Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Poetry

Posted: September 10, 2019 in Blog
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The planet turns …
and night falls.
We are all moved.

Night Falls on Earth


I used to dabble in poetry much more when I was younger. I kept a small, spiral-bound notebook and filled it with poems. I used to attend live readings at various coffeehouses when I lived in Austin. It was fun and inspiring.

Eventually, I just stopped writing poetry. I’m not sure why, but it happened. Then, just the other night, this one hit me. I was walking down the stairs in my house, and it was dark. I’ve done that countless times, but for some reason, I stopped in my descent. It hit me that this darkness had come as I sat upstairs typing away on the computer. It was the same house, but now it was shrouded in darkness. It had changed, and the inevitable magic that comes with night enveloped me. I had moved without moving.

I hope you like this little foray of mine back into poetry. I doubt it indicates more to come, but it felt very profound to me.

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Posted: August 1, 2019 in Blog
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Ticket Booth

I’m not sure why this continues to need to be said. It doesn’t even matter if I am desperate for food or phenomenally wealthy, I deserve to be paid for my work. Books are not too expensive, especially eBooks. Some people just seem to feel they deserve some kind of handout, or they seek to take advantage of authors by expecting free books. It saddens me that there is sufficient use of free book (piracy) websites that they are still functioning. You’re hurting authors by using them. It is very disappointing. It saddens me that people are so willing to hurt others for success, though I realize that is nothing new in human behavior. It also saddens me that people patronize these sites. If they didn’t, there’d be no power to them.

It also baffles me that there is a prevailing attitude that people somehow freely deserve the fruits of artistic labor, yet they’ll somehow manage to afford that $3.00 coffee five times a week. They also manage to afford a smartphone. Has anyone thought of expecting an iPhone for free because Apple has “enough” money already?

Here’s the thing. Books are cheap! I sometimes wonder if it is even about the price, or if something is just wired into a lot of people where they try to unfairly worm whatever benefit to themselves they can. That sort of approach is sadly selfish, immature, and unsustainable. Hopefully humanity will largely mature beyond such an attitude at some point in the near future.

Buy the book, take the ride.

Find more discussion here on my blog about art being affordable.


The third book in my dark urban fantasy series has finally been published. It took many years to get them all done, the third taking the longest. A part of me was reluctant to finish. I feel relieved but also sad. I would like to invite you to take this journey with me.

Excerpt:


The work is crude, looking like graffiti, the broad swathes of paint seeming as though done by a child, thick with a charcoal-like texture.  The form is obviously that of a bound woman, though the head metamorphoses into something like a deer, crowned with an impressive display of crooked antlers.  

“It looks primitive,” Zoe remarks, “like it’s been here forever.”  She bends a bit at the knee, getting closer, bringing one hand up to gently wipe at it, giving way to a brief fall of gossamer dust.

She steps back, fishing out her mobile, holding it up to take a few quick snapshots.  Once done, she glances at the device, eyes narrowing a bit, muttering, “Reception is poor out here.”

“Do you think it has anything to do with what’s been going on?” Lilja asks, still focused on the strange artwork.


Pick up a copy of the book. Read it. Leave a review or comment. If you’ve not tried any, please nab them all and read the whole thing. I did this to share, and I hope you accept.

https://smarturl.it/SoulEbook

Scary Stories

Posted: April 17, 2019 in Blog
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I have always been fascinated by scary tales, as I suspect are a vast majority of all of you. There seems an allure of the frightening, the unknown, especially in the controlled context of experiencing it as a form of entertainment. I felt the magic of it, the sense not only of something mysterious but also how such even came to be. But none of it ever actually scared me.

Even as a child, when I would read collections of dark folklore and ghost stories, none would scare me. Most of these were intended for children, but I would have presumed some measure of feeling fright. I’m not trying to say I was some incredibly courageous kid. Typically though, the things that scared me came from my own mind, and those generally at night when all was dark and quiet, and I was trying to get to sleep.

I had, of course, heard of Stephen King, though I had read nothing of his nor had I seen any of the movies available at the time. I wanted to, but my parents would not allow it. This also pre-dated the internet, so the methods of circumventing that control were much more limited. The whole idea of getting my hands on a Stephen King novel intrigued me. This built up the mystique, and I began to overplay it in my mind.

What if these were stories that would really scare me? Maybe I shouldn’t read them. My older sister got a hold of one novel, and I wondered if she might surreptitiously slip it to me when she was done. Would I want her to do that? I was really building this up, as if it were now some dark, creaky door, waiting to be opened, promising me new experiences, but did I really want them?

I don’t know what happened with that book. A part of me thinks my parents made sure to get it from my sister when she was done with. They knew I had a voracious appetite for consuming stories, and they worried over protecting us kids from scary things.

Finally, when I graduated high school and went off to college, I was able to go to the book store and buy whatever I wanted. Surely, I could have done so prior to this time, but myriad things happening in my life kept me from it. I was even writing horror short stories, and one of them was quite popular amongst my friends. One said it reminded them of something Stephen King would write. I was so proud, and yet, I still did not go out to the store and get any of his works. Until college.

I forget which novel of his I read first, but I began down the Stephen King trail, and once I did, I went at a quick pace. At some point, perhaps on my third or fourth novel, I realized that though I was thoroughly enjoying his work, none of it scared me. I then decided to read his short story collection Night Shift. “Jerusalem’s Lot”, “Graveyard Shift”, “The Mangler”, all good tales with frightening elements. I enjoyed them, but none scared me.

I eventually got to “The Boogeyman”. Another good one, full of the typical Stephen King weaving, but then, the end. Those of you who have read it know. I was living in a small apartment with that same older sister who had read the King novel those years ago. She was not home. It was night. I was in my small bedroom, which was labeled as a study on the floor plan. It had a tiny closet with double doors, and one of them was slightly ajar.

I stared at that open space, that vertical slit of darkness. The small lamp next to my bed would not penetrate it. I felt a creeping rise along my back and to my neck. I was scared.

I finally got up and shut the door and made sure it stayed close. I was an eighteen year old young man off at college, and I had finally experienced my first real fright from the written word. Leave it to Stephen King to lure me in, then catch me off guard.

Enjoy your readings, my friend, however they may affect you.

dark_closet_by_mrm4gic_dlxjes-pre

„When dreams become books….“

 

The last interview took us to the USA and we stay there for a bit longer. This time I‘m happy to introduce to you author Scott Carruba from Texas. He started writing at a very early age when asked in elementary school to write a newspaper from another planet. Since then he has written poetry, short stories and book length dark urban fantasy tales like Dance of the Butterfly. His writing style can best be described as poetic and descriptive. Scott, I‘m able to relate to that, but not to your preferences in food like sushi. 😉 Nevertheless, it‘s now your turn to tell us more about yourself and your works.

 

  1. Please introduce yourself in 3-5 sentences.

My name is Scott Carruba, and I write books in the urban fantasy genre. I also have some horror short stories published. I have been creative writing since elementary school.

 

  1. What is the title of your current book? In which genre does it play and what is the story about?

Dance of the Butterfly and Sword of the Butterfly. They comprise a dark urban fantasy series about two powerful, rival families who fight to thwart a very real threat that most of humanity is not even aware of.

 

  1. How did you get into writing?

I received an assignment when in elementary school to write a newspaper from another planet. This sparked a serious creative urge that has not since abated.

 

  1. What can you learn about writing and what can you not learn?

I feel that writing represents communication which is key to relationships and interactions. We may use writing to tell a story, to illustrate thoughts, or in many other ways. Through this, you may learn a great deal from that person. However, writing is an exercise in making the abstract concrete; thus we may lose something in the translation, so to speak.

 

  1. What is your favourite task in the writing process and what do you not like about it (like writing blurbs for example)?

I most enjoy the beginning. There is something alluring to me, as if taking the initial steps into an entirely new world. Marketing is my least favorite aspect, though there are even parts of that I enjoy.

 

  1. Is there something that drives you crazy regarding the writing/ publishing process?

One thing that gets me is the continued missed mistakes even after multiple edits and sometimes by different people. I also do not care for the various requirements depending on publishing platform. It would be nice to have a standard.

 

  1. Where do you get the ideas for your books?

The main source of inspiration for my ideas comes from my dreams.

 

  1. Which of your written books is your own favorite?

I only have two published, so I will consider those. That is still a tough decision. I would probably choose Dance of the Butterfly. Again, it is a beginning, and I find those times the most enjoyable.

 

  1. Who reads your manuscripts first?

That is usually a toss-up between a close friend of mine and my publisher.

 

  1. How long do you revise your manuscript before you say, “Now I can share it with others?”

I probably go over my manuscript at least three times before the initial sharing. It then goes through more editing, beta feedback, etc., before publication. I do a great deal of self-editing and small changes to tweak things before I feel satisfied.

 

  1. In which genre would you like to write but haven’t dared yet? And in which genre would you never write?

I really enjoy science fiction. It may be the genre I turn to most for my own reading. I have written some unfinished works in that genre, so I suppose I have dared, but nothing I feel is ready for consideration for publication.

As far as never, well, I hate to say ‚never‘, but I feel no interest in writing romance.

 

  1. Are there writers you admire?

Plenty. H.P. Lovecraft is a huge influence of mine. For contemporary writers, I greatly admire China Miéville. His imagination never fails to enthrall and impress me.

 

  1. What is a successful author in your opinion?

One that is able to make a living primarily from creative writing.

 

  1. Regarding your books: Would you do it all over again in the same way? What would you change, if you could?

I would probably want to edit more, but then, I never feel there is enough editing.

 

  1. What do you say about the competition among authors, especially about the fact that some authors deliberately give bad ratings to others to spite them? Have you ever experienced something like this yourself?

I am very much against it, and I have made posts on my blog and other avenues of social media in regards to this. I do not consider other authors to be my competition, and I deplore underhanded and dishonest tactics. Thankfully, I have yet to experience anything like this towards me, but therein may lie hints to my relative obscurity.

 

  1. What was the worst, most annoying, least beautiful thing that has happened to you as an author and what was the most beautiful thing?

I’d say the most annoying was some criticism I received due to some sexual parts of my stories. The most beautiful was most definitely seeing the physical copy of my first published book.

 

  1. How do you motivate yourself when things don’t go the way you want them to?

Creativity is often its own reward, so regardless of how things go, I will always create. I also just continue pushing, keeping up with the things I do and searching for new methods. I see no reason to stop, so I might as well try, try, and try some more.

 

  1. Why do you think some authors make it in the book industry and others don’t? Do you have any advice?

I think some make it due to obvious talent and deservedly so. There is also a lot of work required. This does not come easy. Some, though, seem to succeed due to luck or some marketing method. I don’t feel I am in much of a place to give advice, but I would say to at least embrace persistence and discipline.

 

  1. Many authors are reserved and shy, especially when it comes to readings and book fair appearances. You got any advice for them?

My approach is that there is no need to feel you may fail and end yourself as a writer. I also like to think of these things as something to be done to have fun. A lot of the pressure is self-imposed. And if you are approached for readings and appearances, it generally means they want you there. Take comfort in that and just do your best.

 

  1. Which authors and books do you think deserve more attention?

I have difficulty with this as I honestly don’t give out a lot of recommendations. I do reviews on my blog and other social media, and if people read those and feel it gives them reason to read a book, then all the better. A few authors I might recommend looking into are Carmilla Voiez, Marie Kammerer Franke, and Nicolajayne Taylor.

 

  1. Which books do you like to read yourself? Which ones would you never read?

I read all sorts of fiction and non-fiction. I particularly like Weird Fiction. I probably would not read romance.

 

  1. What are you dreaming of as a writer? Is there a wish you would share with us?

I dream of being successful enough to make a living as a writer. I’d also love to see my writing portrayed in other forms of media such as a graphic novel or animated series.

Thank you for the interview, Nadja!

Welcome to the Starblood Release Day Blog Hop

Firstly Carmilla would like to thank every friend and supporter who is helping share the news of the relaunch of the Starblood series.

On December 11th Starblood is being published by Vamptasy Publishing at an introductory discounted price of only 99c/99p. The discounted price will be available until December 12th and after that the novel will be sold at the regular price of $2.99. The book is available here. A paperback release is also planned for the novel.

What is Starblood? For those of you new to the story Carmilla has recorded an eight minute video in which she discusses the background to the first novel and the series. You can find it here.

Here are some of the highlights –

Starblood2018promo2

Starblood is the first book in a series of at least four novels. Starblood was Carmilla’s debut novel back in 2011. It has been edited and perfected for this re-release. Starblood looks at magic, sexuality and the personal struggles of being female while negotiating a place in the world. The book has three central characters who are bisexual. We begin in Satori’s (aka Steve’s) bedroom. His girlfriend, Star, has split up with him but he cannot or will not let her go without a fight. Satori has spent much of his young life studying and practicing magic, and he decides the best way to win Star back is to enlist the help of a demon. As he starts the ritual he is excited, afraid, sad and angry, but his training forces him to be careful and protect himself with sigils and spells. We witness his battle of will over emotion. Some readers may feel sympathy, others may marvel at his naivete, while many will realise what he hopes to achieve is morally repugnant and paramount to enslaving his so called beloved. This last group might recoil in horror at his plan and hope he fails.

 An excerpt –

Satori stands in the centre of his bedroom. His fingers and the lace cuffs of his shirt are stained from the charcoal he uses to scribble symbols. Markings cover every surface: the bare floorboards, ceiling and walls. Even his wardrobe and door are covered in intricate black sigils.

He unbuttons his shirt, swearing as he leaves fingerprints on the cotton. After tossing the garment on to his bed, he unzips his jeans, and forces the denim over his legs and to the floor. Standing naked, he smells himself. There is no trace of her scent on his body. Realising this feels like losing her all over again.

His fragile-looking, angular body is lost in the forest of writing. It expands around him, a web of ancient knowledge. The tips of his fingers prickle with energy.

He pulls silver rings from his fingers. Pushing back his shoulder-length hair, he removes the hoops from his left ear, and finally the silver stud from his sharply pointed nose. His jewellery jingles like tiny bells as he lets it fall, scattering like distant stars across the midnight duvet. On his pillow, dozens of photographs lie like fallen leaves. Some are intact but most are torn or defaced. Her face holds his thoughts for a moment: pale, perfect and framed by a mass of ebony curls. He shakes his head to clear her image. After this is over he will make her love him again. Maybe she will beg for his forgiveness. A wolfish grin grows across his face at the thought of Star on her knees, begging him to take her back. He licks his lips. His face feels hot, his body cold. In spite of his impatience to start the ritual, he waits. Sucking deep breaths in through his nostrils, he collects his thoughts—he mustn’t rush. He must be in control of himself and his desires.

Whispering, he draws the same glyphs on his body. He starts with his toes and the soles of his feet, moving upwards and over his skin with practised dexterity. Charcoal drags against his skin, which blossoms pink below each mark. The growing tattoo obscures his features.

Although he knows the words he needs to say, he reads the passage again, to be certain. He draws two circles on the floor and steps into one of them. With the fingers of his right hand he traces a pentagram in the air before him. Then he recites the words, his voice slow and clear, pronouncing each syllable with care.

‘ … This is my will,’ he says finally.

Lifting a silver dagger above his head, he concentrates. An excited grin spreads across his graffiti covered face and with tremendous force he plunges the knife downwards, severing the air in front of him. Through the tear he can see swirls of darkness: Chaos. He calls to Furfur, creator of love between man and woman, to share with him his demon’s power so he can win Star back.

A long, slender leg steps through the gap, followed by a lily-white body. The interloper is female, naked and hairless.

‘I am Satori,’ he says. His voice quivers with fear and excitement. He coughs and tries to speak with more authority. ‘I have brought you—’

‘Brought me? I think not. I saw the door and came to see the fool who caused it to open.’ Her emerald eyes are full of contempt.

Satori’s confidence withers. Malice thickens the air like gelatine and the demon’s aura chills the room. Although he suspects it is fear rather than the cold that makes his body shake so violently. Staring at her in silence, he realises he has made an error. Through all his planning and preparation, he did not see this coming. What went wrong? Instead of Furfur, contained and compelled to do his bidding, ready to elevate him back into the arms of his beloved, he is faced with something else, something threatening. He raises his dagger above him again, ready to expel her before it’s too late, but before he can open his mouth she knocks the dagger away with the back of her hand.

‘I am your guest not your minion, and you will not dismiss me,’ she says.


Starblood crosses numerous genres. In the tradition of Wuthering Heights it could be considered a Gothic Romance. There are scenes of violence that sit comfortably in horror. There is a preoccupation with Magic and Demonology that nudges it into the dark fantasy genre. And finally there is the story of a young person searching for her identity in a world that confuses, traps and frustrates her, containing enough existential crises and philosophy to dip its toes into contemporary women’s fiction.

A graphic novel based on Starblood is also available for those who prefer comics to novels.

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Want to win some Starblood loot? Check out this prize draw. You can enter by buying either book, sharing news of the new release or subscribing to Carmilla Voiez’s newsletter. Ends Monday 17th December.

About Carmilla –

Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. A life long Goth, Carmilla lives with her daughter, two cats and a poet by the sea. She is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.

Carmilla grew up on a varied diet of horror. Her earliest influences as a teenage reader were Graham Masterton, Brian Lumley and Clive Barker mixed with the romance of Hammer Horror and the visceral violence of the first wave of video nasties. Fascinated by the Goth aesthetic and enchanted by threnodies of eighties Goth and post-punk music she evolved into the creature of darkness we find today.

Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, Dec 2018), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales. Her work has been included in Zombie Punks Fuck Off (Clash Books), Slice Girls (Stitched Smile), and Another Beautiful Nightmare (Vamptasy).

Links –

Website – www.carmillavoiez.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Author.Carmilla.Voiez/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/carmillavoiez
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/carmillav/starblood-the-graphic-novel/
Quora – https://www.quora.com/profile/Carmilla-Voiez#
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4893389.Carmilla_Voiez
Amazon Author Page (US) – https://www.amazon.com/Carmilla-Voiez/e/B00AMZKZ5I
Amazon Author Page (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carmilla-Voiez/e/B00AMZKZ5I/

Beauty is the Beast Cover

Full disclosure: I don’t do a lot of interviews. In fact, I really don’t do them at all. I decided to sit down with Gretchen for a little chat, and a lot more came up than I expected. Gretchen is a hairdresser and violinist. She is on the tall side, favoring a Latina heritage, looks to be in her early to mid twenties, but she is much older than that. What’s her secret, you might ask? Well, it’s because she is not entirely human. She struggles with that –  appearing human. And not just figuratively but literally.

