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Friday, June 21, 2013

vampires and humans living together??? Yup!

Feed. Prey. Love. is the first in the Whispering Hills series. In this book we meet Talib, a 200 year old vampire who's past haunts him. He was turned against his will and, a hundred years later, turned a human in one act of passion. That one act caused Talib to view himself as a monster, pushing him into a self-imposed seclusion. He also unwittingly unleashed a horrid villain who cared little for human life. 

We also meet Conley, a handsome, yet charmingly self-conscious man, who's intellect quickly deters potential lovers. Men want him for his body, but as soon as he opens his mouth, men flee, realizing Conley isn't quite the hot piece of ass they originally thought. Jonah, the villain who Talib created that fateful night when he lost control, is crazed with jealousy and vengeance, wanting nothing more than to kill anyone Talib cares for and to reclaim Talib as his lover once again.

This was a challenging, yet thrilling story to write. Each of the characters were deeply emotional and had distinct personalities. For Talib and Conley, both had serious obstacles to overcome to accept one another. Once they did, Jonah re-enters the picture and Conley's life is threatened. This taps into the greatest fears Talib has lived with for two centuries and affirms for him he is no good for others. Of course, Conley loses his meekness once he accepts Talib as his lover and won't accept Talib's efforts to push him away. This leads him to take risks and chances which only fuel Talib's fear for Conley's safety.

What I loved about writing this story was how the emotions of the characters exploded off the page. Perhaps my very favorite scene I've ever written occurs near the end of the story when Talib has to embrace hi inner animal and face his greatest fears in order to save Conley from the life Talib had forced on himself. In that scene, we can literally feel the strain within Talib as he uses the very few seconds he has to make a life-altering decision for everyone.

I wrote Feed. Prey. Love. because I absolutely adore vampires. I know the stories have been told over and over, but I think I managed to give a unique spin to vampiric lore. Vampires are created through something like a viral transmission. They aren't so very different from humans except for the strange mutation giving them eternal life and heightened senses/strength. I also wrote this story because I find vampires to be a tortured group who see themselves as dangerous and damaged. This self-loathing rips at my heart and gives these creatures a strange and ironic vulnerability which I wanted to explore. The fact that the human protagonist, Conley, the one who always felt like he
didn't fit in, was the very person who broke through Talib's belief that he wasn't worthy of love, seemed a paradoxical elixir to ignite this paranormal love story. Each character seemed to step out of who they stereotypically should have been to be exactly what the other person needed. It was dark and some of the scenes were grim, but in the end, the strength of love paved the way to happiness.

In short, this book is a vampire story, but it's also a paranormal story where the lines between being paranormal and human are blurred. Whispering Hills as a residence complex where humans and paranormals co-exist peacefully. It's the first of it's kind. A place where paranormals who are recognized as real, are truly accepted for who they are (the rest of society hasn't evolved to a level of acceptance yet). It is also a place where humans who feel awkward or marginalized, can gain a sense of belonging. They live with others who are treated as outsiders and this ties
the community together.

At Whispering Hills where mortals and paranormals coexist peacefully – and romantically – love really does bite!
Talib Eldridge is a vampire who lives with guilt. 100 years ago, he accidentally turned a human to a vampire and has been afraid to get close to anyone for fear of ever losing control as he once did. When he meets Conley Berillo, his commitment to living in isolation is challenged. Immediately drawn to the human, he can’t help but fall in love.
Conley has always felt out of place. Never fitting in with others, he too has lived in isolation. When the existence of paranormal creatures is finally acknowledged, he feels an immediate affinity to the outcasts, still feared and hated by humans. Moving to Whispering Hills in Providence, Rhode Island, he knows immediately that he belongs to this new world. When he meets Talib, that conviction is only solidified.
When Jonah Townsend, the human Talib had turned about a hundred years earlier, re-enters the picture, Talib and Conley’s newfound happiness is threatened. Conley becomes the tool that Jonah uses to get back at Talib and Talib is forced to make a choice. Fight for his own happiness and risk Conley’s life, or put Conley’s safety first and sacrifice what he’s searched and struggled for over two hundred years!

Crossing over to a chaise longue, Talib fell backwards into the cushion, allowing his head to drop heavily on the rest. A humorless chuckle escaped him as he realized his
thoughts had slowed, his anxiety quieted. For a moment he wished for its return, the frantic worry and nervousness a welcome alternative to the emptiness now consuming
Closing his eyes, he tried to clear his mind. It had been selfish of him to text Conley. He should have left things as he had the previous night. It was better for him and definitely better for Conley. Was the longing in his heart more important than the warning in his head? Could he find a happy ending with someone without hurting them or being hurt?
The darkness caused his thoughts to become even more oppressive. Crossing to the edge of the roof, looking down the hill, past the city, across state lines, he knew what he would find if he started walking and didn’t stop. Boston wasn’t too far away, then the Atlantic, and then Europe. A new life, a new start. No one to hurt. No one to disappoint. “No one.”
His own voice startled him. I’m talking to myself now? A longing originated in his heart and grew like a flame licking at dry wood, growing slowly and steadily until it took hold and became a full-bodied fire. Instead of burning, the flame warmed him from within, filling the void which he’d grown too accustomed to living with.
Was it possible? Could he find someone to love? Someone who could accept him for his past and be with him in his future? Someone he could trust himself not to hurt? Was
it really so impossible? Like an old friend, a sensation took hold, perhaps fueled by the fire burning within his heart. Hope, once again, pure and expansive. Reaching to his
outermost cells and extending beyond him, like a force drawing energy in. As the sensation washed over, through, and around him, words began to form in his mind. It’s
time. I’ve waited long enough.

“Yes. I’ve waited long enough.” Confusion shook Talib from his reverie and snapped him squarely into the present. Waited long enough? Where’d that come from? Like
a puzzle piece snapping into place, he realized the words were not his own.

Talib locked onto the thoughts filtering into him. The hope he’d been experiencing was not his, yet it had found him. This innocence and energy did not originate from the
fire burning in his heart…in fact, the fire was not his own. He was receiving these sensations, these feelings, these thoughts, from…Could it be? Did he dare believe? Then
the thoughts solidified into full sentences, into a plan. As Talib stood, he felt his lips pull up at the corners, stronger than anything he could possibly resist. He sat back
down on the chaise and stared at the sky, once again feeling the magic of the stars. All he had to do was wait just a few more minutes.

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