Author Lorelei Bell, welcomes you! Vampires are my addiction, I assume they are yours as well. Come and journey with me to the darker shadows, where the vampires lurk, watching us, waiting for us weak humans...

The journey awaits, come!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I had to laugh the other day when I spoke to a student on my bus who I handed a business card to for links to my books and my website. I said, "My books don't have sparkly vampires in them." and he said "Thank God!"

So, for those of you who DO NOT LIKE YOUR VAMPIRES TO SPARKLE, this is the place for you!
Photo: This one makes me think of Dante, after he died and came back as an Undead.
This picture makes me think of Dante who dies in 2nd book, but comes back at end of the third as an Undead
And if you like a heavy dose of romance, forget it. I don't do romance novels spiked with vampires who can walk around in the daylight. Nope. I go for a more traditional vampire character. One who needs to be invited into a house, and who need to drink blood, and  yet I've managed to give my vampires a brain where they've figured out how to get their blood from living donors, and not kill anyone, or let the general public figure out that there are vampires around. Especially those who live in Tremayne Towers in Chicago.

My vampire novels follow the main character Sabrina Strong, a touch clairvoyant, into her suddenly exciting adventures working for a vampire magnate, Bjorn Tremayne. You like your vampires to be calculating, somewhat cold, and who can thrall with a glance, this guy's for you. Once Tremayne sets his sights on Sabrina, no other vampire under him can claim her. Not even the vampire who she imprinted with.

But if you think Sabrina winds up with either of these vampires, you're wrong. I don't write romance where two star-crossed lovers wind up together. Life doesn't go that way and I think the mystery, danger and all the other action out-weighs the romantic thread.

However, one character who she meets during this first episode, Vampire Ascending, and is not a vampire, but a shift-changer, is assigned to her as her protector. Dante Badheart, the Native American shaman who works for Tremayne is given the assignement to protect Sabrina 24/7, because someone is trying to kill her while she is trying to use her clairvoyant powers to learn who killed Tremayne's wife.

In the second book, Vampire's Trill, things begin to really come together on who kidnapped Sabrina's best friend, Jeanie Woodbind, as she embarks of the task of learning exactly what the wife of Tremayne's brother is up to, since they are certain she was behind his and Letitia's death. But when Dante returns to his native land to try and heal from shifting into a mouse, and then back to a human too fast, Sabrina gets visions of him in a way that points toward his passing. And I won't give away the exciting ending, as she deals with two people she's known all her life, and become something quite scary and unexpectedly want to kill her.

The tale continues in third book, Vampire Nocturne, which will have an early January release date. And I'm very excited, as this book has Sabrina going into another world, and it has a lot of Steampunk in it. This one will be slightly more romantic than the last, but not in any way loosing the edgyness of the frist two. Hope you'll stop by after the new year to check it out!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lorelei Bell's Twist in the Tale Vampire Story!

Just had to write this review. This is a  really cute story that I had the pleasure of reading recently.

Vampire fiction author, Lorelei Bell (the other half of this blog) really outdid herself on this one!
She's got her own style and it's great. I've read other stories and (she's famous for teasers) that I've loved.

I don't think there are too many stories about vampires that are this entertaining. 
Here's my review:

I really liked this light-hearted story. I found it well done and engrossing. The heroine was likeable too; the setting of the cemetery was vividly done. There wasn’t too much description, just enough I’d say, leaving the reader with a real sense of setting and of time and place.

And then there was the twist in the tale. I hadn’t expected it and found myself smiling with delight. I love to be surprised like that.

Yes, this is a tasty little treat of a vampire story!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Report Erotic Driving

Funny how a few miss placed letters will give a word a whole different meaning.
I drive a bus for a living (transit) and I get behind school buses all the time and see this sign in the window "To Report Erratic Driving call...." I want to change that one word. It's then very funny, is it not?
Well, I wanted to touch on the spelling of words that sound the same but have different spellings and different meanings.
Take for example my latest short story up, Vampire, My Own. In it the character will use a bow and arrow. I took archery a very long time ago. I thought it was sort of fun. There's something you do with the arrow when you fit it into the string of the bow, so you can draw it back, aim and hit the target. Do you know what that word is? If you've never taken archery, or even have any idea about the sport, I'll give you a clue. It rhymes with Knock. It's spelled NOCK. You "nock" the arrow.
So, a lot of people might come across this one word in my short story. I think I've gotten a review commenting on that, in fact for that "type-o". Nock is not a type-o. I'm not surprised that people don't know this. In fact I couldn't recall how to spell it exactly, but I wasn't surprised that it was N-O-C-K.
Vampire, My OwnSo, next time you come across a word in someone's manuscript and they might be doing something you've never heard of... look it up. Make sure about it. Like I did. I looked up archery and made sure that was the correct spelling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vampire, My Own

I have to admit something. Since I was a teenager, I've always had a fascination with vampires. I watched every film that came on TV, and any show that had a vampire in it. That's before it became "cool".

But I wondered what MY vampire would be like. That is, if they existed.

Mysterious? Of course. I used to draw vampires walking along in a cemetery.

Handsome? Well, duh!

Romantic? Most definitely.

Dangerous? Comes with the teritory.

So, it's no wonder that I might write novels about vampires, as well as short stories. I've done a number of them. I'm working to get a few published. One, Holy Devil, is published on Amazon. But I will be adding a few to my list.

A short story Vampire, My Own, was something I came up and realized this is very Buffy-esque, and YA, which I don't often write, but being that it was to be a short story, I decided this might work.

It's about a teenage girl who discovers a vampire who lives in a nearby graveyard. In fact its a cemetery through which she takes a short cut many times at night, but this one night Riley decides to drop in on her and introduce himself to Karen. Karen isn't too shocked by the fact that there is a vampire living so close by. In fact he fascinates her. Riley is from the Civil War era, and seems to be a perfect gentleman. Karen becomes terribly attracted to him and can't wait to tell her best friend, Angeline about him.

Of course a little romance begins as Karen seeks him, although he doesn't seem to be around one night and she becomes worried, wondering who he might be with, because, after all, he never took blood from her, as a matter of fact he hadn't even kissed her.

Then, one day her friend, Angeline doesn't come to school. She's sick. Karen thinks nothing of it, but when she goes in the next day to gather homework from her teachers, she learns a horrible thing: Angeline is dead.

Vampire, My OwnMy story doesn't stop there, of course. Karen's decision to do something about this is the clincher, and the way I twist the ending... well, let's just say I think it will surprise most. And I think it suits the young crowd.
Here is the LINK:


A noise above her head made a distinctive sound that brought to mind sheets put out to dry on the clothes line when the wind whipped them. Choosing to ignore it, she trekked on. The noise seemed to follow her. Fear wrapped itself around her, giving her chills. Her footfalls quickened as she dashed toward the fence where she knew she could slip through to her backyard. The noise came closer and louder. She looked up, into the sky. There, against the moonlight, was something flying. Something very large. Too large to be a bat. It looked like a man with wings—which was incredible. They were huge wings. Like that of a Pterodactyl. She thought she was hallucinating as she stood there panting. Oddly enough, she could run no more, as if mesmerized on the spot by this thing flapping its wings, lowering itself toward her.

He landed effortlessly in front of her path. Heart thumping in her ears, she stared at him. Regally handsome features, with large eyes and a high forehead. She fell in love with his face the moment she saw him in the moonlight. A crown of very think, dark hair halloed his white face. She still wasn't sure she wasn't imagining this. That's when the wings disappeared.

What the hell?

He bowed. “Pardon my intrusion, pretty miss, but I do not often see a young lady running through my graveyard at night.” He had a slight southern drawl.

You're graveyard?” her voice held disbelief in it.

Yes. My abode is just over there.” He pointed toward the large Riley mausoleum. “Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Lute Riley.”

I'm Karen Merdock. So, you live here? In the cemetery?” She resisted the urge to sputter her disbelief.

Yes. I stay in the mausoleum on occasion.”

In the mausoleum?”

Yes. Sometimes there. Sometimes in my family home, in a secret room that no one knows about.” He smiled down at her, anointing her with the full force of his eyes. No. It was more than his eyes. She could feel his aura, his animal magnetism. She found she couldn't move away even if she wanted to—and she didn't. He leaned forward, and said low, “I'm a vampire, by the way. You aren't frightened, I hope?”

A dog's barking startled her. Bright yard lights went on in the back of Mr. Riggs' house. He yelled at his dog with a murderous voice.

Uh, no. Not really. I'm totally cool with that you're a vampire, and live here and stuff.” Lame, Karen, so lame. Looking up to take in Lute she thought his hair looked more like sheep's wool it was so thick. He wore a yellow tee shirt with the Batman emblem on it. She had to stifle a chuckle at the irony.

Mr. Riggs' dog quit barking, and the yard light went out. Karen's disappointment made her frown, as she couldn't see Lute as well, now.

The mausoleum belongs to my family. This was our land, and all of the Rielys have been buried here since the Civil War,” he said, hand motioning around himself.

Except for you?” She flipped back her long blond hair behind her shoulders. She wasn't about to question his expertise on this. “So, you were turned back then?”

A soft chuckle escaped him. “Yes. And then I awoke as I am now. A vampire.”

So, you live here. How come I've never seen you before?”

He shrugged. “I might ask the same of you?”

I live just over there.” She pointed. “I'm heading there now. My mother's going to kill me if I don't get home soon!” she fretted.

Then we must get you there safely. Come. It isn't safe for a fair young, lovely lady like yourself to be walking about alone at night un-escorted. Especially through a graveyard.”

Because someone like you might try and take advantage of someone like me?” she challenged with a smirk. ©Lorelei Bell

Friday, August 24, 2012

Demons, Daemons

~from the dictionary:
1. A devil or evil being; especially, in the New Testament, an unclean spirit that possesses and afflicts a person.

I guess that is as good a description as we are all familiar with. It also is (2.) a persistently tormenting person, force, or passion.

Okay. But what do they look like? Do they look like us? Or are they different looking?

I've got books that have depictions of demons in them. Some resemble bats, rats, snakes, and a wild combination of just about every creature, including man.

