The Memphis Vampires Series
When smooth continental vampire Rudolfo Zginski is staked in 1915, it should be the end of him. But he resurrects in Memphis sixty years later to find a world he must quickly master, and more peril than he ever expected. In addition to the automobiles, polyester fashions and racial tensions of 1975, he encounters four new vampires who know their nature only from the movies. He must learn about this new time, help his allies understand their true natures, and battle those who would destroy him, and his kind, forever.
CLICK HERE to download the first chapter of Blood Groove.
When centuries-old vampire Baron Rudolfo Zginski was staked in Wales in 1915, the last thing he expected was to reawaken in Memphis, Tennessee, sixty years later. Reborn into a new world of simmering racial tensions, the cunning nosferatu realizes he must adapt quickly if he is to survive.
Finding willing victims is easy, as Zginski possesses all the powers of the undead, including the ability to sexually enslave anyone he chooses. Hoping to learn how his kind copes with this bizarre new era, Zginski tracks down a nest of teenage vampires. But these young vampires have little knowledge of their true nature, having learned most of what they know from movies like Blacula.
Forming an uneasy alliance with the young vampires, Zginski begins to teach them the truth about their powers. They must learn quickly, for there’s a new drug on the street–a drug created to specifically target and destroy vampires. As Zginski and his allies track the drug to its source, they may be unwittingly stepping into a fifty-year-old trap that can destroy them all….
Whitley Strieber, New York Times bestselling author: “I love vampire stories, and when one’s as new and fresh as Blood Groove, it’s just plain delicious, one very sweet read.”
E.E. Knight, bestselling author of Vampire Earth: “Hot and sticky and tangy as a slab of Memphis ribs. A trippy vamp-noir seventies feed fest, complete with the requisite sex, drugs and vintage rock.”
Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of the WVMP series: “An edgy, visceral page-turner that had me laughing one moment and shivering the next.”
The Girls with Games of Blood
CLICK HERE to download the first chapter of The Girls With Games of Blood
“Listen to what I tell you, son, every word is true
The sisters haunt the night, and might fight over you
Nothing can steal your soul and stamp it in the mud
Like being the new play-pretty for the girls with the games of blood….”
The old song warns of the beautiful Bolade sisters, Patience and Prudence, whose undying rivalry in love was said to extend even beyond the grave. Unfortunately for Baron Rudolfo Vladimir Zginski, he has never heard of the song. A suave Continental vampire staked to death more than sixty years ago, he’s resurrected in 1975 to stalk the Southern nights of Memphis. Although new to the modern world, he quickly develops a taste for its hot blood, fast women, and high-speed automobiles.
Zginski instantly falls in love with a cherry 1973 Mach 1 Ford Mustang, but the purchase soon brings him into conflict with a legendary redneck sheriff with a short temper and a big baseball bat. Adding to the trouble, Zginski is also equally attracted to, and fascinated by, an enticing undead chanteuse and her equally seductive sister. But this temptation threatens not only his own ageless existence, but that of the small group of modern-day vampires he has grudgingly taken under his wing. Zginski has already escaped limbo once, but can he free himself from the tangled web of the girls who play games of blood.
Adrian Phoenix, author of Beneath the Skin and A Rush of Wings: “Bledsoe weaves another dark, sexy and breathtaking tale full of mesmerizing atmosphere and quiet, escalating horror. You won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve read to the end. Just because a monster’s heart awakens, doesn’t make it any less of a monster.”
Fangoria: “Full of mesmerizing characters and escalating horror, THE GIRLS WITH GAMES OF BLOOD is difficult to put down. With this one, Bledsoe has delivered a fresh and mature take on the vampire mythos.”
BookLove: “The pacing is superb and just when you’re sure you know how the plot will unfold, Bledsoe gives it a twist to keep you engaged.”
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: “The Girls with Games of Blood is what True Blood can only aspire to be, a vampire romance that leaves you in no doubt that you’ve been bitten.”
The Story Behind the Dedication
Who is Duncan Browne and why is Blood Groove dedicated to him?
Sometime in the early 80s, I was prowling the 99-cent cassette bin at Old Hickory Mall (the only one) in Jackson, TN. These were always crap shoots: aside from the total unknowns, many tapes by known artists had no songs you’d ever heard of. This time, though, in the midst of the tightly-packed rows of rectangular plastic spines, I spotted a familiar title: Streets of Fire.
As a diehard Bruce Springsteen fan, I recognized this as the title of a song from his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. I did not know the tape’s artist, though: Duncan Browne. Still, if he covered a song by the Boss, he might be worth checking out. For a dollar, it was certainly worth the risk.
Alas, it wasn’t the Springsteen song. “Streets of Fire” was a seven-minute instrumental at the end of side one. But by the time I got to it, I already realized the music gods had smiled on me. Duncan Browne had a full-blown, distinctive style in 1979 that sounded awfully close to the one Dire Straits used five years later on their huge Brothers in Arms album. I’m not saying Mark Knopfler ripped off Browne: Knopfler’s tunes were much jauntier and lighter. I do think Browne was ahead of his time in placing loose, jazz-flavored guitar work in a pop setting. And since his music reeked of dark, wet streets and moody clubs behind unmarked doors, it failed in a market where “Walk of Life” and “Money for Nothing” later became huge hits.
The album kicks off with “Fauvette,” a song about a “street-level Joan” (as in “of Arc,” I’ve always presumed) who is a “Fauvette,” apparently a French word for nightingale. The tune is moody, and Browne sings with a simple, dark conversational voice. But his guitar-playing is phenomenally spare and gripping. I’m no musician, so I have no idea if it’s technically difficult, but it draws you in as much with the spaces between the licks as the notes themselves. I was hooked by the end of the first chorus.
(An aside: For probably twenty years, I had the misfortune of owning cars with unreliable cassette decks. This meant that usually I had only one working speaker channel at any given time. On most songs it didn’t matter, but sometimes it presented little gems I would’ve otherwise missed. On this album’s second song, “American Heartbeat,” after the line “Outside a streetcar named Desire it’s a one-way flight,” you could hear Browne laugh at himself, as if shaking his head at this lyric. That’s lost completely in the full stereo mix.)
I won’t bore you with a track-by-track synopsis. Instead, go buy the MP3 download here. You won’t be disappointed.
When I began writing Blood Groove, I had a central idea (old world vampire takes younger American ones under his cape), a hero I’d created for a previous short story and a vague plot concept about the danger these vampires would face. What I needed was an atmosphere, a vibe, to slide into while I wrote. It’s an intangible thing, to be sure, but it’s crucial to the process, or at least to my process. For The Sword-Edged Blonde, it was the Fleetwood Mac song “Rhiannon.” For Blood Groove, it was side 1 of this album. That’s why I named my heroine Fauvette, and why the book is dedicated to the memory of Duncan Browne, who left us in 1993.
I don’t know how he’d feel about inspiring a vampire novel. I hope he’d be tickled that his music helped someone else create something. I know that I can’t imagine this book, these characters, without his music accompanying them.