A lot of things have had me thinking recently what a hero is. As a romance writer I want my hero and heroine to be truly heroic, to someone others can relate. Anyone can fall for the beautiful and rich, the thin and perfect but what about the guy with a little done-lapped-over-the-belt or the receding hairline, or the girl with hair turning gray and hips a bit too wide, isn’t she romance worthy? As I really look at who I am as a person and who I want to be as a writer, my great aunt Alice passed away and I saw cousins I’ve not seen in years. As they stood stoically in front the casket in honor of a dear and beautiful lady I did not see receding hairlines and softening middles, I saw men who stepped up to honor a woman who’d done much for many. Jaime, broad shouldered with kind eyes and a big heart who quietly tries to offer support and comfort while dealing with his own grief; Will, playful with a dry humor but who loves his family and shows it; Todd who looks like a movie star, big, tall and quiet not quiet sure how to take everyone but it willing to help however asked; Jay suave and easy-going unafraid to take charge or showing tenderness to his mother or our aunt; Jason, tattooed but with such a gentle face and engaging smile, who rubs his very pregnant wife’s back to ease her pain or help her up the curb; DE who looks like a country music singer with that rough and ready look but a gentleness when dealing with our aunt who suffers dementia. The older cousin who’s wife has been ill and he takes her hand and leads her into the sanctuary. My own husband who comes out to hang out with family he doesn’t know because he knows it will mean something to me. It is the everyday heroes. The husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, significant others who no matter the money in their bank account, the size of their clothes or the age of their automobiles who give of themselves daily to make their loves lives better. I learned a long time ago, it is not the big things that make or break a marriage but a lot of little things. It is the crazy little things that David brings home that he has found on the side of the road, sometimes literally, that mean more to me than diamonds, because he thought of me. My sons when they do something unexpected, Blake sending me chocolate covered strawberries because he remembered me mentioning it. Chris offering to bring his dad lunch because I was going to be at the funeral. I am always surprised by their thoughtfulness. And that to me is where a true hero begins.