Category Archives: speculative fiction

Melodie Romeo

Interview with Melodie Romeo, author of Tribute in Blood

Melodie Romeo is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms. Romeo is a retired schoolteacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Melodie writes historical fiction/romances and historical horror/thrillers. She has gained success under the pen name Edale Lane for historical lesbian romances such as Heart of Sherwood and the Night Flyer Trilogy.

In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.

Melodie Romeo
Melodie Romeo

INTERVIEW

Share about yourself

I am an active mother and grandmother, retired history teacher, former farmer, former music director, karate student, lifelong musician, who enjoys gardening, loves animals, and will never learn enough to satisfy my thirst for knowledge. I like to play fantasy role-playing computer games and lie back with a bowl of popcorn for a good movie. I’ve lived in a number of different places and experienced a diverse and exciting life, much of it shared with my fantastic partner. The best part is that I’ve got forty more years to go!

Share about your work

Currently, I am an author of historical fiction novels who also runs my own personal trucking business as an over-the-road truck driver. However, I hope to soon be earning enough from book sales that I can transition to being a full-time author. I write under two names: Melodie Romeo for darker historical fiction and horror that usually features a MF romance, and Edale Lane for female protagonist driven tales of alternative historical fiction with a FF romance.

Tell us about your writing style

I try to employ a balanced writing style, with description, dialogue, action, suspense, romance, and a positive theme all blended into the pages. I engage in extensive research for my work to make it as realistic as possible. And while some of my horror works are disturbing or have less than satisfactory endings, I mostly gravitate toward that “happily ever after” conclusion. When I finish reading a book, I want to feel good, so I try to give that to my readers.

What do you find challenging about the writing life?

First is finding time to write with a 70 hour a week day job. Next was the publishing challenge. Major publishers won’t take authors without an established following, and small presses have an unfortunate penchant for going out of business. I eventually cleared that hurdle by starting Past and Prologue Press.

If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?

If I could, I would sit in a comfy chair in a castle in Scotland overlooking the sea, rolling meadows out the opposite window, with my laptop open typing away.  

When asked to set goals, what do you see for yourself or current WIP in five years with your writing?

With the third book of my Night Flyer Trilogy about to be released in December, I am gearing up for a number of new story ideas to explore. This year I was fortunate enough to complete 3 novels and renovate and re-release my first published work. In five years I hope to be an established writer earning enough from book sales to quit my “day job” as an over-the-road truck driver.

What are you reading right now?

“The Eye of Heaven” by Clive Cussler and Russell Blake

Who is your favorite author?

One? Surely you jest! As a youth, it was John Steinbeck and Edgar Allan Poe. Now I add Amanda Quick, J.D. Robb, Brandon Sanderson, and Bernard Cornwell to a list that must include J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling. Can I just say that C. S. Lewis is my favorite? 

Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author.

Two things – edit, edit, edit, hire an editor if necessary. And don’t give up. You write what’s in your heart, and that is something an author is compelled to do. Take classes, online courses, get a mentor, whatever you need to hone your skills, but don’t give up because you get a bad review or someone criticizes your work. Maybe you’ll never be able to give up your day job, but you have a message and you have a voice. That story needs to be told because somewhere out there is a person who needs to hear it. Do what it takes to build your confidence and then let your light shine.

Landscape with old castle at night

ABOUT THE BOOK

Tribute in Blood, a Tale of Vlad the Impaler, by Melodie Romeo

ISBN: 9798668904129

Blurb:

The most terrifying horrors are revealed in the pages of history.

After killing over 100,000 people during his first reign as Prince of Walachia, Vlad has returned, ready to inflict tortuous death on anyone he chooses. Only Nicolae and Maria, drawn together through mutual tragedies both inflicted by the ruthless Prince Dracula, dare try to stop him. Can Nicolae fulfill his plan of justice and revenge while winning the heart of the lovely Maria, or will he become the Impaler’s next victim?

With heart-stopping danger at every turn, detailed historical accuracy combined with fictional characters, and a myriad of surprises, Tribute in Blood is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Order this historical thriller romance today!

Ebook:     https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DK9MKRH

Paperback  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DC5YFTL

Amazon Author pages:

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Pastandprologuepress

Website     https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/tribute-in-blood/

EXCERPT FROM TRIBUTE IN BLOOD

Vapor rose from the black water as Nicolae Anton floated down the Arges River toward the Danube. He came ashore when he thought he was far enough south and headed east through some farming country. Spying a darkened barn, he crept in and wrapped himself in a horse’s blanket to dry. Afraid of being caught there, Nicolae grabbed a handful of the oats which looked mighty good to him by then, crammed them into his pocket, and was on his way. After crossing the Dimbovita River, he found the road to Tirgoviste and followed its path from a safe distance amid the trees and bushes. By mid-afternoon, when he could see the buildings of the city ahead, the exhausted youth took refuge in an old abandoned corn crib and slept.

            In the very early morning, before anyone was out, Nicolae traipsed up the highway leading to the city, his gut churning with nerves. He had been this way several times before when traveling to and from Cozia, but this time something seemed different. A meadow was supposed to lie on that hill to his left, yet tall, grim figures pointed skyward, trailing their tree-like black shadows. Nicolae’s stomach tightened as he veered off the roadway and walked toward the recent growth of forest. Then, as the morning fog rose and shifted, terror seized Nicolae’s heart, and he stopped dead still in his tracks. They were not trees at all, but the corpses of the boyars hanging on high impaling spikes. A new ray of light hit the mist as it lofted up through the skeletal remains, creating a grisly, ghostly aura.

            Nicolae’s hands and knees began to shake as he took in the scope of the scene. Men, women, servants… perhaps four hundred in all… a forest of the impaled… the death of the entire boyar class of Walachia. He wondered about those back at Poenari; was this their fate as well? He gazed on the spectacle before him as though it were an unreal thing, a hellish nightmare, or ghoulish vision. But reality hit when a crow landed on the body nearest him and proceeded to peck at the carrion. “No!” he shouted in horrific despair and disgust. “This did not happen!”

            Nicolae’s heart rate accelerated, his stomach knotted tighter, and his head began to spin. He was forced to drop to the ground and lower his head between his knees lest he pass out. He tried to calm the erratic, shaky breaths, but it was as if all the boyar specters were staring at him, expecting him to free them.

            The youth held his head in his hands until the spinning sensation began to dissipate. Then a burning, driving need overtook his being–he must find his parents. He was compelled to discover if they were here among the impaled. With relentless determination, his searing cobalt eyes set out to find his mother and father. He rose to step, then trot, then run through the ranks of ghastly victims. The sight was repulsive and the odor sickening, but Nicolae removed himself from the horrible surroundings, consumed with singleness of purpose.

            It was not a simple undertaking. The eyes had been pecked out and much of the facial flesh eaten or weathered away. Hair remained a sign on most heads along with the distinctiveness of their dress. Nicolae arrested his memory and demanded that it recall what his parents had been wearing. He closed his eyes and saw them dancing together once again. Yes, of course, he thought as he desperately scanned the scores of bodies. For most, the pikes had been inserted through the buttocks and exited through the back, chest, or mouth, making for a slow and tortuous death that could last hours or days. Others were spiked through the gut or upside-down. One pike had even entered through the victim’s mouth as his bones hung inverted with limps dangling in an unnatural parody. But Nicolae had to shut out these nightmarish horrors to accomplish the task at hand.

            Recognizing clothing would not be easy either. Blacks had become sun bleached and whites turned brownish-gray. The once-bright colors had faded, and strips had been torn from the cloth by wind, rain, and wild animals. The most identifying items would be his mother’s exquisite marama, his father’s light reddish-blond hair, and their jewelry. Most Walachians were Romanian–dark-complected from Mediterranean stock–but his father’s family contained Saxon blood. Nicolae had gotten the light sandy-brown hair color and his sister the red.

            As the sun began to rise higher, Nicolae’s search became more frantic, for he knew he would have to hide soon. As he passed row after row of corpses, he began to have hope that they were not among the dead. All at once he halted in front of a stake. He swallowed hard as his eyes became transfixed with abhorrence, and his ashen face a mask of desperation. His knees quaked as his heart palpitations thundered within his chest. “Mama,” he lamented.

            Nicolae dared to move his eyes to the figure beside her. “Tata,” he uttered in broken-hearted despair. Tears streamed down his face as he sensed his body becoming violently ill. The horror-stricken youth fell to his knees and bent toward the ground emitting dry heaves, for there was no food or drink in his stomach to come up. Their bodies were wasted, picked apart by scavengers, but he knew it was them. Bones protruded through in some places with pale, swollen tissue in others. Ants and flies crawled without and within their rotting forms. It was more than a son could bear to look upon.

            “Oh, God!” he wailed, his face buried in his hands. “Why?” The orphaned youth began to sob uncontrollably, speaking whenever he could form the words. “Didn’t you tell him? You didn’t do it!” Then he felt like his father was right there, staring down at him in a convicting manner. “I tried to save her, Father… I tried,” he moaned between gut-wrenching sobs. “I carried her as long as I could, but I wasn’t strong enough. Oh, God, I tried, but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough!” Then the boy broke down completely and fell upon the ground, recoiling in pain, consumed by agony.

