Monthly Archives: May 2013

Q&A #42

1. I get that Dracula carved a challenge for Mircea into Dory’s back. But what actually happened to Dory before she went back to Mircea that night (ie how did she come across Vlad, what did he do, etc) and what did the message actually say?

It was a challenge, telling Mircea to come and get him, if he thought he could, instead of sending a child to do it. Not that Mircea had sent Dory against his brother. He had asked her to help find Vlad; he had never intended for her to confront him. Dory hadn’t intended that, either, not being stupid. It’s dangerous to take on any master vampire, but when the master is crazier than you are and genuinely doesn’t care if he lives or dies or not, it’s…not a fun time. But Vlad had other plans. He found Dory, who had traced him to the general area around the theatre, and was trying to narrow it down further. So Vlad decided to help her out, and carved his exact location into her flesh and sent her back to his brother.

Which of your characters, if any, would you say:

a) Is your favourite male and female)? I don’t know that I have favorites. Dory is one of the easiest female characters to write, simply because she’s very straightforward. Male characters…I enjoy writing Radu, Ray, Billy Joe and Marco, because it’s fun to take a side character and give them a real personality/backstory. I hate 2-D characters. So fleshing out a background character is very satisfying.

b) Is most like you? None. I actively go out of my way to avoid identifying too closely with any of my characters. I’ve always thought it was a bad idea to base a character on me or on a friend, because it might make me less likely to allow bad things to happen to them, even if the plot needs it.

c) And do you have a particular favourite quote/conversation in the Cassie/Dory series? Maybe the convo between Cassie and Jonas in HTM about the gods, because it was a challenge to write. I had to find a way to present a block of plot exposition in a way that wouldn’t work out to be deadly dull. Jonas (and his lousy artwork) to the rescue!

3. When Cassie is attacked by the Morrigan possessed mage, Marco resuscitates her and Pritkin keeps her awake until she can be checked over. When exactly in the whole chaos did Pritkin show up and how was he alerted to the latest near death?

I included this question, not because it has a significant or even an interesting answer, but because people keep asking me why there are “jumps” between some chapters. In other words, something happens that they don’t see and are simply informed about in the next chapter, or that isn’t mentioned at all and they are just expected to figure out. This would be a good example: Pritkin arrives in between the attack on Cassie and her drugged-up waiting period for the doc in the kitchen. But you didn’t see it: why?

Well, one of two things could have happened. Either Pritkin’s monitoring spell, which the reader knows he keeps on Cassie, informed him that something was wrong and he was on the way up there already, or else Marco called him (because the guy is a mage, and Marco was going to want his input on what the heck just happened.) Either way, Marco would have had to tell Pritkin about the attack, and that would have been deadly dull for the reader to have to sit through, since they just witnessed it. Any questions they might have had were hopefully brought out in the kitchen scene in a humorous way, as opposed to having a boring rehash conversation between two other characters. Which Cassie was in no way able to adequately report on anyway, because she was drugged off her ass!

I often do this sort of thing, because I don’t have room for much in the way of filler in my books. My plots tend to take up a lot of space, so if something is as obvious as “oh, Pritkin’s there, Marco must have called him,” then I let you make that assumption. That way, I don’t have to use up valuable words to tell you, and can instead use them for something fun!

4. How do you pronounce Æsubrand? Dulceata? And what does the last mean?

The Æ symbol is pronounced like a long “I”, so Ice-ubrand would be the pronunciation. The fact that ice is also kind of his symbol/go-to attack, makes it fun.

Dulceata is both a type of jam/preserves and also a colloquial pet name in Romanian. It means, roughly, “sweetheart” or “sweet one.” Doolchasa is the closest I can come pronunciation wise.

5. When Mircea broke Rafe’s blood bond to Tony in CTD, would Rafe then be able to tell Cassie about her parents if she asked (like in ETN)?

