Thursday, March 10, 2011

IT'S RAINING MEN: TAKE TWO!!! (Such a deal!!!!)

Today is "inspirational day" at Barbara Vey's Birthday Bash
blog party
Now I'm TRUSTING you with that live link above.
Oh, yeah, it's hot, hot hot!!! And I want you to mosey
on over there, but then...
Pretty please. With sugar and spice. And sprinkles.
Cause I'll miss you THIS much if I don't see you. And that's all I'm sayin'...
Also: There is a mistake in this blog. One hint:
word usage.
The first one to find it gets a little extra treat in the mail from Ruthy...
This is my penance for making the same mistake in a dedication, thereby reminding us
that, like a Hollywood parent naming their child, I should NOT BE ALLOWED to write my own
Because I keep messing them up.

So last month we played here and chatted about the release
of Reunited Hearts, the 4-STAR rated first novel of my new
"Men of Allegany County" series.

You can buy it HERE right now, and save us both a lot of hemming and hawing, because it really is a delightful book. Great story. All my faves: Tortured hero. Penitent heroine, finding her way. Great kids. And DOGS.... Don't ya' just love dogs??? And how about this cover:

If you skip over and buy it NOW, E-harlequin has a troupe of fairies waiting to sprinkle happy dust around your front door, ensuring that all visitors to your home for the next 72 hours are pixilated.
I might be kidding about that.

And we talked about THE GUYS . Because, why wouldn't we???
I mean, duh. We're romance writers and readers. Heroes are a necessary part of the package, right?
Of course right!
And since most of us live in the real world of husbands, dads, fathers, brothers, buds...

We get that we write fiction, right? I mean, let's dish: Does your significant other act like the heroes you write or read about OR...
Is he normal?

Because most of us don't want to read normal. At least not fully normal. We want normal but UPGRADED.

At no extra cost, of course. Like the sweet inclusive package on a Jaguar vs. a Ford Focus. (Although I LOVE Mike Rowe in those Ford commercials, I mean: YUM. REALLY. TRULY.)
Selling cars or doing America's dirtiest jobs, Mike Rowe is rough-and-tumble packaged but totally appealing.
So how do you develop a hero that people want to read about? And that seems real? How do you add to that dimension?
Let's dissect Trent Michaels.
(Because Trent was busy setting up military contracts for Walker Electronics, Patrick Dempsey kindly stepped in for a photo op because he looks a LOT like Trent Michaels.)

I needed a military guy, a West Point guy for the story line to work for me because in my world you need a REALLY GOOD REASON to have a secret baby. Self-sacrifice, however misguided, is a good reason.
(Note: I do know young single mothers who should have NEVER TOLD THEIR SECRET, but... sigh... another blog, another day....but just between us, what are some of these gals thinking????)
But back to Trent: His dream: The army military academy at West Point

WHY???? Why is that so all-fired important because as Melissa points out to me with a rolling pin, I can't just SAY IT'S IMPORTANT. I have to show it. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I've asked, Harlequin isn't going to pack a CD with my books that explains why my characters do what they do.


So, why is it important? Here's where we layer:

Trent was dumped by his parents as a 4 year old boy. Left for trash along an Interstate.
His little brother Clay was dumped two counties east and died of hypothermia.
Why wasn't he good enough for his parents to want him? And why didn't they dump them together so he could have helped Clay?
Use them. Abuse them. Guilt plays havoc with our reasoning and emotion, it touches buttons you didn't even know you had, and if you've got 'em:
Readers have 'em.
This is why mothers use guilt often and well.
We excell at instilling guilt in our erstwhile children because it works.
Trent was literally raised by the folks of Jamison.

Five churches surround this little park, "Park Circle"" in real life.
They took him to heart.
Great foster family.
News reports sharing his progress as he grew, the "Little Boy Lost".
So he's a town spectacle in some ways, a little different, always on display.
That's an awkward way to grow up. Who wants to be in the limelight constantly?
Type A personality: Driven to excel.
In Trent's head, he wants to be the best if his parents ever come back. Partly to make them proud.
Partly to make them see how foolish they were to give him up.

Cast-off kids carry a lot of baggage. Writers make that baggage work for them.

Derek Jeter was NOT a cast-off child, I just needed a Jeter fix.

Totally delish, right? Susan Langley makes strudel for The Edge, my fctional restaurant. Recipe is HERE.

Trent's parents were scumbags. We know this because what other kind of person dumps kids? So Trent could go two ways: Angry and resentful, fighting his way through life, and that works well for internal and external conflicts!


Seeking honor. Wanting to go the other way, the opposite direction. Make people proud.

I went that way with Trent because it couples with his West Point dream, AND...
it feeds into Alyssa's reasoning for not telling him about the pregnancy.
West Point cadets cannot be married or responsible for a child.

And let's toss in desire here: Not romantic desire (that will happen on its own) but the desire to be loved. The desire to have a family. Be part of a family. While Trent had a nice foster family that helped raise him,
internally he wants the real deal: A family of his own.
And now he finds out he was denied that very thing by the woman he thought he loved.


So he's worked hard to overcome his shoddy beginnings.
He's honorable. Brave. Industrious. Caring. Generous. But flawed because he knows his beauty
is skin deep, that his heart and soul are that of a lost boy, a cast-out child.

I love that Trent comes to see that life and love go deeper than the obvious. And that people make mistakes and move on.

And that he gets to be happy. I really, really wanted this guys happy.

So jump in today and tell me about a hero you're working on or with. Tell me what works. What doesn't.
Do you need help?

Ask. I've got the 'no fee' sign up in the window, so it's freebie day! ;)
Want to brainstorm? Fill us in on the problem, let us help.
I like characters that jump off the page and grip you by the throat because they're the guy next door.
Your aunt.. Your sister. Your old friend from school. So that's what I strive for, not over the top
(that just annoys me) but a good, solid, believable person who needs a little love.

I've got five copies in the hopper, five new editions of REUNITED HEARTS, ready to go to five
delightful or not-so-delightful commenters.
Jump in. Coffee's on.
Breakfast is Belgian waffles, Pennsylvania Dutch sausage, home fries, biscuits and gravy, and eggs.
Let's talk guys. Romance. Writing. Layering.
While we eat, because I'm starved!


  1. Here's the coffee to wash down that delicious breakfast layout!!

    I just finished revisions on my wip, and I don't want to share about my hero because I entered it in the Genesis.

    So, how about some help brainstorming a hero for a new project? All I know about him is that he is the owner and CEO of a major business of some kind. The heroine applies for a job with his company in order to get close to his adopted brother, who she thinks is the infant given up for adoption by her mother when she (the heroine) was very small.

    What kind of guy is he?

    Thanks in advance.


  2. Raining Men.

    It's the perfect blog post for MARCH. Very wise Ruthinator.

  3. Hi Ruth! It's already hoppin' over at the Inspy party today! I'm not brainstorming a hero right now since I'm not writing a book LOL but I definitely like the guys that you have pictured. I was watching Dirty Jobs last night and kept thinking to myself that Mike Rowe is very handsome for an older guy, even if he was covered in frass (LOL watch last night's episode.)

    XOXO~ Renee

  4. SO CUTE! LOVE The pics. Great post too!

    Thanks for coffee Helen. I need it after Barbara's awesome beach bash today in conjunction with Julie having us dig in the yard! What fun!!!!


  5. Love the post oh but not everyone loves dogs! Im actually scared of them.
    Cant wait to read this book even holding of my order til the end of march so I can order it (of course I could order it now for my kindle).
    On a side note just finished an aussie book and they would say about the heat in Dec and I would think but its cold then. It shows I have been reading to many books from the Northern hemisphere its just automatic to think opposite seasons so when I read about Aust I get confused! (a great read it was too)

  6. Ruthy,

    Your posts are always so much fun! And ummm...let's face it...I wouldn't mind rain on the forecast if it was raining MEN... ;)

    Anyway, I'm basically in love with the hero of my WIP (you just gotta love him!), and it actually sounds like he has similar issues to Trent. He was the only one in his family sent to live with his aunt and uncle and cousins when his family was going through a financial crisis (the time period is the late 19th century).

    In the opening scene of the novel, David (our hero) is a mountain man living in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains, alone, carrying a lot of hurt and confusion left over from his childhood. But he enjoys his solitary lifestyle, which suddenly isn't so solitary once he rescues the heroine... ;)

    I'm getting close to finishing my WIP!!! Then it's editing, polishing, getting endorsements, writing a proposal (etc.), and hopefully off to the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference in August! Perhaps an editor or agent there might be interested in David's story??

    Thanks for this post today, Ruthy! And for the food!!! I have to say, I can't wait until spring break and a bit of a reprieve from the cafeteria food...



  7. The Ruthinator strikes as Mary sez (and Mary would know about raining men, or at least itty bitty brand new men with big feet - congrats Mary!!!)

    It'll be interesting what the day brings. I've not worked much on book 2 yet - but it's middle grade about an adorable K9 spy - AusJenny - really - you would LIKE May. She would SEE to it. She's very wise about these things. She'll work on you, in a good way, until you succomb. It's just how she is. How she sees like with her glass way more than 1/2 full is beyond me, knowing how she started life.

    Much like your WP fella, Ruthie!

    This should be another fun day in Seekerville.

    Ok - NOW I'll go check out the other blog. ;D

  8. Fun to stop in today and read Ruthy's tribute to her special men! What a great way to start the morning :)

  9. Helen, what kind of heroine is SHE???

    Give me her facts and history, and we'll play. We want them to either complement each other (opposites attract which is often a source of conflict) OR... reflect each other (similar archtypes, and I can't believe I just used a word like archetypes, someone get me medication, quick!!! Please!!! It makes it sound like I read writing books, which I don't, they're headache-producers....AAAAAHHHHHH!)

    Drinking coffee. Better now.

  10. Oh my stars, Connealy.... And it's still raining. But I don't have to shovel it.

    But it DOES lock all the kids indoors, unlike a warm, summer rain.

    I love my DVD player.

  11. Renee, chica, yes!!! Way to have a CRUSH ON YOUR FATHER, SISTAH!!!


    Isn't he adorable, though? His manner carries him through because you would TRUST HIM WITH YOUR LIFE.

    Like Gibbs.

    That manner, the way they present themselves says so much more than the physical appearance.

  12. Amber, I am totally loving this idea, honey. Off in the mountains, a recluse, a hermit type, stays to himself, private, sheltered, secluded.

    Why does she need rescuing? What is she doing in the mountains on her own in the 19th century? Make it tight, taut, strong and believable because your premise sounds wonderful! And I like your action-plan.


  13. KC, the Ruthinator can't wait to see May's adventures in print!

    I love well-done kid stories. Just love 'em.

    And RENEE ANN!!!! Waving a Belgian waffle fork your way... Thanks for coming by, chickee!

  14. That is SOME party over there. But today is shaping up to be super fun here too Ruthy!
    Way to go!

    I'm lovin' reading the ideas here, as usual!

    And thanks - you and me BOTH... And May. ;D

  15. I have to say I'm in love with my hero too. He's steady, reliable, authoritative, charming, friendly, good looking (duh!). On a routine transport of a witness something goes wrong and the witness is killed. Ouch! Poor guy. He's cleared by Internal Affairs, but he can't stop blaming himself. He takes on a case and ends up having to protect a witness again. This time he falls in love with her. More guilt. The bad guys attack and, you guessed it, she's killed. (Wait! Don't stone me. She isn't really dead. She's in Federal Witness protection, only he doesn't know it.) At her funeral he finally comes to grip with the fact that each situation was out of his control. He releases his guilt and focuses on finding the mole that led the bad guys to her.

    Enough internal and external conflict? What else could I throw at him?

  16. Good morning, Seekerville! Today in my neck of the woods you can actually believe spring might be on its way. Rain instead of snow for a change :) Friday will be a different story, but like Scarlett used to say "I'll think about that tomorrow."

    One thing to add to this yummy list of men's traits. Part of Mike Rowe's appeal is his baritone voice (he used to be an opera singer, y'know) and his wry sense of humor. He's also a lot smarter than he lets on, and I love that quality in a hero.

    Ruthy, I ordered Reunited Hearts yesterday (too excited to wait), so I don't need a copy. Just wanted to drop by and grab something from the breakfast buffet.

  17. Excellent post, Ruth! I'm already in love with Trent.

    The word usage mistake: And that he gets to be happy. I really, really wanted this guys happy

    Now my hero: I LOVE MY HERO! I want to steal my hero from the heroine but they’re so doggone sweet together.

    But Cord wrestles with guilt, anger and resentment. He rescued Olivia from her abusive father, but then has to leave her with his father while he joins Mosby’s Raiders during the Civil War. Never that far away from his family farm he’s still too far away to save his father and Olivia and they are killed. Add to this a 14 year-old boy under his command is killed in a raid he’s leading. Then he finds out his father and Olivia were killed by a man he let live and it was an act of revenge against him. All of this compounds his resentment against God and man. Flash forward four years later and he finds out Olivia wasn’t killed and she’s been moving heaven and earth to track him down. She never gave up on finding him or their love. He gave up on both. And she’s had a rough time of it, while he’s been pretty well off at his uncle’s ranch in Montana.

    Cord is extremely intelligent, extremely dangerous, and extremely HOT! And if you’re lucky enough to be friend, family, or the love of his life he’s patient, kind, and loves without holding back.


  18. Good morning. I'm not sure what to be looking for as Ruthy never makes a mistake, at least not in my book. (No, Ruthy, I haven't put you in a samurai drama.)

    Good food.

    "Fictional" is misspelled as "fctional." And "And we talked about the guys" should be "And we talk about they guys."

    As for me, I much prefer heroines. :-)

  19. Hey, talented lady! Good to see you this morning!

    I just LOVE tortured heroes! My next book, the one that comes out in NOVEMBER but the cover is ALREADY UP on several online book store sites, has my tortured hero. He is my favorite hero so far.

    So put me in the drawing, please. :-)

  20. We're always delightful, Ruthy. You should know that by now.

    I've got one hero with daddy issues...

    His mom was married and had a son. It ended and she remarried. While she was at the hospital giving birth to HERO, his dad took off. He met his dad twice. The second time he cried [he was FOUR] because Dad wasn't around more. Dad told him what a disappointment he was, real men don't cry, he's a wuss, yada yada yada.

    All grown up, HERO has decided not to get too close to anyone. He wants a family in an abstract sort of way, but he's afraid he's just like his dad. So he turns into Joey from FRIENDS. New girl every night - or close.

    He meets HEROINE. They spend a few days together. They go their separate ways.

    A few years later, circumstances throw them back together. He does his best to be a family man and he does pretty good at it until HEROINE says she loves him. Then he wigs out.

    But it all works out in the end ;).

    In a lot of ways, I prefer two of my other HEROS. They're both middle America, All American, good guys - raised in church, committed Christians. They have their flaws and such, but they're overall good guys from the beginning.

    Oh. And then there's the prince. I like him.


    I like his castle.

    Sue me.


    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  21. And his yacht on the Med. I like that too. Almost as much as the castle.


    Absolutely LOVE this title, this blog, your books and you!!!

    Heroes are hands-down my FAVORITE thing about reading and writing books!!! But I do tend toward bad boys, which as some very wise mother pointed out (initials C.M.!!), may not be the best for her young girls, BUT ... they all get redeemed by book's end, so that's okay, right???


  23. Ruthy,
    Thanks for the yummy breakfast!

    I've finished my first book; now need to make major revisions. I love my hero - but he's too good to be true. He is, of course, drop-dead gorgeous, a successful lawyer. How can I make him not so "perfect" and yet not change him completely?

    Have another cup of coffee - that question doesn't make much sense! :)


    In my current WIP, A Trust Restored (working title), Steven O'Connor is a "still waters run deep" type of tall, dark and handsome who is letter of the law because of guilt over the trauma he caused his father when he was a wild child in college. He's obsessive about Prohibition, work, family, attending mass and a new-found morality primarily driven by guilt.

    My question is: Do you think I can have a hero with steeled willpower who is rigid in his adherence to the law BUT weak in his ability to say no to intimacies with a woman he loves. Keep in mind that his morality, his commitment to religion is purely driven by guilt, not love of God.

    Thanks, sweetie.


  25. Oh Ruthy. I LOVE this post (and you too). LOVE IT!!!!

    And I'm like Helen - don't wanna share cuz the WIP in my head is entered in Genesis (actually, I DO wanna, but I'm not gonna ;)).

  26. Love the pics, Ruthy! It wouldn't be the same without Jeter now would it?

    Great cover. It reminds me of Vermont and makes me really home sick!

