They watched in horror as the body beneath the sheet rose into a sitting position, the stiff sound of cracking bones filling the room as the sheet fell away, revealing her pale corpse. For a split second she felt almost relieved that her sister was alive, but when she took a second look, she knew that the creature that sat on that table was far from one of the living. Blonde curls hung limp around her shoulders, her skin, once reddened by the sweet blush of life, now ghostly and sallow. Her eyes, once a cerulean blue, were now as black as the eyeless sockets of death himself. Alicia watched the red claw marks that covered her body swell as blood began to flow anew, the deep gashes in her abdomen knitting themselves together and finally fading into nothingness as if they’d never been there at all.
“What the hell is going on here?!” Myra shrieked, making a move for the door but stopping in her tracks as she was caught under the womans black gaze. She slid to the floor, her face contorted in complete abhorrence. Alicia’s tears had stopped, the pain of her sisters loss replaced by unadulterated fear. That thing on the gurney was not the Adelaide she knew. She watched as the woman eye her surroundings as if searching for her attackers, before finally staring down at her, those black eyes full of endless torment and suffering.
“Addy?” She heard herself say, her voice weak as she reached for her. Adelaide could only stare down as rigor mortis released her from its icy grip. “You…” She tried to speak but words were completely lost to her. She watched her sisters eyes return to their normal brilliant blue, her skin regaining its natural color as the lifeless curls returned to their bouncing state. It was almost as if she’d been completely reborn. Adelaide sighed, but whether it was in relief or frustration no one would ever know.
“I know,” She finally spoke, her voice barely over a whisper, “I died.”
You may recall me mentioning in my post about 2PM’s Taecyeon that certain women, based on chemical changes in their bodies and other factors, prefer certain types of men over others. While this is true, any connoisseur of modern romantic literature will tell you that there is a distinctive theme when it comes to the bold, sexy heros who fill the pages of our favorite novels. Let’s face it, every woman want’s a gorgeous, well-bred stallion warming their beds, and these are the men we write about to compensate for the lack of our fantasy men materializing in the real world. Authors, with women dominating this genre, all seem to write about the male characters they themselves want to be with, and to be honest they are all usually stunningly gorgeous, head-turning super model types who’s only flaw is their obscenely dark past. I understand having some sense of attraction to your leading male makes the writing process infinitely easier than writing about some bastard you cant stand, but, I often wonder if any of these authors stop to think about what their leading ladies think about the men they’re being paired up with. When do they get a say in who they love? When do your novels stop being your own written fantasies and transform into the lives of the characters you’re writing about?
Take for instance the unlucky heroine of my undeveloped novel Revenant. To anyone who reads the story, Adelaide Reagan is a new character created for the purpose of starring in this particular novel. When, in reality, there’s nothing new about her. She was first created in 2008 and has spent five years in the creative process because I couldn’t find a mate that was well enough suited to her unique personality. She’s sat in a little folder on my computer, perfectly ready to assume the role of her character, but unable to move forward because you can’t have a romance without a hero. Now, I’m not saying she’s some new breed of woman who comes without flaws nor is she some psycho you’ll from the very first page, I’m saying she’s been through a lot of hell that has shaped who she is as a person and her outlook on not only life but the men she allows in it. She’s not special, she’s the equivalent of every other damaged woman on the planet. She’s every woman who’s ever been hurt so deeply they’ve lost their ability to trust without question. So, you can see why I had a hard time creating that man who’d not only heal her, but teach her how to trust again. When I brought the usual leather wearing badass to the plate, she promptly attempted to kill him. Now, I could easily bend her to my will and force her into a relationship with the sexy beefcake who throws her over his shoulder in a very caveman sort of way, but that would only lead to a horribly unoriginal story and a character who’s more screwed up than she was in the beginning. I gave Adelaide what seems to be the ‘norm’ in romantic fiction, and she returned his severed head with the word subtle. It made me realize that maybe, just maybe, the normal just wasn’t her type.
Subtlety. This was an entirely new concept for me when it came to the hero’s of my stories. For anyone who’s read my novel Guardian of the Hellmouth you’ll know what I mean. I’m used to writing strong, bold male characters like Leviathan, who know’s what he wants and will take it, no matter what his heroine has to say about the matter. But that sort of energy just didn’t mesh well with the almost erratic energy Adelaide represented. So I ended up throwing out everything I knew about writing male lead characters, I was forced to start from scratch and craft from the ground up a man who had all the qualities that would perfectly compliment her own. I was floored by what I came up with. Giovanni Cavaletti. Giovanni is the character in most stories that is always the right choice for the female character, but he always seems to finish last, behind the bad boy. He’s the billionaire CEO who looses out to the harley riding idiot she thinks she can ‘change’. The m0re I looked into his life and developed his past, the more he just seemed perfect for Adelaide. He’s been through hell, he’s suffered the loss of not only his beloved father but most of his family who all killed each other in their quest for power that didn’t belong to them. Left utterly alone in the world with nothing but money, responsibility and an infinite amount of time, he’s over come the darkness of his past on his own, leaving him with the capacity to love a woman who is still fighting to over come her own. The more I wrote about the vampire (who also suffers from claustrophobia after being buried alive by his playful elder brothers and a blood fetish he can’t seem to rid himself of), the more Adelaide screamed YES HE’S THE ONE! With that done, I knew I’d hit jackpot with my new leading male. Now it was time to divise what he looked like, something else I would come to struggle with as an author who often reused what I call the ‘Hero Theme’.
Pictured above is the male fitness model James Guardino, stunningly gorgeous with the body of a Greek god. The body is where most writers go wrong when creating their male characters. They often forget that a lot of their readers aren’t remotely into the overly defined, well sculpted male model type. There are millions of different women in the world, and for that many women there are even more types of men that they respond to. I wanted to give little five foot nothing Adelaide a tall, gorgeous, muscular man she could spend eternity with, and once again…she tried to kill him. At first I couldn’t understand why. I’m giving her this Adonis of a man and she doesn’t want him? But then that word came to me again, subtlety. Alright, I think I get it now.
Let’s take a look at the male form shall we? When you think about physical power, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Muscles. The muscles generate physical power in the body. The larger the muscles, the more powerful the man, right? Not necessarily. A tiny Shaolin Monk can easily trump a six foot tall American soldier, and it wont be his muscles that win the fight. You think this way because you’ve been conditioned to by society, especially women. Even from the time that we were small children we were taught that large, muscular, bleach blonde males were the equivalent of physical perfection. Don’t believe me? Do you remember your Ken doll? What about your brother’s G.I. Joe action figure? I believe they were cut like bodybuilders at one point in time. Never have I seen ‘Normal sized Dennis’ or ‘Slightly muscular Keith’ dolls. It’s unrealistic for every male character you write about to be gigantic, bulging beasts with rippling muscles and powerful fists. So many people focus on the wrong aspects of a potential mate, they focus on whats on the outside instead of what’s within. Yes, sexual attraction does play an important factor, but judging a man based on the bulge in his pants and how nice his abs are is not only wrong, it’s just plain stupid. For Adelaide, this type of man represented everything she feared in the world, power, abuse, chaos…He was the spitting image of the person who damaged her in the past and inadvertently shaped her into the cautious person she is today. But let’s get back to Giovanni shall we.
When it came time for me to craft this wonderful man physically, I couldn’t just choose any male model with the basic physical aspects; dark hair, blue eyes etc etc. I had to literally hunt down a model who, in my mind, perfectly embodied the character and all he represents in this story. I chose French model and muscian Gaspard Meneir.
He is subtlety. From the subtle curve of his abdominals, to the hint of dimples that flare to life when he smiles…I knew I’d found the one for Adelaide. He isn’t overly defined, he doesn’t portray any of the qualities of the others I’d previously chosen for her which caused her to react in the violent way she did. He exudes gentleness yet from his dark stare you can tell he’s been through enough to make him not only exceptionally wise, but powerful in a way that makes him dangerous without you even knowing it. In the story, Giovanni is a living vampire, a being with all the perks of vampiric immortality but with none of the drawbacks. He’s a wealthy man in not just one, but two powerful positions that make him practically untouchable to all who wish to do him harm. He’s a fighter, an officer of the Vampiric military and a trained killer. But you wouldn’t know it by just looking at him…Because he’s subtle. Jackpot.
KAILANI KEHENA was taken into foster care at just nine months of age. She has spent her life with the knowledge of her parent’s abandonment hovering over her head, and now, twenty-three years later she is forced to return to her hometown of Waikiki to settle the estate of the very people who threw her away. But what awaits her in her parents little seaside cottage is a world of horror and magic, a world of demons and angels that she’s a lot closer to than she would have imagined. As a Hellmouth, a rare breed of Changeling created through the unholy union of Norse Swart Elves and Dark Witches, she finds herself on the run from creatures of the dark who want her dead just to claim the darkness inside her soul.
THE LEVIATHAN, an ancient demonic principality spirit has spent the last one thousand years of his life in self-exile, avoiding the power struggles and pressing government issues of the hell realm that he calls home. Just when he believes he can spend the rest of eternity alone, he is summoned to earth to protect a plucky, albeit beautiful, Hellmouth. Against his urges to simply murder and be done with her, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to the sassy Changeling, igniting a fast burning romance that leaves them both breathless whilst they embark on a quest to keep her alive and away from the demons, and angels, who want her dead.