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Tricks and a Treat!

I know the theme is “Things that go bump in the night,” but I can’t do it. I can’t write about dark, scary things. I’ve been told it’s because I have such an active imagination. Great for a writer, but bad for a woman whose husband loves Stephen King and horror movies. Speaking of Stephen King, I quote him when I want to explain why I’m not a horror fan. He said, “The innocent must suffer.”

A writer should experience the emotions of her characters, and I actually suffer for the poor stupid girl who goes down to the basement in her bra and panties with only a baseball bat to protect her. We all know the thing that’s going to go bump in her night will be her head hitting the cold, hard floor. Ouch.

However, an active imagination is why I’m getting great reviews and loads of fan mail. People like my books because they’re different. I’ve been told I don’t think like other people. At first I was a bit offended, but after mulling it over, I’ve decided I’m okay with that. A lot of writers don’t think like other people, and writers are my favorite people to hang out with. As fellow writer Arianna Hart put it, “Toss a bunch of authors into a box of rocks, and a good time will be had by all.”

So, without further delay, I’d like to share a bit of my screwy imagination with you. This is from my latest release The Vampire Next Door.

Morgaine opened her door the moment Sly knocked. She might have been standing there because she’d sensed someone coming to see her. Psychics were fun that way.

“Hi, Morgaine, uh…”

His throbbing fang distracted him so much that Sly hadn’t looked up to see her face yet. When he did, he was met with an intriguing surprise. The woman he thought would be dressed in black with long, black hair, and wearing heavy black eye makeup and red lipstick, almost looked like a different person. He had to blink and look again to be sure she was indeed the witch he was looking for.

She smiled. Her face seemed softer with glowing skin, pink lips, and golden hair falling around her shoulders. Her dress was a dark shade of purple. Maybe something called plum.
A few moments passed before he realized he hadn’t finished his sentence and was staring at her.
“Sly? Is there something I can do for you?”

He recovered and said, “Uh, yeah. There ith. Can I come in?”

She tipped her head. “I invited you in years ago, didn’t I?”

“Yeth. But if you’d rather not—”
“Don’t be silly. Of course you can come in. I was just wondering if you thought vampires needed to be invited in again after a certain amount of time passed.”

“Like an ecthperathion date? No. Even if there wath one, I’d knock and athk.

Her lips twitched in a smirk. He realized she’d noticed his lisp and she too was trying not to be rude.

“Please come in.” She stepped aside.

He strolled in and admired her apartment. A far cry from his secret lair in the basement, hers was a bright and cozy place with a slipcovered couch, a rocking chair, and a trunk for a coffee table. Its only decoration was a glass dish holding some colorful rocks and crystals.
Lit candles graced the fireplace, making the lavender room glow. Wind chimes he’d heard during summer months hung silent in the window, which was closed against the chilly night air.
“You mutht like thith color.” He indicated her dress and the walls.

“Yes, plum is my favorite shade of purple, and purple is my favorite color.”

“Plum, huh? Ith pretty on you.” He meant it.

He didn’t often compliment people, not that he didn’t appreciate a good-looking woman, but ever since his wife had died and left him a widower twenty-six years earlier, he’d had no interest in starting up a relationship with somebody else. It wouldn’t be fair to let a woman think she’d be able to replace his late wife, so he avoided giving anyone the wrong idea. Morgaine had no such illusions though, so he felt safe telling her he’d noticed her attractive change.

“I had a makeover. Roz took me to a school for aspiring cosmetologists. It took them all evening to get the black dye out of my hair and recolor it to match my natural shade.”

“Tho you’re a natural blonde?”

“I guess so. My hair hasn’t been natural for about thirteen years, but I don’t notice a big difference at the roots now that it’s growing out.”

He wandered around the apartment, scanning the new-age books on her shelves and noticing how neat she kept the place. “You mutht have gotten into the goth thing a long time ago.”

“Yeah, you could say I was the high-school weirdo.”

He smiled. “We were all weird in high thchool.”

She grinned back. “Have a seat. Can I get you some tea?”

“No, thanks. I came to athk you for thum magical help.”

“You want me to heal your fang?”

“Yeth.” He sat on the comfortable flowered sofa. “Did your thycic ability tell you what happened?”

“No, your lisp did.” She giggled and sat next to him.

Man, she’s pretty when she smiles.

“Let me see.” She scooted closer, and he opened his mouth.

Her gentle, warm fingers pushed his upper lip out of the way as she examined his mouth. Her own lips were slightly parted as she studied his injured fang thoroughly. Her breath was pleasant. Minty, as if she’d just brushed her teeth. He could lean in and capture those sweet pink lips in his and… Whoa. What was happening?

“Does it hurt?”

“Like a mutha. I have a metallic tasthte in my mouth too.”

“I can see why you wouldn’t be able to go to a dentist. It looks like the fang that isn’t healing well won’t retract, and I guess they’re not able to work independently, so the other one won’t retract either.”


“It’s not the fang that’s broken—or if it was, it’s healed.”

“Yeth. The fang grew back, but the pain won’t go away. I bit into a thick thilver necklath.”

“Ohhh… You were poisoned. Okay, I’ll have to make a healing poultice so I can apply it directly to your gum. It will draw out the silver poison in your system. I’ll reinforce its power with a healing spell if you like.”

“Thankth. Will I ever be the thame?”

“Of course you will. Unless you’re talking about your pre-vampire days. That I can’t heal.”
He hung his head. “I know. I remember athking you that when I learned you were Wiccan. You thed there wath no thpell to cure vampirithm.”

“I’m afraid not. I’m sorry.” She rested her hand on his knee.

When he looked up, she had a soft, sad expression on her face. It wasn’t pity—not exactly. Empathy. That’s what it was. He knew she had a kind heart, but there was more to it than just that. She was a nurturer. Much like his daughter, Merry, the pediatric nurse. An innate healer.
“Pardon my curiothity, but… the makeover? Are you dating?”

Her face colored. “I—well, no. I wouldn’t mind meeting someone, but it’s just not in me to go out to bars or anything.”

“Thumthing tellth me you wouldn’t meet the right kind of guy there anyway. Have you tried the Internet?”

“Not yet.” She hesitated as if there was more to say, but instead she placed her hands on her knees and pushed herself up to a standing position. “Well, I’ll go whip up that poultice. You try to relax.”

And now for your treat…
Between now and November 3rd, book 1 in the Strange Neighbors series is only 99 cents. Oh! And book 2 The Werewolf Upstairs is only $2.99. Add the Vampire Next Door and you have an entire single title series for under ten bucks! WooHoo! Happy Halloween.


  1. Great post, Ash!

    My mother and father and I loved scary stories and loved to watch them together. My kids don't, and most of the time, I don't like watching them alone! But when I write, I can't make them all that scary! :)

  2. A vamp with a sore fang qualifies as different, and I don't recall ever coming across a widowed vamp with a lisp.

    I hadn't seen the Stephen King quote before either, and it clarifies for me why horror is horrifying. Not my thang to view suffering innocents as entertainment, I guess, even if Stephen King is a brilliant writer.

    I'll stick to your lisping vampires, Ashlyn, thanks!

  3. Hey Everybody! Ash just left me a text and she is without power up where she lives thanks to the freak snowstorm that hit New England. I know she'd be popping by otherwise to answer questions and respond to comments.

  4. Poor, Ash! I hope she has a fire going. Great excerpt, and great deals on the to the ebookstore...

  5. Totally agree about horor stories. Great excerpt!


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