Kindle Publishing: Fantasy Fiction, Vampire Non-Fiction

A column article by: Park Cooper

OMG, Vampire NON-fiction?

Yes, sort of. Today's topic is publishing books for the Kindle, and I have two examples: Bertena Varney's book Lure of the Vampire...

...and mine. Mine and Barb's. The novel is entitled Picaresque, and Barbara and I wrote it.

It's a work of comedic fantasy-- you know, there's an elf (but just one, I swear), there's a dragon, there's a magician, there's a knight, there's a few trolls, that sort of thing-- but funny.

And yet, it's also a sometimes-touching tale of some people coming to grips with what they're really supposed to be doing with their lives, and how they're supposed to be doing it.

It's not too hard to put a book on the Kindle once you've got one-- you shouldn't be too fancy with the formatting, and you need a really good cover. Once we did that, it wasn't that hard. The hard part comes now-- selling it.

We still want a literary agent. This isn't remotely the only (prose) novel we've written. We want a real publisher and all of that jazz. But while three years or so ago agents disliked you self-publishing, digital or otherwise, readers like those who use the Kindle and other devices have turned things around, and now it's seen as kind of a gutsy thing to do. So we're doing it. Come and get it.

--It's amusing for those who like to be amused
--It's adventurous for those who like excitement
--It's got a very romantic fellow and the woman he loves for those who like that sort of thing
--It's got magic and monsters and thieves and swords and a little old troll who serves tea and complains that she doesn't have any grandchildren yet.

I would also like, at this time, to point out that I'm working on a PDF version to be sold straight from our website, but are you people aware that you can also read Kindle books not only on a Kindle, not only on your smartphones and pads and pods, but also on your computer itself and Chrome and pretty much anything else? Here are some links:

This one's about reading in the Cloud (or, you know, have a Mac or whatever):

Here's the one for if you just use Chrome:

Here's the one if you just own a PC computer that runs Windows:

If you run Linux, let me know, I think there's one for that, too.

Okay, back to the book itself. Here's the announcement from Wicker Man Studios' website:

New Wicker Man Studios Novel, PICARESQUE, available via Amazon

“Picaresque” describes a humorous story concerning the on-the-road adventures of a clever rogue or rogues, often operating in a corrupt society; The Prisoner of Zenda, Tom Jones, and Candide are classic examples of this genre.

When court jester Reginald was in prison awaiting execution for telling a very ill-timed joke he made in front of the king, he made a couple of new friends: Hobart the magician and his patient, Sunny, an elf who has something very dangerous wrong with her mind.

On the run, they ally themselves with a few others who haven't yet found their place in the world:
--the world's greatest 8-year-old thief
--the world's only female knight
--the world's only talking dog

To all appearances, they've become just a group of traveling performers, but over time, they (and Hobart's mentor, who no longer has a body because he accidentally got trapped in a spell he cast to help him spy on the local ladies) become a crack team of spies for the desert City-State of Caravanserai.

Reginald's letters to his superior, Nina (thrust into an executive position after one of Reginald's early reports seemed to drive Reginald's previous superior insane) tell the tales of his and his group's efforts to outwit and otherwise foil hecklers, bandits, a troll with a fiendish plan for world conquest, the people's glorious revolution... and, when they accidentally stumble upon the source of all the monsters in the world, a very large dragon.

But more importantly, Picaresque tells the tale of Reginald's brave and often-apparently-hopeless quest to talk his employer, Nina, into going on a date with him.

Picaresque is a comedic fantasy novel from Wicker Man Studios, the creators of Half Dead, the vampire graphic novel published by Marvel Comics and Dabel Brothers Productions, and Gun Street Girl (

Thank you for your consideration.

But now for today's second example:

When Bertena Varney’s name came up while I was talking to Charles Butler about his vampiric eBook (see previous column), I presumed that that wasn’t her real name, because I know my vampires—I presumed the naming was a self-naming in reference to Varney the Vampire of the penny dreadfuls. Ms. Varney informed me subsequently that actually, the name came first in real life, and then prompted investigation into vampires later in life.

BV: “I was born with this name and at about 6 years old I discovered vampires. I then followed them until I was allowed to study them in college via options for papers and classes that I created."

Bertena Varney has more information about her activities on Facebook, and I also recently had a brief conversation with her. But first, more information:

Her book is available here:

She has an official website here:

And her research has one here:

There is a newsletter which one can sign up for here:

She writes nationally for in the fields of: True Blood, Lexington Vampire, National Paranormal Literature, National Cultural Events Travel, Lexington New Age, and she also writes various content for Her blogs are:


And now...

PC: Do you currently make your living from writing?

BV: Well that's a tricky question. I lost my jobs teaching and as a cc director at two colleges in Lexington, Ky within four weeks so I really didn't choose to make writing a career.

PC: Wow, how did that happen? Was it like happened to me this summer-- got bumped because full-timers lost their classes and they gave them mine instead?

BV: When I lost my job I was doing my freelance writing for and slowly made that my focus for a few months. While writing and reviewing books I met other authors who asked me about my writing and I told them that it was basically my master's paper. They asked me to post some of it on their blogs and the response was great! So, after their help I created my book Lure of the Vampire. I haven't made a liveable "living" yet but this what I have been doing for the past year and a half. I am now back to teaching college paert time and will return to writing part time.

But, I like to describe myself more of a researcher than a writer. I find information and share it with people :)

PC: Have you seen the Swedish film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN? If so, do you like it as much as I do?

BV: I have fast previewed it and the American version but am waiting to find time to read the book, then view the two films together. From what I saw I think that it will be good.

PC: For which e-readers is your book available?

BV: Nook and Kindle. There are also PDF's available too on my website.

PC: How long did it take you to write your book?

BV: Well, it started out of my master's paper in 2008 and I spent the next year and a half researching more for the book then about a year and a half once I decided to put it in book form. The websites were easy to find but was the hardest in regards to formatting the actual bool and rechecking several times to make sure the links were still active.
The essays were the hardest part in regards to writing. There are six guest writers that have submitted essays in different sections of the book. They are authors that write science fiction, young adult, and other genre of vampire stories.

PC: Why were the essays the hardest part?

BV: The essays were the hardest part for several reasons- mine were hard because they were part of my academic paper for my master's class and I tried to make them more fun and enjoyable for the vampire fan. In regards to the other essays I wanted to make sure I got experts that write in the main genre within the vampire genre.. ie sci fi, erotic, ya, romance, non fiction and critically. Plus I wanted to add my friends and critiquing real writers is hard. As I have said I see myself as a researcher not a writer lol

I also wanted to balance out the writing syle for the readers so that it wouldn't be boring like a lot of the non fiction books are

PC: What made you decide to sell your book for e-readers?

BV: Well, most of the sales now are via ereaders. They are cheaper, you can carry more with you and with my book the websites are hyperlinked and will take the reader to the websites listed in each section.

As a book promoter I find that when a book is not sold for ereaders then they are less likely to be reviewed or the sales aren't as high.

But, don't worry, I think that there will always be print books around- they are my preferred method of reading.

PC: So I guess my next question is, what are you working on now/next?

BV: I am working on lectures for local libraries and colleges on vampires.
I am also working on creating a class on vampires, literature, history, etc that I will be doing on line for the public.
I am preparing for my tours and guest lectures at ScareFest -, Mystical Blood lust and more.

I am also trying to catch up with my new job. I am teaching sociology at a local college and working promotions for Patti Starr a nationally known ghost hunter and also organizing book reviews and book blog tours for my author clients..

Lots and lots to do.


Community Discussion