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This article appeared a few weeks before Wait a Lonely Lifetime, my debut novel, hit the libraries and online booksellers. Amazon Publishing had already purchased Avalon and my career as a published author was already on shaky ground.

March 23, 2012

Cover art for Wait a Lonely LifetimeThe forthcoming publication of my debut novel, Wait a Lonely Lifetime, with Avalon Books calls for some attention to the hero of this book:  U.S. Army officer, Eric E. Wasserman, who doesn’t feel comfortable in civilian clothes.

I admit, when I see a man in uniform, I look twice. I don’t know if this is a genetic anomaly or a primordial instinct but there is something about a human male impeccably dressed, starched, buttoned and tied that unleashes a basic response from me: instant & rarely unjustified trust, a sense of security and protection as well as a recognition of pride and courage.

Medal of Valor presented to US soldierThis could be because so many of the most trustworthy, dependable men I have known have been the uniformed kind. This could also be the reason I have made my hero, Eric Wasserman, uncomfortable out of uniform when he first meets the love of his life and why he chooses to wear only military garb when they next meet.

His choice to return to Army life after a brief stint as a civilian has as much to do with the story development as with my own military-philia, having a long, proud history of U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force family members. Eric came to life when I saw him as a gawky, ex-GI out of his element among art college students.

 Readers of Wait a Lonely Lifetime will recognize this scene.


Readers of Wait a Lonely Lifetime will recognize this scene.

Eric Wasserman is a fictional character who embodies all I can imagine of the best of the male of our species: characteristics I have observed throughout my life; characteristics that are embedded in their genetic coding. My first novel for Avalon is my way of saying thank to people who have been important in my life – both familiar and unknown.Feeling out of our element is something we all share at one time or another. Eric’s second-in-command, Lt. Cleonina Jones, forces him to face his desertion of the only woman he has ever loved, Sylviana Innocenti, and take responsibility for his part in the unhappy outcome.

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Reading books by men has become a regular activity for me. How better to understand the nature of the king? As a writer of romance, the male of the species takes a lot of my attention. We won’t find many romance writers for whom that is not true.

For me, it also helps that I raised three boys even though I grew up with four sisters. Some of my most recent escapades into the world of men’s fiction have been in the company of John Locke, Lin Robinson,  Stone Wallace, Frank Waters and Zane Grey, among many others. (One cannot avoid reading the works of male writers if one chooses to be a literature major…)

One of the questions that always arises in my brain is ‘Why do women want men to be more like women?’

A recent Toyota commercial is a case in point. In this particular 30 second effort, the receptionist at a dealership is talking to a potential customer whose boyfriend comes in with a frothy coffee and a puppy he’s rescued. Besides the total emasculation of this otherwise hunky guy, what are we supposed to take away from this?

That women want that? Are you kidding me?

Look at the results of the recent  broadcast of the mug shot of a known felon. He had good bone structure but those eyes? Those were the eyes of a guy whose predatory instincts were in full furl. Thousands of my sex (that means gender for those who don’t like the word s e x) were all over wanting to take him home. (Not me! If he isn’t already a threat to women, he soon will be, IMO.)

Those are just two opposing examples of women’s preferences. Here’s another: current teen idols v. my teen idols. I idolized The Beatles, one in particular as all Beatles fans had to choose. While they were youngish and I was even younger, they were, in fact, men. Not especially good-looking but talented, successful, brilliant, hard-working, dedicated, ambitious – need I go on?

And then we have certain very pretty, somewhat androgynous, singularly prepubescent males with no visible means of achieving adulthood.

The psychology is quite simple: The unattainable regarding my teen idols kept me and millions of other young women quite safe while we explored the ‘concept’ of sexual attraction. In these times, it’s not the ‘concept’ young women are expected to explore but the reality. Therefore, idolizing the pretty and sweet offers the same security. While our hearts are engaged, real temptation has no power.

In any case, men are not like women, not from their earliest breaths to their final gasps. Thank goodness! Make your peace with that, ladies, and live a happy life.

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Books & More: Reviews & Comment

Books & More: Reviews & Comment.

Beauty and the Beast in Cactus Bend, 6 Nov 2010

When Love Comes, (Paperback) Leigh Greenwood

Published April 2010, The Night Riders series – this will tug your heart-strings.

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