Why do you go by just your last initial vs your last name?
Good one! It’s only because my name is so annoyingly long, and even longer since I got married. 30 letters total (yep, I checked, lol.)
Your other “day” jobs as book cover designer and Editor/Publisher for Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine.
Currently, I’m a book cover designer for Damnation Books. I’ve been with them since their inception, and I love it! I also design covers for independent/contracted authors as well. I specialize in horror, dark paranormal romance, and fantasy. My work even appeared on noted occult author Corvis Nocturnum’s book, Cemetery Gates: Death and Mourning Through the Ages. People are welcome to see a sampling of what I’ve done at DB and for other authors at Bloodtouch. I love working with new clients.
Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine comes out tri-annually, specializing in anything horror, paranormal, bizarre, or out-of-the-box. It’s won quite a few awards from Predators and Editors, and I pride myself in DGR welcoming those first-time writers that have a hard time getting their foot in the publishing door. I like to support indie and traditionally published authors by offering a bit of free promo in the magazine as well. I interview authors, artists and bands in the ‘darker’ genres also, and it’s open to submissions all year round. If anyone would love to know more about it, feel free to visit Dark Gothic Magazine.
If you had to choose between cover design, your editorial duties and writing, which would it be?
That’s a bit hard to answer since they’re all interconnected in one way or another. My magazine has a mission and purpose, and I can’t have a magazine without creating a cool cover for it, and writing goes hand-in-hand with compiling the magazine. I enjoy doing each one to the fullest; leaving any one of those out would have me going a little wonky over here *grin*.
What is the Gratista Vampire Clan?
The GVC is my dark writers group, which I founded back in 2004. We’re an eclectic bunch from all walks of life, but we all share one thing in common: our love for the macabre. It cites notable authors such as Christy Poff, Anton Glascow and Tony-Paul deVissage, all masters at their craft of storytelling and/or creeping people the hell out! We usually release one or two anthologies per year, which I publish. Our latest anthology, “Ravens in Our Midst” was a collection of raven-inspired poetry, stories and photos, paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe. We’ve had other themed books centering on psychosis, pain and suicide, madness and anger—all those touchy subjects that would make a conventional person squirm. We do like to do that *cue in eerie laugh*. You can find past anthologies, reviews and trailers here, and anyone with a love for the ‘darkside’ is welcome to join our Facebook group! Just search ‘Gratista Vampire Clan’.
The ABRAXAS Series centers around a small vampire family in Pennsylvania. They are not typical ‘blood drinking’ vampires; they are pranic vampires, who feed off the life force of others. They are much more humanlike, and can do a lot more human-related things, but what separates them from the norm are their strong paranormal and psychic abilities. They get into a lot of creepy situations (ghosts, demons, other humans with evil intent), and is an ongoing series I’m still working on. I also created a couple Halloween-themed, stand-alone stories, expressly for one of my characters named Jonathan, a quirky, Gothy kid who loves Halloween a little more than normal, and that gets him into quite a bit of trouble, lol. Lots downloadable excerpts, short excerpts online, reviews, trailers and more are at Abraxas.
This one came about while in the midst of watching The Tudors. Anne Boleyn’s death was so unjust, and seeing it on a TV series caused my muse to start talking in my head, wanting to create a revenge story for Anne, and what better way to do it than to have her come back as a vampire? I had always been fond of Tudor history in college, and the visuals of the series were like the icing on the cake. I tweaked her infamous death of beheading to hanging, which infuriates Anne more, as hangings were reserved for ‘common’ criminals. I fought the whole idea for a while, knowing something like this would more than likely ruffle the feathers of condescending, self-proclaimed history buffs who hate ‘mashups’, but there comes a point in your life when you have to say ‘screw you’ to the naysayers and haters, and just do what you love. (Besides, if I kept trying to ignore my muse, she’d have kept talking and talking, driving me nuts until I started writing it down.) I do not apologize for what I create; no artist should ever apologize for what they create. I write to entertain. Period. There are folks who do love these sorts of books, and although I’ve seen a scathing remark here and there, they pale in contrast to the larger amount of great reviews it has gotten. I’m not here to please everyone, but I should inject a bit of common sense here: If you don’t like ‘mashups’, then don’t read them. Plain and simple. More on the book is here.
Can you tell us about your latest, DIARY OF A VAMPIRE STRIPPER? That’s a heck of a title.
Thank you, lol! Diary of a Vampire Stripper is my latest foray into the urban fantasy world. It’s a combination of snarky dark humor, chick-lit, and a huge misadventure, with a bit of romance thrown in. Here’s the blurb.
Her best friend is a werewolf. Her boyfriend is a ghoul. And she really, REALLY, can’t stand her vampire husband.
Trying to juggle college tuition and rent, young Audra Perez seeks a fast fix to her financial woes by auditioning as a stripper for the Hoochie Coochie Club. What she didn’t expect was to actually be chosen. Barely a few months into her new job, she becomes acquainted with a mysterious, distinguished gentleman by the name of Darren Von Eldon, and they secretly begin dating against club rules. Then one passionate night at his beach house changes Audra’s life forever.
Now as a newly-awakened vampire, this only adds to her day-to-day mundane burdens. Refusing to drain humans, she hunts birds for nourishment, and finagles a way to avoid going to classes during the day. But bigger problems loom ahead. Radical cops that know about her kind roam the night, seeking to destroy any and all ‘monsters’, and her best friend’s family has a bone to pick with Audra’s. Headless human bodies are turning up on vamp and were turf, each side blaming the other for the murders. It’s up to Audra and her friend Lu to figure out who’s doing the killings before an all-out war happens between their families, their search leading them beneath the city streets to encounter an abomination neither one of them will ever forget.
And the relationship issues? Well, it’s not easy dealing with a boyfriend and a vampire husband, so let’s not even go there…
I’ve seen a few questions floating around pertaining to why does she have a husband and a boyfriend, and the reasoning is pretty sticky. When Darren turned Audra and left her hanging, Audra waited months for him, hoping he’d come back. After a while, she gave up on him and decided to start dating again, which is where the boyfriend, Paul, comes in. But lo and behold, Darren returns, so now she’s stuck with both of them, lol. But Audra despises Darren for leaving her in a lurch, avoiding him as much as possible, and sticks with Paul. Audra also hangs with her best friend Lu, rejecting staying at Darren’s mansion, preferring to be holed-up in a little carriage house behind Lu’s family’s home. Needless to say, Darren takes all of this in stride, even finding it to be entertaining! He’s assuming that Audra will be fed up with all her elaborate antics to avoid him and will just come running back into his arms, but she’s definitely going to teach him a thing or two. There’s lots of reviews, upcoming tour dates, downloads, and a trailer at DIARY OF A VAMPIRE STRIPPER , plus a sneak peek trailer and excerpt available to part II.
I became fascinated with them at a very young age. I think it all started because I saw Frank Langella play Dracula (1979), and I fell head over heels in love with him. I think it’s safe to say he was my first crush.Frank portrayed Dracula as a sad and lonely creature, not harsh or cruel or bloody, and man, was he romantic!!! That’s what I loved the most.That movie is in my collection to this very day. Then “The Lost Boys” really did it for me, with their cool, hip, carefree way of portraying the undead, not to mention living in sunny Santa Monica,CA, and near an amusement park, nonetheless! They really made you want to be like them, and I still think Kiefer Sutherland made one badass, sexy vampire.
Is there anything special needed to coax your muse?
Not that much. Just a quiet morning (especially if it’s cloudy and rainy) or late at night is enough, but every now and then, a glass of Manischewitz helps to let my muse go wild, and/or set all sorts of skeletons loose, lol.
Who’s in control, you or the characters?
