Monday, April 30, 2012

Organizing Vampires by J.D. Brown

We are extremely delighted to introduce today's guest blogger, author J.D. Brown. Follow the links at the end of her post to get your copy of her debut novel, Dark Heirloom. Welcome J.D.!

Thanks, everyone, for joining me at The Speculative Salon – and a big thank you to the ladies hosting me today. :) I’m J.D. Brown, the author Dark Heirloom and I’m here talk about one specific element of fictional world building, and that is element of organizing a fictional government, but more specifically, a paranormal government….

Ever notice how vampires tend to have their own form of government? They’re not mindless monsters anymore, they’re an organized people. It’s not always explained in the stories, sometimes it’s simply implied, but it’s almost always present in one way or another.

Part of the fun of writing Dark Heirloom was creating and organizing the different vampyre clans and today I’m sharing the inner workings of my vampyre hierarchy.

All the vampyres and vampires in Dark Heirloom’s world belong to a specific clan (excluding Ema). Clans are similar to countries; each one has its specific territorial boarders and body of government. But belonging to a clan is not like being a citizen in the sense that it really has nothing to do with were the vampire lives.

A vampire’s clan is dictated by the vampire’s linage. They’re kind of obsessed with origins. Therefore, a vampire’s clan is the same as his sire’s clan and so on and so forth, no matter where the vampire moves to, it stays with them for life. In fact, they use their clan’s name as their surname.

There are several clans spanning over the entire world and they're classified into two groups; the Major clans and the Minor clans. The Major clans, of course, being the larger nations with territories that may span over several modern-day countries. The Minor clans are made up of much smaller groups, including sub-clans that may exist with-in the Major ones.

The Major clans are each ruled by a king or queen (or in some cases, a prince or princess – they aren’t granted king/queen status until they are married) in a simplified version of a constitutional monarchy. And I’ll admit, it’s simplified for the sake of my sanity. :-)

The governing body of each clan is called a Council and each council is made up of four branches; the Head, the Hands, the Arms, and the Councilmen.

The Head is the king or queen and they are the highest order of the law, though they are not all-powerful.

The Hands are three members of the council appointed by the Head that work closely together to aid the Head in his/her normal tasks. They can sometimes stand in for the Head and make final decisions for small tasks that don’t really require the Head’s direct attention.

The Arms are similar to governor of the state. They uphold the law on a slightly more local level than the Head or the Hands. The number of Arms in each clan depends on how large the clan is; bigger clans will have larger councils.

The Councilmen are local area representatives that act as the voice of the civilian vampires. This group can be very large depending on the size and population of the clan, but they hold the least amount of power within the hierarchy.

The Minor clans sometimes only have a leader and a few advisers, depending on how small they are.

There is also the High Blood Council which can be thought of as similar to the United Nations. The Heads and occasionally the Hands of the Major clans meet at the High Blood Council to form treaties with one another and discuss broader topics such as whether or not they should continue to avoid humans. ;-)

Of course they weren’t always this organized…not so long ago they followed an absolute monarchy that produced a lot of war and bloodshed. But that’s a story for another time…

Title: Dark Heirloom
Author: J.D. Brown
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Book Blurb:

“You’re a vampire” is so not what Ema Marx wants to hear when she wakes from a two-day coma in a cryptic yet exquisite castle in northern Finland. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like why she’s able to see in the dark and walk through solid objects. What she doesn’t understand is why the other vampires expect her to have all the answers. It’s their fault she turned into one of them…right?

Jalmari’s hatred for his old-man intensifies when he’s ordered to bring that troublesome girl to their castle. He has a clan to run; there’s no time for babysitting newborn vampires no matter how they were converted to their culture. But when a two-thousand-year-old premonition threatens to take the crown and his life, Jalmari sees no other choice than to take out the catalyst, Ema Marx. Fortunately for Ema, she could also be the clan’s only savior.

The race to figure out her vampiric origins is on. And maybe she’ll get the hang of the blood-drinking gig along the way…

Book Trailer:

About the Author:

J.D. Brown graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, her writing is influenced by the multicultural urban society of her youth which she continues to visit each summer. J.D. loves paranormal characters; from vampires and werewolves, demons and angels, to witches and ghosts. Her writings are often a combination of suspense and romance. J.D. enjoys helping and promoting her fellow writers and leads an active life on the web. She also writes erotic romance for the MuseItHOT division under the pen name Danielle Ravencraft.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Steampunk and Tarot

Not being the Steampunk expert, I would never have thought of combining this sub-genre of science fiction spirited in fantasy with the age-old game of Tarot.   A game of cards some say dates back to the Ancient Egypt. “Barking spiders!” Deryn would often say in Leviathan. A different subject but it would be interesting to research what the ancients Egyptians used as cards.  Don’t you think? 
By Barbara Moore and Aly Fell
So, back to the subject at hand and whether the two play well together.  According to the article, “Steampunk and Tarot Are a Perfect Match written in the Llewellyn Journal by Barbara Moore the answer is a definite yes.  She mentions the fact that Steampunk takes place in the past but explores possible futures.  “More precisely,” she says, “it experiments with how history would have played out if a few things had been different.  This is very similar to the best tarot readings.”  Tarot being a means of divination or possible futures.  I wonder what Melanie, our resident Steampunk expert would say about this. 
Personally, I like the idea of possibilities in both Steampunk and Tarot.  Above all, the combination of the two creates wild and crazy images.  Don't you just love it?  What do you think of the mishmash?
Till later,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fantasy E-Zines

With limited time to read fantasy series at the moment, I’m turning to short stories to keep reading and to find new authors. I searched the internet but many e-zines were no longer active. But I did find these two: Lightspeed and Clakesworld Magazine.

Lightspeed is presented by Orbit and has 4 fantasy and 4 sci fi stories in each issue. They also post online the stories for you to read. You can then purchase or even listen to them. It caters to more than one kind of readers. The website looks wonderful and is user friendly.

Clarkesworld Magazine has won the Hugo Reward for Best Semiprozine for 2010 and 2011. It features 3 pieces of fiction, 3 pieces of non-fictions, and podcasts of the of each fiction piece. It covers more than the fiction side by discussing elements within the genre. It a nice fit for those who want little fiction and non-fiction together. They post the stories online and purchase a subscribe as well.

If anyone happens to know zines that regularly have epic/high fantasy, please leave a comment. And let us know your favorite e-zine!

Guest post: The Lure of Fantasy by Jane Toombs

THE LURE OF FANTASY  by  Jane Toombs

  Never mind that all fiction essentially is fantasy in that it isn’t “real” but created by an author.  Even as I child I knew the difference between fiction and true fantasy. I was taught by a master--Edgar Allan Poe.  

   My parents never restricted my reading, something I’m eternally grateful for.  I must have been about ten when I pulled Poe’s book of poems from the family bookcase.  It was a small black book and the printing was tiny, but I persisted. I soon realized I held magic in my hands.  I don’t claim to have understand exactly what he meant at that age, but loved the mystery of  words like “the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

I believe the mystery is what I enjoy the most about fantasy.  Not mystery as in who killed whom, but a speculative kind of mystery that Poe must have loved as much as we do.  As readers we can enter worlds that never were and enter lands that never were, but we believe in those lands, those times, and what‘s happening for the time we’re happily engrossed in the book.

I  can’t be sure when I changed from simply enjoying speculative  fiction to wanting to write it.  The first book I sold in 1973 was a gothic and was loaded with weird stuff.   I had made the heroine  of Tule Witch a nurse who was at work in an  ER in the basement of an old hospital where water dripped from pipes running across the ceiling.--a setting that actually existed at the time, but suitably spooky.  

Still, a nurse heroine doesn’t sound like fantasy.  And what I wrote didn’t seem too weird until a bit later on in the book.  I was thrilled with the sale and wrote six or seven gothics after that book which also sold, every last one of them a fantasy.    What happened?  Well, I sold another of my weird gothics to  Harlequin so long ago that they still referred to that book as a “product.”  As a matter of fact I have the rights back and eventually will scan it. But now I was a Harlequin author and I quickly discovered they wanted no part of anything weird or spooky (these were early days.)  So I had to fit in a “line.”    

Yes, I confess I did what they wanted me to.  Hey, the money was good and kept coming.  Who turns down money?

I didn’t foresee the day when I couldn’t stand to do this any longer and need to immerse myself in weirdness again. But here I am happily writing fantasy for ebooks and not making all that much money--but I’ve reached an age where I have to love what I‘m doing.  

And now, once again, I do.  Fantasy is always just beyond our reach in real life, but easy to find in books, thank heaven…  And yes, I’ve written about that ghoul who lives in a cemetery called Weir.  He’s green and in love with a human. The story is called “It Can’t Be Mine!” and is in an ebook called TEN PAST MIDNIGHT.

Ten Past Midnight Blurb:

An awkward heroine who has no sense of smell and wants to be loved. Her so-called friends pull a prank on her, which makes her so angry that when she passes the Weir Cemetery on her way home and sees someone green, she believes it's some guy dressed up for another scam and is determined to confront  the prankster. 

A hero who is a starving green ghoul living in a cemetery called Weir. He can't believe it when a human woman actually talks to him. Is it possibly she can't smell his scent, which is foul to humans?  

This is one of the weird stories in Ten Past Midnight, but it does end happily, unlike some of them,  all my books can be found at my website with buy links, or Amazon.

Ten Past Midnight may be purchased at Amazon.

Author Bio: Jane Toombs, author of ninety published books if you count novellas, lives across the road from Lake Superior with her calico cat, Kinko, in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness. She writes in most genres, but fantasy is by far her favorite.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Like You, But You're Clogging My Inbox

I had to come to terms with a hard truth this week: namely that I was unable to keep up with the enormous amount of email I've been receiving between the several different addresses I possess. It sort of surprises me that it took so long for me to deal with the situation since I'm generally a very organized person: I clean around the house often, keep a fairly workable file cabinet up to date, and I'm a die-hard plotter.

But things happen, especially in the vortex that it a first draft of a novel. As soon as I came up for air, I began a serious evaluation, and a cleansing of the inboxes commenced. I'd like to say farewell to a few old friends who will be missed, although not enough to allow the clutter to continue.

Yahoo Loops - There aren't too many of these that I'm active on, so it wasn't too hard weeding them out. I'm a sucker for the loops that run lots of free tutorials, but most of them sit in my inbox for months, or get stored away in folders never to be opened again.'s Word of the Day - I won't embarrass myself by admitting how far this one got out of control. I'm still a word-a-holic, but if I can't trust myself to read these every day, it's not worth the trouble.

Author Newsletters - I won't name any names here, but I will say that I made my decisions here mostly based on the length of the emails. My advice to writers who have a newsletter is to keep it short and simple, because it doesn't matter how much cool stuff you cram into your mailings if they're too long for people to devote their time to.

Goodreads - Here's the thing, for the longest time I didn't have many friends on the site, but now that my network has expanded, I just can't keep up with all the update notices. On the other hand, I do check in more regularly on Goodreads thanks to our Speculative Society Book Club.

Graphic Novel Reporter - I haven't spent nearly as much time visiting the comic stores as I used to, so reading this newsletter was my attempt at keeping up with one of my favorite hobbies. It's just not the same as the real thing, and I end up skipping over them every week.

Travel Deals - A few years ago, travel was a priority (and a luxury) for us. Sadly, times have changed, and almost all of our vacations involve visiting family for holidays and special occasions (no offense guys, we love to see you). Reminders about all the wonderful places we don't have the time to visit right now are just too depressing.

The purge is finally complete, and while it won't alleviate all the inbox clutter, it's a good start.

Have you banned certain mail from your inbox? What would you like to see less of when you open your email?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saved by...

