It’s good to be back on the blog. A family emergency sent me to California for close to a month. Not an easy trip, but all is well. I want to give a big thank you to my fellow Fillies who filled in the gap for me. Ladies, you’re the best!
Now that I’m home, I’m getting back to the business of writing. Woooo Hoooo! I’m shopping for a hero! A lot of writing is work, but the hero hunt is just plain fun. I never know when the right man will show up. It’s usually out of the blue. This time his arrival was no exception. He came out of the Wild Blue Yonder . . . literally! I was on an airliner, an Airbus 319 to be precise, in Seat 10B.
Has anyone here flown Virgin America? The cabin colors are purple and black. Instead of movie screens that drop down from the ceiling, each passenger has an individual entertainment system complete with movies, television, and music. It’s about as far from the Old West as you can get, but somewhere over Nevada I programmed a play list and did some time-travel. Thirty-seven-thousand feet above fly-over country, Bruce Springsteen’s voice came through the headphones.
Can you hear me?
I love this song! It’s on Bruce’s newest album and it’s totally over the top. It’s got outlaws, a bounty hunter, wild mustangs a Navaho girl, pistols, mountains and buckskin chaps. After a month of Los Angeles freeways, Holly-weirdness, and smog, I felt almost normal again.
The lyrics got me thinking . . . What is it about outlaws that’s so appealing? I’ve been thinking about this, because I want my next hero to be as bad as I can make him. He won’t stay that way, of course. And that’s what I think the real appeal is for an outlaw hero. By the end of the book, they’re redeemed. They might be bad to the bone, but they don’t stay that way.
My all-time favorite outlaw hero is Johnny Cain in The Outsider by Penelope Williamson. When the story opens, he’s “a man killer.” He’s about as irredeemable as a man can be. Yet he’s the one who risks his life to save Rachel’s son. That’s another key to the outlaw hero. Bad men sometimes do good things.
Keep in mind I’m talking about heroes in romances. In real life, I’d have been terrified by the Wild Bunch or the Cole-Younger gang. Then again, there’s Doc Holliday. Granted, I see Val Kilmer when I picture him, but what really intrigues me is the complexity of his character. That man was a loyal friend to Wyatt Earp. He was also highly educated, a dentist, and very good with a gun. It’s quite a mix. He may not count as a full fledged outlaw, but he captured the rebellion of the West.
When I’m creating a new hero, the challenge is to balance darkness and light, good and evil. Maybe that’s why I like Outlaw Pete so much. It’s got all the highs and lows of real life. A lot of outlaw heroes are at war with themselves. In the romance the good side always wins. I like that!
Does anyone else have a favorite “outlaw” song? A favorite outlaw hero? I can think of a bunch, but I’d love to have y’all add to my list.
And last . . . I’m giving away books from my backlist today. It’s good to be back at Petticoats & Pistols, so I’m celebrating. Anyone who comments will be eligible to win a copy of either Midnight Marriage or Stay for Christmas. These are two of my older HH titles. Good luck!