Sanguinary, by Margo Bond Collins
A Night Shift Novel
October 8, 2014
Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.
When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city’s vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.
But she didn’t know then what she knows now: there’s a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.
So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.
But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?
“Hey, Bradley.” I beckoned the crime-scene tech, who had finally arrived and was snapping on gloves. “Is that a piece of paper under the vic’s head?”
He bent down over my shoulder to get a clearer view from my line of sight. “Looks like it’s tangled in her hair,” he said. He pulled a pair of long tweezers out of his kit and snagged the sliver. “Yep. Looks like it has a word written on it . . .” We both peered at the brownish, spidery writing.
“Sanguinary,” I said. “Is that written in blood?”
“Maybe. I’ll get the lab to run a basic analysis on it. If it’s blood, we’ll be able to let you know pretty quick if it’s human and if so, what type. DNA will take longer.”
“Sounds good.” I stared at the woman a little longer. Her dark hair—almost the same color as mine—spilled out around her, matted with dark, coagulating blood. The two bloody marks on her neck shone like black stars on a white background.
I knew that if I lifted her dress, there would be other puncture wounds all over the body, and strange symbols carved across her skin—pentagrams within circles and other ritualistic signs. Exactly like the others. Ten murders in the four weeks since the beginning of September—all centered in downtown Dallas, and many with affluent victims whose families demanded action.
The department had been in a barely suppressed uproar.
I stood up, my knees popping a little. Five years ago, they wouldn’t have done that.
And five years before that? Vampires hadn’t existed, except in books and B-movies.
It took time for the world to believe. We hadn’t even realized how to fight back when they’d first shown up.
This victim’s ragged, bloody fingernails suggested that she had tried to resist, but obviously failed.
The red dress she wore would have originally matched the color of the relatively scant splashes of blood surrounding her, but those stains had dried to a muddy brown, the same color as the writing on the paper caught in her hair.
Her clothing suggested that she’d been at the opera that evening, though the manager, roused from her bed, swore that the building had been cleared and empty when she left.
One black, high-heel shoe lay several feet away, toppled over onto its side, the heel broken, as if she had stumbled out of it when it failed her as she ran from a pursuer.
I’d heard the word before from vampires I had taken down—whispered as a threat, shouted as a warning: the Sanguinary is coming, the Sanguinary will kill you all.
The Sanguinary is here.
It was why I was about to go undercover among the vampires.
When did you start writing? What has your writing life been like?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making up stories. The first story I remember actually writing down was basically fan-fiction of The Wizard of Oz. I wrote it in long-hand in a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing ever since. But about ten years ago, a friend suggested I join in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). Until then, I had always written short stories. That year, I finished the first draft of what would eventually become Legally Undead—it will be my third published novel, but it’s the first one I wrote.
I ended up as an English major in college because I was fascinated by the ways stories work. And then I went on to graduate school because I couldn’t figure out what else to do. I ended up with a Ph.D. in literature almost by accident; I just never quit wanting to learn about all the stories in the world!
So now I teach literature and writing in my day job, and the rest of the time, I write, both as a fiction author and as an academic.
What gave you the idea for this book?
Most of my ideas come to me almost in passing, when I see something that catches my attention. In the case of Sanguinary, it was a color. My husband and I have season tickets to the Dallas Opera, and the interior walls of the Winspear Opera House—the ones that separate the lobby from the theater itself—are a gorgeous dark red. As we were walking out one night, I glanced back and saw that the tint of the outer glass walls turned the inner walls to a blood-red. At the same time, I saw a woman in a dark red dress of the same color. And of course that led to thoughts of vampires and murder (doesn’t that happen with everyone?! Or is it just sicko writers?)—and the story spun out from there.
How often do you write, and how much?
I write something every day, whether it’s academic writing, fiction, or my blog. I’ve recently started making sure that no matter what else I may be writing, I write something fictional every single day. “How much” varies. I aim for a minimum of 500 words a day—my average word-count for thirty minutes of writing. I generally write more than that, but sometimes I don’t quite reach it. Last night, for example, I managed to write one sentence just before I fell into bed. But I made sure to get that one sentence down so I could continue to claim that I write every single day!
Which authors do you admire and why?
Too many to count! Because I’m a literature professor, I have piles and piles of favorite authors. Right now, though, I’m particularly fond of Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, Holly Black, Ann Aguirre, and Melanie Karsak. What I love about all of them is their ability to create such realistic worlds, to draw me in and keep me interested in the stories they spin out.
Where do you write and what do you use: PC, laptop or MAC?
I have an office that I use for all my work: academic writing, fiction writing, editing, and online teaching. My desk is against a window so I can see outside. I’m surrounded by books and papers. I write directly on my laptop, but when I get stuck, I sometimes switch to handwriting; this seems to shift my brain onto a different track and helps me get over writer’s block.
What are you working on at the moment?
Piles of projects! I’m currently working on the next entry in my Hometown Heroes series, a contemporary romance novel. I’m working on the sequels to Fairy, Texas, Waking Up Dead and Legally Undead. And I’m working on the next Night Shift book.
What are your writing goals for 2015?
Always keep writing! I have three works in progress that I plan to complete. And I also have two others that I want to get to. So I guess that means my goals are to finish several more novels. (I’m suddenly realizing that I might be insane . . . )
If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?
Probably a Shakespeare play—they’re just so much fun! Maybe a version of Hamlet with a princess of Denmark instead of a prince?
Any advice for aspiring writers?
The very best advice I ever got was just this: keep writing new things. Always have a work in progress. Finish writing a piece, do a quick edit, and submit it somewhere for publication. Then move on to the next project. Don’t wait to hear back—that way lies madness! If it’s rejected (and often it will be; that’s the nature of writing for publication), don’t let it get you down. Just send it out again and go back to your work in progress.
Thanks so much for having me today!
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins is the author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.
Connect with Margo
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins