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Welcome author Emerald Barnes with her new release The Marked!

The Marked blog tour badge (1)

Thanks for hosting me. Today, I want to introduce you to Myka Williams from The Marked.

My name is Myka Williams. I’m seventeen, and I go to Knight’s Academy in Crescent Hill, Tennessee. I live in the dorms here with my best friend, Olivia Michaels.

Some days, I don’t recognize the girl staring back at me. Some days, I can barely function because I can’t sleep. There’s this wolf in my dreams, and I get the sense that she’s real somehow. Like I can sense her thoughts. Like I’m the wolf. Which isn’t possible, but it feels so real. And it keeps me up at night.

There’s also this guy. His name is Milo, and he’s so frustrating! He’s cute—like really cute—but he’s so…broody. I guess that’s the right word.

One day, he’s giving me gifts, almost kissing me, and the next, he ignores me, basically pushes me away. Something happened between us during Parents’ Weekend, but he won’t tell me what it is. See, I fainted and hit my head, but that doesn’t explain the weird snake-like mark on my neck. No one knows what happened but him, and he won’t talk to me.

Then there’s Preston. If Milo is frustrating, Preston is so much worse. He’s possessive—and he has a really bad anger problem, like he should take anger management classes it’s so bad. He won’t leave me alone. No matter how much I tell him to. Something is wrong with him, and I hate being around him.

I miss my family, and that can’t surprise anyone more than it does me. I thought being at Knight’s Academy would give me purpose. I thought I could figure out who I was, but I was wrong. I’m still adopted, and I still don’t know who my real parents are. My adoptive family, Barry and Jilly, are great, don’t get me wrong. I love them, and I can’t imagine life without them. But, there’s something missing, and I can’t put my finger on it.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just want to run, much like the wolf I’m dreaming about. As if life wasn’t complicated enough…

The one good thing that has come from being at Knight’s Academy is meeting Olivia. Liv is in every way my opposite, but she keeps me distracted from what’s running through my head on a daily basis. She’s great, really. I’ve never had a best friend before. I tend to push everyone away. That’s why I was okay with moving from Mississippi to Tennessee. I didn’t have anyone at home to hold me back. At least that’s what I thought until I came here. I miss Barry and Jilly. I want to go back home, but I need to finish my year out at Knight’s Academy.

At least I have my art to keep me company. That’s about the only thing I can count on these days. But, I keep painting the wolf… Maybe it’s not the best distraction after all.

Well, I have to go. I have classes to get to. Pray for me. Trig is my first class. I hate Trig.

TheMarked1400x2100About The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1:

Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

Where to Buy The Marked:

Amazon

Amazon UK

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iTunes

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About Emerald:

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald:

Website: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us

Blog: ebarnes23.wordpress.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Street Team: http://www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesstreetteam

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

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***Book One – Winner of the Compulsion Reads Quality Book Endorsement***
THE DISCORD TRILOGY
The Golden Apple of Discord – Book 1

Taralie Severin and her three sisters are a powerful coven of modern-day witches who banish mythical creatures in between classes and shifts at the police station. But when Taralie is kidnapped by vampires and converted into the undead, her sisters are ordered to execute her for crimes against the Milunfran order. Refusing, the sisters become fugitives from both their kind and vampires alike.

Ignorant and hunted, Taralie becomes entangled with unlikely allies, a band of vampires in hiding from the ruling vamperic government. With this new addition to their coven Taralie must balance duty with desire while learning not everything is as it seems, their enemies are worse than she knows, and she could be on the verge of ending a thousand-year-old civil war.

Abomination – Book 2

Taralie Severin and her sisters have secured a non-aggression pact with the rulers of the vampire world, the Noricum. Having relocated to Cannon Beach, Oregon, Alexander prepares to marry his beloved Tara. But when an encounter with average vampires goes wrong, the Severin coven’s fragile amnesty with the Noricum is destroyed. With the supremacy of their rule challenged, the Noricum set out to restore the balance of power, leaving the Severin family two choices – die on their feet, or live on their knees.

Rubicon – Book 3

Hidden away on a Caribbean island, Tara’s body survived abomination while her mind did not. Strangled from within by Verus’s accumulated memories, the eldest Severin sister struggles under the weight of so many conciseness inside her mind. But the Noricum are not idle, nor are they forgiving. Enraged by Tara’s murdering of their princess, they hunt the Severins relentlessly. After turning a powerful halfling and declaring open war, the Severin coven must choose between defending the Milunfran witches protecting humanity or their own extinction.

PURCHASE THE BOOKS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I’m Lauren Hodge, a chemist turned author with three children, a lot of friends no one else can see, and a swearing habit. Writing is something I stumbled into on accident. laurenI was reading fiction for the first time as an adult and wondered if I could do it. It never crossed my mind to publish until my twin got a hold of my manuscripts and pressured me into it like the cool drug seeking kid from the After School Specials.

Because of that, my books are different. I don’t write because I have a story to tell. I write because there is a story inside my head and it’s merely using my fingers to get out. I enjoy writing protagonists that are flawed and enemies that aren’t. Not everyone is all good or all bad and I love the philosophical process of defining that grey area.

There are two parts of communication. What is articulated and what is received for only the latter can compel action. You, the reader, are more important than me, the author. I relish understanding what you receive from my articulation. To help with that, I have editors – lots and lots of editors. Editors are the heroes authors need, but not the heroes they deserve. As an author, I strive every day to be worthy of professional editors.

* Follow the full Discord Trilogy tour HERE *

** THIS BOOK TOUR IS COURTESY OF Worldwind Virtual Book Tours **

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knowndevil-cover

Known Devil is the third instalment in Gustainis’ Occult Crime Unit urban fantasy series. Though I had not read the first two books, this one was completely stand-alone and didn’t make me feel I was missing anything. I have, however, read other books from Gustainis in the past (Evil WaysBlack Magic Woman and Sympathy for the Devil), and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is a fabulous writer.

In this exciting new series, Detective Sergeant Stanley Markowski of the Scranton PD’s Occult Crimes Unit,  and his partner, vampire detective Karl Renfer, try to keep law and order in a world where supernaturals — or supes — have come out of the closet and walk the streets with humans. Markowski’s daughter, a vampire witch, is eager to help and offer her expertise, especially because she’s attracted to Karl.

A new drug has hit the streets, Haemoglobin Plus — better known as Slide — the first drug that addicts supes, and as a result, a new wave of crimes has risen in Scranton. Stan and Karl are right on the case, interrogating both humans and supes alike, trying to find out who is behind the new drug: Pietro Calabrese, the Godfather of the local vampire family? Wizard Victor Castle, the unofficial head of the city’s whole supernatural community?  The Delatasso family? Or the new Patriot Party, who has  declared supes “abominations before the Lord?”

If you love urban fantasy a la crime noir, you’ll love this book. Gustainis is smart, gritty, snarky. I just love his sharp, witty descriptions. Take a look at a few:

“He had salt-and-pepper hair, wide-set brown eyes, and a thin moustache in the middle of a face that was no harder than your average concrete wall.”

“He stared at me with eyes that had probably looked dead even before he became a vampire.”

“The terrace outside the front door is open in warmer weather, for those who like sharing their food with the local bugs. I prefer to eat inside, where the only insects I’m likely to encounter have two legs.”

“I saw a puzzled look on his face — maybe because Karl’s grip, like every vampire’s, is colder than a banker’s heart.”

Gustainis is also a master at providing comic relief. I laughed out loud at times. Stan is a likable, sympathetic character, tough yet kind when needed. The world building, the setting, and all the supernatural details come through in a genuine, realistic way. I also enjoyed all the police procedural, showing once more, as in his other books, that Gustainis has done his research well.

The story moves at a fairly quick pace, propelled by entertaining dialogue and lots of action scenes. Particularly interesting is the dynamics between humans and supernaturals now that they have to co-exist side by side. But best of all, is the author’s gifted prose, a pleasure to read. Highly recommended for fans of detective urban fantasy!

Visit the author’s website.

Find out more on Amazon.

My review as originally published in Blogcritics.

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TheBookofThoth_fullsizeThe Book of Thoth is volume II in Paul Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunters series. Unlike the first book, which takes place in London, this one takes place in New York City, where not only criminals and the Russian mafia but also demon vampires roam the streets, preying on the innocent.

