BOOK BIRTHDAY! Red Viper: My Thoughts

“Red Viper”, AKA “Sam what the hell are you doing?”

Happy Birthday Red Viper, and Happy Birthday to the first book I ever self published that has remained on the market. Boy is my relationship with this book complicated, given I continue to promote the other version, The Dancing Crow, over this one. I’ll talk about the things I would have done differently with this book later, however. For now, I’m happy to celebrate how much people enjoy my work, and be thankful that I really could make my readers happy.

This book sets the stage for the apocalypse, or ‘vampire war’ that changes the world forever. In short terms, vampires emerge from the shadows, butchering most humans in their path and taking everything over. Life as we know it changes forever, and the magic we erased from history comes back to haunt us. Sam Viper, a half-dragon (something we find out mid-book but given it’s on the cover… not really a spoiler) has something to say about her city, at least, and she damn well won’t let it fall to a tyrant obsessed over her blood. She teams up with a vampire prince, Goliath Elapid, a Tasmanian Devil shapeshifter, Darcia Deville, and a vampire gang leader, Ares, to save her city and establish harmony.

This book is not all about Sam, though she is on the cover. Darcia Deville’s story and important arc starts here as well. She is the second perspective we see, starting about mid-book, and has a ton to contribute. She is plagued by Robert Smoke, a human-turned-vampire who forced a blood bond on her. Needing to deal with that and tolerate that idiot proves to be quite a lot, but she gets through it with teeth bared and claws splayed.

The lore for my series is on this website for free in my compendium, but what I take the most pride in is my version of vampires. They are a sister species of humans, predatory, so living with the capability to reproduce. They utilize specialized venoms and salvia’s to hunt and feed. Some have incredible powers based on their bloodlines. I go into intense detail on my lore page for them.

All in all, I love my cast, and this book sets a lot of solid things in stone. The sequel improves upon this book immensely, and I hope Red Viper is intriguing enough to get people to read Huntsmaster City.

Next, I would love to show what readers are saying about the book!

Now for some art. There’s detail on each of these characters in the Kingdoms of Blood character corner of my website! I buy a ton of art for my characters, though, so here’s a treat:

These feature different styles, because I commission a ton (again, this can be seen on their character pages!). Sam Viper is by Harcloniter, Darcia Deville by Gynesisx, Robert Smoke by eldrtchmn, and Goliath by LesseJakassru. I didn’t feature Ares or Cecelia, as both of them will be in the post regarding The Dancing Crow. These four are primarily featured in Red Viper, with Smoke & Darcia’s story being really prominent in Huntsmaster City. Fun fact! I commissioned a comic page of Darcia & Smoke going through with the blood bond. You can see that here. Also, as you can see, these are violent characters. All here have claws on them, and most art of them features some form of blood.

Theme Songs per Character

Sam Viper:

Darcia Deville:

Robert Smoke:

Goliath Elapid:

Oh right… let’s not forget Ash Elapid!

Art by Gynesisx

And his themesong would be:

What I would do differently:

One of the biggest critiques of Red Viper is how it jumps between first person perspectives. I think, if I had another go, I would write it all in third. Also, I’d have less capture scenes, as people have definitely said it got repetitive. Something I very much agree with. Finally, I would dwell on the dead a bit more, as there really wasn’t enough care to that part of the story. Mourning should have been a bit more drawn out, which would have helped really drive the emotion into the story.

I would have made it more clear that the ‘dangerous!’ voice in Sam’s head was her own inner one, and no one else. I don’t think I did a good job of that. Finally, Sam’s character would be defined more. She seems like a jerk much of the time to Goliath, sometimes unwarranted, which is why I had an odd relationship with her as a character. There would have been a bit less angst in Sam, and a bit more shown backstory to explain why she is so pissed all the time (besides ‘oh well she’s a dragon’.)

I really like how I developed Robert Smoke & Darcia’s relationship. That doesn’t really come into play, however, until Huntsmaster City. Which, in my personal opinion, is where my characters REALLY shine. I hope I’m able to get people to hate Robert Smoke then like him when he switches sides (yeah, that’s a spoiler, but it’s one I talk about so much that many people know by now.)

Lorewise, one change I would make would be to make various species of vampires rather than my one defined ‘type’. Though… no one said there aren’t variants, nor that the species of vampires I introduced that you know and love are the only ones. I never said that, just like how I never said ‘all dragons were killed off’ (they’re not, in fact we’ll be going to a city of dragons at some point!). So… perhaps I can still explore this in the future. 😉

Fun Fact: I went through so many covers before finally finding the perfect one. Let’s go on a journey, shall we?

This book started on Wattpad! Here is its first cover!
Second Wattpad cover!
This is the first cover when the book was actually published! The art is on Sam’s page still.
Here’s the second-to-last cover. It’s my least favorite, to be honest. It…doesn’t look like Sam at all, I came to realize that it just wasn’t a good fit.
At last, some gorgeous art by Duranch made the final cover. This was expensive but worth it as FUCK. THIS is what Sam looks like. If she’s looking at you like this… run. RUN! Darcia is featured in a similar manner on the sequel!

Final Fun Facts:

Ares was just a side character, he wasn’t meant to get a full book to himself. I ended up enjoying him as a character so much, however, that I wrote a book from his perspective, which is the alternate to this one! Given he only comes into scene toward the end of Red Viper, he has an entirely different story to tell.

-The first version of this book was quite different. It started on Wattpad and actually did alright. No awards or anything, unfortunately, but it got some good comments.

-Lore for my vampire dentition was changed when I first got art from Harcloniter, in which they depicted him with a full set of knife-like teeth. I loved the concept so much that I implemented it into my lore.

Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this exploration for Red Viper. And happy book birthday to it! It didn’t get as much attention its first year as some books, but that’s okay. People who check it out generally tend to enjoy it even with some of its flaws.

Published by Des M. Astor

Heya, I'm an author. Typically I write Urban Fantasy, and I only usually read in that genre as well. My author's website is both a writing blog and a showcase for my work. Check it out if you'd like.

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