Monday, January 11, 2016

Guest Blog and Giveaway Sands of Time by Christine Church

Hi. My name is Christine Church. I write paranormal, fantasy and time travel romance. I also write nonfiction books and articles about the care of cats and horse related topics.

The funny (funny strange, not funny ha ha) thing about my new novella, “Sands of Time Fate of the True Vampires” is that it is the only book I ever wrote that is not romance.  Although, the original novel was romance… And that is where we come to my mad method behind this small novella, which is basically an “Intro” book to what will be a full out series that will grow with each book.

How I got into vampires:

I wasn’t born loving vampires. Quite the contrary. I hated them. I feared them. When I was around 8 years old, I saw an old black and white Dracula movie (I honestly today can’t tell you which one it was). Oh, all that black and white blood! I had nightmares for years! Every time I heard the word vampire I cringed and ran away. I couldn’t watch any horror movie with my eyes open, and even then, forget it. The music alone gave me nightmares. At around 10 years old, I went with my childhood best friend and our parents to see a new horror movie, Race with the Devil (later on in life, one of the actresses from that movie, Loretta Switt, would call me and help me with my first novel, but that’s a whole other tale).

A year later, I went with my family to see another new horror movie, The Omen. Back then, you could be 11 years old and see horror movies. Once again, I had nightmares for months afterwards, even though my eyes were closed through most of the movie (it wouldn’t be until I was well into my 30’s before I saw that movie all the way through, eyes open, and it was so tame!).

Now that I think about it, for someone scared to death of horror movies, I saw an awful lot of them at a very young age! Not only because it was like doing something “adult” and getting away with it, but I think I was trying to conquer my fear of these scary and at times gory flicks (which started with Dracula). It didn’t work. The fears, the nightmares continued well into my adulthood.

Most of the novels I read back then were historical, such as Sho-Gun, Spring Moon, and others mostly set in Asia (I was heavily into martial arts). I also loved time travels. In school, I always failed history because all they taught us was about wars, blood and death (more nightmares). But these books took me into different worlds.

I always had a thing for the gothic (to the point I wore black make up, nail polish, etc. in school, which did not help keep me from being bullied. It was not in yet). I loved old spooky mansions, Victorian gothic architecture, etc. That love grew as I got older. I found a deep love for movies in particular set during 18th century Britain. The clothes, the hair (particularly long hair on men), the architecture. It sung to me.

Since I was born with a mental disability (that was not diagnosed until 2004), I couldn’t work a “regular” job, though I tried and tried—and failed. And so, I decided since I couldn’t buy my gorgeous Victorian mansion, I would build one. Well, a dollhouse one anyway. I lived in the basement and would sit on the end of my waterbed frame with the big table in front of me that held the foundation for what would become a four foot tall by four foot wide Gingerbread Victorian home with 10 rooms and electricity. 

I had the television on as I built (the table and dollhouse was between me and my TV). 

Figure 1  You can see the TV beyond... through the windows.

One day, after I had the entire frame built and was working on the interior walls, I heard a commercial come on TV. Through one of the mansion’s many windows I caught a glimpse of a hot guy in 18th century garb. I didn’t see much of what turned out to be a movie trailer, but the next time it came on, I was prepared to peer through my mansion windows and watch the whole thing. I was smitten. Not only with the men, the hair, but the gothic style, the clothes, the sex appeal! This was a movie I HAD to see! There was only one major problem. It was about vampires! It didn’t matter. My libido wouldn’t let me out of this one (at 29, that mattered, a lot).

Finished House, outside and in the living room 

The first time I saw “Interview with the Vampire,” was with a friend. I was so enthralled, I walked out of the theatre in a daze. From there, I became obsessed. I made my own capes and 18th century sexy gowns. I saw that movie 11 times in the theatre. One of those times, at a very small theatre, I was dressed in my ‘vampire’ garb (I even had the same fangs made with dental impression material, so they looked exactly like the movie fangs and fit perfectly to my teeth), waiting for my friend in the bathroom after the movie. I was standing off to the side, in the small ‘dressing’ area, which was a bit dark. Some ladies came into the bathroom and the door opened in front of me (I was behind it as they entered). The door closed and they saw me standing behind it, long black cloak, long dark hair…and fangs. I am not exaggerating when I say one of the girls screamed. They ran back out of the bathroom (I think after seeing me they no longer had to go). I felt powerful, beautiful, just like the vampires in the movie.

And that was the start of my vampire obsession. (I went to New Orleans in 1995, to Anne Rice’s Memnock Ball).

How this ties into Sands of Time:

I was already writing long before this. As a matter of fact, I started writing fiction at the age of 9.  There were always stories in my head. After reading four of the ‘Vampire Chronicles’ (my intro to Anne Rice, who I still think is the best writer on earth), I decided to try my hand at writing my own vampire novel. It was called “Love’s Timeless Melody” and I actually based it around the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.

That book sat in a desk drawer (I didn’t yet have a computer) until I rewrote it a few years later (on a computer) and eventually renamed it “In Darkness Deceived.”  That novel still exists, and Kesi (main character in “Sands of Time”) was a big character in that novel. Her past was written as letters between her and her father. Something never really sat right with me and several attempts to publish it met with failure. Once again, it sat (this time on a computer file). For years!

In 2014, (about 15 years after I last saw it) I decided to do something with it. I had by this time written many novels, honed the craft, became a professional writer, had 5 books published (nonfiction) traditionally, and eventually received jobs in the writing field. But those darn vampires had my heart gripped tightly in their fangs.

After thinking through it carefully and for weeks, an idea came into my head. Why not give Kesi her own story, take the letters she and her father had exchanged and turn them into diary entries that had been found and dug up by archaeologists?  One thing led to another, and the novella, “Sands of Time Fate of the True Vampires” was born.

I knew Kesi’s entire story when I had originally written “Love’s Timeless Melody” back in the mid ‘90’s, but I had not thought to turn it into its own book. Kesi is the key to everything. I wanted her story out, even though it was not a terribly long story. I wanted people to know how she became who she was by the time the later novel was written.

And so, Sands of Time is an ‘Introduction’ book in a sense, to the rest of what will now be a series that will ultimately lead up to “In Darkness Deceived,” which is written, but not ready to see the light of day yet. So, each character throughout Kesi’s long life will have a book in the series, and Kesi will be there as well. And, who knows… “In Darkness Deceived” may not be the last book in the series. By the time I get there, I am sure everyone in all the books will have a lot more to say!

Sands of Time
Fate of the True Vampires
Book One
Christine Church

Genre:  Paranormal

Publisher:  Grey Horse Press, Createspace

Date of Publication: October 26, 2015

ISBN:  978-1518815232,
ASIN: B0187LY2P2

Number of pages: 90
Word Count: 26,000

Cover Artist: Christine Church

Book Description: 

The main character in this first installment is Kesi (later known as Kesi Akhede, as in ancient Egypt they really had no last names). Kesi is a hybrid; half human and half "Pet Mer," a term used for her father's people who are from another place after theirs was destroyed.

She appears a delusive Goddess. She is ageless. But what she wants most is family. Unable to bear children through her own body, and after the death of her husband, she travels the world searching for a way to "create" a child (later known as “Vampyr”). She offers aid to those who need her. But, her deep desire to have a family of her own is never met until she comes across an alchemist by the name of Yin.

Taking what she needs and leaving behind chaos, Kesi continues to run, to search, and to hope. Her everlasting quest takes her through history, from one continent to the next; from her home in Egypt, to China, Scotland, Rome, and finally France.
Read the journals to hear her story, learn about the truth behind the "myth" of what humans call the vampire, read about her unique take on her species and those they create, and discover the chaos and bloodshed caused by a man determined to put an end to vampires forever.

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“Queen of the Nile”
Entries found on Papyrus sealed and preserved within a tomb in Egypt
Circa 20th Dynasty
English Translation, 1958
Believed to be written by Kesi, who lived in a village near Giza, and is later known as Kesi Akhede.

Wind over the desert creates a sandstorm that has left all in ruin. The days of old. Eras long past. Will he believe that I existed long ago and was dubbed "The Nile’s Graceful Queen" by pharaohs and kings? Will he believe that, to Amenhotep I in the eighteenth dynasty, I was viewed as an "exquisite work of art?"
I pray now. Not to the gods the desert people bow to, but to my ancestors and my family. I pray that he will understand what it is I must tell him. Who I am. Where I come from. And where I must go.
I think about the time that has passed so quickly. My heart swells with love for my family, for the desert so cruel yet forgiving, the people, and most of all for Jabari.
Life was once simple yet elegant and my people worshiped. When I was young, I heard say that all of the gods had blessed me with a part of themselves. The grace of Bast, the eyes of Horus, the wisdom of Thoth, and even the cruelties of Seth made me who I am. Perhaps this is true still. And yet I remain as I always have and life around me continues to weave its gradual yet inevitable web anew.
Now, the sands of the Sahara have drifted, propelling the destiny of the Pet Mer in a new direction, forcing me to choose, to make the most difficult decision of my life. A decision on which I have procrastinated for too long. A decision, I know, I must make on this night.  And so, I prepare my journey with a questionable destination.

Entry Two

The journey was a familiar one. The mud-brick estate stood on the edge of the village, far enough from the Nile that few had business in that direction, yet close enough to Jabari’s estate to place little travel time between the two. My thoughts had already run too far and I needed to make haste.
I saw her before she saw me. Head bowed, ebony hair flowed over her shoulders. Though they were lowered, I knew her russet eyes. My heart pounded, loins ached, each time I saw her. She stood half hidden behind a copse of rose bushes, palm and myrrh trees, nestled within the vast gardens, just as we had arranged. I approached, letting my presence be known.
She raised her head. "Mistress. No one saw me come but I have little time this night, as my chores are vast."
I nodded. This one I had known for over a year. One of few humans remaining who, through family ties, still revered Father’s people. One of few raised to recall a time when my people were seen as Gods from the Sky. When offering their blood to us was an honour. 
Yet still I did not know her name. Usually, it mattered little. She was merely a servant, though a generous one with the sweetest scent in all of Giza, Saqqara, Alexandria, and all the Nile Delta. Even as far as Abydos. So many I had tasted none of their names known. But tonight it mattered. Tonight everything mattered. This could be my last eve here.
"I know the time has been long," said I, "but please, tell me your name. I need to know it now."
The girl raised an enigmatic brow. "Zahrah." 
I smiled. "Zahrah." Though the dim light exaggerated her high cheekbones and ruby lips, her beauty was real. I pulled her toward me, one arm snaking around her slight waist. Our lips met then, and the lust of Seth came to greet me. Zahrah, her taste. Her scent. Her beauty. Everything about this human tantalized me. Almond and olive oils. 
            "Sweet," I whispered.  "Sweetest in the Valley." With more care than usual, I pierced the thin human flesh of her lips with my teeth.  No hesitation. No pain. Zahrah parted her lips against mine.
And then the smooth satin that I treasured above all others flowed over my tongue. Youthful innocence. Power. And within it I was lost. The surrounding world shrank away and all that existed was that sensuous taste. Exuberance. Tensions of the past week released. A cocoon of calm wrapped me in its warmth and I reveled in it. But it was not to last. All at once, coldness settled over me like a cruel wind. A shiver ran through me. Someone approached. In the distant fog of my mind I heard my name on the breeze.
"Kesi! What are you doing?" 
A man’s voice, deep, confused, angry. Zahrah was forced from my arms. Painful. The hunger had not been satiated. Frigid desert wind flogged my flesh. My eyes blinked open. At first the whole scene was as a surreal dream.
I heard my own voice. "Jabari?"
            He was there. He had taken my hand, pulled me from Zahrah.  Away from my meal. I was disoriented, having been interrupted, too bewildered to respond. He was speaking to me. 
"What were you doing!? Wha—There is blood!"
I realised then I still tasted the bliss, licking it from my lips, feeling its trickle on my chin.
"What are you?" I had never heard him so angry.
            Indeed, what am I? Tell him. You need to reveal who you are, where you may go.
"What has happened, Kesi? Answer me!" He grasped my shoulders with firm masculine hands. He shook me. A blast of wind and sand—a gritty slap in the face—helped to awaken my mind.

About the Author:

Christine began writing at the age of nine, penning and illustrating picture books, taping them together, and even creating a publishing company. In school, she could be found sitting in the back of the class, writing short stories (she aced English and literature). By 1992 she was professionally published in both nonfiction and short stories. In 1998 her book was traditionally published, which led to many more book deals (nonfiction).

Her books and articles have won many awards. She lives for the paranormal, writes in the deep dark night and has a closet full of Goth clothing rarely worn any longer. By day she works at a horse barn caring for 7 horses, including her own noble steed--her best friend, her “son.” She is a professional photographer, actress, and voiceover artist as well. In rare spare time, she loves riding, archery, swimming, singing and auditioning for “Survivor.”

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