Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The (Mis)adventures of Anna Rose or "What An Opportunity! (gone horribly wrong)"

It's been pretty quiet around Casa Rose the past few days. My kid's out of town and won't be back until at least Thursday night.
Normally, I write from the time she heads off to work at her day job, and stop when she gets home. That way, I can get work done and still have family time with her during the evening hours. Now, with her gone over the past few days, I've got unlimited time during the day to approach and tickle my creative side.
My creative side is confused.
I had this fantasy that I was going to get a hell of a lot done, but that didn't work out as well as I might have hoped. The Muse apparently has hours, too, and I was rude to think that I had her at my beck and call whenever the hell I felt like it.
She's a stubborn thing, and I'm at her mercy.
I've got another two days of (relative) solitude before the kid gets back. Let's hope I can coax her out with promises of chocolate and good sherry.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How the Vampire Genre Has Changed...

     The literary and media vampire genre in general has undergone a vast shift in the more than 100 years since Irish novelist Bram Stoker published “Dracula”. If there were tectonic plates between Stoker’s “Dracula” and Meyers ‘Twilight” series, that shift would probably register as an 8.5 on the Richter scale.

In the beginning, literary vampires were a metaphor for unbridled sexuality and a refusal to stick with the strict morality of the time in which it was published. Dracula’s victims were depicted as highly sexual creatures who wanted nothing more than to fuck and drink blood, although not necessarily in that order. They apparently thought nothing of feeding from innocent little babies. Bad little girls came to an equally bad end by stake and or decapitation, while good little girls who may have been wavering on that amorphous line between good and bad could only be saved by “God”.

German filmmaker Friedrich Wilhelm “F. W.” Murnau and his “Nosferatu” introduced the idea that the vampire (depicted in this silent film as a hideously formed, pale white creature with long bony fingers, a bald head, and bulging eyes) could be destroyed by the light of the sun, reaffirming the idea that vampires were creatures of shadow and darkness, that could not tolerate the light of truth or some such nonsense.

While literally millions of people have probably seen the classic Bela Lugosi horror film “Dracula”, many do not realize that it was originally a stage play that also starred Lugosi. Audiences were frightened by what they saw depicted on the stage and on the screen. Perhaps that fear was not so much of fear of the vampire, but a fear of the permission that Dracula gave to not being a good little girl. This Dracula was a slightly more sympathetic vampire, who said the famous line “Ah, to sleep. Perchance to dream.” This vampire experienced regret at no longer being allowed the simple pleasures of sleeping and dreaming. Ultimately, however, Lugosi’s Dracula came to a bad end, and was destroyed by Van Helsing and his merry band of vampire killers.

Decades of vampire movies thereafter continued to present their leading monsters in a negative light. Given the power of hypnosis, these vampires were all about domination and power over mortal men and women (but especially the women). While women in the audience (and maybe even some men) might still swoon at the idea of being bitten and drunk down by one of these vampires, these creatures were not truly depicted as being the leading men. They were the leading monsters, with the still human men working to defeat them and save whatever damsel in distress needed saving. There was usually at least one human girl turned a vampire in the mix. These fledgling vampires would never start as an innocent girl, but would always have some negative aspect to their human personality that made it “okay” for them to be turned into a vampire. These young women never came to a good end.

The ABC soap opera “Dark Shadows” was failing quite successfully until it was decided that supernatural elements should be added to the show. Thus, the character of Barnabas Collins was introduced. Over time, it was revealed that Barnabas, played by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid, had been cursed by an angry witch called Angelique to join the ranks of the Undead as revenge for his spurning of her way back in the 1700s. The show went from highlighting the trials and tribulations of the Collins family to highlighting the trials, tribulations, and attempts of Barnabas Collins to regain his lost humanity while wooing the reincarnation of his lost lady love Josette Dupree, the still very human Maggie Evans. The soap opera even managed to spawn to a large screen movies that, while they showcased the actors from the soap opera, bore very little resemblance to the television program beyond Barnabas and a whole lot of vampires.

The soap opera lasted perhaps another two or three years after the introduction of the vampire Barnabas Collins, and vampires pretty much went back to being the bad guy.

Then, the Frank Langella version of “Dracula” came to the stage. In it, Dracula was presented as an even more sympathetic character than he had been before. Yes, this Dracula was still evil, but it was difficult not to root for the success of this Dracula and his lady love. When he ultimately came to his end, it was much less violent than it might have been. As with the original Lugosi stage production of “Dracula”, Langella also brought his Dracula to the silver screen and to a much larger audience. While Lugosi had been a rather creepy looking Dracula, Langella made for an unabashedly handsome Vlad Dracul. Female audiences were so riveted by Langella’s good looks that no one appears to have said anything about his lack of an Eastern European accent.

