The title of today’s post was originally “Things You Didn’t Know about Sanguinary,” but when I started thinking about what to include, I realized that almost all of the things I planned to include were about the setting of this urban fantasy. So today’s post is now all about the way the Dallas setting influences the novel.
I grew up in a small town in Texas; the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex was the closest urban area and where we went to do “city” things. I didn’t know until I was an adult that the term “metroplex” (meaning two almost-equal cities forming one contiguous urban area) originated with Dallas/Fort Worth.
In Sanguinary, Cami Davis is a Dallas city police officer, but having to work with officers from Fort Worth or any of the smaller cities around the area always remains a possibility.
Most of the action of the novel, however, takes place in the Dallas Arts District.
The Winspear Opera House
My husband and I have season tickets to the Dallas Opera, so it’s perhaps no surprise that I would use this wonderful building as a setting. Its curving exterior walls are a deep red, and the tinted windows that make up the exterior walls turn that color to a blood red. When I started writing Sanguinary, the image of a murder outside the building and the matching reds of the blood and the walls stuck in my mind. So the novel opens with Cami examining the latest in a string of murders—this one on the flagstones leading into the Winspear.
The Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe
This beautiful church serves the largest cathedral congregation in the United States, with more than 25,000 registered families in the congregation. It stands in the center of the Dallas Arts District, and is one of the most distinctive buildings in the area. And I couldn’t imagine a novel about vampires that didn’t include at least one cathedral.
The Adolphus Hotel
The beautiful beaux art Adolphus has been a Dallas landmark since it was built in 1921, and has hosted Queen Elizabeth II, the Vanderbilts, Oscar de la Renta, Donald Trump, U2 and Babe Ruth, among others. When I was deciding where the Sanguinary would hold their annual masquerade ball, I couldn’t imagine a better setting than the Adolphus’s glorious ballroom.
The Blood House
This is the only part of the setting that is wholly fictional, though of course all of the other buildings are used fictionally. The Blood House is a local vampire hangout, and this is how Cami describes it the first time she sees it:
An enormous crystal chandelier hung down from the ceiling, casting a sharp, glittering light across the scene below. The balcony overlooked the central area, a marble-tiled room with white floors and burgundy velvet drapes covering the walls and windows. A black marble staircase curved up to the balcony on each side of the room.
At the very back of the room, a bartender manned a bar made of dark wood. As I watched, several people (or maybe vampires) slipped through the door that stood directly behind the bar, always sure to close the heavy wood behind them.
Dark niches lined the walls under the balcony, many with velvet drapes drawn across them. The ones that were open held couches, some of them with figures draped across them—sleeping or dead, I wasn’t sure. People—humans? vampires? both?—stood in small groups on the balcony and on the ground floor. Soft, baroque chamber music swayed through the room from a hidden sound system, notes from the flutes dancing across the deeper sound of stringed instruments.
And it smelled like blood. The coppery tang of it shivered on the back of my tongue.
I imagine it looking quite a bit like this image of the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center in New York City.
Taken altogether, these buildings create a backdrop to Sanguinary‘s story of blood, lust, and power in Dallas. Check out the excerpt below for more about this first book in the Night Shift series!
Sanguinary, by Margo Bond Collins
A Night Shift Novel
Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.
When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city’s vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.
But she didn’t know then what she knows now: there’s a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.
So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.
But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?
“Hey, Bradley.” I beckoned the crime-scene tech, who had finally arrived and was snapping on gloves. “Is that a piece of paper under the vic’s head?”
He bent down over my shoulder to get a clearer view from my line of sight. “Looks like it’s tangled in her hair,” he said. He pulled a pair of long tweezers out of his kit and snagged the sliver. “Yep. Looks like it has a word written on it . . .” We both peered at the brownish, spidery writing.
“Sanguinary,” I said. “Is that written in blood?”
“Maybe. I’ll get the lab to run a basic analysis on it. If it’s blood, we’ll be able to let you know pretty quick if it’s human and if so, what type. DNA will take longer.”
“Sounds good.” I stared at the woman a little longer. Her dark hair—almost the same color as mine—spilled out around her, matted with dark, coagulating blood. The two bloody marks on her neck shone like black stars on a white background.
I knew that if I lifted her dress, there would be other puncture wounds all over the body, and strange symbols carved across her skin—pentagrams within circles and other ritualistic signs. Exactly like the others. Ten murders in the four weeks since the beginning of September—all centered in downtown Dallas, and many with affluent victims whose families demanded action.
The department had been in a barely suppressed uproar.
I stood up, my knees popping a little. Five years ago, they wouldn’t have done that.
And five years before that? Vampires hadn’t existed, except in books and B-movies.
It took time for the world to believe. We hadn’t even realized how to fight back when they’d first shown up.
This victim’s ragged, bloody fingernails suggested that she had tried to resist, but obviously failed.
The red dress she wore would have originally matched the color of the relatively scant splashes of blood surrounding her, but those stains had dried to a muddy brown, the same color as the writing on the paper caught in her hair.
Her clothing suggested that she’d been at the opera that evening, though the manager, roused from her bed, swore that the building had been cleared and empty when she left.
One black, high-heel shoe lay several feet away, toppled over onto its side, the heel broken, as if she had stumbled out of it when it failed her as she ran from a pursuer.
I’d heard the word before from vampires I had taken down—whispered as a threat, shouted as a warning: the Sanguinary is coming, the Sanguinary will kill you all.
The Sanguinary is here.
It was why I was about to go undercover among the vampires.
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins is the author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.
Connect with Margo
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins
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