My Familiar Stranger
By Victoria Danann
The Order of the Black Swan #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: 7th House
Date of Publication: April 21, 2012
Number of pages: (estimated 370)
Word Count: 111,268 Purchase
Links: Amazon Smashwords
Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. A stranger in a "strangish" land.
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.
Erotica quotient: A few steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM.
by Victoria Danann
If blurbs were herbs, they'd be called Authors Bane. A blurb is a short description of a book. It's distinguished from an actual "book description" by length. It's basically a paragraph. Smashwords allows 386 characters. Sounds sufficient to describe a 113,000 words book?
If you're a reader you take these mini-synopses (Yes. I had to look up the plural of synopsis.) for granted, just as authors did before we became authors. It looks easy. A ten minute task at most. Four months and a hundred revisions later, I'm still tearing my hair out.
You say: "Come on. How hard could it be? Has anyone ever called you melodramatic?" I say: "Well, yes. They have. But that's not relevant to this discussion. Really!"
I would much rather write a full length novel than try to compose a blurb. Trying to pare that 113,000 words down to 75 is not just hard, it's torture. It's cruel, I tell you. The short description that I currently use for My Familiar Stranger follows. This is the best I can do while avoiding spoilers.
"Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. A stranger in a "strangish" land.
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?"
I can't tell you how often reviews will say something to the effect of "don't pay too much attention to the description". See, the problem is that I wanted to create something that hadn't been done before, something that defies both formula and genre categorizing. I succeeded at that, but, it turns out that, like everything else in the universe, that comes with two sides. The good news is that it's different. The bad news is that the difference throws a wrench into the way the industry is set up to market books.
The second book in the series, The Witch's Dream, is due to release October 14th and the problem has expanded. It's snowballing. Here's what I've got so far...
"From New York to Ireland to Edinburgh to Siena to the Texas Hill Country to Napa Valley, 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 hunts 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."
See what I mean? There's no way to give a SHORT description of this book without having it sound stupid or juvenile or both which leaves me standing here as usual saying, "But it's not! I swear!"
After watching her family die, 23-year-old Elora Laike barely escapes death herself with the help from her mentor, Thelonius Monq, who opens the portal in which she escapes through. The portal takes her to a parallel universe, where she meets a group of military soldiers known as The Order of the Black Swan, whose main objective is to hunt and kill vampires. The group consists of mortal elves and other mystical creatures/beings.
The group takes her in and before long she befriends Catalonius C. Monq (a double for her mentor), Kay (a berserke), Rammel Hawking (an elf), and a human named Engel Storm. She joins their team and several of the men have eyes on romancing her, especially Rammel who thinks she is his one and only. Here in this strange new world she learns that she has superhuman strength and speed.
Just as she is adjusting to her new surrounds, a 600-year-old vampire named Istvan Baka takes a unique interest in her.
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. Overall, I enjoyed reading book one in the series and I recommend it to other readers.
“Since the ancient Greeks, and probably since we became sentient, men have been asking the question, ‘What do women want?’ I think I know what the answer is – at least for a lot of us - and it’s related to why Paranormal Romance is so popular with women and so satisfying to the core in a way no other genre can be. Before I began writing for this audience, I read about two hundred PNR books and realized that there is one element common to almost all and that it can only be expressed in a fantasy world. Can you guess what it is?” (NOTE: You don’t have to match my answer to win. I’m always interested to hear what other PNR fans think.)
The prize is a free download of M.F.S. with Smashwords coupon. Anyone who gives a thoughtful answer wins.
About the Author:
This series will eventually include some of my actual experience in the paranormal with fictionalized anecdotes from my journals during the years when I was a practicing "metaphysician", but most of the material is fantasy - of course.