PVN is delighted to welcome Lynda Hilburn author of The Vampire Shrink featuring the the hunky vamp Devereux. Lynda is also a licensed psychotherapist and a researcher of the occult. She has brought her considerable knowledge to imbue her paranormal fiction with a special richness. I read, enjoyed and reviewed the original edition of Vampire Shrink. I anxiously await the new one.
[see contest details at end of post]
A Note to Readers from Lynda Hilburn
I want to thank Patricia for having me back on her wonderful blog in honor of the release of the British version of The Vampire Shrink (expanded/revised) this month!
A writer friend asked me recently why Devereux, my main vampire in The Vampire Shrink, refuses to join the 21st (or the 20th) century. Why he resists becoming “Americanized.” Why he doesn’t use contractions when he speaks.
The questions took me by surprise, because although I realize he’s stubbornly European, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to why I created him that way. But it really isn’t a mystery. I’ve been a rabid vampire fan since I was a kid. I grew up with Bela Lugosi movies and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I think I was simply programmed to expect powerful, frightening vampires to come from the “old country.” After all, that’s where most of our commonly known vampire superstitions originate. When it comes to the undead, I need a little fear along with my romance, and the “traditional” ideas of vampires sometimes seem more intense and scary to me.
As much as I have enjoyed reading almost all the vampire books that have been written in the last 50 years, I’m much more drawn to the bloodsuckers with exotic backgrounds.
Of course, I write a lot of contemporary, American-speaking secondary-character vampires, too. In fact, in a scene I just wrote for the new book #2 in the series – Blood Therapy – my psychologist heroine, Kismet Knight, facilitates a group therapy session with several neurotic American vampires. It was so much fun to write.
But then, who am I kidding? I love all vampires. The dark, brooding ones. The snarky, clever ones. The monsters. How about you? Which ones are your favorites?
Excerpt: Vampire in the waiting room . . .
I met with a few more clients that afternoon and early evening and had just kicked off my shoes when I heard the door to the reception area open. I quickly scanned my appointment book to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anyone. Finding I hadn’t, I put my shoes back on and opened my office door.
Sitting in one of the chairs in the waiting room was the very same gorgeous, blond-haired, leather-clad man I’d seen outside my building and in Midnight’s drawing.
My stomach lurched and I think I gasped out loud.
He stood when I opened the door and it was fluid motion, as if he had simply willed himself vertical. His body was all lean muscle radiating some kind of primal power. He moved elegantly over to me and gave a slight bow of his head. He offered the kind of smile that made my Inner Nerd want to fan herself and hide in the closet.
Dressed in black, his snug leather pants, form-fitting silk T-shirt, and long leather duster gave the impression of high fashion rather than Harley-Davidsons.
I froze in the doorway with my mouth hanging open, speechless, staring into the most amazing pair of turquoise eyes I’d ever seen.
He picked up my hand gently and kissed the back, his lips soft and silky. “I am Devereux. Is this a good time for an appointment?”
So many emotions slammed against each other inside me that I didn’t know which one to act on first. Fear decided to step to the front of the line and my mind began to weigh options in case the man physically attacked me. He didn’t seem menacing at the moment, but he was much bigger and stronger than me, and I hadn’t spent nearly enough time in the gym. Hell, I hadn’t spent any. Obviously, he had.
My heart raced and I still hadn’t formed a coherent sentence or done anything beyond stare at him like a zombie. What was happening to me? My eyelids felt as though they were coated with cement, my jaw sagged open, the air suddenly became thick, and a sumo wrestler was pounding on my chest. The normal background white noise acquired a sharp edge and turned into a persistent buzz, vibrating in my ears. I felt as if I was in some kind of trance.
“I am very sorry.” He took a step back from me and released my hand. “I have frightened you. That was never my intention – sometimes I forget how intense we can be. You must be a keenly sensitive individual. I will endeavor to control myself. Please accept my sincere apologies.”
You will endeavor to control yourself? I’m the one having the meltdown here.
He lowered his gaze for a moment, and when he met my eyes again, the tension drained from my muscles and I could breathe. It felt as though a switch had been thrown and I was once again in charge of my bodily functions. I could still hear the hum in my ears, but it had diminished in volume. I ran my tongue over my very dry lips.
“You did startle me. I wasn’t expecting anyone this evening.”
“Again, my sincere apologies.”
Both times I’d seen this man, he’d caused my anxiety levels to blast through the roof. I wanted to scream at him that it was absolutely not acceptable he’d come unannounced to my office, and that his habit of lurking around me was going to earn him a trip to the police station. He was altogether too sure of himself. I wanted him to know he couldn’t just stroll in and expect me to drop everything and attend to him. No matter how gorgeous he was.
Instead, I swallowed the irritation, opted for whatever remnants of professional demeanor I could summon, and said, “Well, Mr. Devereux, why are you here?”
“Just Devereux.” He cocked his head and flashed that godlike smile again. “As I mentioned a moment ago, I had hoped this would be a good time for our appointment. I trust Midnight told you I wished to meet with you?”
His voice was unusually pleasant. The timbre of it flowed through me like a favorite song, as if I were listening to him with my entire body. He had a lilting European accent, sounding almost old-fashioned, like he’d stepped out of another century. Strange how a voice could be so enticing.
I closed my eyes and sniffed the air. What was that wonderful aroma? It seemed to hover around him like an olfactory aura. Maybe he used a special kind of soap or shampoo, something spicy and masculine and unusual.
He brushed a finger lightly along my arm. “Dr. Knight?”
My eyes flew open and I realized I’d been standing there, blatantly reveling in his scent, making sniffing noises. How embarrassing. What the hell is wrong with me? Come on, Kismet. Talking has always been your strong suit. Just one word at a time. Concentrate.
Lynda Hilburn writes paranormal fiction. More specifically, she writes vampire books. After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer. In her other reality, she makes her living as a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, professional psychic/tarot reader, university instructor and workshop presenter.
Her first novel, “The Vampire Shrink” -- which introduced us to Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight and a hidden vampire underworld -- was first released in 2007 and is being re-released (the rewritten, expanded version) by Quercus Books in 2011 and Sterling Publishing/Silver Oak in 2012. Several more books are planned.
“Undead in the City,” an erotic paranormal novella, and “Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker,” a satire/parody, are now available in e-form from Amazon.com. Her short story, “Blood Song,” is part of the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance anthology, April, 2009. For more information, visit Lynda’s website: www.lyndahilburnauthor.com
The kindle version of The Vampire Shrink (British version) is available on both sides of the pond. Here’s the Amazon.com link: http://amzn.to/oFWvV3
* Lynda is offering a copy of the British version of The Vampire Shrink, to one commenter.
* Leave a comment for Lynda about this post for a chance to win.
* Be sure contact information is included with your comment.
* Contest ends Sept. 27, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
* Contest is open to residents of the USA, Canada and UK.