I Need a Hero by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Gorgeous male model in wet t-shirtDo you know that song, “Holding Our for a Hero,” sung by Bonnie Tyler? When Tyler sings, “I need a hero,” that’s exactly what romance authors think as we breathe life into the character our heroine will fall for.

Readers are looking for a hero to thrill them too.

As a romance author, I spend a lot of time thinking about heroes and how to make a story’s hero be perfect for the heroine.

What Is a Hero?

Is he the guy in the wet t-shirt? He’s got brooding good looks and toned body. Does that make him a hero? People lay claim to football players, rock stars, actors, and other famous types as heroes, but is that really what a hero is? Do extreme success and likability make someone a hero?

Not in my opinion. Popularity, personality, and skill in a demanding field just makes an interesting man. Maybe it makes someone a potential hero, but it takes more thran a pretty face, good body, and charm to be a hero—in a romance novel or in real life.

Soldier surrounded by children.Real Heroes Give

A real hero gives unselfishly to help others. Most people don’t think about the heroes in their own family, but I think you should look no farther than your own father, grandfather, brother, or other male family members to find heroes.

Think of the men in your family who work hard to give their children a better life. They’re heroes. Far better to idolize them than some hip hop artist or bad boy football star.

Real heroes—whether male or female, on a personal level or the world’s arena—give. They sacrifice, often for strangers. Sometimes that sacrifice is the ultimate one that claims the hero’s life. Real heroes are the Fire Fighters, Police Officers, and other first responders. They are the soldiers who put their lives on the line for us.

They are the doctors and nurses who volunteer for Doctors Without Borders, the emergency room medical staff, the volunteers in free clinics, and the dentists who spend their vacation in third world country villages, providing care for the poorest of people who have little access to any care.

They are the volunteers who dig water wells in poor villages where people don’t have the basic necessities we take for granted like clean water. So many heroes, and they’re everywhere.

Novel Hero Versus Real Life Hero

Is a romance novel hero vastly different from a real life hero? Maybe the romance hero is a little better looking and has six-pack abs rather than love handles, but the qualities of protectiveness, unselfishness, and caring exist in both the romance novel hero and the real life hero.

This desire to protect and serve is why so many romance heroes are soldiers and cops. In my romantic comedy, CinCa Blue, I have a cop hero and a cop heroine. I did a bit of a flip-flop with what the reader might expect. In most stories involving a cop hero, the cop avoids commitment at all costs.

In Cinderella Blue,, Detective Bruce Benton, first introduced in Nobody’s Cinderella, is commitment phobic, but so is Detective Andrea Luft, his new partner who he realizes is perfect for him. He’s the first in their growing relationship to want commitment.

I had fun solving Andie’s problems stemming from her emotional baggage. Here’s a short excerpt to show you these two cops in action.Cover of Cinderella Blue by Joan Reeves

Excerpt, Cinderella Blue

Heat shimmered in waves above the pavement. Across the street, Bruce Benton saw a cluster of shops that created one-stop shopping for women looking to drop a few grand on a pretentious wedding. He crossed the street and headed to the flower shop.

As he passed the glass storefront of a photographer’s studio, he saw a woman inside. A nano second later, he stopped abruptly. The heat must be frying his brain. He retraced his steps, casually glancing in again. The woman wore a wedding dress, but instead of a bridal bouquet, she held a handgun.

Bruce drew his Glock and eased the door open. A bell over the door jingled. He cringed as he slipped inside. Maybe she was deaf.

The woman whirled. Nope. Not deaf. She held her gun in the same shooter’s stance as he. “Take it easy, lady. Maybe the photographer took some lousy pictures of you. That’s no reason to shoot him.”

“That’Cover of Cinderella Blue by Joan Reevess funny.” The blonde suddenly grinned, but her gun never wavered. “You’re cute. Anyone ever tell you that you look kind of like Karl Urban?”

“Let’s not talk about some Aussie actor. Let’s talk about you. Why would a sweet thing like you have a gun?”

“Sweet thing?” Irritation replaced her grin. “Lower your gun. Lay it on the floor.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. You see I’m a–”

Everything happened at once. A man rushed from behind her, slammed into her, and sent her flying into Bruce. They went down in a tangle of arms, legs, and miles of white satin. She came up snarling.
Bruce leaped up, gun in hand. “Freeze!”Cover of Cinderella Blue by Joan Reeves with Cityscape background.

He grinned and pulled out his handcuffs. “I always wanted to say that. Just like a TV cop. You lost your gun, sweet thing.”

He stepped toward her. With a snarl, she whirled. He saw a white blur and felt agony in his hand. A roundhouse kick to his solar plexus cut off his gasp of pain. He hit the floor. Wheezing, he tried to rise, but the blonde stood over him with her gun–and his–pointed at him.

She smiled. “Uh uh, sweet thing. You stay right where you are.”

Bruce groaned. Not from pain so much as humiliation. Crap. He’d never live this down.

Your Thoughts

What kind of a hero do you like best in romance novels? Does your ideal hero reflect the qualities you admire in your real life heroes?

Bookish & Sexy women – not a myth! #mgtab @melinda_de_ross

I love books ever since I’ve learned to read, and although I enjoy many genres I find myself particularly drawn to stories that feature booklovers. Perhaps because everyone likes to live vicariously through their fictional characters; for a bookworm like me it’s easy to relate to another bookworm – even if she’s fictional. I also enjoy humorous stories and, of course, happy ever afters. If I wanted reality I’d watch the news. Instead, I like to surround myself with positivity and look harder at the brighter side of life.

This urged me to start my Bookish & Sexy Collection, a compilation of romantic comedies and chicklit stories about book-loving heroines and the men who love them.

“Each woman is a story” is my motto for this collection, because every story has its particularities and they can be read as stand-alones. What they have in common is beautiful, quirky heroines who sometimes don’t know how appealing they are, and sexy heroes who manage to love them the way they deserve. It’s not easy to love a woman who believes in fairytales and Prince Charming, because we have higher expectations than most. However, when we do find our Prince Charming, we give him the moon, the stars, even an entire galaxy.

So far, the Bookish & Sexy Collection includes three full-length novels (Celebrity, Unabridged, and Sacked!), a novella (Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas), and a novelette (Meeting Sam Klaus). Together, all of these stories cover a lot of ground, and while there’s no set formula for each of them, you can be sure you’ll find a lot of romance, some great laughs, and characters you’ll fall in love with!

Celebrity follows the journey of a gutsy woman who sets out to remake her life Hollywood-style, while dealing with betrayal and learning to handle success.

Unabridged is a second-chance romance between a modern Cinderella and the Prince Charming she abandoned years ago because she didn’t fit in his rich world.

Sacked! is the tragi-comic – accent on comic – job hunt of a klutzy young woman whose record-breaking bad luck turns when she meets a charming but troubled widower.

If you enjoy shorter reads, Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas is a perfect sum-up of an American Bridget Jones who starts a manhunt to find herself a boyfriend within a week. Online dating has never been more eventful…

And finally, Meeting Sam Klaus is what I call a reader magnet, a short story to give you a taste about what the series is like. This little romance is all about atmosphere and makes for a perfect read while you wait in line at the dentist or the DMV. 🙂

As you can see, there’s a story here for almost every taste – and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited. There is no reading order, the stories are connected only through a theme that will carry out through the series. I hope you’ll give these sexy booklovers a chance to brighten your day, and if you like them please leave a review on Amazon. Happy reading!

Soup Month: Mom’s Potato Soup by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Did you know that January is National Soup Month?

I guess the people who create these “national” months and/or days figured National Cold, Windy, Rainy Dreary Month didn’t sound very appealing.

