Saturday Six: Your Hero Should Never…

  1. Cheat on the heroine/hero(M/M) – You would think this was a given, but apparently it isn’t. While the acts of infidelity are usually small, in a romance novel they’re ALWAYS unforgivable. A hero never comes back from that. NOTHING can erase it. Prime example, Cabal from Bengal’s Heart (Breed Series).
     
    He spends years whoring around while he knows she’s suffering without him. YEARS. Cabal knows Cassie cannot bear anyone else’s touch. But he goes on with his life like she doesn’t exist. He even considers  getting serious with another girl. Even worse, he does it because he blames her for the actions of her dead husband. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d just abandoned her, but no, he leaves her in PAIN while he spends his days screwing every other woman he meets.
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  3. Leave the heroine for her own good – This one really irks me. To make matters worse, it’s usually accompanied by some big misunderstanding. But we’ve already discussed that pitfall.
     
    When the hero abandons the heroine because he wants to protect her or save her from himself, I tune out.  My first thought is, Oh no, another soap opera melodrama. I’ve seen this plot scheme a million times. I’m tired of it. It’s lost its appeal—not that it ever had much.
     
    While many authors have used this trite device, I’ll use one that everyone is familiar with, The Twilight Saga. While Edward’s I’m scared I’ll eat you angst was bearable in the first novel, it completely got out of hand in New Moon. Don’t these authors know that heroes who are assertive and go after what they want are so much more appealing?
     
    As much as I love Lora Leigh, she’s really bad about using this one.
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  5. Be a bad/virgin lover – While I’ll admit this one can have some exceptions, 98% of the time it should be a law of nature. These are a romancenovels people, and we like our heroes good in bed. If we wanted to be left unsatisfied or be forced to teach our lovers then we wouldn’t need romance novels, reality would do.
     
    Right now, the only author guilty of this that comes to mind is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Although, I really hate to use her because most of the time she fits into the other 2% that actually make it work.  Born of Night is one of her novels that she didn’t do as good of a job with making the inexperienced lover thing work out. While Born of Night is one of my all-time favorite novels, I just couldn’t get comfortable with Nik being such an inexperienced lover. And if I’m being honest, when I fantasize about him I always change that about him.  (As a side note, Born of Night is also guilty of #2)
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  7. Be ugly – Shallow, I know, but it’s a fact. He’s the HERO. This means better than the average man. This means that the heroine should find him attractive. I’m not saying he should supermodel hot, but he should be sexually appealing. Women have to want him.
     
    I’m Sorry Phantom of the Opera fans, but I just can’t jump on board with this. When I read books with these horribly disfigured heroes, I just pretend like they’re good looking.  I can’t picture them any other way, and I don’t even want to try. I know that’s awful, but it’s the truth.
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  9. Have a small penis – Thankfully, I’ve never seen an author do this, but I don’t want it to become a trend. Heroes should be, at the very least, a millimeter larger than the average man. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS! They shouldn’t all have monster cocks either, but I’ll take that over the a tinie wenie any day.
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  11. Be perfect – While your hero should be better than the average guy, he shouldn’t be good at everything. He can’t be independently wealthy, good looking, well endowed, extraordinarily fast/strong/intelligent, quick with words, moral, etc. He has to be flawed.
     
    I love paranormal romances. I love my alpha males. But let’s face it, the genre is bad about this. Some of my favorite heroes are guilty of this one—Barrons and Bones. While they may be a little too perfect, they too have their flaws. Bones—jealously. Barrons—lack of morality.
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Freebie Friday #5

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I usually only showcase 1 to 3 free novels on Friday, but today when I was searching I found so many that looked good that I decided to post them all. Below is a list of titles and their links.

Beauty Dominates the Beast – Hannah Hale

Once Bitten, Forever Burned – Eve Langlais, Stacey Kennedy

The Princess’ Dragon Lord – Mandy Rosko

She’s Gotta be Mine (Cottonmouth Series, Book 1) – Jennifer Skully

Once Bitten (Alexa O’Brien Huntress, Book 1) – Trina M. Lee

Sunrise at Sunset (Sunset Vampire Series, Book 1)Jaz Primo

Wereslave (Were Legends, Book 1) Lia Slater

Initiation (Xylon Warriors, Book 1)Ruth D. Kerce

Vampire Cursed (Vampires Destined, Book 1)Rachel Carrington

Wicked Desires (Wicked Affairs, Book 1)Eliza Lloyd

Immortal Coil (A Dragon Spirit Novel, Book 1)C.I. Black

Jericho Monday

If numbers are to be trusted, it seems that everyone loves Jericho Barrons. In fact, his one measly post has received more hits than all of my other posts put together. When I saw that in my summary tables, I was startled. The post wasn’t even that good. So, I did some digging and it turns out that the reason Barrons has received more hits is because he brings the most traffic to my site.

This is no coincidence, and I’m going to milk it for what it’s worth.

It’s easy for me to understand why so many people are fascinated with Jericho Barrons, because he is my all time favorite hero.  Barrons is just so unapologetically male. He is who he is, and he won’t change that. In many ways, he is the perfect alpha hero. So, I’ve decided that every Monday I will analyze a quote about/by Barrons, and use it to point out qualities all alphas should have.

Being touched by Jericho Barrons with kindness makes you feel like you are walking up to the biggest, most savage lion in the jungle, lying down, placing your head it its mouth and, rather than taking your life, it licks you and purrs.

-Mac

This quote sums up the most important aspects of the alpha male.

First and foremost, your alpha male should be the baddest of the bad. He wins, hands down, and no one ever doubted he would.

Secondly, the unpredictably of his nature. As Mac said, even she is surprised at his tenderness.

Thirdly, and the most important quality, is Barrons effect on everyone else. Its not just that he is a badass, it’s that everyone knows it. It’s not that he’s unpredictable, it’s that his unpredictability is appealing. But most importantly, people are drawn to him, despite it all. It’s the fact that Mac was willing to approach the lion, put herself at his mercy just for the chance to experience his greatness.

You want to write a truly great hero? Then these are qualities you have to aim for.

Alpha Male Monday: Emmett Cullen

Emmett Cullen makes alpha look good. Everyone else can fight over Jacob and Edward, but Emmett wins every time with me. He is not a man to do anything halfway. Emmett plays hard, works hard, and by the sound out it (“So it’s still standing? I would’ve thought you two had knocked it to rubble by now. What were you doing last night? Discussing the national debt?”)
he loves hard, too.

Species: Vampire
Occupation: Student (sorta)
Weaknesses: Overestimation of his strength
Special Qualities: SENSE OF HUMOR, Immortal, sexy

Written Right Wednesdays: Alpha & Omega

Quote

Novellas are so rarely done right. They either have too much going on or not enough. When novella’s go wrong the characters are lifeless, the plot is none existent, and the relationships feel forced. To avoid this, writers must go about writing a short story in the same way they would write a full length novel. There needs to be rising action, climax, and falling action. There should be surprises and originality, not just sex. Sex is good, even in abundant amounts, but not when the sex scenes feel forced and pointless. It must feel relevant to the plot, and natural for the characters to behave in such a manner.

Today, I’m showcasing Patricia Briggs’ novella, Alpha & Omega. Although, this lacks the steamy scenes we all love, it’s a good example of how to pace and plot your novellas. Even though this is a short story it feels complete and realistic (for PRN and UF, anyway).

She drove well, if a little overcautiously — which trait he didn’t mind at all, though it didn’t stop him from bracing one hand against the dash of the rental. She hadn’t said anything when he told her to drive them to her apartment, though he hadn’t missed the dismay she felt.

He could have told her that his father had instructed him to keep her alive if he could — and to do that he had to stick close. He didn’t want to scare her any more than she already was. He could have told her that he had no intention of bedding her — but he tried not to lie. Not even to himself. So he stayed silent.

As she drove down them down the expressway in the rented SUV, his wolf-brother had gone from the killing edge caused by the crowded airplane to a relaxed contentment Charles had never felt before. The two other Omega wolves he’d met in his long lifetime had done something similar to him, but not to this extent.

This must be what it was like to be fully human.

The anger and the hunter’s wariness that the wolf always held was only a faint memory, leaving behind only the determination to take this one to mate — Charles had never felt anything like that either.

She was pretty enough — though he’d like to feed her up and soften the stiff wariness in her shoulders. The wolf wanted to bed her and claim her as his own. Being of a more cautious nature than his wolf, he would wait until he knew her a little better before deciding to court her.

“My apartment isn’t much,” she said in an obvious effort to break the silence. The small rasp in her voice told him that her throat was dry.

She was frightened of him. Being his father’s chosen executioner, he was used to being feared, though he’d never enjoyed it.

He leaned against the door to give her a little more space and looked out at the city lights so she’d feel safe stealing a few glances at him if she wanted to. He’d been quiet, hoping she would get used to him, but he thought now that might have been a mistake.

“Don’t worry,” he told her. “I am not fussy. Whatever you apartment is like, it is doubtless more civilized than the Indian lodge I grew up in.”

“An Indian lodge?”

“I’m a little older than I look,” he said, smiling a little. “Two hundred years ago, an Indian lodge was pretty fancy housing in Montana.” Like most old wolves he didn’t like talking about the past, but, he found he’d do worse than that to set her at ease.

“I’d forgotten you might be older than you look,” she said apologetically. She’d seen the smile, he thought, because the level of her fear dropped appreciably. “There aren’t any older wolves in the pack here.”

“A few,” he disagreed with her as he noted that she said “the pack” not “my pack”. Leo was seventy or eighty, and his wife was a lot older than that — old enough that they should have appreciated the gift of an Omega instead of allowing her to be reduced to this abased child who cringed whenever he looked at her too long. “It can be difficult to tell how old a wolf is. Most of us don’t talk about it. It’s hard enough adjusting without chatting incessantly about the old days.”

She didn’t reply, and he looked for something else they could talk about. Conversation wasn’t his forte, he left that to his father and his brother who both had clever tongues.

“What tribe are you from?” she asked before he found a topic. “I don’t know a lot about the Montana tribes.”

“My mother was Salish,” he said. “Of the Flathead tribe.” She snuck a quick look at his perfectly normal forehead. Ah, he thought, relieved, there was a good story he could tell her. “Do you know how the Flatheads got their name?”

She shook her head. Her face so solemn he was tempted to make something up to tease her. But she didn’t know him well enough for that, so he told her the truth.

“Many of the Indian tribes in the Columbia Basin, mostly other Salish peoples, used to flatten the foreheads of their infants — the Flatheads were among the few tribes that did not.”

“So why are they the ones called Flatheads?” she asked.

“Because the other tribes weren’t trying to alter their foreheads, but to give themselves a peak at the top of their heads. Since the Flatheads did not, the other tribes called us “flat heads”. It wasn’t a compliment.”

The scent of her fear faded further as she followed his story.

“We were the ugly, barbarian cousins, you see.” He laughed. “Ironically, the white trappers misunderstood the name. We were infamous for a long time for a practice we didn’t follow. So the white men, like our cousins, thought we were barbarians.”

“You said your mother was Salish,” she said. “So the Marrok isn’t Native American?”

He shook his head. “Father is a Welshman. He came over and hunted furs in the days of the fur trappers and stayed because he fell in love with the scent of pine and snow.” His father put it just that way. Charles found himself smiling again, a real smile this time and felt her relax further — and his face didn’t hurt at all. He’d have to call his brother, Samuel, and tell him

that he’d finally learned that his face wouldn’t crack if he smiled. All it had taken to teach him was an Omega werewolf.

She turned into an alley and pulled into a small parking lot behind one of the ubiquitous four story brick apartment buildings that filled the older suburbs of this part of town.

“Which city are we in?” he asked.

“Oak Park,” she said. “Home of Frank Lloyd Wright, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Scorci’s.”

“Scorci’s?”

She nodded her head and hopped out of the car. “The best Italian restaurant in Chicago and my current place of employment.”

Ah. That’s why she smelled of garlic.

“So your opinion is unbiased?” He slid out of the car with a feeling of relief. His brother made fun of his dislike of cars since even a bad accident was unlikely to kill him. But Charles wasn’t worried about dying — it was just that cars went too fast. He couldn’t get a feel for land they passed through. And if he felt like dozing a bit as he traveled, they couldn’t follow the trail on their own. He preferred horses.

After he got his suitcase out of the back, Anna locked the car with the key fob. The car honked once, making him jump and he gave the car an irritated look. When he turned back, Anna was staring hard at the ground.

The anger that being in her presence had dissipated surged back full force at the strength of her fear. Someone had really done a number on her.

“Sorry,” she whispered. If she’d been in wolf form she’d have been cowering with her tail tucked beneath her.

“For what?” he asked, unable to banish the rage that sent his voice down an octave. “Because I’m jumpy around cars? Not your fault.”

He was going to have to be careful this time he realized as he tried to pull the wolf back under control. Usually when his father sent him out to deal with trouble, he could do it coldly. But with an Omega wolf around, one that he found himself responding to on several different levels, he was going to have to hold tight to his temper.

“Anna,” he said, fully in control again. “I am my father’s hitman. It is my job as his second. But that doesn’t mean that I take pleasure in it. I am not going to hurt you, my word on it.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, clearly not believing him.

He reminded himself that a man’s word didn’t count for much in this modern day. It helped his control that he scented as much anger on her as fear — she hadn’t been completely broken.

He decided that further attempts to reassure her were likely to do the opposite. She would have to learn to accept that he was a man of his word. In the meantime he would give her something to think about.

“Besides,” he told her gently, “my wolf is more interested in courting you than in asserting his dominance.”

He walked passed her before he smiled at the way her fear and anger had disappeared, replaced by shock . . . and something that might have been the beginning of interest.

Alpha Male Monday: Jericho Barrons

Jericho Barrons is the epitome of alpha male. He is unapologetically strong, intelligent, and demanding. He is who he is. He can’t and won’t change that. As Barrons himself so eloquently put it, “Stop pining for the man you think I could be — and take a good, long, hard look at the one I am.”
Species: Unknown
Occupation: Owns B&B
Weaknesses: Mac (maybe)
Special Qualities: Immortal (seriously immortal), can fuck for days without tiring, fiercely intelligent, and he can do any kind of magic known to mankind.

Alpha Male Monday: Adam Hauptman

Adam Hauptman is alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack. He has a strict moral code, and a hot-temper. Anyone who knows him knows where he stands on any issue, and how he will react to a threat. Adam is loyal, brave, and a complete control freak.

Species: Werewolf
Occupation: Owns a security company
Weaknesses: His daughter, Jesse, and a hot temper
Special Qualities:immortal, ex-military, raised in the south, and he’s fourth in line to become Marrok (the lead alpha position).

 

 

I am eternally indebted to Patricia Briggs for brings me the Mercy Thompson Series, and if you haven’t read it yet, shame on you! It’s wonderful. Adams great, but Mercy is better. She’s my favorite heroine of all time. She’s not whinny or overly feministic. She has that balance.

Cover Love

I’m fascinated with beautiful cover art, and like all beautiful things, it needs to be shared.

Kisri

Cover art can make or break the sales of a book. Don’t judge a book by its cover may be good advice, but it isn’t always followed. I’m not ashamed to say I won’t pick up a book with a poorly designed cover unless someone recommends it to me. We live in a competitive society. It is no longer enough to have a well written story with a fantastic blurb. Your book has to have sex appeal. To draw in the younger generation, it has to appease all the senses, especially sight.

While you’re busy drafting your masterpiece, keep an eye out for covers that impress you and the ones that don’t. It might not help you now, but when you do get published and your editor sends the artwork for your book, you’ll be able to look it over with a critical eye. Remember that the publishing process is all about give and take, and if you see a correction that needs to be made don’t be afraid to respectfully request it. This is a business, and like you, publishers want to sell as many books they can. Requesting a cover edit is much like your editor requesting a copy edit, it’s in everyone’s best interest, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

My Can’t Resist Cover for this week is Moira Rogers’ novella, Kisri.