Smuggling

Dbtrade My book The Dragon's Bride has just been reissued in trade paperback and e-book, and it's about smuggling.

I'm not fond of heroes and heroines who are thieves. Even if they steal from the rich to give to the poor I still reckon 1) they're taking what doesn't belong to them (and usually at least getting their board and lodging out of it, even if they do pass much of it on, and b) distressing fellow human beings, even if their victims are rich. If the victims are spectacularly unpleasant, it does help.

Smugglers don't thrill me much either, but mostly because as organized criminal gangs they were and still are likely to be very nasty to ordinary citizens who get in their way. The crime itself, however, well, it's the tax system, so I'm not so sensitive. In the Regency period, taxes had risen ridiculously, so there was some justification for smuggling and a fair proportion of the law abiding citizens of Britain thought nothing of getting tax free tea, is particular, because the tax was seen as iniquitous. Dbcov

(The original cover, with modern wedding dress, complete with zipper!)

Which is how I came to write a smuggling story. However, the hero, Con, is not a smuggler. He's an ex-military officer who's sternly set against the trade and sympathetic to the Preventive Officer, also an ex military man. The only reason he gives the local smuggling band a break is because his ex-love Susan Kearslake is involved, and her brother is probably the local smuggling master.

I traveled along the Dorset-Devon coast looking for a good location and settled on the interesting small fishing village of Beer, right on the border between the two counties. Old cottages and inns, looming headland, caves…. Ideal. The caves, BTW, exist because excellent stone was mined at Beer from the middle ages and Beer stone was used for much of Exeter Cathedral.

Alas, with all those attributes, smugglers had been there before my fictional ones, and when I researched I found that one of the most famous, Jack Rattenbury, had been operating there around the time of my story. So I changed the name, but kept most of the details the same.

  Rattenbury Jack Rattenbury was famous because he left his memoirs, and you can read them on line here. The picture is from Smugglers' Britain, below.

 He starts his story this way.

"I Was born at Beer, in the county of Devon, in the year 1778. My father was by trade a shoemaker, but he went on board a man-of-war before I was born, and my mother never heard of him afterwards; she was, however, frugal and industrious, and by selling fish for our support, contrived to procure a livelihood without receiving the least assistance from the parish or any of her friends. Beer, where we resided, lying open to the sea, I was continually by the water-side; and as almost all I saw or heard was connected with that element, I early acquired a partiality for it, and determined, almost from my infancy, when I grew up, to be a sailor. When I was about nine years of age I asked my uncle to let me go fishing with him, to which he consented; and as there was another lad about the same age who went with us, we were continually trying to outvie each other in feats of skill and dexterity. I mention this circumstance, as I conceive it had a considerable effect in deciding the cast of my character, and probably influenced many of the subsequent events of my life." Beer

Life of ordinary people, especially men, was often a lot more adventurous and varied than we think. That's Beer village today. You can imagine Crag Wyvern, the home of the made Earl of Wyvern up on that headland.

 You can read more about Rattenbury and smuggling in general here.

 What about the vicious thugs? They definitely existed, but the smart smugglers realized that they needed the local people on side, both to help with handling the goods and with deceiving and deflecting the poor Preventive men. Rattenbury was part of the community and ended up owning a tavern there. I based my heroine's father, the smuggling master Melchisadeck Clyst, on Jack Rattenbury, except that Mel was caught and transported to Australia. I feel sure that he did well over there, however, as Rattenbury would have done.

The Dragon's Bride was a RITA finalist, and you can read the beginning of it here.

It's part of a trilogy called Three Heroes, and the first story, a novella called The Demon's Mistress, is available as an e-book special.

What's your attitude to criminals as heroes or heroines? Which illegal occupations can you tolerate, or even find romantic, and which could you never accept?

There's a copy of The Dragon's Bride to a random pick of the most interesting comments.

Jo, looking out at rain and wondering where summer is. How's your weather?

If you're in the UK, you can buy a copy here.

