Monthly Archives: May 2013

One Crow Sorrow – Prologue

So, here we are. The prologue for the next book. All rights reserved. Copyright Jessica MacIntyre 2013…yadda..yadda..yadda!

The Vampires of Soldiers Cove – Book Two – One Crow Sorrow

He could always smell a human in distress even before he saw one. That mix of nervous sweat and quick flowing blood moving faster than it should be just beneath the skin. It was like the touch of an old lover. One you constantly fantasized about unbeknownst to your mate. His mate was safely tucked away in her bed for the night, he made sure of that, before embarking on this little excursion. He had come out for the last few nights hoping for something like this. Watching and waiting for an opportunity to reacquaint himself with the proverbial old flame. That first look, first touch, first kiss, after a long absence made him tremble with excitement. His hands were actually shaking. Quite an emotional response for someone as old as he was.

The sound of the bike chain dragging along the ground as the unknown male, B negative, came closer made him clench his jaws in an effort to keep his fangs from releasing. His eyes were beginning to grow warm as well and he held his palms over them in determination to calm himself. Seeing his eyes turn to black would scare the human and he didn’t want that. Not because there was any hope of him getting away, but because he didn’t want any of the others to hear. His instinct to kill had returned with a vengeance and the decision was made. This human, whoever he was, walked the isolated road of Soldiers Cove alone, every step bringing him closer to his final end.

At last the moment was here. The cyclist came directly into his path and with one long stride the vampire stepped out in front of him. Clearing his throat he prepared to put on his best Cape Breton accent and turn on the charm.

The twentysomthing kid jolted with surprise, but quickly got hold of himself. “Holy shit,” he said, clutching a hand to his chest. “Where did you come from?”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you b’y.  Nice night for a walk. What’s the problem there?” he said, pointing to the broken chain.

“Oh, I did that back in town. Feels like I’ve been walking forever.” The vampire inhaled discretely and took in the entire scent of the man’s body. He had indeed been walking for a long time. The smell of perspiration and exhaustion drifted out of the stranger, and filled his nose with a smell so sweet he almost lost his head. Closing his eyes he swallowed hard, attempting to maintain his composure. Getting too excited might cause him to go in for the quick kill, and he wanted to enjoy this.

“Something wrong?” the man said.

“No, just tired myself, been working all day. Hey, I’ve got some tools in my shed up there,” he said gesturing to the edge of the dirt road. “I live in the house just up on that hill. Why don’t you come up and see if we can fix that?”

Visibly relieved the cyclist smiled and extended his hand. “Thanks so much. My name is Rick by the way.”

“Nice to meet you Rick,” he said. “If we can’t fix that just now I’ll drive you back into town so you can get a room.”

Overcome at his good fortune Rick heaved a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you. I heard you people out here were real friendly but I didn’t think it was true. I thought people didn’t care about each other anymore no matter where you went.”

“Oh no,” he said, turning on his charm with a wide disarming smile. “Things are different around here. We help each other out as much as we can. I know what it’s like to be lost and hungry,” the vampire said, licking his lips in anticipation of the moment. He was hungry, but in a few minutes if all went well, he wouldn’t be. The stranger, feeling complete trust in his fellow man, allowed himself to unknowingly be led by the predator he did not anticipate. Sizing him up the vampire thought the man looked like the corporate, overachieving type. The kind who likes to focus on all things self-improvement, but there was no motivational seminar in the world that could have prepared him for what was about to happen.

It was well after dark, but that was no concern to him. His eyes adjusted to see in whatever conditions they needed to. The human, however, walked slowly being careful not to lose his footing.

When he figured they were in the woods deep enough he stopped. This was far enough, he wouldn’t let him scream for too long, just long enough to satisfy his craving. Of course he could blood influence and drain him without any fuss or noise, but where was the fun in that? It would be like fucking a dead body. Although, god knows in the many years he had lived he had come across his share of people with that fetish. Now those people were weirdoes.

They were far enough into the woods now that the prey was beginning to suspect something wasn’t right. The slight smell of fear emanating from the man tickled his nose and sent a twist of nervous excitement through his body like an electrical current. “Where is your house exactly?”

“Here, let me take that for you,” he said, ignoring the question while at the same time relieving the man of his bike and leaning it up against a tree. “You won’t need it anymore.”  Finally he allowed his nature to show itself. Turning back to face the man, his eyes blackened and his fangs grew in hunger and the look of sheer horror that slid across Rick’s face was the reward he had been waiting for. It was the first kiss after a long absence and he wanted to savor it. Rick froze. That was no fun, he needed him to run.

Hoping to prod Rick’s fear along a little more he took a giant step toward him, but the man was cemented in place, mouth open and unmoving. After another long second of simply staring in shock, his brain trying to wrap itself around what it was seeing, Rick’s survival instinct kicked in and he bolted hard in the other direction.

There we go, he thought. Run away, run as fast as you can Rick, run for your pathetic little human life.

Rick ran full out, pumping his legs for all they were worth after having almost worn them out from his long walk. He was in good shape, the vampire had to give him that. Rick took care of himself figuring it would pay off in the long run. Too bad for him, it was time wasted.

Walking slowly he kept sight of the man as he neared the edge of the woods. He was almost back at the road, and in his mind, almost back toward safety or help. Just as he reached the edge of the treeline the vampire, figuring his food had been seasoned enough by fear and adrenalin, zipped to the roadway and stood before him.

Rick stopped dead in his tracks. For a moment the vampire thought he was going to say something, and stayed silent in anticipation of the man’s final words, but none came. The only thing that came out of Rick’s mouth was a whimper of defeat as he seemed to resign himself to his fate. He knew there was no hope of escape, and so simply looked at the creature who would take him to his final resting place with a sense of dreadful wonderment.

Not wanting to waste any more time he grabbed his victim by the neck and whizzed back to the spot they had just been standing in.

Finally the moment was here. The moment he had dreamed about for the last few weeks. He had only been out of the sanctuary a few months and had felt like a caged animal almost the whole time. Upon leaving, the freedom had overwhelmed him. He didn’t know what to do with it this time and knew he had to let it out somehow. He had attempted to broach the subject of taking a trip to the open hunting grounds with his mate, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She ‘wasn’t ready for that yet’. It’s too bad. If she had opened herself up to the experience, perhaps poor Rick would have made it home to whoever was waiting for him in whatever part of the world he was from. His curiosity got the better of him just then.

“Where are you from Rick?” he said.

The soon to be dead man opened his mouth and let out the words in a sad little squeak. “Boston,” he said.

“Boston eh? How nice,” he said, lowering his head to his neck so he could lick the sweaty salt from his skin. “Welcome to Soldiers Cove.”

With that the vampire struck hard and fast, tearing open the muscle and fatally rupturing the jugular vein. Pressing his mouth hard to the wound he sucked and swallowed as fast as he could. The man’s heart had been racing and his life’s blood was rushing out of him, almost faster than the vampire could drink it.

After a moment there was enough blood loss that good old Rick went limp in his arms. He lowered the cyclist’s lean frame to the ground and kept going, kept consuming the delicacy he had so hungered for since he’d been set free. The taste of the brutally injured, the taste of the dying, the taste of the dead.

Rick convulsed once, his body shaking violently for half a second before the final beat of his heart, and then it was over.

Collapsing on the ground next to the man he lay on the soft mossy earth, looking up at the stars. There was work to be done, a hole to be dug, and a bicycle to be hidden. He’d keep it as a prize, or perhaps give it as a gift. It was top of the line, and all it needed was a new chain. For the time being however, the predator was content to just lay back and watch the heavenly bodies do their slow and beautiful dance. It was a nice night for this time of year, and he drank it in, his arm draped over his last meal.

After a time he went about his work, and when he was sure his tracks were completely covered, he shifted into his other form and made his way home as fast as he could.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Indie Should Support Indie

A few months ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across a tweet from a Nova Scotia writer. It was a sign that had been placed in the window of an independent bookstore declaring they were going out of business. It saddened me on a couple of levels. Firstly, that any bookstore would close is sad in my eyes. I enjoy trolling through bookstores, even though I love selling e books and push mine to the fullest extent. Secondly, I never like to see a small ‘mom and pop’ place close their doors. My grandmother owned a tiny craft shop in Cape Breton when I was growing up, so I know how much a small business means to the people who run it.

Although, “Myrtle’s Crafts” didn’t mean much to our family’s income, my grandmother loved that little makeshift shed turned business with all her heart and soul. She counted the days until she could open it in the spring, and wept tears when she closed it in the fall every year. All winter she’d plan what she was going to do next year. Making her own crafts, keeping in touch with all the other ladies in the community who sold their various wares through her shop, making new signs, etc. It was her life and she loved it. So when I saw that tweet my heart sank a little for the people who owned it.

And then I wrote a book…

When I decided to publish independently I didn’t expect to see my book, The Vampires of Soldiers Cove (yes I’m plugging it. Go buy it! Baby needs new shoes!) in an actual bookstore. It never occurred to me to even contact any of them. I figured I’d just sell it online and to friends just to see what happened. But as I was going through my Facebook newsfeed one night I came upon a post with a list of independent bookstores operating in Nova Scotia. Figuring I had nothing to lose I emailed a few of them just to see what they’d say. Indie supports indie right? 

WRONG!

The reception I got from a few of them was nothing short of icy, and most didn’t even bother with a response. Call me crazy, but I think it’s pretty ironic that independent bookstores (at least none on the list I had) would not even consider supporting an independent writer. The emails that came back said, in a very polite business like way, that independent writers had no place on their shelves because they were less than published writers. I’m open to the fact that my book might be drivel (although they didn’t ask to see it or lay eyes on it in any way) and may, in fact, not deserve a place on any shelf…ever! I fully await the day when I log on to the internet and find a review that says, “This is the worst book I’ve ever read! It has ruined books for me period, and I’ll never read again! Thanks Jessica MacIntyre.”

But that’s my book, what about everyone else’s? For the last little bit I’ve read nothing but independent writing, and I have to tell you, I’ve enjoyed most of it more than a lot of things I’ve bought from big names at a book store. I’ve discovered in the last few weeks since I’ve put my books up for sale that the indie writer community online is vast, and largely very supportive. We’re all just trying to be heard above the noise, and honestly, when I see an indie doing well I feel like we are all winning.

Perhaps, the independent bookstores need to look at what they’re offering that will make them different. What are you giving us, the book buying public, that we can’t get at the big box names? Right now…largely nothing! If you’re an independently run book store and you disagree and can point something out that Chapters (our big book store chain in Canada for anyone who doesn’t know) doesn’t offer please feel free to comment below. I walked through one in Halifax last week and didn’t see anything that I couldn’t get at Chapters, where it would probably be on sale, and I’d have a chance to use my loyalty card to save even more money.

I’m not judging here, really I’m not. I’m just thinking that perhaps, as I said above, indie should support indie. Indie books might be your saving grace. Dozens of people have asked me over the last few weeks, “Hey Jessica, which bookstore in town can I buy your books at?”  Well…none. And that’s just my little crappy book. Imagine the response you might get with one of the great ones!

It’s a funny thing. Indie musicians are sought after and looked up to if they’re talented. I’ve been part of indie bands in the past and nobody would ever consider that a band without a record deal was less than a band that has one. As long as the music is good people are listening. So why the snobbery in the book world?

So, indie bookstores, I’d like to support you, I really would. And I’m sorry you’re hurting, but you aren’t thinking outside the box right now, not as far as I can see. But like I said, I’m open to the fact that I could be wrong.

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

What if I say I’m not like the others?

Do you feel like you fit in? Do you? If you do, please post below in the comments and tell me what that’s like, because I don’t think I’ve ever fit in anywhere. Don’t get me wrong. I have some friends, great friends, but mostly I’m not a terribly social animal. I’ve tried, I really have. And some of those attempts have been fun, and I’ve made friends, but still the feeling plagues me…I don’t fit in.

I’m not sure why I feel that way. I look at myself, and then I look at other people and I say, “I’m not like they are. I’m not like everyone else.” That doesn’t mean I’m sitting there saying, ‘I’m better’ or ‘I’m worse’. I’m simply not the same. I’ve had this feeling since I was a little child. The feeling that I am in the world, but not of the world. Why do I feel that way? Beats me. I’ve spent thousands of wasted hours trying to arrive at the conclusion to that one, and I’m no closer to the answer.

A lot of people seem to feel that way, and I’ve discovered that creative people are especially prone to that feeling. When you’re an artist (and yes I consider myself an artist. It was a term I didn’t think I was good enough for until recently, but to hell with it. I’m an artist and I don’t care what people think of me calling myself that. It’s what I am) it’s easy to live inside your own head and reside solely in the world you invent for yourself. Whether it be music, or writing, or painting, you can completely and totally lose yourself in that act. You can go so deep into your creative space that it’s as if you’ve entered another plane where nobody can touch you.

You’re in the world…but not of the world.

It’s hard to explain that to people who are not creative or artistic in any way, but the artists reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.

I think it perfectly explains why we’re drawn to vampires over and over again. They are the textbook example of being in the world but not of it. They look like everyone else, but they are fundamentally different, and have to spend their entire existence trying to act like those around them.

So here’s to the artists. They walk the world next to everyone else, looking and acting the same but never feeling it. Perhaps that’s what makes them able to reflect it back to us so beautifully. It’s that distance and space they live in, where the real world can’t touch them, that they are able to show us what it means to be human.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

To Prologue or not to Prologue?

 

I started writing seriously about ten years ago.  I had written on and off all my life, but not in any kind of committed way. It was always something that was more of a lark, to see if I could finish a story or come up with something crazy. I made a few serious attempts and as I said in my last post, wrote a book in my early 20s that I threw out. But really, it’s only been the last ten years, with breaks in between even, that I’ve taken it seriously.

If you’re like me, than before you do anything, you like to do a lot of research. Naturally, wanting to write, I read everything I could get my hands on about writing.  If you’re not a writer and are wondering to yourself, ‘how many books on how to write could there be?’ the answer is…A METRIC TON, and even that might be lowballing it.

It’s great on the one hand. You can learn a lot in a short time and benefit from the mistakes others have made. I wrote screenplays exclusively for a few years, and although I don’t write them now (although I may write another at some point) I think studying what makes a good screenplay is one of the best things you can do as a writer. It made my writing more concise and succinct. Something like learning to write without the filler takes practice and guidance. This is advice I’d have never found if it had not been for the many maaaaany books on screenwriting I’ve read over the years.

The thing about writing advice, however, is that once you have read tons and tons of books, you’ll start to realize that the book you are reading now is contradicting the last book you read. What’s a gal to do? It’s madness I tell you!

This brings me to the following subject: Prologues!

When I gave my book, “The Vampires of Soldiers Cove” to my friend, Michelle to read before it came out she remarked on how much she liked my prologue, and then followed up with, “I usually never read those.”

My head almost exploded! My friend Tiffany told me that she also does not usually read the prologue. What??  I’ve read many books over the years, lots and lots with prologues and it never ever occurred to me to not read it. Is it just me? A prologue is part of the story and you could be missing valuable information if you don’t.

There is great disagreement among writers/publishers on prologues in general. Some say they are fine, others say they are the mark of a lazy writer, and not to do it. My book has a prologue, and the next one most likely will as well. My book is told in the first person narrative, except for the prologue. I wanted to have the reader be there as Gavin and Rachel have their first encounter, and for them to feel the intensity of that moment for themselves, as opposed to hearing about it later when it gets retold.

I have a friend, Mauro, who is also a writer (a very talented one at that) and I was lamenting to him last week about how my book has a prologue, and that I shouldn’t have done that…wah, wah, wah. Even though it is really and truly one of the parts of the book I love the most.

It’s always good to have another writer to pull you back off the creative ledge, and poor Mauro has had to do this with me numerous times over the last ten years. He cut me off in the middle of my rant and simply said, “Do other successful and published books have prologues?”  I told him that of course they did, to which he simply replied, “so there’s no reason you can’t have one. Just the fact that other books do it, means you can have one too!”

Mauro’s pretty smart. 

As a side note, another person told me that she didn’t plan on buying more books until she had read the ones she already had, but after reading my prologue she ordered it. There’s nothing better than a little prologue validation!
So, boys and girls, please read your prologues! They’ll do you good.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized