2008-06-23

2008-06-06

A little help from my friends?

I'm currently working on a new series featuring vampires. I know--when will I learn to never say anything that starts with the words: "I'll never write a book about...[fill in the blank]".

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.

Thursday, November 28th, 1968
Thanksgiving Day

"All I’m saying is that you missed out on a really great party today."

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?"

"Oui?"

"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