Dead Ice: Richard

Here’s the second in the blog series leading up to the June 9, 2015 release of Dead Ice.  Since we started with Jean-Claude, it had to be Richard next.

Richard by Brett Booth
Question: Is the character of Richard Zeeman based on your ex-husband?  

Answer: No.

Secrets to Share:  This was a rumor that I never saw coming, because it was just so not reality. My ex-husband’s sister thought it was the funniest thing ever that people thought her big brother was the basis for Richard.  I think that Richard’s skin tone might be the same as my ex, but there the resemblance ends.  Personality wise, Richard is actually closer to me when I was just out of college with my BS in Biology.  But he, like all my characters that truly come to life on the page, has grown and changed in ways I never saw coming and certainly didn’t plan. He’s become his own man, for better or worse.  
Question: Are Richard and Anita ever going to marry?

Answer: Highly doubtful, I’d just say no, but I’ve been wrong so much about my own character’s personal lives that I’m hedging my bet.

Secrets to Share:  In fact, I think one of the reasons Anita and Richard didn’t end up together was that I created him to be the perfect husband for her, or thought I did.  The more I tried to push the two of them together, the more they fought it, but my original plan was for them to marry and live happily ever after.  So much for me being the omnipotent Deity of my fictional universe. When Richard was created I could never have dreamed where Anita’s life would go, or my own for that matter. Fiction doesn’t mirror fact, but we’ve both done our own version of going from the conservative “good girl” to the much happier people we are today. As for you small, but vocal minority that are still urging me to kill off Jean-Claude and Micah, so that Anita can ride off into the sunset with Richard – no.  Not only no, but absolutely, positively, not happening. Move on, nothing to see here. 
Question: Will Richard ever find another person to be his one and only love? 

Answer: I don’t know for certain, he’s surprised me too much over the years for me to say yes, or no.  

Secrets to Share: I hope he does, and I have a few potential women in mind, for him it will have to a woman if it’s a new character.  I think if any man could float his boat enough to have a full-fledged relationship with them then Jean-Claude would be that man. Richard is having a bondage and submission relationship with Asher but no sex.  It meets a lot of bondage needs for both of them, but I don’t think either of them would want to actually date each other.  What works great in the dungeon doesn’t always work outside of it.  I still have hopes that Richard, Jean-Claude, and Anita might be a fully functioning menage a trois, but I think too much has happened for it to be what it might once have been, more’s the pity.  I keep hoping that special female werewolf will come along for him but he keeps wanting to date women that have no preternatural ties which doesn’t really work for the Ulfric, wolf king, of St. Louis.  He also keeps dating women who like pretty standard vanilla sex and that really isn’t what Richard likes.  I’ve even written a short story, “Shutdown,” where he tries to have his vanilla cake but keep his bondage cupcakes. I’ve had talks with people I was dating about polyamory and bondage, and I know people that seem to be successfully married to vanilla and, with full knowledge and permission of their spouse, they get their bondage needs met elsewhere; but it is not an easy talk to have and it takes a very special person to be okay with it.  I’m not sure Richard is ever going to find someone that special, but I hope so, because I’d really like him to be happy and content with his life and himself.  
Sneak Peek from Dead Ice:

Richard drew Jean-Claude in tighter against him and moved his other hand so that it was free, leaving room to wonder what he’d do if Asher tried to touch Jean-Claude.  It was the kind of thing you do when someone is touching your girlfriend too much in a bar, and Richard gave him the challenging look that went with it. It was a way of saying, Mine, stop touching it, without saying anything.

