Welcome To My World: ‘Hell-Knights’

New novel (novella?) title, yes. It’s the literal English translation of the Old English word, hellcniht, which means “demon”. There are no demons in the novel, but there’s a lot of devilry going on – or at least the source of the vampire scourge will be demonic in nature, and rather tragic, at that.

What little I can give at the moment as I begin the long, long, looooooong, arduous work of writing from scratch…

No sparkly-ass vampires anywhere here.

As I’ve noted in my previous blog post, it takes place in the 19th century, in very much the same universe as the previous two novels I’ve released. So it’s very much AU / Alternate Universe, with folktale elements sprinkled liberally throughout, and that means the normalcy of same-sex relationships and unions. It’s rather coyly touched on in Guardian Angel, turned into a free-for-all in The Flowers of St. Aloysius, and it’s given yet another angle in Hell-Knights. In this case, the romance between the two protagonists will fall somewhere in between that of Dominic/Edgar and Brys/Laurent.

‘Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust’ will need to be dusted off yet again and re-watched.

INSPIRATION: folklore. That’s it.

LOCATION: an AU version of Venice, which, in the book, is called Venedictos. Yes, yes, alliterations r us. The new name just happened to start with a “V” (Venice, vampire – geddit?), but I chose it because it’s a Latin name meaning “blessed”, and I’m using it ironically.

CHARACTERS: Michele and Evelina De Santis – fraternal twins and local badasses. Gabriel Latham – English scholar. Pia Sartori – possibly a friend of the De Santis family who possibly takes Gabriel in during his travels. Possibly. I haven’t figured out for sure what she’ll be doing beyond what else I’ve got planned for her, but things are in crazy early infancy right now, so nothing definite there. There’ll be, of course, a number of other side characters involved, but by and large, Michele, Gabriel, and Evelina are the Big Three.

GENRES: the usual. XD

And that’s all I can share at the moment. Again, I’m going to have to open myself up to this turning into another novel as opposed to a novella because of the world-building, now that we’ve moved locations yet again and are starting over elsewhere.

No Rest For the Wicked, For Sure

So we’re on to new stuff, now that The Flowers of St. Aloysius finally took its bow. I mentioned before that I was planning to write a contemporary fantasy – novella-length, at that – but none of the story ideas I’ve been toying with for a while now seem plausible. Promising, maybe, in that sounds-good-on-paper sort of way, but once I finally got the chance to sit down and attempt a rough map of the plot, things fell apart.

And this is where I (perhaps unnecessarily) explain why I tend to default to historical fantasy for my stories. Fantasy elements notwithstanding, the modern age is steeped in science and technology, and most of the story complications I want to pursue require an extremely limited presence of those things. I love historical gay romances, for instance, largely because of the awful and tragic reality of homophobic laws limiting gay people’s movements and expressions of love. The stakes are higher compared to what we’re used to nowadays.

A mini castle in the forest in Portugal. How can I say no to this as inspiration?

While I’m not primarily a romance writer, I am primarily a writer who loves exploring elements of history and especially folklore in my books. Hence “historical fantasy” or “alternate universe” settings and world-building.

I love writing about possibilities through fantasy elements while at the same time forcing characters to understand bizarre experiences within the confines of their knowledge – as shaped by their specific time period. The stories can be viewed as extended metaphors if readers wish it, and I like that idea, of establishing a means for readers to expand their interpretations and think more deeply about meaning and whatever else they fancy.

Given the rise of technology and science, it’s harder for me to merge that fact and superstition into a coherent enough story. Maybe I’ll learn down the line, but it’s definitely not now. And I love superstition. Its sources, what it says about our past, our nature, etc. Unfortunately it’s the antithesis of empirical science, and someday, I’ll find that coveted middle ground. I’ve already done superheroes to death, which is really like exploring modern-day mythology, and I want to immerse myself more in the shadow world.

So to that end, I’ve chucked the idea of a contemporary fantasy and decided to move forward with another story idea I’ve been toying with for a while now, and it involves vampires and vampire hunters. I’ve already shared my vision of vampire fiction, and none of it ties in with more popular romantic versions of the myth.

That means we’ll be back in AU 19th century Europe for this one. I thought about Eastern Europe for the setting, but given the subject, well – stereotype much? Eastern Europe is absolutely brimming with folklore outside vampires, and I’d rather tackle that when writing a story that takes place in, say, Romania or Hungary. So the location will be moved.

I’m still hoping this would end up being a novella, but considering all the world-building required, I shouldn’t guarantee anything. At any rate, we’ve got a story already lined up, and I’ve got my trusty spiral-bound notebook to scribble initial story notes into. I’ll begin actual writing work next week.

Amazon Issues (Re: ‘The Flowers of St. Aloysius’)

I’ve been alerted by Misty (thank you!) that if you purchased the book through Amazon, you’ll have some weird formatting issues.

I’ve already re-uploaded the file, and it looks good in the preview window. I’ve also alerted Amazon and asked them to inform customers about an updated version, which they can re-download into their devices.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE WHO’VE PURCHASED A WONKILY FORMATTED BOOK FROM AMAZON. I’ll gladly replace your copy with a proper one. Apologies for the hassle, everyone! And thanks for your patience!

Now Available: ‘The Flowers of St. Aloysius’ (Plus Giveaway at The Novel Approach)

The day, it hath arrived. The Flowers of St. Aloysius is now available, and if you’d like to try your luck, I’m doing an e-book giveaway over at The Novel Approach Reviews (two e-books are up for grabs).

I shared an excerpt over there, but it’s the same excerpt I used for the book page at All Romance Ebooks. The reason for that is it’s probably the one scene that really, really conveys the tone, atmosphere, and imagery in the book. And it’s not as spoilery as the others I considered for the guest post.

So, again, the rundown of stores where you can buy a copy:

Amazon (e-book)
Smashwords
All Romance E-Books
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBooks

Amazon (print)
Createspace (print)

If you’re participating in the giveaway, good luck! And if you’ve already gotten yourself a copy, thank you, and I hope you enjoy it. Brys and Laurent are a great deal more expressive than Edgar and Dominic, incidentally. They’re a very passionate young couple, and the expression of emotion actually has a pretty significant purpose in the plot. You’ll see for yourself as to why. :)

And now that we’re on to a new month, ’tis time to switch gears again and dive back into the writing game. I’ll be talking more about the new book soon, but for now, it’s a contemporary fantasy that’s also a gothic romance.

‘The Flowers of St. Aloysius’ Complete Listing

As it usually happens, the print book is available for purchase way before the e-book largely because Createspace don’t do pre-orders none. So here we have it, my lovelies:

Amazon (e-book)
Smashwords
All Romance E-Books
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBooks

Amazon (print)
Createspace (print)

I’ll also be doing a giveaway over at The Novel Approach this Friday, which is release day. I’ll be posting the link over here when that happens, and I’ll also be giving away two copies of the book to two winners.