Tag Archives: Thriller

Meet the Author… Terri Reid

October is the month of Halloween, so I’m hoping to be featuring writers of spooky stories this month. I recently I’ve had the pleasure of following Terri Reid on Twitter. Her books sparked an interest with me as I always had a love for the paranormal, and I’m sure Terri has a few good stories about it to tell. Check out her own story and the multitude of books that she has written which will send shivers down your spine.

Terri Reid

Terri_Reid

Biography

Terri Reid has been telling ghosts stories since she was a toddler. Her mother tells of a time when two-year old Terri would sit in her highchair, look past her mother into the dark back porch and say, “Look. Man.” When her mother would turn in horror, Terri would laugh delightedly.
She lives in the same area of the United States as her Mary O’Reilly character, Northwest Illinois. She lives on five acres of rolling land in a 100 year-old farmhouse, with her husband, children, dogs, cats and several dozen chickens (well, the chickens live in the barn.)
Her background is in marketing and public relations, but she has always enjoyed telling stories. For a while, she worked as a freelance journalist for the local paper and wrote the Halloween feature for many years, collecting as many local ghost stories as she could. She gave her collection of local ghost stories to the local historical society to use as a fundraiser, they are now in their third printing.

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

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I come from a large Irish family – I have two sisters and five brothers – and we all loved to gather together and tell stories. Whether it was an amusing situation we’d encountered that day or a scary, paranormal experience that had happened the night before, we loved besting each other with our tales. I also have a mother who always loved to read, and she would read to us at night. I think that was probably the seed that grew into my love of books.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love watching the story unfold in front of me during the writing process. First, the surprise when your plot changes in front of you and suddenly, organically, the story becomes something different from what you’d originally imagined. The characters take control and lead you to where they want to go. And then when you find yourself laughing out loud at something a character just said or sobbing uncontrollably when a character you love dies – it pulls on all of your heart strings. It’s probably the best therapy ever invented.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Terri_Reid_LooseEnds

I love this question! I think I would choose an owl. Sometimes an owl is considered a creature of the night, it can be portrayed as something mysterious or spooky. But, in many cases, it’s a friendly and beloved creature, like Owl in Winnie the Pooh. JK Rowling characterized owls as loyal and dependable. We have some owls in the forest beyond our home. At night, I can hear them calling to one another, a lonely sound that floats across the sky. Who? They ask. Who? Who? Who? Perhaps that’s the curiosity of the author spelled out by their spirit animal, especially when the author writes mysteries.

Do you outline or just write?

I read once that Jim Butcher had all his Dresden Files book outlined on a spreadsheet, so he knew exactly what was going to happen when. That really depressed me. Until, I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” and discovered that Stephen King is a seat-of-his-pants writer. Whew! So am I. I do jot down notes about the main ideas I want to try and cover in the chapters I’m planning on writing that day, but that’s as far as it goes. If I wrote an outline, I’d end up throwing it away by the fifth chapter. My characters never go where I want them to go.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Terri_Reid_GhostGravesGroves

I just published a book, along with my friend, Ophelia Julien, about true ghost stories. Normally, I write paranormal mysteries, but I have found that people with real ghost stories are attracted to books about ghosts and they are always willing to share a story or two. Ophelia and I have both been blessed(?) to have paranormal experiences of our own. So, we combined our own experiences and some stories shared with us and wrote “Ghosts, Graves, and Groves.” It’s the perfect book for a dark, autumn night.

Generally, my books are about either paranormal mysteries, which can include ghosts, witches or the fae. Or they are fantasy stories. I love digging into the unknown. I love the idea that there’s much more out there than we understand. You will also find in my books, the underlying theme that family and friends are vital to our existence. And that faith, hope and love can conquer anything.

Are you working on another book? What are your current projects? Can you give us a small teaser?

Right now, I’m juggling far too many projects. Every year, at Halloween, I put out a short story called “Tales Around the Jack O’Lantern.” This will be the fifth year. It’s a collection of fictional ghost stories that the O’Reilly family (the family of Mary O’Reilly the protagonist in the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery Series) share with each other on Halloween night. Most of the members of the family are police officers, so they offer an interesting take on the supernatural. All of the stories (which are family friendly) will leave you with a little chill up your spine.

Terri_Reid_MaybellesSecret

The second book in the Finders Mansion Series is nearly complete. This takes up after the novella “Maybelle’s Secret.” It’s really the further adventures of Mary O’Reilly after the final book, Book 20, in her series.

As soon as I finish that, I’m going to be writing the second book in the Willoughby Witches series. This time, I’m going to be featuring Hazel, who has such a fun personality. I’m really looking forward to finding the right partner for Hazel and seeing if he can keep up with her.

Here’s a teaser of the next Finders Mansion Series:

Stanley raised his hand and Bradley acknowledged it. “Stanley.”

“I’m thinking we need to get more disguises,” he said.

“Disguises?” Bradley asked.

“Darn tootin,” Stanley replied. “Iffen I keep going to folks’ homes with a cashier’s check and saying I’m from a lottery no one ever heerd about, people are gonna get mighty suspicious.”

Alex Boettcher, Stephenson County District Attorney, nodded. “That’s true,” he agreed. “But I don’t know if disguises are really what we need.”

“I brought some with me,” Stanley continued. “So’s you can see.”

He moved his chair back, reached under the table to a shopping bag next to his chair and pulled out an item. Then he bent forward, placed the item on his head and sat up.

“Stanley,” Mary exclaimed, muffling her laughter. “That’s a mask, that’s not a disguise.”

“Same difference,” Stanley said behind the large rubber mask.

“And you look like our president,” Alex added. “I don’t think it’s going to work.”

“Two things,” Stanley said, his voice slightly muffled by the rubber. “First, it was on sale, so I kept expenses low. Second, if anyone was going to be handing out money, it would be him. He’s got plenty.”

“But you don’t sound like him,” Bradley tried to reason.

Stanley pulled the mask off, his face wet with perspiration. “I can get a recording,” he improvised.

“You don’t think someone in a mask of our president giving away thousands of dollars isn’t going to cause a little commotion?” Mary asked.

Stanley sighed. “Well, I ain’t thought of it that way,” he said. “But we gotta do something, if we want to keep this on the down low.”

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

Terri_Reid_Tales Around the Jack O'Lantern Combo Package

Write the best story you can – because you only get one chance to make a first impression. Think about it, if you rush this story, but assure yourself that next time you’ll take more time, get an editor, pay for a nicer cover – who is going to give you a second chance? There are too many other books out there to pull your readers away from your work. If they feel that your first book felt incomplete, sloppy, amateurish – what is going to entice them to try you again?

Make sure you offer the very best you have and then, go on to the next book.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I wrote a scene in a book where Mary (a woman who can see and talk to ghosts) is driving home from meeting a little girl ghost who had been abused and killed. The man who killed her had pretended to be a pastor, but he really was a sex-trafficker. Mary has a guardian angel who works with her, his name is Mike. When the little girl saw Mike, she was terrified. To her, Mike represented God and God let the pastor hurt her. So, Mike is in the car with Mary and he asks her something like, “Why did God let her die, Mary? Why didn’t He let an angel come down and save her? He could have done that, why didn’t He?”

Mary turns to him and explains that during her near-death experience (that actually gave her the ability to see and communicate with ghosts) she made one of the hardest decisions that she had ever had to make. She was given the choice to continue to the light or go back and be with her family. She said, “I wanted to go to the light, Mike. But I knew my family needed me, so I came back. God didn’t let her die, Mike. God took her home.”

Terri_Reid_RowansResponsibility

After the book had been published I received am email from a reader. She explained that she was only a little way into the book, but when she’d read this passage, she knew she had to write to me. She and her brother had been very close. She worked with her brother, he had been her boss. One morning, she came into work and found her brother at his desk. He’d been working late and had a heart attack. He was dead. She said that she couldn’t understand why God had taken her brother. He was a good man, he did wonderful things in the community. Then she read my passage and was filled with peace. God didn’t take her brother, He just brought him home. She told me that she knew that God had used me to send a message directly to her. I will always cherish that email.

Anything you would like to say to your readers?

I am so grateful to my readers. I could not do what I love to do without their support and their willingness to take a chance on an indie author. I love that social media has created a vehicle where I get to know my readers, where I can share their successes and their sadness. I feel like my readership is part of my family. And, I am truly blessed with the best readers on the planet. I’ve had other authors comment to me that they’ve never seen readers so loyal and so willing to share my posts and information about my books. I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but I am so grateful they are all part of this great adventure I’m on.

Thank you, Terri, for sharing a bit about your writing with us. It’s intriguing to hear that you have had paranormal experiences. I’ve always been open to them, but so far none have come forward. The only thing I can say is that the house I now live in, a house where teachers used to live, fills me with a happiness that I haven’t found elsewhere. I am home.

If you want to follow Terri Reid, you can do so via the following social media:

Terri has way too many books for me to put them all in this post. I’ve put a few links of her books in here, but why don’t you guys head over to Terri’s Amazon page and check them all out there!

Email: author@terrireid.com



Don’t forget: all my books in the Suckers Trilogy are each now 99c/99p only!


SALE of the Suckers Trilogy!

B1-3_Display_Book+Tablet_Sale_99c_W700.jpgBecause I love the fall, because I love Halloween, and because I love you to read my books, all of my eBook novels in the Suckers Trilogy are on sale during the month of October!

NOW 99c/99p only!

Available on:

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and in my shop, of course 😀

(sorry, but the discount for my shop won’t apply when the books are on sale)

What to Watch? Orphan Black

The other day, I read a post of someone on Facebook, mentioning how engrossed they were in Orphan Black. As I was loosing interest in Salem, I was looking for something else. I checked out Orphan Black and finished season 1 this weekend. We just got into season 2.

Orphan Black

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Cast

The main character, Sarah Manning, played by Tatiana Maslany, actually plays twelve characters! And they’re all different, not only in looks but also in voice and how they carry themselves, not to mention sexuality. Maslany does an awfully good job pulling it off.

Her fellow actors are Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierden, an ex-military mercenary, who is a monitor and boyfriend. Jordan Gavaris plays Felix (“Fe”) Dawkins, Sarah’s gay foster brother and confidant. Whether he is gay in real life or not, he does a great job as the comic relief in the series. Kevin Hanchard is Detective Arthur “Art” Bell, Beth’s police partner. Michael Mando plays Victor “Vic” Schmidt, Sarah’s abusive, drug-dealing ex-boyfriend. I felt so sorry for him (but not because he’s a drug dealer 😀 ). Maria Doyle Kennedy is Siobhan Sadler, Sarah and Felix’s Irish foster mother. They call her ‘Mrs. S.’

Évelyne Brochu is Dr. Delphine Cormier, Cosima’s monitor (I actually visualized this name as being ‘Kozimaa’), Ari Millen is Mark Rollins, a Prolethean, and Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix, Alison’s husband and monitor.

Plot

I’m not going to give away too much as I don’t want to spoil the fun for you. It starts with Sarah Manning witnessing a woman, Beth Childs, who looks very much like her, throw herself in front of a train. Being in a bit of a pickle after stealing her boyfriend’s cocaine stash, she grabs the dead woman’s bag and takes her identity, not realizing the woman was a police detective. Sarah has a seven-year-old daughter, taken care of by her foster mother Shioban, that she wants to start a new life with, but Sarah has no idea what danger she has gotten herself and her daughter into.

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What I like about Orphan Black

As mentioned before, I love the way that Tatiana Maslany plays all these different characters. She has different hairdo’s, different ways of speech, different mannerisms. It must have been so hard for her! I’m sure it’ll put her on the map of great actresses. This, of course, couldn’t have been pulled off without the great eye of the director, John Fawcett, who was bold enough to put three of the same characters interacting with each other in the same scene.

As I’m always looking for things that take me out of a scene, I’m happy to mention that the only thing that bothered me was the hairdo of Rachel Duncan. That said, it was a hard one to pull off; a high-back bob-line. With all the other wigs, there never is a moment that you think they’re fake.

All the actors play their parts excellently and the story is extremely intriguing, nothing like you’ve seen before. That said, I’m not sure if they can keep this up for five seasons. I guess I’ll be looking for something else again after season 2, but in the meantime I’ll soak up every second!

What I didn’t like about Orphan Black

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Summary

If you haven’t yet, watch it. Just watch it. It’s funny, it’s scientific, it’s got drama, romance, and action, murder and mayhem. All the good stuff.

Meet the Author… M.N. Seeley

As you may know, I follow Leonard Tillerman’s website as he reviews a lot of books. He reviewed my book as well, and after some nail-biting days, I was very happy he gave Living Like A Vampire five stars! You can read his review of it here. He doesn’t always give five stars, so you know when he does, the books are good 🙂 . So, one of the books that received five stars from Leonard was A Flicker of Shadows, by Neil Seeley. I contacted Neil and here’s the interview.

M. N. Seeley

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Biography

M.N. Seeley is a former Illustrator now working as a professional Art Director, Copywriter, Commercial Artist and Marketing Brand Consultant all rolled into one. But, what does this have to do with writing? Everything, if you ask him, because he believes storytelling is at the core of every successful creative endeavour. To him, the creative process never changes; only the medium does. He lives in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, where his children have spent years trying to teach him how to throw a football with a decent spiral. To date, they remain unsuccessful and undeterred.

Do you outline or just write?

I won’t begin writing anything until I have the entire story outlined, detailed and paced. My first novel was outlined using Post-it Notes stuck to a wall. The outline for my second novel is a 30 plus page document. I leave plenty of room for changes and sudden inspirations, though.

What gives you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for A Flicker Of Shadows? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas

Neil_Seeley_AFlickerofShadowsA Flicker of Shadows began life as a series of children’s illustrations. However, since illustrating is a painful and labourious process for me, I found it more fun to write the accompanying story paragraphs for the paintings. That’s when I decided to forget the illustrations entirely and just focus on the writing. But, I had no interest in writing a children’s novel, or even one for young adults. The concept of transitioning into adulthood was a massive inspiration. It occurred to me that I could tell a different story based on the illustrations; a story that has one foot in the children’s world and one foot in the adult’s world. Where these two worlds rub together is where my novel lives. At least to me, I thought I had a hold of something unique.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

I was surprised by how exhausting, hive-inducing and ulcer-burning self-promotion is. I’d rather perform drug-free DIY dental work on a gorilla.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book

In A Flicker Of Shadows, I never allowed Morton, the bat, to use contracted words in his journal. I thought this rule would make him appear uptight and repressed. 

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s a curse well managed, I’d say. There have been many, many times when I wished to trade all of my creativity in just so I could play 8-ball better. At the very least, I’d like to be able to make a simple cross bank with some regularity. To date, the Devil has yet to present himself with a contract detailing the trade conditions.

What is your favorite part of the book?

The very last paragraph of A Flicker Of Shadows, particularly the last sentence, makes me happy. I enjoy the tempo of the words as well as what they imply. For the most part, it was effortless to compose. That didn’t happen to me often.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I prefer stand alone stories because of their finite structure. When the book is over, it’s over. Done. Myself, the reader, the person who glances at my novel laying crumpled and dirty in the bottom of a garbage bin, can all move on with their lives. Having said that, I do plan on reusing one character from A Flicker Of Shadows. A variation of him will show up in every future novel I write. Readers of A Flicker Of Shadows will likely be surprised to know which character I’m referencing.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Treasure_W700.jpgSure. I love symbolism and other hidden gems. They’re mostly there for my amusement. I like to amuse myself. A Flicker Of Shadows has plenty of meat to be picked off the bones, should one feel so inclined.

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

You’re looking in the wrong place if you’re looking for wisdom here. I wrote a novel that I wanted to read. That alone was hard enough without adding other people’s expectations to the mix. This may not be universally true, but I think authors need to pick a lane: either write for themselves or write for an audience. Both options have merit. Both options have big concessions. For me, combining the two is madness and leads to mediocrity.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One reader of A Flicker Of Shadows thought my book had more in common with cult classics than popular best-selling books. That was very cool to hear. I would gladly take more of that sort of praise. I know my book won’t appeal to everyone. That’s how I prefer it.
Thank you so much for your time and your words of wisdom, Neil. I know you think they aren’t, but I think your comment on picking a lane is a very wise one. I’m still at the crossroads myself but leaning very much to the ‘write for yourself’ direction. I think that gives the most pleasure to the writer and hence the reader. You can’t please them all, so you better please the ones that do like your writing! And I can relate to your thoughts on promoting!

Neil Seeley’s book is available in eBook and paperback form on Amazon. You can follow him on the following social media:

What to Watch? Shooter

Excuses for my lateness of posting my weekly What to Watch? I was still travelling from Holland to Scotland yesterday (driving from Newcastle to Aberdeen), and I can tell you that typing on a laptop in a driving car isn’t easy 😀 . So, why Shooter (the TV series and not the film)? Because my son recommended it to me.

Shooter

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Cast

The Netflix TV series is based on the film Shooter, with Mark Wahlberg as the main character, which is based on the book Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter which again is loosely based on the US sniper Carlos Hathcock (but none of the story in the TV series has anything to do with Hathcock).

The retired US sniper veteran, Bob Lee Swagger, is played by Ryan Phillipe. He’s not a new kid on the block as he’s been in front of the camera since 1992. His wife Julie is played by Shantel VanSanten, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson plays Nadine Memphis, the investigating FBI agent. Omar Epps, also know from his doctor role in House, plays the Secret Service agent and ex-commander of Swagger, Isaac Johnson. I need to mention Eddie McClintock, who plays Jack Payne, and David Marciano as Memphis’s boss, Howard Utey.

Plot

Bob Lee Swagger is a retired US sniper, now spending time with his wife and daughter. His ex-commander, Isaac Johnson, seeks him out and asks for his help. There are rumors that a sniper is going to take out the US President during a visit to Seattle. Swagger reluctantly agrees and tries to figure out where the sniper could shoot from. All angles seem to be covered, until Swagger figures out something is wrong and tries to prevent the shooting. Unfortunately, Swagger is too late, and the visiting Ukrainian President is killed. As Swagger is on the spot of the crime, he’s arrested for suspicion of being the murderer. Swagger must prove he’s set up for a crime he didn’t commit.

What I liked about Shooter

As you may know, I’m not a fan of senseless violence. So, why did I like Shooter? Because the first few episodes were very suspenseful and were (somewhat) believable.

Someone, in a review on Rotten Tomatoes, mentioned there was no humor in the series at all. They are wrong. I loved the character of Jack Payne. He was so funny. Intentionally or not, he made me laugh out loud and care for him more than for Swagger. Same goes for Howard Utey. His character was less believable, but still gave it a less dramatic twist for me.

What I didn’t like about Shooter

As I said, I don’t like senseless violence. This series is supposed to be realistic, but people are being killed left, right, and center without any remorse. I don’t mind if this happens in fantasy movies with non-existant creatures but not in a series about humans and by someone who’s supposedly the good guy. Besides this, Ryan Phillipe reminds me of a pouting school boy, not a seasoned veteran. Maybe it’s just my age…

The further you get into the series, the more unbelievable it becomes. We finished the first season, but I doubt we’re going to watch the following two.

Summary

Shooter is a good show to get away from it all and have you on the edge of your seat for a couple of evenings but don’t expect it to be too realistic or see fantastic performances.

I haven’t seen the movie with Mark Wahlberg as the sniper, but I’m dying to see it now.

What To Watch? Cargo

Cargo is a movie we watched over a week ago, but it is still lingering in my brain. It certainly had good enough qualities to do so. It was written by Yolanda Ramke for the Adelaide Film Festival, and this version is directed by her and Ben Howling.

Cargo

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Cast

Martin Freeman is the main character of this movie, Andy. He’s himself, a father and husband this time, with the same frustrated/not-getting-it expression that we all love about him. And a beard, which is something new. The other main character, Thoomi, is played by Simone Landers. She’s a young Aboriginal girl who did a great job. Other actors are Anthony Hayes (from Rabbit-Proof Fence), Caren Pistorius, David Gulpilil (from Rabbit-Proof Fence, Ten Canoes (a very funny movie), Crocodile Dundee, and many other Australian movies), Susie Porter (as Kay, Andy’s wife), Kris McQuade (from A Country PracticeHome and AwayThe Flying Doctors, Blue Heelers), Bruce R. Carter, and Natasha Wanganeen.

Plot

The world is thrown into chaos as a virus turns people into zombies. The government has handed out kits to kill yourself/those infected, including a watch that tells you how much time you have from being bitten to turning into a flesh-eating monster.

Andy, his wife Kay, and their one-year-old daughter, Rosie, are trying to stay safe on a riverboat in the Australian bush (yes, there are rivers in the bush in Australia 😀 ). When they stumble upon an abandoned boat, they forage there for food. Kay gets bitten by a person hiding on the boat but doesn’t tell Andy. When she turns and bites Andy, he’s got forty-eight hours to find someone to take care of their daughter.

What I liked about Cargo

It is a heart-wrenching story. A father who knows he’s going to die/turn into a zombie tries to find a carer for his daughter. What’s not to love? Freeman is portraying the role very well. Personally, I’d be a bit more frustrated and impatient, but that’s just me 😀 .

I loved the incorporation of the Aboriginal culture, dealing with the threat in the most natural way. The culture of ancient tribes is disappearing faster than you can think, and it makes you realize that this may not be for the good of humankind.

What I didn’t like about Cargo

Some parts of the story are very predictable, but that’s about it. It’s still a very entertaining story with incredible performances that pluck your heartstrings.

I thought the special effects were a bit tacky (lol, almost literally!), but it did the job.

Summary

Cargo is a movie about hope, survival, and humanity (good and bad) that will make you laugh, scream, and cry. Honestly, get the tissue box ready!

Great 5 Star Reviews!

I am so happy to receive reviews for my books. Today, I received two and they are both five star reviews. It’s hard to stay in my seat! 😀

This first one is from Ingrid for Book 1, Living Like A Vampire:

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The second is from Sandra for Book 3, Raising A Vampire:

Sandras_Review

Thank you so much, Ingrid and Sandy! You made my day!

via GIPHY

A Preview of Killing A Vampire

As I’ve been too busy finishing Killing A Vampire, I’ve not had the time to interview other authors or write a short story this week. Instead, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the first chapter of Book 3, the last one of the Suckers Trilogy. Enjoy!

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Interview

Wednesday Afternoon

My decision to go on national television meant all my hopes and dreams for a quiet suburban life would forever be lost. Yet here I was, my hands sweaty and my breathing deliberate. It hadn’t been an easy decision as there were more consequences. There had always been protesters, sucker-haters, but this time they had shown up in great numbers at the entrance of the studio, trying to prevent me from going in. The guards had to protect me and get me safely from the cab to the entrance. It would only get worse now. It would also mean I would be in the public eye more frequent than ever before. More interviews, more paparazzi, more work. Something Charlie didn’t agree with.

I picked up Sonny to distract myself from the anticipation, and, while cuddling him, I waited for the signal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Clarke!” I heard the woman’s voice say.

The man with the headphones and clipboard pointed at me. He mouthed, ‘You’re on,’ and my adrenaline level peaked.

“Let’s go, Mommy,” Sonny said, a broad smile on his face.

I stepped onto the stage, sincerely hoping I wouldn’t trip with my son in my arms. The bright stage lights shone in my eyes and their warmth hit me with equal surprise. Emma waited for me at the white couches. I put Sonny down before shaking her hand. She ruffled Sonny’s hair. The three of us sat on the comfy two-seaters; Emma on one, Sonny and me on the other. I had expected Sonny to cuddle up with me, but he decided to occupy the other half of the couch, his legs just not reaching the end of the seating cushion.

Please don’t let his shoes make any marks on the white fabric.

He bumped his feet together, never sitting completely still. When he caught my eye, he smiled at me.

“So glad you could make it, Kate. I see you brought your son, Sonny. Hi Sonny.” Emma beamed an extra broad smile at him. I presumed to make him feel at ease.

“Hi, Emma,” he said to her. I was so glad he wasn’t shy at all.

“Sonny, why don’t you give Emma the drawing you made for her?”

Sonny eagerly moved off the couch, took the drawing he had made out of his pocket, and handed it to Emma.

“You’re not going to bite me when I take it, are you?” Emma said to Sonny. He hesitated to answer, turning to me for help. “Just kidding, kiddo.” She took the paper from Sonny’s hand and with her other hand ruffled his hair again. “Aw, thank you, sweetie. That’s so cute. It’s me holding hands with Kate and Sonny.” She showed the drawing to the audience. One of the cameramen ran up to take a close-up shot of the stick-figure drawing which instantly appeared on the big screen behind us. The audience ‘aw’d’ with Emma.

I patted the couch where he had sat a moment ago. Sonny climbed back onto the couch but cuddled up to me this time.

“You call him Sonny because he’s your son. And of course, it’s a good shortening of his full name, Nelson. Nellie would sound a bit strange.” The audience laughed. “He isn’t the son of your partner though, is he?”

“No, Sonny was conceived as a cruel experiment in the sucker internment camp.”

“That must have been a terrible experience for you. Good things have come from it though. One of them is sitting right next to you.” She smiled at Sonny again. “Isn’t he adorable, ladies and gentlemen?”

The audience agreed. I hugged Sonny as I completely agreed with Emma. “Another result of your predicament was that you became the head figure of SAM, the Suckers Acceptance Movement in Maine. Can you tell us a bit more about what SAM does?”

I shrugged as I let go of Sonny and leaned forward.

“SAM tries to help integrate suckers into everyday life. When the Succedaneum virus plagued the world during Black October thirteen years ago, a lot of lives were lost. People blamed suckers for it, but it was actually the government who was the cause of the sucker pandemic as they made the virus and failed to contain it. People infected with it had no choice but to act upon their bloodlust. They aren’t to blame. The vaccine they created eradicated most suckers from the planet, but there were cases in which it didn’t work, when vaccination was too late to have any effect. These people will always be suckers, even though they didn’t ask for it.

Most children conceived during Black October ended up in an internment camp, but some parents were able to keep their sucker children out of the hands of the government. They kept them in hiding from the public out of fear of retribution. These children deserve to have a normal life as well. Sucker children should be able to grow up, have friends, and have a happy future like any other child. SAM is trying to help people accept suckers into their communities and to not be fearful of them. They are normal people with a disease, a manageable disease. Suckers aren’t a threat to society anymore.”

“That’s so true,” Emma said, “and you, of all people, know this first hand because you have two sucker children, don’t you? Sonny, who is here with us today, and Sue, your older daughter. How old is Sue now?”

“Officially, Sue’s twelve years old, but because sucker children grow twice as fast, she’s already a fully grown adult. Sonny looks like he’s four, but he’s only two years old.”

“And they don’t display any of the aggressive behavior suckers did during Black October?” Emma asked. “Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it; people fearing we’ll have another Black October on our hands if we let suckers loose into the world.”

“Absolutely not. Sucker children need a strict upbringing, I don’t deny that. They need to be taught to be gentle as they are a lot stronger than other children. Otherwise, they are as playful, strong-willed, and cuddly as any other child. They still need to be loved.”

“What about the older suckers? The ones for which vaccination came too late? Are they a threat to us? I mean, I don’t want to walk next to one and he suddenly ‘fancies a snack.’” The audience laughed at Emma’s comment. I didn’t find it funny at all.

“There are still some suckers that have lived underground since Black October and haven’t changed their attitude. SAM is there for these people as well. Once these individuals are discovered, SAM will guide and counsel them. With the help of the Army, we rehabilitate them, so they can live in our society once more. As you know, there is a mandate for every sucker to register and requiring them to give a DNA sample, so that if a biting incident happens, authorities will be able to tell which sucker has been the perpetrator. This system for suckers is similar to the fingerprint system used by the justice department for virus-free humans.”

“That’s so comforting to hear. Now, I can’t keep my eyes off your son as he’s so adorable. He must be very special to you.”

“He sure is, Emma.” Sonny just sat there, taking it all in his stride. It always amazed me how ‘grown up’ he was. As if he was an old soul.

“He’s actually very special in a broader sense, isn’t he? What time is it now? Early afternoon?” Emma made a show of looking at her watch. “And you both came here by cab. No under-cover-of-darkness stuff.”

“That’s right. Sonny’s extra special because he’s a daywalker.”

“And not only a daywalker but also a half-blood which means he doesn’t drink blood but eats meat, or so I’m told. Is this correct?”

“Yes, it’s true. As a daywalker, he isn’t affected by sunlight, and because he’s a half-blood, his diet isn’t limited to blood alone. He can also eat meat, but only raw meats.”

“So, wouldn’t it be handy if all suckers become meat-eating daywalkers? Problem solved?”

“I wish it were that easy, Emma, but there’s only a small window during the incubation of the virus when suckers can become daywalkers. Unless their mother was a daywalker, children are born true suckers and photo-phobic for life. It lessens over time, but they will always be affected and move slower. There also aren’t many half-bloods around. Only a few special individuals appear to be immune to the aversion to mate with ‘the others,’ so to speak, and create a half-blood. I’m extremely lucky that both my children have come from such a union. They are both able to eat meat.”

“I can’t imagine what that would do to your grocery bill,” Emma replied, and of course the audience laughed again. “It’s better than getting blood from heaven knows where, though. Tell me, where do suckers get their blood from?”

“The virus changes the body, so, just like cats can’t be vegetarians, suckers need to drink blood to survive. Fortunately, suckers can survive on animal blood which has been a huge waste product from slaughterhouses, and until recently, only a part of it was used to make fertilizer and food additives for animal feed. Most of it was dumped in sewers or landfill. Now it fills a gap in the market. It’s treated to prevent the spread of diseases like mad cow disease, and bagged blood is currently available for human consumption in supermarkets, next to the blood sausages. It’s one of the major triumphs of SAM’s efforts.”

“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually a vegan, and I’ll tell you, my stomach content is churning with all this talk about consuming blood. I think it’s time we end this conversation. It’s been so nice talking to you and hearing about all the good work you’ve been doing with SAM for suckers. I wish you all the best.”

“Thanks, Emma. Thank you so much for having us on the show.”

Emma rose from her seat, and so did Sonny and I.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Clarke and her son Sonny!”

I waved to the audience as they applauded. Sonny copied me. We followed the instruction we had received earlier to leave the stage on the opposite side of where we had come from. Once backstage, a woman took off my microphone and guided us to the room downstairs where our belongings were. I took off the make-up applied earlier and put my jacket back on. I then put Sonny in his jacket and gave him a kiss.

“Time for us to leave, Little Man. Let’s see if we still have a home to go to.”

 

Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus

Killing A Vampire will be available very soon!

Why not catch up with what happened to Kate before and check out Book 1. Living Like A Vampire and Book 2. Raising A Vampire? You can find them in on Amazon and on KOBO, but when you buy them from my bookstore, you’ll get a 20% discount! 🙂

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I ain’t got time for this S#!&

The last few days I have been sleeping badly. I was worrying too much about the film club. I also drank a glass of coke or (non-decaffeinated) coffee in the evenings, which probably didn’t help. Anyway, last night I did manage to get some sleep. Just before the alarm went off in the morning I was having a very vivid dream. One about a serial killer who gets his comeuppance by a very cool, Bruce Willis-type dude. WTF! I ain’t got time for this S#!&! I have way too many books on my list to write before I can write this super-duper cool, very suspenseful thriller!