The Vampires of New England Series--Inanna Arthen



Rewriting The Rules


October 31, 2013

Guest Blog Post and Free Books!

I’m guest-blogging today on Susan Hanniford Crowley’s Nights of Passion blog! “Treating the Eye, Tricking the Imagination” Answer a question (it’s thoughtful, not trivia) to be entered in the giveaway contest for copies of both All the Shadows of the Rainbow and The Longer the Fall.

And don’t miss the one-day-only Halloween BOGO special for the Vampires of New England Series! Until midnight (Eastern Time), October 31, if you buy any ebook edition of All the Shadows of the Rainbow directly from the publisher, you can request a free download code for one of the other books in the series (Mortal Touch or The Longer the Fall). Direct downloads are securely managed via e-junkie.com. Choose epub, mobi (Kindle) or PDF editions. Go to By Light Unseen Media’s Facebook Page for details (and Like Us while you’re there!).

March 21, 2013

Vampires of New England ebook omnibus edition for Kindle!

A new omnibus ebook edition of The Vampires of New England Series is now available exclusively for the Amazon Kindle, at a terrific price: cheap ($2.99) to nothing (it’s in the KDP Select Kindle Lending Library for Amazon Prime members). Titled The Compleat Vampires of New England, it includes Mortal Touch, The Longer the Fall, and the first two chapters of All the Shadows of the Rainbow (which may be slightly revised by the time the whole book is released).

So, for cheap to nothing, you can get two great stories, hours of absorbing reading and a sneak preview of the next book in the series! This special limited edition is available nowhere else and won’t appear in print (because it would be humungous).

The cover photograph has a story behind it, by the way. In 2000, Anne Fraser (Gideon Redoak, The Cliff Road Chronicles) visited me for several days and we made numerous day trips all over New England. We both love and write about Maine, so one of our excursions took us up the Maine coast.

Portland, Maine either did not like us or did not want us to leave, ever. We got hopelessly lost going through it, both ways. On the way home, we found ourselves in some wasteland of industrial parks on a high point somewhere around the city–Stephen King would have made hay from the situation, we were just flummoxed. I stopped to try and figure out where we were (never did) and how to get out (finally did)…and there was that dazzling, amazing sunset. I have lots of great photos from that trip, but this one is one of the most striking, and the most serendipitous.

We didn’t see any vampires, but then, you usually don’t see them coming, do you? :-)

February 8, 2013

Excerpt from The Longer the Fall — Snowstorms and Vampires

Filed under: The Longer the Fall — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:07 pm

In honor–or acknowledgment–of Winter Storm Nemo, which is bearing down on the Northeast at this moment, I’m posting an excerpt from The Longer the Fall, Chapter 24:

When she awoke that evening, she could feel that the weather had changed. It wasn’t nearly as cold as those clear, still nights when arctic air flowed down from Canada and pooled under high pressure, sinking the mercury as far as thirty below. But it was well below freezing, and the wind had a fierce bite. There was something big coming, a major storm, the kind that only hit once in a few years, even a few decades. She could smell it bearing down, like the dust and sweat of a distant army.

She’d bunked down in the upper loft of a barn, which she used because it had an attached greenhouse that warmed the building, but there was no livestock here. It looked and smelled like the owners reared poultry, veal calves and pigs for market, buying them in the spring and selling them all off in the fall rather than go to the expense of keeping them over the winter. That was a common backyard farmers’ practice that contributed to Diana’s privation now. But she wasn’t alone in the barn tonight. She could hear a radio playing, and two boys were talking. From what she could infer, they’d been assigned to spend the weekend day cleaning up downstairs, and now were smoking cigarettes and relaxing. Diana remained quiet, listening.

“…and residents are urged to stay off the roads. Repeat, stay off the roads unless you have an emergency. Forecasters are predicting a major winter storm over the area during the next twenty-four hours,” she heard the radio announcer say.

