Hero Worship

...or why do I like jerks?

Don't worry, this isn't a post about my dating habits. Nope, this is strictly about the stuff good romances are made of. Namely, a hot hero. We've all heard how important it is for the reader - and you, as the writer - to fall in love with the hero in a romance novel. All well and good if the kind of man you like is "traditionally" heroic. What happens when you tend to like guys rougher around the edges without that clear S on their capes? Are you doomed to continually hear that your hero is not sympathetic or likable, especially when you're dealing with books that aren't single titles?

Case in point: my favorite Nora Roberts' book, Angels Fall. Yes, I gush about this book to my friends a lot. Take a wounded heroine who's a bit odd, a lot smart and gutsy as hell and pair her with a hero that isn't one the Hallmark channel would have any clue what to do with. Sold! So sold, in fact, that I'm finishing my 4th reread of AF and own the book in both paperback and HC. Brody is my kind of hero. He isn't full of poetry and doesn't always woo. Sometimes he's downright crass. One of my favorite lines is when Reese, the heroine, waits for him to kiss her goodbye after their first kiss and he says, paraphrased, "What, are we going steady now, Slim?" That's Brody.

Brody also is a hero in ways that many men would never be, ways I won't illustrate here for fear of spoilers. He's a man of action, not words. Words are cheap and lots of people buy them on layaway.

He's also the kind of hero I write, or that I've tried to write. When aiming towards a market other than ST, you have to be mindful of reader expectations. A lot of readers expect a traditional hero, and apparently, that means one who thinks heroically at all times. To me, a true hero/heroine is one that sees a way out of doing the right thing, knows they have a choice, but still does the right thing anyway.

What do you think? What makes a hero? Are you okay with rougher edges if the person is, fundamentally, a decent human being?

And while we're on the topic of heroes...take a look at my image of Nunzio, the Italian hero of my current short, Passionate Ink. Mine works with computers and doesn't do a lot of manual labor, but otherwise, he's pretty damn close. ;)


Do you start off with a bang?

Thanks to some contests I've come across recently, I've started re-evaluating my opening scenes. Having cut my teeth on the work of Nora Roberts, an expert at the slow build, I don't necessarily need instantaneous impact in paragraph 1, Chapter 1 for me to buy a book. There doesn't have to be an explosion on the first line, actual or metaphorical, for me to want to continue reading. But we hear over and over again how critical it is to hook a reader immediately; in fact, that's probably one of the first things we're taught as writers. Start "en media res" - in the middle of things.

I frequently rely on voice as my initial "hook," because truthfully, I often like to start just a few moments before the inciting event, to allow the reader to invest in the character a bit first. Some books I start at the point of impact. But lately I see more and more how critical the beginning is - a catchy voice is great, but if there's not a hook, often in the first line, an editor or agent may just give up and move on. And that says nothing about readers.

As a writer - and reader - how long do you give a story before you take it up to the checkout counter (physical or virtual) or put it back on the shelf? And in your own stories, do you hit the ground running or acquaint the reader with the character first? Probably the sweet spot is managing to do a bit of both, but I'm curious if you have to know a little about a character before you care he's about to be eaten by a huge winged dinosaur. ;)


Since I've been a remiss blogger...

Let me tell you...where I am right now, I can't remember warm weather, so I thought this was a good day to post this picture!

I decided to post brief snippets of two reviews I've gotten from friends on Full Disclosure. Eventually the reviews will be posted in their entirety on TWRP's site, but until then, I figured snippets would be enough to whet your appetite.

From my awesome friend and fellow TWRP Scarlet Rose author, April Vine:

Full Disclosure delivers on all accounts! Super hot eroticism that made my laptop’s hardware sit up and sweat. Sexy, authentic and adventurous characters that I rooted for.

And from another awesome friend, Harlequin Blaze author Samantha Hunter:

Want to set your eyeballs on fire and warm your heart at the same time? Read Cari Quinn's Full Disclosure. Quinn writes the story of Alex and Holly, two people who work together but then meet by chance that's not really chance at all -- Alex has a secret, and he can only hope that the scorching sex he's able to share with Holly will help her forgive him when there is "full disclosure" between them.

Thanks so much, April and Sam!

One more bit of news...I'm at Night Owl Romance's blog on Tuesday 1/12, giving away another copy of Full Disclosure. My topic is one of my favorites, why do you like erotic romance? Or why don't you like it? At least I think that's my topic. With where my mind's been at lately, I can't be sure. LOL Please stop by if you get a chance!



As a writer, I've spent most of my life believing words mean something. They're my passion, hope one day they will be my trade. But lately, I've realized words sometimes don't say anything at all. No, I haven't been drinking. ;)

In times of stress and worry, you realize how trite so many of the standard phrases are. "I'm so sorry for your loss."  "I feel your pain." "What can I do for you?" And of course, we say them, and we mean them, but what do they really mean when someone's hurting? How do you convey to someone you care, other than saying it over and over, no matter how hollow the words seem? That's some of what I've been struggling with lately. When you think about it, it truly is an amazing thing that words on a page written by someone you don't know can touch you so profoundly. A gift with words is something not to be taken lightly, but that gift sometimes disappears when you need it most.


Happy New Year...and a Kreativ Blogger Award!

Hi everyone! Hope your holidays were merry, blissful and bright. And now that it's a brand new year, back to blogging. The lovely Emma Lai granted me a Kreativ Blogger award a few weeks back, so now I get to share 7 facts about myself and pass the award on to 7 other terrific bloggers!

1) I bought my first album - yes, actual vinyl - at the age of 10. The artist? Don Johnson. Yes, I still love Miami Vice!

2) If someone told me I would have to give up either music or writing tomorrow, I'd have to pick writing. Music helps me fill in the stories in my head.

3) I've always considered myself a better technician than creative writer. In tests, I'm an even left/right brain split.

4) I did something I swore I'd never do while writing this weekend - I skipped the big sex scene and wrote the end first!

5) Some writers hate query letters/blurbs, but I love them. Writing blurbs is fun to me, although that may have something to do with my advertising background. I'd rather write blurbs than books, truthfully!

6) I've never been drunk. Not officially. All drinking does is make me hot and tired. Buzz? What buzz?

7.) I love driving and cars with a fiery passion. When I was a kid, I loved cars so much I'd just go sit in our car in the driveway. Someday I hope to get a big Chevy Silverado truck so I can really dominate the road.

There you have it! Nothing particularly scandalous, but hey, it's late and it's Monday.

Now it's my turn! Here's my seven Kreativ bloggers!

1) Word Wenches - this is the blog I share with my awesome CP, Tara Leigh Coons. She posted a great quote over there today, so be sure to check it out!

2) Helen's Heroes - another of my amazing CPs! And who can argue with her sexy hunks?

3) Christina Phillips - she's always got something fun going on, whether it's author interviews or just tidbits about her writing process.

4) Kaily Hart - Kaily just finaled in her first writing contest (woohoo Kaily!) and frequently poses thoughtful questions about writing.

5) JA Saare - Jaime's always a fun blogger. And she makes you think too!

6) Lynne Roberts - one of my favorite erotic authors and she never fails to make me laugh.

7) Life as we know it - because life just isn't the same without a touch of Kiwi!

There you have it. Feel free to post your own 7 things and to send the award on to other worthy bloggers!