Diabolic Tube Nosed Bat

Murina beelzebub!!

2012 was a year of many things, but among the highlights is the discovery of this new species of bat.

Commonly known (for those in the know) as the Diabolic Tube-nosed Bat, this adorable little mammal has the Latin name of Murina beelzebub. It lives in tropical Vietnam, and belongs to the family known as Vespertillonidae or Vesper Bats.

Discovered in 2011, “We chose the name Beelzebub to reflect the dark ‘diabolic’ coloration of the new species and its fierce protective behaviour in the field,” Gabor Csorba, of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, said in a statement.

How cool is that?

Beelzebub

http://www.mammalsociety.org/murina-beelzebub-1933

Vampires for All Tastes~A Very Bloody Happy Hour of Horrors

Some of my favorite people, lovers of horror and freaks extraordinaire, are down on vampires lately. They are anti-Twilight-saga, over Anne Rice, tired of trends. But I say “BAH!” Vampires are IMMORTAL and therefore IMMORTALLY popular.  Take, for instance, the glorious vampires  of movie fame, including Bela Lugosi, those beloved Lost Boys, and that creepy little girl from Let the Right One In. And vampire stories have been churned out for centuries including Polidori’s The Vampyre and Viereck’s The House of the Vampire, not to mention the searingly sexy and somewhat taboo story Clarimonde.  And we all know and love Bram Stoker!

You can get my vampire collection, available as digital bookiewooks for your devices, for the low, low price of $1.99-2.99, including haunting cover photos and intros by this vampophile. And for your convenience I’ve sorted them by vampire-loving topics, in case you aren’t sure. You probably would like them all, of course.

So check the mirror for your reflection, dim the lights, drape yourself in some velveteen and grab the ingredients for a Bloody Mary to celebrate a rainy wintery weekend with vamps, Varla, and vodka!

The Vampyre: A Tale by Varla Ventura and John William Polidori. Best for traditionalists, fans of Frankenstein and Lord Byron, historians.

Amazon

B&N

Dracula’s Guest by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker Best for classic vampires.

Amazon

B&N

B&N

Clarimonde by Varla Ventura and Théophile Gautier Best for necrophiliacs, priests, sexy vampires.

Amazon

The House of the Vampire by Varla Ventura and George Sylvester Viereck Best for psychic vampires.

Amazon

B&N

Here’s a fun adaptation of a Bloody Mary, which is veg friendly, for all you blood thirsty vegans out there.  What I think is key here is the lime instead of lemon, a dash of Sriracha  and the spicy garnish. I tweaked this recipe from Food.com:

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces tomato juice, but V-8 is best because it has extra salt and is yummier
  • 2 limes (most people put lemon juice but I just think lime is better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (get the Vegetarian kind so even your socially conscious drinking pals can enjoy! You can also make a Vegetarian version yourself, following this Martha Stewart recipe)
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce AND a dash of Sriracha.
  • pepper, fresh ground
  • salt, chunky sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish (optional–and frankly I think the Sriracha gives it all the kick it needs!)
  • Garnish: I like a pickled Serrano peppers, or pepperoncinis, or pickled green beans AND a couple of olives. It’s nice to get some kind of swizzle stick to stab these things on–like a Bat swizzle stick.

Directions:

  1. Rub lemon or lime around rim of glass and then put the rim in salt.
  2. Add ice to glass.
  3. Mix Vodka, tomato juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, Sriracha,  salt, pepper, and horseradish (if using) and pour in glass.
  4. Garnish as mentioned above.
  5. DRINK it fast and make another.

The Immortal Bram Stoker

Born on November 8th, 1847  Bram Stoker would be 165 today if he were as immortal as his famous vampire. Though his name is synonymous with his 1897 novel Dracula, Stoker authored several other novels and creepy little short stories. As part of a series of digital books I’ve curated about Magical Creatures, I’ve included a gripping short story,  Dracula’s Guest, as well as the more obscure short story, The Burial of Rats. Both come from a collection of stories published by his loving widow two years after his death.
Stoker had plans to publish several short story collections, and these stories–part of the first collection–were yet to be edited. His widow chose to publish them as he left them on his desk. And if this is his “raw” work, any of us who fancy ourselves writers would be humbled by the notion. He is as stunning a writer in his shorter works as in his epic novels.

You can buy them now for you kindle, nook, or other e-reading device. Less than $3 and you can be the judge.

The Burial of the Rats by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker (Amazon) (B&N)

Dracula’s Guest by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker (Amazon) (B&N)

Banned Books: Frankenstein

Mary W.  Shelley, feminist and banned book author

Did you know this is Banned Books Week? I love books, especially banned ones! I say any book someone says you shouldn’t read just makes me want to read it more!

My favorite Banned Book of all time is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. She started the story when she was 18 and it was published when she was just 21. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley’s name appears on the second edition, published in France in 1823.

From wikipedia: The storyline emerged from a dream. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for weeks about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made. She then wrote Frankenstein.

Check out my post about Polidori here: The Vampyre, A Tale

Banned! Because it proposed man as God. Banned! Because Shelly’ was a feminist and forward-thinker.

What is your favorite Banned Book?

Check out this link to read about the latest additions: http://bannedbooksweek.org/

What is your favorite Banned Book? Click this link to find out some of the latest titles on the list.

Banned! Because it proposed man as God. Banned! Because Shelly’ was a feminist and forward-thinker.

Church of Mabus and Varla’s House of Horrors

Just had a great interview with Jeffery Pritchett. Jeffery  is the host of The Church Of Mabus Show “bringing you high strange stories from professionals in the carousel of fields surrounding the paranormal.”

Read about hospital horrors, magical creatures, psychic premonitons, and body snatchers~

Interview on Examiner dot com, Varla Ventura on Real Life Horrors

This video explains how to write a successful horror story by keeping your reader gripped and always wanting to know what's in store for the characters.

Who’s That Knocking on my Coffin Lid? Vampires, Magical Creatures Part Three

Lovers of True Blood, Dracula devotees, and Twilight tweens: I offer you the ancient vamps of my Magical Creatures series!

These are the stories that Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice read when they were but wee babes, suckling on their mothers (or the  neck of their mother). These are the groundwork stories about vampirism, both horrific, romantic, and psychic.

Currently available exclusively as e-books, these are found volumes of forgotten lore (many a quaint and curious tale!) and cover the realm of such creepy and cool beings as goblins, werewolves, vampires, banshees, mermaids, and phookas, to name but a few.

(If the response is positive on these little e-beasts, I’ll be expanding them into book form!!)

Horror devotees will recall the story of the infamous gathering at a lake house outside of Geneva, Switzerland in the summer of 1816 where a small party celebrated the settling darkness by reading ghost stories aloud to one another. Present were the host, Lord Byron, and his guests: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Shelley) and her sister, and Lord Byron’s physician—John William Polidori. At the prompting of Byron, pens were set to paper to write ghost stories of their own. Here the groundwork was laid for what would become Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a Modern Prometheus. Shelley himself wrote Fragments of a Ghost Story, and Byron wrote something called Fragment of a Novel. This “fragment” became the basis for Polidori’s The Vampyre, A Tale—the first vampire novel published in English, some seventy years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Also in the vampire collection, are two lesser known tales by Bram Stoker: Burial of the Rats and Dracula’s Guest. Both were part of a collection of stories that Stoker had been working on but never published. After his death, his widow decided they were fit for print and submitted them to his publisher in 1914. And Théophile Gautier’s Clarimonde is by far one of the most controversial vampire stories from the early 19th Century. A would-be priest begins to doubt his path and his God when he meets (by chance?) fair Clarimonde. I won’t give it all away but this is some necromantic romance at its best! And finally, George Sylvester Viereck’s 1907 short story The House of the Vampire was the first novel to introduce psychic vampires.

You can purchase these little digital gems following the links below:

The Vampyre: A Tale by Varla Ventura and John William Polidori (Amazon) (B&N)

The Burial of the Rats by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker (Amazon) (B&N)

Dracula’s Guest by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker (Amazon) (B&N)

Clarimonde by Varla Ventura and Théophile Gautier (Amazon)

The House of the Vampire by Varla Ventura and George Sylvester Viereck (Amazon) (B&N)

Of Magical Creatures: A Pre-Preview

You may have noticed the question or the requested comment that I’ve asked you, dear readers, to answer for me as part of this Bizarre Giveaway. What is your favorite magical creature? Dear Varla, why-ever do you want to know?

I’ve been working on a series of e-book only books for my publisher, Weiser Books, on the subject of Magical Creatures and we are very pleased to pre-announce that one creature in particular is making it to print early next year. And more will likely be on the way. So your comments are serving as more than a mere factoid–they are helping me help the publisher pick from my menagerie of banshees, werewolves, mermaids, phookas, and other crazy, creepy, cute, crawling creatures of mythical and magical proportions. So stay tuned, weigh in, and write to me about your favorite freaks! And in the meantime, buy my digital books!! Image

Huffington Post Post: Vampires!!!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, here is the link to my Huffington Post post all about vampires and the whole Doctor Polidori freakery, for those of you who didn’t see it on my facebook page.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/varla-ventura/v-is-for-vampire_b_1269712.html

Beware the Scandanavian Christmas Troll!!!

Lock up your daughters. And your sons! No child, strike that, no mortal is safe in the dark hours of Christmas Eve. For there lurks the Christmas troll, drunk on spirits and cavorting with the witches, waiting to trick you into a midnight ride.

Early 20th century author Clement A. Miles was a historian and an amateur anthropologist of sorts. His 1912 collection of Christmas traditions he deemed “both Pagan and Christian” is not just a cross-cultural look at the origins of Santa Claus. Here you will find werewolves, bogeys, and trolls. You will find curses and hexes and imminent death, rituals of the dead and goblin offerings. You will be warned of The Devil and cautioned against laziness. If you are in Bavaria, take heed of the Berchte—a wretched bogey who cuts the stomachs open of naughty children. And at all costs, do not walk outside alone should you ever find yourself in Greece during the Twelve Days of Christmas. For there lurks the most horrid beast of all: the Kallikantzaroi  or Karkantzaroi, a horrid half-human, half-animal monstrosity that plays tricks and ravages households, often leaving the occupants dead. Some say it is a mortal man transformed into a beastly creature, others say it is manifested from the supernatural beyond.

If you want to learn more about these horrifying hellhounds of Yule, join me on Friday the 23rd of December, at 10pm PST on Coast to Coast where George Noory and I will speak of things evil and strange, quirky and creepy, funny and festive!

Coast to Coast is a live show that you can listen to via your local AM radio station. Visit their website for a list of stations and times. And don’t forget, you can call in with your own tales of terror!! Open lines in the second hour.

Another Feast for the Freaks

As we all roll out of bed on this post-Thanksgiving Monday morning, possibly still clutching our guts in regret of the pie-we-ate-that-lasted-too-long, we can have a nice snack from an entirely different table. Dive into the juicy tidbits on this wonderful site The Magical Buffet. Lots of fun things, but of course you know I am shamelessly linking directly to my interview with the founder Rebecca Elson.

http://themagicalbuffet.com/blog1/2011/11/27/10-questions-with-varla-ventura/

Varla