“Ah, jeez,” one of the boys said. “I’m gonna be shovelin’ snow ‘til Easter.”

“Why’ncha dad get a plow blade on his truck, anyway?”

“He’s got one, it’s called his son,” the first boy said tragically.

“It’s good for ya, you’ll getcha muscles that way.”

“Yeah, yeah, easy for you to say. When’s your mom pickin’ you up?”

“She said five.”

“That’s now.”

“I know, she’s comin’. Probably had to wait for the old man to get home, he went over ta Bangor. Hey…”

“Yeah?”

“Aincha scared to be here all alone? You wanna come back with us?”

“You kiddin’? My folks’ll pitch a fit.”

“Yeah, but…you know all that stuff the guys were sayin’.”

“Like what?” The first boy’s voice dripped with contempt.

“No, listen, I heard it straight from Danny!” the visiting boy’s voice had risen excitedly. “He saw it!”

“That’s such a pile of crap.”

“It was in his yard! It just about killed Maxie, tried to strangle him with his chain.”

“Crap,” the first said in a sing-song jeer. “Crap, crap, crap.”

“Is not. You can ask Danny’s dad, and his mom, they filed a police report and ever’thing. Eight feet tall, they said, and all covered with moss, or hair, and just one eye glaring out. It was after Maxie, it was going to tear him apart! Then when they turned the lights on, it flew straight up in the air, and Danny’s dad, he shot at it, and the bullets went straight through.”

The first boy hooted a loud fake laugh. “You are so full of crap, and so is Danny. And his old man is crazy, last year he shot up his own car.”

“He thought it was a deer, come on, anyone could do that.”

“Too bad the bullets didn’t go right through that time. Car’s still got holes in it.”

“Yeah, well…” the visiting boy muttered. He obviously had a high level of loyalty to Danny. Diana started when a car horn honked from outside.

“That’s your mom,” the first boy said helpfully. His visitor got up slowly. Diana cautiously peered down over the edge of the loft and saw the boys both getting up, one of them grinding a cigarette into the dirt floor with the toe of his boot. Smoke tickled Diana’s nose.

“Are you sure you don’t wanna come? When are your folks gettin’ home?”

“I dunno, an hour maybe. Nothing is going to get me in my own house, fer pete’s sake. Now go on, your mommy’s waiting for you.”

The visitor broke into a trot as he crossed the yard. Diana moved to the wall of the loft and peered out through the crack between two boards. The first boy taunted from the open door downstairs, “Run, sissy, run! Look out, it’s coming for ya, run to your mommy! It’s going to getcha!” The visiting boy didn’t speed up, but he didn’t look back, either. He seemed genuinely scared to be crossing the open ground—it was a fair distance between the barn behind the house and the road out front where an old Ford pick-up truck was waiting.

Diana waited until the truck had pulled away and was out of sight, then dematerialized and ghosted down to the first floor. The first boy had turned off the radio and was down on one knee, facing the wall, putting tools into a wooden crate. Diana solidified directly behind him. He had that utterly delicious smell that only younger people had, rich and delicate at the same time, and her mouth was watering. There was no reason to hesitate and certainly no reason to let him see her. She stepped up behind him, put her hand over his mouth, yanked his head back and clamped onto his neck. His arms waved wildly and when she opened, he squealed, but within seconds his muscles had gone limp, stopping his struggles. All he could do was emit gasping whimpers in blind panic. She blanked out his memory then, so he would lose consciousness, and drank past the first signal, and the second one, because it felt too wonderful to stop. She really couldn’t let herself go so long without drinking.

She finally forced herself to close and let the boy down to the ground. When she looked at his face, a shock ran over her, and she froze motionless. He was younger than she’d estimated—not more than thirteen, tall and gangly for his age. She’d assumed the boys were high school students. His face was dead white and clammy. She’d drunk too much.

