Guest Post by M.L. Buchman, author of The Night Is Mine
Greetings Ms. Keira, thanks for having me aboard!
Not only is choosing your hero and heroine the most important part of any romance, it’s the most fun! And for me this gets ramped up by the action and suspense of a military romance.
But it took me a long time to understand the difference between a love story and a romance. And even longer to understand the difference in their heroes and heroines. I’ve thrown multiple novels in the trash because they were simply beyond reasonable redemption on that simple issue. I learned a lot, so it wasn’t wasted time, but man oh man they were so not romances.
I started out writing in my first love, science fiction and fantasy. In SF/F a good hero or heroine can carry the tale. They can be noble, strong, successful, heroic, accidentally heroic, and so on, with or without the love story. There is a whole style of SF/F where the world, the setting, the circumstances are what carry the book, and not the characters at all. I love Arthur C. Clarke, but can you remember any of his characters? Neil Gaiman? Sometimes. The worlds and stories are fascinating, and the characters aren’t what carry the day.
Other SF/F, including my first half dozen novels, have a strong central character. A pillar of power, the female Devil Incarnate having a mid-life crisis. A warrior, fighting to save humanity from its own worst tendencies. An unwilling heroine, holding the shape of the post-Second Dark Ages future in her palms. These women loved, or at least lusted, but that was not their story. Their story arose from passion for ideals, not for love.
I’ve also written a thriller hero, a chef being hunted by U.S. Special Forces, and only he knows why. He is a victim of circumstance. And the story leads him back to the love he left behind years before to keep her safe. He is driven by passion, but passion of love. With him I came closer to a romance, but he again had other forces drive him harder.
With my “Angelo’s Hearth” series I’ve started on a journey of contemporary romance. Here at last I discovered the romance hero and heroine. They fall for each other on first sight and for one reason or another, they can’t stand each other on first sight. Or it can’t happen because… Or he/she thinks the other is the dumbest troll to ever clamber out from beneath the bridge. I had finally found my love story at the very heart of the tale.
But then, four years ago, I started work on “The Night Stalkers.” I’m still discovering that these are very unique heroes and heroines, even within the romance genre. In some ways it is a three-way relationship: the hero, the heroine, and the warrior within each of them. Especially career soldiers, like the pilots of the real-life U.S. Army’s 160th SOAR (special forces helicopter regiment), must be driven to succeed beyond all else. It is their chosen mission to always place the SEALs, rangers and Delta Force where they need to go, and to always get them back.
In the military hero/heroine I discovered the passion for romance intermixed with a top priority to serve and a very questionable long-term survival. If I ever again find characters that are such a challenge and such fun to write, I will count myself lucky indeed.
Here’s an excerpt; I hope you enjoy it!
Captain Emily Beale pulled her pistol and let fly at the laptop. The first shot shattered the screen and flipped the laptop off the empty ammo case. The second spun it in midair, and the third punched it into the sand floor of the tent.
A dozen guys inspected the smoldering laptop in the ear-ringing silence and then Emily’s face as she reholstered the sidearm. A little more mayhem than she’d intended, but she was a pilot first, dammit.
Then, as if on cue, several of the guys fist-pumped the air simultaneously.
“Sexiest chef flying, Captain!” “They got that right!” “Whoo-hoo!”
She opened her mouth to offer a few uncouth words about how much they’d enjoyed watching their own lame selves on the newscast and—
“’Tenshun!” The deep voice sliced through the chatter like the rear rotor of her Black Hawk through a stick of softened butter. The voice that had sent a shiver down her spine ever since she’d first heard it two months before.
They all snapped to their feet as if they’d been electrocuted. Some part of the laptop still functioned, and the newscaster’s voice sounded into the sudden silence. “At a recent concert, the Rolling Stones—”
A booted foot smashed down and delivered the coup de grâce to the wounded machine.
Major Mark “The Viper” Henderson stood two paces inside the rolled-back flap of the tent, one foot still buried in the machine. Six feet of clichéd soldier. Broad-shoulders, raw muscle, and the most dangerous-looking man Emily had ever met. His straight black hair fell to his squared-off jawline. His face clean shaven, eyes hidden by mirrored Ray-Bans. Rumor had it that they were implanted and the Major no longer needed eyes.
She couldn’t say otherwise. But even the first time they’d met, she’d recognized Major Mark Henderson as if some part of her body had known him for years. She’d felt the shiver then as well.
In the tent, he swiveled his head once, the sunglasses surveying the crowd. Every man jack of them knew the Major had memorized exactly who was there, what they’d said, and what they were about to say—and he probably knew what they’d been thinking the moment they exited their mothers’ wombs. If they weren’t careful, he’d start telling them what they would be thinking about during their last moment on Earth, and none of them, not even Crazy Tim, wanted to run head-on into that level of mind-blower.
“There will be no gender-based commentary in this unit. Understood?”
“Sir! Yes, Sir!” It rang out so loudly that it would’ve hurt Emily’s ears if she hadn’t been shouting herself.
THE NIGHT IS MINE BY M.L. BUCHMAN
NAME: Emily Beale
MISSION: Fly undercover to prevent the assassination of the First Lady, posing as her executive pilot.
NAME: Mark Henderson, code name Viper
MISSION: Undercover role of wealthy, ex-mercenary boyfriend to Emily.
Their jobs are high risk, high reward:
Protect the lives of the powerful and the elite at all cost. Neither expected that one kiss could distract them from their mission. But as the passion mounts between them, their lives and their hearts will both be risked...and the reward this time may well be worth it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It's amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of incredible people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit http://www.mlbuchman.com/.
GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of The Night Is Mine up for grabs. Open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment or asking a question. Last day to enter: March 9, 2012.