Guest Author: Sarah McCarty "Persevering Against Stereotypes"

Tuesday, October 6

***This giveaway is now over.  Thanks for entering!***

Sarah McCarty is my guest author today at Seductive Musings talking about stereotypes in the romance industry, and following your own muse.  

I'm a firm believer in being true to yourself and your unique and individual voice, and Sarah is proof that being a little bit different can be good despite what others may think.  Her newest series The Shadow Wranglers is her own take on vampires, but of course set in the guise of cowboys : ) Like she said Cowboy Vamps...what's not to love!!

Persevering Against a Stereotype

Stereotypes can be a pill for a writer. They can keep a book from being published, and they can keep a book from being read. Every writer knows that up front. That being the case, you would have thought I’d have concentrated my unpublished efforts on writing something currently in fashion like Chick lit or Paranormal. But no…I was in love with Western Historicals and was convinced my take on the genre would be popular if I could just find my series a home, so I started my published career with a Western Historical romance. I just bet as soon as I typed that, many got a mental picture of a very prim and proper woman typing away at her computer, producing a story about a great love affair between the respectable school marm and the disreputable but loveable sheriff who runs the town with an iron fist. You couldn’t be further from the truth, but that stereotype is definitely the bane of my professional existence.

Used to be my Promise books were rejected because they were too edgy for the Western historical market. “Very good but not what readers would expect” was one phrase I heard a lot. I’m nothing if not persistent and eventually, my Promise series found a home with an e-publisher, Ellora's Cave and three years later my Hells Eight series, equally edgy but with a different rhythm, found a home with Harlequin Spice. That same year, the Promise series moved to Berkley, and I sold two Paranormal series to Berkley.

My Wild series, which is a one story arc, three love story anthology with each couple getting their own segment that flows seamlessly from each previous story. My idea to format an anthology  that way, because writing short is very hard  for me, and structuring the story this way  allowed for 3 separate stories with  the feel of one big book. At the time I wasn't sure it would sell as no one did anthologies that way, but happily it did and since then I see a lot more anthologies coming out with that format so readers must enjoy it too.

The other Paranormal series I sold is my Shadow Wrangler series. Cowboy Vamps. What's not to love? Here's a bit of background on the series. Those of you who read my Tucker's Claim interview will already be familiar with it.

In the 1860’s, the Johnson brothers were a force to be reckoned with in the Wyoming territory. Not exactly outlaws, but a far cry from saints, they did what they had to in order to survive. They made friends and enemies with equal ease. To take on one was to take on them all. They lived every day to the fullest, knowing it could be their last, until the day the oldest brother Caleb was bushwhacked and left to die of his wounds.

That day everything changed because a pretty little vampire came across Caleb in his dying moments, felt his pain at leaving his brothers, and gave him a choice by converting him. Newly immortal, unable to face eternity alone, Caleb tracked down his brothers and one by one converted them. Now, two hundred and fifty years later, the Johnson men are still coping with the ramifications of being cowboys to the bone and vampires to boot in a world that changes faster than they care to keep up.

The first book in the series introduces the characters through Caleb and Allie’s love story and brings the Johnson brothers into the middle of a vampire civil war. The three other brothers’ stories take place in the middle of the war. The youngest brother’s story opens the door for the spin off to the werewolf series which will flesh out those intriguing alphas readers meet in all the Shadow Wrangler books.

I thought I was shed of the stereotype once I got published, but I was wrong. Being published just means the stereotype gets to slap me around from a different angle. Initially, reviewers were hesitant to review my books. Readers approached them gingerly, and no matter how many awards I won, every time I mentioned my genre, people took that half step back. But I had faith in my Western Historicals, faith in my alphas, and faith in persistence. And as time passed, my Western Historicals grew in popularity. Surprisingly, the biggest percentage of my Western Historical fans comes from the Paranormal genre. That surprised me until I started thinking about it. I write both Western Historical and Paranormal and to me it's a natural combination, but I never stopped to think about the why of that until I looked at the genres my fans favored. Here's my take on it.

The American West was full of danger, excitement, and opportunity. Contradictions abounded and what was outrageous one day could be normal the next. Idiosyncrasies were a way of life, and everyone had a secret. The fate of good or evil could turn on nothing more than a coin toss or the timely intervention of a hero or heroine. Cultural norms mutated under the weight of necessity, and people either learned to adjust to the demands put upon them or they died. Women and men married for survival as much as they married for hope. Heroes and outlaws emerged out of the most unlikely backgrounds and anyone could be literally anyone on any given day. It was a time of endless possibility and potential. And just like with the Paranormal genre, nothing was ever what it seemed. Do you see the similarities between the two genres? In Western Historicals, the hero is a cowboy, outlaw or lawman. In a Paranormal, he'll be a vampire, werewolf or other such variation, but otherwise they are the same inner being facing the same uncertain world with nothing but grit and determination to see them through.

Whether their story unfolds within a Paranormal or a Western Historical, my characters tend to be as different as the stories they represent. One heroine was sold into prostitution; one into marriage and another was just plain sold out by the man she trusted. Their men are also a reflection of the times, their lives a record of the violence inherent in their day-to-day life. One’s a tough street fighter looking for a home, another a ruthless lawman looking for respect, and yet another is a bounty hunter fast losing touch with his ideals. In modern times, or a modern world, they’d be business moguls, veterinarians and financial wizards. In the old West, they became what they had to in accordance with the exploitable opportunities provided at the time. Which in that era and that region of the country, were not numerous and rarely legal. In a Paranormal setting, they’re men on the fringe of their cultures. Men with vision who can see the future and what they need to do to be part of it. In either world, they grew up hard and practical with an inherent understanding of how a willingness to bend the rules worked to their advantage. They’re neither saints nor outlaws, just strong capable men able to do what needs to be done.

Hot, gritty, and edgy, my Western Historicals may not be what people expect when they think Western Historical, and my Paranormals might be a little outside the norm also, but for me, they still fit neatly inside the broad parameters of what constitutes their genre. One of my readers described my PROMISE series as “HBO’s Deadwood goes Romantica (tm)”. I think that’s the best description I’ve heard to date. And I totally adore how it side steps the old stereotype and lays the groundwork for a new one. It's a big reading world out there. There's room for as many well written stories stretching the boundaries of as many stereotypes as authors deem fit. And if I persevere, I might get to read them all

Meet three sexy ranchers—who also happen to be vampires—in the first of a new series by the national bestselling author of Wild Instinct.

Allie always desired mysterious, sexy rancher Caleb Johnson, but he never seemed to notice her. Until the night she’s attacked by a vicious animal, and rescued by a shapeshifting vampire that she almost seems to recognize: the baritone growl, the mesmerizing eyes, the inexplicable animal attraction. That’s because her savior is Caleb, and now he has no choice but to bring Allie into the shadows with him—to protect her from a rival werewolf pack, and to finally reveal his true feelings for the woman he’s been afraid to love.

Bonus excerpt for Seductive Musings readers:


Caleb struggled with the lassitude holding him prisoner. Struggled against the weakness dragging him into the sweet, welcoming dark he didn’t want to come back from.


The whisper echoed in his mind. Allie’s voice, filled with an unbearable pain and hopelessness. His Allie, of the irrepressible optimism and incredible bravery. Someone had dared to hurt her.

He crashed into awareness on a surge of primitive rage and endless hunger. Immediately, he knew his brothers were in the room. He could feel their elation mixing with a wariness he didn’t understand until he registered the other presence. Allie. Close and hurting.

He opened his eyes. She was slumped against the side of the bed, her hair a waterfall of silken brown on the white sheets, her arm stretched toward him, pale and insubstantial. Her body lifeless as the sweet taste of her blood filled his mouth.

Horror joined his rage. Jesus H. Christ, he was feeding on her. The woman he’d never meant to taint. He broke his brothers’ mental hold on him, now strong enough to do so thanks to the infusion of her blood. He pushed up to his side. The wound on her wrist was a gaping testament to his hunger.

“Goddamn you,” he swore at Jared, knowing who was behind this. “Did you even have the decency to block the pain?”

“You were leaving us, Caleb,” Slade stated calmly. “We did what we had to.”

As if anything gave them the right to use her. Hurt her. His Allie. His woman. The one he’d never intended to claim. He stroked his tongue over the wound, sealing off the sluggish spew of blood. He brushed the hair off her deathly white face, all that bursting life gone, leaving a waxen impression of her true self.

“She didn’t ask for this.”

