Bluebeard is an abusive lover

I’ve been MIA for a while because I have been blindingly focused on The Key, which I am now proud to announce has been completed up to first draft status.

The Key

The Key is 52, 000 words long at present and going strong. But I do believe that this work and I will be attempting a trial separation for a few short weeks. We may need to see other manuscripts until I feel less inclined to delete the entire thing in a fit of ‘Aaaargh”.

I must admit though that it has veered somewhat from its path of a simple story of domination to one of domination and lust leading to romance, love and then tragedy… Although at this point I feel it’s awful.

Hence the desire to end it all. But I’ll let you be the judge of that:

An excerpt from The Key can be found at

Happy reading!

Free Copies of Bought in Blood!

On the 5 October 2012 from 12:00am to 11:59pm (Pacific Standard Time) Bought in Blood, the first novel in the Sanguinem Emere vampire trilogy, will be available for free at! If you have not already ordered yourself a copy, please do so at no cost on this date, it is worth the read. We would also be eternally in the debt of those who take the time to give us a few honest reviews so that we can start to rate a bit more clearly on Amazon and know where to improve for the two novels to follow.

This is your opportunity to engage your mind in a new and darkly thrilling vampire universe, complete with the humanity of monsters and the monstrousness of humans. Bought in Blood is a story of curious love, burning loss and deep cruelty, but also of the coupling of souls and of finding comfort in the darkness. We hope you will enjoy every word of every page and we would love your input for further works.

Vampire Exposé: Marius de Romanus

I follow Anne Rice’s Facebook page quite religiously and I have recently picked up on some incredibly negative reviews of her works. One in particular that caught my attention in all the wrong ways was a scathing, sadly unintuitive commentary on Amazon, titled Chains made of hair?! Really, Anne? Really?…. Now, personally, I feel quite attached to the novel Blood and Gold as I feel it grants the reader further insight into what has been – up to this point in the series – a mysterious, if intriguing character. The author of aforementioned review, quite apparently, does not concur with this opinion as she sees the subtle differences in Marius character as being ‘inconsistencies.’ The review left me with a sour feeling, the impression that the vast majority of readers in the world do not like to see a character grow, progress, or reveal elements of him/herself that may be contradictory to how they personally view that literary figure.

Vincent Perez as Marius in Queen of the Damned

I have two issues with this. Firstly, there is a canyon of difference between third person voice (which is how we have interacted with Marius up to this juncture) and first person… In the former, we are given the specific opinions of others on the subject of the conversation, which may or may not colour our perspectives differently. In first person, we see the deepest and darkest of the character.

To be specific (and to pick at the review just a little), Armand describes Marius as being loving, nurturing and paternal… Marius, later, describes whipping Armand for bad behaviour. Clearly (or maybe it is only clear to those of us that read and do not simply skim and seemingly deliberately misinterpret), Armand comes to associate love and protectiveness with what he receives at Marius hands, those times which both combined affection and discipline. And if I remember it correctly, Armand deserved each and every strike for his snotty attitude as he was trying to goad Marius. We must also then consider Armand’s familial situation and further background. A, drunken, rambunctious father and a near-miss life of slavery will make a little masochist of anyone. Marius saved him from sexual slavery, of course he will imagine only divinity at his maker’s hands.

Clearly, Miss Pike simply does not like the ‘real’ Marius. However, I do. Thus I have chosen him for the Vampire Exposé, to alleviate some of the negative rep.

If I opt for one word to describe Marius de Romanus, it’ll have to be ‘prideful.’ Not arrogant, most certainly not; we frequently listen to him bemoaning his actions, second-guessing his behaviour and reprimanding himself for letting his fury get the better of him. He is quick to anger in the face of his pride and his response to discomfort seems to be to pick up and leave rather than confront. He has a history of neglect. He left Pandora, he was forced to leave Armand (though when the opportunity arose, he did not choose to return to him), he left Bianca, and he left Lestat, amongst many others. Always under the guise of protecting Those Who Must Be Kept. However, he always admits to himself in the end, that he went away out of pride.

Marius and Pandora from the exquisite fanpic artists, Dany&Dany

The true tragedy is that Marius IS paternal and affectionate. And because of this, when he does eventually leave, which he always does, the consequences are so much heavier for the ones he leaves behind. Exhibit A: Armand… My heart breaks for Armand and, even though I can separate literature from reality (or so I tell myself), I always find myself hating Marius just a bit for abandoning him after he spied on him so many years after they were separated. I mean, can you really blame the boy for being slightly broken in the head? Forced into slavery, pulled out of it by his own personal Jesus, taught that love and pleasure are, above all, more important than slavery to any religion (or maybe even a new religion entirely), forced to watch his brothers burnt, kidnapped, starved, allowed to kill his best friend, and basically just brain-washed into becoming a serial killer… For shame, Marius.

Anyway, the neglectful, abandon-driven side of Marius was never what I enjoyed about the character. He has forever had this wonderful manner of swooping in like a dark night and rescuing those who need him from certain death or worse. And I adore his manic mannerisms of painting feverishly when things start to balloon slightly out of his control. I find his obsession with painting his lost Pandora (as well as his complete inability – or so he sees it – to capture her perfectly) to be a symbol of Marius’s devotion.

Even if he fails to recognise it in himself and is overcome by his foolish pride.

All heroes must have a flaw, I suppose.

A synopsis

Bought in Blood is the first gripping novel in the Sanguinem Emere trilogy, written and published by Richard T. Wheeler and Carmen Dominique Taxer via Amazon’s affiliate CreateSpace.

The Sanguinem Emere Universe – as the authors have fondly dubbed it – is a vampire-ruled world which maintains secrecy and mutual protection for those of the vampire persuasion through severe punishment meted out against vampires (and vampire servants) who commit wrongs. In this deadly, paper-thin ice environment, the anti-hero, Seth opts for a scheme that will release him from the clutches of his vampire father – the strange and reclusive Ashur, who passes his nights in the unnatural attic of their dilapidated mansion.

In the midst of this subtle, quiet power war, two simple humans fight for their lives and freedom.

Devika Templeton is the daughter of a nation-wide empire – The Templeton family. She has always thought that her dreams of a protector, a vampire stalker, were delusions. Early signs of impending insanity. But she is sorely mistaken. In the midst of a bloody family gathering, the memories of what occurred there unclear to her, Devika flees her home and the stifling abnormalities she is forced to endure while under her father’s watchful gaze. But she simply exchanges one form of captivity for another as she meets the man who has haunted her childhood – Seth – from her earliest memories, a vampire who has ominous intentions for her, though she cannot identify what those are.

Erwin Montgomery, a detective with the local police force was once a beacon of Justice within the force, the type of cop young ones look up to and dream of being like. However, his demeanour has been sourly altered ever since he failed to find a missing girl 14 years ago. The case of Lillian Voss and the triple homicide which coincided with the incident has driven him to the brink of complete loss – the loss of his wife, his sobriety, and his hard-earned respect within the Force. Until he sees the kidnapping of a small, red-haired woman with scared eyes and no shoes on her feet. So like the case that has dogged him all these years, so like Lillian, slipping between his fingers.

With the assistance of Devika’s grandfather – an oddly attractive, well-aged man of sixty five – Griffin, her equally preserved, albeit alcoholic, uncle and a strange couple comprising of an Arian military officer and his cat-like companion, Monty sets out to locate his quarry. But the presence of the Mid-City Butcher, a serial killer with sickening strength and a predetermined destination, leaving massacred corpses in his path, bars Monty’s progress at almost every turn.

Now Devika must decide between a love she suffers for, giving herself over to the depravities of temptation, and the loyalty of family – a family where machinations have sought to tie her to a life of slavery. Monty must choose between his corroding career which is corroding his health as he delves ever deeper into the truth behind his lost cases, and the love of a devoted wife, children and a white picket fence.

Richard and I have been delving ever further into the construction of the Templeton family, almost a civilisation – a society – of their own. Our heroine, Devika, is the youngest of the Templetons and is the product of decades of effort to perfect the genes within the family. The family tree below shows the extent of intermarriage that the Templetons are prone to in order to strengthen their line.

With the release of Book2 (currently untitled), which we hope to see in January 2013, we will be looking ever further into this mesh of incest and confusion. We will focus particularly on the lines of such families as the Campbells, the Ramseys, and the Lindorffs.

Bought in Blood extract

The hallway is dark and dingy. More so than I remember.

There’s a light fitting, but no bulb or cover, above me and further down the hall it’s more of the same. The paintings I can make out along the diminishing walls with the slight orange glow from behind me bear little resemblance to those in the rest of the house. Their regal setting and refined postings are missing. Instead they sag lopsidedly as haughty faces seem twisted into grimacing haunts.

It’s like some sort of night-vision tunnel and it reeks of neglect.

There must be other showers. Or even a bath-tub. One easily located and lit with actual lights.

I suspect he would rather watch me stumble over my own feet. Undoubtedly, this serves as some form of punishment in his mind.

I had asked Seth if I could get cleaned up and he had directed me down this hallway. I’d been traumatised to see unblemished skin upon my chest as I undressed in the room I am assigned to. Not a single mark, not even any blood to prove my story sane. I can’t explain it. I want to, but I can’t. Seth’s refusal to agree with me that there is an unnaturally unsettling red-haired man tormenting me within and without of this building only stresses me further. What if he isn’t toying with me this time? What if I really am unravelling? Seeing ghosts in a house filled with vampires.

Visions of my mother prance through my skull as I prepare myself to get cleaned up.

Focus on the task at hand, Devika.

Mild trepidation ensues as I pull the towel – fluffy to the brink of opulence – tighter around my chest and leave the comfort of distant music, warmth and voices floating up from downstairs, wading with bare-footed stealth in the direction Seth steered me.

As my filthy fingers (sliding along the wall for stability) brush the edge of an unseen portrait I pull it straight without question before the cellar swims to mind at the graze of wooden framework. A Technicolor memory in swathes of red and brown inspires me to rip my hand away. My fingers itch where they touched the darkened canvas.

The air here is not musty as one would expect from such a claustrophobic cube. A cold breeze ripples along the flesh of my shoulders and I can smell roses and jasmine from the garden. But still I can’t locate a window with my shadow-drenched eyes though there must be one. My pupils strain, aching against the sides of my skull to find a way out. Any escape at all. But all I can see is night as it gnaws at the courage that would have allowed me the liberty of searching further, reminding me of how such a traitorous act could end in a display of brutal authority. My cheek still stings from his slap. It could have been so much worse.

The paintings flood my thoughts again and I balk at the memory as a familiar giggle riddles my thoughts with fear.

My fingers finally slip into air as I reach the bathroom door which stands open and I fumble until I find a light switch. White spots buzz across my vision as the fluorescence flares to life.


There is no door to stand open. Just two uneven empty brackets speckled with rust, and one lonely nail poking out of the door’s frame like the snapped arm of a rambunctious child.

I would sigh. But to be honest, this is to be expected.

The dilapidation within challenges me with its obnoxious insistence on being less than extraordinary.

The shower door is covered in some kind of dusty, dry substance, making its transparence an opaque white decorated with unintentional art, and the floor’s tiles bear dirt-smeared cracks. Near the sink, an entire tile is missing, exposing the concrete beneath. The basin seems clean enough, but the mirror above it has been sliced in two and the surface is in desperate need of a polish. Some kind of moss has begun to make itself at home along the edges of the glass – creeping in from the tiles – clearly considering the musty condensation to be an invitation. The toilet seems clean from this angle, but I would rather not find out and I tiptoe over the cracks towards the shower, trying to avoid uncomfortable travel lacerations (one of those lesser-known ailments).

I peer over the edge of the shower to find that the drain has no covering.


With warranted cynicism at whether or not the shower will even work, I remove the towel and gingerly drape it over the sink; a splash of violet against the stark off-white. If it touches the floor I think I may have to walk back to the room sopping wet and naked.

Out of the corner of my eye I can see that my reflection has faded away to a degree sharp enough to make me seem gaunt and I turn back to the shower without stopping to inspect my new anorexia-chique. It’s bad enough knowing that my distaste for food has turned to incessant waves of nausea and a chronic loss of balance without having to stare the outcome thereof in the hollowed-out face. Even the small meal provided to me over the last few days made me sick to the point of pain. My stomach responded near violently at the smell.

The water shudders in the pipes as I turn the handle and step back, expecting to be drenched, but no semi-arctic stream erupts to drown me, despite my suspicions.

I lean in to poke at the nozzle and fling myself out of the way as hairy, black sticks creep out to clutch at the sides. They are followed by the rest of the spider’s undulating body as a steaming spray is released from the pipes in its wake.

The little monster, now perched on top of the pipe attaching the shower-head to the wall – none too perturbed as it glances at me with its myriad of glassy eyes – seems to hunker down for a second and then scurries up the tiles and through a crack in the ceiling.

Sanguinem Emere

Edward Cullen

Does his expression ever change?

Some people have said he is a fairy. And true, things that sparkle can very seldom be attributed to vampirism, however, the author is always right, and if Stephenie Meyer says Edward Cullen is a vampire, then we must assume she knows best. Irrespective of public opinion, the success of the character of Edward Cullen deserves attention. Thousands of screaming teenage (and middle aged) fans, I suppose he earned his spot on the Vampire Exposé.

Even in the movie posters, I feel a sense of desolation as far as character growth is concerned

I will be the first to admit that in recent years I have come to hate Twilight, feeling that the movies were lacking in inspiration and originality with gaping holes in human logic and terribad (to coin a phrase from my partner in crime, Richard) acting. The casting felt all wrong and, personally, I am adamant that the director was high when he directed the acting. The movies feel emotionless, devoid of feeling in a story which should have evinced so much from the audience. But, despite all this, when a friend of mine first gave me a copy of Twilight to read, months before the movie was released, I loved it. I found it sweet and endearing. Maybe not the horrific combination of blood and romance I have come to expect from the vampire genre, but cute nonetheless.

An enticing cover

So trust me, Twilight fans, I don’t comment lightly here.

A cute picture, so why couldn’t this emotion have come out in the movies?

In the novels, Edward was funny and suave with a hint of self-deprecation to colour him. His character had an element of depth that he thoroughly lacks in the movies. Where book Edward swaggers, Pattinson’s Edward is awkward and walks like a shy dinosaur. Where the former grants Bella a combination of love and mockery, the latter combines fawning and irritation – something we would not have expected from the character in Meyer’s books. I simply disliked Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of a character that I really pictured – at the time – as not entirely god-awful. Unfortunately, the prolific nature of the movies soured the books for me. So badly, in fact, that I went back and reread them with an editor’s eye (something I had avoided at the onset), discovering tense errors, horrible grammar and staid, boring syntax. Not to mention the sheer dullness of the most of the characters. All stereotyped and all too simplistic for my approval. Except for Edward.

Many Twilight haters attribute their loathing of the story to the “sparkly” vampire phenomenon… And, yes… It seems somewhat daft. But I understand what Meyer was trying to achieve with it and I applaud her on her approach. It just would not have been my choice. In Anne Rice novels we come to see vampires as being statuesque in both beauty and make-up. They quite literally strike us as being marble or solid, unlike pliable humanity. All Meyer has done is take that one step further to create of them something near indestructible. If something shimmers in the sun we imagine diamonds (for some ungodly reason). Hence the invulnerable factor. It just seems a pity to me that she made such a build-up of it for such a great portion of the first book. I was imagining bat wings, or horns, or green, toad-like skin… When he started sparkling, I had to put the book down and step outside to stifle my laughter.

As I said, not the route I would have opted for.

What I do want to explore is Bella’s strange attraction to Edward. Love at first sight does not exist. Lust maybe, but I don’t think Bella has the emotional maturity to give in to such behaviour (all evidence to the contrary in the last two books aside). In fact, all vampire literature displays some evidence of supernatural attraction. The hint that vampires exude a pheromone or aura which draws people to them. And maybe this is what we are seeing in this very broken, stalker-esque relationship.

The poor friend-zoned sucker

Perhaps vampires have a survival mechanism built into their systems? The hungrier they become, through lack of access to blood or their own martyrdom (viz Edward), the more likely their body is to override their mind and find food. Vampires are, traditionally, sexual predators. They feed through romance and lust – when I imagine traditional vampires, I see the Count rallying hordes of heaving-bosomed women around him. So, perhaps in all this, if a vampire decides to be a hero, his body resigns itself to the fact that the mind is being obstinate and starts emitting attraction waves to any eligible blood bag nearby… It would certainly explain how Bella seems all the more drawn to Edward despite his insistence on them not seeing one another.

In the Sanguinem Emere universe, we explored this notion to some extent. The level of which will become more apparent in book2, where we will see Devika struggling to come to terms with her (un)natural attraction.

Sigh… I find the image of Edward Cullen sad, to be honest. He was a likeable, if unmemorable, character when I first flipped casually though the pages of Twilight. Now, however, the sight of his tortured expression causes one’s ears to be assaulted by not just the screaming of teenagers, but the screaming of their mothers as well (creepy much?). I can understand the animosity so many intellectuals feel when confronted with Twilight paraphernalia and images.

I feel quite the same.

And is it just me, or does Pattinson’s Edward always have the same expression on his face?

This expression makes me want to punch things