Imagine if you will a young impressionable teenage girl, running home from school to watch the dark soap opera, “Dark Shadows”. Imagine also, same girl a little older, staying up—or trying to—to watch the old B&W classic horror flicks—her favorite, of course, is Dracula.
That little girl was me. I had a crush on Dracula, but never liked that he was hunted down and killed. I always thought he should have the woman he loved, after all, he went to so much trouble in getting her. If I had written the play, it would have gone 180 degrees the other way. I spent an inordinate amount of time digging up anything on vampires I could throughout high school and college—which probably earned me the Weirdo Award - but I didn't care.
Before Anne Rice, or Charlaine Harris, vampire fiction was under the overall Horror banner. I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Hubert. There was no such thing as “paranormal romance”, or “urban fantasy”. Not very long ago, certain authors (like those above and many more—women, all), were able to dash away the male-driven idea of making a vampire so... unwanted. Only a woman would put a vampire in bed with a woman. And it was about time. But my writing is more urban fantasy style, even though I manage to marry romance, horror, adventure, and mystery into my books.
I took a creative writing course in high school (a very long time ago), and was so excited I'd found my true calling and told my teacher I wanted to become an author. She told me to pick a different vocation because my spelling was horrible and my grammar not much better.
I didn't follow her advice. So glad I was determined to prove her wrong.
I got more out of the same course in college—the teacher didn't pick at such things. He encouraged me/us, and I was first published in ByLine Magazine. But I wanted to write long fiction. In the early years, I must have written a million pages (not at all good), in longhand, and typed—practicing to become a writer. I went to a writer's conference or two, read books and magazines on how to write. I've published poems, short stories and articles for various publications. I first self-published “Spell of the Black Unicorn” in 2008. My first Sabrina Strong book was taken by another publisher, who went on to publish the first three books in the series. I now write for Creativia, and as of 2016, have five in the series published.
I love to create worlds you can taste, smell and feel with main characters you can identify with, fall in love with, lust for, and villains you may love to hate. My vampires are never cardboard baddies. They've all got their own personalities, needs, hates, and
idiosyncrasies. I refused to fall into the pre-teen vampire fiction, and instead delve into the gritty, sometimes violent, dark and sexual world of vampires. I wasn't about to castrate a vampire for his lust for blood. That's the basic appeal a male vampire has for women—those very significant psychological reasons for adoring Dracula et al. And I've added the need for sex to be just as strong, thus upping the strong tie between the two needs.
I'm an outdoors person and self-made naturalist, and love to go on road vacations with my husband. A chronic rule breaker, I chose to write fantasy/urban fantasy, because I wanted to do whatever I desired with my characters. When I write darker fiction/horror, my work is more similar to Hitchcock and Rod Sterling, with surprise endings. When I go into the longer works I tend to be more of a combination of Josh Whedon, Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison.
My hobbies include crocheting, bird watching, nature watching/hiking. I live on a re-planted prairie/wetlands, which my husband of 30 years is manager of. I also dabble in crafts of some sort. I've nearly finished the 8th book of the Sabrina Strong series. Currently I'm working on a murder mystery (my first without vampires or anything odd), and “Dhampire Legacy”, which I'd begun several years ago. These I hope to have finished at the end of the summer, along with the #6 Sabrina Strong book.
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Author's note: Nocturne
My third offering was to be in the style of a steampunk. Of course, I looked forward to sending Sabrina on a new adventure, and into a new world. Plus I'd always wanted to write a steampunk. Third, I wanted to write something with Dracula in it—not the fictional Dracula by Bram Stoker, but the historical Dracula, who has become, yes, a vampire in this world.
Very briefly, for those of you who aren't familiar with the term steampunk, it was coined by science-fiction author K.W. Jeter to describe a wave of fantasy novels set in Victorian times and celebrating the technology of that era, which was mostly powered by steam—such as steam engines, and the like. It is the antithesis to cyberpunk.
This book, of course, required a bit of delving into certain historical books on Dracula, and working out how my Dracula—spelled Drakulya in this work—had become a vampire, and somehow found his way into this world where vampires ruled. I wanted their world to be similar, or a bit more advanced, really than what Drakulya had lived in during his times.
Building of this world took a bit of planning and thought. They had to live under their own rules, and I decided that the vampires not only out-numbered the humans, but ruled. Kings, and princes are the rulers. The pure humans accept their roles as both donors and mates to the vampires, who, we find out, have some human in their make up. In other words, when children are born from the coupling of a vampire and human, the resulting child might become a vampire in their late teens, or they won't, it depends upon their genes.
In Nocturne, Sabrina's cousin Lindee comes up missing. Of course, Sabrina, being a clairvoyant, must go and investigate. This leads her to a park in a nearby town. I used a real park as my bases for where Sabrina goes to find Lindee to help me visualize the backdrop. While searching with Tremayne, she is sucked into a portal and is transported to another world. (I had originally called it “Between the Veils”, but I refer to it as Black Veil here). Sabrina realizes almost right away that she's not on her Earth any more. And finds the people on this world seem to be stuck in the Victorian era complete with steam engines, no electricity, and no modern luxuries, and yes, she eventually has to dress like the other women, although she's not exactly happy about it. All travel is by horse, carriage, or steam engine. Witchcraft is unusual, but accepted, and so Sabrina's special talents are not feared, but rather accepted.
Sabrina is determined to find Lindee, but is sidetracked with a murder of a well-known woman, which she literally stumbles across the moment she lands in Black Veil. In the course of meeting two people, Jett, Prince of Wallachia, and Skrolock, a family friend, she is whisked into Jett's father's palace where she meets his father, Drakulya. Of course, Drakulya is drawn to Sabrina, and wants to have her as his own. He sends her to a locked and windowless room to await his attentions. Realizing this isn't going to be pleasant—as Drakulya scares the crap out of her—Sabrina is forced to find her way out, via a ley line. She learns to use the ley line for the first time, using it to her advantage throughout this book and from there on.
In the opening of the book, Sabrina stumbles into a room with Jett waiting for a donor. She doesn't understand why she's popped into such a place for a short time and is able to return to her world, but later realizes she's being called there by her extra ordinary powers. Jett, of course, is attracted to her, and despite the fact he is to marry Princess Penelope, her pursues her. But Sabrina becomes aware that Penelope is not who, or what, she pretends to be. She also can't help but stumble upon creatures called Dreadfuls who have been latching on to certain humans, making them sick until they simply die. There is no known cure. Among them is Jett's mother who is dying because of one of these creatures staying at her side. No one can get rid of these creatures. Whenever someone tries to drive them away, the creature returns, and continues it's vigil until the human is dead—vampires are not affected. Sabrina's is surprised to find her dagger can kill it, and Jett's mother, wife to Drakulya, recovers. Sabrina is now a hero in everyone's eyes—including Drakulya—and is put to task in ridding all the Dreadfuls in their midsts. She's miffed, because she's trying to find Lindee, who seems to be nowhere.
Sabrina soon discovers that a blood broker named Alucard, has his sights on her, and she manages to escape him a few times, but little does she know there is more to his wanting her blood than meets the eyes. She is beginning to figure out who was behind the woman's death, and why. This leads her to the bowels of a castle, where she comes face-to-face with death.
The only friend she is able to depend upon is Dante, as all vampires, even elves and leprechauns may loose their power, or can't return to Earth, thus, they can't go with her to this place.
This third book may seem like an odd fit in the series. But believe me, those she meets here, she will see again in the eighth and final book. Establishing certain main characters along the way will help when Sabrina revisits this world. I had fun writing it. Sabrina finally learns to trust her own abilities in this book, comes to terms with her werewolf side, and becomes more the heroine she's meant to be.