Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vamping it up for the holidays

We're excited at the Playground today because we have a two-fer -- Maureen Child and Caridad Pineiro, authors of Holiday with a Vampire from Silhouette Nocturne. I'd blogged last week about holiday romances and Caridad commented about my Christmas lights and well... y'all know I'm not afraid to ask someone to guest blog.

We're huddled around the Playground campfire today, wrapped in fuzzy blankets and wearing thick socks cause baby it's cold outside! So please make room by the fire for Maureen and Caridad.

When I was asked to be in a Christmas vampire duet with Caridad Pineiro, my first reaction was Woo Hoo! I love Caridad’s work, and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a vampire story.

I love all things paranormal. My Irish grandmother used to tell me stories of Pookas and Banshees and the Little People and Fairy Rings. Ghosts are seen regularly in my family and the ‘other side’ is accepted as being just as real as the ordinary world.

But writing my story in HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE was a new challenge for me. My first foray into the world of fangs! Since this was a novella length story and a Christmas story to boot, I decided to make my hero, Grayson Stone, a vampire unhappy with his existence. I wanted him to long for an end to the immortality that means nothing to him anymore.

His heroine, Theresa Franklin, is living a lie. Hiding from an abusive ex-husband, she risks everything when she welcomes Grayson into her home. And together, they find the Christmas miracle neither of them expected.

Writing a novella is a little tougher than writing a longer book. You don’t have much time to introduce your characters and your situation. You have to cut down on descriptions while keeping your scene setting compelling enough to hold your readers. You have to compress every thought, every conversation and make sure every scene counts. And hopefully, when you’re through, you have a story your readers will remember.

I had been lucky enough to do an online novella – DESIRE CALLS – for the site, but while doing that novella, I discovered that I really really loved writing these shorter stories. Wanting to do another one, I pitched the idea of an anthology to my editor who came back and asked, “What about a holiday vampire anthology?”

A holiday anthology as in a Christmas anthology? I wondered. It was February and I was thinking about Valentine’s Day. Plus, we had been having warmer weather and I was looking forward to watching spring greens sprout. Instead, I found myself thinking about how I could combine the darkness and sexiness of vampires with all that I thought important about Christmas. A difficult mix it occurred to me.

After a lot of thought, I decided the vampire had to not only be the Scrooge in my tale, but also had to have some really good reasons for why he detested the holiday and the bell-ringing Santa that was virtually camped out on his doorstep. I ended up doing a lot of historical research for this novella because I created a complex history for Hadrian – the vampire elder who is the hero of FATE CALLS, my contribution to the HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE anthology.

Hadrian had been a good man who was turned during a Saturnalia holiday in Rome. Over the course of his over 2000 years of existence, he had suffered through the murder of his family and defeat in a war against humans. Both had occurred around the time for the Christmas holiday. It is these wounds which remain alive in Hadrian and which make him detest the yuletide season.

Of course, the heroine – Connie Morales – is intent on bringing the joy and spirit of Christmas into those around her. She is also determined not to listen to the devastatingly handsome man who is insisting that she stop ringing her bell.

When Connie refuses, Hadrian uses his elder power to imprison her and what follows is a battle of the wills which ultimately exposes Hadrian’s history and brings Hadrian and Connie close together.

Ultimately, both Connie and Hadrian come to understand what is truly important about Christmas. The ending of this novella was extremely uplifting for me and reinforced what I think is special about Christmas, namely that love and small acts of kindness can overcome almost anything.

I was also happy to be able to work in a new rule in the vampire mythology that I’ve created for THE CALLING novels. This new addition to the mythology brings about a very special ending to FATE CALLS and also provides for some new possibilities for some of the more popular characters in THE CALLING. I’ll be posting the rule shortly on the website at

I hope you all will enjoy this sexy and inspiring holiday vampire story! Happy Holidays to all of you.

EDIT: We had to take the video out cause it was messing up the sidebar. You can access it from her website. The URL is below.

Caridad is giving away a copy of HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE to a lucky commenter. For another commenter, Maureen is giving away a copy of HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE and an ARC of her March book from NAL titled A FIEND IN NEED. In her words, it's "also a paranormal, but a funny one!"

You can visit them at their websites: and


Lis said...

Both novellas sound awesome! I have Holiday with a Vampire on my Xmas wishlist. Can't wait to read!!

Stacy S said...

They both sound great. I used to never read novellas. Now I love the short stories.

Minna said...

They sound wonderful! I guess I need to add them to my shopping list.

Caridad Pineiro said...

Maureen -- It was a huge Woo Hoo as well for me to work with you on this anthology! I so love your work and am glad you made the foray into the fang world with me.

Instigator said...

Welcome to the playground Caridad and Maureen! We're really excited you could share your holiday vampires with us.


Playground Monitor said...

I've only read Caridad's novella so far; Maureen's got sidetracked yesterday by last-minute preparations for my trip but if I don't finish tonight, it'll be on the plane with me tomorrow. I'll admit openly that this is the first whole vampire romance I've read (I read bits and pieces of Smarty Pants's but not the whole thing) and I'm feeling a bit lost. I think I need a vampire lexicon to explain about things like thralls and the ultimate kiss (I know that has to mean something other than finally getting to kiss Hugh Jackman or Matthew McConnaughey). Here I always thought when the vampire bit you, you bit the dust (no pun intended), but apparently not.

Can you tell I've never watched vampire movies and am the only person in the universe who never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

IS there a vampire lexicon out there somewhere?


Jennifer said...

I've been looking for this anthology while doing my mad Christmas shopping! I can't wait to read it! I'm heading to Barnes and Noble today and really hope it's there.

Both novellas sound terrific, just perfect after a long day of shopping, wrapping and baking.

Vicki said...

Wow, both of them sound amazing! Thanks for sharing them here. :)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi y'all! I just had to stop by to say hello to Maureen and Caridad. :-)

I saw Holiday With A Vampire at the bookstore last week and grabbed it with both hands!! Love the cover and can't wait to read it over the holiday!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

P,S. Caridad, your video is fabulous!

Smarty Pants said...

Thanks for stopping by the playground today, ladies. We're excited to have you.

I'm sure our readers will be excited to read Holiday with the Vampire. What do you guys have coming out next?

Maureen Child said...

Hi everybody! Great to be here on theplayground...and love the roaring fire! Did anybody bring marshmallows???

Caridad, this was a blast and I LOVED the new rule you gave your vampires!

Writing novellas is so much fun. You just have to shove an entire story into a page count that's less than half the length of what you ordinarily write--so a challenge!

Playground Monitor!!! Cannot believe you haven't fallen into the Buffyverse! Only one of the best written shows ever., Great dialogue wonderful character must treat yourself to the DVD's!!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE vampires! So much, in fact, I'm working on a novella NIGHTLUST for an epublisher. I'm really enjoying the writing process--this story is very different from the two others I've sold :).

I'm looking forward to finding out more about Holiday With A Vampire!!

Carrie Destler

Caridad Pineiro said...

I so love Buffy! I own every DVD and tons of collectibles. Probably one of the best written shows ever.

Maureen -- so glad you liked that new rule I put in. Rumor has it that Diana and Ryder will maybe feel it's bite (big pun intended).

As for a lexicon, I built a site for THE CALLING and do have a list of rules up there. You can visit the rules at:

So glad you liked the video. It was a lot of fun to do!

Problem Child said...

I'm late and this is a drive by. (I'm baking *how* many cookies for AC's holiday party tomorrow? Sheesh!)...

But welcome to Caridad and Maureen! I'm tickled y'all are here.

Vamps and Christmas seem an odd mix. I'm looking forward to reading the book and seeing how it works out. (Maybe after I get the $&^%*ing cookies made...)

Maureen Child said...

Caridad, right there with ya. Own every Buffy and Angel DVD and watch them repeatedly.....GREAT shows!!

I hope all of you really enjoy HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE and thanks so much for saying you'll give it a try!

jjelliott said...

After 50 years with a reading disability and ADD, I've learned to laugh at myself and the video made me laugh!

The mysterious music at the beginning of the video clicked into that part of my brain and then I concentrated on reading as fast as I could to keep up with the words. The next thing I know the music part of my brain is singing, "we won't go until we get some, we won't go until we get some." I'm laughing and thinking, okay, do they mean the romance kind of "some" or the vampire, bite on the neck "some."

Then I realized the words, "we wish you a Merry Christmas, etc." could be sung to the same music.

So which is it? I prefer laughing with my first impression.

And I do wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

jennifer said...

The book sounds great. Vampires and christmas a interesting combination. not something you would think of together. I'm just in love with the calling series.

catslady said...

I hate to have to admit I haven't read any vampire based books and just a few paranormals. I really would like to try more of both genres.

Playground Monitor said...

The other Playfriends will tell you that I'm somewhat "pop culture challenged." One of them has offered to loan me her Buffy DVDs. I suppose I should take her up on the offer and have a Buffy-thon.

I loved the religious and political undertones in Hadrian's story. What he faced 2000 years ago is what many face today. However I did have to swallow down the gag reflex every time he had a chalice of warm blood. As much as I love CSI, when Doc Robbins does an autopsy I have to close my eyes. ;-)

mumbles to self, "Rules? There are vampire rules? Must go check it out."

Angel said...

Sorry I'm late, ladies!!! Welcome to the Playground. After a day of Christmas parties and child taxiing, I'd love to pile up under my comfy blanket with a good book. I'll definitely have to check this one out.

Though I don't write paranormal, it is one of my favorite reads. I've never seen any Christmas ones and can't wait to try one. And the stories sound great!

Did you find it hard to get into the holiday spirit outside of the season? :) How did you inspire yourself to feel Christmassy?


Maureen Child said...

Hi Angel.......... It's never hard for me to wrangle up that Christmassy feeling. I LOVE this time of year....and it's a treat to be able to get into the spirit six or eight months in advance!

Cherie J said...

Wow! Holiday With a Vampire sounds awesome! Thanks for being here Maureen and Caridad and telling us all about it.

Kathy said...

Wow! I can't believe I got here this late. Welcome to the playground, Maureen and Caridad. I see you've cuddled up to the fire and made lots of new friends. How are the marshmellows?

I'm really interested in reading Holiday With A Vampire! I love vampires. (Queen of the Damned, anyone?) Stuart Townsend rocks! As does Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Oh, the passion... Sounds like Hadrian exudes that as well.

I'm with everyone else. How hard was it to produce a paranormal Christmas book in early spring?

How much time did it take you to construct your paranormal world?

And lastly, how did you like working together? Your process, pan vs. plotter, while struggling to meet deadlines?

Merry Christmas!

Karen said...

They sound great and I really want to read them now. Hadn't heard of them until reading this post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

A great big thank you to Maureen for a wonderful prize! I'm looking forward to reading Holiday With A Vampire and Fiend in Need! I've sent my info to you.

A very special holiday season to all.

Carrie Destler