Villains and Heroes with author Rebecca Zanetti

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              My Hero could’ve been the Villain

A big thanks to Sayde Grace and the Sizzlers for having me over today!

I’ve been thinking about villains lately because I have more than a couple in the Dark Protector Series.  So what makes a good villain?  At first blush, it seems like he should be the opposite of the hero.  But then I thought on it some more.  I think at their core, the hero and the villain are similar.  They’re usually strong, smart, capable, ambitious, arrogant, and often incredibly focused.

It’s what they do with these traits that determine whether they’re the hero or the villain.  Because really, it’s the choices we make in life that matter.  You take a person and make their life flow easily, no concerns, no temptations…that’s not a hero.  That’s boring.  At least when it comes to a paranormal romance.  Heck, any romance.

Take Malcolm Reynolds, for example.  If you haven’t seen Firefly, you’re missing out.  It’s a television show that lasted one season…and then they made a movie about it called Serenity.  See that too.

But here’s the deal.  Malcolm is the hero…and he’s a rebel.  A true rebel who should’ve been the good guy.  He knows he should’ve been the good guy. Instead, he smuggles, steals, and fights against the bureaucracy that has taken over the world.  And it costs him.  Yet, he doesn’t stop. 

He’s the hero in his little part of the universe.  Kind of.  There’s one scene where he gets in a sword fight (his first) and the bad guy is going to kill him.  Somehow, he gets the upper hand.  So Mal pins the bad guy but can’t kill him.  Mal says, “Mercy is the mark of a great man.”  Then he stabs (lightly) the bad guy.  Then Mal says, “Guess I’m just a good man.”  Then he pokes the bad guy a few more times.  “Well, I’m all right.”

One of the very appealing characteristics about a hero/villain is the absolute comfort in their own skins.  Right or wrong, good or bad, both the hero and the villain have no intention of changing.  In CLAIMED, the hero is the oldest Kayrs brother and the king of the entire vampire world.  He’s stubborn, fierce, and some might say…a bit over-the-top Alpha.

He does his best to rule the world and hold on to the mantle of diplomacy.  But the second his mate his threatened, he throws diplomacy to the wind and lets the animal within take over—without a hint of hesitation.  To quote Dage, “So be it.”

Thank you to the Sizzlers for having me over today!  I’d love to send a signed copy of FATED (Book 1in the Dark Protectors) to a commenter today.  So…can you think of a hero with villainous traits?

Thank you so much for stopping by Rebecca! I love these books and as her glorious critique partner I can say hahaha I’ve read Dages story and its great!

Release, Release, Release, and some Hotness from Joe Manganiello

Hello all!! WOW, today three of my author friends are having releases! For more information on these titles please click on the picture.

My critique partner and wonderfully talented writer, Rebecca Zanetti has her debut release by Kensington, FATED, out today.

Scientist and single mother Cara paulsen is used to fighting for what she wants and doing whatever it takes to protect her daughter, Janie. But ‘whatever it takes’ has never before included a shotgun wedding to a dangerous-looking stranger. Vampire leader Talen says that he’s there to protect Cara and Janie. But his idea of a wedding night is more like a sexual taming – dominant and scorching hot. With shapeshifting allies, they must fight against an evil race of vampires that has discovered a way to venture into sunlight, in order to safeguard Janie…and the rest of humanity.

 

Next on the release road is our very own southern sizzler, Jillian Chantal!! Her new story Surfer Bride hit the digital world with a bang.

Quincy Holt, a world champion surfer, was in love with a police officer, Fennimore Smith. He dumped her over a rumor that she cheated on him. Two years later, she’s moved on and is engaged to Percy Hicks, a British man that she believes could make her happy.

Quincy thinks her fiancé is an antiques dealer but he’s actually a firearms smuggler. A smuggler being investigated by her former lover, now an ATF agent. When Percy’s private plane full of weapons is confiscated while Quincy is aboard and she’s arrested for arms dealing, Fennimore Smith flies to Bali to rescue her and get her to testify against Percy. She turns him down as she has plans of her own. She sets off to London on a quest to trap her fiancé and bring him down. Will she survive her mission? Will her former lover have to rescue her again?

And last but not least we have fellow Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA member, Cynthia Eden soaring to the Best Sellers List with her newest release Deadly Lies.