After he recovered, sure, he could tell her what he knew. But by then, she was already finding it out for herself in CTD and HTM. Especially the latter, since she talked directly to Mircea about her parents, who knew far more than Rafe. Rafe was Tony’s go-to errand runner, since he wasn’t much use as a fighter, and was away from home a lot (remember the stuff he used to bring Cassie back from his travels?) He therefore didn’t have a lot of interaction with her parents. Plus, in TTS you’ll discover that they weren’t exactly underfoot most of the time!

Zheng-ze fan art

Awesome fan art of the newly minted senator, the honorable Zheng-ze! Thanks, Melody! It’s absolutely perfect!


Mug for a Mug #7: Best Louis-Cesare

I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently, asking who you thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I had too many responses to do all of them at once, so I’ve been posting one grouping a day. And, of course, I saved the best for last (he made me say that). So for post #7, who else but Louis-Cesare?

For the uninitiated, Louis-Cesare is the 6’4″, auburn-haired, muscl-y French vampire who is currently trying to date Dory. It takes a manly, or possibly crazy, vamp to actively pursue a dhampir, a creature who is practically programmed to kill him. But like his daddy, Louis-Cesare likes a challenge. Speaking of daddies, who WAS his anyway?

According to Alexandre Dumas, who was only repeating the gossip of the day, Louis-Cesare’s father was the Duke of Buckingham, who met a charming lady named Anne while on a diplomatic visit to France. That wouldn’t have been such a bad thing…if Anne hadn’t happened to be Anne of Austria, the current queen. Who was having a terrible time giving France the heir it so desperately needed.

Was having a terrible time until she met the duke, that is.


It was just a flirtation, historians maintain. But court gossip said otherwise, and Dumas used the story for the basis of his book, The Man in the Iron Mask. The man in question, of course, being Anne’s handsome, half-English bastard son. Who was later introduced to a dungeon cell by his royal brother, who was worried that people might start wondering about his parentage, too. After all, Buckingham wasn’t the only good looking guy at court.:-)

But Louis-Cesare got away from his prison, courtesy of a crazy blond chick, a bunch of ghosts and a couple of master vampires (okay, that last part wasn’t in Dumas.) Anyway, one of the vamps made him the entree of the day, but also turned him into a vampire in the process, so that worked out all right. Leading us to our question: what would a kid of the above two hotties look like?

And for the record, they WERE hot. Anne didn’t age well (you wouldn’t have either, married to Louis XIII, who was a little snot). But in her youth, she was reported to be quite attractive.

As for Buckingham, well, let’s put it this way. He didn’t start out a duke. He didn’t even start out a sir. He went from zero to hero, ending up with a title usually reserved for members of the royal family, and it wasn’t because of his brain (seriously, the guy made Zoolander look smart). So safe to say any kid of theirs would probably be something. So who to pick….

I didn’t get a lot of entries for our undead French heartthrob, but the ones I did were…interesting. Here are the pics that received the most entries for “Best Louis-Cesare”:


This is Theo Theodoridis, a Greek model who once won the title of “the most handsome man on the planet”. Of course, he’s had some problems since, but in his prime, I think he might have made a believable Louis-Cesare.


Likewise, the Dutch model Wouter Peelen isn’t hard on the eyes. He also reminds me a little bit of Buckingham, especially in these shots.


Yes, I know Josh Holloway (of Lost and Ghost Protocal) might be a little too old now, since Louis-Cesare was turned fairly young. But I’ve included a pic from a fashion shoot he did a while ago where he looks very different. He has that whole arrogance thing going, too, which is a must for LC.


And, finally, we have Marcus Schenkenberg, a Swedish model, who I mistakenly identified as Gabriel Aubry earlier (all these cute guys overwhelmed my brain, whatever little I usually have of it!) Anyway, he is our last entry for Louis-Cesare and I think comes quite close.

So, there you have it, folks. Did your fellow readers hit it on the head or totally miss the mark? Who is your Louis-Cesare?

