Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Lucky Bastard by S.G. Browne

I have to admit, when I was contacted for the first time I thought I was being pranked or something. Maybe one of those smart spam bots that saw it fit to email me about a book called Lucky Bastard. Well they must have gotten the wrong Bastard, since lucky I've never been. After ignoring the email for a few days, curiosity got the best of me and saw that it was written by author S.G. Browne, who I invited here today. Upon further research, an author that has been praised plenty, so consider my interest piqued.

Please welcome S.G. Browne as he shares with us a bit about novel's inception, and there's a giveaway at the end of the post.


            Nick Monday is the titular hero of Lucky Bastard.

            Not because he was born lucky, but because he was born with the ability to steal other people’s luck, which he sells on the black market to the highest bidder. Thus, the bastard half of the title.

            I’m a big fan of flawed heroes and protagonists who are antagonists, so creating a main character who steals the good fortunes of others appealed to me on numerous levels. The idea for writing a novel about someone who has the ability to steal other people’s luck came from my short story, “Softland,” which I wrote in 2004 and which appears in my eBook collection, Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel. Yes, that’s shameless self-promotion. But like most writers, I have no shame.

However, I also give credit where it’s due.

The genesis for my short story “Softland” came from a 2001 Spanish film titled Intacto, which dealt with the concept of luck as a commodity and high-stake games of chance between those who possessed large quantities of luck, with the losers surrendering their good luck to the winners. One of the characters in the film had the ability to steal luck, and that intrigued me. Along with the entire concept of good luck as something tangible. So I created a mythology around luck poaching, including the different grades of good luck, people throughout history who had their luck poached, and the drug-like effects luck can have on those who traffic in it.

Not to mention what happens when you introduce bad luck into your system.

But you don’t have to poach bad luck for karma to catch up with you. After all, you can’t take something from someone without eventually paying a price.

Bastard Giveaway: Lucky Bastard by S.G. Browne

Thanks for stopping by S.G. Browne, as mentioned am very curious at the moment about this book. And if any of you are also interested, well here's your opportunity to win one hardcover copy of Lucky Bastard.
Meet private detective Nick Monday. More Columbo than Sam Spade and more Magnum P.I. than Philip Marlowe, Nick was born with a unique talent: the ability to steal other people’s luck. All it takes is a handshake and Nick walks away with their good fortune, which he sells on the black market to the highest bidder.
Lately business has been slow and Nick doesn’t know whether his ability to swipe other people’s fortunes is a blessing or a curse. Then Tuesday Knight, the mayor’s curvy and seductive daughter, approaches Nick with an offer of $100,000 to retrieve her father’s stolen luck. Could this high-stakes deal help Nick turn his life around? Or will it simply fund his addiction to corporate coffeehouse baristas while his morality drains down the toilet?
Before he drinks his next mocha, Nick finds himself at the mercy of a Chinese mafia kingpin and with no choice but to scour the city for the purest kind of luck — a hunt more titillating than softcore porn. All he has to do to stay ahead of the game is remember that you can’t take something from someone without eventually paying like hell for it….

Participants have to be 18 years of age or older to participate. Void where prohibited by law. Giveaway rules are subject to change. 

The giveaway is open for both US and Canada residents only, and it will run from May 9, 2012 until 12:01am ET on May 19, 2012.

How to participate:
  • Once logged in to the Rafflecopter, enter your email. It's the only mandatory thing to do to enter.
  • One entry per person, or face disqualification.
  • Entries accepted until 12:01am ET on May 19, 2012.
  • 1 hardcover copy of Lucky Bastard for a US or Canada winner.
  • Will have to confirm email to be considered a winner within a week after May 19, 2012.
  • Additional entries may be had by following the steps provided in the Rafflecopter instructions, and only by doing those steps. 
  • Winners will be chosen by random selection using the Rafflecopter.
Good luck everyone!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bastard Quick Reactions: Kitty's Big Trouble, Skeleton Crew, Never Knew Another, Sins of the Angels, On Basilisk Station, The Neon Court

I think this is quite self explanatory, here are few "quick reactions" to some books I've read and wanted to say something about them. Some I read with no intention of reviewing them, others were read before I had even thought of having a blog, others I've just been pressed for time so better a little something than nothing at all.

