So this is the new novella I mentioned a week or so ago, The Vampire Skye. It came out yesterday, published by Xcite.
Blurb: Leah works for the Authority, a secretive Government department dedicated to managing the vampires who live in society and keeping their presence hidden from the human population. Her latest client, Skye, wants to flee the Authority’s restrictions and go off-programme – and if that means feeding from Leah in the process, so be it. As disorder sweeps the city and the ordinary rules of engagement no longer apply, how will Leah deal with all the problems Skye throws her way – not least the fact Skye is her dominant fantasy lover made undead flesh?
I'd been wanting to write another vampire story for a while, particularly since my last one - The Vampire's New Plaything - and the Lust Bites collection, which has one of my stories and one by my partner Velvet Tripp - have been doing rather well.
My take on vampires is perhaps a little sideways, since I've long regarded them as useful symbols/metaphors that can be used in two distinct ways - vampires as those who bleed others, which might make them comparable with capitalist and banking fat cats, and those who are outsiders in society, which might associate them with the socially excluded, those who are marginalised because of their creative vision, political views or other factors. In this novella, the vampires are the latter.
I've also been thinking about a bunch of perhaps slightly stranger stuff. For example there are cases of 'vampire burials' mainly in Eastern Europe but with recent findings in Ireland and elsewhere, in which bodies were mutilated in ways intended to stop them rising from the dead. There's a lot of speculation about stones placed in their mouths - to stop them biting, prevent the ingress of other spirits into the body, give them something to chew on... plenty of theories but we don't actually know.
I spent some time pondering how vampires would fit into contemporary society given our mania for forms of ID, and came up with the idea of a secret government agency that provides them with ID. Why would they do this? Well, maybe as a legacy of their having been involved in government work. That takes me back to more 'regular' science fiction/fantasy themes such as the Brian Lumley 'Necroscope' novels, and the mythos of vampires recruited by both sides in World War II and a German 'Vampire SS', which somewhat links and extends both weirdnesses that did happen in WWII and Hitler's apparent beliefs in the paranormal. How about fangs? Fangs only started to appear in vampire films in the 1950s - so maybe vampires don't automatically have fangs, and only those in secret military units were supplied with them - and when Hammer Horror came up with the idea the government programme of providing fangs was halted. So that would imply that fangs do not a vampire make, and you could have those with and those without fangs.
Then, of course, with the postmodern world of government agencies being hived off into non-departmental bodies or semi-privatised, maybe the body that made all the arrangements for vampires had suffered the same fate, and was facing cuts or closure.
A lot of this is fairly rapidly introduced as the context for the story along with the subtext of riots and disorder, as we saw in the UK recently. But don't let any of that stop you, because the novella is fiercely erotic, very lesbian, and has quite a bit of BDSM play in it.