The Vampires of New England Series--Inanna Arthen



Rewriting The Rules


October 26, 2013

Guest blogging on Midnyte Reader

My guest blog post, “Have Yourself an Old-Fashioned Halloween,” is up on the Midnyte Reader book blog. Many thanks to Midnyte Reader for giving me the opportunity!

September 28, 2013

All the Shadows of the Rainbow released on Sept. 30!

All the Shadows of the Rainbow, Book 3 of the Vampires of New England Series, will be officially released on September 30.

Set in the period of American history from 1955 through 1971, All the Shadows of the Rainbow begins immediately after the conclusion of 2010′s The Longer the Fall, as new vampire Diana Chilton returns to civilization after her attempt to escape from reality in the Maine woods. Reconnecting with people and places from her old life for the first time, she travels to Boston for the spring Beltene rites and meets a friend from her distant past: Jack Garrett, best buddy of her ex-lover Gregory Fitzhughes. Jack is the only magician Diana meets who recognizes her as a vampire, and Diana tells him the whole story of how she came to be one. He suggests that the two of them pursue the dream that had originally drawn her to Maine: creating a magical group that will manipulate people and events to catalyze social change.

I took two years longer to finish this book than I expected (alert readers may recall that I initially projected a release date of 2011, the year after The Longer the Fall came out). Most of those two years were devoted to research on the period: contemporary memoirs, fiction, news coverage and other writings, and hours of documentaries and film/video footage. Just as with The Longer the Fall, I did “total immersion research,” absorbing contemporary materials until I internalized the thinking, vernacular speech, assumptions and “conventional wisdom” of the day, as much as possible. I avoided secondary sources and other people’s fictionalizations of the era; believe it or not, I have never seen even one single episode of Mad Men.

The closer to the release date that I came, the more that current events seemed to echo those in the book. Two questions kept coming up:

If you had the power to manipulate and control, magically, the minds, decisions and attitudes of other people, would you use that power?

And if you would use it, how far might you be tempted to go?

I found myself wandering off into daydreams about being able to influence, say, all the Tea Partiers to resign, or every single Wal*Mart employee in the world to walk off the job for a week (which would bring the Waltons’ empire to its knees and get the workers any condition they asked for). But if I could, would I really do it?

Would you?

April 20, 2013

“Beyond Twilight: The Infinite Variety of Vampire Fiction”

Filed under: author appearance,vampire fiction — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:14 am

Signal Boost! I’m giving a talk and slide show tomorrow, Saturday April 20, on vampire fiction from its beginnings to the present. It’s at Books & Boos bookstore in Colchester, CT, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. There will be cookies and chocolate on hand! See store website for directions. If you think there’s nothing to vampire fiction but brooding teenagers who sparkle, you seriously need to be there!

April 5, 2013

“Beyond Twilight” slide show on vampire fiction at Books & Boos April 20

I’m updating my slide show and talk on vampire fiction! Be entertained and enlightened at Books & Boos bookstore, 514 Westchester Road, Colchester, Connecticut. Books & Boos is a new indie bookstore that is scheduling many author events and deserves your support! “Beyond Twilight” is a slide show and talk that will debunk many of the myths and misconceptions about the vampire genre that are repeated so often.

Saturday, April 20, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., come on down!

(If you’re collecting signatures for the Broad Universe scavenger hunt, I’ll sign your flyer!)

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!

December 28, 2012

My schedule for Arisia ’13

This is my tentative (i.e. subject to change, although I hope it won’t) schedule for Arisia, which will take place over Martin Luther King Day weekend, January 18-21 2013, at the Westin Boston Waterfront in Boston, MA.

 

Friday, January 18

8:30 p.m. Vampires: Fear of the Other, Fear of the Body
“Scholars of vampire literature have alleged that early traditions of the vampire in Europe reflect fears of Jews, both religiously and racially. Yet over time, the vampire has morphed. Rather than representing fear of societal dilution, the vampire represents destruction of the individual body, and concepts of the “blood disease” as like unto AIDS began to enter the zeitgeist. Rather than express fear of the other, more modern vampire literature embraces the other.” With Mark L. Amidon, Susan Hanniford Crowley (m), Genevieve Iseult Eldredge and Gail Z. Martin.

Saturday, January 19

11:30 a.m. Paganism 101
[moderator] “What does it mean to be pagan? What resources are available for pagans in their communities? Our panelists discuss how they came to their tradition, how paganism impacts their daily life, and what challenges and rewards they experience as a modern pagan.” with D. Cameron Calkins, Ken Gale, Sean Kane and Virginia Richards-Taylor.
1:00 p.m. Hoodoo, Voodoo & the Bullshit That Authors Do
“A discussion of the depiction of Santeria, Hoodoo, Voodoo, and other such practices. They are often co-opted and commodified by outsiders who don’t respect them or the practitioners. Adding someone else’s beliefs to your story to “spice” things up is a risky practice, especially when you don’t have any connection to the community. We will also discuss oral traditions and why relying on books written by anthropologists instead of actual practitioners is a terrible idea.” With Andrea Hairston (m), Mikki Kendall and Daniel José Older.

Sunday, January 20

10:00 a.m. Contemporary Fantasy Outside the City Limits
“There’s epic (or secondary-world) fantasy, and then there’s urban fantasy, right? Well, what about contemporary fantasy outside the city? There’s a growing strain of excellent rural fantasy, but has fantasy touched suburbs or small towns? Come discuss the best contemporary fantasy outside the city limits!” With Vikki Ciaffone (m), Gail Z. Martin, Sabrina Vourvoulias and Trisha Wooldridge.
2:30 p.m. Magickal Traditions: A Review
“Like most mainstream religious faiths, there is a wide variety in the practices and beliefs of modern pagans, neo-pagans, and heathens. In this panel, some of them will talk about what they do and believe.” With Jessie Belisle, Catherine Kane, Sean Kane and Virginia Richards-Taylor (m).
4:00 p.m. Beyond the Fringe
“The final season of “Fringe” has ended. Is this the great unsung SF series of the past few years? What do we make of the show and its odd take on Boston? Are we satisfied with its conclusion or did they blow it? And is Walter the character on TV you’d most like to have a strawberry milkshake with?” With Thomas Boutilier, PJ Letersky, Melina M.Gunnett (m) and Susan Soares.

Monday, January 21

10:00 a.m. Bullying in Fandom
“The fannish community claims to be anti-bullying, but online forums and message boards often teem with racist, sexist, and homophobic banter. Other groups, such as Furries, also face harassment. Minorities often encounter offensive comments and even threats of physical violence when criticizing an aspect of geek culture (such as depictions of people like them in a popular work). Why is bullying so prevalent in the community? How can we make fandom a more welcoming and respectful place for all?” With Melissa Kaplan, Lindsay Moore, KT Pinto (m) and Elayna Jade Smolowitz.
11:30 a.m. The Undead and the People That Love Them
[moderator] “The undead are everywhere these days. Books, movies and TV are full of shows about them. Where is all this coming from? Why do we love our undead monsters so much?” With Susan Hanniford Crowley, James D. Macdonald, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert and Elayna Jade Smolowitz.
1:00 p.m. READING
I’m sharing a 75-minute time slot with KT Pinto and Michelle D’Entremont. I’ll be reading from my forthcoming novel All the Shadows of the Rainbow.
2:30 p.m. The Ephemeral City
“Festivals like Burning Man, Pennsic, and Rainbow Gatherings are huge annual events that bring together thousands of people for a short period, creating entire cities with their own economy and politics. What is the draw of a temporary society? What do these gatherings bring to the participants? How do they challenge “mundane” society? What are they really like, and what stays with you?” With Terry Franklin, Toni Lay and Meredith Schwartz (m).

November 1, 2012

Guest Blogging on Midnyte Reader for Halloween Hootenanny

Filed under: guest blogging — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:43 am

My guest blog post for Midnyte Reader, part of her “Halloween Hootenanny” feature, went live yesterday. “My Life Amongst the Vampires” takes its title and its opener from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Rowling’s brief references to the vampires of her wizarding world, especially in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, always tantalized me, because they’re so ambiguous. As all my readers know, I love my vampires to be somewhat ambiguous! Stop by Midnyte Reader and leave a comment!

October 9, 2012

My schedule at Albacon 2012

UPDATED

As of Thursday, October 11, this is my “final” programming schedule for Albacon 2012, which will take place October 18-21 in Albany, New York. I say “final” in quotations because all convention schedules are subject to change! Note that my individual reading time has been moved from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, and I will be participating in the Writers’ Workshop on Friday (I hadn’t gotten those sessions in the previous schedule).

Friday, October 19

1:30 p.m. Vampires, Dragons and Werewolves, Too
A discussion of paranormal tropes and how to write them. With Bianca D’Arc, Susan Hannaford Crowley and Jan Dumas.
3:30 p.m. Small Press v.s. Large Press
The pros and cons of each publishing option. With Elektra Hammond, Susan Hannaford Crowley and JoLynne Valerie.
4:45 p.m. Gathering of the Missing Pages
Honestly? I’m baffled. All Workshop participants will be involved in whatever it is!
12:00 a.m. Midnight Reading
A group reading; I’m not sure if it’s intended to have a theme! With Kate Laity, Bianca D’Arc, Susan Hannaford Crowley, Jan Dumas and Debi Chowdhury.

Saturday, October 20

1:00 p.m. -
2:00 p.m.
Tolkien Panel
“A discussion on the author, his influence and influences, and why he has remained popular for all these years.” Moderated by The Wombat, who organizes the local Conference on Middle-Earth, with Toni Lay, Ken Altabef and Paul Park. (My creds: I read The Hobbit in the 1960s and joined The Mythopoeic Society in 1973, I’ve read The Lord of the Rings about 20 times.)
4:00 p.m. -
5:00 p.m.
The Reinvention of Vampires in Popular Literature
“An overlook of the changes, from bloodsucking villains to sparkly hunks.” I’m moderating this one, so we won’t be rehashing the same old arguments! With Phoebe Wray, Paul Park, Debi Chowdhury and Bethlynne Prellwitz, who hopefully will all still be speaking to me afterwards.
4:00 p.m. -
7:00 p.m.
SF/Fantasy Film Scores
A repeat of my presentation on SFF film score music–its history, styles, and what makes it distinctive. I’ll have lots of music clips as examples! New this year, a look at Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception
11:00 p.m. -
????
Midnight Erotic Reading
“For adults only.” With Bianca D’Arc, Susan Hannaford Crowley, Kate Laity, Debi Chowdhury, Joel T. Keener, and Rebecca Hart. Come hear a steamy scene from my forthcoming third novel, All the Shadows of the Rainbow!

Sunday, October 21

10:00 a.m. -
11:00 p.m.
Individual Reading
I haven’t had a reading time of my own at a convention since Albacon 2010 (when no one came). I have a whole new book to read from and possibly some other stuff! There WILL be chocolate.
12:00 p.m. -
1:00 p.m.
Devilish Details
“So, you’re an expert on milking Piebald Yaks, and want to use this in your book. When do interesting touches become infodump overload.” With D.L. Carter (mod), S.C. Butler, Joshua Palmatier and Melissa Mead.

August 24, 2012

Filed under: Vampires of New England Series,writing — Tags: , — admin @ 2:29 pm

I’m guest-blogging today at Fade Into Fantasy, a great book review blog! Many thanks to Theresa for generously giving me the opportunity to post. In “Writing to the Beat of a Different Drummer,” I talk about writing, personal experience and real magic, and what happens when a writer “writes what s/he knows” but what s/he knows diverges significantly from consensual reality and the average person’s experiences.

 

 

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