Accidental Hero/GIVEAWAY!

Danger—pain and suffering, mixed with excitement and enough adrenaline to kill an elephant is calling upon your sense of adventure. Let’s say, Jessie desperately needs your help, and if you fail to answer the calling…death will come her way. Are you ready to embrace this challenge and rush to sacrifice your life for another? Well, my all-time favorite heroes are the ones who’d do just that.

Ah, but things are never so simple. I love accidental heroes. These so-called ordinary men and women exist in their worlds doing what they are supposed to do, until a threat is unleashed that prompts a reaction from these people. Some folks reject the notion they could ever affect the outcome of a situation, others eagerly accept the new, completely risky endeavor dropped upon them.

Take a look at Jake Cottrell, the protagonist (and an accidental hero) in my latest release, The Twelfth Paladin. He’s a prime example of a person living a selfish existence, one who seeks out mischief and absolutely lives for adrenalines rushes, or as he calls them…smackdowns. Yes, Jake is a reckless character with a shady past and a family you would not desire, but he does have something special. Jake has courage and honor, yet they’ve been long ignored. After a death-defying Motocross accident, Jake is physically and mentally tested to see if he can rise above the wickedness around him and become the twelfth paladin in Micah’s (an angel) unit of supernatural warriors. He doesn’t seek out glory. No matter, it finds him anyway.

Another accidental hero I really like is Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onofrio) from the movie Happy Accidents (2000), which also stars Marisa Tomei. Sam is brave, determined, and a guy who never planned on having to endure such an adventure to find love. Although Happy Accidents is a science fiction movie, it’s actually more about the power each of us possess to change things.

From Moviefone: Is Ruby Weaver’s Mr. Right really an emissary from the year 2,470, or is he just a complete loon ball? This question is at the heart of Brad Anderson’s whimsical romantic comedy. The story opens with Ruby (Marisa Tomei) lamenting over her boyfriend Sam (Vincent D’Onofrio) to her shrink (Holland Taylor). In a series of flashbacks, the film quickly sketches Ruby as a neurotic with an unhappy track record concerning men and Sam as an oddball who is afraid of small dogs and has a barcode tattooed to his arm. But he’s nuts over Ruby, and at least initially, that is enough for her. Slowly, Sam begins to reveal his “past.” He tells her that he is from the Dubuque of the future and that he hails from a rare “anachronistic” family who believe that reproduction should occur the old-fashioned, fun way as opposed to the more popular cloning method. At first, Ruby is amused, until she realizes that he’s not kidding. After a series of arguments, he agrees to visit Ruby’s analyst, which yields unexpected results. This film premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.

Great news—GIVEAWAY! Ends March 27, 2012

Win a copy (e-book, print, or Kindle) of The Twelfth Paladin AND the movie Happy Accidents. Simply answer this question: Are you the type of person who’d become an accidental hero? Since I spend way too much time in the laundry room and grocery shopping…I’d definitely go for it. A little adventure can entice me anytime!

Still not sure if this giveaway is for you? Here’s the latest review of The Twelfth Paladin from Michelle. Her blog is A Lil of Dis A Lil of Dat Chelle Style.

“In all of my years of reading, I can’t say I’ve ever read a book about Angels and Demons. I tend to stick more towards suspense and horror books. Therefore, I was very excited to review The Twelfth Paladin and give myself the opportunity to break out of my reading comfort zone.

We start with the main character, Jake Cottrell, who is a rebel of sorts, if you will. Abandoned by his mom at a young age, living with an angry alcoholic father, it’s no wonder Jake takes to drinking, wild women, and motorcycle racing. However, during one of his races, he becomes injured and things will never be quite the way they were before his accident.

Have you ever had the sensation that things weren’t right? That there was an unseen force working behind the curtains, responsible for strange things or events? Jake deals with these very things as he is reconnecting with a “friend”, Davis Travers, now a successful heart surgeon. Davis, by any standards isn’t a very likable person. It’s a mystery to Jake how Davis managed to become engaged to the beautiful and mysterious Angie Helms as well as the tremendous success Davis obviously enjoys.

In the meantime, as Jake is skirting dangerously along the depths of evil, Micah, an angel, who is not on God’s good side, is sent to help Jake from losing his soul to the darkness. Micah is a likable character who has lost his faith in mankind after thousands of years. He’s witnessed the decline of human kindness and goodness towards each other. He is less than thrilled to be helping Jake and does little to conceal this fact.

I found myself mentally willing Jake to stop his actions as he stepped further and further into the darkness ruled by evil. At the same time, I found myself as curious as Jake as he begins to realize Davis isn’t playing an imaginary game. I became caught up in the action as Jake finds himself being pulled in by temptations which would appear to be too delightful to resist.

Nora Weston captures her characters with a vivid imagination. As you read, you can visualize the scene exactly how she describes it. You will find yourself rooting for the good guys, holding your breath, your heart beating just bit quicker during some of the more intense scenes, and completely caught up in this book!

I can say after reading The Twelfth Paladin, Nora has a new fan. I will definitely be paying attention to when Nora has a new book in the works. Don’t just take my word. Visit Nora and let me know what you think!”

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I appreciate the review Michelle! Okay, ready for a supernatural adventure with Jake Cottrell and a science fiction mission with Sam Deed? Enter the GIVEAWAY!

Thanks for visiting the Noracast.

 

 

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Color Them Gray

“It’s an art to live with pain… mix the light into gray.” Eddie Vedder

Edmond Dantès from Alexandre Dumas,’ The Count of Monte Cristo is a successful merchant sailor living in Marseille, France (in 1815) who is wrongly accused of being a Bonapartist traitor. Edmond is imprisoned for fourteen years in the Château d’If. Pain and suffering ruin his colorful outlook on life…he transforms into a protagonist determined to seek revenge upon the men who imprisoned him, and he does this, so beautifully. Once Edmond becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, anything and everything he has is used to manipulate the wickedness in his life for the sake of vengeance.

Edmond feels justified; his motives for becoming a “gray” character…one whose thoughts and actions are not entirely right or wrong, whose morals have blurred into the gray area, adds danger and excitement to Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.

I love characters smothered in gray—who are torn between right and wrong, who ache to do what’s right, but have lost their way. In my science fiction adventure, Guardian 2632, Zane Grayson fights with his conscience about betraying the time monitoring facility he’s in charge of, called Guardian TMF, because a pastian from 1998 needs his help, or she will perish. He is forbidden to assist pastians without clearance from the Elite Guardians, yet Zane is drawn to this pastian, named Julia Emerson, like never before. His desire for Julia becomes incessant, secrets are revealed. Zane’s sense of belonging in 2632 is stolen by Julia, so he dives into the gray area where chaos rules. A murky, dark shade of gray envelopes Zane, while he plans the most important mission of his life, however, if caught…merciless Time Mercs will execute him. Yeah, Time Mercs are big, bad, and ugly.

Adding gray is good for character building! Why? Do you know anyone who is perfect? I do not, and that’s okay because the imperfections found in us all make us unique. Spicing up your characters with moral dilemmas where they will either rise to the occasion and do the right thing, or fall into an abyss of misery are ways to push a story forward. Perfect characters would always decide to do the safe and logical thing, which doesn’t make for much of a story. Oh, but when a character, like Edmond Dantès goes to the pits and back to finally see the light…ah, now there’s sweet satisfaction found in that!

Going Gray

Think about your characters. Are their personalities, desires, and goals so lovely…and absolutely dreamy that they come across as unbelievable people?

For example, Zane Grayson (protagonist in Guardian 263) is a mastermind in charge of fixing paradoxes throughout time. I even used his last name as a hint to show he’s a character splattered with gray traits. It would’ve been easy to make him a super techie with a personality similar to a robot. His looks, temperament, dialogue, and habits could’ve been the typical, calm genius who wears glasses, always has a white lab coat on, has no desire for anything other than knowledge, and his only hobby would have to be building computers. B-o-r-i-n-g!

Zane left that nonsense behind. Going gray meant this character had to…

  • Be at odds with his conscience-Zane is a good man, but flaws exist. He time surfs (looks for paradoxes throughout time in unauthorized time zones), refuses to follow Guardian TMF’s dress code for executives, is an adrenaline junkie…needs danger and risk too often, he’s stubborn to the point some would say he’s insane, has quite a temper, and Zane is willing to risk everything he has in 2632 to help a pastian (Julia Emerson) in 1998. His ancestry is a mix of Japanese and European, and he is quite sarcastic. Going gray made him more interesting!
  • Understand his definitions of right and wrong are not written on white paper with black ink-Zane comes to realize laws must be written to serve people…all people, and not be written as a means to justify helping only the history makers. The gray area is an uncomfortable one to be in, but it forces characters to do something…Zane decides to fight for change.
  • Finally make decisions about what he believes is right and wrong-Once Zane becomes aware of things that needed altered, his grayness fades a bit as he steps back toward the light. He chooses to set things right.

What characters come to mind who are painted with gray? Riddick, from The Chronicles of Riddick is one of my favorites! He has a whole lot of gray going on… If you’re an author, what have you done to your characters to make them a bit on the gray side?

Feel free to leave a comment, and thank you for visiting the Noracast!