Tag Archives: Deborah Smith

Reading and Heroes

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BULLETIN:  THE TYCOON is now for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. It will soon be for sale on Smashwords. The price is $4.99. It will soon be for sale also as a POD through Amazon for $12.99.

Here are the links:

AMAZON – http://www.amazon.com/Tycoon-Sons-Texas-Book-ebook/dp/B00AQS1GWC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359084286&sr=1-1&keywords=anna+jeffrey  

BARNES & NOBLE –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-tycoon-jeffery-mcclanahan/1114134738?ean=2940015956870&itm=6&usri=anna+jeffrey 

KOBO – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Tycoon/book-0RXXcbYIu0yogY3qWjl1gQ/page1.html?s=ypmu_kkZD0ucGBMlHO8Ipg&r=3

Today, I surfed over to a blog where someone I know was a guest and they were talking about favorite heroes and heroines from books they’ve read. And that caused me to think about that.

Many weighed in and named their faves.

Most of the posters consistently named Roark from Nora’s “In Death” books, a character that hasn’t excited me at all. I’ve tried to analyze what it is about that character that so many love, but it eludes me.

Several others names Jamie from Diana Galbaldon’s series. He didn’t do much for me either.

A few of the posters named Scarlett and Rhett. I did like those two as Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable portrayed them in the movie.

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Beautiful picture, huh?

This just goes to show you how subjective reading is. So I compiled my own list. You might notice that all of my faves are alpha males.

First, I came up with Tom Booker from “The Horse Whisperer.” Great book by a great writerly writer. I didn’t especially like Annie, but I fell in love with Tom Booker.

Then, there are Penelope Williamson’s epic books. “The Heart of the West,” with its angsty lifelong relationship between Clementine Kennicutt and Zach McQueen who was loveable in his own rough way. Also, “The Outsider” and the challenging love story between the righteous Rachel Yoder and the outsider and dark anti-hero, Cain. Who can resist an anti-hero who is basically good?

My next thought was of Kara Whittenbrook and Ben Thocco in Deborah Smith’s wonderful book, “A Gentle Rain.” Ben was so honest, so caring and so much his own man, you couldn’t help but love him. And Kara did.

A hero from a book I read more recently is Jack Travis from “Smooth Talking Stranger” by Lisa Kleypas. Her heroes are always alpha and heroic, but IMHO, she hit a homerun with Jack because she added a bit of a sense of humor to an already charming man.

What I realized from this exercise is that over the years, I’ve read a large number of books, some of them more than once or even twice, but the number of heroes and heroines I could remember was small. What does that say about writers writing and me as a reader reading?

Crafting a memorable hero is harder than it might seem. My stories emanate from the characters I create. In other words, the plot doesn’t dictate the characters that populate the story. Rather, the characters drive the plot. Thus, I devote a lot of thought to how I want a hero to be perceived by readers before I ever put a word on a page.

In many ways, the characterization is organic in that I believe it comes from something deep inside. A philosophy, more or less. A fantasy of how a hero should be and how a heroine should respond to him. And from that I make a story.

Anthropologically speaking, since the beginning of history, women have instinctively been attracted to alpha males who can provide for them and physically protect the nest. These days, the attraction has a more intellectual bent in that the method of providing and protecting is not brawn, but brains and perhaps wealth. Hence, a whole new type of attractive male has emerged.

So do women now go for the nerdy type over the alpha type and is that what they want to see in the romance novels they read?

How about you? I know all of you are readers and I’ll bet you all have favorite heroes. Are they your faves because they’re alphas or because of something else? Open up, readers. Confess who your fictional heroes are.

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A Good Book…

Sometimes it’s hard to find a book that suits your mood. Even when I consider my tall TBR stack, I often still can’t find one that I want to tackle. For instance, “Nine Dragons” by Michael Connelly, one of my favorite authors, is still lying on my nightstand unfinished after months have gone by. I just haven’t been in the mood for Harry Bosch.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was wandering through my keeper shelves for something and I came across “A Gentle Rain” by Deborah Smith, one of my all-time favorite authors.

“A Gentle Rain” was released in 2007 and was a RITA finalist. I read it the first time back then. But you forget the fine details in books after a while, so I set out to read it again. I’m so glad I did. This is such an entertaining book and revisiting Deborah Smith’s writing is like enjoying a scrumptious chocolate sundae. No one is better at placing you right in the middle of a setting and right at the center of her characters’ hearts.

I started enjoying the re-read so much, I went to GoodReads and gave it a five-star rating.

The story is set on a struggling cattle ranch in humid, swampy Florida. It’s full of quirky characters you can’t help but grow to love, including a smart-mouthed South American parrot, and a hero and heroine who will steal your heart.

The heroine is Kara Whittenbrook, a young woman who grew up in South America. Her rich hippie parents adopted her when she was an infant. The parents are killed in a plane crash, leaving Kara fantastically wealthy and her journey begins.

Her one desire is to find her birth parents. The manager of her estate tells her who they are and steers her to the Florida cattle ranch, where she goes incognito. The ranch owner, believing her to be a homeless wanderer, gives her a job, which enables her to get acquainted with her birth parents as well as his odd assortment of ranch hands. In the course of her stay there, she learns that both of her parents are mentally challenged. One suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and the other from shaken baby syndrome. For those reasons, when she was born, they were forced by her father’s family to give her up for adoption.

She also finds Ben Thocco, a salt-of-the-earth, half-Seminole ranch owner who not only takes care of her birth parents, but half a dozen other mentally challenged souls, including his own brother who has Down’s syndrome. And it doesn’t hurt her feelings that he looks like Keaneau Reeves.

Kara and Ben travel from one adventure to another, with her becoming more beloved by the group as the story unfolds. Even Ben falls in love with her. He’s a man with a past and gradually, it manifests itself and it turns out they have a connection from years back.

It’s a romance, so naturally there’s a happy-ever-after ending.

Deb Smith

I don’t know Deborah Smith personally, but I do know she’s one of the most respected authors around. She’s an author’s author.  No one tells a better yarn or writes it more exquisitely. She’s a New York Times Bestselling author from years back and has won many writing awards. She’s now part owner of a small publishing company and continues to write in several genres. I’ve lost track of all of her pen names. You can visit her Web site at www.deborah-smith.com

If you’ve already read “A Gentle Rain,” be sure to stop by the blog and leave a comment. If you haven’t read it and want some pleasurable reading moments, try this one.

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