Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Vampire Mistress by Samantha Calcott

 Billed as a "lesbian retelling" of the classic horror tale (one of the original "Gothic romances"), Vampire Mistress does not disappoint. We open with Bec Renfield--a woman who used to have an obsession with insects--and her friend Johanna Seward making plans to renovate a 19th century asylum they picked up for a song and intend to transform into a modern, low-cost mental health facility. As they sift through all the patient records, Johanna finds a file on R.M. Renfield, a patient whose initials are the same as Bec's. Bec doesn't believe in coincidences, and she becomes fascinated by the case of the patient, who was admitted with "a pet and a case of religious mania.

Enter Dr. Victoria Draconis, a graduate of a university in Transylvania who is willing to work emergency late-night shifts if necessary. Bec feels an immediate erotic charge upon meeting the doctor, and a connection is established. From there things turn decidedly (and deliciously) erotic in a story that embraces all the vampire novel tropes (fog, family feuds, wolves, blood) and turns them on their side with a bit of bondge and a dash of domination ni a F/F pairing that's emorable. (There's also a set up for more books in the series.)

There's plenty of action too, including a climactic fight in a forest awash in cold blue flame, (The outcome of this episode is later recounted by Bec--the book's narrator--with sardonic wit, a lightness that is a plus for the story.) Calcott has built upon Stoker's story and introduced refinements of her own that move the story beyond a clever bit of "fan fic." The women here are strong, modern protagonists who know their way around a sword. 

"You act with passion," Quincey says to Victoria in their ultimate confrontation and she does not see that as a flaw. Neither will the readers/ Calcott will not disappoint fans of erotic paranormal fiction.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

A sense of place

I've been thinking a lot about "sense of place" lately. When I first started writing urban fiction, I was living in Los Angeles, and it was natural to set my stories and my first novel there. I have a love/hate relationship with the city where I spent decades of my life, and little by little, I incorporated both my favorite elements (the Griffith Park Observatory) and those I disliked (crazy celebrity culture, huge income disparity, ridiculous traffic) into the stories.
Photo: Matthew Field/Wikipedia
The Griffith Observatory is one of my favorite buildings in the world, and I turned it into a headquarters for the vampire family that runs L.A. and used it as the location of several pivotal scenes in Misbegotten, the first L.A. Nocturne novel. (It's currently available free in the collection After Midnight.)
Whatcom Falls photo by Ken Haufle/Wikipedia
When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, it took me a very long time to get a feel for the place and write about it. I tried a couple of times to write UF set in Bellingham (halfway between Vancouver, BC and Seattle), even sketched an outline for something called Blood in the Rain. It just never quite happened for me. Then one day, when the wind had caused yet another hours-long power outage (a common hazard in Bellingham), I started sketching out a cozy Christmas romance and suddenly I realized I was setting it in an idealized version of the city where I'd been living for two years. And that made me happy.

I moved from Bellingham to another, smaller town nearly two years ago and from the first, I knew I wanted to use it as a setting for my Rezso and Witch War novels. My new hometown is not scenic most months of the year, but in the fall it is spectacular. (That's one reason Witch War is set in the fall.)
I am currently prepping for a move overseas. And I'm already wondering how I will write my very American books if I'm living in Europe. Under my cozy romance pen name (Katherine Moore), I already have ideas for a series of Expat romances, but I don't want to be a tourist...
Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Never Marry a Shifter by Azaaa Davis


New from Azaaa Davis, American author of urban fantasy (my favorite genre) and paranormal romance novels.

Jilted is the first of two books in the Never Marry A Shifter duology.

The Never Marry A Shifter (NMAS) duology is a thrilling blend of romance and horror, landing in the paranormal romance genre.

Here's the description:

Administrative assistant by day and boss lady on social media by night, Theresa enjoys sharing her charmed life with half-million followers. The only thing she loves more is being engaged to the hottest doctor at the clinic where they both work. Cementing her fame by reaching one million followers would be the icing on her wedding cake.