One night, beautiful Manhattan socialite Nicole Van Wyck is violently exposed to the hidden wars between the living and the damned, and discovers a secret band of vampire hunters posing as “Pelton Investigation.” Thus enter Wally, Marty, Sarah, Riley, and Lamar, who are more than dubious about letting what they believe is a spoiled “princess” join them – but that Nicole does, and with a vengeance.

Like soldiers of the night, or modern knights, they arm themselves with pistols, fireman axes, big scary knives, rosaries, crucifixes, and bottles of holy water in order to rid the city of these evil demons. Soon, however, they learned about a powerful vampire who is preying on young lives, a so-called “Count” who has a minion named Alice – both sadistically cruel and despicable villains who seem to be after a mysterious book of ancient secrets and magical wisdom, possibly written by the devil himself. Will Nicole and her new vampire-hunter friends get to them before they find the infamous Book of Thoth?

The Book of Thoth was an exciting read! I have to say, I enjoyed this instalment even more than the first. I loved the characters, from the protagonist – brave and noble Nicole Van Wyck, the NY-socialite-princess-turned-vampire-hunter – to the interesting array of secondary characters, to the two villains every reader will love to hate. There’s a lot of action fight scenes – very well done without being overwhelming, and the author did an excellent job developing the double chase as the hunters go after the villains and the villains go after the Book of Thoth.

There’s a lot of tension with just the right amount of comic relief. The dialogue is crisp and gritty, too. I also appreciate how the love-story sub-plot doesn’t get in the way of the main storyline. The ending is satisfying, sad and happy, all in one. In sum, I really enjoyed reading this novel and can highly recommend it to fans of Christian fantasy and vampire-slayer type tales.

Visit the author’s website.

Find out more about the book on Amazon.

View the original article on blogcritics.org

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17605079The Catholic Church fights the Legions of Hell in Mysterious Albion, Book I in Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunter series.

American college student Lucy Manning is visiting the London nightclub scene when she loses her best friend to a vampire. Traumatized by her friend’s death as well as by the fact that she herself was almost killed, Lucy flights back to the States.

But soon after, she is visited by two members of the Church — Father Gelasius and Sister Anne — who make her an offer she can’t resist.

Against her family’s wishes, Lucy heads back to London and joins a secret society of vampire hunters. Together with Father Gelasius, Sister Anne, and two other young members like herself, Lucy begins to fight the vampires who haunt the streets of night-time London — of course, not without going through a tough training first.

As more innocent victims disappear, it becomes obvious that the situation is getting worse…for an ancient, powerful vampire has risen from her slumber, and she’ll stop at nothing to shed rivers of blood upon the earth.

Mysterious Albion is an entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable read. I used to be a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this story, though different in many aspects, has a similar tone that will be relished by fans of the genre.

Lucy is a very real, sympathetic character, and Leone did an excellent job in bringing London and the English countryside to life.

I also especially enjoyed the traditional vampire lore where vampires are depicted as evil monsters and not sexy creatures — quite refreshing!

This is Catholic urban fantasy, so there’s also a lot of religious references. However, I didn’t find these detrimental to the plot.

Witty dialogue isn’t lacking and there’s a fair share of fun battle scenes.

Recommended!

More on the author’s website. Purchase on Amazon and B&N.

Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

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Author’s Revised Edition by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

A rerelease of my 1991 Zebra paperback romantic vampire novel

Damnation Books Buy Link: http://damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615724253

http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

In 1990 or so I’d just got done releasing my first three paperback novels with Leisure Books, a romantic historical (The Heart of the Rose 1985) and two romantic horror books (Evil Stalks the Night, 1984 and Blood Forge, 1989), and because I wasn’t making much money on them, was looking, as most so-called restless young authors were doing, to move up in the publishing industry.

So I wrote snail mail letters to three established authors of the day – Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Peter Straub – asking for a little advice and a little help. What do I do next? I want to be one of the big dogs running in the big races. I want to make the big bucks. Be famous like you. (Ha, ha. I was so naïve in those days!)

Well, Stephen King and Peter Straub never answered my letters but one rainy fall night I got a phone call from Gerda Koontz (Dean Koontz’s wife) and she said Dean had gotten my letter and wanted me to have a name of a brand new agent who I should call or write to and say I was recommended by him. If I thought it strange that Dean Koontz himself wasn’t actually talking to me I was told by Gerda that he was a shy man and had had a particularly hard couple of months because of family problems (I think it had something to do with his father in a nursing home or something, but can’t exactly recall now) and he’d asked her to call me. She often did that for him, as well as helping him with the business side of his writing career. He (through her…and I got the impression that he was actually nearby telling her what to say the whole time) said I had to have an agent (I didn’t have one) and then he gave me the name of an ambitious one, Lori Perkins, just starting out and his advice on what I should do to advance as a writer.

I do remember being incredibly touched that he, a famous busy novelist that I admired – I loved his Twilight Eyes – would take the time to talk to me, even through his wife. They were both so sweet and we talked for nearly an hour all about writing, books and everything.

I took their advice and contacted that agent and she agreed immediately to represent me on my fourth book, Vampire Blood, no doubt, because I said Dean Koontz had recommended her to me. Name dropper! But Vampire Blood wasthe reason I’d contacted those famous authors in the first place. I thought it was the best book I’d done so far and wanted it to go to (what I thought at the time) would be a better publisher than Leisure Books, which contracted and hog-tied their writers with a horrible ‘potboiler’ one-size-fits-all ten year contract with low advances and 4% royalties. Yes, I got a whole whopping 14 cents a book in those days, but, I must confess, they did print thousands of paperbacks each run and had a huge distribution area.  I thought I could do a lot better. Anyway, Lori Perkins wanted me to send her the book and she did like it and eventually sold it, and then three others zip-zip-zip right after, to Zebra Books (now known more as Kensington Publishing) at 6% royalties and double the advances I was used to getting. They slapped a sexy blond vampire with a low dress on the cover and a hazy theater behind her. Lovely colors. I thought it was an eye-catching cover. I was so happy. I thought I’d made it! Again, so naïve.

Vampire Blood. A little story about a family of vicious killing vampires who settle ina small Florida town called Summer Haven and end up buying and fixing up an old theater palace to run, and pluck their victims from, and a divorced, down-on-her-luck ex-novelist and her worn-out father, who along with friends, help thwart them.

Now to how and why I wrote it.

My husband and I lived in this small Illinois town, Cahokia, at the time and there was the neatest little hole-in-the-wall theater in a nearby shopping center we used to go to all the time…run by a family of a sweet man, Terry, and his wife, Ann, and sometimes their three children, two teenage boys and a girl named Irene.  Such a friendly, but odd couple. The run-down theater was their whole world it seemed. The kids helped take in the tickets, pop the popcorn and sell the candy snacks.

Now the minute Terry and Ann found out, in one of our earliest conversations, that I was a published novelist they were my greatest fans. Terry went right out and bought all three of my books and they all read them. Terry always thought they’d make great movies. Next time my husband and I went to the little theater Terry and Ann greeted us like old friends, so delighted to see us, and refused to take a dime from us for anything. We got in free whenever we went from then on. Now in those days my husband, my son, James, and I were pretty broke. I worked as a graphic designer at a big brokerage firm in downtown St. Louis (across the Poplar Bridge from our Illinois town) but my husband was in between jobs. We lived on a shoestring. Hard times. So I always was so tickled that we could get into the local movies for free. We went a lot, too, as we loved movies, especially science fiction and horror films.

One night I was watching Terry and Ann and their joy in running that little theater, with the kids bustling around doing their jobs, and I got the idea for Vampire Blood. Just like that! Use them and the theater as a backdrop for a vampire novel. Hey, wouldn’t it be neat, I off-handedly mentioned to Terry one night, if I wrote a book about a family of vampires that was trying to pass as a real human family, the man and woman wanting so badly to fit in and lead a normal life for a while, renovating and then running a theater together…but the kids are wild and, as kids always do, make trouble for them in the town…killing people? Terry loved the idea and I asked him if it’d be all right to use him and his family as a template for the vampires. He was thrilled to be part of anything to do with my books and said yes. So…I wrote this book about them (sort of), the theater (making it much grander than it was, of course), a small town terrorized by cruel, powerful vampires who can change into wolves at will….and a saddened lonely woman, her brother, and her ex-husband (who she still loves and ultimately ends up with again after he saves her life) who finds herself again, but loses a lot, as well, fighting these vampires. Vampires she doesn’t believe in at first.

