I hate Edward Cullen.
Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word. Allow me to rephrase—Edward Cullen is NOT the guy for me. He’s too…I don’t know…perfect? Vanilla? Mr.-I-always-say-and-do-the-right-thing? Maybe I’m difficult to please or something, but I look for so much more than that in a man—whether he’s in my life or in my books.
So, now that we’ve established that I don’t want to write, read about, or cohabitate with the “perfect guy,” what kind of guy do I want? What makes a man heroic in my eyes and, thereby, worth my time? And why do I like Jasper so much more than Edward or Jacob? Those are tough questions. I’ve learned (by lots of trial and error, bless my heart) that I don’t want an easygoing, life-is-a-breeze kind of dude. (Although, through thirteen years of marriage, I’ve regretted that about myself more than once. Sigh.) Anyway, let’s see if I can put into words what I feel about what makes a man a hero in real life and on the page—
1. He must challenge me:
Someone worthy of my time should not only accept me for who I am but also challenge me to be better. (Notice I’m not saying he should want me to change or be a different person…just encourage the best parts of me while calling me out where and when I may suck—not that I ever do…)
2. He also needs to listen to me:
This doesn’t mean he has to agree with everything I say or give me everything I want. No, he just has to try to understand what I’m communicating to him without judgment. (Again, notice that I’m not saying he has to agree with all the words dripping from my lips—just appreciate their importance to me.)
3. This man should be passionate:
Whether he’s on a battlefield, in a classroom, or atop the corporate ladder, a man worth loving has got to be fierce about something besides me—while still being totally crazy about me. (There’s room for all of that, right?)
4. He’s got to have flaws, too, dang it:
If my guy were perfect, he wouldn’t need me. What would I bring to the relationship if I couldn’t challenge him? I’d feel useless, weak, and superfluous. And, honestly, a girl needs to be the hero at least once in a while (okay, maybe most of the while).
5. Dark and twisty (metaphorically speaking) is the only way to go:
The undamaged soul is beautiful and rare. It’s also not what I’m looking for. I’m not interested in a guy who doesn’t know what it is to suffer or fight to survive. Those (mostly healed) scrapes and bruises are what make him worthwhile and let me know that, come what may, he’ll stand by my side armed with the experience necessary to fight all that comes at us. Battle scarred men have won wars and lived to deal with the aftermath. They won’t melt into a puddle of blubbering goo when life hands us a crappy deal, leaving me to do all the fighting alone.
So, now that I’m done pretending all my heroines are me and bored everyone to tears with my list of demands concerning what both fictional and non-fictional males should be, what is it you HATE to see in a hero? (Oh, and please don’t tell me it’s all of the stuff on my list because…well…then you’d have no reason to buy my books, seeing as every one of my precious men is damaged, tough, and so-easy-yet-so-hard to love. And that would make me sad. Very, very sad.)
Title: THE BROKEN
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Date Published: January 18, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal
Word Count: 60,000
Born into a family of Guardians—extraordinarily gifted humans who battle demons to protect mortal souls—seventeen year old Rose Kazin is relieved that she shows no signs of being blessed with her family’s supernatural talents. When she and her father figure, an age old celestial Warrior, are horribly wounded in a demonic ambush, Rose awakens to find a younger Warrior, Ouriel, has volunteered to stand in as her protector. She rails against his presence, but Ouriel seems interested in only one thing—teaching Rose how to protect herself from the demons she was never supposed to fight.
I didn’t notice the demons until one had his arm clamped around my throat. Choking, I looked around and saw we were surrounded.
Without thinking, I reached for the knife at my back. Instinct and training took over, and I slammed the blade into the abdomen of the demon holding me. He dropped to the ground. I turned to stab him a few more times, to keep him out of the fight a bit longer, and ran for Miriam and Ouriel. My sister was rapidly firing off arrow after arrow, sinking as many as left her quiver into demon flesh.
But more kept popping in all around us.
I can’t say how many demons I cut and sliced with my knife and nails to get to my sister and my Warrior, but I got through enough to guard their backs. Finally, the three of us stood together, facing down the enemy. Ouriel slipped me his knife, and both of my hands became deadly. Behind me and out of breath, he shouted, “Miriam, get Rose out of here! Run for Ishmael’s house. I will cover you!”
“No way!” I yelled back. “I’m not leaving you!”
Ouriel decapitated two more of the demons rushing him. “You must.”
“No!” I screamed and took down one of my own, kicking and jabbing her into a bloody pulp.
“We can’t hold them all off,” Miriam panted. “And I have to save you at all costs.”
Ouriel spun and, in one fluid move, gored a demon and pushed me through the opening toward Ishmael’s house.
Julia Joseph taught Theatre for nine years in Texas middle and high schools, where she wrote and produced three original plays for her students. In 2011, Joseph left teaching to devote all of her energy to her own children and to writing a novel. She earned her B. A. in English Literature and Language with a focus in Drama from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Joseph spends most of her free time reading, writing, and chauffeuring her kids between activities. She lives happily with her husband and two children wherever the Army happens to station them.
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