Monday, May 28, 2012

Black Widow, Marvel Avengers

Agent Natasha Romanov, Black Widow, S.H.E.I.L.D

I didn't grow up reading comic books. Wish I had. My experiences with super heroes came form the televised versions of The Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Batman and the Superman Movies with Christopher Reeve. They were awesome and I never realized just how deep their past went. I never knew there was an entire universe of super heroes. It wasn't until I started teaching digital art and had a student who introdcued me to the fabulous art of Joe Quesada and the Kuberts that I really began to understand. I read the Death of Captain America and was introduced to Natasha Romanov. I have to admit at first I read it because of the artwork. But, then I liked the story and became interested. It wasn't until Ironman 2 that I realized they were the same character. I didn't like her that much in that movie. I think it was mostly because she seemed to be there to tempt Tony Stark. And dammit he belongs with Pepper. (The chemistry between the two of them is fan-tab-ulous, BTW) So, I ignored her.

Until the Avengers.

She is one badass chick.

Why all of a sudden did I like her? I think it was because she showed her vulnerability. Of course, she kicked ass and took names, but there were moments when her fear got the best of her. There are moments where we see her as a badass agent, gathering intel through an interrogation technique of being captured. We see her nervously retrieve Dr. Banner, the Hulk, with trepidation and concern that he may turn into the beast. And we see her use her vulnerability to get info from the Big Bad. But, what really got me was the friendship and connection she has to her partner, Hawkeye, Clint Barton. They have history. While I'm not sure what the Marval canon is, in the movie, they have been partner's for years, working ops together.

She understands him, calms him and grounds him. He supports her, understands her and respects her. Now, is there something more there? Because I'm always looking for that shipper angle, there very well could be. Right now, it's set up that they have a very close, almost symbiotic relationship. But as us romance writers know, that can easily be tipped in the non-platonic direction. There are a few moments of prolonged eye contact and a nice scene where they have a deeply supportive conversation as he recovers from an incident that took him away from her. There is a distinct connection between them and let's face it, Jeremy Renner is a hottie. I'd be friends with him too!

That said, let's look at her badass ability. What's really cool is that she's a regular human - no super powers. She's just highly trained. She's a skilled fighter. She's athletic, uses gymnastics in her fighting style, and kicks grotesque alien butt, multiple attackers at time. She carries a gun, a pistol and sometimes shoots two at a time. She's exceptionally good at espionage and getting intelligence. And, we can't forget that she wears a skin tight black leather suit and boots. With thigh holsters. Sweet. Signed, sealed and delivered - Total Badass.

To read more about Marvel Canon Black Widow go to the source:

Get your vengeance on.
~Indigo Grace

Monday, May 21, 2012

David's Proust Questionnaire

Colonel David Vaughn, USAF Spec Ops,  Counter-terrorism Joint Task Force, Classified.

Last time, we looked at Jillian's Proust Questionnaire to give a little back history on who she was and how she came to be. While I had difficultly with Jillian, I had a much better handle on our hero, Vaughn. Maybe it's because I based him off of two amazing male characters: Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS and Colonel Jack O'Neill of Stargate. He's sort of an amalgamation of both of them however, without the angst of losing a child. Their honor, loyalty, determination and vigilance for what's right. Of course, Vaughn's morphed into his own man, but as a die to cast from, those two are incredible heroes. 

So Vaughn was easy. I got him. His motivations are pure: do the job and do it well, no matter the cost. He has a quiet sensitive side,  a sarcastic side and a creative side. He has a weakness for younger, beautiful badass women (psht, would I love him if he didn't?) and it has gotten him into trouble in the past. His body is starting betray him and he has a tendency to mix his painkillers with alcohol, but that's in his blood. Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, if you know what I mean. Dad was an alcoholic and abusive. And in that vein there is a darkness inside of him, one that he suppresses, but comes out sometimes when he makes the decisions that no one else wants to make. He's a trained killer and he lives by a code of violence, even if it is for the greater good. His personal life is about sacrifice and he's no stranger to living alone.

Here is Vaughn's questionnaire:

·  Your most marked characteristic? Work and duty always come first, self-sacrifice.

·  The quality you most like in a man? Can take it on the chin and then ask for more.

·  The quality you most like in a woman? The real answer or the politically correct answer? (Real one: Young, beautiful, can kick your ass with a pair of high heels on and shoot you between the eyes from a hundred yards away) (Politically correct: A woman who can do her job effectively).

·  What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.

·  What is your principle defect? Work-a-holic.

·  What is your favorite occupation? Like to remodel my house.

·  What is your dream of happiness? I don’t know, I don’t really look toward the future.

·  What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? To lose a member of my team on my watch.

·  What would you like to be? A small-town handyman, no pressure.

·  In what country would you like to live? I’ve been all over the world. Every place has some good and something bad about it, even the shitholes of the world, but none of it really compares to here.

·  What is your favorite color? Hmm, that shade of mahogany that’s almost brown, but has red inside of it… it’s great on wood and even better on Jillie when she’s standing in the sunlight. Ahem… yeah, don’t tell her I said that. Strictly need-to-know…

·  What is your favorite flower? Syrian Jasmine, smells incredible when it’s mixed with spice. Shit, that woman is way too imbedded in my head. Also, need-to-know….

·  What is your favorite bird? Birds are a pain in the ass… they always get in the way and give away our position.

·  Who are your favorite prose writers? I used to read Tom Clancy when we were holed up in a room waiting to do a drop but I lost interest. Clive Cussler can be fun.

·  Who are your favorite poets? Dr. Seuss

·  Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Silver Surfer, Batman

·  Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Man, if a woman actually ran around a jungle in tight little shorts like that, I’d have had my head blown off a long time ago.

·  Who are your favorite composers? I usually tend to go for classic 70s rock… but on the rare, and I mean rare occasion… I put on some Opera - Puccini. That’s also need-to-know.

·  Who are your favorite painters? Painters no, but I loved the Silver Surfer comics when I was a kid.

·  Who are your heroes in real life? General Burt Cole, best damn soldier, mentor I’ve ever worked with. He’s a great man.

·  Who are your favorite heroines of history? The one I’m working with right now… I’d want her watching my six any day of the week.

·  What are your favorite names? That’s an odd question. I have a favorite alias, but that too is need-to-know.

·  What is it you most dislike? Men who are cowards.  (My son of bitch old man).

·  What historical figures do you most despise? Too many to recall, nameless men I’ve killed for crimes against humanity.

·  What event in military history do you most admire? Classified.

·  What reform do you most admire? The Homeland Security terrorist mandates.

·  What natural gift would you most like to possess? Toss-up: the ability to read women’s minds… or special vision that identified who was a terrorist and who was an ordinary civilian.

·  How would you like to die? With my boots on.

·  What is your present state of mind? My shelves are calling me… they need to be sanded.

·  To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Heh, my taste for younger women, I guess I’m a dirty old bastard.

·  What is your motto? Air Force Spec Ops motto: First There

·   What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? SERE training… simulates being captured by terrorists, they use your darkest weakness against you to break you and everyone breaks… it’s only a matter of time.

So, what did this tell me about Vaughn that I didn't already know? It gave me things to put into his history, stuff that may never come out in the books, but help me to identify the major themes in his life. It was easy to answer his questions. It was easy to hear his tone and the cadence of his voice when he spoke. Little exercises like this can only help to breathe more life into your characters. If it's not easy then maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and really look at who your character is. Maybe the questions you can't answer are the aspects of that character that need to be examined and filled in. Look closely at them, peer into their darkest secrets; they will tell you what they need.

Happy crafting!
~Indigo Grace

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lucky Thirteen

Dr. Remy Hadley aka Thirteen, House, MD

Season Four of House brought a new cast of characters to the show. For the first three seasons, House had a team of young doctors on fellowship, but with his obnoxious and demeaning ways, he alienated them and they all left, leaving him without a team. He tried to do it without a team, claiming he didn’t need them, but he couldn’t. He needed them for his brainstorming process, at the very least to give him ideas that he could shoot down So the boss forced him to hire actual people. Enter the twenty candidates for the job – in a Survivor Style elimination tournament. May the best doctors win!

Well… one stuck out. For me anyway. And enough for him, because he hired her. She became known as Thirteen. Played by the incandescent beauty, Olivia Wilde. Oh what I wouldn’t give for those cheekbones and intense blue eyes. Sigh… What’s interesting about her name is that they never use it on the show. The character’s real name is Dr. Remy Hadley. The producers decided to go with"Thirteen" because that was her number in the contest. They decided her character was such a mystery that she would play it off to get a rise out of House. It stuck. And she has been called that ever since.

Only Olivia can make an x-ray shield look good.

So what classifies Thirteen as a badass. Well, she was intelligent, irreverent, and liked to be mysterious just to annoy House. She intrigued him and he paid attention. I think he even saw a bit of himself in her.  Of course, with all things he couldn’t puzzle out, he needed to know just what her deal was. He’d poke and prod and cajole, but she would have none of it. She’d tease him and agree with his assessments to distract him. She knew how to play his game and in some way she understood him, better than most. But House was never satisfied to be in the dark. One day, she dropped a file and irrationally freaked out about it. He saw it, knew that she was unnaturally agitated and he had a new bone to latch onto. He wouldn’t rest until he had his answer. So he did genetic testing on her. He got an answer and in a rare moment of compassion, he didn’t open it. What he did was pose a challenge to her. It made her face her greatest fears. It turned out that she had Huntington’s Chorea, a genetic autoimmune disease that debilitates the body into a tremorring, racking mess eventually leading to weakness and death. Huntington’s has no cure. Thirteen will die.

Thirteen finds out about her disease at the end of season four when she tests herself after facing mortality when another fellow doctor is killed in a bus accident. House calls her on her bullshit, telling her to stand up and find out, to stop playing games. She does and is faced with her worst fear. In the following season, we see that she has fallen into a rut of self-destructive behavior. She goes out most nights, parties and brings home women for indiscriminate flings. So not only is she a hot young doctor, she’s a hot young bi-sexual doctor. So much fodder for House to play with, and he doesn’t waste a second.
Testing herself for Huntington's Chorea.

At the hands of a gunman
But, it isn’t until the hospital clinic is taken over by a crazed patient with a gun that Thirteen really admits to herself that she doesn’t want to die. Faced with having to inject medicine into herself to pre-test the drugs given by House to the gun-wielding patient, she breaks down and confesses that she wants to live. He lets her go, because that’s all he ever wanted too. She agrees to attend these drug trials for Huntington’s that Foreman, the neurologist on the team, suggested to her some weeks ago.  She agrees and in the very special Christmas episode, begins a relationship with Foreman. Foreman’s a man, and African-American. So not only is she flip-flopping which side of the fence she’s playing on, but she’s going bi-racial as well. You go girl! Break all the rules. You’re dying, who cares. We later find out, of course, that the drug trials don’t work, she almost dies because of that, and then is saved by her fellow teammates .

Her relationship with Foreman never got the spark going that it should have. Personally, I didn’t get it other than to give Foreman some scrap of humanity. I never felt that spark between them that ignited like an inferno between her and House. Yeah, House is twenty-five years too old for her, because Olivia Wilde was young when she came to the show, but that didn’t stop the flames from burning up the screen when the two interacted. I think if she had been a little bit older they might have gone for it. They taunted each other, snarked at each other, had eye sex a few times that made my palms sweat. It was sexy, but alas… nothing ever came of it.

See, she can even tote a gun.
What did develop was a strange understanding between the House and Thirteen. She respected House for his genius and his take-no-prisoners attitude. She enjoyed what they did because it made a difference. If she was only to be on the planet for a short time, she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s why she finally came back after House went nuts and the team was disbanded while he was in the mental hospital. Of course, by this point, Hollywood recognized what a gorgeous and talented woman Olivia Wilde is and her movie career took off. Tron, The Change Up, In Time and Cowboys and Aliens demanded too much of her time. Thirteen was out. She traveled at first, to find herself. Then wound up in jail ironically for assisted suicide of her brother – who we never knew about and who also had Huntington’s. House picks her up the day she’s released from jail to take her to a potato gun contest he needs to win. Apparently, she had spud gun experience from a middle school science fair. The length to which House will dig into people’s past is extraordinary. However, he didn’t know about the brother which was a beautiful shock when she finally tells him in a fit of rage. She cuts him to the bone with the venomous words she spews about his not being able to feel anything for anyone but himself. She always had that ability to call him on his bullshit too. They share a lovely moment in the car when he drops her at home after their adventure. He tells her that he will kill her when it’s time. Of course he makes a joke about finding a bat in the back of the car right now, but she simply smiles at him in understanding, touched by the original sincerity in his words. They hold eye contact, like they were always so perfect at, and then the moment is gone.

Then she left again when it was House’s turn to go to jail, which I can’t even discuss because it was so over the top and I believe a cop out on the writers’ part. Grrr. We find Thirteen a year later with a girlfriend she loves who she wants to spend the remaining years of her life with, happily doing the things on her bucket list. And rightfully so, she’s earned that right. When House manipulates her to come back, he then realizes he was wrong to do so and in another act of compassion, which she seems to bring out in him, he fires her so she won’t feel guilty about leaving. She smirks at him and tells him that he’s saving her. She knows, because she knows him. He knows, but won’t admit it. There’s another exquisite moment between them where they hold each other’s eyes before she walks away.

House is ending in two weeks after eight years. Six amazing ones, and two not so much. But, in all fairness, I lost my desire to follow after Thirteen left, I think. She was a perfect foil to House, she added sexiness and the idea that hot chicks have brains too. I loved that she could stand up to House and not care. While his character was taken over the top, hers was just hitting her stride. Of course, I’m interested to see how she will play into the final episodes. I will be watching those. Afterwards, I will have my memories of their amazing eye sex, snarky dialogue and witty banter. She may never have been his partner, but she sure gave him a run for his money while she was there. 

She's been my girl crush for the last four years. Love Thirteen. She wouldn't have been half as cool if she wasn't portrayed by Olivia Wilde.

Embrace the luck of the draw, go with your inner Thirteen.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jillian's Proust Questionnaire

Jillian Craig, ex-CIA agent, burned spy

I made a cardinal mistake when I first started writing the Overwatch series a year and a half ago. My lead female, suposed badass heroine, former CIA agent and munitions expert, Jillian Craig, was tragically boring.

I had no idea who Jillian Craig really was!

Sure, when I started, I had a glimmer, an idea of who/what I wanted but I really didn't know her. Everything that came out on the page felt hollow. She had no drive or motivations. She was going through the motions. And I hated her. Because I had no reason to like her. Or root for her. She was a badass shell with no soul. Who the hell wants to read about that?!

One day, I had a flash of inspiration. Not sure where it came from, but it was a cool, blue miracle. I decided that she needed to be likably unlikable. She needed to be a little vain, sleep around with rich Mediterranean men, and have PTSD because she did something REALLY bad that got her burned from the CIA. Oh, and she has an unquenchable shoe obsession.

A friend of mine had done a Proust-like questionnaire for her characters in her current WIP. Ding, ding... I decided to do one for Jillian... and then for David.

The Proust Questionnaire is a nineteenth century personality test developed by French novelist and essay writer, Marcel Proust. They didn't have a Cosmo Quiz back then to figure out what their thoughts and feelings were about life, so Proust made his own. It has stood the test of time and is still used today. My personal favorite is the slimmed down version on Inside the Actor's Studio that James Lipton asks his guests at the end of the interview. My favorite word in the English language is Fuck. It can be verb, noun, adjective, adverb etc... Again I digress...

So. This is Jillian's questionnaire:

·  Your most marked characteristic? I can be selfish and self-indulgent.

·  The quality you most like in a man? Loyalty, but if we’re talking just sex? Then tall, dark, rich and Mediterranean - French, Italian, Spanish, Greek - take your pick.

·  The quality you most like in a woman? I don’t have many women friends, I do much better with men.

·  What do you most value in your friends? Comfort.

·  What is your principle defect? That I’m searching for love and acceptance, serious Daddy issues.

·  What is your favorite occupation(way to spend time)? Shopping for shoes… it’s a pacifier/addiction. In that case, so is sex.

·  What is your dream of happiness? To be loved for who I am, evil parts and all.

·  What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? To never had had the opportunity to get to know my father again, even though I hate him for abandoning my mother and me.

·  What would you like to be? Sometimes, anyone but me; or Katherine Hepburn, she was a ballsy woman.

·  In what country would you like to live? France, Italy, Spain, seeing a trend here?

·  What is your favorite color? Pink, don’t tell anyone.

·  What is your favorite flower? The little blue flowers on the side of the road, ironically they’re weeds.

·  What is your favorite bird? Birds annoy me.

·  Who are your favorite prose writers? It’s shameful… I don’t have the patience to read.

·  Who are your favorite poets? Same as above.

·  Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Han Solo, hot and rakish, boyish smirk with a swagger and a sense of humor. Reminds me a little of someone I know.

·  Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Wow, I really need to hand in my feminist membership card… is it wrong to not be able to think of a single one?

·  Who are your favorite composers? Once I heard David listen to Turandot, it freakin' made me cry. I think I was premenstrual.

·  Who are your favorite painters? A saw little painting done by a street vendor once in Cairo, simple and elegant, but I couldn’t buy it because I was undercover.

·  Who are your heroes in real life? Colonel Vaughn and the guys on my team.

·  Who are your favorite heroines of history? Women of the Isreali army, those women are fearless.

·  What are your favorite names? Fifi LaFlame, its has a je ne sais qua…

·  What is it you most dislike? Men who abuse women and children.

·  What historical figures do you most despise? Hitler, Hussein, Quadafi

·  What event in military history do you most admire? When women were given the right to fly in combat missions.

·  What reform do you most admire? Women who are standing up against female circumcision in Africa.

·  What natural gift would you most like to possess? The ability to lift a man over my shoulder.

·  How would you like to die? Saving someone’s life.

·  What is your present state of mind? I’m bored.

·  To what faults do you feel most indulgent? My weakness for shoes.

·  What is your motto? When sad, buy shoes.

After doing this, with my new knowledge of the PTSD and the tendency toward self-indulgence, the answers came out fast. She became more well-rounded. She had depth. I finally felt like I had an idea of who this woman was. And the story grew in richness because of it.

If you're struggling with who your character is personality wise, try this. And don't be afraid to go to a place that you think people might not like. People have flaws and weaknesses and do bad things, sometimes with good intentions. Badass females have these in spades.

Go forth and question!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Goodbye Mary Shannon

Goodbye: US Marshal, Mary Shannon

********SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn’t seen the final episode of In Plain Sight********

It is a bittersweet ending for me and my connection to this amazing show. There is something to be said about going out on top. You haven’t fallen back on your overused mechanisms. You haven’t become trite or boring. You haven’t gone three hundred and sixty degrees over the top like a lot of shows that break ground with interesting characters. When you go out at the top of your game, you’ve hit your stride and are coasting along in your glory. You’ve established a fan base, people who get your show and its intentions and you’ve been able to develop characters to the most interesting. That’s exactly where In Plain Sight has decided to takes its bow.

As I’ve discuss before in my post Queen Badass: US Marshal Mary Shannon.  Check it out here: 

Mary Shannon is a woman with many foibles that give her layers of interest that female characters have lacked in previous generations. She is no Mary Sue: a perfect heroine with skills to tackle anything that comes her way. Her weaknesses make her strong. Her vulnerabilities give her conviction, even though misguided at times. Those vulnerabilities become exposed and breathe true, vital air in the last three episodes of the series. We see James Shannon return thirty years after leaving his daughter on the front lawn with her baby sister in the playpen and her mother sleeping off a hangover in the house. We see Mary holding true to her promise that if she ever set eyes on him again, she would arrest him. Her father shows up at her door and she slaps the cuffs on him – her inner little girl shocked at seeing her daddy there again, her inner woman enraged that he had the balls to come back now after all this time and her inner protector – her marshal side – winning over and doing what needs to be done.

What unfolds is an appropriate handling of the situation. Dad was a criminal, for years on the run, as we find out to protect his family from the criminals he associated with. He’s working one last angle to make sure that no harm will ever come to them. He has cancer – he’s dying and like every good addict/criminal/ or ne’er do well, he’s come to make amends. Mary’s angry, frustrated and bitter. She has every right. But she doesn’t let it consume her. She doesn’t go on a rampage, well she does rage in her endearing Mary way, but that’s not what I meant. She works within the confines of the law she upholds. Of course there is a scene where she eludes the FBI tail that is placed on her house because the dipshit agent in charge, who had been a thorn in her side in the first season, believes that she is aiding her father in his plot. The truth is that she knows this agent is incompetent and that they’ll never find James Shannon. So she goes after him for herself. That is, after all, what marshal’s do – the hunt down fugitives. Through out the course of this, and with some honest talk from Marshall – the best friend a girl could ever have, apparently – she comes to some kind of tacit understanding of who her father really was. While the ancient wound is opened and seeping, she is able to come to terms with the Why. Not that it will ever make it right and she will magically transform to a loving trusting human being, but it provides a closure for her on a story that felt like would never be resolved. Even Jinx her mother, got to say her peace to him, and he her for leaving them at their weakest. The ghosts have been purged. And when James is shot and dies in the hospital, it’s a shock to Mary because I think she wanted just a little more time.

The final episodes ties up the lose ends of whether or not the Albuquerque WITSEC office will close, what happens to Brandi and Jinx, and what exactly is this relationship between Mary and Marshall. Brandi shows up pregnant and sober, matured and ready to tackle motherhood because she admires Mary’s fearlessness to do the same thing. It makes Mary see her sister as an equal now, not someone who needs to be lifted up and taken care of. Jinx stands up to Mary and tells her to get over it – to stop wearing her 'Daddy left me mantle' like a twenty-foot brick wall. She is shocked that her mother had such conviction, but reflects back to when Marshall told her that life was messy and that messy might be what she needs. Jinx has grown too and is able to stand on her own two feet now as well, having embraced her sobriety and feeling strong with in it. Stan, the ever-present rock of the office, has found love in his tango instructor played adorably by a well-aged and beautiful Tia Carrere. He is moving on to be the Deputy Director in DC. Kudos to you Stan. And our dear Marshall Mann is promoted to chief.

But what about Marshall? He’s loved with Mary since day one. We’ve seen how much he cares for her, how he truly understands her and how the thought of losing her tears at his heart. He recognizes that she is the other half of him – his best friend, his partner and the woman who takes precedence above all others. But he also understands that he isn’t in love with Mary because it can’t ever be like that for them. He is her rock and her tether in the storm. She has learned from him that not all men leave. I believe that Mary loves Marshall equally as much. Theirs is a symbiosis, where one can’t really function without the other. In the end, Marshall begs for her to set him free. He wants to be happy, to be able to love Abigail, the cute, perky genuine police detective who is willing to let him go figure out what Mary really means to him. Marshall only ever want to protect Mary. He wants to know that Mary will be strong enough on her own so he can move forward. Mary, who has been through so much over the past few weeks, doesn’t freak out, doesn’t fight, doesn’t try to hold on with her sarcasm and snarky attitude. What she does is gracefully take a step aside because she only wants him to be happy. She admits that she likes Abigail, that she is good for him. And she knows that Marshall will still always be there if she needs him. He is her soulmate in the purest sense of the term. And while I’ve hoped and wished that these two would end up together, I am pleased with how it worked out. It places value on the true friendship between a man and a woman and it honors each individual’s personality and needs. They didn’t go for the expected or the cliché. And that’s what good writing does.

So yes, I am sad to see such a character driven adventure end. But I am so glad that it ended in such a classy way. I cherish everything that this series has taught me as a writer. I go back to what is important to me in character development and relationships. I look to this amazing show and Mary Shannon as the mold. She is what I want to write. She is the strength and courage and the way I want to portray women. Thank you Mary, and thank you In Plain Sight for giving me a pinnacle to emulate.

~Indigo Grace

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My WIP: The Overwatch Series

My WIP: The Overwatch Series.

In my first post for this blog, I said that it would serve two purposes. One, would be to explore the amazing badass female characters of television, movies and video games. Two, would be to promote my own works of fiction. My current WIP, (work in progress for those non-writers), is a five book series about Special Operations soldiers trying to balance a personal life with their dangerous job.

One of my favorite themes is to watch extraordinary people do mundane things. My favorite parts of shows like House, Hawaii 50, In Plain Sight and Bones are the times when they’re at home or interacting on a personal, private level. Sure they run around chasing bad guys, shooting guns, or saving lives, but they can barely maintain a normal existence. How do they food shop, have clean clothes, sustain friendships? What do they do on the weekends or when they need to go see their parents? Heroes are people too. They eat, breathe, sleep, need clothes and get colds. Of course all of that stuff in general life is boring as shit, but when a hero does it or tries to get stuff accomplished like real people, it seems so much more interesting. To me anyway. Is that all the five books are about? No, absolutely not. It’s a love story between two badass people whose lives are dedicated to saving the world. It’s a romance novel with a little kicking some terrorist butt thrown in for flavor.

Our hero, Colonel David Vaughn: US Air Force Special Operations, commands a top-secret black ops counter terrorism taskforce under direct orders from the President. The team is overseen by General Burt Cole, David’s mentor and friend. David’s second in command is Navy SEAL, Commander Marcus Anderson. Air Force Captain Robert “Bobby D” De Santis is the team medic. The team lost their fourth member Ilsa Schindler, a seductive German operative, and Vaughn’s lover, during a botched mission eight months ago. Things went pear-shaped when she betrayed them and subsequently died. No one has been able to fit the bill since.

Enter our badass heroine. Jillian Craig doesn’t want to go back to work. The Agency burned her. The ‘Life’ burned her out. Only problem is, she’s bored. Shoes, parties and hunky rich men keep her occupied – until her father, the General, and his colonel show up looking to drag her back into the game. She misses blowing things up. What could she say – she's a munitions expert and always had a wild streak. But a funny thing happens when the fireball and the loud booms rock the earth – she shakes like a little lap dog. It could only mean one thing – PTSD.

The last thing Jillian expected was to find an ally in her new boss. He might have been the most unlikely therapist she’s ever met, but his idea to teach her how to build custom cabinetry to focus her thoughts is an offer she can’t refuse. He was damn good at it and sexy to boot. How bad could it be spending all that time with him? It’s a mutual contract - he needs her sane and she needs someone to rely on.

When Jillian gets pulled back into Ireland at the behest of her father to stop a gunrunner dealing illegal weapons in Afghanistan, will she be able to overcome her issues and get the job done? Will Vaughn be able to trust her with their lives? Or will it end up like Ilsa?

Stay tuned to this Bat-channel for info and excerpts from Proving Ground, Book 1 in the Overwatch Series.