As stated in an earlier blog this week, my vampire novel The Hunger is FREE on KDP select this weekend, from October 5th to 9th. A different kind of vampire novel, in which the heroine (who of course is undead) is both a champion of the weak and an evil stone cold killer who takes life nightly so she can survive. The difference from most vampires is in the choice of victims. Lucinda Taylor was beaten by an abusive husband, thrown out on the streets where she became a prostitute in order to survive, developing a drug habit along the way. She was the ultimate victim, eventually killed by her pimp when she tried to assault him and get the Heroin she craved. But she wasn’t totally dead, and was killed by a passing vampire, to rise again in three days in the cemetery in which her grief stricken parents had her interred. At first she is a regular vampire, killing whatever came her way to deal with the craving for life. Her master teaches her what she needs to survive, then is killed himself, making her a free agent who is horrified about what she has become. Killing her vampire sisters in their sleep she embarks on a campaign of revenge against the kind of men who tormented her in life, taking down crime families in city after city.
The Hunger takes place in Tampa, not a city one would associate with vampires. A city of sun, fun and crime, where wealth exists side by side with the poverty that breeds criminals. Lucinda enters into this underworld as the hunter, finding a first victim, a pimp, on the streets, and working her way up the food chain until she comes to shipping magnate and crime boss George Padillas, who has his own plans for the vampire who is stalking his city.
I really enjoyed writing this novel, which is very different from my normal fare. I am a science fiction and high fantasy author, and writing an urban fantasy set on the streets of a modern city in my own backyard was quite a challenge. I set the world against Lucinda, from the Catholic Church, to the FBI, the local cops, and a pair of vampires after her with two very different motivations. Marcus LaMont (once Marcus of Alexandria) is an ancient vampire who is afraid Lucinda will make too big a splash on the local news and galvanize human society to hunt his kind. Vampires are powerful, but humans have been growing in technological power through his lifetime, and, as he relates in part of the book, a city full of Baptist Ministers with the National Guard on their side might be too much for vampire society to handle.
Tashawn Kent was the most enjoyable character to develop, and in my opinion is a truly frightening beast of a vampire. Once a defensive lineman for Philadelphia, standing six feet five and two hundred and ninety pounds, in life he could bench press over five hundred pounds. In undeath he is much stronger. An injury ended his NFL career, and he gravitated toward crime, becoming the boss of much of Philly. Lucinda took his life, and was about to take his head when she was interrupted. Tashawn knows that he was not made a vampire for his own benefit, that Lucinda meant to end him forever. He misses life and sex and good food, and has vowed revenge on the bitch who made him like he is.
As always I want to thank all of those who have helped me promote this book. IndieAuthorAnonymous, who graciously promoted my science fiction novel The Deep Dark Well and is promoting this very different book as well. The Awesome writers at the Independent Authors Network (#ian1) who retweeted my many tweets about this book. And
And now for an excerpt about the dangerous Mr. Kent:
Tashawn Kent didn’t have access to any sophisticated databases. But his instincts were normally good enough to get him what he wanted. Especially since he had become one of the undead.
“I don’t understand, Tashawn,” said his boy Marvin as Tashawn pulled himself out of his coffin. “We had it going up in Philly, man. With you as enforcer we had no problems with any of the other players. So tell me again why we’re here in this little burg.”
“I want her blood,” said Tashawn, flexing his twenty-one inch thick arms. He had tried to stay in shape in the years since the Eagles cut him from the squad. It had been difficult to keep his defensive tackle’s body in that kind of shape. But since crossing over it had been no problem at all.
“Her blood will make me stronger. Her blood will make me invincible.”
“My god,” said Marvin. “You can already lift a luxury car over your head. How much stronger do you need to be.”
“I am still a child, brother,” said Tashawn. “You know the thing about living forever?”
“Sure,” said Marvin, twisting the top off a bottle of beer and offering it to his lifelong homeboy. Tashawn shook his head and Marvin brought the bottle up to his own lips to take a swig. “You live forever as a vampire. But most of you actually die before the first year. Cause you’re stupid.”
Tashawn bared his fangs and laughed as his friend blanched at the display.
“I don’t mean you’re stupid, brother,” said Marvin. “I mean your kind is when you first start walking the night. So for most of you the eternal life thing is so much BS.”
“But we can gain the strength of the vampires we kill and drain,” said Tashawn. “We get stronger, and gain their experience too.”
“But she hasn’t been around all that long,” said Marvin. “You told me that yourself. Why not find someone with more time under their belt?”
“Because they might be too much for me,” said Tashawn. “And with her it’s personal.”
“She made you a vampire,” said Marvin. “I thought you liked being a vamp. I mean man, you are the shit on the street. Weren’t no one would take you on.”
“Do you want to join me?” said Tashawn, baring his fangs again. “I could bring you over easy.”
“Not me man,” said Marvin, backing up till his back hit the motel room wall. “I like being alive, man.”
“Your choice,” said Tashawn. “The bitch didn’t give me a choice. And she was trying to do me for good. If something hadn’t interrupted I wouldn’t be a vampire. I’d be rotting meat in a Philly graveyard. So it’s personal, and I want to return the favor to her.
“But enough of that,” said Tashawn. “I’m hungry. Let’s go get me something to eat.”
Marvin nodded his head as he put on his jacket. Tashawn could smell the fear in his friend. The fear that one day he would be on the menu of his old friend. Maybe that day will come, thought Tashawn. But not now. Now it was nice to have a mortal who could think for himself, unlike the thralls he had seen in other vamps.