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Tag Archives: Colleen Gleason

I’m thrilled today to welcome Colleen Gleason to the Riskies. Colleen is known for her Gardella vampire series, about a Regency vampire hunter and she also leads a double life as Joss Ware, author of the Envy Chronicles, post-apocalyptic urban romances (try saying that with a mouthful of popcorn). But now she’s back to the Regency with a whole new world of vampires who mingle with the haute ton in 19th century London. Called the Draculia, these vampires are strong and sexy, and a match for any mortal…except for the women who love them.

The first in the series is The Vampire Voss and Colleen is giving away a signed copy to one lucky winner who comments or asks her a question today! (And happy St. Pat’s. Note the green questions.)

Welcome Colleen! How are these vampires different from the vamps in your Gardella books?

Because I wanted to write vampire romance novels this time around, meaning I wanted there to be a romance with the vampires, the mythology had to be different. In the Gardellas, there are no good vampires. None of them are dukes or viscounts or even heroic at all—so I had to think about the mythology and come up with a way to make it different from the Gardellas, yet not to completely destroy the world I created with them as well.

In this series, the vampires are part of a secret society that is beholden to Lucifer. Each member of the Draculia has sold his or her soul to the devil at some point, and now they are living an immortal life with everything they could ever want: pleasure, money, power, and all without the fear of death.

Each book is about one vampire in particular who falls in love, and, in this context, realizes that his/her soul belongs to Lucifer and is no longer their own.

But–as I’m sure the Regency fans out there will appreciate–along with the vampire aspect, readers can expect everything else we love about the Regency-era: balls and masquerades, the haute ton, titled bad boys and brooding earls.

What was your original inspiration?

My publisher was interested in me trying my hand at sexy vampires in a Regency setting. So, that was the kernel of my inspiration.

And then I had to think about how I could have both good and bad vampires…and then I had to think about the overall issue of an immortal falling in love with a mortal and the ways in which that might be resolved.

Why do you think the Regency works as a supernatural setting?

Oooh….I think for me it has to do with the coaches and carriages, the balls and masques…and of course, foggy, mysterious London. All of those aspects can give the era a sense of the mysterious and of intrigue. Plus the fact that Society at that time really lived late in the day and well into the night—a perfect setting for an immortal who can’t go out into the sunlight!

Of the three Draculia books, which is your favorite hero? Why?

I think Dimitri (April, 2011) is my favorite hero, only because I love, love, love the brooding, grumpy, closed-off hero who meets his match.

But I adore Voss too, for he is just so fun…until he realizes that things aren’t just fun and games. He has a rude awakening.

You must have been writing your Joss Ware books at the same time as these. How did you switch mentally between the two very different series?

I love being able to switch between two series, two time frames. It helps keep me from being bored, and it also forces me to think about things in each series from the perspective of the other. I might be writing in one series, but something will spur me to think about the other series. It helps me to become more well-rounded in the series.

Do you like to listen to music while you write? What did you listen to for these books?

I love to listen to instrumental music when I write, or things that are chantlike. That way I can get into the feel of the music, but there aren’t any words to distract me.

I listen to soundtracks a lot when I work—particularly Harry Potter and also some meditative music.

Here’s book #3 The Vampire Narcise (May, 2011). Don’t you love that she’s on top?! What do you think of vampires in the Regency? Here’s your chance to pick Colleen’s brain about (zombies, sorry), vamps, vampire-hunters and the evil–or otherwise–that lurks in the depths of foggy London.

I’m doing a few booksignings over the next few weekends and I wanted to ask you what makes a good booksigning, from both sides of the table.
I signed recently at the New Jersey RWA Literacy Bookfair which was a lot of fun. I sat next to Colleen Gleason, one of the authors for Bespelling Jane Austen. We had chocolate. We had bookmarks, magnets, coverflats and big grins on our faces. We had great tottering piles of books and signs with our names on them that tended to fall over.

I’m happy to report that the piles of books did become slightly smaller as time went on and I had time to wander around, admire others’ covers, and even buy a couple of books myself.

So what makes a good signing? First, you have to sell books. Second, you need to know where the bathroom is because, particularly in bookstores, people always ask. You must have things around other than the books, because even if people throw out the bookmarks as soon as they get home, the subliminal message of buy my books for all your friends, pay off my daughter’s college loans, and vote Democrat has imprinted on their brains. In another post I’ll tell you how to design the subliminal message.

