Wednesday, October 8, 2014

FROM SWEET TO SWOON, PART 4: The Last SEVEN TIPS for Ramping Up the Sigh Factor in our Heroes!

Question: 
When you read a really great novel, what elicits the most sighs—the plot, the heroine, or the hero?

Okay, if you said “the plot,” you’re probably a mystery/suspense reader whose time might be better spent on the new Hallmark Movies and Mysteries website.

If you said “the heroine,” women’s fiction is probably your thing, so you won’t hurt my feelings one bit if you click on the little X at the top of the page and move on.

But … if you said “the hero,” then, honey—pull up a chair and settle in, because this is the place for you! A place where die-hard romance readers like myself unashamedly admit that for us, the hero IS the heart of every romance novel.

Seriously, do you think Scarlett would have stood a chance with the female audience if Rhett wasn’t laying lip-locks on her? And go ahead, name one women you know who’d shell out money to watch Rachel McAdams get caught in a rainstorm without Ryan Gosling.

So ... why exactly is the hero a key element in a romance? I contend that the thoughts and actions of the hero generate more feelings/reactions from readers than the heroine's because HIS desire translates into the desire every woman wishes she could elicit. The truth is women long to be pursued, loved, cherished for who they are and made to feel they are the most beautiful woman in the world—if not to the man they love, then to the man they hope to love someday. And let’s face it—only a hero can satisfy that longing, not a heroine, which is why to hook your readers with your story, you have to hook them with the hero.

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 already covered in PART 1 with the six most common types of heroes in Christian romance, in PART 2 with Points 1-4 below, and in PART 3 with Points 5-9 below. Today we finish with the last SEVEN points (in honor of SEEKERVILLE’S SEVENTH BIRTHDAY), Points 10-16 highlighted below, so here we go ...


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.    Show His Love for Kids, Family, and Animals.
7.    Make Him Dominant.
8.    Give Him an Endearing Quirk.
9.    Show Him Aware of the Heroine’s Interest.
10. Make Him Aloof and Unavailable.
11. Show His Humility and Gentleness.
12. Show His Mental Desire for the Heroine.
13. Show His Spirituality.
14. Give Him a Noble Cause.
15. Give Him a Wounded Heart.
16. Give Him a Sense of Humor.

10.)            Make him aloof and unavailable: Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is probably the epitome of the aloof and unavailable hero, immediately setting up a romantic conflict that the reader begs to be resolved. Not only does this conflict make the heroine acutely aware of the hero, putting her on edge whenever he’s around, but it puts the reader on edge, too, heightening romantic tension, which is what a romance author wants to do.

I utilize this tactic in my latest book, Surprised by Love when the heroine returns home from a year in Paris, no longer the best friend and “little sister” who was “cute as a bug’s ear,” but a woman who now races his pulse. In the following clip, the hero Bram Hughes distances himself from heroine Megan McClare because he doesn’t know how to deal with the unwanted attraction he’s feeling. His sudden aloofness only increases Megan’s ardor—and the reader’s, I hope—when they discover his true reasons why.

        Bram paused, anxious to pursue a conversation more familiar to their prior relationship, where deep conversations and intense games of chess were the norm. “So, Bug, what was your least favorite part of Paris?”
        In a blink of green eyes, she tilted her head, brows sloping with a hint of sadness he’d seen far too many times. Her voice lowered to a whisper. “Missing you.”
        In the past, that statement would have warmed his heart instead of his neck. But now, uttered from lush lips that only distracted, the effect was akin to a face on fire from a day of sailing too long in the sun. He cleared a frog from his throat and managed a smile as stiff as his body in a chaise suddenly way too small. “I missed you too . . . Meg.” For a man notoriously easygoing and relaxed, his words came off annoyingly stilted and for one selfish moment, he wished the old Meg were back, sweet and stout and scattered with freckles.
        And so very easy to love and hold.
        “You know it’s odd, Bram,” she said quietly. “I missed our friendship more than anything and yet . . .” The faintest of shivers traveled her body, shimmying the silk of her dress. Traces of the hurt, little girl shadowed her eyes. “Right now—this very minute—never have I missed it more.”
        Her words paralyzed him for the briefest of moments before his heart cramped. Suddenly he was painfully aware that despite ready smiles and surface banter, he had distanced himself from a young girl who all but idolized him, wounding her as thoroughly as anyone in her past.
“Aw, Bug . . .” Ignoring the race of his pulse, he swallowed her up in his arms, eyes shut to picture the little girl who’d been so needy for his love. “Forgive me,” he whispered, his voice gruff against the soft scent of her hair. “I’m an idiot, and you and I both know I’ve never been too fond of change.”

Although Bram comforts Meg above, by the end of the scene he works hard to distance himself once again when Meg states that their relationship has progressed beyond pigtails and piggyback rides to an adult friendship between a man and a woman.

        Her chin notched up, almost a dare in the tilt of her head that was as foreign to the Megan he knew as that confounded city that put all sort of crazy notions in her head. “No,” she said softly, peeking up as he walked her to the door, “what if I don’t want to ‘posture our friendship’ as between a brother and a sister?”
        He ground to a halt, turning to brace his hands on her shoulders like he’d done dozens of times when Devin Caldwell had made her cry. His smile was gentle, but firm. “Doesn’t matter, Bug. I’m ten years your senior, a fourth cousin, and an unofficial brother since you’ve been seven. I see you as family, and the fact you’ve evolved into a stunningly beautiful woman doesn’t change that in the least.” His eyes narrowed to squints. “What kind of batty ideas did those Parisians put in your head anyway?”
“It’s the City of Love, Bram,” she said with an impish smile, “what kind of ideas do you think Paris put in my head?”
        Heat stung his collar as he hooked her arm, all but dragging her down the hall while he peered at her out of the corner of his eye. “Well, get ’em out, Bug, because there’s no room in our friendship for that.” He ushered her into the parlour, all awkwardness replaced by resolve.
Or in my heart.

11.)            Show his humility and gentleness: The gentlest, most humble hero I’ve ever written was a secondary hero in A Hope Undaunted who won the heroine’s heart, but not her hand. Parker Riley was so humble and kind that he almost upstaged my hero, prompting a ton of reader letters begging me to give Parker his own story. I have to admit, although I personally tend toward cockier heroes, Parker stole a piece of my heart, too, and the main reason is his incredible humility and gentleness, such as in this scene from A Hope Undaunted when the heroine Katie O’Connor gives him a Christmas kiss he isn’t expecting after telling him earlier she only wanted to be friends.
        
        She stirred from her thoughts and returned to the present, a smile tilting her lips at the snow in his hair and the concern in his eyes. “Merry Christmas, Parker,” she whispered, then lifted on tiptoe to brush her lips against his.
        His manner stiffened for several seconds, as if the cold had iced him to the spot, and then in the time it took for a snowflake to dissolve against her cheek, he pulled her close with a low moan and deepened the kiss.
        Suddenly he wrenched away, his labored breathing billowing into the night. “Katie, I’m sorry . . .”
        She touched a hand to his cheek. “Don’t be, Parker. I kissed you, remember?”
        A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as those serious eyes studied her, cautious and nervous and so full of love. “Why did you?”
        She rested her cheek against his chest, drawing comfort from the steady beat of his heart. “I don’t know. I had no intentions, as you know, but then . . . something happened tonight. Call it the holidays or family or the magic of Christmas, but I watched you playing chess with my father and mingling with my family as if you belonged, and suddenly . . . I . . . wanted to know you better.”
        He held her away as his eyes searched hers. “What do you want from me, Katie?” he asked quietly. “Friendship or more?”
        She licked her dry lips before her eyes met his. “I think I want more. Slowly . . . but more.”
        A smile curved at the edges of his mouth. “You’re in luck, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “‘slow’ is my middle name.” He gloved a hand to her cheek, his eyes suddenly serious. “But I think it’s only fair to warn you—I’m falling in love with you, my friend.”
        The muscles in her throat worked hard. “I have to admit, that does scare me a little.”
        He suddenly grinned. “Me too.” The grin gave way as he looked in her eyes, and the dreamy quality returned once again. As slowly as if time were standing still, he bent to caress her mouth with his own, and her body relaxed, gentled by his touch. He pulled away and she remained there, face lifted and eyes closed, thinking Parker’s kiss was unlike any she’d ever had. Not hungry and tempestuous like Luke or Jack’s, but quiet and steady . . . like the man himself.

12.)            Show his MENTAL DESIRE FOR THE HEROINE: For me, nothing enhances a hero more than knowing he desires the heroine but can’t have her, something I utilized a lot in A Passion Most Pure, such as in this scene where Collin’s mental desire stokes the flames of romantic tension.

You wouldn’t be interested in a quick game of rummy, would you?” Her green eyes issued a challenge.
A smile slid across Collin’s lips, pulse quickening as the color deepened on her cheeks. Her gaze quickly dropped to assess the cards in her hand, and all at once, he was as high-strung as a cat. He hated the way his blood was coursing through his veins without warning. Was he interested in a game of rummy? A swear word bubbled into his thoughts. No, he wasn’t interested in rummy! And the cold realization did nothing to temper the heat he was feeling. After a month of devoting himself to Charity, a month of hoping these feelings were behind him, even now, one-on-one, she still affected him more than any woman alive.
“Sure, why not?” He palmed the cards she dealt and breathed in deeply––quietly—arranging his hand. He willed himself to be calm and relaxed. Like her, he thought, stealing a glance. She was oblivious to the flood of feelings she’d just unleashed in him. Completely into the game, she gauged her cards with a cool look, face unreadable except for the slightest tilt of her lips.

13.)            Show his SPIRITUALITY: In Christian romance, when you show the deep spiritual side of a hero, it’s an automatic chick magnet for Christian women. However, it’s best done through the eyes of another character rather than the hero’s thoughts in order to amplify the hero’s humility and godliness. One of my most spiritual heroes is John Brady from A Passion Denied, who we see through the eyes of his best friend in the following clip, giving you a true glimpse into the man’s soul.

They had prayed tonight. For the last time. And after a day of moving and an evening of reminiscing, John Morrison Brady had once again proven himself to be the man of honor Collin knew him to be. John had wanted to pray for Lizzie and Michael, but Collin had balked. “I can’t,” he had said.
But he did, because John had taught him how. How to forgive and how to let go, lessons John had learned well, in far harder ways than Collin had ever known. He was a man of principle with an unprincipled past, bent on a path in which God would use both for his glory.

14.)            GIVE HIM A NOBLE CAUSE: In A Hope Undaunted, the hero Luke McGee is a street orphan whose only family are his two best friends, Parker Riley and Betty Galetti, for whom he sacrifices his own happiness throughout the course of the book. This noble cause not only drives the plot, but drives the reader to both love and forgive Luke no matter his stubborn actions.

        “I don’t need you two hovering over me all the time. I’ll be fine, I promise.”
        Betty started to leave, but not before Luke blocked her way. “We’ll do this our way, Bets, or not at all, is that clear?”
        “You mean your way, don’t you, Luke? It’s not Parker obsessing over my safety.”
        Luke sucked in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Painful memories tightened his gut—the guilt of their close friendship veering into something more before he’d finally broken it off. Pain he’d never meant to inflict, forcing her into the arms of a monster. Cold fury shivered him at the thought of how he’d found her that night, battered, bruised, a woman with whom he shared a bond closer than blood. And a friend he loved better than any sister. He released a weary breath. “I just care about you, Bets—is that a crime?”
        Her defenses softened, and he saw a glimmer of the feelings she still harbored for him. “No, Luke, but you’re going to have to let it go. It’s not your fault. And it’s in the past, where it belongs—leave it there.”
        He looked away, moisture threatening his eyes. “I know, but we’re family, Bets—Parker, you, and me. And neither of us are going to let anything happen to you ever again.”

15.)            GIVE HIM A WOUNDED HEART: In A Light in the Window, the hero Patrick O’Connor is a rogue that no woman can trust, but when the readers get a glimpse at the wounds of rejection he bears, understanding dawns as to why he is the way he is, eliciting a sympathy from the reader that only a wounded heart can achieve.

His father hurled the paper aside with that lethal glint in his eye that told Patrick he was looking for a fight. He lumbered to his feet, face pinched above a perfectly tied Windsor knot and buttoned vest. “You think you’re fooling anybody working at that soup kitchen, boy?” He strolled forward to thump several taut fingers on Patrick’s chest. “You got your eye on a girl there, is that it? Because I can tell you right now that no decent girl would look twice at a scoundrel like you.” His lips twisted into a sneer, a look Patrick had long become familiar with, at least since high school when he’d finally given up trying to win his father’s approval.
No amount of good grades or obedience seemed to satisfy him, not since that fateful day Patrick had stumbled in on the upstanding Joseph O’Connor in bed with the next-door neighbor’s flirtatious daughter while Mom was visiting Aunt Rose in New York. From that moment on, it seemed his father had taken his anger and guilt out on his eldest son until Patrick finally rebelled in high school, their relationship little more than a bomb ticking away. Pop had long since cleaned his life up, but Patrick’s reckless ways apparently rubbed salt in the man’s wounds, which suited Patrick just fine. Until lately. Now all Patrick wanted was to save money for college, get his degree, then kiss the devil goodbye.
“Don’t bother coming home if you knock some hussy up, you hear?” Pop shoved him with the ball of his hand, and his mother’s gasp echoed in the room, a frail indication of shock that never seemed to make its way into protest or support on Patrick’s behalf.
Patrick staggered back, tendons tight with restraint as his arm wrenched up in a knee-jerk reaction, grinding to a stop before he could ram a fist in his father’s gut. No, I won’t give you the satisfaction, old man.
“You gonna hit me, boy?” he whispered, a cold glaze of triumph in gray eyes that matched the color of sallow skin. “Go ahead, you worthless punk, because there’s nothing I’d like better than to toss your sorry carcass out into the street. Let’s see how many skirts you can lift when you’re taking all your meals in a soup kitchen.”

16.)            GIVE HIM A SENSE OF HUMOR: I love brooding heroes as much as the next gal, but a hero with a sense of humor can soften a reader’s heart in the quirk of a smile, such as this scene from A Heart Revealed where the hero’s humor gives him a lovable, little-boy air.

        Sean released a huff of frustration and looked up, his gaze pinned to hers. “I’m happy with my life, Emma. I don’t need anything to complicate that, which is why I’m not looking to get involved with a woman. But there’s a young lady at the store—” his lips slanted into a wry smile—“and I use the term loosely, given today’s flapper mentality—who has, well, made it pretty clear she’d like to be on ‘friendlier’ terms.”
        Emma’s eyes widened. “A customer?”
        “No, not a customer . . . ,” Sean began.
        “Oh my goodness, not an employee, is it? You’re the manager, Sean—I certainly would put this young woman in her place, gently but firmly.”
        Sean grimaced and scratched the back of his neck. “Well, she doesn’t exactly work for me, either.” He blinked, clearly perplexed. “She’s the owner’s daughter.”
        Emma’s lips circled into a soft “oh” before the words even left her mouth. “Oh, my.”
        “So you see, it’s a rather awkward position.”
        “Oh my, yes,” Emma whispered. She listed against the counter and propped a palm to her mouth. She took a deep breath. “Well then, you’ll just have to do your best to avoid her.”
        The corner of his lips swagged into an off-center smile as his eyelids lowered enough to indicate skepticism. “Yeah, well, that’s hard to do when one is cornered in the supply room.”
        A soft gasp popped from Emma’s lips as heat skimmed into her cheeks. “No!”
“Afraid so. Turned around with a clipboard in my hand, and the woman had me in a lip-lock so fast, I forgot which one of us was taking inventory.”

GIVEAWAY!!
Okay, leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of a signed copy of any of my books, including my latest release in October, Surprised by Love, and GOOD LUCK!

Hugs,
Julie

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.




192 comments :

  1. A Julie post is just what I needed today! My sister is getting married on Saturday (with the reception at our house) so we are crazy busy/stressed right now. So after a long day of painting I got to just relax and enjoy this fun post! The perfect de-stresser!
    I am sad to see this series of blog posts end since I have been loving them! These last 7 points were definitely true and I loved the sections from your books that you shared (of course)!
    Also random side note: I finally saw Gone With the Wind! I went with my best friend, and her mom and sister and saw it in the theater for the anniversary showing! I really liked it and I could definitely see ways that the story might have influenced your writing, which made me love it more! And yes, I totally loved Rhett! Now to find time to read the book!

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  2. Nice way to finish you your series on heroes, Julie!

    I especially love heroes with a sense of humor. That's one of the first things I liked about my husband when I met him! He made me laugh.

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  3. Abbi, I hope the wedding goes great! I'm sure it'll be beautiful.

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  4. Hi Julie:

    I just love your list! I can agree with everything you wrote. I checked the list twice looking for items I would add. It was difficult but I think I have seven additional characteristics that might make a hero more attractive to women.

    1. Give him a high level of intelligence – this does not have to be book learning – but an ability to think, solve problems.
    2. Give him a romantic streak – have him open doors and bring flowers and have the band play her favorite song. Add new romantic gestures that are original but oh so romantic!
    3. Make him good with his hands – a man that can build and fix things around the house: “It’s so nice to have a man around the house”.
    4. Make him protective of the weak, of children, pregnant women and the heroine – quirk: when he walks through a parking lot in the summer he looks into the cars he passes to see if any children are locked in the car.
    5. Show other women looking at him with desire. Others want him but the heroine has him. When he is with her he becomes oblivious to the other women who may be flirting with him. "He only has eyes for her."
    6. When away from the heroine show him praising the heroine to her girl friends and to his friends and family.
    7. Show his loyalty to his friends, family, country and show some who are very loyal to him. If he gives and inspires loyalty, that should be attractive to a potential mate.

    That’s my seven in the spirit of the birthday party. Of course, a hero won’t have all these traits but he can have those which the storyline allows.

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  5. Missy-Thanks! I'm sure it will too!

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  6. Julie, you know you take me out at the knees with all of your heroes. Especially Collin ;-)

    Love your list! For me a sense of humor is the X-factor. A hero that makes me laugh as well as swoon is #1!

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  7. I have to admit, the hero gets me every time! I also like a good plot because I do love a good suspense novel but at the end, I start thinking about what the hero's next case might be.

    Thank you Julie for giving us all such wonderful information. Also, I like the seven additional characteristics that Vince added.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  8. Hi Julie,

    I've heard about noble cause before, but as I've contemplated my next story I've considered my hero's noble cause and I have a question. Can the story begin with the hero not realizing his noble cause?

    My hero needs to pull away from his crazy life and rediscover who he is as a man and a child of God. He needs time to heal. I've considered a couple of causes after he starts getting his life back on track. Is this okay.

    Thanks so much for sharing this series with us.

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  9. Julie, I seriously can't wait to read Megan's story in Surprised by Love. All of your heroes make me swoon, Stephen, Colin, and Jamie being my favorites.

    I love your thoughts on what makes a hero so awesome! It's similar to the Fiction Hero Features at that blog.

    I'd love to be entered for a chance to win your newest book. dawn(dot)janis(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. Julie,

    As always, good information!

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  11. A great end to a wonderful series. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Julie, with these great excerpts to highlight each one. I find writing the hero hard, and these will help to remind me how to make mine more sigh worthy! Thank you!

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  12. I love heroes. I love brooding, quiet, funny, hard-working, facing their Rubicon, alpha, beta, swoon-worthy or geeky heroes.

    It's their inner self that attracts me, and how they handle "do it myself" heroines because whiny heroines annoy me.

    Julie, I love seeing how authors layer a hero when he appeals to me, AND what I don't like about the way they developed him when he doesn't appeal. That's an eye opener education for any author!

    Thank you for this!

    Ruthy

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  13. Love "Julie days" at Seekers!! Encourages me so that I don't dread the dr. appointment later today! lol

    I am so anxious to read your newest....count me in!
    Thanks!

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  14. Hi Julie, I have loved this series of posts! I hope you have a great day.

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  15. GOOD MORNING, SEEKERVILLE, AND HAPPY SEVENTH BIRTHDAY!!!

    In honor of our SEVENTH birthday, I have SEVEN-layer breakfast casserole (eggs, bacon, sausage, cheddar, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms), SEVENTH heaven salted caramel-cinnamon-pecan cheese coffee cake, SEVEN-eleven lucky chocolate chip pancakes, and SEVEN-UP virgin peach mimosas. AND, of course, LOTS of NUMBER SEVEN COFFEE, a subscription coffee service that serves up hope along with their coffee! http://numbersevencoffee.com/

    So DIG IN and let's make this a day of SEVEN (completeness & perfection in the Bible), okay?

    HUGS!!
    Julie

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  16. Scarlett and Ashley would have been a crappy plot.
    KB

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  17. Aloof and unavailable. Oh how I love Nick Barone (long e) and the fact he absolutely cannot help being attracted to Allison even though he doesn't want to be. SO to hide it, he comes off grumpy, rude and even unlikeable, all while the reader is falling in love with him! Julie, you are so awesome. Thanks for a great post

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  18. What a great breakfast. Wish it wasn't virtual.
    The most recent example of "aloof" hero I read was in the "Four Weddings" novella collection and Mary C.'s Rylan in "Spitfire Sweetheart."
    I do have a "humble and gentle" hero in the chute for the sequel to "Lost and Found." Good to know that's okay...
    Pace Williams, the hero in my current WIP, fits a lot of the requirements. He's slept with a lot of women but he won't sleep with the heroine, Oona Moriarty, because she's that precious to him. He sacrifices for her, giving her the money to go back to Ireland, to keep her out of the way of his ancient enemies who are closing in on him. (Cathy Yardley helped me develop this part in my Plot Consultation> Which I WON. From you.) He's good with children and capable at anything involving a gun, a horse or a cross-cut saw. But he's been deeply wounded by his past, and only in Oona can he find "safe harbor." And though he's killed men it's always been in self-defense or defense of someone else, a quality which comes out in the crisis, when even then he can't bring himself to kill Roy, but instead wants to bring him to justice. I like him...
    Also, Colin Firth in the BBC "Pride and Prejudice." I'm so there, even after 20-some years.
    KB

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  19. These hero posts have been wonderful, Julie! I'm still figuring out how to write good heroes. These posts are helpful!

    And, I'm so looking forward to reading Bram's story!!

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  20. That sounds like a wonderful breakfast! I love chocolate chip pancakes.

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  21. LOL, MARIANNE ... will do, darlin', because we both know how much I love heroes!!

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  22. ABBI!!!! I am soooooo proud of you, girlfriend, for going to see GWTW!!! Yes, Rhett does get under one's skin, but then you and I love bad boys, so he would! ;)

    Thanks SO much for all of your encouragement and support, my sweet friend -- you are SUCH a blessing to me, Abs, and I am SO glad our paths have crossed!

    Hugs and more hugs!!
    Julie

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  23. Oh, and ABBI ... SUPER CONGRATS to your sister on her upcoming nuptials ... you're next, darlin' ... ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  24. I agree, MISSY ... especially in real life. The dark, brooding types might be fun in a novel, but to live with for life??? I'm thinkin' a sense of humor is a must, so I'm glad you landed a hot one that also makes you laugh.

    I actually ended up with the same thing, although I didn't know it at the time because Keith was a shy, serious type who had a smidge of the brooding quality. It wasn't till we were married for a while that his amazing sense of humor surfaced. I guess living with a CDQ like me, it was either laugh or cry ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  25. Hi Julie, You always have such great advice and since you are one of my favorite authors, I do listen. smile

    Thanks for the super duper info. ANd I better go look at my latest hero again. I'm like you. My favorite is the hero. yay

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  26. OK. What a great list of hero qualities! I am happy to report that I have been able to check off some of the attributes listed for my own hero, but I wonder if I could sneak in a few more. I love your books Julie! No one pours on the heat and manages to keep it clean enough for a Christian reader like you do. Thanks for the lesson and put me in for your free book.

