WEEK SIX: 13 Weeks of Vampires
Spoiler warning: there will be many discussions of plot points and characters below, so if you haven't read this particular book yet, you may wish to give it a pass. You have been warned.
For a woman married to the vampire of her nightmares, the honeymoon’s over—and reality bites…
Pia’s dream of being married has come true.
But her husband is straight out of her nightmares.
Pia Thomason is torn between two Dark Ones and feeling like a fool, considering she doesn’t know where either of them are. Alec was no doubt broken-hearted over finding out that Pia was mated to his best friend, Kristoff. And hubby Kristoff believes she has ties to the group trying to destroy his people.
So Pia goes back to her humdrum Seattle life determined to forget about Kristoff—but fate has other plans. With Alec missing, something truly evil threatening her ghostly charges, and the vampire community hunting both Kristoff and her for crimes they didn’t commit, Pia realizes that if they’re going to be shackled together for better or worse, she may as well start to enjoy it…
BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF: HOW THE BOOK CAME TO BE
If you've read last week's post, you'll remember that I had an idea for a storyline that took two books to tell. The story of Pia, Kristoff, Alec, and Ulfur the ghost begins in Zen and the Art of Vampires, but really gets into full stride in this book.
As I mentioned last week, this book was plotted at the same time as Zen, although a lot of the details were more or less glossed over until it came time to write the book. For a discussion of the three major characters--Pia, Kristoff, and Alec--see last week's post.
BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF: CHRISTIAN, ALLIE, and JOSEF
By now you all know how much I love Christian. That's one reason why he keeps making appearances in books--I just love to see him again. But he had a bigger role to play in this book than just that of satisfying my crush, and that was as the head of the Moravian Council.
For the longest time, I didn't put into place a formal organization for my vampires. Everyone else in the Otherworld had one, from dragons and their septs right on down to Guardians and their guild. But Dark Ones? Not so much. They never seemed to need one, since they were pretty content to just hang out with their own kind, and not bother much with the rest of the world.
With Zen, however, I realized that there needed to be an organization that would fight for its members, and lo, the Moravian Council was born. And who better to put in charge of it than Mr. Dishy himself, Christian!
That casting gave me the perfect excuse to not only revisit Christian, but also to see how Allie was doing. Although they have a pretty brief scene, I was pleased to see that both Esme and Mr. Wiggums were also still with Allie. And of course, she taught her son to stake his daddy, which just made me giggle for days straight. But I digress...
BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF: THE ORIGINAL PLOTTING NOTES
Prepare to be very, very confused. The plot notes for this book are...well, convoluted. I have absolutely no idea why my brain was churning out this path for the plot, because it didn't really make sense, but churn it did.
Below is an excerpt from the plotting notes, focusing on the climax of the book. It picks up right at the end of the book, when Pia and Kristoff go to LA to confront the Brotherhood. Please note that there is a bunch of shorthand in the notes..."Bro" refers to Brotherhood, "couple" are the Brotherhood members who contact Pia at the beginning of the book, K is Kristoff, and A is Alec.
------PLOT NOTES EXCERPT----------
Mattias is grumbly and refuses to tell her how to take over as Zenith. Couple says they are new to the Bro, so they don't know how to do it for certain, but they think probably she'd have to go to Bro headquarters in LA to either do it, or to find out how to do it. Off they all go to LA, Magda and Ray, Mattias, and Ulfur.
She tells K what she is going to do. He tells her it won't work. She asks him why not, and he doesn't answer. She tells him, sadly, that she loves him and can't live with all of this going on, so she's ending it as best she can.
They arrive at the Bro building in LA (a church), breaking in on a meeting which is there to discuss Bro business. Pia demands to know how she can be made Zenith. The people, shocked, stammer something Zenith's being named by them, the council. She grabs a letter opener from the table and holds it to Mattias's neck, saying she'll kill him if they don't name her Zenith right then and there. They look at each other and tell her she's crazy--even if they do that, there's nothing to stop them from removing her from the position later. She says that's exactly what she wants, and demands they do it. They do, sealing the document with blood. She then formally declares her marriage to Mattias null and void, over his loud objections, just as the doors slam open and K enters, with A in tow. Both men are disheveled and bloody, but K is grim with determination as he shoves A forward and tells him to confess to Pia. The Brohoodians leap around, screaming vampire. Mattias starts the cleansing ritual.
Pia tells the vamps not to worry, that she's no longer Zorya since she's not married to the sancristan. A starts laughing, and tells her she's wrong--she is married to a sancristan...only that person is K, not Mattias. Pia is stunned. K is also surprised--how does A know the truth about his past? A laughs again, and says he has waited a long time for this moment, the moment when K will die, and he will get to tell him why. He reveals the backstory bit. Magda says so it was A all along who was behind Denise. Pia says no, he can't be--it doesn't make sense for him to kill his own people without just cause. A confirms this, but before they go into it, Pia realizes with horror that the power is ramping up inside her, and she has to get K away before he is accidentally smited with it. She tries to get the two vamps out of the room, but the door is blocked...by Ray!
Ray admits that he was the one controlling the org by using Denise.
-----------END PLOT NOTES--------------
Wow. Seriously wow, huh? Ray as the Ilargi? Mattias without lighbinding? Kristoff and Alec fighting off screen? As you can see, the muse wasn't quite sure what she wanted when it came to plotting the ending of the book, but by the time I sat down to write it, I knew that I wasn't going to be following the plan too very closely. Again, I think we're all thankful for this.
BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF: ICELAND
Crouching Vamp saw a return to Iceland, which gave me the opportunity of including the famed Blue Lagoon in the book. For those of you who haven't been there, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that features lovely warm water, silky white silica sand, and breathtaking scenery. Although I took a few liberties with the resort (I don't believe they have private spots where you can swim around naked without someone seeing you), I loved the setting so much that I had to include it.
BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF: THE TRIVIA
This is the first book to mention liches, and to show how they're created.
Ulfur, Ragnor the horse, and the Ilargi are all mentioned in the book following this one (In the Company of Vampires), although none of those storylines are resolved until Much Ado About Vampires. Yeah, I'm mean that way.
Pia's place of employment is based on Old Dog Haven, one of the three animal charities to which I donated proceeds from the Cupid Cats anthology.
There is a bit of strangeness in the chapter where Pia and Kristoff are before the Moravian Council. In it, Esme disappears and appears again without explanation. That was simply an oversight on my part--I meant to include a sentence or two bringing her back for the scene, but left it out. We'll think of it as an Easter egg rather than a mistake, hmm?
My favorite scene in the book is where Pia finds Kristoff recovering from almost being killed, Rowan and Andreas lounging around with their feet resting on the bound reapers.
So, what did you think of the two-book storyline? Were you happy to have it take two books to tell, or do you favor shorter storylines for the vamp books?