I like to do group signings because if a customer approaches you can ask them what they like to read and engage them in conversation, which is the best possible thing you can do. If they don’t read books like yours, you can refer them to the other writers at the table, and they may buy yours anyway. I find I do better at engaging a customer by standing up, smiling, and offering chocolate. I’ve even walked around the bookstore and chatted to people who are browsing and invited them to the table. For me the worst possible scenario is the single lonely writer sitting behind a pile of books and occasionally directing someone to the bathroom.

If I go to a signing I like to feel that I have shared a few seconds or moments exclusively with the writer(s) and that I’m not part of some sort of signing conveyor belt.

I’m signing this Saturday at Borders, Bowie MD, from 2:00–4:00 pm at a Halloween signing. I shall wear special earrings. My partners in crime are Rebecca York, Pamela Palmer, and Catherine Asaro. Members of my local RWA® chapter will appear as costumed minions to herd people over to the table and the store staff will also dress up.

Also the multitalented Catherine Asaro will perform songs from the companion CD to her latest release Diamond Star.

I hope if you’re in the area you’ll drop by. It should be a lot of fun.

What have been your good booksigning experiences? Your worst?

This month I’m participating in the Unleash Your Story Challenge. Unleash Your Story is an effort by the authors of Romance Unleashed to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This is a writing challenge. I’ve pledged to write at least 20,000 words this month of September and to raise $150. But I can’t do this alone. I need your help. If you think you can donate even a small amount, just click on this icon and click on the donation button.

Support my efforts!

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. It affects about 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. and 70,000 worldwide. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. The disease was defined in the 1930s but elements of the disease were known even in the 1700s.

There was an 18th century German saying that associated the salt loss in CF with a child’s early death: “Woe is the child kissed on the brow who tastes salty, for he is cursed and soon must die.”

A Regency child would have died in infancy.

Medical knowledge was limited during the Regency. Louis Pasteur had yet to discover pasteurization. There was no knowledge of germs or anticeptic. Nitrous Oxide as anesthetic was just first used. Vaccination was a new concept; the vaccination of smallpox using puss from cowpox had just been introduced by Edward Jenner (Although Lady Mary Wortley Montequ brought a version of smallpox vaccine from Turkey in 1721). The stethescope was just invented in 1816, and the first blood transfusion was accomplished in 1818.

In the first part of the nineteenth century life expectancy in the UK was age 37 compared to 80 today. For a child with Cystic Fibrosis the life expectancy was only age 4 in the 1960s. Today it is 40 years.

On January 4, 2007 the Riskies interviewed Wet Noodle Posse member Colleen Gleason, author of the Gardella Vampire series (Colleen’s 4th Gardella book, When Twilight Burns, was released August 2008). Colleen’s ten year old son has Cystic Fibrosis. So this challenge isn’t only important, it’s personal.

Help if you can!

Share your knowledge of Regency medicine. What surprises you most of what they did or did not know about illness or the human body?

Come to see what is new on my website, to be updated tomorrow!

First off, some news. The Rules of Gentility won the 2008 HOLT Award for Best Romantic Comedy, woohoo! I have a lovely silver wotsit that I think would look cool on the xmas tree.

Next is that I have sold a novella for an anthology tentatively titled Bespelling Jane, paranormal takes on Jane Austen, with the following Big Girls: Mary Balogh, Susan Krinard, and Colleen Gleason! All I know at the moment is that it will be published by Harlequin sometime in the future, and mine is a contemporary take on Emma. Since I haven’t written it yet, I can’t tell you a whole lot more…

Here are some pics of my visit to England a couple of weeks ago, me with my brother Martin, my nephew Tom and his lovely girlfriend Sam, at a pub overlooking the Avon Gorge and Brunel’s famous Clifton suspension bridge.

And I wondered what everyone was reading these days. I’ve just read two superb books. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin is about a female forensic doctor, set in twelfth century England. Yes, it sounds unlikely but it’s so well done I had very few come on! moments. (Sorry, I still don’t believe that there was a Body Farm in Sicily using pig carcasses when most of the doctors were Jewish.) It’s beautifully written, and the dialogue is amazing–the characters don’t speak in pseudo-medieval talk, but Franklin captures both a believable local dialect and the speech of churchmen and crusaders.

The other one is Saturday by Ian McEwan (who wrote Atonement), about one day–on the eve of the Iraq invasion–in the life of a surgeon and his family. His son is a blues musician and his daughter Daisy a poet, and I liked this passage, which defines the achievement of this wonderful book:

But is there a lifetime’s satisfaction in twelve bars of three obvious chords? Perhaps it’s one of those cases of a microcosm giving you the whole world. Like a Spode dinner plate. Or a single cell. Or, as Daisy says, like a Jane Austen novel.

What have you read and enjoyed recently?

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