Monday, July 21, 2014

FROM SWEET TO SWOON, PART 2 ... Ramping Up the Sigh Factor in our Heroes!

Question: What’s one of the most, if not the most, important component in a romance?
 
Answer: The Hero.

Let’s face it, when it comes to romantic fiction, the only one who can make a woman swoon is the hero. So, what exactly does it mean to “swoon”? Well, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as follows:

To become very excited about someone or something; to become enraptured; to suddenly become unconscious.

Now, for the sake of today’s blog, let’s go with the first two definitions, although I have to admit that in my tenure as a die-hard romance reader, there have been one or two heroes who were so flat and swoonless that I wished I were unconscious. But I digress …

I contend that when it comes to romantic heroes, all women swoon. Just not in the same way. For instance, the Novel Crossing blog recently ran a poll among Christian romance readers as to the “Five Swoon-Worthiest Heroes in Christian Romance, and there were no less than 25+ contenders. Now that’s a lot of swooning if I must say so myself, proving that the parameters for “swoon-worthy” are as diverse as the number of heroes in Christian romance.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, yes, I’m pretty darn proud that my bad-boy Collin McGuire from A Passion Most Pure made it to the top five because frankly, he needed the boost. Trust me, if you know anything about Collin regarding his lack of athletic ability and the heckling he takes from his brothers-in-law in the next five books, you would know why! And … I also thought it’d be fun for you to check out the heroes who were nominated in the first place as well as the top five, so here’s the link: FIVE SWOON-WORTHIEST HEROES IN CHRISTIAN ROMANCE.

But … the main reason I mention the poll above is because it validates my point that swoon-worthy heroes are as diverse as the women who read about them, so there’s no cookie-cutter approach or template to create such a hero. However, there are characteristics, flaws, quirks, etc. that can help ramp your hero from sweet to swoon-worthy in the blink of a word.

That said, this is part 2 in a 3-part series entitled From Sweet to Swoon: Ramping Up the Sigh Factor in our Heroes!, so if you missed PART 1, you can read it here and then arrow back to today’s part 2.

So … how do I like to ramp up the swoon factor in a hero to take him from ho-hum to hot?

Well, the ways are ENDLESS, but here are a few of my favorites that I employ over and over again. For the sake of brevity (and, yes, Ruthy, I really do know what that word means), I’ll cover points 1-4 today and then finish the other points in subsequent blogs on this subject over the next two months.

1.    Make the Hero Decidedly Male through Speech, Body Language, and Mindset.
2.    Make the Heroine Affect Him Like No Other Woman.
3.    Make His Attraction/Love for the Heroine Reform Him.
4.    Make Him Be Able to Walk Away From Temptation.
5.    Make Him Sacrificial.
6.    Give Him a Sense of Humor.
7.    Show His Love for Kids, Family, and Animals.
8.    Make Him Dominant.
9.    Give Him an Endearing Quirk.
10. Show Him Aware of the Heroine’s Interest.
11. Make Him Aloof and Unavailable.
12. Show His Humility.
13. Show His Mental Desire for the Heroine.
14. Show His Spirituality.
15. Give Him a Noble Cause.
16. Give Him a Wounded Heart.

1.             Make the hero decidedly male:  Let’s face it—there are MAJOR differences between men and women and as the old saying goes—VIVE LA DIFFERENCE! So it just stands to reason that when we see guys doing guy things or talking like a guy talks, it’s a natural pull for a woman even if we are shaking our heads and smiling at the time. Now, there are a zillion ways to make a guy “decidedly male,” but here are a few of the more important ones that will help make your guy all male:

A.)  SPEECH: Statistically speaking, women say 20,000 words compared to men’s 7,000 per day, which means most men have a tendency to talk in short, to-the-point and sometimes clipped conversation. They do NOT dwell on things like women do and their rationale for doing something is usually pretty basic, bottom-line and right up there on the surface. One of my favorite examples of this comes from an old Tool Time TV episode where Tim “the Toolman” Taylor holds up a stop sign to the audience and says something like:

“This is a stop sign, and it was invented by a man—do you know how I know that?” “No, how do you know that?” the audience shouts back. Tim taps the front of the sign and says, “Because it says ‘stop,’ and if a woman had invented it, it would say …” He then flips the sign over to reveal: If you really loved me, you would know what to do right now. :)

B.)  BODY Language: Facial and body expression in a male is usually calmer, more relaxed with just a hint of something going on under the surface, be it a tic in his jaw, a muscle flickering in his cheek or twitch in his temple. A male look is never wide-eyed like a female’s, but generally more slatted or shuttered, pupils possibly dilated in surprise. Some men will run their fingers through their hair—slashing or gouging for anger, threading, fanning or tunneling in frustration or confusion, or just combing and spiking after exertion or exercise.

To me, most men (especially cowboy types) seldom stand ramrod straight, tending toward a more relaxed, leisurely stance with a slack of a hip, hands propped low on his hips or sitting positions where they straddle a chair, brace the back of their neck with elbows flared or hands clasped on knees splayed wide. To show fatigue or frustration, they’ll do things like knead the bridge of their nose, gouge their foreheads with the ball of their hand or massage their temple. When angry or frustrated, they may kick or throw things, slouch shoulders or bury hands in their pockets or grunt and swear. Whatever they do, they’re male, not female, so language and thoughts are more abrupt and movement, more casual.

In this scene from A Passion Redeemed, the hero is a gruff, no-nonsense type with no patience, so I utilized monosyllabic language as explained in Point A above, abrupt action, and almost rude manners to convey him as such, which I bolded for ease of identity.

“Do you think I could have a glass of wine?”
He turned around. “What?”
“You heard me.”
He scowled. “No wine. How ‘bout ginger ale?”
“But I don’t want ginger ale. Can’t I have wine instead? Please?”
His mouth snapped closed. He snatched the pitcher and poured two glasses of water. “It’s water or nothing at all.” He set the glasses on the nightstand and sat back down.
She squared her shoulders and cradled the basket in her lap. “Fine. No wine, no food.”
His jaw shifted back and forth the tiniest bit, a mulish habit she was quickly becoming familiar with. “No wine,” he ground out.
She turned away and closed the basket. “Enjoy the dining hall, then.” She felt the heat of his stare and released a deep breath when he finally stormed out. The door slammed behind him.
Minutes later he returned, mouth flat and a bottle in hand. He poured her wine, then clunked the bottle on the table and handed her the glass. “One per night. Take it or leave it.”
“I’ll take it, thank you.”
Plopping into chair with a grunt, he reached for his bread once again, shoving a hunk in his mouth. He stared straight ahead, chomping hard.
She smiled. “Now isn’t this nice?”
He gave her a half-lidded glare and continued to chew.
She took a sip of wine, then held it out. “Would you mind setting it on the nightstand?”
He muttered under his breath and got up to lift the table—water pitcher, wine bottle and all—to the side of her bed. He nabbed several pieces of meat and sat back down.
“Perfect. Thank you.”
He watched as she picked at the meat in the basket. She foraged through the pieces, fiercely intent on selecting just the right one.
He stopped chewing and swallowed hard. “Are you always this much trouble?”

C.)  MINDSET: Pride is a huge factor in the male persona, so generally you’ll see more stubbornness, control, and obsession with achievement, be it sports, work, competition with other men or just plain dominance in a relationship such as in this scene from A Passion Most Pure where the father Patrick O’Connor’s pride has been trampled.

In several abrupt steps forward, he loomed before her, his eyes intense. He didn't touch her, but pressed uncomfortably close, hands fisted at his sides. "When it comes to the welfare of my children, Mrs. O'Connor, you will, in the future, consult me regarding your decisions. Am I making myself perfectly clear?"
For a moment her breath wedged in her throat before spilling forth in a rush of angry defiance. "And you, Mr. O'Connor, in the future, can find somewhere else to sleep! Am I making myself perfectly clear?" Her tone was shrill.
He flinched, as if she’d just spat in his face. For a brief moment, hurt flecked in his eyes before giving way to the coldest of steel. His jaw hardened to granite. She watched in disbelief as he reached for his coat and jerked the door open wide, the wind banging it against the wall.

2.             Make the heroine affect him like no other woman:  When I first read Gone With the Wind at age twelve, I was mesmerized by the emotional tug-of-war between Rhett and Scarlett. Here was a strong, dominant male in total control of his life and whom no woman could tie down and then, BOOM! The moment Scarlett sears him with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, he’s a goner, spellbound by this woman he just has to have, even if it means marriage—something he vowed he’d never do! So it’s key to show the impact of the heroine on the hero, which can be done in the following ways:

A.) This can be as simple and subtle as A LOOK such as in this clip from A Passion Most Pure where the hero Collin McGuire is engaged to one sister but in love with the other:

A hush settled on the room as her father read the Christmas story. Collin closed his eyes to listen, his face calm. Faith found herself watching him, amazed at the way he seemed to fit in so easily. Her heart melted into an ache. All at once, his eyes opened and met hers. She dropped her gaze, heat fanning her cheeks. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him draw Charity closer.

B.) Or more definitive by showing the hero’s internal monologue or thoughts such as this clip from A Passion Most Pure when the hero is adamant he does not like the “control” the heroine has over his heart. (Note: These incidents need to be short and infrequent since men do not dwell on their feelings like women):

Collin had never felt like this, and it scared him. She scared him, and he didn't want anything to do with her. From that moment in the park when he kissed her, it was like he’d been possessed, cursed to dream of her, think of her, want her. He’d known woman far more beautiful, far more accommodating, far more easy to control. But this! Two encounters and she traveled his system like poison, the very same poison that had killed his father.

C.) Or showing the heroINE’s internal monologue or thoughts such as this clip from A Love Surrendered when the heroine, who was disfigured by an abusive husband and feels anything but beautiful, is not only made to feel beautiful despite her scars, but knows to depth of her being that her husband loves her.

“Are you conspiring with those cats, Emma O’Connor?” Sean assessed her with a shuttered gaze, arms folded and hip cocked in the doorway. Sculpted chest bare, he ambled into the room in boxers and blond hair damp from his shower. A slow grin of warning stretched across wide lips as he eased onto the bed to lie beside her. Elbow cocked and head in hand, he massaged Guinevere’s ribcage, warming Emma with a dangerous smile. Leaning close, he grazed her lips, then pulled away, the blue eyes tripping her pulse. “You’re next,” he whispered, and Emma was certain he could unleash a purr from her throat as easily as Guin’s.
“I best get ready for bed,” she said, attempting to get up.
A firm wrist gently tugged her near. “Not yet,” he whispered, and with the grace of an athlete, he rolled on his back and pulled her along to lie on his chest. His tall frame dominated the bed, prompting Lance and Guin to find elsewhere to sleep while Emma’s body relaxed against his. His kiss was slow and sweet, and her eyelids fluttered closed while magical fingers kneaded the nape of her neck to coax her closer. His scent surrounded her, drugging her body as much as his kiss—the clean smell of soap and shaving cream and the taste of mint in his mouth. Never had she felt so alive, so loved, so beautiful as she did in Sean’s arms. “I love you, Emma,” he said softly, “more than Snickers and baseball and beating Brady and Luke at sports.” The tease in his words faded with another tender kiss, and when he pulled away, he caressed her with a look that nearly stole her breath away. Never had she known a man more who could make love with his eyes. “I adore you,” he whispered, and sometimes I wonder how I survived without you.”

D.) Or it can be a bold STATEMENT such as Rhett Butler’s declaration to Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s classic, Gone With the Wind:

“I want you more than I have ever wanted any woman—and I've waited longer for you than I've ever waited for any woman.”

E.)  Or an ACTION, either bold or reluctant such as in this clip from A Passion Redeemed where the hero does not want to be drawn to the heroine, but he is when be brings her home in his car.

His gaze settled on her mouth, and a rush of heat chased the smile from his face. His heart began to pound. Friends. Only friends.
She pulled away, slowly scooting to her side of the seat, poised to open the handle of the door.
His hand clamped her arm. “No.”
She turned. Shock flickered across her features. “No?”
His throat worked as his eyes settled on her mouth once again. “Stay. Please.”

3.             Make his love/attraction to heroine reform him: Nothing is more exciting to a woman—especially a Christian woman—than a man who is willing to change and become a better man, not only for her, but because of her. Again, this can be accomplished by the hero’s thoughts, statements or actions such as in these excerpts from A Passion Most Pure, the first clip depicting the hero’s thoughts after he just turned his life over to God and in the second clip, his statement to the heroine:

INTERNAL MONOLOGUE/THOUGHTS/ACTION:
Slowly Collin rose from the dirt, astounded at the serenity he felt. He breathed in deeply to fill his lungs with the cool, night air. He couldn’t have her, but she would always be a part of him. He knew to the depth of his soul that it had been her prayers that had saved him. It was a debt for which he would always be grateful. He wished her well. No, he thought, there was no wishing to it. He would pray that God would bless her with the marriage she deserved. He owed her that. Quietly, he entered the billet and returned the Bible to Brady’s side. Crawling into his own bunk, he closed his eyes and slept, finally, the slumber of a man with peace in his heart.

STATEMENT:
He gently stroked her cheek, blotting a tear with his finger. “Look, I didn’t mean to make you cry. I just wanted you to know you’ve had a profound impact on my life, and I’m grateful. Because you see, Faith, just knowing you has made me a better man.”

