Welcome to day two of the Independence Day Blog Hop! For more blogs involved in the hop visit here: http://thebloghopspot.com/event-page/ Each day I will be giving away an e-book provided by Melody Snow Monroe and at the end of the hop I will be drawing one name to win a $10 gift card to either BN or Amazon. Winner's choice. So leave a comment with your email to be entered to win. Hope you enjoy the hop.
Now welcome my first guest blogger, author Tory Michaels.
Birth of a Villainous Hero: Jordan MacNaught
Thank you for having me as one of your posters during this fabulous 4th of July blog hop! One of these days I’ll get back into hopping. Anyway, I wanted to talk today about how Jordan MacNaught, “hero” of my second book, Blood-Mage Rising, went from the nastiest villains I ever devised to verge on being an actual hero (though he will never be a true-blue “good guy”).
Jordan was originally created as an all-out villain and when I wrote the first draft of the story that eventually grew into Blood Rage (book 1 in the Dream-Walker War series). His chapter was originally the final in the book (and some of that dialogue made it through all the revisions). As the edits progressed, he worked his way into more and more of the book. He’s presented as a seriously evil person, but he’s only viewed through the lenses of Athdara MacKechnie (a victim of his evil-doings) and Anthony Caldwell (rival for power, among other things).
As if the above wasn't enough, he weaseled his way into a book that ultimately got tossed (after it was fully written), again supposed to be more villain than anything else. Beta reader commented about the tension between him and Chris (more so, tragically, than my poor, abandoned beta-male Marcelo, a sexy incubus/vampire).
I finally gave in to his demands and made him a main character in a book of his own. In the first draft of what became Rising, there wasn't supposed to be a potential romance at all. ::disgusted look:: And then...yeah, let's just say he's a good talker (okay, my subconscious mind). And instead of just starring in one book, he managed to get my agreement for two books with planned appearances in the 4th PLUS the follow-up series. Doh!
Let’s wrap this up with the blurb and a short excerpt introducing my sexy villainous hero.
In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace. In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They're all dead, except for him.
Jordan asks for Chris Javert's help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She's no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.
Despite doubts about Jordan’s innocence, Chris joins forces with him, the man who once tried to kill her, to save the inter-species pace from the new Aristocrats before war consumes them all.
Prepared to take the first blow, she still saw stars when blunt force slammed the back of her head. She staggered, caught herself before she fell, and spun around with her second weapon drawn now. No sign of Jordan.
Chris snarled. “I’m not afraid of you. Stop playing, and let’s get down to the real reason you’re here. I know it’s not just to annoy me.”
“Play the game first. You know the rules: no weapons, and we play until one of us wins. Only then will we deal with why I’m here.”
Life would be so much easier if he’d just die already. Or kill her. The universe “gifted” her with an attraction to a sociopath, thanks to weakness in her youth. Jordan thought fights that might turn deadly with the first spilled blood “fun”, and to make matters worse, he appeared to consider her a friend, or at the very least like a puppy in need of training. Ugh.
The sooner she finished playing the scuffle out, the sooner they got down to business, and then she could get on with what she needed to do. She edged to the sideboard, and slowly set her knives down on top, though didn’t release her grip on the hilts. She wanted the rules established first.
“Unless you care to make it really interesting and offer me your blood.”
She needed to avoid that at all costs. He was far too old and would recognize irregularities in her taste. The forfeit sucked, especially with Anthony so close, up in Tampa. The last thing she needed was to get caught stepping out with Jordan. “You might lose.”
Swallowing hard, she made herself release both knives and step away. No reason she had to fight to her best ability. Her competitive nature demanded victory, but the realist in her pointed out the slim chance of that. Better to let him win so they moved on. “Let’s go. Show yourself, you piece of crap.”
The air in front of her swirled; mist heretofore unseen coalesced, and just like that, there he stood. Just a smidge taller than she, swimmer’s lean physique wrapped in a three-piece navy suit sans jacket, topped with an angel’s too-pretty face, the Bloody Baron smiled pleasantly, thumbs hooked in his vest pockets. Blond hair, impeccably combed into place, brushed his forehead just above brilliant green eyes that could alternate between passion and ice in less than a blink. He smiled, showing his fangs. “Always a pleasure to see you, too, Chrissy.
Blood-Mage Rising: Review 5 Stars!
This series just gets more and more interesting. The first thing you need to know is that this book is happening at the exact same time as the events in Blood Rage. You really need to read that book first. That being said: Good grief! I love this book as much as the first one! If you have not picked up these books yet, y'all are missing out on a rich world with intriguing characters! I found myself loving Jordan even while telling myself I am crazy! How can you love a sociopath? Well, Ms. Michaels found a way. I am just dying to read more about this world and find out what happens next! So many unanswered questions leave me squirming in anticipation. As far as the fact that Jordan is a sociopath, I am happy to read a hero that is really an anti-hero. Now some people might think that Chris is whiny and silly (yeah I have been reading the other reviews) and here is what I say to that. The heroine is flawed, yes, just like any other human, err…mage. You know what I mean. I say it’s what makes this book so interesting.
You have a sociopath for a hero and a very strong heroine who is attracted to him. I shudder at what I am about to say, but look at Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not trying to say they are similar, just using it as a contrast/compare point. Spike was a serious psycho! Yet in the end he is redeemed. When you are alive for hundreds of years a lot can happen. People change and when you have so long, they can change a lot. It is made clear in the book that Jordan has changed, but not totally. I for one will be sad if the author bows to reader pressure and changes Chris because I think she is perfect the way she is. As the author has hinted at, she has her own shadowy past. I don’t want to say more, again because I don’t want to give anything away. But this past has shaped her and as always, there is more than meets the eye.
The author has done a wonderful job of making us care about the characters. They are written with depth, flaws and serious dilemmas. I am invested in this book and where the series is going. I haven’t been this excited about an Urban Fantasy series since I got hooked on Vicki Pettersson’s Sign of the Zodiac series. Granted, the first book in the Dream Walker War was more focused on the romance. Still, I am dying for the next book in this series. The twist at the end (which I am not ashamed to say I didn’t figure out as soon as I should have) and the hints in this installment have me wondering about several more things. I am telling you, you need to start this series.