Book Title: Blooded
Author: Nat Kennedy
Cover Artist: Silvana Sanchez – Selfpub Designs
Release Date: September 25, 2021
Tropes: Hurt/comfort, antagonists to allies/lovers, past student/teacher, vampire blood feeding, vampire blood bond
Themes: Redemption, Personal Acceptance
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 113 500 words/290 pages
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
How far will two sorcerers go to save humanity? Will they give up their lives? Will they give up their hearts?
A broken mage. A penitent vampire. Can they put aside the horrors of the past to save each other?
Plagued with erratic. volatile magic, Nicodemus Green focuses his entire life to stop an evil sorcerer who brainwashes or kills anyone in his path to domination. Ten years into this crusade, Nick stumbles upon his former Academy instructor in the Austrian Alps. The strict and pious Byron Domitius has cloistered himself in an isolated manor. Alone and starving, he hates the twisted, damned creature he has become.
A prophecy calls for Nick and Byron to bond by blood to finally bring an end to the sorcerer’s hidden agenda. The two are forced to see beyond their shared past, and Nick finds himself desiring more from his old instructor than just his magic. But are these emotions real, or do they come from the heat of their bond?
Excerpt – Stargazing
They stood side by side, almost close, looking up at the twinkling stars. Byron pointed, and Nick followed his finger to the sky.
“Perseus,” Byron said. “Do you see that, the upper right branch of Perseus? Do you know what I’m talking about?”
“I had astronomy with you two years in a row. Or did you forget?”
“I didn’t forget. I nurtured the assumption that you and your gang of goons had more important things to do than pay attention in my class.”
“Goons? We did pay attention. I know the constellation.” He didn’t remember it from Byron’s class, though. They had a Mentor of the Month who lived at an observatory near the top of Mt. St. Helens in Washington, and they’d spent hours staring at the stars. It had been windy and cold, and the sky had been clear, the stars brilliant.
“Fine. That star, the bright one, is Algol. It means Demon Head. Fitting for the constellation that is supposed to hold the head of Medusa.”
Nick hmmed to show he was listening. Byron’s voice was soothing, deep and quiet in the dark of night. Comfortable. Safe. “Algol is actually a tertiary star, but the third star is so weak, it puts off little shine. It’s used by celestials as a binary system to imbue power into obsidian.”
“A twin star.” Suddenly invested, Nick gazed up with a sense of wonder. “Is that the power that was in my obsidian, sir?”
Byron nodded, then turned to Nick, his dark eyes fathomless, his face young and smooth and illuminated from above. “Yes. There are two stars there, circling one another. Their individual gravitational pull keeps them in a perfect orbit, tethered in their eternal spin. And together, they are brighter for it,” he said softly, reverently. The air felt heavy, and then Byron faced the sky.
Nick watched his old professor out of the corner of his eyes, unmoving, like a statue, gazing upon the night sky with a depth of sorrow and yearning Nick couldn’t understand, never could understand, even after his years of wandering. He wanted to reach out, touch him, perhaps melt his cold flesh, make him come alive with contact, and then he realized he was staring and thinking inappropriate things.
He cleared his throat.
“Well, I should get back in, Byron. Enjoy your evening.”
Byron slowly looked down at him, a small smile on his lips, not a smirk, but a close cousin like he could read Nick’s thoughts. Felt Nick’s desire like a breeze on his arms.
“You as well.”
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
Hi Bayou Book Junkie! Let me start by thanking you for this opportunity to answer your questions. I’m Nat Kennedy and I live on the West Coast, USA. I write mainly gay fantasy with romantic subplots that can (often?) include steamy scenes. My books always include magic, a bit of angst, dedicated and supportive romantic partners, and dastardly bad guys. In the romance subcategory, I always deliver an HEA.
I love both dogs and cats, though I’m more of a cat lady now (living in the city.) I love hiking and camping and for those on my Instagram (@natkennedybooks), you can see a lot of pictures from those adventures (and of my cat’s fuzzy mug).
My goal is to entertain my readers with good plot and well-developed and engaging fantasy worlds. I hope to thrill them with unique characters they can feel for or relate to. Writing to me is a time-consuming yet enriching endeavor. I always have new ideas bubbling up in my head, but not that much time to write (I have a day job.)
Congratulations on your new release! Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Thank you! I’ve been working on Blooded for about three years now. It’s so exciting to be at the publishing phase of any long project.
Blooded comes out on September 25! It’s is a contemporary fantasy with a thick romantic subplot involving a vampire and mage. There are heavy doses of angst and a redemption arc. All of my favorites! Byron (the vampire) and Nick (the mage) are battling against an evil megalomaniac (heroes need an evil counterpart – Sauron, Voldemort, Palpatine) to assure he doesn’t gain enough power to rule the world. The real story is about the characters learning to live with the lives the dice have given them. The dice don’t seem to be kind, but there is often a silver lining.
I have a lot of themes/bridges going on. Like Nick Green, the mage, is a child of Eos (goddess of the dawn) while Byron Domitius, the vampire, is a creature of the night. There’s themes of accepting oneself and a wonderful redemption arc.
The book starts while Nick is graduating from magic school and Byron is an instructor. They didn’t get along. Wormwood, an evil sorcerer killing, kidnapping, and brainwashing any he chooses, strikes the population. Then we jump to ten years later, when Nick and his friends are burned out and have a lack of empathy, and Byron has been made into a vampire and is wasting away.
They meet, sparks fly, and prophecy happens. The rest you’ll have to find out in the book.
Byron Domitius, my religious, angsty vampire is my favorite. He’s got personality. I imagine Nathan Page, who plays Inspector Jack Robinson in Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, to play him in the movie version. 😉 He’s got a hidden backstory and a list of crimes he feels he must atone for. I have love for characters who walk a redemption path. I hope I did his with enough panache as to make you love him too.
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
I want to be a good, dedicated plotter. I had an amazing plot outline ONCE. And I blew through that book (it’s a travel adventure-fantasy, in the veins of the Hobbit, but with more romance and sex.). It was so easy to write with an outstanding outline. But it doesn’t always work that way. Often, I don’t have a full outline/idea of the book when I want to start writing. And I don’t want my lack of an outline to stop my forward progress. But books I pants more than plot need five times more editing. Often I have to chop away full scenes, rearrange things, add new subplots, etc. So, I’m not sure I’ve saved time, but I always feel better when I’m making some progress, even if it’s not that great. It’s probably why the road to publishing is a long haul for me.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
I get things done when a deadline is coming up. So, I guess they motivate me, but I don’t really like the pressure.
Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
My most productive, coherent writing happens when I’m on a schedule. I like to be able to write two hours a day (I’ve been part of the 5 Am Writer’s club on Twitter.) but that’s hard with a full time job. If I can dedicated at least one hour a day to a writing project, I feel more productive, my story flows better, and the world is shiny rainbows and daisies. Well, close, anyway.
This doesn’t always happen. And I would like to keep it so, but life isn’t that predictable.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
The ending. I had a darker idea but then changed it so things weren’t so dreary (I’ve had too much dreary lately). Also, I had written myself into a plot hole I had to then write myself out of, and make the magic simpler and more easy to follow. Some romance readers get lost in the fantasy aspect and I try to make sure my books are understandable by all.
What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
Fantasy with deep world building. I do like all genres, though. I prefer print hands down. Real book please! Also I like reading in the tub and I’m not subjecting my tablet to such dastardly conditions. But ebook is very easy. Just hit the buy button and it’s on my tablet. Modern Magic!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. When it’s a struggle… it’s exhausting. When I’m in my stride and I think I’ve written the next great novel, I’m totally amped.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would say “Self, start self-publishing, now.” Because those authors made it big. I didn’t feel my writing was up to snuff at the time, and I’m not one of those people who jump on a ‘fad’ until it’s no longer a fad. But that’s what I would have done for my writing career. Started earlier.
What is your favorite underappreciated novel?
Have you read “A Night in the Lonesome October” by Roger Zelazny? Have you heard of it? I think it’s underappreciated and it’s brilliant. Plus, it’s told from the dog’s POV. It’s okay, he’s a familiar.
What did you edit out of this book?
Nick has a bit of a sexual crisis where he claims he’s bi because he doesn’t like anal sex. He must not really be gay because he doesn’t like penetrative sex, right? Well, it’s a minor arc of his, and I had written a sex scene where he’s the bottom and I just thought, well that’s stupid. He doesn’t like that, why put that in? So, slash and dash, that scene was cut.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Random methods. I like old fashioned names, so that’s one reason I grabbed Nicodemus and Byron, plus Byron is a bit of a poet at heart.
What were your goals for this book? Did you achieve them?
Oh, man. Such a hard question. My goal for any book is to write something to entertain. But I really wanted to play with dichotomy in this book. We have Nick as the Child of the Dawn and Byron as the vampire, trapped in night. There’s Nick coming to terms with his concept of sex and Byron coming to terms with his being a vampire. There’s star references throughout which I loved seeding in there. I think the ‘poetry’ of this book is nice, not in the writing, but in the framework. That was fun and I enjoyed it.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
I’m usually listening to an audiobook, but I do find ‘driving meditation’ to be a great way to just fumble through the things nagging at you, a chance to work out some problems or let them rile you up some more. I need to stop letting them rile me up.
What were you like in high school?
Even then I read a lot. I’m a small town girl who attended the lone high school in town. Very cliquey. I grew up somewhat poor, so that always hung over my head. I was in sports and upper level classes and was in drama. Friend’s groups didn’t often mix, you stuck with your people. I want to say I was average. Not popular, not an outcast. But I was very sensitive, a delicate little flower. I’m pretty armored now, though. Thank God.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I like the coffee flavored kinds. Yumm. But dairy hates me, so I have to eat a nut milk version.
If you could time-travel, where would you go and when?
I’m an adventurer by nature. So, perhaps the era of Lewis and Clark, or even earlier, one of the explorers bound for the new world or marching through Africa. I could zap to the future, too. Visit other planets. Though, I’m thinking the hardships of living in the past and for those on tiny space ships would probably shock me into wanting to flee home to a recognizable world.
It was wonderful to stop by and share a little about myself with your followers. Thanks for having me!
About the Author
Nat Kennedy writes fantasy fiction of all kinds. She strives to create engaging, plotty romantic stories. In her worlds, Heroes abound. She lives in the Pacific Northwest where the rain keeps the world green. Find her online at natkennedy.com or on IG natkennedybooks.
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