December 01, 2016 - Shelf Unbound
My novel, The Vampire Girl in London (sequel to The Vampire Girl Next Door) was just named a Notable Book Page Turner in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition. You can read the December/January issue for free and see my award mentioned on page 100 (page 103 PDF) and both novels on page 120 (page 123 PDF). Shelf Unbound is a free online book review magazine. Just cllick on SHELF UNBOUND above and you'll see the issue. -- Shelf Unbound
October 14, 2016 - Linda Tonis - Paranormal Romance Guild
Paranormal Romance Guild
The Vampire Girl in London
Review by Linda Tonis
This is the sequel to The Vampire Girl Next Door and that book should be read first, even though the author does a great job of updating the reader.
…Mark Sheridan's life changed the minute he met Sylvia Martin. Sylvia killed Mark's next door neighbor… and visited Mark during the night with him being unaware of it. When Father Callen, the leader of a vampire hunter group came close to killing Sylvia, a little mind control sent him jumping (from a roof), killing him.
Now Mark and Sylvia are on their way to London to be with other vampires and… far enough away from Father Callen's friends to keep them safe. Of course nothing that Mark and Sylvia do comes easy, so their flight is hijacked… Sylvia managed to kill one of them while a man with a hidden weapon disposed of the other.
Mark is thrilled with London, but not so much with Sylvia's friends. She lives in a mansion with three other couples, and other than Susan and Joseph the others are not very friendly. So in the three weeks that Mark has been with Sylvia, he helped kill a terrorist and watched as Father Callen (killed himself). Now he is with other vampires who don't seem to be thrilled that he is there.
While on a tour, Mark and Sylvia come in contact with more of Father Callen's people. The other vampire hunters are unaware of Father Callen’s death and have no idea who Sylvia and Mark are. However, when one of (the vampire’s) cars is bombed, it becomes clear someone… wants them all dead. How did Father Callen know Sylvia was in San Francisco? How did (he) know where Sylvia was living? How did (he) know what hotel Mark and Sylvia were staying at in Reno? Someone knows all about them but who?
This is not your normal vampire book; they walk in the daylight and can be killed. Something is different with Mark and Sylvia and they are evolving, but why? The book has secrets, surprises and betrayals.
Midwest Book Review
The Vampire Girl in London
Review by John Burroughs
Exceptionally well written and impressively original, The Vampire Girl in London is a consistently compelling read from beginning to end. A 'must' for all vampire story enthusiasts, "The Vampire Girl in London" once again showcases author Richard Arbib's mastery of this fantasy genre and is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal reading lists and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections! -- John Burroughs, Midwest Book Review: Small Press Bookwatch (October 2016)
Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews
The Vampire Girl Next Door
Review by Lit Amri
Mark Sheridan’s life is taking a strange turn; three curiously related murders had taken place within twenty-four hours of each other, and both murder scenes had happened within close proximity to him. The strangeness only intensifies with the arrival of Sylvia Martin from London, a mysterious pretty girl with weird eyes. She moved in after Mark’s loud and obnoxious neighbor was murdered in his apartment one night. Enchanted by her, Mark could not help but feel truly infatuated with her, ignoring his friends’ advice to be cautious, including a priest’s ominous warning about Sylvia. The Vampire Girl Next Door is a fast-paced, immersive supernatural fiction by Richard Arbib.
Narrated from a first person point-of-view, readers could tell right away that protagonist Mark is an average guy with a busy life schedule – gym, Kung Fu and film classes as well as working thirty hours per week selling advertising for a weekly newspaper. Readers don’t have to wait long for the eerie supernatural scenes to start. Right at the start of the novel Richard Arbib introduces Sylvia, whom Mark’s friend Dave caught staring at him from outside the gym’s window. As he walked home, Mark was attacked by three young thugs but he was saved by someone or something that swiftly killed two of them without being seen. We could already guess who his ‘savior’ was.
