Vampire lore

Q and A #59

Question 1: Reading about Anthony and Cleo’s history made me wonder about historical events. Masks was great that way, with many historical figures making an appearance, and for example the fall of Constantinople referenced along with “disputed territories” and “rebels” by the Consul. It brings up, how much were world history events influenced by supernaturals in your universe?

A fair amount. If you’re the minority, what the majority of a society decides to do is probably going to have an impact, giving you reason to try to influence it to benefit you, if you can. That was why Marlowe was made, if you’ll recall. But your success is going to vary, especially when something involves a huge movement of people into new areas, as the Ottoman expansion did.

Question 2: Radu’s been said to be mooching off big brother; why didn’t he make more vampires after Louis-Cesare? Mental unsuitability, lack of interest, personal issues, etc…? Isn’t he as a servantless emancipated master highly unusual, and even vulnerable/potential liability to Mircea and the Senate?

Radu is protected by big brother Mircea, yes, meaning that nobody in their right minds messes with Radu. And Mircea is generous, so ‘Du has all the money he can spend as well as servants, status, and basically all the things that a large family can provide. Of course, to be fair to him, so do all masters who choose to stay and serve their old mentors rather than breaking away to form their own courts. Most of them do make Children, too, but Radu was forbidden from that until recently in order not to screw up the timeline. It gave him a chance to learn that the families you make and are afterwards responsible for come with some definite advantages, but also with considerable liabilities at times. Radu found that he liked the freedom of not being responsible for a huge household himself.

As far as mooching is concerned, however, most vamps wouldn’t see it that way. Staying and serving your senator brother would likely be seen as somewhat selfless, as you’re forfeiting your own court and relegating yourself to a life forever in his shadow. Masters who choose to stay with their own master after they are powerful enough to leave are given a certain degree of respect for that, especially upper level ones. Plus, having Radu free to concentrate on senate business has yielded a lot of advantages for them (Radu is a bit of a scientific genius, in his own way). Dory didn’t really get all of that, as Dory — the perpetual outsider — doesn’t always understand as much about vamp society as she thinks she does. But one of the reasons Mircea is so powerful is that there are two, not one, Basarab brothers working together. And having one seriously underestimated by vamp society is exactly the way they like it.

Question 3: Is the Danieli who was killed (presumably?) in the FK coup the Danieli from Masks or a different person?

Different person. It’s a common name.

Question 4: Will Dmitri feature more in the books, or can you tell us what caused the animosity between him and Mircea in CbS?

I don’t do spoilers. But the animosity started with a woman who preferred Mircea, and snowballed from there.

Question 5: Some of the series’ masters showed signs of moving / holding objects with their will. Is telekinesis another common power to develop amongst vamps like the ability to mind-speak with each other?

It’s not common. It does sometime come with the mental trait, however. You saw Mircea slam Pritkin against a wall without laying a hand on him in TTD, and hold him there. It was an early hint of Mircea’s mental adroitness.

Question 6: You answered once that vampires only need to use the bathroom if they consume a lot of human food. Does hair and nail growth for example happen for vampires after blood consumption, only on demand, or not at all?

Vampires have virtually complete control over their bodies after death, once they figure out how that works. Marti shaved the newbies in Masks because it was easier than teaching them, and because many are often less than successful with it at first, still thinking too much like a human. Baby vamps who try to configure their bodies sometimes end up looking a little . . . odd. Wild eyebrows, for instance, or too prominent eyes. One tried to increase his stature and ended up with gorilla arms. And even the older ones don’t always get the knack of it. It’s why many vamps just appear to change their looks with a glamourie, or go to a bokor who has more skill with that sort of thing, if they want the vamp version of plastic surgery. Having said that, however, after a few decades they usually figure out that their hair doesn’t grow, for example, unless they want it to. Same as you already learned about breathing/heartbeat/etc.

Question 7: Aaaaand finally… – I’m sorry but I have to ask – *using my best imitation of a Stark voice* Brace yourself… you know it’s coming…: are there any news of the Dory shorts? There’s been people on the forums anxiously looking for preorder links, I volunteered to ask. 😀

I would have posted them for preorder already, but Amazon won’t let me. They want the entire, edited version of the stories before they’ll put something on preorder, which makes no sense to me. If I had the final form of the shorts already, why wouldn’t I just post them both now? Why make people wait? I didn’t know this when I promised the preorders before, but I do now. So let’s revise this: you’ll be able to purchase the stories in April and July respectively.

