Paranormal Activity: Gale Stanley

Paranormal Activity – Why We Love Extraordinary Heroes

 By Gale Stanley

Have you ever fallen for a character in a book? I have. Many times. Being smitten with a fictional hero is very much like having a crush on an actor in a movie or TV show. If an author does their job well, she (or he), will have created a hero who is so believable, he seems to exist in the real world. He feels very much like a flesh and blood person with a complete identity—physical description, characteristics, mannerisms, wants, needs, motivations, goals…all the things that make us who we are.

Sometimes fictional characters are based on real people, and that makes them seem even more familiar and loved. I’ve done this with my own characters. Malcolm, the alpha wolf-shifter in my first paranormal romance, Call of the Wilds, was based on Clive Owen. I had a mad crush on him at the time. I think I have every movie he’s ever made, including the stinkers. He’s since been replaced—many times over. Sorry, Clive. But there are so many hot men and so little time.

Whether it’s real-life hotties like Clive, Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, and Chris Hemsworth, or literary lovers like Romeo, Aragorn, Heathcliff, and Beowulf, these characters make our hearts throb and our panties wet.

I love them all, but I tend to gravitate toward fangs and fur. Strangely enough, when I was a kid, werewolves, vampires, mummies, and zombies were the reviled villains in horror movies and books. Now they’re romantic leads. These former monsters now make me weak in the knees—in a good way. Go figure.

“The paranormal superhero has a body built for love and he’s ridiculously good looking. In human form, anyway.”

I love to read and write about paranormal heroes, dark, seductive alpha males, preferably of the Lycan or feline variety. You know the type. Sinfully good-looking, a bit arrogant, and capable of bestowing multiple orgasms at a moment’s notice. The man is a lethal predator one minute and a possessive, protective lover the next. Yummy!

When did things change? Why do these larger-than-life personalities capture our imagination and refuse to let go?

Sex appeal is a big part of the package. Pun intended.

The paranormal superhero has a body built for love and he’s ridiculously good looking. In human form, anyway. But he isn’t human, and that’s part of the charm. His animal nature gives him an edgy, dangerous vibe that just exudes excitement and thrills. On the other hand, we know that he’ll use that savage strength to protect us when the bad stuff happens. Of course our paranormal hero is an amazing lover. He can perform for hours and he’s always ready. Sounds perfect, doesn’t he? Not. He’s got just the right amount of flaws to capture our sympathy. It’s those flaws that make him more human, more relatable, more like us.

In my Urban Affairs series, the heroes are alpha were-shifters who are forced to live in ghettoes. All their lives they’ve been persecuted because of human prejudice, and their traumatic pasts have left them with internal scars, but the werewolves and other shape-shifters are not afraid to stand up to their enemies. I created these characters by blending the qualities of real wolves with human emotions. They can be aggressive killers when provoked, but they also have a softer side they rarely show—except to those who are closest to them. Even more than their beauty, it’s that mix of primal animal nature tempered by human feelings that makes them so attractive to me.

“Superpowers aside, any shape-shifter worth his salt shows his best side when he shows what’s inside.”

I adore my wolves, but I love cats, too. My feline muses inspired me to write the TomCats series. Actually, I had no choice. They planted themselves on my keyboard until I agreed. Not a problem. I was happy to oblige. The heroes in TomCats are shifters who run a clothing optional gay resort in Key West, a small tropical island in Florida. The cat-shifters display some of the same traits as my wolf-shifters—with a few differences. After all, we’re talking dogs and cats here. The differences are fascinating. For instance, according to studies, cats are more resourceful drinkers than their canine counterparts. A lightbulb goes off. And so, Torque, my feline bartender, was born.

So where do you find guys like this? Unfortunately, we can only find these heroes between the covers of a book. A friend once told me she had trouble finding a guy because no one measured up to her supernatural crush. I think she was joking, but it got me thinking. Do these paranormal heroes raise the bar for mortal men? I don’t think so.

Superpowers aside, any shape-shifter worth his salt shows his best side when he shows what’s inside. A real superhero treats others with respect and puts his life on the line for friends and family. In the end, it’s not their looks and super abilities that make them superheroes—it’s their character. So enjoy your time between the covers of a good book, but rest assured there are real-life superheroes out there. Our paranormal heroes are hopelessly enchanting, but many of their best qualities can be found in real men. I know, I married one.



  1. J.S. Morris /

    I think I’m in love, with the blue eyed feline at the top of this article! What a handsome face, assuming it’s a male. I can almost picture a shift into a Clive Owen or Channing Tatum.
    We can all dream.
    Thanks for a nice break in a busy afternoon to share your thoughts.

  2. Spike says thank you! He’s a ten year-old Tonkinese. He and his sister were named after two favorite TV show characters–Buffy and Spike. He’s so smart, sometimes I expect him to shift right in front of my eyes.
    Have a good weekend!


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