Undying Embrace: A Dracula Novella
Undying Embrace: A Dracula Novella
This has been an incredibly busy spring consisting of several trips, book releases and exciting news to come.
Events began in April with a trip down to San Diego, California for the Pacific Cultural Association/American Cultural Association national conference where I was a presenter on a panel concerning the works of bestselling novelist Anne Rice.
Along with three other presenters, we discussed the nature of Rice’s work on the field of gothic literature and the evolution of the vampiric figure in contemporary novels. The panel was an enthusiastic group of scholars from all over the world; Romania, England and Ireland, just to name a few places. The panel created a lively discussion on not only Rice’s work, but the vampiric figure. While we may not agree on all aspects of literature, we did come to one conclusion, Rice’s work has had a profound and last influence upon the gothic field.
The conference itself was an amazing event. It showcased a wide variety of topics, running multiple panels on a multitude of subjects dealing with popular and American culture. When I was not engaged with the vampire panel, I also attended several presentations on Tolkien, mythology, film, television, creative writing, and children’s literature.
In addition to the conference, I also had an opportunity to spend a wonderful afternoon visiting with dear friends and fellow artists, including the always amazing Becket, author of the Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl series, his incredible wife Christina, and artist-extraordinaire Raven Quinn, the illustrator for the map in both my Black Rose Guard and Rise of the Temple Gods series.
We had a fun afternoon visiting and discussing upcoming projects, and testing different flavors of ice cream on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon.
I was also fortunate enough to have my brother accompany me on the California trip, so we took day off to have some fun visiting some both theme parks and vineyards in the Temecula Valley.
In addition, I also had the opportunity to meet one of my narrators, Cassandra Richardson, in person. We have worked on multiple audiobook projects together, including all three of the books in the Rise of the Temple Gods series, the recently released Shadow of the Rose, and the upcoming audiobook version of my science-fiction novel, Indoctrination. It was wonderful to meet her in person and I cannot recommend her amazing talent enough!
In June, I took a vacation trip to Hawaii, a gift from both of my grandmother’s for my birthday. Though it was my second time visiting the islands, the pervious trip had been nearly a decade before.
My grandmothers, who visit the islands almost ever year, graciously showed me around, taking me on a road trip to see the important sights, namely the Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S Arizona. While I had been to this site previously, it was no less a humbling and beautiful memorial.
The rest of the trip consisted of stunning beaches, a look into Polynesian Culture, and a trip to the Dole factory for Pineapple Whips!
And course, as always, we visited the Hard Rock Cafe.
For those unaware, I am an avid pin collector and visit the cafes everywhere I go.
Both trips were incredible experiences, and I had an amazing time.
Next week, I will be traveling to San Diego Comic Con! I am very excited to be attending, and will be posting about the trip upon my return!
For Halloween this year, I returned once again to the city which had so thoroughly captured a large piece of my heart, my beloved New Orleans. It was my third time visiting this wonderful city and second as an invited author of the Undead Conference and Vampire Lestat Ball. The experience was a delightful adventure of seeing new places and revisiting past favorites, sharing my love for the Gothic with fellow enthusiasts and seeing friends both old and new.
The trip began with two fun nights at the Hotel Monteleone, a historic hotel in the French Quarter. After arriving rather late on the first night, we enjoyed a relaxing morning before having lunch at a local bistro called Mr. B’s. If anyone is looking for an excellent restaurant in the area, I would highly recommend it. From the meals to the mouth-watering desserts, everything was excellent and it offered a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere.
This wonderful meal was followed by a a few hours of relaxation in the spa before meeting my brother, who had also flown in for the events. With him, we spent the evening walking down the streets of the French Quarter and enjoying the unique feel that is New Orleans.
Thursday was when the real fun began. It started with an excellent breakfast between a group of talented artists and writers who also have the privilege of calling each other the most incredible of friends. With great discussion of art, literature, films, upcoming projects and life in general, we had an amazing and fun morning just getting to spend time visiting, a rarity in our collections of busy lives.
After breakfast, we headed off to the Hilton Garden Inn, where the Undead Con was being held for registration and, more importantly, a reunion of #TeamGregWilkey. For those who do not know, Greg Wilkey is not only a great friend but an author I greatly admire. Last year, after the vampire ball in the wee hours of the morning, #TeamGregWilkey was born as we awaited the world’s slowest pancakes, a group of six friends who decided to find a new and exciting way to promote his work. (I also wrote one of the introductions to Greg’s newest edition of his Mortimer Drake Vampire series, which can be found here if you have not read his work yet) http://www.amazon.com/Life-Undeath-Mortimer-Drake-Omnibus/dp/0996662804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447368170&sr=8-1&keywords=greg+wilkey
This year it was the same great group and friends…plus t-shirts! It was awesome to see our friend again and with him, reuniting our group to explore New Orleans with the same love and wonder as the first time we walked the streets together.