            As time passed, his weeping began to subside, and Nicolae wiped his face. Life returned to him in the form of a newness of purpose. He remembered his father’s last words to him and raised his head to reply. “I survived, Father; I did what you said, and I survived. It is for a reason–I know that–and I will continue to survive. I must leave now, Father, but one day I will return. Then Dracula, that son of the devil, will discover that the plan he devised has failed. He will know that Lord Nicolae of Cozia escaped his purge and I will punish him for what he has done here.” Exhibiting wrought-iron courage, young Nicolae stood on tip-toe and reached up to pull the signet ring from his father’s bony finger. No grave robbers had visited this haunted forest; they knew that the penalty for any crime under Vlad’s reign, even robbing the dead, was punishable by burning, boiling, disemboweling, or impalement. Any tortuous death would do for the cruel, sadistic despot who found amusement in watching his helpless victims die.

            Nicolae tried the ring on, but it was much too large for his emaciated finger. The workers had been fed enough to live, but no more, and the already lanky youth had grown even thinner. So, he thrust the ring deep into his pocket and let out a mournful sigh.             In that instant, Nicolae heard a rustling in the grass behind him. He spun around wide-eyed, clenching his hands into fists. There, among the stakes, he spotted two dogs tugging on either end of a human leg bone. It was a repulsive sight that twisted his stomach and filled the youth with an even stronger loathing of Prince Vlad Dracula, the Impaler. He swallowed hard and with nerves on end uttered through clenched teeth these last words. “If he enjoys death so much, then I will give it to him!” The mist was rapidly dissipating under the warmth of the morning sun when Nicolae Anton turned and fled the forest of the impaled.

About Melodie’s BOOK TOUR!

Melodie Romeo

You can visit her during her tour at these other locations on the web:

Tour Schedule and Activities

11/25  Afshan Hashmi           https://afshanhashmi.com/ Guest Post

11/25  Armed with a Book    http://www.armedwithabook.com Top Ten List

11/25  The Literary Underworld       http://www.literaryunderworld.com          Guest Post

11/26  Writergroupie.net     http://writergroupie.net      Author Interview

11/27  Jazzy Book Reviews    https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/      Author Interview

11/27  Saphhyria’s Books     https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ Guest Post

11/28  Horror Tree    https://www.horrortree.com/         Guest Post

11/29  Sheila Deeth   http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com     Guest Post

11/30  The Seventh Star Blog           http://www.theseventhstarblog.com         Guest  Post

12/1    The Book Lover’s Boudoir     https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpress.com/     Review

12/2    The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy          https://bookwyrmsgalaxy.wordpress.com Top Ten List

Tour Page URL:  https://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/melodie-romeos-tribute-in-blood-blog-tour-page-historical-romance-fantasy/Tour Badge URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/TourGraphic_TributeInBlood.jpg

WGP Ep 65 Thom Reese, Spec Fic Author

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thom-headshot

Thom Reese is the author of the novels, THE INFUSION OF ARCHIE LAMBERT, A SAVAGE DISTANCE, THE DEMON BAQASH, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY, along with the short story collection, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER & MADNESS. The first in the trilogy of novels, THE DRACULA JOURNALS, will be released in fall of 2016. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Several of Thom’s audio dramas have been published on CD and MP3 formats. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home with his wife in Las Vegas, Nevada.

He has also been contracted to write a Dracula Trilogy titled THE DRACULA JOURNALS. These are intended to be sequels to the original Bram Stoker novel with the first acting as both a prequel and a sequel. As with Stoker’s masterpiece the books will be written as a series of journals and correspondences. Unlike Stoker’s novel, Dracula’s own journal will be included, thus allowing the reader to get a glimpse into the vampire’s thoughts and motivations as well as his origins as a vampire.

To get any of Thom’s books simply click the cover!

The Demon Baqash

Dead Man’s Fire

13 Bodies: Seven Tales of Murder & Madness

In this episode we learn:

Show Notes

    • Thom tells us about his radio drama experience
    • Short discussion about turning books into movies
    • Thom’s experiences as a writer and how he found his publisher
    • We discuss briefly a bit about Kurt Mueller and Speaking Volumes, his publisher, and you can find them here
    • Details about Thom’s genre, speculative fiction, and exactly where he thinks he would be in a bookstore, and what cross-genre books have to contend with
    • (We had a glitch in the audio at this time and some of the info got repeated-sorry!) Thom tells us about his most recent work, Infusion of Archie Lambert
    • Insider Details: Thom’s most difficult part of the writing life, marketing
    • Thom’s love of story creation and especially character development

and his BEST advice for aspiring authors!

Listen to my writing news info, personal update, and the AUDIO ONLY version of the interview here:

You can find Thom online at:

Speaking Volumes Website: http://www.speakingvolumes.us/authors/thom-reese/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/thom.reese.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThomReese @thomreese
Amazon: Thom Reese’s page on Amazon

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