Hello! I’m Ari, half of the dynamic duo known as Ari McKay, and I’d like to thank the lovely folks at Diverse Reader for hosting us on the blog today! I’m here to talk about our latest release, or rather re-release, of Blood Bathory: Like the Night, which is the first book of the Guardians of Gaia series.
Of course it’s all been done to death, hasn’t it? Urban fantasy with vampires and shifters… how many of them are out there? Probably hundreds! For a writer, it’s a challenge to try to bring something unique to a genre where writers have thrown millions of words at the trope over the last nine or ten decades. Yet I think we managed it, because our shifters aren’t like any others in M/M urban fantasy (at least, not that we’ve found!) Instead of being born to a clan of shifters, ours are created, their inner animal form manifesting when they enter the service of Gaia, who is the sentient embodiment of all life on earth.
It’s not as heavy as it sounds, not really. One of the things we wanted to bring to the table was a way for shifters of multiple different types to interact and work together. Sure, a werewolf pack is powerful, but what if your wolf could work with an eagle keeping watch overhead, and a ferret who could get into small spaces to spy, or dogs and cats who can go among a human population and barely be noticed? It also opens the door to a wider range of possibilities without having to worry about where a group of wolverine shifters (and yes, we have a shifter who is one!) might make a life and home and be called upon for help. In fact, over the current three books of the series, we don’t have two shifters of the same species other than dogs and cats - and none of them of the same breed! We DO have an arctic wolf, a wolverine, a black panther, a tiger, a warhorse, a ferret, a cat, a golden retriever, a grizzly, a fluffy little poodle, a golden eagle, a parrot, a mountain lion, and several others that I know I’m forgetting at the moment. What that means for us as writers is that it’s a ton of fun to write! The other is that we were able to make the animal form of a shifter match very closely to their personality. Or, as Gaia directs her shifters when she accepts them into her service -- “Be what you are within”.
Our vampires are very different as well, which is the subject of the second book in the series “Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun”. Our vampires, or, more accurately, nosferatu, aren’t really undead in the traditional sense. And not every vampire can create other vampires, it’s a closely guarded secret known to very few. Gaia calls them “blood cursed”, because they are out of the natural order of things, having found a way to separate themselves from the cycle of life and death. As such, they are the mortal enemies of the shifters, or theriomorphs, as they call themselves, who exist to help deal with threats to the world.
Of course, as is the case in life, opposites can and do attract, which can make things rather complicated for our lovers, and incredibly interesting for us as writers. Hopefully you, as readers, will find it interesting as well! If you like urban fantasy, or friends-to-lovers stories where love triumphs over adversity, you might enjoy our little tale. Thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time, and I do hope you’ll give Blood Bathory: Like the Night a chance to win you over!
Cover Design: Lou Harper
Length: 123,737 words
Unable to bear what he has become, Evan flees to New York and to his best friend, police officer Will Trask. For years, Evan has nursed an unrequited love for Will, but he also knows Will is the one person who might be able to help him. As Evan and Will try to deal with Evan's condition, they are drawn into the world of the theriomorphs: shape-shifters who are guardians of life and the sworn enemies of vampires. Caught in an ancient war between two powerful supernatural forces, Evan and Will find they must choose sides - because if they are to have any chance of a future together, they must destroy Elizabeth Nadasdy before she destroys them.
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Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
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