Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How Do You Want Your Hero?

Romance readers love men. I sure do. They come in all shapes and sizes. And, when it comes to our books, as a reader or a writer, we like our heroes a certain way. We gravitate toward comfortable archetypes, each man showing a dash of unique flaws and character traits...enough to make our latest hero the same but different.

And, going by the state of romance covers these days, our taste in certain other traits has changed from ginormous Fabio pecs to ubiquitous sleeked out abs.


Shameless Man Abs Image
                                       

Of course, that would be the outer man, and we're all about the inner man today.

I'm having fun as I type this, but isn't it true that we women want to know what makes a man tick? We want to understand our in the flesh heroes the same as the men we explore in a book. To do that, some classification is required.

My theory: We have a basic archetype we like to read.

Oh, we might stray now and then, dallying with another kind of hero. Eventually, we go back to our admired alphas, beloved brooders, or darling debauchers. Have you taken a good look at your keeper shelf? Is there a common thread among the men you stick with as a reader?



I went through an alpha and lone wolf phase with my Vikings, but this other man kept showing up in my head. I had to write him down, and boy was I surprised to find a brilliant recluse. He was mysterious and whip smart with a dose of snarky and bossy.

His name? Lord Edward, Earl of Greenwich. The funny thing is I don't tend to write dukes and earls (but I love to read them!). I prefer men in the trenches and all of a sudden there was this...man.



Better than me trying to explain, meet him in this "Why not come here" excerpt from Meet the Earl at Midnight:


She cleared her throat. “Let me assure you, my lord, today’s behavior is most unusual for me. I am not a snoop.” She emphasized the not with all starch.
“Words, Miss Montgomery, mere words. You’ve been full of assurances and light on action since I met you last night.” He crossed his arms over his chest; pale sunlight filtered through clouds, touching him everywhere.
Not toying…flirting? At least his version of flirtation.
“I’m in your home, aren’t I? Awaiting your pleasure.” The prim fold of her hands knocked any salaciousness from her words.
“True.” He nodded. “But there is an axiom in science, a law of nature if you will that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I think that applies here…call it a consequence to one’s behavior.” Then, his gaze flicked over her head to toe. His eyebrows pressed together as if something bothersome came to mind.
“Is something wrong, milord?”
“Come here.” He spoke with his lordly, commanding tone.
Warning bells went off in her head. 
          Lydia rooted to the spot. “I…what do you want?” 
          “For you to come here.” One side of his mouth slid up. “In fact, I’d find it refreshing if you did whatever I asked the first time I issued a command.”
          “Wha…” Eyes rounding, Lydia couldn’t finish the word in her indignation.
          “Please.” He added, tipping his head in gentleman’s fashion.
          His high and mighty lordliness had the upper hand, but he softened the advantage with that please.
           “What are you going to do?”
           “Why not come here and find out?” 
                                                   *          *          *

Over a year ago, I organized a fun survey asking "What's your favorite kind of hero?"

I'd like to do the same here today. Here are the choices:
A) Arrogant Alpha
B) Brooding Ruffian
C) Brilliant Recluse
D) Debauched Rogue
E) Wounded Soldier
F) Lone Wolf
G) Tender Beta

Please share your latest favorite kind of man (and if you think I've left an archetype out, feel free to add your flavor). Tell me why you like him, and next week I'll draw a winner from the comments. The prize?

A $25 B&N gift card for anyone in the US or Canada.


I'll give this a week and draw a name April 23rd (be sure and leave your email). Please tell a friend! Share this link.

And speaking of links, if you're interested in more Meet the Earl at Midnight, click this MEET THE EARL AT MIDNIGHT or find the book here:

                 AMAZON US            B & N          iTUNES          GOOGLE PLAY





46 comments:

  1. I like both the wounded warrior and the tender beta. The wounded warrior just tears at my heart and love to see him healed by love. The tender beta, just gives me the warm and fuzzies.

    patoct@yahoo.com

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    1. I loved Lord Damien in Lord of Ice. He harbored "inner" wounds I also love Bride of the Beast (a Sue-Ellen Welfonder book) and her warrior hero with the inner and outer wounds. And if you like tender beta heroes, look for Sally Orr's new series "The Rake's Handbook" (book 1) coming in November with Sourcebooks. She has some great betas in her books.

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  2. That's a tough one. I like so many heroes. I have to go with Brooding Ruffian.

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    1. I love a brooding man. You can't go wrong with all that male depth just waiting for the right heroine.

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  3. B, C, D, and maybe some A. I love historicals and that seems to be the type of hero. I can go with E and F too lol. Probably the only one I don't care too much for is the tender Beta. I don't want things going too smoothly in my reading lol.

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    1. Catslady I think you pretty much like all heroes ...and oh what fun that is. I used to go through phases, drawn to one certain hero, now I bounce around like a pinball. In Meet the Earl at Midnight, I spend a lot of time with a smart hero who traded lots and lots of quips with Lydia. In book 2 in this series, the guy was totally different: a cross of brooding + arrogant alpha who gets his comeuppance from a mid-town proprietress (its Georgian era). Thanks for stopping by to talk heroes!

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    2. just adding my email lol - catslady5@aol.com

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  4. B, D and A and maybe some E. Seriously I love a good romance and I don't like them all to be the same theme and situation. After awhile, you feel like you are just rereading a story with the names changed. I switch from sweet to christian to historical, or western, throw in some Regency and I love Erotic Romance. I just love ROMANCE and the conflicts and trials of getting to love. Make it real.....and I like HEA!! Love Series books too.

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    1. A good variety in your heroes there, and in your reading tastes. Have you ever read Liz Curtis Higgs? Her 2 book series Mine is the Night and Here Burns My Candle are amazing. You're so right "Make it real..." No matter the sub-genre of romance, the key really is a great story with compelling characters. yesterday I about wore out my older teenage son's ear going over some plot and character dynamics, but he listened patiently. Then, he echoed the same thing you said about characters being real. So, so true. Happy reading to you and thanks for stopping by today

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  5. I love a debauched rogue or a wounded soldier. When there is a rogue, it's sure that the story will fun to read, as for the wounded hero, I have a soft spot for them. My favorite kind of hero, however, has to have a sens of humor and be a protector! nlaverdure88@videotron.ca

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    1. Hi Nicole, nice seeing you here! I think the top 3 enduring hero types are the arrogant alpha, the debauched rogue, and the wounded soldier. From the early days of Kathleen Woodiwiss heroes there've been lots of alphas and in Regency there's a lot of debauched rogues. And I love them all!! I think that's interesting, too, about the sense of humor. One of the reasons I fell for Brian (my husband) is he could make this serious girl laugh and he still does. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts today, Nicole. Have a great day!

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  6. I would go for the debauched, brilliant, roguish, arrogant, but tender Alpha... and that my friends, is what fiction is for, ha!!

    annaoj(dot)mortes(at) gmail.com

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    1. I love the finding the alpha's soft underbelly. If I'm reading a book and the hero is 100% he-man without any humanity, I lose interest. But, I do like the strong male leads. And you're so right: variety in books is great like variety in life! Thanks for stopping by today.

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  7. any of them, except G because the rest are interesting to read about

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hi bn100, you like a variety of heroes then, but no betas for you. Got it. I have one beta in mind for a possible future story, but I admit I'm having a hard time making that one happen...which means he may not get his own story. Interesting. We must like our men with a certain amount of perceived strength.

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  8. Yum Gina! I love them all! I think I'll go with Brilliant Recluse for today :) But I may change my mind tomorrow :) Great post!

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    1. Hi Christy, thanks so much! I'm glad you're up for "Brilliant recluse" today since Edward's bent that way. :-) The current two men I'm writing are arrogant alpha and the other is lone wolf. Must spread the hero types around. Thanks for stopping by, Christy!

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  9. Brooding Ruffian ... seems to be what I write, also! Goes with the contemporary Gothic I love so much!

    Love the article AND the excerpt!
    Pam

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    1. Hi Pam! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the heroes here. I will have to take a look at your Gothic, brooding ruffians. And thanks for reading the post and thank you for the kind words about the excerpt. It was a fun book to write. have a great day-

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  10. Hi Gina,
    I like the brooding ruffian because I want to break through their gruff exterior and see a different side.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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    1. Hi Jane,
      Interesting about the brooding ruffian (he's starting to show up more in this informal poll). But, I hear ya! We want to get through the rough parts and find what makes them tick and oh to the woman to do it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Wearing a cowboy hat and scuffed up boots for the most part. I don't like him to be perfect but have enough flaws to make him real. Love your post and the reminder that heroes come in all flavors and types!

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    1. Thanks Carolyn. As long as your heroes come with cowboy hats and scuffed boots, you're a happy reader. I go in and out of phases. Men are great to read and have fun with on the page, that's for sure! It was a hoot to run across the abs in a frame picture...the inner man is key but that image just made me laugh. Too cute to pass up.

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  12. I love a mix of all the choices, but I love the arrogant alpha. I especially love when he falls hard for the heroine and she knocks him down a few pegs. I have this book on preorder at amazon and I can't wait!!

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    1. Hi Sheryl, We are addicted to our alpha male heroes. I think I cut my romance hero teeth on the alpha male (was there any other kind of hero before the 90s?). So glad you have Meet the Earl at Midnight on order. I hope you enjoy it. Edward's the brilliant recluse with a lot of snark on the side. Have a great day and thank for letting me know your hero fave. ~Gina

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  13. Brilliant Recluse sounds intriguing right now. I don't see enough of those. But I love them all. I really don't have a type. :)

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    1. Hi Sherri, Good to know you're an equal opportunity hero reader! I go through my phases, drawn to one kind of hero and then switching gears for another. i'm glad you're intrigued by brilliant recluse. Lord Edward has his quirks and he was fun to write. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by the blog!
      Gina

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  14. It is a toss between the Brilliant Recluse and Wounded Soldier. I especially enjoy when a strong heroine turns his world upside down :-)

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    1. Ahh, you like the depth of character and possibly the tortured soul kind of man? It is great to read when a heroine reaches inside the hero and changes his world...conflict, sexual tension, with a side of strong emotions. A soul wrenching read! Thanks for stopping by the blog! Gina

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  15. I've always been a fan of the Brooding Ruffian, Brilliant Recluse, Debauched Rogue and Lone Wolf. They are just so entertaining and sexy. I love a smart sexy guy but I'm also a sucker for the bad boys that are bad for you, lol.

    fsteph55(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hi Steph, Yes! Smart and sexy make a great combination. You like your men running separate from the pack a bit? It is fun to peel back the layers on these men, isn't it? As soon as I read your "bad boys" I got images of the hot biker men (Charlie Hunnam), the lone warrior/knight errant of medieval times, and the smart alecky hero. So hot! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Gina

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  16. I love the Arrogant Alpha, but with a hint of Brooding Ruffian thrown in. :D I just think it's so much fun to see that arrogance and broodiness taken down a bit by the right woman.

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    1. LOL! Barbara, you like your man to get his comeuppance, don't you? The brooding boys have a lot going on inside in their heads and hearts and they need the right heroine to bring that out of them. Romance is the best genre. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Gina

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  17. I like a Tender & Ruffian Alpha male. I just like to feel protected by the man.

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    1. Hi Kim, There's something about putting your head on a strong shoulder and knowing you're safe. The alpha and the ruffian seem to be leading the pack of hero choices, so it's good to see a "Tender beta" in there too. Do you have a favorite book you've read with a beta hero?

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  18. The ones I like the best are: Lone wolf, brooding ruffian, wounded solider, and debauched rogue

    There is just something about the lone wolf, brooding ruffian and wounded solider that draws one to them. The lone wolf because they are solitary and use to being alone. The brooding ruffian, the hint of danger and brooding... and the wounded solider due to his injuries. And the Debauched rogue because the naughtiness.


    Raonaid at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi, thanks for sharing your hero preferences. By the way you listed the hero types, I got the feeling you like the lone wolf, brooding ruffian, wounded soldier, and debauched rogue equally. That must make book shopping hard with so many great books and hot heroes of each of these varieties out there. I tend to go in phases, gravitating toward one type of hero I want to read. I think Regency romances have the most debauched rogues which makes those books so fun! Again, thanks for stopping by the blog. The drawing is in a few days. Good luck! Gina

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  19. I'd go for a combo of the Brilliant Recluse (being a loner myself who likes a man of creativity) with the Debauched Rogue (as the world weary rogue tends to be the wittiest hero which I also find an extremely attractive trait). It should go without saying that as my romantic hero, he will, naturally, be stunning looking!

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    1. Hi Myrtle, well of course your hero would be stunning, hot, smart, funny and sweep you off your feet (a much deserved thing!). I love, love, love the quick banter of a super smart hero. It's definitely trickier to write the quieter man who, while smart, is more on the strong silent side than talkative. It was fun to write Edward (from Meet the Earl at Midnight) because he and Lydia shared a lot of banter. Anyway, thanks for letting me know your hero favorites. Have a great day-
      Gina

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  20. I like D first, then E, A, B. :)
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hi Susan, You are decisive and orderly in your hero choices. I wonder, do you ever change up the order? Or are debauched rogues your longtime favorites? Thanks for sharing your hero preferences here and have a great day-
      Gina

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  21. I tend to love the wounded soldier...usually because he is an alpha who has to learn to accept help and the lone wolf because I tend to be a solitary person as well. Thanks for the contest and the fun excerpt.

    elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi, Thanks so much for stopping by the blog (and I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt). Edward was a fun guy to write because of his quick wit. My current hero is more tactile than talkative, so that's its own kind of fun. Wounded soldiers are THE BEST! I love mining their depths as much as a reader as a writer. I have a wounded warrior Viking in the works and he's interesting to explore. Those lone wolfs also tend to be warriors too, don't you think? Like the men who scout or spies, etc. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I'll have the drawing for the winner in a few days. It was a fun blog to write and I'm glad you stopped by. have a great day-
      Gina

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  22. An arrogant alpha who gets tamed is always good and anything with a Scottish brogue and maybe even a sword and a kilt. I have to admit I pick up most books by the hotness of the cover shot. Not sure yet on how to have my name show here yet. So hello everyone I'm
    Lisa
    Email: 01.Obiwan@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Lisa, Those Scotsmen have won a lot of reader hearts. I'm with you on those men! There's something about a brogue and a kilt, whether medieval times or the present.But, it looks like you're alphas all the way, all the time, and you like the woman who tames him. I often wonder what kind of heroine tames the alpha best: The tough as nails woman? Or the softer woman? Thanks for stopping by the blog Lisa and sharing your thoughts on heroes. have a great day- Gina

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  23. I like wounded heroes and they don't have to be soldiers. They just have to have something dark in their past that makes them the fascinating men they are.

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