Thursday, March 01, 2012

Research Tidbits by Laurie London

Thanks, Lee, for inviting me to Tote Bags ‘n Blogs. Today, the digital version of TEMPTED BY BLOOD, the third book in the Sweetblood series, comes out. The print version came out a little over a week ago, so it should be sitting on store shelves by now. To celebrate, I’m pouring myself a little bubbly. Please join me!
The Sweetblood series follows a group of vampire warriors in the Seattle area who are sworn to protect humans from Darkbloods—rogues who live like their ancestors did, feeding from and killing humans. Sweetbloods are humans whose blood is very rare and extremely addictive to vampires. Darkbloods sell Sweet on the vampire black market.

I want to tell you about some fun research I did for this book.

If you read EMBRACED BY BLOOD and/or the novella ‘Enchanted By Blood’ in the anthology A VAMPIRE FOR CHRISTMAS, you’ll remember Xtark Software and the game Hollow Grave. 
Darkbloods use the game to communicate with younger vampires, telling them about upcoming blood raves where they can buy Sweet.

Because Arianna and Jackson team up to thwart the game-maker, I had to figure out how to get Guardians into their offices. I considered having them sneak in, but that didn’t really excite me. I’m more excited to write about people who aren’t whom they seem to be, so I wanted it to happen right under the Darkbloods’ noses.

Then I remembered two friends who work for a local software company that makes a very popular first person shooter game.

One of them had invited my son to be a beta tester for an upcoming version release, so I knew companies opened their doors to lay-people during this part of the process. (I used to be a tester for a company, but we did all our testing in-house.)

Perfect, I thought. Xtark will be releasing a new version of Hollow Grave and they’ll be doing beta testing. Arianna, who is a graphic designer for the company, will get them into the offices this way. But then what?
My high school buddy is a game animator, so I called him up and told him my dilemma.

One thing you have to understand about me is that I am a reformed video game junkie. (My son’s friends were in awe of me when I played SSX Tricky.) It’s in my nature to become totally addicted to gaming, so I purposely don’t play much anymore—although I have Skyrim and am waiting till I don’t have a deadline in order to immerse myself.

Eric told me about Downloadable Content ( If you own the game, you can download updates from the company’s website. Sometimes it’s free, sometimes you pay. It can be new tricks, powers, characters, bug fixes, etc. Basically, anything that updates the game between versions. As he explained how it worked, chills ran down my spine. It was exactly what I was looking for. 
Whereas most companies have new DLC every few months or so, it was his idea to have Xtark release DLC more often (weekly or twice a month), which would be unusual and a red-flag to Guardians. Players who knew where to look for clues could find out what Darkbloods where trying to tell them each week—party locations, where they’re selling Sweet, etc.  

All this techy stuff encompasses maybe a paragraph or two in the whole book, but it was important for me to make sure it was as accurate and plausible as possible.

The main focus of TEMPTED BY BLOOD is the love story between vampire Jackson Foss and human Arianna Wells. But as a reformed gamer, I had a great time researching these little details.

Are you a gamer? If so, what’s your favorite? Angry Birds, Skyrim, Minecraft? How about Words with Friends?

Did you know that the fastest growing segment of gamers is women over the age of 18? Eric told me that and then asked if I wanted to be a beta tester. Oh yeah, baby! Bring it on!

I’m giving away a signed copy of TEMPTED BY BLOOD to one random commenter in the US or Canada. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday, March 4.

You can find me online at:

***Laurie's winner is Sue Sattler!  Congratulations, Sue!! Please email with your mailing address so Laurie can get the prize in the mail to you.  Thanks!!***


DL Thomas said...

I'm not a gamer, but my son is or was. I guess he isn't playing them as much now. He says it just isn't as fun anymore.

I haven't been able to start your series yet, but I hope to soon.


Laurie said...

I'm looking forward to reading your books. I'm not a gamer, but my kids are. Thanks for the giveway. lfacchini(at)tampabay(dot)rr(do)com

Danielle Gorman said...

I'm sort of a gamer. I do love me some Words with Friends and Angry Birds, right now I don't have the time to devote to any major games. Though I am eagerly awaiting the release of Diablo 3 from Blizzard which I will play like crazy. Diablo 2 is my favorite game along with Kingdom Hearts. My bf and his brother are really big into games. Right now they can't stop playing Star Wars Online.

Thanks for the great giveaway. I <3 Jackson!


Leni said...

I've never been able to get into the whole gaming thing. It's cool to see how people band together and talk about their skills and form relationships, though.

Barbara said...

I'm sooo not a gamer...truth is I SUCK! But my kids, especially my boys...ok, they're adults, but anyway they play and are good...or so, they tell me. And what do I I said, I SUCK! My husband even plays Angry Birds on his phone for pity sakes! He says he's good too. Whatever. He also uses my FB to play Poker...and who knows what else. 'Cause he's a 'guy' and doesn't want a FB pg. *rolling my eyes* I like to play UNO...does that count...I think I still kinda suck at that too though. That's why the grandkids like to play with me. :)

barbbattaglia @

NoraA said...

I'm a big Vampire fan, and enjoy reading about them in the many universes they inhabit. Each author just seems to create a new world for them and I love it.


Anonymous said...

I am not a gamer but my son loves Angry Birds and Stupid Zombies. I love this series and would love to win this book. Thanks for having this giveaway!!

kandj7299 at verizon dot net

Lanae T. said...

Not a gamer, unless you count late night MahJong or Bewjeweled. lol But mainly when I need to destress.

Congrats on todays release!

ftatman5 at yahoo dot com

Jadette Paige said...

I'm a gamer and so are my sons. I love RPG like Final Fantasy but my youngest son loves ones like Skyrim, Oblivion, etc. We've been playing for years. I'm also a long way past 18. :D

Momtrx said...

My husband and I are both gamers. Him more so than me, I tend to gravitate towards reading more (plus I am very good at gaming and he gets pissy when I'm kicking his but at leveling or what not) I played WOW for awhile. Now he is addicted to Skyrim and I currently play bejeweled on the iPhone whenever I'm stuck somewhere waiting for something (and not reading an ebook)

Patricia said...

I am not a gamer but of course my kids are. I spend a lot of time watching/ignoring video games. The book sound so good I can't wait ti read it. Thanks for the chance to win.

patti1075 at gmail dot com

CandyG said...

My husband and kids are gamers, my 14 year old daughter especially loves Call of Duty. I play games once in awhile but wouldn't consider myself a gamer.

Mandi Casey said...

I'm a huge gamer along with my husband. We've been playing all the Call of Duty games. Can't wait for the new Borderlands to be released :)

Happy writing,
caseymandi @yahoo. Com

Sefphie said...

I'm not a gamer at all but my husband is lately. I am the reader in the family and have read all your books. They are very enjoyable and once I start reading I have to finish.

Sue Sattler said...

I'm just getting into Words with Friends, but I'm always up for a little competitive Wii game, but I would rather read. I bought my two grandson's (5 & 4) the V-tech hand held learning game system so I am starting them young!

Nicole S said...

Can't wait to read this, loved the previous books in the series. I'm addicted to playing Farmville.

Debby said...

I love to do research. I imagine it can be hard though.
Debby236 at gmail dot com

Leagh said...

Very excited to start this series! It looks really good. The only gaming I do is on the Wii with the kids

ARoomOfMyOwn said...

I'm in my 50s and just got an Xbox. Love playing the Legos stuff: Pirates, Harry Potter, etc

tracy said...

Not a gamer either, but it is great to read new stuff. I'm always surprised when I answer a question on Jeopardy right. Oh the knowledge I gain from Books. Laurie, keep writing.

Tina B said...

Nice post. It always fascinates me as to how authors do research for their books. I really don't consider myself a gamer. My son and husband are. I do play games, but more along the lines of solitaire on my phone or pc. Does that count? Lol. I did become added to Diner Dash for some time and decided that I needed to step away or I was going to get carpal tunnel. I like to try role playing games or first person shooter games, but I am not very good at them and get stuck fairly early in the game. It's a good thing I have someone to help me figure out how to get to the next level. ;)

Sarah said...

I was a pretty aid gamer until I had my son, now I just read a lot, and this is one of the series I picked up :)

angel said...

My husband, brothers and nephew are all gamers. I just sit with them and read while listening to them play. They get very intereating at times, especially when they are in different parts of the house yelling at each other.
I usually have a book in my hands while they play. Inless im asked to help with a part of the game.

Melissa said...

I am so not a gamer!! Even when I was little and all of the old game systems were all the rage, I was not a gamer. All I really needed was a good book and I was happy! I was the easy girl to buy presents for!! I love to read still today. I love to read vampire/paranormal romance and this book series will be added to my TBR list!!
Thanks for the giveaway!


Shrouded Heart said...

I love games like resident evil and silent hill, ive always loved horror games :)
Thank you for the insight into your research and for the awesome giveaway!!


ErinJ said...

I love your series. Its really great that you take the time to research a plausible storyline! I am definetly not a gamer, not coordinated enough to play, but my son is turning into one, so I just watch him.
Thank you for the giveaway

Michelle Bledsoe said...

I am not a gamer as in playing on game systems. I do play games on, like word games and puzzles. I don't have the patients for nintendo or PSP..LOl
Looking forward to reading Jackson's book.
Thanks for the contest.

koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

Janet Juengling-Snell said...

The only game I play is Words with friends. But I LOVE this so excited about the new book and hope there are many more to come!

Laurie London said...

Thanks for all your great comments. I also love word games/puzzles, so the video games where you have to solve something (anyone remember Myst?) are really fun.
I'm hearing that some of you are having trouble commenting. :-( I'm sorry! It seems to be working okay for me. I'm using my Google/gmail log-in and Firefox.

Sakura said...

I’m definitely a gamer. Some of my favorites are Halo, Final Fantasy, God of War and Medal of Honor.

I love the Sweetblood series. So far my favorite book is Bound by Blood, I just love Dom. I just picked up a copy of Tempted by Blood. I can’t wait to read Jackson’s story.

Na said...

I am a "board" gamer. I love board games and Scrabble and Monopoly are favorites. They test my mind in a fun way.


Pat Cochran said...

Not much of a gamer myself, but Honey, all
four of the children and all ten of the
grandkids are into games of all kinds. I
have tried some word games, those are more
my speed!

Pat C.

Lanae T. said...

OMG! I loved Myst! We had that for the PC, as well as Monty Python's Meaning of Life. That one was hilarious!

Maureen said...

Congratulations on the new book! My son is the big video game player in our house although I can see how anyone can get addicted to a game, especially if you're good at it.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com