Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Please Welcome My Guest,

Please welcome my guest, Alana Lorens.  Be sure to check out the contest info after the excerpt.
 Do We Need Alpha Males?

As a younger woman, I remember reading romances with bare-chested men on the front and subjugated women, those ones that always seemed to have three magic words as a title: Love’s Lovely Loving. Love’s Passionate Kisses. Love, Life and Living. Okay, I made those up; the real ones were better.  But the point of all the stories (and they were so often very much alike) is that a woman wants a strong alpha male to come into her life, boss her around, teach her “how” to be a woman, and then she’s magically fulfilled.  Kind of a Viagra-dosed Prince Charming.

At one point in my reading life, I consumed those books like those potato chips that you can’t eat just one. But I find as I’ve gotten older, those somewhat cardboard characters are not the stuff that feeds me when I want to read a love story. I want to see real people, even weak people, who learn to become strong as they develop through the pages. They can still be in dramatic situations, or with pirates, thieves, gypsies, spacemen, vampires, whatever. But I find a flawed hero so much more appealing. My writer friend Kathy Otten is working on a lovely romance about a man whose lack of self-worth is tied to a scar on his face—watching him work through that and find love is so fulfilling to me! 

In my July release SECOND CHANCES, Kurt Lowdon is an Iraq veteran who’s come home with cancer after being exposed to some toxic chemicals on the battlefield. He’s fighting the beast, and some days are better than others. Despite that, he feels strong enough to fall in love with the book’s heroine, Inessa Regan, who’s twelve years older, overweight, and just fired from her job.  She, too, has self-confidence issues, and together they work to restore each other to wholeness.

What do you think? Should the hero of a romance be strong and overpowering? Does that really beef up the woman so she can be a super-female too?  Or is is all right to have a gentler, less-dramatic couple?

Wow, Alana.  Great post.  And now that you are intrigued (I know I am), here is the blurb and an excerpt from Second Chances.

Inessa Regan, a 10-year associate at a Pittsburgh law firm, gets a pink slip when the economy tanks. Insecure, her pride wounded, she flounders helplessly until she meets Kurtis Lowdon, a man 15 years younger than she, an Iraq War veteran with cancer.  He helps her take the first steps back from the pit of despair after she loses everything that defines her.

First as her client, then as her landlord, then as her partner, Kurt shows her the power of  believing in oneself. Their journey is tainted with secrets from Kurt’s own past, as well as some of the horrors of war that have followed Kurt and his friends home from overseas. When his cancer returns, she must take control of her own life and fight to survive.   Can the lessons he’s taught her keep her strong enough to survive? How much will she risk to save him?


 He let her lock the door to test the key.
“I figure you’ll need an assistant before long, that’s why you’ve got an extra key,” he explained. “Not sure how long I’ll be gone.”
“I never knew anyone who had chemotherapy. Does it take days? Weeks?”
His deep breath hardly rattled his chest.
“The process will take place over a couple of weeks, maybe a month, I guess. Depending on how soon I feel human again after…I’ll be around.”
“All right. Anything I can do for you in the office while you’re gone?”
“Play secretary, you mean?” He laughed. His face was pale, but she couldn’t tell if it was just a side effect of the street lights. Several of the neighbors sat out on the stoops of their buildings, talking and laughing in the evening air, and Kurt greeted them with a wave. “I’m sure you’ll have plenty to do. I wouldn’t ask you.”
“Messages can’t be too hard. I’ll see what I can do.” She took out one of her old business cards and scribbled her cell number on the back. “If you need to get hold of me.”
“Thanks.” He reached for her hand, his skin cool against hers as he shook it gently and gave it an encouraging squeeze. “Enjoy the place. Don’t throw any wild parties or orgies or anything—at least until I get back.”
He saw her safely into her vehicle then climbed into his truck. As he drove down the alley next to the building, Inessa sent good wishes after him.
The crosstown traffic was light for a weekend, even on Highway 22, as she headed in the direction of the Pittsburgh airport toward the end of town, where her small getaway awaited her. Despite her fatigue, Inessa’s buoyant mood defined the city’s glittering lights as theme park or fairyland instead of the pit of blue-collar depression it often appeared to be to her clients.
Kurt inspired her to more than she’d have expected of herself. The longer she was away from his contagious eagerness, the more her confidence faded. Could she really make it on her own? How would she get clients? Would she survive?
Too late now. She was committed. The keys were in her pocket. To survive, she’d have to convince herself this could be done, then carry through. Kurt had certainly made her welcome and given her a good start. And he doesn’t know me any better than I know him. For whatever reason, he seemed to think she could do it.
She’d better not disappoint him.


CONVICTION OF THE HEART (release date June 8, 2012)
And SECOND CHANCES (release date July 2012)
The first and Second books of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer Series!
Come by the following blogs or live booksignings and leave a comment to be entered in a drawing—at the end of the tour, Alana will give away one ebook copy of each book and one paperback copy of each book—Four lucky winners! Check out all the websites at  

And now a little background info on Alana:

Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN in 2010, THE ELF CHILD in 2011, and THE ELF MAGE in 2012.

Her newest release (as Alana Lorens) is SECRETS IN THE SAND, in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press. CONVICTION OF THE HEART is her sixth published novel, which will be followed in July 2012 with SECOND CHANCES, a women’s fiction with romantic elements story. The Wild Rose Press is also publishing her contemporary romance novella THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE later this summer.

 When she’s not busy writing, practicing law or teaching, she takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.


  1. Thanks for being my guest today, Alana. Your book sounds great. I can't wait to buy a copy.

  2. Thanks for having me, Katherine!!

  3. This is a wonderful blog. In my opinion, male characters who grow and change are much more interesting and alluring than bossy jerks who think they have all the answers on page one. Thank you Babs and Cathy for breaking the mold of the alpha male.

  4. Hi Sue,

    I'm so glad you liked the post. I like male characters that show growth throughout the story too. Thank you for stoppping by. :o)

  5. Thanks, ladies! I'm glad there are others who agree!