Tag Archives: Vampire

Vampires Don’t Sparkle review @bymichaelwest @7thstarpress

Vampires do not sparkle. They suck your blood seduce you, glamour you perhaps but they are not 100 year old virgins. They kill, humans are cattle. This anthology focuses on familiar vampires those that existed before they became eunuchs.

Michael West

I enjoyed this anthology and while there are stories that I liked more than others it was good overall.

Story one A New Life was one of my least favourites. It focuses on a guy who stumbles upon a vampire gang or they him. While the story itself I felt was slow what really got me was that this human was given a vampire woman to um play with. He’s food. I simply didn’t see this happening and as with the sparkle think this was inaccurate.

What Once Was Flesh also put a new spin on things though in a much more acceptable way. This story was good and I quite enjoyed it. What new things does a vampire have to learn. According to this story a lot along with who can or cannot be trusted.

The Darkton Circus Mystery was a good read. It examines human nature as well as relationships. I thought it had a very introspective aspect to it as well as being entertaining. Users and abusers. Why people want to stare at caged things and how cruel people can be

Robot Vampire not an outright vampire novel per se but one thing is for sure you don’t cross robot vampire. Good read.

Beneath a Templar Cross is one of my faves. Great read, well written and the author creates quite the beginning for Van Helsing.

The Weapon of Memory is a great story about what makes some what they are. That moment that can effect them and change the very core of their being. Sometimes that thing is a vampire.

The Excavation is a good little story that shows that one should not go digging willy nilly. You could uncover something unpleasant not to mention this is another different spin on the vampire tale with this blood sucking beast being a seemingly unstoppable mist.

Skraeling is a great story about what happens after the zombie apocalypse. What is the thing that ensures our humanity who we are, what we are is preserved.

Dreams of Winter incorporates magic and the poked fun at the expense of the sparkly vampire.

Dracula’s Winkee: Bloodsucker Blues is my favourite story in the anthology and in fact this story alone makes this anthology worth buying. It is so freaking hilarious I was in hysterics. Loved it. Simply loved it. Poking fun at the sex aspect of the virgin vampire, what does Dracula do when he suffers um performance issues? Totally brilliant.

I Fuck Your Sunshine is another great read. About aged vampires and what happens when their food source dries up.

A Soldiers Story is less about vampires and more the horrors of the real world. We fear so often the things our imaginations creates when the real evil is human. Good read.

Rattenkonig is an interesting story about well its about being trapped – about so much that we don’t really see.

Vampire Nation is negotiation, big giant chess moves.

Curtain Call about how your life can change just from going in to a book store.

Interesting reads, one that would be appreciated by those not fans of the sparkly virgins who call themselves vamps but those who miss the blood thirsty vampires of old.

Vampires Don’t Sparkle is available in print and ebook via publisher Seventh Star Press

Blood and Whiskey book tour with an author interview and giveaway!


Cowboys and Vampires make for a great combination I sure have Blood and Whiskey on my TBR list. Check out the author interview I have for my stop on the tour and be sure to check out Blood and Whiskey

Thanks for being on, can you tell me about yourselves? –

Our pleasure. Thanks for inviting us. Here’s the quick and dirty 411: Kathleen is a geologist and filmmaker by education, a writer by choice and a tortured artist by temperament. She was born and raised in Washington, DC, and is an avid — rabid — reader. We’re talking falling asleep every night with the Kindle in her hands avid reader. Clark is a former cowboy, former poet and full-time cloud watcher. He was born in Texas, grew up in Scotland and then on a ranch in Montana where he fell in love with the west. When Kathleen entered the picture, he cheated on the west and moved to Portland, Oregon, which is still, technically, “west.” He is also an avid reader and used to be a chef, which means he suffers from PTfSD — Post-Traumatic food Service Disorder.

What is your work space and routine like? –

We both work in communications (Kathleen for a medical university and Clark for a national financial services company) which means our day jobs are about cranking out words that connect with the intended audiences. It’s a double-edged sword. On one edge of the blade, we’re both pretty good at high volume, deadline-driven writing. On the other side of the blade, we’re usually mentally fried when we get home. We have to be very diligent about setting aside time to write creatively, and be highly productive in that narrow window between a martini and falling asleep early. It helps to have clear “assignments.” While working on Blood and Whiskey, we had a detailed plot map and took turns writing chapters, then swapping to edit the other persons work.

As far as work space, it’s mostly our house. We are like seriously the worst house keepers of all time, spending every spare minute writing, researching or reading. That means our house usually looks like a federal superfund site. Out-of-town guests usually come to visit every few months, despite our best attempts to discourage them, so we have to clean everything up. We also work well on the road though, so we sometimes take our laptops and notebooks and head to the coast or the mountains. We’re writing this interview in a room overlooking the ocean in Newport, Ore. It’s almost sunset and a weiner dog is barking outside the window.

What are you reading now? –

Clark: I’m reading The Oyster: The Life and Lore of the Beloved Bivalve. I realized before we left for Newport that I didn’t know how oysters reproduce. I’m also reading The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers–How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death. We read a lot about death for research. It’s not healthy.

Kathleen: My reading has been a bit erratic lately, all over the place. I just finished 50 Shades of Grey to see what the fuss was all about. I’m having fun discovering new Kindle authors and download a few books every week, mostly thrillers. I love books that combine great storytelling with new knowledge — about a place, a culture or a subject. I recently finished Liquid Fear (Nicholson) and I learned something about scientific research and The Silent Oligarch (Jones) which had eye-popping about financial dealmaking in Russia.

Being a two person writing team is there a dominant person, the one who takes the lead role? –

It changes almost daily, like the weather. Only if the weather was on “bath salts.” We’re both stubborn, strong-willed and completely sure that our individual approach is the right one. So when we get to a place that requires a discussion, it always turns into an argument. Always. We’ve argued about the most ridiculous things — like whether an em dash is too phallic or whether flashbacks are trite — and the winner is usually the one who has enough energy to maintain their position the longest. That’s why the “lead” status changes so frequently. And also, we both trust each other completely so it really doesn’t matter which one of us is right. Maybe we just like fighting. The real challenge is coming up with characters and plotlines that inspire us both. With two separate filters, two minimum thresholds, it takes a lot of magic to make sure we can both stay jazzed about the project at all times. We think that comes through in our books.

What do you do when you disagree on how a scene should go? –

We don’t want to sound like masterpiece theater authors, but we really let the characters make the decisions. When we’re writing, once we’ve ironed out the plot, the details fit together like a puzzle and if there’s something about a scene that doesn’t work, it’s usually pretty easy to identify the trouble and figure out a way to fix it. When we were working on Blood and Whiskey, at about draft three Kathleen realized we had written a scene early on in which one of the main characters — Lenny, Tucker’s best friend and survivalist type — was unexpectedly ruthless. Once she identified it, even though Clark wrote it and provided a passionate defense, ultimately, changing it was the right thing to do.

Getting to kill as many people as you do in the books do you ever unleash a little and secretly kill off an old boss or someone you don’t care for? –

Clark: Absolutely. I have a detailed and lengthy revenge journal and spend way too much time imagining all the glorious ways to destroy them while inflicting as much agony as possible. I’d like to think it helps bring to life the motivations of the evil undead in our books, but truthfully I’m just a small, petty person.

Kathleen: No. I’m a vegan. I think all life is equally important. I would never want to kill someone, but I do get to experience that vicariously through our characters. And I am tempted sometimes to name a character who we know is going to die a slow and horrible death after someone who has recently irritated me.

The covers look great did you have much input in them? –

Absolutely. Our publisher worked with a talented local artist and designer, Brett Lloyd, and we were intimately involved with it. Probably WAY more involved than Brett would have liked.

What are the future writing plans? –

We’re hard at work on book three of The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series, tentatively titled Undead Asylum. We’re also working on a new series, a paranormal detective with a strong female lead. Think of it as “paranoir.”

Can you tell us about Blood and Whiskey? –

The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series, ultimately, is all about star-crossed love. Can a cowboy and vampire really stay in love and make a life together?

Blood and Whiskey, the second book in series, picks up where The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Darkly Romantic Mystery left off.
After narrowly surviving a vampire apocalypse, Tucker, a down-on-his-luck cowboy, and Lizzie, a newly-turned vampire with a growing thirst for blood, hightail it back to LonePine to settle down and start a family. But nothing ever comes easy for these two lovers.
The vampire world is in disarray and the undead are facing the prospect of mortality for the first time in, well, forever. Without a blood savior to turn the willing, the Royal vampire line faces extinction. The mysterious Council of Nine is headed to LonePine to find out if Lizzie has the power; if not, they’ll lay waste to the tiny town. But the Reptilian vampires, conveniently able to reproduce the old-fashioned way, have other plans.
Chafing under thousands of years of brutal oppression at the hands of the Royals, the Reptilians see their chance to finally alter the balance of power by assassinating Lizzie. They’ve sent their own “ambassador” to LonePine, an undead cowboy killer straight from the old west.
Meanwhile, Rose, the niece of Tucker’s best friend Lenny — a quirky conspiracy theorist and improvised weapons expert — has disappeared from the streets of Portland. When Tucker and Lenny investigate, they uncover a horrible, depraved mystery centered in the sagebrush-soaked isolation of remote Plush, Oregon.

About the books

Blood and Whiskey (Pumpjack Press, May 2012), by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays, is the second book in the Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series. It’s a wickedly funny tale of love, loyalty and sacrifice in the modern west.
About the authors

Stuff Clark likes: sagebrush, the American West, clouds, whiskey and graphic novels. Stuff he hates: running quarterbacks, drivers who don’t use turn signals and the sound of flip-flops.
Stuff Kathleen likes: Russian literature, anarchy, martinis, lava and the ocean. Stuff she hates: intermissions, Halloween corn mazes and high-speed vehicular sandwiches. And the Muppets.
Find out more about The Cowboy and the Vampire Thriller Series:


Check out the awesome giveaway for books 1 and 2 in the Cowboy and Vampire series. There are two sets to be won and a chance at a $50 GC to amazon for a review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Darkening Dream Promo and Giveaway

A Vampire Novel with Actual Bite!

As the modern world establishes itself and pushes the supernatural into the shadows, the supernatural fights back.

The Darkening Dream is a chilling new dark fantasy novel by Andy Gavin, creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. The book has received rave reviews and is on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle from June 25th-29th! Download your copy here.

In addition, Andy is doing a big giveaway, including a $100 gift certificate to Amazon, signed copies of his books, video games, posters, and more!


I was most fortunate and asked to review The Darkening Dream by Andy a while back. It’s got it all horror, religious aspects to it, history and fantasy all rolled into one great story. I enjoyed it very much and when the opportunity was available to share this with you all I jumped at it. I really hope you will get this book. For 99cents you’d be crazy not to and that’s just the tip of the iceberg you get the great giveaway as well which I hope you’ll all enter.

The Darkening Dream Rafflecopter Giveaway


Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

Long-time readers of dark historical fantasy (Tim Powers, Guy Gavriel Kay, Katherine Kurtz) will appreciate the weaving together of mythology, occult, and religion, while younger readers and fans of HBO dramas (True Blood, Carnivàle) or urban fantasy (Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher) will be drawn to the twisted imagination, graphic action, and romantic tension.

About The Darkening Dream

Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs.

1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal?

No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be her very soul.

The Reviews Are In

“A vampire novel with actual bite.” ~The Kirkus Reviews

“A gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying tale.” ~Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Mr. Gavin has brought something refreshingly new to a genre now suffused with poorly-concealed bodice-rippers which have more in common with Fabio than Bram Stoker: depth. His big baddies are scary, not romantic interests, and the added religious lore is complex and engaging. Don’t expect another Twilight — the story can get downright creepy, so be prepared for a return to the old horror sensibilities of supernatural fiction.” ~Amazon Review

“With Mr. Gavin’s video-game pedigree, I was expecting something aimed squarely at the 18-25 year old fanboy contingent; what I got in The Darkening Dream was something wholly unexpected: A period novel with a female protagonist, a crash-course on Judaism in the colonial years, and multi-layered series of plot arcs featuring a crazy cast of natural and supernatural characters populating turn of the century America.” ~Amazon Review

“…A perfect blend of mystery, magic and myth. A grown-up Grimm’s fairy tale… emphasis on grim.” ~Amazon Review

Read the first two sample chapters here.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

About the Author

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes. Find out more here.

Jon F. Merz

I’m super thrilled to have Jon Merz on the blog today for an interview to tell us about himself and his great series featuring Lawson a kung fu bad ass who just happen to be a vampire. Cool stuff

Please tell us about yourself –

I describe myself as a “writer, producer, ninja” because it pretty much defines who I am. As a writer, I’ve written close to 30 novels, including 11 installments in the internationally bestselling Rogue Angel series from Harlequin/Gold Eagle. My Lawson Vampire series is what I’m perhaps best known for and May 2012 marks the 10th year since Lawson debuted in 2002’s The Fixer from Pinnacle Books. I’ve also written several standalone thrillers and mysteries. As a producer, I’ve formed an independent production company, New Ronin Entertainment, to bring my Lawson series to TV. We’re also going to be producing feature films with a variety of content partners. And as a ninja, I’ve been studying authentic Togakure-ryu Ninjutsu for over 20 years and earned my 5th degree black belt directly from the 34th Grandmaster of the system during a trip to Japan in February 2003.

Apart from that, I previously served in the US Air Force, worked for the US government, and then handled executive protection for Fortune 500 clients. I’m married with two sons and live in suburban Boston.

What is your work space and routine like? –

I have a home office and very soon an office at the production facility. I love working from home because it lets me work whenever the creative juices are flowing. My office is pretty much decorated with a variety of weird toys, posters, books, comics, drawings, martial arts weapons, and more. I love putting odd things next to each other and seeing what ideas their placement prompts in my mind. It’s always fun trying to drum up ways that the die cast Mazinger Z robot I picked up in Japan could work with picture of Wolverine. It’s a cool exercise that helps prompt other ideas and story lines. Even if I don’t use any of them, per se, the fact that I try to concoct really wild plots helps with fleshing out actual projects.

As far as routines go, I work consistently. In first draft, or what I affectionately call my “puke it out phase,” I spend an hour writing a chapter of 2,000 words. Then I’ll take a break, get away from the computer for at least fifteen minutes before I come back and do it all again. My routine changes slightly when I’m refining the work, editing, and so forth, but during that hauling ass first draft stage, it’s very important to me to get the story out as quickly as possible.

Favorite authors and books? –

David Morrell’s Brotherhood of the Rose is perhaps the finest example of a thriller I can think of. He really started me on the path to writing thrillers. Stephen King’s short stories are excellent teaching tools in and of themselves. How he’s able to so perfectly capture a complete story, character, etc. within the confines of a short story is amazing.

Other favorite authors of mine: Guy de Maupassant, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert B. Parker, Mickey Spillane, Robert Leslie Bellem, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Howard, JRR Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Douglas Adams, Daniel Pinkwater, Nathaniel Philbrick and so many more it would take days to list them all.

Recent favorite books (because, again, I’ve got so many) include Sea of Glory by Nathaniel Philbrick, Grimalkin the Witch Assassin by Joseph Delaney, and the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore

What are you reading now?

Cherub: Mission 4 The Killing by Robert Muchamore. I can’t lie, I love a ton of middle grade and YA stuff. I think in some ways, it’s more imaginative than a lot of adult fiction these days. Plus, I have this incredible indie bookstore – Park Street Books in Medfield, MA – that is a joy to browse through and find new stuff to read. The owner Jim is a textbook example of how to do it right; friendly, incredibly knowledgable, and able to get any book within a few days with a nice discount. People wonder a lot these days about bookstores and whether ebooks will drive them into extinction (and I’ve certainly fallen in love with ebooks given that I sell so many of them) but Park Street Books is a thriving environment for book junkies of all ages. I hope it’s around for decades!

Tell me about the TV adaption of The Fixer –

As with anything relating to Hollywood, there have been a lot of starts and stops. My business partner Jaime Hassett and I have met with tons of potential investors, and the stories we have as a result of pitching some of these “colorful” folks defy reason and rational thought. Seriously. We joke that once we get the cameras rolling and people ask about our adventure to-date, no one will ever believe the crap we’ve gone through. But that said, we are at last getting close to starting the production. We’re independent, so that makes it all the more challenging. But the rewards are so worth it. And as the creator of the series, I get to maintain control over story arcs, continuity with the novels, etc. I think you’re going to see a lot more of this in the future as technology changes the way people get their content.

THE FIXER itself has been cast and crewed with folks from the New England area. It’s our goal with New Ronin to produce TV, web series, and feature films using people from our region as opposed to importing them from Los Angeles or New York. New England has enough talent to satisfy anyone’s needs. And we’re proud to be championing the region for its resources and talent. The official website for the show is at http://thefixer.tv

Will there be more Lawson and will there be new non Lawson books to look forward to? –

LOTS more Lawson. In fact, in just a few days, a new novella rolls off the ebook presses, MISSION: Malta, which takes place back in 1983. I’ve got a special 10 Year Retrospective coming out as well. And more Lawson novels are in the works, including a spin-off series starring Lawson’s girlfriend, Talya. Non-Lawson stuff includes a brand new boys’ adventure series, THE NINJA APPRENTICE and some other standalone thrillers.

I’ve only read one of your books The Kensei is this the book you would recommend new readers to your work start with or is there one in particular that should be the first Jon Merz read?

The Kensei is a great place to start, or they could go back and read The Fixer first, since it’s technically the first in the series. Parallax is also what I consider to be one of my best thrillers. It’s a standalone, but a very good introduction to the type of material I write.

Without your military and martial arts background what kind of books do you think you’d be writing instead? –

Hmm, interesting question. I don’t know that I’d even be writing without my military and martial arts background, frankly, because I don’t know that I ever would have learned how to persevere and achieve the goals I set for myself without that training. A lot of people dream about doing things, and I was always certainly a dreamer, but the military and martial arts gave me the perseverance and discipline to go after what I wanted and get it. It taught me to aspire to excellence in everything I undertake, and never settle for mediocrity or for a life that others consider normal, but that would bore the heck out of me.

So would I even be a writer? Probably not.

Thanks Jessica!

Thanks to Jon for being on today. Please check out the Lawson series on amazon and B&N Jon can be found on the net on his site, his FB fan page, G + and twitter.