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Writing, writing, writing…

I was surprised to see how long it has been since I posted a blog! I knew it had been a while, but 6 months? Wow! Why so long? I’ve been wrapped up doing other things like writing, writing, and more writing. My classes have been more and more challenging, which is great, because I’m honing my skills! The drawback is that I have little time for other things. I have managed to finally publish Summer Blood to Kindle:

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http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3_ZF79

So, check it out – only .99!!
I’m working on the cover for the paperback to put that out also. I’d like to finish it before my next classes start at the end of September. I start the first part of my thesis then… Woo-hoo… as they say, “What a long strange trip it’s been!”

So, look for more posts soon friends!

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Vampire Novel??

href=”https://rubiconwriting.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/draculaffcmina.jpg”>draculaffcminaDracula is the father of the vampire novel, but he is not the first vampire in literature. Gothic writing was established in the 1800’s as a dark genre with uncanny events and dramatic writing, and gave birth to modern horror and the vampire novel. The history of the gothic genre can be traced back to at least 1764 with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (Gothic).

From this genre came forth many different varieties of themes including the vampire. The first vampire to appear in literature may have been John Polidori’s The Vampyre; A Tale from 1819, which was followed in 1872 by a short story “Carmilla” published in the collection called In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. At the heart of both of these tales are remote locations and some sort of mystery around the vampire. Both characteristics can also be found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” may have even been a strong influence on Stoker as it was the first vampire story by an Irish writer (Miller, 107). Le Fanu’s work is said to consist of psychological tortures, “…his [Le Fanu’s] conscience-spawned specters show us for the first time the ghost of the mind, which is yet, disquietingly, sometimes seen by others too, so that at the end we know not for certain whether the tormenting spirit comes from within or without (Miller, 107).” Many authors such as Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelley, etc… gave us writings that shaped the feel of gothic and vampire literature defining the genre as having characteristics of, “vigorous villains, helpless heroines of surpassing beauty and unsullied virtue, and dashing heroes of limp imagination and questionable intelligence (Miller, 105).” However, other authors such as Le Fanu and Edgar Allen Poe gave us the psychological horror, and any of these characteristics of traditional gothic were present in Dracula (Miller, 103-106).

Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, and the novel became the father of all vampires in literature, solidifying its place in Western culture (Miller, xv). There has been much controversy, however, on the quality of Stoker’s writing, and Bela Lugosi’s 1931 portrayal of the count has done far more for establishing the novel as a classic than Stoker’s writing necessarily does (Miller, xv). Regardless, thousands of vampire stories and novels have since been written with varying degrees of success since Dracula was published demonstrating the lasting impression of the vampire villain (Stoker, xix).

Above all, the vampire was if not created, then developed in Stoker’s Dracula. The vampire comes from a long folklore tradition over multiple cultures of the undead, “a corpse that returns from the grave to suck the blood of the living (Miller, 29).” The blood sucking is extremely significant in the legends and for Dracula. “Likewise, many cultures fetishize blood as a symbol of life and prohibit its ingestion or use,” thus an undead being sucking the blood of the living is a taboo, it goes against the beliefs of society in the most extreme manner making the vampire the ultimate villain (Miller, 29). This folklore can be traced back even into Babylonian cuneiform poems (Miller, 29). The traditions are rich and diverse across multiple cultures even to the Hindu goddess, Kali (Miller, 33). Stoker’s taking of these cultural evils creates the ultimate villain in the good versus evil plot. Further, the blood element adds to the psychological and uncanny elements of gothic literature.

In addition to being dead and drinking blood, the vampire has other features that add to the feel of the gothic novel. From Harker’s Journal we can deduce that Dracula had fangs, pale skin, a cold body, bad breath, hairy palms, and sharp fingernails (Melton, 197-198). Another feature was that the vampire cast no reflection in a mirror (Melton, 199). Other traits were that Harker never saw the count eat or drink and the count seemed to dislike garlic and crosses made of mountain ash (Melton, 199). Additionally, when Dracula confronted the vampire women, his eyes “became red with the flames of hell behind them (Melton, 199).” Ironically, however, the one typically vampiric trait that we normally see with vampire characters, not being able to go out into the sun, is not adhered to strictly in Dracula. While we do see the count sleeping in a coffin during the day, he is also seen several times out in the daylight (Stoker, 214-216). One such place is where Mina and Jonathan saw the Count in London. “…half in terror, half in amazement, he gazed at a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard, who was also observing the pretty girl (215).” Jonathan reveals that the man is the count and was extremely distressed at the sighting (215-216).

