Author Archives: Sandra Giles

About Sandra Giles

Cambridge fantasy author with a great love for music (listening to it, not creating it). Inspired largely by the adventures of late, which have been taking place around Europe. Sometimes it would be nice for my fictional characters to remain home, but I often find them hiding in my luggage.

Gumbee Fantasy Authors ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 6 Sandra Giles

When this topic was first discussed a while back, I joked that I could use a scene where Jared is chasing himself round a garden. It’s a genuine scene, and not quite as strange as it sounds. Because I’m a woman of my word, I’m going to include said scene in this. It technically does demonstrate pursuit, just not in the normal way of someone chasing someone else on foot or in a vehicle. This is more of a hunt, as are most of my scenes of this nature. This particular example comes from Proving Negatives and shows Jared following a scent that he is sure will lead him to a killer, and he is equally certain that he is actually the killer. So he is effectively chasing himself around a garden. By this point I’m sure none of you expect something normal from me. Here we go.

The stench was unbearable as I neared it, and it seemed to be coming from the surrounding carpet rather than the body. It moved away from the body and out through the back door, like a trail inviting me on. It felt extremely foolish to follow it, as though I were the naïve woman in a typical scary film, calling out into the darkness and chasing after chaos. But I’m a vampire, and this was a trail of decay. I had an image of a zombie in my mind, one rotting all over the place and leading similar dead creatures onto the next life. And then I remembered what a true raised corpse was like, and that I am friends with one, and the image faded. I was back in the doorway of my cousin’s house, following a trail into the night.

I needn’t have worried, because the trail led to the back of the garden and then grew weak as it met weeds and the hideout of a hedgehog. As I tried to get a closer look at this, I disrupted the wildlife and a series of animals took off into the night. I hesitated as I realised that the scent led over the fence. Well, it would have been too easy to find the cause lying in a clump of weeds. I knew, deep down, that this wasn’t going to happen. Not because it was easy, but because the attacker was stumbling around in the dark looking for himself. This trail was obviously being used in the same way as the flowery fog back at our house. My true fear was that the trail would grow so weak that what it was here to cover would become uncovered, and that it would be me – my scent – And would loop around and lead back to the road where I had woken. I thought this, but couldn’t quite bring myself to truly believe it. I was desperate for any other answer. Because I didn’t do this. I couldn’t have, it was absurd. And yet I couldn’t prove I hadn’t done it. How can you prove a negative? The most I could do was prove that someone else did do it.

Perhaps now I should try a more typical scene to demonstrate my…uh…talents. The whole of my first novel, Plead Insanity, features this particular topic. The novel is basically about Jared being chased by the police or by his fellow vampires. He also involves himself in a form of chase, though again it’s more like a hunt, as he tries to locate various hostages whilst he himself is still being chased. So without further ado, here is my full novel! Okay, I’m joking. I’ve taken three sections that show Jared’s escape from prison and the police pursuing him. The first portion is his initial escape, shown below.

The fall was over a lot quicker than expected. One minute there was air rushing past me, the next I had landed crouched on the ground and was just feet from the nearest officers. If they hadn’t been so stunned by my sudden appearance then they would’ve had me, but luckily I recovered first and ran from the prison. I ran until my surroundings were blurred and the only sound I could hear was the wind in my ears. I made the mistake of looking back and ended up stumbling. In that moment I was able to register that I was indeed being chased and that they had also closed the gap between us when I tripped. I regained momentum and ran flat out until I reached a large wall that presumably surrounded the entire prison. I fought my body not to slow and ended up running headlong through the wall. My vision burst into stars from the impact so I closed my eyes and used my other senses to keep running. I had managed to run onto another grassy area. I could feel it underfoot, but unlike the grass in the prison grounds this was long and overgrown and harder to run flat out on.

I slowed accordingly but didn’t stop running. There were distant shouts and orders back at the prison. They seemed to have stopped some feet back, probably near the Jared-shaped hole in the wall.

A while later and the only sounds were birds and other wildlife. I opened my eyes a fraction to see if my vision was back and found that I was seconds from crashing headfirst into a tree. I veered off course and slowed down some more. Only then did I look back for my pursuers. They were nowhere in sight. I looked towards a vast gathering of trees and changed direction towards them. Once far enough among them that the field was no longer visible, I grabbed the branch of a nearby tree and pulled myself up.

So far, so good, as Jared is able to remain away from the police and seems to have the advantage of speed on his side. He is soon joined by his father, which can only be a good thing, right? They not-so-wisely seek refuge in a small place not far from the prison, where the police soon come calling. The following shows Jared and Ezra’s escape from their place of apparent safety.

Ezra mumbled a quick “follow me” and jumped onto a small desk and leapt through the ceiling. The noise from downstairs was so loud that I didn’t bother thinking about it and just followed his lead. Once on the roof I had a moment to register that this was the one place that the cops couldn’t see from the ground, then Ezra pulled me into a crouching position. I really don’t have the hang of the whole master-criminal thing yet.

I took Ezra’s lead without being asked this time and started searching for the best escape route. This meant relying on sense of smell and hearing to pinpoint each policeman, as there was no way to look for them without them spotting us.

The men were widely spread around the bungalow but there was a weak link near the sound of flowing water.

“We’ll need to jump into the river,” I hissed at Ezra. “If we swim away then we’re more likely to lose them then on foot. Chances are they have enough squad cars to run us down otherwise.”

He looked at me for a brief moment with a smile playing his lips before answering. “I agree. The conditions of the water will drain what little life we both have. Whilst it’s happening we will be slowed down, but once dead we’ll be able to swim underwater until we lose them.”

I wasn’t very comfortable with the fact that we would be ‘dying’ once more, but ignored that small factor and nodded. He took it as the approval it was and then motioned for me to follow once more before plummeting over the edge of the roof. I followed in a heartbeat and was soon submerged in icy water for the second time.

Ezra was right; the water started draining me immediately. It hardly had time to slow me down before I was back to being the walking dead. Or should I say swimming dead? Okay, no time for attempted humour, the police had somehow noticed two men jumping off the roof and were shooting into the water as we swam. I was really getting sick of being fired at.

I spent the next half hour watching Ezra swimming in front of me. He swam so gracefully, it didn’t really match his personality. He managed to move along effortlessly with just his feet lightly propelling him forwards, almost like a mermaid. As effortless as it looked, he must’ve been putting a lot of power into it as I could barely keep up. I tried to master the same technique as it caused minimal ripples in the water, meaning that it was harder for the police to spot, but all I managed to do was slow us down and miss getting shot by a fraction.

After a few more miles Ezra stopped swimming and turned to face me. He spoke with a stream of bubbles issuing from his mouth but I was still able to make the words out clearly; “Is it safe to resurface?” I found it strange that he was asking me, but searched for the answer nevertheless. I could hear that there was somebody walking along just feet from us, but other than that there was just the sound of leaves and grass being swayed by a light wind. I took a moment to be certain that the person was walking away and to ponder in amazement that I was able to hear everything so clearly even through the murky water.

Once the sounds of the walker had disappeared I swam cautiously to the water’s surface and peered out. We were surrounded by a gravelly path and grass but there were no people about. I swam to the edge of the river and climbed out onto the embankment. Seconds later Ezra was straightening up beside me.

So they’ve made it this far without any real mishap (unless you count being killed, shot at, and all the rest of it as a form of mishap, that is). Now all they have to do is keep moving and go into hiding. What am I saying? Vampires don’t hide from humans, or at least these vampires don’t. But short of fighting the entire human race, what can Jared to do? Ah yes, fake his own death. Is it the norm for scenes of this nature to end in such a way? Generally there might be a fight to the death, or even a touch of suicide to keep from the reach of those who have been so desperately avoided. I guess this is kind of a mixture of those. And whose idea was it? Ezra’s. I’m sure Jared would now disagree with my earlier claim of their reunion being a good thing. Below is the result of this particular perusal. You’ll have to read the novel if you want to know more. [Insert evil cackle here].

By the time we had located a working payphone the sun had risen and people were passing us on the streets to get to work and school. Ezra was the one to step inside and make the phone call as I refused to turn myself in to the police. I walked away so that I could no longer hear him talking low and urgently in the phone booth, which put me around the corner at the end of the street he was on. Even then, if I concentrated, I could still hear the conversation. I tried not to concentrate but it seemed I couldn’t help myself. Sighing, I continued walking away.

Moments later Ezra had caught up with me and seemed to be having some kind of internal struggle. In the end he gave up and turned to me.

“I’ll be staying in a B&B near the graveyard. I would stay with you to see if this works well but I have every faith that you’ll pull it off, and it wouldn’t do us any good at all if I jumped in to try and spare you some of the agony.” He patted me gruffly on the shoulder. Manly. “Whatever you may think, I would jump in to stop it if I could. I really don’t enjoy seeing you in pain. Humiliating yourself, sure, but no parent wants to see their children suffer.”

Strangely, I believed him, and I swear that I saw the glistening of unshed tears in his eyes before he turned away to walk back along the path we had just come down.

I continued walking along the street until I found the bench that Ezra had told the police I was sitting on. I sat down and contemplated whether buying a newspaper to read would be too cliché. In the end I decided not to bother and just made it look as though I was enjoying the wintry sun. People shivered as they passed. How did that man and his daughter manage to sleep undressed at this time of year? Most humans would freeze.

Buttoning up the jacket I had thankfully not ruined too much when escaping prison I sat back and tried to act more human in such temperatures.

I knew when the police were coming because the sirens split through the quiet street. I never really understand why the police will always insist on putting sirens on to warn criminals away. If it’s to get through traffic then why don’t they just turn the lights on?

I opened my eyes a fraction to see that people on the streets were looking around for the source of the noise, but none of them were staring at me. I’m obviously less famous than I thought. Can’t say I’m disappointed really.

The police arrived with many squealing brakes and shouts not to move. I warily put my hands up, palms out, so that they could see I wasn’t carrying any offensive weapon. Then I remembered that I was supposed to provoke them into shooting me. Looking around, I couldn’t see anywhere to make a clean break for it without them hesitating due to civilians.

In the end I just decided to try and cause them as much pain as they were about to cause me. I grabbed hold of the nearest officer and hit him with enough strength to make him pass out. When I felt an arm reach out to cuff me I lashed out and winded him. It only took a couple more blows before the first shot rang out. It grazed my arm but somehow didn’t seem like a killing blow. If I played dead right then I think they would consider doing a post-mortem just because it would be such a pathetic wound to die from.

I managed to hurt a few more of the officers before somebody tried to shoot again. This time I looked around in time to see the barrel of the gun directed towards my head just moments before the trigger was pulled. There was no way I was letting that bullet hit its target. A chest wound would be bad enough. I really didn’t fancy having to heal my brain and skull. It’d probably turn me as crazy as the punishment that Ezra mentioned would.

I thought about just grabbing hold of one of the guns and “accidentally” shooting it point blank into my own chest but decided against it. As tiresome as it was to keep fighting, it was nice to be doing something to delay the excruciating pain of having my life drained.

It didn’t take long before somebody tried for the killing blow once more. Unfortunately it was a seemingly inexperienced officer who tried it this time, and his aim was way off, spiralling towards the chest of another policeman. Not thinking, I dove in front of the man it was heading for and felt it make contact with my heart.

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Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Humour, wit and character conversation: Number 7 Sandra Giles

Alrighty then. Humour. An interesting topic, and one that doesn’t really go hand in hand with novels that have elements as dark as my own. Not that it stops me. Humour creeps into most, if not all, of my novels. Accidentally, of course. I never intend to be funny. In fact, most of the time I’ll read through one of my novels and find it surprising that there’s so much humour. Okay, so most people probably don’t see it. My sense of humour has always been a bit…odd. It makes me a bit apprehensive about finding and sharing pieces that I deem amusing, as you could well find yourself scratching your head, wondering why I chose these pieces. I wanted to take portions from each of my narrators and demonstrate how each of them can be humorous, then realised I shouldn’t introduce the narrators that aren’t going to hit the shelves for quite some time. So I instead chose a short piece from Aled, and a longer piece from Jared. The one below is from A Lost Fantasy, and demonstrates the light banter between the characters. They’re closer than family and like to make fun of one another a fair bit. It might not be laugh-out-loud funny, but I like to think it’ll bring a smile to a reader’s face. If it doesn’t, can you just humour me by smiling anyway?

“You went into labour and decided to come here?” Mark said, outraged. “And you think I’m slow?”

“Hey, don’t blame me. It was our baby who started all of this. Actually, technically it was you who started it.”

“How did you figure that out?” Mark asked.

“Well, I distinctly remember that just over eight months ago there was a particularly fun night involving cream and-”

“Okay, that’s enough detail. It takes two to tango.”

“Yes, and it takes one to put on a condom. I trusted you.”

“You trusted me to use protection when you’re on the pill? That’s a new one.”

“Well you know I’m always forgetting to take it.”

“Then we were bound to have a baby at some point. I can’t use protection when I’m a wolf.”

“No, but you pull-”

“So what are you two going to call your child?” I asked, cutting through their discussion much to the aggravation of the others.

“I was enjoying that!” Dylan said. “Tell us more about that wild night.”

“It was the last time he went anywhere near me,” Ella said indignantly. “After that, he seemed to think that getting too intimate would hurt the baby. What a ponce.”

“I seem to remember you saying that it didn’t matter because you could please yourself better than I ever could,” Mark said. We all laughed as he realised what he had said. “That didn’t help me look good, did it?”

“Nope,” Ian said. “And God knows you need all the help you can get.”

“Thanks a lot.”

“I was thinking of Anita,” Ella said.

“Not good, mate. You’ve turned her gay,” Ian said. Mark hit him.

“I meant for the baby.”

The following piece was taken from Proving Negatives. I should say there’s quite a big spoiler for anyone wanting to read the book, but it’s all in the names. Just…forget the names, okay? This piece has been chopped up to keep it as short as possible while still keeping the general plot. If you’ve been following these posts, you might recognise the setting from my part on love scenes. This precedes part of the sample I gave then, so Jared is trapped in a location unknown to him, and with company he’d rather be without. I chose this as I found myself laughing a fair bit when editing it recently. Since then I’ve read it through too many times to see much humour, but I hope I didn’t cut it all away. It mostly shows Jared’s sense of humour, which is more like my own than any other character’s. Warning: this piece may cause the occasional eye-roll and exasperated sigh.

“Hey,” I said abruptly, causing Andrew to jump a foot in the air. “Impressive. You’d do well in the Olympics. Hurdles, long jumps…Can you run fast?”

I made to chase him and he skirted around the cage, yelping as he ran into me. It was truly pathetic. This man is definitely more human than supernatural. I don’t know why anyone was bothering to hunt him.

“What?” Andrew asked hysterically. “You make me sick!”

“I was only going to ask you something. You didn’t have to go berserk on me.”

“Well I’m finding it hard to stay in control when you’re prowling about the place and shouting out.”

“I’m standing perfectly still, not prowling. You need to get a grip if you ever want out of here.” Just to make him more comfortable, I lowered myself to the ground in one slow movement. It would take a millisecond to jump back up again, but at least the illusion of safety was there.

“That’s okay for you to say; you can’t die of starvation.”

“You think you’ll die of starvation before I become crazed with thirst? Interesting.”

“See? You’re mental! I want out of here!”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I just did,” he said, alarmed. “We’ve only just started talking. When did you expect me to bring it up? I was hardly going to tell you when I was working against you. Now the only person I’m working against is Lance, but don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not siding with you. Not permanently, anyway. If you can get us out of here, great, but I can’t trust another vampire.”

“News flash, I’ve never done anything to you, it was the other way round.”

“You still going on about that?”

I opened my mouth, closed it, and settled for shaking my head in disbelief.

I got up off the ground and studied the cage we were in. It didn’t look too tough, but apparently was. I charged at it, hoping to bring it down, yet only managed to bring myself down. I fell heavily to the ground and was dazed enough to need a moment to recover. When I had, I tried a series of kicks to each plastic wall, hoping to find a weak link. That didn’t work so I moved onto punching, and then pushing, and then swearing at it. Not that I expected that to get me anywhere.

“Lance has the key,” Andrew said unhelpfully.

“Thanks, I know,” I muttered.

“He could let us out.”

I spared him an irritated glance before turning back to the walls. “I don’t think he’s going to help us somehow.”

“No, but maybe someone else would. We need a key, and there are two strong vampires out there who would want to help you. They’ll take him down and unlock the door.”

“You truly are an idiot,” I said.

“Or I’ve learned to think outside the box.”

I ignored him and traced my fingers along the edges of each wall, searching for a fissure that could be our only ticket out. Anything to be away from this lunatic. When I could find nothing of use, I sighed and spoke through gritted teeth. “If you have any ideas, I’d be happy to hear them.”

“If you were murdered, wouldn’t you want your killer to be trapped with you for eternity so that he could suffer?”

“I can’t be murdered so it’s a moot point.”

“I’m talking figuratively.”

“You’re talking nonsense.”

“If you’re going to be like that, I won’t tell you how to get out.”

“And if you don’t tell me, you’re going to die a slow and painful death. By the time starvation takes its hold, you’ll be begging me to bleed you dry.”

“Then I’d be dead.”

“That’s the general idea.”

“And I’d be a ghost.”

“If I murder you, yes. Or even if you blame someone. I guess you’d blame Lance, seeing as he put you in this cage. But it’s all very complicated and I’m not really sure what makes a ghost.”

“So if I die, I’d be another lost soul wondering the streets, waiting for my chance to take vengeance on the one responsible.”

“Vampires can’t die.”

“I know that, but humans don’t.”

“What are you-?” A light switched on in my head and I managed to figure out what he was getting at. “If there are ghosts around here, how will they get at Lance?”

“Through us, of course.” He smiled and looked crazier than ever. “If they help us, we can kill him for them. They’ll have his ghost to play with forever. I’m sure they’d help us for that.”

He hummed a little, and I felt a strong urge to hit him. Not to dominate him or any vampire crap, but just because he was bugging the hell out of me. If he ends up dying, it won’t be due to starvation. I was sure of that. “So what’s the plan once one shows up? It’s not as though they can get the keys from him. They’re dead.”

“Thanks for stating the obvious. I thought you had a plan?”

“You heard my plan. Now it’s your turn, genius.”

“Well, you said it yourself; we need vampires. Emilia and Ezra live a couple of streets away, according to you. If we can get one of the ghosts to pay them a visit, they can help us.”

“See, I’m not just a pretty face.”

“You didn’t even come up with it!”

“No, but the idea was there. It just needed formulating.” I slammed both of my fists against the barrier in frustration, and he jumped once more. “No need to get aggressive.”

“Oh shut up.”

He did, which was surprising.

“Jared?”

“Hmm?”

“I’m sorry.” He sighed heavily. “I underestimated you. I jumped to conclusions after seeing you take down James, and I really wish I hadn’t.”

“You would say that; you’re in a cage with me.” I smiled slightly anyway.

“There is that, but I am genuinely sorry. I was too fixated on my own problems and seeing you acting so strong, well, I was jealous. I thought if I could beat you, for real, I could prove something to myself as well as to those trying to collect me.”

“If it helps, you never would’ve won.”

“I know, but it’s a nice thought.”

“My head on a platter’s a nice thought? Thanks for that.”

“You know what I mean.”

I did, which probably made me no saner than him. Ah well, who needs sanity anyway? It’s highly overrated.

[Queue the arrival of a much-needed, albeit useless, ghost]

Undoubtedly bored with the goings-on of the living world, the ghost walked back through the wall she’d come through and we were left alone once more. I informed Andrew of this, and he slumped in agitation.

“How long until the next one?” he asked.

“How am I supposed to know? I don’t have a timetable!”

“Well just don’t mess the next time up, okay?”

“You try talking to the mentally unstable, it’s not exactly easy.” And I was having plenty of practice.

“You forget that I’ve seen inside your head when you’re at your most vulnerable. I know exactly what a disturbed mind looks like.”

“Thanks for that. And I can hardly forget.” I kicked the wall in frustration and ignored Andrew as he jumped into the air again. He got slowly to his feet and started pacing the enclosure.

[Queue the arrival of a second ghost, this one deaf]

“Has he gone to get help?” Andrew asked excitedly.

“No, he’s still here, looking at me in puzzlement. I don’t know how to get rid of him.”

“Where is he standing?”

I pointed towards the ghost, and Andrew tried to pinpoint his location before performing some very intelligent sign language of his own. He gave him the middle finger, a clear ‘fuck off’, and I tried really hard not to laugh. It wasn’t funny, not really, but I’ve always had an inappropriate sense of humour. I tried to apologise to the ghost, but gave up and let him walk off. I kind of wished he didn’t go, because even a deaf ghost was better than being with just Andrew.

“He’s gone,” I said, as Andrew moved on to more obscene sign language. He didn’t leave his spot by the invisible wall, too immersed in finding new ways to be immature. He was breathing onto the wall and writing rude words, along with drawing some imaginative pictures. When he wrote SOS in large letters, I realised this would have been an adept way of communicating with our deaf friend. It didn’t make me like Andrew any more.

So where did this leave me with Andrew? Well, maybe he’d prove himself useful. I tried not to laugh at that, especially when the man in question was standing hunched over and calling ‘here ghosty, ghosty’ to thin air. I know one thing for sure; I’ll take no pleasure in killing him. Well, unless it comes down to needing to feed. There is always pleasure to be had then.

“Can you please tell him to shut up? He’s driving me crazy!”

I jumped at the sound of the voice, which was close to my ear. I’d been so close to sleeping this time that I was more annoyed than happy with the appearance of a seemingly-sane ghost. This one was younger than the last, with a plain face that most people would forget in an instant. His attention was on Andrew, eyes narrowed as the call to all ghosts was still being attempted.

“Andrew, shut up, one’s here,” I said.

“It worked!” he said triumphantly. “Where is it? Is it sane?”

“Should I be insulted?” the ghost asked me.

“Nah, just ignore him, I try to,” I said. Andrew looked affronted but I tried my best to take my own advice. It was hard. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see a dead person.”

“Ditto,” he replied, smiling.

[The ghost] continued chuckling to himself as he left through the wall. I decided that, rather than face Andrew, I’d act a little unhinged myself. I continued to talk as though a ghost was present, just to put off talking to my actual companion. The problem was that I couldn’t keep up the stream for long.

“Just tell him to get on with it,” Andrew said in annoyance.

“Yeah, I know,” I said, staring at nothingness. “He’s a pain like that.”

“Hey!” Andrew said, jumping in front of me so that I could clearly see his frustration.

I couldn’t ignore him when he was so close, and had no idea what to say to my invisible friend, so had to settle for saying my final goodbyes to Mr. Nobody and actually acknowledging the fact that Andrew was in front of me.

“He’s gone. Happy?” I said angrily.

“Will he bring someone along to help?”

“Who knows? Maybe.” He looked as though he wanted me to say more, or he wanted to say more, and I just wasn’t up to any long conversations with the likes of him. Not when I was so exhausted. “Listen, do you mind if I go to sleep for a while? Hopefully our next caller will be Emilia, and you’ll have no problem seeing her.”

“Fine, if you must.”

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Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Peril and tension: Number 7, Sandra Giles

I’ve never been the organised type, so I’m afraid this is going to be a rushed piece from me. Not the writing itself, but the choice of which scene to use. The below portion was taken from A Lost Fantasy, and was the first that came to mind when I thought of peril and tension. Now I’m not one to drag things out, so any tension built is usually short-lived. This is probably the only piece where that’s not true. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride, to be honest. This portion of the novel switches between three issues. One is the decapitation and rehabilitation of Aled’s love-interest, Leah. Another is the terrible timing of Ella going into labour, which is shown in-part below. The third point is the appearance of two vampires who have been out to hurt Aled from the very beginning. Oh, Aled is my main character in this book. I usually provide pieces from Jared’s novels, but thought it was time to introduce my lovely doctor into the mix. He’s generally much more likeable, so when I shove him into horrible situations there tends to be a lot more sympathy for the guy. He handles this situation pretty well. He keeps a cool head and is able to guide his pack (yes, he’s a werewolf) through it all, though I won’t say whether he is successful. This piece shows him trapped with the majority of his pack whilst another member betrays him by helping the vampires. The aim of the vampires is to torment the pack by bringing Ella’s baby into the world and then destroying it in front of them all, whilst possibly killing the mother. It’s not really made clear, but they are all terrified. That fits nicely with the theme of peril and tension, right? I sure hope so!

Through the door came Summer, looking petrified at what was happening, yet determinedly avoiding all of our eyes. With her was Ella, bound and bleeding from the knife hilt protruding from her waist. Beside me Mark let out a whimper through his gag.

“That was quick,” Acacia said, looking over the bleeding form as she was lowered to the ground. Unluckily for Ella, she was still conscious. Her eyes sought us and tears fell rapidly down her face. I could see the hope diminishing from her eyes and could do nothing to rekindle it.

“She was here already,” Summer said. “I had to strike her quickly because she took me by surprise. I don’t think the baby’s dead.”

“Perfect,” Ambrose said happily. “Now they can watch it die.”

“I’m not getting it out! Won’t it be enough to stab her again?”

“No.”

“Don’t worry,” Acacia said, “she’s close to delivering. Can’t you smell it?” Summer shook her head. “Maybe wolves aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.”

“So what do I do?” Summer asked anxiously.

“Just wait for nature to take its course. What was she doing here anyway? Was it an ambush?”

“I don’t think so. She just wanted to help.”

“Is that so?” Acacia approached Ella and retrieved the gag from her mouth. “Did you come to help us?”

“No,” Ella spat. “I would never help you. Summer, why are you doing this? You chose to leave, didn’t you?” For a moment Ella’s eyes flickered to me, obviously under the impression I had lied.

“Yes,” Summer said quietly. “And I’m glad I did. You’re all sadistic.”

“You’re in no position to call us that,” Ella said angrily. She opened her mouth to continue, but instead her head pivoted backwards and she clenched her hands into fists. Mark moved uneasily, but I tried to hold him back. It was useless considering the circumstances, but still I tried. The best I could do was move my body in front of his. When Ella was sitting normally once more, the tension in Mark’s body was released.

“What happened?” Summer asked.

“Contraction,” Ella panted. “They come and go.” She seemed to realise who had asked and suddenly became angry. “Why? Are you that eager to get this baby out of me? Well, you’re going to have to wait because they’re not that regular yet, so piss off and leave me be.”

The room went quiet as everyone watched Ella. The vampires were looking eager at the prospect of the baby arriving, whereas Summer looked slightly sick. I didn’t blame her. I was feeling green myself.

I used the distraction of Ella’s next contraction to move into the centre of the group within the cage. The others moved aside to let me past, all trying to shift subtly. Despite everything, I couldn’t help but feel strong affection for the pack. They could have stood stubbornly in my path, ensuring that I was up front and liable to get hurt if the vampires decided to attack, but they trusted that I wasn’t leaving them to take pain for me. They had enough faith in me to put themselves in the line of fire, and trusted that I could help them. It was in their eyes, and it was that more than anything that made me more determined to get everybody out of this. Including Summer.

The gag in my mouth was hard to dislodge, but it wasn’t impossible. It was just a matter of manoeuvring my head against the bound hands of Joshua, who was closest. He tried to work with me to pull the gag out, but it was difficult for him to do much more than move his hands slightly to one side or the other. After some time of this, he stopped, realising that it wasn’t helping.

I had never played hook-a-duck as a child, but figured this was much like that game in some ways. There were only a couple of places on my gag that would allow something as large as Joshua’s smallest finger into the space, and it was very difficult to achieve what was needed. After much meandering and deliberation I was able to hook part of the fabric and pull backwards. Joshua stumbled slightly, and the vampires looked over to see what had caused it.

There was no way to hide the fact I had removed the gag, so the best I could do was work quickly at freeing Joshua’s hands. I couldn’t do my own, and his were nearest.

“Keep at it and I’ll cut the throat of this pretty thing,” Acacia said. I straightened up to see Olivia being held vast in Acacia’s hands, the edge of a small blade digging into her flesh. Naturally, I stopped gnawing at Joshua’s bonds.

“Good boy,” she said, smiling. “Do it again and there’ll be no warning. I like my blood pure, but will make an exception here.”

A series of growls issued from my surrounding pack. The knife dug in a little deeper.

“Stop it,” I said. “Don’t give her an excuse to hurt us.”

The growling stopped and Acacia let go of Olivia. Oliver’s eyes narrowed as his sister gasped behind her gag, but he made no attempt to resume the pointless growling.

“It must be nice to be in complete control of your pups,” Ambrose said. “Can you make them do parlour tricks?”

“As long as he keeps his mouth shut, I don’t care what he can do,” Acacia said. “One word from you and I’ll answer the age-old question; are werewolves immortal?”

Ella moaned as another contraction swept through her. Ambrose looked on in delight, but Acacia was too busy watching us to enjoy the moment. We were running out of time.

“Summer?” I said, taking a step forward so that the pack could move closer to safety.

“I’m warning you,” Acacia said, her voice far from angry. She was loving every moment of this.

“Get the knife,” I said, not taking my eyes away from the vampire before me.

“I already have it,” Acacia said. “Are you that eager for me to use it?”

She let out a roar of frustration as Summer tumbled into her. I had hoped for a more subtle approach, but it was the best we were going to get. Summer came away from Acacia with the knife in hand and blood spilling from a cut on her cheek.

“Now keep hold of it,” I instructed. “Be as mad as you want at us, but do not use it on any member of your pack. That knife is purely for the vampires, understand?”

Summer nodded, but the hatred in her eyes was directed at me and not the vampires.

Ambrose stood in the centre of the room looking utterly stunned, whilst Acacia was regaining her swagger ready for the next attack.

“You little bitch, you double crossed us,” Acacia said.

“No I didn’t, I swear!” Summer said. “He’s controlling me.”

“You left the pack. He can’t control you.”

“Actually, she never officially left,” I said. “And even if she had, I never would have sought to hurt her. None of us would. Well, maybe Hannah, but it wouldn’t be anything too extreme.” Summer actually smiled, albeit weakly. “Now, drive the knife into Acacia’s throat and don’t stop until she’s unconscious.”

Summer looked petrified at the very thought, but did as was told nonetheless. Acacia barely defended herself against the oncoming attack, too taken aback. The two women fell to the ground and Ambrose stood and gawped at the fight. The knife was jolting out of Acacia’s neck, but the vampire was still fighting fit. Summer was driving the knife further and further into the wound whilst Acacia tried desperately to dislodge both the knife and Summer. She tried to say something, probably a demand aimed at Ambrose, but her mouth filled with blood. Ambrose looked on with something close to lust on his face.

“Summer, move!” I shouted. She managed to get out of the way a moment before Ambrose struck. I had been wrong to think he was aiming to hurt Summer, as the only thing on his mind seemed to be food. He pulled the knife out of Acacia’s neck and began to drink from the wound. Even as the female vampire took in her final breaths, the feeding didn’t slow. The blood must have been truly irresistible if he was able to make room for it that hadn’t been there for Oliver’s.

“Stamp on his head,” I said, more as a suggestion than a demand. Summer did so, knocking him off Acacia and onto the ground. She continued to pulverise his head into the ground until I instructed her to stop. His skull had collapsed into itself slightly and blood poured from somewhere between his head and the ground.

Before either Summer or I could be congratulated for our ‘team effort’, a moan from Ella brought everyone’s attention pivoting back to her. Not even a gasp could be finished before she slumped to the ground, unconscious. More blood encircled her than any of the vampires.

I’ll leave it there seeing as it’s a nice cliff-hanger and the end of the chapter. The following pages follow the progress of Aled’s attempts to bring new life into the world whilst ensuring that Ella’s isn’t lost in the process. I won’t say how that pans out for the pack, but let’s just say it’s not exactly smooth-sailing ahead.

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How Gumbee Fantasy Writers’ characters interact with their worlds. Number 6: Sandra Giles

It’s no secret that Jared struggles to find his way in the ‘normal’ world, and he similarly has issues with the supernatural side of things. He spends four novels battling with himself, uncertain as he is about his emotions and his lust for causing pain. It’s an exhausting time, I can tell you. To start with he is totally clueless about his true nature. The warning signs are all there, but his mind is too logical to jump to the fact he is a vampire. So for years before we even meet him he is incapable of fitting in with society, and it makes him something of a jerk.He loathes everyone and everything, blaming them for his confusion and lashing out at the one person who cares for him; his mother. It’s when he discovers his true nature that he becomes more likeable, though it’s marginally. Love him or hate him, it’s hard not to admire him on some level.

No matter what life throws at him, he’s able to remain as decent a vampire as they come, all the while clinging onto a rather strange sense of humour that crops up throughout. I don’t know if this goes very far in explaining how he interacts with his world. I guess it shows he is torn between both sides. He kills, acts and feeds like a vampire, but he also feels human emotions that are lost to others of his kind. He is the brink between worlds, which is partly why he is later chosen to be a kind of go-between for humans and vampires. But more on that another time. I think the best way of demonstrating his character and how he gets on in his world is with an excerpt, as I’m not really sure how best to explain it. This piece has been taken from Proving Negatives, as it’s the novel where Jared finally comes to terms with himself and shows how much he struggles to reach that point. This particular portion shows him in the grounds of a female prison as he attempts to get answers from his incarcerated cousin. At this point he is questioning her humanity, and wondering whether he is actually the only vampire in the family. It shows the switch between his vampire side and his human side, as well as demonstrating how he acts, which is in a fairly predatory fashion.

I was sidetracked by the appearance of Lucy, who had come searching for the source of the commotion. She was in the minority, which seemed strange for a place as dull as this. Either she has exceptionally good hearing, or the other women figured this had something to do with the beaten woman and didn’t want to get involved. Because I wasn’t entirely sure, I stopped to inhale her scent once more. Maybe not all vampires have as strong a scent as others. It was worth double-checking.

 “Where’s your partner in crime?” Lucy asked as I tried to figure out a way of getting closer to her. “Given you the slip?”

“No, she’s around here somewhere. We’re not inseparable.”

 “You’re a funny one, you know that?”

 “I have noticed, yeah.” I realised she was being entirely too serious for my liking, so hastily continued. “I was brought up to be cautious. It makes me act a bit slower. I tend to analyse every situation.” That hopefully explained why I had taken my time over shaking her hand earlier.

 “Well you need that kind of caution in a place like this.” She shuddered visibly. “I hate it here. Everyone’s so fierce and on the defence. Most people are here for actual crimes, you know. They’re not all like me, an innocent accused of murder. It gives me space though, which I’m grateful of. I stopped denying my charges the moment I realised it was the only thing standing between me and a face like mincemeat.”

 “You strike me as someone who can take care of herself,” I said slowly, stepping forward in a way that could’ve been interpreted as a test of wills. She stood her ground, and I stepped even closer. I hoped she wouldn’t read too much into it. I didn’t fancy getting too cosy with this stranger.

 “I can, but in the real world.” She didn’t sound convinced, and I remembered that her husband had beaten her. “This place is completely different. It messes with your head, you know?”

 “No, I don’t. Thankfully any time I’ve spent in prison has been very brief. I didn’t get too used to it, thank god.” I stepped even closer so that we were almost touching. She was fairly short, so to actually scent her I’d have to crouch down. I couldn’t think of a subtle way of doing that.

 “What were you in prison for?” she asked curiously, her pulse speeding up in a taunting fashion. I stared at it for a while, and answered without looking at her face.

“Same as you. Murder.”

“Oh? I take it you were released without charge. Either that or you’ve aged well. I mean, a life sentence would put you into your thirties, at least. Unless you were very young.”

“I was released.” Not on purpose, but escaping and being released are pretty similar, right? “I’d never killed a soul at the time.”

“What?” She stepped back, away from me, and I finally tore my eyes away from her pulse. It was jumping madly. I could hear the panicked rhythm of it. It was quite distracting. “At the time? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means what it means,” I said vaguely, stepping up to her again. I really liked that she was scared, and loved that she was trapped. There was an escape route if she ran off to her right, but I could easily stop that. In fact, in one swift movement I could have her neck severed in two and her blood completely to myself.

“Can you give me some space?” Lucy asked as I hungrily searched her face.

“Sorry,” I said, and meant it. I had every intention of backing up, but then tried to calm myself by taking a deep breath, and suddenly her scent was all I could think of. The blood was calling to me, and I was afraid to move. If I did, it wouldn’t be away from her.

The pulse in her throat was banging furiously against her skin, trying to leave and still remain intact. My eyes kept darting between that and her petrified face. It was all so wonderful, I couldn’t look away. I drank in her fear like I wanted to drink in her blood. It has never been like this before. I’d been far more interested in feeding than anything else. This desire to cause fear was quite worrying, yet I couldn’t be anything other than happy about it.

“Guard!” Lucy yelled desperately. “Someone! Anyone, please!”

That was all I needed to take the plunge. I grabbed her head and yanked it to the side, causing her to shriek in pain. To shut her up I put my mouth to her neck and bled the noise out of her. She was unconscious faster than anyone I’ve fed from before. I had a feeling she’d fainted from fear, and that pleased me. I drew the blood from her throat until her pulse faded. Only then did I pull away, but it wasn’t out of choice. As I pulled away, some of her flesh came with me.

Her life ended and I felt nothing but pleasure.

I struggled against the person who held me, but they were too strong. I was being carried out of the building at a speed much too fast to be human. I feared attack, the monster I’d become rearing its ugly head and finding threats and reasons to kill. As the prison wall was jumped over as easily as if it were the smallest of hurdles, I used the height to unbalance my captor. We both fell as I moved abruptly, and we landed painfully on the ground. At least we were out of the prison grounds.

“You lunatic, what the hell d’you think you’re playing at?” my captor demanded in a voice so familiar that I was brought abruptly to my senses. I got unsteadily to my feet and offered a hand to Emilia, who was looking at me reproachfully and had blood seeping steadily from a wound on her head. She ignored my hand and got slowly to her feet. “Well?” she demanded once back on my level.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it was you,” I said, putting my hand to her head and swiping away the blood. I had a mad urge to lick my fingers clean of it, but instead wiped my hand on my jeans.

“You were really quite frightening, you know that?”

“Sorry. I just lost control, I guess. I didn’t mean to-” Oh shit, what exactly had I done? I turned back towards the prison and was about to run back when Emilia took my hand and pulled me in the opposite direction. “Did I just kill a woman?”

“Possibly,” she said, tugging at my hand hard enough to leave a mark.

“Fuck.”

“You could say that.” She smiled warmly, which I felt was more than I deserved. “It happens. You know that.”

“No, it doesn’t happen. Or it shouldn’t. Not now.”

She didn’t say anything, and I didn’t fill the silence. It wasn’t awkward. I don’t think anything could make being with Emilia uncomfortable. We started the run back home, and I tried my best to ignore the sidelong glances she kept shooting me. It became easier to do so as my mind wandered back to Lucy, and the blood seeping from her throat. And the gaping hole in her neck from where I had torn her flesh out. I realised then that I’d swallowed the meat like a cannibal, and had to swallow convulsively so as not to retch.

I felt sick, physically and mentally. I couldn’t even contemplate feeding again for fear that it would spur another change in me. Yet if I run out of blood, I could become crazed just as easily. The beast was lurking below the surface. I could feel it there, a permanent presence, because it was actually me. It was a lose-lose situation. I’ll just have to make do with the blood I have until I can feed with caution. Just the thought of whose blood ran through my veins made me feel weak.

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Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Emotion: No 5, Sandra Giles

I’m not one for writing long passages about eyes meeting across a room and describing every surfacing feeling in nauseating detail. I much prefer toying with my characters’ emotions. So much so that I couldn’t resist making things hard for my most arrogant character.
Jared starts his journey as an egotistical jerk. He’s very hard to like, and equally hard to resist. What do I do with a guy who is accustomed to sleeping around on a regular basis? Easy, I make him fall in love at the most inconvenient of times. The following scene has been taken from my first novel. He has just landed in the middle of a ceremony where women are chosen to carry the offspring of various vampires, and Jared is playing along just to save an attractive lady from the grasp of some of the most vindictive vampires known to man. Or unknown to man, as is the case.

Love at first sight – Plead Insanity

“So…” I struggled for something to say. ‘Do you come here often?’ is a bad enough line in normal circumstances, never mind when the person you’re talking to is a prisoner and supposed to be your future rape-mate. I would’ve just said she had nothing to fear, but not only would she not believe me, I couldn’t risk the other vampires hearing. The best thing would be to move her to a safer location, but that would mean either using force or cunning. I wasn’t willing to harm her and doubted anything I could say would make her come with me.

“You could always sedate me again if you can’t think of any other way to get me out,” she said. Her voice wasn’t as harsh as before, and it sent a jolt through my heart.

“I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to just walk with me willingly?” She raised her eyebrows. “Thought so. I don’t want to hurt you.” I sighed. “What I’m going to do is carry you out of here. It may not be dignified but it’s better than sedating or beating you.” I approached her swiftly. My eyes darted down her body and I stopped.

“Getting a good enough look, are you?” she asked.

“No, I was just thinking you might get cold.” Which was perfectly true. Her skin seemed awfully exposed, especially for November. I unbuttoned my coat and silently handed it to her. She took it reluctantly after a few seconds of frowning, muttering something unintelligible as she pulled it around her.

“Thanks, but I’m still not fucking you. No amount of manners or charm will get me in your bed.” She paused. “Willingly.” Ouch. Shaking my head, I placed my hands on the cage and broke a few of the bars off. A gasp brought my attention to her face but she turned away, hiding behind a curtain of hair. The cage seemed a lot smaller once I was inside. I suppose it was only built for one prisoner. She swung around when I was beside her and leapt at my neck. Shocked and slightly amused, I sighed as she tore at my flesh with her teeth.

“What a good vampire you’d make,” I said as I swept her off her feet and carried her out of the cage. A frustrated scream issued from her throat and vibrated through my body from where her teeth were locked on my neck. I shivered unwillingly. It was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact this was enjoyable. Her terror, my power. In that moment I was the ultimate villain and predator rolled into one. The thought both scared and excited me. What was being done was a necessity. It was either this or harm her. So what if I enjoyed the rush? It’s not like I was going to take her back to my lair and commit rape. The idea sent another shudder through me. This time it wasn’t pleasure. The thought of denying a human the right to reject somebody was wrong. Even if circumstances changed and she was willing, I could never forget that we had met in such a horrible way. I chuckled at the thought of the woman trying to tear out my throat ever willingly being seduced by me.

Jared faces plenty of confusion from thereon out, and things move so slowly that I’m having to use excerpts from three different novels just to show how things progress. The next portion is from the second novel, when they’ve moved past their awkward first encounter and have progressed to a stage where they don’t rip out one another’s throat on a regular basis. The idea here was to make both characters revert back to their teenage years and make it all very awkward. The scene sees them in the dorm of a bloke Jared is feeding from (by that I mean blood, nothing else) and it’s all too easy for Emilia to make fun of him.

Awkward declaration of liking one another – Minority Rules “See, you must be gay. Why else would you keep choosing men?” Emilia asked.

I scowled but couldn’t give a better response as my mouth was somewhat occupied. It wasn’t until we were leaving the man’s room that I was able to say, “I don’t choose them. I’m just not fussy enough to scour the whole campus for the perfect meal.”

“I was just looking for the perfect starters,” she said. “This is our first date. I wanted to make it memorable.”

“I hardly call feeding on these helpless mortals a date,” I replied, trying to talk over the skipping of my heart that had embarrassingly started at the word ‘date’.

“It is. Your mum set it up. Seeing as you won’t ask me out, this is as good as it’s going to get,” she said conversationally. “Not that I mind. I like feeding. And running. I also like spending time with you. I just wish you were more open about your feelings.”

“What?” I practically shouted the word at her. Mr. Sophisticated, that’s me. She relaxed against the wall with her arms crossed. I couldn’t tell whether she was angry or just comfortable.

“Jared, you are such a guy sometimes!”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“Yes! Most of the time you’re different from normal men. More emotional, kinder, thoughtful, compassionate.”

“Is that why you think I’m gay?” I asked, making a joke but curious all the same.

“You know I don’t think that.” She sighed. “Do you like me?”

“Of course I do.”

“I mean as more than a friend, Jared. The way I like you.” She blushed. It was the first time she’s shown such embarrassment.

“I…Yes,” I said, going equally red. She physically relaxed against the wall, practically sliding the length of it. I relaxed, too. I hadn’t realised how much of a strain not admitting my feelings had brought. With that simple word I was able to feel the tension leek out of my body.

“I feel about ten years younger,” Emilia said, standing up once more. “Who would’ve thought such a declaration would be so awkward?”

“Me, that’s why I never did it.”

“Coward,” she muttered. We laughed and walked back home. No, we didn’t hold hands or start making out partway through the journey. We just walked. I even forgot about finding someone else to feed on.

And later in the same novel they share their first kiss. Perhaps someone else would’ve been kinder by this point, and allowed them a romantic moment where they’re on a date and sharing in a rare moment together. But no, they’re in a field, Emilia thinks Jared is actually his father, and an audience is just feet away. It might be considered mean of me to keep things hard for them, but I feel that the fact they’re still able to progress in their relationship shows just how strong their love is. Most people wouldn’t make it through so many strange scenarios and still feel a pull towards one another.

First kiss – Minority Rules Emilia ground her knee into my groin as only a woman would. I gasped, but more in realisation than pain. The sound brought a smirk to her lips. I never want that look aimed at me again. I took advantage of her leg no longer pinning me and rolled us over, remembering a happier time that we had done this in. It seemed like forever ago. She looked surprised to find herself pinned. Her growl vibrated down me and my body reacted. She growled again, warning me off. I bent my face towards hers and cut her off with a kiss. It wasn’t as deep as I wanted it to be, partially because she was too surprised to react. Right on cue, the wind blew behind me, knocking my scent into her face as she pushed me away.

Realisation dawned on her features. “Jared?”

“Either that or an impostor,” I said. “If you can’t tell the difference between me and my father, there’s no hope.”

“I was…” She searched for a word. “It was so unexpected.”

“Even so, you’d think my eyes would’ve given it away,” I said, looking deep into hers to emphasise my point.

“I was seeing red,” she said.

“That’s never good,” I whispered. She shook her head and tilted her face up towards mine. We kissed again. It was gentle at first, but soon passion outweighed caution. I put everything that words couldn’t say into that kiss. That I cared deeply for her, and it was terrifying to be apart. That the idea of never seeing her again was unbearable. That no matter how repulsed at myself I might be, she would accept who I am with no questions asked, and that meant more to me than words could say. She had done so from the moment I said how I felt about being a vampire. Before she even understood what it felt like to be one, she accepted it. Our hands stayed entwined but motionless throughout the kiss. Every ounce of energy and emotion was said through our mouths locked with one another’s. In that moment nothing mattered but her, and nothing had ever mattered more.

Nauseating, I know. The kind thing to do by this point would be to leave them in the field to progress with their relationship, but instead they find themselves returning to their lives with Jared’s father in tow, and between his presence and other circumstances that arise in the next novel, Jared and Emilia are unable to take things further until book four. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out I’m not always this slow at building fictional relationships. In fact, one of the things I find amusing is that my handsome vampire is the slowest at hitting all the bases. My other main characters are able to progress faster. I like to think it gives the average among us hope, or perhaps a sense of smugness as this seemingly perfect man is incapable of having his desired relationship. But of course I couldn’t torture him forever, and so we move on to – you guessed it – sex. One of the things I dislike about the novels I’ve read in the past is a tendency to turn into soft erotica, so I’ve established my own method of showing this stage in my characters’ relationships. Generally I use one or two lines to hint at what’s happening. This passage is from book four.

Coitus (thanks to Sheldon for making that term so popular) – Proving Negatives

“We should really get you home and out of those wet clothes,” Emilia said, a suggestive note in her voice. “The ghost can wait.”

“What about Ezra?” I asked.

“What about him? You’ll only be changing clothes.” She smiled wickedly. “What did you think I meant?”

“Tease.” The word came out as a growl, and it made her shudder. It wasn’t from fear, either. That made me ridiculously happy, so much so that I gladly ran when Emilia suggested it. We were home in a matter of minutes. What was more, Ezra wasn’t.

“He must be at the house of a lady-friend,” Emilia said, grabbing my jacket and tearing it open. When I looked at her incredulously she shrugged and said, “What? We don’t know how long he’ll be. And I’ve always wanted to do that.”

“I liked that jacket.”

“I’ll make it up to you.” Her way of doing this was by removing the rest of my clothes. I hardly found that fair, and so gave her a moment to stare in the most flattering way before evening the playing field. I was slower about it than she had been, enjoying each new section of skin bared as well as sparing her outfit. I don’t think she cared by this point. When we were both stripped of clothes, wet and dry, we took it upon ourselves to enjoy every inch of flesh that had been hidden for so long before now. Despite what Emilia had said about being quick, we weren’t. Ezra didn’t return home and intrude, and so we had a long and uninterrupted time together. I was immensely grateful that vampires don’t require blood to perform.

Last but not least is the first declaration of love. Sometime after they’ve made love, Emilia actually mentions loving Jared, but it’s a passing comment that is overlooked due to a disagreement the two have. It isn’t until later in the novel that Jared startles even himself by saying those three words, and again I couldn’t have a traditional love scene. I’ve instead taken my two characters full-circle, only it’s Jared who is imprisoned this time. Hey, what did you expect? There are no happily-ever-afters here. This is as far as I can go in showing their relationship, as no wedding bells are ringing as of yet and that’s with seven novels under Jared’s belt. We’ll just have to wait and see if they make it that far.

First declaration of love – Proving Negatives

“I love you.” Where did that come from? Well, it was honest.

“Really?” she asked in obvious surprise.

“Of course. You’re amazing, and I’m sorry for how I was before. It was wrong of me to judge you, and I’ve effectively fallen off my high-horse at last.”

She smiled. “Good. Everything’s so much better when you slum it down here.”

“Then consider me a permanent resident.”

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Gumbee Writers’ Fight Scenes, Part 2, Sandra Giles

If I were to post an excerpt depicting an entire fight scene from one of my novels, it would take up a lot of space. I’ve instead taken a piece from a fight for leadership that takes place in Eternal Sentence. The way I write fight scenes is by using a mixture of cunning and strength from my characters in order for them to achieve a victory. The fighters here are both vampires, so there are never fights to the death. They instead fight until someone is unconscious or decapitated. It means they often have to go to extremes to win. This particular battle is in a stadium filled with people, and they make it more interesting for their audience to watch by introducing the use of weapons. Jared, whose point of view this reads from, has decided to use a defensive strategy that is actually quite laughable. He has oil over his body, the reason for which becomes clear at the end of the fight. James, his opponent, is using a type of chainsaw-meets-sword.

My main trait when writing a fight scene is to make it fairly clumsy. My main character is often clueless about what he’s doing, and so resorts to winging it a lot of the time. It makes him easier to relate to. He has no real fighting skills, so makes plenty of mistakes along the way. It makes any victory from him all the sweeter, as though he’s fighting for us regular folk.

That in mind, here’s a small piece from this fight for leadership, though this particular segment doesn’t show much of the actual fighting. Hopefully you’ll get the gist of it.

———————————————————————————-

“Did you really think that a bit of oil would make you harder to destroy?” James asked, bringing the chainsaw down a fraction with every word he spoke. “This isn’t a human wrestling match that you can win by cheap tricks. A gun would have been cowardly, but this is just pathetic.” He eased up on the blade slightly so that he could indicate my oil-soaked body. It was enough of a move for me to take hold of the handle and roll, driving the blade deep into the ground as I did so. Again it meant that I suffered yet more damage as the blade bit into my skin, but it was the best I could manage with the position I was in.

I flung James off me and drove the weapon deeper into the ground. It stuttered as it tried to continue moving its many small blades, but in the end the technology failed. The weapon died, and I happily put the deceased deep in the ground where it belonged. Only the very tip of the handle could be seen, and James was furious.

He leapt onto my back as I did my best to hide the weapon completely from view. His hands found my throat and he tried to fight the slippery substance and get a good choking hold on me. I pulled at his hand and it came away easily, and used my advantage to flip him over me.

As I straddled him, he lashed out at every part of my body he could get at. It would have been quite amusing if my body wasn’t raw and bloody. He took his advantage and dug his hand into the mess that was my stomach. I grabbed his hand instinctively and crushed it, causing him to howl. I took the distraction so that I could do some more damage. As his wrist snapped, his hand went limp inside my body so that I was able to dislodge it.

I pinned his hands over his head and lowered my body to his. He seemed genuinely concerned that I was making sexual advances, and cared more for his virtue than for his safety. Fine by me.

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