Happy Tuesday readers! Please help me welcome Tory Michaels to the blog for her Dream Walker War Tour! She's here to not only offer up a giveaway to book and its fabulous readers, but to also talk about her paranormal characters and why they stand out among the other stories out there today. So please grab something cold or warm to get back with and join us for some good reading and the visit with Ms. Michaels!
Welcome Ms. Michaels! It's great to have you here!
THE GUEST POST TOPIC: Please tell us about your paranormal characters and why they are different. Why do they stand out stand out among all the other stories available today?
This is a great question, Bookin’ It. I’ve read about vamps and whatnot since I was a child really, and one of the things that always caught me was they seemed to have two basic modes: evil and out to destroy the world (Lestat in his evil times), or else mopey and depressed (Angel and Louis). Why was that? Yes, I know the basic mythology of vamps is that they’ve lost their souls and so of course they’re evil and loving it or sulking over it.
Why should that have to be the case? My vamps don’t lose their souls. The conversion process is more like a very deep sleep where serious wounds have a chance to heal (though if they were dying from a fatal wound , they would scar – Athdara MacKechnie’s, the M/C in Blood Rage, is covered in scars from two weeks of torture before her rescue and conversion). Jordan, the villainous hero from Blood-Mage Rising has burn scars along his left arm and neck from when he was left to burn to death.
My vampires pretty much run the gamut of outlooks. Who they are in life is who they are in their second life. Part of this comes from how vampires came to be. Unlike traditional tales, they aren’t damned or the result of a bargain with the devil. The first vampires were created by a currently-lost civilization of blood drinkers who discovered that they could give extended life and strength to the young human race. This civilization also gave rise, through experiments, to the mage-born and shifter races.
In the modern world, the non-humans are all well-known and fully integrated into society as a whole. They have their own agency within the federal bureaucracy (the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs, which is housed under the Department of Health and Species Services). The Bureau handles the licensing of the mage-born (they aren’t supposed to use their talents without specialized training), the setting of curriculum in the colleges that teach magic. The Bureau also handles the licensing and regulation of the blood-banks that the vampires use to get their blood from. There’s paperwork (which is commented on) to give permission to feed directly from a humanoid source, there’s even paperwork granting permission to convert a person to becoming a vampire.
As an example of the non-human integration, here are some of the chapter epigraphs that are included in the first two books:
(Chapter 2 – Blood-Mage Rising):
From VampiresForever.bnha.org – For vampires in the United States:
There are many reasons to register your changed status when you join the Blood. First, we are required to do so as part of the 1947 Non-Human Rights and Responsibilities Act. Second, you can’t make withdrawals from the blood bank system if you aren’t registered.
Our suggestion: to avoid paperwork, convert in Canada or Mexico, and you’ll save time and trees, too. Registering is much simpler when you’re foreign-converted.
(Chapter 4 – Blood-Mage Rising):
From Dean Newell, UNLV’s College of Mages, Tangled Talent Lecture Notes:
In the modern world, I hope today’s topic will never affect any of you. In centuries past, not all mage-born were afforded the opportunities you are today. Some didn’t learn they were mage-born with gifts of their own until much later in life. In such cases, it is not unheard of for gifts to tangle. This is both a blessing (two mage-born whose gifts are tangled can usually cast much more powerful spells together) and a curse (if one dies, the other dies). Of course, those who find themselves tangled rarely complain once they recover from the shock. I’ve heard the sex is fantastic.
(Chapter 1 – Blood Rage):
From the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs’ FAQ Page: Telepaths
Question: What should I do if I catch a telepath (species unimportant) using telepathy to read my mind and steal my personal information?
Answer: Call your local Bureau office immediately. The Privacy Act of 1974 makes it illegal for anyone to scan another person without a court order. Such orders may be granted to determine guilt or innocence of a crime, if requested by the accused.