At the end of each I put a link to full reviews from other bloggers I enjoy reading. Some of them parallel my thoughts on a book, while other may be the opposite.

In any case, I'm looking forward to doing more of these. It's a real load off my shoulders and will let me focus on the full reviews I intend to write.

Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn

Been a fan of the Kitty Norville series, though since the first novel it's been an up and down relationship for me. That said, it always managed to make it a fun read despite any misgiving in a particular installment.

Kitty's Big Trouble was released during the summer last year, and I was hugely disappointed by it. Found it to be the weakest in the series. Seemed like a recycle of scenes (Kitty or Ben getting hurt, then petting each other) and the plot left a lot to be desired from. Three fourths of the book are spent in an underground maze where little actually happens to move the story along, and when we confront the big bad, it was just painful to read how events unfolded with one weak rationalization after another.

We get a few reveals and a back-story on a personal favorite of mine, but there was just not enough here for me. Then add how predictable everything was. I hope the next one is better.

Read a full review by Tori (smexys_sidekick) over at Smexy Books.

Skeleton Crew by Cameron Haley

Second book in The Underworld Cycle and a marked improvement over Haley's debut novel. Though I enjoyed  Mob Rules, I felt it needed quite a bit of work, hard to get into early on, and the lingo using "juice" instead for "magic" at times irritating, but interesting nonetheless. It did have some great moments, particularly the fast pace second half which I can only describe as twists galore.

Series has a unique focus, mainly on gang wars and then connecting it to the fey. Skeleton Crew was simply better written, and action from start to finish, so good stuff on that regard. I felt the plot of the first book was stronger and more interesting, but the flow of the novel and the character interaction was superior this time around.

The novel focused on zombies, and even though I'm not a fan of them, I thought it was a cool take on zombie lore. In any case, looking forward to the next installment Dead Drop.

Here's a full review by Scooper Speaks.

Never Knew Another by J.M. McDermott

Well, this was a unique one. Really hard to put into words what I feel about it, but at the end of it I really loved it. Beautiful prose that contrasted the ugly world it depicted. It's a very short novel, yet quite packed. The story itself is not that complex, but the storytelling technique is. It's easy to get confused since POVs are not always easily identifiable, but that's part of the charm. Part of the story is experienced through a character accessing another's memories. There's switching of POV, as well as the narrative mode, and events are not in chronological order. So be prepared to put some effort.

Themes of loneliness and solitude are explored to its fullest, as well as the pursuit to belong; find someone that understands you. I really loved how the demons were depicted here, how it mixed the humanity with the inhumanity with the inevitability of what they are, and how toxic they are just for being what they are despite of who they are and who they wish to be. I hope that made some sense.

The ending was a bit abrupt for me and the climax was very subtle, really felt like there was none, but with the sequel already out, this is pretty much a none issue. Never Knew Another is the first in the Dogsland Trilogy. McDermott is certainly an author to watch, I have a feeling he'll be producing some compelling and thought provoking reading for years to come.

Here's a great review by Neth Space which relates my feelings about this novel in a much better manner.

Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin

If you're looking for an urban fantasy with a good mix of procedural and relationship drama, then this is one for you. It also featured a great Heaven mythological ambiance, pretty much my favorite part of the novel particularly with the political intrigue. In various regards, especially with the focus on the relationship drama, Sins of the Angels wasn't a book for me, yet I really enjoyed it. Although it has been pointed out to me that I may be mistaken in this opinion, but the character interaction and relationship drama reminded me plenty of Blood Rights by Kristen Painter. Also few portions were predictable, probably a consequence of rotating POVs, but overall I thought everything was handled quite well.

I'm keeping my eye on how the series will progress, particularly with how powerful the supernatural beings are compared to humans, so it's going to be tricky on how our main character will be handled amid all the danger. But I'm hearing great things about the sequel, Sins of the Son, which many seem to think is even better than the first one, so very much looking forward to reading it soon.

This novel also featured one of the creepiest murder scenes I've ever seen. I think the creative people on CSI would be proud of it. The novel, first in The Grigori Legacy series, was well written and I have a feeling that I'll enjoy the next installments even more.

Read a full review over at The Qwillery who enjoyed the book quite a bit.

On Basilisk Station by David Weber

I'm not much of a sci-fi reader, in fact I've barely read any "real" sci-fi for lack of better phrase. For some reason the novels haven't attracted me much, and I still have plenty of fantasy novels I need to go through so venturing to reading sci-fi hasn't seemed that appealing. That being said, got very curious about the Honor Harrington novels, so gave On Basilisk Station a shot. Loved it.

Thought Honor was a great character, and Weber did a great job in the creation of the universe. I haven't read any other novels in the series, but really hoping to get back to it soon.

It gave me nostalgia of one of my favorite animes, an oldie space opera from the late 80s known as Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I don't know how sci-fi fans compare this series to others in the genre, but if it's in any way resembling of what is found there, I really need to make a better effort to read some more in it.

Read Mark Chitty's full review over at Walker of Worlds.

The Neon Court: Or the Betrayal of Mathew Swift by Kate Griffin

Urban Magic is real treat of a series in the hands of a very talented writer. Kate Griffin has been published since her mid-teens, and this series began in her early 20's; that alone is an impressive accomplishment.

I've seen plenty of praise going around for this series, many of which come from readers that don't care much for the urban fantasy genre, so I recommend it with little hesitation to just about anyone. Griffin has done a wonderful job bringing London alive, in a way that it has become literally a character in the story. The main character's narrating voice is very unique, or maybe it would be more accurate to say voices, and that's where I think this series really shines.

The Neon Court is the third novel in this Mathew Swift sequence, and I thought Griffin took a big risk with it. All I'll say is that she put my favorite character in the series through some really tough circumstances without letting the readers prepare for it, but it worked. My only real problem was that in the effort to bring London to life, I think the story gets a bit carried away with the descriptive passages in a way that hinders the plot progression and the pace. That said, with patience, by the end of it you notice why the author took its time being so meticulous as everything comes together, but I still think it could be handled much better.

The fourth book is already out, The Minority Council, which I'll be reading soon.

A full review by Jacob @ Drying Ink.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Giveaway Winners: Dragon in Chains, Corrupts Absolutely?, Chrysanthe, The Wardstone

Seems like I've been doing a poor job of announcing winners of the giveaways, so many are left wondering. Starting now I'm going to be making better habits of announcing winners promptly and through blog posts. I usually simply emailed the winners and moved along, but I think some prefer to see a post announcing winners and that way they don't have to wonder whether they won or not.

In any case, here are the winners of the last 4 giveaways on the blog:

This was my first giveaway using the Rafflecopter and it was for a personal copy Dragon in Chains by Daniel Fox and it was US only.  Congrats to the winner Cody who has already been confirmed.

Giveaway was for ecopies of the Corrupts Absolutely? Anthology in addition to eBooks of choice from Tim Marquitz. It was open world wide. There were 5 winners, and all have been confirmed, so congrats to:
  • Tracey D
  • Kevin Stewart
  • Frank Michaels
  • Jeff
  • Ken

Tor offered a copy of Chrystanthe by Yves Meynard for a giveaway, and it was open world wide. The winner of this one was Weirdmage and he has already confirmed, congratulations.

This was a world wide giveaway for 3 signed paperback copies of The Sword and the Dragon and 1 winner also getting a signed copy of Kings, Queens, Heroes & Fools. It's the latest giveaway that has ended, and winners have already been confirmed. Congrats to them:
  • Jaidis
  • Brian
  • Robi

Hope everyone enjoys their winnings, and if you won and have not received your winnings let me know to look into it. Of interest I currently have one giveaway running and it's for Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G. J. Koch ending this Friday, open world wide.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Alexander Outland Blog Tour by G.J. Koch

Please welcome G.J. Koch to the blog. I was asked to participate in this Alexander Outland: Space Pirate Blog Tour a few months ago and had no idea who the author was. It pretty much stayed that way until a few weeks back when I came to the realization the she was the author of the Kitty Katt Alien novels, Gini Koch. Yeah, no need to say it, I was hit with the dumb stick. I've been very curious about that series for some time now, and after reading this guest post, she made a believer out of me. So, I've finally ordered the first book of the series which I hope arrives soon.

In any case, was later asked for ideas for a topic for this post. I'll tell you right off the bat that I hate coming up with these sort of ideas, and one I provided was something along the lines of "the fine line between fun, funny, and just being silly". Well, Koch seems to think it was the "Guest Post Topic From Hell". About a month ago I was told I did the interview from Hell, so I guess we're on the right track. Plus, it was about time someone called me by my proper title, "Sir Bastard".

Hope you guys have fun with this one, I certainly did. And don't forget the giveaway at the end of the post. Have fun (or something)!

Make Me Laugh, Clown
G.J. Koch

Proving that the name of this blog is accurate, I was asked to discuss the fine line between fun, funny, and just being silly. (Dear Sir Bastard, I hate you. Love, Moi.)

I write the Alexander Outland: Space Pirate series, coming from Night Shade Books June 5th of this fine year. I also, as Gini Koch, write the Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books/Penguin. Both series have things in common -- they’re written by moi, released by great publishers, they’re science fiction with a lot of action and romance, and they’re funny.

So, now you’re thinking what your Lord and Master, Sir Bastard was thinking (if Sir Bastard thinks, which, so far, I’m not convinced he does): she’s a funny girl, so naturally, give her the topic that delves into the crux of the issue with humor -- what’s funny and what isn’t. Brilliant! She’ll love it!

Wrong. She hates it.

This isn’t an easy topic. For anyone. Especially for someone who’s whole damn job is to make people laugh. Because the more you examine humor, the less funny it is to you. (I have deadlines, Sir Bastard. Several of them. Not that you care. No, you gave OTHER authors fun, chatty questions. You did INTERVIEWS. But for moi? I get the Guest Post Topic From Hell. Thanks for that.)

So, what’s a girl to do when given a topic such as this one? Ignore it completely was my first, second, third, and fourth instinct. Fifth, too, as I think about it.

But because we in the entertainment industry do like to stretch and grow (actually, we really don’t, but we’ve all learned that we have to from time to time), I’m gonna give it a shot. (And then I’m gonna shoot Sir Bastard.)

The adage that dying is easy but comedy is hard is true. Terribly, difficultly true. I write under a variety of pen names and I promise you that I struggle far less with anything “serious” I write than when I’m writing something intended to be funny. (Unintentional humor is not what we’re dealing with here. If you’re laughing when reading one of my books, that’s what I intended. Even in the serious stuff. I swear.)

Being funny naturally helps you when you need to translate humor onto the page. Because humor is, like all art, subjective. Only humor gets a lot more scrutiny than more serious fare. Why? Because everyone can agree that the hero dying tragically right before he and the heroine can reunite and live happily ever after is sad. No one argues with that. (Possibly Sir Bastard argues with that. He strikes me as the kind who WANTS the bad guy to get the girl. Maybe it’s that beard of his…)

But watch someone slip on a banana peel. It may be your idea of hilarity or it may make you cringe. Because laughter is universal but what MAKES us laugh is not. (Truthfully, I rarely laugh at the banana peel gag, but I would if it were Sir Bastard slipping on it. Something to ponder.)

There is a difference between fun, funny, and silly, too. And, because SOMEONE asked, I’m going to give you my explanations for the differences. (Oh no, don’t thank me. Thank Sir Bastard. I suggest sending him something small that explodes.)

Fun is something you do and something you have. Fun includes but is in no way limited to things like going out on a date, having sex, going to an amusement park, going to a movie, hanging out with friends, really enjoying a good meal, drink or illegal substance, having quiet time with your spouse, pulling hard on someone’s beard because he gave you the “fun” topic, and so on. Any one of these activities can be funny or silly, but they don’t have to be in order for them to be fun. Fun is something you enjoy. Fun can be shared or not, but it’s still something you experience.

Funny and silly are a matter of perspective. I personally find The Three Stooges to be silly, at best. (I’ll bet you love the Stooges, don’t you, Sir Bastard? I’ll bet they’re your favorites, just like every other man I know. I’ll bet you particularly like Moe, because he’s the one who assigns the other Stooges their versions of Guest Posts From Hell.) However, many love the Stooges and laugh themselves silly (ha ha ha, see what the funny girl did there?) over the Stooges’ antics.

So, I call the Stooges silly and others (Sir Bastard and his ilk) call them funny.

Using the logic I learned in college (back in the Dark Ages, when I rode to school on the back of a T-Rex I named Fluffy, who was the BEST T-Rex ever and no other T-Rex can EVER compare to), this basically means that what YOU laugh at is funny, and what others laugh at that you do NOT laugh at is silly.

So, all of this falls right back into the eye of the beholder, or, in the case of those of us using the written word, the mind of the reader. (I’ll get you, Sir Bastard, and your pretty beard, too. This puppy’s only halfway done.)

Funny people see the same things the rest of you do, only we filter it into a skewed version and share it via our own particular viewpoints and in our own meters, our personal idioms, if you will (and I will). There are all kinds of humor -- gentle, angry, sarcastic, wacky, ironic (waves to Alanis who actually doesn’t understand the definition of ironic, but has, therefore, provided many of us with hours of entertainment because we get to point this out over and over again), mean-spirited, satiric, and more.

I know what the next question (that Sir Bastard didn’t bother to ask me) is: what kind of humor do I write?

I write the kind you enjoy! (Hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying. I’m here to sell books, people. And because Sir Bastard invited me, to use the term loosely. But mostly to sell books. Because that is the name of the game in Author Land.)

The Alien series follows Katherine “Kitty” Katt as she discovers that the Roswell rumors are true, but with a twist -- the aliens are here to help us and, as a side benefit, they’re all gorgeous. They’re turned on by brains (the women think Stephen Hawking and Marilyn Vos Savant are the hottest humans around) more than anything else. The men like smarties, too, and they like our gutsy, independent folks.

Kitty gets involved in the fight to protect Earth from all the nasty, fugly space and human monsters constantly trying to destroy it, and along the way she discovers lots of secrets, lies, and conspiracies to disrupt and dismantle.

Kitty fights evil with her own brand of weapons -- hairspray, rock ‘n’ roll, whatever she can dig out of her massive purse, a quirky worldview, and a really smart mouth and sarcastic wit. And she’s a pro at keeping the bad guys monologue-ing.

In Alexander Outland: Space Pirate, trouble’s brewing out in space, and Alexander Outland -- the least likely hero in the galaxy -- and his eccentric crew have to save the day, despite the fact they’d prefer to take the money and run.

Alexander Napoleon Outland is the best pilot, and ladies’ man, in the galaxy. But Nap, as his friends call him, is more than that -- he’s a schemer with a heart of gold he desperately wants to hide, a soft spot for other people’s cargo and his exotic weapon’s chief, and the unerring ability to find the biggest misfit on any planet or space station and somehow join that person onto his crew.

Nap’s not your classic hero, but that tends to make him the right guy for the job…whatever the job happens to be. He’s a little bit Han Solo, a little bit Malcolm Reynolds, a little bit Captain Jack Sparrow, and a whole lot of fun to fly with.

There are aliens, explosions, telepaths, donkeys, space pirates of all kinds, and a galaxy-wide conspiracy. And the most horrifying “underwater” trip any crew’s had to face in a long, long while. But mostly, there are laughs.

