Summer slipped by me this year and I don’t know why. In fact I don’t remember seeing my Tiger Lilies bloom. I remember when the daffodils were blooming. And I saw my Vitex go into bloom along with the Crepe Myrtles, but I don’t remember too many other plants. But already there’s a nip in the air and I noticed while driving yesterday that many of the trees have begun fading from their green color into what will eventually become golds, oranges, and reds. So just how did I miss summer?
Usually I’m writing and I have done plenty of that, but I’ve also done quite a bit of reading. Especially while my editors were busy with my tales. It was fun to read! Especially when I was reading various stories for our Christmas boxed set. But I’ve also read some other stories. Seems I never get the luxury of just finding a book and reading it. I’ve been proofreading or doing content edits for friends – that sort of thing, but I discovered something as I read. It’s the heroes.
Yes, for me, it’s about the men. If I fall in love with the hero and there’s a happy ending, I’m happy. Yet so many authors and readers say it’s about strong women. Hmm.
The right man can make a woman strong and confident. Not that women don’t come that way, nor does that mean women need a man to make them strong. In my Christmas novella, A Sister’s Christmas Gift, the heroine was strong, very strong and she didn’t need a man to complete her life. She had a perfectly good life. Put her in a domestic setting and she had no clue which end was up. She’s also going to butt heads with anyone who cops the attitude that he’s the man of the house.
I believe women have a natural inner strength, even that wallflower. I knew a woman whose husband had treated her so poorly over such a long period of time that she’d lost her inner strength. Her grown son and daughter moved her out of the house and put her someplace safe. It was a disastrous for her as she adjusted and the following year got better. Five years later, it was hard to believe that she was the same woman whose children had to rescue her from a verbally abusive marriage. She reached down, found her boot straps, and pulled herself up.
Such men would be villains in our stories because they are real life villains and poison to the women in their lives. In A Sister’s Christmas Gift, there are two men. They are not villains. They are both really great guys. One has lost his way. He’s always worked, so when he finds himself retired before he’s fifty, he doesn’t know how to fill the hours in a day. He’s no longer in the city where all the cultural things kept him occupied. Now, he’s a fish out of water. The other man is a total opposite. He’s got that confidence and he knows exactly what to do with his spare time. But he also is the type of man to give a woman freedom.
Maybe that’s what I like in man. The one who is not afraid to let a woman have freedom. But he’s also there to protect her, help her, support her, and share his life with her. And if he knows how to fix plumbing or a gazillion other things around the house or car, I like that even more.
Reading gave me a chance to see other men portrayed and their women. Naturally I looked at the story lines and analyzed each one. But it’s the characters that I enjoy. Maybe I’ll never go back to just being a reader. Maybe it has something to do with being a writer that will prevent the brain from journeying backwards to just being a reader. But as I read, I discovered that I enjoyed the women who were average women. That meant they had their strong areas and that weaker side.
But those men – it’s the quiet heroes. The ones that don’t need to show off muscles to prove their strength. But can disarm another man with lightning speed. They can whip up breakfast or at least a basic meal, and carry on a real conversation. They, too, have that tender side and will stop to rescue a kitten from the busy intersection. Their skills vary but they can flash that smile and make our hearts flutter. I’ll even forgive him if he has to call the plumber. But he’s not going to say I told you so. And he isn’t going to say no, unless he can convince the heroine that whatever she’s about to do is just too risky, dangerous, or totally wrong.
What do you love about what you read? The types of stories or heroes, the heroines? Is there a particular trait that you like in the characters? And what is your favorite story line? We’d really love to know. As as the seasons change, grab your cuppa, pull up a chair, and tell us what you love.