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Len handeland - Author of "The darkest gift and "requiem for Miriam"

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About Len Handeland

Len Handeland’s creativity took him from attending FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in Manhattan to hair. He studied fashion illustration, then years later to a long and successful 27-year career in the hair industry as a sought-after hairstylist, hair colorist, and salon owner. Len owned a salon in San Francisco’s Union Square for nine years and two salons in the town of Sonoma, Wine Country; for a total of 8 years; now fully retired from hair, Len became a full-time writer in the spring of 2021.

Len is a dynamic writer specializing in fiction, specifically horror, paranormal, and crime drama novels. Len has enjoyed writing as far back as middle school. To further enhance and better his writing, Len has taken many creative writing classes and, in 2017, attended The San Francisco International Writer’s Conference, which inspired him to write his first book, “The Darkest Gift,” based on his love of vampires. He credits the late Anne Rice for being the author that inspired him the most to write his own dark vampire story. His first book earned him 5-star reviews from readers and professional book reviewers. His first novel became a finalist in the American book fest contest in the fall of 2021.  This spring, Len’s novel “The Darkest Gift” was awarded first place in the Bookfest 2022 awards in the category of Fiction/Horror. In addition, Len’s book and author interview were featured in the fall literature issue of “DeMode” magazine, with Len’s book named one of 10 must-read books of 2021. With the completion of Len’s second novel “Requiem for Miriam,” he’s planning on starting his third book (“Tales from the chair”), which would be based on his 27 years in the hair industry.

When Len isn’t writing, some of his hobbies include hiking, biking, playing billiards, and vegetarian cooking. Len has trained in various forms of Martial Arts for over 20 years and appeared in several plays in Sonoma’s Community Theater. In addition, Len is also a singer who performed at numerous Wineries in the North Bay and Rotary events. The writer lives full-time in Palm Springs with his husband Byron Hancock and their two cats, siblings (Felix and Felicia)

The Darkest Gift

August 1, 2021 The revised edition

I wrote “The Darkest Gift” as I felt no other author had written an enthralling vampire romance novel since Anne Rice, which was a breakthrough in featuring two vampires of the same gender as a couple.    Being a life-long fan of vampires starting when I was a small child and into my adult years, I wanted to write a compelling and enthralling book where the characters are complicated (both humans and vampires) and that the same-sex couples are far less ambiguous about their sexual orientation than in vampire books of the last century.  Where the emphasis is on love, whether human and vampire or two vampires (of the same gender), it was vital for me to avoid anything graphically sexual, but instead, the focus is on the sensual aspect of two men together.  Also noteworthy was addressing stereotypes regarding vampires and some of the gay men in my book.  That all vampires are evil and unfeeling creatures, that all gay men are effeminate, couldn’t be further from the truth.  I utilized the classic tale of good versus evil (in this case, vampire against vampire) and how one of the human characters, Jack, despite his struggles with sexual orientation, finally learns to accept and embrace who he truly is.  The message I’m trying to deliver is:  do what is right and be true to yourself.  In my novel, that applies not only to humans but vampires alike.

The locations in my book are places I have an affinity for, having spent time in each over the years.  They are rich in history and culture, and each has an exquisite beauty of its own.  The settings include Paris, Haiti, and New Orleans, which all share a French connection.

I feel my work stands out from other “Gay vampire books” that may be too graphic sexually and reduced to being dismissed by most by being just that.  At the same time, writing about the same-sex couple, whether that be two vampires or a human and a vampire, I wanted the focus on each character, feeling as if they had met their soulmate and were meant to be together forever.

My first book was indeed a labor of love, taking 5 ½ years to write, and  professionally edited.  The EBook version (Kindle) has done well; over two thousand downloads in two months! I hope the paperback and the EBook continue to do well!

The EBook version of my book has appeared on the following websites:





    Edgar Allan Poe

“Yes, I now feel that it was then on that evening of sweet dreams, that the very first dawn of human love Burst upon the icy night of my spirit. Since that. I have never seen nor heard your name without a shiver half of delight, half of anxiety"

Edgar Allan Poe


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