Later that night, we went to the Q&A with bestselling author, Anne Rice. Though I have had the honor of meeting her several times now, I still cannot help but feel the giddiness of a star-struck child every time I get to see her. Especially when she greeted me with a hug at the entrance of the church where the event was to take place!
Ms. Rice spent her time at the event greeting guests and answering questions about her writing, both past works and upcoming. Then the rest of our time was spent visiting with old friends and making new ones!
The next day I attended the “Ghost” panel, of which Greg was a participant. The panel answered questions from the crowd and spoke of their spiritual and supernatural experiences, from both personal experience for some, and in the work of fiction for others. It created a unique group and a very interesting discussion for the attentive audience.
After the panel, we grabbed a quick lunch and then got ready for the 27th annual Vampire Lestat Ball, this year titled Gathering of the Ancients. A few hours later after a trip to the saloon and getting tied into my gown, we were ready for the ball. As a featured author, along with other members of my group, we had VIP upstairs access and were escorted past the line directly to the ballroom. The venue was massive, featuring multiple open bars, dance floors, and live bands.
I enjoyed the event, visiting my friends, taking photographs in our formal wear and dancing to the gothic tunes which filled the ballrooms. Then, I also had the privilege of again seeing Anne Rice, who was kind enough to take photos with fans during the party.
However, one of my absolute favorite photographs was this one, standing with friend and fellow authors Greg and Becket (author of Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl series). It was so wonderful to see them both that night.
The next day was my own panel, which I shared with Greg Wilkey, Sarah M. Cradit, Alys Arden, and Dawn Chartier. We had a fun panel with great questions covering everything from our writing methods, to our favorite villains. We had a wonderful time and great discussion with both the audience and each other.
From there, we attended the book release party for another fellow author, Eric Shaw Quinn, whose new book, Write Murder, had just been released. Hosted by the guest of honor and Christopher Rice, the party was rather intimate with an open bar and excellent food.
Every attendee was surprised by a free copy of the novel which was subsequently signed by the guest of honor. Attendees were also greeted by author Christopher Rice, who was there supporting Eric.
We had a great time at the party visiting with the various guests and enjoying the time with friends.
After that, it was straight to the Witches Ball. My second time to attend, it was a wondrous gathering at the Elms Mansion in New Orleans.
Though a touch on the rainy side, the ball organizers did a great job of covering the outdoor section of the party enough to allow people to enjoy, despite watching it rain. I had a great opportunity to see and visit with some dear friends who I had not seen since the last ball.
The next day and after several tearful goodbyes, the majority of the events ended and people began to return home. However, we had booked several additional days to simply explore and enjoy the city. We spent the next few days visiting the French Quarter, visiting others who had booked additional days and simply hanging out together. I also was delighted by the opportunity to meet Trisha Baker, author of the Crimson Vampire series which begins with Crimson Kiss. I have been a long-time fan of her work and was very excited by the chance to meet her.
New Orleans is definitely among my favorite cities that I have ever visited. Everything from the food to the laid-back atmosphere to the friends who gather every year at this wonderful series of events makes the trip completely worthwhile and one that I have been honored and privileged to attend and hope to continue to be a part of for many years to come.
I spent Halloween weekend in New Orleans, LA at the Anne Rice Undead Conference and Vampire Lestat Ball. The trip began early on Wed. morning with an international flight that placed us getting in to New Orleans at 9pm that night. The trip really started the next morning when the rest of the group arrived. There were six of us going to the ball, and by the end of the first day we had adopted a seventh.
Thursday morning we met up with friends who had decided to make the journey with us. After a delicious lunch of Po’ Boys at Acme’s, we caught up over drinks before retiring to get ready for the first official event of the Undead Conference: a Meet-and-Greet with international bestselling author, Anne Rice. Held at the lovely St. Alphonsus Church.
The event was a gathering of fans, authors, and other artists who came together to share of their love of Gothic literature and to celebrate the release of Anne’s newest novel, Prince Lestat. Additionally, Anne’s son, Christopher Rice, had also released his newest novel titled The Vines. Guests were allowed, in groups of six at a time, to spend a few minutes taking photographs and visiting with Anne and Christopher.
Additionally, attendees were free to walk around the beautiful building and visit with the other authors gathered in attendance. As a guest author, I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to meet with Ms. Rice, who was as gracious and kind as any author I have ever had the privilege of meeting.
The next morning began with beignets and strawberry daiquiris at Café Beignet. I enjoyed spending the morning visiting with friends before heading back to the conference hotel. I shared a panel with five other equally amazing authors and artists.
Greg Wilkey, #TeamGregWilkey author of the Mortimer Drake YA vampire novels. http://www.gregwilkey.com/
Becket, Amazon Bestselling author of the Blood Vivicanti vampire series and Key the Steampunk Vampire, both YA series. http://www.becket.me/home.html
Raven Quinn, singer and artist, who did the illustrations for Becket’s Key novels. http://www.ravenquinn.net/
Sarah M. Cradit, author of the House of Crimson and Clover series. http://www.sarahmcradit.com/
C.M. Michaels, author of the Sisters in Blood series. http://www.cmmichaels.com/
We had a wonderful session, answering questions about our specific work and the creative process in general. It was followed by a great book signing where the featured authors were given a chance to visit with conference attendees, sign some books, and speak with each other as well. Overall it was an amazing event!
After that, everyone returned to the hotel to prepare for the main event, the Vampire Lestat Coronation Ball! Held at the beautiful Republic, the event consisted of two levels, the general section downstairs with a dance-floor and the stage featuring multiple live bands throughout the night. The second section was the upstairs VIP, where authors such as myself had been invited to attend.
My guests, friends, fellow authors and I spent the night talking, laughing, and dancing the night away. We were also given an opportunity to again meet with Ms. Rice and several other VIPs.
On Saturday went spent the day exploring New Orleans, doing a little shopping and enjoying the sights of the city. Then that night we went to the Witches Ball, another swirling event of delicious food, intoxicating music and drinks, and visiting with friends.
The event was actually in a more open area than the vampire ball, allowing attendees to wander around a beautiful garden in addition to exploring the rooms of The Elms Mansion.
After leaving the ball at around 1pm, we met the newly crowned Prince Lestat and his coven at Café du Monde for coffee and beignets.
Sunday was our final day. We spent the first part attending the official book signing for Anne and Christopher Rice, both of whom graciously spent the better part of the afternoon meeting with fans, signing their new novels, and taking photographs.
Then, after the signing, I attended a cocktail party with other authors, which officially marked the closing of the 2014 Undead Conference. It was great to have a last chance to see so many of the wonderful people I had met and to say our last goodbyes before the majority of us would depart New Orleans.
Overall, I had a fantastic time on the trip. I enjoyed both seeing old friends and meeting new ones. It was also a wonderful opportunity to visit with fellow authors and fans of the genre. This was my second time attending the ball and I can easily say that it will not be my last!
Last week I attended the Undead Conference in New Orleans, hosted by the phenomenal staff of the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club. It is an annual event which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, primarily by the commencement of the annual Vampire Lestat Reunion Ball.
For a student of Gothic Literature, the event was nothing short of one of the most amazing and exhilarating experiences of my life. Over the course of the four day conference, I sat through multiple panels featuring authors from the newly and independently published, such as the talented Greg Wilkey, to bestselling authors like Christopher Rice. These authors entertained their audience through speaking about their various novels, answering audience questions, and participating in lively debates concerning everything from the nature of good and evil to the best ways to sell your novel to a television or film company.
There were several highlights throughout the weekend. However, I would like to share my favourite, which is on a bit of a personal note. Among those who attended the vampiric festivities was long time friend, ‘SR’ and my mother-in-law, ‘TB.’ It was their first experience with the Gothic World of the vampire events which I tend to frequent and it was great to have them along. My favourite moment was at the actual ball, when a vampire walked up to ‘TB’ and asked: “Excuse me, have you seen a werewolf?” The moment – priceless! Later in the evening, we did indeed, find the werewolf!
The real highlight was, of course, meeting Anne Rice herself. I had the pleasure of speaking with her at two different events during the conference, first at a cocktail party held the first night of the conference and second, at a book signing in the Garden District. She was signing her newest novel, The Wolves of Midwinter along with her son Christopher who was signing his own recently released novel, The Heavens Rise.
I also met Becket at these events, Rice’s assistant who recently published his own novels in the vampire genre, The Blood Vivicanti. Meeting Rice was a dream, not only a long-time reader of her novels, but also as an academic who completed my MA dissertation on her Vampire Chronicles. She was kind, gracious, and meeting her was one of the greatest moments I have ever experienced.
The Ball itself was also a lot of fun. We met a lot of fellow authors and fans alike, listened to some great music, and danced the night away on a floor which had been transformed into a Gothic paradise.
As it was my first visit to the Crescent City, we also took a haunted tour of the French Quarter which was both informative and fun. A favorite place was, of course, seeing the house where Anne Rice once lived and wrote numerous novels.
As well as visiting a few of the famous cemeteries.
We explored many of the delights of Burbon and Royal Street and were even there for the annual Halloween parade. We also made some great new friends along the way. The ball and conference was a wonderful experience which I would highly recommend to anyone with a love for the Gothic, Vampiric, or simply the darker side of literature.