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  27. Wonderful post, Julie. Making sure I follow them as I'm working on my current WIP. :)

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  28. Julie, was really looking to see that in honr of Seekerville's seventh birthday you were having seven winners! Oh well, a person can dream, eh? Thanks, Sandra. You're a good egg

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  29. I forgot to mention that my most recent favorite hero is Connor Sullivan from Irene Hannon's Deceived. Tall, dark, handsome, and more to him than meets the eye. I think I found myself swooning quite a lot with him. Is he brooding? Somewhat. But he's more of the smart, manly man.

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  30. OH. MY. GOSH. VINCE!!!!

    I read this line, "I can agree with everything you wrote. I checked the list twice looking for items I would add" and caught my breath. Vince?? With nothing to add??? I've arrived ...

    Then you followed it with the MOST AMAZING list of hero traits EVER, especially #s 3 & 5 -- "good with his hands" being #1!!!

    I should be horse-whipped for not including that one in my list because my husband is the HANDIEST man I know, not only fabulous at designing things since he's an artist, but the man can fix or build anything, to boot!! And I'd forgotten how my girlfriends (and sisters) over the years were sooooo envious of Keith's abilities, so you hit a home run with that one, my friend.

    WHICH, of course, also ties into your point about other women looking at the hero with desire when he IS handy, a double bonus in enticing the readers, and ANOTHER point I forgot that I should have mentioned.

    You see, I wasn't particularly drawn to Keith when I first saw him because he was a blond, and I wasn't partial to blonds back then. But all the girls at work were jaw-dropping over "the new hunk of an artist" that I actually found myself giving him a second look, so your point is well taken.

    Do I have your permission to incorporate some of your points if I ever do a compilation of this blog???

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  31. LOL, KARA ... I'm SO glad I can "take (you) out at the knees with all of (my) heroes because trust me, they do the same to me and I sure would hate to be the only one ... ;)

    Yes, Collin would definitely win in a poll of my readers' favorite of my heroes (and has, actually), but as much as I love him, Luke and Mitch are neck-in-neck for the highest swoon rating in my book. I think it's because they are both strong (read: stubborn) men who do not let the women push them around, which as a notoriously pushy CDQ, I definitely need. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  32. Julie, thanks as always for the seven fantastic tips for writing swoon worthy heroes! I often forget giving mine endearing quirks. Where's the animal crackers? :-)

    Not surprised that Rhett managed to get into your post. Love that GWTW's characters are just part of you. Proof that great characters never die.

    Janet

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  33. CINDY SAID: "I have to admit, the hero gets me every time! I also like a good plot because I do love a good suspense novel but at the end, I start thinking about what the hero's next case might be."

    Thanks, Cindy, for confirming my point, especially since you ARE a suspense reader at heart!!

    And, YES, Vince always blows me away with his AMAZING ideas and thought processes!!

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  34. Thanks, AMY C ... I LOVE talking about heroes, so it was certainly no hardship ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  35. I'm swooning just from reading your post, Julie---GREAT job! :)
    It was WONDERFUL seeing you at ACFW and I was beyond thrilled to win your book SURPRISED BY LOVE!! I am starting it next and cannot wait!
    Thank you for always sharing such helpful (and entertaining!) posts with us, and for being so sweet.
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

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  36. JACKIE, ABSOLUTELY!! A noble cause is a noble cause and to be honest, most heroes are not aware they have them.

    In my novel Love at Any Cost, the hero Jamie MacKenna is completely aware of his noble cause -- which is to own/fund a boardinghouse that will help prostitutes on the Barbary Coast escape that vile lifestyle like his mother escaped the dance halls when she was 15.

    But ... in my novel A Hope Undaunted, Luke McGee's noble cause is to protect and make his best friend Betty happy no matter the cost, which he doesn't fully realize until halfway through the book, when he sacrifices his all on the altar of friendship.

    Either way, both men are heroes with a noble cause. Of course, the sooner you reveal the noble cause to the reader (even if you don't reveal it to the hero), the better. :) So I would definitely give hints as to the hero's feelings regarding the noble cause early on.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  37. Thanks SO much, DAWN -- I hope you end up liking Surprised by Love as much as I did. I actually didn't expect to because I like bad boys and sassy heroines, neither of which describe Bram and Meg. BUT ... something happened along the way, and Meg and Bram (especially Meg) captured my heart like few other heroines have, so I hope you think so too.

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  38. Thanks, ROSE ... it actually helps me to outline it in a blog, too, so I'm glad when it helps others as well. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  39. PIPER!!! YOU find writing the hero hard??? I find that hard to believe with all the awards you win, my friend, because you sure wouldn't be winning them if the readers weren't smitten with your guys. So you obviously have a pretty good handle on it, difficult or not. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  40. RUTHY SAID: "I love seeing how authors layer a hero when he appeals to me, AND what I don't like about the way they developed him when he doesn't appeal. That's an eye opener education for any author!"

    YES, it IS, Ruthy, and I know exactly what you mean. I have actually found myself rolling my eyes over heroes who did NOT work for me, making me want to write an anonymous note to the author to point the stuff out. :) But then my taste is SURE not everybody's, that's for darn sure. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  41. OH, JACKIE, NO!!! Hope it's not a bad doctor's appt. or one that will hurt. At least it's not the dentist, right???

    Yes, I can't wait for you to read Bram and Meg's story either -- I think you will like them a lot. I know I did and I didn't expect to as much as I do. :)

    Hugs and good luck!
    Julie

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  42. This is a keeper list, Julie! You've inspired me to take a deeper look at the hero in one of my current projects. He definitely needs a "sigh factor" tuneup!

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  43. Hey, LANI, you too, my friend, and thank you for coming by, sweetie, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  44. KB SAID: "Scarlett and Ashley would have been a crappy plot."

    LOL ... I couldn't agree more, Kath, and would have NEVER dressed up like a nun at the age of 16 to get into a free showing for Leslie Howard. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  45. CINDY SAID: "Aloof and unavailable. Oh how I love Nick Barone (long e) and the fact he absolutely cannot help being attracted to Allison even though he doesn't want to be. SO to hide it, he comes off grumpy, rude and even unlikeable, all while the reader is falling in love with him!"

    WOW, Cindy, you nailed it, my friend, so THANK YOU for the very astute comment. Nick is a sweetie and one of my faves. Quiet, but deadly. ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  46. Ooooo, KB ... your hero Pace Williams sounds TO DIE FOR ... ESPECIALLY the part about Oona being the only woman he WON'T sleep with -- VERY TELLING!!!

    And there's sure nothing wrong with "humble and gentle" in a hero, that's for sure. I found that out when my secondary hero in A Hope Undaunted (Parker Riley -- a completely gentle, humble and sweet man who always let the heroine have her way) totally won my heart without me really being aware, as well as the hearts of my readers, many of whom asked me to give Parker his own story. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  47. Aw, thanks, JEANNE T, SO appreciate your sweet comment AND the fact that you plan to read SBL. It's ended up being about one of my favorite couples, even though I never thought they would be since I like bad boys and sassy heroines, neither of which Bram and Meg are.

    Happy reading and GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  48. Oh, DAWN, I do too!! I used to like to make Mickey Mouse pancakes for my kids with the chocolate chips as the eyes, nose, and mouth. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  49. SANDRA SAID: "Hi Julie, You always have such great advice and since you are one of my favorite authors, I do listen. smile"

    Well, let me tell you, girlfriend, you just made my day because you are one of my favorite authors, too, so I am blessed by your sweet comment, my friend. :)

    Hugs and happy trails ... ;)
    Julie

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  50. EILEEN SAID: " I am happy to report that I have been able to check off some of the attributes listed for my own hero, but I wonder if I could sneak in a few more."

    LOL ... a few more sure never hurt, Eileen, although too many might make him a tad unbelievable unless you offset it with some bad-boy habits, which I ALWAYS love to do! ;)

    YOU ALSO SAID: "No one pours on the heat and manages to keep it clean enough for a Christian reader like you do."

    AW, thanks, my friend, I sure try ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  51. Thanks, JEN ... it always helps me, too, to have a list to look at, so I'm glad I could provide one for you (and for me!!). :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  52. MARIANNE SAID: "Julie, was really looking to see that in honr of Seekerville's seventh birthday you were having seven winners! Oh well, a person can dream, eh?"

    ROTFLOL!!! You are one sharp and sneaky gal, you know that MB??? I think you deserve an extra point in this contest for being so on the ball ... ;)

    So GOOD LUCK with your two points, you little stinker, you!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  53. JANET SAID: "I often forget giving mine endearing quirks. Where's the animal crackers? :-)"

    LOL, JANET ... Nick ate 'em all, sorry! ;)

    And, no, great characters never die, that's for darn sure, so sexy Rhett will be around long, LONG after I bite the dust ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  54. PATTI JO!!! It was wonderful to see you at ACFW, too, my friend, and I am SO glad we ran into each other in the lobby so I could hand-deliver the book. Hope you like it. :)

    And, girlfriend, when it comes to being "sweet," I'm afraid you have the corner on that market, PJ, because you are one of the SWEETEST human beings I've ever met, and don't even get me started on your peach cobbler ... ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  55. MYRA!!! LOL ... "sigh factor" tuneup!" LOVE IT!! Thank you, darlin', but I'm thinkin' your heroes are just "FINE" in the truest sense of the word. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. Julie, these excerpts from your books are like visiting old friends.

    Excellent hero advice!

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  57. VINCE those are nice additions to an already great list.

    A hero can do a LOT of these things.

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  58. Interesting post as always, Julie. Please enter me into the drawing.

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  59. Time to buy another notebook for these excellent posts! I loved this, Julie, exactly what I needed to read. Thank you!

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  60. JULIE...LOVE you...and this posting :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  61. Great stuff as usual, Julie! I love your heroes and really appreciate your break-down of creating a good one. :)

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  62. Hi Julie:

    The reason I could think of seven more traits is because you inspired me! That’s why I like reading your “Romance-ology 101”. It’s not only what you write, it’s what additional ideas your writing stimulates in the reader. Your writing is like caffeine for creativity!

    Then for additional ideas I have the advantage of seeing things from the male POV. I’m most interested in the heroines. I would have trouble sorting out your Boston heroes but I know all the heroines. I’d select Faith and Emma to marry for example. The 'heroes' are just 'heroes' because I just turn them into me anyway. : )

    As for being good with his hands, I think that is a big attraction of the cowboy hero. Just the other day I told my wife that if I had to do it over again, I’d go to every Vo-Tech night school on trades. I’d learn carpentry, plumbing, electrical, automobile mechanics and fine woodworking. You can learn these things in months and then you have the skills for the rest of your life. On a farm males were once just expected to learn all these skills. I think they still should. I think of fixing a car or building a gazebo as being manly.

    You wrote: “Do I have your permission to incorporate some of your points if I ever do a compilation of this blog???”

    Of course, I’d be proud if you did that! I would never have come up with this list if you had not written this post. I’d just love to be a character in another one of your books. (Especially if you write it in the humorous way you did “Romance-ology 101”. Fans should know that this is one craft book that is really funny.)

    Vince

    P.S. I especially like your #2: “Make the Heroine Affect Him Like No Other Woman.” This is the key to a long lasting relationship. Here’s a true story you can use in a book: when I was dating my wife she seemed to take on a glow and became more beautiful every day so I asked my boss and best friend, "Is Linda getting more beautiful or Is she doing some female tricky thing that I am not noticing?” My boss just shook his head and said, “No, you’re just in love and she’s got you hook, line, and sinker.” He was right. This really happened to me and I think it would be cute to have a hero ask this of his best friend – or about the other woman in a ‘friend to lover’ theme romance. Imagine the conflict caused by the hero asking his ‘friend’ (and heroine) something like that!!! (I’m thinking of Missy’s current book, ”The Guy Next Door” and having the hero ask his best friend-- the heroine -- if her sister is becoming more beautiful!)

    P.P.S. You see! I can't even finish a comment to you without thinking of more things. :)

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  63. Julie, this is SUCH a helpful post for authors! Thank you so much for sharing. I like the various things we can "do" to our heroes to have them steal readers' hearts. It's funny how we each are attracted to different types of men. The rebellious, cocky Mr. Darcy type has never been interesting to me. More into the intellectual, protective type. But as an author, we have to write them all! Thanks again.

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  64. Thanks, MARE -- I feel the same way about your posts when you include excerpts from your books. :)

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  65. Love all the great advice! I have struggled with making my heroes with those qualities.
    Great posts! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

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  66. SANDY, consider yourself entered, my friend, and here's to a win!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  67. Aw, thanks KAREN K ... right back at you, my sweet friend!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  68. Hey, JILL -- THANK YOU!! Gosh, I feel like I need to buy the notebook for you, girl, since I'm such a chatterbox in these posts ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  69. Fabulous list! I have printed these off and hung them on the wall in my office. I refer to them constantly. Bravo, my friend!

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  70. Thanks, ANNA!! And I SO appreciate your review of one of my faves this week in A Heart Revealed.

    HEY, PEOPLE ... Anna's got a giveaway of A HEART REVEALED going on right now with my "funniest" hero, so I hope you check it out.

    Here's the link:

    GIVEAWAY OF A HEART REVEALED

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  71. Julie, your writing is amazing. This has been an incredible series on the Hero! Sighing and swooning! :)

    And, Vince... oh my word, your list is great, too! Whew! Getting a little warm over here!

    Blessings!
    Kelly Y.
    kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

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  72. As usual Jules love reading what you have to say and I am reading Surprised by Love, but I have not found myself yet. its slow going with homeschooling and all.
    Love you
    Linda

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  73. I have a couple of your books, and love them. I would love to win one more.

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  74. Actually, it ended yesterday, Julie. But thanks for the plug! :)

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  75. My hand is up for the heroes. I think I'll cry the first time I get a heroine only book cover. :(

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  76. Julie, another wonderful post! You're such a detailed teacher! Thanks for the info!!!

    Love Vince's list too!

    All so good.

    Thanks for making ACFW even more fun! Love St Louis. Such a fun city.

    Hope we return there for another conference.

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  77. VINCE SAID: "Your writing is like caffeine for creativity!"

    LOL!!! Well, I know I am a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), but I sure didn't know I had that effect on others, Vince, so THANK YOU!! That should come in handy when folks are reading my books at night and I want to keep them up ... ;)

    And, YES, your male POV is INVALUABLE to all of us on this blog, my friend, as is your AMAZING commentary!!

    If you would pick Faith and Emma, I'm guessing that Meg McClare is going to strike a chord with you because although I tend toward sassy & funny heroines myself for my own reading (aka Charity), I absolutely fell in love with Meg even though she's quiet and shy and too sweet for words. She's one of the few heroines who have totally won my heart when I didn't expect it. :)

    Once again you are DEAD ON about the appeal of the cowboy being so adept with his hands! You would have made a great cowboy, Vince, not only because of your darling personality and humor, but your keen intellect and charming chivalry. You get my vote for Mary's next hero ... ;)

    Love, Love, LOVE the story about you and your wife -- TOO CUTE!!! Yes, I think not only are woman more beautiful to the man when he is head over heels, but the woman is more beautiful to herself and everyone else as well because to be truly loved by a man to the depth of his soul is what every woman is looking for. Your wife if a VERY blessed woman, Vince, as am I with my guy. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    P.S. Thanks for the permission. I think you are a walking think tank, my friend!!

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  78. Julie, I so love your books.
    I love how you broke the list down. I love the hero's you have in your books. Keep up the wonderful writing.
    God Bless,
    Cheryl Baranski

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  79. HEATHER SAID: "It's funny how we each are attracted to different types of men. The rebellious, cocky Mr. Darcy type has never been interesting to me. More into the intellectual, protective type. But as an author, we have to write them all! Thanks again."

    OH, AMEN, GIRL!! Mr. Darcy didn't send me over the moon either, although I did like him A LOT in the movie. Was a little ticked the first kiss between them comes in the last second of the film -- which is why I've never been a die-hard Jane Austen reader. As a romance reader, kisses are like air to me -- gotta have them early and often to keep me alive. ;)

    And I'm with you -- give me the smart, protective type ... and if they're brooding, ALLL the better, eh? ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. Hey, MARTHA ... can't imagine you struggling with heroes, girl, but we all struggle with something. I struggle keeping books (and kisses) short!! ;)

    Hugs and more hugs!!

    Julie

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  81. Oh, TARA, seriously??? That just blesses the socks off of me, my sweet friend, and if you were at ACFW, I am SO sorry I missed you!! Didn't actually attend, just hung out in Starbucks two days since I live in St. Loo. :|

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  82. Aw, KELLY, thank you SO much for your sweet comment, and here's hoping it nets you a win, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  83. LINDA, I totally understand, girlfriend. Although I don't home-school, I am inundated with deadlines right now, so I relate.

    Don't worry ... you'll happen upon the sultry Miss Linda Marie Finn soon enough ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  84. Hey, JACKIE, and I would love to send you more, so here's hoping you pull out a win, girl -- GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  85. Oh, boo, Anna ... Sorry!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  86. MELISSA ... you are SO lucky to get guys on your covers, although that is risky if they don't appeal to the masses.

    Revell ditched guys on my covers since my 2nd series because it IS just too risky, although they hit a home run with Collin, no question. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  87. Aw, DEB, thanks SO much -- coming from a dear friend and author I respect (AND a fabulous teacher/blogger), I am honored.

    And it was my absolute pleasure to host the Seekers at ACFW -- I LOVE you guys. Or as Woody Allen says in Annie Hall, "I LURVE you guys"!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  88. Aw, CHERYL, thank you SOOO much for your sweet comment -- it blesses this CDQ A LOT!!

    Although I took almost a year off from cranking on the career, I am doing my best to catch up now and hope to have more books out soon. :)

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  89. Okay I'll admit it is the plot plus the hero. If I read a story that has an incredible plot point I am wowed! I'm like--how did they do that. And the plot moving forward is what keeps me turning the page. But it is also great to have a sigh worthy hero who is perfect for the plot. Thanks for the classic Julie post with such great advice! So glad to see you baa-aacckkk around! Hugs!

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  90. Great post, Julie! This is a KEEPER!!!!!!!

    Initially I was going to disagree with #10...Aloof and Unavailable. (Mr. Darcy is, well, Mr. Darcy!) But after reading your excerpt....YES, aloof and unavailable is swoon-worthy!

    One of MY favorites is a hero with #13-Spirituality. Your mention that this needs to be revealed by others is something for me to remember. I love humble heros!

    Please enter my name. Thanks so much for your post!

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  91. I love how you break these heroes down! I never gave much thought into what makes a hero swoon worthy, other than that I loved a sense of humor, but also tenderness and perhaps woundedness. Great reading!

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  92. Oh, I can't begin to tell you how I love, love, love this post! Thanks so much. I couldn't have begun to quantify it and you have laid it out so nicely for all of us. And thanks for the giveaway, too.

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  93. Great stuff, Julie! I had to go turn the a/c on lol This post is a keeper.

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  94. Julie, you are so much fun to be around. Where do you get all that energy? With all these posts - 96 so far - I don't think there is much chance of winning....but I can't wait to read your latest novel....you know me - impatient!! Your stories are to drool over. I turn 76 on Friday, getting almost too old to spell. This second childhood ain't cracked up to be what it's supposed to be. LOL I'm just glad I'm not too old to read your books. Someday, I hope to meet you in person! Just want to see if you are for real. Always be yourself, lovely lady - I love you.

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  95. Hey, CARRIE, and I'm glad to be back, although a wee bit overwhelmed with all I have to do since I've been slacking off the last eight months!! BUT ... I'm spiritually refreshed and ready to go, so I'm confident I will be JUST fine. :)

    Still dreaming of Fruitcake, my friend ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  96. Hey, thanks, SHERIDA ... anything to do with heroes is a "keeper" for me, but then I've always been boy crazy ... ;)

    Glad I could change your mind on "aloof and unavailable," because "hard to get" has always been a winner in the romance department for me ... and in life! And it was a fine line with Bram in Surprised by Love because he had to remain "aloof and unavailable" while still maintaining a close friendship with Meg.

    And spirituality IS a biggie, I will admit, although I'm just enough of a brat to want them to be bad boys who TURN spiritual, just for dramatic effect, you understand ... ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  97. Hi Julie! Great list, and makes me want to reread your books again just to experience some time with those incredible heroes!

    I'm reading the first Outlander book right now, and boy, oh boy, is Jamie Fraser a hero you would adore! Strong, handsome, loyal to his family and clan, wonderful sense of humor, totally in love with the heroine, wounded heart, great with children, heroine affects him like no other woman, etc. He's practically the perfect hero because of these qualities, and also because he ISN'T perfect! Time and again, he protects his wife (the heroine) not only because he loves her, but because he promised in his marriage vows to do so, and will uphold them to his dying breath. Swoon!

    I must admit, after reading Outlander, and now your list, I'm thinking my hero needs a bit of tuning up. :)

    Have a wonderful day!

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  98. Thanks, KATE ... appreciate your kind comment AND you coming by to read the blog.

    Here's to a win in the contest -- you go, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  99. LYNDA ... you are MORE than welcome, my friend, and thank YOU for your encouraging comment.

    Here's hoping I can send you a signed book, so GOOD LUCK!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  100. LOL, JAMIE ... I know what you mean! I'm sitting out on the deck and had to turn the fan on ... Of course, it's 75 degrees here, but still ... ;)

    Thanks, sweetie. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  101. Wow, all of these covers are intriguing, would love to read any of them :)

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  102. JULIE,
    You dressed up as a NUN to see GWTW? That tops my trick, which was sneaking in during the intermission to see the second half. With the sneak-in I have seen this film 10 1/2 times in theaters. This was before I owned the DVD.
    GWTW Trivia. I did a whole month's worth last fall on Facebook. This is my favorite piece. David O. Selznick had a nationwide search for the perfect Scarlett, which was really a publicity stunt but got a lot of attention. One enterprising young woman had herself nailed into a packing crate and delivered to Selznick's home on Christmas morning. When they pried the boards off the crate she jumped out and said, "I am your Scarlett O'Hara!" David O. Selznick's reaction is not recorded.
    There is also a great story, somewhat less apocryphal, about when Katharine Hepburn tested for the part and didn't get it. Selznick is reported to have told her, "I can't imagine Rhett Butler waiting seven years for you!"
    It's also interesting that Vivien Leigh was the only one who really wanted to do this, and only because Olivier was working in the U.S. and she wanted to be near him. Leslie Howard thought he was too old for Ashley, Clark Gable didn't think his acting skills were up to Rhett, and for Olivia DeHavilland, it was just another job. But they CREATED MAGIC. Just goes to show, the sum is greater than its parts.
    Kathy B.
    Longing for Tara in NH

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  103. BARBIE DOLL!!! Soooo great to see you here, girl -- I miss you!!

    And, LOL ... fun to be around?? Don't tell my family that when I'm in a mood ... ;)

    And, gosh, I WISH I had the energy I once had. Of course I'm such a wired CDQ that even in my ancient, slow-downed state, I STILL look more energetic than most people I guess, but it's all a facade, my friend. ;)

    WHOO-HOO ... HAPPY 76TH, darlin', you're a beautiful woman who truly does NOT look your age AT ALL!! And I hear you on this "second childhood" thing ... it's sucking pond water FOR SURE!!

    OH, I would absolutely LOVE to meet you and chat over coffee with you someday, girlfriend, so I'm hoping we get to. And hate to break it to you, but what you read and see is what you get with me, sometimes to my detriment as I'm little TOO honest for this biz, I think. But, oh well ... I have fun. :)

    And just exactly WHY would you have to WIN my book as a reviewer??? You should either be on my blog list OR get it through NetGalley, right???

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  104. Hi Julie,

    Fabulous post as usual! Love talking about heroes! Noble causes, self sacrificing, funny, generous, kind - all great hero traits!
    And I agree about the 'good with the hands' part (my hubby is NOT handy at all and boy do I wish he was)! Funny thing is that the hero in my wip is a fantastic carpenter who loves to build furniture!
    I'd love a chance to win your book (I used up my book budget in St. Louis! LOL.)
    Cheers,
    Sue

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  105. STEPH!!!! Oh, honey, don't EVEN get me started on Outlander ...

    Jamie Fraser tops the list of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE HEROES, bumping Rhett Butler BY A MILE!!! But you don't hear me mention Outlander much because it's not exactly Christian reading, and I don't want to promote something my younger readers might pick up on my recommendation.

    But HOLY COW ... there is NO HERO who can top Jamie in my opinion. So much so, that I am DYING because I cannot watch the new Outlander Series on Starz because it's just too graphic (sexually) for me. I happened to see the opening episode, which Starz offered free, and I LOVED IT ... until the sexual scenes were downright pornagraphic, in my opinion. But then my hubby and I only watch Hallmark movies, so I've been out of the loop on cable TV movies for years now.

    In fact, I was SO offended by the series opener, that I told my husband that was NOT how Diana Gabaldon wrote the book, so like you, I reread it. Whoops ... turns out she DID write it like that but with almost NO graphic terms, which is why I wasn't offended. Plus, they were married, which is always key with me. But it's definitely not a Christian book and each book in the series gets kinkier and kinkier, so I eventually stopped reading them.

    LOL ... yes, I know what you mean about your hero needing fine-tuning after Jamie Fraser. I actually hit the wall on A Passion Denied 3/4 of the way through writing it because I was reading Outlander at the time and wanted to puke on my stuff after reading Diana's. So whatEVER you do, do NOT read my books after hers -- I want you to remember my heroes fondly ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  106. DEANNA!!! Well, girl, you are IN LUCK because the first book in my Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, is available EVERYWHERE for FREE DOWNLOAD!! A Passion Most Pure won American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year and currently has 1,325 five-star ratings on Amazon and 562 five-star reviews, so it's not a dog, I promise. Here's the link if you want to download it FREE:

    A PASSION MOST PURE BY JULIE LESSMAN

    HAPPY READING ... and good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. I would love to win one of your books. I haven't read any yet, so it will be exciting if I get to win one. Thanks for the giveaway and have a nice day.

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  108. KATHY B!!!!! God bless you, darlin', for all these WONDERFUL GWTW facts and trivia, some of which I did NOT know!!

    Yes, I first read GWTW at age 12 and immediately set down to write a 150-single-spaced manuscript that became the basis for A Passion Most Pure some 40 years later. I wanted an Irish-Catholic family during a war, but didn't have the guts to try the Civil War like Margaret Mitchell, so I chose WWI instead.

    When I was 16, GWTW came to our city for a special showing for the clergy (back then it was re-released every seven years, so I hadn't seen it yet), so I begged my girlfriends to dress up like nuns with me and go. It was AWESOME!!! Uh ... until the nuns from my Catholic high school saw me. BIG, BIG TROUBLE, especially when my favorite nun asked me if I thought I had a vocation. A romance writer who's a nun???? Uh ... I think not. ;)

    Ah, yes, "magic," indeed!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  109. SUZI-Q ... I relate about the old book budget, girlfriend, so here's to a win. Although now that you are a Revell author, you will be eligible for Book Perks when your book releases, which means you get to pick $150 worth of free books from the Baker catalog, so mine should be included. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  110. DEBRA SMITH ... NO -- SAY IT ISN'T SO!!!

    Well, girl, you are IN LUCK because the first book in my Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, is available EVERYWHERE for FREE DOWNLOAD!! A Passion Most Pure won American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year and currently has 1,325 five-star ratings on Amazon and 562 five-star reviews, so it's not a dog, I promise. Here's the link if you want to download it FREE:

    A PASSION MOST PURE BY JULIE LESSMAN

    HAPPY READING ... and good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  111. Julie, I totally understand where you are coming from with Outlander. I haven't watched the series yet, so thank you for the cautionary tale. I must admit, it makes a difference to me that the characters are married, but still, some of those scenes are pretty HOT, and it's not appropriate for all ages to be reading that kind of material.

    Thank heavens for your Christian heroes!

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  112. Mmmm....GREAT tips and yum, I'm getting all happy just thinking about heroes like this! LOL

    Thanks, Julie. :-)

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  113. EMAIL FROM SHIRLEY RAYE, WHICH I AM POSTING AS A COMMENT TO ENTER HER IN THE GIVEAWAY:

    Hi, Julie--
    read your post on the Seekerville blog about developing a swoon-worthy hero and just wanted to say thanks. I took notes. I learned a lot.
    I like to think my character Sir James Brownell in my new inspirational novel
    PRUDENCE PURSUED falls in that category, but you can be sure I'll be following your advice for the next book.

    Again, thank you (and I so enjoy your novels!)

    Blessings,

    Shirley Raye

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  114. STEPH ... yeah, viewer definitely beware!

    And, YES (fanning myself here) DEFINITELY HOT scenes ... :)

    DITTO -- THANK GOD FOR CHRISTIAN HEROES!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  115. LOL, JESS ... me too!! For days now since I wrote it several days ago ... ;)

    SOOOO good seeing you at ACFW, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  116. Great series! Thank you. And such a clever way to hook us on your books that we may not have read yet! ;-)

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  117. This is great, especially for the young in faith. Of course, it's also relevant for all walks of faith and I thank you for your books. I particularly am drawn to Passion Most Pure and how both the hero and the heroine trusted God to know what is best and when is best.

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  118. LOL, CAROLYN ... yep, I'm nothing if not devious, girlfriend ... ;)

    And just to be safe, if you haven't read any of my books yet, you are IN LUCK because the first book in my Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, is available EVERYWHERE for FREE DOWNLOAD!! A Passion Most Pure won American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year and currently has 1,325 five-star ratings on Amazon and 562 five-star reviews, so it's not a dog, I promise. Here's the link if you want to download it FREE:

    A PASSION MOST PURE BY JULIE LESSMAN

    See? Devious!! ;)

    HAPPY READING ... and good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  119. I just love reading Julie's books! I haven't read them all and need to, but I just adore this new series and I'm so excited about the next book! I need answers!!! :)

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  120. JUST COMMONLY ... thank you SO much for reading APMP -- MUCH appreciated, my friend.

    And here's hoping I can send you a signed book of your choice if you win!

    GOOD LUCK and hugs,
    Julie

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  121. LOL, BIANCA ... thanks SOOO much for your sweet comment, and I'm just betting the answers you need have to do with Cait and Logan, don't they?

    Stringing them along through three books was SOOOO much fun, but not as much for my readers who are dying to see their happy ending. Well, you'll get it, I promise, in spades. BUT ... not before I put poor Logan through the paces ... ;)

    Good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  122. First of all, you are my all time favorite author. I have been patiently waiting for Bram and Megan's story. You really have a way of writing that makes me feel like I'm one of the family. I really hope you are working on your next book in the Mclure family because I really can't wait to read about them all!
    Thanks for the contest!

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  123. Aw, LINDA, thank you SOOO much for your sweet encouragement, my friend, and WOW, I am blown away that I am your fave -- that blesses the socks off of me -- THANK YOU!!

    I'm sorry to say that the McClares are over now, but I have been toying with writing a novella for Blake and maybe even Jamie's sister Jess, so we'll see ... :)

    I hope you end up liking Surprised by Love as much as I did. I actually didn't expect to because I like bad boys and sassy heroines, neither of which describe Bram and Meg. BUT ... something happened along the way, and Meg and Bram (especially Meg) captured my heart like few other heroines have, so I hope you think so too.

