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Bucks County Courier Times
Monday, January 5, 2009
p B-1
Commentary by
Kate Fratti

Another Bite of Vampire Romance

Vampires are all the rage these days. Bloodsuckers are in.

You’ve probably heard the buzz. It’s coming from people still raving about HBO’s just-completed first season of “True Blood.” (I’m not kidding, the lead vampire’s name is Bill.) Others are reading and rereading New York Times bestselling “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. That story just recently made it to the big screen.

Now, a Middletown businessman is vamping it up with his just released “Love Without Blood,” a vampire romance from Dorchester Publishing. It went on sale Wednesday at Barnes and Noble, Borders and Debut author Raz Steel (his pen name because the one his mother gave him . . . is too normal) was at Barnes and Noble in Falls the minute the store opened that day just to see it on the shelves.

He will sign the book there at 7 P.M. Friday. Whether you’re into vampire romance (seriously???) or just want to hear from a guy who worked for 15 years to finally get published, you ought to stop by. He’ll give a little talk about the journey to this sweet success.

I met Raz last year when he was one of 10 finalists in a national contest sponsored by Dorchester and Romance magazine. He’d entered “Pass the Kryptonite,” a paranormal romance comedy.

I know. I know. It makes no sense, paranormal romance, but there you have it. There were nine authors competing with him. It was a kind of “American Idol” for writers online.

When Raz called to tell me he’d been eliminated, he was sad but not discouraged.

He’d submitted two stories to the contest. The other was “Love Without Blood,” the one Dorchester eventually paid him for.

He’s invested every nickel into promoting the book. “This isn’t about how much money I can make on a book, but about a writing career,” he tells me.

He has hired a publicist and a literary agent, dolled up his Web site,, and produced a soundtrack for the book and a book video, a sort of 90-second advertisement—like a movie trailer—you can watch at Just search by the book’s name.

Raz, a divorced father of two, is happier than he can describe—out-of-his-gourd delighted. For years, he’s worked for this—and without much support. There were plenty of snickers and sneers from people like me. Romance? Paranormal romance? Seriously, Raz, get a hobby. You like model trains?

He ignored us, and he wrote and he wrote and he wrote.

“Steel’s novel is sure to keep you guessing, especially after you think you have it figured out,” says the reviewer at Romantic Times magazine.

Here’s a little bit from the first pages:

The continued ringing of the phone snapped her back. Propped on one elbow, Lara grabbed the cell and flipped it open. Its blue light shimmered in the dark bedroom. Only one bar appeared at the bottom of the screen. Damn. The cell beeped: low battery.

“West,” she answered.

“I need a doctor.”

She spoke fast, before her phone died. “Sir, if you’re ill, go to the nearest emergency room.”

“I can’t. I need you, Dr. West.”

She’d been around pain long enough to recognize it in the caller’s voice. He forced his words out, his breathing uneven. An unexpected chill snaked across Lara’s shoulders, and she shivered inside her summer nightshirt. “I don’t make house calls.”

“I can’t stop the bleeding.”

“Sir, if you’re bleeding, hang up and dial 911. You need immediate attention.”

“I know. Come downstairs.”

Adrenaline shot through Lara’s system. “What?”

“Dr. West, come downstairs. I don’t have much time.” Agony edged the words.

Lara’s eyes widened. Air poured into her lungs, and she held it. Her mind flipped into overdrive. She’d locked the front door when she came home. No windows were open. Had she checked the back sliders? If the call was coming from downstairs, the caller had forced his way in.

Spoiler alert! The bleeder, well, he’s been dead for centuries.

Kate Fratti, whose column appears on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plans to pick up a copy. What the heck. Maybe vampires don’t suck.

A woman with red lipstick and white hair is laying down.