Sunday, April 19, 2020

Interview with Devereux, Master Vampire of the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series.

Kismet Knight: Hello, everyone! I just stopped by for a moment to let you know that there’s been a change of plans regarding Devereux’s interview. I was going to do it, since I know him best, but we’ve been having discussions lately about the fact that his ego is a little, well, inflated. His self-esteem a bit excessive, and I’m not sure he needs even more attention . . .

Devereux:  Ahem.

Kismet: Yes. I know you don’t agree. So, you’re good looking. And maybe your body can flame up a woman’s pilot light? Does that mean everyone with two “x” chromosomes has to genuflect in your presence?  No way! You think because you can dazzle everyone with your vampire wiles that we’re all at your beck and call. Well, let me tell you . . .

Devereux: (Looking adorable.) Kismet, my love. I promise I will think about everything you have said. Later. But for now, I would hate to disappoint the ladies . . .

Kismet: Okay, you’re right. We can fight, er, talk, later. (Fans self.) What I meant to say is that since this interview is for readers who do want to know about Devereux’s physical attributes and sexy ways, I’ve been persuaded to step aside and let him be worshipped. I’m relinquishing the task to one of Devereux’s newest staff members, Tara, who loves nothing more than to sing the master’s praises. It’s all yours, Tara . Bye, everyone.

Tara: (Twisting her hands nervously.) Bye, Dr. Knight. Oh, Geez. I’ve never been alone with Devereux before. What if I lose control and jump on him, or something? I mean, wow. He’s just so . . . astounding. Those lips, that butt . . .

Devereux: (Smiling.) There is no reason for concern. I am sure you will be fine. Just ask the questions we prepared. (Pause.) Tara?

Tara: Uh, sorry. You’ve never spoken directly to me before. Your voice is so sexy. So hypnotic. It makes me want to . . . er, never mind. Is it hot in here? Okay. Can I ask a question of my own before I read the ones on the paper?

Devereux: (Pauses to read her mind.) Certainly.

Tara: How can Dr. Knight keep herself under control around you? I mean, you can make her do whatever you want, can’t you? How can she just walk away? After all, you’re the bad ass vampire.

Devereux: Bad ass vampire? (Smiles.) Yes, I do believe that is one phrase used to describe me. But to answer your question, Dr. Knight has a very strong mind. And lots of opinions. She has made it clear she does not wish to be controlled by me, or anyone so – because she is important to me – I honor her request. And since she is being assisted by the Elders, and a technique she learned from a psychic, her mind is no longer an open book. As you might imagine, it is challenging for me to find an equal of any kind. Not to be the arrogant soul I am often accused of being, but I have been a vampire for over 800 years and I have built my power purposefully. With great power comes great responsibility. I enjoy Dr. Knight’s discussions about the state of my ego. She keeps me from taking myself too seriously.

Tara: Well, er, that’s good. And speaking of responsibility. What’s it like to be one of the most powerful vampires on Earth? Do you get tired of being the boss?

Devereux: I have always had leadership abilities. There have been times throughout my long life that I wished to be relieved of the responsibility of keeping vampires off the human radar, but being the boss seems to come naturally to me. Maintaining the balance between the two species is a crucial task and neither side would benefit from the loss of that equilibrium. Many vampires would prefer to kill and feed on humans as they did in the past. To my mind, that would only encourage and unleash the vampire hunters again, which made vampire lives miserable for several centuries. Humans offer themselves to us freely. We can feed without killing.

Tara: Wow. Are you saying there are still vampire hunters?

Devereux: Of course. I have a vast network of observers – both mortal and immortal – who keep me apprised of the whereabouts and activities of the hunters.

Tara: (Hugging herself.) Oh, no! Vampire hunters! Will you protect me?

Devereux: (Half-shrug.) You have nothing to fear. Denver is home to many extraordinary vampire warriors. Under my leadership, they keep all vampire-kind safe.

Tara: Well, let’s move onto some of the meatier questions. How tall are you, and how much do you weigh?

Devereux: How long have you been a vampire, Tara?

Tara: Ten years. Why?

Devereux: (Smiles.) It is rare to hear a vampire use the word “meatier.”

Tara: Oh, yeah. I guess I still use a lot of my old human words.

Devereux: Charming. Anyway, you know we old vampires can transform our physical appearances at will. I can be as tall and weigh as much as I choose. But, for the most part, I normally stand about six feet, two inches and weigh around one hundred ninety pounds. I prefer to remain toned and muscular.

Tara: (Staring at Devereux’s body.) I’ll say. (Shifts her gaze to his face.) Your eyes are unusual. They’re not blue and not green, but a unique mixture of both. And you have dark eyebrows and lashes when your hair is so light. How did that happen?

Devereux: Actually, my hair lightened even more than it already was when I went through the transformation process from human to vampire. My hair originally was a darker shade of blond, so the brows and lashes were a better match. But I’m used to the contrast now and quite enjoy it. (Smiles.) Don’t you think my features suit me?

Tara: (Mouth slowly opens.)

Devereux: Tara?

Tara: (Closing mouth.) Sorry. Got caught up in a fantasy for a moment. Yes. Your features definitely suit you. Let’s go to the next question. You’ve lived a very long time. Can we assume you have had lots of experience with women? Did you have a favorite lover before you met Dr. Knight?

Devereux: It is not my habit to kiss and tell – or bite and tell, either – but it is well known by those close to me that I spent many years with the goddess Maeve, who has a reputation for being uninhibited and vibrantly, primitively sexual. We taught each other many things.

Tara: Yikes. You had sex with a goddess? Can you tell us how that experience was different from being with human or vampire women?

Devereux: (Dreamy expression on his face.) It was a passionate and amazing experience. Maeve is insatiable. She can have sex continuously for hours – as can I – so we often went without nourishment while we were caught up in sexual ecstasy. She appreciated my special gifts, (Glancing down at his lap.) and my resilience. She showed me how to use one finger in a certain way to drive her mad with desire. That skill has served me well ever since.

Tara: One finger . . . uh, do you still see Maeve? Doesn’t Dr. Knight get jealous?

Devereux: Maeve and I have remained friends. (Gives boyish grin.) Dr. Knight insists she does not get jealous, but I happen to know better. Regardless, I am very loyal and give her no reason to question my commitment.

Tara: I heard that you danced for Dr. Knight at a protection ritual you created for her. I’ll bet that was very sensual.

Devereux: I enjoy dancing. Most pagan males do. Our ceremonies call for movements and I am quite good at all aspects of the physical. I spent many evenings throughout the centuries reveling naked around a fire. Beltane is especially exciting because first we dance and then we pair off and have wild sex. Would you like me to demonstrate?

Tara: What? (Eyes bulging.) Which part? Hey, you’re taking your clothes off. Are you really going to dance naked for me? Oh, my God! You are! Will there be sex next?

(A naked Devereux throws his head back, and sings loudly in a strange language while he moves in a Greek-like dance. His platinum hair flies out behind him as he stomps and claps along with his song.)

Tara: (Eyes still bulging, gaze glued to the firm evidence that dancing arouses Devereux.) Holy shit. Is that thing real?

(Devereux glides out of the room, singing.)

Tara: Devereux? Wait! Can I come? Oh, man. Look at those muscles. That ass. Hold on . . . (Voice fades as she leaves the room.)

Journey of a Series

I've been thinking about the long, strange trip my series took since I started writing the first book in 2004 and sold it to a small print press in 2006.

This was the original cover of the trade paperback version of The Vampire Shrink published in 2007. Bookstores shelved it all over the place: horror, romance, fantasy, general fiction. I was just glad it was IN the bookstores!

Since this was the first time I got to experience book signings, speaking at conferences, hanging out with well-known authors, and other cool things, it was fun. I also got to discover how difficult it can be to promote books.

I contracted to do a second book [Dark Harvest] with this small publisher and we immediately disagreed about the focus of the series. They wanted it to be paranormal romance and I had intended the series to be about the main female character's adventures of all kinds -- pretty much how I still describe the series today: Bloody, Sexy and Funny. After much back and forth (some of it legal), the small publisher put out the second book. Of course, they got to choose the cover. I could kick myself now for not even Googling the title Dark Harvest to discover it was already in use. Publishing had/has a steep learning curve for me.

So, after the challenging experience with the small publisher, we parted company. Since my first agent and I had gone our separate ways then too (turns out it wasn't so great to be a minnow in a Big-Fish-Agent's pond), I started talking to other agents and editors about moving my series to a new publishing house. This was 2008-9 and I heard the same thing again and again: it's impossible to move a series from one house to another, and my series couldn't be easily identified as one particular genre, so they weren't interested.

Thinking my series was dead in the water, I pretty much stopped writing and mostly gave up through 2009 -- until I started reading J.A. Konrath's blog. I loved his ideas for making a living as a writer. When he talked about self-publishing ebooks, I got excited again. Back when my first agent negotiated the contract with the small publisher, nobody was talking about ebooks. So, I retained the digital rights.

In early 2010, I [totally clueless] found someone to make covers from stock photos, hired an editor to help me improve the books and someone to convert them, and I uploaded them to Amazon. Within weeks, both novels [and a few small things I'd also uploaded] became best sellers. I couldn't believe it. I was making more money from my writing than from my work as a psychotherapist. Here are the covers for the self-pubbed ebooks:

Thanks to Konrath's advice, I had gotten in on a good self-publishing wave.

