More fun news to come, so stay tuned!
This weekend marked the beginning of the Vampire Tours of San Francisco’s Summer of Love 50-year anniversary walking tour, and Jane the Hippie Vampire was there to help celebrate. The tour covers one block of Nob Hill, a gorgeous part of San Francisco located a few blocks from Chinatown. It begins on the corner of Huntington Park, across the street from the beautiful Grace Cathedral, and then moves to a few locations with fascinating histories of intrigue and secret underground tunnels.
I had the pleasure of spending some time with “Mina Harker,” the tour guide, and we really hit it off. She had tons of history on San Francisco, and she has similar tours in several locations across the country. Like Jane, she has fond memories of the Summer of Love, and was excited to celebrate its anniversary in San Francisco. The event was a lot of fun, and I would encourage anyone who enjoys walking tours to help continue the celebration. Mina has decided to extend the hippie vampire dress-up contest through the summer, so go out wearing your hippie vampire finest for a chance to win one of Jane’s adventures—just recently made available in print.
More fun news to come, so stay tuned!
Begin the Countdown to Halloween!
Jane the Hippie Vampire and I are participating once again in the annual Vampire Books for Blood fund raiser. I’ve reduced the price of Revival (1st four stories) to $0.99 for the entire month of October, and 100% of all Jane the Hippie Vampire royalties will go to my local Red Cross.
About Vampire Books for Blood:
Author Scott Burtness created the Vampire Books for Blood (SM) event in 2014. It is held annually from October 1st through October 31st. The event brings authors and publishers of vampire-themed books together for a shared goal: to raise money for the American Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services.
Participating authors and publishers pledge to make a financial donation to the American Red Cross or Canadian Blood Services at the conclusion of the event. The donation can be an amount per book sold in October, a percentage of royalties earned from book sales in October, or a flat amount at the conclusion of the event.
When an author or publisher pledges their support, their book is listed on the "Vampire Books for Blood" event website. The website allows readers to easily browse books from participating authors and publishers, and link to where the books are sold. By purchasing a book from a participating author or publisher, readers know they're helping that author or publisher support the life-saving work of a vital organization.
Blood products are perishable and the need is constant to help prevent a shortage and ensure an adequate blood supply for patients. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days, so they must be replenished constantly – there is no substitute.
Proceeds from “Vampire Books for Blood” will help the American Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services organize, promote, and manage blood drives, as well as support other great services.
You can check out some of the other participating books at:
Please help me spread the word about this really great cause!
Today's the final day of the October Frights Blog Hop. I hope you've enjoyed the last ten days, and I hope you've been able to add at least a few good books to your TBR pile.
Following is an excerpt from my new release, Jane the Hippie Vampire: Dazed and Confused. Leave a comment for a chance to win an electronic copy of the novella. Also, make sure to stop by other participating blogs (the list on the right) for a chance to win some other great prizes.
A slim, uniformed woman with dark, wavy hair and olive skin came around to the shoulder. “Hey, whatcha doing up there?”
Jane glanced down the steep cement incline, apprehension turning into sleep-deprived, hung-over irritability. “I was trying to take a nap.”
“Do you think that’s very safe?”
“Safe as any other shady spot in the middle of the Nevada desert. We’re in Nevada, right?”
The officer pursed her neatly painted lips. “Come on down, sweetie. How old are you? You out here on your own? Gosh, where are your shoes, child?”
Jane gathered her hat and shouldered her backpack and made her way down to the shoulder. She did her best not to cop an attitude when she asked, “I’m just passing through. Can you give me a break?”
The officer—Lieutenant Flores, according to her badge—motioned down both directions. “This is a pretty desolate highway. If someone were to come by and decide to do something terrible to you, there wouldn’t be anybody out here to stop them. Do you really want to take that chance?”
“Got any I.D. on you?”
“Lost it a while back.”
Flores went quiet in contemplation, maybe even considering taking the opportunity to search her bag, then let out a heavy sigh. “Hop in. I’ll give you a lift.”
“I’m fine, really.”
“No, you’re not. Get in the car.” Flores opened the front passenger door.
Jane looked around, considering her options, and then slunk into the seat. The front door usually indicated the detainment would be minimal if any, and Jane was too tired to press her luck. She dug into the bag for her sunglasses, which only offered slight relief in her current state.