  27. That breakfast sounds great! I'm starving!! Well, not really, but I sure could put a dent in that breakfast.

    I love all the heroes in the books. They are just what I want in a hero. And no, I really don't have a hero like that (just a nornmal hubby-hero). We can pretend, right?


  28. I started reading Ruthy's book last night. I had hoped to make it to the weekend but it just sat there taunting me.

    I put it down when my husband came to bed because he really doesn't like the light being on, even a flashlight.

    I woke up at 3AM and instead of turning over and just going back to sleep, I got up and read two more chapters.

    I read while I was eating breakfast. I tore myself away to go judge some entries in a romance writing contest. I told myself one more chapter while I was waiting for the washing machine to fill.

    Now, I have had to hide the book because I am afraid I will start reading and forget to pick up my grandson at preschool. I am afraid I won't be paying attention to the tornado warnings. I am afraid I will miss my massage appointment this afternoon. What kind of writer does that to her readers?

    I love Trent but I especially love how Ruthy has made me love a secret baby story!!!!!

    Peace, Julie

  29. Ruthy,

    Thanks for brightening up a dreary day here!

    Your heroes all sound amazing!

    I just received your book in the mail this week, so don't enter me in the draw. Can't wait to read it.

    Love hearing your ideas so will tune in again. My hero is also heading to the Genesis, so must remain incognito!


  30. My father?! Thanks for ruining it for me Ruthy! :-P

    XOXO~ Renee


    I'm gasping for breath here, honey, get me a respirator...

    Please!!! Like, now!!!


    Okay, kidding, what an ingenious twist, but (and this is a big but...) you've got to treat the reader respectfully while you wind up their emotions like a Ringling Bros. tight rope.

    So, she's dead. He thinks. Does the reader know she's alive? And then they watch him suffer? This has really good and really bad connotations.

    Why does he think she's dead? Stuff happened too quick? He was wounded? And (my thoughts only) if she's "buried" within a few days, that would be real quick for him to realize he wasn't responsible, that it was in God's hands. Again, my opinion only based on normal funeral times.

    I love this premise, and you've used a mother-lode of GUILT, Good girl!!! So now it's a question of keeping it plausible...

    And you've probably heard me say before that people told me NO ONE IS GOING TO PUBLISH A ROMANCE NOVEL ABOUT DEATH...

    And sure enough, it was my first book sold, Winter's End, so stay the course.

  32. Andrea, girlfriend, help yourself to the food, honey!


    (Andrea just scored major points on the friend-o-meter...)

    And yeah, Mike's not only adorable, he's smart, well-spoken and you're right, Ms. Chermak, THAT VOICE....

    Oh, like a good-lookin' frog checkin' out a soulmate....


  33. Kirsten, wrong mistake....

    But that's MY bad.


    It's an even WORSE mistake, and it's the misuse of a word... Because I'm not nearly as bright as I pretend to be....

    I hate when that happens!!

  34. Kirsten, that's two pretend deaths so far today!!! We excel in being REALLY MEAN TO OUR HEROES, LOL!

    I think this has a lot of potential. And it sounds like he's angst-ridden, but you want to make sure his more cushy life reads true for a guy who's guilt-riddled.

    I love that she's suffered. The reality is that women suffer atrocities in life way more often than men. We're more vulnerable, so that plays true to a reader's response.

    It's understandable that he believed they were dead, but then you have to make it believable why she couldn't find him. In our day of instant communication we think of the 19th century as old school, but there was communication. And people using their name could be traced unless they didn't want to be. But he's got no reason to hide, so you want to make that breathe REALITY to the reader. Mail, pony express, telegrams....

    And the fact that he's NOT HIDING makes it important for there to be a reason she couldn't find him. Remember: Editors (no matter how much I whine) don't let us pack a CD with the books. Dagnabbit.)

  35. As usual, I'm a little bit breathless after reading a Ruthy blog. In fact my head is spinning so, for some reason I've only latched on to the fact that your book is out already and I haven't ordered it yet!!!! And now I want strudel in the worst way.

  36. Wow, those guys look tasty...noo, I mean that strudel looks tasty. I live in CO so we never have to worry about I am ready to BAKE!!!

  37. Great post, Ruthy - and I'm blaming you for my lack-of-sleep hangover yesterday!

    Hearts Reunited came in the mail on Tuesday, and I fully intended to read it before NCIS came on (can't miss my Gibbs fix, even a re-run), but found myself slowing w a y down to just enjoy the writing. It was such a pleasure to savor it, but at the same time I couldn't put the book down. Ended up staying up way too late, and I suffered for it. Shame on you, Ruthy! But it was worth it.

    BTW - loved Trent, loved Lyssa, and wanted to hug the kids.

    Like Helen, I'd love to share about my hero, but he's in my Genesis entry.

    My other WIP is an historical fiction for young adults, and the main character is a 15 year old girl. She's driven by guilt over not being able to take on the responsibilities left to her by her mother - but then her mother died when Merry was 5. What girl can take on those responsibilities at such a young age? Add to that a secret - a really big secret - that she's supposed to know, and the villain is trying to get from her, and I hope I have enough conflict to start out her story.

    When she returns to her home (after 10 years away), she realizes that she does know the secret in the form of a rhyme/riddle that her mother taught her when she was little, and now she knows what she needs to protect from the villain.

    Right now I'm trying to work on layering - her relationship with her brothers, historical events, clash of culture issues, clash of religion issues...I do enjoy the complexity.

    The problem I've had so far is finding a romantic interest for her - but I don't want to take it too far. I want it to be the "full of promise" moment, rather than a major part of this story.

    Thanks for reading about Merry!

    And don't enter me in the drawing for the book - although it is good enough to want two copies!

  38. Ruth
    It happens close to the end of the story. It's during a shoot-out. Aileen (heroine), Curtis (hero), and his partner are all shot. He holds on long enough to make sure help has arrived then blacks out. There's another character that helps him work through all of this over a few weeks before the memorial service/funeral service. In the last chapter Curtis is cleaning out his desk at the police department, going through a box of files and mail left for him. At the bottom is an envelope stamped but not postmarked addressed to him at the PD. He opens it and finds two words, "I'm okay."

    In an epilogue, the reader is inside Aileen's head as she looks forward to the trial, the end of her hidden status, and the time she'll reunite with Curtis.

    I'm on chapter 10 of the sequel.

  39. Walt, I just answered you and Blogger ate it.


    Wrong mistakes, but don't you guys just love how delightfully HUMAN I am.

    And honest. And humble, of course.



  40. Melanie, Taylor and I are waiting with baited breath.

    Bated breath?

    Are we catching fish?


  41. Oh, Carol, I love working with you, girlfriend.

    Okay, toss the good boys overboard. Really????

    Soooo Ward Cleaver.


    The angst-riddled guy. Oh, lemme at him, chica!!! Love him already.

    But he needs more reason to be on guard. Deeper. Longer. Something that raked him over the coals...So mom married twice. Great scenario, very common....

    How 'bout if first kid's father takes part in his/her life and hero's of course doesn't...

    So he's always wondering why him? What was it about him?

    Oops, baby needs me, hold that thought!!!!!

  42. Well, you see, there's a lot more going on to keep her from finding him. Not sure how much I want to share with everyone in cyberspace. But she's not in Virginia anymore either, and doesn't know he's in Montana. So, she's sending letters, telegrams, carrier pigeons, etc to Virginia and he's in Montana licking his wounds. And her letters and telegrams are being intercepted (by the same person who put a fake cross over her fake grave). She finally does write to Col. Mosby for information, but his reply gets to her after she's found Cord.

    Thanks for your advice. Always appreciated.


  43. Okay, so if there's ONE day I need to drag myself over here and stop by, it's gotta be Ruthy's day! LOL! Love ya, Ruthy : )

    This post title, even just the title, makes me feel like I need to dig out Just Dance and dance it out to It's Raining Men (WHICH, Amber, you will NOT win because I am so darn pro at that song!). Trying to decide if I have enough energy to do so lol! Or should I go buy that cinnamon bun I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want ; ) Dang prednisone is kicking my butt lol.

    Ruthy, Ruthy, Ruthy....Mr. PatDemp, really!? So early in my day *giggling* awwwwwwww I love him. Gorgeousness, mmmmm. Hoping it's maybe a new Greys tonight. Did you hear about the musical episode!? They're gonna be singing and dancing woot woot!! I'm so psyched!

    Anyway, not a very interesting comment today lol, sorry!

    Amber, I'm so stinkin' proud of you, lady!! You're almost done your WIP!? How could you not tell me this important news O_O Ruuuuuuuuuuude :P Geez, keeping things from me, Tiny.

    Oh well, I'll be back later I'm sure. Keep warm everyone! Snowing here in Vermont again *eyeroll* I'm hoping we don't get a blizzard on my birthday again this year Tuesday! : )
    Talk to you later,

  44. Uh - Ruthy - did you find a copy of the MS somewhere?! Not sayin' why. Just sayin'...

    So is this at Walmart yet? Because if it is, it may have to jump into my cart as I walk by. Because I could so read this on the way to Denver. After Bathsheba. Because I already started it. And after Rancher's Reunion. Because it jumped into my cart a while ago but then jumped off my TBR pile and onto the floor under the table. And I've already started it too [and loving it!].

    Julie - huh - who could that be ;)? Fortunately, I've already got the 7yo engaged to a very sweet Christian boy with Godly parents. And my 3yo son is engaged to his 2yo sister =D. The 9 and 5yos... No one yet... But they both scare me a bit. Especially the 5yo. She's so the type to go for one of your bad boys... Oy. The 9yo not so much, but that girl is gonna be gorgeous.


    As happy as I am for all of them... man o man, I'm gonna have to spend most of the next 18 years on my knees for all of them...

    And I think I could definitely buy that for Steven btw. Guilt not godliness which makes it easier to revert to the bad boy ways at times... And in certain areas ;).

    How long before that one comes out again?

  45. Hello, everyone! This blog title was bound to make for a hoppin' day at Seekerville. I wasn't here for the original (but I looked at it early when I was still a lurker). :p

    I'm sure someone has already found the word usage mistake, but unless I'm mistaken, it's the word "guys" in this sentence:

    "And that he gets to be happy. I really, really wanted this guys happy."

    Now then, I love the "Meet the Guys" page on Men of Allegany County. I had seen that a while back, too, and the text under the photos had me laughin'.

    Reunited Hearts does sound good! Now I have a little rundown about the story, the conflict, and the hero. :D

    I think we all love the heroes we write about. I know I do mine. I'm not really having a problem with my hero, but more with the opening of the story. If I start it when the h/h meet, it's like reading with a big question mark floating around. If I leave it the way it was originally written, it's a (gulp) three chapters before they meet. It worked in classics. Jane Eyre didn't meet Mr. Rochester until what, twelve plus chapters into the book? SO, when there's a blog post on beginnings, I'll be the first one there! Well, maybe not the first one, but I'll be there.


  46. Hehehe! I know where the 'word usage' mistake is, but I'm not going to tell. Being married to the man in the dedication has given me an unfair advantage!

    Can't wait to order my copy of Reunited Hearts.

  47. Hi Ruth:

    I really enjoyed “Reunited Hearts” but I want to interview Trent. I have some questions for him.

    1. Why did a West Point grad, who served in combat and who is so obviously ambitious, leave the Army?

    2. Why was he still only a Captain? That’s just two promotions in over 8 years.

    3. What happened in the Army? It must have been something bad that got into Trent’s jacket. (Who did he cross? Did it involve a General’s daughter?)

    I would be very happy to interview Trent on my blog so he can tell his side of the story. I think Trent has a hidden flaw we still don’t know about.

    About My Heroes:

    You made me think about all my WIP heroes and they tend to be tower of strengths.

    They protect and fix the problems of those around them. They don’t think they have flaws as such. In fact, they see their flaws as strengths. They are crypto social hermits. Self-sufficient. Reclusive. Intelligent.

    My heroes need few friends or people to stroke them. They can be very happy being alone and they make very good company for themselves.

    The heroine’s job in my WIPs is to break through this wall and draw the hero out into real life. Do you think these are big enough flaws for my heroes to have or do I need to add alcoholism or something more external?


  48. Hi, dear Ruthie! I'm not sure about the word usage thingy, but this seemed a little redundant: The army military academy at West Point

    You make a good point about "normal" men vs book heros. I've been questioning myself about that very thing. And the questions in my head aren't ones I'm ready to ask out loud just yet...

    Layers, huh? Well, hmm.... Here goes.

    Adam has been burnt many times, but the worst was the gal who broke his heart a few years back. Once she found out he didn't have as much free flowing cash as she expected, she ran off with a lawyer - dollar signs shining in her eyes. So, no more local girls! Besides, he had his mom with her chronic illness to take care of since his dad was gone and his siblings all married.

    The community was small and they all knew his family heritage. He wasn't about to make the same mistake again. It didn't matter how many single women from his church tried to gain his attention. If God wanted him to marry, he'd have to drop her in his path - from somewhere other than his hometown.

    When he first meets Beth, he thinks God is doing just that. One look in her vulnerable, emerald-green eyes and he's a goner. Until he notices the engagement ring glinting in the sun. Now what? His momma raised him to be a Christian and a gentleman. He would never consider stealing another man's woman. Yet, he can't ignore the pull Beth has on his heart. On top of that, he senses she's in trouble and her fiance seems to be at the bottom of it. So, what's a guy to do?

    There's my layers...what do you think, Ruthie?


  49. Ruthie, that was almost too much fun to read before noon! It felt decadent, and like Kav, I am now craving strudel.

  50. Ruthie, that was almost too much fun before noon! I felt decadent just reading it. And like Kav, I find I have a craving for strudel. Anxious to get my hands on your next book.

  51. Jules...

    Don't hate me.


    I don't think I'd buy it, and if I did, his 'use' of women just says way more about him than all the good stuff he does. Desire is one thing.

    Healthy. Wonderful, Marvelous.

    And even if it wasn't because of love of God, his push to letter of the law makes him look like a hypocrite to have loose morals sexually.

    But you know how it is, sweetie-schnookums, I could be totally off-base because we're talking randomly. Writers constantly surprise me with totally predictable books that thoroughly engage me to books so high on premise that they SHOULD TOTALLY RESOUND WITH RITA!!! RITA!!!! CHOOSE ME!!!!

    And they don't because the author's way of presenting the premise doesn't ring true.

    But my gut says no. Too Elliot Spitzer.... And I'm a New Yorker, so I can say that...

  52. Edwina, tell me more. Tell me about the heroine and is she reflective (like him in many respects so they butt heads) or complementary (opposites attract).

    And we'll play.

    Between diapers, LOL!

  53. Joanne and Helen, you guys rock. Way to not 'tilt' the judges because you know a whole bunch of us judge the Genesis.

    Hats off to bode o' youse!

  54. Cara, have I mentioned how much I love your book often enough in a public setting?

    You rock, chica!

    And yeah, Vermont and upstate NY are like twin states in the mountain areas. Lakes, hills, mountains. And few people realize how much of New York State is like that.


  55. Patsy, LOL! Yeah, I love my hubby hero, but he does forget things...

    From time to time.

    And sometimes when I want to be TOTALLY CARED FOR AND WAITED ON HAND AND FOOT...

    He thinks I should make supper.

    Silly boy.


    He eats a lot of sandwiches these days. And makes most of them. And we're both okay with that, LOL!

  56. Julie Hilton Steele, you've made my day!!!!

    Did you read my mind??? Did you get inside my head and see that my biggest thing about writing a secret baby story was to make it believable????

    Because I kept worrying that maybe that wouldn't happen. That it wouldn't grab people, even though....

    A guy's dream to be the best of the best is a huge thing to put the brakes on at age 18....

    So she didn't. But then that opened a whole new chapter in her life that wasn't what her parents planned.


    Thank you, Julie!!!!

    Grinning author in Upstate NY!!!

  57. Susan, Joanne and Helen:

    BIG points for not scooping the judges here...

    One question:

    DON'T GET MAD...

    You don't have a hero that isn't entered?????? Which means (remember who's bossing you around here...) you should be writing umm, how do I say this...


    Remember, the nice Seekers are over at Barb's place...

    The Snark Is In The House.

  58. Jan, e-harlequin releases them online a few weeks early.

    Very nice.

    And it gives people who aren't in the Subscriber service a chance to scoop the stores. AND...

    You can go on auto-buy.


    I love that concept, LOL!

  59. Jan, huge thank yous for such nice words about Reunited Hearts! :)

    Did your kids end up getting supper, honey? Because I would be okay if they DIDN'T!!!! ;)

    Oh, I have such a love for well-written YA stories, Jan, and this sounds wonderful! I love that we have the innocent caught in a snare of intrigue...

