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KL_destinyscaptive

AN UNEXPECTED ANGEL
Angelina Sanchez didn’t hold much stock in men. The ones who weren’t slimy fortune hunters weren’t interested in a young lady who would rather spend time with her horses than flirt. But when she saw a handsome stranger in town, there was an instant connection, a spark of familiarity like nothing she’d ever felt. And no matter how fiercely her father warned her away from Jeremiah Baldwin, nothing could have kept her from his side.

A BROKEN WARRIOR
When her father had him beaten and left for dead, Angel’s soft hands and sweet voice coaxed Jeremiah to stay, to fight. In her arms, it seemed he’d finally found a place to belong. But how could he protect her when it was her father who’d led the raid that had slaughtered his family? His spirit guides had told him he would feel true joy only if he made peace with his greatest sorrow. But unless he could find a way to win Angelina’s heart without forsaking his family, he would remain…Destiny’s Captive.

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How did she come up with that?

I’ll bet you’ve asked yourself the same question after reading the latest dark paranormal or watching the latest vampire series on cable or in the movies.  With so many people enthralled with the paranormal, the person whose feet stay firmly on the ground has to feel LOST.

So where do authors come up with paranormal ideas, characters, plots and themes without delving into the occult and joining Wicans Local 101?  Where does it begin?  Does an author wake up one day and announce, “I think my next novel’s going to be about the Fey.”  Does she then research the Fey, like everything else she writes?  And once she opens her mind to that realm, is she inundated with evil? (more…)

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ja_tmolim1

It was whispered all through London Society that he was a murderer, that he’d spent his youth in an asylum and was not to be trusted — especially with a lady. Any woman caught un his presence was immediately ruined. Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and intimidating intelligence, she could see he needed help. Her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

As most readers know by now, my May 2009 release, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, features an unusual hero. Ian Mackenzie has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is considered to be high-functioning autism. Traits include the inability to make eye contact, trouble with nonverbal cues and subtext, obsession with detail (but missing the “big picture”), and others. Not everyone who has AS exhibits the same traits, and the syndrome tends to present differently in men than women.

I’ve been recently praised for the risk I took writing Lord Ian. Which surprises me a little (though I don’t mind the compliments!), because when I sat down to write the story, I never thought: “Hey, I’m gonna go out there and take a risk! I’m going to do something different.”

The idea if Ian—the four-book arc about the entire lovable, dysfunctional, Mackenzie family, in fact–came to me and wouldn’t let me go. I daydreamed the series for a years before finally getting the opportunity to write it.

When I was deep in the story, it didn’t occur to me that it was risky. I loved this family, and I thought other people might, too.

Luckily for me, my editor didn’t cringe (too much) when I told her what I was working on. Luckily for me, when I turned it in, my editor loved it. Luckily for me, readers so far are liking it too.

All four Mackenzie brothers are messed up, tortured, gorgeous, uber-sensual men with whom I’m having a marvelous time. I hate turning in the manuscripts (and authors love getting manuscripts off their plates, believe me)—that’s how wrapped up I am in these guys.

The Mackenzies aren’t the only unusual heroes I’ve written. If you’re an Allyson James fan (which is me in disguise), you might have read the Tales of the Shareem books I wrote for EC. Futuristics about men created in a genetics factory, bred for one purpose and one purpose only—to pleasure women. Now they’re outlawed, the factory shut down, and women come to them in secret for sensuality that is forbidden in their society.

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The Shareem. Males created to be tall, muscled, sexy, and…enhanced. They come in one of three levels—pure sensual pleasure, games and wicked fun, or the ultimate barbarian complete with whip. They know how to bring a woman to ecstasy and exactly how to keep her there.

When Lady Talan d’Urvey reads the diary of a woman who spent one wicked week with a Shareem, she longs to experience the same carnality in one last fling before she takes her vow of celibacy. She goes in search of a Shareem and finds Rees, tall and blond, with Shareem-blue eyes. Just looking into those eyes makes Talan wild with need.

But Rees is a Shareem experiment that never should have been made. Rees is all the Shareem levels rolled into one, and then some. Rees is uncontrollable, Rees is unpredictable. Even Rees’s creators could never, ever be sure exactly what he would do…

When I started writing the series, I thought, “What am I doing? No one will want to read about these guys because they’re not powerful, rich, in-charge men. They’re little better than slaves with no rights and no money.” But the characters had grabbed me, and I wanted to write about them. Result: The Shareem is my most popular EC series, and copies have continually sold since early 2005. (Fans: I’ve just finished TOTS: Calder.)

Other unusual heroes: The Pirates. I think The Pirate Next Door made my career, even though it had a tiny print run and made no major lists. But an awful lot of people seem to have read it. When I started the series, most romance pirates were aristocrats in disguise—men who had taken to piracy because they were kidnapped, or their dads kicked them out, or they wanted revenge, or something. In other words, they were pirates for a reason.

I decided to write about pirates who were pirates because they liked it! They had checkered pasts, but they’d been buckling the swash all their lives and were prepared to pillage and plunder until they died. With the exception of Grayson Finley, who inherited a title unexpectedly from his cousin, these were not high-born men. In fact, Christopher Raine (The Care and Feeding of Pirates) was the son of a pirate and a pirate’s captive.

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What is a proper English lady to do when a pirate moves next door?  Add the newly titled viscount to her list of possible suitors?  Take his wildly eccentric young daughter under her wing?  Let the outlandish rogue kiss her with wild abandon?

As everyday etiquette offers no guidance, Alexandra Alastair simply sets aside her tea and follows her instincts — whether that involves rescuing her new neighbor from hanging, fending off pirate hunters, plotting against aristocratic spies, or succumbing to a little passionate plundering.  Forget propriety!  No challenge is too great and no pleasure too wicked, for Grayson Finley promises the adventure of a lifetime.

Again, I thought—bad idea; readers want aristocrats! Wrong. The series was popular, made my publisher happy, and boosted my career up the next rung. (Since then, I’ve noticed that many romance pirates are “real” pirates. I don’t have the ego to think that was my influence; I think writers had the same urge I did; and Jack Sparrow didn’t hurt!)

In conclusion, I’ve learned my lesson. If an unusual, buck-the-trend kind of hero comes to me, I write him!

Over to you blog readers: Who are some of your favorite unusual heroes? There are great ones out there! Talk about them!

I’m doing a giveaway (of course), pulling a random name from the comments to win a copy from my backlist under any name I’ve ever written under. Say howdy to win.

And I hope everyone enjoys my unusual hero in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. You can read the first chapter here:


Lists of my novels are at the following:

http://www.jennifersromanes.com/novels.html

http://www.allysonjames.com/books.html

http://www.gardnermysteries.com

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