March 12, 2012

AAD Author Spotlight: Guest Post & Giveaway w/ Jessa Slade (18+)





Spoiler alert! No, wait, it’s not really a spoiler because it hasn’t happened yet. But it could be a spoiler, depending. Let me explain.

My latest Marked Souls novel, DARKNESS UNDONE, has a bad guy. Of course it does. All urban fantasy romances have a bad guy. Since DARKNESS UNDONE is the start of a new trilogy arc within the Marked Souls world (hence the DARKNESS title when the first three books were SHADOW books: SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, FORGED OF SHADOWS, VOWED IN SHADOWS) a new bad guy has walked onto the stage. His name is Thorne Halfmoon.

Here is Alyce, heroine of DARKNESS UNDONE, describing our new villain:

He had told her long ago to call him Thorne, and she had remembered, because the name fit him well. His skin was burnished brown, like the cane of some ancient bramble, and his gaze sharper than any barb. Though the sleek blackness of his hair softened the thrust of his cheekbones, the yellow flames in his eyes burned away any chance of mistaking what dwelled within him.

He was a devil.


Now here’s the spoiler part...

Doesn’t that sound like a hero?!? Sort of anyway. Or maybe a could-be hero. Later on in the story, Thorne does some bad things. He IS possessed by a demon, after all. But then later yet, he feels maybe a little bad about those bad things. Not really bad, but it’s a start. So...

Here’s the thing with bad guys. They can’t be all bad. Even the baddest of the bad have a spark in them. Hannibal the Cannibal appreciated good wines. Darth Vader loved his son.(After he tried to kill him, but these things happen.) And Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, he wasn’t all bad either, he... Uh, had fantastic taste in jewelry? Anyway! Point being, good bad guys -- especially romance novel bad guys -- have depths, and in those depths lie...options. Are they going to do something worse? What if they do something better? It’s the uncertainties that holds us spellbound, wondering and reading.

Hence my uncertainties about Thorne. How bad will he get? Is the spark in him bright enough to fan into redemption? I’m already imagining some scene where he has a choice that will decide his fate as a could-be hero or a villain beyond saving. Maybe he will allow the evil in his soul to burn away the last of his humanity. Or maybe he will fight his own darkness.

But for now, he exists in an uneasy state -- at least in my mind. Will I save him? Or will I write him off? So to speak. Also, I wonder how readers will see him. Will they see the potential I see? Or will they find him irredeemable? I guess most importantly, what will Thorne do to damn or save himself?

Now a question for readers: Darth Vader did some pretty terrible things; did you forgive him at the end? What locks a character forever on the dark side? Do you even like the potential for a villain to be redeemed?

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Giveaway:

Leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of DARKNESS UNDONE, a set of Marked Souls Romance Trading Cards, a music download card with the album containing the Marked Souls theme song, and a pair of earrings inspired by the storyworld. And everyone who stops by today can download a free copy of my science fiction romance novella, “Enslaved By Starlight,” in the HOTTER ON THE EDGE anthology. Just go to http://tinyurl.com/hotter4free and use coupon code UW37U, or download at Amazon, BN.com and other ebook retailers for 99¢. Thank you for reading!

This giveaway is open to the US only. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen at random. 

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The war between good and evil has raged for millennia, and as a powerful new enemy ascends, the Marked Souls are pushed to the ragged edge…

Sidney Westerbrook has always studied darkness and damnation from a sensible distance.

Now, to earn his place as a league Bookkeeper, he must discover why Chicago is such a battleground of soul-linked warriors. But the research becomes personal when he finds himself over his head and under attack — and at the mercy of a waif with demon-lit eyes and a deep yearning in her heart.

Alyce Carver has been alone longer than she can remember, battered by the living nightmares that haunt her city. Cornered by yet another gang of demons, she unwittingly joins forces with a handsome scholar who can salvage her past, and she in turn may be the key to his investigations. But she won’t let him go until he shows her everything she’s been missing.

What begins as an experiment in possession becomes a trial by desire so powerful it threatens both their lives, even as it binds their souls.

“Slade’s plot packs plenty of action…in a group of forceful personalities.” – Publishers Weekly

“[A] fish-out-of-water story that keeps a rapid pace, delivering a strong plot, enjoyable characters and a stunning world.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

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Read Chapter 1 of DARKNESS UNDONE and find links to favorite bookstores at: http://tinyurl.com/darkness-undone

Read the first chapters of all the Marked Souls novels at http://jessaslade.com

You can find Jessa online at:
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65 comments:

  1. And Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, he wasn’t all bad either, he... Uh, had fantastic taste in jewelry?

    lol Loved that part!.
    Can you enter me please?
    Thanks!
    Cathie
    lovemybabysquid@yahoo.com

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    1. We all want our bling forged in the fires of doom, I think. Great conversation pieces :)

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  2. I love a bad "good"guy! They make great reads.

    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

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    1. Bad good guys and good bad guys... Gotta love romance!

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  3. This sounds really good and I adore that gorgeous cover. interesting thoughts about bad guys. I'm curious now... snowchris_01@yahoo.com smiles, Christi

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    1. Ah, my dastardly plan has worked to make you curious :) Of course I still don't know how it will go, so I'm curious too!

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  4. There is something about an anti hero that is so amazing!

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    1. I think maybe redeeming the bad guy shows that there's hope for everyone. Also, they usually get the best one-liners :)

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  5. Well you can't have the good without the bad, but I hope anyone can be redeemed. Sometimes those that fall the farthest are the most interesting to read about being redeemed. Thanks for the giveway!
    lfacchini(at)tampabay(dot)rr(dot)com

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    1. Exactly true. The truly evil are maybe less interesting because we just want them punished and be done with it. But the redeemable... That's worth waiting for.

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  6. Hi Jessa. I love your series. Darkness Undone sounds amazing. Awesome cover. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

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    1. So glad you enjoy the Marked Souls! Happy reading :)

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  7. Thank you for the chance to win! This looks like a cool book :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

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  8. Thanks for an awesome giveaway! This book looks awesome! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  9. I love when a villain is redeemed or at least develops redeeming qualities!

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    1. crap...I forgot!

      molly.frenzel@gmail.com

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    2. Right. Just because a bad guy develops redeeming qualities doesn't necessarily mean he gets redeemed. I think you are right that those are different steps.

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  10. There has to be 'bad' in order to appreciate 'good'. But...I'm all for seeing the bad turn themselves around to the 'good'. Especially if it's with a little help from someone that loves them...even if that someone loves them 'reluctantly'. LOL! Thanks for the VERY generous giveaway opportunity! :)

    barbbattaglia @ yahoo.com

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    1. I think forgiving is always a big part of loving, I think, even without demonic possession in the mix :)

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  11. I like the description about the character. The book sounds very good. I'm looking forward to your new series.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I consider myself a plotter so having a character changing as I write is kind of scary. Maybe that's why he is a bad guy!

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  12. Gotta love the bad boys...they're just a lil misunderstood and turn out to have hearts of gold! My favorite books are where the villain in a previous book is reformed:)

    www.goddess197829c@AOL.com

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    1. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The badder they are, the harder they work for love!

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  13. I don't think I would forgive Darth Vader for trying to kill his own children. But as for bad boys in books and can they be redeemed, I guess it depends on what is at stake for them. Why are they this bad to begin with? I think that if the character is written well enough, in the end the readers will want him to be redeemed in the end.
    luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

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    1. I agree motivation IS a huge part of whether a character can be redeemed. Good intentions can take you dark places... and hopefully get you out again too.

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  14. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

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  15. WOOHOO! A free novella! Thanks Jessa! I'm not sure I know what locks a character forever on the dark side... I used to think I knew, but then that particular character got his own book and now he's my favorite in the series. Either I have low standards on the bad guy being redeemed thing or I just don't know if I had any in the first place. I think now I am confused:)

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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    1. I think enough suffering makes almost anyone suitable for redemption. Unless we're talking about all the dirty spoons my XY generates when he cooks.

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  16. That is an interesting question you pose and I'm not sure how deep I want to go with thoughts about it. I enjoy reading anti-hero books and at times when a bad guy was so well written, sympathized with him/her.
    I think I enjoy the bad guys because I think everyone has the potential to be one if given a certain set of circumstances (nature/nurture stuff). I'd like to think the bad guy has the potential to have a spark of good and a chance at redemption (golden rule stuff).

