An interesting article from NDT.tv showcasing the various fairies (or ‘faeries’) of folklore that definitely do NOT take after Tinkerbell!
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
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!
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
Today I am featuring author Dorothy Dreyer! Her Young Adult fantasy novel, My Sister’s Reaper, is out now – sure to be a big hit!
Dorothy Dreyer is a paranormal young adult fiction enthusiast who specializes in urban fantasy.
Her young adult urban fantasy MY SISTER’S REAPER debuts June 18, 2013 from Month9Books. The sequel releases May 2014.
Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves reading, writing, movies, chocolate, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two teens.
Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.
When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong.
Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what.
Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, or let Mara die … this time for good.
Available NOW at Barnes & Noble!
Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up about my next Young Adult paranormal urban fantasy, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls. This will be released in a few months, and tells the story of fifteen-year-old British foster kid, Solomon, and the gypsy curse that transforms him into one of the walking dead. There is a cure, but finding it means the most perilous of journeys…
My inspiration for this tale came from not only my years in Ireland, but also from living in England, which is a very mystical place in itself. In researching Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls, I personally contacted Dr Bob Curran, an author of many books on Irish folklore, often interviewed on Coast to Coast AM radio and countless others programs. His gracious and highly detailed input has given this book the authenticity I required, and therefore I have given him a special acknowledgment. Have a look at my interview with him here on Written Worlds!
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…
As with Blood Family, I have asked artist David Rabbitte to do the cover art for me. Here is a sketch of the cover, with possible fonts – subject to change. The final artwork has actually been finished; you may just find it on his website!
Solomon Grimm Cover Sketch by David Rabbitte.
Read the first 8 chapers on Wattpad!
Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key is on Ultimate YA!
The feature starts tomorrow and will continue throughout the month with 1-2 posts each week. Learn all about the story of half-vampire Daniel Dark and his perilous quest to confront his malevolent vampire father.
From the site:
Ultimate YA is an organization that promotes young adult literature (YA lit) and reading. We feature one YA lit author per month. Each feature includes a short bio of the author, as well as fun facts and an interview. If you would like to be featured, please send an email inquiry to email@example.com.
In addition to our features, we post quotes and memes of the week that relate to books, writing, and/or reading on Tuesdays and Thursdays, respectively. We also post anything else that we find interesting regarding reading and writing.
I am thrilled to announce that my Young Adult urban fantasy novel, Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key is now available on Amazon US and Amazon UK! Thank you to all the fantastic people who have supported me and this work, and those who helped give this book a professional shine – Ali Cross of Novel Ninjutsu, Anne Victory of Victory Editing, David Rabbitte for his amazing cover art, and Tatania Vila for her superb cover fonts.
Look out for Blood Family on Ultimate YA – where it will be featuring on April 1st (no fooling’!).
The book will also be the ‘featured read’ on I Love Vampire Novels great site.
And that’s not all, I will be appearing on many sites and blogs over the coming weeks. Find out about more about Daniel Dark’s perilous journey, and what inspired my take on vampire lore.
I will be giving everyone heads-up when each and every one of these features has gone live.
A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey…
Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus. As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold. Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.
Urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond.
Today I am very honoured to have Dr Bob Curran appear on Written Worlds. Many of you will know Bob from his many books, especially those that explore the origins of all things supernatural.
Bob lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, not far from the world-famous natural basalt land feature known as the Giant’s Causeway.
First of all, Bob, I would like to thank you for appearing on Mark Knight’s Written Worlds. You certainly know your supernatural stuff, and have quite a few books out there on the subject.
Bob, you are a prolific writer. Your books about the origins of supernatural beings have been very popular. What compelled you to write about vampires, faeries, and werewolves?
I grew up in a largely rural mountain community in Northern Ireland during the late 1940s/early 1950s in which tradition and superstition often played a significant part in everyday life. For example, when I was a child there was a widespread belief in both fairies and ghosts – it was believed for instance that fairies could spirit away children or could cause illness in both livestock and in humans – and this to some extent shaped the world around us. At certain times of the year, the dead were believed to walk the lonely roads around my home and few would venture out after a certain time of day. There were too, old earthworks and standing stones all about – some with a particularly evil reputation and this determined, as children, where we could go and play.
I remember when I was very young, hearing of a girl in our area who had simply vanished near an old stone – there was a hunt for her for several days but she was never found, goodness knows what had actually happened to her – and being told that the fairies or sheehogues had taken her and I was not to visit that site or the same would happen to me.
I was raised mainly by my maternal grandmother and grandfather and it was from him that I got my love of storytelling. As a young man, he had been a labourer in many parts of the North and he had a fund of stories that he could draw on – many concerning ghosts, witchcraft and the supernatural. Such beliefs determined both my community and my grandfather as an individual and so you could say that it also formed part of the culture that I grew up with and that it became ingrained within me.
Later, I began to travel a bit and I began to see how culture and belief systems were replicated in various ways in other parts of the world. Each culture seemed to have variants of fairies, werecreatures, walking dead etc. which somehow underpinned and to some extent explained the world around it. So I began to write about it in my books, I suppose as a way in which to explore my own past and to understand what my community was like when I was growing up.
I suppose the question for me is not whether or not these being actually exist – they may do, they may not – but rather why we would want to believe in them and what they tell us about ourselves. And what they tell me about myself.
You have appeared on Coast to Coast and other radio shows, and are always a popular guest. What do people ask you about the most when they phone in to a radio show or podcast?
In a sense this question continues on from the last. Not only do I get a host of e-mails with questions and comments – some through the publishers and some directly to me. A good number of them ask me or want to tell me about experiences which the caller/writer has had. In these situations people are trying to make sense of the world for themselves and to determine their place in, in relation to other things.
I suppose speaking with a psychologist’s hat on, some people are seeking reassurance that they are not “bizarre” or mad; others might be seeking a rational explanation for an event which they can’t really explain for themselves, others still want to know how what I write fits in with other things that they have read pr are thinking about.
Other questioners want to ask me about my religious beliefs and how what I write fits in with them. I have received communications from Born Again Christians who tell me that I shouldn’t be dealing in such things, even to explain them to myself. It is of course their right to question me in this as it frames up their world for them and gives them some form of certainty. Mind you, I’ve been already denounced here in Northern Ireland and in print as “the physical embodiment of the Antichrist” by a leading minister.So you now know who you’re talking to!
But I get all sorts of questions on all sots of topics and no matter how strange I always try to answer them as best I can.
Vampires seem to be perennially popular. You have written three books about them. Do you think that they could actually exist?
Vampires are indeed extremely popular and I think they have changed a lot over the years. For instance, when I was growing up, the vampire was a tall and saturnine East European nobleman who looked something like Christopher Lee who lived in a ruined castle somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains. Now vampires can be some angst-ridden teenager who attends a local high-school somewhere near you. In between these are languid aristocrats who inhabit some gloomy area of New Orleans.
What interests me most is not whether or not they actually exist but why we would want them to. As you say, they have been perennially popular down the years and almost every culture in the world has its own variation of them. Therefore what fundamental human questions does a belief in vampires address? I would think it might try to answer a couple of them…
A) What happens to us after death? Death is of course the last great mystery. Nobody has ever come back to give us a detailed account of what happens beyond the grave so we can speculate.
B) What would it be like to live forever? Would there be some sort of price it we did? I think that the idea of vampires addresses some of these questions in part – there are of course a number of other elements in the vampire motif such as eroticism, eternal youth etc. Much of our perceptions of the creature are of course determined by the wider popular culture, through books, television and films.
As I said earlier, it was the vampire films of Christopher Lee which determined how vampires “looked” when I was growing up but if you go back earlier you’ll see the horrible creature in black and white films like Nosferatu as portrayed by Maximilian Shrek.
Nowadays, in our celebrity based culture, the vampire has to look something like a rock star. Therefore, here in the West the idea of the vampire emerges out of the dominant culture and often how we see ourselves. In other cultures it emerges out of the fears and nightmares of the people – the old woman living alone; the person who is slightly at variance with his/her community, those who have different ways. These get absorbed into the wider myth. So in a sense it is possible to say that vampires do exist – but only because we create them.
Bob, you have compiled a great deal of information about folklore, and have travelled to many countries. What is the most bizarre myth or legend you have come across?
In a sense, the folklore of any community or country is shaped by the perceptions of the people. This is why I’ve argued that some of these old tales are just as important as actual historical documentation in that they tell us how our ancestors—and their culture—have framed up the world for themselves. And each community frames that world up in a slightly different way. So the culture of say the Middle East is a bit different from that of Western Europe but essentially they address the same problems because no matter where we live, human experience is roughly the same for us all. We’re born, we love, we eat, we sleep, we die – no matter who we are or what status or culture we belong to, the broad experience of being human is roughly the same.
But there are idiosyncrasies in every community/culture just as there are in human beings, that’s what makes the traditions and folklore of different parts of the world distinctive in their own right. Legends too serve to explain and to provide a context for experience and each one is distinctive. We only consider them to be bizarre, I suppose, if they don’t conform to our own interpretations of the world.
So I don’t think there is a “most bizarre” myth or tradition. Although many would appear to be unique to the culture that has produced them, I think that, in their own way, every one tries to explain some aspect of human experience
You were of great help to me when I was writing my Young Adult novel, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls, which is out later this year. The book is set mainly in Ireland and deals with many of the weird and wonderful supernatural creatures known to Irish folklore – the marbh bheo, the Dullahan, and sheehogues. There seems to be more supernatural folklore in Ireland than anywhere else, yet people really only know about the banshee. Why do you think this is?
