Review of Madison Avenue Vampire

September 2, 2010

I got a review for Madison Avenue Vampire 🙂 It’s from Book Binge. Here’s some excerpts from it.

This is an erotic and very cute novella which details the strange relationship between a beautiful but shy and naive farm girl from Wisconsin and a 400+ year old vampire who is wealthy beyond belief and who happens to be attracted to this voluptuous woman in a way that both surprises and dismays him. He first noticed and was attracted to her while she was working for him. After agreeing to start dating him, Lana quit her job at Richard’s ad agency and has now begun working elsewhere. It is the time of President John Kennedy and the Cuban crisis, the hope-filled days just as the space program was being launched, and when the world of the beatnik was a part of common conversation.

This novella deals with some substantive issues even if the characters are a little different. Perhaps the very fact that one is a vampire and the other an innocent and naive gal from the upper Midwest work as metaphors for all of us as we are forced to deal with issues of trust in daily living as well as all sorts of relationships. I have not read anything by Jenna Reynolds before this, but I was impressed that she seemed to be adept at crafting some unusual characters. My only negative response to this book was that I thought that Richard’s angst was a bit drawn out but that was minor in light of the positives I found. This is a really cute love story and I think romance/paranormal romance fans will enjoy it. I give this novella a rating of 3.75 out of 5

You can read the entire review here

Thanks, Judith!


I’m Back!

August 1, 2010

Greetings and Happy 1st Day of August !

Yep, I’m still here. I have been very, very lax about blogging due to Real Life (RL) being very, very stressful. And oh, what a tale of strife and woe I have to share!

But I’ll share that another day. I’d rather blog about something fun and try to forget what’s been going on the last couple of months. 🙂

I have a new book coming out from Ellora’s Cave. It’s called Madison Avenue Vampire and it’s releasing Wednesday, August 4th.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the swinging 1960s and Richard owns one of Manhattan’s major advertising agencies. He’s also a vampire. He hungers to make love to Lana Sorenson’s lush, voluptuous body, but he also thirsts to sink his fangs into her lovely neck. Richard’s desire for blood is nearly out of control, and surrendering to both his lusts may deprive Lana of her life.

Lana is the proverbial farmer’s daughter. A small town girl from Wisconsin, Lana regularly sees things she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams. But when she finds out the handsome, sexy man she’s dating is a vampire, Lana is faced with the terrifying possibility that the first time she and Richard make love could also be the last. Literally.

You can read an excerpt here.

I have no qualms about saying that Madison Avenue Vampire was most definitely inspired by the AMC television series, Mad Men. I was sitting and watching it one evening and thought to myself, what if Don Draper were a vampire? 😀

I actually wrote the story back in 2009 as a much shorter story. But when I submitted it my editor at EC she asked me to make it a bit longer.

This is from Wikipedia and pretty much sums up what the show is about.

Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The show centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), creative director at Sterling Cooper and a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, as well as those in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.

The first season is set historically speaking in 1960. Then Season 2 jumps ahead to 1962. Season 3 in 1963 and Season 4, which started last Sunday, late in 1964.

My novel is set in late October and early November of 1962.

I was initially so not into Mad Men that I didn’t even watch the first season. Then, for some reason, I started watching it and now I’m officially hooked.

I had a lot of fun researching the period (one of the things Mad Men receives acclaim for is its accurate recreation of the early 1960s). However, the folks over at Ellora’s Cave caught a rather major faux pas on my part.

In the very first sentence of the very first scene of the very first chapter, my heroine, Lana Sorenson, is at a swanky Halloween party. I had her drinking champagne out of a fluted glass. Like the one pictured.

Nope. Wrong. Back in the early 60s people drank their champagne out of coupe glasses. Here’s a pic of the guys at Sterling, Cooper doing exactly that.

Fortunately, my editor caught the mistake and I corrected it.

I love research, however. Even when I drop the ball sometimes. 🙂 And I love history. Even recent history. It’s fascinating. Speaking of, here are some interesting and, in some cases, tragic events that happened on this date in history.

August 1

30 BC – Octavian (later known as Augustus) enters Alexandria, Egypt, bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

1619 – First African slaves arrive in Jamestown, Virginia.

1834 – Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force.

