#HorrorOctober Book Promo: In the Service of the Boyar #Dracula

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Welcome to another book promo on Lipsyy Lost & Found where I’m always thrilled to support indie authors & publishers. Today I’m spotlighting a paranormal romance Dracula novella! Intrigued? Read on!

In the Service of the Boyar ~ Jason Graff

boyarPublication date:  August 22nd 2016
Genres: Horror/ Paranormal Romance

In the land of the Boyar, a boy will fall in love and become much more than a man.

 Fleeing with his family from danger, a boy catches a glimpse of a girl named Fifika. They are part of the same clan of travelling workers, who have been contracted by their Boyar, Count Dracula, to dig up the earth from beneath his ancestral home. Smitten, the boy becomes her playmate there in Carpathians where the count resides and whose hillsides are filled with enchanted beasts. The children spend their days exploring the mountains surrounding the castle of the count. When they encounter him, he reassures the children that they have nothing to fear in his land.

 Some of the other members of their clan are not so sure. Some even try to hunt the wolves they feel threaten them in the night. These hunts end in tragedy but certain clan members refuse to learn from them. When tragedy visits Fifika’s family, the Boyar invites her and the boy to come to his castle and learn from his English tutor. The find John Harker to be lazy and fearful, forcing Fifika to take up both of their educations. Over the course of these lessons, the boy, no longer merely smitten, falls deeply in love with Fifika. When he finally learns Fifika’s secret, he realizes he can never leave the land of the Boyar, where Dracula is hardly the only source of enchantment.

Goodreads // Amazon

Meet the Author

 

jason

Jason Graff is an educator as well as a writer of essays, poetry and fiction. His work has been featured in journals, such as Per Contra, Carrier Pigeon Magazine, Shadowgraph Quarterly, The Ignatian to name a few and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

In the Service of the Boyar, published by Vagabondage Press is his debut novella. His lives in Little Falls, NJ with his wife, editor and muse Laura and their son Warren.

 

Website/Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Thanks to Jason for getting in touch! If you’d like to be featured on Lipsyy Lost & Found drop me a line (see contact page).

Friday Feature: Search Term LOLZ

It’s been a while since I did a post on the weird and wonderful search terms that have brought people to my blog. It’s definitely one of my favourite WP features.

I don't know

There’s been a nice mix of the amusing, damn-right-confusing, and just-plain-worrying in the last six months. Here are some of the best!

1. ‘i hate divergent movie’

Hate is such a strong word, but yeah kinda. It was pretty terrible, right? The searcher (searchee?) probably wasn’t very satisfied with my extremely brief Divergent Rant, but I hope they have come to terms with their disappointment.

2. ‘dorian throne of glass groin’

Well I guess this one sort of speaks for itself, but I wonder what exactly they wanted to know about Prince Dorian’s groin? I reviewed Throne of Glass here.

3. ‘are there more team zombies or team unicorns’

Obviously, I’m Team Unicorn, so I would like to think that there are more people on the side of the magical beings than the slobbering undead, but who knows. I reviewed Holly Black et al’s Zombies Vs Unicorns here.

4. ‘poor lulu’

This is the first one to completely stump me. Who’s Lulu? And why are we feeling sorry for her? On further investigation it looks like it’s the catchphrase from a Harry Enfield sketch. How the hell that brought them here, I have no idea – but thanks for visiting, sketchshow fan.

5. ‘scooby gang bram stoker’

Hmm I like what they did there. Maybe they were looking for the equivalent of Buffy’s scooby gang in Dracula? Or maybe they were just really confused. Who Knows!? Hopefully my Vampire Guide helped clear things up.

6. ‘what happened to alex o’loughlin’

This happened, obviously.
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I mean, it’s no Moonlight, but (the ‘new’) Hawaii 5-0 is actually pretty good, and that’s basically what happened to Alex O’Loughlin. Hawaii happened. I hope the person who was trying to find him, found and enjoyed my Moonlight fangirling in 5 Reasons Vampire Show Moonlight was Ahead of its Time. Well, that’s assuming that they’ve seen Moonlight. If not, what a treat they’re in for.

