Archive for the Romance Category

QUEEN OF IRON YEARS BY LYN McCONCHIE AND SHARMAN HORWOOD

Posted in dark fiction writer, Great Britain, London, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Romance, Sex, United Kingdom, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2013 by ROD MARSDEN

QUEEN OF IRON YEARS BY LYN McCONCHIE AND SHARMAN HORWOOD

QUEEN OF IRON YEARS…A NOVEL BY LYN McCONCHIE AND SHARMAN HORWOOD

Queen of Iron Years is a bold move on the part of writers Lyn McConchie and Sharman Horwood. It is reminiscent of Ursula Le Guin’s 1969 masterpiece The Left Hand of Darkness.

In 2035 a new STD is claiming lives. It is Tensen’s virus. Transsexuals can get it and then pass it on to members of the general public. When non-transsexuals get it they die. There is panic. Plans are launched to put all transsexuals, whether they have Tensen’s or not, into camps supposedly for their own protection. Things aren’t looking good for thirty-year-old pre-op transsexual Cean Rowan and his transsexual friends. But what can be done about this situation?

A cure for Tensen’s might be years, even decades away. In the meantime transsexuals are having their jobs taken away from them, they are being bashed in the streets, and will soon be relieved of their liberty.

A plan is hatched for Cean to go back into the past and change history. But where was he to go and what was he to do when he got there?

Cean has always wanted to meet Boadicea, the iron age queen of the Iceni. She had fought against the Romans in her native Britain quite successfully for a while but was eventually defeated. The Iceni, for rebelling against Rome, were virtually wiped out. Cean is determined to stop Boadicea’s final fall at the hands of her enemies from happening and also save the Iceni from their fate.

After some difficulties in the England of his own day, Cean does go back in time and he does change the life of Boadicea and also the lives of the Iceni people. How he does this I will leave you, dear reader, to discover. Suffice to say both Boadicia and the Iceni are not quite what Cean expected to find. And Cean is not quite what Boadicia and the Iceni expected to come across in their day and age. Equipped with knowledge about the Romans, can Cean succeed in his mission and, if he does succeed, will his success have any bearing on how history will play itself out?

Much good historic research has gone into the making of Queen of Iron Years. But it is not bogged down in detail. In fact, once you pick it up its hard to put down.

Some of the subject matter may be controversial hence the boldness of it. Some readers will no doubt take this as being a dangerous book. If it is to be thus taken then it would have to fall in line with other books also considered dangerous in their day such as Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and of course Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness.

If you want a fast paced gallop into fresh, new concepts this one’s for you.

Queen of Iron Years by Lyn McConchie and Sharman Horwood

Kit Hill Publishing 2011

http://www.kitehillpublishing.com

WATTLE

Posted in Australia, Great Britain, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Romance, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
WATTLE IN BLOOM IN AUGUST

BLOOMING WATTLE IN AUGUST

If I were to ask someone from Britain or the USA if they know of a plant that, when its flowering, is bright, cheerful and yellow they’d probably say the buttercup. This is fair enough.

In Austria, near Germany the bright, cheerful flower is basically white instead of yellow but does nevertheless lift the spirits of those who live there. It is edelweiss. Mind you there is a little bit of yellow in the flower just to keep botanists on their toes. There’s a popular song about edelweiss that came out of the 1959 musical, The Sound Of Music.

If you were to ask the same question of someone living anywhere on the coast of New South Wales they’d probably say the wattle. It is definitely bright, yellow and cheerful.

It is August as I put pen to paper and, eventually, type this up on computer. I am on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia traveling from Wollongong to Sydney. Green bushes with bobby dazzler yellow flowers are everywhere along the train tracks coming into and going out of most stations. Fellow passengers on board the train don’t seem to notice. They’re busy with their I-pads, their tablets, their mobiles, and their newspapers. It is their lose.

For those who do notice and appreciate this wondrous flowering, it is the sign of the coming of spring and then summer. Blossoming in the cold, the wattle is there to remind us that winter cannot last forever. Even in the cool winds of August that cut right through you there is hope.

Back in the early 1990s some idiot politician by the name of Ros Kelly moved Wattle Day from the 1st of August to the 1st of September. As far as I am concerned this was not a good move. There is even some wattle that blooms before August and, even if there is some still blooming in September, to discount the blooming in August is just plain wrong. To me and my family the 1st of August will forever be Wattle Day regardless of what some politicians and busybodies might think.

