Heroes and Heartthrobs: Four Traits of the Men I Love Writing (and Reading) About

Heroes and Heartthrobs: Four Traits of the Men I Love Writing (and Reading) About

Okay, I’ll admit it -- I have a “type.”  You can probably tell from my tall jock of a husband and from the leading men that always find their way into my books. What can I say, I just fancy a certain kind of hero. Tall, handsome and respectful -- it’s hard for any girl to resist that combination, isn’t it?!

While I was creating Reeve Wilder, (my newest guy who you’ll get to know in Tiffany Girl) I noticed that my male heroes tend to share a few qualities, like these:

They’re Alpha Males

Ohhhh how I love a good Alpha Male! Alpha Males are masculine, strong, driven, and oh-so-irresistible. They like to be in control and always want to appear like they have it all together. An Alpha Male hero tends to take himself way too seriously, so it’s great fun when the heroine asserts herself or teases him.  As much as the alpha male hates that, he can’t help but secretly respect her gumption—which is what ultimately draws him to her.

They’re Respectful

My heroes MUST be respectful, especially with women. They’re the kind of guys you’d see helping a little old lady across the street or picking up a glove that someone dropped on the sidewalk. Some people might say chivalry is dead, but not in my book. I love that my man still opens my car door for me—every single time. And our son opens doors and pulls out chairs when he’s out on dates. Is that so sweet? Gotta love it.

They’re Handsome

I know, I know, looks aren’t everything! But my smart and strong heroines need equally good looking men to fall in love with, so my heroes are almost always that classic combo: tall, dark and handsome. I’m a sucker for a guy who has to duck to get through the doorway. Good thing I married one!

They're Flawed

My heroes absolutely must have a flaw or two. That’s what makes stories interesting, I think—watching how the characters overcome their own worst enemy … themselves!

So there you have it: the top traits of the men I love to write (and read) about.  Are yours any different? You can share the things you love about the literary heroes and heartthrobs in your favorite books with me on Twitter or on my Facebook page. I can’t wait to hear whether you go for the tall, dark and handsome type too!

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt: Stop #17 (Pink Team)

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Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! To find a summary of all of the workings of the hunt, visit this page on Lisa Tawn Bergren’s site

I am a part of TEAM PINK, and this is Stop 17.

If you’re just joining us, there are two loops—pink and purple—and they begin at Lisa Bergren’s site and Robin Lee Hatcher’s site for stop #1 for either stream. If you complete either the pink loop or purple loop, you can enter for a Kindle Paperwhite and the 17 autographed books from that loop. If you complete BOTH loops, you can enter for the Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HDX and ALL 34 autographed books.

The Hunt begins at NOON Mountain time on April 16 and ends at midnight Mountain on April 19, 2015, so you have a long weekend to complete all 34 stops and maximize your chances at prizes!

BE SURE to keep track of the clues at the bottom of every post in the loop and the favorite number mentioned. You’ll need those clues to enter for the loop prize and every number mentioned in order to enter for the grand prize.

ALSO, please don’t use Internet Explorer to navigate through the loops. Some websites won’t show up using IE. Please use Chrome or Firefox—thanks!

So now, without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my special guest for the Scavenger Hunt:

ROBIN LEE HATCHER

Though I’d seen Robin’s books on the shelves for many years, I didn’t actually meet her until we were both nominated for a RITA award. I was instantly struck by her genuineness and warmth. I was so excited to find out that I get to host her as part of the spring Scavenger Hunt!

Now for the official bio:

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers, Robin has authored over 75 books. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).

 

And here is the summary of her latest book:

Will writing a romance help this author find a real-life hero?

Charity Anderson turned her back on Kings Meadow years ago, with good reason, and has avoided visits to her hometown whenever possible. But with her house in Boise damaged by floodwaters and a book deadline bearing down, staying in her parents’ empty home seems her only option. However, being in Kings Meadow dredges up a painful secret, and old fears threaten to overwhelm her.

Charity’s former high school classmate Buck Malone never left town, instead sacrificing his dreams to take care of his family. Now he enjoys an uncomplicated life as a wilderness guide and confirmed bachelor. The last thing on his mind is settling down.

When Charity’s dog causes an accident that leaves Buck with a broken ankle and wrist at the start of prime tourist season, Charity has little choice but to render aid while he recuperates.  Soon Buck becomes the inspiration for Charity’s hero, both on the page and off. Can he also help her face and overcome her fears so they might find their own happily ever after?

