Saturday 8 October 2011

Guest Blog - Julie Lynn Hayes and S. L. Danielson

Today I welcome, Julie Lynn Hayes and S. L. Danielson to talk about writing historical fiction and their new release, My Fair Vampire. Read on to the bottom for a sneak peak excerpt. Over to you, guys....

Writing an historical novel is different than writing a lot of other types of books because it involves things that actually happened, not just in the author’s head. Verifiable events and times which can be remembered or read about in history books. This requires more meticulous research into the era involves, and people’s lives at that time. Also, collaborating with another author is different from sitting down and writing whatever comes to mind. SL Danielson and I managed both feats in our first collaborative effort, My Fair Vampire. The research was relatively easy to do, especially made easier as we set the book in our own back yard—turn of the century St. Louis, Missouri, during the time of the Louisiana Exposition. Or you might know it by its more common name—the World’s Fair.

As for learning to write together, that came with trial and errors, but we seemed to fall into a definite rhythm of literary cooperation almost immediately, and in the process became the best of friends.

I imagine every literary couple has its own methods for writing together. Without the internet, though, most couldn’t do it, and we were no exception, despite living in the same town. We did our work via emails and attachments. Back and forth, both in the writing and in the plotting. And bit by bit a story began to grow.

Basically we started by each creating a character. These two became our protagonists. We developed them separately but worked on the plot together. William Deming is a young reporter from a small Utah newspaper who is given the chance to cover the World’s Fair—and he leaps at it! Fresh-faced and eager, he arrives by train into the city that has the spotlight of the world for this moment in time. Many people in St. Louis were opening their homes to the visitors that flooded their town, renting rooms to the newcomers for the duration of their stay. William finds a place within walking distance of the Fair, to his delight, a boarding house on Lindell Avenue, run by a Russian woman by the name of Ekaterina, who just happens to have a dark and mysterious nephew. His name is Misha.

But Misha has a secret, one he dare not reveal to the handsome reporter who intrigues him so. Misha is a creature of the night. A vampire. Turned by the not-yet infamous monk Rasputin in his homeland of Russia, Misha has come to the United States to live with his aunt in order to avoid service in the Russian army. He is discreet both in taking sustenance and in satisfying the needs of his libido, which hungers for young men, and not women. But how long can he withhold the truth from William, and when it comes out will he lose him forever?

Working with another writer has advantages. You have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to do half the writing, someone who understands the characters and the situations as well as you do who can give you insight into them and vice versa. If you pick the write co-author, and work hard together, your book can come together in less time than if you’d written it alone. Plus, if you’re as lucky as we were, you make a lifelong friend/sister.

Thanks for having us here today, we always enjoy visiting with you!

Blurb: In 1904, the world’s spotlight shone brightly on St. Louis, Missouri—gateway to the West and host of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Visitors came from all points of the globe to wonder, to gape, to taste, to explore and to enjoy the marvels which the World’s Fair had to offer. An ambitious young reporter from Utah, William Deming, sees his chance to not only visit the fair, but make a name for himself by reporting on its goings on. He takes a room in a boarding house, close to the Fair itself. What he doesn’t count on is meeting Misha—a young and handsome Russian, whose aunt owns the boarding house.

Misha is something William has never encountered before—a vampire! As if that isn’t enough to accept, when a man is discovered murdered at the Fair, William has to wonder if his Misha is involved. Especially as there seems to have been a connection between the vampire and the victim. Will an old flame cause new problems for William and Misha? Will they find love at the World’s Fair? Or will theirs be doomed to be a fatal attraction?


April 23, 1904

William unfurled the crisp newspaper in his hands. The periodical smelled of fresh ink and the paper was still warm. 'Hot off the press'. He took care not to hold the page too long; his fingers would smudge the fresh printings.

"1904 World's Fair to be held in St. Louis, Missouri."

William's heart skipped a beat. Such an opportunity! To meet and see amazing sights from around the globe, truly a marvelous undertaking. I must be certain to become the reporter Mr. Andrews chooses to send.

He licked his thin lips in anticipation and felt his woolen pants rise. Travel always had that affect on him. Of course, so did the delicious possibility that there might be an exotic visitor that didn't speak English, but only spoke the language of sex. It'd been far too long for him, at least in his mind.

He slipped into the washroom, instead of passing by, as had been his original intention, and checked himself in the mirror. His blond hair was darkened by the liberal amount of oil he put in it to tame its unruly cowlick. His thin, pale face had hollow cheeks and a pointed chin. His large, blue eyes were his favorite feature; after that, he was most fond of his tame nose. He was quite thankful his family's history of large noses had not carried over to him. He adjusted his round, Benjamin Franklin-like spectacles. He'd worn them since he was but ten years old and couldn't see the blackboards in school. At first they were a noose around his neck, giving all eight of his older siblings free rein to call him "four eyes" and other teasing monikers, which he greatly resented. Over time, though, he'd adjusted to the glasses and, as his grades surpassed most everyone else's in the family, he felt as smart as they made him look. He smoothed down his large tie and flattened out his vest. His brown, woolen suit was still somewhat new—a present from his parents for Christmas. He still had to have it tailored a bit, however, as he'd lost some weight living in the mountain air of Utah.

* * * *

May 6, 1904

The influx of new boarders was all due to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, as St. Louisans opened their homes not only to friends and family who wished to visit the extravaganza, but to veritable strangers as well. Most had shortened it to World's Fair for the sake of brevity and lazy tongues. It was all anyone had spoken about for months, and Misha was sick to death of it already. He didn't find it wonderful at all. For him, it was a disruption in the quiet tenor of his life, and it was playing havoc with his nerves. Especially considering how close they lived to the hub of it all, to Forest Park itself—a mere short stroll away. The park had always been his haven, his place of quiet contemplation—and secret assignation. But for far too long now it had been the scene of noisy construction, and strange buildings with stranger purposes.

He would not admit, even to himself, to possessing a certain curiosity toward the whole thing. He tended to hold himself aloof from the people around him, and only associated with them on his own terms.

"Misha? Misha!"

He started, so lost in his own reverie he had failed to hear the voice of Mrs. Sims. He turned away from the window, the curtain falling back into place, obscuring the evening view, the strange glow of the unaccustomed electric lights which disrupted the night sky.

"I'm sorry," he murmured, although he had no real reason to apologize, the words falling automatically from his lips. His English was still flavored with his native Russian accent. Some of that had sloughed off as he had struggled to master this foreign tongue, but it remained thick. He would never be mistaken for a native, that much he knew.

The older woman gave him an astute look from behind her spectacles. She was fond of the young man, and protective of him. She thought he had a beautiful voice, and had persuaded him to read to her, on those evenings when he did not flit out the door in order to spread his wings. Where he went, she could only speculate, but she was not one to pry. She enjoyed hearing him read, and she knew that the practice was good for his language skills as well.

"Would you like tea?" he asked her politely, although he already knew the answer. They had fallen into a proscribed routine. He would prepare the tea for the two of them—the black Russian tea of his homeland, sweetened with lemon or sugar or jam—and they would sit together in the parlor, sipping the warm brew. Sometimes he would serve little biscuits with the tea, but he never indulged in these himself. He would read and she would listen. His attentiveness to the older woman was pleasing to his aunt, who was kept busy with the boarding house during the day, at times when Misha could not help her. She understood why that was, the necessity of his absence, and she appreciated that he did what he could, when he could.

At first Misha had expressed surprise that someone of Mrs. Sims' years should be such a night owl. She had laughed at him, her eyes twinkling with good humor. "It's not over til it's over," she told him. "When I'm dead I'll have plenty of time to sleep. I want to live now, while I can."

Misha smiled at her in his knowing way, for he understood only too well that the borders between life and death were not as clearly defined as one might think. Not that he would ever tell her that, and not that he wished for her to learn. That was something he would wish on no one. As for himself, it simply was.

When he returned with the tea, Mrs. Sims was already seated upon the red sofa, waiting for him, the volume which he had left there in her hands. "Ah, Whitman," she approved his choice. "I love Leaves of Grass. You have good taste, Misha."

He nodded, pleased at her compliment.

About the authors:

S. L. Danielson began writing at the tender age of seven. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She also wove more elaborate tales and finally in her college years began to her new love of male romance into long novels.

She is classically trained in business and accounting, and is currently a graduate student. Her other hobbies including cycling, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Contact S. L. at:
or follow her blog, ladyauthorsld

Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. Currently unemployed, she continues to write her books and stories, and reviews which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at Wicked Nights, Dreamspinner Press, and Silver Publishing. You can email her at or follow her blog, Full Moon Dreaming

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