I love me some guest posting! Dying Breed is Doomed…

I’m at the tail end of a very intense move this week but that doesn’t mean that I can’t  get down to some serious reviewing.  This time it was “Dying Breed,” which I did for Doom Generation, my go to site for awesome Horror reviews. Admittedly whenever I’m geared to write one lately I find that the lovely Alex and her team have beat me to it, but you know  what they say about great minds ‘n all.

Anyhoo, here’s the review. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those that like their movies to make sense. Hash tag ‘just saying’…

P.S. Please hold the line for Book 3, Amazon are mulling it over as we speak.

Advertisements

History’s Most Shocking Serial Killer Brought to Life: The Affliction Series by Romina Nicolaides

This wonderful post about my books, written by Eve Merrier, a fellow writer who is also a first class editor and proofreader, was a huge surprise for me this week. I love hearing people get excited about my work, especially people whose own work I respect and admire. Receiving praise is a very rewarding experience and I can never get enough!

In other news, I know I’ve been saying this since forever but the third istallment in the Affliction series will hopefully be going live by next week, so please hang in there a little longer until I make the final tweaks.

Eve Proofreads

Bathory's secret1609, Hungary. Powerful Countess Erzsébet Báthory has been searching for an illiterate book binder to collate her journals. Why illiterate? So that no one will discover her extraordinary, violent past. Kati, a local peasant, has just the skills she requires. The girl is keen to live in the castle with the Countess, until the horrors of her employer’s habits begin to be revealed. 

Horror isn’t always my thing, but Nicolaides’ novels are something totally different. They transcend the genre with their gritty action and gorgeous historical detail. They’re macabre and evocative, and there’s book binding, which I’m very into at the moment.

Chillingly, the title character is based on the real Erzsébet Báthory  (click the link to read about her deeds) – reputedly history’s most prolific female serial killer. Her legend has long been embellished with vampiric overtones, and Nicolaides seamlessly blends fact and fiction compellingly (she has an academic background…

View original post 137 more words

Holly, just Go…

Recently, my local culture centre was doing a rerun of classic films, and a few friends and I went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I probably hadn’t seen this film since I was a kid so I thought it be a chance to refresh my viewing of this classic since it was an open air theatre, and most importantly a free showing.

The thought of reviewing classic books and movies has been in the back of my mind for some time, so what better way than to start with a film that is considered highly iconic in glamour circles and as well as an ode to love?

I did a little googling and was reminded that Breakfast at Tiffany’s had been quite a hit at the Oscars back in the day, receiving, Best Dramatic or Comedy Musical Score, Best Original Song for Moon River (which is an awesome song no doubt) while Audrey Hepburn was nominated for Best Actress.

I think part of the reason the film was such a hit in its day, was because it was written by Truman Capote, one of the most celebrated minds of his time, though from what I understand, the book and the film have many differences. Admittedly I’ve never read any of his work, though I have been meaning to read In Cold Blood since forever,  and I am aware of his status and impact.

I won’t go into details regarding the plot, which is all over the web, but in a nutshell we are told the story of a socialite, looking for a rich husband. Classic ‘girl needs boy’ to keep her in the lavish style to which she is not really accustomed. Holly is essentially a party girl who dates men who tip her to go to the powder room and also visits a mafia boss in Sing-Sing prison from whom she transfers messages to his lawyer for a small fee. Between parties she whiles her hours away by getting plenty of beauty sleep, with the help of some highly ridiculous ear plugs, and going to Tiffany’s where ‘nothing bad ever happens when the mean reds strike.’

Breakfast-at-Tiffanys-Wallpaper-Poster-Photo-4

When handsome Paul comes along, she takes a shine to him because he reminds her of her brother and the two strike a friendship, which eventually turns to love, which then turns to rejection-she is looking for a rich guy after all-culminating in a big “get your shit” together lecture from Paul to Holly. Why does Paul feel the need to give a Holly a piece of his mind? Because throughout, she behaves like a spoiled brat.

I know I’m judging this film with modern eyes, but I did try to view it with a Mad Men perspective, where women were mostly house bound, or at best secretaries in some office, condescended upon and made to feel powerless and inferior, and I guess that for the period, the independence of a socialite making a buck any way she could, might appear empowering and therefore propel the film towards iconicness. Correct me if I’m wrong.

What I don’t get however, is why it’s still iconic today, almost 60 years later, where women are in many ways still struggling to overcome those stereotypes. Ironically, modern women still face many of the challenges and injustices they did back then, particularly in places like the States where maternity leave is non existent, pay inequality prolific and condescending attitudes not a thing of the past. So again, why is this film still considered a classic?

And if we were to ignore the hair-brained heroine, there are two more points that are so wrong with this movie. One, was the “small” issue of the abandoned cat in the alley when she has her aforementioned hissy fit. I know we’re told she doesn’t own him so feels like she’s setting him free, but it was such a jarring scene for someone who loves cats. You just don’t do that to your pets ‘cause animals get scared when things change.

Finally, the thing that bothered me the most however, was the portrayal of Mr Yunioshi as the stereotypical Asian caricature. The mind boggles that even as recently as 1961 something so offensive was consigned to film, and a film that is highly celebrated no less! Where do I start? The dayglo skin, the fake squinty eyes, the buck teeth and the anal attitude of a character who can’t decide if he’s the offensive stereotype of a Japanese or Chinese immigrant, (I mean they all look the same right?) and one which makes you cringe, when I assume, the intention was to make you laugh. I dread to think what was going on there, even in 1961, but once again, it doesn’t fare well anymore; assuming it once did.

On a side note, you might have heard about the MAC cosmetics furore that exploded on the net last week where an African American model’s lip size was  racially mocked after MAC instagramed a pic of her wearing one of their shades. One of the reaction videos I stumbled upon online (regretfully I couldn’t find it again in order to verify) rightfully featured several tweets of incensed black women condemning the abuse and expressing pride in their heritage, which would have been a good and meaningful gesture if it had stopped at that, but in the end they closed off with a picture of Holly Golightly, which I’m guessing was put there to symbolise poise, becauty etc. Shame about the missed racist undertones though… So prolific is the idea that this film embodies feminine power, that whoever made it didn’t think twice about how racist it was as a whole.

So, just because something might have been iconic in its time, doesn’t mean it has to hold the title for ever. Perhaps way back when it came out it was seen as the ultimate in female emancipation, the farm girl who strikes it out on her own to become an “independent” socialite in search of herself (though she’s really looking for Hubby McBucks), but well over half a century later, the one dimensional, erratic, purposely vacant headed Holly character smacks of misogyny. The casual racism and animal abuse peppered throughout the rest of the film just add insult to injury. Have we not moved on at all?

Affliction Series gets a facelift!

You’ll be happy to know that after a brief hiatus my cover designer is back to work on my covers. After some thought I decided that though the old look was very beautiful, it didn’t scream Vampire Hist Fic so we decided to tweak the look a little. The cover for Bathory’s Secret has received a face lift and Vampire Edifice has been given a new cover altogether, and one that I was initially going to go with before opting for the current one. Having thought about it however, I came to realise that the initial one was better so we went back to it.

Book three, which will be titled In the Presence of Blood, is in the final stages of editing and with some godspeed and luck will be out by April. I will share the cover as soon as it is finalised but for the moment you may feast your eyes on the first two, which will be going live in the coming week.

Without further ado I present you with the new covers:

Tada!

What did you just say about English?

My blog post for this week isn’t ready yet, so instead I thought I’d share a cool little article on English I stumbled upon yesterday. I don’t know how many languages this author speaks fluently to be using them as points of contrast or reference but from my perspective of five (at various levels of fluency) I can guarantee that English spelling is child’s play compared to Greek or Russian; his argument about the popularity of spelling bees on this premise alone almost lost me, but I’m glad I kept reading ’cause he makes some interesting points about other aspects of the tongue. I also take umbrage at the whole “English is weird” tag because language shouldn’t be called weird-language is a living narrative of the perceptions and experiences of those that have come before us. Calling it weird is like taking all that at face value and nothing more.

Anyhoo, despite my little rant, this article is really quite fun. Enjoy!

English is not normal!

 

So what if there’s no title yet? Elementary my dear Watson…

I wrote them today, I wrote those two awesome little words that every author covets with every fibre of their being and I did it! I did it! I did it! After a 3500 word marathon yesterday and 4500 word marathon today, I managed to get to that lovely place where I could joyfully say “THE END” and mean it, Truly, Madly Deeply! Yes, yes, yes, the deed is done, book three is officially over!

Ok, maybe it’s full of typos, anachronisms and inaccuracies but let’s not stray away from the point here folks; it’s time to stick a fork in it cos it’s done, done, doned! (yes I said doned, that’s how much I want to stress that this f&cker is in the past!

Don’t get me wrong now, I loved every minute of it, and I will go in (at a date that is not today) and clean up that shit like it’s grime under the rim of the toilet bowl, but I will stop here to emphasize just how very done it is! Beginning, middle and end, done! In the famous words of the venerable Ali G, booyakasha! Kati can chill for a few days before I find new ways to ruin her life!

Anyhoo, I shall now proceed to curb my enthusiasm by doing something else and get back to work in the morrow for my eyes have bled copiously today. I even wondered whether I should’ve taken more screen time to write this post, but it had to be done! Now I’m going to grope around in the dark for the shower and not look at a screen for maybe… twenty minutes!

Ciao folks!

Vampire Edifice now available for pre-order!

Very often my blog posts are like buses, there’s none for ages and then a bunch come together. To avoid a big post with several topics however, I’ll talk a bit about the book today and tomorrow about some of the research I’ve been doing in recent days. What’s historical fiction after all without some decent research?

Edifice

The last couple of weeks have been super busy for me, I finished editing my book, went on holiday (which I combined with a research trip to Padova) and have spent the best part of this week formatting and listing it on Amazon (the listing part was quite quick admittedly).

Vampire Edifice: The Awakening is now officially finished and ready. It’s on pre-order, and will be available as of next Monday 10/08/15 while I wait for ARC reviews to come in.

I’m very pleased with the end result, though it was more delayed than I expected, but as it stands, I’d rather have a top product than a rushed one.

As some of you may have already gathered the book picks up where the last one left off, with Kati’s escape from the Countess and follows her during the four years she spends away from Csejthe. The world of Affliction opens up to the reader as Kati begins to come into her own.

Final Blurb:

Hungary 1610 A.D.

A wave of terror grips Csejthe village as Erzsébet Báthory’s long list of crimes comes to light, forcing Kati, who managed to escape death at the hands of the Countess, to go into hiding after her close call.

Having caught the Countess red handed, Palatine Thurzó is shocked by the atrocities committed by his cousin and becomes intent on getting to the heart of the murders. Events unfold further when he is put on Kati’s trail by one of Báthory’s co-conspirators.

Kati is then forced to risk a return to Csejthe in order to cover her tracks and hide the journals which threaten to expose the Afflicted. The task proves more dangerous than she thought, however, and she is forced to flee to Vienna where she hopes to find more of her kind.

Once there she is accepted into an Afflicted paradise where she is supported, educated and helped to deal with the pain of her past. When she discovers that Báthory’s ill son is secretly being held in a Sanatorium for the marginalized and depraved, though, she comes to the conclusion that all is not as it seems and her life might be in danger once more…