Happy Thanksgiving, readers! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day! I am so excited to welcome DarbyKaye back to the blog today. She has an amazing guest post for everyone, and I just adore it. The giveaway for three signed copies of The Stag Lord is still running, and you can find the Rafflecopter form below. Here's Darby's amazing post:
This is part of a piece I had posted earlier this year explaining why I wrote The Stag Lord. I knew I wanted to share this explanation again, and waited until just the right book blogger came along. Yeah – I’m looking at you, Michele! Thank you, again, sweetpea, for being part of the Stag Lord Street Team!
Men versus Guys: Why There is Nothing Sexier than a Father
Last year, I secretly decided to try something I had always wanted to do: write a book featuring a desirable, alluring, toothsome—please note that I’m working really hard here not to say the word sexy—male protagonist who is also a father. One with a young son he would sell his soul—and your soul if it’d help seal the deal—to protect.
I was encouraged by a friend, who took the adult male character (Gideon Lir) from my middle grade series, and wrote half a dozen fan fiction stories that had me blushing at first, then wishing for more.
Those stories also got me thinking. Over and over, fans, specifically women, had told me they had fallen in love with the adult male characters from my YA and middle grade books. Not because Basil and Gideon (respectively) were hot, young guys, but because Basil and Gideon are real men, not guys.
So, what’s the difference between men and guys in current fiction? (And before I begin, please note that I am not talking about male protagonists in YA novels. I'm talking about adult characters. Right? Right.) Now, here’s my take on the whole thing:
Guys. Guys are totally into their angst-y little selves. They have all kinds of issues. They don’t want responsibilities. They act creepy to their girlfriends and then are forgiven because they have smoldering eyes or tattoos. Or really great hair. Or a really great body, sans body hair, of course. You know what I’m talking about. Just look at a random selection of book covers. Bare abs, with no hair. Or bare abs with no hair and AKAG (Almost Kissing A Girl). Not that I’m into the Neanderthal look, but c’mon. Was there a sale on wax jobs I missed?
But I digress...
Men. Men are comfortable with who they are. They are willing to stand up for what they believe without beating up the opposition. They treat their wives like best friends and like queens. They don’t just father their children, they parent their children. They stay calm in battle, they fix things for those they care about, and they try to ease the burden of others. These are the kinds of characters I like to read about. And I found some terrific ones – some I had loved since childhood, some I just recently discovered: Luke from The Mortal Instruments, Halt from The Ranger’s Apprentice, Aragorn (my first book crush when I was eleven) from The Lord of the Rings.
But, like all writers, I want to also create my own. So, I wrote The Stag Lord, featuring Bannerman “Bann” Boru. Soldier. Father to young Cor. Friend and fellow warrior (and perhaps something more) to the beautiful and strong-willed, Shay Doyle.
And I loved every minute of this brand new sandbox. Who knew writing adult books could be so fun? I certainly didn’t, although I will always write middle grade/tween books. Just like I will always breathe oxygen.
Well, there you have it. The Stag Lord. I am using the pseudonym Darby Kaye, because my publisher, my editor, and I all agreed that we wouldn’t want one of my young teen fans picking up The Stag Lord inadvertently. Yeah. Awkward. As Vikki Ciaffone, the editor-in-chief of Spence City explained, let’s have enough difference in the name to make someone pause long enough to read the blurb.
And, yes, I know there will be folks who will disagree with all this. They will argue that I am promoting an old-fashion view of men. And that’s okay - we can agree to disagree respectfully. A lot of readers love reading about guys. And, if done well, guys can be entertaining characters to get to know, especially if they show growth by the end of the book or the series. And authors need to keep writing these amazing stories.
About the author:
And Darby, I am so happy you explored this new sandbox of yours. I love the characters and world you created in The Stag Lord. Thank you so much for allowing me to take part in the tour and be a part of your wonderful street team. So happy you could stop by and share your wonderful guest post!
“Warrior. Lover. Father.” This is Bannerman Boru. A shape-shifter, a family curse, and a terrible tragedy have forced Bann and his son Cormac to flee from their home and the people who have turned their backs on them. And Bann will stop at nothing to keep his son safe. On the run and desperate to survive Cernunnos, Bann and Cor run into something in Colorado they never expected to find: a friend. When Shay Doyle, healer and fellow Celtic warrior, helps Cor after a fall, she need only look into his father’s eyes to know these two need her help along with the help of her Celtic family. It takes quite a bit of convincing as Bann can be a little stubborn, but he soon realizes it’s what’s best for Cor – and before long, Bann remembers just how important it is to have someone on your side.
What a fantastic journey The Stag Lord is. This book held me captivated, and I couldn’t put it down! Falling for Bann is very easy. The way he loves his adorable son Cor, his strength, character, and that incredible Irish brogue – holy swoon, that ACCENT – my stomach is filled with butterflies and tied in Celtic knots! I became easily invested in his story. But Bann is not the only character I fell for. Shay Doyle is amazing! I love that Ms. Kaye wrote such a strong and fierce female heroine. I love Shay! She’s tough when she needs to be tough, but she’s gentle and loving, too. A magnificent healer and, as Bann says, “a shield-maiden in the truest sense of the word.” Cor was another character who stole my heart. He is such a great kid! He’s sweet and funny but still written in a voice that is completely realistic for that of an 8-year-old boy. Then there’s Max. Lovable canine companion that falls just as hard for Cor as Cor has fallen for him.
“Max sat up and looked at Shay, a question in his brown eyes. ‘Go on.’ Shay shook her head as the hound trotted after the boy. ‘I think I may have lost my dog.’ She brightened when Cor called for her. ‘But I think I gained a new friend.’”
Shay’s family is full of amazing characters. Hugh and Ann are hilarious and delightful. Rory and James are so much fun. You can’t help but want to be a part of this incredible family and join in the laughter, warmth, and camaraderie.
Bann and Shay’s relationship is perfect. While there is a definite attraction, these two know there are more important things at stake than rushing into a romance. I love the friendship that develops between them and the slow but steady way things heat up for these two.
“I wanted a friend. One who would want me to stand with him, on the field of battle, or in mundane trials of daily life.”
Steeped in legend, The Stag Lord is the perfect blend of modern and myth! I found the lore of the Tuatha De Danaan beautiful and mesmerizing. Cernunnos was absolutely frightening and the battles thrilling and action-packed! Ms. Kaye’s writing is expressive, and the imagery is so beautiful. I felt I had been transported to the mountains of Colorado and could smell the junipers and view the aspens that she so vividly describes. The story made me laugh, gave me an adrenaline rush, and at times made me cry – but most of all, it made me fall in love. I’ll be waiting not-so-patiently to be reunited with these characters again in Unholy Blue, the second installment of the Bann Boru series, releasing December 2015. I highly recommend this to fans of urban fantasy and to readers like myself who are looking for something new and different with brilliant characters to fall head-over-heels for.
“These two are going to steal my heart if I’m not careful.
A tiny voice in her head whispered. Who says they haven’t already?”
© at A Belle's Tales