... okay that might've been overdoing it on the alliteration, but still. Torquere's Haunted Hotties is coming soon, and I get to be in Volume 1 with all these wonderful authors!
Pre-order link is already up at Torquere, and soon to come at various resellers. Release is October 14th, though, so you've got plenty of time to get into the holiday spirit. :D Have I ever mentioned Halloween is my favorite holiday? It totally is.
As for my story, Præsidium... hey how about an excerpt to introduce you to Thackeray, the demon hunter.. and demon-haunted:
It's a power-struggle every time you meet someone new. Think about it-- you go out to dinner, sit down, look at someone new across the table—business associate, first date, whatever—and you're engaged in a skirmish. You're trying to figure out who has the upper hand in the conversation, and whatever there is of the relationship. You're trying to decide if you can feel confident enough to pretend you don't find the stretches of silence between topics disconcerting.
Seir was feeling chatty tonight—he was always stirred up when we neared the end of a chase. Antonin had gone off to the bathroom, and I was staring down a piece of apple pie in the one all-night diner in town. I thought, You just love to hear yourself yammer. I swear it's masturbation via rhetoric. Starting to feel like I'm in a Quentin Tarantino film. We're even in a diner.
He said, I'm not wrong, though.
I stirred my coffee lazily, clink, clink, clink. Then finally answered as if he hadn't heard the thoughts it took me to get there. If no one wins the struggle, as in both declare defeat, the silences are intolerable to everyone.
The point is that you've got to be the one in control, or someone else is controlling you, or you're spinning out of control, which never leads to anything good (for more than a few minutes at a time.) Wouldn't you say?
He knew goddamn well that, I wouldn't. What if the person gets control of you and does horrible things? It was a layered statement: it could be about him and me, and how he couldn't possess, just haunt. Or it could be about me and Antonin, here. The potential for some form of control implicit in physical attraction.
So be the one to win. It's not that difficult; it's a question of your belief in yourself being stronger than his in himself.
I snorted. The most delusional wins?
It's not delusion: it's self-manifesting superiority. Try it. People will eat it out of your hand.
"So you keep saying," I mumbled aloud.
Antonin slid back into the booth across from me. "What?"
"Nothing." I made an attempt to appear extra grouchy—that was usually all it took to discourage questions.
He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. In the real light of the diner, it was hard not to notice how flattering the freckles sprinkled liberally over his golden-brown nose, cheeks, and forehead were.
I wasn’t usually a freckles guy. Huh. "I need you to help me stop them.”
He stabbed a spoon into the bowl of melting ice cream before him. Peanut butter chocolate. Too rich for my blood—not too sweet for his, apparently. "Don't you think you could tell me a little about yourself first?"
"Because you're just some stranger who swung into town and happened to know about a bunch of evil shit about to go down. Also, you attacked me in the shrubs."
Fair point, but I wasn't giving in. "I didn't attack you, I took you to a more secure location to question you, first. I could've attacked you. We wouldn't be having this conversation."
"And you'd be no closer to figuring out how to fuck up their demonic plans."
I pinched the bridge of my nose. "What do you want to know?"
"Who are you? Really. Not your name; who you are, what you do."
I pushed my barely-touched pie away. I don't even like pie. It just seemed like the thing to order, in a place like this.
I'm bad at human things, sometimes. I pretend that's not because of Seir. Maybe it's even true. I had a weird childhood, to say the least.
I said, "I'm Thackeray, and I hunt demons. Any time there's a frayed piece of the Veil, I know about it; I go there and I fix the situation."
"Okay, so who do you work for? Who can convince a handsome, capable, brick shithouse of a man like you to demon hunt?"
I ignored everything but the ‘capable’ part, which was true. "Myself."
"Right, but someone has to pay you."
"I wish they did."
He watched me for a moment, like he was trying to tell if I was serious. When I didn't flinch, he said, "Yeah, all right, man. But why do you do it, then? You can’t be hurting for options. You could be a bodyguard or—I don’t know. A fitness model. Jesus Lord Almighty."
Again, I ignored the compliments, uncertain what to do with them. "Don't ask if you don't really want to know."
Something like annoyance flared behind his eyes. "Start talking, or I walk."
"Fine. When I was three years old, my mother tried to kill me."