Life stops running smoothly when her husband vanishes on their wedding night and a leaked photo of a barely-dressed Theresa yelling at the police sparks a viral sensation. With everything at stake—love, reputation, followers, and job—she embarks on a reluctant voyage of discovery. Follow Theresa as she stumbles over her new husband's secrets and develops her own inner strength.

A thrilling blend of romance and horror, Jilted is a novella exclusive to the Soul’s Day Boxset for a limited time and releases October 2020.

About the boxed set:

Old Hallows Eve, when things go bump in the night,
Children come to play, and the witches provide the fright.

For 20 authors, USA Today and international bestselling,
The Halloween tales become more than this foretelling.

In the Soul’s Day Boxset, a mansion feeds on souls,
A gargoyle captures them, and a demon dungeon master makes the calls,
Campers gets picked off one by one,
The Karnaval’s corn dogs are less than fun,
Ghosts lurking around every bend,
‘I do’ at the wedding is certainly the end.

A boxset of chills and thrills to keep you up at night,
One-click pre-order to snap your copy filled with fright.

On old Hallow’s eve when creatures come to play,
With this spine chilling pages, it’s where you’ll want to stay.

One-click to pre-order today!
Buy it for only $0.99: https://books2read.com/u/4Dy5Ne

But wait--there are goodies.

Claim you gift with each pre-order: https://soulsdayboxset.com/pre-order-gift/

Connect with fantasy author Azaaa Davis online: 

Website:

Facebook:

Twitter

Instagram:

GoodReads:


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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

It's Bastille Day

I've been going through a French stage--reading French crime novels in translation, checking out travel books, enjoying books about French culture. (My favorite so far, WTF (What the French?), which is written in bite-size chapters that describe everything from the French fascination with Nutella to explaining oddball idioms. Check it out here. You can get a used hardback copy for less than $2 on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Magically Delicious is here!

The third entry in my Ostrander Witches series is now live everywhere! You can get it on Amazon here. It's also available on Nook and Kobo and through Draft2Digital at a number of smaller sales platforms.

Where's number two, you ask? (Mother Nature, about Rosalind Ostrander). It'll be out soon. (I already have the cover.) It's just I ended up writing this novelette for a boxed set first because  it's a Valentine's Day story.

The stories don't have to be read in order, but the "origin story" is  Deus Ex Magical. That one has a five star rating on Amazon and a 4.5 rating on Goodreads (and you KNOW how picky they can be).


Thursday, April 30, 2020

Merry Month of May Book Fair

Five different genres--so something for everyone, unless you like Grimdark or Anime or...well, maybe there's just something for readers who mostly like romance, mystery/thriller, paranormal, and horror. (I'm all in.) Find out more here. And while you're checking out the books, enter the give-away. Books and giveaways!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

FREE!Something different in the zombie apocalypse genre

Free for the next five days.

Bloodsport: Z Sisters #1

I had a blast writing this novella. It's set in L.A. and all of the locations--the sisters' apartments, the house that Rose bought with her ex, their father's house--are real places. I'm currently writing the sequel (Bloodtrail) and getting back into the world has been like visiting old frends after being on lockdown for weeks. (In my case, it's been almost two months. Washington state's governor acted early and decisively after corona virus cases killed some nursing home residents in King County, where Seattle is located.

Writing a zombie story in the time of Covid-19 has been kind of surreal, because some of the things I'd outlined months ago-field hospitals being built in Central Park and sports stadiums--have come to pass.But so too have other things I imagined--like the resilience of the human spirit, the bravery of the frontline health care workers and those who have kept a semblance of normality going--postal workers and delivery workers, ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. There's a William Faulkner quote that always resonated with me:  I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. I believe that.

Stay home if you can.
Wear a mask if you can't.
Wash your hands.
Don't drink Lysol.
Listen to the doctors.
When you can't be with the ones you love, phone or text or Zoom or Skype or Facetime. They miss you too.