She stared down at him, her mind unbearably clear and lucid for the first time in weeks. Is this what I’ve come down to? Now I’m attacking children? I have become a monster. She stood there, too appalled at herself to move, until the boys’ words came back to her mind and she realized that she either had to clear out before his parents returned, or be caught. It was far too cold to leave the boy in the barn unconscious, especially if he was in shock. She hauled him up onto her shoulder, legs and arms dangling, and walked across the back yard to his house. The door was unlocked, and she took him inside and carefully arranged him on the shabby couch in the living room. She locked the door, dematerialized to leave via the keyhole, and took to the air, traveling crossways to the wind that had turned northeast.

She went on for a long time, her mind in turmoil, and finally stopped in a part of the woods some miles from any roads or trails. It wasn’t deep wilderness here. The trees were widely spaced, having been logged over in the past, and she was at the crest of a steep bank. A small stream, not quite frozen over, ran along its foot. Nothing shielded her from the wind on this hilltop. When she solidified, she had to lean forward a little to balance.

What am I doing? This is no solution. I can’t be killed, I can’t be stopped, I can’t stop myself! If I don’t drink, I’ll lose my mind and people will die. More people will die, she amended grimly. There was no peaceful union with Nature for her. Thomas was right—she didn’t belong to the natural world at all any more. She didn’t belong anywhere—but she couldn’t leave. There was no power that could hinder or destroy her now.

She thought about the story that the visiting boy had told, and clearly believed—Danny, she deduced, had been the one screaming at his father not to shoot Maxie that disastrous night ten days ago. Eight feet tall, covered with hair, one glaring eye? Diana looked down at her pitch-blackened skin and her shirt hanging in tatters. Her hair, matted with pitch and full of twigs and bits of bark, blew around her face in snarled dreadlocks. As for what her face itself must look like…no wonder Danny’s family had been hysterical. This is what I want?

The snow had started falling, but it wasn’t falling straight down. Carried on the relentless wind, the tiny hard flakes peppered Diana’s face in a stinging blast. Her fingers were stiffening. She’d have to get out of the wind, or they’d freeze, and be useless until she got somewhere warm enough to thaw them out. If she stood here long enough, she might just freeze solid, like Lot’s wife turned to the pillar of salt.

The thought struck her like an inspiration. Maybe that would stop her, render her harmless, at least for a little while. Was it possible? Was the storm strong enough to overcome the power of the dragon, even temporarily? Or would she just dematerialize before she froze too far? She turned into the wind, and it seemed that she could hear a hissing, caressing voice: Stay. Rest. Embrace me, my love. I’ll hold you fast. I’ll be your conscience. Sleep with me until spring…

She moved to the northeast side of one of the big trees, the unobstructed force of the wind pinning her against the trunk, leaned back against it and slowly sank to her knees in the old snow that was already a foot deep at its base. She spread her arms out to the wind. She couldn’t move her hands at all now. With numbed lips she spoke three words.

“Yes. Show me.”

Her consciousness sank down into a state deeper than her daytime sleep. Her body stiffened and froze to the tree, and the snow, more than two feet of it in this single storm, covered her completely, disguising her form, sheltering her from the sunlight, hiding her from the world.

Want to read the rest? Order a print or ebook edition directly from the publisher or from your favorite vendor. Ask your local indie bookstore or your library to order a copy for you!

May 27, 2012

The “50 Shades of My Life That I’ll Never Get Back” Giveaway!

Did you read any or all of the 50 Shades books and now require some literary therapy? A chaser, of sorts, to rinse the taste out of your stunned mental palate? Something to restore your shaken faith that there are good books out there? Reassurance that yes, it is safe to read again?

Then I have a giveaway offer for you!

Send me an email saying “I need something to read after 50 Shades, please help!” and I’ll send you a code number for a free download of one book in The Vampires of New England Series (your choice), in your preferred format (epub, mobi [Kindle] or PDF).

All I ask in return is that you post a review of the book somewhere (your choice: Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes & Noble, your own blog, etc.) after you read it!

The two available titles are:

Mortal Touch (a little sex, rated PG-13)

The Longer the Fall (more sex, rated R)

Click on each title to read more about each book. A sample (PDF) is available for each one.

Send an email to iarthen [at] inannaarthen [dot] com before 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 31, and I’ll send you the code. Don’t forget to say what format of ebook you want! Ebook downloads are facilitated by e-junkie.com.

Of course, if you read any or all of the 50 Shades books and really loved them, but you still think you might enjoy The Vampires of New England Series, you may have a free ebook, too! Just send me an email, and please post a review of the book when you can.

Don’t wait! Giveaway ends when May does!

March 24, 2012

A brief reflection about (bad) reviews

Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of instances in which authors responded rudely to negative reviews online, leading to furious arguments and violent accusations in the comments sections of book blogs, the author’s blog, various third-party blogs, the book’s Amazon page, everyone’s Twitter feeds…etc, etc, etc. The basic rule that all this unpleasantness has reinforced, for authors more mature than a twelve-year-old, is: Never Respond to a Negative Review. EVER.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No book can appeal to every reader. Accept the criticism with grace and see what you can learn from it (even if only, “don’t query that reviewer again”). Etc, etc, etc.

But this is bothering me lately, because I’m currently finishing my third novel, All the Shadows of the Rainbow, which is the direct sequel of my second novel, The Longer the Fall. Readers have not been as fond of The Longer the Fall as they were of Mortal Touch, the first book in the series. It isn’t selling nearly as well and it’s gotten, and is getting, much more luke-warm reviews from readers.

The thing is: I’d like to know why.

I really would. Seriously. I’d like to ask the people who just weren’t sure about it, or even the readers like the one who gave it one star on Amazon, “Why didn’t you like it?” Because most of them don’t really say!

I wish I could ask them: “Can you be specific? Can you say exactly how the story failed you? Can you pinpoint where it lost you? Can you tell me what you hoped it would do? What changes would have made it a better book for you?”

The Longer the Fall has its champions, including people who like it better than Mortal Touch. I like it better than Mortal Touch. But when I read people’s comments about The Longer the Fall, I feel that I failed to make the story as clear as I should have. I felt that Mortal Touch should have been edited more tightly, and so I edited The Longer the Fall so ruthlessly, I’m afraid that I took out too much, assumed too much, left too many points unclear.

I won’t say “readers aren’t getting it,” because that’s condescending and puts all the blame on them. I failed those readers in communicating what I needed to. I failed them as a writer. They wouldn’t have started reading the book at all if they hadn’t had positive expectations. They wouldn’t have finished it if something hadn’t kept them going. How did I, as a writer, end up disappointing them so badly?

Now, as I work on All the Shadows of the Rainbow, which like The Longer the Fall is all about magic, and features the same protagonist, Diana Chilton, I really wish I could access my readers’ expanded evaluations and reactions, especially the readers who are critical of the second book. And I can’t ask. At least, I can’t ask directly. Maybe these readers can’t really analyze their own reactions any further, themselves.

But for a writer, nothing really matters (or should matter) more than the reactions of readers, because writing is a collaboration between the author and the reader. When communication is the essence of your being, and you feel like you’ve messed up in a major way, well, it doesn’t feel very good. It’s really frustrating that etiquette so sternly denies us writers the chance to ask our disappointed readers, “I appreciate your candor, could you tell me more?”

October 6, 2010

My schedule at Albacon this weekend

This coming weekend, October 7-10, is Albacon, in Albany, New York. If you’re a writer, aspiring writer or avid reader, this is the place to be on Columbus Day weekend! There’s a reception on Thursday evening, and the convention opens with an all-day Writers’ Workshop on Friday. Here’s what I’ll be doing at Albacon, with descriptions and other participants. All of this is subject to last-minute changes, of course–it’s a convention!

Friday

6:00pm
Squire, 60 mins
Out of the Word Processor and Into the Bookstore
(Moderator)
You’ve sold your manuscript and signed the contract. What happens to your book now? Learn all the steps of a book’s journey from author’s submission to readers’ hands, as hardcover, paperback and ebook editions. It’s a long road with more twists and turns than you might think, especially in the digital age.
with Ron Miller (Artist Guest of Honor), Ian Randal Strock

Saturday

12:00pm
Squire, 60 mins
Vampires: Sparkling or Bloody?
Vampires: rotting corpses who feed on human vitality or dreamy sparkly beautiful mopey demi-gods? Discuss.
with Susan Hanniford Crowley, Elizabeth Darvill, Jackie Kessler (Moderator), KT Pinto, Morven Westfield
(I almost recused myself from this one. I get so exasperated by all the misinformation that gets repeated over and over and over about vampire folklore and fiction, I tend to make an obnoxious ass of myself on vampire panels. I was really hoping I would be assigned to moderate so all I’d have to do is ask questions and smile. With friends and BLUM’s newest author on this panel with me, I better be nice! :-( Maybe I’ll just put my foot in my mouth before I talk.)

1:00pm
Albany, 60 mins.
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
(Emcee)
Readers: C. Margery Kempe, K.A. Laity, Roberta Rogow, Morven Westfield
A “rapid fire reading” is the reading equivalent of the tapas bar–delight your ear’s palate with a varied sampling of short excerpts by members of Broad Universe, the only organization dedicated to supporting and promoting women writers of SF/F/H.

4:00pm
Albany, 60 mins
Solo Reading
I may read from more than one work, and I may read an excerpt from my work-in-progress, All the Shadows of the Rainbow and invite comments from my listeners. I’m still putting it all together, though!

7:00pm
Squire, 60 mins
Connecting with Readers Workshop
What does it take to reach readers? How do you cultivate a relationship with your fans?
with Stella Price (Moderator)

8:30pm
Con Suite, 2 hours
By Light Unseen Media Meet and Greet
By Light Unseen Media takes over the Con Suite to celebrate a great year in 2010 so far, and our newest release, Blood Justice, by David Burton. We’ll have some good food, a little music, books, conversation, and BLUM authors Inanna Arthen and KT Pinto (if we can coax her away from the Masquerade!). Drop in and say hello!

11:00pm
Town, until whenever
Steamy Romance Reading
The stories don’t have to be scorching, but it helps! This is a 18+ event. Attendees will have the chance to win some swag thanks to Authors After Dark.
with Kimi Alexandre, Susan Hanniford Crowley, Bianca D’Arc, Elizabeth Darvill, Kayleigh Jamison, C. Margery Kempe, Jo Lynne Valerie, Kit Marlowe, Stella Price, Morven Westfield
(It sure does get hot in Albany on Saturday night! We’ve all got some juicy pieces to read, so bring a cold drink along!)

Sunday

11:00am
Town, 60 mins
Small Press: The Good, the Bad and the Surprising
(Moderator)
As the dinosaurs of publishing lumber along wondering about this ebook thing, are the nimble mammals of the small press your best bet?
with Bianca D’Arc, CJ Henderson, David Hartwell, Peter Prellwitz, Michael A. Ventrella
(I am totally unbiased and objective about this topic. No, really. Switzerland’R'Us. And if you believe that…:-) )

All information about registering, hotel rooms (rooms are still available), and the complete program are on the Albacon website. Hope to see you there!

(cross-posted from http://vyrdolak1998.livejournal.com/)

February 27, 2010

The Longer the Fall will be released June 1!

The second book in The Vampires of New England series, The Longer the Fall, has gone out in galleys to pre-pub reviewers and will be released on June 1st. A sample chapter is up on the book’s detail page on By Light Unseen Media’s website.

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