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Tastes like Candy….MANCANDY

Sometimes I’m lazy. Well, not lazy. I’ve done a CRAPTON this week.

But there’s a hole in the bottom of my motivation bucket. So I thought I’d fill that hole with candy instead of the blog post I’m supposed to write.




I bought these pictures fair and square for you to enjoy. You’re welcome. 😉 Well, except for the last one. That’s yours truly and some incredibly HAWT EC Cavemen.


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Dark Heroine of Lover Mine: Xhex

As is my norm, I’m beginning this post with a little MAN candy for all you MANhandlers out there. Someday I’m going to write a post that simply takes all my delicious photos, posts them in one entry and takes a poll to find out who you all like most. Until then, feast your lovely eyes to the left.

This blog post was remarkably hard to write. The dark heroine I wanted to write is one I can’t discuss because her story line was truly just revealed in a recent release. If you read what I wanted to talk about, it would have ruined it. So who to write about? I tossed characters around in my head until BAM! This particular woman knocked me to my knees for my stupidity. Who is she? Xhex from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB). Now, yes, I did actually write about another BDB character earlier, but this is different, I assure you. And yes, I am slightly obsessed with the BDB. Moving along…

Xhex is a kick-ass heroine who features in the books from almost the beginning of the series. An empath, she experiences others’ emotions and essentially feeds off of/gets her thrills from them. Suppressing her nature is something she struggles with, not unlike a drug addict might struggle with managing the craving for his next hit. To complicate things, Xhex works in a bar where emotions (particularly violence and lust) run rampant. Her job essentially provides her a nightly smorgasbord of emotions to feast on. It would be like putting a diabetic with a sweet tooth in front of a dessert buffet with all his favorites night after night. Eventually, something’s going to give.

Xhex is a complex character who has a variety of layers. This is the most appealing thing about dark heroes and heroines for me. They aren’t born to lead or save the damsel (or knight) in distress, and they are chock full of prickly characteristics–some hard to take and some flat out impossible to accept. But in there, inside that hard character, is a person waiting for redemption.

I often find it easier to relate to darker heroes and heroines because of their flaws. The perfect character is, to me, difficult to buy in to. She feels false, poorly fabricated even, and it makes it very difficult for me to slip into her shoes and walk that proverbial mile. But give me a heroine who can’t change the fact she has commitment issues due to a dark past or is unable to accept affection because she doesn’t feel worthy and you’ve usually grabbed my brain and dragged it into your story.

How do writers create characters like these? It’s not easy. These characters can, and often do, require a more complex, layered back story that gives the author both breadth and depth of flaws and emotions to draw from. It takes a plausible back story for the reader to accept the character as presented. The character has to have flaws and emotions delivered in a way that leaves the reader not only rooting for redemption, but also believing it’s possible. I know my anti-heroes and heroines have been the most challenging, and most fun, to write. Time will tell if I’ve done them justice.

So what about you? Who’s your ultimate anti-heroine? I could use some suggestions that can be used for character studies. She can be from literature, movies, television–your choice. I can’t wait to get your recommendations!

My Ideal First Date…Would Raise a Little Cain

Check today’s MANdatory Wednesday eye candy! Oh, yeah. I have a reputation to uphold. I’m always on the hunt for lickable pictures for you, my fellow MANhandlers! Now to my ideal first date…

So, about a year and a half ago, I wrote this nifty super long novel called Raising Cain. My hero, Cain, is 6’8″, blue eyes and black, full hair that hangs just past his shoulders. He’s comfortable in soft denim, old Aerosmith T-shirts and can work the hell out of dark blue silk sheets. He also rocks the hell out of leather pants, in case you were curious. He’s a Roman gladiator who made a bad deal with the devil and ended up damned. Now he’s a Specialty Demon. His specialty? Seduction. He’s an incubus. Will the story be published? Absolutely. The only question at this point is by whom. The entire five-book series will see the light of day, I promise you.

Now, of all my heros, I’d be most likely to take him on a date. He’s a metal fan, so we’d probably end up at a Nickelback concert, probably in Seattle. He drives a BMW 650 coupe, so of course I’d let him pick me up from the airport. After the concert, we’d hit Pike’s Place and wander around for a while before we hit this great crepe place. We’d share an order of strawberries and cream crepes, and he’d undoubtedly be compelled to take advantage of the fact that there was a little whipped cream on my lower lip. He’d lick it off. Yep. Just a late, shared dinner. Nothing more. 😀

He’d pull my chair out and take my hand, leading me back to the waterfront where we’d check out a couple bars with live music. We’d dance to both fast and slow songs, undoubtedly drawing stares from the crowds. I mean, the man’s got the body of a warrior with a few scars that are hard to miss. And I’m 6’1″. We’d be freaks on the floor (interpret as you will). After the band signs off and heads for the bar, he’d bend down, lay a tender kiss to the side of my neck and whisper, “Let’s get out of here.”

We’d head to Golden Gardens Park and hit the beach. Of course, it’s a little chilly so he’d pull me under his arm. For once in my damned life, I’d feel petite. We’d watch for orcas in the moonlight, the quiet hush of their breathing still louder than our own. He’d turn me toward him and kiss me as if I’d never been kissed. Without a word, he’d take me back to the car, settle me in and drive back into the heart of Seattle.

The valet at the Pan Pacific would take the car. Cain would bypass the front desk and take us straight to our suite. A variety of items would be waiting–all things an incubus would know exactly how to best put to use. He’d take his shirt off and approach me slowly, his intent evident in his gaze. And at this point…I’m fading to black. I’ll let you figure out what we have for breakfast, and when.

Wait. This was my fantasy date, right? Well, shit. I’m not deleting this. It’s too perfect. Beside, I’ve known Cain for more than a year and a half so it’s about damn time we ended up in bed together.

Rest assured, when Raising Cain comes out, you guys will be among the first to know.

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