Friday, March 22, 2013

BLOG TOUR SPOTLIGHT: The Trajectory of Dreams by Nicole Wolverton

Ask a reader what she wants in a novel, and one of the answers you’ll probably get is the likeable protagonist. I recently read a novel where most of the reviews mentioned that people hated the main character, so they hated the book. I would argue, though, that a protagonist need not be sympathetic—as long as the issue they’re wrestling with is compelling and the character is interesting.

It’s an issue I wrestled with while writing Lela White, the main character in THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS. She’s an antisocial stalker who needs to remind herself to act normal in public. She believes in some really bizarre things, and she’s not afraid to kill to defend her worldview. I read quite a few novels with unreliable and/or unlikeable narrators to see what worked and what didn’t—We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Fight Club, The End of Alice, Notes From the Underground, American Psycho. All the protagonists are seriously messed up. What I discovered is there’s no one way to write a protagonist like that. I tried to hover over the line of crazy but with an admirable goal (sort of Dexter-esque in a way).

Here’s the thing, though: most truly unlikeable characters in literature are men. I’m not saying there are no women, but there are definitely fewer. The unlikeable female protagonist is less acceptable for some reason. Okay, I guess I do know the reason—it’s the stereotype of femininity. Men are aggressive. They’re action-takers. On the other hand, women are expected to be nicer, more submissive . . . even if they’re the hero of the piece. They have to save the day while acting and looking like the socially acceptable version of womanliness. There are plenty of kick ass female literary characters—Darla from Mike Mullin’s Ashfall series comes to mind immediately—but they’re generally also nice in some way. Girly. Womanly. There’s been a lot of progress made on this front, but there’s still work to do. That’s exactly what makes writing a character like Lela so tricky. The earlier versions of the novel had a Lela who was a lot pricklier, a lot more ruthless. Feedback suggested I soften her, make her at least slightly more likeable on the surface.

When I’m reading a novel, of course I want characters I can root for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the main character, though. Mrs. Gerhardt, Zory . . . even The Chin . . . these are the foils to Lela in THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS. The humanizing influences on Lela, I guess. They’re flawed, too, and that’s what makes them interesting. Flawed characters are good—they make me want to read a book, simply to find what happens next. Unlikeable characters are fun to read as well. It’s not just the what happens next factor. It’s the how it all ends factor. Because with unlikeable characters, you just know the ending is going to be insane . . . and I’m all about a great ending.

Publishers Weekly calls THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS (Bitingduck Press, ISBN 9781938463440) a "skillful mainstream examination of a psychotic woman’s final descent into insanity." The novel exposes the chaotic inner life of Lela White, a sleep lab technician and mentally ill insomniac who believes she has been tasked with protecting the safety of the revitalized U.S. space shuttle program. She breaks into the homes of astronauts to watch them sleep, and she is prepared to kill to keep those with sleep problems from the shuttle launch. Her delicate grasp on reality becomes more tenuous when annoying co-worker Trina Shook insists on moving into her house and visiting Russian cosmonaut Zory Korchagin inserts himself into Lela's life. Korchagin's increasing interest puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. Lela's tragic childhood unfolds throughout the novel, revealing the beginnings of her illness and long-buried secrets, and as Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe. Buy a copy of THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS at your local independent bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or anywhere books are sold.

THE AUTHOR: Nicole Wolverton fears many things, chief amongst them that something lurks in the dark. From ghosts to stalkers, her adult and young adult fiction plays on the mundane and not-so-mundane things that frighten us all. THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS is her debut novel. She is a freelance writer and editor and lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband, dog, and two cats.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SPOTLIGHT: Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed

Surrender Your Love (Surrender Your Love, #1)

Title:  Surrender Your Love
Author:  J.C. Reed
Series:  Surrender Your Love #1
Pages:  217
Publisher:  Self-Published
Date Published:  March 15, 2013

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Meeting Jett was like lightning. Dangerous. Better left untouched. And better forgotten. But lightning always strikes twice.

Brooke Stewart, a realtor in New York, doesn’t do relationships. When she’s sent to a remote estate to finalize a real estate deal, she discovers her new boss is no other than the guy she left naked in bed.

Sexy, dangerously handsome, and arrogant Jett Mayfield attracts trouble, and women, like a lightning rod. But the night he meets Brooke he gets more than he bargained for. The green-eyed millionaire playboy isn’t used to taking no for an answer, and he isn’t about to start now.

When he proposes two months of no strings sex, Brooke is intrigued and accepts his proposal. Little does she know Jett’s determined to claim the one woman he can’t have, pulling her deeper into his dangerous world.

A man who doesn't take 'no' for an answer.
A woman afraid to surrender to love.
Two lives that are about to cross...and secrets laid bare.

Find the Author:

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Sacred by Elana K. Arnold


Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett's pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: "Stop."

The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can't or won't explain, he's drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can't deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett's body slowly awakens at Will's touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he's been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.


And then Book 2:

The passionate romance that began in Sacred concludes in Splendor.

Scarlett loves the touch of her boyfriend, Will. But when he leaves Catalina Island to start college on the East Coast, she wonders whether their passion can survive a long-distance relationship—and whether she can face the home front on her own. Scarlett's senior year should be a breeze, but her parents have recently separated, and her already-wild best friend, Lily, is becoming involved with a dangerous boy named Gunner . . . a boy Scarlett is also attracted to. A boy she doesn't want to be—and shouldn't be—attracted to.

To take her mind off her troubles, Scarlett focuses on caring for her newly pregnant mare and delving deeper into the Kabbalah. Her religious exploration offers a way to stay connected to Will, who is a Kabbalah mystic, and a key to understanding her disturbing dreams about him. But as she gets wrapped up in her mare, her Kabbalah studies, and her conflicting feelings for Will and Gunner, Scarlett misses the warning signs that lead to a heartbreaking loss.


“This or That” with Elana Arnold

Paris or Venice: Venice

Deodorant or Perfume: Neither

Winter or Summer: Summer

Vampire Diaries or Twilight: Twilight (I’ve never seen Vampire Diaries!)

Angels or Demons: Demons

Fall or Spring: Fall

Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter: Harry Potter

Ice Cream or Sorbet: Ice Cream

Coke or Pepsi: Pepsi

Cabin in the woods or Condo on the Beach: Condo on the Beach

Kisses or Hugs: Kisses

Cash or Card: Card

Print or Ebook: Print

Voice or Text: Voice

Batman or Superman: Batman

Wheat or White: Wheat

Romance or Passion: Passion

Night or Day: Day


About the Author

ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse--a gorgeous mare named Rainbow--and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of the East/West Literary Agency. Sacred is her debut novel.


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