Fantasy versus Truth by Leia Shaw, author of Destiny Bewitched
“Did you read that 15 Shades book?” my aunt whispered conspiratorially at Easter dinner.
Yes, I’m blogging about that. Sort of. You might think a post about 50 Shades is likened to beating a dead horse. I thought so too. But no, the horse is very much alive. In fact, it was on the radio last week. The topic, not the horse. Nobody knows what happened to the horse.
So why am I bringing it up? Well, I like to analyze things. Not scientifically of course – that’s too much work. But I do pay attention to human nature. And I have a thing for studying patterns and trends as it relates to my career. EL James has done something right. And when someone does something THAT right (meaning a million dollar empire and movie deal), I wanna know why and how so I can copy it. So here’s what I, analyzer extraordinaire who whips these posts together last minute and wouldn’t know real research if it dropped an anvil on my head (in the name of research), ascertained.
Women like a project.
We see someone hurting, we want to fix them. We see someone sick, we want to make them better. We see orphans on TV, we want to give them a hug and be their mommy forever. I have two adopted kids, you don’t have to tell me about wanting to heal the world.
Is it a woman thing – some deeply engrained mothering instinct that demands we fix broken people? Different from a man, who sees a broken table and immediately attaches his manliness to his ability to fix it – like his penis will magically fall off if he needs help.
I’ve seen women fall into this “If he just (enter character trait or action) he’d be perfect” trap too many times. We make the assumption that WE can be the person that finally makes the man see the light. We can turn the bad boy good. The commitment-phobe knuckle-down and propose. Hallelujah, the man has reached his full potential and it’s all because of this miracle-worker!
In 50 Shades we watch Christian Grey through Ana’s eyes. He’s a hurt, broken man, traumatized by a horrific early childhood, who just needs a good woman to understand and love him. The fact that he happens to be rich, handsome, and kinky only makes him more desirable. Imagine! I can heal this poor man while he buys me fancy jewelry and gives me the best sex of my life! How deeply satisfying that must feel. In more ways than one. No wonder women are going crazy for him.
In the real world, people rarely make dramatic changes. I believe everyone is a work in progress, but I also think it’s incredibly stupid to marry someone with the hope of changing them. If you don’t love them unconditionally and you can’t live with them exactly as they are right here and right now, you have no business getting married.
But we’re not talking about real life, are we? No. 50 Shades is an erotic work of fiction. Fantasy. And if in my fantasy, I want to turn hot, rich Christian into the perfect man, well, get the hell out of my way. It’s my fantasy life.
I know all about fantasy. Not only is Destiny Bewitched set almost entirely in the Underworld, where magic rules and nightmarish creatures stalk the land, but Geo, the hero, is the quintessential alpha man. Possessive, protective, self-confident, and hot as hell! He’s the ultimate fantasy. But unlike Christian, Geo isn’t a project that needs to be fixed. And Samantha has enough of her own problems to deal with someone else’s. A needy man isn’t a realistic partner. Especially when she’s forced to fight in the Underworld Games – a supernatural version of Gladiators – to rescue her younger sister. She needs someone that can stand by her side and sometimes even hold her up when her knees threaten to buckle. Here’s an example:
Her breath quickened and tears formed in her eyes. She looked back in a panic. “It’s so violent. My sister…oh God!”
He held her shoulders and gave her a shake. “Get control of yourself.”
She started to tremble and her eyes darted around, unfocused.
He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. “Stop this. You need to keep your head on straight if you want to save her.”
“You said your sister has no magic yet. They won’t put her in the fights. It’d be a slaughter and that doesn’t make for good betting. Most likely they’ve got her locked in a room somewhere waiting for your father to come for her.”
He paused and she nodded her understanding.
“Now, you won’t be helping her if you lose your head. We have to play the game until we find her. That means you have to take this competition seriously. They may make us fight this very night. People die here, Samantha.”
She blanched but he didn’t reassure her.
“I need you focused and at your best. Can you do that? Because if not, we’re turning right back around and going to the portal.” Fuck the blood oath. He’d find a way out of it.
“I can do it.” With her eyes, she pleaded. “Please.”
He released her shoulders and stepped back. “Alright. But I better not see you panic like that again. You’ll get us both killed.”
She nodded. “I won’t. I promise. I just…freaked out a little. It won’t happen again.”
Gods he wanted to clutch her to him. Every instinct he had screamed to get her out of there. He sighed deeply. “Good.”
A real man stands on his own two feet. Because if he can’t, how can those around him? And now I’ll leave you with this bit of wisdom. My experience with trying to heal the world has taught me one significant truth women tend to overlook. People aren’t like broken tables. They can’t always be fixed no matter how much you love and care for them. No matter how much time and attention you give them. Even when you think you have all the right pieces…sometimes they just can’t be made whole again.
So have a great time with your fantasy life. Heal those poor 50 shades of brokenness while being tied to the bed and pleasured for hours on end. But make sure, when it comes down to it, you know the difference between fantasy and truth.
About the author:
I began my writing journey while I was stranded at the airport waiting for my delayed flight. I browsed the Border’s kiosk and grew frustrated that I couldn’t find the “it factor” — the perfect combination of alpha male-ness, ass-kickery, strong females, magic, and sex.
Now I spend too much time in my head, plotting evil villains and the hot men (and women) who ruthlessly kill them. I think far too much about fae politics, dragon power games, and how fast werewolves can change forms. But writing my paranormal romance series has given me a productive place to express those dark places in my mind.
I live in New England with my husband and two kids. Though I will go to my grave denying it, my husband insists I would be thrilled if he suddenly sprouted fangs.
by Leia Shaw
Published June 22nd 2012
Deemed “trailer trash” by humans and the daughter of the most disgraceful family of witches and warlocks since the Puritan age, Samantha is used to fighting her own battles. When her younger sister is taken to the Underworld, Sam doesn’t hesitate to rescue her. To survive the harsh land, she makes a deal with a demon — the most dangerous of creatures in the realm. Even with those lustrous horns, Geo is as hot as the hell she’s stuck in. Fighting nasty beasts in a supernatural version of the gladiator games is easy compared to falling in love with a man who has no future to offer.
INT- Ends July 20th
The author will award a backlist eBook, and $25 Amazon or BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour! You can follow the tour here.