Guest Blog & Giveaway: Nancy Holzner “Bloodstone” tells how Shakespeare’s Juliet was a vampire

September 26, 2011 Giveaways, Guests 53

We’re welcoming back Nancy Holzner, author of the Deadtown urban fantasy series, today.  Nancy is celebrating the release of BLOODSTONE, the 3rd Deadtown book which hits shelves tomorrow from Ace Books.  Deadtown is home to shapeshifters, zombies—aka Previously Deceased Humans, and vampires, including the famed Juliet who paints a much different version of her star-crossed love story than The Bard.  What the scoop?  Keep reading.  And don’t forget to check out the giveaway for a signed copy of BLOOSTONE and a bloodstone bracelet. See details below.

My series follows the adventures of Victory Vaughn, a shapeshifter who kills other people’s personal demons for a living. Vicky lives in Deadtown, Boston’s paranormal-only section, where she shares an apartment with a vampire named Juliet Capulet. That name is no coincidence; Vicky’s roommate is the Juliet (as in “Romeo and”), and for 400 years she’s been carrying a grudge against William Shakespeare. Why? Because he got her story all wrong. In this guest post, Juliet sets the record straight.


Romeo and Juliet: The Real Story

by Juliet Capulet

Bloodstone (Deadtown, #3)In all my centuries, most of the norms I’ve met have been familiar with my story. Or rather, I should say they thought they were familiar with my story. Nearly everyone who’s heard my name has heard it thanks to one man: Mr. William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare. What a hack.

How would you feel if someone trampled all over your life story, his dirty fingerprints obscuring who you really were? (All right, so I’m mixing my metaphors. Not that the Almighty Shakespeare was above that or anything.)

I’m here today to set the record straight. Forget what you read in school. This is my real story.

First of all, when I met Romeo, I was not what people today would call “jailbait.” I was a few weeks shy of my twenty-second birthday. Will Shakespeare made me not quite fourteen! Why would he do that? I’m not one to cast aspersions, but if Will were still around, I’d be advising parents to lock up their young daughters, if you know what I mean.

Second, the play’s action begins when Romeo attends my father’s ball in disguise, hoping to catch a glimpse of my cousin-or-something, Rosaline. Um, Rosa-who? There was no such person. Romeo was in love with me—always and only me, thank you very much.

So here’s what really happened. There was indeed a feud between my family and Romeo’s, and the whole thing was extremely socially awkward. Do you know how many wealthy families there are in a city the size of fourteenth-century Verona? A mere handful. Half my friends were suddenly in the wrong family. I’d be walking down the street and turn a corner, and there would be so-and-so Montague or some more distant member of that family, a fourth cousin twice removed or whatever. A week or two before, we would have exchanged pleasantries, but once the feud began I was obliged to turn up my nose and snub the person. An insult would have been even better.

Hellforged (Deadtown, #2)It made no sense to me. Why should I limit my friends based on a disagreement between our fathers?

Romeo and I had flirted before. We didn’t speak in sonnets; that’s a hack playwright’s trick. But there was an attraction. He was a few years older than I, with broad shoulders and strong arms and a smile that could melt butter. He wasn’t a smooth talker, but what playwright wants a leading man who stutters a little between his long silences? Not that it mattered to me. I may have been out of my teens, but I was young enough to be infatuated by bulging biceps and a well-formed ass. (Have you seen the tights men wore in my youth? Yum.) When Romeo proposed, what else would I say but yes?

Friar Lawrence secretly married us, as in the play. Except he wasn’t actually a friar, so I don’t think we were ever legally married.  Whatever. More on the good friar in a minute.

Everything in the play about Mercutio and Tybalt—that’s all made up. When he was writing tragedy, Shakespeare was never happy unless he killed off half a dozen people in the course of the play Duels, deaths, banishments—bah. Romeo had to leave town on business for his father. But of course it’s not a play without escalating conflict. The audience wants blood, and Will delivers.

In truth, Paris didn’t even want to marry me. He was going for blackmail. Somehow, he found out about my marriage to Romeo, and he was threatening to tell my father unless I paid him off. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to ask the advice of the one person I thought I could trust: Friar Lawrence.

As I told you, the man was no friar. He wasn’t even a man. He was a vampire—and he turned me.

Friar Lawrence said he had a way to solve my problem. That my father would believe I was dead and, when I came back to life, Papa would forgive my secret marriage and end the feud. Paris would go away empty-handed, and all my problems would disappear.

Deadtown (Deadtown, #1)Well, what would you do? It seemed like a way out. And, truth be told, Friar Lawrence was hot. Scorchingly so. He asked if I would accept his kiss of eternal life. Heart pounding, I agreed. With both hands, he raised his cowl and let it drop back over his shoulders. His dark eyes burned into mine. He clasped me in his arms and pulled me to him. His lips nuzzled along my cheek, my jaw. He went lower, nudging my head to the side. I tilted my head back, exposing my neck. He drew in a breath—a long, slow, shuddering breath—and then pain and ecstasy flashed white-hot through me, body and soul. I fainted.

It’s funny how I still think of it that way, after so many years. After I know better. I didn’t faint. I died. And I awoke from death in my family’s tomb.

To find Romeo there, weeping.

What can I say? The newly turned wake up famished, wracked with a ravening hunger that cannot be ignored. I craved life, and Romeo pulsed with it. I did not know what I was. I only knew what I needed. I won’t tell you what happened next. I will say that the story ended with a smile on poor Romeo’s face.

Shakespeare gave me these lines: “I should kill thee with much cherishing. / Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow.” I never said them. And even if I had, they came in the wrong place. And yet there’s truth to them. My final parting from Romeo—my husband, my first love—was sweet. Sweet and hot as the blood that flowed from his veins into my mouth, my throat. And sorrowful, too, although it was a long time ago.

So the Bard got one thing right, after all.


Check out all the stops on the BLOODSTONE tour:




Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts. She majored in English in college and then continued her studies long enough to earn a masters degree and a PhD. She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera.

Visit Nancy Holzner online:

Giveaway provided by Nancy Holzner via Bewitching Book Tours

A unique piece of bloodstone jewelry & a signed copy of BLOODSTONE by Nancy Holzner

All_Things_Urban_Fantasybloodstone_braceletBloodstone (Deadtown, #3)

Available on September 27th 2011 by Ace


Boston’s diverse South End is known for its architecture and great restaurants, not its body count. So when mutilated human corpses begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. The killer—dubbed the South End Reaper—uses a curved blade for his grisly work. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining the already-tense relations between Boston’s human and inhuman residents.

As the bodies pile up, Vicky, her formidable aunt Mab, and her werewolf boyfriend Kane investigate, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after something much more than blood…

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of Holzner’s other Deadtown novels will enjoy this solid yarn.”



Enter via the widget below.  Only the comment entry is required.  The other entry options just increase your odds of winning 🙂

Interested in guest blogging on All Things Urban Fantasy?  CONTACT ME

53 Responses to “Guest Blog & Giveaway: Nancy Holzner “Bloodstone” tells how Shakespeare’s Juliet was a vampire”

  1. Glinda Izabel

    I really liked your post, very intriguing. I'd like to win this book because I do not know if it will ever be released here in Italy, and a signed copy is always a precious treasure! I'll keep my fingers crossed!
    Good luck to everyone!

  2. SandyG265

    I enjoyed the first two books and am looking foward to reading Bloodstone.

  3. buddyt

    Haven't really thought about the question you pose.

    Only thing I can think of would relate to fairy story characters such as Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy in the Oz stories.

    Seems to me they might have had hidden supernatural powers.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  4. erin

    I love this series!!!! I'd have to say, I think that the whole Beowolf/Grendel story left out some details. Maybe Grendel was really a Vampire/demon and Beowolf was a slayer of some sort? 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway! I already have this book on preorder from Amazon, but a free copy would never be turned down 🙂

  5. Stella (Ex Libris)

    Wow, what an amazing guest post, thank you Nancy, I truly enjoyed reading the story told by Juliet herself.

    "I may have been out of my teens, but I was young enough to be infatuated by bulging biceps and a well-formed ass." LOL

    And glad that she was 22, it always creeped me out that Juliet was made out to be a child.

    Thank you for the great giveaway and the laugh! 😀

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. Dovile

    I think Sherlock Holmes might have been a vampire or a werewolf. He kept weird hours, lived secluded and was too good at noticing small details and traces to be a mere mortal.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  7. nancyholzner

    Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I always thought that Juliet's story would be a great basis for a vampire tale–the deathlike sleep and waking up in the tomb. Then I wondered what that would mean for poor Romeo, and my version of Juliet was born! 🙂

    Thanks so much for giving my series a try. And good luck in the contest!

    It's funny that the book widget is suggesting one of my nonfiction tech books. I can tell you now that Google Docs 4 Everyone doesn't have a very compelling plot. 🙂

  8. nancyholzner

    I love the suggestions so far about characters with hidden supernatural backstories. Carol's suggestions about Oz/Alice in Wonderland are full of possibilities–imagine if some of those characters followed Dorothy back from Oz or Alice out of the rabbit hole.

    @erin Imagine if Grendel somehow reawoke and came back today. Scary! (In fact, Threshold by Caitlin R. Kiernan plays with something like that.)

    @Dovile I love your thinking on Sherlock Holmes. That would make an amazing steampunk novel!

  9. Jasmyn

    This sounds like a really great series.

    That's a tough question. After watching the most recent Sherlock Holmes movie, I think he has to have some sort of werewolf blood in him.


  10. faefever25

    Interesting. I love the covers and your post has intrigued me. I'd love to win a copy, so thanks for the giveaway

    faefever25 at hotmail dot com

  11. Na

    I would like to think Nancy Drew was secretly supernatural. She certainly had more than nine lives and lived through many years being ever youthful 🙂

  12. SandyLu562

    I love Juliet Capulet's voice! And her taste in jewelry is intriguing 😉

    Count me in as a contender for the pretties!

    … O, and I don't see a "widget" to use for entering the contest …

  13. Scorpio1974

    Hmm I dunno, I guess pretty much any of the Brothers Grimm stories could have some supernatural backgrounds if you really think about it. Maybe the wolf in Little Red Riding hood was really a werewolf. Anything is possible, especially in the world of books! 😉
    Thanks for this awesome giveaway too!!! LOVE the bracelet, hope to read the book!

    Valerie Long
    [email protected]

  14. nancyholzner

    I love the idea of Heathcliff as a werewolf. There was a retelling last year (I think it was called "Wuthering Bites") that cast him as a vampire, but I agree with Rebe that werewolf fits his personality much better.

    @Na What a cool idea! I loved the Nancy Drew books as a kid and would love to see her as a secret superhero or paranormal being.

    The fairy tale suggestions make me think of what Jim Hines does with his awesome Princess series, action-packed retellings that feature ass-kicking fairytale heroines. Fun books!

  15. Pabkins

    "Why should I limit my friends based on a disagreement between our fathers?" Heck isn't that the truth!

    By the way that jewelry looks smoking! – love it – awesome offering to the book loving minions that we are!

    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  16. Barb P

    What a fantastic giveaway! I've read the first book in the series and loved it. Count me in!

  17. Lexi

    What a great take on Romeo and Juliet! No young pushed around Juliet here, you made her into quite the character. It shows talent when an author can take a very well known story and make it sound new and fresh enough to make you want to read more.

    (and I agree your cover art for your series is great)

  18. Anonymous

    How funny, when I first read the question, I immediately thought "Well, Sherlock Holmes, of course!" Apparently I am not the only one who thinks that! 🙂

    Great contest…..keeping my fingers crossed for the signed book!
    [email protected]

  19. YzhaBella's BookShelf

    Ha ha! Very cool! I've always imagined the suave and debonair Sean Connery as a vampire! There's just "something" about him! I've always had a bit of a crush and to find out he was a supe! Too cool!

    mleger0546 (at) rogers (dot) com

  20. Rain Maiden

    I love that you have taken something classy and made it your own. Bring on a Sherlock Holmes Steampunk novel…I would be all over that.

  21. nancyholzner

    Thanks for the comments on the cover art. I've been very lucky with the artist, Don Sipley. He really gets Vicky and the feel of the series. I love the colors on the Bloodstone cover!

    I think we're agreed that there NEEDS to be a Sherlock-Holmes-as-paranormal steampunk novel. Now, who wants to write it? 😉

    James Bond/Sean Connery as a vampire totally works for me, too. I mean, how is it possible that that man keeps getting sexier with age?

    I'm also thinking of some interesting possibilities of Cleopatra and the effect the asp bite has on her. What was the rest of her story? Hmm…

    Fun discussion!

  22. Chelsea B.

    I can't wait to read this series! Hmmmm…. Definitely Goofy. That dog (?) was hiding something, fo sho 😉


  23. Julie S

    It all makes perfect sense now. Of course Juliet is a vampire! What about Julius Caesar. I'm pretty sure he is a vampire too.

  24. Sue T.

    I've been wanting to try these books and this one sounds great! Regarding the question about another literary character being supernatural, how about Scarlett from "Gone with the Wind"? I never understood Rhett's attraction to her but if she was a vampire, then his attraction to her would make more sense to me since he would have been unable to resist her vampiric allure. 🙂

  25. Anonymous

    This sounds really interesting, Juliet's voice tickles me! I'm going to check out this series now! Hmm literary characters that could be supernatural…how about the Brothers Grimm. Surely they couldn't find all those Fairy Tales, and survive the telling, if they weren't supes themselves! And I love the suggestion above of Scarlett as a vampire.

    islandgirl33774 at

  26. Teawench

    I've never really thought about who else might be supernatural. Love the suggestion of James Bond as a vamp, though. I could see Jay Gatsby as a vamp, too. He managed to suck everyone under his power except Daisy's husband who must be a vampire hunter.
    teawench at gmail dot com

  27. acm05

    I guess I'm not original, the first character that popped into my mind was Sherlock Holmes who was already mentioned.

  28. alipeli

    when i saw this book first time i really wanted it but now i don't have much money for book what i want so thank you very much

  29. BlackWolf

    I would love to read this series. It sounds really great. I've never really thought about who else might be supernatural so what about White Fang

  30. Anonymous

    I've read and loved the previous Deadtown books, and I'm really excited about reading Bloodstone. Perhaps even with a bracelet on my arm…

    Although he's not exactly a literary figure, I can totally believe that Keith Richards is a zombie!

    Mickie T
    mdturett at juno dot com

  31. Niko

    Shapechangers, werewolves, Shakespeare . . . I don't know how I could have missed this series so far.