Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Temptation Tuesday - Men In Uniform

This week at The Pink Heart Society guest Blogger Donna Alward talks to us about how she's tempted by A Man In A Uniform...(in all it's varying guises!)

There’s something about a man in uniform. Maybe that’s why I gravitate towards those types of heroes in my writing. I mean just look at my television must-watch material. Soldiers. Cops. Space pilots (c’mon, did you think I’d leave out Lee Adama? Incidentally, I have a signed copy of this picture…).

Trish recently turned me on to the cover of BASIC TRAINING….hot hot hot. And you know what? It’s simply a headshot of a good looking guy in a navy uniform. What is it? The crispness? The clean cut, strong image? Or is it something deeper? I’m not one for reality tv, but I can’t stop watching this season of The Bachelor. Why? I know it’s because he’s a U.S. Navy doctor…yum!

Of the four books I’ve written for the Romance line, two are cowboys, one’s a Canadian Forces sniper and the last is a U.S. Marshal. Only one of these heroes appears in actual “uniform” – the soldier. But does that mean they don’t have a uniform?

Of course they have a uniform. I’ll dispute the whole “it’s the clothes that make the man” statement. It’s not necessarily the uniform but what it signifies about the man beneath it that is such a turn-on. There’s something about “the good guys” that draws us in.

Let’s look at cowboys, shall we? I initially cast Jason Behr as Connor Madsen in Hired By The Cowboy. I loved how his hair was just a little bit shaggy, the dark seduction of his eyes, the way he filled out denim...

Mmmm, cowboys. Long, lazy strides in faded jeans and leather boots. T-shirts that mold to their lean, rangy frame; Stetsons that shade their eyes and create that bit of mystery. A little dusty, a little sweaty, and a whole lotta sexy man who’s willing to do what it takes. Loyal to a fault, hard-working and solid, wrapped up in a devil-may-care package that screams “come and get me”. It was this kind of man that I envisioned while writing Marriage at Circle M…and you know, I fell head over heels for Mike, aka Max Martini….

Then we have the soldier…let’s face it. There’s not a lot to be recommended fashion-wise about khaki green combats or camouflage…but what about what the uniform represents? We know this guy is brave. We know he’s perhaps even a little dangerous. He puts his life on the line for his country, and he’s seen things we can’t imagine. Take it a step further – I made my Jonas Kirkpatrick a sniper – and add in a leg wound that has sidelined him from active duty, and you’ve got a hero’s hero beneath all that everyday khaki that women instinctively want to know. To love. To fix.

And finally, my law enforcement hero. I blogged recently about leg holsters...and I’ll be the first to admit that I find firepower hot. I don’t know if that’s politically correct or not, but it’s the truth. One of my favourite scenes in season one of The Unit is Bob Brown launching a stinger missile (incidentally, my casting for The Soldier’s Homecoming).

My U.S. Marshal never appears in an actual uniform…he lives in jeans and long-sleeved tees…but the moment he buckles on that holster and shrugs into his flak jacket, I’m a goner.
I cast my hero as Greg Vaughn who plays Lucky Spencer on General Hospital, but the picture I refer to most often is the one sent to me by Mark Graham, the real-life Marshal helping me with the research for this book. He’s in tactical gear and there is something about it that is absolutely magnetic. Almost as magnetic as the e-mails he’s sent about why and how he does what he does.

But I realized while writing that what’s really important about my hero Nate isn’t his weapon or his job – it’s his belief system. Sometimes it’s not about punishing the guilty, but protecting the innocent. How can you not love a man with that as his creed?

And these aren’t the only men in uniform. A businessman’s Armani says just as much about him as a pilot’s jumpsuit. A graphic designer’s business casual and glasses are just as important as a fireman’s uniform. Find the right combination, and you’ve got a hero that your reader will hopefully remember for a long, long time!

Donna's debut for Harlequin Romance - Hired By The Cowboy - is on the shelves right now in the USA and Canada and is available to order from both eharlequin and Amazon. UK readers can buy the book from the Mills & Boon website or Amazon UK.

And to find out more about Donna and her writing you can visit her Website or her Blog...
Thanks Donna!

(We here at The Pink Heart Society have a sneaking suspicion this topic may be revisited a few times this next while... for *cough* research purposes...)


  1. Donna,

    I think you're so right about a 'uniform' telling us something about the man (or woman) who wears it. Some uniforms were obviously designed to make a man look dashing and commanding and strong (I'm thinking of some of the historical uniforms here), but like you, I love reading a contemporary romance where the uniform is a key to the character.

    Actually, as I write this, I've just realised that Rafiq, my hero in 'The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride' appears in military uniform to start with and it so fits his purpose, character and actions. Then for the rest of the story he's in a completely different sort of 'uniform' - he is a sheikh after all! (G).

    Thanks for the blog. You've got me thinking about this now.


  2. I have to confess I'd never thought of things like business suits and cowboy hats as being 'uniforms' until you talked about this blog hun - and it got my mind going as well! Maybe it's something in us as readers that has 'uniforms' fulfilling part of the hero-like-qualities we all love...

    And having *done* a firefighter and a Middle East Bodyguard I'm obviously a sucker for them when writing too!

    Terrific Blog!!! VERY thought provoking....

  3. they are jsut hot . suit are very hot. and when they take them off wheww

  4. oh... Julie Miller does great men in uniform...not just Basic Training...Major Attraction was fantastic!!


    Back to flipping Amazon I GO...


  6. Trish, I'm laughing my butt off....nice pics...but can I say I do really appreciate you leaving in my pic of Jamie Bamber...you obviously know me very well! Ggggg.

    What's my current hero's uniform? He's expensive casual. And that's his philosophy too...so when he shows up later in the book pressed and dressed in evening wear, it's gonna knock the heroine's socks off. :-)

  7. There's just something about men in uniform that get your blood boiling.

  8. Continue the good work and people will continue to come to your blog! I have been updating my blogs, as well. Gunmetal