Posts tagged with: Denise Rossetti

Denise Rossetti — Yours to Desire!


Hello Bandita Buddies!

It’s my pleasure to bring back a lair favourite, my friend and critique partner, Denise Rossetti!

Denise has an exciting new release, and as someone who interfered–ahem!–I mean, helped brainstorm and plot this baby, not to mention reading, commenting on and loving the final product, I’m particularly thrilled to share it with everyone here today. 

Welcome, Denise!

Thanks for the kind words Christina *G* and thank you for having me today.

Hey Banditas and Bandit Buddies, I’m baaack! And I’m so thrilled I’m bouncing all over the place. I’ve finally put on my big girl antigrav pants and written a Science Fiction romance! Even more exciting, it’s set in a shared universe – another first for me.

Sven’s secured the airlocks and cranked the jump engines up to warp speed, so let’s blast off!

Yours to Desire 

A man more potent than any drug.

It’s 2202 and on board the Earth Ship Siren, the brilliant Doctor Lily Kwan has worked in secret to develop an antidote for the aphrodisiac rape drug, sexmeth.

YoursToDesire_Final - sm-1She’d be overjoyed if it wasn’t for an embarrassing problem: the antidote has no effect on her extraordinary reaction to Connor Madison, the Siren’s tough quartermaster. Scientifically, it should be impossible, but the man’s a raging fever in her blood. If a single dark glance sets Lily on fire, a kiss might kill her dead – but what a way to go!

A former gang rat from the slums of a dying world, Con came up the hard way, so when geeky Doctor Kwan tops his hit list of possible drug runners, nothing’s going to save her not her family’s money, nor her clever mind.

Not even the smile in her eyes.

The initial idea for the ES Siren series came from the amazing Shona Husk. She came up with the concept of a space convoy travelling to a far distant planet. But this isn’t any ordinary convoy, oh no! It’s based on the First Fleet that left England in the late eighteenth century and sailed for long dreary months to other side of the world, all the way to the struggling penal colony in New South Wales, Australia. On board were convicts, soldiers and civilians.

In the year 2022, the overcrowded, polluted Earth is dyig, so a penal colony on a distant planet is a great concept, practical as well as coldblooded. The convicts – who far outnumber the military and civilians – are expendable, there as grunt labour. Then there are the career soldiers and pilots, and finally a small, but dedicated group of civilians with special skills. Add to the volatile mix the inevitable criminals, some of whom wear the hated yellow uniform of the convict (and some who should, but don’t!) and the scope for drama is purely breathtaking.

Imagine the privations and uncertainties of a long journey into the unknown. Imagine the stresses and tensions, the basic human needs for food, shelter and safety coupled with our natural desire for sex and perhaps even love. And all of it complicated by the power structures on board.

There was so much creative elbow room in this idea that when Shona and Mel Teshco (who’d boarded a little earlier) asked me to join them, I couldn’t say yes fast enough! The other deciding factors, of course, were that Shona and Mel (who are Aussies, like me) are wonderful writers and good friends.

What fun! I thought. Hope it works…

Silly me! World building is always a power trip for a writer, but there’s something incredibly exciting about sharing the experience. The three of us sparked ideas off each other like Catherine wheels! The energy we generated was incredible and the result is a rich and fully developed world. It’s fascinating to see how each of us ‘sees’ the Siren and her people, the differences and similarities.

sirenbanner_mEach book features a different couple, so the stories work independently. However, to fully experience life and love on the Earth Ship Siren, read them all!

Here’s a quick excerpt – the first encounter between Lily and Con. They meet in a basket-weaving class. As you do…

He blanked the screen with a quick jab of his thumb. “Sorry. What?”

Lily Kwan plonked a bilious green plastic circle on the table in front of him. “A base for your basket.” Determinedly, she pushed the glasses back up her long nose. “I’ve pre-punched it,” she said, pointing to the holes around the perimeter. 

Con stared. Though her hands were narrow and graceful, with long, slender fingers, they were filthy, as if she’d been finger-painting with camouflage colors. Two knuckles sported blisters.  

How would the clever doctor react under pressure?

Without haste, he reached out, gripped her right wrist and turned her hand palm up. The skin was marred with nicks and cuts, some healed, some not. “What happened to your hands?”

Denise, Christine RWA“Nothing.” Under his thumb, her pulse fluttered. “Just doing my job,” she said, her lips tightly compressed. 

