Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Nancy Holzner

Please welcome Nancy Holzner today. We're kicking off her Bewitching Book Tour for the newest book in the Deadtown Series, Bloodstone.

Thanks, Roxanne, for inviting me to kick off my Bloodstone blog tour at Fang-tastic Books. It's fun to be back.

It's always a pleasure to have you here, Nancy. Can we start by telling readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I began my career as a medievalist, and I've always enjoyed reading old myths and legends. One of the things I like best about urban fantasy is the way many authors borrow from ancient mythologies and bring elements of those old stories into modern settings. When I decided to get serious about writing fiction, I first tried to write a literary novel (that didn't go anywhere). Next I wrote a mystery, which was published by a small press. But when I had an idea for an urban fantasy series that would draw from some of the medieval Welsh stories collected in the Mabingion, it felt like coming home.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Bloodstone is the third book in my Deadtown series. Deadtown is a section of Boston that's home, by law, to the city's paranormal population. It was created when a mysterious, fast-acting plague swept through downtown Boston, turning two thousand citizens into zombies (although Deadtown's zombies aren't the shambling brain-munchers you've seen in horror films). The quarantine zone eventually became Deadtown.

In the first two novels, my protagonist, Victory Vaughn (a shapeshifter who's a professional demon exterminator) saves Boston from an out-of-control Hellion and stops the demon plane from taking over the human world. In Bloodstone, a serial killer stalks Boston's South End, making tensions run high between the city's human and paranormal populations. As Vicky soon learns, the killer's ultimate goal is something far worse than mere murder.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Tina, Vicky's teenage zombie sidekick, is always fun to write. Tina was caught in the plague at the age of fifteen, when she and a friend skipped school to go shopping. As a zombie, Tina has gray-green, spongy skin, red eyes, superhuman strength, and a bigger-than-superhuman appetite. As a teenager, she's sarcastic and wears too much makeup. She was Vicky's demonslaying apprentice until she quit to pursue a career as a backup singer for a zombie pop star. She's fun to write because she's a zombie and kind of a brat, but she still has big dreams and a big heart. When Tina walks into a scene, I'm never sure what she'll say or do.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

Right now, I'm writing Darklands, book #4 in the Deadtown series, which will be out next summer. There's a scene in that book that takes place in a Massachusetts state park called Purgatory Chasm. A couple of months ago I went hiking in the chasm to check the place out. I was picturing gently sloping trails in the woods; the actual chasm trail is more like jumping from one boulder to another down a steep slope. I was wearing sandals—totally the wrong footwear. I should've had hiking boots. I walked the whole trail, but I was lucky to get out of there without a sprained ankle.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

Deadtown (book 1) was written as a standalone, but with hopes that a publisher would want to turn the story into a series. I've had readers tell me that they read Hellforged (book 2) first and didn't feel lost at all. With Bloodstone, we're getting a little deeper into Vicky's overarching story. I've tried to make Bloodstone easy to follow for someone who hasn't read the previous books. On the other hand, the story gets more complex and the characters grow and change as a series continues, and there has to be room for that. When I start a series from the first book, I appreciate hints and reminders in later books to keep me up to speed, but I don't want to relive the previous books' story over and over. It's a balancing act.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

I get stuck when I'm trying to play God and move my characters around like pieces on a chess board. The characters dig in their heels and refuse to act like my puppets. My husband says I sound crazy when I say things like that, so let me put it another way: I get stuck when I'm thinking too hard about my story from the perspective of a writer. In other words, as the writer I know what I want to have happen in a scene, and I know what's coming up in the story. If I try to force the story down a certain path, I get stuck. The cure is to pull back and look at the story through the characters' eyes. They don't know what's coming yet. They're experiencing thoughts and feelings and assumptions that I'm not thinking about, because I'm already focused on the next scene. I can almost always get a scene moving again when I quit taking a God's-eye view and get down on the ground with my characters.

Do you write in different genres?

I mentioned earlier that a small press published my first completed novel, a mystery set in upstate New York titled Peace, Love, and Murder. For that novel, I set out to write the kind of mystery I most enjoy reading—one that has quirky characters, some humor, and lots of action. I recently made Peace, Love, and Murder available as an inexpensive ebook, and lots of readers have asked for a sequel. So that sequel will be my next project. I'll probably publish it straight to ebook format. It'll be fun to work on, because it's very different from the world of Deadtown. There's nothing paranormal, and the narrator is a man who grew up on a commune and rebelled against his hippie parents by joining the Army at age 18.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

My “day job” is writing nonfiction, mostly how-to and reference books, so I've always been able to switch writing gears when necessary.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I'm an opera fanatic, especially Italian opera. The funny thing is that I love to travel, and I've never been to Italy—yet. It's my dream to go to the Verdi festival in Parma.

What was the last amazing book you read?

I think Erin Kellison's entire Shadow series is amazing. I loved books 1 and 2, Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall, and the third book, Shadowman (which just came out) is at the top of my TBR pile. The books are gorgeously written dark fantasy romance. They're full of danger and action, strong emotions and passion. Erin has built a complex, seductive world that really pulls me in, like the world of fairy tales made real. I love her writing.

Where can readers find you on the web?

My website and blog are at I'm also on Facebook and Twitter, and I blog with a group of other fantasy and horror writers at Dark Central Station.

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

I always have a lot of fun writing the scenes set in Creature Comforts, a monster bar located in the no-man's land between Deadtown and human-controlled Boston. Creature Comforts is run by Axel, a seven-foot-tall giant who's definitely not human—but no one's quite brave enough to ask him what he is. In this excerpt, Vicky goes to Creature Comforts to ask Axel to give refuge to an injured friend.

Any hope that Axel was having a slow night fled as soon as I opened the front door. Laughter and music blasted out. Creature Comforts was packed with women, dressed for a night of partying. They filled all the tables and spilled out of the booths. As I stepped inside, I was hit by the bar’s characteristic perfume of beer, tobacco, and a slight whiff of human blood—shot through tonight with a strong scent of musk. On tables at the back, two half-naked male dancers, humans, performed an athletic bump-and-grind routine.

Oh, great. I’d walked into a werewolf bachelorette party.

Massachusetts was one of a handful of states that recognized marriages between paranormals. Other states had passed laws restricting marriage to humans only. Although some norms in “Monsterchusetts” objected to paranormal marriage, no one seemed to mind the money it brought the state. It had become fashionable among werewolves to have a norm-style wedding in addition to whatever ritual they performed at the full moon. In Boston, a whole industry had sprung up offering destination weddings to werewolves.

I scanned the crowd, but didn’t see a face I recognized. I knew most of Deadtown’s werewolves through Kane. These were definitely tourists.

“Hey!” One of the women stood up and pointed at me. She wore a tight, super-short, low-cut black dress and a crooked tiara sparkling with pink and white rhinestones. She flipped her glossy blond hair back over her shoulder, managing to make it look like an act of aggression. “This is a private party. The bar’s closed.”

Damn territorial werewolves. When they traveled in a pack, even out-of-towners acted like they owned the place.

I ignored her and walked toward the bar.

She was in front of me before I got halfway across the room. Her nostrils flared as she sized me up in a few sniffs. She bared her teeth—not a very impressive gesture in her human form—and growled. “I said it’s a private party.”

“Do I look like I’m here to crash your party?” I gestured at my ruined dress.

She didn't look at my outfit. She stared the the sword in my hand, the one I'd taken from the Old Ones.

Oh, that. Well, yeah, I could see how that might be interpreted as a threat.

I didn't have a sheath for it, so I stuck it under my arm, where I hoped it seemed less dangerous. I stepped to the left, intent on getting around her. “I need to talk to Axel.”

She growled again and dropped into a fighting crouch. Jesus, the full moon was still three weeks away and she was going into feral overdrive.

“You want to challenge me? Fine.” I dropped my purse on the floor and shifted the sword to my right hand, ready to use it. I wouldn’t have minded two blades in a fight with a werewolf, but I wanted to teach her some manners, not kill her. Besides, it was bad form to rummage through your purse for a dagger at the start of a fight.

By Nancy Holzner
Book 3 Deadtown Series
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace
Release date: September 27, 2011
ISBN-10: 044102100X
ISBN-13: 978-0441021000

Boston’s diverse South End is known for its architecture and great restaurants, not its body count. So when mutilated human corpses begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. The killer—dubbed the South End Reaper—uses a curved blade for his grisly work. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining the already-tense relations between Boston’s human and inhuman residents.

As the bodies pile up, Vicky, her formidable aunt Mab, and her werewolf boyfriend Kane investigate, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after something much more than blood…

About Nancy

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a masters degree and a PhD.
She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. Most of her nonfiction books are published under the name Nancy Conner.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.

Nancy is giving away this unique piece of bloodstone jewelry and a signed copy of Bloodstone--no geographic restrictions- this means open to international shipping.

To enter please leave a comment on this post with your email address

Earn an extra entry for "liking" the Facebook Pages below
and Following Nancy on Twitter


Scorpio1974 said...

I liked Nancy Holzner's FB page, and I'm a fan of Bewitching Book Tours on there as well. =)
The bloodstone pendant is absolutely gorgeous!!!! Thanks so much for this wonderful giveaway opportunity too!

Valerie Long (Scorpio1974 on GFC)

Mary said...

I love paranormal stories. Demons and other paranormal type characters will always pull me to a story. I love that Pendant, how pretty.

GFC follower.

SandyG265 said...

I enjoyed the first two books in this series and am looking foward to reading Bloodstone.

GFC follower
sgiden at

LadyVampire2u said...

I loved your first 2 books and I am really looking forward to book 3 coming out. Congratulations on its release and thanks for this awesome giveaway. The pendant is beautiful too. Love it.
+1 Facebook: Aprille Shadowspeak
+1 Twitter: LadyVampire2u
LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

nancyholzner said...

Good morning! Thanks again to Roxanne for inviting me here. And thanks for your comments. I have to admit that a new release always makes me a little nervous, so it's good to find people to celebrate with.

BLOODSTONE features a bloodstone pendant, so I thought that would make a good giveaway. Good luck!

Chrizette said...

Love the cover (and the pendant). What a wonderful prize!

I am a follower.

baychriz at gmail dot com

Ebyss said...

Nancy Rocks!!

Already follower and a liker. :)

buddyt said...

I was lucky enough to read an ARC copy of Hellforged and enjoyed it very much so I would be very interested in reading this.

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

Much appreciated.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Chrisbails said...

I the paranormal books and this one looks great. Nancy is a new author for me and am always looking for new books and authors to read. I like Nancy page and already a fan of fangtastic on facebook. Already a fan of this blog. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win. This book looks great and would love to win and read it.

RebeLovesBooks said...

I'm really excited about this book - it looks great!

I like Nancy's FB page, plus I'm a GFC follower.


Yto said...

i have liked both facebook pages under the name Elena V..

the book is interesting. and the pendant is beautiful. i would love to win both.

witchvela at web dot de

tetewa said...

Paranormal series are my favorite, sounds good!

joder said...

Enjoyed the first book in this series and its premise overall. Just need to get to the next book. Thanks for the awesome giveaway and interesting interview!

I Like Nancy on FB as Jody F.
I follow Nancy on twitter @jone402

I already Like BBT too as Jody F.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Lexi said...

I am a fan of any and all mythology, there is always a side or thread of an idea that I manage to rationalize and convince myself that there is a bit of truth that began the whole myth and that I must find out exactly what it was. And then spend hours looking up theories/history. So when an author takes an idea from mythology I love it cuz I get to skip the research stuff and enjoy their opinion!

Thanks for the chance to win, I hope your series continues to do well for you!
eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed the interview and I love this series so I can't wait to read Bloodstone. The pendant is beautiful, I'd love to win it as well.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

nancyholzner said...

I hope people will give my series a try. Or, if you've read either of the first books, see what happens next. :)

I'm excited to be giving away the bloodstone pendant. It's cool when I can come up with a giveaway that has a real connection to a book!

I agree with Lexi that mythology has a seed of truth in it, and digging out that seed can be fascinating. I sometimes think I spend too much time researching background material, but I love it and I think it ultimately enriches my story. I love connecting fantasy stories about contemporary life with older myths that attempt to explain something about the world.

Thanks for celebrating Bloodstone's release with me!

msmjb65 said...

What cool books and that pendant is gorgeous!
I've liked Nancy on both FB pages (Mara J. Brandon).
Thanks for the giveaway,

msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

Bethany C. said...

I really like these covers- some of the few where the heroine isn't dressed ten times sluttier than she sounds like she dresses in the book. What's up with that?
like Nancy on fb Bethany Cardone +1
follow Nancy on twitter bcardoo79 +1


Barb P said...

I've read the first book in the series and loved it. I have the others on my TBB list. I would obviously love to get a copy of the new release. The pendant is awesome! Thanks for the contest. +1 Follower

YzhaBella's BookShelf said...

Following the tour. I'm very very intrigued!

Like both on FB


Blogger Name: Krystal Larson said...

Awesome giveaway, thank you for the chance to win! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

JenM said...

This series sounds very interesting and I'm always up for books featuring shifters. Best wishes on the release.
jen at delux dot com

marybelle said...

BLOODSTONE looks amazing. Thank you for the generous giveaway.

LIKE Nancy Holzner's FB page & LIKE Bewitching Book Tours FB


Stephanie Woodfield said...

Love your books!

lindalou said...

I haven't read any of your books - had not heard of them until I read your interview here today. I have now put them all on my must-read list... It'd be great to win one AND that gorgeous pendant! Thanks for the contest.

angie lilly said...

ooo that pendant is GORGEOUS and the book sounds great too! I have not read the 1st book yet but now I want too! LOL Thanks for the chance to win!!!
+1 = I follow her via Twitter as FotoMacro.
+1 = I like them via FB as Tofu Fairy.
+1 = I like her via FB as Tofu Fairy.
= 4 total entries
14earth at gmail dot com

Tore said...

I love paranormal books. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber.

Julie said...

I would love to win this giveaway! The book sounds awesome and the necklace is beautiful :)

I liked Nancy's FB page
I already like the Bewitching Book Tours page on FB
I'm following Nancy on Twitter: @jwitt33

jwitt33 at live dot com

mbreakfield said...

What a lovely pendent and the book looks really good.
I Like Nancy on FB Marlene Breakfield
I follow Nancy on twitter @mbreakfield

Anonymous said...

Another one for the TBR list. Sounds great. The pendant is gorgeous.
Thanks for a chance to win

Alicia0605 said...

That pendant is so pretty! I look forward to reading this book!!

+1 I follow her via Twitter as alicia0605
+1 I like them via FB alicia hall
+1 I like her via FB alicia hall


donnas said...

Great interview. Looking forward to reading it.

like both FB pages

twitter follower - @donnas1

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Denise Z said...

Thank you for sharing about this very interesting book and for the lovely giveaway opportunity. I cannot wait to read Bloodstone.
GFC and facebook - Denise Zaky
Twitter - ZDz59001


CowboyandVampire said...

Tina, the zombie sidekick, sounds hilarious. We're looking forward to finding that out first hand...

Chelsea B. said...

This series sounds fantastic! I'm really looking forward to digging in!

I Like Nancy's facebook.
I Like Bewitching's facebook.


Pam S (pams00) said...

Nancy's books sound awesome - ty for sharing the great interview and the chance to win a great prize. The pendant is beautiful!

follow Nancy on twitter - pams00

like Nancy on FB - Pamela Freeman Sinclair

like Bewitching on FB -Pamela Freeman Sinclair

pams00 @