Friday, April 14, 2023

Social Vampire Blitz

Social Vampire
James Schannep
Publication date: April 4th 2023
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

At a new school, you get a chance to reinvent yourself, so…why not be a vampire?

Gordon is hiding something. Is it the fact that he’s secretly a vampire? No, of course n-wait. Yes. That’s exactly what he’s hiding. Let’s go with that.

So when this nerdy teen moves to a small town where all the kids are obsessed with vampire fiction, he reinvents himself as their dream character: dark & brooding, cool as hell, and overly susceptible to stabs through the heart.

While rivaling the alpha male jock, garnering the attention of the most popular girl in his class, and forming a hilarious friendship with the girl next door (the only one who knows his secret), Gordon might find that his new school is the perfect place for him to shine-or, better yet, sparkle.

But if his classmates dig up the truth, it’ll be the nail in his coffin…

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EXCERPT:

Taking my first bite of Pop-Tarts, I turned to head inside, but froze in my tracks when I heard something that made my teenage ears perk up.

“Hi, I’m Emily,” said one voice.

“Kimberly,” said the second.

“Gordon!” said Dad.

Girls. I quickly chewed up and swallowed the dry mouthful of toaster pastry before dumping the rest inside the top drawer of Dad’s tool chest. He only ever called me “Gordon” if he was specifically trying not to embarrass me (as I generally loathed nicknames), or if I were in trouble. This situation felt like it might be a bit of both. Indeed, if Dad wasn’t calling me “Gordy,” that could only mean one thing. As I rounded the column of stacked boxes, the girls coming into view, my suspicions were confirmed.

Yep, they were cute.

They wore matching soccer uniforms, long hair pulled back into ponytails: one blonde and the other brunette. Grass-stained white and red Bozeman Hawks jerseys, athletic shorts, knee-high socks. They carried their cleats with laces tied together and slung over their respective shoulders. On their feet, they wore slip-on toeless athletic sandals; socks still dirty from practice. The blonde carried a soccer ball in the crook of her arm and eyed me cautiously.

“We came by because we heard there was a new kid,” her counterpart said.

A range of responses fired across my synapses. I could:

  • Play it cool and go with a nonchalant, “Well, then you won’t leave disappointed.”
  • Give a sly look to the packing boxes and say, “Not much gets past you. I’m guessing you play defense.”
  • Totally choke and mutter a noncommittal, “Uh…yeah….”

I went with the third option.

Hey, when you’re fourteen (or fifteen, or fourteen, again), the presence of a pretty girl will often sever the connection between brain and mouth. And two pretty girls? No chance of intelligent discourse whatsoever.

“Do you play soccer?” the one with the ball asked. One-track mind.

Boy, did I want to say yes. I didn’t play soccer, not in the slightest, but couldn’t I say yes anyway, then spend all weekend learning how to play? How hard could it be? She didn’t ask if I played soccer well, and it would still be mostly true, if I intended to play soccer, right? I mean, I literally knew how to kick a ball….

The words leapt into my throat, ready to scream, “Yes! I love soccer! Goooooaaaaaaaaalllll!!!!!”

But something more powerful overrode the system—my inability to lie.

“Uh, no,” I said. “Sorry.”

The blonde made a forced, toothless smile—more like a grimace—and looked down at the garage floor in disappointment. Strike one! Swing and a miss! (This is what’s called “mixing your metaphors” but, hey, I said I didn’t know anything about soccer).

“Well, do you, umm, like to read? We’re in a book club,” the brunette said.

“Yes!” I said, a little too excitedly. Then I gathered myself and asked, “What are you reading?”

RMH:VA…again,” she said with a giggle.

“R-M…V?” I asked. I didn’t get the joke.

Rocky Mountain High: Vampire Academy,” her friend explained.

My mind searched for recognition. Where had I heard that before? It took a second, but the book cover from the truck stop rack flashed to mind just as the brunette continued.

“We’re re-reading the first five books just in time for the new release. Red Moon Yellowstone is supposedly where the love triangle really gets interesting. Sorry, fangirling here. Anyway. Do you want to read with us?” the brunette asked, her voice lilting up at the end of the question. Hopeful.

I cringed deeper, collapsing into internal despair, trying not to answer. But the words came; painfully extracted like I was in the dentist’s chair.

“No,” I said, honestly.

They shared matching frowns this time. Penalty flag! Punted that one deep offside, or whatever.

“So, what do you do?” the blonde asked, no longer trying to hide her contempt.


Author Bio:

James Schannep has no tragic backstory.

Having grown up in a fairly ordinary suburban household, with a family who loved him, he was forced to dream up far flung adventures on strange new worlds where the hero can save the day and make a difference through strength of character alone.

Schannep attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in English Literature with a minor in General Engineering. After serving honorably as a Nuclear Missile Command and Control Officer, he returned to trying to make a difference through story.

As a screenwriter, game designer, and novelist, he is probably best known for his Click Your Poison series of interactive gamebooks.

Social Vampire is his first novel.

When not dreaming up strange new worlds, James lives in the one inhabited by his wife, who faithfully remains the patroness of his art, and with his children, who don’t quite grasp what they’ve inherited yet with such an eccentric father.

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