Hello and welcome. Today, I’d like to introduce author Victoria Danann. Victoria has written a series of books, and she recommends they are read in sequence. I’ll let her tell you more about herself, and then she’ll tell you more about each book, show you some excerpts and answer some quick-fire questions. I’ve included links to her work and favourite haunts. Enjoy!
Though works of fiction are a departure for her, she has had this series simmering on the back burner of her mind for years. She owns 7th House Publishing and has authored and illustrated Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for the past thirteen years. She is a Classic Rock music utility player which means she plays keys, rhythm guitar and sings back up or leads. She also manages one of Houston’s premier R&B/ Variety/ Pop bands. One of their songs is featured in the Book Trailer of Book One, My Familiar Stranger.
This series includes some of her actual experience in the paranormal with fictionalized anecdotes from her journals during the years when she was a practicing “metaphysician”, but most of the material is fantasy – of course.
13 times on Amazon BEST SELLER List in Fantasy Romance, MY FAMILIAR STRANGER is book one in the series The Order of the Black Swan. It has 86 FIVE STAR reviews on Amazon.
Book Description: SMART. SEXY. MAGICAL.
A secret society, hot guys, and vampires come together for a once in a lifetime adventure and a once in a lifetime opportunity proving that true love can find you in the strangest places, even far, far from home.
Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own.
Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?
My Familiar Stranger is a full length, stand alone, Paranormal Romance novel that also sets up the foundation for the Black Swan series. It is loved by fans of paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and urban fantasy.
Erotic quotient: A few steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY…
Between the Bind: “This book was a ride!”
Books, Books, and More: “If I could write like this, I would never do anything else.”
Night Owl Reviews TOP PICKS: “…a very complex book that is beautiful and heartwarming. There are numerous laugh out loud moments, as well as several nail biting edge of your seat moments. The adventure quotient is high, but not too much so. The romance in the novel is built in seamlessly, exquisitely enhancing the story.”
The Paranormal Romance Guild: “This book is not the usual paranormal story that I am used to reading. It is way better. … There are many surprises and in this reviewer’s opinion this book had it all.”
Bitten by Paranormal Romance: “My Familiar Stranger was a wonderfully engrossing paranormal romance with just a dash of science fiction that grabbed me from page one and didn’t let go! Ms. Danann absolutely knows how to get a series going.”
Addicted to Reading: “Go sneak off to your reading nook, get comfy and get ready to dive into a new dimension with horrors, villains and true love that will keep the pages turning till the very end leaving you wanting more, but satisfied!”
Book Nympho: “Paranormal romance isn’t a genre I usually read but after reading the plot, I was intrigued by this book and decided to broaden my reading horizons and give it a try. I’m so glad I did because I devoured the book in less than two days!”
Coffee Addicted Writer. “I have read many vampire novels over the years, some good and some just plain awful. My Familiar Stranger is a breath of fresh air to the vampire genre that has been done to death thanks to the overrated Twilight series. My Familiar Stranger has an original plot. I thought it was pure genius that the author would set the book in a parallel universe. The characters are all likeable and the dialogue is snappy.”
The second book in the series, The Witch’s Dream, made it to the Amazon BEST SELLER Fantasy Romance on its release day. All but five reviews are five star.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: SMART. SEXY. MAGICAL.
From New York to Ireland to Edinburgh to Siena to the Texas Hill Country to Napa Valley, a secret society, a witch, a demon, a psychic, a berserker, an ex-vampire, modern day knights, heroes, werewolves, elves and fae come together where emotions intersect. The story maps a trail from rages to epiphanies, but, in the end, proves that true love can find you in the strangest places, when you’re least expecting it, even when you’re far, far from home.
He was left behind when Elora Laiken made her choice. Now he’s had it with love, but a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker hopes she can change his mind.
The Witch’s Dream begins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop in Ireland for a few days and help celebrate a handfasting at the palace in Derry.
When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly turns all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give – finesse.
INCLUDES: Bonus Feature . An Interview with Rammel Hawking and the first chapter of the third book, The Summoner’s Tale.
Erotic content: 18+ A few steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY…
“…dramatically fun, sexy, and addictive.” – Between the Bind
“Sometimes sequels can be a bit of a disappointment, but Victoria Danann has written an intriguing sequel that surpasses My Familiar Stranger.” – Ramblings of Coffee Addicted Writer
“Wow, Danann does it again. The lady knows how to weave quite the story. Filled with magick, love, and jealousy The Witch’s Dream is a sweet and sexy good time.” – Bitten by Paranormal Romance
“The story itself begins fast and never once slows down. The characters from the first book are back and smarter and sassier than ever. There is plenty of blazing hot romance, as well as plenty of adventure and dimension jumping.” -Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK
“This is a wonderful series of handsome, macho men and beautiful, intelligent women. I highly recommend this series and look forward to book number three.” -The Paranormal Romance Guild
EXCERPT from The Witch’s Dream, the second book in the Black Swan Series
He seemed to have been born knowing things, like math for instance. His mind would grab on to a concept on first presentation and then, while his classmates struggled, he would be looking around for something to do. That something usually ended up being disruption.
Storm was loved by his parents, but school faculty was another story. He had a reputation with the teachers for instigating pandemonium in the classroom. He was the triple threat: smart, bored, and a natural leader. It wasn’t that he was a class clown, nothing so obvious or exaggerated. He just quietly went about doing whatever the hell he pleased and ignoring objections. In short, no one in his life to that point had given him adequate reason to believe that anarchy was not the best policy.
Peers wanted to be like him. If that wasn’t possible, they would settle for doing whatever he was doing. So Storm’s experience of the public school system was time spent in the hallway, the principal’s office, or in trouble at home with his parents agonizing over what to do.
At one point they thought sports might be the answer. He had an extra helping of athletic talent and one of those bodies that would have said yes to any physical demand. Unfortunately he never saw the point. To him sports represented an endless, mindless, repetition with some arbitrarily established goal that made no sense when he broke it down and it turned out to be… well, boring. Put it all together and he was a public school educator’s nightmare. He was also a textbook ideal candidate for Black Swan.
One day he was sent to the Vice Principal’s office under protest claiming that, for once, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He sat down in his usual chair to wait for the usual carpet ride, but, instead, the door opened to reveal too many people crowded into a smallish room. That included the V.P., Storm’s parents and a tall, serious-looking guy with a piercing gaze and an unmistakable air of authority. Storm sat up straight and had only one thought. Uh oh.
The stranger wore slacks, highly polished loafers, and a sports coat. He guessed the man was old, thirty-five maybe, but he looked hard all over like one of those athletes who can’t repeat enough Iron Man triathlons to please themselves.
Engel Storm’s father worked for the Randolph Moldavni vineyards as head winemaker. The work was personally fulfilling and he wasn’t chained to a desk in a cubicle, but it didn’t cut a path to either greatness or riches. His mother worked part time as library receptionist at the local branch of the University of California. Between the two they made enough to take care of three kids in solid middle class fashion. They could eat steak, but not every day. They had good health insurance with the vineyard. They could take a summer vacation if they drove and stayed in motels. It was an upbringing no child should complain about, but most do anyhow.
Storm’s background hadn’t afforded an education on the finer points of better men’s’ clothing, but even to an untrained eye there was a vague sense that the stranger’s style was expensive.
“Have a seat, son.” Vice Principal Rodgers motioned to an ugly metal chair with green leatherette seat and back. Storm noticed that there was a small tear in the seat that showed a little white stuffing. His mind was racing, partially occupied with the fact that Rodgers had called him “son”. He decided that meant he was in even bigger trouble than he thought, but, on the other hand, his parents looked serious, but not mad. The tall guy leaned against an old book case and looked really, really out of place against the backdrop of venetian blinds that were partly bent and a room that needed repainting.
Mr. Rodgers, better known to the student body as “Tums” as it was said his tummy entered a room five minutes before the rest of him, sat down with a plop that forced air out of the vinyl cushion seat. Another boy his age might have had to suppress a snicker, but Storm sometimes seemed more like an adult than a kid.
When the wheezing subsided, Tums said, “Engel, this is Mr. Nemamiah.” Storm looked up into flinty blue eyes that didn’t blink or apologize for staring. After a couple of seconds he wanted to look away, but pride wouldn’t let him. So he raised his chin just a hair and determined he wouldn’t give in first. Mr. Nemamiah’s expression didn’t change at all, but Storm thought he saw a little light flicker in those steely eyes. Nemamiah let him off the hook and looked away first.
Tums continued. “It seems he’s taken an interest in you and your education.”
Storm was starting to panic. Not military school. Please. Please. Please don’t let it be military school. It was then he started calculating how long it would take him to be up, out the door, and hitchhiking on I80.
“It’s been noticed that your test scores are extraordinary. To say the least.”
Wow. That wasn’t what Storm had expected to hear next.
“Mr. Nemamiah is in a position to arrange a scholarship to a private school that develops talent such as yours for possible future work with a quasigovernmental agency. He asked that I make this introduction so that you would know that he and his organization are legitimate.”
“Develops talent? What does that mean?” Storm demanded. He directed the question to Tums, but Nememiah interjected answering in a gravelly voice.
“It means specialized training. Highly specialized.”
Storm stared at Nememiah for a couple of breaths and then barked out a laugh intended to imply rebellion, irreverence, and a healthy dose of cynicism. “Spy school? You want me for spy school?” He laughed with his whole body as only boys can – for a few seconds. Then, in the time it took to draw another breath, Storm raked a gaze up and down the older man sizing him up, reasoned through the bizarre nature of the offer and decided that first, it would not be boring and, second, it might be cool. “Okay. Sign me up.”
Mr. Nemamiah almost gave in to the temptation to smile. While such behavior might be seen as rash, impulsive, or even schizophrenic in the mundane world, the ability to quickly sort through an equation and make hard decisions on the fly was one of the traits his organization prized. Neither parent was particularly surprised. With Storm they knew the one thing they could count on was unpredictability.
Nemamiah talked directly to Storm as if to say from now on this is between you and me. “Clean out your locker and say your goodbyes to your friends. Let them think you are going to military school. I’ll be by your house tomorrow morning at 10:00 o’clock. You and your parents will have an opportunity to ask questions. You may consider it an interview if you wish. If, at that time, you are satisfied with my answers, we will leave together. You may pack some personal things into two duffel bags, but that is optional. Everything you need will be provided for you from now on. You’re going to receive a first-class education, the kind money cannot buy, from people who will be honored to teach you.”
Storm blinked and his brows came together to form perfectionist lines that would be permanently etched into his face by the time he was twenty five. People who would be honored to teach him?
Mr. Rodgers cleared his throat. “Well,” he stood and held out his hand to Storm’s father to shake. “Thank you for coming.” He nodded to Mrs. Storm. “Give us a call tomorrow and let us know what you decide.”
Everyone in the room knew Tums would feel like he’d won the lottery if the troublemaker kid was on the way to being somebody else’s problem.
Storm’s parents waited in the car while he cleaned out his locker. In the few minutes that took, he had already made a list of questions. He couldn’t keep himself from peeking into the classroom where he would normally be looking for something to occupy his restless mind and body. When the other kids looked up and saw him at the door, he gave them a goofy smile and a wave, just so they’d know he hadn’t been led away crying or something disgraceful like that. He wanted to leave with his reputation intact.
Prune Face Blackmon followed the eyes of her students to the classroom door which stood open to the hallway. “Mr. Storm. Do you have someplace you need to be?”
He didn’t want to give her the finger. He really, really, really didn’t want to give her the finger. But he gave her the finger and trotted away grinning at the uproar of laughter from the poor douches who were going to be stuck in that hell hole the rest of the hour. “Not a bad exit,” he thought to himself. “Points shaved for lack of planning, but…”
He didn’t know where he was going or what he was going to do. But he would have felt really good about the whole thing if he had known that Sol Nemamiah would have laughed, on the inside, had he witnessed the teacher receiving a prime example of bird as a parting shot. What you want at your back if you’re heading into a nest of unknown fuck all is not a man who was afraid of a little authority as a kid. That guy will just as likely freeze and shit his pants or vice versa.
Sol’s philosophy, had he ever been asked, would have been something like, “Give me a kid with a proud third finger and I’ll give you back a vampire slayer.”
The Storm family stopped at McDonalds drive-through on the way home, then settled down at the Formica top kitchen table with a yellow, legal pad and the goal of making a comprehensive list of ask-now-or-hold-your-peace questions.
What was the scope of this “first class education that money cannot buy”?
Did it include geometry, foreign language, literature, biology?
Would he be receiving a diploma?
Would it be accepted by desirable institutions of higher learning?
Where would he be going?
Could he leave if he didn’t like it?
Would he be able to call home whenever he wanted?
Could he visit them?
Could they visit him?
Would he have a room of his own?
Would he get spending money?
Would he have an opportunity to spend spending money?
Would he be signing up to get an education or pledging himself to pay off the investment in service to a job that wasn’t his choice?
Would he have an opportunity to interact socially with others his own age?
And, did they know it wasn’t all mind-blowing test scores and high I.Q.; that he had been in trouble at school pretty much nonstop since first grade?
By the time his two siblings got home from school, Storm and his parents were agreed on which questions were deal breakers.
He and his dad pulled down two duffels they kept in the attic for camping. After packing everything he wanted to take, he hadn’t even completely filled one. That realization gave him pause, but not as much as the fact that he didn’t have any friends worth lying to about where he was going.
He didn’t sleep that night. At all. He didn’t know whether he should be excited or apprehensive. So far the information he had was cryptic at best. What he did know is that it was an adventure come knocking at his door and that this kind of thing didn’t happen every day. In fact, he’d never heard of it happening to anybody. Ever. The idea of a school that wanted him was so outrageous it made him smile to himself in the dark.
The next morning Storm said goodbye to his older brother and younger sister when they left for school, then sat down at the kitchen table with his parents to wait. His duffel was by the front door just in case. At precisely ten o’clock the doorbell rang.
Nemamiah was invited in. He graciously accepted coffee and the four of them sat down in the modest living room for a question and answer discussion about the future of a very special boy. After all their questions had been answered, to everyone’s satisfaction, Mr. Nemamiah clicked open an old-fashioned, battered, brown, leather briefcase and withdrew a contract.
Storm’s dad put on his reading glasses. Every one of the questions they had asked was covered in the contract already. It spelled out what they would do for Engel Storm. It spelled out that the initial choice of facility would be theirs, but that he might be transferred at any time at the discretion of Saint Black’s which was the parents’ code name for the organization. Storm and his parents agreed not to say anything other than that he was awarded a scholarship to a private school. When Mr. Storm was finished reading, he handed the contract to his wife and asked Mr. Nemamiah to excuse him and his son. He took Storm into the back room, closed the door, and gestured for him to sit on the bed.
“Your mother and I want to do the right thing, the best thing, for you. If you decide to accept this offer, we want to be sure that you’re doing it for you and not for… any other reason. We love you enough to let you go if you’re inclined to think this is the best thing, but we want you to stay if it’s not. Do you understand?” Storm nodded and tried to swallow back the lump in his throat. That was the longest speech his father had ever made, that he knew of, and he heard the love in it loud and clear. “Alright. You know what you want to do?” Storm nodded again.
So Storm and his parents signed the contract. He gave his mother a big hug and tried not to notice how hard she was working to keep the moisture in her eyes from spilling over. He was already two inches taller and could look down on her when she wasn’t wearing heels. He was more trouble than the other two put together… more trouble to the third power. Even so, although she would never admit it even to herself, he was her favorite.
He stowed the half filled duffel in the trunk of Nemamiah’s understated black sedan and waved to his parents who were standing in the front yard watching him drive away. He had just turned fourteen.
They drove south toward San Francisco. Nemamiah wasn’t big on small talk, but he told Storm he was welcome to listen to whatever radio station he liked. He then rolled the driver’s side window part way down and lit a little, thin, black cigar.
They kept driving until they reached the naval base at Treasure Island. They were headed for the compound in the middle surrounded by a twenty foot wall. They passed three checkpoints where guards recognized Nemamiah and waved him through. As they passed a gorgeous old, mansion with graceful lawns and tennis courts, Nemamiah said it had once been an Admiral’s home, but that it was being used for the school now, that Storm would eat and enjoy leisure time there.
They parked next to a brick building, opened the door with a key card, and entered a long dormitory-style hallway. Each door had a name plate. When they stopped mid way to the end, Storm looked at the door. The name plate said Engel Storm.
He reached up to run his fingers over the lettering. “Wow. You must have been pretty sure I’d come.”
Nemamiah didn’t smile, but his eyes did soften just a touch. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, Mr. Storm. We know what we’re looking for.” He turned the knob and swung the door open. “And you’re it.”
THE SUMMONER’S TALE, The Order of the Black Swan, BOOK THREE
to be released February 14, 2013
DESCRIPTION:A secret society, a witch, a psychic, vampires, modern day knights, heroes, elves, fae, assassins from another dimension, and fairytales come together where emotions intersect. Two souls, joined by a mystical bond, separated by distance, must simultaneously struggle through pain and darkness in an ultimate confrontation with character and an ultimate struggle for life proving that true love waits patiently through lifetimes and finds courage to survive. Even in the strangest places. Even when you’re least expecting it. Even when you’re far, far from home.
Quick-fire questions with Victoria
1. Best days – busy or lazy?
A great day is a day that I cross off everything on the list, have some quality time for writing (quality time means I can get in the “zone” and stay there uninterrupted), and feel super productive. So, busy I guess.
2. Best food – oysters or chocolate?
3. Best music – classical or rock?
I was classically trained, but play Classic ROCK !!!
4. Best place on Earth – Ireland or the Maldives?
Anybody who reads my books is going to know how I feel about Ireland before too long. The curious thing is that many people have a sort of sense that it’s more than a geographical location. It’s come to represent the magical in our culture in some way. That, plus I really think that all the performing arts (as we understand them in Western Civilization), meaning song, dance, and storytelling, originated with these people.
5. Best friend – making you laugh or good listener?
That would be my spouse. He’s really good at both, but better at making me laugh. I’ll take it.
6. Best book – kindle or paper?
I bought the first generation Kindle – long before Oprah had heard about it. Throughout those years I was whining, crying, and begging for backlight. This is heaven.
7. Best feeling – exquisite anticipation or complete happiness?
I know what exquisite anticipation is because of childhood memories. It either resolves to the disappointment of not living up or the disappointment of not happening. No thanks. I don’t know what complete happiness is and suspect its elusive nature is part of the test of doing time in a human body. But, I don’t think my readers would ever guess that because I love to write about complete happiness.
8. Best man – at your feet or towering over you?
I always snort that ALL the guys in romance novels are 6 1/2 feet tall. I’m married to somebody who is that height. It has its drawbacks. For one thing, there’s no dancing cheek to cheek and you end up with a permanent crick in your neck. At my feet in the sense of submissive? No way.
9. Best sense – sight or touch?
For me, the better choice of these two is sight, but the best choice would be auditory (hearing). If something is set to music, I’ve got it.
10. Best dream – fantasy or reality?
I’m not a fantasy writer for nothin’. I can beat reality all to hell and gone. (I’m pretty sure most women can.)