Tomorrow, Saturday the 14th, I’m signing books at Dark Delicacies alongside one of my childhood idols, Lara Parker, who played Angelique on the original Dark Shadows, and I’m just a wee bit giddy about it. Woohoo! I get to sit next to Angelique! Very little arouses my inner fangirl, but this sure does!
Dark Shadows came on when I was in elementary school. Because it had a spooky feel I raced home to watch it every day. At first, I hung in with the series simply because gothically spooky old Collinwood looked like it should be full of ghosts, but when vampire Barnabus Collins was introduced – quickly followed by witches (Angelique!), ghosts (Quentin!), werewolves and all sorts of other delights – I was well and truly hooked.
Dark Shadows touched every facet of my life. From earliest childhood I could never get enough of ghosts and folklore, and this show fed me more and more variations, frequently sending me on library adventures to research whatever the occult theme of the month was. Thanks to Dark Shadows I knew about things like witchcraft, the I Ching and tarot at a very tender age. I wrote my own Dark Shadows (and Star Trek) “novels” by night, and even wrote my first satires using those series. I even became more interested in my piano lessons because I loved the song, “Quentin’s Theme,” and worked out a sweepingly long version on my own before finally finding the sheet music. I figured out “Josette’s Theme ,too and made my music teacher proud. Too bad I wouldn’t practice anything else. (Except The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer,” which became my personal theme the first time I heard it. That hasn’t changed – some things never do.)
But back to Dark Shadows. While my soon-to-burgeon hormones couldn’t get enough of Quentin Collins, my favorite character was Angelique, the beautiful witch with an spell to grind with Barnabus and Quentin. My mother made me such a beautiful Angelique gown for Halloween that I wore it two years in a row – I never do anything twice. How does Dark Shadows impact my life these days? Well, I’m thoroughly hooked on the Johnny Depp Dark Shadows movie – it’s pastiche made with love and my favorite character is Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Ms. Pfeiffer has every movement of Joan Bennett’s original down pat. She shows her love of the original. And I often incorporate names from Dark Shadows into my books, usually using them for minor chararacters. Why? Makes me smile and it’s kind of a tip of the hat and most definitely a thank you for all the inspiration the original show gave me. Overall, that show informs my work; it was a huge influence in my life.
And now I get to sit next to Lara Parker! She’s signing her new book, Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising. At my other side is horror great, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, signing her new Saint-Germaine novel, Night Pilgrims. Quinn is an official Living Legend of horror, and knighted in Romania. We met before my first Chris Curry novel was even on the stands, when she invited me to take over as HWA treasurer back around 1990. We instantly became and have remained close friends. Also at the table is Amber Benson, Tara of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who will be signing the 2014 Buffy calendar. What can I say about Buffy? One of the best-written shows, ever!
I feel like a kid in a horror candy story! I hope, if you’re in the vicinity of Dark Delicacies (On Magnolia a couple short blocks east of Hollywood Way) you can stop in and say howdy and maybe even pick up some signed books tomorrow. All of my in-print books will be available. The new ones are The Sorority (in a trade paperback omnibus at last), the Halloween-themed Bad Things, the town-full-of-ghosts tale, The Forgotten, and my Jack the Ripper whodunnit, Eternity. (Betcha can’t guess the ending.) Also available in small quantity are last year’s releases, Haunted (skeptical horror writer buys a haunted house), Moonfall (Halloween-themed featuring evil nuns wreaking havoc in a place very similar to the apple-growing tourist town of Oak Glen, California) and Candle Bay, all about the Darlings, a family of neurotic vampires. (I’m currently finishing up the sequel!)
If you would like signed or personalized books but can’t make it, just go to http://darkdel.com and click “Signings/Events” up in the left corner. Then choose your books. Haunted, Candle Bay, and Moonfall aren’t listed, but if you’d like one of those, just add them in in the notes section at the bottom of the invoice. (This is also where you specify your personalizations.) Those three books are still just $4.99 a piece.
Happy haunting and I hope to see you tomorrow!