Please welcome Thea, who is sharing her latest release with us and is talking pretty heroes and heroines.
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All the Pretty People
A significant component of romantic fiction is the fantasy aspect. We read to escape our everyday lives, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes for a few hours. It doesn’t matter if our characters are falling in love centuries before our time, embarking on adventures in futures beyond our imagination, or simply forging an intimate connection in a present-day setting; we seek our thrills with all of them.
Regardless of the sub-genre, it seems most romances have something in common: the main characters are often depicted as being physically attractive. Very physically attractive. Expressive eyes, exquisite lips, a body that can stop traffic…they’ve got it all. Even if the alpha male has some battle scars, they only serve to enhance his masculinity. If a character is described as being merely average-looking, or even unattractive, it usually serves as a plot point. Plain Janes and Average Joes just can’t seem to fall in love without an introspective journey that builds their self-confidence, or learning a valuable lesson about inner beauty.
It makes sense, I suppose. If we wanted to remain in that average world of unexciting monotony, we probably wouldn’t be picking up the book in the first place. Who doesn’t want to envision being a tall, curvaceous bombshell with thick flowing hair who engages in a torrid love affair with a strong-jawed heartthrob who can easily scoop her into his arms with his bulging muscles? (Sometimes, he’s even blessed with the thick flowing hair!)
There is a downside, of course. In making our heroes and heroines incredibly handsome and gorgeous, we do risk relinquishing a little realism. I mean, it’s not like we regularly encounter people so breathtakingly alluring, we swivel our heads to watch them walk down the street on a daily basis. And what are the chances that two such stunning people are going to meet up and fall in love? Even real-world supermodels don’t tend to marry other supermodels.
I’m guilty of this, I’ll admit. I’ve written some beautiful people, as affirmed by the other characters around them. There is another way of looking at the issue, however. It’s true what they say – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe when we’re reading all these outlandish descriptions of golden-haired amethyst-eyed men and women with symmetrical features and perfectly-arched eyebrows, we’re really supposed to be viewing them through the eyes of those who love them. In a way, I followed this line of thinking in Disintegration. At the beginning, Callum doesn’t view Ro as pretty, ugly, funny-looking, or anywhere in between. She’s just sort of…there. It’s not until he develops feelings for her that he remarks to himself how beautiful she is.So, readers, how do you like your characters to appear? Do you want to be whisked away by the dashing hero and melt in his burly arms of steel? Or do you think it makes for a more believable story if the characters look more realistic?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dutiful soldier Callum Renwick wakes up in the underground laboratory of a mercenary organization. He learns he was the sole survivor of an attack that destroyed his unit, his hometown, and his family. In addition to the loss of his loved ones, he discovers that due to his injuries, half his body has been supplanted by artificial skin and cybernetic parts. Once he has recovered, he is assigned to the care of Ro Bernard, who leads the effort to turn him into a powerful assassin. She is outspoken, yet secretive, and uses unconventional means to mold him into a depraved killer. Mind games and rough sex are in her repertoire of training tactics, and Callum is both infuriated and fascinated by her. As he comes to terms with his grief and his new role, many of his biological body parts fail and must be replaced. Will he adapt to survive in Ro’s world and exact vengeance on the woman who ordered the attack that changed his life?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Purchase Disintergration from Amazon, Double Dragon Publishing and Lulu.
Purchase Disintergration from Amazon, Double Dragon Publishing and Lulu.
Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction and fantasy and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.
Connect with Thea on her website and Facebook page.
“Where…where am I?” Callum’s throat was dry, and he could manage little more than a choked whisper. “Who are you? What happened?”
“One inquiry at a time. You’ve been through a lot, after all.” The man adjusted the collar of his pristine white coat. “I am Dr. Zedek. You’re in my laboratory, which is part of a larger underground facility.”
He swallowed and was able to muster a louder volume. “How did you know my name?”
Zedek tapped his wrist, below the restraints. “As soon as we saw you were a member of the Tektani military, we located and scanned your chip.”
“Military….” Memories wafted through his mind like a cold breeze. “There was an attack…at the border.”
“Indeed there was.”
Callum furrowed his brow as he recalled the images of the grotesque weapons that had hit his tank. “Where are the others?”
The doctor’s smile disappeared. “Unfortunately, you were the only member of your unit we found alive.”
He closed his eyes. Grief and panic formed a nauseating pit in his stomach. There were so many questions, but his top priority remained unchanged. “Meyta…I need to get out of here. I need to get home to my family.” He struggled to sit up and couldn’t. “Let me go.”
“We can’t. Not yet.”
“I need to go home. I have to get back to Serne.”
He cringed, not wanting to hear what he was certain the next words were going to be.
“Serne is gone. Everything within thirty miles of Tektan’s border was decimated.”
“No.” He fought against the restraints. “They were supposed to be safe there. Everyone moved far enough away.”
“No!” The cuffs held him in place, and he thrashed against them. His exertion was futile.
“Doctor, his heart rate’s all over the place,” spoke a second man behind Callum.
Zedek leaned forward. “Callum, listen to me. I know you’ve had quite the shock, and there was no good way to break the news to you. But we went through an awful lot trying to save your life, and you may not be out of the woods yet. You need to calm down.”
He attempted to relax and slow his breathing. “Okay…I’m okay.” He swiveled his head to the opposite side to see who the second person was. Before he could get a good look at the man, he caught sight of the other side of his body.
His arm was a pure black hue, and gave off a glossy shine. When he twisted his wrist to see the underside of his palm, he saw the mechanical joints of his fingers. Lifting his head, he saw the smooth material extending down the line of his torso. His leg looked utterly inhuman and unnatural. It responded to his commands, and he rotated his ankle without difficulty, but it was a poor match for the tanned flesh on the opposite side.
He trembled, and the sickening feeling increased. “What did you do to me?”
“We saved your life. You were badly injured, and—”
“What did you do to me?” he screamed. He put all his strength into breaking free of his bindings. Though he didn’t know where he was, he needed to escape. He was trapped in the worst nightmare his imagination could conjure, and he was desperate for any way out.
Zedek stood up. “Sedate him.”
Callum wanted to beg him for answers, to choke an explanation out of him. His limbs grew heavy, and he was unable to speak. Through the haze of the drugs that coursed through his system, he thought he saw a woman appear at the side of the table. He didn’t have time to examine her closely before he was thrust back into unconsciousness.
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