A Couple of Comics

It may come as no surprise, given the recent release of Ugly, that I have been known to read comic books. Not all of them come with characters dressed in skin-tight suits and capes, and a couple of the non-superheroic ones have crossed my reader recently which I thought it would be interesting to throw in here because they’re fantasy, urban fantasy at that. They are also just starting, issue number one is out now! So you don’t need to catch up on a huge history like you do with, say, DC or Marvel.

Chastity is a book by Andreyko Acosta, published by Dynamite comics. I’d seen the cover before I read a recommendation from a fairly respected comic blogger. Now, I should have read the fine print: the blogger was saying that the people producing the comic were good, but they hadn’t actually seen it… Oh well, it’s not actually that bad, but the cover… The cover is a con. The alternate cover, which comes as the second page in the electronic edition, is an even bigger con. What we get in the first book is some adequate, but not exactly exciting art, and a vast amount of backstory… and then it ends and we have to wait for the next part to find out pretty much anything. It’s a vampire plotline, Chastity is going to end up as a vampire. This we know. The vampire who attacks her is, to be honest, badly stereotyped, but I do know how hard it is to create a throwaway bad guy without resorting to tacky stereotypes.

In short, I can’t recommend Chastity at this stage, but it shows a bit of promise. I may try another book before I say it’s hopeless.

And then there is Death Vigil. This is the work of Stjepan Sejic, and it’s now being released by Top Cow. We’ll set aside the fact that it cost me the same for 48 pages as Chastity did for 24, and just look at the actual product. Stjepan has his own style of art (and if you haven’t clicked on the link under his name yet, make sure you do because his DA site is an absolute treat) and a great sense of humour. Now, his artistic style may not be for some, and I tend to find his characters have a certain look about them which can be seen as a little samey. But you open up Death Vigil and you’re faced with vivid colours and action. Something happens in this book. Actually from an “extreme summary” viewpoint, the plots of both books are not dissimilar: a girl dies and she’s going to be something else. The difference is that we get beautifully drawn action, funny dialogue, and a resolution in one book, with a teaser ending designed to pull you back for the second issue. Death Vigil is a beautifully executed bit of writing in a form I’d give my eye-teeth to be able to replicate, and it’s a nice piece of hidden-magic, modern fantasy. Also, the Grim Reaper is called Bernadette. How can you go wrong with that? I can’t wait for the next part.

I’ve given links above the the publishers’ pages for these books, but I got my copies through ComiXology, and I’m sure they are both available through other online retailers, maybe even in real shops too. Go, read, enjoy.

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Ancient in the Shops

Thaumatology book 8, Ancient, is up on Smashwords and Amazon. You can purchase it half-price until September 9th using the coupon code AM37F at the Smashwords checkout.

Ceridwyn Brent has invented a way of creating an artificial ley line and is planning to use it to generate free, clean electricity. To do that, however, she needs to start the line in an area of high magical energy and in Europe that means the German Rift. At the end of World War II, a series of huge explosions in German cities cracked open the world, letting demons and fae run rampant, and that rift line is still a huge area of high magic. So, Ceri and her friend, Lily Carpenter, must walk into what is left of Hamburg to initiate the ley line.

Something is wrong in the ruins of Hamburg, however. Sensitives are having strange dreams of some old evil rising from underground and the shadows seem to move on their own. Something bad has woken up and it seems to be fascinated by Ceri. It also has far more extreme motives and, when it follows Ceri and Lily back to London, blood and chaos are not far behind.

 

  • Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/219739
  • Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00923F8AS
  • Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00923F8AS

A New Anthology in the Works

I just wrapped the first draft of the first short story for a new anthology. I’m not sure when it’ll come out since one story does not an anthology make, but it’s going to be called Tales from the Dubh Linn.

The short is titled After Twilight at the moment, though it might get retitled. It’s a story of vampire romance in the Thaumatology universe and since my vampires are a little more old school, it’s quite a dark tale. That sets the theme of the anthology nicely; this is going to be a collection of darker stories. More sex, more horror, more views of the underbelly of supernatural society from the point of view of its denizens and those who come into contact with them.

Tales from High Towers’ Study

The anthology is up. This features slightly updated versions of the stories previously published on Wattpad, plus a new one, Nightshade, which features John Radcliffe and Kate Middleshaw.

You can download it here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124026

I’ll likely get it up on Amazon tomorrow if you prefer your Kindle editions delivered the easy way.

The cover for this one was suggested by Tera over at succubus.net. I managed to get the ice-cream in there too.

It'll all end in giggles.

Vampires: Princes of the Undead

Everyone knows what vampires are like, right? Smooth, sophisticated, pale-skinned; stunningly attractive night stalkers, princes of the night. Right?

Well, that’s what they like people to think and it might even be true when they first get turned. Becoming undead doesn’t really stop the decay process, and having to rely on sucking the blood of living beings tends to take its toll on the mind. Newly turned vampires look and act moderately human, but the older they get, the more they start to resemble walking corpses. Over time most of them start to see humans as walking bottles of blood. Some manage to hang onto their humanity for longer, but not many and not forever. Vampire saliva causes a chemical addiction in those bitten, as well as inducing a lot of pleasure to mask the pain. And that is often the only way older vampires get a meal; through human “chew toys” who are addicted to the experience. Older vampires do have the advantage of being able to mask their looks under an illusion as well.

Not that it’s not easy to find a vamp much older than fifty. Before the Shattering they could barely function in the pitiful magical field the Earth had. Like many other supernatural creatures, vampires became more common after the event which changed the world. And the world was forced to change accordingly. Britain has laws on its books specifically for the undead, but they aren’t entirely nice. Undead have rights, but dead people don’t, so when a vampire dies before coming back they essentially get classed as dead, and the vampire is a new person. Recent legislation has allowed a spouse to reassert marital status if their partner is turned; prior to that the marriage was over an vampires were not allowed to marry. A vampire can also apply for return of their goods and belongings, which would have passed to their next of kin on their death. However, legal precedent favours the living relatives if their is a dispute.

So, think twice if your plans to for immortality include getting bitten on the neck. You could end up homeless, peniless, and not quite the hot, undead beauty you thought you’d be. Oh and vampires don’t sparkle in sunlight, and if they did they wouldn’t know; they can barely see in bright light. That’s another fun thing about being a night-hunter.