In the Author Spotlight: S.J. Frost on Vampire Prince (Giveaway)

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Vampire Prince cover

 

 In the Author Spotlight: SJ. Frost, Author of Vampire Prince

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Good morning all!  ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to welcome author S.J. Frost here today.  She is going to be talking about her latest book, Vampire Prince, and the inspiration behind it.  To celebrate the release, she will be giving away a copy of this eBook. To enter to win,  leave a comment and an email address or other way to get in touch with you in the body of the comment.  A winner will be picked 4/12.

Welcome, S.J.!

SJF:

Hello, everyone! I’m thrilled to be a guest here and my thanks goes out to Melanie for the invitation! I’m going to be chatting about my newest release, Vampire Prince, published by Ellora’s Cave, and how the story came about. I’ll also be offering a free ebook copy of it to one lucky winner. Good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway!Vampire Prince cover

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I’ve always enjoyed the vampire genre. There’s an allure to those immortal beings, who walk the line of being a monster or being human, that draws me in. Depending on the world an author or filmmaker has created for them, they can be fiendish and horrifying, or beautiful and seductive. Sometimes, they’re mix of all those elements.

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As some of you who are familiar with my work may know, Vampire Prince isn’t my first foray into paranormal erotic romance or vampires. That came about with Natural Instincts, Book 1 in my Instincts series, published by MLR Press. When I set out to create my own vampire world in the Instincts series, though it may sound strange, I wanted to take much of the paranormal elements out of it. I wanted to create a vampire world where vampirism had a natural and evolutionary explanation. My vampires in that series maintained a closeness to having a human existence, since essentially, they’re a sub-species of human with greater evolutionary adaptations.

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I loved the world I built in the Instincts series, but I still wanted to write more vampires. About a year ago, I began to see in my mind a beautiful young man trapped in a desperate situation. He was locked in a sparsely furnished room, his head down, unable to escape. A blood slave, forced to give his blood and body to vampires, but who still held strong to the dream of having his freedom again. That young man would turn out to be one of the main characters for Vampire Prince, Sebastian Beaumont.

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After I understood Sebastian and his situation, I knew it would take a strong hero to help him and that’s when the other main character stepped forward, the elegant and beautiful vampire prince, Valentin Wyndham.

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Valentin was an interesting character to me. A little more than three hundred-years old, because of his age, he’s earned the title of “prince” among vampire society and he’s still very much the noble gentlemen he’d always been. He has a strong sense of compassion and protectiveness toward Sebastian, but little patience for other vampires. Though the story had the potential to take a dark turn with Sebastian being a blood slave, I knew right away that nothing would be forced between Sebastian and Valentin. They were two characters who needed each other, but in different ways. Vampire Prince, from beginning to end, would be a love story.

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As the story began unfolding in my mind, I realized this was a vampire tale different from any I’d yet written. Really, the entire story was going to challenge me in a whole new way and I was very excited about that. I saw not only the opportunity to write a vampire story, but also a paranormal story all around. The vampires could have greater supernatural strengths. I could write a demon as a secondary character…a very cocky demon with a crocodile entity as a companion. I could bring in elements of magic and summoning. I could stretch my writing wings and tell a paranormal story with any and all kinds of supernatural elements.

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For me, that’s one of the reasons I love vampires stories and movies. While they all may share that common platform of being about those blood drinkers, the only limits to what can be done with them is what an author or filmmaker puts on them. The vampire theme can be reinvented and explored in endless ways, different supernatural elements can be brought in. With Vampire Prince, I kept the parameters open and ran where the characters were leading me. And those characters led me on a journey that as it was drawing to an end, even though I’d thought the story would be a single novel, I knew I would be returning to the world and the characters. I’d fallen in love with them and already wanted to work with them more and let the world grow further.

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Now that the book is available, I hope all who give it a read will enjoy the story of Sebastian and his vampire prince, Valentin, as much as I loved writing it.

Thanks, SJ, for stopping by and bringing a copy of Vampire Prince to giveaway.  I have the book details for Vampire Prince below.  Remember to enter to win a copy, just leave a comment and a way we can get in touch with you in the body of the comment.  By entering you are acknowledging that you are over the age of 18. Good luck and happy reading.

Author Bio:
S.J. Frost is a multi-published author of sweet and sexy gay erotic romance stories. Contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and historical, she likes to dabble in a little bit of everything, but her stories always contain love, passion and romance. She encourages readers to contact her, so do please feel welcome to send her an email or track her down on the Internet and say hi!

You can contact S.J. Frost at:

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Vampire Prince coverVampire Prince

ebook, 218 pages
Published March 7th 2014 by Ellora’s Cave
original title Vampire Prince
ISBN 1419948601 (ISBN13: 9781419948602)
edition language English
Ellora’ Cave Vampire Prince link
characters:Sebastian Beaumont, Valentin Wyndham
setting: Savannah, Georgia (United State

Blurb:

For three years, Sebastian has lived as a blood slave, giving his blood and body to vampires. He’s a prisoner, owned by the blood house he serves. Sebastian dreams of freedom, of feeling the sun and wind on his face once again.

Valentin has earned the title of vampire prince. But status and age haven’t brought him love. When his blood craving grows too demanding to be ignored, he goes to the blood house and finds himself entranced by the spirited Sebastian.

Their passion is strong, their connection to each other undeniable. Sebastian wants to be Valentin’s, and Valentin wants to keep Sebastian—forever. The danger of giving the blood slave his freedom is high and the price might be both their lives.

Review: Close Quarter by Anna Zabo

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Close Quarter coverSculptor Rhys Matherton’s life is a disaster.  His beloved mother has died, leaving him her entire fortune and a shocking bit of information.  His father, the one who rejected him because of his homosexuality, isn’t his father after all.  So grieving, inundated with people asking for money and favors, Rhys flees the States and takes a cruise, hoping the isolation will give him time to recover and consider what he is going to do next.   But on board Rhys’ life changes forever when he spills a drink on a handsome stranger.  An apology turns into a night of hot sex and then something more.  This stranger makes Rhys feel alive.  It’s as if he has been waiting to this man to come into his life to complete him.

Silas Quint has boarded this ocean liner for a mission, to hunt down and destroy the Soulless, vampires traveling the Atlantic to feed on the souls of the passengers.  Silas doesn’t need any distractions but he feels a connection to Rhys that won’t be denied.  After a night of incredible sex, Silas explains he’s a forest fae, something Rhys has a hard time believing until Silas proves it.  But Rhys too has a surprise for Silas and for himself as well.  One that will have impact on Silas’ mission and change both of their lives forever, if only they can survive this voyages and the vampires hunting them both.

Close Quarter is the first book by Anna Zabo and what a book it is!  I couldn’t put this one down from the moment I started reading it, I was totally absorbed by Zabo’s story. Her characters, her plot and her world building, all  marvelous.   Every aspect of this story captured and held my attention from beginning to end,, and left me wanting so much more.

So many elements are in play here.  First there is her world building.  It’s terrific while still leaving plenty of room for enlargement and minutiae in the future books to come.  We get just enough to make sense of the plot and events unfolding in the story which manages to combine the fae, angels, and vampires into one cohesive plot.  I loved how Anna Zabo used familiar aspects of fae mythology, like the summer and winter courts, but then added her own layers to it.  She did the same with the vampire lore as well.

Zabo’s vampires are not the benign creatures of other authors.  Instead these vampires harken back to old Slovakian folklore , the Upyr. These are terrifying creatures, ripping hunks of flesh from their victims even as they devour their souls, truly dark beings.  Allied against the dark are the Messengers and their servant, Silas Quint.  That is a story I won’t spoil for you here but it is large in scope, equal to the aspect of evil Zabo has created for Close Quarter.

Silas and Rhys are a wonderful combination, equal parts magic, snark, and yes, love.  Although the entire book takes place within a few days, the bond created between Silas and Rhys is absolutely believable as are their feelings towards each other.  That I could buy into this  case of instant love floored me and is due directly to the vivid descriptions by Zabo of their interactions and the fast paced events that happen aboard the ship.  Silas and Rhys both question their reactions to each other and the emotional connection that snaps into place almost immediately.  Again, the explanations are startling, even to the characters themselves and I loved the mythology the author has created to explain this connection and Rhys’ past.  It works, its captivating, and it leaves you needing more of that background information.

In fact, Anna Zabo tosses in so many wonderful elements into the mixture that some are almost overlooked as the characters scrambles to stay alive and together.  I say almost because as you read you will find yourself going back, returning to prior passages to look for additional clues or pertinent facts that you might have missed when certain elements are revealed in the story.  One of those ‘how did I not see that coming” sort of moments.   Because once one of these little revelations occur, then you will immediately want more information and it won’t be forthcoming, at least not in this book.

I contacted the author about any future stories in this universe and was delighted to hear that Zabo has two more books with Rhys and Silas sketched out, as well as one with Vasil Kutsera, an important secondary character here.  This is a universe that cries our for its stories to be heard and Silas and Rhys make a wonderful start.   I loved Close Quarter and think you will too.  Consider this book highly recommended.

Cover art by April Martinez features some gorgeous models and that ship is a lovely addition.

Book Details:

ebook, 218 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Loose Id, LLC

Review: Nights In Canaan by Kendall McKenna

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Rating: 5 stars

Nights in Canaan coverEternal redemption, eternal damnation. Two warriors, one good and one evil caught in an timeless loop, forever being reborn, fated to love and then die to keep the balance of the universe intact.  Each time, the ancient vampire pleads with his warrior of light love to let the vampire turn him so they can be together forever and each time the warrior hesitates longer before making the killing blow.  Is this the reincarnation where the warrior for good finally gives in to his hearts desire or will the pattern continue as love is sacrificed for the greater good?

Kendall McKenna continues to astonish me with her powerful stories.  Her writing is precise, compelling, and memorable.  Nights in Canaan is just another terrific example of her ability as an author to bring her vision to life, no matter the genre.

I will say that this story is not for everyone.  If you are someone that needs a HEA or a HFN, Nights in Canaan will not meet either requirement.  But if a haunting story of eternal love is one that you seek, than this is a story for you.

Nights in Canaan opens in the City of Gina, Egyptian ruled Land of Canaan, 3rd Year of Pharaoh Akhenaton (1350 bce).  Both the ancient vampire and his other half, the winged warrior have risen to do battle with each other again.  The warrior for good is fated to kill his lover, the vampire but not before they are given a short time in which to love each other, indulging in blood drinking and sex.  Then memory and duty take over and events repeat themselves.  As time moves forward we watch this happen until we reach the year 2004, City of Fallujah, Iraq. We meet Marine Sgt. Jayden Lindberg on patrol with other members of his unit.  It’s nighttime and Jayden watches in disbelief as one of his men is attacked by a vampire and drained before his eyes.  Somehow he knows that his weaponry is worthless against this enemy, and Jayden does nothing as his man dies.  McKenna’s Marine characters are wonders of realism, and Jayden’s confusion and inner turmoil is shattering.  He cannot understand his behavior in face of his soldier’s death and the easy manner in which he lied about his role.  McKenna captures the dangers inherent of a patrol in Iraq and then ups the terror as the men face not just insurgents but a vampire intent on building his own army.

As the events move towards the inevitable conclusion, memories starts to resurface, and we watch as the viewpoint changes slowly from that of a human to that of an immortal.  Just masterful, using a change in word choice here and there to denote someone removing themselves from a intimate connection that used to be the norm to an elevated dispassionate stance.

At one point in the story, the warrior’s memory awakes and he wonders of his ancient vampire lover:

” Did he experience excruciating pain when his fangs first lengthened and his body began to crave human blood?”

And I wonder as well, wishing for the vampire’s pov as much as the warrior’s.  Both characters are weary of their continued battle, full of pain at the inevitability of their roles and yet their love is as potent as ever.  The story ends as it should, the only way it can.   At 65 pages, it is short in length but will stay long in your memory.

Cover Art by Deana Jamroz is nice but not nearly as good as the story within.