Ancient Blood – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Brian McKinley

In Brian McKinley’s Ancient Blood: A Novel of the Hegemony, Avery is obsessed with vampires- their culture, their way of life, their history, everything. After a one-night stand with a woman whom he later realizes is an actual, real-life vampyr, Caroline, he begs her to change him. However, he soon learns that being a vampyr is not as idyllic as it once seemed. Avery and Caroline are hunted, captured, and imprisoned by Caroline’s brutal and ruthless Creator, Sebastian. Together, they must find a way to escape their inhuman captivity, all while reconnecting with their own lingering humanity in the process.

Much of Ancient Blood, although entertaining, seemed far too rushed. Many key plot points were skimmed over or skipped altogether, as if Brian McKinley was constantly in a hurry to get onto the next event in the story. This rushed narrative ultimately harmed the novel in certain areas, most notably in the lack of chemistry between Avery and Caroline. More thorough development and elaboration throughout the story would have been invaluable to Ancient Blood. Instead, in some ways, this novel still reads like an unfinished draft.

Aside from that, Ancient Blood was a most enjoyable horror novel. Its humorous, conversational narrative helped balance out some of the darker aspects of the story. Also, Brian McKinley’s use of descriptive language was stunning; no matter the subject, everything was described thoroughly and vividly. There was plenty of thought and research put into the several “species” of vampires noted in the novel, making the entire book even more captivating. All in all, Ancient Blood: A Novel of the Hegemony could use a fair bit of revision here and there, but it’s already excellent as is. Without ever feeling cliché or tired, Ancient Blood shines a whole new light on the traditional vampire as we know it.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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2016 Horror Novel Contest Winner – Drawing Dead

Today’s Featured Author and Book

Drawing Dead

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Book Description:

Faolan O’Connor spent his life killing for men like Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano, and now it s his turn to face the music. But when vampire Darcy Killian offers him immortality, Faolan enters a world of violence, wealth, and power beyond anything he s ever imagined.

Driven by ambition and guilt, Faolan fights his way up the ranks in a battle to justify his sins with success. He s learned the hard way that relationships are vulnerabilities and friends are just enemies in disguise, but he also knows that he can t conquer a city alone.

Aided by an emotionally-crippled genius and a warm-hearted call girl, Faolan builds a loyal crew with which to challenge the tyrannical Killian s rule. However, will this re-awakened humanity prove a fatal flaw or his ace in the hole? With his life and the future of the city he loves at stake, can Faolan play his cards right or is he drawing dead?


Drawing Dead (Faolon O’Connor Book 1) takes you back to the 1930s era of organized crime when mobsters, gangsters and mafia bosses were somewhat common.  Yet, author Brian McKinley has written a book that is far from stereotypical.  Why?  Because Faolan O’Connor isn’t just a gangster, he’s a freshly turned vampire.  The expectations of those above him aren’t necessarily difficult for this tough-as-nails, cold-hearted killer or are they?  Faolan’s superiors test him, and his so-called friends willingly turn their backs on each other to save their own necks.  Whether or not McKinley’s young vampire will succeed in this new world or whether he’ll finally end up dead remains to be seen.

From the get go, readers will likely be captivated by the cover.  It fully captures the essence of Drawing Dead.  Vampires don’t run around announcing to the world what they are, and the secrets that are fluidly woven throughout Drawing Dead are reflected not only from the cover but from page one.  Admittedly, the scenes do jump around a bit, which can make it a little confusing at times.  But there is so much action and intrigue embedded within the storyline that this is an aspect that can almost be overlooked.  McKinley does a great job offering readers the opportuntiy to take a look at their own values and morals as Faolon seems to reconnect with his humanness.  Of course, this may end up ending his life.  Highly recommended – readers can feel the danger, the excitement and the horror of a vampiric gangster life in this pragmatic tale. 

Originally critiqued by the staff of

Brian McKinley


Brian Patrick McKinley doesn’t really exist. He’s a constructed mortal identity used by a relatively young Vampyr in order to publish the truth about The Order. Due to the world-wide influence of The Order and its minions, these accounts must all be published as fiction; however, they are all very real and actually happened. Sometimes the names and sequence of events have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and to keep from getting sued. 

Brian is no longer a typical Vampyr and, for this reason, lives in hiding and writes from a secret location. The real “Brian” lives a life of danger and excitement; he loves Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire as much as he loves Chicken Fried Steak. He’s a reader, a role-player, and a dreamer who doesn’t believe that “liberal” is a dirty word. He’s lived many lifetimes and is eager to share as many of them as possible with his readers.


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Peace and Love,

Rob and Janelle



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Have you checked out the 2017 Romance Novel Contest yet? Deadline is 1/15/17

Book awards give you clout and credibility!

2017 Romance Novel Contest

Whether you’re a first time author or a New York Times Best Seller this book award contest is for you.

Are you ready for the chance to be an award-winning author?  

Yes!  Excellent!

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