Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guest blog (and giveaway!) by Ann Aguirre, author of BLUE DIABLO

Hooray, the Guest Blogging Karma has come back to me in the form of one of my favorite authors, who also happens to be a good friend. Ann Aguirre's blog is one of the few I still take the time to read on a regular basis, as she's consistently thoughtful, funny, and sharp. (Not that other bloggers aren't, mind you.)

Blue Diablo cover

Anyway, her latest release, Blue Diablo, starts a new urban fantasy series starring (and named after) the heroine Corine Solomon.

And when I say "new urban fantasy series" I don't just mean "this is the first one" (although I do mean that). I mean that if you're looking for something fresh and new, look no further. Blue Diablo features a heroine with a unique power (psychometry, the ability to read things about a person by handling an object they once touched), in a unique setting (Mexico, which I hear has been in the news a bit lately), and best of all, a unique style.

Like many urban fantasy heroines, Corine's been damaged. She's had a lot taken away from her by the intolerant bastards of the world. And while she's built a shell to protect herself, she's maintained a core of compassion that comes across in her poignant narrative. This is no wise-cracking, chip-on-her-shoulder urban fantasy heroine.

My husband observed that I said, "Hm" out loud several times as I was reading the other night, which usually means I've come across a perfect way of saying something. (Of course, there's always a touch of envy, like, "Damn, I wish I'd thought of that beautiful phrase. Now that way of describing things will never be mine.") Then, just when I least expect it, Corine makes a wry, often self-deprecating observation that had me laughing out loud.

Anyway, you're probably wondering what the story's about. Corine is hiding out in Mexico City, making a living as a pawn shop owner, when her ex-flame shows up needing her gift. (No, not that gift, although he'd definitely like some of that, too, bow chicka bow.) This time, it's not for just another contract job. This time, it's personal. His mother, a woman Corine loved dearly, has been captured--by whom or why, no one knows.

Road trip! Chance and Corine head north and pick up a charming ensemble cast of people who feel as real as my own friends. And that's where this guest blog picks up:

On secondary characters

Thanks for having me here, Jeri.

I hear a lot about how urban fantasy is populated with superwomen who don´t have any female friends, unless the other woman is (a) jealous of the heroine, (b) evil, (c) lost in the heroine´s shadow or (d) secretly in love with the heroine.

I'm here to say that´s not always the case, at least not in my Corine Solomon series. I made sure I had more than one strong female character, apart from the heroine, and I think they all stand in their own right. First, there´s Eva, who is happily married, and guess what else? She´s gorgeous. I think that´s noteworthy because she´s actually more attractive than the heroine, but there´s no envy between them. Then there´s Jeannie, also happily married. And we can´t forget Twila, who is...mysterious. It's best to read the book to learn more.

As for the men, I talk about them elsewhere, so you´ll want to check out my post at http://cubiesconfections.blogspot.com on April 20th. (That´s next Monday.)

Moving on...I thought it was important to include some healthy relationships in the series, so everything is not completely dysfunctional. Chuch and Eva were a lot of fun to write. They had a realism I enjoyed, a gritty back and forth, but also some sweet tenderness in the way they relate to one another. I like layers and hints and secret histories. I enjoy giving the reader a sense that they don´t know everything, even about my supporting characters, so they feel compelled to keep reading. And like any puzzle, the pieces come together slowly, over the course of many books.

In books two and three, you find out more about Corine and Chance, as well as Chuch and Eva. In book four, you´ll find out more about Booke. I´m very proud of this series and I can´t wait to discuss it with you!

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have or comment on the book. If you haven´t read it, I´m giving away a copy to a random commenter. So as not to discourage people who already read it from participating, if you win (and you already have Blue D) you can pick out any other book that also costs $6.99. Ready, set, go!

Please leave a comment below to enter, a question for Ann, or a note about your favorite secondary characters. I'll draw a name at random at 11:59pm eastern Friday. So show some love, and win a book!

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Sounds like a good read. And the main charactar has the same name as my mom! Can't wait to read it.

Posted by: Anonymous frivolousone at 4/14/2009 11:54 AM

Jenks is one of my favorite secondaries in other series. I may never forgive Kim Harrison for writing his death (if she does). I live in hope that Rachel will come up with a solution.

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 4/14/2009 12:04 PM

I have been reading a lot about Blue Diablo and it sounds like a great book. I cant wait to get the chance to read it. Thanks for posting.

Posted by: Blogger donnas at 4/14/2009 12:04 PM

Crazy - I'm reading Shadow Touch by Marjorie M. Liu, which is an early Dirk & Steele novel, and Artur, one of the main characters, is a psychometrist.

Posted by: Blogger Chris at 4/14/2009 12:35 PM

Sounds like a really fun read. :) Will have to add it to my book list!


Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 4/14/2009 1:27 PM

Blue Diablo is definitely joining Doubleblind on my to-read list! :)

Posted by: Blogger Ken at 4/14/2009 1:30 PM

I really love that BLUE DIABLO has more realistic, healthy female relationships and I'm interested to see how that dynamic compares to the many other UFs where the heroine is the only strong woman.

Posted by: Blogger Angiegirl at 4/14/2009 1:37 PM

Sounds like a fun read, thanks for the heads-up.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 4/14/2009 1:58 PM

I love the sound of this series, and have not ever had the opportunity to read anything by you. I would love to enter your draw for Blue Diablo! I think the setting sounds unqiue, and from what I can gather the characters are going to be a pleasure to get to know.

Thanks for the chance, and even if I don't win I'm looking forward to adding this to my list.

Posted by: Blogger RebekahC at 4/14/2009 2:41 PM

Hi Ann, love your Jax series and the excerpt and reviews for Blue Diablo have me hooked. Looks like another fabulous series to look forward to.

Posted by: Blogger Cathy M at 4/14/2009 4:19 PM

Would really love to dig into this book!!! Thanks Shell

Posted by: Blogger HockeyVampiress at 4/14/2009 6:23 PM

I loved Blue Diablo!!! There was one character I found incredibly intriguing, but don't want to name him outright for fear of giving something away. He was the Corine hoped Saldana didn't recognize (which amused me). One of the things I did really like about the book was how real each of the individual characters felt. I am anxiously anticipating the next book in the series! :)

My favorite secondary character of all time is Rikash from Tamora Pierce's Immortals series. I'm still miffed at his demise, holding a grudge. He was fully awesome.

Posted by: Anonymous Tiffany M. at 4/14/2009 7:06 PM

Ooooh, I know who you mean, Tiffany! If you want to talk about him, feel free to email me.

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 4/14/2009 8:13 PM

It definately sounds interesting and different in a good way.

Most of the time, secondary characters are all they are: secondary characters, to the side. But I know that they are important to the story, because nobody wants to read a story about two people and their nameless but mentioned families, or etc. Actually there are a few books I've read where the secondary characters are later made into primary characters in their own books, but that doesn't really count does it? xD

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 4/15/2009 3:18 AM

I posted my comment over on your LJ blog Jeri. Do they count for the contest?

I have to say that my most recent favorite secondary character is the hairless demon cat, Giguhl, in Jaye Wells's Red Headed Step Child. I laughed my head off at the back and forth between him and the main character, Sabina Kane.

Posted by: Anonymous Judi at 4/15/2009 8:24 AM

You know it's funny that the border violence is just now getting media attention when it has actually been a problem for a while. It's kind of cool that I knew about something well before the average American and put it in my book before it came to national attention.

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 4/15/2009 12:33 PM

One of my favorite secondary characters are Micah and Nathaniel from the Anita Blake series (LKH). They're never really integral to the plot, but they are integral to Anita's development. Plus they can be both hilarious and heartwarming fun.

So here's a question for Ann, do we have tentative release dates for Book 2 and 3 yet? Or even titles? I know it's early, but I have to plan my book buying purchases out. ;P If I didn't, my hubby would yell at me for the number that would continually show up on my doorstep from Amazon.

Posted by: Anonymous Jackie M (Literary Escapism) at 4/15/2009 2:59 PM

Hi Ann! I really wanted to come up with something witty to say or ask you. Unfortunately I'm getting ready to go on vac and can't think of anything other than "Don't forget to pack some socks!" I do have one thing to say though, and that is I REALLY WANT THIS BOOK! It sounds fantastic. Thanks for the contest.

Posted by: Anonymous Barb P at 4/15/2009 5:13 PM

I have a few favorite secondary characters:

1. Stefan from Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books. Who doesn't love a vampire that drives around in his own Mystery Machine and argues about how Scooby Doo is better than everything? He bring a goofiness to the series that I really enjoy.

2. Peter, Cody, Hugh, and Carter from Richelle Mead's Succubus series. While the main storyline between Georgina and Seth is great, my favorite parts are the mayhem and shenanigans that her odd group of friends cause randomly. Especially all of the rukus Peter caused in the last book because Georgina's Christmas tree was lit on fire.

A lot of times it's the quirky little scenes involving secondary characters that makes a book OMG FANTASTIC as compared to just a great book for me.

Posted by: Anonymous Sara M at 4/15/2009 5:36 PM

Jackie, henceforth, my Corine books will come out in April. And yes, titles are

Hell Fire, April 2010
Shady Lady, April 2011

Barb, I hope you like it! You should take it on vacation with you. *g*

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 4/15/2009 10:07 PM

I keep seeing a lot of good things about this book. It really looks good and I love urban fantasy, I'm going to have to pick it up soon (if I don't win of course!)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 4/15/2009 11:49 PM

Ann, I saw an add for Blue Diablo on the sidebar of icanhascheezburger.com/ and thought it was awesome.

Posted by: Anonymous Christen D at 4/16/2009 1:26 AM

I have heard so much about this book that I really want to get my hands on a copy. Thanks!

Posted by: Blogger Michelle at 4/16/2009 10:46 AM

Hee! Someone mentioned my LOLcats ad. That's, like, the pinnacle of my marketing efforts. Like 9 million people have seen my ad, thanks to ICanhasCheezburger.

In my opinion, Michelle, everyone should run out and grab a copy. ;) If they don't win.

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 4/16/2009 11:13 AM

I love Bob from Harry Dresden series. He's such a fun addition to an already great series.

My question though is....what other thing do you do besides writing and will those hobbies even make their way into one of your books or have they alrady?!

Posted by: Blogger Chesh at 4/16/2009 8:39 PM

Hi Ann! Hi Jeri! Blue Diablo was awesome! If you haven't read it and don't win it, go out and buy it---you won't be disappointed!
As far as my favorite secondary characters, there are a few who come to mind. First off, from Ann's Jax series, there's Velith, who's great and whose personality comes through as soon as he's introduced. From Maria V. Snyder's Study series, there's Ari and Janco (you can't really separate the two, and from Rob Thurman's Cal and Nico Leandros series, there's Robin Goodfellow (yeah, you read that right---the Shakespeare buff in me was thrilled!). Happy reading!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 4/17/2009 12:58 PM

To be honest, my hobbies are books, reading, and writing. I'm not sure if TV, music & films really count as hobbies.

Otherwise, I don't really collect anything or make anything. I'm kind of singleminded and books are my passion.

Thanks for the kind words, Kim!

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 4/17/2009 5:18 PM

This books looks terrific - I can't wait to pick it up and sink my teeth into it.

One of there are a lot of books that are riddled with secondaries - Jeaniene Frost's Denise and Jeri's Lori, for example, are great examples of the best friend for instance. What I'm not to keen on, however, is the rotation series - series like those of Lara Adrian, JR Ward, Gena Showalter and Alexandra for example - where primary characters in book one become secondary in subsequent books and secondary rotate into the primary position for books of their own. I find it so frustrating because I tend to fall in love with particular characters and then to have them relegated to smaller roles that have them appear but for a page or so - GRR! It can be infuriating.

Was that too much?

Posted by: Blogger Calliope at 4/19/2009 1:27 AM

Too bad, I think I missed the drawing already, but I'm trying to follow way to many blogs. I wanted to say though that I bought your book Blue Diablo the other day. I'm halfway through with it. I bought your book automatically because I'm really into your SF books (Grimspace and Wanderlust). At first I thought wow, not really what I expected, but your writing style and your characters are pulling me right along. I'm glad I bought the book, and I'm definitely going to look for the sequels. (unless I'm lucky enought to WIN one!)

Thanks for your wonderfully, interesting books. Love Chuch and Eva tambien.

Posted by: Blogger Mardel at 4/22/2009 3:16 AM

There are so many books that I'd like to read..I have a huge wish list that keeps growing. I have wanted to read Aquirre's novel. I hope I'm a lucky winner..if not I'll still get it :)

Posted by: Blogger StyleVamp at 4/22/2009 10:34 PM

I love good "minor" characters. Not that any examples come to me right now, of course...

I'll go read more on that other blog, thank you for the link.

Posted by: Anonymous Paula at 4/27/2009 8:39 AM

Did I miss the posting of the winner? I can't find it anywhere.

Posted by: Anonymous Judi at 6/07/2009 3:53 AM

Sorry, Judi, the winner was sam36 from livejournal. I posted it there and forgot to post it here and on MySpace. This is what happens when I don't have automatic cross-posting and have to do it manually--things fall through the cracks! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 6/07/2009 10:29 PM

Thanks for answering Jeri. :) I know exactly what you mean about the whole cross-posting issue.

Posted by: Anonymous Judi at 6/08/2009 3:35 AM

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