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Lure of the Vampire

The Lure of the Vampire: Gender, Fiction and Fandom from Bram Stoker to Buffy - Milly Williamson

This is a fascinating book. Filled with all sorts of information on why vampires have remained so popular in myth and pop culture. The author holds a number of degrees including sociology, criminology, and social science and she even teaches a course online in which this is the text book. The book starts with mythology then works its way into modern times with discussions of role playing and those that live the lifestyles. It also boasts essays from people involved in the genre or the lifestyle. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the creature both in pop culture and in society.

Life on Mars

The Martian - Andy Weir

I really liked this book. Really liked it. It is, by default, very detailed in its description of what it would be like to be a space traveler marooned on Mars. But the writer is so skilled that this minutia actually pulls you into the story line.


Mark Watney is one of a six member expedition team to Mars. Shortly into their stay, the team has to make an emergency evacuation due to a storm, but in the midst of it, Watney is knocked down by a flying antenna. Believing him to be dead, the crew have no choice but to leave or lose their window of opportunity for leaving. Watney, however, is not dead. And actually, considering the story, it's probably better for Watney that he was left. If the six people were stranded (which indeed they would have been) Watney wouldn't have had the supplies he needed to get through the years he has to spend on a planet hostile to Earthling life until a rescue was arranged. With supplies set for six people, it's a bit easier.


The book opens with Watney's narration, but in the middle of it cuts back to NASA and a third person account of the efforts NASA personnel put into working on a rescue plan. This isn't like rowing a boat out into an ocean to pick up shipwrecked sailors. And even a successful mission would not only take months to plan but then take months, to execute. Can Watney stretch the supplies (and his own patience) long enough for rescue to arrive?


I listened to this book on CD and the reader, R.C. Bray, was great. 

It's Not Easy Being V

The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks

And of course that's "V" for Vampire. I put this as #2 in the Young Adult Literature chapter of my book Vampires' Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Bloodthirsty Biters, Stake-wielding Slayers and Other Undead Oddities because it had such a fresh take on the whole vampire thing. One of the things that fascinates me about vampirism is how it can so totally change a life. What if, rather than giving one superpowers (as it does in so many books in the genre) it presents the vampire with challenges. What if it were more like a condition that you had to manage. The narrator, Nina" was "fanged" (as she puts it, as a teen in the '70s. Since then, she has physically remained a teen, dealing with her condition (and her need for blood), living in the basement of her mother who is aging and will die one day. Nina will then be on her own with a fairly debilitating condition. She partakes in a support group with other vampires, each dealing with their own issues from the condition particular to them. When some members of the group go to pick up Casimir, they find only a pile of ash at the meeting place. They must go forth into a world they've hidden from, some for longer than a lifetime, to find out who is staking vampires and why.


The book is written with a light touch and there's a lot of humor but there remains a level of adventure to it as well. What's refreshing is that these characters are not written as glorious immortals, just people trying to deal with an often times inconvenient condition. They are able to get past their handicaps and come together for the good of the group and the vampire community. 


I highly recommend this book. 

The cover of my book
The cover of my book

To Touch the Sun is the first novel in my vampire series set in Chicago




1916: France, World War I

Narain Khan was 25 when he left his native India to fight in the trenches of the West­ern Front dur­ing WWI. It was his hope that he could stay on after the war to pur­sue his dream of study­ing the culi­nary arts and becom­ing a world class chef. Instead, he fell to shrap­nel amidst the car­nage of that bit­ter war. Car­nage which, when dark­ness fell, attracted some­thing ter­ri­fy­ing: A roam­ing pack of feral vampires–mindless feeders–who fell upon the sol­diers left wounded and dying in No Man’s Land. Attacked by the fer­als, Narain was trans­formed into the other type of vam­pire: A sen­tient capa­ble of mov­ing about in soci­ety with only a few restric­tions and able to feed with­out killing the host. While in the fugue state of his con­ver­sion, he was found by Alphonse Reno, a man who had lost his own son to feral vam­pirism and who is sure the con­di­tion is bio­log­i­cal, not meta­phys­i­cal. Work­ing to find a cure in hopes of bring­ing back his son, Alphonse con­vinces Narain that, unlike fer­als, he could lead a rel­a­tively nor­mal life.


Present Day: Chicago, U.S.

Narain has reached a cross­roads. Help­ing him adjust to his con­di­tion through the decades was his beloved Sophie who was not only his wife, but his food source once they real­ized she wasn’t sus­cep­ti­ble to the con­di­tion. Her sac­ri­fice enabled him to lead as nor­mal a life as pos­si­ble, mak­ing hunt­ing for food unnec­es­sary. Can­cer had taken Sophie the pre­vi­ous year and after the stock of blood she had saved up has been depleted, Narain is faced with again hav­ing to hunt for his food, some­thing he is both morally opposed to, but also causes him to fear pass­ing on the con­di­tion to unwit­ting, per­haps dan­ger­ous hosts. If left too long, how­ever, hunger can bring out the deadly feral nature even in a sen­tient vam­pire. As a well-​​respected chef and owner of a suc­cess­ful Chicago restau­rant, Narain has worked hard to pro­mote a veneer of nor­mal­ity. The last thing he and his busi­ness part­ner and friend Dom Amato needs is for Narain’s hunger to get the bet­ter of him.


Events con­spire, how­ever, to drag Narain away from the safe life he has cul­ti­vated back into one of mad­ness and dan­ger: The attrac­tion he feels for micro­bi­ol­o­gist Cassie Lam­bert, who has a link to his past Narain is unaware of, and the re-​​emergence of a ghost from the Great War. Cap­tain Regi­nald Jame­son was a sadis­tic preda­tor when Narain had chal­lenged him dur­ing their ser­vice in the trenches of France. The vam­pire Jame­son of 90 years later is infi­nitely more dan­ger­ous, his sadism backed by the bizarre abil­i­ties of their con­di­tion. The dis­cov­ery that Cassie Lam­bert has made about the cause of vam­pirism is one that Jame­son is will­ing to kill to obtain.


Jame­son has brought back another ghost from their shared his­tory in his search to find immu­nity to sun­light. The exper­i­ments of his researchers, how­ever, have resulted in the cre­ation of a third, more ter­ri­fy­ing breed of vam­pire: Boris, a psy­cho­pathic mon­ster who will stop at noth­ing to destroy all in his path.


In try­ing to pro­tect Cassie from Jame­son and Boris, Narain will have to rely on skills that he’s allowed to atro­phy over the decades. In a cli­matic strug­gle, Narain will have to learn that to defeat the real mon­sters, he has to embrace what he is and awaken the beast within. And to touch the sun, he will have to risk being burned up in its fury.


To Touch the Sun is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon