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.”
Q & A With Nat Kennedy
Introduce yourself and your writing
Hello Never Hollowed by the Stare! Let me start by thanking you for this opportunity to answer your questions. (I’m a huge fan of BL manga, too!) 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.
How long have you been an author?
Some say, it’s in the blood. Is that true? Storytelling has always been an interest of mine. When I was wee, I wrote awkward poetry that only a mother could love. I’d written stories based on my roleplaying game characters in my early post college years. In 2004, I completed my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month), and that’s when I finished my first ‘novel’ of over 50,000 words. My first published piece, Edge of Desperation, was self-published on Amazon in 2016.
Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it?
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.
The novel was inspired by a poem, actually. The Old Astronomer by Sarah Williams. The quote that drew me to write this story is listed in the opening to the novel, but I’ll share it here. “Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” I read this excerpt in another angsty book, and it just struck me as VAMPIRE. Then I stared thinking of the stars and loving them. That helped me devise my magical system, which takes power from the stars. It’s amazing one how little thing like a poem sparks an entire novel. But, that’s where it came from.
And once I thought about vampires, I wanted to write steamy vampire feeding scenes. Really, that was what it was all about.
How did you decide on the title?
Blooded has kind of a double meaning. It’s a vampire book, so blood is involved. Also, it’s part of the World. In this book, there are beings called Pure, who are pure magical beings such as muses, angels, yokai, immortals, elementals, etc…. There are a lot of versions. Whenever they intermixed with humans, those children were called blooded, because they carried the blood of a Pure. Only blooded can perform magic. Several centuries ago the majority of Pure were banished… but that’s a bit of a mystery of the novel, so I won’t go into that any more.
Are there any genres you prefer to write and if so, why?
I’m definitely a spec fic (Speculative fiction – i.e. fantasy, science fiction, horror) writer, because the worlds offer more to play with and I like to make things up. But really, my true love is fantasy. It’s been my main genre since eighth grade. Writing fantasy is pure escapism. Anything goes with magic. The rules don’t apply (which isn’t true, because magic does have rules, but they’re your rules. See, you’re like a god.) I think that’s a big part of it. I can make stuff up, and look, Magic! It expands the universe. Gives a sense of the unknown to the reader that more contemporary or even science fiction works don’t.
Initially, I liked to lift up gay characters. Often, they were back burner characters and I wanted them to stand in the spotlight. Also, I never liked heterosexual romance because there seemed to be a power imbalance where the woman was always ‘lesser’. Too often the women were written in ways that I didn’t enjoy. Now, this isn’t so true anymore. I should probably give modern romance a try. Voices, styles, tropes are always changing.
Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they?
I read anything. Seriously. From gay fantasy/romance, to fantasy (contemporary, urban, epic, you name it) to science fiction. Horror was a childhood favorite I still revisit. Mysteries and thrillers are a bit newer for me, and Westerns are the newest. I do find I burn out on a certain style of book and need to switch to something else. Westerns are the ‘new flavor’ to keep me reading. And I read a classic here or there.
I don’t like ‘grim dark’ or rape/torture focused fiction and I don’t like agenda-focused books (don’t preach at me!). So, I guess I don’t read anything.
What book are you reading at the moment?
The last book I finished was “In the Heart of the Fire” by Dean Koontz. Koontz is one of my horror favorites (especially is older stuff that I read in high school.) I loved the vigilante justice of our Nameless hero. He’s a guy doing bad things for a good reason. Hmm, I think I see a pattern. I like heroes, I like redemption arcs.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
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 you write often? Do you have a schedule?
When I’m ‘on’, I write an hour or so a day. I have a full time job, so it’s not easy. When I’m off, traveling, not feeling it, work is draining, etc., I can go several days without writing. But that’s rare. I have a critique group that meets tri-weekly and that really helps my forward momentum. I guess I need outside pressure. 🙂
What are your writing and personal goals for 2021 and beyond?
My goals are always overrun by life. For 2021, I will publish Blooded and I’ve an historical romantic fantasy novelette I want to polish up that I’d written in early 2020. I’m also working on another book that I hope to complete the rough first/draft by November, so I can start a new NaNoWriMo, which hopefully will be the third in my adventure series. I’ve a lot of rough drafts. Polishing is what takes years. I can’t publish several books a year like many authors. Those authors amaze me.
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Tell us about your pets.
I love both. I grew up with both on a big farm. We raised show quality Afghan Hounds, and cats were everywhere. Now, that I’m in a condo in the city, I have one cat. She has an automatic pet feeder and an automatic treat dispenser and I’m currently trying to train her to hit a button to drop a treat. It’s not going so well. Chickens can do this, but apparently it’s a tougher chore for a cat. You can drop by my instagram (@natkennedybooks) if you want to see her cut fuzzy mug.
If you had access to a time machine just once, is there anything you’d go back and change? Either on a personal level or an historical event?
Oh my! Don’t get me started. I’ve a list. A very long list! I think that, from a writing standpoint, I would go back and tell myself to start self-publishing the minute it started, 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.
I also would take my college-aged self and tell her a few things, like enjoy life more and avoid that boy and have more confidence in yourself. Buck up buttercup!
If you could choose any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it?
This is as hard as the previous question!!! I want them all! If I could only have one, it would be shapechanging. I would love to turn into a bird and fly, or run like a horse, galloping over the land. I am an animal lover and being able to turn into a cat and talk to her would dazzle my world! Unless she told me she hated me, then I would cry.
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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