Revenant: Blood Justice
by Leslie J Linder
Date of Publication: May 26th 2017
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Cover Artist: Layton Washburn
Tagline: Justice is always on the menu.
You have probably heard a lot about vampires. The bloodthirsty prowling, the rapacious sex—the bats, mist, and mind control. Enid has heard it all too. And since she is an actual vampire, she could tell you which rumors are true. But the first thing that Enid would want you to know is that you humans really have it all wrong. To her, being a Chosen One is all about the distribution of justice. And right now, trouble is brewing.
Any vamp who has been undead for longer than a heartbeat can tell you, when Countess Erzsabet Bathory is in town, things are going to get messy. Enid knows what she would do to a human predator, but has never fought another vampire before.
It is against the old laws. But when the blood starts to boil and their feud breaks wide open, there may literally be hell to pay.
It was a dark and stormy night. That’s how these things are supposed to start, right? Well, you can forget that shit. This isn’t your average monster story.
Humans use monsters to help them understand what is monstrous within them. For instance, they clutch crosses and run home at sunset, in fear of vampires. They say vamps are former humans who traded their souls for the immortal power to become rapists, killers and child-stealers. But the real rapists, killers and child-stealers are usually waiting for them around their kitchen tables.
They tell themselves disturbing tales about normal, innocent humans who are bitten by infected animals and cursed to become nocturnal, amnesiac killers. Then in real life whatever or whoever they do when they get black-out drunk seems vanilla by comparison.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, is how it goes. Sometimes those good people turn into something even worse than anything lurking in the shadows. This can’t be helped. Evil is something that happens to humans, not something that humans do. Talk about a fairy tale.
The roster of monsters, as humans understand them, goes on and on. It scintillates as well as terrifies. It’s a cabinet of curiosities in which to keep those predatory desires. Human vices become something outside the human realm, as well as outside the individual ability to control. Convenient, right?
This is how humans see monsters. But how do monsters see humans? How do monsters see themselves?
These are foolish questions, you may say. Monsters aren’t real. They are a human invention; an entertainment, a release. You wish.
Listen, how humans understand things is not necessarily the truth. The planet Earth isn’t a rec-room. Trees aren’t fences. Pigs aren’t bacon. Rats aren’t a Petri dish meant for studying infections, or testing shampoo. Similarly, monsters are not archetypes for humans to use as sexual and predatory catharsis.
Pay attention to this bit—especially if you are human. What I’m telling you is that monsters are real.
You knew it when you were a child. You still know it when the lights go off, the moon waxes full, or someone you fear moves into the house next door.
Like a deer that catches the scent of a lion, you know it in your bones. Your technology, your bombs, your medicine don’t matter. You still aren’t the top of the food chain. There is no top, because life and death are a circle. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
I know this shit may scare you. That’s a good thing. That fear is the birthplace of stories, and you need stories. They were meant to protect you. Even if most stories are wrong.
But hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Your stories have their place.
The boogie man teaches children to obey their parents. The werewolf teaches parents to keep those children close and protected. The vampire teaches men and women to keep on the paths of righteousness, and to always safeguard their souls.
Knowledge is power. This is how a species endures. Understanding the beasts of the world can be the key to survival.
But there’s an important detail to remember. Stories tend to be diluted over time. True monsters may be missed while you focus on mere prejudice. What was once encoded with arcane information may now be nothing but soft porn. Especially if you’ve seen it on cable.
Pay attention to this part. It’s important. It’s the moral of the story you are about to read.
Understanding the true nature of vampires can mean the difference between life and death. Knowledge is power, because no one is off the menu.
Leslie Joan Linder, M.Div. lives and works in Downeast Maine. Her nonfiction work has appeared in Circle Sanctuary Magazine, SageWoman Magazine, and the Project Intersect Journal. Her poetry has appeared in publications like Wicked Banshee, Forage Poetry, and Rat’s Ass Review.
Leslie is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, Horror Writers of Maine, and New England Horror Writers. Recent horror publications include the short story, “Catharine Hill,” in the “Northern Frights” anthology at Grinning Skull Press. Leslie’s debut horror novel, “Revenant: Blood Justice,” is available from Black Rose Writing.
MY INTERVIEW WITH LESLIE JOAN LINDER
How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
Especially in the horror genre, I tend to have a lot of humor in the writing. Telling stories about monsters is kind of funny to me, even if the story line has serious stuff going on in it. One of my readers said that “Revenant: Blood Justice” (RBJ) sort of reminded her of the noir crime novels of yore…dark and fast paced with lots of wisecracks in it. I like the comparison because I like that noir vibe. My stories tend to have historical events knitted into them in a semi-factual and semi-fictional way. I’ll pick a real historical event and maybe some quirky details about it, then use that as a jumping-off point to incorporate my own story and characters. In RBJ, some examples include the ancient Amazons, William Wallace’s Scotland, Countess Erzsabet Bathory’s Medieval Vienna, and Jack the Ripper’s London.
What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
There are always a lot. I have to be careful not to over-extend myself because I also work full time at another type of job (as a victim’s advocate at a domestic violence program). I am learned a lot from having my first book out. I’m working on getting it distributed to independent bookstores. I’m learning about the online publicity thing. The Horror Writers of Maine, a group of indie horror writers, is very supportive. We go around to cons and readings and all support each other. It’s been a great experience. I’m always working on numerous different projects. I have several short stories out in the market but the next step on the path depends partly on acceptances. I’m always taking classes in poetry, fiction, and screenwriting. I take part in writer’s groups whenever I can, both locally and online. Just keeping that juggling act going is a major goal, along with continuing to produce more work. The more I multitask the better my writing tends to be. I think it helps me not to be too obsessed or self-critical. There’s always room for improvement, but that’s what revision is for.
Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
A little bit of both. I think it’s natural in the sense that I feel like I have to write. It’s almost as essential as eating or drinking or sleeping. It’s an essential part of my process for filtering negative experiences and appreciating positive ones. But I do think writing is a craft that requires continuing education and some sort of routine in order to keep the writer growing and producing.
Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn't quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?
Not currently, because that character was Enid until this current book finally came out. I’d been developing her character through short stories for years. I think I first write about her in 2005 or so.
If you could spend one-week with 5 fictional characters, who would they be?
Oooh, good question. I’d probably go with the childhood and young adult faves like Gandalf, Albus Dumbledore, and maybe Jane Eyre. Then maybe Sookie Stackhouse and round it off with Clare (Clair?) from Outlander. We’ve got magic, time travel, and vamps. That’s a good mix.
Where would you spend one full year, if you could go ANYWhere? What would you do with this time?
Maybe London. I’ve visited but it’s been a long time. I’d do lots of historical research, take short trips to France and Scotland and Ireland, get dug into the vegan scene, do summer solstice at Stonehenge, join some writing groups, ride my bicycle, and generally have a fabulous time. When do I leave?
Can you share your next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
I’m always working on numerous different projects. Not all of them are horror. I have two full length novel manuscripts in revision. One is a ghost story and one is Science Fiction. One long-term project that I’m really trying to finish is a Vegan Pagan book of Magic called, “Harm None Vegan Pagan Grimoire.” That’s a very important project to me, and I think it’s almost “done.” I have a column about women and animals (the spiritual connection) in every issue of SageWoman Magazine. That work is similar to what I am doing with the Vegan Pagan project. I have been working on some scripts lately. One is a horror project about a serial killer targeting particularly superficial young college girls, and the aspiring crime writer who teams with local police to try and catch the killer before being picked off herself. I have a television pilot out on the market about the suffrage movement. Folks who enjoy Revenant: Blood Justice may want to check out my story, “Catharine Hill.” It was just released in the Northern Frights Anthology, edited by David Price and put out by Grinning Skull Press. My website is always being updated with my different types of work.