7. ‘good breath teen girl’

The only thing I can think of that this would have led to is Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort book Take Your Last Breath. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I hope the searcher wasn’t suffering from halitosis and in need of medical advice. I’m not equipped for that, soz.

8. ‘gay cannibal art’

Wow. I’m pretty proud that that term led someone to this blog. Job well done. I hope they went on to find some nice art for their living room. I’m guessing that the Hannibal shoutouts in my Bookish (and not so Bookish) posts might have had something to do with that one, or the book made out of human skin perhaps.

Until next time!

Must See TV Update!

During Horror October, I branched out from solely bookish posts which proved a success so I thought I’d do a quick follow up.

One of the posts was about some of the new TV shows that I was excited to watch, all of which I’ve started watching now, some with better results than others. See the original post here.

First up was Dracula.

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Thoughts: I’m still not entirely sold on it. The first episode was a bit slow but JRM is a pretty fit Dracula. I’ve only got 3 episodes in so far and still have high hopes, but it definitely needs to pick up soon!

American Horror Story: The Coven

Thoughts: The jury’s still out on this one. I’ve only got round to watching one episode which was pretty good. I just hope that it’s more like the first series and not the last one because I found that one a bit boring after a while.

The Tunnel

Thoughts: Now this is AWESOME. I am loving it. It’s a dark, gripping crime drama set in both Folkestone and Calais. I love the relationship between the two detectives and Clemence Posey is amazing! I really wished I’d watched The Bridge now, the Scandinavian drama that this is based on.

The Originals
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Thoughts: Ugh I can not be bothered with this. It was as a feared. TVD went rubbish and this is more of the same. I just don’t care about any of the characters. Suffice to say, I won’t be watching the rest of it.

Bates Motel
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Thoughts: I’ve finished this series now. On the whole I did enjoy it, but there was definitely a dip in the middle when I got a bit blahhhh about it. I still think Vera Farmiga was an amazing casting choice and I really started to feel for her even if she’s a bit mental and has clearly sent Norman mental too. I’m looking forward to the next series as surely Norman is now getting crazier and crazier, and pretty dangerous too of course. Come on, we all know how it ends!

Have you been watching any of these? What do you think?

Horror October: Must-See TV!

The main thing I have loved about Horror October is the opportunity to branch out a little. I am, and will remain a BOOK blogger, but like most of you reading this I’m sure, I have other interests too. TV and Film are also great source of enjoyment in my life.

Autumn is always such a great season for new TV shows and this year has been no exception. So I wanted to share with you some my favourite new horrorish shows, and those I am really excited about *squeal*!

1. DRACULA!
Dracula
OMG I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this. I have loved Jonathan Rhys Meyers since I saw him in Gormenghast, and then Velvet Goldmine where he played a character based on David Bowie. He was so perfect in both of those so him being cast as Dracula is just a bit amazing. Also Katie McGrath from Merlin plays Lucy Westenra…BONUS!

Synopsis from IMDB: Series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. Written by NBC

Dracula starts on NBC on Oct 25th in the states and shortly after on Sky Living in the UK.

2. American Horror Story: The Coven

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My excitement for this is on par with Dracula although I didn’t enjoy the last series anywhere near as much as I thought I would! I just felt it fizzled out a bit and I lost interest. This, however, looks crazy good!

AHS: Coven started on Oct 9th US, and will begin on FX in the UK on the 29th…just in time for Halloween!

3. The Tunnel

Synopsis from Sky.com:
The Tunnel is a gripping new thriller from the makers of Broadchurch, set against the backdrop of Europe in crisis.

When a prominent French politician is found dead on the border between the UK and France, detectives Karl Roebuck (Games of Thrones’ Stephen Dillane) and Elise Wassermann (Harry Potter’s Clémence Poésy) are sent to investigate on behalf of their respective countries. The case takes a surreal turn when a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, forcing the French and British police into an uneasy partnership.

As the serial killer uses ever more elaborate and ingenious methods to highlight the moral bankruptcy of modern society, Karl and Elise are drawn deeper into his increasingly personal agenda.

Inspired by Scandinavian drama The Bridge, it’s an original production for Sky Atlantic HD and the result of an entente cordiale with France’s CANAL+

The Tunnel started on Sky Atlantic on Oct 16th

4. The Originals

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I used to LOVE The Vampire Diaries although I never read the books. The thing is, the last few series of TVD have been rubbish. Sad Face. So, I don’t really know how to feel about this spin-off but I am looking forward to finding out!

Synopsis from IMDB: A spin-off from The Vampire Diaries and set in New Orleans, The Originals centers on the Mikaelson siblings, otherwise known as the world’s original vampires: Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and Rebekah (Claire Holt). Now Klaus must take down his protégé, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who is now in charge of New Orleans, in order to re-take his city, as he originally built New Orleans. Klaus departed from the city after being chased down by his father Mikael, while it was being constructed and Marcel took charge. As Klaus has returned after many years, his ego has provoked him to become the king of the city. “Every King needs an heir” says Klaus, accepting the unborn child. The child is a first to be born to a hybrid (part vampire, part werewolf) and a werewolf (Hayley). Written by Anaya Miller

The Originals started on Oct 3rd in the US and begins in the UK 22nd Oct on SYFY

5. Bates Motel

This has been a surprise for me. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I’ve loved it so far. Vera Farmiga is amazing as Norma Bates and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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Synopsis from IMBD: A modern re-imagining and prequel to the movie Psycho. This story begins with the earlier years of a teenage Norman Bates and his mother Norma who live in an old house overlooking the adjoining motel which they are renovating. The house and hotel both come with secrets of their own as does the new town which the Bates’ now call home. Written by Alton Tyre

Bates Motel is currently on Universal in the UK, Thursday Nights. Sleepy Hollow is also worth a mention, so far I’ve seen 2 episodes and it’s been good, I hope they crank it up a notch though!

Horror October: A Mortal’s Guide to Vampires

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Here is my guide to some of the best (questionable) Vampires in literature and celluloid. Happy Slaying!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Details: Published in 1897. Stoker was the first to define the modern form of the vampire as we see it today, spawning numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
What’s the story? Vampire Count Dracula attempts to move from Transylvania to England, which ignites a battle between Dracula and a small group led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
USP: By feeding his victims his own blood Dracula can communicate telepathically with them and control them.
Best Vamp: Dracula, obviously

Once again…welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring”

The Immortal Kiss: Traditional: Vampire bites human, human drinks vampire blood, human dies and awakes as one of the Undead.
Hotness: Hmm jury’s still out on this one. But he proves pretty hard to resist: 6
Evilness: You’re pretty much a goner if he takes a shine to you. And he definitely has some anger issues but he hides beneath the mask of a gentleman. Pretty deadly: 8

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
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Details: Published in 1975, the first book in the series Interview With the Vampire was Anne Rice’s debut and based on a short story she wrote a few years earlier. The film was released in 1994.
What’s the Story? A vampire named Louis tells his life story to reporter. Starting in 1791, Louis is a young indigo plantation owner living south of New Orleans. Distraught by the death of his brother, he seeks death in any way possible and is approached by a vampire named Lestat who makes him his immortal companion.
USP: These Vamps cannot be harmed by garlic or crosses. But they can’t walk in the sunlight and they sleep in coffins. Stakes through the heart merely set them back and they have extra gifts such as mind control. The longer they have been vampires, the stronger they are. They have superhuman strength, speed, senses, and agility and can heal themselves.
Best Vamp: Lestat de Lioncourt
The Immortal Kiss: Traditional
Hotness: They are beautiful and deadly:10
Evilness: As Louis proves, they do have consciences. But the yearning for human blood is often too strong. Their strength and abilities render them pretty damn dangerous. And they’re hot. Ultimate deadly combo. But they can feed without killing: 9
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Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite
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Details: Published in 1992, Lost Souls was Poppy Z. Brite’s first horror novel. It is the only novel-length adventure of Steve and Ghost, popularized in numerous short stories. The novel is an extended version of “The Seed of Lost Souls”.
What’s the Story? Best friends and almost lovers Ghost and Steve are drawn into the pleasure-seeking, depraved world of three vampires Zillah, Molochai and Twig. The androgynous trio are fuelled by sexual frenzy and human blood, and Steve and Ghost try to save Nothing from them, a teenage vampire raised by humans.

