Masters of Midnight

Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 10/15/2004
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11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, October 15, 2004
This is a collection of four novellas, each exploring the erotic-gay-vampire genre. [Yes, it is too a genre. Wanna make something of it? {grin}] "His Hunger," by William J. Mann, reminded me of a Dracula story with a vaguely Lovecraftian spin, although it didn't quite have the impact I'd hoped for; still, it's nicely creepy. Michael Thomas Ford, whose humorous essays I love, provides a rather bleak tale, "Sting". Sean Wolfe tries a variation on inherited vampirism; I found the premise interesting but the execution a bit weak. Even the sex scenes seemed a bit mechanical to me - perhaps I just don't care for Wolfe's style. [I read another collection of four gay-erotic-vampire stories called Midnight Thirsts, which I didn't find as good as this collection; Wolfe had a story in that one too and I thought it was the weakest of the set, FWIW.]

The fourth story, "Devoured" by Jeff Mann, is far and away the best of the book, and impressed me no end. It's a sort of "vampire Highlander in the Appalachians" tale, with a lot of moody flashbacks and stunning imagery - and more than a little bondage and discipline. Oh, and some romance, and suspense, and vengeance... The descriptions are lush, tantalizing, begging to be savored - I'll want to read this one again. There's even some humor amid the blood, lust, and romanticism, as when our narrator describes the books and music he and his henchman collect:

"Magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Bound and Gagged, Appalachian Journal, and Drummer are neatly stacked cheek by jowl beside an edition of Juvenal, a book on Wicca, a volume of poetry by Mark Doty, a Scottish cookbook. The stereo alternates between Puccini and Steve Earle, Joni Mitchell, Rachmaninoff, and Tim McGraw. Occasionally, when Bob begs, even a little Broadway. "Educated hillbillies," Bob calls us. "Ridge-runner Rump-rangers." The phrase would make a nice T-shirt, a gift for Bob's next birthday."


But more often our hero waxes lyrical:

"Loving a mortal? I've done that before. It's madness. Better to put my faith in that which moths, thieves and rust cannot steal. Better love mountains at night, the moon slipping behind clouds, the scent of honeysuckle, the precious safety of my solitude. Who knows better than I how fragile the human form is, how easily the skin breaks, the heart stops?"


Not always, though; when his new lover proves to be a chatterbox he mutters "Where's a ball gag when you need one?" I'll be looking for more from Jeff Mann!

[Update: Since I wrote this, I hve found several books by Mann, of poetry, short stories, and essays. While I haven't found any other stories quite like "Devoured" (I admit I'd been hoping for a sequel!), I have enjoyed Mann's other work very much.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, June 11, 2005
I'm offering this on a bookring to replace the currently-stalled copy that ottawabill sent out; see here for the journal entries on that one. [Journalers to date include ottawabill himself, mojosmom, BooksnBeer, shaunesay, MoonDancer11, crazyk27, and ladyofunicorns.]

I sent PM's to everybody on ottawabill's mailing list, from his forum post about the bookring and from the book's journal entries. Several people did not reply, had made forum posts or profile notes saying they couldn't do bookrings at the moment, or had read the book elsewhere and asked to be left off; I've tried to order the remaining participants according to their own request as much as possible given mailing restrictions.

Bookray/ring instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.
Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookring book at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within a month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put farther down the list. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)

When you're ready to pass the book along, please make another journal entry containing your comments about the book and stating where you've sent it, and set the book's status code to "traveling". [If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.]

Participants in mailing order:

Mytilus [was Mytilusgirl] - UK
Jare [was Jaremeister] - NM
Caligula03 - CA
LaurieS - NH
Guinneth - NH
Arwen-Galadriel - Canada
AwesomeAud Canada
LadyGothic - Canada
Kanaye44 - CT

...and back to GoryDetails - NH [Was going to send this on to ottawabill but his original copy made it back to him first!]

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, June 13, 2005
Controlled release:

Masters of Midnight (bookring, take 2) is on its way to BCer Mytilus in the UK. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 4 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, June 20, 2005
This arrived this morning.

Oooh! Thanks GoryDetails, I can't wait to get started!

Journal Entry 5 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Friday, July 15, 2005
I am so, so sorry. I have really struggled to finish the stories in this book. I kept hoping that the next writer would be better.

I’ve looked forward to reading this book for such a long time and wonder if my expectations were too high.

Thank you for including me, ungrateful wretch that I am, in this book ring. I’ve contacted the next participant and will be sending the book onwards on tomorrow.

Journal Entry 6 by wingjarewing from Port Richey, Florida USA on Thursday, July 21, 2005
Masters of Midnight arrived safe and sound today, thanks for passing it on, Mytilus, and much thanks to GoryDetails for sharing this book! I have one other bookring to get to before this one, but I should get to this within the next couple weeks.

Journal Entry 7 by wingjarewing from Port Richey, Florida USA on Thursday, August 04, 2005
Good collection of stories. I liked them all, however, I think I enjoyed the first story, His Hunger, the most. It seemed to me an homage to and modern revamping (pardon the pun) of Stoker's Dracula. Thanks for passing this along, I'm glad I finally got a chance to read it! Will be sending along to caligula03 soon!

Journal Entry 8 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Monday, August 22, 2005
Book has arrived. Thank you! :)

Journal Entry 9 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I'm skipping the last two as "inherrited vampirism" and "Highlander" type stories bug me. "His Hunger" was a nice compact story but I have to feel sorry for Minter. "Sting" had a great set up but the ending was just out of character for Ben as he had been set up over the course of the story.

Now I'm just waiting for LaurieS to respond with an address.

Journal Entry 10 by caligula03 at on Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Released 15 yrs ago (10/2/2005 UTC) at

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Mailing to LaurieS.

Journal Entry 11 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, October 13, 2005
This book was waiting for me when I arrived home from work today. I'm in the middle of Revenge Gifts which I'm enjoying for a change (I've been losing interest with most books about halfway through) but should be finished with it in a day or so and will begin this one then.

Journal Entry 12 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Friday, October 28, 2005
This book keeps screaming out at me to skip work and "READ ME" but alas the bills continue to pile up along with the other assorted messes that await me when I return home so I haven't managed to get any further than "His Hunger" by William J. Mann. I enjoyed it for the atmosphere and it held my attention but it fizzled out in the end and felt unfinished. Pesky questions keep popping into my head that were left unanswered but then I've been told I ask too many questions and am nosey ;)

Journal Entry 13 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Later:
I am nearly finished "The Sting" which I'm liking immensely. It's about a young guy who ditches his previous life after a painful loss to begin anew. He takes on a job as a librarian and begins to learn that there is something not quite right in his new town. I am anxious to turn the pages to learn more about Titus and our secretive young librarian and the secrets plaguing the town but life (and people) keep interrupting me.

An amusing (to me) aside. Today I learned how to get obnoxious boy-men/cell-phone-pushers to leave you alone while in a mall. I was wandering about the dreaded mall as I waited for my turn in the Apple "Genius" queue to arrive (my Ipod died, a horror in itself) when I passed one of those booths containing annoying young men bent on making my mall experience ever the more painful. You know the kind that shout asinine questions out at anyone within reach to catch your attention so they can sell you something you have no need of? Well, I had this big sexy red book in my arms as I frantically searched for a quiet spot to sit and, of course, they noticed what they assumed was an easy mark and screamed out "Hey, what are you reading?". "A book and I'm in a hurry", I screamed back. Oh so subtle and friendly am I. Not getting the hint (or not giving a damn) one of them says all big eyed and in exaggerated feigned interest, "Oooh, can I see? What's it about?" Annoyed beyond belief at this point (was I wearing a sign that says "Bug me guys, I'm a sucker"?) I hold up the cover as I continue to scurry by and say "It's about gay vampires and death, still want to see?" He stepped back so fast I thought he'd fall over his chair and gave me a weird look but didn't attempt to engage me in conversation the next two times I passed the booth. Made my day . . .

Journal Entry 14 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, November 10, 2005
I've PM'd Guinneth for an address. Here are my scattered thoughts:

"Sting" started out well but sort of fizzled out towards the end. I can't say why without spoiling things for others and I haven't figured out how to do the hidden spoiler thing. So I'll just say it had a lot to do with the "villain" of the piece and leave it at that.

"Braden's Bite" was readable but the dialogue in the beginning was so cartoonish and baffoonish I could barely get past it. It improved but my notes say "interesting but soooo melodramatic" "sweetly romantic after a rough start". Yes, I need notes. The ol' brain isn't quite what it used to be.

"Devoured" was my favorite of the lot. Dark, deadly, sexy, edgy and poetic. Just the sort of story I most enjoy. The fact that the author incorporated wiccan sabbats throughout the story only made it all the more interesting. The relationship was nicely done too.

Thanks for sharing everyone!

Released 15 yrs ago (11/11/2005 UTC) at Postal Release in Postal release, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases

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Off to Guinneth

Journal Entry 16 by Guinneth from Manchester, New Hampshire USA on Monday, November 14, 2005
Holy crap, that was fast!! Received this today, and will get started as soon as I finish the novel I'm reading.

Journal Entry 17 by Guinneth from Manchester, New Hampshire USA on Monday, November 28, 2005
Finally finished! Okay, in order of appearance: "His Hunger" was the worst story of the lot, in my opinion. The journal device was awkward and stilted, and despite the fact that it was a first-person narrative, never gave me the chance to know or like the protagonist at all. (See, I can't even remember his name and can't be bothered to look it up, either.) I thought the plot was kind of flimsy and seemed to be trying to be a pale imitation of 'Dracula' rather than an homage to it. I also thought the "twist" regarding the father was sort of thrown in there and then never really explained.

"Sting" started out in a much more promising fashion, and in fact had some pretty original elements. Unfortunately, it quickly descended into what read like bad porn and the ending simply made no sense - what the heck would prompt Ben to do such a thing? We never had any sense of depth to his relationship with Titus, thus the sacrifice Ben made seemed to come completely out of left field.

"Bradon's Bite" was just....lame. The characters were fluffy and one-dimensional, and I cared not a whit for any of them. I'd call this one a soap opera.

Which brings me at last to "Devoured". Thank God I kept reading, because this story was DEFINITELY worth slogging through the other three. Beautifully written doesn't begin to do it justice, but that's all I can come up with. Certain passages read like poetry, such as:

"So warm, the human form. I might as well be curled up by the great fireplace in our family castle on the Isle of Mull. Tonight the flickering hearth I drowse beside is his heart."

Or:

"But thirst always turns me back to the land, to the poetry of the human. Harder to find than the bleaker beauty of sea, of mist, of those pale stars, distant diamond grit visible for a moment, then swallowed by the chill gray. But if human beauty can be found, I am the man to find it. Tonight, when the Old Gods marry and mate, when the blade descends into the chalice and bloom breaks forth across the hills, I will take beauty's blood between my teeth, lapping skin as the sea licks shingle."

I loved Jeff Mann's descriptions of Scotland and the West Virginia mountains, and I loved that his Scottish vampire is a Pagan. The characters created here were so well drawn, I would really like to see an entire volume about them - or even a series of novels. More than anything else, this was a love story that happened to be about men, one of whom is a vampire. It was well structured, not just an excuse to write sex scenes - gay or otherwise. There's sadness and brutality and drama, and a good dollop of humor here as well. I will definitely be looking for more of Mr. Mann's work!

Thanks SO much for resurrecting this ring, GoryDetails!

p.s. My rating of the book is not a 3 because of the last story...and isn't a 9 or a 10 because of the other three.

Journal Entry 18 by Guinneth from Manchester, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Mailed to Arwen-Galadriel yesterday. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 19 by Arwen-Galadriel from Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Thursday, December 08, 2005
What a nice surprise to have waiting for you in the mail, just wanting to be read. I also had a nice surprise of another package of a box of chocolates as well from someone else. Books and chocolate how well do they go together or what!!! Will read and send along its way as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 20 by Arwen-Galadriel from Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Friday, December 30, 2005
I finally finished the book yesterday and I will be sending it along its way on Monday. I really enjoyed reading the stories, so thanks for sharing for starters... My favorite of the stories was the first one and the last one. The other two were alright but didn't necessarily peak my interest as much. Definately enjoyed reading a vampire story from a different perspective than what I'm used to...

Journal Entry 21 by AwesomeAud from New Dundee, Ontario Canada on Friday, January 13, 2006
Hurray! I got this in the mail last week, but my internet was down, so I couldn't journal it. So far I've only read the first story, which I found a bit stilted, as someone else has remarked. I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

Journal Entry 22 by LadyGothic from Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I've been stalking the postman for business papers and totally forgot about this book. What a wonderful surprise cos I so need a smutty vampire book, aka vampire bed time stories.

Safely recieved and thanks AwesomeAud :) I'll crack the spine soon.


Journal Entry 23 by LadyGothic from Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Wednesday, November 25, 2009
"His Hunger" was a so blataint, cheap spin off of Bram Stoker's tale it made we wary reading the others :(

I have to say I loved "Devoured" by Jeff Mann. I'm sure I've read his work before amid my mega bedtime Vampire stories. He's factual, mysterious and made, a high quality story, with naughty bits, unlike the middle two authors,whom wrote rauchy, rude just cos, hoping it'll rank cos a vampire story :(

Over all I give this book a semi-okay rating, only cos "Devoured" is worth the read :)
Thanks for sharing this with me!

Gory, it's back to you but I lost your snailmail address over time. Pm me your address so I can sent it back to you?

Journal Entry 24 by LadyGothic from Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Thursday, January 14, 2010
I'm travelling to the USA next week and will pack this in my suitcase and mail from there to Kanaye44. I'll update later.

Journal Entry 25 by LadyGothic at Warner Robins, Georgia USA on Saturday, January 23, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (1/23/2010 UTC) at Warner Robins, Georgia USA

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Sent in care of the postal service to Kanaye44. It should arrive in about 2 days :)

Journal Entry 26 by kanaye44 from Norwich, Connecticut USA on Monday, January 25, 2010
Ahh. I got it. Can't wait to read.

Thank you Gory Details for doing this!

Journal Entry 27 by kanaye44 at -- BookRing, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (4/27/2010 UTC) at -- BookRing, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA

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Thank you for doing this. Its on its way back to you now!

Journal Entry 28 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, April 29, 2010
The book made it home safely; many thanks, all! It seems that Jeff Mann's story got the most thumbs-up votes, which pleased me as it's my favorite too.

Update: as of 2013, Mann has a collection of stories featuring his Scottish/Appalachian/vampire/leather-bear hero, Desire & Devour; it does not include the story from this collection, but features tales about Derek's past as well as about his present-day life with Matt.

Journal Entry 29 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, March 07, 2015

Released 6 yrs ago (3/7/2015 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

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I'm adding this to a box of books bound for BCer laevina in Colorado. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 30 by laevina at Denver, Colorado USA on Friday, March 13, 2015
Thank you GoryDetails for the book.

Journal Entry 31 by laevina at Denver, Colorado USA on Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Erotica with gay vampires. I read these individually every evening before bed - so sometimes I was creeped out. Horror for me scares me. Thanks for the book GoryDetails!

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