Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vaempires: Revolution Book Tour: Interview, excerpt & giveaway

This is the second day of our Vampires Weekend and the second chance for our readers to learn about a new series and to win this book. Vaempires: Revolution (I like the play on the spelling of this title) is a new series which offers readers a bit of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi, and an intriguing new world of vampires. Our interview with author Thomas Winship and an excerpt from his novel follows below. The author is also offering one reader the choice of either a print copy or ebook of Vaempires. My review can be found here. Welcome.

Vaempires: Revolution 
Book One, The Evolutionary War
By Thomas Winship
Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy

Format: Paperback (216 pages), ebook

Blurb: It is the morning of Princess Cassandra’s sixteenth birthday. Everyone’s attention is focused on the heir to the vampire throne. World leaders, the rich and famous, and VIPs from every corner of the globe have gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate the momentous event.

Cassandra’s boyfriend, Daniel, is late for the party. He’s still outside the city when all hell breaks loose. What he believes is an act of terrorism proves to be a full-fledged revolution.

Væmpires—former vampires who mutated into warm-blooded creatures with an insatiable hunger for cold blood—have launched coordinated attacks across the globe, with three goals: the eradication of humanity, the enslavement of vampires, and the ascension of væmpires as the dominant species on the planet.

The vampire and human leaders are killed. Cassandra is missing. Daniel is the acting king. Desperate to find the princess, Daniel and his friends fight their way across the besieged city. With the hopes of the free world resting on the shoulders of four vampire teenagers, væmpires unleash their secret weapons: a new breed of væmpire that is far deadlier than any ever seen before.

What can four teens do against an enemy that can shape-shift, fly, and walk through walls?

Purchases links: Amazon | Smashwords

An excerpt from Vaempires:

Cassie was there, bloody and weary, with a look in her blue eyes that said she’d been to the depths of hell and fought her way back, but she was there and nothing else mattered.

The young lovers fell into each other’s arms and, for a brief time, were the only two people in the world. Words failed and thoughts escaped as they surrendered to the most basic of needs—the need to be held.

They broke apart, neither knowing how long they’d been that way, but both experiencing the same conflicting emotions.

Given the circumstances, it hadn’t been long enough.

Given the circumstances, it had been too long.

“Cassie,” Daniel sighed, “I thought I’d lost you.”

“You almost did,” she said, and what he saw in her eyes—fear, pain, and something else he couldn’t identify—was so intense, his heart broke, releasing the flood of tears that had been threatening to come.

“I don’t …,” he started, suddenly a teenager again, “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had.”

And Cassie cried too, great big tears that pooled at the bottom of her blue eyes before flowing over her long lashes to run down her cheeks, the salty stream cutting a path through the blood and dirt coating her face. The sight of it was at once the most heart-stopping—and heart-wrenching—thing he’d ever seen.

He took her face in his hands, the tenderness in his touch feeling odd after all the death he’d dealt out that day, and kissed her, a long, lingering kiss that was unaffected by their crying or the taste of tears on their lips or the death littering the courtyard around them.

Eyes closed, Daniel breathed her in, this girl—no, this woman—who owned his heart. Her scent, as familiar as his own, was buried beneath a plethora of aromas. Many, including the stench of bloodsuckers, were unpleasant, but it still made his heart skip a beat.

When the kiss ended, he peered into her eyes and whispered, “Did I ever tell you that I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you?”

She smiled. “We’ve known each other since birth.”

“Okay,” he amended. “Since the first time I remember seeing you.”

“Then, yes,” she giggled, “you have told me on several occasions.”

Daniel realized that her giggle wasn’t incongruous with their current situation as much as it was in defiance of it. They were on borrowed time and they knew it.

“And have I told you that I’m going to love you forever?”

“You’ve done more than that,” she said.

An interview with Thomas Winship
I'm standing in front of the YA paranormal book display in Barnes & Noble. We begin to chat and I say I'm a huge vampire fiction fan. What would you say to me to get me to pick up your book and buy it?

I’d say, “Hi! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new ongoing vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

My Væmpires stories are unlike any other vampire books on the market. Yes, they are typically characterized as urban fantasy/dystopian, but they are even more than that. Væmpires is a blending of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, action, and romance that pits humans alongside vampires against mutated væmpires with super powers.

The main characters are teens. The obstacles they face are decidedly adult. They are thrust into a war they didn’t choose, with the fate of the world lying in the balance. They won’t all survive the coming storm, but they will rise to the occasion. Along the way, there are love triangles to resolve, væmpire butts to kick, and hungry stomachs to fill.

Væmpires is written for a broad audience. Vaempires: Revolution, with its action-packed depictions of the opening salvos in the war, is more adult than YA … yet teen readers love it. On the other hand, Vaempires: White Christmas, with its holiday-related themes, is more YA than adult … but adult fans also love it. Basically, if you love vampires, you’ll love væmpires … so, why not give it a try?”

A vampire nation with royal titles, three different types of vampires, one group has three goals, four vampire teens set out to help the free world, we can see how you've added your own storylines and characteristics to make your story different. Can you share with us how your vampires differ from each other?

Well, first up are the vampires. These are your ‘typical’ vampires: supernatural undead who need human blood to survive. Of course, the availability of synth-blood (synthetic human blood) allows them to abstain from feeding on humans—which is quite fortuitous, enabling both races to peacefully coexist for the last six hundred years.

Over the last century, however, vampires have become susceptible to random mutations that turn them into bigger, stronger, faster versions of themselves (they eventually adopt the “væmpires” title). While this may sound advantageous, it is not without a price—those who mutate end up as warm-blooded beings who must feed on vampire blood to survive. Attempts to create a synth-blood variant have been unsuccessful.

Some væmpires don’t simply feed on vampire blood; they are able to pull memories from the person they are feeding upon. There aren’t many of these “Readers,” and the majority of the world’s population writes their reported existence off as urban legend or fearful conjecture. However, when the væmpires rise up in revolution they reveal a darker truth—not only do “Readers” exist, but a percentage of the overall væmpire population possesses special powers. There are væmpires who can teleport, walk through walls, create a wall of flames, etc.

Is it still a good time to write books about vampires? What have you dealt with while trying to sell and market your series?

Yes and no. Yes, because fans still have a healthy appetite for vampire fiction. No, because the market is saturated—probably super-saturated, at that. Having so many competitors makes it a real challenge to stand out among the crowd. There’s also an unstated fear that fans will get sick of the topic and turn their backs en masse, which can leave an author feeling as if he/she is racing against an invisible clock.

There are so many points I could elaborate on (in terms of marketing and selling) that it would bore you and your readers to tears, but I’ll just touch upon a few.

The traditional publishing industry is pretty beleaguered right now. It has been for some time, I know, but it seems to be worsening. As such, it’s more difficult than ever for an aspiring author to find opportunities. Publishing companies just aren’t willing to take chances like they once were.

On the other side, the emergence and growth of e-publishing represents a double-edged sword. It’s easier than ever to publish (the good), but it has resulted in a flooded market (the bad). A few weeks ago, someone shared an eye-popping stat via Twitter that some six thousand e-books had been released on Amazon that morning! It was perhaps 10 AM EST.

I primarily use social media to market my books. I’ve tried the official press release route, and the releases were picked up in some pretty interesting places, but there really was no payoff. I have a website and a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I’m on this Blog Tour. I recently joined Pinterest, but haven’t explored it yet.

Ultimately—and unfortunately—success depends on a lot of factors beyond my control; beyond the control of any author. I’ve given serious consideration to selling my soul, but I doubt there’d be any takers, so I’ll keep it for now and keep plugging along.

Why vampires? Why not werewolves? Fairies?

I didn’t make a conscious choice to write about vampires, so it wasn’t a matter of selecting vampires and rejecting other subjects. The idea for Væmpires came to me and, over time, demanded my attention.

As a writer, there are few subjects or topics that don’t interest me in at least some small way. I can read a news article, overhear a conversation, or even see another book, and it will trigger a creative “hot flash” that burns for a few minutes. So, you ask about werewolves and I think about werewolves and a few idea bubbles float around my head—or you ask about fairies and the same thing happens … you get the picture.

Most of the time, however, such an idea cools off because there isn’t really enough fuel to sustain it beyond that initial burn. Occasionally, something lingers in my mind—a creative branding, if you will—forcing me to give it more attention. I’ll make some notes, jot a few ideas down, perhaps sketch a few things—but the gravitational pull of my current project (or the realistic pull of a deadline) will inevitably pull me away.

Lately, I’ll admit to thinking about mermaids—dark mermaids, in particular.

What do you believe makes vampires timeless?

I often see artists respond to questions of this nature with circular reasoning—that vampire appeal is timeless because vampires themselves are timeless. I don’t buy it. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t argue that it’s part of the appeal, but there has to be more to it than that.

Of course, I don’t have a better answer.

I do know that vampires appeal to us even when portrayed as monsters. Is it because we’re drawn to that which we fear? Is it morbid curiosity? Is it some strange love/hate dynamic? Does it speak to our own base nature? Does a vampire’s lack of a soul offer a potential way for a person to be turned and erase the guilt collected over a lifetime?

On the other hand, I also know that the appeal is even stronger when vampires are humanized. Do teens prefer stories that focus on vampires struggling with human emotions and situations, instead of humans struggling to avoid the never-ending emptiness of a vampire existence, because most teens can relate to emotional turmoil, but have yet to accept their own mortality? Do adults prefer these stories because, as long as a human and vampire can make a relationship work, hope remains for any two humans to do the same? Do vampires represent a physical and emotional ideal that supersedes our battered self-images?

So, what makes vampires timeless? To be honest, I’m not sure what I believe. All I know—and what I’m most happy about—is that vampires are timeless, regardless of what anyone believes.

What makes a hero/heroine appealing to you? 

Strength of character. It’s not enough for an individual to succeed or win or persevere or overcome obstacles or otherwise save the day, if the individual didn’t do so with grace, dignity, and integrity. It’s not what he/she does, as much as it is how he/she does it. It’s also not whether an individual does the right thing when the stakes are high and all eyes are on him/her or not—but whether that individual does the right thing, consistently, when no one else will ever know. 

Much (if not all) of that concept used to be encapsulated in the term “class,” but I think the use and application of that term of late has rendered it rather classless. 

Strength of character is why the classic Marvel and DC superheroes have such long-lasting appeal. It’s why Frodo and Sam (and Bilbo and Gandalf and Aragorn) never killed Gollum. It’s why George Lucas (unnecessarily) insists on retconning the Greedo shooting. 

Additionally, a hero/heroine must have enough strength of character to lend some to the reader, from time to time. This allows the reader the luxury of indulging in uncharacteristic, unreasonable—and often dark—impulses. Readers can release pent up frustration and anger by hoping that the hero/heroine kills the Joker or Gollum, because they know it will never happen. 

On a side note: I live near Poughkeepsie (NY). Do you ever go across the bridge and have readings/book signings at the B&N in POK? 

Not yet, I haven’t. I’d love to, if the opportunity arose. 

So far, in my experience, only the local bookstores will entertain the idea. I’m sure it’ll change if my audience grows. 

Thank you so much, Laurie, for this interview and for sharing some of my story with your fans at Reader Girls. I truly appreciate it and I wish you continued success. 

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About the author: Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.

Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.

He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.

He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for an early 2012 release.

The author will give one reader who comments below the choice of either an ebook or print copy of Vaempires Revolution (print open to US Shipping only). Leave your email below so we can contact you and answer this question: what do you find appealing about vampires (either in books, movies or tv shows)?

This tour is presented by Bewitching Book Tours.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting my Blog Tour today and for giving such insightful, thought-provoking questions.

  2. This books sounds great I would love the chance to read it! What I find most appealing about vampires is that they feed off blood that is so vital for us to survive and it makes them so intimate yet scary at the same time!

  3. I hope you get that chance, Dana. Thank you for commenting and good luck with the contest!

    What i find appealing about Vampires is that they are always mysterious characters (in books,movies& tv shows).Also the fact that they have many different abilities IE: mind reading, seeing the future etc. The best bit about vampires is that you can make them to be/do almost anything:)

    1. An astute observation, Sian. We can make them be/do almost anything, which, as an author, is very convenient and appealing. Good luck!

  5. I think I find most appealing about vampires is the fact they're immortal. Who doesn't want to grow old?


  6. I'd choose immortality, Molly. If nothing else, it would give me more time to read and write.

  7. Print. I definitely find the allure of immortality very tempting.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  8. Hi there! Boy, this is a new take on the vampires. It sounds good and I saw good reviews for it on amazon. If I'm not lucky enough to win a copy I will def be checking it out. I like comics myself, I'm going to guess that since you mentioned marvel and DC, those are the ones that you like. I like the horror twisted type, I read some just for the artists, I love Templesmith! I love vampires who are dark and mysterious and sexy, I think it's that bad boy image, you know all girls secretly like the bad boy! (within reason of course) I also love reading about the horrific and scary vamps because sometimes I'm in the mood for the non thinking just want to rip your throat open scare me to death books or movies. I'm not sure what to think of Johhny Depp yet as a vamp. I'm still open on that one. Thanks for the giveaway and the good interview!

    Artesia at comcast dot net

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for the thoughtful response. I actually read a ton of comics--everything from Witchblade, Fathom, and the Zenescope offerings to the traditional DC and Marvel heroes.

      I'm not into the bad boy myself--haha!--but I certainly understand his allure. I also agree that the jury is out on Dark Shadows, so we'll see ...

      Good luck with the contest!

  9. I love the mystery of vampires! I am always learning something new.

  10. Great excerpt! I love when I can feel what the character is feeling while reading their story. :) Wonderful! I enjoyed the interview as well. Thank you for sharing your story, Tom. Thank you also for the giveaway.
    trb0917 at