She wants to hide the past…

FBI Special Agent Samantha Kennedy is haunted by memories of the serial killer who abducted her. To keep the darkness at bay, she pretends to be a different, more confident woman. This Samantha doesn’t fear every unknown face. So she throws caution to the wind and shares a night of unbridled passion with a handsome stranger.

He needs to uncover the truth

One night isn’t enough for successful entrepreneur Max Ridgeway. He wants more of the sexy, smart, mysterious woman who slipped away before dawn. When they meet again, their attraction is undeniable—until his stepbrother goes missing, and Max realizes that Samantha isn’t who she seems. But they must trust each other to trap a ring of blood-thirsty kidnappers before the nightmares that terrorize Sam become irrevocably real.

What a wonderful Tuesday! I mean, it just doesn’t get any better than having so many good books by talented writers come out on one day. Oh wait, I’m wrong. It does get better, my newest release Untamable releases tomorrow by Siren Publishing!!

Waking up tattooed, mated and a werewolf would shock most people but for Siddalee Brighton it’s just another day.

Siddalee has always held a burning hunger for her best friend, werewolf Jasper Gandillion. But she never realized what belonging to the animal within him would mean until he marks her in a show of passion and dominance, awakening the werewolf inside her. Siddalee was the first of many illegal breeding experiments that the Luna Werewolf Nation Alpha, Dane Velham, created and the only one strong enough to stop the monster from torturing other women and creating more experiments.

Will being the daughter of the monster who slaughtered Jasper’s pack destroy the love and lust between Siddalee and Jasper, or will they emerge as the new Alphas of the Luna Werewolf Nation?

So while I was writing this story I had different images of my hero Jasper floating around in my head. One actor stood out above anyone, Joe Manganiello!

 Need I say more? Why yes I do, here he is in a suit!

Release Date Anticipation

Hi all. As most of you know I have a new release coming up on the 23rd. I admit I wasn’t very excited when I received word that Siren wanted to publish it and that’s not because I wasn’t happy, I was. I’m a realist, and I know that with each book that I sell comes hard work in getting it edited to my editors standard and then promoting it. I always get a little freaked out when the cover comes because you just never know if the art department is going to have the same vision as you do. This time was no different and things did vary. Some parts of the cover were not what I’d envisioned but now that I’ve had the cover for a few weeks I do like the variation. I mean we can’t all think alike can we?

So after the edits were done, the cover arrived, and I received my final release date I realized that I’m finally excited. I know it seems so strange to most people thatI never get excited about a book contract or really a cover but that’s just how I am. When everything is said and done is when my excitement hits me. Now I’m really looking forward to having UNTAMABLE out in the publishing world.  I was recently asked what my favorite part of the publishing process was and well, you guessed it, the release date. That date means that everything I’ve worked so hard for is completed. Now, it’s time to share my work with the world and have faith that readers will enjoy the world I built.

When you’re working to accomplish your goal, what point to do begin to get excited about the end result? Are you like me and just can’t get excited until it’s absolutely complete or do you go through stages where you get excited?

And don’t forget that not only am I having a release date coming soon, but our sizzler SFCatty, Jillian Chantall and ym wonderful critique partner Rebecca Zanetti also have release dates on the 22nd! You can find out more about both Jillian and I at http://www.sirenbookstrand.com/ and for Rebecca please visit her website for all the places you can pick up FATED. http://rebeccazanetti.com Oh and you know what, our most beloved commentor Danica Avet has her latest release and upcoming release also at Siren so stop by and check us all out!

Erotic Romance vs. Erotic. What’s the Difference?

Recently at my local Romance Writers of America’s meeting I explained the difference between erotica and erotic romance. Several members informed me that they’d never known there was a difference. That brings me to today’s post. Months back I expressed an interest in writing an inspirational novel about a woman losing her first love to drugs and him coming back clean as a preacher. At the time I got a lot of negative feedback because I was told there was no way I could write something so tame.  The thing most people don’t understand is that erotic romance and inspirational novels have one huge thing in common, emotions.

Both inspirational and erotic romance stories are based off of the emotions and feelings that drive the characters forward in the book. Inspirational writers must stop at a kiss, while erotic romance writers can let their characters do just about anything. While inspirational and erotic romance have that one base in common that’s how erotica differs. Erotica does not have to have any emotional involvement from the characters. In erotica the story is pushed forward by the physical and mental desire for sexual experience. I’m not saying that in order to write erotica that you can’t have a story line with a great plot but it’s not about the emotions in erotica. In this genre your characters are open to explore themselves, their sexuality, and others without having to have an emotional journey along with the sexual journey. Most times at the end of an erotic romance you get a happily ever after. At the end of an erotica you don’t. The heroine or hero does not need to be in a relationship, only the promise that the main character has found him or herself sexually and grown from the experience is required in erotica.

Before you classify your books please make sure you read the “rules” for each genre. If you are querying an erotic romance as an erotica you are hurting your chances of getting a yes from an agent or editor who is interested in erotic romance. That goes the other way too.

This week I’m on vacation and don’t have cell or internet service so I’ve posted this early and won’t be able to respond to comments until the weekend. If you ever have questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Asking is just one way we learn and in the competitive writing business we need all the knowledge we can get.

Also, my erotic romance UNTAMABLE has been scheduled for an early release. This story wasn’t supposed to be out until mid April but I’m very pleased to say that on February 23, 2011 you’ll be able to purchase UNTAMABLE at http://www.sirenpublishing.com/saydegrace/

Here’s my new cover as well as a bit of a teaser, in this one I hope you can feel the emotion behind these characters:

Jasper nodded. “All right, tell me she’s going to wake up any second and be perfectly fine.”

Doc grimaced. “I can’t tell you that, but be prepared for her to be back in heat when she does. She needs to complete the cycle.”

Damn it, that was not what Jasper wanted to hear, although her still being in heat would definitely be a good thing. He couldn’t wait to mount her.

Sidda wanted to roll her eyes. All he thought about was “mounting” her. For fuck’s sake, she’d almost been killed by Brockton’s dumb ass, and all Jasper wanted to do was mount her. “Is that all you think of?” Her croaking voice flowed through the room.

An instant later, a rush of footsteps had Jasper on one side of her bed and Doc on the other. She shook her head, biting back a groan of pain. Dammit, her head still hurt.

She opened her mouth to complain but stopped short when another figure appeared at the foot of the bed. Tears began to pour from her eyes. She slowly sat up, holding her hands out to Zeke, sobbing as he eased his way to her. “Oh my god.” She grasped Zeke’s hands, tugging him to her. Sidda’s breath caught in her chest. She’d been so sure she’d never see him again, yet here he was alive with her.

“What happened? I saw what Brockton…” She shook her aching head, holding onto him for dear life. He’d saved her from Brockton. “I thought…I…”

“Yeah, he beat me up pretty bad, but Stephan got there.” Zeke smiled. “He’s a good guy after all.”

Sidda forced a smile for her brother. Her hand trembled, burning from the mark on her palm. It looked like a small scratch, but the hum of energy from the spot told her it was more.

She cleared the thoughts of Stephan from her mind. “I can’t believe you’re all right.”

“Yeah, I’m gonna be fine. Your mate said if I didn’t get better, he’d be forced to beat me back to health.” Zeke laughed.

Sidda smiled at Jasper, releasing her brother’s hands to pull Jasper’s head toward her. She kissed his cheek, and he winked.

“Gross.” Zeke’s lips curled. “I should not know what you are feeling, or him. It’s disturbing. Come on, Doc, I want to take these rags off my forehead.”

Zeke and Doc slipped from the room. Sidda grinned at Jasper and pulled the covers back so he could slide into bed with her.

He tugged his pants and shoes off, followed by his shirt. “I should be mad at you for running off, not trusting me to handle the situation, and going into heat while I wasn’t there. I really should be pissed, but all I want to do is hold you. To make sure you’re safe and all right.” Jasper wrapped his arms around Sidda, dragging her close to him.

Sidda sighed with contentment. She’d been so scared when Brockton had come after her, but here in her mate’s arms, she was safe again. “Just hold me. Later we can fight. Right now I just want to hold you.” She yawned against his warm chest.

“Whatever you want, babe.” His hands stroked her back, sending her into a blissful sleep.

 Thank you everyone! Remember that Jillian’s new book SURFER BRIDE is also being released early on February 22, my wonderful critque partner Rebecca Zanetti’s debut novel FATED is also being released that same day. Then the next day, February 23 is the release of UNTAMABLE.

Now go forth and be productive!

Sayde

A FATED Interview, Guest Blogger Rebecca Zanetti’s First EVER Interview!

Hello everyone! Today I am honored and proud to have my critique partner author Rebecca Zanetti join our blog guests. Rebecca and I have been critiquing each other’s works for a little over a year and I can say without doubt that everything I’ve read from her is beyond excellent and should go on the TO BE BOUGHT list right now! Just add her name to the authors on your must read list now, it’ll be well worth it.

 

First let me tell everyone that Rebecca’s first book entitled FATED will release on February 22, 2011. Secondly this is Rebecca’s first ever interview and to anyone who leaves a comment today I am going to draw for a winner of my ebook . Also don’t forget to stop by Rebecca’s website http://www.rebeccazanetti.com to get the latest on her, her books, and pictures of the beautiful landscape she is surrounded by. So without further babbling let me all introduce you to my critique partner and valued friend author Rebecca Zanetti who can tell me any day of the week that “this is well written but…” !

 

 

 

 

What was your motivation for becoming a writer?

First thanks for having me here on the Sizzlers – I always follow this blog!  I think like a lot of writers, I always knew I wanted to write a book someday.  One day I finally put my rear in the chair and started writing.  Of course, it helped that Dec 08 and Jan 09 we were pretty much snowed in.

 

I jumped on the Twilight train and wrote a paranormal YA.  (Which I just finished revising into an adult book per my agent’s suggestions).  Then I wrote a chicklit I’m currently revising.  I had this vampire story mulling around in my head that wouldn’t leave me alone, but I’d heard that vamps were out.  So I wrote the book for myself just for fun – figuring I’d take it out and read it once in awhile.  It sold in five days. (I say this with total love Bec, but you’re bragging here heifer J )

Can you tell us if your background as a lawyer affected the way you write, or your story lines?

You know, law is about boiling a lot of facts down to one main theme and articulating that theme to other people.  Writing is much the same.  And believe it or not, your voice as a lawyer (how you get the facts across genuinely to a jury or judge) is similar to your voice as a writer – it’s all you.  Also, both worlds are competitive and a bit scary but well worth it.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest you’ve seen a lot of beautiful country, does the back drop you are surrounded with show up in your books? And if so are there any places in particular that you use for inspiration?

I love the water and mountains.  We live near lakes and rivers, which you’ll find in my books, and FATED has several scenes where the good guys are underground in mountainous caverns for safety. 

 

I understand that you are pretty close to your family, how does this play into the story lines you write?

My family is amazing.  My husband is a six-foot-five stubborn Italian, and you’ll find parts of his personality in most of my heroes.  My sisters are spunky, fun and adventurous and you can bet my heroines resemble them both in making good decisions and those that have us groaning.  And my folks have been married for over forty years, so I truly believe in happy endings because I have proof they exist.

Most of the readers on the blog have heard your amazing “Call” story in my words but I’d love for you to tell them about you getting the call from both your agent and your editor within hours of each other.

Almost a year to the date after writing my first chapter, I felt guilty because I didn’t want to get on the treadmill.  It was a Thursday, which is a good day for me to work out.  So I figured I’d assuage the guilt by sending out a query or two – and I figured why not send out FATED even though it was a vampire story.  The next day Megan Records at Kensington requested the partial.  I sent it; still not really thinking anything would come of it.  The following Tuesday, agent Caitlin Blasdell requested the partial at around nine in the morning.  A half hour later Megan requested the full.  Two hours later Caitlin requested the full.  They both called with offers the next day.

 

I was stunned.  It just happened so fast, what a difference five days can make. (AGAIN, I love ya but you’re bragging heifer! Actually it’s not bragging if it’s all true and well it’s an amazingly TRUE story!)

We had a ball this year at the RWA national conference and I know it was your second conference.  How was it different this year now that you’ve sold?

I went to DC last year by myself not knowing a soul.  I hadn’t joined any online chapters and I was truly anonymous, which was a lot of fun.  I’m pretty shy but that “first timer” ribbon really does help because I met some very nice people, went to every workshop I could and learned so much.  Each night I ate dinner in my room and then watched a movie and went over my stuff from the day, which was pretty relaxing.

 

Umm…no relaxing this year.  J   I’m in several online chapters that all had get-togethers, I spent some time with my agent and Kensington had a terrific cocktail party.  The Kensington group is wonderful – truly a nice mix of people who love books and are willing to help out a newbie in any way possible.  I had six cocktail parties or get-togethers on Thursday night.  (yes, my feet may never recover).  I brainstormed with my truly excellent critique partner (yes, our blog host today) and sleep wasn’t necessary.  I volunteered at the literacy signing and ended up winning an RWA free conference for next year.(OH YEAH! I TURNED THAT DAMN TICKET IN. NEXT YEAR I REFUSE TO!)  And…I attended every workshop I could with schedule permitting.  I love workshops—and I love learning.

  And now to my favorite part, the EXCERPT!! I just adore Rebecca’s stories!                                                                                                                                         

Slowly, Talen pushed to his feet and strolled across the conference room.

Cara took a step back, her breath hitching.

Smiling, he leaned against the closed door. 

She’d need to go through him to get out.  God, he was huge.  Even if she had known how to fight, she doubted she’d stand a chance when faced with such size and obvious strength.  A feminine fear and a flutter she refused to identify whispered through her, and her spine straightened with a sharp snap.

“I won’t hurt you.” His voice lowered, deepening to a tone that increased her flutter.  He relaxed his stance against the door, his muscled arms crossing.  “I won’t let anyone harm either of you.  Ever.”

Okay.  Fine.  He was too big for her to fight, but she did have a brain.  “Listen, Talen,” she kept her voice soft, soothing.  “It’s great your dating pool just opened up and all, but I’m not looking for—”

A dimple winked in his cheek, stopping her words.  She fought to keep her tone mild.  “Am I amusing you?”  Her chin lifted.

“Yes.” 

“Why?”  She could even feel his amusement in the air, damn it.

“Your people.  I’ve never understood why you ignore fate.  She has her own plans.”

“Fate?”  He was throwing destiny at her?  Come on.

He nodded. “Fate.” 

“Wow.  That’s poetic, Talen.”  Sarcasm replaced the softness.  “But there’s no way fate is involved here.”

“You’re wrong.”

“Prove it.”

“Okay.”  He lifted his right hand, palm out.  A crest, an intricate one, spread across his calloused skin.  Thick and black, a webbing of arcs together formed a knot with what might be an elaborate ‘K’ in the middle.

“A tattoo?” She quirked an eyebrow, wondered if he had other tats on that magnificent body.

“No.  A brand of sorts.  It appeared earlier after I took your arm.”

“A brand?”  She snorted.  “Bullshit.”

Talen shrugged.  “It’s true, Cara.  The Mark usually doesn’t appear until the mating act, but there are exceptions.”  Golden eyes pinned her.  “Our bond must be strong.”

“No.”

Talen lifted a shoulder.

Her mind rebelled at the physical evidence before her eyes.  “I said, no.  I choose to ignore your fate.”  How could the mark have appeared?  Conviction sat easily upon his face and her stomach rolled at the question of how far he’d go to follow his fate. 

“That is your choice,” he agreed.

“Damn straight.”  She searched his face for a trick, determination tightening her own jaw.  A raised eyebrow met her glare.  “But you don’t know anything about me.  I could be married.”

“You’re not.”

“How do you know?”

He shrugged.  “My brother Dage shot your file to my blackberry.”

Blackberry?  Vampires used blackberry’s?  Come on.  “Where were you?”  Damn her curiosity.

“In a meeting with my other brother, Conn.”

Geez.  Sounded like a family oriented creature of the night.  Or day.  Or whatever.  She tried another tack.  “Besides, I have a date tonight.”

She wasn’t sure what her goal was, but she didn’t reach it.  A genuine smile played across his lips, and he uncrossed his arms.  “You’re not going to make it.”

 

Doesn’t that just make your toes curl? I love it! Don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of RIDING DOUBLE. Also you may follow Rebecca on twitter and Face Book as Rebecca Zanetti. Thanks everyone and congrats to Rebecca for a year filled with success and to many more!

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