Tuesday, February 12, 2013

VAMPIRES FOR VALENTINE'S GIVEAWAY HOP


I'm participating in the Vampires for Valentine's Giveaway Hop February 12 - 18. How could I pass up this one? I write about the little devilish characters AND I have a short out for the love holiday. Which brings me to the giveaway I'm doing--a PDF copy of A Lusty Vampire's Valentine to one participant drawn randomly. Please leave your name and email address in the comment space below AND join my blog followers OR like the story on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookstrand, or ARe. Winner will be announced the 19th!



Thank you Felicity Heaton, Caris Roane and H. D. Thomson  for sponsoring this fang-tastic giveaway hop and letting me share the love of my journey into the world of the Undead—Vampires. . .here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I began to write the winter of 2009 and submitted my first manuscript late summer of 2010, followed by several more within a few months. I write two different worlds of vampires, quite by accident actually. A long story that I won’t get into here, but I’m glad I did because I love everything about each. Suffice it to say, the accident worked out just great. One world is darker and edgier with the other with vampire warriors who are more “business-like.” Yeah, I know that sounds strange, but it works. Each series currently has two books released each and others are in the works, a minimum of four each.

When I created the two different worlds, I started with an idea about the women, the heroines. The story/plot came next with the Heroes, the vampires, created to compliment the women.

For the research in the Born Vampire series, I had the hero as a 500 year old Romanian vampire and not the leader of the local family of vampires, he is the “Enforcer” or Sergeant Palatine of the group. The hierarchy of this “blood family’ is based loosely on the Knights Templar. The head of the family (read as a clan, nest or coven) is called the Master and Commander with other members as Sergeant Palatine, Knights, and the supreme commander of all is a Grand Master of North America, Europe, or Asia.

From the beginning, I wrote the first story adding in some of the vampire folklore, but not the typical types. Researching the many myths and legends, I picked those that would fit into each world and had the stories revolve around BDSM in the Born Vampire series with added elements that weave through each successive story, and in the Forces of Beauty series, different “powers”.

As I mentioned before, the Forces of Beauty series has the vampires as businessmen. The hero of the first book owns a hospitality and entertainment company who meets his lady in Crete at one of his resorts. (BTW, hubby and I stayed at this particular resort and I had it in mind when I wrote the location.) In the most recent release, A Vampire in Paris, the hero was in the first book as a secondary character and I had to give him his own love story. The company he works for is also owned by an ancient vampire who just might show up in a future book and he is one of the company’s best security investigators. You never know where the inspiration comes from! The heroines in both are “older” women, quite accomplished in their own professions but doubt their attractiveness to the “younger” men, until they find out who these men really are.

As a fun project as an escape from the serious story-lines, I have recently begun a vampire comedy series of short stories put together as an anthology. The first short releases December 2012 and will have a total of five shorts releasing around holidays in 2013.

In closing, I’d like to share a few vampire traits, myths and folklore that may or may not be widely known.

·       CLOCKS:  According to European folklore, a person’s house can be protected from a vampire attack by stopping the clocks at the time of death. Stopping a clock is said to put the corpse into a sort of suspended animation, preventing demonic forces from entering the body until it is ready for burial and therefore not becoming a vampire.

·       COUNTING:  In Chinese narratives about vampires, they state that if a vampire comes across a sack of rice it will have to stop and count all the grains. These are similar myths recorded on the Indian continent and even in South America. The vampire isn’t repelled or pierced by the objects, rather the creature is compelled to eat them or count them one at a time, thereby slowing them down and away from the living. (I used a variation of this in the Born Vampire series. The vampires have OCD, I explained.)

·       INCENSE:  Composed of grains of resins and spices that are burned or sprinkled on lighted charcoal to create a sweet or pungent odor, incense has been used in many religions over the centuries to drive out evil entities from a person or a place. In fighting vampires, it ranks alongside garlic as a preventative measure and as a way to counteract the stench of death. In some regions of Romania, it was often pushed into the ears, eyes, and nostrils of a corpse to stop an evil spirit from entering and reanimating the body.

·       SECONDARY POWERS:  Folklore, not of the fictional types created today which have variations ~

o  The ability to cause impotence ~ This surely wouldn’t work with any of my vampires.

o  The ability to cause plagues, epidemics, crop failures and the deaths of livestock.

·       PROTECTION:  Methods of protection differ from region to region and country to country, but some of the most common means of securing safety are listed below:

o  Thorns:  Considered to be magical barriers against vampires and witches.

o  Calling three times:  In Romanian lore it was believed that one should never answer someone unless they call three times, because it was said that vampires can only ask a question twice. If someone answers a vampire, the vampire has the power to kill them.  (This sounds like a “Beetlejuice” variation!)

o  Lemon: In Saxony in Germany, a lemon was placed in the mouth of suspected vampires.

o  Bread and cheese:  Among some Slavic Gypsies, offerings of bread and cheese were made to appease vampires. In Transylvania wine was buried with bodies for the same purpose.

o  Holly, hawthorn, and wild rose are all said to harm vampires.

·       SNEEZING:  There are numerous widespread folk beliefs that the soul temporarily leaves the body through the mouth during a sneeze and is therefore vulnerable to the forces of evil. Sneezing creates an opportunity for evil entities to enter the body through the mouth and take possession of it. In the folklore of Romania, sneezing can attract or empower a vampire unless a blessing is given immediately after.

·       SOCK:  According the lore of the Gypsies from Eastern Europe, the left sock of a vampire can be used to drive it away or even kill it. Vampire hunters steal the sock from the grave, fill it with rocks, and throw it outside the village, preferably into a river or running water. The vampire will then wake up, miss its sock, and start searching for it, even if that means entering the water and drowning in an attempt to retrieve it. Like the use of seeds and grain to distract the vampire into counting for centuries, this is based on the widespread belief that vampires are obsessive creatures. (Why the hunters just didn’t stake the vampire instead of stealing its sock just doesn’t make sense, but this is all myth, right?)

·       VISION:  The eyes of vampires are often described as hellish and hypnotic and able to paralyze victims. They may also turn blood red when the vampire begins to feed. The superb night vision of vampires isn’t explained or even mentioned in folklore but it is implied, as generally the vampire of folklore is a nocturnal creature. (My vampires’ eyes turn red not when they want to feed, but when their sexually aroused.)

And last, but not least, is this one!
WATERMELONS:  Among the Muslim Gypsies of Yugoslavia, watermelons like pumpkins, could become vampires, especially if they had teeth and had been kept for more than ten days or for too long after Christmas. Stained with drops of blood, these not very deadly or threatening vampires roll around making growling sounds, for no other reason than to irritate the living. (Yep, fanged watermelons rolling around the ground certainly would irritate me!)

All these interesting facts are from “The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires” by Theresa Cheung and I hope you have enjoyed learning a few new things about vampire folklore, myths and legends.



All my books are available from Secret Cravings Publishing and all retailers—Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Bookstrand. For excerpts on all my books, visit my the individual tabs above or my WEBSITE.

Don't forget to stop by all the other fang-tastic participants!



 

Friday, February 8, 2013

ERIN O'QUINN IS IN THE CRIB!!!

That's right, uh huh, Erin O'Quinn here, in my crib, bringing some good stuff! I met Erin through a Facebook group, Erotica Writers & Readers Group, and we've had a great time there sharing and exchanging information, stories, and more! Below, you'll find her answers to my interview and an excerpt from her latest release. Enough of this obligatory introduction and let's get to welcoming Erin! 
This is a really neat site, Cynthia. I’m honored to be here!

CYN: You're welcome. Give us a brief  intro to you, by way of your books.
Erin: I would describe myself as an erotica writer with a literary bent. After two years of writing, I have a collection of 14 books, all but four of them published. For the past year I’ve been writing historical  and contemporary erotica romance.Those historicals are set in Ireland during the early days of St. Patrick, around 433 AD. The contemporary novels are MM, following the lives of gay couples in and around the small fictitious town of Noble, Nevada.
CYN: Diverse writing, I'd say. What kind of research do you do for your books?
Erin: For my Ireland historicals, I have stacks of my own books, library books and literally scores of computer files I’ve compiled from websites. My research for contemporary novels takes the form of little blue virtual file folders from web articles.
Anyone bold enough to write books about the fifth century AD knows that the history is sketchy at best, especially any “history” about Ireland. Only with St. Patrick did scrolls begin to be copied and disseminated, schools and monasteries established, while the learning of centuries was being burned to ashes by invaders on the mainland of Europe and Britannia.
CYN: I'm impressed, Erin. Creating history on top of existing known facts can be tough. For any readers who may not have read any of your books, can you just give us a little sneak peek into your world (i.e. the type of genre you write, type of stories you like to write....etc)?
Erin: I have two  main worlds. One, as I mentioned at the start, is the world of 5th-century AD Ireland and Britannia, the celtic world of St. Patrick. Those books are erotic romances, both M/F and M/M. I like to write about unusual people and landscapes: cattle barons, Irish clansmen, druids, Saxon mercenaries and former Roman soldiers, pony trainers, priests and monks . . . all coping with the bad-ass yet beautiful environment of pre-history Ireland.
My historicals are broken into the M/F steamy romances, all set in “The Dawn of Ireland,” and the M/M erotic romances contained in a series called “The Iron Warrior.”
Mainstream Romance:
Storm Maker:  http://amzn.to/O218y7
The Wakening Fire : http://amzn.to/N1Gc6C
Captive Heart:  http://amzn.to/Qm8b1X
Fire & Silk:  http://amzn.to/P6jZtn
Erin’s Erotic MM Romance: The Iron Warrior series
Warrior, Ride Hard:  http://amzn.to/P2eRDO
Warrior, Stand Tall:  http://amzn.to/WoDkGS
I’d like to sneak in a reference here to my blog, The Gaelic Spirit, for anyone who’d like a taste of those unusual people and those outrageously stunning locales. The site concentrates on history and tradition, in words and photos. The link is http://bit.ly/Jgz6tU
My other world, contained in two books so far, is the rough-and-ready contemporary world of the high deserts of Nevada. That is the turf of my gay couples and the people around them in a series called “Noble Dimensions.”
Erin’s Contemporary MM Romances: Noble Dimensions series
CYN: Thanks for all your links. I'm sure the readers will appreciate more to get to know you. What would you like readers to take away with them once they finish one of your books?
Erin: Every one of my six adult historicals combines a story with history and a strong sense of the land. I want my readers to be attracted not just to characters with a rich life, but to the beauty, language, folklore and culture of Ireland itself. So when the reader closes the book, I would feel gratified if he or she said (as one reviewer recently wrote about WARRIOR, RIDE HARD), “The passion the characters feel for each other is mirrored in the genuine love that the author has for the landscape, the culture and the time period she has set them in. Obviously well researched, this tale takes place in the era of St. Patrick and it is brimming with historical facts about everything from Roman soldiers to the hierarchy of the people in Hibernia; from the Druids to a charismatic picture of the man who would be known as St. Patrick.”
CYN: Impressive review. Congrats! Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
Erin: I’m an iconoclast, for sure; but I haven’t yet thought of a story that the world isn’t ready for. I joke that I’ll change my name to Buffalo Ryder and write a MM cowboy-Indian shifter paranormal . .  but I’m afraid it’s a little too humdrum for today’s eclectic readers.
CYN: Haha. Love the pen name if you do decide. With what is out there in the paranormal world, I'm sure you could execute the story well, Erin. What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?
Erin: Strange . . . hmmm. Would you consider a clootie tree strange—a tree hung with hundreds of rags twisting in the wind? “Clootie” comes from Scots Gaelic meaning “cloth,” and starting several centuries ago, people have sought to cleanse themselves of anything from disease to broken limbs by rubbing the affected parts with a cloth. They then hang the cloth—the clootie—from the limbs of a sacred tree like the hawthorn. Legend or religious conviction says that when the cloth has hung sufficiently long in the sun and the weather, as it fades so will the disease.
The clootie tree became the central symbol of my novel WARRIOR, STAND TALL. One of the main characters seeks to be healed from something he considers a defilement, and an important part of the book rests on his cleansing of himself by means of a cloth hung on a clootie tree.
CYN: What would humanity be without myth, legend and superstitions? Love the history behind this one and how you incorporated into your story. What authors have influenced you most (not necessarily in the romance genre)?
Erin: For years, my writing “hero” was Vladimir Nabokov. To this day, I am captivated by his ability to use the English language the way a concert pianist uses a Steinway—and yet English was a foreign language for him. My God.
For the last six or so years, my modern hero has been Pulitzer author Michael Chabon, another wordsmith who blows me away by his agile ability with the language, and by the barely concealed ripples of both angst and comedy under the surface of his work. I have a contemporary favorite, actually a new friend whose pen name is Nya Rawlyns. Her writing is often as raw and chilling as her gritty characters. Yet she, like my other heroes, is a  master of poetic language. 
CYN: Great "heros" to emulate, Erin. What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Erin: As they are for probably most readers, I consider two compelling lovers the single most important element. Beyond the characters lie the setting, the story,  the symbols. Last but critical for  me is the writing itself: words, texture, cadence. The internal music.
CYN: Oh, love the last sentence. Words that create internal music to the reader. Love it. What’s your strongest point as a writer?
Erin: I think it’s my ability to invent very unusual characters who seem to jump off the pages. I’m talking not just the main characters, but many of the secondary ones as well. Some of  them still walk through my dreams and even sometimes sneak up on me in quiet moments.
The odd thing about all  my characters is that not one of them has ever been based—in any way at all—on a real person. They have all sprung from my brain like Athene from the brain of Zeus. Pretty strange.
CYN: I understand completely. I like my characters to be different and not based on anyone I know. Makes them original. What genre would you like to try writing in, but haven’t yet done so? Why?
Erin: I would like to try adult fantasy, leaning perhaps into the paranormal. I haven’t tried it because I simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’ve done YA fantasy, historical, erotica and romance, and I’ve mixed in comedy and mystery. So the paranormal is bound to come soon.
CYN: It will come to you and probably when you least expect it. If your muse were to talk behind your back, what secrets would he/she tell?
Erin: She is definitely a woman, and (being a damn gossip) she would tell you that I am a perfectionist, a hedonist, a poet, a musician, an artist and a lover of language. She would tell you that I am a frustrated astronomer, physicist, martial artist, opera singer and calligrapher in the Chinese style. She would tell you that I crave uniqueness and beauty in every aspect of my life, but that I find it mainly in the act of writing.
CYN: You sound creative in more aspects than the obvious one of writing. A Renaissance Woman, perhaps? What is the last line of your last WIP you worked on that you wrote?
Erin:  These are the last lines of my WiP called HEART TO HART, a MM comedy-fantasy-romance-mystery about a roustabout horny Irishman and his flat-mate, a surly and veddy proper gentleman in a 1920s fantasy Dublin. Both are private investigators only vaguely in the mold of Holmes and Watson.
Simon smiled and put his mouth next to Michael’s ear. “Maybe, love. But don’t hold your breath. Now get some sleep.”
CYN: Ooooh, sexy. Like it. Will you show us a little of your writing?
Erin: I’d like to give you a brief excerpt from one of my Irish historical erotica romances. Titled FIRE & SILK, it tells the story of  Flann O’Conall, a brusque mountain man, son of a king; and the woman he cannot seem to run away from, a fiery Iberian virgin named Mariana.

Log line: Two people crash and clash, desire and despise, when his fire meets her silk.

A day after the gruff bachelor Flann meets headstrong Mariana, they find themselves alone together in the dawn, at the river, where each has separately sought the cleansing water. They attempt to unravel the misunderstanding between them. The woman, upset, runs from him. As happens several times in the book, he ends up teaching Mariana about the physical aspects of love. It will be up to Mariana later to teach him the emotional side.

EXCERPT:
 
And then she was running for the trees, and Flann was running right behind her. She stopped at the foot of the giant oak and turned her face to its rough skin, refusing to look at him.

“Lady, ah, senhorita. What did I say to hurt ye?” His hand touched the nape of her neck so lightly that it might have been the wind, or a falling leaf.

Not turning to look at him, she shook her head.

“I think…ye’ve not known a man.”

“I know several men.”

“I mean, senhorita, in an intimate way. Flesh to flesh.”

“Whatever makes you think that?” Flann heard the anger in her voice. He reached out and took her shoulder, very gently, and turned her around. He held her little oval face between his large hands and searched her eyes. They seemed to him like the dark sky, throwing lightning, angry and frustrated.

“Why’re ye angry?” he asked. “Do not be angry.” He bent his head and captured her lips as he had the night they met. But this time, he did not gnaw and bite at them. He covered her mouth with his, slowly, and he began to suck.

“Oh,” he said. “Oh, God, Mariana,” he said into her mouth, and she opened it just enough for him to put his tongue inside very softly and slowly. He moved and searched, and then he felt her mouth seize his tongue and begin to suck. And this time when he thrust, it was so gentle that he was surprised at his own restraint. In and out, while her tongue stroked his own and his groin ached for her. And yet he stood somewhat apart, not letting their thighs touch at all.

She broke away from him and turned to run. But he took her shoulder again. “Please. Please do not run away, Mariana. Talk to me.”

She stood rock still while he turned her around and searched her face. “Tell me. Tell me about the ways of a woman.”

“Not here. Not yet. I–I need time—”

“I give ye forever. Will ye come to me when ye’re ready?”
She was crying silent tears that ran into her bruised mouth. He gently kissed them away, and she did not struggle. “Yes. I promise.”

He stepped back. “Then I will wait.”

“Will you tell me the answer to my question?”

“Ye may not like the answer, senhorita.”

“Tell me anyway.”

“I will show ye. Come here.”

She walked one step toward him, and he met her, this time sweeping her close to his taut body. He knew his bod was raging under his tight britches, that she would be frightened. As he pressed against her he kissed her again, running his tongue over her wide lips, then sucking her bottom lip while the passion rose to a peak. At last, when he was spent, he still pressed her close so that she would feel the sudden softness.

“D’ye see?” he whispered. “A man cannot help how his passions seize his body. He has no control at all. God makes him wear his desire on the outside.”

CYN: Dang, lady! Good stuff, give me more. Please, tell us where to find you so the readers can get some more: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!

Erin’s Blogs:  Gaelic Spirit  The Man in Romance  
Erin’s Historical Romances: SirenBookstrand
Erin’s Contemporary MM Romances:  Noble, Nevada on Amazon
FB  Erotica Writers & Readers group founder. You’re invited to apply.
Here are the links to Fire & Silk:

CYN: Thanks! Anything else you’d like to add?
Erin: Just a brief bio. Originally from a small town in the high desert of Nevada, I earned a BA (English) and MA (Comp. Lit.) from the University of Southern California. After marrying a USAF small arms instructor, I sold Volvos and Saabs under the trees in Germany, and I’ve done everything from teaching English to hauling pallets for a big-box garden center. My husband and I live outside a small town in Central Texas with two Macs and four snotty cats.

Wow! Fantastic Erin! I had fun and hope the readers did too. Thank you again for honoring me and posting here today. I look forward to another visit again for your next release. *wink wink* Hope everyone else enjoyed the interview and sharing of a great excerpt.
Please everyone, leave some love for Erin and comment below. Thanks again, until next time . . . put a little romance in your words you write or speak.

Cynthia

Friday, February 1, 2013

RELEASE DAY!!!!

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY!!! This is the second episode of The Misadventures of Dick Grewcock. Although the title indicates a Valentine, the story only takes place then. All the episodes take place during a holiday and each successive "adventure". Next one is around July 4th and fireworks explode with the zombies in town! Stay tuned.


Available at Secret Cravings Publishing: http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=36&products_id=517

BLURB:


Richard “Dick” Grewcock is a fledgling vampire, turned by choice on Halloween Night. He’s a computer geek, thirty-two years old, and thinks vampires are handsome, powerful, and have women falling over them—everything he’s not. Problem is, after he turns he doesn’t get any of those qualities. On Christmas he got the girlfriend of his wishes, and weeks later his new life takes a turn.
Valentine’s Day he meets with his maker and is made an offer he can’t refuse, but he has a date planned with his girlfriend.
Noelle St. Nicholas is Dick’s new girlfriend, and a little geeky too, they seem to be a perfect match. She plans a night her boyfriend won’t soon forget, but he tells her something she can’t forgive.
On his second adventure to find love, Dick Grewcock gets a Valentine surprise he won’t soon forget.

STORY EXCERPT:

“Dick, Dick, Dick, you’ve been a naughty boy, haven’t you? C’mon and calm down. We can fix this. First, you have to stop erasing her memory and be a true vamp. Tell her the truth. Be her master. Then, I want you to bring her to me and let me check her out. We can set this right.”
“You sure?”
“Positive, my boy. I’ll take care of you if you take care of me. Fix my computers and I’ll put Noelle back into working order.”
She’s not broken, like a car needing a tune-up. Geez! “Yes, sir. How about bringing her by tomorrow night?”
“Hmm, I can do that. But remember, don’t do anymore mind erasing. Resist, my dear Dick. Remember you can do it. Now if that’s it, I have another appointment.”
“Okay.” Dick stood and reached his hand over the desk to thank his sire.
Vlad stood and placed his cold mitt in Dick’s. “Ah, does my Dick feel better now?”
Huh? The question gave him pause. No, he didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Dick changed the subject. “So, Master Vlad when do you want me to start on the computers?”
“Tonight, of course.”
“Really? But, I need to quit my day job, and I’m busy tonight. I have a Valentine’s date with Noelle, remember?”
“Hmm, that’s right you did say today is Valentine’s. Well, I was counting on you. I need to move on this immediately. I hate down time in my businesses.”
“I can’t give Noelle a call first? I have reservations at a nice restaurant and can’t change my plans.”
“All I need you to do is find me the best hardware and software system then network all of them back to my computer. As long as I’m up and running by the end of the week I’ll be happy. You can have your romantic date with Noelle, and then work on it when she’s asleep or is she an insomniac who stays up all night? If she is, you might have a problem working for me.”
“No, she sleeps normally. I guess I could start tonight after our dinner. And, sir, the end of the week is in two days. You want this done for seven stores in two days?”
“Oh my, how this week has flown by. The days and nights all blur into one for me lately. Insomnia is such a bitch. I have trust in you, Dick. Plus you’re industrious and can make it work. That’s why I hired you, but I’ll give you a few extra days because I like you.” Vlad paused and bit his bottom lip. “Hmm, I wonder if vamps can suffer old age symptoms. You know like, dementia or inability to sleep. And this,” he said as he grabbed his stomach and squeezed the skin through his shirt. “Do you think I’m fat? Look. I think I’ve gained a few extra pounds around the middle.”
“Um, I don’t know. I haven’t been doing this vamp thing for very long. You look fine to me, by the way.”
“Hmm, you’re right.” Vlad turned to the side facing Dick. The older vamp pushed aside his leather duster coat with one hand and the other hand he placed over his abdomen. Arched his back slightly, he let out a breath, extending his stomach, sucked in the muscles, then back again. After a couple more times repeating the in and out of his belly, he glanced back at Dick. “Be honest, I can take it. Do you think I’m getting fat?”
Holy crap! I’m damned if I do or not. Maybe cutting back on the ice cream might help. “No, I don’t think you look fat, sir. You…you look fabulous. As always. Hell, I wished I looked as good as you. You’re one reason I wanted to become a vampire.” Not really, well maybe, but Dick had to tell a little lie because he recognized no way he’d win this argument with Master Vlad.
“Really?” Vlad’s voice squealed a couple octaves higher, piercing Dick’s ears.
For a moment the younger vampire reconsidered his decision to take the position with Vamps ‘R Us, but at this point, he couldn’t back out. The offer was made and accepted, and in the Master’s world that meant a contract had been sealed. Dick took a deep breath and forced a smile.
“Where was I? Oh, yes. I almost forgot.” The master walked to his desk, retrieved a file folder, and then leaned across the desktop, outstretching his hand with the folder. “This is for you. Everything you need to know. Addresses, phone numbers, store managers’ names, all concerning the properties I’ve purchased. If you can think of anything I’ve forgotten, please let me know.”
“Sure thing. I’ll get right on this.” Dick turned to leave, but stopped abruptly when the cold chill of Vlad’s hand came to rest on his shoulder.
“Oh, one more thing, my boy. When you stop by Tina’s desk to make an appointment to come in with Noelle, let her show you one of the offices down the hall. You can pick where you want. She’s so good at welcoming my new employees and can get you set up with everything you need.” Dick felt the chillier breath of his maker near his ear. The soft whisper sent chills down Dick’s spine. “Just don’t mention anything about her fingernails. She’s very sensitive about them for some reason.”
“Okay, no problem.”
“No seriously. The last guy that came to work for me said something about how he thought they were weird with the multi-colors of polish and sharp as needles.” He paused. “Well, anyhoo, he doesn’t work here any longer.” Vlad patted Dick on the shoulder again and walked toward the door.
Dick swallowed hard. “Anything else you should tell me, sir?”

Cynthia Arsuaga