Everyone Loves a Bad Boy…

Everyone Loves a Bad Boy…

Yeah, yeah. Heroes are great and all.

But today, we’re talking about villains.

They say that villains often see themselves as the heroes of the stories, which is part of what makes them so fascinating.

Today, my fellow paranormal romance authors and I are discussing our absolute favorite villains and what makes us love to hate them (or just plain love them!).

Question: Who is your favorite supernatural villain of all time and why?

Without a doubt, Klaus Mikaelson is my favorite supernatural villain. He had a compelling backstory and he was fiercely protective over the people he cared about. 

I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t finished watching The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but I’ll just say that he had an AMAZING character arc and I was crying like a baby during the entire last season of The Originals. Submitted by L. Danvers, Author of Blood Heirs

The only thing supernatural about her was that she was cursed to live forever, but I loved Delphine LaLaurie in American Horror Story Coven. She was a wretched, awful person who deserved everything she got in that show, but the writing was so good that I found myself feeling sorry for her at times.

As soon as I reminded myself who she was, I could wipe away any sympathy I felt for her, but she was a great villain.Submitted by Carrie Pulkinen, Author of Sweet Release 

Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was so witty and sexy without being over-the-top evil and ended up teaming with her by the end of the season. He had feelings and motivations that made sense to me, and of course became a series regular so we got to see a lot more of him, but his villain run in season 2 with Drusilla was just a blast to watch. Those two had some insane chemistry!Submitted by Anya J Cosgrove, Author of Lost Boy

Death from Supernatural is definitely my favorite. He’s just an entity trying to do the job handed to him, and he gets a bad rap as the head reaper, when he’s really just the guardian of the natural order. He just wants to find a decent deep dish pizza and to ferry the dead where they belong, but the Winchesters are incessantly messing him up. He’s singularly unimpressed with the antics of the world around him and sees it all as inconsequential in the Grand scheme of things. I’ll spare the spoilers for those who have never seen the show, but while he might not be truly a villain, he’s a dark neutral that I adored more with every word that left his mouth.Submitted by Harper L. Jameson, Author of The Spirit

My ultimate supernatural villain is Loki. He’s so bad he’s good and I never can quite figure out if he actually has a heart of gold buried somewhere deep or will he ultimately screw Thor over.Submitted by Selena Blake, Author of Ready & Willing

My favourite super villain of all time would have to be Thanos from the Marvel Cinemas world. He destroyed half of the universe’s population with essentially just one hand. Like all villains, they believe they are the heroes of their story. Thanos believed he was making the universe a better place to live that didn’t include people not having to starve anymore because now there would be plenty of resources to go around.

But from the Marvel Comics world, he destroys half the universe to impress Death, who he has fallen in love with. So he is also a romantic at heart. Making him quite the complex fellow. Even villains need love. Submitted by Jessica Gleave, Author of Helios and Zelena, Prequel in the Sky Realm series 

Yikes! This might be harder than picking a favorite book boyfriend–I do so love me the baddies. I debated picking Loki (because, um, hello), but in the end, I have to go with the great and glorious villain who sparked my lifelong love of the bad guys: Maleficent. Everything about her, from her fierce head-horns (shared with Loki, possibly a theme?) to her raven to her brilliant, badass smile just sucked child-me right in. Here was someone fascinating. More than Prince Charmings or fairy godmothers, I imagined Maleficent’s backstory and I wondered what would have happened if she’d stayed a dragon and found herself a fire-breathing friend. And I love how the later live-action movie dug into that backstory and let Maleficent be the anti-hero I always knew her to be. Submitted by Dee J Holmes, Author of An Inheritance of Curses 

The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer

It’s August, right in the dead heat of the summer and this is the season I live for. The dog days of summer are my idea of heaven and it doesn’t hurt that this is also my birthday month. I don’t relish getting older, but who is going to pass up a chance at celebrating themselves?

Though the month signals that the end of the season is on the horizon, it’s not quite ready to die quietly with the fall and I’m still riding the vacation vibes from my cruise, hopefully channeling the much needed respite into a brand new lease on my career.

Onto business. We are T-23 days until Readers & Writers Author Event in Tampa! This is my first time at this event and only my second event ever as an author and I can’t wait. Of course, this one is close to home. I might have been born Appalachian but I was raised in Orlando and this is a chance to (hopefully) see a few familiar faces.

I’m back to the writing grind, anxious to dive into Tank’s book. He’s my favorite character so far, and I love him more than I can tell you. I’ve been SO impatient trying to get to his book and I hope you’re just as impatient to read it.

That’s all for now, I think. Until we meet again.

Mexico, Magic & Motivation

Mexico, Magic & Motivation

I’m back from my Western Caribbean cruise and I feel refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired. It’s amazing how creatively stifling technology -and, in particular, social media- can be.  I thought I knew how weighed down I’d gotten, but apparently that was just the beginning…the tip of the oppressive iceberg. I’d hit the thing head on and was taking on water faster than I’d realized. (See all the ship analogies there? Ha!)

Technological isolation is a magical thing. Staring off the starboard side of a cruise ship and watching the sun go down on the coast of Cozumel was an epiphany I hadn’t expected. Without the internet, the sun still rises and sets. Without Facebook, I watched rainbow sky instead of a meme. There was a world of beauty and romantic inspiration outside and I didn’t have to log into a damned thing to see it.

Between learning marketing strategies, fighting algorithms and trying to build up my readership, I was drowning, and my love of writing was sinking along with me. The business side of writing had left me no time at all to do what mattered most- write.

Away from the internet, there was just me and a place to let the stories flow without worrying about whether or not I would ever hit a best seller ranking. Away from the internet, things were much clearer. There was no competition, no drama, no anonymous predators out to sabotage others for the power trip. There was no constant upheaval to overshadow the new releases or emerging authors. There was no need to be constantly publishing, causing me to be unable to write at all. Paranormal romance takes research, you see, Dear Reader, and world-building and an immersive creation process that simply can’t be rushed. And I don’t want to. I want to give you stories that I’m proud of. I also want to branch out, exploring my love of romantic suspense ad horror, and trying my hand at dystopian fiction and romantic comedy.

I went on a cruise for a break. I came back with a renewed purpose and a revived love of writing for its own sake. I came back with a plan. It’s time to do what I want, rather than what feels expected or necessary.

To that end, I’m pushing back both the release of The River and The Mountain until I can give you stories worthy of reading. The Tribe legend is far too important to churn out for the sake of keeping myself visible in an unending pool of publishing authors. I’m going to expand into romantic suspense, horror and I’m going to get serious about a couple of collaborations that have fallen by the wayside. I’m going to write books. Lots of them. Even if I never make the top of the New York Times… if I never get that little orange banner on Amazon…if I never sell more than a handful of copies, I will remember the sun setting over Mexico and I will keep writing books, Dear Reader, as long as you keep reading them.



Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days…

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days…

Summer break is at full swing at last, I only wish I could say the same about my current manuscript. I can’t blame the sun, the sand or the siren’s song of the ocean for distracting me from my work, but they are certainly enabling my current creative malaise. I’ve been doing my best to separate myself from the constant tumult of negative within the writing industry that takes over social media in a self-feeding frenzy, but alas, I have readers there who I adore and I won’t ignore for the sake of my own internet misanthropy.

In simpler terms, I need to back away from the computer and shake this funk, because I still love my stories, and I love you Dear Reader. So I shall soldier on and ask your forgiveness when I disappear from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for long stretches. It’s for the greater good, I assure you, before I go completely Tyler Durden on the internet.

God willing and the creek don’t rise (any more than it has) I will still be releasing The River on August 24th and I can promise you that my work won’t suffer because of my funk. I adore this character and his intended, and The River will delve deeper into some of the side characters in a way I think you’re all going to love.

Maybe that’s the key. I’ll take a break to fall in love with my own creativity again. And there’s no time to start like now.

Riding the Storm Out

Riding the Storm Out

The summer is nearly upon us, Dear Reader, and I, for one, can’t wait to bask in the warmth of a sun that seems to have been hiding for far too long.

It’s a rebirth, of sorts, and one sorely needed when darkness has fallen on the writing community, its decay settling into the word world more and more with each passing day. Each new dawn seems to bring a new issue to light, overshadowing emerging authors and new releases with a cavalcade of authors behaving badly and reactionary outrage. It’s marketing algorithms and legal precedents that push the boundaries of rationale in an avalanche of insane attempts at reaching the top. It’s he said/she said and a dog eat dog mentality that you should never be subject to, Dear Reader. They are apparently out to break our will. They almost broke mine.

I’ve spent this last month doing some soul-searching, and I believe I’ve come to a decision. I’m not giving up writing. I still have stories to tell and worlds to create, and I cherish each and every one of you who picked up one of my books and lost yourselves in the words you read. Words I wrote.

Maybe I’ll never be a bestseller and maybe I’ll never conquer the insurmountable peaks of marketing strategies, but I made it into your home, Dear Reader. You let me into your world, even for just a little while, and I want to tell you how much I love having you in mine.

We read and write to get lost in a world beyond the one we have to see on the news, on the internet and outside our own front doors. Books are supposed to be an escape, not a war zone and I apologize to all of you who started to spiral downward under the weight of the negativity that has been so prolific.

To that end, I’m happy to say that the next novel in The Tribe Series is finally underway, and I’ve been able to weather the angry skies in the familiar magic of my piece of the mountain and The River will be coming to you in just a few short months. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, The Mountain won’t be too far behind it. For this progress, I thank you, Dear Reader, for giving up your time and losing yourself in my stories. You give me a reason, when my own place in the pattern gets hard to see.

So when you see a storm of negativity erupt on your social media feeds, don’t let it deter your love of reading. Don’t give up on finding new authors and new stories. Because if you promise not to give up on reading them, Dear Reader, I promise I won’t give up on writing them for you.

The next time the clouds start to form and you find yourself getting dragged down, come and find me here. It’s a place that’s still all about the books and the friends, the love of stories and the search for a little piece of happy in the day to day. I’ll have an empty chair on my porch and a glass of strong whiskey ready for you. We can keep each other company until the sun comes out again.