You are reading...

    Guest Author – Meljean Brook
  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 19th, 2008

Meljean_headshot Let’s give a warm welcome to Meljean Brook.  Meljean has created a powerful and fascinating world in The Guardians Series.  DEMON BOUND is the newest addition to this wonderful, complex and compelling series.

Today Meljean is giving away 5 copies of Demon Bound to random posters.

There’s an adage for writers that says, “Write what you know.” Sadly, that means that anyone who reads my books probably thinks that I’m a sadistic, bwahaha-ing villainous sort (with, of course, a thin nose and twirling mustache) … because I am not very nice to my characters.

Oh, I love them to death, of course. And there are times, when I’m writing along and doing terrible things to them, that I think of another adage, one that my mother used to use every time she punished me: This hurts me more than it hurts you.

I try to tell that to my characters: This hurts me more than it hurts you.

But the truth is, I’m a liar. And I’m glad I’m putting them through hell.

I love it when characters have to face — and overcome — seemingly impossible obstacles on the way to their happily-ever-after. I’m one of those readers who is frustrated when every conflict in a book and between the characters could be resolved with a single conversation. No, I want our heroes and heroines to fight and earn that happily-ever-after. I want to see what they face, and I want to think: There’s no way they are going to make it through this. And I want them to make a believer out of me.

As I writer, I simply cannot give my readers anything less. So in my first book, Demon Angel,  I pitted my heroine against Lucifer, and forced her to choose between the hero’s life and her soul. In my second, Demon Moon, I made it physically impossible for my cursed vampire hero to be faithful to the human woman he loves, and every moment they share is a treasure he knows will be gone too quickly.

Demon_bound And in my latest, Demon Bound, I have a heroine who has to make a terrible choice: either betray her fellow warriors and murder the strongest of all the Guardians, or let her soul be tormented in Hell’s frozen wasteland for eternity.

There are never easy answers. And I’ll admit that a few times as I’ve been writing, I’ve thought to myself: There’s no way they are going to make it through this.

Yet they always do — many times in ways that I don’t know myself until I see it coming. They have moments of weakness, but always find their strengths — individually and together. There are bittersweet moments, but there is laughter, too. But above all: they always fight, and they always persevere, and they always triumph in a celebration of love and romance.

If a book offers me that, how could I ever want anything more? And why would I ever write anything less?

And if my characters suffer along the way, the end will always make the journey worth it.

What book stands out in your mind as a story where the characters triumphed over impossible odds? Is there a character you love that had an impossible choice to make? And what is the last book that made you wonder: How are they ever going to get out of this?

66 Responses to “Guest Author – Meljean Brook”

*Click here to add your own custom avatar for comments.


  1. Marisa
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:05 am

    Hi Meljean – it’s so wonderful to have you here today! Congratulations on Demon Bound.

    I have to say – Demon Angel was one of those books where I thought “no way” they’ll never be together. But ta-da! You made it work. But not before putting Lilith and Hugh through hell (literally) and back again.

    Impossible choices are one of my favorite plots- allowing us as a reader to engage with the characters on an intimate level, giving us access to the way their minds work and how they behave under extreme circumstances. All the better for us to worry with them, cry with them, laugh with them and hope for them.

    Some of the books/series that have characters in impossible situations – the ones that stand out in my mind are The Outlander series – Jamie and Claire… well, what haven’t they been through.
    Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Series is all about putting her characters in impossible situations.
    I think J.R. Ward has put many of her characters in situations where I thought – ok, how the heck are you going to get out of this one.

    Perhaps – authors of ‘impossible situation story arcs’ should start a mustache twirling club. You can twirl your facial hair and rub your hands together in glee as you type – because creating crisis of conscience, unbelievable odds, emotional dilemmas, choices between good and evil, love and hate for your characters always makes me want to read more.


  2. Gannon
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 8:24 am

    Hi, Meljean! We’re glad you’re here with us today. I’ve heard so much about your series–it’s on my TBB list. Sounds like a good Christmas present, doesn’t it?

    I have to agree with Marisa, Jamie and Claire were the characters that first came to mind. They have gone through hell and back, and are still going strong.

    JR Ward is always doing something with her characters where I’m saying, “Are you kidding me?! How are you going to pull this off.”

    That’s what makes these books so compelling and keeps us coming back for more….torture! LOL!


  3. Stacy ~
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 8:49 am

    Well hello there Meljean. It’s so awesome to have you here today. I’ve read “Demon Angel” and have to admit it’s one of those books that sticks with you long after you read it because of how significant the sacrifices were that the characters have to make. The other interesting thing you show is that Hugh and Lilith have known each other a loooong time, and how they’ve battled each other for centuries. I think this is an important element in making their story so compelling. I’m sure it can be effective for characters that known each other for weeks or months, but for me I found it way more absorbing. And you had me all tense and on the edge of my chair, wondering how is this ever gonna work??? But it does, quite beautifully.

    Like Marisa & Gannon, I just love Jamie’s & Claire’s story because they definitely have some strong odds against them, yet their love is so strong that they make it work. That’s just the way it is, and I totally love that.


  4. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 9:19 am

    *waves to Marisa* Thanks for having me today!

    Ooh, this is the part where I admit that I *ducks* haven’t read the Outlander series yet. *ducks*

    I know, I know!! But it’s one of those series that I’ve heard SO MUCH about and have heard it’s SO ADDICTIVE, I’m a little intimidated by it. My best friend, who didn’t read much romance before I came along and who doesn’t visit the online romance community at all said to me last year, “I’ve read the most amazing series! OMG! Have you heard of Outlander?”

    And of course I’ve been lurking in the online community for a while, so I was like… “Ye-e-e-e-ssss.”

    And she was like, “OMG YOU’VE GOT TO TRY THEM! I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM!”

    And I was sobbing in the corner, feeling my inadequacy, and thinking: That’s what I’m afraid of!! There are some authors I just can’t read while I’m also writing, because I get so wrapped up in the world and the voice that I feel it starts to influence my own. I just know Outlander is going to be like that.


  5. Kati
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 9:19 am

    Hey! Marisa stole mine! I always say that if Colleen Gleason’s heroine Victoria isn’t in torment, Colleen isn’t trying. I mean, please, Victoria has had to do some horrible, horrible stuff in her life.

    More than that, Hi Meljean! I’m SO pleased you’re here. I’ve heard nothing but raves about it. I keep hearing things like, “She’s outdone herself this time.” I can’t wait to read it! And, no need to enter me, I’ve got Demon Bound.

    Thanks for joining us, Meljean!


  6. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 9:24 am

    *composes self after sobbing-in-corner confession*

    Gannon — they would be a fantastic Christmas present! :-D

    You also mentioned J.R. Ward … I definitely agree. And the moment that immediately springs to my mind is at the end of Lover Eternal, when Rhage must make the choice between Mary’s life and being able to know her. It’s just a terrible position for a character to be in, when no matter his decision, his heart is going to break … and so is ours.

    And it’s not that I don’t love light moments in books. I really do. But I also love that moment when my heart rips from my chest, and I think for a second that I’ve got an Alien creature hiding in there and it’s finally popped out — but, nope, it’s just the sadistic author tearing at my heartstrings. I LOVE THAT. And when they get through that moment (and I get through that moment) I think there’s also some catharsis, so that everything is washed clean and the love in the happily-ever-after shines all the brighter.


  7. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 9:30 am

    Stacy — thank you!

    And I do think the time factor is an interesting component to work with — especially in paranormals. One of the … well, not problems, because it’s not a problem but one of the aspects of paranormal romance that I think makes them exciting — is that the book is often full of action, moving at a quick pace, and so the “falling in love” part happens very quickly, as well. But if you’ve got characters who are immortal and have been fighting for a while, you can play with that a little more and create a (seemingly) slow buildup — because we know they have all that history, even if the history they have doesn’t take up very many pages.

    Yet I also think the opposite works — the quick fall-in-love — for the same reasons: the action and breakneck pace. Everything is so intense in paranormals, everything is stronger, bigger, brighter — and so it’s no surprise that love and lust flare quickly and hotly, too.

    … is “hotly” a word?


  8. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 9:34 am

    Kati — here’s my other wimpy confession: after what Victoria did at the end of the first book (which I loved, and thought Colleen pulled off amazingly well) I haven’t read the others. I’m waiting for the last to come out before I finally do. Because I know she’s going to rip at my heart, and I know the HEA is coming, so I want to be able to fall back on it when it does.

    For now, they are sitting in a pretty row (her covers are stunning) on my bookshelf.

    Which might bring up another question: if you know that a book is going to be one of the heart-ripping ones and that there won’t be the immediate HEA *coughOUTLANDERcough* do you put it off until you can’t put it off any longer? Or do you just dive in?

    I think I’m a put-it-offer.


  9. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 9:50 am

    Hi Meljean! So glad you’re with us today. Everyone knows OUTLANDER is one of my favorites. I gotta say, there were times when I wanted to throw the book across the room because I didn’t see how they would make it. I read the first book, not knowing it was a series, and the ending of the first wasn’t exactly happily ever after… it tore me UP!

    Since then, I’ve read several series and stand alones where I just can’t see how the HEA is going to work – these books make me a little crazy – but also keep me reading, because I’m dying to find out what happens.

    I’m always excited when I find a series that I haven’t read and can read them all one after the other. It’s like TIVO, I’ve been known to tape an entire series of TV shows and then watch them one right after the other, because I simply cannot wait week to week to find out what happens.


  10. Kati
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 10:21 am

    Meljean – I totally get that, actually. I’ve been trying to shove CL Wilson’s Tairen Soul series on my roommate for over a year now. She’s all, “I’m not reading it until the series is done. I can’t deal with no HEA and then having to wait a year to find out what happens next!” She began this attitude after I gave her Elizabeth Vaughan’s Warlords of the Plains series (just the first two) and she was pissed that she had to wait a year to read the next one. I think she’s probably very smart. LOL!

    Oh! As for horrible choices, it’s not a book, but how ’bout when Buffy had to stab Angel to save the world? Just as he’d come back to himself after being Angelus. So sad. Then again, Buffy was forever having to do horrible stuff to save the world.

    I’m OK with HFN if I know the HEA is coming. Most of the time. I have a hard time with romances that span multiple books. Like Suzanne Brockmann does with some of her couples. Or Eloisa James. I have a much harder time with that than the idea that the couple is together, but still have some stuff to conquer before they get their final HEA.


  11. Buffie
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 10:52 am

    Hey Meljean!! Great to have you here with us today!

    You are not alone — I have yet to read the Outlander series either. I have just never ventured to it. Here’s another confession of mine — I haven’t read Colleen’s books yet either.

    I have heard so many great things about your books and definitely need to add them to my every growing TBR pile.


  12. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 11:42 am

    Hi, Maria!

    I’m the same way — if I can get a TV series in a huge gulp, I prefer to do it that way (which is why the DVD collections have become my best friend.)

    And then there are the times when the resolution just doesn’t work, or there’s a cliffhanger when I do come to the end — that’s a hair pulling moment, and I’ll sit there going, “why why WHY?” Then I’ll haunt the internet for spoilers or anything just so that I have some idea of what’s going to happen.

    One book that was a little like that for me was Jude Deveraux’s (sp?) A Knight in Shining Armor. I loved the book … until the end. And I was *sure* there had to be a sequel out there. This was before the online community really got going, though, so my only option was to haunt bookstores, searching for the SEQUEL THAT HAD TO EXIST … RIGHT? Needless to say, my soul slowly withered and died when I couldn’t find it. And when I discovered that THAT ENDING WAS ALL THERE WOULD BE.

    That Jude — now SHE is a sadist. :-D


  13. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 11:47 am

    Kati — I was at a friend’s house when I watched the S2 Buffy finale, and I started bawling my head off right there on her sofa. Maybe that’s why I’m a little afraid of some series that I know are going to catch me right in the gut … I want to make sure I have all of the books right there so that I’m a) not bawling in public when I get to the end of it and b) have the next one right there so make all the tears go away.

    I’m okay with a HFN in the sense that, even if they don’t say the “I love you”s or there’s no ring and baby on the way, I know that in the next book, they’ll still be together. The only time a HFN doesn’t work for me is if, in the next book, one half of the couple is dead or has moved on to someone else.

    That would rip out my heartstrings, but not in a good way.


  14. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 11:54 am

    Buffie — I hope that if you get a chance to read them, you enjoy them :-) They are a blast to write, and I always hope it translates well.

    And it is good to know I’m not the only one who is an Outlander/Gardella slacker, lol!


  15. katiebabs
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 11:58 am

    One of my all time favorite books and romances where the couple are able to defy all odds is The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. This book made me such an emotional wreck It takes place during WWII in Russia. Alexander and Tatiana have everything going against them from the people in their lives to starvation and even death.
    Oh yes, Jamie and Claire from Outlander is a good one! Not only do they have to deal with war, but time travel!


  16. Kati
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 12:09 pm

    Oh! Meljean how ’bout Jaenelle and Daemon from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewel trilogy?? Has ever a couple suffered so much? I love Daemon Sadi with all my heart and soul. He’s one of my all time favorite heroes. So tortured, so troubled and SO in love.


  17. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 12:46 pm

    Meljean, we could be twins – seriously, Marisa move over. I am sooooo into finding spoilers about TV shows. I’ll never read the end of a book before it’s time, but a TV show, bring it on – I absolutely want to know what’s going to happen.

    I never watched Buffy/Angel – but I did watch Charmed, and when Phoebe and Cole went through their angst I faithfully tuned in weekly to immerse myself in the drama. But when they didn’t end up together – I was in a total funk. I finally slapped myself in the head and said, “come on Maria – this is just make believe”


  18. katiebabs
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 1:12 pm

    If my library will ever let me have it, I am anxiously awaiting to read Jaenlle and Daemon’s story! *pout*


  19. Buffie
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 1:29 pm

    ***we interrupt regular programming to bring you this announcement**

    Hugh Jackman has just been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2008


  20. azteclady
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 1:35 pm

    *waving* Hi, Meljean!

    Hmmm… lemme see… I’m not sure they were *impossible odds* but uphill battles: Flowers from the Storm; Christian and Maddie–differnces in class, religious beliefs, upbringing, *and* overcoming the consequences of his stroke. Or Mila and Díaz from Linda Howard’s Cry No More

    The most recent one I’ve read… March and Jax in Ann Aguirre’s Wanderlust

    (I’m so behind in my reading, it ain’t funny!)


  21. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 1:46 pm

    katiebabs — I have TBH around here somewhere. I’m not sure why I’ve never read it. Maybe it should be TBH instead of Twilight…and you have started the BJT, right? :-D

    Kati — Ahhhhhh! My love for Daemon knows no bounds. And I know that what Daemon did in that book for Jaenelle has hugely influenced my writing. Now there’s dark, and there’s heartwrenching. It’s just such wonderful stuff.

    *looks pointedly at katiebabs*

    Maria — the death of the Cole/Phoebe relationship ended up being the death of me watching the show. I hate thinking that I’m that shallow, but … I really, really wanted them to find a way. Not that I wanted Cole to be all good all the time, but I wanted to believe that he’d be redeemed. That her love was stronger than everything else. Which probably just speaks to what a romantic I am.

    And it’s odd, but I didn’t have the same emotional breakup with Buffy when she didn’t get together with Angel or Spike (both of whom I loved as characters, too.) So it’s not just that a couple I was rooting for didn’t get together … I think it really was that the message I got was: Nope, the evil just can’t be overcome. Which is maybe more realistic, but when I’m emotionally invested in a fictional world, not always what I want to come away with after spending all that time there. So I just felt let down.

    Buffie — lol! *and now I’m squirreling off to see the pics they have*


  22. Kati
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 1:54 pm

    Meljean – I wondered if she’d influenced the way you think about your heroes. I’m in the midst of an exercise with Carolyn Jean, she’s reading Daughter of the Blood by Bishop and I’m reading Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey. I have to say, she got off easy considering that Kushiel is 900+ pages! But so far, I think both of us are quite enjoying the experience.

    Anyway, CJ was saying that she wondered if the Black Jewel trilogy hadn’t influenced your writing. And now that I think about it, I wonder why I hadn’t made the connection before now. But of course, CJ is an actual writer and I’m just a reader. But I’m glad to hear that you feel the same way about Daemon. He’s just sublime, isn’t he? Not afraid to make terrible, terrible hard decisions and yet, so wonderful and loving and patient with Jaenelle. He’s just magnificent. I simply adore that series, which I’d never even heard of before this summer, and know it’s going to end up being an annual re-read for me.


  23. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 1:55 pm

    Azteclady — FFTS is the perfect example, I think, of a genuine conflict that has to be worked though, and can’t be solved with a single conversation. It’s a situation that has to be resolved through character growth. Although paranormal romances have a conflict that is usually more external, my favorites always have the same resolution: that they just can’t beat it up or have a conversation, but have to grow and change to get to a point where a resolution is possible. In other words, if they — as an individual — have the ability to do on the first page what they need to do on the last page if only they had [insert magical weapon, knowledge, etc] it’s just … meh. I want them to make tough decisions, face tough challenges.

    And Kinsale is definitely another sadist, lol. Her poor, poor characters. I feel for them, I do.


  24. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 2:16 pm

    Kati — CJ’s right; Bishop is a huge influence.

    What I love about Daemon is that he is absolutely devoted to Jaenelle, and yet he isn’t, for a second, anything less than a terrifyingly powerful male … it’s just that his power is focused on doing everything he can for her.

    And he’s never concerned that his love for her makes him weak; he always knows it makes him stronger. And even though he does worry at times whether she’ll be turned off by what he is capable of … that’s also the one thing that saves them, is something she needs (and I love, of course, that she’s not turned off by it — and is equally capable of exercising her power when she needs to.)

    That’s another thing I love to see in romance, and in heroes — it’s not that they are brought to their knees by love (which so many heroes seem to fear) but that it strengthens them, gives them a focus. And not that a woman can’t make a man weak … it’s a different kind of weak, and it’s only for her. It’s not a weakness of spirit.


  25. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 2:18 pm

    Meljean – not only could you be my twin – but now you are my new best friend. I mean, we think alike – your statement about Cole and Phoebe is spot on!


  26. Kati
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 2:19 pm

    It is a fascinating dichotomy between them, isn’t it? She’s actually the more powerful and terrifying of the two of them. She’s the one with the power. And he realizes it when she’s so young. That’s also part of his appeal, isn’t it? He’s patient, and understands what she has to do. And is willing to sacrifice everything for love of her. And yet, he’s so powerful and cunning and resolute when he has to be.

    It’s powerfully romantic, I think.


  27. orannia
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 2:27 pm

    HI Meljean *waves*

    Sadly, that means that anyone who reads my books probably thinks that I’m a sadistic, bwahaha-ing villainous sort (with, of course, a thin nose and twirling mustache) … because I am not very nice to my characters.

    And the first character that sprung to mind when you mentioned ‘a sadistic, bwahaha-ing villainous sort’ was the six-fingered man from The Princess Bride :)

    Sorry…side-tracked. I read (and enjoyed!) Falling for Anthony and now have Demon Angel on my library hold list. It’s about Lilith & Hugh? LILITH & HUGH? I’m REALLY looking forward to it now!

    Right…the question. I completely agree about the choice Rhage had to make in Lover Eternal. But the one that sprung to mind (and apologies as it isn’t a romance novel) is the choice Vanyel had to make in The Last Herald Mage series: to die and be at peace from all the pain, but in doing so knowing that the people and country he loved would be torn apart….or live and suffer…and in the end die. That part of the book always makes me cry. And I so completely agree WRT Jaenelle & Daemon from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewel trilogy. Daemon is….I’m going to borrow Kati’s word (if that is OK please Kati?) – sublime :) *fans self* I think I need to re-read them!

    PS Meljean – I read Outlander about 5 years ago but *hangs head* never went any further into the series. At the time I delving into crime…..umm…books! Maybe when my brain stops whirling I might..what’s the phrase…’gird my loins’ and read them :)


  28. katiebabs
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 2:34 pm

    Since the library doesn’t like me lately, I think I need to make a trip to the bookstore and pick up the first book in TBJ, then someone , ahem *coughmeljeancough* can start on Twilight.
    Will I truly be a puddle of mush after reading Daemon? My harem has become to large to handle.


  29. katiebabs
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 2:35 pm

    Never read TBH?? That book… no words.


  30. Maered
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 3:33 pm

    I’ve never read TBJ, either. What am I missing?! Anyway, since you guys brought up Angel, can I just say how much of a Angel/Cordy shipper I was? And then they destroyed her character. *shakes head* It wasn’t right! They were so good for each other. *sob*


  31. orannia
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 3:43 pm

    Umm..I have been paying attention…but obviously not well enough. What does TBH stand for please? (I’m assuming TBJ – The Black Jewel Trilogy?).

    Katiebabs – I all but live at my library. It’s the only way I can afford my book habit :) Anyway, I find bribery works well. I always take the librarians a morning tea around Christmas…and earlier on this year I made them a chocolate cake.

    Will I truly be a puddle of mush after reading Daemon? My harem has become to large to handle.

    Yes!…and LOL!


  32. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 3:57 pm

    Maria — if you liked Firefly and cursed the skies when it was canceled, Marisa might be in trouble :-)

    Kati — it’s wonderfully romantic. And I do love how Bishop handles the “romance” when Jaenelle is younger, too. It’s just the perfect touch, and never falls into creepy territory.


  33. Gannon
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:01 pm

    Buffie, I saw that announcement earlier. Hugh is THE MAN! He deserves the title of Sexiest Man Alive. Not only is he gorgeous on the outside, but he’s a loving husband and father. And THAT is definitely sexy! :)

    Maria and Meljean, I always wanted Cole and Phoebe to be together, no matter if he was the source of all evil. The show just wasn’t the same after that.


  34. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:03 pm

    orannia — I’m easily distracted by any small connection (even if it’s only in my head) to the Princess Bride, too, lol.

    Demon Angel IS Hugh and Lilith! And Lilith is … well, she is a terrible amount of fun (with the emphasis on terrible). Falling for Anthony kicked off the series, but I think it’s true that Lilith and Hugh’s story gets straight to the heart of the series: two people who are in impossible situations, and who have to facing losing everything they love most (and their lives) before they can reach their HEA.

    And Lilith still tries to steal every scene she’s in, even when she’s in other characters’ books.

    I also think that after today, there are going to be a few (re)readings of Outlander, The Bronze Horseman (TBH), and the Black Jewels trilogy, lol. Ah, god — I love books.


  35. Crystal Dee
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:04 pm

    JR Ward definitely stands out as an author who puts her characters through the wringer.

    Those kind of books are a little like childbirth. The pain, sweat and hard work all seem to melt away when you see the end result.

    I’ve not read the Outlander series either. I tend to stay away from series that have a main character whose story runs through the entire series. If it’s a trilogy I just wait until they’re all released and then read them over a weekend. I can usually do those in a 24 hour run and then sleep for 24 more hours. More than a trilogy and they’ve lost all hope that I will put myself through the angst of having to read them in more than one sitting.


  36. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:09 pm

    Maered — Oh, don’t get me started on Cordy. I remember watching those early episodes when they just go off the rails with her character thinking, WTF? This is all fake, right? And waiting for it to change. Instead, she goes into a coma. Gah!

