News, Romance

A Visit from McKenna Dean!

To celebrate releasing a new book I thought it would be fun to celebrate OTHER authors and their new releases. Today we have a guest post from McKenna Dean! Her new book Bishop Takes Knight is an AMAZING paranormal romance. You can grab it at Goodreads & Amazon ​.

Why Heroes Need Flaws

My husband and I frequently discuss our favorite superheroes and the pros and cons of the Marvel vs the DC Comics universes. We have a lot of material right now—both Marvel and DC Comics have brought out a multitude of shows and movies. I admit to leaning a bit more on the side of Marvel vs DC Comics, but then I am a huge fan of Captain America and Agent Carter. We’ve watched The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow, as well as Agents of Shield and all the Avengers movies. The Batman franchise leaves me cold (though I have watched the movies in the past) and I had some real issues with the Man of Steel movie, but I adored the Wonder Woman movie. I’ve watched it several times and bought a copy as soon as it became available on DVD.

I’ll be honest, though I wanted to love the Aquaman movie—I’m a Stargate fan and have enjoyed Jason Momoa as Ronon Dex—it fell a bit short of the mark for me. All the things I love about superhero movies: the origin story, the character arc where he/she comes into their own, the defeat of the bad guy, the action laced with humor—all these elements were there in Aquaman, and yet the dialog was a little flat, the humor didn’t quite zing, the battle scenes were a bit too obviously CGI. So while I give DC high marks for Wonder Woman, overall, I’m a Marvel Girl.

Though we’ve watched Supergirl, my husband has a real problem with the invulnerability of both Supergirl and Superman. From what I’ve seen in various movies and shows, the kids from Krypton are bulletproof (and impervious to pain and illness), can fly (and leave the atmosphere without their lungs exploding), and in general seem pretty undefeatable. Which, as far as my husband is concerned, makes them less interesting as characters, Krypton notwithstanding.

I see his point.

When they released the trailer for the movie Batman vs Superman, my initial reaction was, really? Is there any question of the outcome? And while I’m here, what is it with movie trailers giving away 90% of the film? I feel as though I’ve seen the whole thing already, just from the trailer alone… but I digress. Right. Regardless of how much of a Bruce Wayne fan we might be, the fact is, Superman as portrayed on film and in the comics is nigh-on invincible. Unless Bruce has a shaft of Kryptonite in his pocket (and is not just happy to see Superman), then it is unlikely he’s going to win this one.

Which brings me to the point of this post: your hero has to have vulnerability for the reader to identify with him or her.

I read a story recently in which the heroine was utterly fearless, competent, and seemingly without self-doubt. I hated her. There are some people who’d suggest my dislike of this character reflected some sort of internal misogyny because I’m incapable of liking a strong female character. That’s not the case at all. There’s nothing better than a strong female character. Most of my favorite books feature enviable female leads. I disliked this character because she was too perfect. Even in her tiniest moments of self-doubt, she didn’t feel real to me. In the end, I didn’t care what happened to her, either. Blame it on the lack of tension, or the lack of connection with the character, but I just didn’t care. She had too much: too many resources, too much money, too many connections, too much respect. In fact, there was no reason to suspect she wouldn’t solve the case from the get-go, and I yawned my way through the story. When the killer was revealed, I didn’t believe that either, I’m afraid.
So my advice to you is this: remember your reader wants to identify with your characters. The joy of reading for many people lies in self-insertion into the story, and this is difficult when the main character bears little resemblance to a human being. Be cautious of loving your character so much you elevate them to godhood. Give them relatable characteristics. Make us doubt just a little if they can get themselves out of the situation they are in. Show the soft underbelly. Make them vulnerable. Maybe they aren’t cool under pressure, or maybe they get a little too carried away when they’re in charge. Give them a boss that doesn’t like them, or something to prove. Make the stakes high for them. Make sure they grow during the course of your story. Don’t set them on a pedestal at the beginning. Show us the progression towards heroism. Your readers will love you for it.

Bishop Takes Knight

New York, 1955. Former socialite Henrietta (“Rhett”) Bishop, destitute after her father gambles away the family fortune, takes a job at Redclaw Security. But Redclaw is no ordinary operation. Part detective firm and part enforcement agency, Redclaw regulates matters involving the growing population of shifters who have emerged since the onset of the nuclear age.

Peter Knight is a nuclear scientist shattered by the death of his wife. Blacklisted by the government and scientific organizations, he drowns his sorrows while searching for the people behind his wife’s murder.

When Rhett is assigned to recruit Knight, their meeting is more than either bargained for—a rival organization will do anything to secure Knight for themselves. Following a lead to locate a missing cache of alien technology stolen from Redclaw, Rhett is thrown back into her previous glittering life with Knight as her pretend boyfriend. But when someone from the past turns up to start a bidding war on the artifacts, Bishop and Knight wind up in a fight for their very lives.

About the Author

McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.

She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.

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