Sunday, June 07, 2009

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.




Lynda and everyone, thanks for having me. It's a privilege to be here.

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.

"Chez moi."

He was confused.

She laughed. "To my house. You need a place to stay, non?"

"Yes."

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?"

"She is..."

"Naked? Oui. What is wrong with a beautiful, naked woman?"

"N-nothing."

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.
He shivered.

"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 magick46@rochester.rr.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!

22 Comments:

Anonymous Karen W. said...

Anything that says "Vampires" catches my interest!

The book - and universe - sounds cool! :)

karenwitkowski AT aol.com

8:21 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Rick: Thanks so much for being here! Paranormality is happy to have you. Rick's story takes place in Detroit, which is where I was raised, so I'm really enjoying reading his book.
Hugs, Lynda

8:25 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Hi, Karen! Thanks for stopping by. Rick will drop in around his work schedule tomorrow and Tuesday.
Lynda

8:25 PM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

Hi, Karen. You'll find these vampires, and their human friends, an interesting lot--not at all typical vampires. You'll find Adrian Shadowhawk (a vampire) even poking fun at "traditional" vampires. I tried to make this whole story plausible and feel as if it could really happen in our world.

And if you read and enjoy this novel, you'll love the second one even more. Vampires Anonymous has a Neo-Nazi skinhead character who gets "changed" by a "minority" vampire. That character was a lot of fun to write.

--Rick

6:33 AM  
Blogger Cecile said...

Hey Ms. Lynda! Hello Mr. Rick! It is nice to always learn about a new author!
Mr. Rick... writing about vampires in any world is always interesting to me... Would you say that you are challenged to write them as normal beings as aposed to writing them for what we have come to know them for... fangs, biting, blood drinkers?
Thanks for coming over! Ms. Lynda thanks for having him!
Oh and ps. Mr. Rick, can't wait to see Adrain's site! Will be looking forward to that.

9:38 AM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

Cecile,

Thanks so much for the comment.

To answer your question about the challenge in writing vampires as normal beings, I really don't have any problem with that. Once I had the premise of mortal vampires without fangs, the rest was easy. I simply gave them the burden of being vampires and being looked upon by society as undesirable, not unlike racial discrimination, except that the distrust and fear factors came into play. Hence, they tend to keep to themselves, living alongside humans. The novel, however, is about what happens when certain factions among the vampires see humans as inferior and unfit to rule the Earth. In a sense, it's an old theme done in a new way, like the idea of racial supremacy that Hitler held to. I guarantee a lot of surprises in the second and third novels. And in the second novel, you'll find out how and why Adrian became a vampire.

I'm excited about Adrian's site, too. He's quite the character, and his young protégé, Jonathan Clayton, will likely be sneaking onto the site, possibly without Adrian knowing about it. So, you never know what might happen on his site. On the vampiresinc.net website, I may expand on some of the characters in the novel (like deleted scenes) or tell more about their backgrounds than I do in the novels.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Rick: Your wife helped you with the love scene? Should we use our imaginations with that one? LOL.

Hey, why don't you send me a brief excerpt of the love scene and I'll add it to your blog post. Inquiring minds want to know . . .

Hi, Cecile!

Lynda

11:55 AM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:55 PM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

Lynda,

I just sent you an excerpt of the Love Scene. Yes, it was wife's idea. She pulled out the whips and chains and forced me to write it. Just kidding. I wrote it to her "specifications." It had to pass her muster, which it did and still does.

We're very proud of that scene. It took me a WEEK to write those 9-10 pages, with the background research on the time period it's set in. You'll have to read the novel for the full context and what happens to Sophie later.

--Rick

1:58 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Thanks for the love scene, Rick. Paranormality readers always appreciate a spicy naughty-bit.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Cecile said...

Thanks you Mr. Rick... I posted before the excerpt was up... and now I have to tell you I reallllyyy want to win this book... because I live about an hour away from New Orleans and my family name is Benoit...
I almost fell off my chair when I saw that!! That made my day right there...
Oh and ps... tell the wife *two thumbs up* on the love scenes... Very well done!!!!

How are you Ms. Lynda? Thanks for having Mr. Rick...You know I love to add to the list of new authors...

11:22 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Thank you, Cecile. You're always so wonderfully supportive! I appreciate you and I know Rick does, too.
Hugs, Lynda

8:08 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Rick: Can you tell us a little about your author journey? How long have you been writing? I know you're a member of RWA. What's it like to be a male romance writer?

8:09 AM  
Blogger Tiffany James said...

Hello, Rick and Lynda!

Enjoyed the excerpt! I'm so curious to learn more about this incarnation of vampires. How did you and Chris decide to alter what we've come to know as vampires? I love it when authors give common perceptions fresh spins. :0)

Tiffany

8:41 AM  
Blogger Jeffe Kennedy said...

Interesting post, Rick! So do you and your wife actively write scenes together, or do you trade pages back and forth and work individually?

8:45 AM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

LYNDA-- I've been writing seriously since 1991, when I started my first novel, writing it on the weekends. After I finished it and saw it needed some polishing, I took several workshops locally. During that time, I had three short stories published (they're on my website www.ricktaubold.com under Shorter Works). Then I polished (and polished) that novel and finally found a publisher (where I met Lynda) and got published in 2004.

I'm no longer a member of RWA, in part beccause I'm not a romance writer. I joined originally because I wanted to belong to the local RWA chapter, which had some excellent writers in it and was very supportive. For reasons I won't go into, we divorced ourselves from RWA and became an independent writing group (www.lcrw.org). Since RWA was expensive to be a member of an no longer held sufficient benefits for me, I didn't renew my membership. LCRW, when I joined as ALL women, except me. Now we have a couple of other men in the group as we expand our writing focus. Interestingly, no all of the women were romance writers, either.

Along the way, I have attended 4 of the Romantic Times Booklover's Conventions and was at BEA in 2005. Although I'm not a romance writers, I do admit that romance writers know how to promote their works. I've learned a LOT from them and made many valuable contacts.

--Rick

11:21 AM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

I'll answer the other questions in one post--

CECILE-- What a coincidence indeed! I told my wife and she was amazed. Glad you liked the excerpt. Just so you know, this scene is the ONLY love scene in the novel. Sophie never appears again in it. She's a minor character, but important in the grand scheme of the story. You'll see the whole connection when you read the novel.

TIFFANY-- Since the story of how Chris and I met online and began this whole project in the first place is interesting, I'll post it on my vampiresinc.net website this weekend. Originally, when Chris proposed the story idea, he had somewhat more traditional vampires in mind. During our initial email discussions, we modified them. I don't recall if his had fangs. The idea that they were infected by a virus, which gave them their longevity and need for blood, came from my desire to make them more scientifically plausible. However, I liked Chris' idea of giving them telepathic powers and even gave a scientific justification to that. (I'll also put up the biology of our vampires on the site). Chris loves to create flawed characters with past baggage. So, we decided to play up the past and emotional problems of our characters, added to the idea that they were basically outcasts of society (not unlike the X-Men). They have to deal not only with what they are, but also whatever guilt they may carry with them. Again, I'll be expanding on our "vampire universe" on the website.

JEFFE-- Actually, my wife is not a writer. Until recently, she pretty much supported my writing but gave little input. However, she was always after me to add more female characters. While writing "Vampires, Inc." she told me I should put in a love scene. In the original draft of the novel, the New Orleans scene glossed over the relationship between Eli and Sophie and simply said they made passionate love over the year they were together there. Never having written a love scene, I asked my wife what she had in mind. She outlined what she wanted, we discussed it a little, and I began the writing. She read the draft and made a few suggestions (deleting a couple of things he'd originally wanted in it). We tweaked it until we were satisfied. The entire writing took a week. As far as I'm concerned, those 9-10 pages were the HARDEST ones to write in the novel. I had several romance writers critique it and had a friend who is fluent in French check those parts. This scene has probably had more eyes look at it than any other scene in the novel.

Since then, my wife has taken a stronger role in my writing. She lets me shake out all the bugs and polish the chapters, then she reads them over with a critical eye. She's not an editor, either. What she looks for is the flow and tone of the writing: is it smooth, do the words fit the characters, are the emotions there? Most of her suggestions are just small, subtle things--the way the characters act or move--but they make all the difference. Chapter one of Vampires, Inc. is significantly stronger chapter than it was because of her. She's a tough critic, but I cherish her input, knowing my writing will be that much better.

--Rick

11:23 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Hey, Everyone. I'm peekin' in between clients at work. Nice comment responses, Rick! I didn't know you weren't in a romance group anymore! I must have missed that. But I'm glad you have a supportive group. That's really important. ACK! Phone's ringing . . . next client must be here.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Karen, Cecile, Tiffany and Jeffe! It was a pleasure to have you here, Rick. I hope your book sells tons of copies!
Lynda

7:11 PM  
Blogger Cecile said...

I am on my way to email central!! YAY!!! Thanks you guys!!! I can not wait to start reading it!!

10:19 PM  
Blogger rtaubold said...

Congrats, Cecile!

Thank you for having me, Lynda. Just so you know, this was my first guest blog. I enjoyed it and the warm welcome immensely. I'll definitely try to visit here on a regular basis.

And for anyone who reads my novel(s), I appreciate all feedback, even on stuff you didn't like, because it helps me be a better writer. You can always reach me through my website.

Thanks again to everyone for all the great comments and questions!

--Rick

6:11 AM  
Blogger Nightingale said...

Glad I dropped by and found this post. I love Lynda's blog. Rick, your vampires are fascinating.

3:07 PM  

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