"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Vampire News Network by Bertena Varney & Stavros

Welcome to IAB. I'm so glad you could stop in today to chat. May I offer you a beverage? 

Zombie Blast – feeling a bit undead after last night

Now that we are settled in, let's get to know you better.

BK: Looking out the nearest window, describe the scene you see.

Parking lot of Extended Stay America hotel in Indianapolis. I’m at Days of the Dead – making fangs and pimpin’ books and art.

BK: Tell us about your office. Is it a mess like mine, or is everything in its place?

I keep it fairly organized. Things have their place, but I’ve got piles of stuff that need organizing and attention, and my desk is covered in sticky notes.

BK: What is a must-have, such as coffee or a favorite pen, that you need to write?

Tea. I’m barely human without it. So, it’s become a part of the ritual now. As I write I read everything aloud, for flow and syntax, so a constant glass of hot tea in the colder months and iced tea during the hotter months really helps keeps my voice sharp.

BK: Do you like to write in silence, or do you need music or background noise?

Unfortunately, I have to write in silence. But the odd thing is that while I’m writing it’s not silent. I hear the character’s conversations, their inner monologues, the crunch of asphalt under the soles of their shoes, their breathing; if they drive the rev and roar of the car, tires screeching around a bend, etc. It is all very active and exciting.

BK: Tell us a bit about your hero/heroine, and their development.

The main heroine in the One Blood Series, or rather, anti-hero, is Lin – Linnet Pevensey. She’s the predominant vampire character within Blood Junky and Love in Vein. Though the books span her entire life, when we are introduced to her she is in a transitional place. Not necessarily dark, but definitely unhappy and looking for change. She’s plagued by memories from a horrific sandstorm that raged on May 9th & 10th, 1934, and the massacre of an entire farming village at the hands of the vampires that she was traveling with. Out of sheer survival she partook in the slaughter at the end of it, as the winds were dying. So, she’s been living with that guilt, as well as other deaths on her conscious.
Vampires in their society of covens do not need to hunt humans to feed or to kill. There are safe houses in most cities and they can easily order blood and have it delivered, much how we order pizza – either in packets for cold storage or from Sanglants, blood lenders, basically blood whores. The Service provides for their nocturnal needs, and if a vamp wants the thrill of a hunt or something with an edge, they can order a Game. In a game, the events are acted out through scenario and role play, much the same way that a prostitute will put on a show or character for their John. Though instead of the final pay off being sex, in a game from The Service the final pay off is the transfer of blood, the feeding. Vampires also have willing consorts. So, murdering a group of people is not necessarily a part of the norm. This is not to say that it doesn’t happen. A predator mentality is still a predator mentality. And given enough time anything can happen to anyone, despite the best laid plans and intentions of any given social structure.
So when we meet Lin she is feeling that pull to return to New Mexico, to the site of the massacre, as she has been doing since the 50’s every decade or so. Before she started returning to the scene of the crime, Lin hooked up with a young vampire, simply named, Z. Z is a hellcat. She’s a murdering bastard – takes whatever she wants when she wants it and doesn’t think twice. Lin is a product of highborn Eighteenth Century renaissance. She came into being a Child of Evensong after years as a consort to the Vam Pŷr, Dominique De’Paul, who was crucial in creating the Vampire Council and The Service. Lin grew up with a different outlook and a moral center, even though she’s abandoned it during her time with Z to deal with the baggage from the 1934 massacre. She’s dealing with her ghosts, looking for redemption. And like most of us, she doesn’t know what to do in order to get it. Every time she tries to do the right thing something happens. In my stories, Karma is in full effect. So the sins of the past do come back and take their toll.
In Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge, Jamie Lund wakes up dead and once she comes to that grim understanding, she sets off to find the man that murdered her. She’s decaying through the entire book.
So, in each of my novels my characters – whether they are the main or supporting cast – are dealing with things. They have to be, each and every single one of them, I write high, intense drama.

BK: As a writer myself, I'm always curious how other writers get through stumble blocks. When you find a story not flowing, or a character trying to fight you, how do you correct it?

I don’t really have any of those issues. My process is about the surrendering of ego. I also trust my process and trust that the story came to me because I was the one meant to birth it. I understand that there is a gestation period, that things flare up and cool off – a natural ebb and flow. I’ve learned to appreciate those times and nest the story, prepare, you could say, to give birth. So when I write, I simply try to be the best medium for the story to flow through – the best tool. I screw it up when I start putting my likes, dislikes, and ideas into the mix. The story needs to be its own thing, and I respect that. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t lead it sometimes. I do. Though, ultimately, I am in service to tale. It is about the story and not me at all.

BK: Using the letters of your first name as an acronym, describe your books..

