Naked. Space. Vampires.

The headline should tell you all you need to know. But for those of you out there reading this who don’t know me personally, vampires are kinda my thing. I love vampire fiction, I love vampire movies, I write vampire books. I can’t tell you how many vampire films grace this list. Maybe I should count them. The last entry in the series covered vampire movies from Hammer Films. Tonight, I offer something completely different.

MV5BMTU4MTMxOTQyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzU1NDk0NA@@._V1_59. Lifeforce
1985

Steve Railsback stars as an astronaut who brings back three naked space vampires, two male and one females. Directed by Tobe Hooper of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame, this film combines science fiction and horror in a way not seen before or since. Mathilda May plays the leader of the trio of deep space bloodsuckers. Okay, well, they don’t drink blood, they drain the “life force” of their victims. Same difference.

Patrick Stewart also stars as scientists and government officials try to discern the invaders’ end game and try to stave off a global apocalypse.

May, who was all of 20 years old when this was released, and her compatriots are inexplicably nude throughout most the film. This seems to distract the authorities and May is able to mesmerize Railsback’s character. Loud, different, stylish and influential, Lifeforce is much more than naked space vampires running around London. But who really cares?

MV5BMjEwMTE5MDY5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjY0ODM3Mg@@._V1_58. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
1931

This was a big year for horror on the big screen as Universal’s Dracula and Frankenstein captivated audiences. At the same time, Frederic March was bringing Robert Louis Stevenson’s creation to life thanks to Paramount. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, and also starring Miriam Hopkins, this movie stays acceptably close to the source material. Countless attempts have been made over the years to adapt this story to the cinema with varying degrees of success and twists and takes. I believe this is the best of the batch and it’s March’s transformation from mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll into the animalistic, almost demonic, Mr. Hyde that makes this go. One of the things I find interesting is how much science fiction is intertwined with Gothic horror.

One of the things in recent movies that drives me nuts is the portrayal of Mr. Hyde as some Incredible Hulk-type character, larger and stronger than normal human beings, with supernatural strength and muscles on top of muscles. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Van Helsing are guilty of this. Hyde’s strength comes from his cruelty and rage, not physical size. He is repulsive and repugnant, yet indescribable.

I rarely read books more than once. Not that I am against it, it’s just that my to-be-read pile would give Jack’s beanstalk a run for its money. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the few novels/novellas I make an exception for.

MV5BZmE2ODFlZjctOWZlZi00MGVkLTk5NDctYWZmMWQyOTczNjYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzkwMjQ5NzM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,673,1000_AL_57. 30 Days of Night
2007

I don’t know about you, but I like my vampires bloodthirsty. I like them homicidal. I like them violent. Anne Rice created the sympathetic, romantic vampire. Her books have sold millions of copies and have captivated readers for decades. I am a fan. And there is plenty of murder and mayhem in her stories. However, all manner of romantic vamps now fill the shelves of the “Teen Paranormal Romance” (yes, this is a thing) section of your local bookstore.

Left to my own devices, I prefer vampires more like the ones in 30 Days of Night. Based on the comic book/graphic novel series, a pack of vampires discovers it stays dark in Alaska for a whole month. The bloodsuckers descend on a small town and terrorize the local residents. Josh Hartnett plays the town’s sheriff who, along with his estranged wife (the regional fire inspector) and a small resistance band, try to prevent the extinction of their neighbors. And, oh yeah, try to survive themselves.

This is the first film featuring Josh Hartnett that I actually liked. Melissa George and her capped teeth play the estranged wife. Hollywood legend John Huston’s son Danny (American Horror Story) plays the leader of the vampires.

I like this because there is no pretense. You don’t feel for the vampires, you don’t sympathize or empathize with them. They are ruthless. They arrive in this town for one reason – the human blood smorgasbord. They are cruel and they don’t give a damn. Just stay away from the horrendous direct-to-video sequel. George is replaced as Stella and Kiele Sanchez just doesn’t fly in the role.

