May 22, 2013

Spotlight on: Blood Lust by Charity Santiago

Blood Lust
Rapid City Wolves, book 1

Charity Santiago
Genre: Paranormal romance

Number of pages: 95
Word Count:  37,550

Cover Artist: Charity Santiago

Purchase Link:

Book Description:
Eve came to Rapid City to escape her parents' messy divorce, but what she finds in South Dakota exceeds her wildest dreams- and nightmares. After Eve is attacked by a wolf outside her grandmother's house, she stumbles into a new and frightening existence as an alpha werewolf. Fated to lead the pack and obligated to choose a beta to lead beside her, Eve still cannot bring herself to forget Jericho, the mysterious vampire who saved her life. Will the wolves force Eve to choose between her destiny and her soulmate?
As I pulled into the driveway, my headlights illuminated the barn door, which was unlatched and standing open. I frowned and stopped the car. Gram usually kept the barn locked up tight at night. There were too many bears, mountain lions and various other predators prowling the Black Hills to leave the horses without protection.
After some hesitation, I moved my foot back to the gas pedal and turned the steering wheel, driving up to the barn and angling the car so that the lights were shining on the double doors. I shifted the car into park and leaned forward, trying to see inside. The barn door wasn’t opened wide enough for me to see anything, so I sat there for a moment.
I was very likely overreacting. Gram probably just forgot to latch the door, and it had drifted open after she’d already gone to bed.
I grabbed my cell phone and got out of the car. As I walked closer to the barn, I knew immediately that something was wrong. The horses inside were milling around, the sound of their hoof beats frantic in the cool night air.
I pulled the barn door open, trying to remember which side the light switch was on, and froze as I saw two glowing eyes in the darkness.
There was a muck rake leaning up against the opposite barn door, and my hand went to it instinctively. I backed away, slowly, trying not to draw any attention to myself. Gram had always said that the worst thing to do when encountering a wild animal was to run.
As the creature moved into the beam of my headlights, I could see that it was a wolf- the biggest wolf I’d ever seen, with startling green eyes so vivid that they almost didn’t look real.
My first thought was, This isn’t happening.
It was impossible for a wolf to be that big- and I was pretty sure wolves didn’t have green eyes, either. Was I dreaming? Was this just another cabin-in-the-woods nightmare?
My hand tightened on the rake, and the wood was rough against my fingers. The wolf stalked me, advancing as I backed away, the hackles on its neck rising.
It suddenly lunged at me, without any warning whatsoever.
I had no time to think- I just grabbed the rake in both hands and thrust it out in front of me, the handle colliding with the wolf’s muzzle mid-leap. I fell backwards onto the hood of my car, my cell phone spurting from beneath my fingers as I fought to maintain my grip on the rake.
The wolf was half on top of me, scrabbling at my legs as he snapped his jaws repeatedly. I shoved the rake handle into the wolf’s mouth and pushed as hard as I could. I heard it gag as its jaws were forced open by the wooden handle.
Summoning my strength, I forced the wolf off me, sending it sprawling in the grass, and ran for the driver’s side door. I managed to yank it open, but as I was climbing inside, the wolf’s teeth closed on my leg through the denim of my jeans. I screamed and kicked at the animal, but he only gripped tighter and pulled, dragging me from the car. Still kicking, I grabbed onto the steering wheel and held on for dear life. With one fist I pounded on the steering wheel, sounding the horn in short, sharp bursts, praying that somebody would hear. I could feel the wolf’s fangs sinking deeper into my leg, and I started screaming, still clutching the steering wheel like a lifeline.
When the wolf finally let go of my leg, my entire lower half hit the ground with a spine-jarring impact. I lost my grip on the steering wheel and fell to the ground beside the car. Far from defeated, I grabbed the rake again and swung it awkwardly, missing the wolf and hitting the car door.
The wolf leaped at me again, and for the second time, I wedged the rake inside its jaws, narrowly preventing it from biting me.
In one abrupt, breathless moment, a black blur slashed across my vision, and suddenly the weight of the wolf was off me and the rake was clattering to the ground by my feet. I’d been screaming so loud that the sudden stillness rang in my ears. I scrambled upright, wincing at the pain that shot through my injured leg. Although they were outside of the illumination of my headlights, I could see two dark shapes- the wolf, which was slightly lighter in color, and the black blur, rolling around on the ground together. I was too far away to tell what kind of animal the second creature was, or if it was an animal at all- although the growls and snarls it was emitting certainly indicated it wasn’t human.
I knew I had no time to waste, and I used the steering wheel to pull myself upright. I was about to fall into the car when I hesitated. If I got into my car, the horses would still be unprotected. I couldn’t leave them like that.
I yanked my keys free from the ignition, then grabbed the rake and hobbled towards the barn. At any moment I expected the wolf to attack me from behind, but I managed to reach the barn door without incident, and pulled it shut behind me, bolting it from the inside.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing Blood Lust?

A: I think overcoming my qualms about stepping into the genre of vampires and werewolves was a difficult step for me. I don’t have any aspirations of becoming the next Stephenie Meyer, and I knew that Twilight comparisons were inevitable with this concept. In the end, it became more about what my readers wanted, and I knew they wanted something like the Rapid City Wolves series, of which Blood Lust is the first book.

Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Blood Lust?

A: Nope, I wouldn’t change a thing! What started out as kind of a pet project, just for fun, evolved into a piece of work that I’m ridiculously proud of. Blood Lust has received a very positive reaction from readers, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Q: Which actress do you visualize playing Eve?

A: Oh, good question! I hadn’t thought about this before. I guess I would probably choose Teresa Palmer. I adored her in the Warm Bodies movie, and I think she has that kind of unassuming quality that’s so essential to Eve’s character, but she can still be assertive when she needs to be.

Q: What inspired you to write your first book?

A: I wrote my first book when I was nine years old. It was called Guinea Pig Code, and I was inspired by my two pet guinea pigs, Harry and Squeaky. I actually don’t remember too much about the story, except that it was about a bunch of baby guinea pigs who run away from home after finding out their parents are going to sell them to a pet store. I wish I’d saved that manuscript- I would have liked to see how far I’ve come as a writer since age nine!

Q: What is the most meaningful or influential book you've ever read?

A: There were actually two books- well, one book and one series- that heavily influenced my writing style and my thoughts on writing. The first book was Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge. I read it as a young teen, and it was the first book where I encountered a love triangle and unrequited love. I felt emotionally drained by that book, but also empowered. I wanted to have that same effect on people who were reading my books. I wanted to write stories that would reach inside people and touch their souls.

The series that influenced me most was the Resident Evil series by S.D. Perry. I fell in love with her style of writing and the way she wrote such capable characters- women who could kick butt right alongside the men. I learned from those books that female heroines don’t have to be pitiful and helpless. I’d rather read a story about a heroine getting herself out of a jam than a girl who sits around, waiting to be saved by her knight in shining armor. I think love is more poignant when both players are on equal ground.

Q: What book are you reading now?

A: I’m in-between books right now! I just finished Beautiful Monster by Bella Forrest and Good Luck Fatty by Maggie Bloom. Beautiful Monster was okay, and I’m still trying to sort my feelings out about it before I write a review. Good Luck Fatty is a new favorite of mine. I do love the Young Adult and New Adult genres, but I read just about everything these days.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: Right now my editor, Evan, and I are doing edits for the second book in the Rapid City Wolves series, Blood Oath. Its official release date is June 1st, and after that I plan to start working on the first installment in a new young adult urban fantasy series. I will be releasing the third book in the Rapid City Wolves series later this year.

About the Author:
I first discovered the world of self-publishing in February 2011, when my 7-month-old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. During his stay in the hospital, I tried to keep us both entertained by downloading several books on my Kindle and reading them out loud.
I read a number of self-published books and realized that I had an opportunity to share my writings with the world. I soon decided to quit my full-time job in the insurance and financial services industry, stay home with my son and write. It was the best decision I've ever made. My son's health has improved drastically, and I've never been happier.

I prefer to read and write YA fantasy, romance, and paranormal romance. The next book in my Rapid City Wolves series, “Blood Oath,” will be released for Amazon Kindle on June 1, 2013.



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