When she took a step back, he held on, gently, but firmly. “Explain.”

The downlights shone directly on her face. From behind the glasses, furious almond eyes met his. They were a stormy gray, not the brown he’d expected. 

Con’s lips curved, very slightly. Ah, now they were getting somewhere. The peasant had transgressed and the princess was pissed. It warmed his heart, truly it did.

“I work in a lab, all right? I do experiments.” She tugged, to no avail. Her cheeks had gone a dull red.

Lounging back in his chair, Con released her, taking his own sweet time. “I see.” 

Her spine snapped straight. “Which do you want? Bamboo or reed?”

“Neither.” He gave her a calm smile. “I’ll just watch the others for now.”

The blood beat beneath the golden skin of her throat. 

“Fine.” Scooping up the green circle, she whirled around and headed for the sulky prisoners.

Con stared. Had he thought their yellow shirts were the only bright notes in the room? A glossy dark braid, almost as thick as his wrist, hung down Kwan’s back, bouncing with the energy of her stride. Threaded through it was a scarlet ribbon. 

BanditBootyRead the whole first chapter on my website

You can also read the characters’ diaries as they prepare for the voyage. ES Siren blog.

I have a copy of Yours to Desire to give away, so tell me –

Do you enjoy teamwork? I do, but I know some do and some really don’t! What’s been your experience?

I’d like to add to my Science Fiction Romance TBR pile, as if it wasn’t big enough! What are your recommendations?


BanditBootyWith many, humble apologies for posting this so very late, the winner of Denise Rossetti’s contest is CATE S.!!

And with even more abject apologies, the winner of THE GREATEST LOVER EVER post is LOUISA CORNELL! Mainly because of her ‘inappropriately naked’ at New Year’s story. 🙂

Please contact Christina at christina AT christina-brooke DOT com to claim your prizes!

Denise Rossetti is Guilty as Sin!

posted by Christine Wells

Hello, Banditas and Bandita Buddies! I’ve brought lair favourite and my dear friend Denise Rossetti, back to the lair today to talk about her brand new erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave, GUILTY AS SIN. Isn’t that an amazing cover? Denise has been blessed by the cover gods!

Ah, back in the lair. Time for True Confessions. We’ll get to the giveaway later. Sven, my dear, block those innocent Swedish ears. Here’s the Awful Truth –

I worry myself sometimes – well, quite often actually.

I’m a perfectly law-abiding citizen. I vote, I pay my taxes (albeit with much cursing). I’m a wife, a mother, a friend, a colleague. I’m so normal, I’m positively tedious. I love Happy Endings – in fact, they’re essential to my reading satisfaction.

Why then, do I get such a kick out of creating dark, angst-ridden characters? I just lurve the underbelly of the soul, relish and adore it. Torment? Anguish? Bring it on, sister! I have no problem sliding into the psyche of the basest villain and yet I’m not a serial killer, honest. Oh, and I absolutely adore Bad Boys.

There’s just something about an alpha guy who’s armoured against love. It makes my fingers itch to hit him over the head with a heroine he can’t resist. Take Michael in Guilty as Sin for instance, once an assassin, now a master thief. He’s not the massive, broody type Bad Boy, he’s lithe and handsome and jaded beyond belief. No morals whatsoever, or so he believes. If Phoenix wasn’t a sword and sorcery world, I’d give him a black leather jacket, mirror shades and a Harley Davidson. No problem with The Attitude, he’s already got that in spades!

In my mind, he looks something like this guy. Your mileage may vary. 😉

Here’s Liseriel the Gray’s first sight of him. Hmm…

She didn’t think she’d ever seen such a pretty man—or one more accomplished. Vastly entertained, Liseriel the Gray stepped deeper into the shadows and folded her arms, watching him flirt with a plump matron encased in gold-shot velvet while his eyes carried on an entirely different conversation with her stolid, bulky husband.

This was the master thief Jan had spoken of, she was sure of it.


That was all they knew of him, his name. And that he’d been an assassin once. Her lip curled. Likely he still was.

Brilliant. Light-fingered. Deadly.

The man appeared to be a gilded youth, the line of his jaw clean and beautiful, his hair a thick golden blond that gleamed with health. Lise narrowed her eyes. A wig, but a very good one. Human hair, she judged. There were rings flashing on his slender fingers, sapphire drops in his earlobes. He’d spared no expense, she had to give him that. A perfect little lordling, and all in excellent taste. So what if she could see the hard disks of his nipples beneath the ultrafine silk of his shirt? Or if the merchant was darting discreet glances at the taut ass cupped so lovingly by the satin breeches required by court etiquette?

Michael was wearing makeup, expertly applied—not unusual for men at the Sereian court. Coupled with the classical purity of his features, the fine, elegant shape of cheek and nose and skull, it gave him a disturbingly androgynous air. He looked… She had to think about it…

Available. Delightfully, dangerously available.

He was deceptively lean. Lise measured the width of his shoulders and her gaze dropped to consider the muscle in his thigh. Oh yes, there was power there all right, coupled with perfect, almost unnatural control. His purpose kept him on a tight leash, this thief.

Come to think of it, Michael is one of the few heroes I haven’t been able to reduce to tears, though he did get plenty depressed and angry. I needed help to bring him to his knees! Like it says in the blurb for Guilty as Sin, in the end it took two Aetherii to catch a thief.

Michael’s bad, bad, bad—all the way to the bone. A single heated encounter with the master thief and level-headed Liseriel the Gray has never been so furious—so intrigued—in her life. Neither has Michael. Danger’s always been his drug of choice.

With his huge bronze wings and sweet, serious smile, Daxariel the Burnished is everything the thief is not—a generous shining spirit, an honest loving soul—and a virgin.

It’s going to take two Aetherii to catch a thief. Lise and Dax are both so godsbedamned good, Michael can’t wait to debauch and defile, to make his Aetherii beg for dark erotic pleasures. It’s the only way he knows to win—and win he must, because there’s something about wings and tails and trust freely given that has him reeling.

Exquisitely trapped between Michael’s intoxicating wickedness and Dax’s steadfast love, everything Lise believes about duty is dust on the wind. How can she crave both these men, different as night and day?

Trust me, writing a ménage is complicated and exhausting. Try taking three incredibly different characters and giving them a halfway believable HEA. Hah!

On the surface, Lise is practical and dutiful. She thinks she’s dull. In fact, she’s like a drawn blade, all steel and elegance. She’s a warrior for justice, brave and honourable. Dax is – well, he’s nice. Decent, through and through. If he didn’t have magnificent wings and a wicked feathery tail, he’d be the boy next door. (That’s him on the cover. Isn’t he gorgeous? The model is perfect for Dax.) But I gave them both a little streak of the devil, just to keep Michael on his toes.

It’s interesting how much easier I find it to write a ‘bad’ character than a ‘good’ one, and I suspect I’m not alone. Is there something more intrinsically fascinating about wickedness? In real life, any woman in her right mind would prefer a loving husband and nurturing father over the swashbuckling glamour of a pirate. Can you imagine one of those dark elegant vampire types with baby sick on his shirt, or worse – baby poo?

So tell me, Banditas and BBs – Why do you like ‘bad boys’ in romance? Or perhaps you don’t! Can you think of a hero so dark you thought he was beyond redemption, and then discovered differently? Or what about a hero so thoroughly nice he bored you to death or drove you nuts?

One lucky commenter will receive a free ebook copy of Guilty as Sin. Instant gratification!

You can read the first chapter of Guilty as Sin here or go straight to Ellora’s Cave.

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for more chances to win, excerpts and sneak peeks, or join me on Twitter or Facebook.

The Lone Warrior–Bandit Booty!

posted by Christine Wells

With many thanks to the lovely Denise Rossetti, we have a winner!

Lindseye!! Come on dowwwnnn! You’ve won a signed copy of THE LONE WARRIOR. Congratulations!!

Please email me at christine AT christine-wells DOT com with your snail address to claim your prize.

The Lone Warrior Meets his Match–Chatting with Denise Rossetti

Posted by Christine Wells

It’s my very great pleasure today to welcome back one of our favourite authors to the lair, the fabulous Denise Rossetti! Denise also happens to be my critique partner, so I’m doubly excited to kidnap–ahem–host her in the lair today.

The latest instalment of Denise’s Four-Sided Pentacle series is out now, so make sure you rush to the bookstore (or let your fingers do the ordering*G*) and buy it. Isn’t that a fabulous cover? And I can vouch for the fact that the amazing hero, Walker, fulfills the cover’s promise.

Walker the Earth Shaman is big, beautiful, utterly deadly and so self-contained that everyone is too afraid of him to get close. Of course, his forbidding aspect hides great pain, and it takes the rather clueless but endearing Mehcredi the hapless assassin to penetrate that profound reserve. This is a hero to die for and a heroine to love. A sexy, romantic fantasy full of adventure and heart.

Now, over to Denise!

Hey there, Banditas and BBs! Thanks for having me over to the lair to talk about The Lone Warrior. Looking forward to a classic Bandits chat, plus I get to play Lady Bountiful and give away a copy to a lucky commenter.

Totally love what you’ve done to the place, BTW. *blinks* Wow, look at the high gloss on those cabana boys. Tough job, but I guess someone’s gotta keep ’em well buffed. *snork* Shame about the pesky chicken. [Christine: He’s useful as a duster, though sometimes he makes the cabana boys sneeze]

A recent academic study shows that reading fiction improves social skills. Why is this asked the experts? Well duh, it’s something romance readers have known forever. Reading fiction allows us to experience life as it’s lived in someone else’s head – and the direct immersion increases our empathy and understanding of others. (They measured it.)

And what are romance novels all about, pray tell? Emotions, of course!

I still recall how enthralled I was with Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, even though it’s not a romance. The narrator is a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy and the book is an amazing insight into the interior world of autism. University lecturers make it required reading for education and psychology students. By any standard, it’s a terrific read!

I think this is where the Muse first started mumbling at me about the amazing character who grew up to be Mehcredi in The Lone Warrior (released 3rd May). She may well be the most unusual, and probably the most engaging, heroine I’ve ever written. For a start, she’s an apprentice assassin, though she’s hopeless at it. She’s not actually autistic – I felt I could never understand enough about the reality of the condition to do it justice – but she was abandoned at birth and grew up as a kind of ‘wild child’, bereft of any kind of affection. As a result, she has no concept of relationships, no empathy and therefore no tact! She has tremendous difficulty reading faces, let alone understanding the inflections of speech that allow humans to communicate subtle emotional changes. But despite these handicaps, she retains an essential shining innocence.

Poor Mehcredi, she really should watch Tell Me Lies! Those of you who do will understand my fascination with the science of facial expression. It’s underpinned by a solid body of research and it really works. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies use it.

So who better for Mehcredi’s hero than a man who is so self-contained, so cold and deadly, that everyone holds their breath when he enters the room? Walker, the earth shaman, first appeared in Thief of Light and Mehcredi is the unknown assassin he’s hunting.

Prue shivered. In all the years she’d known Walker, she’d never seen him smile, though he was unfailingly patient with the courtesans he trained in The Garden’s fighting salle. His reserve was so deep a pool of silence surrounded him, his step so quiet it seemed he had no footfall. She had no idea how old he was. Though silver threaded the sable of his hair, he moved with the supple grace of a man in his prime.

If she hadn’t been so wild with rage and terror, she might have pitied the unknown assassin. As it was… Breathing hard, she watched Walker turn without another word and glide through the press of bodies to the door. People made way for him without seeming to realize they did so.

Unfortunately for Walker, Mehcredi has no reserve, no fears, and she boldly walks through his barriers as if they were mist. Poor man! Add in Walker’s pain, his grim desire for vengeance and the machinations of an evil necromancer and there’s enough angst and adventure to stop the heart of an empathizing romance reader. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the rascally dog!

Needless to say, Walker catches up with our hapless assassin…

She opened her mouth to shriek, to plead, but long-fingered hands fastened around her throat. As he slowly increased the pressure, digging painfully into the soft flesh under her jaw, the man smiled, lips pulling back from white teeth. The expression gave him an eerie, chilling beauty. He could have been an avenging angel or a handsome demon. Either way, those elegant brutal hands were the sure instruments of her death.

Her fists flailed, punching. When that failed, she raked at his forearms with her nails, but he didn’t even flinch. Mehcredi knew she was strong, stronger than any woman she’d ever met, but it made no difference. Black spots formed in her vision, her lungs labored and cramped.

“No,” she tried to rasp. “No, please.”

From far off, as if down a long tunnel, came the sound of hysterical barking.

The man thrust his face into hers. “Now you pay,” he snarled as he sent her down into the dark. “Assassin.”

After a start like that, things can only get better surely? *evil cackle*

You can read the whole of the first chapter here -Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for more chances to win, excerpts and sneak peeks.

I’d love to hear about a book that had you really empathizing with the characters. Have you shed tears, laughed with joy, had butterflies in the stomach for them? What was the book and who were the characters whose reality you shared? There’s a signed copy of The Lone Warrior up for grabs!

Girl Talk

by Christine Wells

As many of you know, I’m still basking in the afterglow of a wonderful weekend with friends, romance writers and all-round good eggs, Anna Campbell and Denise Rossetti.

It’s been so long since I took some quality time to just sit and talk with the girls that I’d forgotten what a pleasure it can be. I have a husband and two young sons at home. My dog’s a girl, but much as I love her, she’s not the talkative type:)

So it was a special kind of bliss to me that for an entire weekend, all Denise, Anna and I did was eat, drink, swim, go for walks and talk, talk, talk. And you guessed it, the subject of our conversation was most often writing.

We even managed to do some serious story plotting, although it somehow managed to descend into a ridiculous punning challenge–about apples, of all things! Yes, I’m sure you all know that Anna was the instigator of that one. We had imbibed a few glasses of pink Veuve Clicquot by then, so maybe that will rest as our defence:) I wish all the Banditas and our buddies could have been there–especially as Anna was doing the cooking!

I was thinking how lucky I am in my friends, not only here in Australia but on the internet and in particular, in the lair. I wondered how I’d distill the essence of those friendships and explore them in my stories.

Some writers are brilliant at capturing the special, sometimes flawed, but ultimately strong and supportive relationship true female friends have. Jenny Crusie comes to mind, and so does Eloisa James with her Desperate Duchesses series. Reading about solid female friendships gives me such a warm feeling. Experiencing the real thing is priceless.

What’s your favourite thing to do with your girlfriends? What great fictional friendships stay with you? Do you have any wonderful friendship moments, fictional or otherwise, to share?

Bandit Booty! (or is that Booties?!)

Denise Rossetti has picked her winner and….


You can email Denise at deniserossettiATgmailDOTcom and give her your snail mail address and choose your prize!

Deb Marlowe has picked her winner and…DREW gets the autographed copy of Her Cinderella Season for getting called out by her husband over hyperbole! Congratulations, Drew!! E-mail Deb at debATdebmarloweDOTcom and give her your snail mail addy to claim your prize!

Denise Rossetti asks–Are Blonds More Fun?

posted by Christine Wells
Today I’m delighted to welcome back to the lair one of our favourite friends, Denise Rossetti, who is here to talk about hot blonds and her fabulous hot fantasy romance, THIEF OF LIGHT.

Quick! Close you eyes and picture your favourite cabana boy! Okay, what colour is his hair?

There you go. Bet you said black or brown, or maybe bald and shiny if you’re a Bruce Willis groupie.

It’s the strangest thing, Romancelandia is crowded with Tall, Dark and Handsome – with the emphasis on dark. Think of all those dangerous dukes, broody vampires and buff bodyguards and I bet you’re seeing dark locks. Yes, I know there are blond heroes, but they don’t spring to mind as readily as the brunets. (Of course, Sven is the exception.)

My heroes are almost always dark, a few are gray at the temples. But even if they’re fair-ish, there’s always a hefty dollop of red – that beautiful dark red, not carrots. *sigh*

On the other hand, I have to say some men are positively improved by going all blond and flowing. Take Orlando Bloom for instance. (Form an orderly queue to the left and no pushing.) Legolas is a real knee-trembler in my opinion. I much preferred him to Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean. Unless it’s the pointy ears… Hmm…

Jason Isaacs is wonderful whatever he does, but there’s just something about Lucius Malfoy. He’s so cold and nasty, he’s actually hot. And those white-blond locks just make the character.

But the heroes in my books? Nope, no blonds. Nu-uh, don’t do ‘em. So when Erik Thorensen turned up inside my head and refused to leave, I was more than a little bemused. What’s more, he folded those big arms across his gorgeous chest, fixed me with a searing blue gaze and informed me he had Viking ancestors, waaaay back in the family tree. Just deal with it, woman.Uh, okay. Erik can be extraordinarily, magically persuasive. It’s that deep, beguiling voice.

What do you think? James Griffin, the cover artist, did his usual fabulous job of plucking the character right out of my head. By the way, if you’re interested in how he does it, he explains his artistic process step-by-step in an interview on my blog. I love the way Erik strides toward you out of the picture. Typical of the man.

This is Prue’s (our heroine) first sight of Erik. The beard, by the way, is part of a stage costume. It comes off. So does the rest, eventually. *snork*

When the lights came up for intermission, she was still trembling on a deep, visceral level that dismayed her more than anything had in years. Erik Thorensen had come striding out of fire and brimstone and clasped the shrinking heroine to his chest. And yes, he was a marvelous-looking man, his hair loose on his shoulders like dark-spun gold under the stage lights, the neatly trimmed goatee a shade darker. His eyes were such a vivid blue they pierced Prue all the way to her soft, silly soul. He was big too—so big only the athleticism of his tall muscular frame prevented him from looking blocky. Gods, exactly the physical type she preferred, right down to the mischievous glint in his eye.

But Prue had spent almost two decades surrounded by the most beautiful people on the world of Palimpsest. She was accustomed to perfection, even to the delightful frisson of sexual dominance Erik projected so effortlessly. He was a fine actor.

But merciful Sister, that voice!

He’d glanced directly at their box and his face had lit up with a grin that had pure devil in it. Then he’d opened his mouth. From the first effortless bar, her foolish heart had tumbled into his keeping. Every note was round, rich, deeply masculine, filling the auditorium as if supported on smooth columns of air. Utterly enthralled, Prue had found herself leaning forward, her mouth hanging open, trying to breathe him in, keep him forever, hers alone. She felt feverish, tingling, her breasts tight and her sex swollen and slippery, as if he were stroking her naked body with velvet.

Even worse, the costume, in an old-fashioned style still worn only by the oligarchs on Green IV, suited him to perfection. A pair of over-the-knee boots emphasized the power of thighs and buttocks encased in tight cream breeches. Prue’s mouth watered.

Thief of Light is the second in the Four-Sided Pentacle series, following The Flame and the Shadow. Here’s a little more about the book.

In the elegant, subtropical city of Caracole, Erik the Golden is widely known as irresistible; his Voice an instrument of incredible pleasure, the stroke of velvet on bare skin. But the Voice is a curse as much as a blessing, for once Erik used it to steal a soul, and now he must pay.

Prue is the business manager for the beautiful courtesans of the Garden of Nocturnal Delights. She deals in numbers, not Magick, and when Erik turns his charms in her direction, she sees only a performer’s vanity. How is it she can resist what others can’t? She’s either a torment devised by the gods to drive him mad—or Erik’s last hope of salvation.

Some desires are impossible to resist…

Read the first chapter.
Coming 3rd November, 2009.

And you know what? I don’t care if I’m shallow about hair. What’s the point of having a fantasy if it’s not exactly the way you want it?

So tell me, do a hero’s locks matter to you at all? Colour? Length? More to the point, can you work out why? Did you imprint on your first love’s hair, like a gosling? I know one reader who mentally converts all the blonds to brunets because she simply can’t visualize a golden-haired hero.

I’m delighted to offer a signed copy of either The Flame and the Shadow or Thief of Light to one commenter. Bring on the Hair Wars!

Bandit Booty Galore!

CONGRATULATIONS to Helen, who wins a signed ARC of DENISE ROSSETTI’S fabulous upcoming release, THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW!! Email Denise via her website with your snail mail details and collect your prize!

Christine Wells also has some tardy prizes to announce:

From her Happy Cake blog, ArkieRN wins chocolate for her sad scarf story. Woohoo!

From The Thinking Woman’s Spy, Limecello wins a signed copy of THE DANGEROUS DUKE and RebekaH and Dina win the Dangerous stationery! Please contact Christine via the contact page on her website to claim your prize!

Denise Rossetti on The Hero Dimension

posted by Christine Wells

My dear friend and critique partner, Denise Rossetti is with us in the Lair today and she is giving away a signed ARC of her November 4 release, THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW. You don’t want to miss this wonderfully sexy, dark, angsty fantasy romance. Hmm, can I think of any more adjectives? Yes, I believe I can! Superb!

But here is the delightful Denise in a less dark and angsty mood, musing and amusing about heroes…

I’ve always been intrigued by missing socks. I mean, where do they go, the little devils? Must be the same place wire coat hangers go to breed. I’m convinced there’s another dimension – beyond the paltry three we know. Or perhaps a fold in the time-space continuum, a wrinkle.

For want of a better term, I’m calling it The Hero Dimension.

You have to admit, it’s a really cool idea and it explains so many of life’s little mysteries – like why all heroes are totally buff.

Come on, can you remember a romance with a hero who wasn’t hard-bodied? I can’t. Our dude might be massive and muscly, or lithe and compact, but I guarantee, there won’t be an ounce of fat on him.

And guess what? The Hunkalicious Quotient isn’t affected by what our hero does for a living! Sure, he could be a special ops guy like a Navy SEAL – I’ll give you that one – but he could equally well be the CEO of some vast international corporation, or the guy next door, or a Pink of the Ton.

He’ll spend the book living a mile a minute, rushing from pillar to post, with no breath to spare between beating up bad guys and having mad, monkey sex with the heroine. We mere readers never get to see him working on his fitness, those chiseled abs are just…there. Same with movie action heroes. Cap’n Jack Sparrow pumping iron? Ridiculous! Though the rowing machine might be a possibility…

At this point, I’m pausing to think about the men in my life. You can too, if you like.

See? Developing a six pack takes hours and hours of sweat and dedication. Just ask Sven.

So, what I want to know is this: Given his packed program between the book covers, when does our hero get to the gym, hmm?

There’s only one answer – he goes to the gym in The Hero Dimension! It’s the special place where the beefcake gathers to bake itself to the perfect muscly consistency.

Amid idle conversation, and possibly a few beers afterwards.

Can you imagine being a fly on the wall? Ooooh…

There’s Sven, bouncing on one of those big exercise balls, happy as a Swedish clam, totally in his element. Mr Darcy is looking down his aristocratic nose at the hunky dudes from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. “My dear fellows,” he drawls, loosening his cravat, “I generally advise removal of sh*tkickers prior to exertion.”

I really do ponder the logistics of all this, honest. Actually, I think about the male physique a good deal, but only in the line of duty. (And I have a bridge to sell you.)

Gray from THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW (out 4 November from Berkley Ace) is partly a musician, partly an adventurer. He’s one dangerous dude, a mysterious sorcerer of shadows, all internally tormented and stuff. *happy sigh* In terms of studliness, he’s of the lean and mean variety. I made him a former mercenary and a deadly swordsman. (And I did give him a partner to practice with.) This short scene is our heroine’s first sight of him. Let’s just say he makes an impression. *grin*.

The singer’s accompanist sat on a stool in the furthest corner. Because he wore a black shirt and trews, he merged with the shadows as if he were part of them, scarcely there, his face a pale blur marked by dark brows. But the light washed over elegant, long-fingered hands, the lap harp he played gleaming with the rich patina of old wood and pearl inlay.

Dark and dangerous, as Krys had promised. Cenda dragged a breath in and didn’t let it out.

He’d rolled up his sleeves and she focused on the strong wrists, the muscle flexing in his forearms, the delicate precision of his movements. The extraordinary feelings that had washed over her in front of the fireplace returned in full force. Abruptly, her skin felt too tight for her body, as though she were netted in fire.
And a few pages later…

She’d thought his eyes must be as dark as his hair, but this close, they were a clear, limpid gray. Long-lidded eyes, full of secrets, shielded with extravagant lashes, surely the gift of some besotted goddess. His brows were strongly marked, with an upward slant at the corners. They gave him a sardonic air that went well with his lithe, self-contained grace.

“Mistress, may I sit?” he asked patiently, obviously not for the first time.
At her nod, he slid onto the bench beside her, bringing with him a wave of body heat, the clean, earthy scent of healthy male. His shadow wavered behind him, dark as slate. All the hair rose on the back of Cenda’s neck.

Aaaah, mine too.

I can imagine Gray out at night, running endlessly, padding in and out of the shadows of the street lights. He’s rather a solitary type – most of those dark, tortured, heroes are. No team sports. In terms of the gym, he’d be very interested in martial arts and possibly yoga.

What (or who) would you send off to this special dimension, if you could? Remember, you might not see it (or them) again!

What sort of sport or fitness training would your favourite hero be doing at the heroes’ gym? Would you like a job in The Hero Dimension? And if so, as what?

One commenter wins a signed Advance Review Copy of THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW!

I wonder what they do with all those single socks? *wicked chuckle*

THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW, coming 4 November, 2008 from Berkley Ace. For more information check out Denise’s website.

And a quick heads-up: Denise will be interviewing James Griffin, the artist who created the magnificent cover for THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW (and, incidentally, the covers for THE DANGEROUS DUKE and SCANDAL’S DAUGHTER), on her blog on Friday 24th October (23rd here in Oz). Come along and find out how it’s done. We’ll be giving away more books!

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