Q and A #58

1) When Cassie was in Hell and the Senate showed up, were they all there or just the Consul, Marlowe, and Mircea? Did Jules come with them? Will we get to see what they thought of the scene between Cassie and Mircea?

They were all there because they were linked into Mircea’s mind, in a sort of conference call. They do this fairly regularly (remember when you see old vamps spacing out? They’re probably talking to somebody) because the senate is often spread out all over the place. Getting them all together in one place on a regular basis would be a royal pain, so they don’t. But they do have to meet, so it’s done mentally.

So they were already linked in, so to speak, when Mircea opened up the seidr link with Cassie. He’d expected to see her suite in Vegas, and for the senate to be able to talk her into the whole army thing (which was why they also brought Jules with them). But instead they plopped down in the middle of hell. Fun times!

2) The other thing I was curious about was when Mircea pulled power from the guards. Because Rico is emancipated, like Radu, shouldn’t he have been awake still? Even if he was off duty at the time, wouldn’t he have felt it and known to go to the suite to help? Also, is Rico the only one of Cassie’s guards that is emancipated?

Okay, now I’m confused. First, Ricu was already in the suite. Cassie saw him on the floor, unconscious, when she woke up. So he didn’t have to come from anywhere.

Second, emancipated doesn’t mean a master can’t drain you. Emancipated means that he can’t control you, i.e. force you to do things you may not want to do, at least not without more effort than it’s worth. But the blood bond is still there — it is always there — and he can use it if he must. It’s one reason Tony is hiding out in faerie, because if he was in this world, Mircea could damage him and, if he’s still third level, possibly drain him dry.

Third, a master doesn’t just drain his family indiscriminately, even under duress. That could leave some of them vulnerable to the sun or enemies after most of their power suddenly goes bye-bye. And for a man as obsessed by family as Mircea is, do you really think he would leave his people somewhere to die? So a master controls who he drains and who he doesn’t. Rico and the others were in a secure area, inside some of the strongest wards known to man, and facing no threat. Taking power from them was a no brainer. In fact, they were the perfect people to pick, since they could just hunker down in the fortress of Dante’s, like Mircea is always trying to get Cassie to do, until they recovered.

Radu, on the other hand, was in a different situation. Kit was a friend, but he wasn’t family, and in a crisis, you want a family member there to take care of you. Which, if you’ll recall, is exactly what Radu did. In Fury’s Kiss, Mircea was too far gone even to feed there at the end, until Radu (with some help from Dory) fed him the old fashioned way (which requires basically no effort from the receiver). Radu gave him enough blood to get him back to himself slightly, and then Mircea pulled the rest from whatever family still had any left to give. He could have drained Radu then as well, but Dory and Louis-Cesare were hurt, and Radu was the only one speaking/acting for the family. And Mircea wanted at least one Basarab left on his feet!

3) I’m confused about how the acolytes actually die. Agnes had to step in with Myra, to make sure she didn’t just possess someone else when her physical body died, so can’t the acolytes do the same thing and find a new host?

Myra was Agnes’ heir, not just an acolyte. The heir controls a great deal more power than the acolytes, and thus has more abilities open to her. She basically has all the skills of a pythia, just not all of the power yet. The acolytes do not.

4) Are the two acolytes Cassie supposedly killed actually dead (the one she shifted out the window and the one at the end with the bottle of Tears)? Also, how is the Circle holding the acolyte that was captured when they can shift out of the Traps and pretty much anything, assuming their training was better than Cassie’s? Isn’t that the reason the Pythia has reign over punishments concerning her Court, because no-one else is equipped to do so, considering their powers?

The duel ended pretty definitely, wouldn’t you say? And falling three stories onto cobblestones isn’t usually considered fun.

As to your other question, there are a number of ways of holding onto a badly behaving acolyte. First, they aren’t demigoddesses, so whether they would be able to do Cassie’s trick with the magical traps is debatable. But even if so, to hold them safely for a short period of time, all you’d have to do is drug them, and not even into unconsciousness. Too woozy to think straight takes shifting off the table, much less anything else. Of course, holding an acolyte for the long term would be a lot more problematic for the Circle. But then, it wouldn’t be the Circle doing it.

5) Finally, I’ve been wondering about Cassie’s heritage for a while. How much is her aging and lifespan affected by her mother being a Goddess and will the Pythian power have the same aging effect on Cassie as other Pythias because of this? Can the other clairvoyants actually see ghosts or is this something Cassie got from her parents?

Traditionally, demigods had a wide range of powers and life spans, so it is difficult to say what Cassie’s might be. Especially since Artemis didn’t have any other children to use as a comparison. But, certainly, Cassie did get some things from her heritage. She’s been on the job less than four months, and had no readily available teacher, but she’s already learned to use the Pythian power like a pro. Immanent death is a good motivator!

As far as clairvoyants and what they see, it depends on the clairvoyant. Remember Billy’s hat in Reap the Wind? The little clairvoyant who took it could see and hear him, although not all have that skill. However, the initiates that make it to the Pythian Court are the best and most talented around, so it’s safe to say that plenty of them can see Billy just fine.

But as for Cassie, her abilities go beyond seeing and talking to ghosts. She acts more like she IS one, in a human body, which is a necromancer trait. It allows her to slip her skin for possessions much easier than most people, and to trade energy with Billy Joe. Or to possess huge golems and go on a rampage. 🙂

Hope that helps!

Q&A #51

Question 1:   Was Mircea’s first wife’s name Elena or Helena? Or are both correct?

Elena is the Romanian version of the Greek name Helen/a. So both are correct.

Question 2:   In Death’s Mistress, while they were in Mircea’s apartment and just about to leave and meet with Elyas, Dory mentioned that she didn’t know a single vampire other than Louis-Cesare who didn’t tense up slightly when she came within arm’s reach, not even family. I’m wondering – Mircea and Radu (and Horatiu too, I’m sure) clearly love Dory, even if she didn’t know it at the time, so why would they all tense up around her every time she’s near?

Because she’s a crazy, unpredictable dhampir who regularly kills their kind? Roy of Siegfried and Roy loved giant cats. But he forgot what they were capable of, and as a result, one almost killed him. Dory is a dangerous being by her very nature; she can’t change that, and dropping your guard around a predator capable of taking you out is a very stupid move. Readers see Dory’s softer, more human side because they hear her thoughts/follow her reasoning. All the vampires have to go on is what they hear her say, and more importantly, see her do. Most vampires consider Louis-Cesare quite, quite mad for getting within arms’ length of a being who might go into a fit and kill him at any moment. But then, he’s always been a little crazy, too.

Question 3:   What has Mircea done to Dory (before the events depicted in the series, i.e. Dory finding out about his memory wiping) that made her trust him so little? Was it the perceived lack of warmth and nurture a child would normally expect from her parents, or was it because he is a vampire? It’s just that in the books, Dory seemed to think that any show of warmth or concern from Mircea towards her well-being was an attempt to trick her into trusting him so he could get something out of her. This gives me the impression that he has actually done this in the past.

It’s because he is a vampire, partially, yes, but you forget: Dory doesn’t remember her childhood. She didn’t, until very recently, have anything to go on from Mircea except what he told her, and he couldn’t tell her much or risk damaging the barrier he had fought so hard to build. So what did she know? Some vampire sires her, then abandons her for centuries, which okay, is better than killing her outright but doesn’t make her all warm and fuzzy. Then one day, a guy shows up in a tavern in Italy, out of the blue, and claims to be that vampire. It turns out he wasn’t lying, but why does she care? He obviously didn’t, except for finally figuring out that she wasn’t going to die quickly like the rest of her kind and so might be useful. Dory spent centuries seeing herself as nothing more than a part of Mircea’s formidable arsenal—a tool or weapon to be trotted out when needed. She put up with it because, in return, he gave her some much needed protection from higher up vamps, and occasionally shot a job her way. But she viewed him as a necessary evil, nothing more, and resented it greatly when he pretended to any affection. Given the info she had at the time, her attitude was reasonable.

Question 4:   How come when Dory slips into dhampir mode, her voice becomes guttural?

Vampire Dory isn’t human Dory. She may be in the same body, but the mind is very different and draws on the non-human aspects of her being far more than Dory does. She also isn’t used to talking much, since most people assume she can’t! Plus, when Dory relinquishes control it’s usually because things are about to hit the fan. And a sweet/light tone doesn’t really compliment slaughter.

Question 5:   I loved reading Masks, and being able to get a glimpse of Mircea with his first wife. Would you ever consider writing a short story or novella focusing on Mircea and Elena/Helena? Or do you feel that the backstory revealed in the Midnight’s Daughter series and Masks so far is enough? Or (sorry haha) would you prefer to reveal more from within the plot of the the series as it progresses, rather than have a separate short story/novella for it?

