First I’d like to thank the ever amazing Emily Guido for hosting us on our Children of Shadows book tour.
Stick around after the interview to see how you can enter for a chance at an exclusive Amaranthine t-shirt and am Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card.
My name is Joleene Naylor, though you can call me Jo.
As you’ve guessed, I’m the author of the Amaranthine Vampire Series.
Emily and I thought it would be fun to interview one of the characters from the new book, Children of Shadows, and I let Facebook decide who the poor victim – I mean, the poor interviewee would be.
SassySue answered first and chose Verchiel, the redheaded thorn in Jorick’s side.
A fellow Executioner, Verchiel is always living dangerously, from acting a little too friendly with Jorick’s human lover Katelina, to always sticking his nose into everyone’s business.
Truth be told, I think he likes living on the edge.
Verchiel: There’s no fun without some risk
Jo: I’m not surprised you said that. But let’s move on. I actually have some questions for you from readers.
V: Readers? Oh, you mean those hot chicks, with the excellent, excellent taste in literature and men, who read the series so they can follow my twisty-turny story?
J: I hate to break this to you, but we have male readers, too, and you’re not the hero. Jorick is. You’re just a side character who won’t shut up.
V: That’s because I *should* be the hero. Can’t you picture it? Tales of Verchiel. Or better yet, The Vampire Stud and his Haram.
J: Not happening, slappy. Now let’s get on with this. Readers want to know, why do you act so annoying?
V: Annoying? Annoying? Pfft. I am not annoying. I’m fun. I’m entertaining. I’m amusing. But never annoying. Sure, sometimes grumpy boots Jorick and gloomy Gus Oren get annoyed, but they have no sense of humor.
J: In other words you have no common sense. Good answer. Next question, what is it you really want?
V: That’s pretty broad. Want in regards to what? What do I really want in a video game? In a life partner? In a pet?
J: I think she means in general. You know, like what do you want out of life?
V: Oh, that’s easy. I want to be entertained.
J: That’s all you got?
V: What? Did you expect wisdom? I thought you wanted the truth here?
J: Yeah, yeah, moving on. Which of the Executioners would you say you’re the closest to?
V: I wouldn’t mind getting closer to a couple of them, if you get my meaning *waggles brows* but I’m going to guess she means on a more platonic level. Jamie’s the most likeable, I guess, though he kind of reminds me of Jorick sometimes. Truthfully the Executioners are an unfriendly, gloomy, over serious bunch. I like hanging out with the guards better.
J: Zuri seems okay.
V: Zuri’s all right. But he cheats at arm wrestling. And he and Beldren are kind of best buddies for some reason.
J: Moving on. What is your idea of the perfect date?
V: I’m easy to please, sweetheart. Anything that ends with a little nibble in the dark is fine with me.
J: Really? Are you trying to be a pig?
V: What? You asked. Okay, fine. Seriously I don’t know. Something fun. None of that boring candlelight dinners and uptight terrified dressy-up crap they show on TV. Bungee jumping could be fun. Hiding out in a graveyard scaring the local teens is another possibility.
J: You mean junior high dates?
V: Not sure what Junior High is, but I just mean something fun. If you can’t have fun with the girl – or guy – you’re dating, then why do it? Why go out to some boring thing you don’t really like? Just for the trip to the bedroom at the end? If that’s all you’re in it for, then why bother? I can get that somewhere else without all the fuss. Heck, there’s this legion of chicks at The Guild who are dying to bag an Executioner…
J: okay, okay. We get it. Moving on. What do you think of cats?
V: Well that’s an odd question. I think cats are fuzzy. And sharp. They’re like a yin-yang that purrs.
J: I see it. The next one’s even odder. Have you ever eaten a cat?
V: Not that I know of. I mean, I don’t remember anything from before I was turned, so I can’t guarantee it, but since I’ve been a vampire, no, I have not fed on cats. They’re sharp, remember? Besides, they taste like tuna.
J: If you haven’t fed on one how do you know that?
V: Just a hunch. Moving on.