 

60 thoughts on “Smuggling”

  1. That’s a really hard one. My main problem with smuggling isn’t that it was done to get around the tax man so much as the profits were often flowing back to France, a country which Britain was at war with (French Brandy and embroidered waistcoat blanks being two very commonly smuggled items). Were this to happen today, it might very well be considered treasonous (in my day job, I deal with trying to catch smugglers who use their profits to fund terrorism, so I take it kind of seriously). I’m not a big fan of thieves either (be they housebreakers or highway men). Con men who only hurt the greedy (a la Hustle) are ok with me though. I thought that show’s take on being a hustler was brilliant: You can’t con an honest man, and they always made sure that it was the mark’s own greed that bit him in the butt.

    Reply
  2. That’s a really hard one. My main problem with smuggling isn’t that it was done to get around the tax man so much as the profits were often flowing back to France, a country which Britain was at war with (French Brandy and embroidered waistcoat blanks being two very commonly smuggled items). Were this to happen today, it might very well be considered treasonous (in my day job, I deal with trying to catch smugglers who use their profits to fund terrorism, so I take it kind of seriously). I’m not a big fan of thieves either (be they housebreakers or highway men). Con men who only hurt the greedy (a la Hustle) are ok with me though. I thought that show’s take on being a hustler was brilliant: You can’t con an honest man, and they always made sure that it was the mark’s own greed that bit him in the butt.

    Reply
  3. That’s a really hard one. My main problem with smuggling isn’t that it was done to get around the tax man so much as the profits were often flowing back to France, a country which Britain was at war with (French Brandy and embroidered waistcoat blanks being two very commonly smuggled items). Were this to happen today, it might very well be considered treasonous (in my day job, I deal with trying to catch smugglers who use their profits to fund terrorism, so I take it kind of seriously). I’m not a big fan of thieves either (be they housebreakers or highway men). Con men who only hurt the greedy (a la Hustle) are ok with me though. I thought that show’s take on being a hustler was brilliant: You can’t con an honest man, and they always made sure that it was the mark’s own greed that bit him in the butt.

    Reply
  4. That’s a really hard one. My main problem with smuggling isn’t that it was done to get around the tax man so much as the profits were often flowing back to France, a country which Britain was at war with (French Brandy and embroidered waistcoat blanks being two very commonly smuggled items). Were this to happen today, it might very well be considered treasonous (in my day job, I deal with trying to catch smugglers who use their profits to fund terrorism, so I take it kind of seriously). I’m not a big fan of thieves either (be they housebreakers or highway men). Con men who only hurt the greedy (a la Hustle) are ok with me though. I thought that show’s take on being a hustler was brilliant: You can’t con an honest man, and they always made sure that it was the mark’s own greed that bit him in the butt.

    Reply
  5. That’s a really hard one. My main problem with smuggling isn’t that it was done to get around the tax man so much as the profits were often flowing back to France, a country which Britain was at war with (French Brandy and embroidered waistcoat blanks being two very commonly smuggled items). Were this to happen today, it might very well be considered treasonous (in my day job, I deal with trying to catch smugglers who use their profits to fund terrorism, so I take it kind of seriously). I’m not a big fan of thieves either (be they housebreakers or highway men). Con men who only hurt the greedy (a la Hustle) are ok with me though. I thought that show’s take on being a hustler was brilliant: You can’t con an honest man, and they always made sure that it was the mark’s own greed that bit him in the butt.

    Reply
  6. That is a tough one! I have to agree with Isobel’s assessment of the smugglers’ role as traitors when the profits went to fuel Napoleon’s army. And to me, those who participate in smuggling today – be it arms or wildlife – are some of the lowest forms of life on earth. Get ’em, Isobel!
    However, while stealing is stealing and killing is killing and other nefarious/illegal behavior is what it is ; in history there were situations where stealing was what one did to survive. Hanging a starving child for stealing a loaf of bread was thought perfectly acceptable, while we find it horrific.
    And lest we forget, the United States came out of an act of treason (several of them actually!)The moment the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence their lives, properties and families stood forfeit to the Crown.
    Many authors create a hero who steals from or swindles the rich to give the money to a good cause. Frankly, I think I might have more respect for a man who runs a gambling hell, makes no bones about the fact he does it because he loves money and doesn’t mind pilfering it from the rich and if he gives it to a good cause he does so only because he gets something from it in return – the heroine’s love, or the respect of the community. In other words he does it because it suits his purposes, not because he has a heart of gold.

    Reply
  7. That is a tough one! I have to agree with Isobel’s assessment of the smugglers’ role as traitors when the profits went to fuel Napoleon’s army. And to me, those who participate in smuggling today – be it arms or wildlife – are some of the lowest forms of life on earth. Get ’em, Isobel!
    However, while stealing is stealing and killing is killing and other nefarious/illegal behavior is what it is ; in history there were situations where stealing was what one did to survive. Hanging a starving child for stealing a loaf of bread was thought perfectly acceptable, while we find it horrific.
    And lest we forget, the United States came out of an act of treason (several of them actually!)The moment the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence their lives, properties and families stood forfeit to the Crown.
    Many authors create a hero who steals from or swindles the rich to give the money to a good cause. Frankly, I think I might have more respect for a man who runs a gambling hell, makes no bones about the fact he does it because he loves money and doesn’t mind pilfering it from the rich and if he gives it to a good cause he does so only because he gets something from it in return – the heroine’s love, or the respect of the community. In other words he does it because it suits his purposes, not because he has a heart of gold.

    Reply
  8. That is a tough one! I have to agree with Isobel’s assessment of the smugglers’ role as traitors when the profits went to fuel Napoleon’s army. And to me, those who participate in smuggling today – be it arms or wildlife – are some of the lowest forms of life on earth. Get ’em, Isobel!
    However, while stealing is stealing and killing is killing and other nefarious/illegal behavior is what it is ; in history there were situations where stealing was what one did to survive. Hanging a starving child for stealing a loaf of bread was thought perfectly acceptable, while we find it horrific.
    And lest we forget, the United States came out of an act of treason (several of them actually!)The moment the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence their lives, properties and families stood forfeit to the Crown.
    Many authors create a hero who steals from or swindles the rich to give the money to a good cause. Frankly, I think I might have more respect for a man who runs a gambling hell, makes no bones about the fact he does it because he loves money and doesn’t mind pilfering it from the rich and if he gives it to a good cause he does so only because he gets something from it in return – the heroine’s love, or the respect of the community. In other words he does it because it suits his purposes, not because he has a heart of gold.

    Reply
  9. That is a tough one! I have to agree with Isobel’s assessment of the smugglers’ role as traitors when the profits went to fuel Napoleon’s army. And to me, those who participate in smuggling today – be it arms or wildlife – are some of the lowest forms of life on earth. Get ’em, Isobel!
    However, while stealing is stealing and killing is killing and other nefarious/illegal behavior is what it is ; in history there were situations where stealing was what one did to survive. Hanging a starving child for stealing a loaf of bread was thought perfectly acceptable, while we find it horrific.
    And lest we forget, the United States came out of an act of treason (several of them actually!)The moment the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence their lives, properties and families stood forfeit to the Crown.
    Many authors create a hero who steals from or swindles the rich to give the money to a good cause. Frankly, I think I might have more respect for a man who runs a gambling hell, makes no bones about the fact he does it because he loves money and doesn’t mind pilfering it from the rich and if he gives it to a good cause he does so only because he gets something from it in return – the heroine’s love, or the respect of the community. In other words he does it because it suits his purposes, not because he has a heart of gold.

    Reply
  10. That is a tough one! I have to agree with Isobel’s assessment of the smugglers’ role as traitors when the profits went to fuel Napoleon’s army. And to me, those who participate in smuggling today – be it arms or wildlife – are some of the lowest forms of life on earth. Get ’em, Isobel!
    However, while stealing is stealing and killing is killing and other nefarious/illegal behavior is what it is ; in history there were situations where stealing was what one did to survive. Hanging a starving child for stealing a loaf of bread was thought perfectly acceptable, while we find it horrific.
    And lest we forget, the United States came out of an act of treason (several of them actually!)The moment the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence their lives, properties and families stood forfeit to the Crown.
    Many authors create a hero who steals from or swindles the rich to give the money to a good cause. Frankly, I think I might have more respect for a man who runs a gambling hell, makes no bones about the fact he does it because he loves money and doesn’t mind pilfering it from the rich and if he gives it to a good cause he does so only because he gets something from it in return – the heroine’s love, or the respect of the community. In other words he does it because it suits his purposes, not because he has a heart of gold.

    Reply
  11. Well, not being English I can’t say that the traitorous aspects of smuggling during the Napoleonic era bothers me in the slightest. 😉
    The only criminal behavior that would really bother me involves harm to the innocent—real harm, not just the loss of money the victim can well afford. I would not be greatly distressed if Lord Filthyrich was relieved of his purse, but I would object if Mistress Barelymakingendsmeet was mugged.
    Actually I read something recently about a book in which the hero had made his fortune smuggling opium. That’s a book I won’t be reading because that’s an occupation I find truly loathsome. The same would go for slave trading.

    Reply
  12. Well, not being English I can’t say that the traitorous aspects of smuggling during the Napoleonic era bothers me in the slightest. 😉
    The only criminal behavior that would really bother me involves harm to the innocent—real harm, not just the loss of money the victim can well afford. I would not be greatly distressed if Lord Filthyrich was relieved of his purse, but I would object if Mistress Barelymakingendsmeet was mugged.
    Actually I read something recently about a book in which the hero had made his fortune smuggling opium. That’s a book I won’t be reading because that’s an occupation I find truly loathsome. The same would go for slave trading.

    Reply
  13. Well, not being English I can’t say that the traitorous aspects of smuggling during the Napoleonic era bothers me in the slightest. 😉
    The only criminal behavior that would really bother me involves harm to the innocent—real harm, not just the loss of money the victim can well afford. I would not be greatly distressed if Lord Filthyrich was relieved of his purse, but I would object if Mistress Barelymakingendsmeet was mugged.
    Actually I read something recently about a book in which the hero had made his fortune smuggling opium. That’s a book I won’t be reading because that’s an occupation I find truly loathsome. The same would go for slave trading.

    Reply
  14. Well, not being English I can’t say that the traitorous aspects of smuggling during the Napoleonic era bothers me in the slightest. 😉
    The only criminal behavior that would really bother me involves harm to the innocent—real harm, not just the loss of money the victim can well afford. I would not be greatly distressed if Lord Filthyrich was relieved of his purse, but I would object if Mistress Barelymakingendsmeet was mugged.
    Actually I read something recently about a book in which the hero had made his fortune smuggling opium. That’s a book I won’t be reading because that’s an occupation I find truly loathsome. The same would go for slave trading.

    Reply
  15. Well, not being English I can’t say that the traitorous aspects of smuggling during the Napoleonic era bothers me in the slightest. 😉
    The only criminal behavior that would really bother me involves harm to the innocent—real harm, not just the loss of money the victim can well afford. I would not be greatly distressed if Lord Filthyrich was relieved of his purse, but I would object if Mistress Barelymakingendsmeet was mugged.
    Actually I read something recently about a book in which the hero had made his fortune smuggling opium. That’s a book I won’t be reading because that’s an occupation I find truly loathsome. The same would go for slave trading.

    Reply
  16. The main criminal activity that I can’t abide with would be killing, unless its to save someone or yourself. As far as smuggling goes it all depends on what it is. It stilling but in some cases its stilling to survive. I have read some books with jewel thieves and things like that and really enjoyed the books. I am game for about anything when it comes to books. Your sound really good.

    Reply
  17. The main criminal activity that I can’t abide with would be killing, unless its to save someone or yourself. As far as smuggling goes it all depends on what it is. It stilling but in some cases its stilling to survive. I have read some books with jewel thieves and things like that and really enjoyed the books. I am game for about anything when it comes to books. Your sound really good.

    Reply
  18. The main criminal activity that I can’t abide with would be killing, unless its to save someone or yourself. As far as smuggling goes it all depends on what it is. It stilling but in some cases its stilling to survive. I have read some books with jewel thieves and things like that and really enjoyed the books. I am game for about anything when it comes to books. Your sound really good.

    Reply
  19. The main criminal activity that I can’t abide with would be killing, unless its to save someone or yourself. As far as smuggling goes it all depends on what it is. It stilling but in some cases its stilling to survive. I have read some books with jewel thieves and things like that and really enjoyed the books. I am game for about anything when it comes to books. Your sound really good.

    Reply
  20. The main criminal activity that I can’t abide with would be killing, unless its to save someone or yourself. As far as smuggling goes it all depends on what it is. It stilling but in some cases its stilling to survive. I have read some books with jewel thieves and things like that and really enjoyed the books. I am game for about anything when it comes to books. Your sound really good.

    Reply
  21. The same would go for slave trading.
    This is always a hard one, as nearly all the great families had made money off some aspect of the slave trade (investments in ships, owning plantations, etc.). We all blithefully gloss over this bit in our hero’s portfolio though.

    Reply
  22. The same would go for slave trading.
    This is always a hard one, as nearly all the great families had made money off some aspect of the slave trade (investments in ships, owning plantations, etc.). We all blithefully gloss over this bit in our hero’s portfolio though.

    Reply
  23. The same would go for slave trading.
    This is always a hard one, as nearly all the great families had made money off some aspect of the slave trade (investments in ships, owning plantations, etc.). We all blithefully gloss over this bit in our hero’s portfolio though.

    Reply
  24. The same would go for slave trading.
    This is always a hard one, as nearly all the great families had made money off some aspect of the slave trade (investments in ships, owning plantations, etc.). We all blithefully gloss over this bit in our hero’s portfolio though.

    Reply
  25. The same would go for slave trading.
    This is always a hard one, as nearly all the great families had made money off some aspect of the slave trade (investments in ships, owning plantations, etc.). We all blithefully gloss over this bit in our hero’s portfolio though.

    Reply
  26. Jo here. Good point, Isobel, about con artists and greed.
    Louisa, I think running a gaming hell would be a bit difficult for me, because usually the whole point is to encourage an addiction and of course they were often cheating the customers as well.
    Isobel, true about slaving, and the opium trade, too, because the East India Company was involved in that and many people in Britain had fingers in that pie.Of course importing, selling, and using opium was completely legal in Britain and most other places in the Regency and for quite a while later, so we’re not talking about criminals.
    Then we can look at exploitation of peoples around the world as the “First World” gathered its wealth, to the benefit of all classes.
    It all gets very complicated.
    Back to the romantic and non-romantic criminal heroes and heroines in novels.
    Jo

    Reply
  27. Jo here. Good point, Isobel, about con artists and greed.
    Louisa, I think running a gaming hell would be a bit difficult for me, because usually the whole point is to encourage an addiction and of course they were often cheating the customers as well.
    Isobel, true about slaving, and the opium trade, too, because the East India Company was involved in that and many people in Britain had fingers in that pie.Of course importing, selling, and using opium was completely legal in Britain and most other places in the Regency and for quite a while later, so we’re not talking about criminals.
    Then we can look at exploitation of peoples around the world as the “First World” gathered its wealth, to the benefit of all classes.
    It all gets very complicated.
    Back to the romantic and non-romantic criminal heroes and heroines in novels.
    Jo

    Reply
  28. Jo here. Good point, Isobel, about con artists and greed.
    Louisa, I think running a gaming hell would be a bit difficult for me, because usually the whole point is to encourage an addiction and of course they were often cheating the customers as well.
    Isobel, true about slaving, and the opium trade, too, because the East India Company was involved in that and many people in Britain had fingers in that pie.Of course importing, selling, and using opium was completely legal in Britain and most other places in the Regency and for quite a while later, so we’re not talking about criminals.
    Then we can look at exploitation of peoples around the world as the “First World” gathered its wealth, to the benefit of all classes.
    It all gets very complicated.
    Back to the romantic and non-romantic criminal heroes and heroines in novels.
    Jo

    Reply
  29. Jo here. Good point, Isobel, about con artists and greed.
    Louisa, I think running a gaming hell would be a bit difficult for me, because usually the whole point is to encourage an addiction and of course they were often cheating the customers as well.
    Isobel, true about slaving, and the opium trade, too, because the East India Company was involved in that and many people in Britain had fingers in that pie.Of course importing, selling, and using opium was completely legal in Britain and most other places in the Regency and for quite a while later, so we’re not talking about criminals.
    Then we can look at exploitation of peoples around the world as the “First World” gathered its wealth, to the benefit of all classes.
    It all gets very complicated.
    Back to the romantic and non-romantic criminal heroes and heroines in novels.
    Jo

    Reply
  30. Jo here. Good point, Isobel, about con artists and greed.
    Louisa, I think running a gaming hell would be a bit difficult for me, because usually the whole point is to encourage an addiction and of course they were often cheating the customers as well.
    Isobel, true about slaving, and the opium trade, too, because the East India Company was involved in that and many people in Britain had fingers in that pie.Of course importing, selling, and using opium was completely legal in Britain and most other places in the Regency and for quite a while later, so we’re not talking about criminals.
    Then we can look at exploitation of peoples around the world as the “First World” gathered its wealth, to the benefit of all classes.
    It all gets very complicated.
    Back to the romantic and non-romantic criminal heroes and heroines in novels.
    Jo

    Reply
  31. You asked about the weather, Jo, and since a hurricane is bearing down on us, the answer is dramatic. *g* It’s been a weird summer for weather, and that isn’t even counting this week’s earthquake, which isn’t weather, but does suggest an angry Gaia.
    I’m another who doesn’t find criminal protagonists appealing. Particularly not highwaymen, who seem a lot more like scary than romantic. I don’t particularly love smugglers, but they can be useful for sneaking characters into France during the wars. In fact, my current characters just snuck out of France with smugglers. Very useful plot devices!

    Reply
  32. You asked about the weather, Jo, and since a hurricane is bearing down on us, the answer is dramatic. *g* It’s been a weird summer for weather, and that isn’t even counting this week’s earthquake, which isn’t weather, but does suggest an angry Gaia.
    I’m another who doesn’t find criminal protagonists appealing. Particularly not highwaymen, who seem a lot more like scary than romantic. I don’t particularly love smugglers, but they can be useful for sneaking characters into France during the wars. In fact, my current characters just snuck out of France with smugglers. Very useful plot devices!

    Reply
  33. You asked about the weather, Jo, and since a hurricane is bearing down on us, the answer is dramatic. *g* It’s been a weird summer for weather, and that isn’t even counting this week’s earthquake, which isn’t weather, but does suggest an angry Gaia.
    I’m another who doesn’t find criminal protagonists appealing. Particularly not highwaymen, who seem a lot more like scary than romantic. I don’t particularly love smugglers, but they can be useful for sneaking characters into France during the wars. In fact, my current characters just snuck out of France with smugglers. Very useful plot devices!

    Reply
  34. You asked about the weather, Jo, and since a hurricane is bearing down on us, the answer is dramatic. *g* It’s been a weird summer for weather, and that isn’t even counting this week’s earthquake, which isn’t weather, but does suggest an angry Gaia.
    I’m another who doesn’t find criminal protagonists appealing. Particularly not highwaymen, who seem a lot more like scary than romantic. I don’t particularly love smugglers, but they can be useful for sneaking characters into France during the wars. In fact, my current characters just snuck out of France with smugglers. Very useful plot devices!

    Reply
  35. You asked about the weather, Jo, and since a hurricane is bearing down on us, the answer is dramatic. *g* It’s been a weird summer for weather, and that isn’t even counting this week’s earthquake, which isn’t weather, but does suggest an angry Gaia.
    I’m another who doesn’t find criminal protagonists appealing. Particularly not highwaymen, who seem a lot more like scary than romantic. I don’t particularly love smugglers, but they can be useful for sneaking characters into France during the wars. In fact, my current characters just snuck out of France with smugglers. Very useful plot devices!

    Reply
  36. I tend to be drawn to complex heroes and heroines and often these can include criminals. I like to find redeemable qualities within them and enjoy watching them transform into better people. I don’t expect these characters to be perfect but I do want them to have a conscience and be aware of their actions. That means they may lie to protect and kills to save; the important thing is their actions reflect an inner good. They are fiercely loyal to their love ones, they are protective and their morals reflect the interest of their love ones. That is where their allegiance rests. They may not say it in words but their actions speak for themselves. As for criminals with a sordid past, it’s not about what they did but what they plan to do with their life moving onwards. I like seeing them overcome obstacles and face fears. They can admit when they are wrong and have the ability to show remorse. I have yet to encounter a situation or action where it is beyond redemption and that it because of the humanity they hold onto to.

    Reply
  37. I tend to be drawn to complex heroes and heroines and often these can include criminals. I like to find redeemable qualities within them and enjoy watching them transform into better people. I don’t expect these characters to be perfect but I do want them to have a conscience and be aware of their actions. That means they may lie to protect and kills to save; the important thing is their actions reflect an inner good. They are fiercely loyal to their love ones, they are protective and their morals reflect the interest of their love ones. That is where their allegiance rests. They may not say it in words but their actions speak for themselves. As for criminals with a sordid past, it’s not about what they did but what they plan to do with their life moving onwards. I like seeing them overcome obstacles and face fears. They can admit when they are wrong and have the ability to show remorse. I have yet to encounter a situation or action where it is beyond redemption and that it because of the humanity they hold onto to.

    Reply
  38. I tend to be drawn to complex heroes and heroines and often these can include criminals. I like to find redeemable qualities within them and enjoy watching them transform into better people. I don’t expect these characters to be perfect but I do want them to have a conscience and be aware of their actions. That means they may lie to protect and kills to save; the important thing is their actions reflect an inner good. They are fiercely loyal to their love ones, they are protective and their morals reflect the interest of their love ones. That is where their allegiance rests. They may not say it in words but their actions speak for themselves. As for criminals with a sordid past, it’s not about what they did but what they plan to do with their life moving onwards. I like seeing them overcome obstacles and face fears. They can admit when they are wrong and have the ability to show remorse. I have yet to encounter a situation or action where it is beyond redemption and that it because of the humanity they hold onto to.

    Reply
  39. I tend to be drawn to complex heroes and heroines and often these can include criminals. I like to find redeemable qualities within them and enjoy watching them transform into better people. I don’t expect these characters to be perfect but I do want them to have a conscience and be aware of their actions. That means they may lie to protect and kills to save; the important thing is their actions reflect an inner good. They are fiercely loyal to their love ones, they are protective and their morals reflect the interest of their love ones. That is where their allegiance rests. They may not say it in words but their actions speak for themselves. As for criminals with a sordid past, it’s not about what they did but what they plan to do with their life moving onwards. I like seeing them overcome obstacles and face fears. They can admit when they are wrong and have the ability to show remorse. I have yet to encounter a situation or action where it is beyond redemption and that it because of the humanity they hold onto to.

    Reply
  40. I tend to be drawn to complex heroes and heroines and often these can include criminals. I like to find redeemable qualities within them and enjoy watching them transform into better people. I don’t expect these characters to be perfect but I do want them to have a conscience and be aware of their actions. That means they may lie to protect and kills to save; the important thing is their actions reflect an inner good. They are fiercely loyal to their love ones, they are protective and their morals reflect the interest of their love ones. That is where their allegiance rests. They may not say it in words but their actions speak for themselves. As for criminals with a sordid past, it’s not about what they did but what they plan to do with their life moving onwards. I like seeing them overcome obstacles and face fears. They can admit when they are wrong and have the ability to show remorse. I have yet to encounter a situation or action where it is beyond redemption and that it because of the humanity they hold onto to.

    Reply
  41. Jo bere.
    Good point, Na, about redemption, though I’m not too fond of plots based on character redemption, either, probably because I have less faith in the process than you do! The span of most romance novels is, to me, too short to really show if any major change has stuck. My novels generally only cover a few weeks. I do believe in love at first sight etc, but not in total character transformation in the same time period! 🙂
    I forgot that I’m a sucker for a character who can laugh at him or herself, so a smuggler, highwayman, or pickpocket who has a lively sense of the ridiculous might win me over.
    Jo

    Reply
  42. Jo bere.
    Good point, Na, about redemption, though I’m not too fond of plots based on character redemption, either, probably because I have less faith in the process than you do! The span of most romance novels is, to me, too short to really show if any major change has stuck. My novels generally only cover a few weeks. I do believe in love at first sight etc, but not in total character transformation in the same time period! 🙂
    I forgot that I’m a sucker for a character who can laugh at him or herself, so a smuggler, highwayman, or pickpocket who has a lively sense of the ridiculous might win me over.
    Jo

