We Interrupt Your Regular Blog Reading With A Word From The Author….

My sincerest apologies for not updating the untold chronicles of Nathaniel and company.  I’ve been very busy these last few weeks working on the 3rd and 4th drafts of my second book “The Ship” which is coming out in May during the Memorial Day Weekend.  Naturally, a lot has to be done between now and then to get that book in proper shape.  So it’s taking up a lot of my time.

That said, I want to reassure you Nathaniel, Marisa and many others will be posting here again soon.  In the meantime I thought I’d share a little of my inspirations and thoughts on Nathaniel’s personality.

I’ve been a long time fan of Doctor Who since the 1960’s when I saw my first Dalek.  Naturally, I became fascinated with the series and the many incarnations of the Doctor and his companions.  But what really struck me sometimes was the concept of someone having such a long life.  While the Doctor is not immortal, he has been around for centuries and he’s always kept himself busy.  Each incarnation makes reference to some famous person they’d met years ago such as Houdini, Einstein, HG Wells, and many others.

In a lot of vampire fiction I’ve seen over the years, it seems many of the undead spent time staked or sleeping while the centuries passed them by and they awakened into a whole new period so different from the one they remembered.  For them there is the storyline of adapting and becoming familiar with how the world has changed, in addition to whatever mischief they were about to unleash on others.

I didn’t want that for Nathaniel.  I wanted him to be a man who has witnessed and been part of the changing times.  Like the Doctor, he loves seeing how humankind is moving forward, making new discoveries and even getting to be a part of it.

However, there is still an old-world charm about him as well.  He still carries the lessons and values his parents instilled in him when he was growing up.  He’ll use modern idioms and phrases, but there’s still a lot of mannerisms that make one think he doesn’t quite fully belong to this era.  I took some inspiration from Dark Shadows vampire Barnabas Collins, in this respect.  Barnabas was originally intended to be a villain who would be destroyed when the show ended in a few months time.  But his brooding nature, and tragic past, endeared him to viewers so much the show went on to last for several more years, with him becoming a dark guardian angel to his descendants and the town they lived in.

Barnabas Collins was also one of the first good-guy vampires ever seen either in books or on television and has been a huge inspiration to those creating heroic undead.  However, he was also one of those vampires who was locked away and never fully fit in with the modern times.

I’ve been careful to make Nathaniel a mixed bag of old and new world.  If you were to meet him you’d find him funny, amusing, a bit dry in his sense of humor, but quite enjoyable to be around.  But he does have his moody side.  He’s outlived a lot of people he loved and watched over.  But he doesn’t get bogged down in the past, because there’s always so many new things happening and new people to meet.  In this respect, he’s a lot like the Doctor.  He remembers and respects the past, but knows he can only move forward with the times.

He’s also used his long life to keep busy.  Nathaniel is a man of many talents, because he’s had the time to study and develop numerous skills.  He paints, has done stage work, plays several instruments, has worked various jobs and has gone to a number of colleges and holds several degrees including a doctorate and three masters.  I won’t go into detail about what he’s studied because that will come to light in the novel.  He chose his studies carefully and with a purpose.

I really gave a lot of thought about his life when I came up with him.  What kinds of things would you do if you had an extended life-span that lasted centuries and you were fairly young all the time.  How many hobbies and skills could you learn?  What kind of talents would YOU want to develop.  Give it some thought and share some of them with us in the comments below.

Finally, I wanted to share a final image with you.  If I ever got the chance to see The Vampyre Blogs get turned into a movie for the theater or television, the person I’d most like to see as Nathaniel is Derek Hough.  His normal expression is kind of intense thanks to the arch of his eyebrows.  But he has such an animated personality, I could so see him going from intense to funny to moody all quite convincingly.  So if you’ve been wondering what Nathaniel might look like Derek’s my choice.  Well that’s all for now.  I hope to have Marisa or another new character post an entry in about a week or so.  So stay tuned, there are a lot more stories to be told.  Until then, happy reading everyone and thanks for sticking with me.

 

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Nathaniel’s Blog March 19th, 201- “An Evening With Family”

bookstore front

Finally got back into town after several weeks of book signings. Of all the things I’ve done over the years, I thought becoming a writer of novels would be the least demanding.  Boy was I wrong.  Writing the books was one thing.  I made my own hours, wrote when I felt like it, etc.  That was all well and good.  No one told me about the other half of the equation.

