Tuesday, February 26, 2013

JD's Review of 'Blood Slave' by Travis Luedke

'Blood Slave' is the latest in Travis Luedke's paranormal romance series 'The Nightlife'.

Luedke, however, departs from his usual 'city-based' formula with characters Aaron and Michelle, to portray the story of Esperanza de Salvador, a prostitute working for a drug cartel. The other departure for the author is that this novel is written in the first person - and hence from a female perspective.

Twenty-two-year-old Esperanza (real name 'Hope') has lived a brutalised existence. Sold by her father at age fourteen into a life of prostitution, she is trafficked from her native Colombia into the seedy underbelly of New York where lacking  the legitimacy of work papers she is used as a sex slave by her lowlife bosses. But then one day she is sent a female client - who also happens to be a vampire - and her world changes ...

I have read and reviewed the other two 'Nightlife' novels, and this one feels more assured and incorporates some interesting background research into criminality South of the Border. The portrayal of the debased Esperanza's life is chilling at times - the almost casual descriptions of violence and rape that suffuse the pages of the novel. Of course most of the sexual activity is consensual, and fairly kinky. There is the anticipated quota of neck-biting and screaming orgasms, along with the odd threesome for some athletic variation. Fans of Mr Luedke will not be disappointed with both the physicality of the writing and the roller coaster pace of the narrative.

But even leaving aside the erotic elements of the book, there are interesting twists and turns in the story and the evil psychology that motivates a number of the characters rings true. Moreover, Esperanza may be a victim, but she is not one to go down without a fight.

If you like strong meat in a vampire thriller, you will certainly enjoy 'Blood Slave'.

'The Nightlife' series remains firmly on track.

For details of 'The Nightlife' Blog Tour and the opportunity to win copies of Travis Luedke's novels click HERE

'Blood Slave' is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and at other internet retailers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

JD's Review of 'The Dracula Chronicles: Bound by Blood Vol. 1'

Shane O’Neill’s ‘The Dracula Chronicles’ is an ambitious project. O’Neill combines elements of the traditional Dracula story with chunks of Goethe’s ‘Faust’ and positions his tale against an epic historical backdrop. 

This Dracula is literally a child of Hell, acting both as the central protagonist but also as a pawn of the fallen Lucifer. Waging war against the forces of Heaven, the Devil is playing a long game against his immortal Adversary as he employs the damned Voivode to bring about the downfall of the Catholic Church.

The author cleverly intertwines the fictional vampire and his psychopathic family with actual persons and events from European history, ranging from Machiavelli and the Medicis to Martin Luther. In doing so he subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) re-writes several of the critical episodes of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This is a difficult balancing act, but it is handled with skill and imagination and, might I say, not a little panache. 

O’Neill acknowledges one or two ‘leaps of faith’/distortions in his methodology, but he peppers the novel with enough real historical research to give the reader a proper history lesson, as well as a slanted one. He is, for instance, one of the few re-tellers of the Dracula story to recount (correctly) that the real-life ‘Impaler’ ruled over Wallachia, not Transylvania.

The writing is visceral as befits the brutality of the age. Some of the violence and rapine may make the more sensitive reader wince, but the context is undoubtedly correct. As one might expect there is lots of sex, gore and medieval cruelty. This is NOT a vampire story sanitised for the ‘Twilight’ generation, but a tale of hatred and revenge, and of the struggle between the powers of Light and Darkness.

Volume 1 of the ‘Chronicles’ begins with a brilliant description of the aftermath of the Battle of Snagov in 1476 and ends with the stirrings of the Reformation. I am eager to see where Shane O’Neill’s restless mind takes us with Volume 2, and which specific historical happenings will provide further fodder for this bold re-imagining of the Dracula legend.

Available for Kindle at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk FREE from 22-24 February 2013

Follow Shane O'Neill on Twitter @ShaneKPONeill

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Talk to the Hat: Interview with the Vampire

JD  Greetings, fellow humans. Today’s drop-in guest at the Dubai Dungeon is Tina Traverse, author of ‘The Destiny of the Vampire’. How’s the torture rack, Tina?

TT  Peachy.

JD  It’s my latest addition. The old electric chair keeps blowing fuses, so I thought I’d try something a little more … medieval. I picked it up for a song at a local market. Well, not for a song exactly. I traded one of Digby’s kidneys for it. Beautiful workmanship. Give the wheel a turn, Digby.

