The Making Of Vampire Solstice
I believe that there are many things we can learn from this alien society; indeed, I believe that this was sent to me so that at least I should learn from it. In order to do that, one has to engage a little more deeply, and I'm hoping that writing this diary entry of thoughts on Vampire Solstice will help me in that task.
Vampire Solstice - The Making Of Vampire Solstice
This was first posted to Project Sanctuary group on January 28, 2006
I have just typed "The End" under the manuscript of Vampire Solstice - and I am absolutely delighted with it!
What a wonderful thing!
For authors, the dreaded second novel is like having to sail around the Cape Horn and survive - if you get through THAT, the rest of your writing career is more or less assured from thereon in, plain sailing, as they say :-)
Unless you really are a novelist, this is probably difficult to understand; it's just that I think one pours so much of what one is into the first novel, it can seem that there's nothing left to say after that.
I certainly felt that way for a long time after In Serein.
That trilogy was hard work for me, it was very hard to write, to experience those things, feel all of that, LIVE all of that (again) - it was wonderful, but also a torturous experience that lasted for a whole year and exhausted me beyond breaking point.
To be honest, I think I must have made a decision somewhere to "never do anything like that again" after In Serein was done.
And then, In Serein is a very, VERY hard act to follow.
It is an amazing book, well three books, it's a trilogy. In Serein is amazing. It has levels and depth to it that I myself still haven't fully explored, there's too much in it. For those who don't know that, all of EMO is straight out of In Serein, but so many other things as well. It's a huge orchard of ideas and possibilities.
What do you do after something like that?
I'm actually pleased that somehow, from December 2002 until January 2006, the question never even arose. I played around with short stories, poems, wrote some fairy tales but did not really attempt a full on "second novel".
And I'm glad now that I didn't.
It takes time to get over something like In Serein. There is such involvement, and such bereavement when it's over, such a sense of loss and strangeness - as I said, very difficult to understand for folk who haven't been through that. It's like the bereavement you feel when a novel you're reading and enjoying enormously has finished - only ten million times worse when you're the one who wrote the thing!
I was working on a collection of fairy tales when, on the third of January 2002, Vampire Solstice just came to me.
It just arrived one night, unannounced and quietly.
The title floated into my mind.
I opened a new page on Frontpage, which happened to be there at the time, thinking I was going to write a short story.
Within the first two paragraphs, I knew it wasn't a short story.
The whole universe of VS just exploded around me - I was in the theatre, I saw the ranks of vampires and the potentials dancing, I was there, I was Valia and I knew that my second novel had arrived.
I wrote Vampire Solstice over the period of just four weeks.
I wrote a few chapters every single day, and I was writing in the dark all the way - I had no idea what was going to happen next, and the story just unfolded itself, told in witness accounts from those who were there at the time.
It wrote itself well; but it was also strangely difficult. I said at the time that I found "writing a vampire novel rather draining" !
I'm still not 100% sure why it was so difficult to write it, but I am guessing that it is because of the slow, long wave underneath the book - some of this is channelled from a near delta state where I was fighting to keep my fingers moving and to not simply just go unconscious. When the chapter finished, I often could do absolutely nothing else but go straight to bed and fall asleep instantly.
It's funny that this doesn't seem to be even apparent when you read it back. It reads quite normally, fast even, and you don't get this effect from the "recipient" position. I don't even get it when I'm editing it.
Which I am sure is good news for readers and for sales, in every way.
Vampire Solstice is a totally different book from In Serein.
It is completely a creation in its own right, with its own rhythm, universe, logic and characters.
There is a "Lucianesque" character, Gaius Levinius, in Vampire Solstice - but he is truly and profoundly, NOTHING like Lucian. I was worried when Gaius turned up that I was about to rework the Lucian myth once more, but Gaius is other than. He knows what love is, or at least has an idea on the topic, and a definite standpoint. Phew, is all I can say.
The other thing I found truly amazing about re-reading Vampire Solstice for the first time after having written it (and hardly remembering a thing about that whole process!) was how LOVING it is.
Not loving as in "chick flick", or "romantic", or "heaven on Earth pink fluffy delusion of love".
Vampire Solstice is a manifest about love, my manifest about love.
That's a very strange thing, and something I didn't expect to be happen.
Lastly, and this is also astonishing (to me) but very encouraging too.
Vampire Solstice contains some of the very best prose I've ever written. There are sweeps in In Serein that I thought I couldn't possibly beat, but I did, in the end.
That means (to me) that there is an unfoldment taking place, that I'm still learning as I'm going along, and that there is more out there - only I don't know what that is just yet.
Now I know that if I keep on going, I'll find it.
Vampire Solstice has opened the door to a whole new realm of things.
It has made a bridge from In Serein to - anything I want to write about now.
That is truly wonderful, and I'm extremely grateful to the fates for allowing me to do these things, experience them, and be able to share some of it as well.
Thanks to all and everyone who has helped with that, helped me with that.
And welcome to Vampire Solstice!
Vampire Solstice - The Cover Design
An article about form and function in an original book cover design for the vampire novel, Vampire Solstice.
by Silvia Hartmann
I am in the wonderful position to write my own books, control the editing process and also the cover designs.
That is a wonderful place to be, indeed it is.
I would like to take a moment to thank YOU, dear visitor, personally, and I really mean this from the bottom of my heart, because it is YOU who is making this possible.
When I was younger, and there was no such thing as self publishing at all, and no Internet to reach individual people on a shoestring budget, an author was left to the tender mercies of THE PUBLISHERS.
Now I don't want to insult real torture victims with a comparison, I really don't, but on the creative front, there is simply NOTHING more painful and hideous than when some MUPPET editor who doesn't give a fig for what you're trying to do mutilates your words, your expressions, the energy of your work and your message; and then the whole thing gets compounded into a dreadful mess as some illustrator who likewise doesn't give a damn or doesn't understand the first thing about your intentions for the work cloaks it in nastiness.
So you've written a book, you know what you're doing, you LOVE IT, you are so proud to finally get it published - and you are presented with this awful travesty, this dreadful mutant horror and THAT is what the general public is then shown and told, "That's HER work."
It is absolutely awful, and if you haven't been through this, thank your lucky stars. It is TERRIBLE.
So you can see now just why it is so important to me to keep control over things like the jacket design of a book.
And who better to know what is inside than the author themselves?
Sure, we've got all these "commercial considerations" - what'll sell on a supermarket shelf for a dollar right next to the latest cook book or ghostwritten nonsense by some five minute fame "celeb".
For literary fiction and integrity, those are the death tolling bells of doom.
And it's totally unfair to the reader, as well.
Even though you should never judge a book by its cover, it IS the cover that draws the eyes and frankly, lying on the cover as to what the content is about (by putting a naked girl with her legs apart on front of a literary novel about soul loss, just so we sell a few extra copies and make a few more bucks!) is once again, a DREADFUL thing.
The people who buy the book with the lying cover will be disappointed and angry with the mismatch in promise and actual content; the people who would have liked the book and would have been the right audience would have walked on by and never got to read it at all.
And once again, it's the AUTHOR who gets blamed and who'll get all the flack.
You can tell I'm angry about this whole deal, right?
So thank you again, dear person reading this, for it is you and your kind who buy books DIRECTLY from us, and thus have enabled ME to have the editorial changes the way I want them to be, the title what I want it to be, and the cover to be what I want it to be.
Now, we have a BOOK that is representative of what the author intended - the magical "author's voice".
Fair enough - I might not sell as many books by bringing all of that into alignment and have it be one single thing that all sings the same song; but when someone buys one of these, they will be right people, and I'll be happy, they'll be happy, and it's been done right and as it should have been.
Now, to the design for Vampire Solstice.
This is a book about vampires, yes, but not your ordinary kinds of vampires. My vampires are different from others in one important way - they don't drink blood. They don't have bodies, they are an energy system walking around without the flesh in essence.
Still, they need to feed on the life essence of humans to survive their transition; and still, they WILL take your blood - only, they will also take your flesh, bone and all the rest of it in the process of the transformation.
Clearly, we can't be having an image of a traditional vampire on the front of this book, for that would be misleading.
My vampires are souls that live and fly in "the oceans of energy", and they are essentially alien; so I represented this by the white, ghostlike presences that come from the black void at the top right of the image.
