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Posts tagged ‘relationships’

Dark Wine at Midnight – A Book to Keep You Up All Night

Dark Wine at Midnight by Jenna Barwin will keep you up all night – reading, not hiding under the bed in fright. It’s Book I of A Hill Vampire Novel, and I can’t wait till Book II is available.

Murderous attacks on prominent vampires unsettle everyone who must adhere to the rigid rules of living on the Hill of Sierra Escondida. We meet Cerissa Patel, a medical scientist from New York and member of the mysterious Lux, and Henry Bautista, a successful vineyard owner on the Hill. A host of other vampires compete to attract the attention of the intelligent and beautiful Patel, some for love, or friendship, or business prospects – or to ban her from their protected enclave.

Pursuit by two of the town’s most eligible vampire bachelors complicates things. Has Cerissa been sent to spy on the residents, to kill them, or only to open the research lab she claims is her goal? Is the danger to her or because of her? And just what is the research she wants to pursue?

Barwin’s intelligence shows in her authentic rendering of blackjack, wine making, horseback riding, vampires, business politics, and a complex plot that never wanders off track. It leaves plenty of suspects about who might hold a grudge big enough to kill, and who is a spy or a loyal friend. One of the most rewarding aspects of the book is the characterization of every person – each is believable and has depth, no matter how much or little their presence in the book. The story is paced just right as Barwin lingers over some scenes and plows through others, leaving the reader breathless at every turn. Did I mention the sexy romance? Oh yeah, that too.

Vampire stories aren’t something I usually seek out but I do look for excellent writing, a compelling story line, and characters who are interesting and unique. Dark Wine fulfilled all my hopes for a story that would keep me engaged, and it did that with aplomb and sparkles. Barwin is a talented writer who tops out on all the markers that identify really good writing.

If you like fantasy romance, you’ll love this book.

That’s what I wrote for my review of Barwin’s book on the Amazon site. As a writer, I’m interested in finding out about the journey of other writers, both in creating and marketing their stories. So you’ll appreciate my excitement when I had a chance to interview the author.

May I now introduce you to Jenna Barwin.

S: Jenna, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

J: Thanks for asking, Shari. I’m very happy to talk with you about my writing.

S: What’s the “elevator pitch” for Dark Wine at Midnight?

J: Dark Wine at Midnight, the first book in my urban fantasy Hill Vampire series, is equal parts mystery, political intrigue, and love story. It’s also a little bit Dr. Frankenstein meets Shark Tank, but with vampire entrepreneurs.

Here’s the elevator pitch: A research scientist is forced by her people to spy on the vampires she’s trying to help. One of those vampires is an expert winemaker with eyes the color of dark bourbon—and just as intoxicating. To succeed, she must convince him to trust her, despite the dark secrets each carries, and the mutual attraction they can’t resist.

S: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

J: Escaping into the fantasy and watching the story unfold. I particularly enjoyed discovering the chemistry between the lovers, Henry and Cerissa, and learning who they are as people.

S: Escaping into fantasy sounds like a fun adventure. What inspired you to write about vampires?

J: I’ve always been fascinated by vampires. I read Dracula as a young teen, and watched all the horror movies. And something in me wanted the vampire, the tragic hero, to get the girl.

I’m also fascinated by what the vampire represents in society. I saw Dracula as the clash between modern science and superstition. But over one family dinner, I listened to a relative argue that the 19th century vampire tale represented the Englishman’s fear of losing his “women” to Eastern European immigrants.

The more you dig, the more there is to see. In some ways, I think the vampire story parallels substance addiction—the vampire is addicted to drinking a substance that, by drinking it, hurts the one he/she loves.

S: Addiction is a very interesting metaphor I’d never considered before in relationship to vampires, but I see your point. It makes the theme of your book a current topic, something on everyone’s mind, as many of us confront addiction in the people we love or in ourselves.

J: There are so many interesting themes to play with when it comes to vampires. I enjoyed flipping some of them around. For example, I got tired of reading about white European vampires. The vampire community in Dark Wine at Midnight is multicultural, with residents from places like Mexico and Kenya. They are immigrants who came to California, and made their home here.

S: Are you married to a vampire?

J: LOL, no, I’m happily married to a mortal. Although he’ll tell you he’s a superhuman ninja.

S: OK, I didn’t really think so, but you probably wouldn’t admit if you were. So tell me one quirky thing about your writing process.

J: I see the movie in my head before I write a scene. I’ll hear the characters speaking, and see them move in their environment. Because of that, my first draft reads like a movie script. Then I have to go back and ask myself, what is the point-of-view character thinking about? What are they feeling? And I have to try to show that, too.

S: By the way, the book cover is gorgeous.

J: Why, thank you. I’m glad you like it.

S: Aside from vampires, what inspires your writing?

J: Relationships. I think relationships change people. They call us to be our best selves, to have insight into who we are, and why we do what we do.

In addition to relationships, I get some of my most creative spurts after long hours spent applying analytical and logic skills to a task. Too much left brain work will cause my right brain to jump up and down and scream “Let me out! I wanna play, I wanna play.”

S: Do you have any favorite books about writing?

J: It’s a toss-up. Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story is at the top of my list, but Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict follows as a close second. At this year’s California Dreamin’ Conference, both authors gave presentations on writing, and I was taking notes as fast as I could type.

S: What’s next on your writing agenda?

J: Dark Wine at Sunrise is book 2 in the Hill Vampire series, and I’m currently editing it.

S: I’m happy to know that as I’m looking forward to reading the next book soon. Where can we find your current book?

J: Dark Wine at Midnight is currently free in Kindle Unlimited. The eBook and paperback are also available for purchase on Amazon. Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Wine-Midnight-Vampire-Novel-ebook/dp/B06XTKJRHZ/

S: Where can we find out more about you and what you write?

J: For the latest news and special offers, sign up to be a VIP Reader at: https://jennabarwin.com/jenna-barwins-newsletter/

Or find me on social media and join the conversation:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennabarwin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JennaBarwin (@JennaBarwin)

Instagram: jennabarwin

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennabarwin/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Barwin/e/B06XV6TMG9/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16632097.Jenna_Barwin

 

S: Thanks for the information, Jenna. I wish you well on your writing career.

 

My dear Ink Flare Readers, I hope you find this interview illuminating, and I bet you’ll love Barwin’s book.

 

 

Cover image courtesy: Author

 

 

 

 

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A Fall of Water

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An opportunistic element, water

Flowing down as it’s easy

And rising is so very hard

We are mesmerized by waterfalls

Trickles, rivulets, cascades of

Water as it does what is natural

Creating an orchestra of sound

A choreography of movement

A wavering veil of misting touch

The stillness of breathing suspended

While witnesses gasp, seduced by

The fall of water from heights

Too steep to climb, too severe

To ascend, pooling at the top

From rain, run off, other streams

Clearest, purest, secreting

The inevitable creed that

Water being shrewd and lazy

Takes the easy way down

Falling in sheets of splendor

Stopping hearts, holding tongues

While the moon remains

We too, we two, hiked up

The mountain’s well trod path

Believing we were the first and then

The only to hike the sheer face

Of our newness to each other

We tried roles in strange frontiers

I, fearless, you, omniscient

Creasing the masks until they fit

An symphony of universe

Dancing among boulders

Water dripping from our hands

Until wind buffeted the shells of

Our bodies and we lost balance

I fell against you, you against me

But we could not hold each other

As we could not hold ourselves

We fell like water, friends turning away

Who could watch the broken creed treaty

While we did what was easy

Opportunists, we toppled down

Hearts tangled amongst the limbs

While the moon remained

Sound of words we pledged

Silent echoes between our gasps

Around laces that bind our mouths

Once more we stand, shaken

Lift knees and bend hips

Scrabble among rocks and broken bones

Tears on your cheeks you reach up

I clasp your hand, pull your weight

We speak the same words, a new order

This current climb, conscious

Careful to see each footfall

To sense each word and to grasp

Not only sound but meaning

To see each with the other’s eyes

Because I do not have to feel

Every ache in this world to know

Each hurt pulsing in yours

And you do not need every sound

To hear the heart of my hunger

Now we stand atop the hill

Watching as water falls and we don’t

Still the moon remains

 

Waterfall image courtesy: public-domain-image.com

Tramp with Me the Prairie

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Tramp with me the prairie, shaft and grain

We’ll mow down the swat-knee grass

Share stalks of brittle wheat between us

Lips kiss, remind our hearts to beat again

 

Ford with me the river, pool and cascade

We’ll slosh through opaline ripples

Spray unfiltered water along our thighs

Hips touch, we slide and shiver, gasp for air

 

Climb with me the mountain, cliff and gorge

We’ll bushwhack a cloddy trail

Break live oak limbs that scratch our arms

Bloody wounds, mine into yours into mine

 

Hike with me the desert, sand and ravine

We’ll roam across arid gullies

Weave spiney ribbons around our heads

Cheeks sore reddened with sun, by wind

 

Surf with me the ocean, froth and wave

We’ll float on currents far from shore

Bind seaweed between our damp wrists

Ride a waxing swell ashore on our backs

 

Quest with me new frontier, stars and moon

We’ll explore the trajectory of flight

Orbit bare into milieu of solar dust

Universe small for the breadth of our being

 

 

Prairie image courtesy goodfreephotos.com, public domain images

Bread

 

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Candles and celebration

Laughter of intimacy

Testament of rites

Crucible of wedding

 

Bread and festival

Yeast of endearment

Kitchen and hearth

Banquet of home

 

Spices and mystery

Day routine then eve

Crusts on the floor

Shards of family

 

Disdain and accusation

Secrecy of deceit

Lies, pleas, revelation

Cleft of the home

 

Confession and shame

Betrayal of pledge

Dough falls, bitter mold

Ruin of marriage

 

Regret and apology

Renewal of vows

Rises then a new loaf

Gathering of the clan

 

 

 

Poem in honor of National Poetry Month

Bread image courtesy of Commons.wikimedia.org

 

Plum Tree

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Once a plum tree in spring, roseate petals toed on bare limbs, opens to sun,

Moth limps wet from its brittle cocoon into moonlight and raw leaf excess,

Onion swells from its torn dry shell, each layer transparent, unfurling,

Pungent odor stinging nose, swelling eyes, slimy sap burning cuts on flesh

 

Once a chick pecks sharp at marquise shell, totters hungry in noon warmth,

Trout slurps surface of jadeite pond, then glides through secret current,

Silent rainbow glitters after storm, melted gem colors, netted by clouds

Elusive, moves away from capture, away from certainty, to somber dark

 

Once evening’s sultry wind, morning’s dewy breath, vague languor

Honey from the hive, dripping sweet and gravid, orange, sage, tupelo,

Sting of the bee, startled, angry, defensive, only a brief defense,

Threat of more, to frighten, to ache, to paralyze, enough to kill

 

Once risen lovers, heated hearts, desperate for passion, fight and dance

Surety of souls meant to find each other, anywhere, everywhere, forever

Wisdom of warriors, aged, battered, gasping, marching on one leg, you and

I, winter now, crusted tears, tenuous, plum petals fallen from our fingers

 

In honor of National Poetry Month

Plum Tree image courtesy publicdomain.com

Sand Sculpture

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If we lie on the beach, reach through froth

press into sand as our bodies crush each into other

the bowls made by our hips gather seeped ocean

edges rise like glass battlements piercing sky

and promises string salty tears across our backs

 

When we finally stand to leave, shake off foam

waves sneak up and, lobbing salty spit, rush back

washing away the sculpted stamp of our bodies

does the first carving of sand made of us tell the truth

or is it the ruined print after the wave recedes to sea

 

I do not know how far to horizon will wane the tide

how long the sand will repose from brine and tears

all I know is to marshal grains, impress our forms

and begin to rebuild the battlements of our union

because it’s what we do, we gather ourselves again

 

 

Beach image, public domain

 

Into the Pause

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Not a flicker of iridescent tinge

Nor delicate prance on glary petal

Not even a thin proboscis sliding into flower’s trumpet

But the poise of wings between nearly closed and shifting apart

The lingering slurp of flower’s honeyed scent

Butterfly shadow casts stain upon the bud

Pledge of nectar lunch and tangle of insect sex

This is the moment

The camera catches and flaunts to

The raving audience

Disciples

 

Not the blare of the indifferent phone

Nor the hitch in your voice greeting a remote guest

Not even your left hand clenched over the mouthpiece

But the grunts of accord between rasped whispers

The brazen intimacy of your contract that cancels the one we wrote

Hollow of estrangement as I puzzle the errors, the vacant margins

That twisted us apart and you into a stranger’s embrace

This is the rebus:

While I gather the threshed chaff of our marriage

The doldrums of the ended call

Secrets

 

Not the words on your scaled lips,

Nor the wave of your hand as you turn to face me,

Not even the slump of your hip braced against the wall,

But the pause between those words,

The hesitation of what to consider and what to exchange,

The price of the bargain and the juggling of thoughts,

What will be revealed and even more, what remains eclipsed,

This is the signal:

The vacant sound of words not said.

You gamble all stakes,

Rook

 

Quiet I can bear, the silence of trees soughing in woods,

Of water shushing against the glass dust of distant sands,

Feathers that hush on their slow drift from soaring birds

To land with muted drop on sodden earth.

The strum of your mind as you motion me to hear you,

To value your story, embellished by impassioned account,

False speech crafted in the moment.

This is the detour:

A life beyond our marriage troth,

And I, the butterfly,

Betrayed

 

Heart image courtesy Pixabay.com public images