Heroes and Choices

posted by Nancy

Today we welcome back Jennifer St. Giles. With her comes her new alter ego, J. L. Saint. They’re launching a series with plenty of boom and lots of angst. Writing this series involved difficult choices for both Jennifer and her hero, and she’s here to tell us about them. Welcome, Jennifer!

Choice is a word that contains a treasure trove of meanings and today I’m going to explore two of them because so much about my newest release, Collateral Damage, Silent Warrior Series Book I, involves aspects of choice, in both the writing of the book and within the pages of the story itself. In fact, it can be said that even the act of writing a story, of making a story exciting and well worth reading, is all about the choices an author makes. LOL. I could likely go on and on about it, but that would be a book in itself.

Firstly, I had no choice but to write Collateral Damage. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, I wrote the proposal for this book back in 2000. It was a “what if” concept that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. What if someone had a large-scale bio-friendly answer to our energy crisis? What if they set out to destroy the oil market? How much power could they gain? How easily could they manipulate the political factions in the world in order to accomplish what they wanted? I sent the proposal out and waited.
Then in 2001 9/11 happened and no one would touch the book, especially from a romance writer. The book sat on the shelf and yelled at me for nine years as I wrote gothic historical murder mysteries and a contemporary paranormal werewolf series.

With every world event that unfolded from 2001 to 2009 Collateral Damage kept yelling louder and louder, Write Me! Write Me! Write Me! So, for my own sanity, when the downturn in the publishing market came and I received an unexpected break, I had no other choice but to finally write Collateral Damage. And I was very lucky to have Samhain Publishing choose to take a chance on a book that other publishers said there was no market for.

Secondly, is the concept that life is all about the choices we make, and yes, sometimes the choices made by those closest to us. The good ones and bad ones all mesh together to weave the fabric of our lives. But more importantly, the choices that we make, regardless of what others choose, determine the direction in which our lives will flow.

One of the themes of Collateral Damage, centers around the realization that we all suffer collateral damage from the choices made by others in our lives. What defines us, what shapes our future, is how we chose to react to that damage and what choices we make from that point on. Both the hero, Jack, and the heroine, Lauren, are victims of collateral damage in this book in a multitude of ways and the story of how they overcome this positively and unite is a thrill ride of action peppered with hot passion.

I know that over the past couple of years there has been collateral damage in my own life and in the lives of those I love. I have been faced with difficult choices and have had to face the harsh reality of choices others have made. Finding the right path through problems and the courage to walk it isn’t easy. This is why I love reading good books.

What? What does reading have to do with life’s problems? When I read about hero and heroines overcoming what sometimes seem to be impossible odds, when I read about their pain and healing, I am inspired in my own life to keep moving in a positive direction. To keep believing in the good. To keep believing in the power of love. Too many years ago to count, this is why I put my pen to the page and began writing stories. So, I invite you this New Year to reflect upon the choices you’ve made, measure their worth, and determine to make every choice in 2011 a wise one.

Damn the consequences, full speed ahead, is injured soldier, Jack Hunter’s, only choice when the American Businessman he killed two weeks ago on a failed mission in Lebanon shows up in the news as having been murdered just yesterday in Brazil.

The story he’s being told doesn’t mesh with the bits and pieces he remembers, and he is determined to uncover the truth. But he gets more than he can handle when he hunts down the businessman’s widow.

First, Lauren Collins’s sex appeal sucker punches Jack then the assassin after her and her twin sons comes close to succeeding. Jack puts everything on the line to save Lauren and the son’s of the man he killed, but loses the one thing he didn’t know he could—his heart.

Meet Jack “DT” Hunter…

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death…

Pink Floyd’s “Time” hammered through Sergeant First Class Jack Hunter’s brain as he tightened his grip on the treadmill and ran harder, his heart pounding, his lungs burning. Rage tinged with fear made for a potent Power Bar that fueled his drive. Sweat poured from his brow and his body screamed for relief, but he couldn’t stop. Not yet. His vision dimmed, and President Anderson’s address on the overhead TV calling for a swift but rational retaliation to al-Qaeda’s latest attack became nothing but a blur in his mind.

Life often hinged on the details, those seemingly insignificant microscopic events that most people trampled over obliviously. He’d trained to notice the details and to remember them. Yet no matter how hard he tried, his memory of the mission in Lebanon remained a kaleidoscope of combat images and one man’s mocking blue eyes…Jack clenched his teeth against the rising pain inside him. He took being team leader to heart both on and off the battlefield. The mission and his men were his responsibility. Rico, Pecos and Neil were his Delta brothers, and it killed him that he could only remember bits and pieces of what happened.

They’re here, DT. They’re alive! Will Taylor’s-aka Pecos-distorted voice echoed in Jack’s mind, sucking him down a long tunnel of fragmented memories… Suddenly Jack’s head jerked back as his headphones were snatched off and Lt. Col. Roger Weston, his Delta Team commander, whom the teams called Commander Weston because anything less didn’t fit his hard-edged charisma, got in his face. “Son of a bitch, DT. Are you trying to kill yourself?”


Go forth, choose wisely, and Enjoy!

J.L. Saint aka Jennifer St. Giles

Read the full excerpt at http://jenniferstgiles.com/content/bookshelf/collateral-damage/#more-87 and for a chance to win an ARC email to jlsaintwrites@yahoo.com how you would choose for Lauren and Jack to meet each other for the first time.

For more about Jennifer and J. L. Saint, visit her website.

Who is your favorite soldier hero? What choices have you seen romance heroes and heroines make that were particularly heart-wrenching? What’s your favorite book or movie about a survivor?

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