  • RT Book Reviews TOP PICK
  • Library Journal STARRED REVIEW
  • Buy Robin's Book: Amazon | B&N | CBD

And now here is Robin's exclusive content just for the scavenger hunt:

If you’ve read my novels or my Facebook page, you probably already know that I passionately love my native state of Idaho. I love it from its high desert country in the south to its pine covered mountains just about everywhere else.

Most people outside of Idaho think of potatoes when you mention the state. And it’s true. We grow great potatoes in soil made rich by volcanic ash. But did you know there is more wilderness area in Idaho than in any other state except Alaska? Did you know Idaho’s nickname is the “Gem State” because nearly every known type of gemstone has been found there? Did you know that Shoshone Falls is higher than Niagara Falls? Did you know that the deepest river gorge in North America is Hells Canyon, carved through a portion of western Idaho by the Snake River? Did you know that we have award-winning wineries and beautiful orchards? Did you know that National Geographic named one of our lakes (Lake Pend Orielle) one of the five most beautiful in the world? Did you know that more gold came out of Idaho’s gold rush than from either the California gold rush or the Klondike gold rush?

 

And those facts are only the tip of the iceberg.

"I have set my books in locations all over the state, but most often, I set them in the southwest section, within about a hundred miles of the capital city of Boise, places that have been my stomping grounds (and horseback riding grounds) all of my life.

When I was in elementary school, we often sang Idaho’s state song, And Here We Have Idaho. The music was copyrighted in 1915, and a University of Idaho student wrote the chorus in 1917. Here are those words from the chorus:

And here we have Idaho,

Winning her way to fame.

Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,

And romance lies in her name.

Singing, we’re singing of you,

Ah, proudly too. All our lives thru,

We’ll go singing, singing of you,

Singing of Idaho.

"It’s a beautiful state song that represents the beauties of the state I call home. If you’d like to hear it preformed, you can click HERE for a YouTube video."

 

THE SCAVENGER HUNT SKINNY

Thanks for stopping by the hunt! Before you go, make sure you write down these clues:

Secret Word(s):

Secret Number:

5.jpg

I chose the number 5 because it's the day (in May) when Tiffany Girl comes out! Woot!

Got 'em down?? Great! Your next stop is #18, Robin Lee Hatcher's site. Click on over there now. And if you get lost, a complete list of the loop with links can be found at our mother host’s site.

WAIT!! Before you go,

you should enter my Bonus Giveaway!

10 lucky winners will receive an autographed hardback copy of It Happened at the Fair from my World's Fair series. To qualify, just head over to the landing page and fill out the form. We'll let you know if you won!

Happy hunting!
Deeanne

How I Plan My Writing Research Trips

How I Plan My Writing Research Trips

I spend six months researching each book I write. I gave you a little glimpse at what that process looked like for Tiffany Girl in my interview post a few weeks ago, but today, I thought it would be fun to go deeper into one of my very favorite parts of my research: travel!

Just arrived, on the steps of the New York City Library

Just arrived, on the steps of the New York City Library

It’s so exciting to see all the places my characters might have visited and imagine how they would have lived their lives. From the outside looking in, I’m sure touring exciting places like New York City and soaking up historical details hardly sounds like work, right?! But trust me, it is. Each day I hit the pavement early and don’t get back to the hotel until after dark.

The minimum amount of time I need to get a good feel for the setting and to make it to all the stops I have on my list is ten days. Before I leave my house in Texas, I like to do as much reading about the history of the city I’m visiting as I possibly can so that I know where to go and what to look out for. I’ve gotta be a woman with a plan because once I arrive, there are too many places to visit and too little time. It’s always a total whirlwind!

Here’s the Museum of the City of New York, where I discovered the Old Maid board game my characters played in Tiffany Girl.

Here’s the Museum of the City of New York, where I discovered the Old Maid board game my characters played in Tiffany Girl.

Historical societies, local libraries, museums and the local section of a used bookstore always make it onto my must-stop list. There are lots of hidden gems to be found at places like those. In my case, hidden gems usually take the form of two boxes full of used, dusty books to take back home with me. Sometimes, I get really lucky, and find a book that was written at the turn of the century!

On my latest research trip to New York, I spent tons of time at the Historical Society taking photos of all the Tiffany Lamps they had on display. Aren’t they SO beautiful?

