Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Author Spotlight: Victoria Danann

The Jazzy World of E's Bookshelf Author Spotlight is on Victoria Danann today. Danann is the author of the Knights of Black Swan series.  The current seven book series has become a fan favorite with it's mix of Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance elements. It was even voted the best Paranormal Romance Series by the Paranormal Romance Guild. To learn more about the series and upcoming projects from Danann, see my interview with her below.  It's my pleasure to present to you today's Author Spotlight, Victoria Danann.  

Victoria Danann's Biography

My early work (eight-years-old) would be called fan fiction today. I began by writing my version of Bobbsey Twins novels on legal pads that my dad brought home from the office. As an only child - in the days before children became little electronic receivers - there was often not much to do other than seek amusement in my own head.

Childhood fantasies involved being the only girl (for some odd reason) at a ranch for wayward boys. Yes. I do realize this sounds vaguely familiar. Those fantasies were supported by real life events because the boys included me in the afternoon neighborhood games whether it was cowboy/Indians or G.I. Joe.

When I left the Bobbsey Twins behind I didn't write again until I was married with children and in my mid-twenties. I completed a paranormal romance and gave it to my spouse to read. After hearing his criticisms I didn't write again for decades. At the time I didn't understand that he's the absolute farthest thing from my audience.

It turned out to be a blessing because during that time that I didn't write, I lived an extremely full life. I traveled a lot, raised a family, got an education (I have an M.A. in Psychology.) and explored my compulsion to be a spiritual seeker. The fantasies were a constant companion throughout. The faces and names of the characters changed as I matured, but they remained a source of comfort. They helped me through hell-raising teenagers and three near-death scares. By the time I started writing again, I had something to say.

I write cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

My first book, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of by both Reviewers' Choice and Readers' Choice Awards. All of my books have opened on the Amazon Best Sellers list and earned Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK awards.

My work has been compared to J R Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Lara Adrian. For example:

"I do see shades of Lara Adrian's Breed books and shades of J R Wards Black Dagger books, but this story is unique enough that it stands out all on its own and can stand up along side those other books and I think given time will elbow them out of the way with the rich story telling and deep emotional core that makes you want to know more." - Kerry, Musings of a Bookworm

The Order of the Black Swan is a series that is also a serial saga. Each book is an episodic installment in an ongoing story. Join me for the adventure.

If you're interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock music. I'm the utility player which means I play rhythm guitar, keyboards, sing back ups and a few leads. My band has covered everything (note for note) from Styx to Led Zepellin to Rush.
I live in The Woodlands, Texas which is why I sometimes joke about being the witch in the woods. Married. Four children. One very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

An Interview with Victoria Danann 

What inspired you to write the Knights of Black Swan Series?

I actually formed the framework of the story when I was a child. Over the decades the characters have matured and taken on the multilayers of actual personalities, but the heart of the story hasn’t changed much.

You've said your style of books are a cross-genre. "A delicious ménage à trois of sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal romance.” Has combining those three genres been easy from the beginning? Or are they times when you want to focus on one of the three more? 

Yes. Combining the three genres is effortless because I have big love for each. I don’t think in terms of what will I focus on. I basically let the story tell itself.

When you’re writing a series  like like the Knights of Black Swan series that has seven books, did you go into having that many books mapped out? Or was it a more organic process where the idea for more books came about as you wrote and developed the story?

I knew there would be at least seven books (at present it looks like there will be a total of 10). I started with a plan that was scrapped because the first book took me in a direction that wasn’t what I’d counted on. Toward the end of Book One, I began to realize that the process seemed more like reporting on the events of a group of people/creatures in an alternate reality like creating.

This next question might be a tough one. I liken it to asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but I’ll ask anyway. Is there a particular book from the series that is your favorite?

