Sunday Shorts — “Stake Sauce” by RoAnna Sylver, a #KrakenFriends2018 title!

Hello! A couple of days ago, I did an interview with RoAnna Sylver, and we talked characters, rep, and inspiration. Today I want to focus a bit more on Stake Sauce (Arc 1: The Secret Ingredient is Love. No, Really).

I read this over the last week leading up to the Kraken Collective anniversary celebration (which includes nineteen fabulous queer spec fic titles on sale, and you should check it out), and it was a freaking blast.

The thing is, RoAnna Sylver has a way of balancing tones with real finesse. Like, on the one hand, we’ve got a former firefighter (like, the hop-out-of-a-helicopter type) who has suffered major loss and is now a mall security guard, and on the other, we’ve got a pink-haired vampire who thinks drinking blood is gross.

No, really.

And really, really centrally? It’s so phenomenally queer. Like, rep all over the place, done so darn well, and building on a foundation of the “Family of Choice” thing that I’m always seeking.

Anyway. Go. Buy. Read. And right now? It’s on sale, so everything’s coming up you.

Those two facets: someone dealing with loss, PTSD, pitch-perfect disability rep and a fun, fresh take on a creature of the night? In RoAnna Sylver’s hands, they blend. This book is alternately fun, dark, twisted, and amusing. It’s one of the most unique urban fantasy books I’ve ever read, and that’s a genre I adore already.

The Cover of Stake Sauce, by RoAnna Sylver, shows a leather bracelet bearing hand reaching out of a box labeled "This Machine Kills Fascists." The box also has a rainbow pride sticker on it, an anarchy symbol, and a little skull and crossbones.

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.)

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