Posted on

Vic Brown – How to Make a Vampire

Vic Brown

One Tuesday morning in 2014 I was reading the Health and Science section of the Washington Post newspaper. It featured a very long article on genetics, gene splicing (now gene editing), and the bright prospects it offers for many of society’s dreaded diseases. WHAM! These thoughts entered my head:

  1. What if vampirism was the result of a mutant gene?
  2. What if genetic scientists discovered a way, using gene editing, to remove the mutant gene for vampirism, replacing it with a null (inactive) substitute gene?

Now I didn’t know one thing about vampires. I didn’t even like them. So why on earth would I want to write a novel about them? As I sat down at my Imac 21 desk top, I said to myself, this isn’t really happening. I’ll write the first page, get a good laugh, and pitch it in the round file.

But no, that’s not what happened. The creative juices began to flow. I didn’t have to know anything about Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat (she is the mother of all modern vampire writing), or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, circa 1897. I was free to invent my own vampires. And I did. Mine were willing to surrender their immortal powers to become normal, mortal human beings. They’d become mortally tired of being vampires, and they yearned for resurrection (hence the title, Vampire Resurrection).

The romance between Morgan Summers, who had been a vampire for 325 years, and Lamar Bradford, who had just become a vampire, is not your mother’s romance. Nor is it like any other vampire story you’ve encountered. Especially when Andre Suroccan, vampire extraordinaire (for 750 years!), confronts Morgan. Though married to Lamar, Morgan is strongly attracted to Andre, who professes to be seeking resurrection, and is willing to renounce his powers if she will leave Lamar.

Can you imagine a retired Air Force Colonel and Vietnam veteran writing about vampires? Few of my friends and associates could. Half the time I couldn’t either, but it was fun. And High Tide Publications, Inc. of Virginia published that book and asked me to write the sequel. And I did. Should be out the first half of 2018.

Vic Brown is the author of Vampire Resurrection. Coming soon: Vampire Embrace. His other novels—both historical fiction—include Viking Lady and Aden the Last. And soon to be published, a memoir, Sleeve an’ Me.

Posted on

Joyce Carr Stedelbauer – The Red Suitcase Part 2

The red suitcase is only a couple of years old.  Not only did the red flash my eyes but the big black butterfly on both sides.  I used to be an all-black traveler.  We often search for a small painting to bring home as a memento.  And the “ Gypsy on the Balcony of Europe” called to us.  So we went hunting for a suitcase of the right size and not cluttered up with compartments on the interior.  She could not be—would not be—rolled or tubed, she was very particular about her treatment.
Every piece of luggage was too long or too short, too wide or too thin, (kind of like a lot of travelers, makes it tough to fit into airplane seats) until the black butterfly!  Standing in the open doorway of the luggage/magazine/candy shop, the butterfly rested.  Hesitating I knocked on the semi-hard sides, noted the all-around zipper—black—a shiny lock, and the reasonable price—at least for two large black butterflies on either side of a shiny red suitcase.  The inside boasted no shoe pouch, cosmetic, or hanger fittings. Would the gypsy consider this as traveling in style, or would she think it gaudy?
The next morning after chocolate and churros I hurried back to the main shopping street armed with the measurements that would be the deciding factor, ole’ she would fit!  The purchase completed, I happily wheeled the suitcase down the street to the art gallery where the gypsy stayed.  Admiring glances all the way.
But would she agree to come home with us?

Joyce Stedelbauer

Posted on

Susan Williamson – Bad Advice

When I was in high school I wanted to be an architect. As a younger child, I would play with blocks, tinker toys or Legos for hours, designing houses. I even remember trying to build houses out of playing cards, a difficult endeavor.

I guess I came by this honestly. My father was a building contractor. My parents designed and built two of the houses where we lived. I was often sketching floor plans and very conscious of the layout of any home I entered.

And, I read The Fountainhead.

When I suggested my future career to my guidance counselor, she immediately shot me down.

“You’re not good in art,” she said, “and architects have to do all those drawings.”

Although stubborn in many things, I caved at that. And worst of all, my mother agreed.

Our high school art teacher delighted in those who could with little patience for those who didn’t know how. It wasn’t until I was married and in my thirties that I realized how much of art was all about teachable technique. My husband taught high school math. In the next classroom, a young teacher turned country kids who had never even seen art into accomplished artists.

I know that you can’t create great talent merely by teaching art or writing or horseback riding—there has to be some natural ability and inspiration, but you can teach reasonable skill which is what I would have needed to begin an architectural career. Now days, I wouldn’t even need that—a computer does the sketching.

Although I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up, I do think it may be a little late for a five year architecture degree. Interestingly enough, our daughter tried to transfer into architecture in her junior year, but the college she wanted turned her down and she didn’t want the school that wanted her. However, she did meet her wonderful husband in an architectural history class so maybe all was not lost.

Of course I might have been a starving architect, but not sure if that would be worse than a starving writer, substitute teacher, riding instructor  and decorating store owner—all of which I have been. And we did modify a house plan and build a wonderful passive solar home. We remodeled a house into our first store and designed a second retail space to suit our store. We remodeled our last kitchen as well—not the work but the design, so I was able to feed my calling.

But I can’t help but wonder what other dreams my counselor may have quashed, not because she was bad at her job, but because of what she didn’t know.

As for me, I will continue to watch HGTV, read design magazines and sketch floor plans.


Susan Williamson is the author of two novels: Turkmen Captives and Death on the Trail, published by Indigo Sea Press and two e-books: How to Buy Your First Horse and How to Get By as Time Goes By published by High Tide Publications. All are available from  She is the former editor of The Edmonton Herald-News.

Posted on

Peggy Newcomb – Curtis the Cat, (who is really a very mischievous kitten)

I have to tell you…the most awful thing befell me this morning.  I’m almost too ashamed to tell you about it!  I can honestly say that nothing like this has ever happened to me in my entire, I must stress, my entire life!  It all started out to be a perfectly normal morning.  The only variance in the routine was that “Missy” decided to give Master Kyle a bath before school.  She always uses the room with the old fashion bathtub, which she fills with bubbles for Master Kyle to play in.  Having finished bathing the boy “Missy” was sitting down in front of the fireplace dressing him.

After hearing an unknown scurrying sound, she called Mr. John down from his office to see what was going on.  Try as I may I could not get out of sight fast enough.  There I was caught in the middle of my blunder and soaked to the skin.  You see, those mounds of bubbles were too much of a temptation to my natural curiosity.  Well naturally I thought I could walk on all that nice fluffy stuff! Wrong!  Then they insisted on drying me off with a fluffy towel amidst rounds of humiliating laughter.  I tell you it was more than a fellow could stand. So I bolted for the back of the sofa where I stayed over a heat vent until I was presentable.  This week has been too eventful for me.

Until next time…Love and Purr, Curtis

 To be continued….The Adventures of a Writer.

Peggy Newcomb is a retired chemistry teacher, an artist, poet and writer.  She is the wife of John Newcomb: author of the book: A Bunch of Plumbers in which he tells of his experiences working on the Lunar Orbiter and the Viking Projects, written for those of us (who like stories) and who don’t have engineering degrees!

Posted on


David Cariens

I am working full speed on my memoir, Escaping Madness, and hope to have the first complete draft done by the end of March. I hope to get it published by mid-summer, or the end of the year at the latest. I have already learned one significant lesson. Once you begin plumbing the reaches of your memory you are amazed at how long-forgotten incidents and people surface.

The theme running through my memoir is the way violence—verbal and physical—has punctured many parts of my life.

For those of you reading this who might be thinking at trying your hand at memoir writing, I strongly urge you to do it. And, if you stopping because you cannot remember a lot of the details of your past, don’t forget that a memoir is a form of creative non-fiction. For example, I cannot remember the exact words of my mother yield when she was in one of her mentally ill, alcoholic rages, but I can remember the substance of what she said; I can recreate my feelings and the essence of what she said.

The whole process of writing a memoir can, and for me, is cathartic.


(To be continued)