Without a doubt, Book Three, A Summoner’s Tale is my masterpiece. That’s partly because of the soul-wrenching events, partly because of the metaphysical premise, and partly because it took a lot of careful planning to have a timeline with so many (seemingly) unrelated things happening at the same time while driving toward an ending that brings all the threads together.

I saw on your website that you are going to start a companion series to the Knights of Black Swan, called Exiled. What can you tell us about that?
Hmmm. I probably should correct whatever I said that led to the notion that Exiled will be a companion series. It will share a couple of characters with Black Swan, initially, but that and the fact that it’s set in an alternate dimension are the only things the two series will share in common. Exiled is about a pet project of Kellareal, the “angel” who serves as watcher for Litha and, especially, Rosie. Following is the introduction that was given in Book 6 of the Knights of Black Swan, A Tale of Two Kingdoms.
Rosie had waited on a tabletop boulder on a windswept mountaintop of Prescient Dimension where she went when she needed to contact Kellareal for longer than usual. She explained that she wanted a change of environment, where she could take a break from her life and rethink the direction of things.

She knew she’d pushed things with Glen, but she also knew that, despite her feelings and desires to the contrary, the relationship wasn’t serious and wasn’t going to be. Not for a while. He’d made his decision. He was going wherever Z Team went and at least she had enough pride to know she wasn’t going to follow along like a camp whore. Even if he’d let her. Which he probably wouldn’t.
So she’d take a lesson from that and maybe look for a little adventure of her own while she was young. While she was young.
The breeze that blew her wild hair back from her face grew a little softer. Kellareal appeared to float down from the sky wearing a long white robe that billowed around him, arms outstretched as if inviting embrace, and landed in front of her soundlessly. She knew he would want to be congratulated on the theater, so she clapped. He bowed.
“Lally. How long do you think I’m going to live?”
“You called me for that?” He picked up a pebble, sat down beside her, and threw it out over the canyon overlook. “We may have to rethink your summoning privilege if you’re going to abuse it, young lady.”
“No, that’s not why I called, but since you’re here…”
“Well, your elemental side is very long lived, meaning eons. Your human side is cursed with short life under the best of circumstances. Then there is the issue of fragility, the moment to moment uncertainty, the… risk, if you will, of being human. I tell you, it causes me to marvel constantly at their courage. Living under those circumstances, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t just curl into a ball and hope for sudden death to put an end to the suspense.”
“If they only knew how cynical real angels sound, you would never get your own TV shows.”
“Hmmm. No doubt.” He grinned. “But a few feather sightings would bring them right back around.”
Rosie giggled. “You’re hopeless.”
“And is that why you wanted to see me?”
“No. I need to get out of town for a while, change of scenery. Maybe I need to broaden my experience.”
“Get out of town,” he repeated drily. “What does your mother think of this?”
“She thinks she can get in touch with you if there’s an emergency and that you’ll know where to find me.”
The angel pursed his lips, stood and paced for a while. “Vacations are fun. Sabbaticals are informative. Quests are enlightening, sometimes cathartic. Retreats are rejuvenating. Treks are adventurous. This?” He stopped and looked at Rosie. “This sounds like running away. Hard to put a noble spin on running away.”
“I’m not necessarily asking for your blessing, Lally. Just a place to…”
Rosie flushed. “It’s a favor.”
Kellareal looked at her for a long time. “I can’t decide without hearing the whole story. I want to know exactly what it is you’re running from and what you’re hoping to gain.”
By the time Rosie finished spelling it out, she was sorry she had started the whole thing. Spelling out what had brought her to that mountaintop sounded spoiled, selfish, childish and silly, even to herself as she said it. She supposed that was one of the angel’s goals in having her connect the dots out loud. She hoped that the worst of it, humiliation-wise, was over.
“Have you thought about how long you want to be away?”
She hadn’t thought about it.
“Do I have to decide that now?”
“No. I suppose you can do a pay-as-you-go plan.”
“Wait. What do you mean pay-as-you-go?”
The angel took her elbow and pulled her to her feet. Standing several inches taller, he looked down into her face. “You’re right, Elora Rose. It is time for you to learn something of the world. First lesson, nothing’s free.”
A few minutes later they were standing on the periphery of an enclosure – a crude, gray stone wall. From what Rosie could see, there were homes and buildings built around a park-like commons area with sparse gas lighting, but the overall impression of the place was of a fort. Through a break in the wall that formed a gate with iron bars, she could see that they were on a hilltop overlooking the lights of a large town.
The air was scented with the welcoming smell of wood burning fires releasing white smoke into the atmosphere. The prominent feature of the compound was a long row of motorcycles, some of which had parts shiny enough to reflect in the cold moonlight.
“Where are we?” Rosie asked.
“It’s a project of mine, Rosie. A secret. You can’t ever tell anyone.”
“I do.”
“They’re what’s left of Telstar.”
“Telstar? Isn’t that one of those worlds that went crazy with genetic engineering?”
“I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘went crazy’.”
“Okay. Let me put it this way. You start out with a wolf. You end up with a Shih Tzu or a Pug. You start out with a human, you end up with a …”
“The flaw in your argument is the owners of dogs like that would say they’re an improvement on the prototype.”
Rosie blinked. “So you’re saying you’re taking me to a place where I should be prepared for…” She left the end of that sentence for him to fill in the blank.
“Okay. Consider this your briefing in a nutshell. There were some experiments that went on for a couple of generations. People became concerned and even invoked religious invective to fuel a movement to eradicate all the produce of the experiment.”
“Produce?” He nodded. “You mean the people?”
“That is what I mean and I, ah, intervened. I saw an opportunity to solve two problems. There was a group of people here in need of protection, which is one of the ways Telstar skills might be used. This group was under threat of genocide. I knew the Telstar survivors would relate. So I paired them with the humans that needed them. “
He waved his hand at the darkness. “It’s pretty here. This dimension hasn’t been ruined yet. Lots of everything. Gives them a chance.” He looked at Rosie. “You know?”
“Wasn’t that against some rule?”
The angel pursed his lips and heaved a big sigh. “Rules need to be placed in the context of knowing the rule makers. And their agenda.”
Rosie studied his face in the darkness. “Lally, you’re an anarchist.”
“Guess that depends on who you talk to.”
“Are there others?”
“Other elementals who think like I do?” She nodded. “Yeah. Anyway. They’ve been here for a while now. Some have started families. Their own take on culture is starting to emerge. Interesting to watch. The one in charge of the place is a nice fellow with a nice family. Owes me a favor. Simple as that.”
“Does everybody in the multiverse owe you a favor?”
His mouth twitched at the corner as he looked down at her. “Working on it.” His eyes drifted back to the settlement. Rosie thought she saw a hint of pride. Proud sponsor perhaps.
“This could be a good place to get your thoughts sorted out. They’ll give you a job and who knows? Maybe a new perspective. So welcome to the EC. That’s what they call it, short for Exile Camp. By the way, don’t mention Telstar. They don’t like to be reminded. I don’t blame them. They left that behind to start a new life.” He turned to face Rosie. “A new world really.”
She looked around again. “What’s with the motorcycles?”
His expression was definitely sheepish. “Oh, they, the Telstar, like them. A lot. So they became part of our arrangement. I made an adjustment to the engines so they’ll run on water and threw tools and maintenance stuff in with the deal.”
“Are you saying that they’re weren’t motorcycles here before?”
“No. Every dimension develops differently. You know that.”
“Well, yes… So how did you get motorcycles here?”
He laughed. “Rode them.”
“You did not.”
He nodded, grinning. “One at a time.”
“I didn’t know you could ride a motorcycle through the passes.”
“For all I know, I’m the only one who knows it. Let’s keep it that way. Okay?”
She shrugged. “Okay. What do they look like?”
“Look like?” Kellareal laughed out loud. “Oh, sweet baby.”

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do for fun?

Reading and music. Right now my music room is below my study, where I write, but I’m building a house right now with a studio that will include my writing space and music room. I decided a few years ago that I need to keep working on my voice and instruments if I want to come back as a better musician in my next life.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Anne Rice Memnoch the Devil
Sherry S. Tepper The Gate to Women’s Country
Stephen King Christine
Karen Marie Moning, The Fever Series
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman Good Omens

What is your favorite part about writing and publishing books?

As a person who has had A LOT of truly sucky jobs with wildly sucky bosses, I have to say the best thing is 1.) working from home and 2.) working by myself.

In 10 words or less can you tell readers why they should read your books?

Sure. Knights of Black Swan is about Elora Laiken who fell into another world where modern day knights, vampire, shifters, werewolves, demons, angels, berserkers, elves, fae, fairy tale characters, and psychics became her family and friends. If you recognize yourself in this profile, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy my books.

1. Black Swan readers don't see description as unnecessary and superfluous. They understand that it's the details that layer richness and depth into the story. They also have the maturity to know that patience brings greater rewards.

2. Black Swan readers value characterization and believe that who characters are is as important - if not moreso - than what they do. In my books, the major struggles are often internal.

3. Black Swan readers are receptive to new experience. If you’ve established a comfort zone in formulaic writing, Black Swan is not for you. No two books are the same because each is a building block in a larger story. (No cliffhangers.)

Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and readers new to you?

TO FANS: Thank you for making it possible for me to make a living writing. Your opinions mean the world to me which is why I read each and every email, Facebook post, and review.

TO NEW READERS: I hope you will join me on this journey that is now a little over two years old. You can begin the adventure for free by downloading a copy of My Familiar Stranger at any e-book retailer.

Also coming up, I’m one of thirteen authors in a Scottish Shifter Box Set to release on September 18th for $.99 for the first week, in connection with the Starz series “Outlander”. The set will include all new stories. Mine is entitled Liulf. To be sure you don’t forget, go RSVP to the Facebook Event right now.

The Knights of Black Swan

My Familiar Stranger


Bestselling author, Victoria Danann, brings us a complex, unique, and wonderfully heartwarming serial that begins with this story.In a matter of minutes Elora Laiken lost everything familiar. She escaped death by being forced into an experiment that left her in another world where modern day knights, elves, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons and fae became her allies, friends and family. She discovered a place where adventure intersects fairytales, where honor converges with ideals, and she learned that love can find you in the strangest places, when you're least expecting it, even when you're far, far from home.

If you love romance, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and complex storylines, this series is right for you. 17+

The Witch's Dream

Elora Laiken broke Sir Storm’s heart when she chose his best friend. Now the handsome vampire hunter wants nothing to do with love or even women for that matter. Litha Brandywine is a witch who has other ideas. Like Storm, she works for The Order of the Black Swan and is known as the best tracker on earth. When he arrives at headquarters in Edinburgh, where Litha is currently assigned, she falls hard enough to be up for a test of wills. Though LItha might be perfect for Storm, he's hardened his heart and is determined that he won't be taking any chances on romance.

Litha: "What is it you're looking for?"
Just to get rid of her, Storm tossed off, "Someone entertaining."
Litha: "I can be entertaining."

When B Team arrives in Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding ends abruptly when Sir Kay's fiancé, Katrina, is kidnapped by a demon with a grudge. While the tracker, Litha, searches for the missing girl with Storm assigned as her escort, other members of B Team are tasked with bringing in a stray werewolf causing havoc in London and finding him a suitable new home.

If you love a grand mix of romance, fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, tears, laughter, and complex stories, this serial is right for you. Age 17+

INCLUDES: The first chapter of Book 3, The Summoner’s Tale, named BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL of 2013.

A Summoner's Tale

While the devastatingly seductive ex-vampire, Istvan Baka, is forced to relive his tragic life as human and confront his past as vampire, a very pregnant Elora Laiken faces an ultimate test of survival when she's attacked by assassins from her dimension of origin. While their friends and mates mount respective searches and epic rescue efforts, these two friends and almost lovers, joined by a mystical bond, separated by distance, must simultaneously struggle alone through their own personal tortures in pain and darkness.

This is the story of Heaven McBride, a Black Swan demonologist who was temporarily assigned as Baka's assistant. When he turns up missing, Heaven agrees to submit to hypnosis to help the rescue effort with possible clues about his disappearance buried in her subconscious mind. During those sessions, she proves that love can wait patiently through lifetimes for the chance to blossom and be fulfilled. She also inadvertently reveals that she's been hiding a unique musical talent. She's the once-in-a-generation summoner, who can call any creature with her flute. Even vampires.


The sexy, but ill-humored werewolf king, Stalkson Grey, embarks on an adventure beyond his wildest dreams in a bid to save the Elk Mountain tribe from extinction. In the process of mass migrating to a new home, Grey learns that even old crusty werewolves can be struck dumb by second chance love and driven to the desperate, foolish actions of the young when he kidnaps a young innocent who has spent her entire life in the cloistered sheltered environment of a cult.

Meanwhile, B Team learns the shocking truth about the origin of the vampire virus when Jefferson Unit hosts immortal teenage vampire who turn things upside down with their interpretation of Animal House.

Gathering Storm

Black Swan Knight, Sir Engel Storm, is acting like somebody else. HIs friends, former members of the preeminent team of vampire hunters, reunite to try to salvage his image and reputation. Meanwhile, Ralengclan assassins from Elora Laiken's home dimension send a second wave assassination team to Jefferson Unit at the worst possible time, when it’s been left defended by only the misfit bad boys of Z Team, the rookie - Glendennon Catch, the Lady Elora Laiken, Sir Fennimore, and the boys in training who may someday make the cut and the choice to be knights. 

A Tale of Two Kingdoms

Duff Torquil is heir to Scotia, the kingdom of Fae, who have been at war with the Elves for two thousand years. Fae and Elves are both species who have evolved to respond to one fated lover with whom they will mate for life. Duff Torquil’s predestined mate is perfect for him in every way: beautiful, smart, polished, strong willed and a talented psychic who works for The Order of the Black Swan. The only problem is that she happens to be Aelsong Hawking, talented Black Swan psychic, younger sister of vampire hunter, Sir Rammel Hawking, AND the only daughter of the royal house of Elves.

After escaping together to establish a quiet obscure life away from both families and the politics of elf/fae differences, the young lovers are captured, separated, secluded, and left to die as mated pairs of their species tend to do when permanently parted. Fortunately, an angelic intervention persuades the unlikely "powers that be" to get involved.

Solomon's Sieve

When Sovereign Solomon Nememiah lay dying on a beach under an overturned vehicle with his fiancée helplessly sobbing next to him, he made a vow to himself that he would refuse to stay in some arbitrary afterlife. He silently promised to return and finish what he started with The Order of the Black Swan and the love of his life. When the new Sovereign of Jefferson Unit begins saying and doing things that remind people of Sol, it raises suspicion in the minds of people who were closest to him.

Dr. Mercy Renaux is a new hire archeologist seeking to change her life and find something to blot out the guy she can’t forget. Sir Rafael Nightsong, bad boy member of the infamous Z Team, is the guy she can’t forget. When his team is assigned to escort the recent recruit to Bulgaria on a mission to contain irrefutable evidence that vampire exist, they both wish they worked for somebody else. 

The Knights of Black Swan Series is available on Amazon

  2013 Winner in the categories of:
BEST PARNORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (Vampires & Shifters) - Moonlight

Stay Up-to-Date with Victoria Danann

TWITTER: @vdanann


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