MV5BZmI1ODg4MjYtY2U4NS00NTRlLWJlMDEtYjY2YzJkNWVhMDdiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,641,1000_AL_56. Prince of Darkness
1987

Do you have Satan in a can? Well, you better let him out. Har-dee-har-har. Devil concentrate is what we have here in this Donald Pleasence vehicle written and directed by John Carpenter.  A group of researchers investigate a mysterious canister that just happens to contain … Satan?

It may sound like a ludicrous premise, but the mix of science and religion and strong performances from Pleasence (as usual), Victor Wong, Dirk Blocker (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Lisa Blount, plus a cast of deranged, possessed vagrants, makes this a thoroughly creepy, watchable movie. It is a bit of a slow burn, but it’s worth it.

If you like John Carpenter and 1980s horror, this one is definitely worth your time.

 

 

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Location Scouting After the Fact

28378878_2118480761715835_7165442581970501822_n
The Sutro Baths ruins near Ocean Beach along the Great Highway in San Francisco.

As much as I like to say that it is not a substitute for actual research, Google is a wonderful thing for all kinds of things. Maps, satellite and street view have been especially helpful to me as I embark on this new vocation as a novelist. However, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned location scouting.

Several people who have read my debut novel, The Dark Truth, have asked about my settings and locations. The story is set in modern-day San Francisco and many of the sites are real. I have used Google maps extensively as I have plotted my characters movements. In truth, I have made up very few establishments and businesses. I think in two dimensions. This has always limited my graphic and artistic endeavors. I could never be a 3D animator. I’m not sure if I could ever be a world builder either.  My favorite Stephen King stories take place in fictional towns, with fictional streets and houses, and such. I fly by the seat of my pants when I write fiction. This seems to require too much planning.

I make up businesses and whatnot when the plot or the story demands. The Dark Truth in The Dark Truth is a fictional dance club that I conjured on O’Farrell Street in San Francisco. However, 98 percent of the story takes place in the real, actual, physical world you can visit today.

Numerous places in the story were inspired by a photo gallery I found on the official web site for the San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate.com. It was a gallery of images of abandoned places in Northern California and numerous images spoke to me as great hiding places for a vampire. I wrote about the inspiration for the title of The Dark Truth in a post on my official web site not that long ago.

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No spoilers! Those of you who have read The Dark Truth know what happens here.

In the SFGate photo gallery, I came across Sutro Baths. The photos were stunning and I decided to use this as the location for the climax of the story. If you can call looking at photos and Google satellite and street view “sight unseen,” I wrote the scene without actually visiting Sutro Baths.

This past weekend, I had the occasion to check it out and to be honest, I did pretty well in my descriptions and I was further convinced that I made the right choice for the scene. Now, I did miss some key details you can only observe by visiting. I may have to bring the story back to this spot. A hike along the Coastal Trail has me thinking about all kinds of delicious possibilities for the third book in the series, The Dark Terror.

A similar location scout, albeit ahead of time or in the middle of, helped me write several scenes in the second book, The Dark Descent. I did not plan on making Golden Gate Park a major location, but after a site visit, I couldn’t help but expand the park’s significance in the story. The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood also features prominently in The Dark Descent, and a location scout really helped me capture the flavor and claustrophobia of the area.

Bram Stoker wrote the Transylvania scenes for Dracula without visiting the region, rather relying on the equivalent of the venerable Fodor’s Travel Guide and travelers’ descriptions of the Carpathian Mountains and rural Romania for background material. By all accounts, Stoker did a pretty good job of describing his vampire’s ancestral home.

As good as modern tools are for research and inspiration, there is no substitute for actual location scouting and I will endeavor to do as much as possible as my career as a novelist continues.

Those of you who have read The Dark Truth can now see where the climax takes place and hopefully visualize and understand that scene, and hopefully agree with my choice.

Another Step in the Writing Journey

TheDarkDescent2_850I will never get tired of the milestones in my journey as a novelist. From first deciding to attempt a novel-length story, the query process, the editing and cover design to cover unveil, pre-sale and publication day – every announcement carries with it the same measure of excitement. Every time I check off a task or post that accomplishment to social media, I do so with the same fervor.

I finished the principle writing for The Dark Descent the first week of December 2017. After a few weeks of reading it over and editing, I submitted it to my publisher, Trifecta Publishing House, on deadline. The next steps include cover design. Last night, I approved the final cover design for The Dark Descent, the sequel to my debut novel, The Dark Truth. The Dark Descent is Book Two – The Dark Passage Series. I am under contract for three books in this series, and there just might be a fourth.

The Dark Truth went on sale Nov. 20, 2017, and The Dark Descent is due out in April 2018. The third in the series, The Dark Terror is due out February 2019.

I do hope you like the cover, and I hope you buy and enjoy the books as much I enjoy writing them. I have a lot more stories to tell.

 

 

Zombies and Vampires and Authors, Oh My!

Fellow Trifecta Publishing House label mate Mark London Williams joins me on the latest edition of the Get the Knaak podcast. We discuss all manner of undead creatures, his new book, Max Random and the Zombie 500, and my new book, The Dark Truth. And we let you know how to attend our Facebook book release party. Both books drop Monday, and our party is Monday too. You can order both on Amazon.

Win a Signed Copy of The Dark Truth

My debut novel, The Dark Truth, drops in a week and a half on Monday, Nov. 20, but I am giving away three signed copies on Goodreads. Hit the link in the widget to find out how to enter to win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Truth by Jerry Knaak

The Dark Truth

by Jerry Knaak

Giveaway ends November 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

One-Book Deal Becomes Three-Book Deal

Depositphotos_31421485_originalI am extremely excited to announce a major development in my vocation as a novelist. Seven months ago, an indie publisher took a chance on me and agreed to publish my debut novel – “The Dark Truth.” I purposely wrote the story as a cliffhanger, with at least a sequel in mind, possibly more. Earlier this evening, I signed a contract for the next two books in what is now known as “The Dark Passage Series.”

The Dark Truth is available for pre-order now, with official release Nov. 20.
The Dark Descent is due out in April 2018
The Dark Terror is due out in March 2019

Thank you to Trifecta Publishing House for their faith in me and locking me up for a three-book deal.

Here are all of the links to pre-order my debut novel, “The Dark Truth.” And once again, thank you to everyone who already has.

Amazon Trade Paperback
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Trade Paperback
Smashwords e-book
Kobo e-book
iTunes e-book

Be sure to visit my official web site, and my author page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter, for updates.

Clarification: A Dream About to Come True

22237098_10212510335852055_114300165_nLast night’s headline was a bit misleading. It made it sound like my dream of becoming a novelist, a published author had almost come true. That’s a bit of a misnomer. The dream is about to come true. The book is now available for pre-order. The dream will be fully realized when I have my author copies in hand – which should be within the next two weeks.

The pre-sale for “The Dark Truth” has gotten off the ground early. The trade paperback hit Amazon last night, two e-book retailers posted it last night as well. The trade paperback went live on Barnes & Noble some time this morning, and Amazon Kindle version went up in the last 24 hours. It went live on iTunes this morning as well.

Here are all of the links to pre-order my debut novel, “The Dark Truth.” Thank you to everyone who already has.

Amazon Trade Paperback
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Trade Paperback
Smashwords e-book
Kobo e-book
iTunes e-book

Be sure to visit my official web site, and my author page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter, for updates.

A Dream Almost Come True

22237098_10212510335852055_114300165_nEver since I wrote “The End” eight months ago, it seemed like publication date was forever away. Even as fast as I earned a publishing contract in less than a week from the first publisher I queried, the process looked like a winding road with an end I couldn’t see. When I was given a February release date, I was a bit surprised. I had done some reading and research on the production process and I had an idea of how long it might take. I wasn’t upset or anything, just a bit surprised. But, I trusted my publisher’s process and judgment.

But then, when I got word that my wonderful publisher, Trifecta Publishing House, was ahead of schedule and that they wanted to move it up, I was ecstatic. Oct. 25 pre-sale and Nov. 20 release – all of a sudden my mental time frame was sped up.  Today would have marked 11 days until the start of the pre-sale and I had been working an online, public relations calendar, social media strategy counting it down.

Well, the pre-sale started TODAY! You can order the trade paperback from Amazon right now.

When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I thought maybe I’d write a novel someday. I’ve always idolized writers and I have always wanted a seat at that table. I am mere weeks away from having my debut novel in my hands.

Warm up that seat fellow published authors, I’m a-comin’.

The Dark Truth: Book One – The Dark Passage Series is available for pre-order now on Amazon, and will be available through other retailers soon. Be sure to visit my author page on Amazon as well. The e-book is currently available for pre-order on Kobo.

I hope you give The Dark Truth a whirl and join me on this deliciously dark ride through the macabre.

“The Dark Truth” Revealed Soon

Depositphotos_31421485_originalI’ve been trying to keep so many things separate yet they all bleed and run together. To be honest, I don’t know how I have been able to keep them all straight. I have written several thousand words for work projects, I finally got around to writing a blog entry about my travel running exploits, and have shared a few updates on the progress of debut novel and associated promotions and marketing on my Facebook author page and official web site. So, I thought I would update those of you who may have missed those updates on those other electronic channels.

Much progress has been made on “The Dark Truth” in the past 10 days or so. Since it was sent to the formatter, it has since been sent back to Trifecta Publishing House, returned for adjustments, sent back to Trifecta, and has been passed on to me in three different formats – generic ePub, Kindle and the print PDF.

TheDarkTruth3_1700All I can really say is that it looks stunning. From the font/roman numerals for the chapter headings to the art for those headings, there are some overt and subtle touches that make this book something I am extremely proud of.

There is more news about my budding vocation as a novelist coming soon, including an update on the sequel to “The Dark Truth,” “The Dark Descent,” a series title, and how many stories in this universe you can expect.

If the past two weeks are any indication, that news is going to come fast.

Just a reminder, “The Dark Truth” will be available for purchase Wednesday, Oct. 25, and will be released Monday, Nov. 20. I’ll be sure to drop all the appropriate links as soon as they’re available.

And in case you didn’t know, here is what it’s all about.

A Night Out

San Francisco PR pro Elizabeth Rubis reluctantly agrees to a night out on the town. Little does she know that her life will be altered forever as childhood night terrors come to life.

A Face in the Window

Elizabeth’s deepest, darkest fears crawl out of the inky blackness as her lifelong tormentor is revealed during a rare Northern California thunderstorm. A hallucination in the raindrops proves to be an evil, yet familiar entity.

A Baptism in Blood

Fueled by hatred for her tormentor, Elizabeth cuts a bloody swath across the San Francisco Bay Area in a desperate quest for revenge. No one is safe from her rage, not even her friends and family.

 

“The Dark Truth” Release Date Announced

TheDarkTruth3_1700The train left the station back in March and it continues to roll on toward the release of my debut novel, The Dark Truth. Approximately three weeks ago, my publisher (Trifecta Publishing House) informed me that they were going to move my release date up from February 2018 to November of this year. Of course I was thrilled. Earlier this evening, I was given the official release and pre-sale dates.

I am happy and proud to announce that The Dark Truth will be released November 20, 2017, with the pre-sale getting underway October 25 (just in time for one of my favorite days of the year – Halloween)! And the book will be out the week of Thanksgiving, so it’ll make a great Black Friday purchase for you or a loved one.

The Dark Truth will be available in trade paperback and e-book. I’ll have more information in the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Give the gift of vampires this holiday season!

Here is a peek at the text from the back cover:

A Night Out

San Francisco PR pro Elizabeth Rubis reluctantly agrees to a night out on the town. Little does she know that her life will be altered forever as childhood night terrors come to life.

A Face in the Window

Elizabeth’s deepest, darkest fears crawl out of the inky blackness as her lifelong tormentor is revealed during a rare Northern California thunderstorm. A hallucination in the raindrops proves to be an evil, yet familiar entity.

A Baptism in Blood

Fueled by hatred for her tormentor, Elizabeth cuts a bloody swath across the San Francisco Bay Area in a desperate quest for revenge. No one is safe from her rage, not even her friends and family.