So, as a writer who dreamed up new/different worlds, I had to come up with some ideas as to what demons might look like. Maybe some looked human enough. Others, not so much.

In the second book, Vampire's Trill, my main character, Sabrina Strong meets a few demons. One is a Nelapsi demon, and considered an ancient relation to vampires.

I wasn't entirely over my anger when I heard Rick say quietly, "That's a Nelapsi.”

Nelapsi? Really? What is a Nelapsi?”

A really ugly demon. Well, actually it's part demon and part vampire. But then they're closely related.”

Got cha.”

That was when I saw the attacker's face. His head was totally bald, and red eyes held me in their thrall, the pupils were cat-like. He was eerily handsomein a demonic way. The ugly parts were more the two snake tails and giant bat wings.

Your woman?” he asked Tremayne, his smile slanted sinisterly, filled with sharp teeth. Fangs in both the lower and upper jaw.

Get your own, you slimy asshole!” Rick slung bravely.

The creature's smile broadened, but he narrowed his eyes at Rick.

You bring a leprechaun and a lovely human female with you here? Bjorn, you must have lost some brain cells in the centuries you've been on earth.”
But in other places the demon isn't quite so hard on the eyes.
That would be Jacob in another section of this scene:

I entered the room, and the women followed me in. The walls were made of masoned stone, the floor looked like slate. Inside, my guides took me into another room where there was an old style lounge, red velvet covering it, one end slightly higher than the other. I recognized it as a fainting couch. Before I could throughly take in my surroundings, the women were touching my clothes, trying to undress me. I jumped back, and they looked confused. They said something to me, and I tried to explain that I didn't need their help, but they couldn't understand. Obviously, we had a language barrier.

Concern rippling their delicate brows, they spoke, slightly frantic, to one another, and then one of them scurried through another doorwaythis one had green veils over itand in a moment, a man stepped out. He wore a light gray robe with his hands tucked inside the deep sleeves. His face was so gorgeous I was stunned mute.

He spoke a single word to them that must have translated “leave,” and they darted through the green, curtained door and disappeared.

Welcome. I am Jacob. You are a stranger here, yet I welcome you happily,” he said in a nice, mellow voice. “Your name is Sabrina?”

Yes.” I was also stunned he knew my name, but, I reminded myself, I was in another realm.

He made a sudden intake of air, his head tilted slightly, and he blinked those brilliant blue eyes. A look of surprised delight lit across his face. “You are the sibyl?”

Oh, uh, yeah,” I said, realizing this might be significant, but I was thinking of the demons who wanted to kill me earlier. I bit my lip watching what he would do, my hand on the laser's handle.

He made a low bow, his long, black hair falling into his face as he straightened and he had to shake it. “I welcome you, mistress. Please, understand that we only wish to give you a retreat, allow you to bathe andforgive us if our ways are not your waysbut you must dress in something more... appropriate?” He was looking me over. I'd noticed that everyone here (except for Naamah, who was actually nude), was in either a dress or a robe.

Oh, sure. No problem,” I said, relief flooding me.

This way,” he said, hand outstretched toward the next curtained-off threshold.

I went ahead through the entry and found myself in a small, low-ceilinged room with a sunken bath that probably resembled the one Cleopatra herself plunged into. Decorative lanterns cast golden light all along the walls, and their gentle glow reflected in the water. I was happy to see this was a private bath.

Disrobe, mistress, and bathe. I will return with your new attire.”

I watched him duck out. I stood with indecision. This situation sent red flags up all over the place, but the water was scented, and I could tell it would feel sooooo good. Worried I'd be in the middle of pulling off my underwear when Jacob returned, I quickly stripped, letting everything lay wherever it fell. I located the steps that descended into the pool. Poking my toes in, I found that it was a perfect bath temperature. In a moment, I was neck-deep and swishing around in my own private hot tub. Eventually I found that there were a couple of little ledges to sit and settle back on. Luxuriating, I leaned back with my eyes closed. Nice. All I needed was a glass of Moscato, and a hunk of chocolate and I could forget where I was.

My eyes snapped open at the sound of water parting with someone entering the pool. I saw Jacob, totally nude, striding into my personal hot tub. ©Lorelei Bell
Well, yummy! I felt that the contrast between the two demons would give you an idea of the types of demons I dream up. And just in case you aren't sure what Jacob is---hint, hint, he gives pleasure, and -bus is part of his name, and there is a female version of this. Can you guess what type of demon he is?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Real Horror Inspiring Fictional Horror

Sometimes I don't think we are aware of the real horrific events that often inspired great horror fiction and film.

Here are some cases that were the inspiration for some great novels and films:

Burke and Hare at their trial
Edinburgh 1829

William Burke and Willaim Hare were two Ediburgh residents who discovered a real money spinner. When a lodger (an old man) happened to die owing Hare money (Hare and his lady friend rented to lodgers), Hare along with Burke decided to give the body over to the medical institute run by Dr. Knox.

They were delighted wtih the money paid for the corpse. Corpses were much sought after for medical research as the only ones available came from executed criminals. Thus a new business was born with two eager entrepreneurs ready to make a go of it.

Now they were not actually grave robbers. They were more like grave fillers as they began to kill for money. Burke by 'burking' (smothering and compressing the chest) and Hare by helping him.

Of course they got carried away and when a popular, very young and very healthy lady turned up dead on the dissection table their numbers were up.

Dr. Knox was a dubious character himself for never once questioning how they were able to get so many bodies for him, but nothing was ever done to Knox.

Burke was hanged and Hare cut a deal and testified against Burke. He was released and was last seen leaving Edinburgh. I personaly don’t think Hare got very far!

Their story and their hideous crimes are thought to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Body Snatcher.

The Mary Rogers Murder

The Mary Rogers Case was infamous in New York, there have been books about it and it is still spoken about.

Employed in a cigar store, she was a popular young lady, much admired for her looks. Among her admiring customers were literary greats: James Fennimore Cooper and Washington Irving.

In July 1841 she disappeared. Her body was found three days later, floating in the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey.

Her face was badly battered, her clothes torn. The coroner said there was evidence of a 'man's thumb mark' on her neck. She had been gagged and choked and he concluded she had been 'outraged.'

He did also say there was no evidence of pregnancy which is interesting because there were rumors that she died as a result of a failed abortion.

Her fiance committed suicide by poison which many people felt was telling.
The case was never solved however.

Is Edgar Allan Poe’s sequel to The Murders of the Rue Morgue.

In the story, the body of Marie Rogêt, a perfume shop employee, is found in the Seine River and the media take a keen interest in the mystery.

It features the Detective, Dupin who eventually, unlike the real Rogers case solves the murder.

As Poe wrote in a letter: "under the pretense of showing how Dupin... unravelled the mystery of Marie's assassination, I, in fact, enter into a very rigorous analysis of the real tragedy in New York".

He situated the narrative in Paris using the details of the original tragedy.

Deacon William Brodie

Deacon William Brodie was a respected member of Edinburgh's society, a skilled cabinet-maker and Deacon. What few people knew was Brodie led a secret life as the leader of a gang of master burglars.

He was married but he had two mistresses and a number of children by them that he supported by nefarious means.

As a sideline to his cabinet making he repaired locks which helped him in his thievery!

Brodie's last crime was an armed raid on the King’s Excise Offices. It went wrong. Yet Brodie escaped to the Netherlands, but was arrested and returned to Edinburgh for trial.

There wasn’t any evidence to incriminate Brodie until a search of his house revealed the tools of his thievery. The jury found Brodie and an accomplice guilty.

Both men were hanged.

Brodie was supposed to have bribed the hangman but it didn’t work and he is buried in an unmarked grave.

His unusual double-life might indeed have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson, whose father had had furniture made by Brodie. Stevenson included aspects of Brodie's life and character in his story of a split personality, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'.

Vlad Dracul Tepes ruled an area of the Balkans called Wallachia in the mid 15th century. He was also called by the names Vlad III, Vlad Dracul and Vlad the Impaler. The word Tepes stands for "impaler".

His was a turbulent life lived in cruel times. He fought against the Turks and is considered a hero in his native Romania because of it.

He was engaged in constant battles with the Turks. At one point the Sultan launched a massive invasion of his native land of Walachia.

Vlad finding himself without allies burned his own villages and poisoned the wells along the way, so that the Turkish army would suffer.

But there was more, for the Sultan saw the hundreds of stakes holding the carcasses of Turkish captives, a horror scene which was ultimately nicknamed the "Forest of the Impaled."

This worked and the Sultan withdrew.

Note: Victor Hugo, in his Legende des Siecles (Legend of the Centuries) recalls this particular incident).

Yet Vlad's younger brother, Radu, was persuaded by the enemy to take the Walachian throne.

At the head of a Turkish army and joined by Vlad's detractors, Radu pursued his brother to Poenari Castle on the Arges River.

Vlad’s wife in order to escape capture, committed suicide by hurling herself from the upper battlements, her body falling down the precipice into the river below, a scene depicted in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula.

Vlad, escaped the siege of his fortress but was assassinated in 1476.

But even when fighting no one he meted out terrible punishments for arbitrary reasons.

He is credited with killing between 40,000 to 100,000 people in this fashion.

Bram Stoker it is thought based his Count Dracula on Vlad and gave us the classic, Dracula.

What has always struck me about Vlad’s staking of victims was that the stake and the idea of staking a vampire through the heart is used in Dracula and in so much vampire viction. I think that is an amazing connection.

Elizabeth Báthory, also known as the Blood Countess was a sadistic sexual murderer, she tortured and killed servants and reputedly bathed in their blood because she thought it beneficial to stay looking young.

The killings and tortures finally caught up with her and she was put on trial.

A servant testified at her trial that the Countess made incantations to her mirror and would gaze into it "for over two hours at a stretch."

Elizabeth's old nurse testified that about 40 girls had been tortured and killed. In fact, Elizabeth killed 612 women -- and in her diary, she documented their deaths. A complete transcript of the trial was made at the time and it survices today in Hungary

In the traditional tale (the non-Disney version ) of the Snow White story, the Queen asks that Snow White's heart (or lungs and liver) be brought to her. When the man ordered to murder the young lady returns with the same items from a deer, the Queen commits what she thinks is an act of cannibalism.

