Tag Archives: Gothic Literature

Heart of the Rose – Audiobook!

I am excited to announce Heart of the Rose, the second novel in the bestselling dark fantasy Black Rose Guard series,  is now available in audiobook format narrated by Audie Award winning voice actors Erin deWard and Noah Michael Levine!

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Reunite with the captains of the Immortal Guard and witness Mara and Edward at the beginning of their epic love story, which spans more than a millennium of heartache, pain, and undying devotion.

When Edward is sent on a mysterious quest by the ruthless queen, nineteen-year-old Mara—the youngest sub-captain to ever serve the Royal Guard—vowed to await his return, never anticipating decades would pass without word of his fate. The noble captain is taken prisoner by a rival court where he is forced to endure years of brutal torment at the hands of his captors. His life clings to but a single thought—Mara.

Refusing to accept that her love will never return, Mara clutches to a hope which defies the bounds of reason. However as years pass, memories fade from comfort to unbearable grief.

As Mara prepares to accept the unimaginable loss, a sinister creature of roses and shadow haunts her dreams. Dreams of blood. Dreams of torment. Dreams of Edward.

The dark presence lingers, and Mara finds herself trapped in a certainty she fears no other will believe—even those closest to her heart. She must choose between honoring her vows to the immortal courts to which she has sworn her life, or leaving to search for the man who possesses her soul.

Dive into the beginning of the tale that shapes the most feared, most loved, and most revered captain in the history of the immortal courts.

Now Available!

Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Heart-of-the-Rose-Audiobook/B01KYCR7FO/ref=a_search_c4_1_4_srTtl?qid=1472237659&sr=1-4

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Rose-Tale-Black-Guard/dp/B01KYCL6WO/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1440051397&sr=8-1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/heart-rose-tale-black-rose/id1148175066

 

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Witches, Vampires & New Orleans – Undead Con 2015!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We had a great time at the party visiting with the various guests and enjoying the time with friends.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vancouver BC & the Gothic Conference

“Every [living] scholar you have ever studied, is probably in this room,” a favorite professor stated at the first event of the International Gothic Association (IGA) Conference. And, with a few exceptions — he was right.

This post is a little late, (and I promise that a recap of New Orleans will be posted soon) but in August of this year, I had the pleasure of speaking at the IGA biannual Conference in Vancouver BC, Canada. The trip started great, as we located the conference hotel with relative ease and proceeded to check in the night before events were to begin, giving a touch of time to recover from the long drive.

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The first day was wonderful as I spent the afternoon both visiting with friends and making new ones. There was also a meet and greet that night which featured an impressive gathering of Gothic lovers from students to writers to professors who came together to celebrate their mutual love of dark landscapes, creatures and literature.

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The conference itself was an exciting array of papers, covering topics from the oldest of gothic myth of the victorian era to the most modern of supernatural portrayals ranging from the the supernatural television shows Vampire Diaries and True Blood, to the 2014 release, Prince Lestat to (my personal favorite) Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl, the most current of which was released only a few months ago. It also covered zombies, ghosts, victorian literature and all manner of Gothic tales.

I loved getting to meet everyone and stood in awe as a few of those whose work I have studied, quoted and (though I’ll never admit it) worshiped walked by with kind hellos, willing to indulge endless questions pertaining to student’s favorite themes and topics.

My own paper came on the final day of the conference, at a panel hosted at 8 o’clock that morning. Given the early morning status, I was slightly worried that few people would show. However, to my surprise and delight, almost the entire ballroom was filled with interested people. I had never presented a paper to a crowd quite so large before and was a touch nervous walking up to the podium, however after a few moments of speaking, my nerves had (mostly) vanished and I was able to deliver the speech, which seemed well-received by the listeners. A wonderful introduction to the IGA conference overall, as this was the first time I had ever had the pleasure of attending.

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Vancouver was a fun city to visit, though I must admit it is often difficult to truly explore in the middle of a long conference. However we did get to visit some great restaurants, a lovely park and a few other places as we went through town. The greatest night that we had to explore, was the last night of the conference, when we took a river boat tour which doubled as the official dinner for the conference.

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It was a fun boat with live music and beautiful settings against the background of the Vancouver sunset. The food was surprisingly good (some conference dinners leave a touch to be wanting) and a good time was had by all.

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Overall, it was a great experience and I am very much looking forward to attending this wonderful event in the future.

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Boston & American Literature Association Conference

I spent the weekend on a trip to Boston, where I was a speaker at the 26th annual American Literature Association Conference. It was my first time in the area, so I was excited both for the event and the trip itself.

I spoke on the panel titled: Nobody Understand Me:Evil Kids in Children’s Literature along with four other wonderful speakers, focusing on a variety of aspects, including both film and literature representations of the darker side of children.

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My specific paper was well-received and I really enjoyed the lively discussion which followed both during the Q & A and at the following lunch, where everyone gathered in a nearby park for sandwiches.

I also attended several additional panels, including speeches on the work of Octavia Butler (I’ve completed some work on her novel, The Fledgling), Ellen Glasgow (a ‘southern gothic’ author), the Victorian afterlives, and for fun, a panel on detective novels — among a few others.

I also walked around the Boston Library which was very impressive and located directly across the street from the conference location. I had a chance to speak with fellow authors and scholar on any and all aspects of our shared loved of literature.

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After the conference was over, I scheduled a few days to travel through New England. First, we went to Salem, Massachusetts  and explored the town. A few of the houses date back to the 16 and 1700s, which was really cool. My father, who made the trip with me, is a big American History fan so he was loving exploring the history of both Salem and the area surrounding it. We also saw a few things focusing on the witch trials and explored a bit of the history in that regard as well.

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Then, walking down the street famous for it’s witches, leave it to me to find…a vampire! So of course, I could not resist having my picture taken with him.

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Then dad and I decided to take as side-trip from Massachusetts to Maine in order to visit the Portland Lobster Company. It is a small building, super-crowded where people order their lobster and then wait a solid hour before being given a seat at a long wooden table outdoors in the dock.

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There were a ton of people, a live band, and a cool ocean breeze blowing across the water, disrupted by the occasion sound of boats passing by. Amazing food and we had a great time just sitting there listening to the music for several hours before beginning the journey back to Boston. My dad had always wanted to have Maine lobster in Maine, so it was a check off the bucket list.

 

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Our last day there, we visited a place I had always dreamed of seeing — Harvard University.

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That is me sitting on the steps of one of my dream schools. (Still waiting on that acceptance letter —beginning to think it got lost along with my acceptance to Hogwarts) The tour was student-lead and the guide was very knowledgeable, revealing different points of history along the tour, including the buildings where a few award winners and a President (or two) had stayed.

We also, of course, went to the Hard Rock Cafe. I am a big pin collector.

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Overall, it was a great trip and I enjoyed by the conference and getting to see a part of the country where I had never traveled before.

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Undead Conference & Vampire Lestat Reunion Ball

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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