Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Playing Favorites Guest Blog and Giveaway with Susannah Sandlin

Playing Favorites

Susannah Sandlin

We all played that game as kids: “Mom likes me best.” In my case, growing up with an older brother, I always suspected that Mom liked him best but felt I had Dad in my pocket so it evened out. 

As the “parent” of two furkids, I adore my dogs but have to admit that Tanker holds a softer spot in my heart than Shane. He has a sadder backstory of growing up on the streets. He has one of those “I love you and only you and will treat everyone else like pond scum” personalities, whereas she loves everybody indiscriminately. He’s stoic; she’s hyper, too smart for her own , and always into something (like chewing up a leather sofa).  I definitely don’t love him more; I adore them both. But I do find him easier to love. 

And so it is with authors and their characters. During the writing of each book, there’s a point at which I absolutely fall in love with one of my characters. If I’m lucky, it’s the hero or heroine of the book. But it isn’t always, and that makes things interesting.

The Penton Legacy series is an interesting case in point. As I wrote Redemption, the first book, I was cooking along and loving on Aidan, the 400-year-old Irish vampire who’s the hero of that book, when a secondary character caught my eye. And held it. Suddenly my love for Aidan dimmed—although eventually I fell in love with him again, before the book was finished—but about a third of the way in, a 400-year-old Scottish vampire with a shotgun attitude and a foul mouth almost waylaid me.

Mirren Kincaid. Sigh. He almost stole book one, so I turned to him as my hero for book two, Absolution. Mirren’s one of those easy-to-love heroes. He has a tortured and ugly past, but inside he’s honorable and secretly funny. I paired him with a chatterbox who pushed his Every. Single. Button. That book wrote itself. I got to know Will, whose book would be coming along next, and basked in the character-loving that was Mirren.

Then I came to Will. When I started to write the new book, Omega, I didn’t love Will. I thought he was funny. I thought he was clever. I knew what he needed to do in order to get his people out of the absolute mess they’d gotten into with the first two books. But I didn’t love him, and I couldn’t figure out why…until I had a chat with Mirren.

Yes, this is the point at which authors start sounding as if they need to be carted away in white coats to be locked in padded cells, but I admit it. I talk to my characters, and they talk back to me. Except for Will. He wouldn’t talk to me, except to spout off an endless array of smartass remarks. 

So instead, I went to my easy-to-love hero, Mirren. 

Mirren explained Will to me—after all, he’d known him a lot longer than I had. (See earlier note about padded cells.) He told me bad things had happened to Will in both his human and early vampire life. Really bad things. Horrible things. Things that he’d stuffed deep down inside himself and covered up with a steel coating and a smart mouth. He keeps everyone at a distance so he can’t be hurt again, Mirren told me. He can be a jerk, but he has a reason for it.

And a funny thing happened. I started to fall in love with Will. Once I could love him, my heroine, Randa, could love him too. We learned his secrets, and his ways of coping, and the rich depth of his loyalty.

I won’t say I forgot about Aidan or Mirren, but Will finally stole my heart. He wasn’t the easiest to love, but he’s this author’s favorite vampire…at least for now.

Penton Vampire Legacy, Book 3
Susannah Sandlin

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Date of Publication: February 5, 2013

ASIN: B0073XV3L2 

Number of pages: 328
Word Count: approx. 88,000

Amazon        Barnes & Noble        Book Depository

Book Description:

The bloody war between the Vampire Tribunal and the defiant scathe of Penton, Alabama, rages on, forcing its residents and their bonded humans to retreat into the underground fortress of last resort: Omega. There, Will Ludlam is charged with the care of Penton's humans, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. He knows the risks: as the renegade son of the Tribunal's vicious leader, Will's capture could doom the resistance. 

Yet he is determined to prove his worth to his adopted scathe, to his vengeful father and to former US Army officer Randa Thomas, his beautiful, reluctant partner. Randa has little faith that a former member of the vampire elite has what it takes to fight a war. But as their enemies descend upon Omega, Will's polished charm and Randa's guarded heart finally give way to the warrior within. 

Fans of Susannah Sandlin's Penton Legacy are sure to devour this long-awaited third installment of the steamy paranormal series.  

The Penton Legacy, Book 2
By Susannah Sandlin

Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Book Description:

With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.

A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.

To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?

It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.

Book One Penton Legacy series
By Susannah Sandlin

Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.

Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.

But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland.  Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars

To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago. 

Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.

Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.

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