    Reply
  43. Jo bere.
    Good point, Na, about redemption, though I’m not too fond of plots based on character redemption, either, probably because I have less faith in the process than you do! The span of most romance novels is, to me, too short to really show if any major change has stuck. My novels generally only cover a few weeks. I do believe in love at first sight etc, but not in total character transformation in the same time period! 🙂
    I forgot that I’m a sucker for a character who can laugh at him or herself, so a smuggler, highwayman, or pickpocket who has a lively sense of the ridiculous might win me over.
    Jo

    Reply
  44. Jo bere.
    Good point, Na, about redemption, though I’m not too fond of plots based on character redemption, either, probably because I have less faith in the process than you do! The span of most romance novels is, to me, too short to really show if any major change has stuck. My novels generally only cover a few weeks. I do believe in love at first sight etc, but not in total character transformation in the same time period! 🙂
    I forgot that I’m a sucker for a character who can laugh at him or herself, so a smuggler, highwayman, or pickpocket who has a lively sense of the ridiculous might win me over.
    Jo

    Reply
  45. Jo bere.
    Good point, Na, about redemption, though I’m not too fond of plots based on character redemption, either, probably because I have less faith in the process than you do! The span of most romance novels is, to me, too short to really show if any major change has stuck. My novels generally only cover a few weeks. I do believe in love at first sight etc, but not in total character transformation in the same time period! 🙂
    I forgot that I’m a sucker for a character who can laugh at him or herself, so a smuggler, highwayman, or pickpocket who has a lively sense of the ridiculous might win me over.
    Jo

    Reply
  46. I think it all depends on why the criminal act was perpetrated & who was hurt by it. Not all laws make sense or cover all circumstances. On the east coast of the US we’ve just gone thru Hurricane Irene (Irene was my mother’s name, so I was kidding the family that’s why I came thru ok). A lot of people are still having trouble do to flooding which is still not receded 3 days later & some towns are cut off due to washed out roads & bridges. Those are the people who could use a good read, but probably don’t have access here to make an entry.

    Reply
  47. I think it all depends on why the criminal act was perpetrated & who was hurt by it. Not all laws make sense or cover all circumstances. On the east coast of the US we’ve just gone thru Hurricane Irene (Irene was my mother’s name, so I was kidding the family that’s why I came thru ok). A lot of people are still having trouble do to flooding which is still not receded 3 days later & some towns are cut off due to washed out roads & bridges. Those are the people who could use a good read, but probably don’t have access here to make an entry.

    Reply
  48. I think it all depends on why the criminal act was perpetrated & who was hurt by it. Not all laws make sense or cover all circumstances. On the east coast of the US we’ve just gone thru Hurricane Irene (Irene was my mother’s name, so I was kidding the family that’s why I came thru ok). A lot of people are still having trouble do to flooding which is still not receded 3 days later & some towns are cut off due to washed out roads & bridges. Those are the people who could use a good read, but probably don’t have access here to make an entry.

    Reply
  49. I think it all depends on why the criminal act was perpetrated & who was hurt by it. Not all laws make sense or cover all circumstances. On the east coast of the US we’ve just gone thru Hurricane Irene (Irene was my mother’s name, so I was kidding the family that’s why I came thru ok). A lot of people are still having trouble do to flooding which is still not receded 3 days later & some towns are cut off due to washed out roads & bridges. Those are the people who could use a good read, but probably don’t have access here to make an entry.

    Reply
  50. I think it all depends on why the criminal act was perpetrated & who was hurt by it. Not all laws make sense or cover all circumstances. On the east coast of the US we’ve just gone thru Hurricane Irene (Irene was my mother’s name, so I was kidding the family that’s why I came thru ok). A lot of people are still having trouble do to flooding which is still not receded 3 days later & some towns are cut off due to washed out roads & bridges. Those are the people who could use a good read, but probably don’t have access here to make an entry.

    Reply

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