GaryView: The Wolf House – Roads and Crosses by Mary Borsellino

The Wolf House: Roads and CrossesLissa: Who’s your favourite character in this one?

Gary: I don’t know, really. They’re all interesting.

Lissa: That is not an acceptable answer, Gary. You’ve got to have a favourite.

Gary: Why?

Lissa: … I don’t know why.

Gary: Well, who’s your favourite character?

Lissa: As if you couldn’t guess.

Gary: …

Lissa: It’s Will, you dope. WILL!

Gary: And why would I guess that?

Lissa: Because he’s a book guy! He keeps diaries about vampires! He’s an adorable little nerdy guy!

Gary: Okay, I see why you like him. Book guy. Yeah.

Lissa: (grins).

Gary: Though I don’t know what the grin is for.

Lissa: Oh, never mind. This book was incredible. I loved Will and Lily’s story.

Gary: I liked it but I thought it was a bit…. it made me… a bit… sad, I guess.

Lissa: It is sad. Parts of it are so terrible and heartbreaking. But it’s so hopeful, too. After everything that happens to them, everything that they do to each other, and they can still find something to hang on to afterwards. I like that they can find… I don’t know… diamonds in the ashes or something.

Gary: Oh. Um. I meant, about Bikini Kill.

Lissa:…. but nothing bad happens to the kitten.

Gary: I just meant that cats don’t actually like real vampires. Neither do dogs. Animals react very badly to real vampires. Like they know we’re… wrong.

Lissa: You’re not wrong.

Gary: Tell that to my dog.

Lissa: You had a dog?

Gary: Yeah. But after I… you know. We had to give him away. He kept biting me.

Lissa: Oh.

Gary: (wistful sigh) I like dogs.

Lissa: I’m sorry mine keeps trying to bite you too.

Gary: That’s okay. He’s just doing what he’s supposed to do and looking out for you. I guess.

Lissa: Can you have any other pets? Like goldfish?

Gary: No. They all jumped out of the bowl when I tried to feed them, when Mum and I tried it this one time.

Lissa: Oh.

Gary: (shrugs) Oh, that’s something else. About Will. I used to wear glasses too. I haven’t needed them since I became a vampire, but I wore them for reading.

Lissa: So you are finally making the connection that I like Will because he reminds me of you.

Gary: He reminds me of me too.

Lissa: Does Lily remind you of anyone?

Gary: No, but I bet Cora and Magdalene would get on well. Or try to stake each other.

Lissa: Yeah, that one could go either way.

Buy Wolf House Book 2: Roads and Crosses as an e-book at Amazon.com

GaryView: Blood Angels (aka Thrall)

Lissa: Out of a whole range of very dumb vampire films, this one has got to be one of the worst.

Gary: You remember Vampires Anonymous, don’t you?

Lissa: Vampires Anonymous had Michael Madsen in it. What does Blood Angels have?

Gary:  Lorenzo Lamas.

Lissa: (*looks*)

Gary: Okay, that’s a fair point… I don’t remember him being so awful in the 80s. He was in this show about surfers and cars I used to watch. Then he was in Falcon Crest. I watched that with Mum a bit, to keep her company.

Lissa: Didn’t he end up in some other soap opera?

Gary: I don’t know. I never watched them after Mum died.

Lissa: But you’re always saying you’ve got all that time to kill.

Gary: Yeah, but I don’t need to spend it watching soap operas. I’m a vampire, not a zombie. Besides, there are still lots of books I haven’t read.

Lissa: I wish I’d read one instead of watching this. I mean to say, scantily clad half-vampire women kept prisoner in what looks like a minimalist art exhibition space, until they collectively and literally chew through the ankles of one to escape from the manacles.

Gary: I suppose it made a kind of sense.

Lissa: Slightly more sense than their business plan of running raves, seducing guys then drinking their blood through their penises.

Gary: That was… that was really weird. And gross.

Lissa: And all that “Oh we don’t kill them, and they say they like it!”

Gary: Actually, Magdalene says that some guys at the club…

Lissa: Oh, please, Gary, do not finish that sentence! And there was that really horrible scene where the fanged worms burst out of one girl’s breasts.

Gary: I closed my eyes for some of that bit.

Lissa: I should have known it would end badly when it started with that cheesy voiceover.

Gary: Yeah. I think doom-laden voiceovers about demons and ancient evil shouldn’t sound like it got copied from Scooby Doo.

Lissa: I think I missed something at the end, too. Several somethings. I’m not sure what Lorenzo Lamas was playing at, with the whole ‘I let you escape and now I recapture you’ thing. What purpose did that serve, apart from filling up most of the hour of the plot?

Gary: I’m not sure if they explained what the ritual of Belial was meant to really be about either. Or maybe I stopped paying attention.

Lissa:  We don’t even need to discuss the relative accuracy of the vampire stuff in this one, do we?

Gary: Not when it can be summed up as ‘non-existant’.

Lissa: Can we read another one of those Wolf House books next then?

Gary: Yes please.

Get  Blood Angels from Amazon.com.

Review: Scary Kisses edited by Liz Grzyb

Cover of Scary Kisses
Cover of Scary Kisses, designed by Amanda Rainey

Another of my Swancon 2010 purchases, Scary Kisses was launched with cupcakes and readings by contributing authors. Not only was there a lot of promise in those snippets, the cover was gorgeous and it promptly went into my stash – and to the top of my very, very, very large to-read pile.

Liz Grzyb has compiled a fabulous collection of paranormal stories about love. Vampires, zombies, ghosts, elder gods, witches, dragons and unnamed evil all get a place to shine, or lurk.  Some of the stories worked better for me than others, as always happens in any anthology, but the whole ensemble is a fine dish of literate goodies!

Standouts for me were:

  • Felicity Dowker’s “Bread and Circuses”, a dark, disturbing, moving story of love after the zombie apocalypse
  • Ian Nichols’ “Fade Away” pleased me by delivering an ending I wasn’t expecting
  • I find I want to read more set in the world created by Angela Slatter and L.L. Hannett in “The February Dragon”
  • Kyla Ward’s “Cursebreaker: The Welsh Widow and the Wandering Wooer” demonstrated a refreshing and lively prose style, and is another one with potential for a whole universe of fascinating stories
  • My fondness for “Date with a Vampire” by Annette Backshall bloomed the instant the heroine refused to play her part, and the Perth setting was nice. Let’s see more paranormal fiction set in Australia, folks!
  • D.C. White’s “Pride and Tentacles” is just the right fluffy bit of fun to round off the collection and for some reason I find I’m not the least bit surprised by Cthulu’s choice of book.

There’s a lot of great work coming out of Australian small presses at the moment, and Western Australian seems to be leading the charge with its SF and fanasy publishers, like Twelfth Planet Press and Triconeroga Publications. The latter has published Scary Kisses and it’s worth checking both publishers out for their back catalogue and upcoming books. In the meantime, buy Scary Kisses and support Australian small press, not because it’s Australian, but because it’s great.

One of these things is not like the other one

I’ve just completed the first draft of a new short story, called ‘So hard to find good help’. It’s a vampire story, of course. The trouble is, it started out as a comic horror story, and ended up a gruesome little drama. In the rewrite I will have to find a way to make it sit as a drama, and then change the name. Or maybe I can up the humour, and keep the title. It’s a bit frustrating when stories go and change their sub genre on you without your permission.

It’s fun writing short stories again, though. I haven’t done it in nearly 20 years. My first attempt at it after the long hiatus, a zombie story called ‘The Truth About Brains” was picked up by a Canadian anthology, ‘Best Zombie Tales” and will be published in volume 2 later this year. My current plan is to write another four or so short stories, on horror/humour themes to submit to an Australian small press. I’d really like to work with them, but I don’t really have very long before the deadline, so I’ll have to wait and see if I produce enough material that is good enough to submit to them.

I’m also trying to cover some of the horror monsters I haven’t dealt with yet. I have a werewolf and a mummy story in mind, and I am trying to pull together some ideas for a ghost story of some description. Though I did write a play that was a ghost story once, and perhaps it would lend itself to prose. Hmmm.

Words are like oxygen