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Bram Stoker visits Fright-day

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Greetings and Salutations,

Aside from Wicked Dwarf AKA Jami Grey, it would seem another week has gone by without any participation from the rest of the vertically challenged evil ones. It is getting rather lonely around the Swamp. The flowers have all died at Dreamer’s place, Snarky’s shack looks it belongs in a Detroit neighborhood instead of our vibrant Swamp. As for my own participation, I will soldier on for now following Wicked Thursday with Fright-day. I see NANOMO looming in the near future, just one more excuse not to visit the Swamp.

But enough of my whining, let’s move on. We are blessed beyond words to have our next guest. He is an Irishman, graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, civil servant, theatre critic, the Business Manager of the Lyceum Theatre, and writer of a dozen novels and countless short stories. All the way from his urn in Golden Green Crematorium and Mausoleum in London, please welcome Abraham Stoker.

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Mr. Stoker, You are best known for your novel Dracula, how do you feel about being associated with the king of vampires.

BS  I am greatly amused by this particular. My life’s work was in the theatre. My dedication to Henry Irving and the elevation of the theatrical arts is what I should be known for.

Are you aware the highest honor a horror writer can receive is named for you?

BS  Yes of course, I’ve heard this. It is an honor, I would have been more honored if Dracula had been adapted for the stage and the Count played by my good friend Henry Irving, as I originally intended. Alas, this was not to be.

Your novel holds a unique distinction, for well over a hundred years it has never been out of print. And the epistolary format takes the reader into the story as if he is reading an account of events that recently happened.

BS  That was my intention of course. I set the story in present day England, in familiar settings, where train schedules and mail deliveries were commonly known. These details helped the reader immerse himself in the story.

You mean 1887 England. Victorian England was a repressive era, sexually. Yet, many interpret Dracula as overtly sexual. Drawing parallels to the transfer of blood and–

BS  I will not denigrate myself by commenting on things of a private nature. It has been my experience, that men will often look for a way to tarnish a thing, which than can claim no credit for.

What do you think makes Dracula stand the test of time?

BS  First, let me say Dracula was not the first name I settled on while writing the novel. The Un-Dead was the original title. I wrote it over a period of seven years, so many details changed in the course of getting it down. But to answer your question, Dracula was not the first vampire novel. It was however the first to characterize the vampire as a man of culture and means. Who would charm his guests both male and female. Having him come to England from a relatively little known part of the world made his mysterious customs easy to explain away. His means provide the leverage to remain ahead of his detractors.

Money and mystery are certainly abiding elements for an antagonist. Today there are thousands of books about vampires, most of which owe their existence to Dracula, not to mention film and television adaptations. I would like to mention another popular theme I believe you had a part in and that is the ancient Egyptian mummy who is brought back to life by an archaeologist.

BS  Ah, you refer to The Jewel of Seven Stars, my personal favorite, although the ending was not received with much applause. It would seem no matter how wretchedly life behaves toward men, they crave a happy-ending, especially in fiction. Similar complaints arose over The Lair Of The White Worm.

It’s been implied that your turn toward darker endings had to do with your relationship and mistreatment by Henry Irving.

BS  Dear boy, I will not stand by whilst you slander my friend. Good day.

Have you noticed that these dead writers all seem to leave abruptly? I wonder what that’s about? You might think their publicists are pushing them along the talk show circuit, running from one studio to the next to promote a new movie.

Fortunately we have a tradition on Fright-days so you are not left in a lurch. This weeks quotations ( I was incapable of picking just one) come from You Suck; A Love Story By Christopher Moore. Incidentally Chris has a new book due out in April 2014 Titled The Serpent Of Venice. Don’t miss it.

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“Not unlike the toaster, I control darkness.”

“Only cops and vampires have to have an invitation  to enter.”

“She knew it should bother her more, being evil and all, but after she put on a little mascara and some lipstick and poured herself another cup of blood-laced coffee, she found that she was okay with it.”

“Do we still have to floss?” Tommy asked. “I mean, what’s the point of being immortal if we have to floss?”

Write On,

Dave Benneman AKA Eerie Dwarf

I Really Liked It, But…

I joined the Dwarves just over a year ago and they were my first experience with a critique group. Luckily they seemed to like me and have kept me around even though I moved across the country. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first met up with the group but I was pleasantly surprised overall. The first meeting I went to I was given the option as to whether or not I would like to give critiques to the other members. I thought it was a test, so I did them.

I am still not sure to this day whether it was an actual test, but my critiques failed miserably. First of all I had never met these people and I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. I believe that I started every criticism with “I really liked it, but…” I recall feeling rather flustered when Snarky snorted around the fifth time I said this. Luckily Snarky has grown on me and I no longer hold it against her (or do I? All those murder plots we sit around and talk about? Bet you never knew you were on my list Snarky! Bwahahahaha!). Seriously though, I deserved the snort.

Now I am at a point where I can tell my group, hey guess what ya’ll I didn’t really like all of it. Mind you this was a year ago and if you asked me whose I really liked and didn’t,  I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that, just like when you’re reading books, you’re not going to like everything you read to critique. Now comes the hard part: do you not like it because it’s not your genre of choice? Do you not like it because you’re not a fan of first person?  Do you not like it because if you read another book about demons/vampires/Aunt Flo/Steve/zombies/BDSM you’re going to scream?

All of these are valid feelings to have about a book but then you have to ask yourself if it’s relevant. I myself don’t read a ton of Science Fiction. So if I’m critiquing SciFi I have to question if the reason it’s not clicking for me is because it needs work or if it’s because it doesn’t have the same flow as an Urban Fantasy (of which I read a lot). If there are more holes in the plot then a colander then my input is valuable. If I dislike something because it’s not my bag it’s not helpful to the writer.

Another thing I brought up is not liking something because of the choice of POV. Not enjoying a certain POV is fine, but again unless the POV makes it impossible to get into, it’s a style choice. The one I would argue not to use is first person present tense. I write in first person past tense, and I have never met a reader who enjoyed present tense. It’s jarring. Not to sound too PC but if that’s your style choice you can tell me to shove it where the sun don’t shine and I will accept that as your choice.

The last example I used is probably the hardest to tell someone. Clichés! Dum, dum, dum! (dramatic music). When a person is writing commercial fiction it is hard not to fall into a cliché because we are often writing to a formula. I myself could read a million books about demons/vampires/Aunt Flo/zombies/BDSM as long as there is a good twist to the story. The dwarves are a very talented group but there are times when we all need to be reminded to spice it up.   

Personally I think that joining the critique group has helped me tremendously not only as a writer but also as a reader/critic. It is easier to find flaws in your own work when you are able to see it in others. The key to getting the most you can out of a critique group is to put your big girl (or boy) britches on and be willing to listen and implement. If you are unwilling to do so or if the people in your group are unwilling to do so it’s probably not a good fit. That is not to say that you should take every piece of advice, you are the creator of your own world and you have total control over said world. What it is saying is that nobody has the perfect manuscript, and if you’re unwilling to offer or receive productive feedback a critique group would be pointless. So remember don’t feel the need to sugarcoat everything. People want honest opinions, that is not to say being a total dick is appropriate either because I’m sure your mama raised you better than that.

 

Disclaimer: Dwarves, despite the fact that many of us write about zombies, vampires, demons, etc. I was not passive aggressively calling anyone out so when my spies tell me what ya’ll talk about at the next meeting it better not be me. Okay, I know the rules, if I’m not there I’m fair game, but it shouldn’t be about oh “that bitch hates zombie books,” because we all know that isn’t the case. 

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest!

Today’s post is a little early because we are taking part in Ciara Knight and Ninja Captain Alex’s “Did I Notice  Your Book” Blogfest.  Yes, my loyal Swamp followers, I’m here to share my discovering with you.  The coolest part of this blogfest, I’m not the only one sharing awesome new writers.  In fact, there are over 80 of us doing the same thing today, so if you need to add to your towering “TO BE READ” pile, stay tune at the end of this post for a link to a list of all participating authors where you can discover your next favorite writer!

Choices, choices, choices…you would not believe how many really great stories are sitting out there, all by themselves, trying to be heard over the roar of the masses.  So today I chose…

Yes, that’s right, Bloodstorm-Heart of a Vampire is Amber Kallyn’s introduction into an entertaining world of vamps, shamans, shifters and castles in the desert.  It all starts out with our lovely vamp, Nikki, doing what vamps do best, hunting for blood.  Not just any blood, mind you, but the one flowing in the veins of the monster who slaughtered her family and turned her.  Unfortunately, she’s tracked her Maker into a small desert town where the ruggedly handsome sheriff and the Magic Council’s Keeper of the Peace, Shane calls home.  When the two meet, Nikki’s desire for revenge is soon eclipsed by her desire for Shane.   Problem is, her mad sire has been creating a few newbie vamps–in someone else’s territory and Nikki’s sudden appearance puts her front and center for the local supernatural community’s suspicions, leaving Shane caught between his heart and his duty.

This is an awesome read and a great start to Ms. Kallyn’s series (the second book, Hungerstorm is also out!) and the best part–right now it’s free in e-book format, so what are you waiting for? Go check it out!  Here’s the link for her author page at Amazon so you can see all her titles!  

http://www.amazon.com/Amber-Kallyn/e/B006HAOP3U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

And if you’re eager for more, swing over to Alex J. Cavanaugh’s place for a complete list of participants in today’s Blogfest, I promise you’ll discover new favorite reads! Don’t forget to spread the word!

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest’s list of participants

–Wicked

New Release~Woot! and other news

I’ve written everything from urban fantasy, to paranormal, to erotic romance, and I’ve enjoyed each story.

Recently, the whole 50 shades of you know what, has plopped erotic and BDSM stories in the news seemingly all over the place.

I think that’s awesome for authors, because in my mind, it’s just one more thing getting headlines and therefore getting people thinking about books and reading.

Okay, so I may be a bit optimistic, but I’m okay with that 😉

It also helped me to take the plunge and publish the first of a short story series I’ve had in mind for a couple years, based on Red Riding Hood… adult style, LOL.

So enjoy a PG peek of Red’s Wolf: Beginnings

Available at Amazon     Smashwords     Kobo

Most know of me, or at least have heard my tale.

Certainly you would recognize my crimson cloak, perhaps you have even been regaled by tales of my battles against the wolves.

But as with most stories, that is only part of my life.
Once I was the belle of my village. Men came from miles around to try to win my heart, and my hand.
Only one succeeded.
Yet, the story of my beloved Jonah remains shrouded in the mists of time. Nothing is mentioned of all we meant to each other, of the family we created, raised and sent out into the world.
If you are truly curious, then sit for a while. Join me and discover for yourself the truth about the woman with the dark red riding hood.
***
Samantha Grant headed down the wide, dirt path along the edge of the dark forest, swinging a basket of food. The late afternoon sun shone brightly. The air was cool and scents of pine trees and wild flowers filled the autumn air. It helped calm the butterflies fluttering in her stomach.
Brushing back a strand of long red hair from her face, she tried to soothe her nerves by whistling a simple tune.
Today she was to meet Jonah at the edge of the forest, for a picnic lunch. Her stomach quivered with a girl-like giddiness as she anticipated the tryst with her newly found love.
She was of marrying age. Her childhood friends were long attached, some already with babies. Men travelled from villages near and far, hoping to convince her to accept their proposals. Yet no one had managed to capture her attention like Jonah.
He reminded her of a pirate from one of the countless old tales Gran used to tell, late at night in front of the fireplace. From monsters to heroes, She’d known of a story for everything. A pang touched Samantha’s heart from thoughts of her beloved Gran, gone now for nearly a year.
The sun dipped behind some clouds as a chill wind blew over her from the forest. Scents of something she couldn’t name, almost irresistibly sweet, yet underlain by an odor of rot, swept through the air. Her steps faltered. Shivers crawled over her skin as the urge to turn and enter the thick, deep shadows between the trees beckoned.
Gran had warned her to always stay away from the frightening forest. Strange beasts roamed there, creeping out during the dark of night to steal children or rip townsfolk to pieces. Samantha backed up a step, ready to turn and flee back home.
But nearby, just a little further, was where Jonah wanted to meet. Her nerves thrummed, her pulse raced faster. For today, she and Jonah would consummate their love.
She ignored her feelings of trepidation and continued on, if a bit faster.
Finally, she rounded a large rock jutting up from the earth.
Jonah stood in shadow, his back to her as he stared into the forest.
She took a moment to watch him, enjoying how the wind pushed his shirt taut against the muscles of his back. Dark trousers encased thick legs, full of strength. His very presence was commanding, and comforting. This was a man who would always keep her protected and well cared for.
She tugged her bodice down a bit, adjusting her chemise to reveal more cleavage. She wasn’t quite indecent, but a thrill swept through her blood as Jonah turned. His gaze swept over her face, dropped to the swell of her breasts.
Strapping, strong, he towered over her slight form. His dark hair and strange golden eyes enhanced the image.
And when he touched her, she felt like a woman.
“Sami,” he whispered, his voice deep, husky.
The sound slid down her spine like silk. “I’m here.”

~Enjoy 🙂

And other News

Bloodstorm (Heart of a Vampire, Book 1) is now FREE at most major E-tailers. Check out the links on my personal blog : )

Take care and hope your weather is turning into fall. Ours is not ~ we’ve still been in the 110 range, with high humidity. *Steps outside and literally melts*

~Enjoy 🙂

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