Category Archives: Novels

carriage

Lord Vayne – Chapter 4

carriage

Photo source: Morguefile.com

Here is another sample chapter draft from Lord Vayne.

Radu had the afternoon off. His father was caring for the goats now and he only needed to pick up a few things from the market and deliver some cheese from his mother to Maria.

Radu liked Maria. She seemed more grounded and stable than his parents, despite her habit of talking to her dead and buried husband.

She had great stories to tell. She and her husband had helped many refugees, including his parents, come into Walachia safely when Austrian rule made it difficult for serfs to continue living in Transylvania. He was just a baby then and did not remember any of it. But it seemed clear that the experience left painful scars on his parents’ minds. Maybe that was why they were so daft.

At first he thought to deliver the cheese on the way to market, but then — because he wanted to be free to dawdle at Maria’s — he decided to go to market first. He was glad he did for when he arrived at Maria’s he found she had a lovely guest — the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

He found them working in Maria’s garden. Maria, as usual, was humming and singing away. In fact, she was in unusually good spirits today. Her guest was quietly helping her.
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vampire

Lord Vayne – Chapter 3

syringe

Photo Source: MorgueFile.com

Here is another sample chapter draft from Lord Vayne.

This time, Maria approached Grigor’s grave with excitement and jubilation. The clearing seemed brighter, cheerier since her last visit. The twitter of thrush and tit lent a gaiety to what Maria normally thought of as a somber place. She could barely kneel still as she quickly prayed her thank yous.

“She’s obviously in need of help,” Maria told the tombstone. “She’s confused, wears strange clothes and speaks with an accent. I think she may be in trouble, running away from something. She seems secretive, but not in a sinister way, more like the refugees were before we gained their trust. Helping her will almost be like old times.”

A breeze gently caressed her face and she almost felt Grigor’s warm hand on her shoulder, almost heard his baritone voice say “Dragoste meu,” in her right ear. She felt his love — their love for each other — fill her with warmth, like hot tea on a chilly September night.

She smiled quietly for a moment more and then looked up toward the sun. “Oh my! I must have been here for hours. Arian will be worried.” She got up and hurried back to her cabin.

*     *     *

 
Arian entered the clearing where Tengali lay waiting. She had forgotten how broken and shattered all the trees and bushes had looked, ripped from their roots by her inexpert landing. Camouflaging this would take some time, unless….
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vampire

Romanian Research – Vampires

vampire

“Vampire world bank protest16”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve watched so many movies and TV shows with vampires and even read a few books, so I have a general take on what vampires are about. However, there is a historic novel aspect to this work, so I wanted to find out what Romanians had to say about vampires.

First, they didn’t call them vampires. They were either called moroi, which comes from the Romanian word “mort” meaning “dead” or the Slavic word meaning “nightmare,” or they were called strigoi, which apparently come in both live and dead versions.

Living strigoi were more like witches. They had two hearts, or two souls or both. At night they would send out their souls to visit with other strigoi and, on occasions snack on local livestock and neighbors.

Dead strigoi were reanimated corpses that consumed blood and attacked members of their living family.

Interestingly enough, you could be born with an predilection for becoming a vampire in Romanian lore. If someone was born with a caul, an extra nipple, a tail, or extra hair — no doubt about it, he or she was doomed to vampirism. And, watch out families with lots of children. If the first six were the same gender, the seventh child of the same gender would become a vampire. And poor preemies — they were also doomed.
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Romanian research – Owls

European Barn Owl

Photo: By AllisonMiller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

When I started writing Lord Vayne, I had never stepped foot in Romania, where a bulk of the novel takes place. The only things I knew about the country I read in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. So, of course, I felt the need to do some research to get details right.

I researched flora, fauna and Geo-political history. And then, in 2005, I had the opportunity to visit the country for 10 days, which was really amazing. I took a lot of pictures, some of which are below. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger picture.
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Lord Calgon

Remember these commercials from the 1970s?

 
Well, that famous “Calgon, take me away!” line inspired a fantasy story I’m working on. Here’s the opening.


Angelica hated Fridays more than any other day of the week. It was always the longest day. She worked for four hours in the morning, went to school in the afternoon, and took care of the twins in the evening. The third chore not only was a strain on her emotional well being, it strained her social life as well.

Friday is the day that people go out to party. It is the prime date day. Its the day that people finally get to relax after a hectic week. But not so for Angelica. Her parents belonged to a club that met every Friday night, and it was Angelica’s job, as eldest child, to take care of Rodney and Rebbecca.
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