TPV (short, blond, plump, and very intense): Bon Jour, readers, fellow writers, and paranormal romance lovers everywhere. When I volunteered for this gig, I thought it’d be different to have my character speak for himself. (He looks at the man sitting next to him) Now, I’m beginning to wonder if that was a mistake, because Vlad’s more than a little outspoken.
VC (tall, dark, incredibly handsome and knows it): Not wanting to correct my creator, but, you’ve mistaken. I’m not outspoken, I’m just…direct.
TPV: We won’t argue. It’s a matter of symantics.
VC (Shrugs and snorts): You’re the wordmeister…Master.
TPV (changes subject): Thank you for being on time, Vlad. I was afraid, with Daylight Savings Time and all, you might be late.
VC: Never happen. I’ve got a Kilburg Geochron World Clock. It tells me not only the time, but when the sun rises and sets, the weather, and when the tides rise and fall.
TPV: I’m impressed, especially about that sunrise, sunset business.
VC: Can’t be too careful in the vampire business, you know. Otherwise, I might be caught outside at the wrong time and make an ash of myself. You should get one. They only cost $5000.
TPV (dryly): Right. I’ll put that on my to-buy list.
VC (sneers slightly): As if. I know what you make in royalties, TP. You don’t live in a garret in a fourth-floor cold-water walkup just for the atmosphere. Starving writer? Well, you could stand to lose a few pounds. (leans over and pokes a forefinger into TP’s plump little belly) Someone your height shouldn’t get too pudgy. Let me make you a gift of one. After all, can’t have my favorite author being late to all those many book-signings and readings you may someday go to.
TPV (scowling, his normally pale cheeks turning a bright pink): That’s pretty cold, Vlad.
VC: Not really. I’m usually about 69.2, even in August.
TPV: No, I meant… (gets distracted by that statement) Really, your normal temperature is 69.2? That’s how cold you are?
VC: That’s how warm I am. Why do you think I never shake hands? (holds up his right hand and wiggles his fingers) One touch of these babies will give you the shivers. (he laughs) Ask Meredith!
TPV. I don’t think so…moving along… Tell me, Vlad, what’s with this feud you have with Baslo Rigla?
VC: I wouldn’t call it a feud exactly. He’s a domineering, bloodthirsty tyrant who’s outlived his stay, and I’m going to bring him down and establish a more kindly, world-friendly regime.
TPV: I see.
VC: Do you? I don’t think so. Let me explain…
TPVB: Please do. I think you attempted to revolt against Rigla once before, didn’t you?
VC: That’s right, back in 1422…
TPV: And failed miserably.
VC (defensively): It wouldn’t have happened if I’d been a little older—vampire-wise. As it was, I had the desire but not the experience. Yes, I failed miserably, and was buried alive for my so-called sin, and it took me 600 years to overcome the trauma. Talk about a psychological wreck! Let’s not.
TPV: So you came to America with revenge on your mind…
VC: And blood in my eye. Isn’t that a quaint but descriptive American phrase? Love it! Yes, I’m going to set things right. With the help of my faithful thrall Marius…if I can keep him out of the nightclubs long enough.
TPV: So who else do you have to help you?
VC: Let’s see. I’ve a couple of very Southern gentlemen, Sebastian and Trevor…one fought in that little rebellion you Americans had back in 1776, and the other…I think he was a soldier in that other revolt, the…uh…Civil War. Tell me, when was a war ever civil? Then, there’s Dusty, a werewolf, but remarkably friendly. Kind of like an overgrown Yorkie. He’s the head of my K-9 Corps, and there’s Stacy, nice guy for a human. He’s Sebastian’s great-great-great-great-grandson, by the way, makes armor for those Renaissance Faire-Creative Anachronism things. You know, where modern men dress up as knights and pretend to bash each other with swords and call it fun? (smirks) Believe me, if they had done it for real, it wouldn’t be so funny. Well, Stacy is making Kevlar vests for all of us, as well as swords. I also have about fifty nosferatu recruits.
TPV (impressed): Sounds as if you’ve got it pretty well planned out this time around.
VC (confidently): I’m not worried about Rigla at all. But if you want to know the truth, what I’m really concerned about is Meredith.
TPV: That’s Meredith Swanson, twin sister of your former lover vampire Valerie Swanson?
VC (irritated): You make it sound as if there could be more than one Meredith Swanson, who has an Undead Twin, floating around.
TPV: So what’s the problem with Mere?
VC: Plenty. She wants to settle down and raise little Vlads, and, well…as you know…
(stops and looks down as if in embarrassment)
TPV: Go no further, I think we’re all aware of the little…uh…problem vampires have in the reproductive department.
VC: Glad you made that little distinction and didn’t bring my virility into question.
TPV: Wouldn’t think of doing that. So what are you going to do?
VC (shrugs as if it should be obvious): Only thing I can, TP. Make sure Meredith has a baby.
TPV: Do I dare ask how you plan on doing that?
VC: You may ask but you won’t necessarily get an answer, not from me, anyway. I’ve got it all figured out, but that can wait until I’ve given Rigla his just desserts, and I don’t mean chocolate éclairs!
TPV: I’m sure you don’t. So where are you going when you leave here?
VC: Heading to Tybee Beach where my men and I are meeting to make our battle plans. Also, Stacy is bringing our vests so we can try them on and make sure they don’t block our wings. I hope there aren’t any late surfers tonight. It might be a little embarrassing if someone spots us flying around out there.
A voice suddenly speaks up: “It is now eight o’clock pm. Sunset was at six-oh-two pm. Sunrise will be at six-seventeen pm. High tide will be at eleven-twenty pm.”
VC: Thank you. (he holds up his left wrist) My watch. It’s also a…
TPV: Don’t tell me, it’s a Geochron wrist watch.
VX: How’d you guess? Anyway, must fly…literally…the guys are waiting… Nice to see everyone. (directs his next sentence to the audience) And if you really want to find out about Meredith and me and baby makes three…or what happens in the Fangfight at Rigla’s Corral…buy The Last Vampire Standing—that’s going to be me, by the way—and find out.
(Exits, Stage Left.)
TPV: Well, there you have it, folks, straight from the vampire’s mouth. The Last Vampire Standing will be available from Class Act Books on October 15. www.classactbooks.com