Tag Archives: Alpha male

Cover Reveal

I’ve received the cover art for The Blacksmith’s Wife and I have to say it’s certainly eye catching!

Blacksmith's wife cover.jpg

Obviously the big difference between this and my other books is having more than one person and a change of composition.  I love my single ladies on Falling for Her Captor and A Wager for the Widow but as a reader I’m always drawn to covers with the characters interacting.  As a friend said of this cover that they look like they’re in the middle of an argument but you can tell there is attraction running beneath it, which sums up the book well.

Hal is a wonderful looking hero who is close enough to Aidan Turner to make me happy (I did put in a request).  I can’t remember if I described Joanna wearing green in the story but I’m pleased to have another green-clad heroine to continue the theme of my other two books.

I love the tagline on the front as well.

Here’s a short extract that might have inspired the cover art.

Hal did not answer when she knocked on the door. She thumped again and when there was still no response she cautiously lifted the latch and entered. The heat was stifling. Hal was standing with his back to the door. He had removed his tunic and sweat ran in rivulets down his back, his shirt clinging to his body. He worked silently, unaware of her presence, tapping the bar of glowing metal, flattening and turning it as it lengthened into a sword blade.

As she stood, back to the door watching in fascination, Hal swore. He began to hammer harder, turning the blade over and over until, with a roar of frustration, he lifted the hammer high and brought it down hard on the anvil beside the blade.

Joanna gasped at the sudden ferocity.

Hal stiffened and turned.  ‘How long have you been watching?’ he asked furiously.

‘Not long…’ Joanna faltered. She reached for the door latch. ‘I’ll go.’

‘No, don’t. I’ve lost my way with this piece.’ Hal lowered his hammer and rubbed his eyes wearily. ‘Why are you here?’

Joanna held out the ale. ‘It’s hot today. I thought you might be thirsty.’

He stared at the mug uncertainly before taking it. He raised it to his lips, but paused and his eyes filled with suspicion.  ‘You haven’t visited me here since your first day. Why now?’

Preorder The Blacksmith’s Wife

I’d love to know what you think of the cover so please leave a comment to let me know.

 

 

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Vote for Sir Hugh as Harlequin Hero of the Year

vote

I’m slowly getting to grips with technology though I should confess that for a long time I thought this was Paul Hollywood from Great British Bake Off.

Clicking on the pic should take you to the contest page where you can vote for Sir Hugh.  If you want a reason why he should win check out what readers have said in their Reviews for Falling for Her Captor

Every vote is gratefully received.

A very eventful day and a new contest!

Today is the first anniversary of the publication of Falling for Her Captor.  It’s been a fabulous year since release.  The book has received some amazingly positive reviews.  I had a second book released in July, my third is with my editor and I’ve started writing the fourth.

Today was always going to be a celebration of that but it turned out there were multiple reasons.

I found out that Hugh, hero of Falling for Her Captor has made it into Harlequin’s  Hero of the Year contest.  There are sixteen heroes to choose from who will be narrowed down until only one remains.  He’s currently in Region 3 up against a straight laced District Attorney and needs your support to make it through to the next round!

Vote for Hugh here

You can vote daily so remember to go back tomorrow (and the day after…and the day after…)

Falling for her Captor is also released in French today.  If you always meant to brush up your language skills there can’t be a better way than trying to get your tongue round this.  It’s available on Amazon.

Book things aside, the most important thing that happens today is that my son is 10.  Ten.  Double figures.  Closer to adulthood than birth.  This makes me feel all kinds of strange (and old).  He’s currently doing musical things I don’t understand with electronics that alarm me for the number of dials and jacks.  I miss the days of Duplo but he’s turning into such a lovely, grown up boy and I love him loads.

Shameless self-promo

Harlequin are running a contest to find the Harlequin Hero of the year.  The hero has to appear in a book published between October 2014 and September 2015 which means both Hugh and Will are eligible.  The top sixteen heroes will face off to find hero of the year (and who wouldn’t want to watch those scenes acted out) and it would be lovely to see a Historical hero in the mix.  If you’ve enjoyed my books and think Hugh or Will have what it takes please nominate them.

You can Vote here by leaving a comment or tweet to Harlequin Books using the hashtag #HarlequinHero including the name of the hero, book and author.

Nominations end on September 20th.

Sam Vimes -Alpha Male

If you’re reading this post because you follow the blog and are expecting to read about historical romance or Mills & Boon then be aware- this post is different.

It’s only fair to warn you now that this isn’t going to be very coherent because after hearing about Terry Pratchett’s death on Thursday I’m still too sad to articulate properly. I’ve been reading the Discworld series since I first picked up Sourcery back in 1989 and was hooked. I wanted to write something to mark the event which has – no exaggeration – hit me like the loss of a friend and which days later still brings a tear to my eye when I think of it. I could wax lyrical for hours about the humour, warmth, optimism, humanity and anger in the series but there are better writers out there doing a much better job of discussing Sir Terry’s legacy and impact than I could. I’ll just descend into fangirl quoting, try to explain the plots of 40 books and then go off for a cry.

What I do do though is write heroes and throughout the Discworld series I believe one character evolved more than any other. To me he is one of the great alpha male creations in literature and I’ll freely admit to having a huge crush on His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes (Blackboard Monitor) and I know I’m far from alone.

A series of books set on a flat world that moves through space on the back of a turtle might seem an unlikely place to find a hero, but the embittered loner fighting his demons is a staple of fiction and I would argue (and will at length if given enough vodka and ginger beer) that had Sam Vimes appeared in any other genre he’d be hailed as one of the great examples of the last half-century. He’s written in the vein of Noir detectives: jaded, cynical and at rock bottom. Like them he needs a purpose in life and the love of a good woman to redeem him and across the Guards strand of novels the story of how he gets these makes compelling reading.

All alphas need a fault to overcome and we first meet Sam Vimes in Guards! Guards!, drunk in a gutter and despairing, having seen the worst and believing there is nothing better to come. He’s been ground down by years of working for psychotic leaders and as we see in Night Watch -to my mind one of the most moving and justifiably angry books written in any genre- from his first days on the job he’s lived through revolution and seen death and loss that would make any man turn to the bottle.

Over the course of Guard! Guards!, in part through his meeting with Lady Sybil, Vimes gradually begins his redemption. This will eventually lead him to become one of the most powerful men in the city while still maintaining his integrity and determination. He’s the archetypal poor kid from the slums made good and throughout the series his innate sense of justice sees him evolve into a knight-errant figure and champion of the underdog (or under goblin) who would not be out of place in any romance novel.

Vimes an anti-authoritarian cynic who constantly sees the worst in humanity (and dwarfantiy and trollanity etc- this is the Discworld after all) yet manages to remain a believer in the need to do the right thing, however hard that might be and however difficult the decisions are. He has swagger and presence; whether facing down the tyrant who rules the city, a gang of backstreet thugs or a group of civic leaders and scheming nobles who still view him as a jumped up slum dweller.

An alpha hero needs to be able to fight. Physically Vimes is tough. He walks the street of the city in battered armour and old boots even when he’s the richest man in the city. He’s capable in a street brawl, battle scarred and often beaten and bruised but gamely carrying on, chewing on his cigar in a manner reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name and waving a crossbow or dragon with extreme prejudice. When I wrote the duel between Hugh, the hero of Falling for Her Captor, and the villain Duke Stephen it was at least in part influenced by the image of Vimes wearily pulling himself to his feet for a final showdown.

He isn’t perfect- he has his faults but like all great heroes strives to overcome them. He keeps a bottle of best whiskey in his desk drawer to prove daily he can resist temptation and because these are fantasy, when he battles his inner demons he does so in the very real sense of the word.

Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch

Because these are humorous fantasy novels rather than Romances we don’t get to peek through the keyhole of Sam and Sybil’s bedroom. They aren’t that sort of books. We do, however get a clear insight into their relationship and romance and one thing is absolutely clear- this is a man who simply adores his wife. Who is devoted to her and who will do anything for her (crime solving allowing). This is a man who runs barefoot through the forest, pursued by werewolves to save his wife. A man who will fight across time itself to get back to her. A man who will crawl on his knees through underground caverns to single handedly exact vengeance on a group of fundamentalist conspiracists , all the while screaming the words of a bedtime story he’s promised to read to his son.

I defy any red-blooded woman not to read these books and fall in love with Vimes to some degree.

I first met Vimes at the tender and impressionable age of 14. Terry Pratchett said he imagined the character looking like the late Pete Postlethwaite but to me he was always a little bit Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, a touch of Sean Bean as Sharpe and later on, a bit of House era Hugh Laurie (apparently a popular choice for the role if it ever comes to the screen).

Vimes, along with Lindsey Davis’ M Didius Falco, pretty much set the bar by which all men are judged.

Poor things.

If I could ever write a hero with one tenth of the appeal of Sam Vimes I’ll consider myself a very happy author indeed.

That we’ll never discover what happens to Sam, or any of the other characters is one of the reasons Sir Terry’s death has hit fans so hard. There is a Disc shaped hole in the world and I’m already missing the future books that will never be written.

I’d like to imagine circumstances contriving to necessitate Sam eventually becoming Patrician, a role he’d take reluctantly but one he’d shoulder in order to ensure the lives of Ankh Morpork citizens are worth living. Whatever happens he’s out there in seven books (not counting cameos) wearing old boots, giving chase and aiming to keep the promises he’s made.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to raise a glass of Bearhugger’s Whiskey Cream.