Visiting the Scene

The other night, I was visiting downtown Vegas for the first time in a while, and decided to stop at the locations in my book Blood Trade.

The top picture is not the location of Xochitl’s office on First and Harding (because there is no Harding in Vegas) but it is close to the area where the story takes place and is the kind of block described in the book.  There used to be lots of such blocks downtown, but they have mostly been torn down now.

The second picture is Third and Carson, where Xoxhitl disposes of vampire bodies by dropping them in the sewer manhole.  I labeled the manhole location for you.  It was also a full moon that evening (this was taken at sundown), so I labeled that too.

I didn’t get a picture of the Catholic Church in front of which Xochitl fights a werewolf, though I did look at it as I drove by.  Unfortunately it doesn’t have the beautiful garden full of wolfsbane in real life.

Update: Blood Moon

Blood Moon is the sequel to Blood Trade.  We may see a title change before I’m done, because there are already a half dozen books out their called Blood Moon, but it does fit, because it’s mostly about werewolves.  I had an idea for the intro and started writing, finishing just shy of two chapters before I ran out of steam, but I have the basic plot planned out.  I doubt I’ll get back to this before I finish The Young Sorceress or Astrid Maxxim 2, but I might have this one done by the end of the year.

Update: Misc.

Two things:  First, I sometimes get an idea or a scene in my mind and really hold onto it until I need to sit down and write it out.  This was the case with a half dozen little beginnings of stories that I might  will write assuming I live long enough eventually.  Second, I get my best ideas as I’m lying in bed, just about to drift off to sleep.  I used to forget them when I fell asleep, but something about being older has allowed me to hold onto them.

The other night I had one such idea and several days later I sat down and wrote the first two pages of what might be a Blood Trade sequel.  I don’t think I’ll write anything else on it for a while because I don’t really have a story; I just had a scene.  Also, Blood Trade is one of my least popular books.  I really feel like I need to focus on books that people want to read– top of the list being the next Robot Wife book.

It did feel really good to write this little bit though– surprising, since I writing the first book was such a wringing experience.


Israel is the last of the major characters in Blood Trade, and he’s my least favorite.  This is because he’s similar to other vampire characters.  I didn’t want to write a vampire like other vampire stories, but I had to have this one.  Israel is a 200+ year old vampire who is at the center of a network of vampires.  He thinks of himself as invincible and sort of a rock star, and he thinks of human beings as big thermos bottles. Israel has big plans that go beyond the stuff that vampires are usually into– but I can’t give away much more than that without ruining the plot.

I hope you enjoyed the look into the characters of Blood Trade over the past few days.  Next up, I’ll be looking at the characters of Women of Power.

Lance Rizzello

Lance Rizzello is a character in Blood Trade.  I loved writing Lance because in a book filled with evil vampires, he’s completely human and more evil than any of them.  Lance is a dirty cop, working part time as an enforcer for the mob, and working all the time for himself.  Everything is about power and obligation with Lance.  Who owes him a favor?  Who does he owe?  Everybody is afraid of him, from the baddest pimps and drug dealers to Xochitl, and with good reason.

I almost never change a character name after I start writing, but Lance went through a series of first and last names.  First I changed his name because it was the same as a character in a movie (that I hadn’t seen), and then I changed because it was too close to a character in a story a friend was writing.  Then I changed it because it wasn’t right.  In the end though, I don’t think Lance’s name is that important.  He’s a strong enough character no matter what his name is.

Sid Case

Sid Case is one of the characters in my book Blood Trade.  Sid is a tattoo artist and the owner of Robot Slut Tattoo.  He has a deal worked out with Xochitl that she will serve as his tattoo model and canvas, and in return he helps her dispose of the bodies of the vampires she terminates.  Sid is a large guy, overweight, with lots of tattoos.  He loves 70s music, including disco, and he (not-so-secretly) loves Xochitl.  They met back when she was a stripper and he frequented her club, staring at the skull tattooed on her lower stomach and stuffing more than a few singles into her g-string, but they didn’t become closer until she saved him from vampire attack.

Novelyne Cavendish

Novelyne Cavendish is a two hundred year old vampire who works as a secretary in Sin City Detective Agency.  I really didn’t want this book to have a “good” vampire.  The whole basis of the book is that vampires are bad.  However, Novelyne is at least trying to be good– to go “vegetarian.”

Novelyne’s last name is Cavendish because I wanted her to be distantly related to Xochitl, so an Irish surname seemed the best way to express that.  Her first name I have been saving for a long time to use on a character.  I originally heard the name from the friend of Conan creator Robert E. Howard– Novalyne Price Ellis.  I changed the spelling as an in-joke… because she’s a character in a novel.

Novelyne is short and blond, both because I wanted to play against the usual vampire type, but also because I was thinking about how people two hundred years ago were for the most part smaller.  I also gave her a little catch phrase of her own– “He’s really, really nice.  I really, really like him.”

Xochitl McKenna

Xochitl McKenna is the main character of Blood Trade.  She is a private eye and Goth tattoo model in a very dark version of Las Vegas.  She is a former army ranger, and as such is an excellent hand-to-hand fighter and marksman, and she has a very personal hatred of vampires.

Xochitl’s first name is Nahuatl (Aztec) for flower.  Her last name is Irish.  This reflects the family heritage that she barely remembers of a half Mexican, half African American mother and a blond, blue eyed father.

As a tattoo model, Xochitl is the canvas for her friend, tattoo artist Sid Case.  She has a variety of tattoos including a very fuctional tattoo of a cross on her neck, but Sid’s masterwork is her right sleeve which features a pastiche of the macabre including the images of Stephen King, Batman, Betty Page, and Marilyn Monroe.

One little quirk that Xochitl has is that she can’t leave cash laying around.  If she sees money, she has to pick it up.  This sometimes includes money in someone else’s wallet.  Originally I did this because I wanted all the characters in this book to have some bizarre quirt, but it became something important for the plot.

Blood Trade is available wherever fine ebooks are sold for $2.99.  It is recommended only for adults.

Blood Trade: Chapter 11 Excerpt

The morning light streaming into the window was hitting Xochitl right in the face, but that wasn’t what had awakened her.  It was an annoying buzz.  It took her almost a full minute to realize that it was her cell phone ringing.  It took her another minute to find it lying amid the bedclothes.  By then it had stopped ringing.  She pushed the call back button and put her head back on her pillow, rolling to the side to keep her eyes out of the sun.


“You called?”

“I did.  I thought you might still be up,” he said.

“I’m getting ready to get up soon.  I’ve been asleep.”


“Did you call me to tell me how much you miss me?” she asked.  “Are you like a star-crossed lover now?”

“You mean starry-eyed lover, and no, I called to check in, and to make sure you’re alright.  A lot’s been happening there.  I guess the bureau picked the wrong time to call me in.”

“Or the exact right time,” she replied.  “Do you know what’s going on?”

“That’s what the meeting was all about.  It seems the vampires have been planning on supplanting the Chicago mob for some time.  The bureau has been following it.  They just didn’t know when it was going to happen.  Well, it happened.  Tony the Pipe is dead and it looks like just about everybody who was working for him is too.  Israel is running the show now.  He cut off the head and simply took over the organization.”

“That sounds awfully risky, even for a vampire,” said Xochitl.

“Maybe.  But he’s done it before.  He did it during prohibition, in the twenties, in Detroit.  He took over an entire organization smuggling booze into the U.S. from Canada.”

“That would be when those pictures you showed me were taken.”

“Right.  And one more thing… apparently Novelyne was right there with him.”

“She was Bonny to his Clyde?”

“Well, they had a relationship,” said Zielinski.  “My question is… Is she in on this with him now?”

“I don’t think so,” replied Xochitl.

“But you’re not sure.”

“No.  I’m not sure.”