Scribal Love Welcomes Cammie Eicher!
What is the name of your novel?
What first attracted you to writing vampire fiction?
When I was a teenager, I discovered “Dracula,” the novel – and my mother told me the story handed down through the family that some of our ancestors were serfs on the estate of the “real” Dracula. Ta-da – a lifelong fascination with vampires was born.
Who is/are your main character(s) and is he/she a vampire?
Giorgio Montrosa and Leykin Reneau are both Ancients (as my vampires prefer to be called.)
How would you describe your vampire character? Is he/she a lover or fighter? Is the beast within held at bay? Or does he/she go with her passions?
Giorgio is several hundred years older than Leykin and is chief enforcer for the Council of Elders, which is the ruling body of the Ancients. He is charged with training Leykin as an enforcer; they are also lovers. Leykin was raised in Minnesota, where few Ancients live, by the woman she called Grandmama. Giorgio lost his parents during the Dark Times, before the current rules were established, and has a reputation for being the biggest, baddest enforcer of them all. When his world and his woman are threatened, no one better stand in his way!
What are your thoughts on some of the traditional weaknesses of vampires? Sunlight, crosses, wooden stakes etc. Did you incorporate any of that into your fiction? If not what were some of the weaknesses that your character must avoid?
My Ancients aren’t immortal; they live about a thousand years. At age 13, they go through their changing in a ritualistic ceremony and become fledglings. Gradually they are able to tolerate sunlight and eat the same foods as short-livers. However, my vampires are all lactose-intolerant and silver is poison to them. Holy water, crosses, none of those things affect them – unless they’re made of silver, that is!
Go crazy and tell us about your book! Include an excerpt if you like!
This is book four of my Shadow Ancients series BUT you don’t have to read them in order! Blood Oath can be read as a stand-alone book, as can the others.
In Blood Oath, the Ancient world is rocked after the famous model and talk-show host Nekia, an old and powerful Ancient, is executed for treason and murder on council orders. When her body is found in a state park by “regular” humans, short-lifer geocachers, the crisis accelerates. And when information is leaked to the tabloids that not only is Nekia a vampire, but so are many other famous people from around the world, the high elder orders the clans to gather in their homelands, cancels all scheduled ceremonies and forbids his people to use their mental talents to connect with one another.
Instead of working together, Giorgio and Leykin follow separate orders. As he seeks to find first who moved Nekia’s body and then who killed the high elder’s closest friend, what appears to be a routine bodyguard assignment for Leykin turns into a nightmare as a powerful cadre of Ancients attempt to overthrow the council.
Here’s an excerpt:
Giorgio stood on the wide veranda of the limestone mansion and stared up into the dark sky. Once there had been nothing above but starlight, before man ruined beauty in the name of progress.
He wanted to see the constellations. He needed to focus on something beautiful. The argument with Leykin had pulled him back to the ugliest moments of his life, when he killed other men not for justice but on an elder’s whim. In those days of blind obedience, he hadn’t respected the value of life. He killed because he wanted to advance. He wanted power. He wanted the things that being the best enforcer in the Ancient world could bring.
Now all he wanted was to ensure Leykin’s life. She was good, yeah, but she wasn’t good enough yet. A split second of indecision, one wrong move, and she’d be the one with her heart ripped out and her throat slashed.
“Giorgio, I am ready.”
The high elder’s command sounded inside his head. Giorgio pushed his dark thoughts away and prepared to give Misha an update. His steps were heavy as he walked through the house and up the stairs to Misha’s second-floor office.
Misha was his usual cool self. As he bowed to the high elder, Giorgio wondered if he could stay so collected during a troubled time like this. Then again, he wasn’t expected to. Enforcers needed a reserve of rage to call on if they were to do their job right.
Again, his thoughts returned to Leykin. Did she have the capability for unbridled rage? More importantly, would her upbringing, so much gentler than Giorgio’s, keep her from acting on it?
“Please tell me you have good news.”
Misha’s voice revealed the strain missing from his face. The weariness it held was testimony to the unprecedented task Giorgio had accepted. With footage of Nekia’s tarp-covered body playing over and over on televisions worldwide, as well as instantly accessible on computers and smartphones, the slightest misstep could reveal the Ancients’ presence in the world and lead to unimaginable consequences.
Giorgio hated to tell this man he respected how little had been uncovered so far. Taking a deep breath, he answered, “We know the names of those on the corpse detail. They were ordered to stand guard and keep short-lifers away by whatever means were necessary.”
“I assume these men have been interrogated.”
Here came the part Giorgio really hated.
“We have been unable to locate them, sir.”
Misha’s hands tightened on the arms of his chair, and his eyes took on the gold glint that made
Giorgio back up a few steps.
“How can this be?” Misha asked, his tone deceptively gentle. “You have the services of every enforcer in the Ancient world at your disposal, and you’re unable to locate four men whose identities are known. Is that correct?’
“You have led the search for these men yourself?”
“Yes, sir,” Giorgio repeated.
“I suggest you take advantage of the enforcers we have scattered across the globe. And I would suggest you begin intensifying the search now.”
Giorgio bowed and uttered a final “Yes, sir,” before hurrying toward the door. He was almost there when Misha’s voice interrupted him.
“I would also ask that you institute a lockdown for every Ancient who has known Nekia well. It would not surprise me if someone is using this situation for his own agenda. I’m certain we both know to what end.”
Walking rapidly down the hallway to the steps leading to the first floor and his escape, Giorgio slid back into enforcer mode. Attempts to overthrow the council had been made in the past decade, first by the Ancients Underground, an informal association of young malcontents, and then by Nekia herself, with the unwitting backing of Harrington, the sitting senator from Louisiana. In a classic double-cross, Harrington had planned to get Nekia seated on the council and make her his puppet; Nekia hoped to use Harrington’s influence to gain an elder’s seat. Soon after, Giorgio suspected, she would have found an excuse to have him marked for execution.
Luckily, both plans had unraveled, but not without two deaths and a kidnapping. He wondered now if the prophecy of the Book of the Ancients had been fulfilled. A shiver snaked along his spine. If so, these moments of discord would soon be an all-out battle, not only among the Ancients but against short-lifers as well.
* * * *
Quincy leaned back in his leather club chair and closed his eyes. Calling on the empathy that linked his people, he searched and found the men who had worn the gray uniforms of the Confederate Army with him.
Tomas Petrov — Thomas Peters 150 years ago.
Stefan Margios, known among the Rebs as Steven March.
Duncan Phipps and Quincy himself, the final of the Gray Ghosts, nicknamed for their ability to
infiltrate the Union ranks and slip safely out again.
One by one, he made the mental connection and invited each man to join him before dawn.
They’d banded together once to save their people and their way of life from being discovered.
The time had come to do it again.
“Sir?” Remir’s voice intruded.
“What?” Quincy snapped, his eyes opening.
“The high elder requests your presence.”
Quincy smiled. Perhaps overthrowing the council would be easier than he expected.
“Call a driver,” he said. “And tell the kitchen staff to delay dinner. I may be late.”
Humming to himself, Quincy searched through his closet for the right suit and tie. It wouldn’t do to meet with Tsarentza in his slacks and golf shirt. He needed to look good. Trustworthy.
Twenty minutes later, satisfied with his appearance, he stepped into the backseat of the long, dark sedan. Remir took the front passenger seat. Normally, Quincy wouldn’t bring his enforcer to a meeting at the high elder’s home, but nothing was normal in the Ancient world today. He intended for Tsarentza to see him as an equal, despite Quincy’s lack of elder status.
Intimidation was an art he’d learned at a young age and was fond of employing. It was surprising, Quincy mused, how even the most powerful had their weak spots. He intended to find the high elder’s and exploit it.
That, after all, was what had made the Gray Ghosts so successful and so feared.
* * * *
Leykin immediately recognized Quincy Hawthorne. She squared her shoulders and adopted an enforcer’s stance before opening the front door to admit him to Misha’s home.
“Good evening.” She bowed a half-bow, as befitting an Ancient of standing. Only the elders received a full bow; the Prophetess was greeted with the most formal of Ancient honors, a bow with fingertips placed to forehead.
“We meet again,” Quincy said, offering a charming smile. “Have you taken the place of the beautiful Belle DuPont as the high elder’s enforcer?”
“Oh, no. I am still learning. I can’t even dream of such a high position.”
Quincy patted her shoulder. “No need that you should. There are many equally satisfying positions for an enforcer these days.”
She acknowledged the compliment with a small nod of her head before turning to lead Hawthorne to the elevator hidden off the entry alcove. His enforcer remained behind as they rode to the third floor with only the hum of the lift breaking the silence. When the doors opened, Leykin waited until Hawthorne stepped out to lead the way to Misha’s study.
The heavy oak door was open. Misha called “Please, come in,” when he spotted the duo.
Once again, Leykin admired how Misha’s study was arranged to demonstrate his power. He sat behind a massive desk while across from it, small club chairs awaited visitors. A wing chair was placed to his left, beside the window, and she wondered if the high elder chose to retreat from the demands of his position by sitting there and watching the world outside.
As was customary, Leykin left the room as soon as Hawthorne was seated. She closed the door and assumed a watch position a few feet away. Still, thanks to the superior hearing of Ancients, she could have listened in if she wanted to.
She didn’t. Granmama had taught her it was impolite to eavesdrop. Anyway, there were times when knowledge was a one-way ticket to an execution.
As she waited in the hall, her boots sinking into the sumptuous carpet, her thoughts flashed back to her argument with Giorgio. She hated to fight, but sometimes it was inevitable. This had been one of those times. He needed to understand how she felt. He needed to recall his days as a new enforcer, and his dreams and ambitions.
“I’ve got the blood of Ancients from seven centuries on my hands, forced to prove what kind of man I am.”
A chill ran through her at the remembered words. How many had he killed? Dozens? Hundreds?
Did she really want to know?
Thanks Cammie For Dropping By!