If you are of a certain age, it is disingenuous to pretend that you have not at least heard of “Love at First Bite” which starred the dashing and eternally tanned George Hamilton as the dashing and eternally pale Count Dracula. This Dracula, with a wholly sympathetic character, is kicked out of his ancestral castle in order to make room for the Russian women’s Olympic team. His subsequent homelessness leads him to travel to the United States of America where he sees and falls instantly in love with an American model who appears to have the intelligence of bellybutton lint. The comic hilarity that ensued included pokes at common vampire movie standards such as vampires being afraid of crosses, barely making it to their coffins in time, their inability to partake of human “shit” and more. We even have Renfield stopping for a bite of lunch. For a change, the girl is not looking to be saved, much to the dismay of her human leading man.

This appears to be the point where the genre makes its most drastic shift. While there are still movies depicting evil vampires, there begin to be tales of vampire romances.

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, which starred British actor Gary Oldman in the title role, took the audience far into the back story of the fictional character of Vlad Dracul. It depicted how Dracula lost his beloved to suicide when she thought him killed in battle; then a Christian burial was denied her because of her having committed suicide; and how his shrieked denunciation of the Christian God led to his transformation at the hand of the divine into the creature of darkness known as Dracula. And when he discovers that his lady love appears to have been reincarnated as the lovely Mina Murray, he travels to Great Britain where he moves into Carfax Abbey to begin his quest to win her love.

This Dracula brings us back to the depiction of the vampire as being a daywalker, something that the author of the novel, Bram Stoker, had indicated the vampire was capable of doing. While Dracula was not as strong during the day as he was at night, the sun did not otherwise damage him.

It is interesting to note, that during the course of their curious courtship, Mina does indeed remember things from her previous existence. This appears to legitimize her growing love for the vampire, and she does not appear to be as frightened by Dracula’s true nature as her cinematic predecessors would have been. Her human fiancé Jonathan Harker is depicted as being rather plain and boring, while the character of Van Helsing is depicted as being a fairly hysterical (not the funny kind) know-it-all. In the end, it is very easy to root for the success of the vampire and his lady love, and to cry at the tragic end of their story.

Vampire romances have flooded the literary world like out-of-towners descending upon Comic Con. When looking for paranormal fiction, it is far easier to find a vampire – human love story than a simple vampire – 'kicking ass' story. I have never been much of one for paranormal romance. At this point I think it has been done to death.

How can you justify a vampire hundreds of years old who hates what they are? You would think that if someone hated being a vampire so very much, he would have found a way to end himself long ago . Why does it take romance to kick them out of that deep blue eternal funk? Why is there this need to be “saved”?

I write my vampires as being content with what they are. They do have limitations, so they are not all powerful. They must drink from a living human body, so bottles and bags just are not going to happen. Dead bodies equal dead blood. This means that your average vampire in my mythos cannot live easily in a large city. The humans are going to notice when people go missing or are found dead with almost no blade remaining in their cold corpses.

My vampires bite and drink and kill, and make no apologies for doing so. They are not necessarily going to go out of their way to protect the human race. My vampires are not saints. They are sinners like all the rest of us. Which is to say that they are people just like you and me. They have their likes and loves and hatreds, like everyone else.

If you are looking for romance or salvation then you need to look somewhere else than in the books that compose the Sumaire Web. You will not find either of those in here. If you are looking for biting and blood and violence and death, come on in...

We have been waiting for you.

It's Been Awhile, But...

Hello, all!
Yes, I know it's been a long while since last I posted here, but I've been so involved in my writing that I really haven't had the time to write here. I'm going to try to improve on that, but I can't really make any more concrete promises.
As of this writing, there are three of the four Siofra-related novels available, as well as one short story, "Féasta Fola". They are, in order, "Siofra", "Fiach Fola", and "Droch Fola". I am currently working on the fourth novel, "Cosán Fola", which I hope to release by late summer of 2014.
Originally, I thought the series would consist of three novels, but in the course of writing things, it became clear that it would require four novels to tell the story properly. Not what I'd expected, but if you don't want to shortchange people and/or leave gaping plot holes, this is what has to happen.
I'm also working on some more short stories, so that's been fun. It has given me an opportunity to "cleanse" my brain and take a little time away from the series, too. That helps to deal with scary things like "writers' block", which no one wants to experience. Trust me on this.
Here's hoping you had a wonderful 2013 and that 2014 is at least as good if not better for you and your loved ones!
I'll be checking in again soon, once I have more news of Siofra, Nathaniel and their companions.
Until then, I remain,
Anna Rose

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Looking For A Sample of "Siofra"?

Tired of self-loathing vampires? Are you over all the romance and coffin-banging in so many other novels in the vampire fiction genre?

Siofra is an independent, self-assured Irish vampire who loves what she is and makes no apology for it.

You can find the first two chapters of her first novel here

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writing: It's Not About How Many Books You've Written...

I must say, it's been interesting working on the sequel to "Siofra". I get all manner of contacts from fans wanting more. The overwhelming response I've been seeing is that I'm writing a different kind of vampire story than is currently being offered. There is no romance, no emo teenagers, and no vampires looking for love in all the wrong places.

It's not paranormal romance, it's all about action. Yes, even female vampires can kick ass when needed.

Hell, some of my most ardent fans have been men. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this, as men are not normally considered to be fans of vampire fiction, at least stuff that isn't along the lines of "From Dusk Til Dawn" or "Dracula 2000". These days, conventional wisdom seems to dictate that only women are into vampire fiction.

So the statistics are wrong. Go figure.

I can understand my fans' impatience to have more stories about the vampire Siofra and to have them now. I often feel that way about some of my favorite authors.

However, it takes time to write a book. I understand that, and do my level best to be patient, though I don't have to like it. I'm not the most patient person in the world. Just ask the people who know and tolerate me.

Being an author myself, though, I've learned that a book isn't just something you can essentially splatter onto your keyboard, finish it up, and then submit it for publishing.

Well, at least if you have at least a little self-respect and don't want it to look and read like a piece of crap. Some self-published authors don't seem to realize that it's not just about getting those words out. Those are the authors who make the case for the major traditional publishing houses that self-publishing is questionable at best.

No, authors need to take their work seriously. They have to make it readable.

I've seen a lot of quickly written and shoddily published work out there, and honestly, I find it a bit embarrassing. Why would an author release something that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, poor formatting and the like? It just doesn't make sense to me.

Writing isn't about quantity, it's about quality. When I see authors bragging about having over a dozen books available in print (e-book or physical book), I have this horrible desire to check a sample of that book to see how the spelling and formatting does or does not work. Kind of like watching a train wreck.

So I ask you, dear reader, to please be patient as I continue to work on "Fiach Fola", which is the second book in The Sumaire Web. I'll continue to provide update as the process continues, but please try to understand that I'm not just going to through it together and publish it.


Anna Rose

"Siofra", the first novel in The Sumaire Web, is available now at Amazon, Apple iBooks, www.diesel-ebooks.com, www.kobobooks.com and more!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Win A Free Copy of "Siofra"!

A contest is being run from now through April 30th, 2012, where the winner will receive a free copy of the softcover version of "Siofra".

To enter, join the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/368858303150149/

Keep in mind that the winner will need to provide a valid postal address in order to receive their copy of the novel. Any and all information received in that regard will be kept private and will not be shared with anyone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mac & Cheese - A Short Story

Mac & Cheese

By Anna Rose

Mac & Cheese Copyright © 2012 by Anna Rose

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

Sumaire Press
603 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 910, Los Angeles, CA 90017
e-mail: info@sumaire.com

Author’s Note

This bit of fluff came to be one day when it was raining outside and I was feeling a bit moody. I must say, it really helped to lighten my mood considerably. Hope it helps yours, too!  Bon appetit!


As I ate my dinner, I could not help but go over the day’s events in my mind.

I had warned Frank about my mood during That Time of the month. Repeatedly. That was the main reason he was not eating with me tonight. I just could not take it anymore and had snapped.

You would think that after twenty five years of marriage, he would have figured out that I was not the most pleasant person to be with when Aunt Flo was here for her monthly visit. When the blood comes, that is when my claws come out and my fangs erupt. I am really not a nice person at that time.

Of course, a lot of women are like that. I’ve been part of women’s groups who have discussed the subject ad nauseum. I have heard of many marriages ending because men Just Did Not Get It.

Frank was no exception.
Captain Stupid just had to stand on my last nerve. It was what he was best at, really. The man could win awards as an honorary blond. Sometimes, I even found myself wondering why I fell in love with him in the first place. I came to the conclusion that it was because he was so good in bed and he was the only guy I had gone out with who my parents had really liked.

The kids were grown and had long been gone from our home, both of them successful women in their fields, so it was not as though I was staying with him for the sake of the children.  Truly, the only reason I had not gotten a divorce is that even though I am non-practicing, I was raised a Roman Catholic and just cannot get over the idea that divorce is a sin.

Bitching about my cooking is a sure way to get my dander up at the best of times…but when I am on the rag, you are taking your life into your own hands. Frank should have known that when macaroni and cheese is the one item on the menu, I am probably not thinking very clearly and that a wide berth should be kept.

How many of you have been with a guy who cannot seem to get that you want to be left alone at certain times? Who have not figured out that there are times that silence is indeed golden, and that shutting the hell up is the better part of valor? Lots, I am sure.

As I have gotten older, I have found that my periods have been getting more and more uncomfortable. The ache goes down to my bones and over the past few years, I can barely stand straight when I am menstruating, and with each month, it gets worse. Ibuprofen does not work for me at all, despite what my gynecologist has suggested, but then, I suppose I should be brighter than to listen to a man tell me about what will work for a woman’s body. Silly me.

So, anyway, I’m standing…well, crouching, really, at the stove, waiting for the noodles to finish boiling and then Frank comes into the kitchen, big as life and nosy as hell. As soon as he sees what is on the menu, he starts complaining about it.

It is like he just cannot help himself.

“Look, Frank, if you want something different, you can always take me out or order in,” I tell him in what I think is a reasonable tone. I do not even know why I made the suggestion, as his response is always predictable.

His response is that he does not think we should spend money frivolously and that I should be able to make a big meal with what is around the house.

Just like everyone else, the recession has hit us hard and money is tight. I think the last time we ate out was over six months ago. Instead, my cupboard sports half a case of macaroni and cheese, some tins of tuna, peanut butter, popcorn and whatnot. There is some freezer-burned hamburger in the back of the freezer, but it really does not appeal to me. I cannot remember when we bought it, and that makes it even less appetizing. Frank insists that since it is frozen, it does not have an expiration date.

He would probably very happily dine on the remains of a wooly mammoth that was found in a glacier if he had the opportunity, and I told him so.

“Well, if it’s been frozen the whole time, it’s not like it’s going to go bad,” is his reply.

I think he is insane.

You know, thinking about it, I do not remember the last time we went out to see a movie. Frank is under the mistaken impression that ordering DVDs to come in the mail is the same thing as seeing it in a movie theater.


I really have no desire to see him slouched in his recliner in his dirty from the day’s work tank shirt, slurping down a beer and shoveling microwave popcorn into his mouth. Movies are supposed to be an escape from the worries of the day for a time, and that includes one’s own home.

He quite obviously does not get this.

Also, at some unknown time, Frank came under the mistaken impression that I am some sort of short order cook, and that I should cook whatever the hell he thinks I should. I let out a sharp bark of laughter.

“Frank, you bleed like a stuck pig for several days in a row and tell me you’re going to be on your best game! You’re lucky I can stand this well.”

I was treated to a long discourse on the many times he had hurt himself over the years, but carried on, showing not a sign that he was in fact bleeding to death. Funny, but his idea of bleeding to death is my idea of a scratch. Are all men so pathetically dramatic? I was beginning to think so.

I growled at Frank to get out of the kitchen and leave me alone, but he persisted. He just would not leave well enough alone. He really seemed determined to get my hackles up and was not going to stop dogging me until he had finally got me to truly lose my temper.

“Frank, I mean it. Get. Out. Now. I’ll bring you your dinner when it’s done cooking!”

He responded that he wanted me to make something else, that he was not going to eat the macaroni and cheese. He sounded remarkably like my little sister’s son, Bobby, whining that he was not getting what he wanted.

Keep in mind that my little sister’s boy is four years old, and that Frank was a man of fifty five. He was standing on my last nerve and even that one was becoming very frayed.

It was only a matter of time before I tore him a new one.

It felt good, really good.  The shock on his face as I did it was like icing on the cake for me.  Delicious!

I slurped down the last chunk of raw, cooling meat and carefully licked the blood and cheese from my paws with relish.

Well, this was sure a hell of a lot better than just good old macaroni and cheese.

About the Author:
Anna Rose is the author of "Siofra", the first book in the Sumaire Web series of books.  It can be found at Amazon.com and will soon be released in the iTunes store as well!