Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Carmilla Voiez Starblood Trilogy Blog Tour

Carmilla Voiez is a British horror writer who resides in Scotland. She is currently writing the final book in the Starblood Trilogy from her family home in Banff, where she lives with her husband, daughters and numerous cats, Carmilla sold her Gothic Clothing business last year and has been writing and releasing top selling books and short stories since then.

A Goth for over 20 years, her books are inspired by the Gothic subculture, magic and dark desires, exploring sexual obsession and violence in often hard-hitting ways.

The first book, Starblood, which has been nominated for the Commonwealth Book Prize, is set partly in the beautiful Cairngorm mountains and partly in the city where she grew up, in South West England, she finds inspiration in local beauty, stately homes, the Moray Firth and woodlands around the Scottish town where she has lived the past 10 years.

Carmilla Voiez has been nominated for Horror Author of the Year. Her literary interest also extends to the Aberdeen Write Club she co-founded in 2011 a forum where local writers gather to discuss ideas and writing techniques.

"Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life." Graham Masterton.
“Psychonaut is a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief. You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity. Rather than leave us crippled by response, though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of...a love past fault.” Jef Withonef, Houston Press.
Vamptasy publishing have published two of Carmilla’s novels “Starblood” and “Psychonaut” and one of her erotic short stories has been published by Hot Ink. This year she is editing a horror anthology, releasing an online horror magazine and another of her erotic short stories is set to be published in an anthology.

Carmilla Vioez, author of the Starblood Trilogy

In a seedy Goth club, a beautiful woman dances, waiting to be set free. Along an unlit street, another woman stumbles, fleeing her pursuer. In a darkened room, a man speaks to demons. Lust, obsession, terror and humiliation storm into the lives of Star and Satori, proving the age-old maxim – be careful what you wish for. Starblood, the debut novel by Carmilla Voiez, is a tale of magic and horror. Blinded by love, Satori, a young magician, attempts a spell that goes horribly wrong, resulting in the demon Lilith returning to Earth. Satori knows he must send Lilith back. The dark goddess brimming with power makes it her mission to wreak havoc on Satori's life by ensnaring Star, the woman he loves, and her friends in a web of chaos and deceit. ‘Carmilla Voiez makes Clive Barker look like Stephanie Meyer.’ Jef Withonef, Houston Press.

Satori is caught between two worlds. There is something he needs in one, but the other keeps drawing him back. However, he is in love and he isn’t going to let a little thing like death get in his way. To reach his goal, he must face unimaginable horrors, not least of which is his true self. Star’s tortured and broken body awaits Satori, but does she really need him to save her? His rival, a rage-filled young woman, grows more powerful and becomes as twisted as the ribbons in her hair while the demon, Lilith, draws each of them inexorably towards her. Who will survive the coming battle? Full of sex and magic, “Psychonaut” is an exploration into the human psyche and the second book in Voiez’s “Starblood” trilogy. "Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life." Graham Masterton “Psychonaut is a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief. You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity. Rather than leave us crippled by response, though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of...a love past fault.” Jef Withonef, Houston Press.

A Christmas Carole
An F/F erotic holiday tale by Carmilla Voiez. When a woman visits Santa and his elves, she gets more than she bargained for when one of Santa's helpers requests a special kind of holiday cheer.

 You can find more on Carmilla Voiez in her blog, on her webpage, on Facebook, and Goodreads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 14, 2013

It all Started with a Big Bang!

My husband and I are planning a date night later this month. Date night is a big deal for us as I work early government hours during the week, and he works restaurant hours - nights and weekends. We don't get a lot of quality time together. In an effort to make date night more fun and special, my wonderful husband arranged for the children to have a sleep over with friends, then booked us a room at one of his company's hotels downtown.

This morning, as he was getting the kids ready for school (I had already left for work), he told them of this plan. Then our nearly 8 year old daughter says: "Are you going to get naked and have sex?"

I wish I could have seen the look on his face.

He asked her where she had heard that and she apparently just giggled and said she didn't know.

Naturally, he texted me immediately after this happened, then we spoke about it after he dropped them off at school.

Later this evening, she brought it up again with me. "Daddy said you were going to stay at a hotel and get naked and have sex."

First I asked her where she heard about this.

"Howard Wolowitz." (For some reason, Howard is her favorite character on the Big Bang Theory... he skeeves me out.)

The Big Bang Theory's Hot Troll Deviation episode

I asked her if she knew what sex was.

