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Monday, April 20, 2015

Fanged buddies can change, too

Few paranormal creatures have gotten as much publicity as vampires in recent years. They’re ubiquitous. From horror, to romance, to young adult fiction, they’ve become the ideal and the threat wrapped in one tragic package. Yet what vampire fiction has gained in notoriety, it’s said to have lost in creepiness. If vampires sparkle, then they’re no longer scary. If they’re more concerned about dating than terrorizing villages, they lose their bite… pardon the pun.
I’m not a fan of things being one way or the other. Much of the criticism levelled at vampire fiction seems to stem from the idea that they’re supposed to remain the Terrifying Other. It’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula in a cape or bust. But our understanding of what makes a villain villainous has changed since the nineteenth century. Surely the vampire myth shouldn’t be restricted to the dangers of the unknown, often in the form of an enigmatic stranger, when there are more interesting evils it could be exploring.
In Courting Treason, vampires are a known entity, a minority both excluded and lauded for its apparent nobility. They’re discussed in absolutes: they’re monsters who groom their victims into uneven partnerships or they’re the uncorrupted Other, a symbol of humanity’s innate grace, beauty, misfortune—take your pick.
An otherwise educated man, Charlie believes he’s been spared that sort of binary thinking. Yet in entering a relationship with Micah, who is both a vampire and something of an anomaly among his own people, Charlie discovers the ugly, venal side of vampiredom as well as the harsh realities that have forced vampires to the outskirts of society. Micah and Charlie soon find themselves confronting prejudices they didn’t know they had, but while they may be willing to work past their issues, the world at large may have other ideas…

Blurb for Courting Treason:
Charlie Estes moved back home to heal a broken heart, but one chance encounter is enough to catapult him into a whirlwind of intrigue, desire, and age-old feuds.
When high school math teacher Charles Estes meets a tall, dark stranger at an exclusive event, he can barely believe his luck. He’s almost reluctant to go home with him for fear of disturbing the mirage. But rather than worry about could-have-beens, Charlie opts to bite the bullet. He has no idea that he’s about to be bitten in return.
Micah is not like other men. He hails from the nearby town of Freeburn—a forbidden enclave populated by vampires and their serfs. Charlie really ought to know better than to get involved with someone like that. If only Micah didn’t keep cropping up all over Charlie’s town like a bad penny. He’s everywhere, in the nearby woods, at the high school where Charlie teaches, even in his dreams.
One night of passion changes everything.
Faced with a murderer on the loose and the resurgent turmoil between their worlds, Charles must soon choose between the life he knows and the promise of a future with Micah.

Excerpt from Courting Treason:
Micah shrugged his shoulders in a painfully human gesture. “I’m not going to explain why I went to the vigil because I think you’re smart enough to figure that one out for yourself. I admit I hadn’t expected to see you there, after our previous run-ins…”
Charlie huffed a breath. If this wasn’t real, then there could be no harm in his admitting that he wasn’t as convinced that vampires were the scum of the earth as the rest of Wellport.
“I wanted to pay my respects.” He shivered, though it wasn’t for the cold. He was wearing his hoodie, the same one he had worn for the charity run. “Murder is murder.” Parroting Val’s words left something to be desired, but the sentiment was sincere.
“Not for most humans.”
“We’re not a perfect race,” Charlie said, with a meditative tilt of the head. “Neither are you.”
It was a dangerous thing to tell a vampire, but Micah took it in stride. He nodded and touched a hand to Charlie’s neck, trailing his thumb down his bobbing Adam’s apple to the V-shaped dip of his collarbones. The touch made Charlie shiver. He tried not to lose the thread of the conversation as Micah said, “No, we’re certainly not. But lately we’ve been living on the fringes while you enjoy all the spoils…does that seem right to you?”
Charlie shook his head. He might have tried to put the sentiment into words were it not for the sudden hum of need pulsating through him. He wanted to run. He wanted to put his hands on Micah’s shoulders and reel him in close.
He didn’t have to wait long to get his way.

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