July 24, 2013

Spotlight on: The Black Swan Series by Victoria Danann

Once upon a time a girl traveled so far from home that she found herself in another world where heroes, elves, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, fae, berserkers, and psychics became her friends and family. As an accidental pilgrim, a stranger in a "strangish: land, she learned that there's a place where adventure intersects fairytales and that true love can find you in the strangest places, when you're least expecting it, even when you're far, far from home.

My Familiar Stranger: Romancing the Vampire Hunters - Book One

Nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by Reviewers Choice Awards
Nominated for Best PNR and Best Fantasy Romance by Readers Choice Awards


Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. An alien amid the modern day knights of a secret society of vampire hunters and paranormal investigators.

Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?

The Witch's Dream: A Love Letter to Paranormal Romance - Book Two

Quintessential Black Swan knight, Engel Storm, was left behind when Elora Laiken chose his best friend. Now his heart is bruised and battered and he’s had it with love. But a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker plans to do everything in her considerable power to change his mind.

The Witch’s Dream begins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop on the way to celebrate a special handfasting in an Irish castle.

When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly becomes all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give - finesse.

A Summoner's Tale: The Vampire's Confessor - Book Three

A secret society, a witch, a psychic, vampires, modern day knights, heroes, elves, fae, assassins from another dimension, and fairytales come together where emotions intersect. Two souls, joined by a mystical bond, separated by distance, struggle through pain and darkness simultaneously. Each alone must traverse an ultimate confrontation with character and the will to survive. Ex-vampire, Istvan Baka, and his first victim prove that true love can wait patiently through lifetimes for a second chance. Even in the strangest places. Even when you're least expecting it. Even when you're far, far from home.

Book Title:    Moonlight 
Subtitle: The Big Bad Wolf
Author Name: Victoria Danann
Series: Black Swan, Book 4
Genre: paranormal romance, fantasy romance, scifi romance
Publisher: 7th House
Date of Publication: 05/25/2013
ISBN: 978-1-933320-69-4 ebook
          978-1-933320-64-9 paperback

Purchase Links:

What would you do for love?

Moonlight, The Big Bad Wolf, is the fourth installment in the serial saga, The Order of the Black Swan. READING IN ORDER STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
The story continues to touch on the lives of former B Team members and their families while new characters and situations are introduced.
THE NEWSLETTER: Ram and Elora move into temporary quarters at Jefferson Unit to protect mother and baby. Storm gives a surprising answer when he’s tapped by Sol to replace him as Jefferson Unit Sovereign. Litha solicits her father to help Black Swan.
THE SURPRISE: B Team learns the shocking truth about the origin of the vampire virus. Monq races to develop a defense system to repel invasion by Stagsnare terrorists and assassins.
THE ADVENTURE: Desperation drives Stalkson Grey to embark on an adventure beyond his wildest dreams in a bid to save the Elk Mountain werewolves from extinction.
THE ROMANCE: In the process of migrating the Elk Mountain werewolves to a new home, Grey learns that true love can find you in the strangest places, even when you’re far, far from home.
Appropriate for 17+.
My Familiar Stranger (Order of the Black Swan, #1)My Familiar Stranger by Victoria Danann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I truly did enjoy this first book in the Order of the Black Swan series by Victoria Danann. I was completely drawn into the world that was built, and I really liked the characters that were introduced. However, I did have a couple of things that I disliked that prevented this from being one of my newest favorite series.

The story begins by jumping straight into action. Elora Laiken is a member of the royal family in her world (a cousin who is 32nd in line to the throne). She is not important enough to be considered a top priority in the line of succession, but is still important enough to warrant bodyguards and the finest upbringing and training in all things. When we join the story, she is running for her life from the assassins that have crashed a feast and murdered the rest of her family. Her trusted advisor and mentor, Monch, has rescued her from the slaughter and has unceremoniously shoved her into a portal that deposits her into an alternate dimension that is very similar to the world she just left. The trip through the portal, though, was not easy, and Elora emerges on the other side in a bloody, unidentifiable mess. Luckily for her, she lands right in the middle of the conference room of a highly undercover and secretive compound for Vampire hunters, who happen to have a top of the line infirmary right down the hallway. There is an argument between the five men who happen to be in the conference room when she arrives over whether to kill her or save her (since they can't tell what she is since she is in such bad shape and they are worried she might be a threat), but Storm, one of the Order of the Black Swan's knights, decides to save her and won't take no for an answer.

As Elora begins her long road to recovery, Storm is by her side every second of the way. He is a member of the elite "B" company - one of four men who are regarded as the best of the best vampire hunters. However, at the present the "B" company is down to three members because Lan was killed right before the story began. So "B" company is out of commission for the time being while the remaining members deal with the death of one of their own. This gives Storm plenty of time to watch over Elora, and do everything he can to help her feel at home in a "strangish" world.

I immediately liked Elora and Storm. Elora may have been a member of the royal family in the dimension she came from, but she is definitely not a pampered, simpering aristocrat. She is tough, stubborn, intelligent, and has been trained to be able to take care of herself. It also doesn't hurt that when being transported between dimensions, her cells somehow reformed into a denser combination, thus making her stronger and faster than any of the elite male soldiers around her. In short, she is a force to be reckoned with. Storm had a spot in my heart from the beginning after arguing on behalf of Elora and saving her. It is obvious that he feels an instant connection with the damaged being that arrives out of thin air, and that connection grows and strengthens the more Elora recovers and begins to once again resemble the beautiful woman she truly is. I was well on my way to being full heartedly behind a Storm-Elora romance when Danann decided to throw a wrench into the works. A wrench named Ram.

Now don't get me wrong - I really like Ram. He is an Elf who has a way with the ladies, but from the moment he sees Elora he knows she is his true mate (not counting the first moment he saw her as a bloody mess and voiced his opinion to "kill it." He misunderstood his feelings at the time). However, by the time he takes interest in Elora and begins to seriously pursue her, I was already emotionally invested in the relationship beginning to develop between Storm and Elora. Granted, nothing romantic had happened, and the feelings were still one-sided on Storm's part, but I felt like Elora would have eventually got there, and they could have had a wonderful relationship. But, I kind of felt guilty rooting against Ram. Especially since he only gets one shot at love, and Storm can try again. I eventually got on board the Ram train, but my heart still hurt for Storm. And as if that wasn't enough, Danann also threw Baka into the mix. Baka is the most notorious vampire of all, and also quite a romantic and complex character. I liked him a lot, and could totally understand Elora's attraction to him. However, I was very happy with who she eventually ends up with.

My only other complaint about this book was that I was expecting the story to be mostly about vampire and vampire hunting. The opening of each chapter kind of set me up for this. I was prepared for a lot of action, and what I got was a lot of story and world building at first while the team recuperated from emotional and then physical damage. We did finally get the action I had been craving towards the end of the book, but I wish there would have been more fighting and vampire hunting earlier on. Especially once Elora becomes a full-fledged Black Swan Knight. I really wanted to see her kick some serious butt!

Overall, I did really like this book. I can't wait to read the rest of the series and see where Danann takes all of the characters that I have grown to love.

View all my reviews

Do you write full time?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

If people "decide", they're not really writers. My working theory is that, if you watch children carefully, they will show you who they really are by the time they are eight or nine. At that age I had two stacks of legal pads on my bed. One I used to sketch glamorous evening wear. The other I used to write my own Bobbsey Twins novels. I did spend a few years as a designer of glam dresses and was copied by the biggest names in the business. I had a big following in the Northeast, South America, and Europe and still see some of my dresses show up in the movies. So I checked that off the list and did it until I was done. Now I'm writing.

Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn't like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn't)?

The answer is yes, but the someone was one of the characters. My Familiar Stranger started out to be a different story. My heroine was supposed to end up with the character of my choice. I was about 80% finished when another one of the guys (characters) started insisting that he was the one who should get the girl! I let him make his case and finally had to agree, but it caused a lot of overhaul.

Since then I have done a poll on Facebook asking fans who they wanted to end up with the girl and the big majority agreed with my character. It was him all along.

What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?

First, I waited to start writing until I was old enough to really have something to say.  Secondly, one of the    comments I hear most often is that people enjoy the chronicle style of ongoing story. I call it a serial saga. If I were not an Indie, it never would have happened because it doesn't fit the commercial "formula" of how to pie chart a paranormal romance. (Yes. I made a verb out of the phrase "pie chart".)
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing is slogging through the emotion. I know that, if I'm crying so hard I can hardly see the PC screen, I've gotten it right, but it's also very emotionally draining and it ruins my looks for half a day. Conversely, if I'm lying in bed at night reading my own book and laugh out loud, I know I got that right as well.

What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Suspense? Sex? Dialogue? And why?

Sex scenes are hard for me. I'd love to skip them, but they serve the story so steamy writing and I are stuck with each other. It's hard because there are only so many different ways to describe acts that are mechanically simple without much variety unless you're venturing away from a healthy view of sex that is psychologically and emotionally sustainable. I hate reviewers who make comments like, "the sex was boring and repetitive". Although this hasn't been said about me yet, to my knowledge, I resent it for other authors. I mean, it's hard to find completely original ways to describe fitting tabs and slots together.

Who were your major influences?

Stephen King, Anne Rice, my tenth grade literature teacher without whom I might never have read Julius    Caesar, MacBeth, Random Harvest, or Lord Jim, my seventh grade English teacher without whom I never would have read the entire works of William Saroyan, my father who bought me the Scribner Collection which included all the classics appropriate for young readers. (I learned to love the art of story AND the art of Maxfield Parrish who illustrated the covers.)

What do you think are the qualities that make up a "hero"?

For me, heroes are not defined by qualities at all. What makes a hero is an action that involves personal risk without personal gain. It is a potential sacrifice for another person or principle or for a perceived greater good.

What are your favorite types of heroines? Do you like the damsel in distress who needs saving or the kick-ass variety? Why?

I don't relate to D.I.D. - at all - on any level - and get very impatient with a portrayal of woman as child-like. I appreciate kick-ass when there is an explicable reason why she can take punches like Mike Tyson and wipe the floor with brutes. My favorite, however, is somewhere in the middle - just your ordinary femme who faces the world every day with the vulnerability of lesser strength and a vagina. It takes courage to do that without a berka.

Do you have any advice for any other aspiring writers out there?

Yes. Writers are born, not made. Run as hard and fast as you can from a course on "creative writing" classes because nothing will kill your own embryonic art or creativity faster.

Author Bio: 
If you're looking for something new and different in PNR, you've come to the right place.

I write unapologetic romances with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud then blend in just enough steam to make you squirm in your chair occasionally. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

WEBSITE: http://www.VictoriaDanann.com
BLOG: http://VictoriaDanann.me
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vdanann

TWITTER: @vdanann

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1 comment:

Thank you so much for your comment! I read each and every one of them, I swear. :)

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