A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.

Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.

Doctors Strange and Palmer Gif
Remember this touching romance? Yeah, me neither.

But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.

So get ready to save the world and fall in love (or at least read about it). Here’s a short list of superhero romance novels I’ve read and enjoyed. Continue reading A Reading List of Superhero Romance

The Evolution of a Novel

Hero StatusHero Status sprang from my mind, fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

Lol, no. It was actually a painfully long first draft, followed by countless rewrites, beta feedback, and even more rewrites. Scenes were added, the structure tweaked, and the writing ironed out before it became the version you now read. But that’s pretty standard for most novels.

I’d almost forgotten about the bonkers early version I abandoned before going back and restarting the whole thing from scratch years later.

Way back in 2008, I started writing my first piece of superhero fiction for National Novel Writing Month in November. This was the precursor to Hero Status, though it’s pretty much unrecognizable. It starred not Dave but Elisa–or at least the character who would eventually become Elisa. She had a different name in this and a different origin, being an experiment of Dr. Sweet’s whom Dave rescued and adopted. The book was about her going off to college and dealing with Dr. Sweet’s attempts to recapture and brainwash her.

Looking back at the file, I made it about 24,000 words in before giving up. I moved on to other books, but something about the concept and characters of that old untitled novel kept calling to me. I began outlining a new version, changing Elisa’s character to being Dave and Val’s biological child and having her torn between her parents’ heroic and villainous legacies.

But I didn’t like that either.

Eventually it dawned on me: the daughter character wasn’t what made this idea interesting. It was her parents, the retired superhero and former supervillain, and the question of how two people with such conflicting morals and personalities could have such a stable, happy relationship.

Once I focused on Dave and Val, the idea for the plot followed, and Hero Status was born. But I still find that old version morbidly fascinating and thought you might, too. So here, in its unedited and awful glory, is the first chapter of the story that sparked The White Knight and Black Valentine Series: Continue reading The Evolution of a Novel

New Superhero Fiction Releases (January 2018)

It’s a new year, so time for new superhero books. We’ve got a lot of sequels this month, some some brand new series, and no shortage of nice-looking covers. As always, I haven’t read all these books personally, so make sure to view the samples and reviews before purchasing. And if you’ve read any of them, share your thoughts in the comments!

DUO – The One and Only

by Michael Pauly

Duo Cover

1981

The Cold War. A world on the brink of annihilation.

The CIA and KGB fight a global shadow-war to claim every child who manifests a superpower in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. The supernatural stockpile more important than nuclear weapons.

Alex Dwyer sits in a high-school cafeteria talking with a pretty girl. Hits the lunch-table with an involuntary twitch of embarrassment.

Explodes the table into a million pieces.

Alex Dwyer brings the world one step closer to armageddon…

Amazon

Wayward: A Cadence Phoenix Novel

by Skye Knizley

Wayward Cover

Cadence Phoenix. A girl with a rose tattoo, a body full of scars and an old guitar she plays like an angel. Two years ago she woke up in the trunk of a car with no memory, no clothes and no identification. She’s on the run, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is everyone she gets close to, everyone that tries to help her, ends up dead. Someone doesn’t want her to remember and will kill to keep their secret.
But who is it, and why? CJ doesn’t know. But she’s going to find out.

Wayward: A Hero Will Rise

Amazon

Villains Don’t Save Heroes!

by Mia Archer

Villains Dont' Save Heroes Cover

Sequel to Villains Don’t Date Heroes!

Night Terror, the greatest villain Starlight City has ever known, finally had it all. A beautiful girl she couldn’t get enough of. The city finally sort of liked her after she saved it from a giant robot attack. Now it was time to live happily ever after, right?

Yeah, right.

It turns out saving the city and getting the girl was only the beginning of more trouble. She wanted to be Starlight City’s villainous overlord, not the city’s heroic savior. The girl she can’t get enough of is also the world’s greatest hero, which made for a relationship that takes “it’s complicated” to a whole new level.

Oh, and there’s a new villain in town looking to take a shot at the queen. Night Terror’s old nemesis Dr. Lana makes a hell of a villainous debut using tech she stole from Night Terror to rob Fialux of her powers! Now Night Terror has to deal with a new challenger and a hero who’s still trying to save the world despite her dangerous lack of the flight, strength, and invulnerability that used to keep her in one piece.

Villains aren’t supposed to save heroes, but that’s just what she’ll have to do if she’s going to get the girl, save the day, and defeat her new archnemesis.

It’s all in a day’s work for the world’s greatest villain!

Amazon

Tag Team (The Supervillain’s Kids Book 2)

by Lucas Flint

Tag Team Cover

After defeating their supervillain father, Bait and Switch are now seen as heroes rather than potential supervillains. Their classmates finally accept them and even most of their teachers have gotten over their distrust of the two. Life seems to be getting better and better.

But things take a turn for the worse when a superhuman terrorist organization targets the Academy. Their target: A mysterious new student whose power they want to use to throw the superhero community into utter chaos.

Now Bait and Switch must defend this student from the terrorists, but that’s easier said than done, because the leader of the terrorists has infiltrated the Academy with the intent to destroy it–and Bait and Switch–from within.

Amazon

Continue reading New Superhero Fiction Releases (January 2018)

Even More Sensational Superhero Short Stories

Superheroine image

It’s that time again: time for another edition of the best superhero short fiction from around the web. While I haven’t committed to doing a second season of Fight Crime! (A Love Story) and am still bouncing around ideas, I don’t want to leave you guys without some awesome superhero reading material. So here are four free short stories to kick off your week with. (And if you like these, catch up on my first and second lists.)

La Gorda and the City of Silver

Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and narrated by Sandra Espinoza, La Gorda and the City of Silver is a brilliant story about luchador vigilantes in Guatemala. Though it ventures into some dark territory, it’s heart-warming and uplifting overall, and there’s a lot of humor in the main character’s voice. You can read it at Podcastle, but I recommend listening to the audio version in the podcast on the same page, because the narrator is absolutely perfect. This is one of those stories that stayed with me after finishing it, so I whole-heartedly recommend giving it a try.

Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion

Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion by D.K. Latta is about superheroes in WWII and feels like it was ripped straight from an old pulp magazine. I liked the mix of American and Canadian superheroes on the team, and overall, it’s just a good action/adventure story. Fans of golden age comics should definitely check it out at Crimson Streets.

Lazarus and the Amazing Kid Phoenix

This story by Jennifer Giesbrecht features people getting superpowers after near-death experiences (or after dying and coming back, depending on your interpretation). It’s well-written and poignant, and the POV is so excellent that you can hear the main character talking even if you don’t listen to the audio version. It’s not a feel-good story, though, and it left me with a melancholy feeling at the end. But it does this really cool thing interspacing comic scripts between the main story and addresses a lot of deep questions and themes. You can find it in Issue 86 of Apex Magazine.

When the Devil Drives

Written by Melinda Snodgrass (and edited by George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame), When the Devil Drives is set in the Wild Cards universe, which means it automatically has amazing world-building and a wealth of cool concepts to play with. A mystery where the protagonist has to clear his own name when he’s suspected of murder, it stars a morally gray main character who stays likable through his dry humor and relationship with his family. The whole thing can be read at Tor.com.

“Epilogue”

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

A week passed before Val got the chance to speak with her father. With Blueblood dead and Leo arrested, the Black Valentine was only supervillain from the DSA break-in who was still at large. She’d risen to the top of the DSA’s Most Wanted List, an achievement she’d commemorated by framing a copy of her wanted poster. (It wasn’t the most flattering picture, but you couldn’t have everything.)

Her father’s trial had gone badly. The prosecution’s primary witness had been eloquent and sympathetic, swaying the jury so completely that further evidence had been a mere formality. Things really would have been different if Joey and Madame Morphine had succeeded in taking him out. Val had snuck into the courthouse using a wig and a liberal use of telepathy, and she caught her father in a hallway as prison guards were escorting him to the van that would return him to his holding cell.

Val entered the guards’ mind to convince them to pause, but she shouldn’t have bothered. Her father saw her and lifted his hand. “A moment, please,” he said, and the guard pushing his wheelchair stopped and retreated a respectful distance away. Typical. Her father’s four-year prison sentence was going to be a simple change of scenery for him. The law couldn’t snap the web of influence that stretched out from him; the strands would lengthen and shift no matter where the old spider moved.

“You’ve been busy,” her father greeted. Continue reading “Epilogue”

“Everybody Fights” – Part 13

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Tidal Wave was slumped in the back of a police car, his cheek pressed against the smooth glass window. The sedative hadn’t completely knocked him out yet, but it was close. His eyelids felt like they weighed five pounds each, and the movements of the car seemed to rock him to sleep. He was taken off guard, then, when another car crashed into them.

The next thing he knew, he was lying across the back seat. Muffled shouts and gunshots came from outside, but he was only vaguely interested in their cause. Certainly not interested enough to lift his head and see what was going on. No, that would be way too much effort. He rested against the seat cushion and drifted off.

The car door opened, and Tidal Wave was just coherent enough to recognize the person who opened it as a junior member of the Tsubaki Syndicate. Hey, I know that guy, he thought happily. Then he passed out. Continue reading “Everybody Fights” – Part 13

New Superhero Fiction Releases for December

Happy Holidays! If you got an Amazon gift card this Christmas, then get ready to punch in that code and start buying. Superhero fiction authors did not take a vacation during the holidays, and we’ve got everything from new novellas to series box sets. As always, I haven’t read all of these books personally, so please take a look at the reviews and samples before purchasing. Now, feast your eyes on the awesome new books below.

Girl Reporter

by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Girl Reporter Cover

From the award-winning author of Cookie Cutter Superhero and Kid Dark Against the Machine comes a brand new novella about girl reporters, superheroes, and interdimensional travel

In a world of superheroes, supervillains, and a machine that can create them all, millennial vlogger and girl reporter Friday Valentina has no shortage of material to cover. Every lottery cycle, a new superhero is created and quite literally steps into the shoes of the hero before them–displacing the previous hero. While Fry may not be super-powered herself, she understands the power of legacy: her mother is none other than the infamous reporter Tina Valentina, renowned worldwide for her legendary interviews with the True Blue Aussie Beaut Superheroes and her tendency to go to extraordinary lengths to get her story.

This time, Tina Valentina may have ventured too far.

Alongside Australia’s greatest superheroes–including the powerful Astra, dazzling Solar, and The Dark in his full brooding glory–Friday will go to another dimension in the hopes of finding her mother, saving the day, maybe even getting the story of a lifetime out of the adventure. (And possibly a new girlfriend, too.)

Amazon

Super Sales on Super Heroes: Book 2

by William D. Arand

Super Sales on Super Heroes Cover

In a world full of super powers, Felix had a pretty crappy one.

After learning to harness his ability to modify any item he owns, he now runs a corporation that is rapidly expanding.

Legion.

After tangling with the local Heroes guild they’ve finally settled into a semblance of stability. Sounds great on paper. Run your company, make money, be your own boss, settle down.

Except that with running a business, comes an inordinate amount of responsibilities. Like making sure everything keeps running and your people are paid. Worrying about the longevity of his company, Felix begins to expand into other cities. So they’ve packed up the car, put in all the requisite forms, gotten the approvals, and set out to start Legion up in a new city.

The problem though is the local government had no idea who they were selling permits to. Approving forms for.

To Felix and Legion.

And now they’re about to find out.

Amazon

An Extraordinary Few (The Extraordinary Series Book 1)

by Pam Eaton

An Extraordinary Few Cover

To be extraordinary is rare, but to be unique is downright dangerous.

Rebecca Hunter thought senior year would be all about hockey games, parties, dances, and college applications. When Becca’s absentee mom dies, things take a drastic turn. She just inherited a super power, but has no idea what it is. And now instead of worrying about homework, she’s got a secret group from the FBI at her door looking to recruit her.

Her days of being an ordinary seventeen year old are over, because she’s one of a hundred people left in the world with super powers. This covert group, Project Lightning, offers to train her, but soon they discover she doesn’t just have her mom’s power, she has more. And that’s never been seen before.

As they try to help her manipulate this new power, agents from Project Lightning go missing, and a few turn up dead. They’re being hunted. And when two men almost kidnap her, she realizes she’s being hunted too. What was supposed to be an amazing senior year has turned into brutal training to find the lost, protect those she loves, and harnessing this new power.

Amazon

Gravitas: A Supervillain Story

by Ben Mason

Gravitas Cover

The world’s greatest villain has unretired for one last mission. Saving the world.

After a serious injury, Christoph “Gravitas” Holtz has retired from supervillainy. Heading into his silver years all he wants is to reminisce, garden, and teach his next-door neighbor’s daughter the finer points of proper villainy.

But when a classless young supervillain threatens Holtz and those he cares about, he turns to an old ally for help with one final mission.

When the mission goes wrong, Christoph will have to struggle against a dangerous enemy he helped unleash, his feelings for his superhero ex, and his own sense of what it means to be a hero or villain.

Amazon

Continue reading New Superhero Fiction Releases for December