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With All-Hallows Eve fast approaching, I thought my ‘Monday Inspiration’ post should be about what inspired me to include vampires in my Civil War set romance stories.

I currently have two vampire romances out with the The Wild Rose Press in their ‘Black Rose’ line, set–at least in part–during the Civil War period.

I grew up watching the Dark Shadows daytime soap back in the sixties and early seventies and that show influenced me as a writer. I always wanted to write a vampire story, and did write a few amateur stories as a teen. Of course, these early stories never saw the light of day. 

I read Dracula by Bram Stoker and later, as an adult, Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice, as well as many later romance stories featuring alternate versions of vampires, where writers put their own spin on the old legends that inspired Bram Stoker’s classic. I researched where these creatures first appeared in folklore, so I could finally realize my dream to feature a vampire in my romances.

Early vampire legends didn’t portray them as the beguiling creatures we see in popular modern fiction. Even before the term ‘Vampire’ was coined, stories existed of creatures with abilities and characteristics we equate with vampires. Legends and myths date back to the early Greeks and Romans. These creatures drank the blood of the living to sustain their existence.

The Goddess Hecate’s daughter was said to be a vampire-like creature. Empusa would appear as a beautiful young woman, seducing men so she could feast on their blood. She also drank young children’s blood.

European’s also had legends of vampire-like creatures. But these vampires were said to be half-decomposed and repugnant creatures, nothing like the seductive beings we think of. These vampires were said to be more akin to living corpses, crawling from their graves to find victims. Of course, no living person ever saw these creatures roaming about. It took an unexpected occurrence, like the untimely death of a person or animal to confirm their existence.

When someone died and others started to also die with symptoms like strange bleeding, rumors spread that the newly dead had risen from the grave and was feasting on the living. Corpses would be exhumed and any sign, such as bloating of the body or blood running from the mouth, would be enough to convince the villagers that they had a vampire running amok. The cure for this was to drive a stake through the corpse’s heart to stop his nightly rampages.

Religious symbols—crosses and rosaries—as well as holy water and garlic, were said to repel a vampire.

In 1897, author Bram Stoker took these legends and wove them into his tale, Dracula. In Stoker’s story, Dracula was seductive and powerful. Women immediately would fall under his spell. This classic novel changed the image of the vampire for all time.

Today, although we know vampires are only the stuff of fiction, we see them as emotional and sentimental creatures who truly hate the demon forces that compel them to harm others.

For more info on vampires, visit these sites: http://halloweenexpress.com/history-of-vampires.php

http://www.history.com/videos/vampire-myths#vampire-myths

Visit my website for info on my two vampire stories: http://susanmacatee.com/myvampireromances.html

Second sneak peek from first chapter of my vampire romance novella.

Excerpt:
SweetRedemption_w3850_300Jon glanced up and chuckled. “It’s the northern lights. We don’t usually see them hereabouts.”

Nathan swallowed. “The Rebs shot me down. But I can’t feel nothin’.”

“It’s the cold, son. Do you know where you were hit?”

Nathan raised his arm, then awkwardly dropped it to his chest. “Here, Captain.”

Jon peered closely at the spot and nearly gagged. The lad’s coat and shirt were nothing but rags. His chest was ripped open, frozen blood crusting over him and pooling on the ground. How did he not feel pain? He was amazed the boy still drew breath.

Nathan wasn’t Catholic, but the lad was a Christian, and Jon couldn’t ignore his plight. He’d never make it off this field. Although he lacked holy water and oil, and it had been awhile, he still recalled the Latin rites he’d learned when he was in the seminary.

Sweet Redemption is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Redemption-ebook/dp/B0056ICETQ/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313157188&sr=1-7

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sweet-redemption-susan-macatee/1018988355?ean=2940043310798&itm=3&usri=sweet%2bredemption

The Wild Rose Press http://thewildrosepress.com/sweet-redemption-p3750.html?zenid=efc2f41ac353b198c6926be0514ff6ab

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sweetredemption-391948-139.html

http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/

If you like ghost stories and are intrigued by theories of past lives, here’s a short excerpt from my paranormal romance, Dreaming Josie. The story was originally included in an award winning anthology and I hope to develop it into a full-length book one day soon.

Excerpt:
dreamingjosiecover“I don’t see any sign of swelling, Corporal,” she said. “If you would just stay here, the stretcher bearers will be arriving to take you back to camp.”

Those deep brown eyes, gazing at him, made it hard to focus. He finally caught what she’d said.

“Stretcher bearers?” He shook his head. “I don’t need an ambulance. Just some help walking back to camp, is all.”

She frowned and glanced over his shoulder.

“Kyle, you okay?” a male voice called.

Kyle turned. Derek strode toward him.

“Yeah,” Kyle said. “Just stepped in a friggin’ hole. Twisted my ankle, but I think its okay.” He turned back to the woman, but she was gone. He scanned the field in all directions.

“Where’d she go?”

“Where’d who go?” Derek crouched beside him.

“The woman I was talking to.”

Derek frowned. “I didn’t see anyone. You were sitting by yourself.”

“You mean to tell me you didn’t see a dark-haired woman dressed in a green reenactor gown kneeling beside me?”

Derek shook his head. “Was she hot?”

“What difference does that make?”

“It would have made me notice her.” Derek examined Kyle’s ankle.

“It’s fine,” Kyle said. “Help me up. I’ll try standing on it.”

Derek pulled him to his feet.

Kyle took a few tentative steps. As he put his weight on it, pain shot through his foot and up his leg, but he didn’t think he’d done any serious damage.

“It’s okay, a bit tender, but I can walk back.” He bent down to pick up his rifle, then scanned the field again. “I can’t believe you didn’t see her.”

“Sorry, man.” Derek smirked. “You never answered my question.”

“Which was?”

“Was she hot?”

Kyle still held the memory and scent of the woman. Those eyes and lips would haunt him in his dreams tonight.

When Civil War reenactor, Kyle Dalton, keeps seeing a beautiful woman on the battlefield tending to soldiers, he thinks she’s another reenactor. But when she disappears into thin air, he starts to believe he’s seen a ghost. Did he have a past life with this woman?

Dreaming Josie available for 99 cents at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Josie-ebook/dp/B008FZSPLS/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341001818&sr=1-7

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreaming-josie-susan-macatee/1112136131?ean=2940044700420

And Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/177360

With Halloween fast approaching, I decided it was time to switch to my throwback vampire novella. Here’s the opening paragraphs of my 2009 release, Sweet Redemption.

Excerpt:
Fredericksburg, Virginia
December 13, 1862

Cold. So cold.

SweetRedemption_w3850_300Flat on his stomach, Jonathan Hackett wormed his way across the darkened battlefield, not daring to raise his head. The stench of black powder surrounded him as Confederate soldiers continued to fire, keeping he and the soldiers with him pinned.

Hands clenched, Jon dragged himself along on his elbows over the hard, frigid ground. He’d been trapped out here, unable to get caps and rounds, water or food. Once darkness had fallen, he’d tried to assist the men with him off the field, but the Rebels continued to fire on them long after the sun had set.

Jon halted at a body lying prone across his path. The soldier groaned. Squinting, Jon moved close to study the face. One of the young privates serving under him. Nathan Connor.

“Son, are you wounded?” Jon whispered.

Nathan opened his eyes and stared at the lights above them. “Is that heaven, sir?”

Sweet Redemption is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Redemption-ebook/dp/B0056ICETQ/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313157188&sr=1-7

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sweet-redemption-susan-macatee/1018988355?ean=2940043310798&itm=3&usri=sweet%2bredemption

The Wild Rose Press http://thewildrosepress.com/sweet-redemption-p3750.html?zenid=efc2f41ac353b198c6926be0514ff6ab

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sweetredemption-391948-139.html

http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/

I like setting my historical romances during the American Civil War and in the years following, because these were the times when women were coming out of their homes and discovering that they could hold jobs formerly relegated to men.

One of the positions women migrated to was journalism.

Through my research I learned that American women worked in publishing as early as the colonial era where they held positions as printers and publishers. Over time, they moved into newsrooms as reporters.

But unlike today, women reporters were often relegated to covering the women’s perspective, or writing ‘sob stories’, so called because their sentimental style was designed to get readers crying.

For years, women journalists wrote exclusively for ‘women’s pages’ and none covered hard news.

A few of the American women journalists who wrote during the Victorian era were Margaret Fuller, Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton and Sarah Josepha Hale.

Margaret Fuller was “the first female foreign correspondent.”  She also was a book review editor and edited a quarterly literary publication, ‘The Dial’, from 1840 to 1842. In 1846 she became a foreign correspondent for the ‘Tribune’.

Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton wrote speeches and press releases for her husband who served in the U.S. Congress. She was also editor of the newspaper they owned.

Sarah Josepha Hale wrote a novel, Northwood, that was successful. As a result she was recruited as editor “of a new magazine devoted to women.” http://www.uvm.edu/~hag/godey/hale.html  In 1836, she was approached by Godey to edit his ‘Lady’s Book’, but she at first declined to stay with her own magazine. Later, he bought her magazine and combined both publications into one, keeping Sarah as editor.

Although Victorian women were shut out from covering all but stories of interest to other women, they were a force in the journalistic world of the times.

For more stories of Victorian women journalists visit:

http://www.rbhayes.org/hayes/content/files/Hayes_Historical_Journal/maryclemmerameshhj.htm

http://www.historybuff.com/library/refwomen.html

For info on my historical romances featuring women writers and women in other men’s professions in the late nineteenth century, visit my website: http://susanmacatee.com

Final sneak peek from chapter three of my time travel romance.

Next week, I’ll start posting excerpts from one of my throwback novellas, released five years ago, historical vampire romance, Sweet Redemption.

Excerpt:
ThoroughlyModernAmanda_w7277_750“Not until I see my car,” he growled. “Get me down the stairs.”

Between his spinning head and the knowledge that something was very wrong, he had difficulty descending the steps. For one thing, the stairway had no railing. He pressed a hand against the wall, the woman on his other side, but he feared knocking her over the edge.

He inched his way down and breathed a sigh of relief when they reached bottom.

“Please, sir, sit here on the bottom step for at least a moment to catch your breath. I’d hate to see you start bleeding again or pass out.”

He did as she bid, cradling his face in his hands. His head still spun, and he wasn’t sure he could make it home after all. Maybe he should have her call an ambulance.

Her footsteps sounded hollow on the unfinished wood floor as she paced. He lifted his gaze to study her. Her skirts nearly touched the freshly sanded floor as she braced her hands on either side of her hips. Her brow furrowed, lips twisted into an expression of anxiety.

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=5074

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Amanda-ebook/dp/B00AQAIHHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355948640&sr=1-1&keywords=Thoroughy+Modern+Amanda

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thoroughly-modern-amanda-susan-macatee/1114008539?ean=2940016112596

All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thoroughlymodernamanda-1026307-141.html

And now in print http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=5346

http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/

One more peek at the third chapter of my time travel romance.

Excerpt:
ThoroughlyModernAmanda_w7277_750“Are you sure you don’t want to stay here? I’ll find a neighbor to help you to go…” She hesitated. “Where do you want to go?”

“Home, but I need my car to get there.” His hand dropped to his pocket to search for his wallet, but a strap and two buttons on his waistband diverted his attention. He wore a pair of suspenders, a loose fitting shirt with four buttons reaching from his mid-chest area to his collar, and baggy wool pants. These weren’t the clothes he’d been wearing when he’d explored the house.

What the hell?

His alarmed gaze drifted down to the woman who still supported his weight. The clothes he wore matched the period of her gown. And the condition of the house, compared to the dilapidated building he’d been in, set his brain awhirl.

“Where in hell am I?” he gasped.

The woman’s eyes widened as she gazed openmouthed at him. “Please let me get you help, sir.”

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=5074

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Amanda-ebook/dp/B00AQAIHHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355948640&sr=1-1&keywords=Thoroughy+Modern+Amanda

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thoroughly-modern-amanda-susan-macatee/1114008539?ean=2940016112596

All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thoroughlymodernamanda-1026307-141.html

And now in print http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=5346

http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/

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