Review: Blood Vice by Keith Melton

Blood Vice by Keith Melton

Blood Vice by Keith Melton
Book 1, The Nightfall Syndicate Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Year: 2009 (December 1, 2009)
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60504-441-5 (Samhain Publishing)
My Copy: eBook received from author

Mafia hit man. Vampire. The criminal underworld just got a whole lot darker.

Business has never been better for hit man Karl Vance. Boston is awash in mafia blood, and Vance has a certain fondness for blood. He’s a master vampire—one of the most powerful of his kind. Having sworn to never again feed on the blood of innocents, Karl preys instead on Boston’s criminal underworld. Which makes him a valuable asset to those who deal in death.

Maria Ricardi intends to use that asset to its full extent in order to gain power within her patriarchal crime family. Vance thinks he’s been hired to keep track of the family’s princess, but she’s got a plan to get her hands dirty and earn the respect she deserves. And she’s not above using their instant attraction to get what she wants.

That driving ambition draws the attention of a rival clan’s newest and most dangerous “consultant.” Alejandro Delgado, Vance’s centuries-old nemesis. Delgado zeroes in on the one chink in Vance’s armor—his fondness for the headstrong Maria.

When she becomes enslaved by Delgado’s unnatural kiss, only one thing is certain. Vance has to decide which he wants more. To settle the score—or rescue her soul.

My Ramblings:

Blood Vice by Keith Melton throws you head long into the dark, cruel world of the mafia crime syndicate filled with fascinating characters, starting on page one. I loved the mafia elements and dark, gritty atmosphere in the book. The romance between Karl and Maria unfolds at a slow pace, with the right amount of tension however is more of a subplot instead of a main attraction to the story. The story is told alternating between the main characters Karl Vance and Maria Ricardi's point of views, but for the most part you hear from Karl. The plot moves at a smooth pace with plenty of suspense and intrigue to keep you interested.

The vampires in this world are both beautiful and terrifying, with a cruel streak. They are not the romantic kind with souls that you see a lot of now a days in the realm of vampires. These vampires are very close to how vampires are traditionally betrayed in horror. They can tolerate no sunlight, they are damned and are the ultimate predator. There are many more traits with one that has an added spin, that I found very unique, but you’ll need to read for yourself to find out.

Karl Vance is dark and brooding, and very self-sufficient in his lucrative business as a mafia hit man. He has the air of a man/vamp who can handle anything that comes his way with confidence and efficiency. He’s also use to being alone and wears his loneness as his own albatross. Maria Ricardi is an Italian mob boss's princess of a daughter, use to getting what she wants, when she wants it. I didn't really like Maria very much when I first met her in beginning of the story because of her self-serving attitude and being so intent on gaining respect from the mob family - at any cost. She came across as being too cold in her emotions and I wanted to see more warmth. But she grew on me as her character developed throughout the story, especially when it became clear that Maria would be the ideal match for Karl.

Alejandro Delgado, is the ultimate bad vamp with the stench of dread surrounding him. He will give you the creepy crawlies along with his terrifying minions because you’ll only expect the very worst from them.

I’d like to mention a character that caught my attention, Xiesha. Karl saved Xiesha from the Order of the Thorns, a secret sect that guards humans against supernatural beings, and she has since guarded Vance during the day while he sleeps as repayment. There was so much mystery surrounding her character, that I'm absolutely intrigued by her and her past. I hope to learn more about Xiesha in the next book.

I really enjoyed reading Blood Vice and I’m looking forward to seeing what's next in the Nightfall Syndicate series. I think anyone looking for a dark urban fantasy that borders on horror, would find Blood Vice an exciting and enjoyable read.

My Rating: Really Liked It

Places you can find Keith Melton: Web Site | MySpace | Twitter

The Nightfall Syndicate Series:

  1. Blood Vice

Other Ramblings:

Servant of a Dark God by John Brown - Winners!

The Prize:

Giveaway Comment/Question: Leave a comment naming your favorite fantasy character(s).


The Winners:

Jaime (Revenge of the Book Nerds) Said, “This sounds GREAT! Thanks for the great contest!
The answer to this question is difficult but I think because I am on an R.A. Salvatore kick I will say right now my favorite Fantasy Character is Drizzt.”

