Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meet Constance

Constance Pruitt (Hellen Grace, Kate Chase, and many, many other names) is just a typical vampire. Except for the snark and hunting and eating other vamps. She agreed to do this interview because I promised her I'd write a story with a Vlad in it for her.

KR: So, thanks for the interview.

CP: No problem. You realize you're talking to yourself, right?

KR: I had noticed that. Though we do have different voices.

CP: True.

KR: Want to tell them all a little about Hunter's Tales?

CP: Hmmmm... Well, let's see... If I don't talk about it, what happens?

KR: I write a story where you have to go back to high school, and just sit through hour after hour of calculus.

CP: Hunter's Tales is a series of short stories about me. The one that's out now (and free on 5/25 and 5/26 here) is about my latest trip to high school.

KR: Aren't you over 350? What are you doing in high school?

CP: I like to hunt other vampires. We're a tasty breed. Prey animals are all twitchy and nervous, makes them sort of bitter. But vamps are top predators. They don't think anything is stalking them, so they're pretty relaxed, makes them taste better. Plus there's nothing more fun than hunting something that's as strong, as smart, and as fast as you are. On top of that turning the tables on something that thinks it's invulnerable adds an extra bit of fun to the hunt.

KR: It's been a while since I was in high school, but I don't remember it being a hot bed of vampiric activity. So, why high school?

CP: It wasn't back when you were there. But thanks to Joss, Stephanie, and the Vampire Diaries lady (I can never remember her name.) the teeny boppers are all Yay! Vampires! and trying to find an immortal love of the ages with their very own Cullen.

KR: I take it you don't approve.

CP: Just a tad. The Cullen wannabes... (Constance shudders.) I consider it an honor and a duty as a vamp to destroy any undead twit sprinkling himself with glitter so he'll sparkle properly.

Look, vamps aren't stupid, and a lot of them are pretty lazy. The easier food is to get, the better. So some of them have decided high school is a great place to find a compliant, steady feed. Someone who will provide them with a long term snack and adore them unconditionally. I like to go in, look like that girl, and then, when he's sure I'm ready to be let in on his "big secret" and made into a snack, I turn the tables on him.

It's fun.

KR: So you don't eat humans?

CP: Rarely. A vamp hunt may take long time, and I might get peckish, but for the most part these days I just eat vamps.

KR: So, you're what, a cross between Blade and Hannibal Lecter?

CP: You wrote me. Am I?

KR: Well, I'd say you're somewhere between Sherlock Holmes (the new version with Benedict Cumberbatch), Hannibal Lecter, and Dexter, with a Burn Notice sort of story structure.

CP: I can see that.

KR: Who's the guy on the cover? Is he a "Cullen?"

CP: Do you see any sparkles? Let's just say, he's what's makes this next high school interesting.

KR: Ahhh... Well, thanks for the interview. I think everyone has a bit of an idea of who you are.

CP: (Smirking) No problem. Out of curiosity, do you talk to yourself regularly?

KR: I'm an author. I talk to myself all the time.

CP: So this sort of thing isn't abnormal for you?

KR: Nope.

If you'd like to get to know Constance better, Hunter's Tales is available for free today on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Indie Book Review: The Converted

A man with a dark past escapes to a new land hoping for a new life and atonement for past sins. Welcome to one of the great Western tropes. Many careers have been made on this basic plot, and I'm thinking C. R. Hindmarsh, author of The Converted, might be one of them as well.

Hindmarsh adds some new twists to the tale; it's not precisely a Western, in that it appears to be set in a fantasy world.  But it's a fantasy world with trains, guns, a mostly 1880s tech level, wilderness, Indians (Skia), and a powerful elite. There's even the local mayor who stands up to the rampaging savages, soldiers who don't really know what's going on where they are, and a stand off at a public hanging.

So, all in all, everything everyone loves about Westerns are in this book. If it takes place in New Alania instead of Wyoming, well, who really cares?

The twist, instead of a dark past of Civil War crimes (or heroics) our Dark Hero was a failed geneticist, whose experiments killed a slew of children.

It's a good twist. Everything other than the genetics looks pretty well set for the 1880s, but the rich and powerful have figured out how to vert (convert) genes and are walking around with different colors, different skin types (scales for example). It's not so much that the powerful have more money, they're practically a different species by the time this story gets going.

But of course, there's a dark secret involving the verts and the rich and powerful. And it's the job of the hero to get to the bottom of it and seek redemption along the way.

The cast of characters is wide enough to cover almost all of the basic Western roles. There was no whore with a heart of gold, but I think that was the only one who was missing.  They are competently drawn, interesting, and worth following.

This is a tidy and solid western. (Even if it looks a little different.)  If the drifter, one step ahead of the law, rides into town, finds things aren't the way they should be, grows a spine and a conscience, and then, with the aid of a few new friends, goes in and saves the day, overthrowing the corrupting influence is your idea of a good time, go read The Converted, you will enjoy it.