When I teach a writing workshop, I often ask “What’s the most attractive quality in a hero or heroine?” I get tons of responses, but rarely the one I’m looking for. I think the best character trait I can give my imaginary people is the willingness to sacrifice themselves for those they love.
It comes from my grandmother. She was a lovely lady in every sense of the word. Whip-smart, she skipped a couple of grades in school, graduating at 16. She’s one of the few people I’ve ever known who truly never said a negative thing about another person. She was love on two feet.
My uncle once told me about something she did for him when he was a little boy of about 9 or 10. They lived on a farm, dependent on water from their well. One time, it got clogged up so they had to drain it to clear out the muck that had collected. After most of the water was drained, someone needed to go down and send up buckets of mud until the well was cleaned out. My granddad lowered down my uncle because he was small enough to fit in that tight place, yet strong enough to do the job.
As he rode the bucket down, the sky above him became an ever-shrinking circle of blue. The sides of the well were dank and slimy. He was afraid every chink in the stone hid a multi-legged creature or a water snake.
My uncle started to cry.
My grandmother told my granddad to haul him up. Then she put her foot in the bucket and took his place at the bottom of the well.
By the time he got to this point in the telling of this story, my uncle could scarcely speak. His mother went down into that dark hole for him. She’d have walked through fire for her children.
I was blessed to have my grandmother in my life until well after I had kids of my own. Toward the end, she developed Alzheimer’s, and, one by one, stopped recognizing those who loved her. The last to go in her mind was my uncle.
It was a long, painful goodbye.
That’s why, when my friend Tammy Falkner invited me to contribute to an anthology to benefit Alzheimer’s and Brain health, I jumped at the chance. It’s a chance to honor the memory of my grandma.
Forget Me Not is an anthology of ten short stories by ten different authors who are donating 100% of the proceeds. I hope you’ll join Tammy Falkner, Jane Charles, Ava Stone, Marquita Valentine, Lexi Eddings (aka Mia Marlowe! Yep, that’s me. This is my pen name for the new contemporary series I’m working on for Kensington!) Lj Charles, Andris Bear, Jerrica Knight-Catania, Caren Crane and Diane Franks to help combat this terrible disease.
Forget Me Not
A charity anthology to benefit Alzheimer’s research
10 ink artists auditioning for a shot at working at the parlor of their dreams
10 skins, each with a story to tell
10 perfect tattoos so they’ll never forget
A little bit of healing
A whole lot of heart
Now available for pre-order on Amazon!
More formats coming soon.
If you’ve lost someone to Alzheimer’s, please share. It’s good to remember those we love, even if they can’t remember us.
Thanks for all the comments on my post about a new month. I loved reading them! Michelle Fidler, you’re the winner of a print copy of SEASON FOR SCANDAL. I’ll email you about getting your prize to you.
Thanks to everyone who commented. I loved reading your posts.
Email me at email@example.com with your snail mail addy and I’ll get the five books in the mail to you!
Marcia Voges, you’ve won! Email Kristan at firstname.lastname@example.org so she can send you a copy of ALL I EVER WANTED.
JauntyFriends, please join me in welcoming back fabulous author (and my friend), Jamie Beck!
On Heroes and Husbands…
Thanks, Jesse (and the rest of the Jaunty Quills), for welcoming me back for a third time. Visiting the JQ community is one of my favorite things about launching a new book! Today I’m especially excited to talk about my upcoming release, Accidentally Hers, because I adore its hero, Grey Lowell.
Unlike the heroes in my first two books, Grey is not a broken man mired in inner turmoil. Sure, he has some demons, but basically he’s an alpha who wears his heart on his sleeve. As an extreme skier (cliff hucking and such) who has battled dyslexia his whole life, he’s not afraid of much—especially not love. He’s direct, open, and sincere in both word and deed. Athletic, musical, loyal. Heck, I’ll admit it—he’s my idea of perfect.
Naturally, the “perfect” guy scares the pants off of Avery, who pretty much wants to run away from anything that makes her feel weak or vulnerable. Her insecurities, coupled with the fact that her brother is responsible for the drunk driving accident that threatens Grey’s skiing career, cause her to resist her initial attraction. Of course, what woman can resist a perfect man for long? Hint: not Avery (or me, for that matter).
