Saturday, January 8, 2011

Heroes and Choices

posted by Nancy

Today we welcome back Jennifer St. Giles. With her comes her new alter ego, J. L. Saint. They're launching a series with plenty of boom and lots of angst. Writing this series involved difficult choices for both Jennifer and her hero, and she's here to tell us about them. Welcome, Jennifer!

Choice is a word that contains a treasure trove of meanings and today I’m going to explore two of them because so much about my newest release, Collateral Damage, Silent Warrior Series Book I, involves aspects of choice, in both the writing of the book and within the pages of the story itself. In fact, it can be said that even the act of writing a story, of making a story exciting and well worth reading, is all about the choices an author makes. LOL. I could likely go on and on about it, but that would be a book in itself.

Firstly, I had no choice but to write Collateral Damage. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, I wrote the proposal for this book back in 2000. It was a “what if” concept that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. What if someone had a large-scale bio-friendly answer to our energy crisis? What if they set out to destroy the oil market? How much power could they gain? How easily could they manipulate the political factions in the world in order to accomplish what they wanted? I sent the proposal out and waited.

Then in 2001 9/11 happened and no one would touch the book, especially from a romance writer. The book sat on the shelf and yelled at me for nine years as I wrote gothic historical murder mysteries and a contemporary paranormal werewolf series.

With every world event that unfolded from 2001 to 2009 Collateral Damage kept yelling louder and louder, Write Me! Write Me! Write Me! So, for my own sanity, when the downturn in the publishing market came and I received an unexpected break, I had no other choice but to finally write Collateral Damage. And I was very lucky to have Samhain Publishing choose to take a chance on a book that other publishers said there was no market for.

Secondly, is the concept that life is all about the choices we make, and yes, sometimes the choices made by those closest to us. The good ones and bad ones all mesh together to weave the fabric of our lives. But more importantly, the choices that we make, regardless of what others choose, determine the direction in which our lives will flow.

One of the themes of Collateral Damage, centers around the realization that we all suffer collateral damage from the choices made by others in our lives. What defines us, what shapes our future, is how we chose to react to that damage and what choices we make from that point on. Both the hero, Jack, and the heroine, Lauren, are victims of collateral damage in this book in a multitude of ways and the story of how they overcome this positively and unite is a thrill ride of action peppered with hot passion.

I know that over the past couple of years there has been collateral damage in my own life and in the lives of those I love. I have been faced with difficult choices and have had to face the harsh reality of choices others have made. Finding the right path through problems and the courage to walk it isn’t easy. This is why I love reading good books.

What? What does reading have to do with life’s problems? When I read about hero and heroines overcoming what sometimes seem to be impossible odds, when I read about their pain and healing, I am inspired in my own life to keep moving in a positive direction. To keep believing in the good. To keep believing in the power of love. Too many years ago to count, this is why I put my pen to the page and began writing stories. So, I invite you this New Year to reflect upon the choices you’ve made, measure their worth, and determine to make every choice in 2011 a wise one.

Damn the consequences, full speed ahead, is injured soldier, Jack Hunter’s, only choice when the American Businessman he killed two weeks ago on a failed mission in Lebanon shows up in the news as having been murdered just yesterday in Brazil.

The story he’s being told doesn’t mesh with the bits and pieces he remembers, and he is determined to uncover the truth. But he gets more than he can handle when he hunts down the businessman’s widow.

First, Lauren Collins’s sex appeal sucker punches Jack then the assassin after her and her twin sons comes close to succeeding. Jack puts everything on the line to save Lauren and the son’s of the man he killed, but loses the one thing he didn’t know he could—his heart.

Meet Jack “DT” Hunter…

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death...

Pink Floyd's "Time" hammered through Sergeant First Class Jack Hunter's brain as he tightened his grip on the treadmill and ran harder, his heart pounding, his lungs burning. Rage tinged with fear made for a potent Power Bar that fueled his drive. Sweat poured from his brow and his body screamed for relief, but he couldn't stop. Not yet. His vision dimmed, and President Anderson's address on the overhead TV calling for a swift but rational retaliation to al-Qaeda's latest attack became nothing but a blur in his mind.

Life often hinged on the details, those seemingly insignificant microscopic events that most people trampled over obliviously. He'd trained to notice the details and to remember them. Yet no matter how hard he tried, his memory of the mission in Lebanon remained a kaleidoscope of combat images and one man's mocking blue eyes...Jack clenched his teeth against the rising pain inside him. He took being team leader to heart both on and off the battlefield. The mission and his men were his responsibility. Rico, Pecos and Neil were his Delta brothers, and it killed him that he could only remember bits and pieces of what happened.

They're here, DT. They're alive! Will Taylor's-aka Pecos-distorted voice echoed in Jack's mind, sucking him down a long tunnel of fragmented memories... Suddenly Jack's head jerked back as his headphones were snatched off and Lt. Col. Roger Weston, his Delta Team commander, whom the teams called Commander Weston because anything less didn't fit his hard-edged charisma, got in his face. "Son of a bitch, DT. Are you trying to kill yourself?"


Go forth, choose wisely, and Enjoy!

J.L. Saint aka Jennifer St. Giles

Read the full excerpt at and for a chance to win an ARC email to how you would choose for Lauren and Jack to meet each other for the first time.

For more about Jennifer and J. L. Saint, visit her website.

Who is your favorite soldier hero? What choices have you seen romance heroes and heroines make that were particularly heart-wrenching? What's your favorite book or movie about a survivor?


Laurie Faelan said...

My favorite soldier heroes have to be Suzanne Brockmann's Navy Seal teams. It's really hard to pick just one but I think Stan is my favorite.

Hmmm... heartwrenching choices - I'm thinking when the choice comes down to a child or a newfound love and the heroine gives up her chance at love for the child's sake. Of course later, she finds out she can have both. ;)

You're really making me think tonight. The book that stands out in my mind is Anna Campbell's Captive of Sin. The hero, Sir Gideon Trevithick is definitely a survivor.

Love your excerpt! Collateral Damage sounds wonderful!

Helen said...

Congrats Laurie have fun with him


This book sounds so good I have been reading about it around the net and it is one that I am sure I will enjoy very much. Congrats on finally getting it released.

I have really enjoyed Stephanie Laurens Black Cobra series and the heros are all ex soldiers but I can't choose between the 4 of them LOL.

Lots where the hero or heroine deciedes to forgo their true love to save a member of the family but of course a romance always has a HEA so I know they will end up together but the way they go about it can be very emotional at times.

I have to agree with Laurie Gideon is one of the best as is Matthew from Anna's Untouched as well.

Thanks Nancy for inviting Jennifer along today.

Have Fun

barb said...

congrats Laurie enjoy GR

I enjoyed Stephanie Laurens Bastion club but can't pick which one I like best LOL
Congratulations on getting your book published Jennifer..... you were very patient

Gillian Layne said...

Wow, what a concept. I love it! Congratulations on your book finding a home.

I really enjoy Addison Fox's astrological warriors. They are very powerful.

PJ said...

Hi Jennifer! Congrats again on the release of Collateral Damage. As you already know, I loved this book (read it in one wonderful gulp)! I'm so glad you never gave up on it.

I read that you're working on the second book in the series. Can you share any info with us on that book? What it's about or when it might be out? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it stars my favorite secondary couple from Collateral Damage

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome back Jennifer! The book sounds awesome - will definitely check it out.

Like Laurie, I'm a huge fan of Suz's Navy SEALs. I also adore Cathy Mann's wingmen and flyboys by Cindy Dees and Merline Lovelace. Am just starting Sandra Hill's SEALs so will let you know how that goes.

I think the most heart-wrenching choices are the ones where a H/h is giving up on a dream for the sake of the one they love (or for a parent/child/sibling/BFF) or has to make a devil's choice between two awful options.

Interestingly, the wonderfully gripping Karen Rose book I'm reading - Silent Scream - starts with a bad/tough choice and goes from there!

Jennifer St. Giles said...

Wow, good morning ladies. All of you are going strong. I've barely one eye open and I'm going to stumble down the stair for a cup of tea. I love Suzanne Brockmann Laurie, but w ill have to check out Anna Campbell.

Helen, I will have to check out Stephanie Laurens too. I met her at RWA and loved her speech.

Thank you Barb and Gillian.

LOL PJ. Now that you've cornered me. Book 2 in the Silent Warrior Series, which I have titled TACTICAL DECEPTION is Mari and Roger's story. And Lets just say, Roger puts everything on the line to save Mari and her unborn child but between Mari's radical family, a plot to assassinate the President, and an extremist out to eliminate them that might not be enough, but then Mari might have a surprise of her own to turn the tide.
So there you have it. LOL We will see if my editor will go for the whole enchilada or not, but thats the plan at this point.

PJ said...

YAY! I was so hoping it would be Mari and Roger's story. Sounds like another gripping, "keep PJ up way past her bedtime" book!

I'll second Stephanie Laurens' Black Cobra series (loved it!) and Anna Campbell's Captive of Sin. Gideon is one of my favorite heroes ever.

VAnna, you're in for some fun times with Sandra Hill's SEALS!

Nancy said...

Laurie, congrats on the bird!

I love Brockmann's SEALs, too. In fact, I have a general weakness for military heroes.

One of the things that draws me to Anna Campbell's books is the way she torments her characters and then gives them a payoff worthy of what they've been through. Captive of Sin, I think, is a great example of that.

Nancy said...

Helen, I haven't read the Black Cobras, but maybe I should check them out. Is there a particular book where the hero or heroine has to make that choice?

Nancy said...

Barb, another Stephanie Laurens series? I'll have to look at those, too.

Nancy said...

Hi, Gillian--Addison's Zodiac warriors are very tough, aren't they?

Nancy said...

Hi, PJ--Thanks for stopping by!

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--I love Cindy Dees' Medusas, and I agree with you about Cathy Mann. She writes fabulous warriors.

Nancy said...

Jennifer, Book 2 sounds great!

Nancy said...

PJ, Gideon really is a great hero, isn't he? I think you're more current in your reading than I am. I'm hoping to catch up some this year.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Jennifer! Great backstory on what inspired you to write Collateral Damage.

The commenters so far have named fabulous writers (some connected to the military) with fabulous heroes. But my favorite remains from the first romance book I read - Cathy Maxwell's The Marriage Contract. The hero,
Aiden Black, the Earl of Tiebauld, turns his back on English society to help the Scottish clans in the aftermath of the Culloden defeat.

Since I live on Pearl Harbor, I am spoiled by interacting daily with heroes. It makes reading romance that much more fun ... because all is well with the world.

Nancy said...

Kim, the Maxwell book sounds fascinating.

I like the way you put that, "interacting daily with heroes."

Jennifer St. Giles said...

LOL daily interaction with heroes Hawaiian style sounds extremely interesting. And while we are on the subject. I love Hawaii Five 0, dream vacation would be to go there tour the islands and see the show being filmed.
great suggestions in reading choices and in hero angst. I love it. Anna, Kim, Nancy
I hope to keep you up two nights PJ. To read it once and then to read it again because you can't help it.
I've procrastinated on writing the dreaded synopsis as long as I can today.
have swept, mopped, taken down christmas tree, done laundry and now I have to write I will be back later.
thank you everyone again for such a warm welcome.

Andrea said...

*waving* Just popping in to say hello, Jenni!! Between your guest blogs and PJ's review over at TRD, I can't wait to read Jack and Lauren's story! :)

jo robertson said...

Great blog, Jennifer, and welcome back to the Bandita Lair. Thanks for inviting her, Nancy, and whoa, who got the rooster today. Was that you, Laurie??

I'm eager to try your Silent Warrior series, Jennifer. While I don't generally like military-type stories, I like the premise of Collateral Damage.

What a wonderful opportunity you had to finally pen a story that kept nagging at you!

And isn't it true how often the paths of our lives are altered, sometimes drastically, by the events, big or small, around us?

I do like boom-boom movies, however. I guess I'm a 14-yo boy at heart. And one of my favorite heroes is Bruce Willis LOL.

Helen said...


I too have been lucky enough to hear Stephanie Laurens speak and I have read all of her books and they are so good.

I think you will find all of the heros will put themselves in danger to save the heroine and this series is filled with lots of danger and adventure

Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Jennifer! The new book sounds fabulous! Nancy, you bring us such interesting guests! I love books with such high stakes!

Hey, Laurie, aren't you lovely mentioning old Gid? THANK YOU! And Helen, too! Mwah! Oh, and PJ! Goodness, this is all a lot of niceness for a girl to take in early on a rainy Sunday morning. By the way, it's STILL pouring here. I don't think I'm ever going to see a blue sky again!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, thank you so much! Yeah, as Jennifer knows, tormenting your characters can be SUCH FUN!!!

Jennifer St. Giles said...

LOL Anna! Thank you for the warm welcome. Sorry it is raining. Lover your pictures from New Zealand right?
And too funny, I write a scene, read it and say this really sucks and it is because I wrote everything all wonderful and I have to go back and make the hero and heroine hurt. Conflict Conflict I have to bang it over my head all the time.

Waving back at you Andrea! So glad your hubby got the position close by.
Jo I too love the fast action boom boom movies. so you are not the only one.

And I am still procrastinating on that dreaded synopsis. Had to have a shower and then I was hungry and well, now I'm back to the computer and you can see I am really cracking the whip... ahem...

Nancy said...

Jennifer, I've enjoyed Hawaii 5-0 also. Unfortunately, it's opposite Castle, and we're not good about taping. I do a lot of back-and-forth.

Nancy said...

Andrea, hi! Glad you could pop in!

Nancy said...

Jo, I didn't realize you didn't go for military stories. I guess I assumed the boom fondness would carry over into that.

Nancy said...

Helen, if the series has heroes taking risk for heroines, with a lot of danger and adventure, I am so there!

When I'll get it actually read is another question, but you can't read it if you don't have it.

Are you getting bad rain and flooding?

Nancy said...

Anna, so sorry it's still raining. Our newscasts tend to be somewhat myopic here in the US, but I watch BBC America and periodically check UK newspapers, so I heard about the floods.

I hope that will stop soon.

As for character torment, it is excruciating to read, but it does make the payoff that much sweeter.

Helen said...


It is raining here in Sydney today as well but nowhere near what they are getting up in Queensland the flooding is terrible in parts of Queensland at the moment, one of my sisters lives up there and she said that in about 4 weeks they have had maybe a couple of days without rain. It really is devesating up there.

I would highly recomend The Blsck Cobra series although this series has people in it from her other two series The Cynsters and The Bastion Club but I am sure you could read these 4 without catching up on the other 2 series.

Have Fun

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jennifer! So glad to have you with us! Nancy, a wonderful guest, as alwasy. :>

ANd Laurie Faelan, you're in charge of the Golden Rooster today, I see. Grins. He's our virtual prize for the first poster of the day....I've not read the comments, so I'm sure someone's already explained that. Ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, old Gid, as you call him is one of your best tortured heroes, but nuthin' touches Matthew from Untouched for sheer, unmitigated "how-awful!" on his choices. YOu really put the poor old boy through the wringer!

I love military heroes, Jennifer, and so many of the old movies with military heroes. I'm fond of Elizabeth Moon's Serrano series and her choices as the heir to a family fortune or following her calling as a warrior.

Nancy, I love Addison Fox's Zodiac warriors. Totally cool.


Nancy said...

Helen, I'm glad your sister is safe. I hope the weather in Queensland will settle down soon.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, you do know there is or is going to be a new Paksenarrion book this year?

I like the Serranos, too.

Have you read Bujold yet? Huh? Huh?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I don't know about a new Paks book, Nancy. :> Should look that up.

Gotta get edits done before I dive into Bujold. Grins.

Cassondra said...

Hi Jennifer,

This book sounds wonderful. Like so many readers, I came to love Brockmann's writing, and her SEALs are what convinced me I wanted to write romance. So I'd have to rank her men and women up there with my favorite warriors. I have two favorites--one is from an early book when she was still writing category. It was called "Prince Joe" and Joe is the hero. The other is Kenny from Out of Control It's impossible not to love the guy. He's such a sweetie that he falls for the McDonald's associate before she can even hand him his french fries. Her characters are complex, flawed people and awesome soldiers.

Hmmm...I'll have to think about the second part of the question.

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I have an old copy of Prince Joe, and I love it, too.

jo robertson said...

Nancy said, "Jo, I didn't realize you didn't go for military stories. I guess I assumed the boom fondness would carry over into that."

Maybe being raised as a military brat? I do enjoy the stories of loner-types who are EX-military and trying to readjust to the world. I think it's just if the military speakese is too detailed, my eyes roll back in my head LOL.

I enjoy the psychology of it all rather than the actual boom-boom.

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, Laurie, you got the GR !! Talk about dangerous heroes!

Wow, heart-wrenching decisions always make for a great hero or heroine!

Almost any hero by La Campbell falls into that category. The heroes and the heroines of her books have tough choices to make and they are all survivors of some sort.

Lord Ian MacKenzie in Jennifer Ashley's The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie is another hero who is a survivor and makes some tough decisions because he thinks he has to in order to protect his brother. Gotta love a hero like that!

Nancy said...

Jo wrote: Maybe being raised as a military brat?

Did I know this about you? I'm thinking not. My parents were out of the navy before I was born, so I didn't grow up around military types.

Nancy said...

Louisa, I think someone, maybe you, has mentioned Ian Mackenzie before. That sounds very familiar. And yes, Anna Campbell's heroes are always tormented.

I like that about her. :-)

Jennifer St. Giles said...

Thank you to all of the ladies for the warm welcome and all of the great reading suggestions. You have a great group and from all over the world too. I really appreciate you having me today. I hope everyone has a wonderful and uplifting year.

jo robertson said...

Oh, yes, Nancy, we moved around quite a bit until I was 16, Fort Sill, Oklahoma: Fort Knox, Kentucky; Germany -- Berlin, Nuremburg, Bamburg, 4 years all together; Ft. Lee, Virginia.

My dad used phrases like "police the house" and K.P. duty LOL.