Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Thank you to everyone who commented. The winner of an autographed advance reader copy of Firelight is: Catie S (Book Bound)! Congratulations, Catie! Please email me your address at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll see you all here again on July 30th with a new post and more goodies to give.
I was fortunate enough to attend the BEA conference (Book Expo of America) this past May, where my upcoming book, Firelight, was featured on a YA editor buzz panel. In that panel, Scholastic editor Arthur Levine, (I tried not to blather incoherently in the presence of the man responsible for bringing Harry Potter to the US) asked my HarperTeen editor, the brilliant Farrin Jacobs, “So, when a dragon has sex does steam come out of her nose?”
Sitting in my seat, I laughed, blushed and then I thought. And I thought. I reflected back over the pages I’d written. His question wasn’t that “out there”, if you know what I mean. Jacinda, the protagonist in Firelight, does tend to “overheat” when she’s … ahem, engaging in intimacy. How’s that for vague?
No, she’s not Drew Barrymore in Firestarter (gah, did I just age myself?). To give you a better understanding of Jacinda, let me back up and tell you a bit about her. Jacinda is actually a draki – which is what dragons have evolved into over the millennia. Why, you may ask, have dragons evolved? For the same reason any creature evolves – to survive and avoid extinction.
The draki are neither dragon nor human, but something in between. The draki spend most of their time walking about as humans, to protect themselves from mankind, of course, but at their core they are winged, scaled creatures possessing varied talents. Meaning each draki has his/her own specific talent.
Whereas the dragons of my lore (yes, I’m making this stuff up) possess myriad mystical “gifts”, i.e., fire-breathing, the ability to sprout scales and breathe underwater, the gift of immense strength and speed, the ability to mesmerize, the ability to make oneself invisible … the list goes on. Each individual draki, if lucky, has only one talent. Naturally, some talents are deemed better than others. And that takes us to Jacinda.
Jacinda possesses a coveted talent. She’s the last fire-breather in her pride. So, yeah, she’s the bomb – even if she doesn’t want to be, even if she would rather be a “normal” draki. Instead, she’s this commodity, revered, protected, suffocated … her future mate hand-picked already. But I digress … let’s get back to the dragon love.
As a fire-breather, Jacinda demonstrates attraction and desire a little more … expressively. Okay, when I say she gets all hot and bothered, I mean she really gets all HOT and bothered. Yep. Since her lungs can produce fire, burning up inside with a smoldering sky-high fever doesn’t hurt her. But it can make kissing a little risky for the guy. Whenever I hear Firelight described as a steamy read from those who have already read it I can’t help but smile. Because it is a steamy read. In so many ways.
So, Arthur Levine posed a very good question when he asked: “So, when a dragon has sex does steam come out of her nose?” Hmm… I think I’ll quote my editor’s response to that. “Arthur, you’ll have to read the book.”
And I hope many of you pick up a copy when it releases on September 7th and find out for yourself. For now, one commenter will win an autographed ARC of Firelight. To get the ball rolling, why don’t we continue the discussion on dragon love, shall we?
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sara Creasy can't be with us today - so in her honor I am doing a sci-fi blog.
I have been a sci-fi geek for as long as I can remember. Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel were all favourite viewing when I was a kid.
I remember going to Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope when it was originally screened in our small town and being totally blown away. I sat in my seat – popcorn and jaffas forgotten while this whole new world of space travel opened up before me. From the very first scrolling yellow writing to the final scene – I was glued to my seat. And how I counted down the sleeps a few years later when the Empire Strikes Back came to town. OMG. This was awesomeness at its greatest.
I was totally addicted to the original Battlestar Galactica – what can I say but Apollo and Starbuck – swoon. And who can forget Buck Rogers or the original series of V. Lizards walking around in human clothing and when Diana swallowed a guinea pig whole – that was amazing.
Now I never was never really a Star Trek girl - Captain James T Kirk seemed like an egotistical . . . who went down to a planet each week to fight the nasty beastie even though he was supposed to be running the ship – plus being a child of Star Wars, the effects seemed lame. And then came along Captain Picard– the thinking geek’s action hero – and the Next Generation. That was a Trek I could enjoy – even if sometimes Captain Picard did go down to the planet and fight the nasty beastie when he was supposed to be running the ship. I could forgive him. He was Captain Picard.
Since then I have enjoyed so much more sci-fi TV shows and movies: shows like the X-files; Babylon 5; the Re-imaging of Battlestar Galactica; and of course the new V to name just a few. I loves me some good sci-fi especially a good laser gun fight. Though I think my all time favourite is and always will be Firefly.
BTW - I will not mention the Phantom Menace, Return of the Sith and whatever the other one was called. Nope. I will not mention them. Lips sealed. Humming starts now.
So come on geek girls and guys – stand up and be proud.
Okay - we have a copy of Sara's book SONG OF SCARABAEUS up for grabs - to be in the draw post a comment and tell us if you love sci-fi and are you a Captain Kirk or a Captain Picard kind of geek.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Thanks to all who responded for your insightful comments!
Hi, I'm Dakota Banks. If I were to die and come back as something, it would be as a Dove extra dark chocolate bar in the hands of the man to the left. I I'd promise not to melt on his hands, only in his mouth. Sweet!
Now that you've learned everything there is to know about my personality, I might as well move on to my topic. Eyes over here, please. I'd like to talk about the origins of some of our favorite types of characters.
Shapeshifting is the basis of most paranormal fiction today because it is also the basis of many myths, ancient and current, widely spread around the world. Vampires and werewolves are the best-known shapeshifters and dominate paranormal fiction.
Vampire legends go much further back in time than Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. Stories of blood-drinking spirits have been around for thousands of years. In Persia, 2,500 years ago, blood drinking was shown on pottery. In ancient China, people believed a vampire was created when a dog or cat jumped over a corpse. Makes you wonder why so many civilizations throughout the world and through history seized on a version of the same legend. In Europe of the 1800s, vampires inspired a mass hysteria where corpses were dug up and "re-killed" with stakes, and suspected vampires were put to death and buried upside-down. Where's the shapeshifting in all of this? Vampires weren't associated with shapeshifting until Bram Stoker introduced the idea, based on real vampire bats. Count Dracula could also change into a wolf.
Werewolves also have a long history of stories behind them. Ancient Greek gods turned a king with an appetite for human flesh into a werewolf. There is a famous story from the 1600s involving a she-wolf. A French king saw a hunter in his woods and asked him to report on the success of the hunt. The hunter encountered a vicious wolf who was too strong for him to kill, but he managed to cut off the wolf's forepaw. He wrapped it up and took it to the king. When the king heard the story, he unwrapped the bundle and found a woman's hand with a gold ring on her finger. Horrified, he recognized the ring as belonging to his wife. Searching her out, he found her injured, with her hand missing. She admitted being the she-wolf and was burned to death.
Beyond vampires and werewolves, there are many other shapeshifters in myth and folklore around the world. Werefelid (werecat) stories of Africa, Asia, and South America far outnumber werewolves. They are humans who can change into lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, or domesticated cats. Werefoxes and weresnakes are popular in Asia. We tend to think of weresnakes as evil (such as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter or Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian), but in India they are the good guys!
People tend to develop their myths and folklore using animals that are local to where they live. That gives us werehorses from Europe, weredolphins from Brazil's Amazon River basin, wereseals from island communities, werehyenas from Africa, and weremers (okay, mermaids) from countries that sailed the oceans.
Most of the time, the human can change into a single animal that reflects his or her personality. The human form of the werewolf is powerful and dangerous. The human form of the werefox is tricky or mischievous, and so on. There are a couple of well-known exceptions. Skinwalkers, from Native American traditions, are shamans who can transform into several animal forms. Ireland has the pooka, an all-purpose creature who ranges from annoying to seriously bad. The pooka can change into a black goat, an eagle, a horse, and a man. To the right is an image of a pooka, something I'd prefer not to come across in spite of the cute name. Activities went from tripping people into mud puddles to sitting on them, putting pressure on the chest until they died (perhaps an early explanation of heart attacks?).
For my writing, I wanted to see what I could do outside the vamp and werewolf norm. I found the myths of ancient Sumeria fascinating, so I built a story around the idea that some of their gods, goddesses, and demons are still around today. Only a few humans know about them, and are aligned for or against. I was lured in by shapeshifting, though, so there are demons who transform into various horrid forms. I have a lot of fun writing the Mortal Path series! The second book is Sacrifice, to be released August 31.
+1 Posting in the comments section
+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
+1 Linking to this post on Facebook
+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground blog on your own blog/website
Just post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment. Winner to be announced in this post in two days. Contest ends Tuesday, June 29th at midnight. Contest is now closed.
Visit my website at www.dakota-banks.com.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Think I'm joking? Don't worry, I am... mostly. While there is no (credible) evidence of fanged cavemen stalking the Neanderthals of ages past, there is, instead, a like fascination with the things that go bump in the night. We have loved to hate vampires who creep through bedroom windows, cheered when the werewolves have been put down by silver bullets (carefully crafted from one's father's melted down watch, natch), covered our eyes when the blood-bathing witch was burned at the stake and the souls of her cursed victims set free.
If you're here, then you share that love with me.
And perhaps you can answer a question that has always interested me: How, in all that is (un)holy, did vampires go from this unfortunate child of the night to this blessed hunk of blood-love? Where in our society did we decide that being stalked by furry-faced flesh-eaters was not nearly so fun as being seduced by them?
I have a theory, gentle (and not so gentle) readers. My theory is this: We as a species, a culture and a shared memory are routinely fascinated by the forbidden. From as majestic as the ancient tales of locked gateways to heaven to the mundane as being told we shouldn't touch the stove, we are drawn to that which we cannot have.
A creature of the night who is as likely to kill me as kiss me is about as forbidden fruit as I can get. Add in the most-certainly intimate trappings of blood, penetration of fang (hey, now!), and the invariable mechanics of dark nights and lonesome surroundings, and you have a recipe for one smoldering romance.
Aside from that whole "may possibly get killed by my fanged lover" bit... A tiny, insignificant detail, of course.
Does it stop with the traditional critters? Absolutely not! In this very blog, we have mermaids and dragons, vampires and gods; a veritable cornucopia of creatures, A to Z. (Do we have a Z, actually? What on earth—or beyond—starts with Z? Anyone? Anyone? ... Bueller?) And while modern fairy tales have been Disneyfied quite a bit, we all know that the old tales weren't nearly so light and happy (and only rarely featured a song and dance number).
Mermaids have been known to eat and drown thirsty men; sirens lured sailors to their deaths on craggy rocks. Gods have rarely been so kind as to help from the goodness of their hearts—most have been portrayed as selfish, flawed beings with phenomenal cosmic powers (and very large living spaces, to boot!). Vampires, as we mentioned, drink human blood, werewolves feast on human flesh; witches ate children and bathed in the blood of innocents.
And as if the natural state of their being wasn't enough, we humans have always hunted and destroyed (or captured!) what we don't understand. We have to quantify everything, and to do so we, we must pick it apart... Can you imagine a vampire in a laboratory?
So tell me your story. What draws you to these once-upon-a-time killing machines? Why do you read paranormal, and what makes you want them?
Hi, my name is Karina Cooper, and I'm addicted to paranormal romance.
In my debut novel, Blood of the Wicked, Silas Smith is not a man who is lured by the forbidden. In his line of work, the forbidden is executed, and he's one of the best witch hunters the Mission can claim—thorough, deadly, and most of all, dedicated. His task? Simple enough: use Jessie Leigh to hunt down the witch that is her baby brother, no matter how many lies it takes to force her hand. Unfortunately for him, Jessie's a witch, too, and she's not going to roll over without one hell of a fight. There's just one problem...
Like most of us, Jessie's got a thing for the forbidden. And the man who'll kill her if he learns the truth is about as forbidden as a witch can get.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Many thanks to everyone for the wonderful title suggestions and comments! I have good news for you all-- I made my deadline and Connor's book is finished!!!
My name is Kerrelyn Sparks, and I'm on the verge of full-fledged panic!
It's that lovely time when authors go cross-eyed and rip all their hair out. It's called deadline hell, or "just shoot me now because my book is due in a week!"
Okay, so I'm exaggerating. My hair is only half ripped out. Part of it happened when I discovered the book I'm still writing is already on sale at Amazon. Couldn't they wait till it was finished? And couldn't they wait until it had a title? It's currently listed as Untitled # 10. Great. That will really impress people with how creative I am. They will flock to buy that book. I'm expecting a call from Hollywood any minute. OUCH! There goes more hair!
