Book Name: Blood and Rain (Blood #1)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23261044-blood-and-rain
Author Name: Shira Anthony
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.
After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.
Thanks, Sophie, for inviting me to blog about my new Blood Series and my brand new release, Blood and Rain!
Sophie asked me to speak about the challenges and rewards of creating my own supernatural universe, something I love to talk about. After you’re done reading, be sure to enter the Blood and Rain Blog Tour giveaway for an amazing unisex pendant by artist Martin Brodour and a Dreamspinner Press gift certificate! The contest ends at midnight on New Year’s! Details are below.
Creating any universe in a story, regardless of genre, always presents both challenges and rewards. When you think about it, you’ll realize even contemporary stories require some world creation, or what writers call “world building” so that readers can understand why the characters do what they do. Because in the end, it’s really all about characters!
I’ve written fantasy before. In my Mermen of Ea Series, I really did create a brand-new, Earth-like universe where shifter mermen exist. But writing the Blood Series, and in particular Blood and Rain (Blood #1), I faced some particular challenges that seem to be part and parcel of writing vampires.
Why is it challenging and rewarding to create a vampire universe? Two reasons, in particular. First, readers are familiar with vampires and vampire lore. Second, readers are familiar with vampires and vampire lore. No, I didn’t make a mistake in writing that last bit! The challenges are the same as the benefits. Let me explain….
Readers know vampires. Or at least, they know them from the books they’ve read in the past. Which means they may expect vampire books to have certain elements. There are so many vampire myths in existing vampire lore: blood as food, immortality, sensitivity to light, undead/living creatures, sexuality, power. I could go on, but you get what I’m saying.
When someone says “vampires,” chances are you think of one or more of these things. Those familiar themes make readers like vampires (or hate them, I suppose). And to some extent, readers want familiar themes because they’re comfortable. But the flip side of this is that if you write a new vampire story with all of the familiar elements, your readers may get bored. Readers are looking for more than just the old vampires they’ve been reading.
It’s all about the balance. Truly. Each author needs to work to strike the balance of familiar and new/original in their vampire stories. And that’s where both the challenge and reward to me as a writer come in.
In Blood and Rain, you’ll learn that vampires are essentially immortal because they live extraordinarily long lives. On the other hand, my vampires are not “undead.” They are very much living, breathing creatures. And they don’t have any issues with sunlight. Yes, they crave human blood and they struggle with control of their urge for blood. My vampires can mate and have children. Vampires can be born or created. Born vampires, or “ancient” vampires, are the most powerful and are a sort of vampire royalty. Some of the ancient vampires intermarried with humans, and created quasi-humans who become vampire hunters. The hunters are long-lived, but not immortal. Hunters can become immortal, however, with the help of an ancient vampire. Hunters can also become vampires in the same way a normal human would.
Building upon old vampire lore and creating my own new lore makes for such a fun universe to play in! I love mixing old and new, and the interplay between the hunters and the hunter makes this series so much for me to write. There are old dilemmas, such as whether to drink human blood or abstain. There are new dilemmas to be discovered in the interplay between the hunters and the vampires.
I hope you’ll enjoy the universe in Blood and Rain! I sure enjoyed writing it. -Shira
Adrien licked the skin of Cole’s neck, feeling the blood pulse there, hearing it call to him. Cole tilted his head in anticipation, opening himself to Adrien Adrien buried his teeth in Cole’s skin. Blood flooded his mouth and danced on his tongue, sweet and salty. Too long. His body was far more vampire-like in its craving for blood than when he’d first been given the gift of an ancient vampire’s soul. He wondered if it was the same for other immortals.
Adrien tried to ignore the images that flashed through his mind—the sound of silvery laughter, a mother’s loving caress. Cole’s memories. Adrien despised this forced intimacy, but he’d come to see it as the price of blood. Something to be tolerated.
It hadn’t always been that way. When he’d shared Nicolas’s blood, Adrien had experienced great joy. He’d seen himself through Nicolas’s eyes and felt the depth of Nicolas’s love. Each drop of that precious liquid had opened new doors. Each taste offered insight into Nicolas’s heart and soul. A beloved memory. A mystery—the mystery of Nicolas—unfolding with every swallow.
Adrien drank his fill, then claimed Cole’s mouth. This kind of contact he could stomach. He didn’t need sex to survive, but he enjoyed the release. Cole unbuttoned Adrien’s black silk shirt and his cock swelled against Adrien’s thigh. Adrien moaned as Cole skated his fingertips over his chest.
“I have never known a hunter to crave blood,” Cole whispered in his ear. “I thought only we experienced the bloodlust.”
“You were wrong,” Adrien said as he pulled Cole’s shirt over his head and mouthed a pretty pink nipple. Sex was always better after he fed, and Adrien’s cock was already hard at the thought of fucking such a lovely ass. He drew Cole’s body against his, walked backward into the living room, and pulled Cole with him onto the rug. Soon they were naked and he was no longer a hunter or an immortal, he was simply a man, seeking release, seeking pleasure.
For at least an hour after, Adrien lay on the floor and allowed the night air to caress his bare skin. He closed his eyes and dozed.
The voice awakened him. Nicolas’s voice again. Why sleep if it only served to reawaken the pain he sought to suppress?
He stood and pulled on his jeans. He walked onto the balcony in his bare feet, then climbed to the roof of the penthouse.
Having reached the edge, he spread his arms. He leaned forward and fell unimpeded, riding the wind like a sigh. The glass of the building sailed by him, the breeze buffeting his face. He hit the water and sank into the cold blackness. He wished he could die.
Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Shira can be found on
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shira.anthony
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony’
- Twitter: @WriterShira
- Website: http://www.shiraanthony.com
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- AllRomanceEbooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bloodandrain-1686465-145.html
- Dreamspinner http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5805&cPath=55_484
- Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Rain-Shira-Anthony-ebook/dp/B00QNVAPFA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419127828&sr=8-1&keywords=blood+and+rain
Handmade “Blood and Rain” unisex pendant from artist Martin Brodour. & $10 Dreamspinner Press Gift Certificate