Writer Wednesday: The Men of Otherworld
originally posted: April 6, 2011
The men of Otherworld—I never expected to find women (and some men) head over heels for my heroes. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because usually *my* taste in men is a little out of the ordinary.
But I’ve been thinking, why do I love my my heroes so much, and why do the D’Artigo sisters love them? I mean, we aren’t talking HEA romances here—we’re talking bizarre urban fantasy with a dark, humorous undertone. Lots of action, some explicit sex, relationships galore, subplots everywhere, and mythology from all over the world all mixed into one big cauldron. So the heroes are all a bit off—not your run-of-the-mill good guys, that’s for sure. Camille, Menolly, and Delilah are hard put to keep up with this crew.
When I examine my male characters, I see they all possess aspects of the qualities I tend to find attractive in men—and a few not.
Smoky, a gorgeous white dragon, morphs into a tall, sexy, reserved man. He’s the man in white, with silver hair down to his calves that can do marvelous things by itself. Arrogant, he’s embodies a sense of timeless regality. Smoky’s got his own agenda for everything he does. He’s not magnanimous, although when it comes to family, he’s all about protecting his own. He’s wickedly playful, he enjoys sitting back and pushing buttons to control the show. And yet, right below the surface is a menacing sense that yes, he *is* a dragon and therefore, if you aren’t careful, he might just fry you to a crisp and eat you up. Dragons and other beasties do not play by human rules in my worlds.
Trillian is one of the Svartans—a race of rather menacing beings long ago related to the elves. The Svartan race, also known as the Charming Fae although they’re closer to the elves—are hedonistic by nature. Sensual to the core, he’s the magic man who can charm you with a kiss, the pied piper of the bedroom. He, like Smoky, is a mercenary, and yet he’s there to help when Camille and her sisters any time they need him, even if he complains in the process. Camille and Trillian have an odd relationship—sexually open, and yet, they are completely bound to one another through sex magic. Trillian can be your best ally, or worst enemy.
Morio, a fox demon based on Japanese lore, is the unreadable rogue. He always has a secret smile back there, like he knows something you don’t. He’s loyal to the core, and yet, unpredictable. Brilliant, his passion comes through like a quiet flame that can roar to life when he’s in his full demon form. He’s a little like Coyote at times, with a wild side you don’t quite see unless you know him on an intimate level.
Then we have Shade—the half dragon, half Stradolan (shadow walker). He’s still a mystery man, but he runs the energy of the Autumn Lord. Suave, refined, passionate, Shade has a lot of secrets up his sleeves which I’m not going to reveal just yet, though I will say, he’s been watching Delilah for a lot longer than she knows, and he’s been waiting for her.
Rozurial, the incubus of the group, sadly has accepted that he’ll never again be able to mate into a permanent relationship. When Zeus changed the Fae into an incubus, he changed his essential nature. But Roz loves women, of all shapes, sizes, ages…he truly wants every woman he’s with to enjoy herself. He would never use force on a woman, would never embarrass her in the bedroom, and he tries to be as much of a gentleman as he can outside the bedroom.
Vanzir is a truly tortured antihero. A demon in his own right, he was first a playtoy for the demon general Karvanak, then a willing slave for the D’Artigo sisters. Now, he’s been stripped of his powers and has yet to face up to Smoky for what happened in Blood Wyne. But don’t worry—I have plans for Vanzir. I’m not letting him run off so easily.
Roman is another enigma. The son of Blood Wyne, Queen of the Vampires, he’s been around a long, long time. A warlord, a conqueror, he’s adapted to modern life and managed to control his inner predator until he now runs the North American vampire world for the most part—all from the quiet of his Seattle mansion. Just what he’s got planned, well, that’s in the works, but you know it includes Menolly and therefore, will have to include her sisters.
And then there’s Chase—the human of the group. Chase was just doing his job, trying to get through life, when the Nectar of Life threw a monkey wrench his his plans. Now, he’s changing, and he has no clue what’s going to happen. Going from mortal to close to immortal with the drink of one potion, he’s caught in a maelstrom of uncertainty. He’s discovering powers he never realized he might have, and that he has no clue of what to do with. He has no idea where the next thousand years might take him. And he realized that Delilah wasn’t the right woman for him—he couldn’t handle facing his own changing nature in the mirror, let alone deal with a relationship that was so fraught with issues. He knows he’s in over his head, but he’s always willing to be first into battle and he’ll die for his friends if need be.
So what do my male characters say about me and the way I look at men? I suppose I find power attractive in a man—that reserved brilliance that challenges you to go ahead, try to best him. I like men who find intelligence appealing, men who want a woman who thinks for herself. Men who are loyal to their women, whether it’s within a poly relationship or a one-on-one.
I can’t stand arrogance without substance behind it and I don’t like ‘who’s your daddy’ games. When I look at my own husband, I see that he’s got a number of these qualities (all the better for me!) that I give to my heroes. The sensuality of Trillian, the desire to protect that Smoky embodies. Samwise is smart and quiet, like Morio. And he’s got long hair—another plus in my book. ~grins~
So tell me, what are your favorite qualities in heroes? What appeals to you?