1876 – Colorado is admitted as the 38th U.S. state.

1914 – Germany declares war on Russia at the opening of World War I. The Swiss Army mobilities because of World War I

1944 – Anne Frank makes the last entry in her diary.

1960 – Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declares independence from France.

1966 – Charles Whitman kills 15 people at The University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police.

1981 – MTV begins broadcasting in the United States and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

Well, I have edits I must work on all day as it’s back to work on Monday. Since it’s a brand new spanking month, my goal is to at least blog on the weekends. Now that I’m back to working full-time and also have a number of writing goals I need to accomplish before year’s end, my time is pretty much filled to the brim, but I do like to blog and have missed doing so these past two months.

And I apologize for not visiting blogs in turn. Yes, time has been at a premium but the stress of what I’ve been dealing with the last two months was also a major factor. But I got some news this past Friday which should lessen some of the stress.

Ciao for now!

I Had No Idea

May 13, 2010

I mean, yes, I had an idea that time had passed since my last post but I had no idea it had been this long.

I’ve been crazy busy. I’m working part-time at a new job, writing like crazy and dealing with another thousand other things.

No brand new spanking news to report. Just hanging in there.

Oh, wait. I do have news. My good friend, Molly Burkhart, sister of my other good friend, Joely Sue Burkhart, has a book out at Samhain. It’s called My Gigolo and I’m pleased as punch about it. Especially since, according to Molly, moi helped to inspire her. 🙂

Okay, gotta run. Don’t want to be late for work.

Ciao until next time!

Creating Alien and Fantasy Cultures

January 11, 2010

When creating alien and fantasy cultures for your short stories and novels, there’s actually quite a lot of books out there that can be very helpful. I went through my library and found some that I’ve found useful.

Creating Alien and Fantasy Cultures

These books are useful for creating aliens, species for a fantasy novel and their cultures.

o The Science of Aliens – Clifford Pickover

o Aliens and Alien Societies – A Writer’s Guide to Creating Extraterrestrial Life-forms – Stanley Schmidt

o Writer’s Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe – George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier

o Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy – 20 Dynamic Essays by Today’s Top Professionals – The Editors of Analog and Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine

o How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – Orson Scott Card

o Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy – Crawford Kilian

o Worlds of Wonder – How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy – David Gerrold

o Concerning the Heavens – Creating the Science Fiction Novel – Melissa Scott

o The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction – Volume One – Edited by Dave A. Law and Darin Park

o The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy – Volume One – Edited by Darin Park and Tom Dullemond

o The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference – The Editors of Writer’s Digest Books

Books of Special Mention
o The Tough Guide to Fantasyland – Diana Wynne Jones – This book is more of a satirical look at the tropes and clichés in fantasy literature than an actual guide to creating a fantasyland, but it’s not only hilarious it can be quite useful in finding overused tropes and clichés in your fantasy stories. Or even suggesting some to use but maybe twisting them a bit to give them that extra bite.

o The Lord of the Rings – Weapons and Wars – Chris Smith – This is a book that details all the weapons, whether wielded by Men, Elves, Dwarves or Orcs in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies. It’s beautifully illustrated and I find it useful for ideas concerning weaponry for my fantasy characters.

These books are helpful for looking at aliens created by writers and/or artists.

o Aliens in Space – Steven Caldwell

o Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials – Wayne Douglas Barlowe, Ian Summers and Beth Meacham

Mating and Courtship Practices
These books are helpful in coming up with ideas for mating and courtship rituals for your alien and fantasy cultures.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship and Sexuality Through History – Edited by William E. Burns (Six Volumes)

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life (Six Volumes)

The Mythology of Sex – An Illustrated Exploration of Sexual Customs and Practices from Ancient Times to the Present – Sarah Denning

Sextrology – The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes – Starsky & Cox

Sexual Secrets – The Alchemy of Ecstasy – Nik Douglas and Penny Slinger

I hope to, in later posts, talk about the actual methods and techniques I use when creating cultures for my stories. Until then, I hope these may prove helpful.


The Rose of Shanhasson

December 16, 2009

My good friend and writing pal, Joely Sue Burkhart, is celebrating the print release of her scorching hot fantasy romance, The Rose of Shanhasson, with a contest.

