Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Nancy Holzner

UFI welcomes Nancy Holzner Author of the Deadtown Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Let me begin by thanking Stacy for inviting me to stop by Urban Fantasy Investigations. It's great to be here to celebrate the release of Bloodstone, the third book in my Deadtown series set in Boston and featuring Victory Vaughn, a shapeshifter who kills other people's personal demons for a living. Urban fantasy is my all-time favorite genre to read and to write. Today I'm going to talk about why I love writing urban fantasy, counting down my ten best reasons.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Write Urban Fantasy

I began my career as a medievalist; I earned a PhD in medieval English literature and then taught works like Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Le Morte d’Arthur to college students. A lot of people (including some perplexed family members) have asked me how I made the journey from academic medievalist to urban fantasy author. It was a long trip with several detours—along the way, I worked as a high school teacher, copyeditor, corporate trainer, instructional designer, and nonfiction author. I also penned two other novels—neither of them a fantasy—before I wrote Deadtown, the opening novel in my urban fantasy series. So I didn’t exactly go to sleep one night as a medievalist and wake up the next morning to find that the Urban Fantasy Fairy had left the Deadtown manuscript under my pillow.

Even so, there’s a lot about urban fantasy for a former medievalist to love. Here are the top ten reasons I write in this genre:

10. I get to reinterpret some of my favorite stories. My series underlying mythology comes from the Mabinogi, a collection of Welsh stories and legends written down in the 12th and 13th centuries (although the stories themselves are probably much older). It’s one thing to study medieval stories and another thing to teach them. But using them as the basis for an urban fantasy series brings them to life in a whole new way.

9. Zombies! In the Middle Ages, the faithful believed that on Judgment Day the dead would be resurrected—body and soul reunited—to stand before God and learn their ultimate fate. There are some great doomsday illustrations of corpses climbing out of their graves, animals bringing back half-chewed limbs to reunite them with their owners, sea monsters vomiting up drowned sailors . . . talk about a zombie apocalypse! My zombies are different from that idea of the risen dead; they’re also different from the shambling brain-munchers you find in horror fiction. They’re victims of a mysterious virus, and they’re people who think and talk and act. They’re almost like you or me, aside from their stiff limbs, superhuman strength, and gray-green, spongy skin. Oh, and one other teensy little problem: their frenzied hunger at the scent of human blood.

8. I can use second-person familiar pronouns. After years of reading Old and Middle English literature, I’ve got thee, thou, thy, and thine down cold. And I’m not afraid to use them, either; in my series Difethwr, a Hellion that menaces Boston, speaks in an archaic style. (Try getting away with that in a how-to book!)

7. Magic is real. Lots of people today don’t believe in magic, and I think that’s a shame. To medieval people, magic was real. People used spells and charms to injure and heal, to find lost objects, to make barren land fertile. Often, these spells were pagan in origin but incorporated Christian elements that, in the minds of the practitioners, boosted their firepower. Magic is also a fact of life in urban fantasy. My Deadtown series has witches, who work with natural forces to direct magic, and sorcerers, who summon demons to do their bidding. In Bloodstone, an ancient wizard is resurrected—and he knows how to work a more ancient and dangerous magic.

6. Demons! Medieval Europe was a demon-haunted place. Stories abound of travelers encountering shapeshifting demons on the road, of demons tormenting pious monks, of corpses crawling out of their coffins, possessed and piloted by demons. Medieval demons weren’t just bogeymen in scary stories; they represented evil—its power, its temptations, its consequences—and they were real to people. Urban fantasy lets me set real demons loose in the world and then figure out how to fight them.

5. I get to take revenge on Shakespeare. The great English playwright took old stories, many of them from the Middle Ages, and rewrote them for his own audience. About time someone did the same thing to him. (I know, I’m not the first—not by a long shot. It was still fun, though.) Vicky's vampire roommate, Juliet, is the Juliet—as in “Romeo and.” And she's pretty annoyed with the Bard for the way he messed up her story.

4. I can get allegorical on my story. Allegory is an extended metaphor in which characters and settings are themselves (on the literal level) and also represent something more than themselves (on the allegorical level). Medieval morality plays, for example, have characters with names like Everyman, Death, Good Deeds, and Knowledge. Nothing in Deadtown's world is that obviously allegorical, but do the zombies or Deadtown itself represent something more than the literal? Hmm . . . The cool thing about allegory is that the reader gets to decide.

3. I can ignore the laws of physics. That apple didn’t bonk Sir Isaac Newton on the head until the 17th century. During the Middle Ages, the closest thing to physics was called “natural philosophy,” and it attempted to figure out the workings of the natural world (with the understanding that natural law was subject to divine law). People didn’t worry about things like the law of conservation of mass. My shapeshifters don’t worry much about that, either. Whether turning into a mouse or a wolf or a rhinoceros, they just do it.

2. Flaming swords! Seriously, who wouldn’t want one of these? The archangel Saint Michael had one. He used it to destroy demons and guard the entrance to Paradise. Vicky gets one, too. In fact, hers is named the Sword of Saint Michael, and it’s the only weapon that’s effective against Hellions.

1. It’s even more fun than grading a stack of final exams! There was a lot that I loved about teaching, but sometimes sitting through endless faculty meetings and trying to make constructive comments on last-minute papers could try the patience of a saint. (And I should know; I wrote my doctoral dissertation on saints’ lives.) As much as I’ve always loved reading, analyzing, and discussing stories, writing my own is a lot more fun.

And there you have it, my ten best reasons for writing urban fantasy. I hope you all enjoy reading the genre as much as I enjoy writing it! If you'd like to know more, please visit my website,, which has information about my books, including first chapters. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter. Besides urban fantasy, I also write a quirky contemporary mystery series set in a college town in upstate New York. Peace, Love, and Murder has been a bestselling ebook on Amazon, and its sequel will be out in early 2012.

Personal Demons
Author:Nancy Holzner
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Ace
Deadtown Book #3
ISBN:   044102100X
ISBN13: 9780441021000
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher 

Boston's Back Bay district is known for high society, not lowlifes. So when mutilated human bodies begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. And even though there's no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining relations between human and inhuman residents. 

As the bodies pile up, demon-hunter Vicky Vaughn investigates, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after much more than just blood...
Once again Vicky takes on the task of stopping a killer before she ends up dying herself.

There is a lot of new things resolved, revealed and started. I love reading more about Deadtown the people in it and the things that they have to go through.  Vicky and Kane's relationship has grown quite a bit. I was kind of sad with the ending of her "maybe" relationship with Daniel but seeing how much Kane and Vicky have grown together and the situations they go through together in BLOODSTONE I have definitely changed my mind. I actually kind of started to really dislike Daniel, he kinda turned into a jerk. LOVE Aunt Mab, I loved learning more about her and seeing her again. I cant wait to see what else she brings to future books. There wasn't as much action in BLOODSTONE as previous books but the situations were still pretty intense and heart pounding. I'm also interested to see how much more of a role Vicky's sister and her daughter will play in future books after everything that has changed in their lives. If you have not started the Deadtown series yet I would recommend starting at book one and if you have enjoyed the previous books you have to read BLOODSTONE.

I gave it 4/5 stars
Find Nancy and her books


Not only is Nancy giving away a Signed Copy of Bloodstone but the winner will also receive this unique Piece of Bloodstone Jewelry

4 Other sites will be giving away a unique piece of Bloodstone Jewelry Check them out

***UPDATE- I recieved an extra copy of BLOODSTONE in the mail and will  be giving that away as well***