Crossroads 2015 – “In the club…”

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This article is going to draw criticism, it’s going to draw likes, it’s going to draw cries of “community basher” and probably even cries of “hypocrite” from people who have axes to grind… say what you will, say what you feel you must. The fact is that I am not taking aim at anyone in particular but rather at a prevailing situation and a long term difficulty. I am taking aim at influences that detract from mutually beneficial interaction and communication. I am taking aim at the “bad apples”.

In the past I have been such things, yes, forgive me dear reader for I have sinned but I have learned lessons, I have read comments, listened to good advice. I haven’t come to preach, I’ve come to ask everyone to consider some good advice, maybe even take it – that’s up to you dear reader.

Dedicated to Ms. K.G.

The world over there are clubs, groups and associations. Their purposes are many and varied, they exist to provide professional, common interest, special interest and social contact between the members and the thing that marks each and every single one is that they have rules. Not rules that are there to be impediments but are there to give EVERYONE an equal chance of enjoying the many benefits of the group to the fullest extent.

For example;

No person other than the Club and its designees shall supervise, give direction to, or reprimand Club employees. Verbal or physical abuse or harassment of employees will not be tolerated.
Graywood LLC


Players found not following the Club Penguin rules risk being banned, temporarily or permanently.
There are two ways bans occur in Club Penguin:
1. Automatic bans occur when a player uses inappropriate language that is marked by our security system. These bans happen immediately, and the player will be logged out of Club Penguin, and banned for 24 hours.
2. Moderators can apply bans to a penguin at any time. When a penguin is reported, a record of all conversation, including filtered messages, is sent to our moderators. Moderators review the conversation and will ban accounts found breaking the Club Penguin Rules (see below). Accounts can be banned for 24 hours, 72 hours, or forever depending on the offense.
Disney Interactive Club Penguin


“5. Members and guests will refrain from engaging in loud, foul or slanderous language or molesting, badgering or harassing other members or Club employees, agents or contractors.”
Boston Badminton

“Some Do’s and Don’ts.
• Strive to conduct yourself as a responsible Patch holder at all times.
• Always display a positive attitude.”
Red Knights International Motorcycle Club

The rules are there for extremely good reason, they make a common code that ensures that all members of the “group” are treated equally and that each member of the group understands that if they break the rules there will be consequences.”

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In the Real Modern Vampire sub-culture things are no different and this seems to be a fact that continues to elude so many people.

Let me ask you this question;

You have invited me to your house for dinner, or a celebration and during the course of the evening your mother tells a story which is quite humorous and in which she makes fun of something she has done in the past. Quite suddenly, from a corner of the room, I speak up and say something along the lines of,

“Well, you’d be one sorry dumba** b***h wouldn’t ya? What, you couldn’t process the thought in your tiny fossilized brain that that was going to happen? F**k me, where’d you earn your I.Q., a Cheerios packet?”

What’s going to happen to me? Pretty simple answer to that, no? …and yet people insist on joining internet groups in the OVC, even if they have no obvious or outwardly visible interest in the subject, you welcome them in in the spirit of sharing of information and education. They sit tight for months, not a peep out of them and then suddenly, one day, they pop up and commence to insult, berate and slander long term members and friends or senior people like group owners or moderators that run the group.
What’s going to happen to them?

Then of course there’s going to be a s**t-storm of moaning and outrage claiming they are being censored, they’re not allowed freedom of expression and that the group leaders and officers are “dictators”, “facists” and perhaps worse.

My question, at this point, is;
“Who’s responsible for getting them in trouble? The group owners or the members that don’t follow the rules?”


If you look at any group, club or association you will find rules and regulations, some reasons I already alluded to above but there are other reasons that are equally important, important to safety, to the health – both emotional and perhaps physical – of the members and it falls to the owners and officers of the group to ensure that the people who trust them to preserve the peace, to offer a calm, respectful and mutually beneficial environment for the members to interact in, to deliver such a place. No one person can, in any “group” setting, be allowed to damage or destroy such a responsibility.

Is that something that is completely beyond the scope of power of OVC groups? What do you think?

Consider, if you will –
“…that good rules and effective enforcement are within our power to achieve. It may be hard to look past the cascade of calamities; but if we make the effort (and turn down the volume knob on the cynical voices telling us to expect no better), a more hopeful story comes into view.” [1]

A quote from a business oriented web resource and yet the words can be equally applied no matter what the setting which points to the fact that proper and consistent rules and regulations are not evil attempts to quash opinion, rob people of their freedom of expression or freedom of speech etc. No, rather the rules and regulations provide fertile ground for meaningful interaction and mutually beneficial and informative exchanges.

troublemaker-todd-lasance Source:


The final consideration needs to be, naturally, what to do with people who refuse to demonstrate proper decorum within the group? What should happen to the person who breaks rules that are clearly communicated; either prior to, or at the point of, the transgression.

Well, that’s a decision that, ultimately, rests with the group owner/s. Are they willing to allow what is metaphorically referred to as drama? Are they willing to allow themselves, or other members, to be insulted, harangued and harassed? Are they willing to let what many like to call, “spirited debate”, descend into a free-for-all sledging match?

As a long term, highly respected and active Elder (and I do use the term in the truest sense of the word) noted recently;

“We are adults so let’s act like it. This is not Underworld, Kindred the Embraced or any other fictional programming.
No one is at “War” with anyone else… or at least they shouldn’t be. No one organization should be going out of their way to bash another. Personal and individual issues are just that. PERSONAL.” **

I would suggest that the action, or reaction, of the group owner/s and/or their delegates will shape the image of the group and that this image will get around by communication; word-of-mouth, so to speak and that this action will inevitably attract the right, or the wrong, type of member to the group for the future.
It is often heard, or read, that we shouldn’t let “a few bad apples spoil the barrel” ~ that’s fine, and there’s a simple solution… get rid of the bad apples and keep the good ones…! Easy.

Another point to think on, dear reader…

What happens when you are added to a barrel, or elect to join a group, and the “head apple”, or the leader of the group, is one of the biggest problems that the group has…what then?

It’s always important, when looking at a new group to see if you can scope out the group before committing to it. See how the posts and discussion threads are run, are kept on track. See how the “leaders” treat the rank and file member and how they respond to discord or discontent. You can tell an awful lot about a group; and the people running it, from simply sitting back and roaming around reading for a few days. This puts a person in a much better position to be able to determine whether the group is the best choice for them, is beneficial for them, or, on the other hand, is purely and generally toxic.

1 teamwork_0Common sense, good choices and having manners will get you far. Don’t fall into a pit full of “drama llamas”. Remember, if you want respect, give it. If you want to experience good manners and polite interaction (like any civilized person would wish) give it and above and beyond this, as our highly respected and honoured Elder reminds us;

“…members of the community, no matter what state or halo no matter what kin type you identify with…this is a message to you ALL… DO BETTER. BE BETTER. If you fancy yourself a leader, GOVERN YOURSELVES ACCORDINGLY. If you aren’t a leader, you aren’t exempt from not acting like a child. You’re an ADULT. GOVERN YOURSELVES ACCORDINGLY.” **

Copyright RVL 2015
2. ** Quotes used with full permission of Author.

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Vampire media ~ A roundtable chat

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Magazines, newspapers, e-zines…books… has the humble magazine fallen victim to the technology of the information superhighway?

The following ten examples of 2013-2014 circulation figures would seem to suggest not, people still like to pick up a magazine and flick through the “glossies”.

AARP The Magazine 22,274,096[4] AARP (U.S.)
AARP Bulletin 22,244,820[4] AARP (U.S.)
ADAC Motorwelt 13,643,161[4] ADAC (Germany)
Costco Connection 8,654,464[4] Costco Wholesale (U.S.)
Game Informer 7,629,995[1] GameStop (U.S.)
Better Homes And Gardens 7,615,581[2] Meredith (U.S.)
The National Trust Magazine 2,043,876[1] The National Trust (U.K.)
Version Fémina 3,392,403[4] Hachette Filipacchi Médias (France)
Asda Magazine 1,983,433[2] Publicis-Blueprint
Tesco Magazine 1,935,680[2] Cedar Communications Ltd (Omnicom Group)
In the age of information superhighways, instant accessibility and world-wide contact with the global population of internet users one might be forgiven for thinking that the humble magazine has had its day. In fact, that would be a dangerous assumption. One only has to flick onto the internet and visit the, “list of magazines by circulation” to realise that in the world there are tens of millions of people that still read rather than watch, or Google.

