Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A ghoul by any other name...

For those of you familiar with the zombie side of my world, I would like to introduce you to somebody new. Now a few of you have been introduced either by the Kindle edition or the audio book available on to the lovely, if not just a bit snarky, Ava Birch. That Ghoul Ava began as a pet project that I wrote as a thank you to one of my early supporters who jumped on the Zomblog bandwagon early.

I had so much fun with the short, that I really began to think there was a full-length story lurking. Well, it turns out there are several. I am proud to announce the launch of That Ghoul Ava--The Series. It will begin with That Ghoul Ava & The Queen of the Zombies. If you are around Friday, I will have release date info, as well as a contest where you can be "gifted" the audible version of the story that started it all. For now, how about a taste...(comments encouraged)


Same Ol’ Situation

“Do you have to play this crap so loud?” Lisa said with that petulance that only teen girls can truly master. It’s so sad. When we get older it just comes off as whiny or bitchy.
I pretended not to hear her. Not one thing that she could say or do was going to ruin my mood tonight. I was behind the wheel of my very first brand new car. No little tushies had planted themselves in this seat but mine. I had been assured that I was the very first person to test drive this little baby: A candy-apple red 2013 Corvette.
Now I’m not one of those girls who knows a lot about cars, so most of what the very cute salesman said just didn’t stick. I think he even had a fancy name for the color red that my car was painted. Don’t care.
I flew down the on-ramp that deposited me onto I-5 and went through the gears like I imagine those racecar drivers did when they zoomed around in circles. By the time I actually hit the freeway, I was on the high side of ninety miles per hour.
“Got your seatbelt on?” I asked. I wasn’t planning on getting into a wreck…but who did? Safety first!
“Try to remember that only one of us is guaranteed not to die if you wreck this thing,” Lisa yelled over the strains of the luscious Brett Michaels who was currently begging me to talk dirty to him. Trust me when I tell you, that would be the least of his worries.
She was referring to the fact that I am a ghoul. Now let me assure you, being a ghoul is absolutely nothing like being a zombie. As if. Zombies are nasty creatures that eat the living. I only eat the dead. See? Big difference.
Lisa Jenkins was a teenage runaway. However, I doubted that her parents would come looking for her any time soon. In the six months that she had lived with me, I learned enough to know that it was unlikely that they were even aware that she had left home. Her father was long gone, and her single mother was busy sleeping with every bus boy, waiter, and bartender at this dirty little all-night place in Southeast Portland.
I’d popped in once and the woman was letting some slob put his hands up her skirt every time she came to the table. When she brought the actual meal to the table and cleared away the five empty beer bottles to make room, I almost lost my proverbial lunch. It was fried chicken, and I know for a fact that he didn’t wash his hands before picking up that drumstick. And considering where that hand had just been…
But back to my dear friend and boon companion. (I don’t actually know what a ‘boon companion’ is, but I heard that term used on some show on the local Public Broadcasting channel where everybody spoke with English accents. It sounded smart, so I claimed it.) I met Lisa one night shortly after my transformation. She had been in a seedy hotel after just giving birth. Her “boyfriend”—a pervy forty-something that actually convinced her to dump the child in the garbage right after giving birth—made the mistake of answering the door when I knocked. Long story short, baby was rescued and eventually given a home, perv was killed and then eaten, and Lisa became my roommate.
It was around the time that I met Lisa when I was introduced to a whole part of society that most folks don’t realize exists under their noses. Call it supernatural or whatever you like, but things like ghouls, and ghosts, and vampires—like that snarky little bitch Belinda Yates—exist.
Some have gone on to sustain themselves through books like the one you are reading right now. You see, the best way to hide is in plain sight. You’d be surprised if I told you which of the other books in your collection are real; or at least based on real events in the lives of some of my fellow monsters. Yeah, most of them don’t like the “M” word, but I like to consider myself a bit more progressive.
I actually decided to join the ranks of the writer-types after my first little “adventure” where I was hired to deal with a rogue vampire that had designs on the aforementioned Belinda. Well…not really Belinda, more specifically, her Kiss. (A “Kiss” for the uninitiated is what vampires call their little groups or clubs…whatever.) I didn’t actually have to write, but Lisa thought it would be fun. She worries about the finances like nobody I have ever met and keeps telling me that the payday I got for taking care of Belinda’s “little problem” won’t last forever.
After I saw this car, I finally agreed that we needed an additional source of income. The only problem now was waiting for the next “job” from Morgan. For those of you who didn’t catch my first little attempt at telling a story, Morgan is the psychic for my region. Unlike the ones on television that lie about being able to tell your future, Morgan is for real. Apparently true psychics are able to detect any supernaturals in their district. I don’t know all of the details—mostly because she tells me very little—but I guess they act as some sort of mediator and boss for their given district.
The day I became a ghoul, I received a visit from Morgan. She kind of told me the rules. Mostly she went on about all the stuff I couldn’t do. Of course, it was good old Ava’s door that they knocked on when that vampire came in and started mucking things up.
By the time Billy Idol had told me all about what a great day it would be for a White Wedding, and the Go-Gos encouraged me to take a Vacation, we were home. And here was the reason we needed Morgan to show up with another job…or people needed to start buying these books. Home was no longer the dirty little apartment that I’d rented while I was a busty waitress with raven-black hair. Now we lived in a sweet little two-story looking down on Lake Oswego. (I never knew there was actually a lake here! Just thought it was a cute name for a town.)
It has four bedrooms! Now I wasn’t ever going to hear the pitter-patter of ghoulish feet, but maybe Lisa might give it a go when she is actually old enough and meets a nice guy. I have a feeling that I will be living vicariously through her.
And there you have it—my word for the day: vicariously. Take that Morgan. She always talks to me like I am the idiot child. Well now that I have hired a ghost writer—literally, I seriously have this ghost that comes in and helps, she possesses Lisa when it is time to sit down and put the story together—I get to hear all sorts of big words.
Chantal, my ghostly pal, likes to chat sometimes during the day. She sometimes slips in to Lisa while she is dozing and will chat with me about stuff. At first it was weird having these conversations that Lisa has no memory of, and I have to get it straight who I am talking to or what I have said to Chantal-Lisa and what I have said to Lisa-Lisa.
Hmm, that reminds me. I fiddle with my iPod docking station and thumb to a song. One of my favorite features of this home was the sound system. You can have music—or whatever you are watching on television—piped throughout the whole place. Head-to-Toe by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam starts, and I head for the basement door.
“Back in a few minutes,” I call over my shoulder. I catch Lisa’s face in the reflection of the kitchen window. Her nose wrinkles. If I wasn’t so secure in our friendship, my feelings might be hurt. Hey…a girl’s gotta eat.


  1. I love it already Todd. I cannot wait to read the full thing. Thanks for sending me the copy to review.

  2. I am so excited that you are writing more of Ava's story! I read the first one and couldn't wait for more.

    Excitement indeed!