I'm very pleased to welcome author Tony-Paul de Vissage today! Tony-Paul has brought us a very interesting post today, detailing how one unique medical condition could have contributed to vampire legends. And we also get a peek at the wonderful Shadow Lord!
Second Species:Vampires based in Fact
was a lovely Southern summer afternoon—late afternoon, in fact.What the townspeople called “evening,” that
time when day is turning into night and the sun begins to dim.It was around six o’clock when Warene de
Vissage stepped from the dining room of the house onto the back porch, calling
to her child to come in for dinner.The
sinking sun was shining over the front of the house and Warene was sheltered
from its rays by four walls and a roof.Nevertheless, she could see the heat rising in shimmering waves from the
sidewalk fifteenfeet away on the other
side of the running rose-covered picket fence.She could also feel that same heat touching her skin.
her arms protectively across her chest, she hurried back inside not waiting for
the child to obey.
next morning, Warene awoke in agony.Her
skin burned, felt hot and tight.Staggering out of bed and to the mirror above her vanity,she stared at the startling and horrific
image before her…skin crimson and scorched, edges curled and inflamed, blisters
and scales…as if someone had held her over an open fire.To touch her face brought excruciating pain…to
look at it brought tears…it itched, it burned, and the most awful part was…but
she knew why.
sun…reflecting off the pavement.Hadn’t
she felt its heat?She’d dared step
outside during daylight, thinking just this once, it wouldn’t matter…just this
once, so late in the day, she wouldn’t suffer. Though she hurried back inside,
that damnable sun still found her, and did its work.
would be weeks before she healed.
This may sound like the beginning of a
vampire story, but it’s a true episode, taken from my own mother’s life.Maman suffered from PMLE…polymorphic
light eruption…a condition in which an individual’s DNA cannot repair the
damage done to the skin by ultravioletrays.Even on the most overcast
days, she was never able to go out during daylight without being completed
covered from head-to-toe.Long pants,
knee socks, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a neck scarf, a wide-brimmed hat, and
an umbrella were her usual attire when leaving the house…and still, she could
be burned by sunlight reflecting from the pavement or any surface, going
through her clothes to cause near-first degree burns.
PMLE appears to be hereditary. I was lucky,
however; even with my blond hair and fair skin, I can walk in sunlight with no
more than the normal fear of getting a sunburn.SPF-70 sunblock and I are old friends, nevertheless, and I use it
faithfully. A little caution is a prudent thing.
For most sufferers, PMLE simply causes an
annoying rash but a small percentage are stricken with a much more severe case,
in which they appear to have been actually cooked. It is the less
painful form of a condition called XP—Xeroderma pigmentosum. This is, in
medical terms, “a skin cancer-prone autosomal recessive disease characterized
by inability to repair UV-induced DNA damage.”XP suffers never come out in daylight; they live their entire
lives after dark.
What does this have to do with
vampires?The inference is obvious, and
may be one of the ways the vampire myth began.If you were a superstititious person living in a primitive time when it
was believed the sun sank into the sea every night at the edge of the world,
and you saw someone actually burned by that same sun…someone who was only
comfortable after dark and only felt he could safely come out of his dwelling
at night, what would you think?Other opinions have been offered:premature burials, porphyria,
lycanthropy.I’m certain all these—plus
PMLE and XP—attributed to the legend a good many of us who are writers have
used to our advantage, and I am one of them.
When I began my series The Second Species, I wanted my vampires to be different,
not the usual Undead, sleeping-in-a-coffin type.So I made them a living people, a
second species of Mankind, divorced from their human brothers because of their
differences.They have many
characteristics of the Undead but I’ve given acceptable reasons for them:the entire group suffers from XP, therefore
they can’t emerge into sunlight; they have allergies—the most powerful one
being to garlic and certain herbs; their refusal to look at crosses, etc., is
not because they are repulsed by them but because their own religion
demands they not look on the sacred objects of other faiths, and so on.Understanding how humans fear them, they have
hidden themselves away in the cloud-covered peaks of the Carpathians where the
sun never penetrates. If and when they emerge into the land of humans, tragedy
That is the story behind the creation of my
“vampires,” based in fact, elaborated in fiction.The first novel in the series, Shadow Lord, is expected to be
in the next two months by Double Dragon Publishing.Look for it…you will enjoy it…and feel a
little sympathy for those true suffers who are “deprived of God’s holy
call them vampires.They call themselves aventurieri.For generations, they hide in
the mists of the Carpathians away from their human foes.
