About Blood Sampler:
Collected here are 35 short vampire tales. You’ll find humor, horror, and history, loss, love, and legends, sex, seduction, and surprises. Many are good tales for couples to share. You’ll find vignettes such as “Jornada del Muerto,””On the Ramjet,” “Nosferatu Watches Dracula on the Lateshow,” “Until Tonight,””The Poet,” and “Ostrava, 1995.” These particular pieces first ran in the magazine Blood Samples between 2001 and 2003. You’ll also find longer works here including “Dragon Reborn” which tells the origin of Lord Draco from D.L. Summers’ Vampires of the Scarlet Order and “Becalmed” by Lee Clark Zumpe. The collection is lavishly illustrated by Caroline O’Neal.
“If you like vampire stories, this may be the best seven dollars you can spend.” Chris Paige, ConNotations, Volume 19, Issue 1
Excerpts from Blood Sampler:
The Lady of the House
Trevor sought refuge from pouring rain in the Victorian manor house. The lady of the house offered him wine to warm his blood and a soft bed for the night. Once Trevor was cozy in the warm bed, the woman entered his room, pulled back the blankets and bit into the traveler’s neck, reveling in the sweet taste of his blood.
Late the next afternoon, Trevor found the vampire’s crypt. He crept up to the coffin and threw back the lid, revealing the vampire. He gazed at her smooth skin, untouched by time. Her eyes closed, the woman looked peaceful, not like the creature that attacked him the night before. Trevor knew he must act before he lost his courage…
Later, the vampire awoke in the velvet-lined darkness of her coffin. Slowly, she lifted the lid and smiled when she saw a vase, filled with a dozen blood-red roses.
I pulled into a gas station in Show Low, Arizona on the Navajo reservation. I filled the tank and paid the clerk. Just as I was leaving, a wizened man, hanging back in the shadows, beckoned me over. “I was a code talker during the war,” he said, “but I’ve fallen on hard times. Can you help me out?”
I gave him a quarter, got back in my car, and continued driving. An hour later, I got drowsy and pulled off the road. I awoke after dark to the sight of a coyote staring at me from the car’s hood with intense red eyes. It jumped off. Looking out the window, I didn’t see the coyote. Instead, I saw the Navajo code talker wearing a coyote skin. “I need more than your quarter,” he said. “Here on the reservation, they call me skinwalker. You know me as vampire.”
Nosferatu Watches Dracula on the Late Show
I sit alone in my phantom castle watching Christopher Lee on satellite. He is suave in his tuxedo, seducing Melissa Stribling. I, the real Graf Dracula, pluck at my ears and lick my incisor-fangs, self-consciously. Those canine fangs look good on Lee but they’re really impractical. I yawn and stretch, rubbing bony fingers over my hairless head and decide it’s time for a snack. Dragging myself off the couch, I go to the dungeon and look into the defiant brown eyes of the young woman I’d captured earlier. I take her life quickly, holding her soft body against my parchment-dry skin and wonder if there ever was a Mina for me to love. Returning to the television, I see Peter Cushing drive in the stake and suddenly I’m glad I didn’t take that Harker fellow up on that real estate he’d tried to sell me all those years ago.
On the Ramjet
In the 20th century I learned about R.W. Bussard and his dream of building a ship called a ramjet that could travel at incredible speeds making the stars accessible. I waited more than a thousand years for someone to turn Bussard’s dream into reality. As soon as it was possible, I bought a ticket to a star 11 light years away. After all, what’s a trip of 11 years to a vampire that had lived over a millennium?
Once aboard, I met the ship’s engineer – a sublime woman who loved the stars and always wanted to be among them, but detested a mortality that would not allow her to see even more distant stars.
A year out from Earth, the crew continued to puzzle over a case of anemia among the passengers while my love reveled in her newfound immortality among the stars, blissfully free of the dangers of sunlight.