Archive for June, 2012

Speculation

Posted: Friday, 29 June, 2012 by deacongray in Book Reviews

Speculation
Edmund Jorgensen
155 pages

I admit. Typically I am skeptical of first time authors. Or rather, being completely honest, I am skeptical of self-published authors and unknown publishing companies; we’ve all heard of PublishAmerica, right? If not, you must immediately Google them. I still do not know anything about Mr. Jorgensen’s publisher, and I no longer care.

Speculation is a short story, at just 155 pages in PDF format. And it is, quite simply, unnecessary for any further words or pages. As far as this reader is concerned, it was perfection.

Now, I am not the smartest or even the best educated. And yes, I will admit to some trepidation when I realized there was some jargon which might be above my level. All qualms aside, I soldiered on. I had agreed to read this, and read it I would. And let me tell you, I read it in one sitting.

Here is the summary, the back of the electronic dust jacket:

“Andrew Wrangles has a decision to make. His best friend Sothum, a philosophical and financial genius, has just died and left him a choice in his will: ten million dollars or a sealed envelope.

Andrew’s wife Cheryl doesn’t see this as much of a choice. She wants Andrew to take the money, and what little patience she has for his speculating about what could be worth more than ten million dollars is wearing thin very quickly.

But as Andrew digs deeper into the secret life that Sothum lived, he finds more questions than answers. Does the envelope contain the fate of a vanished mutual friend? The answer to a terrible cosmic riddle? The confession to a crime? Is Sothum just playing a final private joke? Or has Andrew become a pawn in a game–a game that Sothum died playing against a bigger opponent than Andrew can imagine?”

Let me tell you, this is an honest summary of the book yet it seems so completely dishonest at its very core, too. Why? Because this story is, in my humble opinion at least, a very complex love story. You’re shocked, you say? Perhaps you should be. Skeptical even, just as I started – it’s OK, I understand. But woven within the mystery of the contents of that envelope you will uncover several deeper stories. The love between husband and wife; the love between friends, and the love/hate relationship one man has with his faith.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Speculation? Well, there are two ways to enter…

  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Speculation tour page.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.

About the author: Edmund Jorgensen was born in Chicago. He studied classical languages and has maintained a love for all things Greek and Roman. He fell in love with his wife in Mexico; they now reside, happily but considerably more chilly, in Watertown, Massachusetts. Edmund is currently hard at work on his second book, a set of interconnected short stories. Connect with Edmund on his website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

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Wiccan Denied Clergy Status

Posted: Friday, 29 June, 2012 by deacongray in Uncategorized
Tags:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2012/06/wiccan-denied-clergy-status-in-virginia.html

 

This is exactly where groups like the ACLU should step forward. The lady involved is Ordained and in a Church with legal tax exempt status, and a court decides to keep her from allowing her clergy status because ” They didn’t feel she met the standards” though they could not point out which standard she didn’t meet.

 

 

Posted: Saturday, 23 June, 2012 by deacongray in Uncategorized

This is a great article by community member Elzie Roze. I do recommend it to all of the GraveYard Press readers.

Many people live their life in the bright light of day while hiding something that is chilling, frightening under a mask of normalcy.  Whether you grew up in a wealthy gated community, a typical suburb or the inner-city, bad things happen in dark corners. There are all manner of sins happening right next door, or in some cases between in the walls where we ourselves dwell every day.

Perhaps the reason why some people end up in fringe groups, including the vampire community, is to escape this façade or perhaps to make sense of it. Disci Moonwraith [a false name] is one of those people, one who found her way into our little corner of the world only to find that monsters lurk here too.

GYP: Disci, will you tell us a little about yourself?

Disci: I am a twenty four year old female from the north eastern United States, more than that would be saying too much and as we agreed I really don’t want the publicity of giving out too much information. Though I suppose that isn’t really what you had in mind with the question.

I suppose I should say, to help place all this in context, that I was your typical all American on the outside. I grew up without much material need, my stomach was full, I had a mother that read me bed time stories, and father that was the image of a man in nearly every way. It is easy enough to say I loved them both, but much harder to explain just how much, though I think many will understand without much further explanation. To put it simply, mine was a good life until my father passed away and that left a hole in my life, a hole that eventually lead me to where I am now.

GYP: I think when most people look at the Vampire Community they see a place where all the people involved are products of broken homes, or mental illness, but it sounds like you are pretty stable.

Disci: Thank you. I would be lying if I said everything has always, or is always a state of serenity.

GYP: I am sorry to ask you to share the details, the real reason you are being interviewed, but rather than prolong it perhaps it is better to simply pull the bandage off quickly?

Disci: Very well. My father passed away when I was around thirteen. The details are not important, but sufficed it say it was an impressionable time in my life. I found myself drifting, I had a hole in my life and with my mother in morning much of what I was doing was obscured by her veil of sorrow. She hardly noticed when I stopped hanging out with my old friends, didn’t bat an eye when my attire changed, and my grades started to slip.

Oh I know you might be picturing someone dressed in gothic attire, but I didn’t go that direction at all. I went more of a spiritual direction, Wicca to start with, but that was just a start.

For a while I tried to convince myself and others that I had found a new spiritual path in my life, from there I slipped into experimental aspects and met my first girlfriend. In an odd way I find it amusing that my father always warned me about unscrupulous men, but it was the more carefree exciting allure of a young lady that drew me into my first sexual experiments. Casey was a great person and she didn’t deserve what I brought to her life. Eventually she couldn’t handle it either. Darkness, the real kind, not that crap from movies seeps out of your soul I think. It infects others and leaves them stained with it. I know I feel stained by it sometimes, though today my Mask is firmly in place, and people see a bright pretty lady with all the things one could hope for in life more or less. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

GYP: When did you meet Matthew? [ also a fake name]

Disci: Aw, I see that my dodging around the subject didn’t last long. I was fifteen, he was much older, thirty two actually and he was-exciting. At the time I thought I had found someone my father would have been proud of. My mother liked him at once, and while she didn’t want him dating me, she did think it was ok for him to be around as a friend, a mentor and role model.

He smiled a lot, laughed and joked. He knew the music I listened too, and what was trending in the world nearly as well as I did. It seemed natural to fall for him, natural enough that I didn’t think twice when I made love to him the first time. He visited me at home, and my mother was bright enough to work out that were we in a romantic relationship, and once again on the surface everything was exactly as it should be.

He was polite and generous, always well dressed and well mannered, charming really. I am not even really sure when things started to go wrong. I know our love-making had become more rough, he left marks, but I wore them proudly, symbols of our love.

He took me places, clubs and concerts, I met his friends and they treated me really well. It was on one such night that he told me that he was part of the Vampire Community. I was intrigued.

Things slipped from rough love-making to “acting out fantasies” which were of course his fantasies. We “played rape” and there were times when I wasn’t playing, but after it was over he held me and called me a good girl. He would kiss my forehead and stroke my hair; it made me feel loved, just as the “play rape” made me feel dirty.

I delved deeper into my spiritualism; he shared articles he found on spiritual vampirism, on sexual vampirism and Eros types. I know it was foolish but I felt that draw so powerfully. It was like waking up and discovering that I wasn’t alone, that I was part of something bigger. I wanted to read everything to know everything about it and Matthew just happened to know some of the people in that community.

He explained to me that while a lot of people talked on yahoo groups, that many of them were fakes. Even I could see that was true. People argued and debated, fought like children about ridiculous stuff. Matthew, however, said he could help me learn, but first I had to be brought into a House.

He asked me if I accepted his authority as an Elder of the community and made it sound all so very dark and inviting. A new family, new friends–all I had to do was agree to allow him to bring me in to it all and swear to be loyal to his demands. I agreed. I shouldn’t have.

It was Halloween, we dressed up, he was in a black suit and cape, I was in a vinyl cat suit that was too small for me. He took me to a house, a place where a party was in full swing and said he wanted to get some drugs for the event. We had done a little pot before, even some “E”, but that night he was after meth. I told him I wanted no part of Meth, and he said that was ok, but that I had to come along, because my initiation was to take place in the same back room.

I remember walking into the room. It was dark and a few guys were standing around looking over leather crafts they were making, it smelled like leather and sweat, it tied me in knots, but I wanted to look cool and collected. I wanted them to like me.

One of them asked if I were ok with what was going to be taking place; If I accepted their conditions. I said that I did. I wanted so badly to be a part of a family again and I think had they simply asked, I would have done it anyway, but they didn’t ask.

 

Matthew grabbed me roughly and held my arms as one of them stuffed a ball gag into my mouth. By the time it was over all of them had their way with me. I was beaten, burned, and taken in nearly every way I could be. Matthew didn’t even look away when one of the guys gave him the small plastic bag of drugs. I didn’t know what to say when I realized I had just been sold sexually for Matthews drugs.

I was sobbing, but he came to me and held my head telling me what a good girl I was. I wish I could say I broke it all off. I wish I could say I ran like hell, or called the police but I didn’t. I stayed with him. He cried later and said he had no idea they would be so rough. I believed him.

He eventually took me to the Vampire House, it wasn’t even the same people but they accepted that I was his childer, and welcomed me. They were kind, and slowly I started to feel like one of them. I was another dark swan in the river of moon light. The wolves were at the shore, but the river swept me along. There is more to tell, there was the poly family I became a part of, the Master who refused to have sex with me because I looked to young, though I swore I was twenty two. Then there was our house Matriarch that forced me to get my GED and endeavor to become a medical assistant so I would have a career to fall back on

I think it would have kept on that way, but two things happened. One Matthew tried to sell me to a Mistress, and Two the Vampire House, saved my ass from becoming a real sexual slave.

The House leader, a very nice lady, found out that I wasn’t twenty two, because of her attempts at getting me into an MA program. That got her digging and it wasn’t long before she found out from a friend that Matthew had been in the process of selling me to a well-known harsh Mistress. It seemed insane, beyond comprehension that someone would try to sell another human being, but that was what he was trying to do.

She broke it all up and sent the rats into flight, then packaged me up and took me back home to my mother. We have remained close, and I don’t think I could have managed to pull myself together if it had not been for her help. She helped me get counseling, she got Matthew arrested for, as it turns out, failing to register as a sexual offender. It seems I was not his first good little girl; Just the easiest.

Today I really am in my twenties and I have managed to become a registered nurse. One of the things I really wanted to do though, before I leave this community forever was to find some of the people whose works I read. Some of them I wanted to chastise, some I wanted to thank.

GYP: I would like to this this is somewhat of an isolated thing. Would you say it is?

Disci: Yes and No. Certainly some aspects of my story are extreme. Yet, I see some of the same things around the community and find myself wondering at them. Poly families where bright people are sucked in by those who could not manage a moment of their own life, but on line play like they are Masters. I see people with broken spirits seeking desperately for love, acceptance and friendships in ways they cannot find in their real lives, and of course people who will take advantage of that desire.

I also see good people too. People like Balthazaar, like Miklya who work hard to help others out, to listen to be friends. I see a lot of good out there, good sincere people.

GYP: Do you have any advice to offer people in the community?

Disci: yes, if you look at the community a means of developing a “Life” you will never really find it. You have to make something of yourself, make a life worthy of you, not accept what passes for a life by allowing yourself to be sucked into things you cannot control. The only thing you can control in any environment or community is yourself.

GYP: Lastly, is there anyone you really look up to the community? Anyone you would like to say a few words too?

Disci: Yes, Mother thank you for seeing past what I had become, and at what I could be. Thank you for taking me home, and thank you for soaking up the tears, though I am sorry about the silk blouse.

 

There are all manner of sins happening right next door, or in some cases between in the walls where we ourselves dwell every day.  In every community there are bad things that happen. But there are good things too—a chance for community redemption.

In our community we have a chance to do the right things, to be compassionate, to be caring and to help those who need a shoulder to cry on.


Deacon Gray

Hello, dear readers! We here at the GraveYard Press do hope you are enjoying your beautiful Sunday. Or, whatever day it is, if you happen to be in a different hemisphere. Right, that would be Monday then! This week, we are skipping the quotes and getting straight to our interview with Chuck Henderson. We hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!

Hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I know that religion is a very personal topic, one that many of us are not willing to discuss with others. It is especially difficult to discuss with those outside our respective religious circles as not everyone is open to beliefs other than their own.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
CH: Good morning. My vampirism seems to be a hybrid of both sang and psi, however I refer to myself as a sang vampire.

GYP: Why do you choose one name over the other? Is it just for the clarity of being able to claim a particular feeding style, or is there a deeper reason?
CH: Personally, I choose sang over psi because it is more inclusive of the energy and life force that blood gives. More commonly I choose “hybrid”. The reasoning is relatively basic but does have deeper meaning in my path of study that I have followed in my youth until present.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
CH: I follow the Ecclectic Wiccan faith; Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Celtic belief systems.

GYP: And what led you to these particular belief systems? Is it an issue of your ancestral background, or did they “speak” to you in a way that others did not?
CH: At 8 years old I sought out a belief system that connected the best with my own personal beliefs. Eclectic Wicca most closely fit my own ideas on how to live my life. My ancestry does play a part in my beliefs; I’ve Native American Shamanism and Irish magick running deeply in my family tree. These two belief systems fit with me perfectly as I am a very nature loving individual.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
CH: I do hold regular services for my Coven, when possible, based on the Sabbats and individual schedules.

GYP: And do you hold a particular position within your coven?
CH: I am the founder of Stonehaven Coven and have held the High Priest position for the past 16 years.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
CH: I have followed the Wiccan faith for sixteen years.

GYP: What, if any, religious path were you raised in?
CH: I was raised in a household that went to church for holidays and funerals only. My mother raised my brothers and myself alone. She always told us different myths from Europe and the U.S. and it made me realize that magick is all around us. I started studying Wicca at 8 years old.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
CH: I feel that the teachings of vampire civility, The Black veil for example, and the Wiccan rede are very similar in direction. One must follow a code of conduct as either Wiccan or Vampire for the community to function and progress. “To harm none” is essential in my practice.

GYP: I personally, and many others within the community, feel that the Black Veil is outdated and unnecessary. It has always been my personal stance that as long as we are following the laws of our respective city/county/state/country then we are doing well as a community. Do you feel that the Black Veil is vital for the community to function and progress, or do you think that we could/should all act as the responsible adults we claim to be and that would work just as well?
CH: I do feel that the Black veil fits contemporary and should still be followed but could use some amending. Following laws based on location should also be considered for common sense and the future of the community as a whole.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
CH: The incorporation of vampirism and Wicca together has made for some potent magick and magickal feedings. With the will of the very life force of the body you can strengthen your intent, your focus, banishment, etc. When you feed you can make it as dear and great as the Great Rite itself.

Religion and the Vampire, Interview Nine

Posted: Sunday, 10 June, 2012 by deacongray in Religion

 

I’ve found a more personal, pagan kind of religion to satisfy the spiritual side of things.
~ Julian Clary

This week, we are speaking with my friend, Jennifer Jewel. She has been involved with the vampire community for several years through the Yahoo eGroup, ShadowLore. Perhaps not the most well-known member of the vampire community, she is still a great person – one whom I recommend you all get to know. Previously, the community members we spoke with seemed to all be on a path they had started as children. Jennifer’s journey has been different, and I am thankful she chose to share it with us!

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
JJ: I’m sang and psi, prefer sang but use psi when i need to. not sure what you mean by explaining your vampirism

GYP: I apologize for any confusion – I meant exactly how you answered. Thank you for answering!

GYP: And what faith do you follow?
JJ:  i consider myself eclectic pagan

GYP: Why do you consider it “eclectic” paganism?
JJ: I consider myself an eclectic pagan because when I first started learning about the pagan religion there wasn’t one specific tradition that called to me, initially Wicca did and I learned a lot about it. As I grew as a pagan and learned more about other traditions, I also learned that as a pagan you weren’t required to subscribe to a set path. Now, as I go I gather bits and pieces from various paths as well as the Native Americans, to integrate into my own path making it my own. I’ve never been one for “organized religion”.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
JJ: roughly 10 years

GYP: What led you to this particular path? Did the Lady come to you, or is it something you just kind of “stumbled” upon that you knew fit?
JJ: Well, I’d say it probably started in high school when I was taking a biology class. They were teaching evolution. At the time, I was Methodist. The more I learned, the more it made sense. This caused me to search more about the “source” or the ALL. I started figuring out what I believed in, and it wasn’t the Christian God. One day in my high school Chemistry class, I was talking to a friend about how and what I believed but didn’t know what it was. She told me to do some research on Wicca. I started really thinking about it then, but not being in an environment where I could truly research it, I waited until college. I went to a bookstore in the mall and bought the Idiots Guide to Paganism. I was so excited, it described me to a T. I was so happy to finally find a name for what I believed, and it’s just grown from there

GYP: May I ask what faith(s) you followed before finding this path?
JJ: I grew up going to a Methodist church.

GYP: Have you ever experienced anything that might have shaken your faith, or caused you to doubt?
JJ: not my current faith, no

GYP: You say not with this faith, how about with previous faiths?
JJ: When I was Methodist, I initially accepted it blindly. As I grew up and learned more in school, I had more and more questions that “you weren’t supposed to ask” or that no one had answers that felt right to me. I also started doubting the church, as things were not so great in my childhood and I couldn’t understand why God would let it happen. As many times as I tried accepting Him into my heart, I never truly felt it. Which is where the biology class in high school started changing my thinking.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
JJ: no, as long as the energy is taken with permission

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
JJ: no

GYP: A few vampires do incorporate their religion into their vampirism. Is there  a reason you do not?
JJ: Honestly, there are a few reasons. One, I don’t feed as often as I should and two, I don’t know how.

GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
JJ: i’ve considered it but never did

GYP: A lot of people might consider the two questions regarding incorporating religion into vampirism (and vice versa) to be redundant, so can you explain to readers how you might incorporate your vampirism into your religion, but not your religion into your vampirism?
JJ: Maybe I have this backwards, but I think being an eclectic pagan makes it easier for me to be a vampire since there is not as much dogma about “being different” or worry about being ostracized for being something other than they want you to be. Pagans, in general , seem to be more accepting of differences in people whether they are vampire, otherkin, or just a different person all together (sexual orientation, relationship preferences, etc.) As far as how to incorporate my vampirism into my religion, I don’t have enough experience or networking with people who have to know how to bring the two together. It’s not that I don’t want to, I don’t know how. Maybe being somewhat new to the vampire community (roughly +/- 5 years) has something to do with it, I don’t know. There surely aren’t books on that! LOL.

Informal Poll, please respond!

Posted: Saturday, 9 June, 2012 by deacongray in Uncategorized