    I think this book sound pretty good with the unlikely team of heroes. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    sophiarose1816@gmail.com

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    1. I have to admit, I wasn't fond of the redemption (such as it was) of Hannibal Lecter in the last movie. I wanted him to stay bad. Just bad. Not bad with a side of twoo love.

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  17. I didn't quite forgive Darth Vader, but I felt sympathy for him. I like the potential for a villain to be redeemed. If his actions are totally despicable and evil, and he does things that there is just no turning back from, it's pretty hard to bring him back from the dark side.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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    1. Ah, a fine distinction. I wonder if that's why the whole prequel trilogy of Star Wars didn't work for me (besides Jar Jar Binks, I mean) because we knew Vader wasn't going to really make his way back to the light.

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  18. I dont know if its possible for Darth Vader. But I do like the potential being there for a villian to be redeemed.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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    1. Potential is the key, I think. I know it keeps me turning the pages :)

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  19. Cant wait to read Darkness Undone it sounds fantastic and I love love love the cover .Have a great week
    flanagan@mebtel.net

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    1. It's almost Friday which means it's almost the weekend and I have new books to read too!

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  20. As far as Darth Vader goes, I did not forgive him in the end. I feel that he did not do enough to redeem himself with his children or Padme. I do like villains to an extent. For me, they can be redeemed, but I do have a line that if crossed, there is no going back. An example of a villain that has redeemed himself for me is Lothaire, the Enemy of Old, from Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark Series. He received his own story and toward the end is when I really started to think that he was a man and not just a vampire.
    The cover is HOT! I think this is a story that I would really enjoy. Thanks for the novella! And also for the opportunity to read your novel!

    trb0917(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Wouldn't Star Wars have been interesting if Vader didn't die and he got a whole movie to redeem himself? It would be a romance, of course!

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    2. I would definitely watch that one. Or read it. :)

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  21. Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8@hotmail.com

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  22. What a generous giveaway!! Thanks so much! This book looks so good, and I have to say that the cover is awesome, too!!

    jwitt33 at live dot com

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    1. I have ulterior motives; I want to go bead shopping :)

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  23. Thanks for the giveaway. This book looks like a good read.

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  24. Lots of cool things in this giveaway. Thanks! I would love to read this book. I really like the cover.

    pefrw at yahoo dot com

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    1. I wish I could do cupcake giveaways. Like I need an excuse to bake.

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  25. Sounds like a really good book :] Can I add the guy on the cover to my harem :p?

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    1. LOL Can you imagine keeping a harem of all those alpha males? All that testosterone would be a thousand times worse than PMSing!

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  26. I'd love to read this!

    volta2173 at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. And I'd love for you to read it! Authors and readers are a match made in heaven :)

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  27. Awesome giveaway!! Thanks!!
    :D
    mangafaninu@yahoo.com

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  28. This looks good. I am always looking for new PNR/UF to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

    nayjf at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hopefully the Marked Souls can sneak into your To Be Read pile :) They are clever like that.

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  29. I did feel Darth Vader was redeemed at the end. I love stories where I get charmed by the villain. All of the best villians make you like them in spite of their crimes.

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. Ah, this brings up an interesting question: How far does a redeemed villain have to go to win back his audience? It depends on what bad things the villain did, of course, but I think maybe it depends on the audience too.

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  30. I feel that Darth Vader was redeemed when all was said and done. After all, he was not bad to start with it was the power that changed him. Bad guys with redeeming qualities are the BEST. I love reading about the struggles they undergo during the redemption process. It makes a story that much more interesting.

    prissp4 AT hotmail DOT com

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  31. great giveaway and any villian that hurts a child or old person in my opinion is unredeemable not matter what.

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  32. forgot my email
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

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  33. this looks like a great book. I'd love to win and read it.
    Thanks.
    lisa (at) vetteklisa (dot) com

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  34. Ooh, I'm always on the lookout for new series. *scribbles on TBR list* Sounds like another good one to start! Thanks!

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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