Friday, October 8, 2010

Spotlight on: Cassie Ryan, author of Seducing the Succubus

I'm really excited about having Cassie Ryan on my blog today!  Not only is she one of the nicest people you'll ever want to meet, Cassie is über talented.  Her new book, Seducing the Succubus, is guaranteed to be hot and steamy and a "can't put it down" read.  I had my pre-ordered and can't wait to dive in.

I asked Cassie to talk about her hero today and I think you'll like what she has to say.  We also get an excerpt!  AND she is giving away an autographed copy of SEDUCING THE SUCCUBUS to one luck winner!  Leave Cassie a comment to be entered to win.

Everyone is always talking about how much they love “tortured characters” in books. Characters who have to overcome some or even a lot of past baggage as they move through the story—and in the case of the villains—sometimes they never get past it or even try. But those inherently flawed characters seem to fascinate readers and writers alike.


I must admit, I love tortured characters as well. As a writer, their scars from the past help lend motivation to their current actions. And I love watching their journey as the other characters end up pushing their buttons and making them confront that tortured past. Yes, just like most writers—I am kind of evil to my characters

But is there a point where a character is TOO tortured?

I’ve read books where I have to stop reading because the pain of the characters is just too much for me as a reader to bear. And many times when I’m THAT uncomfortable I never end up picking the book back up. Granted, it could be that a particular character touched on some of my own personal baggage, but many times it’s also because I’m pretty empathic when it comes to “feeling” what others are—including characters in books and movies. I’m not talking about a good gory fight scene or a good knock down drag out fight now and then when the story warrants, but when the character is just wrenched and wrung out through the entire book without a break—I think I just end up mentally exhausted! I just don’t enjoy reading books where the poor characters are tortured just for the sake of being tortured. You can imagine from that why I don’t do horror movies. *shudder*

So for that reason, I’m very careful when I “torture” my characters. I want to push their buttons. I want the other characters to make them question their long-held beliefs and even their learned reactions to things. I want bad things to happen to them—but only so they can grow and find closure if not peace by the end of the story.

In Seducing the Succubus, Jezebeth is a succubi who has been around since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. She has to have sexual energy to survive. But because of what she has to do to survive, and the fact that the succubi are the read-headed step children of the supernatural world, she’s been subjected to the poor opinion and derision of others for millennia. So when she meets Noah, a horror writer who got himself into trouble when he accidentally summoned Lilith while doing writing research, Jezebeth has a chip on her shoulder already. So when Noah makes his opinion plain about what she has to do to survive—she reacts in a predictably prickly manner.

Over the course of the story, they have to grow past both their prejudices and their past baggage in order to see eye to eye.

It’s that journey that fascinates me and keeps me coming back to both write and read more books :)

What do you think? Is there such a thing as characters who are TOO tortured? Have you ever gotten so uncomfortable with the conflict within a book that you had to put it down? What keeps you coming back for more?  I’d love to hear your opinions and if you leave a comment you'll be entered to win!.

In the meantime, enjoy this blurb and excerpt for Seducing the Succubus, on sale now at a book seller near you!

First in a sexy new series featuring four succubus sisters fighting demons and desires.

Jezebeth is living out the centuries as any succubus must-seducing men to survive and corrupting souls to make her quota with her queen, Lilith. But, when she's attacked by a bounty hunter demon, it's a handsome human who saves her.

Noah Halston is a horror writer who owes his life to Lilith. Now he must pay up by eluding the fearsome beasts of hell while escorting a very attractive and tempting succubus safely to Lilith's lair-or else he will forfeit his soul to an eternity of torture.

Trouble is, if he spends too much time with the all too tempting Jezebeth, he may just lose his heart-or, even worse, his life.

Excerpt:

As Jezebeth glanced up and realized what Noah had suggested, she couldn’t help but giggle. A truck stop could very well be a Succubus Smorgasbord.


The sound of her amusement came out weaker than she’d like, but the fact that she still had enough energy to laugh gave her the freedom to wait and choose who she took sustenance from.


Noah had already made his disgust of her and her survival needs very clear back in the parking lot≤even though she could smell the musky scent of his arousal that wafted through the cab of the truck. Her skin ached with longing in response to the scent. It was too bad he felt that way because the glowing aura of nearly white energy that surrounded him like a pulsing mist looked as if it could totally heal her even with minimal contact like a deep kiss.


He was attracted, but also repulsed.


Interesting, but definitely irrelevant.


Jez had never been ashamed of what she was and what she had to do to survive. That would just be a waste of time since there was nothing she could do to change it. But for some reason, Noah’s distaste as he’d looked at the two men lying in the truck had stung. He’d risked his life to help her, and for that she found she wasn’t willing to broach the subject of taking Noah’s energy unless she was near death and didn’t have any other choice.


She was used to seeing men only as a means to an end≤survival. For the most part they were predictable, easy to manipulate and totally uninteresting. But so far Noah was a puzzle that intrigued her.


She mentally shrugged and concentrated on conserving her energy for the task ahead.


“What’s so funny?”


Even in the near darkness, she could make out his small scowl of confusion.


“You said the truck stop is a Succubus Smorgasbord if I’m willing. There’s no ‘willing’ to it. I’ll take whatever we can find at this point.” Her words were still weak, but she was glad to hear an underlying thread of strength that hadn’t been there before. Pure stubbornness might help her hold out long enough to find more energy.


When the next exit loomed, Noah took it and drove toward the large truck stop that sat on the side of the freeway--a halfway point between nowhere and nothing.


Jez tipped down the visor and checked her appearance in the tiny mirror. Dark circles rode under her hazel eyes, which looked too big for her pale face. She looked like she’d had a hard night of partying and hadn’t recovered yet.


A large sigh escaped. She’d been in worse forms and still found those willing to offer her their sustenance. She combed her fingers through her hair and used most of the rest of her energy to remove the blood from her arm and clothes until she slumped back against the seat, wishing she could just close her eyes and sleep.


Noah pulled around to the back parking lot and parked among the large semitrucks scattered in the extra-long parking spaces. He turned off the ignition and pulled out the keys before glancing toward Jezebeth. “So, how should we do this?”


“We?” She gave him her best sardonic smile. “You’ve already made it quite clear how you see my need for energy.” Her words came out more cutting than she’d intended, but she was surprised when Noah winced. But when she glanced again, his expression was haughty and unforgiving, convincing her she’d only imagined it.


“Yes, we. I promised I’d take care of you and get you back to Lilith safe and sound. You’re nearly out of energy, so the least I can do is help you . . . find some.”


Jez huffed out a breath of sarcastic amusement. “Don’t go all noble on me. I’m sure the night of hot sex with Lilith was well worth everything you’ll have to go through to pay for it.” She reached for the door handle. That was usually Lilith’s side of the equation, and got the succubus queen whatever she wanted in return.

“I didn’t have a night of hot sex with Lilith.” Noah’s words were defensive and low.


Jez popped open the door and glanced back at him. “Don’t worry, when Lilith gives her word or makes a deal, she keeps it. You’ll get your night when this is done.”


Noah frowned as he studied her. “Why would I want to be just another fuck among billions? This is my payment for not spending the night with Lilith.”


Jez frowned trying to understand the meaning behind his cryptic words. She was tempted to ask him for clarification, but she was already light-headed and needed to find energy fast. Besides, the distaste in his voice was obvious, and his words echoed through Jez’s mind like an accusation.


Why would I want to be just another fuck among billions?


She winced as anger burned through her. Who the hell was this guy to judge her and her kind? He was a mere human, and while his aura was distractingly clean and white, she was sure he hadn’t taken any vows of celibacy or morality. “Then you’ll be relieved to know that I’m a bit more discerning than my mistress. You’ll never get any type of offer from me.”


Noah snapped his mouth shut as if she’d surprised him, and she enjoyed a small surge of satisfaction as she slid out of the truck and closed the door behind her.


The cold night air hit her from all sides, stealing her breath and slowly leaching her low reserves of energy. She leaned heavily against the truck as she gathered her strength for the walk into the truck stop.


Noah cursed as he jogged around to her side. She thought she caught the words “stubborn fricking woman” within his mumbles as he stopped in front of her. “Let me help you get inside. You’re still weak.” He took her arm in his and pulled her close against his side.


His body was warm and firm, the muscles of his torso flexing against her as he moved.

Why would I want to be just another fuck among billions?


She stiffened and pulled away from him. “I’m fine. It’s time for me to go look for one billion and one, so if you’ll excuse me.”


Noah recoiled as if she’d slapped him, an expression of surprise flashing across his features.


“Miss? Do you need any help?”


Jez turned to find a tall, lanky man in his mid-forties wearing a thick flannel shirt, jeans, and boots approaching them, his keys jangled in his right hand. He had dark hair, piercing blue eyes, and a kind expression. But even more important, the hazy mist surrounding him was thick enough to call to her like a dark promise, and yet dark enough to show her that he might not take too much convincing to give her the sustenance she needed right here in the parking lot.


She didn’t look back at Noah, but instead willed her legs to hold her weight as she walked carefully forward toward the newcomer. “Actually, I could really use some help, if you don’t mind.” Jezebeth smiled up at him. “Maybe a ride?” She let her meaning show clearly in her gaze as it traveled down his body to center on the growing bulge just behind the fly of his jeans.


“Jezebeth . . .” Noah’s voice was a low warning behind her, and she ignored it, hoping he took the hint and shut up.


The man’s gaze flicked past her to Noah, and she could sense his primal protective instincts kicking into high gear. Humans were very territorial--especially about women. “Don’t worry about him,” she soothed the newcomer. “He just can’t accept that I’m not interested.”


Jezebeth could’ve sworn she felt a blast of cold air coming from Noah’s direction--an outward sign that her mark had hit home. But she knew that was only her own fancy at work. After all, he was only human.


The man held Noah’s angry gaze for a long moment before he said, “Of course, darlin’. My truck is right this way.”


“Actually, the lady is just fine.” Noah stepped forward placing his body between Jezebeth and the newcomer, wrapping a possessive arm around her waist.

Her mind sent a signal to her body to object and pull away, but her body refused to respond. Noah was warm and pulsing with energy, and before she could do anything further, he’d pulled her close, cupped her cheek in his large, warm hand and lowered his head to kiss her.You can buy SEDUCING THE SUCCUBUS now at: your local store or online at: 




B&N: http://bit.ly/bnJs2I


Borders: http://bit.ly/blUoIE

Books-a-million: http://bit.ly/agZk56

Amazon: http://amzn.to/bBMlyi

Or visit Cassie's web site at:  http://www.cassieryan.com/Look for Book Two in this exciting series April 2011!!!!

11 comments:

Modokker said...

I have read a book or two where i thought WHOAAAA! To much lol It never made me put it down but i had a hard time getting thru the intense part. Of course i think it depends on what kind of book your reading if your expecting it or not. I remember reading Christine Feehan Drake sisters series the last book Hidden Currents. The way Elle get treated in the first part of the book was not easy to read. I mean the books aren't the tamest for violence but not like this. I made it thru because i knew i loved the series and it would get better once i got thru the hard part. I wasn't expected that MUCH violence. Like i said if your expecting it it's not a big deal.

Lisa B
modokker AT Yahoo dot com

Cassie Ryan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa.

I LOOOVE Christine Feehan, but I know what you mean, some of that series was really hard to read, but worth it :)

Alexis Walker said...

The answer is "yes." Sometimes the emotions are just too intense and I have to put the book down and step away for awhile. The problem is, it tends to effect my mood so I have to get back to it and get through it. The other time I put a book down is when the protagonist just seems to be in a no win situation and there is no hope at all. I find that depressing and even harder to get through. I'm reading one of those now and I find myself reading ony 5 pages and then putting it down for the night.
Loved your excerpt! I have got to read this book! So glad there will be more to follow :-)

Linda Style said...

Great post...and yep, I've read a few of those books, too. I think in many, part of the problem is that the angst never changes. The hero never learns and grows from one torture to the next and it's the same old angst over and over again. That said, I do love tortured heroes, and your book sounds wonderful. Can't wait to read it!

Linda

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for the new post, Cassie and Erin. I dig the name "Jezebeth", and the cover art for "The Demon and the Succubus" is COOL!

May I express a dissenting opinion? Unlike 99.99% of romance readers, I don't care for tortured characters.

For me, emotional baggage is a big turnoff. That goes for both fiction and real life.

Sure, everyone has baggage. But not everyone lives in terms of it. One of the most important marks of maturity is learning to deal with it, to put it to positive uses.

But the typical romance hero lets bad events from his past define him. They control his every move and keep him from living a full life, from being the man he can be.

More often than not, the hero is a cynic who has no justifiable reason to be cynical. He's rich, powerful, famous, respected. He has every reason to be happy---but no, he can't get over being dumped and humiliated by some chick many years ago. So he takes it out on the world in general and the heroine in particular.

That gives her an obstacle to overcome, a goal to work toward. I can see why lots of readers and writers go for this sort of scenario. Alas, I'm not one of them.

To me, a healthy attitude is sexy in a man---and a woman. If past events trouble them, they should be working as hard as possible to deal with them.

And they never, repeat never, rely on ANYONE else to do the job. Its entirely up to the person who's going through these traumas to overcome them. You can't get rid of someone else's emotional baggage any more than you can eat for someone else.

And lest someone say, "Well, if that's the case with the hero, how can the heroine save him from himself?" Durn right she can't! And he can't save her from her inner demons either. This is strictly a do-it-yourself job.

But this opens their relationship to other dynamics, other scenarios. For example, if one of the two focal characters undergoes a radical change, with the other still love him or her? Is the very presence of the significant other helping a character change for the better, or hindering the process? Does change bring out aspects of a character that surprise both of them?

These are just a few ideas. If only more romance writers would think outside of the box, instead of pounding out yet another saga of Arnold Angst!

Hmmm . . . remember that old saying, "If you want it done right, do it yourself"? Looks like I've got my work cut out for me!

Mary Anne Landers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanja said...

I've read some books where some characters are too tortured. I either end up crying because of their pain or getting angry because they can't handle what's being throwing their way. I prefer characters that are tortured any more than a real person. Any more than that and it feels like I'm being tortured.

Barbara White Daille said...

Yes, I've put down books before where the characters have been too tortured and/or the scenes seem added just for shock value.

I also like to see some breaks in the "torture"--otherwise, the happy ending at the end of the book is too abrupt and unbelievable.

Great post, Cassie!

Barbara
www.barbarawhitedaille.com

Cassie Ryan said...

Wow - lots of great opinions!

Thanks everyone for stopping by. No matter what we think on this subject - it's clear we all love books and amazing characters :)

Diane said...

I have given up on books if the characters have not been what I expected and usually don't go back to it.
I saw your book on Amazon and loved the cover and also the recommendations!

Erin Quinn said...

And the winner is: Tanja, posted at October 9, 2010 5:39 PM


Tanja, please email me at write2erinquinn (@) aol.com so I can get you hooked up with your autographed copy!