Welcome to the second week of May. Wow, where has time gone?
For me, each new month brings me closer to the release of Mated in Treason, Book 1 in the Kan Asma Vampires series.
This new vampire romance is coming out in June 13, 2017 and I thought it would be fun to introduce you to a few of the characters. Today, is all about the hero.
Meet Gunnar Nakani:
The first time we meet Gunnar is in Bound By Obsession the third book in the Blood-Vine series. Bethany who is the heroine of that book, gives her impression of Gunnar.
Before long, the car pulled to a stop and Gunnar opened the door. Bethany hadn’t been able to form any solid conclusions about the guy. A few times he stood with his shoulders tossed back, like a marine. The close shave of his light blond hair added to the distinctiveness of a soldier. He wore dark olive utility pants and a matching green T-shirt. She could imagine him in some special-ops corps. He never stopped looking around them. The way his dark eyes flitted from one side to the other showed his attention was focused on their safety. Or, her safety, really.
After she has a few moments to talk with him about one of the Council Sentinels, she realizes there’s much more to him than her first impression:
The valet ran a hand over his flattop, and tapped curved knuckles at his temple. “He’s short a few brain cells that are imperative for common sense. Little prick spends more time worrying if his silk shirt matches a certain haute couture watch. Who gives a fuck if it’s Seiko, Casio, or a flipping Rolex. It tells the time, end of subject.”
Tray grinned. “I’ll remember that at Christmas.”
Bethany tried not to laugh, but hearing Tray shoot-the-shit with his valet gave her a glimpse of another side of him.
“Don’t worry I’ll make sure he gets you something nice.”
Gunnar turned to her and the lines at the side of his eyes crinkled as he smiled.
“That’d be real nice, Miss Miles. Komar here has a hankering for gift cards. In an envelope, mind you.”
At the end of Bound By Obsession, Gunnar finds himself in a really dangerous situation. And, that’s where Mated in Treason begins.
Here are a few things about Gunnar:
His boss, Traian Komar, is one of the princes in the Kan Asma aristocracy called the kraliyet. Gunnar started working for him as a valet back in the 18th century. That role has grown through the years and now Gunnar works as Tray’s right hand man.
He is half Viking and half Turkish as well as a full-blooded Kan Asma Vampire.
He wears his hair in a flat-top which is not typical of the males in the Kan Asma society.
He has a sexy tattoo on his shoulder.
His special vampire talent is revealed in Mated in Treason.
He has a wicked sense of humor.
He loves the SyFy Channel and Star Wars.
All my vampire heroes pick a special endearment for the mate and Gunnar’s is a very cool Viking word.
Well, there’s a quick glimpse of the hero of Mated in Treason.
Next time, I will post about his heroine, Nurse Nadia.
Thanks for stopping by today.
cross post at RWBB
Here is a little glimpse into the Kan Asma- style Christmas tradition.
I hope you have a wonderful and merry Christmas day!
“It’s time for the blooding.” Mikhail launched from the second-floor banister and did a tight somersault landing on the main floor with hands up like a gymnast. The loud stomp of his boots echoed through the vaulted atrium as he rushing into the kitchen.
“Who’s it going to be this year?” Lucas flashed his fangs. “Should we do a lottery or pull names from a hat?”
Tray waved a long, serrated knife in the air. “This should do the trick.”
Anna slipped through the open doorway, her mate Dimitri right on her heels. “I’m partial to using fangs.” He winked but mostly just for Anna.
Therese shook her head and backtracked through the kitchen moving through the crowded dining room to where her mate waited with a glass of sparkling wine. She sipped it and savored the sweet bubbly Moscato as it danced on her tongue. “You’d think they’d want presents and Christmas Carols. Instead, they are stuck in the middle ages, still.”
Davran nuzzled her throat, a scrape of fang teasing along the pulse points. “They’re predators. It is in their DNA to engage in a blooding.”
“It’s messy.” Therese frowned, remembering last year’s Christmas mess had her rushing from her mate’s embrace and heading back to where her offspring were beginning to engage in a long held Kan Asma tradition.
“Must you field dress that thing in my stainless-steel sink?” she shouted as she dashed into the kitchen.
“Kinda frowned upon to do it outside.” Mikhail cocked an eyebrow. God, that son of hers was a cocky young male. She wouldn’t tell anyone, but, she found him charming and adorable. And, too handsome for his own good. Perhaps he’d settle down soon. She’d have to talk to Ivan about finding him a mate.
Luke twirled a sharp meat prong between his fingers. Therese didn’t have to guess why his mate Katiya avoided the kitchen. No respectable female would want to see the carnage in her normally spotless kitchen. “Ah, we need to get this going, I’m starving.”
“Don’t worry nan, we’ll have it all spic and span again for you as soon as we are done.” This time it was Traian giving her the assurance. Except, last year he’d hit an artery and the blood splatter on the wall had to be scrubbed with bleach.
Therese wagged a finger. “You stay away from it, Traian Komar.”
The other siblings in the kitchen groaned collectively.
“Give that to me.” Anna grabbed the knife from her brother and trudged to the sink. “Nan, this is the biggest suckling pig I’ve ever seen. How did you even get it into the kitchen?”
Therese smiled. “Your father, of course.”
Ivan took that moment to march into the room, a scowl on his austere features. She loved her eldest son. He had such a commanding presence and looked so much like his grandfather, the leader of the First Mates. But, trying to find him a gift for Christmas proved nearly impossible. Except for Mikhail. He’d asked her to wrap a Costco bulk purchase of spray starch for Ivan. Oh, that was going to cause a ruckus during the gifting time.
Therese grinned. All her children were in the room with her. They were in the process of preparing the monstrous pig for the roasting. It’d look like something out of a medieval painting soon. By twelve in the morning, they’d have an entire wood pit constructed in the back yard and the pig on the spit. While they teased each other and joked, eating treats and drinking mulled wine, they’d turn the pork until the thing was cooked through.
Then, her favorite part of Christmas would happen. They’d share the dinner together, enjoying the quiet moment of celebrating while dining on the roasting pig.
Then, well, she’d march her younglings right back into that kitchen and start a new tradition—they’d get to clean the dishes and make sure any blood stains were gone by dawn.
Therese left the kitchen, intent on finishing up the final wrapping of her gifts. She loved Christmas because it meant being with her family.
I did it! After a 5 year hiatus–thanks rebellious body– I have started a new series and finished two books in it. The Kan Asma Vampires series is going to be coming soon. This is an exciting moment for me. I feel almost giddy. These vampires are truly like my own family, minus the fangs and biting and stuff.
A few things happened when I wrote those awesome words.
I love research. It is one of my favorite aspects of being an author. Learning about foreign lands, historical events and various cultural traditions always excites me. Recently, my research has taken me to diverse places and some of it was exotic while others were a bit creepy. Today I want to share a few of these research jaunts with you so you can have a glimpse into some of the things I am working on currently.
If you haven’t heard our exciting news, Vivien Jackson and I have contracted another sweet Regency for Ellora Cave’s Cotillion Christmas series. This story was a challenge to write mainly because our hero was not your typical British aristocrat. No, indeed not. He hails from India. So, you can imagine my excitement at hunting down information to include in the story. Some of those aspects were extremely intriguing and sometimes I found myself lost in the early 1800’s far away in Bengal. One of the distracting research jaunts I took while gathering details for A Christmas Scheme took me to Regency era India.
Fort William Kolkata:
There are many interesting locations in Fort William. Also, the history of the British colonization there is extensive. Here is a glimpse of places, events and people that I researched for A Christmas Scheme:
Fort William College
Saint Peter’s Church
Fourth Anglo-Mysore war
On top of our Hero’s native land we found ourselves knee deep in snow during a cold winter at an English country estate. Vivien and I mused many different aspects of this Christmas setting and that came with a Google image search so that we could imagine the way the estate looked, the various entry points and an important building that plays a role in our romantic couple’s interactions. There were fascinating links about architecture including gables and eaves, gates and latches, corridors and libraries that enthralled me.
What to wear in winter!
And, don’t get me started on fashion for men or women, British or Bengali…I’ll spend way too much time finding every last detail from stitches to cloth because I want our story to be accurate to the Regency period. I will say that I really enjoyed learning the cultural words for Bengali clothing. I think I spent an entire day on Google Books trying to find the correct word for trousers in Bengali. If you want to know, check out A Christmas Scheme when it comes out in November 2014!
(Thank you Stefan Salvatore for that fangtastic segue.)
It is always fun to switch from the Regency to my vampires. The Kan Asma Vampires series has a race of people who have extensive histories. This allows me the opportunity to research a plethora of things. In my current WIP, Gunnar is not of the typical Turkish decent that the majority of Kan Asma people come from. He is half-Viking and I had fun looking up the history of trade and shipping routes, language and customs as well as names from Scandanavia. But, the aspects of the Kan Asma culture that I really enjoy researching are always those from the Abkhazian rites and traditions. Though I don’t hold to these rites completely, my Kan Asma vampires have roots with this culture and they’ve adapted many of the ceremonies to fit their own rituals. Recently I looked up a few things that will be included in Gunnar’s story.
Birth traditions, wedding ceremonies, death rituals all tied into the Kan Asma mating rites and the Goblet Ceremony
Metal work and weaponry
Food glorious food…
Oh, and after a very long time trying to figure out an integral scene I finally found what I was looking for and it turned out to be something I never expected.
(Yes, I did spare you the icky disgusting real photos because they make me cringe!)
Well, there you have it. Can you imagine living inside my brain on research? It is full of random things like Bengali pants and creepy worm-type creatures that suck blood.
Now, I am sure there is something else I am supposed to be researching today.
Vivien Jackson tagged me for the Next Big Thing blog post. Thanks Vivien, it is always fun to play along with these fun activities.
The deets: The Next Big Thing blog post is basically answering 10 questions about your wip.
So, these are the questions I have to answer:
1. What is your working title of your book? Mated in Treason
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? Expanding the world of the Kan Asma Vampires.
3. What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal romance featuring vampires.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Gunnar I would cast Trevor Donovan.
For Nadia, I would select: Beren Saat a beautiful Turkish model and actress.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? By mating in secret, they defied the dictates of their people but now they must decide to accept the consequences or join forces against those they love. (This blurb is a work in progress.)
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I intend to have this series published through a publisher.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Still writing it, so I don’t have an answer to that. I’d say from start to submit-ready about 9 months to a year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’m not sure, I’d say there are a few Prime novels from Susan Sizemore that have some of the forbidden lover tropes, and there are many books with paranormal societies that have tight regulations about mating.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? Gunnar, the hero, gave me a nice look at what he was suffering through and I just had to write what he was showing me.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Mikhail shows up and reveals a little more about his very secretive backstory. Also, there is an across the railroad tracks romance and a huge rift that happens within the Kan Asma culture. Things are really going to get heated between the high born ruling class and an uprising called the Faction.
This has been fun. Anyone who wants to take this blog prompt for their own, consider that my passive tagging style.
There is something alluring yet mysterious about wearing a veil. In my first Blood-vine story, Bound By Deception, the heroine Anna has a veil on during the blood-rite ceremony. She hates the archaic practice and yanks the material from her head the first chance she gets.
Fast forward a few books to the current story that I am writing. This time, the heroine Nathalia has no choice but to be veiled. She wears a traditional covering for a while in the story. The customs of her people demand that she conform to the dictates of their culture.
It is also a contentious point for the hero, Sevastian, because the reason she is wearing it is a constant reminder of the circumstances that are keeping them apart.
I thought I would share with you a few snippets from the story that pertain to the veil.
So here we go:
Kholed and Covered
Vastian looked on as she stepped into the antechamber. Her eyes were heavily kholed, the eyelids dusted with a shimmering eye shadow. He grimaced at the sight of Thalia all covered up, completely hidden from his view. The garment cloaked her from head to toe with an embroidered cloth arranged like a heavy robe. One little push and the thing would slide off of her, revealing her to his gaze.
Fucking archaic practices, he seethed. She looked shrouded, like a Bedouin princess. His fingers itched to reach out and tear it off of her, to reveal the youthful bounce of her ringlets and show the sweet dimples on her freckled cheeks.
Then, later in the scene:
“Take the damned veil off.” His growled demand startled her.
“I’m not supposed to.” Could she sound anymore childish? Thalia groaned inwardly.
“You will for me.”
Even though he didn’t speak it out loud, Thalia heard the underlying statement of ownership in his tone. It said, you are mine now, and that didn’t settle well with her. So, she acted like any frustrated girl and shook her head in defiance.
She didn’t even see his hand snap out and take hold of the tie. In a blink of an eye, the cloth covering her face swung loose. Next, the heavy shroud situated on her head was pushed off, the thick material of the hood draped across her shoulders.
“Shit, you’re pale as a ghost.” Vastian’s fingertip tracked across her tear-stained cheek and glanced along her lower lip. “You’ve tortured this spot here with your teeth.”
Thalia shrugged, defeated. “Your mother told me not to cry.”
The symbolism of Thalia being shrouded goes further than an actual covering of her body. Throughout the story there is much secrecy going on and she is in the center of it all. Sevastian and Thalia have a lot to overcome in order to find true love because they are both hiding behind more than the veil she wears.
What do you think about veiling practices? Do you think veiling can be beautiful and sexy? Or, do you think it takes some sort of freedom away? While Thalia is being covered for a religious-type ceremony, it is a religion wholly designed and created for the vampires of the Blood-Vine.
*All images posted are royalty-free and the rights for use purchased from Dreamstime.
I spend a ton of time driving my kids hither and yon. Thursdays kick my butt ’cause I feel like I spend hours just driving back and forth to places. I have been listening to the Love Never Dies soundtrack as a way to balance the non-stop One Direction noise my kids are obsessing over.
Have you heard the song Beneath a Moonless Sky? I don’t think I have ever heard a song so precisely written about the intimate act of loving paired to such a melodramatic tune. My kids hate it for the sheer operatic moments. I love it for the one line where Phantom croons, “And, then I TOOK you.”
Yes, please may I have another?
So, after listening to several of the songs my dancer began to protest and I agreed, simply because hearing that shrill vibrato Christine is belting out can become tiresome after a while…unless we are talking Phantom of the Opera and Past the Point of No Return with Gerard Butler. Hello, eye candy in sexy tight pants and black mask.
But, I digress. To appease my youngest, who has a great deal more flexibility when it comes to music, I thumbed through my CD collection. Since traffic wasn’t being kind, I blindly grabbed for a CD. The one I selected is a play list I made a while back for Sevastian and Nathalia, the vampire story I am supposed to be working on right now.
I started envisioning a scene that has been out of reach for a long time. Just as the picture became clear and things started turning into actual musing, everything went blank inside my mind (Phantom are you in there?) Nope! There was just a blank canvas of white. Oh, and this tall, imposing male was standing there with his arms crossed over his massive chest. He was precisely dressed in an expensive suit. His hair was perfectly styled. The harsh glint in his cobalt gray eyes pinned my inner muse in place. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid rear ending the dude in front of me. Because, I wasn’t paying close attention to the road due to the male’s narrowed gaze and hard-assed expression. I knew in an instant who was hijacking my mental thoughts, so, I confronted him.
I said, “What the hell are you doing, Ivan?”
Both his eyebrows went up and his glower could have frozen sunshine.
“I’m not afraid of you, Mister Vampire hard-ass,” I added with a harrumph.
“You should be.” That was all he said but the edge to his words would make a lesser being shiver in dread.
As a side note, I know I should be freaked out, the bastard does bad bad things to people he doesn’t like or who disagree with him.
Instead of cow-towing, I shrugged my shoulders and tried to be charming. “So, what brings you here, into my head, while I am musing dreamy scrumptious Vastian?”
He licked his lips, like he was wondering what I might taste like and how long it would take to sink his razor-sharp fangs into my teenie tiny human neck. Instead, he took two long steps and stood right next to me. Mental-me, had to look up and up some more just to glance into his austere face. His mouth quirked at the corners as he stared at me all cool and aloof.
Someone needs to put him in his place, I think to myself: Like a mate. That thought gets doused with ice cold water and is replaced with annoyance when he grabbed my virtual chin and forced me to look at him more fully. “What?” I managed to squeak out, though my lips make a little moue and the sound is garbled.
“I didn’t like what you did with Traian. I’m not happy with your thoughts for Sevastian either. He’s important in ways you don’t yet know. Mating him will… add complications.”
Since Ivan is a character in my own head, you’d think I would pop off a one-liner and tell him to knock his shit off.
But, since I DON’T know what is going to happen next in the story, I wonder if Ivan might just give me a hint by his protesting.
Right, big breath and ask….”What, you don’t like him going house shopping with Thalia? You have something against them living in Flintridge?”
He remained motionless, deadly calm. The tips of his fangs were barely noticeable but since I was watching him talk, I got a gander. His thumb traveled along my jaw to my cheek while he scrutinized me.
Then, he shook his head. “Nathalia won’t be able to handle the truth.”
WHAT? What truth? Crap. I thought her part of the heart ache was done. What the hell did Vastian do?
“I’m not telling you.” He simply breathed the answer. Damn, I must have spoken that last query out loud.
“Ivan.” I stomped my foot and the car lurched a bit. And, well, hello there little Prius driver. Sorry I scared you and you can lay off the horn now thanks. “Ivan, damn it. You have a strangle hold on my muses. Let them go. You freakin bastard.”
He lifted that long, muscled arm and my heart beat a little faster knowing that he could zap me with his mind bending powers and I could easily end up in Fantasy Land. But, he simply shook his pointed finger in my face and tsked. Asshole I thought. He’s fuckin with my mind. It must be him keeping me from writing the vamps. SOB needs a kick in the ass.
“Better watch it, Ivan Komar- the Kartal- I can just as easily write your story. Don’t think you want everyone to know where you hid all those bodies…..”
Oh, score. He let go of me.
“Don’t go there with Vastian. He’s important to my cause.” His warning rang loud as a bell toll.
Go where? I pondered again. Come on, throw me a bone. “I am going there Ivan. So, why don’t you just stop playing puppet master and let my muses go free?”
One side of Ivan’s mouth kicked up. “You know I am not the one in charge. That’s Aleksi. But, in this, he and I are on the same page.”
Me, blink…smirk…aha! “Very well then. I will take this up with Aleksi. I’m sure he and I can come to a solution.”
“I wouldn’t count on it.” Ivan pivoted on his heel and strode into the vast white canvas. A few beats passed and he stopped. Peering over his broad shoulder, he pinned me with a heated stare. “You know the scientists would love to get their hands on Nathalia. Her father is searching for her.”
Me…lamblasted. “Huh?” was my stellar reply. But, wait, her father is dead, was my mental rebuttal. HOW do I not know this, aren’t I the author? Sheesh.
“Let that be a warning.” He slashed his hand through the air and on a blink vanished.
And that leaves me with more questions then before. All I could think of was that I could be relieved that Ivan didn’t mention Gunnar at all. If he knew what I was doing with that male and his mate, all hell would break loose inside my head. Ivan is going to be soooo pissed.
Freaking Ivan. Someday, he is so going to get his comeuppance.
If you didn’t get to see the interview that Vivien Jackson did with Mikhail Komar over at Romance Writer’s Behaving Badly, last week, well you are in luck. In order to start my new Monday blog postings with Mikhail, I am reposting his interview a little at a time for you to enjoy. After that is completed, Mikhail will hang out with me on Mondays, blogging about a variety of different topics, all with his smart-ass, naughty point of view. He loves questions, too. So, feel free to ask away.
First up though, is a little picture I have been using as Mikhailinspiration:
Now onto the interview questions.
Vivien Jackson: Hi. You’re pretty.
Mikhail Komar: Come again? Let’s talk about this pretty thing.
VJ: Pretty old, I mean. Pretty old. Right? Exactly how old are we talkin?
MK: I’m the baby of the family and coming up on my century and a half birthday. It’s going to be a big bash. Since I used to devise many ways to flirt with the coterie of the Grand Duchess Maria, I’d say I’m old enough.
VJ: Grand Duchess… okaaaay. That qualifies as old. And your full name is Mikhail Komar. What kind of name is that?
MK: It comes from the aristocratic lineage of my forbears who settled in Abkhazia. Any vampire with that name is proud and noble.
VJ: Abkhazia. Wow, that’s a lot of consonants. Does anybody ever call you Misha?
*A Sunday Bloody Sunday ringtone interupts this conversation.*
Winking at Miss Jackson, Mikhail stands up and paces away. A rapid fire conversation follows in Turkish. A moment later he returns, and bends down to whisper in her ear.
MK: I must go now, duty calls. Don’t worry though, doll, I’ll let you know the answer to that question, next week.
With that, he vanishes into thin air.
Come back next week to see more of their interview.
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