Green and yellow are often put forward as the colors most representative of Australia. This is a good thing. I believe in hope for a better future. If it comes in the guise of a bush or tree flowering yellow along the train tracks as I ride to work on the train then so be it.

DESK JOB REVIEW FRESH FROM SCOTLAND

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, birds, Butterflies, dark fiction writer, desk job, Glasgow, Great Britain, horror writer, Knightswood, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Moths, mythology, Neil K. Henderson, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, Scotland, set in Australia, Teresa Tunaley, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
DESK JOB

DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

Review by Neil K. Henderson

Knightswood, Glasgow G13 4SB, Scotland, U.K.

DESK JOB: SARAH IN OFFICE-LAND by Rod Marsden, ISBN 978-1-937769-14-7 Night to Dawn Books, P.O. Box 643, Abington, PA 19001, USA (www.bloodredshadow.com) 243 pp.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

Set in the offices of a big Sydney business concern in the 1990s, DESK JOB, by former Masque Noir editor Rod Marsden, reads like staring through a hothouse window at a weird menagerie of mismatched captive fauna. Among the exotic and nightmarish metaphors for office ‘types’ – such as praying mantises (women ‘of a certain age’ out for blood at a sniff of male impropriety), dung beetles (sycophants to the mantises), hawks (upwardly mobile managers), caterpillars (semi-comatose top brass), mules (disregarded drudges) and butterflies (pretty young do-nothings) and their older, drabber moth counterparts – real human souls live out daily dramas in this infernal inversion of Alice’s Wonderland. Animal behavior is controlled by the government-imposed political correctness dictates of the period. No-one dares infringe the rights of a ‘protected species’. On the other hand, it’s open season on the native wildlife. Tensions mount. Fear, paranoia and madness ensue, until one employee is murdered by another while most are too busy watching their own backs to notice. It‘s the kind of mess you’d need a psychic investigator to work out.

Enter Sarah Hollingsworth, who’s seen it all already in a dream. She can read people’s minds to present the reader with psychological profiles and biographical insights into the group of characters under the microscope. (She even interviews the victim!) This lets her give the kind of non-judgmental overview that keeps things nicely in balance and stops the reader (and some of the characters) from totally losing the plot. She also provides a few surprises along the way with her own interaction among the forces of the mystical realm. It’s a testament to Rod Marsden’s easy style, that the whole unfolding kaleidoscope of animal imagery, social comment and dark fantasy reads with a page-turning immediacy that keeps the attention gripped until a satisfactory conclusion is reached. (Not so much a Who Dunnit, this, as a Why Dunnit.)

But that conclusion is not the end of the book. What Marsden does with the remaining third is to literalise the previously metaphorical types as living dream creatures, in a totally fantastical coda  section reflecting back the Lewis Carroll motifs from a new perspective. Sarah here ventures through an interdimensional portal, like Alice’s looking glass, to interact with real mantises and beetles and a Queen of Hearts who wants to psych out the office workers visa computer consoles and hand-mirror gateways. A fast and furious fantasy adventure follows – ensuring the novel achieves a flying finish.

Sandwiched in between the episodic close-ups on specific cases in part one, collected quotes from contemporary Australian books on office psychology provide a comic Greek chorus to the developing drama. These interludes continue as a unifying factor through the second part. Here, the lika-lika bird (every conversation starts or ends with “Like a…”) rears her gorgeously plumaged head. She’s still young and uncorrupted, prior to landing that fatal office job. Her outside view is refreshingly alternative. There is also the graffiti-spraying mall rat, destined to become a mule, or even a hawk, someday.

It is difficult to encapsulate in a brief review the complex interplay of fantastical dream situations, figuratively represented actuality and actualised fantasy contained in DESK JOB. Odd magical moments come to mind, such as the vision of several ‘brown-nose’ dung beetles lining up to boil themselves in a cauldron because the praying mantis they worship likes soup. There’s also the annoying whistling man who appears in the office every so often, and is perfunctorily assaulted by a member of staff. Then there’s the cats which periodically pop through mirrors or get their tails pulled by startled mortals. Particularly amusing is the scene near the end of lika-lika birds all crowding round one such hand-mirror, convinced that the cat which just appeared was cleverly programmed in by the manufacturers. I can just see them haunting all the shops in Sydney asking for the mirrors with the pop-out cats.

Does that make sense? Not maybe on the face of things, but in the context of this curiously individual and delightfully engaging novel it makes perfect sense. If you don’t believe me, I recommend you take a psychic trip through the portal of its covers and experience it for yourself. DESK JOB is a book with “Read Me” written all over it.

 

Note: Neil K. Henderson cleverly ends his review with an off hand reference to the Alice books. Meanwhile Neil is busy on his own novels which are most curious and fun to read.

 

 

A TAIL TO TELL

BOTH A TAIL AND A TALE TO TELL. WHAT FUN!

NIGHT TO DAWN

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Egypt, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, Teresa Tunaley, Tom Johnson, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

Night to Dawn is a semi-annual horror magazine put out by Barbara Custer. She goes to some effort to get the best stories, poetry and artwork from around the world. Though an American publication, it often contains stories from as far afield as Australia.

Starting out as primarily a vampire magazine, Night to Dawn has spread its black wings of late into other areas of horror. Tales dealing with zombies, ancient gods, and the Egyptian dead are now most welcome. Egyptian horror has, in fact, appeared in issues 21 and 22. As for what kind of story fits into the magazine, there’s everything from your classic romantic undead piece to a salute to Joe R. Lansdale’s Dead in the West.

Since 22 is the latest issue (It is dated October 2012 but I have an advance copy), I’ll pick out my favorite stories, poetry and illustrations within to give you an idea of the quality of Night to Dawn magazine.

The front cover to 22 is an eye catching red and gold. The illustration by Marge Simon appears to be reminiscent of the Roman era and puts me in mind of a female Roman vampire story I read ages ago. The back cover by Teresa Tunaley shows a female vampire with blood on her lips. The way her eye lids are painted, she might be off to some mardi gras celebration somewhere in the world.

In the editor’s section we learn about the latest round of books being published by Night to Dawn. They include Desk Job by Rod Marsden, City of Brotherly Death by Barbara Custer, and Tom Johnson and James Reasoner’s Jur: A Story of Pre Dawn Earth.

Of the interior illustrations, I am drawn to the third eye effort by David Transue (page 14), the all teeth and eyes freak out by Denny E. Marshall (page 32), and the zombied out mardi gras spectacular by Chris Friend (page 40).

In poetry there’s Tod Hanks’ splendid though traditional take on the vampire, Concubines of the Vampire (pages 6 and 7), Fatale by Cathy Bryant (page 14) which has a nice, bouncy rhythm, and Christmas Eve by Chris Friend (page 39) which is a delightful bit of fun with the spirits of the dead.

Of the tales I liked Rajeev Bhargava’s Mirror, Mirror on my Cellar Wall best. Here we have a touch of Greek mythology with a modern take on a particularly monstrous legend.

Coming up a close second is The Harlots of New Chapel Row by a writer going by the name Horns. It is a to be continued tale of bloody intrigue where lust and keeping up with your mates already goes terribly wrong.

A very close third is The Triangle by Derek Muk which hauls out the Bermuda Triangle for inspection. The suspense builds up in this one making it well worth the read.

For more information on Night to Dawn magazine and books check out these sites:

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/tom-johnsons-sf-and-adventure/jur-a-story-of-pre-dawn-earth/

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/

LOVE – DESK JOB STYLE

Posted in Australia, birds, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Love, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
THE BLOOD OF A STUPID MULE

LOVE IN THE WORLD OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS CAN END IN SOMETHING THAT WOULD MAKE THE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE LOOK TAME IN COMPARISON.

Decades ago there was this television show titled Love – American Style. In the lyrics of the song accompanying the show we were informed that this love is stronger than the red, white and blue meaning the American flag. I suppose the idea here was that without love there wouldn’t be an America or at least an America anyone would care to live in. I could follow this logic trail when a kid without too much difficulty. It was a silly show but fun in places. Like Captain Nice,  it isn’t likely to return to television and rests comfortably in the hearts and minds of certain old timer couch jockeys. Even so, it did evoke a certain pleasant attitude to both love and, yes, sex which may not have stood the greater test of time.

My Desk Job is set in the mid-1990s, long past the Hippy era with its Laugh-In and its Love – American Style and its Captain Nice. And long past when John Lennon and Yoko Ono could make some kinda political statement about peace by being in bed in front of the whole world.

Love and romance are forbidden on the three floors of Desk Job. Rules and regulations are against the male mules fraternizing with the female mules even on their coffee breaks. The male hawks sometimes get away with fraternizing with female mules and, when something goes wrong with the relationship, a praying mantis is born.

Praying mantises enforce the rules and regulations. They are followed around by the dung beetles who adore them. Nothing is lower or more worshipful of your average praying mantis than your dung beetle. Even so, praying mantises do not care for dung beetles. They have no interest in love or romance except to put an end to it. This they are generally good at doing. They love the smell of fear in the morning.

Every once in a long while, however, two mules rise up and declare their love for one another in defiance of authority.The praying mantises then must act before this defiance spreads.

Now you might think that there’s a lot of sexual activity going on in the office between the female butterflies and the male hawks. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes,  the butterflies do use their sexuality in order to do as little work as possible. This does, in a way, make them the whores of the office. Even so, they are only just smart enough to realize that the tease is all they need to get their way and they need only have sex with a hawk if that’s what they really want to do. Besides, the praying mantises and their faithful dung beetles are always on the look out for bad behavior.

Meanwhile the moths, remembering their glory days as butterflies, manage to get by on the memories of old timer hawks and mules. Also the sympathy of younger hawks and mules. They are far more skilled at the art of getting others to do their work for them than the butterflies but, then again, they need to be. Even so, good looks fading or not, a hawk or a mule might take a romantic or sexual interest in a moth. It could happen.

The grand old caterpillar is generally above matters of a sexual or romantic nature. He is content to puff away on his water pipe and let the hawks and the praying mantises keep his floors in good order. If, of course, he were to show an interest in romance it would be with someone of at least hawk status. To find another caterpillar to romance, especially a female caterpillar, he would have to go to another building. This is a lot of effort for a caterpillar. What’s more, there are very few female caterpillars around though numbers of them, year by year, are on the increase.

So, if you are a mule then head down and get on with your computer work. There are praying mantises cruising by with their dung beetle sidekicks. The hawks need your help if they are to soar high and you must keep your job. And do be careful on those lunch and coffee breaks. Be sure not to say anything inappropriate that might give away your humanity. You need to be seen as a good, hard working mule and nothing more. You never know who may be watching and listening. Mules have been betrayed by mules and hawks by hawks. And waiting with her spiked forearms in the background is the ever menacing praying mantis. Snip! Snip! 

 http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

REVIEW OF DISCO EVIL: DEAD MAN’S STAND

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Glasgow, Great Britain, horror writer, Knightswood, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Neil K. Henderson, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, Scotland, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
Disco Evil

Disco Evil back cover art

Neil K. Henderson

Knightswood, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

6th Sept. 2009

Dear Rod,

Finally getting the chance to comment back on DISCO EVIL: DEAD MAN’S STAND…You have certainly taken an interesting angle on vampire culture, with not only the uncompromising contemporary setting, but the ‘moral code’ adhered to by your (anti-) hero. Indeed, the entire novel has a ‘both-sides-to-the-story’ aspect which leaves one finally unable to take sides. As in life, no one is either all good or all bad. You make this point repeatedly, and stress the need for mutual understanding and co-operation. This indeed comes to pass not only between the Secret Compass and Rising Sun Group, but with Muslim and non-Muslim Australians…

I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed being transported around the globe for a bat’s-eye view of human existence in recent times. I like the way you handled differing timescales, with life going on as normal in NSW, while Paul maintained eternal youth. The only fault I found with this was that it didn’t leave enough scope for in-depth vampire adventure on those travels. That’s an unavoidable problem, I suppose, since too much time spent with Paul would unbalance the structure of the novel. He did at least have some exciting near-misses with the forces of Life and Order. I have to say, I didn’t fancy his chances with those Maclean fellows one bit…

Anyway, I’ve had a ball reading your book. I found myself drawn into your fictional world and engaging with your characters in a way that says plenty for your descriptive skills. I hope you have a great success with it, and that it leads the way for many more.

All the best,

Neil

Neil k. Henderson is the author of a number of fictional works including MALDEHYDE’S DISCOMFITURE, or A LADY CHURNED (Pentagraph Press, Brighton, 1997), FISHWORSHIPPING – AS WE KNOW IT (Regent Books, Wolverhampton, 2001), AN ENGLISH SUMMER IN SCOTLAND AND OTHER UNLIKELY EVENTS (Skrev Press, 2005), and HORMONES A-GO-GO (Atlantean Publishing, 2009).

REVIEW OF DISCO EVIL…

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
DEAD MAN'S STAND

cover to Disco Evil

Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand by Rod Marsden

Night to Dawn Books
www.bloodshadow.com
Paperback
$16.50
244 Pages
Horror / Dark Fantasy
Rating: 3 Cups
He vowed this would be the last time he stepped into the disco club, The Blue, but Paul Priestly never guessed how right and wrong he was. So many rejections can make a man do some crazy things, but when that man becomes a vampire, the world better stop and take notice.

Never one to take the easy route, Miles Henry becomes one of the elite undercover operatives for the Secret Compass. Their mission is to eradicate the vampire vermin from the earth. However, his mission is much more personal, and he vows to take out the one vampire who murdered his niece.

Paul admits to making a multitude of mistakes after his turning, but he cannot understand the personal vendetta the Secret Compass seems to have against him. He moves constantly to avoid their attacks, and over the span of many years, he circles the globe. The close calls happen with frightening frequency and still Paul manages to escape, much to the frustration of Miles and the Secret Compass. Miles knows his age is catching up with him, and if he cannot fulfill his personal vow, he can only pray that his great nephew will continue the fight…World history seems to be the reigning theme, the detail of which is well researched and delivered with a true sense of imagination and knowledge.

Lototy
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/disco-evil-dead-mans-stand-excerpt-reviews/

BACK COVER BLURB TO DISCO EVIL BY ROD MARSDEN

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Love, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, New York, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
vampyre

THE VAMPIRE

“Make Love, not war” was the catch cry of a generation. Growing up, it meant everything to Paul Priestly but nothing to those who owned and managed The Blue, an inner city Sydney disco.

When Paul became a vampire, he swore to avenge himself on the destroyers of make love, not war. In many cities of the world, such as London, New York, and San Francisco, he would seek them out and take their blood. He would recruit from the living to aid him in this great work. In other words, as a walking cadaver, a mobile corpse, he had made a stand – a dead man’s stand.

Night to Dawn

P.O. Box 613

Abington, P.A 19001

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/

Extract from DISCO EVIL BY ROD MARSDEN

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Love, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
flight of the vampire

The vampire: flight toward revenge

Extract…Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand

CHAPTER  ONE

Sydney, The Rocks, the first Friday in November, 1976

The dock rats were still around but in fewer numbers than before. The smart ones had already staked their claim to the Hyde Park area and to the railroad tunnel system between Town Hall and Circular Quay. There people dumped plenty of food in quarter, even half filled packets. Also, there were lots of dark, safe places to get some sleep during the day.

The Rocks area of the docks, however, had retained some nocturnal life. It had, in fact, built upon certain beliefs in humans and had flourished. Strangely enough, like the rats of yore, certain comings and goings were not only of the night but also took place beneath the pavement where life could be chilly in winter and muggy in summer. There was even the mating dance, not dissimilar to the one performed by the rodent only crueler in its promises and in too many of its outcomes.

For Western style humanity the summer of love had died, killed by a number of movements including disco, a less than amiable bowel movement. Even so, young men still went along to the below ground venues of false light and loud music for the remnants of the hippy dream. They wanted to howl at the distant moon like lycanthropes or maybe at the giant ball that rotated in all such places as a cold, rotund ice goddess. It was all so similar to the North American ghost dance and the hope of turning back the world to a better time that one could choke on the tears it invariably elicited. Yet dance cannot turn back the clock or the calendar. Dance can neither bring back the buffalo to the American prairie nor can it take us to that oh so special summer in which the best of emotions reigned. So what, in the end, is the use of it?

The young men at the disco were told that how you danced no longer mattered and were then judged on how they danced. The scotch served early in the night was of a cheap brand no matter what was on the label of the bottle it came in and got progressively weaker from being watered down as the night progressed. It was a rip-off from start to finish but, hey! Where else did you go to meet girls? And they were girls and you were not quite a man but, oh so anxious to become one, God help you!

Listening to the recorded music was like having two gallons of corn syrup from the ‘States or forest honey locally produced dumped on you. The senses quickly became blocked with all the phony sweetness. A hole to breathe through could be cut with a glass or two of bourbon but the ensuing alcoholic haze carried its own falsehoods. The bourbon in the gut, in the end, held best the lies one tells one’s self when things are not going well. Only one usually has the common sense to keep those lies to one’s self. It was amazing what one might say while in that haze and to whom. It could be down-right tragic or, if not tragic, then comical in an executioner’s joke book sort of way. And who needs a laugh more than the guy about to get it in the neck?

Sure, I’m Bogart looking at some tall, luscious babe. Sure, I’m Sean Connery going after some hot dame who knows something. Sure, I’m Mad Max only not so mad. And all in one night folks! All in one single night and without strings! All happening right here, right now, this night folks!

Here there was a nasty cycle of unrealistic promise followed by despair followed by more unrealistic promise. Only the elite got anywhere but very few participants understood this. Plenty of fools thought they could make their dreams come true and their money was as good as anyone else’s. Others knew from night one the odds against them were ridiculously high but gambled anyway because there was nothing else they could see themselves doing. Besides, didn’t Batman always fly home a winner to the bat cave? Was it then so impossible to meet a nice girl you could actually have a good time with? Did the success stories all have to be about supermen with their Lois Lanes?

‘The Blue’ was once part of a warehouse. It was the below ground part where coal was once stored. Since becoming ‘The Blue’ there had been a glittering sign on the street pointing downwards to the action. From there stairs descended into what appeared at first to be a dark pit lined with old, cheap carpet. The carpet was red and the stairs always smelled. Sometimes they smelled of vomit but more often than not of cleaning alcohol or industrial strength antiseptic. No one commented going down and once down it was hard to communicate with anyone save whoever was serving the drinks. The management liked it that way. There wasn’t a cover charge. Obviously watering the drink at the appropriate hour was enough.

Paul Priestly had taken the stairs a dozen or more times. On the last night he’d truly be himself he said to that inner voice he’d never, ever do it again but that would not be entirely true.

He was on his own. He was a small, skinny guy always alone and he wanted to change that. He had come to realize, however, that this was not the right venue for him. Maybe it wasn’t the right venue for anyone with a soul. Maybe this realization at last made him smarter than some of the other people who tried their luck there but he was still dumb enough to turn up one last time just in case he was wrong. It was pathetic. Hope burned and the intensity of the flame meant he had to have at least one more throw of the dice he knew had to be loaded against him.

The only thing he could think of to make himself feel better about where he was and what he was doing were the bizarre murders he’d read about in the paper. They had taken place less than two blocks away and involved a jock football player who had had his right arm broken in three places before being siphoned of blood. Also a female tennis player had had her neck broken before being emptied the same way. Paul didn’t see himself as the type this killer or killers were after but that could change. At present, however, they seemed to be after people he had no reason to like and that suited him fine.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/

BIO ROD MARSDEN VAMPIREBIRDIE

Posted in Australia, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, London, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, New York, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, set in Australia, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
art by Rod Marsden

A fanciful medieval style set of glass panels in an ancient church

Bio: Rod Marsden

Rod Marsden was born in Sydney, Australia. His very early influences were his father, Charles, who taught him how to fish and how to appreciate nature and his mother, May, who helped him to value the written word. Other early influences include writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Gene Colan. He has three degrees; all related to writing and to his other passion, history. His stories have been published in Australia, England, Russia and the USA. His written work includes short stories in Cats Do it Better. Undead Reb Down Under and Other Vampire Stories is a collection of his stories on vampirism. His novel Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand is his first venture into the vampire novel. His  Ghost Dance is his first go at a dark quest style novel. His Desk Job is a salute to Lewis Carroll and some indication of how insane life got in the office in the mid-1990s.

Back in the 1970s, Rod took a trip to the USA and still has fond memories of his time in New York and San Francisco. He also visited Bali way back in the 1970s.  He would love to visit Britain and this desire does appear in his work.

Rod Lives on the South Coast of NSW, Australia and still occasionally puts a line in the water. He has a fondness for the Wollongong area but an abiding love for the more northern Clarence River region of his home state.

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