When her crime is discovered she is forced to wear red hot slippers and dance until she drops dead.

That is I believe is a reference to Bathory’s proclivity of burning people for slight infractions.

Ed Gein

Yup old Ed is Plainfield, Wisconsin’s infamous one-time resident.

Ed was into necrophilia and murder. Although not a serial killer by police standards as he is thought to have ‘only’ murdered two women, Ed is still considered a murderous deviant.

He murdered two women in his town and had one gutted and hanging in his farmhouse, the other woman was murdered and used to make some trophies.

Ed’s mother Augusta instilled a frightening fear of women in Ed and it is thought that set poor Ed on his road to perdition. Ed’s brother by the way is thought to have been murdered by him although it was never proven.

Ed was arrested and died in the insane asylum.

Within three years of his arrest the novel Psycho written by Robert Bloch was published and the brilliant film by Hitchcock based on that book was released.

The irony here is Ed Gein’s crimes were far worse than Norman Bates’ crimes. His story was far more horrific than the novel, Psycho.

Real horror, fictional horror--horror nevertheless because horror is horror, but I think it is safe to agree that non-fictional horror is by far the worse because it is real!

I think it is quite obvious as to why horror fiction and film exists, if there wasn't horror and evil in the world we as writers could not write about it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Peter Kurten: Vampire of Dusseldorf

“After my head has been chopped off, will I still be able to hear, at least for a moment, the sound of my own blood gushing from my neck? That would be the pleasure to end all pleasures.”

― Peter Kurten 1883 - 1930

Peter Kurten, known as 'The Vampire of Dusseldorf,' committed a series of sex crimes and murders against adults and children, although it is his crimes against children that have made him infamous.

Kurten was born into poverty and witnessed violence. His father, a violent alcoholic, sexually abused Kurten’s mother and sisters.

While fairly young, Peter began committing various offenses for which he served some time. When released he began torturing animals. He soon graduated to attacking humans.

He served eight years in prison for strangling a ten year old girl. He was released in 1921 and returned to Dusseldorf where he began the series of crimes for which he is best known.

From February 1929 through November 1929, Kurten went on the attack and viciously murdered six people.

Then in early 1930, Kurten began a series of attacks with a hammer. None of his victims died. His last one reported him to the police.

Kurten confessed to nine murders and seven attempted murders and in April 1931, he was convicted and sentenced to die by guillotine.

 "I had a small but sharp pocket knife with me and I held the childs head and cut her throat. I heard the blood spurt and drip on the mat beside the bed. It spurted in an arch, right over my hand. The whole thing lasted about three minutes. Then I went locked the door again and went back home to Dusseldorf."

~Peter Kurten

Fritz Lang directed the classic film 'M'—formerly entitled: Murderers Among Us.

Lang was asked to change the title by Nazi officials as they thought the film referred to them. Lang and the star of the film, Peter Lorre left Germany for Hollywood soon after.

If you haven’t seen the film, you should. It is creepy, atmospheric and very powerful and for a film, that old—well that tells you something.

The direction is superb and Lorre’s performance is memorable. However, as compelling as the film is, nothing could have properly portrayed the hideousness of Peter Kurten and his crimes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mystery of Murder Castle

Secret passages, sliding walls, trapdoors in the floors, oddly angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, windowless rooms, doors which opened only from the outside...

A fun house?

No. This was no fun house. This was a torture-chamber of horrors in real life, built in Chicago 1893. At this time the World's Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) was held in Chicago, and many people were drawn to the fair. Holmes Castle seemed to be exactly the place to stay. Large, it took up a whole block and was three stories tall. Built by a man by the name of H.H. Holmes.

Sound-proof sleeping chambers with peepholes, asbestos-padded walls, gas pipes leading into some, and sliding walls, or vents that Holmes controlled from some other place in his huge “castle”, which he himself only knew the actual lay out, as he would change builders during the construction.

You would definitely not want to spend a night here. Your sleep would be permanent. After being asphyxiated. Or worse. It was believed that Holmes would place his victims into these special chambers, and then pumped lethal gas into them, controlled from his own bedroom where he would watch what happened.

In some cases he might ignite the gas to incinerate them, or sometimes a stretching rack he had devised.

Holmes had trapdoors in the floors with greased shoots, leading down into a two-level cellar. There he had installed a large furnace. In some cases it is thought that he would take twisted pleasure in dissecting the corpses, strip the flesh from the bones, and sell the skeletons to a medical school. (Later on, it was said that parts of bodies found were so dismembered and decomposed that it was difficult to tell how many bodies there actually were.)

His alias was Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. Aside from being a psychopathic serial killer, he was a swindler. He liked to swindle insurance companies. In many cases having a ready made corpse for the body of someone so as to collect on the insurance. He was also married to two women at the same time in two different states. He also liked to marry rich widows and then get them to leave him their wealth and then kill them.

His undoing was his last swindle. He found a lawyer who would go in on a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 by taking a policy out on himself, and faking his own death. He promised a man he went in on with $500 commission for the name of the lawyer who he could trust his plan to. The insurance company became suspicious and refused to pay. He decided to try a similar plan with his associate, Benjamin Pitezel. Pitezel had agreed to fake his own death, arranging that his wife would collect. Holmes was to find an appropriate cadaver to play the role of Pitezel. Instead, Holmes killed Pitezel. Evidence in the case against him was that he had administered chloroform to Pitezel after he died, trying—presumably--to fake a suicide.

The only thing that foiled Holmes was that he forgot to pay off a man who helped supply him with the name of the lawyer to help him with this scheme, and he tipped off the police.

As far as “the Castle” Holmes built in Chicago, a custodian for the place informed the police that he was never allowed to clean the upper floors, and so the police began a thorough investigation over the next few months. There are conflicting numbers as to Holmes' victims, but it has been said that anywhere from 20 to 100, and as many as 200, based upon the missing persons reports of the time, and testimony of his neighbors who saw him escorting young women to his hotel. Yep. A real life “Hotel California” where nobody leaves. He apparently liked blondes.

Holmes was convicted of murdering Pitezel and he confessed soon after, to 30 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis and Toronto. Some of these people were actually still alive. Apparently the man was such a good liar, even he couldn't keep track of his lies. At one point he even said he was possessed by Satan. You think?

On May 7, 1897, Holmes was hanged. It's really too bad we can't hang them a second and maybe a third time. However, he didn't die right away. It took him approximately 20 minutes to die.

Lorelei Bell's author's blog:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch ~ a Review

There I was in the coffee and candy aisle and edged over to the books and magazine section (of course), of my local grocery store.

There it was. I saw the title: Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch by Lara Parker.

Well, I had to have it. I needed something to read in the evenings during my vacation, and so I bought it. I was hopeful for an enjoyable read and I was not disappointed.

Description from book back cover:
Freed from his vampire curse, Barnabas Collins is ready to embark on a new life and marriage with his savior, the virtuous Dr. Julia Hoffman. But when Antoinette, a beautiful flower child with a shocking resemblance to the immortal witch, Angelique, rebuilds the Old House, his past returns to haunt him. Discovering a grisly corpse in the basement—where is old casket once lay—Barnabas realizes another vampire has invaded his domain. His fight to protect his family from this new threat will take Barnabas back through time to an evil moment in America's history: the corrupt witch trials of old Salem.

I enjoyed the history told from an innocent girl, Meranda du Val, who is accused of witchcraft by girls of the village. Although she is innocent of all their accusations, she is magical. And—I loved this part—she could fly, and she had been raised by the Indians during her childhood. This all ties in with the ending so well!

I loved the story told from both her voice, and Barnabas' through out the story. Meranda's story takes place in 1692 from Salem, Massachusetts, while Barnabas' takes place in 1971. The time lines were well depicted, well organized when she went back in time too. Laura must have done some vast research on how people spoke, and lived back then. And also what it must have been like to live in Salem during the witch-hating craze where all it took was someone saying your looking at them cause them to feel as though you were on fire, or that you caused a cow to die, etc. And the corrupt judges—wanting to take over land which you owned pretended to believe them.

Meanwhile, Barnabas is trying to decide if this woman (Antoinette), who looks just like the evil Angelique is really her reincarnation, after she has bought the Old House, and began decorating it just as it was before a fire took it. Meanwhile he suffers from the daily injections that Julia gives him in order to make him human again. He's finding out how it is to be human and aging. But at the same time enjoying certain delights he never could before—such as going out into the sunlight. I felt Parker really captured Barnabas in this story.

And what of Antoinette's daughter who she rescues from an insane asylum? And there is something attacking the hippies who are camped out on her property. Is it a vampire, werewolf, or zombie? Barnabas needs to find it and stop them before it's too late!

Parker's beautiful prose paints the surroundings wonderfully, dutifully adhering to the diction of the times—which ever story we are in at the moment, from the 1600's to the 1970's. It is spellbinding suspense and the storytelling does pull you in. I wanted to read it all in a matter of nights, but held back so as to enjoy it for an hour or so each night.

I enjoyed this read, and want to get the next book as soon as I can find it. I think anyone who loves the darkness of the series, or someone who is looking for a great read could really get into this book. I highly recommend it!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Confessions of Lorelei, The Vampire Writer

When I was young, I was called the “artist”. I drew on everything, including walls and sidewalks. The walls I got in trouble with—especially when I used my sister's favorite red lipstick. And I probably was in trouble for the school's sidewalks too, only they had no proof it was me that had done it!

I did not discover writing was so much doggone fun until I got into my senior year in high school and took a creative writing class, taught by our English teacher. Once I realized that writing a scene was much easier than doing the cartoons I had been drawing, I traded the colored pencils for a lead one.

When I expressed my desire to become an author to my English teacher, she merely looked down her nose at me and told me to choose some other profession because my spelling sucked, and my grammar was even worse—not in those words, exactly.

Did that devastate me? Well, it did, but it did not dampen my spirit. I worked on both areas. But that was rather hard because we didn't have spell check back then. But I wrote and wrote and wrote—and read a number of vampire and horror novels. I gave up social life. I hated when people called asking me to go do something with them. Damn pesky people anyway!

