Welcome to Ink & Magick. I'm your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you (or your character) today?
That’s a great question, because Vampire Henry Bautista refuses to have anything to do with magic, whereas his mate, research scientist Dr. Cerissa Patel, would quote Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” She’s from a technologically advanced culture, so she and Henry frequently have that disagreement.
Since they are still debating the issue, I’ll ask for me: May I please have a spell that makes everyone a little bit kinder to each other? I think the world could really use that right now.
That is a wonderful thought, and you don't need magick to exact this change in people. Kindness begets kindness. Tell us about the third book in your #paranormalromance Hill Vampire series, Dark Wine at Dusk.
A seductive spy. An alpha vampire. A hidden threat to their love...
When a rogue vampire group attacks again, Dr. Cerissa Patel's happily ever after with the man of her dreams must take a back seat to her mission.
Her lover, vampire Henry Bautista, is quick to pick up the gauntlet. He'll do anything to help his beautiful spy capture the conspirators who are determined to enslave mortals.
But as Henry's secret past rears its ugly head, it not only threatens their mission, but risks their love—and their very lives.
Henry accepted the shiny silver pouch Cerissa handed him. Usually, she used a blue bag to package blood from her human clones and a red one when she drew a higher concentration of red blood cells. What did the silver bag contain?
“If you don’t mind being my guinea pig,” Cerissa added.
“Guinea pig?” He started a pan of water heating on the stove. The pouch wasn’t wrapped in a self-warming bag. “What is different about this blood?”
“While I was away, I figured out how to induce the clones to produce a higher concentration of stress hormones—adrenaline, as well as cortisol and norepinephrine, if you want to be technical—to create the blood Rolf craves.”
“You think this will satisfy him?”
“We’ll have to experiment to find out. I don’t know what the cause is. It could be a substance addiction he can be weaned off, with support. If his problem is akin to a deficiency, more like a diabetic who needs insulin to survive, then I’ll have to determine the proper dosage. Just because the blood produces a mental high doesn’t mean it’s bad for him.”
Henry turned off the flame under the pot and slid the bag into the warm water, swishing it around so the contents would heat evenly without cooking. Cooked blood was disgusting.
“There is an exhilaration that comes from drinking adrenaline-spiked blood—”
“I’m calling it ‘adrenaline-enhanced’ for now,” she said. “The other term has baggage.”
“You could be right.” He fished the bag out of the water, cut the corner with scissors, and poured it into an insulated coffee mug. A quick sniff told him it smelled like the blood of a victim who’d been hunted.
Is this a good idea?
He sniffed again, and a thread of apprehension brushed his skin. He took a sip and closed his eyes. The sudden rush pounded through his veins, followed by an ice-cold chill. He dropped the mug on the kitchen island. It toppled, and the blood spread across the granite counter.
Cerissa rushed to his side. “Henry, are you all right?”
He stumbled back, fighting the surge, the power, the desire for more.
“Y-you made it too s-strong,” he stammered, and clutched the edge of the island’s granite top. The spilled blood flowed between his fingers, invoking images he’d rather forget.
“I’m sorry,” she said, clinging to his arm.
Her scent beckoned to him. He gripped the counter harder and fought the driving desire to plunge his fangs into her. “Please, cariña, step back.”
“Step back. I don’t need new sins to repent for.”
Oh my...Tell me about the vampires in your world? How do you handle them? What makes them unique?
The Hill Vampire series features an exclusive community of winemaking vampires and their mortal mates. They live on vineyard estates in the Sierra Escondida foothills in California. I stay pretty close to the original vampire myth from the 1800s, with some tweaks.
What makes my world different is how vampires organize their communities. They were influenced by the struggle mortals went through to form representative democracies in the 1800s and organized their communities based on that model—each community is led by an elected group of vampires.
But population pressures meant they had to limit their growth—if they didn’t, they would soon outnumber their food supply. As a result, their communities almost went to war in the 1960s, but ended up signing a treaty to severely restrict the creation of new vampires.
That restriction is what the “bad guys” want to change, and they aren’t above using assassination to do it.
Intriguing! Which one of your characters surprised you?
Tigisi “Tig” Anderson. Tig is chief of police for Sierra Escondida. Although Cerissa is the protagonist, Tig is a main character and plays an important role in the series. She’s a 400-year-old vampire from Kenya in Africa. She worked as a mercenary before being hired by Sierra Escondida to defend them when war seemed imminent. Once the treaty was signed, she became their police chief.
What surprised me was how easy she is to write. She reminds me of what I was like in my forties. She’s an analytical straight shooter, who wants what’s best for her community. But she must do that while keeping all the political factions happy and solve the mystery of who is attacking her community. It’s not an easy job.
Who is your favorite character and why?
The hero, Enrique “Henry” Bautista Vasquez. I enjoy writing him. He’s the first character I created in the Hill Vampire series, and I just loved the process of discovery—peeling back the layers to find out who he is.
What can you tell us about Henry?
He’s originally from Mexico. He came to California in the early 1800s, where he was turned vampire, and founded the town of Sierra Escondida. He has a deep backstory, entwined with Mexico’s and California’s histories, and I like weaving them together.
He’s also an expert winemaker, with bourbon-brown eyes and long, ebony hair, but he’s a bit moody. Because of a dark secret he carries, he’s been unsuccessful at relationships. He’s also very protective of the town he founded. When Dr. Cerissa Patel arrives in town, he’s suspicious of her, but also attracted to her, and his suspicion is fighting with the feelings she’s stirred up in him.
Dark Wine at Dusk is book 3 in the series, and digs deeper into the vampire dominance movement (VDM) conspiracy, but it’s also Henry’s story. The secret he’s kept buried for over a century is revealed, and Cerissa has an agonizing choice to make. In many ways, Dusk is Henry’s book.
Sounds fun. So, it’s a paranormal romance?
Yes, but it also combines murder mystery and political intrigue with the continuing romance.
The series begins with Dark Wine at Midnight, in which research scientist Cerissa Patel must find a way to save humanity from a vampire conspiracy without revealing what’s hidden beneath her skin. But her cover story isn’t enough to fool Henry—he will do anything to protect his town, including stopping her.
Is it an enemies to friends story?
The first book is very much a frenemies to lovers story. The series follows the romantic relationship of Cerissa and Henry, who, along with other members of their community, try to stop the VDM, a vampire conspiracy that is trying to kill the leaders of Sierra Escondida and take over. The VDM plans a political coup, and once the path is cleared, will turn mortals into blood slaves.
Well, thank you so much for stopping in today. I understand you are also hosting a giveaway?
I’m sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate the launch of Dark Wine at Dusk and to thank my blog tour readers (giveaway begins 5/29/2019 and ends 6/25/2019)
The four prizes being given away are:
· $10 Amazon Gift card
· eBook copy of Dark Wine at Midnight
· eBook copy of Dark Wine at Sunrise
· eBook copy of Dark Wine at Dusk
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. One prize per entrant. See Giveaway page for full terms and conditions.
Jenna Barwin writes the Hill Vampire novels, which blend mystery, wine, and romantic spice into a heady (and steamy) combination.
When not writing, she enjoys underwater photography, and is known to occasionally attend a Victorian dance in full regalia right down to pantaloons and a hoop skirt.
Get your copy of Dark WIne at Dusk on Amazon.