I’m thrilled to feature friend and author Tina Frisco as my guest today, and to introduce her newly released book, Vampyrie.
Tina is a beautiful soul whose compassion for humanity shows up in her words in all of her writing. Tina is a spiritual person who advocates for kindness and many causes for animal and human rights and justice. You can visit Tina at her blog TinaFrisco.com where you will find many inspirational posts. Tina has many accolades to her credit. She is a registered nurse, a singer/songwriter, an activist, a student of Shamanism, author of Plateau, Gabby and the Quads, and now her newest book, Vampyrie.
About Tina Frisco:
Tina Frisco is an author, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, and student of shamanism. Born in Pennsylvania USA, she attended nursing school in New York and lives in California. She began writing as a young child and received her first guitar at age 14, which launched her passion for music and songwriting. She has performed publicly in many different venues. Her publishing history includes book reviews, essays, articles in the field of medicine, her début novel – Plateau, her children’s book – Gabby and the Quads, and her latest novel – Vampyrie. She enjoys writing, reading, music, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and frequently getting lost in working crossword puzzles.
What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell? Sir Michael Alan David is a vampire – an enigma, charismatic and mysterious, who weaves in and out of Phoebe’s life. Does he intend to use his title as a ruse to draw her closer to an unearthly fate, or is he a cloak-and-dagger knight in shining armor? Too many secrets have been kept for too long. Phoebe must unravel the mystery in order to survive. Two major characters from the author’s first novel, Plateau, join forces with Phoebe to battle the demons in Vampyrie.
A Note from Tina about the origins of this book:
“Don’t let the title fool you. This is not your typical vampire book. I’m incapable of writing a book without a spiritual bent. Vampyrie also has a basis in science, specifically medicine. I’ve always been intrigued by the myth of the vampire and often have wondered if the phenomenon actually could exist. My background in medicine led me to speculate about how this might have a basis in reality. If rooted in science, how might this myth come to life? The most likely answer would be as a physical disorder or disease.”
Today we’re going to get to learn a little more about Tina and her newest book. I’m excited to find out Tina’s approach to her writing, and certainly more about this already ‘hot selling’ book!
Tina, I’ve read your book, Plateau, and I was immediately taken in by your gift of storytelling, so I’m excited to read your newest book. Your writing has almost a lyrical sense to it. Can you tell us when you began writing and what inspired you to write books?
First I want to thank you, Deb, for inviting me to be a guest on your fabulous blog. Your posts are outstanding, and you have an impressive number of followers. Like most authors, I began writing as soon as I could hold a pen. Of course, back then it was a crayon; I wrote on anything that was available. I quickly learned walls were not an option. When I got a little older, I made up songs my sister and I would sing to anyone who would listen. At fourteen, I began playing guitar and writing songs, both of which I continue to this day. I’ve performed in many different venues. I’ve also written essays, book reviews, and articles in the field of medicine that were published in journals and newspapers.
I published my first novel – Plateau: Beyond the Trees, Beyond 2012 – in July of 2012. Doomsday documentaries abounded relative to the Maya Long Count Calendar and the cycle ending on December 21, 2012. Many were sure Armageddon was upon us. But most indigenous cultures speak of humankind moving into the Golden Age of Enlightenment. Add to this my own empathic sensing of a brighter future for us, and I felt an urgency to send a message of hope into the world.
Based on the reviews on Plateau, it seems your readers (and me) are hoping there may be a sequel to that book in anticipation of finding where the new world will take the characters. Do you anticipate writing a sequel?
I have no idea! I write organically and when spirit moves me. Two primary characters in Plateau play a major role in my new novel, Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire. At first sight, the theme of the two books might seem disparate, but they are not. Truly, I’m incapable of writing almost anything without a metaphysical bent. I can envision a third novel that would include characters from the first two; but where it would take place and when I might write it are unknown to me as yet.
Your writing always contains a message of hope and inspiration, no matter the genre, exuding an inner knowing. Is this something that comes natural to you, or was your level of spirituality developed through your learning of shamanism?
I’m an optimist by nature and very tolerant of different ways of being. I’m also an empath and, as far back as I can remember, have always had a strong sense of what was and was not truth, as well as the ability to see things others did not. How I managed to get through life without repressing these gifts is beyond me, because children often are invalidated when expressing their visions and inner knowing. I see spirituality and empathic sensing as different but not separate. The former is a choice; the latter, an inherent quality. One cannot be an empath without being spiritual, because that which we sense travels within a realm other than the physical. The study and practice of shamanism validated and fostered my inner knowing as well as my journey within the spiritual realm.
Can you explain to us exactly what learning shamanism entails?
You most likely would get as many different answers as people of whom you ask that question. Some of my experience involved inner journeying; meditation; the making of sacred objects; journaling; individual and group ceremony; the use of music to evoke and enhance visions. All of these combine to achieve an altered state of consciousness that allows us to interact in the spirit realm and return with new knowledge and energies. Shamanic practice tends to be culturally based, so the style and accouterments can vary widely.
Are you still practicing nursing and writing songs?
I had to quit working eighteen years ago when I became seriously ill. It took many years for me to recover. I physically haven’t been able to return to (outside) work, but family and friends still come to me for advice. So I’m very grateful I’ve been able to keep my nursing license current. Regarding music . . . It’s an essential part of my life. I still play guitar and write songs, although I haven’t written a new one for a few years. Writing books and blogging has taken mainstage; and as you know, Deb, once we head down that road, a momentum develops that we can’t deny and that becomes all-consuming.
I happen to know that you’re friends with an iconic legend, Joan Baez, and she even endorsed your first book. Can you share with us how that friendship came to be?
I met Joan in 1973 while working with Amnesty International. Her family is Quaker, thus the practice of nonviolence. When she wasn’t touring, several of us would gather at her house on Sundays for an hour of silence followed by a potluck. When I returned to nursing, Joan and I saw little of each other but have been back in touch for many years. Now we have movie night with a potluck once a month. Notice how food remains a major element in our gatherings? And one of our friends always brings a bottle of champagne. Me? Well, I always bring the chocolate!
Please tell us a bit about some of the types of articles we can find on your blog?
I’m an inspirational writer of all things spiritual, emotional, psychological; and I plan to add physical to the mix in the New Year. I have posts on the New Age, love and fear, rejection, empathy, war – to name a few – as well as my post on addiction, which just appeared as a guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog.
Your first book was published by a Canadian press, and your next two books were self-published. Have you decided to continue self-publishing your future books, based on what you’ve learned since the first one?
Absolutely! When I began writing Vampyrie, I thought I might submit it to Daw, Tor, or Baen. Gratefully I came to my senses by the end. I have my fellow authors and bloggers to thank for that. The more blogs I visited and the more I read of others’ experiences, the more I realized indie was the way to go. We have complete control over all aspects of our work, not to mention higher royalties. I do, however, wish there were an equivalent to Amazon for self-publishing. I don’t like monopolies and prefer not to patronize them. From what I’ve gathered, IngramSpark might be a viable alternative in the future.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share for new writers?
Follow your passion! Don’t downplay your talent and abilities. Maintain a positive attitude, because energy follows thought. What we think, we become. Make sure your work is well-written before you publish. Have your work edited and ask for beta readers; the more feedback, the better. Be objective when reading these critiques; step out of your own way and become the witness, relegating your ego and inner critic to the back burner. Above all, don’t give up. If the fire burning within you insists on having a voice in the world, then make it so. You’ll know by your reviews if what you’re giving people is what they want. Remember: There is always room to improve; there is always room for change. Nothing is written in stone, and anything is possible.
Please tell us a bit about your newest book, and what inspired you to write it. And can you share an excerpt with us?
Vampyrie was the most organic of my three books. With Plateau and Gabby and the Quads, I knew the theme and storyline before I started writing. Vampyrie was a whole other ballgame. I hadn’t even thought about writing such a book. Earlier this year during one of my morning walks, I began reminiscing about the nursing school I attended in Valhalla, NY. I recalled how I’d first learned about the Norse myth of Odin, the valkyries, and Valhalla. Then a myth shift took place and vampires came to mind. One thought lead to another and valkyrie became Vampyrie.
I always have been fascinated by the myth of the vampire and often have wondered if the phenomenon actually could exist. My background in medicine led me to speculate about how this might have a basis in reality. If rooted in science, how might this myth come to life? The most likely answer would be as a physical disorder or disease.
When I returned home from my walk, I felt as if I physically were being pushed by an unseen force to sit down and begin writing. So I did. I had the title but not much else. I didn’t even know what to name my characters, so I opted to name four of them after my cats. When I decided which of the four would be the protagonist, I started typing. I had no idea from one chapter to the next where the story would go or how it would evolve. It was an amazing process.
Thank you again for hosting me, Debby. You’re an incredible supporter of fellow authors. I appreciate you more than I can say and hold you in high regard.
Phoebe had no sooner regained composure when an arm whisked across her shoulders and a hand covered her mouth. Alarmed, she grabbed the wrist and wrenched her body as she tried to pull away. But the arm held her firmly in place. She tried to kick but couldn’t move her legs. She felt paralyzed from the waist down. She tried to scream, but the hand over her mouth pressed with such force that she almost asphyxiated herself trying.
As she wiggled and squirmed in a vain attempt to free herself, a masterful yet genteel voice whispered, “Be very still. We must let them pass in quiet, lest we be discovered.”
Lest we be? Who talks like that in this day and age? Terror had nothing on Phoebe’s sharp, critical mind. As her curiosity piqued, she began to calm down.
The voice was male, and the person restraining her, a gentleman. In any other situation, she would have considered his presence ominous. Instead, her panic subsided. For some strange reason she felt safe, protected. Yet her keen intellect warned against taking anything at face value.
Was she deluding herself, disregarding her inherent good sense? Always ready to fight rather than flee, she thought it odd she had no inclination to ignore this man’s warning and further resist his hold. Ordinarily, her instinct would compel her to thrust an elbow into the solar plexus while ramming a heel into the foot. But this man’s voice was soothing, and she was too exhausted to put up a fight. She found herself atypically willing to heed his advice.
As he held her tight against his chest, she could tell he was about a head taller than her five feet ten. His sleeve was made of a silken fabric, and she thought she detected the scent of roses. Wondering if he could feel the pronounced pounding of her heart, she noticed she didn’t feel his. Nor could she hear his breathing. She wondered if he was alive. She wondered if he was even real.
Yet she felt eerily attracted to him. He exuded a magnetism that defied her sensibilities. She concluded either she subconsciously was longing for an intimate relationship or he was an evil sorcerer who had just cast a spell on her. Whatever the reason, she knew she wouldn’t move even if he released his hold. And that surprised her.
All was quiet for several minutes. Her curiosity waned in the stillness as he relaxed his hold. Then a foul odor crept into the air and his grip tightened. A few yards up ahead, shadowy figures carrying torches glided across the corridor in total silence. Her gasp would have betrayed their presence if his hand hadn’t been covering her mouth. As the last figure melted into the darkness, she relaxed a little and leaned back into the body supporting her. But her repose was short-lived.
Thank you so much T for guesting here today. As you know, I think you’re one of the most compassionate souls I know, and I’m always fascinated by the many articles you write on the human psyche and the universe. It was a treat to have you over and I especially loved your advice to other writers. And from your excerpt, I can already get a feel for the book, ‘not your average vampire book!)
Wishing you continued success with the new book and I’m definitely hoping that you’ll consider writing a nonfiction book, sharing your knowledge about how the universe works, humanity and compassionate stories, and share more of your wisdom about the state of the world.
Find Tina on the social platforms:
Website ~ http://tinafrisco.com