The Irish are great storytellers and much of their tradition —and culture—in an oral one which has, up until recently, been passed down across the generations.
My own grandfather for instance was a known seanchie —a man of lore or a storyteller who kept old stories and local knowledge alive in the area around our home. Over my lifetime, such tradition has more or less died out, even in country places, largely thanks to television and other media. So it’s no real surprise that some of the beings and entities have in many ways passed into obscurity.
Another point is that although such beings are weird and wonderful they were largely localised and were possibly the product of a localised and tightly knit community. There were of course more widely recognised beings such as —as you say—the banshee or the leprechaun which often travelled with the Irish people, although there were localised variants of each. The leprechaun is well-known I think because of Irish marketing —he seems to appear on everything Irish. And of course the banshee —which also appears in various localised forms—has always been associated with the Irish and in particular the Irish abroad. However, other entities —the Dullahan, the Far Gorta and such were more localised in their aspect.
Bob, you are also involved with your local community in Derry, Northern Ireland. Tell us a little bit about the causes you support, and any important issues that visitors to this blog may be interested to hear about.
The community work is another aspect of my life and is one that I was involved with even before I started writing. I came into it through community education which more or less developed to encompass other social and community problems. I am now working in a part-time capacity for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. That’s not as grand as it sounds of course but there’s quite a bit of work involved.
Here in Northern Ireland we’ve come through between thirty or forty years of conflict. Although we now have what might be described as a “Peace Process” in operation things are by no means over. Scars have been left on many communities —and on individual lives—by conflict; despite the relative peace, paramilitaries still hold a great deal of sway in certain areas and there are still deep sensitivities amongst many people. A good many of the communities have been left devastated, both in a financial, resource and personal sense by the years of conflict.
Part of my job is to go into these communities from which the paramilitaries have more or less withdrawn and help them to rebuild their sense of identity, their confidence and their financial resources. Some of this is done through education – the development of local history programmes for instance —some of it is done through organising local events; some of it is done by working on community projects. Some of my work is done on a cross-community level by organising shared events between Catholics, Protestants and other nationalities —for example in some areas we have large Polish, Chinese and Indian populations who sometimes find it difficult to integrate into already existing communities. I help them set up bodies which will aid that. And, as funding for community programmes gets tighter and tighter, I have to encourage small groups in certain areas to work together – sometimes Catholic and Protestant, sometimes Northern Irish people and other nationalities; sometimes places here there have been local tensions. It’s not always easy.
For instance, I’m working with a small village in North Antrim which has only one street but four community groups operating there, none of which speak to the other. And they’re all Protestant, though varying shades of Protestant perspectives. So a lot of my work comprises educator, counsellor, peacemaker and government official – often with varying degrees of success. And of course in some of the areas I work in —particularly the large estates on the edges of towns—the paramilitaries are still pretty much in control and I have to negotiate setting up community programmes with them. On some occasions I’ve been sitting in a room negotiating with men wearing shoulder holsters and on a couple of times a loaded firearm has been set on a table in front of me. It can get a bit scary at times. But of course, it’s not all like that —just a few instances. However, things can still be a bit tense in Northern Ireland.
The recent flag protests have created problems in some areas and recently I suffered from bruised ribs when I was hit by some concrete thrown by a protestor at a venue which I was doing a presentation. But these things are few and far between and are part of the job. However, the tensions are still very high in some areas – mainly stirred up by paramilitary elements – and so 2013 has really hit the ground running for me in that respect.
I also chair a couple of community programmes on some of the large and generally neglected estates across Northern Ireland – one, for instance, to help young mothers get qualifications by providing education on their estate and crèche facilities for their children. I was one of a team who set that up from scratch and it’s now running very well. I step down as chair but remain involved next week.
On an individual level I run a couple of weekly trauma programmes in a nearby town —this was something I set up at the end of last year and which has been a success. This is mainly for the unsung victims of the conflict —people who have had relatives shot, blown up or who have been affected by the conflict in some way. Sometimes people have had to flee the areas they were brought up in and are just feeling lonely where they’ve had to settle. I’ll work with them all. It’s a small contribution but I like to think that I’m doing a little bit to make life more tolerable in Northern Ireland. Although we have a so-called peace process it’s far from perfect and there’s still a great deal to do it we’re to move forward.
Finally, what is the subject of your next supernatural book?
Because of the community issues – and they have got worse over the last four or five months largely because of the flag protests and other elements – I’ve not had as much time to write as I would like. Still having a think about some major books and discussing them with publishers.However, there are a couple of illustrated books coming up for which I’ve done/am doing the text.
One is the Carnival of Dark Dreams and the other is The Witch Hunter’s Handbook. Also another project which I don’t want to say too much about as nothing’s been finalised as yet. But keep watching this space!
More on Dr Bob Curran, his works, and latest projects on his official blog site: drbobcurran.blogspot.co.uk