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What do you do at 3 am when you can’t sleep…

ImageWrite a new blog post!  So, here’s what I’m thinking about at 3 am while the house is quiet and I’m contemplating life because I can’t sleep.

I’m finding different stages of writing novels, now that I have a few under my belt, that I like. I can sort of break it up by word count to describe what I mean.

When I first start a novel and I only have a couple thousand words in, the story is fresh and full of potential. I like that there’s still that blank page there. I need to get more down, more clay on the potter’s wheel. It is very much a new beginning.

I like it when I have 25,000 to 30,000 words in and the story is really starting to develop. I have a certain number of characters and the plot is pretty thick. The definition is starting to show. There’s movement. I know where the story is going because it’s come so far. Generally speaking it is about at the half way point. It’s like riding along the cliff. If I need to change something, this is the time to do it. I like that there’s still so much  adrenaline in the project.

Then, when I’m approaching the 50,000 mark, it’s a different type of excitement, much like finishing a race. Not just any race either, this is a marathon. So, when I see the finish line, my heart is pumping! I know I have to wrap this bad boy up. I generally finish books between 45,000 and 60,000, ideally. They can be longer, but not much. I don’t like them too much shorter either. I think if a book is less than 45,000 words, it isn’t a full novel. So, when I’m approaching that big 5-0 I know it has to come to an end, or at least an end for now.

When I do actually finish the first draft, I feel relief, a huge sense of accomplishment, and fear. Yep, fear. Because what if I didn’t get everything I wanted in there? What if it isn’t good enough? What if I messed it up? I go through a lot of that type of thing. I have to just ignore the damn thing for a while. I need to work on something else, get my mind off of it. Then, when I do get back to it for my first edit, I have fresh eyes. I can see it better, from a distance. When I’m too close, I panic and wonder. The distance between first draft and first edit is a huge help.

Going through these stages is why I think writing novels is the biggest thrill I’ve ever had. To create worlds and people and manipulate them into interesting situations is fabulous. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this.

 

 

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Beta Reads and Book Reviews

thCA43T8I7I think I’d like to be doing more book reviews and Beta reads. I like the idea of reading for free books… I spend way too much money on books anyway. The thing is that I think I’m pretty qualified for the job. I do have a Master’s degree in English/Creative Writing and I also write. You can read through my archives to see previous reviews. You can go on Amazon, too, but those are much shorter.

The other thing is that I hate giving bad reviews. I don’t have a problem writing constructive feedback for a Beta read, however. I think that’s the appropriate place for it. So, if I read your book and it wasn’t going to get a good review from me, I wouldn’t give it a review, I’d send it back to you as a Beta read – for your eyes only. If it was going to get a good review – I can plaster that bad boy around.

The other thing I have going is that I’ll read almost anything. Seriously! I’m really a book slut and though I have my favorite genres, I will read anything that has interesting characters, dialog, and a plat that moves. If you know me or follow any of my social media and blogs, you know I have my favorites, like paranormal romance, sci-fi, and other twisted shit, but really I’ll ready mystery, horror, adventure, and almost anything else (fiction). I choke a bit on historical romance (unless it has vampires), though….. Just a warning.

So, if you have a book you would like be to Beta/Review, send me a request with the genre and length through a direct message on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/sherri.asble

or Twitter @sljasble

I’ll get back with you right away!

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New Inspiration!

ImageIt’s been a long time since I’ve talked about inspiration! Since I’m moving into a more production-centric period in my writing journey, perhaps it is a good time to dwell on the topic once again. I’ve recently released the second book of my vampire series, Fire Blood. I admit I really wrote this novel fast, and I feel it is very good – 10 times better than the first book – I think the reason for the quality and speed of writing was the inspiration.

I really felt compelled to write this book. The characters, especially Matthew, really came alive in my head. It still sounds weird, even to me, but they really talked to me and told me their story and I just wrote it down… The first book, Summer Blood, went a long way to introduce these guys and gals and give me a basis to work with. The second book really took it to the next level. There was a lot going on, from kidnappings, to fighting, to sex… yeah, they were a busy bunch! Tobia and Gwin focused on taking down what was left of the vampire network, and Matthew got his band Carolina Sky together for a tour. Myranta put herself forward as Matthew’s personal body guard, and Cytosha… well, she kind of went crazy! It was fun and exciting… but what was the inspiration?

Music was a huge factor. I had to hear Carolina Sky playing in my head. I listened to a lot of music… I made a huge play list (Kato’s playlist on Spotify if you’re interested – follow me!). Kato even wrote some new music and I included lyrics in the back of the book! That is a big inspiration for the next book as well. Kato and Wayne felt a bit left out and will be making a bigger splash in the next book of the series. They both have rock-star personalities and are very “in-your-face” so their minimal presence in the first two books has come to an end. They want front row billing in #3.

Another inspiration was other vampire books/tv/movies… especially True Blood. Not that my vampires are the same in any way (other than being vampires), but just getting to that vicious single mindedness they sometimes have was easier after being a little exposed to other vampire media. And photos! I’ve found and shared plenty of vamp-pics on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/summerbloodvampires)!

So, Gwin is another character that really came alive for me. She started out very snotty and spoiled, but eventually, she grew as a character and by the end of Fire Blood, she really has a lot of depth. I think that Matthew and Tobia both influenced her a lot. She’s still fun loving and mischievous, though. In September I’m releasing the prequel book, Blood Pact. Her story in this one is compelling and really gives the reader an even better sense of who she is. Sometimes, it felt like she was sitting beside me at the keyboard and pointing out where to make changes and what to add! She’s so pushy! I think she is that aggressive side of me that never gets to really come out, in part at least.

The beach was obviously an inspiration point. I have always loved the beach and every time I’m there I seem to have characters talking to me about what they’re doing at the beach or what they want to be doing. Particularly, for Summer Blood this was a serious kick off. My husband and I went to Flagler Beach on the East Coast of Florida for my birthday. We went to a cool bar and walked on the beach at night and at sunrise. I took tons of notes while we were there. The bar and the beach both stuck with me so much that when I got home, those parts begged to be written and that’s when I truly started focusing on Summer Blood… and came up with the name! The name of the bar in Summer Blood is Shark Fins, it shows up at the end of Chapter 2 when Tobia and Gwin are getting to know each other… if you want to see the real place. I did tell you exactly where it is… corner of A1A and 100 in Flagler.

Cytosha is another vivid character. This is a psychic motorcycle riding vampire hellion! She’s front and center in both books. I originally meant for her to be a minor character used just for Tetrick to find Gwin and Tobia. She had other plans. She not only stuck around in Summer Blood, she became the main Vamp in Fire Blood, and you will be able to find out more about her – where she came from – and where she’s going in Blood Pact. Of course, she’ll have a role in the #3 as well. I wanted her to be a tough-guy. She owned her vampire status. Unlike Tobia and Gwin, she loved being a vampire (more than she ever loved being human). She’s a modern girl and she likes to just kick ass and boss everyone around. I have no idea where she came from. When I started writing her, she just took over. I’m glad she did because I’ve had a ton of fun writing her!

I’m working on a lot of other projects outside of the vampire world. The inspirations have come from many different places. Perhaps one of my biggest influences is what I read. Whatever I’m reading at the time tends to make its way on to my page…. don’t misunderstand. I do not EVER copy… but tone and genre and the feel of a novel can be influential. Or smaller things. Sometimes I do put tiny tidbits in my writing as a homage to another author that I admire, though. Like, I might name a street something out of another book. Some of my biggest influences, particularly for vampires and demons, are Kim Harrison and the Hollows series, Laurel Hamilton and the Anita Blake series, and Kristie Haigwood’s Eternal Island (Reviewed this in an earlier blog – check my archives) series. Kristie is an independent author and worth checking out! I like her Save My Soul series as well.

I’m writing a new series called Adventures of Pepper Chance. She is a psychic detective charged with keeping demon activity under control. She started developing as I was reading the Hollows, but also the Dresden series and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. I wanted a hardnosed detective who had a troubled past. She’s been a very bad girl, but wants to make a decent life for herself. She’s not afraid to fall in love or kick demon ass or step up to whatever challenges I throw at her. You’ll see two short stories about her in my upcoming anthology, Brink. That’s due to go to the editors soon.

Some of the stories from Brink came from what I was writing during my Master’s degree. Inspiration for those stories came from specific assignments. They are very different than what I’ve put out there so far, yet still twisted and fun. One of the stories was featured in a vampire anthology:

http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Romance-Rippers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00FYZVEQK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1402946438&sr=8-2-fkmr1&keywords=vampires+romance+toe+to+rippers

I had to stories featured. Only one of them will be in Brink, so get the one above for the other…

Ultimately, I guess I have to say that inspiration comes from so many places… from media and real life to my own wild imaginations and even things inside me that I don’t want people to see. It all gets blended up in this strange thing called my brain… and tossed out like a salad onto the paper. Then, I just hope everyone likes my veggies!

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Review Time!! Being Sawyer Knight – Nicola Haken

I loved this book. It grabbed me right away and drug me right in! It was romantic, sweet, steamy, and fierce… everything you want in a romance. The plot for this one is that Sawyer Knight is a rock star (doesn’t get much better than that – right!) and on top of the world. He has one problem. He’s terribly alone. Enter the hero – his long lost best friend Jake! The man takes on the job of being Sawyer’s body guard, but obviously he’s after more! You get the gist of how it goes. I’m not into spoilers, so that’s all I’m saying, except that these two guys are completely addictive. If you’re into character driven stories with a lot of heart, this is it! Sawyer is adorable in his angst and Jake is the total hottie-hero!

The sex in this book is all there for a reason. I never once felt like it was just to add sex and that’s important especially in an M/M romance. This writer made the characters work for it.

By the way… there’s a little bonus. A mystery is threaded right down the center of the plot. Yum!

Romance with heart – check! Steamy sex scenes – check! Action and mystery that move the plot – check! Yep… this one’s a winner!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KLF2DUO/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

 

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Rockin’ .99 Paranormal Picks!

What’s on Kindle for .99?  Tons of great paranormal fiction, that’s what!  After spending time searching through Kindle options and not finding much I felt like reading, I thought… but I KNOW there are a ton of awesome titles for only .99… Because I’ve bought them.  So, I figured I would help some of you out and point you in right direction with my list of  Rockin’ .99 Paranormal Picks!

Obviously, I have to start with my own…   SUMMER BLOOD is only .99 on Kindle!  If you dig vampires, hot rockers, and tons of action and romance, this is for you!  With tons of twist and turns in the plot, you should really get into this!

S.M. Reine has many titles that are normally priced in the $3 range, but when they go on sale… get them!  Death’s Hand  is the first in her Descent Series and it, along with the others in the series, are phenomenal! They are worth picking up even at a higher price, but I think Death’s Hand is on sale right now…  She has a strong warrior woman in the lead role, one who kicks demon butt, and has a witch side-kick, who is HOT! Action is packed in here from cover to cover.   She also has a series on werewolves Six Moon Summer (right now it is FREE!) is the first and this is also a “can’t put it down” title. Eventually, she merges the two series as well, so you will have plenty to read from Reine for a long time!

Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan was a great surprise!  I bought it because who wouldn’t want to read about music and the fae!  It is more of a teen book, but very well written and highly entertaining! For .99 it is totally worth it!

Another one is How to Date A Werewolf by Rose Pressey. This one has the feel of a good romance and it’s funny! Her character, Rylie Cruz is a werewolf match-maker.  You have to buy this one to see how being a werewolf can really mess up your world! All of her titles are well worth the purchase. Most are in the $3-$4 range, sometimes they go on sale, but even at $4 they’re worth it.  Pressey has a fabulous sense of humor and a great voice for paranormal shenanigans.

The Emerald Talisman is the first in the series by Brenda Pandos. It is a different twist on the vampire mythology and filled with trials for her characters to get through. It’s definitely a YA read. I love YA because they take the romance on the light side and fill in the gaps with tons of action! If you like that too, this one’s a must read.

