2021 is turning out to be quite the year. To be honest, publishing my novella trilogy Taking Chances last year was more to prove to myself that I could actually do it. Being an author is one of those things that I’d always dreamed of, but ultimately decided it was unattainable. Self-publishing hadn’t even crossed my mind until one of my best friends, Aleera, started going through her own self-publishing journey, and now it’s one of my goals to be a hybrid author.
That being said, I have to actually, you know, write. And that’s my goal for 2021. I’ve given myself the goal of finishing a trilogy this year, with the intention of publishing it in 2022. The first book of that series is already at 20k, which I’m beyond ecstatic about. (If you want to follow my progress on that, I post updates frequently on social media!) In the meantime, when I’m not working on my books, I’m at my day job, slaving away. Ten hours is a long time, and so I either listen to music, a podcast, or a book while I’m working.
Although I’ve decided to focus on writing romance with this penname, I’m actually a fan of several genres. I’m absolutely weak for the mail order bride trope. I love contemporary suspense thrillers. YA was one of my first loves. But one of my absolute favorite genres of all-time is urban fantasy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Fantasy by itself is excellent. (Hint: the trilogy that I’m currently working on is romantic fantasy.) Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, I will indulge myself in those fandoms time and again! But urban fantasy combines my love of contemporary and fantasy, and the combinations are just oh-so-delicious. One such urban fantasy series that is near and dear to my heart is the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. It’s one of the first things I recommend to someone trying to find urban fantasy to read.
But I have since discovered a new (to me) urban fantasy series, and when I tell you I fell, I mean I fell hard.
I’m currently listening to Silver Borne of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. There are quite a few similarities between the Anita Blake and Mercy Thompson series, but that’s not what this post is about. No, this post is specifically about one character who I feel needs more recognition, and that is Stefan the vampire.
(If you want to read the series, which I highly recommend, please be advised that what I talk about next will have spoilers for some books.)
We first meet Stefan in the first Mercy Thompson book, Moon Called. It’s not a lengthy introduction. We find out that Stefan the vampire loves Scooby Doo and has his van painted to resemble the Mystery Machine. Come on; is that endearing, or what? The next time we see Stefan is in Blood Bound, the second Mercy Thompson book. He shows himself to be an admirable character, and we especially see that he has a soft spot for Mercy. Although Mercy is a Walker, something that vampires have greatly feared, he keeps it from the mistress of his Seethe, Marsilia, which is quite the offense.
It was the next time we see him in the fourth book, Bone Crossed, that I personally became further invested in Stefan. For covering up Mercy killing Andre, Stefan is tortured. His menagerie is killed and his body is dropped in the middle of Mercy’s trailer. And yet despite having been starved, Stefan does not feed on Mercy. He refuses to because he is in love with her.
And that’s just the biggest sucker punch in the gut. Mercy is Adam’s mate, which I’m happy about. Truly, I was relieved when Samuel gracefully bowed out. Love triangles really aren’t my thing. I have such a visceral reaction to them because someone inevitably gets hurt, and that just makes me hurt in turn. But with the main love triangle peacefully resolved, I thought I didn’t have much to worry about. Except Stefan is in love with Mercy, and his feelings are unrequited.
I can’t even begin to explain why this made me so sad. Maybe it’s because Stefan endeared himself to me from the very beginning, or maybe I just never really grew out of that vampire phase, but you see the lengths that Stefan is willing to go for Mercy, and it just hurts my heart. Stefan is the real MVP because he doesn’t ask anything of Mercy in return. He hasn’t asked her to acknowledge his feelings or even return them; they just are, and he’s okay with that. He’s content being her friend. We need more guys like Stefan.
What prompted me to write this post in particular was listening to the end of Bone Crossed, when Marsilia and Mercy have their little stand off. Mercy defends Stefan and calls Marsilia out on her ill-treatment of my now favorite vampire in all of existence, and Marsilia acknowledges that Mercy is alive only because her death would deeply hurt Stefan.
God, I can’t. I have so many feelings. So many. Mostly, I almost wish the characters were polyamorous so that Stefan could have a happy ending.