Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guest Blogger, Mary Margret Daughtridge

Join me today as I welcome author Mary Margret Daughtridge as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress.

Mary Margret’s latest release, “SEALed with a Ring,” is the third in her “SEALed series.” This story features a Navy SEAL medic and a smart and successful businesswoman.

Mary Margret and Danielle at Sourcebooks are graciously giving away copies of this March release to two lucky readers of this post. Just comment on Mary Margaret’s post between now and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, for a chance to win a copy.

Writing about a Navy SEAL as a romantic interest seems like it could be difficult so Mary Margret is here to explain.
Thanks for inviting me over today, Mason.

First of all, let me tell your readers, Mason asked me: How hard is it to create a tough “macho” hero, who also has a romantic side?

Truthfully? It’s not hard at all.

That might be because I’m not attempting to write romantic suspense—in which case I think it would be hard indeed. But it’s also because, for models of alpha male behavior, I’m using Navy SEALs. Of course, SEALs are real men and my characters are fictional; I never lose sight of that and wouldn’t want my readers to either. Still, several SEALs have been kind enough to help with my research, and so far, I don’t see any contradiction between being tough and romantic because they don’t see any.

SEALs naturally score high on a characteristic usually thought of as feminine: nurturance, a fact I used to craft the character of Davy, my hero of SEALed with a Ring.

It’s Davy’s nature to take care of people. He likes to feed them, to protect and encourage them, bind their wounds and, when appropriate, kiss their boo-boos. He goes all squishy for little girls. When I first met him in SEALed with a

Promise, I thought “What an arrogant, cocky jerk!” And I also thought, “Oh! What a sweetie! If only I could find the right woman for you.”

SEALs have so much self-assurance, so much self-respect, and their training and work have taken them so far beyond what most people dream is possible, they have no fear at all of the “softer” emotions. Nobody is going to call them a sissy if they admit they like pretty things, or they tear up over babies and kittens, or cry when they’re hurt.

Which is not to say they don’t tease me about writing “mush.” They tease me, and then they go on to answer my questions, which probably seem stupidly inconsequential to them, with perfect, gentle respect.

Having exploded out the top of manliness, SEALs have nothing to lose by taking on women’s work. And they understand teamwork—a concept that’s quite difficult for most testosterone-heavy men. They have actually trained to have a number of “feminine” characteristics. They can multi-task, listen to two conversations simultaneously, see a wide angle, and take in lots of detail in a glance. Can you imagine—a man who can see the dirty laundry and will tackle it just because someone needs to! I’m not saying it ever happens but—at least theoretically—it could.

If you want to know the truth, it’s harder to write a heroine who is a match for them. My readership is mainly female and that’s who I need to please. Women are hard on themselves. They’re not as tolerant of heroines as they are of heroes and are less likely to think their virtues compensate for their faults. I try to write the kind of woman I admire enough to have compassion for, even when I perceive she is wrong, and enjoy enough to want her for a friend. I’m happy to say I’ve found readers who agree with me.

What are your favorite types of heroes? Heroines? I’ll be by the blog today to check in and see what all your answers are!

Here’s a brief synopsis of “SEALed with a Ring:”

She’s got it all…except the one thing she needs most. Smart, successful businesswoman JJ Caruthers has a year to land a husband or lose the empire she’s worked so hard to build. With time running out, romance is not an option, and a military husband who is always on the road begins to look like the perfect solution…

He’s a wounded hero with an agenda of his own. Even with the scars of battle, Navy SEAL medic Davy Graziano is gorgeous enough to land any woman he wants, and he’s never wanted to be tied down. Now Davy has ulterior motives for accepting JJ’s outrageous proposal of marriage, but he only has so long to figure out what JJ doesn’t want him to know…

Thanks for showing us both sides of a SEAL - the touch macho that gets the job done and the romantic side that doesn’t mind exposing his “soft” side.

A little background on Mary Margret. She has been a grade school teacher, speech therapist, family educator, biofeedback therapist, and Transpersonal Hypnotherapist. She is a member of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Romancing the Military Soul, and is a sought-after judge in writing contests.

Mary Margret resides in Greensboro, North Carolina. For more information on her and her books, visit her website at She is also a contributing blogger at Casablanca Authors.

Remember to comment for a chance to win “SEALed with a Ring.”


  1. Mason - Thanks for opening your blog to Mary.

    Mary - You raise an interesting question about heroes. My favorite heroes are first and foremost, human. They are people with whom I can identify in at least some ways. I like heroes who have lots of good qualities, but who are also not perfect. It's that humanity that makes a hero especially, well, heroic to me.

  2. Great post :)

    My favourite heroes always have a sense of humour and loyalty - after that they can come in all kinds of personas.

  3. Hi Mason and Mary!

    I like heroes who are strong but flawed and have a great sense of humor. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. I like heroes I can identify with and those that are honorable people, in spite of flaws. And I do think a macho man can also be soft and romantic. (Take my husband, for example!)

  5. You know Margot, you make a subtle and interesting point--one I agree with.

    A very human hero (or heroine) becomes heroic by triumphing, first of all, over himself. Having risen to a new level, he is able to triumph over outer circumstances.

    It presents a quandary for the author. How to make the reader see the character's shortcomings, while making him likable enough for the reader to wish to identify with him.

  6. Jemi and Elizabeth, you both zeroed in on sense of humor.

    Davy turned out to have a teasing, devilish streak to go with his sense of humor. It was exactly what the heroine JJ needed to get her to lighten up already!

  7. Mary,

    Honor is important. Nothing will turn me off quicker than a hero or heroine who acts dishonorably--the author will have a hard time getting me back.

    My task at the beginning of SEALed with a Ring was to show that although Davy had an "easy come, easy go" attitude toward women, he still had his own code of honor about treating them with respect--and he adhered to it.

  8. Since I've been keeping my nose to the grindstone and haven't been visiting my favorite blogs, I almost missed this great series of guest bloggers you have, Mason. Time to get caught up. The SEALed series sounds excellent, Mary. That's mighty cool cover art... :)

  9. I'm a big fan of strong hero characters with flaws and quirks - makes them more real. That's a very interesting synopsis, Mary.

    Marvin D Wilson

  10. I like characters who are strong, honest, intelligent, and have a good sense of humor. Thanks for visiting today!

  11. The cover is great, isn't it Patricia? Sourcebooks asks authors for input, AND uses it!

    The art department outdid themselves finding a pictorial representation of a story that's warm, amusing, sensual, emotional and layered.

    I think readers who would like this kind of romance will be attracted by this cover.

  12. Mary Margret, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. You have given me a different take on macho men and romance. I finished "SEALed with a Ring" this week and will have my review up Sunday. :) Can't wait to see what happens next in the series.

    Hi everyone, thanks for dropping by. This romance story has a few twists and turns that makes it quite interesting to say the least.

  13. I'm with you Marvin. Characters with no flaws make me want to kick them. They have a way of looking a little dim-witted, or sanctimonious, sometimes both, in which case they become caricatures of themselves, impossible to take seriously.

  14. Hey, Mary, I guess my favorite hero types are those, who--of course, overcome something, but also those who save themselves. No help, or not much. They get themselves out of emotional or physical danger through wit, guile, bravery, etc.

    Best Wishes, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  15. Strong, manly men are a favorite for me, but I usually go for the backwoods, log cabin living type. Says me, the woman married to a computer geek :)

  16. Fascinating. I can't wait to read it. I'm a Coast Guard wife.

  17. No need to enter me. Just popping in to say I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

  18. I like the alpha hero...strong, passionate, but a bit flawed. I like a tortured hero, one who has overcome adversity.

    Humor is always a good trait too.

  19. Looks like an interesting read -please enter me for a copy!
    baileythebookworm at gmail dot com

  20. I've been hearing alot about this one, sounds good!

  21. the author sounds extremely interesting....makes me want to read her book more

    ykatrina at hotmail dot com

  22. Hello there! I'm actually new to this blog, as well as to the author.. but my interest is definitely piqued. (My first time using that expression, is it even right? Hmm). I've discovered a love for military men in the recent months, and I think this book would be right up my alley.

    Enter me, please! Thanks bunches.
    Morning Glow

    ohmorningglow AT aol DOT com

  23. enjoyed this posting...thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous book

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  24. It's my first time here - great blog! Would love to win.

  25. This guy sounds like me! :) Okay, maybe not but perhaps I can learn a thing or two from him if I win.



I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.