Friday, November 3, 2017

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Changed by Heather MacKinnon

UFI welcomes Author Heather MacKinnon. Thanks for Joining us!!

Why (not) vampires?

    I’ve been a fan of vampires for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can trace my fascination with the blood-sucking monsters all the way back to the days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although, admittedly, I was more invested in the slayer than I was in the vampires. But, as soon as Angel got a soul and became a good vampire (sorry for the spoiler, but in all fairness, if you didn’t know that already, you’re about 20 years late to the party), I saw the proverbial light. And my love for vampires began. Because, I mean really, what hot blooded pre-teen girl didn’t love Angel?

    Next came Anne Rice and her slew of vampire characters. I began reading them around age fourteen (which is TOO YOUNG) and found the continued theme of these tortured, misunderstood beings all too attractive. Who didn’t love the bratty Lestat? Who didn’t want to console the tortured Louis? Who could stop themselves from wanting to mother the vampire-child Claudia? Even though she grew into a sociopath, all I wanted to do was pull her into my arms and braid her hair. I probably wouldn’t have lived long after that, but impulses are what they are. 

    The next big vampire fandom to hit my radar was, of course, Twilight. I know that series has its fair share of haters, but I’ll never be one. I have always and will continue to love those books for what they are–an impossible love story made possible. Something you’ll come to learn about me is, I’m a hopeless romantic. The more impossible the love, the more deeply I fall. It’s one of my greatest weakness. Just hook a Nicholas Sparks novel to the end of a fishing pole and you could pretty much lead me anywhere you want.

    The most recent vampires to have an impact were those of Charlaine Harris’. Her Sookie Stackhouse novels will forever have a thirteen-book-sized place in my heart. Even the… interesting… television series Trueblood wormed its way in. Because I pretty much love anything with vampires. Even if it’s nothing like the books, and there are fabricated characters, and relationships are skewed, and people who are supposed to die live, and people who are supposed to live die, and there was more boobs and blood then I ever hoped to see in a one hour television show. *Deep breath* Even then, I still appreciated Trueblood.

    All these authors and shows and vampires contributed to my novel Changed. I took a bit of all those worlds and made them my own. My characters can’t go out in the daylight like Anne Rice’s, they fall asleep right at dawn like Charlaine Harris’, and they’ve found a way to survive without killing humans like Stephenie Meyer’s. I hope my vampires can impact someone even a fraction of how much these authors have impacted me.

Heather MacKinnon is an author living in the research triangle in North Carolina with her husband and two troublemaking dogs. She grew up on Long Island and spent her young adult years in various states in New England.

This led to her subsequent addiction to Dunkin’ Donuts latte’s and her gratuitous use of the word “wicked”. She’s tried her hand at many jobs throughout the years as she strove to find the one that made her happy. Heather has sold chicken, kitchen knives, auto body supplies, PR packages, and computer software. She’s been a cashier, a waitress, a cook, a hotel concierge, a phlebotomist, and an Uber driver. Though her jobs have been many, her passion has always been reading.

She’d hide in the bathroom and read between sales calls, or find a lonely corner in the kitchen and whip out her kindle between waiting on tables. After a lifetime of enjoying other people’s words, she decided to write down some of her own.

Find Heather and her books

A captivating novel that explores the link between love, possession, and the lighter side of the myths that lurk in the dark.

Adrienne’s post-college plans were shattered the night she was attacked. She woke up in the basement of a restaurant and finds she can see perfectly in the dark, is stronger than she’d ever been before, and can move impossibly fast.

Testing her new limits, Adrienne zips down a NYC street, passing people by in a blur, only to be stopped by a strange man who’s stronger than she is now. Nicholas explains that she’s been Changed into a vampire, like him. Adrienne is forced to accept the strange turn her life has taken, but struggles with the growing feelings she has for Nicholas. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, the man who Changed her shows back up, insisting she’s his property.

Now she’s on the run from a centuries old vampire who’s determined to make her his wife. Can Adrienne outrun and outsmart the man who Changed her into a vampire? If she sticks with Nicholas, the vampire who’s taught her all she knows, she might have a chance. As long as their budding romance doesn’t get in the way.

“Adrienne.” I watched his lips sound out my name. “Just what the hell did you think you were doing?”
Not a fan of being scolded, I crossed my arms over my chest. “What did it look like I was doing?”
I watched him take a deep breath, his nostrils flaring. “It looked as if you were running full speed down a New York City street in full view of humans.”
“As opposed to a street in full view of aliens?” I scoffed and rolled my eyes.
“This isn’t a joke, Adrienne.” I liked the way he said my name. “Do you know how bad it would have been if someone had seen you? Luckily the only people on this street are the meth heads a few doors down and no one would believe them if they talked.”
“How do you know they’re meth heads?”
“I could taste it.”
“How could you taste–”
“Enough!” He yelled, and I jumped a little. I watched him take another breath as if to compose himself. “Excuse me, I didn’t mean to startle you. I’m trying to convey to you the gravity of this situation.”
Standing there effectively cowed, I waited for him to continue. His eyes narrowed as he looked me up and down. “How old are you?”
“Twenty-two. What does that have to do with anything?”
He ignored my question and shook his head. “No, how long have you been Changed?”
Now it was my turn to narrow my eyes at him. “Changed into what?”
He stood there looking at me for a moment longer before he sighed and rubbed his hand against the back of his neck. “That explains a few things,” he said quietly, almost to himself.
“Well, that’s great for you but it explains nothing.”
He sighed again. “Where is your maker?”
“My what?” It was like this guy was speaking another language. He sighed a third time, and I’d had enough. “Do you think you could quit sighing and tell me who you are at least?”
He looked abashed. “Excuse me. Where are my manners? My name is Nicholas. Can you tell me when you awoke?”
“Awoke?” Who talks like that? “I awake every day.”
He shook his head. “That’s not what I meant. When was it you awoke and noticed a change in your senses? Better vision, sense of smell, greater strength?”
Oh. That change.
“Just tonight. I left my friend’s party and woke up a few hours later in the basement of a Chinese food restaurant over there.” I pointed in the general direction of the store.
“Was there anyone there with you when you awoke? Do you remember how you got there?”
“No. I was alone and I don’t know how I got there.”
Nicholas seemed to be deep in thought, his thick, dark eyebrows drawn together forming a crease between the two. Seeming to decide something, he nodded his head and held out his hand. “All right then, come with me.”

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