Friday, March 8, 2013


"17-year old Irina Connors is in her last year of high school.  What had begun as seemingly a dream come true only three years previously has morphed into a daily grind of verbal abuse and bullying.  She was offered a place in a special program wherein she is bussed from her poor neighborhood to a school in a wealthy part of Seattle and has qualified for a college scholarship if she can maintain a 3.7 GPA.  As she struggles to maintain a perfect grade average she has increasingly become the favored target of malicious and cruel attacks by a clique of wealthy girls and their boyfriends.
   One day the attacks go too far as her only friend is victimized too and Irina retaliates, setting in motion a chain of events that seem to shatter her life and her dreams.  She crosses a threshold that takes her into a world of unbelievable danger, yet one of great promise as well if she proves worthy.  
   Join Irina as she sets out on the journey of a lifetime and beyond, discovering things unimaginable even while struggling with her own role in her new life.  ‘Forever Young Irina' will captivate you and draw you in to experience the world of Vampires as you have never before seen it portrayed." 
In Gerald Simpkins' words

Why I Began to Write

I don’t recall waking up one day and deciding to write.  I had two ideas for a story and the two competed with each other off and on for over two years.
Literature had been a favorite form of entertainment for me from the time I could read.  Robinson Crusoe had been a favorite of mine as a youngster along with Hawkeye of The Last of the Mohicans and Huck Finn.  Many others entertained me as I grew up but I abandoned fiction for decades beginning somewhere in my mid teen years.  Now and then I would read an international thriller but never again did I read as steadily as when I had been a child.
After middle age, I had come to admire the skill of those who had mastered the written word well enough so that when I read their work, I was transported to a place that I could not otherwise go.  I began to have an appreciation for what it took to do that and to express it successfully.  In spite of that, I never did return to regular reading of any works of fiction, but only read sporadically at odd times as the mood took me. 
Supporting a family and having a full-time career that met our material needs occupied my energies enough for years and kept any desires to embark into the field of literature suppressed and really unknown, even to myself. 
Fast-forward to February 2012.  We had raised the kids and moved out to the country and built a home.  I had at last taken my pension and retired several years earlier.  These two characters that I began to imagine two years earlier began to compete with each other in my imagination.  I never wrote a thing down about either one, but at times I thought of their stories and how I might strive to create them so that they did not recycle stereotyped images of movies I had seen that were poorly done.  My thoughts of them were in various scenes as if in a movie, not as literary characters, but as actors in a screenplay.  Up to that time I had no thought of writing about them. 
Late last winter the story of the Scottish seaman who was inadvertently drawn into the unbelievable world of vampires won out.  I had seen a vampire movie that was depressing and lacked both adventure and romance, two essential ingredients in my version of a good story.  I thought of the few vampire novels I had read and they pretty much lacked those two key ingredients.  That prompted me to think more about the main character in my vampire story and moved me toward that genre.  I thought surely I can write a novel about vampires that has lots of action, adventure and romance and is not depressing.  I mean, look at the ingredients I would have to work with.  Vampires are mostly portrayed as immortal, super strong and incredibly fast-moving.  How could I not be able to create a story overflowing with suspense, action, adventure, and romance?  I would simply discard some of the more tired characteristics and create vampires who might even live next door or might be someone’s’ employer.
So my character that lived in the old west in the nineteenth century would have to wait.  Young Scottish merchant seaman Ian McClouds’ story was going to at last be told. 
So it was that I bought and installed the necessary software and sat down in front of my computer screen and began to tell the tale of Ian McCloud and of how his hopes, dreams, and even his world were all turned upside down by his compassion and intervention on behalf of an abused child.  I mean, how difficult could that be?  I had learned that my software even had a spelling checker.  Why, this writing gig would be as easy as falling off of a log!
Without a word to my wife, I began to write his story and truth to tell, I did not have a guilty conscience because after all, it was wintertime and there were no pressing chores to be done.  We had long since built our own home ourselves and it was finished twenty years earlier.  I was going to at long last scratch this itch that I had never realized that I had until late that winter in 2012. 
My wife came in to the spare bedroom one day within a few days of me starting my story and said “You’re writing a book and it is about that vampire character you told me about.”  I was busted and I confessed that I was indeed guilty.  It was too late.  I had already discovered that I loved to write, and I was hooked, really bad.  In spite of her asking me to switch genres and write the western, I doggedly pursued the story of Ian McCloud and his action-filled adventures and intense romances. 
So here I am; an unknown but published author of a series of three vampire novels, thanks to the miracles of modern computers, the technical help of a good author and friend, and the self-publishing organizations that have come to be. 
Knowing next to nothing about the internet, now I am faced with learning about the world of book promotion, social networks, blog sites, blog-tours, and creating web pages.  All of those things are supposed to be essential to the successful marketing of any book, and like self-publishing was, all of these things are completely new to me and not a little bewildering.  I wonder if word press has a spelling checker?  And how will I get the garden planted, the house painted, and those badly-needed shelves built for my workshop if I stay at this computer like I did while I was writing my three novels? 
I can recall when Kathy and I literally built our current home with our own two hands.  We were so proud when we had it in the dry with a roof on it and tar paper on the sides over the sheathing.  We sold our house trailer and moved out of our back yard and into our basement with great anticipation.  No longer broke, we had nearly $7,000 from selling our trailer!  Why, we were in the money and finishing our home was in sight! 
Surely we would install the windows, knock out the interior, plumbing, wiring, gas lines, dry wall, doors, kitchen, fixtures, tile, etc. in no time!  A friend who had built his own place told me “There is more work to finishing that house than what you have done to get it ‘in the dry’.”  I found out that he was right as we took two more years to finish just the main floor, while living in our basement. 
So although my books are written, proofed, and published, (‘in the dry’) yet I am still a lost dog in tall weeds, and I realize that there is even more work in successfully promoting a book than there is in writing it. 
That is my story and I am sticking to it. 
Gerald Simpkins
Author/publisher of the ‘Forever Young’ vampire series.