Housekeeping

Went through my old blog posts and cleaned a bunch out – mostly those promising (yet again) that Darkness Falls will be coming soon. I’d say it again, but…you know…

In the meantime, the rights to Dark Thirst, Dark Hunger, and Dark Passion, the first three books in The Brethren Series have reverted from their original publishers back to me. This gives me the opportunity to re-release them independently, which I am planning to do in August. Be on the look out for more details.

(P.S. I’m planning on re-releasing Dark Thirst and Dark Hunger for free!)

As part of the process of re-releasing these titles, I decided to take the opportunity to revamp the series (It’s a vampire romance series, and I’m re-vamping it. See what I did there? LMAO) and completely redo all of the cover artwork. That way, the series is visually branded instead of being a hodgepodge of different art styles, colors, fonts, etc., like the old ones. I’ll be replacing the old ones on Amazon sales pages soon, but in the meantime, you can check out the new, upcoming  covers on my website: www.sarareinke.com or just peek below!

P.P.S. I really am working on Darkness Falls. I swear to God. I am struggling against the worst case of writer’s block I’ve had in ages – it’s going on four years long now – and I’m just swamped between my day job as a nurse and family life. And everything all of these entail, LOL.

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39550I’m now on Wattpad! I’m still learning the ropes, so I’m posting completed stories for now, but hope to use it to share new shorter works and sneak peaks of upcoming projects in the future, too!

Right now, you can check out Forsaken and Once Bitten as ongoing serial reads, with new chapters added weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays. Both titles are available for sale through the links on my website, but I’m offering them for FREE through Wattpad to subscribers.

FORSAKEN_new

Forsaken on Wattpad

In Forsaken, Jason Sullivan had it all — the perfect life, the perfect girlfriend and the perfect opportunity to ask her to marry him. Then in one violent, unexpected moment, he lost it all. Murdered in cold blood, wrongly condemned to a hellish afterlife and enslaved to a sadistic demon, Jason must fight to reclaim not only the life and love he’d once known, but also his soul.

once bitten

Once Bitten on Wattpad

Private investigator John Harker thinks he’s seen it all. But when a desperate woman begs him to find her missing daughter, John quickly learns there are many things in the Florida Keys that are best left unseen…and some secrets that are best left undiscovered. In a dark spin on the screwball comedy formula, John is bitten by a vampire, doomed to become one of the bloodthirsty undead unless his beautiful, plucky assistant Sandy (whose real name, as she sometimes still bothers to remind him, is Maureen) and a renowned but reluctant anthropologist specializing in vampire legends and lore, can save him.

So what are you waiting for? Check them out on Wattpad today!

Of singing rabbits and Indiana Jones: An Earth Day Retrospective

Earth Day, 1990: The 20th anniversary of the Earth Day celebration. It was kind of a big deal because the world wasn’t so eco-friendly or eco-smart back in those days, but we were starting to try a little harder, and making some progress. And at my high school, for some unknown reason, the Adults in Charge let me write and direct a series of short plays commemorating the occasion, and these were then (even more astonishing) performed before the entire student body.

I actually dusted off and tinkered with one of those plays several years later, and it was selected for performance as part of the Western Kentucky Playwrights Festival in Murray. It featured two teen boys, best friends since childhood, but polar opposites in personality, talking about how one boy had knocked up his girlfriend. There were liberal political statements galore in both the Earth Day, and later the Festival versions of that play. Most not particularly subtle, because well…I’m not. I wish I could find the script for it. Both times it was performed, the actors portraying the characters did great, as memory served, and really brought my story to life. That remains one of my proudest moments as a writer.

Then, of course, we had the “main show,” a satirical piece which, as memory serves, had a princess, a bunch of singing rabbits, a witty narrator who lipsynced Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”, and Indiana Jones, barreling onstage from the back of the packed auditorium to the blaring sound of the iconic theme music. Yeah, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and I probably violated all kinds of copyright laws. But the crowd enjoyed it. LOL, that, too, remains a pretty proud moment.

And that’s what why Earth Day always makes me smile.

Last of the Brethren Series now in progress

And so it begins – my WIP, “Darkness Falls,” is officially underway. It’s going to be Book 10 — and the conclusion — of the Brethren Series:

“It felt as though an earthquake shuddered through the room, the ground beneath the sprawling expanse of the Noble clan great house heaving along some hidden and heretofore unnoticed fault line. The bed shook as if seized between enormous, invisible hands, and, jarred from sleep, Lina sat up, her eyes flown wide, her legs tangled in a heap of blankets and sheets. The sensation of being in motion, the rough jostling of the mattress beneath her, lasted no more than seconds, but it was enough to startle her into bleary, bewildered consciousness—and scare the shit out of her in the process.”

Audio version, “The Periphery People”

I stumbled across this video online today. It’s an audio version of my short story, “The Periphery People,” performed by a video blogger named Natenator. He saw my story on Creepypasta.com and enjoyed it so much, he selected it for narration — such a wonderful, unexpected, welcome surprise! I think he does a phenomenal job — he has a fantastic voice, perfect for the mood and atmosphere of this spooky little yarn. I hope you enjoy as much I did!

Sometimes inspiration in writing comes completely by surprise. Such was the case for me while working on my newest release (which launches today!), In the Heart of Darkness. Because the main characters in the story are both vampires, each of whom has lived around 240+ years, parts of the story take place at various points in the past, as well as in the present. For example, Mason and Julien first meet in the late 1700s, and reunite in 1818 in Boston, Massachusetts. Mason is attending Harvard Medical School, which was relatively new at that time. I wanted him to have something to talk about in terms of his life on campus, his classes, and started researching Harvard in the year 1818.

To my surprise, I discovered something quite relevant that I wound up including in the plot. In 1818, the entire sophomore class at Harvard was summarily expelled following several incidents on campus that marked the first organized student protest activities in the United States. The first such incident was a food fight. Really. While the food fight itself was probably more in fun than anything, when instigators were admonished for it, the student body rebelled, considering the punishment unfair. Teachers were heckled, administrators publicly ridiculed and mocked. Protests were organized. Mayhem ensued. And the rest, as they say, was history.

You can read more about the “Harvard Student Rebellion of 1818” here. But you can also read about it in the pages of In the Heart of Darkness:

“Have you tendered your letter of resignation yet, Morin?”

Mason glanced at his friend and fellow classmate at Harvard, David Gorham, as they tromped side by side along the snow-slickened cobbled sidewalk. They walked with their shoulders hunched, their gloved hands stuffed deeply into their coat pockets, and their breath frosted the air around their heads in dim, hazy clouds.

“I’ve yet to figure out a way to explain to my father why I’d do such a thing,” Mason said.

David laughed, his cheeks bright red, chafed with the cold. “Because the college’s treatment of their student body is nothing short of bloody tyranny,” he proclaimed. “The very same sort against which our fathers fought so valiantly to be freed from. A college should promote free and independent thought and self-expression—not seek to stifle it, or persecute those who would express it.”

Mason rolled his eyes. It all seemed rather ridiculous to him—circumstances that had, without question, been blown out of proportion. What had started as an innocent-enough, if not somewhat destructive, food fight in University Hall involving a majority of sophomore class had swelled to melodramatic proportions. Two of the school’s more venerable and influential instructors had been publicly ridiculed by the student body during a protest in defense of those suspended as a result. David—who had played a fairly instrumental role in the food fight that had instigated all of the trouble—seemed to be enjoying the entire debacle immensely, but to Mason—who hadn’t taken part—it all seemed a bit childish.

“Besides, what’s the point of resigning?” Mason asked. “They’ve already deemed we’re all to be expelled anyway—the entire class.”

And how the hell he was going to explain that to Michel was a more pressing concern than any pretentious and meaningless resignation. He’d pleaded for nearly a year before his father had agreed to let him travel on his own to Boston in order to attend Harvard Medical School. Three years had passed since the horrific fires that had destroyed their clan’s great house and left them living in exile, secreted from their fellow Brethren. Three years had passed since he’d last seen Julien and he had been forbidden to send as much as a postcard, not even a note, to let him know of his survival. In the aftermath, his heart had seemingly crumbled beneath the overwhelming weight of his loss.

“Yes, but they’ll let you reapply next term,” David said. “And you’ll be back in for sure, Morin. You’re not one for causing trouble. And your grades have been splendid for sure. Just rent a flat and bide your time until enrollment comes around again. Trust me—your father will never know.” He clapped his hand against Mason’s shoulder. “Come on, don’t look so glum. I’ll hire us a hackney and we’ll ride out to Beacon Hill. That should cheer you up.”

“What’s at Beacon Hill?” Mason asked. He knew of the area, of course. On one hand, it was home of the Massachusetts State House. But on the other, it was an area where many of the city’s poorer populace resided, one notorious for its taverns, inns, and other establishments of ill or illegal repute. He wasn’t about to admit this aloud, however, and especially to David, whom he knew only casually, and thus feigned innocent obliviousness as he spoke.

“Any manner of debauchery and impropriety you can imagine,” David promised with a grin. “Some even call it Satan’s seat. The ale flows like water, and the whores are always welcoming. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a successful rebellion!”

(And for the record, Mason’s friend, David Wood Gorham was an actual historical figure, who was indeed involved in the food fight rebellion and who went on to become a prominent New England physician. I like to throw these sorts of Easter eggs into my books.)

Publishing ain’t dead, either!

I saw this on my Facebook newsfeed this morning and thought it was very much on-point. I discovered a long time ago that Dee Snider, lead singer of the band Twisted Sister, is an extremely insightful and articulate man. In the commentary below, I think he’s spot-on, not just about the music industry, but about a lot of the creative industries in general. I think his observations could just as easily apply to the publishing world as well, and the rise of independent publishing in the last decade.

Back then, electronic publishers and independent publishing were on the cusp of the massive break-throughs both have enjoyed in recent years, but the former stigmas were still attached, and it was generally accepted that the “traditional” publishing model was still the way to go. Today, we know differently – while yes, many writers go on to publishing success through traditional means, many others enjoy that same degree of success through their own publishing endeavors, or through smaller electronic imprints and publishers. Rather than find this to be the “death” of publishing, I find it an exciting development that continues to help our industry evolve.

Anyway… Mr. Snider’s original comments (which are, of course, copyrighted to him):

POINT / COUNTER POINT: “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL AIN’T DEAD” by Dee Snider

“Recently, my esteemed colleague, Gene Simmons of Kiss declared that “Rock ‘n’ Roll is finally dead”. Really?

While I have nothing but respect for Gene, he couldn’t be further off the mark. Yes, the rock ‘n’ roll “business model” that helped Kiss (and my band for that matter) achieve fame and fortune is most certainly long dead and buried, but rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well and thriving on social media, in the streets, and in clubs and concert halls all over the world. And the bands playing it are more genuine and heartfelt than ever because they are in it for one reason: the love of rock ‘n’ roll.

Spend some time seeing and listening to these incredible young bands and their rabid fans and you will know that rock ‘n’ roll couldn’t be more alive. Yes, it’s not the same as it was for the first 50 years of rock’s existence, but the fire definitely still burns.

And it wasn’t some 15 year old kid in Saint Paul, Minnesota (to paraphrase Mr. Simmons) who killed the rock ‘n’ roll goose that laid the platinum egg…it was greedy, big city, record company moguls who made their own velvet noose to hang themselves with. It was they who took advantage of the consumer (and the artist for that matter) and drove them to use an alternative source of music presented to them.

For example, take the bill of goods the record industry sold the mainstream public when introducing the CD format. “We have to charge more for it, because it’s a new technology and there’s a cost to setting up the infrastructure to produce them.” The consumer believed them–it made sense–so they paid a $18.98 list price for a product they had been paying $7.99 list for previously. After all “you can’t break a CD with a hammer!” (Remember that?)

But when the infrastructure was in place and paid for in full, and the cost of producing a CD dropped to less than a dollar, did the record companies roll back the list price in kind? Not on your life. They weren’t about to do the right thing and cut their increased revenue stream. Those fat cats were enjoying their ill-gotten gains way too much.

So when the general public finally realized they were being had, and the opportunity arose for them to stick it to the man, what did they do? The same thing their Woodstock Nation, baby boomer parents had done when they had their chance…they stuck it and they stuck it good. Does anyone remember Abbey Hoffman’s “Steal this Book”, the massive selling, early 70’s hippy guide “focused on ways to fight the government, and against corporations in any way possible.”

Multiply that by a googolplex.

Is it hard to make it rock ‘n’ roll? You bet. Always was, always will be. Will rockers make as much money as they did “back in the day”? Probably not. But that won’t stop them, and they’ll be motivated by a much more genuine love of the art, and great rock will continue to be produced, played and embraced by rock fans.

So in conclusion: Record company executives killed the old rock ‘n’ roll business model…and Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Dead!

Dee Snider/ September 10th, 2014

The MUMN Files

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I can remember spending countless hours hunched over my little notebooks (at first) and then, eventually, over typewriters, putting out short stories and my first early attempts at novels. That was well over thirty years ago, and so much has changed since then. More than just the technology (because today, all of my writing is done on the computer), my way of both storytelling and crafting a story has changed. 

Back in those days, my writing style was very linear. This was more of a practical matter than a creative one. With handwritten manuscripts or those produced on a typewriter, it’s very much a one-shot deal. If you want to make changes, use White-out or a red pen. If you want to add, cut, or move scenes, it usually involved the physical act of cutting apart printed pages and taping them together as you wanted them, or worse — rewriting an entire page (or pages — shudder!) altogether.

