Hey everyone. Help me welcome Tinnean to my blog. Vampires, black swans, and match-making agencies. What’s not to love? I’m definitely putting this one on my TBR list.
Guest Author: Tinnean
The story of The Black Swan
Late last fall, the list dad of a Facebook group I belong to announced a call for a vampire anthology. I’d contributed Blue and Green Persuasion, a sci fi story, to Foolish Encounters, which commemorated the group’s first anniversary, and I hoped to be a part of the new anthology as well. However, the call came with the proviso that the vampires weren’t the sort Bram Stoker wrote about.
It took some thinking, but I came up with the idea of a matchmaking agency for vampires. Because everyone needs a little love, don’t they?
While doing research, I learned about the black swan, an individual who wasn’t a vampire but who was close to one. Then there was the Golden Circle, consisting of individuals who formed a vampire coven. That coven included black swans, vampires, and kitra—those who were not only vampires but donors as well.
Never one to avoid fiddling, however, I reworked the black swan into someone who would protect his vampire during the day. Then I decided that, while in this universe being a black swan was genetic, not every child born into a black swan family was a black swan.
Okay. *rubs hands together* I’ve got the terms. I’ve got the basic plotline: boy meets vampire, boy can’t have vampire, boy creates the Golden Circle Matchmaking Agency so his vampire will have a companion. I’m ready to get writing.
The word limit was 15k, and I had about ten months to whip it into shape. Duck soup, right? Um… not quite, but not for the reason you might think.
The story moved along quite well, even considering the left turns at Albuquerque it decided to take from time to time. The problem was it kept moving along, until the word count topped 43k.
Well, that was obviously too long for the anthology, so another story had to be written for it. That story was about some of the secondary characters from They Come By Night, a vampire novel I wrote for Dreamspinner. The new story mentions the Golden Circle Matchmaking Agency. And the “Spanish vampire” who was “such a nightmare?” He also appeared in They Come By Night.
Meanwhile, The Black Swan still was at loose ends until I contacted JMS Books, and it found a home there.
So come along and meet Gabe Granger and Remember Littlebury, and the other black swans, and follow them through the corridors of time.
One final note: if the name Gabe Granger sounds familiar, this Gabe is the great-great-grand of Granger, who cross-dresses in the Spy vs. Spook and Mann of My Dreams series.
I do love me some crossovers. 😉
Gabe Granger gathers intelligence for George Washington, even after he’s bitten by a vampyre in the service of the British. Remember Littlebury, his longtime friend, stays with him as his black swan, keeping him safe from sunlight and getting messages to General Washington.
After the war ends, they continue working for the fledgling government through one conflict after another. When Gabe loses Remember at the Battle of Gettysburg, he’s ready to give up, but his country still needs his services. And there are many black swans for him to choose from. None are any more fortunate than Remember, and one by one they’re killed in various wars.
All Noah Poynter wants is to be a black swan, and he’s devastated when his pop tells him he’s just a normal. In spite of everything, Gabe and Noah become friends. Is there any hope for the two of them?
The war between the former colonies and England had been raging for almost three years, and now, once again, it was early autumn. The leaves had turned to red and gold, and had started to fall.
Gabe Granger made his way cautiously through the forest. He had been sent out to reconnoitre the British encampment about twenty miles to the north. One of his greatest accomplishments was his ability to retrieve information with no trouble at all. In addition, he was a good tracker, one of General Washington’s best.
That was why he couldn’t understand how anyone could sneak up on him without his being aware of it.
And even though the night was moonless, it seemed as if a shadow flowed around him, blotting out the stars.
“You’re quite attractive for a barbarian,” the owner of the shadow murmured. And while the voice was feminine, French, cultivated—the grip was as powerful as any man’s. “Shall I make you even more so, my pet? Would you like to belong to me forever?” She didn’t give him the chance to say no. She twisted his head and the pain came as a shock as she sank her fangs into his throat.
He’d heard of these creatures of the night. Even the Tuscaroras, who had raised him for a time after his parents had been killed by renegade white men, had tales of them.
Gabe had always been able to depend on his body. Now he was frightened by how easily she seemed to overpower him. He couldn’t even cry out for help.
He felt her draining the blood from his body, and he knew the best he could hope for was to die. The worst was for her to complete what she was doing and have him return as one of the undead.
Gabe would have whimpered in relief, but not a single sound could get past his lips.
The suction at his throat ceased, but the woman didn’t remove her fangs. It hurt.
“You know we have need of him as a spy. Will you make him your childe?” This voice was male and was equally cultivated, although it was British.
The woman withdrew her fangs but her lips remained fastened to his throat and she stroked her tongue over the wounds she’d made in his neck. In spite of himself, Gabe felt his prick harden. Oh God, what was wrong with him?
She raised her head. “A colonist? A Yankee? No.” Scorn filled her words, and she tossed him aside. “Besides, his blood isn’t in the least what I would want to sample again.”
“Did you hurt him? I told you I needed—” The Redcoat spat out a curse, and Gabe realized the woman must have left. “Stupid Frenchwoman, wasting food. Just like her queen.”
Gabe had the impression the man objected more to her nationality than to her sex.
The man cut his wrist. “I don’t have time for the entire procedure, little Yankee. This will have to suffice. Drink.”
Gabe didn’t know what the man was talking about, but the scent of blood was intoxicating. He latched onto the wrist that was offered to him and began to work the wound to obtain what he needed.
“I know you were General Washington’s spy.” The man chuckled and stroked Gabe’s hair with his free hand. “You’ll spy for me now, won’t you, little Yankee?”
Gabe froze. “What?”
“Washington won’t want you—no normal person will. You’re too dangerous. He won’t be able to trust you around his men. But I? I’ll give you free rein—feed from all the Yankee soldiers you’d like. You’ve stopped drinking.” There was a frown in his voice. “Continue. Once this melding is complete, you’ll belong to me. You’ll do whatever I ask of you.”
“And that includes betraying my country?”
“Don’t be tiresome.” He nudged Gabe’s lips with his wrist. “Do as I say.”
“I won’t.” Gabe shoved aside the arm and spat out the blood.
“Then die, foolish Yankee.” The voice had grown so cold, Gabe couldn’t prevent a shiver from running down his spine. The Englishman tossed Gabe aside much as the Frenchwoman had, and then Gabe was alone in the forest.
He wanted to weep. He’d failed in his mission. Soon it would be sunrise; he was going to die. From what he had learned, he knew the sun’s rays would melt the flesh from his bones. He sank back onto the bed of leaves and felt his heart stutter and slow. But he was a loyal American. He would not feed on men who trusted him—trusted that he’d find the information that would get them through another battle.
He prepared to meet his Maker…
No, goddammit, he wasn’t going to lie down and die like a… a Macaroni. He could hear the faint scrabbling of some small creature—possibly a squirrel or a raccoon. He’d find it and drink its blood.
He launched himself at it and only succeeded in hitting his head against the tree.
Face it, Gabe. You were born under an unlucky star. Except when it came to having a good friend like Remember Littlebury. And thank God, Remember wasn’t here. Vampyres could be unpredictable, and did they even recall who their friends were? Could Gabe trust himself not to attack Remember? No, this was for the best. Gabe was ready to die if he must, but being unable to say goodbye to Remember… It sorrowed him greatly.
About the Author:
Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.
It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.
While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters and has been published by Nazca Plains, Dreamspinner, JMS Books, and Wilde City, as well as being self-published. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.
A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband and two computers.
Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.
She can be contacted at:
Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/
Tinnean's earlier works can be found at: http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/tinnssinns/Welcome1.html