Today I'm welcoming back author Amy Lee Burgess and she's sharing a top ten list with us! (I love top ten lists!) Take it away, Amy!

~My Favorite Things About Blood Gift ~

Today I have My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music running through my head. (Thanks, Carrie Underwood!) So I decided to share with you ten of my favorite things about my novel, Blood Gift.

1.) Claire, my heroine. She was so hard to write. Not at first when I let her angst and misery out in the form of a snarky mouth and jaded attitude. But then my beta readers came back to say, Wow, she’s…unlikeable. Which – no! Who wants to read 200 pages of a vampire romance where the lead character grates on your nerves? Not me! So it was back to the drawing board. Gone was most of her snark. And her angst. And her misery. Yet she has this horrific back story and I wanted her past to poison her future so when she overcame it, bells would ring, angels would get their wings and happiness would abound. Or something like that. But I didn’t want her to be too spritely and optimistic or she’d be a different person who didn’t need to overcome her past because she’d already be over it.

So, writing Claire was a journey and sometimes I think I am the one who discovered myself, not her.

2.) The setting. London. In the autumn and winter. Cold rain, Knightsbridge all gray and gloomy. The lights of the city reflected in the inky blackness of the Thames at night. Ever since I started reading British murder mysteries when I was young teen, I’ve been in love with London. I’ve been writing vampire novels since the mid-nineties (Blood Gift is the only one I’ve managed to publish) and they all take place in London. Something about London screams vampire to me. The way Claire sees the city at night matters to her. Beauty anchors her and what she sees is as visually stimulating as the blood she consumes.

3.) Andre, my hero. He has one of those smiles that can turn your knees to rubber and change your whole life. He’s complicated, but he doesn’t seem like it at first. He intrigues Claire from the first night she meets him, but he’s her master’s archrival and she’s been forbidden to get to know him. He’s determined to get beneath her skin though, and his courtship is slow and unrelenting.

4.) Blood sex. Does that sound kinky? Vampires are immortal and strong and they have fangs. So why wouldn’t they use all their assets in the bedroom? As Claire observes, sex without blood is like champagne without the bubbles. Biting can be erotic. Blood can be hot. At least between two consenting vampires. Writing the sex scenes for Blood Gift was – interesting. In addition to all the usual mechanics, I got to play around with where they should bite. How hard. And the act of drinking each other’s blood is a powerful exchange which can be used to show trust. Or lack of it.

5.) Vampires in general. I love them. I loved them before they were as popular and prolific as they are today. My take on the vampire is more on the sexy side than monstrous. Sure, they have their flaws and left unchecked considering their immortality, they can become horrible beings. But the potential for good and beautiful is just as strong – and ultimately harder to achieve. I’m an introspective person by nature and I’ve made my vampires the same way. Most of them anyway. Imagine the depths you could discover about yourself if you never aged and never died? If you had the strength of will to continue on when everything around you changes. One of the reasons I made my vampires live in a Circle is to provide continuity in an otherwise rapidly shifting world. Of course, being trapped with some people for eternity could be more torture than comforting, I suppose.

6.) Mind reading and influencing. Claire has special powers the other vampires in the Circle don’t. She can read minds – both mortal and immortal. She can also influence people to do her will. Since Claire is not very sure of herself and her self-esteem is generally in the toilet, she doesn’t do well with this particular power. Immortals prove too difficult to be reliable and what she does with mortals? Well, she helps the ones that remind her of herself and her past. She was abused by both her mother and her boyfriend, so she spends her nights finding abused women and helping them out of their awful situations. She influences them to get out, to leave, and to never look back. If she can find the abuser, she influences him to change – to become a better person, one who doesn’t use his fists. I like that Claire doesn’t walk around and make people do silly things or bad things. She tries so very hard to find a good use for her power.

7.) The Circle mark, Gebo. Gebo is a Nordic rune which means “the gift”. It’s a powerful rune working with the concept of exchange. Every gift is, in essence, an exchange. More than just a present wrapped in pretty paper, it can be an ideal. An emotion. Trust. Giving in. Letting go. Accepting what is offered. Every vampire in the London Circle bears a small black X on their backs which tie them together. Four times a year they must meet with their Circle Master, Oliver, and exchange blood. Some of them hate each other, but they still must exchange or they will lose their grip upon the world and themselves. How they deal with the concept of the gift and the exchange is an integral theme in this novel. (And you thought it was a romance! Okay, it is but there’s more!)

8.) Parker. He’s Claire’s sexy as hell master. In vampire Circles, there are masters and apprentices. This does not equal slavery. Again, working with the concept of Gebo and exchange, masters guide apprentices through the first thirty or so years after Turning. Sometimes they fall in love, sometimes they despise each other. Parker and Claire have an interesting relationship. Parker doesn’t believe in fairy tales. No such thing as true love. It’s all manipulation. Or is it? Parker gets all the best lines in Blood Gift. He’s that sexy guy you love to hate and secretly root for. (And I have a feeling he’ll show up in the next book in the series.)

9.) Andre’s flat in Knightsbridge. I based the home he and Claire share on an actual flat I found online. All the rooms – especially the bathrooms – are described exactly as I saw them. I’m a sucker for spa tubs and rain showers. Vampires don’t age, so Oliver, the Circle Master, has become a pro at real estate. Buying, selling, and flipping. So his vampires aren’t really allowed to feel any sort of permanence in their homes. Yet some of them grow very attached to their flats and their houses. The concept of finding Home is key in the novel and the scene where Claire and Andre decorate a bedroom for her has special fondness for me. He’s trying to give her a home. Will she make one with him?

10.) Music. Although music doesn’t play a huge role in the novel itself, it was instrumental (heh) in actually writing the book. My Pandora stations played Deadmau5, ATB, Kasakde, Armin van Buuren, Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, Recoil and others. Over and over again. When I hear certain songs like Kaskade’s Angel on my Shoulder, I am instantly propelled back into certain scenes.

So these are a few of my favorite things about Blood Gift. I’d love to hear your favorite things. You can email me at amyleeburgess99@gmail.com anytime!

Or catch Amy here:

Blurb ~

When Claire became a vampire, she hoped she could forget her abusive past. But her mentor, the sexy, perfect Parker destroys her dreams of a new start. Soon, Claire devotes her new found psychic powers to helping abused women.

Drawn to the mysterious and handsome Andre, another master in the London Circle and Parker’s archrival, Claire enters into a passionate clandestine affair which causes her powers to ramp out of control. Wild, sensual sex morphs into something deeper and, for Claire, terrifying. Andre soon discovers her abilities and realizes he is her trigger–the one vampire in the world who can help her control her spiraling powers.

Bonding with him requires Claire to trust and accept his love, two things she cannot bring herself to do. The gift of love is something her past won’t allow her to accept. Even so, Andre will have to reach her in time to save her life or stake her when her powers drive her insane.

Excerpt ~

“Claire.” Andre’s voice was heavy with desire. The way he said my name with his slight Irish accent was different from the way everyone else said it. I felt special. Different. As if I mattered.

I turned my head to look at him. He had me pinned to the grass, one hand on either side of my shoulders. I’d locked my ankles so my heels pressed into the small of his back. His eyes were smoldering dark, and my lips parted.

That was all the invitation he needed. The burning shock of his mouth against mine was electric, and I brought my hands up so I could bury my fingers in his soft hair. I had just enough presence of mind to weave a shield of privacy so that mortals didn’t register we were there and avoided walking near.

Andre and I connected like interlocking pieces of a vast puzzle. Our kiss went supernova hot in an instant. I curled my tongue around his, and the whole world froze. Mortals were nearby, but their thoughts abruptly cut out of my head. For all I was aware, Andre and I were the only two beings on earth .

The explosive taste of his blood made me moan. He’d deliberately nicked his tongue on his fang. My own fangs burst from my gums, and I scraped my tongue against one of them. Blood spurted, and it was Andre’s turn to groan. The cold grass beneath my body seemed to disappear as if I floated weightless with only Andre’s kiss to anchor me. Time sputtered and died, and nothing mattered but his hot mouth moving against mine.

“Claire,” Andre said again through the blood in his mouth.

Four golden weeks I’d waited for him to kiss me, and now he was, and it was glorious.

“I’m going to make love to you in the grass if we don’t stop.” He increased the pressure of his lips against the hollow of my throat. “Come home with me, angel.”

“Dre,” I whispered, shaking with fear and desire—I wasn’t sure which was stronger. On fire for him, I didn’t want him to stop touching me. While his body was pressed to mine, we had all the time in the world, but when he moved away, would everything crash? “I’m scared.”

“Of me?” He lifted his head so he could look into my eyes. The night around us was alive with the sound of crickets. Stars wheeled in the sky, and the earth pressed against my back. I was suspended in the universe. Nothing mattered but him.


I touched his cheek with the tip of my finger, traced a line to his sensual mouth. I wanted to kiss him and taste my blood mingled with his. “Of everything. Of this not being real. That this is all a lie like Parker says. That I don’t matter. That nothing matters. That this is a race to see who can hurt the other first.”

He winced as if in pain, and I buried my face in his shoulder. He pulled me tightly into his embrace and rested his forehead against my head. “I won’t hurt you. I swear I won’t.”

Bio ~

Amy Lee Burgess lives and writes in Houston, Texas but her heart belongs to New England – especially in the autumn.

Ruled by two dachshunds and addicted to Irish breakfast tea and the Walking Dead, she loves to write about vampires, wolf shifters, gargoyles and other assorted paranormal creatures. Amy loves to travel to places like London England, Edinburgh, Scotland, Paris France and Providence, Rhode Island where she stalks the coziest Irish pubs she can find.

She writes to trance and house music by candlelight and welcomes email from her readers – especially if they want to talk about the supernatural.

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today!

  2. Thanks for joining us again, Amy! It's a pleasure having you!

  3. Great post...love the favourite things too. London is at it's best in the fog, I agree. TBH I love most of your fave things too! Good luck with Blood Gift, it has intrigued me :)

    1. Thanks, Cait! If you read the book, let me know what you think! :)

  4. Thanks for stopping in, Cait! This might be right up your alley with your penchant for dark, Gothic tales, like your own SEFTON MANOR!


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