I tweeted last week that I finished my YA VampWitch tale. *phew!* I’m deep into the editing process now with plans to get that sucker up before the end of the month, and I am sooo excited about it. It’s a departure for me. Creating a book for the YA genre, I mean, but I’ve always enjoyed reading books in that spirit, and I like watching these types of movies; I’m not bound by any great need to be super sexy all the time, so why not?
It’s scary trying new things, but it’s also important to follow the muse. You have to write what you feel. Whether it’s popular or different from what you’ve been writing is only relevant when you’re chasing money. Don’t get me wrong, I need the dough, but I’m more interested in chasing readers. It just so happens that one leads very conveniently to the other. 🙂
After I decided to open this particular door and willingly embrace fear and take this chance, I did a lot of reading. The biggest difference I’ve noticed in my YA book and similar titles is that the parents in my tale are more interesting. They don’t have a central role, but it a significant one in that they are very open about the challenges that impact their children and want them to participate in solution finding. Of course, parents will never completely cease protecting their offspring. At least not if they’re good parents, but mine have quirks, which I like.
This first VampWitch tale is also part of a series. I’m envisioning three books. One’s done. The other is perculating, and I have a solid idea of what its theme will be. The third is a mystery, but I like that. Keeps things interesting. Anywhoo, here’s another unedited snippet for you. In this bit, Bastien and Peada are taking a little R&R in Peru over the holiday. Now that their respective “issues” are out in the open, they have something even more horrendous to face in a shared enemy, but there’s still time to have a little fun. Enjoy! I love to hear from you…hint hint…
Snapping his fingers Bastien produced a parasol and held it over Peada’s head. Out of the sun she perked up immediately. “Come on,” he said, grabbing her hand and taking off at a brisk trot.
Laughing Peada kept pace. “Where’s the fire?”
“In your pants, I hope,” he muttered.
“I heard that.”
“Those vampire senses of yours are getting on my nerves,” he told her. “Close your eyes.” The minute she did he snapped his fingers. When she opened them Peada saw the most beautiful thing she had ever seen in her life.
It was paradise. Everything was verdant and lush. Flowers grew everywhere, and their smell was so rich and varied it was like being dropped nose first into a nature made perfume counter. The waterfall tumbled merrily from a rock face about 40 feet up and was as blue as the sky only crystalline. Here there were no trees to block the sun, and it was sultry hot. Everything was damp, and wherever the sun struck, the rocks, water and vegetation, light refracted into a million shiny colors ranging from pastel to neon.
The air hummed with energy and sound. It appeared perfectly tranquil and still, but if you looked more closely it became clear that however slowly, everything was moving. There were a few birds and butterflies flying lazily from flower to flower and several large rather scary insects Peada prayed would leave her alone, but although she could hear their cries every once in awhile, there were no animals in sight. Still, even without their occasional shrieks she knew they were there because every once in awhile the trees would move as though some tiny limb or paw had touched them en route to the next.
Raising a hand over her eyes she squinted up at the top of the falls. “Momma, is that a cave up there?”
“Yep. There’s a salt pool inside. Wonderful for your skin and hair. Why don’t you climb up there and take a swim in it?”
Peada laughed incredulously. “How exactly do you expect me to get up there?”
Lucindae looked at her like she was crazy. “Climb.”
“Or you could have Bastien snap his fingers,” Oscar teased.
“You really think I can climb up there?” Peada asked, staring at the rock face like she wanted to conquer it.
Bastien waited for Lucindae to say, of course not, but she didn’t. She nodded.
Peada stared for another minute, then she started forward. “Come on,” she told Bastien over her shoulder, and with a grin for her parents, he followed.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, catching up to her swaggering stride. “You’re moving like you’re about to march into battle.”
“To climb this rock I’m probably gonna have to,” she said, squinting up.
“Go quickly,” Lucindae called out to them. “Don’t give gravity a chance to get you, just power your way to the top. It won’t take nearly as long as you think.”
Bastien nodded. “This is probably a really stupid idea, but I’m game if you are. Race you?”
Peada laughed. “That wouldn’t be fair. You can snap yourself up there.”
He grinned. “Remembered that did you? Alright then, we go together, but I reserve the right to mimic your power. Otherwise, I’m just a human.”
“That’s fair,” she nodded.
All told it took them exactly four and a half minutes to make the climb. It seems all Lucindae had to do was plant a seed in Peada’s mind and her body did the rest.
“Well? Who won?” Bastien asked, accepting her hand up after they reached the top.
“Too close to call, I think,” she said, offering him a smile so sweet he had to kiss her.
When he finally stepped back she looked up at him, appearing slightly dazed, her lips red and swollen and parted.
“Stop looking at me like that,” he whispered, forcing himself to turn away from her.
Peada laughed softly, pleased when he clenched his hands to keep from touching her.
He looked around. “Good grief. This is really something.”
Slender arms slipped around his waist, and he pulled one small hand to his lips before he moved forward but still holding onto Peada’s hand.
“Let’s find that pool, shall we? I really want to see your bikini.”
She laughed, looking up at the cave walls. “Wow. Would you look at this? It’s amazing how light it seems even though we’re sheltered and without sun.”
