Woo hoo! Her Son's Hero is out on bookshelves! Here are 10 things you didn't know about the book:

1. The characters Fiona and Denise were named after my sister and her friend who helped me come up with this idea while watching a UFC match.

2. Dominic "The Dominator" Payette is inspired by UFC welterweight champion Georges "Rush" St-Pierre, who was bullied as a child and took up karate. The name Payette is after Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut.

3. I did not know about Dominick "Dominator" Cruz before I wrote this book. I didn't steal him name--it's just that awesome, and totally Harlequin hero-worthy.

Mako Iwamatsu

4. Mako Miwa is named for two people: Mako Iwamatsu, Japanese actor who played the voice of Uncle Iroh on Avatar: The Last Airbender; and my grade 7/8 teacher Bob Miwa, who was always a bit scary, but tough and inspirational.

5. Salmon River is not a real place: I named it after a spot my family used to go every year to watch the salmon swimming upstream. I still have no idea where that place was. We just called it Salmon River.

6. As part of my research, I walked into an MMA cage to see what it feels like to be closed in on all sides. That cage is a lot smaller than you think with a second person in there. And there's a real sense of no escape.

7. It took me 6 months to write the first draft I submitted of Her Son's Hero. I wrote the first three chapters by hand while I was on vacation in Las Vegas, the city headquarters for the UFC.

8. The Octagon, Ultimate Fighting, and the UFC are all trademarked, which is why you will only see it referred to as the cage, MMA, and the fictional UFF in my book.

9. My martial arts training is mostly in Aikido. I have no belts, and never did more than a summer's worth of courses. Everything else was research, and a lot of it.

10. The original title for this work was Fighting for Her Love, which is the title it went by when it won the Toronto Romance Writers contest in 2010.




WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! So happy and relieved! For the uninitiated, RT Book Reviews is like the Publishers Weekly for category series romance. Here's the content of the review:

HER SON’S HERO (4) by Vicki Essex: Fiona MacAvery reluctantly agrees to let martial arts fighter Dominic Payette give her young son Sean lessons, as the boy is being bullied by kids from school. Fiona is instantly attracted to Dom, but is afraid that Dom won’t be a good influence on Sean. Dom is dealing with his own ghosts in the form of another MMA fighter who’s been in a coma since his last fight with Dom. Dom’s guilt and Fiona’s indecision are both well drawn, and the sexual tension is instantly apparent.

Reviewed By: Alexandra Kay

Also, June 1 marks the soft release (immature giggling here) of Her Son's Hero, available immediately as an Adobe ePUB ebook on the Harlequin site, or for early shipment before its July release date (if you're in Canada, keep a possible postal strike in mind).

You can get the ebook here:

And you can order the book off the Harlequin sight here:

It's available as a large print book, as well.


I think my night at UFC 129 can be summed up in one word:


I had a FANTASTIC time. The seats were well worth the price I paid. With cheap binoculars, it was quite easy to see everything. And if I couldn't see with the aided eye, there were giant screens everywhere.

What a night. The Rogers Centre was packed to the gills with a record +55,000 in attendance. The fights were entertaining for the most part, surprising at times even. Muscles gleamed, heads were busted, people sweat a lot.

Without going into the play-by-play of each fight, I'll say that my favorite match was 21-year-old Rory MacDonald vs. 26-year-old Nate Diaz. When I saw how young the 6-foot MacDonald was, I nearly said "Get that kid out of the ring!" Diaz taunted him a lot, and threw what I felt were a few cheap shots. But in the third round, MacDonald picked him up and body slammed him three times. He had the crowd in a roar, on their feet. And I when I joined them, I realized, Omigod, I am LOVING this.

There's nothing quite like the energy at a live event. I've watched UFC events on TV before, but when you're focused on what's going on, with no other distractions (including Twitter due to poor reception which is why I couldn't live Tweet) you actually pay attention to the moves, the style, the skill. I was amazed by how much I picked up just watching.

It was thrilling, harrowing, cringeworthy at times. I found myself gasping at some of the god-awful injuries sustained, but it wasn't much worse than what you'd see in a hockey game, quite frankly. Still, I reminded myself frequently: this is what these guys train for. No one made them get in that ring. Which makes them all the more respectable in my eyes.

The headliner match—my boy, Georges St-Pierre versus Jake Shields—was only a tad disappointing because GSP couldn't finish the fight, but he got some good hits in...and took a few good licks himself. I haven't seen him this challenged (or bloodied) in a while, so maybe we'll see some interesting match ups in the future.

Whatever your thoughts about mixed martial arts are—love it or hate it—I hope you'll check out my post about the UFC and Romance on the Harlequin blog.

CONTEST TIME!: Comment on this blog post and you could win this T-shirt and a Georges St-Pierre-style headband (not official, but still awesome). Draw will take place Monday, May 9 at 9 p.m. EST.

See the contest page for details.







The first is a documentary about two women in New Orleans, talking about like after Katrina and how training in MMA has helped them.

Life in a Day Submission - New Orleans Female MMA Fighters:

The next is a video of a ten-year-old girl in boxing training. Australian Monique Sciberras grew up with a mild form of autism that gave her speech and language difficulties. Through studying martial arts and freestyle fighting, she has become a world-class fighter in her rank. Her story is here.

Monique Sciberras 10 year old training boxing 2011: