OK, so I'm rarely in jeopardy, but I write woman-in-jeopardy novels—otherwise called "Modern Gothics"—and this is my blog. It will probably have lots of time between posts, but I'll try not to bore you. Welcome.

Monday, April 29, 2013

There Can Be Only One...

© Suto Norbert | Dreamstime.com

Winner, that is.

Thanks to everyone who took sides in the Firebird Hero vs. Hero Smackdown—it was fun! Here's how the 61 comments broke down:

38 of you sided with Deanna and Team Rob, while 19 of you favoured Molly and Team Edmund, leaving 1 commenter leaning towards Team Rob but officially undecided, and 3 of you who refused to decide at all and wanted both men!

So, a pretty clear victory for Rob, then.

As for the giveaway, the one commenter selected at random to receive signed copies of Deanna's A Spear of Summer Grass, Molly's Crazy Thing Called Love, and my The Firebird, is......

Melisa M.
who commented: "I love Rob and can't wait to meet up with him again BUT I'm joining team Edmund on this one!"

Congratulations, Melisa! Just email me at susanna(underscore)kearsley(at)yahoo(dot)ca and let me know where you'd like us to send your books.

And since Melisa chose Team Edmund, here's a little extra Edmund excerpt for you, just to reassure you he can take a punch or two and hold his own:

He stood apart, a cup of drink held cradled in one hand, his gaze fixed idly in a contemplation of the passing ships that ran along the river, and the Duke of Holstein’s yacht with all its guns.
     She did not notice, to be honest, how his coat was cut, or whether it was worn through at the sleeves. She marked the color of it—deeply blue—and noted that he wore the yellow waistcoat underneath it, and his hair was neatly tied with a black ribbon at his collar, underneath a fine three-cornered hat. He looked, to her, a gentleman enough.
     It was the rush of anger running sudden through her veins that, in the end, undid her. She could very easily have turned around and left him as he was. He had not seen her, and the way he stood there, unconcerned, reminded her he was a man of strength, and had no need of her. Of anyone.
     But hearing Mrs. Hewitt and the others speak so rudely of him, Anna felt her temper rise in answer to it. Keeping her reaction in control, she calmly paid her honors to the other women as she passed, then raised her chin with new determination as she crossed the grass.
     He turned his head, and watched her come towards him, with no alteration of his stance or his expression. She could see, then, why he had not wished to burden General Lacy’s reputation by his presence at the banquet, for the skin across his cheekbone had been split and badly bruised.
     She saw the light of curiosity flash briefly in his eyes as she approached him; watched it change to dark amusement as she spoke.
     ‘Mr. O’Connor.’
     ‘Mistress Jamieson.’ His head inclined politely.
     It was, in truth, a livid bruise, the mark of a disreputable man. She should not have remarked on it, she knew, and yet she could not keep from asking, ‘Is it painful?’
     ‘Only when I try to smile,’ he said, and did just that, if briefly.
     There was still a space between them, and he stood regarding her across it as one soldier might regard another on a field of truce. And then he tipped his head a little to the side and offered her his arm, and asked her, ‘Will you walk with me?’ He did not miss the small betraying glance she cast behind her at the others, Anna knew, because he added, with a trace of his old mockery, ‘Or do you fear to harm your reputation?’
     Anna studied him a moment. Then she told him, ‘I am not afraid of anything.’ And stepping forward, took his arm.
     ‘Indeed,’ was his reply. ‘So I’m beginning to believe.’

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hero vs. Hero Smackdown: The Firebird

© James Steidl | Dreamstime.com Used by Permission
Full disclosure: I have Awesome Writer Friends. Not only in the sense that they are awesome writers (which they are) but in the sense that they themselves are awesome.

In that long, self-doubting stretch of time between the day I finish edits for a book, and that book's publication day—which can be months and months away—I sometimes sneak a copy to my friends. The more I love a book, the more I need their reassurance. With The Firebird, I was very, very needy.

What I didn't expect was that this advance reading would set off a good-natured, rather amusing debate between two of my friends on the subject of which of my heroes is hotter.

