March 6

Going Free

So I’ve decided to start working toward putting the Bloodletting books up for free and asking for donations in lieu of charging. Inspired mostly by Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk about the art of asking I figure it’s worth a shot. I like the idea of it, in theory, and honestly at this point, it’s worth more to me to get my writing out there than to get the fraction of a couple of bucks that Amazon/Kobo gives me for each sale.

I’m currently re-editing and preparing all the books for this. I haven’t decided yet exactly how I want to host them, but I’m working that out. Right now, six of the nine released Bloodletting stories are up for free on Kobo. I’m going to put the other three up soon, and then ask Amazon to price match, which should make them free on amazon as well. Then, hopefully, I’ll only have to host PDFs here on the site, and perhaps a straight up webversion. Still working out those details.

I’ve added a “Tip Jar” to the side of the website, and I plan on writing up a proper static page explaining my approach to publishing and collecting donations. It goes against my nature and ego to think of it as “asking for donations” because that makes it seem like charity, which it is. I guess it helps to think of it as a kind of ongoing kickstarter.

Anyway, that’s the plan and I’m excited to try it. When everything is ready to go, I’ll let you know.

The first draft of Danny 3.2 is almost done. I took a little break to work on prepping this process. I’ve also got another surprise lined up, so hopefully in the next week or so I’ll be able to drop the new Danny book, put everything up for free and release the surprise at the same time. Fingers crossed.

 




Category: Blog
April 6

Stuff I researched while writing

Going away for a week-ish, so I thought I’d post what I’ve got so far of the next “stuff I researched while writing.” Victoria 2.2 is coming along well, and I hope to be able to work on it here and there while I’m gone. I expect to have it done by the end of the month, but no promises.

on to it:

Lovecraftian horror and Cosmicism (I’ve been a fan of HP Lovecraft since I was a kid, and I’ve been looking for a mechanism to bring it into the stories. I’ve found it. Yay!)
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Where homeless people slept in Victorian, London (apparently the lucky ones could find shelter in workhouses, where they could do some horrible menial task in exchange for sharing a filthy mat on the floor among a bunch of other filthy mats)

(fucking gnarly. Read this: http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Whitechapel/

When British people started yelling “oi!” at each other (not until the 1950s)

Wealthier areas in Victorian London (decided on Knightsbridge, because it sounds cool and because of the Rolling Stones song Play With Fire)

IMG_1221b-e1366035821200
Gwendolyn Christie’s shoe size (Okay, this one requires some explanation. When I wrote the original screenplay that Bloodletting is based on, Vickie’s height was never mentioned. In the books, she’s unusually tall, and it’s an ongoing thing with her character, but that’s new to the books. The reason she’s so tall in the books is that when I first started writing her appearance in Devon I decided I needed to mentally cast an actor in the role. My brain went immediately to Gwendolyn Christie, who is best known for playing Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. She has this ability to be strikingly beautiful as well as powerful and world weary. Now, Gwendolyn Christie is 6’ 3”. I thought of her for reasons that have nothing to do with her size, but once I incorporated the idea that she was unusually tall in my head, it stuck, and I worked it into the character. I hit a point in my story recently where I needed to explain that Vickie has trouble finding shoes that fit, because of her unusual size, so I decided to see if Gwendolyn Christie’s shoe size was online. Simply because I have no idea what size shoe a 6’ 3” woman would weird. I ended up on some icky foot fetish site, got the information I needed and got the fuck out of there. Then I washed eyeballs with bleach and deleted my internet history. Anyway, that’s what happened there. For the record, it’s 12½)

Victorian Underwear (again. THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION. I already researched this once, but here we are again. Drawers.)

PJ Harvey (reasons. Secret reasons. I don’t have to tell you everything.)

The word “Cop” likely comes from “Constable On Patrol.” Now you know that.

Also, the term “flat fucking” means the same thing as “scissoring” and it’s been around since at least the 1880s

The term “Dilly-Boy” (young male prostitute. The “Dilly” part suggests that Piccadilly Circus was a place where one might find a young male prostitute)

When was Piccadilly Circus built? (1819. Hell yeah)

Needed to know what mental asylum would be the go-to reference among citizens in Whitechapel. (Settled on Bethlem, then fell down a twenty minute rabbit hole reading patient records from the 1880s. Amazing and horrifying)

History of the forward facing V hand sign (the non-American middle finger. Not before 1910ish. There’s some bullshit about a french cutting fingers off of British soldiers during the the Battle of Agincourt, but apparently that’s not true)

What were they drinking? (Gin. Lots of gin. England had major gin problems. It was like the crack of the 1800s)

A more specific definition of the word Entourage (I wanted to use it, but wasn’t sure how casual it was. I only wanted to use it if it could also be important sounding. “French, from Middle French, from entourer to surround, from entour around, from en in (from Latin in) + tour circuit — more at turn First Known Use: circa 1834.” Works for me)

Jewish people in Victorian London (The East End was full of em. There was a huge influx of immigrant Jews into London in the 1880s and they mostly landed in the East End. There were a lot of political and anti-semitic factors in the Jack the Ripper investigation, both by the public and Scotland Yard.)

April 2

Victoria 2.2

About 5k words into the new story. Turns out my computer crash/writing loss actually worked out pretty good, because I’m liking this different direction I’m taking the story far better.

I’ve also mostly decided on how far into the Victorian cockney street slang I’m willing to go. Basically I’m keeping it almost entirely to dialog, and I think there will always be enough context to figure most of it out. It’s definitely there, but I don’t think it’s going to be so complicated that it’s like, A Clockwork Orange level of work to get through it. I am trying to keep my language in the non-dialog writing as un-anachronistic as possible. For instance, at one point I used the word “handle” in place of “nickname” which wasn’t right for the time. So I changed it. I’m not TOO nitpicky about it, but I’m trying to keep it as nebulous as possible.

Speaking of nicknames, apparently pretty much everyone in The East End went by a nickname, so I’ve had a good time coming up with names for some of these hookers. Dry-Polly-Jean was one I particularly enjoyed. I hope they don’t find her Down by the Water. I hope I don’t hit every single one directly on the nose as well.

a bit of the first draft:

“What’d you see Geeza? You get around enough ya toffer,” Dry Polly asked her, wringing out a wad of gray looking drawers. The water ran foul and dark back into the trough that ran up the table. It contained the water and soap they were all using to wash the clothes. Once every half hour or so one of the attendants would come down with a pair of buckets and top it off with warm water from upstairs.

“I ain’t seen nothing,” Vickie said, glancing at Mary-Ellen. The fact was that Vickie hadn’t seen anything, but Mary-Ellen had. What Mary-Ellen had seen frightened her intensely and she’d confessed one night over wine exactly what it was, making Vickie promise not to repeat it.

“What about you Mary-Ellen?”

Mary stood for a moment, stammering.

“I haven’t — I never saw…”

“I did see one thing,” Vickie interrupted her. Dry-Polly-Jean looked back at Vickie.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yah, I seen a thing that scared me more than anything I ever seen before,” Vickie said, feigning sheepish fear.

“What’d you see, dilly-boy?” Polly asked, her hands on her hips. She saw through Vickie’s lie immediately. It wasn’t a surprise, as Vickie was grinning.

“Your stinking notch, you flat-fucking sappho!” Vickie blurted out. Dry-Polly gave her a look that said she wasn’t impressed. That was fine. Vickie wasn’t trying to impress her. She was trying to divert attention away from Mary-Ellen. It was something that she did most mornings since Mary-Ellen told her what she’d seen. Getting through the five hour laundry shift was challenging enough as it was. Doing it while constantly deflecting conversation away from Mary-Ellen, who was once often the subject of discussion herself, and a frequent participant. The way she’d withdrawn hadn’t gone unnoticed, and Vickie wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep the others at bay.

