Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Crisis of Identity Blog Tour is HERE!

 
In 1985, Tina Turner released We Don’t Need Another Hero, the theme song for the movie Thunderdome. Maybe the children of Thunderdome didn’t need another hero, but I like to have one around. I think they come in handy. My hero is my husband. He’s always been my go-to guy, the one who lifts me up when I’m feeling down, encourages me to keep going when I want to stall, gives me a reason to put one foot in front of the other and move forward instead of look back.
Before we married, I was looking for a job when the job market was tighter than tight. Just when I was about to give in to discouragement, he gave me my mantra. “You’re smart. You’re beautiful. And you’ve got the power.” No one outside my blood kin had ever told me I was any of these things. His faith in me sunk into my heart. I’ve repeated this phrase to myself many times when life didn’t quite go as smoothly as I wanted it to.
So what is a hero? For me, a hero is someone (male or female) who reaches a hand out and grabs yours when you’re sinking, ignoring the risk you might pull him down with you. A hero is someone who gets down in the dirt with you and turns that slop into a mud pie instead of a sucking catastrophe. A hero is someone whose actions support his words, who lives the advice he’s so thoughtfully given. A hero is someone who looks at an obstacle and asks, “How can we climb over, around, under, or through this?” instead of helping you bemoan the impossibility of moving the mountain.
A hero steps up to the challenge, doesn’t back away from the impossible, dares to face doubt and discouragement with courage. That doesn’t mean he or she is unafraid or fearless. It means the hero pushes through the fear and the doubt, and lives and loves in spite of uncertainty.
I frequent a writers’ critique site that shall remain nameless. The forum discussions on this site are sometimes lively. One night, the pros and cons of the numerous rules and guidelines for writing were beaten and pummeled and mangled until everyone had exhausted their opinions in glorious detail. Then someone commented, “If you aren’t going to follow the rules you might as well write romance.” After I got through huffing and puffing and fuming, I pondered why I write romance and why I think the genre shouldn’t be passed off as a lesser than creature of the literary world.
So here goes…I write romance because I like creating heroes. I don’t create perfect heroes or pristine heroes. Real life isn’t nicey-nice and I don’t think fiction should be either. I believe there should be a nugget of reality in fiction, so that the reader can relate to the story. If a heroine is too sweet or too virtuous or too perfect, I don’t buy it. If a hero can do no wrong, there’s no meat on that bone to chew on. People are flawed. Heroes are flawed. My heroes are all beautifully flawed, and my heroines don’t always have the ability to buff those scratches and dents out of their hero.
The romance formula has always been boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. The thrill of the chase is what keeps me writing. What personality set did the hero and heroine bring to this particular situation? What makes this story different from a million others? What brings a bit of real life into the fantasy? For me, that’s the challenge of writing romance. I don’t want to write perfect characters; I want to write characters that are being perfected.
And that brings me back to my wonderful husband, who isn’t perfect either. He’s the ultimate in beautifully flawed. I think I’ll keep him.

~ * ~
 

I dropped onto the cot at the far end of the locker room, struggling to remove the stained smock the state so generously provided. Forget about sleep; it wouldn’t come. I had too many memories that begged to become nightmares. I closed my eyes anyway.
The springs in the cot next to mine creaked. “I’m Jake.” Why had it taken him so long to introduce himself?
I released an internal sigh. “Tess.” I told the truth, because I had to say something and I was out of lies.
“Tough job.”
“Yeah.” I wanted him to shut up and leave me alone.
“Why would someone like you volunteer for this?”
I opened one eye and glared at him. “I didn’t volunteer. I was strongly encouraged to help. Why are you here?”
He hesitated. “I’m a U.S. Marshal. It’s my job. Part of the oath and all that.”
I opened the other eye and assessed him. “Why would you move here—” He smiled, cutting off my question. “I can tell from your accent you’re not from Texas.”
“I followed a fugitive here from Illinois.” He leaned forward, his knees not quite brushing mine. “She’s accused of murder.”
“Murder?”
“Stabbed her boyfriend…in the back…in cold blood.”
My reaction gushed from my mouth. “How can you be sure it was cold blood?” I sucked back a gasp at my gaffe. My question probably seemed strangely timed and oddly constructed. “I mean…it could have been self defense.”
He offered me a cold, hard stare with unblinking eyes. “I just know.”
“That’s…awful."
“I guess I followed my lead at the wrong time. I got trapped riding out the storm…just like you.”
“What makes you think I got trapped?”
“If you’d had any choice, you would have left.”
My brother Tony forced me to stay, but he left me. A storm surge so strong it pulled the house out from under us knocked him into the sea. The Gulf of Mexico spit me back onto the beach as if the ocean didn’t like the way I tasted.
I survived, but I had no time to grieve. The realization impaled my heart.
Jake stretched out on his cot. “There’s a boat out of here tomorrow. It’s taking volunteers back to the mainland.” Galveston was in ruins. The thin strips of concrete that once connected the island to civilization lay scattered on the beach looking somewhat like a child's building blocks.
“There is?” I tried not to appear too interested.
“You didn’t know?” A different question danced in his eyes—a challenge of sorts. “So how long have you lived in Galveston?”
“Not long. My brother found a job. So I moved here a few months ago to be with him.”
“Where’s your brother now?”
I blinked at him. “He’s gone.”
His stern countenance wavered, but before I could embrace his presumed compassion, his expression settled into severity once again. “Now you’ll have to start your life over…again.” His eyes captured mine. A shiver of dread slithered down my spine. It was as if he knew me, even though he didn’t seem to know me. “Are you going to sleep?” He nodded toward my pillow as if he didn’t think my conscience would allow rest.
“I never sleep.”
Within minutes, he emitted soft puffs of breath, in and out, obviously lacking any guilt to keep him awake.
The shadows lengthened and receded over the locker room, drifting in and out of the grimy, shattered windows as if the world was still revolving around its axis on schedule. But I was sure it had stopped turning. I was the fugitive he sought.
***
The unrepentant sunshine streamed through the cracks, jubilant in its victory over the storm. Only five days since the devastation of Hurricane Irving and the sun acted as if nothing had ever happened. I turned away from the brightness with an ill-tempered snort.
Jake caught up with me on the gym floor. “Did you get any sleep?” His question hit me as a trifle vindictive.
“No. But you did.”
“I snore.” He grinned. Then his smile faded. “I thought you’d be gone this morning.”
“Why? I have to finish the job.”
“That’s…admirable.”
The thought that pestered me all night erupted from my mouth. “What happens to that woman when you catch her?”
“She’ll go back to jail.” He stopped by the double doors and folded his arms over his chest, blocking my path. “Then she’ll go to trial.”
“What if she did what she had to do?”
“There was no evidence it was self defense.”
I stared hard at his implacable façade. How could the man be alternately warm and cold, compassionate and hard, flexible and unyielding? I stepped around him and entered the gym. There were already bodies lined up waiting for our initial inspection, so I began the task of collecting information from my column of the dead. The hours passed as I searched pockets and noted identifying characteristics on those with no papers or markings. I glanced toward the open door as two men begin loading the last group onto a waiting truck.
One more victim to notate. I squatted next to her. Even in partial decay, her features were enough like mine it pushed me back on my heels. I lifted her arm. My breath hitched. Her Social Security number was so nearly like mine. I scanned the gym. Jake, the one man who might care if she became me or I became her, was absent. With a few strokes of the pen, I could die and live again.
My heart pounded with the possibility I might get a chance to start over without the baggage of my past dragging me down. I changed her identity with a few swipes of a permanent marker. The number went onto my log with an unshaken hand, and I was free to escape the woman I used to be…the woman I didn’t want to be any longer.
 

Author Bio:
Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

Find Crisis of Identity at Amazon!
 
Connect with Denise!
See the schedule for additional stops in Denise's Blog Tour!
July 16 – A Passion for Romance – Review
July 16 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A
July 17 – Musings About the Writing Life – Q&A
July 18 – Free eBooks Daily – Q&A
July 19 – Ai Love Books – Excerpt
July 22 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
July 23 – Brooke Blogs – Excerpt
July 24 – Keri Neal – Guest Post & Excerpt
July 25 – AJ’s Tattered Pages – Guest Post & Excerpt
July 26 – Escape Into a Book – Review & Excerpt
July 31 – Scribbler’s Sojourn – Guest Post
August 1 – Curling Up With a Good Book – Q&A
August 2 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
August 5 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
August 5 - Defining Women's Evolution in Discovery Blog - Q&A & Excerpt
**Everyone who leaves a comment on Denise’s tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Crisis of Identity before August 5 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

8 comments:

Samantha March said...

Thanks for being in the tour!

Denise Moncrief said...

Thanks for hosting me today, AJ!

AJ Nuest said...

Absolutely, ladies! My pleasure. Sorry I haven't announced yet! Busy day. Off to do that now! XO

Dixie Lee Brown said...

Excellent blog and excerpt. This books sounds really good - I'm intrigued! Thanks for sharing, Denise.

Crystal Benedict said...

In my opinion Romance is fine genre to write in. I love a good romance story :)

MinDaf @ Aol.com

رضا رمضان said...




خدمات نقل الاثاث متعددة لدينا حيث يوجد لدينا خبرة في كيفية التعامل مع العملاء في تنفيذ اعمال فلدينا مدينة مكة افضل شركة نقل اثاث بمكة التي تتميز بالدقة في تنفيذ اعمال وتوصيل الاثاث من الباب لاننا نمتلك عمال متميزون في شركة نقل عفش بمكة فعليكم التواصل معنا من اجل الاستفادة من الخدمات التي نقدمها كل هذا ايضا تلاقه في مدينة الدمام من خلال التواصل مع شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام التي تمتلك فنين متميزين في اعمال الفك والتركيب كما لديها اسطول سيارات مجهز يساعدها علي الوصول الي منزلك الجديد فكل شئ يكون جاهز مع شركة نقل عفش بالدمام التي اثبتت انها نقل شركة لديها خبرة كبيرة في مجال نقل الاثاث
كما يوجد لدينا خبرة في خدمات نقل الاثاث بجدة من خلال
شركة نقل اثاث بجدة
شركة نقل عفش بجدة

RAGAB KAMAL said...




بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم عميلنا العزيز نحن نقدم افضل خدمات تنظيف المجالس والشقق بافضل

انواع التنظيفات المشهود لها عالميا
شركة

تنظيف شقق بالطائف

شركة

تنظيف مجالس بالطائف



شركة تنظيف شقق بجازان



شركة تنظيف مجالس بجازان



شركة تنظيف شقق بحائل



شركة تنظيف مجالس بحائل

ونحن فى خماتكم 24 ساعة على مدار الشهر

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