    And the Black Jewels trilogy is dark fantasy — really quite dark, with a lot of violence that might turn off some readers — and epic in every way: the scope of the worldbuilding, the romance, the characters. I highly, highly recommend them. They do take a little bit to get in to (Bishop just drops you into the world, and there are rules, castes, and different realms to learn) but once it gets going…it’s just an amazingly compelling journey.

    It doesn’t hurt to have characters like Daemon … not to mention Saetan, Lucivar, Jaenelle, and Surreal :-)


  37. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:25 pm

    Crystal – I would still recommend Outlander. Essentially you can read the first two books and be completely satisfied. That’s my personal opinion.


  38. Lorna
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:32 pm

    Hi!

    I was thinking of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dance With The Devil. Zarek was treated so badly, it was hard to see how he was going to warm up to Astrid. But Astrid was persistent and didn’t give up on him.

    Also, JR Ward’s Lover Awakened. Was Z ever going to think that he was good? Good for Bella? Good for others?


  39. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 4:36 pm

    Lorna – I’m with you on Lover Awakened. There was surely a lot of angst – and I didn’t see how Z was EVAH gonna think he was anything but a sh*t.

    Funny – I wonder if there comes a point in an author’s mind where they feel they’ve put both the characters and readers through enough and it’s time to give us all peace of mind – Meljean? what say you? When do you get to a point in your writing when you say – yeah, they’ve been through enough – time to give them some oxygen.


  40. katiebabs
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 5:08 pm

    Speaking of Twilight, did anyone ever think Bella and Edward would defy the odds?
    As for JR Ward, how is she going to redeem Rehv and give him his HEA?
    Part of me enjoys when the two main characters suffer, it makes their HEA all the more sweeter.


  41. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 5:10 pm

    Crystal Dee — I think the childbirth analogy is an apt one for writing — even pregnancy. There’s that point when you look down at yourself and are just, “oh my god what have I done?” Or the point where you’ve been kneeling in front of the toilet for a couple of hours. Or the point when you get stuck in the bathroom of the little Lebanese restaurant downtown, because even though you went through the door okay, for some reason you just don’t have an angle to open the door wide enough on the way out (and you think the problem is probably the sink, because there’s no way you’re going to say it’s your belly.)

    So for every “Oh my god, what have I done?” moment, you get to the end and it’s just … bliss.

    Lorna — I agree with Zarek & Z. And I think the nice thing about paranormal is that — even though there’s usually some pain in a hero’s past — the abuse that a paranormal hero can take is so much more extreme. And so the path back to “happy” is so much longer and bumpy … sometimes you wonder if they’ll make it all the way.


  42. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 5:16 pm

    Maria — I call that point “the end” :-D

    Nah, I think it’s INCREDIBLY important, especially in a book where the stakes are so overwhelming and the suffering the characters have gone through is great, for there to be balance. One, it gives the reader a break, too. If the four hours is spent in heart-wrenching situations, without any lightness, it’s not just exhausting, it can be depressing. And the payoff at the end might not be BIG enough to balance out everything they’ve gone through. Sure, they got their happy ending … but now you just want to go stick your head in the oven.

    But it’s also a way to make the highs so much higher, and the lows so much lower. If you can remember a character laughing, then the moment they are crying is so much more effective, I think — and vice versa.


  43. Marisa
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 5:21 pm

    Wow, step away for a few hours and the conversation gets really good.

    Meljean – Maria didn’t watch Firefly – but I loved it and was crushed when it ended.

    My big fear with long standing book series and TV shows (Lost comes to mind) is that some apocalypse will happen (like in Stehpen King’s book The Stand) and I’ll never find out what happens to The Guardians, the people left on the island (especially since they moved it and Jack has no way to get back), The Black Dagger Brotherhood or The Dark Hunters. I mean what if the worst happened and we went back to a time with no internet, phone or TV? Would I be doomed to roam the world looking for my favorite authors to find out what happened?

    Oh, one more thing. I almost didn’t finish Acehron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. What Sherrilyn put that poor man through, page after page of pain, angst, horror – I have to say it was ALMOST too much. But, I loved it, because the HEA was all the more satisfying.


  44. katiebabs
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 5:30 pm

    Can someone tell me what was the appeal of Firefly? I was a hardcore Buffy and Angel addict but just couldn’t get into Firefly. I am hoping Dollhouse will be another good show from Weadon.


  45. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 5:51 pm

    Marisa — maybe authors should create a “Break In Case of Emergency” file … something that, in the event of world meltdown, we can see how everything was supposed to turn out. It wouldn’t be the same as reading, but at least we’d all know.

    I haven’t read Acheron yet. But when I get there, I am forewarned … and prepared to get through Part I.

    In his book, I think the necessary balance must come from the other books in the series. I wonder if a reader who hadn’t read any of the DH books, and picked up his, would make it through the first part, or if they’d find his HEA satisfactory based on that one story. Whereas a fan who has seen more of him, in good times and bad, has more to fall back on and is more invested as the torture goes on and on.

    katiebabs — there is no explaining Firefly. EXCEPT! if you only saw what came on when it was originally broadcast, you might want to try to pick up the DVD collection. FOX didn’t even bother to show the pilot, so there was no good intro to the characters, in my opinion — and without the intro, the storyline with River, the first taste of the Mal/Inara conflict … it just wouldn’t be the same.

    I have no hope for Dollhouse, honestly. FOX, the Friday timeslot, the troubles already reported from the writing room … I might not even watch it until there is a full season. I can’t have my heart smashed into pieces again, courtesy of FOX.


  46. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:29 pm

    Seriously – Meljean – we were separated at birth. I’m with you on Dollhouse. I had hopes, but with the re-writes and the Friday timeslot, YIKES! Having said that – I’m going to tune into the premiere. I was sooooo disappointed with FRINGE, I only watched one episode. My time is waaay to important to me – so the show has to hook me right out of the gate.


  47. orannia
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:32 pm

    Thank you Meljean. I thought Lilith was very amusing in Falling For Anthony (FFA) so I’m looking forward to seeing what she gets up too in Demon Angel :)

    If the four hours is spent in heart-wrenching situations, without any lightness, it’s not just exhausting, it can be depressing. And the payoff at the end might not be BIG enough to balance out everything they’ve gone through. Sure, they got their happy ending … but now you just want to go stick your head in the oven. But it’s also a way to make the highs so much higher, and the lows so much lower. If you can remember a character laughing, then the moment they are crying is so much more effective, I think — and vice versa.

    I agree. Anne Bishop is very good at doing that. Yes, TBJ Trilogy is VERY dark, but there are some lighter moments, which is good as I read to escape that ‘head in the oven’ compulsion, so if I book is all angst…not so good. Even though I’ve only read FFA, I’m guessing Meljean (from what you’ve just said) that your books will have those high and low moments too :)

    I have to pipe up and add to the chorus about Firefly. I loved it! I watched it from the DVDs so I was able to watch the pilot first. The funny thing was that two of my flatmates (one male, one female), both of whom aren’t sci-fi fans, both came into the lounge when I was watching the pilot and started reading…I say ‘started’ because half way through I realised they were watching…and by the end they were glued to it :) Dollhouse starts here next week so fingers crossed!

    Marisa – I definitely think all authors need to write the ending/last chapter (I like Meljean’s idea of a ‘Break In Case of Emergency’ file), whether it be for a book or a TV series! (Note to self: DO NOT GET ON YOUR SOAPBOX ABOUT THE PRETENDER!) I believe JK Rowling did so for Harry Potter. After a particular TV series finished without an ending I get very worried about never knowing *cue suspenseful music*


  48. Karin
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:32 pm

    Wow. This is what I miss the one day I’m actually swamped at work. *pouts* Well, better late than never, I guess.

    Meljean, the whole time I was reading through your post, your opening about writing what you know made me wonder if maybe you had ever experienced seemingly impossible obstacles you had to overcome for anything. I’d imagine that sometimes trying to get published must feel like that.

    Like Buffie, I’ve never read the Outlander series or Colleen’s books that were mentioned. In fact, I’ve hardly read any of the books that were mentioned in connection with characters overcoming insurmountable odds to be together.

    However, the one that immediately jumped into my head was Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series, especially THE DARKEST KISS, the second in the series. In that book the hero, Lucien, is given the task of killing the heroine, Anya, by Cronus, the god who basically controls the Lords. Watching Lucien and Anya try to figure out a way around that task was rather heartbreaking, especially toward the end. But, of course, they get their HEA, but not without some serious sacrifices. That series has definitely proven to be one where nothing comes easy for the heroes and heroines so far, and I’m expecting it will continue to stay that way.


  49. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:36 pm

    FRINGE!!

    I lasted longer than you did (the stuff that really, really bothered me in the first episode was the procedural stuff — because SURE they are going to let some random guy sneak in to an interrogation room and beat a suspect who brought down an international flight with some bioweapon … oh, and the suspect would be left alone. (And that was only the first of the problems I had with it)). But, I thought — maybe once they aren’t supposedly working for the FBI, the procedural stuff won’t bother me as much.

    But then … meh. Just lost interest. I’m not convinced by the characters, and some of the writing felt like it was trying too hard. I felt like they needed a Scully to bring it back to Earth a little.


  50. Marisa
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:45 pm

    MelJean – you are so spot on about all these TV shows – have you ever thought of doing a screenplay/pilot for TV/movie?

    As for Acheron – I think readers who have been with the series from the beginning have a better chance of sticking with the book – they have a vested interest in his HEA. They also have a sense of who and what he has become. I’m not quite sure you can pick that book up as a stand alone and really get the full impact. Of course you would be able to follow it – but the emotional context and subtext would be missing.

    LOL I LOVE your *In Case of Emergency Break Glass* idea – should be a requirement for all authors writing long standing series – ’cause, you never know – right?


  51. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:48 pm

    Karin — Oh, I *loved* the conflict in TDK. And it’s so far my favorite of Gena’s LOTU series. She is constantly surprising me with where she goes with the characters; I can usually guess what-happens-next, but with hers … she really keeps a reader on her toes, and finds some unusual ways of getting to that resolution. Pure fun.

    On the personal level … I can’t say there’s been anything terribly tragic in my life, for which I feel very blessed, and my path to publishing was a bit of a fairy tale, actually (not that it made the writing any easier … but I lucked out finding my editor, honestly). But I think we all have decisions, big and small, easy and hard. And we have to face the consequences of those decisions — saying “Hi” to that guy … or not. Having a child … or not. Taking that new job … or not. We have to live with regret, we have to get through the bleak days. Everything adds up and goes into a writer’s toolkit, I think. And sometimes that means exaggerating and taking it to an extreme level, but the core of emotion is there, and the human experience (which I think every effective romance has to resonate with, in some way. Vampires and Guardians might my books, but if the emotions they experienced didn’t FEEL real to me as a writer and (hopefully) to my readers … well, my stories would be crap.)


  52. Karin
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:50 pm

    The *In Case of Emergency Break Glass* idea reminds me of what JK Rowling said in a few interviews about how she had written the end of the series fairly close to when she wrote the first book. Knowing the ending and having it down somewhere would definitely be a good idea because, like Marisa said, you never know.


  53. Karin
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:52 pm

    I love your answer, Meljean! It just goes to show that you may not be writing exactly what you know, but the core of knowledge is there. You’re just stretching it to fit the world you’ve created.


  54. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 6:52 pm

    (oops, that was supposed to be: Vampires and Guardians might populate my books, …)

    Marisa — I have seriously thought about it. Like, what if I crush all of my fingers in a freak typing accident and can never write again? I could have something ready to put on my website that says: And Michael gets his HEA. And the world sings together in joyous song!

    Er, maybe not that.

    I’m much, much too wordy for a screenplay/script. Comic books are the same; I love them, would die to write one, but keeping everything to lines of dialog in little bubbles? Eeek!


  55. azteclady
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 7:26 pm

    Off topic: not having internet sucks /off topic

    katiebabs, there’s no explaining Firefly’s appeal :grin: you either fall for it or not. (Though I have to say that I’m still angry at Weddon over Wash in Serenity. As my daughter said, “Weddon only did that ’cause he’s a man.”) Like orannia, I have gotten people hooked on Firefly simply by putting on the pilot while they are in the room. Mal “Capn Tight Pants” Reynolds and the crew just grab them and don’t let go.

    Wordy, Meljean? Who would ever consider you wordy? *thinking of contest rules*

    :wink:


  56. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 7:41 pm

    Azteclady — Pfffffffft. :-P


  57. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 10:24 pm

    Meljean – Thank you SO much for spending the day with us. You were a total hoot- and you were terrific. We really enjoyed the conversation.

    We know Demon Bound will be a huge success!

    Thanks,
    Maria and Marisa


  58. Meljean
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 11:48 pm

    Thanks to the both of you! I had a great time — and thanks for everyone who stopped by!


  59. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 10:17 am

    The five lucky posters to receive a copy of DEMON BOUND are:

    Azteclady, Maered, Orannia, Crystal Dee and Lorna – please send your snail mail addresses to alphamail@romancenovel.tv

    Thanks everyone for joining the fun.


  60. Buffie
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 10:20 am

    Congrats to all you winners!!!!!


  61. Karin
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 12:57 pm

    Congratulations to the winners! Enjoy the book! :)


  62. azteclady
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 1:23 pm

    Yyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!

    *bouncing*


  63. azteclady
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 1:26 pm

    erm…. and congrats to Maered, Orannia, Crystal Dee and Lorna; thank you, Maria, Marissa and Meljean.


  64. orannia
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 2:08 pm

    Congratulations Azteclady, Maered, Crystal Dee and Lorna! And a HUGE THANK YOU to Maria, Marisa and Meljean!

    Azteclady – I had exactly the same reaction…just away from the keyboard :)

    Meljean – all the best with the release of Demon Bound! Oh, and I have to say, from what I saw of him in FFA….I like Michael :)


  65. Meljean
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 3:37 pm

    Congratulations, everyone! I hope you enjoy them!


  66. Maria Lokken
    on Nov 20th, 2008
    @ 5:46 pm

    Thanks to Meljean and her publisher Berkley for this great book give away!