We’re so pleased to welcome the writing team of Ari McKay today on the tour for the re-release of Blood Bathory: Be Not Proud, book three in their Guardians of Gaia series. Ari is here to chat about the writing of the book, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget for entry details.
Hello, everyone. It’s Ari from Ari McKay here, and thanks to everyone for joining me for a few minutes today, as well as enormous thanks to The Novel Approach for giving us the floor. I’m here to talk about our latest release, or re-release, of Blood Bathory: Be Not Proud, book 3 of The Guardians of Gaia!
I am probably guilty of more than a little hubris where this book is concerned, so I always take the title as a caution. Of all the books McKay and I have ever written, this is the one that was the most difficult, the most time consuming, and of which, coincidentally, I’m the most proud. The reason is that there is so much in this story, so much of myself and of McKay and of everything we’ve ever wanted to do as writers.
If you’ve read Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun, you’ve already met Antonio, the second-in-command of the theriomorphs, Marielle’s deputy in Europe. Antonio is, quite literally, old school. He’s lived for a thousand years, seen the changes of the world and has rolled with them, keeping the mission going while protecting and financing everything from his hacienda in Spain. He’s courtly, dignified, and while the younger theriomorphs see him as a bit old-fashioned and bookish, they learn in this story the truth behind Antonio’s strength and power. It is not for nothing that Antonio’s animal form is that of a war horse. While it might seem outdated in a world of planes and cars, there are facets of Antonio’s being that are so perfectly expressed by his form that I doubt I could ever see him as any other.
Again, if you’ve read the previous book, you know that Antonio had a lover, Raphael, who was a Dark Guardian, one of the “vampires” who fought alongside the theriomorphs for millennia. Raphael was ambushed and slaughtered by Thrace, the evil Guardian-turned-nosferatu whose war on Gaia lead him to create Elizabeth Bathory and give her the power to live for centuries. Thrace was once Antonio’s friend, and it made it so much worse for Antonio that someone he once cared for could so viciously slaughter the man Antonio loved.
But things are afoot that Antonio never imagined. Raphael didn’t die, though it took Gaia over a century to heal his wounds. Now he’s returned to train Evan and Adam, the children of Elizabeth who defied her — but of Antonio he has no memory at all.
This was so difficult to write, and trust me, getting the character of Antonio to a point to where he wasn’t bitter, defiant, or furious was REALLY hard. McKay had a similarly hard time about Raphael — here he is, Gaia’s perfect hunter, who has spent centuries alone, and he comes to find that he had a bonded mate, someone who mourns him to this day. How does someone FEEL knowing that they had this incredibly close relationship that they can’t even remember?
Added onto all that is having to wrap up three books worth of plot, which, let me tell you, was HARD. In other series we’ve done, there usually isn’t an over-arching, book-spanning plot — the exceptions being this one and our Asheville Arcana series. And I think there’s a reason an uber plot is something most authors don’t write often. It’s HARD. Not setting things up, but making sure to wrap up every little detail you’ve spent the previous two books revealing! Wow. But we did it! And I really, really like what we did with it, because more than anything else we’ve written, this series has depth. There are messages in it, things that are near and dear to McKay and I. This like acceptance, and not judging on “what” someone is, rather than who they are inside. Messages about taking care of the earth and trying to stop the damage that’s been done. And, most importantly I think, a message about love, about its power and strength and its ability to transcend loss and separation, and to bring healing to our hearts, no matter how horribly they’ve been broken.
I do hope you’ll read the entire Blood Bathory series, but if you can only read one, please make it THIS one. I think you’ll enjoy it!
About the Book
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Cover Design: Lou Harper
Length: 330 Pages
The Guardians Of Gaia Series: Book #1 – Blood Bathory: Like The Night – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Blood Bathory: Absence Of The Sun – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Blurb: Death, be not proud…
The conclusion of the war between Elizabeth Bathory and the Guardians of Gaia draws closer, but the theriomorphs and their allies are caught between vampires loyal to Elizabeth Bathory’s daughter, Anna, and humans controlled by Elizabeth and her sire, Thrace. With the forces of evil now pressing on them from two sides, the theriomorphs need help, and they need it fast!
And soonest our best men with thee do go…
It has been five hundred years since Antonio de Barajas, one of the oldest surviving theriomorphs, lost his mate at the hands of his worst enemy. But Gaia never revealed the whole truth about Raphael’s fate, and Antonio is shocked when Raphael arrives to train Evan St. John and Adam Carson as true Dark Guardians. Yet the man who returns after so long is not the same man Antonio once loved. The hard and lonely life as Gaia’s hunter has changed Raphael almost as much as his lost memories of Antonio and the love they once shared.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men…
Antonio must work with the stranger who wears his lover’s face, and while Raphael is welcomed by most of the team, one member sees his return as a threat to his own place in Antonio’s life. But Thrace has allied himself with terrorists who possess a weapon of mass destruction. Now the theriomorphs and Dark Guardians must work together in a race against time to discover Thrace’s plan. Even as Antonio and Raphael are irresistibly drawn to one another, Antonio risks losing far more than his heart this time. If he and his team fail in their mission, millions will die, for Thrace will stop at nothing to destroy Gaia once and for all.
About the Authors
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
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.
Follow the Tour
August 7 – The Novel Approach, August 9 – Love Bytes, August 11 – MM Good Book Reviews, August 13 – Diverse Reader, August 14 – MM Good Book Reviews, August 15 – Gay Book Reviews, August 16 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Lillian Francis, Archaeolibrarian: I Dig Good Books