Those who know enough to drink Chartreuse at Mardi Gras are lucky, because the distilled essence of the town burns in their bellies. Chartreuse glows in the dark, and if you drink enough of it, your eyes will turn bright green.”

USP: These are the most ‘unique’ vamps I’ve read. Punk Rock androgyny with insatiable thirsts… Hot. The vampires are a separate species who are born vampires. Most feed on blood but some find alternative sustenance such as love and beauty. The older vampires have naturally sharp teeth, are sensitive to sunlight, and cannot eat or drink. But younger ones have normal human teeth that must be filed, are OK in sunlight and can both eat and drink (as demonstrated by their liking for chartreuse.
Best Vamp: Zillah
The Immortal Kiss: N/A
Hotness: Homoerotic, bi-sexual, drunk and insane…yep, pretty hot: 10
Evilness: You will want to party with them even knowing they will kill you (let’s face it, the sex will be probably be worth it). They can be killed if the heart or brain is destroyed and female vamps can also be killed by childbirth because vampiric infants kill their mothers in the womb: 8

The Lost Boys
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Details: 1987 American teen horror film starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, and Alex Winter. The title is a reference to the Lost Boys in J. M. Barrie’s stories about Peter Pan and Neverland.
What’s the Story? Two Arizona brothers move to California and end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires led by David.
USP: These vamps looks pretty normal but they sleep upside-down during the day and drink human blood at night. They can also fly.
Best Vamp: David (Kiefer Sutherland)
The Immortal Kiss: Not a kiss as such. Michael drinks blood masked as wine and shortly after displays signs of becoming a vampire. He must then drink blood from a human until death to complete the transformation.
Hotness: They have motorcycles working for them, and dubious dangly earrings, but they do have a certain charm. And they seem pretty fun-loving: 7
Evilness: A stake to the heart and they’re dust. Plus, kill the head vamp and all the half-vamps are cured: 5

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Details: Film (1992) starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry, and TV show starring Sarah Michelle Geller, Antony Head, David Borenaz and Alyson Hannigan (1997 – 2003) created by Joss Whedon (AKA God!)
What’s the Story? Buffy Summers is the one and only Vampire Slayer, chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Buffy has the help of her loyal friends the ‘Scooby Gang’, her watcher and a vampire with a soul. Amazingness ensues.
USP: The vampires in BTVS have superstrength, bumpy foreheads when they get angry, and have no humanity (unless they’ve been cursed by Romanian Gypsies, of course!)
Best Vamp: Most would probably say Angel, but I say Spike. Hands down.
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The Immortal Kiss: Traditional

To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It’s like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they’re just gonna kill you.”

Hotness: Lots of hotness to choose from, whether you like your vamps cuddly or evil: 10
Evilness: Vampires are just one of many creatures Buffy has to worry about, they are generally pretty dangerous, but also oddly amusing. Plus, Buffy kicks their asses on a daily basis: 6

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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Details: The first book in this 4 book series was published in 2005 and have subsequently been turned into 5 films. You may have heard of them.
What’s the Story? Teenager Bella Swan, moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen. They make out and stuff.
USP: OMG they sparkle yo!
Best Vamp: Edward…I guess.
The Immortal Kiss: One sided: A bite from a vampire spreads venom through the body, after 3 days the heart stops and you wake as a vampire.
Hotness: Edward is supposed to be the hottest thing ever. Which is why I try really hard not to picture that Robert Pattinson fella, who looks like Lurch: 8
Evilness: Let’s face it, they are pretty lame. They sparkle for god’s sake (I still love them though, obvs: 1

I could continue (Carmilla, Sunshine, Sookie Stackhouse, The Vampire Diaries, The Morganville Vampires, The Hunger, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown…) but I have to go and watch Buffy now.

