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Meet the Author… Mark Fowler

Meet the author

I know Mark Fowler from the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook site. We’ve been acquainted for two years now. Mark has been so lucky as to have his books published by Bloodhound Books and is doing pretty well, promoting his fourth book, Red Is The Colour, at the moment. I had the pleasure to chat with him yesterday evening through an author chat organized by Caroline Maston.

Mark L. Fowler


What made you become a writer?

Possibly because I wasn’t any good at most other things in life! I love telling stories, making things up, indulging my imagination but in a way that communicates a truth to my readers. When I feel I have something to say, I write fiction, and I try to get to the heart of things the best way I can. 

Tell us a little about your work.

So far, I have published four novels: Coffin Maker (which took nearly twenty years to write!), The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour. My books are all very different, and Coffin Maker, for example, does not clearly fit into any single genre, though it contains strong elements of gothic fiction and very dark humour. Red Is The Colour, on the other hand, is clearly a detective mystery thriller. The Man Upstairs is also a detective mystery, but with a twist of the very strange. While Silver can be read as a psychological thriller or as a gothic thriller. It is also very satirical regarding the publishing trade. 

Why do you write crime?

Crime is only part of it for me. There is crime at the heart of my books, though I would like to think that I’m also trying to explore what makes people tick, why people behave in certain ways in certain situations. I love the psychology of human behaviour. And the darkest crimes-murder for example-raise so many questions. We want to know what forms the heart of a monster or why an ordinary man or woman could carry out the most seemingly depraved acts on another human being. I also enjoy reading crime, of course, and many of my favourite authors write in the crime genres. 

What sparked your interest in the supernatural/gothic horror?

I’ve loved horror since the seventies when I used to stay up late Fridays to watch Hammer House of Horror. having said that, there are very few horror novels/films that I really love, whereas there are countless crime and mystery books and films. For me, many of the finest horror writers go beyond genre and are not constrained by it, for example, Ray Bradbury.

What do you find the easiest and hardest parts of writing a book?

For me, it’s starting a book that is the hardest part. Going off in the right direction, beginning at the right place. Once I get the opening right and the momentum starts to develop, I’m okay. I’m learning to plot a little before I set off as I always fear I may run up a dead end. Easier on the nerves having a basic plan, though to over plot from the beginning would kill the book off for me before it got started.

How much research goes into your novels?

I confess to not really being much of a researcher. Coffin Maker and The Man Upstairs were perfect for me, as I could make absolutely everything up. With Red Is The Colour, I gave myself a break by using a local setting, an area that I know extremely well and could write about confidently. However, there was the matter of police procedure, of course. I don’t particularly enjoy reading dense procedurals, and so I steered clear of getting too bogged down, but I did ask a police officer I know to help me with some of the details and to ensure that I wasn’t making any glaring errors. She was very helpful. 

What do you do in between writing books?

Read books! And listen to music and watch films, mainly.

What have you got lined up for us?

I have a follow up to Red Is The Colour written and two psychological thrillers also completed, not to mention three YA books that I would dearly love to find a suitable publisher for. I can’t stop writing them! I’m taking some time though to consider my options before moving forward with my next publication and will keep you posted.

I wish Mark success in the promotion of Red Is The Colour. Mark’s book Silver is on sale for £0.99 at the moment, so why not grab that one as well while it’s hot!


Mark L. Fowler’s books can be found on Amazon and Bloodhound Books.


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Ask Me Anything Author Session

It’s now Monday, 12 March 2018, and I’m live to answer your questions. You can ask me anything!

Go to my AMA session site to type your question 🙂

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Killing A Vampire is ON SALE!

For three days only, Killing A Vampire is for sale on Amazon for $0.99! Grab your copy before the price goes up!


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I’m an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Author Session Host!

Today, I received an email from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) team, asking me if I would like to host a session as an author on their site. I am so thrilled! I had never heard of them, but they are on Twitter. Any opportunity to get more exposure is good, of course, especially with my new release on sale this weekend!

Part of the process is that I have to authenticate that I am me, so I took this selfie. What do you think? Is this me?

AMA Photo of Proof2_W600.jpg

Why not ask me a question? You can find the session here, ask your questions now, and will answer them on Monday, 12 March, at 11:30am EST. All questions/answered are typed, so no video live feed, but I promise to behave anyway 🙂

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Meet the Author… Jacky Dahlhaus

Meet the author

Tomorrow, the 8th of March, is International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. As I have just finished writing the Suckers Trilogy and am bloody proud of it, I’d like to dedicate this week’s interview to myself 🙂 Let me bare my soul to you.

Jacky Dahlhaus


Why did I start writing?

It may sound cliché, but I had a dream. I dreamed about a girl bumping into a vampire and instantly falling in love. You can’t think of anything tackier, but I liked it. At the time, I was listening to popular music and one of the songs was ‘When the beat drops out‘ by Marlon Roudette. I guess the lyrics of that song got stuck in my head. I told my children about my dream, and they told me to write it down. I sat behind my computer that morning, and for the next fortnight, I only left it for the basic human needs even forsaking television (which is kind of a big deal for me). I wrote 55K words and completed my first novel draft ever. It gave me an enormous high to write. Never ever had I experienced something like this. I never took any drugs, so I can’t compare, but it is possible to get high without them, apparently 🙂 .

What is my literary education?

I don’t have a literary education as science was my first love. When I was four, I suffered a heavy concussion and skull fracture, and I spent four weeks on my back in the hospital. The nurses in the hospital were nice, so I aspired to become one. From the age of six (for the life of me, I can’t remember why that particular age), my aspirations were set a bar higher, and I set my sights on becoming a veterinarian. Animals can’t talk and tell people what’s wrong with them, so I wanted to help them. Helping others is part of what I am. Fortunately, I’m an eager learner and did well at school. I had a huge setback when I contracted a severe bout of glandular fever, or infectious mononucleosis, in my late teens. Unfortunately, it affected me far longer than the few months they say it lasts on the internet. For decades, I was affected with a bone-felt tiredness, but I moved heaven on earth to become a veterinarian and finally became one in my early thirties. By that time, I was ready to have children and found animals no longer a priority in my life. After I gave birth to our twins and stayed home for one-and-a-half years, I re-schooled and became a high school science teacher. This proved too tiring and too depressing for me (I was trying to keep the students in their seats more than I was teaching). I gladly took the opportunity when an office job presented itself.

Byzantine necklace with four large blue jade beads
Byzantine necklace with four large blue jade beads

When I had brain surgery in 2009, I decided that life was too short to be unhappy. I quit my job, a joint decision with my husband, and pursued many hobbies. I tried painting, drawing, scrapbooking, chainmail-, metal-, and pearl-jewelry making, taxidermy, and photography. Never did it occur to me that I could write a novel. I had a diary in my teens, but after I let my then boyfriend read it which made him cry, I never put a pen to paper to entertain people, thinking I could only hurt people with my writing. During my university years, I wrote in a student magazine, but that was purely information transfer. I was an office manager and secretary for a residents’ association for years, but again, that writing was also pure information transfer. My past-time I spent reading, though. I loved Terry Pratchett’s books and Anne McAffrey’s stories. I read Tolkien, the Eragon books, and many others. I loved being sucked into another world, forgetting my own troubles. That’s what I’m aiming to achieve when I write.

Since writing Books 1 & 2 of the Suckers Trilogy in 2015, I’ve spent most of my time reading up on and learning how to write. I’m still learning but getting better all the time.

Is there a bit of me in my books?

Hell, yes! Many people who know me have mentioned this. They see me as Kate. I have the red hair, make rash decisions, and am a vertically challenged person (for a Dutchie). Not everything Kate does is me, though (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). The two sisters of Kate, Maxine and Julie, also share the same first letters of my own two sisters, Marianne and Judy, but that’s where the similarities end. All characters are purely fictional and do not represent a particular person I know. That said, I based Caleb on the image of Ioan Gruffud and Charlie on the image of Peter Dinklage. They are two actors that I admire and love watching on the screen. I actually sent Peter Dinklage the first draft of my book but never heard anything back from him. I guess it’s not going to be filmed, then 🙂

IoanGruffudd_ PeterDinklage.jpg

Why do I write paranormal novels?

I love dressing up! At home, we used to have a large crate in the attic with dress-up clothing. Whenever we could, my sisters and I would dress up and play. My twin sister, Judy, and I used to make up plenty of fantasy stories on weekends when our parents would sleep in. With our dolls and fluffy animal puppets, we created whole new worlds, spanning our entire bedroom, where anything was possible. Our imagination ran rampant.

To be honest, I never had something special with vampires. Anything out of the ordinary would work for me, still does. I was engrossed in the Twilight series, though. The idea of being beautiful, being better at everything, and living forever attracts me. As a teenager, I suffered the usual teenager-amount of pimples. My sisters didn’t, and I felt like the ugly duckling. The only thing I had was being good at everything I did–what am I saying; I was excelling–until I contracted glandular fever. The disease made my grades plummet, and I had to sit my final high school year twice because of it. It caused an abyss in my self-confidence with a fear of failing which made me a terrible procrastinator up until today. As mentioned, I suffered a life-threatening head trauma twice, which makes one contemplate life a bit more than usual. Immortality is hence a very attractive alternative to this unpredictable and painfully short lifespan.

Jacky Dahlhaus at the Winter Wonderland Book Signing November 2016
Jacky Dahlhaus at the Winter Wonderland Book Signing November 2016

But your books all are based on romance, so why not write romance novels?

True, all my novels (this means not the novelette) have their feet firmly planted in romance. It is the core of the stories as without them they wouldn’t make sense. But there are so many stories about normal romances already. Don’t we all want to be special, experience something unusual, be part of something extraordinary? Enter the paranormal aspect.

There was a time I watched a lot of crime series on TV. Suddenly, I was fed up with all this pain and suffering as it became too real. I don’t watch any news or read any newspapers. It’s too depressing. What I want to achieve with my writing is for people to get away from this world and love on a deeper level. Hence, I also don’t take the (minimal) intimate details in my writing for granted. They have only been added to express the love, the romance, the needs of Kate, hoping it will flow over to the reader. I know my vocabulary needs to improve, but I’m working on this.

What’s next on the agenda?

First of all, I need to launch Killing A Vampire, Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I screwed up the other books’ launches and want to do this one right. Procrastination is hard to overcome, but I’m trying my hardest. At the moment, only Book 1 exists in print format, and I want all three to be available in print. Before I can make this happen, I need to go through Books 1 & 2 and re-edit them (for the so-maniest time, I know), but I’ve learned so much since I wrote them, and they can do with another ‘upgrade.’ Audio format is the next step.



In the meantime, I am ready to start writing something new. Not writing for a few days made me depressed already. I’ve suffered from depression for a long time. My GP told me I was tired because I was depressed. I am convinced I was depressed because I was always tired. Who was right, I will never know. One thing I do know, and that is that writing is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family to bits and honestly couldn’t wish for a better life, but writing fires up my soul.

I’ve got so many ideas in my head. Number one and two are another paranormal/sci-fi novel (I never seem to be able to stick to one genre 🙂 ) and a whole new fantasy series in the style of Terry Pratchett. I love putting humor and sarcasm in my writing, and this seems like a good option to get away with this. I will send out a newsletter to my readers soon and ask them what they prefer I should write first.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I’m proud to be a woman, proud of what I’ve achieved, and proud of all the women in my life. You girls rock!




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Twisted50 Vol.2 Teaser Trailer



Woohoo! Remember I said my short story won entry to the Twisted50 Volume 2 horror anthology? Well, the book is at the printer as we speak and the Create50 team has made a trailer for it.

Watch it on YouTube.

I’ve read some of the other stories, and I can tell you, these authors have frickin’ weird minds. Some stories are wicked, some are horrific, and some will make you want to keep the light on at night. Macaroni will never be the same…

My story is called ‘Rumour has it…’ and it’s about a girl standing trial for five most gruesome murders. Is she guilty or not? You’ll have to buy the book to find out! It’s out soon.

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Work in Progress

You’re probably wondering what happened as there haven’t been any posts this week. That’s because I’ve been working day and night to get my book finished. I started writing in October last year, and I feel like I haven’t stopped since. It took me about a month to write the story, but then the editing process took forever. Like with my second book, the editor of my first book didn’t have the time to help me out, so I did it on my own with all the help I could get. I felt confident I could pull it off this way as I learned a lot since writing Book 2 (in 2015). I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting better at it all the time. Hopefully, it shows in this book.

I’ve now got to organize the promotion for the launch next. I’ve never had a good launch for a book. The first time I was such a noob and had no idea about launches. I put it on Amazon and watched its ranking plummet into the depths. The second time, I did try to promote it, but everything went wrong. The person I hired to advertise on Twitter didn’t do it, and instead of buying a FreeBooksy ad, I bought a BargainBooksy ad. By the time I realized this, it was too late to change, so there was no ad at all. This time, I’m hoping to do it right 🙂 . Keep your fingers crossed for me!

PS: This means I’ll also be too busy to post a weight loss update or a new short story. Sorry guys!


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I wrote some grammar articles for One Stop Fiction last year, and I’m going to share them with you. This week I’ll start talking about the subject of a sentence.



Most sentences have a verb and a subject. The subject of a sentence is the person, animal, place, thing, or idea that is ‘doing’ or ‘being’ the verb.

There are multiple forms of subjects. Have a look at this table from Wikipedia:

Noun (phrase) or pronoun The large car stopped outside our house.
A gerund (phrase) His constant hammering was annoying.
to-infinitive (phrase) To read is easier than to write.
A full that-clause That he had traveled the world was known to everyone.
A free relative clause Whatever he did was always of interest.
A direct quotation I love you is often heard these days.
Zero (but implied) subject Take out the trash!
An expletive It is raining.
Acataphoric it It was known by everyone that he had traveled the world.

A subject can be a simple subject, a complete subject, or a compound subject.

Simple Subject

Example: I read a book.

In the above example, the verb is read. To find the subject, ask ‘who or what does the reading?’ The person in this sentence who does the reading is I. Therefore, I is the subject.

The subject in this sentence is called a simple subject; there are no modifiers of the subject noun. The subject isn’t always a single word though.

Example: What he wanted to learn about writing was not going to be found in the library.

What he wanted to learn about writing is the subject of this sentence, not just he or writing or what he wanted to learn. Even though it consists of multiple words, it’s a simple subject as there are no modifiers.

Complete Subject

The complete subject contains all the modifiers of a subject.

Example: The hardworking, persevering, tenacious writer finally published her first book.

In the above example, the subject who does the publishing is the hardworking, persevering, tenacious writer. It is the complete subject as all together they describe who does the publishing. The simple subject in this sentence is the writer as hardworking, persevering, tenacious are modifiers of the simple subject.

Compound Subject

A compound subject is a subject consisting of more than one element. This could be pronouns, noun phrases, and noun clauses. The individual subjects are put together with the help of coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

Example: She and I are collaborating on a book. (pronouns)

Example: Imagination, typing skills, and perseverance are needed to be a writer. (noun phrase)

Example: Whoever publishes my book shall not be disappointed. (noun clause)

When using ‘and’ as the coordinating conjunction, the subject can be replaced by ‘they’ so use the verb that goes with ‘they.’

Example: Joe and Jane work together.

The Proximity Rule

When using ‘or,’ ‘neither/nor,’ ‘as well as,’ or ‘alongside,’ the verb used goes with the subject that is closest to the verb. This is called ‘the proximity rule.’

Example: Joe or Jane is writing the story.

Example: The Smiths as well as the Joneses are preparing the picnic.

Example: A novel or a maximum of two short stories are accepted.

Subject-Verb Inversion

Usually, the subject comes before the verb. Sometimes, however, the subject is mentioned after the verb. This is called locative inversion or subject-verb inversion. There are many situations when this is used. Here are a few:

Example: Did you finish reading the book yet? (question)

Example: Here is my version. (expletive)

Example: “Don’t do it!” said the girl. (attributing speech)

Example: More important is this particular reason. (give prominence)

Example: Never in my life was I so frightened. (sentence begins with adverbial phrase/clause or adverb)

Example: I don’t get it, nor does she. (negative construction)

Example: I get it, so does he. (after ‘so’)

Example: Doomed was he. (literary effect)

No Subject

Not all sentences have a subject. Statements, questions, imperatives (orders, commands, warnings, or instructions), and exclamations don’t always have a subject.

Example: Not a lot of writing today. (statement)

Example: Who published your book? (question)

Example: Write that down! (imperative)

Example: Great story! (exclamation)

Prepositional phrases

The subject is never part of a prepositional phrase (that part of a sentence starting with an indication of location; a preposition, and ending in a noun, pronoun, or gerund).

Example: Neither of these books is liked by the students.

You would almost think that these books is the subject of this sentence, but as it is part of the prepositional phrase of these books, the subject is actually neither (as is emphasized by the singular form of the verb).

Linking Verbs

Not all verbs convey an action. Sometimes they describe the subject and are called linking verbs. Am, is, are, was, were, seem, etc. are examples of these. They link the subject to something said about it.

Example: Jane’s book is excellent.

Excellent says something about the book, not Jane, hence book is the subject of this sentence.


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A Preview of Killing A Vampire

As I’ve been too busy finishing Killing A Vampire, I’ve not had the time to interview other authors or write a short story this week. Instead, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the first chapter of Book 3, the last one of the Suckers Trilogy. Enjoy!



Wednesday Afternoon

My decision to go on national television meant all my hopes and dreams for a quiet suburban life would forever be lost. Yet here I was, my hands sweaty and my breathing deliberate. It hadn’t been an easy decision as there were more consequences. There had always been protesters, sucker-haters, but this time they had shown up in great numbers at the entrance of the studio, trying to prevent me from going in. The guards had to protect me and get me safely from the cab to the entrance. It would only get worse now. It would also mean I would be in the public eye more frequent than ever before. More interviews, more paparazzi, more work. Something Charlie didn’t agree with.

I picked up Sonny to distract myself from the anticipation, and, while cuddling him, I waited for the signal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Clarke!” I heard the woman’s voice say.

The man with the headphones and clipboard pointed at me. He mouthed, ‘You’re on,’ and my adrenaline level peaked.

“Let’s go, Mommy,” Sonny said, a broad smile on his face.

I stepped onto the stage, sincerely hoping I wouldn’t trip with my son in my arms. The bright stage lights shone in my eyes and their warmth hit me with equal surprise. Emma waited for me at the white couches. I put Sonny down before shaking her hand. She ruffled Sonny’s hair. The three of us sat on the comfy two-seaters; Emma on one, Sonny and me on the other. I had expected Sonny to cuddle up with me, but he decided to occupy the other half of the couch, his legs just not reaching the end of the seating cushion.

Please don’t let his shoes make any marks on the white fabric.

He bumped his feet together, never sitting completely still. When he caught my eye, he smiled at me.

“So glad you could make it, Kate. I see you brought your son, Sonny. Hi Sonny.” Emma beamed an extra broad smile at him. I presumed to make him feel at ease.

“Hi, Emma,” he said to her. I was so glad he wasn’t shy at all.

“Sonny, why don’t you give Emma the drawing you made for her?”

Sonny eagerly moved off the couch, took the drawing he had made out of his pocket, and handed it to Emma.

“You’re not going to bite me when I take it, are you?” Emma said to Sonny. He hesitated to answer, turning to me for help. “Just kidding, kiddo.” She took the paper from Sonny’s hand and with her other hand ruffled his hair again. “Aw, thank you, sweetie. That’s so cute. It’s me holding hands with Kate and Sonny.” She showed the drawing to the audience. One of the cameramen ran up to take a close-up shot of the stick-figure drawing which instantly appeared on the big screen behind us. The audience ‘aw’d’ with Emma.

I patted the couch where he had sat a moment ago. Sonny climbed back onto the couch but cuddled up to me this time.

“You call him Sonny because he’s your son. And of course, it’s a good shortening of his full name, Nelson. Nellie would sound a bit strange.” The audience laughed. “He isn’t the son of your partner though, is he?”

“No, Sonny was conceived as a cruel experiment in the sucker internment camp.”

“That must have been a terrible experience for you. Good things have come from it though. One of them is sitting right next to you.” She smiled at Sonny again. “Isn’t he adorable, ladies and gentlemen?”

The audience agreed. I hugged Sonny as I completely agreed with Emma. “Another result of your predicament was that you became the head figure of SAM, the Suckers Acceptance Movement in Maine. Can you tell us a bit more about what SAM does?”

I shrugged as I let go of Sonny and leaned forward.

“SAM tries to help integrate suckers into everyday life. When the Succedaneum virus plagued the world during Black October thirteen years ago, a lot of lives were lost. People blamed suckers for it, but it was actually the government who was the cause of the sucker pandemic as they made the virus and failed to contain it. People infected with it had no choice but to act upon their bloodlust. They aren’t to blame. The vaccine they created eradicated most suckers from the planet, but there were cases in which it didn’t work, when vaccination was too late to have any effect. These people will always be suckers, even though they didn’t ask for it.

Most children conceived during Black October ended up in an internment camp, but some parents were able to keep their sucker children out of the hands of the government. They kept them in hiding from the public out of fear of retribution. These children deserve to have a normal life as well. Sucker children should be able to grow up, have friends, and have a happy future like any other child. SAM is trying to help people accept suckers into their communities and to not be fearful of them. They are normal people with a disease, a manageable disease. Suckers aren’t a threat to society anymore.”

“That’s so true,” Emma said, “and you, of all people, know this first hand because you have two sucker children, don’t you? Sonny, who is here with us today, and Sue, your older daughter. How old is Sue now?”

“Officially, Sue’s twelve years old, but because sucker children grow twice as fast, she’s already a fully grown adult. Sonny looks like he’s four, but he’s only two years old.”

“And they don’t display any of the aggressive behavior suckers did during Black October?” Emma asked. “Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it; people fearing we’ll have another Black October on our hands if we let suckers loose into the world.”

“Absolutely not. Sucker children need a strict upbringing, I don’t deny that. They need to be taught to be gentle as they are a lot stronger than other children. Otherwise, they are as playful, strong-willed, and cuddly as any other child. They still need to be loved.”

“What about the older suckers? The ones for which vaccination came too late? Are they a threat to us? I mean, I don’t want to walk next to one and he suddenly ‘fancies a snack.’” The audience laughed at Emma’s comment. I didn’t find it funny at all.

“There are still some suckers that have lived underground since Black October and haven’t changed their attitude. SAM is there for these people as well. Once these individuals are discovered, SAM will guide and counsel them. With the help of the Army, we rehabilitate them, so they can live in our society once more. As you know, there is a mandate for every sucker to register and requiring them to give a DNA sample, so that if a biting incident happens, authorities will be able to tell which sucker has been the perpetrator. This system for suckers is similar to the fingerprint system used by the justice department for virus-free humans.”

“That’s so comforting to hear. Now, I can’t keep my eyes off your son as he’s so adorable. He must be very special to you.”

“He sure is, Emma.” Sonny just sat there, taking it all in his stride. It always amazed me how ‘grown up’ he was. As if he was an old soul.

“He’s actually very special in a broader sense, isn’t he? What time is it now? Early afternoon?” Emma made a show of looking at her watch. “And you both came here by cab. No under-cover-of-darkness stuff.”

“That’s right. Sonny’s extra special because he’s a daywalker.”

“And not only a daywalker but also a half-blood which means he doesn’t drink blood but eats meat, or so I’m told. Is this correct?”

“Yes, it’s true. As a daywalker, he isn’t affected by sunlight, and because he’s a half-blood, his diet isn’t limited to blood alone. He can also eat meat, but only raw meats.”

“So, wouldn’t it be handy if all suckers become meat-eating daywalkers? Problem solved?”

“I wish it were that easy, Emma, but there’s only a small window during the incubation of the virus when suckers can become daywalkers. Unless their mother was a daywalker, children are born true suckers and photo-phobic for life. It lessens over time, but they will always be affected and move slower. There also aren’t many half-bloods around. Only a few special individuals appear to be immune to the aversion to mate with ‘the others,’ so to speak, and create a half-blood. I’m extremely lucky that both my children have come from such a union. They are both able to eat meat.”

“I can’t imagine what that would do to your grocery bill,” Emma replied, and of course the audience laughed again. “It’s better than getting blood from heaven knows where, though. Tell me, where do suckers get their blood from?”

“The virus changes the body, so, just like cats can’t be vegetarians, suckers need to drink blood to survive. Fortunately, suckers can survive on animal blood which has been a huge waste product from slaughterhouses, and until recently, only a part of it was used to make fertilizer and food additives for animal feed. Most of it was dumped in sewers or landfill. Now it fills a gap in the market. It’s treated to prevent the spread of diseases like mad cow disease, and bagged blood is currently available for human consumption in supermarkets, next to the blood sausages. It’s one of the major triumphs of SAM’s efforts.”

“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually a vegan, and I’ll tell you, my stomach content is churning with all this talk about consuming blood. I think it’s time we end this conversation. It’s been so nice talking to you and hearing about all the good work you’ve been doing with SAM for suckers. I wish you all the best.”

“Thanks, Emma. Thank you so much for having us on the show.”

Emma rose from her seat, and so did Sonny and I.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Clarke and her son Sonny!”

I waved to the audience as they applauded. Sonny copied me. We followed the instruction we had received earlier to leave the stage on the opposite side of where we had come from. Once backstage, a woman took off my microphone and guided us to the room downstairs where our belongings were. I took off the make-up applied earlier and put my jacket back on. I then put Sonny in his jacket and gave him a kiss.

“Time for us to leave, Little Man. Let’s see if we still have a home to go to.”


Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus

Killing A Vampire will be available very soon!

Why not catch up with what happened to Kate before and check out Book 1. Living Like A Vampire and Book 2. Raising A Vampire? You can find them in on Amazon and on KOBO, but when you buy them from my bookstore, you’ll get a 20% discount! 🙂

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Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat – That Crucial Comma, Part 3

I’m still busy editing my WIP. It’s nearly finished though, I’ve now printed it out and am working my way through it. I thought I’d only be looking for typos, but everything looks so different on paper, and I find myself changing at least five sentences per two pages (I printed two pages on a paper to save paper). But enough talk about my work, here’s the last part about commas for you to improve your work.

That Crucial Comma – Part 3


Use a comma near the end of a sentence to separate contrasted coordinate elements or to indicate a distinct pause or shift / to offset negation in a sentence

 Example: I read a romance, not a thriller, last weekend.

In this case, you still need the comma if the negation occurs at the end of the sentence.

Example: I read a romance, not a thriller.

Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.

Example: I can write, can’t I?

Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence.

Example: That is my book, not yours.

Also, use commas when any distinct shift occurs in the sentence or thought process.

Example: That was a fantasy story, perhaps even a dark fantasy one.

Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt the sentence flow (nevertheless, after all, by the way, on the other hand, however, etc.).

Example: I am, by the way, sure about this.

Use commas to set off all geographical names, items in dates (except the month and day), and addresses (except the street number and name)

Example: September 11, 2001, was a scary day.

Even if you add a weekday, keep the comma after 2001.

Example: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a scary day.

Example: Tuesday, September 11, was a scary day.

You don’t need to add a comma when the sentence mentions only the month and year.

Example: September 2001 was a scary month.

Example: I work at 666 Park Ave. South, New York, N.Y. 60606.

Example: Portland, Maine, is a wonderful city.

Use a comma to shift between the main discourse and a quotation

If attribution comes before the quote, place the comma outside the quotations marks.

Example: The reader said, “I read a book.”

If attribution comes after the quote, put the comma inside the quotation marks.

Example: “I read a book,” said the reader.

If the attribution is within the quote, put the first comma within the first quotation marks and the second comma immediately after the attribution, outside of the second quotation marks.

Example: “Why,” I asked, “won’t you tell me?”

If a quotation functions as a subject or object in a sentence, it might not need a comma.

Example: Is ‘I don’t mind’ all you can say to me?

If a quoted question ends in midsentence, the question mark replaces a comma.

Example: “Will you still be my friend?” she asked.

Use commas wherever necessary to prevent possible confusion or misreading

Example: I called you my darling.

Example: I called you, my darling.

Use a comma after certain words that introduce a sentence, such as well, yes, why, hello, hey, etc.

Example: Why, I can’t believe you!

Example: No, you can’t have a raise.

Use a comma before and after certain introductory words or terms, such as namely, that is, i.e., e.g., and for instance, when they are followed by a series of items.

Example: You may be required to bring many items, e.g., sleeping bag, tent, and a mat.

A comma should precede the term etc. Many authorities also recommend a comma after etc. when it is placed midsentence.

Example: You may be required to bring many items, e.g., sleeping bag, tent, mat, etc.

(Please note there is no extra full stop when the sentence ends with an abbreviation ending in a full stop)

Example: Sleeping bag, tent, a mat, etc., are required.

Use a comma to set off the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed

Example: My boss often asks, “Jody, is that article up yet?”

Example: Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me?

Example: Yes, old friend, I will.

Example: Good day, Captain.

Traditionally, if a person’s name is followed by Sr. or Jr., a comma follows the last name.

Example:  Martin Luther King, Jr.

This comma is no longer considered mandatory. However, if a comma does precede Sr. or Jr., another comma must follow the entire name when it appears midsentence.

Correct: Al Capone Sr. is here.

Correct: Al Capone, Sr., is here.

Incorrect: Al Capone, Sr. is here.

Similarly, use commas to enclose degrees or titles used with names.

Example: Al Mooney, M.D., is here.

Use commas before every sequence of three numbers when writing a number larger than 999

(Two exceptions are writing years and house numbers)

Example: 10,000 or 1,304,687.

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

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Another Short Story – The Apparition

Meldrum Writers Club

We didn’t have a meeting yesterday due to adverse weather conditions. There was a real blizzard blowing here, with the snow nearly going horizontal. There’s hardly anything left of it today, the ground not being cold enough for the snow to stay. But, as a result, I didn’t write anything. Not to worry, I found a piece I wrote last year that, for some obscure reason, I never posted. It’s called The Apparition and this should give you a hint on what’s happening in the story. Check it out here.

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Meet the Author… Sunanda Chatterjee

Meet the author

I’ve had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Sunanda Chatterjee through One Stop Fiction. I began reading her book Fighting for Tara and was immediately swept away with her writing style. Her words take you away to another place. So beautiful, so romantic! So, I didn’t have to think at all which writer to pick for you to meet on Valentine’s Day 🙂

Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Why do you write romance?

Thank you for the chance to share my work with your readers. I write both romance and women’s fiction. All my stories feature strong women. Despite what women go through in real life, we have many strengths that are often masked by society and family situations, and which shine through only when the situation is dire. My stories touch upon social issues but have underpinnings of love in all its forms.

Writing romantic stories fulfills me. Indeed, movies or songs about sensitive, romantic love bring me to tears. In addition to romantic love between two consenting adults, what fascinates me is social and family drama. Every family has secrets, relatives who make bad choices, and friends involved in scandals. I enjoy the dynamics that threaten to ruin the unstable equilibrium because these issues make for a great backdrop for family dramas.

In my current romance series called The Wellington Estates, all the stories are based on characters with connections to an exclusive community in the foothills of San Gabriel mountains in Southern California. They are privileged and wealthy, and of course, they fall in love with people who are deemed unacceptable in their social circles, for money, race, or profession. Each family has secrets, vices, scandals, and pasts that prevent the members from leading fulfilling lives.

These stories have a strong romantic element which drives the story. But other characters also get the spotlight and parts of the stories are told from the parents’ or friends’ point of view, a feature not usual in contemporary romance.

I like to call this genre as a romantic saga, bridging romance and women’s fiction.

Romance—including contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic thriller, and other subcategories— is the most popular and highest selling and highest earning genre, especially in the indie world. Some authors churn out a book a month, and readers devour a book a day. There’s a huge demand for romance authors. So if one can find a niche, one can find a following.

How much of your personal life is in your books?

In all my books, there is an anecdote or two featuring something that happened to me, to someone in my family, or to someone I know. I think it brings authenticity to the story. In Shadowed Promise, a young woman adopts her dying cousin’s baby and has to deal with the consequences in her marriage many years later. This happened to one of my friends. In The Blue House in Bishop, a cow dies in the front yard in a traditional Indian community, making the family targets for death threats. That happened to my family. In Jimmy’s Shadow, a short story I published in an anthology, the house, the swimming pool, and the backyard are exact representations of my own house.

What, in your opinion, makes a story a romance?

Romance features amorous love between two consenting adults. The essential elements are as follows: Boy and girl meet. Sparks fly. They deny their attraction for each other for some reason, OR They cannot be together for some reason. A crisis makes them realize that love can triumph. They get together. Happily ever after.

The hero can be an alpha male or a flawed, conflicted, tortured soul. All my heroes have past issues that prevent them from leading fulfilling lives, that is, until they meet the perfect woman. The heroine can be a damsel in distress or a spunky, I-can-do-it-all type. My heroines tend to be self-sufficient, feisty and bold, but with a tender, nurturing instinct, or a haunting past that threatens their future. The hero and heroine both help each other find fulfillment.

Do you write sex scenes and if so, where is your cut-off point?

I do write sex scenes with some descriptions. I write more for the emotional element. Sex is a very intimate and personal experience, and when two people are making love for the first time, the spectrum of emotions that goes through their minds can be beautiful to explore. I don’t mention body parts besides breasts *blush* but I do write the scene euphemistically to tell the reader it happened and how it was for both parties.

Would you write/have you written in another genre?

I write women’s fiction and romantic suspense as well, although lately most of my stories are romance. My book Fighting for Tara is about a child bride in India, whose husband dies and her new husband wants her to drown her baby girl. She runs away from home to save her baby, and a long journey brings her to America, where after a few years, she must fight for her baby’s life once again. There are strong emotional elements in this book, but she does find romantic love.

Which of your books is your favorite and why?

Fighting for Tara is my favorite book because it deals with love in all its forms: mother-daughter, husband-wife, friends, as well as romantic love.

Thank you, Sunanda, for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you want to read an amazing and romantic story this Valentine’s Day, pick one of Ms. Chatterjee’s books!





You can find all of Sunanda J. Chatterjee’s books on Amazon.