The Bonds of Brotherhood

Okay, everybody, listen up.

That means you over there in the corner, too.

We have a guest. So play play nice. Buy her a drink. And have fun.

Today, I'm pleased to welcome Trish McCallan to Under the Tiki Hut. Trish is the author of FORGED IN FIRE, a novel about members of a U.S. Navy SEAL team.

Take it away, Trish!

- - -

I discovered a fantastic new television series earlier this week. Or, I should say, a new-to-me series. The show, which is called White Collar, has been on at least two seasons, but I don’t have cable and only recently stumbled across it on Netflix. The show is smart, with fantastic characters and dialogue. It also has a bit of a romantic subplot—or at least it does in the first season since one of the heroes of the series is hard at work trying to figure out why the love of his life has fled him and what it will take to get her back. Now I love a good romantic subplot, but what I love so much about White Collar isn’t the relationship between the men and their women— it’s the relationship between the men in the series. It’s the bonds of loyalty and trust, it’s the lengths they will go to help each other. It’s the phenomenal subtext in their dialog and their expressions and their actions. It’s the way they broadcast their feeling for each other through that dialog, and with their expressions and by their actions, but without ever actually talking about their feelings for one another.

White Collar nailed how men bond with each other, and how those bonds are expressed.

These bonds of brotherhood fascinate me. The way men show their feelings are so different than woman. They show their affection with a hard slug to the stomach, or a snarky verbal dig. They show it with rounds of one-upmanship and scoffing at each other’s sexual prowess.

My favorite shows and books focus just as much on the relationship and subtext between the men in the series, as they do on the love relationships between the heroes and their heroines. Maya Banks' KGI series, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters, Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed, and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series—I count these among my favorites, which is no surprise because they all have one thing in common, the heroes are members of a elite warrior brotherhood. A brotherhood that will back each other to the death, that will go to the wall for each other, that will grieve with heartbreaking silent intensity when they lose one of their “one,” that show in every way imaginable the depth of their love for each other, but without ever actually saying the words.

When I started writing FORGED IN FIRE, my high-octane romantic thriller, I wanted to explore the bonds that exist between the men in a warrior brotherhood, just as much as I wanted to explore the love story. I wanted to create the same kind of closeness between my male characters as JR Ward created in her Black Dagger Brotherhood, or Maya Banks created with her KGI series. I wanted the reader to turn the last page of the book knowing how my heroes felt about each other, even though they never once mention the word “love,” at least in relation to one another. From the volume of email I get regarding the heroes of the series, I’m guessing I managed to accomplish this.

It’s also pretty obvious from the popularity of series like The Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Troubleshooters, that I’m not the only woman fascinated by how men interact with each other.

So tell me, are there any series or shows you’ve read or watched that highlight this phenomena? Any books or shows you’d recommend?


Ciara said…
I've never read a JR Ward book, but I hope to soon. I have a few ahead. I've got to check out that series you talked about and I've just added Trish McCallan to my TBR pile.
I don't read too often as I am always busy writing or commenting and going to my daughter's Your post did seem very interesting. Perhaps I should read more.....

Talli Roland said…
Looks like a great read, and I love the cover! Thanks for the post, Trish!
Anne Gallagher said…
I haven't read any of those but W.E.B. Griffin has a few series that intrigued me for awhile.

It is an interesting dynamic that men have. Even in real life. And something I think few women writers can really capture, so kudo's to you for making it real.

Thanks, Trish. Thanks, Carol. Great post.
Rula Sinara said…
I haven't seen White Collar or read all the books you listed, but I really want to now. Sounds like a great way to 'study' how male heroes interact. Fascinating stuff. Your book sounds like a must read! :)
Linda G. said…
LOVE White Collar -- I've been a fan since the first episode aired.

Forged in Fire sounds like a great read!
J.L. Campbell said…
Haven't ever watched White Collar, but you make it sound like I should. Definitely will watch for it. When you talk about snarky comments, etc, I immediately think of NCIS.
Jeremy Bates said…
interesting post! Happy Hearts day to all!
Tracy Jo said…
It is fascinating. My girlfriend and I were just talking about when men call each other they grunt a couple times and are off the phone. Us women end up spending an hour...we were saying we wish we could be like that! Your book looks wonderful, I just added it to my TBR list. Thank you, Carol and Trish!
Mary Gray said…
I've started watching White Collar with my husband while working out. I was happy to see your take on the show, because the bond between the two main guys was what I liked most! It's so refreshing, because I think most characters in shows like this wouldn't have a much more than a friendly relationship, and most would be rivals. They're relationship is a pleasant surprise. Thanks for the post!
Trish said…

JR Ward rocketed to the top of my favorite authors list after reading the first book in the series. Keep in mind that the heroes in this book are vampires. But they are also very alpha, male vampires and Ward nails how men ( of any species)interact with each other. :)

JR Ward, is a Goddess when it comes to writing men.
Trish said…
Hi Yvonne,

It certainly is hard to find that balance between life, writing and reading. I've been trying to shovel aside more time for reading. I noticed a couple of years ago that reading really fills my creative well, so it's important to me that I make time for it, otherwise the lack of reading impacts my writing.
Trish said…
Hi Talli,

