The cover of Purity revealed!

JP Marshman - Purity - Book Cover

Purity’s cover is designed, and the book is finished!

I neglected to announce it on the old blog, but Purity is completed, with round one of edits done. Everything is prepared in the file, including not only the manuscript, but acknowledgments and a little author bio at the end, and with the cover finished it’s nearly ready to be put for sale! I have some beta readers lined up to go through and edit for me as well, and hopefully the book will be ready for everyone to read around the New Year.

This is happening quickly, so be on the lookout for more updates!

The dogs of war: Purity teaser

He could feel anger radiating from Vanessa like steam. He understood why, of course. He had ample opportunity to shoot Heinrich in a fatal zone—the heart, the head—and end this foolish war without further bloodshed.

But Vanessa didn’t understand. Vanessa had never been truly lost and alone in her darkest time of need, had never found that one person with whom to seek solace. In truth, Vanessa had no friends. Only allies.

No matter what happened, Heinrich had been a friend.

Fane gritted his teeth and tightened his grip on the pistol at his side. Joachim was right. He wasn’t strong enough to kill the man who had been his pillar of strength after the deaths of his father and Verity.

Heinrich snarled another curse in German. He released his injured arm and, before Fane could even move to react, grabbed a fistful of Joan Gwyther’s hair, yanking her upright. She shrieked, thrashing, but Heinrich held tight. “See what you have done, Fane!” he roared, loud enough to startle birds from their roosts. “This is the end! Everything you have fought so hard to protect will die today!” Continue reading

When OCs meet the Sims

One good thing about having the Sims, other than mindless, soul-eating entertainment, is the ability to make original characters and play around with them in a setting outside of their stories. I do this quiet frequently, and have the most fun with it – I also get a lot of character ideas from interactions they make in the Sims. For example, when I created Aisling and Alistair from Changeling in the Sims, I got ideas for their future and more characters.

When I had the Sims 2, I made a replica of Caitlyn’s house and made her and Fane. But now that I have the Sims 3, I changed it up a bit. Caitlyn, I’ve made before. I know my way around her head pretty well. So instead, I made Fane and Verity, his long ago love from 1809.

I adore Verity. Let’s just make that clear early on. She’s a hotheaded, seventeen year old uber-devout Catholic hellbent on serving God and her Pope, but she’s also sweet as sugar. She changed Fane’s mind on religion and faith and the differences of them, and their relationship was built on mutual respect and admiration, and was purely wholesome.

It was fun making her in the Sims. Especially because they have a hotheaded option.

Stuffed into an alternate reality where they were able to stay together, Fane launched to the top of the political career while Verity worked first as a businesswoman, then as a teacher. It was the most fun building a life for them.

So here’s an idea of what Fane and Verity look like! (Keep in mind, in my head Fane is a lot skinnier and pointier, due to the being dead thing.)

Oh, and this is this one time Verity was eating dinner, nude, in front of her son, after going to work, nude. Thanks for glitching, Sims!

Battle Plans: Purity teaser

He opened a drawer of the desk and flipped through a hefty stack of maps until he found one of Germany. He set it flat on the desk with two paperweights. “We will go to this area, here,” he said, gesturing to part of the map. “Not many human settlements, and it is only a dozen or so miles from the Danube. Those who do not wish to fight the battle will remain in the castle, to guard it against vârcolaci scouts. The rest will join us in Germany. Have we any solid number of Heinrich’s followers?”

“A few hundred at most, and not all are based in Germany. He’ll probably call them all together now that there’s been a battle.”

“Hm. Send out the message, then. Any European or Asian strigoi morţi or loyal vârcolaci who wish to participate are hereby welcomed to Castle Dracula to be armed and prepared for war. Inform General Fernandez and Lieutenant Romanov of the plan, and no one else. We cannot risk this news leaking. Do you hear me, Belial?”

“Aye-aye, Captain.”

“Have the guards continue treating Madam Gwyther as they have, with enough blood to keep her alive. Break her will, if necessary. If she knows of the plan, she may betray us yet again.”

