Vampires. Geez. What next? But, I'm reclaiming my Queen of Angst crown with this one, let me tell you, so it's all good. Comic angst...my new niche.
My vampires are some of the chummiest characters it has ever been my pleasure to write. I'm posting an excerpt below, to show you what I mean. But, first, let me explain about the title of this post. The excerpt is from the first book in the series--did I mention that already? The title of this book is In the Dark, which will be followed by Old Sins, Long Shadows and then by either The Luminosity Factor or Swallowed by the Light, or both...depending on how the story arc works out. As I mentioned: still in the works.
The series is NOT romance. It's more what I like to call Vamp-noir. But will probably be shelved under urban fantasy. But, I can't think of a name for the series. And I'm OCD enough to really, really need one.
So, I'm running a contest. I'm going to give away a copy of any book in my backlist (see my stacks at the Wicked Whispers Library for the full list) to the person who comes up with the series title that makes me want to scream Eureka! 'Cause, right now, I got nuthin' and I'm driving my family nuts by asking them every other day or so what I should call the damn thing.
Basically, the series revolves around a nest of vampires living in San Francisco, headed up by a twelve hundred year old vampire named Conrad. Here's part of the blurb for the first book:
When you live forever, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Especially when yours is a life led in the dark.
In 1969, a twelve hundred year old vampire named Conrad attempts to 'turn' the free-spirited teenage runaway with whom he’s fallen in love. What happens next is something no one saw coming: newborn vampire twins.
Forty years later, Conrad has gone missing and the twins are called upon to help find him. What happens after that is a tale of blood, betrayal and...vampire family values.
As you can see, not quite 'Three Men and a Baby--with teeth', because the babies in question are all grown up when chapter one opens, but it's got a lot of humor mixed in with all the angst. Besides Conrad and the twins, book one also features two other major vamps (along with a couple of non-related vampires) Damian and Armand--both of whom are Conrad's friends, confidantes, lovers, children. See? This is why people love vampires, I think. You just can't get those kinds of really complex relationships anywhere else. But, enough about that. Here's the excerpt--a fairly self explanatory little scene. Conrad and Armand are, as already explained, vampires. Desert Rose--the hippie chick for whom Conrad is falling--has no idea.
Desert Rose was pouting. Arms crossed, she gazed at him sullenly from one end of his couch. Lying back against the cushions at the other end, Conrad smiled at her indulgently. He hadn’t been expecting to see her here this evening. Even though she’d taken to spending every weekend with him, tonight was Thursday—definitely part of the week, as far as he was concerned. However, the fact that it was Thanksgiving apparently made it the start of the weekend, in her mind.
"I told you about it last weekend. I was hoping you’d show. You’d have liked it."
"Yes, I’m sure I would have," he said as he pulled her towards him, rearranging her limbs until she was reclining against his chest; her head resting on his shoulder; her long hair swept to one side. Unexpected, yes. But definitely not unwelcome, he thought, as he began to lick lazily at her neck. After all, three days was quite long enough to go without. He’d grown quite addicted to the taste of her over the course of the past month. Which would have worried him, if he’d been planning on turning her. He wasn’t. "It sounds like it was a...real happening scene."
On the other side of the room, where he was seated at the secretary desk, writing checks to pay the monthly bills, Armand glanced up at him, his expression pained. "A happening scene? Mon Dieu." Then his eyes focused on the girl who had settled happily into Conrad’s embrace, her eyes closed, her neck exposed. For an instant, Armand’s tongue danced lightly across the points of his teeth. He sighed quietly as he bent his head and went back to work.
"Well, it was," Desert Rose insisted, her voice already taking on the slightly dreamy tone that indicated she was so relaxed she hadn’t even noticed he’d begun to feed. "With music and dancing and...and more food than...well, than you’ve probably ever seen in your life. Corn and beans and squash and cranberry sauce and those little pearl onions. And mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, three kinds of pie, a big chocolate cake. Not to mention homemade bread and biscuits and pumpkin soup. Oh, and there was even an entire turkey made out of tofu."
"It sounds delightful." Conrad raised his head. "Armand?"
"Qu’est-ce que c’est...toe-foo?"
Armand looked up again, his face perplexed. "Je ne sais pas," he replied with a shrug. Then, his face clearing, he snapped his fingers. " Ah, non, non, non. Il est Chinois. It’s something to do with soybeans. A kind of a paste, I think?"
"Soybeans?" Shaking his head, Conrad went back to his meal. Soybeans. What next? He could eat human food, of course, but it had very little taste and no nutritional value for him, so he rarely bothered anymore. In the past, of course, things had been different. He’d had to eat regularly then, as part of his attempts to fit in, to pass for human. But, he hadn’t felt the need for such subterfuge in many, many years and so, being as he was now a man of some means and could afford not to eat, he didn’t.
"I wish you’d been there," Desert Rose murmured, still pouting. "You could have met some of my friends."
"I’m sure that would have been very charming," Conrad lied and, sensing she was growing restless, quickly licked the wounds shut and released her. "But, you know, mignonne, Armand is Canadian and they don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving up there. It would have been rude to leave him alone."
Sitting up, the girl glanced at them both. "Well, he could have come too, you know. All sorts of people were there."
"Merci, chérie." Armand smiled at her. "And we do celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s just not all about the food there." Casting a sly glance at Conrad he added, "But Conrad is not an American either, you know."
"You’re not?" She turned back to look at him. "Where are you from?"
Conrad felt himself frowning. "Originally?" He had to think about that for a moment. The part of Europe he hailed from had been called so many different things over the centuries, most of which would mean nothing to her. "Rome," he answered, finally, taking the easy way out.
"So you’re like...Italian?" She eyed him curiously.
"Close enough," he said, ignoring Armand’s muttered, "...but no cigar."
"So, what would you eat on Thanksgiving then? Spaghetti, or pizza, or lasagna or something?"
Conrad grimaced as thoughts of garlic threatened to sour his stomach. "I don’t really care for those either."
Cocking her head to the side, she frowned at him thoughtfully. "You know, now that I think about it, I never see you eat anything. Why is that?"
From across the room, Armand choked back a laugh. "C’est parce que vos yeux sont fermés, chérie," he answered. That’s because your eyes are shut.
"That’s enough from you," Conrad growled, throwing a pillow at his head.
"What did he say?" the girl asked, glancing at both of them again.
"He said it’s because I’m always on diet."
copyright PG Forte 2008 all rights reserved
Does anyone know? Does anyone care?
Anyway, since I'm the Whisperette in charge of hotties for the month of March, it's a subject I had to think about. A lot. Because, to tell you the truth, hot nerds is not my usual fare. But they're up there now, so go, check 'em out. Tell me how I did. There's a potential prize in it...
To be honest, when I first thought of hot nerds my mind immediately went to fiction, not photos. So, I'm tossing in a mention of my favorite hot nerd Dexter Travis from Jodi Lynn Copeland's excellent story, Somebody's Hero. Mmm. Hot jungle love.
Since I've sworn off saying 'I'll never write a book about (fill in the blank)', I'm sure that someday I'm going to end up writing a story with a nerd/geek for a hero too.
I'm not usually a fan, however, which probably explains why, out of all my heroes I can't really think of one who qualifies for the title.
Well, okay, possibly Mike from Let Me Count the Ways. He is an accountant, after all, but far less nerdy than Claire, perhaps, suspects. As this excerpt perhaps will show...
In this scene, Mike is attempting to impress Claire (who's just picked him up after a party) by giving her a hot stone massage...
"I believe you said something about a massage?" Claire murmured in teasing tones.
"Hmm?" I wrenched my eyes away with difficulty. My gaze drifted up towards her face, taking the slow, scenic route past all her naked glory. "What?"
Claire arched one eyebrow. "My massage?"
Crap. So much for repairing the damage I’d done with my earlier performance. Here I was, acting like an ass all over again.
"Right." Standing, I gathered up her clothes. "Why don’t you roll over on your stomach and I’ll get started.
Averting my eyes as she repositioned herself on the bed, I dropped Claire’s stockings and garter on top of her shoes. Her panties I let fall in the space between the table and the bed where I hoped they’d go unnoticed.
Inexcusable, I know, but given how badly I was screwing up, I suspected this was likely to be a one time event. That being the case, I knew I’d need something with which to console myself in the years ahead.
I lifted the bottle of massage oil from the pot of water, where I’d put it to warm up, and poured some into my palm. The heady sweet scents of almond, honey amber and musk filled the air as I rubbed my hands together. Using a light effleurage stroke I quickly covered Claire’s back with the oil, and then coated her arms and legs as well. Then I turned away to remove the first rock from the pot.
"Well, that was very nice," Claire said as she started to get up. "Thank you."
I glanced at her over my shoulder and frowned. "No you don’t. Where do you think you’re going? Lie back down. We’re just getting started."
She looked surprised, but she did as I said. I squirted oil over the stone in my hand and then turned back to her.
"That was not the massage," I said as I brushed the hair away from her neck and then began to gently rub the stone in small circles down her neck and across her shoulder. "That was just getting you ready. Are you always this impatient?"
"Yes," she replied, biting the word out sharply, and I couldn’t decide whether her tone was teasing or annoyed. "Actors have very short attention spans. Are you always so bossy?"
I sighed. "Probably. I’ve been running my own company for a long time now. I guess I’ve gotten used to it."
"Hmph," she muttered darkly. "You have an answer for everything, don’t you?" And then we both fell silent. The muscles at the back of her neck were knotted. I rubbed harder. I’d been right about the tension. For an instant, I actually considered telling her that. Luckily, I reconsidered the impulse. Being right was a lot like being boss. Invaluable in business but, more often than not, a complication everywhere else.
"Omigod," Claire murmured a moment later. "What is that? Whatever you’re doing, it feels wonderful."
"Haven’t you ever had a hot stone massage? The heat is supposed to help relax the muscles and the pressure is different from what you can get using just your hands."
"I see. I guess you must do this sort of thing often."
I switched hands and went to work on the other side of her neck. "Well, no, I wouldn’t say often. Occasionally though."
"So... you just happened to have everything you needed on hand? Is that what you’re telling me?"
"It doesn’t take much, you know. Just massage oil. Rocks. A pot to heat them up in. It’s really pretty simple."
"Simple. Right." Claire shook her head. "Amazing. Fashion. Architecture. Decorating. Classic cars. Hot stone massage. Next thing you’ll tell me is that you mix your own massage oil too."
My hand faltered. "Well, yeah, actually, I—I did."
"Unbelievable. Mike, are you sure you’re an accountant?"
I laughed. "I guess you’d better hope I am, huh?"
"I guess so," she muttered. "Jeez. You’re full of surprises tonight."
"Good surprises, I hope?" I quipped lightly.
Claire sighed and it was a moment before she answered. "Very good. Just very... unexpected."
©2007 PG Forte All Rights Reserved
Damn, nearly got all political there. And you know I'm saving that for tomorrow night's Berkeley City Council meeting.
But, back to my original point. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to find today out that ALL TWELVE of my books (including the entire Oberon series) are available for purchase at Fictionwise. I'd have been a lot closer to ecstatic if it weren't for the fact that, in order to find them right now, you sort of have to stumble upon them by accident because if you search under PG Forte you'll only see two or three books listed, if you search under P. G. Forte you'll get eleven. If you search under titles...well, sometimes you'll get this message:
"There appears to be a system problem at this time. The page you're looking for does not appear to exist. Please contact customer support."
Especially when it comes to Let Me Count the Ways which, quite magically, is neither new nor old, there or not there, authored by me...or not extant at all, apparently.
But, not to worry. IF you wish to purchase any of the books at Fictionwise (at--I'll admit it, considerable savings to you, especially right now when they're all showing up at 20% off) here's a list of URLs
So go, buy, enjoy, rate...think BLUE. lol! And, if you're in the mood to see what's been occupying my time this past week (and just when I'm supposed to be getting ready to leave town for a week of R&R--that would be research and retail therapy--in the wilds of New Mexico, too) check out these new lenses I made on Squidoo...
And now the books:
Waiting for the Big One
Love From A to Z
Let Me Count the Ways
Scent of the Roses
A Sight to Dream Of
Sound of a Voice That is Still
A Taste of Honey
Touch of a Vanished Hand
The Spirit of the Place
Visions Before Midnight
Dream Under the Hill
And Shadows Have Their Ending
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