Just a few housekeeping items before I get into the subject of this month’s post. I am happy to announce that my latest vampire novel came out last week and is available on Amazon.com (U.S., U.K., European sites, Japan, and India). Click for the paperback or for the Kindle version, or you can search the international sites for Blood Underground II – Thom Blood.
Thom Blood is the second installment in the Blood Underground series. Blood Underground chronicles the lives of the vampires and their minions who inhabit the unused and deserted train tunnels that crisscross underneath the city of London. Book I introduced Liam Thackeray, the oldest – and sometimes wisest – of the undead tunnel dwellers who call themselves Thavs – Tunnel Housed and Vampire. The vampires spend their days in the tunnels and abandoned railcars within them, going out at night to feed and walk among the unsuspecting living. And not all vampires are evil as they try to hang on to their humanness, with varying degrees of success. Book II continues Liam’s story, his depression and loss, and his need for a distraction from it. Little does he know but he’s about to get more than he bargained for. We meet some new characters and see the return of a favorite from Book I. There are twists and turns, and the end is just the beginning. I am currently working on books three and four so there is more to come for all my vampire fans out there.
Besides just publishing in the horror genre, I’ve decided to venture just a few baby steps outside of my comfort zone and have begun working on a Science Fiction serial. It is called Planet Blüd; it’s about space vampires (see why I said baby steps) inhabiting a unique planet in the universe – a planet that is fixed in space, thus leaving one side of the planet in complete darkness all the time. I’m not quite sure in what form it will be available as of yet, as I’ve only written the first couple of episodes. I am hoping that I can either collaborate with a graphic artist or photographer who can help to make this into a graphic novel, maybe even publishing each episode as a separate piece to keep cost at a minimum. I would love to hear some thoughts on this before I manage to sink more time into it so please feel free to comment, suggest, etc. I take it all in stride. So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from the first episode of Planet Blüd that sets up the story line and introduces one of the main characters.
Captain Callex of the Imperial Defenders of Darkness (IDD) of Planet Blüd sat at his control panel as he surveyed the fruits of his latest labour. He was in charge of keeping one side of his home planet safe from the pesky bits of light created by nearby stars. Callex and his subordinates kept vigil of the skies, making certain that no light was cast on their side of the planet. If a new star, supernova, or any other light-creating object was detected, Callex set his giant megastructures – the enormous reflective devices resembling sails – into action, flinging the unwanted entity out of its’ orbit and deflecting it away from Planet Blüd’s vampyre side. Certain disaster had once again been averted by expelling the star designated Farsnet-Q to the edge of their planetary system.
Blüd was a space oddity as it did not orbit any other known body, planet, or star. It was fixed, stationary in its plane of existence in the cosmos. Half of Blüd was lit by the stars on one side of it while the other half of the planet remained in complete darkness making it the perfect place for the blüdsuckers to live above the surface unhindered by the light that would kill them.
Planet Blüd was inhabited by both the space vampyres and humanoid beings, each with their own designated areas in which to live. One half of the planet was ruled by the space vampyres, or blüdsuckers as they were known to most of the galaxy, and the other half was governed by the humanoid creatures on which the blüdsuckers fed, the blüdmortals. The vampyres survived by feeding on the bright purple blüd of the humanoids who gladly volunteered themselves in return for being left to their own devices most of the time, happily farming their lands and creating offspring to complete the circle of existence. It was forbidden for any blüdsucker to kill a blüdmortal; to do so was punishable by death.
Callex was most pleased with the outcome of his most recent successful obliteration of the star. He was also enjoying the praise it brought him from the higher ranking members of the IDD. His quick reaction to Aeneator Judzis’ alert was exemplary. He hoped that the number of catastrophes circumvented by his elite team might just get him that promotion he wanted so desperately. Once Callex achieved the rank of Palatyne, surely he would then be allowed to sire a blüdmortal, to create a progeny to secure the continuance of his blüdline.
The space vampyres of Planet Blüd were not immortal; they were the victims of the same frailty as the humanoids of their planet with the distinct exception that their lifespans were seven times that of the finite existence of the blüdmortals – the equivalent of twenty-five years – each year representing what the humanoids referred to as a cycle. Thus, the blüdsuckers had to be careful to not become overpopulated. The Council of the Blüd controlled the number of vampyres that were created and were very particular about which blüdlines were maintained and which were allowed to become extinct. The blüdsuckers had to be very careful not to piss anyone off who was in a position of power or who had influence over the Council members. The Council members were subject to the same limits on their lifespan as the rest, so if there was bad blüd in the Council, it would possibly work its way out over time.
The vampyres needed to feed only four times per cycle to keep maintain themselves. Each of these feedings was considered to be a day of great feasting for the blüdsuckers, a sort of a celebration. Volunteers from the humanoid side of Blüd crossed over into the darkness, offering themselves up to the vampyres. In return for their acquiescence, the lives of the blüdmortals were spared and they were released back to their side of the planet. It was a hospitable arrangement, much more so than in generations past when the vampires tunneled beneath the planet and pulled the unsuspecting humanoids from their beds in their light-blocked bedchambers, draining them of their precious amethyst-coloured blüd, and leaving their bodies to rot. Disease soon spread and both civilizations were nearly wiped out. But now, things were different and the vampyres only killed to create a new member of their species.
Callex was near the end of his sixth lifetime in blüdmortal years and was anxious to make an heir. He knew that he had always tried his best to be an upstanding blüdsucker, vigilant in his duty to the IDD. He hoped that this was enough for his name to be allowed to continue for it was also forbidden for a vampyre to sire a humanoid without the approval of the Council. He had been called to the Council chamber to meet with the Lord High Emperor of the blüdsuckers. Callex made sure his uniform was spotless as he knew that fastidiousness was considered the sign of a well-brought up vampyre. He didn’t want them to have any reason to deny him an heir.
The Council chamber was dark and imposing, lit by Argon gas lamps which cast and eerie glow around the room. The Lord High Emperor sat at one end of a long table on a raised platform so that he would always be above everyone else. Callex was nervous as he bowed and kissed the ring on their leader’s bony finger.
“So, Callex of Blüd district 5, you have done very well for yourself. You have protected our species for many years and we are most grateful for your service. Stand up and come closer.”
Callex did as instructed. The Emperor opened his withered hand and showed Callex its contents. There in the old man’s palm was the emblem for Palatyne – an image of their planet carved from red stone, surrounded by gold filigree. The Emperor reached out to Callex, removing his Captain’s star, replacing it with the Palatyne’s badge.
“Thank you, Lord Emperor,” Callex humbly bowed.
Callex hesitated. He wanted to know if his application to sire a progeny had been approved as well, but he didn’t want to anger the Emperor. He cleared his throat nervously instead.
“And as for your application for an heir,” the Emperor continued. “It has been approved.”
“Thank you, your Excellency!”
Callex genuflected himself right out of the room and ran down the hallway shouting, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”