Amy C (Romance Book Wyrm) Said, “This book sounds great. I don't know how I missed this post before.
My favorite fantasy character, that's kind of an easy one...Daemon Sadi from the Black Jewels Trilogy. And then his brother, Lucivar Yoslana.”

Thank you everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway.

Servant of a Dark God: | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository US | The Book Depository UK

Places you can find John Brown: Web Site | Blog | Twitter


Nancy Holder Giveaway Winner

Prize: The following five books by Nancy Holder and a tin of Wicked green apple mints

Wicked: Witch and Curse  by Nancy Holder Wicked: Legacy and Spellbound by Nancy Holder Wicked: Resurrection by Nancy Holder Possessions by Nancy Holder Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder
Wicked 1: Witch & Curse Wicked 2: Legacy & Spellbound
Wicked 3: Resurrection
Pretty Little Devils

Giveaway Comment/Question: Leave a comment or question for Nancy.


Winner: SusiSunshine (The Geeky Bookworm) Said, “Wow, Dreamworks. That's just great! And I have to admit I'm such a great Buffy and Angel fan- I loved these books.
And I'm happy to meet another SG-1 fangirl. I so love Jack!!
So I have an unusual question: What's you favorite episodeof SG-1? Mine is the one with the Fruit Loops(and I so hope they are called the same in the US-sorry I'm German)
Thanks for the great interview!”

Thank you everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway.

Places you can find Nancy Holder: Web Site | Blog | Twitter


Giveaways Ending Soon - Don't Miss out!

I hope everyone had a wonderful time and didn't eat too much yesterday. I know did, a lot of pumpkin pie with tons of whipped cream. Well, make that anything with pumpkin in it, I ate it. Yum!

There are a couple of giveaways ending soon here on Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings and I didn't want anyone to miss out so hence the reminder. *grins*

The giveaway for the following five books by Nancy Holder and a tin of Wicked green apple mints ends TONIGHT at 8 PM CST. Click here to enter.

Wicked: Witch and Curse  by Nancy Holder Wicked: Legacy and Spellbound by Nancy Holder Wicked: Resurrection by Nancy Holder Possessions by Nancy Holder Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder
Wicked 1: Witch & Curse Wicked 2: Legacy & Spellbound
Wicked 3: Resurrection
Pretty Little Devils

The giveaway for two copies of Servant for a Dark God by John Brown ends this coming Sunday at 8 PM CST. Click here to enter.

Category: 3 comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone enjoys and cherishes their time with family and friends over this long holiday weekend. For those this day is not a holiday, I hope the same for you. Because you don't need a holiday to enjoy the company of family and friends.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

- John F. Kennedy

Free Reads and Giveaways Roundup – 11/25/09

Free Reads:
Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding

On the Suvudu blog they are featuring an original short story by Kelly Meding in celebration of her new urban fantasy Three Days to Dead.

The Hoarder by Kelly Meding


Janicu’s Book Blog has a list of free reads available from for the Kindle/iPhone/iTouch.

Giveaways Around the Virtual World:

As always, I hope you find a new a book or an author that you've not heard of before listed here. Good Luck! The ongoing contest list is on my blog's sidebar.

New Book Releases for Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Fantasy – November 24, 2009

A lot of great looking new releases today. I know there are a couple here I want to get my hot little hands on. Enjoy!

If you have a book review for any of the new releases listed here, link it in comments and I will be happy to add it to this post. Or if I missed a new book release, please let me know so I can add it also.

November 24, 2009


Veil of Shadows by Jennifer Armintrout
Book 3, Light World/Dark World Series

Old gods new betrayals

With the immortal denizens of the subterranean Lightworld and Darkworld societies locked in battle, the heiress to the Faery throne is exiled to the human realm above. Accompanied to the Upworld by her mother s most trusted adviser, Cerridwen is bound for Eire and the last Fae stronghold on earth. But even this fabled colony is no true haven.

During the Queene's banishment, the high priestess Danae established herself as ruler and she does not wish to relinquish her power, especially over the devout humans who live among the Fae as servants. Torn between her own beliefs and the ideals her mother died for, Cerridwen searches for clues to her destiny is it on earth among the humans, or beyond an ethereal portal, in the immortals ancestral home? Neither path can avert bloodshed and the choice may not be hers to make.


The Seven Rays by Jessica Bendinger
YA Fantasy

Summary (Simon & Schuster)
You are more than you think you are.

THAT IS THE ANONYMOUS MESSAGE that Beth Michaels receives right before she starts seeing things. Not just a slept-through my-alarm-clock, late-for-homeroom, haven't had-my-caffeine-fix kind of seeing things. It all starts with some dots, annoying pink dots that pop up on and over her mom and her best friend's face. But then things get out of control and Beth is seeing people's pasts, their fears, their secrets, their desires. The images are coming at Beth in hi-def streaming video and she can't stop it. Everyone thinks she's crazy and she's pretty sure she agrees with them. But crazy doesn't explain the gold envelopes that have started arriving, containing seeing keys and mysterious tarot cards. To Beth, it all seems too weird to be true. You are more than you think you are? But here's the thing: What if she is?

- Reviewed by


First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
Book 6, Codex Alera

For years he has endured the endless trials and triumphs of a man whose skill and power could not be restrained. Battling ancient enemies, forging new alliances, and confronting the corruption within his own land, Gaius Octavian became a legendary man of war-and the rightful First Lord of Alera.

But now, the savage Vord are on the march, and Gaius must lead his legions to the Calderon Valley to stand against them-using all of his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness.

- Reviewed by


Vampire Sunrise by Carole Nelson Douglas
Book 3, Delilah Street Series
Urban Fantasy


Werewolf mobsters and vampires run Vegas, but that's yesterday's news for Delilah Street, paranormal investigator. What's truly fearsome is her bloody discovery of an undead evil rooted in ancient Egypt. Now, with her lover Ric fighting for life after a grim battle, the chips are down.

But Delilah is a born winner who has never let a little danger throw off her game, and she's been learning fast since she came to Sin City. Her affinity for silver is making mirror-walking a real breeze, and being forced to accept the albino rock star sorcerer Snow's Brimstone Kiss has ramped up her powers to a startling new level. With the help of her trusty uber-wolfhound Quicksilver, not to mention the orange demon parking valet Manny, Delilah is determined to solve even more paranormal secrets, and hopefully save the few innocents left in town. But can Delilah win her high-stakes gamble for life and love against ancient gods and lethal supernatural odds?


Torn by Julie Kenner
Book 2, The Blood Lily Chronicles
Urban Fantasy

Lily is in trouble of the deepest kind. Having been tricked by the forces of evil, she killed what she thought were "demons" at will. Now, she knows better, and with a little help from half-angel, half-demon Deacon Camphire, she must try to take down the bad guys from within as a double agent.


Unleashed by John Levitt
Book 3, Dog Days Series
Urban Fantasy

Mason is an enforcer, keeping magical practitioners on the straight and narrow. His "dog" Louie, is a faithful familiar who's proven over and over that he's a practitioner's best friend. But this time, Louie's in the line of fire when practitioners in San Francisco accidentally unleash a monster into the world.

- Reviewed by:

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
Book 1, Charlie Madigan Series
Urban Fantasy

Summary: Unleashed by John Levitt
Atlanta: it's the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil....

Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She's recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim -- but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?

- Reviewed by


Rion by Susan Kearney
Book 2, The Pendragon Legacy
Paranormal Romance

Marisa Rourke is a beautiful, fearless telepath who tames dragonshapers on Earth. Rion is a tall, dark, and sexy space explorer whose home planet is a galaxy away. The attraction between them is undeniable, but Rion is hiding a desperate secret that will change Marisa's life forever.

Marisa's gift is the only way Rion can communicate with his people, enslaved by a powerful enemy. He knows that kidnapping her is wrong, but saving his planet is worth sparking the fiery clairvoyant's fury. Yet hotter-and more explosive-is the psychic bond growing between Marisa and Rion. Could their passion be the key to freeing Rion's people? Only if he and Marisa can discover how to channel their desire . . . before a vicious enemy destroys them all.

- Reviewed by


Three Days To Dead by Kelly Meding
Book 1, Evy Stone Series
Urban Fantasy

They’ll never see her coming. . . .

When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue—in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there—her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night she and the two other members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters, mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls. Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor—and she can’t even remember what it was.

Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice—and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off. Because in three days Evy will die again—but this time there’s no second chance. . . .

- Reviewed by


Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow
Book 4, Jill Kismet Series
Urban Fantasy

The Cirque de Charnu has come.

They will clean out the demons and the suicides, and move on. As long as they stay within the rules, Jill Kismet can't deny them entry. But she can watch--and if they step out of line, she'll send them packing.

When Cirque performers start dying grotesquely, Kismet has to find out why, or the fragile truce won't hold and her entire city will become a carnival of horror. She also has to play the resident hellbreed power against the Cirque to keep them in line, and find out why ordinary people are needing exorcisms. And then there's the murdered voodoo practitioners, and the zombies.

An ancient vengeance is about to be enacted. The Cirque is about to explode. And Jill Kismet is about to find out some games are played for keeps...


Dark Side of Dawn by Kathryn Smith
Book 2, The Nightmare Chronicles
Urban Fantasy

Life can be a nightmare. Literally.

On the surface, it might seem like I, Dawn Riley, have it all. I've got a great job, a boyfriend who loves me . . . but my family life is a different story.

As the mortal daughter of the King of Dreams, I have an ability to exist between both worlds . . . which is terrifying to some. Now the Nightmare Council claims I've broken their laws and is threatening to have me "unmade." And if that's not bad enough, I need to track down a vicious criminal responsible for several savage attacks—before he finds me.

I'm lucky enough to have Noah by my side, and he'll do whatever it takes so that we can have a future together. In the end, though, this is my battle. The fate of a world rests upon my shoulders, and it seems the best that I can hope for is not to die in my sleep . . .

- Reviewed by

-- Summaries are from unless otherwise stated.

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay - Winner


Prize: A copy of The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

Giveaway Comment/Question: Leave a comment or a question for Kelly.

Winner: ParaJunkee (Parajunkee's View) Said, “I have been dying to read this book. Please enter me.”

Thank you everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway.

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository US | Book Depository UK

Places you can find Kelly Gay: Web Site | Blog | Twitter 






Amazon gift certificate - Winner


Prize: $10 Gift Certificate

Giveaway Comment/Question: “What do you love about witches?” and/or leave a comment or question for Heather.

Winner: Chris (Stumbling Over Chaos) Said, “I think, due to the sorts of witch books I've been reading lately, I'm more likely to think chick lit heroine than Wizard of Oz when I think witch!”

Thank you everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway.

Prime Evil by Heather Long - Sapphire Blue Publishing

Places you can find Heather Long: Web Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | MySpace





Giveaway: Servant of a Dark God by John Brown *~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~

~*~*~*~*~*~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks to Tor Books and John Brown, I have two copies of Servant of a Dark God for a give away. Also, I had a fun interview with John here, hop over and check it out if you hadn't already.

Read the first eight chapters of Servant of a Dark God.

The launch of a towering new fantasy series introduces an elaborate new world, a strange and dark system of magic, and a cast of compelling characters and monsters. Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person’s life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal from man and beast and become twisted by their polluted draws, know the secrets of this power. This land’s Divine has gone missing and soul-eaters are found among Talen’s people.

The Clans muster a massive hunt, and Talen finds himself a target. Thinking his struggle is against both soul-eaters and their hunters, Talen actually has far larger problems. A being of awesome power has arisen, one whose diet consists of the days of man. Her Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle. She has emerged to take back what is rightfully hers. Trapped in a web of lies and ancient secrets, Talen must struggle to identify his true enemy before the Mother finds the one whom she will transform into the lord of the human harvest.

Places you can find John Brown: Web Site | Blog | Twitter


  1. Leave a comment naming your favorite fantasy character(s).
  2. For an extra entry, spread the word about this giveaway: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. - leave a link in the comments.
  3. Leave your email with your comment ONLY IF it is NOT part of your profile.
  4. This giveaway is open to the US and Canada.
  5. Giveaway ends on Sunday, November 29th at 8PM CST.
  6. Servant of a Dark God will be mailed to the winners by Tor Books.
Good Luck!

Interview: Author John Brown


Today, John Brown is here answering a few questions about his debut fantasy novel Servant of a Dark God, which just released this past October. I hope you enjoy this Q&A with John as much as I did; he has a great sense of humor and quite an imagination.

In the near future look for a review for Servant of a Dark God from Patrick of Preternatural Reviews here at Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings.