J: If you ever leave the Executioners, where would you like to live?
V: Somewhere tropical, I think. Beaches, pristine coves, palm trees. That place we took our island vacation at in the beginning of Children of Shadows seemed like a good place. I really liked it there. And it had a hot tub.
J: Two more questions, and I saved the hardest for last. Number one, do you have any fledglings?
V: What an entertaining question! Do you see any?
J: That’s not what she asked.
V: Next question!
J: Fine. But only because this is running long. What is your deep dark secret?
V: It’s interesting that someone assumes I have a deep dark secret. Do I seem like the deep dark secret type?
J: Everyone has a deep dark secret.
V: Then what’s yours?
J: Like I’d tell you.
V: Come on. I’m your character. In some weird way I’m a part of your psyche. Your creation. If you can’t share with me, who can you share with?
J: I’m not the one being interviewed here. You are. Now answer the question.
V: You’d have to take me to dinner first. A man has to have some principles before he just lays it all out there. I’m a cheap date. Just a couple glasses of blood and I’ll start talking.
J: Oh forget it! A special thanks to everyone who sent me a questions, and to Emily for putting up with us. Now, please enjoy an excerpt from Children of Shadows
Excerpt from Children of Shadows
The girl looked frightened and drew back, as if afraid of an immediate mental assault. Jorick made a dismissive gesture. “Her memories of him are foggy, no doubt from before she was turned. I only picked him out because of his ridiculous hair. The rest is more feeling than concrete.” He crossed his arms over his chest and surveyed her. “For what it’s worth, I believe she loves him.”
Ume’s head snapped up and her eyes burned with anger. “You should not speak about what you do not know, dream stealer.”
“He’s more than that, sweetie,” Micah said from the bed. “He’s the Goddamn Hand of Death.” The laughter that followed was coarse and earned him angry looks.
Ume’s face fell rigid and Jorick stepped back. “She doesn’t want to talk, and frankly I couldn’t care less about the idiot’s past relationships. What I want to know about are the Children of Shadows. You’re not a part of them?”
“No,” Ume said coldly.
“Were the others?”
Jorick’s calculated gaze said he was sifting through her thoughts. Ume winced and cringed then turned her face away and stared defiantly at the door. He nodded and said slowly, “I see.” He turned to Katelina. “Whether it’s the Children of Shadows or not, someone was at the marina before them. Someone killed the harbor master and the other people. I believe the first four we encountered were part of this group. She has memories of herself and others, part of the Black Vigil as Wolfe called them, chasing the perpetrators away. She and her partner circled back to check that the marina was clear. Obviously they’d missed a few, but we took care of them. The women arrived, found us, and assumed we were also part of the Children.” Jorick squinted at the girl and then said quietly, “There’s someone in her mind, one of the so-called children, who looks a lot like Cyprus.”
The name conjured burning fury. He was an Executioner sent with them to Munich by The Guild. It turned out he had an unhappy history with Sadihra and Wolfe. He was in love with the Scharfrichterin, and, in the Raven Queen’s temple, when he’d believed her dead, he’d betrayed them and joined Malick.
Jorick added, “I still can’t find anything in her mind associated with the name Malick.” He studied Ume a moment, then turned to Katelina. “We’re done for now. Come, little one.”
She hesitated, “How do you know Verchiel—or Aki, or whatever you called him?”
Ume glared defiantly and said, “Ask him.”
“Ha!” Micah spat out his toothpick. “Like you’ll get anything useful from that son of a bitch. Hey, Lunch, tell pipsqueak to bring me a new shirt. Unless you like the view.” He flexed his muscles and chortled.
Katelina’s answer was an eye roll as she followed Jorick out of the room.
Verchiel was still perched on the kitchenette countertop, his chin in his hands. Though Jorick walked past him without a word, Katelina stopped. “You’re sure you don’t know her?”
The redhead shrugged. “I don’t think so.”
“She called you Aki. Does that ring a bell?”
“I might’ve run into her after Kateesha left but before I landed in the U.S.”