4.             Make him able to walk away from temptation: Yes, we want the hero to have an almost irresistible attraction to our heroine, but … we still expect him to resist! After all, this is Christian fiction, and to the Christian woman, a man who can control his passions demands a lot of respect from the reader, which is what we want for our heroes—a man we can respect! Here’s a scene from A Passion Redeemed where the hero (who the family thinks is married to the heroine and he will be within mere hours) resists the heroine’s temptation via internal monologue, action and finally a statement:

“Mitch, please . . . ,” she whispered, and his gaze trailed from the deadly source of that plea to the soft curve of her nightgown as it clung to her body. Lust invaded his mind, bidden by thoughts of what lay beneath, and against his will, he found himself moving toward the bed.
All at once, he thought of her sister in a room down the hall, and his ragged breathing stilled. Faith had given him a glimpse of something holy and rare, a passion most pure. And despite the raging desire pumping through his veins at the moment, he meant to have it as well. With—or without—the woman before him.
He turned and ripped the cover off the other bed and retrieved his shoes. “I can’t do this, Charity. I’m sleeping downstairs.”


GIVEAWAY!!
Okay, that’s it for today, so leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of a signed copy of any of my books, including my upcoming release in October, Surprised by Love.

BIO:
Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com.

Hugs!!
Julie


133 comments :

  1. That's awesome! And that's exactly why I love your novels so much!

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  2. Hi Julie! I don't really read a lot of historicals but I recently checked a couple of yours out of my Church library and now I'm hooked! I loved them. I can't wait for the third book to come out in Oct. I'm so glad you are giving Megan and Bram a story! Please enter me in the drawing for the book. One question - please tell me Blake gets a story!

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  3. The truth is I print out Julie's posts and use them when editing. They are chock full of good stuff. Thanks, Jules.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Hi Julie:

    Freud said he did not know what women want. I say that all one needs to do is see what women should want from a 'survival of the fittest' POV. Then see how this matches up with what women say they want.

    I believe that the below five factors are what women should have found swoonable from a biological POV in order for humans to have survived up to the current day.

    1. An older, experienced, powerful alpha male who has proven he can survive hard winters and who is respected by other males. It also helps if he is sought after by the top females seeking a mate.

    2. A highly intelligent male who can use his intelligence to improvise so he can better adapt to life endangering situations. This better protects him, his mate and his offspring.

    3. A totally loyal male who radiates the fact that he will never leave his chosen mate. Such security is very sexy. (A hero is not likely to lightly give up a heroine he had to slay a dragon to win.)

    4. A sense of humor has a high survival value when a male is so much stronger than his mate and children. Humor has a way of disarming rages before they can endanger those near him. Women should find humor sexy whereas men not so much. : )

    5. A strong protective attitude towards females and a playful treatment of children. Behavior that shows good parenting skills should be swoon inciting.

    I think swooning came before language. It’s hardwired in the female brain. How do these biological imperatives match up with your list of features?

    Like your very imformative posts, it is something to think about.

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  6. Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Julie I love how you put words to the things I love about heroes but never really thought too much about! And certainly never put into coherent words! I will admit though the 5, 7, & 9 are the ones that get me every time, especially 7!
    Ahh! I love your posts so much!

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  7. What a terrific post Julie! One for the keeper book.

    I'd love to win your latest book Surprised By Love.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  8. Oh dear, I was swooning just reading your list of swoonworthy qualities!! But now your examples have truly done me in. You definitely know your stuff, Julie.

    And how did I not know about that Swoon-worthiest hero contest? Congrats to Colin...and you...for making the top five. The competition was tight.

    Great tips for me because for way too long my only intimate acquaintance with males has been a neutered sheltie! You might say I need all the help I can get. LOL

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  9. I love heroes.

    I love that we can MAKE THEM understand what we want/need/desire and they do it!!!!

    This is why we write fiction, LOL! :)

    (Dave will never see this, so I'm fairly safe!)

    Emotion is what makes a hero swoon-worthy for me. Gut-wrenching emotion that drives the scene, and shows his tender side trying to duke it out with his stuck-in-the-mud stubborn essence.

    The trickle of gentleness in the sea of strength.....

    There's my swoon-worthy hero!!!!

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  10. Vince, you nailed it.

    You're so stinkin' smart.

    I love you, big guy.

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  11. Hi Julie, I'm in love with your list of hero qualities before it has even been played out in book form.

    Ruthy, you are right, without emotion it's all meaningless, got to see the love in action.

    Tina, love your new picture.

    Would love to win a Julie Lessman book.



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  12. Julie, Love your post!Actually I love the way you write. I would love to win one of your books.

    Good morning everyone! I hope you will all have a great week.

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  13. Morning Julie, Oh my, All of your heroes make me swoon. smile

    Thanks for all those great tips. I think I'll go through my wip with this list to be sure my hero is swoon-worthy.

    Have a great day.

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  14. Great information, Julie! Printing this one out for future reference! :-)

    A perfect start to the week!

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  15. Such great info! Saving this and looking forward to seeing the rest of the list covered in future posts. :)

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  16. MORNIN', ALL -- HAPPY MONDAY!! ALTHOUGH I HAVE TO ADMIT, I'M ONE OF THOSE MONDAY BLUES GALS WHO COME MONDAY MORNING, USUALLY SINGS THE MAMAS AND PAPAS SONG "RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS ALWAYS GET ME DOWN."

    BUT ... NOT TODAY! TODAY IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE THE SUN IS SHINING AND I GET TO TALK ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS EVER -- HEROES!!!

    SO BELLY UP TO THE WAFFLE/PANCAKE/CREPE/BACON BAR, GRAB A CUP OF CINNAMON HAZELNUT COFFEE OR PEACH TEA AND SET A SPELL WHILE WE TALK ABOUT ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS -- SWOONING!!

    HUGS,
    JULIE

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  17. Aw, thanks, MARIANNE ... appreciate your kind comment, and here's hoping it nets you a win, girlfriend!

    HAPPY LUCKY MONDAY!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  18. This is a great post, Julie. I seem to have trouble with my heroes, and this will help me with them. Looking forward to the series of posts upcoming!

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  19. YAY Julie.......visiting with Julie will make any Monday much better!
    Thanks for being with us and thanks for your giveaway!
    Blessings~~~

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  20. LOVES TO READ!!! You wouldn't by chance be the Luvs2read who left a ton of wonderful reviews on Amazon for me, are you? If so, BLESS YOU, YOU SWEET GIRL!!!

    SO appreciate you reading my books, ESPECIALLY since you are not typically a historical reader, so that really blesses the socks off of me!!

    LOL ... good ol' Blake. To be honest, I never planned on giving him a story, but it's not a bad idea. :) I was planning, however, on giving Jamie's sister, Jess, her own story with guess who? Devin Caldwell, who by the way, causes more havoc for Meg in Surprised by Love, only this is the grownup type of havoc that involves the heart. :)

    Thanks again for reading my books, and here's to a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  21. Aw, TINA, do you have ANY IDEA just how much you bless me every time you say something like that?? I SO respect you as a friend, person, and writer, that your comments are like gold to me, so thank you for making me a rich woman! Somebody has to ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  22. VINCE -- GREAT LIST, MY FRIEND, AS ALWAYS!!

    I, too, believe "swooning" is hardwired into the female brain by a God Who knew exactly what He was doing when he created that wonderful emotional tug-of-war between man and woman.

    You asked: How do these biological imperatives match up with your list of features?"

    Perfectly, I think. The only one I didn't have on my list that you do on yours is "intelligent," so I will add that next time under a point called "Make him intelligent/wise." But as far as the others in your list, I think the "older, more powerful" male falls into my "dominant" point (#8), the "loyal" one is my #2 -- Make the Heroine Affect Him Like No Other Woman; your sense of humor point matches my #6 -- give him a sense of humor; and then your "protective" is actually #6 from my hero types in part 1, the protector. :)

    So, great minds think alike, only yours thinks WAY more than mine does ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  23. ABS!!! Thank you SO much, you sweet thing, and based on your selection of qualities, I'm going to guess your favorite heroes in my books.

    Sean, Collin, Luke.

    How'd I do??

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  24. Thanks, CINDY, and fingers crossed that your sweet comment will pull out a win!!

    GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  25. Julie, GREAT post! I will look for these characteristics in my heroes. Thanks for all the tips!

    For some reason I don't do quirks. I need to give the hero and heroine a special something that makes them endearing. Like your animal cracker eating ulcer on the way hero.

    Janet

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  26. KAV SAID: "Great tips for me because for way too long my only intimate acquaintance with males has been a neutered sheltie!"

    LOL ... well, I just may have to put you on my prayer hit list, girlfriend, because you are WAY too adorable to be single!! :)

    Thank you SO much for your ongoing encouragement, Kav -- you truly are a blessing, not only to me, but to ALL the Seekers!

    Love you!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  27. RUTHY SAID: "The trickle of gentleness in the sea of strength..."

    AH,YES ... you nailed it, Ruthy, as usual!!

    LOL to your statement: "love that we can MAKE THEM understand what we want/need/desire and they do it!!!!"

    And, no, I won't tell Dave ... unless I see him ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. Julie, you are a master at making swoon-worthy heroes! Great reminders and great LIST! :)

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  29. TRACEY SAID: "I'm in love with your list of hero qualities before it has even been played out in book form."

    LOL ... boy, are YOU easy, Trace!! ;) I would LOVE to send you a signed book, so GOOD LUCK! And I'm not sure if you've read any of my books yet or not, but if not, book 1 in the O'Connor family saga is STILL available for FREE DOWNLOAD here:

    FREE DOWNLOAD OF A PASSION MOST PURE

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  30. Oh, LANI, you sweetheart, you -- and I love the way YOU write comments!! ;)

    How the heck are you doing, girl? I miss seeing you online since I've mostly pulled away from social media in March.

    Here's to a win!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  31. LOL, SANDRA ... right back at ya, girlfriend. I'd say you (and all the Seekers for that matter) have a pretty good handle on what makes a hero swoon-worthy since I swoon over every single one of yours, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  32. Thanks, MARY, and I appreciate you printing it off, although as long as my posts are, there are a lot of trees weeping out there. ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. Hey, JENN ... THANK YOU!!

    And, yeah, if you've ever read any of my books before (500-page doorstoppers), you know I can't write anything short, especially blogs, which is why I had to cut this baby into three (and maybe four!) parts. Sigh.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  34. Thanks, PIPER, and it's not necessarily a bad thing to "have trouble with (your) heroes, you know, because the "difficult" hero can be very attractive as well. ;)

    Good luck in the contest, girlfriend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  35. YAY, JACKIE!!! And seeing YOU again, my friend, makes MY Monday better as well, so it's definitely a mutual admiration society we got going here, girl. :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  36. Vince! "I think swooning came before language."

    LOL well put. I suspect you're right.

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  37. TINA I LOVE THE NEW PICTURE!!!!!!!!

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  38. Hey, JANET ... yeah, "quirks" are fun in a hero. But then you have to be somewhat "quirky" yourself to write them, and I'm not sure you are, unless you count being undeniably cute and sweet. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  39. WOW, PAMMY ... I think between you and Tina, my day is made!!

    Thanks for your kind comment, my friend, especially since I feel the same way about your heroes, girlfriend and always have, even before you were pubbed! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  40. And, TINA ... I agree with MARE ... LOVE THE NEW PICTURE!!!!!!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  41. YAY! Julie on the 'swoon-worthy hero- vote. Well deserved. :)

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  42. Love your examples of heroic qualities, Julie. Great great list.

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  43. Great tips, Julie! I love the way you write heroes. Also, you have gorgeous covers.

    Tina, I just printed off these posts, too!

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  44. I loved this, Julie. As I'm writing my first romance, I'm grateful for your tips on making a hero swoon-worthy. Your list helped me to see what I've got and what I still need for my hero.

    And, as always, your examples are so fitting! Thanks for this post.

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  45. Julie
    I LOVE all your heroes I've read so far and these posts explain why. Congrats on Colin breaking into the top five Swoon-worthy hero list. He may be my fave of yours as well, except when I read your books, it's the current hero I'm reading who becomes my favorite. Guess that makes me fickle.

    I'm so far from making a swoon worthy hero, it's not funny. Thank the Lord for Seekerville and your posts that can help educate me on the process.

    Please put my name in the draw for a shot at winning a chance to swoon over another one of your heroes.

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  46. Hey Julie,

    I miss seeing you in cyber space!

    Great post as usual! What better topic than heroes. What I love is that you give concrete examples of your points - that's so helpful!

    I am copying this out and will add future installments to it!

    TINA, love the picture!

    My first book comes out in 18 days!! Exciting and crazy - trying to keep track of the blog promotions, etc. Whew! Plus rewrites on Irish Meadows, and creating the sequel to Irish Meadows. Plus a whole bunch of family stuff (Prayers appreciated as I try to find residences for my mom AND my mother in law!) God must think I can handle it all!

    Got my first paycheque from Harlequin too!! Whoo-hoo! Finally got to show hubby the money!

    Will check in later! And I'd love to be in the draw.

    Cheers,
    Sue

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  47. Good stuff, Julie! I have such a hard time with the speech. I tend to have everyone sounding like me. :) Thankfully my cp's pick up on it for me.

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  48. Good morning, Julie! What a great post, and a fabulous reminder of why your heroes are so dreamy!

    I'll keep this in mind as I'm rewriting my hero in my murder mystery. I've been going over how to make him irresistible, and these are some wonderful tips.

    Thanks and have a wonderful day!

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  49. This is so good Julie! I'm going to print this out, I think I'll be referring to it often. Thanks for posting this.

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  50. Wow! Thanks for all of those great tips--I especially liked the one about the heroine being the only woman to impact him in such a way. Very interesting to think about these things and why some heroes just appeal so much more than other characters in other books. I'm going to have to pin this post so I can find it again when I'm needing some inspiration. And thanks for the giveaway, too!

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  51. Thank you for the information. I always love learning something.

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  52. MARY SAID: "YAY! Julie on the 'swoon-worthy hero- vote. Well deserved. :)"

    THANKS, Mare. Not sure about "well deserved," but it's well appreciated for sure! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  53. Aw, CARA, I swear, NOTHING makes me glow more than compliments from respected peers whom I love, so THANK YOU, my friend!

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  54. Oh, JEANNE, I am SOOO very glad I could be of help when you needed it, my friend!! Good timing on both of our parts, I guess.

    Happy writing!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  55. DEB H SAID: "*(Collin) may be my fave of yours as well, except when I read your books, it's the current hero I'm reading who becomes my favorite. Guess that makes me fickle."

    LOL ... no, that doesn't make you fickle, my friend, it's a compliment I treasure because that's exactly what I hope to do when I introduce a new hero, so THANK YOU!!

    YOU ALSO SAID: "I'm so far from making a swoon worthy hero, it's not funny."

    You are probably WAY closer than you know, girlfriend, so don't sell yourself short. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. SUE!!! I miss you, too, my friend, but I'll be back come October with so much FB presence, you'll wish I'd take another sabbatical. :)

    WHOO-HOO ... a paycheck AND a book out in 18 days ... that is AWESOME, GIRL!!

    I cannot WAIT to read Irish Meadows, my friend -- you had me at "Irish"!!

    Prayers coming your way to find residences for your mom AND your mother in law.

    YIKES, you really DO have a lot on your plate right now, so God definitely must think you can handle it all! Don't you wish He wouldn't trust you so much at times??? ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  57. MISSY SAID: "I tend to have everyone sounding like me."

    LOL ... you know what? I tend to do the same thing because I'm such a casual speaker that I have everyone sounding as casual as I am, which is something I worried about with writing a historical since they weren't as casual back then as we are now. I've even gotten a number of reviews citing this as a problem, so I sure relate, Missy. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  58. Oh, STEPH, I am SO glad I could help, although I'm betting your hero is already pretty dreamy enough, but more of a good thing is never too bad when it comes to heroes ... :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  59. Thanks, JAMIE, appreciate your kind words, although I am feeling a wee bit guilty for all the trees that will lose their lives since a number of readers this morning mentioned they planned to print this off ... ;) I may have to try and tame down the word count on my future blogs, which is why I broke this one into three (and maybe four) parts. Ruth Axtell and I originally drafted it as a possible workshop at ACFW, but it didn't make the cut, so you guys get it instead. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  60. Hey, LYNDA, thanks for coming by AND for pinning this post. I'm assuming that doesn't waste any paper for printing off, right? Can you tell I'm Pinterest illiterate???

    And, OH YEAH, that particular point of the heroine being the only woman to impact him in such a way is, for me at least, the KEY component in a romance because it's what every woman is looking for -- to be the sun, moon, and stars to some man who will do anything for her. Sigh.

    Good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  61. CENTRALEAST2 ... you are MORE than welcome, my friend, and here's hoping it nets you a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  62. Julie, this list is AMAZING!! Love it. Can't wait for the rest.

    For #3, make his love for the heroine reform him, I have a bit of a twist. I'm dealing with a bad-girl heroine and a good hero. So initially Miska repulses Dillan, but as she changes--and as he sees how she's changed--he begins to care for her. I guess I kinda like having my girls be bad, which goes along with writing women's fiction that shows how God can overcome our baggage.

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  63. SALLY SAID: "I'm dealing with a bad-girl heroine and a good hero. I guess I kinda like having my girls be bad, which goes along with writing women's fiction that shows how God can overcome our baggage."

    LOL ... move over, girlfriend, because I love converting those bad girls, too, as well as bad boys!! Your premise sounds really interesting, Sally, especially since it's similar to one I'm actually pursuing in my current WIP where a mildly bad/rebellious girl dating a seminary student in the prologue, switches places with him in the actual book ten years later. Suddenly she's the new Christian/good girl and he's the bad boy who never went to seminary due to bitterness over a pastor father who had an affair.

    Yes, women's fiction is SO good at showing redemption, that's for sure, but I do like having those extra romantic scenes tucked in as well ... :)

    Hugs and happy writing!!
    Julie

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  64. JULIE!!!! Hey, girl! I've been thinking about you a lot lately...wondering how you're doing. I miss seeing you around the web all the time.

    And, of course, this post was amazing! I totally agree with the whole theory that "swooning" is relative. I know when I looked at that poll, all I could think about were the ones that didn't make it. You know I love Collin, but I would've loved to see Mitch on there as well. He IS my favorite after all! ;)

    Anyway, I'm really looking forward to your next book. Maybe it'll give me an excuse to email you and catch up! hugs!

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  65. Sue Mason got a paycheck!!!!

    Isn't that just the most fun ever??????

    :)

    Happy dancing for you, now row across the pond. Coffee's on you today!!!!

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  66. Um, not for NOTHIN'....

    BUT A HUGE BUNCH OF SEEKERS AND VILLAGERS ARE GOING TO TEXAS TO SECURE THE BORDER.... OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT!!!!

    Hey, while the cat's away.... teeehhheeeeteeeheee.....

    These mice will play!!!!!

    OH MY STARS, WE'LL HAVE SO MUCH FUN!!! LET'S FORM OUR VERY OWN STAY AT HOME AUTHORS CLUB!!!!

    Who'll join?????

    Don't be bashful, show us the L-O-V-E, you stay-at-homes!!!!

    :)

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  67. EM!!! Oh, girl, you just made my day, dropping by to say hi -- SO fun to see you here! And trust me, I miss my faves like you as well, so thanks for your sweet comment.

    LOL ... yep, that's one of the ties that binds us, my friend -- Mitch and Luke are my TOP-TOP FAVES, so I'm with you on that.

    And good news (at least for you and me!)! The Seekers are putting out two Christmas novellas, one for contemporary and one for historical, and my novella in the historical will be about Mitch and Charity, so you have some Mitch coming your way, my friend. ;)

    Looking forward to catching up with the next book release for sure!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  68. RUTHY SAID: "BUT A HUGE BUNCH OF SEEKERS AND VILLAGERS ARE GOING TO TEXAS TO SECURE THE BORDER.... OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT!!!!"

    LOL ... let's hope ... ;)

    And, YES, some of us have opted to stay home and carry the torch while SOME will be using it to set San Antonio on fire!!