I was very happy with the book when it was done and dedicated it to Terry and Ann when it came out in 1991. Terry and Ann were thrilled, too.

So Vampire Blood came out and did very well for me, second only to my Zebra 1993 Witches. As the years went by it went out of print and when, twenty years later, Kim Richards at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons and The Woman in Crimson, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course) my 7 out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks – and I said a resounding yes!

So…here it is…Vampire Blood…twenty years later, alive again and better, I believe,  than the original because my writing then was done on an electric typewriter, with gobs of White-Out and carbon paper (I couldn’t afford copies), using snail mail; all of which didn’t lend itself to much rewriting. And in those days, editors told an author what to change and then the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it. Who knew what those sneaky editors were slipping in inbetween and before the final book was in an author’s greedy little hands. Hey, and I was working full time, raising a son, living a life and caring for my big extended family in one way or another, too. Busy, exciting, loving, happy and sad times.

For this new version, Damnation Book’s cover artist Dawné Dominique made me an astonishingly intriguing cover of a lovely vampire (Irene the youngest vampire who turns out to be the most brutal and ancient in the end)…but, thank goodness, without the low sexy top. And my DB editor, April Duncan, helped me make it a better novel.

A lot has happened to me and my family in these twenty years, as well. Both my parents, and my beloved maternal grandmother, the storyteller of her generation, have since passed away. Many people we used to know have. Old boyfriends, old friends and relatives. I miss them all! I no longer have that agent; she went on to bigger advances and bigger writers.  I lost my good job at the brokerage firm, bumped around in lesser jobs for years, always writing in my spare time, and now, at long last, write full time while my husband works way too hard in a machine shop to support us.

Rewriting the book brought back so many good memories…and tears over those no longer here. The theater closed sixteen years ago, the owner believing it’d served its purpose and used up its time. Terry and Ann, heartbroken, were never the same. They had other jobs, none they truly cared about.  Ann is still with us, but Terry died a few years ago, I heard from someone. We lost contact once they stopped running the theater and we moved from Cahokia to a nicer town miles away.

But I’ll never forget those early days and the stories that came with them. Days of high hopes and far distance future dreams…some of which have come true and some which haven’t. I’ve never made the big bucks, never gotten truly famous, but now, at long last and to my great delight, all twelve of my older books, from Leisure, Zebra, and The Wild Rose Press are being rewritten and reissued from Damnation Books and Eternal Press between June 2010 and June 2012. Better than ever after I’d rewritten them. I have plans to write more books and short stories, too, when they’re done. Most importantly, I’m living a good life with a husband I adore and brothers and sisters I love. Writing the stories I was born to write and happy I am. I have my memories. All in all, I’m a lucky, lucky woman.

So, all you writers out there…never give up and never stop writing!

Thank you!

***

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had sixteen (eleven romantic horror, one historical romance, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel and two murder mysteries) previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-four years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.***

 

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

*****

 

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has had fourteen novels and seven short stories published since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, and now Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Her novels have been in the genres of paranormal romance, horror, romantic horror, time travel, romance, suspense, and murder mysteries. Her books: Evil Stalks the Night (1984); The Heart of the Rose (1985); Blood Forge (1989); Vampire Blood (1991); The Last Vampire (1992); Witches (1993); The Nameless One (erotic horror short story 1993); The Calling (1994); Scraps of Paper (2003); All Things Slip Away (2006); Egyptian Heart (2007); Winter’s Journey (2008); The Ice Bridge (2008); Don’t Look Back, Agnes (ghostly short story 2008); In This House (ghostly short story 2008); BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (2010); The Woman in Crimson (2010); Always & Forever (erotic contemporary short story 2011).  All in paperback – and in e-books for the first time ever – from Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Look for them. Along with her new book, Dinosaur Lake and four SPOOKY SHORT STORIES from Amazon Kindle Direct.