(Chapter 6 – Blood Rage):
From a recent column in Vampire Weekly from Head Liaison MacKechnie:
Another summer is here. I would like to remind the Blood that just because we have equal rights to have a job, we of the Blood are not suited for all jobs. For example, every year there is at least one attempt at a discrimination claim for failure to hire a member of the Blood as a lifeguard.
I don’t care how young you are; vampires are not capable of being out in the direct sunlight for eight
Please, as a personal favor, stop embarrassing us and trying to game the system with these pointless suits. The economy’s bad, but there are other jobs out there, ones that don’t involve spontaneous combustion.
This isn’t to say all is well and good in the world. There are anti-non-human hate groups (though the Bureau tries to keep pesky websites espousing non-tolerance shut down), and in the Middle East, most non-humans aren’t welcome at all. Vampires specifically are to be executed on discovery of their nature, but most others are just subject to exile or deportation.
The first two books of the series focus on the activities of a group calling themselves the Aristocrats (after a clan of vampires from the nineteenth century which terrorized England for about sixty years) who are apparently trying to start a war between the species. There is, of course, more to it than that, but you have to read the books to find out.
I hope this has intrigued you and shown the difference between my paranormal creatures and societies and the others out there.
Thanks for letting me stop in!
It was great having you here, Ms. Michaels!
The Dream-Walker War, Book 1
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Back of the book:
For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. The peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa, all bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.
The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling.
The pair discovers the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it. Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.
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Instinct helped her draw back before she took more than she should. Dara sucked in air, trying to wipe away the addictive taste of him even while she absorbed the new details about his true nature.
“Good lord,” she said against his throat. “Wow doesn’t seem quite adequate.” The exchange was bliss itself, but ultimately left her unfulfilled. Her body throbbed with it, and she felt the same need in him, rock-hard desire pressing up against her core through their clothes. Dara shifted, trying to alleviate the pressure trapped between her thighs.
Anthony’s arm around her waist tightened, holding her still. He groaned, teeth grinding together. “I suggest, my pet, you stop moving if you wish me to remain a gentleman. There’s a reason exchanges take place during sex.”
Her mouth fell open. Chris had mentioned something of that nature on more than one occasion.In for a penny, in for a pound, Dara reasoned. It would be better than walking away right then, knowing they wanted the same thing. Maybe a second night would quench the lust, and she could let go of the need, the hunger for him he created just by breathing.
She shifted, straddling his lap to settle more firmly against the erection that bulged in his jeans and wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt reckless right then. A second night wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything. Dara found the notion liberating. “Do you really want me to stay still, Tony?”
His dark eyes glittered with familiar intensity as he clutched her hips. His mouth curled up at one corner. “Don’t call me that.”
“What?” She leaned forward and nuzzled the side of his neck, just above the tiny marks from where she had bitten him, and reached for the button on his jeans. “I don’t know. I rather like it. Sarah might be onto something with that. Tony Caldwell, man about town. Maybe I can convince you to like it.”
Anthony groaned as she slid the zipper down, shifting back on the couch. “Unlikely, but you can always try to convince me. What do you propose to do?”
Dara trailed her fingers just inside the waistband of his pants, toying with the firm flesh there. “I have an idea or two. It might be easier if you took your pants off though.”
“Are you going to reciprocate?” He set her own her feet before standing, towering over her.
She grinned up at him, easing the pants over his narrow hips until she could cup the rampant erection he sported. “Wasn’t planning on it quite yet.”
He shucked the pants off the rest of the way, kicking them to one side. A heartbeat later, his shirt joined the heap on the floor. Dara leaned back to admire the gorgeous sight he made, standing there totally nude. Oh, to have her camera, take a picture to remember this night for the rest of her existence, long after they moved on. Broad shoulders, chiseled abs leading down to his waist, with only a faint sprinkling of body hair.
She slowly circled him, trailing her fingertips over his middle, watching with delight as goosebumps rose in their wake.