I was going to write about how story makes us feel better, how each genre has a specific way of going about that task and what I get specifically from steampunk.  Today, though, all of this is more than an idea to fill up blog space or stimulate conversation.  

Since October, before I started looking at steampunk seriously, I found myself at the mercy of public agencies whose intent is to protect the otherwise helpless.  Not somewhere I was expecting to be.  It was stressful in a way that I have not been stressed before and were it not for my writing friends I might not have got through it as well as I did.  While things are a lot better, it’s not over yet. Once more I feel like grain of sand at the mercy of a very large grinding wheel.  Or caught between two industrial-sized steam-driven gears.  And that made it all better. 

Suddenly, not only was I not alone (my tribe has scattered  into married life with children), but I was now the hero of the story.  In steampunk, it’s the creative individual that has a chance to make a difference.  I have choices.  Ok maybe not time travel, but I at least know I’ve not done anything that the machine itself is not trying to do.  It just looks different. I've been listening to Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.

Cory Doctorow’s  Clockwork Fagin, reminded me of the value of tribe, and the beauty of imagination, skill, and mischief.  Especially mischief.  I am reminded, also, that there are ways around every issue, every challenge, if I just keep my sense of adventure about me.  We don’t always know what to expect, what’s coming even when we have decided what we want for ourselves.  Hand in Glove was a surprise. At least it was for Califa Police Constable Aurelia Atreyu (and I’m sure she’ll forgive me if I spelled her name wrong).  Her story reminded me that when things seem to be overwhelming and wrong, relax and follow what I know to be right. 

I did. And I not only feel much better for it, but I now understand there the plan I was expecting someone else to make was mine all along.  Thanks, Ysabeau.

There may not be a direct correlation between my situation and any one of the stories I’ve been filling up on lately, but there is an effect.  I felt better. I was happy, happier than I’ve been in days.  I’m back working on my novel, seeing gaps and lapses that I haven’t been aware of. And I’m looking forward to the next story, another author to find out what else there is to make me happy, to show me how to make the world a better place.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Too Strange to be Sexy?

As a paranormal romance writer there is a fine line between creating something that is new, such as a new paranormal creature that has yet to be used or overused and something that is just not that appealing.

I remember a couple of years ago when I first started seriously writing, the writer boards were hot with requests for zombies. Zombies in romance? I have a very vivid imagination, but I couldn't imagine pairing my heroine with the a zombie hero. He just wouldn't have the appeal for me and instead I felt a major "icky" factor.

One of the first rules that I learned in writing romance is that writers love their heroes and hope that their readers fall in love with him also. I like my heroes dark, but a flesh eating corpse was going a little too far for me.

How about Big Foot or Sasquatch? I have yet to read a paranormal romance novel with the lead being a towering furry man-like creature and after watching "The Messing with Sasquatch" commercials, I'm not sure that I will ever find them attractive or appealing to be cast as either of my leads.

As a romance reader and writer, I can handle bloodsucking corpses with fangs and the smell of dog with my werewolves, but zombies and Sasquatch, I will leave on the shelf, for now.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Favorite Character Traits

Happy Friday everyone! Before we get ourselves in the weekend groove, let’s look at character traits.

Think back to your favorite character. Do they share a common trait? Or are they all over the place? My favorite characters tend to be silent, damaged in some ways, or a troublemaker. Mat Cauthon of the Wheel of Time fits the last trait. Lord of the Rings’ Aragon is a closer fit to the first two traits. But both of them share the trait of not wanting any responsibility.

In fact, they both run away from it as long as they could before accepting it. In my novel, my main male character happens to be running away from his responsibility as well. It is a trait that resonates inside of me. Well, at least in male characters. Female characters are harder for me to pinpoint a favorite trait. But the one trait that dominates in my writing is a strong mind. I don’t care if they can kick ass with their hands. Strength to me lies in the mind and not the body.

