AUTHOR C.J. GRAVES GUEST POST/GIVEAWAY (Antichrist 16: The Becoming)

(giveaway detail at bottom…please read post first)

Ouch, Ugh, and OMG!   A Good Writer Tortures Her Characters.

I am a writer.  And as much as I’d like to pretend my stories emerge from living on the African plain or from getting beaten by my stepfather or from being left at the alter (twice) or from finding an alien implant in my right, big toe… 

I can’t. 

In truth, I grew up in a small town with a loving family, married a very nice man, and although I may’ve seen an alien spacecraft once (It could’ve been!), my life is pretty normal.  Read: boring.  I spend many days in my jammies, writing in between doing loads of laundry.  Sometimes I stare inside the refrigerator, hoping a big piece of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting materializes.  This is the extent of my pain. 

But just because I don’t suffer much, doesn’t mean I don’t know how to make others suffer.  I do and more importantly–I like it!  What’s at the heart of any successful novel? 


Conflict is to novels like cream cheese is to bagels.  Mmm, yummy, yummy.  (Do I seem to have a cream cheese obsession to you?)  Conflict turns up the heat and provides the sizzle that makes pages seem to turn on their own.  So, how does an author create this conflict?  Simple. She tortures her characters. 

Now torture can mean lots of things besides waterboarding and pulling someone’s fingernails out–although both of those would certainly work.  Anything that gets in the way of what a character wants can qualify.  Here are five of my favorite ways of inflicting pain and suffering on my make-believe friends: 

1.  Give your character flaws.  Bad temper, poor motor skills, a sex addiction, narcolepsy, smelly feet… the list is endless.  Nothing hurts more than our own inadequacies. 

2.  Put a loved one in danger.  If you’re really hard-core–kill them.

3.  Betrayal.  The more loyal the person was supposed to be, the more it hurts to be kicked in the nads by them.

4.  Take away physical comforts and the means to get them.  If not having the latest iPhone sucks, try no job, no money, no home, no food…

5.  Take away psychological comforts.  Dumped by the loving girlfriend.  Ostracized by the supportive parents.  Ignored by the understanding friends.  Make your character a pariah.  Smelly feet will definitely help with this.

It’s amazing how difficult this can be.  I mean, some writers love their characters and hate to hurt them, but readers don’t want blue skies and kittens.  They want broken hearts and blood.  It’s my job to be the one nasty bitch who gives it to them. 

Am I up to the task?  You betcha.  Pass the cream cheese and get ready for some pain.


It’s not like sixteen-year-old Nathan Terras wants to be evil. A bad boy, maybe—but not evil. Yeah, he can see auras but so what? He’d gladly trade that talent for, say, a new Mustang or a little skin time with Scarlett Johansson. That is until a near-death experience reveals he’s to become the Antichrist.

Forget vampires, werewolves, and zombies. They’re the lucky ones.


And now his enemies are waking. They’re coming for him, and they’re not interested in a friendly game of Halo. But Nathan’s developing some frightening defenses of his own. A violent power grows inside him. He’d be thankful, if only the dark energy wasn’t so addictive.

When his little brother disappears, he’ll do anything to get him back. Embracing his new identity may save his brother’s life, but Nathan could lose his own in the process. The line between good and evil begins to blur, leaving Nathan wondering which side he’s on.


C.J. Graves is NOT the Antichrist, but she thinks she babysat him once. 

After growing up in NW Pennsylvania in the cold and snow, she moved to Japan to live in…more cold and snow, but she now resides in sunny North Carolina with her wonderful husband and swimming pool. 

Having graduated from UNCG with a degree in Interior Architecture and Design, she soon realized she wasn’t cut out for the project management side of the business and turned to another creative love—writing.  When she’s not writing or running a critique group, she enjoys beating up teenagers in her mixed martial arts class.



Antichrist 16: The Becoming (Antichrist 16 Trilogy)







(2) Smashwords Gift Coupons for the book “Antichrist 16: The Becoming” are up for grabs! To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment regarding the guest post or a question for the author. The comment/question is MANDATORY to enter.

For EXTRA entries, please like/follow the following pages…for each page that you like/follow you will get an extra entry. MAKE SURE to tell me how many pages you liked so that they will count. Contest ends 9/16 at midnight with winners announced the next day.

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Crossed: A Jayden Morrow Mystery (Jayden Morrow Mysteries)



Belted: A Novel by C.J. Graves

Posted on September 12, 2012, in GIVEAWAYS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I cannot wait to read something by you! Just this blog had me laughing! The story of the book seems like something that will suck me in right away. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I was supposed to be the AntiChrist! (well, I DO plan on ruling the world someday!)

  2. My very first comment snags me a superhero?! I’m properly honored, Wonder Woman–thank you! Yes, being the Antichrist mostly sucks. All long hours and high expectations. And you know how even normal teenagers deal with that!

  3. This sounds very interesting! I’ve read something similar and loved it so this really caught my attention! I’ll be checking into this one for sure!

    • Hey Ryan–you ever climb Seneca Rocks in WV? My husband and I used to go there in the summer. We didn’t climb (big chickens–LOL) but we loved how peaceful the place was. And the climbing guides were so interesting–they’d live in these cabins w/out water and electricity–working just so they could climb in their own time. When the season was done, they’d pack up and head to the next spot. Kind of like surfers.

  4. Thanks, Ryan! You know when I came up with this concept, I looked around and saw lots of vampires, zombies, werewolves, angels, demons, etc.–which are great, but I thought–why not go right to the heart of evil–the devil. Well, I couldn’t really think how to make the devil work, so I went to the next best thing–the Antichrist. Luckily, there’s not much written about this character so it gave me lots of poetic license. And believe me, I use it!

  5. OOHHH!! Intriguing~thrilling and leaving us hanging on a limb of wondering if he really is on the good or evil side. I will check out this book in a dark minute!! 😉

  6. Hey Natalie! Yes, poor Nathan has a hard time figuring that out himself. It seems like it should be so clear but… (heh-heh-heh)

  7. i know this is a very inconsequential question but it’s one i’ve been wondering about for quite some time — how do you decide on character names??

    • It’s not inconsequential at all! In fact, it’s so important that it often causes me fits and has me running to baby name lists in order to find something appropriate/memorable. Sometimes it can just come to you–sometimes you have to dig for it. In A-16, I chose the name, Nathan, as the Antichrist because Nathan was the closest I could come to SATAN. Funny but true!

    • Congrats Jo! You are a winner. Email coming soon 🙂

  8. This book sounds really great, something different then sparkly vampires. What made you want to write about a 16 year old boy being the antichrist, it’s brilliant!!! I will have to put this on my huge TBR list.

    • Hi Cassie–yeah, all the sparkly vampire stories were taken. Actually, ALL the vampire stories were taken. Haha–no, actually, I was looking to write a YA paranormal novel, but I wanted something with a big concept. I’d written two novels prior–a mystery and a drama/dark romance kind of thing, but when it came time to query agents, writing query letters were always so hard because the books didn’t have one big idea. So this time, I vowed to have it. The Antichrist. I don’t know if it’s brilliant, but I think it’s plenty big. 😀

  9. I was wondering if you would like to do a blog event with me? I liked and I have followed on twitter

  10. The book sounds amazing and welcome to the blog C.J.

  11. I loved your description of the Antichrist. I like it when the lead characters are not all goody two shoes, and this definitely seems to fit the bill. Whether I win or not, this book has a definite place in my TBR pile.

    Liked on facebook (shona lawrence), following on twitter (@beanieboo78) and fan/friended on Goodreads (shona lawrence)

  12. Just wanted to say thank you to Cynthia and all her blog followers for letting me blab. I had a great time!

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