Monday, August 29, 2011

Hot and Wholesome Women! Smokin' Qualities Every Heroine Needs and What Your Hero Longs For!!!!

'Mornin', Seekerville! :)

Hey, I know we're all praying for victims of Hurricane Irene. We all know it could have been worse, but the storm has left a lot of damage, pain and suffering in its wake. And we know God wants us to help others. Reach out.

Thank you all for all you do, sung and unsung. You truly bless us here with your smiles, your love, your back-and-forth and your prayers. And since I got to meet Boog Powell (Baltimore slugger from Made to Order Family) on Friday before Irene came ashore, I was totally psyched to be in Oriole-country and see Camden Yards! Only sorry the storm cut my visit short...

I'm going to start this post with a famous quote from one of Julie Lessman's first reviews:

"This tale of sibling rivalry isn't your mother's Christian fiction!"

And it's not. Not by a long shot, and that's HUGE for aspiring authors. Now, before you harangue me and throw tomatoes, and whine about how you're not allowed to write about birth, death, sex, great bodies, passion, desire, yaddi, yaddi, yah....

Take a breath. 'Cause it ain't true. And since there are a whole bunch of us who are living proof that rules can be broken, follow this line of thought: Don't bemoan the lack of something. It's a negative trap. Avoid it. Become the supplier and then wait your turn at the well. It's amazing how persistence pays off. Remember how Rebekah came to draw water from the well ...

And Abraham's servant worried that he'd mess up, because a bride for Isaac was a BIG DEAL, so he asked God's help in choosing a bride for Abraham's son...

And Rebekah came forth and not only offered to get water for the manservant, but water for the camels, too. And camels LIKE WATER. A lot.

Her acts, her work ethic, her generosity made her notable. Abraham wanted a principled woman of faith for his son. The chapter also says she was beautiful and a virgin, so a young woman of pure heart who tries her best to honor her gift of life by obeying the commandments. A treasure, no doubt.

So which portrait paints the story more accurately in your mind?



According to the Bible verse, I'm going with number one, but the Italian painter of number two obviously had umm... different ideas.

Today if we had a woman who went the distance to help and still looked lovely, we'd say she 'cleans up well'. A whole heroine is MORE than the sum of her visible parts, but there's no denying that men are drawn to curves. To shape. To sass. To gentleness. To a smile. To a need. To a nice pair of hips that look great in tight jeans.

So then it comes down to how you tell it, right????

We women like great heroes, but we showed on Saturday that it's not all about LOOKS... Passion and desire flare for a variety of reasons, some of which defy explanation, but LOOKS ALONE DON'T CUT IT.

Although they may initiate things. Get the ball rolling. Ignite those early flames of interest.

Remember the rockin' cute dance babe in Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"? Saucy blonde chick who stuck out her hand and said, "Charmed, I'm sure!" in a tough Jersey accent...

And Bing's expression of interest went no farther because looks aren't everything. But they are something...
Or we could go straight to the SuperBowl commercial with a taken aback Faith Hill and the young man in love who sends a floral arrangement with a short and appreciative message about his girl's... um... chest.


As funny as that was, it won't wash in most inspirational fiction applications, so we need to finesse it a little. And a dash of maturity doesn't hurt.

"The dress clung to her shape and said 'all grown up' in easy-to-read letters."

"Her dress whispered as she walked, a soft swish of nearly-see-through gauze spouting familiarity with her hips, her legs. Right now he was downright jealous of a fabric."

"Was her hair as soft as it looked? Was she? More than anything he wanted in a long time, he longed to know."

And what about a woman's attitude? Sauce? Sass? Humble? Soft-spoken? Brash? Retiring? Effervescent?

Whoa. Whole 'nother ball game.

Now, Vince and Walt are reading this, scratching their heads and wrinkling their noses and wondering if I ever read the whole Mars vs. Venus controversy, and they're thinkin' I'm missing a big component, that men are VISUAL romantics and looks do matter....

Dudes. I agree. And I'm thinkin' in their own way looks matter more to you than they do to us, but here's the down-low: Most romance readers are women. And we love being appreciated, not just ogled. And we love being respected, not just lusted over. We love being helped, but not bossed around. And we long for a partner who is strong enough to take over as needed, and gentle enough to let us be ourselves.

Although that desire is a huge part of romantic entanglement, right?

So if you were writing for a male audience, the Faith Hill commercial gets an appreciative guffaw, even if the guys know it's a little tasteless. But as women authors, we need to be aware of how men REALLY see us. If we get too flowery or 'purple' NO ONE WILL BELIEVE IT because what guy gets all moony-eyed and goofy openly?

Naw, we've got to see women through MEN'S eyes when we're in his POV...

'Yeah, she was hot. Smokin' hot. And just as off limits as she'd been eight years ago. Definitely not worth the effort of a clean shirt.'

Or how about this one:

Had his upper lip sweated in the past?

He thought not.

But then she'd never worn anything like this before, either, the v-neck halter showcasing curves he'd been pretending not to notice for six months. He could have hesitated. Waited. Wondered. But he hadn't gotten where he was in corporate America by doing any of the above, so he strode across the room, grasped her hand and had her on the dance floor in three-point-eight seconds, possibly a world's record. In true form, he'd made his move, with no regrets, but now that he'd staked a claim, what on earth was he going to do with her?

Dance, for starters.

Okay, your turn. Show us what you've got. Share a few lines in male POV that show me a smokin' hot babe without breaking the rules. Be brave. Big. Bold. I've got two delightful little baskets of goodies up for grabs, including a signed copy of Mended Hearts (YES, I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!) and a friend of Seekerville book tossed in because I love ya's. And if you'd prefer the books in e-reader format, just let me know. I can click buttons with the best of 'em!

Coffee's brewin'... Easy breakfast today, gotta work on A Family to Cherish.... So it's bagels, cream cheese, cinnamon rolls and a bowl of fresh peaches, plums and pears. Gotta' love fresh fruit season here in upstate!


Walt Mussell said...

Seeing a woman through a man's POV. I will definitely be checking in.

Helen Gray said...

Since you've already taken care of the coffee, I've brought juice and tea. Drink up.

Looking forward to reading Mended Hearts, soon as I get my greedy little paws on a copy of it.

Ruthy, whadudja do to Blogger? It's acting hateful tonight.


Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

Do they call it fiction
because it’s true?
Does it really need
to be a male POV?

They wear makeup on tv to look normal not made-up. They can’t use real gunshots in the movies because real gunshots are too short in duration to sound real. Only the fake sounds real.

Real is what the reader expects to be real.

That something really happened is never a justification to do it in fiction. Fiction demands more from reality than reality demands from fiction.

The heroine spent an hour on her hair
Getting it to look natural:
true beauty without a care.


”The masquerade ball was populated with slave girls, belly dancers and bikini queens. Then Mary arrived covered from head-to-toe in her Gilded-age gown, gift wrapped as a treasure only the right man would have the honor to open. He could think of only one thing. His eyes saw only her beauty. She became the only woman there.”



P.S. A prayer and affirmation that all our friends are safe and back with power and will share with us their friendship.

P.P.S. Not being one to resist temptation, I read “Mended Hearts” an age ago. Oh, how I’d like to win, the chance to read it for the first time, again.

vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

Nancy Kimball said...

That was definitely his Mickey Mouse t-shirt. But what was it doing on Ivy? The way the t-shirt fit her, or, didn't fit her, to be more precise, had Mickey's ears stretched as big as Dumbo's.
Stop staring at her chest you idiot.
"Russell, are you okay?"
Of course he wasn't. His t-shirt rested against skin he'd only been able to touch when lifting her from the wheelchair. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just wondering why you're wearing my clothes, and what your roommate's gonna think."
Ivy grinned as she rolled past him to shut the door he'd left standing open. "She'd say you're so determined to make things up to me you actually gave me the shirt off your back."
Ivy could always be trusted to find the good in everything, and Russell couldn't help but be drawn to her because of it. He reassured himself it was her personality that kept him coming back, not the body that belonged on glossy pages shoved under a mattress. After all, the first time he'd met Ivy, she'd been wearing a raincoat. That had to count for something.

Helen said...

What an exciting little challenge!

She blew into the room like the blustering breeze that filled the air outside. Edward looked up from his book. She was disturbing his peace, again. He tried to be annoyed, but how could he be angry at such a sight? He tried to return his focus to his book, only to find himself rythmically turning unread pages in time to the swooshing of her soft skirt that lapped gently at her knees.

