Guest Blogger: Rick Taubold
I put the names in my mini-coffin and picked a winner: Cecile! Congratulations, Cecile. Send me the email address you'd like Rick to send your download to, and it will be on its way. Thanks so much to all who participated.
What if vampires really existed? What if they were mortal, not predators, and didn't have fangs?
I'm Rick Taubold, and that's the premise of my second published novel, Vampires, Inc., co-authored with Chris R. Hosey, and which just released last week as an e-book from Double Dragon Publishing.
Chris and I set out to make our vampires different. We wanted them to exist in our world without most people knowing of their existence. Our idea was to show how they deal with the stigma of what they are. My co-author has a gift of being able to create three-dimensional characters with real flaws and a lot of baggage, the kind of characters who feel genuine.
The novel has a multi-cultural character set, and not all of the characters are vampires. You'll find the bad guys every bit as interesting as the good guys. There's even a love scene, which my wife helped me create.
Excerpt from Chapter 13 -- the love scene.
New Orleans, May, 1884.
After being changed into a vampire, Eli has wandered the back woods of the South for 25 years. He has just come into New Orleans where he meets Sophie Benoit . . .
They walked along Royal Street and into the nighttime crowds of humans. He would later learn the names of all the streets. For now, he was an innocent child, amazed at the splendor of this newfound place. All of his senses came alive. Sights and scents, more wonderful than he'd ever experienced, flooded over him. More amazing, a beautiful white woman walked at his side and treated him as her equal.
"Where are you taking me?" he asked.
He was confused.
She laughed. "To my house. You need a place to stay, non?"
He didn't remember all he saw or how long they walked, but they came to a place of many magnificent buildings. "This is Storyville," she said, "where the sporting women live. For us New Orleans is une bonne ville. There is so much crime. The officials and the police -- les poulets we call them, the chickens -- are like dogs who so stupidly chase their queues. Men's queues always lead them to Storyville." What a sweet laugh she had.
He would learn later what all this meant.
She took him inside a building finer than his slaveholder's plantation house. The carpet was thick; fine draperies adorned the windows. He rubbed his hand over a deep-red, velvet-textured wall. A crystal chandelier, larger than he'd ever seen, hung in the center of this room.
"This is my sporting house, les filles à ton service," she said. "Women to serve you."
He saw women everywhere, many beautiful women. Some wore full dresses, some were half-dressed. Some were alone, some were talking to men, some were escorting men out of the room. He didn't see any others of his race here.
One woman came up to them. "Madam Sophie, is he your new servant?"
He avoided looking at her bare breasts.
"He will serve me," she said. She took hold of his chin and turned his head back at the woman. "Do you not like what you see?"
"Naked? Oui. What is wrong with a beautiful, naked woman?"
Sophie laughed her sweet laugh again, then she led him up a grand stairway. At the top, she opened a door. "Here is my room."
If possible, the room was more elegant and luxurious than downstairs. The bed, covered with pillows, was large enough for three people and covered with pillows. Inside the fireplace to his right a roaring fire heated a huge kettle. In front of that sat a bathtub for two people. He'd only seen its like once before. Next to the tub was a wooden toilet.
She'd been holding his hand and now let it go. "Wait here." When she returned, a Negro woman much darker than he was accompanied her.
"This is Elba, my maid."
"What you lookin' at, boy?"
"His name is Eli," Sophie said, "and you will not speak to him that way again. Prepare my bath then leave us."
"Yes, ma'am." Her tone was chilly. On the plantations he'd seen skin color sometimes mattered among the Negroes.
Sophie took his clothing bundle and tossed it on the floor. She bid him sit on the bed while she disappeared behind a dressing screen. He watched Elba use a wooden bucket to dip water from the fireplace kettle and fill the tub. He marveled at the crystal oil lamps that lit the room. Some were mounted on the walls; some sat on tables.
Elba finished and left. When Sophie came from behind the screen, she wore a thin, green silk robe, open in front. "Do you like what you see?"
She had unfastened her hair so it now touched her shoulders. The robe fell open next to her nipples. A string of pearls around her neck hung halfway down her breasts. His gaze drifted down past her stomach. She paused in front of him then walked around the room dimming the lights and glancing playfully at him.
Now that he understood what was about to happen, a memory of his brother Jonas flashed through his mind.
She came over to him. "Mon pauvre petit, I am so sorry for you. Do not be afraid. No one will do that to you here." She placed her hands on his cheeks; her eyes smiled at him. "Sophie will not let them."
She pulled him to her and kissed him lightly with her moist and wonderfully warm lips. "It is time pour l'amour. Take off those old clothes."
He didn't move.
"For your bath, mon chou. Do you take a bath in your clothes? We will burn the old ones and I will buy you fine new ones."
She stood up with him while he took off his cotton shirt. She ran her hands over his chest and shoulders, down his arms, squeezing his firm muscles. Her hands slid over his chest; her palms brushed his nipples.
"You like how Sophie touches you." Again she pulled him to her. Her lips came to rest gently on his. He opened his mouth; their tongues touched. Before he realized it, or could stop her, she had untied the rope holding up his pants. In cooler weather he would be wearing long johns underneath, but those were in the bundle on the floor.
She took a step back and took in his nakedness. "Mon dieu! Quel cigare."
************************So, we have something for everyone. Even if you say, "I don't read vampire novels," you might be surprised by this one, and maybe you'll want to read Vampires Anonymous when it comes out.
To find out more about the novel go to Double Dragon's website: www.double-dragon-ebooks.com. You can read the whole first chapter there. For those of you who prefer print books, we're expecting the print version of Vampires, Inc. to follow in a few weeks.
To learn more about me and my writing, and for updates on my various projects, visit my website: www.ricktaubold.com. There's a link to the Vampires, Inc. website, or you can access that directly at www.vampiresinc.net. While you're browsing my site, check out my first novel, More Than Magick. It's a science fantasy, and it's not vampire-free. You can also read my first published short story there, So, You Want To Be a Vampire.
I've got some neat things planned for the Vampires, Inc. universe. Adrian Shadowhawk, one of the fascinating characters in the novel, has his own website that he'll have up and running next month. Keep checking back. I'll also be doing a quarterly newsletter. Email me at email@example.com if you want to be added to the mailing list.
Rick will be giving away a download of his new book to one person who asks him a question here. The winner will be posted on Tuesday evening. Check back to see if you won!