UPDATE: I'm giving away two copies of Servant of a Dark God here.

Welcome John!

First of all, John tell us a little about yourself.
To begin with I want to thank you for having me on your blog, Donna. As for the question: my mother was a hamster and my father smelled of elderberries. Alas. Actually, my father was a pugilist florist and my mother was a literature nut. So I was raised on violence, manly deeds, and Shakespeare. But I wasn't predestined from birth to write. I strayed from the path and got a degree in accounting. Fitzed around. Currently, I train people on ERP software by day. By night, actually by morning, I write.

ServantOfADarkGod SERVANT OF A DARK GOD is your debut novel, tell us about it.
It's an epic fantasy with a number of twists. One of them has to do with how I got the core idea. I live up in the hinterlands of Utah. It's all ranch land for miles and miles. My wife dragged me back here. I didn't want to come because I'm a city boy, but I came and everything up here was new to me. Including cows. Living in the city cows are really only something you see on TV or in the distance. I didn't know cows.

So one day I was hiking up a canyon working on the concept of a new novel and came across a small herd of cattle on their summer range. The bull was bellowing. Being of supreme intelligence, I bellowed back because, hey, isn't it everyone's dream to talk to animals? We went back and forth a few times. I thought we were having a fine conversation until he began to charge through the willows at me. I suddenly realized I was telling him I was going to take one of his women.

The short version of the story is I escaped. But I began to think: humans, cows, ranching--what if humans were ranched? But not for their flesh. I thought if souls exist, they’re physical. And so what would happen if there was a food chain based on that? Furthermore, if you were ranching intelligent beings, you wouldn’t want them to know it. You’d want them to think they were governing themselves. So in the story the truth is buried deep, and the human overseers mercilessly hunt anyone who show any sign of discovering what’s going on. The book focuses on a teenage boy and girl. The problems in this book start when one of these hunts targets the teenage girl’s family.

How did you come up with the title?
Brainstorming. Thinking about aspects of the story and more brainstorming. I also paid a little man who said he could spin gold from straw. But it was mostly brainstorming. I made a huge list of titles. I put them out to my writing groups for votes.  In the end it came down to these:

  • Servant of a Dark God
  • Lord of Grass and Stone
  • Thrall
  • The Goat King's Heir
  • Man of Grass
  • The Raveler

I'm very happy with the one I picked. Some of the others that made the final list are just blah.

How did you come up with the characters?
Same way I come up with anything—I follow sparks of interest and ask question. Each character came in different ways. Hunger I stole from a short story I'd written earlier. Stole him and changed what he was made of.  Prunes and Gid came from a free write. Talen came from an initial idea I had about a father and son. Once I have an initial idea, whatever that may be, the characters start to build by accretion. I'll write a scene and make something up. Or I'll need to ask a question and generate an interesting answer. So each character is built from ideas that come from a number of places.

What was the hardest part of writing SERVANT OF A DARK GOD?
I think getting the sequencing of the beginning chapters right. Chapter 5 actually used to be chapter 1. We went through three or four versions until we came up with the current one. I like it a lot. It's not the excitement of impending death, but how many stories start with a guy in his underwear?

Are you happy with cover art for your book? Did you get any say so in the cover art?
Love the cover art. Raymond Swanland is amazing. But I had no say in it. Tor chose the artist, gave him some suggestions, then he read the book and came up with the image himself.  I was very pleased to see that Swanland included Sugar holding one of the ravelers or hag's teeth. They're one of the coolest weapons I've ever come up with.

How many books do you have planned for the Dark Gods saga?
Three. Not a page more. I've plotted the third and am working hard to finish the second.  I submitted and sold it as a trilogy, but Tor wanted to leave it open just in case we wanted to write more books. So "trilogy" was scrapped for "saga." And I might add other stories at some time in the future. I love this world and these characters, but I've got a number of other stories just busting to get out. So the next few projects will be something else.

How does it feel to have your first book published? Has it lived up to your expectations so far?
It's been wonderful. However, it's just the first step. It's like making it to the Mt. Everest base camp. You still have a long way to go. But I'm so happy to be here. Furthermore, my agent and editors, heck, all the people at Tor, have been marvelous to work with. I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if Oprah wanted to feature my novel on her show, maybe that might sweeten the deal just a little.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Hike, mountain bike, and go to the city. I was in Chicago this summer of the American Library Association conference. There were black people, brown people, white people—so many lovely people. I love the people.

Can you tell I'm a bit starved for my city life? I love the little town I live in. It's beautiful and full of characters. But when you've got to drive an hour to get groceries and you see nothing all day but cows and hawks, well, it makes going to the city an event.

If you were interviewing yourself, what question would you ask yourself? How would you answer that question?
I think I'd ask myself "How did you get so dang good looking?" And I would answer, "A very strict regimen of Twinkies and elderberries."
And then I'd say, "You're not that good looking." And I would answer, "You're just jealous."
And then we'd devolve into a schitzo episode after which I would become crazed, live underground, and eventually bite off the finger of a little man to get his pretty ring.
Yeah, I think that's pretty much how it would go.

John - thank you for taking the time to stop by Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings.

Servant of a Dark God: | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository US | The Book Depository UK

Places you can find John Brown: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Interview & Giveaway: Author Kelly Gay *~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~

~*~*~*~*~*~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~*~*~*~*~*

I’m excited to have the lovely Kelly Gay here for a few questions today. Kelly’s fantastic Urban Fantasy The Better Part of Darkness will debut this coming Tuesday. My ramblings about this terrific read are here.

I want to share the pleasure of reading The Better Part of Darkness, that means a giveaway. One lucky commenter will get a copy for their own reading pleasure. Details are at the end of this post.

Hello Kelly!

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, let’s see… Just your average bookworm who loves to spend a lot of time in make-believe places. I have two kids, live in the ‘burbs with a Great Dane named Yeager and two very large cats (brother and sister). I’ve had a lot of random jobs through-out my life. I can drive a dump truck and a backhoe. I can tar and shingle a roof, and frame out a house. I can thread films through projectors, clean your house, wait on your table, and sell you men’s underwear (a talent, I tell you!). I spent several years working with horses – show barn manager, groom, exercise rider, but the best was playing nurse at a big breeding farm. I helped delivery sixty-five foals in one season.

THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS is your debut novel, tell us about it.
BPOD takes place in Post Revelation Atlanta about a decade after two alternate dimensions, very similar to our idea of heaven and hell, are discovered. The beings in these worlds resemble our myths of angels, demons, gods, and monsters. And since the Revelation, they’ve integrated slowly into our society, working among us, becoming law-abiding or lawbreaking (take your pick) citizens. My heroine, Charlie Madigan, is a divorced mother of one. She works for the ITF (Integration Task Force) with an off-world partner, a siren named Hank. Her job puts her right in the middle of the off-world population where she makes sure that everyone obeys the law. But when a new off-world drug is released in Underground, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there's nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won't do to set things right

How did you come up with the title for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS?
The title came before the initial idea. I was looking for a better title for a paranormal romance novel I’d written. I was just playing around putting words and phrases with ‘Darkness’ when I hit on the right combination of words. I knew it was special, so I saved it. This was also right around the time I was playing with ideas for a new story, one where I wanted to explore the what-if question: What if our myth/beliefs of heaven and hell were based in truth, in real places?

How did you come up with the characters? I'm curious because you don't see many divorced moms in Urban Fantasy as a main character.
I’m never sure how the characters come to me; they just seem to show up in the world already stewing in my head. I knew the next book I’d write would be urban fantasy, and I knew I wanted to go outside some boundaries with my heroine. From the very beginning, Charlie presented herself as a mom and a divorcee. I’d just always pictured her that way, someone with a complex past and a lot of realism living in this alternate world. The choice for me was whether to keep her a mom, since I wasn’t sure if readers would accept the whole mom/dangerous job thing. But then all I had to do was look at all these real-life women heroes. The cops, the federal agents, the women in the military, and I knew that if nothing else, it worked for Charlie and it worked for me.

What was the hardest part of writing THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS?
It wasn’t a hard book to write. The hard part was finding the time to sit down and work on it. I was pregnant, like BIG and miserable, while writing this book, taking a full course load of classes at the local college (yes, I am probably the world record holder for how long it’s taking me to finish my degree), and we’d just moved into a new house… I started feeding chapters to my critique partner, and she kept requesting more. It was her enthusiasm that made me sit down, when I was exhausted, and complete this book. My being a published author is all her fault.

Are you happy with cover art for your book? Did you get any say so in the cover art?
Yes. I’m very happy with it! When my editor told me that Chris McGrath was doing the art work, I was *happy dancing* all over the place. I know every author’s experience is different as far as input, but my editor really wanted to make sure I was happy with the cover. I was able to share my thoughts--my likes and dislikes, which were actually taken into account. In the end, though, I knew that final decisions on things would not be mine. And I totally get that part of the process. It’s business. I’m just very lucky to have an editor who thinks of our relationship as a partnership. He really wants to know how I feel about things, and I am so grateful for that!

How many books do you have planned for the Charlie Madigan series?
In my initial deal with Pocket, I sold a sequel, which is coming out Aug, 31, 2010 called THE DARKEST EDGE OF DAWN. I’ve plotted through to the third book, and have that proposal out now. I’d love to see Charlie work through some of her issues, and explore some of the relationship things that are coming her way.

How does it feel to have your first book published? Has it lived up to your expectations so far?
It feels incredible. There are some days where I have these quiet moments – like, is this for real? Is this really happening to me? I got so comfortable in my role of aspiring writer; I mean, that was a role I took on almost fifteen years, so, now, stepping into this new role – it’s still a little unbelievable at times.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’d like to sleep. But when I’m not writing, I have a million other things to do – taking care of the house, the animals, the kids… There’s hardly time when everything is done and I can just chill, but when there is, you’ll most likely find me taking a walk, coloring with my kids, or online playing Aion with my kickass female gladiator (named after a Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter character), who has wings, people! Beautiful, angelic white wings!

Congratulations on your new YA series, Gods & Monsters! The first book is titled DARKNESS BECOMES HER (I love the titles of your books), can you tell us about it?
DARKNESS BECOMES HER is my new YA novel, which releases Spring 2011 from Simon Pulse, with a second book a year later. I call the series, ‘GODS & MONSTERS’, but I don’t know yet if that will change. It’s dark, urban fantasy, set in a post apocalyptic-like New Orleans (forsaken and abandoned by the government and most of its inhabitants due to two massive hurricanes that destroyed the city a decade earlier). It's now a sanctuary for the supernatural, a place run by the Novem, nine of the oldest (and strangest) families in New Orleans.

My heroine, Ari, is a hardened teen, with some unique qualities. She’s searching for answers, clues to an obscure past that lead her to New 2 (what folks now call New Orleans). With the help of some misfit kids living in an abandoned Garden District mansion, Ari discovers a curse that has stood since the time of the gods, one that is beginning to stir inside of her and ignite the age old war between gods and monsters.

It has a dark, lush, gothic feel. The city is decaying, ebbing back into the swamps, so the atmosphere is very dark and creepy. And I'm blending some ancient mythology (the gods) and the vampire, witches, & shapeshifter mythos (the monsters) together, connecting them with an ancient curse that lives inside of my heroine.

What inspired you to write DARKNESS BECOMES HER in this setting?
My love of all things dark and creepy. And my love of New Orleans. It’s such an inspiring city with so much history and amazing architecture. But I also wanted to make the city different, to move it into the future by a decade or so, and, at the same time, make it resemble the days when the city was a frontier town and first being carved out of the swampland. Only now instead of rising out of the swamp, it’s sinking back in. And I love the idea of, for instance, the Garden District taking on an abandoned air, those great mansions being covered by Spanish moss and vines, and yet still standing and housing strange inhabitants.

How did you come up with the name 'Kelly Keaton' for your new YA series?
Keaton is a family name. My grandparents held that name, and my grandmother is credited with opening my mind to world of fairies and all things fantastical. She'd take me for walks in the woods when I was a child, holding one hand, while pointing out mushrooms and tree stumps with the other, telling me those were fairy castles and umbrellas. She had such an amazing, creative mind, and she was a big supporter of my writing dream. She passed away less than two months before I sold my first book. She would’ve been thrilled to tears to hear that news, so I’m just really proud to bear her name in this way – I know she’s getting a big kick out of it!

Kelly – thank you for stopping and answering a few of my questions!

Places you can find Kelly Gay: Web Site | Blog | Twitter

Giveaway Details:

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