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Happy Vamptember!

My vampire novel CODE RED is now for sale on Amazon.

I will probably be selling it on other platforms too, but for now, you may buy it in ebook and print. Also, if you’re on NetGalley, you may download a free copy through October. I proud of this book which began as a Wattpad story and ended up winning a Watty award in 2020. Here’s the premise:

The Vampires are Running the Asylum!
Wormwood Asylum, a private mental hospital located in Southwest Virginia, specializes in treating adolescent psychoses, including Renfield’s Syndrome, an obsession with drinking blood. But when a young man is committed to Wormwood because he believes he’s a vampire, it turns out he wasn’t lying, and soon rapacious revenants are running rampant through the rural mountain community. To fight the blatant bloodsuckers, the local sheriff teams up with a candy striper and her moonshiner grandpa, who just happens to have an arsenal of war-grade weapons stored in his prepper bunker, for a bloody country hoedown of epic proportions.

To celebrate my take on vicious vamps, I thought I’d share my favorite vampires in lore and legend. Not the most original list in the world, but here goes.

Barnabas Collins

Like many from my generation, Dark Shadows, was part of our daily routine. A soap opera fully steeped in campy Gothic tropes, the show lasted for a good chunk of my childhood. The feature film based on the series, The House of Dark Shadows, was the first horror film I was allowed to see when I was a kid and it scared me to bits–in reality, I was a bit young for it, but I’ll be forever grateful for my older sister who dragged me along and turned me into a horror fan forever chasing that first high. Just the other day, I discovered a Dark Shadows book and comic bonanza at my local antique mart and rejoiced at adding to my collection. Perhaps one day I’ll happen upon the elusive Dark Shadows Cookbook we decimated as children, now selling for hundreds on eBay. As far as I’m concerned the Tim Burton travesty doesn’t exist.

Carmilla

I’m late to Carmilla, having only read it last year, but man, it did not disappoint! Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella about an ancient aristocratic vampire with Lesbian tendencies has a titillating premise, but to be fair, the sexuality is as subtle as a cool whispered breath on a fluttery bosom. What I enjoyed most about the story was its slow burning Gothic atmosphere. Its influence on Stoker’s Dracula is quite obvious. This is a creepy story I will return to each fall while spending a holiday at a haunted Austrian castle or at least a misty morning in my neighborhood graveyard.

Lestat

I discovered Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire when it became a paperback sensation in the 80’s and I immediately fell in love with the seductive Lestat de Lioncourt (as did Batilda). I was less impressed with Tom Cruise’s performance in the film adaptation. It wasn’t his fault he was miscast, but his performance and the film has grown on me with subsequent viewings. In the decades since I discovered this classic, I’ve been slowly working my way through The Vampire Chronicles. Rice’s lush, meandering prose can prove frustrating at times, but what an incredible character she created in Lestat. His seductions are immortal.

Dracula

All roads lead back to Drac, but which incarnation is best? I confess, it took me two reading to appreciate Stoker’s novel. Now, it shares a shelf with Frankenstein, the fraternal twins of Gothic literature. There have been so many film and television adaptations, from the ridiculous to the sublime, but I think the original silent Nosferatu comes closest to doing the Count justice. He’s a weirdo, and not as seductive as some renditions–Frank Langella’s coifed 70s styling comes to mind–would suggest. In truth, I love each portrayal for different reasons, with a particularly fondness for Gary Oldman’s seductive count, but now when I read Dracula, it is Max Schreck’s version I envision. His is a different kind of seduction. Not quite human, here is a monster whose talent for inspiring fear and fascination can never be matched.

Do you have any favorite vampires? Please comment below and let’s share notes. Vamp on!

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New Release!

Writing Goals

One of my goals for 2022 is to release new fiction (a short story, novel, novella, anthology, or collection) every month. So far, I’m right on target. I even began a month early with Served Cold, the second horrortube anthology, which was released in December.

Speaking of Served Cold, here is a guest blog post I wrote for horror author Nicholas Kaufmann’s blog, in which I examine what’s scary about producing an anthology. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but not completely. Writing is general, can be pretty scary.

Scares, of mostly the internal kind, are what I explore in Women in Trouble, a new collection of female-themed horror. Some stories have been previously published, but there are quite a few new pieces included. It’s been out about a week. If you enjoy psychological horror, as well as a few supernatural chills, please check it out. Here is an excerpt from the foreword written by fellow horrortuber, Lydia Peever.

Trouble transcends the traditionally feminine here—be it physical, psychological, or perceived—and brings us to a more modern stage but with roots in timeless sensibility. This is the signature of Saint Claire.

Below is a video where I discuss Women in Trouble, and other new projects coming in 2022.

I’m going to keep this post short today because I’m currently editing my next release, a young adult paranormal romance. If you’d like a sneak peek, the first book in the series is currently on Kindle Vella and doing quite well on that site. If any other writers are trying out Vella, I’d love to hear what you think of it so far. Please leave a comment and we can compare notes.

P.S. To receive a free digital copy of all my new releases, including Women in Trouble, consider becoming a patron.

 

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Served Cold is Launched!

It’s been a long time coming, but Served Cold: A HorrorTube Anthology is now available in print and ebook. EBook copies are also available on Smashwords. I’m happy to report our initial launch was very successful. We earned Amazon’s little orange #1 check mark, which is always a pleasant sight.

As Served Cold continues to make strides, I am so happy to see how much our HorrorTube community has come together with not only our love of horror fiction, but also by sharing that passion with each other. Below you’ll find a short promo video created by a very talented member of our community, the lovely Mers from Harpies in the Trees. I’ve never met Mers in person, but she is part of an informal group of HorrorTubing women I communicate with during our occasional “Creepy Cocktail Hour” via Zoom.

I’m not sure if I will be editing another anthology anytime soon—I have many of my own projects commanding my attention—but ask me again in six months and I might already be planning the next one. It’s a lot of work, but the rewards are great. Of course, I am someone who always thinks big, so I can imagine in the near future HorrorTube having its own conference where we could all come together and meet in person. How cool would that be? As a new year approaches, I am considering a few projects along those lines, including creating a completely analog HorrorTuber zine, but more about that later.

If you would like a FREE ebook copy of Served Cold, consider becoming a Regina’s Haunted Library member. Also, I will be sending out many free ebooks to my mailing list subscribers, so considering signing up.

I’m keeping this post short because I’m a bit distracted after just finding out this morning that the great Anne Rice has passed away. I plan to post a video about her this week on my YouTube channel.

Here’s Mers’ promo video for your enjoyment. Remember, all proceeds for Served Cold benefit the literacy charity, FirstBook.org. Thanks for your support!

 

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It’s Getting Cold Outside!

A little over a year ago, Local Haunts: A HorrorTube Anthology came alive, like Frankenstein’s monster, from the kinetic energy of many creative minds joining together on a sub-group of BookTube known as HorrorTube. And now, another creature emerges, this one from the ice. Served Cold: A HorrorTube Anthology slated for a mid-December release is now available for pre-order.

There are some returning authors from the first time around, veteran HorrorTubers like Cameron Chaney and Andrew Lyall, as well as some new voices like Janine Pipe and Aphrodite Lee whose work I’m happy to feature. Each of the twenty-two teeth-chattering tales probes the vast and terrifying landscapes comprising the chills and thrills of cold-themed horror. Just in time for the holidays too!

My efforts to pull this project together were assuaged by the aid of Steve Donoghue, the professor emeritus of BookTube. Steve’s daily dispatches from his charming Boston library, crammed to the rafters with books and the occasional dog, offer a true education in literature. Steve is helping with the editing and other sundry unglamorous tasks self-publishing demands.

Here is an excerpt from Steve’s foreword to Served Cold:

Leaving aside the increasing probability that the very concept of ‘winter’ will be completely foreign to the grandchildren of the authors represented in these pages (that’s a horror story of an entirely different order of magnitude, and alas, it’s no figment of somebody’s imagination), there’s a long-standing connection being celebrated here. Horror tales always give chills, not hot sweats. Think of the pervading cold in such horror classics as Dracula or especially Frankenstein. Remember that the heart of Dante’s Hell is not a lake of fire but a vast field of ice. 

Horror pairs naturally with the season of dark and cold, when hungry wolves could come down from mountain passes, cross frozen rivers, and ghost along village doorways in search of warm prey, when snowbound solitude created phantoms out of corner-shadows, and when the eternal patience of the ice and the dark seems extra pointed, and not at all friendly.

So wrap yourself in your favorite blanket, curl up by a fireside or in a warm bed, and enjoy these tales of sub-zero terror brought to you by some of the many voices of HorrorTube.

I’m happy that what began as a creative whim of mine garnered enough interest from creators and readers alike to develop into what has turned out to be a growing trend. Last month, popular BookTuber from Down Under, Cam Wolfe, picked up the mantle with the release of his horror anthology We’re Not Home, of which I’m proud to be part. The proceeds from all three anthologies will be donated to children’s literacy charities.

The cover art by Cameron Roubique now occupies a sinister space in my library.  To receive a FREE ebook copy of Served Cold and other fun perks, consider becoming a patron of Regina’s Haunted Library.