So why are titles so darned hard? I can write a book with a hundred thousand words, but a title of five words still eludes me? Oh, for the good old days when titles seemed easy! The titles for my first two books, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire and Vamps and the City, popped into my head so easily. That was back when I had a full head of hair.
The problems began with the third book. I titled it Vampires in Kilts, and then To Kill a Mocking Vampire. Neither one would do. Eventually, we ended up with Be Still My Vampire Heart. And that was the last title that I managed to come up with. The Undead Next Door was my editor's brilliant idea. She knew what she was doing because it was the first book in the series to hit the New York Times list.
The fifth book was about Ian MacPhie, that sexy young Scottish vampire. I was going to name it Hot Vamp in the Summertime, when my editor called during a cover meeting and said the sales department had come up with the perfect title and would I please use it? It was All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire. And that is how it goes now. Everybody wants to help with the title. The last book, The Vampire and the Virgin, was named by the head of the art department. The upcoming book, Eat Prey Love, is another amazing idea from my editor.
So do you want a piece of the action, too? What would you like to name Untitled # 10? It's Connor's book. Another hot and sexy Scottish vampire. Leave an idea or a comment or a coupon for Rogaine and you'll have a chance to win three books from the Love at Stake series: Secret Life of a Vampire, Forbidden Nights with a Vampire, and The Vampire and the Virgin. The contest is open to everyone, and the winner is selected totally at random. (sorta like my titles) Thanks in advance for stopping by, and good luck!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I’m in Colorado right now for a wedding, and had the chance to get together with some friends and just talk the other night. Since most of us were writers, we started talking writing (obviously) and then started telling stories about the creepiest things that have ever happened to us, or stories that we’ve heard.
I think everyone at some point has a brush with something inexplicable. At least once in their life, and sometimes more. And as we were sharing these stories, about strange figures seen in the middle of the night, fingers waving you into a creepy basement, or scary children with solid black eyes, one of the stories really stuck with me.
A friend of mine was up late, his parents were out of town, and he was all alone in his house. Around two in the morning he shut off all his lights, and passed by the front door to head up the stairs. And there, on the other side of the window next to the front door, was a man.
At two in the morning. Less than five feet from him. We all agreed that even with the ghost stories, a stranger outside the window was the scariest by far.
Like I said before, people are the scariest things out there. I think one of the things that makes urban fantasy novels so interesting is that, at the end of the day, it’s not about the scary vampires, or the blood-thirsty monsters: it’s about the people. On some level we’re conditioned to understand when the monster does something evil. But when it’s an ordinary person? Or worse yet, someone you used to consider a friend? That’s when we really get invested, and where the real fear starts.
In my YA novel, A Touch Mortal, one of the overarching plots of the book involves the war between Heaven and Hell, and some of the kids that are trapped in the middle. But it isn’t the angels in the book that strike a chord with me: it’s the teenagers. Lovable but damaged teenagers who make their choices listening only to the flood of emotions tangled up inside them. Some choose well. And others not so much.
But I think that’s what makes people so interesting. They have the potential to be super creepy, like popping up on a stranger’s doorstep at two in the morning and just STARING inside. Or like a best friend who decides he’d rather be evil than your friend anymore. Or like dating the bad boy who turns out to be REALLY bad. We expect monsters to try and hurt us, and we expect the supernaturals to be more than just a pretty face. We sympathize with their struggles. But at the end of the day, we all have to decide if we want to embrace our inner scariness.
What do you guys think? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In my YA novel, THE BODY FINDER, my main character Violet is in love with her best friend Jay…a very Nice Guy. But is he too nice? Of course not (says the author!), but I do see of a lot of debate over the Bad Boy vs. Nice Guy topic, especially in reviews. With Bad Boys, the concern is that we’re teaching girls that it’s okay to let someone treat them badly, to walk all over them. With Nice Guys, the problem is they don’t always make our hearts race or our pulse pound.
So which is better, the Bad Boy with his tough guy charm and bad-ass attitude? Or the Nice Guy who opens doors and brings his girl flowers?
As a writer, I have an opinion, a fairly strong one. We need them both. At least on paper. Because here’s the deal: how boring would it be if all the guys we read about were cut from the same cloth? How predictable would books be if all the men were just a cookie cutter mold of the last? Blech!
(Really, do they come any nicer than Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything?)
And let me just clarify, in real life I love my nice guy husband who carries in my groceries and makes sure my car has gas before I leave. I also like that he doesn’t let me walk all over him. Because, let's face it, there’s a HUGE difference between the Nice Guy and the Simpering Wimp.
But when I’m reading, I want to be surprised; I want the Bad Boys gone good, the Nice Guys turned bad, and everything in between. I don’t always want to know which is which.
And here’s my answer to the argument that we’re teaching girls to let a man control her by reading about the Bad Boys: It’s fiction, people. Fiction! Make-believe is fun, as long as you make sure they understand the distinction.
So you tell me, which do you prefer? The sweet, endearing Nice Guy or the down-and-dirty Bad Boy?
To get you guys chatting, I’m giving away a signed copy of THE BODY FINDER, along with a swag pack, including a TBF totebag, bracelets, stickers, and signed bookmarks.
To enter, please leave a comment about your favorite Nice Guy or Bad Boy character.
Here are ALL the ways you can earn points:
+1 Posting in the comments section (even if you can't come up with NG v. BB)
+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
+1 Linking to this post on Facebook
+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground blog on your own blog/website
Be sure to total the number of points you’ve earned in your comment (I don't want to do the math!). The winner will be announced in this post tomorrow.
Contest ends tonight at midnight!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Thanks to Randomizer.org, we have a winner and fittingly, that winner goes by the name of Buffy aka Elizabeth Mize. Elizabeth, congratulations. Email your details to nicole @ nicolermurphy.com (without the spaces) and I'll get the books into the mail to you ASAP!
G'day! I'm Nicole, another of the Aussies on the list. I'm a real ring-in, in that the folks here have kindly let me in to play, even though my books are currently only available in Australia and New Zealand. Actually, not even there at the moment - ten days and counting! But I have plans to get my books over to the rest of the world. Oh yes, I have plans...
There are A LOT of things to love about paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The mystery. The supernatural. The super-hot guys.
However, I think the most important thing about PR/UF is the female characters. You see, for those of us of a certain vintage (kids of the 70s and older), it was a rare thing for us to find books that featured female characters in lead roles. If we did, they were still either playing second-fiddle to a man, or they were so wimpy and horrible or alternatively just a pseudo-man.
Finding books which honoured and celebrated women and allowed them the opportunities of male characters was hard. At least, in the fantasy and science fiction field I grew up reading it was.
When I discovered romance (via my grandmother’s EXTENSIVE Mills and Boon collection – honestly, the woman had hundreds of them), it was a great relief to find an entire genre within which women were not only as important at the men, but often times more so.
Still, I yearned to read something which could combine my need to read stories that featured and celebrated women and my love for magic, machines and things that go bump. So when PR/UF exploded, my sore and sorry little heart began to beat in a mad frenzy.
The great thing about our genre is the way that they acknowledge all the strengths a woman can have. Sure, there are the fantastically kick-arse characters that make me wish I could whip my legs up high and spike some underworld creature in the throat with my stiletto.
But also there’s women who have softer, gentler, might I say feminine strength and those are celebrated as well. The woman whose strength is her loyalty to those she loves. The woman whose strength is her ability to make anyone feel welcome. The woman whose strength is to be able to do two-million things at once J
It might seem nothing to younger readers, to come across a book which is written solely from the first-person perspective of a woman, but for us older folks it still feels revolutionary. And wonderful.
So here’s to the women of PR/UF – may we continue to kick-arse for years to come.
Everyone, this is your chance to get hold of a copy of my debut novel, Secret Ones (book one of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy). Comment below on who your favourite female character is and why, and I'll choose one person at random to to win a signed copy of Secret Ones, as well as a copy of Scary Kisses, a paranormal romance anthology from Australia that contains my story The Anstruther Woman. Entries will close in 48 hours (this time difference thing makes it HARD!) Winner will be posted at the top of this post.
You can read an extract of Secret Ones here: http://www.voyageronline.com.au/books/extracts/secret_ones_extract.pdf
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Hi, my name is Tracey O’Hara and I’m a Darkoholic.
Seriously though, I am also another of the new kids on the block who lives in Australia. I write the Dark Brethren series, which Love Vampires termed as “Urban Fantasy Romance” (I thought that was rather cool).
The other day Merrie Destefano talked about Bad Boys vs Bad Guys and a little while ago Juliana Stone talked about Why we love Paranormals so I thought I would tackle my favorite topic, the dark side of paranormals.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of humor too, but I really like my paranormals dark. I loved it when Angel became Angelis, he seemed to have more “life” than the whoa-is-me-I’m-just-a-poor-vampire. And the Spike before he was ruined by his lust for the Buffsta. I am definitely and Eric over Bill and am neither Team Edward or Team Jacob—if I was anything I would be Team James. I like my vampires with fangs who aren’t afraid to bite.
It’s not only that, I like my villains with a real dark side. It is my reason for creating the Necrodreniacs in my novels, the insane, vicious vampiric beings addicted to death-highs. But they are addicts, and it is part of their nature to kill.
However, there is nothing more dark and scary than a perfectly sane person or being who does evil things for personal gain or pleasure. A serial killer who kills for the pure enjoyment of the act or the evil crime lord who discards the value of life for profit. Sometimes these villains just seem more... interesting. Though I still cheer when the a hero or heroine who defeats them—the bloodier the better.
One of my favorite anti-heroes from last year was Peter - THE CHILD THIEF by Brom. It’s a dark, twisted and modern re-telling of the Peter Pan story by J.M. Barrie.
I am giving away a signed copy of my first Dark Brethren novel, NIGHT’S COLD KISS along with a tote bag, cap and t-shirt.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
It's a down day for us today - so we are giving a couple of books.
First off we have BITTEN BY CUPID by Lyndsey Sands, Pamela Palmer and Jamie Rush
Second we have Sara Creasy's SONG OF SCARABAEUS
How do you enter? It's easy, and there's tons of ways to earn extra chances at winning:
1) Earn one point for commenting in this post, either here or on our Facebook page.
2) Earn one extra point for Re-Tweeting/Facebooking (or any other status updating) of the contest.
3) Earn one extra point for Friending on Facebook, Following us on Twitter or Following this blog (the links to do all three are over in the sidebar).
4) Earn two extra points for stealing this graphic, and putting it on your blog/website/Facebook page, with a link to our blog or Facebook page at http://www.supernaturalunderground.blogspot.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/supernatural.underground.
Friday, June 18, 2010
CONTEST IS CLOSED!
The WINNER is Crystal, who posted at 3:00 p.m. (just in case there were more than one). CONGRATULATIONS! Crystal, there are two ways you can get me your contact info. One: Friend me on Twitter, I'll friend you back, then you can DM me your address and e-mail. Or you could post your e-mail address in the comments section like this: name [at] address. I'll delete that comment after I get your info.
Thanks so much to everyone who read this post and commented. I loved reading all of your answers! I wish I could have given an ARC to all of you. Just an FYI, I ran everything through a randomizer program to find the winner.
Like most writers/artists, I had an extremely active imagination when I was growing up. Still do. I don’t see monsters behind every rock—I see monsters behind every monster. And of course, they’re all after me. When I’m writing, this works in my favor. In real life, not so much. For instance, the other kids always laughed when they watched Bugs Bunny. I mean, Bugs is the ultimate bad boy, a rebel bunny at heart, always looking for ways to bend or break the rules so he comes out on top. He’s great. Love that rabbit. But the Tasmanian Devil? Oh, baby, that guy gave me the creeps and kept me awake at night.
Because I thought he was real. I was convinced that he would come tearing through my backyard at any minute and demolish my house. And I wasn’t sure, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, he might be able to destroy people too. So, in my mind, all he had to do was make one hungry dash across my horizon and everything and everyone I loved would be gone.
Now that’s what I call a well-drawn character.
That’s also what makes great fiction—bad boys and bad guys that walk, talk, and act like they’re real. Surprisingly, when a bad boy breaks the rules, you want to cheer or give him a hug. But when a bad guy breaks the rules, you want to kick him in the groin, then push him off a cliff.
Bad boys buck against the system and show exactly why the system needs to change. Somewhere, early in the story, they either charm us or make us cry.
Bad guys buck against the system and suddenly we’re darned glad that the system exists; we’re hoping and praying that pretty soon that monster is either behind bars or sizzling on somebody’s backyard barbecue. Early in the story, the bad guy either makes us angry or makes our skin crawl, and we’re suddenly like the villagers in Frankenstein—carrying pitchforks and torches and looking for retribution.
Here are some of my favorite examples from movies:
Bad Boy: Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Bad Guy: Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs
Bad Boy: Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind
Bad Guy: Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) in No Country For Old Men
Bad Boy: Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in Blade Runner
Bad Guy: Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard
I’d love to hear who your favorite fictional bad boy or bad guy is and why! To get this bad boy party started, I’m giving away a signed, advance reader copy—hot off the press—of my debut novel, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles.
To enter to win, please make a comment about your favorite bad boy or bad guy character. You can earn points by:
+1 Posting in the comments section
+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
+1 Linking to this post on Facebook
+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground blog on your own blog/website
Just post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment. Winner to be announced in this post tomorrow. Contest ends tonight at midnight!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Nymfaux and Anne!
Please send your snailmail address to jmullany AT comcast DOT net.
... or, how I evolved into a paranormal writer.
Actually, it was quite simple. My editor asked me to become one.
I'm Janet Mullany and far too often in my life, my words, pronounced loud, frequently, and in public, come back to haunt me. Things like Who needs paranormal elements in Regencies? There's so much more interesting stuff in the period no one writes about and it's all true.
Another example was, Of course I'll never write about a nineteen year old virgin prancing around in drawing rooms. The result of that one was The Rules of Gentility, written for the same editor, who gave me this terrific opportunity to subject Jane Austen to blood, biting, and other unwholesome activities in Jane and the Damned, which will be released in October, 2010.
I had changed my mind about paranormal/fantasy elements during the Regency when I read, and was blown away by, Naomi Novik's amazing Temeraire series (I think she may have been one of the writers who prompted my original comment). But I never thought I'd write one or incorporate Austen into a book (You'll never catch me writing an Austen knock-off--oh, shut up already).
But when I thought about it I had dabbled in fantasy when I first started writing, because it was such fun to make stuff up. It still is. And I didn't know what I was writing or going to write then, so I was trying all sorts of things, and I wrote this scene, The Companions Are Chosen for the wonderful Toasted Cheese Literary Journal in 2001. I should point out that it is meant to be a parody, which is why there's so much alliteration and Smeg has (at least) three hands, but I didn't intend the Mighty Phlegm's name to change to Dork halfway through. These things happen.
So I'd never written vampires before and I had to forget all the vamps I'd ever read about: the ones with exhtra letters in their names, the excessively bloody ones, and Terry Pratchett's funny ones that are all about the girls in underwired nighties. I had to have vamps who would fit in in Georgian England (the book is set in 1797) because I wanted them to be "out" and visible in society. I broke some of the vampire rules--the Damned can go out in daylight, for instance, although they like to stay up late partying so they don't generally get up too early. (My critique partners said they sounded like teenagers.) They are oh so sophisticated and the ton adores them and the gossip papers report on their activities. And having a vamp suck your blood--or dine on you, as they'd say--is very, very pleasurable.
So what's not to love about being a vampire? They're damned, immortal but not indestructible, in a culture that takes heaven and hell very seriously. They have too much knowledge: they've seen too much, they've seen love fade, and they've learned not to regret anything.
On the other hand, they do manage to have a very good time. And so does Jane.
How do you feel about incorporating real characters like Jane Austen into fiction? Or which about books about her characters, sequels and prequels, have you read and would recommend?
I have two ARCs of Jane and the Damned to give away today! I'll pick winners by midnight (EST) Friday and post names of the winners at the top of this post on Saturday morning.
There's also a Damned Good Contest taking place on my website and some excerpts, so please go on over and take a look.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Winner is: Jackie Uhrmacher! Please contact me via my website contact page so I can send you your prize!
...At least, it did in my new paranormal romance series, The Envy Chronicles.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Nicki's had her work cut out for her in the past four books, doing good she doesn't necessarily want to do, putting lost souls to rest, falling in love with great guy who's all she ever dreamed of, while busily resisting temptation, which usually comes in the form of Sammy, a smokin' hot guy in tight jeans and a leather jacket.
In fact, Sammy's so hard to resist that he's got his own series coming up next year, which begins with DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE in May 2011. (I wish I could show you the cover, but I'm not allowed to yet.) You can, however, read a bit more about the Devil's Bargain series by visiting HERE, the "In The Works" section of my website. While you're there, poke around a little, and learn more about the world of Nicki Styx, including a virtual visit to her vintage clothing store, Handbags and Gladrags.
But what about you? Do YOU believe in ghosts? Had any spooky encounters you'd like to share? I'll give away a signed copy of Book 1 in the Nicki Styx series, DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY, plus a special Limited Edition beaded bookmark and a tin of coffin mints to one lucky commenter. Good luck!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
We've all heard the question, "What kind of guy (or girl) do you think is hot? Do you like blonds? Dark hair? Redheads? What about eyes -- blue, brown, green?"
I usually respond to these kinds of queries with a blank look, as if I don't understand the question. And maybe I don't. What does hair or eye color have to do with sexiness? For me, absolutely nothing. True appeal is so much more complicated.
This becomes really clear to me with actors. Everyone has their favorites, the ones they consider hot, hot, hot. And, okay, there are definitely actors that I find highly attractive. Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, almost always. But, honestly, it's rarely the actor I fall in love with (or fall in lust with), but a specific character.
Russell Crowe is a great example. As Robin in the new Robin Hood movie and Maximus in Gladiator, the man sizzles. As Ed Hoffman in Body of Lies...uh, no.
Johnny Depp is another prime example. (He's also another incredible character actor.) I first fell in love with him as the gypsy Roux in the movie Chocolat. But Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands? 'Nuff said.
I saw a Disney Movie a few years back called Model Behavior. It was a prince and the pauper story about a celebrity model who switched places with her average-high-schooler look-alike. The two girls couldn't have been more different -- one supremely self-assured, the other awkward and uncomfortable in her own skin. One was beautiful, the other just very average. But both were played by the same actress, Maggie Lawson. Same hair, same eyes, same body. When the model and high schooler switched places (and clothes and hairstyles), the now-pretend high schooler suddenly started turning heads, and gaining the respect of her peers. The thing is, it wasn't her clothes or hair style, it wasn't even her looks (which were the beautiful Maggie Lawson's all along) that changed her. The transformation came from her attitude, from her self-confidence. Whereas the real high schooler was completely intimidated by the bullies, the model playing the high schooler wasn't. Not at all. It was that attitude and self-confidence that changed an ugly duckling into a swan. Not eye color. Not hair color.
What makes a guy sexy? It's attitude. (The good kind of attitude, not the kind that makes you want to slap him upside the head.) How he moves (with an easy confidence that doesn't draw attention to itself), how he acts (with honor and integrity and thoughtfulness), what he says (and how he says it), and what he does. Personally, I find a sense of humor in the face of adversity an extremely attractive trait. As I do the strength and confidence to step into the middle of any difficult situation and take charge. Innate leadership ability is always a plus. But I also appreciate a man who knows who he is and doesn't feel the need to prove anything to others.
Brown eyes? No hair? Who cares? Bruce Willis, anyone? Give me intensity, humor, depth, and wisdom. Give me an honest, warm smile and eyes filled with intelligence and kindness. Wrap them up with a pair of shoulders broad enough to carry his responsibilities, a killer smile, and yeah, some nicely sculpted abs, and you've got the perfect male. A gorgeous guy without those other qualities, while nice to look at, leaves me cold. It's what shines through from the inside that separates the true heroes from the pretty pictures. And that, for me, is true sex appeal.
So, what about you? What actors and/or characters inspire your own admiration or fantasies?
I'm giving away a signed copy of the first book in my Feral Warriors shape-shifter series, DESIRE UNTAMED, to one lucky commenter. I'll post the name of the winner at the bottom of the comments here on Friday, June 18th, so put it on your calendar to check back! Anyone who posts between now and then might be chosen.