When I create heroes for my romance novels, I like them to be real guys. Men you might actually know. Sure, they need to possess alpha qualities since no one wants a wimpy hero, but they need to have elements of the guy next door. Consequently, Iím always on the lookout for heroes, and I live in a fortunate location for hero watching. From my front porch, I have an excellent view of my local police and fire stations. I spend the nicer months of the year watching how my local emergency personnel walk, joke around with each other, swing into moving vehicles with turnout gear on, peel out of the station on the way to a call, and cook dinner on the beat up grill next to the fire station. Bits and pieces of these men have formed characteristics of my heroes. I hope they never realize why Iím out on my porch so much with a notebook.
Recently, I found material for a different kind of hero from the porch. On a beautiful Saturday in May when I was settling into my Adirondacks chair to write this blog (and keep an eye on the basketball game at the fire station), I noticed an extraordinary quantity of insects in my front yard. We live near a body of water that spawns some irritating but harmless flying bugs so at first I didnít pay much attention. Then the steady drone of bees caught my ear. I followed the flight of several bees to a quivering cluster of honeybees the size of a basketball on my ornamental plum tree. After watching in fascination (and telling the kids to stay far away), I pondered what to do.
Like a rational adult, I called my parents. My parents always seem to know the right people. Sure enough, my dad made a call and within an hour, the beekeeper (weíll call him Jim) appeared at my house suited up in sturdy white fabric and screening. Gently, he moved the mass of bees into a wooden box and stood by while the stragglers made their way into the box to join the queen. Since he was a talker (and Iím a professional listener and observer), I got a thorough lesson on the art of beekeeping.
Late that night, Jim returned to collect his prize by light of flashlight. After herding in a few bees who lingered on the outside of the box, Jim secured the box with duct tape and stowed it in his car (in his car!) to drive home. He pulled out of my driveway still fully suited up in beekeeping gear in case any of the bees escaped the box and flew around in the carís interior.
Jim was my hero that day. He responded quickly, saved me from the peril of the bees, and gave me tons of information about beekeeping. Everyday heroes doing what they do. Now, Jimís on the other side of sixty so he wonít directly make an appearance as a hero in one of my books, but heíll be the prototype. Heíll evolve into the beekeeper who gets called to an old house where my heroine (maybe a young widow with a son) has bees in the walls. Or maybe sheís not a widow, but inherited the family farm and is trying to revitalize it, but the bees keep causing her problems. Or the fictional Jim might be teaching a class on beekeeping which my heroine takes and gets lots of private instruction on the uses of honey.
You get the idea. The possibilities are nearly endless, but one way or the other, everyday men make great heroes.
Landed by a Flyboy
Bertie Stevens has problems. Her brother is MIA in the war in Europe, the bank threatens to foreclose on her home, and the pilots from the local airbase think her resort's beach is some kind of landing strip. Still, she keeps her little resort in beautiful Cape May running through the dark years of WWII. When Captain Greg Marsh comes to quarter at her estate, he's an unwelcome symbol of the war right in her kitchen. The angry sparks flying between them at first soon turn to sparks of another kind when the passion they feel for each other can't be denied. Bertie's always sworn she wouldn't get involved with a military man. Will Greg's handsome face, confident swagger, and sincere personality cut through her reservations?
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May Williams is convinced she read every book in the public library of her hometown as a kid. Today, her house sags under the weight of books. If she's not reading or writing, May can be found pursuing her other two passions -- sewing and running. She also enjoys traveling with her family. Many of the places she visits find their way into her novels like Cape May, NJ, where Landed by a Flyboy and Cape May Serenade (coming from Desert Breeze Publishing in July) take place or St. Augustine, Fl, the inspiration for Ellen Takes Troy (coming from Wild Rose Press in September). At home, May lives happily in a little town on the shores of Lake Erie with her husband, two children, three cats and one oversized dog.