THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON Vaela Denarr and Micah Iannandrea’s The Gift of Blood
Micah’s Twitter | Vaela’s Twitter | Goodreads | Ko-Fi
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“Shit, people keep killing me off. It’s like some bad TV show.”
a note from the authors:
“We wanted a story about a buff, beautiful lesbian who gets to be fucking badass and show that just because you’re physically strong doesn’t mean you’re better than everyone. You gotta put in the work. So we wrote a story about a six-foot lesbian kickboxer who reacts to vampires telling her that she’s supposed to work for them with a smirk and a ‘Fucking make me, buddy.’ … Also we just really like writing buff sapphics. Gotta represent ourselves and share them with the world.”
Our names are Micah (They/Them) and Vaela (She/They), one nonbinary cutie and their queer sapphic girlfriend, who both happen to be different flavours of demi as well. We’ve been together for about 2 years (got our debut out on our second anniversary!), and even before then we had very similar interests, namely being buff, queer, and also creating stories about buff, queer characters. Most of our writing focuses on sapphic characters (write what you love), but frequently contains elements of polyamory, either with main or side characters, as well as an all-queer cast with a great variety of gender identities and orientations. All our queer siblings are beautiful and need to be seen.
I (Vaela) am the one who does most of the writing, while Micah is the one who keeps track of details, creates amazing characters, helps me really just be amazingly creative, and also helps in playing out scenes to get a good feel for the dialogue.
My specialty is fight scenes. I have some experience with martial arts, and since Ryann, the MC of THE GIFT OF BLOOD is a kickboxer, I tried very hard to show her expertise and skill and make it flow on the page.
Most if not all of our writing also has love as an important element. It’s not always romantic, but more often than not it’s familial love or the love between friends who have found each other and learned to trust each other. It’s always very emotional, because it’s something that’s very personally important to us. (V: In THE GIFT OF BLOOD, one of the things we hadn’t planned at all was the queerplatonic friendships, but they turned out to be some of my favourite scenes!)
We started writing in earnest in September 2021 with a simple story premise: A kickboxing lesbian vampire hunts monsters to keep her town safe. It was meant as just a small, short story about a vampire hunting monsters, making them into soup, and absorbing their powers. But the more time went on, and the deeper we got into the character, the more things changed. More attention was drawn to how Ryann, deals with becoming a vampire, and the circumstances of her life. Eventually it turned into a story about finding your family and protecting them. In the most simplest terms, it is a story about love. Familial love, romantic love, queerplatonic love, love for your friends… all these things play a vital role in Ryann’s story and aid in her own growth and healing from the scars of her past.
The book ended up being a lot bigger than planned. There was no way to shorten it without either taking out characters or completely removing whole story arcs that led to their characterization, so we just let it be big. We’ve learned a lot over the course of writing and publishing it, and I personally have met some authors whose writing inspires me to work on my own. So I am very excited for the next books we are working on. So… if you like kickboxing vampires, ace sapphic polyamorous werewolves cuddling, cute trans girls getting all the poly sapphic dragon wives, and bisexual werewolves over fifty, stick around!
To read more about the authors, check out these interviews!
The Queer Indie Beat Podcast Interview
Author Interview (includes character art!)
Interview with Adam Gaffen
Vaela is a sapphic queer woman who pretends to be all big and buff, and blushes when Micah calls them cute. She very much tries not to be, but it’s just so difficult when Micah is so adorable and lovable at all times. They’re Vaela’s rock, her light, her love… her very life.
Micah is a cute nonbinary nerd who always makes fun of Vaela for blushing, but never admits they’re cute themselves. They enjoy playing DnD, making characters to inspire their girlfriend to make books about, and stealing Vaela’s NPCs and side characters to make them into the love interests of their characters. This has happened three times now. Nobody’s complaining.
The two live in a long distance relationship and just want to sell enough sweet queer books to cross the oceans and hug. Their writing focuses on a variety of gender identities and sexual orientations. It usually does contain some sort of sapphic relationship, and often polyamory in all its beauty.
A lesbian vampire on a revenge quest, distracted by a slow burn romance.
One person’s gift is another’s curse. And sometimes the dark hides very real monsters. This is certainly the case for Ryann Ly, professional kickboxer, MMA athlete, and freshly Turned vampire. When the people who abducted, faked her death, and cursed her to burn in the sun attempt to enlist her into their ranks, Ryann decides she has absolutely no time for any of their nonsense. Even if she has to kill them to get some peace and quiet.
It’s only fair. They killed her first.
She just wants to get her life in order and navigate this strange new reality she finds herself trapped in. But vampire turf wars, monsters in the dark, and people hunting Ryann for mysterious reasons make that very difficult. Luckily, she’s not alone. Helping her along is a soft werewolf dad, a polyamorous couple of badasses, a vampire with PTSD and a dry sense of humour, a childhood friend, and Rachel, a human girl that Ryann thinks is very cute.
Will Ryann defeat the darkness that haunts her, and the things within? Will she be able to avenge the injustice done to her, or will she become another monster, destined to be slain? Will she find out why people keep declaring her dead?
And will she ever figure out why her found family keeps calling her and Rachel girlfriends?
Only time will tell.
Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.