“Abendroth will kill her the second he finds out it’s a trap.”

“Sacrifices must be made. If we can spare her life, all the better. She certainly has her uses. If the plan is in jeopardy, we will have someone spying in the area, downwind of the vârcolaci, who can end Madam Gwyther before our cover can be spoiled. Do we know any dryads in the area?”

“None we’re friendly with.”

“Figures. Then whomever is sent as her potential executioner must have as little scent a possible. Choose someone with discretion, and have them feed several hours before the plan is set in motion. Soak their clothes in sap and mud if you believe it will help.”

Vanessa nodded and rolled up the map. “Any idea when you want this to happen?”

“Give it a fortnight at the most. Heinrich will likely launch his own attack before then, but he must also collect reinforcements.”

“And recover from a nasty bullet wound.”

Fane almost smiled. “Oh, yes, that as well. What a delightful advantage. Then we have more time. Send word to our munitions contact as well. We will need more firepower.”

“Sure thing.” Vanessa scooped up her coat and backed toward the door. “Anything else?”

“That will be all, for now. Oh, and remind me to get on better terms with dryads and nymphs and pixies and fairies, and all those little nuisances.”

Vanessa chuckled and stepped into the hallway. “I’ll get right on it.”

“Thank you. One more thing,” he added just before she could carry out her orders, “do the tengu still owe us a favour?”

“No, your father called it a long time ago.”


“Anything else?” she said again, almost grinning. Her irritation about Caitlyn and anxiety over the ghost of Mircea were vanished, overcome by her lust for war.

Fane considered it for a moment. The strigoi morţi still had running favours with other societies of demons they didn’t often converse with, but he didn’t want to call on them just yet. A vârcolaci rebellion he could handle with those loyal to him. One never knows when one might need the help of shinigami, harpies, encantados, or tokoloshes.

“No. That is all. Thank you, Vanessa.”

She nodded. “Think about what I’ve said.” And she walked away.

Castle Dracula: Purity teaser

Tears finally broke free and slipped down Caitlyn’s cheeks.

She was being taken to the home of the vampires.

Memories flooded her, nearly crippling her with their sudden strength. They were things she blocked out of her childhood—memories of a time not long after her mother’s death, when she had lived in a haze. She had visited the museum with her father’s old housekeeper and sometime-babysitter; being the precocious brat she was, she broke free and was quickly lost in the crowd. Taken by an old man related to her mother, who she trusted. Put in a car she didn’t know, and taken away.

Her father’s business rival had kept her under lock and key, deranged by his desire to learn the secrets of her father’s success. She was eleven; she knew nothing. To convince her, he had her locked away with a monster with blood red eyes and a name from hell.

It took far too long, but light eventually pricked the distance. It wasn’t harsh electric light, but rather dim and flickering, and warm orange. An old wrought-iron sconce was jammed into the earth wall, and in it danced a small fire, just enough to lit up the door before them. It was plain and black, but there was something about it that was decidedly menacing.

Caitlyn was handed back to Coulter, and his great paws rested on her shoulders, keeping her still.

“Ready, boys?” Makarov grabbed the handles of the door. “Welcome to Castle Dracula.”

There had been hushed babbling before their entrance. At the moment the door opened, it immediately silenced and Caitlyn could feel hundreds of cold, hard eyes locked on her. The room they entered was large and vaguely circular, with walls covered by black drapes and a floor of exquisite marble. Ancient furniture lined the walls, and across from the door were two curved marble staircases that joined a balcony with five hallways. On the floor between the staircases was an old piano with a man at the bench, but no one played. The room was dim, lit only by torches in the same sconces as the one in the tunnel.

Men and women of all races and states of disrepair filled the room. Some were ghastly and pale and looked starved, so their musty clothes hung off them like rags. Others were rosy-cheeked and contented. But all of them had the same bold, brazen eyes; the colours that would be muted and plain in the faces of humans were brilliant and sparkling, full of life and completely animated. Everything, even the people, was immaculately structured, yet it seemed as though all was covered in a fine film of dust.

