Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Different Dracula


Vacation hath its perils, not least of which is that I forget what day it is... Sorry.

So... Once again, my thoughts are running back to Prince Dracula, his life, and my alternate history version of it. Of course, that's helped by the fact that Naked Reader Press is releasing Impaler in first quarter 2011 (insert author squee here), and the novella prequel, Born in Blood, is available at Naked Reader, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Me being me, I can't leave the myths as they stand, of course. While vampirism appears, it's in the form of what Dracula believes is a curse, and is something he - at best - endures. I can promise there are no sparkly vampires here. The very notion is offensive: a sparkly vampire had better be on fire, in my opinion (Dracula would probably prefer 'enjoying the view from the top of a stake', but then his views on that matter are rather pointed - or well rounded and thoroughly greased, and at least six foot above the ground. Anyway...)

Here's a short teaser for Born in Blood, introducing a very young Dracula, in a hostile and unforgiving world.

Born in Blood

I am dying.


The thought drifted across my mind, shocking in its clarity. Dying. The haze of pain and long imprisonment threatened to return, enticing me with forgetfulness, with near-oblivion until true oblivion could claim me.


I fought it with the stone-hard certainty of who and what I am. I am Vlad, the second son of Vlad Dracul, and I am a Knight of the Order of the Dragon. I would not go peacefully to my death. That I and my brother Radu had been held hostage for our father's actions for some three years – perhaps more, for the passage of time blurred with long imprisonment – that I had been but thirteen years of age when we were first imprisoned, these things mattered only to my resolve. Our Ottoman captors would come to regret their actions.


The Ottoman Turks were not gentle with their hostages. Perhaps those of a more compliant nature than I had more congenial cells, though I doubt comfort could assuage the shame of being forced to pay the Turkish homage to the Sultan's son Mehmed, much less our condition as de facto harem.


If the Sultan knew, he did not care.


I doubted I would care ere long, for all that I fought the inevitable. The nausea and weakness which had plagued me since last winter me had now grown so that I could no longer stand without aid. Mehmed, may he rot in his faith's hell, thought I feigned weakness to evade his attentions.


I could still muster enough strength for action if I was sufficiently enraged, hence my current discomfort. Yesterday I had snatched a dagger from a guard's belt and scratched Mehmed with it. Had I possessed more strength, I would have killed him.


The flogging I earned for my troubles still burned, and blood from the wounds trickled down my legs. The stone wall of my cell chilled my back, the shackles holding my wrists above my head biting into flesh, for I lacked the strength to take my weight upon my feet. My shoulders ached with strain.


The tremors wracking my body only added to my misery. I had long since ceased to try to hold up my head: it leaned against my right arm. I knew I must reek, but I had long since grown accustomed to the prison stench.


Death, even death by torture, could only be an improvement.


13 comments:

C Kelsey said...

A) Awesome. B) this is perhaps one of those things that really annoys me. Y'see, I enjoyed Impaler so much that I highly resent the fact that nobody has put out a dead tree version of it. Impaler and your novella are definitely something I want to be able to enjoy in a comfy chair accompanied by the tactile feel of pages turning.

Kate said...

Chris K,

Thanks! Maybe (hint) if there are enough electronic sales, a dead tree version can happen. As is, the dead tree people aren't interested, so Impaler would need to sell well to get their attention.

Facts of life ain't always pretty :)

Stephen Simmons said...

Kate, I am simply NOT a vampire-book person. Sparkly or otherwise. Never have been. HUGE mental block that I simply can't get around. My wife, on the other hand, absolutely DEVOURS Hamilton and Butcher (and others who don't presently spring to mind) books on the subject. I'll have to cajole her into reading this ...

A shirt I saw at a con last spring, and instantly fell in love with, which you might like (Mystik Waboose Clothier, iirc): Lugosi-Dracula holding the severed head of Edward Cullen, with the caption:
"Edward and Bela
The Sparkling. Stops. NOW."

Kate said...

Stephen,

YES!

Or in LOLCat - WANT!!!!!

Jim McCoy said...

Hmmm...

I love this so far. The problem I have is that I don't do e-books. I've downloaded several for free and never bothered to read them. I'd buy this in DTF, but I just can't do e-format. Sorry

Kate said...

Jim,

I sympathize - not everyone can read on screen or handle ebook readers (personally, I love mine, but that's a different question).

Unfortunately, the way the industry is now, if you want dead tree, you need electronic sales and lots of them - unless you crack the lottery of catching the buying editor at exactly the right moment with something he/she/it can justify spending a large fortune on. And that's BEFORE running the gauntlet of slush.

MataPam said...

Has Naked Reader looked into anything like Lulu.com? There's plenty of stuff, Impaler specifically, I'd love to introduce my various family members to, but they don't read ebooks.

Kate said...

Pam,

As I understand things, investigations are in progress, but haven't reached any conclusions yet. Beyond that... You'd have to ask Amanda, or pose the question over at http://nakedreaderpress.wordpress.com in a comments thread.

MataPam said...

POD seems to be a logical next step, but I can see why they want to wait and build a customer base, get some of us new writers established and so forth, before pursueing it.

However eager, doing everything all at once is not practical.

Stephen Simmons said...

Kate,

If you're really interested, the merchant I saw carrying the shirt is Mystik Waboose Clothier, out of Michigan. She works a lot of cons in the east/southeast, including the one in Williamsburg, VA that I'll be at two weeks from now.

Here's the shirt:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=109177605777404&set=a.109177589110739.12249.109151045780060

Kate said...

Matapam,

Exactly. It would be nice to have everything and then some all at once, but that's not the way things happen.

Kate said...

Stephen,

I'd want to see it in the flesh as it were, but from that picture, I love it!

Dave Freer said...

Kate, that is a stunning piece of writing. If outright quality was what the publishers were buying on and the public knew about all books equally, you'd would be a best seller already!