I’ve been in shock for weeks. Ever since I first heard on the local news that a young woman put her ex-boyfriend’s puppy in a 300 degree hot oven, closed the door and propped a chair against the door, I have been upset. It’s unbelievably horrifying that a human could and would do such a terribly heartless thing. If you want to be as shocked as me, read the report in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette .
I try not to think about it. My brain is as horrified as the rest of me and seems to need to repeat intricate thoughts of the experience for the puppy before he or she died. An innocent animal is picked up by a familiar person, having no expectation of what is to come. He’s suddenly set on searing hot metal and cries out. No one helps him.
See? My brain can’t accept it.
In my fiction writing, people get hurt and people suffer and people die. But it’s fiction. In my current series, Fierce Hearts, the main characters are not human, they are were-lynxes. Being half-human, half-animal affects how they present and experience the world. It influences how they treat the planet and the beings that populate it. The Fierce Hearts series books deal with diabolical activities committed by the bad guys. Human bad guys.
In the first book, Secrets, the bad guys are people who have joined together to form The Nexus Group in order to create a world more to their liking, and in the process hurt humans and animals alike. The colony, led by Casey Mitchell, understands the ways of humans but it’s not in their nature as were-lynxes to cause arbitrary and selfish destruction. They accept the responsibility of thwarting the bad guys for the better good and use their keen senses and special abilities to end the chaos. And in the midst of the colony’s problems and personal issues, the hero, Casey, and the heroine, Michelle, find love.
In the next book, Cravings, the colony’s problems with TNG expand. During a rescue of animals at a TNG research facility, the colony discovers the group has stolen children from were-lynx families to groom them for contributing to the take-over of all resources and power. One of those children, Kennedy, has grown up, and now, rescued by the colony from a dangerous drug project, has to address the trauma she’s endured her whole life. The colony, comprised of Casey Mitchell, Asher Monroe and his sister Lara Monroe, Conrad Pike, Booker Chase and his wife Shaun, Asia Blue, Lara Monroe, and Tizzy Sands, welcome her into their family-like circle and help her to unlearn destructive ways. In the process, she, too, finds love with a fellow colony cat, Asher.
However, the battle continues as TNG seems to be unstoppable. In the third book, Heartfelt, the were-lynxes discover the next horrifying plan in the works for TNG is to create a hunter’s paradise, providing captive big game to hunt. It’s a shoe-in who will triumph in the so-called hunt. The humans. Asia and Conrad, BFFs, are drawn into the machinations of TNG, when Asia discovers her alcoholic mother has been kidnapped and is a subject in TNG’s research projects conducted by Phoenix Biosciences. Each were-lynx has a special ability at their disposal, and when they shimmer into lynx form, they are ferocious, strong, and fearsome. Still, the conflict pushes the were-lynxes ‘abilities to the edge. The lynxes have an advantage over the humans by nature. But they are at a disadvantage, as the humans will stop at nothing to win the struggle. Casey’s colony members respect life. All life. And are rewarded with sorrow and loss and self-respect and love, as Asia and Conrad become more than just best friends.
So you see, while I write stories with real-life inner conflicts and put characters in dire situations, I can make characters with strong morality and kindness and respect for life. It doesn’t change the way real people conduct themselves and I’m no judge. But it does offer me a bit of “setting things right” when atrocities occur at the hands of people. While people are awesome and complex and capable of kindness and generosity and great intelligence and creativity, we are capable of poor choices and causing great harm. It’s human nature.