Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Warrior's Voice - Alexis Morgan

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 with your full name and mailing address!***


marybelle said...

I think that it's all the elements that make a man complete. His strength & courage and his ability to love & cherish.

Laney4 said...

I guess I enjoy these stories because it's so easy to imagine myself as the heroine to their hero. Who wouldn't want "such strong men" who "find room in their lives for a little gentleness and a lot of love"? Ahh, sweet seduction....

Alexis Morgan said...

Marybelle--I so agree. You want to know he'll be there for you.
Laney--So very true. Who wouldn't want to be the focus of all that strength?

Thank you both for stopping by today!


Kerry said...

I enjoy these stories because its a time we dont live in - hmm Men were MEN :) They speak to dedication and courage :)

kerryjcj AT verizon DOT net

Rebe said...

I like it when strong heroes appreciate a strong heroine! I think that takes more character & enjoy reading about that type of relationship.


Alexis Morgan said...

Kerry--I think this kind of hero appeals to me in part because I grew up reading westerns (Zane Grey, etc) and always loved the solitary US Marshal or gunslinger (with the heart of gold) who rode into save the day.

Rebe-Me, too. I can't stand a heroine who is a ninny. Her strength might be a different kind than his, but it's what makes their relationship a true partnership.


erin said...

Thanks for a fun post and congrats on the new release!

I agree w/ you that the appeal of reading about strong men falling in love is their realization that falling in love doesn't diminish them/their abilities and they can truly have it all :)


Pat Cochran said...

My favorite hero is a stand-up Alpha with
touches of Beta. He's right down the hall,
spending the afternoon with our eldest and
youngest grandsons!

BTW, My Dad shared his L'Amours and Greys
with me when I began reading "grown-up"

Alexis Morgan said...

Erin--I think part of it is that we want men like these--both in books and in the real world--to have that emotional connection with someone.

Pat--I get that. Sherrilyn Kenyon talks about that kind of hero--one who is a nice guy, a family man, yet has all the attributes of a true alpha when it's called for.

It was two of my uncles who shared their westerns with me. One loaned me his matched set of Zane Grey books and the other would come to visit with a grocery bag full of westerns that my mom and I shared.


Barbara E. said...

What draws me to read stories featuring powerful warriors is that contrast between strong, ruthless fighter and the capacity to love a woman - allowing her into his heart and sharing his life with her.

Alexis Morgan said...

Me, too, Barbara. It's the dynamics of that relationship that keeps me riveted!

megblod said...

I like it when the strong powerful men fight the feelings that they have thinking them a weakness not realizing that their more of a strength.

Na said...

I like when powerul and almost untouchable heroes have a more vulnerable side. It makes them interesting and me curious as to the reason for their soft spot. It's another side of them that enables me to connect with them.

The cover for your book is beautiful! It has so much detail :)


Alexis Morgan said...

Megblod and Na--So true. Some of my favorite moments in books are when the hero says he hates feeling those emotions, feeling anything. Or his shock when he realizes the heroine actually trusts him. Watching him come to terms with those feelings is the best part of the journey.

And, Na, I love the cover, too! The art department did an amazing job on it.

Eli Yanti said...

i could not think anyone will love to read a weak hero, how he can protect heroine when in dangerous even he can't protect hisself and little gentleness and a lot of love are a surplus point for a good hero to be :)

your book sound great, Alexis :)

Alexis Morgan said...

Thanks, Eli! True, I don't love a weak hero. However, I have enjoyed books where the hero is trying to atone for a past failure. SOme of those can be amazing journeys of redemption.

Kylie Griffin said...

Alexis, your book sounds like one I'd thoroughly enjoy - especially the whole idea of the warriors bonding with an animal companion to serve with them! I love warrior stories and a band of them sounds even better. Also the whole good against evil theme always appeals! :-)

What I love about these sorts of stories is that our heroes might yearn for love but because of something they did in the past and the need to set it right, they don't believe they deserve it, that they have to put others before themselves. They do this for so long it becomes ingrained.

There's also the way the world perceives or expects them to fulfill a certain role, or sees them in a certain light, and this gives them another reason to dismiss or deny finding love is possible for them.

Watching the hero and heroine meet, watching her see beyond and recognise there's something more to him than what everyone else sees is a magical moment. Whether she set her sights on him or slowly comes to realise she has feelings for him and then that first moment when they become aware of an attraction between them is a part of the book I love to anticipate.

The next part I really like is the hero opening up and sharing himself with the heroine on a deeper, more emotional level, revealing his past, revealing what made him the man he is and her recognising something of value/worth or goodness in it and the strengthening of the relationship between them because of this. That process might not be easy, but the conflict - the wondering "will they/won't they" tug of war - is what makes the read so much more satisfying.

And on that note, I'll end this novella of an answer! LOL Thanks for a great post on a great topic. It's also wonderful to see another fantasy romance out on the shelves - there needs to be more of them!!! I hope your book tour/release month goes well!

Linda said...

I love reading romance & having a powerful warrior as the hero is always a plus. I guess it's because I'm drawn to the strong man who a leader type hero who has the capacity for true love. Love it when he falls hard & heavy for the heroine & how he handles it.

Kylie Griffin said...