Thursday, April 8, 2010

Holy Hot Heroes, Batman!!!!

Hear this and hear it well: I do not crawl through my office digging for anything for anyone, ever. The one exception might be to find a Bic pen should a small child need an emergency tracheotomy, but even that is stretching it and depends solely on the worth of the child. If you had an aerial view of my office floor you would understand this better, and ignore last fall’s dead bees (oops, wasps, sorry Deb!) I’ll get them swept up soon. Promise.

But I did just that because the essence of heat in a hero has little to do with actual looks. I mean, even with a detailed description, there are only so many square-jawed, well-muscled, six-foot-plus guys on the planet with piercing eyes.

Puuuuhhhhhlease. Watch any of the morning news shows with live shots of Manhattan in the backdrop windows and count how many guys meet that description. Uh, huh. EXACTLY MY POINT. So we fantasize a little. A little taller. A little leaner. A little broader. And great eyes and teeth are a must, despite Shrek’s popularity. But what is the essence of a hot hero? What draws us in, makes us dreamy-eyed?

Silas shut that yapping mouth right up with his lips. He swung the door shut and broke off the kiss just enough to speak. “Did I mention that I want more childen with you than you’ve given to the other husbands?” He made sure to kiss her so deeply she couldn’t respond to that. (The Husband Tree, Barbour Publishing, Mary Connealy, author)

Silas. Strong. Decisive. A touch embittered. Cautious. Courageous. Careful. Dedicated. Humorous. If you asked me to describe Silas, I have no response. I don’t have a clue how Mary described him physically. What jumped off the page was his devoted virility, his take-charge attitude, the perfect way he complemented Belle’s tough and sassy image.

LaVyrle Spencer created a wonderful beta hero (Small Town Girl) in Kenny Kronek, the easy-going, helpful nerd-of-a-neighbor who wins the heart of Tess McPhail, the hottest “Reba-type” country singer in the land, home to help her sick mother, and she did it by making his gentle class act behavior outrageously desirable to a woman who is always surrounded by false love and idolatry in the entertainment business. His uniqueness balanced Tess because it was so different from what she experienced in her daily life. A man of honor, of simple devotion, a church-goer who stayed true to his faith, his time, his home, and then her.

And what about our tortured heroes? Matt Damon as Jason Bourne… Oh Mylanta, the mix of choir-boy Irish good looks, gentle eyes, a killer’s aim, and tricked into being something he’s not, a created killing commodity, pushed into vigilantism by the powers that be. A sympathetic assassin. Now that’s a trick!

He gave her a half-lidded look that made her mouth go dry, then leaned in and nestled his lips along her throat. The blood pumped in her veins. She felt the shadow of his late-day beard, and the realization of what was happening prompted a chuckle of joy from her throat. She shivered. ” I love you, Mitch Dennehy, so much that even prayer couldn’t get you out of my heart. Sweet saints above, I can’t wait to marry you!” her gaze narrowed. “You are asking, aren’t you?”

He grinned. “Oh, I’m asking all right. And you won’t have to wait. I don’t intend to.” (A Passion Denied, Revell Publishing, Julie Lessman, author)

So far Mitch Dennehy is my favorite Lessman hero. I like his maturity, his stance, his devotion, his hard-won respect. In Mitch Julie Lessman has created an every-woman’s hero, but one particularly well-suited to Charity O’Connor, who is not one of my favorite heroines. Shoot, I kept shouting at Mitch to dump her and find someone more worthy, but being a man in love with a hot babe, he didn’t listen. And knowing Charity like we do, he’s probably come out on the good end of the trade. After all, it takes more than good fried chicken to keep a man smiling year in, year out.

In Sweet Home Alabama we have two heroes. Two great guys. We have the before and after hero, because in the midst of the timeline we’re examining, the heroine has undergone a transformation. Great plot twist that allows deeper conflict, both external and internal. And while my boys were not big fans of Reese Witherspoon’s character during the first half of the movie, we women understood her urge to move beyond who she was to who she could be, and then losing a bit of herself in the making.

So: what a quandary…


Josh Lucas????

Or Patrick Dempsey????

Stop wracking your brains, there is no wrong answer to that question. I mean, come on…. Talk about a win/win. ;)

Developing the hero to match and complement your heroine becomes the crux of the matter. His salt to her pepper. His calm to her heat.

Mr. Darcy examples every possible reason to not love a hero, yet we do. Why? Despite his arrogance, he stands by his convictions. He is true to family and friends. To a fault, we discover, but we appreciate the scarceness of such a trait. He’s kind to his help. He takes care of his home and understands familial pride. And he’s willing to own his mistakes and try hard to rectify them, coaxing Elizabeth’s feelings to meet his. And she does, just before he decides to pack it in, give it up. He fights the good fight and humbles himself to win the girl. Once again it matters not what he looks like, but the attitude he bears. Although Colin Firth is no slouch in the looks department. I think we'd all join hands and agree on that, but it isn't the looks that draw us in, that captivate, it's the manner or the reformation, the journey he must travel to get the girl.

“You’re no kind of man I’ve run into before.”

Ben's right arm snaked out and around her waist and he pulled her up against him. She had a sense of him, the shape of him and his smells, and then he kissed her. His mouth was warm, soft, and then hard. A short, jarring kiss. He let her go and she heard herself gasp.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for a while.”

Hannah adjusted her headscarf. “You said you had no interest in me.” Trying for dignified, and sounding instead like a girl in a snit.

He glanced at her, surprised. “I never said that.”

“You did. On the stairs.”

"I said I knew you had no interest in me. I’m hoping maybe you’ve changed your mind.”

“And if I haven’t?”

Cool appraisal, calculating, knowing. Hannah looked away. When she looked back again, he was smiling.

(Queen of Swords, Bantam Books, Sara Donati, author)

Donati's historical heroes go beyond the ken of mere mortal men. She's not afraid to give them quiet wisdom (Nathaniel Bonner, Jean-Benoit Savard "Ben")an inner core of strength that lines a rough-looking exterior, yet the hearts of the men beat true in all things, making them trustworthy husbands in difficult times. They kill as needed and love completely.

Wow. ;)

We all love Gibbs from NCIS, and Mark Harmon's current character is a far cry from his St. Elsewhere character from way back. Then he was a playboy doctor. Now he's a tortured soul, a man who's loved and loved well but can't move beyond the guilt at what he's lost. We all want to FIX HIM... Help him. Be THE WOMAN that sets his heart stirring again. The hope. The promise. Will God ever send him someone to fulfil that longing, that destiny? And will Gibbs forgive himself in time to see things clearly?


“I’m your landlord, remember?” Sparks of ivory lightened his gray eyes, crinkled in amusement.

“You won’t let me forget.”


She laughed and poked him in the chest. “That means when the heat’s off or the electric blows a circuit breaker, I call you.”

“Please do.”

Her heart chugged to a stop, watching him, hearing those words, feeling their depth, their meaning. He studied her, his expression warm, caring, a hint of humor softening the craggy planes of a chiseled face.

She moved a half-step forward without meaning to. “I will.”

The kiss was unexpected and totally wonderful, the gentle press of Brooks’ mouth on hers, the solidity of him, his breadth, his warmth, the sheer strength of him swirling around her, engulfing her in what-if’s.

Sweet. So sweet.

When he paused the kiss she stayed right there, not moving, eyes closed, smiling just a little, knowing she couldn’t and shouldn’t do this, but old enough and experienced enough to know she thoroughly enjoyed that kiss.

And the kisser.

And when he kissed her again, she liked that one just as much. (Made to Order Family, Steeple Hill Books, Ruth Logan Herne, author)

Heating up a hero has little to do with girding his loins and everything to do with evoking the reader's invested emotion. If the reader roots for your hero and heroine, they're more likely to be pre-ordering on Amazon when your next book is announced. And while I agree with the idea of writing for an audience of ONE, simple business says you've got to engage the buying public as well to help ensure the next contract. Publishers are in business to make money. Our job is to help them achieve that end with characters that paint a picture of happily ever after in readers' heads long after they've set down the book.

Grab some coffee... Some ham,egg and cheese croissants... Fresh cheese kuchen to the left, as well! Dig in and let's chat about how to make your heroes stronger. More alluring. Feel free to post a segment and we can talk about it 'on air'! Also, I'm giving away a copy (when they arrive) of Waiting Out the Storm, my second North Country romance from Steeple Hill. Be sure to leave your e-mail address for me when you comment, 'kay?



  1. Sigh

    I could talk heroes all the live long day. But. Ruthy we're counting ten minutes between contractions... And thanks for remembering the wasp vs bee thingy

  2. BABY!!!

    OH YES!!!!!





  3. Oh, honey, WHAT a blog to wake up to!! Couldn't sleep, so I crawled out of bed where my "hero" was snoring to encounter some "holy hot heroes downstairs on my Mac.

    Thank you, Ruthy, truly. Better than double-strength caffeine.


    Let's face it -- heroes are one of our (or at least my) favorite topics, as evidenced by our strong desire to talk about them (i.e. Pepper Basham's wonderful series on heroes a few weeks back entitled "I Need a Hero," which you can check out at Pepper's Blog ... just start at the end and scroll down several weeks to see what various authors favor in a hero, or Laura Frantz's excellent Seeker blog entitled "Heart-stopping Heroes," which you can find at Laura's Seeker blog).

    Thanks, Ruthy, for a great blog and some really ... ahem, "hot" heroes!! Silas and Mitch are two of my favs, along with Marc DeHollander from Winter's End, of course. And something tells me I'm gonna love your hero from Waiting Out the Storm too ... especially after that tease of an excerpt!


  4. Jules, good morning!

    Ah... Marc DeHollander....

    A total hottie, the tortured hero from Winter's End...

    Sweet. Yum. ;)

    Thanks for that shout out, honey-lamb, and you're right, we do love talkin' up heroes and heroines.

    Mostly heroes. (sorry, laughing.)

    And what about Mel Gibson in Braveheart as William Wallace???

    Oh. Be. Still. My. Celtic. Heart.

    And in The Patriot?

    Puts a whole new spin on the Pledge of Allegiance.

  5. Mark Harmon AND Patrick Dempsey all in one still my pitter-pattering heart. Fanning myself here...and those aren't hot flashes. :D

    I love strong heroes, whether they're alpha or beta. And a man in uniform??? Oh, baby....

    Ruthy, this is probably one of my all-time favorite Seeker posts. Love it. Love it. Love it.

  6. Hi Ruth

    Love the post (and the pics!). Great discussion of what makes a great hero - and yes, it definitely goes beyond looks. A guy who's there for you no matter what, is what counts.

    By the way, I'm currently reading Winter's End and loving it. Marc and Kayla make a great couple and watching them slowly fall in love despite their reservations is wonderful!

    Congrats on your upcoming release too. Sounds great. Please enter me into the draw. :-)

    Love and blessings,


  7. Ah, Lisa...

    I love heroes in uniform too. And I've written several cop stories because I love writing cops, both as heroes and heroines. A good cop is just a wonderful thing, a cut above, part of a different club. And we've had cop scandals here in upstate, and while I hate abuse of power, what a GREAT source of conflict in a book.

    And Nicola, thank you so much for reading Winter's End and giving it a shout-out. You rock! And I loved their relationship, watching it grow despite the impossibility of it all.

    S I G H.... ;)

    Thanks, sweet thing! You're in!


  8. What a great post to enjoy my 1st cup of coffee to! And what a post. I love discussing heroes, I think I spend more time creating my heroes than I do my heroines, trying to find that right guy before I find his match in lady love.

    I typically write alpha males, but lately, I've found my heroes leaning more toward the beta male with alpha tendacies. Course, that's what I call my hubby, beta with alpha tendacies.

    Sigh, this post makes me miss my hero. He's at home right now while the kids and I are off visiting the fam for the week. Can't wait to get back and get one of my steamy kisses!

    iacuttergirl at gmail dot com

  9. Deb, just so you know, it's okay to name the baby after me.

    I'm honored. Really.

    Elijah was going to be named after me, but then he was born with a penis.

    Like, hello?????

    Didn't he get the memo????? I was so sure it was going to be Adelaide Ruth, a sweet little girl with her Grammy's flair for shoes and good hair. (note I'm NOT discussing my less-than-stellar attributes which are many and diverse. Who KNEW that cottage cheese thighs would be all the rage in 2010?????)

    So if your daughter is so inclined, we're in need of a little Ruthy.

    Just sayin'.

  10. Very timely post, Ruth. I'm struggling with remaking my hero in revisions. Everyone who's read my manu hasn't liked him **frown** but I'm changing that.

    And, yes, I'm a Gibbs fan too. Love NCIS.

    Would love to read your next book.

  11. How about the reluctant hero? There is something so delicious about a book that starts out with the hero ever so reluctantly attracted to the heroine but fighting that attraction tooth and nail because she just isn't right for him. Uh-huh! The reader thinks and gleefully starts turning pages to enjoy the hero's downfall.

    I'm thinking Marc DeHollander in Winter's End. Lt. George Hudson in Frasier Island by Susan Page Davis, Collin McGuire in A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman.

    When those heros finally fall in love they fall hard. Hmmmmmm....

  12. To me it isn't so much about the hero as it is about the character. The most gorgeous looking man could be written up on the page, but I could care less about appearances. I want to see more than his looks and into what makes him tick. I like flaws because none of us are perfect. It's how the character works through the flaw that makes them heroic.

    And thanks for posting a pic of Mark Harmon. I could sit and admire him all day LOL


  13. My favorite subject!!! HEROES!!!

    I don't know if I'm allowed to post any excerpts from my Zondervan book coming out in Sept/Oct, so I won't. But I think I have some great heroes. I have a Beauty and the Beast story. I told my crit partners, He only has one eye, one hand is maimed and he wears a beard to cover his scars, but I'm going to make you love him! And what did they say about 30 or 40 pages into the story? I LOVE him!!!

    And people seem to love my poetry-spouting, courageous Southern gentleman, Truett. So I think I'll post a bit of him:

    As the other dancers slowly moved away, she and Truett simply stood still. “Would you like to dance the next one?”

    “Yes.” She sounded out of breath, though the waltz had not tired her at all.

    She couldn’t stop thinking how handsome he was, as images of him went through her mind—of him jumping onto the wheel of the wagon to lift Will out, of him crashing into Griff to stop him from hitting his mother, of him reciting poetry the day he drove her home. What had she called him? Truett Shakespeare.

    “What are you smiling about?” he asked.

    “Oh, I was just remembering your gift for reciting poetry.”

  14. Congrats, Deb!!! Praying all goes well.

  15. LIttle Ruthy. I like it.

    I'll be interested to see what THIS baby gets from this grandma.

    Say, is Mark Harmon still married to Pam Dawber?

