Friday, February 22, 2013

I'd like to welcome Kendall McKenna to my blog

I'd like to welcome today's guest author Kendall McKenna to my blog.   Please make her feel welcome as we learn about her and her book "Nights in Canaan."

1. How long have you been writing?

Probably all of my life. My first clear memory of writing a story from beginning to end is something I wrote for my 5th grade class writing journal. It was basically a fanfiction based on a popular song of the time. All through school I wrote stories for contests, to give as gifts, or just for my own pleasure.

About five years ago or so, I decided I wanted to try to get published. I started writing short stories. I sought out very good, very critical editors who pushed me to improve. Eventually, I learned to develop stories that were full novel length, and then I submitted one. The rest is history.

2. What is your favorite genre to write?

Well…I’ve really only ever wanted to write contemporary military m/m erotic romances. I write about U.S. Marines, which is why my tag line is Love and Dog Tags. I guess you can even say I write mystery stories. Then one day, Kris Jacen with MLR challenged me to submit a story for MLR’s Bloody March (2013). So, I wrote a vampire story and submitted it. That’s Nights In Canaan and will be released on March 15th. A good friend of mine challenged me to write Marine werewolves, so I did. So, while set out to only write the contemporary military stories, I have found that I enjoy writing the paranormal stuff and trying to put a new spin on it. By the end of the year, my paranormal stuff will have as many releases as my contemporary stuff!

3. What are you working on now?

I am currently writing the first of 2 sequels to Strength of the Pack. At the same time, the 2nd sequel to Brothers In Arms is at the beta reader, so at some point I’ll have to work on those edits to submit it for publication. I write one story at a time, except in certain circumstances, so basically, I’m working on Strength of the Wolf, the second book in the Tameness of the Wolf series.

4. When you start a new story do you begin with a character or plot?

Character. I usually start with one character, whose story I want to tell. Sometimes, I have two characters who have stories to tell and they intersect. Either way, I use a story I want write about and I build it around the story of the character. It all gets blended together to form a whole novel.

5. Tell us about your latest/upcoming release. What inspired it?

My upcoming release is Nights In Canaan. I’m a member of the Yahoo Group, The Sweet Spot. One day, Executive Editor Kris Jacen, posted a special submission for MLR Press. It called for stories about vampires. We threw around story ideas and some members posted pictures and plot bunnies. I had projects planned so I had no intention of submitting. Then, Kris said that she expected me to submit a story for the special call! As we all discussed on the list, when an Executive Editor calls you out in public, you kind of have to submit a story! So, I gathered some of the pics that had been posted, and I started thinking of the kind of vampire story I wanted to write.

In the end, I took the bits of vampire legend that have always appealed to me, the more traditional aspects. I took some of the images that I really liked, and tried to form a story out of the two. Of course, at least one of my characters had to be a U.S. Marine. What I ended up with is a story about a vampire who is reborn down through time with the goal of enslaving the human race. An ancient warrior follows him through time with the goal of keeping balance in the universe. The two fall in love with each other and are always faced with the choice of claiming their own happiness and destroying the world, or sacrificing themselves to maintain the universal balance.

It’s made my beta and a proof reader cry, so we’ll see what the readers think when it releases March 15th.

Nights In Canaan
by Kendall McKenna
Love and hate. Good and evil. Life and death. The universe requires balance, whatever the cost. An ancient vampire rises, time after time, threatening the survival of the human race. An ancient warrior is reborn, again and again, with the singular purpose of halting the vampire’s bloody rampage. With each encounter throughout time, their passions burn and their emotions deepen. The vampire shares his body and the warrior shares his blood. When they are no longer able to cause one another harm, the lovers hesitate to fulfill their destinies. Will the ancient warrior sacrifice the whole of the human race, in exchange for eternity in the arms of the vampire he loves?

Reaching over his own shoulder, Jesse silently unsheathed the powerful sword at his back. With his free hand, he pushed aside the cloth covering the dwelling’s doorway. Jesse burst into the small room, knowing he held the strategic advantage of surprise.

The sight that greeted him froze Jesse in his steps. A beautiful young man lay sprawled on the dirt floor, his thin clothing askew. His skin was dark and smooth, his shoulders broad, hips narrow. An equally gorgeous man lifted his face from the neck of the first. He tilted his head back, a look of ecstasy on his features. Dark blood covered his mouth, running down his lightly bearded chin. He smiled, baring a set of wicked fangs.

Jesse gasped when the man ran his tongue over his full, bloody lips and slowly opened his eyes. The pale blue irises shone bright in the darkness, confirming this was no blood-drinking minion, this was evil in the flesh.

“Saul.” Jesse’s rough whisper was loud in the quiet of the room.

“Hello again, Jesse,” the vampire greeted languidly.

Jesse lifted a hand that felt almost too heavy, and removed the cloth that obscured his face. Saul knew very well what Jesse was and how he looked.

“You were in Yerushalayim.” Jesse accused. The fingers that clutched the hilt of his sword were numb.
“And now I am in Gina.” Saul’s elegant, long fingered hands caressed the smooth skin of the young man in his lap. He lifted the nearly lifeless body in his arms so that he could nuzzle the young man’s throat while holding Jesse’s gaze.
Jesse ached with the memory of those hands gliding over his own body. He swallowed hard, the human heart in his chest racing uncontrollably. “Set the boy aside, Saul,” Jesse ordered.
“Wouldn’t you rather join us?” Saul punctuated his question by dragging the flat of his tongue over the wound in the boy’s throat. “He’s going to be beautiful when he turns. A lovely angel of death. Can you picture it?”
“No!” Jesse tightened his grip on his sword. His wings burst into visibility as he unfurled them as much as the confined space would allow. “You will not turn him. Let the boy alone!”
Saul’s suggestive smile displayed his fangs and Jesse remembered the feel of them on his own flesh, pressed to the back of his neck, nipping sharply at his hip.
“I’ve drained him, Jesse,” Saul replied, just above a whisper. “If I don’t turn him, he’ll die.”
“And if you turn him, he will die, along with all your minions, when I kill you.” Jesse lifted his sword higher, fanning the tips of his wings.
Saul’s smile faded. He let the boy fall from his arms as he slowly rose to his feet. “After Yerushalayim, I thought perhaps this time you would finally join me.”
Jesse’s face flushed as memories assailed him. He could almost taste Saul’s skin on his tongue, feel the coarseness of Saul’s sparse beard along his throat. “After Babylon, I thought you had grown wise enough not to return.”
Saul’s expression grew hard and angry. “Why do you protect them? They are not worthy of your attention. Do you not realize what we could be if you joined me, and I turned them all?”
Of course Jesse realized. He had known for millennia. No matter his desire for Saul, or whoever he was or will be, Jesse was reborn each time for a sole purpose. That purpose was to ensure the humans did not become an army of blood drinkers while their race was mere children.
“You are defeated, Saul. I will always defeat you,” Jesse said angrily, taking a step closer. “Why put us both through it?”
“Why do you put us through it?” Saul demanded, stepping over the now dead body of the young man and reaching for Jesse.
Their lips met and Jesse tasted sweet blood and bitter ashes. He fisted his free hand in Saul’s bisht, opening to Saul’s aggressive tongue. How he hated being the immovable object to Saul’s irresistible force.
Saul broke the kiss abruptly. He slowly backed toward a cloth draped window, watching Jesse with a thunderous expression. “There is no Hittite army at your back to drive us from Canaan.”
Righteous anger flared hot in Jesse’s belly at the memory of how many Amorites had fallen victim to Saul before Jesse had driven them out of Babylon. His chest tightened when he remembered Saul on the tip of Jesse’s sword as the Euphrates rushed past.
He lunged, but Saul was already fleeing out the window. Jesse tucked his wings and pursued.

About the Author
Kendall McKenna’s first work of fiction was written at the worldly age of nine, and was a transformative work that expanded on the story told in a popular song of the time.
She tried her hand at vampire and cowboy fiction, winning high school poetry and short story contests along the way. It wasn’t until she discovered the world of m/m erotic fiction and found her stride with cops, Marines and muscle cars, that she felt inspired to share her stories with readers who enjoy the same things.
Putting herself through college by working in a newly-created HIV testing clinic in her local Department of Health, introduced Kendall to the gay and lesbian community. Understanding and empathy has made her a lifetime advocate of GLBT issues.
A brief bout of unemployment gave Kendall the time and focus she needed to finally produce a novel worth submitting for publication. Her first novel, Brothers In Arms, introduced the world to her authentic military stories and characters.
Kendall was born and raised in Southern California, where she still lives and works. A non-conventional relationship has kept her happy for the last decade. Her four dogs enjoy it when she writes, as she sits still long enough for them to curl up around her.


  1. Congrats on your new release, Kendall, I'm a sucker for a vampire! Wishing you many sales!


  2. Thank you so much! If you like vampires, you'll love all of MLR's March releases! It's Hot Blooded March! Nothing but the vamps!

  3. Sounds great, can't wait to read it!