Posts Tagged ‘Team Hero’
Saving the Father- Hero’s Redemption of Evil
It’s not a secret, but somehow, not everyone knows I’m a Luke Skywalker fan. Yes, there’s the rogue Han Solo, but as much as I enjoyed him, there was an elemental call from Luke to me that profoundly affected me for many years. It wasn’t until I heard a speech given by a mythology professor that I realized on why Luke attracted me so much. He’s a hero not only defeating evil, but also redeeming it.
I spent much of my teen years in major angst over the whole Light side and Dark side of the Force. But more than that, I completely sympathized with Luke’s reluctant yet willing role as a hero. I wanted to be at his side as he helped the Rebellion fight the Empire as he became the last of the Jedi Order.
At the end of A New Hope, I was very much anti-Darth Vader. If I had a lightsaber, that villain would have been toast! The one thing I knew was that even though he escaped via Tie Fighter at the end of the movie, I knew one day he and Luke would face off and it’d be the kiss of death for the evil one. In fact, I was counting on that one point- in all major stories, good always triumphs over evil. Then I watched The Empire Strikes Back and my heart stopped dead in my chest as the most gods awful truth was revealed- the villainous Darth Vader was none other than Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker.
My core belief about good conquering evil was shaken. A Jedi Knight had gone to the Dark side! At this point, I had learned more about the Emperor and I was ready to unleash my fury because everyone knows that evil can’t be allowed to exist or even to win. There was a part of me that mourned the fact that Anakin Skywalker, called Darth Vader, was the reason for the wholesale destruction of the Jedi Knights. I didn’t know how anyone could do it to those he knew. How could Luke reconcile that one day he’d have to kill his father.
I impatiently waited until Return of the Jedi came out. Then the scene that foreshadowed exactly how Luke would handle that very question arrived. It was when he stood before Jabba the Hutt, demanding his friends to be released and let bygones be gone. His quiet faith, his calm demeanor was new, humbling and foretelling. By giving this galactic gangster a chance to do what was right, by embracing the truth of the Jedi way, I knew what would come when he faced Darth Vader for the final time. Luke had become the last Jedi and tried to emulate both Yoda and Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi.
Quietly came the confrontation on Endor. It became subtly, with comments from him to his father about sensing the good within him. Then we saw the true evil- the Emperor Palpatine. Their confrontation was in a way the true confrontation though it came down to Darth Vader and Luke fighting. Even as they fought physically, Luke spent the time talking to his father, trying to make him see reason and turn from Dark side. Each point he made was to remind Darth of the fact he wasn’t always Darth Vader, scourge of the universe, but also Anakin Skywalker, someone who was a Jedi Knight.
Yet in the end, it was Darth Vader who physically saved his son, when the Emperor attacked Luke. We can see Darth look from his son to the Emperor and back. You can almost see the moment when all of Luke’s actions and words have connected to push him into throwing the Emperor over the railing. In the end, we see a dying Darth Vader who has done what none of us considered possible- he’s redeemed himself in the eyes of his son and of the audience.
Heroes can not only learn and grow, but they can also redeem the bad guy. What amazed me is that in turn, I started thinking more and more about how bad guys aren’t always the bad guys in the long term. They can start off good or even start bad, but they can redeem themselves when things show to be in a new paradigm, requiring them to act for a bigger payoff- one that evil can’t top. Which is why for me, Luke Skywalker is my favourite hero and one I’ll never give up; he taught me the value of redemption.
Currently living in the state that resembles one of her favourite male body parts,(otherwise known as Florida), Cynnara Tregarth learned early how to read, write and entertain. Due to her mother, Cynnara spent way too much on books, but then again, it sent her on the quest for immortality.
Early in 2003, she found that route by getting her books published. Since then, she’s learned even more about love, life, sexuality, and how to annoy gods, goddesses, and siblings of all kinds.
You can find her at the following places:
Her website: http://www.cynnara.com
Don’t Call Me A Hero: Major Harker.
by Kate Johnson
He doesn’t really like being called a hero. He doesn’t really reckon he’s done anything heroic. He’s just done his job. It’s never occurred to him not to.
For Harker, being a soldier is about one thing only: looking after your mates. And as he’s been promoted, his mates have become his lads, they’re in his care, he’s their leader. But he’s still looking after them. To Harker, success isn’t measured by how many yards of land you’ve won from the enemy that day, it’s in counting heads and getting the same number as you did before you started fighting.
All right, he has bigger concerns than that. He belongs to his country, body and soul. He’ll do anything the general tells him to, because she’s his general and he’s a major and that’s just how it works. Questioning orders is like questioning why a bullet comes out of the gun when you pull the trigger. And because he respects the general, most of the time he’ll do what she asks, even when it’s not an order. Most of the time.
He didn’t join the army in search of glory. Of course, at the time there wasn’t a war on. At the time, the army offered the best prospects for a working-class lad with no education and an ageing mother to support. Twenty-five years’ service and you get a decent pension. Retire as a sergeant, that’s a very good pension indeed. Enough to find a nice little place, maybe raise a family. He can send his pay home and not worry that his mother isn’t being cared for. Or course she didn’t really want him to join the army, she wanted him to go to the grammar school and become a teacher. In his heart of hearts, that’s what Harker wanted, too. But you can’t always get what you want. He knows that pretty well.
The army breaks some men and makes others. Harker was one of the latter. He’s a natural leader. That promotion to sergeant came quickly and deservedly. He’s still not sure if his ex-wife was behind his commission as an officer, but the role suits him. More men to look after, sure, but he’s got a natural authority, he takes care of his men and he listens to them. They know he’s got their best interests at heart. They know he won’t ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. They know he’d actually do the dangerous stuff for them if he thought he could spare them the pain.
He’s got about as much in common with a traditional leading man as he has with a teapot. He’s not good-looking, he hasn’t cut his hair in years, and he’ll only shave if someone threatens him with a knife. He doesn’t have sexy and exciting scars, he has ugly patches of scar tissue where people have tried, repeatedly, to kill him. He has no idea how many confirmed kills he has to his name. Only a bastard would count. He can use a sword or a gun or he can fight with his bare hands, and if you offered him a fencing foil he’d punch you in the face. He doesn’t see the point of wearing a suit or having special shoes to go with it. Hates his dress uniform with all its shiny braid. He refuses to refine his accent, especially when there are posh people around to annoy. He’ll hold the door open for you whether you’re male or female, soldier or civilian, but you won’t get called Sir or Ma’am unless you happen to be of a higher rank than him. Or he’s patronising you. He spends most of his pay on importing cigarettes, which he smokes when he’s thinking, or when he’s worried, or frustrated, or stressed. Which is most of the time.
He leads like a wolf alpha leads: unself-consciously, without arrogance, and without vanity. He leads with natural authority and the respect of his men. He’ll go to hell and back for someone he considers to be his.
He’s Major William Harker of the 75th of Foot, and he’s at your service.
Excerpt from The Untied Kingdom, available from Choc Lit 1st April 2011
‘Sir! Sir, are you all right?’
That was Tallulah. Grimly, Harker dropped to the stony shore under the Tower’s walls and let the body over his shoulder flop on the pebbles.
‘I’m all right,’ he said. ‘Get a doctor, would you?’
She peered closer at the limp body. ‘Is it – is it a person? Is it alive?’
Harker, busy performing mouth-to-mouth and trying not to think about what the drowned woman would be coughing up if she was still alive, didn’t bother to answer. In the background, people were shouting. The guards on the walls had seen him dive into the river and come out with some sort of bedraggled alien.
Well, it wasn’t an alien, Harker was pretty sure. It was a human woman, and she – yes, there she went, coughing up river water through blue lips.
He rolled on to his back and fought the urge to throw up. Who knew what he’d ingested in the Thames’ foetid depths?
People were streaming out of the South Gate now, and a guy with a stethoscope flung over his pyjamas was kneeling by the unconscious woman.
‘She all right?’ Harker said, and the doctor nodded.
‘I think so. We need to get her inside. Can I get a stretcher?’
‘Dunno,’ Harker said, mostly to himself. ‘Can you?’ Patting his pockets, he found his cigarettes – a soggy, unsmokable mess. Dammit. Well, if he couldn’t have a quiet smoke, he’d have a quiet nap instead.
He lay back, closed his eyes, and tried to block out all the noise and the light. It was a trick he’d perfected after years on campaign. These days he could sleep anywhere, any time.
Then a foot prodded his ribs, and he opened one eye, grumpily.
‘Well, then, hero,’ Saskia said, her face demonic in the torchlight. ‘I suppose you’ll be needing medical attention, too?’
Harker waved a hand. Truth be told, he was so wet and cold he was beginning to worry about his extremities. ‘Get me a packet of smokes and I’ll survive,’ he said.
‘I think we can run to that.’ Saskia extended a hand. ‘Come on. Wheeler wants to see you.’
Harker groaned. ‘Why? What’d I do?’
Saskia just glared at him.
‘Oh, right.’ Ignoring her hand, he hauled himself upright. ‘Let’s go and face the fun, then.’
Dripping wet, he squelched through the gate after Saskia and gave the guard there a damp salute.
‘Sir, is it true you pulled an alien from the river?’
Harker rolled his eyes at Saskia. ‘Yep. Blue skin, it had, and one giant wing.’
The young man’s eyes were enormous. ‘Gosh!’
‘That wasn’t necessary,’ Saskia said, as they made their way to the General’s quarters next to the mess.
‘Yeah, but it was fun,’ Harker said.
Kate is a prolific writer of romantic and paranormal fiction and lives in the south east of England with a small and cheerfully insane collection of cats. She misspent her youth watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and reading Terry Pratchett, which sort of made writing fantasy a bit inevitable. Under the name Cat Marsters she also writes award-winning erotic romance. She lives behind a keyboard in Essex and can be found online most days talking about men she fancies, the pride of adored felines aiding her ambition to become Crazy Cat Lady, and the Demon Puppy hindering it. Sometimes she talks about writing. Occasionally, she stops talking about writing and actually does it.
Buy link: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781906931681/The-Untied-Kingdom
What makes a hero tick?
Well, that’s a bit of a loaded question. Because for as many types of men (and women) out there, there are just as many heroes. The silent, do-it-all-or-die type. The in-your-face type. Even the ones who are nothing but heart.
My heroes tend to be a mixing bag of all of those traits and whatever else happens to work for that story and for them. Each character is unique unto themselves and I love that about them. Even when they add to my gray hair.
Examination room one: Xavier’s Way
Our hero: Xavier De Los Santos
A hard working, self-motivated type of man, from a family of strong men (all brothers. You kinda feel sorry for their mother, I know I do!). What happens though when life throws him a slow and sexy curve ball in the form of one Jordan Belton? He shakes in his work boots is what happens! And the incredible thing about how he handles that curve ball is by admitting he’s scared. Admitting he may be wrong. No matter what direction he tries to take, but takes it anyway.
So he’s one type. Flexible. Accepting, able to stand up to a challenge. But sensitive to the fact that once the cat is out of the bag-Jordan’s personal attraction-he doesn’t give fate the finger. He stands up to it and challenges himself to embrace it.
Terrifying, isn’t it? You’ll have to read his story to see just how he handles it.
Xavier’s Way Book Info:
This woman has had life kick her while she’s down and even when life doesn’t let her catch her breath, she..doesn’t..stop…living. I will have to admit, this chick was hard to write. Stubbornest damn ass of a person…but that’s a side rant. In truth, just staying alive and on her own two feet is her biggest challenge because she’s dying. She knows it. She’s accepted it, now if the rest of the damn world would just let her be until she can’t fight back any longer, she’d be content. Yeah, life doesn’t happen that way.
She’s the type of woman that personifies inner strength, because even when life is kicking her ass, she kicks back. Hard. She doesn’t stop when her mind and heart are set on something. She will fight tooth and nail for what she believes in. The lioness. A fighter.
Her type is very in your face with her strength, but feminine. A spine of steel with a conscientious heart.
Wolf Brother’s Legacy: Resurrection Book Info:
Publisher Link: http://purplesword.com/zencart/
(Releasing this summer)
Examination room three: Beneath the Shield
Our hero: Jack Torres
Now here is a yummy example of alpha male that has been wounded so badly, he’s drifting, mostly hiding, living, but on the very edges. He’s the type to let you run into his fist, not hit you. His heart is in desperate need of CPR, and a certain doctor has just what he needs.
Jack learns to let go, that living is now. He is a deep strength, because only that in human nature allows us to forgive ourselves. Being a police officer shows he’s not immune to the world around him, and he shows that, but woe be to the one who dares to reach him.
So that’s three strong, very similar characters, but in each story they are as individual and unique as the world between page one and ‘The End’.
How do I see heroes? I see them in all shapes and sizes, everywhere, from the young man who helped me one afternoon to aid the driver of a car that had flipped–yes, flipped–barely thirty feet in front of me on a busy highway, to the kindness of making someone’s day by taking donuts to work–when you don’t work there. They are all around us, in the small and big things they do. There is no age limitations, no city-to-cowboy delineation, not even male versus female. We all are heroes, and I want my readers to recognize that facet of themselves in the characters I write.
Beneath the Shield Book Info:
Publisher Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/books.php
Diana Castilleja/Diana DeRicci Bio:
With more than half a dozen ebooks currently to her credit and her first print book released in 2008, Diana Castilleja has kept busy since she started writing professionally in late 2004. Diana currently resides in central Texas with her husband and son. When not focusing her energy on her family and her writing, she loves to travel and haunt bookstores. She’s lived in several states across the south and midwest, as well as traveling to Mexico. With moving every year or changing schools since the fourth grade to her sophomore year, she learned reading was a fast escape. The freedom to read about anything and everything has fueled her adult imagination. She also enjoys romance, horses, and yes, still loves to read. Right now, she’s probably attacking her keyboard writing her next book. If she’s not, she should be!
Hero, Villain – or the Guy You Simply Want to Throttle?
There are good guys, and there are bad guys. And then there are the guys who are spend so much time doing the right thing by other people, that they’ve got nothing to spare for the rest of their lives. Little details, like sleep, or vacations, or family. Heaven forbid he should spend time relaxing – gasp! – with the heroine.
He’s still a hero: strong, resourceful, protective, willing to give his life for those in his care. Exactly who you want in your life, right?
Wrong. That’s who you want to throttle, if he spends all his energy elsewhere. Where’s the time for a little relationship forming, let alone romance?
Jake, the hero of THE SHADOW GUARD, is just such a workaholic. He’s a homicide cop, the head of his city’s squad. If somebody gets murdered, Jake’s the lucky fellow who gets called out in the middle of the night. The victims’ families call him up at any hour to ask how the investigation’s going. If the judge grants him a short break from testifying in a courtroom, he’ll rush to chase a lead on another case. He hasn’t taken a week’s vacation in years. His only hobby is online gaming, a pastime that permits enjoyment at very strange hours.
Online gaming is also where he first met Astrid, THE SHADOW GUARD’s heroine. Unfortunately for his usual love-‘em-and-leave-‘em style, she’s the widow of a man who adored her. If he wants any kind of long-term relationship with her – even as a fellow guildie to game with – he’ll have to pay attention to her.
Enough that she won’t throttle him.
Excerpt from THE SHADOW GUARD by Diane Whiteside, ©2011
“Can you make it to the station by eleven A.M. tomorrow morning, Astrid?” Jake asked.
“What?” Astrid rolled onto one elbow and stared at him. The bedclothes were still jumbled around their ankles, thanks to the last round of sex. Her sweat-streaked, naked body gleamed like an offering to Argos’s gods under the nightlight’s distant glow. Glowing like a pearl, her skin was touched with rose and amethyst from his nibbles. She didn’t look entirely real except for the growing fire in her emerald eyes.
Had they ever flashed at him before? Truly flashed, like fireworks or an old-fashioned gun, which needed fire to set off the gunpowder?
No, that had to be impossible, just like the golden lights he’d seen spinning around him when they had sex.
“Why are you asking me right now about eleven A.M. tomorrow?” Astrid said carefully, clipping her words as if she were handloading a shotgun.
Jake refused to wince. “That will will give me a few hours to clear my desk, then go through my files, and figure out the best place to utilize your services.”
“Utilize my services?” Her breasts heaved, bringing her nipples up toward his mouth.
He kept his gaze steady on her face. If he looked down, he might remember just how responsive they’d been an hour ago and how she’d pulled his head closer to encourage his attentions.
“Jake, it isn’t even one A.M.,” she pointed out. She jerked her thumb at his high-tech alarm clock, which blazed the time brightly enough to compete with the sun and monitored every governmental radio channel, to boot.
“Murder investigations are damn important,” he shot back. Umbrage pushed heat toward his skin and into his voice but he beat it back. He needed to make Astrid, more than anybody else, understand. “Murders happen every hour of the day and night. They need to be solved fast before the killer escapes.”
“Jake.” Astrid laughed as if she couldn’t find words, the sound sharp as water erupting from a hot skillet. “Jake, when was the last time you went for twelve hours without thinking about your job?”
“What does that have to do with this?” He gaped at her, genuinely astonished.
“Come on, Jake, you can tell me.” Her voice softened to an irresistible lure.
“Not since I became a homicide cop. So what?” He’d never admitted this much to the departmental shrink.
“It’s the middle of the night, you have a naked woman in your bed who’s very willing to have sex with you–and you want to talk about your job?” She ran her fingers lightly up his thigh and rested her hand on the old bullet wound in his hip. “Does this strike you as maybe a little odd?”
“Not really.” He shrugged but kept watching her, torn between irritation and the urge to claim her. Better not mention how often the other sergeants teased him about always being online to the station.
Comment to win a copy of one book (the winner’s choice) from Diane’s backlist.
By day, Diane Whiteside builds and designs computer systems for the federal government. By night, she escapes into a world of alpha males and the unique women who turn their lives upside down, whether the setting is historical, contemporary, or time traveling somewhere in between. Diane is thrilled and grateful readers enjoy these escapades as much as she does. She invites fans to visit her website at www.dianewhiteside.com, where they can also contact her.
I Do Stuff!
Hi, all! And thank you to Selena for the opportunity to take part in this fun blog marathon.
I decided to write about sidekicks, mostly because they’re some of my favorite secondaries to develop. Yes, villains are meaty and dangerous, and without a protagonist, there’s no hope for the world. But sidekicks… Ah, sidekicks bring great balance to a story because they can be the heart, humor, and a breath of welcome relief between all the moments of conflict and intensity.
Consider what the movie Aliens would have been without Hudson, the wisecracking, rude, panicky marine who falls under the command of Ripley. On one hand, we have those aliens—perfect killers—screeching around killing everyone. On the other, we’ve got a perfect heroine—a mainly straight-to-business placeholder for the audience as she uses brain and brawn to battle the enemy. Hudson straddles the middle of this movie, making the viewers laugh when we need to the most, and actually even acting just like most of us would if we were to find ourselves in the same horrific situation: slightly hysterical and flailing in utter disbelief. (“Why don’t you put HER in charge?”) Even though Ripley saves the world, Hudson is the one who saves the audience’s sanity and soothes their nerves with his outbursts and comic asides.
Now, I write an urban fantasy series called Vampire Babylon, and I have my own sidekicks who serve just as much of a purpose as Hudson did. During the course of six books, one novella, and most recently, a short story (see below for details), my sidekicks have not only helped my heroine, Dawn Madison, save the world—they’ve helped to save her sanity in a variety of ways.
First, there’s Breisi Montoya. We meet her in Night Rising (book one) as a lab nerd—a kick-ass one at that. She’s the logistical brains behind the vampire hunting team that sets out to conquer a Hollywood underground lair. She’s a woman of few words, but when she says them, they have some impact on Dawn, who’s been in sore need of a female mentor ever since her mother, a silver-screen legend, suffered a brutal and very public death years ago. Breisi is a soulful sidekick—an Obi-Wan Kenobi of sorts. Instead of humor, she cuts the tension by placing Dawn firmly back in reality just as she’s about to go off the edge.
Then there’s Kiko Daniels, the team’s psychic and resident cut-up. As a “little person” thespian, he tends to “ACT!” quite a bit during the underground hunts. However, Kiko is no mere comic relief. The guy can use a revolver and any number of vampire-hunting weapons, and he can interview a suspect like no one’s business. And as for his “ACTING!”? He’s pretty good at using that skill, too, when it’s time to thrown a suspect mentally off balance. In many ways, Kiko is the younger brother Dawn never had, and the two of them have a deep, easy, goofy relationship that Dawn has never found outside of this vamp hunting circle.
All in all, while finding tragedy in life, Dawn actually finds a family in this group, and that’s an important point about sidekicks, I think. We love them for what they contribute to our heroes (or villains)–we love them because they add something our bigger stars are missing.
But, most of all, we love them because, in all the craziness, they make us, the readers, feel better, as well.
March release: A Vampire Babylon short story in the horror anthology Those Who Fight Monsters. Chris’s entry is entitled “Soul Stains” and it takes place after the events of Deep in the Woods, Vampire Babylon, Book Six.
Dawn Madison, ex vampire hunter, has been lured out of retirement by the sighting of an old, presumed-dead Hollywood starlet in a decrepit Vegas showroom. But is this entity merely a ghost? Or is it one of the escaped, mortalized Hollywood Underground vampires Dawn vowed to wipe off the face of the earth, even at the threat of returning her own soul to darkness?
Author’s bio: Chris Marie Green is the author of the Vampire Babylon series, which includes Night Rising and A Drop of Red. In 2011, Ace will publish her new post-apocalyptic urban fantasy western noir Bloodlands series under the name Christine Cody. You can check in with her on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ChrisMarieGreen ), Facebook(http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Marie-Green/1051327765 ), MySpace (myspace.com/vampirebabylon), or her blog (http://crystal-green.blogspot.com/ ).
Contest: Comment to be entered to win a signed copy of Book 6, Deep in the Woods in the Vampire Babylon series. Good Luck!
Those wonderfully flawed heroes…
Heroes and villains—often two sides of the same coin. We can have heroes with rough edges, questionable backgrounds, possibly scarred or crippled—either emotionally or physically—and yet they’re still heroic, they still come through for the heroine, and they always leave us wanting more. The same with villains—a villain can have a few good points and still be thoroughly evil, though a good villain is rarely redeemable—unless, of course, he’s going to appear in a later story as a hero.
Then, of course, it generally takes a good woman to redeem him, right?
But what about those flawed heroes—the ones who make mistakes and screw up, who are somehow damaged or imperfect—what is it that makes us want more of them? I’ve become intimately acquainted with a terribly flawed hero, a man who has greater strengths than most, and yet who continues to make the kinds of mistakes that make you want to strangle him. And yet, in spite of his flaws, I find him one of the most compelling men I’ve ever met within the pages of my own books—he’s Anton Cheval, my über-alpha in the long running Wolf Tales series.
The spirit guide Igmutaka describes Anton perfectly: “His power appears absolute, at times, but what makes all of us love him the way we do is that he is very much, at heart, a simple man. He’s not perfect. He makes mistakes. When he succeeds, he does it with great modesty, when he fails…Ig’s chuffing snort had to be laughter…when he fails, he does it magnificently.
Ig is right. Nothing Anton does is done without passion. He’s never half-hearted, never merely trying. He does. He errs, and yet when he realizes his mistakes, he never hesitates to ask forgiveness, to apologize. And sometimes, when he’s done something wrong for all the right reasons, he will apologize with the caveat that, if faced with the same circumstances, he’ll probably do the same thing again. No, he’s not a perfect hero—he’s complex, he’s flawed, and to me, he’s a more powerful character because of those flaws.
One of his most redeeming traits? Anton loves unconditionally. He loves his packmates, his mate Keisha, his closest friend Stefan. He loves his daughter Lily more than life, and he recognizes Lily as the finest accomplishment he’s ever achieved, and that’s only because half of her DNA comes from Anton’s bonded mate. He’s quick to recognize Keisha as the true head of their pack—even though he’s more powerful, he respects her common sense, her good heart, and her ability to turn him inside out with a single glance. He loves her, and while he occasionally infuriates her, everything Anton does is motivated by love.
And what of the beta hero? The average man thrown into extreme circumstances who is still able to prevail? That would be Dawson Buck, the hero in my upcoming DEMONSLAYERS story, StarFire. Dawson Buck is an average guy, a veterinarian in a small Arizona town, a true geek at heart who loves his work and knows he’s chosen animals to care for because they rarely come with emotional baggage. But when he’s thrown into an unbelievable situation—asked to care for a badly injured woman from another dimension—Dawson not only rises to the challenge, he goes above and beyond what is asked of him. He becomes a true hero in every sense of the word.
In spite of his fears, in spite of the unbelievable situation, Dawson prevails. He’s afraid, he doubts his abilities, and yet he puts fear and his lack of confidence aside and takes unimaginable risks for the greater good. And, he also manages to find the love of his life along the way.
So what makes a hero heroic? I think it’s his willingness to give everything to keep his loved ones safe, his ability to make mistakes and then correct those mistakes, to admit when he’s wrong, to keep quiet when he’s right (no, gloating is NOT allowed!) and to love without reservation.
I write my heroes from the perspective of a woman who’s been married to her very own hero for almost forty years. There’s a lot of my man in every hero I write—his quirky sense of humor, his powerful need to protect, even his ability to admit mistakes. Neither of us is perfect, but I think that’s part of what makes a marriage work, and it’s what makes a fictional hero more heroic—the chance to make mistakes, and the courage to make them right.
Kate Douglas is the lead author of Kensington Publishing’s Aphrodisia imprint and the author of the popular erotic romance series Wolf Tales as well as the Zebra series, The DemonSlayers. She is currently working on her newest Aphrodisia series, Dream Catchers. Kate and her husband of almost forty years have two adult children and five grandchildren. They live in the beautiful mountains of Lake County, California, north of the Napa Valley wine country
1st chapter excerpts:
Comment to win your choice of either Wolf Tales VII-11, Sexy Beast VII & VIII, DemonFire or HellFire! Good Luck! Winner Announced at the end of the month.
Heroes, Villains and In-Between…
by Ann Jacobs
Heroes always get the girl. But why?
Dark and dangerous, emotionally and/or physically wounded, my favorite heroes often have flaws that both attracts and repels the heroine. For the most part, they’re Alpha guys, Doms who compel their women to submit.
Guy, the hero of PLEASURE SLAVE, coming March 9 from Ellora’s Cave, has all these traits and more. Gravely injured and restored with cybernetics, he can never return to Earth, where such enhancements are forbidden. Posing as a sexbot, Guy entrances the Earthling woman he has chosen for a mate–but it takes all his powers of sexual persuasion to entice her to give up the life she knows to become his mate and make a brave new world with him in an unknown place–Luna Ten.
What makes a hero? I think it’s a tarnish on male perfection. For instance, consider Jared, the wounded soldier in ROPED; Kurt, the workaholic in A MUTUAL FAVOR who one wife has left and who needs another to play mom to his troubled son; Dave, the washed up pro quarterback looking for new life and a new love in HOT IN THE CLUTCH; Jack, who hands control of his sex life over to his Mistress to protect his career in END RUN; and all the others of my heroes. They have different problems, different limitations–but all sixty or more of the heroes I’ve written have found ways to solve their inner conflicts and find love.
Troubled heroes appeal to me in other authors’ books, as well. One of my favorites, a RITA winner from a long time back, is Justine Davis’ THE MORNING SIDE OF DAWN, about a former baseball player who lost both legs in an accident and now has trouble believing a gorgeous supermodel can possibly love him as he is.
I guess my taste in heroes can be summed up by saying I want them to be tortured–either emotionally or physically–but they must grow beyond their conflicts into the man their heroine can love.
Ann Jacobs is a sucker for lusty Alpha heroes and happy endings. Erotic romance, to her, is the perfect combination of sex, sensuality, deep emotional involvement and lifelong commitment—the elusive fantasy women often dream about but seldom achieve.
First published in 1996, Jacobs has sold more than fifty books and novellas. She is currently nominated for Romantic Times’ 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in erotic romance, as well as having had books nominated by RT reviewers for best erotic romance in 2007 and 2008. Her books have earned awards including the Passionate Plume (best novella, 2006, second place contemporary, 2008), the Desert Rose (best hot and spicy romance, 2004) and More Than Magic (best erotic romance, 2004). She has been a double finalist in separate categories of the EPPIES and From the Heart RWA Chapter’s contest. Three of her books have been translated and sold in several European countries.
A CPA and former hospital financial manager, Jacobs now writes full-time, with the help of Mr. Blue, the family cat who sometimes likes to perch on the back of her desk chair and lend his sage advice. He sometimes even contributes a few random letters when he decides he wants to try out the keyboard. (Most of the time Blue just curls up, hides his eyes with his paws…and sleeps!)
She loves to hear from readers, and to put faces with names at signings and conventions.
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Supers? Aren’t they all?
When I started thinking about this idea of Super-heroes and villains, I instantly flashback to the Incredibles and Dash talking with his Mom, Elasticgirl. Mom says “Everyone’s special”, to which Dash grumblingly complains, “That means none of us are…”
I’ve written over 20 books now, and I don’t think any of my heroes have been…well…super. But each and every one of them in some way has been. Let me explain.
I’ve got shifters—wolves and big cats and water-shifters and predator birds. These characters are special and magical in that they can change from a human body to an animal. But that’s not what makes them into heroes. It’s that Keil in Wolf Signs is willing to allow his mate to save them, that Tad in Wolf Flight willingly sacrifices what he thinks is his chance at love to save his sweetie. That the hero of Wolf Games, Erik, waits until Maggie is ready to move on. And in Wolf Tracks, TJ uses logic to explain the unexplainable—a forever kind of love—to his reluctant mate.
No capes, no magic other than the most powerful one of them all—love.
In my contemporaries, there’s another element. The reality of life around us means that there are misunderstandings, misspoken words and hurt feelings. To make it to a HEA there’s got to be patience, compassion and the occasion bout of self-sacrifice. Like Jack in Falling, Freestyle who decides giving up his love might be the best thing for her. Or Maxwell in Turn It Up who knows that giving up his love is not in her best interest, no matter how much she tells him to go away.
That’s the kind of hero I like—super powers shown in their words and actions, not simply embroidered on their cape.
Vivian Arend writes both contemporary and paranormal erotic romance. HEA gaurenteed, with adventures along the way. See website for book list, excerpts and parties/contests.