Friday, March 1, 2013

Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon

Today's post is the first stop on the blog tour for Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon. I am going to warn you, this post is a bit long, but well worth it!

This book is one of my favorites! And the author, Robert Fuller, is a great guy. I have gotten to know him over the past few months and I must admit, he is really a funny guy.

Valerie is his debut book, and I will say it was a home run. I have made him wait and wait to see my review, which is kind of fun, but today it finally goes live on Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N.

Be sure to read the whole blog post, because there is a Rafflecopter in here some where!

If you have had the pleasure of reading Valerie, please comment and let me, my readers and our favorite author, Rob,  know what you thought :)

Here is a little bit about Robert:

Robert is a fan of all things relating to vampires. It’s this obsession with vampires that makes his debut, “Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon”, the perfect vehicle to launch his writing career. Robert was born and raised in Northeast Ohio at a time when late night television stations filled their programming with old horror movies. Robert gravitated towards the motion picture vampire, but also the vampires depicted in the writings of Stephen King, F. Paul Wilson, and Robert McCammon.

Robert worked at JC Penney’s, where he spent 10 years in the Visual Display Department. His love of vampires, and a decade in the retail/fashion industry, provided the inspiration to create his own vampire tale. After several years of writing and re-writing, “Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon” was born.

When Robert isn’t writing, he enjoys going to the movies, or listening to his extensive music collection. Robert is a huge sports fan, but prefers football and baseball to all other sports. One of his favorite pastimes is participating as team owner and Commissioner of a long running fantasy football league. Robert manages to travel to the beaches of South Carolina at least once a year to recharge and enjoy some ocean time. Robert is married to his best friend and soulmate, Jackie. They have a son, Dustin, and two rambunctious cats, Meeps and Benny.

Do you want to hear about the book yet? 


While collaborating on a fashion show, Samantha Hammond, a forty-something Display Manager, draws the attention of the mysterious clothing designer Valerie Ross. Samantha’s journey of self-discovery takes her from the security of her hometown in Lexington, Ohio to the shores of a secluded paradise called Sabbatical Island. As their relationship flourishes, Samantha learns that Valerie harbors a terrifying secret. The revelation thrusts Samantha into a nightmarish world where vampires and witches dwell in the darkness. Pamela Darius, a murderous adversary from Valerie’s past, uses Samantha and those around her as pawns in a deadly game filled with seduction, pain, betrayal, and death.

Here is a little excerpt:
"She licks her lips letting the life-sustaining fluid coat her tongue, as she eases out from under his now lifeless body. She looks down at him in pity, knowing that he will never awaken from his lovemaking dream, or feel the sun’s warm glow or the moon’s coolness on his flesh. Even with the knowledge that death awaits those who give themselves to her; the sacrifice is never lost upon her.Looking down at him, her mind wanders to the night so long ago, when she received the kiss of undeath and learned to hunt to survive. The moonbeams acted as guiding lights as she first learned to fly and use her predator instincts to search out her prey. The freedom she experienced on those hunts was liberating, soaring above the serene countryside, leaving the confines and security of the castle, if only for a night.She never took the killing of her prey lightly as others within the clan did. The villagers she took and fed from were respected, so much so that she would only feed when necessary, and over time she learned to control her need for nourishment, in turn, she was able to feed every few days as opposed to the others who needed to feed nightly.This discipline proved essential when the time came for her to move away from the castle and live abroad. She could no longer feed on migrating farmers or peasant villagers; she would rely on covens in whichever city she resided in at that time to provide for her nourishment. For the one hundred and fifty years since welcoming the kiss of undeath, this is how she has existed.Leaning down she kisses Rogelio’s soft cool lips one last time. After a final glance at his handsome boyish face, she swings her legs over the edge of the stone, stands, and again stretches, feeling his blood warm her insides, revitalizing her. She gathers her discarded gown, slips it on, and uses it to wipe the blood from her face. Without so much as a look back, she heads upstairs, where Paul and a hot shower wait."
I must admit, that was one of the parts of the book that sucked me in and kept me reading!

I had a chance to ask Robert some questions, and here is that interview!

Thank you for allowing me a chance to appear on your Blog. I've been a big fan of your reviews for quite some time now and always make sure to keep up with the latest Indie reviews.

1). Can you explain what your book is about and what inspired you to write it?
Two women, Samantha and Valerie, begin to explore their feelings towards each other, until it’s revealed that Valerie is actually an heiress to the vampire throne. The revelation forces Samantha to choose between her mortal existence, and the chance to spend eternity with her vampire lover. The choice is complicated when an ancient adversary threatens to destroy Valerie and seize the throne for herself. The assassin uses Samantha and those around as pawns in a game of deception, lies, and betrayal.
I wrote it because I’ve always been drawn to vampires, as romantic literary characters. This was a chance to tell my own story about accepting one’s destiny. I also wanted to write it from an adult point of view, kind of as an answer to all of the young adult fiction brought about by the success of Twilight.

2). How long did it take you to get your book written and published?
Valerie began as a study hall project back in high school and was quickly set aside upon graduation. It was years later when my wife, while emptying some boxes in the basement, she came across it and encouraged me to finish it. From that point, it took maybe 2 years to complete. I spent 5 years re-writing and submitting before I found a small Indie press willing to take a chance.

3). What is your favorite part of the book and why?
The confrontation between Valerie and Samantha just after Valerie reveals herself as a vampire was emotionally complex, even as a writer. I played out the scene a hundred times as if it were being done as a movie. It starts out as a love scene and quickly disintegrates into something emotionally charged.

 4). What was the hardest part in the book to write and why?
The love scenes were difficult for me. I wanted something that bordered on R, but still would be acceptable by a mass audience. For some reason the gorier scenes were easier than when I placed two characters in bed. I guess there is still part of me that is shy when it comes to sex.

5). Who is your favorite character from Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon and why?
I’ve always been drawn to the darker characters in literature and movies, so I would have to say my assassin, Pamela Darius. Her motives for wanting to destroy Valerie are plain enough; she wants her King installed as the only ruler of the vampire realm. Although her motives are clear, there’s a sadistic playfulness about her that was so much fun to write. She’s a seductress who has to impart her will on all of those she encounters. She is so sexy and cool.

6). Do you have a writing routine that you follow?
I have OCD, so it takes me time to “get into the mood” to write, but when I do, I pretty much like to write out certain parts with a pen and paper before putting it into the computer. I write in a visual style that allows me to see the action, but as far as routines, they tend to vary. Sometimes I like slow jazz playing in the background, sometimes it has to be completely quiet. Just depends.

7). What other authors and/ or books inspired you to become a writer?
I’m not sure there was one instance where I read something and said, “Damn, I’m inspired to write now.” There was one book, Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan that I read at a completely inappropriate age and thought to myself, “If she can write something this open and raw, I wonder if I could too.” The world expanded and at that point anything could be written and explored.

8). How do you come up with all your ideas?
The historical background in Valerie came from a book by C. Dean Andersson called I Am Dracula, it retells the Dracula legend as an ongoing war between God and Satan and waged by vampires. I had this love story in place, but needed to add some depth to truly bring it to life. Some of my experiences in retail made it into the book, and my character of Samantha was based on myself at one point in my life.

9). How do you deal (or would you deal) with writers block?
As I said, I’m a mood writer, so I can go days or weeks without writing anything, so writers block hasn't been much of an issue. Music is very stimulating. I put together a soundtrack of songs while writing Valerie, so if I’m having trouble with an idea, I would set it aside and just listen to some music until it worked itself out.

10). What are you working on now, and can you give us any details?
I have the next book in the Valerie series three quarters of the way finished and then I jump right into the final book of the trilogy right after that. The second book in the series follows the events in the first book within a few minutes. Sara’s coven is wiped out by Pamela Darius and Sara must become the one thing she has learned to fear, a vampire, in order to stop Darius from completing her mission and destroying the God of Light’s vampire army. I can’t give away too much, because of how the first book ends.

11). What advice would you give others who are pursuing writing?
Don’t! Just kidding. I always tell people that everyone has a story within them and it just comes down to having the time and patience to put it down on paper. I’m finding out that writing your book or novel is actually the easy part. Publishing is downright scary, and even if you decide to self-publish, you have to do your own marketing and promoting. It’s cool, as long as your expectations are tempered and grounded in reality. By all means, write your story, and worry about all the other stuff later.

12). If you could only have one book for the rest of your life, which book would it be and why?
As much as I enjoy the mastery of Stephen King, I would stand by one of the books I mentioned before, I Am Dracula. It’s a beautifully told love story, and I’m so obsessed with it that I make sure that I own 2 copies at all times, 1 so that I loan it out to people who are interested in reading it, and 1 copy that never leaves my nightstand. It truly is the complete package.

13). When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Again, there was no a-ha moment. I knew back in school that I liked to write, but back then it was more of a way to pass boring study halls. I wrote for my junior and senior high newspapers, and spent the rest of the time working on comic book type stories and of course early versions of Valerie. When my wife encouraged me to finish the Valerie manuscript; that was the moment I considered myself a real writer.

14). Is there anything else you would like my blog readers to know about you?
Valerie is full of some dark and serious tones, but deep inside I’m actually a goofball and one of the biggest science fiction/comic book geeks out there. I was a geek before The Big Bang Theory made geekdom cool.
(He has bragged to me about "Sheldoning" his wardrobe and always says "I'm Sheldon, remember?!)

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me and answer these questions. I really appreciate it and I wish you much success! :)

Thank you again for the chance to connect with your readers and I hope they enjoy my book.

And without further ado, My review of Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon.

From start to finish, Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon grabbed hold and would not let go! This novel is the debut of my new friend Robert Fuller. You can tell he put a lot of time and energy into this story with the level of detail in it. 

 As the book begins, we meet Valeska and we learn her secret. She is a very sensual woman and it shows in her actions from the start. Next we meet Paul, her faithful bodyguard. His job is to protect her at all costs.

We find Samantha Hammond walking in the snow and learn about her painful past. We also meet her love interest, Richard, and her co-worker slash friend, Gina.

With all of these people its almost difficult to keep them (LOL Just kiddin!). Valeska is a clothing designer that Samantha happens to meet, on an island known as Sabbatical Island.

That one meeting, turns the entire story in 180 degrees. I felt so connected to these characters, I laughed with them, I cried with them, my heart ached with theirs, and I loved with them.

There is no other way to describe this well crafted book without giving too much away so I will just say, this book is well worth the price and then some! It is not a small novella. This is a well thought out story that encompasses so many emotions and senses that in the print form, it contains 700 pages. However once you get into it, you will see that it is a quick read as you are unable to put it down!

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  1. I read Valerie about a month ago, and I loved the concept & visuals. Excellent characters, twists, re-imagining of vampire mythology that I found really refreshing. Terrific post! Can't wait for Book 2!

    1. I am with you, Book two cannot be released quickly enough!

  2. I am glad you enjoyed them :)