Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tried and True

By Annabeth Leong

I wrote my first vampire story well after the fad had passed. It was about the fad, though, and an editor who wasn't over it. To this day, it remains one of my favorite stories. I felt exuberant while I wrote it, and I both amused myself and turned myself on.

Because I spent most of today on a train, I'll give you a healthy chunk of the story, which is titled, "Vampire Vikings and Other Desperate Attempts at Originality," and was published in Like a Circlet Editor: Erotic Fantasies of Our Office.


Come on," Lacey whispered. She scratched down the back of my neck and toyed with the collar of shirt. "Remember last time? You thought we'd done everything possible, but I showed you didn't I? That vein in your inner thigh? And then, later, the tiny one that beats along your clit?"

The memory made me shudder. I hadn't told Lacey, but I'd had my clit pierced after that for the constant reminder. Every time I shifted and the stainless steel bar repositioned itself, I thought of her face between my legs, penetrating my most sensitive flesh with the very tip of one delicate fang, and then her tongue darting out to lick where her fang had been. I'd been too afraid to let her suck me there—at first. Once I'd given in, Lacey had introduced me to a new level of orgasmic intensity as her feeding directly from my clit drove my nerves to the point of insanity.

"You remember." The unmistakable smile in her voice was accompanied by a firm hand winding around my body to take possession of my breast. "How can you tell me the readers aren't interested in this anymore when you still want it so badly?"

I leaned into her palm, my nipple hard inside my bra. She'd bitten me there once, too. That was the third time we were together, when she'd asked if she could milk me. I had felt so fertile and alive that night, holding her cradled in my lap, feeding my breast to her, watching the peace that came over her face as she suckled. I had squeezed my breast to the point of bruising trying to give her as much blood as I could, just because I didn't want the experience to end.

"Tell me that you still want it," Lacey prodded. "Tell me we're going to work together again. You can send all the others away."
I began to nod because she'd used her most hypnotic tone, but the mention of others reminded me what I was supposed to be doing. With great effort, I mentally crawled out from under Lacey's spell before it closed in on me completely.

Dozens of other creatures waited outside my office for informational interviews. A senior editor and I had indulged in a long brainstorming session the day before, coming up with really unusual stuff. "Competition is increasing. We need something different to keep sales up," she had said. "Were-binturong? Phoenixes? Snake women?" She had paused, then repeated that last one. "Snake women. That's something you could write a whole book about. Think about them twined around each other, those long, forked tongues, just a touch of venom—enough to make you swell."

The fantasy that followed had been fervent enough to shock even me. In the end, I'd given her the key to my vibrator drawer and slunk out of my own office. The worst part was she obviously wanted to do snake women herself, so I was left with the other, less inspiring ideas and a command to "make it original."

I put out a call for the wildest stuff I could come up with along with a few themes gleaned off our most recent reader survey. To show my commitment to the job, I'd even managed to track down a were-binturong, though I suspected few readers would see the erotic potential of a creature whose genus name translates to "bear-weasel."

There were some decent possibilities, though. The head shots from some of the elves had been really striking. I could almost go for one of them, maybe in a dungeon, done up in a blood-red gown, a rust-colored stain dripped from one corner of the mouth...

Damn it. That senior editor had told me to be original, and my last book hadn't done well at all. Of course, I wasn't entirely convinced that readers hadn't wanted to buy the book. There had been a little side-boob on the cover, and I strongly suspected that some of the major e-retailers had pulled the book from their virtual shelves for long, vital swathes of time. Maybe this wasn't a content problem. Maybe this was a cover art problem. Or a censorship problem.

I could have convinced myself if not for the way the senior editor had started our private meeting. She had snapped her fingers in front of my face three times and then pronounced in loud, slow, careful tones: "Vampires. Are. Over."

I took a deep breath and turned to Lacey. "Sweetheart, you're a cliché." It was true. She stood beside my desk wearing a black leather cat suit sewn with red thread and an oversized pair of Hollywood-style sunglasses. Her nails were long, blood red, and decorated with spider decals, and her skin was pale as milk, pale as cream, pale as snow—you get the point. "At our last editorial meeting, we talked about the importance of getting away from the same-old."

She squared her shoulders. "I'm not a cliché. I'm a trope." A curve of red lips revealed the baby fangs I'd always loved for being so cute and feminine. "I'm a familiar jumping-off point. I'm not the same-old, baby, I'm the tried-and-true."

To make her point, she grabbed the back of my office chair, rolled me out from behind the desk, and straddled my legs. We sailed a few inches across the floor before bumping into the overflowing bookshelf behind my desk, but I didn't care because she'd already bent her head and brought her mouth to mine. She smelled of iron and freesia, and her perfect ass ground against the top of my thigh as she settled herself in place. A tendril of cool, black hair worked loose from her updo and tickled the side of my face. She kissed me with the expertise of deep familiarity combined with the passion of a long separation. Fuck.

I hadn't followed the distinction drawn between tropes and clichés at that last meeting, anyway, and so I had no defense against Lacey's argument—which grew more compelling by the moment as she untucked my shirt from my skirt and ran those fingernails over the flesh of my bared belly.

My favorite thing was for her to bite my shoulder first then work her way toward my neck, sinking her fangs deeper and taking more blood every time. She could do it from behind, one hand pinching my nipple and the other on my clit. Or I could work my own clit, and she could hold both nipples, tugging me by the breasts until I stood sandwiched between my office wall and her long, cold body, giving up my blood without care because her teeth in my flesh made me need to come so badly.

I broke away from her kiss, and for a second I almost asked her for that fantasy. Then I forced myself, yet again, to remember what the other editors had been telling me. "Lacey, I can't. You know I can't. They told me that this year I have to find something new."

"You don't want anything new," she said, but the bravado in her voice was breaking. Her throat caught on a plaintive tone, and she turned the sound into a snarl as she wrenched herself away from me and toward my desk. I knew what she would find there, and I cringed, waiting for her reaction.

"Were-binturong? Seriously?" Lacey cackled. Then her voice turned darker, hurt. "Werewolf? I thought you said they were overgrown hairbags?"

I sighed. "That doesn't matter. Werewolves are over, too. I was just brainstorming. You have to get the bad ideas out before you can access the good."

"So what's the good? The stuff at the bottom of this list? Fairies? Angels? Vikings? I can do all of that."


She turned to me, her eyes bright and wide. "I'm creative. You know that. Let me show you."

"Lacey, I don't think..."

"Be right back," she said, before I could finish my sentence. She went out the door this time, probably so she could stake her claim on me in front of the other creatures, and I sighed as I watched her go. I'm not sure if that was because of the way her leather outfit hugged her ass or because I had a bad feeling I wouldn't be getting a bonus this year.


If you'd like to read the rest of the story, you can find Like a Circlet Editor at this link:


  1. Brava and LOL!

    "I'm not a cliché. I'm a trope."

    1. Great line. It reminds me of something, but I can't quite figure out what. Maybe in an alternate universe there's an alternate Sesame Street where they educate kids with songs about clichès and tropes.

  2. This is sublimely sexy, as well as clever and hilarious.

    I have a slightly similar (though possibly less erotic) tale about a woman who runs a vampire-themed magazine, catering to wannabe blood drinkers. One day a real vampire walks into her office. He had blond hair, blue eyes, and looks like a healthy Midwestern college boy... which in fact he had been, until he was turned.

    People are still writing vampires, though. Some readers are definitely not over them.

  3. I read Ann Rice's Interview With a Vampire, but didn't get into the trope much beyond that. Well, then there was the True Blood TV series that was pretty hot. Momma X read all the Sookie books, but I didn't get into them. This excerpt was clever.

  4. I swore I'd never write a vampire story...until I had a dream and a very pale man with light blond hair and a Russian accent told me my writer's block was because I was imagining the wrong heroine for my current had to be him. Then he smiled and showed his vampire teeth. I told him I don't write vampires. Since the story involved Mayans, he smiled and told me to research the Mayan blood sacrifices.

    When I woke up, I did just that. And that's how I wrote Prophecy of the Undead and Mayan Prophecy Fulfilled. My only two vampire books to date, both of which came out long after the vampire "fad" was done. My current WIP is a werewolf story, and yes, this one came from another dream in which I got the entire story arc for this book and the sequel.

    I love my dreams, when I can sleep long enough to have them. And the summer, when I have time to write them. With only 2 1/2 weeks to go until school starts, I'm racing against the clock!

  5. Oh, forgot to mention that this excerpt was very, very hot!
    The idea of a vampire feeding from sexual organs is something I had never given much thought to.

    I don't have any piercings other than my ears (I prefer tattoos), but I've heard people say genital and nipple piercings can enhance orgasmic pleasure. I watched a man get both nipples pierced once, and felt too much pain just watching. Ouch! But if someone was stimulating you at the same time, when pain can be a pleasure-enhancer, it might be different.

  6. I'm not much of a vampire fan, but once in a while a story can use the vampire trope to good effect. I had fun writing one set in the post-Civil-War West involving a transman who fought in the war and is now trapper, and a dancehall girl he recognizes as being the girl who died in his arms after a battle. That's not particularly original, but the fact that she took on the emotions and arousal of whoever's blood she drank may be.


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