Day 2 Alternative-Spooks Giveaway #1: Theda Black | Klaudia Bara | Monday Musing

Monday Musing: Question- About how many books (roughly) would you say you own? (If you don’t have a clue how many, do you care to know? Why, or why not?)

I'd say about 2,000 at a guess. It's pretty time consuming to catalogue all the books I own to truly work out the numbers, even on Goodreads, which is one of my favourite book collection places.

Alternative-Spooks Guest Post and Giveaway: Win this book!

By way of introduction: I’m Theda Black, and I write emotional, frequently angst-ridden stories about men in love with other men. I like passionate events and no safety nets. I like to put my characters through the wringer, exploring their limits, and I write them as falling so hard for someone they have a hard time dealing with the impact on their emotions because of it. Sometimes I put my characters in dark places. To quote Sandra at The Romance Studio, if you "love a good action packed story" and you like them "just a little on the darker side," you might be into what I write.

I also write horror and (occasionally) erotica under the pen name Klaudia Bara. I’ve reworked a few fairy tales as Klaudia, put my own spin on an urban legend, “The Hook,” and I’ve written about monsters. Zombies, werewolves and vampires oh my!  

Some publishers are no longer interested in stories about the old monsters, but I’ll never grow tired of them. I grew up on them, and there’s a real feeling of glee whenever I’m revisiting or discovering another great monster story. 

Hammer’s horror films, the original wolfman himself, (Lon Chaney, Jr. as Larry Talbot), Bram Stoker’s Dracula, creatures from black lagoons and George Romero’s undead armies in Night of the Living Dead – what’s not to love? I love old tropes and fresh takes on the monsters, both the cheesy ones and the ones that make me cover my eyes. I love movies and stories about people who turn monstrous, too, like Jason’s crazy mommy and bloody Valentine givers and loonies like Michael Myers. 

I will say that I avoid some of the current ‘gore is more’ movies. I tend to prefer atmosphere. Okay, and also simply because sometimes I am a wimp.  

Sure, I’m not a fan of all the monster permutations. Vampires are hugely popular as romantic heroes, and that’s actually a hard sell for me, though I want to be sure and clarify this is a personal preference only (because I’m not one for discouraging reading/writing about—well, almost anything). It’s just that I don’t usually like defanging the monsters. I like them a little scary, first and foremost, and then sexy, if the story calls for that. 

Like the three female vampires in Stoker’s Dracula who wander the Count’s castle, for example. They’re both repulsive and unbearably erotic to poor scared Harker (and they gave him a hard-on from hell, I’m sure). These are my kind of vampires:

I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.
    —from Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker 

My latest story (writing as Theda) is called Beneath the Neon Moon, about two guys trapped together in a cellar. Trapped or not, one of them is going wolf for the very first time with the full moon. Kassa at Three Dollar Bill Reviews said it sounded like one of those old horror clichés (I read that and glowed with pleasure because she got what I was doing), but that “the characters carry the story completely and this is above all about the connection that can form between men in a confusing and scary situation.” 

I love to make something different (hopefully) of a classic cheesy setup, both as a fan in homage to the old horror set-ups (can you imagine the movie poster? Trapped! Chained in a basement! Time is running out!), and also because, very simply, it’s fun. But as I said before, when I write as Theda, relationships are the most important part of the story. Character development is also paramount, because I can’t tell you how the relationship goes if I don’t know who the guys in the relationship truly are

In Beneath the Neon Moon, I had a wonderful time figuring out who Zach is, alone in the world, with a terrible past and childhood. The guy’s such a survivor: complicated, almost labyrinthine in his thinking, determined to get what he needs and stay alive, no matter the odds. He brings those qualities to bear in the cellar and uses them for himself and for Mal, the fellow trapped with him. Mal’s the guy who’s going wolf, and he was also a joy for me to figure out. He’s a tall, muscled guy, fairly well adjusted, incredibly stubborn and funny, brave and with a breathtaking strength of will and character.

I really do adore these two. This story was their beginning, and I’ve got more to say about them. Hope you’ll come along and see where they go.

Now to wrap up—happiest Halloween to you all! Me, I’ve got some more monstrosities I’m interested in and plan to check out in celebration of the holiday, beginning with a movie, Let Me In, which, I’m told, is more about a relationship than about a vampire and a boy, and so intrigues me very much. Then there’s the book Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge which I somehow missed, and finally Werewolves and Shapeshifters, edited by John Skipp. 

And of course I’ve always got the old monsters, both in the movies and in books. I try and revisit them every year at this time. I’d love to see who/what your favorite monster stories are in the comments if you’d like to share. :)

Please note that except for my own works, any stories/films above mentioned are only shared because I’m personally interested in them, not anything I’m paid to promote. Having said that, have some links!

Hammer Horror Crypt
“The Hook”
Let Me In & Let the Right One In
read Dracula online
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
Werewolves and Shapeshifters, ed. by John Skipp

For a chance to win this book, please follow these simple rules

Just answer the question (highlighted above) for a chance to win. 
If you follow etc, tell me in comments - it's an extra point.  ReTweet to enter if you tweet. RT's are automatically picked up here.
Thanks. Good Luck! 
Closes end of 31st Oct.

Winners will be notified 1st November. 


October 2010

Author in the Spotlight
Laura Tolomei
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Halloween Alternative-Spooks Giveaways : All close at the end of 31st October. Winners announced 1st November 2010. 

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1 comment:

  1. I'm a baby - I don't watch modern horror movies, I'm a fan of the classics. I love the original, silent version of Phantom of the Opera!


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