Like most writers, I have a lot of extra people living in my head. Even before I see what they look like, I can hear their voices murmuring in the back of my mind. Sometimes all I ever catch is the merest whisper of their thoughts, a few sentences, and then the character is gone. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention to them, but I like to think they realized I wasn’t the right person to tell their story and so they moved on.
Other times, though, that voice gets louder, the words clearer, and that’s when I really take notice. Who is that guy anyway? What is he trying to tell me? And for me, it usually is a guy because I almost always see the heroes in my stories before I do the heroines. Don’t get me wrong—the women are just as important to the story. After all, without them, it wouldn’t be a romance.
It’s just that I usually write what I think of as Band of Brothers stories where the books are centered around a group of warriors. These guys are strong, powerful, and pretty darned sexy, if I do say so. They all know how to fight; they know the battle that needs to be won; they know who they need to protect and the secrets they need to keep. It’s a hard life they live, knowing the cost of picking up their weapons, and yet they head back into battle anyway.
Which is where the heroine comes in. It’s her role to show the hero that there is more to life than fighting. True, he cannot ignore his duty, but that he also deserves more. That he can have her in his life, too. But for this to work, she has to be as strong in her own right as he is. Not physically as strong perhaps, but emotionally strong and unafraid to fight for what she believes in.
My current release, My Lady Mage, is the first book in my new Warriors of the Mist series from Signet Eclipse. As usual, it was one of the Warriors who spoke to me first. Captain Gideon told me he was a warrior, one who had spent centuries fighting against evil and injustice. Furthermore, Gideon had served with his four friends even before they became the avatars for the Lord and Lady of the River. The five men had sworn to serve the gods in hopes of eventually redeeming their lost honor and being granted peace at last. For centuries, all they have known is fighting battle after battle, often for people who feared the five men as much as they did their real enemies. In between battles, they sleep beneath the river, barely aware of the passage of time.
I could just see these five powerful men, each with his own strengths and painful past, bonded together by their deep friendship and common purpose. They never needed anyone else. They were strong enough on their own. Or so they thought. Then enters Lady Merewen, the latest supplicant calling upon the gods for their assistance in dealing with the dark evil that is endangering everyone she cares about, including the amazing horses who are in her care.
From the second the five warriors marched out of the river, they realize that this calling is different than any they have faced before. It isn’t because of the impending fight against evil, but because Lady Merewen sees them as men, not just five weapons to wield against her enemies. There’s an emotional connection that gives their lives and their mission a layer of meaning that has been missing in the past.
In the end, Gideon and Merewen realize it will take both of their strengths—his power as a warrior and her gift of compassion—to stand against the gathering darkness. And just as things have changed for Gideon, the other four warriors find their own lives changes—perhaps the scariest thing they’ve ever had to face.
I love both writing and reading romances about powerful warriors. Seeing such strong men find room in their lives for a little gentleness and a lot of love. If you like that kind of hero, too, what is it about them that draws you toward reading their story? We’ll be picking one person who leaves a comment to receive an autographed copy of My Lady Mage, so let me know what you think!
***Alexis' winner is Rebe!! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and mailing address!***