There are laughs because that’s my job. To entertain you, to take you places you haven’t been before, introduce you to characters and situations you haven’t experienced before, and then twist it all up and make you laugh even as things explode and characters run for their lives. They’re the best books ever written and a deal at twice the price. (Hey, you still can NOT blame a girl for trying.)

It’s a tough job, making people laugh, but someone’s gotta do it. And that someone is me.


G.J. Koch writes science fiction. Not the hard stuff, though. Because that requires actual scientific knowledge or at least actual scientific research. Knowledge may be power and research may be cool, but they take time away from writing jokes, action, and romance, and being witty in the face of death is what it’s really all about. Check out G.J.’s rollicking Alexander Outland: Space Pirate series from Night Shade Books and reach G.J. at Space…the Funny Frontier.

Bastard Giveaway - Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch

Thanks Gini for the taking the time for the post above, but now it's time for the good stuff; the giveaway. I have been given permission to offer 1 print copy of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate, published by Night Shade Books, for US participants and 1 eBook copy for International participants. Been hearing good things about it, so don't miss the opportunity.
Captain Alexander Outland of the Sixty-Nine (short for Space Vessel 3369, of course) is the best pilot in the galaxy. He's also a pirate, a smuggler, and loved and loathed by women in umpteen solar systems. His crew of strays and misfits includes an engineer of dubious sanity, a deposed planetary governor, an annoyingly unflappable Sexbot copilot, and a slinky weapons chief who stubbornly refuses to give the captain a tumble.
Outland just wants to make a decent living skirting the law, but when an invisible space armada starts cutting into his business, he soon finds himself in hot water with the military, the mob, mad bombers, and an extended family of would-be conquerors. And that's not counting an occasionally telepathic spy . . . .
Like any sensible scoundrel, he hates heroics. They're risky and they don't pay well. But to keep his ship and crew in one piece, and make time with a certain hard-to-get weapons chief, he might just have to make an exception--and save the galaxy in spite of himself!
Night Shade Books

Participants have to be 18 years of age or older to participate. Void where prohibited by law. Giveaway rules are subject to change. 

The giveaway is open for both US and International participants, and it will run from May 3, 2012 until 12:01am ET on May 12, 2012.

How to participate:
  • Once logged in to the Rafflecopter, enter your email and indicate if you're a US or International participant. It's the only mandatory thing to do to enter.
  • One entry per person, or face disqualification.
  • Entries accepted until 12:01am ET on May 12, 2012.
  • 1 print copy of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate for US winner.
  • 1 eBook copy of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate for International winner.
  • Will have to confirm email to be considered a winner within a week after May 12, 2012.
  • Additional entries may be had by following the steps provided in the Rafflecopter instructions, and only by doing those steps. 
  • Winners will be chosen by random selection using the Rafflecopter.
Good luck everyone! And thanks once again to G.J. Koch for coming here, and make sure to visit the rest of the stops in the Alexander Outland: Space Pirate Blog Tour.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Post: Writing the Series Character by Jon F. Merz

Jon F. Merz is the author of the urban fantasy Lawson Vampire series, which began with The Fixer ten years ago. I've yet to read one of his novels, but I've been curious for some time now so am quite excited to have him visiting the blog to talk about his books.

I've also seen claims that he's a ninja, so please welcome Jon to the blog and see what he has to say.

Writing the Series Character

May 2012 marks the 10th year since Lawson was born into print.  THE FIXER debuted in May 2002 and in the intervening decade, he's had a lot of adventures spread out over seven novels, four novellas (soon to be five), and seven short stories.  That's a lot of writing with the same character as your lead.

With every new Lawson adventure I try to do something over the course of the story that either adds a new dimension or expands on a previously added dimension to the universe he inhabits.  This, for me, is key to ensuring that Lawson never gets stale and uninteresting.  Writers of series must be attuned to this need or else they risk prolonging a franchise that readers grow weary of.

No place did I learn this lesson better than when I was working on the internationally bestselling Rogue Angel series for Harlequin/Gold Eagle.  Over the course of six years, I wrote eleven books starring the famed Annja Creed - an archaeologist who also happens to be able to summon the sword of Joan of Arc on command.  As I delved into ever-crazier adventures with Annja, I kept trying to add new dimensions to the character.  As writers on the series, we were asked not to use "magic" per se, so I tried to give Annja insight into abilities that weren't so much magical as they were "forgotten" within the realm of human possibility.  A few of these adventures made it past the editorial board, but others had those dimensions edited out.  I was asked to reign that segment of Annja's personality in because I was getting perilously close to crossing the line into what people would believe was "magic."

For me, it was important to give her some sort of new dimension each time I wrote her.  But being confined to the strict parameters of the series inevitably took its toll on me.  I grew bored writing Annja; I couldn't explore her character with as much freedom as I could Lawson, simply because Annja was not MY character.  I hadn't created her.  So I could hardly blame the folks at Gold Eagle for wanting her kept firmly on terra firma.  But it did mean that my time with the series was coming to an end.

And that was fine, frankly.  I had a marvelous time working with the great people at Gold Eagle.  They remain one of my favorite companies to work with.  But I was also eager to return to Lawson and his universe.  I think THE RIPPER, which was the first Lawson novel written after my departure from the Rogue Angel series, shows this in pretty blatant fashion.  Lawson has his own battles to go through over the course of the book, but so too do Niles, Marty, and Arthur.  And by adding new dimensions to those characters, they help give Lawson added dimension as well.  While Lawson is very much his own character, he cannot do what he does without the help of his friends.  So they also need to be fleshed out as much as possible so that readers find their own favorites among the cast of characters.

Lawson is a complex character, but at first glance, he's just a simple killing machine.  The key is to hook readers with the obvious: he's a professional assassin with a sarcastic sense of humor and an appetite for Bombay Sapphire & tonics.  That's what readers get fairly immediately.  But as they work their way through the series, the reader realizes that Lawson is also a series of contradictions.  He's a professional assassin, but he still makes mistakes.  He's a sarcastic prick, but he still has a soft side.  He drinks alcohol, but can't stand drinking blood.  He prefers human women over vampire women.  He's loyal to the cause, but not the folks in government.  And often times, he's morally conflicted about the sanctions he is sent out to handle, knowing that he, himself, is guilty of violating one of the most serious laws in the vampire community: he's in love with a human woman named Talya.

Each of these contradictions is a blank canvas for me, as the writer, to explore.  I can take any of them and develop sub-dimensions to Lawson's character that I haven't previously exposed to the reader.  And therein lies the tool I use to make sure Lawson stays fresh with each adventure.  Giving him room to not only grow as he ages and has more missions, but also evolve as he struggles to deal with his contradictions and realize what part they play in who he is as a complete person, er...vampire.

After all, aren't we all equally susceptible to those contradictions?  Don't we recognize in the fictive characters that we read a little bit of ourselves?  I've always aspired to writing a character that feels "real."  Like he could walk off the page and into the reader's life.  Like he could be that man sitting down the bar.  Or that man driving past you on the road, his jaw firmly set with grim determination.

Lawson is ten years old because my readers enjoy seeing his complexity exposed and revealed.  They enjoy the process of getting to know him over the course of many adventures.  And it's because that process is true to life that it works so well.  When we meet someone new, don't we make a series of quick decisions or judgments about them?  They might be fat, skinny, ugly or attractive.  We might immediately notice they dress well or don't, or that they seem to speak in an educated fashion or with a more blue collar tone.  This is the first dimension of an interaction.

It's only later on, as we learn more about our new acquaintance, that we begin to see the other sides they possess.  And the more dimensions a person has, the more interesting we find them.  Writing a series character works the same way; the task of the writer is to mirror that real-life potential in the story itself.

And hopefully, the readers will enjoy it - not just for one decade, but for many.