Why I Threw Out Everything I Wrote Yesterday

So many of you wrote in and feared for the lovers in Anita’s life. They are in peril. This promises to be a very hard book, but two days ago it wasn’t that kind of trauma for Anita and me. She did her duty. She stayed at her post. She made the hard call in the midst of death and violence. She was a good cop, a good soldier, a good . . . she did her duty. She did not panic. It ended up with her in the hospital and it cost her the life of someone she valued. It also cost the lives of good men and women who stood shoulder to shoulder against the great bad thing. There are losses that aren’t about romantic love. There are losses that are about a different kind of love. The people that will go into the bad place with you and not panic, but stay at your side shooting, fighting, risking it all for the goal, the objective, the mission, but there will always be moments that come down to just surviving. The men and women who stay with you through something like that – you love them. They love you. It’s not romantic love, but it is a bond that will make you answer a phone a decade later and say, “What do you need? What can I do?”
It’s also the kind of emotion that will make you not answer the phone ever. It is a level of pain and trauma that makes you want to forget. You don’t want to relive it. You don’t want to look at it, or talk about it. You want to move on; forget. sometimes in that effort to push it away you will destroy everything in your life to avoid the pain of it, the truth of it.
I have had the privilege of knowing men and women who have served their country, worn the badge, and come away with the real deal. I have dated, and been friends with men that are still haunted. I know when they share their stories with me in any way that it’s a privilege to be trusted with those moments of truth. a lot of them are told with laughter, but every once in awhile their eyes grow haunted and the pain comes too close to hide.
Anita had one of those moments and I spent the next twenty-four hours trying to ignore the pain. I was willing to blow up my imaginary world and throw all the hard work that Micah and Jean-Claude had done to bring together the preternatural community so that we could have a crisis and Anita and I wouldn’t have to deal with what was really bothering us. We were willing to ruin our relationship with Micah. Willing to ruin our relationship with other lovers. Anita and I tried to sink ourselves into sex. Nothing worked yesterday. Some of it was good pages, but really I was blowing up my world, destroying books and books of relationship building. It was my husband, Jon, who told me not to do some of it, that it made no sense. I was angry with him, though we didn’t fight, because I knew something was wrong with me and how I was reacting.
This morning when I woke up I understood what I’d been doing. I also knew what I needed to write today. I have to look at what happened in the shoot out. I have to let Anita feel the pain of what she had to do, and what it cost her and others. I was willing to blow up my world, Jean-Claude’s world, Micah’s, sacrifice Damian, hurt Nathaniel, or try to just skip to sex and comfort. I fought with myself all day and at midnight I called it, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I just knew it I wasn’t thinking right.
This morning it was so clear, even logical. I’ve spent twenty years writing Anita. I’ve interviewed people about what it feels like to take a life in the course of their duty. I have been blessed and trusted with the stories, without them this series would have been so much weaker. I wouldn’t have understood, and there are things that I will not understand because this is fiction for me. I’m not there. I’m not going through the real doors. I’m not having to look down the barrel of real guns and make choices that will be irrevocable. In real life there is no rewrite, more’s the pity.
Today Anita has to wake up in the hospital with that moment of confusion of “where am I, what happened,” and then the memory will return. She’ll remember the moment. The gun, sighting down the barrel, pulling the trigger and watching him drop. She would make the same choice, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be haunted by it. You can be right. You can be brave. It is some comfort, but in the end the people still died, and you couldn’t save them all, and sometimes killing the killer is just one more trauma.
There are losses that make you weep, that drive you from sleep to pace the darkened house, because sleep is full of dreams, nightmares, or sometimes it’s just too quiet and alone with our thoughts isn’t that great. I should have remembered that yesterday, but it took me time to work it out – to remember.
I’m just lucky that what I do is fiction. That I didn’t ruin my actual relationship with the man I love, and I have a chance to rewrite the fictional mistake. That I didn’t blow up the political structure of our country for real, but just on paper and I had a smart man to tell me, “This isn’t logical.” Thanks, my husband. Lucky for me, and for Anita, there is a do-over today. It won’t be pleasant, in fact it will be emotionally pretty horrible, but when she’s faced it, worked some of it through, then she will still have the loves of her life, the men she depends on, and the careful political structure that Jean-Claude and Micah have worked so hard to make will still be working. I am dreading writing this, but I feel strangely peaceful about it, too. This is what comes next and the days when Anita would destroy her love life, her friendships, to avoid the pain of what she’s had to do in her job are past. I’ve had better therapy than that, and so has she.
As I write today I will think of my friends who have done, and are doing, this for real. To the men and women who put on a uniform and do their duty, thank you for your service.