“Come now,” he teased. “I know the lack of sun doesn’t bother you. I still find it hilarious that vampires have managed to convince the world they can’t come out during the day. If convincing your prey you don’t exist isn’t effective enough, what a weapon, lulling your prey into a false sense of security; if they do believe in vampires, they won’t believe you’re one if they see you out before dark.”
“We vampires are awfully clever,” Peada said softly, still craning her neck to look at the glittering walls of their cave. “And sunlight does have an impact on us, thought not a strong one thankfully. It makes us tired, saps your energy, especially if you’re hungry.” It was why she’d been barely scraping by in gym these past months.
Eying the soft, graceful line of her throat, Bastien wished for a set of his own fangs so he could sample that delicate curve. But he allowed her to distract him, following her pointing fingers to the conical stalactites that hung from the ceiling as they walked farther in. The deeper they walked, the bigger they got, as did the bone colored stalagmites that rose up from the ground to greet them.
Some had broken and their pieces littered the cave floor, which was mostly flat, but rocky. Bastien steered Peada around some of the larger debris.
“Careful. Did you know over time, if they don’t break the stalactites and stalagmites will meet, stretching top to bottom and form a column?”
“No,” she whispered. “But I do know the water that forms them is what also forms the caves.”
“Amazing. To think this was here before we were born, and it will likely be here long after we’re gone.”
Peada sighed at the beauty. The air changed as they walked deeper into the cave, growing more humid. “We must be getting closer to the pool.”
As soon as she finished talking it grew lighter, as though the sun had found its way inside somehow. Then they were there.
“My God, it’s beautiful,” Bastien said, shocked.
The stalactites here were narrower and paler, and there were so many it looked like deliberate decoration as they flowed in a wave like pattern overhead. The pool steamed gently, its water a clear green perhaps a few shades lighter than Bastien’s eyes.
They walked to the edge and looked in. At the bottom there were concentric circles of blurred but vibrant blues and greens in all shades, minerals and rocks and other natural flora blending together to form a rough pattern of a sun.
“It’s only about two feet deep,” Bastien guessed. “Look, it has natural steps and a shelf for you to sit.”
“It’s like’s natures cave hot tub,” Peada laughed, already pulling her shirt over her head.
Bastien stopped admiring the pool and stared as her clothes fell to the cave floor.
“You getting in?” she asked, smiling as she stepped out of her shorts.
She was gorgeous. Seeing long slender legs, flat tummy and plump breasts in the revealing bikini, Bastien actually felt his mouth water with the need to touch her.
Clumsily, he yanked his t-shirt off and impatiently rid himself of his own shorts. Their hands clasped on the steps as they walked into the water and sat down on the largest flat area. He wanted to protest when she broke away, but held his tongue and watched as she immersed herself, tilting her head back to wet her hair.
“Momma said this water is fabulous for your skin and hair. It feels buoyant doesn’t it?”
“It’s the minerals,” he said absently, watching as rivulets of water ran uninhibited down her creamy skin. The pool was quite warm. Hotter than the humid air that filled their cave, but Bastien could have sworn his blood heated another 10 degrees just sitting there watching her. For a moment he actually felt light headed, desire rerouting the blood from his head elsewhere. “Come here.”
Peada looked at him as she gently splashed her arms back and forth. It was obvious where his mind had gone. His eye lids were so heavy all she could see was a slit of piercing green, made even sharper by the reflection of light off the water in their star bottom pool.
She thought about resisting, just to be contrary and see what he would do, maybe make him come after her. But even as the idea occurred to her, she found herself moving closer, drawn by his flushed pink skin and the deeper pink of his full, parted lips.
Those lips parted even more as she swam between his legs, not stopping until she was pressed full length against the front of his body. They were a hairs breadth from kissing when his head shot up, his hands tightening almost painfully on her upper arms as he surged up from the water and hustled her behind him.
“What’s wrong?” She whispered, looking all around.
“I don’t know,” he said quietly, sharp eyes now wide open as he scanned their surroundings.
And he didn’t. He just sensed something evil. Something was watching them, and there was only one person he could think of that would be watching him secretly. He could practically feel the warlock’s eyes crawling over his face and body, yet he saw nothing unusual.
Every sense he possessed, magical and otherwise was on high alert; he could sense the ocean shifting outside their cave, but inside there was nothing. Even the pool had ceased to emit smoke, but that was just another signal that something was wrong. Things were far too quiet. And he was alone, vulnerable with Peada beside him. Fear like nothing he’d ever felt before lanced through him like fire. Suddenly he shifted his head to the right, eyes narrowing as he scanned a far corner of their cave. “There.”
Nestled on top of a broken stalactite was a parrot. It sat quietly, ruffling its feathers as though preening now that it was being observed, and cawed a soft welcome.
“Oh, it’s just a parrot,” Peada laughed, relieved as her galloping heart slowed its pace. But her laughter was short lived.
“That’s not a parrot,” Bastien whispered.
He raised his hand fingers spread, there was a muted glow, then abruptly he closed his fist. The bird screeched, black eyes bulging, stretching its wings in pain before it dropped to the floor of the cave.
“Oh my God! Why did you do that?” Peada demanded, splashing out of the pool to examine the creature. “It’s dead, Bastien.”
To be continued…