A Confused Werewolf in Pennsylvania: Hemlock Grove by Brian Mcgreevy

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An exhilarating reinvention of the gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares.

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

I feel like Hemlock Grove desperately wants to be Dracula (but y’know with Werewolves) when in fact it’s just one big mess. I finished reading this over a week ago and this whole time I’ve just been thinking what the hell WAS that!?’ I honestly didn’t know whether to rate it 1 or 5, it was that baffling.

Initially I appreciated the style, Mcgreevy was clearly trying to mimic the old school gothic lit of the past and give it a fresh going over, but it just didn’t work….I don’t think. The more I read the more I realised that his writing is so over the top and so laden with unnecessary symbolism that I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t stop. It was like watching a car crash.

For some reason I was interested in the story. The murders were brutal and gory (to my liking) and I enjoyed the ‘whodunnit’ element. Peter goes around telling everyone he’s a werewolf so obviously he’s prime suspect number one, even though no one really seems that bothered that he’s a werewolf, and I don’t really understand why they believe him in the first place because we don’t actually see any Werewolf action for most of the book. Or did I miss that? I honestly have no idea.

The other suspect is Roman. who’s a bit of a dick. That’s pretty much all I have to say about him, but I did like the dynamic between the two who then team up to discover the real truth about what’s going on. They definitely had some kind of homoerotic bromance going on, which kept me reading, obviously.

Shelley is a character who provides some Gothic Horror GOLD. She’s practically a giant with blocks on her feet, who is mute, glows demonically and is clearly supposed to be the Frankenstein’s Monster of the story. I think Shelley did work in that she pertains to the gothic atmosphere and provokes the questions ‘what/when/how/who’ but I don’t really understand how she fits into the ‘normal’ small town without people batting an eyelid. Odd.

I did really enjoy the setting though. The mystery and creepiness of the Biotech facility -which you can’t help but suspect is behind Shelley and the deaths – created an industrial, gothic feel to it which is new. Industrial Gothic…now there’s a genre we’ve been waiting for, no? The White Tower at least made the story plausible in that you can pretty much explain everything on scientific experiments, right?

I think that if McGreevy wasn’t concentrating so hard on nailing the Gothic Horror genre, and concentrated on just telling a good story that Hemlock Grove could be 100% better. But as it is it just seems a bit pretentious. The terrible grammar and inconsistencies made each sentence a chore. A CHORE. And the dialogue was just laughable.

Some of my favourite baffling lines:

She pulled Peter into a hug and kissed his cheek and gave his ponytail an annoyed jerk and harangued him didn’t he have a girlfriend to cut his hair.

So many things wrong with that sentence. WTF?

He pronounced ‘this’ in the phonetically correct fashion, but somehow it still rhymed with ‘us’.

???

‘Her Heart was a flicked mold of gelatin’ – What the hell does that mean???

A quality of thereness was missing from his face, his green eyes were windows to nothing. He was mercurial.

“Of course, minute as its impact may be in our physical universe, the fact of quantum entanglement is this: If one logically inexplicable thing is known to exist, then this permits the existence of all logically inexplicable things. A thing may be of deeper impossibility than another, in the sense that you can be more deeply underwater–but whether you are five feet or five fathoms from the surface you are still all wet.” You what now?”

Not to mention chapter titles such as ‘God doesn’t want you to be happy, he wants you to be strong’, Peter’s hierarchy of shit he can live without’ and ‘The most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off’. Brilliant.

So yeah, Hemlock Grove is entertaining in a way but so overwritten it’s hard to get to the actual story. I hope they did a better job with the TV series.

Details: Paperback, 319 pages. Published March 27th 2012 by FSG Originals. Thanks to Di for lending me this(I think)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Unicorns (I think)
Is it a keeper? It’s not mine, but err no.
If you liked this try: Dracula