What A man!

Today, I’m paying homage to the soldier. As I grew up, I knew my father, along with other men in my family and neighborhood had been soldiers, either in the Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam or now, Iraq and Afghanistan. I admired them, worried for them, prayed about them and rejoiced when they came home. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized, these men, in many ways, were boys, are boys.

Do you realize that the average age of men serving in WWII was 25 and the average age in Vietnam was 19? Think about it. And now, overall, the average of men in the military is around 19 (all this according to chacha.com and wikianswers). These men, overall, aren’t old enough to buy liquor in a bar, to buy a house, certainly and often, in the case of the second world war, lied about their age so they could serve. Yet, they hold each other’s lives in their hands, train daily on how to protect civilians they don’t know or may never meet, and are expected to return to non combat life without a hiccup, so they don’t disturb our lives.

I’ve always been thankful for our freedoms and our heroes, but as I live longer, I’m more thankful than ever. Thanks to all the men and women who served, serve or are thinking of serving in our military. Your efforts are appreciated and you are our true heroes.

What A Man!

Today I’m devoting to one of my favorite heroes, Mr. John Thornton of North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.

I’m a fan of historical fiction, but I confess I didn’t discover North and South until this past year. Elizabeth Gaskell was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and wrote historical fiction in England in the Victorian era. And no, this North and South isn’t about the antebellum south of the US, it’s about the north and south of England.

In the book, Margaret, the heroine of the book, moves with her mother and father from the south of England, the places we’re all familiar with from books by Jane Austen, to the north, the industrial part of the country. She meets John Thornton, a man who’s made a success of himself through hard work in cotton mills, to the point he owns a huge mill in town.

North and South reminds me strongly of Pride and Prejudice, but with a twist. Margaret owns the prejudice title in this book and John the pride. And I’m going to make to some a sacriligious statement, I prefer Mr. Thornton over Mr. Darcy.

John Thornton is proud, but is also passionate. He doesn’t find anything wrong with stating his opinion with passion, nothing wrong with telling Margaret he loves her, and holds little back. He’s as alpha as they come (more so in the mini series than the book, but still alpha enough), though he doesn’t come to fisticuffs or violence. I suppose it’s all in the attitude.

All in all, I loved the book and encourage all to read it. Let me know what you think. Did you prefer the mini series over the book? Or are you a purist and love the book above all?

What a Man!

Please welcome my guest, Mary Manners as she talks about what makes a “Good Bad Boy.


What Makes a ‘Good’ Bad Boy?

by Mary Manners

I’ve often wondered why women are so drawn to Bad Boys. I have a few of my own lurking in my past. My husband often jokes that he’s a Bad Boy, and I recently bought him a motorcycle just to keep the image intact.


When the idea for my contemporary inspirational romance, Mended Heart came to me, I knew I wanted to take a bad boy and turn him good (within the confines of 200 or so pages). What a daunting task! So, how does one ‘change’ a bad boy to good? First, one must understand the recipe for a bad boy:


Bad Boy Stew:

1 Overflowing Cup of Hidden Secrets

2 Heaping Tablespoons of Recklessness

1 Swollen Ego Mixed with a Rounded Teaspoon of Pride

A Dash of Insecurity

A sprinkle of Humor

Just a Pinch of Conscience

Garnish with Good Looks


Take the above ingredients and stir them well. Then add the girl he spurned in high school, who’s back in town with a vengeance. Blend them together and bake at high temperatures until he realizes she’s developed a backbone—and a sharp tongue. Throw their hidden secrets into the mix and let them churn for a while, then peek and see what’s cooking. Continue to let the contents mingle, watching for new developments. When the ingredients appear to be fully meshed and tender, remove from the heat and enjoy!

Now, it’s my firm opinion that every woman is drawn by a bad boy, but we also entertain the idea that deep down, somewhere in the depths of his reclusive heart, there’s a good boy just dying to get out. That’s what happened with Mended Heart. When the story opens, Shane Calkin is the proverbial rich kid in town. He runs with a wild, reckless crowd that shuns Jade McAllister…the poor girl from the trailer park whose father took off when she was a child.


But the passage of time—and a host of life-altering circumstances—set into motion subtle changes in both Shane and Jade. When they meet again, ten years later, on the steps of Pineyville Church, the ingredients they both bring to the recipe make them ripe for travel down a new path…into a fresh and exciting direction.


The most important ingredients in the Bad Boy recipe are the Hidden Secrets (what woman doesn’t like a few juicy secrets?) and the Pinch of Conscience…for this is what sets the desired change into motion. The sharing of secrets creates a strong bond between a man and a woman. And without at least the slightest Pinch of Conscience—which leads to a sense of loyalty when blended well with the other ingredients—there can be no real development or change.


Of course, it’s important to remember that a true Bad Boy always harbors just a hint of his wild nature along with the deep tenderness and loyalty that develops along the way. He’s willing—and ready—to fight to the death for the woman he’s grown to love. And, after all, a hint of Bad Boy, even when he’s good, is what keeps the excitement flowing!


Cover Reveal

Crimson Sunrise…



Saari Mitchell attends a Tueri conference in Las Vegas, Nevada to strengthen her bonds with Dhelis Guidry and Brogan Vincent—and see if they can make their three-sided relationship work. But when Saari and her vampire brother Mag’s lives are threatened, her trip to paradise soon becomes a surreal fight for survival.


Dhelis and Brogan’s psychic abilities are no help in finding Saari. Desperate to save their mate, they call in favors from the psychic and preternatural community, but the information leads only to more questions. Is the threat against Saari personal or part of a larger plan that threatens every human and Tueri’s existence?



Crimson Sunrise is the second novel in the Tueri Fated Souls Series.


Said of the first novel in this series, Moonlight Bleu:


“Moonlight Bleu                          by Renee Rearden is one of those ‘blow your socks off’, totally awesome, amazingly entertaining and, completely wonderful stories that make you want to yell about it, at the top of your lungs, from every roof top you can get to! Rearden’s talent is fresh and brings a new face to the world of the paranormal genre.”


~YzhaBella’s BookShelf



“Renee Rearden has exploded onto the paranormal fiction scene with this debut novel—Moonlight Bleu! The concepts in this novel are fresh and creative, and I look forward to seeing future developments…from an exciting new author to watch!”


~Digigirl’s Library












What A Man!

Please welcome my friend, Carolynn Carey as she blogs about her newest hero, Denver. Carolynn’s book, Dealing with Denver, is available on Amazon. Check it out!

My Reluctant Hero in Dealing with Denver

By Carolynn Carey

Writing about heroes can be a lot of fun, especially when the hero is a swashbuckling Alpha guy who has a clear goal and is pursuing it (or her) for all he’s worth.

But what about the other sort of hero, the one who is quiet, laid-back, and—well—a bit reluctant? They’re a little more difficult to handle, and that’s what I ran into when I was writing my small-town, sweet romance entitled Dealing with Denver.

Denver, you see, is the hero. He’s one of a set of triplets—Dayton, Dallas, and Denver. Each brother has a distinct personality, but Denver is less, shall we say, goal oriented than the other two.

When the story begins, he’s not looking for love or adventure or anything except a place to spend the night on his way home to Chicago from a conference in Florida. And fortunately, even though he’s running late when he arrives in Tennessee where he has family, he knows his brother’s rental cottage is vacant so he plans to stay there and announce his presence in town the following morning.

But there’s a young woman staying at the cottage after all. Mattie Meadows, a writer who’s doing a magazine article about authentic cottages, is in Barbourville to research and write about this particular cottage.

What no one knows is that Mattie has a secret agenda while she’s in Barbourville, and she asks Denver to help her unravel a mystery that could disrupt the lives of some important townspeople.

Denver politely declines. After all, he’s just passing through on his way back to his quiet existence as a Chicago attorney.

But Mattie is persistent—and very, very attractive.

So Denver steps outside his comfort zone and their adventure begins.

Writing about a reluctant hero can be a challenge, but it can also be extremely rewarding. If you’re interested in becoming acquainted with Denver, here’s an opportunity to do so at no expense. The Kindle version of Dealing with Denver will be free on April 20, 21, and 22, 2012. I hope you’ll download the book and see what you think of my reluctant hero.

Carolynn Carey has written other sweet romances set in small towns. Her most recent, Prognosis for Happiness, reunites two high school classmates who were at odds back in the day and are even more at odds when they meet in the present. However, the attraction they felt for each other fourteen years earlier has survived, and now they must discover if they have attained the wisdom to deal with their differences and to open themselves up for love.

What a man!

What draws you to a hero? Is it the looks? Or the way he moves? Or is it the fact that he takes charge? I, personally love alpha males. You know the type, he takes control of situations, but melts when his lady cries. He’ll do anything to help her, keep her and protect her.

I have favorite authors who write alpha men consistently, one of which is Linda Howard. No matter what book I pick up, I know I will read a book that has the elements of an alpha male. I also love Lori Foster’s books, she also has alpha males to spare! Sherilynn Kenyon also brings the alpha male to every book she writes. Finally, I love, love, love J.R. Ward. Her Black Dagger Brotherhood is chock full of heroes that are hard as stone and mush when it comes to their women.

So, if you like alpha men, try some of the authors I’ve mentioned. They’re fabulous.

What A Man!

This blog is dedicated to the men in our books. The books we love, the men we love to read about, write about and revisit again and again. One of those heroes is a favorite of mine, a man from a book by Linda Howard, After the Night. Gray Rouillard is a tough, alpha male. He’s not the kind of man who’d understand things like lace, chartreuse and place settings, but he Does understand women. He is willing to do whatever he needs to do to achieve his goals, whether it’s protecting his family or seduction of Faith Devlin. Gray seduces the reluctant heroine on the streets of New Orleans, at an abandoned house by a private lake, and in the midst of a smoldering fire. The interesting thing about Gray is he’s attracted to Faith against his better judgement. After all, she left town in a cloud of controversy and returned to threaten his family’s security. Now, he has to figure out how to make the heroine his own and keep her from hurting his family. Ms. Howard has the knack of writing heroes that stand out, both physically and emotionally. In the end, she crafts a hero that satisfies both the heroine and the reader.