The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘vampires


Looking for a summer reading bonanza? And a playlist, too? I’m thrilled to be included in this NEW Afrofuturist and Black Fantastic ‘storybundle’ featuring established and emerging voices in speculative fiction. It was curated by award-winning writer Tenea D. Johnson and includes work from a Horror Writers Association lifetime achievement winner, Tiptree winner, a couple of Parallax winners, fresh voices from the Caribbean and Africa, African historical fiction, intelligent space romps, vampires, and a fiction album.

I believe this is the first Afrofuturist and Black Fantastic themed storybundle. It’s my first time being included in a curated storybundle!

How does it work?

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE. For a little more you’ll get 11 books! My novella, Reenu-You about a mysterious virus seemingly transmitted through a hair care product billed as a natural relaxer is one of the ‘bonus books’.

Bundle buyers also have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers, an amazing organization that supports young writers! Check out all the details below. This bundle is available for just three weeks. And, please feel free to signal boost. Thanks!

When I was asked by Nicole Givens Kurtz to contribute to her anthology about vampires and their slayers across the African diaspora, I was both thrilled and terrified. Thrilled in that I would get to pen a new story and be in a collection with many established and well-known writers in speculative fiction. Terrified in that I hadn’t ever written a story about vampires nor was I steeped in vampire lore. But, when you get a great writing opportunity, you always say yes!

SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire launches on Tuesday. SLAY includes twenty-nine stories, plus original illustrations. It’s a big book!

Here’s an overview: Few creatures in contemporary horror are as compelling as the vampire, who manages to captivate us in a simultaneous state of fear and desire. Drawing from a variety of cultural and mythological backgrounds, SLAY dares to imagine a world of horror and wonder where Black protagonists take center stage — as vampires, as hunters, as heroes. From immortal African deities to resistance fighters; matriarchal vampire broods to monster hunting fathers; coming of age stories to end of life stories, SLAY is a groundbreaking Afrocentric vampire anthology celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the African Diaspora.

SLAY has already received positive reviews from early reviewers!

I loved working on my story and digging into urban fantasy, a new genre for me. I knew that I wanted the story to center on contemporary vampires. My story “Blood Saviors” features a conflict between Fae, humans and vampires–and a virus to boot (I couldn’t help myself). It’s the first story I ever wrote where I began with a theme. I wanted that theme to resonate and I wanted the reader to feel the weight of the moral choices that confront the main character, Shonda. The story explores the question: What would someone be willing to do to save their own kind? Would they be willing to sacrifice another race to save their own?

This collection is important in a couple of different ways: SLAY will be a touchstone for readers of color who love horror and are aficionados of vampire stories but never really saw themselves reflected in mainstream narratives. It offers white readers something unique in the vampire subgenre because the anthology isn’t centered in white and/or male characters. It’s important for the genre in that until now no one has attempted to retell the vampire mythology through and about the experiences of people across the African diaspora.

Pre-order link for SLAY is here

Below is a sampler of AWESOMENESS about SLAY that includes my participation on Alicia McCalla’s Diverse Sci-Fi & Fantasy podcast. We had an outstanding time talking about my story, vampires and subverting conventional tropes in speculative fiction. 

Milton Davis one of the contributors (and small press publisher in his own right) has been hosting many of SLAY’s authors on his blog for short interviews where we ‘SLAY 11 Questions’. They are fabulous. I have enjoyed reading more about the other contributors. You can check out my interview here and learn why I name Shori from Octavia Butler’s Fledgling as one of my favorite vampires.

Check out contributor John Linwood Grant’s excellent posts on ‘Black Vampire’ week on his Grey Dog Tales blog. He covers African vampires, movies with Black vampires and more.

I’d appreciate any signal boosting that you can do for this collection. Thanks in advance.

And, if you are a writer struggling with your productivity and motivation, you might like my ‘Ten Ways to Keep Connected to Your Writing Self during COVID-19’. Click here to receive it.

It’s been a weird few days for all of us, huh? About two weeks ago, I left for Copenhagen and by the time I got back (with some difficulty), COVID-19 was in full swing. Later this week, I’ll share some reflections about that trip and how we can keep writing some during this difficult moment.

In the meantime, I’m sharing something that I’d love your help supporting and/or signal boosting. This is my second invitation to a crowdfunded anthology and I’m super excited about it! [BTW, I am working on the edits to my story that I wrote for the successfully funded Witches, Warriors and Wise Women, due out in June]


Do you like vampires? Vampire slayers? A fresh take on vampires and vampire slayers? Mocha Memories Press is crowdfunding Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire, an anthology which will be groundbreaking as it explores vampires of the African Diaspora. I’m one of the invited authors that will be submitting a story along with Sheree Renee Thomas, Steven Van Patten, and Teri Clarke! Mocha Memoirs Press is run by the incredible Nicole Smith and has been a force in amplifying the work of diverse voices in speculative fiction.

We’re almost halfway funded! Please consider supporting this anthology, there are lots of great perks available (with great names like hunters, slayers, stakes and blood drinkers). $1 perks available! Feel free to share with others! TY!


Stay safe and healthy!

MaryLynn Bast is rewriting the rules in paranormal fantasy romance and erotica. Her ‘Heart of a Wolf ‘series has electrified readers with No Remorse, the first novel in the series, released earlier this year. Her newest novel just released May 18th is called One Bite to Passion, an erotica paranormal romance novel published by Renaissance E Books. Her strong and complex female characters, seductive erotic scenes, and productivity (producing two novels and short stories in a year!) are gaining MaryLynn a strong fan base. She also is an exemplar for writers to learn from as she is navigating both traditional and self-publishing routes.

A friend of mine on She Writes, I’m delighted to welcome MaryLynn to this community of readers.

1) How did you get interested in writing about Amber, a dominant female werewolf, in your new novel No Remorse?

A friend recommended that I enter a short story contest writing about werewolves. I had always written contemporary romance, so I figured what the heck, so I gave it a shot. All the werewolf stories I had read were predominately male. I wanted to change it up and created Amber’s character. I felt that she had to be independent and strong to live up to being a werewolf.

I wrote Amber’s story as suspense but never entered the manuscript into the contest. I put it aside and continued working on Softest Touch, the story I had been working on. However, Amber kept calling to me. When I started working with her again, her story just flowed Amber’s character was created. Since I write romance, No Remorse turned into a paranormal romance.

2) When a story idea comes to you, how do you decide what point of view to use?

 I generally like to write third person because I find that first person is limiting. However, there are a few stories I have written that are in first person. Sometimes you just want the mystery that goes along with not knowing everything that is going on around the character we get in a third person view.  For the most part my opening paragraph is what determines how I am going to write. I don’t really think about…the words usually just as I type them and it happens.

3) When you get stuck what do you do?

 When I get stuck I usually put the story aside and work on another story that I have worked on. When my brain just won’t wrap around writing, I try to step away and read a book. Sometimes that helps to me to work through the writer’s block or the issue I am having in a scene.  When all else fails, my aunt Peggy is my go to person. I talk through the scenes with her. Generally just talking about it and getting the thoughts out of my head helps me work through it.

4) Tell us about your most rewarding experience since being published.

 The most rewarding experience was when I was received a message from a reader that they absolutely loved my story and that I was moved to the top of their favorite author list. That made me smile and just made my day. When I am wondering what I was thinking in pretending to be an author, I look back through those kinds of messages and remember that my stories are being read and bring joy to others. It makes it all worthwhile.

5) What have you learned about being a writer in public (i.e. dealing with reviews, managing the promotional aspect of publishing, finding time to write, etc.)?

 Dealing with my first negative review was really hard for me in the beginning. I had to remind myself that not everyone is going to like my style of writing. I even picked up a book by a famous author that I had read before and liked. In my opinion, the book I had read really sucked and I just could not read it any further. I realized then that it was the frame of mind I was in when I started reading. I went back later when I wasn’t having a bad day and read the story and I liked it.

Managing the promotional part of writing takes a lot of time and effort. It is really hard to juggle the time spent promoting and find that it takes a lot of time away from writing. Especially having two different books come out within two months of one another gets a little harrowing when you send the info for one book to the web host and they were expecting the other.

I have lost A LOT of sleep over promoting and worry about doing it just right.

I have learned though, that there are some great bloggers out there who are willing to step in and help an author out. Like Michele and so many others. They have taken time out of their day to help promote an author’s book. I for one appreciate how much they have helped out.

 6) If you could invite three living writers to a dinner party that you’re hosting, who would you invite and why?

 Of course I would have to invite my favorite authors Sherilynn Kenyon because I absolutely love her Dark Hunter Series. Christine Feehan, her Dark Carpathian novels are one of my favorites. And I could not forget to invite Laurel K. Hamilton. The Anita Blake Series is hot and steamy and shows that a girl doesn’t have to just have one lover or be stuck with loving just one being. Getting these three authors in the room would make my day, hell, my year! With the three of them, I could only imagine the ideas that would be flying around the room.

 7) What’s the best writing tip you’d like to share?

 Editors are all knowing. That is what I thought when I first started. I have since learned that there are three different kinds of editors, Content, Line and Proof.

Content editors look at the story as a whole to help insure that the characters are well developed and the story is strong and concise.

Line editors help with sentence structure and word flow.

Proof editors fix grammar, typos, punctuation, etc.

Most people who call themselves ‘editors’ are usually a proof editor and know very little on how to work with content and line editing. Before I realized it, I had spent a lot of money with my first editor to get proof editing only.

I later found out about beta readers. After the editing fiasco, an author offered to beta read for a fee. I had no clue and once again paid for services that were less than par. Later, I found out that most beta readers do this service for free.

Plus, I had done the process backwards. Beta reader first, and then editing would have saved me a lot of re-writes and a lot of money.

There are so many people out there who are willing to help. And just as many willing to take advantage. Talk to authors, bloggers and book reviewers. Most are very willing and able to point you in the right direction. I can’t stress enough…research and ask as many questions as you can if you want to become an author.

MaryLynn Bast resides in Las Vegas when she is not traveling the world with her job as a contractor with the US Military. Bast enjoys writing paranormal fantasy romance erotica stories because she can allow her imagination to run rampant, her characters can obtain abilities not possible in the real world…or are they?

Go visit her

Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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