Today I am so pleased to welcome Lavinia Lewis to Joyfully Jay. Lavinia has come to talk to us about her latest release, Blood Ties. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and two great giveaways. Please join me in giving Lavinia a big welcome!


On Writing Vampires

Before I begin, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Joyfully Jay for welcoming me onto your fabulous blog and also thanks to your readers who have taken time out of their day to join me here to celebrate the release of my novel Blood Ties.

To help me celebrate my release, I am giving away a free ebook copy of Blood Ties. Just leave a comment on the post to be entered into the competition. Good luck, everyone!

When I was a young girl, my parents bought me a compendium of novels by authors such as Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. The books which included the titles Frankenstein, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Hound of the Baskervilles and of course Dracula had been made age appropriate for children. It was through these books that I developed a lifelong love of fantasy, supernatural and paranormal.

LaviniaLewis_BloodTies_BlogTour_BlogDates_FinalBecause of this love affair with these genres, I have written many paranormal books myself, mostly in the shifter arena, but also touching on vampires in my Huntress Chronicles series, a M/F romance series written under the pen name Amy Armstrong. In this series the lead characters are vampire hunters caught in a war between angels and demons. And yet I had never before written a novel in which vampires were the leads of the story. Even though I’ve enjoyed reading many books like that, I struggled writing one because I am such a huge fan of traditional vampires ? vampires that are the villains of the story.

If you are not familiar with book Blood Ties, it is the first of my Vanderguard Vampires trilogy, which charts the lives of Thomas Vanderguard, a vampire prince and his once human consort Daniel Alexander. The novel begins with Thomas waiting at Daniel’s bedside for him to awaken for the very first time as a vampire. From there, the story goes back a year to the day they first met.

I faced lots of challenges when writing this book. The very fact that it is a vampire romance means that it will likely be compared to many other books in the same genre so I had to make it stand out from the rest and as original as possible. In order to do that, I needed my vampires to be different.

In the world that I created, there are three types of vampires. There are born vampires, like Thomas and his family who need human food as well as blood to survive. Then there are made vampires like Daniel, who are turned out of love. They exist solely on a diet of blood and are unable to tolerate sunlight, but otherwise share all the attributes and strengths of made vampires. Lastly there are Drones. These are bloodthirsty, soulless creatures, turned out of hate, that live to hunt, to feed and to kill. Drones can be controlled by the person who turned them so they are used constantly by the Gemmelli family to fight on their side in the ongoing war against Thomas’ family.

Having all three types of vampire in the novel, allowed me to pay homage to the traditional, established vampires of old, but also to add a modern spin to the book by allowing a vampire to be the leading man ? the hero of the story. I hope I’ve succeeded in writing a compelling story with vampires to suit every taste. I’ll let you be the judge.


A tall gray wall surrounded the yard. The noise became louder as Daniel neared. He followed the wall until he came to a wooden gate with wide iron hinges. It was unlocked. Taking a calming breath, he opened it then stepped through, coming face to face with an ugly, bloody battle. Daniel’s stomach lurched when he noticed that several dead men lay on the ground. He was afraid to look at them. He searched for Thomas among the men, his pulse accelerating with each passing second. When he saw that Thomas was alive and well, he allowed himself to let out the breath he’d been holding.

Thomas was fighting with two formidable-looking opponents, but even though he was outnumbered, he appeared to be holding his own. He dodged every blow that came his way and countered with more powerful and precise strikes of his own. He moved with speed and agility and he didn’t stay still long enough for either of the two Drones to find purchase with their blades. Daniel stared, utterly mesmerized by Thomas’ show of strength and dexterity. Some of his movements were so fast that they were nothing more than a blur.


It was quite fantastical and Daniel had to keep reminding himself that the fight he was witnessing was between two groups of vampires. Just a few hours ago, he’d been happy in the knowledge that vampires were the stuff of legend and now here he was, sword in hand, ready to risk his life to save one of them.

When he heard a particularly fierce sounding roar, Daniel turned to see Thomas’ brother, Connor, drive a dagger through the heart of a Drone. The very second he pulled it free, the vampire crumpled to the floor at his feet. Connor scanned the area for another. His expression was one of steely determination, but the wild excitement in his eyes showed just how much he was enjoying the fight. When the word ‘bloodthirsty’ came to mind, Daniel almost laughed. The turn of phrase was apt in more ways than one. He had to wonder if Thomas took pleasure in the kill or if he was simply doing what needed to be done—killing his enemy before they killed him. When he turned back to watch Thomas, he saw him drive his sword through the stomach of one of the Drones, a satisfied grin playing over his full lips.

Before he had time to think about the implications of that smile, two more Drones attacked Thomas. He pulled his sword free in time to block two of the strikes, but a third Drone had somehow gotten behind him and his fist connected with the side of Thomas’ head. Daniel started running and let out a roar of anger. He watched Thomas reel from the blow, staggering blindly before falling to one knee. Daniel pushed his legs to work harder, but when he saw the Drone who had hit Thomas retrieve a dagger from inside his jacket, he shouted out a warning.

“Look out!”

Thomas turned and his eyes widened in recognition.

Then he frowned.

He was too late to see the dagger.

In a movement so fast that Daniel nearly missed it, the Drone plunged the dagger into Thomas’ shoulder and twisted the handle. Thomas cried out and fell to the ground, landing heavily on his side.

Mindless with rage, Daniel had never felt as desperate. Leading with his sword, he roared again as he charged at the Drone, who spun around just in time to see Daniel drive the sword into his stomach. When he tore it free, the vampire looked down in horror at the wound that began hemorrhaging blood at an alarming pace. When the Drone snarled, his features contorted with anger and his gray eyes narrowed. He lunged for Daniel, fangs bared, but before he reached him, Thomas yanked the Drone away. He thrust his dagger through the Drone’s ribcage, directly into his heart.


bloodties_800Vampire prince Thomas Vanderguard has been alone for over two hundred years—ever since the death blow that killed his companion, Jacob. For centuries, Drones have sought to eradicate his family’s royal lineage so that a rival family may seize the throne and gain control of their territory. But Thomas’ self-imposed solitude comes to an end when Daniel Alexander walks into his life. After several months of refusal, Thomas finally gives in to Daniel’s request to change him into a vampire, even though he fears Daniel will meet the same fate as Jacob.

With a possible eternity of happiness stretching out in front of them, can Thomas keep his lover safe or is history about to repeat itself?


Lavinia discovered reading at an early age and could always be found with her nose in a book. She loved getting lost in a fantasy world even then. When her parents bought her a typewriter for Christmas at aged eleven, her fate was sealed. She spent hours dreaming up characters and creating stories. Not a lot has changed. Now when she is not writing you can find her enjoying a new release e-book.

Lavinia has lived all over the UK but currently resides in London, England. She has travelled extensively to places including Africa, Asia, Australia, America and most of Europe. Although some of her books are set in Texas she has never visited the state but plans to spend time there in the near future.

She is an avid reader and her favourite authors include J L Langley, Carol Lynne, Chris Owen and Andrew Grey. Lavinia particularly loves supernatural fiction and her favourite authors in this genre include Kelly Armstrong, Keri Arthur and Charlaine Harris.

Although Lavinia is a huge fan of the romance genre, she will admit to reading anything and everything. She loves horror, a good thriller and if a book has the capacity to make her cry, well, all the better. One thing she does insist on in a book however, regardless of genre is a happy ending, so you will always find one in the books she writes.


Lavinia has brought a copy of Blood Ties to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, May 22nd at 11:59 pm EST.

Totally Bound is also offering up an eBook of your choice from Totally Bound, not including boxsets or anthologies. Just follow the link here to enter.  

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post