His mouth went dry, and he convinced himself it was because she had brought in the hot summer air with her. Desperately in need of a drink, he forced his eyes upwards to her smooth face and hoped the crystal blue waters of her eyes would quench his thirst. It didn't. With no where safe to look, he stood abruptly and strode through the side door out to the balcony. It was surprisingly cooler and easier to breathe in the thick humid air.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Walt, toss in here. Hopefully Blogger will be feeling better later. Indigestion, mayhap? Or problems due to Irene?

The hussy.

Helen, you're in, chickie! And then you have to tell me what you think once you've read it.

I tried loading more pics last night, but I'm lucky I got in the ones I did.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, you're right of course. But what's your take on it? As a guy?

I see it as a fine balance between desire and restraint, like the newest Lady Antebellum song "Just a Kiss Goodnight"...

Poignant, rife with emotion, and evocative.

Without being TOO schmoozy cutesy.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Nancy, I love it. Proper appreciation for Mickey under stress, LOL! I can't say much because something's not happy in this program right now, but I love the idea behind this, the whole wearing a raincoat thing.... Nice way to bring us into the story.

Jessica Nelson said...

Well, I'm pretty sure I haven't nailed male pov the way you have. :-) If I didn't have to go I'd send in a few lines but I love yours!! And that pic of the girl at the well. LOL Italians. :-P

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, that totally painted a picture for me! And I love having another Helen around, I LOVE your name. Strong. Solid. Historic. Lovely.

And I like how your comparison showed the depth of his feelings, that even the humid outside air was more comfortable than being caught inside with her.

Great job.

Audra Harders said...

100% Ruthy today!

Oh my goodness, can you nail the attitude or what? I'm still snickering at your last line--

"...but now that he'd staked a claim, what on earth was he going to do with her?"

LOL! That sums up my husband in a nutshell, and of course, he is the model for all my heros : )

When is comes the whole male/female thing, both sides can talk a bit of smack, but when it all comes down to the nineth inning, scores tied, bases loaded, is our hero going to punt or swing for the stands?

My money's on giving it all he's got.

Ahhh, don't you just love a hero with chutzpah??

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Ruthy, After seeing all the flooding in upstate NY I was wondering if you'd be here. So glad you are.

And as sassy as ever. LOL. Yes. Audra you nailed it. This post has Ruthy written all over it.

Love the examples from Nancy and Helen. Can hardly wait to read more.

Fun topic Ruthy girl.

Jan Drexler said...

I try to run my male POV scenes past my dear husband - he usually tells me that I'm "close enough". Then I remind him that I'm writing for women. He shrugs and goes back to his paper.

These excerpts are from a short story - the first time Sam sees Lisa (Sam is working at his family's fruit stand):

The next car that pulled into the gravel parking area had just one occupant. When the driver got out Sam gave a low whistle. From the top of her stylish red hairdo to the tips of her black pumps, this lady was all champagne and prime rib.

And a week later, when all he's done for a week is think about her:

Now that was a familiar voice. Sam turned to see his red haired beauty. She wasn’t so stylish this time, dressed in a t-shirt and capris. Instead of champagne and prime rib, she was fresh apple cider and donuts.
“Don’t tell anyone,” he said, leaning close to her so the other customers wouldn’t hear, “but those two bags happen to be on the house.”
Her face was sweet even when she gave him a mock frown. “You’ll never survive in business with those prices.”
“No, but it makes life a lot more interesting.”
Her laugh was like honey. “My name is Lisa.”
“Sam.” He took the hand she held out to him. How could he tell her that she brightened his day? How the memory of her smile made every day feel full of promise?

I'm looking forward to reading what everyone else shares!

KC Frantzen said...

Super post today.

How right you are with the "negative" mental attitude. SO TRUE!

I'm going to be just a lurker today... for now at least. I'm dashing out shortly and you've given us homework. Super ones posted thus far!!!

Waving to, and praying for, all who were in Irene's path.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica, I tried to post before, but Blogger is eating my replies...

Play later if you have time, and THANK YOU for the compliment. After 4 brothers, one husband, 4 sons and a couple of fathers/in-laws, oh my stars... Nailing guy-speak from a woman's perspective is good... Nailing it so that guys like it... That's the goal, right?

But since my romances are pretty much a woman-dominated audience, I'm happy if they're happy. Which kind of goes back to Vince's definition of fiction/real.

In house repair we call it "Eye Sweet"... If it LOOKS GOOD to the eye, then it doesn't matter if the level is slightly off... because no house is completely level.

Same thing!

Erica Vetsch said...

This one totally cracked me up:

"The dress clung to her shape and said 'all grown up' in easy-to-read letters."


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Audra, thank you! :)

I loved how your hero Gabe felt like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, but persevered. He hung in. He stayed the course.

I love guys with staying power and I think that's why women cling to romance even more now, because staying power isn't what it used to be.

But in books, we make it work.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan, that opening is like Billy Currington's "Good Directions"...

And I love that song! About the high class chick who stops by his veggie stand for directions...

And sparks fly.

I love the opening, the champagne and prime rib nailed the ending. I'd probably tighten the opening lines, though, in guy-head, but that might just be voice.

And then the swing-around for the next part is perfect. The move from prime rib to sweet cider...

Again, I'd probably tighten the opening sentences like a thought process.

A voice interrupted his transaction.

Her voice.

Something like that that flows from brain process and not storytelling, but I love the follow through and the free fruit...


And have you seen Blake Shelton's video about "honey bee"... You should watch it, the guy shopping at the girl's honey stand, great mood setter....

Ruth Logan Herne said...


SMILE..... ;)

That's what you've given me all day long, my friend!

Missy Tippens said...

What a fun post, Ruthy! This male pov is something I need to work on. I tend to write men a little too beta on that first draft. :)

Lorna Faith said...

Love the creative lines in male POV:) Still learning the art of thinking "in a man's head." Thanks for the excercise...could you give me your feedback? What would you change to make it more exciting or real?

Alex blinked his eyes a few times to rid himself of the apparition in front of him. Maybe the hot sun had made his eyes play tricks on him.

Rubbing his hand across his eyes he looked again.

There she stood. Like Eve placed before Adam, she wowed his senses in all her natural beauty. Her thick auburn hair hung in waves down to her waist framing her classic features. The smattering of freckles over her rosy nose and cheeks only served to enhance her innocent look.

Alex’s gaze looked at her simple peasant dress that hung loosely over her slim frame. The white blouse and long brown skirt that hung to her shoes, couldn’t hide her womanly curves. He mentally stopped his imagination from working overtime.The girls back in his village would be jealous. Even in simple peasant garb, she outshone all those who added all the extra’s to make themselves beautiful. His eyes met hers with a steady gaze. Big sea green eyes framed by dark lashes looked up at him first with uncertainty then with awareness. She stepped back.

Alex knew the moment she recognized him from the estate. He remembered rescuing her but didn’t think they would meet again so soon.

I would love to be entered for a chance to win your book:)

thanks for the great post,

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, FUN, FUN!!!!! Gosh, Ruthy, this is my FAVORITE kind of post!!! LONG LIVE MALE POV!!!! And, I'm sorry, darlin', but you canNOT expect me to stop at one one example or even just a few lines!!

Here's a few lines from The Cousins McClare where the hero Jamie MacKenna is dancing with the heroine Cassie McClare:

At six-foot-two, he towered over her by at least a foot, a slip of a thing adrift in pale-peach satin with wisps of spun gold fluttering about her neck. The wide eyes, hint of freckles and flaxen hair gave her a dainty, almost fragile air that made him feel more like a man than all the boxing matches, street fights or innocent flirtations he’d shared in the past. Palm warm against her back, he spun her around a little more quickly than before, pulse accelerating when she dropped her head back with eyes closed and a throaty, little-girl giggle that literally vibrated his skin. His gaze traced from the curve of her neck to the hollow of her throat, and his breathing thickened at the thought of his lips doing the same. He exhaled slowly, desperate to project the air of casual confidence he’d honed to a fine art in this society in which he longed to rise to the top. Easy does it, MacKenna …


Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY, since Mitch is your fav of my heroes (and mine, too, along with Luke McGee), I just couldn't let this post past without a jaw-grinding Dennehy POV when Charity is up to her same old tricks of seduction in A Passion Redeemed.

The moment she took off her coat and slid into the booth, he started praying for strength. God help him, she had never looked lovelier—pale blue silk blouse cut with a deep V, enough to hint at the fullness of her breasts if she dared to lean over. And, oh, she dared. Resting her elbows on the table, she bent forward and crossed her arms, the deep V causing him deep pain. The only thing that saved him was the cascade of silky hair that fell down the front of her blouse, only slightly obscuring temptation. His cheek twitched as he pinned his gaze to her face. “What do you want, Charity?” he hissed, tone as rock hard as his jaw.


Vince said...

Hi Audra:

You wrote:

“when it all comes down to the ninth inning, scores tied, bases loaded, is our hero going to punt or swing for the stands?”

If he punts, where is he going to get the football? That’s going to be one surprised outfielder!

Did you mean ‘bunt’? With the scored tied a bunt could be the most daring thing to do! Unless it is the top of the ninth.

See, it’s not a good idea to use sports analogies around men. : )


Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks Ruthy & Sandra =)
I'm glad I got mine posted before Julie. Who wants to follow that? :p

Andrea Strong said...

Okay, this is probably weak, but it's spur of the moment. It does actually fit right where I am in my WIP right now.

A brilliant white sheet hung between Cal and Rose as he approached the enormous clothesline. Rose’s shadow appeared on the sheet as the morning sun shined through it. She reached to remove the pins holding the sheet, and his breath caught at the sight of her curves silhouetted before him. Her hair, pinned in an efficient if sloppy bun, was just visible above the clothesline. He paused for a moment remembering the strength in her slight frame and the softness of those copper curls hanging loose as he had held her yesterday for that brief moment.
What was he doing? Staring at Rose Carter’s figure? For pity’s sake, the woman had just been widowed. She was his dead wife’s best friend. Good grief, Calvin, get hold of yourself!

I'm definitely in for the drawing. We're broke, so I 'm on a book-buying hiatus right now. Let me tell you, it's starting to chafe.

andeemarie95 (at) gmail (dot) com

Jan Drexler said...

Ruthy, you hit the nail on the head. Billy Currington's "Good Directions" was the inspiration for this story. Thanks for the hints on tightening it up!

Although I've already submitted it - I should have run it past you first! - but if it comes back I'll work on redoing some of those transitions.

And I'm with Nancy - glad I got in there before Julie!

First day of school here, and a little bittersweet - my youngest is a senior this year, so it's my last first-day-of-school. I've loved this homeschooling journey!

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

“In house repair we call it "Eye Sweet"... If it LOOKS GOOD to the eye, then it doesn't matter if the level is slightly off... because no house is completely level.”

This is dead on. Even the great Parthenon was build disproportionately so that it would look like it was proportionate. You had to build it wrong to make it look like you built it right.

Remember Billy Crystal’s famous line: “I’d rather look good than feel good”?

That’s fiction. It’s hard to think of anything less like reality than fiction! Look at a book. Then look at a person. How much alike are they?

Consider your two painting. The second painting has the subjects in then modern clothes so they would look normal to the masses. People back then didn’t know all the different clothing styles thru the ages.

That’s why one author said he lies for a living.

What’s that movie where the colonel tells Tom Cruise, “You can’t stand the truth”?

I’m not sure romance can stand the real male POV. Far, far, better to enjoy the female view of the male POV. : )


Tina Radcliffe said...

Ruth, are all those examples from your LI books? They are marvelous.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lorna, this evokes good, strong emotion and flash of desire. Well done!

Again, I think it's too long for the emotional pack and punch you want it to have. I played for timing, for quickness, because sometimes that spacing, those 'beats' are our best friends for setting a scene. See what you think, kiddo:

He blinked once.

Then, again.

But she was still there, her natural beauty not hidden by peasant garb. And her hair...

That hair...

Some shade of red he couldn't describe, it flowed long and free, begging his attention. His touch. It hadn't been so pristine when he hauled her from the lake (or whereever he rescued her)

But now? The hair, the woman, the shape cajoled attention despite the innocence of the moment.

She lifted her gaze, first cautious, then knowing.

Vince said...

Country Songs?

For the ideal female POV of the male POV, look at this country song video: (Look it Up)

and then for a real male POV, look at this video: (Honky Tonk Badonkadonk)

They are both true.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Mitch...



Jules, I still love him. I'm such a dork. And I still keep telling him to find someone new, someone more deserving....

Very much like I did when reading GWTW, LOL!!!

Great scenes from both, I love the warm cadence of your words. Lovely. Just lovely.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan, Lisa Wingate's Texas Cooking series was a set of three books set up like this. You should read them just for the fun of seeing how Lisa developed the background and characters. Because she wasn't writing for an inspirational house, she had more latitude, but even so she kept it well within light inspy boundaries. Very nicely done.


Piffle... Although couldn't you just feel the heat from those. Grab your fans, ladies, Julie's on board and the temperature's rising!

But we all have our own way of raising the ante, hiking the steam, pushing the envelope, so it's not about how Jules or I do it, but about slam-dunking the timing. Make the emotion ring like the Liberty Bell on a sunny day, and that's WAY EASIER in a man's POV because they're more immediate.

Women stew, worry, whine, dither, wither, wonder, blah, blah, blah...

Men act.

Mary Connealy is EXCELLENT at defining this through the actions of her heroes and heroines, and I love that in her work. Just love it. It propels you into the moment, pulls you back, then pushes you forward again, like being on a carnival ride without the nausea.

There's a compliment in there somewhere. I think. ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Andrea, lose the description and go right to the silhouette, because that jumped out at me so vividly that the whole brilliant white sheet...

Who cares?

We got curves workin'... Thoughts brewin'...

And her hair... Keep it at sloppy, lose the 'efficient' because that's not on his mind... And you're in his head, so he'd notice that it's slipping its pins, etc., but I'm not of a mind that his brain is thinking "EFFICIENT"...

No way. No how. ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, you're dead on. Spot on. Dead to rights. Take your pick.

So 'skewing' it to how women think men think, works.

So it's ALMOST male POV, but gives them credit for thinking of other things... And our men tend to listen in romance novels.



So yeah, fiction is fiction. And my husband still refuses to work via a script.



Ruth Logan Herne said...

Teenster, no.

Made up for this. I was running out of time because the weekend got messed up so I made them up.

Which makes your comment ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!!! ;)

Thank you.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, I love you. That is so true.

And the new Luke Bryan song "Country Girl Shake it For Me"

Oh, yeah.

Total guy.

Where the woman would be thinking a peach pie for him is just the ticket.

How do we ever get together????

Vince said...

Hi Nancy:

"Mickey's ears stretched as big as Dumbo's"

I love it. It doesn’t get any better than this. Please tell me it’s in a book that I can order today.


Lorna Faith said...

I love it Ruthy! Thanks so much for your's more emotional and dramatic now that you've tweaked it:) Gives me a good idea where to head with male POV!

thanks again for the help and tips...


Andrea Chermak said...

Ruthy, Ruthy Ruthy...making me laugh out loud with a mouth full of Fritos. As someone who loves to push those boundaries, I can definitely relate to this post!

Jamie Adams said...

Not sure if I'm feeling brave today or just want to be entered into the contest. Maybe both. Here goes:

Wesley mounted the ornery nag he’d been stuck with and turned back to wave. They weren’t looking at him. Marybeth’s face was turned to the bowlegged cowhand. The corners of her rosy lips tugged slightly until finally turning upward into a full smile that lit her face.

The pit of Wesley’s stomach twisted liked he’d just eaten a plate of bad beans.

Still sitting in the saddle as if he didn’t know if he were coming or going Wesley watched the cowpoke hand something to the preacher’s daughter. She looked down just as a blustery breeze blew in from off the Humboldt. Her glorious golden hair waft in the wind as the pull of air pressed her calico dress closer, revealing the form of her slender body. Wesley’s heart stopped.

What was he thinking? There wasn’t room in his life for a sweetheart or time to waste mooning over a woman that apparently belonged to another. Turning in the saddle Wesley rode off, the sound of laughter trailing behind him.

Casey said...

Ah Ruthy! I always feel on the spot with writing assigments. And I don't do romance.



Fine. I'll do it. Don't say I didn't warn you...


I quickly cut my gaze away from the bit too much flesh slipping from the top of the woman's too-tight shirt. I searched the crowd, my gaze hungry for a glimpse of what real beauty looked like in human form. I caught the eye of my wife, Annie and she waggled her pinkie at me, our little signal that she saw, she got it and she wouldn't rather have anyone else. I couldn't slip the smile from my face. And truth be told, I wouldn't want to.



But GREAT post! So often we hear about the heroes, so this is great to read more about the heroine. So many great points Ruthy. I've told Pepper she just needs to write me my perfect hero and then breathe him to life for me. ;-)

I catalogued notes!

Pepper said...

Wow, this is going to be intimidating!
How closely do you think Walt & Vince are watching?

Hmmm, I'm gonna have to check my work and come back later (after my lunch break)

oooo, maybe something speculative :-)

Kirsten Arnold said...

Great post! It’s so true that when writing in the hero’s POV one doesn’t want to wax too eloquent. And I love that Inspirational lines are realizing that men are men and women are women no matter what their religious beliefs. And when a woman sees a hunk or a man sees a beauty, they’re going to react to it.

Here’s my contribution for today. I hope it falls within the rules.

Meg flew from the parlor and stopped short. Ethan’s breath slammed to a halt. This was not the sixteen year old girl he’d left back on the Virginia farm. Nope, Meg was all woman. She stood there staring, so he grabbed the opportunity to let his eyes wonder. Thick mahogany locks were tightly secured in a twist, but just like the girl he remembered a few tendrils rebelled and framed her hearts shaped face. Sapphire eyes filled with wisdom only experience can give glistened back at him. He stopped there for a moment searching. There she was. His Meg. Behind intelligence, shock and sorrow mischief and humor danced. A slight shift arrowed his gaze to the soft sway of skirt and petticoats, and finally small bare feet peeking beneath. Great laughter boomed from his soul. He’d found her…or rather she’d found him.


P.S. Thanks to all for prayers during the hurricane. I took evacuate to a new level and came to Wyoming. I heard from my landlords yesterday and our place survived without damage. We won’t have power for a few days, but electricity can be restored other things cannot.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Great topic today, Ruthie! One of my stories is from the male POV and it was SO hard to keep from putting my own words in the guy's mouth and mind. Not too many men notice let alone describe pale pink chiffon, wispy clouds in a peach sunset or the fragrance of peppermint toothpaste during a kiss. LOL.

Myra Johnson said...

Thought-provoking topic, Ruthy!

Vince said, "Real is what the reader expects to be real."

And since most readers of romantic fiction are women, it makes sense that heroes are written with a woman's sensibilities in mind. We women know how we WISH a real-life hero would act and react. So as long as he comes across as believable within the parameters of the story, it works.

Oh, and, uh, I'll take Julie's uber-romantic heroes any day!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lorna, good! :)

Andrea, LOL! I can see those Frito crumbs all over your keyboard. And those suckers are tough to shake out!

It's a hard line to hold, how much snark/desire/visual is too much, especially in today's world. So I err on keeping it respectful but clear.

And that's not a bad balance, right?

Naomi Rawlings said...

This is kind of fun. Here goes nothing:

He glanced toward the hotel and the now dark banquet room, then extended his hand to her. “Let’s get you to the carriage, then I’ll go hunt up Sam and Jackson.”

She hesitated for the briefest second, something unreadable flashing across those bottomless eyes, then placed her gloved hand in his.

Tarnation, did that have to be small and delicate too? Couldn’t the Good Lord have made some part of the woman undesirable? Blessed her with a big nose or unseemly freckles? Carrot orange hair or a laugh that sounded like a pig snort?

He swallowed and brushed his thumb over the top of her knuckles. Shafts of silvery moonlight filtered through the tree limbs above, illuminating the gentle curve of her pink cheek, the fragile column of her creamy neck, the spilling waves of her mahogany hair.

“Come on,” he said a bit too roughly and pulled her forward.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jamie, you're feeling brave and I'm lovin' it.

Here's the scissors, darling.

Let's chop/slice/dice/cut.


I'm not changing your voice, but I'm thinking we're hearing way too much in this delightfully well written scene. (Now you're scratching your head, saying "HUH? How can it be well-written if she wants to take an ax to it????)

We need Wesley stronger. More vital. Tougher. Possibly a touch more arrogant. He can't get on the old nag, so the first thing we do is lose the horse and give him a real mount, think Dan in "The Man From Snowy River" Tom Burlinson's mount... A mount meant for a man. Trusty. True. Brave.

Unless you're doing young adult and it's coming of age, because this works fine for that. Learning to assert and prove yourself is a part of YA novels, right?

But let's say it isn't.

His gut twisted like he'd just downed a plate of half-bad beans.

She didn't turn. Didn't wave. Didn't send him off with that sweet smile she'd been flashing all day, although something the bow-legged. buck-toothed scalawag cowhand said made her laugh out loud, and the laugh...

Her laugh...

Made him itch to dismount, knock some sense into the cowhand, kiss the daylights out of her, and ride off into the sunset, just the two of them.

He nudged the horse forward and refused to look back. He didn't have time for spooning and mooning, and courting a girl?

Ridiculous. Not now. Maybe not ever.

A part of him longed to glance back. See if she slanted him a look, a peek. Maybe a wave.

He shoved that part down deep and low, lowered his chin and the brim of his hat and headed out, singular and solid. Like always.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Casey, brave girl! ;)

Good for you.

So yours is a fun excerpt because we get that he's married, that he's in a situation, and that he's dealing the best he can, right?

I'd like to see more about Annie in it, even though I know it's an excerpt. That her reassurance makes him feel something, even if it's the silent communication. The belief in him. The warmth, the continuity, the thought of her waving goodbye in the morning as she heads off to work. Or he does.

So a smidge of her through his eyes.

Here's an idea starter, Case:

Too much chest.

He hid the inborn grimace, realized he might have thought differently twelve years back, but time and maturity told him women should buy shirts that fit.

This one didn't get the memo.

He spotted Annie chatting with a new contributor half-a-room away. She sized up the situation from her vantage point, dropped him a wink and a smile, and that smile...

The smile he fell in love with eight long years ago...

The smile he saw so often before they lost the baby...

That smile told him she got it, she understood, she knew him well enough to trust him completely. But some things were out of his control.

travelingstacey said...

I've got a story brewing in my mind, so this is what I envision (in rough form) of the first encounter of my hero/heroine. Warning...this is not even close to being as steamy as Julie's : ).

The blistering sun beat down as he worked the barbed wire fencing. The dust cloud rising in the distance caught his eye. He squinted past the heat waves that blurred his vision. Dad was back.
He finished the last post and strode over to the water bucket. Might as well clean up a little before meeting his widowed cousins.
It had been a while since he'd been around women. A few dipperfulls of water over his head should make him presentable enough. As the wagon pulled up, Jud ran his hands through his hair and shoved his Stetson back on.
"Son," his dad said as he handed down the first cousin, an older woman about his father's age, "this is cousin Naomi." Jud tipped his hat. Naomi appeared as he had expected. A motherly-type who had the look of loss in her eyes. But when she looked over at the other woman on the wagon seat, her face brightened. Jud followed her gaze. "And this," his father continued, "is Rosalyn." This was nothing Jud had expected. Molasses hair was falling in loose strands around porcelain skin. As her dark green eyes stared into his, dreams and hopes he never knew he had ignited in his heart. Could she be the one he'd waited for? "Jud," came the deep voice of his father, jerking him back to reality, "close your mouth, son, and help her down." A little embarrassed, Jud reached up and put his hands around her small waist. He didn't want to let loose of the silky fabric of her dress, not to mention the hint of soft flesh he felt beneath as his hands gripped her. He wished then that he had used more than just a few dipperfuls of water to clean up. Rosalyn didn't seem to notice. Her eyes returned to her elder relative. As the wind blew and her intoxicating scent drifted in his direction, Jud was glad she couldn't see him staring.

Not much, but it is honestly the first thing I've written on this story! Any input is appreciated!

Casey said...

There is a story in there, Ruthy! And that was just something I dreamt up since you forced a writing assignment. ;-)

But thank you for taking such time to go over what I wrote. Can't say how much I appreciate that! :-))

Ruth Logan Herne said...

The good thing about Walt and Vince is they GET fiction...

Because most likely they can't write about us the way they sometimes 'see' us.

So we're even-Steven.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Carol, exactly! ;) Although the taste of toothpaste... all minty-and-kissable...

That might work. Does work. Will work.

Ahem, back on topic.

But yes, when we start wafting off (and male writers do this too, and uber smart female writers skilled in engineering, etc, will sometimes wax on and on about TECHNICAL stuff...

Best writer I've ever seen for keeping my interest in techno stuff was Michael Crichton, because there was usually a poor slob who needed to know stuff, so the brains dumbed it down for him/her. Which meant the reader 'got it' without 8 pages of gibberish.

Cool guy. Great brain. Wonderful imagination. And I'm off on another tangent, obviously.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kirsten, that's awesome. Strong. I've got nothing to add to it, and would probably only look at shortening the list of attributes he remembers...

The behind shadow, etc. line. I'd mince that. Shorten it. And I'd probably lose 'sapphire' because the historical romance reader might love it, but what guy thinks in terms of sapphire without having to THINK about it physically...

He knew that color. The deep blue etched his heart like a mason etched stone, the color of his mother's ring, gone forever. Her and the stone, never found, never recovered. And while one was of little consequence, the other lived forever in his heart.

Okay, that's over-the-top unless it's a story line revelation, but you know what I mean. Showing relationship or cause and effect to an unusual color or sound or fabric should usually be explained in a guy's pov.

It's all in how you handle it, right?

Pepper said...

Here's my try, Ruthy.
Contemp Romance

Her lips were as tight as her skirt, and both just as distracting. Shucks, everything seemed tense about Dr. Adelina Roseland, even that little dark bun at the nape of her neck.

Reece Mitchell shifted his truck into a lower gear as he turned off the main road and hit the gravel stretch toward home.

The doc followed close behind in her beaten up blue Jetta. Not the car he’d expected for the high-heeled, fancy-faced sort. Course, he hadn’t had much time to think about women lately. Between his kids, the farm, and his brother’s illness – well, there were more important things to worry about than dark eyes and long legs. And she had both.

Pepper said...

Gee whiz,
I can already shorten it in two places and I just sent it.
Oh well, I'll let you get out the shears, Ruthy.

It's one of the quotes I listed of yours on my Seekerville post on Friday :-)

Kirsten Arnold said...

Ruthy, Terrific pointer about using sapphire. I never thought of it like that, but you're right for a man's POV I'd want to have the color relevent to something in his world.

I'll have to go back through the ms and watch for that.


Natalie Monk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie Monk said...

This looks like fun! I'm still learning guy speak, but maybe this will at least qualify as a woman's take on a man's POV.

This is an excerpt from my current WIP, where the hero unwittingly jumps in the creek at a swimming hole already occupied by the heroine. Until now they have only seen one another from a distance.

“You should leave,” she commanded, chin grazing the surface of the muddy creek water. She all but
hollered really. So she was fiery. He liked that. And it sure tickled him that she was more angry at him than embarrassed at the impropriety of the situation. Her peachy face darkened.“Right now.”

“I can’t,” he smirked. Lands, she was cute when she turned all red.

“Why not?”

“All my clothes are up there.” He raised a dripping arm toward the green bushes overhanging the ledge, the rest of him crouching safely under waist-deep water. “Guess you’ll have to be the first to leave.”

“All your . . . ?” She squeaked.
Her darting green eyes told him just how aware she was of his lack of clothing. He noticed she wasn’t burdened with an oversupply of coverings herself. In her little anger storm, she had risen to her full height and brought most of it above the water’s surface. And by thunder, that lacy under-dress thing she had on didn’t hide much. An unmerciful fact he was becoming aware of. Keenly.

“Turn around!” She yipped.

She had freckles.


He jerked around in the rippling water and did as she said. Now it was his turn to be flustered. He
had been caught staring at what he now tried his best to imagine was not there to stare at. It wasn’t
working. Lord, help.

“Now, close your eyes,” came her sweet singsong voice. She was still there. “And cover them with your hands.”

“Get out of here, lady.” He couldn’t help the growl. “I mean it.”

(sorry so long lol)

Pepper said...

Oh my goodness, Natalie!! I LOVE it! Keenly!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Hey, gang. Long day. Sorry to just be stopping in now, I haven't been near my computer and now I get to read a RUTHY POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Janet Dean said...

Fabulous post, Ruthy, with great examples of seeing the heroine through the hero's eyes!

Vince, all I've got to say is, "Men." LOL

Jan, enjoy the last year home schooling your son.

I've enjoyed reading the examples. Great job rising to Ruthy's challenge!


Mary Connealy said...

A Carnival Ride without the nausea.


New tag line coming up. Forget Romantic Comedy with Cowboys and let's do a tag line that mentions nausea.

Ruthy-the-poet I thank you.

Ruth Logan Herne said...



I got nothin'... The only thing I might drop is the word 'bottomless' because it's one of those annoying romance words...

And I'd probably drop either the hotel reference or the dark room because it's redundant. If the event is over, and the room's in the hotel, then one reference is plenty.

Other than that?


Helen said...

Oooh so many great examples :)

Ruthy, thanks for the compliment on my name, I don't get it very often! All other Helen's I've known are always at least 20 years older than me so it does feel "historic" to me LOL. Although I did see one baby names book say it was underused considering it is a nice name.

I'm new to this writing thing so happy you enjoyed my little snippet :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Stacey, this is a great first draft. It grabs the emotion, the thought, and the follow through.

It's wordy, and I'd drop all of the initial beginning (which I do with every single book or Melissa will do it for me) and dive into the action of the wagon pulling up.

Don't worry about the water, all of that is non-essential, because he can think that and the reader has a heads up, right?

But jump right into the wagon pulling up, Cousin Naomi, etc....

Both widowed? Hmmm.... We have way too many widows in Christian fiction. Can you imagine if all these poor people REALLY died????

It's kind of like the 6'3" hero when the averaged dude is 5'10.

But having said that, things happen and then it's our job to make it real, and you're well on your way. I love how Naomi's eyes lit up. ;)

Good job, kid. I love the flow of first drafts.

Cara Lynn James said...

Fun blog, Ruthy! I sure am smiling. I'm too brain dead at the moment to come up with anything, but I'm glad you're not!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

That's right, Pep, drive the stake of guilt further!!!!

You know this is good, and so much tighter than when I first met these two!

I'd probably only suggest to do Reese's dialect a little more notably. Like using "And she sure did have both" at the end instead of cutting it back, know what I mean?

I love this story, Pep, love the potential, the fun these two can have if you encourage it. ;)

These two are such dynamic opposites that sparks should be flying hither, thither and yon.

I needed to say that.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kirsten: ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Natalie, I love it! I love the use of dialect, his internal thought so down home fun.


And you captured it beautifully. This is like reading an early Connealy work, and I had the pleasure of doing a lot of that over the years!

You and Pepper both have a gift for humor and timing, for letting characters evolve, and that's what they mean when publishers talk about "organic" story telling. The story should naturally evolve from the characters' personalities and the circumstances.

You've done that quite well. Kudos!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Connealy, it was a COMPLIMENT.

Sheesh, some people can never be made happy.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cara, what a hoot! I was brain dead last night because I thought it would be done on Saturday, then Irene sent us tail-wagging back up to New York and then Blogger wouldn't cooperate.

I might have muttered bad words under my breath.

And no one bought me ice cream.

So sad.

Jamie Adams said...

Here's some ice cream Ruth... how about some Moose Tracks. Lots of chocolate in that one. Here's a soda too and I'll even throw in some chocolate chips right from the bag. Can you tell I'm drowning my sorrows? I got my first (and last?) rejection letter today...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, loved it!

And it's so much fun to work together on things. Grab ideas. Hammer things out. I'll never forget the time Cheryl Wyatt did a post on trimming and that was such a huge step forward for me, to look at trimming novel size by just changing forms of speech.

What a turn-around!

Who knows when that light bulb will finally click in, right?

Pepper said...

And I wasn't shooting for
I was really hoping I'd spark your curiosity enough that you'd see what I said (or wrote) about you ;-)

Btw, I love this story too. Can't wait to watch my quirky characters grow...and then fall :-)
Wuv...twu wuv

Jan Drexler said...

Jamie - I think you need some ice cream, too. How about some Chocolate Brownie Supreme. And mint Girl Scout cookies. And a huge bar of Ghiradelli.

Feeling better yet?

You don't get much time to wallow, so take advantage of it while you can!

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Jamie, I'm sorry! That's such a bummer. You're allowed to wallow for a day. And eat ice cream. Believe me, it does help.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, I'm so cracking up at the new tag line you've given Ruthy!! LOLOL

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, did Audra ever answer you about the punt?? LOLOL

My sister once asked her students who had won the Super Bowl--after the baseball championship ended. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Got home late today. So sorry!

Such a fun post. Love all the creativity floating through cyber space.

Great job, Ruth, and Seekerville!

Debby Giusti said...

Jamie...a rejection letter? That means you submitted! YAY, you!!! Great!!!! Keep up the good work. More submissions. Maybe more rejections. But there's never a sale without a submission. You go, girl!!!! I'm proud of you.

Jamie Adams said...

Thanks, she did end the letter with a "Please consider us with any future projects" The future starts today as soon as I polish off this box of ice cream :)

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Great post Ruthy!

I also wonder if there is a generation component? How men in their twenties acted/thought in the 1920s as contrasted to how men in their twenties act/think now.

BTW, loved Vince's comments!

Nancy Kimball said...

Wow Vince, I don't even know what to say, but you should have seen my smile when I read your comment.

I'm a ways from the "pre-order now" button on Amazon with Russell and Ivy and their "Untitled" WIP, but you're comment sure encourages me to keep working to get there.

Nancy Kimball said...

Jamie! I'm actually envious. That's still in front of me on my goal list. My first rejection letter.
Do you have a fun plan for what you'll do with them? I do, hehe.
I refuse to be cheated out of the enjoyment of my author right of passage which is accumulating rejects.
I didn't wait tables in college and feel like I seriously missed something there.

Jamie Adams said...

Nancy I'm not sure yet what I'll do with it but I will hang onto it... maybe frame it :)

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks Ruthy, Pepper. You ladies are a great encouragement. To be likened to Mary's work, wow. Thank you!

Jamie, a rejection letter shows you've at least already typed "The End"--a goal I'm still pushing for. You're way ahead of the game by my measure. Oh, to go with your ice cream and other chocolate, here's a package of Lindor's Strachiatella truffles (the light blue ones), proven to cure any ache, pain, worry, or inconvenience known to man. :)

Naomi Rawlings said...

Thanks for your time and input Ruth! Being called a "brat" used to be a bad thing. That must change as you grow up. :)

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, how FUN to read everyone's comments and male POVs!!! From NANCY's Mickey Mouse t-shirt (love it!!) and HELEN'S thick, humid air (I felt a bit warm, how 'bout you??), to JAN'S champagne and prime rib (your scene made me hungry, girl, AND hungry for more!) to LORNA'S "Eve placed before Adam" ... I can feel the temptation coming on there!!). Great jobs all around!!

And, RUTHY!!! I'm with Teenster -- those examples were AWESOME, SERIOUSLY AWESOME. You are SUCH a pro, my friend!!

JAMIE, SOOO sorry about the R, but it's your scarlet letter, darlin', making you an official writer. Now ... a mere 45 more of those puppies, and you'll be even with me on A Passion Most Pure! :) And PLEASE tell me Wesley turns that nag around, girl, 'cause you stirred my interest!

CASE ... LOVE it!! Very cool and very tender.

ANDREA ... oooo, GOOD premise, my friend.

KIRSTEN ... Oh, I just LOVE stories where the heroine grows up before the hero's eyes!! Sounds great, girl!

LOL, NAOMI!!! "Couldn’t the Good Lord have made some part of the woman undesirable? Blessed her with a big nose or unseemly freckles?" The humor is a great touch, my friend.

STACE ... LOVE IT, especially this line: "Jud," came the deep voice of his father, jerking him back to reality."

NATALIE ... WHOA, BABY, good thing they're in water, girlfriend, because that scene was HOT!! :)

PEP ... "Her lips were as tight as her skirt, and both just as distracting." You sure have a way with words, girlfriend!!

And, VINCE??? Seekerville would NOT be the same without you, my friend -- you add SOOO much punch and wisdom, seriously.



Melanie Dickerson said...

ACK! I'm late! So sorry, Ruthy. This is a GREAT POST! LOVE it. No, seriously. Love it.

But I am currently keeping it a little less than smokin' hot, since I write for young adults, supposedly, although I know quite a few ladies who are well beyond that category who read my books. But anyway, I will pull something out of my book that comes out in November, The Merchant's Daughter. How about this:

Annabel held one hand under his arm while she took a cloth, dipped it in the water, and began to dab at the soot around the border of his burn.
“How did you get such a burn, if I may ask?”
“There was a fire … in the barn.”
She frowned up at him in that clever way of hers. “I know that. But how—?”
“I herded the sheep out the back door. One ewe lamb was frightened, however, and wouldn’t come out, and so I went in to get her. Even then she wouldn’t let me lead her. I had to pick her up and carry her. On the way out, some burning thatch fell on my arm and burned away my sleeve.” He said dryly, “So you see what a hero I am.” For the second time in my life.
“Hero? I’m not familiar with this word.”
“’Tis from the Greek, a word meaning someone with great strength and courage. Someone who protects and defends.”
“Oh, yes, indeed.” She put the cloth aside and reached for the flask. “Indeed, you are a hero. I like this word, hero.”
She was so beautiful and seemed so unaware of it. The wisps of blonde hair danced around her pink-tinted cheeks just as he had captured them in his painting. But even more devastating than her physical beauty were the glimpses he had seen of her heart and soul.
God help him.
“So what did you do? How did you put out the fire on your arm?”
He stretched out his right hand, palm up.
She gasped. “Oh, my lord, you should have told me.” Before he knew what she was about to do, she took his unmangled hand and plunged it into the bucket of clean water. She stuck her other hand in and began to rub his palm to clean it, since it was black with soot and ashes. The hand was not badly burned, and he struggled to steel himself against the sensations spreading through him from her massaging fingers.
She pulled his hand out. “No blisters. That is good.” Then she began dabbing it dry with a clean cloth.
She turned her attention back to his badly burned arm. She picked up the flask and poured honey over the blisters. The thick, golden liquid felt cool and soothing, sending a chill up his arm and across his shoulders.
A worried furrow creased her brow. “Surely no one would have deliberately set the fire.” She took his hand and poured honey over his palm, rubbing it in with her finger.
He pulled his hand away. She looked up in surprise.
He shook his head. “That isn’t necessary. The hand isn’t badly burned.”
Annabel stared at him a moment. “I’m sorry. Let me clean it off.” She picked up the wet cloth, but he took it from her.
“I can do it.”
“Of course.”
After he finished, she began loosely wrapping his blistered forearm with a strip of cloth.
The pain seemed to intensify as she did so. “It is a severe burn, my lord. You must allow either me or Mistress Eustacia to inspect it every day and continue applying the honey.”
She took another cloth and wet it in the bucket. Then she leaned forward and wiped his forehead.
Surprised by the action, he started back and examined her face. He could see from her expression that wiping his face did not embarrass her.
Because she feels nothing for me, nothing a sister wouldn’t feel for a brother, or a servant for her lord. She reached out to wipe his right cheek, but he took the cloth from her and wiped his own face.
For a few moments—when she said she’d been searching for him—he’d wondered if her feelings for him were deeper, more tender than was appropriate. But no. She felt only the natural compassion and concern she would have felt for an animal—the same emotion he’d felt for the sheep in the barn.

travelingstacey said...

Thanks for the help, Ruth! Just putting down that little bit and getting the feedback really got me excited about starting something new. I'm always too wordy. I think maybe it has something to do with not getting my daily verbal word count out...I have to write every detail. I really need to get out more : ). Thanks to you, too, Julie! And thanks for calling me Stace...brings back good memories : ). Melanie! Love it! You know I loved your first book, too, so I can't wait to get your next one! Have a good night everyone!

Debby Giusti said...

Jamie, the ending to the letter sounds very encouraging. :)

Vince said...

In Conclusion:

After reading all these very good examples, I don’t think there is a problem with women writing from the male POV. I really believe that the male POV is not something you have to get right so much as something you can’t afford to get wrong. A jarring mistake will pull the reader out of the story.

In any event, I think it is highly likely that women know more about how men think about them than men know about what women think about men. There is some truth to the cliché that men think women are not understandable while women understand men all to well.


Patty Wysong said...

Well, this'll teach me to miss a Seekerville day!

Excellent post and great comments (because you know you gotta read the comments here too! LOL) Lotsa food for thought here. Thanks, Ruthy!!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Ruthy, love this! I check my stuff through Billy. One time I asked him, "How do you spell few-sha?"

He blinked exactly three times and said, "P. I. N. K."


Another time I showed him a catalogue photo of skirt my heroine would be wearing and asked him if a guy would describe it as "navy" or "dark blue."

He just grinned at the catalogue image, went crosseyed and said, "Who cares what color it is? It's nice and short." And he grinned.

THAT gave me the male POV in person. LOLOL!

Great post today. Sorry I'm late posting.


VisionWriter said...

I am only a beginning author, but I also intend to write according to the Scriptures if I am to call myself a Christian author, and if I may be so bold, I think you are missing something here.

It's definitely true that men are physical when it comes to romance, and that they struggle with lust. But they too love more in women then just looks. When we read through the Scripture (which should be our example of great storytelling) even in the love stories such as Ruth and Boaz, Esther and Xerxes (which was pretty much completely a physical attraction) we don't see Boaz lusting after Ruth in a detailed description of her curves, we don't see Rebecca, at falling in love with Isaac at first sight, swooning over his chest hair.

As Christian authors we need to be very careful of what we are putting into our writing. Is it honoring to Christ? Are we inspiring our readers to lust? Men think in pictures, so when they read a detailed description of a low cut top, what are they going to think of? A low cut top they've seen on someone. I can't do that to my brothers in Christ. It's enough of a battle for them already without me encouraging it. Also, the heroes in our stories should be fighting against lust, not giving into it.

Now there are ways to describe a beautiful woman without the lust, you can describe her hair, her eyes, her femininity, and say she is beautiful, but to describe her body parts should be offensive in Christian writing. I know it is to me.

As for the men, we are less attracted to looks as we are to chivalry, strength, leadership, a nice smile and manliness. You can tell the reader the man has a handsome face and describe that, and his character, but that should be enough for women.

All I am asking, is that we prayerfully consider our romantic descriptions remembering that we will have to account for every word we write, every word our readers read. Do we present a stumbling block? Are we causing our readers to have sinful thoughts?

Rebecca wondered if this wonderful man that Eliazer had described to her was really...real. Since she had reached womanhood she had been praying for a man who feared Jehovah more than man, who would work hard, provide for a family.
As the camel's stride rocked her back and forth she thought of all that Eliazer had told her, how this man named Isaac was a wise prince, how he loved, cherished and honored his mother, admired his father. He had told her how Isaac had extended a strong, compassionate arm to a slave girl on the brink of death.
"How can this be?" Rebecca thought to herself. "I feel I am on the cusp of falling in love, and I've never even met the man." She shook her head at herself. "Are we nearly there yet, Eleazer?"
"Look in the field yonder, sweet girl, the man approaching us is your betrothed."
Rebecca raised her green eyes to the golden plain ahead and her breath caught in her throat. With a strong stride Isaac was approaching them, and she could see, even from this distance, that he was not like other men. His clothes were rich, but not flaunting. His step was confident, but not prideful. He was smiling, and in that smile was something that captivated her. It was not a smile like most men smiled at her, no, he was not thinking of what he could gain. He was thinking of what he could give.

Rebecca's heart drummed in her chest as she lightly jumped off her camel and with shaky hands put on her veil. A man like this deserved a woman of character, and she wanted to show Isaac that she was.

As he drew close and took her hand in greeting, she looked deep into those handsome, brown eyes and knew. This was love. Not a girlish love like she'd seen in so many of her friends, but something deeper. A love orchestrated by God.

Elizabeth said...

Devon leaned faarther. He had been studying her for some time through a hole in the threadbare sheet. Venus rising from the ocean had come to his filthy cell. Bright as the first light of creation she lit his dreary existence. Tall with a generous mouth and her hair a coronet shone like summer twilight. The sight of her well-shaped curves and cinched-in waist roused his imagination and probably fried his wits along with it. Of course he dared. She was the brightest spot of his ill-fated past, the hope of what was left of his ill-fated future.
"I dare," Devon rasped. "If you desire a husband--then it is my name to give." He hedged a bit, toying with her timing and her desperation. Unraveling inside him was the hard-edged part of his character, the one born on the roughest roads of life. By the quality of her dress and cultured speech he knew her to be a member of the aristocracy that he swore revenge.
He stood then. As close to the sheet as possible. As far as his chains allow.
He smelled her. He raised his hand, letting his fingers trail down the center of the flimsy material dividing them. He imagined running them over her soft shoulders, down her sweet back. He laughed at the decay of his thoughts. Of the animal he'd become. He sank on his pallet. "Why is the sheet between us? So as not to remember the visage of your husband when he hangs. I suppose it would not be a romantic memory."

debH said...

i haven't really written anything in a male's POV, but I do remember my younger brother once commenting on a girl he met who had wowed him.

"She's a Rolls Royce I'd love to take for a drive, but I'm just an old beater of a pick-up truck."
(he was into cars at the time)

Another friend who was into baseball once commented on a bombshell he'd seen:

"She's Major League and I'm only AAA. I'm not even going to try to ask for a dance."

Apparently I've hung around guys who weren't as confident in how they looked in comparison to how the ladies looked. Although, I have to say that once my brother laid eyes on his now wife - he went after her with gusto - quote: "She's like my favorite tool from the tool aisle at Sears."

er, little brother is mechanically inclined *heh*

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Loving the ice cream!!! You guys rock, and you know me too well!

Moose tracks... oh, yum!

Pepper, guilt will get you everywhere. I think I was born feeling guilty over something... But now I just eat chocolate and everything's better, LOL!

I'm going to catch up here today as the day allows. Love that you guys kept right on partying without me, although you could have cleaned the place up a little... ice cream dishes EVERYWHERE!!! :)

And I see we have a few new victims/volunteers....


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jamie, just so you know:


Does that bear repeating?

I think, "YES".


Grab those positive rejections, learn from 'em and RUN with it. Which in Ruthy-speak means work hard. Don't tarry. (great word, 'tarry'. Love it!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Eva Maria, oh yeah, a whole different breed of men between then and now.

The lack of Fantasy Football, Instant gratification TV and computer games made men historically mature faster.

How do I know this????

Four sons. ;)

And their buds.

My FIL's generation had to work from the time they were 14... 16... 18.... until retirement.

So there wasn't any four years of frat parties going on. I think I edge my heroes older because of that. So many of today's young men are really pups. And puppy antics don't make a hero, right?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Naomi, yes! It does! Good girl recognizing that.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Melanie, how lovely! Thank you for sharing that with us, chica...

Hey, I'd dump the 'so's in the middle....

"so beautiful and so unaware of it"...

Because you use 'so' in other forms, and it's not needed in that sentence.

The simple beauty of your writing is what makes people reach for it.

Ask for it.

Have I mentioned you should write faster, my friend??? ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Stacey, we're all wordy in the first draft. You know that, right? And then we pare/slice/dice, toss in a little pepper, a dash of salt...

A cup of chicken broth is NEVER A BAD THING unless you're making dessert.

Mix and then read again... ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Vince, I'm standing and applauding your conclusion!


Grinning in upstate!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cheryl, Billy's got it down!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vision Writer, you've brought up some great points and you shared them eloquently. Thank you for that! And your excerpt is beautifully done, full of lovely description, but Rebecca's falling in love almost instantly.

Considering her age, the times, the travel, the concern... you might want to touch her fears, the changes happening to her, a new land, a new life, an unknown husband.

Would she think of her eyes as 'green' when she lifts them? Probably not in her POV, right? So little things like that are good to scout out in our work, to help keep the reader invested.

I think Carla Capshaw did a great job of skating the passion line you've described in her book The Gladiator put out by Love Inspired. And Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love does a marvelous job of handling lust vs. love, and showing the difference.

In contemporary writing I need to think realistically of what the character would think/say/do at that moment, and I want my heroes to come off as real, whether they're struggling with faith or firmly grounded. Just like Carla made her gladiator a strong man who loved his new freedom and power, modern-day heroes may be at various points of life...

And I tried to show that in my post-title... We don't often equate hot and wholesome, but they can co-exist realistically if the author tweaks things just so. Not going overboard, but not denying attraction, love, desire and passion. So looking at women through a man's pov is important for an author, male or female.

I love tucking humor into my work, so my guys and gals tend toward a humorous slant on life. A hint of snark, here and there. But that's also adjusted for the moment, the scene, the page, the story.

Thanks for sharing with us, kiddo! And keep up the good work, you're blessed with talent.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, those are awesome! Analogies like that say GUY in capital letters. And you can just see the guy wishing he was Major League material... And the car-dude longing to upgrade his status.

So if the arc of our story is that worth and value aren't governed by looks or money, then we have two perfect story lines going right there.

And that rocks.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Betsy, hey!

First, I love this excerpt. These guys and gals in Seekerville don't know the set-up, that your aristocrat heroine offered the hero-prisoner marriage to save his life and extol revenge on someone, right? And to avoid marrying the bad guy...

(Betsy and I chat off-line. We like to annoy one another. And we went to school together, a LONG, LONG time ago. When dinosaurs roamed.)

This whole excerpt is dynamic, but you know that. The emotions climb from the words, and they pull the reader into the story.

To look at this in Christian historical fiction, I'm assuming both hero and heroine have been wounded and are at desperate points in their lives...

And that there is redemption to come? I love that the hero knows he's sunk low, that he's beyond help, but I'd like to see a hint of faith threaded through this. It's easy to forget that Jesus ate with the unclean, invited the children to his side, cured the lepers, cast out demons... So Christianity isn't the pristine walk we'd like to think sometimes, and life can be downright down and dirty...

But we arise in faith and action, so there is great redemptive promise here, Betsy. I'd tone down his stroking thoughts as not needed... And like Vision Writer said above, the other words evoke his thoughts and desperation, so we can show that without going into the physical detail, but he can still recognize how low he's gone...

And wish things were different.

Stellar writing, Dude.

And Betsy's probably NERVOUS AS CAN BE about posting this, so I'm laughing at her. Just a little. ;) And I'm meeting up with Holly Jacobs on 9/17 and we're double-teaming Betsy's RWA chapter with info about writing for Harlequin inspirational and Superromance, so she'll get even with me THERE.

But that gives me three weeks to tease her.

Pam Hillman said...

Cheryl, lol at Billy! My 18 yo had to give a speech at a Boy Scout fund raiser a few months ago. He asked his scout leader how long it should be, and Mr. B said...

"Like a woman's skirt. Long enough to cover everything, but short enough to be interesting."


Cara said...

Loved all of this. It's great to see the pros at work. Everyone is inspiring me to submit, particularly since Seekerville's comment, "No guts, no glory," is now posted above my computer.

The first meeting between my h/h goes badly. They're involved in a minor automobile accident with equal fault, which neither wants to admit (for good reasons).

And had the hero been looking for a love interest--which he isn't-- this stand-her-ground female doesn't come close to being his ideal woman.

The two are exchanging information for insurance purposes only. The hero is being surly, not only because of his bad day, bad week, and bad month, but also because he's in denial of any spark he feels.

I'd welcome any comments and/or suggestions.

Kam studied her info. Cassandra S. Graham. Thirty-seven years of age. Aggressive tilt to her chin even in the photo.

He looked back at her and finished filling in the obvious: red hair, green eyes, five-feet-five, and a hundred ten pounds—maybe, when heavily clothed and dripping wet.

Sometime since sitting for the photo ID, she'd traded her smooth shoulder-length hair for short spikes. Which looked like they'd leave wounds if any man got too close. But a nice mouth. Hot-looking even. When it was shut.

Kam held out her license. "Yep, that's you all right. Looks like a mug shot."

Now that I'm feeling brave, please enter me in the drawing for the weekly critique. And, of course, I'd love to be included in the drawing for the other gifts offered in this posting.

Thanks for all the opportunities given to visitors to your site.


Vanessa Riley said...


What a fun post. I believe a man should act like a man, not a sanitized version of manliness, that he reminds me of a hollow shell or worse a girlfriend. I think that the Christian writer can find that balance between romantic accuracy and lust.

Here's my take. It's Regency so I'm channeling 1800's male POV. Bradley's a barrister, and he just got a reprimand from the judge.

"Sorry, sir." Heat rose in Bradley's cheeks but his gaze sought the gallery again. Was he mistaken, was his angel here?

"The defendant," Justice Burns said, "You will be led back to jail from whence you came and then hanged by the neck until you are dead."

"I'm innocent!" The convict sobbed and clung to the iron rail of the dock.

The bailiff joined the gaoler, each clutching a shoulder of the scrawny convict and dragged the man out of the courtroom.

The gallery erupted, some hooting, others weeping. The citizens jumped up or waved from their seats. Another mad house in the Old Bailey.

As the crowd calmed and parted, Bradley saw the petite woman again. Her cinnamon-blond hair swept up in a fine bisque bonnet. The scalloped neckline of her deep rose gown accentuated the curve of her full bosom and the delicious flair of her hips. Her lacy shawl draped her elegant neck and framed the gentle rounding of her abdomen. Morgana. His wife and child returned to London.

His heart beat a thousand times a minute, and he fingered the air tracing her silhouette, sculpting her lips to his.

Vanessa Riley said...

Oh, like Cara. I'd like to win anything Seekerville offers.

Original post.


What a fun post. I believe a man should act like a man, not a sanitized version of manliness, that he reminds me of a hollow shell or worse a girlfriend. I think that the Christian writer can find that balance between romantic accuracy and lust.

Here's my take. It's Regency so I'm channeling 1800's male POV. Bradley's a barrister, and he just got a reprimand from the judge.

"Sorry, sir." Heat rose in Bradley's cheeks but his gaze sought the gallery again. Was he mistaken, was his angel here?

"The defendant," Justice Burns said, "You will be led back to jail from whence you came and then hanged by the neck until you are dead."

"I'm innocent!" The convict sobbed and clung to the iron rail of the dock.

The bailiff joined the gaoler, each clutching a shoulder of the scrawny convict and dragged the man out of the courtroom.

The gallery erupted, some hooting, others weeping. The citizens jumped up or waved from their seats. Another mad house in the Old Bailey.

As the crowd calmed and parted, Bradley saw the petite woman again. Her cinnamon-blond hair swept up in a fine bisque bonnet. The scalloped neckline of her deep rose gown accentuated the curve of her full bosom and the delicious flair of her hips. Her lacy shawl draped her elegant neck and framed the gentle rounding of her abdomen. Morgana. His wife and child returned to London.

His heart beat a thousand times a minute, and he fingered the air tracing her silhouette, sculpting her lips to his.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cara, I love this. So well done. The first thing that jumped out at me thought was the similarity in names.

I'm so stinkin' guilty of that, sometimes on purpose, often not! ;)

Kam and Graham rhyme and Cassandra has the same hard "K" sound as Kam.

So when you put their names together, it's a touch awkward. Then throw the Graham in, and it gets a little worse.

This is from a mother who named her two middle children Seth Gabriel and Bethany Lynn....

Which of course became Seth and Beth.

So really, I know NOTHING, and I wouldn't take my advice on a dare.


I love the snark, love the hinted attitudes, AND...

Red hair.

Green eyes...

Did anyone else notice how many of our posters used this combo??? Vince posted once about the number of red haired heroines in romance vs. the reality in general population. Crazy difference, LOL!

And you know what's funny? I have a gorgeous red-haired, green eyed daughter in law... Yes, we paid someone to put up with one of the boys, we had to, we wanted grandkids. And all three grandkids Emma, Dave and Anna... blonde with blue eyes.

What a hoot. And their dad has almost black hair with light gray eyes, my mom's coloring.

And three towheads.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vanessa, I love this excerpt! You've captured the emotion of the hero well, and yes, he's dazzled by the thought, the presence of his wife.


The only thing I'd suggest is the prisoner reaction and the jailer actions surrounding it. I'd tighten that. Put more emotion into that so that the crowd's reaction fits. Think scientific action/reaction sequence. I'm not sure how long your word count is, but you can do this without adding a lot, just changing the timing, cadence and scene a little. Have the crow react to the convict's reaction, then have him led out, then have the crowd part. It seems like a little thing I know, but if you see it in your mind's eye like a movie being acted out, then a little thing like that makes a big difference to the reader. They feel truly present.

Love this time period, love Regency stuff, I can't write it, but I have a stunning appreciation for the sweetness of the time.

Cara said...

Thank you, Ruth. The similarities of sounds in the names escaped me completely. Next time I'll read everything aloud.

My eldest daughter is a green-eyed redhead--a throwback to some seriously red-headed ancestors. We have a lot of redheads in our area, something I hadn't thought so unusual until a frequent out-of-state visitor pointed it out. And it's all shades from titian blond to auburn.

I can just see the towheads. I'll bet your son and his wife get a lot of comments on the differences in coloring.

Again, thanks for your time and the comments. Seekerville is the best.

Elizabeth said...

Look forward to seeing you at Western New York's RWA Chapter later this month. We have quite a few ladies who anxiously await your presence as well as expert advice. Be ready for a lot of questions. Thanks for the critique!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Elizabeth, you're welcome!

And I can't wait to see you either. It'll be so much fun!

And Cara, you're welcome. I get such a kick out of playing in the sandbox wid all o' youse!!!