Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When Embracing Bad is Good, by Shea Berkley

 I'm very pleased to have 
guest author
Shea Berkley
on the blog today!

Shea's celebrating her New Adult Romance, The Marked Son, and she's got a great guest post for us today. Take it away, Shea!

I’m a good girl. Ask any of my friends. I’ve paid them handsomely to corroborate that illusion. Seriously, I’m not a drama queen. I like to play nice with others. I like going home knowing I didn’t ruin someone’s day by being a total witch. Let someone else wear the green skin. I’m perfectly happy being pink.

Yet nice does not a good book make.

Huh, you say? Everyone wants the good guy or girl to win.

Absolutely! But let’s break down this concept of “bad is good” as it applies to the story world.

I’m gonna dare to walk the tracks at night and say, everyone understands the concept of sin. Sin is something you do that is seen as morally wrong, something a particular society has deemed unacceptable. When you decided to cross the line from approved behavior into unapproved behavior (sin), you create conflict.

Here’s the kicker. What is morally wrong for you isn’t necessarily morally wrong for someone else, even within a society because not everyone in a society agrees on what is wrong. This is called a complication. 

As a storyteller, I live to uncover conflict and its complications. I need these about as much as I need air. Without conflict, my story will choke and die. And that death will be wrapped up with a big, fat red bow of boredom. 

Here’s the funny part. As a storyteller, my morals are not necessarily my characters’ morals. Let me repeat that. My morals are not necessarily my characters’ morals. I am a clean living gal. My characters have been known to do and say all sorts of things I would never, in a million, kagillion years, do or say. I’ve got to get my fingers dirty writing about things that my characters try to keep hidden in the deepest parts of the hearts. I’m creating drama, and drama equals conflict which equals sin, which in turn creates an interesting story. 

In The Marked Son, there is plenty of conflict. I’ve got selfishness, greed, murder, scandal, lies and a power struggle. Within those conflicts complications arise and further deteriorate an impossible situation because Dylan, our hero, isn’t a guy who wants any part of what’s been thrust upon him. He just wants to live in peace and have a tiny slice of happiness, something he’s never had before. He wants his dreams to become reality. Yet, when his dreams come to life, instead of the happiness he expects, he finds danger and death. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Easing back, I press my spine into the prickly bark and rub my hands through my hair. It’s obvious they don’t know I’m in their world. According to Navar, I’m not even real. Granel is a problem. He believes in my existence and has enough sway over Navar that he’s gotten him to at least consider the possibility I’m real and a threat.

After seeing what I’ve just seen, I’ve got to get back home now more than ever.

Before I can move, the guard appears, dangling upside-down from the branch above me with a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. “Hello, mutt.”

He cartwheels out of the tree, lands on his feet, and swings his sword in one fluid motion. I dodge the blade and spring to my feet, calling on the tree branches to capture him. The man is quickly tangled, yet with a heavy blow, his sword slices neatly through the wood. He drops to the ground unfazed.

With eyes glittering, he stalks me.

I fumble for the sword Bodog gave me as real fear begins to grow. This guy is a hardened soldier. I don’t stand a chance.

I dodge his blade time and again, feeling the whistle of cold steel every time it passes. I manage to pull out my sword and then something unexpected happens. The blade ripples to life with a flash of fire. I thrust the sword in front of me and gape. Holy flaming fire!

The soldier stops and smiles. “Well, well, well. You’re full of surprises.”

“Just wait. I’ve got more,” I say and shrug with a confidence I don’t exactly feel. Hopefully my act has him thinking I’m used to a good flaming sword fight. To back up my false confidence, I find myself lunging forward, my flaming sword slicing toward his head. He spins away and the battle begins in earnest.

I must be crazy. I’ve never fought with a sword. He acts like he was born with it in his hand. His blade comes frighteningly close to my head and cuts off a few strands of my hair before I push him away. Trees are used as vaulting points. Branches as obstacles. Forest debris whirls. We tussle and my sword flies out of my hand.

Desperate for cover, I duck behind a tree, breathless and sore. I’m at my wit’s end. How long can I postpone the inevitable? I duck as his blade swipes at me again. I don’t want to die. Not like this. Not here. Not now.

If you’re a writer, go ahead and embrace the bad. We learn from our mistakes and most mistakes are messy and ugly. That’s life. If you’re a reader, take a chance on The Marked Son. I bet you’ll find you have a lot in common with Dylan. He’s just a guy trying his best to live his life, and even though he resists, he finds the hero in himself that he never knew existed. 
Get your copy of The Marked Son at:  
I’d like to thank Laura for inviting me here today. I love geeking out when it comes to books and writing. 

You can find Shea at:  

More about Shea's Books:

Blurb for The Marked Son, Available Now!


Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.

When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked
for death…

Blurb for Torrein, Coming in November!

What if the only hope of saving a magical world depended on an ordinary boy?

Taelyon is a land divided; its mortals distrust those different than them; its wizards live indifferent to the suffering of others to see the danger on their doorstep.  The battle for dominance is never far off, and death is a daily fear provoked by King Hcaon the Younger's inability to lead.

Torrein’s parents are powerful wizards, and Torrein's greatest fear is that he'll be denied the gift of magic.  When magic is denied him, he's chased from his own village by those he used to call friends.  Alone and wandering in a world he doesn't know, Torrein doesn't understand that his destiny is far greater than any he could have achieved if magic had been granted him. What plagues him is a desire he can't have - to be with his family and live his life in peace. 

Peace is not easily found in Taelyon.  The destiny Torrein fights lies in a prophecy soaked in blood.  To claim his rightful power, he must calm his fears and face those who want him and his people dead.  Everyone has been blinded to the real evil in their midst, and it will be a fight till the end of the age to reclaim Taelyon's freedom.  Though it's hard for him to accept, it’s up to Torrein to protect those who have been deceived, and to make sure the evil in their midst doesn't destroy them all.


Aubrie said...

As an author you "live to uncover complication" I love it! And "Nice does not a good book make" -very funny!

Shea Berkley said...

Hey Aubrie! Yeah the whole, what's a nice girl like me doing writing about not so nice things? Cause I want to entertain people. (grin)
Thanks for stopping by.

metallifan15 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke Moss said...

You know, in all honesty...I like writing about not so nice things because my day to day life is pretty darn mundane. It gives me a chance to step out of the norm.


P.S. LOVED The Marked Son. Can't wait for the next installment.

Shea Berkley said...

Hey Brooke! Thanks. I'm glad you liked the book. My life is pretty staid too. Writing about someone elses life imploding is fun. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. (grin)