Finding an agent to represent me was a bit of an issue for a while, but I had time on my side and I eventually got one.  Then having them pitch and find a publisher was a bit of a wait, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  Once we found one and their editors got a hold of the manuscript, then things started to change.  Seeing my oh so wonderful pages come back covered in so much red I had to run to my ‘supply room’ just to make sure I hadn’t spilled any bags on the pages without realizing it.

Mind you, the day I got to see my first book on the shelves at the bookstores and online, was a real thrill.  It got even better when I found out it made the NY Times Besteller list.  I was so proud.  My hard work had paid off and I could sit back and relax while planning out the next installment in the series.

That’s when reality decided to come knocking at my door, and it brought it’s buddy ‘The Learning Curve’ along with it.

The demands for book signings and the interviews started pouring in.  It wasn’t easy getting people to understand I rarely do daytime appearances, and even those I keep short and sweet.  I have to glut my cells with fresh blood in order to handle the exposure, even at a minimum.  Unfortunately, this gives me a very ‘pink’ complexion that people often comment on.  I usually tell them I got a bad sunburn the day before.  Actually it’s partly happening right at that moment, but I can usually last a few hours so long as I’m not in direct sunlight. I learned this little trick decades ago out on the battlefield, but I also learned the downside of too much blood and the nasty side effects it could have.  It’s a delicate balancing act, but I’ve learned how to maintain a balance.

Anyway, with the latest round of publicity for the newest installment of my ‘Love Across Time’ series out of the way, it felt good to come back here and spend time with my godchildren.  Or rather, this particular set of godchildren.  Lord knows I’ve got a number of them out there, including a few overseas.

But, Brian and his family are rather special to me.  Their ancestors were friends of my family before I joined the Union Army.  One of my best friends was David Weston.  We fought and nearly died together several times.  He became highly decorated and became my captain in time, or rather just in time.  It was shortly after his promotion that I… became what I am.  I confided in him what had happened and he helped keep my secret by assigning me to night duty and scouting missions.

fallen soldier

When David fell at Gettysburg, I had myself listed among the fallen and came back here in secret to break the news to his widow Madeline, who was expecting at the time.  She had braved the lines to be near him and had been sent back home after becoming pregnant.  Upon hearing the news she went into labor and I was all she had available to help her with the delivery.  Long story short, I managed to keep my own needs in check while I helped deliver the first of my many godchildren.  Although, that boy, also became my step-son, two years later.  But that’s another story.

In any case, you can understand my attachment to this family, who also consider me one of their own.  Especially, Brian’s children Lisa and Geoffrey.  In spite of a thirteen year difference, Lisa is very attached to her baby brother.  Who sometimes attaches himself to me with a vengeance.  Like tonight.

He’s been well-behaved, but I couldn’t help noticing how he keeps watching me intently.  As if he’s hoping for something, but is afraid to ask.  I can’t figure out what he wants though.  I did the ‘money-shake’ thing with him as soon as I came in.  He loves being turned upside down and watching coins suddenly rain down around him.  I used to do it to his sister too, until she complained she was too old for that sort of thing.  Too bad.  I was going to start using dollar bills in her case.  Oh well.

Anyway, we’d just finished dinner and were sitting in the living room when Geoffrey finally comes up to me and asks, “Are your feet going woof yet?”

It takes me a moment to realize what he means.  I got into the habit of using a phrase from the 1930’s to complain about being on my feet too much.  The last time I did it in front of little Geoffrey, I’d used a little of my shape-shifting ability to produce two smaller versions of my ‘Black Dogs’ to play with him.  Poor little guy is allergic to dogs, which is sad because he loves to play with them.

I smile and grab a blanket from nearby.  After covering my legs with it I tell him, “As a matter of fact, my dogs are barking.”  Then I look down and he follows my gaze.

There is movement under the blanket and radiates down to where my feet would be.  A moment later, two black puppy-shaped heads peak out from beneath the blanket.

Immediately, the boy’s face lights up as they bark happily at him and pounce.  Since they’re smaller than what I usually produce, I was able to give them complete bodies this time.  I let them detach from me so they can play with Geoffrey.  As the three roll around on the floor together, Lisa comes to sit next to me.  She knows I won’t be able to move for a while, or at least until her brother gets tired and goes to bed, which will be in about an hour or so.  I hope.

“Would you like to come with me to The Crypt tonight?” I ask her, knowing it will be all right with her parents.  I checked with them earlier.  “It’s Friday so there’s no school tomorrow.”

“YES!” she cries excitedly and kisses me on the cheek.

As she takes off to get ready, I turn to Brian and his wife Mary, “Don’t say I never give you any time off from your kids.  Just make sure you enjoy yourselves.  Maybe you can make me another godchild.”

“No way,” Mary replies archly, “I got my tubes tied after Geoffrey was born.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy going through the motions of making another one,” I smile.

She blushes furiously, but I can tell the idea has a lot of appeal to her.

Behind her, I see Brian grinning broadly and mouth the words ‘Thank you.’

I simply nod and continue to watch Geoff and the puppies at play.  He’ll be good and tired by the time they’re done with him.  The boy will sleep soundly tonight.  An earthquake wouldn’t be enough to wake him up.

It feels good being part of a family, every once in a while anyway.  Maybe, one day, I’ll even let myself settle down and stay put.  The question is where?

My family homestead is nearby.  I know it’s just sitting there empty, waiting for me.  The problem is that there might be another who’s also waiting for me, within its walls.  A person I made a promise to, that I failed to keep…

Civil War House

Marisa’s Musings “My Dad The Hero…” October 28th, 2007

That’s right, you saw it here.  My Dad is an honest to God hero.

Now for those of you who’ve never met him, let me tell a bit about Dad.  He’s not a firefighter.  He’s not a marine, a cop, or in the military.  He’s a mailman.  An average guy who walks the same route day after day, delivering mail.  In rain, sleet, snow, or the heat of the summer, he’s out there doing his thing.

He’s walked the same route for like ten years now, and he knows every one of his customers and they know him.  Heck, even their dogs know him and they don’t chase him either.  They all like him, with the exception of Dukey.

Dukey’s a pain in the ass. I’ll talk about him another time, right now I want to tell you how Dad saved a woman today.

One of the people on his route is an old woman named Ms. Katz.  She’s a widow who recently had to put down her dog.  Dad was really upset about that one.  Brandy was an Alaskan Malamute who was a realy sweetheart.  He’d bore us with stories about her sometimes, but she was a great dog.  Unfortunately,  age caught up with her and she had to be put to sleep

Ms. Katz wasn’t ready to get another dog just yet, so she was all alone in the house when the accident happened.  Dad noticed he hadn’t seen Ms. Katz for a couple of days and that her mail wasn’t being taken in.  He knew she lived alone and that she always alerted him if she was going to be away even for just a day.  So he knew something was up.

He went up to her front door which has an old mail slot.  Dad never uses it anymore, because of her age.  It’s too hard for her to bend over all the time to pick the mail up off the floor.  He convinced her to have a regular mailbox put up near the front door.

As soon as he called out, he heard sobbing coming from the back room.  He raced around the house, looking through the windows until he saw her. Ms. Katz was lying on the floor, pinned by her bureau which had fallen over.  Dad immediately rushed to the back door, which was unlocked and got to her in record time.  He pulled the bureau off her and called 911.

Luckily Ms. Katz was just weak and dehydrated.  Nothing broken, but if Dad hadn’t found her when he did, God knows how much longer she would’ve been trapped.  The newspapers are doing a write up about him and everything.  Even a television reporter interviewed him at work this afternoon.  How cool is that?  

Apparently, this isn’t the first time he’s done something like this.  A few years ago, he spotted a guy breaking into the house of one of his other customers just a couple of blocks from Ms. Katz’s place.  I guess I must’ve been too young to pay attention.  Apparently, he had a neighbor call the cops and he caught the guy on his way out and sat on him.

I may have to start paying more attention to him when he’s telling me and mom about his day.  Being a mailman may not be glamorous, but it’s not boring either.  I’m really proud of him.  He’s always been my hero, and now everyone knows why.

Ciao, all!

PS:  Almost forgot, guess who made it onto the cheerleading squad this year?  That’s right, me!  I can hardly wait, I’ve been working on routines all summer long.  Now it’s finally paying off.  Tell you more next time.  Today is my Dad’s day!  Woo-hoo!