“Vampire Media” has undergone radical transformation since the beginnings of the sub-culture. It has embraced, and been embraced by, television and film, it has established its own news services and has made use of the capabilities of live streaming radio via the internet. Some of these collaborations have been educational and entertaining while others, sadly, have failed dismally.

However, outside the sub-culture, unfortunately, these are the sort of headlines, by-lines and editorial article titles we can find all too readily…

“Florida ‘vampire’ attacks senior citizen at vacant Hooters.” ~ New York Post
“VAMPIRE MURDER ARREST” ~ The Herald Sun (Australia)
“Vampire father…rips off child’s throat, sucks her blood” ~ Post Courier (PNG)
“Real-life ‘vampire’ addicted to blood, doctors claim” ~ Fox News

and such gems as,

“7 Workplace Vampires That Can Suck the Life Out of You”[5], “Keeping Confident to Ward Off the Workplace Vampire”[6], or, “Beware of emotional vampires at the workplace.”[7]


These are the stories that define our sub-culture to the outside world, to the “mundane” world and, whether we like it or not, the tarring is all done with the same brush.


There have been, in recent times, laudable efforts to increase and modify the “public” (read ‘mundane’) awareness of facts about modern vampires, we are currently gathering information for an editorial on this very subject. At this time, however, it is vitally important for the sub-culture to have, and maintain within its structure, sources for the sharing and dissemination of information, news and features which directly relate to modern living vampires that can be read, re-read and referred to as educational resources. What could be a better vehicle than material researched, written, edited and presented by members of the sub-culture?

Our guests this evening are owners, editors and publishers of e-zines and magazines dedicated to the modern vampire sub-culture, as such they have deep and enduring links to the sub-culture and have put their energy and efforts into producing reading material to both inform, and entertain, their audiences.


RVL is proud to present a “round table” chat with the erudite and intellectual Mr. Deacon Gray, owner, writer and editor of The Graveyard Press; Lady Julia DarkRose, the ‘Sensually Dark Literary Artist‘ mastermind behind The DarkRose Journal and, from London, the dashing and debonair Mr. Darren Demondaz, driving force behind The London Vampire Magazine.
RVL: May we ask, firstly, how long have you been involved with the modern vampire sub-culture, in the offline or online sense?
DG: I would estimate that I found the community in 1994 and really got involved in around 1997. Between those periods I drifted in and out, between partying and being a typical 20 something.
JC: I have been involved with the modern vampire sub-culture offline since 1994, and online since 1995.
DD: It must be approaching 10 years now. I first became involved with the London Vampyre Group who were running a lively London social. In due course I was responsible for arranging and promoting this and all events run by the LVG.

RVL: When did you first come up with the idea for creating a magazine, or e-zine, for readers within the subculture?
JC: I first decided to create the first ever (as far as I know) magazine dedicated to those born real living vampires, and help those who desired it, to be able to embrace the reality of who they are instead of the fantasy and fiction of it, in 1994.
DD: Only earlier this year. The LVG were previously running a publication entitled ‘Chronicles’, which was rather popular, I thought I may be able to bring this back with London Vampire Magazine.
DG: “The Graveyard Press” was founded in late 2004, I was working with Vampy and Renee in the “Vampire Nations” yahoo group. With the help of people like Valiant and Dallias we started to develop our own news stories and articles. We also captured news from the web and presented it to our readers as well.