My husband once lamented that he didn’t see himself in any of my heroes. I’m sure I teased him with a smart aleck quip about fiction versus real life, but the truth is that I do sneak a little of him into each hero. You might now be wondering which of Grey’s traits mirror those of my husband. Answer: loyalty, dogged determination, and a passion for alpine skiing. So although Grey may be my perfect fantasy, I won’t abandon my husband for my book boyfriend. After all, dear hubby is real and has stuck by me for twenty years.
Thanks for listening to me go on and on…and on…about Grey. As a reward for your undivided attention, I’m giving away one signed copy of Worth the Wait, the first book from my other series, to someone who shares one trait of a favorite fictional hero in the comments below (bonus points for a unique answer).
Finally, here’s a little excerpt from Accidentally Hers that I think aptly demonstrates everything I’ve said about Grey as well as the push-pull of Avery’s emotions where he is concerned:
“Do you like Sterling Canyon?”
“So far, so good. The skiing’s pretty sweet, and the town is beautiful.” Grey gestured around with one arm. Then he looked right into her eyes. “Just like one of its residents.”
Avery caught herself blinking again, like flippin’ Bambi. Meanwhile, he remained completely comfortable and confident, as if it were no big deal at all to tell her he thought she was pretty. His grin widened at her silence.
Flustered, Avery deflected. “Is that so different from your hometown?”
“Not much. I grew up in Truckee, outside of Lake Tahoe, but I left a couple of years after high school and traveled around, working at different resorts. Colorado, Utah, Alaska.” Grey tilted his head. “Guess that makes me a vagabond, huh?”
“Or just very well traveled, unlike me.” Funny how the notion Sterling Canyon might be just another pit stop for Grey came as a letdown instead of a relief. “So then, will your time here be short-lived, too?”
“Depends.” He flashed a smile, the one that should come with a “hazardous to your health” sign.
“On what?” Curiously, she’d stopped breathing for a second.
He grinned again, like he’d noticed her anticipation, but then his expression grew serious and he glanced away. “On what happens with Backtrax.”
More accurately, with his case against Andy—a topic they couldn’t discuss.
Grey’s livelihood and Andy’s freedom both hung in the balance, with her family’s finances caught in between. The heaviness of heart that had driven her to the park returned.
“But I hope I’ll be around a long time,” he finally said, breaking the gloomy silence.
“Do you ever miss your home?”
Before Grey looked away, she saw the light in his eyes dim a bit. “Home is where the heart is, right?”
“In other words, butt out?” She grinned despite feeling a little deflated.
He closed one eye and tapped his index finger against the side of his nose. She dropped the line of inquiry, although curiosity about his past tickled her psyche.
“Why aren’t you skiing on your day off?” Grey’s casual tone couldn’t conceal his obvious desire to change the subject. “The mountain closes soon.”
Now it was her turn to obfuscate. She turned her face away for a second and then looked straight ahead. “I usually ski with my brother. But even if he were healed, having fun isn’t a priority right now.” Her jaw clenched at another reminder of her brother’s dismal future. “Funny how life moves on, when all I want is to turn back time.”
She gripped the edges of the bench and glanced at her shoes. Like every other time she imagined Andy going to jail, she got teary. His looming fate made her feel selfish for worrying about her house. She hid her tears behind the wall of hair shielding her face. Heat raced to her cheeks as she considered what Grey must think of her odd behavior.
But then his warm hand covered hers in comfort, and her heart skidded to a halt
“You’re thinking about the criminal charges?” he asked.
She nodded, lungs tightening. “We’re all so afraid about what might happen to him while he’s behind bars.”
“If only I would’ve stopped by your table and talked to you that night, everything would’ve been better for all of us.” Although she heard sincere regret in his voice, she couldn’t look up at him.
Shaman barked in the distance, having found something of interest near a bush. Without uttering another word, Grey threaded his fingers through hers and squeezed her hand.
A perfect, simple gesture of friendship.
She welcomed his silence while her gaze remained glued on their interwoven fingers. The heat from his hand spread up her arm and through her core, coiling low in her abdomen.
Desire. Forbidden, risky, uncontrollable desire.
For a few seconds, she closed her eyes and pretended they were different people sitting on a different bench in some different town with no connection to anything or anyone but each other. Pretended Grey might be that one-in-a-million guy who wouldn’t try to change her or make her helpless.
Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for inventing “realistic and heartwarming” stories about love and redemption, including Amazon Kindle Top 10 best seller, Worth the Wait. In addition to writing novels, she also enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.
Please visit Jamie on her website at http://www.jamiebeck.com/, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks.
You can pre-order Accidentally Hers here: http://amzn.to/1W30lOp