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis is another YA title that is very good.  This one is actually FREE and the sequel is .99… so that’s a two-fer in my book! I have not read the sequel yet, but the first book is great.  The title is the first clue… yes it has Merlin in it, but in this version, he’s the reluctant leader of a band of “magical” teens. Yes on the light romance and yes on the tons of action! A great one to check out.

The last one I’m adding to my list is Save My Soul by K.S. Haigwood.  It is FREE right now, but I’ve seen it also for $ .99 or $2.99.  It would be worth it at $9.99.  Get it while it is free, and then you can get the next in the series Hell’s Gift, too. They are both fabulous.  If you like the idea of a soul-mate, someone that is THE person for you here and in the ever-after, then you’ll love this series.  The romance is a heavier in this one, but the action, adventure, and intrigue will keep you reading, whether or not you like romance. 

Hope you’ll check out these picks, and if you have any of your own, feel free to leave a comment, because I always have my eye out for great books at low prices!

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screenwriting time!

This is one of the screenplays I wrote for class this term. I got an A so it can’t be too bad. Some of it is a bit vague, but I’m working on it. I’m thinking about turning this into a regular short story. What do ya’ll think?

The format is off for this because I’m copying out of a pdf… but you should get the jist of it:

Dark Hearts
By
Sherri Jordan-Asble

EXT. CASTLE NIGHT
A massive castle reaches up into the darkening sky.

INT. KITCHEN NIGHT
A huge old fashioned kitchen is empty in the dark. The
floors and counters are stone and a huge chandelier hangs
above. There is a doorway on one side and an old wooden door
on the other. The door creaks open to a descending stair
case. PENELOPE slowly walks up the stairs to the kitchen and
looks around. She is wearing a long dress with a tight
bodice. Her hair is blond curls. She looks like a doll.

PENELOPE
James? James? Where is my
breakfast?

CAMERON appears as a dark figure in the opposite doorway.
Then, his figure solidifies as he steps into the kitchen. He
is wearing riding boots that end at his knees and a buttoned
up shirt, open at the collar, tucked in to leather pants.
His eyes and hair are dark, and the look on his face is
angry and heated.

PENELOPE
Cameron! How did you get here.

As Cameron becomes more visible and steps closer to
Penelope, blood can be seen on his face and hands.

PENELOPE
Bastard! What did you to to James?

CAMERON
(laughing)
I’ve come for you, sister.

Penelope grabs a knife from a counter and lunges toward
Cameron. He dodges out of her way easily and grabs her.
Penelope fights him, but he throws her to the stone floor.
He is on top of her and then he leans up, baring fangs as if
he is going to bight her.

Penelope looks over his shoulder to the chandelier above. It
starts to shake, and then crashes on them. Penelope
immediately shoves Cameron off of her, the chandelier pieces
shatter on the floor. She struggles to her feet and runs
through the doorway he had come through.

Cameron stands up, brushing glass from his clothing and then
chases after her with a wicked smile on his face.

INT. BALL ROOM NIGHT
Penelope races into the ballroom. It is lit only with a few
candles posted around the room and in wall sconces. The
light of the moon shines in through windows at the top of
tall walls that stretch into an arching dome overhead. The
center of the room is a wooden dance floor. Along the edges
of the room, carpeted areas wrap around the floor. Chairs
line the outer edges of the room.

Penelope grabs one of the chairs and turns to slam it into
Cameron just as he is grabbing for her. Cameron barely
flinches, but the chair crumbles, leaving pieces of it in
her hands that now resemble stakes. Cameron steps back from
her, as Penelope swings the wildly at Cameron.

CAMERON
You are going to hurt yourself with
those.

PENELOPE
No, I’m going to kill you.
Penelope lunges in with a stake, stabbing at Cameron. She
manages to hit him with the stake, but it is far from a
crippling blow. Cameron grabs the stakes, throwing them away
and back hands Penelope. She flies across the room and into
the wall.

CAMERON
This house and everything in it are
mine. That includes you, and you
know it. Why keep fighting it?
She shakes herself off and runs down another hallway.

Cameron again follows after her.

EXT. A LONG BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO SECTIONS OF THE CASTLE
The drop off from the bridge is massive. The moon is high
over head. Penelope is running across the bridge.

CAMERON
Stop. I mean it. The more you fight
me the harder this is going to
be… on you.

Penelope stops and turns to face Cameron. They are on either
side of the bridge.

PENELOPE
Brother, evil posses you. Have you
no heart left? Why can’t you just
leave me alone. I’ll never serve
you.

CAMERON
My heart? Evil? Morals and laws are
meant for lessor beings, sister.
The do not apply to me.

Penelope runs toward Cameron, faster than before, she’s
almost a blur. She slams her shoulder into him and he falls
back. She grabs him and shoves him over the side of the
bridge. The railing crumbles as she watches him fall. Her
shoulders and body visibly relax.

PENELOPE
That’s way too much evil for one
man.

Beneath the bridge, there is movement. Something dark is
swirling around. A massive cloud of bats flies up out of the
darkness. They have Cameron at their center. They swirl
around him, and he rises into the air, higher than the
bridge. Penelope watches, astonished, as Cameron and the
bats become one. His laughter rings out in the night, and
then he lands on the bridge, Penelope turns and watches. The
bats fly toward the moon and disappear into the night sky.
He is taller than before and his eyes are glowing red.

CAMERON
I am not so easily killed. I have
more power than you can imagine,
Penelope.

PENELOPE
I see.

Penelope falls to her knees, her skirt wrapping around her
legs. She puts her hands on her lap, palms up.

PENELOPE
I give up.

CAMERON
I knew you would. I knew you would
give in when you saw just how
powerful I am. You can’t run. You
can’t fight this. You’re mine now,
sister.

PENELOPE
Yes. Yes, Cameron. I’m yours. You
were right.

Penelope lifts her arms slightly, inviting him to her.
Cameron takes the few steps to close the distance and grabs
her, lifting her to her feet. He leans in and kisses her. He
kisses down her neck, touching her hair. He is lost in her
for the moment.

Penelope bares fangs and sinks them into Cameron’s neck. He
screams, but she has a strong hold on him. As she drains
him, she becomes stronger and he becomes weaker until she is
holding him up. Blood is squirting out and down her dress.
She finally pulls back and looks at him. Cameron is now just
a husk.

PENELOPE
Yes. That is too much power for
someone as weak as you. You can’t
handle it.

CAMERON
(barely able to speak)
Why?

PENELOPE
I can handle it, because I know
that with that kind of power comes
responsibility. It is morals and laws that
keep us sane.

Penelope reaches out a hand and a long piece of wood appears
in it. She stabs Cameron in the chest. This time her aim is
perfect and he dissolves to dust.

Penelope slides back to the ground. Blood and tears cover
her face.

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Vampire Novel??

href=”https://rubiconwriting.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/draculaffcmina.jpg”>draculaffcminaDracula is the father of the vampire novel, but he is not the first vampire in literature. Gothic writing was established in the 1800’s as a dark genre with uncanny events and dramatic writing, and gave birth to modern horror and the vampire novel. The history of the gothic genre can be traced back to at least 1764 with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (Gothic).

From this genre came forth many different varieties of themes including the vampire. The first vampire to appear in literature may have been John Polidori’s The Vampyre; A Tale from 1819, which was followed in 1872 by a short story “Carmilla” published in the collection called In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. At the heart of both of these tales are remote locations and some sort of mystery around the vampire. Both characteristics can also be found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” may have even been a strong influence on Stoker as it was the first vampire story by an Irish writer (Miller, 107). Le Fanu’s work is said to consist of psychological tortures, “…his [Le Fanu’s] conscience-spawned specters show us for the first time the ghost of the mind, which is yet, disquietingly, sometimes seen by others too, so that at the end we know not for certain whether the tormenting spirit comes from within or without (Miller, 107).” Many authors such as Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelley, etc… gave us writings that shaped the feel of gothic and vampire literature defining the genre as having characteristics of, “vigorous villains, helpless heroines of surpassing beauty and unsullied virtue, and dashing heroes of limp imagination and questionable intelligence (Miller, 105).” However, other authors such as Le Fanu and Edgar Allen Poe gave us the psychological horror, and any of these characteristics of traditional gothic were present in Dracula (Miller, 103-106).

Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, and the novel became the father of all vampires in literature, solidifying its place in Western culture (Miller, xv). There has been much controversy, however, on the quality of Stoker’s writing, and Bela Lugosi’s 1931 portrayal of the count has done far more for establishing the novel as a classic than Stoker’s writing necessarily does (Miller, xv). Regardless, thousands of vampire stories and novels have since been written with varying degrees of success since Dracula was published demonstrating the lasting impression of the vampire villain (Stoker, xix).

Above all, the vampire was if not created, then developed in Stoker’s Dracula. The vampire comes from a long folklore tradition over multiple cultures of the undead, “a corpse that returns from the grave to suck the blood of the living (Miller, 29).” The blood sucking is extremely significant in the legends and for Dracula. “Likewise, many cultures fetishize blood as a symbol of life and prohibit its ingestion or use,” thus an undead being sucking the blood of the living is a taboo, it goes against the beliefs of society in the most extreme manner making the vampire the ultimate villain (Miller, 29). This folklore can be traced back even into Babylonian cuneiform poems (Miller, 29). The traditions are rich and diverse across multiple cultures even to the Hindu goddess, Kali (Miller, 33). Stoker’s taking of these cultural evils creates the ultimate villain in the good versus evil plot. Further, the blood element adds to the psychological and uncanny elements of gothic literature.

In addition to being dead and drinking blood, the vampire has other features that add to the feel of the gothic novel. From Harker’s Journal we can deduce that Dracula had fangs, pale skin, a cold body, bad breath, hairy palms, and sharp fingernails (Melton, 197-198). Another feature was that the vampire cast no reflection in a mirror (Melton, 199). Other traits were that Harker never saw the count eat or drink and the count seemed to dislike garlic and crosses made of mountain ash (Melton, 199). Additionally, when Dracula confronted the vampire women, his eyes “became red with the flames of hell behind them (Melton, 199).” Ironically, however, the one typically vampiric trait that we normally see with vampire characters, not being able to go out into the sun, is not adhered to strictly in Dracula. While we do see the count sleeping in a coffin during the day, he is also seen several times out in the daylight (Stoker, 214-216). One such place is where Mina and Jonathan saw the Count in London. “…half in terror, half in amazement, he gazed at a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard, who was also observing the pretty girl (215).” Jonathan reveals that the man is the count and was extremely distressed at the sighting (215-216).

Finally, we know that it is difficult to kill a vampire, and in Dracula Van Helsing and his troop killed Lucy with a stake, decapitated her, and put garlic in her mouth (presumably to keep her from coming back again) (Melton, 201). In future vampire writings these features have been mutated, but these same vampire characteristics are seen in some form repeatedly throughout the literary history. Even in the recently popular Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, although her vampires are very different than Dracula, they are still very difficult to kill, requiring decapitation and burning of all the vampire’s body parts (Meyers).

The gothic genre has grown since the time when Stoker wrote Dracula, and has evolved into what most people now call ‘horror.’ However, there is a difference in the two genres. Whereas horror is scary and may be full of the uncanny, it is also full of violence, blood, and gore. Gothic, on the other hand, is dark in nature and lends to the spooky or uncanny over violence. The scenes with blood and gore are limited and are included for the purpose of the story not vice versa. Thus the vampire has transgressed into horror, but Dracula is gothic and represents the classic traits associated with the gothic genre. Regardless of whether it is called horror or gothic, the vampire novel has been around for a long time, and will continue to keep readers engaged well into the future.dracula
___
“Gothic.” The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Credo Reference. Web. 28 May 2012.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book, The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Print

Miller, Elizabeth, ed. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. New York: Pegasus Books, LLC, 2009. Print.

Meyer, Stephanie, Twilight (The Twilight Saga. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005. Print.

Stoker, Bram. The Essential Dracula, The Definitive Annotated Edition of Bram Stoker’s Classic Novel. Ed. Leonard Wolf. 1975. New York: Penguin Group, 1993. Print.

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