Monday, February 04, 2008

Cover and stuff

This is my newest cover, for my novella Day of the Dead, coming March 28 from Ellora's Cave. Nice, huh? (And blogger is still not letting me upload photos! The little upload window comes up but there's no "Upload" button in the lower right, is anyone else having this problem?)

Here's the blurb:

Seventy two years ago Santos Diaz's fiancee died two weeks before their wedding--two weeks before he could turn her into a vampire like him. Now, on the Day of the Dead, Santos has a plan to bring her back. He'll sacrifice his honor to Baron Samedi, the voudou guardian of the land of the dead, in exchange for his love's return.

Yelina heads for the cemetery to honor her father's memory and finds herself in a passionate clinch with her handsome boss, Santos, with whom she's been in love for two years. She's never experienced passion like this before, but when a few vampires threaten to turn the day of the dead into the last day of her life and it looks like Santos himself might be a vampire too--one who still carries a torch for a dead woman--she thinks her happy ending may vanish into the darkness of the grave.

And an excerpt, which is mostly worksafe but honestly, it's hard to find an excerpt for this one that's fully, um, clean:

Chapter One

The scent of rose petals hung heavy in the air as Santos lit the final black candle. The altar was ready. It was as perfect as he could make it.
From outside came the sounds of the neighborhood in celebration. Normally Santos would be there too. Dia de los Muertos wasn’t a big celebration in Miami, not like the Calle Ocho Festival or even Three Kings Day. Not too many people bothered to honor their dead in the old way.
Even fewer chose to do it the way Santos Diaz had planned.
He wasn’t simply going to honor his dead love. He was going to bring her back.
He hit “play” on the tape player behind the altar. The voudou Lwa would only appear if you played the correct drumbeats, had the correct sacrifices. Tonight he was going past the Lwa. He was going to the Baron Samedi himself. The god guarding the gate between life and death. The Baron could bring Esperanza back.
Naked, Santos knelt and picked up the bottle of peppered rum. The first sacrifice. He poured it carefully into the bowl.
“El baron,” he muttered. “El baron, acepte for favor mi sacrificio.” The words felt alien on his tongue. He hadn’t practiced his own religion in years, let alone tried a ritual as exotic as this one.
And yet…the two worlds were not so very different. They practiced Dia de los Muertos in Haiti too, just as they had in the Mexico of his youth. Wasn’t that how he’d met Jean-Baptiste? How he’d learned of the Baron and how willing he was to aid those whose sacrifices were worthy?
The cool stone floor made his knees ache a little, He shifted position, aware with every bit of tingling skin and vampire sense that the atmosphere in the room had already changed. The Lwa were listening, the Gede was listening.
He stared at the cross on the altar, at the dried flowers and the doll he made from straw and cloth. Skulls adorned the cross, their eyes shadowy hollows in the flickering candle light.
In the center was the Baron in his top hat and coat, his face stretched in a skeletal grin. Santos had pasted a photograph of Esperanza’s grave in his hand.
Don’t think about her grave. Think about her alive, about her body warm against yours, her smile, the spicy sweet taste of her lips. Think about her wet flesh, about her body made just for you. The scent of her skin.
His cock didn’t need more than that and neither did Santos. He lost himself in the memories, his mind calling her back with such clarity that he wondered if his prayer-spell wasn’t working already.
When he slips his fingers between her legs, he finds she is wet, ready for him, even though he’s just walked in the door. “I couldn’t wait for you, papucho,” she whispers against his lips, her hips lifting, encouraging him to delve deeper, to rub soft circles over her clit the way she likes. “I can’t wait now.”
“El Baron,” he said again. “Acepte por favor mi sacrificio.”
The handle of the blade was rough in his palm as he held his other wrist over the bowl, but he barely felt when the sharp blade slipped through his skin. Blood dripped from the wound, falling into the bowl, blossoming red in the pool of spicy rum. The air around him grew, shrank back. The Lwa were greedy tonight, the dead wanted their due.
Leaving the wound to heal on its own, Santos ran his hand down the flat muscles of his stomach, his heart already pounding. The air around him seemed to whisper and move as he found his cock, thick and hard, jutting out from its nest of soft black hair. A shot of pure electricity ran through him as he slid his fingertips over the top to the end, then back down the bottom. Air hissed between his teeth.
“El baron, acepto por favor mi sacrificio.” He gripped his cock in his fist, sealing the bargain.
Seventy-two years ago, Esperanza died. Santos had not touched himself, or allowed any other woman to touch him, since that day. It was his vow to her, his last gift. Now he broke it, broke it as an offering. To get her back, he would break any promise, commit any sin. He would turn to el Diablo himself if it would ease the ache in his heart.




Anonymous said...

"He hit “play” on the tape player behind the altar . . ."

And all this time I thought there was an orchestra of the dead that magically played.

Nice cover and very nice writing, December.

See my entry on your last post for my Superbowl comments. -V95

December/Stacia said...

Lol, V95. In big groups they use live drummers, but you can actually buy tapes of voodoo drumming from New Age stores or religious supply places. I didn't know it either until I started researching for this story--voodoo isn't my area, as it were. :-)

Raiders fan, eh? I like the Raiders. I generally like California teams, much the same way as I instinctively loathe any team from Colorado. It's causing something of a problem with our moving plans, as I have a hard time visualizing myself in a place where I hate the local sports teams, but we can't go back to South Florida where I love all the teams. (Or St. Louis. I love all St. Louis teams too.) We want to be in the Southeast but so many of those teams are AFC, too,'s very confusing. :-)

Demon Hunter said...

Great stuff, December. It sounds wonderful and original. I'll have to check this out when I'm done with my edits. :*)

Anonymous said...

What does that wicked exerpt have to do with Dolphins??


December/Stacia said...

Thanks, Tyhitia! It doesn't actually release until next month, but I couldn't resist doing a little excerpt. :-)

Ah, Seeley. See, I'm a Dolphins fan. A die-hard Dolphins fan. The Dolphins had a perfect season in 1972--not a single loss, ending as Superbowl Champions. They are the only team to have ever accomplished this. So, when a team like the Patriots is thus thwarted in their quest to have a perfect season, we Dolphans get a little gloaty. Because our team is still the only one, see? (And forgive us. We don't have much to gloat about these days, although I look forward to next year. Can't be much worse than this last season was.)

Charles Gramlich said...

Cool cover. I like the color scheme for it. Enjoyed the excerpt.

Gabriele C. said...

And that's a scene without the naughty bits? *grin* I wonder what naughty looks like, then.

December/Stacia said...

Thanks, Charles! It isn't exactly what I had in mind but it's close, and that's really the best you can hope for when it comes to covers. :-)

Well, Gabriele, there are a few short scenes later without naughty bits, but they're too far into the story to make good excerpts--it would step on the ending or on major plot points later. But yeah, there's a lot of the sexing in this one. :-)

BernardL said...

Very enticing cover and excerpt, D. It is a very well written piece.

Sarai said...

Oh My Gosh let me just say LOVE the cover and the excerpt. CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY GRUBBY FINGERS ON IT. Sorry for yelling very excited!

kirsten saell said...

Not so big on the vampires in general, but I looove me some voodoo and some long-suffering heroes, and I really do love your style. This one is definitely on my list...

Cover's not half bad, either.

I hear ya about excerpts. Samhain wanted a 1000-word, PG13 (no sex, no F-bomb) excerpt. I was just lucky the only thousand consecutive applicable words in the whole book occured in the first twenty pages, or a lot of potential readers would have been very confused.

December/Stacia said...

Thanks Bernard! I do really like this story. In rereading of course there's always bits I wish I'd done a little differently or whatever but in general I think it's a fun little tale--which is what it's supposed to be, fun!

Wow, thanks Sarai! Yell away, lol. :-) You know, getting this one out and rereading it makes me realize how much I do really like the Miami stories. I should do another one.

See, Kirsten, I love vampires, although not the angsty blood-is-life vampires (what my friend Citlin referred to once as "Oh my leather pants" angst.) I like them with other issues. It's a bit silly to have the constant worrying about blood, isn't it? But the voodoo stuff in this one is a lot of fun, and I even managed to leave a major question hinted at but unanswered, I think.

I know! I'm probably going to end up editing an excerpt on this one. Especially since it's a novella there's really not a lot of room; it's all set and plot, lol.

McKoala said...

'Mostly clean', LOL! I think you mean naughty on the very first page! Hot cover, which is exactly what's needed. Congrats.