They are the Others — the vampires, mages, and werewolves once thought to exist only in our imaginations. Now they’re stepping out of the shadows, and nothing in our world will ever be the same again…
Shiarra Waynest’s detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm — if it doesn’t kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York’s most powerful vampires.
As soon as Shiarra meets scary, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend–a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing–and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren’t always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil–whether she likes it or not…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Hunted by the Others to a lucky individual.
Ordinary to Extraordinary: Writing a Human Heroine in a Paranormal World
In today’s urban fantasy novels, it’s hard to be a heroine. Whether you’re facing fearsome vampires, wicked were-creatures, slavering demons, or avenging angels, most of the time the heroine has some innate kick-ass powers to back her up and help her win the day and finish her quest. Anita Blake started out with a talent for raising the dead (which, as many of you may know, later evolved into an array of powers that span the spectrum from exotic to erotic); Rachel Morgan can cast spells and summon demons; Mercy Thompson can shapeshift into a coyote; even Sookie Stackhouse has something extra to bring to the table with her mindreading capabilities.
These are some of the most immediate and obvious examples in the urban fantasy genre. There aren’t many novels like these that feature a purely human heroine. With that in mind, what does it take for a human to survive against some of the most vicious creatures that urban fantasy’s toughest heroines have a hard time confronting?
Consider the problems. Without outside help, a human has no magic, no protection to summon, no superior strength or speed or anything else to help her deal with the things that go bump in the night. She can’t call zombies to chow down on the bad guys, cast a spell to throw marbles in the antagonist’s path as they charge, change her shape to either fight better or run away, or read their minds to predict what they’re going to do next.
Compared to a vampire or werewolf, most humans don’t have the strength of body or mind to resist. We have no fangs or claws to fight back. What would you do if a vampire looked into your eyes and promised you an eternity of pleasures untold? Would you be able to tell them no? What if a demon, possessed of magic and a burning desire for your soul, set out to make you his? Would you know how to outwit him or send him back to the netherplane he emerged from? How about a shifted werewolf, searching for you, following the scent of your fear-tainted sweat and the echoing beat of your heart? What would you do to escape?
All of these things are problems an urban fantasy heroine may have to face in the process of surviving a supernatural threat. As already covered, homo sapiens have some mighty unfair disadvantages in their court. What does that leave them with?
Smarts. We have our wits, we have a propensity for finding and making tools out of most anything to hand, of shaping the environment to suit our needs, and the advantage—or, at times, disadvantage—of being naturally curious creatures. We are tenacious, resourceful, and occasionally carry out incredible feats when under enough pressure. Add to that the sheer cattiness, bitchery, and feminine wiles those of the gentler sex are capable of, and you’ve got a recipe for one badass heroine on your hands—with or without something extra to give her a boost.
I wouldn’t want to be the supernatural standing in the way of a woman who knows her life depends on how she reacts.
It takes a special kind of heroine to survive against what an urban fantasy world has to offer. Here’s to my fellow authors who walk that path. We’re few and far between—but I do hope to see more of you sharing the shelves with me in the future.
Contest Time! Jess has graciously offered to give away a copy of her debut novel, Hunted by the Others, to a lucky winner. All you have to do is answer this question: How would you fight against a supernatural if you didn’t have any powers? What kind of powers would you want to have in a fight?
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any of novel through LE’s Amazon store or through the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.