    Do you suppose he knows he's a poster boy for heroes among we female writers of the same generation?

    By the way - last labor was 36 hrs. I'll let ya'll know TOMORROW if there's any sign of Little Ruthy

  16. Dianna, you feelin' brave or chicken?

    Post a little, let us rip you apart live on the world wide web.


    Or at least tell us how you're fixing him.

    I had to 'fix' Jake, my hero in Detecting Delia, a cop story with a tortured, sports-bar-hopping mad-at-the-world detective whose artist wife dumped him for her upscale agent....

    And then got pregnant after telling him she didn't want children ever....

    Poor baby. I had him too jerky. Too over-the-top mad. Had to feed him a little happy juice, calm him down a tad.

    Feel free to tell us about your hero. If you dare. I LOVE a good dare. Ask Teeeeeeena. I cannot resist. It's a weakness, really.

  17. Oh, Kav, yes...

    Marc is the quintessential reluctant hero...

    And in Waiting Out the Storm, Craig is the gentle pursuing hero, the guy who sees the light and isn't afraid to head toward it.

    And in Made To Order Family Brooks (oh mylanta, former Delta, totally hot, sure-of-himself tortured hero who's been there, done that, not impressed by much but a great example in the local AA group of putting your life back together) is the leader, the quiet head-of-the-pack, a loner by choice.

    Melissa did accuse me of being in love with Brooks. She's not far from wrong, LOL!!! I love guys with enough moxy to "FIX" themselves. Heavens, we can't be expected to do all the work!!!

    And yeah, Colin would fall into that category. And I LOVED Faith...

    What those good girls go through trying to rationalize all that goes on around them. Grinning here.

  18. Winter, hey, girlfriend!

    I think most of us start with Alpha males...

    And I think you nailed it, that a Beta male better have alpha tendencies or...

    They come across as a little too effeminate. Women are drawn to tender men, but they still have to be men. Otherwise, we wrinkle our nose in disbelief because those intrinsic differences are crucial.

    So while Craig in Waiting Out the Storm is a definite Beta, he's not afraid to get dirty, to fish, to haul around in a 4 X 4, to tease, to help build his own house, but he's gentle enough to mentor a criminal's son, to toss a little girl into the air, to wash dishes and make biscuits, to love a dog.

    Can I hear an "Awwwwwww....." ;)

    But I hope you get to see your personal sweet alpha/beta hottie soon!

    Thanks for stoppin', kiddo. Always a pleasure!


  19. Oh Ruthy! I absolutely loved your post today.
    It's something everyone can relate to even though good looks don't hurt:) There behaviors, and attitudes, and the stamina they carry with them are so important!
    Thank you for this wonderful post It was very helpful;)
    And please add me to win your book.

  20. Whalehugger Deb, good to see you!

    Yeah, Gibbs? Mark Harmon??? I'm with you there, sister. Of course he's no DEREK JETER (have I mentioned how happy I am that the boys of summer are back in pinstripes????? Oh my stars, oh happy day!!!!)

    But Gibbs' character is so well drawn and well-acted. Wonderful. And I'm totally with you, I seriously don't 'see' guy heroes by their looks, but by their actions. Their tone. Manner.

    That's huge.

  21. Ah, Melanie. What a lovely blend and I love the name Truett. Seeing him through her thoughts, her perceptions paints a great picture of him. Wonderful, my friend.

  22. Great post!! Gives me something to think about today(or envision).
    Your new book sounds so good. Would love to read.

  23. Now, Ruth, why'd you have to go and dare me???

    Here goes...I think. Originally, I had my hero as a reporter trying to gain back his position as investigative reporter position who runs into a detective who's not buying his story. But, he came off weak and as I was told "not worthy" of my heroine. I agreed. So, I said, hmmm...


    I changed his back story so that he is out to find justice for victims because his father was killed in a violent crime and the killer never convicted. Cop error. Which really puts him at odds with my heroine detective. Of course, he's still trying to gain back his rep as a good reporter, but now his motivation is more noble.

    I've planned him on the chief archetype and her on the crusader archetype, both strong willed, both willing to butt heads to make sure justice is done. Their problem: which is the correct path to justice?

    Hoping this'll work, I'm stuck on revising chapter 3. Pushing to get through this before the end of the week (spring break) so it'll be done.

  24. Hey, Deb, my daughter's (Beth's) best friend is in the same hospital right now, having a very SLOW labor.... You've got to be practically next door.

    Last name is Smith. If you stop over tell her you're a friend of mine and we're talking about her online. She's adorable and her dad's an OB so it's funny that you're all at the same hospital TODAY, having babies.

    I'll have Beth text her that you might drop by. Be brave. She's normal, she won't mind. So when you see "Smith" in the nursery, you'll know this is baby 'Lijah's new playmate.

    And yes, Little Ruthy sounds mighty nice.

  25. Lindsey, you're in, babycakes.

    And I'm so glad you liked it. I know I've mentioned liking Silas, Mitch and Gibbs before, but from a writer's perspective it comes down to why you like something and someone, how the author presents him/her, right?

    And for me that isn't always easy to see so if someone leads me by the nose, I might actually get it, LOL!

  26. Good thing you put your picture up, Ruthy, Hot Heroes immediately made my thoughts jump to Julie.

    But we can all come up with a hot hero now, can't we?

    The book I've just finished, which is a little different (okay a LOT different) a contemporary suspense that we will talk about LATER, had a hero that was a real challenge and pleasure to write.
    A former cop who left the force and became an inner city mission pastor. The life he led as a cop was so self-centered and arrogant it cost him everything and brought him to the point of suicide.
    When he chose life, he also chose God and turned to serving the Lord, but in that he's got an ego, too. He takes self-sacrifice to an extreme degree.
    So when a woman enters his life that wakes up a desire to find love and happiness he can't find his way to balance. And as he begins to love, and gets drawn into a crime that awakens his old cop instincts, he also stirs up that old arrogance.

    He believes he had to choose God or love, he can't have both.

    Oh, he was fun to torture. The trick with him was degrees, drawing him slowly back to that old arrogance in a way that was believable when he starts out such a servant, then taking him back to find a happy medium where he can have love without giving up his faith.

    And thanks for using Silas as a good example, Ruthy.

    Ruthy usually uses me as a horrible warning.

  27. And I can't wait for the next installment of Love by Ruthy.


  28. And DEB!!!!
    I'm doing lamaze breathing techniques as a type in sympathy.

  29. Denise, thanks, sweet thang!!!

    You're in, dear girl.

    And I love Waiting Out the Storm. I love how I "fixed" a bad mistake in our family by writing a book that made different choices.

    Family is a crucial component to kids and that's one of the strong messages in Waiting Out the Storm. And of course my tough-as-nails heroine Sarah, a shepherd who dresses in barn boots and flannels, who tackles every job that comes her way, is a great example to young girls everywhere.

    And Sarah is multi-racial, a delightful blend of Native American, African American and Caucasian, but not all of her family appreciated her unique look and spirit.


  30. Great post, Ruthy! Some subjects I can't stomach before breakfast. But heroes are one I definitely can. Yum!

    I hear you on personalty and character trumping looks. It goes without saying a hero is handsome, but exactly what he looks like isn't that important to me because I make up my own image anyhow, despite the author's description of him or what a cover model looks like, if there is one. He just has to be attractive to his heroine. But if he's not a great guy who engages my emotions, I'm out of there. I gotta like him and think he's good enough for the gal or I'm bummed--and not likely to read that author's work in the future.

  31. I've already won one awesome Ruthy book recently, so don't enter me in this drawing, too...but I had to say, what a GREAT post!!! LOVED the hot heroes you chose (*swoon*) and your explanation of the reasons why we adore them. :-)

  32. Dianna, first, I love your premise. In fact I used a similar one in a book I've got that's still waiting for a happy home, where the good-ol' boy cops were actually part of the hero's father's demise and while our hero had an understandable and healthy dislike for cops now (as an adult) his older brother became a trooper, the two boys trying to 'fix' the injustice in very different ways.

    And of course the heroine is a cop. A detective. And a snark.


    So I love the basics. And chapter three...

    Whose POV? Connealy would just have you shoot someone to up the ante, raise the stakes, whereas I'm more cerebral...

    Of course I DID counsel her once to have a kid run out into traffic, an adorable toddler. I think her name was Ruthy, dagnabbit....

    So if it's in her POV, she could be Nikki Heat ticked off by his actions, interference or something, and then have something totally out of the blue go wrong for her as well. The sky falling...

    A baby on her doorstep.

    A stray dog.

    An old man in need of food.

    I love throwing in random things that up the ante but aren't always visible to the reader until later.

    Could we do something like that?

  33. Connealy, see the post above where I did, indeed, use you as a terrible warning of "Shots Fired!!! Everyone Down!!!!"

    But I love the premise for your new story, (THE MORE ABOUT THAT LATER STORY!!!!) the mix of dynamics that bring the hot and heavy cop to his knees in a real Saul/Paul kind of conversion, only to realize no conversion is totally complete.

    Wonderful stuff.

    And it is SO MUCH FUN to torture our heroes. Way more than our heroines in most cases. I'm a little nicer to them, most of the time.

    Not always.


  34. Well, let me tell you the action leading up to this scene, then I'll fill you in on the scene. Maybe you good ladies can trump my creativity with your own.

    A serial killer is on the loose in Atlanta, and my hero has figured out the killer is using his articles on women who serve the community as targets. Of course, with his past reporter troubles (quoting an unverified source cause his mom was dying and his deadline was at hand) makes him look even guiltier. So he shows up at the scene to make sure the victim is not his latest story. Of course, he gets no where and now he's on the heroine's radar? Why is he here? She knows he's not telling the truth, can feel it, and adds him to her suspect list although she's intrigued but can't figure out why.

    The scene I'm having problems with is where the heroine has figured out the connection between the murders and the hero, and her and her partner show up to question him. Previously, he was wimpy, but with the new and improved hero I'm having problems with finding the correct balance between truth telling and evasion without him outright lying.

    I moved the scene into his POV after her accusation because he has the most to loose.

    What do you ladies think?

  35. Keli, I knew you'd get it! ;)

    More than appearance, I love the looks a hero shoots a heroine.






    Those "D" words can make a hero believable.

    And a good dose of humor. Guys who aren't funny are simply not worth it.

  36. Dianna, it could be that you're moving the info at too fast a pace.

    Whaddya think?

    The reporter's got a stake in this investigation...

    So does the detective...

    But smart reporters are cagey....

    And so are detectives....

    So maybe playing the cat and mouse out a little longer puts you in a stronger position to have each one trumping the other.

    Who else has ideas out there??? Jump in, the water's fine. And the food is great. Here, Dianna, grab some of these M&M chocolate chip cookies I made for my sil...

    He gave up chocolate for Lent and this is his reward. Well, and he gave me a grandson, LOL! With a little help from Beth.

  37. Marilyn, sweet thang, so glad you stopped by!!!

    Great hair, girlfriend. Just sayin'...


    And I'm so glad you won Winter's End!!!!


    Have I mentioned how much I LOVE romance????

    sighing a mid-age old gal's happy sigh...

  38. Ruthy, what is the point of having cops in your book if you can't SHOOT someone for entertainment purposes.

    Might as well make EVERYONE a shepherd.

  39. Nice post. A tortured hero I've been enjoying of late is Shemar Moore's character on CBS' Criminal Minds.

    Character makes the man. I notice the looks but if the heart isn't here, they don't matter. If the heart is there, wow, the looks combined with character could create an inferno.


  40. This was amazing. Especially since I just blogged about MY personal favorite hero characteristic today on Inkspirational Messages!!

    And bless you for the pictures . . . Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? Yum. Harmon as Gibbs? Decidedly yummy.

    Definitely put me in the hat for the drawing - I'd LOVE to read your book!!

  41. Oh wow you do have some hot heros here! Just send them all my way, I can take care of them!


  42. Love the tortured hero. It makes him so much more interesting! Thanks for a great post.


  43. Mary, what about an FBI agent, underground, disguised as a shepherd????

    And then we have reason to roast lamb if he's got really bad aim?

    Think WITNESS without the Amish.

  44. Witness without the Amish?

    Isn't that pretty much just Harrison Ford building barns?

  45. Ruthy, what a wonderful, wonderful post!! I love all the heroes you've brought to mind! And now as I'm reading through my mss, I'll be looking to make sure my hero will make you swoon.

    Debra, I can't wait to hear the baby is here!!

  46. Regina, hello! You guys had some great hero points over there this past week.

    And isn't it funny how we know these points, we recognize them, but we sometimes have to juggle words to project them?

    In my WIP, I had to up the stakes because Lyssa knows she CAN'T be interested although she is, and Trent's become willing to test the waters...

    Although he knows he's foolish to do it. It's not even a question in his head. And yet...:

    Noting Lyssa’s constructed look of indifference, Trent figured Jay’s timing was perfect. He’d planted a seed of interest, and half hated himself for doing it, but couldn’t resist.

    Which was what got them into trouble in the first place. Being twelve years older, he should have smartened up some. Older equates wiser, right?

    And yet...

    He wasn't any wiser. Not around her.

    Proximity to Lyssa was a minefield equation. He’d had enough of those during battle. Finally back home, he just wanted peace. Quiet. Normalcy.

    He nodded to Jay, tossed his plate and cup into the trash and trotted off with his son to play a little touch football, hoping that running beneath the hot sun would take his mind off how pretty she looked, tiny holes playing peek-a-boo in her lace-trimmed top, quite feminine and alluring. He knew this because he’d caught two different guys sending looks of interest her way.

    And while he had no claim to her, he recognized the gut-clench feelings those looks inspired and realized he was in deep water. The urge to hold her, laugh with her and protect her grabbed him by the throat and it was all he could do not to stake a claim with an embrace that said, ‘hands off, she’s taken, look elsewhere’.

    Since he had no right to do that, he backed off physically, but made eye contact with both other men, his frank stare cooling their jets for the moment. That maneuver would only last so long. Sooner or later some guy would sweep her off her feet, realize what a wonderful person she was, marry her and have a host of babies to join Cory and Jaden.

    Yeah. Like that was going to happen.

  47. Patricia, hey, girlfriend!

    I haven't seen that show but I've heard it's wonderful.

    Another one who's fun to dissect is Richard Castle from "Castle".

    Definitely a beta mix with alpha qualities, handsome but not pretty, funny, intuitive, and clueless all at once.

    I was going to use him but I'd waxed too long already. Surprise, surprise!!!

    I'll try and catch Criminal Minds, check him out, but I'm with you. It's not the image you see, but the image they emote.

  48. Thanks for the post today. It was great and reminds me of all the different kinds of heroes there are. I think I like the tortured hero the best--needing to find peace for his soul and the heroine that can help him with that process. To see that vulnerable side of a hero. I like this since a lot of men like to try to hide their emotions and vulnerability.

    Can't wait to read your latest book coming out.
    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

  49. Virginia (did I tell you I have a sister with your name????)

    You got 'em, babe! I'm shipping the whole kit and kaboodle of hot, yummy boys/men off to you parcel post.

  50. Thanks, Deb. I think we all love tortured heroes. Or bad boys. And every now and again the totally inept (Tim Allen and Alfred Brenneman (HITCH)) get our vote because they're SO well-meaning that we don't care if they're dorks, just because they love their women so completely.

  51. Mary, you're right. Without Harrison being totally out of place and sync with Kelly McGillis it does just become a barn and horse fest.


    Okay, we leave the Amish in.

  52. Missy, I'm dying to swoon over your new hero.

    And you know I'm always glad to help. :)

    In my sweet, snarky way.

  53. Cynthia, sweet thang, welcome aboard!!!

    You're in, darling girl. And I think we agree on the tortured aspects for the most part.

    But I DO love a well-crafted tortured heroine who DOES NOT WHINE...

    NO WHINING....

    And I only say this because if I try to create a needy heroine....


    And then people smack me down because they whine.

    And I hate whining other than my own.

    It's a slippery slope.

  54. Ruthy!!
    I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEEEE Sweet Home Alabama!!!!! That just made my day! However, between SHA AND Grey's....I'd have to go with my guy, Patrick Dempsey. But, in the movie I definitely like Josh Lucas' home town guy appeal.

    AND Mr. Darcy in this post! Be still my heart!! My best friend Brittany and I LOVE watching the Jane Austen movies! LOL!

    Your book cover is GORGEOUS, girl!! So, glad you posted it : )

    Now Ruthy, I need your help (and everyone else's), Pepper and Mary already put their two cents in about this, so I need a new name for my car (in case you didn't hear, I'm getting my first car!!). It's tradition in our family to name our cars (I know, we're kinda crazy!). They think it should be Freckles. I'm just trying to weigh my options, so if you have a suggestion(s), lemme know!

    Deb, can't wait to hear about the baby!! Let us know....

    Almost headed to tennis practice, talk to you fabulous people later!!


  55. Hannah, I need details. Does one name a baby without knowing gender? Length? Weight? Nose-shape? Ears????

    Of course not, dear.

    To that end, and because I may have missed these pertinent details, please re-share them with our listening/reading audience:





    Coupe or Sedan?

    Ragtop? Yes.... No....

    Auto locks, windows?

    Metallic finish or lustre?

    And hood ornaments???

    And while you know I HATE to disagree with my friends, any car named freckles is most likely rust-pitted, hence the name. And just knowing that's the first thing my head jumped to should curtail any and all intent to use this name if in fact the car IS NOT rust-pitted.

    Okay, so fill me in, dear girl. Details, details, details.

    It's all in the details.

    And Dempsey? Oh mylanta, yes.

    But I'd have picked Lucas too. Just because...


    And you know who I forgot??? One of my other young heart-throbs, Hitch himself, that man in black, Will Smith.

    Oh. My. Stars. What a stinkin' cutie.

  56. Oh, I LOVE Castle!!! Best line in TV Land last week:

    "I was aiming for his head." (Castle)

    Oh, my! I snorted and choked on my own spit laughing at that one. :)

  57. Oh you nailed it, my favorite tortured hero is Gibbs. But I absolutely loved that line about "more children than your other husbands..." What?! I immediately wanted to read the book, lol.

    Awesome post, Ruth. Now I finished my first cookbook and it's out :-) I need to get back to trying my hand at fiction again.
    Thanks, Angie Breidenbach

  58. Angela, way too long, no see, woman!!!!

    And I love that you turned lemons into lemonade with that cookbook. What a great use of your talent and time, but yes, having been privliged to read some Angela stuff back in the day, I hope you keep playing in the fiction arena.




    Preference by L'Oreal.

    That last is because it takes so long for some of us that we go gray then white before the call..

    Unless you're Mrs. Montana 2009...

    Oh mylanta, I'm going to throw stones at my cottage cheese thighs RIGHT NOW!!!!

    Yes, get back to writing and congrats on a job well done...

    And don't you just love that line from Mary's book???? And I HATE TO FEED HER EGO any more than I already have (something I'm LOATHE to do on a regular basis) but the girl has a modicum of talent. As long as there are firearms involved.


    Thanks for stopping by, kiddo! So nice to see you. Kind of.

    I meant kind of 'see you' not kind of nice.... sheesh.... you get it.

  59. Missy, I'm STILL waiting for an hour (well, 46 min., actually) to watch this season. Bethy got me the DVD of the first season and the second DVD is flawed. So I saw the first ones and the last ones...


    Love it. That and NCIS.

    Ziva is like the female version of Jason Bourne and just as captivating. As needy. The perfect blend of knowing and wanting...

    Love her.

  60. Awesome blog....Gibbs...every Tuesday night...and reruns every night....SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Did I say I love Gibbs and the Gibbs slap! He's my hot hero. Thank you for including his Picture too!

    Please enter me into your giveaway & thank you for the opprotunity!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  61. MISSY!!!! CASTLE IS PURELY AMAZING!!!!!!! There is absolutely NO way around that!!

    ; )

    Anyway, Ruthy it's a 1999 Ford Escort Sport. And *drumroll please!* it's red!! Lol! Totally not what I would've expected for me : )
    It's 11 years old (used car), but the same owner has had it all 11 years. We know her, she used to work with my mom. The only reason she's selling the car now is because her hubby is making her buy a new car....says it's time for a new one! has handcrank windows (don't know what you want to call it, lol!). Air conditioning AND heat in working condition (a necessity for us crazy Northerners, eh!?). CD player. Little bit of rust that I'm going to get fixed rather shortly because my uncle knows someone at work who will give me a discount (YAY! It pays to know people!). Kinda low to the ground and loudish (it IS a sport *grin*).

    I think that's everything....It looks like this:

    Thanks, talk to you later!!



  62. Oh! I forgot to tell you that I just put up a new post about Funny Church Signs! I think everyone would love it, so if you have time please stop by my blog at:

    I'd love to see you there!!

  63. Okay, Hannah, that car is NOT a Freckles...

    Maybe a "Twizzler"...

    Or "Cherry-Bomb"

    Or "Ruthinator" (had to try...)

    Or "Project 101" (a clever combo of your blog and your college career)

    Or Red Snapper

    Or JuJuBee

    Or Red Lightning

    Or Schnizzle-me-Nizzle

    A little fun imagination here, please!

    My kids named their cars, some of them anyway.

    Beth's yellow neon is Skittles.

    Luke's blue Neon was Shnizzle Me Nizzle.

    Or something like that. I think Sarah's was the Gray Ghost or something weird.

    But I could be making that up.

    The old family Station Wagon, an '86 Chevy Caprice with a v-8??

    The Dragon.

    I'm in your corner, kid. Naming cars is cool.

    and so are you.



  64. Cindy, I know what you mean. I have to go on a two month hiatus with no talk of Leroy Jethro Gibbs...

    But since Jeter's back in town, I can talk about him, LOL!!!

    And Pride. Power. Pinstripes.


    Baseball season begins once again.

  65. Hidee Ruthy,
    GREEEEEAT post! Did you mean to put me in your post 'his salt for her pepper' - or was that by accident ;-)

    Oh dear, you are so right. The responses, actions, and internal monologue of the hero is what makes us fall in love with him.

    Love it, love your exmples, and can't wait to read your new book.

    Love ya

  66. Oh man, Ruthy! You'll have me applauding your words and wisdom far into the night.

    I was hooked when you mentioned Mitch. Heart fluttered when Jason came on board. Breath in quick gasps with Mr. Darcy.

    But when you brought out the big guns and actually offered a picture of Gibbs...Oh Mylanta (sorry, no other phrase would do)!!!! Drooling buckets and positively swooning!

    You brought out the best of the men in the worst of their situations. And each and every one of them behaves a gentleman...maybe the very edge of gentlemanlyness, but completely wonderful nonetheless.

    Hey! Ol' Marc DeHollander had a couple heartstopping moments. And Brooks is no slouch either : )

    Way too many choices. I think I'll just go back to the beginning and reread the entire encounter again.

    When's that 2nd book of yours coming out? Should've been back to back to back!!

  67. I read these excerpts before work and am just getting back.

    All I have to say is YUMMMMMY!!!!!

  68. Audra, I had a strange hunkering for that cowboy hero of yours when I read Rocky Mountain Hero, sweetness....

    Oh my stars. So delightful. And just a hint needy. Wonderful.

    Dickerson, I like Ladybug! Now that's a solid name for a sporty red car regardless of age. Now we're talkin'!!!




  69. Teeeeeeena, you got a minute to breathe and stop in????

    Thanks, darlin' girl. I love that Teeeeeeeena's schedule makes mine look positively EASY....

    Which keeps me focused and on-task throughout the day. Or maybe it's the competitive spirit that says if she can do it, I can too.

    Or it might be that she dared me once... And I can't resist a dare.

    I am evil. And easily led down the paths of naughtiness.

  70. I'd love to be entered for your book, Ruthy. Which reminds me I want to get the ebook of your other one. Keep forgetting to download it to my iPhone!

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  71. LOL! Ladybug, that's so cute!! My stepmom's car is Penelope and my best friend's is The Polar Bear (it's a big white minivan *wink*)!

    Ruthy, I like your suggestions. : D The car is being dropped off either tomorrow morning or Sunday (I'm hoping tomorrow!!). I think it's really going to help seeing it again, so I can really choose the proper name.

    Also, my mom and I decided that I'm going to get the rust fixed NOW. Which means.....shortly I'm going to have {essentially} a brand new car!! WOOOO! Lol....seriously though, it'll look it!

    Better than nothing.....

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