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A Taste of Blood and Roses


(Vampires that don’t sparkle…)

This collection of stories spans two decades of work by Bram Stoker Award winning author David Niall Wilson.  From the streets of Jerusalem to the historical life of Vlad Tepes, follow this prolific author through eleven tales of vampirism, lycanthropy, and darkness.  There’s a bit of dark humor, a touch of the erotic, and a little something for everyone who loves creatures of the night. Also…these vampires are gauranteed not to sparkle… Contents:

A Candle in the Sun
Flash Fiction
Bloodstained Glass
Miracles in the Night
Smiling Eyes and Haunted Face
To Dream of Sheherzad
The Subtle Ties That Bind
A Taste of Blood and Roses
The Death-Sweet Scent of Lilies
Against His Bitter Judgment
The Sound of Drums

The foreword:

I’ve been writing since the mid 1980s, and during all those years,vampires have remained close to my heart. There were periods when it seemed as if you couldn’t have an anthology unless the theme was erotic vampire stories. There were other times when all you heard was, “no vampires.” I can say that I survived both – even selling a vampire story t two editors who said they didn’t think they’d ever buy another one. Both of those are contained in this collection.

I’m not going to bore you with a dissertation on vampires as characters, or why I think the undead remain … well … undead in fiction as well. I will give you a short introduction to each story, and then leave you to the words. As Mary says in the first story … I have walked this road, and my words should suffice.

A Candle in the Sun (originally titled The Fifth Gospel). was written on a US Navy ship. Someone – I don’t remember who – said, “What if Jesus was a vampire.” I said that wouldn’t work, but what if someone near him was? The rest, pretty much, is history. I turned it in to my writer’s group and Richard Rowand, then editor of STARSHORE magazine, asked to buy the story immediately. My first pro sale that wasn’t porn to a men’s magazine. This story has been reprinted several times. One of those times was by Karl Edward Wagner in Year’s Best Horror XIX – he was the first of the editors who said they thought they were done with vampires. He was also – over the years – a good friend. He is missed.

Flash Fiction is a brand new, unpublished story. It was inspired by something that vampire author Karen E. Taylor wrote in her online journal. It’s a humorous story – humor is something I like even more than vampires. You’ll have to let me know how they mix.

Bloodstained Glass was written for a now defunct magazine. I honestly don’t even remember the name of it. It’s a little old fashioned. I like the imagery of it, so I’ve included it here as a change of pace.

Miracles in the Night is a hold-over from my days writing for White Wolf Publishing. It wasn’t written for the company, but for a fanzine called “Norfolk by Night” that was published locally. I wrote it as a favor, and yet, it stuck with me. The robed homeless man actually lived in Norfolk at the time.

Smiling Eyes and Haunted Face is one of the aforementioned erotic vampire stories. It first appeared in the anthology “Love Bites,” edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. I wrote this one a long time ago – I hope it holds up.

To Dream of Scheherazade is the second of the stories sold to an editor who said no vampires. It was first published in the Terminal Frights anthology by editor / publisher Ken Abner. Ken also bought the novel that I adapted from A Candle in the Sun – “This is My Blood,” also available through Crossroad Press for Kindle and soon to be an unabridged audio book.

The Subtle Ties That Bind was published in “Love in Vein II,” edited by Poppy Z. Brite. I actually submitted it to the first volume, and it was accepted, but there wasn’t space. When the second book was announced, I sent it back in and reminded her she liked it, and it’s been one of my best-earning stories ever. I still get royalty payments. The version here in this collection is the original – shorter than the version that was published. I found the file and thought it was a good way to make this collection complete. If you are squeamish, this story might not be for you. It’s pretty explicit.

A Taste of Blood and Roses – which inspired the title of the collection – is not a vampire story. I am not going to tell you what kind of story it is, or where it was originally published, because one of the problems I had with that original publication was that the title of the book, and the theme of the book spoiled about half of the stories. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

The Death-Sweet Scent of Lilies was published in a book of all stories involving Vlad Tepes. This is my homage to Dracula – my thoughts on just how that historic figure might have turned into a man who dined in the center of hundreds of human beings staked out in the sun, and how he might have become the lord of darkness we all know him as.

Against His Bitter Judgment was written as much for myself as anyone else. It’s a sequel to A Candle in the Sun, a look in on Judas Iscariot after centuries of…well, you’ll know when you read the first story. It was published on line at the old Chiaroscuro web site. I think it adds something to the story. Maybe someday I’ll add more.

The final story in this book, The Sound of Drums, is also not exactly a vampire story. There are ghouls – or – sort of ghouls. There’s a cargo cult. There’s US Navy stuff from my days serving my country. This story was written for my buddy Brian Cartwright when he first started Cargo Cult Press…it was printed as a book and given only to the people who bought lifetime subscriptions. It’s a very, very rare book worth a lot of money…but the words still need to get read, and so I present it here. Some of you will recognize names in the story … Brian and I both appreciate you guys…Cargo Cult Press put out some of the most gorgeous books ever. I own a complete set from the Cartwright years…and as payment, will receive one of every book ever published under that line. Best deal I ever made.

And now…let there be vampires.

–David Niall Wilson
This book is available in MOBI (Kindle) PRC (Mobipocket) (PDF) Adobe and EPUB Formats.

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This title was added to our catalog on June 27, 2010.