Interview of Fantasy Sci-Fi Support Group member Laura Daleo
Author bio: Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California where she majored in Fine Arts at Mesa College. She is best known for her love of animals and shares her home with three humorous Basset Hounds, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter, her toughest critics. Laura has held positions in several industries, Restaurant, Telecom, Biotech, Research, and Retail. Throughout Laura’s professional career, she furthered her writing skills by taking courses and by joining writer’s critique groups and Writers Digest. She is now the owner of Story Bound Publishing, a fresh voice in the supernatural realm of ebooks and traditional print, committed to publishing unearthly tales of Aliens, Angels, Demons, Fairies, Ghosts, Shifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Zombies and all other creatures that go bump in the night.
Book title: Bound by Blood
Genre: Dark Vampire Fantasy
Synopsis: Five years crawled by at a painfully slow pace for young vampire, Beth; each year more agonizing than the next. The powerful unyielding spell which masked Amon’s whereabouts showed no signs of weakening. Influenced by the binding ritual and Amon’s blood surging inside her, Beth will stop at nothing, and risk everything, to find him and turn the tables on Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. In foggy streets of London, lives are threatened by a new breed of hunter, and nothing is what it seemed. Beth once again finds herself surrounded by betrayal. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between Philippe and Amon – knowing that her decision will change one life forever. But whose?
Publish date: originally published 7/2016
Publisher: originally published by World Castle Publishing
Republished date: 3/17/2017
My publishing company: Story Bound Publishing
The wind howled into the dark night, chilling my freshly-warmed skin. As I stood at the rim of the ocean’s cliffs, listening to the whispering waves, I focused on my victim’s vacant stare and wiped his blood from my lips. A single drop tarnished his forehead, and I snatched it up with my tongue. Lowering my head, I whispered, “Forgive me, dear mortal, for though I share your love of life, I must rob you of yours so that I may survive.” Hugging his cold torso against my chest, I kissed his cheek and then tossed him over the cliffs into the pounding surf.
A platinum stream of moonlight shimmered across the restless water, glancing off his body. The waves swelled, swallowing him whole and erasing him from the mortal world, but I couldn’t walk away. I owed the mortal a glimmer of respect; after all, he’d sacrificed his precious blood to feed me. Like a mourner at his grave, I clasped my hands in front of me and stared ahead in silence. I lingered for only a moment longer as a personal task; in truth, it was more of an important ritual, one of self-pity, drunkenness, and shame which required my devotion. This very night marked the fifth anniversary of the spell cast upon Amon, forcing him to bid me farewell. Faithfully I waited for his return, and with each passing year the hole in my heart grew wider, leaving my immortal soul a bit emptier, and the wedge between Philippe and I a bit deeper.
Turning my back on the sea, I drifted along the cliff’s path, crossed the deserted street, and headed for home. As I entered the front door, I cocked my head and listened with my vampire ears. My ritual was private and for me alone. No interruptions. No distractions. No nothing, and especially not Philippe. Again, I took notice of the house. Not a single sound made its way into my ears. Not trusting in them solely, I closed my eyes, lifted my arms, and spread my fingers. No spike in my pulse. No surge in my veins.
Philippe’s blood didn’t stir; but then, could his presence be masked?
I opened my eyes, slipped off my shoes, and tiptoed across the foyer toward the wine-cellar door hidden beneath the staircase. As I descended the steps, I welcomed the cold of the floor against my bare feet. After all, mine wasn’t a body composed of warmth. Beneath my flesh rushed an icy scarlet river, which required human blood to generate any heat.
As I wandered along the cellar rows, I caressed the black and gold bottle necks, searching for Amon’s favorite vintage. Several steps ahead it lay before my gaze. I slowed, but my breath quickened. I removed it from its slot, pressing it to my lips. Amon’s emerald-green eyes, jet-black hair, and bronzed, statuesque face flashed before my eyes. Memories of the dreadful night we said goodbye flooded my mind. Goosebumps pinched at my flesh. I reached out, grasping empty air. His reflection shattered, leaving me alone all over again. A spark of madness singed my brain and I slumped against the cellar wall, gripping the bottle, whimpering. The walls seemed to close in on me. I needed air.
Leaping to my feet, I rushed from the room. I didn’t stop running until the beach’s soft blanket of silver, pearlescent sand tickled my toes. My knees buckled and I sank, sitting inches from the waves. I popped the cork and filled my mouth with wine. I quickly drained the bottle, anesthetizing my pain. I fell backward, spreading my legs and arms across the sand, staring into the night sky. Amon’s image floated above, torturing me. I brushed my fingers over my heart before they fell away and into the sand. “I failed you,” I murmured, gripping a shifting handful of sand. I sat up, flinging it with force and shouting, “I failed you.” Tears stung behind my eyelids and I hung my head so they could fall. For hours, it seemed, I cried…then slowly, very slowly, the wine took hold. I lay blissfully drunk, the empty bottle by my side and my ritual performed.
Footsteps approached, a shadow creeping over me and blocking out the moon. My pulse bounced like a rubber ball. I knew who it was. He always found me, but I didn’t acknowledge him. I kept my gaze focused on the stars.
“Drunk again, Beth,” Philippe said rather than asked, blowing out a groan.
Only then did I meet his gray-blue eyes. He stood over me with his hands on his hips. This was my way every year. Why did he continue to judge me? He had no right, the Amon imposter. If I chose to drown my pain in wine, then so be it. I didn’t need his permission. Deliberately I giggled and said, “Very drunk.”
He glanced over his shoulder and then back at me. “It’s close to sunrise.
I waved him off. “To hell with the sun. Go home if you want. I’m fine right here.”
He looked away from me, pursing his lips and shaking his head. “You know, this woe-is-me attitude of yours is getting pretty old.” He slowly turned his head toward me, a stone-cold expression plastered on his face.
“In fact, I’m quite sick of it.”
I sat up and scowled at him. “Don’t mock my pain. Let me feel wretched and miserable on this night.”
He narrowed his eyes and arched his brow. “The promise no longer threatens us. We have everything we ever wanted. We should be having the time of our lives, but it isn’t just the one night. You live in a constant state of drunkenness and depression. Amon isn’t coming back. Get over it.”
“How can you…? Of all things…,” I stammered, and then collected my- self. “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”
Good morning Loungers, today we have Laura Daleo with us talking about her writing and herself. Welcome Laura, thank you for joining us and talking to the readers today! Let’s get started, shall we…
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
I was reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. When I had finished the 4th book, the 5th book wasn’t due out for an entire year. I couldn’t wait, and the anticipation led me to create my own vampire series, Immortal Kiss.
What a wonderful place to get inspiration from! She is an amazing woman and author! Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, I’m an Accounts Payable Manager for a retail chain. I have a team of 10 who report to me. It’s a hectic but fun environment, and I’m able to use my creative brain to automate and streamline internal processes.
Very nice! What are you working on now?
My 5th book, The Soul Collector. My first non-vampire tale, and my first using the third-person omniscient point of view. I normally do first-person. Here’s a sneak peek:
As I lay trapped inside this quiet realm,
My soul adrift, my body earthbound
A magical book guards my flight,
Though will it keep me safe till morning’s light.
Oh that sounds interesting. *makes side note to keep an eye out for that* What’s your writing routine?
I have to start with an iced coffee. There’s something about that drink that feeds my imagination and sets in motion. Of course, my toughest critics are at my side as well. My furry kids, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter.
Describe your road to publishing your book
My first two books were published by a small press publisher. I felt that I didn’t have the creative freedom with covers, editing, and the time frame in which it took for publication. Once my contracts were up, I chose not to renew and started my own publishing company, Story Bound Publishing. I’m very pleased with that decision. My writing has grown so much since then, as well as all areas of the publishing industry.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I’m an artist. I have that creative brain that never shuts off. I design the images in my head, create a rough draft in Photoshop, and then hand them off to my graphic designer to polish.
Who are your five favourite authors?
Anne Rice, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, and Justin Cronin.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I’m big into fitness. I love kick boxing and circuit training workouts. I’m a Photoshop fan. I create all my own covers, teaser posters, and ads. I relax with TV. I have several shows that I’m super involved. I get hung-up on the characters and their lives. To mention a few: The Passage, Lucifer, The Good Doctor, and Manifest.
What’s your favourite pet?
I love all animals, but I am partial to dogs, especially basset hounds. Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter can testify to that.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
Hands down hardcopy. I love to hold a book in my hands. I also love an impressive library. I think it makes a huge statement about a person.
What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Readers’ Lounge?
I love this group. Most Facebook groups bombard their members with book promos and selling posts, but not the Readers Lounge. It engages with its readers, making them feel welcome and part of the whole process where their voice matters.
Laura, you’ve been a delight to have on, would you mind taking a quick question quiz for the readers?
Favourite thing to cook: Baked Ziti
Silliest saying: It’s not a saying, but I call my dogs toys squeakems
Best holiday spot: Anywhere with friends
Most played song: Me and My Broken Heart by Rixton
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser? Pantser 100%
Do you prefer to read SciFi or fantasy: I’m more of a fantasy person, especially dark fantasy and urban fantasy
Best superpower: Mind control
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Visit Egypt and see the pyramids
Readers, if you’d like to follow and get to know Laura better, below are her links!