RVL: Would you give us a brief run down on your publication and where our readers can find it please?
DD: London Vampire Magazine is an Arts and Culture Magazine targeted at those with a Gothic/Vampire penchant. It’s presently running as an on-line, free to view, publication but I do intend to take it to print when demand will warrant doing so. Look for the Facebook page London Vampire Magazine
DG: The Graveyard Press is currently on WordPress. though we have had other websites in the past.
JC: My publication, The DarkRose Journal, has gone through a few transformations, as it should, for my magazine was borne from my very essence (I am DarkRose) and as I evolve so does The DarkRose Journal. She, the DRJ, is a Sensual Dark Arts Magazine dedicated to the pure, erotic lifeblood of who and what I am and consequently those who believe that they are also the same or very similar to how I was borne. My zine is not only interesting to other real living vampire but has in the last 5 years, found a wider audience not only within the darker/magic/occult communities but also in the more mainstream artistic communities as well as the general populace that has an affinity for the positive borne from the darkness. Currently, The DarkRose Journal, is available on or through my website:

RVL: Had you had any previous education or training in media work, presentation or writing?
DG: No honestly I was pretty weak, and I still struggle with my grammar and spelling from time to time. A little college education didn’t go far enough in English comp and journalism to be as effective as I would like. A friend, who I am not sure wants to be named, occasionally steps in to help me out professionally, but she has projects of her own that demand her focus. Editing is always an issue, but we do our best, and have few complaints about it.
JC: Yes, I have had previous training in media work, starting in 1994 when I first conceived on my zine. I was mentored by Avery Leonard, an accomplished, professional writer, stage and video director, lighting director for many mainstream productions as well as a stage director for Disney Imagineering. I have since the first published issue of the DRJ, gained decades of media experience all over the world. I am a seasoned professional in TV talk shows, documentaries, radio shows and the like. I have been a published writer since 1994. My zine can be found in the Library of Congress.
DD: Nothing formal but I’ve had a lot of contact with media people over the years. I’ve been writing since I was quite little and undertaken work in presentation design and Desk Top Publishing.

RVL: In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for “newsworthy” pieces for the vampire subculture?
DD: I concentrate only on London related material, history, culture, events, bands and entertainment. I think this makes the magazine cohesive as there is a core area to everything I produce in the magazine and post to the magazine page. Insofar as being Newsworthy, obviously I concentrate on the Gothic and Macabre in my area and, I think, make it so.
DG: I have been all over the map with trying to figure that out for myself. I have done articles on different cultures and how they view the Vampire Community or VC, Op-Ed pieces, educational and even some straight up gossip news. I dropped the gossip after one cycle, because while it received a lot of attention, it really didn’t bring anything to the table. TMZ style of reporting is a waste of time and energy in the VC

Today I would say that Op Ed pieces are good, education are better, but you really have to expect a low return rate. People like exciting, controversial or entertainment based articles best. It’s a shame Journalism is dead.
JC: In my opinion, “newsworthy” pieces for the vampire sub-culture are as hard to define as those within the vampire sub-culture have defining themselves. I choose to focus on causes and charities, and anything benevolent that are beneficial to not only individuals but the world at large, in time. These kinds of articles include anything from becoming more self-aware to helping save the wolves. I also include personal Grimoire entries, science, historically correct, humour, the dark and sensual arts, and of course, blood drinking.

RVL: In a number of places we see “news” items coming via the local or world press, articles by authors outside the sub-culture and so forth. Do you think there is greater value, and relevance, in original material developed by those who are active members of the modern sub-culture?
JC: I do not think that there is necessarily greater value or relevance of original material written by those outside the culture. Certainly, those within the vampire sub-culture have an insight that most outside the culture will not have, however, sometimes those inside of something are constantly wearing rose-colored glasses and are not able to be objective enough to develop/write “news” items that are beneficial to those who actually need it.
DD: If we’re talking Facebook it’s all a bit of a disaster. All I see is plagiarism (photos lifted and posted without credits to original artist) and articles that may be very out of date getting posted and reposted as if they were new and nothing ever being cross-verified. Admins should be more mindful of this as they do, I think, have a responsibility to their group members or page followers. I don’t really see enough original material period. The Vampire group scene just seems to want to regurgitate the same old same old.
DG: I would say there could be more value in original material developed by the community, but we still struggle with the right type of education to make that happen. We need more psychologists, social workers and medical professionals. Journalism is a great resource, but you need something to work from, or you end up with empty subjective articles. That isn’t to say that op-ed pieces are without value, still they only go so far into the questions our community possesses.


