Monday, February 9, 2015

Revelations (Book 1 of the Lalassu) by Jennifer Carole Lewis *Book Blitz*


Revelations by Jennifer Carole Lewis
Publication date: January 30th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance



For millennia, the lalassu have existed at the fringes of society, hiding in the shadows. But someone is determined to drag them into the light.

Dani has spent years fighting against her family’s urges to take on the mantle of High Priestess for the lalassu. Stronger and faster than any ordinary human, she has no interest in being a guide for her people. She likes being independent and enjoys her night-job as a burlesque dancer. But a darker secret lurks inside of her, one which threatens everyone around her.

Isolated and idealistic, Michael works as a developmental therapist for children, using his psychometric gifts to discover the secrets they can’t share with anyone else. When one of his clients is kidnapped, he will do almost anything to rescue her. The investigation leads him to a seedy little performance club where he is shocked and thrilled to discover a genuine live superhero.

Michael and Dani must join forces to save those they care about from becoming the latest victims of a decades-long hunt. But the fiery chemistry between them threatens to unlock a millennia-old secret which could devour them both.

The clock is ticking and they will be faced with the ultimate hero’s choice: save the world or save each other?






Chapter One

            Wherever there is prey, there are hunters. Jungle, ocean, city—the location doesn’t matter. A predator will always find the vulnerable.

            People spilled across the Lost Eden’s dance floor, a constant tide of glittering men and women ebbing to and from the bar. Dim lights flattered the desperate and popular alike, hiding the first glimpses of age-drawn wrinkles.

            Past experience had taught Dani Harris that she could choose whomever she wanted from the crowd to go home with. The small army of free drinks lining the bar behind her only reinforced the lesson. But she’d come here with a specific purpose in mind, dressed in her guaranteed-to-attract-attention, curve-hugging red silk dress, her black hair artfully tousled to evoke sweat-dampened pillows and her eyes painted with smoldering charcoal for a classic bedroom look. All she needed was a suitable candidate.

            Toying with the straw in her drink and scanning the crowd, she made note of the few potential candidates. Her fingers clenched the straw, crushing it with her growing unease. Since she’d sat down, the sexual tension had ratcheted up, becoming as tangible as the dry ice fog. Guilt gnawed at her, but she’d already pushed her luck further than she should have. She didn’t have the time to indulge in her conscience. Time to choose and hope she didn’t end up too badly scarred.

            The thickly muscled black man with the shaved head in the corner kept fondling the waitresses and the customers, using his size to intimidate any potential protests. The blond in the custom-tailored leather jacket up on the VIP platform, whose companions avoided eye contact as he carried on an energetic monologue, ignoring the buxom redhead cuddled up to his side. A pair of massive bodyguards stood guard at the entrance. And the guy with the purple hair, piercings in his nose, lip, and tongue was harassing the female DJ, trying to climb into the booth. They were the best she could hope for tonight.

            Brilliant light strobed the crowd in time with frenetic bass and drums. Dani scanned the club again, shaking her head lightly. The crowd was beginning to turn ugly, shoving matches breaking out on the dance floor. The oaky taste of her whiskey went sour on her tongue. She should leave and try her luck elsewhere.

            “You can’t leave just yet.” A deep male voice cut across the ambient noise.

            Perhaps she had a winner after all. “Why the hell not?”

            “Because then I wouldn’t get a chance to talk to you.” It was the blond from the platform. “And you should know that I personally find it inexcusable.”

            “What would that be?” She didn’t offer him a seat but wasn’t surprised when he took it anyway. Up close, his looks were even better: easily over six feet with broad shoulders and a well-used gym membership.

            “Whoever left you waiting. He should have his head examined. Let me buy you a drink.” He lifted his hand in the bartender’s direction. Immediately, the young Latino man behind the bar abandoned the thirsty crowd to bring Dani’s new acquaintance a glass of scotch.

            His glib smugness struck sparks of irritation in her, but long practice helped her to keep her feelings masked under a seductive smile. Time for a test. “You know what they say. No matter how hot you are, someone is tired of your shit.” Dani looked deliberately at the VIP platform. “For example, I think Miss Copper Top over there is getting tired of yours.”

