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Posts Tagged ‘Anne Rice’

mjgardner5_sm2 Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, MJ Gardner. MJ Gardner is a web developer by day, who lays in bed at night and wonders, what if….? Her stories have been published in “Mad Scientist Journal,” “Luna Station Quarterly,” “Plan B” and “Saturday Night Reader.” She published her first novel, Evelyn’s Journal in 2015 and the sequel, Joe Vampire, in 2017.

MJ has an undergrad degree in English and Classics (Greek & Roman studies) and wrote her Master’s thesis on The Vampire in English Literature. She currently lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada with her partner of 19 years, and her cat Zoom. She is also the virtual curator of The Suicide Museum.

MJ Gardner’s latest book, Joe Vampire, is the second book in the Darkness & Light Series. A quick summary for my readers: Joe has really turned his life around. With help and support from his girlfriend Evelyn, he has conquered his addictions, left foster care, finished high school and is ready for college. As much as Joe longs for normality, his life is never going to be that way. After all, his girlfriend is a vampire, and she wants him to become one too. That’s a bit too much commitment for Joe. And other members of the vampire community, some of whom refer to him as a snack, won’t leave him alone. Things begin to unravel for Joe when he tries to help a friend cure himself of his many ailments with a vampire’s blood. When things go badly Joe blames himself and turns back to his old addictions for succor. But can Joe cope with the strongest addiction of all?

mj evelyn cover And since Evelyn’s Journal and its characters lead into Joe Vampire, here’s a quick summary of that book for my readers: It’s cold and dark and Evelyn is in the morgue. In a drawer. She doesn’t know how she got there, and Tammi, the morgue attendant who hustles her out into the night, doesn’t have time to answer questions. Evelyn has been robbed of the gift of immortality her absent lover promised her, and plunged instead, alone, into the night-time world of the vampire, where she must learn to survive alone.

Freed from mortality, Evelyn also feels freed from convention, morality, and law. Her first act as a vampire is to secure the house and fortune of the family who rejected her. Then she sets out to look for love. Evelyn finds that love is a difficult thing when you are a vampire and physical closeness leads to hunger as often as desire. When her vampire lover returns and shows his true nature, Evelyn realizes she is not, and doesn’t want to be, a monster. Note: contains sex, violence, a feisty heroine, all the good stuff.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Joe Vampire (Book 2, Darkness & Light Series)?

I really can’t talk about Joe without talking about Evelyn. Back in the day I was on a listserv called Vampyres, and a lot of people would role play and post fiction to the list. Someone commented that all the vampires were titled, centuries old, and rich. Basically, they were spinoffs from Dracula or Anne Rice’s novels. I wanted to create a vampire who was none of those things. Enter Evelyn, a young woman who is only eighteen when the book opens. Evelyn becomes a vampire, but with no mentor and little guidance, she doesn’t really know how to vampire, and she has to figure it out for herself.

Joe is Evelyn’s boyfriend at the end of Evelyn’s Journal. With Joe, I wanted a character who was not only an unlikely vampire (against trope) but also an unlikely match for Evelyn (opposites attract). Joe is young, he’s very poor, he comes from an abusive home, and he is multiply-addicted to various painkillers. He’s sixteen and doesn’t really care if he lives through the day.

mj joe cover At the end of Evelyn’s Journal, Joe is starting to get it together. His relationship with Evelyn is something to live for. At the beginning of Joe Vampire, Joe (who is not a vampire) is doing well: he’s going to college and he has career plans. The only thing dogging him is pressure from Evelyn to join her in the nightlife. Joe doesn’t know if he is ready to commit—to Evelyn or to blood-drinking immortality. Joe’s college roommate is getting married, and he shames Joe into proposing to Evelyn. And from there, things start to unravel.

Basically, I wanted to write about vampires who were/are not suave, wise, or upper class.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Joe. Hands down. He’s so sincere. He keeps trying to make things better, but he’s fighting against a lot of (virtual) demons, most of which stem from his childhood.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

I published both books myself—cover art, typesetting, everything. The manuscripts had been sitting around for over a decade, and I just wanted to get the stories out there. Along came Amazon and Smashwords and made that possible.

The advantage to self-publishing is that you have total control over all aspects of your work. I am lucky in that I have the skills to do cover art, layout, and build my own website. The downside is that I do not have anyone marketing my books. As a self-published author, you have to be able to market your own work. My experience is that this works best face to face. Meet people, talk at conferences, and network. Unfortunately, I am not built for that.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I used to be pantser, but I have found that a book works much better if you know how it ends so that you know what to put in before the end to make that ending significant. You want to make the reader feel the ending, whether it is happy, sad, etc. To do that you need to make sure the reader knows why the ending is so sad, happy, etc. for your character(s). That said, that is about all the planning I do. A lot of the in-between is pantsed.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I bought a copy from Scholastic Books when I was ten. I needed to look up some of the words as I read it the first time, like “misanthropist”. I have re-read it several times since. I like it because it is full of big emotions and ordinary people. Emily Bronte knew it long before Sartre said it: enfer c’est les autres (Hell is other people). The whole scope of the novel is two houses, two families, two generations, and the empty fields in between, and yet whether these places are heaven or hell is determined by the character of the people and their relationships.