Yesterday evening I came home—cold, wet, and bedraggled—from a day of fighting the traffic amidst a downpour. By the time, Darling Hubby and I walked into the kitchen, darkness had fallen.

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

What’s For Dinner?

He’d been out in the bad weather with me all day, and we had missed lunch because of one thing or another. I didn’t take offense when he tiredly asked, “What’s for dinner?”

I gave him an equally tired answer. “Soup.”

He brightened, and so did I because soup is my go-to meal for dreary winter days. I fixed Potato & Greens Soup, an unusual potato soup because of the fresh greens in it which is Mom’s effort to push veggies at every meal.

Potato & Greens Soup

  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 pound of your favorite sausage with the casing removed
  • an additional 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Peal and dice the potatoes. Place in a pot with the salt, black pepper, and 2 cups of chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are done then mash the potatoes in the broth that remains. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Slice the sausage thinly. Saute and drain well. In a large cooking pot, pour in the other 2 cups of chicken broth, heat to boiling. Add the fresh spinach or other fresh greens of your choice to the hot broth. Cook until just wilted. Whisk in the mashed potatoes, cooked sausage, and mix well.

Serve with one or all of the following as garnishes: a snip of fresh greens, a grating of black pepper, and/or a bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Serves 6 hungry appetites.

Warm Up Winter With DEAD HEAT, an Exciting Romance

Sabrina Snow knew she was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. Someone was after her, and he wasn’t going to stop. She ran to the only man she trusted…the only man who had the skills to save her. Too bad he probably hated her.

But she owed him the truth even though she’d wanted to keep the knowledge from him. What if she were killed? John needed to know where to look. If he’d hated her before, what would he feel once he learned the depth of her deception?

Navy SEAL John Galloway doesn’t trust Sabrina. She lies for a living so how can he? So what’s he supposed to do when she shows up in the last place he ever expected to see her?

DEAD HEAT, available as a Kindle Unlimited Free Read or buy and keep forever.

Remember to enter our January Giveaway, and also check out all of the wonderful box set collections of romances on Authors Billboard Books.

Gingerbread Cake Means Christmas by @JoanReeves #mgtab

In our home, it’s not officially Christmas until I make Old-Fashioned Gingerbread.

Everyone talks about gingerbread men and gingerbread houses during the holidays, and both of those items are really cute. But, to me, they look better than they taste.

I don’t like crisp, hard-baked gingerbread cookies. Maybe it’s because my mom never made gingerbread people or houses. She made gingerbread cake and served it warm from the oven with a dollop of cream cheese frosting sprinkled with lemon zest on top. From scratch.

Oh, my goodness, the smell of the gingerbread baking made salivary glands go into overdrive. And the taste? Amazing.

Many people think it takes too long to make a cake from scratch so they buy a cake mix. I’m sure the cake mix is probably a good product, and you may want to try it.

However, I’d like to share my recipe for homemade gingerbread with you. It’s darker in appearance than the picture shown on the box. That’s probably because my recipe calls for molasses. That’s what gives it the darker color, rich aroma, and depth of flavor.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

  • 1/2 cup sugar, white or brown
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup hot water (hot from the tap, not boiling)
  1. Butter a 9x9x2 inch baking pan and set aside. Turn your oven on and set it for 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift flour into a small bowl along with the ginger, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and add the egg. Beat well.
  4. Add the molasses to the butter mixture and beat well.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time. Mix well after each addition until all is incorporated.
  6. Carefully stir in the hot water and mix well.
  7. Pour the batter into the baking pan and place in the preheated oven.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm plain or with a dollop of whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.

I made Gingerbread this past weekend so, for me, it’s officially Christmas!

Be sure and enter our Rafflecopter on our Home Page and check out all the wonderful Holiday Romances—books and box sets galore—you’ll find from the very talented authors of The Authors’ Billboard.

Holiday Romances by Joan Reeves

Above are a few of my Christmas Romances for your consideration. I invite you to sign up for my Newsletter which has new release information and giveaways too.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!