Follow your heart, but don't leave your brain behind.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Guest Post by Liv Rancourt, co-author of 'Bonfire -The Hours of the Night book 1.5' (Psst there's a giveaway too!)

Irene and I are so happy to be back here on Bonkers About Books! Last time we were here, it was the day before the release of our m/m paranormal romance, VespersBook 1 in the Hours of the Night. And coincidentally, tomorrow is the release of Bonfirethe Hours of the Night book 1.5.
So yay! Happy release day to us!
It might not seem quite logical to plunk a holiday story in the middle of a series about vampires and demons, but that’s what we did. We wanted to focus more on the relationship between Thaddeus and Sarasija, and the way they negotiate their Christmas celebration turned into a handy short-hand for how they work through other issues.
But because Thaddeus is a vampire, and he lives in the middle of the Louisiana bayou, there’s a definite spook-factor to the proceedings. Thad and Sara have a mystery to solve, although this story doesn’t have nearly as much bloodshed as Vespers did. Hardly any bloodshed at all, actually.  Except, you know, when the vampire needs to feed…
In addition to the creepiness associated with a story set in the swamp, the setting gave us a whole lot of other stuff to work with. When we were brainstorming early story ideas, we spent time researching the folktales associated with the area. We read stories about the rougarou and the loup garou, about M’su Diable and the gris gris, and also, the feu follet, or fifolet.
The feu follet are swamp lights, which might not sound very threatening – until you’re following one alone in the dark. It didn’t take us long to decide the feu follet legend was a perfect choice for a vampire’s holiday story. I mean, most people put up lights in there house at this time of year, and there’s a special star, so why not weird flames in the swamp? Here’s a brief snippet from Bonfire, where Sara learns why the lights are bad news…
“Okay,” Sara said, “humor me, Bren. Tell me the legend.”
“Not just one legend,” Jeremiah said. “There are tons of them. The feu follet are guarding a treasure. The feu follet appear when there’s been a murder.”
“They’re the soul of a child who died before being baptized,” Thad added. “Although I do not think the Good Lord would consign a child to such torment.”
Jeremiah nodded. “Hadn’t heard that one. Can’t say I like it either. My mom’s cousin over in Grosse Tete used to talk about them like vampires. Ghosts that sucked blood.”
“Why would they suddenly appear, though?” Sara asked. “I mean, this is something new, right? What do the legends have in common?”
Thad and Jeremiah exchanged a troubled glance. Sara could tell they both had the same thought.
“Murder and treasure,” Jeremiah said. “There are a lot of legends, but the most common ones involve murder or treasure or both. Sometimes it was murder over money. Sometimes the spirit was bound to the treasure to protect it. Murder and treasure.”

Murder and treasure. Yeah, sounds kind of heavy for a holiday story, but I promise, everything works out in the end. We also pilfered liberally from Bayou holiday traditions, even going to far as to name the novella after the bonfires that burn on the levee on Christmas Eve. The fires are meant to light the way for Pere Noel, and the image of flames against the night sky captures what this book is about, the passion of two men for each other.

Bonfire’s a little bit lighter than Vespers, but it carries over some important elements, namely how our two heroes relate to each other and how their beliefs influence their behavior. There’s heat, and there’s humor, and there’s eight tiny alligators pulling Santa’s sleigh!

And you know, Thaddeus and Sara might have defeated the Big Bad in book 1, but Weyer’s Praestigiis Daemonum is still out there somewhere, and depending on who gets ahold of it, all hell could very well break loose. You’ll have to wait a few months for book 2, to see how that works out.
Keep reading for an excerpt, and make sure you enter our giveaway.
BONFIRE
By Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Contact: Irene Preston (irenepreston@gmail.com)
   Liv Rancourt (livrancourt@yahoo.com)
ISBN: 978-0-9968099-4-8
BLURB
Silent night, holy hell.


Thaddeus and Sarasija are spending the holidays on the bayou, and while the vampire's idea of Christmas cheer doesn't quite match his assistant's, they're working on a compromise. Before they can get the tree trimmed, they're interrupted by the appearance of the feu follet. The ghostly lights appear in the swamp at random and lead even the locals astray.
When the townsfolk link the phenomenon to the return of their most reclusive neighbor, suspicion falls on Thaddeus. These lights aren't bringing glad tidings, and if Thad and Sara can't find their source, the feu follet might herald a holiday tragedy for the whole town.
This holiday novella can be enjoyed alone or as book 1.5 of the Hours of the Night Series. Bonfiretakes place the December after the events in Vespers.
Excerpt
Pinky’s was surprisingly busy for a winter night. A lot of their business came from people who had vacation camps along the Amite. According to Bren, the winter months were slow. It was Friday night, though. The bar, at least, looked hopping with local customers. Sara noticed several faces he had seen in the store before, and Chase sat at the end of the bar nursing a drink. When Bren finally broke away and came to the table, Sara gave her his order and waved her off. “Take care of your other customers. Come talk to me when you get a minute.”

“Might not get a chance. We’ve got a band tonight. I can probably get a few words in if you want to come up to the bar. Otherwise, text me after we close.”

After she left, Sara turned back to his companion. They had never dined out together, he realized. He had always assumed dining in public would be awkward when only one person could eat. Sitting across from him, Thad looked totally relaxed. Not awkward at all.

“Christmas tree shopping and dinner.” Sara grinned across the table. “Thank you, Thaddeus. It’s a proper date.”

A tinge of pink flitted across Thad’s cheekbones, a sign he was both embarrassed and pleased.

Sara decided he had been wrong. Getting Thad out in public was totally worth delaying their tree plans for a few hours. Maybe they could even stay for some of the music. He looked into Thad’s beautiful, stormy-gray eyes and felt his heart expand. He was just an ordinary guy. How had he wound up sitting across from the cutest vampire in the world? Thad’s blush deepened a little, and Sara wished he dared touch his hand on the table. Back in Seattle with any of his past boyfriends, he wouldn’t have hesitated. Thaddeus would be uncomfortable with the gesture, though, just as he had been uncomfortable when Sara had pressed too close to him at the Christmas tree lot.

He searched around for some conversation instead. He didn’t want to think about the lights right now. He wanted to appreciate this moment with Thaddeus.

“Did you really never have a Christmas tree?” It seemed odd. Christmas was a Christian holiday after all. “I didn’t think Christmas trees were a modern invention. Were your parents really strict or…” He trailed off as the most obvious explanation occurred to him. “Oh, jeez. I’m sorry. Were you too poor?”

Thad didn’t look disturbed, though. “We were not rich,” he said. “I suppose we might have had a tree. My grandparents in New Orleans had one every year. But many of our neighbors here in the country could not have afforded one. My mother would not allow us the indulgence when the other children would be without.”

“Oh. That’s…” Was it nice? He didn’t know. Except for a few weeks between graduation and when he had started work for Thaddeus, he had never been poor. The comparison was hardly valid. Would the other children have envied them the tree? Or would they have enjoyed seeing it?

“Did you ever want one?”

“I cannot remember. The tradition was not as strong as it is now. I don’t think I gave it much thought. I was more concerned if I would find a hard candy with the orange in my stocking on Christmas morning.”

A candy? Sara started to make a mental note to add Godiva to his Christmas list, then realized Thaddeus couldn’t eat it and was twice as horrified.

“Stop whatever you are thinking. I was not deprived as a child.” Thaddeus sounded amused.

“But you’re Catholic.”

“And?”

“It’s a Christian holiday, I thought you would do all kinds of celebrations.”

“We went to Mass,” Thad said. “We celebrated the birth of Our Lord. And on Christmas morning, we each received a present in honor of his birth.”

Sara thought of the mounds of presents under the Mishra tree every year. His family had definitely not done Mass, but if it was important to Thad…

“Mass?”

“I miss the majesty of ‘Adeste Fidelis’— ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful,’ cher, at the opening of the Mass. That is my Christmas tradition, or it was.”

“When is that?” Sara asked. “Is it something you do out here? Or do we go to the monastery? Do I need special clothes? Do I need to memorize a chant or something?” He broke off as Thad’s last words penetrated. “What do you mean was? We can still do it, right?”

Thad stared at him across the table, face impassive but eyes bleeding emotion. “We can go if you wish. The monks will not turn us away, or even the parish priest, but we will not be offered communion. Now they invite me, but they do not invite me in.”

“Even on Christmas?” The monks used Thad as their weapon and commanded his obedience at every turn, and they couldn’t offer him this small comfort?

Before he could work up an argument, Thad changed the subject.

“And is your family not Hindu?” he asked. “How is it that you celebrate a Christian holiday?”

“Oh. That was Dad’s idea,” Sara said. “He was atheist.”

Thad’s brow furrowed.

“Well, but he and my mom were immigrants, you know? Dad wanted us kids to fit in, and Christmas is such a big holiday. So he said we didn’t have to be Christian to do Santa, we just had to be American. He loved decorating every year, and we threw this big Christmas party for everyone we knew…” He trailed off. “Last Christmas was the first time Dad wasn’t around to put up the lights. Dev and I did it, but…” Suddenly, he felt like tears, right there in Pinky’s.

“I am glad we got the tree,” Thad said. “And you must put up whatever decorations you wish.”

“Thank you, Thaddeus.” He tried to smile.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
About Irene Preston
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one.  As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe.  Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
Where to find Irene

About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
Where to find Liv

Buy Links
Giveaway
To celebrate Bonfire’s release, we’ve got a $20 gift card for some lucky person. Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

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