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Link: New Pub Date for Crimson Death
Disclaimer: This blog entry is verbatim, as originally posted on LKH's blog. Copyright belongs to Ma Petite Enterprises.

Crimson Death, the new Anita Blake novel, will be published on September 13, 2016. For those of you who follow my blog, you know I’m still writing the book, what you don’t know is that I finished it once already. I typed, The End, one glorious morning as I watched the sun rise; but once the euphoria of the writing high faded and I got some sleep, I knew something was wrong. I’d known something was wrong for weeks, maybe months, but definitely weeks. I was too close to finishing the book, so I ignored my muse and my characters arguing with me. One character in particular wasn’t happy. Damian, who started life as a Viking until one dark night he and his brothers in arms tried to raid the wrong castle. She-Who-Made-Him, a master vampire that traumatized him so badly he’s afraid to speak her name, held him as a virtual slave for centuries. She let him go, and he still doesn’t know why, but he was allowed to go to America where he became a manager at one of the hottest dance clubs in the country, Danse Macabre. In fact, he first appears in the book that introduces the club. The Killing Dance is the sixth book in the series, and this is Damian’s introduction:

“I TURNED to find another new vampire. He was tall and slender with skin the color of clean white sheets, but sheets didn’t have muscle moving underneath, sheets didn’t glide down the steps and pad godlike across a room. His hair fell past his shoulders, a red so pure it was nearly the color of blood. The color screamed against his paleness.”

Originally, I thought Crimson Death would be a short novel like my books, Micah and Jason, called Damian, but very quickly I realized it was going to be a big book. I believe my largest word count was 300,000 words. I’m one of those writers that writes long and then cuts, but this was excessive, even for me. It was another clue that my muse and I were debating with each other. The original plot had Damian kidnapped and Anita coming to his rescue. It would take me typing to the end, or what I thought was the end, to be willing to listen to my muse, and to Damian. He finally got through to me and not literally said, but basically told me, “I’ve been in the series since book six and now I’m finally getting my own story in book twenty-five and I’m just the damsel in distress. All those newer characters that have come on stage and been heroes, or major love interests, or something more than just the victim du jour, and now I’m just as unhappy, just as powerless, just as afraid as I began. Nineteen books and I haven’t grown at all.” He was right, and it was unusual for me, because I’m all about the character growth and letting my fictional friends have interesting lives, except for him. Damian had been almost static, I don’t know why, but he finally stepped up and threw the gauntlet down.

“You can do better than this,” he told me, and he was right. I turned my plot on its ear and now Damian is going back to Ireland to help solve a mystery. He’s going back to face his greatest fears to save lives as a consultant with the Irish authorities about their sudden vampire problem. Sudden, because Ireland isn’t supposed to have any vampires. It’s one of the few countries on the planet that has no folklore about them. The only dead that walk in Irish myths are ghosts and the shades of heroes. But Damian knows differently, he knows that there is a vampire so powerful and so frightening that to even speak her name is to risk her power seeking you out, even across an ocean. She-Who-Made-Him says the vampires plaguing Dublin are not her doing, and that she’s grown weaker since Damian left her side. U. S. Marshal Ted Forrester, AKA Edward, is already there acting as a consultant. He wants fellow marshal Anita Blake to come help hunt the undead and to bring the only vampire that might know the truth about what’s happening. Anita thought Damian was going home, but Ireland was never home, it was the place where he died.
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