Photo by Mark Anbinder (cc)

Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere marks the start of winter because it’s the shortest day of the year. In Spain, they celebrate by lighting bonfires (Hogueras) and jumping over the flames three times. In Vancouver, there’s the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. In the Sweetblood world, however, vampires celebrate the occasion because they’re weakened from sunlight and this is the longest night. Darkbloods (the bad guys) mark the occasion with the Night of Wilding.

Excerpt from Embraced By Blood, where Alfonso confronts a pair of Darkbloods:

Cover image for Embraced By Blood“Not yet,” the Darkblood female said. “But with the Night of Wilding less than a month away, we’ll probably have a few new groups moving into the area. The new sector mistress is planning a huge event.”

The pair started toward the girl and brushed past Alfonso a little too close—the stench of their all-blood diet always made him nauseous.

“So where’s the party this year?” he asked, trying to stall them.

Originally, the holiday was to celebrate the longest night of the year with family and friends eating and dancing all night, but for the past few decades Darkbloods had been using it as a way to attract and recruit new members. Often held in a macabre location, it had become a costumed party of debauchery and violence. The few humans invited rarely left alive.

“Keeping it secret for now,” the woman said, as she watched the girl, eyes narrowed and focused like a predator. “Do you play HG?”


“The online game, Hollow Grave?”

“No, I don’t.” He recalled some of the Darkbloods talking about a new online game, but that had been almost two years ago.

“As long as you’re a registered user and get to the Grave Crawler status, you can log in at noon the day before and we’ll have the location posted in the forums. At sundown there’ll be plenty of time to get there by midnight. It’ll be on one of the islands this year.”

Wasn’t that interesting? He knew the Alliance was working on some new ways to attract the younger generation vampires, but since that hadn’t been his area of expertise when he was inside, he had no idea what they were up to. Online gaming? They must be using it to promote their agenda by romanticizing the violent past of their kind.

He fought to keep his expression blank as he recalled being a youthling in a Paris gaming house centuries ago, where less than candid recruiting methods were used on him with devastating results.


I’m celebrating by giving away a book!

To be entered to win a copy of Embraced By Blood so you can see for yourself what goes on at one of these parties, tell me in comments (on this blog), a tradition you celebrate around the holidays. Baking cookies, making lefsa, etc. Hopefully, it doesn’t involve draining the blood of an innocent sweetblood. Go!

I’ll pick a winner Christmas Eve. Good luck!