Category: Blog, Excerpt
March 31

Stuff I researched while writing

The copyright status of this photo:

jean_ackermanbis_c_1920s_by_step_in_time_stock-d3e5y26

(The photo is from the ‘20s and is by Alfred Cheney Johnston of model/actress Jean Ackerman. From my reading, the copyright status on a lot of his photos is in dispute, but from what I can tell, this one appears to be in the public domain.)

Whether Salome lives in Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear. I can’t remember which one I ended up deciding on. (Lake Arrowhead. It’s about an hour and a half from Glendale, apparently, according to Google Maps)

Home ballrooms (sure. I imagined The Addams Family house from the movie, but that’s not what I’m actually writing it like)
Ballroom decoration

Dates of the ripper murders (August 31st 1888 – November 9 1888 for the canonical 5)

What opium smoke smells like (flowery and burn-y, but it doesn’t matter because I found out that Opium wasn’t actually smoked by anyone until relatively recently, and apparently not in ancient Rome, which is when I planned on having it smoked. Hookahs weren’t even invented until the 1500s. So wtf did ancient Romans do to get baked? I don’t want to hear “drinking wine” either because that’s boring)

WTF did ancient Romans do to get baked? (fucking hell, it looks like wine is the way to go. I guess opium was around and in use, but mainly for straight up medical reasons rather than recreational. Stupid practical Romans. So I need to go another way. I guess they did occasionally drink it IN their wine, along with all sorts of other herbal hallucinogens. They weren’t apposed to getting fucked up, they just weren’t big smokers)

More Cockney Rhyming Slang (as well as general London/Brit language differences. I have to really decide just how much I’m willing to commit to it. From what I’m reading, street people in Victorian London basically spoke a foreign language. Do I go full on Clockwork Orange and force readers to figure it out? Or do I simplify it a bit for the sake of easier reading?)

The Surname “Winfield” (In the first Jack story, I gave Victoria the last name Winfield because it sounded solid, kind of British and reminded me of Renfeld. As I was writing tonight, it occurred to me that I should probably actually look up where that name originated and if it was even a realistic name for someone in England in the 1880s. Boom! Nailed that shit)

Even more Cockney Rhyming Slang, as well as Polari and other LGBT terminology (needed to come up with a nickname. An hour later and I think I’ve decided. Got it sorted, proper)

Schools in Victorian England (nope. Not for girls. Too bad, ladies)

Changing the transmission fluid in an older car (it can be done at home with some basic knowhow and tools, but it’s not as simple as changing the oil)

When they started putting computers in cars (early eighties. I also needed to figure out what those early computers did. Regulated timing, fuel flow, spark advance, that sort of thing)

Specifically when they started putting computers in the Oldsmobile Delta 88 (1981)

MacArthur Park (Mostly just how far it is from a conceivable venue for a rock band. Too far for walking, so I’m changing the story to fit the location. Thank you Anthony Kiedis for the inspiration)
under

What heroin tastes like (depends on the heroin, but apparently vinegary is pretty common. Also thank you Anthony Kiedis. Good job on staying sober! Thumbs up! Glad to have you with us)

March 29

Smashwords

So I’ve decided to put the books up Smashwords. No reason not to now that they’re up on Kobo and I’m no longer exclusive with Amazon. They’re available in all formats at a “Set your own price” deal.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/13227

Bloodletting: A Vampire Story

A series by Joe Humphrey

Bloodletting: Book 0 – Patricia

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 9,120. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Bloodletting: Book 0 follows Patricia, a socialite and sociopath as she discovers that hunting for blood can be more dangerous than she thought. Book 0 was originally meant to serve as the introduction to the Bloodletting series, but now exists as one of many possibly starting points.

Bloodletting: Book 1.1 – Charlie

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 14,830. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

This is the first book in the Charlie storyline. It was actually one of the first things I wrote in the Bloodletting series. It follows Charlie, a teenage girl running away from home in 1970, and the various strange and often unpleasant characters she meets, including a strange woman named Caroline.

Bloodletting: Book 1.2 – Charlie

By Joe Humphrey
You set the price! Words: 12,750. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Book 1.2 drops us right in the middle of the long and painful journey of Charlie, one of our main vampire characters, before her transition into the world of the undead. It’s 1972 and something terrible has happened to Charlie.

Bloodletting: Book 1.3 – Charlie

By Joe Humphrey
You set the price! Words: 14,130. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

In Book 1.3 Charlie, a 16 year old girl pushed to her breaking point is saved by Caroline, the ethereal and strange woman she thinks of as her guardian angel. Charlie soon discovers there’s a much darker side to Caroline when she presents her with the gift of immortality, but at what cost?

Bloodletting: Book 2.0 – Devon

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 7,480. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Book 2.0 of the Bloodletting series. Devon is an asexual male prostitute, looking for a nice, peaceful night dancing at the club. He never expected to run into a monster.

Bloodletting: Book 2.1 – Victoria

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 13,260. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

In Book 2.1 we get to know Victoria, the older vampire of the group. Originally from Victorian London, Vickie is struggling to cope with the rapidly changing vampire world. As the chaos of a night hunting gone wrong unfolds, she reflects on where she’s been and where they’re going. It’s a reflective story that explores the social politics of the vampires in The Bloodletting series.

Bloodletting: Book 3.1 – Danny

By Joe Humphrey
You set the price! Words: 19,130. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

The beginning of book 3, and the real introduction of Danny, the mentally deranged failed experiment of vampires Charlie and Vickie. Danny is far more disturbed and broken than any of the undead characters we’ve met so far, and this is only the beginning of her very intense, unsettling journey.

Bloodletting: Book 3.2 – Danny

By Joe Humphrey
You set the price! Words: 14,560. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Danny is an experiment in human psychosis. Push to her limit to appease a few of curious vampires, the end result is far more disturbing than they ever expected. The line between the past and present is blurred as Danny recalls how she was taken captive by the vampires.

Bloodletting: Book 4.0 – Bette

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 23,210. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Book 4.0 follows Bette, an aspiring actress in the 1940s as she tries to find her place in the unforgiving and cruel world of Hollywood. When she meets up with friends who aren’t what they seem, bad turns to worse.

Bloodletting: Book 4.1 – Jack

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 12,180. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Book 4.1 We meet Jack, a vampire and serial killer from Victorian London as he is reintroduced into the world after a 50 year punishment. He wakes to find himself in a new century and a new country with the world at his fingertips.

The Death Game: Caroline and Charlie

By Joe Humphrey
Series: Bloodletting: A Vampire Story. You set the price! Words: 45,880. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

When you can live forever and recover for just about any injury, it becomes increasingly difficult to entertain yourself. That’s why two vampires living in Flagstaff, Arizona in the 1970s spend their free time figuring out increasingly more creative ways to kill themselves.

The erotica book is up there as well. I’m actually charging for that one, just because I want to.

Bride: Part One – A New World of Gods and Monsters

By J.H.
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,140. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014 by J. Humphrey. Category: Fiction

Created as a companion for a monstrous man that shouldn’t be. The setup is familiar, but perhaps not the perspective we’ve seen before.

Category: Promotions
March 23

Victoria 2.2 coming soon!

Victoria22

The day Vickie first met Salome, she was running down the street and her skin was melting. She had no idea what was happening or why blisters were swelling and bursting in wet splats all over her body. The horror and pain of the experience sent her careening through the crowded sidewalk, screaming and clutching her face, which was coming off in sloppy chunks in her hands.

Huge arms wrapped around her from behind and a burlap sack dropped over her head. Her stomach turned as she was lifted into the air and carried. It was hard to get a handle on exactly what was happening to her when her focus was fixed so firmly on the fact that her flesh was literally boiling off of her bones.

By the time she was tossed unceremoniously onto a wooden floor, her voice had blown out and the only sound coming from her body were the wheeze of her empty screaming and the dripping of her melting flesh. Somehow, through the terror and pain, she understood that she was kneeling on the floor of a carriage and that there was a bag covering her upper body. The bouncing and rocking of the carriage kept her off balance, so all she could do was crouch on the floor and try not to engage with the world.

A voice drifted through the burlap and into her ears.

“I’m going to remove the sack. It may be painful, but not for long.”

She was unable to open her eyes because the lids were melted together, but she felt the cold rush of air and the rub of the fabric as the bag was pulled from her body.

“Hello Victoria. I know you can’t see me right now. Take my hand.”

The voice was calming, and even though she was in the worst pain of her life, something about the woman’s voice made her close her mouth and listen. When she felt a cold hand wrap around wrist, she tried to press herself toward the body attached to it.

A desperate need inside her insisted that she stay close to whoever was helping her. She was so scared and hurt so bad and she didn’t understand why, yet somehow she knew it would be okay as long as whoever owned that icy hand was there to take care of her.

“Hold still. This will hurt but I promise you will feel better soon,” the voice said to her, and again she was struck with an innate sense of trust, which was something that didn’t come natural to Vickie.

Something cold and hard pressed against her lips and she had just enough time to realize that they were fused together before the blade parted them again. She tried to scream, but her voice was gone. When she opened her mouth, cold, salty fluid pattered onto her tongue.

The need to scream fell away as the liquid coated the inside of her mouth and tongue. It had the rotten, fruity flavor of rich wine and an undercurrent of something poisonous. As the taste filled her head, she felt herself fall through the floor into a blind, drunken swoon.

Category: Excerpt
March 21

The Sentinel – Required viewing

sentinel_poster_02sentinel poster

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076683/

I remember when I watched Ti West’s film House of the Devil, it reminded me a lot of The Sentinel. It’s one of those great 70s horror movies that didn’t quite have the visceral punch (or the budget) of The Exorcist, but still had that great 70s outlaw sensibility to it. While it’s got notes of Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen, I think it stands quite well on its own creepy legs. There’s a delightfully surreal, nightmare quality to it that reminds me of David Lynch. Plus,  practically entire cast were either already awesome actors, or actors on their way to being awesome.

stefon

This movie has everything:

THE-SENTINAL
Burgess Meredith being the crazy pimp he was!

1
Customary ‘70s girl in nightie with a knife!

2
Chris Sarandon being creepy and gross with a mustache!

5
Cats having a party!

8

Kubrick-esque one-point perspective!

11

Attempted Suicide after seeing her old man dad doing weird naked shit!

7
Real life “freaks” (IE people afflicted with unfortunate physical deformities) used in ethically questionable ways for the sake of horror!

15
Richard Dreyfuss randomly in the background, even though this was a year after Jaws and the same year that both Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goodbye Girl came out. How long did this movie sit on the shelf?

12
Sexy fancy ladies!

3
A really fucking weird Beverly D’Angelo full camera eye-contact masturbation scene.

16
Young Christopher Walken being sexy as fuck!

 

13
John Carradine in creepy blind old man makeup!

14
Nana Visitor from Deep Space Nine and Tom Motherfucking Berenger.

6
Hungry young Jeff Goldblum with his shirt open, standing next to a chick who looks like that one actress who played Cut-Throat Bitch on House and was Betty Draper’s pregnant friend on Mad Men and was Alfie’s super creepy wife on Big Love. I love her. Where’d she go? This obviously isn’t her but she reminds me of her. I need to look her up. Anne Dudek. She hasn’t done a whole lot since House. A few things here and there. She needs to be in more stuff.

And much, much more!

March 18

Danny 3.2 is half up

danny2

Get it for free!

PDF
Kobo (Coming soon)
You can get it on Amazon for .99 cents, which is as cheap as they’ll let me price it until they price-match Kobo to zero.

—-

Danny is an experiment in human psychosis. Pushed to her limit and beyond to appease a few of curious vampires, the end result is far more disturbing than they ever expected. The line between the past and present is blurred as Danny recalls how she was taken captive by the vampires.

Excerpt!

The garage was dark and the windows were painted black. She could smell the enamel stink of spray paint. Later, when the lights were on, she would see the haphazard way the paint coated the glass and around the windows, and where it collected and ran down the walls in messy rivulets. But at that moment, it was daytime and the lights were off.

The three vampires were asleep on mattresses on the floor all around her. At least, it was what they called sleeping. It wasn’t sleeping though. It was nothing like sleeping.

The one called Beth was stretched out next to her, face down on the mattress, her arms at her sides. It was unnerving seeing her with her face buried in the pillow, perfectly still. A living person would need to move and shift their face to breath. The vampires didn’t. The vampires got into whatever position they were going to sleep in and stayed there for nine or ten hours. No breathing, no rolling over or adjusting covers. Lifeless objects, like scattered, forgotten toys with dead batteries.

Danny never realized how much noise and movement a living person makes when they sleep until she was in the same room with the sleeping vampires. The silence was maddening. She woke up on the first day, her head pounding from whatever they’d drugged her with, her arms in some sort of steel restraints. There was about eight inches of thick chain between her wrists and linked from that, another, thinner chain that was padlocked to a pipe in the wall.

Category: Promotions
March 15

Things I researched while writing

Installing a toilet (just how it’s done. I needed to know if it’s something one person could do. Seems like it is if the plumbing is in place)

Alternatives to handcuffs (Handcuffs are boring to me. Besides they’ve come up before (in a yet unpublished story.) I figured the alternative is either something made for large animals or, more sensibly, something bought at a sex shop. Plenty of options there, obviously. I wish I could find the picture I found last night when I searched for this, because they were cool looking and pretty much exactly what I pictured in my head. The ones I saw looked less like handcuffs or shackles and more like Wonder Woman’s bulletproof wrist bracelets things, which is closer to what I pictured in my head. I wanted less BDSM and more just bitchin’. Granted they’re still being used for restraining someone rather than deflecting bullets, but they might as well be cool looking. At least in my mind. Besides, I have no doubt that when William Moulton Marston and his wives were coming up with Wonder Woman, those bracelets were meant to be just as kinky as they look)
WONDER-WOMAN-1975-promo-wonder-woman-23490257-1555-1995tumblr_l0m24pGeiM1qzvw5po1_1280$(KGrHqV,!nME9g(F02SzBPs43LSmkg~~60_12

That whole investigation into alternative wrist restraints dropped me down an hour long internet rabbit hole on the history of Wonder Woman. Yay writing!

coagulation of blood outside of the body (probably something I should have looked up sooner, but oh well. Blood begins to coagulate immediately after it leaves your body, which is why it becomes sticky and gross. It never occurred to me that someone keeping blood in a container not designed for storing blood would run into this problem, but here we are. Blood transfusion bags and vials have anti-coagulants in them. Duly noted. Oddly enough, I went to go get blood-work done recently and I drilled the woman taking my blood about it. She said that blood in a thermos would just a big a chunky, soupy, disgusting mess)

Hallucinogenic drugs other than LSD (or drugs that can be mixed with acid to achieve what I need to achieve)

China plates (just needed to confirm that they looked like what I thought they looked like. They do)

March 14

Two new books

Well, sort of. Almost.
Danny 3.2 is finished and almost ready to be uploaded. I’ve also decided to release Charlie 1.1, which was one of the first things I wrote in the Bloodletting series. For various reasons, I withheld it until now. It’s currently processing on Kobo for free, and Amazon for .99 cents (until they start price matching Kobo, which I’m beginning to suspect will be never)

So for tonight, the PDF of Charlie 1.1 is ready to go. Kobo should be done by tomorrow morning, and Amazon tomorrow night. If you read it and enjoy it, please consider dropping something in the tip jar. That’s how we’re doing it now.

charlie

Get it for free here:

PDF
Kobo (coming soon)

Excerpt:

As she headed toward the highway, her backpack now stocked with food and drinks from the convenience store, she stumbled and nearly toppled over, light-headed and dizzy, her chest tight and shooting pain. Her heart raced and rattled in her chest. If she were alive today, she would most likely know she was having a panic attack. But in 1970, at the age of fifteen, Charlie was sure she was having a heart attack or a stroke. She collapsed onto the shoulder of the road, her hand on her throat feeling her pulse, her breath coming in short, jagged bursts. She squeezed her eyes shut and fought the urge to vomit.

A long white Cadillac pulled alongside her and the passenger window slid down. A voice came from inside.

“Hey! Are you okay?” The voice was female and strangely chipper.

Charlie climbed to her feet and nearly lost her balance. She held onto the side of the car and looked into the open window. The driver was a woman who was maybe thirty, her blond hair impeccable, almost glowing, held in place with a head band. Dark sunglasses in white frames covered her eyes. She lowered them and looked at Charlie.

“You look awful.”

“I’m just really tired. I’m okay.”

Charlie let go of the car and started to walk. The woman eased forward, matching her pace, watching her through the window.

“Do you live around here, honey?” the woman asked.

“No I don’t. I’m on my way to California.”

“Oh dear. You’re a long way from California. Why don’t you hop in? We’ll get you something to drink and off your feet for a bit.”

Charlie looked at the woman, who smiled. Charlie nodded and got into the car. The comforting smell of vanilla wafted off the woman. It instantly brought up warm memories that she couldn’t quite place, but enjoyed the essence of. She was sweating and nauseated and it was a relief to get off the road and into a car with someone who not likely to molest her. The woman held out her hand and introduced herself. She was wearing dainty little white leather driving gloves.

“I’m Caroline.”

Charlie took her hand and shook, feeling awkward about it. Growing up in a small town, she wasn’t often introduced to people she didn’t know. Especially women who looked and dressed like Kim Novak in Vertigo.

“Charlie.”

“That’s a boy’s name!” Caroline laughed, in a pleasant and completely sincere tone. Charlie had heard that plenty from kids growing up, but didn’t feel up to explaining her name. Caroline pulled the car back onto the road.

“So what’s your story, Charlie?”

Category: Blog, Excerpt
March 7

Re-reading

Re-reading Vickie tonight, getting it ready to put up on Kobo. Charlie 1.2 is processing. Once Vickie and Charlie 1.3 are up and done processing, all of the released books will be on Kobo. Then I just wait for Amazon to price match them to free and then get the PDFs up on the site and I’ll be done. Well, done migrating them into where they need to be to be free.

Sometimes a passage will jump out at me. One thing I’ve been consistent with through this whole experience is that I really do believe that it’s good writing. Not perfect, and there are certainly mistakes and things I want to tweak here and there. I never doubt that it’s good though, which is the opposite of how I’ve approached everything else I’ve ever done creatively. I’m 100% confident that if I read these books, I would be a fan of them.

Anyway, this is one that stood out to me tonight.

“Occasionally she fantasized about living something of a normal life. Mingling with the living and passing as one of them. Detaching from the politics and bullshit and just living in some little town in the sticks. It wasn’t unheard of. She imagined opening a garage where she could work on cars and laugh and smoke and have employees and friends and even parties with living people who could come and go without being murdered or traumatized.

She loved cars and engines. Loved taking them apart and putting them back together. Loved figuring out every part of an engine, how it worked and why. For years she maintained Salome’s cars, and was primarily responsible for curating the collection, which was impressive and something Vickie often dreamed about having access to again. Salome didn’t even know how to drive, she just liked owning things.

Her dream was to find a way to make being a vampire a secondary aspect of her identity, like the color of her hair or her height. A personality quirk and not everything she was. Why did she have to be Vickie the Vampire? She wanted to be Vickie the Mechanic, or even just Vickie the Woman… who happens to also drink blood and maybe occasionally kills people. “

Though I keep it mostly to Vickie’s perspective, sometimes the allegory between the vampires and struggles of marginalized people, (especially LGBT folk) can be a little on the nose. I blame Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball for that. As hard as I try to keep from allowing myself to be influenced by the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, sometimes those tropes are too

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