By Corrina Lawson On Nov 13 2012, 8:22 am
I love that my cover includes the 1967 Charger in the book. Alas, my brother never let me drive his Charger.
Phoenix Legacy is the second full length novel in my Phoenix Institute superhero series and the third story. While Luminous, my novella, explored the adventures of a couple of new characters, Legacy reunites the entire cast of Phoenix Rising along with a few new characters, including a new villain.
It’s all the fault of superhero comics.
Especially, I blame the quick pacing that a number of reviews have favorably mentioned on superhero comics. I love this review of Phoenix Legacy at Night Owl Reviews that makes it a top pick because “wonderfully entertaining rollercoaster read” is exactly what I wanted to write.
I grew up reading comics off the drug store spinner rack. Each one inevitably ended in a cliffhanger and then I had to beg my mother to allow me to haunt the store until next month’s issue came in. Sometimes, I never found the next issue. I searched for years for the end of a Justice League of America story about some mysterious guy saving all the JLA members from doom! ACK. (Today, I could look it up on Wikipedia but that’s not as much fun as reading the story…)
I think, as writers do, I subconsciously absorbed that pacing. I can tell when a story is slogging because I get the urge for explosions or gunshots or something similarly exciting. And, because I’m writing romance, I can now add kisses and what follows them to the list. Even more fun!
What can I say? I’m easily bored, I have little time to read, so I tend to favor stories that zip along in my reading and my writing. As Elmore Leonard famously said, I try not to write the parts people skip. Comic cliffhangers gave me a framework for that.
They also gave me the fun of writing superheroes. As I said in an earlier post, while some superheroes tend to feel angst about their powers, I wanted heroes who were comfortable with them. I also wanted a believable basis for these powers, so out went stuff like eye beams or energy blasts. Instead, all my characters have powers that are psychic based: telepathy, telekinesis, fire-starting, and whatever power I can imagine comes with the ability to mentally manipulate molecules.
Which brings me to the hero of Phoenix Legacy: Philip Drake.
He’s sort of a combination of Wolverine and the Equalizer. (Yes, I was thinking Hugh Jackman….)
Wolverine because Philip also possesses the power to heal himself of any injury via his psychic ability. The Equalizer because Philip is a former black ops CIA agent and all around scary guy who’s finding it a challenge to do the right thing after years of letting the ends justify the means. He’s done one thing he deems good in his life and that’s saving his foster daughter from some very bad guys.
Philip even made it to comics! Art by the awesome Cassandra James, published by Greyhaven Comics in their All Women’s issue.
So Philip is a complicated guy. He’s a killer but as the story begins, he’s trying to help out his grown foster daughter, Beth Nakamora, the heroine in Phoenix Rising.
Philip Drake pulled into the entrance of the bland suburban New Jersey condominium development just as many of his neighbors were leaving on their morning commute. Feeling perverse, he gunned the ’67 Charger, making more noise than necessary.
He might live here but he’d never be one of them.
He smiled as the Charger took the corner on a dime. Old, but not feeble. Like him. Though the car looked its age, standing out, not in style anymore. Unlike him. He had wanted to experiment with the limits of his newfound conscious healing ability. Instead, he’d de-aged his body to at least a decade younger. Days of trying to reverse the process had convinced him he was cursed to look like this for a long time. Maybe until he died, whenever that was.
He was too damn old and cynical to look under thirty. He’d never get his gray hair back. He would never grow old, either, at least not naturally. Still, given what he was, it was always possible someone might kill him in the meantime. That was a comforting thought.
Philip might be bummed he looks younger and hotter. I’m not terribly bothered by it, I expect readers won’t be either. And neither is the heroine of Phoenix Legacy, Delilah Sefton, who shares a very complicated past with Philip, as the official blurb points out:
Philip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.
When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.
One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.
Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.
It’s not the same book as Phoenix Rising. Philip and Del are very different people from Alec and Beth, and Philip is definitely darker and rougher around the edges that Alec, namely that he’s more in love with pain and death than he is with life. It only seemed fitting to have him protecting the mother of his child, his future. (I once asked Anne Stuart’s advice about having such a dark hero and she said “oh, I love that,” so I didn’t need any more encouragement to forge ahead.)
But there are a few explosions, gunfights, car chases and blood shed before they get to that future. Writing the ending of their story put a lump in my throat, in a good way. I can only hope it’s the same for readers! And, while it’s out in ebook now, I have hopes I’ll see it on bookshelves when it becomes a paperback, as I did Phoenix Rising.
Phoenix Rising at my local Barnes & Noble, keeping good company between Lisa Kleypas and Shannon McKenna. That’s one item crossed off the bucket list.