Sunday, January 10, 2016

Guest Post: Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison #giveaway


Welcome Sarah, to my blog! Congratulations on your new release, The Boys of Summer. Whoot! Today she is talking about rooting for the underdog and why heroes need flaws.

My boyfriend and I frequently have this conversation whereby we discuss our favorite superheroes and the pros and cons of the Marvel vs the DC Comics universes. We have a lot of material right now—both Marvel and DC Comics are bringing out a multitude of shows and movies. I admit to leaning a bit more on the side of Marvel vs DC Comics, but then I am a huge fan of Captain America and Agent Carter. We watch The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow, however, as well as Agents of Shield and all the Avengers movies. The Batman franchise leaves me cold (though I have watched the movies in the past) and I had some real issues with the Man of Steel movie, but I am looking forward to a possible Wonder Woman movie. Hey, if Marvel can have a talking raccoon, surely DC can make a movie with a female star, right?

Though we watch Supergirl, he has a real problem with the invulnerability of both Supergirl and Superman. I can see his point. From what I’ve seen in various movies and shows, the kids from Krypton are bulletproof (and impervious to pain and illness), can fly (and leave the atmosphere without their lungs exploding), and in general seem pretty undefeatable. Which, as far as my BF is concerned, makes them less interesting as characters, Krypton notwithstanding.
I see his point.

They’ve released the trailer for the upcoming movie Batman vs Superman, and I have to ask, is there any question of the outcome? Seriously? And while I’m here, what is it with movie trailers giving away 90% of the film? I feel as though I’ve seen the whole thing already, just from the trailer alone… but I digress. Right. Regardless of how much of a Bruce Wayne fan we might be, the fact is, Superman as portrayed on film and in the comics is nigh-on invincible. Unless Bruce has a shaft of Kryptonite in his pocket (and is not just happy to see Superman), then it is unlikely he’s going to win this one.

Which brings me to the point of this post: your hero has to have vulnerability for the reader to identify with him or her.

I read a story recently in which the heroine was utterly fearless, competent, and seemingly without self-doubt. I hated her. I’d like to think it wasn’t because of some inherent self-loathing, in which I’m incapable of liking a strong female character. In fact, I know this not to be true, as there are many strong fictional heroines I adore. I disliked this character because she was too perfect. Even in her tiniest moments of self-doubt, she didn’t feel real to me. In the end, I didn’t care what happened to her, either. Blame it on the lack of tension, or the lack of connection with the character, but I just didn’t care. She had too much: too many resources, too much money, too many connections, too much respect. In fact, there was no reason to suspect she wouldn’t solve the case from the get-go, and I yawned my way through the story. When the killer was revealed, I didn’t believe that either, I’m afraid.

So my advice to you is this:  remember that your reader wants to identify with your characters. The joy of reading for many people lies in self-insertion into the story, and this is difficult when the main character bears little resemblance to a human being. Be cautious of loving your character so much you elevate them to godhood. Give them relatable characteristics. Show the soft underbelly. Make them vulnerable. Maybe they aren’t cool under pressure, or maybe they get a little too carried away when they’re in charge. Make sure they grow during the course of your story. Don’t set them on a pedestal at the beginning. Show us the progression towards heroism. Your readers will love you for it.


TITLE: The Boys of Summer
AUTHOR: Sarah Madison
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

LENGTH: 200 Pages

RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2015

BLURB: 2nd Edition
David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film-company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries and a lack of food and water mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.


“I don’t think we’ve got much choice.” Sutton’s voice was grim. “We’re lucky to have that much. Hold on, these trees are coming up faster than I’d like.”

Still fighting to keep the nose of the plane up, Sutton guided the recalcitrant aircraft toward the so-called clearing, the ground rising up to meet them far faster than was comfortable. David found himself leaning back in his seat, bracing his hands on the console as the tops of trees scraped the underside of the plane. Branches swiped at the windshield, and David had the sudden impression of being in a car wash scene as written by Stephen King.

“Duck your head!” Sutton barked. “Wrap your arms around your legs!”
“And kiss my ass goodbye?” David shouted, raising his voice over the increasing noise as he obeyed Sutton’s orders.

Incredibly, Sutton laughed. It was an oddly comforting sound. Like everything was somehow going to be all right because Sutton was at the controls.

The moment of humor was gone in a flash. The plane screamed with the sound of tearing metal and the sharp, explosive crack of tree limbs and breaking glass. David kept his head down and his eyes closed, praying to a God he was pretty sure had more important things to do than to keep up with the well-being of one David McIntyre. Despite being strapped in his seat, his head and shoulder thumped painfully against the passenger side door as the plane thrashed wildly. There was a moment of eerie, blessed silence, and for an instant, the assault on the plane seemed as though it had lifted. Eye of the storm, David thought, just before the plane hit the ground.

Someone had left the window open and it was raining on him. How incredibly annoying. He shifted, intent on reaching for the offending window, when a jolt of pain ran through his shoulder and he gasped. When he opened his eyes, nothing made any sense at first. Then he remembered the crash, and realized that his side of the plane was pointing up at the sky. The rain was coming down in a steady stream through the broken windshield. The sound of the rain on the metal hull of the plane was nearly deafening.

He winced at the pain in his neck when he turned to look over at the pilot’s seat. Sutton was slumped to one side in his chair, unmoving. His sunglasses were hanging off one ear.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” David murmured, hastily undoing his seatbelt so he could reach across to Sutton. His skin was cold and damp where David touched it, and adrenaline pounded through David’s veins as though he could jumpstart Sutton’s heart by sending his own pulse beating through his fingertips. “Sutton! Rick!”

David fought to free himself of his seat, twisting for greater access to the other side of the cockpit. When the seatbelt came open, he fell half across Sutton. Sprawled practically in his lap, David could now see the nasty cut on the left side of Sutton’s temple. The pilot’s side of the plane had taken a lot of damage, and David yelped as he encountered a sliver of glass. Bits of the windshield and console were scattered like confetti over Sutton’s jacket. “Sutton!” The lack of response was unnerving. He tossed aside the sunglasses and worked a hand down into Sutton’s collar, feeling frantically for a pulse.

He could have kissed the man when Sutton suddenly groaned.



Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she's not out hiking with the dog or down at the stables, she's at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

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Winner’s Prize: E-copy of The Boys of Summer


January 6: Louise Lyons

January 7: Diverse Reader

January 9: Susan Mac Nicol

January 12: Divine Magazine

January 13: BFD Book Blog

January 17: Bayou Book Junkie

January 18: Drops of Ink


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me here today! I confess, I have a soft spot for heroes with weaknesses!