1794, everything changes… Their Prince’s assassin is murdered. His son demands
Strigoi’s quest for justice will take him from his Transylvanian homeland to
the Hellfire clubs of Vienna, and the boudoir of a Parisian Marquise, but not
even love will stop his vengeance.
Ravagiu must die.
both the hunter and the hunted are vampires, not even Hell can stand in the
of Castel Strigoi, sat at the desk in his father’s study. It was now his
study, but the thought of being head of the family was an uncomfortable
weight. He’d never wanted to be his father’s heir and still rued the day Janos
had been forced to make his son the successor to Casa Strigoi.
Well, there was
no fighting what was already done. He was now ghidaj of the assassin faction
of the warrior caste, and leader of the Strigoi, the Shadows, the House
supplying the Prince’s hereditary executioner.
brushed a hand across those damned mismatched eyes silently declaring his right
to inherit, wishing again they’d never changed. That once more he was thirteen
and his eyes still as blue as his father’s and not absurdly of different
colors. Might as well wish the repeal of the aventurieri Law of
Inheritance, which insisted the title of ghidaj go to one displaying
a striking physical difference.As if
only a sport of Nature could be named the next leader. Marek’s dark hair
had not been enough to mark him as his blond father’s successor. When one of
his blue eyes turned green, there was no question his own body made him Janos’
heir. At first, he cringed when anyone looked at him, peering into his face to
declare, “By the gods, they aren’t alike!” but with it came
reverence, and he soon accustomed himself to their scrutiny. Now, Marek looked
at the world defiantly through that unsuitably-hued gaze.
might’ve been so different...
Only four days
before, he’d been a student, living with others his age at the University of
the Scholomance in the high reaches of the mountains. Then the messenger,
exhausted from flying so far, delivered the news:His father and stepmother were murdered, and
his siblings abducted.
world was shaken. To attack the Shadow Lord was to strike at the Prince
himself. As His Majesty’s assassin, Janos had served the Council for centuries,
and this occasion was no different. He’d simply followed orders, punishing a
renegade enslaving deomi and preying on them in defiance of the Law.
orders from His Majesty, he’d commanded Minea Ravagiu to bow to his master’s
will. Minea refused, bringing death to himself and everyone within the walls of
Fortreasta Ravagiu. When his brother returned from his own hunting
foray, the deed was done. Standing ankle-deep in his kinsman’s bloody ashes,
Mircea Ravagiu swore vengeance against the Shadow Lord, and now had carried it
were grief-filled, a turmoil of rage and a bloodthirsty desire for revenge.
Even now, his men were winging their way to Fortreasta Mircea, the
killer’s stronghold higher in the mountains. He’d wanted to go with them, but
concern for his siblings demanded he stay behind.His orders to the soldati were clear:
If they found the murderer, they were to bring him to Castel Strigoi.
Marek wanted the pleasure of killing Mircea Ravagiu himself, and he wasn’t
going to make it a painless death.
I want to
taste the bastard’s blood, feel it spatter my face and stain my robes as my
fangs rip out his throat. The Domnitor might
protest, but he didn’t care, and if he was called before the Consfatuire,
so be it. I’ll claim the right of sange revansa for my family’s
Shadow Lord, Book One of the Second Species, is scheduled for an October release from Double Dragon Publishing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A writer of French Huguenot extraction, Tony-Paul
saw his first vampire movie on television at age 6--the old Universal horror
flick, Dracula's Daughter--and was
scared sleepless. He’s now paying his very permissive parents back by writing
about the Undead.
I am very happy to welcome Wendy Owens as part of her current blog tour, and so excited to share some info on Wendy's wonderful books! Please help me spread the love. I'm highlighting a couple of the books today, but be sure to check out her links, because the series extends beyond these two.
Tragedy has defined Gabe's short existence in this
world. An ominous darkness lurked on the edge of his existence until one day in
a subway, strange things start happening. A series of events lead Gabe into a
new and fascinating life filled with angels and demons, but he isn't sure if he
wants to be a part of it.
Gabe is thrust into the middle of this exciting world
that is full of things he has longed for in his life but it comes with a price.
This new life also promises constant terrifying dangers that Gabe fears he may
not be able to survive.
Some people are born into love,
some people are born into war, when Gabe discovered he was a Guardian Angel,
his life was suddenly thrust into both. If this hidden war wasn't enough to
deal with, Gabe learns he is fated to be the great protector who will one day
deliver the last prophet to either safety or death. All of these revelations
didn't matter for Gabe, he only cared that his new life included Sophie.
Sophie and Gabe grew closer over
the summer. She is now a fixture in his life that keeps him moving forward.
Evil doesn't stop stalking him just because he found happiness. This time
darkness finds it's way into Rampart manor and Gabe will have to decide if he
is willing to risk everything to try and stop it.
Gabe’s stomach twisted, each knot tighter and more agonizing than
the last. He wiped his sweat-soaked hands on the legs of his jeans and searched
the nearby crowd for a familiar face. He imagined that if he could just catch a
glimpse of Sophie, everything would be all right. Unfortunately, Sophie was
nowhere to be found. Gabe felt hopeless.
The roar of the crowd began to grow. He heard them harmoniously
stomping their feet in a rhythm that cried out for battle. Gabe glanced across
the arena to several cages that were shielded by large cloaks. Whatever was
inside was clearly becoming agitated by the noise of the crowd. The captive
creatures began beating against the bars. Random secret shrieks and growls came
from their general area.
“Rampart Manor!” Gabe heard Uri’s magically amplified voice shout
over the thunderous group. “Let’s be honest, we all know the reason why we’re
gathered here today. Yes, yes, of course we want to support our dear friend,
Gabe. But, let’s get real for a minute. Day in and day out we learn and train
and grow as Guardians. We do as we’re told and follow the rules. We all work
hard. Now it’s our turn to watch some demons tremble in fear! It’s our turn to
watch the hunters become the hunted. Who’s ready to see some fighting? Better
yet, who wants to see what our great protector is made of?”
The crowd erupted into a frenzy at Uri’s words.
The past summer had been full of blood, sweat, and tears for Gabe,
but it was also an experience he wouldn’t trade for anything. He had grown
close to Sophie and all of his new friends. Uri had even become what Gabe would
call his best friend; something he hadn’t had in his previous life. As
appreciative as he had grown of Uri’s humor, right now, in this arena, was one
of those moments he wished Uri was able to contain himself.
Gabe had felt somewhat confident about his tests when he awoke
that morning. He had spent every free moment studying and practicing for this
all summer,though it didn’t take long before he realized what Uri had done.
After the tenth or so person wished him luck and expressed how much they were
looking forward to seeing him in action, he knew Uri had decided to make this
day into a big event for the entire manor, even though Gabe wasn’t comfortable
being a spectacle.
Gabe’s confidence quickly disintegrated into rage, conjuring
visions in his head of strangling his dear friend Uri for inviting a crowd to
watch his tests. It was hard enough for him to concentrate alone in complete
silence knowing what was at stake. He wasn’t sure how he would be able to do
anything with a hundred of his future classmates looking on. Gabe knew that
failing today wouldn’t only let down everyone who helped him, but could also
have his mentor, Michael, questioning if he had made a mistake in choosing
“Get over here, Gabe,” Uri motioned to his friend to join him in
the circle. He reluctantly walked to his side. Uri grabbed his hand and raised
it high into the air in a triumphant motion. “Are you ready to kick some demon
tail, my friend?”
Gabe glanced over his shoulder at the rattling cages and could
only feign a smile for a short moment. As he looked back to the crowd, he saw
Michael standing off to the side with an expressionless face, his arms crossed,
watching intensely as the scene unfolded. For a moment, he thought Michael may
step in and stop the side show antics. When Michael just continued to watch,
Gabe knew he was on his own.
“So everyone knows the rules …” Uri shouted. “Oh yeah, that’s
right, there are no rules! Gabe can showcase anything and everything he has
learned to stay alive!”
“I think you’re exaggerating a bit, don’t you?” Gabe mumbled under
his breath to Uri. He was sure Michael wouldn’t let him die in these tests. At
least, he thought he was sure. Gabe quickly looked at Michael again for some
reassurance. He still displayed no change in expression or stance.
“Don’t worry,” Uri continued. “We’ll all be safe. There’s a
protection spell on the arena so the demons won’t be able to escape. Just you
and them!” Uri patted Gabe on the back heavily. Then he turned and scurried out
of the arena. Uri’s words made Gabe even more anxious as he stumbled forward.
Gabe turned slowly, his hands feeling like two large boulders
hanging from his sides. He watched in horror as Uri and two other men pulled
the draping from the three cages.
Wendy Owens was raised in the small college town
of Oxford, Ohio. After attending Miami University, Wendy went on to a career in
the visual arts. After several years of creating and selling her own artwork,
she gave her first love, writing, a try.
Since 2011, she has published a young adult
paranormal series, The Guardians, which will contain five books total, as well
as a novella.
Wendy now happily spends her days writing—her
loving dachshund, Piper, curled up at her feet. When she's not writing, she can
be found spending time with her tech geek husband and their three amazing kids,
exploring the city she loves to call home: Cincinnati, OH.
I'm so excited to be part of this hop organized by some of my favorite people...the kind folks at Guilty Indulgence! I'm rather fond of the reviewers at Guilty Indulgence. You see, they saw fit to make my book The Selkie the winner of their Ultimate Indulgence Award last year, so I am still very grateful. Thanks to everyone at Guilty Indulgence for supporting a small press author and sharing the love.
There are lots of fabulous authors taking part in this hop and wonderful prizes, including the grand prize of a ton of cool swag. So make sure you comment on each blog you visit, and be sure to leave your email address.
What makes something an indulgence? Well, I always see it as something that's tasty, but a little bit bad for you. Ice cream, cheesecake, Nutella...these are some of my favorite indulgences.
However, one could stretch the idea and become really sinful. What about a sexy Alpha hero? One who clearly shows he's a little bit bad, but also oh, so good. Oh yes, isn't this one of our fave indulgences as well?
Well, I have one of these bad boys for you, and if you are really good, you might win him! I'd like to introduce you to Soren Snow, the bad boy hero from my bear shifter romance Predator's Serenade, Gemini Island Shifters book 2.
Soren is a polar bear shifter and professional percussionist with a penchant for models and teasing the female fans in his fanclub. The last thing our Soren wants to do is get mated, so he becomes understandably upset when fate kicks him in the ass.
Want a sneak peek?
There are three things that make bear shifter Soren Snow’s skin crawl: mothers, their children, and the great outdoors. Soren is a famed musician and playboy, and he would rather spend his days pressing the flesh with the women in his fan club than developing meaningful relationships. When his brother calls in a favor, forcing Soren to revisit the Ursa Fishing Lodge in Northern Ontario, he couldn’t be more displeased. However, he owes his brother big time.
Gioia Clementine would rather not meet Soren, her drummer son’s rock idol. But when tragedy strikes her home, it seems the only one the boy might respond to is Soren. Gioia begrudgingly agrees to let her son meet him, hoping the rock star won’t turn her tween into a musical misogynist.
When Gioia and Soren meet, the sexual chemistry threatens to set the Ontario woodland ablaze. Can these two opposites find a common ground? And can they manage to resolve their unwanted feelings, even when a mysterious stranger arrives at the lodge, threatening everything? Excerpt:
Gioia followed Soren's approach with a curious eye. She'd wondered if
the miracle kisser would beat a hasty retreat after witnessing her boy fall to
pieces, and yet here he was. He wore the same famished look he had right before
he'd ruined her for any other man's kiss. And she felt it too. The tingles
between her shoulder blade, the gelatin knees, and trembling lips that wanted
to gobble him up.
She couldn't. She didn't want to saddle him with such a wreck of a woman
He came right up to her, so close, as if making a mockery of the space that
sought to separate them. Weaving his fingers through her hair, he cradled her
skull and pulled her close. Tucking her head against his chest, he kissed the
top of her head, blazing a trail of hot reaction down her spine. He had new
clothes on and smelled fresh and clean. As she breathed him in, he rained soft
kisses all over her head.
