Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Blog with Myra Johnson

I have a thing for beta heroes. Nothing against the strong, macho types, but there’s something about a quiet, thoughtful guy who doesn’t quite believe he has hero potential that really snags my heart.

Parker Travis, the hero in my second Heartsong Presents novel, Romance by the Book, is just such a man. One of my favorite ways of getting to know my story characters in the early stages of writing is to let them tell me about themselves in their own words. Here’s how Parker introduced himself:

I’m a hairstylist by trade. A lover of beautiful women by design. God made me that way. I just love beautiful women. More to the point, I love helping women see their own beauty. And I’m not just talking physical here. Skin deep and all. Probably doesn’t sound real macho, but then I’ve never been one to care much about that. Otherwise, I’d have taken up pile driving or professional football or number crunching. You know, the jobs “real men” usually go for.

So how did I end up doing women’s hair? It started with my grandmother’s rheumatoid arthritis. Grams was so crippled up by the time she turned 50 that she couldn’t even curl her fingers around her own hairbrush. As a boy, I’d stand behind her Hoveround and gently pull the brush through her salt-and-pepper curls. It was helping Grams look as pretty on the outside as I knew her to be on the inside that really stayed with me. And it’s what has made my life’s work a vocation much more than a career choice.

So what kind of girl would a guy like Parker fall in love with? Let me introduce Sailor Kern:

I teach water aerobics at the Birkenstock YMCA, and I’m really good at it. What people don’t realize is that beneath my confident teaching persona, I’m painfully shy. For most of my life, my parents have served as overseas missionaries, and I’ve been taking care of my widowed uncle since I was a teen. Not much chance to develop social skills, and I never considered myself very pretty or interesting anyway.

Being a loner, I naturally turned to books. Give me a good romance anytime. I’m the beautiful heroine with flowing tresses and flawless skin. I’m swept off my feet by a sword-brandishing hero with eyes as deep as the ocean. My very favorite author is Chandler Michaels, and I haunt the library waiting for his next book. I bet he’s as romantic in person as the heroes in his novels!

There’s probably a little bit of Sailor in most women. Whether we’re shy or outgoing, timid or self-confident, we often have trouble believing in our own attractiveness. We look in the mirror and notice every flaw. We read disapproval in someone’s frown. We doubt our own abilities.

And we long for someone—that one special person—to see us as beautiful, desirable, worthy.

Sailor’s crush on her favorite romance author blinds her to the love of the real-life hero who longs to show her the beauty she can’t see in herself. But when she actually meets the man of her dreams, her fairy-tale romance takes some unexpected turns. Sailor learns the hard way that, to borrow a cliché, you can’t judge a book by its cover. As the Lord spoke in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about how Parker finally edges his way into Sailor’s heart. In the meantime, remember that there is One who sees you perfectly and loves you eternally. In His eyes, you are beautiful. In His arms, you are secure.

Let's go deep with today's question: Do you feel beautiful to the Lord? Why or why not?

(Please forgive me for this posting so late. This blog is a huge learning curve for me. And today, I failed the test. Just when you think you have things figured out, technology throws a curve ball.)


  1. Some days yes--some no. I know His Word says that I am, but my heart doesn't always believe. There are times it's easier to buy into what the world thinks I am.

  2. There are many days when I dont feel beautiful to Him. I guess it's hard for most of us to understand the kind of heart God has. When we learn to trust his opinion of us, we will feel more comfortable in our skin. Good post. The characters sound very interesting.

  3. Aaron McCarverFebruary 10, 2010

    Wow Myra,
    You hooked me! I usually prefer historicals, but I love the description of your hero. As a guy (and a Beta one myself) I love to see the different kind of hero win in the end. And its about books, too! What more could you want?

  4. Thanks, Aaron! I'm actually married to a Beta hero, but he can get his hackles up and come to my rescue when he needs to.

    Good question, Jeri. FEELING beautiful to the Lord is a whole lot different from KNOWING it and BELIEVING it. As the psalmist writes, "My sin is ever before me." I spend too much time looking into my own mirror instead of looking into God's eyes and trusting in His love and forgiveness.