Sunday, June 22, 2014

Leigh M. Lane takes over my blog and interviews her hippie chick vampire, Jane.

Without much ado I'd like to introduce Leigh M. Lane and her vampiric bohemian badass, Jane. Thanks to the both of them for visiting for the day. Enjoy! 

It’s the Simple Things That Count

Have you ever had one of those days when it seems like there’s something to knock you down at every turn? If you subscribe to Jane’s philosophy, the good and the bad eventually balance out, but there’s always a rose to stop and smell even during the worst of times. While I’m no pessimist, I do sometimes let a bad day stop me in my tracks, so I thought I might do a brief interview with Jane to see how she’s able to keep her chin up amid so much adversity.

LL: Why don’t you start by telling your readers a little about you?

Jane: Well, I was born in 1950 and, until my mother died, had an ideal childhood. I learned at an early age that life is what you make of it—and I really do believe it is.

LL: Even for a person who is undead?

Jane: Especially for the undead. I’ve come across a few living dead people in my life, and the only ones who were miserable were the ones who let their undeath get them down. Sure, we can’t enjoy the sunlight on our faces for long without becoming crispy critters, but the way I see it, it’ll sure be pretty groovy when the day comes I finally can.

LL: So you’re confident there’s a fix somewhere out there for your current state?

Jane: Why not? If someone made me this way, there’s got to be someone who can undo it. Until then, why dwell on all the bad stuff when there’s so much good just waiting for you to appreciate it?

LL: What’s one good thing that gets you through the rough days?

Jane: Well… (a pause). I look damn good for my age. I’m a pretty spiritual ghoul too. Never lose the faith, man. When life hands you lemons, make daisy chains.

LL: You can make daisy chains with lemons?

Jane: No, you make daisy chains with daisies. (scoffs)

LL: Moving on … do you have any words of wisdom for readers out there who might also be undead?

Jane: Peace, love, and granola.

LL: Peace, love, and granola?

Jane: It’s code talk, man. You got any? I’ll pay you back next Tuesday for a granola bar today….

About Love Beads:

She’s broke and homeless. She’s a vegan. She’s undead.

Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she bumped into the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she’s taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that’s left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.

In Love Beads, Jane crosses paths with a middle-aged man who’s encountered her kind before—but he seems happy just to have the company. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, and his secret might just prove to be the end of her.

Love Beads is the first novella in the Jane the Hippie Vampire series.


THE LATE AFTERNOON SUN negated any relief the light breeze might have offered, and the mottled shadow cast by the massive oak tree stretching overhead wasn’t much more helpful. Jane slumped on a park bench, dozing on and off, a wide-brimmed hat and boxy sunglasses obscuring her face. Her backpack sat beside her, one arm threaded through the shoulder straps to deter potential thieves, and she crossed her legs at the ankles. She wore a ragged pair of blue jeans and a Doobie Brothers tee shirt so old the applique had cracked and faded beyond recognition. Her bare feet were calloused and in desperate need of a good scrub.

She’d find a decent place to crash soon. There was at least one Good Samaritan in every town, and they were usually easy enough to spot. Patience was the key. That—and a practical sense of when the local heat had decided she’d overstayed her welcome. Hanging around anywhere long enough to be recognized was a bad thing. Recognition led to suspicion, which led to a slippery slope that began with harassment and ended with the gas chamber. She’d seen it happen before, and it was a pretty hellish fate for those on the difficult side of killing. There was no respectable place left in this world for vampires, not at least that she’d found, and it was not at all hospitable to a burned-out flower child who couldn’t seem to pull her head out of the sixties.

A handful of adolescents infiltrated the park, putting an end to the peaceful quiet she’d been fortunate enough to have enjoyed for the last couple of hours. The disruption had been inevitable, and she took it in stride despite her exhaustion. She sat upright, watched the kids play flag football for a few minutes, and then donned her backpack and made her way to the sidewalk. It was a sunny day, not at all comfortable, and the heat instilled an aching desire to curl up on the side of the street and slip quietly into a coma. Such extended exposure would undoubtedly do just that—before it reduced her hide to burnt leather—so she moved as quickly as her sluggish legs would take her to the shady overhangs of the buildings across the street.

The town she’d found herself in was small and quaint, with boutiques and small shops packed within a tiny radius. The smell of fried food permeated from a nearby greasy spoon. She considered going in, but she only had a few bucks and some change on her. Moreover, a diner was far from ideal for mingling with the locals. Mingling was the objective; luxuries like food—“people food”—were secondary.

Not like food wasn’t a necessity in its own right, just like water and doobage. A girl could only go so long without her doobage. Life was mundane enough as it was. A little variety, beyond blood type, was all that stood between her and insanity.

About the author:

Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and twelve published short stories divided among different genre-specific pseudonyms. She is married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr. and currently resides in the hot and dusty outskirts of Sin City. Her traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe, was a finalist in the 2013 EPIC Awards in horror.

Her other novels include World-Mart—a tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut—and the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods.

For more information about Leigh M. Lane and her writing, visit her website at

Love Beads is available on Kindle for .99:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Attack That Changed My Life

In 2012 we were looking to adopt a dog. We went to a local shelter to see a mastiff puppy and when we got there we soon realized the puppy wasn't for us. She was very aggressive and my eldest son felt uncomfortable with her. Instead of just leaving we decided to look at some of the other dogs.

That's when we found Mr B. He was beautiful, and sad, he barely even looked up at us when we stood in front of his cage. You could see he'd had his heart broken and I felt for the big guy. I told him not to give up --that things would get better-- then we left.

On the way home my husband and I looked at each other and I asked if we could go see Mr B the next day. He agreed. There was another couple that applied to adopt the Saint Bernard and we decided that visiting him daily could only help sway the decision our way. Not to mention the more we visited the happier the dog seemed to be.

On the sixth day of our visiting they told us we could take him home the following day. We were so excited. We'd brought our Golden Retriever with us and the meeting between the two could not have gone better. They were so quick to be friends. Even better is when we ran with Bigs (one of my nicknames for Mr B) in the yard outside he was very careful of the boys and making sure he didn't scare them or run them over.

In fact, that 160lb giant was more gentle with our children than our other dog had ever been. The next day we took him home and we were all so happy. He was quite the cuddler and he and I often ran and played outside. He was my best buddy and he was the best dog I'd ever had.

For two years he was with our family and he never showed an ounce of aggression towards anyone. On Christmas he was acting as though his ear were bothering him and I assumed he had an ear infection. When my husband grabbed his collar, to move him away from a table he was about to knock over, Bigs bit him on the arm. We just assumed that Chris had touched the ear with the infection and that he had bit out of instinct. After a couple hour time out Bigs was allowed to return to the family and all was as it had been before. We took him into the vet the following day and started him on antibiotics for the ear infection. In two weeks, on a follow up visit, we were told his ears were clear.

The week before the attack he had a vet appointment to give him one of his necessary shots and he was completely healthy. He was snuggly as always and was my buddy. He actually alerted us to my seizures before I had them, physically herding me to a couch a time or two right before they struck. Then he would sit with me until they were over and would cuddle with me as I came out of them.

He helped our cat get over his fear of dogs and he was a big part of me feeling truly safe for the first time in my life. He was not a bad dog at all. He was, however, two years old when we got him. I don't know what happened to him in those two years but I can tell you it had to be horrific.

A half an hour before the attack I sent my two boys upstairs to play. They'd been arguing and hollering for the better part of the day and I needed a sanity break. Ten minutes later I cuddled with Bigs and was cleaning the living room and dining room when I heard our Golden yelp.

She's fourteen years old so I ran out to see what had happened. Bigs had knocked her down and stole her bone. As I came near he growled. I felt uncomfortable, for the first time ever with him, and walked to the front door and opened it. I told him if he was going to play that game he could eat his stolen bone outside as family doesn't steal from each other.

I reached for his collar and he bit my arm. While I stood there shocked he walked away. He'd made it into the next room. I hadn't even made a sound, because I was still so shocked, when he dropped the bone, turned around, and hauled ass towards me growling and barking. He grabbed my left breast in his mouth and luckily my dozen plus years of training as a zookeeper kicked in and I locked my emotions away. I knew if he got a chunk of me off there would be no bringing him back. I knew if he killed me he would absolutely go after my kids next. There was no doubt in my mind he was having a psychotic break. He tried to pull me to the ground and I moved with him. As his teeth slipped through my flesh he let go and got a better bite again trying to throw me to the ground where he could get at my neck.

 This slip and rebite happened a total of seven times. The last time I realized he wasn't going to stop. I pried his jaws off me with my hands, tearing my own hands on his teeth as I did so, and punched him in the nose as hard as I could.

I know that the most sensitive place on a dog is in his nose. Not to mention if this was a PTSD snap, as I thought it was, I figured hitting him there would interrupt his thinking enough to bring him back. I was right. He shook his head and I could see him as he came to and looking confused he sniffed the air. He laid down and gave me his belly and I carefully went around him and opened the screen door. He loped off outside as if nothing happened and I sat down for a moment to gather myself. I cleaned the breast tissue off the floor as I held my poor slightly shredded breast together.

My kids screamed down for me and I told them to give me a second. That I needed a moment before they came down. I did my best to clean up the blood and breast tissue and I called their dad. See, he'd texted me five minutes before the attack to say his car broke down. No answer so I texted what happened and, on looking at the severity of the injury, dialed 911.

They sent an ambulance and my mother in law raced from where she worked (not far from me) to my house to watch the kids. My husband had a coworker drive him to his mom's house where he borrowed her car and met me at the hospital.

Six hours after I arrived I was cleaned, bandaged, and ice packed up and we were on our way home when the car my husband borrowed died. It was not a good day for us and it was a bad day for Bigs as well.

Animal control picked him up that night and took him for an eight day observation and medical exam. He had no parasites, viruses, or fungal infections that could have caused the behavior and when the eight days were up they were of the opinion that I was. Bigs had a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder rage snap and it would likely happen again. He was put down.

I know some may disagree with that decision but he was not an aggressive dog. There was no real warning leading into the main attack. With that information not even shelters that specialize in dealing with aggressive animals would have taken him. The specialists I contacted told me he would have to live a life where he was completely hands off. This meant no contact with any other people or animals and, to Bigs, that would have been hell. We had him put down and I miss him every day. This is the last picture I took of Bigs and it was taken right before we cuddled. This is my pup twenty minutes before he tried to kill me.

I loved him, and still do. The dog that attacked me was one who was locked in a terrifying memory of something that had happened to him before we got him. My guess is they held onto his collar and beat him. I can't say for sure as we had grabbed his collar hundreds of times without any reaction from him at all. He was well fed and well loved. He had a crib mattress that was his to sleep on and all the toys a dog could want.

This attack changed me in so many ways but the worst is that I realized I could never again adopt an adult animal without fear. When we adopt these pets from shelters we have no idea what has happened to them before we get them. With small children in my house I just can't take that risk. If Mr B had turned on my kids, they'd be dead. When selecting a pet you don't think about how this could happen. After two years of living with this pet you certainly don't believe that something like this could happen.

But it can, and it did. Be careful, folks. This attack was nobody's fault. Remember, he had walked away and was already in the next room when he snapped. He didn't know who he was, where he was, or even what he had done when he came to.

I am not saying all adult rescues will snap and try to kill, it's highly unlikely that any more than 10% of them will, what I am saying is that you never know. I spent fourteen years as a zookeeper. I have a degree in zoology and I minored in psychology. I spent twenty years studying animal behavior and I did not see this coming. Nobody could; that's the horrifying part of PTSD rage snaps, anything could set them off.

Until this point I had adopted all sorts of adult animals without any problems. I had dogs, cats, parrots, turtles, and even fish that I'd adopted without issue. It sucks and I hate saying this but I will never feel safe adopting an adult dog again. That, for me, was the worst part of this attack.

Crescendo of Darkness

Today I turn my blog over to the amazingly talented and seriously awesome folks at H...