I want your opinion….

on my blurb. Yeah, I know, exciting stuff, huh?

Anyway, here it is:

With Kateesha dead, there’s no one to hunt Katelina and Jorick. That means it’s time to face the consequences – in both worlds.

When Katelina accepted her new life of night and vampires, she left behind a worried mother and an abandoned apartment. However, instead of wrapping things up, a trip home starts a chain reaction. First, they meet Verchiel, a strange vampire who seems too eager to befriend them. Then the police arrest Jorick for kidnapping. Even worse, the vampire’s government may want to question Katelina concerning Kateesha’s death.

And they do. Despite Jorick’s best efforts, he and Katelina go from being prisoners of one world to prisoners of another and must go before Malick, the oldest of the vampires and head of The Guild. Does Malick want to punish Katelina for killing Kateesha, or is he after something else? And why does Verchiel keep popping up? What is he up to, and why can’t Jorick read his mind?

In the third installment of the Amaranthine series, events are set into motion that could change both Jorick and Katelina’s lives, if not the world.

That’s the longer version for the back of the book. I’ll have to tighten it up into 80 words or so for other places.

If you’re an Indy author with your first book there’s a tip: always have different length blurbs – have your long one, one that’s around 100 – 80, and one that’s around 50 or so because different people and sites want different things. The more you have ready, the faster you can advertise. I learned the hard way with my first book.

Anyway, let me know what you think. Good? Bad? Too melodramatic? Not melodramatic enough?

Interview with Lacey

Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Weekend Character Interviews. Using state of the art-mumbo-jumbo author magic, Jo has temporarily bent the laws of fictional space and time to allow various literary universes to converge long enough for me to ask different characters a few questions. Since I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine series quizzing vampires on what they’re doing, where they’re going and why, Jo thought I would be the perfect interviewer. 

Today we have Lacey… um… Lacey…

Lacey: Yes, my name is Lacey (no last name, I know, it’s weird, thanks for calling attention to it).

cool Ghostwriter cover

Katelina: Oh. Well, today we have Lacey from Ravis Harnell’s modern horror novella Ghostwriter. As an aside, don’t feel bad about the last name. My author does that, too. I didn’t have a last name until she wrote the trailer for the first book and needed one, suddenly. She picked it by giving some people on yahoo messenger a couple of options. Talk about making you feel unimportant… Oh, sorry about that. Anyway, thanks for dropping in today! Where are you from?

L: I live in the St. Petersburg, Florida. I tend bar in downtown St. Pete and attend the Stetson University School of Law – as Chris Skinner says, I’m a “hard-drinkin’, tort-reform lovin’ Republican hippie,” or something to that effect.

K: That’s one of the most interesting character descriptions I’ve ever heard! In that case I’ll let you tell the readers what you look like, I bet you can do better than I can!

L: I don’t know, it’s weird talking about my own appearance, I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it. I’ve got too much reddish-brown hair, and I used to be what fashion magazines condescendingly and wrongly call “plus size,” but most of my curves have been lost to the stress of law school, a crazy work schedule and drinking my dinner.

K: How do you evolve during the course of Ghostwriter?

L:Well, I’ve been a fiercely independent and closed-off person for most of my adult life, but my new neighbor turned out to be so unique and fun and self-destructive and in need of someone to worry about him that he’s managed to draw me out of my shell quite a bit.

Alcohol

party time - stu_spivak via Flickr

K: Okay, he’s got my attention. So are you guys an item or….

L: I don’t know if what Chris and I have is a romance. There’s a lot of fun and drinking and hooking up, but things got pretty weird before we reached what I would consider “relationship status.” Plus, as I said, I’m a pretty independent person by nature.

K: I hear you. There’s a huge step between fun and a romantic partner. And there’s always the “do I really wanna go there” question because who knows what could happen with it!

L: Yes! You start down a road with the smallest action – shaking someone’s hand, filling out a job application, or whatever – and soon you look up and realize exactly how far you’ve wandered away from the reality of the familiar. How you react to that, if you’ve wandered far enough away, sometimes dictates whether you live, or die, or spend the rest of your days in a padded room. I would say that’s the hardest thing for me in this story; it’s dealing with the situation I find myself in, processing it, you know?

K: Yes! Especially when things get weird or people are trying to kill you! Do you have enemies after you, or…

L: I think my only real enemy is myself, in the sense of the decisions I make – not just the fact that I haven’t been the greatest judge of men, but also my tendency to try to fix the world.

K: I had a friend like that, though she was trying to mother the whole world. Things didn’t end up good for her. Okay, topic change. What would you say is the one event that helped to shape your personality?

L:I’d really prefer not to talk about that. It’s in the past, and I’d prefer that it stay there.

Bar

by Peter Sigrist via Flickr

K: Gotcha. Okay, if you could have anything in the world, what would it be?

L: To get through this, completely, to heal and be on the other side and be able to take a look and find my mind and heart haven’t been permanently damaged. I’m sorry if that sounds cold, but this is so huge, I can’t think about the future or the good of the world or someone else’s well-being. I’ve just got to concentrate on not letting it drive me crazy.

K: Not at all! I think people who haven’t been stuck at the mercy of some of these really evil, character torturing authors don’t understand how much we just want to escape and have some normal life once in a while. Is your author as evil as mine?

L: I don’t know about yours. I just want to say to mine, “Don’t beat yourself up about it. Not even you could’ve made me completely happy and satisfied – it’s just not in my nature.”

K: Mine doesn’t even try. But since it looks like we’re running out of time, I do want to ask, if you could say one thing to your readers, what would it be?

L: Don’t judge me if you haven’t been through what I have.

K: I like that! Thanks so much for stopping in, Lacey! It’s a shame we had such a short interview!

L: I don’t know. I’m not really comfortable talking about myself, so for me, fewer questions is better, I guess.

K: Then I guess it worked out perfectly! Thanks again!

You can find Lacey in Ravis Harnell’s digital novella Ghostwriter, available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghostwriter-ebook/dp/B0049H93QC

And a special thank you to Ravis Harnell for playing along!

If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details:

https://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/character-interviews/


Interview with Rebecka Saberhagen

Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Weekend Character Interviews. Using state of the art-mumbo-jumbo author magic, Jo has temporarily bent the laws of fictional space and time to allow various literary universes to converge long enough for me to ask different characters a few questions. Since I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine series quizzing vampires on what they’re doing, where they’re going and why, Jo thought I would be the perfect interviewer. 

 

Today we have Rebecka Saberhagen (I love her name!), the vampire heroine from Fledgling, the first book in the Coiree Guardian series by Mari Miniatt.  

A nice black cover 🙂

Katelina:  Hello, Rebecka and thanks for being here! Though I’ve had fun with my mortal guests the last couple of weeks, I have to say it’s great to get back to some vampires! (That is, vampires who don’t want to eat me!)

 Rebecka: You’re safe. I don’t plan on attacking you, or anything.

 K: *laughs* Always best to check. So tell me a little about yourself!

 R: Well, I live (ha!) in Deerbow City. You can see I’m a heavy girl, and I hate my hair. Although not as much as I used to.

 K: So when Fledgling opens you’re a mortal, right? And then you get turned into a vampire?

R: That’s right. Steopa bites me.  It was horrible, scary, and painful. But if he hadn’t, I would still be the “drama queen” as a friend put it.

K: “Drama Queen”?

 R: Yes. During the story I learn to be myself. I had a point in my life where people took care of me, and I expected it from everyone. Looking back, I was a real horrible person. But then I learned I was strong. I didn’t need people to look after me.

 K: Oh, I see! Would you say that’s your biggest challenge in the story?

R: No, the biggest challenge would be learning to be a vampire. It was a challenge in that there was so much to learn. But a fun challenge.

Pam (True Blood)

from Angie22arts

K: Hmmm. I dunno. I mean it’s such a commitment, isn’t it? Once you’re a vampire, you’re a vampire with no going back. Though, I guess it helps if you’re romantically involved with your vampire, huh? *wink*

R: Actually, it’s not romance. Hard to explain to non vampires. But Steopa and I are linked. I suppose it’s like that bond that couples develop after a few decades. It happened when he bit me. But luckily my friend stepped in and explained to me that Steopa wasn’t the monster I thought he was. He taught me a lot in the first few days. I know he is good looking. He could have been ravishing village women on horseback, if you know what I mean. But that is not what I… like about him. I like how he let me learn on my own, too. He never tried to control me, or tell me when or what I should do. He showed me and let me decide. Not since my real father, had someone done that.

K: Speaking of family, how did they take the vampire transformation, or do you see much of them now?

R: I see my brother John, yes. But then I found out before Steopa bit me that he had been feeding our friend Vincent. I had been living with a vampire in the same building and didn’t know it (I told you I was self-centered!). Anyway, Johnny didn’t seem to be too freaked out. So I can still see him. As for my mother, I am staying away. Too much temptation to harm her.

K: If she’s as annoying as my mother I understand – *cough* – erm, I mean, anyway, so, being a vampire has really changed your life. I have to admit it would be kind of nice to be super strong and not be scared of anything, anymore. Or, is there something that scares you still?

R: Ghouls. Humans don’t understand when they see those things. I think that sightings of them inspired zombies. But they are vampires that could not or would not drink human blood. Now they “live” in cemeteries digging up corpses to eat. And sometimes go after fresh meat. They don’t care what or who they eat. Steopa had a chunk of his arm taken out by one. But I knock it away. First time I realized how strong I had gotten. They are nasty vile, parasites. I hate running into them.

Zombie

Photo by Mark Hill

K: Wow! I was thinking something like rejection – holy crap those sound scary! *shivers* You don’t have any other enemies, do you?

R: Enemy by proxy. This short vampire by the name of Jalmari. He locked horns a few times with Steopa. And during the story was threatening my friends and family. We had to stop him. He was up to some real nasty things.

K: What is it with authors writing us into books full of nasty things? Is yours as bad as mine?

R: My author did a good job. She could have made me thin, pretty, and strong from the beginning. I thank her for not doing that. Though, I’m sorry the readers had to meet me when I was difficult to deal with.

K: Well, if you don’t change and evolve then what’s the point? Who wants to read a book about someone who is already perfect? It takes all the fun out! Sadly, I think we’re almost out of time, but before you have to go back to your universe, what is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?

R: Before I met Steopa. Something to settle my head. That’s why I had so many pills. Now, I want to spend the rest of my time with him. I can’t see me going anywhere else.

That’s one of the sweetest answers I’ve gotten so far! Thanks so much for stopping by, Rebecka! I have to say you’re one of the nicest vampires I’ve ever met! It’s been a real change not to have to fear for my life for a few minutes!

You can find Rebecka in Fledgling, the first book in the Coriee Guardians series by Mari Miniatt. The book is available in soft cover or Kindle from Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982666004?ie=UTF8&tag=thecoi02-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0982666004

Or from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/13210

And a special thanks to Mari for playing along! Be sure to check out her website at http://mariminiatt.com

If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details:

https://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/character-interviews/

Do you…..

Like polls? Yeah, I do, too. There’s something about voicing my opinion that just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. If you like it too, then read on, as there are not one but three chances for you to chime in!

I’ve been trying to decide whether to publish my short Vampire Morsels on Amazon or not.  So, I thought I’d get the opinion of the world at large about short stories and prices in general!

and…

and…

and…..

Thanks for stopping in and – hopefully – leaving your vote 🙂

Ashton Now on Smashwords

Now on Snashwords: Part of the Vampire Morsels Collection. Each short story is about a different vampire from the Amaranthine universe. After Ashton’s parents die it’s up to him to take care of his younger brother, Loren. he tries to escape the pressure by befriending the new guy in town, Jessie, and his dangerous friends. But drugs and alcohol are only the beginning and he quickly discovers that his new reality is far worse than the one he tried to escape.

Read Ashton for free on Smashwords!

101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire Free on Amazon

Get 'er while she's free!

Amazon sent me a notice about this a few days ago and I completely forgot.  So, fast forward I hopped onto Amazon tonight to check my sales and had over 3,000 for 101 Tips. Considering I haven’t sold any of those for the last two months, I immediately though “this is a mistake”, and then I remembered the mail from Amazon and it made sense.

Of course, free means I’m not making any royalties off those sales, but I don’t mind since it’s already a free book at Smashwords, anyway, and would have been free on Amazon if they allowed for it.

Right now you’re asking yourself “WHat’s the point of this post?”  It’s to tell you that if you haven’t gotten 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire from Amazon, now is the time to do it coz it’s a freebie, and we all love a freebie!

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still get it for free on Smashwords as a document or PDF. it’s only about 9,000 words total, including the preview of Legacy of Ghosts, so it’s not too bad to read on a computer screen.

Interview with Jorick

Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Character Interviews. I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine series quizzing vampires on what they’re doing, where they’re going and why, so Jo thought I would be the perfect interviewer.

The first victim – erm – interviewee is none other than my very own Jorick! If you’ve never met him I can sum him up for you in a few words: Dark, sexy and crabby. Oh, and he’s one of those vampires I mentioned earlier. You can find him in Both Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts, as well as the upcoming Ties of Blood.

Katelina: So, hello Jorick! Welcome to the first Character Interview!

Jorick: Hello.

Jorick

K: Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?

J: I believe you already know everything important.

K: I doubt it. Besides, the people reading this don’t. *jabs Jorick in the ribs*.

J: *sighs* fine. I’m Jorick.

K: Well that was informative. Okay, moving right along, would you say the book series you’re in should be classified as romance or thriller?

J: I think you modern people are far too concerned with classification. It has romance. It has vampires ripping one another to shreds. It simply is. Accept it, and move on.

K: That sounded surly. What’s the deal? Do you object to being the hero in a romance? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you objected to romance in general. *pauses* But of course, you’re the one who went to the trouble of finding me, not to mention all those old mementoes you saved of you-know-who-

J: *glares* What’s your point?

K: Only that you must be a romantic. But, you have a pretty violent streak, too, don’t you? I mean, you’re always fighting someone. There was Claudius, and then there was Kateesha and now Oren wants to fight The Guild (the vampire government).

J: If you haven’t noticed, there’s a common denominator behind all of those, and it starts with an “O”. Though, I’ve already told both of you I’m not fighting The Guild with him. If he would use his brain he wouldn’t, either.

K: You said that last time, too, remember? You’re always making absolute statements and then retracting them.

J: No, I don’t. Occasionally I change my mind given the circumstances. For example, I had every intention of ignoring Kateesha until her pathetic goons hurt you. After that I owed her.

K *giggles* That’s kind of romantic, you know. And since we’re on the subject, would you say I’m your girlfriend?

J: *clears throat* I’d say you’re ridiculously obsessed with labels. (Katelina narrows her eyes). For crying out loud, Katelina! I’ve rescued you, held you while you cried, risked life and limb, bled, and killed for you, and I’m even going to go meet your mother! What more can a woman want?

K: All right. I’ll take that. My mother’s really not that bad, you know. Where would you rather go?

J: Go? Nowhere! Why in heaven’s name must we always be “going” somewhere? Can’t we just stay home and have some peace and quiet once in a while? Is it really that boring?

K: You don’t even own a TV. You really need to catch up with the rest of the world. Sometimes, you’re like hanging around my great-grandfather and that’s kind of creepy.

J: *sarcastic* Thanks a lot. You know, sometimes you’re like spending time with a spoiled child, but I don’t point it out to you. If you think trying to adjust to having someone around the house after a hundred plus years isn’t difficult, the you’re much mistaken. Especially someone who is as fond of noise as you are.

K: Are you saying I’m noisy?

J: is that an official interview question? The answer is yes, by the way. *mumbles* like your great-grandfather…

K: Fine, I’m sorry. I retract that statement. But, you are, erm, crotchety. Why is that?

J: I’m not crotchety! I just have no patience for stupidity. It was always annoying, but after a few hundred years, I find it tedious and infuriating. You’d think people would learn but, no, they’re exactly the same now as they were four hundred years ago! They still do the same stupid things, make the same stupid mistakes and spend all their time either trying to get more or else trying to escape the fact they don’t have enough!

K: When will the third book, Ties of Blood, be out, and do you think it’s better than the previous ones?

by me

J: Hopefully this summer. I believe our… lovely… author is waiting on editing at the moment, or at least that’s her excuse. As for being better, who can say? There’s less violence than Shades of Gray, and there’s less romance than Legacy of Ghosts. I’d venture to say that there is more world building in this one, especially since readers will get to see The Guild’s Citadel and meet some characters that have only been mentioned before, like Malick, as well as some new characters . As far as what it’s about, some… beautiful, but insane little human decides we should go visit her mother. I am dragged against my will and, just as I predict, it is a disaster that ends at the police station. If that isn’t bad enough, there’s a red headed idiot that shows up and won’t go away! That clown is like a bad penny! Everywhere I look, there he is!

K: Yeah, yeah, Verchiel. Move on.

J: And then we go see Malick. *shrugs*. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

K: You didn’t mention Oren and his plans for the stupid war, or about that Traven guy who shows up. I know he’s up to something. And what about Senya? She’s still as evil as it gets! And-

J: Why don’t you just post an outline? Wouldn’t that be faster? You’re supposed to make it sound mysterious.

K: Like you did a good job of that! “And then we go see Malick”! What is that? Something like, “And then we are summoned by Malick, the most powerful vampire alive-“

J: he’s not, though. He’s just the most powerful one in the Americas.

K: Fine! “And then we are summoned by the most powerful vampire on the continent and taken to The Guild’s Citadel against our wills. Will we ever discover what the ancient master truly wants, or will his insidious scheme remain veiled in shadows until the next book?”

J: A little melodramatic, but it’s better than anything our author has bothered to come up with. I don’t think she’s even started to write up a blurb.

K: And with that we are out of time! Thanks so much for being my first unwilling victim, Jorick. As I mentioned before, you can find both Jorick and myself in Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts, available as an ebook from Amazon, Smashworda, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and many other places, or as a paperback through Amazon.com.

  

If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details:

https://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/character-interviews/

And now, as a special treat, here is a (tiny) extract from Ties of Blood chosen by Jo’s brother:

(working cover)


“No!” Jorick shouted. “If it weren’t for you and your wife and your sister! We’re here because of your war with Claudius! Your sister started that war, if you’ll remember, because she couldn’t keep her hands to herself! And when the Executioners came, they killed your wife because of the Laws she broke! She trapped your son into eternal childhood and the youngest as a baby for eternity, Oren! A baby! How many hundreds of years would you want to live, trapped like that? It was Jesslynn and Torina’s self centeredness that’s landed us all here! I’ve stood by you because no one else would, but by God, Oren, I’ve had it with your inability to see your own faults! You’re so quick to blame someone else when the person you should be angry at is the one who looks back at you in the mirror! You allowed Torina to be out of control! You allowed Jesslynn to turn the children! You let the war drag on and on, and when Torina derailed your second war to fight Kateesha, because of a feud over yet another of her bedmates, you went along! It was your choices, and your choices alone that have landed you here and I suggest you use the time until we’re released to come to terms with that!”

Katelina stared at the wooden door, her eyes wide and her mouth open in shock. As if her hand acted of its own accord, she opened the door wide enough to see the pair. Jorick stood over the couch, his dark eyes flashing fire, his hands on his hips. Oren was still seated, his face white, his jaw clenched and his fists shaking at his sides. His earlier anger was nothing compared to what she saw on his face now.

Taking Over Reena’s Blog!

Okay, I haven;t really taken it over, but Reena Jacobs, author of the intriguing Shadow Cat, has been kind enough to feature and excerpt from Legacy of Ghosts on her blog.

pooling blood

By me

“It was a nightmare.

Blood; there was blood everywhere -“

To read the rest check out her blog and be sure to leave a comment! 

Also, look for an interview with yours truly on the fifth of this month!

Vampire Morsels: Elsa


As I prepped my notes for work on Ties of Blood, I noticed that I have a lot of side characters who, for one reason or another, don’t get any “me” time.  so, I’ve decided to remedy that in a collection of short stories called…

Elsa

 (You can find Elsa in Shades of Gray. She is the one who turned Michael. This story takes place in the early 1980’s.)

Elsa stared at him and he stared back. A long moment dragged past and then he gave what amounted to an apologetic shrug and strode away in the rain. She watched him go; watched him climb into his black car and disappear into the night, and then she went inside and cried.

She hated him, but she hated herself even more.

When the tears stopped coming she wiped her face and went to the kitchen. In movies people always splashed water on their face, but what was the point? It was damp enough. Though, that would be a good excuse if her parents saw her.

“Why is your face wet?”

“Because I just washed it.”

Yeah, right.

She opened the refrigerator and stared inside. Her eyes skipped from item to item again and again, as if they might conjure something new and infinitely delicious, but they didn’t.  There were vegetables and fruit and cold iced tea. None of it would help settle a broken heart.

But what would?

She closed the door and dropped into a kitchen chair. The coffee pot light blinked in the darkness and the rain splattered noisily on the window. It was just the kind of night to be miserable, wasn’t it? The kind of night that practically screamed for the company of the depressed and lonely. Even if it was their own fault. Which it was.

She knew he didn’t want anything serious. She knew he had a life that was as different from hers as night was from day, not to mention a girlfriend he’d never leave. Still, she’d hoped anyway, hadn’t she? Deep down she’d believed that he’d stay. That was why she was so shocked when he said goodbye.

“Bye, babes. It’s been fun.”

What fantastic parting words. Those were the kind of words you could frame and hang on a wall. As if. Couldn’t he come up with something better? He had enough practice that he should have a little speech memorized just for the occasion. Did he say that to all the girls, or was she just the one lucky enough for such a poetic verse. Didn’t immortality require something better from him?

Damn him.

She ran her fingers through her brown hair and took a deep, cleansing breath. She wished she could wash him away, the way she’d washed the blood from her skin after their first night. He’d shown her what he was and she’d accepted it; welcomed it. He was beautiful and charismatic, and when she looked in his eyes the world jumped.

And now he was gone.

She abandoned the kitchen and her silent coffee pot companion. The front room was awash in whispery shadows. She stopped by the tv and turned it on, but there was only static. It was too late for programming. It was as if the station managers were all saying in unison “Go to bed!”

She threw herself on the couch and absently picked up the phone from the stand. She stared at it. Nothing happened. With a sigh she snatched up the receiver and tapped in Jennifer’s number.  She was her best friend and this was the kind of situation best friends were supposed to be for.

Elsa counted off the rings. One. Two. Three. Four. They rang on and on, until she ticked off number eighteen.  That was when the line clicked and a sleepy voice muttered, “Hello?”

Elsa gripped the phone in a strangulation hold and tried to find words. “Jen-“ A thick sob cut her off and she broke down. “Tristan. He- he’s gone!” she wailed.

“What? Who’s gone?” Jen yawned and slowly came to terms with the conversation. “Elsa, is that you?”

“He’s gone!” she sobbed again. “He just left! God dammit, he just left!”

“Oh, that dude who thought he was a vampire?” Jen was suddenly awake and her voice dripped sarcasm instead of sympathy. “Look, he was hot – maybe not bringing back sexy hot, but still hot, I admit that. But, Elsa, he thought he was a vampire.”

“He was!” she cried. “Goddamit! He was! And he left!”

“Yeah, I get that he left. But you’re better off without the psycho. What would your parents say?”

Elsa watched the streaky shadows the rain threw across the carpet. This was all wrong. Jennifer was supposed to tell her it was all right. She was supposed to understand . She wasn’t supposed to lecture her. “I’m twenty. I can do what I want.”

Jen imitated her father, “Not while you’re under my roof.” When Elsa didn’t so much as giggle she sighed. “Okay, look. I’m sorry, all right? But there’s plenty of other fish in the sea.”

Elsa caught her breath and held it. Plenty of other fish. That was a line straight from the annals of cliché comfort, and so she quit listening, though Jennifer kept talking. And talking.

Elsa cleared her throat loudly, and cut into the rambling spiel.  “Yeah, you’re right. Thanks. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Elsa, wait-“

She didn’t. She hung up the phone and then, for good measure, she unplugged it.  Tears dripped down her cheeks like the rain on the window. She wished she’d done something besides stare at him. She wished she’d thrown herself at his feet – her pride be damned! Never, never give in. Never, never let something so important slip away.  Don’t just sit there and cry about your lost paradise. Get up and do something about it.

That was what she needed to do.

Elsa stopped in the bathroom and splashed water on her face. As she thought, it did nothing to help, and soaked her shirt. She changed, threw on her raincoat and, without leaving so much as a note, she slipped out the door and into the storming night.

She slid into her car and started it. The heavy engine roared to life and she wished for the millionth time that she could afford one of the cute cars. The radio crackled and Madonna bled through the static. Her tiny, high pitched voice was no comfort, so Elsa turned the radio off.

She turned on the lights and the wipers, put the beast into gear and backed out carefully. Under the streetlights the road was a glare of slick reflections that made it hard to see.  She navigated slowly, though she was only half focused on the task.  Most of her attention was turned on where to go.

Twenty minutes later she parked outside of the Roockwood Inn where Tristan had been staying. The vacancy light flickered eerily, and the raindrops echoed off the car; ping, ping, ping.  The darkness seemed to watch her like a tangible, malevolent creature. She shivered at the thought and climbed out of the car.

Room 622, around the back. That was where he’d been, but no one answered her knock. She pounded again and again, until someone in room 623 shouted at her to be quiet. She couldn’t give up, so she hurried through the rain and into the shabby motel office. The walls were stained with tobacco and smoke hung thick in the air. The bell was broken, so she banged on the counter impatiently.

A voice came from behind the nicotine tatty blanket that served as a makeshift door between the office and the back rooms. “Yeah, yeah, hang on.”

She didn’t have time. Each second might be taking him farther away from her.

The blanket was thrown aside and a short fat man dressed in a horrible Hawaiian short waddled out. He took a puff from his cigar and eyed her critically. “Yeah, what can I help you with?”

“I’m looking for someone. Tristan Shelby. He was in room 622.”

The attendant shrugged. “Room 622 checked out earlier. Sorry, sister.” He looked her up and down again. “Just as well. I’d let that one go, if I was you.”

“I can’t!” she cried passionately. “Do you know where he went?” Tears trembled at the edges of her eyes, ready to drop.

The attendant scratched his stomach thoughtfully. Indecision flickered over his face, but finally her tears swayed him. “I don’t know where he went for sure, but he was runnin’ with a local crowd. They hang out at the old fair grounds most nights, so he might be down there. But-“ he lowered his cigar and met her eyes. “I wouldn’t go lookin’ for any of them, if I was you. They’re not what you think they are.”

Hope blossomed inside her. The old fairgrounds were a popular hangout for teenagers and, having grown up there, she knew them well. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”

“Remember I warned you!”

His words were lost as she dashed out the door into the rain. If she could only catch Tristan and say all those things she should have said earlier, then maybe she could stop this.

The drive was short. The fairgrounds were on the edge of town, and had been abandoned since the late 70’s.  She parked in the overgrown lot and got out. The tall, wet grass wrapped around her legs like grasping hands. She shook it off and forced her way through it towards the peeling gates. A wooden sunshine cut out still hung above them. Its toothy grin was faded and chipped, and the colors were bleached almost gray. “Have a Happy Day” was just visible on the reverse side in faded rainbow letters.

The ticket booth was dark and silent. The windows were a spider web of cracks that told stories of bb guns and rocks. Scattered beer bottles glittered in the flashing lightning and weeds grew through the cracked pavement. The rusted Ferris wheel hulked to her left. Vines covered it and hung down in long, thick tendrils like something from a nightmare scape.

She could feel eyes in the darkness again; feel the night watching her. She forced the silly superstition away and told herself to grow up. There was nothing to be afraid of. She’d been there before.

But never alone.

Am I alone now?

“Hello?”

No one answered her except the rain. She pulled up her courage and walked deeper into the fairgrounds.  The carousel loomed ahead of her. The dirty mirrors still tried to glitter on the canopy, and the silent horses stood in a frozen circle, waiting for riders that would never return.

She stopped next to it and waited as a bolt of lightning sliced through the sky. In the instant of light, she looked around madly, but didn’t see anyone. Her heart sank as she realized that she’d missed him. It was too late. Tristan was gone.

Her body sagged and she used the nearest carousel horse to hoist herself onto the large, disc-like base. She felt too morose to do more than sit on the edge and stare at her dangling feet. What was the point? Maybe she’d get lucky and the carousel would get struck by lightning.

She glanced up to her silent, painted companion. Dark streaks ran down the horse’s face, like old tears.  Oddly, that made her smile. “You know what it’s like, don’t you? With no reason to go on anymore?”

Thunder snapped and she sighed. She should go home and have a cup of coffee. She should change into her pajamas and go to bed. In the morning she should get up and put on her make up and go to work. Again and again the same routine. Meanwhile, he would be doing what? Or who?

She heard something. Her head snapped up and she looked around, but there was nothing. Only rain and dark and rusted rides. It was probably just a rat, anyway. Yeah. A rat.

A rat with fangs.

A man stood in front of her. To her terrified mind he was only a black shape with snarled lips and long, pointed teeth. A vampire, like Tristan. But, it wasn’t Tristan. It was someone else. Someone she needed to get away from.

She gasped and tried to throw herself backwards, but the carousel horse blocked her escape. He was too fast and she was suddenly pinned down on the old carousel. He held her by her wrist and growled into her face. His eyes were strange, not human but more like a wild dog; a wild starving dog.

He didn’t ask who she was, or what she was doing. He only stared into her eyes for an agonizing moment and then tore into her neck.  She screamed, but the sound was drown out by the rolling thunder. Lightning sliced across the sky and in the brightness she could see the rain drops, suspended in midair and the sad, weather stained face of the carousel horse, watching with chipped eyes. The darkness crashed back, but the image stayed in her head, like a still frame. Perhaps the last thing she’d ever see.

With her last breaths she screamed for Tristan.

There was a blur of motion and suddenly she was free of her attacker. She tried to move, but she was too weak to do more than roll her head to one side. The carousel horse and its neighbors were broken and strewn in the mud. The dark vampire lay nearby, hanging half off the carousel, his face covered in blood.  From the shadows a second man stepped forward.  He had bright red hair, like a punk rocker, and though he was soaked he brushed at the mud on his long coat as he approached them.

“Sorry, Lennon.  But I think I need her alive.” The new vampire hopped lithely onto the carousel platform, stepped over the bloody and angry Lennon and came to a stop next to her. He peered down at her like a vulture, his brow puckered. “You are alive, aren’t you?”

Her answer was a gurgle. Terror engulfed her. She tried to raise her hands to her gaping neck, but her arms wouldn’t work. All she could do was plead with silent eyes.

Lennon stood and wiped the blood from his chin. “What do you need her for?”

The red head arched a single brow. “Unless I’m much mistaken, she was shouting for our friend Tristan who, if you’ll recall, I am trying to locate. It seems that if she knows him, she may well know where he is.” He narrowed his eyes at her. “Or maybe not.” He shrugged as if it was suddenly of no consequence. “It appears she’s useless to me, after all, so you can do what you want with her. Either kill her or turn her.”

“Turn her?” Lennon stared at him as if he’d gone crazy. “Why would I do that?”

The world shifted into shades of gray and Elsa choked. She tried to concentrate, but the conversation slipped through her fingers like tears.  Tristan. Where is he? Why isn’t he here?

“Why not?” the red head asked cheerfully. “She seems to know all about us already. That’s hard to come by in a fledgling, and it’s not like you have any, yet-“

Tristan.

“- Besides, it might be fun-“

Where are you?

“-Of course, it’s up to you. I don’t care one way or the other-“

Tristan.

“-better decide before it’s too late-“

Goodbye babes, it’s been fun.

The thunder cracked, but the sound was muted behind a wall of black. There was something in her mouth. The taste was bitter and sharp, like sucking a knife blade. She swallowed. It burned like fire. She swallowed again. And again.

It was an hour or more before she could move.  The first thing she did was sit up and touch her neck. The wound was gone. Even the blood had been washed away by the steady drum of rain.

Lennon sat nearby, his knees up and his eyes on her. “I’m Lennon,” he said pointlessly.  Then he half-lifted a hand in greeting. “Hey.”

Her eyes skipped around, but they seemed to be alone. “Where’s-”

“That red haired guy?” She nodded and Lennon shrugged. “Went back to work, I guess. He’s hunting them. Tristan and his partner. “

“Hunting them?” she echoed.  “He’s not going to – I mean he won’t…”

“Kill him?”

The words were too horrible to contemplate, but there they were, just the same. Lennon didn’t explain further, so she forced the question out, “Will he?”

Lennon’s expression softened. “Were you guys, you know?” The answer was in her eyes, and he suddenly looked away. “I don’t know. It depends, I guess. If he just goes quietly then probably not.”

Despite his attempt at reassurance, it was impossible to combat her panic. “But why is he after Tristan?”

“I don’t know. They’re wanted for something. Hard to tell.” Lennon fished a soggy pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. He tried to slide one out, but it crumbled in his hand. With a mournful sigh he tossed it away. “Maybe because the guy’s obviously telling humans about us.” She opened her mouth to ask what he meant and he added, “You are – were – human, and he told you.”

Elsa couldn’t argue with that, though the word “were” disturbed her.

Lennon threw the ruined cigarettes away and stood up. “We better go. I’ve got to find my brother, then we need to get back to the den before sunrise.”

“Where’s that?” she mumbled, still lost in the intricate twists of the night’s events.

“New York.”

Her attention snapped to him. “I can’t go to New York!  I have to go to work tomorrow-” The sentence died on her lips as the full realization of her new status crashed down on her. She struggled to come to terms with everything that had in the last few hours. Hours. Was that all it had been? A few hours had taken Tristan away and changed her?

Changed her like she’d once asked Tristan to do.

“Have fun with that.” Lennon stood and offered her a hand. “I hope you don’t act this stupid when you meet Claudius.”

A mixture of panic and elation coursed through her and she fought to master it. “Is Claudius your brother?”

“Hardly!” He snickered. “He’s the coven master. We’re supposed to get permission before we make fledglings.” He frowned. “I’m not really sure what to tell him.  I’m not really sure why I did it.” he squinted ta her. “You’re not bad looking, I guess, but we need to work on a better story that this.” He waved his hand around the abandoned grounds as if to indicate the truth.

She had no answer for him, though he didn’t seem to expect one. He tugged her to her feet and led her through the rainy fairgrounds towards the exit.

Vampire.

Somewhere in the back of her mind she could hear Jennifer’s voice echoing, “He thought he was a vampire.”

That’s because he is, and now so am I.

Vampire.

The sign over the exit made her giggle softly. “Have a Happy Day”. Bizarrely, she would never have another day again. There would only be night after night from now on. But it was all right; or it would be once she found Tristan. Never, never give in. Never, never let something so important slip away.  Don’t just sit there and cry about your lost paradise. Get up and do something about it.

And now she had an eternity to do it in.

**********

Next up is either Herrick or Jeda, depending on my mood. (Herrick is so minor that his only contribution is he dies and Jorick and Katelina inherit his coffin, so he may get skipped.)

The Ultimate Vampire Literature List

Sharon S. sent me a link to a very awesome site yesterday – a site that’s so awesome I had to share it with you.

Michele Hauf is not only an author of paranormal romance (among other genres), but she has also compiled an amazing list of vampire books in several different categories such as Romance/Erotica, Horror, Manga/comic, Roleplaying, nonfiction, and TA, among others.

You might wonder how she’s compiled what may well be the net’s ultimate vampire database? The bright red comment at the bottom of the first page says it all:

“Blood, sweat and tears, baby”

Check it out. Bookmark and, while you’re at it, why not check out her books, too?

http://www.vampire-books.com/

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    Short stories from the world of Amaranthine; a universe of blood and darkness where vampires don't sparkle and night is eternal. Each is about a member of the Executioners squad; the special vampire "police" force. Members both past and present share stories of assignments, origins, and more.

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    Joleene Naylor

    An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com

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