            The buxom redhead in question glared down at them with a ridiculously childish, sulky pout. The blond glanced over his shoulder and waved his hand in a universal gesture of dismissal. Immediately, one of the bulky bodyguards approached the redhead and said something to her. She shouted something inaudible through the music and actually stamped her foot. The gentleman insisted and began escorting her off the platform.

            “She won’t be a problem anymore.” The blond turned back to Dani, clearly pleased with himself. For the first time, his smile reached his eyes. He’d enjoyed the public spectacle and humiliation. “I’m Josh Hinton, and my family owns this club.”

            Dani watched as the woman was summarily hustled out the front door. She forced herself to relax her grip on the smooth glass tumbler before she shattered it.

            “Break-up via bodyguard. A new low mark for the record books. Somewhere between text and post-it note.” Dani shook her head and started to get up again.

            Josh immediately grabbed her arm and held her down in her seat, looming over her. “You didn’t tell me your name.”

            Dani searched the room, considering her options. The bartenders were studiously ignoring her companion. The people who had been sitting beside her at the bar were long gone, pushed aside by Josh’s evident ego. A wild recklessness burned inside her, urging her to lash out and escape. But common sense warned her: no one wanted to get involved, and no one would stand up to help—and even if they did, she would still be trapped by her own demons.

            Her mouth dried as a scrap of memory flickered briefly despite years of suppression. He must have seen the fear in her eyes. Predators always sensed fear no matter how deeply it was hidden. She’d learned that lesson the hard way.

            “I think you’re starting to understand.” He let his hand trail up her arm, his thumb casually brushing against her breast on the way past. “I always get what I want.”

            The bodyguards had descended and now stood on either side of Josh like unmovable monoliths, an unbreakable prison wall. Dani swallowed hard. It was as if the three men sucked up all the air around her. “You could have any other girl here. Why not pick someone more interested?”

            “I like the challenge. Come with me to my apartment. You’d love the view.” He ran his hand freely up and down her side, a chill slither like the rasp of a reptile’s skin.

            A human predator doesn’t take victims in public. A second location will be chosen in advance for the attack. Once a victim reaches the second location, chances of survival drop to nearly zero. Never go quietly to the second location. The words whispered inside her head, distantly remembered from the urgent plea of a police officer who’d spoken at her school.

            “Don’t freeze up, and don’t pretend it isn’t what you came here for in your little red dress.” He slid his hand up her thigh, inching up the hemline. “Everyone comes here to have a good time.”

            Dani studied the looming bodyguards. Not a blink or even a grimace of disapproval. The time for second thoughts was over. She wasn’t going to do better tonight. This was her punishment and the sooner she accepted it, the sooner it would be over. “Is that what you came for?”

            “Business mostly. This tourist trap has a lot of things to recommend it.” He took a healthy swig from his drink.

            It certainly had. The town of Perdition had a reputation as the “New York experience without the expense,” according to the tourist board. Between conventions and other events, the majority of the population changed on a weekly basis. It was one of the reasons her family had chosen to live here.

            She put down her drink. No amount of whiskey would make this easier. She got to her feet but the bodyguards quickly blocked her exit. Adrenaline surged and her legs tensed to run but instead she forced herself to keep her wits. Blindly fleeing never helped. She couldn’t resist a flash of strength, glaring down at Josh, still perched on his stool. “Does this intimidation approach ever actually work for you?”

            He grinned. “I like you. You’re interesting. Most people don’t have the balls to call me on anything.” He stood up. “Let’s get out of here. Come on, I’ll show you I can be a nice guy with the right motivation.”

            Dani kept her face impassive. Maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as she feared. Josh moved in for the kill.

            “Trust me. I’m worth it. I guarantee it’ll be a night you’ll always remember.”

            Or one you’ll always pray to forget.


Chapter Two

            “Why did I let you talk me into this again? We could have drunk beer and listened to crappy, distorted music at home,” Michael Brooks protested as he and his friend, Joe Cabrera, stepped out of the cab in front of Lost Eden.

            “True. But with way fewer gorgeous ladies to look at.” Joe grinned. “Come on, man. This is a celebration. Your tip helped us nab the creep peeping in windows and helping himself to women’s underwear.”

            Michael hid his smile. Joe wasn’t even paying attention to him anymore. His focus was on the line of young women dressed in an eye-catching rainbow of colors. As a veteran, yet single, cop, Joe quite enjoyed using his reputation as an emergency flirtation device.

            Some of the women eyed Michael as well, but their stares left him more worried than intrigued. Previous girlfriends had told him that he was the image of a modern poet with his shoulder-length light brown hair. They described his eyes as soulful and compared his face to models and statues. But every single one of them had fled quickly enough. He’d learned to carry himself with an aloof confidence to avoid encouraging intimacies that could only lead to mutual disappointment.

            Instead, he focused on the unique dangers the club could hold for him. He pulled on the thin leather gloves he always carried. Without them… he shuddered to think of the information overload he would have to process. Crowds were always more difficult than individuals.

            For everyone else, touch was something casual. It could at times become sensual or intimate, but no one else had to fear it. Every time Michael’s skin touched someone or something else, he became privy to their inner thoughts, their darkest secrets, fears, and hopes. In an emotionally charged atmosphere like the club, sometimes he didn’t even have to touch someone. He simply absorbed it, as if by osmosis. But it wasn’t the worst that could happen.

            Every so often, he would touch someone or something and receive a coercive flash, as though something downloaded instructions into his brain and forced him to follow them. Go to this location. Tell this person about what you saw. Trying to stop himself brought on a massive headache, as if giant arrows were being physically shoved into his head. He’d never tried to hold out for more than half an hour and he’d been nearly blinded by the pain.

            Four years ago, one of those flashes had taken him to the police station, to Joe’s desk. It led him to the one detective in Perdition’s police force willing to listen without dismissing him as a crazy crackpot. Another prompted him to sign up for training in working with developmentally delayed children, starting a career where his gifts were uniquely helpful. Each flash took him places he would never have gone otherwise and they were always important or helpful, but they also left his life in chaos. He wished he could speak to the great cosmic design engineer and arrange for a slightly less disruptive and painful method of suggestion.

            A limo drew his attention, pulling up to the curb behind him. Coming around to open the passenger doors, the driver gestured irritably at him to move out of the way. Michael obeyed, coughing on the stench of exhaust as he found a place beside Joe.

            The club doors opened and a couple came out, flanked by bodyguards who must have been genetically selected for their lack of neck. Something about the man raised Michael’s hackles, despite his charming exterior. Maybe it was the tight grip on his date’s elbow or the smug satisfaction on the blonde’s face, but he screamed “predator” to Michael’s instincts. Michael was about to propose to Joe that they stop them from leaving when he got a good look at the woman.

            Beautiful, with flawless olive skin and dark smoldering eyes, she seemed entirely unconscious of any possible danger from her companion. She glided confidently down the short stretch of sidewalk as if she were immune to peril. Peeks of red flashed from underneath her half-open dark coat and Michael was irresistibly reminded of brightly colored poisonous snakes displaying to warn off predators or lure in prey.

            Their eyes met and her full lips parted in a brief but chilling smile before she vanished into the depths of the car.

            “Damn. That girl is a man-eater. I doubt he’s getting out alive tonight,” Joe commented.

            Michael stared after the limo as it pulled away, wishing he’d stopped them but not sure which one he would have warned. A slight tugging pulled at his mind, nowhere near the power of one of his flashes but still a warning.

            He started to walk after the car but Joe grabbed his arm. “Come on, man. Don’t go into the woo-woo shit right now. We got some partying to do.” Even through the fabric, Joe’s eagerness and impatience seeped into him. Second-hand emotions always felt strange, like having a colored filter put over his eyes or hearing a second radio station bleed into another. He would never mistake them for his own feelings, but it could be distracting and disorienting.

            The two men entered the club, and the emotional atmosphere hit Michael like a bat to the head. It seethed and roiled, barely contained by the flesh-baring bodies inside. Anger and sexual desire twined in and around him, crushing his breath in his throat. “This isn’t a good idea,” he managed to force the words out.

            “I’ll get you a drink.” Joe waved away Michael’s words, his attentions clearly focused on the available young women.

            Michael took a deep breath to center himself. He could only imagine how much worse it would be if he hadn’t worn his long sleeved coat and gloves to protect him. But he knew better than to try and explain it to Joe. From the very beginning, the rules had been clear: I don’t want to know if you saw it in a vision, got a note from your Magic 8 Ball, or were sung to by gnomes and werewolves. Just tell me what I need to know, and I will take it from there. Don’t drag all the weird freaky crap into it. I’ll trust you like any other source until you give me a reason not to. Joe lived up to his word, acting on whatever Michael brought him. And Michael kept his share of the bargain, leaving his methods in the shadows, no matter how isolated it left him.

            Joe tried to get the bartender’s attention but the young man was staring at a couple exchanging frenzied kisses against the bar. The man’s shirt had been ripped open and the woman’s skirt pushed up to her waist. Their kisses resembled an animal attack more than a natural result of mutual attraction.

            “Damn, dude, get a room,” Joe joked.

            The man twisted away from the woman, his face flushed dark. He was about the same height as the detective but easily outweighed him, clearly a weight-lifting enthusiast. He growled, “What did you say?”

            “I said get a room.” Joe straightened, facing the other man head on, showing no sign of being intimidated.

            “And who do you think you are?”

            Michael kept himself in the background, searching for other trouble before it could be stirred up and focused against them. The rest of the patrons were busy with their own pursuits, but it wouldn’t take much to strike a spark in this powder keg of emotion. He spotted the woman disappearing into a back room with another man and braced himself.

            “Detective Joe Cabrera, Perdition Police.” He pulled his ID and badge out of his pocket and held it up. “Now I came in here to get a drink, have a laugh with some ladies, and enjoy a good time. If you want to hook up, no skin off my nose. But take it someplace private or I’ll have to arrest you for public lewdness, and that’s going to annoy both of us.”

            The shiny badge took some of the wind out of the other man’s sails, but when he noticed his hook-up had disappeared, he swung back to the detective. Joe signaled the bartender for drinks, suggesting he felt the situation had been resolved. Michael hoped his friend was right as he stripped off his glove and casually moved between the two men. He brushed lightly against the other man’s bare hand, using the tips of his fingers as if accidentally touching in the crowd.

            Sharp stabs of sexual frustration and roiling, irrational spurts of rage. Not good.

            Michael’s arm and fingers wanted to curl into a preparatory fist, echoing the other man’s oncoming attack. Michael braced before he could launch.

            The man threw his punch, aiming at the back of Joe’s head. But Michael grabbed the man’s wrist and pulled, shifting him off balance as he came past.

            The man stumbled and fell. Icy humiliation swirled into the emotional mix. He hauled himself up, glaring at Joe and Michael.

            “What the—?” Joe began, but the man launched another assault, charging at them.

            With precise timing, Michael took a half step to the side and swiveled, letting his attacker lurch past him. Please let that be enough. He didn’t want to have to hurt someone over drunken frustration.

            The man fell into a barstool. The thick pole supporting it had been bolted into the floor and the impact rang loudly enough to be heard over the music. Michael winced in sympathy.

            Slowly, the man got to his feet, rubbing his head. The violent rage vanished from his face, and he seemed more bewildered than angry.

            “Are we going to have a problem?” Joe asked, standing beside his adversary, his fingers lightly resting on the gleaming handcuffs dangling from his belt.

            The man stared blankly at the cuffs. “I… I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened.”

            “I think you had a little too much to drink. Why don’t we get you in a cab to go home?” Joe took charge, waving off the bartender and spectators.

            Keeping to the background, Michael helped the other man straighten up. With luck, no one would remember this as anything other than a somewhat one-sided bar fight. He made sure to touch the other man’s skin, confirming the fight had truly gone out of him. Confusion and embarrassment poured over him, as if the other man were waking up from a vivid but bizarre dream—nothing like a normal drunken misunderstanding. Something wasn’t right here.

            He looked out over the crowd. Nothing was visually different from before. People were still dancing close to each other, entranced by the pulsing music and lights. But the emotional sense of it had changed, more consistent with flirting than tear-their-clothes-off sex. Everything had lightened, intent on having fun again. What could have caused such a dark atmosphere? He took a breath, enjoying the relief from the terrible pressure, but he couldn’t quite calm the alertness that had him scanning the club again and again, searching for what could have agitated the entire group.

No helpful compulsion alerted him to the source of the danger, but Michael didn’t have to be psychic to be uneasy. A faint tugging pulled at his subconscious, warning him he might not have much choice in finding out the answers. Something dangerous was out there, something going bump in the night. And if he couldn’t find it, it would certainly find him.


Jennifer Carole Lewis is a full-time mom, a full-time administrator and a full-time writer, which means she is very much interested in speaking to anyone who comes up with any form of functional time-travel devices or practical cloning methods. Meanwhile, she spends her most of her time alternating between organizing and typing.

She is a devoted comic book geek and Marvel movie enthusiast. She spends far too much of her precious free time watching TV, especially police procedural dramas. Her enthusiasm outstrips her talent in karaoke, cross-stitch and jigsaw puzzles. She is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction and always enjoys seeking out new suggestions.



Inspired by Special Needs Children and the People Who Love Them
Every parent believes his or her child is special.  Bringing home a newly wrapped bundle from the hospital or from the adoption agency is one of the most frightening and wonderful events possible in life.  It can become even more frightening when things don’t go as they are supposed to.
Some parents find out before birth, others while their child is still a toddler and others after their child is grown.  The number of possibilities are terrifyingly prolific.  Ask any pregnant woman who has had to look over long lists of conditions and disorders.  Not to mention accidents and all the other pitfalls waiting in the outside world.
As soon as a parent discovers their child has special needs, the entire game changes.  Some describe it as the death of their hopes and dreams.  Others spoke of a terrible shock, as if they literally cannot comprehend what they are being told.  Even when a parent suspects, having their fears confirmed is a difficult experience.
I based my character, Martha, on real parents who struggle daily with their child’s outbursts and limitations.  They are exhausted.  They are bruised, emotionally and physically.  They face daily scenarios which defy all expectations, such as cleaning up toileting messes from teenagers or having to spend an hour coaxing their child out the door because a different car is parked outside.  But I was struck again and again by how much they loved their children.  When no one would question it if they were ready to give up, the sight of their child still brought a loving smile to their face.  These parents are ready to sacrifice anything: their time, their savings, their homes.  Anything which might give their child a chance.  Many had to quit jobs to devote themselves to hours of therapy and multiple weekly appointments.
The truly remarkable part is that they don’t see themselves as remarkable.  In their minds, they’re just doing what they need to do.  What anyone would do in their situation.  If their assessment is true and we all could step up to do what they do, then the world and the people in it are better than our daily news report would like us to believe.
Bernie is not based on any particular child but I was inspired by the special needs children I met.  Although their differences often make the initial contact uncertain and hard to navigate, once you get past that, you see an amazing array of unique little personalities.  Children with autism who had no social understanding and are thus brutally honest and rapturously thrilled with equal intensity.  Children who defied brain injuries to learn to speak and walk and their contagious delight in their accomplishments.  Some couldn’t speak but still managed to communicate their enthusiasms and dislikes.  Others needed constant supervision because of their ingenious talents for thinking outside the box.  In all of their cases, their spirits shone through.  Their parents cherished those moments, perhaps more than we might expect, because of the contrast with the challenges.
My hero, Michael, is also based on real therapists who devote huge amounts of their time and energy to helping these families.  Male therapists are exceedingly rare, but I indulged in a little literary licence.  It’s difficult to find men who are interested in such an intense caregiving role and even more difficult for those men to find jobs.  Sadly, our fears of abuse make any man who wants to work with young children into a suspect personage.
The therapists I spoke to love their work.  Trust me, the money they make is nowhere near enough for anyone to do the job who doesn’t love it.  They love the moments when they manage to teach a child something he or she has been struggling with for weeks, months or even years.  They enjoy interacting with the children and discovering their quirky personalities.  They find little toys or stickers and pick them up for their clients.  They spend hours playing boring, repetitive games and still have smiles on their faces.
I asked parents what message they would like to send out and the response was almost invariably to be thankful for what you have and to be understanding of others.  Parents whose children cannot speak see children relentlessly nagging their parents for a toy or treat and think “I would give anything to have that problem.”  They ask for patience and understanding when they are dealing with a meltdown in the grocery store, instead of angry comments and disapproving glares.  Many of these children have no outward sign of their disabilities, making it hard for others to understand the challenges.
After seeing what they experience, it certainly made me want to give my own children a hug.  And it inspired me to try and show both sides of their experience: the wearing grind and the inexhaustible love.
Finding My Revelations
This novel started with two inspirations which quickly became intertwined.  The first were stories about the Babylonian temple harlots.  The second was the idea of using superheroes as my main characters.
Religions have always fascinated me.  There is a huge variety in beliefs and cultural attitudes out there, all with people equally devoted to them.  I believe humans may be drawn to different religions but begin their search for the same reason, to explain their personal experiences and sense of something beyond themselves.
I first learned about the Babylonian temple harlots in high school.  They were initially presented as prostitutes, a way for corrupt priests to make money.  However, as I started doing my own research and learned more, it became clear that this was a perfectly socially acceptable form of worship.  The French refer to the moment of orgasm as le petit mors, the little death.  It is implied that it is a moment of spiritual and emotional transfiguration and awareness.  The temple harlots were trained to help worshippers achieve that moment.
The idea of sex as something sacred which could be pursued openly intrigued me.  It is such a radical difference from our “don’t ask, don’t tell” social policy.  More research led me to the myth of the succubus, a demon which comes to virtuous men and has sex with them in their sleep, causing them to sin and lose their souls to the devil.  The two ideas became paired in my mind.  Many pagan beliefs and deities became demonized by the Roman Catholic Church (such as the Celtic god of the woodlands, Cernunnos, who was remodeled as the devil).  I wondered, could the temple harlots have been demonized as succubi?  There’s absolutely no evidence for it, but the idea stuck with me.
The second part of my inspiration was to use a superhero as my heroine.  I grew up in during the revitalization of comics, when stories moved out of childhood and into maturity.  I devoured stories plumbing the depth of the human/superhuman experience, such as Chris Claremont’s Phoenix and Dark Phoenix sagas and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns series.  Heroes weren’t infallible, they made mistakes and questionable moral decisions.  I wanted to create a heroine who felt the weight of her supernatural gifts, who didn’t want the life of sacrifice which was required of a hero. 
Dani was born out of a mixture of defiance and desperation, ready to go down fighting to her last breath but still denying there was anything good or worthwhile about her.  She would be descended from the temple harlots, able to open her lover’s mind to the infinite majesty of the divine cosmos.  But what would that kind of awareness do to someone’s mind?  People are quite happy in their delusions most of the time.  Those without self-sustaining delusions are the clinically depressed.
Dani needed an appropriate hero to match her, which let me explore another idea of mine.  A hero who was not more badass than his heroine but who inspired her instead.  It’s a bit of a flip on the traditional match of the romance hero and heroine, where the goodness of the heroine inspires the aggressive hero to become more than he has been.  While Dani emerged as a full-fledged (and opinionated!) character in moments, Michael took a little more time to come fully to light.  I had to coax him to share his secrets with me.
He began his fictional existence as a youth counsellor, but that didn’t quite sit right, no matter how I tried to make it work.  Then one day I met a little boy with an attendant in tow.  His parents explained that the boy had severe autism and the attendant was his therapist, who worked with him every day.  Lightning struck and I suddenly understood Michael’s true role.  He was a developmental therapist who worked with children and he had psychometric gifts which allowed him to peer into otherwise silent children and find out what they were feeling.  Like discovering that the previous half-hour’s tantrum was because of an itchy clothing tag.  His big-hearted kindness and optimism came into focus and I finally understood how he fit into the story.
After I had my hero and heroine, then I needed an appropriate villain.  Someone who was the antithesis of them both, combining their worst qualities and fears.  André deigned to explain it to me.  Some people are given supernatural gifts, and those people have the god-given right to rule over the non-gifted.  Ruthless, driven and sociopathically practical, he is simply doing what anyone else would do, given the opportunity: making sure he is not out-gunned in the drive to acquire people with special gifts.
The three of them quickly took over the story and pulled me into a new world filled with strange powers and secret societies.  I’ve only begun to scratch the surface in Revelations and I’m looking forward to telling many more stories of the lalassu, the hidden people.

A Different Kind of Hero
I have been reading romance novels since I was a teenager.  I quickly learned to find the hidden troves at my friends’ houses and over and over I fell in love with the dark, brooding romantic heroes.  I imagined countless scenarios of being swept away by some lovely lethal man.  A guy who knew what to do if being attacked by terrorists and could single-handedly scale castle walls, that was my kind of guy.  If he could also have a tortured soul where he constantly strove to overcome his perceived sins, even better.
Between comic books, action movies and romance novels, I had my fill of dark heroes to pick from.  But then there began to be a shift.  More and more kick-ass women began appearing as the heroes, not needing any man to show them how to handle a roundhouse kick or firearm.  I shifted from wanting to date the heroes to wanting to be the heroes.  Buffy, Xena, Karen McCoy from The Real McCoy, Huntress from the Batman universe (and I realize I am revealing more than I want about how old I am), all of them were strong, capable women with quick wits and faster feet.
But there was something a little unsatisfying in my newfound revelry.  I have always been a romantic at heart and the romantic entanglements of my favorite heroines bothered me.  Either they stayed solo (any guy who loved them died before the closing credits) or they were paired with alpha males who regulated them to the sidelines in an effort to keep them safe.  If they did find a supportive male, the relationship was often doomed to fail.  Sometimes it was even explicitly stated that their boyfriends couldn’t handle being less than them in a relationship.
It got me thinking.  Could there be a romantic hero who was strong and capable but able to accept a woman who might be stronger and more competent than him?  Otherwise, weren’t these stories still reinforcing the old worn-out advice that women have to be less in order to get a man?
I got at least part of my wish with the television series, Castle.  The hero, Richard Castle, is a writer who brings his ability to make wild leaps of faith and unseen connections to help Kate Beckett, an NYPD detective.  Beckett is stronger than Castle in almost every way.  She’s better with a gun and she doesn’t get tripped up dealing with dangerous suspects.  Part of Beckett’s appeal to Castle is that she strong.  I loved it.
But I still wasn’t completely satisfied.  Finally, I created my own hero, Michael, a child therapist with martial arts training, an enthusiasm for comic books and the ability to pick up emotions and information through touching the people and objects around him.  He’s no weakling or comedy sidekick, but his strength is in his heart and faith.  He sees all the darkness in the world, all the terrible secrets we hide from each other, but still manages to be idealistic and optimistic.  He’s the perfect counterpart (if I dare say so myself) for my dark, brooding heroine, Dani, who tortures herself for her past mistakes.
One of the things I love about romance novels is how they are continually evolving.  Forty years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a heroine who wasn’t a virgin, let alone one in her forties and fifties.  The heroes used to be criminally violent and now they range from sweet boys next door to the powerful alpha males.  The stories they tell plumb every aspect of human existence.  They’ve branched into fantasy and science fiction sub-genres (and many others, but those were the ones I got particularly excited about).  They offer every level of sensuality, from sweet to scorching.  I’m proud to have added my own variation to the classic tale of boy-meets-girl.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for joining my book blitz. It's clear that this is what you love to do and I'm glad to have had a small part in it. :)