If you leave a comment on her blog post “A Box of Roses, you’ll be eligible to win a copy of the book. The contest runs through December 17, Midnight, CST.

I have a copy of the book and am currently reading it. Joely has written a fully realized fantasy world full of danger, romance and some really hot sex! 🙂

So, stop by her blog if you’d like to win a copy of her book.


Sex and Vampires

October 5, 2009

EDIT: I had been thinking about this commerical while I was writing this post and found it on YouTube. It’s a commercial Frank Langella did for the “I Love New York” ad campaign while he was performing Dracula on Broadway.

My good friend, GB Kensington , is also featured in The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica, which was released last week. Her short story is titled “Fair Play”. We’re cross-posting to celebrate the release.

Here’s mine on Sex and Vampires

How did the vampire evolve from its depiction as decaying, foul-smelling, diseased corpses into its 21st century depiction as attractive, alluring, sexy vamps?

Vampires of European lore were ugly, foul smelling creatures. Rural Slovakian and Czech vampires include the upir and the nelapsi. Both are the revived and rotting corpses of the recently dead. The upir is believed to have two hearts and two souls. It sucks the blood from its victims and then suffocates them in a deadly embrace. It also spreads disease and is reputed to be able to kill with its evil eye.

Other creatures also include the Bulgarian vampir, the Bosnian lampir, which crawls from its grave as a rotting and disease-carrying corpse, the Russian uppyr, a decaying, reanimated corpse, the Romanian strigoi, the Albanian shtriga, and the Germanic nachtzeheres (nightwasters), who return from the dead after gnawing on their own limbs and clothing,

Nothing romantic or sexy about these creatures! Their only purpose was to spread fear, disease and death.

However, even during those times, the association of eroticism with vampire was not unheard of.

In Vampires and Sex by Leslie Shepard, she states that “….corpses dug up as suspected vampires occasionally were reported to have an erection. Gypsies thought of the vampire as a sexual entity. The male vampire was believed to have such an intense sexual drive that his sexual need alone was sufficient to bring him back from the grave.”

Once the male vampire came back from the grave, according to Gypsy lore, he sought out his widow and had carnal relations with her. She would then “bear a child by her vampire husband. The resulting child, called a dhampir, was a highly valued personage deemed to have unusual powers to diagnose vampirism and to destroy vampires attacking the community.” (Shepard)

In her article Shepard also makes mention of the langsuyar, a female vampire. “She was often pictured as a desirable young woman who could marry and bear children.” (Shepard).

So even before the rise of vampires as romantic figures in 19th century literature and despite their typical descriptions as creatures too loathsome to even consider having sex with, the association of eroticism with the vampire was not unheard of.

However, it was in the 19th century, with the rise of Romanticism and Gothic literature, that the vampire began his or her transformation into a figure of alluring sexual power.

John Polidori’s The Vampyre

In May 1816, the English poet Lord Byron, his physician John Polidori, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelly and his wife-to-be, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Mary Shelley, were en route to Italy. They were stalled by bad weather at Lake Geneva in Switzerland. While there the four made up ghost stories. Byron produced a half-written tale about a vampire. Eighteen year old Mary Shelly went on to write one of the most famous horror stories of all time. Frankenstein.

In 1819, The Vampyre: A Tale, was published by Polidori. The short story focuses on Lord Ruthven, who bears a striking resemblance to Lord Byron. The Vampyre was initially published under Byron’s name, but Polidori fought to get credit for the story.

What’s important, however, for the topic of this post is the character of Lord Ruthven. If Dracula, as conceived by Bram Stoker, could be considered the grandfather of such sexy, alluring vampires as Anne Rice’s Lestat, Edward Cullen of Twilight, Laurell Hamilton’s vampire master, Jean-Claude, Buffy’s Angel, True Blood’s Bill Compton, or the Salvatore brothers from Vampire Diaries, Lord Ruthven could be considered their great-grandfather.

Lord Ruthven is a handsome, poised, evil aristocrat who loves to play mind games as much as he loves to kill. He is both irresistible and ruthless. Ruthven is possessed of those vampiric qualities that will reverberate into the 20th and 21st centuries. His arrogance, bloodlust and inherent eroticism will be duplicated in stories and movies yet to come.

James Malcolm Rymer’s Varney the Vampire

In the 1840’s another influential vampire appears on the literary scene. Sir Francis Varney is featured in the penny dreadful turned novel Varney the Vampire, written by James Malcolm Rymer. Sir Varney is a corpselike creature who stalks young girls. Varney, unlike Polidor’s Lord Ruthven, draws more from the blood-curdling vampire folktales of Eastern Eurpope. But Varney the Vampire still retains some of the characteristics of the drawing room vampire as opposed to the grave-rising, diseased corpse of earlier tales.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla

In 1872, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu published a novella in his novel. In a Glass Darkly, titled Carmilla. This could be considered the first vampire novel that not only introduced overt eroticism into the vampire mythos, but whose vampiric antagonist is a woman.

Le Fanu was influenced by folklore and tales of vampires from Europe, but his Carmilla has all the trappings of a modern vampire. She is alluring and seductive. Carmilla could be considered the grandmother of all female and lesbian vampires.

Regarding the overt eroticism, Laura Smith in her article Sexuality in Vampire Fiction notes that in Carmilla, “The physical descriptors of fast paced breathing and muffled moaning clearly identify with a human experience similar to an orgasm and enhance the sexual tension between Laura and Carmilla.”

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Now we come to the granddaddy of them all. Dracula.

Much has been written about how Dracula came to influence all the vampires to come and I won’t repeat that here. Google Dracula and his influences and I’m sure you’ll come up with more links than you could possibly want to read.

Needless to say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, steeped as it is with drama, romance, horror and the supernatural, went on to establish the vampire as both horrific and intensely erotic.

Leslie Shepard, who is the founder of the Bram Stoker Society, spends a great deal of time discussing the erotic nature of Dracula in her article Vampires and Sex. I highly recommend her article as it is certainly far better than my meager post and is well worth the read if you’re interested in the topic.

In her article Lust, Love and the Literary Vampire, Margaret Carter does make a point regarding Dracula that I think is worthy of note. She quotes Carol Senf, author of The Vampire in Nineteenth-Century English Literature.

“Carol Senf has pointed out that the very qualities that make the traditional vampire a threat in nineteenth-century stories such as Carmilla and Dracula — particularly his or her erotic power and unconventional behavior — make the vampire appealing to twentieth-century readers.” (Carter)

And we can add 21st centuries readers to that quote as it really does seem that it was at the turn of the 21st century that vampires really began to explode not only across the literary landscape but in film and television.

Vampires as Sex Symbols in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Vampires made their appearance in movies fairly early. Nosferatu, which was made in Germany, was released in 1922. Some have even credited this movie with having renewed interest in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.

If you’ve seen Nosfertau, you’ve probably noted some not so subtle references to Dracula. Nosferatu was an unauthorized version of Dracula. The setting was changed, as were the names, but it’s still pretty much a filmed version of the novel Dracula.

As a result Stoker’s widow sued for copyright infringement. In 1925 the court ordered that the negatives and all copies of the film were to be destroyed. Obviously some survived or we wouldn’t be able to watch it today. It’s speculated that the court case may have served to renew the public’s interest in the Dracula novel.

However, I think it’s safe to say there’s nothing the least sexy or attractive about Nosferatu’s Count Graf Orlock. He resembles more the monstrous creatures of East European lore. With his bald head, skeletal face, ears like a bat and long, rat-like fingers he’s not the kind of vampire one would have sexual fantasies about.

Although he does, like Dracula, like to make his way into the bedrooms of young women in order to suck their blood, the image is definitely not erotic. That’s not to say there isn’t an underlying sexuality in the movie but it’s a sexuality more rooted in horror and fear than in lust or desire.

Two years later, however, in 1924, a stage version of Dracula was presented in Derby, England. The play starred Edmund Blake as Dracula. This play is important in that it introduced the vampire, through Count Dracula, as a creature who could interact with humans. There’s no way Nosferatu’s Count Graf Orlock could have charmed his way into the drawing rooms of English homes.

With the release of Bella Lugosi’s Dracula in 1931, the thirties and forties saw a plethora of movies about vampires and other monsters such as Frankenstein and the Wolfman. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s, however, that the full erotic power of the vampire came to the forefront of cultural consciousness.

The English film company, Hammer Film Productions Limited, began to release a series of movies about vampires that became very popular. In 1958, they released the pivotal film, Horror of Dracula, which starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee as Dracula.

Christopher Lee could be called the All-Father of the tall, dark, dangerous, sexy vampire of today. All who follow afterwards are merely his sons, daughters, nieces or nephews.

Horror of Dracula went on to earn eight times what it cost to make. Another pertinent fact about Horror is that subsequent movies put out by Hammer Studios were, like Horror, released in color, unlike the black and white horror films of the 30s and 40s, which, of course, allowed the viewers to see all that red blood in all its horrid and fascinating vividness.

Following the success of Horror of Dracula, others in like vein (yes, pun intended) were released by Hammer. The Brides of Dracula (1960), Kiss of the Vampire (1964), which is a filmed version of the vampire novella Carmilla and features an alluring, seductive female vampire played by Ingrid Pitt, Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) and Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968).

In a reprise of Lugosi’s turn with Dracula, Frank Langella starred on Broadway in a stage play of Dracula before going on in 1979 to star in the movie version. Langella brought demonic charm and domineering seduction to the role.

From then on the list goes on of the actors who have played either Dracula or vampires. Jack Palance, in the 1973 made-for-television production of Dracula. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in 1994’s filmed version of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Stuart Townsend who plays Lestat in the 2002 movie Queen of the Damned, Richard Roxburgh in 2004’s Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing. Wesley Snipes as Blade, Gerald Bulter in Dracula 2000 and William Marshall in 1972 movie, Blacula,

And that’s not counting the television shows, such as Dark Shadows, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Forever Knight, Moonlight, and now, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.

To be honest, I could write a fair-sized book about sex and vampires but I only have time for this rather meager post, which I hope will encourage those who are interested in the topic to seek out and read the many, many books and articles out there about the subject.

To finish off, here are three pics, respectively, from the Twilight movie, the new CW series The Vampire Diaires, and HBO’s True Blood that bring home the fact that vampires are now not only sexy they’re also very much desired by those from whom they wish to feed.

So, yep, I don’t think there’s any doubt that vampires have definitely made the transition from ugly, disgusting, diseased creatures of the night to sexy, alluring, attractive creatures of the night.

They still suck blood but now the women and men who are the objects of their bloodlust are just as willing to appease their own lust as well as those of the vampires.

List of Articles and Books

Vampires and Sex by Leslie Shepard, founder of the Bram Stoker Society

The Allure of the Vampire by David Dvorkin

Sex and Vampires

Lust, Love and the Literary Vampire – Margaret Carter

Rough Sex With Vampires: What Does “True Blood” Tell Us About Women and Sexuality?

Sexuality in Vampire Fiction by Lauren Smith

Jones, Ernest. On the Nightmare. New York: Liveright, 1951. Print.

Stevenson, John Allen. “A Vampire in the Mirror: The Sexuality of Dracula.” PMLA 103, 2 (1988): 139-49.

Twitchell, James B. Dreadful Pleasures: An Anatomy of Modern Horror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Still Here

October 1, 2009

My darn head cold seems to be finally winding down.

Plan to post on Sunday on sex and vampires to herald the official release date (today) of The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica, edited by D.L. King and pubished by Clies Press, which contains my story under my Anna Black nom de plume, “The Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Doucette”. It’s set in Revolutionary France.

Here’s a description of the book: Vampires have a timeless allure, mesmerizing us in every medium from books and graphic novels to movies and television shows. Immortal, eternally beautiful, strong, and sexy, these creatures take what they need, stealing the life force from those unlucky enough to cross their paths — or from those whose luck leads them to the most thrilling experience of their lives.

Edited by noted erotica writer D. L. King, “The Sweetest Kiss” takes readers into shadowy alleys, dark bedrooms, and more mysterious spaces to experience the frisson of terror and delight that only a vampire can produce. Mostly straight, these stories also feature bi and queer vampires satisfying their lust in contemporary and period settings. These blood-drenched tales give new meaning to the term “dead sexy” and feature beautiful bloodsuckers whose desires go far beyond blood.

Vampires. Yum! Just in time for Halloween. 🙂