Today on our blog, I am pleased to announce Author Tory Michaels!! Her new book Blood Rage was just released On Feb. 8th from Evernight Publishing, with its sequel Blood-Mage Rising coming out in March!! She was also kind enough to give us an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Blood Rage! Did I mention she is also giving away some treats!!
Thank you so much for being here with us!! With all authors we like to know a little background info :) can you tell us a little about yourself Tory!
I really wish I had something catchy to answer this with. I’m a book slut, with a taste for paranormal (duh) and regency romances (though depending how well they’re done, I like a lot of different eras for romance), with urban fantasy and high fantasy thrown in for balance. Not a huge fan of contemporary romance (unless it’s Harlequin Presents, mind you).
I live with my twin girls (10.5 months), 5 y/o boy, in-laws, and hubby. We have a husky, and it can be chaos around the house. In-laws are leaving in May.
With the release of your new book Blood Rage, can you tell followers a little about it?
Rage, and the other books in the series, take place in the modern world, albeit a world where the supernatural creatures (non-humans) came out of the closet 80 years ago. At least in the western countries, they’re quite integrated into society, even having their own government agencies (Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in the USA).
Things appear peaceful in the world, at least between humans and non-humans. Unfortunately, when a string of murders, meant to imitate the style of a group of vampire terrorists from bygone days, turn up, that peace is threatened.
Rage focuses on Dara and Anthony as they try to contain the situation, keeping the murders out of the public eye, hoping to find the ones responsible before the word gets out to the general population and sparks a panic. They’re also working past issues that have long kept them apart. Anthony is definitely chasing Dara, though she tries to deny she has any feelings back toward him. She has issues, to say the least.
Sorry this is a bit vague. I can get long winded and if I tried to go into more detail, I’d probably spend 3 pages writing about it. Heh. Check out the blurb and that sums it up better than I can (okay, I wrote the blurb, but didn’t want to just blindly spew it back at you fine people).
What is your creative muse? Do you listen to music or have a certain ritual that needs to be done?
Assuming the kids aren’t up, I always have music on when I’m writing. No real ritual, just grabbing time whenever I can.
How was the writing process? Are you a visual writer or do the characters 'speak' to you?
Speaking to me isn’t a problem. Getting them to shut up is an entirely different matter, especially a particular blond sociopath. You know a character’s in your head when you dream about him working at Taco Bell (don’t ask – it was a VERY bizarre dream).
Blood Rage was written differently than any of my other WIPs because it came first. It went through three very different stories, as I learned to properly write (show vs. tell, actually having the characters DO stuff, rather than sitting around talking about doing stuff, etc.). Now though, my writing process is pretty standardized. I kitchen sink a first draft (putting anything and everything that occurs to me in), which results in a pretty meandering piece. By the end though, I usually have solidified my concepts and know how I ACTUALLY want the WIP to go. Second draft is where I go back and straighten the path up. I usually use a huge chunk of the first draft, just tweaking scenes so they fit the correct direction. Third round doesn’t involve retyping the whole thing, just editing/tweaking. Fourth and subsequent passes are usually looking for issues.
Are Vamps your favorite Paranormal beings?
Yup. Without a doubt. I’ve been fascinated by them since before I was a teenager, thanks to Anne Rice I suspect.
Blood Rage take readers to a place where Humans and Non-humans are living together. If there really were supernatural beings living among us, would you be the people that support them or be worried about their intentions??
Mm, I think it would depend on how my interactions had been with them. If I grew up with them being around, then I’d probably be supportive. If they just suddenly popped up, it would depend on their behavior. If they were out chowing down on the general populace, I’d be a bit concerned.
What are 3 words you would use to describe Dara and Anthony??
Dara: serious, devoted, shy.
Anthony: powerful, white-knight, pragmatic.
Did you know you always wanted to be a writer??
Pretty much. I buried the desire for a long time after I got married, because I was convinced I wasn’t any good at it. When I read my writing, I just saw that it didn’t look/sound like other writers’. I didn’t understand about authorial voice.
The idea of an author’s voice got slammed home once when a friend wrote a scene for me that I was having trouble with and while she got the characterizations right, it didn’t have MY touch to it. Word choice, pacing/rhythm, etc. It various from author to author and thanks to that ghost-written scene (which I will find a way of using some time), I finally understood that I had a style all my own.
What was the most difficult part(s) you encountered when writing Blood Rage?
The sex scenes of course. In the original, finished Rage, I faded to black rather than followed them into the bedroom. But to get it published, I ended up following it through and overall, I’m satisfied (heh) with it.
Who has been your best or favorite character to write and why?
<cough> Jordan MacNaught. A beta reader put it best. He is who he is and makes no apologies for it, even though he’s done some very very very nasty things. I like darker characters. He went from being a one-chapter villain (first version of Blood Rage), meant to be fodder for a later work, to demanding not only his own book but a potential love interest. Yes, he’s a sociopath, but he’s capable of growth. As he puts it at one point in Blood-Mage Rising, he has no moral compass. Yet he will fight for the side of good in the Dream-Walker War (not necessarily for the most honorable of reasons) when it comes right down to it.
Dara will always have a special place in my heart. She and Anthony both changed a lot from their original envisioning to how they ended up in the published version of Rage.
A la twitter style.. using only 140 characters, describe Blood Rage!!
OMG…really?! I had trouble condensing it to the book blurb. Umm, hrm. I’m totally drawing a blank on this one.
You already have book two, Blood-Mage Rising, of this series coming out in March. Do you have any other projects coming up? Do you know how many will be in this series?
Trying to get things to come together for the rest of the series. Probably 3-5. Then the related, futuristic series. They haven’t been written though. I’ve been stuck on how to start Book 3. I think I figured out the problem, but time will tell.
Who is your favorite Paranormal Romance Author? Any specific books or series?
I have 3. Sherrilyn Kenyon (dark-hunter series), Kim Harrison (s’pose she’s urban fantasy though) and her Hollows series, and Christine Feehan’s Dark series.
What is you favorite drink or food to have at a Party?!?!
Rum. Food – I’ve almost never met a chocolate I didn’t like.
Here is the exclusive excerpt from Blood Rage! This was also one of Tory's favorite scenes to write!! Enjoy!!
She closed her eyes to focus. A twenty-five minute speech should be a piece of cake. Politicians could, and did, talk for hours on end. If they could do it, so could she. Straightening her shoulders, she left the closet and slipped into the ballroom where the dean of the University of Nevada’s College of Mages stood, wrapping up her lecture.
In the rear of the room, with everyone facing forward, no one noticed her. If she walked through the crowded area to sit with Sarah, it would draw unwanted attention. She stayed put. They’d find her easily enough when Harry called her up.
The Society spared no expense in decorating for festivities they hosted. This event proved no exception. Pictures from eighty years of activism lined the walls to highlight everything from a brawl on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in ’62 to a werewolf Secret Service agent taking a bullet to protect the president in ’89. Even a picture of her, the cover of Time in ’79, was there.
She smoothed down her long sleeves and waited. Clueless to the restlessness of her audience, the dean continued babbling. Eyes drifting over the crowd, Dara frowned. Harry was supposed to be there, to represent Savage, but she didn’t see him. She’d spoken with him just three days earlier about a different matter, and he’d confirmed his attendance.
A second sweep of the room found Sarah, Chris, and Rissa all seated up front where they were supposed to be, but no Harry. Her back went ramrod straight as an arm slid around her waist, and an all-too-familiar voice taunted just below her ear, “Didn’t President Levin call you? Harry’s not coming tonight.” The only change to his buttery-smooth baritone came from the fading of his British accent.
Decades of practice kept her face impassive, and she didn’t move at the unexpected voice. He must have been insubstantial until then, or she would have seen him. Without looking back, she said, “So I see. Let go. Someone might see.” I’m an idiot – he’s a bastard, and that’s the best response I can come up with?
His rumbling chuckle just reached her ears, more felt than heard. Teeth nipped at the side of her neck without breaking the sensitive flesh before his grip loosened, and she heard him step back. “Always the prude, my pet. There was a time….”
She breathed a silent sigh of relief when he elected not to finish the thought.
Thankfully, Dean Newell chose that moment to conclude with, “Thank you for listening. When I came up here, they told me that Mr. Myers couldn’t make it this evening. Instead, although he really needs no introduction, I call on Time andVampire Weekly’s three-time Man of the Year, founder and former CEO of Savage Enterprises, Anthony Michael Caldwell.”
Polite applause grew more genuine as the mage-born stepped aside, and Anthony moved past Dara to catch the spotlight on his approach to the podium. For appearances, she clapped though she despised the necessity. As the applause faded and he started to speak, she forced herself to keep her hands open so her nails wouldn’t draw blood. One shouldn’t bleed on the head of the Council.
“I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to the Society for the Advancement of Non-Humans, and President Levin herself, for allowing me to substitute for Harry tonight. When he called me yesterday, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pay my respects to the woman responsible for so many of the changes to the world in the 20th and now early 21st centuries. I know Savage wouldn’t have flourished in a world where non-humans weren’t welcome.”
Dara caught the end of her braid to run her fingers through the loose ends. Don’t let him upset you, she told herself.Just ignore whatever he says, and he’ll slither away when this is over.
Looking over to where Sarah sat, her already churning stomach heaved in protest at the star-struck expression on the woman’s wrinkled visage. Her niece, the last in the long line of Caila’s descendants that she’d called “niece”, looked like a ‘tween at the premiere of a favored heartthrob’s new movie.
The same silence that kept her from denouncing Anthony to the vampire world kept her mouth shut when it came to Caila and her descendants. Caila was the primary reason she hadn’t killed herself, and it felt like a knife stuck in her gullet to see hero-worship on Sarah’s face.
Damn him for France.
A fresh round of applause dragged her attention back to the podium. All eyes, and the spotlight, swung to her, and she blinked against the brilliant light. Chris’s thoughts touched hers. “Get a move on, woman!”
“Bloody hell, what did he say?”
“You weren’t listening? Lord, girl, get your act together, and move it. He was very complimentary, but why the hell didn’t you tell me he knew you from your human days? Didn’t your beef with him come from after?”
Already six steps toward the podium, Dara almost fell on her face. She didn’t dare look in Chris’s direction, though she demanded, “What exactly did he say?” Surely he wouldn’t tell everyone how they knew each other. Would he? Would he humiliate her like that after all this time?
“Oh don’t get your knickers in a twist. I knew I should have dragged the story out of one of you before now. You both suck for not telling me.” Chris laughed and withdrew her thoughts before Dara responded.
Reaching the podium where Anthony waited, Dara gave him her trademark smile as flashes exploded and shook his proffered hand. He towered over her, standing a solid six foot four, and a shiver of awareness passed through her when their fingers touched. “Words alone cannot do justice to my feelings for your lovely introduction, Mr. Caldwell.”
At such close range, she couldn’t miss the faint twitch of his lips as she looked up at him. Sick bastard just loved to entertain himself at her expense. Self-preservation warred with the need to strike out in some small way. Desire won. Aware her body blocked the cameras from their joined hands, she sharpened her fingernails to needle-like claws and raked them down his palm as she slid her hand from his. A moment of startled pain flashed through the depths of his dark eyes, but his smile never wavered.
“Rot in hell, Anthony,” she projected, and turned to face the assembled crowd with another smile. If nothing else, fury over his slaughter of her brothers certainly chased away stage-fright.
“Feeling brave tonight are you? I dare you to try that in private, love.”
The sensation of fingers brushing where his teeth had so recently grazed felt so realistic that she almost turned around before realizing it as another of his games. Damn the man anyway, she swore to herself. Settling her hands on the podium, she looked at the glittering assembly and kept part of her attention on Sarah. She was very aware of him as he made his way to an empty seat some distance from her niece as she began to talk.
“It is truly an honor to be here tonight. Eighty years and some months ago, the world began to change. Even as the stock markets crashed, a small group set out to make it clear to the humans that they were not alone in the world. Those of us involved in the Great Awakening wanted our voices heard. We refused to hide any longer.”
Now for the Giveaway!! Tory is giving away A copy of her novel Blood Rage + $5 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!!
- Follow the blog!! (GFC, Email, or Networked blogs,) whichever one is fine!
- Leave a comment or question for Tory!!
- leave your email & how you follow in the comment
- Contest Open to everyone!!
- Contest ends Friday 17 @ 11:59
Contest is over! Winner is #13 Proserpine