1 Speculation "No, I'm sorry, but Ms. Nightshade isn't available tomorrow morning. Can we tape the interview in the afternoon and air it the next day?" The details that went into an author's book tour were tedious at best. "Or better yet, why don't you come down to the signing with a crew? You can get some great B-roll, interview a few of the fans you know, capture the whole Nightshade fan phenomenon. Then I'll set up Jackie Stewart's interview at a restaurant or a club -- something more interesting than Bella's hotel suite." I was pitching my author to an NCN producer named Diane and she was considering it. I pictured her as young, mousy, a big fan of the Von Rastenbourg family novels. She probably never got into hip restaurants or swank clubs. I sweetened the pot. "How about we set up the actual interview at Sweat? It'd be the perfect setting -- candles, lots of red velvet, beautiful people..." I knew I had her. I sat back in my chair, biding my time while she swallowed my purple Kool-Aid. If you weren't Paris or the Olsen twins, or of course my client the esteemed Ms. Nightshade, you weren't allowed anywhere near the velvet rope at Sweat. Diane could barely keep the excitement out of her voice when she agreed. "Great. I'll tell the bookstore to expect you and the camera crew at about seven o'clock for a setup, and tell Sweat to put the crew and Jackie Stewart on the list as Ms. Nightshade's entourage." All in a day's work. I should probably introduce myself. My name is Giovanna Felice, book publicist at Speculation. Speculation is a science fiction and fantasy book-publishing house. We publish novels about aliens, elves, and all sorts of things that go bump in the night. Over the last ten years, my specialty has been horror. I suppose it's because of my rapport with the authors and my ability to deal with the scary megafans. Like any publicist, I have to handle the egos, the bizarre requests for specialty items, the always-annoying travel arrangements, and contend with a million details at once. But working with theFangoriaset creates a unique set of additional problems. Although 99 percent of the fans are delightful, I also get to deal with psychos who tried everything from presenting my authors with dead cats to actually trying to bite them. Tonight's event was with Belladonna Nightshade, a novelist who wrote about the Von Rastenbourg vampire family. The characters were ancient, sage, painfully elegant vampires who ran around in lace and velvet. They agonized about the bitterness of immortality and the heartbreak of being so beautiful, all the while slipping into the bedrooms of attractive mortals and vacillating over whether or not to makethembeautiful, tragic vampires, too. I know, it sounds trite, but she was a really good writer and the fans couldn't get enough of it. Her latest and second in the series,The Honor of Lady Von Rastenbourg, was already number five on theNew York Timesbestseller list and the author's tour hadn't even started yet. Tonight's event was bound to push it to number one. We got hundreds of book-buying fans at every signing. We used to do her events at midnight as a gimmick, but so many fans showed up that they sometimes lasted until 4:00 a.m. Now the book signings begin at sunset. It was still gimmicky and it got us out of there in time for the inevitable afterparty with her adoring entourage. To be honest, it got harder and harder to tell the difference between the fans and her "people." I used to be able simply to check for fangs, but a clear lack of ethics among dental professionals had made that trick useless. Now I had to check for an actual pulse. In case you haven't guessed by now, Ms. Belladonna Nightshade really is a vampire, though pretends to be a mortal who caters to the growing trend in vampire novels. You know what they say: write what you know. She wasn't my only vampire author, but she was mySalvatore, Chris is the author of 'Necking' with ISBN 9781416560203 and ISBN 1416560203.