Excerpt, Love Lies Bleeding

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I bought wine, vodka, and whiskey. The guy behind the counter asked if he could come to the party. I smiled and wondered how he’d feel about being an hors d’oeuvres.

Two o’clock. I was going to be waiting in agony for the rest of my life for the sun to set. But it wouldn’t be the rest of my life. In nine years I would be his mortal age, if we managed to stay together that long. Then, well . . . then things would really get interesting.

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Can a Villain Be a Villain?

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Or, can a monster be a monster?

This is a hard one for me because I write vampires, all of whom would describe themselves as monstrous in many ways, but not monsters.

Of course the sympathetic vampire started with . . . Carmilla! She beat Dracula by 25 years!

What prompted this post wasn’t vampires with whom you can sit down and earnestly talk before they drain you dry. It was goddamned Jeepers Creepers.

I hate this movie so much that I watched it and the sequel last night, and I figured out why Jeepers Creepers works and Jeepers Creepers 2 doesn’t. The sequel brought us too close to the monster.

Okay, let’s define the movie monster we’re dealing with here. We’re dealing with the bizarre, horrifying, disgusting, demonic, soul-devouring THING that’s never been a person. This isn’t the type of monster you can even try to reason with because once it notices you, you’re dead.

Monsters got wimpy for a while there; maybe that’s why zombies are so popular. Zombies are way worse than the demon from Jeepers Creepers. They aren’t even interesting.

And that right there is why Jeepers Creepers 2 fails. It brings us too close to the monster. The closer we get to the monster, the less it scares us.

The monstrous vampire in my first book has a backstory that readers learn as the series progresses, but essentially, this vampire was a human monster and was chosen to become a vampire for that reason. But you’re not going to get chummy with it. You’re not going to spend much time with it, for the same reason we shouldn’t have spent so much time with the monster in Jeepers Creepers 2: Both are simply evil things.

Times are bad and we’re trying to make chummy with century-old villains, like the villains in fairy tales. There’s no understanding of why DAMMIT THAT PERSON IS JUST BAD. There are too many excuses.

Vampires can be amplified versions of ourselves, our desires, our evils. Or, they can just be monsters.

If your villain is a vile creature, let it run free. Monsters require no reason nor rhyme. Just don’t allow it to spend to much time onstage, because the more we see of it, the more we question it, and questioning the monster saps its power.

Love Lies Bleeding Excerpt

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I thought, after, about that moment, over and over, what would have happened if I had simply taken his arm and gone home with him. But, like Lot’s wife, I had to look back at the familiar, at the river. I  liked to walk beside it in the daylight. “Look at the moon,” I whispered. Clouds streamed across its face. The wind carried a scent of dry leaves and frost and distant smoke. Something on the air, something on the way.

Les Vampires

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I have half a dozen decks of Tarot and oracle cards. I’m no expert, and at this point I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving a reading for anyone else. If I had to recommend one, it would be Les Vampires by Jasmine Becket-Griffith (art) and Lucy Cavendish (guidebook.) I just did a reading for myself and it was frighteningly accurate. I brought up underlying issues that weren’t part of my question.

Treat your cards with respect. Keep them in a neat place. Use a special cloth to cover the surface where you will lay out the cards. It doesn’t have to be expensive or occult-themed. I use a navy blue nightstand cover that I bought at a chain store. You could use a piece of fabric that’s important to you, like an old quilt, or you could buy a small table cloth. Some spreads take up a lot of room.

You can light a candle if you like when you’re reading your cards. You should turn off the electronics so you won’t be distracted. And you should keep a journal, recording the dates of your readings, the decks, spreads, cards, and note if a card was reversed. Reread the guidebook interpretations over the next few days. Study the cards. There are hidden meanings in the interpretations and the art. If one card in particular speaks to you, set it up somewhere that you can see it every day, and leave it until you do your next reading.

Excerpt, Love Lies Bleeding

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“I’ve already eaten. I’m just going to have another glass of wine. She’d like coffee,” he said to the waitress.

We sat in companionable silence. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the lights of the bookstore go dark. “Oh, shit,” I said. “What time is it?”

“After eight,” he replied. “Your friend is going home, so now you’re alone with me. You aren’t going to turn into a mouse or a pumpkin or some other damned thing and leave me sitting here with nothing in my hands but a glass slipper, are you?”

I laughed. “No, I’m afraid that you’re stuck with plain old me.”

Excerpts, Vivian

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She looked as if she was about forty-five. Her eyes were dark and absolutely amoral. Her lips were full, her nose was long and regal, and her hair was dark red, like cinnamon sticks. She had heavy bangs that fell precisely to the tops of her eyebrows. Her hair was twisted up on the back of her head, and she wore a sleeveless black evening dress with a beaded top and a stiff satin skirt. A bib of diamonds glittered on her décolletage.

The vampires all had on the same clothes as the night before except for Vivian, who had changed into a black peignoir set for reasons I didn’t want to know. She even wore a pair of open-toed black slippers with high heels and fluffy black pom poms. The polish on her toenails was almost black, and shiny like a beetle’s back.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, excerpt

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The doctor closed the parlor doors. Then he took off his shoes and settled down on the sofa with his long legs stretched out before him. He looked so comfortable, and so human.

“Why are you staring at me?” he asked irritably.

“You keep acting like a human being. You don’t act like a vampire.”

“Neither do you. What is it that you think I should be doing? Languishing in some crumbling cemetery? Haunting a decaying castle in Transylvania? Ravishing a wispy teenage virgin and making her anemic? Virgins are coy and deceitful. I don’t care for ethereal little girls. They–”

Hey.” I put my hands up. Jesus, this man needs to get laid. “Keep your sex life to yourself.”