Bram Stoker – The man behind ‘Dracula’

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Abraham Stoker or Bram Stoker as most ‘Dracula’ fans know him, was born the 8th of November 1847. He died in 1912 at the age of 64. He Is an Irish author best known for the novel ‘Dracula.’  He published ‘Dracula’ at the age of 50. Bram spent the early part of his childhood confined to his bed because of a mysterious illness. Looking back on this part of his life Bram mentions that “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” Bram married Florence Balcome and they had only one child together. This child they named Irving.

Here are some interesting facts about Bram Stoker:

Bram Stoker was the third child of seven.

Even though bed-ridden for most of his childhood he later on excelled in athletics being named University Athlete at Trinity College in Dublin.

Before Florence Balcome married Bram Stoker she actually had another suitor interested in her. His name was Oscar Wilde. Florence chose to be with Bram instead of Oscar. This left Oscar upset enough that he left the country.

Henry Irving and Bram Stoker became close friends. This happened when Bram wrote a review of Hamlet that impressed Henry. A few years later Bram ended up managing Henry Irving’s theatre and career.

‘Dracula’ was inspired by an essay written by Emily Gerard called ‘Transylvania Superstitions.’ Stoker himself had never visited Eastern Europe so he spent a lot of time on research, 7 years in fact.

‘Dracula’ was originally titled ‘The Un-dead’ and ‘Count Dracula’ was originally going to be called ‘Count Wampyr.’

‘Dracula’ wasn’t the first story ever written about vampires. The story ‘Camilla’ written by Sheridan Le Fanu was about a lesbian vampire who stalked young women in 1871. There also happened to be a horror series by James Malcolm Rymer called ‘Varney the Vampire,’ that also came before ‘Dracula.’

Walt Whitman was one of his favourite authors.

Bram’s death didn’t attract much attention in 1912 because it was around the same time as the Titanic hit an iceberg. The Titanic was big news at the time.

There are many different opinions on what the final cause of Bram’s death was. Daniel Farson, Bram Stoker’s grandnephew says in his biography the cause of death was Locomotor Ataxy – know in those days as general paralysis of the insane.

Check out some of Bram Stokers other writing:

The Snakes Pass

Seven Golden Buttons

The Watter’s Mou

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lady of the Shroud

The Jewel of the Seven Stars

The Shoulder of Shasta

The Man (A.K.A The Gates of Life)

Lady Athlyne

The Mystery of the Sea

 

Short Stories:

Under the Sunset (Eight fairy tales for children)

Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party

Dracula’s Guests and Other Weird Stories

 

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The Stephen King of Children’s Books: R .L. Stine

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Robert Lawrence Stine was born on October 8th 1943. Many people will know him as the author of many children’s series like, Goosebumps, Mostly Ghostly, Fear Street, and The Nightmare Room. Robert began writing at the age of 9 when he discovered a typewriter in his attic. Roberts father was a shipping clerk at a warehouse and his mother would stay at home to look after the children. Robert had two other siblings.

He later went on to achieve a degree of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English. He then moved to New York and became a writer and editor. His books have now sold over 400 million copies worldwide.

Some interesting facts about R. L. Stine that you may not have known:

His mother would read scary stories to him as a child like the original version of Pinocchio.

When he was a child he wanted to become a cartoonist.

Something strange about Robert is that the only green thing that he will eat is green mint ice-cream.

Supposedly Robert doesn’t have a very good memory.

Robert tried to make sure that he was writing every day when he was a teenager.

Robert wrote his first book in 1986 and it was called Blind Date.

In 1986 he wrote a children’s book called Miami Mice

Stine is married to a Jane Waldhorn and they have a son together and his name is Matt Stine.

Some writing you should certainly check out by Robert is:

Space Cadets

Jerks-in-Training                  Losers in Space           Bozos on Patrol

Goosebumps Series 2000

Cry of the Cat           Bride of the Living Dummy                  Creature Teacher

Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part I                        Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part II

I Am Your Evil Twin             Revenge R Us                 Fright Camp

Are You Terrified Yet?             Headless Halloween          Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls           Brain Juice

Return to HorrorLand          Jekyll and Heidi          Scream School         The Mummy Walks

The Werewolf in the Living Room         Horrors of the Black Ring        Return to Ghost Camp

Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid!       The Haunted Car           Full Moon Fever      Slappy’s Nightmare

Earth Geeks Must Go!          Ghost in the Mirror

Give Yourself Goosebumps

Escape from the Carnival of Horror         Tick Tock, You’re Dead!         Trapped in Bat Wing Hall

The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek      Night in Werewolf Woods          Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter

Under the Magician’s Spell          The Curse of the Creeping Coffin       The Knight in Screaming Armor

Diary of a Mad Mummy         Deep in the Jungle of Doom        Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum

Scream of the Evil Genie       The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock      Please Don’t Feed the Vampire!

Secret Agent Grandma        Little Comic Shop of Horrors       Attack of the Beastly Baby-sitter

Escape from Camp Run-for-Your-Life       Toy Terror: Batteries Included          The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island

Return to the Carnival of Horrors              Zapped in Space          Lost in Stinkeye Swamp

Shop Till You Drop…Dead!         Alone in Snakebite Canyon        Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel

Night of a Thousand Claws           Invaders from the Big Screen           You’re Plant Food!

The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge          It’s Only a Nightmare           It Came from the Internet

Elevator to Nowhere        Hocus-Pocus Horror            Ship of Ghouls

Escape from Horror House        Into the Twister of Terror          Scary Birthday to You

Zombie School         Danger Time           All-Day Nightmare

Give Yourself Goosebumps: Special Edition

Into the Jaws of Doom          Return to Terror Tower          Trapped in the Circus of Fear

One Night in Payne House        The Curse of the Cave Creatures

Revenge of the Body Squeezers        Trick or…Trapped!         Weekend at Poison Lake

 

Fear Street

The New Girl     The Surprise Party      The Overnight          Missing

The Wrong Number        The Sleepwalker         Haunted      Halloween Party

The Stepsister     Ski Weekend        The Fire Game         Lights Out

The Secret Bedroom         The Knife         The Prom Queen

First Date        The Best Friend         The Cheater        Sunburn

The New Boy       The Dare       Bad Dreams       Double Date

The Thrill Club         One Evil Summer       The Mind Reader

Wrong Number 2        Truth or Dare             Dead End

Final Grade          Switched         College Weekend           The Stepsister 2

What Holly Heard       The Face         Secret Admirer       The Perfect Date

The Confession          The Boy Next Door       Night Games         Runaway

Killer’s Kiss        All-Night Party          The Rich Girl            Cat

Fear Hall: The Beginning        Fear Hall: The Conclusion

Who Killed The Homecoming Queen?        Into The Dark      Best Friend 2

Trapped

 

New Fear Street

The Stepbrother         Camp Out

Scream, Jennifer, Scream!          The Bad Girl

 

Fear Street Super Chiller

Party Summer         Silent Night        Goodnight Kiss

Broken Hearts         Silent Night 2      The Dead Lifeguard

Cheerleaders: The New Evil         Bad Moonlight

The New Year’s Party        Goodnight Kiss 2          Silent Night 3

High Tide        Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives!

 

 

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Fem Fatale Fantasy Fictionist: Robin Hobb

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Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden has taken on two successful pseudonyms during her writing career. The first being Megan Lindholm and the second being Robin Hobb. Margaret was born in California 1952, but spent majority of her life in Alaska before moving to Washington. At the young age of eighteen Margaret was married and from here on she started her writing career. She first wrote for children’s magazines and progressed into bigger works of fantasy fiction.

Some interesting facts that you may not of known about Margaret:

Although she has experienced a small taste of what adventures are in her books, she mostly writes from doing a lot of research. “I like primary documents when I can get them, diaries, journals and things of that sort. Then I like to find well researched and foot-noted books written on whatever topic I am covering.”

Margaret has four children, three of them are adults.

She has no television in her lounge room only a lot of tall bookcases.

Some of Margaret’s favourite authors: George R R Martin, Jane Johnson, Michael Marshall, Robert Parker and Janet Evanovich.

Good news for readers Margaret has been quoted saying in an interview: “…I’m writing another book. And after that, I think I’ll probably write another book. And then another. Until my hands and eyes give out (They’re in a race to see what fails first.) I think that’s all I can say with certainty. I’ll be writing more books.”

Australian fans will be glad to here that they have the chance to meet Margaret in 2014 at Supernova and she is also going to be a guest at Worldcon, Loncon, London.

If you are a fan of Fantasy, then this is certainly the author for you!

Some writing by Margaret that you should check out:

Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy

Assassins Apprentice                 Royal Assassin                 Assassins Quest

Liveship Traders Trilogy

Ship of Magic            The Mad Ship           Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man Trilogy

Fools Errand               The Golden Fool             Fool’s Fate

The Rain Wild’s Chronicles:

Dragon Keeper          Dragon Haven             City of Dragons         Blood of Dragons

The Fitz and Fool Trilogy:

The Fool’s Assassin      

Other Elderling  Stories

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince

Soldier Son Trilogy:

Shaman’s Crossing             Forest Mage             Renegades Magic

Short Stories

The Inheritance              Homecoming           Words like Coins            Blue Boots

Cat’s Meat             The Triumph            Neighbours

Megan Lindholm

The Ki and Vandien Quartet

Harpy’s Flight        The Windsingers            The Limbreth Gate             Luck of the Wheels

Tillu and Kerlew

The Reindeer People                 Wolf’s Brother

Other Stories

Wizard of the Pigeons               Cloven Hooves             Alien Earth            The Gypsy

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Roald Dahl: The Orignal Charlie Bucket

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Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales on the 13th September 1916. He came from a strong Norwegian heritage with both his parents being Norwegian. When he was young both his sister and his father died only weeks apart. Roald Dahl’s mother could have taken him and his two other sisters back to Norway to live with relatives, but decided to keep them in Wales. This was because his father had the belief that British schools were the best in the world.

While attending school in derbyshire, there was a Cadbury chocolate factory not far away that used to provide sweets for the children to sample. There was also another company in the area that was in direct competition with Cadbury. It seems there was some corporate espionage going on. This later on gave Roald Dahl the idea for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Roald Dahl only began writing when he met author C.S. Forrester. His first short story was published in 1942. Roald Dahl thought his career as a writer came about as a ‘fluke.’ Something that a lot of people don’t know about Roald Dahl is that he wrote macabre adult stories before he started writing children’s stories. As Roald Dahl wrote more and more stories they started to become less realistic and more fantasy.

Roald Dahl died the 23rd of November 1990 from a blood disease. He was 74 years of age. It is said that he had a sort of ‘Viking’ funeral where he was buried with some items that he cherished in life. These items were pencils, chocolates and snooker cues.

Here are some interesting facts about Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl was named after a famous Norwegian explorer.

When Roald Dahl’s son Theo was four months old he was hit by a taxi and therefore afterwards suffered from hydrocephalus also known as ‘water on the brain.’

In 1962 his seven year old daughter Olivia died from measles. He later dedicated the ‘BFG’ to Olivia.

Roald Dahl married actor Patricia Neal in 1953. During birth of their fifth child, she suffered from cerebral aneurysms. Patricia had to re-learn how to walk and talk. Roald Dahl divorced Patricia Neal in 1983. He then became re-married to Felicity Crosland.

Roald Dahl could speak three different languages: Norwegian, English and Swahili.

Roald Dahl was an aircraftman in the Royal Air Force and was also a fighter pilot during World War II.

Roald Dahl didn’t really get into children’s books until he had his own children. In the 1960’s he got a traditional Gypsy wagon and turned it into a playhouse for his children.

He dedicated the book ‘Matilda’ to his grand-daughter Sophie Dahl.

Roald Dahl stated once that if he hadn’t become a writer he would have become a doctor.

In 1965 he was accused of plagiarism. He published a short story in Playboy called ‘The Visitor’ which was a lot like a story from writer Dod Osbourne called ‘Master of the Girl Pat.’

He loved chocolate, but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice-cream.

His favourite way of writing was with pencil on yellow paper.

