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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Nancy Holzner

Today I'd like to welcome back Nancy Holzner, who is stopping by to promote her new Urban Fantasy release, Helforged, the second novel in her Deadtown series, which released on December 28th. You can see my 4.5 Star review here. Her topic for this guest blog is . I found it very interesting, and hope you do to!

A Night in Deadtown

If you want to take a look around Deadtown, the cordoned-off area for Boston’s paranormal residents, there’s not much point in going during the day. Even if you made it through the checkpoint, during daylight hours you’d find that Deadtown is more or less a ghost town—its streets empty save for the occasional werewolf or a bundled-up zombie working the day shift. The silent buildings could belong to any city’s downtown: concrete skyscrapers mingling with old brick buildings and the huge plate-glass windows of former stores.

Deadtown comes to life, or unlife, after the sun goes down. Not long after darkness has settled, the zombies begin to venture out, heading for work. Thanks to their superhuman strength, most zombies do manual labor. Three years ago, after a localized plague killed two thousand Bostonians in a matter of hours (and resurrected them three days later), the quarantine zone became Deadtown. At the time, office buildings, stores, and banks had to be converted to residences, and the resulting construction boom employed many zombies. With time, though, Deadtown has become a city-within-a-city, and zombies provide most of the services you’d find in any town. There are zombie bankers, zombie teachers, zombie mail carriers, zombie grocery store owners, zombie hot-dog vendors, zombie chefs (any business related to food is a good bet in Deadtown).

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Deadtown’s zombies aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill, horror-movie brain munchers. They’re a lot like people who haven’t gone through the experience of being dead for a few days and then waking up. In fact, the politically correct term for zombies is “previously deceased humans,” or PDHs. Deadtown’s zombies have thoughts and personalities. They also have spongy, greenish-gray skin and blood-red eyes. They move stiffly, but they’re incredibly strong. They’re nearly impossible to kill (maybe because they’ve already been dead once), but they don’t heal when injured. And even though they’re always hungry, usually they’d rather snack on junk food than on human flesh—unless they catch a whiff of blood. When zombie blood lust gets stirred up, they can’t help themselves. So if you’re prone to sudden nosebleeds, visiting Deadtown isn’t a great idea.

Around ten o’clock, the vampires emerge to go hunting. They don’t hang around Deadtown for long. Zombies taste bad and shapeshifter blood does strange things to a vampire’s system, so the vampires slink off to the human parts of Boston or one of the monster bars in the New Combat Zone, the no-man’s land between the checkpoints into Deadtown and human-controlled Boston. The Zone is where humans go when they’re craving a walk on the wild side. A norm can venture into a monster bar like Creature Comforts and gawk at vampires, zombies, and other creatures of the night in relative safety (as long as they don’t get caught in the middle of a werewolf fight). Axel, who owns Creature Comforts, is seven feet tall, bearded, with a hook nose and tiny eyes—nobody quite knows what he is, but he’s definitely not human. Axel usually opens up around ten, because that’s when the norms come. Humans tend to be a bit nervous in the Zone; nervous customers drink, and drinking customers make Axel happy. But the bars don’t really get busy until most of the norms are gone, tucked into their warm, safe beds at home, dreaming about how brave they’ve been.

Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demonslayer, also heads out around ten. A shapeshifter descended from the Welsh goddess Ceridwen, Vicky exterminates other people’s personal demons for a living. Since demons can only materialize after dark, she works the night shift. Most of Vicky’s clients need help with one of the three main kinds of personal demons:

• Drudes, dream-demons that feed on fear and cause nightmares
• Eidolons, guilt demons that gnaw at people guts when they can’t sleep
• Harpies, revenge demons conjured by an unscrupulous sorcerer for cash

Fighting demons can be dangerous, but it pays well—people who are desperate for some peace will pay pretty much whatever they can afford to get it. Vicky’s no mercenary, but she makes a decent living. After she’s shot a flock Harpies out of the sky or chased the Drudes out of a client’s dreamscape, she usually stops by Creature Comforts on her way home. There she might meet Juliet, her vampire roommate, who’s sipping a Bloody Mary and ignoring the vampire junkies begging her to take a hit from them. She probably won’t see Kane, the lawyer she sometimes dates, because like most werewolves he works norm hours—eight-to-five, Monday through Friday—except for the three days around the full moon, when he reports to one of the state’s three werewolf retreats.

As the sun comes up, most Deadtown residents, including Vicky, make their way home for the day. The checkpoints get crowded with paranormals waiting to show their IDs. Zombies pull on hats, scarves, gloves, sunglasses—sunlight causes permanent damage to their skin and eyes—before they venture outside. Vampires sleep the sleep of the dead behind black-out shades. For the next several hours, Deadtown will be quiet, until the shadows lengthen and the night calls to its creatures once again.

Thanks for stopping by Nancy!

When a mysterious plague hit Boston, turning two thousand of its residents into sentient zombies, the quarantine zone became Deadtown, home (by law) to Boston's paranormals. It's also home to Victory Vaughn, a shapeshifter who kills other people's personal demons for a living. In Deadtown, Vicky does battle with the Hellion who killed her father. In Hellforged, Vicky struggles to protect her friends and prevent a long-lost relative from unleashing an ancient power more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she's encountered before.

You can read the first chapter of Deadtown here and the first chapter of Hellforged here.

I also have a signed copy of Helforged to give away, courtesy of Nancy. All you have to do to be entered is answer the question: What's your favorite thing about your town's nightlife? The giveaway is for US only, and will last until midnight Wednesday 01/12. I'll announce the winner on Thursday 01/13.


  1. My favorite thing about Orlando's night life is that there's a lot to choose from. To name just a few: Downtown's Church street, Universal's City Walk, Downtown Disney, and all the parks are great fun at night.


  2. My favorite thing about Jacksonville's nightlife is the variety of things to do. Every part of the city has it's own vibe and atmosphere from the carefree pubs and sports bars at the beaches to the riverside clubs and restaurants.
    Thanks for the giveaway and have a great 2011 .
    tanyainjville at yahoo dot com

  3. First, thanks so much to Sara for inviting me to her blog.

    Reading these responses so far makes me want to plan a trip! :) I live in a college town in upstate NY, and our population doubles when classes are in session. Living in a college town means there's always a lot going on (concerts, plays, lectures, and so on), which is great, but for us "townies" it can be challenging sometimes to find a place to go out in the evening that's not part of the college scene.

    @Barbara: My sister recently moved to the Orlando area and loves it there.

    @Tanya Sounds great! I love places that are near the water.

  4. Morristown is where I grew up so I have watched it grow from a sleepy town to a vibrant small city with great bars and restaurants. The town square, commonly called "The Green" is beautifully decorated at Christmas time. President George Washington spent two winters in Morristown and marched his troups on this very same Green...but I digress.

  5. That's so cool, Denise. I love a place with a strong sense of history.

  6. Downtown Portsmouth is pretty much where the nightlife happens in my town. It is a historical area right y the water so a lot of people walk around and there are lots of great bars where local bands play. Those are my favorite things, other than that if you want to have fun you have to go to a different city lol.

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  7. Barbara, I'm from central FL too although I haven't really ventured downtown all that much. Just a couple concerts at The Social. And tanya, I went to college in Jacksonville. I wish I was still there because I really miss Lynch's and The Metro.

    And thanks again to Nancy for stopping by!

  8. @throuthehaze "...other than that if you want to have fun you have to go to a different city lol." Sounds a bit like my town!

    @Sara Thanks for having me! :)

  9. Wow, you guys live in Awesome places. I live in a dying Steel Mill area w/Crime rates thru the roof. The only places I know that is worst then us, is Detroit Micigan & St Louis.
    We don't have a nightlife here. Maybe a time in the late 80's was anything close to a claim of exciting so to speak. Broadway is a main st in NW Indiana. Broadway at N end & the start of Lake Michigan and goes unitl it deadends @ Rt 2. A 1 mile stretch of Broadway, between Gary & Merrillville, was used to cruise and dragrace like you see in the movies but is lined by dying buisness's not out in the middle of nowhere. We'd go to hang out, network,party & race. The local police put an end to it in 90 because the crime rate took over & idiots loitered & made a mess in the buisness's lots. The exciting thing to do around here is going to the Mall, Movies or Walmart. Scarry huh, Otherwise you have to go to Chicago, Il where it's supposed to be happening. A 25 min drive & expressways are a mess or South 1 hour for Lafeyette or 2 hours for Indy and those are only because they are college towns not because of anything exciting. As a matter of fact, I don't know anyone in my area that goes to any of these places either just for nightlife so I guess we are boring people around here ;D Thanks for the great post & contest.

  10. There is some sort of nightlife in STL. But unless you are a drinker or gambler theres not a lot of one. Its really the occasional movie or concert.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  11. Night time in Phoenix Arizona Downtown is a bit subdued. However if you go to Tempe (because of ASU Campus) you will stumble on exotic restaurants along with great night clubs and bars. The atmosphere is always full of fun and electricity. I highly recommend it if you ever stop by.


  12. My fav thing about Longviews nightlife is when I'm on stage, in the middle of a lead (on guitar) and for a brief moment, everyone really listening, can see into my soul.Corny, but it's why I play.

  13. I live a few blocks away from downtown Disneyland so I can enjoy a fireworks show each night

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway

    schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com

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Thanks for stopping by Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog! I'd love to here what's on your mind. :)