(Creaking noises)

TT  It’s quite refreshing. I’ve always wanted to be taller. Don't worry about the electric chair: it would have ruined my new hairdo and I had to drain a lot of necks to pay for it.

JD  Now then, Tina, you’re the second writer of vampire novels I’ve had down here after Travis Luedke –

TT  You’ve HAD Travis Luedke? How was he? I always wanted to try Travis myself, he looks so… ah, delicious. (Runs her tongue over her fangs)

JD  Let’s try to keep this clean, shall we?

TT  OK, but dirty is sooo much better.

JD  But the difference between you and Travis is that you are a REAL vampire, aren’t you?

TT  Well … yes and no.

JD  What do you mean? That’s what it says in my notes.

TT  I AM a vampire, but I’m NOT real.

JD  That doesn’t make any sense.

TT  I am a fictional character.

JD  You’re a fictional character?

TT  Yes.

JD  A fictional character who writes vampire novels?

TT  A fictional vampire character who writes vampire novels, to be exact.

JD  You talk rubbish.

TT  Well, you started it.

JD  How can you be fictional? You’re here talking to me and I’m real.

TT  Are you sure about that?

JD  Of course I am. I’m as real as Digby over there.

TT  Digby’s not real. I bit him earlier and there was no blood.

JD  That’s because I replaced it with cleaning fluid. Less maintenance that way. I’ve installed a little valve at the base of his neck so it’s easy to top him up. What did he taste like by the way?

TT  Horrible.

JD  Really horrible or fictitiously horrible?

TT Really horrible.

JD  There you are then, case proven.

TT  Are you ever going to stop waffling and talk about my book and where is that freaking wine you promised me?

JD  Your fictitious book?

TT  My REAL book.

JD  Don’t get smart with me, Ms Traverse. Not unless you want some vervain tipped down your throat. I happen to know you night-crawlers are none too keen on vervain. I read it on Wikipedia so it must be true.

TT  Is it real vervain or imaginary vervain?

JD  (Sighs) OK, let’s talk about the book. ‘The Destiny of the Vampire’. Actually, you talk about it for a bit while I have a beer. A REAL one.

TT  Fine, if you get me a REAL glass of wine and slip some of that tasty vein juice of yours in it while you are at it. I am jonesing for a fix. Your dungeon is a long way from Newfoundland.

JD  Just get on with it.

TT  My book, ‘Destiny of the Vampire’, was inspired by another vampire, a former lover of mine, Paul Wesley(Stefan Salvatore, ‘The Vampire Diaries’) during an interview with the human, Kelly Rippa. The American talk show host asked my divine flaxen haired ex what ‘The Vampire Diaries’ was about. He told her that was about two vampire brothers who were both in love with a human, teenage girl. This sparked my imagination and got me thinking. The media is flooded with the representation of lovelorn vampires and frankly, I am disgusted with the one-sided, one dimensional representation. Of course, as a vampire, my kind are passionate, heroic, kind and loving because we still maintain our human side, but we are also predators and need to feed on human blood to maintain our immorality and awesome power.

JD  Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

TT  But, honestly, John, look at me! I am a flawless specimen! Did you not see me sparkle before you threw me in this dark, dewy hell pit?

JD  Nope.

 TT  Oh well ... I digress. I decided to set the record straight and write about two vampire brothers who suffer a tragic event together and cope by turning to the human self-destructive methods of booze and drugs. One of the main characters, Declan also hides another secret he views as shameful by drinking heavily, getting under every skirt he can find and being an outright snarky son of a b****. Sorry, this is a PG interview, isn’t it?  His brother, Sebastian, swears off human blood and numbs the painful cravings by consuming blood wine – a drug I created. Blood wine is a combination of LSD, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, all boiled into a liquid and then poured into vials that can be taken straight or poured into other liquids for consumption. Unfortunately, it does not take away the agony of his self-loathing and overwhelming guilt.
Declan and Sebastian get into trouble with the long gangly arm of the law when, during a party, Declan nearly beats the human that was choking the ‘life’ out of his brother, to death. They are forced into rehab where they are assigned a therapist who just happens to be a vampire and Sebastian's long lost love. Aww … okay I got sappy with the love thing between these two, but there is also some sexual tension between the therapist and Declan! The therapist, Hope, uses this sexual tension to find a way to uncover Declan's secret so she can help him recover. Declan and Sebastian have sibling rivalry like other brothers, but the tension between them intensifies because of the secret that they share, binding them.

However, the rivalry gets kicked up a notch when Declan discovers Hope's relationship with his brother, resurfacing an old plan of revenge. You see, Hope has a twin, and it is this twin that Declan had a wild affair with when he was a newborn vampire. He believed that he loved Hope's twin and when Sebastian began spending time with Hope's sister, Declan becomes jealous and formulates  a plot of revenge. However, when Lucy(Hope's twin) dies that plan remains dormant until a chance meeting with Hope at a ball, a century before their reunion at the rehab. Declan wants to steal Hope away from Sebastian, breaking Sebastian's heart, thus committing the ultimate revenge.

Declan, Sebastian and Hope are really a twisted, screwed up triangle. Secrets, lies, addictions, lust…blood, very wicked and screwy. But, my demented mind knows no bounds when I throw another iron in the fire and reintroduce Declan and Sebastian's creator, Christian into the mix with his own agenda - he kidnaps and tortures the trio.

There is sex, violence, love and lots of blood. Which reminds me, where is my blood-laced wine? Come John, give up the good stuff!

 JD  Not a chance. By the way, I love the cover of the book. Any bloke would. The sight of blood dripping from a young woman’s mouth is very erotic because … Actually, I can’t think of a single reason why it should be erotic. But it is.

TT  (Looks at me dubiously) Hmm … Glad you like the cover John, but I am sad to say, that cover will soon be obsolete. My vampire hunter husband became very, very excited about that picture. He probably had the same thought you just did, so I changed it: too many male wet dreams. I’ve tamed it down by putting  a picture of myself front and centre with my two vampire lovers dangling on chains on opposite sides of me, while I wear the key around my neck. Oh, there are roses and lots of blood. Sweet, warm, nourishing ...

JD  (Slaps his own face) Moving on. Any plans for a sequel?

TT  Yes, ‘Destiny of the Vampire’ is a trilogy. Book II, ‘Framed’ is in the editing stage, while Book III is in the planning stage. ‘Destiny of The Vampire II: Framed’ is going to be a treat. While Book I only had whispers of sex, Book II screams sex. To quote Declan and Sebastian "Love … Happiness ... a wedding ... lust ... ghosts ... family secrets ... murder and a false accusation that will leave one of us fighting for our freedom and our life." It also has strippers, nudity and, did I mention, sex? Lots and lots of flesh mingling!

My second favourite activity….  I am hoping to get Book II published by this spring and Book III, well, that remains to be seen, hopefully it will be published this year as well. I am also writing a story about a wife and mother who just happens to be a sin eater and a beautiful and heartbreaking story based on my friend's life. Plus there are other projects that I have been keeping on the back burner that I would like to finish cooking.

JD  God, you talk a lot. OK, we’re done. I’ll get Digby to untie you and you can go prowling the night streets of Dubai sucking on necks. Good luck with finding a virgin in THIS town though.

TT  Not yet.

JD  What?

TT  Don’t untie me yet. Actually I’d like it if you’d get Digby to turn the wheel a few more times. I find the pain quite stimulating.

JD  Really?

TT  Yes, really.

JD  You’re very, very weird.

TT  Look who’s talking! You’re the one who uses torture devices to obtain mundane answers and sells his, its – whatever Digby is – kidney to pay for it! I’d hate for you to be a cop. Ahhhh, that feels so good, Digby! That’s enough though. I am thirsty, let me down now.

Learn more about Tina Traverse by visiting her Amazon Author Page or her blog or follow her on Twitter @TinaTraverse1

'Destiny of the Vampire' is available on Amazon and other good internet retailers.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"The Candlestick Killer: Part II"

Cameron Garriety's February 'Story Circle' continues with Part II of 'The Candlestick Killer', written by yours truly.

If you haven't yet read Part I, written by the one-and-only Eden Baylee, click HERE

To read my best attempt at following Eden click HERE

On 18th February Part III will appear, penned by master wordsmith Billy Ray Chitwood; followed a week later by the conclusion to the tale which is in the capable hands of the great thriller writer Diane Strong.

Can't wait to see how it all turns out ...

... And while you're on Cameron's site why not sign up for the free e-mail subscription so you won't ever miss any 'Story Circle' episodes or her reviews and lots of other great booky stuff!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"The Candlestick Killer"

For those of you who are not aware, the delightful Cameron Garriepy runs an item on her blog known as 'The Story Circle'.

On the first Monday of each month, she features the opening to a new piece of fiction, by a guest author. For the next three Mondays, the story continues, but written by three more guest authors, each one chosen by the previous one, until the fourth and final piece of the short story.

