Today I am freshening things up with a new thing! A somewhat dark, heartstring-tugging, yet wonderfully cute and intriguing new thing! Enter RoAnna Sylver, and Stake Sauce.
ACT 1, IN WHICH: A cute punk-rock vampire and a disabled firefighter-turned-mall-cop with a dark past join forces to battle the forces of evil.
Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.
But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.
It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.
His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.
Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.
Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)
I won’t lie; sometimes I feel like I have vampire fatigue when it comes to stories. And these days, it’s hard not to just feel fatigue in general. Thank you, real life. But I have found that a good remedy can be to have stories to fall into that are fun and sweet and enjoyable, and so I’m glad to have discovered Stake Sauce.
I mean, come on. Its very name is a pun. (And a somewhat relevant one, it seems!)
So, a little bit of explanation before I get to talking about my Stake Sauce-related feelings. This is a Patreon-funded serialised story (check out the link above) that is also available in general digital form for non-Patrons, but the Patreon rewards include short stories that provide some back story on the characters in the main story, so if you’re interested in a more fleshed-out history of sorts (and so far the stories are relevant to how the main story’s characters ended up where and how they are) then you may well want to make a pledge.
The structure of the main serial is, at least for me, also a tiny bit tricky to keep straight, but it works like this: an Arc is the equivalent of a season, and each Arc will be made up of six Acts, or episodes. Each individual Act forms each of the monthly Patreon rewards, with shorter stories to fill the gaps and keep readers invested. So far we’re two Acts into Arc 1, and to keep this particular table of contents from sounding awfully dry, each Act has a neat subtitle (“Going Through The Motions”/”Of Lost Causes”). Arc 1 is also subtitled as “The Secret Ingredient is Love. No, Really.”
Got all that? OK!
Acts 1 and 2 serve to introduce us to Stake Sauce’s central characters: Jude, a former firefighter who is now working as a mall cop after losing one of his co-workers and best friends during a fire – though Jude believes it wasn’t the fire that killed Felix, but a monster of some unknown sort. Jude has seen them again since that incident, though he’s the only one of his former team who believes what he saw was real. Eva, who’s now his supervisor, wants nothing more than to put the tragic accident behind her and move on to appreciating a quieter life; Jasper, who was romantically involved with Felix, is too caught up in his own grief and his own ways of dealing with it to be of any help to Jude.
Then there’s the other central character, introduced properly in Act 2: Pixie, a young and slightly overweight, pink-haired and eternally (literally) sweet-natured punk vampire who lives upstairs in Jude’s apartment building. Only he’s having some problems of the bullying variety where the other local vampires are concerned, and knowing that Jude believes in them, comes to him for help.
You guys. Sylver gave the world a pink-haired punk vampire named Pixie. Fatigue? What fatigue? I am 100% here for this.
The setup for the story is fairly straightforward, or so it seems – both of these characters have problems to solve, and their best bet to solve them is to trust each other. But can they? Will they? What danger lies ahead if they do? And will it perhaps move beyond a mere alliance against a creepy threat? I am already sold in terms of emotional investment; I feel strongly for Jude, and I am charmed as heck by Pixie. So I’m thoroughly into this story already, and I may in fact need to have popcorn ready for Act 3 when it arrives.