Friday, February 1, 2013

How to Build an Underground Vampire Nest Guest blog and Giveaway with Susannah Sandlin

How to Build an Underground Vampire Nest

Susannah Sandlin

I honestly hadn’t thought about what I’d done until I read a review of Omega (coming out Feb. 5) in the newest issue of RT Book Reviews magazine. The reviewer said, “It takes guts for an author to destroy the setting of her series.”

It was probably more lack of foresight than guts but, yeah, I kind of did. Think grenades and bombs and arson.

When I started the Penton Legacy series, I created a world of vampires and their willingly bonded human familiars in the quasi-fictional town of Penton, Alabama. These vampires have created a harmonic, self-contained community that’s helped them escape the starvation and civil unrest running rampant among the vampire world after a human pandemic vaccine made the blood of vaccinated humans poisonous to vampires. And the starving bureaucrats of the Vampire Tribunal don’t like it. Led by a Bad Guy (because he deserves to be capitalized) named Matthias, they set out to destroy Penton.

I knew from the outset that by the third book, my vampires were going to be forced to flee into a secret underground facility codenamed Omega. In the first book, Redemption, they’re working on the Omega structure. In the second book, Absolution, they have completed it. Now, in Omega—as the name implies—they have to use it. (Can the books be read as standalones? Yes, you need all three to see the big story arc but each book focuses on a different hero and heroine.)

I had no idea what I was getting myself (or, rather, my characters) into. If it were only vampires moving underground, that would be one thing. They don’t have to do annoying things like breathe. Convenient, eh?

Having to accommodate the vampires’ human companions in my little underground kingdom created all kinds of challenges. I found myself doing a lot of research and, inevitably, I ended up frequenting the websites of a lot of, um, shall we say, interesting survivalist types.

So here is my handy Five Considerations for Underground Living, for those who feel they might need at some point to flee beneath the earth for an extended period of time with or without their favorite sexy vampire.

* Air. Unless you’re a vampire, you’ve gotta breathe, right? The vampire who designed Omega (the hero of the book, Will Ludlam) came up with a series of ventilation pipes that stretched up from the facility to the fresh air in a dense wooded area above them. The pipe openings are narrow enough to be easily camouflaged. Inside the facility was a filtration system for air and…

* Water. Pesky humans have to drink, too. In this case, water is pumped in from a natural spring. The spring is what dictated the location of the facility. There are a series of rooms in the octopus-shaped Omega structure dedicated to the water and air filtration systems and…

* Lights. Vampires can see pretty well in the dark, but humans…not so much. A series of battery-operated generators provide power, although they use as little as needed. The vampires have also gone shopping and stripped every Lowe’s and Home Depot in a hundred-mile radius of fluorescent lanterns.

* Food. This is the easiest one, of course. The humans feed the vampires, and there’s an enormous supply of non-perishable food on the market. In this one instance, in fact, the humans are better off than the vampires; the vamps outnumber the humans (imagine that—not so many humans wanted to move underground), so what humans there are have to feed more than one.

* Bodily functions. You know, I realized as I was writing this book that very few books—especially romance books—make much use of a bathroom other than for shower scenes (and yeah, I’m quite fond of those myself). But when you’re moving underground, waste disposal is an unpleasant but necessary consideration. Let’s just say we dealt with it, my vampires and I, and not go into the land of TMI.

There were other considerations, of course. How big would the structure have to be to accommodate thirty vampires and humans? Fifty? A hundred? How would they be able to come and go without being seen? How long could they stay down there before going stir-crazy?

Well, you get the idea. Was it gutsy to destroy the place the series was named for? Well, you know the saying—it’s the people that make a town, not the buildings.

Enter to win the tourwide giveaways, but also comment to win a copy of your choice of the Penton books (print, Kindle, or audio) each day of the tour. 

What’s the most unusual setting you’ve found in a book?

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Crazy Four Books

Penton Vampire Legacy, Book 3
Susannah Sandlin

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Date of Publication: February 5, 2013

ASIN: B0073XV3L2 

Number of pages: 328
Word Count: approx. 88,000

Amazon        Barnes & Noble        Book Depository

Book Description:

The bloody war between the Vampire Tribunal and the defiant scathe of Penton, Alabama, rages on, forcing its residents and their bonded humans to retreat into the underground fortress of last resort: Omega. There, Will Ludlam is charged with the care of Penton's humans, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. He knows the risks: as the renegade son of the Tribunal's vicious leader, Will's capture could doom the resistance. 

Yet he is determined to prove his worth to his adopted scathe, to his vengeful father and to former US Army officer Randa Thomas, his beautiful, reluctant partner. Randa has little faith that a former member of the vampire elite has what it takes to fight a war. But as their enemies descend upon Omega, Will's polished charm and Randa's guarded heart finally give way to the warrior within. 

Fans of Susannah Sandlin's Penton Legacy are sure to devour this long-awaited third installment of the steamy paranormal series.  

The Penton Legacy, Book 2
By Susannah Sandlin

Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Book Description:

With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.

A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.

To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?

It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.

Book One Penton Legacy series
By Susannah Sandlin

Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.

Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.

But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland.  Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars

To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago. 

Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.

Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.

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miki said...

I thoink too that's the people not the builduing that make a town what it is... but it's true it must have been hard to think of everything for omega and you did really welll, it was completely believable ^^ now i'm not sure i would love to live there for long but you even thought about entertainment ^^ so a short stay is possible^^

original setting hum... not sure the one that came to mind is in teh last book i read a shade of vampire: the vampire are living on an island when the sun never appear and teh builduing are a mix of old and new thecnology ( the humna are slaves or pets so i wouldn't want to live there at all^^;;)


Susannah Sandlin said...

Yikes! I don't think I'd want to live there, either. Well, let me think...a pet might not be so bad. Not a slave, though. Yep, I'd rather stay in Omega--only not too long!

SandyG265 said...

I don't know what the most original setting I've ever read is. Maybe Witch World by Andre Norton because it was the first book that I read which wasn't set on Earth.

Rebe said...

Living underground would be tough. Just think of all the humans with SAD

Rebe said...

I think the most original setting I've read lately has been the alien planet in Sharon Lynn Fisher's Ghost Planet. Very unusual!

Susannah Sandlin said...

Thanks for the comments! Sandy, I haven't read any Andre Norton, although I probably should. Rebe, I have Ghost Planet in my TBR pile but haven't gotten to it yet--it looks interesting. And SAD was something I was trying to address a little in Omega--they're looking for ways to keep the humans occupied so they don't get depressed or stressed out. Well, more stressed out than they would already be!

Steelerlady2379 said...

I would have the most out there setting in a book would probably have to be Kresley Coles Immortals after Midnight where they travel to many different dementions! Very interesting!! lol....
Happy reading and writing*

elaing8 said...

I can't think of an usual setting that I've read.I'll have to think on that more.As for living underground,nope couldn't do it.

Liz S. said...

I can't remember the title, but the main character lived in a cave and the entire story took place in his dreams and thoughts. I don't think I could live underground full time.

Roger said...

Sorry I'm late today. Just got back from a two day Iowa trip. The underground scenes in Redemption and Absolution were kind of neat. Except for Lucy. Looking forward to this new underground in Omega that must be a little more rustic due to the circumstances.

bn100 said...

any made up places that are set in another galaxy


Susannah Sandlin said...

Thanks for all the comments! My day job is eating me alive, and today was no exception! I'd rather be gnawed by gators as college bureaucrats. Sheesh.

I'd live underground if it would get me away from work and I could keep my computer powered up so I could write...and have unlimited soda...and, I couldn't do it.

Carole Remy said...

Hi Susannah and everyone,

I admire your guts and your ingenuity, Susannah! I created a world in a YA that's in the future, with as many realistic problems like global warming as I could research, but still not a dystopia. I think you're right that people are people, and vampires, wherever they're set down, and that's what makes for an interesting story. Can't wait to read Omega!

Rachel V said...

I think the most unusual was The Pendragon books. Each book was a different world and they were all unique.

jmcgaugh said...

The clouds the angels live on in Gena Showalter's books are a pretty unusual setting.