Today, I’m doing a guest post on Melissa Snark’s blog, The Snarkology. The theme is heroes, which is certainly apt for this day in our nation’s history when we had so many heroic men and women who lost their lives needlessly.
My post is about my first hero, my father, James George Baily. Here’s the title that Melissa gave the post:
My Kind of Hero: #1 Hero Is My Father by Sydney Jane Baily @sydneyjanebaily #lovehistoricals #giveaway
And here’s how the post begins:
James George Baily, aka Best Dad Ever!!
My first and still number one hero is my father, James George Baily. I love him to pieces with all my heart even though he’s gone where I can’t hug him anymore. I still talk to him and think of him daily. He was an Englishman, born and raised in the Cockney east end of London, and evacuated to the countryside during WW II.
During the German blitz of London, my dad, in his true spirited fashion, made the most of his new situation in a country manor, enjoying picking fresh fruit and running around on the grass. At only age 10, he made sure to take care of his little brother, Vicky, who was about 6 or 7; while they were evacuated and away from any parental supervision, my dad worked as a paper boy and a choir boy to give his brother pocket money for the bakery and sweet shop.
I thought it would make evacuation of the nation’s children more easily understood if I added some visuals of that terrible time in England when houses disappeared overnight.
This is the East end of London where my dad and his four brothers and four sisters grew up. There were only four of them during the war, and this little fellow, with his sisters, is about the same age as my father was. Attribution: By Sue Wallace at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Here’s a more central part of London during the German blitz. Attribution: This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code
Here is more of my post about heroes:
Drawn from rainy London to sunny southern California, my father ended up living most of his adult life there, playing tennis, still enjoying fresh fruit, skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and being a wonderful father to my sister and me. He is a hard act to follow, but I think all of my fictional heroes have some of my father’s finer qualities, as well as his more adventurous traits in them. And as he was always a gentleman, I make sure that my heroes treat women well.
My favorite of my own fictional heroes is Reed Malloy from An Improper Situation, Book 1 of the Defiant Hearts series. Not as flamboyantly daring as Thaddeus (Book 3) or as blatantly sexy as Riley (Book 2), Reed is intelligent, sweet, loves kids, is great in bed, is passionate, protective, and possessive, humorous, authoritative, sure of himself but not arrogant, and has intense blue eyes and dark hair. And he can cook! Usually, he is emotionally and physically controlled. That is, until he meets the heroine of his story, Charlotte Sanborn.
He is both besotted and repelled by her. He is attracted by her intellect, innocence, and beauty, yet he can’t understand her unwillingness to become a surrogate mother to her orphan cousins. As the story progresses, however, he’s surprised to find himself so overcome with physical desire for Charlotte that he’s not his usual careful and controlled self. His heart knows better than his brain, of course, and before he realizes what’s happening to him, he’s head over heels in love.
I enjoy heroes who show their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths. Alpha males are sexy and compelling to women, but if one combines the alpha traits with a sweetness and openness and, yes, even a little weakness that the heroine can help him with, then you have an irresistible male hero.
Besides a weakness for Charlotte who makes Reed do things he normally wouldn’t do in Boston’s high society, such as climb a trellis or break down a door, Reed’s vulnerability lies in his inability to commit. Not because he wants to play the field of beauties who surround him in the drawing rooms of Beacon Hill, but because one particular beauty captured his heart when he was younger, betrayed him with another man, and nearly ruined his life and his career with her lies. He has what we now call “baggage,” and it’s up to Charlotte to make him realize he’s unknowingly closed his heart.
Of course, she has her own issues that only Reed can help her face and overcome. And he does so patiently and gently. But he’s not namby-pamby. As Charlotte discovers when Reed’s jealousy is aroused, this sophisticated city lawyer can become a seething caveman who’s ready to fight for his woman and show her that she belongs to him. Remember, it’s the 1880s, and my heroes can still have that mentality and get away with it. And Reed does so quite charmingly.
I hope you enjoyed a peek into two of the heroes in my life, one real and one fictional. If you click over to the Snarkology blog, you can win a digital copy of the series prequel, An Intriguing Proposition, which introduces you to some family members in the Defiant Hearts series, including Reed Malloy from An Improper Situation. Please leave a comment on Melissa’s Snarkology blog under my post telling me about a heroic male in your life to enter to win.