Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Author - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro | Giveaway

Bram Stoker award winning author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro pays us a visit today with a special post about how she dedicates her books (and that's a lot of dedications with over 80 books to her credit). And speaking of her books, Chelsea is celebrating the release of her 25th Saint Germaine vampire novel Commedia della Morte which is set in France and Italy from 1792-1794. Goodreads has a giveaway of 25 copies of the book to be won. Contest closes April 13 (US only).

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's modern classic, Hotel Transylvania, introduced the Count Saint-Germain and his beloved, Madelaine de Montalia. The Count is one of the most critically acclaimed vampire characters ever created, with dedicated fans who have followed his adventures through more than twenty novels, dozens of short stories, and thousands of years of human history. But of all the women the Count has loved, the most popular is the beautiful, ever-youthful Madelaine.

In Commedia della Morte, Saint-Germain learns that Madelaine—now a vampire—has been arrested by France's Revolutionary Tribunal and is soon to lose her head. Desperate to rescue her, the Count sneaks into France with a troupe of actors led by the glamorous Photine, who soon becomes Saint-Germain's mistress. Photine's teenage son, driven by jealousy and revolutionary fervor, betrays the Count. Now Saint-Germain's life, as well as Madelaine's, hangs in the balance, in this darkly romantic historical vampire novel.

Welcome Chelsea!

About Dedications 
by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

About once a year someone will ask me at a convention or a signing why I dedicated a specific book the way I did; I’ve also been asked at seminars about the rules of dedications. I’m not speaking for any other writer than myself, but I’ll try to sort some of it out.

Going in reverse order of the above paragraph: so far as I know, there are no official rules governing dedications. It is considered good-mannered, if a bit traditional, to dedicate a first book to one’s family and/or parents, but it is certainly not required. Other possible first-book dedicatees are other close relatives such as spouses, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and children; agents or someone else involved in the sale of the book; editors; significant English or literature teachers; and authors whose work were inspirational to the creation of the first (sold) book.

For me, I consider dedications a form of thank you; the book being dedicated may not have a direct connection in theme or genre to the person or persons of the dedication — sometimes the connections are more aspects of what was happening in my life while I was working on the book — and given what I tend to write about, this shouldn’t be surprising. For example, the dedication of Commedia della Morte is to the real estate agent who handled the sale of our house and found me the place I live now, all very much connected to the writing of the book, but not thematically associated with it. I have dedicated books to a goodly number of friends because they are friends. I have dedicated books to artists and writers I admire (Tempting Fate is dedicated to the French director Francois Truffaut because his film, The 400 Blows gave me insight into the character of Laisha, who is the key character in the action of the book); to those who have mentored me in the past, not always on matters of writing; to colleagues, sometimes humorously, at least between us (I dedicated a romance novel I did under another name to Felicia Andrews, the name under which the late Charles L. Grant wrote romances, with the epithet takes one to know one — Charlie was delighted).

Whenever possible, I describe the book to the potential dedicatee/s and ask she/he/they if he/she/they would mind the dedication; out of the over eighty books I have published, a dozen potential dedicatees have declined the offer, and I have selected other dedicatee/s for those books. I’ve been asked several times if I ever dedicated a book to my mother, and the answer is no, for although she was pleased to have a writer in the family, she usually hated my work and had no wish to be directly associated with it. On the other hand, when my father remarried after my mother’s death, I dedicated a book to the two of them without any objection on their parts.

One of the major importance of a dedication, at least for me, is that it gives me someone or someones to tell the story to; this is especially true if the dedication is to someone I know personally. I find it useful to have an audience in mind that is familiar, one that will provide a frame of reference to doing the work. To that extent, I try to have a degree of match-up between the story and the dedicatee that bolsters the narrative. Occasionally I have added a second dedicatee/s — my cats, and when I could still ride, my horses. They may not know what it is, or care, but it is my acknowledgment to their importance to me, and, at least in terms of the cats, their determination to contribute to my efforts.

Twice in my career, I’ve had someone ask me to dedicate a book to him/her, a notion that still flabbergasts me. In one instance I reluctantly complied, in the other I refused, and was treated to a year of high dudgeon for such refusal. I’m sorry the person was offended, but it seemed to me then and still does now, that such a request is at the very least inappropriate.

A few dedications in my early works now seem a bit puzzling to me in retrospect — not that I would alter them in any way, but I do find it reminiscent of that wonderful answer that Robert Browning gave Elizabeth Barrett early in the acquaintance when she asked him about the meaning of a passage in one of his poems. His answer was that when he wrote that only God and Robert Browning knew what it meant: now only God knows. I know the feeling well.

About Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is the first woman to be named a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild and is one of only two women ever to be named as Grand Master of the World Horror Convention (2003). In 1995, Yarbro was the only novelist guest of the Romanian government for the First World Dracula Congress, sponsored by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, the Romanian Bureau of Tourism and the Romanian Ministry of Culture.

Yarbro is best known as the creator of the heroic vampire, the Count Saint-Germain. With her creation of Saint-Germain in HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (St. Martin's Press, 1978), she delved into history and vampiric literature and subverted the standard myth to invent the first vampire who was more honorable, humane, and heroic than most of the humans around him. The 25th volume of the Saint-Germain Cycle, COMMEDIA DELLA MORTE, will be published by Tor in March 2012. The first three books, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PALACE and BLOOD GAMES, are all available as e-books from

A professional writer since 1968, Yarbro has worked in a wide variety of genres, from science fiction to westerns, from young adult adventure to historical horror.

For more information on Yarbro’s many books and interests, check out her website at


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