At some point in my early teens I became interested in vampires. I think I can give the original soap opera Dark Shadows the burden of blame, because I absolutely loved it. I ran home from school to watch it, or came in on the summer day from playing to watch it. I also watched horror flicks on late night TV too, and was considered “weird”. Anything that had to do with vampires, I had to watch, read or look at it. Back then people were NOT into vampires, and if you were you were definitely among the 1% who were—which included a lot of writers, actors and directors. So, I was in good company!

Another reason I became interested in vampires/the undead, may have been because death touched me when young. My mother died of lung cancer the summer before I turned 12. My younger brother and I did not have closure—we did not go to the funeral. I don't know if it would have been better, or made a difference, but I do know that I spent a year believing she would walk through the back door looking fine.

This one moment in my life is part of the reason I included in my Sabrina Strong Series that her mother also was dying of cancer when she was 11. It was my little secret revision of my own personal history.

These books are vastly different from my very first attempts at a vampire novel many decades ago when first I decided to pen one. Suffice it to say, it took me 5 years to develop and then write the first one, Vampire Ascending. Not one vampire is a cardboard character. Nor are the elves, shiftchanger, or my villain(s). I'm going to surprise you, give you cliff hangers and change the rules. Although there is romance in this book I will not hook Sabrina up with the most likely candidate. There's more than one guy who is likely to be her love interest. This is basically urban fantasy but with a blend of mystery, adventure and romance.

Also, I did not want to write about a kick-ass heroine, because I can't really relate to them. Seems that there are a lot of books written which have a woman being turned into a vampire, too. Sabrina doesn't get turned. But she does get bitten by a werewolf. And that is only the beginning of Sabrina's strange, and at times dangerous initiations into the paranormal world. This becomes her challenge, too, as the series progresses, as well as dealing with vampires and all the other paranormal stuff that goes on around her—which brings her into more danger—while she tries to hide it from her “normal” brother. The general public doesn't know that vampires, werewolves, elves and so forth live right under their noses. But Sabrina was already aware of it. She remembered the beautiful man with large eyes, long black hair who visited her one night... and bit her. She hopes to find him through Tremayne's underground world.

Art may have been my first love, but writing has become my everlasting love.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Real Vampires: The Need For Bad Science by Horror Author Neil Benson

Undead Vampires, ranging from Dracula, created by Bram Stoker, to the more urbane Lestat, created by Anne Rice, all share two basic characteristics. They are dead, and they need to ingest blood from mortals to continue to exist. They also share common traits with mortals. They stand, talk, move, run, and carry out all usual physical activities done by mortals.

How do vampires carry out their active physical existences? Humans, mortals, have complex biological systems that provide energy to the muscles, tendons, bones, etc. that enable us to carry out activities. Vampires are dead: their hearts don't beat; their lungs don't breathe; and their former biological energy producing systems are no longer functioning. What is the source of energy for their muscles? Dr. Katherine Ramsland wrote an entire book, The Science of Vampires, speculating about how vampires function and think. Dr. Ramsland could only speculate, because neither she nor anyone else has examined a "real undead vampire."

In the movies and in novels, vampires share blood with humans to turn them into vampires. How is this possible? Without hearts that beat, what keeps vampire blood flowing? Vampires are always depicted as being cold to the touch, quite logical since they are dead. Vampires are also depicted as being impervious to the cold. However, if they are cold-blooded creatures and they are outside, or even inside, in freezing temperatures their blood would thicken. That issue has never been addressed to the best of my knowledge. It's not a matter of unanswerable questions as much as it is illogical possibilities.

We've also seen, or read about, vampires turning into some kind of dust or smoke. The transformation of matter from one form, a solid, into another form, gaseous, requires heat or a chemical process. Modern science has no means by which it can instantaneously turn a solid object into a gaseous one with the exception of a nuclear explosion. There's a lot of bad science going on when it comes to the undead vampire. The stories of these creatures arise from folklore and are given life not by some magical process, but by the creative imagination of writers. The reader also has to participate, because more than a little suspension of disbelief is required to go along with the idea. However, judging by the current popularity of vampire books, movies, and now television shows, science and logic are the furthest things from the minds of readers and viewers. A link to my vampire novel is provided below. I can write about vampires even if I don't think they exist.
 About Neil:
Neil Benson: Retired early after working thirty-seven years as a psychologist in mental health and behavioral managed-care healthcare to become a full-time writer. Unholy Embrace is his first published novel.

His short story, "A Problem with Werewolves", appeared in the October, 2010, issue of Night to Dawn magazine.

Neil lives with his life partner just outside north of Atlanta, Georgia.

He has a great website that he founded on the strong recommendations from several writers. Hope you visit it:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Post by Author Rebeka Harrington Asking: Vampires vs. Humans: Which is More Evil?

When asked that question a lot of folks would likely respond “vampires”. This is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact vampires drink blood and kill humans. Labelling vampires evil purely on the basis of their predatory nature is damn unfair in my opinion. Keep in mind we humans hunt and farm animals for our survival.

Let’s face facts, vampires need blood to survive. Do we condemn predators in the animal kingdom as evil because they hunt and kill? The way I see it, vampires are another step up in the food chain, no more inherently evil than a lion or tiger. It just so happens they feed on humans, and humanity likes to view itself as the Numero Uno species on the planet.

For a moment let’s ignore the fact vampires drink blood, subsequently killing humans, and take a closer look at human behaviour.

Throughout history, humanity has committed a litany of atrocities against itself and we continue to do so.  Think about it people; slavery, wars, religious and minority persecution, discrimination, murder, theft, assault, corruption amid governments and law enforcement. The list of humanities crimes is a mile long. Worst of all, we do this to each other, our own species! How can that not be described as evil?

What I like to do with my writing is explore humanity. Why do we not learn from our past? Why do we repeatedly commit the same crimes against each other? Is humanity incapable of learning from past mistakes?

Using vampires allows me to scrutinise human behaviour and make judgements or declarations human beings cannot. (Without coming across as sanctimonious prigs.) Vampires see straight through us, they see our strengths and weakness; they see where we went wrong.

In my latest book I look at relationships and sexuality. Now some of you may be offended with the notion of same-sex relationships, and that’s okay. But ask yourself, why? Why do we feel we have to label everything? Man or woman? Young or old? Black or white? When we label people and behaviour it bestows certain expectations, a lot of which are unfair and unjust.

Remember when it was assumed and expected that all women were good for was to marry and have children? That’s because women were lumped in together as the weaker sex. Roll forward in time and we now accept as fact, that women and men should be treated as equals. After all, they are free-thinking human beings.

Never would I like my writing to be described as a social lecture. This is why I use vampires. I want people to enjoy the story, and if they take something away from it that maybe makes them think a little; well that’s just a bonus.

About Rebeka Harrington

Raised in country Victoria, Rebeka started her writing career working for the local newspaper as a teenager. While she decided not to pursue this as a career, she has always enjoyed writing and being creative

With so many varied interests and eccletic taste in most things, Rebeka enjoys incorporating all of them in her writing. She particularly enjoys writing about vampires.

Rebeka seeks to define and explain vampires in a way not done before. This was achieved with her debut title "Vampires Revealed". Following titles revolve around exploring the world and characters created in her first release.

Currently Rebeka lives in Melbourne with her “demented” but lovable cat, dividing her time between writing and managing a small boutique entertainment agency.

Rebeka’s latest release Desires Revealed is available for purchase at:



Cosy up with her characters –

 Keep in touch and visit her blog –

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I'm just repeating this post because it's so timely! My novel, The House on Blackstone Moor is out and the sequel will be out very shortly.

Now, this post originally discussed gothic romance with dark horror.

As a matter of fact there is a warning about the horror level in the next book (due out this summer)!


Here's the post:

That's right. You read it correctly--with DARKEST, BLEAKEST, MOST FRIGHTENING HORROR.

I'm not speaking of the great gothic horror novels of the past. I'm talking Jane Eyre with vampires, okay?!

So the question is boys and girls, can these two narratives be happily married and produce successful novels?

I think they can!

I happen (aside from my husband) to be in love with the gothic narrative!
And here’s why:

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me..."

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier


“They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days. Not any more, though…”

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMaurier


“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been
wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but
since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold
winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre and a rain so
penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question...”

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


“During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the
autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the
heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a
singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself,
as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the

Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe


The gothic narrative is to my mind the greatest narrative ever written. We are from those very first lines pulled into another world—one that is distinctly and irrevocably different from our own.

Perhaps we read those lines and sensing the danger we might find within this world wonder if we should continue!

But those of us, who enjoy the thrill of the unknown especially when there is the possibility of serious danger, will happily proceed!

These authors write of dark dreams, of sadness and of death and of love too, but even in those novels that depict love there is often mystery and frightening evil as well.

I think books define who we are, when I was a young girl I was drawn to these books with their haunting narrative.

I don’t know why, nor do I know why as a pre-teen I was addicted to the morose prose of Edgar Allan Poe to the point where my parents called me Edgarina!

“Her writing is morbid.” My mother admitted worryingly to my eighth grade teacher.

“Let it come out!”

They did and it did!

I still am in love with this narrative and I always will be, not to imitate it but to redefine it in my own way.

My favorite fiction to read and to write is horror. Not paranormal romance as interesting as it may be, but utter inescapable, heart-throbbing, toe-curling, chills-down-your-back-horror!

And horror is terrifying or they would not call it horror!

Madness, obsession, devil worship—vampirism—these are the themes I use in my writing because they are part of the great and grim world of horror, because in the last analysis if it doesn’t scare the living daylights out of us, it isn’t horror.

And if there is dark horror in my first novel in THE BLACKSTONE VAMPIRE SERIES, wait until you read what the second, Unholy Testament is like. That will be released this summer.

You won't believe the darkness in that book, I can tell you!
I have Satanic sacrifices, orgies, devil worship (lots), and dare I say it--flesh eating vampires!

Well no one's perfect, right?

I mean it's dark, it's so dark that you might need to read it sparingly. But inasmuch as it is the confession of a demon, you will also be moved for he has penned this confession to the woman he loves!

Watch for updates on this and my author blog: