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BadAss Week: Author Emma Butler on why the world needs a BadAss

Submitted by on June 13, 2011 – 4:00 am27 Comments

Sometimes when you’ve been hurt, you don’t want someone holding your hand and talking it out. Sometimes you want them to roll up their sleeves and beat the living crap out of whoever made you hurt so bad.

That’s where the bad ass male protagonist comes in. Awesome, awesome idea for a week by the Dolls by the way. This is why they’re so great.

It’s why sometimes you need Eric, not Bill. It’s why you need Damon Salvatore, not Stefan. It’s why Magneto is just so much cooler than Professor X. Why all of us, somewhere, have just an eensy crush on Wolverine.

Mr. Fassbender

Someone who’ll hold your hand and beat back the darkness. The bad ass is what we all want but daren’t ask for. I know I’m still waiting for mine, but then I’m sure Michael Fassbender will come around eventually. (Dear Dolls, at least I didn’t mention Chuck Bass this time..oops) I am so excited to write this post because I truly believe the bad ass male protagonist is the best kind. I even write one of my very own. Santangelo De Saviero is a Mafia kingpin who believes in one thing. Himself. But more about my man later. First, I want to introduce you to Rhett Butler – a classic bad ass. Then Terrible – the best bad ass around right now.

Everyone should have read right? I refuse to deal with you if you haven’t. Then you’ll have met Rhett Butler, quite possibly the greatest bad ass of all time. Think about it. By the time Scarlett O’Hara meets him he’s already been kicked out of home by his father and been involved in a dawn duel over a woman. When Scarlett tries her dramatics he refuses to give in to her. Everyone else does but Rhett is the one who captures her heart. I believe it’s because he’s the only one strong enough to stand up to her. Bad asses bring their own strength. I loved one scene in particular, when he and Scarlett are on their honeymoon. She’s saying how she shouldn’t eat a second helping of something because it’s not ladylike. Rhett asks her why everyone else’s’ opinions count. Why can’t she just be who she is? The bad ass doesn’t hide who he is. And neither should we.

Mr. Butler

If you read , she escapes America and ends up in Ireland. She keeps running into Rhett and eventually realises he was right all along. And that he’s loved her all along. But he never lays down at her feet and begs her to come back. He has enough faith in her to know she’ll work it out, use her smarts instead of her looks. The bad ass expects his women to be the same. I fell in love with Rhett when I realised he didn’t conform to society’s view but had a heart. He underran a blockade and bootlegged but kept hundreds of workers in jobs when a depression hit. That’s a true bad ass.

Then I met Terrible. Stacia Kane’s beautiful, wonderful, amazing Terrible. I was just about to start submitting Human Nature to agents and I picked up . I’d just been wondering whether my bad ass – Santangelo- was okay. I love him to pieces but this was around the time everyone thought Edward was the greatest thing on Earth. Lovely, fawning, broody intense eyes Edward who wrote pretty songs. My guy would shoot Edward. Was he going to be okay? Was it the right time to send out a bad ass? Wouldn’t I have been better writing William out of PS I Love You? (Now, you knew I had to fit a Jeffrey Dean Morgan reference in)

I started reading Unholy Ghosts and just a little way in, you meet Terrible. And Stacia Kane just put to rest every niggling fear I had about my own character. She gives us such an amazing bad ass that you realise there’s no right time, a bad ass is always needed. Terrible is exactly the kind of bad ass I love. He’s nothing like Edward, Bill or any other hero. He’s just completely unique and I think that’s what makes him such a great protagonist.

Terrible works for a guy (as in when the Mob say ‘Oh I know a guy’) in this quasi Mafia organization. The way Stacia Kane describes her heroine – Chess – seeing him its apparent he’s not Michelangelo’s David. But there’s something that comes through his features, partly this strength I mentioned, partly the fact he cares so intensely for Chess in this gruff way you could never exactly pinpoint and partly because he has a growling voice in the best accent ever. There’s a point when Kane describes him getting out of his 69 Chevelle – which is a must have for a bad ass. They have to have a great car.

De Niro in Goodfellas? Great car. Dom Toretto? Great car. There’s just this danger exuding from him, people stand back on the sidewalk and you get the impression of this dark, creeping menace. A bad ass has to have danger attached. Something forbidden. He accompanies Chess on situations which clearly creep him out but he’s there. Because a bad ass will always come through for the heroine. They might not write her love songs but they’ll be there to stop the dagger aimed at her throat. Which is ultimately more important unless you like love songs at your funeral.

I fell in love with Terrible because he showed me a unique character. He’s like nothing you’ve ever read before in the best way. Its obvious Stacia Kane loves him and believes in him. The result is an amazing bad ass that I hope sticks in everyone’s’ minds. He needs to become a cult figure like Rhett.

Writing a bad ass is a pleasure I never want to give up. Santangelo De Saviero came out of the darkest places I’ve known inside myself. When I started writing him I was getting bullied at work. I mean, I’d run to my car on my lunch break and cry kind of bullying. And then this character just appeared. This dark, dangerous Mobster, an honest killer, a wise sociopath.

The female protagonist has been searching too long for someone stronger and she finds it in him. One thing I love in this character is that he’s never tried to change the female – Ronnie. He’s taught her how to fight and how to keep her reputation as an Ice Queen but he’s never assumed she was any less intelligent than him or that she wasn’t able to handle whatever she was given. When she tries to retreat into terror he’s the one holding her hand and telling her to face it. He sees who she is when no-ones looking. The bad ass sees who we really are.

I honestly don’t know where he comes from. There was no character plan and no rough outline. He writes himself. I hear his words in my head – not in that kind of way, its okay. Santangelo is just uniquely him. No matter what else is going on in the Black Rose series so far & there’s been a lot, he is always the dark calm. Take this for example – there’s growing unrest between Santangelo and another Mobster. There are zombies on the loose and the head of the undead is on suicide mission. Santangelo’s telling his plan to Ronnie:

“Get your ass comfortable” Santangelo told her, dropping his other arm to hook low around her back. “We got business to do.” Golden eyes met his as she looked up, face full of faith. “You tell me, I’ll follow you” she promised, bringing a crooked smile to the dark whiskers. There was such confidence in her eyes, just like a goddamn soldier. “Hey honey, you already made your bones.”

The world needs more Alpha Males. There’s such an influx of new age, sensitive men that sometimes everything gets lost in talking things through. No matter what you bring to the Alpha, the bad ass, they can handle it. Bring them problems like Santangelo and they give you a plan. Bring them Tara in ruin and they give you security and strength like Rhett. Bring them ghosts and murders and they give you a backbone of pure steel like Terrible.

The world needs Alphas. Long live the Bad Ass!

*The Dolls would like to say a HUGE thank you to Emma Butler
for kicking off BadAss boys week – she’s a bit badass herself.

For more about Emma Bulter visit her website HERE
Be sure to enter the BADASS Giveaway HERE

Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
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  • Day says:

    This is Fantastic! I love every single male character you decribed… Rhett, TERRIBLE–love them both!

    I really can't wait to learn more about Santangelo De Saviero!

    Thank Emma!!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Alli Perry says:

    Excellent way to start BadAss week! Thanks for the amazing post.

    PS: I love Damon Salvatore too! :P

    Reply to this comment »
  • I "dig" Terrible. You would think he would frighten me but the oh so sweet side that no one can see but Chess makes my knees week.

    Jen k Jovus

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sharon says:

    I am such a bad ass alpha-male lover . I haven't read Unholy Ghosts yet and now I believe I must meet this Terrible .

    Your character Santangelo (love this name!!!)sounds like my kind of guy too ;)

    Thanks for the great post.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Day says:

    Sharon, you really need to read The Downside series (or listen to them on audio) I am CRAZY about Terrible!!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • acm05 says:

    Now, Terrible is an example of a real BAD boy. Good choice.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Vivien says:

    I am such a softie for a good bad ass :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • I am not familiar with most of the bad asses you named but I totally get sometimes you need Eric and not Bill line. I am totally team Eric!

    Reply to this comment »
  • I am not familiar with most of the bad asses you named but I totally get sometimes you need Eric and not Bill line. I am totally team Eric!

    Reply to this comment »
  • I am not familiar with most of the bad asses you named but I totally get sometimes you need Eric and not Bill line. I am totally team Eric!

    Reply to this comment »
  • I am not familiar with most of the bad asses you named but I totally get sometimes you need Eric and not Bill line. I am totally team Eric!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Georgia says:

    ERIC > bill !!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Audrey says:

    Funny, it's the first time I actually noticed that I liked the bad ass best. It's good to have someone who can give you a good shove forward and have faith in you at the same time ^^

    Reply to this comment »
  • Noa says:

    Emma, what a fabulous post! I need to read the Downside series… Terrible sounds Terrible in all the right ways ;)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Kah_cherub says:

    Yup, we all have a masochistic bone in our bodies that makes us love the bad hotties…
    like Michelle Pfeiffer sang: "Just give me a black motorcycle. With a man growin' out of the seat, then move aside. Cause I'm gonna ride, With a cool rider…I want a lot more than the boy next door, I want hell on wheels!"
    I couldn't describe it better. :p LOL

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Denise Z says:

    Something about a bad boy – those were the day!!!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Di says:

    After reading your post, I immediatly thought of the movie I saw last night – Bruce Willis in Red – I think he fits your criteria. Love to read the alpha male too.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • June M. says:

    Gotta love the bada$$ males in books…not so much in life cause they are usually just jerks!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Why are bad boys always the most appealing?

    Reply to this comment »
  • Emma says:

    Thank you! Day & Noa, I love writing for you guys, you always make me feel so loved. And so far, I've managed to sneak Fassbender in!

    I feel so blessed/stoked to read about people saying they want to meet Santangelo. Glad you love my bad ass!

    Reply to this comment »
  • I really liked this. And it did add a new title to my list. So thanks!

    Reply to this comment »
  • BLHmistress says:

    OH How could I forget Eric I love him he is on my list especially with the new season starting soon.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Miranda Grissom says:

    Fab post…takes me back my mom had me reading Gone with the Wind when I was 12 I's her absolute favorite!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Adriana says:

    I like the post, I´m going to look for the series that you mention Stacia Kane I haven´t read them.
    I just realice that I´m totally into bad ass guys.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Michael Fassbender is awesome! I wouldn't mind waking up to him as my hero.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Ren says:

    Michael Fassbender,now that's the reason why ladies will be Team Magneto other than Xavier (or maybe Wolverine too, lol)

    A nice post about bad-ass, and about Terrible, I'll put Stacia Kane's book at my wishlist

    Reply to this comment »
  • OMG, I soo loved this post and I'm with you 100% :)

    Reply to this comment »