As this is a book cover, and as an image, will thus be read from right to left (front first, then you pick it up and turn it over) in the opposite direction to how one would normally look at an image, the developmental timeline on the image is also reversed.
These souls come from the void, they travel into the red space of flesh and blood, and then beyond that into the dreaming world, and then into the wider universe of nature, if you will - that is the story and progression of this painting.
It is abstract because I tried to capture the essence of "flowing forward" which is so central to the lives of my vampires; they develop all the time and move from one stage to the next.
I think I managed to convey with the cover clearly that if you are looking for a classic crosses, wooden stakes, garlic, blood'n'gore "Dracula" type horror novel, this isn't it - but if you are fascinated by mystery and interested in the ESSENCE of transformation into an immortal being that feeds on others and develops in an alien way, you're right at home with this vampire novel.
As with all art, with this cover I have done the best I can to make an idea be visible; to transmit a certain kind of energy that calls to the RIGHT people, to those who have a resonance to this and who'll understand it, enjoy it, gain something from it.
How well any human attempt at art ever succeeds in that, well, that's one of those things.
But at least I, as the creator of this vampire world, I feel that there is an energetic congruency between the form and function of the book, and its cover.
I'm happy with this, and I'm proud to put my "nick" StarFields under it, and have it go out to many other people who will judge *me* as the author by the book, and by its cover.
At least now it's fair, and they can.
© Silvia Hartmann 2006
Vampire Solstice - The World Of Vampire Solstice
A Vampire Is A Mystical Being ...
... who has had a bad rap from the fundamentalists. Who don't like ANYTHING that is remotely beautiful, natural, radiant and delightful. Because if people found such a thing, they would compare it with the dour and dreadful reality that is being brainwashed into the followers of that, and all the other fear based religions, which may talk about love, but are all about fear, hatred, revenge and defiling the natural order of things.
That is my opinion on the topic of vampires.
Just as witches were said to "feast on babies" and "cavort with the devil", vampires were said to "drink blood" and "have no soul".
Personally, I prefer a totally different kind of reality; and as there seem to be so few real vampires around these days, I've chosen to create one.
This reality is laid out in Vampire Solstice, and I'm going to post some of my favourite excerpts about these other vampires and that other world from which these vampires come, and in which they live.
This also includes the vampire Covenant, their law of conduct, of which the first law is LOVE.
Vampire Music - Altar Ego!
Altar Ego by StarFields
13 Dreamy, Time Distorting Instrumental Tracks From Beyond ...
FREE Altar Ego Vampire Music CD or
FREE Altar Ego Vampire Music MP3 Download Library
With every purchase of Vampire Solstice The Novel.
Choose from ebookmp3 or softback/CD edition.
Click HERE To Order YOUR Copy Of Vampire Solstice & Altar Ego Vampire Music Album Today!
The Making Of Altar Ego
I wrote this album especially to allow me to access the deep states of consciousness necessary to "channel" Vampire Solstice.
Vampire Solstice is a "far journey" - which means that it comes from a state that is quite a long way away from ordinary consciousness. Unlike a poem or a Hypnodream, or a single Sanctuary story, this is a full length novel. This means that one needs to access those far states repeatedly, twice a day, and regardless of distractions, stress or disturbances in the environment.
In order to facilitate me and help me in this endeavour, I created the requisite state entrance points through energy, music, sound and pulse - in the form of very specific compositions that hold the state, energy and information required to enter that particular data stream.
Vampire Solstice deals with a post-human society of evolved beings who are still human in a way, but are also in a process of growing up and becoming MORE than they previously were.
They also become OTHER THAN - and that's the difficult part for someone who is still very much a human, like myself, to be able to access those sorts of states and understand these others and their worlds and challenges.
The Altar Ego album can be used by anyone who would like to meditate on energy and evolution in many different ways. Practically, it helps to state shift the listener into an expanded awareness where they may stream their own materials, be it in meditation, image streaming, self hypnosis or energy streaming. For Project Sanctuary work, this is a very interesting process as well.
Together with "Vampire Solstice", Altar Ego is of course yet another experience in sounds and visions, but mainly, in energy and information - only delivered in a different way, just as the content and material require.