Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bleeding Heart by Melissa Graves: Interview, Review, & More!

Bleeding Heart
by Melissa Graves

While the public struggles to live side-by-side with vampires, medical student Brian Preston has dedicated himself to their care and study by working in a government-run clinic that monitors and feeds the resident vampire population. He has learned to expect the unexpected in his job, but his life takes a surprise turn late one night when a young, struggling vampire named Kyle stumbles into his clinic and his heart.

As they draw closer, can Brian come to grips with loving the elusive vampire, and can Kyle find the strength to share the secret that can separate them forever?

Bleeding Heart is the story of love, blood, political intrigue and the secrets that can spell the difference between life and death. 
Author Interview
Carly: Today I'm excited to be welcoming Melissa Graves to talk about her new release, Bleeding Heart! Melissa, I love that there is SO much going on in this book. You've got politics, medicine, and paranormal reality all mixed together. What type of research did you do to make the story’s details feel so authentic?

Melissa: In terms of research, I looked into a lot of background elements of Chicago, the city that the story is based in.  It was perfect in that it was urban enough to support the gritty feel that a modern vampire story like Bleeding Heart requires, but close enough to small town middle America to be convincing as a place where kids like Kyle might go once they break free of their high schools. There are so many things about Chicago that make it the perfect backdrop for a vampire story—its variety of topography and architecture, its population size, its cultural blend, its parks, recreation, arts, and schools all play very well to the world that Kyle and Brian live in, where vampires and humans need to share space.

Carly: Being a Minnesota native, Chicago is in my neck of the woods, so to speak. I agree; it is a uniquely diverse city, and if I was a vampire I'd want to live there too!  Can you tell us about what the most interesting and/or unusual thing you experienced while researching for this story was?

Melissa: I also did a lot of research into anatomy and blood loss to make the blood drinking components of the story as realistic as possible (don't arrest me, people-who-keep-track-of-my-Google-searches, I'm just doing research for a novel!).  People tend to think that vampires can just take from their humor donors as they choose, but there are arteries to avoid and places where biting can be less permanently damaging for the humans involved.  If you're going to date a vampire, you need to know these things!

Carly: As a nurse, I studied phlebotomy, and am frequently called a vampire by my patients while I'm drawing their blood. It always makes me laugh, because I'm such a huge fan of paranormal romance! While Bleeding Heart has a lot of action and drama, there is also quite a bit of humor. So my last question is, what makes you laugh?

Melissa: What makes me laugh?  Humor is so important to me in stories.  No matter how dark or dangerous vampire fiction may seem, I think humor is vital.  Sarcasm is a must for me—if at least one of my characters can't crack an inappropriate joke in the middle of a tense scene, I'm missing a character!  Dry, intelligent humor is my weakness, the snarkier the better.  Kyle and Elisa are definitely champions of that in Bleeding Heart, but minor characters like Erica and Michael also bring the one liners pretty hard.  Even Brian knows how to make people laugh—though he's more likely to make fun of himself in the process.  When stuff is going down, you can always rely on them to make you laugh!

Carly: I'd like to thank you for taking the time to stop by to answer my questions today. I know readers are going to love the excerpt you brought along to share, so thank you for that too!

     "I know," Kyle says apologetically. "I can't help it." He swallows. "I mean, it only happens when I—when—I get excited. Sorry. Just, missed you."
     "You—you can." Heat pounds in Brian's cheeks.
     Kyle goes still, panting against his skin. "W-what?"
     "You can, if you want," Brian repeats. His body is aching all of the sudden, for something new, for something more, for something that they haven't done yet. He can feel it, simply at the idea—it has been since they started kissing, of course, but now it's fully awake and invested in the proceedings—against the front of his jeans. "You can."
     "Have you ever—"
    "No," Brian answers. It's impossible to think clearly with Kyle holding him against the door, with Kyle's head bent over his neck like that. He's so hard that his jeans are starting to hurt; the angle at which he's risen against them is uncomfortable, but he can't move. "Please." The anticipation is like ants beneath his skin, crawling and crawling and crawling. "Please."
     Kyle kisses the half-numbed skin just inches off of Brian's neck. His fangs are fully distended now and Brian can feel them, smooth and hard as they brush his skin.
     The need to feel the pain that he knows he'll feel, to feel opened, to feel his blood run past Kyle's eager lips is sudden and new. Kyle can and will drink from his body; Brian can let him do that, this is a thing that they can do together, and it is as exciting as it is frightening.
     "You can," he repeats. He feels dizzy. "I want you to. Want to take care of you, please. Do it." His hands are shaking so hard that he can't even maintain a grip on Kyle's waist, but it doesn't matter; Kyle is supporting him.
     "God," Kyle breathes, shaking, his lips damp as they pass over Brian's shoulder again and again. "Ever since you—that night with the wine glass, I—god, I've dreamed of your blood so many times."
     "Please," Brian hisses, arousal pounding through his body. "Do it. Do it.

My Review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a vampire, Kyle is used to being rejected, and when he meets Brian, the opportunity to finally find a love of his own feels too good to be true.

Brian started working at the government run vampire clinic with high ideals and no reason to doubt what he'd been taught about vampire nature. It doesn't take him long to realize that there is a whole lot more to the supernatural world than what meets the eye.

Kyle and Brian start working together to overcome their own insecurities, accept the mutual attraction that draws them towards each other, and turn initial passion into lasting love love. Their efforts seem to be paying off, that is, if the past that Kyle tries to keep hidden doesn't destroy everything they've accomplished first!

BLEEDING HEART contains a well written cast of characters that are interwoven with action, adventure, and sensuality. Melissa Graves quickly made me fall in love with her uniquely crafted paranormal world.  The fast paced yet well balanced story development made this a book a pleasure to read. An excellent first effort; I look forward to reading more books from this author soon!
Buy Links
Author Profile
A veteran writer of fanfiction known as MissBeizy to her online readers, Melissa Graves’ stories have thousands of followers. At age 13, she wrote her first work of fan-based fiction, and by age 16, had met her future husband in an online vampire fiction chat room. A fan of science fiction/fantasy, she has a degree in anthropology and a passion for good chocolate, amateur erotica and fan worlds that celebrate diversity. She is mother to two cats.

Learn more about Melissa Graves' at her website.
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  1. Thank you for having me, and for the lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed Bleeding Heart.

  2. Count me in! The book sounds great and the cover is so sexy. Thanks for the interview and the excerpt, nice one.

  3. Enjoyed the post. This is a definite read for me. Going on my TBR list. Thanks for a chance in the giveaway.

  4. Nice interview Carly <3 and thank you Melissa for more hints about your book and your characters, makes me want to read it more and more :)

  5. Enjoyed the interview and your review of this book.