As I mentioned in an earlier post, my original plan for the Children of Night series was to create a sort of cozy mystery series—with vampire PIs. I’ve been trying to write cozy mysteries for years now, and it never works out. This was no different.
Which is not to suggest I’m unhappy with the way it turned out because I’m definitely not! As I also mentioned, In the Dark was one of my favorite books to write. And the fencing scene in Old Sins, Long Shadows is still one of my favorite scenes ever. To put things in perspective, at one point (when I found myself frustrated with the story) I thought about killing nearly everyone off. I think I would have been left with only three or four characters still living, and they weren’t speaking to each other. Luckily, I have people in my life who see things more clearly than I do at times, and they talked me off that particular ledge.
I do still think about it now and then. My plans for Damian’s death scene in particular were so heart-wrenchingly dramatic—as you’d expect—that I occasionally experience something almost like regret that it didn’t come to pass. S’okay, though. The as-yet-unwritten finale should shape up to be plenty dramatic in a far less tragic sort of way. 😉
My idea for a vampire PI series has never quite died. however. Which leads me to the freebie I’m offering today.
A few years ago I wrote a short story called Blame it on the Voodoo, which is set in New Orleans, and which features a vampire and a voodoo practitioner. At the time, I thought it was going to be a one-off. Rene Boudreaux, the vampire hero of Blame it on the Voodoo, doesn’t really fit into the world I created for Children of Night. But lately it’s occurred to me that he and Zee (the heroine of his story) would make a very interesting crime-fighting, mystery-solving duo. So, we’ll see if anything comes of that.
But, in the meantime, Blame it on the Voodoo is yours to enjoy this week only @ https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/69IKC9WN
Vampire Rene Boudreaux is more than a little annoyed. It seems sexy voodoo queen Zirondelle Doucette has got him under her spell. Can Zee convince Rene that the only real magic is love? Or will he continue to blame it on the voodoo?
Here’s a short excerpt:
As the door to the shop swung open, Zee trembled inside. She couldn’t even raise her eyes to gaze upon the shadow that she knew must be filling the entryway. Odd, considering that shadow contained the very thing for which she’d been longing.
“Good evening, Madame Doucette, Mademoiselle.” Rene glided into the shop with his usual preternatural grace. He had a way of moving that Zee found mesmerizing. And his voice! That subtle growl, as dark and seductive as midnight, left Zee wanting to fall to her knees at his feet and declare her submission right then and there. She dared not, however. Not with her aunt looking on. Not when she hadn’t yet been granted the right.
“Monsieur Boudreaux.” Serafina’s voice shook a little as she returned his greeting. “What a surprise. We weren’t expecting you.”
“Well, yes. I mean…no! It—it’s so soon after Monsieur’s last visit.”
That was sadly true, Zee reflected. Although he’d once been a regular customer, stopping by every few weeks, things had changed in the last decade. Nowadays it was not unusual for a year or more to pass between encounters. Rene’s last visit to the shop had been three months ago. The occasion was burned into Zee’s memory because it was then she decided that enough was enough. It was time to take matters into her own hands, to go after what she wanted, to stop waiting, hoping or dreaming that Rene might someday recall her existence. She could be dead by the time that happened!
“Indeed,” Rene agreed. “However, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that circumstances have made it necessary that I return sooner rather than later. I’m here because of the spell that’s been placed upon me—the curse, if you will.”
“A curse!” Serafina gasped in alarm. “Oh, surely Monsieur is mistaken.”
“I assure you, Madame, the mistake is not mine. It would, in fact, be rather impossible for me to be mistaken about such a thing. You see, if there’s one thing we vampires are very familiar with, it’s curses. Centuries of people wishing one dead or ill tends to naturally have that effect.”
“But…who would dare do such a thing?”
Zee glanced at her aunt in surprise. Any number of people, she was tempted to reply. Was that not the very reason Rene had been coming to them all these years? He’d been their most loyal customer since practically the first day they’d opened for business. The Doucettes had grown rich selling charms and protection spells to people like Rene Boudreaux.