Mug for a Mug #6: Best Ming-De

I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently, asking who everyone thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I had too many responses to do all of them at once, so I’ve been posting one grouping a day all this week. But so far, I’ve stuck to the main players, since that’s mostly what I was sent. But I wanted to do at least one supporting character, and for that I chose Ming-De. And I’m not gonna lie, it was mostly because it lets me talk about her clothes.

But first, who is Ming-De?

Vampires in the Cassie Palmer world are governed by six different courts, each of which rules over a different part of the world. Ming-De is the iron-fist-in-a-silk-glove leader of the East Asian Court, one of the strongest and largest on the planet. She’s currently in a struggle with the head of the North American Vampire Senate for control of a new alliance that has been set up to respond to a major war in the supernatural world. It allows whoever controls it to coordinate the actions of vampires world wide, and is the closest they’ve ever come to having one, overall ruler. Ming-De is seen as a serious threat to take it all, both due to the strength of her court and to one of the master’s abilities she possesses, which is mental combat.

She wasn’t interested in doing a personal ad, since she already has the one she wants in mind. 🙂

And now for our leading ladies:


From left to right, they are: Crystal Liu Ye Fei, a Chinese/American actress; Fan Bing Bing, a popular Chinese actress, singer and model (she’s modelling the red phoenix gown below); and Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress who was in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha, Tomorrow Never Dies and a ton of other movies. Personally, I prefer Liu Ye Fei for her air of innocence, because it’s always fun when someone really powerful doesn’t look like it. But for acting ability, it would have to go to Michelle Yeoh, who is one of my all-time favorites. Who’s your Ming-De?

And now for the fun stuff.

Fashion has been a factor in more than one book, with Dante’s casino even having it’s own resident (and magical) designer. But he’s given a run for the money by real-life Beijing designer Guo-Pei, whose creations are what I see when I think of Ming-De’s gowns. They take up to 7,000 hours of embroidery time per dress, which may not be magic, but it’s darned impressive! Here’s a few of my favs:














Which one can you see Ming-De wearing?

Mug for a Mug #5: Best Marlowe

I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently, asking who everyone thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I had too many responses to do all of them at once, so I’m posting one grouping a day all this week. For post #5, it’s everyone’s favorite super spy, Kit Marlowe.

For the newbies, yes, we’re talking about THE Kit Marlowe, the Elizabethan author who was suspected of also being a spy for her majesty. He died young, supposedly in a bar fight, more likely in some shady spy-related affair that was quickly hushed up. But in Cassie’s universe, death is a malleable concept, and soon he was back, doing his old job for a new mistress, the feared leader of the vampire senate.

But while Kit might be a dangerous predator with secrets on almost everyone, he benefits by not looking like it. Cassie described him as attractive, with a mop of curly dark hair, a goatee and an earring. He also charmed her pretty effectively, because while she knew his job and something of his reputation, she found it hard to equate the stories with the laughing, joking man she met.

If Marlowe was to write a personal ad, it might read something like this:

SWV seeks discreet lady or gentleman for casual relationship. Me: 5’11, brown hair and eyes, fit and adventurous. Likes: good wine, good theatre, and good friends. Dislikes: bar brawls. You: dynamic, open-minded, and something of a night owl. Also lacking any and all curiosity about your significant other’s life and employment. In interested, call 555-mystery.

Here are the pics that received the most entries for “Best Marlowe”:


Nir Lavi is an Israeli model who pretty much has Marlowe down cold. He has the hair, the goatee, and the suspicious sideways glances the job practically requires. He’s also smiling/and or laughing in a lot of his pics online, which is good for his cover as a nice guy. He does have blue eyes instead of brown, but I guess we can forgive him that. 🙂


Johnny Depp was another popular choice, possibly because he’s been rocking a sort of modernized Elizabethan look for years now. Maybe too many years, since Marlowe was only 29 when he took that shiv in the bar. But Depp undoubtedly has the ability to go from deadly serious to slapstick comedy and back again in the blink of an eye, which would come in handy when playing a mercurial figure like Marlowe.


I have to admit, I kind of anticipated the previous two. Johnny Depp because he’s the go-to guy for period pieces and Nir Lavi because a reader had used one of his pics for a previous contest, and everybody thought it was a good fit. I did not expect Jonathon Rhys-Myers, however, which was silly on my part because, hello, Tudors. And yes, he certainly has the wardrobe in these shots, and I’m sure he could do Angry-Marlowe pretty well. But, for me, the look doesn’t really match the books. I also get a more intense vibe from him than charming, but I admit to not seeing everything he’s ever done. For those of you with more info, is he the whole package?


Kit Harington from Game of Thrones was also suggested as a possible Marlowe-clone. And yes, I know, he’s young. But Marlowe was, too, when he died. Okay, not THAT young, but consider the following match-up between the only know portrait (maybe) of Marlowe, done when he was 20 or 21 at college, and this pic of Harington. Not so off, huh? Or maybe it is, and I’m crazy. But in another eight or nine years, Harington might look a lot more like Kit in the books, just as the real Kit would have changed over those years. Besides, there’s the name, people! The name!



And last but not least, Orlando Bloom! Now, personally, he is forever typecast in my Tolkien-loving brain as Legolas, but that’s not his fault. And let’s face it, the hair is right, the eye color is right, he has done a lot of historicals, and he’s British, so he’d get the accent right. Or closer than most, anyway. And he’s changed a little in looks, too, since his Legolas days, getting more character in his face…you know, I think he could work.

So that’s it, your fellow readers (and my) takes on the perfect Marlowe. Who’s yours?

Mug for a Mug #4: Best Cassie

I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently, asking who you thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I had too many responses to do all of them at once, so I’m posting one grouping a day all this week. For post #4, it’s our other leading lady: Cassandra “Cassie” Palmer.

Cassie is a clairvoyant who, until three months or so ago, had a pretty quiet life. She spent her time reading tarot cards in a bar and trying to keep her head down so her old vampire guardian wouldn’t find it and cut it off. Now, suddenly, she’s pythia, chief clairvoyant of the supernatural world, and living a life that is anything but quiet–or safe or sane or anything she could possibly have imagined. She isn’t sure if she loves it or hates it, but she sure isn’t bored!

If Cassie was to write a personal ad, it might go something like this:

SWF seeks…a little time off. Seriously, I don’t need another man in my life. I already have two, and I don’t know what to do with either one of them. What I could really use is a vacation, and I’m not picky. Is it haunted? Not a problem. A little tacky? Baby, I live in a hotel in Vegas, bring it on! Just make sure it doesn’t contain any vengeful vamps, devious demons or domineering deities and we’re good to go. I just want to get some sleep! Call 555-pythian.

Here are the pics that received the most entries for “Best Cassie”:


Weirdly enough, I didn’t get in a lot of entries for Cassie. I guess most of you didn’t want to put your favorite actress through that kind of hell! So here are the ones I thought could sort of work, assuming they’re crazy enough.

Adrianne Palicki gets the top spot because she got a whopping three entries, the same as our next two runners up. But Adrianne gets to go first because she has the hair (at least in this photo), she has the girl next door vibe Cassie gives off, and because she’s played freaking Wonder Woman! Who did a little time traveling and god fighting in her day, too.


Next up, also with three entries, is Amanda Seyfried. She’s bright, she’s bubbly, and she’s about the right age…so why did I put her second? Because her fantasy film credit is Red Riding Hood! Now, to be fair, I did not see this movie. Apparently, no one saw this movie. But maybe we should have. Because maybe this told the story of Bad Ass Red. A Red who was tired of taking people’s crap, and was suiting up for a little payback. A Red who wore that color ON PURPOSE to help her track that damned wolf down and feed it some lead cookies. And if it wasn’t, they ought to make that movie, because that would be awesome. But in the absence of any proof (like a movie poster showing her standing over the wolf’s bloody corpse with a smoking gun and a “Grandma’s house is that way, bitch” tag line (and okay, I’m getting way too into this), I had to dun her a couple points. She is cute, though. 🙂


Scarlet Johannsen was also submitted by three people, who undoubtedly appreciated (as I did) her turn as Black Widow in The Avengers. That would normally have gotten her an automatic top spot…except that Black Widow was more a Dory-type character than a Cassie. But damn, that movie provided a lot of doppelgangers, didn’t it? I mean, two of our possible-Pritkins were in it…one of whom was Jeremy Renner…who was the sort-of-kind-of-if-you-squinted love interest of…heyyyy, wait a minute! Damn it all! You guys are sneaky! And so she gets third.

Laura Vandervoort 3

Laura Vandervoort is next, with only one entry, which surprised me. I mean, come on, she was supergirl! That has to count for something, right? But I don’t think she’d work for Cassie, because she’s already tapped to be Elena in the new Bitten series, and you can’t be a werewolf and pythia both. I mean, come on, Marco has enough problems without also worrying about fleas (don’t hurt me, Kelley! I love you! And your books!)


Next we have Rachel McAdams, also with one entry, maybe because she seems to fall for time-travelers a lot. So it might be cool to see her get to be one for a change.


And finally, Britt Robertson, who is not only the right age (or close enough) but she’s even played a Cassie before!

So there you have it, folks. Who is your Cassie?

A Mug for a Mug #3: Best Dory

I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently, asking who you thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I had too many responses to do all of them at once, so I’m posting one grouping a day all this week. For post #3, it’s one of our leading ladies: Dorina “Dory” Basarab.

After the senator himself, the next best-known member of clan Basarab is Dory/Dorina, Mircea’s only natural child. As a dhampir, a cross between a human and a vampire, Dory is a fearsome predator, combining vampire speed, heightened senses and strength with human imperviousness to sunlight. But probably her greatest advantage are her looks, which appear nonthreatening to both humans and vampires alike.

If Dory was to write a personal ad, it might go something like this:

5’2″ SW-not-exactly-V seeking guy who likes a little variety. Are you a Gemini? You might be the perfect fit! Hobbies include prowling around cities at night, staking vamps (only the bad ones! Usually!), Fey wine, pissing off my father and using too many exclamation marks! But seriously, I’ve got a roommate issue here–too many of them. And they’re mostly trolls and they’re eating my food. ALL my food. Call if interested and have food (6’4″ Frenchmen with chefs preferred).

Here are the pics that received the most entries for “Best Dory”:


Easily the most popular entry for Dory was Mila Kunis. I picked this photo because most of the others showed her with longer hair. And I can definitely see a resemblance. She has a touch of the exotic, she’s only 5’4″, so the height isn’t as much of a problem as with some others, and she looks pretty nonthreatening. Maybe a little too nonthreatening. As it is, she looks like she’d make a great Dory…in a few years. Right now, I think she looks a little too young and a little too nice. And then we have to think about Dory’s alter-ego, Dorina. Let’s face it, you need to be a bad ass to do justice to Dorina. Mila just looks too sweet to me. But then again, she is an actress…


Next most popular was Angelina Jolie, which I thought was very funny, since her husband was just nominated as a possible Mircea! But yes, I can kind of see this one. Especially Angelina in her Tomb Raider days. She has a very Dory-esque feel to me in this pic especially.


Next up is Romanian model Andreea Diaconu. I think facially, she’s the closest to how I personally see Dory, although YMMV. The only problem is that she’s 5’11”, which is waaaay too tall. But she’s beautiful and exotic, so maybe we make her stand in a hole or something.


Jaimie Alexander, best known for playing Sif in the Thor series, is up next. She’s gorgeous, she can kick ass and what is that she’s holding? IS THAT A DACHSHUND? Okay, enough. She wins.


Alyssa Milano, AKA Phoebe from Charmed, was also nominated. Personally, I have the same problem with her as with Mila, but maybe that’s because I don’t watch a lot of T.V. Is she more bad-ass than this photo suggests? If so, she might work. The hair is certainly perfect. 🙂


And this time, there were several people who sent in their own or a family member’s pics for your consideration. I think the hair is great here! But the jewelry would have to go. Don’t want it getting pulled out in a fight!


A reader sent in this one of her daughter. Lol–awesome! I think she wins on attitude alone.

So there you have it. Tell me, who is your Dory?

Mug for a Mug #2: Best Pritkin

Okay, so I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently, asking who you thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I had too many responses to post them all at once, so I’m doing one a day all week. For post #2, it’s John Pritkin.

For any newbies out there: Pritkin is the bodyguard, self-appointed personal trainer and friend-when-she’s-not-wanting-to-kill-him of Cassie Palmer, the world’s chief clairvoyant. It’s a hard job and needs a hard man, which is why a half-demon war mage fits the bill perfectly. If Pritkin was writing a personal ad, which he wouldn’t for reasons known to readers of the books, it might go something like this:

5’9-ish Brit into potion-making, firearms, personal training and healthy eating, seeks single female with NO interest in the following: time travel, fortune telling, ghost whispering or fighting ancient gods. Already dealing with enough of that, thank you. Part demons with an interest in trying to improve their status in hell also need not apply. Are there any sane women out there? Any at all? If so, give me a ring at 555-warmage. Adepts at the fine art of coffee brewing especially encouraged.

As you can see, Pritkin is not an easy guy to duplicate, not that it kept you guys from trying.:-) Here are the pics that received the most entries for “Best Pritkin”:


Jeremy Renner was a really popular choice, and it’s easy to understand why. He’s about the right height, has that unconventionally handsome thing going on, and unlike some of the others, he’s not too young. His hair was also miserable in The Avengers, which is where this photo comes from, so that’s a plus!


Believe it or not, I never saw Supernatural, so I don’t know whether Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester, is a good attitude clone for Pritkin or not. But he was popular with a lot of you, and I chose this pic out of those submitted because it reminds me of the pizza parlor scene between Pritkin and Cassie in Hunt the Moon. My personal take is that he’s a little too pretty, but clearly, I’m in the minority! Besides, he can always be dirtied up. 🙂

matt damon

Matt Damon? Really? But apparently, it’s a thing, because I was sent multiple pics. He certainly has the action cred after the Bourne movies, but I just don’t know–do you think he can carry off blond?


Ok, now you’re just messing with me. But believe it or not, several people saw Keifer Sutherland as their perfect Pritkin. And okay, yes, he can handle action films, and he has done supernatural movies before, and he is a believable blond…you know, I’m going to stop there before I talk myself into this! Although, honestly, I think even Pritkin might draw the line at a mullet!


I don’t know Chris Eagan, but several people suggested him for the young Pritkin, like before Rosier came to claim him the first time. What do you think, does he pull it off?


Chris Helmsworth was also sent in several times. I liked this photo because he looks a little…intense..which fits Pritkin perfectly. I think there might be a problem with a 6’4″ guy playing Pritkin, though! But I guess we could put Cassie on a box…


Alexander Skarsgard was suggested by several of you, which made me laugh. Simply because I think the poor guy has been typecast, at least in my head. I just can’t see him as anybody but Eric! He is cute, though.:-P


And finally, a couple people nominated James Bond himself, Daniel Craig! I chose this pic because he’s more blond in it than usual, and because it shows him as less the suave superspy type and more the scruffy, out-of-sorts, in-dire-need-of-coffee type. He’s one of the few submitted however, who might be a little old. Pritkin is supposed to look mid-thirties, and I think Craig is something like mid-forties now. But hey, that’s what they pay makeup artists for!

So there you have it folks. Who is your Pritkin?

A Mug for a Mug #1: Best Mircea

Okay, so I ran a “Mug for a Mug” contest recently on Facebook, asking who everyone thought would make the perfect doppelganger for the series’ characters. I thought I would cross post the responses here, since some of them were so good. I had too many to do all at once, though, so I’ll post one grouping a day for a week. Up first: Who else but Lord Mircea?

First, a little info for the uninitiated. Mircea Basarab, five-hundred-year-old master vampire, brother of Dracula, and senior member of the Vampire Senate, is the all around swoon-worthy leading man (so to speak) of the Cassie Palmer series. He’s fond of fast cars, fast women and couture (Armani for everyday wear, and Brioni when he wants to make a statement). If Mircea was doing a personal ad, which he most definitely doesn’t need, it might read something like this:

SWV seeks single lady for agreeable, short term relationship. Me: thirty-ish, 6′, brown hair and eyes. You: open to negotiation, but must enjoy the night life. Bubbly blonds a plus, as long as they enjoy shopping, travel and running up the balance on my credit cards, but not destroying large buildings. An interest in designer footwear is appreciated. Blood donors a plus! If interested, call 555-vampire.

So who could possibly embody our Mircea? People have suggested the following:


The all around, hands-down favorite in the Mircea impersonation game is model Andrei Andrei. He has the right hair, the right touch of the exotic and–even better–he’s actually Romanian! Plus he models for Mircea’s favorite brand, Armani. I was deluged with pics of Andrei, but this one is probably the most Mircea-ish.


The next favorite is Brazilian model Pedro Perestrello, who–surprise–also models for Armani. I am beginning to sense a trend. And, bonus, he did a vampire vid (okay, an ad for a candy bar, but still), set in Venice! I laughed for ages when I found it, because it’s hysterical, and because the upcoming Mircea short, “Masks”, is also set there. Sometimes, coincidences are scary. Here’s the vid, if you’re curious:


Eduardo Verastegui is next, the Mexican model, singer and actor. He’s one of those guys whose face seems to change in every photo. In some, like this one, I kind of see a resemblance, in others not.


Next up is Theo Alexander, a greek actor who played on True Blood. And while I think he makes a good vamp, he looks a little young for Mircea to me. But YMMV. Maybe he could be young Mircea.


Okay, not feeling this one. Richard Roxburgh has played a vampire, yes, in fact he played THE vampire–Dracula–in Van Helsing. But honestly, I can’t. I only see his undoubtedly brilliant but oh-so-creepy performance as the Duke in Moulin Rouge and…shudder. No, no I just…we’re moving on now–


To Brad Pitt? Honestly? Especially Brad Pitt as Louis in Interview With A Vampire? I mean, great book–seriously, go read it if you’ve somehow missed it all these years. But Louis? Sweet, darling, too-kind-for-a-vampire Louis? Because that doesn’t exactly say Mircea to me. But that’s the fun of books, you can see the characters any way you want. As for me, I’m sticking with Andrei and Pedro. 😉

Q&A #41

1) I know you already answered this, but in the scene, flashback/dream, in which Dorina is spying on the smugglers’ meeting in the abandoned factory and then meets the Irin, she describes the smugglers saying that the air around them shimmered in fluctuating colors and then goes on describing the colors and associates them with a feeling, e.g. yellow-green of fear. Later on , just before the Irin intrudes, she describes one of the fey’s power like a twist of smoke if smoke glowed from the inside and the Irin himself burned silver bright like a fallen star. So if Dorina can visually recognize vampires’ family lines like some other vampires and one of her master powers is seeing heat signatures, what was she seeing and describing in that scene?

It’s power signatures being shown here, actually, which serve a number of functions. Power from a particular master vampire has a recognizable form, like a fingerprint, that can be observed on his children (and therefore indicate their family line). But a power signature is useful for more than figuring out which vamps belong to which master. It also can say a lot about the vampire’s power level and/or mood, which is what Dorina was commenting on here.

The fey and Irin’s power signatures, however, were different, more alien to her eyes, but they were nonetheless recognizable for what they were. It’s why Dorina avoided the fey’s “smoke,” which, had it brushed her, would have revealed her presence. And why she was so entranced by the Irin–she’d never seen a power signature that strong before.

2) We know that a vampire becomes a master- seventh-level, right?- when he can make others, but how do they go up the other levels, since here and there there are descriptions of vampires a little vague on masters’ levels based only on their power and Kit said Lawrence gained two of his major gifts before he passed to first-level. Are there particular skills/powers they must attain to pass?

I’m not sure I understand this question. Master levels are simply a convenient way to talk about how powerful a particular master has become. They move from level to level (assuming they don’t plateau at some point as most do) when they grow in strength. So, yes, it is a designation based solely on power, not influence, wealth, intellect, or some other measurement.

But if you’re looking for an outward manifestation of a master’s power, there are markers along the way.

Seventh level: a vampire can make other vamps.

Sixth level: Taste often returns, allowing the enjoyment of food again, and other senses generally improve dramatically.

Fifth level: A master is often emancipated, or offered the chance at it by his master, because he is becoming difficult to control by force. Some branch out and start new families at this level.

Fourth level: A master can withstand very limited daylight without combustion. Also, those masters who choose to stay with their old master are often given considerable leeway/put in command of an auxiliary court. Marlowe’s upper-level masters, for instance, staff his various courts around the globe, and process the information that comes in for him. This gets powerful vampires out from underfoot, and gives them something useful to do, as well as providing a sense of automony.

Third level: A master can withstand more daylight without combustion, although with a significant power drain.

Second level: A master can withstand considerable daylight, with less of a power drain. Also, first level powers are sometimes glimpsed here. Also, much more of a chance that the vampires you turn will someday reach master level themselves.

First level: A catch-all term for masters above the other rankings, basically meaning very, very strong. Daylight is still a power drain, but they have power to burn so it really is not an issue any more. Special first-level abilities show up over time, sometimes more than one, which are carefully guarded secrets and “special weapons” used in cases of emergency. At the upper power levels of the first rank, senate seats become an option for those willing to risk the struggle for one.

3) This one may be spoilerish….

In Fury’s Kiss, someone, Mircea or Marlowe, says that Ming-de is the Consul biggest competition to be the leader of the senates’ alliance. I presume that Alejandro doesn’t count as he is crazy and his court is a mess and the European Senate is weak, so Anthony is also out, but what of Hassani and Parindra?

If you’re a consul, it’s safe to say that you’re dangerous. I don’t think Mircea or Marlowe is likely to discount the threat from any of them, minus Alejandro, of course. But Mircea knows Ming-de extremely well from the time he spent at her court. He knows she is exceptionally powerful and extremely ambitious, with a highly effective group of servants. She’s also whip-smart, and has a rare master power that she has honed to a knife-edge. He knows exactly how dangerous she can be.

4) What does Louis-Cesare use as crest? The coat of arms of house de Bourbon, like the surname, the one of the Basarab or another one?

Neither. He made up his own, quartering the Basarab crest with the one Anthony (essentially his vampire foster father) had adopted in the Middle Ages. And only because Anthony practically insisted he have one at all. Louis-Cesare is arrogant, God knows, but about what he can do, not about what family he comes from (which, let’s face it, never worked out to be much of an advantage for him, did it?) He probably wouldn’t have bothered to have one at all, on his own. But Anthony is more savvy about playing politics than his champion, and knew that you win every one of the battles you never have to fight. So a visual reminder for any potential challengers of Louis-Cesare’s connection to two powerful vampire lines wasn’t going to hurt him.

5) How and when do weres get their names? Do they earn them or they receive them when they reach a certain age? Since she is part of Arnou now, does Lia have a were name or not since she doesn’t- can’t- change?

They usually take their first one from a seminal event in their early lives, or from a family connection/talent. But Were names are not permanent like human ones usually are, but often change at different stages of life to reflect new positions/events. Lia doesn’t have one, because she chose to live as a human.