As I prepare for Mud’s launch, I’ve been thinking a lot about the story’s protagonist, Adem, the golem.

He tries awfully hard, the poor guy. His little mud-made heart is in the right place, but he just keeps mucking things up every chance he’s got. He’s just totally hopeless.

Head in Hands

But Adem’s not alone in the Hopeless Heroes Club. In fact, the most hopeless heroes can be some of the most interesting, and the most prone to muster up real strong emotions (whether that be hate, rage, or loving sympathy really just depends on the character).

So let’s dig them up. Presenting some of the most facepalm-worthy heroes of fiction, list from from most beloved to most despised (SPOILERS AHEAD):

Annie, The Family Fang
The Fangs are, indisputeably, the most dysfunctional non-abusive family ever. And they have my undying love for that. But to say Annie and her brother Buster made it to adulthood without a few scars wouldn’t just be an understatement, it would be a blatant lie.

But for all her aimlessness and bad choices, Annie sees her parents for what they are. In the end, this incredible feat is what sets her free. I love this character as much for her terrible, quirky life decisions as I do her strength.

Meg, A Wrinkle In Time
The very nerdiest brand of teen, Meg is a victim of her own highstrung emotions and insecurities. But then, haven’t we all at some point? As a character, these faults, plus her brilliance and loyalty, make her a huge win for readers.

And sure, the Mrs. W’s, Charles Wallace, and Calvin get their crew of misfits through the most of the story, but Meg’s tidal wave emotions are what pulls them through in that true clench moment.

Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
This guy. Good heart, no motivation. The only things Scott Pilgrim is good at are guitar and video games. Jobs? Nah. Adulting? Nah. Girls? Definitely not. The kid sleeps on a mattress right on the floor of his friend’s apartment.

So Scott Pilgrim would not be #1 on anyone’s list to defeat a slew of Evil Exes and win a girl’s heart. Which makes watching him beat the odds so much more fun.

Mr. Bingley, Pride & Prejudice
Mr. Bingley's a good guy. He's sweet, unassuming, and rich. Which matters, for a romantic hero in in the early 1800s. And he's a hopeless blob of putty in his sisters' manipulative hands.

For all his kindness and generosity, Mr. Bingley is undeniably hopeless. He can't even stand up to his best friend.

Nick Dunne, Gone Girl
There are reasons it was so easy to believe Nick killed his wife, and it wasn’t just Amy’s brilliant setup. It was because 1) Nick is a true sleaze, and 2) Nick keeps making one terrible choice after another. You know, like breaking into crime scenes. Having an affair with a college student. Stuff like that.

Despite his sleaze factor, you do end up feeling for Nick, though. It does seem that Amy may be overreacting to the situation. And once Nick pieces together what’s going on, he’s got no way to prove it to anyone or take any actually helpful action. It basically just keeps unfolding around him, and he sinks deeper and deeper into Amy’s plot, until Amy changes her mind. Womp.

This guy deserves to be lower on this list but, ugh, he actually is kind of charming.

Jonathan Harker, Dracula
This guy you actually do feel bad for. He’s trapped in a haunted house with some kind of monster that climbs walls, indulges in debauchery, and sucks blood … also, turns your true love into a vampire.

In the end, though, the guy gets it together, hunting down an obscure expert and taking down vampires. Attaboy.

Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby
Does this guy do anything besides mooch, and silently judge those he mooches from? Oh right, he also goes along with dating a girl who just sorta-kinda tolerates him, because, whatever, they’re both there.

Bill, True Blood
Filed under “Terrible Good Vampires.” Theoretically an enlightened vampire who is ready to embrace a peaceful coexistence with humans. Bill Compton always seems to be at least one shade of sketchy, and at some point throws aside his “romantic hero” cap altogether and goes villainous instead.

Also, what kind of boyfriend asks you to use the VERY LAST beam of your fairy powers to put him out of his misery? Come on, Bill.

Who would you add?

Is it a coincidence that the only two hopeless heroines are at the top of this list? I mean. Who’s to say*. I don’t write them, I just call them like I see them.

Now obviously, these are not the only hopeless heroes in literature. Worthlessness runs deep in world of fiction. These are just the ones I love most, and love to hate.

What are your favorite and most hated worthless heroes? Share then in the comments!

 

*It’s very likely that women are not given the same leeway to be both a protagonist and unlikeable with the same freedom that male characters are allowed. But that’s a rabbit hole to jump in another day.

pride and prej

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies releases in theaters today, and my fangirl heart is all aflutter.

One would never have expected that something as perfect as Jane Austen's most beloved characters could get any better. But then one never thought to add zombies, did one?

I haven't read the book yet (I know, shame on me) but I'm feeling pretty confident that this is going to be the most magnificent thing since Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer. Which, to be clear, as some people seem to be confused about this, was truly magnificent.

But in case you need further persuation, and because I need an outlet for my geeking, here are the top 10 things I'm looking forward to in Pride and Prejudice and Zombie. 

1. Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet

Girl crushed it in Downton Abbey, and again in Cinderella. Elizabeth Bennet is right in her sweet spot, and it’s clear from the trailer that Lily’s got her sword-wielding moves down, too.

swords

2. Maybe Lydia will finally get what she’s always deserved.

By which I mean that she will DIE. She will die a terrible, violent zombie-attack death. Stop looking at me like that, you know it's true. She’s seriously terrible.

3. Sweet, gentle Mr. Bingley is wielding a huuuge gun.

No doubt to nobly protect his true love with, like the gentleman that he is. Something tells me he’s got some fight in him, for the right cause.

Not that Jane needs protecting, of course …

kitchen

4. Because “my daughters are trained for battle, sir. Not the kitchen.”

Mr. Bennett continues his dismissive attitude toward society in general, regardless of what new monsters have started popping up. Boys? Whatever. Rich people? Meh. Zombies? Shrug.

5. Nothing forces a couple to work through their issues faster than an apocalypse.

The only thing that could make Elizabeth and Darcy’s epic battle of wits better is an actual battle.

darcy

6. Which is mightier, pen or sword? Finally, an answer.

Though I suspect it may not actually matter too much, as long as it can pierce through a rotting skull.

7. Regency Apocolyptic is the new Victorian Goth.

Just go with it.

8. Charlotte was absolutely made for this

This girl has always been a practically-minded survivalist. I’m pretty sure that any woman who can so bravely take on Mr. Collins—and so sure-handedly manage his eccentricities—is a girl who can keep her cool as a zombie approaches. #Entourage.

entourage

9. Who doesn’t love a heavy-handed metaphor?

Add a generous dose of camp, mix in some gorey monsters, and you’ve got me hooked. You think I’m being snarky, but I’m dead serious.

10. Holy crap, was that Lena Headey?

Did you guys catch that? It was. It was totally Queen Cersei. With an eyepatch. Turns out she plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh, staying true to what she does better than anyone—being the baddest bitch in the room.

lenaheadey

February is for lovers. Because, you know, Valentine's Day. To celebrate in style, my fellow City Owl Publishing author Em Shotwell is doing something fun and brilliant--she's created a Love Letter Challenge.

Every day this month, she's featuring a love letter from a different novel's world, from one character to another. Today, the featured novel is Mud!

Hop on over for a sneak peek at Mud with the relationship between an angel and his dead human lover that is core to the novel's plot.

And skim through the rest of the posts while you're there, too! There's some awesome letters so far, and a lot more to come.

Where do you do your reading? In some kind of chair, right? I suspected as much.

But anyone can pick out a boring plush leather recliner. And you’re not just any reader. You’re a science fiction and fantasy reader, and that calls for a chair as imaginative as your content.

Profess your love for the monstrous and the strange with one of these awesome chairs inspired by sci-fi.

The Octo-Chair
Don’t worry, we’re told it won’t eat you if you sit in it.

Octopus Chair

The Wampa Chair
Technically the description for this chair alludes to trolls, but it’s clearly made out of the hide of this furry snow-beast of Hoth.

wampa chair

The Termina-Chair
Clearly this T-1000 Terminator is lying in wait so it can strike at the optimal moment.

terminator chair

The Hobbit Chair
This chair might as well have been lifted right out of a hobbit’s home. Also built in human sizes.

hobbit chair

Fairy Circle
Or, get comfy in the middle of a fairy circle.This author is not responsible for any mischief that follows.

Fairy Circle

The turn of a new year inevitably leads to an inundation of “Best of” Lists.

It’s an absolute disaster for my TBR pile, which grows bigger and bigger by the second as I read. But it’s fun to find new books to be excited about so I just forge on anyway and revel in all the new wonderful books I need to read.

belle

The problem is, while every publication under the sun wants to put its own list out, the most popular books of the year still tend to be the most popular books regardless of whose list you’re looking at.

Then there’s the other lists. The ones that dig up fresh, fantastic new titles that have been around all year, and they never found their way to you. I love these kinds of lists.

With this in mind, I present my list of the very best “Best Of” lists of 2015:

The 24 Best Literary Debuts of 2015
I love a fresh voice. More than that, I love giving my support to one. And I love it when publications use their platform to do the same. Ta-da. Thank you, Buzzfeed.

The Most In-Demand New York Library Books of 2015
It’s pretty interesting to see the commonalities and variations in the most popular books getting picked up from a library in various neighborhoods of the same city—especially in a major melting pot like New York.

13 of the Best Books of 2015 You Might Have Missed
Not every amazing book hits the bestseller list. For whatever reason, some fly under the radar. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. Start with this list from BookRiot.

50 Best Comic Book Covers of 2015
Eye candy for the comic book fan. Or the book cover fan. Or the looking at stunning things fan. Comic Book Resources really knows how to rock a list.

What the Best Authors of 2015 Read This Year
There’s the books we read, and then there’s the books the authors of those books read. This list is an intriguing glimpse into the reading tastes of the authors shaping the public’s reading tastes.

Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year. Because I’m crazy like that.

And if there’s one thing you do. not. do. on the biggest shopping day of the year, it’s mess with crazy.

That’s how it’s done, folks.

But seriously. I love Black Friday because it’s the official opening to the holiday season. I purchase all the gifts, I pull out the Christmas tunes, put up the decorations, and I get my peppermint mocha.

And this year, I’m starting with YOU, with two gifts.

Gift One: Mud cover reveal! Here it is!


And Gift Two:

Mud is now available for pre-order!

Claim your copy now! Click here or on the cover image above to pre-order Mud now, at a special Black Friday sale price. (Available now in epub and Kindle; print and more digital options to come soon.)

Then, tell your friends to do the same! Click here to tweet. 

This past month was all about the editing. I got comments back from my editor at the end of September, and then it was time to bite the bullet and take the heat.

I’ll admit: I was scared to open it for a full week. And then when I finally looked at the edits … ya know, it wasn’t so bad. Also, my editor is one smart lady, and her feedback definitely made Mud a better manuscript.

It’s so nice to know you’re in good hands.

And then I got a glimpse of the cover design mockup! And then we created the back cover blurb! It’s pretty freaking exciting.


When they’re finalized, you can bet I’ll be sharing them with you.

And just like that, bing-bang-boom, this entire process is just flying right along. I’m told we’re looking at a spring release, so we’re just months away from the finish line.

To get these updates via email, along with other fun readerly links, join my email list!

Hi all. Welcome to this. my vast author-y web-void ... which soon I hope will in fact be alive with books and news and other fun reader-ly things for you. But, well, I guess everyone had to start somewhere.

So we'll start here: I am absolutely ecstatic to be able to share that I've signed with City Owl Press to publish my first fantasy novel Mud!

I KNOW RIGHT.

lucille

In many ways it feels this happened so fast, and I'm incredibly lucky. On the other hand, it feels I've been snail-crawling my way to this for ages--five years of crazy early mornings, working weekends, countless what-the-hell-am-I-doing's, even more this-is-total-crap's, and another truckload of this-manuscript-is-never-going-to-end's. And of course, the critiques, the beta readers (THANK YOU to each of you, I have not forgotten my promise of a free copy when it releases), the many, many agent rejections.

And yet. Here we are. (!!!)

It feels like the end of a wild and very challenging adventure ... but I've read enough writing blogs to know that it's actually just the beginning of what's likely to be an even wilder, even more challenging one. Eeep! Here we go ...

I've just yesterday gotten my first round of edits from my editor, which I have not even dared to look at yet because this is quite a busy week and I can't afford to feel overwhelmed yet. But lots of excitement ahead, folks.

If you'd like to come along for the ride, sign up for my newsletter--I'll be shooting out monthly updates about Mud along with other fun reader-ly news.