Indie-Credible Event- Christoper Buecheler-Interview + GIVEAWAYS

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A month or so back, I caught sight of a post on my favourite authors Facebook page. It called all bloggers to sign up for this event.

The event is amazing and huge. I immediately signed up and sent a e-mail to the organisers begging them to let me have Christopher Buecheler!

We are always told that if we ‘meet’ our heroes we’ll be disappointed.

Not this time 😀

Ok, I haven’t met Chris, but he sends lovely e-mails. I just know he’s a great guy! I’m so happy to have virtually ‘met’ him :). If he thinks I’ve forgotten that he’s offered me a signed copy of his freshly released novel ‘The Broken God Machine’, he’s sadly mistaken ;).

On with the interview:

1. The II AM Trilogy is written mostly from Two’s POV. How difficult was it for you as a male to write from a female POV?

Not terribly difficult, to be honest. I recently saw a George R. R. Martin quote about this kind of thing which I really liked. Someone asked him how he was able to write believable female characters, and he replied, “You know, I’ve always considered women to be people.”

That’s really all there is to it. I’ve known a zillion women in my life and each one has been different from the next. The idea that all women are the same and all men are the same and thus men can’t write believable female characters is just nuts. Treat them as people – unique, individual people with strengths and weaknesses, fears and hopes, loves and hates – and you’ll do fine. Maybe every single note won’t ring true for every single reader, but the majority will, and that’s good enough.

2. How on earth did you come up with the idea to create different types of vampire and their associated traits?

Truthfully, it wasn’t any one moment where I went “Oh, I gotta do this.” It was a combination of having absorbed a ton of vampire stuff since I was a kid. Considering how vampires behave differently in different stories, and thinking that multiple strains of vampirism would be a good explanation for that.

3. How long did it take you to write The II AM Trilogy?

Oh, jeez … OK, well, ‘The Blood That Bonds’ started out as a comic book I envisioned when I was in my early teens, maybe 1991. Two was a homeless girl who encountered a serial killer, realized he was a vampire, and eventually exterminated him.

When I was maybe seventeen, that morphed into a new comic – hastily drawn during breaks at a summer job – that more closely resembled the eventual novel, except the Theroen character wasn’t named Theroen, and he was the bad guy (there was no Abraham). By that point, 1994-ish, Two, Tori and Melissa/Missy were pretty much the characters they ended up being. Samantha, too. But Theroen didn’t come along until I wrote a novella version of the book at age 19 (1996).

I then left the whole thing untouched for years, and picked it back up around 2002, starting over from scratch and rewriting the story to be a full novel. I finished that up around 2004, after multiple drafts, and spent a couple of years shopping it to publishers with no luck. Finally in 2009 I cleaned it up, improved a few sections, and self-published the thing as an eBook.

By then I’d already started (and abandoned) the first draft of ‘Blood Hunt’. When TBTB took off on Kindle and people started clamoring for the sequel, I realized I had to get serious. So I finished ‘Blood Hunt’ up and release it in 2011. ‘The Children of the Sun’ followed in 2012.

So … it either took about five years, or about twenty-one, depending on how you look at it!

4. Your next novel, ‘The Broken God Machine’ is a sci-fi novel. Are you concerned that you may lose some fans due to switching genres?

Quite concerned, yes. I know a lot of fans get annoyed when an author jumps genres. I’m not a best-seller, but I do have an audience, and I do worry that they’ll be like, “Science Fiction? Eew!”

My hope is that they’ll give it a shot. I think they’ll like ‘The Broken God Machine’ even though it doesn’t have any vampires in it. I’m also hoping to attract some new readers, or win back some folks who took one look at the II AM Trilogy, dismissed it as a Twilight ripoff (which it’s obviously not) without reading it, and moved on.

We’ll have to see how sales go. If it helps, the book isn’t a “spaceships and aliens” book … it’s about as close to fantasy as Science Fiction gets. Heck, it’s even got monsters!

5. Do you plan to ever go back to writing about vampires?

I would say I plan to, exactly. I never really know what I’m going to write next until it’s time to start something new, though I always have several ideas kicking around in my head. That said, I do have a couple of ideas for books set in my vampire universe. They won’t star Two or Theroen, but they may feature some of the II AM Trilogy folks as side characters. Mainly though they will involve new people, in new places, doing new things.

There is a hint at the end of the II AM Trilogy Timeline [http://iiamtrilogy.com/timeline.php] about the next story, actually. Warning, that timeline is obviously full of spoilers for the trilogy, so read the books first!

6. How did you plot The II AM Trilogy? Did you know what was going to happen from beginning to end?

Not exactly. I would describe the plotting for the trilogy in this manner: it was like I spreading out a big map, and I stuck pushpins into certain destinations I wanted to hit (major plot points), but I didn’t specify a route to get there. I made that up as I went along. This resulted in some weird twists and turns, and actually I missed a few plot points … basically deciding on the fly that I liked some other destination better.

I wrote ‘The Blood That Bonds’ not really expecting to do a sequel, but when I decided there was more story to tell, I set to work figuring out what I wanted to accomplish. The initial plots for the next two books were quite different at the start (at one point, the Burilgi vampires were going to overrun the whole world!) but I pretty quickly figured out what story I wanted to tell and some major points that I needed to hit to get there.

‘The Broken God Machine’ was written in a similar manner, as were both of the unpublished novels I’m currently working on.

7. What made you offer ‘The Blood That Bonds’ for free for so long?

‘The Blood That Bonds’ has been free for basically its entire existence (and will always be free). It was $1 at Amazon for a short time because that was the lowest they’d let me set it, but as soon as they saw it being offered for free elsewhere, they price-matched it down. The plan was always to use it as a way to build up an audience, and then to charge money for my other work. I would say that plan succeeded well beyond my expectations!

8. What do you think of people that say that ‘All vampire novelists are attempting to ride the coattails of Twilight.’ (Or words to that effect).

I think they’re ignoring the century of vampire literature, movies, etc. that came before ‘Twilight’. I’m not riding Stephanie Meyers’ coattails … I’m riding Bram Stoker’s!

The biggest influence by far on ‘The Blood That Bonds’ is ‘Interview with the Vampire’ by Anne Rice. I didn’t read ‘Twilight’ until after I’d published TBTB and was well into ‘Blood Hunt’. Frankly, all respect to Meyer and to her success, but I didn’t enjoy ‘Twilight’ and I didn’t bother with the sequels. I won’t say mine are “better,” but I will say that I like them more.

Also, I wrote several drafts of ‘The Blood That Bonds’ years before Meyer had even started in on ‘Twilight’, so people who think it’s a rip-off can, well … bite me.  🙂

9. Is ‘The Broken God Machine’ going to be a standalone novel or is it set to become a series?

‘The Broken God Machine’ is a standalone novel, as is the book I will very likely be publishing in Fall 2014 (which doesn’t have a name yet).

10. What is your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?

Favorite part by a million miles is when the words are clicking, the story is pouring out of my brain, and I’m loving what I’m putting on the screen. Doesn’t happen that smoothly too often, but when it does it’s incredibly fun and gratifying. Second place is the whole second draft, which is the “easiest” – the story’s already there and now I get to replace all the crappy parts and make them good. Third place is working with illustrators on the covers, a process I love.

Least favorite? Formatting the manuscript for print. So annoying! Much, much worse than formatting the eBooks. I also don’t love final edit incorporation just because by then I’m usually totally sick of the book and have convinced myself it’s complete and utter crap that everyone will hate. The stress of getting everything out the door on time is also not much fun. So basically the last three months or so before the book’s launch pretty much suck.

11. What do you do for fun?

Lots of things! I am a student of cocktail history and mixology (I run a nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts, at http://drinkshouts.com) and read a lot of books on that subject. I also brew beer, follow the NBA and the NFL, and play plenty of video games. I manage to fit some novels, movies and TV in there, too. Sometimes I even find time to play my guitars.

I also love to travel (and explore areas close to home) with my wife!

12. Do you have a favourite book or author?

I have read more Stephen King than any other author, and he is probably the single greatest influence on my “voice” as a writer. I won’t argue that he’s high literature, but he tells a good story, and that’s always been what matters to me most. Other favorites include early Anne Rice, Tolkien, some of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams’s plays, Christopher Moore, Cormac McCarthy, George Orwell, early Michael Crichton, and many others.

If you asked me to pick the best book I’ve ever read, I might well choose Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It’s pretty much perfect in every way. If I ever wrote anything half that good, I’d die happy.

13. ‘The Broken God Machine’ launched on the 1st of September. Are you writing anything at the moment?

Oh, absolutely. As I mentioned above, I already have the first draft of next year’s release finished. It still needs a lot more work, of course, but I’m pretty happy with it. The book is set in the near future and is a revenge thriller – probably the darkest novel I’ve written since ‘The Blood That Bonds’.

I am also working on a set of Young Adult books in the Harry Potter vein. I expect there to be five books in that series. I have finished the first draft of the first one and will shortly be starting on the second draft. No publication date for those, yet. I think I’m going to shop the series to publishers.

14. The e-book covers for ‘The II AM Triology’ are out of this world. How involved were you in the process of creating them and who was the designer?

I was very involved. I handle all of the production of my books – both print and eBooks – myself. That includes hiring and managing illustrators for the covers, working with a professional editor, doing the layout of the covers, and creating the actual print templates and eBook files.

Adrian Dadich [http://adriandadich.tumblr.com/] did the cover for The Blood That Bonds, and Karla Ortiz [http://karlaortizart.blogspot.com/] did the covers for Blood Hunt and The Children of the Sun. Tomasz Jedruszek [http://morano.pl/] painted the cover for The Broken God Machine. They’re incredibly talented and I’m grateful I had the chance to work with them all. Taking a cover from “here’s a couple of ideas” to a finished illustration is a lot of fun! Once we get to that point, I take their paintings and put together all the text and other cover elements in Photoshop. This is an area where my job as a web designer really helps!

15. What advice would you give to any author just setting out on the road to self-publishing?

Prepare for lots of really hard work, and then work really hard!

It’s a cliché to say it, but you get out of things what you put into them. If you rush out an unedited first draft, you stand much less of a chance of building an audience then if you take your time, work with editors, and make sure you’ve crafted a professional product. It’s the only way you’re going to stand out amidst the ocean of indie books out there.

I’ve put thousands of hours into my novels, and that’s just counting the ones that have been published … I started writing when I was eleven, and I’ve been doing it ever since. You have to be willing to write and write and write just to get to a point where you can produce something worth giving a second draft. That’s just how it is. If you love it, though, you’ll keep at it, and eventually you’ll be good at it.

Also, read. A lot. You can’t be a good writer without reading a lot.

To purchase Christophers amazing work: 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-II-Trilogy-Collection-ebook/dp/B00BGG2T8I/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1378159263&sr=8-4&keywords=the+ii+am+trilogy

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Broken-God-Machine-ebook/dp/B00EVVVUQ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378159374&sr=8-1&keywords=the+broken+god+machine

http://www.amazon.com/The-II-Trilogy-Collection-ebook/dp/B00BGG2T8I/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1378159438&sr=8-4&keywords=the+ii+am+trilogy

http://www.amazon.com/The-Broken-Machine-Christopher-Buecheler/dp/1491273739/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378159483&sr=8-1&keywords=the+broken+god+machine#

If you’d like to follow Christopher on Facebook or Twitter please enter our giveaway below.

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Author Bio

Christopher Buecheler is a professional web designer & developer, a published author, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer of beer, a player of the guitar and drums, and an NBA enthusiast.

He lives a semi-nomadic existence with his wonderful French wife, Charlotte and their two cats, Carbomb and Baron Salvatore H. Lynx II. Currently they reside in Providence, Rhode Island.

You can visit him at http://cwbuecheler.com/

Giveaways

For the chance to win Christopher’s books please enter our joint giveaway.

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As well, my own book.

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 Here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YWY5MWM0NjA5ZTE0MjZjMTg1NTBjZDJiNmM1ZGM5OjI=/

The Indie-credible event is also hosting there own amazing giveaway with a prize worth $300!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTNhYTMzNDQzYjc0NmU5ZjcyNjY5ZWJjOGVlOTFlOjI2/

Falling to Pieces – Blog Tour wrap-up – Whats next for L.T. Kelly

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The Blog Tour for ‘Falling to Pieces’ has come to an end today.

The giveaway winners have been selected and announced on my FaceBook page.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the bloggers for their participation. I’d also like to thank everyone who’s supported me and helped me get this far. Without all of you I wouldn’t have succeeded. 

It’s been a very difficult few weeks for me, I’ve started ‘Falling Apart’, but I’ve found it very difficult to promote and write at the same time. So, You’ll be glad to know that I’m giving the promotion a rest in order to concentrate on my writing. I know those of you out there that love ‘Falling to Pieces’ will spread the word for me.

I’ve done so very well, and I’m over the moon that so many people love my characters and my writing. I’ve had very few negative comments and didn’t pick up anything less than 3* reviews throughout the tour. I’m also lucky enough to have an average rating of 4.60 on Goodreads! That is totally amazing and I’m over the moon. Amazon.com and co.uk hosts only 5* reviews. I’m a lucky girl!

Of course, not everyone will love ‘Falling to Pieces’. It’s been compared to ‘Twilight’ which was a bit stingy. Not because I don’t love ‘Twilight’, I actually do, but I can’t see the likeness personally. I spoke to a friend about it to get her opinion, she helpfully said “What! Twilight? Are they mad? It’s much more like ‘True Blood'” at which point I went outside and banged my head off the brick wall! I think ‘Falling to Pieces’ is like, well…’Falling to Pieces’. :D.

So whats next…

I’m currently writing Chapter Three of ‘Falling Apart’. I’ll be getting my head down on that one now the tour has finished. If you see me on FaceBook for lengthy periods feel free to shout at me “SHOULDN’T YOU BE WRITING!?” That will jolt me out of my stupor. Hopefully.

Theres a lot going on next week, I’ll be interviewing my favourite author Christopher Buecheler on this very blog. They’ll also be an amazing joint giveaway, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

On the 5th of September I’m doing my first ever book signing! In addition to that my baby boy is starting school! It’s going to be an emotional day.

On the 11th of September I’m appearing on a radio show called ‘Freshly Booked’ hosted by the lovely Tricia Anderson. The show is part of the Writers Online Network, and can be found at Blog Talk Radio. It will be aired at an earlier time because I need my beauty sleep! 1700 CST or 2300 GMT.

In October I start a BA (Hons) in Humanities with a pathway to creative writing. It’s my dream to teach people, so it must be done. This is why I expect ‘Falling Apart’ to take me a little longer to write.

You guys are amazing and I love anyone who supports me in any way shape or form. Thanks from the bottom of my heart <3.

Lucy 

‘Falling to Pieces’ Blog tour stops.

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I’m pleased to announce the dates and details of the ‘Falling to Pieces’ blog tour.
I’d also like to take this oppurtunity to thank each and every blogger for featuring me on their blog.
The tour will be running from the 16th – 31st of August 2013.
16th – Beginnings in Writing – Author interview – http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/
17th – Jake Bonsignore – Guest post – http://jakebonsignore.wordpress.com/
18th – Fiction’s Our Addiction – Review – http://fictionsouraddiction.wordpress.com/
19th – Rose & Beps Blog – Guest post –  http://rosebeps.blogspot.co.uk/
20th – Adventures in Reading – Excerpt – http://adventuresinreading16.blogspot.co.uk/
21st – M’s Sinful Reviews – Review – http://mssinfulreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
22nd – Just One More Romance Novel – Excerpt – http://justonemoreromance.blogspot.com/
23rd – She Reads New Adult – Review – http://www.shereadsnewadult.com
24th – Little Read Riding Hood – Review – http://littlereadridinghood.com/
25th – Tabby’s Tantilizing Reviews – Excerpt – http://tabbystantalizingreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
26th – Mousiey Books – Review – http://mousiey.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=6eadd5933db25ba8
27th – Beginnings in Writing – Excerpt –  http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/
28th – Babu’s Bookshelf – Author Interview – http://babusbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/
29th – The AKA Book Harlots Review – Review – https://www.facebook.com/AkaTheBookHarlotsReview
31st – My Book Opolis – Review – http://mybookopolis.com
           Babu’s Bookshelf – Review – http://babusbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/
It would be great if you followed these blogs, then you won’t miss a thing. I am writing different posts and choosing different excerpts for each blog, so no two will be the same. 🙂

Falling to Pieces – Chapter One

In celebration of reaching over 1000 likes on my Facebook page, and ‘Falling to Pieces going live on Amazon, both in paperback and Kindle editions, I’m posting Chapter One. Hope you all like it.

Chapter One 

I fought against sleep, desperately trying to force my eyelids open. The crate I was inside jolted on a hard surface. I caught the words of apologies from the handlers before falling back into unconsciousness for a moment.

The crate was back on the move, disturbing me once again. I wanted to slam my fists on the wood at tell them I’d walk myself, but I kept falling back to sleep before I got the chance.

My bare feet pressed hard against the silk lining as the box tilted at an angle. On the outside it appeared to be an ordinary wooden cargo container, not unlike one you’d see if you shipped a large amount of wine over from foreign shores. The inside was a different story altogether, having been padded and lined with the finest Chinese silk.

The journey had been nothing but a pain in the ass, or arse, as I should say now that we’re in England. I hated with a passion being cooped up.

I recognised the clunk of metal connecting with the wood, gently easing the nails out to reveal my resting place. The highly paid handlers quickly moved to take me out of the box. They gingerly lifted me out before placing me on the bed. My eyes flickered open for a moment with the sensation of being lifted. I wanted to struggle against them and climb into the bed by myself, but the energy needed wasn’t available with the sun still in the sky. I settled into a deep undisturbed sleep as the men left my bedroom.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long for the sun to set. I woke with a start, unsettled by my unfamiliar surroundings.

Flopping back down on the Egyptian cotton sheet, I wrinkled my nose at the memory of voluntarily climbing into the large wooden crate. Everything I needed I’d had with me, but there’s nothing pleasant about being nailed into a crate for any amount of time, regardless of the decor.

I squeezed my eyes shut, grimacing at the recollection of my father’s harsh tone. He’s not exactly my father in the traditional sense, but it’s an appropriate name for him because he made me into what I am today.

“Now, Teagan, you must remember not to fidget,” he chastised me with a stony expression etched on his face.

I’d considered telling him to go fuck himself. I didn’t want to leave America, but the electric pull of his possession forced me to follow wherever he chose to go. That was simply the way things were. The desire to be with my maker was too strong to ignore.

Like a good little fledgling, I’d smiled sweetly at him instead.

“Yes, father. You have told me many times of the importance of not moving around. I do remember the first time. Did I let you down then?”

The first time we’d travelled thousands of miles, the Wright brothers hadn’t even been born, let alone invented the airplane.

I remembered Thomas, my maker and saviour giving me the same instructions in 1853 when we’d boarded the ship named Washington, bound for New York.

Back then, I’d hung on to his every word like a little puppy.

Thomas had stroked my cheek with his cold fingers. His dark blue eyes were bright and glossy, gazing into mine with heart-warming sincerity.

“Listen to me my dear child,” his voice sounded so soft, almost a whisper. I raised my face closer to his.

“You must remember to keep as still as possible. If we are discovered in the crates we’ll be considered stowaways. There will be no way for us to hide from the sun.”

I’d nodded my understanding, completely at his command. I was so new at being a vampire that I shined and sparkled like a new pin to adorn him with a trophy child and a pet project.

Sweetly, he’d waited outside of my crate whilst I’d lowered myself down with my face turned up to his and my eyes wide with fear. Thomas had lowered his smiling lips to my pale cheek after I’d lain down.

“You will be safe now, my love,” he’d said.

I understood why we had to go. It was impossible to stay in Ireland now. My family thought me dead and it was best for everyone that they continued to believe that.

He straightened himself back up and turned to his servants, his expression changing to a business like quality, all gentleness vanishing.

“Seal her crate,” he barked at the highly paid men that were escorting us. The lid was nailed shut.

I slept for the majority of the first few days before one of Thomas’ servants released us. We were well into the trip by then and I’d run out of the supplies that had been placed in the crate with me. It took all the will I had to stop myself from draining the servant dry.

For six weeks, the servants would let us out of the crates to feed on the unsuspecting crew and passengers.

When the ship docked in New York, they were around one hundred passengers lighter. Of course, not every death could be attributed to Thomas and me. Some had been taken by disease or pure misfortune. If it had been nowadays, they wouldn’t have died from our feeding at all. The lack of food and nutrition onboard had made the humans weak, too weak to sustain blood loss.

I slipped off my bed, bringing myself back to reality, and walked into the bathroom, flipping the light on more out of habit than necessity. My vision was perfect in the darkness, after taking a moment to adjust anyway.

I inspected myself in the mirror whilst removing the clothes I’d been wearing for days, discarding them on the floor. I’ve got ginger hair. Ok, maybe not ginger, I’m somewhere in between red and blonde. It irritates the hell outta’ me.

If my hair colour was red or blonde I suspect I’d be a bit happier. I’ve bleached and dyed it before, only to wake up the next night and find the mane is back to normal, stuck in purgatory between the two colours and ramrod straight. I even shaved my head once, the whole damn lot, but I woke to find the tresses had re-grown back down to my waist.

At least my transition couldn’t affect the pallor of my skin. I’ve always been pale with freckles scattered about most of my body. A consequence of being Irish I figured.

As a human, my oval shaped eyes were a dark blue, but since the change they’ve become cyan speckled with flecks of violet, as if my body couldn’t decide what it wanted.

“For goodness sake, Teagan!” Thomas bellowed from the doorway of my bathroom.

I continued my gaze into the mirror.

“What alarms you about clothes?” Thomas asked.

I viewed him out the corner of my eye—he’d turned to face away from my exposed body.

“Well, Thomas, this is my bathroom and my bedroom. Are you afraid of knocking?”

I selected the mascara from the contents of the bag next to the sink. I unscrewed the lid and began applying the gloopy black substance to my eyelashes whilst trying to act as if he’d gone.

“Well, I didn’t want you to become—over hungry.”

I stomped past him, making no attempt to cover up my nakedness, back into my large bedroom.

“Fear not, father. I’m going out now.”

“By yourself?” His voice was high-pitched with incredulity. “You won’t have any idea of where to go. We’re not in Montana now, Teagan. You don’t know London.”

I rolled my eyes in another direction, unwilling to look at him. I pretended to inspect the crimson pattern on the feature wall as I pulled on some jeans, not bothering with underwear, I was too hungry to mess around. I’d selected the décor for my room while we were still in Montana, and I was happy to see the decorators had pulled off my vision to perfection.

“I’m well aware of where we are, thank you very much, father. You know I prefer to feed by myself, without any of your corrections.” I snatched up the green silk shirt, the material slithered over my skin sending the nerve endings to alert. I was a little excited at the thought of tasting new blood, English blood.

“I’m sorry, Teagan. Of course, I forgot, you can’t take constructive criticism. I only endeavour to help you improve yourself,” he said, his voice tinged with sarcasm and his eyes narrowed with severity.

Thomas’ Italian leather shoes spun on the thick red pile carpet as his slim figure, a blur, flashed out the walnut door after swinging the heavy wood back hard on the hinges.

I raised an eyebrow as “dick-head,” escaped my mouth without consideration.

I slumped down on the California king bed. Actually, I had been behaving like a sulky teenager. Thomas had given me everything anyone could ever wish for. He’d saved me from a sad existence. There were some things in my human life that I felt I’d missed out on because I had to leave. It caused me pain to even think about those things, and I never talked about them. But I knew that everything he did and continues to do, he does for me.

The move to London had annoyed me. I had no idea why we’d come here, and I’d never been offered an explanation of any kind.

Our lives in Montana were remote and lonely. It wasn’t as if I had left anything that I loved behind. I should have been grateful for the streams of people and the bright lights of the city.

Huffing at my own behaviour, I slipped my feet into green ballet style shoes. I filled my nostrils with air as I stepped out into the hallway, trying to sniff Thomas out. The house was huge, so it took me a while to trace him to the drawing room.

I hovered by the door while he pretended not to realise I was there. His eyes remained firmly on the book he was clutching with white knuckles. He sat in a salmon coloured winged back chair next to the intricate stone fireplace with pinched lips and a stiff posture.

“Father,” I said quietly, my voice cutting through the silence like a knife.

“What?” he snapped, not bothering to grant me a glance.

“I’m so sorry for my behaviour. You’re right. I’m acting like an adolescent. Can you forgive me? We could start afresh.”

“You know I will,” he said, his eyes meeting mine finally as he softened his expression. “Can you forgive me for bringing you to London?”

“It’s not so bad.” I smiled while waving my hand around the plush room. “Any chance we discuss our new beginning later? I’m so hungry.”

He shook himself, as if he had forgotten that I hadn’t eaten in days.

“Of course, my love. I suggest you go to Hyde Park. It’s a few minutes walk, if you head south you can’t miss it. I shouldn’t think you’d encounter any problems.”

I nodded letting my smile reach my eyes.

I threw the front door open after descending the stairs. The air, still quite warm and doused with pollution, served as another reminder I no longer lived in a countryside location.

Skipping down the front steps I took in the scene on the street. The houses around me glowed thanks to the streetlights lining the pavement. All of the houses resembled the one I lived in, painted a clean, creamy ivory colour. The doors and railings wrapping around them were painted black in stark contrast. They were rowed neatly with bevelled triangular carvings in them, tall, proud and narrow structures.

I couldn’t believe the cleanliness of the streets. I’d always imagined London would be dirty for some reason.

As directed by Thomas, I reached the edge of the park within a few minutes and took a path lined with globular street lamps casting a white pearly light.

Spotting a bank of trees, I walked over to them pressing the length of my body against the bark and laying my cheek against the roughness. I closed my eyes and breathed in the earthy goodness. I’d already been missing the countryside, just in that short walk.

The traffic noises from a nearby road drowned out my thoughts, so I concentrated on blocking them all out. My brain finally cut out the background noise. The lapping water of the river running parallel to the park and the wind rattling the soft leaves and grass soothed me. It made me feel at one with the nature surrounding me despite being in the middle of the city.

My eyes snapped open as I became aware of the vibration of footsteps, too clunky and unrefined to be an animal.

As the human came closer, I could hear their ragged breath and a heartbeat pumping the delicious blood through their veins.

My eyes found him—a stout man, short, fat and bald. His suit was grey and crumpled. His whitecollar hung open, the tie swung with his movements having been loosened off, leaving his fleshy neck exposed.

He started to pass where I stood, and in a blurry flash I snatched his large body and extended my fangs. I forced him against the tree as my newly revealed teeth stabbed into his neck. My mouth filled with sweet, rich, sticky liquid, tinged with the taste of alcohol.

He groaned for a second before the venom provided anaesthetic relief.

I wrapped my arms around his huge waist and shifted his body gently down to the grass so I was kneeling beside him. I pulled my teeth out of his neck whilst placing my hand over his mouth.

The man’s eyes flew wide open for a split second before the make-up of the venom had a chance to convert in his blood stream. When he flinched, that told me the process had completed. The poison from my fangs had wiped his memory of my attack forever. I moved my hand from his mouth to his cheek so fast any human would fail to notice.

“Are you ok, Mister?” I asked him frowning.

“Whoa—what happened?”

“A cyclist knocked you flying and you fell unconscious for a moment or two.”

“A cyclist knocked me over?” he echoed in an uncertain tone, swallowing hard. “I feel a bit dizzy.”

“Well, you’ve had a shock. Here, let me help you up.” I rose with grace from my place beside him and extended my hand. I didn’t want to draw this out for longer than I had to. I was eager to explore the city.

He grasped my hand with no consideration for our weight difference, probably a good thing because I didn’t want him to take notice of my considerable strength.

I began brushing him down trying to stifle a giggle, my actions reminding me of a mother inspecting her child before sending him off to school.

“I’d go home if I were you, see how you are in the morning,” I advised. He nodded, blinking rapidly and glancing around.

“Um, thanks,” he said before sluggishly ambling away.

I walked a few metres to sit down on a wooden bench. I wanted to bask in the warmth of being full and satisfied. My head dropped back and rested on the backrest. My eyes were half open as a smile curled the edges of my lips.

Without warning my whole body jerked, every muscle became tense. I realised instinct had positioned me on the pathway in a crouch, ready to pounce.

I swished back into the tree line where I’d come from, my blue and purple irises alert, ready for what created the magnificent aroma that I was breathing in deeply.

What is that?’ I’d never smelled anything like it before. It was indescribable because it was so many things. Open lilies, baking bread, freshly cut grass, all intertwined to create something wonderful.

I focussed my attention back on the path, honing my vision on the delectable source of the scent.

The aroma came from a man walking purposefully through the park.

How could a human smell so divine? He certainty appeared to be just a human, but then I supposed I did, too. His shoes tapped across the walkway. Though, to me, each gentle footstep seemed to magnify into great big booms. My attention belonged solely to him.

He stopped in his tracks, his eyebrows knitting together creasing his perfect olive skin.

My nails dug into the bark, exposing the flesh of the tree.

He snorted in the scented air just as I had been, like a cocaine addict simply unable to stop filling his nose. He glanced around before he continued his liquid movements down the path past the tree that I clung to for support.

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