Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vampires Don’t Cry: Vampire High School... words of wisdom from Mandy Cross

Hi. My name’s Mandy Cross. That’s a pic of me above. It’s not a look I wear all the time, but when it’s time to rebel, I’m kinda good at it.
I’m a vampire, although as with lots of us out there, I didn’t exactly volunteer for the position. In fact, I was swept off my feet by the resident vampire douche-bag, Alan McCartney. Nothing out of the ordinary there, he was recruiting for some kind of war, and decided I had the right characteristics to join his side.
Don’t get me wrong, being a vampire has its highs. The added stimulus while having sex is superb, and that’s almost enough for most people, but there is also the extra speed and the super strength. Superman doesn’t come close to most of my cohorts. But then there’s the constant living with death thing. Damn it, I helped kill my mom and dad minutes after being turned, although I blame Alan for that, he should have reined me in more.
Hey Mandy! Bam, you’re a vampire, drink some of this! Then mom and dad are dead, their heads ripped off, my bedroom looks like a crimson grenade had exploded, and I’m left to deal with the fallout on my own. After Alan had his fun, he decides to piss off, leaving me to deal with the changes in my body, while he courts his next victim. Typical douche. Thanks Alan, mate.
Anyway… the new book, Vampires Don’t Cry: Vampire High School. I’ve never read it, but it seems I’m portrayed as the dark smoldering bad girl, and I don’t mind that. I never wanted to be a good girl anyway, although I can’t see me making it to the last page. There’s a feeling of doom hanging over me now, like a death cloud or something.
I’ll leave Lyman Bracks to be the hero, him and his new girlfriend, Mary Christine. Not that I want anything to do with them, of course, they’re vampire hunters, and it seems they’ve landed in the right place. Pick up Gregor Academy (Vampire High), turn it upside down, and shake, you’ll see all of Alan’s fang-mates come falling out. A right little den of vipers.
Anyway, I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
I wonder who’ll play me in the movie?

Read all about Mandy's exploits in the Vampires Don't Cry series, here at Amazon, or all good eBook sellers everywhere.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

FREE Vampire Book: What’s in an Amazon Top Rank?

What does the Amazon Ranking System mean?
Well, sometimes it actually means quite a lot.

Scenario 1; An excellent author has done his job, and written a fine outstanding novel. The editors have taken the book, and sought out every mistake, and the “Comma Police” have trampled on every sentence making certain that no extra punctuation marks mar the structure. The cover has been painted by Van Gogh, and the title fonts have been carved in gleaming white marble by Michelangelo. The back-flap has reviews by the Queen, Gandhi, and God himself, and the preface was written by William Shakespeare. The book then sold 50,000 copies per day for six months, made every concerned very rich and got added to every bestseller list in the world.

This is what that ranking would look like;
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1 in Kindle Store #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks

Okay, okay, I know it doesn’t usually go like that, but a good Amazon Best Seller Rank could give that impression. Of course, it could be a very different story… (Yes, I know authors like this… and they know who they are!)

Scenario 2: This author has no writing skill whatsoever, but he thinks he has. He surrounds himself with a lot of rabid friends who tell him so every day, who then dash onto Amazon and write a number of superb five-star reviews, basically telling lies about the book’s contents. The editors have never gotten a hundred miles from the book, because the author is either so egocentric to think it’s already perfect, or has such a fragile ego that he can’t stand any form of critique at all. The book has been dropped in the “FREE” section of the Amazon Kindle store, with a bunch of naked torsos on the front cover advertising the “smuttiest porn you have ever read” while somehow maintaining a strict holier-than-thou attitude. Yes, it looks like porn, and it’s been downloaded a few thousand times. But this author has a secret weapon. He’s mastered the art of the Amazon Ranking System. Believe it or not, in Amazon you can actually pick your own genre to link your book to. And you can make it so specialized, that even with the three million books that Amazon sells, there’s only about ten books in the category. SO… even if your book is totally CRAP, and you’re the lowest book in that rare section, you’ll still show up as ranked number TEN.

As an example, here’s one of my own rankings in such a rare section.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,109 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store) #10 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Anthologies & Literature Collections > Horror

You see, there’s not much call for Literary Horror Anthologies, trust me. And this is how some authors look good on Amazon, while their actual product is way below par.

My own book? The one with the #10 ranking?
It’s here…

Come see me at
Oh, and if you see any mistakes that the editors missed? Shh! It’ll be our little secret!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Can Vampires Survive without the Long Story Arc?

Since the 1860’s, Varney the Vampire had enthralled readers with a weekly chapter in a vampire series. People from all walks of life read the Penny Dreadful, and passed it around. But it didn’t last. The world wasn’t ready.
From the 1920’s vampire lore has plastered our silver screen with re-make after vampire re-make, re-hashing every concept under the sun (or hiding away from it), and providing the vampire lover with so many worlds to dream of. But not until Hammer Horror in the 50’s and 60’s, with Christopher Lee as the lead vampire and Peter Cushing as the consistent ‘Helsing’ variant, did the movies even think about heading into the ‘series’ category. For a decade, the fans were content.
In the Black-and-White ages of television, shows like The Munsters, and The Adams Family tried to keep us enthralled, but fell comically short. The viewer watched each episode like opening a new bottle of wine. In the days before video recorders, TiVo, and the DVD hard drive, it was essential to keep each episode free-standing, so that if we missed one, it didn’t matter, we didn’t actually miss anything important. Then, in the dawn of the video recorder, around 1971, things began to change, people could record episodes when they were out, on vacation etc, and TV series began to have two part stories, and include details from previous episodes. The beginning of the long arc had surfaced.
In books too, writers had made the trilogy the mainstay of the long-arc novel, and it took guts to extend the series beyond that iconic number three. But again, mirroring television, the novel was about to change. With the advent of cable television, the need to draw an audience grew, but a loftier goal was the keeping of an audience, and for that the television companies needed a hook to draw you back to a certain channel on a certain day at a specific time. The long plot arc was born through financial necessity, and it’s here to stay.
The television screens show vampire series.
The movies show vampire series.
Today, we cannot imagine a television series without a long-arc plot. In fact, if the long arc is not presented quickly in the series, therefore giving us something to get our collective teeth into, we swiftly turn off, and watch somewhere else. There is a burning need to have a mystery behind every show, whether it be science fiction, horror, or soap opera. In books today, we have so many series available in every genre that it is difficult to conceive of a single standalone novel anymore. Some authors do not even publish until they’ve completed at least two connected books. The age of the series is firmly upon us, and I for one am all in favor.
So, in summary, I ask the question. Do you, the book reader, read single vampire books anymore, or do you hone in on a series?
In either case, tell me about your best stand-alone, your best series, the one of which you cannot wait on the next volume.
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