I seriously believe they are, lol. Every now and then, I do get a chance to put them in all sorts of crazy situations, but usually they’re telling me everything.
Do you want to write or have to write?
More like, I ‘love’ to write, lol. But on a different level, I do have to write, or those voices in my head will keep chatting away (and driving me batty in the process) until I start writing their stories down!
A genre you want to try that you haven’t yet?
I haven’t really tried to write out of the paranormal genre; I love my vamps and assorted creepy crawlies too much, lol. What I have been doing though is trying to work on paranormal stories in different time periods. I’m still working on a story that’s circa the early 20th century; and making sure I have certain aspects of that period correct, so it still might be a little while before I feel comfortable enough to release that one.
Favorite thing(s) about traditional publishing?
Having that feeling of being ‘traditionally published’, lol. I think every author feels more ‘validated’ when someone else publishes their work instead of going indie, especially when getting an advance is involved. But when all is said and done, it doesn’t really matter if you’re published traditionally or not. Your work is out there, and people are reading it. That’s validation enough.
When being an independent author, many hats have to be worn. You have 100% control with everything you do, but there’s a lot more responsibility in putting out quality material. Everything is in your hands instead of someone else’s. I don’t mind it at all; I’m actually quite used to it and have fun with it.
Least favorite about both?
The whole ‘promotions’ thing. It’s the worst. I don’t really like having to toot my own horn, and unfortunately it’s a necessary evil that many authors have to tread lightly with, depending on where and how they’re doing the promoting. And for indie authors, its slightly more difficult in getting your book reviewed, as indie authors are still stigmatized by some reviewers. I have been noticing an increase of reviewers who do like and prefer indie authors, so that’s a huge plus.
Tell us about Mistress Rae’s Decadent Designs, please.
Mistress Rae’s Decadent Designs started out being a hobby in 2009, and now I’m totally addicted, lol. Just this year, I took my shop to the National Halloween & Haunters Convention in Oaks, PA, where to my total surprise, it won the 2012 Fright Times Award for “Best Horror Collectible”. That just totally made my day! I create Gothic/Victorian/Steampunk-inspired jewelry (including insect jewelry) horror dolls, Halloween, sugar skull/Santa Muerte figures, accessories, and unique gift ideas for the hard-to-buy person. I love raiding thrift stores and rescuing porcelain dolls and Barbie dolls, turning them into one-of-a-kind creations…or someone’s worst nightmare, lol. Folks can ‘like’ and follow’ my shop right from its Etsy storefront. I’m always adding something every month.
Hades & Chaos? Love those names!
Those two are my crazy, little rat terriers! Hades is seven now and Chaos is six. Folks sometimes ask if they’re brother and sister, but no. I had gotten Hades first, and I and my hubby had her for a year before we decided to get her a playmate, so we searched again and found Chaos. He wasn’t taken too well by her at first, and she’d often bat him around a lot. They get along just peachy now, but every now and then she still likes to show she’s the boss, despite her being a heck of a lot shorter than him!
Favorite place you’ve traveled so far?
I’d have to say Mexico. I always love the opportunity to explore someplace different, and visiting the ruins of Chichen Itzawas awesome.London was pretty awesome too; but my only regret is that I would have loved to have gone there when I was older and not with a group. I think I would have appreciated being there more. That was back in ’92 when I was a senior in high school—our drama club had taken a trip there to do some performances.
Favorite Vincent Price movie?
Oh my goodness this is tough, lol; there’s so many movies of his that I totally love. I think it’s a toss-up between “Masque of the Red Death” and “A Comedy of Terrors”. “The Haunted Palace” and “Tales of Terror” are great too. And I just love his black sense of humor; it’s probably where I got mine from!
What do we have to look forward to from you?
Currently, I’m working on Part 2 to Diary of a Vampire Stripper, so I hope to release that by the end of the year. And the fall issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine will be out this October. And of course, I’m always creating new creepy dolls for my shop!