There are three female writers that have inspired my work: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; Shirley Jackson; Tanith Lee. Everyone knows the first and her remarkable 1818 novel Frankenstein, but if you haven't read the other two, you're in for a real treat.
Shirley Jackson is famous for her chilling novel The Haunting of Hill House (1959), and her horrific short story "The Lottery" (1948)--a brilliant piece of writing that uses the most difficult 3rd person voice that stays outside every character, that god-like quality infusing the insanity of the situation with a very creepy feel. But my favorite Jackson story is "The Lovely House" (1950), also reprinted as "The Visit". The writing is incredible and carries this subtle tale which, read carefully and several times, keeps revealing more and more of its unnerving undercurrents. It is one of those stories that sits on the edge between realities, real and surreal, and by its general loveliness of tone and exquisite descriptions creates a real sense of unease. The first sentence is a teaser: "The house was, even before anything had happened there, as lovely a thing as she had ever seen."
Another writer whose work has affected me is Tanith Lee, who I knew personally. She was a remarkable woman who lived her fantasies in many way, a kind and generous soul, and a perfectionist when it came to writing. Tanith couldn't write on a computer and always sent me her stories typed on a typewriter! She contributed to several of the anthologies I've edited, and her final story "The Return of Berenice", written just before her death (2015), is in nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre. I first encountered Lee's writing when I read Sabella (1980). The novel blew me away. It captures the loneliness and terror of alienation that everyone who feels different experiences. Her short story that affected me most is "Bite-Me-Not or Fleur de Feu" (1984). I've rarely read such a fine and delicate piece, writing that reminds me of fine lace and filigree work. This is a tale of two species, one dominant, the other prey--until that changes. It's a sweet, mildly erotic, and, in the end, a very beautiful and touchingly sad view of life.
As to current authors who readers might investigate, I can mention two whose work I have included in my anthologies.
Sandra Kasturi is well known as co-owner/editor of Chi Publications. But she also is a poet and has published many pieces in a variety of publications. Kasturi is a wordsmith and even in the darkest depths of a poem, her humor rises to the top, always surprising and delightful. She has published collections of her poems and an individual piece appears in my antho Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead. But, she also writes fiction, and has an amazing story in Evolve 2: Vampire Stories of the Future Undead. "The Slowing of the World" was an absolutely ringer to finish off this anthology.
Colleen Anderson is an up-and-coming writer of both poetry and short fiction. Her short work "Asylum" can be found in my anthology nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre, and the dark and lovely "Embers Among the Fallen" is in Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead. Colleen is a risky writer and her stories take you where you were not expecting to go.
Vampires and humans are at war!
Moarte, King of the Vampirii, is a prisoner of his Sapiens enemy. The beautiful Sapiens Princess Valada, believing that Moarte killed her mother, tortures him, even to the point of breaking the bones in his wings so he cannot escape. She intends to incinerate him to ash in sunlight, but Moarte escapes.
Moarte hungers for revenge. When, through an act of betrayal, Valada is captured by the vampirii, his first instinct is to drain her blood and annihilate her. But he realizes he can get revenge in other ways, using her as a tool to gain the upper hand in this conflict. But who is manipulating whom? Both want revenge, and control of the other, and Moarte wants to drink Valada's blood. Dark desires lead down a path neither had envisioned, a threatening spiral that can destroy empires.
Hunter and hunted change places again and again in this novel of twisted, violent passions. Seeds of deception are sown amidst love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, obsession and indifference, in an erotic tale of warring races, foes since the beginning of time, and two unlikely adversaries aligning to battle a common enemy.
“Nancy Kilpatrick infuses her vampires with the hot blood of life and erotic passion. Vampires have never had it so good.” - F. Paul Wilson
Author of the Repairman Jack series.
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