Spotlight & Excerpt – Vampire: The Masquerade + Giveaway

VAMPIRE OF THE MASQUERADE

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE-THE COMPLETE SERIES by Tim Seeley, Jim Zub, Tini Howard, Blake Howard, Danny Lore, & Dev Pramanik, Nathan C. Gooden, Julius Ohta Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

Title: VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE-THE COMPLETE SERIES

Authors: Tim Seeley, Jim Zub, Tini Howard, Blake Howard, Danny Lore, & Dev Pramanik, Nathan C. Gooden, Julius Ohta (Illustrators)

Pub. Date: January 23, 2024

Publisher: Vault Comics

Formats:  Paperback, eBook

Pages: 448

Find it: Goodreads, books2read

 

Global best-selling World of Darkness RPG phenomena, VAMPIRE: The Masquerade and WEREWOLF: The Apocalypse are captured together for the first time in a complete series omnibus edition, featuring VAMPIRE: The Masquerade Winter’s Teeth issues #1-#10 and the crossover Vampire: The Masquerade and World of Darkness: CRIMSON THAW event series, issues #1-#3!

UNSEEN EVIL LURKS EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS

VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE The Complete Series collects all 10 issues of Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth and all 3 issues of the never before-collected vampire/werewolf crossover World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw, plus more than 30 pages of original roleplaying supplements, including lore sheets for playable characters featured in the series!!

Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth
A tale of two vampires in the Twin Cities…
When Cecily Bain, an enforcer for the Twin Cities’ vampiric elite, takes a mysterious new vampire, Alejandra, under her wing, she’s dragged into an insidious conspiracy. After learning a disturbing fact about her fake childe’s past, Cecily must keep her secrets close, and Ali at arm’s length. As she searches the streets of the Twin Cities for answers, a terrifying possibility surfaces: perhaps Ali has learned the ways of the Kindred better than Cecily herself. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the cities, Colleen Pendergrass, embraced by her husband against her will, and a rebellious found-family of vampire cast-outs investigates a vicious killing.

As the unlives of the Kindred twine together and betrayals are unearthed, will Cecily be able to escape and save what’s left of her family, or will she be yet another pawn sacrificed to maintain the age-old secret: that vampires exist among the living?

World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw
There’s worse living in the shadows than vampires … something with even
bigger teeth.

Cecily Bain has become everything she never wanted as The Prince of the Twin Cities. But her rule over a fractured, backbiting vampire court is interrupted by an intruder: something big, hairy and full of teeth. For over a century, werewolves of the Twin Cities have protected their blessed places from threats both physical and spiritual. When vampires under Cecily’s rule move in on one of these precious sites, it’s a declaration of war, one that Tyrell ‘the Stainless’ Stinar and his ferocious pack will avenge at any cost, even if that includes slaying one of their own.The immortal enmity between the Kindred and the Garou comes to a head on the streets of the Twin Cities!

VAMPIRE: The Masquerade – The Complete Series Includes more than 30 pages of EXCLUSIVE canonical roleplaying supplements enabling readers to play characters, locations, and scenarios from the comics in their Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition campaigns, including lore sheets for playable characters featured in the series.

For fans of VAMPIRE: The Masquerade RPG, WEREWOLF: The Apocalypse RPGThe World of DarknessAmerican VampireKilladelphiaSomething is Killing the ChildrenInterview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat/The Vampire ChroniclesSookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries/True BloodCertain Dark Things, Underworld, and vampire/werewolf/monster graphic novels, tabletop/RPGs, books, movies, video games, and series!


Praise:

“This is a fresh take on vampires, mixing it with crime, thrillers, and a pinch of romance all with a vein of horror running through it.” — Horror DNA

“… strongly recommend this book to both fans of the franchise and newcomers.” – Grimdark Magazine

“I’m absolutely in love with what a badass Cecily is…” – The Wandering Nerd Girl

“Vampire: the Masquerade … is an enjoyable read even if you’re not familiar with the RPG… like the real world, but with hotter outfits, blood, and fangs. – Graphic Policy

“This is the horror thriller we all need.” – Horror DNA

“… strong … with wildly expansive world building, but there is also an underlying heart to the story that will help to pull you in to their uniquely dark struggle.” – Comic Watch

“ … a story with blood and intrigue … a must-buy for horror fans.” – But Why Tho?

