Prof. Alfred Rhys Smythe returns home to Victorian London after years abroad only to discover that a blood-thirsty cult of vampires is stalking the city’s theatre district. In the final installment of My Soul to Take: Part III, The Vampire Lord Unmasked, Smyth and Scotland Yard Inspector Arthur Jenkins close in on the leader of the vampire cult and prepare destroy the vile creature.
With a rag-tag group of vampire hunters in tow, Smythe and Jenkins track the vampire master to his lair in hopes of saving Smythe’s new love, a young actress, and Smythe’s own mother, both of whom are being held hostage. The hunters finally confront the vampire master in the depths of an ancient crypt dating from Roman times. The crypt bears the remains of centuries of the most powerful vampires that have ever roamed the British Isles, which the vampire master plans to revive unless he can be stopped.
In The Vampire Lord Unmasked, author William A. Veselik weaves a tale of mystery and edge-of-your-seat terror inspired by the eerie atmosphere and vivid action of the classic Hammer Horror films starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
In the deep, dark past of many good horror writers you’ll find a semi-twisted childhood tainted by an unhealthy fascination with vampires, werewolves, mummies, and other assorted monsters. Sometimes the writer’s parents spent sleepless hours wondering what was “wrong” with their precocious offspring and why monster magazines and macabre B-movies constantly held his attention.
Such was the case with Weep Not for the Vampire author William A. Veselik. His parents may have lost sleep when he was young, but it was time well spent. His nearly four decades of exposure to “monsters” in film and literature have left him with only a slightly warped sense of humor and a mature adult’s love of all things that bite people’s necks in the inky darkness or chase frightened folks through rainy summer camps with butcher knives and pitchforks brandished.
Veselik has been a life-long fan of classic horror movies, including the Universal Studios films of the 1930s and 40s, but especially the Hammer Studios films of the late 1950s and 60s. While he appreciates the subtleties of Karloff’s foot-dragging mummy, or Lon Chaney, Jr.’s menacing Wolf Man, vampires are his all-time favorite. Showing his generational influences, he prefers the performances of Christopher Lee to Bela Lugosi in the role of Dracula. This fact would be considered heresy to some old-timers, while Hammer film aficionados will cheer in agreement. His favorite actor from the era is Peter Cushing, and in the early 1970s he was even a member of the International Peter Cushing Fan Club. He still has his personally autographed photo of the late actor.
In his forthcoming first novel, “Weep Not for the Vampire,” Veselik draws from the rural hometown of his youth to craft the tale of a vampire who has come home to lay to rest the old ghosts from his past and to find some method of destroying himself. The vampire, while certainly pitiable for the curse he endures, knows that he is a monster, but, nonetheless, he becomes an undead hero of sorts when he confronts the vampire who is preying on the granddaughter he never knew existed. While the vampire is repulsed by his unearthly nature, he does not shirk any opportunity to play the villain when cold-blooded vengeance is needed. Weep Not for the Vampire is the story of an undead with a conscience who learns, before he faces his own fate, that he can still love.
Veselik was born in 1958, the third child of a teacher from Virginia and a data processing manager from Rhode Island. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, where he also studied journalism. He began his working career as a newspaper reporter and eventually became managing editor of his hometown newspaper, where he was a successor to Sherwood Anderson, the famous short story writer. During his newspaper career, Veselik was the recipient of numerous Virginia Press Association awards for opinion column and editorial writing.
Today he is a public relations coordinator at a community college. He and his wife Cheryl, and their son Ethan, make their home in Southwest Virginia. An avid genealogist, Veselik belongs to several hereditary societies, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and the Sons of the American Revolution.
The most unusual job Veselik ever held was during his college days when he worked as a part-time gravedigger for a small funeral home that didn’t own a backhoe. He and his brother split $150 for each grave they dug by hand with picks and shovels. It was good money for a few hours’ work among the headstones of a half-dozen country cemeteries. The experience gave him a real appreciation for the sweat equity Dr. Frankenstein invested in his scientific pursuits. Luckily—thank God—and unlike the good German doctor himself, Veselik never found anything rotting and unpleasant at the bottom of a grave he was digging. Deep down, though, tucked away in a dusty corner of his psyche, he wishes he had...