The silence was palpable. Caitlyn remained stiff, terrified even to breathe in case these predators decided to pounce. Her brain had shut off, and her body tensed, waiting for something to happen so it could decide whether to fight or flee.

Those eyes. Those hard, bright eyes were locked on her. Unmoving. Unblinking.

Caitlyn dropped her gaze and her breath suddenly returned with a painful wheeze. She had accidentally looked into the dark brown eyes of a scowling woman near the front, and her reptilian brain knew that this woman would kill her without a second thought. And she would enjoy it.

Her entourage nudged her forward, and she returned to full consciousness when a dry sort of cackle exploded from above them.

Every hair stood on end, and she glanced back. The sound seemed to come from two grotesque chimera-style gargoyles that flanked the door, but that was impossible.

There seemed to be no hurry, and her captors gave her a moment to stare. As she did, a gravelly voice asked in an unnatural accent, “What are you staring at, human?”

A deeper, slower voice just as rocky as the first drawled, “Why is a living human still in these hallowed halls? Vanessa, you have proven yourself to be intelligent in the past. Why is this girl in the halls of our lord?”

“I don’t know, Abaddon.” The voice was haughty and English, and when Caitlyn looked back around, she saw it came from the woman she had locked eyes with. She was staring now, her eyes narrowed beneath a dark frown. “Why don’t you ask the human’s escorts?”

“Bethany,” the first voice said, singsong. “What are you doing with a human? A living human?”

“Just ignore them,” Makarov muttered, and pushed Caitlyn forward. The crowd parted in silence, cutting a clean path to the staircases.

Forgetting her fear for the moment, Caitlyn asked, breathless, “What was that?”

“Two of the castle’s resident gargoyles,” Jacques-Marie Blanchard replied from behind her left shoulder. “They guard the door.”

“Abaddon does,” Makarov corrected, stealing one more glance behind them. “Asmodeus needs to be removed.”

Caitlyn swallowed a dry lump in her throat. Two of the castle’s gargoyles. That meant there were more of those things.

The crowd in the circular room remained silent as the grave as Caitlyn was escorted up the stairs and onto the balcony. They lingered there in the quiet, waiting.

The Silver Room: Purity teaser

Purity was my baby when I first began writing long works of fiction. She’s on hiatus – due to the largely vampiric nature of the story, and my disdain for all things vampire after Twilight killed it – but I am still in love with her characters. This is a scene from the very beginning, when the two main characters – Caitlyn and Fane – meet for the first time.

She shuffled up behind him, watching curiously as he ran his hand over the top of the wainscoting, which was designed with circular knobs in a very simple style. One of these protruded forward a slight more than the rest, and had a hole beside it. Wentworth reached into the breast pocket of his shirt and unearthed a tiny silver key without many decorations, with the exception of edging in gold and a little insignia stamped onto it. It must be the symbol of the Blade Corporation.

Wentworth slid the teeth into the hole and turned, then put the key back into his pocket and grabbed the knob. He gently rotated it, and a door, whose edges were hidden by the frame of the portrait, whispered open, revealing a room full of darkness. Before Caitlyn could see anything dangerous about a shrine of silverware, Robert nudged her inside and followed her, shutting the door behind them. They were instantly trapped in perfect blackness.

They stood in silence for some time. Well, almost silence. Caitlyn could hear her heart thudding dementedly away in her chest, and her breathing was loud in her ears, but there was something in the background that made icy fingers crawl up her spine. The room was chilling, colder than a fine sprinkle of snow. The invisible walls seemed to be swelling and deflating, breathing around them. Her hearing was randomly interrupted by a high-pitched clang, as if somebody was tapping two pieces of metal together—maybe forks? she thought with some amusement.

