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Monday, May 29, 2017

Guest Post & #Giveaway: A Vision in Crimson by Kathryn Troy

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” –Isaac Newton

No author exists in a vacuum. We are all beholden to the stories that have formed us as writers, the tales that inspire us to dream and create, perpetuating the magic of storytelling for the next generation of eager-eyed readers. And while I have absorbed a great deal of visual media over the course of my lifetime that has helped mold my aesthetic, my voice as an author is still a predominantly literary voice. I strive to craft my words in ways I have admired, to instill in others the wonder of works and authors that will forever seem untouchable to me. A Vision in Crimson is the first available culmination of those dreams, the launching title for a new epic romantic fantasy series steeped in the Gothic and the mythical. Whether their influences on my fiction are to be read or simply felt, here is the short list of the shoulders onto which I perpetually climb.

C.S. LEWIS-Deep Magic
His stories, written ostensibly for children, are quite high-minded. There is a mythic quality inherent in Lewis’s characters; they are imbued histories that are enticingly out of reach, and full of very real, very human emotions that are ever present, blending the real and the fanciful to create something at once intangible and eternal. What is a fantasy world, if not a work of deep, enthralling, unknowable magic? With him lies a great deal of what my sense of fantasy should be.

BRAM STOKER – The Music of the Night
When I think of dark settings and a grim, ominous mood, my mind drifts to the mooring of the Demeter, to the escaped mummy’s claw in Jewel of the Seven Stars. With mountains of research, the darkest corners of the earth become hypnotic, and beautiful in their telling. The sum of his words evokes for me a mood of sensuality cloaked in unfathomable dread. His mastery of mood has taken root in my soul, and yearns to be shared.

To subscribe to Blackwood’s fiction is to believe that worlds must necessarily be knowable to all the senses, else they do not exist. The word “malaise,” for instance, is not sufficient on its own to produce an uneasy feeling in the reader to mimic that of the protagonist. For the transport to be complete, many paragraphs are required, telling of the past and present of this disquiet as it washes over you, its reality in combat with its inconsequential glamours, and pondering the unseen source of your wariness that grows more urgent in every waking moment. From him I have gleaned the imperative to describe what I have seen and heard and felt in my mind’s eye, and describe it well.
H.P. LOVECRAFT – The Perfection of the Hideous
Lovecraft is the lord of chaos, plumbing the depths of unfeeling, inhuman possibilities that rend the very fabric of our sanity, nay, our very existence. In the darkest moments of my fiction, you will find Lovecraft there, sinking his tentacles deep, guiding those shapeless forms and imposing their intendant horrors upon my unwitting characters. His hand will be most strongly felt in Bog Body, my current project that draws on some of the very mysteries and ancient rites that captivated Lovecraft’s waking hours and conquered his dreams.

M.R. JAMES – Stalked by the Sinister
For no one else do things so heinously unnatural, so malignant, and yet so simple come so naturally. His phantoms are clear and crisp, strong in their simplicity, powerful in their unassuming evil. The straightforwardness and approachability of James’s hauntings make them all the more disturbing; they linger, creeping in the darkened corners and quiet alleyways of my fictive mind. The marriage of Blackword’s excess to James’s restraint would produce an effect that I would claim as my own literary voice.

WILKIE COLLINS – A Study in Character
In a glutted market, where one trope too many can condemn you to oblivion, the need for compelling, memorable characters remains paramount. They may be any manner of man or beast, vampire or fae, but they must be real, they must be distinctive and authentic and undeniable. Do not be deceived into thinking the author carves out destinies that need only be fulfilled; a good author must take care to create life—there lies the true art. A character needs only to be placed at a crossroads. If they are well-formed, they will choose their own path. It’s too easy, in the wake of George Martin, to fall into the trap of a world with an unmanageable population. Characters who fail to captivate the reader make the world a little duller, a little less meaningful. A Vision in Crimson invites you to a populated world, but it is populated well, its players selected with care and brought into sharp focus only as their stories require telling.

I do not claim to walk further than these; nor do I stride entirely in their footsteps. But if you are of a like mind, inclined to the strange, the darkly sensual, the magical, the unnatural and the beautiful, you will find something to enjoy in A Vision in Crimson. For you will find the unmistakable tread of such giants there.

Read on below for an excerpt from A Vision in Crimson, and a giveaway! :)

Kathryn's Book Front Cover Final 02-06 - Copy.jpg
A Vision in CrimsonFrostbite
Book One
Kathryn Troy

Genre: dark romantic fantasy
Date of Publication: June 1, 2017
Number of pages: 323
Cover Artist: TS95 Studios

Book Description:

Katelyn knows her magic is risky, but Icaryan light is fading fast and she is desperate. Returning to Earth, she crosses paths with Luca, a vampire hybrid living on the outskirts of humanity.

Passion sparks their weary hearts. The rogue hunter follows Katelyn into a world teeming with wonder and danger, forsaking his own quest to root out his father.

But his father has not forgotten him.

A Vision in Crimson is the first installment of a new epic fantasy blistering with romance and Gothicism.

Add it on Goodreads

Excerpt 1 :

His dream was broken by the feel of something soft against his mouth. He opened his eyes and blinked, thinking for a moment that he was still asleep. Flooding his vision was the red-haired siren of his dream, crouched above him.
Her dark brown eyes were staring straight into his. He held her glance for a long while, then took a minute to glimpse at the rest of her. Her features were well defined and graceful. Her long luxurious hair, braided in a few places, spilled over her firm, ample curves onto the ground in front of her. Looking at it now in reality, he saw a unique, vibrant shade of red, darker and almost auburn in the shade of the trees, with strands of pure copper and gold highlighted by the sun through the forest canopy. Her large eyes sparkled. They were alight with intrigue and kind concern, but Luca saw a touch of the tired sadness that he was accustomed to seeing in his own dim reflection. Too much for someone her age.
Luca puzzled over her age for more than a few seconds. Her beauty and slender frame suggested a girl nearing her thirties, yet her countenance told him she had been through more than her share of life’s troubles, even for a woman of the rough and unprotected countryside.
She stared at his clear crystal blue eyes, framed by thick dark brows. A straight nose, tightly pursed lips and strong chin completed his face. Despite his pale complexion, he was dark and beautiful. She didn’t let it show on her face, but the woman had become immediately enamored of him.
Her fingers rested lightly on his mouth. After a silence that lasted a bit too long, she was the first to speak.
“I’ll have you out of there in just a minute,” she whispered. “I won’t hurt you, but we have to be quiet.”
She turned her head to the side to get a glimpse of the valley below.
“I’m looking out for a friend, and just spotted you here a minute ago. Once I’m sure he’s okay, I’ll start digging.”
Luca said nothing. When she was sure that he wouldn’t make a sound, she removed her hand from his lips and moved closer to the hill’s edge, looking for her companion. Luca got a better look at what she was wearing.
A plaid scarf in sapphire blue with hints of gold thread was wrapped around her neck and waist, covering a tunic dress of the same shade. Her legs were covered by high, soft leather brown boots and blue leggings, but Luca spied shapely thighs at the edge of her skirt. She wore a utility belt across her chest which hinted at her generous cleavage, despite her modest neckline. Above, his eyes traced the silhouette of her long, pale, comely neck with excitement, but he quickly quashed the flutter in his heart before it developed, and redirected his gaze.
At her hips, she wore two short swords, and the hilt of a dagger peeked out from the top of her boot. She seemed sure of herself, and didn’t appear the least bit threatened by Luca. She didn’t react to seeing him for the first time in the manner customary to women, and even scores of young men; they usually succumbed quickly to his outward charms—his dark aura and hypnotic stare, two of his many vampiric qualities. But she didn’t gasp in fear or swoon in ecstasy. That puzzled him.
A small part of him wondered why she hadn’t immediately responded to his visage, with a little disappointment.  He chalked it up to her finding him covered in dirt from the neck down. But he knew that shouldn’t have stopped her from surrendering to his trance-inducing stare, even for a moment. He was intrigued by this girl, who had just happened to appear as his dream self was making love to her.
Her garb made her even more of a mystery. He only noticed these things, which were inconsequential to him, because the fabrics, colors, and design of her wardrobe were infinitely superior, and foreign, to anything he had ever seen, including some of the priciest fashions available in the biggest cities. He much preferred the naked version of her, which had dissipated with her actual presence. But even in all her gear, chosen for its rugged functionality, she looked regal. He saw her gesture to her friend, then she turned to face him once more.
“Okay, it looks like whoever did this to you is gone. I’ll have you walking around again soon. Who did do this to you, anyway?” she asked, as she began to claw at the earth with her hands.
“I did.”
His voice was as toneless and nonchalant as ever. Her hands paused for a moment, still holding clumps of dirt, and she looked at him quizzically.
“You buried yourself? Why on earth would you do a thing like that?”
Here came the part he always dreaded, but was compelled to divulge nevertheless.
“I’m a dhampir.”
“A what?”
Here, Luca thought, was the reaction he had been expecting, but had been unusually delayed. He waited for what he had said to sink in, but it didn’t. She was still honestly waiting for an answer. He repeated himself.
“I’m a dhampir.”
“What’s a dhampir?”
He just stared at her, his eyes going slightly wide.
“I’m not from around here,” she explained, “so you’re going to have to fill me in.”
Now it was Luca’s turn to pause. Never, in his entire life, had he been asked to explain this term. In a world whose entire existence revolved around the struggle between vampires and humans, to find someone who was not familiar with this word was truly unheard of. He experienced an emotion he had almost never had occasion to experience. He was, in a word, stunned.
“I’m part human, part vampire.”
“Oh. Ohhhh.”
She finally got it. He waited now for the standard response. Instead, a look of embarrassment swept over her face as she began hurriedly replacing the soil she had disturbed.
“I am so sorry, I didn’t realize. I didn’t mean to intrude on your resting. You looked like you were having a hell of a dream.”
If you only knew. But, was she actually apologizing for bothering his slumber? Luca’s revelation hadn’t fazed her in the slightest. His amazement at her response only piqued his interest in her more.
“It’s alright, I was just getting up.”
Though she had interrupted him, he felt rested.
“In that case, would you like me to help you?”
“Do what you like.”
She resumed her exhumation of Luca. “My name is Kate, by the way.”
Luca stretched his muscles slightly to a sitting position, the remaining earth above him falling away. He took her outstretched palm with his freed right hand, and they both stood up.
“Call me Luca.”

About the Author:

Kathryn Troy is an historian turned novelist and baker. Her nonfiction book, The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender and Ghosts in American Séances, 1848-1890, is forthcoming from SUNY Press. Her historical expertise in the supernatural and the Gothic informs her fiction at every turn. Her genres of choice include dark fantasy, romance, horror, and historical fiction. She lives in New York with her husband and two darling children.

Bathory’s Closet:

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today-I really enjoyed it!

    1. Thank you so much for being here! I loved the post! :)


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