Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Trouble with 'Heroes'

When I'm writing a romance, I always make certain that the L-word - 'love' - isn't used too frequently or inappropriately. It loses its magic, its meaning, its specialness.

Another word that is overused, not in romance, but in everyday life is 'hero'. Take the most recent case of hero worship gone wrong. Oscar Pistorious.

I don't know whether he's innocent or guilty, though his story does seem incredibly suspect to me. What has always puzzled me is how the public attaches the word 'hero' to sports stars. True, Oscar did overcome incredible odds to compete in the Special Olympics. However, so did a lot of other individuals. That makes them admirable, but not necessarily heroes.

I remember when the OJ Simpson case was raging in Los Angeles. Being in California, there was no way I could avoid coverage. The trial was on every freaking channel, 24/7. The word hero was attached to Simpson's name quite frequently. Again, I wondered why. He was great at football, but that didn't make him a hero. Not in my eyes.

So, who is a hero? In my mind, it's someone who does something difficult or nearly impossible, not for themselves or for glory, but to help others. What they gain from their actions isn't what matters - it's how they'll change the world for the better.

Consider what Malala Yousafzai has done to further girls' education in her native Pakistan. For that 

'crime' she was shot by the Taliban. Men who had no qualms in trying to murder a young girl. No doubt they were hailed as heroes by other men in their village. Despite her injuries, Malala hasn't stopped fighting. She is a hero and so is her father who instilled in her the courage to go after what she wanted, not to be ashamed of being a female, but proud of the fact.

And then there's Jaycee Dugard. Kidnapped at 11 by a pedophile who was released from prison all too soon. Kept prisoner for 18 years. Forced to bear two children with him when she was a child herself.

On her own, and with nothing more than a 5th grade education, Jaycee educated her two daughters. She endured to keep them safe. And once she was freed, she didn't exploit them as so many parents do with reality shows - she's protected them. When the State of California awarded her millions of dollars for their failure to protect her from her kidnapper, there were many people who said she was a gold digger. She had no right to any money. She could have run away. IMO, California didn't give her enough. No child should be made to go what she went through. Her youth was taken away. Instead of being bitter, she's survived. She's a hero.

In the 80s, a young mother named Diane Downs gunned down her own children so she could be with her boyfriend - a guy who didn't want kids. One of the children died. One was paralyzed from the waist down. The oldest suffered a stroke from so much blood loss. 

The prosecutor at Downs' trial not only sought justice for the murdered child, but for the two who were left so damaged, so betrayed. He and his wife adopted them and gave those kids the first normal life they've ever had. He didn't do it for publicity or money.He did it because it was the right thing to do. He's a hero.

When I write, I don't make my male leads perfect, though I do want them to be honorable. To do the right thing by the woman they love and those they're supposed to protect. That's my version of a real hero.

My newest release Shameless Desire is available for pre-order from Samhain. It releases April 23. :)

Love the cover - it is sooooo freaking sexy!

Here's the blurb:

Passion without limit. Carnal hunger that knows no bounds.

Outlawed Realm, Book 3

Within Earth’s five dimensions, nothing is as it seems…and desire is never far away.

In E4’s jungle, Kuma’s the Alpha werewolf, bent on revenge against the hated guards. Swept with them from that dimension to E1, he prowls Seattle at night, stopping the thugs from abducting women for use as sex slaves in E4’s Pleasure Palace.

On her way home from her nursing job, Gwen senses danger in the night’s shadows. A stranger attacks. Clinging to consciousness, she watches the impossible, a wolf fighting him off…protecting her. She wakes in her own bed, convinced it must have been a dream until she sees Kuma in human form. Virile, intense. A man like no other. 

Within his powerful embrace, Gwen experiences rapture she didn’t believe existed. His unrestrained lust and burning need ends her loneliness, though not the menace they face. The guards are a constant threat in their hunt for women and their determination to see Kuma dead. Together, he and Gwen must fight—for his life, her freedom, their future.

Warning: Out-of-this-world sex and a romance to die for. Features a hunk whose inner beast won’t be tamed, and the woman who craves his most shameless desire. 

See you next month!


Tina Donahue
“Heat with Heart”

LOSING CONTROL (available now) 
COME FILL ME (4 STARS - The Jeep Diva) 

Website: http://www.tinadonahue.com/ 
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Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Tina, I was so touched by this post. Some of the people mentioned I knew, and others you enlightened me on. Of course I was appalled by the mother who gunned down her own kids.

Anyway, I'm like you. I don't like my heroes to be perfect, but they must be honorable. LOVE that new cover, Tina. Jimmy is very hot on that one.

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Renee!

The cover is definitely hot - it's one of my favs. :)

Fiona McGier said...

I agree. Hero is one of the words bandied about so much it's almost lost any power. We give our highest military honors to those who give their lives without hesitation to save their comrades for a reason...that's a hero. But to call any "celebrity du jour" a hero just for breathing in front of a camera diminishes the very meaning of the word!

And yes, very hot cover to suit what promises to be a smokin' hot story! Good luck with it!

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Fiona!

The priorities in this country are so messed up. Worshipping film stars and sports stars? Come on.

Shameless Desire is smokin' hot. Thanks for your kind words! :)

Kelli Scott said...

I love the Space Needle on the cover...very cool. I'm from Seattle area. And I agree, athlete does not = hero.

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Kelli!

The artist did an amazing job. I love the colors and the play of light and shadows. :)