 Now do you see any similar traits from your favorite characters and your own characters? And is there a character trait that resonates within you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fantasy Cartography

As I’m getting my second Enchanted Bookstore Legend, Heritage Avenged, ready for publication, I’ve been considering adding a map. My world is becoming more complex and a map would be useful. However, some of the roads or trails in my fantasy world are magical, shortening the distance between locations. That makes map creation a challenge I’m still puzzling over. But, I thought I’d share my research on this project—some handy references for fantasy cartographers.

This software lets you generate random worlds and fine-tune many details to create a realistic and professional map. Their FT3 program gives you control of: coloration, meteor craters, sea level, land-mass size, height range, world circumference, water courses, and much more. You can import and modify real Earth data, generate spectacular new worlds at random, or build your own from the ground up, then just sculpt the land and add water.

For the fastest world generation, the software has an instant icon. When clicked, you are delivered an entire world - complete with climate, rainfall and temperature zones. Not the world you imagined? Just click the icon again, and again, and again for more sample worlds.

But with FT3 you can be even more god-like. Starting from a random world, real-Earth data, or a flat plain if you prefer, you can "paint" altitude or climate adjustments to suit your whim. You can raise mountains from nothing and consign entire continents to the deep. You can even create scripts to automate your tasks.

There are also editing tools to adjust coloration, percentage water, land sizes, maximum and minimum heights, world circumference, axis inclination, roughness, and more. You can add background images, even transparencies to create cloud cover and other effects. The system has good control, able rotate to any point and zoom in to any level of detail

If software automation is not the direction you wish to go, then this was a wonderful reference for hand map-makers, filled with instructions and tips.

Some of their most helpful ideas included references to these tutorial videos for hand cartographers:
Photoshop mapping for beginers
Fantasy Cartography with Butch Curry
Making a Continent in Photoshop
Gullside Tutorial (for photoshop / Gimp)

Other step by step mapping tutorials that demonstrate map-making software are:
Atlas Walkthough (requires Fractal Terrains)
Creating Cities with City Designer (requires City Designer by Profantasy)
Walkthough for overland maps in CC3 (requires CC3 by Profantasy)
Photoshop mapping with Chuck (requires Wilbur - free download)

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. The first of her epic fantasy romance series, ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS, is now available--SEEKING A SCRIBE. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, fantasy romance with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Contest Winner and New Steampunk Trailer

First thing's first - Congratulations to marybelle for winning the ARC of Jennifer Bosworth's YA fantasy, Struck. Big thanks to our commentors, and don't forget to check out other titles in the Macmillan Fierce Reads series this spring and summer.

Now, I've got to slip back into steampunk fan mode and share this really cool trailer for the movie Tai Chi 0. There was a lot of buzz last year about Detective Dee, which was supposed to be an action-packed Asian steampunk event. However, as much as I enjoyed the film, I found it lacking in the steampunk department. Tai Chi 0 looks like a real steam-powered treat - Enjoy!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Inspiring Tips By Vaempires Author Thomas Winship

We are very pleased to introduce our special guest, author Thomas Winship, who offers a few tips on guest blogging. Welcome Thomas!

Hello everyone! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new ongoing vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

I’m so excited to be today’s guest blogger at The Speculative Salon! To be honest, I’m also a bit frightened. There’s pressure enough in just being invited to write for someone else’s audience, but when you’re doing so for a site run by a half-dozen accomplished authors (and those are only the ones I know about! For crying out loud … there could be dozens of ‘em … hundreds even!), that pressure gets cranked up exponentially.

Basically, I’m left with two choices: I can challenge myself to come up with something worthy of the honor bestowed upon me (or at least put forth a valiant effort), or I can throw in the towel and mail in some half-assed piece of drivel.

Which choice did I make?

I’ll let you decide.

So here goes …

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t have a bunch of guest blog ideas stored away somewhere. In fact, I don’t even have one spare idea shoved under the mattress for emergencies. Every guest blog I write is developed around an idea that comes up for that specific occasion.

There’s no rhyme or reason as to where an idea comes from … or when it comes … or even what it’s about. Believe me, I’m just happy that they come at all.

It doesn’t mean I don’t have a system. Of course I do. Where would we be—as individuals or even as people—without systems? I shudder to think of it.

But, seriously, my system is pretty simple (and, if you’ve read some of my earlier posts along this Blog Tour, you already know it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can go to the front of the line. This is not a progressive environment; it’s all-for-one and one-for-all, so you have to wait for the rest of us). Once I’m committed to a guest blog, I spend as much time as possible doing research on the blog itself—reading through months and months of blog posts and comments, trying to get an overall “feel” for the site. All the while, I’m letting everything sort of percolate through the gray matter (what little I have, that is), hoping and praying that something ignites that spark of inspiration I so desperately need … because we all know that inspiration can’t be forced, right?

It’s been scientifically proven, in fact. Inspiration cannot be forced. Like e=mc2, it’s one of the few immutable laws of nature. If you don’t believe me, just try it for yourself.

Trying to force inspiration is kinda like forcing yourself into clothes that used to fit a few years ago. You can huff and puff and twist and shout all you want, but you’re going to be unsuccessful and all you’ll get for your efforts is sweaty, uncomfortable, and breathless.

So, if full blown inspiration doesn’t strike like a bolt of lightning, the best you can hope is to find a tiny thread of inspiration (or “thinspiration”) and gently coax it along—inching it ever so closer, little by little—until it’s finally within range and you pounce on it, wrapping your meaty paws around it and squeezing it so it can’t slither away. I’m sure there’s a hunting metaphor in there somewhere, but I’m too tired to think of one.

Have you ever tried to rescue the string that’s lost in the waistband of a pair of sweatpants? It’s just like that, only mental. And more difficult.

Well, to get back on track: while doing research for this blog, I’m ashamed to admit that full-blown inspiration didn’t strike. Nevertheless, I couldn’t give up. These blogs don’t write themselves, after all. 

So, I went back and forth, trolling all over The Speculative Salon site (figuratively, of course. I can’t even imagine what kind of literal mess a person could make by trolling anything) and banging my head against the wall in a semi-rhythmic pattern that was both painful and comforting.

Go figure.

Perhaps it was desperation. Perhaps it was a slight concussion. I’ll never know without an MRI or at least a WebMD search, but suddenly something did strike me. It might not have been inspiration, but I was in no condition to argue. The answer had been right in front of my face the entire time.

And there’s a message in there. When all else fails, and you’re completely in the dark and lost … open your eyes before you begin abusing yourself and/or screaming incoherently. You might be surprised by what you see. At the very least, you’ll be in a better position to fight off the burly guys trying to put the straightjacket on.

But anyway—public service announcement aside—the answer to my problem was in the blog’s title: The Speculative Salon.

I’m not much of a salon guy … but I can damn well ‘speculate with the best of ‘em—or, at least, those in the lower percentiles. (Oh, I know the apostrophe has no business being in ‘speculate, but it looks like it belongs, doesn’t it?)

So, let’s quit wastin’ time and ‘speculate …

Everyone knows that the pen is mightier than the sword and all that jive … but I often wonder (wonder being an accepted synonym of speculate, of course) about the unintended effect writers have on the world around them—in particular, on their world.

Think about it.

Where do you suppose unused ideas actually go? What about rejected ones? Do they just quietly drift away, never to be seen again? Or do they, perhaps, skulk away, rejected and dejected, to find a dark place where they hole up, quietly stew, and slowly, ever so slowly, morph from little damaged ideas into big ill-formed concepts just waiting for an opportunity to burst from concealment and exact long-awaited revenge?

What about the things I edit out along the way? A word here, a few lines there, here a paragraph, there a chapter, everywhere a page page—just wielding that delete button like an uncaring deity with the power of life or death at my fingertips. (The power is intoxicating and I don’t even want to think about the psychological damage I’m doing to myself.) Conversely, what happens to the things that remain—those that make it to the finished product? Does the constant culling irreparably scar them? Do they suffer from survivor guilt? Will they be forever unable to form lasting, healthy relationships? Does that make my stories nothing more than hollow entities going through the motions? How will I ever know for sure?

Well, I’m going to stop there, because a good writer knows where to start, but a great writer always knows when to stop.

And, honestly, I’m scaring the hell out of myself with all this ‘speculatin’.

Do you see how the word is bracketed in apostrophes? I did that.

I did that.

And how cool is that?

 I hope you enjoyed my guest blog. I’d love to hear what you think of it. Comment here, stop by my website, or even drop an email. I’d also love to hear from you if you check out Vaempires. Below are some links where you can find me:

As a final note: I’d like to thank all of you for stopping in and I’d like to offer a very special “thank you” to everyone at The Speculative Salon for allowing me to be a guest blogger today.

Take care,
Thomas Winship

Book One The Evolutionary War
By Thomas Winship
 It is the morning of Princess Cassandra’s sixteenth birthday. Everyone’s attention is focused on the heir to the vampire throne. World leaders, the rich and famous, and VIPs from every corner of the globe have gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate the momentous event.  
 Cassandra’s boyfriend, Daniel, is late for the party. He’s still outside the city when all hell breaks loose. What he believes is an act of terrorism proves to be a full-fledged revolution.
Væmpires—former vampires who mutated into warm-blooded creatures with an insatiable hunger for cold blood—have launched coordinated attacks across the globe, with three goals: the eradication of humanity, the enslavement of vampires, and the ascension of væmpires as the dominant species on the planet.
 The vampire and human leaders are killed. Cassandra is missing. Daniel is the acting king. Desperate to find the princess, Daniel and his friends fight their way across the besieged city. With the hopes of the free world resting on the shoulders of four vampire teenagers, væmpires unleash their secret weapons: a new breed of væmpire that is far deadlier than any ever seen before.
 What can four teens do against an enemy that can shape-shift, fly, and walk through walls?


Cassie was there, bloody and weary, with a look in her blue eyes that said she’d been to the depths of hell and fought her way back, but she was there and nothing else mattered.

The young lovers fell into each other’s arms and, for a brief time, were the only two people in the world. Words failed and thoughts escaped as they surrendered to the most basic of needs—the need to be held.

They broke apart, neither knowing how long they’d been that way, but both experiencing the same conflicting emotions.

Given the circumstances, it hadn’t been long enough.

Given the circumstances, it had been too long.

“Cassie,” Daniel sighed, “I thought I’d lost you.”

“You almost did,” she said, and what he saw in her eyes—fear, pain, and something else he couldn’t identify—was so intense, his heart broke, releasing the flood of tears that had been threatening to come.

“I don’t …,” he started, suddenly a teenager again, “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had.”

And Cassie cried too, great big tears that pooled at the bottom of her blue eyes before flowing over her long lashes to run down her cheeks, the salty stream cutting a path through the blood and dirt coating her face. The sight of it was at once the most heart-stopping—and heart-wrenching—thing he’d ever seen.

He took her face in his hands, the tenderness in his touch feeling odd after all the death he’d dealt out that day, and kissed her, a long, lingering kiss that was unaffected by their crying or the taste of tears on their lips or the death littering the courtyard around them.

Eyes closed, Daniel breathed her in, this girl—no, this woman—who owned his heart. Her scent, as familiar as his own, was buried beneath a plethora of aromas. Many, including the stench of bloodsuckers, were unpleasant, but it still made his heart skip a beat.

When the kiss ended, he peered into her eyes and whispered, “Did I ever tell you that I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you?”

She smiled. “We’ve known each other since birth.”

“Okay,” he amended. “Since the first time I remember seeing you.”

“Then, yes,” she giggled, “you have told me on several occasions.”

Daniel realized that her giggle wasn’t incongruous with their current situation as much as it was in defiance of it. They were on borrowed time and they knew it.

“And have I told you that I’m going to love you forever?”

“You’ve done more than that,” she said.

About the Author

Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.

Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.

He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.

He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for an early 2012 release.

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