Time, suckers

So, let me start by telling you what I’m currently working on: the first draft of my second novel, which I have to finish by December 1. I also have two short stories which I need to finish by November 1. Then there’s another story that I need to finish by December 31. All of these are in various states of being half-written.

And today, I was sitting there, thinking about vampires. I’ve published two stories about vampires: one was in Blood Sacraments, and the other was a one-off published by Untreed Reads. Like a lot of my writing, they’re both set in St. Louis. So is my story “Murder on the Midway,” which appears in Men of the Mean Streets. That one’s been on my mind because I’m participating in an LGBT mystery writer’s event at Left Bank Books. “Murder on the Midway” is my one foray into mystery/noir, and as I’ve been looking at the list of participants, I’ve been feeling, well, a little (actually, a lot) like a Johnny come lately. These people, their credits are impressive.

And that’s when I had an idea: my two vampires? They need to meet. And that’s going to require Sam, the private investigator in “Murder on the Midway.”

Suddenly, I have something else to write.

I have loved vampire stories for a long time. I started reading Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles in high school; read Dracula, of course; got hooked for a long time on local author Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake vampire series; and in recent years was turned on to Christopher Pike’s novels. I have not now, nor have I ever read any of the books about the sparkly vampires, but if that’s what you like then more power to you. At least you’re reading.

I also have loved mystery and crime novels since I was a kid. In middle and high school, many of the first novels I read for pleasure were Agatha Christie’s (the others were science fiction: Heinlein, Asimov, and Herbert). My mother turned me on to Patricia Cornwell for a long while. Even so, I felt like I didn’t have enough familiarity with noir when I started “Murder on the Midway,” so I started watching a lot of old noir films: The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Maltese Falcon, and just about anything else with Bogart in it.

Is there a connection between vampires and noir? Surely, each one treads on the dark side of the street. And surely, at heart the vampire is a predator, but in this day and age, that also makes her a criminal.

And that’s where Sam, my Gateway City private dick, is going to come in.

(When am I going to find the time to finish all this?)