Cate: Please welcome Julie Lynn Hayes to my special Halloween celebration. Julie, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Julie: I live in the St. Louis area with my twenty-two year old daughter and two cats. I’ve been writing for over forty years. I had some stories and poems that were published in the 90’s, at a time when the usual form of payment was a copy of the magazine you were published in. That was before the Internet and home pc’s. These have been a boon to authors wanting to be published. I’ve been published by Dreamspinner Press, Silver Publishing, and have releases coming out with Museit Up Publishing as well. When I’m not writing, I’m editing. I love reading and movies, and try to visit my children as often as I can. I’d love to travel more in the future.
Cate: What do you love most about Halloween?
Julie: I love the paranormal themes that surround Halloween. I’m a big fan of vampires and werewolves and it’s reflected in my books. I love to see how people decorate their homes, and I love the costumes, whether the children as they go trick or treating or the adults, in cosplay or parties. The weather is not too hot, and not yet cold. Ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night are fun ideas to play with, especially if you pair them with a romantic theme.
Cate: Aren't they, though? :) Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?
Julie: Taking my kids trick or treating, getting them dressed up and taking them around and seeing how excited they’d get. One year, one of the houses had refreshments for the adults so the parents could stand for a minute and catch their breath and have a quick drink, while the kids got their candy.
Cate: Love that idea. Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Julie: Yes, I have. A couple of people have told me my house is haunted by the ghost of my first husband, although I’ve not seen him myself. But I have been awakened by mysterious sounds, such as rapping on a door (my room has no door and the front door is too far from my room to hear), strange voices calling my name, and seeing what I believe were guardian angels.
Cate: What frightens you the most?
Julie: The dark – I cannot sleep in complete darkness. And I’m terrified of old, narrow bridges that cross water. There was one bridge that went into Alton, Illinois – I wouldn’t drive across it, ever, and if I was a passenger and we crossed the bridge, I’d close my eyes.
Cate: Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Julie: No, but I’d like to. I watched a pseudo-documentary about strange phenomena, and the filmmakers put a tape recorder into a cemetery at night and recorded voices. I always wanted to do that, but my husband wouldn’t go with me, so it never happened.
Cate: Tell us about your release, and where readers can find it online.
Julie: Leonardo di Caprio is a Vampire is available from Silver Publishing in three forms: eBook, print, and audio. It’s also available at Amazon and ARe.
Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
“Tis the night before Halloween, and Fisher Roberts wishes it was over, not being a fan of this or any other holiday. But he tolerates it because his roommate/best friend Hunter Long takes a childish glee in all things Halloween. And Fisher has a vested interest in keeping Hunter happy. If only he could find the nerve to tell his childhood friend that he loves him, and has for a very long time.
Fisher thinks Hunter is carrying things a bit far this year, though. First Hunter claims to be a vampire, and he just won’t let the silly joke go. Then he forces Fisher to go to a costumed Halloween party which Fisher would rather avoid, especially when he realizes where it’s being held, and whose house it is. Things at Fisher’s job might just be going south, too, when he receives a mysterious summons to report to the editor’s office the next morning. And then Fisher goes and does something stupid—like kissing Hunter!
Bad leads to worse when Fisher ends up at the Halloween party from Hell, and he learns something that threatens to destroy his and Hunter’s relationship forever. Running from his fears, Fisher encounters a strange young man with an unusual resemblance to Leonardo di Caprio, who shows him things he never realized before, truths about his life and the people in it.
Can Fisher find his way back to Hunter, and can he find the courage to do what his heart wishes?
Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Julie: My daughter and I went to see the film Inception when it first came out, and a little voice in my head started talking to me, telling me that Leonardo di Caprio is a vampire. By the time I got home, the characters had names and the story was begun.
Cate: Love it when that happens. :) Anything else you’d like to share?
Julie: I’ve loved vampires for many years. One of my first crushes was on Barnabas Collins, of Dark Shadows. There is just something irresistible about them. I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope the readers have as much fun reading it.
You can always find me at my blog, Full Moon Dreaming!
Cate: Julie has a giveaway!
Julie: I’d like to give a copy of Leonardo di Caprio is a Vampire to one of your readers, Cate. All you have to do is comment, and tell me if you’ve ever wanted to tell a friend something you were afraid to say, and what. Don’t forget to leave your email address! I’ll declare a winner before Halloween!
Thanks for having me, Cate, and Happy Halloween!
Cate: Happy Halloween to you, Julie! Hope it’s spooktacular
Julie made me thirsty, so I searched for Halloween drinks and found one I think Julie might like - it's called Vampiro, from the Food Network, where you can find more creepy cocktails.
· 2 cups sugar
· 2 cups water
· 1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers (see cook's note)
· 2-inch piece fresh ginger, unpeeled and sliced
· 4 cups white tequila
· 2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice, strained
· Cubed ice, as needed
For the syrup: Put the sugar, water, hibiscus flowers, and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and refrigerate until chilled.
To make the cocktail: Combine the tequila, 2 cups of the hibiscus syrup, lime juice, and orange liqueur in a large pitcher. (The vampiro can be made up to this point a day ahead and refrigerated.)
To serve, fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice, add the some of the vampiro and shake until chilled. Strain and serve straight-up in a cocktail glass garnished with lime slices. Alternatively, serve over ice in a rocks glass.
Cook's Note: Hibiscus flowers can be found in most Latin markets and is often labeled by its Jamaican name Sorrel.