Because of this, I didn’t do a lot of revision work as I went along, and once a plot point or idea was on paper, it was the same as being set in stone to me. I don’t remember that this ever bothered me too much, so I suspect at that point, that was simply the way my muse worked. Today, it’s a hell of a lot more complicated.

For every manuscript I write now, I keep what’s called a “Might-Us-Might-Not” (or “MUMN”) file. It’s a Word document full of deleted scenes, or scenes I’ve reworked in the actual manuscript. Sometimes I never use the passages found in my MUMN files, but other times, I’ve found it to be an extremely helpful practice. I juggle scenes a lot now; what seems like a good idea when I’m writing it may not feel like a good “fit” once I’ve finished it — but later on in the manuscript, I discover the perfect place where it could work. Sometimes the simple revising act of shuffling scenes around can change the whole direction of the plot, or add some needed conflict or tension, or even further enhance ongoing character development. Every once in a blue moon, I can even take a scene I’ve wound up cutting from one manuscript and finding a way to make it work in another. For example, the pivotal fight scene between Brandon Noble and his brother, Caine, in “Dark Thirst” was a recycled version of a deleted fight scene from another book I’d written in a completely different genre, the high fantasy “Book of Dragons.” 

I suppose it makes me a hoarder of sorts, this habit of keeping deleted scenes for potential recycling. But today, for example, while I was working on “In the Heart of Darkness,” I was able to resuscitate a scene from my MUMN file, plus do some strategic rearranging of some scenes in which I’d liked the writing, but not the original placement in the manuscript, and make it all come together seamlessly. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so well, but today it “clicked” for me when I was finished, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. I’m hoping readers will be, too — and I’m hoping to have the book ready and released by Halloween!

Every writer has his or her own habits and quirks. The MUMN file has, with time, become one of my most beneficial. So there’s my writing tip du jour, LOL.

New book trailer!

I’m so excited to have actor Chris Patton performing the voice over in the trailer for my upcoming release, “In the Heart of Darkness (Book 9 in the Brethren Series, if you’re keeping count.) Chris narrated my audio book, Dark Passages: Tristan & Karen as well as the recent audio version of the Guardians of the Galaxy novelization, and is known worldwide for his work in numerous anime films and TV shows. You can find out more about him here. If it’s possible to have a crush on someone’s voice, then I’ve got one on his, LOL.

RIP: James Foley, American journalist

Every day, my Facebook feed is clogged with stories about Ferguson, MO. Not once have I seen anyone comment on the death of James Foley, an American journalist murdered in cold, cowardly blood by Islamist extremists, ISIS, for presumed offenses he had nothing to do with. He died while trying to keep the world informed about the ongoing struggles and strifes against humanity in the Middle East in general, and Syria specifically.

We’ve all heard about Michael Brown, the 18-year-old killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. We’ve all seen his picture, read about his life, know his biography. But have you seen James Foley’s picture? Do you know anything about him, or his life, or what he’d hoped to accomplish working in the Middle East? 

In case you don’t, let me introduce you to him. 

From his bio on Wikipedia: “James Wright Foley (October 18, 1973 – c. August 19, 2014) was an American freelance photojournalist. He worked for the U.S. GlobalPost news company, until November 22, 2012, when he was abducted in northwestern Syria while covering the Syrian Civil War. In August 2014, Foley became the first American citizen to be killed by the Islamic State.

Foley was a native of Rochester, New Hampshire, and attended Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He was the oldest of five children born to John and Diane Foley. He as a Catholic.

Foley graduated from Marquette University in 1996. He graduated from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2003. Foley graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2008.

Foley was kidnapped in northwestern Syria along with his translator in November 2012. The translator was later released. ISIS demanded $132 million from Foley’s family and GlobalPost, his employer, for his release during a period of time when communication was being exchanged November to December of 2013. The chief executive officer of GlobalPost, Philip Balboni, stated that the company spent millions on efforts to bring Foley home, including hiring an international security firm. In September 2013 the firm was able to locate Foley and had been able to follow his locations. He had moved many times during his captivity.”

Where is the indignation and outrage against HIS murderers? Where are the mobs of people protesting this heroic young man’s brutal, sadistic, sick murder? We’re too busy fighting ourselves – we’re doing this man and his sacrifice — and the deaths of every American serviceman, journalist, or aid worker who has been butchered — a cruel disservice. We’re doing the dirty work for the sons of bitches who did this.

Here’s a story about James Foley and the courage he demonstrated right until the end. I hope you are as horrified and outraged as I am. And DO NOT tell me this is Obama’s fault. I’m not interested in political bullshit finger-pointing. ISIS is to blame – they are the ONLY ONES TO BLAME.:http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/french-journalist-partly-ids-james-foley-killer-article-1.1912022.