Until next time,
When Fantasy Merges With Reality
originally posted: April 1, 2011
To make my page work better here at PM, back to blogging here. Will mirror one or two posts a week from my main blog, but make it more accessible.
My post today may ramble a bit, because what I want to say is rather hard to put into words. Bear with me, please.
When the idea first came to me for the Sisters series, it was like being struck by a lightning bolt. I remember—I was sitting in the living room, watching TV, when I looked up at one of the windows and it was like the three sisters just leapt through the window into my mind. I could see them—Camille first, then Delilah and Menolly…they were there, fully dressed, clear as a bell, and they introduced themselves to me. And I knew I had to write their story—whatever it might be.
I absolutely love writing the Otherworld series (aka the Sisters of the Moon series—or SOTM series)—and the Indigo Court series. They are, to me, so much more ‘me’ than anything else I’ve ever written, published or unpublished. The two worlds are ones where magic and technology walk hand-in-hand, like my own world. Where mythology has come to life and interacts with the modern world—right out in the open. It’s a world where everything is possible, where almost all mythologies and legends have some sort of validity. Where sex and love and passion blend into both the magical and the mundane.
My editor gave me one instruction for the revisions of Witchling. She said, “I love it, but take it over the top. Let yourself go.” And so I did, and the book took on a life of its own. And with each book since then, the world of the sisters has unfolded in its own way, expanding and growing. As is Cicely’s world.
Fantasy has always been my passion—since I was a little girl. I read mysteries, romance, and other genres, but I always gravitated toward fantasy because in my mind, it was more ‘real’ than a lot of the other work.
And, as a shamanic witch in my own life, I walk in two worlds at once—the world of spirit and the world of the physical. I merged two seemingly disparate paths—the magical path and the ‘logical’ path—and found the spiritual system worked for me—it’s the right path for me to be on this lifetime. With the urban fantasy worlds, I’m simply extrapolating on what I personally believe, and taking it over the top.
A few years back, during a signing for Witchling, one reader asked me, “So tell me, is what you wrote in the book real? Because it feels real.”
I looked at her for a moment. I understood her question and why she asked it—some stories just feel real when you read them because they resonate with something inside.
When I answered, I chose my words carefully because I did not want to be misunderstood. I said, “If you’re asking are the sisters real, then no. Not if you want to meet them here, in the flesh, in the store. But are they part of who I am? Yes. And yes, they and their friends seem to have taken on a life of their own. And I believe in a lot of the things that I write.”
I personally believe the Fae are real, and no, I have never seen them as the sweet cherubs the Victorians tried to turn them into. So yes, I believe that the Fae exist and I've seen a few of them. And yes, I believe in dragons and unicorns and a lot of creatures we think of as ‘mythological,’ but I believe they live in a parallel dimension and on rare occasion, cross over to our realm.
I envision the existence of other dimensions a lot like I’ve put forth in my vision of “Otherworld” and the portals. As for demons, unfortunately yes, I most assuredly believe that evil exists as a force in the world and that it fuels a lot of the hatred and anger. It cloaks itself in the guise of intolerance and bigotry and prejudice and self-righteousness a lot of the times.
For me, writing urban fantasy is like writing a vision—not of what is, but of the way life might possibly be. Do I wish it were true? Well, not the war against the demons, no—that would be hideous. As would Myst and her Vampiric Fae.
But having the Fae come out in the open? Well, that would certainly shake up our xenophobic society, for sure! And if Smoky came striding into my house, I wouldn’t shut the door on him, that’s for certain. ~grins~
I’ll be the first to admit that I change legends and legendary creatures as needed for the story line. So never rely on my books for an accurate lesson in mythology the way you're going to learn it in class! My books are, after all, fiction.
And when I can’t find what I want in terms of mythological creatures, I have no hesitation in making them up, but I try to make them believable for the situation. The Corpse Talkers are one example. Do they exist? I highly doubt it, unless one follows the line of thought that ‘everything exists, just within a different realm.’ But they’re damned cool, in my opinion.
As I said, I’m a shamanic witch. I practice magic. Not Camille’s fireworks and energy bolts kind, but magic nonetheless and I know it works. I’ve seen ghosts, I’ve seen things that aren’t supposed to exist and yet, I know what I saw. I’m also a very practical person, with a strong scientific bent. I don’t accept anything at face value. I live in a world where mythology and the mundane meet and the mix is very real to me. But I never hesitate to question what I see, feel, hear, believe...I never accept answers blindly without making sure I've examined the situation for myself.
So writing about the Sisters and Cicely is a blast for me, but also second nature. It’s a way to allow my magical side/self to extrapolate on my beliefs, creating what I hope is a fantastical—but almost believable—ride for others. And it’s a ride I’d love to stay on for a long, long time.