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Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Steps to Villainy with author, @JoGrafford #contemporaryromance #RB4U

(Photo Credit: Hacker by Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos)

Darth Vader (Star Wars), Terminator T-800 (Terminator), Police Inspector Javert (Les Miserables), the Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood), the King Slayer (Game of Thrones), and the list goes on.

What is it about these villains that reaches across the TV screen (or the e-reader or novel in our hands) and completely grabs us by the throat? What it is that makes us remember them long after the credits have finished rolling?

1.       The villains we love to hate are truly despicable. Bad things happen to good people when these guys and gals show up. Innocent people get hurt. Manipulation. Hidden agendas. War. Catastrophe. Torture. Punishment. Collateral damage. Mass destruction. Death. They cross the line, do the unforgiveable, and force us face our worst fears.

2.       We see where they went wrong. Many villains aren’t just warped from birth. They have a past. Sometimes an all-too familiar one. Difficult childhoods. Unfair circumstances. Pain. Abuse. Tragedy. Bad luck. Things many of us have dealt with ourselves. Things that often lead to poor choices and a whole lifetime of ill consequences. We sometimes look at these villains and say, “That could have been me, if it weren’t for…”

3.       We see ways to redeem them even if they don’t want to be redeemed. We wonder why they refuse to take advantage of second chances. Or third chances. Or fourth. Why they don’t stop and cut their losses. Pay their dues. Turn over a new leaf. Reach for the olive branch. There are so many opportunities to change a person’s stars in a single lifetime. But these villains refuse. Or can’t. Or won’t. And it drives us crazy, because they could. But don’t.

4.       We occasionally glimpse a shred of their humanity (or former humanity). As much as we don’t want to like them, sometimes we do. Almost. Or a lot. Because once in a while, they make us laugh or sympathize or relate. How dare they!

5.       We experience emotion at their demise. Even though they deserve what they get at the end, deserve to lose, deserve to spend the rest of their miserable days behind bars, or even deserve to die…a part of us hurts when they do. Because somewhere along the way, we caught a glimpse of what they could have, would have, might have been. If only…

What do YOU love to hate about your favorite villains?

In my upcoming release, DESIGNED FOR YOU, you’ll meet one of our villains on the first page. In the first sentence, actually . A man who works from the shadows and calls himself XX. A man who my entrepreneurial interior designer, Jillian Lang, refuses to take seriously. At first.

If your reader senses are tingling, join us for the heart-pounding, fast-paced ride of your life. Those who reserve their pre-order copy before our April 19 release date get to do so for a 70% discount off regular price.

Happy reading!

TITLE – Designed For You
SERIES (& Book #) – For You Series, Book #1
AUTHOR – Jo Grafford
GENRE – Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – April 19, 2016
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 86,000 words

Despite a string of personal tragedies and setbacks, Jillian Lang's interior design company is an enormous success. If she doesn't count the cyber stalker who hounds her daily…

Her new office manager, Holland Sparks, steps to the plate, shielding her from the threatening calls and emails, while steadily chipping away at the many barriers she’s erected to shield her heart.

When the stalker suddenly moves his game from the cyber world to the real world, Jillian discovers no one in her immediate circle is exactly who or what he claims to be. Not her landlord. Not even her family.

Will Holland be the one man she can turn to, or will his own secrets be reason enough to scrap her designs on the man of her dreams?


An award-winning author from St. Louis, Missouri, Jo has served as a corporate trainer, junior college finance instructor, and high school business teacher. Along the way, she discovered the only thing she enjoys as much as teaching is writing. Especially writing romance!

In her stories, the stakes are always high and there's nothing her heroes won't risk for the brilliant, sassy women they love.

A typical day finds her with her laptop balanced on her knees, a caffeinated beverage within reach, and a cat snoozing nearby who dreams of taking over the world.

Jo writes across the genres and is presently writing three series:

·         For You Series - heart pounding contemporary romantic suspense
·         Lost Colony Series - the epic historical saga of the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island
·         Vikings Saga - a collection of fantasy novellas

When Jo's not writing romance, she's reading it. She adores alpha males, strong-minded women, humorous sidekicks, diversity, Vikings, dashing lords, vampires, zombies, get the idea.

She loves to stay in touch with readers on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, and Amazon. Plus you can read free chapters of all her books on Wattpad. To receive a free copy of one of her bestselling stories, visit to sign up for her newsletter.



Cara Marsi said...

I enjoyed this. The best villains are the ones with a trace of humanity, as you said, they have reasons as to why they turned bad. As an author, you need to write villains who people can relate to on some level. I love the premise of your new release, and the cover. Best of luck.

Jo Grafford said...

Thank you for the well wishes, Cara! Glad you enjoyed the post.
All best,

jean hart stewart said...

I like that you enjoy reading romance as well as writing it. I don't think anyone can be a really good writer without that input. I enjoy your character analyses. Much luck

Jo Grafford said...

Yep! Love my book boyfriends. I own walls of shelves of them. Thank you for stopping by, Jean! Cheers, JO

Michele Zurlo said...

I love this post. Villains are often the reason we see our hero/heroine's great side.

Jo Grafford said...

I agree, Michele! Thanks so much for stopping by. Cheers, Jo

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