Vampire: The Masquerade … exciting … with remarkable depth and a focus on character-driven drama. It’s a great start for newcomers and longtime fans alike to sink their teeth into. – Comic Watch

“It blends real world horror with the supernatural in a seamless fashion.” – Horror DNA

“Vampire: The Masquerade … is perfect for both newcomers and old fans alike, a blood-fueled and beautiful story.” — Comics Bookcase

World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw … thrills, terrifies and ups the stakes.” – Comic Watch

“World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw #1 thrills, terrifies and ups the stakes. Plus, it is delivering the fruits of some fantastic character work and design into a visually enchanting issue.” – Comic Watch

World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw … blood-curdling chaos.” – Comic Watch


Sample page:Illustration 4


About the crew:

About Tim Seeley:

TIM SEELEY is one of those “slash” people…a writer-slash-artist. He has drawn a number of different comic book series including G.I JOE, HALLOWEEN, WILDCATS and ANT-MAN & WASP. His writing work include NIGHTWING, MONEY SHOT , INJUSTICE v. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE ,the critically acclaimed REVIVAL, and the NY TIMES bestselling HACK/SLASH. He resides in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, daughter and 80s action figure collection. 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

About Jim Zub:

Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. Over the past twenty years he’s worked for a diverse array of publishing, movie and video game clients including Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, Capcom, Hasbro, Cartoon Network, Vault Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Dark Horse, and Bandai-Namco.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

About Tini Howard:

Tini Howard is a writer and swamp witch from the Carolina Wilds. Currently, she writes Vampire: the Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth from Vault Comics, Euthanauts, Assassinistas (with Gilbert Hernandez) and Hack/Slash: Resurrection, with occasional stories for two of her favorite things: Rick and Morty and WWE. She lives with her husband, Blake, and her sons, Orlando and General Hugs, who are cats.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

About Blake Howard:

Blake Howard is an American comic book writer for Vault, known for his work on Vampire: The Masquerade. He is the husband of Tini Howard.

 

 

About Danny Lore:

Danny Lore (they/them) is a queer black writer/editor raised in Harlem and currently based in the Bronx. They’ve worked in comic and gaming shops since the beginning of time. Most of their writing is contemporary speculative fiction, with the occasional foray into science fiction. They’ve had their short fiction published by FIYAH, Podcastle, Fireside, Nightlight, EFNIKS.com and more. Their comics work includes QUEEN OF BAD DREAMS for Vault Comics, QUARTER KILLER for Comixology, and JAMES BOND for Dynamite Comics in December 2019. They have short comics in DEAD BEATS and THE GOOD FIGHT. They edited THE GOOD FIGHT anthology and THE WILDS (Black Mask comics).

Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

About Dev Pramanik:

Dev Pramanik is an in-demand artist based out of Kolkata, India

Twitter 

 

 

 

 

 

About Nathan C. Gooden:

Nathan C. Gooden is an award-winning illustrator and sequential artist, as well as the Senior Art Director at Vault Comics. Nathan studied animation at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and worked in film production, before co-founding Vault Comics. Nathan’s previous works include Brandon Sanderson’s Dark One (Vault), Barbaric (Vault), Zojaqan (Vault), and Killbox (from American Gothic Press). He lives in Southern California, where he plays a lot of basketball and hikes constantly with his wife. 

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About Julius Ohta:

Julius Ohta is an in-demand illustrator based out of São Paulo, Brazil

Twitter | Instagram

 

 


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive finished copies of VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE-THE COMPLETE SERIES, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends February 20th, midnight EST.


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/22/2024

Comic Book Yeti

Excerpt/IG Post

1/23/2024

Sadie’s Spotlight

Excerpt/IG Post

1/24/2024

The Momma Spot

Excerpt

1/25/2024

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post

1/26/2024

Kountry Girl Bookaholic

Excerpt/IG Post

1/27/2024

@darkfantasyreviews

IG Post

Week Two:

1/28/2024

Lady Hawkeye

Excerpt/IG Post

1/29/2024

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post

1/30/2024

A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt

1/31/2024

@fiction._.fuss

Excerpt/IG Post

2/1/2024

Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Review/IG Post

2/2/2024

@enthuse_reader

IG Review/TikTok Post

2/3/2024

@enjoyingbooksagain

IG Review

Week Three:

