Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bannerman's Castle

Hudson Valley Photography
If you read Taken, you remember a brief mention of a castle at which Joseph arranged a meeting of the Cole Legacy. This location was my first inspiration for Lady Eleanor and Kol's home in the new world. I sometimes regret that in the three years since, I have chosen a new home (a topic for another day) though the Castle still resides in my dreams. In my writing, it still remains unnamed. In the real world, it goes by the name of Bannerman's Castle and rests on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River.

I remember vividly the day I was researching possible meeting places for the Legacy. Joseph said he would summon the family to the castle and all I could think was four days was not enough time for Lady Eleanor to travel to her homeland. Growing up in New England and having often crossed the Hudson River, I knew there were huge houses and wonderful castles littering the Hudson Valley, so I started googling.The photos posted on the Hudson Valley Photography website were so breathtaking that I knew right then and there I had to use them in some way.

As you can tell, the castle is in ruins giving me free reign to design the inside as I see fit. In my imagination, Lady Eleanor, bent over her cane, hobbles up the grand front staircase with the help of her youngest son, Joseph. A bird's eye view captures her white hair in it's typical tight bun and a long dress covered with a black cloak. Beside her, Joseph's brilliant ginger hair stands out against the darkening surroundings. Once inside, they hand their jackets over to the evening's hired servant and step forward through a set of grand french doors to the head of a large staircase to be met by the gleaming blue and green eyes of the Legacies children.
Photo by Neil Caplan via bannermancastle.org 

When I designed these scenes in Taken, the history of the castle didn't matter. I just needed a meeting place. As my writing builds, I find that I need to know the real history of the island. Without it, I can not weave it into the my own story as I have done with so many other true life events and locations.

The true history of Pollepel Island and Bannerman Castle are just as rich as that of the Cole Legacy. I will not attempt to summarize it here as I am just today grazing the subject. However, both  Hudson Valley Photography and bannermancastle.org have wonderful summaries on the subject!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

That time when you shouldn't click publish!

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't babbled at my beautiful audience in quite some time. Did you miss me? Don't answer that. I would prefer to believe you can't live without me.

So here I was, staring at the computer screen. I wish that damn cursor would quit winking at me. It's hard enough to concentrate without it's mocking me. As usual, I have a million things running through my head. Why are there phantasms at Felipe's house? How will I use them? What color should I paint the bathroom? I have to work in three hours. You know, the typical random stream of thought of a frantic mom.

Sometimes those thoughts lead me somewhere wonderful and fantastic. Today, just a cursor.

Blink. Are you going to use me?

Blink. I'm getting bored!

Blink. Maybe you should just go nap.

And then, I find myself personifying the cursor. Which leads to me playing a whole lesson through my head about personification. Which leads me to considering college in the fall. (Gag)
It's not writer's block. My head is overflowing with awesome story lines and colorful characters. It's more of a preoccupation with the millions of things I have to do.

Do you feel like you just wasted five minutes of your time reading a pointless blog post? I sure feel like I wasted ten minutes trying to write one...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Free! Free!

Saturday mornings mean some kind of sporting event. Today is soccer. I can't really complain as it is the one sport my children play that doesn't leave me yawning and bored. And I've been told bringing a book to one of my child's sporting events is unacceptable. Only a true non-reader would say such revolting words. A book is NEVER unacceptable.

This brings me to today's topic. Books. Yes, I understand that the every day's topic is books. I don't need you to remind me. In fact, today's post is simply because I am to lazy to walk upstairs and grab my book!

She's such a cute volleyball player!
So, what aspect of books, you ask? Ebooks. They are everywhere. It makes transmitting the written word so much easier for us nerdy types who love to sit and ramble words into a computer, but let me ask you a question now. Do you feel that the fact that anyone can write and publish a book these days is hurting the book world?

Let me put it into the words of my favorite book reviewer over at Book-Attic. "I don't like to review indie books because they are usually so full of errors that I can't push through it. Sorry, no offense, Mom." No offense? No offense! What the heck. I would like to say I take offense, but I was just another one of the ill edited books in the ebook world for a while. I was in such a hurry to get my book out there and have the world fall in love with it so I could become J.K. Rowling rich that I didn't figure a few misplaced commas and grammar errors were a big deal. Then this happened.

It gets 5 stars for having an interesting story idea. It loses 3 stars for poor grammar and multiple spelling mistakes, repeatedly repeating the same word repeatedly and failing to maintain consistency. Humans can't become vampires until they are 18. Oh here is a grave of one who is 8. Vampires can only be permanently killed by 6 daggers that only one vampire hunter knows the location of (and is willing to die without sharing the location. After all, it isn't like that would be useful for a group of vampire hunters to know) but vampires are killed by getting their blood sucked out, shot, stabbed and impaled. The main character is uber important, but gets left with someone who is planning to kill her on her 17th birthday for 14 years. Oh and the same girl meets a boy and marries him after knowing him for 2 weeks, thereby making them both immortal. Not sure what book the other reviewers were reading, but it either wasn't this one or we have drastically different expectations for our reading material.                                                                    -Amazon Reviewer

Can you say ouch? When this review hit Amazon, I was dumbstruck. How could ANYONE be so hateful. I stewed for a few days. Made a few hateful posts on Facebook, then it hit me, this reviewer, though most of his reviews are not gracious, was right. So, I pulled it back and reread it and republished it. The only problem is now Taken is known for it's crap editing and repeatedly repetitive words.

So here, I offer it for free!!! All I ask is that you read it and review it somewhere online and comment back here with a link to that review. Good, bad or indifferent. Let me know what you think!

I will leave these links for 8 days, deleting them 4/19 at midnight. Share away!

Now, you have something to read at your soccer games as well! 

Oh, silly me. My book has been right at my elbow this whole time! Off to read.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I know the title says Ramblings from the one and only Victoria Allred. Please forgive me, but I thought I would give Trent McNight a chance to shine. He recently sat down with Katrina Cole to discuss her view on a few points I touched upon in Taken.

Please beware as I have not yet read the interview. Trent McNight, while he has many dirt digging questions, does not always heed to the no spoilers clause. He has asked me to publish his interview in submitted form. He assures me he's looked over it more than once for errors, however, let's be honest. The man is all emotion and no logic.

Without further ado...

An interview with Katrina Cole

Trent: First things first, did you ever get to actually sit down and watch Dracula.

Katrina: Yes, I did. What an event that was.

Trent: What did you think?

Katrina: If you hold the movie in the context of the time period, I’m sure it was a pretty scary storyline. A vampire out to steal a woman’s attention, from the man she is to marry. That’s scary stuff in such a straight laced society. If you hold it in the context of our world today, it’s hilarious. Landon wasn’t wrong about that. It’s Halloween decorations!

Trent: Is it at all realistic?

Katrina: Yes and no. Jean Claude is able to pull the girls from their homes with a simple thought. He was quite fond of terrorizing the French countryside with his summoning powers. But, no, vampires do not sleep in coffins, they can leave the soil of their homeland and they do not turn into bats.

Trent: What would you say to women today trying to protect them from vampires? Maybe a few tips to keep our people safe from influence?

Katrina: That’s actually much trickier than you would think. First of all, these fiends look like humans. You could be a vampire if I didn’t have the training to know otherwise. Second, they are faster and stronger than a human. If they chose you, chances are you’re done for. So no, protection isn’t truly possible unless you build yourself a silver suit of armor and wear it at all times.

Trent: That’s not reassuring.

Katrina: It wasn’t meant to be. Let’s be realistic. Vampires are everywhere. I guarantee you pass at least a dozen on the street every day. The good thing for you is that most vampires are just beings trying to live their life to the fullest. They live off blood donations, just enough to keep them animated. If the Cole Legacy put down every vampire we passed, it would cut our world population dramatically. 

Trent: (chuckling) Would that really be so bad?

Katrina: That is a conversation for another day, Trent.

Trent: How is your training coming along?

Katrina: I can hit a bulls eye with a throwing knife from fifty yards and I have learned how to make the effluvium myself. But the literature, that’s the tricky stuff. It’s so full of double meanings and deeper context. The death of a flower can either be just a flower or it can represent the youth of a young lady as she gives herself over to the gods to pass through her initiation rites. And just when you tackle and completely understand one poem, another is thrust your way and you find yourself questioning everything you believed up ‘til that moment. It’s exhausting.

Trent: I'm sorry to hear that. Let's switch gears. The readers of Taken have one very controversial question to ask you. What was it like to find out that your brother and only family member was—

Katrina: Trent, stop. I will tell you that it was heart wrenching and I would hate to see anyone have to go through what I went through with Edmond. I still have that dream of him saving me from the fire. The fact that he pulled me from a burning house and saved my life will never change and for that he will always be my hero. As far as the other stuff, he was brainwashed plain and simple.  

Now before we go on, I would like to remind you that many of our listeners today have not read my story and I would like to deter you from giving away too many details from the book.

Trent: My apologies ma’am. How is your relationship with Landon?

Katrina: It couldn’t be better. He is turning out to be the best choice I’ve ever made. Now, if only is dirty socks would make into the laundry basket and not onto the floor beside it. 

Trent: Children?

Katrina: We have two thousand years, what’s the rush?

Trent: If any of our readers here today have not yet read Taken, how would they go about doing so?

Katrina: From what I understand, Victoria has left quite a few places to get a copy. Smashwords is free. Kindle is 99 cents or she also has a Create Space store for paperback copies. 

Trent: And signed copies?

Katrina: Email her at victoriaallredauthor@gmail.com.

Trent: Thank you so much for being with us today, Katrina. I hope the future is bright for you.

Katrina: Thank you for having me, Trent. 

Trent McNight has been interviewing the stars for longer than he can remember. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Charlie Brown has sat across the table from him and answered the hard pressed questions. Without his expertise, the world would have no true insight into the inner workings of such individuals. It was his brilliance that first uncovered Jennifer Lawrence's food obsession! 

Well, that was truly interesting. I really wasn't aware of the immense vampire population. I do, however, wonder if Lady Eleanor would have a different answer as to how a woman can protect herself from summoning. I will have to ask her and get back to you on that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm a horrible blogger; I am aware of that. My blog does not fit the two main requirements for hosting a successful blog.
  1. Posts are sporadic. A post here and there. Maybe five a week. Maybe one in six months. The excitement is in the surprise!
  2. Posts are beyond random. My blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what your ganna get!
Now, I'm sure if I dug deep down I could find some Gilmore Girl reference here. Don't tempt me. Instead, I went with a Supernatural gif of Dean, as Jared Padalecki will always be known to me.

Today, in an effort to follow some sort of writing/promotion theme, I'm going to tell you a little story. Ready? Here we go.

Once upon a time, there was this mom. Now, she wasn't just the every day run of the mill mom. She overflowed with quirkiness into every aspect of her very full life. This mom - we'll call her Tammy for the sake of this story - also had a vivid imagination. Tammy didn't see a run down gas station. She saw a man flicking a cigarette into an abandoned building and it exploding in a ball of flames. A kid walking to the bus stop was never just a kid. He became the next big hero in a world ridden with villains. She could spin a story from anything and often did.

One day, Tammy was sitting in a Women's Lit/Gender Studies class. While she should have been listening to some boring lecture about Emily Dickinson, her muse whispered in her ear. "Have you considered exactly how curiosity killed the cat?"

I'm sorry,reader. Did you have a question?

No, this is not my story. This is Tammy's story. Any similarities to real people or events are merely coincidental. May I continue?

Thank you.

So, Tammy started thinking about that cat. Being engrossed in both the vampire trope and Harry Potter, she wondered, What if, Draco Malfoy were a vampire and Katrina was just an innocent girl. From there, spun the most ridiculous story of a teenage girl being abducted in a library and waking up a vampire.

I've read it. It was ridiculous. Full of silly puns and idioms out the wazoo. Maybe one day I will dig it up. Or ask Tammy to do so, that is.

Seriously, another question? What is it?

Have you read Taken? That's ridiculous. The Draco I fashioned is in no way related to Tammy's ridiculous character. My Draco is a sexy 6'2" African American man who protects people. He would never, and I mean never, consider abducting a teenage girl for shits and giggles! That's preposterous!

I need a moment. You've gotten me all worked up. Watch this video while I calm down.

I feel better. Shall I continue?


Tammy didn't stop there. She wrote many stories over the next few months. Many of which were so awful they came to nothing.

I know, I know. You are wondering what the point of this awful story could possibly be and if I am ever going to get to it. Well, here it is.

I took something away from Tammy's courage and eagerness. I decided it was time to funnel my quirks into something written and thus I began blogging. It is my hope that you will become so enamored with my random and often sarcastic wit that you will keep coming back for more ridiculousness.


I feel that this post has come to an abrupt end, but seeing as how you have just taken up close to 45 minutes of my precious and rare writing time, I feel I must go. If you have any questions about Tammy, Draco or my anything else minutely referenced today, feel free to comment below. I will be sure to get back to you.