    And sometimes the trick with YA is simplicity. Young Adults are somewhat certifiable for a variety of reasons, so it doesn't take much to tangle things. VanDeisel (spelling????) was in that cute movie about being a daycare helper with kids whose dad was killed and the kids are the clue to the nursery rhyme to uncover the secret...

    Oh, Jan, this sounds like fun and a great weaving opportunity.

  60. Christine, this sounds fascinating! And doable with the right quick pacing and tension.

    I'd still think (sight unseen and remember I'm a HUGE Gibbs fan, tortured hero that holds onto that first love for sooooo long) that the memorial service isn't long enough to make those changes, but that's from way over here.

    Good luck with that! I love how your mind works.

  61. Ah, Kristen, that's more sensible in that light. I think that's where most of us fall down, is on the believability scale, and making sure the reader doesn't suspend belief as they read.

    Good depth, kiddo!

  62. Hannah, Patrick's a cutie, isn't he??? And Trent's like that, blue-eyed, gorgeous dark, wavy hair, funny, warm, strong....

    And the snow, darlin'... It's March. Soon. I sooooooooo promise!

    Sending warm fuzzy thoughts your way, and yeah, isn't that cool that Amber is that far along!!!!

    Totally rocks the big Kahuna!

  63. Carol, in Walmart and other stores the third week of March. Official release date is 3/22... Some stores put them out a few days early to fill up spots.

    I love that Harlequins sales stay affordable and STEADY.

    This is a huge thing in this business. Really something to consider as an author. I love paychecks!!!!

  64. Whitney, I love the classics too. And every editor will tell you, they wouldn't make today's market because they start too slow.

    Slow doesn't equate bad. We all know that. And I ALWAYS end up deleting a chapter or two of the first opening, most writers do, it's our way of purging that overload of info. Then I feed it in, bit by bit.

    And of course, category romance is different from long single titles, but I've watched many an author lose their career because their Single Title numbers didn't pay out.


    So then it comes down to the market you're approaching. Play with that aspect and then correct as needed. Always, the author is the best judge of what works in his/her manuscript, right?

    Well, except the EDITOR approving the check, LOL!

  65. Ruthy,

    Awww, thanks for the encouragement! :) I'm glad you like the premise!

    And as for how the hero and heroine meet... Without giving too much away, the heroine is taking a stagecoach to a town out West to meet her brother, and the hero is heading down the mountain for his occasional trip to town for supplies.

    Add in a drunk stagecoach driver and a raging river, and voila!

    OK, I better stop there. ;)

    Oh, and Hannah, thank you for your support, my friend! My WIP is running a bit on the short side, but I know I'm getting close to the end. :) Might still take me a few weeks or more to finish, though...

    Anyway, talk to ya'll soon!


  66. Beth, hey!

    Yeah, Beth knows the mistake, but seriously???

    If none of you is 'getting' it, maybe it's not wrong.

    Maybe the dictionary is, LOL!

    And VINCE!!!

    Trent's available for interviews. He'd love it!

    And you're right, I could have enhanced Trent's rank and career, but I based him on an actual West Point grad I know who's now in civilian life with his wife and family. They made the decision that they couldn't handle the absences and the moving, so that brought Trent back, too. His hometown, the only home he's known, is in financial trouble and he has the education and contacts to help.

    And Vince, your heroes have that strong, macho, Linda Howard feel to them, and there's nothing wrong with Linda's heroes, as we all know, LOL! And internal struggles can lead to external strife, so it's all in how you handle it, isn't it? Linda's heroes were filled with internal struggles while they presented as macho hunks, but...

    Their reactions to things based on their internal struggles often caused problems with authority, rules, etc.

    Although a few secrets in the closet aren't a bad thing. ;)

    Love the sound of them, Vince!

  67. Ruthie:

    Yes, I have more heroes, but they're all in completed works.

    Just finished the latest ms Tuesday, so a brand new project is where my brain is aimed right now---and I'm an opportunist. Figured I'd take advantage of any help I can get from you. :)

    Now to that heroine you asked about. (She's stil forming in my mind.) She's very self-reliant, has her own beauty salon. Adopted as a child, she is down to earth, hardworking and accustomed to tight finances. When she learns from a lawyer that her natural father has died in prison and named her beneficiary of a life insurance policy, she investigates and learns that she had a younger brother who was also given up for adoption. Further investigation reveals that the child was adopted by her father's boss, and she sets out to find him.

    Is that enough to gon on? Or do I have to work my poor feeble brain some more before forming her hero?


    P.S. A pointless little aside here. My youngest son has a lady friend whose last name is Jeter.

  68. So he's attracted to her, but...

    Why? Her eyes are nice, but there's got to be an inner pull and I know you know that, so where's the fiance?

    Dead? Alive? In the picture?

    Faith Hill fell in love with Tim McGraw while they were on tour and she was engaged to someone else, and as romantic as that was, we've got to be careful not to smack down the fiance.

    I loved how that was handled in Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, WHAT A CHOICE, LOL!!!!

    But I totally bought into it. And that's not easy to do with those dynamics, is it?


    Carol ... Steven's story isn't out till September 2012 ... which is good because I'm only halfway done ... :)


  70. GREAT post, Ruthy - - as some other folks have already said....Your posts always make me smile!! (tossing in pics of Derek Jeter and strudel add extra smiles!). ~ My latest hero is one of the main characters in my Genesis entry - - and I must confess, I "loosely" based him on a guy I had a HUGE crush on in high school (tall, athletic, nice) and I know if my BFF from high school ever read my manuscript, they'll recognize him right away, LOL. ~ Since it's now afternoon, I brought some Georgia Peach Cobbler to share--straight from the oven--Enjoy! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  71. Hello from your total slacker friend.

    I have been swimming hard upstream all day and making little forward progress.

    And all while Ruthy is over here talking about HEROES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I need to get involved.

    Nice pictures btw.

  72. And the little bitty newborn Man KC is referring to is my newborn GRANDSON!!!!!

    I just found a newer picture of him on Facebook. I must go study it.

    But I'll be back.

  73. Well, I was focusing on the hero and didn't think to put in the heroine parts.

    Beth finds herself in a questionable relationship following the death of her beloved big brother. Not only did she blame herself for his death, but so did her dad. Kyle was waiting for her with open arms and she ran in to them without question...seeking comfort and release from her guilt.

    But, things start happening that cause her to question her fiance's integrity and purity. She decides its past time to get away and figure out what to do about her impending marriage.

    Enter Adam. Beth is the type of gal who wears her feelings on her face. Her sweet, trusting heart is displayed for all to see. And the vulnerability and pain Adam sees in her vibrant, emerald green eyes sucks him in. He's has a galant heart and instantly feels protective of her. What's causing the pain behind her eyes? Why would she be on the road alone? Where is her fiance? Why would such a beautiful, vulnerable woman be traveling alone? She seems lost and wonders where the man is who put that ring on her finger.

    Added to what I've already told you, does that make more sense?

  74. Guilt... what a great way to torture your hero Ruthy.

    I found a list of other things to throw at our characters:

    7 human emotions of Pain:
    1. Fear
    2. Hatred
    3. Anger
    4. Greed
    5. Jealousy
    6. Revenge
    7. Superstition


    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  75. Thanks, Ruthy. : ) I think that I’ve decided to write it both ways. After the first four chapters (or less), the story will remain the same with either beginning, SO whichever version ended up being used, it wouldn’t be a huge deal to edit. Then, I will get a group of people to read it with both beginnings. Or maybe give some of them one beginning, and some, the other. What do you think?

    I also wonder this about you published pros. Let’s say you’ve written a story and you send it to the editor and they want certain things changed. You will comply. You’ll change your hero’s name, or the location, or what have you, BUT, do you still think of the story with those originals even after publication? Is the renamed Mike still Alexander to you? When you think of that hero, or read your book, does that original name still go with your character?

    That’s a query with my current hero. His name is Lindsay, a unisex name of Gaelic origins, but I don’t know that it would go over if ever my manuscript got so far in the publishing world. Names that we know as feminine nowadays like Lindsay, Rene, Hilary, Michele, Ashley (I know Julie will recognize the last name :p ) actually started out as masculine names. One of my favorite books has the hero’s name as Hilary. But anyway, what do you think? Would the name float? Do you like these kinds of name for heroes?

    Thanks Ruthy!


  76. Sorry for not popping back in sooner.

    Helen, your hero sounds very endearing and compassionate.


  77. Mary, congratulations of your newest grandson!

    Eva Maria, that's a great list of motivation for a character.

  78. I'm sorry but....
    some of the 'classics' seriously, I think if you were rich enough to be able to buy could write a book.

    It's not like now.

    I mean, have you READ The House of the Seven Gables. It's actually a fascinating 200 pages book, buried in 500 pages.

  79. Here's a 'hero' theory of mine. I think men believe in hard and soft emotions. the hard ones are substituted for teh soft ones because they feel manly.

    So instead of tears, they get mad.
    Instead of blushing, they get mad.
    Instead of fear, they get mad.

    See? they flip the soft emotions into somethign they think of as strong.

    The opening of Sharpshooter in Petticoats:

    Tom Linscott slid backward five feet before he caught a slender rock ledge and clawed at it to stop himself from plunging a hundred feet more.

    The rock was nearly sheer. He felt blood flowing from his fingertips. His grip was tenuous already and now it was slippery. He clung to that ledge like a scared house cat, afraid to move, fighting to slow his slamming heart and steady his breathing. He’d been climbing a long time and he had a long way to fall if his grip didn’t hold.

    Then he did what any thinking man did when something scared him.

    He got mad.

  80. Vince,
    My hubby's retired military and my son is still in. Actually, Ruthy is right. In the army, they remain at the captain's rank for quite a bit longer now. So eight years in and holding the rank of Captain works.

    (As I recall, they remain a Captain for about that many years.)

    Of course, he could be up for promotion...or if he has come out on the "list" for major, he could be a Captain promotable, which is written CPT(P). Does that help?

    Also because of the constant rotations back and forth to the Middle East, a lot of captains have gotten out of the army. The numbers in that rank are down. Of course, most of them are guys who are married with children. Hard on families to have daddy gone every other year for at least 13 months.

    Let's pray we don't send troops into Libia. Our military strength is already stretched thin. But then, that's talking politics, which I don't want to do on this loop.

    Great blog, Ruthy!

  81. Ruthy, I love wounded heroes.

    Was talking to hubby about Jamison Steele, the hero of my third book in my Military Investigations series. He's wounded.

    Hubby wanted me to make everything right in Jamison's life. No angst. No baggage. Nothing to redeem.

    I had to explain that without the troubled past the hero isn't compelling.

    Love your Allegany County heroes!

    Trent's parents threw him out on the side of the road? That breaks my heart!

  82. Eva Maria, thanks for the URL to the article. I've cut and pasted and saved.

  83. Ruthy,
    I've check Wal-Mart twice a week every week for the past 3 (just in case) :-)
    As SOON as it pops up, that book is mine!!!
    Unless I win it, of course.

    Oh dear, it's just raining water in Tennessee. Sigh. I think I'll move to New York!

    Tortured heroes? Oh my, what a start - and your heroes look positively lovely - Ruthy.

    In my contemp romance...oh wait, in 3 of my 4 contemp romances my poor heroes are tortured. For different reasons, of course. Mostly because of rotten non-heroine ladies.
    Tortured heroines too.
    Gee whiz, now that I think about it, I torture everybody. Except the children and animals.

  84. My first comment got lost in cyberspace. Grrr.

    I will first say I Want To Win This Book!

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

    Now, about my hero. He's one of these lapsed Christians who decides God isn't the loving Father he claims to be because he doesn't protect us from tragedy and make certain that we are always happy.

    Hero's wife died in child labor, after having miscarried twice before. The baby died days later.

    He wants to help the heroine deal with her own recent widowhood, thinking she will suffer the same besetting pain and anger he has for 3 years. He is confused when she copes better than he did. Why isn't she angry? Doesn't she know God let her down?

    Then heroine's sister miscarries a child, and hero becomes angry with the entire family as well as God because they are NOT angry.

    Hero was a Union soldier in the Civil War, when his father died fighting. His mother died of illness prior to the war. He had an idyllic childhood but has suffered a lot of loss as an adult, and blames it all on God. After all, God could have stopped at least some of it.

    Mary, I did read The House of the Seven Gables in high school. Yeesh, talk about a snoozer! I remember a lot of irrelevant blather and something about a nearsighted old woman everyone thought was mean because they mistook her constant squinting for scowling.

    Ruthy~ I will say again...
    I Want To Win This Book!

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  85. Hi Debby:

    I checked and time-in-grade for a Major is 6 ½ years. So even a West Point grad with battlefield experience, would probably take 7 to 8 years to make Major. However, with very high turnover rates, promotions come quicker as officers ahead of you in the pipeline are getting out.

    So thanks. I feel much better now. It would be interesting if Trent had turned down a sure promotion to Major to go back into civilian life.

    I agree about Libya. If we intervene, we will be hated by both sides before it is over regardless of the outcome.


  86. Mary said:
    "So instead of tears, they get mad.
    Instead of blushing, they get mad.
    Instead of fear, they get mad."

    That sounds like a group of teenagers.
    Or half the kids I work with.
    It's a good cloaking strategy, don't you think? We all resort to a 'fight or flight' gut reaction at the very base of us (unless God intervenes)
    Dr. Pepper is in :-)

  87. Tom Linscott. /big waffy sigh/

    Ruthy - maybe it'll jump in my cart on the way home then ;). If not, afterwards.

    Julie - I'd cry over how long it's gonna be but then the O'Connors will be done and that'll make me cry too. I'm all for the epilogue! And for Steven/lady showing up in the next series. Just a bit. Not a full on crossover like Mary... Unless you want to.

    Ruthy - I guess what I should have said re Julie's question is that I COULD believe it if done right. And Julie's good at that so... =D

    Back to cleaning... Think I'm gonna have to sleep all week next week just to recover from the cleaning... :p

  88. CarolM,
    I feel your your knees.
    Right there with you.

    And the fact that your son is going to marry his sister hits a little too close to home for this neck of the woods.
    Wait...Mary's talking about Appalachia so at least it's on topic :-) JK

  89. Julie Hilton Steele~

    I laughed at your comment about forgetting to pickup your grandson. I did almost forget to get my daughter from Bible School one time because I was reading a book. Praise the Lord I had about 8 minutes to get there, and the church was only 5 minutes away. I can't tell you how guilty I felt.

  90. Shucks, I meant Ruthy is talking about Appalachia with her Alleghany men.
    Long. Day. At. Work

  91. Jan Drexler~

    I love the sound of your YA. And I wanna read it. Like Ruthy, I have a soft spot for well written children's and YA books.

  92. CarolM~

    I was thinking what Pepper was about your son marrying his 2 yo sister. Then I remembered your son doesn't have a 2 yo sister, so you must have been talking about the other kid's sister. /wink/ Dangling modifiers sure are a bugar.

  93. Andrea,
    what a relief!!

    I think once we get to 3rd or 4th cousins everyone is safe. That should be a written rule somewhere.

  94. LOL!!!!

    My ggrandparents? Something like that - brothers married sisters.

    In this case it's two bro/sis combos =D. Though the other sister does have the same name as my 5yo...

  95. Ruthy~
    I reread the post looking for your error. You use both "excell" and "excel."

    "Excel" is the name of Microsoft's Spreadsheet program. Did I get it?

  96. Pepper~

    I heard once, I think, that it's legal in some states to marry your second cousin. I'm not sure.

  97. My dad had two uncles Jim and Joe who married sisters Agnes and Alice. They were very old when I was very young, and with such close names, I never could keep straight who married whom.

    Carol, The brothers marrying sisters thing holds true in your writing too. Doesn't it.

  98. 'Round hyere the rules git a bit murky' :-)

    I guess those rules would be pretty good for most 17th and 18th century novels where cousins seemed to marry more often.

  99. Ruthy,
    May I offer some chicken and dumplings?
    Just pulled them off the stove.
    And I'm mixing up some creamed potatoes right now.

  100. Patti Jo, that's so funny about the high school guy.

    When my oldest daughter read one of my first books she said it read fine except that HER BROTHER HAD FALLEN IN LOVE WITH HER YOUNGER SISTER...

    Which was absolutely true, I used the mannerisms and tendencies of two of my kids (who are a LOT alike in some ways and totally different in others, and no, you do not want to drive with either... Really...) and she recognized that.


  101. Isaac.

    Mary's grandson's name is Isaac. Isn't that beautiful? Wonderful? Marvelous?

    I love that name. And while a BIG PART OF ME IS INSULTED that the kid gets stared at while I get THE SHAFT....

    Like I'm a "shank-a-pot-amus" or something. (E-trade baby commercials, I LOVE THEM!!!)

    But I get it. And Myra and I are already discussing whose granddaughter gets to marry whose grandson.

    We're such... women.

  102. Linnette, that makes much more sense. So she should see that carrying on the engagement is wrong, (Julie has SOME SOLID EXPERIENCE IN THIS DEPARTMENT, LOL!!!! JULES??? WHERE ARE YOU? TRIANGLES ARE YOUR EXPERTISE, MY FRIEND!)

    And the above is Funny and True.

    So that's a very possible premise. Now some editors don't like triangles, but others are fine with it, so that balance is there.

    Now the trick is the guy sounds TOO GOOD. Helps his mama, takes care of the ill, steps in to the gaps...

    Kind of like Hitch in college, when he was just too needy...

    And amenable. Because we all expect guys to be nice, but if they're too nice, we walk.

    So he needs to be jaded and jagged, and getting jilted once isn't enough. Getting jilted and having his sweet mama think he was weak, or not as smart, or not as cool, or not as prestigious...

    now we're getting somewhere. And an external conflict for the book. The old girlfriend/fiance thing helps with the internal (but still needs ooooomph, in my humble opinion) but the external...

    Why can't they fall in love once the attraction starts? Sure, she's got a fiance, but we have to dump him early, right? So then what's keeping them apart?

    How can we rough him up?

  103. Eva Maria, yes to all. What a great list and that's exactly why we need to layer these guys and gals.

    And I know, we all read books that aren't as well layered, that seem a little weak, but as writers we've got tot strive to make each book experience as good and gratifying for the reader (our boss, our paycheck) as we can.

    Thanks for the list, chica!!!

  104. Hi Ruth:

    Is the magic word “erstwhile”.

    In the dedication of “Reunited Hearts” you wrote:

    “And to Jon, my erstwhile and kindly son-in-law, a gentle man in all respects. I love you guys.”

    Did you daughter divorce him and is he now your former son-in-law?


    P.S. Mary: Men don't always get mad. The smart ones get even.

    "La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid"

  105. Ruthie,

    There is a lot of attraction between Beth and Adam while she is still engaged. You can see that they are falling for each other. He offers her friendship and a shoulder to cry on. He doesn't push her, yet his heart is continually pulled toward her.

    She comes to the decision that she's going to break things off with Kyle, but she won't do that until she sees him in person. So, there is the dilema of wanting to enjoy her time with Adam and not wanting to return home, yet knowing the inevitible has to happen at some point. And once she returns home, what makes her think she'll see Adam again?

    Where Adam's struggles come in is dealing with Kyle, the fiance. Unpleasant things happen and Adam is faced with overwhelming anger and raging, violent thoughts he's never experienced before. He also gets frustrated at one point with Beth because she withdraws from him emotionally. Believe me! There is a lot of conflict there. Adam is an easy-going, loving guy, but he reaches his limit in a way never before.

    The only part where his jadedness shows is in how he responds to the local single ladies. I chose to have him fairly healed over his break-up because Beth's issues are so severe that he needs to be in a strong place in his life in order to help her.

    Another struggle he deals with is frustration over being tied down to take care of his mom. He loves her to death, but he's torn between being home to take care of his mom and being 1000 miles away from Beth.

    His angst might be a little more subtle than Beth's, but it's there.

  106. Oh Ruthy, I'm so sorry to get here so late!! I've been busy all day long, but STILL that is no excuse!

    What angst you pour into your books, how do you stay so sweet?? (Though people have asked that of me...)

    LOVE the cover, LOVE the heros and man (pun intended), I LOVE your concept!!

    So I hope this comment was entertaining enough (though you did have the disclaimer that they didn't have to be. Don't forget that! ;), because I would LOVE to read this romance.

    A single girl needs all the help she can get. ;)

    But seriously, great post, guilt is a wonderful use of angst isn't it? It's a wonder us novelists aren't all TWISTED with everything we come up with. :)

  107. RUTHY AND LINNETTE ... the so-called "expert" on love triangles is here and my opinion for Linnette is ... GO FOR IT!!

    There's just something SOOO wonderful about a love triangle, isn't there???

    Ashley, Scarlett & Rhett
    Collin, Faith, Mitch
    Luke, Katie, Jack & Parker

    My opinion is that love triangles should be written well and often whenever possible!


  108. Oh, breakfast sounds wonderful. thanks I'd love to win your book too.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  109. Thanks, Julie! Actually, I've already written it. It's my WIP that I'm doing revisions for. :D But, I've definately gotten some things to think about...things to make sure I'm doing right.

    Thanks Ruthie!

  110. Thanks Ruth for your quirky and fun way of explaining things:)
    I'm working on a hero who is a type A with a soft heart. He's always looking out for those who are in need or hurt(like the heroine). He's the youngest son in a family that expects him to take his Father's place in leadership and to take over the family farm. He rebels against that and heads far away from home to join the Navy. My heroine is also strong-willed in some areas, so my question is how do I know when my hero needs to give in to the heroine or do the arguments just continue and get more volatile?
    Thanks for the great blog:)

    Please enter me for a chance to win your book...would love that!


  111. Vince and Deb, I agree. First on the research because if I was wrong I'd have to take it up with the nice ROTC sweetheart from MIT that guided me because Trent went on for additional post-grad training....

    And my friend Susan's kid....

    Get that? My friend SUSAN???? ;)

    But yes, I tried to stay true to today's reality and even doing that, you'll find exceptions. But I do love a good tortured hero, Deb. And you tell Tony that we KNOW they're not all that strung out, but we just love to save the boys from themselves, LOL!

    And praying about the entire Middle East situation. Hoping and praying one of the hundreds of other countries might step in.

    And hoping and praying for natural gas cars that can make long trips. Refueling stations. I'd hate to pass down our mistakes to little Mooneys or Connealys or Giustis or Hernes....

    Time to get less dependent.

    Oops, sorry, political. I'm just trying to SAVE TRENT'S LIFE!!! ;)

  112. Since I am late to the party, please enter me for your book....have been very anxious to read one of your books! Love it when it's your time to post!!!

  113. I missed the man storm!!!! And I have no clue which word was used wrong. LOL

    Great post though. I agree, guilt is a wonderful thing. :-)

  114. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraMarch 10, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Great post! I love the sound of your new series!


  115. How did I guess Derek J would be featured in here?? I guess I'm just a genius. [grin]

    BTW, I agree with you, Ruthy. I love Mike Rowe! he's gorgeous and funny!

  116. “I mean, have you READ The House of the Seven Gables. It's actually a fascinating 200 pages book, buried in 500 pages.”

    Hahaha. I actually feel that way about some of the books out there NOW. “That story could have been told in half the length” OR series that are about the same main characters that really only needed ONE book.

    I guess I really haven’t read that many classics. I love Jane Eyre and most of Jane Austen’s books. Treasure Island, Christy, The Scarlet Pimpernel… yeah, they’re all up there. The way of writing then was VERY different, and some of the classics are classic for a reason. And many of them, I wonder why they are “classics.”


  117. Wow, y'all had a party over here today too!

    Ruthy, I love your angst-ridden heroes, but you'd better not let Trent's parents show up in any of your books, because I won't be responsible for my actions!

  118. Fays, I'm not sure if you're agreeing with Mary or me, but it's hunky dory either way because I LIKE MARY.

    Today. ;)

    And Mary, you're right. Sometimes I forget that. Can you call me nightly to remind me? Please and thank you.

  119. Pepster:

    Torture away, sweet one!

    And March 22 is the official release date although lots of big stores put them out early because they hate empty shelves.

    And empty shelves mean good sales. Suh-weet!

  120. Ah, Helen, I knew you were holding back. Mostly because I knew you had more stuff in the 'file'...

    So, this new one: She's industrious, hard-working, frugal because she has to be, seeking family (so a little lost soul angle there)...

    Adoptive family nice? Not nice? Is she questing because she's never felt like she belonged or just because she discovered the younger brother?

    So why is she applying for a job if she's got her own business? Subterfuge??? (I was dying to use that in a sentence!!!! and NO ONE has found the mis-used word in my blog which means maybe I"M WRONG and it's perfectly correct:

    HINT: If you already have Reunited Hearts, the word is IN THE DEDICATION AND IN THIS BLOG...

    Now back to Helen (who is also in Reunited Hearts... As is someone named Ginger who greatly resembles a SPICE GIRL friend of Seekerville...)

    I'd make him suspicious. Right off the bat. And first-child smart, tough and kind of proud. Maybe a little protective of younger brother, but more just protective of family name. And he's the boss, and he'd be HER boss, so you've got great external conflict there:

    Don't date the boss, not if you really need money.

    Since they're both strong, I see them as more butting heads than opposites attract and I'd go from that angle based on what we've chatted about. Either way, I'd keep her on the tough, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps side because I think he's the kind of guy who likes a challenge.

    Keep me posted, I LOVE DIVING INTO NEW PROJECTS!!!!

  121. Andrea, you've got some strong basis for conflict going there. You don't need much help in that department, your trick will be to handle all that and not have it overwhelm the reader with sadness...

    So delicacy is your word of the day, my friend! Tread lightly and don't make him too much of a curmudgeon, just bitter and reclusive enough (kind of like Vince's heroes) to be on his own... in his own space... tough guy, mad at the world...

    And even if it's God he's mad at, that comes through in his physical and emotional actions. Like Mary said (ON MY BLOG DAY, NO LESS...) men get mad. And they bluster.

    But too much of that goes a long way, and if the heroine and her family are TOO understanding and affable about horrible stuff happening to them, the reader will flinch.

    Because even the most staunch believers grieve and that grief can be angry. And that's normal, even if we accept God's will.

    I love the layered depth, so just be careful to use warmth and humor to balance this out.

    "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!" Truvy, Steal Magnolias

  122. Carol and Pepper, you're a hoot. We need to meet. Have coffee. Grab all our buds from Seekerville and have a gab fest.

    If I can get to St. Louis this year, I'm totally in on a gab fest. Really. Seriously!

    And Carol, you're right, I skated Julie's question carefully because I really believe that in the right hands, most anything can be done...

    And Julie's books, her sales, her (NOT SURPRISING) over the top and growing fan base is because she does it beautifully. And the more I think about the question, the more I realize that Charity had a lot of those characteristics, only female.

    So did Scarlett.

    Jules knows those aren't my cup-of-tea heroines, LOL! I loved Faith. Katie Rose...

    And I love Katie Rose's name... Isn't that adorable??? We need a grandkid named after our characters.

    Off track. Sorry!

  123. Pep, I was going to smack you, but I'm too nice for that.

    Good catch, darling!


    Are about the times I forgot Beth. Baseball fields. Once when we were shopping, and as I pulled out of the parking lot one of the boys said, "Hey? Where's Beth?"

    Ooops. Beth (8 years old) was back on the sidewalk, watching us... With a look on her face that she's perfected over time, LOL!

    Oh, man.

  124. No, Andrea....

    The typos were because something was messing up in my computer....

    It wouldn't type into blogger as I moved along and it kept back-spacing. And then skipping lines. And pausing for breath. It was not a good night! And I had the first half all done and blocked last Sunday, but it took hours to get the second half to load.



  125. VINCE GOT IT!!!!



    Yes, I recognized the mistake at some point in edits because I'd used erstwhile in the book and I changed it, but the changed dedication didn't get put in... It should read earnest....

    And in my head, erstwhile means: hard-working and industrious.

    But in reality it doesn't, LOL! So Jon is NOT my former son-in-law, and that's the second time I've messed up a dedication concerning Jon. (I left him out of a family one.)

    I need a proof reader. Seriously.

    Sorry, Jon! Love you, Dude! And I DID NAME A WHOLE TOWN AFTER YOU, REMEMBER????

  126. Ah, Jules, there you are! I didn't see you below, darling, so Yes!!!!


    And that's perfect because the more Linnette explained the story, the more workable it seems.

    I'm totally in agreement with Jules on this Linnette... Go for it. Triangles are not just accidents of geometry. Real life gets tied up and emotional and I know you're going to handle this beautifully. And Jules, thanks for coming back over!!! I knew I was out of my element. ;)

    Have I mentioned how much I loved Faith????


    At least twice now????

  127. Casey, reading your post put me in Disney mode:

    "Someday, your prince will come...


    Sing it in an old lady screachy voice for best effect.

    It is fun over here, and I had some bouncing to do to get to the inspy party at Barb's... crazy day.

    I'm breathing now and sipping coffee while printing Yuletide Hearts to check for erstwhile errors.


  128. Apple Blossom, dearheart, you're in!

    And Linnette, no, thank you!!! It's not easy to put stuff out there, to make it public. And authors are always just a little worried that someone will snag their work idea, but you know what I've found about that?

    They'll put their own spin on it, and even if it's similar, no one writes your story but you.

    I'm so glad you played with us today. You guys are brave (not ERSTWHILE) souls.

  129. Ah, Lorna, you've come up with a perfect mixed prototype, a Type A with Beta qualities.

    He fights with himself!

    This is perfect because it's so real, Lorna. Most people are a combination of factors and types, so if your characters are butting heads, then that's fine (and should accelerate a bit until they figure out the reason is attraction and desire which will add its own fuel to an already burning fire...) The trick with these guys is to make sure the arguing or bickering is rooted in cause.

    There's got to be a reason, a concrete reason for their actions and interactions. In their case, the external conflict can spur internal conflict because they both need to be right. But he sounds like he's a 'recovering' Type A, so if the caretaker in him calls out to the need in her, that's perfect.

    Lori Handeland did a GREAT job of this in her Superromance years ago: A Sheriff in Tennessee.

    What a wonderfully woven story of a marine who's now a small town sheriff, who thinks he's ugly and undesirable, whose job includes showing a Victoria's Secret model the ropes of being a small town sheriff for a TV pilot...

    Beautifully crafted and he's a Type A who needs to nurture.

    This sounds wonderful, Lorna!

  130. Jackie, thank you!!! Me, too, I love playing with you guys!

    And making fun of my friends publicly. Win/win.


    Jessica, waving to you! And honey, in Allegany County, it'll be storming all year!!!

    And just maybe for TWO YEARS... ;)

  131. Missy, I saw Jack Sparrow hunting for you at Barbara's Bash....

    Did he ever catch up with you???

    LAURA!!! You're in, sweet-cheeks!

    And Pam, I know it. Can you imagine dumping children????

    And leaving them in fields? Where no one was supposed to find them? Letting them wander in the cold, wet snow of November????

    No wonder Trent had issues of family. Guilt. Loss.

    I say we track them down and flog 'em.

    People who don't know that every child is a miracle annoy the heck out of me.

    But they give me story fodder! There's lots of lost souls out there.

  132. In my WIP it's my heroine that has the troubled past & present and the hero is her 'former' best friend from high school, now the small town preacher. I have to say he is 95% Leroy Jethro Gibbs and 5% of a 'secret' ingredient.

    Always love you posts here at Seekerville. I love to smile and you bring it out every post.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  133. Hi Ruth:

    A lot happened here after I went to bed last night!


    ‘Empty books shelves’ do not always mean sales! Sometimes they mean the store is not paying the publisher and sometimes they mean the staff does not have enough sense to turn the remaining books face forward. You should never have empty shelves in a bookstore. (It’s marketing.)

    “Men get mad. And they bluster.” I don’t know the last time I heard the word ‘bluster’. It might be in the 1950’s on “Howdy Doody”. Remember Phineas T. Bluster? But you know, I think that’s how some women see all men. Younger versions of Phineas T. Bluster.


    I like Beth best, as you do, but I can tell you the heroine most people will like best is Emma to be featured in an upcoming book. I’m already in love with her. Wait and see.

    On Erstwhile:

    “And in my head, erstwhile means: hard-working and industrious.”

    That’s what most people think it means and that is what it will mean given more time. Language becomes how people use it. It’s totally democratic (except in France and Quebec).

    There’s nothing wrong with your dedication: it’s just future oriented.



  135. Thanks for the great article. Your character's background sounds interesting. I can't wait to see how it affects him as an adult.
    cynthiakchow(at)earthlink(dot) net

  136. Thanks Ruth for the very helpful ideas...I'll need to read "A Sheriff in Tennessee".

    Thanks for the encouragement...I'll just dig in deeper and deeper into their characters:) Sounds like fun!