Overall, the story’s pace is definitely a fast one, and yet it does not feel rushed at all. The plot is adroitly written and I myself feel drawn to the mysterious Sylvia. This is perhaps the best supernatural fiction that I have read this year. -- Lit Amri, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews
Paranormal Romance Guild
Book Review: The Vampire Girl Next Door
Review by Linda Tonis
Thirty-three year old Mark Sheridan lives in San Francisco. His life revolves around his job selling advertising at a newspaper and the time he spends at the gym with his best friend, Dave. The only real problem in his life is his next door neighbor who parties every night, making sleep very difficult for Mark. Things change for Mark drastically when his noisy neighbor is found dead and a new girl, Sylvia Martin moves in.
This is the third murder Mark witnesses. When he was attacked coming home from the gym, two of his attackers suddenly wound up dead. Mark couldn't remember what happened because he had no memory of it, as if he was in a trance. Now with his neighbor gone, the girl of his dreams has moved in. Sylvia is a strange girl with a lot of secrets, secrets she is unwilling to reveal to Mark. His friend Dave and Dave's fiancé Gail both are taken back by Sylvia's eyes which are black. She also she wears a satanic symbol around her neck, which troubles them, as well. Unfortunately for Mark, all he can see is a gorgeous girl that he wants to be around all the time.
The fact that Sylvia doesn't like to go out during the day doesn't seem to faze him; her story about an allergy to light makes sense to him. Sylvia comes to Mark's apartment every night, but in spite of her flirting and kissing, she refuses to have sex with him. Mark takes that as her desire to go slow--little does he know!
Sylvia is a vampire and for some reason, she wants Mark. She even painted a portrait of the two of them together years ago. Has she dreamed about Mark as he dreamed about her? Even when Dave and Gail get married and a priest, Father Callen advises Mark that Sylvia is a vampire, he refuses to leave her. Knowing that she is a vampire and a Satanist can't diminish his love for her. Does Sylvia want to turn Mark? Will Mark let her if she wants to? Is he willing to turn his best friend away for a girl he has only known a few weeks?
This was an interesting take on vampires and it is told in the first person by Mark. Sylvia also has some very strange sexual desires and they are revealed in detail in this book. I enjoyed the story, it was an easy read, and Mark and Sylvia were interesting characters.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Richard Arbib
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I started writing stories in my twenties, but actually tried to sign up with the Famous Writers School by mail when I was 14 years old. They rejected me because of my age, but I later went on to get a master’s degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
Several vampire stories I read, all in 1978, inspired me: “Clarimonde,” by Theophile Gautier (1836), “Carmilla,” by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu (1871), Dracula, by Bram Stoker (1897), “The Spider,” by Hanss Heinz Ewers (1915), and Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice (1976). I recently subscribed to Weird Tales magazine. One of my favorite novels is The Girl in a Swing, by Richard Adams (1980). It’s a ghost story and romance.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The Vampire Girl Next Door?
The stories I just mentioned were a starting point and then I just imagined what it would be like if the story centered around a guy who falls in love with the beautiful, but quirky girl next door, not realizing that she’s a vampire who killed his last neighbor.
4. Will we ever see any of the characters again in the future?
Absolutely. Most of them will be in the sequel—except for the ones who are killed in the first novel.
5. What would you do if you were in Mark's situation?
Pretty much what Mark does. Sylvia is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. She seems to be crazy about him and he feels love at first sight when he meets her. So despite warnings from friends and a priest, and mounting evidence that Sylvia is dangerous, he ignores most of that and follows his heart.
6. Were any of the characters personalities?
No, no celebrities or famous characters in the novel.
7. You've written and published some short stories. What genre were they and what other genres would you like to try your hand at?
The other stories would also fit into the category of paranormal romance. I think most stories in the future will probably be in the same genre. I have some ideas for other novels. One of them will be a ghost story, but also with a romantic angle. My short story, “The Enchanted Doll,” was just published in the October, 2014 issue of the Mensa Bulletin.
8. What are your personal feelings about religion?
Now there’s a complicated question. I went to the United Church of Christ as a teenager, met the original inspiration for Sylvia at a Buddhist meeting (her name was Sylvia, looked like the novel character, but was not a vampire), met Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) in San Francisco, practiced magic with the Temple of Set 35 years ago when I was writing the first draft of my novel, and later had a friendship with John Allee, who, with Lillee Allee, wrote the book, Right and Left of Center: Finding Balance in Your Mundane & Magical Life. In my novel, Sylvia recommends their book to Mark on the first page of Chapter 13. On the cover of my novel, the number on Sylvia’s apartment door is 13. Often, art imitates life.
9. Why vampires and Satanism?
Partly because of my own background in magic that I just mentioned. But also, since Sylvia’s parents were murdered for witchcraft and because Sylvia has eternal life through being a vampire, she’s not looking for eternal life through salvation.
10. Would you like to see The Vampire Girl Next Door in theaters or on TV? If so, what actors would you like to see play your characters?
I would love to watch it in the theater or TV. I can’t see it as a TV series like True Blood or The Vampire Diaries because my novel does have an ending to it. But with the sequel, there could be two movies or a mini-series. HBO could do a TV movie since they don’t seem to censor their movies or their series. It could not be a movie on a regular network as the theater rating would be either R or NC17. If I could be 33 again, I would love to play Mark, but 33 is long gone and I don’t have the acting experience. For Sylvia, I would imagine the French actress Mathilda May at about 25 or 30, but with an English accent. If you watch her romantic movie, Only Love (1998), that is how I would imagine Sylvia.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
A couple more novels published, hopefully also made into movies. If everything went well, that’s how it would be. And it would be nice if I met someone just like Sylvia (except she wouldn’t be a vampire).
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
My other hobbies include going to the gym, ice-skating (racing), bicycling, and I studied kung fu on and off. I also go to arts events and the theater. As far as work that is not writing fiction, I’ve sold advertising for years.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
Yes, I’m working on the rewrite of the sequel to The Vampire Girl Next Door. It’s set in London and should come out in 2015.
-- Kelly Smith, Kelly Smith Reviews
BOOK REVIEW: THE VAMPIRE GIRL NEXT DOOR
Mark has been dealing with some creepy things lately. He was ganged up on in an alley, blacked out, and when he woke up, two of the three punks were dead. Not long after, his lock is unhinged on his bedroom window. Then, his next door neighbor is murdered in the same manor as the punks in the alley.
He thinks things are looking up when the next door apartment is rented to the beautiful and mysterious Sylvia. But will this new neighbor and relationship of Mark's be his undoing when a priest comes and tells him Sylvia is not what she seems?
I've read countless vampire books, and each author has a different view. Mostly, they were cursed. Sometimes it's a genetic disability. Others have scientific causes for vampirism. In this book, The Vampire Girl Next Door, author Richard Arbib associates vampirism with Satanism. While I personally don't agree with the views, I'm sure many people will.
My version of vampires has always been different than that, but I respect the author's opinion and views and try not to let my personal opinions cloud my judgment when reviewing books. I don't like that people always liken vampirism to the Devil. The Satanism might alienate people of Christian faiths who would want to try and read this book.
I thought the narative could've used a little work. I've seen many authors accused of using too much dialogue, and at times this book does fall intot hat trap. Mark is also not a very special character. I think they would've done better for a male lead. But Sylvia is delightfully creepy (and she isn't even Goth!). I wouldn't want her as MY neighbor! At the same time, I think she is a perfect woman: she's self-made, beautiful and sassy.
The best things about this book, actually, were Dave and his wif, Gail. They were bright, colorful supporting characters that gave this book the pop of light it needed.
Was this a favorite book? No. Was it enjoyable? Definitely. I think a lot of readers will like this: vampirism without the gore or excessive sex. Give it a try, you might find that this is your thing.
Also, make sure you check out the site below, as it is very interactive with the book abd enhances the reading experience
4/5--worth a read.
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