Monday, May 16, 2011

These Hellish Happenings by Jennifer Rainey

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In 1707, hapless vampire Jack Bentley made a pact with the Devil in order to escape a vampire hunt. Dealing with Satan seemed better than your standard angry mob at the time. But three centuries later, Satan is ready to collect His dues, whether the vampire likes it or not. He's taking Jack to Hell, and He's even got a job picked out for him down below: an eternal position at the Registration Office of the Damned.

Jack attempts to adjust to life on the Administrative Level of Hell, where fire and brimstone have been replaced by board meetings and the occasional broken copier. But the whiny complaints of the recently deceased and the legions of suited, cookie-cutter demons are the least of his problems. Try adding to the equation a dead ex-lover, a dangerous attraction to his high-ranking demon companion, Alexander Ridner, and the sticky and distorted anti-vampire politics of a Hell that is surprisingly like our own world.

Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man). From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.

What will readers like about your book?
I think readers will appreciate that These Hellish Happenings is a very original book; these aren't your usual vampires or demons or even your usual Hell, for that matter. And I also think they'll appreciate that it's a very funny book with a sharp sense of humor and very entertaining.

Why did you self publish?
I self-published because I like the amount of control that an indie author has. Nearly everything is in our hands and remains in our hands even after the book has been published.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
This one took a little over a year. I'm aiming for 6 months on my current project. Fingers crossed!

This excerpt features Jack, our Hero, hiding from Hell at his oblivious co-worker's apartment in New York City as they discuss horror films and society's idea of the vampire. Warning: there is brief foul language in this scene.)

             "Do you like monster movies? Like horror flicks and stuff?”
“They’re all right,” Jack said and briefly locked eyes with the cardboard cut-out of Bruce Campbell on the other side of the room. “But they’re formulaic, you know? A monster and/or killer is on the loose, and he’s out to kill everyone in the film save for the most attractive of the lot.”
Mark looked as though Jack had just insulted his religion and called his mother a whore in the same breath. “No way, man. I will never tire of this. Give me a crappy monster movie and a couple of beers, and my night is made. The older, the better. Ever seen The Wolfman of West Virginia?”
 “Can’t say that I have.”
“Frankenstein in Frankfurt?”
 “Sounds brilliant, but no.”
“The Blob Man of the Bermuda Triangle?”
Mark shook his head slowly. “You haven’t lived.”
 Jack blinked.
Mark continued, “But see, newer horror movies don’t get it. It’s all about the blood and guts and stuff. Which is fun, y’know, but it’s not what horror movies are supposed to be about. They’re supposed to be about monsters and aliens and crap. No one makes movies about monsters anymore. Wolfman, Frankenstein, The Mummy… Dracula’s my favorite, though. He’s a bad motherfucker. Drinking people’s blood, getting all the ladies.”
 Jack gave a vague nod.
“Then again, he can’t go out in sunlight,” he continued in a tone some might use to describe brain surgery or nuclear warfare. “He can’t have garlic, has to carry his native soil around with him.”
 “Carry his native soil around. I never understood that one. Or the garlic, for that matter. Why garlic specifically?” Jack asked. “Why not turnips? They’re just as detrimental. … I imagine.”
“There’s nothing to understand! That’s just the way they are,” Mark said. “Anyway, there are definite disadvantages, but I still think that’s gotta be the life to live.” He shot Jack a soul-searching glance. “So what, are you like a werewolf kinda guy? You seem like a werewolf kinda guy to me."
 “Anything but vampires. I hate vampires."
“Aww, c’mon. Vampires are the best monsters ever.”
 “I’m not sure I would classify them as monsters.”
“They are! They drink blood.”
 “So do mosquitoes.”
“Yeah, but if I saw a mosquito as big as a vampire, I’d call it a monster, too.”
“Monsters or not, they’re the best. They don’t take shit.” Mark shook his head with a sick reverence. “It’s a shame about the whole sunlight thing and the garlic and how they can’t see themselves in mirrors… How do they do their hair, do you think? Maybe it just looks good naturally. They’re too badass to need mirrors, anyway.”
 Jack crossed his arms over his chest. “Did you ever think that maybe if they did exist, vampires would just be normal? Sure, some might be particularly badass, as you say, but maybe some would just be like you and me. Most of them used to be humans. I don’t think they undergo some massive personality change when they get bitten, and I don’t think those doing the biting think, ‘Hmm. No. Can’t bite him. He likes chess and stamp-collecting.’”

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1 comment:

  1. THESE HELLISH HAPPENINGS is one of the best books I've read this year. Great story and great characters and the author has a nice style that's very enjoyable to read. I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.