I always wanted to be one of the Brontës. It seemed like heaven to me, growing up in a remote location, in a family with sisters who spent their time writing and reading each other’s stories.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a book called Dry Leaves. It is a very different vampire novel, and I don’t use the word vampire in it. It is set in Detroit (I live across the river in Windsor). It started as a long short story, and I kept trying to trim it because most places that publish short stories want them short–often only 3000 words. I got this story down to 8000, shopped it around, got no takers, and decided to just unpack everything I had condensed. It will be a novella. So far it is 12,000 words.

I also have a (longish) short story coming out in Metaphorosis in the coming months (no date yet), called “The Book of Regrets.” It’s a gay time travel romance. Like Wuthering Heights, it is about ordinary people propelled by big emotions. I also have plans for another book in the Darkness & Light Series, a story about a witch who is desperate to escape dying of cancer, and a novel about a family which has no supernatural elements in it at all.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

Write what you want, not what you (think) the public wants. The public is fickle: vampires are out; zombies are in. Tomorrow zombies are out and lycanthropy or space operas or ghost lovers are in. If you write what you want it will always feed your soul.

Want to learn more about MJ Gardner and her vampire novels? Check out her: Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Evelyn’s Journal and/or Joe Vampire .

Thanks to author MJ Gardner for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Laurel Anne Hill on January 22, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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On the last weekend of October, I participated in HallowRead, held in Ellicott City, MD. It was fun to wander from one haunted venue to the next and share panel-time with other writers of dark fantasy, including Jordan K. Rose.

Jordan’s readers know she’s a writer of vampire fiction, but what they might not realize – she is delightful in person. As HallowRead drew to a close, Jordan was packing up in preparation to catch a train home. On my way out the door loaded down with a stack of copies of The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, I stopped by her book-signing area to chat and taste one of the scrumptious chocolate truffles she’d brought for attendees to eat. As I praised both her writing and the chocolates, she handed me the tray of truffles.

“Enjoy!” she said. “I’m not carrying these back on the train.”

I thanked her, took the mouth-watering candies (and box of my books) to my car, and drove home trying not to eat the chocolates. Sigh. I succeeded in limiting the number of truffles consumed to only 3!

So when I learned that Jordan’s Black Magic Rose, Book One in The Alliance Series was available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, I wanted to share with my readers a bit about her and her newest novel.

First, a small bite of her bio:

399142_417556164958571_958207604_n “Jordan loves vampires. But if you know anything about Jordan, you already knew that detail. What you didn’t know – it wasn’t long ago that she began writing about them.

A few years back Jordan received a copy of Twilight from her husband as part of her anniversary gift. By the end of that week she’d read the entire series and moved onto Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Eight weeks and eighteen vampire books later the idea for her first book, Perpetual Light came to her followed very quickly by Eva Prim.

In October of 2013 The Demon Mistress, the first Eva Prim Novel became available along with four short stories. For continual updates on Eva please join the Snack Of The Week Club at www.evaprim.com

Jordan is a member of the national Romance Writers of America organization and several chapters. When she’s not writing about one vampire or another Jordan enjoys spending time with her husband, Ken and their lovable Labrador, Dino, on the beautiful beaches of Southern Rhode Island.”

Black Magic Rose 1 And now, a little taste of her new book, Black Magic Rose, from the blurb: “Is it possible to reduce the amount of workplace violence in an organization run by vampires and werewolves? Sofia Engle, the new Employee Relations Manager at Cader House Hospital is about to find out, and she may not like the answer, or the series of firsts she experiences: first human employee at Cader House, first day tardy, first kiss with a dead guy. Well, maybe kissing the dead guy wasn’t the worst of it after all.

For nearly 600 years Dragomir Petrescu has fought for The Alliance. As one of the most skilled warriors the Alliance has ever seen he’s killed a lot of people and won many difficult battles. But his newest human adversary is turning out to be a worthier opponent than any he’s met. Just the scent of her disarms him, never mind her endless policies and silly ideals about civility.

Can he possibly keep her safe from Alliance enemies, hospital employees and himself? The term Employee Relations is about to have a whole new meaning.”

Dying to drink in more? Here are the Black Magic Rose purchase links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ggbOIu

Kobo: http://bit.ly/18LDK4G

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1f7PNZ6

Want to discover more about Jordan? Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter at www.jordankrose.com

Follow her tweets: https://twitter.com/#!/jordankrose

Like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jordan-K-Rose-Author/307285709309992

Follow her Pinterest boards: http://pinterest.com/jordankrose/boards/

Friend her on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5751865.Jordan_K_Rose

Watch Whimsical Words for guest posts, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a sensational day! – Vonnie

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