“None of us did, but it didn’t make a difference to you before,” Jared inserted, his bitterness undiminished.

And it wasn’t going to make a difference now, Caleb knew. Two hundred and fifty years ago he couldn’t face eternity without his brothers, and today he couldn’t face this. He slid down to the floor beside Allie, pulling her into his arms. She flopped like a rag doll against him.

“Goddamn you all to hell.”

“We’re already there.”

The rage swirled again, primitive and nearly out of control as Caleb tilted Allie’s head back. She was almost gone, the flicker of life in her barely detectable. All he had to do to let her pass over was to delay just a little longer, let the lack of blood starve her body of the oxygen it needed and she’d pass cleanly to the other side, untainted. The vampire in him howled at the thought, raged at the concept of losing his mate–primitive as always, thinking in terms of possession–while the human part of him, the part he struggled to keep alive, knew it was the right thing to do.

He positioned her body, placing her mouth against his chest. He whispered into her mind, to that small, terrified, huddled bundle of light that harbored her soul, “It’ll be all right, Allie girl. I’ll make it all right.”

Slade came forward, reaching for her, “We’ll feed her, Caleb. You’re too weak.”

For the first time in centuries, Caleb bared his fangs at his middle brother, ready to rip his throat out if he came an inch closer. “Don’t touch her.”

Jace caught Slade’s arm and pulled him back. “Leave him be, Slade.”

Slade jerked his arm free. “He can’t afford the blood loss.”

“We’ll replace it,” Jared said, as calmly confident as always.

“What if he refuses to take from us, like before? Caleb can be a damn stubborn bastard when he gets the bit between his teeth.”

“Before he was protecting her.”

“And now?”

“He’ll feed.”

“What makes you so sure?”

Jared’s gaze stroked over Allie with something akin to satisfaction. “He won’t leave her.”

Jared was right, Caleb knew. As long as Allie lived, he’d stay in this world, doing what he had to in order to insure her happiness.

He elongated his pinkie nail to a razor sharp talon and slashed his chest. Blood gushed. He pressed Allie’s mouth to it, blending his mind with hers, soothing her horror with calm, changing the scenario to one of a first date, changing the taste of blood to the effervescent bubble of champagne, ignoring the clenching in his body as her soft mouth moved erotically on him, each brush of her lips whipping though his body on a swelling wave of white-hot pleasure.

He looked at his brothers across the room as Allie fed, loving them, understanding their motivation. It had always been the Johnson brothers against the world. But no more. It had been their choice to change things. He stroked Allie’s soft hair, better positioning her mouth against him, quelling her struggle for control with another touch of his mind to hers, biting back a moan as her lush hips shifted on his hungry cock. She was everything to him now. Joined to him forever more. His hope and his reason for being.

He locked his mind to theirs and spoke very clearly so there would be no misunderstanding of Allie’s importance to him. “If you ever endanger her again, brothers or not, I’ll rip your throats out and leave you in the sun to burn.”

From the author of Running Wild, another hot, sexy success.

Three desperate women, hunted and on the run, bring out the animal instincts in the males who promise them more than just rescue...

Garrett-Shunned by werewolf society because of his human blood, he's been promised pack status in return for saving three women from doom.

Daire-A powerful rogue who rejected the strict rules of werewolf society, he was resigned to never finding a mate. Then he joins forces on an unusual rescue mission, saving the woman of his dreams.

Curran-His job is simple: find the fugitive were-woman. Trapping his bounty has never been a problem, yet this time his prey is a haunting woman possessing terrible secrets-and lush sensuality.

Congratulations Sarah!  Today is the official release date for Caleb.  Jared, the second book in the Shadow Wrangler series, will be released April of 2010, and Wild Instinct will be released December 2009. 

Want to earn extra entries to the Tucker's Claim giveaway? 
  • Leave a comment telling Sarah what you think about her two newest series:  The Shadow Wranglers and the Wild Anthology series.  What intrigues you the most?  What would you like to see in a Paranormal series that may be outside the norm? (good for 1 extra entry)
  • Blog about Tucker's Claim and Caleb: The Shadow Wranglers and leave a link in your comment (good for 10 extra entries)
  • You can choose to earn extra entries as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
  • Your comment MUST include your email address in order for you to be eligible
All of the other original rules and regulations from the Tucker's Claim post apply, and you will only be earning extra entries to that giveaway by commenting and/or blogging about these books.  If you missed the Tucker's Claim post and want to learn more about the giveaway click here.

Good Luck!

p.s. don't forget that tomorrow is Share the Love you have something to share? 

Booklover signature (revised)


jeanette8042 October 6, 2009 at 12:47 AM  

Both books sound awesome and the excerpt were wonderful, which makes me want to read them even more! What intrigues me the most is that there is a mixture of vamps and cowboys, my favorites put together in one package! In a paranormal series, it would be awesome to see more different creatures such as fairies and more variations as focuses of stories.

Virginia C October 6, 2009 at 7:03 AM  

I love the Old West, so I'll bite! Thank you for not being afraid to think, and write, outside the traditional fiction box! Wolves, coyotes, bears, horses, eagles are all great elements for paranormal Western fiction!

I am a follower and a subscriber. I entered the "Tucker's Claim" giveaway. gcwhiskas at aol dot com

joder October 6, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

I'm am a follower and subscriber and entered the original contest post.

I love the animalistic sound of these new series, the wildness. And of course hot men always get my attention.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

RachieG October 6, 2009 at 8:52 PM  

Please don't count me in the drawing as I've already bought "Tucker's Claim"

Gotta admit, it was FANTASTIC! I Hope Sarah reads these posts but I loved loved loved the book. Tucker was a great character and I enjoyed his lady love. She was a Quaker so it made things a bit different, but I enjoyed it being different. My fav of Hell's Eight so far. :D

I somehow missed Caine's book but ordered it today, so I'm set. :D

rachie2004 @ yahoo (d0t) com

chey October 6, 2009 at 9:20 PM  

Your books sound great. I love the idea of cowboy vampires!

I'd like to see more time travel to the past.

I entered the "Tucker's Claim" giveaway

I follow

chey127 at hotmail dot com

Mary G October 6, 2009 at 9:51 PM  

I'm glad you stuck to your guns reagrding edgy historicals. Caine's reckoning was the first erotica I read & I've never looked back. I like paranormals that could be in the realm of possibility.

Patricia Barraclough,  October 6, 2009 at 10:46 PM  

Putting vampires as cowboys is something I really couldn't imagine. It seems to have worked.
Your writing their three stories as an anthology is a great idea. So often there is an overall story arc and keeping it together makes a lot of sense. I don't like reading a book in an arc and then having to wait forever for the next books to come out. You loose part of the flow and suspense that is maintained in an anthology.
Both your series seems to fit well where you have put them.

Mitzi October 6, 2009 at 10:53 PM  

Sarah, You are my 1st love of erotic romance novels. I think I've read the Promise series so many time, I need to replace them because they are falling apart.

I read the 1st book in the werewolf series and loved it. I was expecting an anthology with different stories by different authors...and was happy to have 3 stories that link by you!!! Can't wait till the next book comes out!!!

I just finished Tucker's Claim last night and wow...can you write the best erotic novel or what??? Loved it!!!

I got Caleb today and can't wait to start it...but will have to wait till Sunday....BooHoo.

Love all your books!!! I'm not a great fan of PNR, but I make the exception for your stories because I know they will be awesome!!!

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

Thanks for the chance to win a fabulous book by Sarah!!!

booklover0226 October 7, 2009 at 4:28 AM  

I have never read a paranormal book in a western setting and this, I find intriguing. Rugged cowboys who are vamps and shape-shifters, what a combination!

I am looking forward in starting both series.

I am a follower.

Tracey D
booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

Amy M October 8, 2009 at 9:21 AM  

I think that it is the mixture of western and paranormal that is getting me. Alpha cowboys who are also vampires...YUM!

I am a follower and entered in the original post :)

As for what I would like to see in Paranormals...I honestly don't know. I am not super creative or imaginative, so it is hard for me to think the way that the authors do and come up with idea's.


Amy M
atc218 at aol dot com

ddurance October 9, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

These new series look wonderful. I'm always game for something paranormal and there aren't many western, cowboy vamps, so it's always interesting to see that.

As far as something different, maybe some cross-mating so to speak, vampires in love with werewolves or something of that nature.

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Chris R October 9, 2009 at 1:31 PM  

I absolutely love the Wild series. One of the best parts in the way you put 3 seperate books together but they feel like one book.

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