Deanna Raybourn became a vocal champion of the modern day hero, Rob McMorran, a Scottish policeman who hails from the Borders and balances work with his volunteer shifts as a Lifeboat crew member, both jobs helped along by the fact he's a psychic. When I asked Deanna what her favourite scene was in the book, she wrote back: "Anything with Rob ;-)"

Molly O'Keefe, on the other hand, much preferred Edmund O'Connor, the plain-spoken Irishman living in exile in Russia in 1725, born—as he tells uswith "cards in my hands and my fists up", who shows skills at both, though he'll not cheat an honest man. "Perfect," was what Molly tweeted to me after reading the book. "He was perfect."

And that was the start of the rivalry.

Given that the three of us interact just about daily on Twitter, I couldn't help noticing they kept it up even after my back was turned, as in this little exchange that I captured on Storify.

© Anthony Bowen | Dreamstime.com
So, in the interest of clearing the air, I invited them here for a smackdown refined conversation. And here's how it went: 

Me: Hi, guys. Toss of the coin to start. Who calls heads?

Deanna: HEADS!

Me: [tossing coin] It's heads. Right then, whenever you're ready. 

Deanna: There is no contest here. While Edmund is delicious—and totally deserving of adoration—he is simply outmanned by Rob. Rob is dark, brooding, sexy as hell, oh, and did I mention, HE CAN READ YOUR MIND? And he rescues people for a living. Susanna did not miss a trick in crafting a hero who is completely swoon-worthy.

Molly: Yeah...Rob can READ YOUR MIND! Where is the mystery? (though I will say that first scene when they sort of accidentally mentally brush up against each other—DELISH!) However, back to why Edmund is a far more sexy and intriguing hero—he's all mystery. Nothing but drama and scarred hands. And heroic? He saves birds! Come on, I got you there Raybourn.

© Suto Norbert | Dreamstime.com

Deanna: The mystery? The mystery is never knowing when or how he's going to read your thoughts. And the straight-up knee-knocking lusciousness comes from the incredible restraint he shows in NOT abusing his abilities. The slow tease of having him read something, then pull back? Intoxicating. And speaking of intoxication, I offer Exhibit A—the hallway clinch where Rob knows EXACTLY what she wants, how, and when. WHUF. Oh, and your guy saves birds. My guy saves mammals. Advantage, Raybourn.

Molly:  Exhibit A is good. I will grant you—very good. But if the question is noble restraint? Edmund wins hands down. I mean, did you even READ that scene on the boat? I gasped. I clutched my e-reader. So satisfying. So dramatic.

Deanna: Yes, Edmund is a very worthy hero, but if we're going to talk self-sacrifice, Rob can more than hold his own. When the woman he KNOWS is meant for him can't handle the connection, he doesn't stalk her or sulk or badger her. He gives her space, patiently biding his time until she's ready. He's confident enough that he doesn't have to prove himself. And when she does finally come to him for help, he's encouraging and patient and MASTERFUL while still respecting her autonomy. He pushes her, gently but firmly, to test her own boundaries and he provides the safety net she needs to do it.
And Exhibit B? How adorable is it when he tries to speak Russian?

© Martin Brayley | Dreamstime.com

Molly: Patience, smatience...give me Edmund who argues with Anna, forces her to understand her place in this new world and to see her value as HE sees her value. He is not happy until she sees herself as he sees her, beautiful noble and brave.
Edmund Exhibit C—which really after the scene in the boat and the scene when he saves the bird I can't believe I even need—the eggs.

© Sharpshot | Dreamstime.com
Deanna: Exactly—Edmund insists on making his point, while Rob would rather encourage her to discover her power and beauty for herself. Game, set, match. ;-)

Molly: Either way readers can't lose—both heroes are amazing (even if one is so patient he nearly loses the love of his life twice).

Me: OK, so clearly this isn't a battle discussion that's going to end soon. But it IS a good excuse for me to hold a little giveaway in honour of The Firebird's publication here in Canada next week. 

I've got one set of paperback copies of each of our latest books: Molly's Crazy Thing Called Love, Deanna's A Spear of Summer Grass, and mine, and I'll send them to anywhere, worldwide.

To enter, just comment and tell my two friends here whose team you think you'd be on—Edmund's, or Rob's? If you want to get a glimpse of both the heroes, you can read a short excerpt with Edmund here, and with Rob here.

You have till Sunday, April 28th, to leave a comment. I'll announce the winner Monday. Best of luck.