It's all in a day's work.
Today I'm sharing hero inspiration for my latest release, Waiting for a Girl Like You, 2 novellas in 1 book. These contemporary romance stories share the steamy tales of unlikely lovers.
Here's a few pictures -with side commentary- for you.
Story 1: The Proper Care and Feeding of a Broken Heart
I had a hard time nailing down surfer man Mark Green. One image didn't work. This guy works body and hair (I have no idea who he is), but not his face. He's too happy. You can tell this is a man who smiles easily. My hero does not.
So, picture the above hair and body with this face...
Notice how serious he is? Sure, this man smiles. I'm certain he does, but look at the nasolabial furrow (the line on the left side of his mouth/right facing for you). Notice how the curve is firmly etched? In Mark's story I call that his "contempt line." It speaks volumes about him.
The Proper Care and Feeding of a Broken Heart (story 1) tells the unlikely romance between Mark, a man working his way out of BDSM, and Abbie, the coltish bookstore clerk who's squeamish about sex outside of normalcy (according to her). Both discover honesty is the hottest aphrodisiac.
Another fun story note: A college friend bought the book and started to read it. She emailed me right away, asking if this story was based on a professional surfer I knew. Uhhh...no. But, it gave us both a great laugh!
The inspiration for The Proper Care and Feeding of a Broken Heart came, like most of my stories, from an intersection of people and circumstances. Once I start writing, the characters take over. And while this is not a BDSM romance, there are slices of that world in the book.
Now this may shock you, but *gasp* most people involved in the BDSM community are not billionaires.
I know. Take a deep, calming breath. Grab your smelling salts. It's true: People from all walks of life like kink. They have good sex, bad sex, and all kinds of sex in between. Some stay in the lifestyle. Some leave.
The Proper Care and Feeding of a Broken Heart is about Mark leaving the lifestyle and what happens along the way with Abbie.
But wait! There's more...
Story 2: Anything But Safe
As soon as you turn the page from Mark and Abbie's story, you'll find a new romance beginning, Anything But Safe. This time my hero inspiration came together in one picture.
AJ is the working man who comes to the rescue of Jennifer, a former trophy wife figuring out what's next. I wrote the story over a decade ago in my pre-pub days. I didn't know what to do with it. For one thing, it's contemporary and I worked hard on writing historicals. For another, it was steamy hot right off the bat. Not my usual MO. I prefer a slow, sensual build.
I entered Anything But Safe in a contemporary romance contest and I'll never forget one judge scolded me in the comments: No woman is going to let a man put his hands under her skirt the first night she meets him.
Hmmm...I had a good laugh over that.
So what's a writer to do? My answer was enter Anything But Safe in an erotic romance contest!
The truth is Anything But Safe is super hot, but it's not erotic romance. The contest judges told me this, but they "liked the story's noirish opening" and gave me 3rd Place. Go figure! The 2005 Erotic Romance Third Place certificate gathers dust somewhere in my basement. Frustrated that my story didn't fit neatly in any category, I promptly shelved Anything But Safe and forgot about it.
Fast forward to 2016 and the Kissables series was hatched. The series showcases 2 stories in 1 book, featuring three diverse romance sub-genres I write: Viking, Georgian/highlander, and contemporary romance.
There's a lot in store for 2017. I'm excited. You're invited to join me (for free reads) and to keep up with the books releasing in 2017. Stay informed and follow my newsletter.
May your holidays be bright and full of books.
Meet the Earl at Midnight ~ on sale for 99cents
Gina Conkle writes Viking and Georgian romance with blush worthy contemporary romance. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she's known to occasionally garden and cook.