To Beard or Not to Beard by Deb Kastner Leave a comment

I am super excited to introduce my book out this month, Opening Her Heart (Rocky Mountain Family #2). The six-book series all contain Winslow siblings who own a Christmas tree farm and a service dog program. I absolutely love the cover and want to share more about how it was made. I also had a wonderful conversation in our Facebook Group (Christian Romance Readers Gathering) regarding men’s facial hair that I wanted to share with you here because curious minds want to know!

I personally have a very strong preference for anything from five o’clock shadows to two-day scruff to well-trimmed beards, and both my husband and my books certainly reflect this.

Early on when my husband and I were dating, he showed up at the door having shaved his beard off. I may have pitched a fit…enough that thirty some-odd years later he’s always worn one since.

For many years the covers of Harlequin Love Inspired books leaned toward baby-faced clean-cut heroes. I was so excited when the heroes on my covers started looking older and were sporting five o’clock shadows. And though he doesn’t appear on the cover, in Opening Her Heart, my hero Jake Cutter has a well-trimmed beard.

Harlequin Love Inspired requires authors to fill out an Art Fact Sheet containing settings, themes, and characters for the art department to use when they create the cover. We also suggest three specific scenes and pictures of actors who embody our characters, which is especially fun.

For Opening Her Heart, I cast bearded AJ Buckley as hero Jake Cutter and a mature (not Buffy!) Sarah Michelle Gellar. I used a photo of a sweet three-year-old girl with curly blonde hair and striking blue eyes, and of course the real star of the show, a golden retriever named Sissy.

So, what do you think? Did the art department do a wonderful job or what? (See cover below)

And please cast your vote—Do you prefer your heroes (and actors and the men in your lives) with a well-trimmed beard, five o’clock shadow or clean cut?


A story to be savored from that cover oozing with warm-fuzzy goodness to the tender, heartfelt dedication and on through the compelling story. This novel begs to be read and remembered — for its characters and it’s message — and all the dogs!!!

~Amazon Reviewer





*Photos purchased from Deposit Photos for Editorial Use only.

Deb Kastner (82 Posts)

~~Love Courageously~~

Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling, award-winning author of 30 novels, Deb Kastner enjoys writing contemporary inspirational western stories set in small communities. She feels especially blessed to be able to include faith as a natural and genuine part of her characters’ lives.
Deb lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and a pack of miscreant mutts. She is blessed with three adult daughters and two grandchildren. Her favorite hobby is spoiling her grandchildren, but she also enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music (The Texas Tenors are her fav), singing in the church choir, and exploring the Rocky Mountains on horseback.

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