Magical Men And Daring Women

Congratulations to “Angela I.”, the winner of Nancy’s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
Who was the first imaginary hero who made your heart go pit-a-pat?  For me, it was Sleeping Beauty’s prince in the Disney film.  He didn’t have magical powers, but he fought the magical Maleficent, charging out of her prison after the fairies released him, leaping a chasm on his horse, slashing through all those thorns, and, finally, confronting Maleficent in her dragon form.  Oh, man!
Granted, I was about five at the time, but the love of seeing derring-do and magic combined stuck with me.  A couple of years later, I discovered Superman.  His powers weren’t magic, but they might as well have been to my seven-year-old heart.  With that, my fate was sealed. 
The heroes I loved ran the gamut from Robin Hood to the 30th century’s Legion of Super-Heroes, but the ones who had a special claim on my heart had abilities just a smidgen beyond the ordinary.  To me, they were magical men (or boys–Superboy and Robin the Boy Wonder were major crushes, and never mind that they existed only in two dimensions and four colors on the pages of comic books).
Because of them, the first stories I wrote were super-hero fan fiction.Writing paranormal romances about heroic mages fighting deadly ghouls and demons who prey on humanity felt like a natural progression.  So did writing strong, brave, determined women who could keep up with these men.  Certainly these choices came as no surprise to my friends.
My debut novel, Renegade, matched a mage traitor with the mage shire reeve hunting him.  The novella that followed, Protector, centered on mage hero who was a firefighting helicopter pilot and a heroine who was not only a mage but a wildland firefighter.
Guardian, my latest release, is about a mage doctor and a Mundane FBI agent who get a second chance at love.  Nine years ago, medical student Stefan Harper and undergraduate Camellia “Mel” Wray were lovers.  But her inability to accept his magic forced him to keep secrets that eventually came between them.  Now ghouls have murdered her friend, she’s working the case, and he’s the consulting physician.  Can they defeat the lethal ghouls and find their way back to each other, or will magic come between them again?
Here’s a short excerpt:
On the platform for the press conference, Mel’s mouth went dry. Why the hell did Stefan have to be so gorgeous? His tall, lanky frame had filled out to fit the breadth of his shoulders, but the strong line of his jaw hadn’t changed. She remembered the feel of it under her fingers, the way his beard stubble had felt against her skin as his mouth explored her most intimate spots. The memory sent heat curling through her belly, then lower.
She clenched her muscles, pushing mentally at the unwelcome sensations. Too bad her rebellious—and long-denied—libido refused to forget, just as her body remembered Stefan’s warmth when she nestled against his side, both of them sated and content, after they’d made love.
She couldn’t see his hands, but she knew them too well. Thinking about them made her breasts tighten. Thank God her suit jacket provided cover.
He’d had a light in his eye then, curiosity and humor she’d adored. Now he looked hard. Almost angry.
He’d be angrier when she got him bumped off this case, but that was just too bad. There was no way she could stay focused with him working so closely with her.
What about you?  What kinds of heroes did you first fall in love with?  Are they still your favorites, or have you come to prefer a different type?
One commenter will receive NetGalley access to read Guardian for free along with a signed set of Protectors collector cards.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST August 3rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JPR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


  1. Hi Nancy! Congratulations on the release of GUARDIAN. I loved RENEGADE. And wow, did they give you some great covers! Love the journey down memory lane to first crushes. I think my first crush was the guy who played Thierry La Fronde in a dubbed French TV show that here was called The King’s Outlaw. I know, I know, very obscure. But I think it really imprinted on me. He was a duke who was in disguise fighting as a guerilla in the 100 Years War against the English (who were definitely the bad guys in this story!), he was brave, he was honorable, he was clever. He was tall, dark and handsome. Yup, pretty much imprinted me with heroes for the rest of my days!

  2. Hi Nancy!

    What a great site! Love the atmosphere.

    Trying hard to remember my first fav hero. While I was surrounded by my older brothers comic books, I tended to like the Archies and LuLus. However I do recall having a tremendous crush on a hero from an Edgar Rice Burroughs paperback. He was a human somehow transported to Mars. I can distinctly remember the cover of him – bare-chested, of course – in some sort of hovercraft with a green exotic Martian woman, flying over a redish city in a sky with two moons. I think I learned to read early just to read that book! Have loved paranormal ever since.

    • Now you have me intrigued, Donna! I don’t remember a super hero like that!

      Another hero that has always appealed to me (even though the heroine is portrayed more strongly) is the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. I love stories of transformation and the theme of how far a person can walk the road toward evil before he cannot be redeemed has always interested me.

    • Donna, read Archie and Lulu, too. They were great.

      I think that series would be John Carter, Warlord of Mars. The recent movie, starring hunky Taylor Kitsch, got mixed reviews, but we enjoyed it. Deeja Thoris (I think that’s the spelling) was not green, as best I recall. it’s great that the book inspired you so!

  3. What a great excerpt, Nancy; it got my heart a pitter-patter LOL. I like that you said you enjoy your heroes with a smidgen of a super power. I do, too. If they’re all super plus plus heroic, it’s too much for me. I want them to have a great deal of humanity to battle along with their super power(s).

    That said, my first hero was probably Superman — the old cheesy black and white one on TV back in the day. While I acknowledge that it doesn’t hold a candle to today’s heroes in film and TV, the whole cultish climate of that era appeals to me.

    • Thanks, Jo! I love making hearts flutter. *g* To me, power without humanity is the essence of super-villainy. What makes Superman is his deep well of compassion, which probably owes a lot to Martha and Jonathan Kent.

      I’ve seen some of those old Superman episodes. Yes, the effects were primitive, but George Reeves was great.

  4. Hi Nancy! *waves madly*

    I admit that most of my favorite heroes had a bit of rough and rowdy about them. I’m trying to remember my first sort of “hero crushes” –which I’ve never tried before, so this is really fun.

    The first actual crush I can remember–and I also remember that I didn’t know what was wrong with me because I was feeling that way–was on Flint McCullough(Robert Horton)from Wagon Train. I also was fond of (but not a serious crush)Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) as The Rifleman. But later on I fell hard for James West (Robert Conrad) in Wild Wild West. Talk about your derring do…the secret agent angle mixed with hot cowboy rough and tumble–now that just got me.

    I will also admit to really liking–and wanting to be–Wonder Woman (the Lynda Carter version)and wishing my mom could make me an outfit like that. I also wanted to be Isis–I loved that long black hair. But I never did fall too much for the male Superhero ilk, though I did enjoy Greatest American Hero–as much for the music and the main character’s brilliant, awkward, stumbling approach to the role that had been cast upon him. No crush though.

    And then there came Christopher Reeve as Superman. He was a little too pretty for my style, and not quite as rough and tumble in spite of fighting evil, but I will admit to a light crush. Hard not to have one when you’re a young lady and a guy looks like that.

    • Cassondra, we obviously saw many of the same shows when we were growing up! All the guys you mention were wonderful, and I don’t think we should underestimate the appeal of a guy riding a horse and wielding a six-shooter!

      One of my favorite things about The Greatest American Hero was the humor. I bought the theme song of my iPad.

      I adored Christopher Reeve. In my head, Griff, the hero of Renegade, looks a lot like Reeve (with non-Superman hair).

  5. Nancy, one of your first loves was mine, too – Prince Phillip in Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’! My first non-cartoon crush was Dick Van Dyke. It really didn’t matter what role he played, either. I was as enamored of Rob Petrie as I was of Bert in ‘Mary Poppins’ or Caractacus Potts in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. His sweetness, humor and optimism held lots of appeal for me. I am still very enamored of a man with a great sense of humor! Plus, he was tall. 🙂

    Oh, and I totally second Cassondra’s crush on James West on ‘Wild, Wild West’. Even though he was short, he was so handsome and brave and daring! Swoon-worthy, for sure.

    • Caren, Dick Van Dyke was wonderful in everything he ever did. The man was truly gifted! And I agree, a sense of humor is a serious point in a guy’s favor, as is height! *g*

      Robert Conrad was great as James West. He’s also terrific as the cop Arnold Schwarzenegger keeps running into in Jingle All The Way.

  6. Maureen, thank you for having me today! I love the stormy ocean backdrop, and the way you put my post together looks fabulous.

  7. Hey Nancy! Waving from the Bandit Lair!!

    I have to admit my very first crush was John Wayne in like every movie he made in the 50’s and 60’s. My dad watched everyone when they hit the TV, especially if there wasn’t a good baseball game on Saturday. Sigh. There’s just something about how he confidently walked onto the screen and took over the problem. Oddly, two of my favorites were THE QUIET MAN and HELLFIGHTERS, neither of which had him playing a cowboy, although there were plenty of those, too!

    Do I still like that larger than life, all male, swaggering confidence in my heroes? Yep.

    • Hi, Suz–I loved Hellifighters even though, as you say, it’s not a cowboy move. Wasn’t cute Jim Hutton in that movie, too?

      I totally agree that Wayne dominated the screen the way we like alpha heroes to dominate their books.

  8. my first crush was face in the A Team Dirk Benedict, but i would also like to say i loved everything Dick van dyke did but i have to admit to having a crush on his son!

  9. Angela, Dirk Benedict was a hottie. Did you see him on Battlestar Galactica, by chance? If by Dick Van Dyke’s son, you mean the boy who played Richie, I agree, he was cute. 🙂

    • i loved battlestar galactica i spend most of my teenage years drooling over dirk benedict and apollo (think Richard hatch), Barry Van Dyke is the one (thank god for imbd lol i love on how diagnosis murder that there is 3 generations of van dykes. i think even now i have a thing for the good guys with a hint of naughty

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