The Next Best Thing Blog Hop

I was nominated for The Next Best Thing Blog Hop by Garth Young @SpartaGus on Twitter. Thank you SpartaGus for the nomination.
Thanks for thinking my work was worth sharing.

Answering some of these questions will make me look like I’m seriously crazy. I probably am, but I’m a safe crazy.
I have a few WIPs around 3 novels and a few short stories. I’m going to talk about the novel I’m revising right now.

What is the working title of your book?
Awakened By Death.

Where did the idea come from for your book?
Here is the crazy part. A voice started talking to me. She started telling parts of her life. I started writing to try to make her be quiet, or least stop talking as much as she was. Once I started to write I felt compelled to finish.

What genre does your book fall under?
I was leaning towards Young Adult paranormal, because Emily is 26 and just starting out in her life. I think I’ll use New Adult now, it fits better. New Adult Paranormal Romance with spots of mystery seems to fit.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Emily Romero believes her life in perfect, until her husband leaves unexpectedly. When he returns her life is turned upside down. She is brought into his coven. There is much to learn during the first two weeks after the change. She must learn the rules of this new life. However, she isn’t what he expected.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m looking for an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I was revising as I was wrote. The compulsion to write this story was so strong it took around 8 months to write that draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are so many differences that I don’t think it can be compared to any story. One of my beta readers said it was like Breaking Dawn with some huge twists. I think she thought that because of the young married couple in Breaking Dawn.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I haven’t really thought of anyone else portraying my characters.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I said earlier, I wasn’t inspired (in the true sense) to write as I was told to write! Emily began to control all my thoughts and demanded me to write her story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are a lot of twists and turns in this story. Where vampire books are similar because the creatures are all similar; this story has enough differences to get you thinking.


My nominations are

Michelle Proulx at

Bobby Salomons at

Zoey Derrick at

Chelsea Brown at

Jeanie Grey at

Bulgarian Ustrel

Last week we talked about Bulgaria and it’s vampires. Today we have another Bulgarian vampire…

The Ustrel. It was the spirit of a child born on a Saturday, but died before being baptized. Nine days after its burial the Ustel worked its way out of the grave and attacked sheep and or cattle, drinking its blood. It would drink all night, and return to its grave before dawn. After ten days of feeding, an Ustrel was strong enough, and doesn’t need to return to its grave anymore.

It would rest during the day either between the horn of a calf or ram; and the hind legs of a milch-cow. It would begin feeding; as many as five members of the herd would die every night. It picked the fattest ones first. If the dead animals were cut open, signs of the wound would be seen.

The owner of the herd could hire a Vampirzhija (vampire hunter). If Vampirzhija found an Ustrel, a particular ritual was needed, it was known as “Lighting a Needfire”. Beginning on Saturday morning all of the village’s fires would be put out. The cattle and sheep would be marched to a nearby crossroads where two new fires were already burning. They were made by rubbing two sticks together.

The herds were walked through the middle of the fires. It was believed that the vampire would drop from the animal it was hidden on and stayed at the crossroads. Wolves would devour it. Someone would take a flame from one of the two fires and relight all the household fires in the village.

Similar image, I can’t find an image of a Ustrel.

I should have known at a young age that I would grow up to love Vampires. The Count was my favorite character on Sesame Street.

Bulgarian Vampires

Today we will explore the vampire myths of Bulgaria.

Bulgarians were serious about their vampires. They would keep their eyes on the living, (the living will die at some time, and who was to tell if the curse of the vampire would fall upon someone.) Therefore, they would watch the living, if you were a habitual drunk, thief, murder or a witch, you should be watched carefully. Those who enjoyed the above stated hobbies were believed to become vampires after death.

Bulgaria’s vampires were called Opyrb or Opirb in original Slavic but modernly they are called Vipir, Vepir or Vapir. They have evolved over centuries, but vampirism has always been associated with problems of death or burial. It was believed that spirits of the dead went on a journey guided by their guardian angel. After 40 days, the spirit then went to the next life. If the burial wasn’t done properly, (like a dog or cat jumped over the body or a shadow fell on it before burial; or it wasn’t washed correctly; or even if it died a violent death or died excommunicated from the church) the spirits may find their passage to the next life blocked. The family was responsible for the preparing the body. None of this let the funeral home take care of it, as we do in current times.

Popular Bulgarian vampire stories would go a little something like this: Frank (names have been changed to protect the vampires!) died in Boston three weeks ago. He moved to a little town in Montana. (No one in Montana knows dead Frank; they all think he’s alive Fred, thanks to the help of the black market and false documents). Alive Fred is getting down living the large live for years in Montana. Alive Fred falls in love with the town beauty and they get married 14 months later Fred as a little Freddy all bundled up in his mama’s arms. They have a huge party to welcome the newborn into the world, where Fred is seen drinking and eating, and all around being merry.

There is no way Fred could be dead Vampire Frank! I mean come on, he’s out in the day, eats human food, drinks alcohol, and has a kid. No vampire can do that! Well, Bulgarian Vampires could. Of course, Fred still craved blood and had to fulfill that craving or he’d become Dead Fred and Dead Vampire Frank, I mean really Dead!

The Gagauz people (the Gaguaz spoke their own language) of Bulgaria had their own vampire too. The Obur. Obur means glutton in Turkish. It was a gluttonous blood drinker. When the people decide they want to kill the Obur, they entice him with a banquet of food, because of his gluttonous ways he would come and pig out. A funny thing about the Obur, he’s capable of creating loud noises like firecrackers and he can move things poltergeist style.

Here is a little something something about Bulgarian Vampire Hunters, (just in case you’re down with the hunting of Vampires). A Djadadjii was a special hunter; he would chase a vampire while holding out a holy picture; one of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or another Christian saint. The vampire would run (hopefully he would take refuge in the set up trap). What trap? You may be asking. (Oh, this is good! Wait for it!) Djadadjii had set up a bottle with a little bit of the vampires favorite food. If everything worked out, the vampire would run into the bottle, the Djadadjii would cork it up and toss it into the fire. Bam! No more vampire.

Stay tuned! Next week will take a little look at another Bulgarian Vampire, the Ustrel.


It’s time for Vampire Wednesday.

The ancients believed hawthorn offered protection from witchcraft, sorcery, vampires and other evils.
It was often placed in cradles – to protect the sleeping infant. (No wonder child death rates were so high! Nails, scissors and thorny bushes were all placed in children’s beds.)

Barriers of hawthorn were built around houses. The Greeks had pieces of it placed inside of walls of their houses.

Downy Hawthorn Tree photographed at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois,

Downy Hawthorn – Crataegus mollis

It was believed that Jesus’ crown of thorns was made from hawthorn. (See how sharp it is! Poor sleeping children. )

Crown of thorns

It was put on top of coffins or even on the body before the coffin was closed.
Southern Slavs would also make their stakes from it.

Hawthorn can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Hawthorn berries can be eaten or boiled into drinks, be made into jams and jellies

The Chinese have used it for ages as a digestive aid. Recently it is being studied for use in health purposes and heart disease.







Photo Credits:

Hawthorn tree
Crown of throns
Hawthorn berries

The Witching Hour

I had mentioned changing Vampire Wednesday to something like Werewolf Wednesday or Witch Wednesday. Vampires would be changed to another day of the week. My friend,Julie, from Deadly Ever After mentioned Wee Hour Wednesday and it posting in the Wee Hours. I liked it, and was thinking about it when something came to me.

The Witching Hour.

The Witching Hour is believed to be in the middle of the night. The exact time varies depending on who you talk to. Some believe it is at midnight, others believe it is at 2 A.M or 3 A.M. (3 A.M. is also called the Devil’s hour. )

So what is the Witching Hour? It is the time that witches are at their most powerful and their magic is most effective, and when supernatural beings are said to roam, they are also at their most powerful.

I love

’Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, 1603


THESEUS: The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; ’tis almost fairy time.
PUCK: Now it is the time of night
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, 1600

Or this

Now Midnight spreads her sable vest
With starry rays light tissu’d o’er;
Now from the Desart’s thistled breast
The chilling dews begin to soar;
The owl shrieks from the tott’ring tow’r,
Dread watch-bird of the witching hour!
A Fragment, by Mary Robinson 1793

So What does this all mean, now that I’ve had a chance to vent my little pieces of literature. I will be posting Witch related info on the second Tuesday of the month, maybe also on the fourth Tuesday. I’m not sure if I could gather enough information to post twice a month.

“Why Tuesday?” you may ask.

It’s simple really. Old myths say witches would meet with their covens at a crossroad on Tuesdays and Fridays. Since I’m already doing something on Fridays..Friday Fictioneers, I will do it on Tuesdays at the Witching Hour. (My witching hour, It maybe daytime to the rest of the world, but I should be fast asleep.)

I just had to get this in here

ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare 1603

Please join me on Tuesdays for The Witching Hour.

If you happen to know Witchy business and would care to join in on the Witchy fun, feel free to join in. Leave me a comment, tell me what you think.

My take on Vampire Evolution

The Undead Duo at Deadly Ever After have a wonderful post today about vampire myths.
Thank you for the shout out ladies. I really appreciate it.

So they have some really cool info about vampires, too much to comment about there so I will comment here.

The farther I get into the myths the funnier I think they are. A very strange thing I’ve noticed is, what we now have as myths isn’t always what was believed centuries ago. I’ve also noticed that they are all similar even though they are worlds away.

For example, we mostly agree that Vampires can’t father children. I remember reading somewhere a large group of people freaking out because Stephenie Meyer’s Edward fathered a child. A dead being can’t have children. It isn’t possible. They said. Most writers agree.
If we look at those old myths we find a few types of vampires can father children. Some women can even carry and deliver children. It was believed that these mothers would feed from the babies they birthed.
There were even special names for these hybrid children.. Dhampir, and Cambion come to me off the top of my head.

Some vampires were even able to be around in the daylight. Australia has it’s own little vampire creature. The Pink Vampire, he is harder to kill, may have to do with not dying in sunlight. Stoker’s Dracula, Lord Ruthven, Varney and Carmilla were all “Daywalkers.” Many old legends tell us that the suspected vampire led a normal life. That would have to mean he was out and about during the sunlight hours.
Nosferatu (an old black and white movie from the 1920s) was an attempt to bring Stoker’s Dracula to the big screen, Stoker’s widow refused to allow Hollywood the Dracula story so Hollywood got creative and mixed some things up. Now they could film and not get sued. In the novel Dracula dies at the hands of Harper and Quincy Morris -they cut his head off right before dawn. In Nosferatu, the vampire spends the night drinking from his victim. When he finally leaves it’s too late and he burns in the early morning rays.
Here’s something to think about, the Blut Aussauger from the Bosnia area, and the Rakshasas from India, must have prolonged exposure to the sun for it to die.
China’s Ch’ing Shih is a blind vampire creature. It’s powers come from the moon, so during the day or moonless nights it stays hidden underground.
The Poludnica of Slovenia attacks her victims at noon.

Now on to the blood. Old myths say vampires could drink the blood of animals: sheep, goats and cattle were the most common, but cats and dogs could do in the case of an emergency or if that was all that was easily available. Although again, we are told in the old myths (if you care to look) that vampires could eat normal food. That was how they could stay hidden. Some vampires prefer breast milk. The Jaracaca from Brazil for example, it’s believed he takes the shape of a snake. He finds a woman who is nursing and pushes her child out of the way, he nurses instead. If the child begins to cry, he’ll stick the tip of his tail in its mouth to quiet it.
Charlaine Harris’ idea of synthetic blood is brilliant. I love the idea, unfortunately that is a ways off. Unless vampires like the stuff scientists are still working on, Scientists still are happy with it yet.

If we are going to talk about survival of the fittest, I personally think that would also mean the smartest.
The Undead Duo bring us some interesting points about how a vampire in our world finding prey could be very hard to do and dangerous to his secret. There are so many people who are missing, (I would have to Google the numbers) that are never found. How many of these missing do the police and then others give up on finding? A lot!
A smart vampire could be the culprit. What about all the people who no one would miss: homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts. A smart vampire would watch carefully almost stalking his prey. He would know if someone had family that would know the prey was missing. If he/she attacked one of these “unloved” and disposed of the body in a way it wouldn’t be found. No one would know that person was missing. Brilliant!
Stephenie Meyer has a few evil vampires in the Bree Tanner novella, that are brilliant. They attack what most would call street scum and hide the bodies somewhere in the water. (My memory fails me exactly where it is.)
I really don’t want to get into this, but just go with me for a moment. Through out history vampires attacked children (smaller, and weaker. better prey). In our world thousands of children go missing, a lot are never found. ?Vampires?

I also find it strange that most of what is commonly believed about vampires has been brought to us by literature or movies. When a writer or a Vampirologist (I love that word) brings old myths to the table people freak out. That’s what was believed when vampires roamed about freely. Some are just plain funny, but who are we to say they are wrong?

Leave comments here or at Deadly Ever After I’ll be spending some time there today.


Time for another Vampire Wednesday!

So I decided to talk a little about Garlic.
Garlic has long been believed to ward off vampires. It was also believed to ward of all sorts of evil beings and spirits.

Like witches!
I find that somewhat hard to believe. Garlic has been used for centuries as a medicine. It still has a reputations as a powerful healing agent. It’s widely used for heart and blood conditions. Some witches were healers, I find it hard to believe that he/she wouldn’t use garlic to heal.

Garlic was rumored to protect from the plague! Kind of strange if you ask me, Italy loves garlic and yet they have suffered the plague a couple of times throughout history.

So back to the vampires…
Vampires who were hiding in their villages and were not detected for who knows how long, would be spotted when they refused to eat dishes made with garlic. –Busted!–
I guess ancient vampires could eat human food. According to this idea of finding hidden vampires they could.

It wasn’t until Bram Stoker that the smell garlic was able to deter vampires. (Filling Lucy’s room with garlic flowers to keep Count Dracula away.)

A special note! Modern vampires aren’t effected by garlic. (Well, some aren’t.)

What do you think about Garlic and vampires?
I know some writers are keeping the myth, others are leaving it behind.
If you write vampire stories, do you keep the garlic myth?

Vampires and Coffins

I’m thinking about changing Vampire Wednesdays to another day. I would like to have Witches or Werewolves on Wednesdays. I like the WW of it better than VW, but I’m not sure. What do you think?

Anyways on to coffin talk….

Before the seventeenth century the dead were wrapped in a burial shroud and placed in a shallow grave.   (Not the six feet we currently dig.) During epidemics burials were done quickly in really shallow graves. Predators could easily dig up the recently buried body – and… well, you know. So that is where the myth that a vampire may eat his own body. At times a stake was pushed through the torso. Anywhere in the torso to keep the body in the ground. It could be made of anything.
The use of coffins was mostly by the wealthy. (You had to pay for it and only got one use from it. Not very cost-effective.) The poor would be transported in a coffin to the graveyard where the body wrapped in a shroud was removed and dropped into the cold waiting ground.

A special coffin called the “Slip” was invented for this reason. The “Slip” had hinges on the bottom allowing the body to be dropped without anyone seeing it. (You really wouldn’t like to watch the wrapped body be removed from a coffin and dropped into the ground. Can you imagine how many widows fainted during that processes?)

When a vampire was suspected the coffin would be brought up. The body would be staked. In some areas of Europe would attach the clothes and/or limbs to the side of the coffin with nails, so the vampire couldn’t leave the coffin or begin to eat his body.

Coffins become popular for literary vampires in the nineteenth century. As they were believed to be dead and the dead were buried in coffins. However, Lord Ruthven and Varney the Vampyre didn’t have coffins. Carmilla didn’t either. Bram Stoker’s Dracula also lacked the famous coffin; he instead had  crates that held his native soil.


My pals at Deadly Ever After have a cool post about nailing the body into the coffin. In case you would like to know more.

Too many ideas. Not enough time.

I mentioned the other day that I have too many things I’m writing. I decided to let you in on some of it.
You know of the Vampire story I wrote and the sequel I’m working on.
Various side stories regarding my vampires.
You know of the paranormal mystery
I’m writing, what started as a short story about a girl learning to be a witch, I’m thinking maybe it might be a good serial series. I just wrote another small episode.
I’m working on another short story, to submit to the magazine.
Various short stories that come to me when I’m least expecting it.  One of them being the tree Facelikeafryingpan posted about, scroll down a bit.
The werewolf story I’m doing for NaNo.

Six different writing projects. My desk is a mess, my computer’s desk top is a mess. Sigh, the cost of creativity.

Too many ideas; not enough time.
Do you have this problem?


Today is Vampire Wednesday!

Ancient myths believed vampires could father child.    Umm? Yeah, baby vampires rise a whole new set of questions.

Gypsies believed that some vampires (MULE) would pay their spouse or other young women nightly visits; sometimes these visits would result in pregnancy. The hybrid child was called a dhampir. Dhampirs in myth were usually male -although recent fiction has female dhampirs usually called dhampirlla.
Dhampirs lived a normal live in their communities. It was believed that dhampirs had special powers for finding and destroying vampires. A highly paid for skill.   Some dhampirs would supplement their incomes by selling their skills.  If the vampire was outside of his grave the dhampir could shoot it with a pistol. (No staking through the heart!)
Here’s some strange info..
Residents of Gypsy communities thought that dhampirs had slippery, jelly-like bodies, because they thought vampires didn’t have bones. (Huh? Alrighty then!) They were believed to live short lives.
A dhampirs’ powers would pass to his sons, through a family line. The powers couldn’t be learned.

Nosferatu, and Incubi were also believed to be able to father children.

Other vampire hybrid children were called Cambion and Glog. More on them another day.