    So, YES, YES, YES, I'm with Ruthy on the:

    STAY AT HOME AUTHORS CLUB!!!!

    Who's in???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  69. Julie, love your list! I'm anxious to read the upcoming posts. In a romance, with just two POVs to work with, it only makes sense to make them as distinct as possible. Thanks for the tips!

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  70. Very interesting comments about how to craft a hero. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  71. Hey, Julie, Queen of Hot Christian Romance!!! So happy to see your post today! I am just getting started on my new WIP (due Nov. 1st, but we shall not dwell on that fact). I love how you're making me THINK (very necessary when plotting) about my heroes and how to make them true romance heroes!

    I am pulling out all the stops with this new hero, who is starring in my Rapunzel story. He is a knight (I love knights!) and he's an orphan (there's just something so endearing about an orphan!) and he has a wounded heart (not sure of the details on that yet, but I LOVE writing wounded heroes!) so I am really excited to get into his head and have him and my heroine getting into each other's hearts! Fun fun fun. But since I haven't done the edits on my last book, and since I still feel like I missed something with that hero, I am trying to go through your list and figure out what it is that I can fix. Hmmmmm...

    GREAT post! And great timing for me! :-) Hugs, Julie!

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  72. JULIE-It is hard to pick favorites because I love them all so much, but those three are definitely on the higher end of the list!
    Ugh your posts always make me homesick for the O'Conner clan!!! Already itching for another reread!

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  73. Julie, I'll join that stay-at-home authors club! I am not even going to make it to ACFW this year, since I have a speaking engagement in August and another one in October. I will miss you guys so much. :-(

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  74. MEGHAN SAID: "In a romance, with just two POVs to work with, it only makes sense to make them as distinct as possible. Thanks for the tips!"

    You are MORE than welcome, sweetie, and YES, it DOES make all the more sense to make them as distinct as possible when you only have his and her POVs to rely on rather than the input of subordinate POVs like I use in my books.

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  75. Hey, SANDY, consider yourself entered, girlfriend, and here's to a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  76. I love your posts, Julie. I just finished (and LOVED!) "A Heart Revealed", so this came at just the right time. :)

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  77. MEL SAID: "Queen of Hot Christian Romance!!"

    LOL ... yeah, I do like my romance "hot," that's for darn sure, although there are some in the CBA market that would like to "cool" me off, that's for sure. ;)

    SOOO good to see you here, darlin', and please know I still have you on my prayer hit list, so I'm anxious to catch up with you at ACFW.

    Ohhhhhhhhh, I LOVE Rapunzel and knights and wounded heroes, so I'm excited for you!! But, YIKES ... a November 1st deadline and you're just starting??? I know it can be done because I wrote APR (almost 500 pages) in one solid month of frenzied writing, but I haven't done it since, so here's to you, girl!!

    Thanks for coming by, my friend, and hugs coming your way in St. Loo ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  78. ABS ... I figured as much because you and I thing SO much alike when it comes to heroes, which is only one of the many, MANY reasons I love you, kiddo!

    Miss you!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  79. MEL, NOOOOOOO!! You won't be at ACFW??? Well, I will miss seeing you, my friend, but I'm only going to hang out in the lobby anyway, rather than actually going to the conference, since I live in St. Loo. Gosh, I sure hope these are paying gigs you got lined up, girl, because that would be VERY cool!!

    Hugs, and YES, you're in the "club"!! Ruthy is Prez, I'm Vice Prez., so you can be the treasurer, although don't count on making as much money as your speaking gigs. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. Oh, ANNA ... I knew you were reading AHU because I saw it on Goodreads, so I've been biting the old nails (and I do mean "old")!!

    I am SO glad you enjoyed it!! I was actually reading it at the same time as you (I reread my books once a year before the next one comes out ... weird, I know, but this year it pays off 'cause I have to write a Charity/Mitch Christmas novella, so the refresh was good for me). I felt like it was slow out the gate (a necessary drawback because Sean and Emma are friends whose love ripens slowly), but it picked up A LOT at the halfway mark, which is my MO. Somehow I am always "re-surprised" by the spiritual lessons in my books because I always think, "holy cow -- did I write that???" And then I hear that still small voice that says, "No, Julie, the Holy Spirit did, so sit back down and be quiet." ;)

    Anyway, I don't know if you post reviews on Amazon, but if you do, I would love a tiny one, but only if you are prone to that, okay?

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    P.S. Oh and, Anna, just FYI in case you don't have the final book yet, A Love Surrendered -- my publisher told me it's going to be available for FREE DOWNLOAD for one day only in September, so I'll try to announce it in the WE and on my Journal Jots blog, which I intend to pick back up in the fall. :)

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  81. Will do, Julie. I'll be giving away my copy on my blog in the next month or two, so I'll be posting a review there, on Amazon, and on Goodreads. :)

    And I'll be keeping my eyes peeled in September! :D

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  82. Awwwwww that was AWESOME!!
    Love your posts Julie!! All those clips were very swoon worthy. I hope I can improve my own heroes now.
    I agree with an earlier commenter that Blake from the Heart of San Francisco needs a story too!!

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  83. Okay, so Julie was obviously listening in to a conversation I was involved in yesterday about when men in a book don't sound or behave like men :-) Once again the timeliness of Seeker posts is astounding.

    Enjoyed reading this, Julie, and am looking forward to the rest of the list in future posts. Has anyone ever told you what a good teacher you are?

    Nancy C

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  84. TINA! What a great, fun picture!

    Nancy C

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  85. Ruthy -- I'm in for the STAY AT HOME AUTHORS CLUB!

    No dues, right?

    Nancy C

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  86. Well, if I ended up going to ACFW at the last minute, it wouldn't be the first time! Haha. It would be worth the drive to get your hugs, Julie! :-) And yes, they are paying gigs. A writers' conference and a Christian librarians' conference. :-)

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  87. I love your heros, Julie! A couple of things that are important to me are trustworthiness & ingetrity.

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  88. Julie's posts always make me wish I was a faster reader. All the snippets of scenes from her books make me want to go back to re-read them! Julie's heroes are definitely swoon-worthy!

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  89. I checked out Seekerville last week because I remembered *Ms.* Julie was going to be posting in July and I am so glad I didn't miss it!

    My family loves watching Hallmark channel movies and my dad was just saying that there are so many of them that have a scene where the heroine is talking about what she loves about the hero and she mentions something like, "he makes her laugh" as one reason. My mom said that's one reason why she fell in love with Dad so ... #6! :P

    #4 really gets me every time. Especially since so many people today believe sex = love ... Finding a guy that can do #4 seems like a rare thing now.

    Ha ha, I'm almost embarressed to say this, but my current favorite swoon-worthy hero is Hiccup from "How to Train Your Dragon 2" ... I think it's seeing how much he's grown up since the first movie (in all areas, not just physically). I seem to get to intimidated by the bad boy, super dominant alphas ... I like the smart, geeky cute types. :P Like Barry Allen in the new "Flash" tv show! :)

    So excited to hear about the Mitch/Charity novella ... I'm glad that the O'Connor family still has more stories to tell! And also for Mrs. Dickerson's Rapunzel novel! Disney's "Tangled" adaptation is one of my favorites, but some of the earlier written versions are ... Interesting. It'll be neat to see which way she goes for it. :)

    --Jen (formerly Lady DragonKeeper) :)

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  90. I love that we have more members of the "Stay At Home Authors Club"!!!!

    :)

    I brought Stay-at-Home Pizza for all!!!!

    WE'LL PRETEND THE BLACK OLIVES ARE CAVIAR!!!!!

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  91. JULIE-Yes we do seem to have very similar thoughts when it comes to heroes! Thankfully one of us also has the skill to write them! Whenever think about book heroes your's are always the first that come to my mind!
    I've missed you too, I always get super excited when it's your Seekerville day, because it's a threefold win, great post, snippets of the O'Conners, and the chance to chat a bit! Love ya!

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  92. I'm in for the "Stay at Home Authors Club" too. Never been to an RWA conference. I'm sticking to ACFW!

    Sue

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  93. JULIE LESSMAN SAID:"I'm not sure if you've read any of my books yet or not..".

    I read A Light in the Window and posted a 5* review for you on July13th, as Tracey~book corner fan, titled SEAMLESS PREFECTION! and that's just what it was.

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  94. ANNA ... good girl!! SO appreciate faithful readers like you who post reviews ... uh, unless it's a 1-star, then never mind ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  95. Hey, JACINTA, thank ya, darlin', both for your sweet comment and for coming by!

    And uh-oh, we have another bad-boy lover in the crowd. If you've read my books, you already KNOW I have an affinity for bad boys that I can convert, so we'll just have to see what we can do for our boy Blake ... ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  96. JULIE, this is a ten-time read! SO much information and I love comparing your lessons to my WIPs. I always learn something new. Many thanks!

    TINA, love the new pic. Get ready for the spotlight!

    Looking forward to following everyone at RWA! Have bunches of fun, all!

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  97. NANCY C!!!! Girl, you just made my day (along with Em), so thank you SO much for your sweet comment about me being a good teacher!! It means WAY more than you know!!

    Every time I write a Seeker post I think to myself: 1.) People are going to say, "wake me up when you're done, 2.) Are you allergic to short???, 3.) Talk about queen of shameless plugs, always using her own excerpts.

    But the truth is I use my own clips for a reason because usually I'm writing my post pretty last minute and have no time to scrounge up excerpts from the Seekers or anyone else. And, OF COURSE, I know where all my related excerpts are, so there you have it.

    So hearing your kind comment really blesses the socks off of me -- THANK YOU!!

    And, YES, I totally agree with you that I hate when men in a book don't sound or behave like men. Or in a movie, for that matter. Just last night my hubby and I watched a movie where the hero threw a ball like a girl, so my husband pointed that out, and I agreed, which took some of the masculine shine off the poor guy. :)

    Anyway, thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  98. NANCY SAID: "Ruthy -- I'm in for the STAY AT HOME AUTHORS CLUB! No dues, right?"

    LOL, that's right, sweetie, NO DUES except you have to keep doling out those fab encouraging comments, okay? ;)

    And I may have told you this before, but every time I see your addy, "Chill N," I get hungry because I think it says "Chili" ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  99. WHOA, MEL, YOU GO, GIRL!!! Paying gigs are pretty cool, so have fun and CHA-CHING!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  100. BONNIE SAID: "A couple of things that are important to me are trustworthiness & integrity."

    Oh, AMEN, girlfriend, I soooo agree!! And you know what? In Christian Romance, I think that's the majority because my strong, trustworthy hero with integrity was John Brady, a Billy Graham type of guy, and that is my only bona-fide 5-star book, so I'm thinkin' Brady had something to do with it. :)

    Thanks for your sweet comment, girlfriend, and GOOD LUCK in the contest! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  101. PAM SAID: "Julie's posts always make me wish I was a faster reader. All the snippets of scenes from her books make me want to go back to re-read them! Julie's heroes are definitely swoon-worthy!"

    LOL ... well, there's nothing stopping you, girl, except a very tall TBR! ;) I actually just finished the O'Connor saga myself because I reread my books once a year to refresh for the next book coming out, and I tore through them in record time, so trust me, when you're on the 2nd or 3rd pass, it goes MUCH faster ... ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

    JULIE

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  102. JEN (LDK)!!!! SOOOO good to see you here, my sweet friend, and THANK YOU for taking the time and effort to see when my post would be -- you should win for effort alone, girl!! ;)

    My hubby and I watch Hallmark movies ALL the time, and my two favorites are 1.) Follow the Stars Home -- absolutely OUTSTANDING!!! and 2.) Loving Leah, so if you haven't seen those two, Jen, be sure to check them out.

    Yes, #4 is HUGE, which is one of the reasons I SO respected Luke McGee at the end of AHU.

    I will confess something here, however, that my editor made me change and now I am SO very glad she did because it really does strengthen Mitch in the scene I posted in above where he walks away from Charity in the bedroom.

    Originally, I had that written where he succumbed to the temptation, although I didn't have them go as far as making love, only pretty passionate kissing. But the reason I did that was I wanted to show Mitch's deep remorse and regret, revealing to himself for the first time just how much God had changed him. But my editor felt he needed to stay strong, and now I agree, which is why editors are SUCH a good idea for CDQs like me. ;)

    I have never seen "How to Train Your Dragon 2," but I'm guessing I need to???

    Hugs and more hugs!!
    Julie

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  103. RUTHY SAID: "WE'LL PRETEND THE BLACK OLIVES ARE CAVIAR!!!!!"

    No need, Prez, I much prefer black olives ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  104. Aw, ABS, I just love you to pieces, you sweet girl!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  105. YAY, SUZI-Q!!! Ruthy brought pizza, and I'm supplying the soda and Crystal Lite ...

    I'm with you on sticking with ACFW. I only attended one RWA conference, and it was when I was a finalist in the Golden Heart with Tina, Janet, and Myra. Of course Myra one, so I never went back ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  106. TRACEY!!! BLESS YOU, you sweet thing, you -- SOOO appreciate you not only reading my book, but taking the time to post a fab review as well -- you ROCK!!

    I am assuming that you did download APMP, since it's free and comes next in the O'Connor saga. :) I will warn you that it's a lot more passionate and complicated than ALITW, which I wrote more as a sweet Christmas story, but Mary and Patrick have their own substory, so I think you may enjoy that as well. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  107. LYNDEE SAID: "JULIE, this is a ten-time read!"

    LOL, Lyndee, not sure if you're saying it's so long that it's equivalent to reading 10 other posts or there's so much to learn that you have to read it 10 times. ;)

    Just joshing you, sweetie -- I appreciate your kind comment. :) When it comes to heroes, I always have a lot to say, so this particular subject will probably end up being 3-4 blogs worth before I am through). :|

    And I agree about Tina's new pic -- it's been fun "seeing" her all day. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  108. I have already picked out my next 4 books and A Passion most Pure is one of them, I have no doubt with all the great reviews that it's terrific, I just decided to read them in order :)

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  109. YAY, TRACEY ... SO glad to hear that and if you like it when you're done, do let me know, okay? And if not ... uh, well ... never mind ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  110. Hi Julie,

    I almost missed stopping by today, but I'm so glad I did.
    I'd actually read through some of Romance-ology 101 earlier.
    Thanks for sharing today. I'm going to review it this post later. It's definitely a keeper.

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  111. Wonderful, entertaining and informative post, as always - Julie!! Too bad I'm not a writer so I could personally put all those tips to use. However - like Abbi, I always love talking a walk down "memory lane" with those beautiful book excerpts, laughing at your wit, and I usually find at least one unknown delightful "tidbit" of info from the comments. Today - it's the news of your story in the coming Seekerville Christmas novellas. I love reading books containing novellas from numerous authors, especially if they are from my fave authors or authors whose work I haven't previously had the opportunity to read. Almost like buying a BOGO or a buy one, get as many as 8 more (LOL) - love those reading bargains!!

    As with some of the other commenters - my new fave hero is always the one in your latest book. ALL of your heroes are swoon-worthy and dear to my heart, your heroes would probably have won all of the top 5 spots in the swoon-worthy contest if we had been allowed that many entries!!

    Love you, Julie, and love your heroes!!

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  112. "Follow the Stars Home" was one of the first Hallmark movies I remember watching. =) I just saw "Loving Leah" earlier this year and it was amazing! Did you know it was based on a play?

    Wow, so neat to hear the "behind the scenes" tidbit --thanks for sharing! I think there were a couple other scenes from Mitch's POV that showed he was a different person thanks to Faith, so I agree you and your editor made a good choice there.

    Yes, definitely watch "How to Train Your Dragon" =D --I highly recommend them, but watch the first film if you can before. However, the second movie has some amazingly subtle body language between couples that are adorable.

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  113. A man is a man is a man!!!

    Fabulous post thank you.

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  114. Love this Julie, thank you for a chance to win one of your books. I could use a swoon kind of man. I think I would choose A passion most pure from your books to treasure!
    Thanks for focusing me back on my goal...
    Blessings
    Linda

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  115. Very helpful post. It takes attention to detail to not make your hero sound like a woman.
    Cindy Huff

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  116. Great post and reference material, Julie! Always love to read what you write here! I would print them out like Tina does but then I'd probably lose them! Glad they are here in cyber space and that you published your writing book. Blessings sweet Julie!!!

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  117. JULIE! So lovely to hear from you again. I love your swoo-worthy heroes!!! And I would certainly love to meet someone like them in real life :)

    God bless you A LOT!

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  118. Oh, JACKIE, I am SO glad you made it by, sweetie, and here's hoping it nets you a win!

    And thanks for reading Romance-ology -- I hope you like it. :)

    GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  119. Aw, BONNIE, you are one of my greatest encouragers on this planet, my sweet friend, and I am SO blessed to know and love you!!

    LOL about the BOGO novella collection! I agree, and the Seekers are ALL awesome writers, so you are going to LOVE it, girlfriend.

    Thanks for stopping by (and for sharing this on FB) because I know just how much you have on your plate, my friend.

    Love you!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  120. JEN (LDK) ... no, I did not know Loving Leah was based on a play, so that's a cool "behind the scenes" tidbit as well -- thank you!!

    Yes, I will definitely have to get "How to Train Your Dragon," so thanks for the suggestion. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  121. MARY PRESTON SAID: "A man is a man is a man!!!"

    LOL ... AMEN TO THAT, girlfriend!!

    Thanks for your sweet comment and the funny one too. Here's hoping they net you a win. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  122. Hey, LINDA, twice in one day!! Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment, my friend, and if you win, I have a shiny copy of APMP for you already to be signed and sent, so GOOD LUCK ... although we both know you don't need it ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  123. CINDY SAID: "It takes attention to detail to not make your hero sound like a woman."

    Boy, ain't that the truth, girl, especially for female authors, which is why we gals need all the help we can get, eh?

    Good luck in the contest, Cindy!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  124. Hey, CARRIE -- always love, Love, LOVE seeing your pretty face, my friend, and I cannot wait to lay some hugs on you at ACFW! I don't know if I told you, but I am not actually attending the conference, just planning to hang out in the lobby at Starbucks and write/meet with people I want to see (like YOU), so I will contact you to set up a time, okay?

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  125. JANKA!!! How the heck are you, my sweet friend -- it's so fun to see you here!

    And, gosh, I would LOVE to see you meet a swoon-worthy hero as well, so prayers coming your way, girlfriend!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    Julie

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  126. Another great post about swoon-worthy heroes, and you do them especially well! Thanks Julie! Would love to be entered. :)

    I still haven't read A Love Surrendered, shame on me, but now that I know it's got more Sean and Emma, it's higher on my wishlist! As much as I love Mitch and Collin and Luke and McKenzie, and all those other wonderful heroes of yours, Sean has a very special place in this reader's heart that's all his own. :)

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  127. I need a good ending!!!
    You always make me smile Jules.
    Hugs
    Linda

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  128. Aw, thanks, NAT! Consider yourself entered, my friend. :)

    And I know what you mean about Sean. Somehow Mitch, Luke, and Collin always took center stage with me, but when I wrote Sean's book, I really saw him for the very first time in full depth and gentleness. I recently reread AHU and was shocked at how much he affected me. Of course, it doesn't hurt that I picture Bradley Cooper in the role ... ;)

    By the way, Natalie, A Love Surrendered is going to be offered for free download this fall, so I'll be sure to announce it in the WE and on my blog and FB, okay?

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  130. Hey, Linda, you do too, so we're even, girl! :)

    Prayers coming your way, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  131. I'd love to win one of your books. That was a good post and would make a good essay. Very thorough.

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  132. Hey, Michelle, thanks SO much for stopping by, and I'm sorry that the winner was already drawn by the time you did, BUT ... my next giveaway is Wed., 8/13, so I hope you come back to try again. :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

    Julie

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  133. I love ya Julie lessman.. I have to say I always felt for Mitch because he had a whole lot of self control when it comes to Charity always fun to read!!! Thanks
    Liza Bermudez

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