A huge thank you to Penny for having me here today!
I’m here today to promote War, the third book in my paranormal fantasy/action adventure Lash series.
IN THE LASH ZONE
My Lash series is written in first person. To continue the saga and write the next installment, I must figuratively become him, what could be called being “In the Lash Zone.”
This is not an easy process. Lash is a male weresnake assassin, a diabolical figure that has tortured, raped, and murdered more than his share of people. While he is remorseful about the heinous things he’s done in the past, he clearly will kill again in the future, likely multiple times. To some readers, my character is so awful that they abhor him. Others see him as a kind of hero striving to redeem himself against all the horrors that have turned him into the monster that he is. Being inside his head, to know the kind of thoughts he would think, the kinds of feelings he would have, and how he would act in a given situation, is an absolute necessity. But it’s also often an uncomfortable one, as my character often does things I would not personally do in his place, due to his lack of morals outside her very short list of what is right and wrong and his very tolerant conscience.
Almost all readers and reviewers agree that his series is “captivating,” and “addictive,” even when some are very vocal that what my antihero does in some of the Lash books crosses lines. It’s no easy work to make a protagonist out of someone who should rightly be a villain. The key lies in getting the reader to identify with the character. Most villains are sadly one-dimensional “bad guys” that are evil for the sake of greed, or lust, or general badness and they have no redeeming qualities at all. They are banal in their evil, or at best, they are a character the reader loves to hate and see righteously punished at the tale’s end. Lash’s key difference is that his evil is far more complex, and rooted in his past, mostly from his horrifying childhood of poverty and privation, includes discrimination, violent acts, and starvation. Lash is a product of his environment, with values warped by all he has gone through. Yet Lash continually strives to be a better man, to fight against his own dark tendencies and emerge the victor.
The events of the Lash series are action oriented, as it’s an action series. Yet spaced now and again in all that action are truly sweet moments that show the man Lash could be, if only he’d made better choices. It also hasn’t helped Lash’s moral code that tragedy infects his life like a determined cancer, eating away at the few happy periods he enjoys. That is also a key variance differentiating him from other villains; Lash knows what good is, and the right thing to do when he faces a choice. But he doesn’t always choose that road, because either his hand is forced, or he gives into his own dark desires out of anger and despair. As such, Lash’s evolution is one of the most enjoyable journeys I’ve had the good fortune to write, even with the depths he sometimes descends to in his moments of rage and pain.
Come along for the journey, dear readers. I guarantee you an interesting ride.
Blurb from War: Weresnake Lash journeys to Europe on the eve of war, desperately searching for not only his nephew, but also his former lover Nancy. Leveraged into service to Germany by the malicious German werecougar Theodor von Kessel, Lash befriends fellow soldier and weresnake Dieter, even as he secures safety for Nancy. When Theodor divulges The German Final Solution and the part they are destined to play in it, Dieter and Nancy attempt escape to England while Lash orchestrates distraction. Horrified to learn upon his escape that Nancy and Dieter were captured, Lash returns to Europe in a second rescue, banding with another weresnake called Nails and his motley crew of various weremen to free Dieter and Nancy from the camps where they are imprisoned. Caught by demons in an ambush, Lash is imprisoned in a death camp, but breaks free with Dieter in time to join the American Forces near D-day. Resolute, Dieter and Lash fight onwards with Allied forces to Germany itself, their goals to find Nancy, kill Theodor, and survive the final bloody days of World War II.
I’d not thought a lot about fighting beyond killing my enemy, or saving my ass. I’d trusted to my poison, my skill and training, my mystical impermeable shield against magical attack, and my ability to heal to win my battles. The rest had been luck, or someone else’s planning.
Now I was heading into war, something I’d never known, not on this scale. I could use all the help I could get.
The ocean journey didn’t take long in those days, and the trip was uneventful, mostly because that was before U-boats prowled the Atlantic waves. The Bremen was a German boat, but it docked in England instead of Germany. Before the Bremen took me to my destination of London, it stopped at a number of ports all down the French coast, the Spanish coast, and even Algiers on the African coast. By the time I landed, Poland had been conquered by Germany, and they’d moved onto Denmark and Norway. Worse, the Nazis were poised to invade France.
That first night I spent sipping a drink in a dark English pub, trying to think of what to do. My initial plan had been to go to Italy directly, and find out from there where Nancy was. But in the long hours of my trip here, I’d decided Titus had the better idea. Italy was a place to be avoided as much as Germany itself. If Jews were being deported from Germany and Italy, it was better not to waste time going to one place they were certain not to be.
That left the question of where the Jews were being sent. No one seemed to know, at least that was the talk I’d overheard tonight. Until I found that out, there was no use wasting time traveling. Europe was too big a place and war on the mainland was imminent.
On the other side of the ocean, this war had seemed like something that couldn’t touch me. Here it could do more than touch me, it could blow me to pieces.
Barnes and Noble.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/war-tara-fox-hall/1116373328
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Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/index.html
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A printed copy of War will be given away to one lucky commenter! Just in time for Christmas! Be sure and leave your email address!