Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Vampires Have Got To Go

Please note: If you have landed here from a bookmark and thought you were headed somewhere else,  your post isn't gone forever its just been moved... click here: Vampires Don't Cry to get to the proper blog;)

Its not that we don't love the Vampires, but frankly it has become very confusing around here!  Ten years ago when I started to write the first book in the Jamie Leith Chronicles, it seemed to become my life's ambition to get it completed. It was the only ship on the horizon as it were. 

Then I discovered the amazing world of self publishing, and saw the chance to introduce readers to all of the other genres I have floating around in my head.  I began to collect all the other writings I have stored up and suddenly I have collections!

  • Caledonii; The Roman invasion of Scotland, in fact and fiction.
  • My "How To" books; how to write a zombie novel, a vampire novel, publish on Kindle, etc
  • My recipe books like Soup Yourself Thinner.
  • And most recently, my collaboration with April L. Miller first in the Reset Sci-Fi series, and then in the Vampire High School series.
Suddenly this wee blog that I started to chart the progress of my Jamie novels became crowded with all manner of strange characters as I shared my excitement at each new became VERY confusing!  I have decided to claim it back!  The Jamie Leith Chronicles are still alive and well, I am more than halfway through book two and planning extends all the way to a book four (we have to get Jamie to Darien, Georgia so he can help the Scots invent the modern world;). I need to keep room here for all the updates to come.  SO- I have sorted out the beasties from the history and thrown in an all purpose author blog for good measure~

We've decided to call our "vampire realm" Vampires Don't Cry and have settled all our collaborative vampire works, updates, news and quirkery at the Vampires Don't Cry Blog and hope that you 'Vampire Fans' will follow us there as well.  Vampires Don't Cry will itself be a series- a continuation where Vampire High School leaves off- which we'll hopefully reveal in 2014.

There is also a new Ian Hall Author Blog where I wax lyrical about Scotland, writing, Zombies, Sci-Fi and everything else that doesn't fit one of the other two categories, I hope you will stop in there as well. 

And finally, stay tuned here for more of Jamie's adventures...he's a live one that lad, last I checked in on him he was back in Scotland getting to know a lost king...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Americans and the Family Castle in Scotland

Fast (Fause) Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland

I’m Scottish, and I’ve lived in the USA for twelve years. I know my place of birth (Edinburgh) and that of many of my past generations (Ayrshire). It was important to me to know my roots and Americans like to know their origins too. In fact most Americans Ive met are quite keen to know and share their heritage. That’s why when they hear my accent they introduce themselves with the full handshake; “Hi, Troy Haffenberger III, third generation Dutch/Swedish/Irish, from Leningrad!” although there’s not a trace of anything but cold midtown Kansas City in their own mid-western brogue.

As I’ve spoken to thousands of Americans, I'v found that one subject rises to the surface more than most- the Family Castle. I’ve run into it a hundred times. “Oh, we visited Scat-land, and been to Edin-borg, and we visited the Family Castle”, as if you’d just turn up at the front door and demand a cup of coffee and a bed for the week. I mean, come on, not everybody lived in a castle. Well, maybe all Americans did. I digress.

Fast Castle. The drawbridge area is still identifiable, and part of the north wall.

Even after discovering this amusing American quirk, I still considered myself fairly content with my status as a castle-less European. Until last week, when I got a taste of my own medicine. I was browsing Wikipedia, looking at pictures of castles, when I came across Fast Castle, (Fause castle) just north of Coldingham, near the Scottish/English border.

Owners: The Hall family.

Crap. My pet peeve had actually raced behind me and kicked my own butt; I’d actually found my own Family Castle. Now, okay, there’s just a couple of walls left now, but I’ve been to others and never felt the connection that I do to these two bare walls and a piece of rock pointing out into the North Sea. But stories point to the owners dark, nefarious deeds; back in the 1500’s leaving the light on, and encouraging ships to their doom on the rocky shores below, where the wrecking crews patiently gathered. Great information for a historical writer.

One day, I'll go back to those lonely Berwickshire cliffs, and like every true American; visit the family castle.
Beware, you have been warned; this castle will be in one of my books… one day. Watch out for it.

Ian Hall
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