So far I've talked about The Paladin, gone into some of the lore and explained some of my process, but I haven't given you guys anything to sink your teeth into. Yet.
Today I want to give you a taste of my novel's world with a short story I wrote called "Val's Blog." Val is a vampire who (shocker) runs a blog. She isn't a character in The Paladin, nor is she even in the same state the book takes place in, but it still happens in that world. She deals with her own problems existing as a vampire loner who feels compelled to help out new blood suckers. This means that on occasion, she has to deal with Paladins.
I'll be breaking this into multiple parts, so look forward to part two tomorrow.
Hey my little blood suckers! I hope you've all been eating well! --
So I got a message from a newcomer to the darkside just the other day. She was, shock of shocks, having trouble adjusting to, shall we say, the graveyard shift. Now, of course my initial response was to point her toward the back log of entries I have on just this topic... but I decided to be nice and address her issue. Apparently this is an issue a lot of you little rookie devils are having and I decided it's time to update the list. Here's a list of my top ten questions I keep getting asked even though I've answered them before. And, yes, for my own sanity, I've included links to the individual articles at the end of the post.
1. I got cut up but I'm not healing? WTF?
I get about a dozen DM's like this a month, no joke. Someone gets gashed up flaunting their new lifestyle and suddenly realize band-aids aren't cutting it. It's always the same. I'm immortal now, so I think I'll jump off this building or fight that incredibly large pit bull that's always giving me the stink eye. Oh noes! I have a six inch gash running down my arm! What do?
Okay children, gather 'round. If you're new to this game, you need to know that your powers suck. Accept this. Step one, get the wound sterilized and sewn up. If you can stitch, fabulous, if not, learn. You need to keep that thing from getting infected until your powers get strong enough to fix it, otherwise you're walking around with necrotic flesh drip everywhere you go. Not sexy.
Next step: blood. And before you flood my inbox, no, I'm still not advocating munching on people. Even that asshole that steals your lunch at work. You know the one. Fuck that guy. Don't drink his blood, though. You need to get into a network. I have a list of reputable "donors" at the end of the article, see if there's one near you. If you live out in the boonies, things might be a little tougher (and how the hell did you find a vampire out there anyway?) Livestock isn't a terrible option if you can find it; something big that isn't going to miss the blood. It's not perfect, but it's a short term solution. What you really need to do is (and I loathe to suggest it) find a coven. You obviously know someone in the inner workings or you wouldn't be coming to my blog for answers. Exploit those connections where possible.
Your last option, if you absolutely have no other leads, is to find a church.
Valerie quirked her lips to one side, staring at her laptop screen. Her finger moved to tap delete, removing the last sentence. No, she thought, fuck those guys. With a long sigh, she pushed her chair away from the spartan desk and stood up. Wearing little more than her underwear, she moved through her studio apartment into the kitchen. She opened the fridge and revealed a shelf filled with blood bags, her "Capri Suns" as she referred to them.
Snagging one, she bit the top off and took a quick sip before grabbing a bottle of French vanilla coffee creamer. She turned and moved toward her cupboard, the bag hanging from her now protruding fangs, and grabbed a plastic cup. She squirted the rest of the bag into the cup and added a healthy amount of creamer, taking a taste. Shrugging, she replaced the creamer strode back to her "office." She sat down as her phone buzzed and vibrated along the table. She picked up the old, clam-shell style phone, reading the number across the tiny exterior screen to see if she recognized it. She hesitated, running a hand through her platinum blond hair as the phone rang. Running her thumb along the edge, she finally flipped the phone open and hit the green button.
"Yes?" she said.
"This Val?" replied a deep, masculine voice.
"Depends on who's asking," she replied.
"Cut the bullshit. I got a baby bloodsucker."
"What's it to me?" Val replied.
"She's a fan of your blog or some shit. Look, she's been pestering me all week. Do you help people or not?"
"I run a blog. Everything she needs to know is online."
Val could hear the man on the other end pull away from the phone to talk to someone else. "She says she ain't got time for you, okay?" The vampire frowned as she listened to an exasperated voice argue with him in the background, pleading.
"Just put her on the line," Val relented.
"Fine, but this is prepaid, alright? Don't go eating up my minutes," he replied. "Here... talk to your friend."
The phone crackled with the sounds of transfer, rubbing against clothing and hands before a faint voice came over. "Hello?" Valeria groaned silently. The girl's voice was so tiny, so fragile.
"Kid, I don't really have time for this. What do you want?" Val asked.
"I need help! Please, I don't know what to do."
"You read the blog right?"
"Yes! Every day!" the girl replied.
"Good, it's all in there kid," Valerie responded. "There's even a search bar."
"No, please, I need your help!" the girl pleaded. "I think I'm being followed."
Val lowered her head, eyes shutting. Part of the reason the blog was so perfect was that it was impersonal. She didn't have to put herself in danger to help others and in a world of vampires, hunters, and everything in between, meeting strangers was definitely a vulnerable position. The girl peeped up again, asking if Valerie was still there.
"Yeah, I'm here, kid," she replied, her thoughts drifting back to the days after her turning. "These people that are following you, what did they look like?"
The vampire was answered by a faint shriek of surprise followed by the sounds of the phone shifting once more. "Eh? Val? Look, I ain't got all day, you coming to help her or not?"
Valerie shook her head, eyes drifting up to the ceiling. A thousand silent profanities sailed through her mind as she stared at the pattern of foam cardboard above her. "Where are you?"
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.