It just had to be a drunk guy….
The officer got in, snapped at Jane to buckle up, and then pulled back onto the freeway. “So, how long has it been?”
“Since you ran away from home.”
“I don’t know.” Oh, about fifty years….
The officer nodded. “Kids these days have it rough. I get it. I’m not going to presume to understand what brought you out here. I’m not the judgmental type.”
“Well, I appreciate that.”
She shifted her glance to Jane, keeping her eyes only partially on the road, looking intent on gaining and holding her attention while she added, “Still, it’s my job to—oh, shit!”
The tires screeched, smoke clouding alongside the car, as the woman stomped down on the brake petal. A lanky man rolled up the hood, crashed into the windshield, and flew over the car before the officer was able to bring the car to a stop.
Both sat, stunned, frozen for a moment while the situation registered. Jane had seen the guy about a millisecond after the officer’s startled explicative, and it was likely the woman had barely caught him in the corner of her eye before she snapped her attention forward. What had he been doing out in the middle of the road? Suicide, maybe?
“Wait here!” Flores jumped out, radioing in the accident, and ran to the body now lying still in the middle of the road.
Jane watched through the rearview mirror, just as stunned, wondering if she should disobey the woman and see if there was anything she could do to help. Yeah, stagger around in the sunlight and dry-heave a little—that’ll be loads of help….
The officer kneeled beside the man, searching for a pulse, her face going desperate. She returned to her feet, a hand going to her shaking head, then she stepped back a few paces, looking ashen. She rushed back to the car, opened the trunk, and started lighting flares at an angle along the lane.
When she’d set the second one, the man sat up.
What the heck?
Flores froze for a second, dropping the remaining flares. A hand went to her mouth, and she went yet another shade paler.
The man stood, his movements mechanical yet unsteady, then he began to shamble toward the shaken woman. She backed away to match his steps. “Stop right there!” Jane could hear her yell.
Jane turned around for a better look. Was it possible the officer had come across two vampires in one day? If so what on earth was he doing running blindly into the road—in the middle of such a bright, sunny day, no less?
He definitely wasn’t among the naturally living.
Flores circled around him, again commanding him to stay where he was. She pulled her gun, backed toward the car, fired a round.
The man recoiled but did not fall back, instead lunging forward, arms reaching.
The sound of another gunshot made Jane wince.
Flores made a dash for the car, the man just behind her. She shot again, slowing him just enough to allow her the time to get in the car and lock the doors.
Both women jumped when the man slammed his body against the driver’s side window. Thick, black ooze ran down his chin, and his eyes were so bloodshot not a speck of white showed around his foggy, dilated pupils and nearly nonexistent irises. A gurgling moan emanated from his gaping mouth while he snapped at the glass, leaving a gooey, black film behind.
“What is that?” Jane asked, not expecting an answer.
The officer gave off a nervous laugh. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a zombie.”
The man belched, and a wave of black mucous poured out his mouth. He grabbed at the door handle, tugging desperately.
Thanks for stopping by! For even more prizes, including a chance to win a fully loaded Kindle Fire, check out the 31 Days of Hell on Facebook. More info, as well as my guest post on October 26th, can be found here. I'll be giving away a signed copy of Revival, a signed Revival poster, refrigerator magnets, electronic copies of each of the Jane the Hippie Vampire books, and more! Hope to see you there!
Their roots are so different—one stemming from the superstitious fears of peasants during times of plague and the other from slaves made by poisoning and cutting out the victims’ tongues—but both have evolved so much, even just over the past few decades. Even more, there has been a strange weaving between their individual mythos, turning each into a varying display of horror, mindless creature, and humanity in its most primal form.
The first vampires I remember were in the Hammer films, with Christopher Lee turning an array of bouffant beauties into hissing vixens. I loved those films, as cheesy as some of them were. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was excellent, but Christopher Lee added an even deeper sensual tone. In contrast, the first zombie film I remember seeing was Night of the Living Dead. George Romero forever altered the course of the zombie with that movie, pulling it from its African and Creole roots, transforming the buried alive into the walking dead.
From there, “undead” took on two meanings: vampire and zombie. Both are a plague upon humanity, that which consumes human lives in order to survive itself, but they also became symbols of human nature in its most basic, animalistic form. It’s not surprising that, on a similar note, vampires took on the sensual role they did; what is surprising is the fact that both vampires and zombies have been the basis of their own erotica subgenres.
Turn me on, dead man….
The similarities modern zombies have with vampires isn’t at all surprising, however, when you consider the source. Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, in which a pandemic bacterial infection has reduced the world’s population to rabid, vampire-like creatures, was the inspiration behind Night of the Living Dead. Romero simply turned them into mindless corpses.
Considering all they have in common, it was only a matter of time before zombies found their way into my Jane the Hippie Vampire series. Of course, the subgenres would have crossed eventually anyway—Jane encounters some kind of supernatural force in nearly all of her stories—but Dazed and Confused, I think, offers a nice blend of Matheson and Romero, a fitting case study of the men behind the monsters.
Stop by tomorrow to read an excerpt from Jane the Hippie Vampire: Dazed and Confused. Want a chance at a free copy? Leave a comment, and I’ll throw your name in the hat.
About Dazed and Confused:
She’s broke and homeless. She’s a vegetarian. She’s undead.
Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she bumped into the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she’s taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that’s left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.
In this fifth novella in the dramatic horror series, Jane the Hippie Vampire, Jane stumbles upon a small, secluded town in the Nevada desert, where the simple life seems to have its residents in a rut. When patient zero of a biological weapons test stirs up some action, Jane finds herself amidst a whole different breed of undead—and in the middle of a war zone designed to leave no witnesses behind.
It's day eight of the October Frights Blog Hop, and today I have an excerpt from Flower Power, a novella exclusive to Jane the Hippie Vampire, Volume 1: Revival. If you like the excerpt, be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Revival.
Jane Stared ahead, suspicious of what she perceived to be sitting across the table. She’d experienced countless acid flashbacks over the years, a result of her excessive “experimentation” back in the ’60s. Back then, the acid was more potent; Jane had last fried about twenty years ago, and the trip had been more like that of a handful of weak magic mushrooms than a tab of LSD. They just didn’t make anything the way they used to back in the day. Except doobage. The kind weed that went around these days was more potent than ever, but it was also ridiculously overpriced.
She blinked hard, hoping the apparition would disappear if she gave it a few more seconds. She’d had a peaceful evening, and she intended to keep it that way. She sat in a quiet diner, sipping at a delightful mocha latte and picking away at a fresh slice of coffee cake. Beyond her and the miniscule staff, the place was empty. After the week she’d just survived, she welcomed the solitude. Sitting across from her in the booth was what appeared to be woman in her mid to late thirties with long brown hair and bright green eyes, her body just transparent enough to create the question as to whether she was actually there. Jane knew better than to take anything at face value, though, since appearances meant little when it came to supernatural forces—if that was indeed what this was.
It’s always something, she thought, shaking her head.
“Please, I need your help,” said the ghostly figure.
Jane looked around, ensuring no one was around to see her talking to what surely would appear to be thin air to all but her. “Do I know you?”
“No, but we have an enemy in common. I’m sure you remember Holly Grimshaw.”
Just the mention of the woman’s name caused Jane’s body to go tense. Yeah, she remembered that bitch, all right. If this was a flashback, it was proving to be one bummer of a bad trip. She cleared her throat. “What about her?”
“I’ve discovered a binding spell that will bar her from the astral plane, but I need someone she won’t be expecting to get close enough and catch her by surprise.”
The chance to put Holly in her place was tempting, but Jane knew better than to drop everything and go in blindly. That’s how people fell into traps, and she’d had more than her share of unnecessary run-ins as of late. There was also a more pressing question: “And how exactly did you find me?”
“Holly has feelers extending in several directions, lines thrown out in anticipation of various people’s return to her region. They only extend so far, but the connection, however distant, remains. For someone like myself, who can transcend physical location within the astral, those feelers appear more like tethers.”
While little about the astral plane made sense to Jane, she did know Holly’s presence spanned as east as Death Valley and as north as Sacramento. Just setting foot beyond those boundaries would open Jane up to a mind screw that made an LSD trip look like a leisurely stroll through a tea garden. For that reason, she’d sworn off all of Southern California, too concerned with being pulled back into that terrifying void should she press her luck. If what the apparition said was indeed true, she’d been smart to leave well enough alone.
“So, will you help me, Jane?”
It even knew her name; that was unsettling. She’d need more than a stranger’s word to throw herself back into the lion’s den, so instead of responding, she asked, “How do you know so much about me? Did you pull all of that from the astral as well?”
It shook its head. “My talents extend beyond astral travel.”
As far as Jane knew, her own supernatural abilities were nearly nonexistent. She was a far cry from the vampires of folklore and horror fiction. Beyond her lack of ageing and her superquick healing, she had nothing to bring to the table. She considered her words then finally replied, “Well, even with the astral travel alone, you’ve got a hell of a lot more talent than me.
I’m not sure what you think you know, but I barely got away from Holly with my life the first time she and I crossed paths.”
“I know Holly hates you with a passion, and I know she doesn’t have any idea I’ve found you.”
Jane sat back, crossing her arms. “I’m still not really clear on why you’re doing this. Why come looking for me? What’s in it for you?”
The apparition’s face went tight. It looked down for a second or two before looking back up into Jane’s eyes. “She killed someone very dear to me. She’s a petty, spiteful person, and she’s far too dangerous to be allowed to continue wreaking havoc wherever she damn well pleases. She needs to be stopped.”
Jane couldn’t argue there. Her own experience with the woman had been nightmarish. No human being should possess the kind of power that woman exhibited, the least of whom being as pathetic of an excuse of one as Holly.
Jane leaned in, offering a show of interest. “Okay, so let’s say I agree to help you. What are you going to do to keep her off my back before I have a chance to even get there?”
“You wouldn’t be traveling to me; I’d be traveling to you. We could do the ritual from the safety of your current distance, use your tether as our line to her and take her by surprise. If she attempts to pull you in, I can ensure her hold remains weak.
Stop by tomorrow for my October Frights Blog Hop post, Vampires v. Zombies, and make sure to check out other participating blog's posts (the list on the right) for chances to win some great horror-themed prizes.
October always brings out the moviegoer in me. I love good horror (and some not-so-good horror), and Halloween is a great excuse to do a bit of binge-watching down memory lane. Of course, nearly all my favorite horror movies involve vampires, the perfect classic movie monster. They’re so visually versatile, and the subject matter allows for so many different creative directions.
Although there are so many great movie vampires (just the Dracula movies alone could drive an entire blog post—or maybe even an entire book), I’ve narrowed down my list to five films that will always remain among my favorites.
The Lost Boys
The Lost Boys came out when I was twelve, and I was so taken with the movie I felt compelled to write a sequel to it. A fun mesh of horror, humor and sex appeal, the story was geared toward my generation—and it became an immediate pop culture icon. Sleep all day. Party all night. It’s fun to be a vampire…. What young girl my age wasn’t taken by David and crew’s expressive and carefree lifestyle? They made bad look good. Complete with a phenomenal supporting cast including Dianne Wiest and Edward Herrmann (and, of course, the heartthrobs of their generation, the Coreys) The Lost Boys had all the makings of a cult classic.
Near Dark, in my humble opinion, never received the respect it deserved. It was a b-movie with a b-cast, but it had a fantastic script and was executed masterfully. The few people I know who’ve actually seen it agree: It’s the perfect combination of gritty horror and existential philosophy. Lance Henriksen does a particularly fine job playing the role of the cold and creepy vampire “family” leader, Jesse Hooker. Why it was a box-office flop is beyond me.
Shadow of the Vampire
I’ve never seen a movie starring Willem Dafoe that I didn’t love, and Shadow of the Vampire, a fictionalized account of the making of the classic horror (and Dracula rip-off) Nosferatu is no exception. The concept is brilliant: The director, played exquisitely by John Malkovich, happens to find an actual vampire to play Count Drac… ahem… Count Orlok—convincing the rest of the cast that the man is a “method actor” who must stay in character (which includes only coming out at night, in full make-up, of course) during the entire shoot. Of course, the crew members start dropping like flies, but that doesn’t stop the dedicated director from completing his masterpiece. This movie is filmmaking at its finest, a must-see for all horror fans.
I had low expectations going in when I saw this movie—which bases its vampire-“lycan” feud on that which was introduced in the ’90s live-action role playing game Vampire: the Masquerade. It turned out to be quite the gem. The acting is excellent, the script solid, and the depictions of the two “clans” artfully displayed. The first sequel, Underworld: Evolution, is just as good, although I must say I lost interest with Rise of the Lycans.
Let The Right One In
Juxtapose children with anything creepy, and the creep factor multiplies at least tenfold. In the case of Let The Right One In, this factor is doubled: A very old vampire trapped in a little girl’s body (with also, seemingly, a fitting mindset) pairs up with a little boy who is primed for grooming to be her next keeper—a job that entails being a serial killer, hunting and exsanguinating people on a regular basis to satisfy her hunger. The characters’ feelings of detachment from society allow us to feel sympathy for both, despite some of the gruesome acts performed on the vampire’s part (and how disposable she proves her current keeper—who’s obviously been with her for decades, ageing alongside her forever youthful self—is to her). The story is extremely dark, bittersweet, and as haunting as they get.
What’s your favorite Vampire movie and why? Leave a note in the comments for your chance to win an electronic copy of Jane the Hippie Vampire, Volume 1: Revival. Stop by tomorrow for an excerpt from Flower Power, which is available exclusively in Revival, and be sure to check out other participating blogs (the list on the right) for chances to win other great prizes.
About Flower Power: She’s broke and homeless. She’s a vegetarian. She’s undead.
Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she happened upon the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she's taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that's left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.
In this volume-exclusive episode, Jane teams up with an astral traveler in order to banish a dreamwalker from her past—and in the process, she must confront her greatest nightmare.
Today, for day six of the October Frights Blog Hop, I have an excerpt from Jane the Hippie Vampire: Hair. Leave a comment for a chance to win an electronic copy of the story, and make sure to check out posts in other participating blogs for chances to win other great prizes.
Jane rolled her eyes and let out a heavy breath as she zipped up the backpack and brought it back to her shoulder. “Give me a break, will you? As soon as you cut me loose, I’ll be gone—out of your hair, man. You won’t ever see me again. I promise.”
She turned slightly and watched in silence while a purple dog ran across the road. Oh, lovely. Perfect timing for an acid flashback….
The air went liquid, and a kaleidoscope of various shapes and colors streamed and rippled all around her. She tried to remain lucid and focused, doing her best to keep the distraction to herself, but the men’s faces appeared to be melting and she held back her horror with great difficulty. Then, as suddenly as they’d come, the colors and distortions faded and reality phased back into place.
The dark-eyed cop fumbled for his handcuffs. “We’ll have you on your way as soon as we get you processed down at the station.”
“Excuse me?” She felt her palms go sweaty, post-traumatic flashbacks of her imprisonment and torture decades ago prompting a sudden and overwhelming sense of panic. Her lungs became heavy, her sight blurred. She fought the impulse to turn on her captor despite the gun, give in to her hunger, let her dark instincts take over. She couldn’t lose her wits, though, not now.
“Can’t have your kind wandering through like this. For all we know, you’re a felon tryin’ to lay low, and we gotta—”
She darted away as soon as he went for her wrist. No way in hell she was going to spend the night behind bars just because the local heat had a problem with her free-living lifestyle. She headed for the forest, the policemen right behind her.
“Get on the ground!”
She continued to run, unwilling to expend the energy it would take to respond. She knew that, as fast as they might be, she’d be faster. She could hear by their footfall that the gap between them grew with each step. Still, one slip and they’d be on her. One slip and they’d have her face pressed against the ground and her arms behind her back. Just one slip….
The voices now came from a good twenty yards away, and they were growing winded. “Stop now!”
She rushed through the trees, springing over erupted roots and past large rocks. Moving through the forest made her feel wild, more connected to the earth. The trees watched over her. The birds and chipmunks cheered her on. Her hair sailed in the wind. Each time her feet hit the layer of pine needles, she felt more grounded.
They were nowhere near her, their last demands for her compliance filled with frustration and defeat. She would need to stay off the main roads as much as she could, as there would be eyes watching for her in the days to come. For the moment, however, she was safe.
She slowed her pace, her empty stomach beginning once again to gnaw at her. Those officers didn’t know how lucky they were to have lost her. Had they put her in a desperate situation, there was no telling how much longer she would have been able to remain in control over herself. The berserker frenzies that took over, sometimes when she least expected them, made her a danger to anyone unfortunate enough to cross her. Killing cops, even jerks like those two, was bad karma, and she already had enough of that hovering over her head.
She stopped and turned at the sound of a terrified cry followed by gunfire. Screams echoed through the forest. A few more shots rang out. More screams. The cops, easily a half mile behind her, had crossed paths with someone or something that wasn’t intimidated by uniforms and firearms. It had to have taken them by surprise while they’d still been in pursuit. Had the timing been different, it might have been she who’d been under attack, and that was a shame. Self-defense was always the best way to go about killing prey, and she was hungry enough to eat just about anyone.
The last people she wanted to see were those two cops, but still she backtracked. She was on a mission to redeem herself, which meant she didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing her good deeds. If they needed saving, she’d do what she could to save them. She might even get a good meal out of the feat.
If only she could be so lucky.
Stop by tomorrow for my next feature blog post for October Frights Blog Hop, My Favorite Vampires.
Back when I was in high school, about a million years ago, the “goths” were the misfits. My twin sister ran with the crowd, nearly all of whom wore black clothes, cake makeup, and “Doc” Marten boots, smoked cigarettes while hanging out at Denny’s, and listened to the musical musings of Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, and The Cure. Amidst that gloomy backdrop was a single rainbow: the vampire hippie.
I don’t remember her name, but she was such a paradox. She wore flowers in her long hair, Birkenstocks on her feet, and tie-dyed clothes. She belonged to the goth group, but she was so … colorful. Cheery. Perpetually stoned. Groovy, man.
As an outsider—to all cliques—I found it so interesting that someone could stand out so much yet still mesh so well. The girl fascinated me. She left such a lasting impression, she ended up inspiring an entire novella series.
The contrast between hippie and vampire had, I felt, the makings for a wide spectrum of creativity and expression. The dichotomy of colorful and dark, vegetarianism and bloodlust, youth and years … ended up coming out as a mesh of horror, drama, and dark humor. The series, as I describe in the introduction for Volume 1: Revival, initially came to me simply as the title.
Beyond revolving each installment around a hippie who’s been a vampire since the ’60s, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with her story. Initially, I’d hoped for a more lighthearted counterbalance to all of the dark material I tend to write, although I did want to include some elements of horror. As I developed Jane and decided her story needed to unfold as an episodic series of novellas and novelettes, I opted to use a few dark, dramatic television series as my model: As in Kung Fu (1972-1975), Jane is haunted by her past and often falls into flashbacks in order to make sense of her current trials; much like in The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982), Jane wanders from town to town, ever struggling to keep the monster within her at bay; and similar to Forever Knight (1992-1996), Jane seeks an end to her plight and secretly hopes that, if she does enough good in the world, she’ll eventually find redemption.
I realized early into writing the series that it was going to end up far darker than I’d anticipated. Jane’s past is riddled with horrors that she struggles to come to terms with even fifty years after the fact. Homeless, ever wandering, she often appears only to add to her burden with each new town she passes through. As good of a person she strives to be despite her nearly constant blood lust, she seems to attract trouble at every turn. The following “episodes” offer a small window into a world of supernatural creatures living right under our noses, a hidden and ongoing battle between good and evil, and the lives forever changed after getting caught in the crossfire.
I can say I managed to create a body of work that is unquestionably unique to my portfolio, the series having ended up more drama than horror. I must qualify that, however, with a very clear disclaimer that the stories within this collection are also notably dark and contain bits of extreme horror that some readers might find extremely disturbing.
What are your thoughts about Jane? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Jane the Hippie Vampire: Hair, and stop by tomorrow for another excerpt.
About Hair: She’s broke and homeless. She’s a vegetarian. She’s undead.
Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she bumped into the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she’s taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that's left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.
In this third novella in the dramatic horror series, Jane the Hippie Vampire, Jane goes south for the winter, hoping to find reprieve in the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A supernatural stalker of the shape-shifting variety has different plans, however. Will her new-found ally—a park ranger with secrets of his own—and his redneck family be enough to save her from a fate worse than undeath?
For day four of the October Frights Blog Hop, I'm sharing an excerpt from Jane the Hippie Vampire: Flashbacks. Remember to comment here and stop by other participating blogs (list to the right) for chances to win all sorts of groovy prizes.
She froze at the sight of a familiar face. Was that Becky Lawson from high school? No, it couldn’t be. What would she be doing all the way out here? Their eyes locked, and she broke into a heavy sweat. Wow, the years hadn’t been at all kind to her. She’d gone completely gray, and she wore every year of her age in the heavy lines drawn across her tired face. She wore a sundress not at all unlike those she’d sported back in the day, although it was nowhere near as flattering as it had been when she’d been forty or fifty pounds thinner. “I’ll be damned,” Jane breathed before spinning a one-eighty and hurrying in the opposite direction.
“Hey!” Becky yelled. “Wait up!”
Just go away--nothing to see here, Becky.
Jane continued at her quick pace, refraining from running only to keep from making a spectacle of herself.
Play it cool; you don’t know this woman … as far as she has to know.
She turned a corner, praying the woman would fail to continue her pursuit. Her thoughts too jumbled to keep propelling her forward, Jane stopped and leaned her back against the cool bricks of a tall commercial building. Damn, she needed a smoke….
She suppressed a gasp when Becky rounded the corner and their eyes met once more.
“It’s uncanny,” Becky said, nearly breathless.
“What’s that?” Jane asked, wide-eyed.
“You look just like one of my best friends back from high school. By chance, are you related to a woman named Jane Henderson?”
Too frazzled to think the question through, she allowed the first answer that came to mind to pop through her mouth: “That was my mother’s name.” She fought the urge to cringe.
Damn, damn, damn!
Becky smiled. “Your mother and I were really good friends. She just fell off the face of the
earth one day. What happened to her?”
Jane licked her dry lips. “Well … she ran away from home and joined a commune just outside of Bonanza, Oregon.” Her chest went excruciatingly tight, and she had to remind herself to breathe.
“Where is she now?”
Jane’s mind went blank, and she stared at the woman for a moment, unable to respond. Her jaw went agape, and she shook her head in a series of unintentional twitches. What had she asked…? The question suddenly eluded her.
Becky brought a hand over her mouth, her eyebrows drawing tightly together. “She’s passed on?” she asked, although the question came out as more of an affirmation than anything else.
Jane nodded. “Yeah. She died … several years ago.”
Becky looked down. “Oh. I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah,” was all Jane could think to add.
Becky’s face went pained, tears pooling in her somber, blue eyes. “I don’t mean to pry but … what happened?”
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph….
“Well.…” Jane took a deep breath. “She was murdered. There was this guy, and he kidnapped her, kept her in his basement. I … I really don’t know much more than that.” It felt so bittersweet to see someone so closely connected to her past. Becky had been a good friend. They’d gotten into a lot of mischief together, had some really good times. It had been hard to leave her and so many others uncertain of what had become of her. There was no going back to her old life, though, not after all that had happened and all she’d become. It was best they thought her dead. Her kind had no place beyond the shadows.
Becky took a moment to ground herself, taking the news much harder than Jane had expected she might, and then did her best to offer a warm smile. “So, you live around here?”
Jane shook her head. “Just passing through.”
“You staying anywhere nearby?”
“Just got into town, actually. I hadn’t given much thought to staying.” Damn, damn, triple damn….
“It’ll be dark soon. I have a couch you can sleep on if you need a place for the night.”
“I couldn’t possibly—”
“I insist. Jane—your mother—had a good heart. I can’t imagine anyone who came from her being any lesser of a person. It would be nice to reconnect, even if just through her daughter. I’m sorry … I didn’t catch your name. I’m Becky.”
Jane smiled sheepishly. “Jamie,” was the first name to come to mind.
“Well, Jamie, I only live a few blocks away, and you look like you could use a good meal.
I’d like it very much if you’d join my family and me for dinner.”
Wow, Badass Becky ended up having a family after all….
Her gut told her to decline, but the offer was too great to pass up. She’d often wondered what had become of all the friends she’d left behind. She could play the part of her own daughter for one night. How hard could it be? Such a ruse was definitely not the kindest act she’d performed in decades past, but she’d missed Becky, missed so many friends from her old life and longed to know how she and the others were doing. A short visit with a long-lost friend wouldn’t be too harmful … hopefully.
Becky pulled a cigarette case and a Zippo from her purse, and the lovely fragrance of the open lighter was like sangria to the soul. The smell of Becky’s first lit puff was even more alluring.
“Could I bum one of those off you?”
With a hesitant shrug, Becky offered her one then lit the Zippo for her.
The taste of tobacco, along with the slight burn of smoke hitting her lungs, was sublime. It had been far too long.
“I hate to see someone your age smoking,” Becky said with a frown. “You know these things will kill you….”
You should worry about yourself, she thought to say. She held her tongue, though, responding instead with an appreciative nod. The woman meant well. Who was she to shoot her down?
Becky shook her head. “I just can’t get over how much you look like her. Really, you could be her fifty years ago. It’s just uncanny.”
Leave a comment with your thoughts about the excerpt for your chance to win a digital copy of Flashbacks. Stop by tomorrow for my next featured post: Hippies v. Goths.
When you think about all vampires represent, it’s no wonder they’ve been so popular for so long. While they stemmed from some pretty grotesque roots, they’ve evolved into the manifestation of human existential angst’s deepest seeds. Some of our greatest fears and our greatest desires find themselves intrinsically connected to the vampire’s most current incarnations.
In most cases, although not all, we’ve seen vampires depicted by youthful, physically strong characters. While in our own youth, we might dream of that golden age of adulthood—the years when we straddle the line between maturing and ageing—few fantasize about the years that come beyond that. It would be the rare fool who says, “Man, I can’t wait until middle age, when everything hurts, my youthful beauty begins to fade, my metabolism slows, my muscles weaken, and every day is just one step closer to death!” If given the chance, no person in his or her right mind would pass up having and forever keeping that thirty-year-old body.
Vampires exist outside of time—our greatest enemy. They exist outside of death, time’s dark twin. Few people, regardless of personal or religious belief, look forward to death. It is, despite any convictions to the contrary, the great unknown—the end of who we are and our ability to leave new marks of who we were.
Ageing and death are both inevitable, and yet they are the two things we strive most to postpone.
I doubt the allure of the vampire would be what it is if vampires were more like zombies. While zombies are just as popular (if not more so at the moment), more often than not, the fiction revolves around surviving despite them—not actually joining their ranks. Vampire fiction, on the other hand, only sometimes involves characters who exist solely to destroy them. Often, vampires are the protagonists—or unwitting victims who ultimately choose mortality over lives as monsters. That doesn’t stop vampires from being alluring, however.
There’s a whole subculture of vampire enthusiasts and fetishists, some so taken by all vampires represent that they actually believe themselves to be among the undead. To me, this hints at a fear of all that humanity represents—and, most of all, a fear of the degenerative process that takes hold once our youth begins to strip away: a fear of weakness, a fear of ageing, and a fear of death. The fountain of youth, or variations thereof, have existed for as long as the first of tall tales. It’s that fountain of youth that makes the vampire so attractive.
Although other authors have taken this to even further extremes—for example, Rice’s eternal child, Claudia—I felt stopping Jane’s ageing at seventeen would allow for some profound moments in the series. I think, for me, the most profound is when Jane happens across one of her friends she last saw before the attack, a woman who represents what Jane might have been had she remained human. When her friend spots her, Jane takes on the role of her own daughter, pretending not to know the woman while secretly reminiscing about their shared youth.
Stop by tomorrow for an excerpt. Want to win a copy of Jane the Hippie Vampire: Flashbacks? Leave a comment, and I throw your name in the hat.
About Jane the Hippie Vampire: Flashbacks: She’s broke and homeless. She’s a vegan. She’s undead.
Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she bumped into the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she’s taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the broken and the needy in hopes of breaking the curse that’s left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.
In this second novella in the dramatic urban fantasy/ horror series, Jane the Hippie Vampire, Jane must face demons from her past when she encounters a long-lost friend and a homeless Vietnam veteran with lingering demons of his own.
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