Anthony held up his hands, watching her as she paused in front of him, clearly debating her course of action. It was a bit of a role reversal, as he was well-used to having her naked while heremained clothed. But he was inclined to give her her head and see where she led. “Now what?”
“Sit.” In that effort, she rested her hands, silky smooth and warm, on his chest to urge him down.
Yes, he liked this more decisive, assertive woman. He cherished the memory of her innocence and enthusiasm, but he found it quite alluring, a woman who knew what she wanted. And clearly she wanted something beyond the obvious. He settled back on the couch, arms spread along the back. If he didn’t, he’d reach for her and end this now. Control, Anthony, control.
His breath caught in his throat when she dropped to her knees between his legs and took him in her hands, stroked along his length. His world narrowed to just the two of them, everything not her fading rapidly as he thought only of the soft hands caressing him, something he’d long feared might never happen again. Anthony groaned. “You’re going to kill me, woman.”
A tiny, teasing smile crossed her face. “La petite mort, yes. That’s certainly the idea,” she said, cupping his balls. Warm breath tickled the length of him as she spoke.
His hands clenched into fists. He wouldn’t be able to take much of this, or he’d thoroughly disgrace himself by coming too soon. When she took him in her mouth, his eyes crossed. Gods, yes. If Odin himself popped in and offered to take him off to Valhalla, he would turn the god down in a heartbeat, just to stay like this. It’d been so long.
Dara allowed herself a satisfied mental smile at his raspy growl and swirled her tongue around his cock, continuing to caress him. He’d never let her get away with calling him Tony, but it’d been an excellent segue to this.
Her eyes closed as his fingers speared into her hair, massaging her scalp even as he slowed her pace.
“Such a talented mouth, pet,” he said, tugging strands free from the braid trailing down her back. “I’ve miss this so damned much.”
The words echoed round and round her head, and she hummed with satisfaction, drawing another long, tortured groan from him. And then voices from the past exploded from her subconscious, rough hands pulling at her. Such a good little pet. Dara choked.
“No!” She fell back, scrabbling away on the floor. Voices pressed in on her, upper-crust British accents, laughter, and pain. The newly recovered memories dug their claws in, and she buried her face in her knees, trying to force them back.
The Dream-Walker War, Book 2
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Back of the Book:
In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace. In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They're all dead, except for him.Jordan asks for Chris Javert's help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She's no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.
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Despite the disturbing turn to her daydream, the shower centered her. It certainly ended her bout of the hornies. When she exited the frosted glass enclosure into the steam and gardenia-scented room, Chris could face the world, and Jordan, again. Cool marble tile provided a sharp contrast against the balmy miasma blanketing her. She needed to get dressed and back to work.
“It’s about time you got out,” Jordan said as he materialized, seated on the edge of the counter between the sink bowls. His legs dangled over the edge.
“Son of a—” Chris yelped and leaped for her towel.
He blinked slowly, warning, and she just caught herself before the last word slipped out. The last time she called him a son of a bitch, he buried her alive for disparaging his mother. For some reason, he objected to the pejorative, even though rumor had it he’d killed his mother at some point. She clutched at her towel like a shield.
“What are you doing in here?”
“To quote a certain someone, I should think that it’s fairly obvious. I wanted to talk to you.” He flashed a smile, fangs just barely showing, and leaned his weight back on his palms. “You know, Chrissy, if you’d just given me a bit longer, you wouldn’t have had to resort to alternative methods.”
She might be claustrophobic, but right then she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her whole. Dear God. Her reflection turned a nice, brilliant, beet red, and she looked around for her bathrobe, finally finding it slung over the door that separated the toilet from the main portion of the room. “Mother of Lorminstra, you perverted jackanapes!”
Jordan blinked again, the picture of innocence. “I am the perverted one? Which one of us just masturbated in the shower?”
