24 April 2013

The Tortured Hero

What do we define as a tortured hero? 

Is it the physicality of being a hero fighting for the side of right that we root for?  Or is it the internal struggle he goes through that keeps us hanging on? 

Perhaps it’s us who are attracted to dominance, seeing the Alpha in our fantasy that makes us salivate whenever we find that hero that surmounts all obstacles to prove what a man he is.  He can be the complete opposite of what we have in reality or, maybe, the complement to the person who lies next to us in bed.  

He can be the bad boy with a heart of gold, or the battling firefighter.  Maybe he’s the SWAT member, or the policeman, or the spy fighting insurmountable odds.  Perhaps he’s just the guy next door struggling with loss.  Tortured heroes come in all shapes and sizes with various backgrounds as a platform to his story. We can fall in love with his strength, be it from his heart or from his muscles.  A good man is hard to find and the best stories come when our emotions are engaged.

I think it’s fair to say that it’s every romance author’s dream to write a hero that transcends the page.  Authors can write our hero into a box and either save him or sink him.  We are the master’s of his fate.  Of course, in a romance novel, a happily every after (or happily for now) always has to be met and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  If I’m going to engage my feelings in a character I damn well better have him get his girl (or guy). 

But creating that right blend of tortured hero and interesting guy is hard to do.  I’ve read many hits but I’ve also read many misses.  Even writing a ménage story has to have that right, delicate balance of Alpha and Beta, and I’m not just talking shifters here.  The beautiful thing about romance novels is that there’s something for everyone and a tortured hero just waiting to be found.

In celebration of the release of my newest novel, Hereafter, I’ll be giving away one PDF version of it (or book 1 in the series titled Otherworldly, if you wish). In both stories, I’ve hopefully created heroes that are yummy as well as a bit tortured.  Detective Jonas Daire is tortured by the presence of Agent Nash McKnight while Nash is tortured with the images of sassy clairvoyant Charlotte Perth in Jonas’s arms. Whatever is a girl to do?  To win, please leave a comment about what tortured hero you love.  One winner will be chosen on Monday, the 29th, so please leave a way to contact you!

13 April 2013

Troubling issues in NA Romances

I’ve gotten into reading NA (New Adult) love stories and love the issues being addressed.  Everything from child abuse (The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen) to anal rape (Wait for You by J. Lynn) and various topics in between are explored.  Both of those books, by the way, are excellent. 

However, I recently finished two books that left me feeling very let down.  I won’t name names (that wouldn’t be fair) but what both of these books had in common were drugs and cheating.  Now, I totally get a book where either issue is brought into play but that’s not what I’m really bitching about.  My trouble is how the heroine of the story deals with it.  In both books, the heroine is the one who cheats on her boyfriend with the hero.  And in both books the “hero” is drawn back into the world of drugs. 

I get that dealing with either issue is one a lot of us have gone through (myself included) so using that as point of contention is realistic.  But the choices the heroine makes when confronted with either problem will either make or break my emotional investment into her character.  Co-dependency or immature tantrums are a turn off for me.  It’s a very fine line to walk and balancing those conflicts can be very difficult. 

Filling space to make the book longer, dragging out the insecurity in a way that’s unbelievable, only to have everything wrapped up with a HEA in the last couple of pages in a book is a cop-out, in my humble opinion.  Emotional growth, facing fears and coming face to face with whatever it is holding back the HEA is paramount in the satisfying development to a fantastic ending.

My two top picks for a wonderful, well rounded novels dealing with cheating issues are:

Beautifully Damaged by L.A. Fiore

Just for Now by Abbi Glines

I’m always looking for recommendations so if you have one please leave a comment!  I’m going to start doing book reviews and would love to have ideas!

09 April 2013

Hump Day Hook & Contest!

Today is a special Hump Day for me because I am giving away an advanced PDF copy of my new novel, Otherworldly, due for release on Thursday, April 11th!


Charlotte Perth is all about sass because her job is reminds her all too well the limits of human life. 
She’s clairvoyant but her gift is unique.  She can only summon murdered souls and interprets the visions they send her.  When she’s hired by a wealthy woman to determine the fate of her great nephew, little does Charlotte realize this is one ghost that refuses to cross over.

Detective Jonas Daire feels Charlotte is a fake, out to swindle money from his rich aunt.  When Charlotte proclaims the nephew is not only dead but has been murdered, Jonas feels especially disgusted at Charlotte’s “profession”.  But when his cousin’s body is discovered in the place that she said it would be, with detailed accounts of how he died, he places her under suspicion. 

Jonas and Charlotte work together to find the killer.  As the two grow closer together, another malevolent force won’t stop until the truth is buried…until Charlotte’s ghostly visions are her own.

This is book one in the McKnight, Perth & Daire trilogy.  The second book, Hereafter, will be released April 25th, and in that, Charlotte gets to work with her old flame, Agent Nash McKnight.

For this Hump Day Hook, I decided to go with something a little bit naughty! 

She expected him to swing her up into his arms and take her
upstairs, but instead he pushed her against the wall as his lips trailed
down her neck. His hands moved her shirt up, touching lightly over
her skin as the fingertips traveled upward until they reached her
breasts. She moaned and arched her back, thrusting more into his
hands. He moved the bra up to expose her, his thumb flicking lightly over her nipples. When he tried to move his mouth to them, her
clothing became cumbersome. Impatiently, he swept them over her
head, throwing them carelessly on the floor somewhere behind them.

To win a free PDF copy of Otherworldly, just leave a comment and one name will be chosen on Thursday by my trusty assistant (AKA: son), so be sure to put some way to contact you!   Also, check out the others in the Hump Day Hook as well!  Thank you!