Why ‘Mr. Valentine’?

The book that gave Mr. V his nickname was a Rita Award Finalist.

The book that gave Mr. V his nickname was a Rita Award Finalist.

You’ve all seen those hunky heroes on the covers of romance novels. Washboard abs. Handsome as hell. Allergic to wearing shirts.

That is not me.

And yet,  in a way, I’m a real live Harlequin hero.  For I inspired the hero in a romance novel.  Truth, I swear.

It happened a number of years ago when I was in a writer’s group with Vicki Lewis Thompson, who has written gobs of romance novels — over a hundred. Another member of the group and I were kidding around about writing contests and about me being a male romance writer, when all of a sudden Vicki went still and her expression became very intent. A light bulb appeared over her head. (Figuratively, of course.) Inspiration had sprouted in her fertile imagination.

The resulting Harlequin Temptation, Mr. Valentine, stars Jack Killigan, who submits a steamy romance to a contest–but, figuring a man would be at a disadvantage, submits it under the name of his friend, Krysta. He wins the contest, he and Krysta are thrown together on a trip to the New York publisher. After a string of mishaps, the truth comes out and he is crowned ‘Mr. Valentine.’ Oh, and he gets Krysta, too.

Mr Valentine, by VickiIt’s a great book, in my (ahem) humble opinion. Vicki thought so too, as you can see what she wrote in my copy of the book. I love the book’s tagline: He’s the perfect lover–on paper.

And the hero is to die for. As one Amazon reviewer described me — uh, I mean Jack — this way:

The real gem I think for this story is just with knowing that Jack ISN’T your typical romance hero who is a “He-Man” or that he’s incredibly rich and successful, as so many romance hero are. He’s just not that “dashing prince” or the “rough cowboy” or the “cut Fabio-esque historical man ” but that he’s “that guy” you know from down the street who seems like a pretty nice guy, and once he had a shave and a haircut, well, he cleaned up pretty doggone good!

That sounds sorta like me, all right. Not even a great writer like Vicki could portray me as a he-man, though I do look a tiny bit like the guy on the cover. Okay, looked, past tense. Except I wear shirts.

So call me Mr. Valentine. And buy Mr. Valentine. Heck, buy all of Vicki’s books. You’ll thank me for the suggestion!



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