Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Blogger Donna Alward

I'm so pleased to have Donna Alward on the blog today -- she does a fab job posting my guest blogs over at the Pink Heart Society. :-) She's also a great writer and and I had a blast getting to know her at the RWA National Conference this summer. Welcome, Donna!

Real Heroes

Today is Remembrance Day here in Canada. At 11 a.m. on November 11, World War I ended and today we remember those men and women who died in combat and who continue to serve in our military.

What has always struck me when I’ve spoken to veterans or watched programs on television – be it fictional or documentaries – is that no one is willing to accept that they are a hero. There is this insistence that it is the men and women that died that are the true heroes. And I can understand how someone would feel that way. Those people gave their lives. They will not be coming home. They have left mothers, fathers, siblings, wives, husbands, children behind. They have sacrificed in the ultimate way a person can sacrifice themselves for their country – with their lives.

And yet, I humbly assert that there is more to a hero than someone who has died on the battlefield.

When I looked up hero in the dictionary, I got this: 1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. 2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

Nowhere does it say one needs to die to be a hero.

Those men and women who returned home are heroes too. They are left to deal with the consequences of battle, the deaths of friends, possibly their own injuries…they bear their own scars and do it willingly. They have done, and continue to do, the jobs we turn away from and pretend don’t need doing. They put themselves on the line. If that isn’t a hero, I don’t know what is.

When I go to the cenotaph, it is not only to remember the dead, it’s to honour those still living, and those willing to put themselves in the line of fire for my freedom.

To me, those are the real heroes. Is it any wonder I enjoy writing military heroes in my Romances?

My current release is A Bride For Rocking H Ranch in Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage, out this month. My next military hero is coming up in March in the second book of the Cowboys and Confetti duet (Once Dance With The Cowboy is book 1, and out in January). In March you’ll meet Noah Laramie in Her Lone Cowboy. Noah is a man of extraordinary character who is soldier, brother, cowboy and lover. I hope my readers love him as much as I do.

Visit Donna at

So let's talk about men in uniform today. Or cowboys. Or both :-)
One commentor will win a copy of Donna's current release.


Virginia said...

Hi Donna, I will just have to say I love me some cowboys and always have. I am not real sure why, because I have never been around a cowboy except in books. Cowboys just always seem so polite and no how to treat a women. I guess we just love men in uniforms! I love the cover of this book and I can't wait to read it, after all its a holiday and I love-em.

Susan said...

With both a husband and son who are Veterans, I couldn't agree more, Donna, that all men (and women) who serve are heroes!

susan meier

Problem Child said...

Hi Donna and welcome to the Playground!

We have military folks in the family, but we're not a military family, if you get my meaning. Still, I think it's an important day to remember those who fought for what we take for granted.

I love the little poppies that everyone in the UK wears. I wish we did something like that here in the US.

Liza said...

Hi Donna! I agree with you, all men and women who serve are heroes. Two of my cousins were in the Army(one was sent to Iraq twice) and both grandfathers served during WWII.

Thanks to all the veterns for fighting for our continued freedoms.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

We do wear the poppies, PC. But probably only the military does it, come to think of it. I remember it from the time I was a tot, really. And if I went on base today, I'd find the poppies being handed out by vets. Admittedly, it's not a big tradition, and I think it might be fading away as those old guys pass on. :(

Hi, Donna! My entire family has served at one time or the other, including my hubby. I never did, but I was a supportive military spouse for 22 years. They are all heroes to me. :)

I love writing military characters. Not so much chance to do that anymore, but I'm giving my heroes military backgrounds even though they are billionaires, etc, and so far my editor seems to like it. :) It does take a hero to join up and to serve honorably. There is much heroism in every day activities, I think. Great post!

Playground Monitor said...

My father was a veteran. He was in the Army Air Corps during WWII. And I remember years ago that some group sold those little red poppy things. Maybe my mom will be on here today and she'll remember if it was for Veterans Day.

Here in the Rocket City we have a large military presence so they are kinda hard to ignore. We'll have a parade downtown today and a group has been very involved with Honor Flight, a program to take WWII vets to DC to see the WWII Monument, which I saw last summer. It's a stunning tribute to the men and women who fought for our country.

And lastly, we have a family friend who's both a veteran AND has a birthday today. Happy birthday to him!

Oh, and welcome, Donna!

Angel said...

Like PC, mine isn't really a military family, though we've always lived near military towns and I had a uncle each in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. My father served in the Navy when I was little. But we never lived on base or participated much, maybe that's why we didn't adopt some of those family traditions.

This summer, while visiting Washington DC, I was priviledged to visit the military memorials there. The stunning qualities of these pieces of art built to honor our soldiers moved me so much. Especially the WWII memorial. It really brought home the reality of our veterans, which is something I don't run into in my every day life.

Thanks for the wonderful post, Donna!

Can you tell us how you came to combine military and cowboy heroes? Sounds yummy! :)


Donna Alward said...

Angel - when I was in DC, I spent an afternoon alone at Arlington. Somehow in that place, borders didn't seem to matter, you know?

And hello to everyone! Lynn I can't believe you said 22 years. I'm still convinced you were like TEN when you got married.

Angel, you asked about combining cowboys and military heroes. Good question! I adore a man in uniform. Editorial adores my cowboys. I wrote the first book in the duet with a definite cowboy in mind, but I knew for the brother I wanted something different. So he comes home to the family ranch, but he's definitely a military man. And very possibly my favourite hero to date. I just LOVE Noah.

It was a marketing decision to use the word cowboy instead of soldier in the title, but it works as he really is both. And cowboy made sense as the duet is called "Cowboys and Confetti". get to see Noah in both a cowboy hat AND his dress uniform. Best of both worlds if you ask me. :-)

PM's Mother said...

PM, I won't let you down, child! Even back when I was very young I remember the ladies of the American Legion Auxilliary selling the small paper "poppies" on the street in my home town. I haven't seen anyone selling them (or even handing them out) in a long time. Have we become too sophisticated for this?

PM's Mother said...

I may have been mistaken about the poppies being sold on Veteran's day (what we use to call Armistice Day)...maybe they were sold on Memorial Day (May 30) or even both.
Also, when I was in school (we did not have a school holiday on this day) everyone stopped what they were doing at 11 AM and had a moment of silence in honor of those who had served in the military.

Helena said...

There's some military history in my family -- going all the way back to the Plains of Abraham where the soldier second in command to Gen. Wolfe was an ancestor on my mother's side. Also had a great uncle in WWI who lived through the battles at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. He came home shell-shocked (the term they used for post traumatic stress syndrome back then). And yes, I consider him a hero.

Three of my mother's brothers, and a brother and sister of my father, all served in the forces in WWII, and fortunately all came home. But I know my maternal grandmother's hair turned silver during the wartime years. The Afghanistan situation brings the concept of heroism much closer to home these days, and it can be seen on the battleground but also back home, in both soldiers and their families.

My husband was also in the military, but before we were married, so I don't have personal experience about what it's like to be a military spouse. I think that's why I read those soldier stories.

And, hey, who doesn't love a cowboy! I grew up loving westerns.

Donna Alward said...

Helena, have you seen Passchendaele - the movie Paul Gross did? I loved it, with one exception that I won't reveal as it's totally spoilery. It was even better for me since the "home" part of it was set in Calgary and I recognized a lot of the landmarks in the mountains and foothills.

My bil was in the Navy before he married my sister. His picture when he was maybe 20 years old hangs in the hallway of my inlaws house. He was HAWT. Actually - family resemblance must be a thing because I ended up marrying his brother...

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome, Donna.

I have a few relatives that served, but my great-grandfather was a career Army man. He paid a hobo to pose as his father and enlisted underage to fight in WWI, WWII and Korea. He even got shot down over the Sea of Japan doing surveillance of Korea during WWII and survived. Long, amazing story.

Thanks to all the veterans who sacrifice for our country.

Minna said...

Many of my relatives and neighbours -most of whom have passed away now- served in the winter war and continuation war, in other words WWII. Only they were fighting against the Soviets as a certain guy named Stalin really would have wanted to join Finland back to his country.

catslady said...

Rememberence Day is a nice way of putting it. My dad was in World War II and my husband went to VietNam. We're both involved in the American Legion where he has been an officer and we've both volunteered. Tonight one of our local restaurants had free meals for veterans which was very nice.

Problem Child said...

Boy, I'm late getting back to the blog today. Today was supposed to be a holiday...

But it looks like the fort was held down nonetheless!

My daughter went to the Veteran's Day parade today and was quite impressed. Lots of questions for me to answer now, but she did make the connection between today and the memorials we saw in DC.

Helena said...

Yes, I did see the Paul Gross movie, a couple of times in fact. I thought it was very good. Curious about the exception in your mind, but wouldn't want a spoiler out there for the world to see.

Sorry, I didn't get back later on the 11th. Spent the rest of the day WRITING!