This absolutely can’t be happening. Please let this be a continuation of the weird-ass dream. Chris snatched her robe down and yanked it on, surreptitiously pinching her side in the process. Pain flared and dissipated. Unfortunately, the bathroom invasion continued unabated.Damn, no dream. She belted the flimsy scrap of silk, not feeling much more secure than with the towel. “You could have waited five minutes.”
“I did. Then, when you still didn’t emerge, I thought I’d wait in here.”
Since the universe didn’t see fit to rescue her by sending a great bolt of lightning or a tsunami to kill her, she needed to brazen the situation out. And had her shower really taken that long? Good lord.
“What was so important you couldn’t wait? And while there’d better not be a next time, next time let me know you’re there. I could have finished...ah, I could have gotten, ah, ….”
There really wasn’t a good way to end that statement, and she floundered. He didn’t seem inclined to rescue her either, judging by his grin. Asshole. The recently departed headache began to squeeze her temples again.
“I wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much if I had interrupted, unless I joined in.”
“Well, why didn’t you?” In her brief glimpse before she bent at the waist and flipped her hair over her head to begin toweling it dry, she got good visual confirmation that he definitely enjoyed the view. Must have been in mist form to see much, given the frosted glass that surrounded the shower.
“And get my clothes wet? Don’t be absurd.”
“A normal person would join me.” She wrung her hair out with more force than strictly necessary. “Now, explain what was so important you felt the need to become a Peeping Jordan, and then get out!”
“I think you need to have another go in the shower, if you’re still this waspish.”
Anthony would thank her if she killed him.
“I’ll make this brief. You’re fond of gambling, aren’t you?”
“What of it?” She continued to rub viciously with the towel, not sure she followed him yet. “I’m fond of lots of things.”
“Earlier, you propositioned me.”
Chris choked. “I did no such thing!”
“Then what would you call it?”
“Losing my mind.”
Jordan chuckled. From her upside down position, she saw his legs stop swinging as he leaned forward. “I propose a bet. Just to make our time a little more interesting, although I doubt it will beat what I just saw.”
She purposely ignored the latter half of his statement. Finished with her scalp she moved on to the longer portion of her hair.
“If you win, I will walk the straight and narrow for, hmmm. Two decades should be impetus enough, even for you. While not admitting to having done anything that might get me in trouble under your country’s Rights and Responsibilities Act, I promise not to indulge in any of my more exotic entertainments for that period. No murder, no torture, nothing of that nature.” Her eyes widened, and she stood, towel held loosely in her right hand. “I thought that might garner your exclusive attention.”
Mouth dry, she swallowed hard. For that offer, he wanted something big in return. “And if I lose?”
“I get your blood. More specifically, we forge a blood-bond.”
No chance in hell.
Though she wanted to say the words, she didn’t. If she rejected him out of hand without a good reason, he might wonder. Vampires commonly shared blood. It wasn’t safe for her to do, since most people would feel obligated to turn her over to the Circle for execution if they figured out what she was.
She couldn’t dismiss the possibility he’d offered the bet to see how desperate she was to avoid sharing blood. In that case, she should say yes and win, no matter the cost.
“Quite the stakes. What’s the bet?”
Originally from the Sacramento Valley, Tory packed up and moved all the way to Southwest Florida in 2004 with her husband (a Florida native) under the premise that ‘hurricanes almost never hit that part of the state.’ That year, 4 blasted the area. 4 more came the following year, and her husband blames her for bringing the hurricanes. She now resides in Jacksonville and is relieved that, thus far, no more hurricanes have followed her around.
She began writing in kindergarten when a turnip wished to be human and, other than a hiatus shortly after getting married, has never stopped. Her love of vampires began somewhere in junior high, and combining the two loves didn’t take long. She loves music, considers herself a ‘book slut’ whose reading habits would break her family financially if given free reign, and is (usually) delighted to be a mommy of twin Shrimpettes and a Shrimp.
Keep up with Tory at: