Sunday, October 31, 2010

“I need a hero! Or at least a man who remembers the milk!” by Stephanie Beck

There are a few schools of thoughts on leading men. Back in the day of romance writing (I’m thinking two decades ago) the main man had a few distinguishing qualities. He was usually wealthy, powerful and had a certain edge about him that made other men look tame. Then about a decade ago metro-ness took over and those tough heroes all of a sudden weren’t so tough. They had feelings. Lots of them and—gasp—some of them even cried.

In the last few years, the super dominant, alpha to the point of a$$ hole character-type has become popular. And you know, after that time when all of our heroes were sissies, I can completely understand why the difference is so intriguing. There have been plenty of really well written alpha male characters who have thrilled me, but just like the sissies, they get old after a while.

So where is the perfect middle in all of this? What kind of characteristics do women really want in their leading men on paper? I’d say, for the most part, we want in stories what we really wish we had in real life.

*a man with a job he is capable of doing without bitching constantly

*a man who knows how to converse but doesn’t monopolize every conversation

*a man who makes a pair of jeans look good

*a man who knows his way around the bedroom, or at least is oh so willing to learn

*a man who isn’t afraid to speak up when it counts (like defending his lady when the occasion
demands it, that never goes out of style)

*a man who, when asked, remembers to get milk. And should he forget, he’s the one who gets up early to make sure there’s enough for everyone’s cereal (that’s pretty darn alpha to me)

Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect hero for all readers. But when the leading man and leading lady (or any combination of genders) get together and the relationship sparks and the personalities meld, the reader wants it to work. So I’m thinking the perfect hero depends on his counterpart, when they match up and the reader grabs their pom-poms, whether he’s an alpha, a sissy or somewhere in between, he’s just right. 

Excerpt from Cross Stitch and Brimstone: Available from Breathless Press October 22nd

The cat hissed again, and Beth sighed. "Fine, I'll let you out, you stinking beast," she muttered, going to the side door that released to the wraparound porch she loved. "Go on now, and don't you— Who's there?"
The figure at her front door, only three feet away from her, froze. It was the middle of the night, so she'd long ago turned off the porch light. Terror welled. Her longevity was a given, but she was still as easily broken as any human woman under five feet tall and just as susceptible to villains of the night.
The figure turned with her name on his lips. That voice. It sounded familiar, but she couldn't place it. She flipped on the light switch for the hall behind her, but it didn't help much, not until he came into the light.
She ran for him, the three steps taking only a heartbeat before she launched into his arms. He felt just the same as when she'd given him one final embrace before he'd gone off to fight with his brothers so long ago. How she'd loved her soldier boy, though before the war he'd been sweet and gentle, a young man on his way to the seminary to be a preacher.
She ran her fingers down his face, the same face she remembered in her dreams. Not so often anymore, but there was no way she could have forgotten about him. Not him.

Stephanie Beck is a romance writer who bases all of her heroes on her husband in one way or another. She has yet to hear a complaint from either characters or her husband. Check out for her latest releases including her newest stories, BDSM themed David’s Angel and a little Halloween fun with Cross-Stitch and Brimstone.


Annie Nicholas said...

It took a few years to train DH about the milk. After witnessing my transformation from wife to godzilla because I didn't have milk for my tea in the morning, he won't leave an empty carton in the fridge again. LOL

ladydi6497 said...

I love the blurb. I have added this book to my TBR list.

Thanks for sharing.


Jennifer Mathis said...

a man who could remember the little things without bitching? Where do I sign up at ?

Deena said...

From your excerpt, it sounds like you have written one of those books I like to keep tucked in my nightstand for whenever I'm feeling melancholy and need a great LOVE story.

elaing8 said...

LOL..yeah no one wants a sissy.
Great blurb,I want to know more :)

Tabitha Blake said...

I am a alpha male fan all the way but I think we all have a certain kind of character that we want to read about.

Stacy said...

Great excerpt, you got me hooked already. As far as males go, you're right, there needs to be some kind of balance or even an explanation (really good one) for their behavior if they are a brute--otherwise that HEA might not be so happy.

Jean P said...

Enjoyed the excerpt, can't wait to find out more. Putting book on list. Would be nice to have a man who remembers the little things and not have to be reminded all the time!

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Sandy said...

LOL Stephanie, I love your title of your blog.

Judy said...

Great post and I loved the excerpt. Looks like a great read. After 43 years of marriage we are usually on the same page. It took awhile, but it was great getting there:)


steph beck said...

Hey All
Thanks for the awesome comments. Heros are one of those things, they either turn your crank or leave you less than impressed. I"m so glad so many have their own milk-rememberers at home! Mine is getting there...I have high hopes :)

Cross Stitch and Brimstone is available now at Breathless Press, Amazon and all the eBook retailors for those who are looking. It's a great little story that's a good read even after Halloween!

Steph Beck

Carlie Angelus said...

This one was so good! I've been thinking about what makes the perfect hero. Of course I love your choices about the pair of jeans and the getting the milk, but I have one more for you.

A man who knows how to admit it when he's WRONG! Do those actually exist? Well, maybe in a romance book. :-)


Lil said...

I had to laugh while reading your qualities for a hero. You are resoundingly correct with that list.

Rain said...

I gotta tell my cross-stitching sister about your book. :D

Cathy M said...

I live in an all male household, and I've got to tell you that the training NEVER STOPS! That's why I love the variety of romance heroes out there, I can pick which alpha suits my needs. Sometimes he is over the top, sometimes he has a great balance of warrior and lover.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

joder said...

I don't need large, grandiose acts by my man to show he cares. I prefer the little things. Taking out the trash, making dinner, folding the laundry....doing those kinds of things really shows me he cares.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Maria said...

I agree with your idea of the perfect man..someone who would take out the trash and not bitch about it would be fantastic...or go to the grocery store and actually get what I want?? wow..sign me


*yadkny* said...

I totally agree with you on your assessment of the evolution of the hero. Thanks for the excerpt!


Kate Richards said...

Heroes are all in the eye of the heroine...right? when Rich drove 300 miles to drop me off then did it again to pick me up because I hate driving highways and wanted to help my folks with a project...that's a hero. But Stephanie's guys are always heros as far as I am concerned. They warm the cockles of my heart!

Linda Henderson said...

I say, Here!Here! If you should find this man please send him my way.

seriousreader at live dot com

steph beck said...

"Hero" is so in the eye of his heroine, but I haven't met a woman yet who wouldn't like their man to have some of these basic qualities. And 300 miles is an awesome story Kate. And Linda...if I find him, I'll pass on your email :)

Kim S. said...

Happy Halloween everyone!

Huh...I'd like one of those too Stephanie!! LOL I'm the handicapped one and I have do the getting of the milk! And I don't drink the stuff!

thewildtwo @ gmail [dot] com

Annie Nicholas said...

contest is closed