Of course, there was lots of talk at that time about "when the self-pub bubble will burst." I figured I'd ride the wave as long as possible, and keep putting up new books. This time period was even more exciting than when I switched from nonfiction to fiction in 2004. I loved being a writer again.

But it was all new and unknown and I'd been programmed to dream of the traditional publishing deal.

So, when I was approached by a well-known agent in mid-2010, who said he could sell my series to another print house, I thought my ship had finally arrived. [Yes, I know what you're thinking.] Agents had begun signing successful self-pubbed authors and I was flattered to be among them. (I didn't learn the lesson the first time about the reality of being represented by a Big Fish.)

Right before the holiday period of 2010, [when digital books took off like rockets] I signed a worldwide contract for the first 3 books in my series and took the e-versions down from Amazon, etc. (Kicking myself mentally now.)

Book one [The Vampire Shrink] came out again later in several forms from my British publisher Quercus and the American publisher, Sterling with different covers:

Almost immediately after book one published, the USA portion of my new deal fell apart due to all the changes in publishing (Sterling was part of Barnes and Noble which went into meltdown). So my USA books got lost in the shuffle.

My UK editor [really excellent editor and person], said she thought the old book #2 jumped too far ahead in the series story, so she asked me to write a different/new book #2, which is titled, Blood Therapy.

Since I made so many changes to the series arc in the new book #2, that old book #2 [Dark Harvest] was discarded and parts of that book used in the new book #3, Crimson Psyche. This is the UK cover for new book #3. The UK print version came out January, 2014. No USA version was ever printed from Sterling.

My agent was eventually able to get my rights back from everyone and in 2015 I put my 3 novels out myself:

The second Big Fish Agent and I parted ways after that.

These are the covers created by

There were also German covers.

Let's just say my publishing career had been a messy roller coaster ride. What I now know for sure is that writing/publishing isn't for sissies. A very tough skin is non-negotiable. I still want to write more books in the series at some point. Kismet book #4 has been "in progress" for quite a while. Hopefully, it will be born one day soon! 

Excerpt: Crimson Psyche, Kismet Knight book #3

All three novels in the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series are available in ebook and print form through
Chapter 1

“Welcome back, Denver! Carson Miller here, host of Wake Up, Denver!, WOW Radio’s top-rated talk show. We’re continuing this week’s theme of whacked local celebrities. Is it just me, or is Denver crazier than ever?” His laugh sounded like a rusty chainsaw.

What the hell? Whacked local celebrities? I agreed to come and counsel his listeners!

“I’ve got self-proclaimed vampire psycho – oops, I mean vampire psychologist – Doctor Kismet Knight in the studio with me today. She’s ready and willing to answer all your bloodsucker questions. Give us a call. The phone lines are open. Welcome, Doctor Knight.” He gave a wide, tobacco-stained smile.

“Thanks, Carson.” I spoke into the microphone on the long folding table in front of me. “I’m happy to be here.” Barely catching myself before I tacked a question mark onto my response, I adjusted my headphones and peered around at the unexpectedly low-tech, dungeon-like studio.

Piles of newspapers, men’s magazines, CDs, DVDs and promo flyers fought for supremacy against empty pizza boxes and Styrofoam coffee cups. Fast food bags overflowed the trash can. The pleasant decor and posters of contemporary talk-show personalities on the walls in the outer office hadn’t prepared me for the primitive reality of Carson World.

As he read an ad for an auto parts store, I inched my microphone further away from his, noting the long cord curling at the base of the stand in case I needed to put even more space between us, and scanned the electronics in the engineer’s booth. Not only was the equipment modern, but through a glass wall I could see yet another studio on the far side of the booth, and even from here that one looked to be state-of-the-art. Why would the station stick Carson in such a miserable hole?

He rotated his head in my direction and wiggled his eyebrows, still talking into the microphone. “Let me start by saying that you look finger-lickin’ good this morning, Doc. Seriously babe-o-licious.” He ran his thick, lumpy tongue slowly around his lips in a horror-film version of what I supposed he thought was a sexual come-on.


“Uh, thanks?” I couldn’t quite squelch the question mark this time. I studied his stained, too-small T-shirt and unfashionably torn jeans. His voice, which had sounded pretty sexy through my car radio, wasn’t even close to being an accurate representation of the man himself.

“And now that I’ve eyeballed the merchandise, I’m going to do my best to talk the Doc here into taking off her clothes before the show’s over. Then I’ll post photos on my Facebook page,” he said, laughing at my alarmed expression.

“I don’t think so.” Oh, great. Another Howard Stern shock-jock wannabe, except fat and bald – what is it with all these talk-radio assholes? Miserable-hole question answered. At least I’ll get a good case-study article out of this experience: Demented, Aging Radio Hosts and Mental Illness. “We can take that option off the table.” I glanced at the door that led from our tiny sound booth to the engineer’s studio to calculate how many steps it would take me to escape.

“Don’t be so sure, Doc. I can be pretty persuasive when I put my mind to it.” He pointed at the engineer, who hit a sound effects button and filled the airwaves with loud clapping.

Young spectators were visible through a large window, lining the hallway and blocking the exit. They high-fived each other and bumped fists, laughing at something I was obviously not cool enough to understand.

Does he have those fans jammed in there on purpose to keep me from leaving? He probably does. What a creep!

I caught a movement from the corner of my eye and shifted my gaze toward a young male who’d materialized, stepped through the bystanders and sauntered over to stand next to me.

Perfect. A haunted radio station. Just what I need.

The slender man wore a glittery jacket with bulky shoulder pads and sported spiked 1980s hair. He grinned and saluted me with a beer can.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Carson continued, “I have to tell you that it’s a shame we aren’t on TV because Doctor Knight is a feast for the eyes. She’s wearing a clingy black dress that hugs her curves in all the right places. Legs that go on forever. Big blue eyes. And she’s got this great long, dark hair.” He reached out to touch my curls and I smacked his hand away. He lowered his voice and gave it an extra layer of smarm. “It gives a guy ideas, if you know what I mean. Anyway, Doc” – he returned to me – “so what the hell is a vampire psychologist? Are you a vampire?” He laughed and his belly flopped against the table, making the microphone wobble. When he moved, the smell of cigarette smoke wafted from his T-shirt.

“No, Carson, I’m not a vampire.” I scooted my chair and microphone even further away from the host, tilted my head and attempted a professional smile while I focused on his ridiculous question. If he only knew. “I’m a psychologist who works with the subculture of individuals who believe they’re vampires. Or who want to be vampires – people seeking meaning through role-playing and exploring the dark side of themselves – the unknown – and by flouting society’s ideas of good versus evil.”

“Wow, Doc – that sounds pretty sexy,” he oozed. “Are you saying that Denver has a lot of these people? These ‘pretend vampires’?” He reached one of his hands out toward me, making grabbing motions.

I shoved it away, giving him the evil eye.

This moron’s not going to rattle me. I’m here for the listeners.

He waved three fingers at the engineer and a chorus of “Carson! Carson! Carson!” burst from the speakers. Then, while the voices raved, he laughed and pointed to the microphone, expecting, or maybe daring, me to continue my interview despite his obnoxious behavior.

I glanced at the studio clock on the wall, imagining pushing my way through the crowd at the door and regretting the fact that I’d agreed to be a guest for an entire segment. In retrospect, I definitely should’ve done more research to determine which media appearances would actually help my career, which ones had disgusting hosts, and which shows just wanted to exploit the fact that I’d been involved in a heavily reported serial murder investigation – a case dubbed the vampire murders – six months earlier. Who’d’ve guessed finding blood-drained bodies would generate so much interest?

Carson sliced his finger across his neck, signaling the engineer to stop the chant, then said, “Hey, Doc, wasn’t somebody killed in your office a while back?”

“There was a death, yes – but I’m sure your audience would rather have me address their personal issues as we agreed.” I stared at him until he smirked and pointed to the engineer, who pressed another button on his console, unleashing the sound of a roaring crowd.

I wasn’t about to discuss the death in my office – very few people knew the truth: that the perpetrator had been a mentally defective vampire, diagnosed with what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder, and whose rotted corpse finally sloughed off his immortal coil a few weeks ago. Those select few who did know included one Denver police lieutenant, one cocky FBI agent, a bunch of vampires, a half-undead psychologist colleague, a transgendered hypnotherapist and me. Everybody else believed the cover story about a mortal perpetrator.

’80s Guy bent close to Carson and waved his hands in front of the oblivious host’s face.

I’ll just ignore the Billy Idol clone, and he’ll get bored and go away.

The sound effect stopped again, leaving empty air, and after a moment Carson realized and jumped back in. “It seems the Doc here needs more coffee – she’s a little slow on the uptake this morning. Okay, so let’s go to the phones. Studio lines are open.”

He gave me an innocent smile and shrugged, as if to say I shouldn’t hold him responsible for his radio persona. I notched up the ice content in my glare and pushed my chair back a couple more inches.

Maybe he’s off his meds. Or he has mad cow disease.