Exsanguinate is the first book in the World of Blood vampire urban fantasy series. This genre-crossing book covers supernatural horror, urban fantasy, mythology, RPGs, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and even romance and humor, all with a strong female main character. If you’re tired of sparkly vampires who climb trees and stalk their girlfriends, then check this book out – there are vampires and werewolves, but they certainly don’t sparkle! The novel currently has a 4.9 rating on Amazon (out of a possible 5.0) with 21 reviews, so clearly I’m not the only person who loved it!
They can’t touch you. What could possibly go wrong at Orlando’s beloved Global Studios Halloween Scream Nights theme park? Cheyenne O’Cuinn’s task is to study fear even though she is the biggest chicken on the planet. In order to carve out a slice of the billion dollar scare industry for her online role-play company, she researches what causes people to run screaming out of haunted attractions.
Determined to face her own fear of Oldhouseophobia, Cheyenne confronts her bloodcurdling obsession – the dreaded haunted house. Her worst nightmare manifested, Cheyenne is brutally attacked and left for dead by a rogue vampire. Splattered across the front page of the Orlando Sentinel, Cheyenne discovers her sisters are missing while she recovers in the hospital.
The ransom call from the kidnapper sets into motion the rabbit hole of a parallel supernatural reality she invades to rescue her family. In a race against the hourglass, Cheyenne confronts a double-agent vampire, a cyberchondriac werewolf, and a mafioso dragon. Can they be trusted to help her, or are they a part of the twisted scheme?
With her sister’s lives on the line, Cheyenne has no choice but to beat the kidnappers at their own game and ensnare them with her own brand of deception.
Warning: This is one of those books that I sacrificed sleep to stay up reading. As a mom of four children, including a nursing infant, “stayed up all night reading because I couldn’t put it down” is the highest rating I can give a book. If you also have an addiction to well-written, fast-paced, highly entertaining books, you may want to start this one first thing in the morning so you don’t lose *too* much sleep when you find yourself unable to put it down when bedtime rolls around.
Another warning: This is the first book in a series. When you read Exsanguinate, you’re going to want to read the next book in the series, that’s pretty much a guarantee. I hope you have more patience than I do, though, because the next book hasn’t been published yet. So the good news is that this amazing story keeps going; the bad news is, you’ve gotta wait to get your hands on it.
I’ve been a fan of horror stories since I was a wee little thing – I remember the school librarian reading us Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” when I was in first or second grade, and between the utter scariness of the stories and the gruesome illustrations, I was hooked. I graduated to Dean Koontz when I was ten, and Stephen King shortly afterward. I’ve also been a video game fanatic since I was eight years old and my aunt set up an Atari 2600 Jr. in her spare room and let me hang out with Frogger, Q*Bert, and Pac-Man. Therefore, I’m in heaven when it comes to horror themed video games (Dead Island and its sequel are among recent favorites); horror novels that feature a gaming theme are less common, but Killion Slade pulled it off!
Cheyenne O’Cuinn is the girl-next-door – if the girl-next-door is a role-playing game-developing wiz. Cheyenne is a sweet girl who’s totally devoted to her dog, her two sisters, her online boyfriend, and her job as the lead developer for ExsanguiNation, an online role-playing world reminiscent of Second Life. Cheyenne and her two sisters are strong and realistically portrayed– each girl has her own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. These are definitely not cardboard cut-out female characters!
In the aftermath of the vicious theme park attack, Cheyenne’s sisters are missing – kidnapped, in fact – and the virtual world of the sisters’ creation merges with the real world in ways they never could have imagined. With the help of her friends, also employed within the ExsanguiNation world, Cheyenne sets out to save her sisters. In the process she must confront her own fears and cope with revelations that her friends – and the world they live in – are not what she thought they were.
One of the features of this book that I really enjoyed were the links to the secret bonus content – it’s like when you get a DVD of a movie you really like and can access the deleted scenes that were cut from the final film. You can read and understand the book without them, but the fangirl in me squeed with delight when I realized there were extra surprise goodies to be had that gave me more story to read.
I very much enjoyed this book – the characterizations were spot-on, I cared about what happened to each of them (even the bad guys, in the sense that I was interested to know how Cheyenne and her pals were going to make them pay for their misdeeds). The storyline is intriguing, with lots of thrills and chills and laughs and love. As I mentioned, I literally stayed up all night reading this book, because just when you think you’re reaching a part where you can set the book aside for a few hours, the author throws another curveball at you. The ending does leave you hanging a bit – the book ends on an amazing cliffhanger, ensuring that I’m going to be first in line to pick up World of Blood #2 when it’s released!
Please note that this is not a children’s book – it’s definitely for grown-ups only. It has gory scenes, it has sex scenes, and it’s quite scary (but with humor thrown in). If you can handle Stephen King, you can handle this – but if you never advanced beyond “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” you may want to give it a pass.
Winner of the 2012 Wicked Women Writer Award, Killion Slade is a married writing team who met in Second Life and virtually enjoys everything. Members of the Horror Writers Association and the Paranormal Romance Guild, they story board their characters inside Second Life as their avatars unfold their stories. Killion’s Debut Novel, Exsanguinate, is slated to publish on December 9, 2013. Exsanguinate is a paranormal urban fantasy thriller series, where a gaming software developer navigates wicked clues inside her own online role playing game to rescue her kidnapped sisters before they become breeders for a dhampir army. Killion’s published short stories can be found in Sirens Call, The Danse Macabre, Cynic Magazine, Bewildering Stories, Midwest Literary Magazine, and in the anthologies Bite from the Heart, Death Sparkles, Roms, Bombs,and Zoms from Evil Girlfriend Media and the upcoming anthology, The Ghoul Saloon from Static Movement. Killion was honored as a finalist for their “Robbie the Ghoulie” short story at In the Snake Magazine.
Connect with Killion Slade:
Buy the book!
You can currently purchase Exsanguinate on Amazon for $2.99 (Kindle) or $13.49 (paperback).
Interview with Author Killion Slade:
What inspired you to write Exsanguinate?
I wanted to bring vampires and werewolves into modern times. To write a story where a reader might look over their shoulder and wonder could that be possible? I wanted to bring science into the equation and couple it with a bit of fantasy and real day humor. Taking a new, modern approach off the old tropes, having a bit of fun with our modern urban fantasy genres, and bringing real gaming people out of their mom’s basements and into smart, vibrant characters. Gamers Rock!
If you were to adapt Exsanguinate for the big screen, who would be in your dream cast?
They say if you never dream it, it’ll never happen. Whether or not a screenplay will emerge, it’s always interesting to watch actors and actresses on the big screen you think would be good for each part. Here is my Pinterest Board for my Dream Cast.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Composer: James Newton Howard and Carter Burwell
Cheyenne O’Cuinn: Amy Adams – I loved Amy Adams since I first discovered her in Enchanted
Khaldon Seters: Luke Evans – What’s Not to Love!
Torchy Gravenor: Simon Pegg – Simon would capture Torchy perfectly!
Sheridan O’Cuinn: Reese Witherspoon – Classy, Smart, and Funny – that’s how I picture Sheridan.
Dakota O’Cuinn: Emma Watson – Perfect buck the system personality to pull off Dakota!
Amicula Darkrose: Katherine Zeta Jones – Exotic and Sexy
Do you agree with the adage “Write what you know?”
Yes and no. It is easier to write what you know, but it is also easy to overlook the simple things you take for granted because you know them and it’s those details which infuse the scene with creativity. By researching and learning about things you don’t know, you can explore different aspects, find new ways to look at a topic, and skew it in a way others haven’t thought about before. With the global interwebs at our fingertips, hardly anything isn’t available to learn about, research, and include in your writing.
Do you write with an outline, or do you just wing it?
From start to stop, I am a plotter. I have a scene preparedness excel worksheet I build for each chapter. Each character has an outline for goal, motivation, and conflict with an extending result. I always try to make the scene worse off for my protag. Often times, during this process, I will learn who has the most to lose in a particular chapter and that is whose point of view it becomes. Each scene gets dressed for weather, time, tone, foreshadowing, and reflection. However, no matter how much I plan, my characters from time to time will go rogue on me and take me down a rabbit hole I hadn’t considered. 🙂
Do you write from beginning-to-end, or do you skip around?
I primarily write from beginning to end. I construct chapter outlines with detail, but allow myself to be flexible enough to ask the characters to change it as needed. I’m never really married to a storyline, I just want to make sure that it all makes sense, it’s in chronological order, and it’s plausible. It’s very important to me that I tighten up anything I’ve introduced, no matter how minor it may have been, because most likely, it will mean something in the next chapter, or the next book in the series. Nothing is on accident.
What are you reading right now?
Truthfully, I don’t read other authors while I’m writing novels – I find that the voice will change if I do and I want my characters to be unique. I also don’t have a lot of time to sit and read, so I have come to adore audiobooks and appreciate the talent of good narrators. Currently, Exsanguinate is in audiobook production by the wonderfully talented, Carolyn Johnson. But to answer your question, I am currently listening to NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, I,Zombie by Hugh Howie, and Atopia by Matthew Mather.
Who’s your favorite author (or authors, if you can’t pick one) What do you admire about them?
I recently finished Molly Harper’s novel How to Run with A Naked Werewolf. Molly has inspired me as a writer to write about dark topics and infused them with laughter. Christopher Moore is also another contemporary favorite of mine. I especially love the way he can infuse ungodly humor into a topic and have you rolling on the floor. I admire how they can make me laugh. Laughter is especially important to me because there is so much darkness in our world.
Which five characters from novels would you like to have dinner with?
I would love to have dinner with Scarlet O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, Morgaine from The Mists of Avalon, Cheyenne O’Cuinn from Exsanguinate, Hermione Granger, and Dracula.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I have two actually. The first one is Rose Colored Glasses by Ruby Lorraine Radford– it is out of print, but it had a huge impact on me as a child and always inspired my imagination. The second one was called Summer Land, where I learned where animals and people go when they die. It taught me about mediation and guardian angels – truly helped me get through some difficult times in my life.
What three books would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
SAS Survival Handbook, Primitive Skills – Outdoorsman’s Guide to Weapons, Tracking, and Survival
But purely for entertainment purposes – I would want the complete writings of H.P. Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, and the Harry Potter Series.
What’s an unusual quirk that you have or something unique/interesting about you?
My day job is an International search engine analyst and accounts director. I have very little time to write. I study fear, particularly of the things which frighten me most. I surround myself with people smarter than myself so I can continually learn. My beta readers and editors are very near and dear to my heart. I am truly IN LOVE with my husband.
Cheyenne is amused when third-party developers create The Super Market, an online hub where ExsanguiNation players exchange their virtual money for virtual products their avatars need. After all, vampires can’t just buy their Fang Whitener anywhere, nor can dragons get their Fire Out Antacid at the corner drugstore. As Roxas explains it, “It’s similar to the online marketplace where humans can buy clothes, hair, and skins for their avatars. But this place is a bit more custom tailored to their ‘special needs’ clients. Products specifically made for supernatural avatars.” As it turns out, the Super Market is a real place that caters to the real supernatural creatures that Cheyenne encounters during her frantic efforts to rescue her sisters. And you can win some Super Market items for yourself – if you don’t happen to be a vampire or dragon, then you can share them with your friends who are!
Enter to win between now and May 6th using the Giveaway Tools widget below.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.