Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guest Author -- Annette McCleave

Paranormal author Annette McCleave tried her hand at banking, financial advising, and high tech marketing before finally figuring out how important writing was to her life. Her debut, Drawn into Darkness (formerly Soul Provider), won the prestigious RWA Golden Heart Award for Best Paranormal Romance in 2008! Welcome Annette McCleave to The Romance Dish!

I Heart Paperback Heroes

As I watched the news unfold on the TV these past few days, I was reminded why I read and write the books I do: To spend more time with heroes. This has been a difficult year for many people—and it hardly comes as a shock to end it on such a difficult note. But of all the reports I heard, the one phrase that stuck with me was “subdued by passengers and crew”.

Heroes exist in the real world—they remind us of their presence with their daily acts of bravery—and we need them. They give us hope and bolster our own wavering courage. They make us proud to be human at the very times we doubt the value of our race.

Is it any wonder that we want to recapture those feelings by visiting with heroes in the pages of a novel? Heroes that can save the world—or at least our hearts? :) Heroes who fight against overwhelming odds armed with only the strength of their convictions?

In paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels, evil is extremely powerful and is often a challenge to identify, let alone conquer. Yet, our heroes and heroines leap in, guns ablazing or swords aswinging, determined to do everything they must to beat back the darkness. And they succeed. Good defeats evil, if only temporarily, and love conquers all.

While they are only fictional, these paperback heroes succeed in doing something very real—they remind us that the darkness can be pushed back and that trying circumstances can create heroes out of ordinary people. Information the news only occasionally confirms, but we know in our hearts is true.

Do you think we’re all capable of heroism, given the right circumstance?

In Drawn into Darkness, my heroine Rachel Lewis is an ordinary woman with no special paranormal skills. Yet, when she’s thrust into a world of demons and Soul Gatherers with the life of her teenage daughter at stake, she displays more courage than she thought possible...

Rachel’s breathing had slowed, but her heart still pounded. And it was her heart that refused to let her dismiss the truth. “I can’t leave him to face Drew alone.”

“He won’t be alone,” Brian pointed out. “I’ll be here.”

“Here doesn’t really help him, though, does it?” Rachel scrambled to her feet. “You can’t pass through the barrier. I can.”

Stefan stepped toward her, shaking his head. “What can you possibly hope to accomplish? You are an ordinary woman.”

“I don’t know. I just know I can’t let him do it alone.”

The Romany mage exchanged a pained look with Brian, then sighed. “All right, return to him if you must. But I can’t let you go unarmed. Repeat after me, Irst am dol marga volumchis.”

She mouthed the awkward sounds twice, just to make sure she got them right. “What does that mean?”

“It’s an augmentation spell. If you get within a hundred feet of MacGregor, close your eyes, picture a thick shield encasing his body, and say those words.” He shrugged. “Can’t hurt.”

His eyes dropped to Rachel’s small leather purse, which by force of habit still hung over her shoulder.

“Any spare change in there?”

She shook the purse and numerous coins rattled.

“Good,” said the mage. “If you get really stuck, toss some coins in the air, say, Figa gi bovismir, and imagine them whipping toward Drusus.”

“And here’s a couple of extra crosses,” Brian said, draping more silver chains around her neck. “I just wish I could cover you from head to toe.”

She smiled at the two men, grateful. Then, unable to prevent a brief mental jag into the future, she grabbed the young Gatherer’s hand. “Go with them, Brian, please. Save my little girl.”

His gaze met hers over the flashlight. For once, his eyes were serious. “If it’s in my power, I will. Good luck, Rachel.”

She took a deep breath, hugged her purse to her chest like a life preserver, and dove back through the barrier spell in search of Lachlan.

One of today’s commenters will have chance to win a copy of Drawn into Darkness and spend some quality time with a few of my own paperback heroes. A winner will be chosen at random tomorrow morning.

Thank you for stopping by, and Happy New Year!


  1. Good morning, Annette, and congrats to your release (and that mouthwatering cover - yummy!).

    When my mum told me about the Detroit plane thing the phrase "subdued by passenger and crew" stuck in my head, too. I think it's so great that there are real people out there who believe that something is worth fighting for. IMO, that's a big problem of today's world: people just don't want to risk anything and remain in their safe cocoon all the time. That's why I'm grateful for true heroes, both fictional and non-fictional, who make me believe in the good in the world.

  2. Morning, LisaK! Thanks! I like the cover, too. ;-)

    It often takes something unique to stir up courage like those folks displayed on that flight. I like to think most of us would find the strength needed when the time came.

  3. Hello and welcome, Annette! We are so glad to have you visiting us today. Congrats on the release of Drawn into Darkness! How did it feel to see your "baby" on the shelves for the first time?

    Great blog! There are so many ways that someone can be a hero and I really enjoy hearing/reading stories about everyday heroes. One that sticks out in my mind is the pilot that landed the plane on the Hudson River. Of course, we can't forget the heroes in our military who fight for our freedoms! :)

  4. Good morning, Annette.

    I enjoyed your post today. Heroes come in all forms, I think, even though we mostly think of persons who do acts beyond the norm as said heroes. A hero can be a child who knows Mama is sad and gives her a hug, or a neighbor who visits an elderly neighbor for a chat, or a person that snowblows your driveway in winter, etc.

    I do think of our military men and women as heroes, active duty, for sure, but also retired and inactive servicemen and women.

    Thank you for blogging. Congrats on your release of DID.

  5. Hi Annette ^^

    I think that we're all capable of heroism it's just some people are just more willing to jump into the fray at first. Being a Harry Potter fan i always think of Neville in terms of heroism. Neville wasn't the bravest person at first and took nearly 5 books before he worked himself into a hero. I think most people are like that. They develop into hero's given the right chance and motivation. ^^

  6. Andrea - Absolutely! We needed Sully, I think. A real bacon for hope.

    Deb - Everyday heroes are really inspiring. The person who serves Christmas dinner at the mission doesn't get the same TV air time as a rescuer, but is equally heroic.

    I echo your sentiments about our military heroes. People who put their life on the line for us every day (like military, police, and fire fighters) are incredible people. Must be why a fair number of romance heroes in have careers in these fields. :-)

    jediskora - Oooh! What good example, Neville as a hero. Talk about a fellow shaped by circumstances. I think we always knew, because of what happened to his parents, that he had it in him. :-)

  7. *of course, I meant beacon, not bacon, LOL.

  8. LOL, Annette! Must be lunch time!

  9. Hi Annette!

    Just when my cynical self is convinced the world is circling the drain, you do hear of a story of heroism that gives a glimmer of hope.
    I think humans under certain circumstances are definitively capable of heroism.
    And there are so many acts of heroism we do not hear about. Too bad.
    Finding some escape with a paperback hero is the next best thing. And if he is handsome, all the better, LOL!

    Loved the excerpt! And wow, your cover!
    All the best for your release!

  10. Hi Annette! It's great to have you with us today. Love the cover on your book and that excerpt has me wanting to head for the store. :)

    I think there are many heroes among us: everyday people we don't hear about because the news media focuses more on negative acts and the sensational stories. It's a shame. Earlier this year, NBC Evening News started spotlighting someone each night for their "goodness" (volunteer efforts, random acts of kindness, etc). It didn't last nearly long enough.

  11. ~Drew - There's nothing quite like curling up in a chair with a paperback hero! :-) Thanks for the kind words about the excerpt.

    PJ - What a shame the segment didn't last. Thankfully, there are plenty of wonderful heroes to enjoy in the books we read. :-)

  12. Hey Annette!! I'm so glad you are hear with us today.

    Like many of the others, I enjoy reading or hearing about the every day heros. The soldiers who keep us safe. The police and firefighters who risk their lives daily. The school teachers who deal with ALL THOSE KIDS!!!!

    I remember meeting one such hero. It was over 7 years ago. I had just dropped of my oldest child and was heading to work for my last day before being induced with my youngest. On the way to work I got a flat tire. I can't change a tire -- pregnant or not. So I was on the side of the road, as big as a whale, talking to my dh who worked at least an hour away, when a man pulled up and proceed to change my tire. He was so nice to me. Told me he would have me set to go in minutes -- and he did. During our conversation I got his first name and that he worked at Home Depot. Needless to say the next day, the dh and I were at Home Depot with a thank you card and a gift certificate to a locate restaurant.

    Love those heros!

    (I already have her book!)

    Hi :)
    Thank you Annette for sharing here. I like your post on heroes. And thank you for the snippet!
    Here's to a wonderful 2010!

  14. Every single person can be a hero. At least for him/her self :)
    even we're not in a military !

    Hi Annette, you are a new author for me. Your book sounds and looks Great !

  15. Buffie - What a fantastic everyday hero story! Thank you for sharing. It really made my day.

    Hi RK! Nice to "see" you!

    mariska - I agree. Little things can make a big difference. Anyone offering a helping hand to someone in need is a hero in my eyes.

  16. Drawn into Darkness sounds amazing! I can't wait to get my hands on a would be sooner if I won *crosses fingers and toes*

  17. Taking risks and self sacrifice are great elements for a heroic story and yours sounds wonderful. Can't wait to read it. Congrats on the new release and Happy New Year too!!!

    mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

  18. angel21840 - Thank you. Good luck in the draw.

    Mitzi H - Thanks for the kind words and the good wishes. Right back at ya. :-)

    I'd like to take a moment to thank the ladies of The Romance Dish for having me as a guest, and to thank everyone for stopping by. It was fun.

    Here's to a happy and prosperous 2010!

  19. Thank you so much for being with us today, Annette! Happy New Year to you! :)

  20. Thank you so much for being with us today, Annette! Happy New Year to you! :)