Archive for May, 2010

Author: Meagan Hatfield
Pages: 384
Original Release: July 1, 2010
(review copy from NetGalley.com)
ISBN # 978-0373775002

Declan is a lord, forced by tragedy into leadership. Alexia is a princess about to ascend to her throne. They become “Romeo and Juliet” in a centuries old war. Only this Romeo has scaled wings, and his Juliet has fangs. With both their races clashing in a deadly battle to posess a crystal foretold to grant the owner power to rule all, Declan and Alexia have more than just their undeniable passion for each other to contend with.

This book starts off with a bang and the action just doesn’t let up the whole way through! Dragons take the place of werewolves in the traditional archenemy role for vampires in this story, and let me just tell you, it works fantastically! (Who needs fur when you can have WINGS?)

I love that both of these main characters are in a transition in their respective societies. Both put in a position they are resigned to, but neither is really ready for. Throughout the story we get to see them both become the leaders they’re intended to be. The descriptions of both the vampire horde and the dragon flock were so important to understanding the evolution of the characters. Not only what they lived with every day, but what they strived to create. I really liked that we learned more than just the names of many secondary characters. Too often characters that aren’t the “main focus” of the story get shortchanged in the depth department. Including many points of view can sometimes be confusing, but it was done very well and brought some much needed clarity to parts of the story.  I loved being able to get into the head of Catija and and Tallon especially. (Would have LOVED to get into Griffin’s head a little, so I’m hoping that’ll be a point of view for another book, oh… and Yuri, too… yummmeeeee.)

Declan and Alexia together were just incredible. They started out hot and just got hotter as the story went on. I loved that they didn’t do the “does he really like me” “does she really like me” think that some couples do. The felt the attraction and were honest about it from the beginning. (A little early in the overall story, but I’ll chat about that in a minute.) They knew they wanted each other, and fought through, literally, the heavens and the earth to be together.

Now, for my only two criticisms. I do understand that Declan and Alexia were attracted to each other from the start, that they felt a connection, or rightness with each other. That’s fine, but it was a little hard for me to understand how they let down their guard for, at the time, an enemy, so soon in the story. I’m also not a big fan of extended bad-things-happening-to-good-people in a story. There were a few too many passages full of silver gunshot wounds and references to horrible acts perpetrated by Lotharus (or Lotharass, as I started calling him) for my taste. I know, things like that create drama and ways for a character to “overcome” in the story. I’ve been told that by authors time and time again. But I still don’t like too much of it.

Overall, I really, really liked this book. I liked the action (most of it, lol) and loved the relationships, both the romantic ones, and the familial bonds. I honestly can’t wait for the next book to come out. Luckily for all of us, there are a few plotlines screaming “please write about me” at the end of Shadow Of The Vampire. And I just realized that there will be a semi-prequel story available in July as well, Dragon Warrior, so we won’t have long to wait!

NOW FOR A TREAT !

Meagan has graciously agreed to answer a few questions! When possible, I’m having authors of books I’ve reviewed answer a group of fun (I hope) questions, and Shadow Of The Vampire is the first of the lot. Big Thank Yous go out to the lovely Ms. Hatfield for taking time to answer these for us.

1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?

I almost always write to music.   In fact, I get twitchy if it’s too quiet.  *smile*  The genre of music I listen to largely  depends on what book/characters I’m writing about at the time.  For the most part, I write dark paranormal with lots of action and tense scenes, so harder rock is the norm for me.  For example, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE was all Breaking Benjamin.  I looped their “Phobia” cd in my office and played it over and over as I wrote.  Everything from the tone to the lyrics of their music seemed to fit perfectly with SOTV in my mind.  I still use them for my series soundtrack, but I have added a few songs here and there.  If anyone is interested, I put the playlist for this series on my website “Extras” page.  The music will play right off the webpage when you click on it, so turn it up!

2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffeeshop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?

I have my little writing zone, with a big ol’ desk (complete with writing chotskies – dragons, fairies, LEGO Legolas, etc.), filing cabinets, computer equipment, my LOTR movie poster, a huge corkboard wall for all my inspirational pics, storyboards, reminder notes, etc to get tacked up on, and on the other side of the wall are bookshelves lined with books…many of which I have yet to read.  There is a lot to be said for writing at the local coffee shop.  Something about getting out of the house, finding a quiet spot to write where there are no obligations, dishes, laundry or children really up’s your production level.  I should do it more often.  Lol!

I currently don’t write with a group.  Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged to a crit group?  Maybe I used one once, a long time ago?  {{shrug}} Anyway, I was lucky enough to meet a very talented writer early on and we have critted together ever since.  When it comes to your work and critiques, I think you just have to find what works and go with the flow!

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?

I don’t know yet, but guess I’ll find out soon!  Lol!  Actually, it feels like climbing a mountain…it’s been such a long journey (two years from sale to publication) of hiking and sometimes dragging my butt up this seemingly insurmountable hill of publishing.  And now, it’s like I crested the top, tripped and am snowballing to the bottom at record speed.  It’s scary, thrilling, exciting and stressful all at once.  I know the release will come and go now in a blink.  I’m just hoping I remember some of it.