“When was that?”
“Oh, anywhere from 1710 to 1920 or so.” Katelina gaped and he grinned and held out his hands in a gesture of helplessness. “You can’t expect me to remember everyone I met in those two hundred years.”
She wasn’t sure why, but she felt snippy. “Not even some poor idiotic girl who’s in love with you.”
Verchiel’s hands dropped slowly. “Says who?”
“Jorick.” She leaned close and dropped her voice to a threatening whisper. “I suggest you go in there and get your shit straightened out, Casanova.”
He blinked in surprise and muttered something about “guard duty”.
With a look of disgust, she shot off the word, “Coward,” and then stormed back to her seat.
Bio of Author Joleene Naylor
Joleene Naylor is the author of Amaranthine, a paranormal series where vampires live in the shadows and don’t sparkle. She grew up in southwest Iowa surrounded by soybeans, corn and very little entertainment – so she made her own. She has been writing and drawing since she was a small child, with a particular leaning towards fantasy, horror and paranormal. It is this love of all that goes bump in the night that led her to write the Amaranthine series.
In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer and photographer. Joleene maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar Missouri with their miniature zoo. However, unless she starts buying tickets she won’t win anything.
What is the AMARANTHINE SERIES all about?
The sixth installment of the Amaranthine series pulsates with the dark blood of vampire lore.
The Children of Shadows, a vampire cult not seen for hundreds of years, resurfaces to wage war on the vampire guilds. Led by a familiar face, the cult wreaks havoc while Katelina and Jorick are trapped in Munich. Ume, a mysterious vampiress, claims to know Verchiel and offers the help of her secret organization. But can they trust her?
As mysteries are solved, new ones appear. Why have the Children of Shadowsreturned, and is it really a former ally that leads them, or a look-alike?
Legends rise and secrets are revealed in a world where vampires walk, drenched in blood and shadows.
When young widow Sarelle McGarran finds the vampire Danial Racklan unconscious and hurt in her woods, intuitive concern quickly becomes passionate love.
Together Danial and Sar work to overcome their own past heartbreaks, their vastly different lifestyles, and Danial’s relentless enemies. Yet Danial needs more; an Oath of forever. But can Sar give Danial his greatest desire?
Excerpt of Promise Me:
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. But I want to be clear that I don’t expect you to give me money because we…because we’re—”
“Intimate?” he supplied with a leer. “Lovers?”
I blushed, glad my back was to him. “Yes,” I said curtly.
“It’s my feelings for you that make me offer. I understand you’re independent and used to taking care of yourself. But I want you to have an easier time of it than you had trying to go it alone. I want to take care of you. It’s your right, as befitting your station.”
“As my lover.” He nibbled the back of my neck, his hands sliding down my arms. “That is, if you still want to be.”
Did I ever. God, his lips felt good. I could feel little pricks where his fangs brushed against me… Focus! “What about the shirt?”
Danial paused what he was doing. “What about it?”
“Did you take some of my life force? Did you deliberately try to seduce me with a spell to get me to feed you?”
He didn’t reply. I shifted back from the fire and made to get up, but he pulled me off balance and I went down, falling into his waiting arms. I struggled in vain as he rolled me over on the carpet and straddled me, holding both my arms over my head with one hand, while the other caressed my cheek. I fumed as I looked at him above me, his upper half silhouetted by the fire. His eyes sparkled, his face in shadow.
“Now, Sarelle,” he purred, “why would I need to seduce you to get you to feed me?” He stretched down against me. I felt my body betray my anger as my breasts hardened and my breaths came faster.
“You gave me your blood when I was a stranger, willingly.” He leaned in closer as if to kiss me, but remained just out of reach. His dark eyes were locked on mine, filled with desire and familiar arrogance. He bent down to kiss my throat. “You gave yourself to me a night later, with no hesitation.”
His lips moved to the side of my throat. He ran a fang down my neck. I writhed, both in desire and a touch of fear.
“That was a dream. I knew it—”
“You knew nothing of the sort,” he said, his breath warm against my neck. He drew back and used his free hand to start unbuttoning my nightshirt.
“Stop,” I said, my breath tearing out of me.
“Stop what?” he said teasingly. “You want me, just like you have from the first moment you saw me. I can feel your body beneath mine, aching for me. Just as I’m aching for you.” He continued unbuttoning my top.
“Stop screwing around! I need to know if you—”
“It was your fantasy. A predictable one,” he said, his hand on the next to last button. He paused to run that hand between my breasts, up to clasp my throat. “But I was never in control of you. I couldn’t feed from you—not that I didn’t try. You seemed so willing to let me. But I couldn’t draw any energy from you and I awoke hungry, almost ravenous.”
“Terian was right—”
His hand tightened on my throat. “Why are you so determined to be the victim? Nothing happened that you didn’t choose to happen.” He gave me a half smile, his eyes growing darker. He brought his hand back to my nightshirt and undid the last button. He pushed my shirt to each side, baring my breasts and my lower body as he gave me a slow savoring look. That nimble hand slid up to grip my neck loosely. I knew he could feel how fast my heart beat. “That you could resist and take control from me in the dream amazed me.” His voice was full of wonder and affection. “No one has ever been able to do that. Not with me. Not in three hundred and seventy-five years.”
My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth installment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire. When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you’ve got a powder keg primed to explode.
What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story?
I’ve always enjoyed reading…a very passionate teacher taught me to read my first words in kindergarten, and I began devouring short books by first grade…and novels for YA by third grade.
Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? The Hobbit. I like the message; that it’s not who you were or what you can do that influences what you will do, it’s how willing you are to step outside your own boundaries and push for what you think is right.
What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
Getting published. I spent 4 years getting rejection after rejection from every agent under the sun and also some publishers. But the near misses were the worst, to think that I finally had an agent or a publisher and then to have it fall through at the last moment. Those were the crushing blows. The newest thing I worry about are bad reviews.
Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit?
Of course. Getting my first 2 star review on Amazon made me want to quit. Poor sales in a given quarter makes me want to quit. Having no free time makes me want to quit. But I didn’t survive years of fighting to get my stories out to give up now.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Keeping your perspective that your every little creation is not going to be perfect…or get critical or popular acclaim. Some stories will be better than others. The key is to always try to make the next one better than the last one was.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t give up until you do what you set out to do.
After this book, what is next?
There will be more books in this series. Two more will be out this year—Immortal Confessions and Her Secret—with more in 2014 and 2015, until the series is done. The next installment in the Lash Series, Revenge, will be out this fall, and hopefully my second anthology of short suspense/horror stories will also publish. There will also be the first Promise Me anthology and a Latham’s Landing anthology this fall. A new Lash short story, “Spiritwalker”, will debut in the Shifters charity anthology from Hazardous Press, and I also have a short story called “The Lie” in the upcoming anthology Brief Grislys, both due out in a month or less. I’m also working on a sequel to my transgender short Grow a Pair, and another compilation of BDSM stories for the late summer/fall.
Bio of Author Tara Fox Hall
Tara Fox Hall is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction short stories, flash, short and novella-length horror stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. Her horror stories have appeared in Deadman’s Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Ghastly Door, The Halloween Alliance, Black Petals,SNM Horror Magazine, Microhorror, Dark Eclipse, Cemetery Moon, and various anthologies, including the recently published charity worksFear (Vol. 1) and Shifters. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
I’ve loved vampires since I saw Frank Langella in the first “hot vampire” version of Draculayears ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. But I wanted more than the evil monster chasing young virgins; more than the sweet, misunderstood handsome fanged stranger that becomes the perfect mate for the woman who captures his heart after so many lone centuries. I wanted a vampire so well-crafted in detail that I could believe he was real. I wanted something different to happen in the story, other than girl becomes vampire, or vampire becomes dust. I wanted passion, tragedy, romance, suspense, action, and the haunting sweetness of poetry and song floating on a soft night breeze. So I penned my own vampires.
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