That cover sure does get alot of comments! *bg
Trish said…
Hi Anne,

I think you're right that few women can do the interaction between men well. I was lucky that I worked as a laborer in a male dominated job for 15 years. I was 1 of 2 women working with 200 men. And the guys forgot there were women in the lunch/break room. So I had a lot of first hand experience on how men interacted with each other.
Trish said…

White collar is fantastic! I highly recommend it. And JR Ward does the best male on male interaction I've ever read. She is worth reading just for that.
Trish said…

I just finished season two over the weekend, can't wait to get started on season three!
Trish said…

Yeah, NCIS does a good job with the male interaction too, but there was always something missing about that show (at least for me) when it came to the male characters. I never picked up a deep sense of friendship like the characters in White Collar have.
Trish said…
Hi Jeremy,

Thanks! and Happy Hearts day back to you!
Trish said…

Men are fascinating to watch interact aren't they? There is so much subtext to everything they say and do. Much more than women, which makes them so challenging to write.
Trish said…
Mary, that bond between Peter, Moz and Neal-- is the main reason I watch the show too. Although the cases are interesting and fun too. My favorite episode is the one where Neal finds out he's one of the featured criminals in that professors criminal minds semester and how he kept marveling- "they gave me a whole week!" and how Peter kept saying, "there's no living with him now." That was such a fun episode.
Emily R. King said…
Interesting post! I enjoy books and films with these brotherly relationships.
Trish, your books are exactly what I like to read on the beach. : )
I'll check it out! Thanks.
Clarissa Draper said…
I love White Collar. I've seen every episode.

Brotherhood is a very strong theme in books. Glad you chose to highlight it.
White Collar sounds like my husband's kind of show.

I love Maya Banks's KGI series. I was disappointed she only wrote three of them. Love your title Forged in Fire! :D
I need to watch that show so I can validate its 'male bonding' accuracy!
L.G.Smith said…
"The way men show their feelings are so different than woman. They show their affection with a hard slug to the stomach, or a snarky verbal dig. They show it with rounds of one-upmanship and scoffing at each other’s sexual prowess."

I'm secretly thinking I might really be a guy now. :P

Also, I like the sound of a "smoking hot adventure."
Carol Kilgore said…
I hope everyone's having fun! Trish will be here tomorrow, too, and I'm sure she appreciates all your great comments. Since we've been chatting about smoking hot adventures here, I'm off to take a cold shower.
Shirley Wells said…
Men are such fascinating creatures, aren't they? And the guy on the cover of Forged in Fire looks especially fascinating. Sounds like a great read. Thanks, Trish!
Trish said…

Sounds like we have very similar taste, including loving the beach!
Trish said…

I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do.
Trish said…

I'm slowly working my way through all the episodes. Thank Goodness the show hasn't been cancelled.

I jut discovered this fantastic show called THE EVENT on Netflix. Watched the first disk, of the first season and hopped online to find out how many more season I could look forward to, only to find they show had been canceled after the first season.

Trish said…

Maya Banks KGI series is an ongoing series. She just released the fourth book, which is about one of the twins- the one that was captured by the enemy in Hidden Away. She already has a release date for her fifth book and is hard at work writing the sixth. So you will have plenty more books to enjoy by her!

On my Forged Series- I had plans to call the series the Forged series- so the first book was Forged in Fire, the second book was going to be called Forged in Ice, followed by Forged in Fury and Forged in Betrayal.
Trish said…
Alex, Check it out!
You can validate the great acting, great dialog and clever plots at the same time!
Trish said…

LOL, I have this immediate sense of you after that comment.

So far my favorite quote described Forged as a high-octane, high-adrenaline, roller coaster ride. What made this quote even more special is that it came from an editor I highly admire, one who worked with JR Ward, Linda Howard and Suz Brockmann. I'm going to frame her email and stick it on my printer. :)
Trish said…

I certainly do appreciate all the great comments. And thanks for stopping by!
Trish said…

I think the cover model sold a good share of my books! :)

When I published Forged back in September, I hadn't seen that model on any other books. But since Sept, my exact same cover has shown up on at least five other books I am aware of. Same guy, same pose, the same kind of background. (although sometimes the color is different)Two of these covers even had fire in their title.
Lydia Kang said…
I really enjoyed the complexity of the male characters in the HBO series the Wire. So incredibly well done.

Your book looks quite thrilling, Trish!
Trish said…

I've never heard of The Wire, but I'll be looking for it on Netflix. Thanks for the recommend!
Carol Kilgore said…
Thanks, Trish, for being our guest at Under the Tiki Hut. Best of luck with Forged in Fire.
Francesca said…
I will look for this in our bookstores here in Rome. Thank you for the review. I am following you. Happy belated Valentine Day!
Carol Kilgore said…
Francesca - Thanks for the follow!
Trish said…

Thanks for the opportunity to guest blog!

And stay tuned. I have some exciting big news in the wind on the Forged series. It shouldn't be much longer and I'll be able to share it. But very! Very! exciting!!

At least to me. lol
Trish said…

Thank you for stopping by! I'm afraid you won't be able to find Forged in any bookstores. It's exclusively available through amazon on digital down as of right now.

But this is going to change come July first. It should be available in paperback format through most bookstores then.
Carol Kilgore said…
Trish - I'm all ears :)