He had two steel hips and six operations on his spine.

Some of his favourite authors were Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Frederick Marryat.

Some of Roald Dahl’s stories that you should consider reading are:

Children’s Fiction:

The Gremlins          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory                  Charlie and the Glass Elevator

The BFG                 The Witches             The Twits               Fantastic Mr Fox          Esio Trot

The Minpins            The Vicar of Nibbleswicke             Danny, the Champion of the World

The Magic Finger              The Enormous Crocodile                George’s Marvellous Medicine

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me           James and the Giant Peach        Matilda        

Adult Fiction:

Switch Bitch                   Kiss Kiss             Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl           Two Fables

Sometime Never: A Fable for Superman             Someone Like You          Skin and Other Stories

My Uncle Oswald             Lamb to the Slaughter             The Best of Roald Dahl        

Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories       Tales of the Unexpected     The Roald Dahl Treasury

More Tales of the Unexpected         Over To You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More            The Roald Dahl Omnibus

The Great Automatic Gramatizator                       Roald Dahl Collected Stories

Ah: Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a great author with an even greater imagination. Hopefully he has inspired you to read and write more.

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Clive Barker – Not Just an Author!

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Clive Barker was born the 5th of October 1952. This author is best known for his horror and fantasy stories, many of which were turned into movies. The movies that he would be best known for are ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Candyman’. The ‘Hellraiser’ series came from the novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ and ‘Candyman’ came from a short story called ‘The Forbidden.’

Clive Barker started off in his career by publishing a collection of short stories called ‘Books of Blood. These soon became quite popular, which is unusual because short stories don’t normally kick-start a writer’s career. Clive Barker stated this also in an interview: …”I was surprised just because they were short stories and because the conventional wisdom of publishing says that you don’t publish short stories if you are unknown. So I was pleased and delighted by the response of those books.”

When these books first came there was a quote on the front covers by Stephen King saying: “I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker.” This is interesting considering later on in Clive Barker’s career he turns more towards fantasy.

Some interesting facts that you may not of known about Clive Barker:

At the age of four, he saw a french skydiver die during an air show in Liverpool. The skydiver’s name was Leo Valentin. Leo Valentin is referred to a few times in some of Barker’s stories.

Clive Barker has been openly gay since the 1990’s.

In 2012 Clive Barker went into an 11 day coma after a dentists visit caused blood poisoning. Hopefully this will have led to some interesting new stories.

Clive Barker is not only an author but also a painter, film director, screenwriter, actor, playwright, producer, visual artist and an illustrator. – It sounds a lot like he is Superman. Oh and he also created his own superhero comic books.

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Legendary Headstone Reads: Author of Fahrenheit 451

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Ray Douglas Bradbury was born August 22nd 1920 and died June 5th 2012. He was 91 years old. Ray Bradbury is best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451 but also as one of the best short story writers. Although a lot of people believed Bradbury to be mainly a science fiction writer, he was more into the fantasy genre.

Something that he frequently stated was “I’m not a science fiction writer…I’ve written only one book of science fiction. All the others are fantasy. Fantasies are things that can’t happen, and science fiction is about things that can happen.”

Ray Bradbury was one of the authors that pushed fantasy into a more prominent position in literature to what it is today.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not have know about Ray Bradbury:

He never drove a car or cared to get his license, even though he lived in L.A.

He wrote the book From the Dust Returned over 55 years. This book was compiled of many short stories about a family of ghosts and monsters called the Elliots. Very similar to the Addams family. This book began in 1945 and was finally printed in 2001.

Bradbury wasn’t a fan of modern day technology. “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.”That’s right, he was even against e-books. He said that “They smell like burned fuel.” He also told Yahoo to go to hell when they tried to put one of his books on the Internet.

Ray Bradbury never went to college or had any other formal education other than high school. His philosophy was just to write lots and lots every day.

Ray Bradbury was against politics and believed the less government the better.

Ray Bradbury was a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe.

The headstone of Ray Bradbury reads: Author of Fahreheit 451. This was something that he requested.

If you are an aspiring writer, I suggest you pick up a short story or novel by Ray Bradbury and have a read.

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