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Leland studied Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies at San FranciscoStateUniversity where he discovered the enormous possibilities of poetry, experimentation, and critical theory. He eventually earned an MFA in Writing from ColumbiaUniversity on a merit fellowship. He has published fiction in Open City, Fence, Dark Sky Magazine, Drunken Boat, and Monkey Bicycle, among other literary journals. He is also the project director for an upcoming literary event series, Phantasmagoria: Language and Technology of Suffering, for which he received fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

About the book:

Is Epstein a despicable man?

He’s certainly trying desperately at something. When his wife disappears he’s frantic to talk to his daughter. But what can he tell her? There must be a reason and he’s all but sure about the gruesome answer. Can he protect Sylvia from the truth, from her terrible lineage and, ultimately, from himself?

Off-beat and sordid, The Blood Poetry is a twisted, yet honest look at our desire to connect with others and the ways in which we are often stymied by our own efforts to get closer. Epstein is a curious mix of monster and romantic struggling to maintain a shred of dignity in his dingy, beat down world.

Interview 

What was your inspiration for The Blood Poetry?

The title of my novel, The Blood Poetry, came to me quite a while after I finished several drafts.  I plucked the title from a line in the novel where an evangelical preacher of a church led by conjoined-twins who date back to the Civil War, refers to his sermon as “blood poetry.”  That seemed very fitting to me as a title.  The novel literally and symbolically revolves around “blood”—as nutrients for the undead characters; the blood of explicit and implicit violence; and, perhaps most importantly, blood as the central metaphor for “family and lineage” which, for the main character, is the source of his suffering.  Also, as a fiction writer and reader, I’m very drawn to voice and adroit uses of language—not simply lyricism, but the odd ways one can craft language to demonstrate a character’s state of mind; the manipulation of cadence and tempo to convey tension rather than relying on plot; and, when it comes down to it, I like reading other writers who invent bizarre ways of narrating because it feels like I’m being invited into a really strange and, maybe, dangerous place.

Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

I don’t think there are any true heroes in my book.  The protagonist ultimately transforms into an “anti-hero.”  He’s our narrator, our vehicle into the novel’s world, and the character with whom a reader may feel very conflicted empathizing.  I hope he’s more complicated than simply being despicable—he is, in fact, empathetic, too; pretty funny, vulnerable, and victimized; and really does have a sincere interest in the wellbeing of his daughter, Sylvia.  The question is: Can he overcome all the uglier elements of his personality?

Is there a villain or villainess in your story? Tell us about him/her.

Although I just described Epstein as an anti-hero, the villain that he reveals to us as the epitome of evil is Professor Applebaum—his mother’s boyfriend during Epstein’s childhood.  Professor Applebaum—as a bloodsucker and stand-in for forces which terrify us most as children—transforms Epstein’s mother into “a monster.”  He observes—and is complicit—in the suffering that Applebaum imposes on victims.  Although our main character was a child during that time, the fact that he was complicit in the pain of other people devastates him.  Epstein is not, at his core, an evil man.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I think my favorite character in the book is the daughter, Sylvia.  As the writer, I was able to develop a lot of empathy for her; plus, in the beginning, she’s very rambunctious and rebellious, morphs into someone who is more introspective, but still has a lot of verve.  Sections which involved her were a lot of fun to write because I allowed myself the freedom of messing with the language, as well as mimicking her internal voice.  She seems to be the smartest, most empathetic, and most humane character in the novel.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

I’m not totally sure, but I’ve always liked the opening.  It begins immediately with Epstein sprinting toward Sylvia’s school—the set-up is tense, and I hope the language reflects that.

What do you love most about being an author?

I really, really like making things up—characters, worlds, and voices.  And it’s always exhilarating to affect people who appreciate dark fiction in a meaningful, impactful way.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Thanks for still finding wonder in the world of words.

Author’s twitter: @lpitttsgonzalez

Author’s facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBloodPoetry

Link to excerpt: www.goodreads.com/book/show/15727062-the-blood-poetry

Link to purchase page: www.amazon.com/gp/product/1935738259

Link to book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBloodPoetry2012

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