WritesCast Podcast and Me!

The WritesCast Network is a podcast collective by writers, for writers. R. R. Campbell recently hosted me on it! I was nervous because I don’t always enjoy hearing my own voice, etc. I mean, I write – to myself and then people read it. I don’t broadcast! But! It was so relaxed I really enjoyed it, and the time went by so fast.

We discussed the editing process, and specifically about self editing. While the target audience is other authors, I think readers will find it interesting to dive into this part of the process, from the perspective of authors.

Thanks for checking it out: WriteCast Podcast with Damian Serbu.

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Writing Update

Hey, Everyone,

Here is the latest edition of, “What in the hell are you up to, Damian Serbu?!”

First, I continue to chug away on publicity, especially since The Vampire’s Quest came out in February! The reviews have been great so far, even better than the first time it was released.

I am also in the midst of editing two other previously published books, which are part of my vampire series. I want to submit them to NineStar for review, the first hopefully this summer. That one is undergoing such a major revision, I doubt it will smell much like it’s original by the time it gets to you.

And I am writing – wait for it – the fifth book in the Realm of the Vampire Council series: The Vampire’s War! This will be the one to follow The Vampire’s Protege. I struggled for a couple months about what to write next, in terms of a new and original piece. It was so hard to choose between my vampires and Simon the Elf. I wish I had all the time in the world to dabble in both! But the vampires won out, because there is an impending war they must fight.

Thanks for checking in! Damian

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Competition or Colleague?

I have read quite a bit lately about authors and their relationship to one another. Specifically, the debate emerges about whether to view one another as the competition, or as colleagues. One view prompts nasty comments, spite, and vitriol. The other brings mutual support, uplift, and encouragement. I suppose from the way I just framed the argument, you already know my point of view.

I disagree with people who say this reality sprang from contemporary social media. While that has heightened the exposure to nastiness and brought it into public light, from the beginning of the publishing world authors have gone after one another and existed in tension. I get it. There are only so many readers, publishers, and reviewers out there, and we authors compete for their attention - or more accurately their dollars.

Yet I also believe enough readers exist for us to spread the wealth. I guess I don't want to build my career and following by clawing over the backs of others. I prefer to help each other as authors, with promotion, encouragement, and the understanding that we all struggle in similar ways.

For example, I recently did a podcast that will come out in April with Ryan Campbell, a fellow NineStar Press author. (Check him out at www.rrcampbellwrites.com!) We chatted about strategies for self editing, because he broadcasts podcasts that discuss the writing process, best practices, and other advice for authors. To me, his work represents the best of a win-win situation: he gets publicity as the host, and when the authors advertise their participation on his podcast. And the author gains an audience with other authors and people who listen to his podcast. It represents the best of worlds to me, and a great example of supporting each other as authors!

This doesn't mean that my reviews of other works will always be positive, because I also want to be honest. But even there, I strive for nuance and kindness as much as possible. Our world today contains a lot of nastiness and hate. A lot. I want the author community to avoid it as much as possible.

Peace out. Damian

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THE VAMPIRE’S QUEST Reviews

Time to share a bit of feedback now that THE VAMPIRE’S QUEST hit the shelves, or e-format, whichever the case. 🙂 So many nice comments this time; I have been honored by the feedback. Enjoy a couple quotations below, as well as the link to each review!

“Oh, heaven’s above. Tears hit me from the first chapter.” The review of LoveBytesReviews was moving! A great read into Thomas and Xavier’s relationship!

“Good #LGBT horror is hard to find. So that’s why I’m excited to see Damian Serbu’s latest vampire story coming out. It’s also why I want to share it with you. Gay or straight–you’re sure to get chills with this one.” Rick R. Reed is one of my favorite authors, so this comment especially meant a lot!

E. M. Hamill is a fellow NineStar Press author and prolific reviewer, with these kind words: “I did enjoy the twist of an historical figure being a vampire, and the major plot twist I suspected after a while, but it was very well done.”

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Oscars Time

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that, every year, Paul and I watch all of the Academy Awards Best Picture nominees. I like to post my ranking of them, despite being an amateur movie goer and having no credentials to do so other than I like to do it. 🙂 So, here goes!

“Bohemian Rhapsody”: I loved this portrayal of Mercury, which grounded the viewer in his humanity even after he became a superstar. Superb acting and a pleasure to watch, so much so you’d never know the crazy story behind getting it made, and finally out to the public. Engrossing, lively, and emotional.

“Black Panther”: The snooty Academy finally got, or maybe was pressured and guilted into, including a “popular” movie in the Best Picture category. One of my favorite superhero movies, it deserved the acknowledgment. It was so popular because it was so extraordinarily well done.

“The Favourite”: Definitely the most quirky of the nominees this year! Funny and sad, psychotic and mesmerizing. I was especially impressed with the use of camera angles, blurring, and other techniques to give a sense of mood beyond just watching the actors or setting. Speaking of the acting – wow! Three absolutely amazing performances.

“Vice”: Despite some of his less than wholesome manners, Bale knows how to act. He hits it out of the park as Cheney. How they managed to make the story of people seizing power and trying to destroy democracy into a comedy is a talent.

“The Green Book”: Another well acted and authentic story. It’s coming in fifth for me speaks more to the quality of the other films than as a negative for it. I disagree with the criticism it has received for being a feel good film – because it tells a true story and does it well. Still a powerful message and lovely film.

“Roma”: Again with the Hollywood weirdness that it was even an issue this came from Netflix, because it’s a great movie. The mood it sets is powerful, with an intense story. I’m not old school enough to appreciate the black and white filming, though.

“BlacKkKlansman”: The true story here is amazing, and powerful. Intense movie that keeps you tense throughout. Looonngggg preachy scenes put me to sleep, though.

“A Star is Born”: Not the most popular opinion to rank this one last. Cooper and Gaga were grand in it. But did we really need a fourth remake of the same story? How about something original?

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Cover Reveal – The Vampire’s Quest!

I am so excited to reveal the cover art for The Vampire’s Quest! It releases next week, so we’re building up to the moment! Xavier and Thomas can’t wait to share with you the updated and better version of Book II in the Realm of the Vampire Council Series!

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Back at It!

The holidays are over – for me, I officially declare an end to the holiday season when I put away all my Christmas decorations, including 14 trees, Christmas dishes, and anything else holiday related. That happened last weekend, and thus reality has returned.

With that, a quick update on my current activities:

Most urgently, we are in the final stages of editing The Vampire’s Quest for publication/re-release in February with NineStar Press. As many of you know, this is the second book in my vampire series, The Realm of the Vampire Council. As with The Vampire’s Angel, this will constitute an updated, streamlined, and I think better overall version. I am excited to share it with you!

I also plan to re-release Secrets in the Attic, a ghost story that eventually merged with the vampire series in book three. This revamp is so radical, I think the name will need to change. My goal is to get something to NineStar later this spring to see if they would like to publish it. So between getting The Vampire’s Quest ready to go and its publicity, this rewrite will get most of my attention.

However, in addition, it’s time to dive into something new and original. My brain is having a major fight between starting the next book by Simon the Elf and the fifth book in the vampire series. We’ll see who wins, because right now it’s a dead heat!

Onward!

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Holiday Reflection 2018

Hi, Everyone,

At this time of year, I like to use my final blog to convey holiday wishes and reflect on the previous year. I’ll avoid a shameless plug or offering of information about my various projects. Instead, I wish you and yours a peaceful time of year.

2018 proved more difficult for me than an average year. It started a year ago, when my father died. While his advanced age and suffering from dementia hardly made it a surprise, it nonetheless carried with it the shock and sadness of losing a wonderful, loving man. The mourning carried throughout the year, and even now I glance around my house at Christmas decorations he crafted for me and tears of love, joy, and loss fill my eyes. The accompanying transition to life without him, especially with helping mom move to her new pension plan, brought A TON more stress than my worst dreams anticipated. As I hope for good things in this blog, at the same time I am reserving a special place in hell for Aon Hewitt and what they did to mom. It was resolved in the end, but not without a serious amount of tumult. Fuckers.

Additionally, work for Paul and me was more trying than usual. Again, nothing too extraordinary, and in the end things smoothed out and appear headed in much better directions. But it was a roller coaster ride, to say the least.

There were other unusual stressors, but I’ll end this misery with saying I wish 2018 farewell, and none too soon.

Yet I find myself at peace as I look outside at the cold and wake to the dark chill of winter mornings. Thankful that The Vampire’s Angel was republished, and that Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon and Santa is a Vampire came out. Happy that we have good health in my family for now. That we’re surrounded by loving family and friends adds to my joy. Akasha and Chewbacca continue to center me with their living in the moment and unconditional love.

Wherever you are, whatever the travails of your time right now, I send my best wishes and positive energy. With all the hate and anger in the world, I try to contribute my bit of love to all of you. Please do the same for those around you.

Happy Holidays! Damian

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Christmas Reads

Hey, All,

Happy Holidays! I hope the season finds you at peace. I want to focus today on some holidays reads, to help you set the mood, escape from holiday realities, or further escalate your partying through the season!

Of course, SANTA IS A VAMPIRE hit the shelves! I am enjoying the reactions to it. They are very mixed, but I anticipated as much because this is a very dark tale, mingled with a juvenile sense of humor. I love my book, but its “taste” is not for everyone. Which makes me giggle, because Santa and Simon like to stir it up – good, bad, or somewhere between. If you want some horror and humor in your holiday, please read! If you’re easily offended, you may want to skip this one. To get a taste for it, please read an interview I did with Gareth Johnson at MeansHappy.com!

But, either way, please check out my fellow NineStar Press authors who also came out with some holiday fun. NineStar does amazing things, and there are a lot of impressive titles to add to your holiday reading enjoyment. Please read them here: NineStar Press Holiday Reads!  I’d like to highlight a couple, if you’ll indulge me. Kevin Klehr has a New Year’s story coming Dec. 10th: Midnight Angel.  Felicia Doherty Zawadzki comes at you with Sugar Cookies and Mistletoe! Riina Y.T. adds Paradise Lodge for us. And . . . there are a lot more in the link to NineStar seasonal books.

Season’s Greetings! Watch out for Santa and Simon. If you see them, your holidays will take a serious turn for the worse.

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Now Available!

Just a quick note: yeah – Santa is a Vampire hit the shelves, so to speak on Monday. I am super excited to share this twisted tale with you for the holidays.

Warning: it’s not at all like my usual stuff. This has horror – raw and untamed and not okay. And it’s mixed with juvenile and silly humor. A weird combo, but one I enjoy. So when you read it, here’s the number one rule: do NOT take anything seriously here. Nothing!

And join me on Friday, Nov. 30th at 6:30 last City Lit Books in Chicago (2523 N. Kedzie Ave.) for a reading and signing!

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