After raiding the local bookstores and the other mainstays, I like to take long walks around the city (and go on a bus tour if they have one) to get a taste of the local culture. I try to stick as much as I can to the same streets and neighborhoods where my characters would have spent their time. That helps so much down the road when I have a lot of descriptive writing to tackle! 

Next up, I pay a visit to a local historic home from the time period that my book is set in. Sometimes, it’s tough to find one that’s still standing, but I usually manage. During my Tiffany Girl research trip, I got to tour the Rockefeller estate in Kykuit, and I had a blast! It was so neat to imagine the Rockefellers walking through the halls and playing in the gardens.

These trips may seem like a great opportunity for a vacation, but I always go alone and they’re not at all relaxing. I’m paying attention to all the nitty-gritty details so that when it comes time to sit down and write, I don’t leave out a single detail. I do have one confession, though. I did make just a little time for a  show during my New York trip. I simply couldn’t resist and managed to snag some tickets to Cinderella on Broadway during opening week.

Ohmygosh, it was soooooo good!

Three Essentials Every Writer Needs in Her Office

Three Essentials Every Writer Needs in Her Office

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I absolutely adore my job. Sure, there are days when the research can become overwhelming and the words just won’t flow onto the page. But most of the time, I feel so unbelievably lucky that I get to wake up, sit down in my sunny office with a big ol’ cup of coffee and spend the day going back in time.

I’ll tell you something I don’t like about being a writer, though: the deadlines. They’re totally a necessary evil—if it weren’t for them I never would have researched, written and edited a book a year for the last eleven years--but sometimes, deadlines drive me a bit crazy!

Somewhere around my fourth or fifth book, though, I finally figured out a few routines and habits that make my deadline-driven work more bearable. If you ask me, it all starts with what you keep in your office.

So what’s on my desk? Here are three of the most important items. Take one of these away, and there’s a good chance I might miss my daily deadline. You don’t want to run into me on a day when that happens!

Keyboard Wrist Rest (boy, that’s a mouthful!)

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Sometimes I’ll be typing away for hours on end and not realize how long I’ve been holding my wrists in the same position. OUCH! These wrist rests (try saying that three times fast!) are great for, well, resting my tired wrists as I pound out one scene after another. If you’ve never used a wrist rest before, trust me, it could change your life!

A Beverage With Sugar or Caffeine

I’ll take any combination of sugar and caffeine I can get my hands on. Lattes, hot cocoa and sweet tea are constant companions at my desk. I love my beverages for the extra burst of energy they provide, but sometimes, its more about the routine than the caffeine itself. Some days, I’ll pour myself a cup of coffee and then let it sit untouched on my desk while I write. Something about having that steam and aroma in the air just gets my creative juices flowing!

Do Not Disturb Sign

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Okay, so this one isn’t technically on my desk, but it’s too important not to include. My cute little cross-stitched “GO AWAY” sign actually lives right outside my office, on my door handle. It’s probably more crucial to my ability to hit deadline than anything else. I sure do love my family, but distractions while I’m “in the zone” can really mess up my groove! A closed office door and a nice little Do Not Disturb sign are great tools for those who stop by know that I mean business today. Too bad Cowboy can’t read… 

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What items do you keep in your office to help you stay on top of your work? And are you as addicted to caffeine as I am? Let’s chat! You can find me on Twitter @DeeanneGist or on my Facebook page! 

Want a Sneak Peek at Tiffany Girl?

Want a Sneak Peek at Tiffany Girl?

Ohmygosh, can you believe we’re under a month away from the release of Tiffany Girl? I’m so excited that sometimes I feel tempted to count down not just the days, but also the hours and minutes until the book hits shelves. Let’s see...we’re 27 days away from May 5th...so that’s something like 648 hours or 38,880 minutes, right? Oh, golly. That took me forever to figure out and I have no idea if it’s even right. I guess there’s a reason I chose to go into writing, not math!

In any event, I realized I simply couldn’t wait another second to share the first few chapters of Tiffany Girl with you. So I asked the publisher if I could, and they said yes! Therefore, beginning this week, I’m sending out one new chapter of the book each week until May 5th, all the way up through the fourth chapter.

Want to get in on the preview?

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All you have to do to get your four chapters via email is pre-order Tiffany Girl, which you can do from almost any online bookseller (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc.), and then come back to my website to sign up. You’ll get the first chapter in your email this week, and the new chapters will come out each week on Tuesdays between now and May 5th.

Because we’ll all be reading the same chapters at the same time, I’d love to hear your feedback as you read through them! What are your thoughts on our characters? What questions do you have about what happens next? What are you predicting for our hero Reeve and our heroine Flossie? After you read your chapters, hop over to my Facebook page so we can chat! It’ll be like we’re one big book club!

Do you have any ideas that will help me pass the time until May 5th? If not, I’ll go back to my countdown. Must be something like 38,874 minutes now, right?!

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Women's Fashion (Part Two- 1930's to Today)

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Women's Fashion (Part Two- 1930's to Today)

Tell the truth: Do you have a stockpile of old clothes saved somewhere that you just can’t bare to get rid of despite the fact that you know they’re totally out of fashion? I know I do! And I’m not talking about the vintage gowns I love to collect. Those are worth hanging onto! I’m talking about my washed out old bell bottoms from the 70s and my sweaters with shoulder pads from the 80s (remember my story about those from last week?). I know I’d probably be too embarrassed to step out of the house in any of those outfits (and yes, my kids think my old clothes are just hilarious), but they hold too many memories for me to even consider parting with them. Please tell me I’m not alone here!

Last week, we took a look at how trends evolved from the 1890s to the 1920s, which gave me a chance to use some of the crazy amounts of research I’ve done while writing my books. But this week, we’re looking at trends from the 1930s to today, and let me tell you, writing this post felt way more personal for me. I remember trying out so many of these trends myself and thinking I was the coolest cat in town.

Keep reading to revisit fashions from the 1930s to today and then hop over to my Facebook page and tell me about your best (or most embarrassing) fashion experiments from years past. Bonus points for sharing a picture or two!

1930-1940

Believe it or not, the Great Depression didn’t put a damper on fashion. We can thank the 1930s for giving us synthetic fabrics, costume jewelry like Chanel’s signature faux pearls, and most importantly, zippers, which made their debut at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair! I can’t imagine having to deal every day with those impossible hook-and-eye closures that were popular before the 1930s, can you? Thank goodness we were born in the age of the zipper!

1940-1950

World War II was much harder on fashion than the Great Depression, and even resulted in regulations on how much fabric could be used for civilian clothing. People became very thrifty during this era. Remember Rosie the Riveter? That red headscarf she was wearing was probably a hand-me-down from her mom or her grandmother. So what was the major trend from this decade? One word: pants. As more women joined the workforce (some of them motivated by the image of Rosie!), it became more acceptable for ladies to wear pants instead of skirts and dresses. But Rome wasn’t conquered in a day. When I was a kid in the seventies, I was sent home for wearing pants to school instead of a skirt!

1950-1960

Remember those figure-shaping garments we talked about so much in last week’s post? Well, they came back in a big way in the ‘50s. Girdles, crinolines, waist-cinchers and bullet bras (!) were staples for many women. Once again, I’m saying a little prayer of thanks that I get to be an adult in a day and age where comfort is key!

1960-1970

I was just a little one in the ’60s, so my focus was mostly on the fashions of ladies like Cinderella and good ol’ Barbie. She was quite the clotheshorse back in the day, and I absolutely adored collecting all her outfits. I do remember that Jackie Kennedy was totally the “it girl” of the ’60s, with her pillbox hats and short-jacketed suits. So many women attempted to copy her style, and she’s still an icon today, if you ask me.

1970-1980

There’s no time in our lives where we’re more prone to fashion mistakes than our high school years, and I just so happened to be a high schooler in the later part of the 70s. Talk about a recipe for funny memories! My mom refused to buy me blue jeans. Instead, she helped me sew double-knit, elastic waist pants. Oh, the horror! My first pair of blue jeans was a hand-me-down from one of my best friends in 8th grade. I wasn’t able to dress the way I wanted until I turned 16 and got my own job at, guess where...a clothing store!

1980-1990

Most people see the ‘80s as a total fashion disaster, but I remember loving the stretchy pants and slouchy styles that became staples when I was a young newlywed. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but I think the saying should really be “everything was bigger in the 80s.” Big hair, big shoulder pads and big, oversized sweaters were the trend, and I embraced them full on! There was just one problem. I was 5’2” and 93 pounds, so I always looked like I was drowning in a mountain of clothes!

1990-2000

Oh, the good ’ole 90s. Since I was busy parenting four kids during this decade, I didn’t have much time to think about my wardrobe, but I do remember really disliking the “grunge” styles that were so in at the time. If you ask me, baggy flannel shirts and Doc Martens belong on lumberjacks and bikers, not teenage girls! There was one 90s trend that I did buy into though, and that was the “Rachel Haircut” made famous by Rachel Green on the TV show Friends. Raise your hand if you took her picture to the salon! I know I did!

2000 - Today 

I think we’re still too close to this latest decade-and-a-half to really reflect on its fashion trends, don’t you? It’s easier to see the trends for what they really were after a little time has passed. I know that I spend a lot of my time these days in the comfiest outfits possible since I spend hours and hours behind my desk writing (just watch the video on my homepage to see what I mean), but I’m not sure that qualifies as a fashion trend.

So there we have it: a brief history of fashion, Deeanne style! I’m just dying to hear about your favorite styles and fashion faux pas from the past. Head over to my Facebook page to join in on the fun!

 

Which Woman From History Would Have Been Your Best Friend?

Which Woman From History Would Have Been Your Best Friend?

Have you ever seen a celebrity interview that makes you think “Wow, she seems wonderful, I would totally be her friend!” (Sandra Brown-- If you’re ever in Houston and want to grab coffee, I’m all yours!) I’ve had this feeling not so much with celebrities of today, aside from Sandra, of course, but with extraordinary women from history. There are a few ladies who I SO wish were still around so we could grab lunch and gab about life. If our paths somehow crossed today, I could totally be best friends with ladies like...

Eleanor Roosevelt 

What a First Lady! Mrs. Roosevelt was outspoken, strong-willed and one of the first Presidential spouses to have her own newspaper column. If we met for lunch, I think we’d order cheeseburgers and chat about journalism. Her work with the United Nations in her later years earned her the title “First Lady of the World” from President Harry Truman. You go, girl!

Clara Barton 

Clara Barton was such a sweetheart! She was a hospital nurse and humanitarian, but she was most famous for her role as the first President of the American Red Cross. She totally reminds me of Billy Jack Tate from Fair Play. If we met for lunch, I think she could keep me occupied for hours with stories of all the things she saw and experienced.

Amelia Earhart

She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, so I know Amelia Earhart was  brave and daring! She was known for being incredibly driven, yet cool under pressure. I think we could all use a friend like that! As you’ve probably noticed from my books, I love the story of a woman making her way in a man’s world, and there’s no better example of that than Amelia!

So, now I have to ask: if you could pick one of these famous women from history to be your BFF, who would you choose? Outspoken Eleanor, Compassionate Clara, Adventurous Amelia, or someone completely different? Let me know in the comments or over on Facebook.

 

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Women's Fashion (Part One - 1893 to 1930)

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Women's Fashion (Part One - 1893 to 1930)

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Many of you already know that I love vintage fashion and collect historical gowns. One of the most fun parts of writing about my historical heroines is getting to dream up what they would have worn in a given situation. I’ve done my fair share of research into women’s clothing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and even taught a room full of writers about the best way to undress a victorian lady.

If there’s one thing all this research has taught me, it’s that women’s fashion evolves constantly, and what’s in today will almost definitely be out tomorrow. Never has this been more apparent to me than the day one of my daughters, who was in high school at the time, asked me if she could borrow some of my old clothes for an 80s themed birthday party. The big shoulder pads and stirrup pants that had been a mainstay in my wardrobe not so many years ago were suddenly a comedic costume for her and her friends!

Since it’s women’s history month, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at how women’s fashions and silhouettes have evolved over the years. Scroll on to learn a bit about the trends from the 1890s to the 1920s and then let me know: which era would you have liked to live in from a fashion perspective? You can leave your thoughts here or let me know on my Facebook page.

I’ll be back next week to share more on trends from the 1930s to today!

1890-1900

The turn of the century was also a turning point for women’s clothing. The bustle, which had been a popular trend in the 80s, began to fade from fashion. “Balloon” sleeves became a focal point of many dresses. Tiffany Girl’s Flossie Jayne and her seamstress mother would have been experts in creating that kind of style.

1900-1910

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain

During this decade, the swan-bill corset became quite popular, as did styles with high necks. This swan-bill corset had a stiff front that forced the hips back and pushed the chest out, giving women of this era a trendy “S” shape. It sounds uncomfortable, and it was!

1910-1920

The constricting corsets from years past went out of vogue during this era, and dressmakers began using boning not to change a woman’s shape, but to support it. Hemlines also rose above the ankle during this decade, making it easier for women to walk.

1920s - 1930s

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain