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Parting Notes for The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles

October 1st, 2017 No comments

*** Note: This blog is about my series, THE VAMPIRE’S HOUSEKEEPER CHRONICLES. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, the first novella in the series –EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE – is currently FREE on Amazon and most major book retailers. I’m totally not biased, but I think you should really check it out. ***

Last week, I sent out copies of SHOWDOWN WITH THE SUPERNATURAL HUNTER to my beta readers. Now it’s just a waiting game, and a I-really-hope-you-don’t-hate-it game. Sending out a vulnerable little draft into the cold, harsh world of critiques is always a nerve-wracking process, but I felt separation anxiety even more deeply this time.

Showdown is – at least for now – the last novella in the VAMPIRE’S HOUSEKEEPER CHRONICLES. It was allllll the way back in the ancient days of 2011 when I whipped up a fun little vampire story for my sister as part of our constant, back-and-forth emailing. My goal was simple. I wanted to write about a vampire who was not young, not handsome, and who did not sparkle in sunlight. Furthermore, knowing many seniors who still struggle with how to understand things like email and phone apps, I always believed that vampires must face similar challenges. If an 80-year-old is completely out of their depth with technology, slang, and culture, how about a 200-year-old? From these thoughts, Nathaniel was born, and it has been a joy writing about my cranky, stick-in-the-mud vampire ever since.

Nathaniel, The Vampire's Housekeeper Chronicles

Not so sparkly, but I love Nathaniel anyway.

What truly surprised me is how much I enjoyed writing from the viewpoint of the protagonist, Deidre. Like Nathaniel, Deidre was hatched as an anti-heroine of the vampire genre. Not that she was evil. Worse. She was average looking. Unlike the Bellas and Elenas of the world, Deidre was overweight, self-doubting, and living a relatively mediocre life (before she met Nathaniel, that is).

Deidre from the Vampire's Housekeeper Chronicles

Just another day in Deidre’s world.

When I scribbled down that very first story, EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, it was just meant to make my sister laugh, but I enjoyed the characters so much, that I wrote another story for my sister, what would become THE VAMPIRE HUNTER COMES TO CALL (now part of the first novella in the series).

I kept writing the stories, not because they were huge sellers (trust me, they weren’t), but because it was a lot of fun. The amazing thing is that with each story, Deidre’s world grew. We met Dex and Sloppy Joe. Then Drew, who would become Deidre’s best friend and love interest. Next up was the bingo crew (Carl, Lenny, Polina, and Rick), and finally, Hunter, the loveable, overachieving vampire apprentice. As Deidre’s world got richer, it also got more complex. The last two novellas – APPRENTICESHIP WITH A VAMPIRE and THANKSGIVING WITH THE WEREWOLVES add interesting themes beneath just the daily weirdness of Deidre’s life. I think that you’ll find that Showdown brings this dynamic to a whole new level.

THE VAMPIRE’S HOUSEKEEPER CHRONICLES always played a second fiddle to the GIRL WITH BROKEN WINGS series. It was much more light-hearted and not as deep or complex as my primary series. I would write VHC stories and novellas between drafts of GWBW.

However, VHC was always a joy to write, and I am really proud of how the series has evolved. I personally believe that APPRENTICESHIP WITH A VAMPIRE is the best thing I’ve ever written to date. I’ve really enjoyed getting messages from fans about how the series has made them laugh.

Deidre, in many ways, became a true hero to me. Her struggles – to lose weight, to find love, to achieve balance in her life, to get the ghosts to stop animating the furniture, and to keep her ficus alive – are real (well, except for the ghosts and the furniture run amok). Deidre’s struggles aren’t sexy. Explosions aren’t involved (though there is always a chance of ectoplasm, which never comes out). But that doesn’t make her struggle less real or less worthy.

SHOWDOWN WITH THE SUPERNATURAL HUNTER will be available soon. (The goal is to release it right around Halloween). I hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed writing it. I hope it makes you laugh and that the characters – Nathaniel, Deidre, Drew, Hunter, Sloppy Joe, and Dex – feel like your old friends. I am sad to let this series go, though excited about the big science fiction monster that I’m still writing. I am considering starting up a new novella series in the vein of VHC. Something fun, light, and quirky to give me a break and add some laughs to offset my bigger, more serious novels in the works.

And of course, vampires live for a long, long time, so maybe one day I’ll come back to the world of the VAMPIRE’S HOUSEKEEPER CHRONICLES.

All the Nathaniel and Deidre You Want in a Single Collection

October 6th, 2014 No comments

Announcing: The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles, Volume One

Get It Now

Cover, The Vampire's Housekeeper Chronicles

Stay strong Deidre!

Deidre finds herself out of a job, out of luck, and out of time. The rent is past due, and the list of her employable skills is smaller than her checking account balance. Hope comes in the form of Betsy Riddle of the Bullseye Employment Agency who gives Deidre one shot at staying out of a fast food restaurant uniform. A mysterious gentleman with certain “peculiarities” is seeking a housekeeper. Deidre squeezes into her only nice pair of slacks, tames her wild orange hair, and starts off for the job interview that will either change her life….or end it. Thus begins Deidre’s hilarious adventures as the housekeeper of a cranky vampire. Nathaniel is unliving proof that  tempers don’t always sweeten with age. He stubbornly clings to his gramophone, insists on wearing a cape to meet guests, considers the television to be “witch magic,” and gets murderous when his prune juice runs low. The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles, Vol. 1 includes five  fast-paced and humorous short stories and a novella that follow Deidre as she struggles to keep on the right side of her boss’s fangs, clean a haunted mansion where the walls bleed on a daily basis, and catch the eye of a certain hunky wereferret. Filled with a kaleidoscope characters from inept poltergeists, smelly zombies, chatty ninjas, obese werefrogs, and senior citizen vampire hunters…this series has it all! Each story builds upon the last, adding more laughs, more action, and more adventure to Deidre’s world. Deidre is an unlikely, enjoyable, and very human heroine who proves that being a vampire’s housekeeper doesn’t have to suck.  Don’t miss out on a single story in The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles  series with this great  collection.

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Why I Wrote A Series About A Cranky, Old, Unattractive Vampire — Behind The Scenes With The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles

September 17th, 2014 No comments
Nathaniel, The Vampire's Housekeeper Chronicles

Not so sparkly, but I love Nathaniel anyway.

I am getting ready to compile all the short stories in my The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles series into a single collection, and I thought readers might be interested to learn where the idea for this series came from. I’ll ruin the surprise – it was Twilight. But here’s the full story…

Vampires had it good for a couple of centuries. They inspired fear, pants wetting, and lots of running around and screaming like a boob. They were cruel, deliciously vicious, and powerful…and then Twilight came along.

With this single book, vampires left the realm of nightmares and became squarely lodged into the stuff of tween girl daydreams. CW’s Vampire Diaries has only thrown gasoline onto the tragic fire of hunky, sensitive, and people-eating free vampire mythology.

My sister and I email each other back and forth every day, because apparently email is our crack. About two years ago, my sister headlined an email with this complaint: “I hate that vampires are all total wusses now!”

My response was, “If you were over 100 years old, why in the world would you want to spend your immortal afterlife in high school?”

How could a 100+ year-old vampire not get bored out of his mind and fed up with all the stupid dramatics of high school? There are obvious physical reasons why a vampire might be attracted to a high school girl, but what could they possibly talk about? [Insert joke about how talking isn’t necessary for certain activities].

“And how would a vampire even be able to keep up with the times? I just learned how to use Siri, and I was born in the last century,” I wrote to my sister. “How could someone who grew up with steam engines and telegraphs understand iTunes, texting, and the resurgence of Weird Al Yankovic?”

Thus an idea was born…an idea to write about a vampire who was not handsome, not sparkly, not fascinated by the vacant minds of high school girls, and who definitely could not flawlessly keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovation.

For the next couple of days, I started each email to my sister with an ongoing story of a luckless college grad who finds herself out of a job and lacking in useful job skills. When she goes to an employment agency for help, she is sent on an interview for a housekeeping position at a haunted mansion where her perspective boss…isn’t exactly a vegetarian.

Deidre and Nathaniel were born. That first story was completely random, a little bit of cheek that stemmed from my desire to write a different type of vampire. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the story fulfilled another need I have always wanted to explore as a writer – writing a different type of protagonist.

Deidre is so far from the wispy, damsel-in-distress Bella, that she might as well live on a totally different planet. Deidre is overweight, self-conscious, funny, loyal, and pragmatic. She sees the world with a wry sense of humor and a certain stoic acceptance of her messy and chaotic existence.

That first story was such fun to write that I kept the narrative going into a second chapter, which would eventually become The Vampire Hunter Comes to Call. About the time I finished up the third installment (eventually Duel with the Werefrog), I realized that I really liked Nathaniel, Deidre, Dex, and Sloppy Joe (who was originally named High Man until my sister pointed out the similarity between his name and a certain part of the female anatomy).

The stories needed a lot of polish from their original email serial form, but with a little elbow grease, Deidre’s world started to come to life (or afterlife). I loved writing the first six stories in this series. With each story, Deidre’s world got a little bigger and more complex. Over the course of the series, Drew has turned into a reoccurring character, as have Nathaniel’s bingo buddies.  I’m excited to introduce a very intriguing character – Hunter Gulliver Graves – in the novella that completes the first volume of this series. (Apprenticeship With A Vampire is now available!) I love all the silly and improbable situations Deidre finds herself in and all the jokes the ghosts play on her. However, I believe each story also contains a little bit of Deidre wisdom tucked beneath the top layer of humor. I hope readers get this and enjoy a story that can be both silly and a tiny bit serious at the same time.

The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles, Volume One will launch on October 1st, so if you haven’t tried the series yet, get ready for this very non-Twilight vampire series.