But what bothered her most was the whispering she heard in her head. It was a low male voice with an accent that sounded eerily like her father’s. She couldn’t tell what the voice was saying, but it sounded like a curse in some ancient tongue. A shiver rippled through her flesh, and she backed up on the grungy floor, bumping into the thin, skeleton of a man standing behind her.

She jumped and nearly yelped when the door opened again. She blinked against the sudden bright light, but when she recovered she tried to use the light to find out why exactly it was called the silver room, but she had no such luck. If this shrine was at all dangerous, she couldn’t tell.

The door shut before she could spot anything; when it eased shut with a click, the chanting in her mind instantly stilled.

The room was suddenly filled with the acrid smell of Blade’s cigar. He sounded like he was fumbling with something. This was confirmed when his gruff accent cut through the silence of the room with a demand. “Robert, hold this.”

“What is it?” Wentworth asked quietly.

“A candle. I can’t see a bloody fricking thing in here. Hold still.”

“Have you put more thought into connecting the electricity to the light here?” Robert wondered.

Blade made a strange noise in his throat as he lit a match. There was a brief flare of light as it burst to life. He touched it to the wick of the candle in Robert’s hand, and then shook it out, dropping it to the floor. Taking the candle from his employee so it illuminated every fine line on his chubby face, and made his dark eyes dance with something that resembled terror, he replied quietly, “Then it could see.”

A sudden low laugh ripped through Caitlyn’s mind, and she jerked backward, startled. Dread swiftly filled her form, and she pressed herself against the wall, close to Wentworth. Both men with her jumped slightly—they heard it too, but she could have sworn that it hadn’t been her ears that picked up the sound. It had been inside her head.

Now she was sure that that silver room did not contain silverware.

“Jesus Christ,” Al hissed. His knuckles were white where he gripped the candle. “Leave, Robert.”

“But, sir—”

“Bloody hell, if you say one more thing about the profits it could make, or how she’s just a kid, I’ll feed you to it myself! Goddamn it, Robert, get out!” the businessman snarled, glowering at the taller, stick-like man.

This time, she knew it came from somewhere in the room. The down hairs on the back of her neck and her arms lifted when the deep, quiet voice murmured teasingly, “Yes, say one more thing, Robert. Let him feed you to it.”

Robert was all too ready to comply. He stole one apologetic glance at Caitlyn, whispered, “Please forgive me,” and left the room. For the fraction of time the door was open, Caitlyn thought she saw something hunched over in the corner of the room—which, like the rest, had hardwood floors, wallpaper and wainscoting—but when the door shut, and they were once again locked in darkness, she chased the thought from her mind. This had to be a way of unnerving her so she would tell them about her father’s work. That was the only logical explanation for this madness.

Or was it? a dark part in her mind asked.

Caitlyn glanced up at Al, and felt a sudden warmth toward him. Whatever was in this room, it had to be worse than this man. This fat, crooked businessman was her only ally. Gross.

He licked his lips anxiously, his dark eyes flicking around the room. Clearing his throat, he said as bravely as possible, “Well, Miss Negrescu, I’m not going to ask you anymore about your father’s program right now, all right? I’m still going to ask about your father, but… well, let’s just get to it, hm? I don’t like this room much. I think the man who sold me this house forgot to tell me that it’s haunted,” he added, trying—and failing miserably—to sound nice. There was a panicked tinge to his voice, and the smile forced on his lips was pained and wavering. He was twirling the fat cigar in his fingers, and she could hear his toe tapping on the wooden floor.

“Ghosts aren’t real,” she whispered, too quietly for him to hear. It wasn’t something she believed, herself. After watching The Shining at her friend Emma’s house, she believed that the supernatural was far too real.

“Your father’s from Romania, isn’t he?” When Caitlyn nodded, Blade imitated the motion. “Yes, I’ve noticed he still has an accent. He isn’t from Bucharest, is he? That’s the capital.”

“He’s from Braşov,” she corrected, feeling her brows pull together. What did this have to do with anything?

“Ah, yes, that’s right. Thank you. You’ve been there?”


“To visit his rather large family, I presume. Tell me, Miss Negrescu, has he brought you to Bran Castle? I hear it’s a very popular tourist destination.”

“A beautiful creation,” something whispered in the room. Whenever that voice made itself known, the room seemed to get colder and colder, until her entire body was riddled with gooseflesh. Caitlyn couldn’t tell if the sound came from her mind or somewhere else. Maybe she was going crazy. Maybe his house was actually haunted.

“I’ve been there,” she murmured, swallowing a lump in her throat and wishing the candle lit the room better. They should have brought the lamp. Or a flashlight. She was glad she had the teddy with her.

“Have you heard the stories about Bran Castle, and Romania in general?” Blade asked, tilting his head to the side questioningly. “About how it was once populated by creatures called vampires? I’ve heard through the grapevine that your mother used to tell you stories about vampires. It’s odd, isn’t it? That she believed in Romanian creatures even though she was from Ireland? Or Canada, rather, but she lived in Ireland, didn’t she? Perhaps your father believes in leprechauns and pots of gold,” he added, chuckling. Caitlyn gawked up at him, wondering what he was getting at. “Your mother believed in vampires, and doesn’t your housekeeper, Abigail Johnston?”

Caitlyn shrunk back from him, feeling a frosty shiver penetrate her veins. “Vampires aren’t real,” she murmured. This time, it was something she believed. There weren’t any vampires in The Shining, and she and Emma had been too chicken to watch Dracula right after viewing the first film.

“Is that what you think? It’s what your father thinks, isn’t it? But in no way what Dierdre and Abigail think. See, Miss Negrescu, I’m a bit like your mother and housekeeper, I think,” he continued softly. He was sounding less calm now. Fear was edging back into his voice, threatening to overpower him. “I believe in them.”

“They aren’t real…”

“I believe the contrary, my dear. In fact… I own one.”

Another metallic click ripped through the chilly air, and a quiet voice with a growling accent hissed, sounding right beside Caitlyn’s face, “You could never own one of the strigoi morţi.”

The corner of Al’s mouth twitched downward, but he remained as courageous as possible. “May I introduce Fane Dracul?” he said, lifting his arm toward the center of the small room. The flickering orange light reflected off something shiny and silver, and Caitlyn stared in horror. This had to be a trick… an optical illusion… she was dreaming…

This dream was a nightmare. The thing before her looked like a man, but this was no ordinary man. Though it was folded on the floor in the corner, it looked like a giant. Its hair was deep ebony, and it caught light from the flame, which caused strands of reds, golds and deep browns to pierce the shadows of the long locks. And long they were. They were tied back, and fell in straight unison, interrupted by only a few waves, inches past his shoulders. A few loose strands fell before his face, covering eyes from hell itself. They were narrowed with menace, locked on Alfred Blade, and a deep, blood-chilling scarlet, highlighted with vermillion, crimson and dark orange. The colour of spilled human blood.

The flesh was pulled taut over hollow cheeks and a long nose. It was a stark contrast to the hair, as it was whiter than snow, but showed no spidery blue veins underneath, as fair skin often did. The chin was narrow and somewhat pointed, and the brow was smooth with immaculate black eyebrows.

This thing wore a bizarre assortment of clothes. Long legs were covered by black trousers, simple and classy, and the feet wore dress shoes that looked strangely modern yet old-fashioned at the same time. It wore a white shirt from some old era that had somewhat belled sleeves, and tight cuffs and collar, with a black waistcoat overtop. The buttons were golden. Underneath its neck was some sort of old-timey scarlet tie. The vest was formfitting, pulling the shirt close to its torso; it seemed to be very slim, on the edge of skinny, but looked powerful. Caitlyn couldn’t decide if it was beautiful or horrifying.

Even though thick silver manacles were clamped about its wrists and it was chained to the wall behind it, the thing emanated glory and royal magnificence. It was terrifying.

Caitlyn couldn’t look away, but desperately wished she no longer had the image burned before her eyes.