S – Sexy, Sultry, Sordid Stories
T – Told through intense passion and
A – Ardor that paint
V – Vivid and Vivacious images within one’s own
R – Roaming mind; so Rich and captivating that Reader’s become
O – Obsessed to where they can’t stop the tale and wind up
S – Spending Several Sleepless night’s turning page after page after page!

BK: How did your writing journey begin?

I wrote my first poem when I was suspended from seventh grade, raking the yard as punishment. And the yard was deep set in a forest and had a baseball sized clearing. It took days.

BK: Using the letters from the word, Summer, how would friends and family describe you?

Dear God, I have no idea. But they might call me a broke work-a-holic.

BK: What is the craziest thing you've ever written about, whether it got published or not?

In Love in Vein, Lin’s psyche fractures and she starts having conversations with the ghost of a dead vampire. That’s pretty nuts. The vampire even appears to her in the condition as she had died, beheaded. So, it gets crazy fairly quickly. Besides that, I’ve written some wild off the wall, fly by the seat of your pants poetry – introspective cosmic surfer ramblings channeled through the left tit of Monty Python’s John Cleese while holding a cheese grater and Halibut.

BK: Tell us one thing you've done in life, that readers would be most surprised to know.

I was living in Pennsylvania for nine months during the early nineties and was a carpet installer at the time. Work was slow and my roommate and I got the wild idea to start photocopying money with my color copier. He also started watching To Live And Die in LA on an infinity loop throughout the whole thing too. Which was kind of creepy and weird after awhile. We eventually bagged up all the Monopoly-looking money in a garbage bag with other house trash and our other roommate dumped it in a dumpster behind her work. It just so happened that a homeless man was living in that particular dumpster and found the copies.
As it was told to me, from the officer that called me up once I had returned to Maryland, a homeless man got caught while trying to pass off the photocopied, phony money, and they were tracking down all the leads. I told him all I knew, and at the time, he said that they weren’t going to prosecute and that he’d “get back” to me. Two weeks later, he called me up and asked if I wouldn’t mind driving the 2.5 hours up to Harrisburg. PA so that he could arrest me. I drove up there, was printed, booked, and photographed, and then drove home. During court, the Judge yelled at the prosecuting officer for wasting government funds. I got a year’s worth of parole visits and slapped with a federal criminal rap. I’m working on a true-to-life based comedy screenplay about it all. That was nuts.

BK: What can we expect from you in the future?

Hopefully, more books. I love writing and I get amazing reviews, and people seem to dig what I’m doing when I talk with them at shows. Though, having the time to write is more of an economic thing than a creative thing. In order to have the time to write, I have to afford it. So right now I’m working on that, trying to get my small – incredibly small, independent press and fang-making business – off the ground. If someone buys a book from me using Amazon, I potentially have the awesome wonder of earning a total of .50 for all of my years and decades of hard work, per book. Seriously. So, getting people interested in buying from me direct through Crazy Duck Press.com is proving challenging. With Amazon being the greedy bastards that they are, I’m not living a writer’s dream anytime soon. Though, I hate to admit it, it is getting in the way of me cranking out more books. I seem to have some kind of invisible force-field surrounding all online sales for me. So, I’m trying to leap over that or tear it down by pushing it out there. I truly only make book sales one person at a time at live events. That’s arduous. Cool, that I get to meet so many wonderful fans, but ardous. So…what’s the future looking like…Monster.com. But then again… the feature film project for Love in Vein, could get fully funded and then it’s off the rails. The LIV film project is moving forward, and it’s looking good, but it’s taking its sweet ole time. Now, having said that, I have to give props to CA, who is doing a great job producing, she did just hire a casting director and line producer, so…who knows. ; ]

This or That...

Coke or Pepsi? Tea.

Night Owl or Early Bird? Both. Sleep is over-rated and I’ll get enuff once I’m dead.

Fantasy or Mystery? I like my mysteries to be fantastical and all of my fantasies have a ‘lil bit of mystery.

Pen/Paper or Computer? All. Even crayon. Whatever gets it out and down.

Pizza or Burger? The Pizza Burger is an amazing thing at 3a.m. with a Guiness.

Rock or Country? METAL!

Chocolate or Vanilla? Swirl.

Beach or Mountains? Oooooh? That is incredibly hard. I have lived near or on both, and each offer something for the soul. So…I’m gonna fall back and punt this one, and say….outer space.

Thank you so much for having us as one of your stops today. It has been great getting to know more about you and your books, and hope you will come back when the next release is out (*hinthint*)

Thank you, BK. It was an honor and a pleasure! V””V

Wishing you much success!

BK Walker

Vampire News: Tasty Bits To Sink Your Fangs Into!
Vampire News Book One
Stavros & Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed

Genre: Nonfiction Vampires

Publisher: Crazy Duck Press (CDP)
Date of Publication: April 2012

ISBN: 9780982812143

Number of pages: 100

Cover Artist: Stavros

Vampire News Trailer:

Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition

Vampire News Book Two

Stavros & Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed

Genre: Nonfiction Vampires

Publisher: Crazy Duck Press (CDP)
Date of Publication: Kindle - March 2013 Print – April 2013

ISBN: 9780982812150

Number of pages: 188

Cover Artist: Stavros

Vampire News Book Description:

Collected & Edited by Stavros & Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed

Vampire News is a nonfiction annual anthology that collects all the tasty happenings in vampiredom. Straddling both the real and unreal realms of this most famous and hidden culture, Vampire News is the only anthology of its kind. Now with the release of Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition, this second installment of The Vampire News Network's annual anthology delivers even more undead goodness with just a twist of apocalyptic Mayan humor! So, whether you love the romantic, dangerous, or traditional vampires, whether you prefer a good book or to wait up late at night to catch the noir classics; or whether you stand anxiously in movie lines, blog, or are a member of a daring vampire community, drink blood, psychically feed, or support famous and up-n-coming authors, get vamp tattoos, make fangs, bite people, go to Cons, or are waiting in the wings of some dark dream, then Vampire News is for You!

With more articles, interviews, essays, and the largest Vampire Timeline ever compiled by man, Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed, and acclaimed author, artist, and fangsmith, Stavros, have established themselves with a truly delightful tome for vampyre/vampire fans of all ages! Researched thoroughly with love and dedication, Vampire News features some of the most insightful facts, tips, blips, quips, notes, essays, articles, interviews, art, news reports, weblinks, and radical thoughts from many of today’s leading authors, professors, fangsmiths, enthusiasts, musicians, models, photographers, and fun-loving nuts working within the vampire genre today!

Vampire News gives readers a unique look at what lies behind the biggest social subgenre of all time. It exposes the hype and uncovers the real-life world that awaits you just around the corner. So, enter and step into a world that you may think you know from the people that craft the stuff of nightmares and walk the twilight glade between this world and the stuff of dreams! We dare you!!!

About the Author- Stavros:
Notorious Poet.  Fool.  Born in Washington DC.  Stavros was a writer and editor for The Independent Underground Magazine.  Raised in Southern Maryland, he fled the Chesapeake Bay to the wilds of the New Mexican desert.  He is a single father of two, whose poetic works have been published in several online and print publications, including Central Avenue, The Sword That Cuts Through Stone, Poets Against The War, Conceptions Southwest, The Mynd, Imagine: Creative Arts Journal, and Bartleby, where he won a specialty award for his poem, Blackbird.

In 1999, he won an Official Selection into the Writer’s on the Edge Festival for his play, The Redline.  In 2001, he created the Poetry Television Project for public cable access in Albuquerque, NM.  All eight volumes of Ptv’s ground-breaking show were broadcast to over 100,000 viewers on a network of regional PAC channels throughout the Southwest and Baltimore.  He helped to launch Unpublished Magazine, sponsored the monthly poetry series, The Word Café, in the Duke city, and produced a political compilation, Poetic Democracy.  In 2007, he released the award-winning documentary film, Committing Poetry in Times of War.

In 2010, he launched the production management company, Organic Ghetto, and released its first imprint, Crazy Duck Press, with his first novel, Blood Junky. Blood Junky received exceptional praise and review, even being called "one of the best vampire novels ever written," by Living Dead Media.  The following year he helped to launch BioGamer Girl, undertook a bigger East coast tour where he began selling his original photographic art, and released two new novels through Crazy Duck Press.  Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge features a stunning full-color cover and twelve black and white illustrations from tattoo artist, Charles Hearn.   Blood Junky’s sequel, Love in Vein, cemented the One Blood series with its continuation of the story, garnering such review as to claim that the book and the series is "comparable with, and at times surpasses, the 'Vampire Chronicles' by Anne Rice."

In 2012, Stavros joined forces with the Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed, to co-create the nonfiction annual anthology, Vampire News, and officially became a Fangsmith with the creation of Organic Ghetto's second imprint, Kaos Kustom Fangs.  He rounded out the year by writing and editing screenplays for the One Blood Transmedia Project, recording Dead Girl as an audio book, and undertaking his biggest national marketing campaign, The Book & Fang Tour.

In 2013, he and the Vampire Professor released the second volume of Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition and is currently working on writing and growing his imprints.   Stavros is also a musician who has scored commercials, film shorts, documentaries, and television programs.
Stavros FB Page:

Author Blog:

Kaos Kustom Fangs:

Vampire News CDP Page:

Vampire News FB Page:

CDP eShop:

CDP Twitter:

Stavros Twitter


Unknown said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping in and chatting Stavros!!

Michelle Cornwell-Jordan said...

I wish you well with your release:O)

Teddy Rose said...

Sorry but I am a wimp! Just looking at the cover with the blood dripping down freaks me out!