Scott: So, you’re a werewolf, huh? What’s that like? Were you born that way or what happened?

Gretchen: I was bitten by a fae wolf, way back in mid-1800’s, I think, I’m fuzzy on the dates. He asked me first, and like an idiot, I said yes. I didn’t think I was going to end up a lone wolf for the century and a half.

Scott: Do others know about you? I mean, werewolves in general.

Gretchen: All the fae and a limited number of humans do.

Scott: Are there those against you? Again, werewolves in general. Do you have to deal with the threat of people trying to kill you just because you are a werewolf?

Gretchen: The occasional vampire, & I’m sure there are some humans in the know that hunt us, but I don’t know any personally.

Scott: Are vampires real, too? This whole thing seems to open up Pandora’s Box.

Gretchen: Oh yes. My best friend is a vampire, actually. We met back in the 80’s during cosmetology school.

Scott: Hairdresser and violinist? For how long? I’d suppose you could be pretty adept at both. Do you perform as a violinist in any sort of famous capacity?

Gretchen: I learned to play violin not long after I was bitten. I still play the same instrument, in fact. I’m certainly not famous, that would be too many eyes on me for my liking. My band, Chaos Theory, is pretty well liked locally, though. I play an electric violin during rehearsals and during gigs so my sound fits in (we play rock)

Scott: Back to the werewolf thing, how exactly does that work? Are you able to control it? If not, how do you deal with it?

Gretchen: I can control it, to a certain extent. During the full moon, my wolf is completely in charge and there’s no humanity in me. In contrast, during the new moon, I can’t shift at all so I’m basically human. The rest of the time, I can shift at will. The closer to full moon, the less control I have. I’ve been told I have rage issues.

Scott: Yikes! So, what do you do during the full moon? Do you lock yourself up or anything?

Gretchen: I do. My friend, Percy, remodeled one of her barns to house me. It has titanium bars lining the inside and I lock myself in for the three days around the full moon.

Scott: So, werewolves, vampires, and fae are real? Anything else? And is a fae werewolf a fae who became a werewolf?

Gretchen: Yes, they’re all real, and much more. All those Greek, Norse, and whatever others you can think of? All fae. People just worshiped them as gods, because in comparison, they were. As for the fae wolf, no, they’re not werewolves, but their bites create one. A werewolf cannot create another. It’s kind of like God created the two parallel universes and decided there should be wolves on both sides, and fae wolves are just the much more intelligent version.

Scott: Do you all have to uphold a masquerade with “regular” humans, then? Will this interview get you in trouble? Am I in trouble?

Gretchen: Yep, gotta pretend to be human all the time. I’m pretty terrible at it, actually, but somehow, I’ve managed. I think. No, we won’t get into trouble. Do you think I’d really risk that? I’ve had several names over the years. I’m pretty good at making them up.

Scott: You are from the mid 19th Century. That is amazing. What do you most miss about those times? What do you most love about modern day?

Gretchen: Nothing. I miss nothing. Well, the ability to disappear was much easier, record keeping wasn’t what it is now. For background: I was born in a brothel in Texas, and I lived there, and eventually employed there until I was bitten, the moon turned, and I killed them all.

Scott: Kill them all? Who do you mean?

Gretchen: Well, when I shifted that first full moon, they had no idea what I was. I barely knew, and I certainly didn’t know I’d lose control, but I did. When I came to, every person in the building was slaughtered. I can only assume it was me.

Scott: Let’s get back to these parallel universes. Are you saying there are two worlds, obviously having some sort of conjunctions, and the fae populate that other world? They clearly seem to have some level of interaction with this world.

Gretchen: Exactly. There are pathways, thin spots, between the two worlds where the fae can get through. Well, humans could too, but they’re much less likely to survive the trip, once they’ve reached the other side. The fae had been crossing back and forth for centuries, but when King Arthur took the throne, he banished the fae, since he was a half-blood, and having Excalibur, he mostly succeeded and the remaining fae went into hiding. Some still crossed, of course, he wasn’t able to close the travel ways, but he hunted down and killed any he could find. He wasn’t the good guy that everyone believes. With less fae using magic in our existence, the magic of earth faded away, for the most part.

Scott: This has all been rather heavy and even a bit frightening. Let’s try something lighter. What do you do for fun?

Gretchen: I like to run. A lot. I also play violin both for myself and in my band, Chaos Theory. There’s something incredible and therapeutic about letting loose through music.

Scott: Thank you so much, Gretchen. This has been very enlightening.


To read Gretchen’s adventures, get Beauty is the Beast by Jennifer Zamboni.

Follow Jennifer on Facebook or check out her blog.

Chasing Spirits

Posted: October 8, 2018 in Blog
Tags: , , ,

German Alcohol

As mentioned in an earlier entry, I recently returned from a trip to Germany. Though my prior post was made as something of a satire, the visit was wonderful, though not without some challenges. I also learned a lot. That likely goes without saying, but I will elaborate.

Sushi is generally what I consider my favorite food. One thing I wanted to do in Germany was find out if they have good sushi. We just happened to find a small sushi place very close to the hotel in Frankfurt, so in we went.

We were the only customers, and the proprietor proved friendly. He was Asian, and he spoke at least three languages very well. One of those was English, as he had studied to be a sushi chef in the U.S. This afforded us a great opportunity to communicate. He took up station behind the bar to prepare our orders, and we chatted thoroughly. The fish was excellent, but what caught my interest was when he mentioned he liked to drink “cola weissen”.

Okay. You may likely be in the throes of a similar sort of quizzical reaction I had. Weiss is a type of beer in Germany, and the drink is a half & half mixture of said beer and Coca-Cola. Yep. That’s what it is, and your reaction may now be similar to mine. I honestly thought he was maybe having a tease at our expense, due to being American, but nope. We saw the drink on most menus of any place we went. It is not only a thing in Germany, but it seems to be a popular thing.

I remained skeptical, but my friend decided to try one. I dared to try some of his. Believe it or not, it was amazingly good. The two complement each other very well. The beer mitigates the potential overbearingness of the carbonation and sweetness of the cola; the soda has a similar effect on the brew’s bitterness, adding a sweet and tanginess that goes well with it. I was stunned … for a moment, then I drank more.

This was not the only interesting experience with alcohol.

It may come as no surprise that Germans do not put ice in their drinks like we do. This equates to quite a rarity of finding iced coffee anywhere. Of course, this doesn’t stop one from pouring hot coffee over ice, but I digress. There was a great little bar/lounge in one of the hotels we stayed in Frankfurt. The bartenders were accomplished mixologists, and I enjoyed just watching them ply their craft. I also noticed an iced coffee on the menu, so I ordered it. I don’t even recall what all went into the making, but it took a bit of time and presentation, and then voila, I had an exceptional iced coffee.

But it needed more.

So I mentioned adding some liquor.

The bartender got excited and said something along the lines of “Oh, yes. Dark rum.”

Wait a minute. Dark rum … in coffee? I suggested Bailey’s, and he countered that was boring. I was running along a mental list of things I have had in coffee that were good. He was resigned to give me what I wanted, but he was pushing the dark rum. There happened to be an American woman in the bar, too, and she and I had been talking. She heartily recommended the same, so I decided to give in. What the hell? It’s a vacation, right? An adventure.

Dark rum in coffee is amazing.

I cannot consider myself an expert on Germany just because I went there for two weeks, but I suspect the Germans don’t have the same idea of “spicy” as we do here in Texas. Currywurst is fairly popular in Germany. I like curry. I like German sausage. So, I wanted to give this a try.

We found a place in Nuremberg, and once they realized we were travelers from America, they were eager to please. They gave us two orders of the wurst and samplings of all six dipping sauces for the pommes frites. The woman behind the counter explained to me several times that this plate had the less spicy, more tangy option, and that plate was very spicy, so be careful.

The flavors were good. The food was good. It was not spicy.

Later on, we were having some drinks at a small rock pub (that was actually the name), and we got to talking with the locals about the lack of spice. They agreed, and then one guy brought up Mexicano shots. This left us suitably perplexed and curious, and after a quick exchange in German with the bartender, she ran off to fetch a round for all of us. The guy who ordered tried to explain that it was a sort of pre-mixed liquor concoction that was tomato-based and very spicy. Okay, we’ll see.

The shots arrived, and we all gave a cheers and downed them. The drink tasted like a Bloody Mary, and wow it was, indeed, spicy.

All in all, a wonderful exploration of different drinks, and I wholeheartedly encourage trying any of them. Danke schön, Deutschland!

Frankfurt at Night

I recently returned from a two week trip to Germany. I have always wanted to go there, and after years, nay decades, of meticulous planning, I finally went. I was surprised the large aeroplane did not shudder under my excitement, but I suppose those machines are made to deal with some measure of turbulence.

First stop – Heathrow. May I point out that Heathrow is not in Germany? It’s the major airport in London, in case you were wondering. Nothing but facts in this “report”. You may imagine the surprise when my travelling companion spotted Sir Richard Branson walking through the central seating area. He had no entourage, no guards, no photographers. I am not sure if his relevance has perhaps faded, or he was going incognito by hiding in plain sight, but assuredly, it was him. I think he even flashed a winning smile at me as I watched him walk by. He knew I knew. What a guy.

Then, as we queued up for our flight (you ‘queue’ in England; you “get in line” in America), we spotted Elton John! We noticed him right off the bat due to his amazingly ostentatious denim jacket. But then, why was he in the economy line? Hmmm. Curious.

Ah, Germany. The air was so much more breathable than the nearly liquid sludge of Houston. We stayed right on the River Main in Frankfurt and not too long into our journey, as we stood out front, James Woods walked by. Amazing! He must have been enjoying a holiday. He was alone, and we decided not to bother him. He did look a little introspective.

For breakfast on our second day, we decided to go to a café. We chose the Walden, which I highly recommend. I had the best cup of coffee ever. The service and food were wonderful. I suppose we were not the only ones who thought this, because there we saw Bruce Willis. He didn’t actually sit with us, and we did not bother him, but he was there. Honest.

As if this were not enough, a delivery truck was parked nearby, and the driver was tirelessly moving boxes upon boxes of coveted booze from place to place. This man was all business. Perhaps one of the hardest working delivery men, and does it come as any surprise that it was Dave Grohl!? He is perhaps one of the hardest working people in show business, and what does he do to disconnect and refresh? Why, he delivers booze to places in Germany. We saw him throughout the day all over the busy shopping and eating district of downtown Frankfurt. What a guy! Cheers, Dave.

Let me point out that during our breakfast, a bee was flitting about. Nothing too unusual, I suppose. It got a little rambunctious, and the proprietor came out and poured some sort of syrupy liquid into some flasks situated around the base of the nearby tree. “Not a trap,” he explained to our curious glances. I would think the various, bobbing corpses of bees in the sweet nectar may argue different, but I was in no mood to so engage.

The train stations in Germany are amazing. So much organized chaos, so many stores. There really is a reason some of the more impressive stations are called “shopping malls with trains”. We spent some decent time in the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, and it’s a good thing, too. We saw Brad Pitt wander by. He was with others, which should come as no surprise, but he really looked shorter in person than I expected. Of course, I am not sure what I expected. He did not notice me. Surely, that was expected.

As if that were not enough, we then saw Jude Law! He was all smiles, but we did not approach him. This trip was proving to be some sort of rapid-fire of celebrity sightings. I did mention this was Germany, yes? Not Los Angeles. Incidentally, I have been to Los Angeles. Celebrities sighted there? Zero.

The throng of people at the station gave me to notice that a good portion of them were wearing quite form-fitting pants. At first I noticed it mostly on young women, but then it seemed a good portion of the population, regardless of age or gender, were so adorned. The younger folk seemed to also sport tears in their jeans, and many of those wearing the eager denim also had them rolled up in tight cuffs at their ankles. We saw yoga pants, shiny spandex, leather, all sorts of tight pants. I will also say that the vast majority wore them well. Vast. Ahem. But enough of that.

From then on, a meal or drink outside was not without a buzzing visitor. It was odd, really, as there was always only one bee, and it would flit and zip from place to place. I had heard some mention of honey bees being endangered and how this may negatively affect our ecosystem. Go to Germany, I say, good sir! Go .. to .. Germany. A meal is not a meal without a bee overseeing said consumption. And a promenade is not a promenade without a plethora of people adorned in tight pants.

We settled into the almost casual seeming flow of people and vehicles. It was orderly. It wasn’t orderly. It was some sort of beautiful crash of both. Ancient and modern lashed together like those tight pa- … well, you get the picture. And during this flow, we happened onto a train in Nuremberg. We shared space for a brief time with none other than Peter Dinklage. I wanted to talk to him. I did. But I think he was trying to be sneaky. His hair and beard were darker than usual, and he was speaking German. I decided to respect his obvious bid for privacy. (Be sure to read the word “privacy” with a British accent. It works better.)

Unfortunately, that was the last of our celebrity sightings in Germany. I guess the stars go there for the room they are afforded. They can wander around like “normal” people without being swarmed as they might be in America. Kudos to them, I say. And why not in Germany? Where the coffee is iced and served with dark rum, pizzerias dot every corner along with amazing ice cream shoppes, and the bees … well, they are a’buzzin’.

Schönen Tag, y’all!

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What would you do for the one you love? Satori would travel worlds and battle demons, but however much Star begs he just can’t let her go.

Psychonaut the Graphic Novel is out September 1st, 2018. Written by Carmilla Voiez with art by Anna Prashkovich, this is a comic for mature adults, containing scenes of sex and violence. Psychonaut is the sequel to Starblood and forms part of The Starblood Trilogy. Backed by Kickstarter supporters this gorgeous volume is available in print (hardcover and paperback), on comiXology and Kindle.

