Friday, September 27, 2013

Real Vampires Don't Sparkle

Review, Interview & Giveaway!

Traitors by Carrie Clevenger

Vampire Xan Marcelles and his band, Crooked Fang, have been sitting idle for almost two months when Xan's given a job offer he can't refuse. Only it is not a music gig -- it's a multiple hit in a Texas town called Bartlett. Given no details except six names and a location, Xan hits the road. He's always worked alone at this sort of job, but now there's no way but to have Nin riding shotgun. Can Xan take out his marks and keep Nin out of trouble or have the years out of circulation blunted his edge?

File Size: 761 KB
Print Length: 78 pages
Publisher: Katarr Kanticles Press; 1.25 edition (September 15, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

My Review: In this fantastic addition to the Crooked Fang series, Traitors delivers hard hitting adventure when vampire Xan Marcelles is called out of retirement. He hits the road with Nin, his hot but not-so-trustworthy sidekick. Chemistry brews as they make their way through one mishap and into the next on their way to a small town in Texas to carry out a hit on some unsavory bloodsuckers. Xan and Nin will make you laugh, think and squirm in your seat as they barrel at breakneck speed toward a climactic ending that will leave you gasping for more. Disclaimer: Xan doesn't sparkle in the sun (he catches on fire) and he doesn't court teenage girls. 

I recently had the opportunity to buy Xan a drink and grill him a little about his new book and the latest haps in the world of this yummy, bass playing vampire. He dropped a few coins in the jukebox and we settled into his favorite booth in the back of the bar. The ensuing convo went something like this:

Jan:  Hey, Xan. Its been awhile since I've had you in the hot seat. Are you ready? *laughs*

Xan: Ready as I'll get. If I get stuck, I'll take volunteers from the audience.

Jan:  Traitors is out in the wild now. I read it in one sitting; my compliments to the chef. Youve been living rather quietly since Crooked Fang was released. How did you feel about being dragged back out to do the dirty work?

Xan: A part of me was after it, to be honest. I mean, sitting, bored. Get used to the excitement, you know? It's like a lifestyle, and then I get to thinking maybe semi-retirement. Not for the money, but like, maybe to do something that counts for something. Be useful, I guess. Like to be useful.

Jan: Ah, yeah, doing your part to make the world a better place. *smiles* Nin is your nemesis turned ally in Traitors. The tension between the two of you is delicious. Will we see more of her?

Xan: God, I hope not. But probably.

Jan: I have to admit that I cringed at the beating your beloved Camaro takes in this book. Is it all fixed up now?

Xan: Yeah, a few dents, some busted glass. It wasn't totaled, probably because the deer came from the goddamned sky instead of getting embedded in my grille.

Jan: In Traitors, we see a different, darker side of the fun loving, whiskey drinking vampire featured in Crooked Fang. Did you enjoy venturing into the not so pretty world of vampire assassinations? 

Xan: I thought I was the whiskey drinking vampire in Crooked Fang. Oh. You mean me. Why third-person? Nevermind. Uh, yeah. The bloodsucker hits aren't really heavy on the conscience. I guess I still view others of my kind justified to exist on a conditional basis. They aren't good people. They aren't even people, to tell the truth. Taking out a couple of faceless vamps doesn't bug me one bit.

Jan: You're such a smartass. I'll wait until we conclude this chat to punch you. That being said, its no secret that Im a fan of your book Crooked Fang, but Im also a fan of the band. Any plans to find a new singer and get back together?

Xan: Serv is gonna be a bitch to replace. I haven't even tried holding auditions. It's too soon. He's only been gone a few months. Story-wise. Just not ready.

Jan: Totally understand. Youre big on playing music on Twitter. Any particular songs inspire your muse this time around?

Xan: Traitors took cues from 70's and 80's rock, pretty much. Been into Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top and some songs made it in the story. Funny how every story has like it's own music environment.

Jan: Your stories are the only ones I've read that pretty much feature their own soundtracks. You've turned me on to a lot of fantastic artists. So, Crooked Fang is a series now. Thats pretty cool. Tell us whats next for you and your franchise?

Xan: More stories. The next one is tentatively titled Jungle Rot, which puts me in Belize on a manhunt (or vamp-hunt) for Six McAllister, one of Jack's favorite thugs. The name of the story is pretty fitting, considering there's more in those jungles besides bugs, bloodsuckers and birds.

Jan: Ooh, Belize. Crooked Fang goes international. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Jungle Rot. Okay, time for the lightning round for the fans. Tell us your favorites:
Band: Don't have a favorite. But this moment is Led Zeppelin to listen to.

Drink: Whiskey, duh. Unless blood counts as a drink. Does to me.

Flavor: Isn't that the same as drink? Fav flavor? You.

Movie: Don't have a favorite movie either. But I like westerns, gangster flicks, stuff with explosions, fire and tits.

Car: Mine, of course. '67 Camaro RS. Old Charger, Nova, Stang, muscle cars, you know. Big metal vehicles that aren't made of plastic.

Xan: Thanks for letting me have you. And for the people reading this, I got a spare copy of Traitors in digital format, mobi or ePub, PDF if you really want it that way, just for answering one dumb question:

What's the three things you can't live without?

Not that anybody would take the rest away, but those three things that just make life livable. *Any answers over a week from the date of this interview posting won't qualify*

Jan: I didn't punch him after all. Probably because of that vampire voodoo charm thing he does. And it doesn't hurt that he's real easy on the eyes. Anyway, leave a comment answering his question to enter to win a copy of Traitors or you can go buy it on Amazon and Smashwords. It's only 99 cents, y'all. Trust me, that's a steal for this much fun. Check out the Crooked Fang website for links to all things Xan, including books and really cool merchandise.  

Follow Xan on Twitter
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Check out more of Carrie's work on Mindspeak

Monday, June 24, 2013


Black Crow Candle

Time is closing in on Synde’s big move. To sweeten the pot, we’ve decided to do a virtual raffle.  Everybody likes to win something, right? Here goes! Gift cards, candles, coffee mugs, jewelry, books, OH MY!
We have two fabulous gift baskets to give away. Some of the items included are Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Amazon gift cards and autographed books by Melissa Ecker and Carrie Clevenger.

Cemetery Cat Jewelry
Synde has donated some beautiful handmade jewelry from her Cemetery Cat Collection valued at over
$200 and an awesome black crow candle. My personal favorite is the Day of the Dead coffee mug!

Here’s how this works:  For every $5 you donate to the Help Synde Move fund, you get one raffle ticket. Donate $10, get two tickets, etc. We will conduct the drawing at the close of the fundraiser and the gift baskets will be shipped to the winners via US Mail. Good luck and tell your friends!

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Slept With Joey Ramone!!

I Slept With Joey Ramone

A Punk Rock Family Memoir

By Mickey Leigh with Legs McNeil

When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Unforgettable front man Joey Ramone gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, and the band influenced the counterculture for decades to come. With honesty, humor, and grace, Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh, shares a fascinating, intimate look at the turbulent life of one of America’s greatest—and unlikeliest—music icons.  While the music lives on for new generations to discovery, I Slept with Joey Ramone is the enduring portrait of a man who struggled to find his voice and of the brother who loved him.

Photo by Deborah Feingold
Like most girls, I fantasized about sleeping with Joey Ramone. I mean, who didn't? I loved the tall, brooding, rebellious, rock star persona that was Joey Ramone. I wondered what he hid behind those sunglasses and the long, dark hair that obscured his identity. I wonder no more. 
Now, the title of this book is a bit misleading. Mickey Leigh is actually Joey Ramone’s little brother and, yeah, he slept with him but not in the way you probably thought. I sure had different ideas when I picked up this book.
As a longtime Ramones fan, I was excited about this book. Mickey takes us on the journey of Mitch and Jeff Hyman who later become Mickey Leigh and Joey Ramone, respectively. My heart strings were immediately pulled reading this story. Jeff aka Joey was tall, gangly, awkward and the target of every bully in the neighborhood growing up. It’s no wonder he became the poster child for everyone who felt like they didn’t quite fit in, myself included. He defied the odds and became one of the most respected musicians in the rock industry. 
The relationship between the two brothers was strained at times but the love was always there. Mickey gives us a glimpse into the intense obsessive compulsive disorder and paranoia that Joey lived with long before anyone had labeled this as a disease. I was completely entranced from beginning to end and cried my eyes out on the last page. This is a gritty and realistic portrayal of Joey from birth all the way to his last day, when he succumbed to lymphoma and left an empty spot in this world.
Joey was a fascinating and talented musician, friend and brother. I wish I had had the opportunity to know him personally. This book made me feel as if I did. It left me as more than a fan of the Ramones, it left me a fan of Jeff Hyman as well. Pick it up and give it a try. You, too, should sleep with Joey Ramone. 

One of my favorite songs from Joey's solo work is "Waiting for that Railroad." 

Check out Joey Ramone's posthumously released album"...Ya Know?"  and his classic music as lead singer of the Ramones