"You get naked in bed with someone and kiss a lot."

I explained that was basically what happens while she giggled a lot. Then she asked, "Did you and daddy ever do that?"

I said yes and that was how she and her brother got to be. Then explained that it was something you did as a grown up and only with someone you love and who loves you back.

She mulled this over for a while, then informed me that I should tell my siblings that if they wanted to have babies so that she could have a cousin, then  they should "have complete and total sex."

It was very hard for me to not lose it laughing.

I won't stop her from watching this show. She has to learn about these things at some point. May as well do it with good humor involved.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Ear Piercing Saga, or: How Doing the Right Thing Reinforces That You're a "Freak"

My daughter came home from school one day in December and announced that her best friend was getting her ears pierced for Christmas and mentioned that she thought that was something she would like to do as well.

My criteria for ear piercing is that she be responsible enough to take care of her piercings properly. After some discussion, I felt she was ready. (This was also discussed with my husband, who did have some reservations, but didn't stand in the way). I let her know that if she wanted her ears pierced, that could be her Christmas present from me, and that she had until the week before Christmas to decide (leaving me enough time to get her something else if she opted against it).

While she was thinking about whether or not she was too scared to go through with it, I began to research places in the area for ear piercing children (she is nearly 8). I already knew that I was not going to take her to a kiosk or shop in the mall where teens wield the equivalent of a staple gun to puncture the lobes of their willing victims. Having several friends who are tattoo artists and piercers, I've long been aware that the needle is a much better option than the gun for all piercing. First of all, it is more sanitary, the piercer has been better educated, and the jewelry used is better.

First, I called the mother of the best friend. She wasn't sure where she was going to take her daughter, but she agreed with me that she was uncomfortable taking her to the mall for ear piercing. We agreed to both do some research and let the other know if we found an acceptable place for the girls to get their ears done.

I called close to 20 places in the area looking for someone who pierced children younger than 16. Most places told me to call our pediatrician and get it done in the doctor's office. Some doctors do piercing for infants and children, ours, however, does not. Besides, doctor's offices aren't really the optimal place to pick out jewelry. Finally, I found a tattoo parlor downtown that does pierce children's ears - provided I bring her birth certificate and my ID to prove that she is my child, and then sign some paper work stating my permission and understanding of the procedure. A bit of a pain, but I understand the need for it all - again, a protection that the mall doesn't provide...

I called the other mother and let her know what I found. She sounded pleased.

This past weekend, my friend and I took my daughter to the tattoo parlor get her ears pierced. (My friend came to keep an eye on my son in the waiting area and to provide moral support to my daughter.) She was so very excited! She got all dressed up in a "cool" outfit that she deemed appropriate for the place and the event - a black long sleeved tee-shirt with a metallic pink skull and cross bones, black lace skirt, black leggings and her purple metallic boots. She picked out pinkish opal chips for her first earrings. While we waited our turn, she flipped through the tattoo artists' portfolio books and admired their work.

Once it was her turn, we went back to the piercer's room where she explained step by step to my daughter what she was going to do. As she set up, my daughter and I amused ourselves by reading the Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse poster hanging on the wall. The piercer told us that more than a few moms were offended by the poster in the room. I was baffled - did they not realize that they were in a tattoo shop?

The actual piercing was quick and easy. My daughter didn't even whimper. And she was so very happy and proud of herself when it was done. She couldn't wait to go to school and show everyone her new earrings. She also called all of her relatives to tell them all about it.

New Earrings

Monday comes, and she goes to school. It turns out that the best friend also had her ears pierced over the weekend... At Claire's. A lot of the classmates thought it was really cool that my daughter got her ears pierced at a tattoo shop.

Tuesday comes. My daughter tells me that some of the kids told their moms, and that my actions with my daughter were frowned upon. Apparently it isn't appropriate to take children to a tattoo parlor for ear piercing - it's just not a good environment for them. Never mind that it is safer, more sanitary, and done by a professional...

Honestly, I don't care what they think. I'm already the Morticia Addams of the PTA. And regardless that my actions were the right ones, it just made my freak flag fly just a bit higher and more vigorously.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Flash Fiction

I belong to a Write Club. I'm actually the only US member as the rest are primarily based in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. Thanks to Facebook, we are able to facilitate our little band of writers.

Our last challenge was to write a piece of flash fiction - a ghost story set in Blakeney Chapel.

I struggled with this challenge. Short pieces have always been my bane )hence my lack of updates to my blog lately). After several false starts, I finally finished what I think is a decent piece.

Without further ado, I present The Witch of Blakeney Chapel:

A chill wind blew in from the sea and whipped her hair into her face. She brushed the loose tendrils back then rubbed her arms to keep warm as she walked through the marshes toward Blakeney Eye, where lay the ruins of Blakeney Chapel. Though called a “chapel,” no one really knew what the building was, or how long it had been there. Artifacts dating back to the Romans had been found there, and there was archaeological evidence that “substantial time and money” had been spent on building the place. No one knew why it was left deserted, but there was evidence that the main building seems to have suffered a major fire at some stage. That in itself had fascinated Lila, but in truth, there was something about the desolate chapel in Norfolk that drew her in like an invisible string or the pull of a magnet. She had to answer this mysterious call.

Lila crested the sandy Eye and surveyed what little was left of the chapel. As she walked through what was once a small room, she was hit by what seemed like a wave of memory. Her spine tingled and gooseflesh erupted along her arms. She stumbled and stepped into the larger room and the wave hit again, this time stronger. It carried with it sounds of wood and metal and muffled voices. The voices were angry and she was scared.

Lila’s head ached and she felt as if she were being held under water. The world around her rippled she was overwhelmed suddenly by strong smells and loud noises. There were angry people pounding on the door. They were yelling about God punishing them with poor fishing yields, floods and a bad harvest. . She backed against the wall, shaking. They blamed her as these things started after she came to the village.

She was brought here by the old man to whom her father had sold her for a few pieces of gold. He was the wealthiest man in the village. He built this fancy home to house his beautiful new bride. But shortly after it was finished, he had died of the fever. Now, she was alone.

The pounding got louder and more violent. They were trying to break down the solid wood door. “The witch has cursed us!” a voice yelled. “The children started to die when she arrived,” wailed a woman. “We must purge the evil!” An acrid smell filled the air, and she knew they were going to kill her. “Burn the witch!” the villagers cried.

The wood of the door started to burn and smoke began filling the room. She knew there was no way to escape. Even if she were to somehow get out of the building, the men would catch her and burn her at the stake. She decided it was better to die in her own home with her walls protecting her from the accusing stares and shouts of the villagers. She slid down the wall, tears running down her cheeks. The air was getting hotter and she began to cough. Her vision began growing dim and her body felt heavy. Her head hit the floor and the last thing she saw were the flames licking up the walls toward the ceiling.

She was dead.

But then, she was cold. And wet. Lila’s eyes fluttered open. A fine mist was swirling through the air as she lay on the ground next to the ruined wall of the chapel. She stood shakily and brushed the dirt off her clothes as she surveyed her surroundings. There was no fire and no angry villagers. Just a chill wind and the lonely screech of sea gulls and the ruins of Blakeney Chapel.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Women vs. Religion Part 1

Women of the world will never be free of male dominated oppression until the major world religions are either abolished or radically changed.

This begins a series of rants on religion - all major world religions, but specifically Christianity - and how it oppresses women. I've been contemplating writing this for a while but refrained while I got my thoughts in order. The thing that really pushed me to start writing this is the current battle raging over birth control.

The hot issue of birth control right now has me absolutely irate.

Obama announced a Health and Human Services mandate, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that Catholic Church run businesses (hospitals, universities, and other non-church related businesses) must provide insurance covered contraception to its female employees with no co-pay. This law applies to all businesses, not just those run by churches. However, churches themselves are exempt from providing this to their church employees.

This is not something new either. Twenty eight states have had similar laws on the books for years. In fact, in 2007, when the Catholic Charities of New York bristled against the New York law requiring them to provide contraception to their employees, they petitioned the Supreme Court, and were denied.

What has me really angry isn't the fact that the churches and the religious right are pushing back, that's to be expected, but that they are calling it an attack on religious freedom.

Excuse me? I must have not read the ACA properly. I missed the part that said Americans no longer are free to worship as they choose.

While this mandate does not impinge any one's religious freedom, the Catholic Church and the religious right are most certainly doing their best to impede the religious freedom of anyone who is not Christian by attempting to force their views upon our lives.

Churches are running businesses and employing people. Their employees have to pay taxes, and the Church has to follow the law as do all employers.  I guarantee not all of their employees are Catholic, so why should they be forced to live according the the doctrines of a faith that is not theirs? As for the Catholic employees... well, most of them ignore the Church's archaic doctrine on contraception and use it anyway. In fact, recent surveys show that they also want birth control coverage.

Furthermore, the majority of birth control pill users take the pill for reasons other than contraception, such as endemetriosis, poly-cystic ovary syndrome, excessive bleeding, hormone induced migraines, loss of bone density, and acne prevention.

Oh, and the Catholic Church's employee health insurance covers Viagra...

This isn't about religion. It is the age old practice of the male-dominated religions putting women under their thumbs. It's the whole Madonna/Whore dichotomy being played on the national stage.

Women must be punished for wanting to have sex for pleasure.

For further reading on this topic:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reached my Limit

I've been rather quiet lately. The holidays and seasonal illnesses in the family monopolized my time for a bit. Then current events turned to politics, a topic about which I am passionalte. I have been trying to think of something to write that would not be a rant, but I've reached my limit of the right's bullshit and need to explode forth with the rants. They shall be forth coming...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas de los Muertos

I don't like to have the same Christmas decorations year in and year out. I like to change things up each year. I also like my holiday decor to have some sort of unifying theme, and I make my own decorations.

Years past, I've done 
  • Winter Forest, which was gold pine cones dusted with iridescent glitter snow and hand made glass beaded snowflakes
  • Purple and Pearls, which was purple balls with DIY glitter patterns, and clusters of pearls gathered with purple ribbons.
  • Christmas Story, which is all the keepsake ornaments that each family member has accumulated over the years (this is my least favorite because it is not hand crafted, and seems too... run of the mill. But my family likes it, and they get to pick the theme some times too)
This year, the kids and I decided on a Dia de los Muertos theme. We happened upon this decision quite by accident. Earlier this year, I took the kids to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. They had a fantastic exhibit on Dia de los Muertos, which the kids really enjoyed. When we went through the museum store, we bought molds to make our own sugar skulls. I fully intended on making the skulls for the actual Day of the Dead, but as you can see by my prior posts, my schedule got away from me.

The kids still wanted to do the skulls, and they decided why not make ornaments out of them. Naturally, I thought this was a fantastic idea and ran it past my wonderful husband who's response was: "Do I have to do anything? No? Then do whatever you want!"

We started making ornaments last month, and I posted some pictures on Facebook. I had several people ask me how we made them, so, here's the how to:

What you'll need:
  • Sugar skull molds (we used the Posada molds)
  • Crayola Model Magic (white)
  • Poster paints and brushes
  • Craft foam sheets (black and white)
  • Craft glue
  • Glitter glue
  • Foam markers
  • Hole punch
  • Toothpick
  • Pipe cleaners
We made the molded skulls with Crayola Model Magic. This stuff is fantastic! It is super light weight and when left to dry will harden nicely. Press the Model Magic into the molds using enough so it significantly overflows the mold then pull out. Cut the molded skull from the excess with either scissors or an exacto knife.  Poke a hole in the top of the skull with a tooth pick, making sure it is wide enough to get a pipe cleaner or hook through so it can be hung. Set the newly molded and pierced skulls on a wire rack to dry for at least 36 hours (yes, the packaging says 24, but we found that wasn't quite enough)

Once the skulls are dry, you can begin decorating with paint, glitter glue or any other accessories.

We also made larger flat skulls. First, find a good skull that you like and make a stencil of it on heavy paper (you can do a Google image search and print your favorite skull). Trace the stencil on to the heavy paper again, and measure points around the skull about 1/4 inch around the image then cut it out. This larger skull stencil will be your background piece.

Trace the larger stencil on the black foam and count how many fit, then make the same amount of the detailed skull on the white foam.  

Use a black sharpie to trace the skulls on the white foam and fill in the facial details. Do not let your hand smudge the marker on the foam. You will need to let this dry for an hour or two as marker stays wet on foam for quite some time, even sharpie.

Rather than waste the extra foam, I traced circles on the additional foam for little accent ornaments.

Once all the skulls have been cut out of the foam, glue the white skulls to the black backing with craft glue and let dry over night.

When the glue has dried, punch a hole in the top of the skull with a hole punch. Then have fun decorating with paint, marker, glitter glue, etc.

When all of the skulls (both kind) have dried, clip some pipe cleaners and thread them through the holes to make loops for hanging the ornaments. Then hang on your tree (or anywhere).

We were included fake flowers on our tree (we will be making some tissue paper flowers soon to add to the tree) and a hand made Victorian bow on the top. The kids found a random fake dove in our ornament boxes and decided it should be on the top of the tree as well. I figured it was oddly fitting, so why not.