white_fire150Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered what the heck happened? Thought to yourself, “How the hell did I end up here?” And where is this horrible here? Too fat? Too old? Too broke? Unaccomplished? Alone? Scared? Angry? Addicted? The list goes on and on. The optimistic six-year-old inside of us that dreamt of princesses, castles and knights riding their noble steeds is like a far-distant fantasy. And when this moment hits us all, and it does find us all, what is it that we really wish was possible?

Redemption. Another chance. A ‘do-over’. A fresh start.

Sometimes we can make that happen, and sometimes we can’t. And I think that’s why the redemption of our heroes in romance novels is so important to us. They aren’t perfect, the fictional heroes we fall in love with. They’re scarred, and broken, and they’ve been hurt. They’ve made mistakes, and paid for them. They’ve wounded other people, broken hearts, done things they’re ashamed of, and genuinely messed up. Just like us.

Redemption. It’s a powerful word, isn’t it? And none know this better than Ajax, the Lost King of the Immortals. He lost a battle, watched his beloved Queen die at his enemies’ hands, and then went into a berserker rage that not only cost him his freedom, but his very soul. He became the evil he fought against, the dreaded Triscani Hunters that you will meet in my Timewalker Chronicles. All in all, the poor guy had one heck of a bad day.

Ajax broke my heart as none of the precious heroes had because he paid the dearest price of them all. He lost everything. And when his loyal crew followed the Triscani through a wormhole to travel back in time, to Earth, to do it all again, he lost even more. Because in this new timeline, the woman he loved no longer exists, the throne that was his has been taken by another, and the crew that served him so loyally betrayed him and locked him away.

How does anyone come back from that? Every romance reader in the world knows the answer to this question. It’s the reason we read romance. One word. Love. Because with love comes forgiveness and hope, compassion and tenderness. Often, in fiction and in real life, we all just need someone to believe in us. Just one person, whether it’s a mother or father, teacher or mentor, friend or lover, we just need one. One.

And then everything changes.

For me this magical list (and I know I’m darn lucky) has many names. My parents and my sister. My husband. My best friends and my critique partners. My 10th grade teachers, Mr. Glenn and Mrs. Gold. (I still think about one or the other almost every day and it’s been…well, a few years.)

Tell me, who has made a difference in your life? Who is your mentor? Your cheerleader? Your best friend? I’d love to know.

MicheleCallahanMichele Callahan is a car-pool mom who often makes emergency trips to the store for chocolate, coffee, or a Twix candy bar. She suffers from a dangerous case of sci-fi/fantasy fever and never turns down an opportunity to sit through a Star Wars, True Blood, Attack on Titan, or Matrix marathon. Her favorite things in books; hot heroes, superpowers, freakish things that can’t be explained by modern science, and true love!

Twitter     @michelecallahan