Thursday, June 20, 2013

Interview with Stavros and a Giveaway

What inspired you to become an author?

I began writing poetry at a very young age and through that realized I was a writer.  I didn’t know what kind of a writer I would become.  I just knew that I was meant to write.  Even the other students in my classes would ask me to help them with their stories and poems.  There was just something about me that screamed “scribe”.   I was also the main lyricist in almost every band I was in.  I even tried to write my first novel before I was twenty, but failed miserably at it.  In college, I took all the creative writing classes, playwriting and screenplay writing class, journalism, and essay workshops that I could take because I had this overwhelming sense and drive that I was “meant” to be a “writer”…but I still didn’t know what kind of a writer I would become.  It took over twenty years to learn how to write fiction-based novels.  And to get there I bobbed and weaved, collided, created pathways of interest, destroyed self-imposed and social fences, murdered my dogma, dealt with karma, dreamed; swallowed enough self-help and motivational crap to pee Chicken Soup for the Soul, and then finally gave up to find it all over again.  Once I went through all that mess I started working on nonfiction.  Because, honestly, I still don’t know what kind of a writer I am.

So, you write in different genres?

Yes.  At the moment, Fiction and Nonfiction.

Which is your favorite genre to write?

I guess I prefer fiction because I can be any character and go anywhere in time and space.  But writing nonfiction is freeing in a way, as I don’t have that epic responsibility of being a creative-parent. I just have to double check my facts and make sure my grammar is spot on.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

When Bertena and I had decided to produce another volume of Vampire News, and it was obvious that 2012 was going to be our landscape, it just kind of found me.  I mean, leading up to, and all throughout, 2012, people were talking about how it was the end of days.  Not only was there references to the Mayan calendar, but fingers were being pointed at asteroids, a plague, mad cow, bird flew, nuclear annihilation, and the zombie apocalypse.  I’m simply too sarcastic to not poke fun at the fact that we are all still her and doomsayers had to eat crow.  So, Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition! was born.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

It’s different for each book.  The energy surrounding each individual concept is as unique to itself as the story.  For Blood Junky, once I realized the main poetic thrust of the tale, it was obvious.  Love in Vein was originally entitled Bite Me Really Hard. But I knew that was a working title.  It was only when I began transposing the screenplay into fiction that I begin looking for another name.  And by this time, I had a complete idea as to what the vampire mechanics were and how I was going to tell each story within the pantheon. So, I needed to title it in such a way that its sequel, book three, could be fitted with a similar name.  So, I went hunting.  And yeah, I know Poppy Z. Brite has two erotic vampire collections under Love in Vein, you can Google it and they’ll come up before my book, but I honestly did not recall that at the time.  It literally took me 2 months of drafting concepts into my journal, talking with friends about potential monikers, and making extensive and fairly detailed logos in Photoshop before I found the title that worked.  And that only came about once I had decided that the third book would be called, Blood in Vein.  Ironically, Love in Vein had been on my list all along, but had not jumped out until the moment when BIV became viable.  
Then, I did the dreaded Internet search and Poppy’s books popped up.  But as my complete titles are Däm’Um: Song of the Vam Pŷr’s Blood Junky and Däm’Um: Song of the Vam Pŷr’s Love in Vein it was cleared through legal.  Däm’Um in the Omjadda language literally means One Blood.  Hence, the whole series being called the One Blood Series. 

There is a part of me that hates that there is pre-existing reference, but it is absolutely perfect for what the story is and how it moves into Blood in Vein.  For those that have read the book, they know Lin’s sacrifice and how it was motivated selflessly through love.  At the time, I looked for a different title, but the thing is what the thing is.  Eventually, I had to succumb to that simple truth.

For Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge I had the first half with the initial concept and added the later half while writing it.  I wanted to craft a way to promote the book within its title, and “A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge” does just that.  For the first volume of Vampire News, Bertena had the title and the main concept.  She just gave me the license to go for it, and I did.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I think so.  Moralistic and ethical ideas tend to crop up in my consciousness only after I’ve written and edited a piece and it’s about to be published.  It’s a kind of an “ah huh” moment.  I know the main thrust of the first story arc of the One Blood series is that murder is wrong.  But each individual book also has other messages that crop up, as well as sub-themes.  I don’t want to add any spoilers for those who will read ‘em.  But they’re there.  Jamie Lund’s decision at the end of Dead Girl can transport a message through her actions, but it’s not preachy.  I hate preachy.  And I like to think that Vampire News, by its sheer existence and collection of both real and nonreal vampiric events, art, and people helps to illustrate just how wide and wonderful, how eclectic, our world actually is.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Vampire News is nonfiction, so it’s all real events.  The One Blood series is incredibly cathartic for me and takes much of the most devastating and fearful parts of my life and expels them in poetic and dramatic ways.  But I won’t get into any details.  The fiction is much better than my boring life, and should speak for itself.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

Frank Herbert’s God Emperor of Dune and the entire series helped to form the backbone of crafting a realistic and unified vision.  Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray is the poetic genius that I strive to reach with every keystroke.  Patrick Suskind’s Perfume collects the essence of the emotional core of what I long to write.  And believe it or not, The Destroyer series encapsulates the yummy popcorn goodness of creating an entertaining read.

What book are you reading now?

I’m editing Havoc: Infection by Robert Kiser for release through Crazy Duck Press later this year, or early next.  After that, I have a Bruce Campbell biography that I’ve been eyeing.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I’m working on book three of the One Blood Series, Blood In Vein, and adapting Dead Girl into a full fledged comic book.  I have a few new photos I’m working on and making fangs and zombie teeth through Kaos Kustom Fangs.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

I did.  I’m lucky that as a freelance graphic designer and photographer that I can create my own artwork.  I did a photo shoot with model Vanessa Alexander, whom I had met through her submission into Vampire News: Tasty Bits To Sink Your Fangs Into!  It just so happened that the pictures that we took during that July shoot worked out for the cover image.  I like how Vanessa’s presence on the cover of book two ties into book one.  I’m just geeky like that.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

Ha. Ha. I rock out when I am putting together nonfiction work, like Vampire News – Drowning Pool, Tool, Tenacious D, The Runaways, Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Primus, PIL (Public Image Limited), Megadeth, Violent Femmes, Soul Coughing, Iron & Wine, Fefe Dobson, Stone Temple Pilots, Infectious Grooves, Kiss, Korn, Beastie Boys, Lone Justice, and an assortment of Afro-Cuban jams that I’ve downloaded.   

But I can’t listen to any music at all when I write fiction.  Though despite that, the One Blood Series is rife with music throughout.  It’s an integral part of telling the story.  There is always a reference to a song somewhere.  So I encourage people to choose their own playlists.  Music is our only universal language.  I have a section on my blog,, where I Go Beyond the Book, giving details into the music mentioned throughout the series.

Thanks, Roxanne, for letting me enter your Realm!

 June 10 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

June 12 Spotlight
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

June 20 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

June 21 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  

June 28 Guest blog
Fae Books 

Friday June 28/Saturday June 29
Live Interview
Bewitching Book Tours Radio 
12 midnight EST Saturday morning, Friday night Central time 11 pm, 
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July 8 Interview
Immortality and Beyond – 

July 10 Spotlight and review
penny For Them.... 

July 18 Guest blog
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July 22 Spotlight Book One
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

July 23 Spotlight Book Two
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

July 24 Spotlight and review
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July 26 Guest blog and review
Escape Into A Book

Vampire News: Tasty Bits To Sink Your Fangs Into!
Vampire News Book One
Stavros & Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed

Genre:  Nonfiction Vampires

Publisher: Crazy Duck Press (CDP)
Date of Publication: April 2012

ISBN: 9780982812143

Number of pages: 100

Cover Artist: Stavros

Vampire News Trailer:   

Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition
Vampire News Book Two
Stavros & Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed

Genre:  Nonfiction Vampires

Publisher: Crazy Duck Press (CDP)
Date of Publication:  Kindle - March 2013     Print – April 2013

ISBN: 9780982812150

Number of pages: 188

Cover Artist: Stavros

Vampire News Book Description:

Collected & Edited by Stavros & Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed

Vampire News is a nonfiction annual anthology that collects all the tasty happenings in vampiredom.  Straddling both the real and unreal realms of this most famous and hidden culture, Vampire News is the only anthology of its kind.  Now with the release of Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition, this second installment of The Vampire News Network's annual anthology delivers even more undead goodness with just a twist of apocalyptic Mayan humor!  So, whether you love the romantic, dangerous, or traditional vampires, whether you prefer a good book or to wait up late at night to catch the noir classics; or whether you stand anxiously in movie lines, blog, or are a member of a daring vampire community, drink blood, psychically feed, or support famous and up-n-coming authors, get vamp tattoos, make fangs, bite people, go to Cons, or are waiting in the wings of some dark dream, then Vampire News is for You!

With more articles, interviews, essays, and the largest Vampire Timeline ever compiled by man, Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed, and acclaimed author, artist, and fangsmith, Stavros, have established themselves with a truly delightful tome for vampyre/vampire fans of all ages!  Researched thoroughly with love and dedication, Vampire News features some of the most insightful facts, tips, blips, quips, notes, essays, articles, interviews, art, news reports, weblinks, and radical thoughts from many of today’s leading authors, professors, fangsmiths, enthusiasts, musicians, models, photographers, and fun-loving nuts working within the vampire genre today!  

Vampire News gives readers a unique look at what lies behind the biggest social subgenre of all time.  It exposes the hype and uncovers the real-life world that awaits you just around the corner.  So, enter and step into a world that you may think you know from the people that craft the stuff of nightmares and walk the twilight glade between this world and the stuff of dreams!  We dare you!!!

About the Author- Stavros:

Notorious Poet.  Fool.  Born in Washington DC.  Stavros was a writer and editor for The Independent Underground Magazine.  Raised in Southern Maryland, he fled the Chesapeake Bay to the wilds of the New Mexican desert.  He is a single father of two, whose poetic works have been published in several online and print publications, including Central Avenue, The Sword That Cuts Through Stone, Poets Against The War, Conceptions Southwest, The Mynd, Imagine: Creative Arts Journal, and Bartleby, where he won a specialty award for his poem, Blackbird.

In 1999, he won an Official Selection into the Writer’s on the Edge Festival for his play, The Redline.  In 2001, he created the Poetry Television Project for public cable access in Albuquerque, NM.  All eight volumes of Ptv’s ground-breaking show were broadcast to over 100,000 viewers on a network of regional PAC channels throughout the Southwest and Baltimore.  He helped to launch Unpublished Magazine, sponsored the monthly poetry series, The Word Café, in the Duke city, and produced a political compilation, Poetic Democracy.  In 2007, he released the award-winning documentary film, Committing Poetry in Times of War.

In 2010, he launched the production management company, Organic Ghetto, and released its first imprint, Crazy Duck Press, with his first novel, Blood Junky. Blood Junky received exceptional praise and review, even being called "one of the best vampire novels ever written," by Living Dead Media.  The following year he helped to launch BioGamer Girl, undertook a bigger East coast tour where he began selling his original photographic art, and released two new novels through Crazy Duck Press.  Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge features a stunning full-color cover and twelve black and white illustrations from tattoo artist, Charles Hearn.   Blood Junky’s sequel, Love in Vein, cemented the One Blood series with its continuation of the story, garnering such review as to claim that the book and the series is "comparable with, and at times surpasses, the 'Vampire Chronicles' by Anne Rice."

In 2012, Stavros joined forces with the Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed, to co-create the nonfiction annual anthology, Vampire News, and officially became a Fangsmith with the creation of Organic Ghetto's second imprint, Kaos Kustom Fangs.  He rounded out the year by writing and editing screenplays for the One Blood Transmedia Project, recording Dead Girl as an audio book, and undertaking his biggest national marketing campaign, The Book & Fang Tour.

In 2013, he and the Vampire Professor released the second volume of Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition and is currently working on writing and growing his imprints.   Stavros is also a musician who has scored commercials, film shorts, documentaries, and television programs.
Stavros FB Page:

Author Blog:

Kaos Kustom Fangs:

Vampire News CDP Page:

Vampire News FB Page:

CDP eShop:

CDP Twitter:

Stavros Twitter

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Stavros said...

Thanks, Roxanne.

Crystal Blood said...

thanks for the great giveaway