Finally, we know that it is difficult to kill a vampire, and in Dracula Van Helsing and his troop killed Lucy with a stake, decapitated her, and put garlic in her mouth (presumably to keep her from coming back again) (Melton, 201). In future vampire writings these features have been mutated, but these same vampire characteristics are seen in some form repeatedly throughout the literary history. Even in the recently popular Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, although her vampires are very different than Dracula, they are still very difficult to kill, requiring decapitation and burning of all the vampire’s body parts (Meyers).

The gothic genre has grown since the time when Stoker wrote Dracula, and has evolved into what most people now call ‘horror.’ However, there is a difference in the two genres. Whereas horror is scary and may be full of the uncanny, it is also full of violence, blood, and gore. Gothic, on the other hand, is dark in nature and lends to the spooky or uncanny over violence. The scenes with blood and gore are limited and are included for the purpose of the story not vice versa. Thus the vampire has transgressed into horror, but Dracula is gothic and represents the classic traits associated with the gothic genre. Regardless of whether it is called horror or gothic, the vampire novel has been around for a long time, and will continue to keep readers engaged well into the future.dracula
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“Gothic.” The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Credo Reference. Web. 28 May 2012.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book, The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Print

Miller, Elizabeth, ed. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. New York: Pegasus Books, LLC, 2009. Print.

Meyer, Stephanie, Twilight (The Twilight Saga. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005. Print.

Stoker, Bram. The Essential Dracula, The Definitive Annotated Edition of Bram Stoker’s Classic Novel. Ed. Leonard Wolf. 1975. New York: Penguin Group, 1993. Print.

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School Update

Finally, the last week of class… I really enjoyed British Literature. The class was not what I expected. There was a theme of revolution through the years, and we read literature related to that theme. We read Dickens, of course, but we also read Wollstonecraft and others that I would not have ever read on my own. Yes, I finished with an ‘A’.  But, I feel like I got a lot more out of it than just a grade.  I’m a school-nerd!

So, now I have 2 weeks until my next class starts and I’ve been looking forward to the break. The only problem is that we have so much reading for the next class (American Literature) that I’ll have to do as much as I can during the break.

I also plan on spending 4 solid days during the break on editing Summer Blood, my novel that was supposed to be done by now…. Hopefully, I’ll get it done by the end of the year. Stay tuned…

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Coming soon…

Selena is excited to have an entire summer in the Wolf Game. Shifting into the red wolf is only the beginning. She is positioned for greatness and she is ready to do whatever she has to in order to take control of the pack. But when everyone forgets it’s just a game, the stakes grow higher and higher. Who’s strong enough to save the pack? Who will be willing to walk away? Who’s going to survive? Wolf Games – coming soon!

I’m planning on publishing this next month, so I hope you’ll be looking for it!!   Wolf Games!

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WANTED DEAD OR…

Just wanted…

I need these text book ASAP. Anyone have one that you are willing to part with? If so, pleast tweet me @sljasble

Rhetorical Grammar (6th Edition) [Paperback]
Martha J. Kolln (Author), Loretta S. Gray (Author)

The Structure of English For Readers, Writers, and Teachers, Second Edition [Paperback]

Mary M. Clark (Author)

 
 

Literary Theory: An Anthology (Blackwell Anthologies) [Paperback]

Julie Rivkin

 
Julie Rivkin (Editor)
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(Editor), Michael Ryan (Editor)

 

Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory [Paperback]

Peter Barry

 
Peter Barry (Author)
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I need these for class starting on 4/2/12.  So, I’m willing to negotiate a price.

Thanks!!

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Beta-reading Bliss!

Here’s part 2 of Facebook Lives… I just finished beta-reading a novel by another one of the Authors Critique Group writers. He is also in the process of beta-reading my novel, Summer Blood. I can’t wait for the feedback! In the meantime, I thought I should write a bit about his story.

It was an inventive look at wizards called Foundling Wizard. The first in a 3 part series, I believe. The author is James Eggebeen. James is a software designer from San Diego, California who has turned to designing books.

Foundling Wizard, to be released soon, is about a young wizard’s journey and how he learns and grows. He not only learns to use his powers, but also learns about life and responsibility. The journey is exciting and fraught with danger. The wizard comes to know himself and others in his journey, and yes, he has a mentor, a snarky old wizard that doesn’t always tell him everything he needs to know.

I also got a sneak-peek at the book cover which is startlingly beautiful. With the great cover and fresh writing, Foundling Wizard stands to be a success, so keep your eyes out for it!

For more on Foundling Wizard: http://www.jameseggebeen.com/

Follow James Eggebeen at:  @JamesEggebeen

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Facebook Lives!

I had all but given up on Facebook. I don’t like the changes they made and I was beginning to think it was useless. Perhaps I felt like it just wasn’t moving fast enough. Twitter is like Facebook on steroids – right!!~?!@?  So, I was hardly ever on Facebook and when I was on, I just checked on family and close friends, which is great, but I like to use my on-line time to network with other writers and to try to promote my own writing. So, Facebook was feeling pretty dead for me. But, the salvation was right before my eyes! Woot!

Do I sound excited? Well, I got very excited when I realized that one of my Twitter friends, Patti Roberts, was hosting a Facebook page for writers. So, I checked it out.  So glad I did! Patti and another writer, Lenore Wolfe, do a fabulous job on this awesome site:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/ParaYourAbnormalAuthors/

This is an Authors Critique Group where authors can help each other. The object is stated as: “We’re trying to catch typos, plot holes, all the things that readers pick up on.” 

What a great way to share your work and get help from others doing the same thing. I really needed this and hope I can get some great advice. 

The other great thing about this is that spending time reviewing the work of others helps writers review their own work. I know from past experience that my work improves when I’m regularly critiquing others. I used to belong to another online group www.critters.org.  This is still an active site, and I’m sure it is fabulous. I just never had enough time to do enough reviews to keep my ratings up high enough long enough to get my work reviewed (yeah – that is a mouthful).  They have too many writers now so it takes forever to get your work up in the queue and meanwhile, you have to keep your review rate up. It became too much work for too little pay back for me. But, the advice I received was fabulous, and the reviews I did helped me as well. So, if you have the time, this is a great group.

Patti and Lenore’s group is a lot more loosely based and relies on reciprocity of the writers. So, I’m in… I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/lenore.wolfe1

http://www.facebook.com/#!/PattiParadox

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cover art

What do you think? I have a new ebook coming out soon, and I’m trying to get the cover done. So, I’m going to give you a sneak-peak. I can’t decide which way to go. Tell me what you think.

Here is cover #1

This was fun to make using clip art and color.

I like the girl’s hair with the streaks of red because it matches my main character.

The draw back on this one is that I don’t think it is professional enough and I couldn’t get my name right.

This is cover #2:

I like the play with colors on this one and cutting down to just her eyes. I’ve seen a lot of covers with just wolf eyes over looking a girl or guy, so this is that idea revised. I like to do things different.

This still keeps the coloring of the girl’s hair, but using just the eyes makes it a bit more interesting.

This is cover #3:

This is almost the same as cover #2 only I move the eyes to black and white, but still a darker shade than the wolf. I tried one the same shade as the wolf, but then the entire cover kind of disappears. So, I like this one.

I put a bit of shadow around the picture of the eyes too.

I’m not sure, but I think this is my favorite. I keep going back and forth.

Here’s the last one #4:

This one is almost the same as #3, but I didn’t skew the picture of the eyes. I left them straight on. 

So, which one do you like best and why?  I’m not good enough with Photoshop to do much else, but I want to come up with something that looks decent. I don’t want to feel like I’m just ending up with what I can get away with, but I don’t have the funds to purchase anything either.

The ebook is a novella, and I plan to put it out for $2.99, so keep an eye out for it.  Here’s the description:

Selena competes for much more than the alpha spot during her summer spent in her favorite game. Science Fiction and fantasy combine together in this shape shifting tale of intrigue and dominance.

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good reading = good writing

I’ve noticed that I tend to write better when I’ve been reading really great books! So, as part of my writing  journey, I thought I should mention and share some of what I’ve been reading. I’ve posted a few book reviews on my website that you may want to check out…

http://sjordanasble.com/Books__Reviews___Links.html

I’m also going to share the latest awesome book I’ve read, Blood Song by Cat Adams. This was a fast read. I read the book in a day and a half and I cannot wait for the sequel.  The book is about a tough body-guard who is half turned into a vampire (yes only 1/2 way!) It is partially a mystery to find out who did

 this to her and why, part kick ass vampire book, and there is a nice little surprise twist at the end leaving the reading drooling for the sequel.  The author’s style of writing is easy flowing, easy to read, and gets your attention quick and keeps it.  I highly recommend it and rate it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I have to take off 1/2 a point because she had so many characters in the book that I lost track a couple of times.  I had to say, “Who? Who was that?” a couple of times.  Otherwise, excellent read!

So, these are the awesome books that I’ve been reading lately. You can enjoy them to and hopefully, see their influence positively reflecting in my writing.

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