April 2, 2004 was the earliest date I have recorded for the inception of Blood Family. Also known as Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key, the novel was going to be a Young Adult horror adventure which would by my take on vampires and what vampires might be. And when I’d decided that, I knew I was in for an interesting journey, but had no idea where it would take me…
Today I am featuring author Dorothy Dreyer! Her Young Adult fantasy novel, My Sister’s Reaper, is out now – sure to be a big hit!
Dorothy Dreyer is a paranormal young adult fiction enthusiast who specializes in urban fantasy.
Her young adult urban fantasy MY SISTER’S REAPER debuts June 18, 2013 from Month9Books. The sequel releases May 2014.
Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves reading, writing, movies, chocolate, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two teens.
Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.
When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong.
Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what.
Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, or let Mara die … this time for good.
Available NOW at Barnes & Noble!
My blog tour for Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key has come to an end, but it goes out with a bang! Today I am very happy and honoured to be featured on OwenSage.com – the website of YA author, Roy Huff! Roy has written a spectacular interdimensional tale – Everville.
About the book:
Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between.
With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.
About the author:
Roy Huff is the author of Amazon’s #1 international bestselling epic fantasy novel, Everville: The First Pillar. This is the first installment in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old. He is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience.
Roy Huff’s background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.
Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up about my next Young Adult paranormal urban fantasy, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls. This will be released in a few months, and tells the story of fifteen-year-old British foster kid, Solomon, and the gypsy curse that transforms him into one of the walking dead. There is a cure, but finding it means the most perilous of journeys…
My inspiration for this tale came from not only my years in Ireland, but also from living in England, which is a very mystical place in itself. In researching Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls, I personally contacted Dr Bob Curran, an author of many books on Irish folklore, often interviewed on Coast to Coast AM radio and countless others programs. His gracious and highly detailed input has given this book the authenticity I required, and therefore I have given him a special acknowledgment. Have a look at my interview with him here on Written Worlds!
Solomon Grimm is a pretty average teen. He goes to school. He hangs out with friends. He plays guitar in a band. There’s a lot to look forward to—new friends, playing gigs around the country, and hopefully a special girl to become part of his life.
All that is about to change.
While on Easter vacation in Ireland, Solomon falls foul of a gypsy woman. He is cursed and joins the marbh bheo—the living dead. Never to breathe, or grow, or love, and now able to see every supernatural being once invisible to him, his fate is to wander the fog-shrouded hills of Shanvarra for eternity… never to return home.
Solomon tracks down the woman who cursed him. She makes a deal with him. If he will bring her abducted daughter, Tara Danan, back to her, she will reverse the spell and restore Solomon to his old self. Solomon now has a terrifying task ahead of him. For Tara has been taken to the Underworld, a place reachable only through the forbidden Well of Souls. Along with his new friend, the incurably curious Mungo, Solomon must brave the darkening depths of this hidden world, where the slavering, flesh-eating Savage Dead search endlessly for a way to the surface. If Solomon’s bravery—as well as a whole host of undead powers—holds out, he might just find Tara Danan before becoming trapped in the Underworld forever…
As with Blood Family, I have asked artist David Rabbitte to do the cover art for me. Here is a sketch of the cover, with possible fonts – subject to change. The final artwork has actually been finished; you may just find it on his website!
Solomon Grimm Cover Sketch by David Rabbitte.
Read the first 8 chapers on Wattpad!
Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key is on Ultimate YA!
The feature starts tomorrow and will continue throughout the month with 1-2 posts each week. Learn all about the story of half-vampire Daniel Dark and his perilous quest to confront his malevolent vampire father.
From the site:
Ultimate YA is an organization that promotes young adult literature (YA lit) and reading. We feature one YA lit author per month. Each feature includes a short bio of the author, as well as fun facts and an interview. If you would like to be featured, please send an email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to our features, we post quotes and memes of the week that relate to books, writing, and/or reading on Tuesdays and Thursdays, respectively. We also post anything else that we find interesting regarding reading and writing.
I am thrilled to announce that my Young Adult urban fantasy novel, Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key is now available on Amazon US and Amazon UK! Thank you to all the fantastic people who have supported me and this work, and those who helped give this book a professional shine – Ali Cross of Novel Ninjutsu, Anne Victory of Victory Editing, David Rabbitte for his amazing cover art, and Tatania Vila for her superb cover fonts.
Look out for Blood Family on Ultimate YA – where it will be featuring on April 1st (no fooling’!).
The book will also be the ‘featured read’ on I Love Vampire Novels great site.
And that’s not all, I will be appearing on many sites and blogs over the coming weeks. Find out about more about Daniel Dark’s perilous journey, and what inspired my take on vampire lore.
I will be giving everyone heads-up when each and every one of these features has gone live.
A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey…
Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus. As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold. Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.
Urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond.
The countdown to all-hell-breaks-loose has begun. Daniel is still an average teen; indolent, rebellious, taking a back seat from life. He has friends, like Pearce, who know him only as the lax-limbed son of the local pastor. Daniel knows something is going on with his father. He will soon find out what is brewing within himself.
“I’m telling you, Pearce. It was weird.”
Daniel lay on his bed with his dented-but-functioning cellular phone sandwiched between his ear and a propped pillow. The TV on the dresser opposite was flickering out a rerun of The Munsters with the sound turned down.
“God,” Pearce reacted, mouth stuffed full of takeaway hamburger. “Walking in on a bunch of priests. I’d freak. But I guess you’re used to that.”
“I’m not. Dad’s never had a preacher party like that before, not in this house. And get this: they’ll be having it here every month from now on.”
“With the creepy old guy?”
“I dunno,” Dan said after a shudder, hand recalling the elder pastor’s grip. “Probably. Shit, I hope not.”
“So what do they talk about?”
“Sermons and shit.”
“Yeah, God stuff…”
“Not just that. I overheard my Dad a few weeks back. He wants to open a new church or something. Or a new branch of the church. I think that’s what they’re organizing. As if I don’t have enough grief. So, Pearcey, you going out later?”
“No, not tonight. It’s too late now. Dad would have my nuts for fuzzy dice. Tomorrow night. You know, just to hang out somewhere. A few cans, a few joints.”
“Cool. You bringing Daelin?”
“I’d sure like to,” Daniel said, and he meant it. He nostrilled out a long sigh. “But…Daelin’s been acting kind of weird lately. I don’t know where I stand with her at the moment.”
“Women. I can’t make sense of them, either, man. But hey, Danno, at least you’ve got one.” Daniel could hear his friend choke down another chunk of hamburger. The burgermeister is what they called him, and not because of his Germanic ancestry. Daniel had always said that Pearce would K.O. his heart before he was twenty-one if didn’t reign in his appetite for greasy foods. “So, what you doing now?”
“Kicking back, watching Munsters.”
“Shit, dude, Munsters again? You live for that old stuff. Even when we were kids you used to think you were that fanged little brat, Eddie.”
“Ya huh! Every Halloween you were Eddie Munster. He was your idol. It’s like you identified with him or something.”
“Whatever. Okay—my battery’s gonna kick. Catch you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, catch you then.”
Continuing the preview, we meet Daniel’s father, Pastor Nathan Dark. Relationship between father and son is strained to say the least. But Daniel has no idea just how intense this conflict will go…
The living room was full of priests.
Okay, ministers, really, pastors – of the Baptist variety like his father. They didn’t wear white collars like their Catholic counterparts, though Daniel knew they were pastors all the same. The conservative dress sense and lame haircuts were dead giveaways.
His father, the only one who wore glasses, threw his son a fake smile.
Yeah, right. That was sincere. He might as well have said ‘there he is – the son who’s a constant embarrassment to me!’
Pastor Nathan Dark stood and began his introductions. “I’m sure some of you know my son. I think you were the last to see him, weren’t you, Bill?”
Pastor ‘Bill’ set down his coffee mug and stood, shaking Daniel’s hand as though cracking a whip. “Of course! He was only about fifteen then. Changed a bit, haven’t you, Danny?”
Daniel forced a weak smile. In other words, I should clean up my act and dress like a minister’s son, right? Jesus Christ.
“We’ll be having our monthly meeting here from now on,” Dad informed him. “So…”
“Yeah, I got it.”
Nathan was never a lover of his son’s dress sense, unruly hair, slouch, or general attitude. Whenever he saw his son coming through the door he was tempted to say ‘you look like something the cat dragged in’, had it not been such a cliché. The boy’s shirts were oversized, dark, and moody. And as for his hair – the chestnut-brown tresses that seemed to form a permanent curtain over his nose had caused Nathan to forget the color of his son’s eyes.
Nathan had to admit to himself that most of the pastors he knew had rebellious sons – and daughters – who tried to be everything their parent wasn’t. Perhaps it was just a natural part of growing up in a clerical family, he mused. Don’t deceive yourself, Nathan, the pastor thought. It’s worse than that. Much worse.
The eldest of the reverends had to be at least seventy. He’d waited until the other men had stood and shaken the boy’s hand before finally doing likewise. Unlike them, he didn’t smile. Instead, he wore a knowing gaze that unnerved Daniel. The snowy-haired pastor looked directly into the teenager’s eyes, unblinking.
“I’ve been a pastor for a lot longer than the rest of these men,” he began. “And I know what’s what…and who’s who.”
Daniel didn’t know what to say. He didn’t like this. His palm was sweating, and not just because the elderly pastor was squeezing it.
Finally the old man released his grip and sat back down, picking up his tablet of lined yellow paper and looking over his meeting notes as though he hadn’t seen Daniel at all.
We now hit Chapter 2, and meet Daniel’s girlfriend, Daelin. She knows something strange is going on, that something is about to change. And things certainly will – the moment Daniel returns home.
“Daniel!” Daelin protested. “Are you kissing my neck or trying to suck it dry?”
“Jeez, sorry. I thought you liked it.”
Daniel Dark had been enjoying the time-honored tradition of ‘parking’ with his girlfriend, Daelin. He had taken her out for an evening drive in his beloved 1969 Ford Mustang fastback – gun-metal gray, fitted with Cooper Cobra G/Ts and, as Daelin had so often pointed out, a contender for pole position as the true love of his life – and had found an out-of-the-way clearing by the local reddening woodlands. This was one of the most stunning of the year’s autumnal forests in this part of New England. There, away from the eyes of parents (or anyone else) they began their teenage rituals. Daniel, like the time before, found that licking and sucking at the skin of her neck proved to be of so much enjoyment to him that he almost forgot that his girlfriend had a face.
“God, Daniel,” she rebuffed, not enjoying herself as much as she’d been anticipating. “What’s with you lately? I mean, this month.” They had been going out for nearly two years. It was only recently that she had noted a change in her boyfriend’s behavior.
“Yeah. You’re just so…ravenous.”
He laughed. “And that’s a bad thing?”
“What happened to kissing, huh? We used to kiss. Now it’s all this lips-all-over-my-neck stuff.” Extracting her mobile phone from her jeans pocket, she checked for messages, a clear sign to Daniel that she wanted him to take her home. “I guess it’s just one of those weird boy things. You obviously enjoy it.”
Shoving his fingers back through his mass of dark brown hair, Daniel slumped in his bucket seat and folded his arms. “Yeah, and you didn’t.”
She sighed, trying to find the right words. “It’s like…you don’t see me anymore.”
He took a joint that he then remembered having put behind his ear and stuck it in the corner of his mouth. “Hey, I see you. I love seeing you.” Was this the right thing to say? What the hell is she expecting me to say? Whatever I say, it’ll be wrong.
As always, Daniel said the first thing that came in to his head.
“Want some ace?”
She slapped the proffered joint from his hand. “You know I don’t like that stuff, Daniel. And I don’t think you really like it, either.”
True enough. As usual she was able to read him like a book. He sucked on the occasional joint because it made him look cool, especially when he was in his Mustang. He also did it to piss off his father, Pastor Nathan Dark, who had never actually caught him, though had often smelt the lingering pot odors coming from his son’s room. The stuff made him lethargic and indifferent to just about everything. From the ages of thirteen to seventeen he had been generally so anyway, even without the substance usage. Nothing in his life excited or challenged him. When school had ended the previous year, both parents bombarded him with prospectuses for all the best State colleges. Emerson College, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, and – just kill me – Boston Baptist College. Daniel wasn’t interested. He wanted to take cars apart and get paid for it. Getting a minimum-waged job at a local garage, he became the first grease monkey in the Dark family, much to the mortification of his father. The immaculate Baptist minister and his oil-slick of a son. At least, he consoled himself, Mom seemed to be on his side. She was pleased that he’d found a job he enjoyed. Thank fuck for small mercies.
And then there was Daelin. He’d known her all his life. The one-time tomboy in braids had blossomed. Now, at seventeen, she was slim and ever so slightly taller than Daniel, with shoulder-length honey-blonde hair that shone like silk in the sun. Up until the age of fifteen, a platoon’s worth of teenage boys would ask her out each month. But it was Daniel she had chosen. He couldn’t even remember their first date. They just sort of fell into a relationship, as though it was meant to be. The bank she worked in was right down the street from the garage, and so every day they had lunch together. Often she would bring sandwiches or baguettes she’d made herself. On sunny days they sat on the grass in the town’s small central park. It didn’t matter one bit that this immaculately dressed career girl was shoulder-to-shoulder on a picnic blanket with a boy whose face, hands, and coveralls were smeared with car oil. She accepted him for who he was, and this was who he was. She liked to dampen a napkin with her tongue and dab at the black smudges of grease on Daniel’s forehead and chin. And he liked the little smile on her face as she did it.
Yes, he had Daelin. He had a job that paid an okay wage. He had a secure if often frustrating home life. But something was missing. He just didn’t know what.
One thing he knew was that he loved and cared for Daelin, even if she sometimes didn’t see it.
He drove her home as dusk began to fall over the quiet little suburb. Shifting light patterns from living room windows told the world that TVs were on and couches were full. Cats hurried across the streets in pursuit of their own nocturnal activities. His own house – a modest ranch-style house built in the 1970s – was not all that different from the other houses on Chacato Street, except for the front yard collection of six tiny garden gnome statues so beloved by his mother, and so utterly despised by his father.
Garaging his Mustang, Daniel made his way to the front door.
He wasn’t prepared for what he walked in on.
Yesterday I presented for you the Prelude (or ‘Chapter 0’) to Blood Family. Today, Chapter 1. This is a short chapter, but introduces you to our teenage protagonist, Daniel – in those lazy, indulgence-filled days before his life changes forever…
The clock next to the bed glowed 4:12 a.m. All was silent, save for the crickets outside that rasped at the night. Swinging his legs out, Daniel Dark noticed his sheet screwed up on the floor like a piece of unwanted writing paper.
His hair and body were hot and slicked with sweat. Heart was pounding. There was a residual feeling of exhilaration. It was like that after-sex feeling, though without the inner glow of satisfaction.
Reaching through the window, he grabbed the beer can he’d secreted out on the ledge and took a gulp. Daniel had been chugging beer since he was fifteen, unbeknownst to his parents. What they don’t know won’t hurt me, as he so often told himself. Sitting on the pile of car mechanic books he liked to have at his bedside, Daniel looked out in to the streetlight-frosted hedge that separated his house from the McGuigan’s next door. The cool air felt good on his face.
Rolling the night-chilled beer can across his forehead, he thought about the dream. Part of it– the terrifying rituals that his father had made him endure every six months for the first nine years of his life – had been true. But the rest…
Crazy dream shit. No point thinking about it. It was the middle of the night. His head hurt. All he wanted now was to get back to sleep. Later on in the day, he was going to have a rendezvous of the sexual kind and wanted to have as much energy as possible.
Look out for Chapter 2 – posted tomorrow!