12 October 2014

A Dry Patch of Skin Launches!

It seems Vampires are still the rage! People cannot get enough of them. 

Except me. I've had enough of them--so I wrote this novel to put the thing to bed, as it were, even though it may very well rise again. You know how that meme works.

This week A DRY PATCH OF SKIN launches (Kindle edition, anyway; paperback coming soon Paperback now available!)--just in time for Halloween/Samhain and seemingly in time to ride the coat tails of the Dracula Untold film. While I have not yet seen the film, I was hooked by the trailer and will likely go see it soon, despite the mixed reviews of critics and friends it is getting. 

There are no such mixed reviews of my contemporary vampire novel, fortunately. Not yet, at least. Perhaps never. Perhaps that is because some fear the possible consequences of going against Stefan Székely, the hero or anti-hero of the story. However, he really is quite harmless. Or is he? 

(Or is he? [One never knows what powers one has until forced to use them, eh?])

Accompanying this grand smashing of champagne bottle against book spine, I have been interviewed and an Advanced Review Copy review has been posted. Many thanks to fellow Myrddin author Connie J. Jasperson.

Life in the Realm of Fantasy (Stephen Swartz interview)

Best in Fantasy (Review of A Dry Patch of Skin)

The previous post of this blog has additional information and amusement.

The two questions I seem to be asked most are:

1. What genre is this novel?

2. What does the title mean?

Answers may be partly found in the interview. For those click-phobic few, I offer the short version:

1. I call it a vampire novel, but that is because that category gets across the essential elements of the story. There is constant discussion of vampires, vampirism, history and legend, medical and biological considerations, and theological concerns throughout the book. It could qualify as a medical thriller. Also as a Christian allegory tale. There is also a love story at the center: What would you do to be able to stay with the one you loved? What risky medical procedures would you willingly endure? 

Most of all, I tried very hard to keep it brutally contemporary: 2013-14 for the time setting and Oklahoma City (my present abode) as the place. The story also involves travel to other places, such as New Orleans and Hungary. Die-hard fans of Twilight and other recent vampire TV shows, films, and books may not adjust well to the spoofing of those media that the characters in my book do. Or, they may just as well enjoy the satirical pokes. 

So, in the final analysis, it is what I always tend to write: a genre mash-up. This outing, it's about a man turning into a vampire but he doesn't want to.

2. The title came very early in the writing and I felt it was quirky enough to be a good title. Other options included "A Big Boil on the Skin" and "A Troubling Rash" but I dropped those fairly quick. Briefly considered "But I don't wanna be a Vampire!" So A DRY PATCH of SKIN was the medical winner. 

The phrase "a dry patch of skin" shows up in multiple places in the book, almost always in an ironic sense. Here are a few of them:

      What will be the first sign? Will it simply be a dry patch of skin? An odd blemish? A discoloration?

“I do care about you,” she whispered.

“Thanks,” I said, trying to sound positive. “We can’t let a dry patch of skin get between us, now can we?”

“So...what brings you here this morning?” asked the perky physician’s assistant, blond and leggy.

“A dry patch of skin,” I said glumly.

We stared at the two of us in the big mirror. It was the measure of our existence: here are two humans, one male and one female, of average attributes, two examples that have copulated previously and might copulate again if not for a dry patch of skin or two. Or thirteen.

So you see that it serves as a kind of motif or meme that appears here and there in the text to signal to the reader what kind of significance a small, simple thing that represents all the ugliness and pathos of the world boiled down to an affliction cursing one particular individual can have. But I digress....

Here is the full cover for the paperback edition, coming soon: AVAILABLE NOW!

The blurb:

The truth about being a vampire: It is not cool, not sexy. It’s a painful, miserable existence.

Good reason to avoid that situation, thinks medical technician Stefan Székely. He's too busy falling in love with TV reporter Penny Park, anyway. Until one day when she notices a dry patch of skin on his face.

At first it's just annoying, nothing to worry about, some weird skin disease he can treat with lotions. However, as his affliction worsens, Stefan fears that his unsightly problem will ruin his relationship with Penny. 

If only that was all Stefan has to worry about! He soon realizes there is a lot more at stake than his handsome face. To save himself, Stefan must go in search of a cure for the disease which is literally destroying him inch by inch. If only his parents had told him of the family legacy.

At this point, I must clarify that any and all skin products readers may find they need while reading this book are entirely at their own cost. However, Stefan Székely recommends the products available at Bath & Body Works. Also, no animals were killed in the making of this novel.

Apologies to those who skin begins to tingle or feel itchy. Check with your doctor.

(C) Copyright 2010-2014 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. Thank you for visiting my little blog and for talking to me! You were, as always, fun to talk to. I hope to hear your take on dragons soon!

    1. Yes, well, about those dragons....

    2. After the drugs wore off it was a pleasure being questioned.

  2. Sounds creepy. I'm going to read it today!!!!

  3. The paperback is now available!

    1. Hey its really good- I'm in chapter 5.