(The Red Sector Chronicles Omnibus)
Genres: Dystopia, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
The strength of Sloane’s heart is about to be put to the ultimate test.
After the Eclipse – the night vampires began openly slaughtering human victims – everything changed. Out of fear, the government salvaged what remained of the human population and enclosed them in massive, security-laden cities called White Sectors, while marking the vampire infested territory as Red Sectors.When seventeen-year-old Sloane McAllister’s twin brother disappears, she seems to be the only one who thinks he isn’t dead, and she vows to stop at nothing to find him. Gathering her courage, she braves the Red Sector to search for clues to his whereabouts. By chance, she encounters Aden, a handsome, charismatic vampire with a hidden agenda. He turns Sloane against her will and whisks her away to his underground city. Enemies quickly become friends as Sloane struggles against her attraction to Aden, and resists her growing loyalties to the creatures that ruined her life.
But the vampires themselves are the least of her problems. A war is brewing between the humans and vampires, along with a growing web of deceit and betrayal. And before it’s all over, loyalties will be tested, hearts will be broken, and no one’s lives will ever be the same.
The Red Sector Chronicles series, Goodreads:
– The Scarlet Dagger *free download!* Or get the whole trilogy for $5.99. *Offer valid through November 25th.*
I heard Dezyre suck in a sharp breath. “Oh my God,” she whispered. “You’re one of them.”
Her voice was so soft, I would have missed it if I didn’t have vampire hearing. What is she talking about?
I turned back toward her. Her face was completely drained of color, and she looked like she might pass out any minute. Her eyes were fixed on my right wrist. My tattoo barely showed above my sleeve, which had slipped down when I’d gone to pay.
Damn! That was careless!
The clerk, completely oblivious to the unfolding drama, handed me back some tiny silver coins with the forget-me-not emblem stamped in the center. Whatever currency they used down here wasn’t anything I was familiar with.
I masked my alarm with boredom. “What? This?” I pointed to my wrist before casually pulling the sleeve back down, covering the tattoo. “It’s just some ink. No big deal.”
“That’s the Black Cross.” Dezyre’s voice trembled slightly. “No wonder Aden’s keeping such a close watch on you. You’re a hunter, aren’t you?”
Forcing myself to stay calm, I didn’t let her comments show how close they had hit home. “First I’m incompetent, now I’m dangerous? Please. It’s just a stick-on tattoo that could mean a million different things.” I turned my back. “Maybe you shouldn’t spray so much of that perfume,” I called over my shoulder. “I think the fumes are going to your head.”
I walked off, hoping she wouldn’t report me. I need to eat and get out of here before I’m the one getting staked by Scarlet Steel.
I hurried through the buffet line, which actually had a nice assortment to choose from: two kinds of salad with an island of various dressings, entrées of fried chicken or steak, and a bar full of side items, like steamed veggies and fruit. The most surreal part – and the one that woke me up, reminding me I wasn’t human anymore – was the ice box full of cartons of blood, all labeled by blood type. I guess O negative had a different taste than B positive or something. Shuddering, I meandered away from the ice box.
I’d have to be near death before I’d ever consider drinking blood.
Quickly, I filled up my tray and grabbed a bottle of water. I had started walking back to the booth when my leg caught on something, and I lost my balance.
Everything moved in slow motion. Despite my best efforts, the tray went flying, and my plate shattered on the ground as I began to fall. A hand reached out and grabbed my right forearm, jerking it up high in the air. My elbow popped as it hyper extended, and I swore. Razor sharp nails dug into my wrist, which was bare since my sleeve had gathered at the crook of my arm.
I looked up to see who had caught me.
Dezyre’s magenta lips were pulled into a vicious smile. And hovering just above her clasped hand was my cross tattoo, clearly exposed and held high for everyone to see.
“You seem to like it in the spotlight,” she said. “That’s good, because you’re about to be a freaking celebrity.”
There was no time to react. By the time I realized what she was going to do, she had already inhaled a huge breath right before she screamed, “Vampire hunter!”
Walking in a Vampire Hunter’s Shoes
I didn’t know my MC, Sloane, was going to be a vampire hunter when I came up with the idea for The Red Sector Chronicles. I just saw a dark-haired girl, standing in a cityscape painted in shades of red. (Random aside: I think red moons look so cool. Naturally, I had to find an excuse to have one in my novel. =)
A lot of my character ideas start like this, as pictures in my head, and then I flesh them out on paper during my brainstorming process. At first, I was just going to have Sloane be a vampire, because I thought, “Writing as a vampire would be fun!” Then I got to playing the “what if…?” game and thought, “What if Sloane was a vampire hunter who became a vampire, and vampires are what she hates more than anything on this earth?”
That made for a much more compelling character and plotline, so I rolled with it.
Thus, Sloane the Vampire Hunter was born.
I wanted her to be tough. I wanted her to be sassy. Most of all, I wanted her to kick a lot of ass. But kicking said ass was a lot harder to write about than I thought it would be!
In my original draft of the first book in my trilogy, The Scarlet Dagger, I knew she would have to “prove herself” to the audience if she was going to be perceived as a femme fatale. So I had her run-up on a vampire straight-away – and she got her butt kicked. My hubby, when I shoved the manuscript in his face he lovingly agreed to see my baby book, I said, “So, she’s pretty cool, huh?”
Now, my husband isn’t known for beating around the bush. He just says what he means.
“What?” I asked. “Why not?”
“She gets beat-up right away,” he said, pointing to the manuscript. “She needs to kill this thing. Then I’d be impressed.”
“Oh, and make her more like Blade, ‘cuz that’d be cool.”
(No kidding on that last part.)
I did make her more like Blade, in the sense of her being a lot tougher to tango with. And that was part of the challenge. She couldn’t be so awesomely badass that no one could beat her, because that gets old. Plus, it’s unbelievable. She needed to have some kryptonite. And she gets that, in the form of a hot vampire, some acidic metal called Scarlet Steel, and a whole slew of other problems.
One of my favorite parts of writing from Sloane’s perspective were all the fighting scenes. I didn’t want to drag them out, but I wanted readers to feel like they were there with her, so I put as many details as I could in them instead of saying, “She punched him. He punched her. Sloane goes flying through a cement wall.” I took karate lessons for many years when I was a kid, and it was fun reliving those years through Sloane, because all of a sudden, I had someplace to use my knowledge. (Never had to get in a fight yet, thankfully!)
When she becomes a vampire, I also had to think about how that affected her psychologically, since she despised vampires. I mean, they did ruin the world. Sloane was very complex and fun to write about while she was in the “figuring-things-out” stage of being a vampire. She sort of wants to like vampires, but she knows she’s supposed to hate them – and she really does – so she’s kind of stuck.
I’d like to keep writing about tough chicks. Not that I have anything against softer heroines (the Bella’s of the literary world), but writing about a girl who can protect herself is a lot of fun.
1. What inspires you? Anything and everything. I draw inspiration from whatever I can, though music and art are helpful in coming up with story ideas. I also tend to be the most creative when I’m more relaxed.
2. Are you a pantster or a plotter? Both. Tried pantsting once. The book was a trainwreck and took about four complete rewrites to get right. Never again. *shudders* I plan things a lot more now that I’ve studied story structure, and I’ve tried really detailed outlines. They tend to make the whole writing process not as much fun for me. Things are “too” planned out, so it takes the fun out of writing. I do make notes about major plot points, as well as some sparse notes about how my scenes go. Then I just let my imagination do the rest.
3. Why did you decide to write about vampires? Vampires are one of my favorite paranormal creatures. (And I think a lot of people would agree with me!) They’re alluring, sexy, dark, mysterious. There’s also a certain romanticism that goes along with them, which lends itself well to paranormal romance.
4. Tell us a little about The Red Sector Chronicles. In a nutshell, it’s the story about a teenage vampire-hunter-turned-vampire and her adventures. =P That’s the super-short version. It’s a young adult trilogy that’s a mash-up of dystopia, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy, some of my favorite genres. There are laughs, gasps, and swooning-over-book-boyfriends to be had. If you’re a fan of Vampire Academy or Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, you’ll probably like this series.
5. Do you write out your stories in journals, or do you type them? I like to brainstorm story ideas in notebooks. That way I can scratch things out and be very sloppy about the whole process. As for my outlining and drafts, I always do that with Scrivener, my writing program.
6. What are some of your favorite movies? I love Victorian romances, so I’m a sucker for almost any Jane Austen film. I also love fairy tales and films with strong female leads. Gotta love a kickass girl. I also LOVE scary movies and anything that makes me laugh. Some favorites that come to mind are Ever After, Underworld, The Conjuring, and Tropic Thunder.
7. What do you do to relax? Writing, to an extent, relaxes me. I always read before going to bed. It gets my mind off things. Otherwise, I have a tendency to just lay awake and worry about things I have to do the next day. Then I don’t sleep, and Zombie Krystle isn’t much good for anything. =P
8. Do you have any advice for new writers? Read. A lot. And not just within your genre, but outside your genre. Also read as many writing references as you can, and practice what you learn. That’s the key. And speaking of practicing, write every day. Not edit. Write. Pour new words onto the page. That’s how you perfect your craft.
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