell them as often as I can.
  • My muse and favorite writing partner Bekah who makes me shine and feel inspired all the time, thank you for putting up with me, for supporting me, and for being so completely amazing. You make me look forward to every day.
  • My writing friends through conferences, retreats, and FB and Twitter groups, I thank you. You’ve taught me about craft, and you’ve been a constant source of help, inspiration, and encouragement. My writing buddies from Room 217, THANK YOU. I love you guys. You are all completely amazing. And thank you to the Horror Writers Association for being such a great organization. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and I couldn’t have finished this project without the connections I’ve made there.
  • My friends Erin and Anthony at Vamped and The Vampirologist, who have known me now for over five years, have been fantastically supportive throughout this journey. Thank you for the laughs, the research material, the help, and the friendship.
  • To the friends and family who have known me in the years before the internet and who have backed me up as I tried new things, THANK YOU! Your support means everything.
  • And to my parents for whom there are not enough words of thanks. I have been truly lucky in my life to have parents who understood and believed in my dreams. Thank you.

And with that, I’d like to thank you. If you’re reading this, you’re part of my journey too. Even if your name doesn’t appear above, I am no less grateful for you.


Signed copies of In The Blood are available from Eagle Heights Press.

Trade paperbacks can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or you can request an order from your favorite local bookstore.

Ebooks are available for Pre-order from your favorite online outlet.

If you’re reading it, I’d love to know! Find me on Goodreads!

Want to be interviewed on this blog? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!


Random Interesting Stuff (or How I Cut My Distractions and Got Busy Writing Book 2)

How to Break Through Your Creative Block by Maria Popova for Brain Pickings
I’m working on this. I get easily distracted and sidetracked with to-do lists and social media, and then the next thing I know I’m taking a nap. My solution is two-fold.

  1. This blog is going to be my repository of distracting but interesting stuff. Rather than posting several times a day, I’m going to try to limit myself to a few posts at the beginning and end of the day, saving up interesting ephemera for one single blogpost every day or so.
  2. When I’m staring at a blank page or screen, unsure how to start, I take about 5-10 minutes and do a prewriting just to get things rolling. Instead of worrying about how I’m going to say just the right thing, I start instead with writing about what I’m going to write about. I don’t worry about grammar or paragraph breaks or any of that. Sometimes it’s just a list. But I’m thinking about the scene and what I want to have happen. By the time I’ve told myself what I’m going to tell, it’s easy to start telling it. The hard work is done.

Why Dogs Make Fun Writing Partners by Jennifer Robson for Writer’s Digest
I loved this article, and I couldn’t agree more. Layla needs a break about as often as I need a new cup of coffee, so that’s a partnership that works. Plus, she keeps my feet warm. I keep her bed right behind my chair, though she often chooses to lie down under my desk or on the rug at my side. She’s a good companion since she doesn’t say much but is an excellent listener.

“The Poisoner’s Handbook,” American Experience . WGBH | PBS
My high school English teacher sent me a link to this video on Facebook, and it was definitely worth watching. I’ve always loved murder mysteries and true crime, so it was interesting to me to see the development of this end of CSI work.

Vampires: Folklore, fantasy and fact – Michael Molina 

I don’t think I really need to explain why I find this short video sent to me by a friend so fascinating and fun.

Vampire ForensicsVampire Forensics
I bought this book for my Kindle, and I’m really enjoying the details inside. Though I can’t reveal just how (spoilers!), there are definite ways this book will inform some of the things that happen in Book 2. As a reader, I always like knowing that an author has done his/her homework, so I want to be sure I’m following through on that expectation too.

I’ve got a few more books on their way, and I’ll be doing some book reviews once I’m finished reading for those who are interested in vampire lore and history.

History of Magic and Experimental Science
I bought this set of books at the last library book sale. None of them had been read in 30 years or more, but the title alone is fascinating. It’s an encyclopedic study of how superstitions about witchcraft and alchemy developed over the course of several centuries into what we now call the sciences.

These books are far too lengthy for me to read straight through beginning to end, but they are wonderful to dip in and out of. Vampires and other supernatural creatures are discussed throughout history, beginning with the Greek NeoPlatonists. Creepy geeky goodness. There are certainly ways in which I will be using information found here.


Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ Dracula Scorches the Small Screen

One of the promotional images for NBC’s Dracula reboot describes it as “Old Legend. New Blood.” They certainly delivered on that promise in last Friday’s premiere episode. 
Dracula has been remade dozens of times since Bram Stoker first penned the novel in 1897. Each actor who played the part brought something new to the role. Every interpretation gave a new spin on the legend. This incarnation dusts off the old tropes and breathes new life into a story everyone thought they knew. 
I was aware going in that in order to create a season (hopefully multi-season) weekly drama based on a single novel, the writers would have to introduce new storylines to keep the audience tuned in. But what they created far exceeded my expectations. There are tons of surprises in store for even those who thought they knew everything there was to know about the characters. In addition, the production values are truly excellent, the costumes lavish, the acting superb, and the special effects are understated and powerful. 
The most effective special effect, however, is Meyers himself. The way his eyes glittered as he looked on Mina Murray from the shadows spoke volumes about the character of Dracula and hinted at things to come in a way that the script could never do. He has a power and charisma on screen that is incendiary, and it makes the audience root for him, even with the knowledge that he is not the hero. Or is he? I, for one, can’t wait to find out. 
If you haven’t seen the pilot episode, you’re in for a treat. I plan to keep watching every week to see how the plot unfolds…and to see more of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 

New Orleans World Horror Convention Wrap Up

I spent last week in New Orleans, attending the World Horror Convention. In addition to making some new friends, I also pitched my book and sat in on several great panel discussions that taught me a lot about the market and about genre publishing.
The Hotel Monteleone
Fantastic Swag from the WHC
Video of some of the things I saw/did in New Orleans

The pitch sessions went extremely well. I’ve sent off my manuscript to three different people, and now the waiting begins. Hopefully, I’ll know something in a month or so.

In the meantime, I’m going to be working on Book 2 (still untitled), and trying to get ahead on that while I’ve got my momentum going. I also want to get as much done as possible before the summer is over. Once the fall semester starts, I’ll have to slow down a little on my writing once more in order to keep up with my other obligations.

The next book has already been outlined, and I’ve written up a plan for the chapters. Of course, as I write, the characters may lead me in ways I haven’t anticipated, but that’s what I love. I have some new characters added into the mix that I think people will really enjoy, and I’m doing a great deal of research to prep my mind for what lies ahead.

  • Of course, I’ve got a lot of background info for my characters. I never like to be too tied to literal facts when the story can benefit from embellishment, but I do think it’s absolutely essential to read as much as I can about the real lives of the people I’m writing about before I just start making stuff up. Then again, they are vampires, so you can’t expect everything to be factual in every detail. This is fiction, not biography.
  • I’m also going to be taking a course in forensics over the fall semester, which I’m extremely excited about. I’ve already bought the book and have taken tons of notes, poring through it in detail. I think it will enhance what I’ve already written and open up new avenues throughout the series.

The entire experience left me feeling even more energized to keep working and improving and moving forward with the next part of the story. I hope that in the next few weeks and months to have some exciting news. Whether or not a publishing deal comes out of the convention, I’m more determined than ever that if those three people aren’t interested, I will find the folks who are. Patience and hard work will eventually pay off.


Ma Chère Antoinne live on Amazon Kindle!

bbbcd-coverbigThe completed Kindle version of Ma Chère Antoinne is now online and available for download. Only $4.99, less than the price of a burger and fries and lots more fun.

Vampires, mystery, horror, suspense, romance…it’s all there!

Check the video below for reviews of the sneak peek edition.

Nook and paperback versions are on their way soon, and there will be release celebrations coming up starting the last week of June.

If you’d like to be the first to know about these other editions, special events, giveaways, or release dates for Book 2 in the series, email me at to receive updates and newsletters in your inbox.


FREE! Cinco De Mayo Special this Sunday!


On Sunday, May 5, the Sneak Peek Edition of my upcoming novel, Ma Chère Antoinne, is free on Amazon Kindle!

If you haven’t read it, there’s no better time to check it out! And if you already have your copy, share it with your friends! It’s free all day! 

Click here to download:
Sneak Peek Edition, Ma Chère Antoinne


Vampires in Pop Culture Feature: Moonlight

Moonlight was only on for one season in 2007-2008, but what a season it was. Five years later, I still miss it, and the show still holds up even with time.

Private detective Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) was smouldering in every scene and the chemistry between him and reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles) was hot enough to set the screen on fire.

I loved the back and forth “will-they-won’t-they” each week, and the tension when Mick’s ex-wife Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon) made an appearance kept me on the edge of my seat and desperate for answers. Just when I thought I hated her, I’d see something that made me wonder if she was really so bad as we’d been led to believe. If the show had been continued, I really hoped for more of her story.

But I have to say that my favorite character was none of the three corners of the love triangle but Mick’s wisecracking rich sidekick, Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring). The wicked humor Josef was a delight, and he always seemed to say just what the rest of us in the audience were thinking:

Josef Kostan: So, have you sealed the deal yet?
Mick St. John: It’s not about sex.
Josef Kostan: Everything’s about sex.
Mick St. John: I’m 52 years older than her, I drink blood bought from the morgue, and I tend to bite down when I…
Josef Kostan: Some women like that.

But Josef also showed a secret heart of gold and over the course of the season, it became clear why he and Mick were such close friends. His story was one I really was begging to hear, and it disappointed me that we only got a glimpse into his backstory.

Each episode of Moonlight was smart, sexy, exciting, and full of mystery. Mick’s narration made it feel like an old time detective story, but with a supernatural twist that made it fresh and unpredictable. The writers managed to make a show that was full of surprises, and when I heard that CBS had decided to cancel it before it really had enough time to reach its potential, I was really disappointed. I think they missed out on a great opportunity by not taking a chance on a vampire mystery/romance. The same year, True Blood premiered on HBO, and obviously, audiences were quite willing to watch and keep coming back for more. Moonlight could definitely have given it a run for it’s money if CBS had been willing to take a chance on it.

Episodes of Moonlight are available on DVD or can be downloaded from Amazon, Netflix, or iTunes. If you missed it, you’re in for a real treat. And if you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s definitely worth rewatching.


Vampires in Pop Culture Feature: The Vampyre

Vampires have been a part of human mythology since before recorded history. However, they were generally shown as inhuman, ravenous monsters rather than the more mysterious and sexualized creatures of the night as we think of them today. That change is due in large part to a novella entitled The Vampyre written in 1819 by Dr. John Polidori.

Polidori was not originally an author. He was a physician, and a young one at that, earning his degree from the University of Edinburgh at the age of 19. Being an attractive prodigy, he caught the eye of the poet, Lord Byron, who hired him on as his personal physician and took him to Europe.

Byron was by then very famous throughout the continent, and the scandal of his divorce and speculation about his sexuality was rampant. Publisher John Murray offered Polidori 500 pounds to keep a journal of his travels with the poet. This journal became a source of contention between Polidori and Byron, who was on the one hand flattered by the attention and on the other annoyed and angered by the intrusion into his privacy. There has been speculation that Polidori and Byron became romantically entangled. Certainly, Polidori was fascinated with the famous poet, but whether the feeling was mutual is debatable.

During their travels, they spent time in Geneva, Switzerland, and in the summer of 1816 they met the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his soon-to-be-wife, Mary Godwin, and Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont. Shelley and Byron became fast friends. Due to the explosion of Krakatoa, the weather that year was frigid, and they were forced to stay indoors for much of the time. To entertain themselves, the group told ghost stories, and Byron suggested a writing contest to pass the time. Shelley’s story was published posthumously along with a portion of his journal. Mary Godwin began and later published Frankenstein, the first real science fiction story ever written in English. Byron’s own story was abandoned, but Polidori took the basic elements of that fragment and wrote what became one of the very first English vampire stories–The Vampyre.

Byron and Polidori quarrelled, partly because Byron felt Polidori had puffed up airs, delusions about becoming a famous author, and was not content with doing the job which he had been hired to do. He found Polidori’s personality irritating, and Byron’s journal is full of dismissive and acerbic references to Polidori’s shortcomings. Byron also feared that Polidori’s journal would expose too many of his secrets. Thus, Polidori was dismissed from his position. Devastated, he traveled through Italy and then returned to England, where his book was published two years later.

The main character of The Vampyre, Lord Ruthven, is pretty clearly based on Byron himself. Though Polidori had intended the book as a thinly veiled attack on the poet and a warning about his predatory nature, that intent backfired. In fact, the book was initially credited to Byron, a fact which irritated them both but which surely increased the sales of the story tremendously. The name Ruthven came from a character in a novel by Byron’s famously spurned former lover, Lady Caroline Lamb, entitled Glenarvon, and Polidori intended it as a reminder to the readers of the scandal surrounding the poet.

Ruthven, the vampyre, is seductive and deadly. He is strong, masculine, handsome, and sneering at those he feels are beneath him. Readers today will recognize the basis for the English literary vampires which followed, including Dracula. Ruthven is a romantic, alluring, and devastating character who cuts a swath through a room full of women like a hot knife through butter.

On the other hand, the other main character, Aubrey, who finds himself drawn to Ruthven and who observes the terrible effects of being close to him, is meant to be a sympathetic character and most scholars agree that Polidori identified that character as being like himself. There is a clear (at least in my mind as a reader) homosexual subtext to the work, and Aubrey is drawn to Ruthven and seems most angered at the fact that Ruthven chooses young women as his victims rather than noticing him as a potential suitor. Aubrey comes off to me as a sad and bitter man who wishes he were smart enough, handsome enough, strong enough and who fails miserably. In the end, that is the impression which Polidori himself makes as well.

In trying to ruin Byron’s reputation, Polidori only added to his fame. The novella was made into a French play the very next year and later into two operas.

As for Polidori himself, he committed suicide in 1821, leaving behind a string of gambling debts. His sister Charlotte transcribed his diary, omitting anything that might embarrass her family (which likely included anything relating to a possible relationship with Byron), and then she destroyed the original.

Whatever you might feel about the author himself, the book itself is a classic. The character of Ruthven is an archetype and serves as a model for all vampire authors who have followed.

The Vampyre is available as a free e-book through Project Gutenberg (