Diversity and representation might be current buzzwords, but they are also important. Starblood and Psychonaut, two graphic novels from the Starblood Trilogy are both written by an illustrated by women. It’s a story that has strong women at its heart, with themes of sexuality – including bisexuality, and self-identity. The antagonist is a woman who rages at the world and the protagonists are searching for their places in that world.

On release day Carmilla will be hosting a party on Facebook from 9pm – 11pm (UK time +01.00) and a live chat on her website from 11pm to Midnight. You are welcome to attend both.

We are setting up a rafflecopter which will be live from Sep 1 – Sep 8, with three prizes for the winner and runner ups. You can enter by completing various tasks including helping us promoting the book release or purchasing a copy. Rafflecopter Prizes: First prize – a) if winner resides within the UK – signed paperback copies of Starblood and Psychonaut the graphic novels OR £20 Amazon voucher (winner’s choice). b) if winner resides outside the UK – paperback copies of Starblood and Psychonaut the graphic novels OR $25 USD Amazon voucher (winner’s choice). Runner up prizes: Second prize – Ebook versions of the following PLUS $5 USD Amazon voucher: Cristy Stoat – Brown House, Faith Marlow – Being Mrs Dracula, Lily Luchesi – Skin Deep, Cathrina Constantine – Tallas. Third prize – Ebook/pdf versions of the following: Elaine White – Decadent, Cathrina Constantine – Rising Star, The Erotic Tales of Carmilla Voiez. Rafflecopter link here – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ce99b5c58/?

Check out some of the pages from Psychonaut the graphic novel and find a link to the Rafflecopter at http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/single-post/2018/08/27/Psychonaut-the-Graphic-Novel and enjoy some Feminazi Splatter Goth fun.

Black Sun the Graphic Novel, the final book in the trilogy, is currently in production. Two of our Kickstarter backers will feature as characters in the third volume. To keep up to date with news on the final book join my blog or subscribe to my newsletter. After the success of the Psychonaut Kickstarter it is very likely we will use the crowdfunder again when Black Sun is ready.

About The Starblood Trilogy –

I wrote The Starblood Trilogy during the final years of my second marriage and a lot of the things I was feeling then found their way onto the page. The three main characters represented aspects of myself, Star was my confusion, Satori my sexuality, and Lilith my rage. It was cathartic but very painful too.

One of my favourite lines from the first book remains – “There is no shame in love, only completion.” Lilith says this to Star, but the words are at odds with Star’s experiences throughout the trilogy. Shame and love seem to go hand in hand for Star.

If you want to find out more about the Starblood story it is available as a trilogy in one volume – here’s the Amazon link, but it can also be found on iTunes, Kobo etc – http://smarturl.it/TheStarbloodTrilogy

About Psychonaut –

Satori is caught between two worlds. There is something he needs in one, but the other keeps drawing him back. However, he is in love and he isn’t going to let a little thing like death get in his way. To reach his goal, he must face unimaginable horrors, not least of which is his true self.
Star’s tortured and broken body awaits Satori, but does she really need him to save her? His rival, a rage-filled young woman, grows more powerful and becomes as twisted as the ribbons in her hair while the demon, Lilith, draws each of them inexorably towards her. Who will survive the coming battle?

Full of sex and magic, “Psychonaut” is an exploration into the human psyche and the second book in Voiez’s “Starblood” trilogy.

“Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life.” Graham Masterton

“Psychonaut is a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief. You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity. Rather than leave us crippled by response, though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of…a love past fault.” Jef Withonef, Houston Press.

What is comiXology? “comiXology is home to the largest selection of digital comics anywhere, comiXology takes comics further with [their] revolutionary Guided View™ reading technology on all your devices. Start building your digital comics library and lose yourself in the world of comics, graphic novels & manga. Guided View allows you to swipe or tap to cinematically shift from panel-to-panel at your own pace! Each Guided View experience has been handcrafted by a comic lover to make sure you have the best possible adventure, no matter how small your device.”

Find out more here – https://www.comixology.com/new-to-comixology

Want to create your own graphic novel or just see how Anna and I created Starblood? Check out this blog post (includes page images and some of the script) – http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/single-post/2017/03/28/How-to-create-a-graphic-novel

Do you have a favourite character in Starblood? Mine’s Freya. In fact she’s demanded I write a new book just for her. I’ll be working on that this November, and if successful, Starblood will no longer be a trilogy. It will be a series. Here’s more about my favourite character – http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/single-post/2017/03/06/Freya-is-one-hell-of-a-fucked-up-character

Links to everywhere you can find Psychonaut the graphic novel – http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/graphicnovel

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