V is for vampires in Vegas. I’ve been working with my vampires Arrigo and Siobhan for twenty years now. They, along with Luc, have been in my brain for a long time now. I’ve sold one story with them to Dreamspinner but I have to revamp, no pun intended, the novel. It’s had some problems but that’s the story of my Vegas vampires.
Originally, way back when it was actually in New Orleans because I was twenty-something and too new to realize just how clichéd that is. Their story started as a short story that was my bestseller in the 90s. Well, in the sense that it was given a contract THREE times and all three times the publisher went under. I’m beginning to believe this story is cursed.
Seriously cursed. That short story I mentioned, somehow I missed an act by Luc that was there early on when he and Arrigo weren’t a couple because in the 90s you really couldn’t write much in the way of gay fiction (and I had to write it as a man which today, for obvious reasons, is frowned on when you aren’t actually male). I don’t know how that slipped by me, probably because it was the second or third short story I ever published at Jana and I was just too excited to do my due diligence. I would like to redo that story and remove that scene! Maybe I will if the novel ever comes to life.
It wasn’t easy bringing a short story into novel country. In the end it was too long…way too long. And then it had issues I was blind to and weren’t pointed out to me at first when it might have been easier to correct. I’ve fixed some of the issues the publisher identified and I’m glad they are willing to look at it again put mortified at the same time that it was submitted in this condition. That’s going to hurt for a long time.
When I started reworking this nearly ten years ago already when it was just a collection of short stories, I decided Las Vegas was the ideal setting for it. Yeah sure New York, L.A. or Chicago have very active night lives too but they’re so overused. Vegas shockingly has had less paranormal activity and I love its tackiness (sorry Vegas but you know it’s true) so Arrigo moved from his Pontalba apartments to a high rise on the Strip. Another thing I have to change in the short story is where Arrigo, my ancient Roman vampire, is living. Originally it was in the Sky but that was before I saw exactly where they were, too far away from the center of life on the strip. He’s now in the Veer in the heart of the Strip and I was able to look into the condos thanks to online real estate sites.
But Vegas is perfect for vampires. So much 24 hour casino action (casinos with no windows), very late night bars, throngs of people running about. Heck on weekends there are even all night bowling alleys and mini-golf courses (looking at you KISS mini golf). Of course most young vampires would need a good hiding spot in the unrelenting sun of the day though.
Arrigo works for a group, the Chiaroscuro which is made up of vampires, lycanthropes, mages and the like to be sure that the supernaturals don’t prey on the unsuspecting humans. He enjoys his job as an enforcer, not so much that he likes killing other supernaturals but because he’s dedicated to protecting humans. Happily bisexual, Arrigo has found lovers among the supernaturals, like his long time on again off again (off because forever is a long time so they drift apart and then together again over the centuries) Siobhan and Fadil (the ancient Egyptian vampire who turned Arrigo back in the days of Julius Caesar). However, Arrigo likes humans too and he’s head on into lust when he first meets Luc.
Luc is out of the bayou having lost his home to Hurricane Katrina and has come to Vegas with his abusive father and brother who have tormented him long before they even suspected he might be gay. Luc’s father pulled him and his brother out of school when they entered middle school so he’s uneducated, working as a bartender with his family. When his path crosses Arrigo’s, he’s surprised at how sophisticated Arrigo is (thinking Arrigo is barely 21). Luc doesn’t trust this rich man because why would he want anything to do with Luc?
As their relationship grows, a dangerous twist crops up, one Luc couldn’t guess at and one that maybe Arrigo should have been on watch for. One of his former supernatural enemies has cropped up and Luc’s odds, as most Vegas odds go, are long when it comes to him surviving to see another day.
Hopefully I’ll have this finished before June or at the latest July. It’s taking me too long as it is but I hope to get to share this with everyone.