Someone who liked Masks! My God, it’s like meeting a unicorn! So I wish I could comment on your question, I really do. But I can’t. I will say that if I ever stop writing these epicly long books and can afford to devote some time to it, I would like to write another book or two on Mircea. His is a fascinating story and I’d enjoy doing more with it. It won’t pay the bills, because you, me and maybe five other people are the only ones likely to ever read it! But sometimes, you have to do things just because you want to, you know? Anyway, we’ll see. And thanks for reading, lol!

Q and A #49

1) Is the Jerome in Masks is the same Jerome, senator and master of Elyas, in Death’s Mistress? 

Yes, Jerome was Elyas’ master–good for you! I didn’t know if anyone would catch that. But it was nice to be able to flesh out the European Senate a little. 


2) In one of your other Q&A you wrote that when Mircea tried to separate Dorina’s two natures in the beginning he got a little help, as we would have seen in ‘Masks’. Did you mean the other ‘Masks’, the one about Mircea from the present and Cassie traveling back to Venice to gain blackmail material on another senator? I admit that when I first read that I thought maybe it was Mircea from the present that helped is past self.

In answer to your questions, I started writing Masks several times over the last few years, only to have to put it away due to deadlines for other projects. And when I would go back to it, I would often find myself working on a different storyline. Basically, Mircea has a LOT of backstory and it kept intruding. I finally told myself to just concentrate on one story or I was never going to get it finished, so that’s how we ended up where we did. And why, at different times, different storylines were discussed (because when I was asked the question, that’s the one I was working on). I hope that makes some kind of sense!


3) Somewhere, I don’t remember where I read it, you explained that at some point the differences between Cleo and Anthony became such that they could not co-exist in the same territory and senate so Mircea and Marlowe persuaded her that North America deserved a Senate too and they all went across the pond. How long after they became co-consuls did it happen? And, if it’s not spoiler, why did it happen?  

It happened in the late 18th century. You’ll recall that, when Cassie and Mircea were visiting Paris in 1793 (in Embrace the Night), they were able to stay at his Paris home because the Mircea of that time was away in North America. That’s why he was away—scouting out the possibilities for a new senate.

As for why it happened, there’s an old saying “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” that pretty much sums up Cleo and Anthony’s relationship. When they’re apart, they miss each other; when they’re together, they frequently want to kill each other. It’s complicated. So, the togetherness all the time thing wasn’t working, and in fact, was not working to the point that something had to give soon or there was going to be another challenge.

Mircea and Marlowe pointed out that the natural resources of NA were likely to make it an economic, and therefore political, power one day, and that its population was already exploding after the Revolutionary War. It was ready for a senate, and if they didn’t establish one, somebody else would. So she and Anthony split the blanket to stay allies rather than destroying one another.


4) In modern vampire law (Cassie and Dory books) a Master is responsible for the vampires he/she sires, right? When was the law introduced and does it mean that what happened to Sanuito would be punished if it happened again?

It was always tradition that a master was responsible for those he sired, and was in fact the law elsewhere. The info on “Cathay” that Bezio had in Masks was skewed by his own prejudice.  He assumed that because other senates didn’t have a “safe haven” such as Venice, it meant that they hadn’t made any accommodations for their strays. In fact, they didn’t have a Venice because they didn’t need one. Masters were held strictly accountable for any children they made, something that wasn’t true in Europe because the old consul didn’t enforce it. Anthony and Cleo changed that after they took over, something that was helped by the rather large number of old masters they slaughtered putting down rebellions.

As far as Sanuito’s fate, though . . . technically, it could still happen. It probably wouldn’t, because the master vamp would then be stuck with a useless servant, and killing too many of your servants for no reason gets you the reputation for instability/weakness (because if you were strong, you wouldn’t need to kill them to control them). And that can end up costing you your own life, if another master decides that you’re ripe for a takeover. And that’s assuming that the senate doesn’t go after you themselves. Auria’s master, for example, would not have been tolerated after the events of Masks. But a master still has life or death control over those he makes as long as he keeps it within reason.

The main difference brought about by the change of power you saw in Masks was better leadership, which held masters more accountable. And so greatly cut down on the numbers of masterless vamps running about. Afterwards, if you made a vampire, you were pretty much stuck with him. And if you made one by accident and he thereafter went on a tear (like a revenant) you had to track him down or hire someone to do it for you. It’s why Louis-Cesare was in trouble over Christine, and why Dory was able to eke out a living chasing down mad vampires.


5) Are there any penalties if a Master forces the change on an unwilling person?

Changing someone who is fighting it, or sick, or otherwise in less than optimal condition, is tricky, and can land you with a dead servant or one like Horatiu. Mircea doesn’t mind about Horatiu, of course, because he loves him and feels indebted to him. But someone else would not be so happy to have a servant like that!

In the case of Martina, the character in Masks who had been forcibly changed, her master didn’t care whether she herself was useful or not, because he was only after her property anyway. All he cared about was that she live long enough to sign it over to him. But most of the time, a vampire has enough willing persons to change that he doesn’t need to change the unwilling. It’s also a factor that you can only change so many vamps, because you can only control so many, so are you really going to risk wasting one of your limited number on someone like Horatiu?   

Q and A #44

1. Do Antony and the Consul ever shoot the breeze together about the good old days? Do they ever reminisce about their children? Along this vein (hehe), do vampires who had children while still human keep tabs on their surviving bloodlines as the years go?

Not really. Most vampires tend to lose track of family after a few centuries, if not before. Your new family takes precedence, and as a young vamp, you have very little chance to do your own thing. By the time you could just take off for personal reasons, your kids are probably dead, along with their kids and possibly another few generations. The only people you would meet would be distant relatives. Who, of course, wouldn’t know you at all.

Anyway, human lives seem so ephemeral in comparison to the ages you have and will live. What is the point? If you’re going to discuss children, it’s normally your immortal ones who dominate the conversation.

2. Was Julius Caesar ever a vampire, in the CP/DB universe?

No. He was dead long before Anthony and Cleo were ever bitten. Plus, god damn, can you see Julius as a vamp? He was bad enough as a human!

3. Did Alphonse know that Sal had turned traitor, or what she was planning to do, in CtD? If so, was he punished by Mircea? What has he been up to?

No, she didn’t tell him. Sal’s opinion of Alphonse’s intellect wasn’t high, and she didn’t trust him. Tony had acquired him for his killing ability, not his smarts. As for what he’s been up to, what would you be up to if you’re a trained killer and your old boss just basically offed your girlfriend?

4. Why did Pritkin and Mircea warn Casanova off Cassie when it’s a hotel full of incubi and vampires? He doesn’t seem to like her much anyway!

But they didn’t know his attitude at the time. And Casanova’s rep had preceded him.

5. Cassie often seems surprised when everyone else wets themselves in fear of Mircea and they seem surprised that she doesn’t fear him at all. This is quite funny and intriguing. Who is right about how dangerous Mircea is?

Everyone else.

6. Why did Louis Caesar only lose his cool in Touch the Dark when Cassie told him how many people they were facing (in the car park) I would have lost my head way before that!

Louis-Cesare would like me to inform you that there must be some misunderstanding. He never loses his cool. Cassie was under considerable stress, and must have misinterpreted his competent, calm and capable reaction to the matter.

7. How did Mircea know about the present Cassie sent Ming de? (lamia skin) I can’t help laughing imagining her face when she got that present.

Presumably, Ming-de mentioned it, possibly in one of their already tense negotiations over the new treaty alliance. Although, with Mircea, you never know, do you?

Q &A #43

1. I can’t remember if this has already been addressed, but did Mircea name Dory? It doesn’t seem likely the Rom would call her “a gift from God”.

Dory’s mother named her. You’ll find out more about what happened in Dory’s early years in a later book.

2. Why is Cassie short(ish) with curly hair, if her parents were both tall and straight-haired?

Because genetics are weird? It is fairly common for a child to take after a grandparent on something like height, eye color, hair color, etc.

3. If I have this correct, I believe there are 6 vampire senates: North America, Europe, South America, India, China, and Africa. If this is so, what do the vampires who live in parts of Asia other than China and India do? What about the vampires of Australia and New Zealand? Are they simply under the jurisdiction of the closest geographical senate? Are they not under any senatorial jurisdiction at all? How exactly does it work?

The name of Ming-de’s court is the East Asian, not the Chinese, because it encompasses Japan and the surrounding regions as well as China. Likewise with India, which also governs the parts of Southeast Asia closest to it. A senate’s rule usually runs geographically, because vampires were once quite territorial. But Aus and New Zealand aren’t really that close to anything, and so are under the European senate (because that’s who colonized them).

4. Why did Agnes decide to transfer the power to Cassie? I assume at some point she found out Myra was evil, knew she herself was dying, and decided to transfer the power to a better candidate. But why, specifically, did she choose Cassie? As she wasn’t even an initiate, how did she know about her?

The power chooses the pythia. Agnes received a vision about Cassie, which is how she knew who she was and that she was in trouble. But she didn’t transfer the power so much as make sure that Cassie was still around to receive what was already headed her way.

5. Did Rafe make a full recovery from his near death experience in CtD? And will we see any of him in TtS?

More or less, and no. I enjoy Rafe, and want to get more of his story in, but Tempt the Stars wasn’t really the place to do it. It has enough going on already!

6. I wanted to ask about Louis-Cesare and the process of how he finally admitted to himself he was in love with Dory. I know their attraction was always there, but you’ve established he had abandonment and trust issues. So how did he feel when he found out he was head over heels for Dory even though he suspected she had a problem with emotional intimacy? Was he not afraid she would eventually push him away like everyone else did in his life or was he simply confidant he can win her over?

Louis-Cesare, who apparently likes to live dangerously, has decided to pursue Dory. In other words, they are dating. But loving someone and living with them are two different things, and it remains to be seen if theirs is an attraction that will last. It’s probably safe to assume that, if it works at all, there will be some pretty big adjustments needed on both sides!

7. Since her father was a magical human, does Cassie have relatives she doesn’t know about on his side? If so, will she ever meet them?

Eventually, you will realize just how funny this question is. For right now, though, all I can say is that you’ll find out more about Cassie’s parents in TTS, although not the answer to this question just yet.

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.

Q&A #31: (First published on Facebook June 13, 2012)

QUESTION 1: You’ve mentioned vampire telepathy in several of the books. Can you explain it a little more? Initially I thought it was a skill only the high level masters had, then I wondered if a master and his servant could do it regardless of their power level. Now I’m wondering if any old vampire can communicate telepathically? I guess if they can use their minds to bamboozle humans, they could also use their minds to talk to each other? Would appreciate any insights you can give.

All vampires can talk to their family members mentally (they’re on the same wavelength, so to speak, because of the blood bond). But only senior masters can mind-speak with those outside their family circle. And, of course, all Senate members are senior masters, which explains why Mircea was so irritated with the Consul in Curse the Dawn.

She was insisting that he come to a senate meeting in person when there was no earthly reason for him to have to do so. The senate can, and sometimes does, meet in person, but it can also have meetings mentally when its members are scattered or busy. Mircea felt that it was more important for him to spend time with Cassie—you know, the Pythia whose favor they needed so badly?—rather than physically showing up for a head count. But the Consul was starting to worry about his growing power, and decided to force the issue as a loyalty test. It was one he came close to failing because, every time he left Cassie in CTD, she almost died. So Mircea was resisting, until his own masters intervened and he went for the sake of keeping the peace. But he put Cassie to sleep before he left!

QUESTION 2: Can you give us a quick recap on the current members of the North American Senate? We know some have died, some are off healing and some we haven’t heard about since the early books. Obviously big changes are coming and we’d like to know the current situation before the next Dory book comes out.

The positions are as follows (each has a department under them which they control, except for the consul who controls everybody):

Positions filled:
Consul (leader/senior bad ass): a certain snake-loving ex-queen
Ambassador: Mircea
Spy: Marlowe
Enforcer: Mei Ling
Persuader: Jack
Internal Matters: Catherine (you know her as the Renaissance Lady)
Liaison to the Fey: Halcyone (you know her as the Southern Belle)

Positions Open:
Treasurer: Ismitta (currently on leave due to injury).
Weapons Keeper: Geminus, until his recent, unlamented demise.
Liaisons to the Circle, Weres and Demon Council

QUESTION 3: At the very end of the Fury’s Kiss teaser, Dory describes a voice with power enough to prevent her from rising up. It’s fairly obvious this is Mircea. In other books you’ve described revenants who fail to recognize their Master’s voice when they’re first turned and they have to be destroyed as they are a danger. Does this mean that Mircea is Dory’s ‘Master’ since he seems to be able to control her with his voice. And if so, will Dory never have autonomy? (I’m assuming most 500 year old vamps would have attained autonomy from their masters.) Is Dory different because she is dhampir? Or will a master always be able to use his Voice over a servant, no matter what level they’re at? And is he able to control her fits because he is her Master?

I can’t say much about Fury’s Kiss at this point, since the book hasn’t even come out yet! But I can say that Mircea’s ability to control Dory has nothing to do with him being her master—because he isn’t. That’s why dhampirs are usually put down by the vampire community on sight. Like the hated revenants, they have no master and therefore can’t be controlled in the usual way. Their power is therefore viewed as a threat instead of as a potential weapon.

QUESTION 4: What accent does Rosier speak with? At some point Cassie confused him with Pritkin, so I guess he pretends to be British? What is the language of hell (is it a human one or not)?

Rosier is a chameleon, as are all incubi: they become whatever you want, need, desire, or expect them to be. If you like a British accent, he has one. Prefer Australian? Got you covered. Always found an Irish brogue alluring? Not a problem. Etc. As for hell’s languages, it has thousands, as many and as varied as the regions themselves. Human languages are pretty simplistic for creatures who live thousands of years, but are occasionally heard in the Shadowland (for trade, etc.)

QUESTION 5: We understand you were considering an alternative ending to Embrace the Night involving two Mirceas, but your publisher vetoed it. Did this ending ever get written, and if so, is it ever likely to end up in the Deleted Scenes section of your web site? Enquiring minds want to know. (We may be willing to pay good money for this one!)

Lol! Yes and maybe. The scene involving the breaking of the geis was written that way originally, because let’s face it, it made more logical sense. When it was vetoed, I did the best spackle job I could, and I think the current ending works. But to me, it will always feel a little contrived. Whereas the other had been set up for two books and (I thought) flowed perfectly. But mine is not to question why…

Anyway, when I put the deleted scenes section up, that was one I specifically looked for but couldn’t find. I will have another go whenever I get a chance, but I think it may be lost forever at this point. I could rewrite it, of course, and may do so eventually—if I ever get caught up with everything else I need to write!

Q&A #30: (First published on Facebook April 17, 2012)

QUESTION 1: I’ve been wondering, since Cassie’s mother was a child of Loki and thus ‘one of the three monsters of chaos’ in Norse mythology, would this technically make Cassie the Demi-goddess of Chaos? I’m not sure if titles are passed down like that with the gods, but it just seemed like a rather appropriate title for her to me 😉

Lol, I like it! Actually, demigods in the Greek tradition only occasionally had titles, but whether Cassie has the name or not, she certainly lives up to it!

QUESTION 2: Demons can receive ‘gifts’ or new skills from each other during an energy exchange. Is it possible for a person with no demon blood to benefit from a power exchange with a demon/part-demon?

Yes, technically. But it would depend on the recipient having enough power to use whatever it is that they acquired, which won’t often be the case. Which is why demons don’t mind exchanging energy with whomever has a useful skill they might like to have; most of the time, they aren’t really offering anything in exchange.

QUESTION 3: I would like to ask about Rasputin. I thought he may be inspired to the historical person, like the other historical figure in your novels, but the ‘Mad Monk’ died in late 1916 and as in Death’s Mistress Dorina inferred that Louis-Cesare’s elevation to first-level and subsequent elevation to senatorial seat in a century and a half was extraordinarily quick. I wondered how it could happen that Rasputin came to rival with the consul’s power in less than a century or if I misunderstood something.

The point made in Touch the Dark, when Rasputin was introduced, was that he didn’t die in 1916. He was poisoned, shot, stabbed, beaten and thrown in a freezing river, but couldn’t die because he was already dead, and had been so for a while. Which also explained his hypnotic-type abilities in gaining power over the Romanovs, and his healing of their hemophiliac son. Rasputin in Cassie’s universe was a vampire long before his convenient “death” in 1916, right before he would have been lynched anyway, with the advent of Lenin et al.

QUESTION 4: Does Rafe still paint? If so, is his new work known in the current time as his own or as someone new that we might recognize? What does happen to his new paintings? Sold, or only displayed in never-seen-by-norms places such as MAGIC?

Of course he still paints. He did Cassie’s ceiling, didn’t he? But having new paintings by a major talent like Raphael suddenly appear (and art historians can easily recognize a master’s style) would not do a lot for the continued anonymity of the supernatural community. Especially not when they were painted with modern pigments! So yes, his new works are kept within the sup community, and many within the family.

QUESTION 5: You said before that vampires or “immortal” beings in general wouldn’t be affected by Cassie’s time waves because they don’t age, but as I understand it, from the explanations on the book, the time waves make time in a certain area pass faster, so if a vampire or a fey or a demon were hit by one they wouldn’t age, but wouldn’t they die of starvation? Since it would be like they had gone hundreds of years without eating anything (be it food or blood or anything else).

Fun question, thanks! Actually, it would depend. First, how strong is the wave? Cassie has a limited ability here, and the stronger the wave, the more exhausting it is for her. Of course, even a minor wave might kill a human, by making fifty or a hundred years pass by in a moment. But it might not affect a demon that much. And as for vampires…well, that’s when it gets interesting.

Let’s say Cassie is feeling good, hasn’t already been in a fight and isn’t hurt or tired or whatever (yeah, I know, fat chance, right? But just for the sake of argument here). And let’s say she hits a vampire with a major time wave, something strong enough to make hundreds of years pass for them in a few moments. Now the question is, what kind of vamp is it? If such a wave hit a very young vampire, then yes, it might kill him or her. Although even that is uncertain, because vampires can draw extra energy from family in emergencies. But a baby would have a limited ability in that area and might not be able to compensate fast enough. But what if a major time wave hit a master?

In the case of a master, especially a senior master, they would immediately draw from their entire family’s energy, combining the strength of dozens or perhaps even hundreds of other vampires with their own. And some of those vamps would be masters, too. That’s one reason masters are so damned hard to kill, and why Mircea, for example, could withstand being freaking electrocuted in ETN. On his own, he might have died, but he wasn’t on his own. No senior master ever is. Their families are like extra battery packs, and can feed them a lot of power in extremis.

As for demons, they don’t die of starvation, they simply get weaker. So a major wave might give Cassie an advantage over them, but again, it would depend on the demon. They’re like camels with energy, gorging in good times and storing it up for lean ones. So whether said demon would be weakened enough to be an easy kill for her after the wave would depend very much on the demon. And that’s not the kind of thing best left to chance!

Q&A #29: (First published on Facebook March 2, 2012)

QUESTION 1: I understand that vampire fangs retract and expand, but there are references in the books that someone “flashed a bit of fang”. Do vampires have fangs visible all the time, or can they make their teeth look like normal human teeth?

The vampires in my universe have retractable fangs (like a snake). How’s that for sexy?

But it wouldn’t be a problem even if they didn’t. Any vamp worth his or her salt can mess with human heads well enough to blend in. They’d starve otherwise.

QUESTION 2: Why did you decide to portray Marlowe as straight, when most historical evidence points to him being gay? Don’t you realise your readers would enjoy a bit of man-love? Could he at least be bi-sexual in the books?

I never actually recall saying anything about Marlowe’s preferences, one way or the other. Since I deal with historical characters part of the time, I try to keep them as accurate to the historical record as possible. But on some questions, there’s just no reliable info. Like Mircea’s eye color. Did you know there’s no reference for it anywhere that I could find? I ended up going with brown, simply because it’s common in Romania, and because Radu and Vlad (who lived long enough to rate descriptions, I suppose) already had blue and green covered. But I could be wrong. We’ll probably never know for sure.

Likewise with Marlowe’s preferences. There’s no clear, unbiased evidence (in fact, there’s little verifiable info about a lot of his life–always the man of mystery). So it remains a fun topic for scholars to debate. But with people on both sides of the question, it’s hard to know who to believe. But if it makes you happy to think of him as bi, go for it. There’s nothing in the books to contradict you.

As far as man love is concerned, Radu would like to point out that, while he understands that his macho demeanor may have fooled you, he is actually quite progressive on that concept. Quite, quite, progressive. He would be even more progressive, but his boyfriend has stamina issues. After three or four hours, he’s bottomed out. So to speak.

QUESTION 3: If Cassie has visited a place, time or dimension already, can she easily shift there again without effort?

Come now. Has there ever been a “without effort” card in my universe? About anything? Where would be the fun in that? Or the drama. Or the resemblance to real life, which rarely works that way.

QUESTION 4: Has Marlowe’s relationship with The Consul ever been more than strictly business?

Lol. First you want him with dudes and now with…whatever she is these days. You guys need to make up your minds. Or not. After all, that’s what fan fic is for. You know, if it existed. Which it doesn’t.

QUESTION 5: Cassie’s mother is obviously one of the good guys, so her father presumably is too, yet he joined the Black Circle. It says at the end of Hunt the Moon that Artemis joined the Pythian Court as her power was almost exhausted and this was the only source left to her. Did her father hope to use the Black Circle’s power for Cassie’s mother?

Wow, and you guys were doing so well with the non-spoiler questions.

QUESTION 6: In one of the latest Q&A notes you said that Mircea speaks eight languages. Can you tell us what languages they are?

From his early education:
Spoke–Wallachian dialect of Romanian, German, some Turkish (not fluent)
Studied/read (when forced): Greek, Latin, Old Church Slavonic
From his years in Italy:
Italian, Venetian
From his years in France:
French, Spanish, English
From his years in China: