Please welcome today's returning guest author Danielle D. Smith and special guests Annie, Faust, and Erik! Danielle is the author of Black Dog and Rebel Rose, Psyche's Gate, and In the Neon.
Love is in the air. Florists, chocolatiers, card makers, and jewelers prepare to rake in the bounty as lovers and friends express their affections on the feast day of Saint Valentine.
Being me, I have to poke a little fun at this most romantic Saint's Day by interviewing a very peculiar couple...although I believe that you will find them to be as romantic as they come. Please welcome Annie and her beloved demon lover, Faust, whose story will be hitting store shelves this spring. I am delighted to see that they have also brought along their infant son, Erik, who has quite the personality!
DANI: Welcome, Annie and Faust. You too, Erik!
(Faust smiles shyly, nodding. Annie bounces Erik in her lap; Erik burbles and blows raspberries.)
ANNIE: Thanks, Dani. Say hi, baby!
(She takes Erik's hand and waves it. The baby wriggles in her lap, crowing happily.)
DANI: He's quite a character. He pinched my boob when I held him.
ANNIE: Yep, that's our little stinker! He loves women already.
DANI (laughing): I can tell! He's quite a flirt. Anyway, you two have quite a story to tell us! How did you two meet?
ANNIE (blushing): Faustie here was hanging around the strip club where I worked.
DANI: That was The Neon, right?
ANNIE: That's right.
DANI: Faust, when did you first see Annie? Was The Neon the club you were always in?
FAUST: No. It was my duty to drift all around the Red Light district, to capture the Master's prey. I saw Annie by accident, standing outside on her break. It was as if...a light had struck me. A light no demon is meant to see...but I have never regretted it.
(Annie sighs and leans in to kiss him. Erik, apparently unimpressed by his parent's show of affection, bounces and smirks to himself.)
DANI: that is so damn romantic.
ANNIE: Tell me about it. He snuck into my booth a little while later; I guess he'd been watching me for a while. He was only interested in talking...really talking...and drew me in from the start. We talked about books while I sat there with my bra off. (She laughs.)
DANI: Books? Really?
ANNIE: Yeah. I'm a voracious reader...I suppose you could say that I break the "stripper stereotype".
DANI: That's a good thing! What kind of books are we talking about here?
ANNIE: Classics. The Plague, Metamorphosis, Goethe's Faust. Of course Goethe's Faust--that was, like, "insta" connection. (She winks.)
DANI: Faust, you are a True Native. Tell us what that is.
FAUST: It means that I am not Fallen. I am a demon bron directly from the Pit.
DANI: So you're not a fallen angel.
FAUST (scoffing): Of course not.
ANNIE (rolling her eyes playfully): He's such an elitest.
DANI (chuckling): I can see that. Tell us about your history, Faust.
FAUST (quietly): It is not something that I am proud of. I was made to be a Collector--a demon whose sole purpose is to tempt human souls into damnation. I did that for a very, very long time.
DANI: How old are you, Faust?
FAUST (distantly): I first emerged from the flames when humans were emerging from the wilderness and gathering into villages and cities for the first time. Long, long ago, though I am not as old as some.
DANI: Fascinating. Okay, moving on. Annie, tell us a little bit about your background. You are a first generation Swede, correct?
ANNIE (very proudly): Ja, that's right. My parents came from Sweden. I was raised speaking their native tongue as well as English. I'm very proud of my heritage, and I'm going to make sure my little pojke
speaks it, too.
(She takes Erik's little hands and gently claps them together.)
ANNIE: Let's sing Dani and her nice fans a song:
Baka, baka liten kaka,
rulla, rulla liten bulla,
ringla, ringla liten kringla,
mjöla den och pricka den
och… skjuts in i ugnen!
Bake, bake little cake;
Roll, roll the little buns,
Coil, curl the small pretzel,
Flour it and mark it
And... shove in the oven!
(Erik giggles and blows more raspberries.)
DANI (laughing): I love it! Faust, do you speak Swedish, too?
FAUST (beaming): I speak all human languages... all of my kind do.
DANI: Annie, I have to ask you something, and I ask your forgiveness in advance if this is hurtful. Faust saved you from a rape, didn't he?
(Faust growls low in his throat.)
ANNIE (her eyes downcast): Yes. Thank God...I know it's odd to say thank God, but I think now that God did have a hand in it. I'm the oddball Swedish girl who is also a devout Catholic, so I believe very firmly in that sort of thing.
DANI: That's good, Annie. What happened?
ANNIE (stroking her fingers through her baby son's feathery blond hair): One of my regulars attacked me when I was leaving The Neon. Faust...came out of nowhere and...stopped the guy.
FAUST: I tore him limb from limb. Then I carried him into the night and spread his flesh across the skies.
ANNIE: Yeah, pretty amazing. Faust scared the hell out of me, no pun intended--he was in his true form-- but he proved himself that night. I can't ever thank him enough. He's given me everything.
(Erik burbles and grabs a strand of his mother's hair in his fist, yanking; he sticks his little tongue out and it's black and forked. Annie laughs, breaking the tension.)
ANNIE: And I mean everything. This little guy is the best Valentine's gift Faustie could have ever given me. I
had a dream about Erik once...only he was grown up. It' was pretty incredible.
DANI: You had a vision?
ANNIE: Yeah. Big muscles, like his papa, and lots of tattoos.
DANI: Wow! Does that bother you?
ANNIE (grinning): Nope, not at all. He's gonna be a badass. Aren't you?
(She bounces Erik in her lap, and he squeals merrily. Faust looks on, adoring.)
DANI: Faust, you must be very proud of your family.
FAUST (shyly): Yes. They have been my redemption.
DANI: That's so awesome. Thanks for joining us, guys. Happy Valentine's Day.
ANNIE: You too, hon. Thanks for having us. Say bye, bye!
(She waves Erik's floppy little hand. He squirms, hiccups, and burps up a tiny spout of flame.)
DANI (cracking up): Boy, he's a cute little devil! Bye, little guy!
Danielle D. Smith is an author and artist living in San Diego, CA. She writes dark fantasy, horror, and erotica that appeals to those readers looking for paranormal fiction outside of the mainstream. Her third book, IN THE NEON, will be released in Spring 2011 and will be her first novel to be fully illustrated.
In the Neon by Danielle D. Smith.
In the Neon tells the story of Faust, a master Collector demon born from Hellfire itself, and Annie, the beautiful stripper who lights a forbidden fire in his heart. Dark fantasy for fans of paranormal romance, erotica, horror, and demon-themed fantasy.
Thank you Danielle for joining us here today at From the Shadows!
To learn more about Danielle D. Smith and her books, please visit her website.
**Signed Character Art Giveaway**
We are giving away a signed, artist embellished matted print of this artwork, titled "Little Family", depicting Faust, Annie, and baby Erik (who some may recognize as Skriker) to one lucky winner!
To enter, leave a comment on this post including your email address (so we may contact you if you win). You do not have to be a follower to enter (though I always appreciate a follow!). This giveaway is to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway ends February 28th midnight EST.