RVL: For you, as an editor/writer, what is the inspiration for the material you present?
DG: I can’t really pin it down to one thing. Most of my pieces are either interviews, or op-ed pieces. Interviews are often inspired by talking to someone who says something I find interesting…a sixteen year old cousin who awakened after getting pregnant…interesting, and it raises a lot of questions (that one is still in the works)
DD: London and its manifold connections with the Gothic and Macabre.
JC: For me, as an editor/writer, my inspiration for my magazine comes from my own life experiences. I have, for the most part, experienced far more than most within the vampire sub-culture, as I came up from the vampire underground and was borne a real living vampire (not merely at the onset or in the midst of the online vampire culture, decided that this is what I am), so I have an entire lifetime (actually many lifetimes within this one life) of experience that others just do not have.

RVL: It is a well-known fact that within the modern sub-culture the wide array of beliefs and opinions will make almost any subject controversial to some extent. How much does this thought, if at all, influence what you decide to write or present?
DD: I like to court a little controversy. Gently tweak people’s noses to make them pay attention.
DG: I like a good conversation, even a good debate, so presenting something that gets people thinking doesn’t bother me. I know people will be offended sometimes, but most of it is false indignation from my point of view. People like to feel offended, or to claim offense.
I don’t like the name calling and bickering, though I have engaged in it from time to time. Some people have to be right no matter what the outcome. They don’t care how much it makes people mad and when it is brought to their attention they normally blame everyone but themselves. Ultimately it is nothing more than a disruption, but sadly it is good for keeping people active so group owners don’t always rush to curtail it.
J.C. The thought of any subject I choose to write about being controversial due to others beliefs and opinions, does not ever enter my thought process. Why should it? I simply write about the truth as I know it and have lived it. Others problems with what I write about and/or present in my magazine are exactly that, their problems and have no bearing on my decision to write about something or to not write about something.

RVL: Do you have a particular “image” that you try and project with your publication and why or, if not, why not?
DG: Not really. We mostly drive to educate people, or at least spawn the conversation.
JC: Of course, I have a particular “image” that I try project with my publication…the truth of being born and living as a real living vampire (or insert your own label that makes you feel comfortable). I do everything I can to get away from the fantasy and fiction of the culture. The fantasy and fiction are good, nothing wrong with it…as long as those playing at being a vampire do not try to convince others that they are the real thing, and/or if they are the real thing and playing up the fiction side of it, to please be honest about doing that. There are too many others out there in this world that are like me and are seeking real help, not fantasy and fiction which ultimately help no one with real life problems and embarking on a real life journey as a real living vampire.
DD: Yes, I hope it is stylish. I would project the London Vampire Magazine and the related social scene as stylish.

RVL: How important is the freedom to be able to write, present and comment upon the material you develop and put out, to you?

JC: The ability to have complete freedom in what I write, present, and comment upon is extremely important to me. I have turned down quite a few opportunities to launch my magazine into the mainstream world, simply because I will not allow the truth, as I know it to be, to be twisted, veiled, or rewritten in order to placate the masses and make more money for the corporations. I retain complete control over that which I have lived and choose to share, through my magazine, with the world and vampire sub-culture.
DG: I think people really need to be able to comment and respond to everything I present through the GYP. Understanding and discussion is all we really have. We do not have proof, only concepts and theories. I want my readers to remain flexible, to be willing to consider new things, and not fix aspects of what they are so firmly that they don’t allow for growth.
DD: I live in a free and liberal country/city so I have no issues here.

London_Vampire_Mag_Cover and vampire montage_Darren

RVL: What plans do you have for further growth and development of your publication?
DG: None. I had a thought a while back about developing a media group to work with the other publications to share information and articles. Like “AP” but for our community. It really didn’t work out well.
JC: My plans for further growth and development of my zine are, at the moment, to keep evolving ‘Her’ as I evolve. Right now, the DRJ, is taking a bigger risk with the arts and Her humanitarian efforts. The DRJ is focusing less on the tired old rhetoric of the vampire sub-culture that has been written about to death and is simply focusing on those things that will actually help others that are borne real living vampires, to have a productive and darkly beautiful life, filled with pure, erotic truth…not delusions, lies and plain ole bullshit.
DD: I intend to put out at least 4 magazines in 2015 and grow followers on social media. I should like to get the magazine to print as and when demand warrants the costs.

RVL: Do you sometimes find it necessary to temper, or tone down, your presentation of material and what is it that does, or would, make this important to you?
DG: I like to present things as professionally as possible. I don’t always accomplish that, but professionalism is the goal. I don’t think there is a lot of room for intentionally provocative comments, though I do admit to having written that way previously. I’m slowing down, or trying too, for more consistent article production and presentation, but also to ensure there is time to consider the merits of the article.
JC: No, I never tone down my material or presentation. If I see that my material is not being understood (which is quite often the case), I will not dumb down my material but I will keep evolving it until it has become affective in helping those that need it.
DD: Not really. But I try to keep images as family friendly as Facebook would like. So no overt nudity or overly sexualized images (but I wouldn’t really want to ‘sell’ a magazine just by doing this)

RVL: As a closing thought, what message do you think, as a common goal, vampire sub-culture publications such as magazines and e-zines should strive to deliver to their readers?

JC: Truth over bullshit and delusions and in some cases, outright lies. Not everyone, just because they desire it, are actually borne living vampires. Those not truly borne living vampires, do not understand or truly know what it is to be borne this way and are not actually helping those that need it. Still, because so many people gather on social media and the Internet, it is virtually impossible to weed out the liars and the delusional. So, I will just keep doing what I have been doing for over 2 decades now, writing and presenting the truth, as I have lived it, in all forms of media. Everyone comes to me, I have never sought out a single form of media. It boggles my mind that most in the vampire sub-culture still don’t see their sub-culture for what it truly is as well, they just don’t see that they, most of those that inhabit the culture, are conformists and have not successfully set themselves apart from the cattle culture. So, truth, truth, truth, based upon other living vampires actual life experiences, not information gleamed from social media groups!
DG: I think we need to focus more on our community and its education while mixing in some elements of entertainment. Magazines like “Pride” or “Current” set a good pattern for us and I think in the future we will see that kind of publication for our community. I would love to see an e-zine collective site were all of our publications could be represented on an initial source page, but the links feed back to our own sites.
DD: Quality of output and accuracy of material within. Striving to make the Vampire kindred’s look and sound like the marvelous, creative and beautiful creatures they are!

RVL: Thank you very much for your time today, we greatly appreciate your thoughts and your answers and we would like to wish you continued success with your important initiatives. It has been a great pleasure to “chat” with you.

DG: Thank you.
JC: Thank you kindly. As always, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my voice and wisdom (which is subjective, I know) earned through my life experiences as being borne, this, whatever this is and whatever label you choose to give me. I wish for you continued success in all of your endeavors.
DD: And to you too. Regards from London Vampire Magazine and Demondaz.

Three Owner/Editor/Writers from within our sub-culture who entertain and inform with three different styles of presentation; three different styles, I would suggest, that embody a common goal, bringing information, education and entertainment to the members of the modern living vampire sub-culture. One of the keys, I have often thought, in having a strong sense of presence lies in the sharing of information and in the ability of the whole to be kept informed. After all, as the old saying goes, “The pen is mightier than the…”, or in this case, the keyboard.

Copyright RVL, Deacon Gray, Julia DarkRose & Darren Demondaz 2015

1. “PPA Combined Circulation Chart – Countryside”. Professional Publishers Association (PPA). February 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
2. “PPA Combined Circulation Chart – Women’s Interest Monthly”. Professional Publishers Association (PPA). February 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
3. “PPA Combined Circulation Chart – TV Listings”. Professional Publishers Association (PPA). February 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.



7. The San Diego-Union Tribune

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

This information is freely available to all FOR PERSONAL USE only, it may be reproduced, or linked to, on personal web sites WITH FULL CREDIT but it may not be used for commercial purposes nor for general distribution without PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from Real Vampire Life and our guest/s.
For further details please see our Website Disclaimer

A new darkness

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In August of 2014 we were privileged to meet, and make, a new friend. An author who had just had his debut novel, “The Devil’s Ark”, published.

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The Devil’s Ark is a great fun read. Sometimes you can be happy knowing what sort of thing to expect in a read and here in The Devil’s Ark the reader is not disappointed. Like a good Hammer Horror movie or a Weird Tales magazine story, the fun here is not in the actual events as they happen but in the telling.
~ Mark Yon, SFF World.

Creepy, classy … full of dread and lust and echoing with the sorrows of war. We need more stories like this.
~ Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind

As much about the horrors of war as the primeval horrors that lurk in the depths of the human psyche.
~ F.R. Tallis, author of The Forbidden

Bedford, U.K. Based author, and Head of English at Bedford Modern, Stephen Bywater has just released his new novel, “Night of the Damned


The novel is based in the depths of the Amazon rain forest and, in part, on the extraordinary concept of automobile magnate Henry Ford.

Fordlândia is a now-abandoned, prefabricated industrial town established in the Amazon Rainforest in 1928 by American industrialist Henry Ford to secure a source of cultivated rubber for the automobile manufacturing operations of the Ford Motor Company in the United States. Ford had negotiated a deal with the Brazilian government granting his newly formed Companhia Industrial do Brasil a concession of 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) of land on the banks of the Rio Tapajós near the city of Santarém, Brazil, in exchange for a 9% interest in the profits generated.[1]

Fordlandia Img. source

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As Stephen tells us, of the work;

Night of the Damned, like The Devil’s Ark, leans towards the supernatural but instead of an archaeological dig in Iraq, the action takes place deep in the Amazon jungle in the 1930s. The setting is loosely based on Henry Ford’s Fordlandia, which was a vast rubber plantation the car magnate founded in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. It is a tale about immorality and obsession, where very little is as it seems. Labourers begin to disappear and pale, cadaverous figures are glimpsed in the jungle surrounding the settlement. With the story partly inspired by Ford’s own forgotten city it interweaves fact and fiction and leaves the reader with an unsettling vision of a very ‘modern’ hell.”

Abandoned factory at 'Fordlandia' Img. source

Abandoned factory at ‘Fordlandia’
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It was the setting which first grabbed me, the Amazon jungle and the failing rubber plantation. This was quickly followed by wanting to imagine what it would be like to have an automobile magnate’s ability to shape a hostile landscape: the idea that men from Michigan could succeed in forcing the rainforest to bow to logic of the assembly line, that no concession would be made to the climate, pests or diseases, that an American settlement, complete with street lighting, fire hydrants and ice-cream parlour, could be created in amongst the ghost towns which cling to the muddy banks of the Tapajòs.
The novel took just over a year to write and what I’ve ended up with is something far more sinister than I intended. Think Heart of Darkness meets The Dawn of the Dead , with Nabakov’s ingénue lurking somewhere in the shadows.

We asked Stephen whether the tale had been influenced by local legends or folklore of the Amazon;

I went with Dante’s Inferno and the entrance to hell being deep in the Amazon, the idea being that hell is full and the damned are walking the earth. I also take zombie back to its origins with the idea that it might be an insect bite or voodoo – docile and biddable and perfect for the assembly line /rubber plantation.

Img. source

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It would seem that our friend, Stephen, has come up with another “very gripping read” and one which is sure to win him further critical acclaim; and an even bigger fan base, for his literary prowess.

9781472210418~ Night of the Damned ~

“A legend uncovered, an evil that cannot be contained”

Author Stephen Bywater

Author Stephen Bywater

Copyright RVL and Stephen Bywater, 2015

1) Dempsey, Mary A. (1994). “Fordlandia”. Michigan History 78 (4): 24–33.

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