She pulled away, suddenly terrified he'd think she was a travesty of a
mother. It's what anyone would think in his case. They'd wonder what Gioia had
done wrong to create a monster child. But as she attempted to remove herself
from his grasp, Soren fought her by holding her still. Again she tried jerking
away from his wall of a chest. He held her firm.
When she tried two more times, each time unsuccessfully, he looked at
her and shouted, "Dammit, woman, I am not letting you go, so you can stop
pulling away from me!"
Something in Gioia broke. She'd been carrying her sadness around for so
long, trying to be strong, and Soren was offering to be strong for her. For just
a moment, maybe she could surrender. God only knew how badly she wanted to give
herself to the bear man.
He grabbed her tighter, and his hands slid down to mold over her ass
cheeks. His warm breath was all over her face, and she took a dizzying dive
into the seas of his eyes. He ground her against him, and she was forced to
stand on tip toes.
"Gioia," he whispered.
She wound her arms about his tense neck, felt him tense further. Then …
a sigh somewhere in his big frame and a relaxation in his muscles. As if he
needed to have her wound about him. As if it soothed him as much as her.
As he kissed her, he picked her up, his hands under her bottom. Her
miniskirt rode up, and she spared a second to mentally curse her decision to
wear it. And then she didn't care.
Kissing her madly, Soren spirited her into the woods.
The Grand Prize is a Kindle Fire HD 7". Second Prize is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. To say nothing of so many amazing books. Make sure you leave your email on your comments, so a prize can find its way to you if you are chosen as a winner.
There's nothing better than launching into a sexy new read. What is it that you like best? Meeting a gorgeous hero? Identifying with the plucky heroine? Imagining yourself in all those steamy scenarios?
Personally, I cast a vote for all of these. What can I say? I'm greedy. ;) I love to live vicariously through my characters and relish an escape into a new world, inhabited by strange and beautiful people.
As my own prizes, I'm offering a copy of Night Owl Review Top Pick choice Predator's Kiss, book 1 of my Gemini Island Shifters series. In order to win a copy of this steamy shifter read, leave me a comment with what you like best about shifters, bears or otherwise.
Bear shifter Ryland Snow just wants peace. The peace and
quiet afforded him at his woodsy retreat, the Ursa Fishing Lodge. As owner of
the lodge, Ryland enjoys the tranquil life he’s created among his fellow shifters.
He lives to maintain a safe haven for them, away from meddlesome human eyes.
When his rock star brother arrives, bringing trouble in the
form of a possible hitman, Ryland is incensed. He’s been cleaning up Soren’s
messes as long as he can remember, and is tired of his brother’s lecherous
Things go from bad to worse when Lia Goodblood stumbles upon
Ryland and his lodge. Yes, the reclusive erotica author is easy on the eyes,
but the human woman is more trouble than she’s worth. To say nothing of her
bizarre fear of furry creatures.
Ryland determines to rid himself of her presence. But when
he learns she’s on the run from a crazed fan, Ryland’s protective bear
instincts flare. And the bear won’t be denied.
She was already reviving a few minutes later. Ryland let out
a sigh of relief.
Thank God. When he’d first seen the petite woman hurtling
through the trees, he’d worried someone was after her. But no one else had
barreled behind her. And yet she’d seemed so scared.
They hadn’t helped, presenting her with a couple of snarling
She moaned a little, and the soft sound warmed him, making
him hard again. Damn. He glanced around the room, remembered he didn’t exactly
tend to stash clothes in guest cabins, and raced for the bathroom. He grabbed a
couple of clean towels off the rack and tossed one to Soren. “Cover yourself.”
Soren grinned like a devil and motioned to his nude bottom
half. “I can conduct my flirting business much more efficiently this way.”
Ryland glared as he wrapped his lower half in the towel.
“Cover yourself or I’ll strangle you with it, lover boy.”
His brother placed the woman’s backpack on the floor and
threw the towel about his waist. “Such animosity is really not in keeping with
your sainthood, Brother Ryland.”
Ryland ignored him and turned back to the woman. He didn’t
know why it mattered so much she recover and feel comfortable in his presence,
but it did. Of course, as owner of the lodge, it made sense he didn’t want to
see anyone scared or hurt.
Yeah. That’s it.
His rationalization did nothing to quell the nervous tremors
in his gut, though. Or his excruciating hard-on.
Okay, she’s sorta
pretty and has a body made for sin. So what? Get over yourself.
Clearlyit had been
too long since he’d allowed himself to get lost in a woman’s body for more than
a quick fuck. And this woman’s body deserved slow, leisurely loving. Greedy
licks. Sensual tugs. Why, her breasts alone were so full and perfect, they just
begged one to suck. To say nothing of those rounded hips and soft, womanly ass.
Ryland ran a hand over his face, feeling overly hot. Jesus Christ. Stop thinking like a horny
teenager. You sound like Carter.
Besides, she was nothing like him. Human. And if time had
taught him anything, it was the pursuit of romance with a nonshifter was a
fool’s errand. She didn’t belong here on his resort, on his island. He needed
to revive her and get her out of there.
Desperate to relieve the sudden, raging desire shooting up
through his body, Ryland forced himself to look away from the woman. In doing
so, he caught a glimpse of his brother. Soren was sitting next to her, his gaze
contemplative, his eyes trained on her boobs. Ryland realized he didn’t like
the way baby brother was looking at her. “Hey.”
Soren looked up. “What?”
“What are you staring at?”
Without batting an eye, Soren turned back to their
unexpected guest. “Her. Can’t I stare?”
Ryland’s eyebrows shot up. “Staring at women has already
gotten you into trouble. Maybe you should find a new hobby.” He stifled the low
growl building in his throat. Now wasn’t the time for brawling, but he didn’t
appreciate the way his brother gawked. His cool eye, appraising, as if he’d
never seen anything like her before.
“You were checking her out too,” Soren replied.
“No, I wasn’t. I’m not interested in this … person,” Ryland
retorted. As he uttered the words, he bit his tongue hard by mistake, as if
confirming the words were a lie. “Damn,” he whispered, tasting blood.
“Do you think someone was chasing her?” Soren asked in a pensive
tone, picking up one of his drumsticks and stroking it as if it were a lover’s
“I don’t know.” Ryland sat on the other side of her small
body and looked her up and down as she lay under the covers. Despite his
mistrust of humans, he couldn’t help wondering who would frighten such a tiny,
delicate thing. Had someone tried to hurt her? The very idea made him want to
bash his head against the wall. Or better yet, bash any lowlife who dared to
No one touches her but
me, his heart declared.
As another stress headache shot through his brain, he
wondered at the ferocity and lunacy of the feeling.
In romance lit, we get to wax poetic about all sorts of interesting body parts. If we write erotic, even more so. To me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing romance is the moment when I get to describe the hero through the heroine's eyes for the first time. It's also probably one of my most enjoyable things to read. There's nothing like a sexy description to spark an image in one's mind.
Of course, one could go crazy creating descriptions to entice a reader. One could mention bulging muscles, knowing smiles and, ahem, other parts.
However, for me, I think the most exciting descriptions are about a man's eyes. Certainly this is something I try to bring to my writing. We all know the old "windows to the soul" adage, and it really is true. Amazing things can be expressed in a hooded glance, a quick series of blinks or a wistful gaze.
I recall so many readers asking me for Mack Kirk's story in my Orkney Selkies series. This flabbergasted me because my only description of Mack at the time was "a man with black hair and blacker eyes." Not really a detailed description, but it must have gotten some wheels turning. And I suppose the sexy cover got a few other gears in motion afterward!
With a few short words, so much can be conveyed. And when it comes to facial expression, I find I don't like to have a lot of fussy detail anyway. As a reader, my imagination will fill in the rest. I just need a couple of key words to kick start my imagination. Less is more, so they say.
Can you think of your favorite descriptions of a hero from romance lit? Did the eyes have it? Or was it something else that grabbed you?
I'm very happy to showcase Aoife Marie Sheridan today as she shares her new book Eden Forest with us. This is Book 1 of her Saskia Trilogy, and I'm very excited to hear more about it.
Synopsis: Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty one year old. With family, friends and a normal job. She also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a world parallel to earth.
When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have imagined the reality of the world she steps into, a world where magical abilities are in everyone's possession.
She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief. A guardian who captures her heart, and a darkness that wants to take it. On this journey Sarajane discovers her magical abilities and realizes they come with a price. Sarajane is truly tested, as her loved ones are put at risk. The question she must ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?