The February 2013 story is 'The Candlestick Killer' and the first part (which is already out) is written by that inimitable cartographer of desire, Eden Baylee. Part II which hits the ether on 11 February has been penned by yours truly and Parts III and IV will be written by Billy Ray Chitwood ('The Bailey Crane Series') and Diane Strong ('The Running Strong Series').

Check out Part I by clicking HERE

Can you wait for Part II? Well, you'll have to ... but not long!

Friday, February 8, 2013

'Everyone Burns' Hits No. 2

I'm rather humbled to report that my debut novel, 'Everyone Burns', is currently #2 in Goodreads' Best Books on Asia - and it's in some august company ...

                              #1  'Memoirs of a Geisha' by Arthur Golden
                              #2  'Everyone Burns' by John Dolan
                              #3  'Shogun' by James Clavell
                              #4  'Norwegian Wood' by Haruki Murakami
                              #5  'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini
                              #6  'The Good Earth' by Pearl S. Buck

A big thank you for everyone who has been supporting me in recent months!

'Everyone Burns' is available as a paperback or Kindle version at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and is also for sale as an ebook in many other internet bookshops.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

JD's Reviews of 'Horizon' and 'Under by Duress' by Kayla Stonor

Erotica. Spanking. Master and slave sex games.

What do they conjure up in your mind? Badly written masturbation fodder, perhaps?

Think again. See my reviews below of two books by Kayla Stonor, author of ‘The Surrender Series’.

‘Horizon’ by Kayla Stonor

I was genuinely surprised by this short story by Kayla Stonor.

Instead of the liturgy of leather, chiseled chests, heaving bosoms and seismic orgasms I had been expecting, I was instead presented with an artful psychological portrait of a marriage where one of the partners has a hankering to experiment with sexual domination.  Brilliantly executed!

This is a short introduction to Ms Stonor’s writing – of which on this showing I shall be reading more.

‘Under by Duress’ by Kayla Stonor

Having read the author’s short story ‘Horizon’, I was interested to see how Ms Stonor would perform at a novella. I was not disappointed.

Although some readers may be squeamish at a piece whose central theme is the sexual submission of an alpha male, I should like to venture that the central kernel of the story – how a damaged woman turns the tables on a strong man – would survive without the erotic content. The psychological motivations of the novella’s characters are carefully handled to bring credibility to the storyline. Ms Stonor’s writing is tight and polished and authentically ‘American’ (it is set in the USA), despite the author being British.

If you have not previously sampled erotic literature and feel you would like to, ‘Under by Duress’ would be a good place to start.

Please note that both of these books are currently FREE on Smashwords. Click HERE for ‘Horizon’ and HERE for ‘Under by Duress’

You can learn more about Kayla Stonor's books from her Amazon Author Page or see her Website or connect with her on Twitter @kaylastonor

Saturday, February 2, 2013

JD's Review of 'Blue Coyote Motel' by Dianne Harman

Instructions for mixing a ‘Blue Coyote Cocktail’:
Take one obsessive scientist who has just thrown away his career over a woman. Add a girl from the barrio who is obsessed with not growing old. Stir in a washed-up salesman, a defrocked paedophile priest, an angry doctor from an Indian reservation, an over-stressed gold mining executive and a depressed widow. Season with love affairs and sprinkle on some exotic locations. Serve chilled.

This is a difficult book to pigeonhole into a traditional genre (and I say this as a plus point). Although the machinations of Jeffrey the scientist provide an unifying theme, the characters’ various love interests are what are really at the heart of the novel.

Structurally, the book parallels a number of disparate relationships and situations. The first half contains some time-jumps which serve to keep us concentrating. As the various individuals converge on the Blue Coyote Motel, then scatter before re-converging, the storyline opens and closes like a lotus flower – indeed there are some Buddhist motifs peppered throughout the pages.

This novel is well-suited to the patient and reflective reader; one who enjoys description and wishes to engage fully in the lives of multiple characters with personal demons.

If the book has a ‘hero’ it is Sean, the troubled ex-priest and former child abuser. This is an uncommon angle, and one for which I take off my hat to Dianne Harman.

‘Blue Coyote Motel’ is an unusual book, written by someone with a feeling for far-off places and for the existential fears that haunt us. This is Ms Harman’s first novel. I look forward to reading more of her work.

'Blue Coyote Motel' is available as a paperback of for Kindle from Amazon worldwide.

Connect with Dianne Harman on Twitter @DianneDHarman or via her website dianneharman.com or see her Author Page on Amazon