April 2, 2004 was the earliest date I have recorded for the inception of Blood Family. Also known as Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key, the novel was going to be a Young Adult horror adventure which would by my take on vampires and what vampires might be. And when I’d decided that, I knew I was in for an interesting journey, but had no idea where it would take me…
Recently I was given the opportunity to contribute a vampire-themed short story or novella to In Vein – a vampire charity anthology book where 100% of the proceeds will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital!
My story is entitled ‘Mom’. A lonely school child brings home his first friend, but struggles to hide the fact that his daylight-hating mother is a vampire.
This anthology was spearheaded by the endlessly energetic Jodie Pierce – author of the Vampire Queen trilogy. Thanks, Jodie! You are a star.
In Vein is available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com
Giveaway! A special set of ebookmarks will be sent to the first reader to comment on this post!
Tara Fox Hall
Charie D. La Marr
Welcome back to fantasy and Sci Fi author, M. Pax!
M. Pax is known for her hit ‘Backworlds’ series of novels and the adult urban fantasy Hetty Locklear series. I am very pleased to have her back on Written Worlds! She has taken a fun look at the similarities between bloodsuckers and spacefarers – and also has a special announcement for her fans!
Take it away, M. Pax!
What fun to swap blogs with Mark Knight today. You’ll find him at mpaxauthor.com. We both have a love for things in the night.
Nine Things Vampires and Space Adventurers Have in Common:
1. Both work in the dark
2. They both fly – Vampires as bats. Spacepeople in spaceships
3. An irresistible allure – Vampires use their eyes. Spaceships use tractor beams.
4. Traveling at high speeds — Vampires faster than the eye, Spaceships faster than light
5. Both types of stories search for understanding of what it means to be human
6. Both space explorers and vampires enjoy seeing other people in red shirts
7. Eating a lot of garlic repels vampires and your shipmates
8. Some people think space travelers and vampires exist, some think it’s bullarky
9. Space travelers can also be very pale from a lack of sun if in space a long time
Can you think of any more?
I’m celebrating the audio release of The Backworlds. Currently available from Audible. You can win an audiobook by commenting at Samantha Geary’s blog on THIS POST before October 18, 2013.
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe. This is the first book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. Try it for free. A space opera adventure.
After the war with the Foreworlders, Backworlders scatter across the remaining planets. Competition is fierce, and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to improve his fortunes by destroying his son. He tells his only boy their moon isn’t big enough for them both and gives Craze a ticket for the next transport leaving the space dock.
Treated worse than a stranger, like the scuzzbag of the galaxy, Craze is forced to flee his home. Cut off from everyone he knows with little money and no knowledge of the worlds beyond his, he must find away to forge a new life and make sure his father regrets this day.
And stay tuned! Backworlds #4, Beyond the Edge will be available any hour now.
M. Pax — Inspiring the words I write, I spend my summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where I live with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. I write science fiction and fantasy mostly You can find out more by visiting my website: mpaxauthor.com
Come chat on Twitter or FB. I spend a little time on Pinterest and Wattpad, too.
Ellie Garratt is a science fiction and horror writer. A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror meant writing was the logical outlet for her passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre and Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories are now available on Kindle. Other eBook formats to follow soon. In early 2014, she will be launching a nine-part science fiction serial called The Third Dimension.
Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre
Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.
A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop. A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?
Back in January I interviewed fantasy artist David M Rabbitte, known for his Star Wars and Lord of the Rings art, as well as the magnificent background vistas seen in such animated films as Anastasia and Titan A.E.
I caught up with David after his return from ComicCon 2013 in San Diego…
Mark Knight: David, you attended ComicCon in San Diego recently. This has not been your first ComicCon. How many years have you been attending and what is your routine as a guest artist?
David Rabbitte: I have been attending Comic Con since 1996 as an attendee and I have been set up in Artists’ Alley since 2008. I would typically have a table where I would sell my printed art and do on site commissions upon request from attendees.
Mark Knight: Part of your display was the artwork you completed for my upcoming teen novel, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls. Talk about some of the other book cover commissions you have done and the challenges they presented.
David Rabbitte: I have worked with both independent authors and established publishers. The art direction varies with each publisher. My first professionally published book was for Marvel/Byron Preiss Books around 2001, when I was asked to produce three covers for the X-Men novel trilogy X-Men: The Legacy Quest. They went through a series of changes as instructed by the art director and Marvel, which sometimes included reworking the layout before going to color.
On another occasion I did a cover piece for Muppet Peter Pan published by Boom! Studios, for which the art direction was pretty straight forward with almost no changes. I sent them a few sketches as ideas for the cover, and the picked the one they liked. I went on to color and it was approved.
With independent authors the cover is of characters and a story which is invented by them, so I would ask for any information that would help in bringing their ideas to life. Occasionally they would provide me some photo reference to help me visualize what they are trying to convey.
Mark Knight: You have done sketch cards for both the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings franchises, which have proven very popular with collectors. Why do you think these two fantasies continue to endure?
David Rabbitte: Lord of the Rings is just an amazing story populated with wonderful characters. Tolkien didn’t just write a story – he created the world of Middle Earth in such depth you can almost believe it actually existed.
Star Wars is so unlike other science fiction films because it really isn’t sci-fi at all, it’s a fairy tale set in space. It is a story which contains those ideas which stand the test of time. Up until the release of the original film, we had not seen a movie of this genre done in such a unique way that was also believable.
Mark Knight: Lastly, what is your current project?
David Rabbitte: I just finished working on some sketch cards for Topps for their Star Wars Galactic Files series 2. Right now I am working on another exciting card set for a different company, but I can’t share anything about it yet – keep an eye out for news on my website though, as I will be posting more about that in the coming months!
We all know that zombie games and zombie movies are at the height of their popularity. Zombie novels? They are big too. I always wanted to write one, but I knew I had to do it differently.
As well as the ‘Blood Family’ sequel, I am currently preparing my teen adventure novel, ‘Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls‘ for publication.
I wrote this supernatural tale in 2010, having been interested in exploring Irish folk tales and mythology, and setting a story in Galway, Ireland – a magical place where my parents now live and where my father was born.
Popular author and mythologist Dr Bob Curran helped me research this book.
The novel is intended for a slightly younger audience than Blood Family.
Solomon is a 15-year-old British teen who gets himself cursed – and becomes undead. Now, he has to find a cure.
Just as ‘Blood Family‘ was a new take on vampire lore, this is my own twist on zombie mythology. Plenty of magic, strange creatures, and rollicking adventure here… plus a trip to the Underworld.
‘Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls’ is due for Amazon release end March 2014.
Here for you is the textless cover artwork by noted fantasy artist David M. Rabbitte along with the back cover blurb, which should set the stage for you!
I hope you will love this book – aimed at teens, but also meant for everyone
~ Mark Knight.
Solomon Grimm is a pretty average teen. He goes to school. He hangs out with friends. He plays guitar in a band. There’s a lot to look forward to—new friends, playing gigs around the country, and hopefully a special girl to become part of his life.
All that is about to change.
While on Easter vacation in Ireland, Solomon falls foul of a gypsy woman. He is cursed and joins the marbh bheo—the living dead. Never to breathe, or grow, or love, and now able to see every supernatural being once invisible to him, his fate is to wander the fog-shrouded hills of Shanvarra for eternity… never to return home.
Solomon tracks down the woman who cursed him. She makes a deal with him. If he will bring her abducted daughter, Tara Danan, back to her, she will reverse the spell and restore Solomon to his old self. Solomon now has a terrifying task ahead of him. For Tara has been taken to the Underworld, a place reachable only through the forbidden Well of Souls.
Along with his new friend, the incurably curious Mungo, Solomon must brave the darkening depths of this hidden world, where the slavering, flesh-eating Savage Dead search endlessly for a way to the surface. If Solomon’s bravery—as well as a whole host of undead powers—holds out, he might just find Tara Danan before becoming trapped in the Underworld forever…
SOLOMON GRIMM AND THE WELL OF SOULS by MARK KNIGHT
FIRST 8 CHAPTERS AVAILABLE TO READ FOR FREE NOW ON WATTPAD!
Engineer: “Why has the captain ordered self-destruct?”
Scotty: “I would say, lass, because he thinks…he hopes…that when we go up, we’ll take the intruder with us.”
Engineer: “Will we?”
Scotty: “When that much matter and anti-matter come together, oh yes, we will indeed!”
~ Star Trek
We all interact with matter every day of our lives. Indeed, we are all made of matter. But what of anti-matter? How can the opposite of matter even exist? Scientists not only affirm its existence, but experiment with it as well, despite it being a possible trigger to our destruction.
Does Anti-Matter Exist?
We all remember how, on the original Star Trek television series, engineer Scotty was always pulling his hair out worrying about the starship’s engines. Those fictional engines ran on a ‘matter and anti-matter’ mix, which gave the futuristic craft enough propulsion to whiz it to other star systems without the need for putting the crew into cold storage. But does anti-matter really exist?
The answer is yes, absolutely. It exists. In fact, scientists create it in their laboratories all the time. But it generally does not last. And that’s the real trick. When you makes anti-matter, you need to do things with it – and quickly. First of all, you need to keep it from touching anything else. If you make an anti-electron, and it touches a regular electron, then it annihilates into a very high-energy photon, so it has to be trapped and kept away from everything else. Fortunately, there are techniques to do exactly that. The particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland – the world’s largest particle physics laboratory – is used to collide protons with other protons.
But can we make enough anti-matter to create a power sufficient enough to propel a spacecraft like the Enterprise? Or, of greater concern, an explosion? One might think that all that was needed would be to bring together a large amount of matter and a large amount of anti-matter and boom – the dreaded apocalypse. But that would be a very inefficient way of making an explosion. The amount of energy one would need to make to create that huge amount of anti-matter in the first place might just as well be put to work making an ordinary explosion.
Hope for the Future
Work with anti-matter is now decades old. Recent fears that CERN would create a black hole and suck the entire earth into it turned out to be unfounded. These scientists know the risks, and obviously have not blown up our world – and themselves – during their experiments. Humanity’s best interests have to be their priority.
There exists a lost civilization, a forgotten episode in human history. That, according to alternative historian Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods. Was this lost civilization, as he and an increasing number of his contemporaries stipulate, connected with the end of the last ice age about 12,500 years ago? “It takes an almost wilful blindness on the behalf of archaeologists to ignore it,” Hancock states.
It does seem that, at times, society has a vested interest in a particular view of history – that we, ourselves, are the apex and the pinnacle of the human story and that we should be proud and self-satisfied. This idea is still, to this day, taught in mainstream archaeology. A central part of that view is that all civilizations before ours must have been less advanced, much less advanced than we are.
But what kind of cataclysmic event could have occurred that might have wiped out almost all traces of an early, hitherto unknown civilization? Surely there would be artefacts. Some non-biodegradable artefacts would definitely survive for a very long time. A massive cataclysm would have had to have happened.
Submerged In Mystery
What scientists do recognize is the end of the last ice age when for about one hundred thousand years large parts of the earth’s surface were covered by enormous ice sheets; the whole of North America was covered with ice over two miles thick. A similar ice sheet covered almost all of northern Europe. Most of this ice melted very rapidly – no one really know why – and poured its contents into the oceans and raised the level of the sea by more than four hundred feet all around the world, swallowing up ten million square miles of land (roughly the size of Europe and China put together). If there are remnants of Atlantis, Lemuria, or any other lost civilization, most of it could be underwater.
Many myths and traditions speak of an episode of technological advancement in the past, perhaps very different from our own. Artefacts of such civilizations might not even appear to be technological in nature.
In 1999, Graham Hancock and his team dove into the blue waters off of Okinawa, Japan, to see what local fishermen described as the remains of an underwater city. At a depth of one hundred and twenty feet beneath the sea is a gigantic, Stonehenge-like stone circle. The geological evidence showed that this circle has been underwater for more than twelve thousand years – one of a large number of enormous stone monuments found under Japanese waters. “All of this adds up, in my mind,” says Hancock, “to compelling evidence for a forgotten past of the human story.”
Fantasy author Ellie Garratt, fresh from her success with her anthology of the macabre, Passing Time, releases Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories! Congrats to Ellie from Written Worlds – this one looks to be another creep-tastic smash!
Science fiction stories of time and space…
The future of humanity must be decided in Next Phase. Winning the Planetary Lottery is not as lucky as it first seems in Schrodinger’s Gamble. An apocalypse and its aftermath threaten to tear one couple apart in Daiker’s Children. In Life As I Know It a reclusive man finds both his heart and home invaded during an alien harvest. In Taking Time a demon seeking shelter on a distant planet finds himself facing a very different kind of demon, after answering a frontier settlement’s plea for help.
Stories range from flash fiction to novelette in length.
Win one of two $25.00 (£15) Amazon gift cards and a character named after you in an upcoming novella…
About The Author
A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead.
Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre was published in March 2013 and contains nine previously published stories. Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories is her second short story collection.
They–the lottery officials–are waiting for me. It turns out the last door on the right isn’t an exit, rather a walkway that leads past the fleet relay station, now buzzing with activity, and on to lottery headquarters–a large room with a metallic desk and four chairs in one corner.
“Hi,” I say as I walk into the room. An elderly man and middle-aged woman I recognise from lottery advertisements are standing behind the desk.
“Charles Schrodinger?” the elderly man asks.
“Excellent,” he says.
I hear an eruption of cheers travelling our way from the flight deck and suspect I’m being ousted from the draw after all. I glance at my ticket and begin examining it for signs of forgery.
“There are a few things we need to go over before the planet is officially yours, Charles. You understand there are matters that need to be addressed?”
I must give the impression of being vacant at that point because the old man repeats himself twice.
“But that would mean I’ve already won,” I mutter.
“Yes. We thought you’d been briefed.” The old man and woman glance at one another.
The female official, who I finally remember is called Janna Brisbane, makes a tutting sound.
“Take a seat, Charles. There are a few things we need to discuss,” Janna says with an exasperated tone to her voice. I stay standing.
Ignoring my failure to sit, she continues. “The thing is safety–your safety. We couldn’t possibly leave you out there to be savaged by the fleet. Have you any idea of the tactics those friendly-faced terraformers would use to part you with your ticket? The deceit they would employ to pass themselves off as you? No. We won’t even start talking about the religious groups. So, the draw is pre-determined in this way.”
“Pre-determined?” I ask.
“You don’t think we leave it to chance, do you? Let a random person or ship win a planet. Considerable research and thought goes into deciding who is the best candidate for the job. Of course there’ve been mistakes; the first planet and the isolationists, but on the whole I believe we got it right.”
I picked up the heavy bundle of survival rations left for me in the exit corridor, took one last look at the door to The Facility through which one kind of future was offered, and then walked out into the yellow-tinged atmosphere of Southern England. The aliens’ offer of a safe living environment and human facsimiles stopped being an option the moment I learnt Jen had not made it to their facility. I had to find her even if it cost my life. She was my world, and a world without her was not one I wanted to live in.
During the days of alien-enforced quarantine–I have no idea how long it lasted because there were no clocks to tell the time or date–I forgot just how acrid Earth’s atmosphere had become. The toxic air outside the facility scratched my lungs like cats clawing sharp talons down my windpipe. My breathing slowed and became more laboured. I could hear myself starting to wheeze. As my eyes burned and watered and my vision deteriorated, I dropped my heavy backpack on the ground and pulled out the gas mask they gave me. A few fumbling seconds later, the clear plastic mask covered my nose and mouth, and cool, clean air refreshed me. Within seconds, my breathing returned to normal though the mask could not remove my memory of devastation’s stink–the sweet scent of burned bodies and a burnt-out civilisation.
I found it hard to believe there was ever a world, a safe world, as I gazed in horror at the toxic wasteland before me. A sea of atomic destruction blinked back. Nothing remained standing or intact except for the ruins of Exeter in the distance. I’d allowed myself to bask in a happy kind of naivety, ignorant of the destructive power our governments and military harboured. Now I faced the consequences. I vowed never to be so naive or stupid again. To find her meant questioning everything.
A tall, lithe woman of a similar age to Ing approached me. Her short-cropped hair was the colour of darkness, and there was a confidence to the way she swaggered up to me. She was the person in charge.
She stopped only a couple of inches from my face, almost breathing down my throat. I prayed she didn’t notice my lack of breath–the undead had no need for air in their lungs.
“You don’t look well, bounty hunter,” she said.
As I stood taller, so that my already imposing six-foot frame loomed over the human female, I knew I’d have to talk her around. “I’ve not been on solid land for a few months. I’ve been running down illegal passage ships and cargo. Illegal cargo.”
Her eyes flashed bright with something. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but the word illegal had excited her.
She held out a hand for me to shake. “The name’s McCaffrey. Formerly of any planet left to colonise.”
I took her hand and shook it, then re-introduced myself. “Victory Dead. Formerly of Earth.”
McCaffrey dismissed everyone but the scare-faced Ing, and they took me into a bar like all the others I’d passed through since travelling the frontier–a cheap and fast assembly metal-frame construction. It contained only the most basic furnishings. There were more patrons than I could count, and they went silent when we entered.
When I reached the bar, a stone-faced human male behind the counter slid a bottle towards me. I wasn’t sure what it contained but accepted it anyway–to refuse would have been rude and invited trouble. “Compliments of Daring,” he said as I placed my supplies on the floor beside me.
“Thanks,” I replied before pretending to sniff the contents of the bottle. As a vampire, I could only smell blood.
The bartender turned his attention to McCaffrey and scar-face. “Evening, Captain. Thought I told you to keep Ing away.”
Ing scowled and stepped forward, his hands balled into fists. McCaffrey placed an arm across his chest.
“You know it’s not Captain anymore. I haven’t been a captain since I crash-landed here three years ago. And Ing won’t be causing you any trouble while I’m here. You have my word.”
The owner grunted something and then moved off to serve another customer.
I wasn’t sure how long a Revelation year lasted, so when McCaffrey spoke of crash-landing three years ago she could have been talking any number of Earth years or months.
“Well it’s about time,” said a voice behind me, interrupting my thoughts.
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Tara Fox Hall is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction short stories, flash, short and novella-length horror stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance.
Her horror stories have appeared in Deadman’s Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Ghastly Door, The Halloween Alliance, Black Petals, SNM Horror Magazine, Microhorror, Dark Eclipse, Cemetery Moon, and various anthologies, including the recently published charity works Fear (Vol. 1) and Shifters. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Tara Fox Hall on vampires: “I’ve loved vampires since I saw Frank Langella in the first “hot vampire” version of Dracula years ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. But I wanted more than the evil monster chasing young virgins; more than the sweet, misunderstood handsome fanged stranger that becomes the perfect mate for the woman who captures his heart after so many lone centuries. I wanted a vampire so well-crafted in detail that I could believe he was real. I wanted something different to happen in the story, other than girl becomes vampire, or vampire becomes dust. I wanted passion, tragedy, romance, suspense, action, and the haunting sweetness of poetry and song floating on a soft night breeze. So I penned my own vampires.”
Tara Fox Hall talks about her latest book: “My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth instalment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire.
“When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you’ve got a powder keg primed to explode.”
Book Title: Promise Me (Promise Me Series #1) – Vampire romance
Format: print and e-book
Date Released: June 2012