This week’s Danger Gal post profiles Raquel Donovan from Heather Massey’s debut space opera romance ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE. Here’s the story summary:

In the sea of stars, an epic love story is about to begin…

Earth is dying. Nick Venture, the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus, embarks on a dangerous mission to find a new planet and save humanity. This places him on a collision course with Raquel Donovan, the deadliest space pirate in the galaxy.

Raquel lives for one purpose: revenge against a horrible demon from her past. When an attempt to hijack Nick’s starship backfires, Raquel becomes his protector in order to avoid capture by the tyrannical Space Defense Corps. Nick and Raquel are irresistibly drawn to one another despite the forbidden nature of their attraction. But the conflicted pirate’s deepest secret could tear the couple apart even as humanity’s time runs out….

One of my favorite aspects of this story is indeed the heroine. As Heather and I have discussed on our own blogs and elsewhere, in Romance so often it’s the hero who gets to have all the fun. They often get to be real monsters with a true redemption story and reward of love when, in contrast, heroines are confined to being stereotypically pretty and likable. We recently had a great discussion on this topic over at Dear Author with Heather’s guest post “Enter the Extraordinary Heroine: Are We Ready For Her Yet?” where we talked about paranormal and gritty — sometimes called unlikable* — heroines.

In the past five years I’ve seen the tide turning, however, and I really hope we continue to see a wider range of heroines. I have nothing against the girl-next-door and her out-of-this-world vampire/alien boyfriend story line, but prefer this character type be part of a larger spectrum and not the only offering. After all, when the hero is the bad boy in need of redemption, it’s the heroine who carries out that redemption, so I don’t see this role as passive. To quote Teresa Medeiros “[P]robably the most subversive thing we dare to do is to make the woman the hero of her own story.”

One of the reasons I write this blog is to call attention to those heroines who break the “good girl” mold. Raquel Donovan is a hardened space pirate and certainly acts like one with her behavior sometimes bordering on cruel. Like we’re used to seeing with so many heroes, Donovan has reasons that explain such behavior. She’s lived through some pretty terrible experiences.** She’s on a revenge mission and nothing will get in the way of that need. Well, nothing except the hero.

I don’t want to spoil the plot of this new release, but Donovan’s sex appeal isn’t martyred in building such a hardened character. She is actually known far and wide as The Siren. This despite the fact, or more likely because of it, that she’s lost an eye. Massey didn’t pull any punches when it came to creating Donovan. I appreciated that Donovan’s deformity was front and center instead of hidden from all but the hero, as is often the case. Early on, we see inklings of a softer — and very well protected — side of Donovan, but it takes the hero the whole book to be let in on that. In the meantime, he trusts his gut and intuition and offers the redemption so many Romance heroines have been rewarding heroes with for the past thirty-some years in the Romance genre.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE is available from Red Sage Publishing and features the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus on a desperate quest to find a new world. Standing in his way is Raquel, the deadliest space pirate in the galaxy.

To learn more about Heather Massey, visit her at

* Because, you know, one of the worst things a woman can do is be unlikable.
** Lo and behold, Donovan is also a heroine whose terrible experience is not rape.

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My fellow playpal from the Writers At Play group blog Terri Garey has finaled in the RITA for paranormal and Best First Book for DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY.

Dead Girls Are EasyWhat’s a RITA? It’s the romance-publishing industry’s highest award of distinction sponsored by the Romance Writers of America to honor RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for the best in published romance fiction.
Up to 1,200 romance novels from 12 different categories are entered each year in the RITA competition. Novels can be entered either by their authors or by the books’ publisher. After the first round of judging by fellow published romance authors, the competition narrows to approximately 100 finalists. Click here to see the whole list of nominations at the SBTB web site. Garey is up against another favorite of mine in the Paranormal category: Linnea Sinclair for her book GAMES OF COMMAND. Good luck to both of you!

Double whammie! This was a great book and I can’t wait to see what happens next for Nikki Styx. Obviously, I’m not the only one who feels that way too:

“Nicki Styx is a heroine to die for in this witty and wonderful new series. DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY will both thrill and chill you as talented Terri Garey brings to life a fresh and funny cast of characters.” -– Teresa Medeiros, NYT bestselling author

From Terri’s site:

What do you get when you cross a hip young woman with a dark side
with some uninvited ghosts?

You get Nicki Styx and her very strange life in Dead Girls Are Easy.

Poor Nicki just wanted to earn a living with her vintage clothing store in Little Five Points, Georgia, and maybe have a little fun on the side. One near death experience later, and Nicki’s life is changed forever by the ability to see and hear spirits.

It’s dark humor with a Southern slant – the angst of a young woman on the edge, a healthy dash of sex and voodoo, a sprinkling of spookiness.

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Weekly Roundup

–The ultimate accessory, “fashion with bite”: a leopard print, “red-hot-red” or pink electronic stun gun from Taser. Me, I’ll take one of the music player holster versions, please. You sure there isn’t a pink one encrusted with crystals in a Hello Kitty design? (via Slate’s Human Nature column)

–Stumble Upon Me. Someone has not only Stumbled Upon Danger Gal HQ, but wrote a review of my Super Dad post. Thank you! You love me, you really love me?

–Philips has created a pen that can “detect physiological factors, such as heart beat, blood pressure, skin temperature, and finger pressure,” essentially displaying your emotional state on paper. Can that pen write my book for me too? I’m waiting for the day when I can hook my brain up to a computer and “write” a story in my head which it then translates into a document. Yes, I have heard of a tape recorder, but speaking uses a different part of the brain and then I get distracted. It’s all in my head, I know.

–I’m infatuated with Debbi Ridpath Ohi’s Inky Girl comic about the Writing Life that my friend Leslie clued me in to. Eons ago I used to subscribe to Ohi’s writing newsletter, Inklings, and loved it. I followed her to Writers Digest, but then lost her when I didn’t renew my long-time subscription. Now I’ve got the Ohi back! Inky love. This isn’t me or anything. Nope.

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Dr. Joan Bushwell over at Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge has graciously nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award.

Thinking Blogger AwardThe goal of the meme is to point out blogs that provide informative and interesting content.

The rules of the meme are simple, to quote the Thinking Blog website:

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
  2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
  3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to your post

So, here goes it. Five Blogs That Make Me Think:

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