The Heart of War ~
Congratulations on your novel! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your new book?
Thank you! There isn’t much to tell, my husband and I just celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary with a lovely gathering of good friends old and new. We have two adult daughters and I work part-time in a law firm that’s just half-a-step above Legal Aid. All day long I deal with the elderly, the indigent, and the outright insane. Oh what fun!
My newest novel is called “The Heart of War” and centers around Ares God of War as the unlikely and at times unwilling hero of the story.
Where did the idea to write this particular book come from?
For years, I wrote a fan fiction series for the Stargate SG-1 Fandom, “Daughter of the Gods”. One of the ‘stars’ of the series was ‘Ares’—inspired greatly by Kevin Smith and his always delightful portrayal of the God of War.
After I decided to stop writing the “Daughter of the Gods” series, I thought I would return to my roots which were all-original fiction. I’d previously written two all-original novels and thought it a good time to get away from fanfic and go back to that. I wrote a contemporary darker romance novel “Dream Weaver”. I thought I’d take a shot at something ‘mainstream’—my other original novels are not ‘mainstream’, until the term ‘paranormal romance’ came into my vocabulary, I called them ‘horror romance’. “Dream Weaver” is good, it’s not horrible, got decent story and all but, in the end it wasn’t me. Or maybe it was, considering what I was going through at that point, it is rather auto-biographical in many ways. (But, shhh, let’s keep that just between us…mum’s the word, hey?) However, I tried too hard to write for that ‘mainstream’ audience and I’ve always been an outcast.
(Matthew King-Boston Now - Her fertile imagination is nourishing food for a reader hungry for something different. She has a true gift. )
(Dale Smith-Chancelor Emory College - Once you pick up this novel, you WILL NOT put it down until you discover the whodunnit!)
The book went nowhere. Disheartened and thinking I’d lost my touch but still wanting to write, I went back to fanfic for a short stint with two very short series of stories for House, MD. One was outrageously adult and the other, I gave House a sister, Hannah. She had a long sad life before she came to live with her brother, throughout the 3 stories they taught each other a lot. They taught me a lot, believe it or not. I think that particular series is probably some of my very best non-erotic or romance work. At the end of that series, somehow the House, MD storyline turned back to “Daughter of the Gods” with the introduction of a character named Nick Jackson—Ares’ grandson from the “Daughter of the Gods” series—as Hannah’s new, and very much deserved, love interest.
Once I got back in touch with Nick I knew Ares was right around the corner. In a lot of ways Nick (in DOTG he’s Ares’ grandson) is Ares but in a much smoother fashion, he lacks his grandfather’s temper and ambition. I finished ‘Sister Christian’ and there was Ares, eyes twinkling, asking if I’d forgotten about him.
Not in a million.
I was hesitant to write this story. Let’s face it, Ares as Hero is an outrageously tough sell and when you pair him with an ‘older woman’ we knew it would be even harder. But he wouldn’t shut up and one day we just started to write…for ourselves. That was the deal; I’d write whatever he wanted but we would not try to sell it. So, it was just Ares and me going down our merry little road having a ball doing whatever we wanted—just like in ‘the old days’.
Before I knew it, we had something so hot and so good that it took off. I have been very blessed by this experience. I may have come in to writing this story kicking and screaming but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
With the amazing reviews from Dream Weaver I'd hardly say it went nowhere. It sounds like another great one! And personally, I like the idea of being an outcast. But your story, Heart of War and your hero sound so amazing - do you have an excerpt from your book that you’d like to share?
A captivating story filled with lust, revenge, romance, adventure & hot sex. The Heart of War is an epic joyful read; a triumph over the mediocrity in the erotica genre. I'm looking forward to the sequel! --Misty Michaels-The Erotic Times
The story woven for Aries the God of War is absolutely fantastic. Every page only draws you further into the story; captures your emotions and interests immediately. I totally loved it!
--Bitten by Paranormal Romance-Ronda Reviewer
The Heart of War
An Adult Novel by
Lisa Beth Darling
Title: The Heart of War
Author: Lisa Beth Darling
Publisher Moon Mistress Publishing USA
Inside the Heart of every Warrior breathes the Soul of a Hero--even within The Heart of War.
Meet Ares God of War, the greatest Warrior the world has ever known. He's moody, grumpy, dominant, ravenously sexual, and above all, built like a Greek God.
Suspected of killing his Daughter in-Law, Psyche, and long in exile from Olympus, the solitude of Ares' secluded Greek Isle is interrupted when Magdalena MacLeod a plucky little Fey washes up on his shore after believing she's been shipwrecked. It's not mere fate that has brought the unlikely couple together yet it may be what tears them apart.
Branded with a golden chastity belt bearing the mark of Cernunnos, Celtic God of the Forest and Death, Alena has been on the run from her husband the Great Horned God for 200 years.
When the Olympians discover her presence on Ares' island, they send Apollo to the island while Ares is away with orders to bring her to Olympus. With nowhere to run and strikes a bargain with the God of War--her virginity for his protection.
Ares sees a sweeter deal; her in his bed and himself back in his rightful place on Olympus among the Gods. If it means turning Alena over to Zeus afterward, well that's of no consequence to him...is it?
After Alena proves herself to the God of War in battle and in his bed, the Ares must choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena.
Get lost in this sweeping dark saga of lust, rage, revenge, and redemption. Battle Ancient Gods while falling in love with Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. They share a love that will rock the world from the heights of Olympus to the Celtic moors, but will it be enough? Will love triumph, or will revenge and rage win the battle for the Heart of War?
“What are you doing?”
“Attempting to escape. What are you doing?”
“Waiting for you to escape so you can free me.”
Ares glanced down at the disheveled Goddess of Love from the corner of his eye and chuckled at her predicament. “Bad plan. Find another.” That was his best advice.
“But if you’re going to….”
“Shhhush!” Ares hissed. “Escaping takes concentration.”
If Cernunnos thought Ares was just going to hang here while that horny bastard took off with Alena, he had another thing coming. Working his fingers upward on the chain, he gathered it into his palms and used it, and the strength in those powerful pythons he called arms, to raise himself up and ease the dead weight off his wrists. Looking behind him, he thought the stonewall to which he was harnessed was too close for his purposes but then he reconsidered his approach to the problem. Getting a good grasp on the linked chain, he took in a deep breath and slowly began to raise his wounded legs straight out in front of him using the muscles in his lower back, stomach, and his arms. He did his best not to favor the injured right forearm, his strong arm, his fighting arm.
Once he was in what a gymnast would call the ‘L’ position, with his legs straight out in front of him, he let out the breath only to hear it whistle through the hole in his chest. That forced him to take another as he repositioned his hands on the chain that was starting to swing. Swinging was something Ares did not want and so he held his position, arms starting to show signs of strain as the veins popped through the thick muscle below his taut skin, until the swinging stopped.
Folding those long tree trunk legs up in front of him like a gymnast until his knees were pressed to his nose he let it out and then took another breath. This time as he breathed he let the chain slip through his hands for a few rings letting out the slack he’d created and hoped it would give him enough clearance from the ceiling to complete the most difficult part of this little maneuver, which was just ahead of him and Ares readied himself for it. Baring down on those tight abs and back muscles as he pulled with shoulders and his arms, Ares very delicately and deftly turned himself into a pretzel until his feet were over his head and his torso followed until his toes found the wall behind him.
Ares was no longer hanging by the chains. With his bare feet pressed to the wall, he was lying down in mid-air. “Nice trick. Now what?” Aphrodite scoffed as she watched him try to make his escape.
The shackles on his wrists hung their chains which, in turn, were bolted to the stonewall behind him. While the shackles had been forged by Hephaestus, the rings of the chain, the plate in the stonewall and the bolts fastening it all together had not. Pushing with those long strong legs and pulling wit those equally powerful arms, it wasn’t long before the creaks of protest were heard from the ancient bolts imbedded in the stonewall.
Sitting there watching him struggle, Aphrodite found she was becoming a little heated. She always did love it when Ares worked hard and got all sweaty as he was now. Muscles straining neck to calves while beads of sweat broke out on his bare torso making it glisten to show the strength of his efforts. As he worked, Ares began to grunt and groan. In peril or not, a shiver went through her, shot down from her head to her spine and settled in that wanton space between her legs.
“Ahh! Give you bitch!” Ares shouted the demand and the bolts gave out another loud creak.
“Keep going!” Aphrodite encouraged as she watched the bolts begin to move as he strained against them. “You’re doing it.”
Sweat broke out on his brow, it ran into his eyes making them sting and vision nearly non-existent. The hole in his chest, which had somehow missed his heart, ached as it whistled with every ounce of breath for which Ares struggled. If his thigh weren’t gouged this would be easier. Letting out a grunt that made its way down to a constant low growl at the back of his throat, Ares stopped struggling for a moment as he tried to catch what breath he could before he really put his back into it.
One more attempt. The growl at the back of his throat reverberated until it became it began a constant guttural tone. Ares summoned up every ounce of physical strength he could find in his old tattered body. The bolts on the heavy iron plate holding the chains in place gave out their loudest creak but it was the hooks on the plates that gave out first. The eyehook on the left popped like a champagne cork. For a moment, Ares hung there in the air with his left arm hanging down threatening to take the rest of him with it and foil the plan. He fought to hold on to the chain with his wounded right arm and then bring the left up to join it. A last hard push and the eyehook on the right snapped. Ares fell to the dirt floor of Cernunnos’ Dungeon.
“If I didn’t see it I wouldn’t believe it. I had no idea you were still so nimble, Lover.” Aphrodite remarked as she watched him roll over onto his back and then haul himself to his feet. “Well done. Now…do me.” She insisted.
“Do you?” Ares mocked. “I think I’ve had enough of that but, you do have something I need.” With a cold determination fixed on his face, Ares took two steps toward her. Aphrodite, with nowhere to go, cringed as he reached out for her with both hands. She let out a little cry when they landed in her fallen hair and began to tug. “Ah, there.” Ares plucked a hairpin from Aphrodite’s hair, pried it open with his teeth, and used it to pick the locks on the shackles at his wrists. They fell to the floor with a hard clunk. “Ha!” Ares declared in victory. “Hephaestus was a great blacksmith thank the Gods he was a lousy locksmith.” Ares muttered. “Now, where is he taking her? What does he want from Alena?”
Wow - you've got to love those Greek gods! Great intro. Now I definately have to learn more about this story...one more for my poor TBB pile - lol!
There is so much to chose from in Greek mythology that can spark the muse; where do you find your inspiration – what moves you to create?
My job is an awesome and constant source of inspiration for ideas and characters. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe the petty ways people can find to screw each other over and do it with a smile. I can tell you some true-life horror stories that would make the things that happen in “The Heart of War” look like toddlers tossing sand at each other on the playground. Human behavior never fails to fascinate me.
For me, I wouldn't know if the radio or T.V. were on when I'm writing - the house could probably burn and I wouldn't know it til it got hot, but alot of writers like tunes when they write. Do you like to listen to music when you're writing and if so, what kind of music do you listen to?
I always have my iTunes going when I write, I would never think of sitting down to write without it. I’m the ‘old fogie’ in the house, so the music I listen to tends to range from older blues/jazz (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Coltrane, Louie Armstrong) up through, say, mostly the 90s. I’m an “AM Gold” woman at heart; Bad Company, The Who, Rolling Stones, The Band, Boston, Blue Oyster Cult, and just about anything that can be found on a K-Tel Record. LOL
Absolutely nothing wrong with the classics.
So, when it comes to your writing who would you say is/was your biggest inspiration and why?
Everyone always wants me to say something like ‘my family’ or ‘my husband’. The truth is, it’s the Muse. He decides what we write, when, and how much. Me? Even though we argue like an old married couple (which we are after so many years together!) I know I’m just the flying fingers on the keyboard. I’m his vessel, here for his use, and nothing more than that. But that’s ok because he always takes me to the best places and on the wildest rides!
I find that so interesting how many female authors have a muse that's a he rather than a she. What do you find to be the hardest thing about creating your stories?
Action scenes. I love them and I hate them. Battle and fight scenes add to much to a story and they tend to play large parts in mine. They’re supposed to move swiftly and, in the end they do, but, believe it or not, they take me days to write—usually it’s literally one syllable at a time. I think it’s just because I lack a lot of personal experience when it comes to fighting, I do research on fighting techniques but they never come out to my satisfaction. My Readers, however, don’t seem to have any complaints so I guess that’s a good thing.
Yeah, I always try to imagines I'm the one actually throwing those punches and kicks - makes it a bit easier to wrap your head around the actual moves. If you've every been in a fight it's a little easier to comprehend.
I'm currently addicted to several series. What about you? Do you have a favorite character from any of your stories or any books you’ve read?
My favorite characters that belong to someone else are ‘Red’ and ‘Andy’ from “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”. Most of my books are dedicated to them and, by osmosis, to their creator, Stephen King. As far as actual writing goes he is my biggest inspiration and my mentor. I started reading him when I was 10 and I hardly ever read anyone else anymore.
As far as my own characters go, obviously Ares holds my heart more than any of the rest but I do love ‘Hannah’ from the old House, MD fics and, well, I’ll always have a very soft spot for ‘Calla’ from the “Daughter of the Gods” series.
So recently a few of my favorite authors have had releases and I'm not getting as much of my own writing done as I should be. What about you - what are reading right now?
What else? Full Dark, No Stars—Stephen King . I absolutely adore his short stories and wish I could write like that!
And what's in the pipeline for you? What are you writing now?
I’m working on “Child of War”, the sequel to “The Heart of War”. Ares and Alena are about to bring their son, Raven, into the world and it’s gonna be a hell of a ride.
Excellent! I'm sure it will be a great addition to a wonderful story.
So, for those who want to get their hands on your stories where can your readers learn more about you and your work?
If they don’t mind jumping on the Bus of Life and taking this crazy ride with me, they can hop on over to my blog http://lbdarling.wordpress.com - It’s a ‘life blog’ not a ‘writing blog’ although there’s lots of writing stuff in it. Mostly I just use it as an online log of my crazy life, daily comings and goings, rants, raves, reflections, opinions. Stuff like that.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Lisa! If you'd like to read more of Lisa's work check her out at