My guest today is author Addison Albright who has vampires in tow! I got sucked into (ouch, sorry!) vampire stories when I had Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt visiting the blog and I think I’m ready for another visit with sun-shy bloodsucking creatures. So, let’s Addison tell us about her vampires and the world she’s built for them. You can also sample the goods, so to speak, as she’s brought us an excerpt.
Many thanks for visiting, Addison – and Happy Release Day! 🙂
Thanks so much, Jackie, for inviting me to your blog today!
I’ve had a couple short stories released in recent months, but I’m most excited about the novella I’ve got coming out tomorrow. The Choice is book 2 in a vampire trilogy, following The Recruit, which was released back in June. The Recruit introduced the main characters and their world and gave them just a touch of drama. The Choice ramps up their challenges a few notches and adds to the development of the fledgling relationship between the MCs.
What made me decide to try my hand at a paranormal/vampire story? I’m usually all about contemporary, with regular guys facing varying degrees of challenges. But I’ve long loved to read in a variety of genres even though I’d stuck to contemporary in my writing.
I love the idea of being able to make up my own world with my own rules for how the vampires behave and operate, what their strengths are, which parts of vampire lore are myth, and which are not. A wide variety of vampire worlds have been written, and I wanted to contribute one that was a little different from the norm. I wanted vampires whose behavior was on par with that of the humans they’d once been. My vampires don’t suddenly turn into cold-blooded psychopaths when their physiology changes. For the most part, they want the same things in their lives as vampires as they’d wanted as humans. In a nutshell, they want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
With humans, it’s often observed that the more travel and diversity one experiences, the more progressive that person’s outlook on life becomes. Such is the case with my vampires, because if anyone has experienced a lot of travel and diversity, it’s an immortal, right?
However, much as they empathize with humans and strive to peacefully live among them, my vamps are still realistic. They recognize that an individual human might react reasonably to knowledge of their existence, but eons of experience have shown the vamps that society as a whole is not tolerant of immortals who rely on human blood to live. So, in my vampire world the vampires must coexist with humans, but most importantly, they must be thought to be human.
On the surface, considering sun-intolerance is a vampire myth in my world (this is further explained in book 1), it’s not that difficult for my vamps to walk among the humans up to a certain point. But how do empathetic beings get the blood they require if humans can’t be trusted?
To me, it’s the little details that are often glossed over that leave me wanting. When reading, I have no problem suspending disbelief not only for the paranormal aspect of the story, but also, with a slight squint, at various questions I’m left with regarding how a particular world coexists with humans. But still, even though I enjoy the stories, a part of me always wants to know more of the details of how this world functions.
For example, if the vamps are known to some humans, how is the secret contained? If known to all humans, I would love to read the details of how the vamps and humans get along with each other. What are the societies rules? What if, as in my vampire world where vamps exist in a human society that is basically the same as our existing world, the vamps’ top priority is guarding their secrecy? Their existence depends upon it. But, in a world where proper identification of each person has become part of living in civilization, how does a society of immortals slip under the radar? What safeguards are in place to protect them from discovery?
Bits of common vampire lore that are myths in my world are the various supernatural powers often associated with vamps. My vamps have a boost to their natural senses that gradually increases over the years, they have perfect memories, and they have self-healing abilities that also improve over time. That’s it. They have no natural ability to impose a mind-meld to instantly hypnotize anyone, they have no super strength or speed, and they can’t turn into bats or otherwise fly. What they can do, however, is take advantage of technological innovations that their longevity and focus have allowed them to develop.
Another way in which my vamps differ from their human counterparts is the concept of blood-mates. This term is introduced in the first book (Albert and Phillip/Neil turn out to be blood-mates) and is further explored in the second book. Without a blood-mate connection, vampires easily keep sex separate from friendships/relationships. But, if two vamps are blood-mates, they feel a strong attraction and pull toward one another, and only to each other. A vampire’s blood-mate’s concerns and pleasure become a top priority. That said, these feelings, although strong, are subliminal. So while a vamp whose age is measured in millennia will understand and trust in their new blood-mate bond, a new vamp will question what they are feeling and still strive to get to know the character of the vamp they feel so oddly attracted to.
In The Recruit, Albert drafts Phillip, a dying young man, to join his vampire faction. Phillip takes on a new identity and becomes Neil. He feels inexplicably drawn to Albert but tries not to let himself be overtaken by the attraction because he doubts the powerful vampire could have any real feelings for him. He experiences a mild crisis as he integrates into the vampire world, but it is (seemingly) swiftly resolved by the experienced and far-reaching vampire organization.
In The Choice, Albert, the leader of the local vampire faction feels torn. Neil’s misstep from months earlier comes back to haunt them when Neil’s ex, Cameron, sees Neil again, reminding him of their earlier encounter. Cameron tells his current boyfriend, Dennis, all about how Neil reminds him of Phillip. The more they talk about it, the more Cameron is reminded of little details, and the more Dennis speculates. If it’s a book, TV show, or movie about vampires, Dennis has read/watched it. Could such a deeply entrenched trope exist without having some basis in historical fact? Could vampires truly exist? Is Phillip/Neil one of them now? These questions need answers, and Dennis and Cameron decide to seek them.
But exposure would mean the ruination of vampires worldwide. Vampires live their lives carefully avoiding exposure risk, but when it happens anyway, choices must be made. Difficult choices at the best of times, but made more difficult by the addition of a blood-mate connection and Albert’s deep-seated need to protect Neil from spending years, centuries, millennia feeling guilty over the part he played in derailing the lives of two humans.
Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger? Or is redemption only a flamethrower away?
The Choice (The Faction, #2)
As a freshly turned vampire, Neil had frozen in panic when he’d found himself face-to-face with his ex-boyfriend, Cameron. Neil thought that misstep and its associated danger was all in the past, but Cameron’s current boyfriend, Dennis, is like a dog with a bone, and a keen imagination. When the two men’s curiosity progresses to the point the vampires consider their secrecy to be endangered, choices must be made.
Now that faction leader Albert has a blood-mate, he finds himself second-guessing his decisions. Neil would be crushed knowing his mistake led to human deaths, but Albert shouldn’t factor that into the difficult choices he must make. Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger?
Or is redemption only a flamethrower away?
Excerpt from The Choice by Addison Albright
“Cam really scrutinized me on that stairwell.” Neil shook his head and sighed. “It’s all my fault.”
“I know you remember what I told you back then.” The expression on Neil’s face all those months ago still tormented Albert. Poor Neil had fluctuated between distress over feelings of guilt, and resentment over how much had been kept from him in the aftermath when Albert and his department heads had dealt with the predicament.
“Not your fault.” Albert shook his head. “It was your first day out on your own. You were shaken by the earlier incident, and it was our failing for not preparing you for that. The encounter with your ex-boyfriend was a lot for someone to handle on their very first time flying solo. You handled yourself admirably under the circumstances.”
“Yes,” Neil whispered. Because of course he remembered; vampires didn’t forget.
“It’s still not your fault.”
Neil lifted his chin. “Logically, I get your point. But the fact remains, if I’d handled things better, we wouldn’t be here now.”
Albert sighed. He rose and joined Neil on the sofa, pulling Neil’s quaking body into his arms. “Shh, love. We all have perfect recall of our own early days as vampires. Not a one of us condemns your actions that day. We value intentions, and yours were and are innocent.”
Neil remained silent, but his head dipped again as he gnawed his lip. Albert tightened his hug and rocked them gently. Muscles in Neil’s face twitched a few times as his expression slowly softened.
Finally, Neil snorted. “How pathetic is it that peer pressure still affects my opinion of myself?”
Chuckling, Albert tipped up Neil’s chin. “The expression ‘you’re only human’ comes to mind. I know it’s not technically correct, but in essence, you know it still is.”
Neil grinned. “Vampires don’t deserve the bum rap they get. Would it really be so bad if people knew?”
“It would.” Albert took a deep breath and straightened. This was a notion best nipped in the bud. “There’s a vast difference between being able to talk sense to a few reasonable individuals and being able to convince a varied and often willfully ignorant populace. Especially when there would doubtless be those who were politically motivated to fan the flames of that intolerance for their own personal gain.”
Besides, if the entire vampire organization and their technology came to light—and once the powers that be understood what to look for, they’d be exposed worldwide—the authorities would figure out they’d killed humans in the past. The reasons wouldn’t matter, and that wasn’t something they would tend to let go.
Neil nodded thoughtfully. “I suppose between people on one side obsessed with becoming immortal, and a vocal segment of the population demonizing us, we’d be totally screwed.”
About Addison Albright
Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.
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