Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ten Reasons We Love Vampires

While preparing for the release of my new novel, Life Bites: A Jay Watson Mystery, I got to thinking about why we love vampires. They are, after all, one of the coolest monsters in our literature and movies. And no matter how many vampire stories we have read or viewed, it’s like eating potato chips--we always have room for one more.

1. Hang out in Cool Lairs
First of all, vampires live their undead lives in some of the coolest real estate. The lost boys hung out in a sunken hotel. Barnabas Collins dwelt in a stately gothic mansion.  And Count Dracula had a castle. No other monsters had such distinctive dwellings, well maybe the Munsters. I always loved their old mansion, but then again grandpa Munster was a vampire.

2. Seductive
Vampires are portrayed as romantic creatures. From Edward Cullen to Barnabas Collins, to the vampire Lestat, to Dracula himself, vampires are cast as sexual beings. I must admit I never got this. Even Salma Hayek in Dusk Till Dawn and Kate Beckinsale in Underworld didn’t make me want to get all nasty with a dead thing. It’s kinda gross if you really think about it. But I must admit Salma and Kate did present compelling images. Let’s face it, they feed by giving the ultimate hickey.

3. Hypnotic Power
Maybe reason number 2 in our list is highly influenced by the fact that these creatures of the night can hypnotize there partners into feeling amorous. Chris Sarandon’s Jerry Dandridge in the original Fright Night displayed his powers of persuasion on Amy Peterson in one of the most awesome vampire dance scenes. 

4. Suave
Again Chris Sarandon’s Jerry Dandridge  was smooth with the ladies. As well as the many incarnations of Dracula. And the vampire Lestat became a rock star, how cool is that?

5. They Are Rich
Because vampires live a long time and have few expenses, they tend to amass large fortunes. It also doesn’t hurt that Dracula was a count. Of all the dark denizens, vampires tend to be the royalty.

6. Stylish Dressers
Unlike their lower-class undead friends, zombies, vampires tend to dress in upscale outfits. Because they have wealth, they can afford tailors. Even hanging around the castle Dracula wore a tux and cape.

7. Super Strength
Like superman, we usually think of vampires wearing capes, at least Dracula did. Also like superman, vampires are unnaturally strong. In Blade’s case, he is a type of super hero vampire. Let’s face it--super strength rocks.

8. Ultimate Bad Boys
Vampires live outside the law. They take what they want and don’t follow even the laws of nature. Lost Boys were cool biker types, and the vampires in Dusk Till Dawn hung out in a strip club. And let’s not even get started on Eric and Bill in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

9. Like the Night Life
Most vampires only come out at night. I know Dracula could move around during the day, but his powers were limited. Monsters that prowl the night have that added scariness of coming after you out of the darkness when you are out of your element and they are in theirs.

10. Immortal
The fact that vampires have survived death and continue to function even after they died is their number one selling point. By living out an immortal existence they can experience countless ages. While some vampires see this as a curse, we the fans love that vampires are ageless and timeless.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Devil's Den

Anyone who has read my previous blogs or my first novel, Shepherd’s Fall, knows I love a spooky story. So, when a novel starts at night on the Gettysburg battlefield, I’m hooked. Especially when the hero hears marching feet, and pounding hooves, and his guest vanishes, you know I’m in for the ride.

Don Helin’s Devil’s Den starts on this eerie note, and then takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of suspense and mystery.

Colonel Zack Kelly is a well drawn hero who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from his three tours in Afghanistan. Despite Zack’s issues, he rises to the challenge of discovering what happened to Blake Lannigan that night in Gettysburg. His investigation takes him on a whirlwind journey to Washington, Ireland, and back to Washington to unravel the mystery.

Don Helin creates a suspense novel that draws on his own knowledge of Washington and the Gettysburg location to immerse the reader in Zack Kelly’s world.

I enjoyed Devil’s Den and look forward to more of Zack Kelly’s adventures.

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Exciting new Historical Romance From Cate Masters

It is always exciting when a fellow author has a new book published, so I’m pleased to take part in a Cover reveal for Betting It All by Cate Masters.

Betting it all is a 29k word Historical romance novella. Coming soon from Decadent Publishing

Can the daughter of a well-known prostitute start a new life where no one knows her family history? Norah Hawkins is sure going to try. When a letter arrives deeding her property in San Francisco, she packs her bags.

Irishman Gerard MacKenzie likes his life free and easy, but is tired of the snobbish East Coast folk. San Francisco has enough vice and folly to suit his needs. Meeting Norah gives him the opportunity to bartend in her saloon. Maybe he can convince her to let him play the piano, too. She’s a shrewd businesswoman, and negotiating with her makes his blood boil. Damn if she doesn’t make his blood boil in other ways.

The morning of April 18, 1906, a terrible earthquake buries their dreams beneath the city’s ruins. Can Norah and Mac rebuild their lives? Will rebuilding their dreams bond them forever, or tear them apart?
About Cate:
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at:

To learn more about Cate’s other excellent books and to receive extras exclusive to subscribers, sign up for Cate's newsletter through her blog at

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Something Fun

Yesterday Dec 8th was ‘Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day’ I discovered this just a little too late to participate. Maybe I can pretend I came here from yesterday.

Of course donning outlandish costumes is not really my thing. If I were to celebrate this holiday, I like the suggestion of dressing like you came from the terminator world. This calls for wearing lots of torn black clothes, beat-up armor and cool sunglasses.

I guess I will have to mark the calendar for next year.

What type of time traveler would you pretend to be?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Longest Trek

Book signings are always fun, and next Saturday November 10th I’m making my longest trek to date to promote Shepherd’s Fall. I will join Larry Kerr author of By the Light of the Moon at Eljay’s Books in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 2pm.

So join us if you are in the area.

Larry was born and grew up in western Pennsylvania. He graduated from Lock Haven University and attended graduate school at Penn State. He worked various jobs before beginning his newspaper career.

Larry was a reporter/photographer at two small newspapers in western Pennsylvania prior to taking a position as a copy editor at a newspaper in south central Pennsylvania. He held that job for nearly ten years until moving into web programming. He now works for an agency that serves the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Always interested in fiction, Larry began writing in earnest in 2004. His first novel, By the Light of the Moon, was published in March 2011. His second novel, which is historical fiction and set in the Civil War, came out in September 2012.

In addition to his first novel, several of Larry’s short stories have been published and he won honorable mentions in two local short story contests.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mutated Memories

I live in my head.

It’s a scary thought, probably more terrifying than most of the tales I write, but it is an undeniable truth. As a fiction writer and a programmer, I spend a great portion of my time wrapped up in thought. I wonder how much of my real life, I miss because my mind is somewhere else. My wife Diane sometimes notices and says, “You have that look again, you're off writing in your head.”  She knows me so well.

When I look back over my life, which I don’t spend a lot of time doing for the most part, there are all kinds of milestones: graduations, weddings, funerals, and all the day-to-day moments. But there is another long list of memories that never really occurred: the night Will Shepherd discovered the tombstones on the hill above his house, or the day Jay Watson found the headless corpse moments before the police arrived, or Bruce Kane’s battle with the black onyx gargoyle.

I say it is scary, because these are the memories I write down, the stories I create, and if I’m at all lucky, the memories I will leave behind. What is disturbing is that sometimes these tales seem more real than the actual moments in my life that inspire them. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had a mental break with reality, at least no more than most writers, but memory is a fickle thing.

I’m working on a new novel, and part of it takes place in a college much like my alma mater. I’m a little unnerved because the fiction I’m writing seems to be replacing the actual history. Sometimes later when I go back and read the manuscript, I have to think for a moment if that scene is actually the real moments or the fictionalized version.

Of course, all the supernatural elements, the murders and mayhem are fiction, but it is the settings and some of the small details of daily life that seemed to shift back and forth. The names of places etc.
Well at least most of the supernatural stuff is fiction.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Spookiest Fun Place on Earth

It's a week later and I’m still feeling the afterglow of last weekend at Horrorfind. I’ve always loved scary movies, monster makeup, costumes and Halloween. That probably has a lot to do with
why I write paranormal suspense. Horrorfind embodies all things scary, and 2012 was no exception.

  I have attended this convention in the past, but never from behind a vendor table. So this year selling and signing Shepherd’s Fall, gave me a whole new appreciation for all the effort that goes
into the event.

 There were so many booths and displays of cool horror and Halloween memorabilia, and lots of celebrities from some of my favorite horror movies. Where else would I get a chance to have a
conversation with actor Ray Wise, who stopped by my booth and said hello?

 It was a nonstop weekend, and I met so many nice people. The crew from the movie HOGMAUL were a lot of fun, and I look forward to their upcoming film.

 Of course I met a lot of other authors over the course of the weekend who were also selling and signing their work. It is always fun meeting folks who share the passion for telling stories.

Caroline Cooper and Me in front of our tables at Horrorfind
 It is almost certain I will forget someone, so I won’t try to name them all, but I have to give a special shout-out to Caroline Cooper and Sean Adkins who were also first time authors at
Horrorfind and I look forward to reading their work. Caroline wrote The Sun Village Project, and Sean penned Wolfen Bloodlines.

 For me the highlight of the weekend occurred when the producer of Paranormal Xpeditions invited Diane and me along to the filming of one of their upcoming episodes at haunted Ghosts of Gettysburg Walking Tours® Headquarters-where disembodied voices have been recorded and a child has been spotted…a century after his death.

Me, Tina Storer and Diane at our booth at Horrofind

 If you read my blog then you know I write about other people’s ghost stories, well after last weekend, I guess I will be able to write my own account of some paranormal activity, watch for that
in future posts.

 Diane and I had a lot of fun filming the program with the group of guests from the convention at Mark Nesbitt’s headquarters for his Ghosts of Gettysburg Walking Tours® Headquarters. Mark gave us a guided tour of his building where lots of paranormal activity has occurred in the past.

Tina Storer interviewing me about Shepherd's Fall for
an upcomming episode of Paranormal Xpeditions.

Rachel Hoffman, and Tina Storer did an outstanding job as hosts leading us through the investigation. Even though I’m kinda a chicken when it comes to things that go bump in the night it was a cool experience, and some strange stuff occurred that I couldn’t explain away.  I look forward to seeing the upcoming episode and will let you know when and where it airs.

 I have to say that while Horrorfind may be the spookiest show on earth, it was also a friendly, fun weekend. If you like Halloween, horror or suspense literature, and scary movies than I
recommend you check out future Horrorfind conventions and definately take one of the Ghosts of Gettysburg Walking Tours®.