 As to appearances, I’ll be at RomCon Reader Convention in Denver and RWA National Conference both in July.  I’m also tentatively planning on Seattle in October.  I have no control over lists and numbers, (or so I keep telling myself.)  So, I will try not to obsess over them and focus on what I have control over – my books! 

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?

Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday!  Seriously, I’m a fanatic.  I’d spend thousands on props if I had the money.  But I’ve been collection and adding to my stuff for as long as I can remember (and had really wonderful grandparents who let me stow everything in their garage during college) so it’s pretty impressive.  I have a couple big animatronics and enough creepy props to make a decent haunted house.  I’m more along the scary/gory line than cutesy for Halloween decor.  So, I’d have to say my favorite costume is the one I wore last year…a black Victorian style dress I covered in gray fabric cobwebs, zombie makeup and my Zombie Jack puppet.  If you haven’t seen him, Zombie Jack is this six-month old sized puppet and he’s flippin freaky!  You can see his scalp, one eyes is all clouded over and there are open sores all over his face.  I carry him around on my shoulder like he’s a real baby.  And he looks like one!  People even come up going “Oooo, I didn’t know you had a baby” all excited to hold him, and when I turn his head and move his creepy little mouth, the faces they make are priceless.  It’s great!  (Yes, I’m a dork like that.) 

5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?

This is a tough one.  I’d really like to vacation somewhere I’ve never been like Italy or France, or better yet a white sandy beach somewhere tropical with coconut umbrella drinks and shirtless island men.  *grins*  But I have been missing New Orleans like crazy lately and would love to jaunt down there for a week.  The quarter is unlike any place I’ve ever been.  Just walking around, looking up at the beautiful balconies and architecture, getting my tarot read, having a Hurricane and of course a beignet or two at Café du Monde completely recharges and refreshes me.  I would bring my Zune so I could listen to music, my laptop for when inspiration struck and my lucky gris-gris bag so it could visit its home.  

6) What song best describes your life?

That is such a hard question!  But since the song I’m thinking of is about not regretting anything, (and it’s not too terribly depressing like all the other songs that popped into my head) I’ll go with “Closer to the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars. (*reviewers note* Meagan and I share a love of all things Mars… Provehito In Altum)

If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?

Shocker…Jared Leto of course!  I think I just might die halfway through the song though, so maybe I should pick Damien Rice instead.  I adore him and his music and think he’s a terrific song writer. 

7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?

Ooo, that seems like it could be a loaded question.  Hehe  But what the heck, I’m single, so won’t be implicating myself or breaking any rules by answering.  Lol!  Hmm, I would really like to spend time with all of them.  But I’m going to have to pick…Yuri.  He’s a tall, dark and delicious vampire, plus he’s a wee bit on the tortured side, which I like.  Oh, and he has lots of tattoos in all the right places *wriggles brows* I have a thing for hotties with tattoos.   

8.) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fasted 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)

Longest Zumbathon on record!  I absolutely love teaching Zumba and love participating in Zumbathon’s.  Two hours is never long enough to shake it, I always want to keep going.  Heck, I’ve ran my classes nearly that long before!  So, I think that would be a fun record to shoot for. 

9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why?

I’m going to have to go with “Whatever.”  It’s such a cop out word.  The only problem is, I say it as much as I dislike it.  Haha!

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well. Or… if you’re in a giving mood… what is one story that your friends LOVE to talk you into telling that you don’t generally volunteer?

I seem to be unable to live down the golf cart story.  Mind, I’m not a golfer.  But I can play.  Driving a golf cart however is much different than driving a ball.  And I never had to drive the cart before this day.  I always had someone beside me willing to take the wheel and more importantly, knew what they were doing.  But for some ungodly reason, I ended up driving this golf cart on the path to the ten hole, which at this course was a winding path of death.  It had a sharp S turn on what I still swear to this day must have been a 90 degree downward slope, intensified by the slippery, loose gravel.  Anyway, here I am, white-knuckling the steering wheel, taking it slow when the cart starts to slide and speed up down the hill.  I go to hit the brake and instead, I floor the gas.  The cart lurches forward.  The S turn is barreling toward me and I know if I don’t make the turn or stop the cart, I’m going off the cliff.  Okay, it wasn’t really a cliff, more like a hill.  But in my head, it was a cliff.  My life passes before my eyes and without thinking, I react.  But instead of doing something rational like slamming on the brakes, I launch myself out of the golf cart in a move that would have made James Bond green with envy.  Now, I had pink hair at the time and wore a white golf skirt and a green t-shirt.  The guy driving behind me said he saw me fly out of the cart all Charlie’s Angels like, do this crazy shoulder roll so all he saw were swirls of pink, green, white, pink, green, white until I popped up covered in leaves and dirt.  Meanwhile, the cart rolled to a stop almost instantly after I jumped out of it.   Did I look like an idiot?  To every serious, polo shirt wearing, thousand-dollar-set-of- club toting golfer?  Probably.  But I got a round of high-fives from my buddies, who still get a good laugh every time they think of or share this story.  *bowing*  Thank you, thank you very much.  Lol!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope this was something different, and that you had fun telling us a little more about yourself.

Thank you for having me! 

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