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Category Archives: ROMANCE FICTION
Recently, YA paranormal author Kim Baccellia listed her Top 5 Hottest Heroes. It got me thinking. Yes, physical attractiveness is something that we love in a hero. We tend to associate positive qualities with good looks. However villains can also be handsome and attractive. That can make them even more dastardly! But there are certain qualities that every good hero should have. They don’t have to have all of these qualities, but it always helps. Otherwise he wouldn’t be much of a hero would he? Here are some of my favourite qualities:
1. Courage: A good hero in a romance and any other genre should have courage. Not necessarily the “won’t back down in a fight kind of courage” – but the courage of his convictions to stand for what he believes.
2. Strength: I love a hero who is strong. Again, he doesn’t have to be physically strong – but certainly strong in his character and how he sees the world.
3. Humour: Not a must but definitely a quality I go for in a hero. I love a hero with a sense of humour – be it sarcastic, wicked, sweet, or silly. If he can laugh at himself or if he finds humour in the world around him then that’s a fella for me.
4. Love: In a romance I definitely want the hero to fall in love with the heroine. More importantly, I want him to demonstrate that love. In other genres – I like to see a capacity to love – kindness, heart, soul, integrity.
5. Vulnerability: You could debate this one, but I love it when I see a hero’s vulnerable side, especially when he shares it with the heroine. Sensitivity is an attractive quality after all.
6. Transformation: I think every hero should grow throughout the story. There should be some element of change or growth – even transformation. Sometimes the best books feature a hero who was a villain in a previous book. Love. That. Everyone loves a good redemption story.
So what are some “heroic” qualities that you look for in a good hero?
Alison Bruce has an honours degree in history and philosophy, which has nothing to do with any regular job she’s held since. A liberal arts education did prepare her to be a writer, however. She penned her first novel during lectures while pretending to take notes.
In the interest of veracity, I didn’t pen that novel in either history or philosophy. In fact, it was before attending university and the program wasn’t liberal arts. Ryerson is a university now, but when I attended it was still a Polytechnical Institute. I was taking Home Economics because I didn’t make it into the journalism program.
The course was Nutrition. It was BOR-RING, not because I had no interest in food and food science, but because I already knew quite a bit of the material. Not all of it. In fact, I think the only reason I got a passing grade was because I had perfect attendance. My attendance was perfect because the class was a great opportunity to write.
I was in my science fiction phase. I had read everything by Robert Heinlein, Asimov’s Foundation series, Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Frank Herbert’s Dune plus a selection of other classic SF books and even more humorous SF. I was also a Star Trek fan and had written some fanfic for the amusement of my friend and family.
The friend was my BF Nancy. The family was my sister Joanne. I did not have a wide audience at this stage of my career.
Inspiration came, as it still does sometimes, in dreams. All the day dreams and what if scenarios that bombarded my brain during the waking hours would scramble and sort themselves out into mini-movies in my dreams. Sometimes I was watching the scenes. Sometimes I was part of them. Sometimes I just knew stuff that had happened to fill in the gaps. Taken together, they made up plotlines with more holes than Swiss cheese. But they gave me a start.
I had plotted out this dream-inspired story start to finish, with notes for a potential sequel. I had about fifty pages written, in longhand, stored, with my plot and character information, in a clipboard folder. The day’s class notes were in there too, but I cleared them out every day to leave room for my novel. One day, between Nutrition and Chemistry (a class I didn’t dare write in) I left the whole kit-and-caboodle in the second floor washroom of the Quad.
I went back right after Chemistry but the clipboard was gone.
That was the end of that novel.
I don’t remember the details of the story. The loss was so traumatic. It had to do with a youth program that covered for the gathering of a team of special kids that would go into space. That much I remember because, a year later, I heard about the Canadian youth program Katimavik. It gathered young adults from ages 17 to 21 and sent them to different parts of Canada to engage in community projects. The spiel was almost exactly what I’d made up for the program in my novel.
Naturally I had to apply. Who knows, I might have been selected for a special program like my main character.
I wasn’t. However, I did start my second novel in Katimavik. It gave me something else to think about while doing a particularly disgusting job. I still haven’t finished that book–though it has been plotted out a dozen times or more–but that’s another story.
TUESDAY’S REVOLVING BOOK is the western historical romance ONE SHINGLE TO HANG by DeANN SMALLWOOD.
(2.99 at Amazon) http://www.amazon.com/One-Shingle-Hang-DeAnn-Smallwood-ebook/dp/B00LU6NGV8/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1405543680&sr=1-8&keywords=deann+smallwood
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: (SCROLL DOWN TO READ AN EXCERPT)
A woman with too much knowledge was at risk for insanity. Their fragile mind couldn’t handle it. That’s what Lil had been told when she went against convention and became an attorney. The 1800’s had fewer women lawyers than women doctors. Her pride knew no bounds when she hung her shingle—L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.
Drew was a struggling cattle rancher, building a fledging Hereford empire. He was working toward that goal when he was accused of rustling and faced possible hanging. He needed a lawyer—a good one—a man. Chesterfield had one lawyer—a new one—L.M. Wentfield. He wasn’t prepared for a beautiful blonde with a sharp tongue and fiercely won independence.
Lil had no homemaking abilities. Her love was the law. And if the thoughts of the gray-eyed cowboy, who had the audacity to refuse her legal help stayed in her mind, she’d push them aside. She had nothing to offer a rancher . Even her wealth wouldn’t be considered an asset to a prideful man. And Drew Jackson was proud. So proud, he knew he couldn’t ask a woman of Lil’s stature to share his life—but he wanted to—from the moment he’d stolen that first kiss.
DeANN SMALLWOOD AUTHOR BIO:
I live in Colorado with my husband and my two Yorkie kid dogs: Stormy, four pounds, and Eli, six pounds. I’m a native of Colorado, but I’ve lived several years in Wyoming and Montana. I draw from these beautiful states for most of my books. My Western Historical Romances are: Montana Star, Sapphire Blue, Unconquerable Callie, One Shingle To Hang, and Wyoming Heather and One Shingle To Hang. Tears In The Wind is a contemporary romance. Then I changed genres from my beloved romances and wrote, under the pen name of D. M. Woods, my first suspense/thriller: Death Crosses The Finish Line. The second book in this ‘death’ series, Death Is A Habit, came out January 8, 2014. I am currently working on the third book in the ‘death’ series, Death Walks C Dock. I am also working on another Western Historical Romance, Montana Man. It features the characters readers came to know and love in Montana Star. Truly, I mean it when I say my greatest pleasure next to writing is having my books read and enjoyed. There are many more stories just waiting to be written
CONNECT WITH DEANN SMALLWOOD ONLINE:
Everyone knew Lil Wentfield would never marry. What man would want her? She was too old, too set in her ways, and too damned opinionated. Granted, she was a real beauty, if you could get past all the other flaws. Long blonde hair, equally long legs, sparkling blue eyes, flawless skin, with just a hint of a European ancestor in the coloring. And lips, well to call them kissable would be doing them an injustice.
But spinster she was, with her hair coiled into a tight knot at the nape of her neck, as tight as the expression habitually worn on her lovely face. Wire rimmed glasses perched on her small nose, obscured flashes of emotion in those beautiful eyes. Except when it came to outrage. Then her eyes snapped, her spine stiffened, her chin raised, and she peered disdainfully at the offender.
Lil was like a badger when it came to proving her point and winning an argument. Her mother liked to say Lil was born arguing. What her father liked to say was more colorful and filled with disappointment. His only child compounded being born female, by having a mind of her own. Once Lil made a decision, she planted her feet firmly on the chosen path, and didn’t step off until her goal was accomplished.
Men found her unnerving. Lil Wentfield wouldn’t be any man’s ‘little woman’, her place in the home, serving her husband, and mothering children. She was unsettling; not material necessary for being the calming homemaker and acquiescent wife needed to soothe and support a man as he went about his business.
A loud knock broke into her thoughts. “Come in,” she called out.
Nothing happened, then another knock. “Please, come in,” she called again.
Getting no response, Lil came around her desk and, with some irritation at the interruption, jerked open the door, nearly toppling the tall man who held the doorknob on the other side. He muttered something under his breath, and tried to regain his balance only to bump into Lil, throwing her off stride. She stumbled backwards and would have fallen if not for the man’s quick reaction. He grabbed Lil and, wrapping both arms around, pulled her to him. Then, in a parody of the two-step, he danced her to safety.
Lil felt herself falling, then rescued by two strong arms. Not only was she pulled up short, but she was wrapped tightly against a rock hard chest, her nose buried in the man’s damp shirt. A very pleasant smell greeted her nose. The scent of summer rain and witch hazel. She found the masculine odor intoxicating.
Neither moved. Then Lil raised her head and looked into a pair of dancing gray eyes. His arms never relaxed their grip; in fact, they seemed to tighten around her as his mouth twitched, then broke into a smile.
“Didn’t expect to end up with a beautiful woman in my arms. For a moment there, I expected to land on the rug, Ma’am. With you alongside me,” he added with a chuckle.
He loosened his grip and gently pushed her away from the warmth and safety of his chest. Lil stepped back, feeling as though she’d just had something precious taken from her. She realized her hands still gripped his arms. Like a hot potato, she dropped them and turned away from the man’s disturbing presence. Like a fox heading for her den, Lil scurried behind her desk and gratefully lowered her trembling body onto the waiting chair.
With the desk between them, she was once again in charge. “May I help you?” she asked coolly, hoping the tremble in her voice went unnoticed. “I called come in not once but twice.”
“Sorry, Ma’am. Guess I didn’t hear you. I was just fixing to open the door when you did just that. Are you okay?”
“Yes.” Lil answered with no desire to elaborate. “I—I appreciate you catching me. Now,” she hurried away from that topic, “to repeat myself, how may I help you?”
He smiled, as if knowing her thoughts. Walking over to the desk, he removed his hat and stood with it in his hands. “I apologize for dripping on your floor, but it’s raining like hel—, uh, like heck out there.”
Lil tried not to look at how the ends of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. She focused instead on his hair, black and shiny with rain drops glistening on the wavy strands not covered by his hat. She didn’t realize she was staring at him until he shifted from foot to foot.
“Yes,” Lil answered, pulling herself back to reality.
“What I’m here for is to see L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.” He pointed at the window, in the direction of the sign.
Lil nodded. “Yes,” she said again. At this rate, he’d think she only had a one word vocabulary.
The man tilted his head to one side. “Could you direct me to L. M. Wentfield, Ma’am?”
“Of course I can. How may I help you?”
Two small furrows appeared between the man’s eyes. He peered closer at her. Perhaps he needed to try another approach.
“Ma’am, could I speak with your husband?”
“There is no husband,” Lil said with a hint of asperity.