2/4/2024

Books With a Chance

Review/IG Post

2/5/2024

Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post

2/6/2024

Callisto’s calling

IG Review

2/7/2024

jlreadstoperpetuity

IG Review/TikTok Post

2/8/2024

A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic/TikTok Post

2/9/2024

Kim’s Book Reviews and Writing Aha’s

Review/IG Post

2/10/2024

@evergirl200

IG Review

Week Four:

2/11/2024

@paperwitches

Review/IG Post

2/12/2024

The Guild

Review

2/13/2024

Books and Zebras

IG Review

2/14/2024

Destiny’s Path

Review/IG Post

2/15/2024

Two Points of Interest

Review

2/16/2024

celiamcmahonreads

IG Post

 

Spotlight & Author Interview: The Maiden’s Sleep, by Michael J. Stiehl

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The Maiden's Sleep

The Maiden’s Sleep
by Michael J. Stiehl
Genre: Fantasy / Mystery
Publisher: World Castle Publishing, LLC
Cover Artist: Karen Fuller
Release Date: January, 16th 2024
page count: 117 pages.

Bow has hit bottom. Banished from the town of Dunwynn, his hands crippled by the town guard, he drinks his days away in a hut made of sticks and mud. He is a long way from being part of the legendary father/daughter duo Knife & Bow.

That’s because his daughter is dead. Killed by The Maiden’s Sleep, a plague that ran rampant through Dunwynn all spring and summer, killing only young women.

Now there are two children in his hut asking him to find their missing father. Against his better instincts, and to make a little money, he decides to help. It’s a decision that will lead him into the darkest corners of Dunwynn, revealing a secret sect of alchemy, and a plot to achieve unspeakable power.

Can Bow play the hero one more time or will the truth about The Maiden’s Sleep be his end?

Content Warnings: contains descriptions of murder, violence, and dark themes.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book?

On December 10th, 2021 my dog Scout died. My wife and I rescued her when she was two years old and she had been a part of my life for more than fifteen years. I’ve worked from home either part or full time for much of the last decade, so she was my daily companion. Scout was a poodle, and poodles are strange dogs in that they have their person. While friendly and loving to all Scout was never settled unless I was around, I was her person. She was always watching me, following me, and with me through tick and thin. Losing her was a real gut punch.

About a month before she died, I was sitting at my laptop as she slept quietly next to me in her bed on the floor. I remember looking at her and knowing that she wouldn’t be with me much longer – seventeen is pretty old for a dog. I turned back to my laptop and the first sentence of The Maiden’s Sleep just spilled out of me and into a word document I had open for work. I stared that sentence – “I hate kids, and yet there are two in the pile of sticks and mud I call home.” – and wondered where the hell it came from. So I followed it. I kept writing whatever came to mind and within fifteen minutes I had two pages of Bow’s voice.

That has never happened to me before.

After Scout’s death I was visiting family for the holidays. My mother could see how much I was grieving Scout’s loss and, knowing I liked to write, suggested I write a story about her. Something that would help me remember how much she meant to me. When I got back home, thinking about what my mother had said, I opened that document I had written that day next to Scout and just kept going. I completed the first draft of the story in a month.

I don’t think The Maiden’s Sleep is at all what my mother had in mind when she suggested writing a story about Scout – sorry mom. But given what I was going through it should come as no surprise that Bow’s story deals with the themes of death, loss, and grief. I also think it really captures how I found my way through such a significant loss. Ultimately, it’s a hopeful story about how those we lose live on in our memories, inspiring us to be better with their love. In that way they never really leave us.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?

That grieving is a strange process. You can be completely okay one minute and then feel utterly broken the next. In the end, I learned a lot about gratitude, love, and how to treasure the memories of those who’ve passed.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

Bow. His voice was extremely present and flowed easily as I wrote it. He’s not much like me, except that we were both suffering a deep loss at the time, so I was constantly surprised by how well I understood his motivations and point of view. Also, it was surprising how his journey seemed to just build the world that surrounded it. As he moved from place to place everything became visible to me. It was quite amazing.

4. What does the title mean?

The title is a reference both to a disease that is ravaging the town of Dunwynn but also to the death of Bow’s daughter. More importantly I think it references death and all the strange, complicated feelings that go with the subject.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?

No. All the characters are really amalgams of characters from movies, or at least the half-remembered versions of those characters. Sometimes I do that – I cast characters from movies or books as actors in my stories. For example, as I was writing The Maiden’s Sleep, I imagined Bow being played by a mashup of Jake Gittesis from the movie Chinatown and John McClane from Die Hard. Not Jack Nicholson or Bruce Willis so much as the characters they played in those movies. In the end I think he turned out different from both of those characters, but I’d be lying if I said he didn’t have some of their DNA.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?

Yes. If things are dark there is light ahead. Just hang on for it because, eventually, it will reveal itself. Also, it never hurts to look around for friends, you might just find some when you really need them.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

Anytime Freneck and Bow are talking to each other. I love their back and forth. Their personality clashes brought a smile to my face many times as I wrote this adventure for them.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

The alchemist Tomen. Trying not to make him a moustache twisting villain was a struggle. I hope I succeeded in giving him a little depth and motivation.

9. What are your immediate future plans?

I’ve finished another novella about Houdini in WWI that I’m really excited about and I’m probably three fourths of the way through my first real novel about high school metal heads in the 1980s who get mixed up in paranormal adventures. That book has been a blast to write. Someday I would love to come back to write more stories about Bow. I have another one in mind

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About the Author:

Michael J. Stiehl writes speculative fiction of all varieties, from fantasy to horror to weird westerns. Frankly, there is just no telling what he’ll put on the page next.

Michael is a full-time staff member, and adjunct faculty, at the University of Chicago. With a lifelong passion for fiction, in particular horror, comics, adventure, and science fiction, he is thrilled to be pivoting away from academic publications and towards the kind of fiction that has always inspired him. Michael lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their very silly poodle Jack. When not writing fiction, Michael spends his time riding bikes, camping, reading books, obsessively listening to music, and playing D&D with his friends. In short, he hasn’t changed at all since junior high.

Michael’s work has previously appeared in the Rogue Blades Entertainment anthologies, “Reach for the Sky,” and “No Ordinary Mortals”. He has also been featured on the Night Shift Radio Story Tellers series and his novella “Sanctuary” was recently published by Black Hare Press.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Beware of a Cursed Forest + Giveaway

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Beware of a Cursed Forest

Misty Falls, Book 3

by Martha Wickham

Contemporary Fantasy Fiction

Date Published: 09-19-2023

 

How long can a magic ring last?

Long enough to get Violet through the worst, then send her through it again. When her new husband and his friends go grave robbing, they dig up a legend. They recover a thousand-year-old ring with a curse. When she finds it she uses it to her advantage like the last ring she owned, and her husband confesses to her how he obtained it. The magic flees from the ring after killing the people it sees deserving, but when it attacks her, Violet knows what she must do. It’s go back to grandma’s, then Misty Falls.

When she goes back her curiosity gets the best of her and she goes with a friend to investigate a murder in the haunted forest. Soon the forest is haunting her, and she is met with the killer, who wants more young blood. Though born on Friday the 13th, she believes in herself. Is she able to escape a streak of bad luck?

Purchase Link

Amazon


Excerpt

Curtis and his friends split up into three motel rooms ten minutes away from the cemetery they wanted to rob. They couldn’t bring them on the plane, so they had to go to a local store and get a shovel for each of them. The plan was to rob Jessie’s grave first and look for the famous ring that was fashioned in hell. “I want to see this ring,” one of them said. “I hope it doesn’t say made in hell or I will run.” They snickered at his joke except for Curtis. All their rooms were right next to each other. After hitting Jessie’s grave that night they would look through other graves and the mausoleum afterwards because there was no digging with those, then they’d go for the bigger graves, because the families may have had more money to pay for them.

After a quick dinner it was darkening. “Can we go now?” Curtis asked.

“It’s supposed to be late, but we will all take the rental car and be there in about thirty minutes. It’s getting darker at this point. I don’t think anyone will see us.”

“Have you done this before?” Curtis asked.

“No, I’ve stolen but not from a grave and this will probably be the only time.” By the time everyone was in the car it was darker, and they left. They had shovels and gardening tools in the back.

A red glow of light began to come from over the horizon. “I thought the sunset was over,” one of them in a black leathery jacket said.

“It was,” said the dark blond who appeared to be the leader. He had the most  experience stealing and did not spend one day in jail for anything.

As they got out the red seemed to get bigger. After opening the trunk, they then got out shovels and began looking for the one grave with the ring. There was a large, rounded tombstone straight ahead with some fresh flowers there half dead. The leader went for that one and it read Jessie the name they were looking for. He had died almost ten years ago and there was a card against the stone. It was about how someone missed him so much and how she loved him but never told him enough and it was signed Tess. It was from his girlfriend. The leader left it open and put it back. His friends began to dig but Curtis wandered around looking for graves to start digging. “Go to the mausoleum,” the leader told him, and Curtis went that way glad Violet had no idea where he was.

As the guys dug Curtis tried opening crypts with the shovel but they didn’t come open. When he found an old one with a big crack he decided to try that one. This person had died in the 1920’s. He hit it hard a few times with the shovel and the right side fell off. Sliding the coffin out and peeking in he could not see well but there wasn’t anything buried with him of value. He put it back and tried to find another one. He kept looking for older graves because if they were buried with anything old it could be valuable.

Curtis stepped out of the crypts and saw that most of the sky had turned red accept a circle of black in the middle. They all stared at it. “What makes the sky like that?” One of them asked. No one responded.

“Guys I don’t like this,” Curtis said.

“We are almost there,” the leader said, and he made deep holes with his shovel. “Go look for crypts to steal from.” Just then he smacked into the coffin with his shovel. They dug it out and opened it. Curtis came to see. “There he is.” Exactly, Here lies Jessie just like the tombstone said. Curtis glanced up and the whole sky was red. It seemed like an omen to him but there were still pretty twinkling stars shining through. The leader pulled the ring of his finger. Examining it the design looked like hell fire and he check on the inside. It said made in Hades. He wanted to throw it but pawning it would be a better idea. He put the ring in his pocket, and they began reburying Jessie.

They kept looking around the graveyard for ghosts and zombies coming to get them for revenge, but they didn’t. If anything, Jessie would have been glad the ring was gone and being the good person that he wouldn’t hurt anyone. They finished covering the grave. “Don’t worry. We’ll pawn it as fast as we can,” he told Curtis.

“If and when we find a pawn shop,” one of them said. Curtis was the only one uneasy and they couldn’t drive away fast enough. He would never do this again and was sorry he broke the man’s crypt marble.

The sky had stayed red for the rest of the night. When morning came it seemed like a dream but they needed to find food and a pawn shop. There were still days left in their stay in Michigan to do as they wished after finding what they needed.

After Curtis called Violet the leader wanted to tell them his decision. “I easily found a pawn shop in the phone book, but it’s not close. So, I have decided we have more to steal, and we can pawn that before we go back to Canada where we won’t get caught. Is that ok?” he asked Curtis.

“That’s fine. It’s only a ring and I’m not even staying with it,” he responded.

“Yes, and it must be worth so much. We can split it just tell your little lady back home your business was doing well.” Curtis nodded in agreement. They spent the day looking for places to rob and eat.

While they ate Chinese food in a motel room the leader made his announcement. “We will rob an old mansion. It’s old but they look like they have money. Tomorrow me and Anthony will go and see if there’s an easy way in and what they leave open or unlocked.” All they could do was nod. “Then we’ll come back when they’re gone and get you Sawyer. Curtis we need someone to drive the car. You can get out, but you need to be ready to drive. Hopefully these people are going on summer vacation. How’s that sound?” he asked Curtis.

“Sounds fine. If we go in through the backyard it’s harder for people to see what we are doing,” he suggested.

“Good idea,” the leader Tristan said.

He turned on the TV while they had a beer and relaxed. “It’s funny how rich people like to come out here thinking that it’s nice and peaceful and then get robbed.”


About the Author

Martha has studied writing with Writer’s Digest and has an associate’s degree in Social Services. She has also written poems and songs and even studied screen writing and horror. She still writes and likes getting writing prompts. Her favorite author is VC Andrews. If you purchase and read Martha’s books a review on this web site will be greatly appreciated. She can also be found at www.marthawickham.com. 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter: @MarthaWickham

 


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