Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Guest Post, Special Excerpt and Giveaway The Wishes Chronicles series by Paula Millhouse



Evie Longfellow wants a husband and a family to call her own, but all that’s going to have to wait. She’s paying dues as a hot New York City author until trouble comes to call in the form of a blind date that changes everything sane in her life.

Drugged, kidnapped, and horrified Evie escapes with her life and evidence the FBI needs to nail one of their most wanted.

Dr. Nick Franklin is a fan with an unexpected obsession for Evie’s books. When he finds her on the run from a sadistic mafia kingpin who wants Evie for a trophy on his wall, Nick forsakes everything to get her to safety. 

Thrown into a world where he assumes the role of Evie’s Knight In Shining Armor Nick steps up to the task with strength and determination.

While Evie and Nick make their way from the city to the breathtaking beauty of rural Vermont in the fall their attraction blooms. 

The harrowing consequences of going up against the mob threaten to tear them apart, but the surprises that wait for them in small-town America bring justice to the forefront in a showdown of epic proportions.


A Christmas Story to warm your heart

Dr. Nick Franklin finds himself falling hard for the love of his life, Evie Longfellow. Hunted by a mafia princess, Evie’s terrified something’s wrong, and revenge won’t let her rest.

Tia Marino figures the person who killed her father is his last victim - Evie Longfellow - the one that got away. Tia plans to kill Evie in front of her grandmother just before she takes Miss Aida’s place as the new queen of Marino Industries. Hostile-takeovers have never seen the like of Tia.

Nick’s not gonna have it. 

He’ll do anything to protect Evie, even if it means aligning himself with Miss Aida’s hit-man. 

Follow Nick and Evie from their simple home in the winter wonderland of Vermont down to New York City in their race to stay alive, and out of the hands of a new generation of criminals intent on tearing them apart.

Christmas has never been so hot.

Hero ~VS~Anti-hero in Romantic Suspense

In her excellent writing book, Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches: How to Write The Bad Guys of Fiction, Jessica Page Morrell sums up Anti-heroes like this: “If you dare to write about less-than-charming characters, you don’t need to redeem them with an ending in which they see the error of their ways, mend their faults, and allow their flinty hearts to be transformed into a choir loft of goodness.” 

I LOVE that quote, because it gives me tons of ammunition to write Anti-heroes: The Bad-asses of fiction. This series has both a Hero, and an Anti-hero. 

Let’s compare: 

A hero is an idealist / An anti-hero is a realist 
hero: Conventional moral code / Anti-hero: Quirky, individual moral code 
hero: Extraordinary / Anti-hero: Can be ordinary, motivated by self-interest 
hero: Proactive / Anti-hero: Often passive, until pushed into action 
hero: Knight in Shining Armor / Anti-heroo: Knight in Tarnished Armor 
hero: Good guys readers cheer for / Anti-hero: Bad guys readers are suspicious of 
hero: Makes character arc / Anti-hero: Stead-fast, unchanging, challenges readers to think 

In my Wishes Chronicles stories Dr. Nick Franklin stands in for the role of the Hero, and Hit Man Tony Aiello plays the Anti-hero 

Nick: Conventional good guy / Tony: Mafia Hit Man for Marino Industries 
Nick: Motivated by love, and principle / Tony: Motivated by reputation – he always finds his Marks 
Nick: Wants to save the girl / Tony: Wants to catch the girl 
Nick: Hates the criminals / Tony: Works for the criminals, and is one himself 
Nick: Assumes the armor of the Knight / Tony: Gets his armor filthy dirty in a surprising way 

Tony’s morality cannot easily be defined. He has a code he lives by: Spare Marino Industries and Miss Aida from their greatest threat. Period. Tony’s instincts are dead-on from the first page on which he appears. He’s loyal only to Miss Aida. What gets in her way must be silenced. Even if that barrier is her own flesh and blood. 

Sure, he’s torn about duty inside his head. He has a family – children he imagines being caught up in Paulie Marino’s sick and twisted noose. When the time comes to make that final call in Careful…, Tony Aiello has Miss Aida’s blessing, he knows it, and he acts on it. 

According to Page, Tony is the ultimate Anti-hero. He acts in unorthodox ways, flaunts laws and acts in a way contrary to society’s standards. He reflects society’s confusion and ambivalence about morality, and thus he is a voice for social comment. 

Tony gains the reader’s sympathy because he shows everything that’s wrong with the Marino Family through his reflections and actions. 

Tony easily identifies The Wishes Chronicles world’s imperfections, and is made understandable by story events – the reader clearly understands his motivations and through the use of multiple POVs I give the reader privy to Tony’s inner demons. 

Tony certainly maintains a starring role in the story. 

I picked Javier Bardem as my ultimate Dream Cast actor for Tony Aiello because of the roles the man has chosen for his career on film. Always a character that to me embodies the Anti-hero, he slipped into Tony Aiello’s shoes as if they were made for him. My greatest hope is that Mr. Bardem would be honored by this simple observation if he were ever to extend me the honor of reading my story. 

Page says an Anti-hero is often a bad ass, a maverick, or a screw-up. Tony is all that and more. His future in the Wishes Chronicles details just that. He takes chances. He stands up for what he knows is right, and while society views jobs like his as dangerous, there’s no one more sinister I’d want in my corner than Tony Aiello. 

To further show Nick and Tony’s match-up in the books, here’s a deep cut from All Your Wishes…


Chapter 47
Second Wind

“Goddamnitt!” Tony yelled as his truck spun completely around from the impact of Nick’s Landcruiser. The 4X4 came to a stop on the fracture of slickened ice below the tires in the middle of the deserted road.
Tony sat there for a second, shaking from the collision, then another swear found his lips. He watched Nick’s truck impact with the opposite embankment.
“Ahh, shit! He’s dead for sure. What the hell is wrong with you people?” he screamed out in rage. The Landcruiser buried itself at an awkward angle, its front engine compartment crushed against the opposite snow bank, like a giant black bear taking a bite of a forbidden frosted honeycomb. Smoke curled up in an ugly menacing tangle with freezing air.
Before he knew what he was doing, Tony rushed across the icy road. He snatched open the door. Nick groaned in the driver’s seat, moving his head back-and-forth, eyes closed. Blood trickled down his temple. He lay crushed against the airbag, pinned into his seat. Tony smelled the acrid stink of gasoline leaking from the tank.
Tony unsheathed his knife, and cut Nick’s seatbelt. He dragged him from the wreckage, across the road. Nick came alive with adrenaline and fought him, struggling against him, clawing at Tony like a demon possessed with death.
“Good! At least you’re breathing!” Tony snarled. He snared Nick into a neck hold with his elbow, and dragged him over toward the stallion of a 4X4. Nick was a big guy, but he outweighed him, probably had twenty years of experience on him. He immobilized the full-grown man like a toddler.
Nick pivoted. “Get off me!” He threw a right hook up into Tony’s ear.
Tony stumbled with the blow. Pushed Nick forward.
Nick swung again, kicked his long legs, failed to find a foothold on the deadly ice.
Tony dodged the next blow, caught Nick’s collar, and dragged him a few more feet. “Stop fighting me, you dumbass!”
“I’ll kill you!” Nick screamed, found a foothold on something, a rock, and threw his weight behind his legs. He tackled Tony to the ground, and Tony ate snow.
Tony came up swinging. Connected solid with Nick’s chin. An oomph shattered the silence of the snowbound woods.
Nick fell back, but not for long. Rage and adrenaline consumed him, like a wild gorilla on a rampage. He came up with an elbow and hit Tony’s cheek. Tony imagined it must have felt good to Nick, like getting the right part of the bat on an incoming pitch. It hurt like hell.
Tony fell back with a whoosh of air deflating his lungs, and he landed on the opposite embankment. He curled, instinctively, the pain in his chest incredible.
Nick dove on top of him. Hitting him. Surprising both of them with anger and venom fueling him. He demanded satisfaction.
Tony angled, and kicked him square in the chest. “I shoulda’ left you in the goddamned truck!” Nick flew off him with the impact of Tony’s boot. Tony scrambled to his feet, ignoring the crushing pain in his chest. He threw a fist out when Nick came at him again. Bloodied his lip.
Nick swung back.
Tony threw another punch.
Nick threw a left, connecting with Tony’s nose, but this shot held less power. He heaved in air when he dodged Tony’s following blow.
Tony hesitated too.
The need to breathe for just a second froze them both. Muscles seized up in the cold. They both hesitated, fatigued, waiting for their second wind. They both leaned down toward their knees, sucking in air.
The Landcruiser’s gas tank exploded behind them. The force threw Nick forward into Tony. They landed in a heap of fists and knees on the opposite embankment in the snow.
“Get off me, Franklin!” Tony bellowed, and he struggled away.
Nick rolled over and sat up, heaving in air, looking back at the remains of his vehicle. He reached up to his temple. Swiped at all the blood. Tony struggled over to the big white four-wheel-drive. Opened the door. Dug around inside for something.
“Gun?” Nick heaved. He drew the little .380 from his ankle holster, chambered a round, came to his feet, and aimed the pistol at Tony.
Tony heard the distinctive sound of the gun magazine rush forward. He bolted upright. He turned slowly to face Nick, his cellphone in his hand, his eyes narrowed.

I hope your readers enjoyed this excerpt, and I hope these characters paint the perfect picture of Hero ~VS~Anti-hero in Romantic Suspense. 
Happy New Year, Everyone

About the author:
Paula Millhouse grew up in Savannah, Georgia where Spanish moss whispers tales in breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway. As a child Paula soaked in the sunshine and heritage of cobblestones, pirate lore, and stories steeped in savory mysteries of the south. 

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Writers specialty chapter, and the KOD Mystery and Suspense Writer’s specialty chapter. She achieved the opportunity to become a member of the distinguished RWA designation of PRO after submitting her first full-length romance novel for publication in 2013. 

In the southern tradition of storytellers, she loves sharing the lives of her characters with readers, and following her muse on the quest for happily-ever-afters. She writes fantasy romance and romantic suspense.

She lives with her hero, her husband of twenty-five years at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with their pack and pride of furry babies.


Unknown said...

Happy New Year (practically...) Mythical Books!!

Thanks for hosting The Wishes Chronicles today!! I found this guest blog fun to write - I love Tony Aiello for so many reasons - he's such a bad boy.

I've got a question - who's YOUR favorite Anti-Hero in fiction??

CCAM said...

@Paula Millhouse - Hi! Just to answer... I would say Jack Sparrow! :)))))

Although I really have a soft spot for the anti-heros and/or bad guys that, in the end, save the day, I cannot say I have a favourite. I like them all and I cannot wait to meet Tony - I think I'll love him!

Samantha MacDouglas said...

Very interesting post, Paula! Thank you for sharing. I find most anti-heroes fall a little bit short for me. I like them to have a strong sense of loyalty (as Tony does!) and a moral code that I can understand and connect with, even if it differs from my own.

I think my two favorite are Guerrero from Human Target and Patrick Jane from The Mentalist

Unknown said...

Hi Samantha!
I LOVE Patrick Jane!

Unknown said...

CCAM - I love Jack Sparrow too. And I suspect you'll love Tony Aiello too. He really comes into his own in Book 2 - he was one of my favorite characters to write.