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Archive for October, 2012

Happy Halloween!

For your Halloween reading pleasure, my ‘Wednesday Excerpts’ post will feature a story that includes my favorite creature of the night, the vampire.

Excerpt from vampire romance novella, Sweet Redemption:

Maddie stared into the eyes of the strange, hypnotic man. Was she dreaming again?

Captain Hackett’s voice broke through her stupor.

Oh, God! What’s happening? She lifted her arms and pushed against the powerful grasp that held her hostage.

A horrible, putrid smell emanated from him. Her breath came out in gasps. Turning her head toward the captain, her eyes widened. He bared his teeth, exposing two wicked-looking fangs. She stared into eyes that glowed red as her heartbeat raced. Was she having another nightmare? Growling, he launched himself at the monster still holding her.

“You are starting to show the signs, Jon,” the oily voice gloated. “I’ll make you what I am. Give you my power. All you have to is give yourself completely to me.”

Maddie was thrust aside. She cowered, in a corner of the foyer, her head spinning. This wasn’t happening. The two combatants hissed and bared their horrible fangs, circling and lunging at each other. She pushed her hands against both ears, trying to block out the terrible grunts and hisses.

She sat frozen for a minute, until the monster lifted Jon and threw him into the table by the staircase. She jumped back as her porcelain vase shattered at her feet. Glancing up, she caught a flash of silver around the captain’s neck. The crucifix!

“Captain!” Could she still get through to him? “Use the crucifix.”

The captain halted, then yanked the chain, pulling the crucifix before him. He shoved it into the creature’s face.

The odor of burning flesh drove Maddie’s gaze to the monster’s charred cheek. He screeched and backed out the open doorway.

“I’ll return for both of you,” he hissed.

Jon jumped to the doorway, stuck his head out, then hissed and covered his face, as he backed away from the door.

Maddie took a deep breath to calm her racing pulse. Slowly rising, she moved around Jon, with a cautious eye upon him, to the door. A rosy glow lit the sky. She saw no sign of the monster and slammed the door, then secured the lock.

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

only $1.99 at 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

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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

You just for fun, if you haven’t yet seen the new version of Dark Shadows, here’s the link for the trailer: http://www.moviefone.com/movie/dark-shadows/10051393/trailers

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

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Over at Slip Into Something Victorian, we have guest blogger Juli D. Revezzo talking about her new paranormal release, The Artist’s Inheritance. Juli’s story features a Civil War ghost, witches and Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida.

Stop by and say hello.

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That night, Alexandra returned to the camp. She gazed at Caleb where he stood picket, unaware she watched him. She couldn’t bear to be apart from her love any longer. Tonight she would make him hers forever.

She approached him, savoring his energy, his lifeblood. How sweet it would taste. She had waited so long and feared she’d never again experience the love she’d lost centuries ago. They would travel together, feeding on soldiers, until the war ended.

She breathed his name, “Dimitri.”

Caleb started, swinging his rifle toward her. Hatred glowed in his eyes. “Get away from me, Satan!”

“Dimitri,” Alexandra pleaded.

“I’m not Dimitri,” he growled. “My name is Caleb Weathers. You’re some spawn from Hell. I don’t want nuthin’ to do with you.”

As she angled toward him, he swung the rifle, aiming it at her chest. Horror seized her heart. She’d thought he’d wanted her.

“Do you want to kill me?” she asked.

He hesitated. “From what I’ve seen, I don’t believe I can.” His eyes narrowed. “Or is it that you’re dead already?”

“Dimitri…you must remember how I loved you.”

“I told you, I’m not Dimitri.”

Alexandra’s eyes stung. “You don’t want me?”

“No!” he screamed. He held the rifle before him to keep her at bay. “Keep away from me. Go back to Hell or wherever it is you came from.”

He scowled at her with such hatred, Alexandra couldn’t bear it. Her dream shattered. She loved him too deeply to take him by force and refused to share eternity with a man who thought her to be evil.

“Goodbye, my love,” she murmured as she left him for the final time.

My short vampire story set during the American Civil War and ending in present day is available for 99 cents at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Waits-ebook/dp/B0054GORDQ/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308606086&sr=1-8

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eternity-waits-susan-macatee/1103075634?ean=2940012930996&itm=4&usri=susan%2bmacatee

and The Wild Rose Press http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=86_127&products_id=787

And don’t forget to stop by Juli D. Revezzo’s blog today http://bit.ly/QWNURh  for the Halloween event. Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of both my short story Eternity Waits and my vampire romance novella, Sweet Redemption.

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With Halloween drawing close, I thought about how so many of my romances feature the idea of past lives, reinacaration and souls who’ve lost each other in a previous life reuniting in a future one.

I’d like to think I’ve lived before and will have the chance to live again to fix past mistakes. I also like the idea that my husband might have been someone I knew in a past life.

But whether or not it’s true, it’s a great plot point in romance fiction. In my time travel romance, Erin’s Rebel, the heroine travels from our time into the past to learn that she’d lived that life before and the hero is the man she has to save from death, so they can have the life together they were denied the first time around.

In Dreaming Josie, the hero, a Civil War reenactor, sees a beautiful woman on the battlefield, but she disappears. Is she the ghost of a love from his past life?

In my short vampire romance, Eternity Waits, the vampire heroine has to wait through reincarnations of her true love’s life to reunite with him.

And in my upcoming time travel romance, Thoroughly Modern Amanda, the sequel to Erin’s Rebel, the hero travels into the past only to learn he’s lived there before.

If you want to read more about the possibilities of past lives, check out these sites:

http://reluctant-messenger.com/reincarnation-proof.htm

http://near-death.com/reincarnation.html

http://www.reversespins.com/proofofreincarnation.html

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I’m participating in Juli D. Revezzo’s Halloween event on October 24th and will be giving away pdf copies of my two vampire romance ebooks, Sweet Redemption and Eternity Waits.

All you have to do is drop by on Wednesday and leave a comment on Juli’s blog to be entered.

For more info on my vampire romances, visit http://susanmacatee.com/myvampireromances.html

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With Halloween just two weeks away, I thought this week’s excerpt should feature a creature of the night. Although the hero is pinned down on a Civil War battlefield, much like Joshua Chamberlain at the Battle of Fredericksburg, he encounters danger in the form of a man, who isn’t what he seems.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

December 13, 1862

Cold. So cold.

Flat 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?”

Jon 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.

In nomeni Patris, et filii, Spiritus Sancti. Amen.” He raised his hand to bless Nathan and send him to his reward. As he watched, Nathan sighed and his eyes glazed over.

A gunshot whizzed by Jon’s ear. Pulse racing, Jon hunkered down beside Nathan’s body, using it as a shield.

Once the gunfire halted, he clung to Nathan, not daring to move. Jon’s body jerked in uncontrollable shivers. He blew on his gloved fingers and tried to use any heat left in the departed lad to keep himself from freezing to death.

****

Stained glass windows filtered patterned sunlight into the sanctuary of a church. Jon stood at the altar raising the host. Then he took the cup into his hands.

He startled awake, realizing he still lay upon the field, clutching a dead body. He pushed away and rolled over. A tall, thin man, with dark hair flowing loose over his shoulders, stood over him.

“Get down you fool,” Jon hissed.

The man glanced around, and raised his arms. “There’s nothing to fear, sir,” he said in a guttural accent. “The battle’s over.”

Jon glanced around, noting the eerie quiet. “The Rebels pulled out?”

“Yes, sir.”

He squinted up at the strange man. He wasn’t in any kind of military uniform, but dressed head to toe in black, a large slouch hat half obscuring his pale, clean-shaven face.

“Who are you?” Jon asked.

“My name is Reverend Arnwolf.”

“Reverend? Are you an army chaplain?”

Nein. I’m a civilian visiting from Austria.”

Jon slowly sat up, hoping he wouldn’t be shot down for his efforts, but Reverend Arnwolf continued to stand without harm. Jon pushed his protesting body onto hands and knees, before he cautiously rose to his feet.

He surveyed the ruined field in the eerie light. Bodies lay scattered, a few missing limbs. Blood covered portions of the field. “My men…”

“Are all dead,” Arnwolf said.

“How do you know?”

“Trust me, Captain. If you want to survive, you’ll come with me.”

For more info and to read review, visit my vampire romance page  http://susanmacatee.com/myvampireromances.html

Sweet Redemption available from 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-p-3750.html?zenid=efc2f41ac353b198c6926be0514ff6ab

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

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