Happy New Year, everyone!

Hi everyone, I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year!
Onward and upward for 2016 we go 🙂98_062712

Five-Star Review from TV/Film Producer Joel Eisenberg

Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome” (mass market paperback) just received a five-star review from Hollywood TV/Film producer Joel Eisenberg. 😀


After Reading “Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome,” I Felt As Though I Had Never Read a Vampire Novel Before.
By Joel Eisenberg, Author of The Chronicles of Ara on October 17, 2015

Really, how many variations of the vampire theme can there possibly be? Surely, this genre is well-worn; what can possibly be done to rejuvenate it?

Welcome, “Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome.” I promise, you have never read a vampire book like this one.

Let’s begin this way: Jack Wendell, a Special Olympics champion with Down Syndrome, is turned into a vampire (hence the Vampire Syndrome in the title). That enough? Then how’s this: Jack strives for acceptance within his new community and is immediately ordered to be killed. Read Daven’s synopsis on this site. It’s all there. He’s not joking about “space alien Pure vampires” either.

Somehow, Daven Anderson makes it all work. The story is metaphoric for sure, but man is this work compelling. There’s a good deal of tongue in cheek here but not once did I feel the author or his story pandered. This is a compelling work.

Jack Wendell is a character unique to modern fiction. Characters with Down Syndrome have been used frequently in media, see the television shows “Life Goes On” or “American Horror Story.” Autistic protagonists too have been used widely in literature over the past 25 years, but in lit circles fully drawn characters with Down Syndrome have been rare.

Here though is something different and I hope I express this as I mean to: Jack is ‘cool.’ Do I feel sorry for him as he runs from his death sentence? Of course. Am I curious about his budding friendship with Lilith, who will attempt to save him? Yes. But more than this, I lose track of any disabilities on the part of the main character, and root for him as I would for anyone. And then it comes back to me that I’m reading a tale about a boy – a vampire – with Down Syndrome and I’m compelled to credit the author all the more.

This is a special novel and certain to be a special series. Daven is clearly a unique author. He is also a special educator and knows this world well. Jack is a real person to me, in an extraordinary circumstance.

The conflicts inherent therein make for the best of fiction. This is one of my very favorite novels that I’ve read all year.

Kudos Mr. Anderson. A remarkable, fun work.

Joel Amazon Review - Screengrab

Drawing Dead: An Interview with Brian McKinley

Interview with Brian McKinley

BM: Drawing Dead is about Faolan O’Connor, who is a NY gangster in the 30s that gets recruited into a society of vampires called The Order. During the course of several years, as he fights his way up the ranks, he reawakens a basic humanity within himself. Naturally, this new consciousness isn’t necessarily a benefit in a ruthless battle for control.

***

CPR: How long has it taken you to write this novel?

BM: I started work on this novel back in 2005. It’s gone through a number of iterations and, to be fair, there have been several years in there when I wasn’t working on it at all. But it’s been a good several years in the writing. I finished it and got it accepted by PDMI in early 2013, which is a little lesson in how long real publishing can take.

***

CPR: Do you think writers today need an agent to represent their work?

BM: Sadly, my experience has been that it’s harder to get an agent than it is to get a publisher. It’s become so exclusive that I recommend that new authors just get their books out there and sell them. If you get big enough, the agents will approach you. Honestly, you don’t tend to need an agent anymore until you’re dealing with a Big 5 publisher.

***

CPR: I have read that you approach writing like a chore, I can empathize with that. How do you get around that? Can you tell me more about your writing practice?

BM: Again, I’m not really sure that I have found a way around it. I still don’t write as often as I should. Mostly, I just have to find a day that I have time and decide that I’m going to get some writing done that day. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Facebook has cost me many a day’s work, I can tell you that!

Order your copy of “Drawing Dead” here:
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1GDEELS
Luxe Premium Edition Mass Market Paperback: http://amzn.to/1NsBd0w

Luxe Premium Edition now available on Amazon

The Luxe Premium Edition mass market paperback of “Vampire Syndrome” is now available on Amazon!
Jack Wendell’s Vampire Syndrome: Book 1 in the Vampire Syndrome Saga
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VS Luxe Cover

Taking Orlok to the Ultimate

Most of you are at least a little familiar with Count Orlok, the vampire in the 1922 film “Nosferatu”, which forever changed the face of cinema.
Nosferatu Self-CheckoutThe story itself may have been an unauthorized version of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel “Dracula”, but “Nosferatu” revolutionized the visual art of cinema. The now-classic “burn-up-in-sunlight” trope started with this film. Count Orlok’s sun-ray immolation is just one of the great, ground-breaking visual effects featured.

Count Orlok himself is, of course, another bold visual statement. What many may not realize is that Nosferatu’s director, F.W. Murnau, intended Count Orlok as a return to the hideous monsters of original vampire folklore, as they were two centuries before Nosferatu’s release.

From TVTropes’ “Looks Like Orlok” page:

History time: In the original folklore, most vampires were short, ugly, Eastern European peasants. Then (in 1819) Polidori creates the character of Lord Ruthven and suddenly they’re all elegant, English, aristocratic and look suspiciously like Lord Byron. Rymer’s Varney the Vampire (1847) gives them fangs and the whole “wandering the world hating what they’ve become” thing. Then Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla was written (in 1871), and vampires suddenly became alluring, bisexual upper-class gothic girls. Then, Dracula was written (in 1897), and they’re still elegant aristocrats, but moved back to Eastern Europe, sexy and deadly, outwardly beautiful yet disguising an inner corruption. Thus, horror turned to fetish, and pop culture… ahem… the world was never the same again. And we all know what happened since.

In the early 1920s, F.W. Murnau had a great idea. Since the German Expressionist movement was all about stylization, why not apply this to vampires? Why not create a vampire that looks exactly like what he is: a parasitic bloodsucker?

In the ninety-odd years since “Nosferatu”, Orlok’s appearance has influenced dozens of characters, vampire or otherwise. From The Master in “The Strain” and the Elder Vampire in “Dracula: Untold” (yes, Orlok has now ‘officially’ crossed over into a Dracula tale!), to Voldemort.

The one thing that’s been missing for all these nine decades is why the Orlok-type vampires look the way they do. We can’t undo three centuries’ worth of humanizing vampires, after all, so there must be reasons as to why the Orlok-type vampires look different from vampires of basic human appearance. This is where most vampire novels and movies drop the ball, usually not explaining this in any detail, or using the “old master” mythos where vampires will eventually age to an Orlok-like appearance.

Until now, the best explanation for Orlok-type vampires comes from the Role-Playing Game “Vampire: The Masquerade”, wherein the Nosferatu are the most ‘vampiric’ of the seven playable vampire subspecies.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Nosferatu

The Nosferatu are one of seven playable clans in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. The damnedest of the damned, the Nosferatu are disfigured and have a frightening appearance. This means that they can only use sewers, and should they be seen by humans, they will violate the Masquerade. Due to this however, the Nosferatu have become very gifted at sneaking and hacking, which means they have information on almost everything and everyone. They gather information not only as a means of survival, but out of pure pleasure as well. The Nosferatu are ostracized by other vampires due to their appearance, but also their ability to dig up dirt on everyone. This doesn’t stop the leaders of other vampire clans to come to them when they need information, however.

When I set about creating the universe for my Vampire Syndrome Saga, I found many of the classic folkloric abilities attributed to vampires (ie. clinging to walls and ceilings, aversion to acidic plants such as onions and garlic, harmed/weakened by ultraviolet radiation/sunlight) would not make scientific sense for my living human Vampires. The human genome has millions of years worth of evolved tolerance of sunlight or garlic, and to undo these would require (basically) a ground-up total DNA rewrite to where the being would no longer be “human”.

So I created planet Sek’Met, and its race of humanoid alien carnivores. With aliens, the folkloric attributes I could not (personally) justify for human vampires became easy to rationalize scientifically for the Sek’Metian race, who evolved on a different planet, under different conditions.

And it follows that alien carnivore humanoids who evolved on a different planet would also have distinct appearance traits of their own. Which gave me the best explanation ever as to why Orlok-type vampires appear they way they do: They’re aliens!

A sketch that captures the essence of my character Syl’Tes 🙂
VTM Nosferatu Waiting by Oharisu

Book Signing this Saturday at 2nd & Charles FlatIron Crossing, Broomfield, Colorado

Can a Vampire with Down Syndrome survive, and even thrive?

Find out at my book signing this Saturday, April 4th, 2015, from 1pm to 5pm, at the 2nd & Charles store in FlatIron Crossing, Broomfield, Colorado. Get your copy of Vampire Syndrome signed, and check out the great selection of books, movies, games, music and musical instruments while you’re there.

2nd and Charles Signing Flyer Apr 2015 Negative

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

Jack Wendell, protagonist of the Vampire Syndrome Saga, would like to wish everyone in the world a Happy World Down Syndrome Day! #worlddownsyndromeday

Community

2nd and Charles Signing Flyer Apr 2015 Negative