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  124. First of all, I have to say I LOVE all of your books and how you mix romance, real life struggles and faith seamlessly throughout your stories!

    I gotta say I love a hero with a sense of humor, a strong faith and a touch of romantic! ;)

    Keep up the great work!!

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  125. Blake will certainly need a story. Even if it is just a novella.

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  126. Vince,

    You never cease to amaze me.

    Julie, thanks for the reply. Another great day at Seekerville!

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  127. NBROOKE22, thank you SO very much for your sweet comment, my friend, and I'm with you on the strong faith and sense of humor BIG TIME.

    Although, I have to say that I also like a guy who's not a romantic like Mitch Dennehy. I love the last scene in A Passion Denied where Charity's complaining in the bride room that Mitch is not romantic like Collin and then SWOOSH -- the door flies open. Here's the rest of that clip from the book:

    The door flew open, and Mitch barreled through like a bull on the run. He made a beeline for Marcy and shoved Patrick’s wallet into her hand. “This is bulging in his pocket. Says to carry it in your purse.” He turned to go and stopped, staring hard at the bride. “You look beautiful, Lizzie.” His gaze shifted to his wife and traveled from her face, down her body, and back up again. Movement flickered in his jaw, and the heat in his eyes took on a smoldering quality. “You know, little girl, it’s downright criminal how you take my breath away.”
    He left as quickly as he’d come.

    Charity stood, jaw sagging and cheeks braised. She snatched a hymnal off the book shelf and began to fan herself. “I stand corrected. The grouch does have his moments. And yes, Lizzie, it is hot in here.”

    :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  128. LOL, DAWN ... okay, girl, you sealed it -- one novella coming up for Blake, and I think that's my idea for the Seeker spring novella, so THANK YOU!! :)

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  129. You're welcome, JACKIE, and I'm with you -- VINCE is AMAZING!!

    But I DO disagree on one point. Vince HAS ceased to amaze me because I now expect brilliance in every single thing the guy says. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  130. I just love your list and the series of articles you've posted giving examples from your books! It has made me so much more aware of what appeals to me in a hero. Looking forward to reading your newest book!

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  131. I can't wait to read your next book. I enjoy heroes who show their soft side and prove they can protect the woman.
    kbridgewater81@gmail.com

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  132. Thanks for all the great information!
    Linda

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  133. Great information - will definitely help me become a better writer :)
    Samantha M

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  134. Oh, HEIDI, I'm SO glad it helps to make you more aware of what you like in a hero, girl!

    And I have a confession to make -- it does the same for me!! Because until I sit down and write a detailed post like this, I'm not fully aware either of just what I actually like in a hero. :)

    And, gosh, I hope you end up liking Surprised by Love as much as I did. I actually didn't expect to because I like bad boys and sassy heroines, neither of which describe Bram and Meg. BUT ... something happened along the way, and Meg and Bram (especially Meg) captured my heart like few other heroines have, so I hope you think so too.

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  135. K.L. BRIDGEWATER ... well, girl, if you like heroes who show their soft side, then look out because you're gonna LOVE Bram Hughes in Surprised by Love.

    I actually didn't expect to like Bram and Meg as much as I did because I have a penchant for bad boys and sassy heroines, neither of which Bram and Meg are. BUT ... something happened along the way, and Meg and Bram (especially Meg) captured my heart like few other heroines have, so I hope you think so too.

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  136. Hey, LINDA, you are MORE than welcome, my friend, and I love addition of "Angel" to your name. Is it true? ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  137. Gosh, SAM, I hope so because that's my aim, and not just for you, but for myself as well. Because like I told Heidi above, until I sit down and write a detailed post like this, I'm not fully aware of just what I actually like in a hero either. :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    JULIE

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  138. I snap up wounded heroes like they're dropped money. =)
    SO my choice of reader crack. The more broken the better.
    There are a lot of really good books I don't read because there's no strong hero presence. They just don't interest me very much.
    I'm a hero girl through and through.

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  139. I love your heroes, Julie! Without a strong hero, a romance novel is seriously lacking. We all need a swoon-worthy hero, even if they are only on paper!

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  140. As always, JULIE, you've provided wonderful examples of the seven. You make it seem easy, but I know it's not!

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  141. NANCY SAID: "I snap up wounded heroes like they're dropped money. =)"

    ROTFLOL!!! NANCY, you are sooooo adorable!! And, yes, I know heroes are like "crack" to you, my friend, which is why Chasing the Lion is burning a hole in my iPad right now -- it's next on the TBR, girlfriend, and I cannot WAIT!!

    Thanks for coming by, and SUPER CONGRATS on the success of your book!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  142. Oh, AMEN, PAM!! Nothing elicits a happy sigh like a good hero, and God knows we need as many happy sighs in this crazy world as we can get ... :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  143. Aw, thanks, LYNDEE ... I don't know if I make it easy, but I sure do enjoy doing it ... :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

    Julie

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  144. Once again, Julie, THANK YOU! Your posts have been so helpful to me as I shape my own book characters. I so appreciate you sharing these tips :)

    And thanks for the chance to win one of your delightful books!

    ~Micaela :)

    bookworm9404(at)gmail(dot)com

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  145. I love your books!
    missysaprons@gmail.com

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  146. What I love about your books is the chemistry between the heroes and heroines. Your list is awesome and accurate :D

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  147. Hey, MICAELA, you are MORE than welcome, my sweet friend!! And I'm learning right along with you when I do these in-depth studies because I have to focus on it too. :)

    Hope I get to send you a signed book, girl, so GOOD LUCK!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  148. Aw, MISSY, thank you SO much, my friend!! Here's hoping I can send you a signed copy of my latest ... or your choice of any of my books, so GOOD LUCK!!

    HUGS,
    JULIE

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  149. STARLIGHT!!! How the heck are you, my friend -- long time, no see!

    Hope I hear from you if you read Surprised by Love and maybe you will even win it here, so fingers crossed!!

    Thanks for your sweet comment and for coming by. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  150. There you go - getting me emotional and weepy over all those touching scenes again, Julie!! Wish I had time to reread every one of your heart-warming, inspiring books - right now - however, am too engaged in your new release, "Surprised By Love" and loving it just as much as each of your other books!!

    Loved Vince's comments about his wife - a true male POV, if I ever heard one. Also loved your comment about liking kisses "often and early" and Nancy Kimball's about loving "broken" heroes, two of my fave things in books - kisses "often and early" and "broken" heroes redeemed by God!!

    I'll probably get a laugh or eye roll when I ask if you and Keith have ever considered speaking at spiritual conferences or sessions with individual couples, - I think your input would be invaluable, especially to younger and newly-wed couples!!

    Thrilled to hear there will be Seeker spring novellas, as I'm so looking forward to the Christmas novellas - as well as your WIP and that novella about Blake!! I love nothing more than reading one of your books where you "pour on the heat" (per a previous comment). Love you and your books, Julie!!

    Post shared!!

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  151. Oh gosh, BONNIE, nobody encourages like you, my friend!! What did I ever do to deserve your INCREDIBLE support???

    LOL ... you think I'm tough to convince to speak at conferences??? HOLY COW ... Keith would need a gun to his head! ;)

    Although I will admit, we have a lot to say that I think would help some people because as God is my witness, we have one of the best marriages I have ever seen, bar none!! And I know God too well to know it's a fluke -- He is smack dab in the middle, which is why it's as good as it is!!

    Thanks for everything you do for me, my friend -- love you to pieces!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  152. Exactly the reason I "suggested" it - it wasn't just an idle thought, I was prompted (smile). You DO have one of the best marriages ever, and without a doubt - God centered; a valuable lesson for so many couples who need verification of how wonderful a God-centered marriage can be!! Seed planted (LOL)!!

    And you're welcome, always a pleasure to encourage and support such a godly, sweet lady as yourself - Julie, though I'm sure you've inspired me much more than I have you!!

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  153. LOL, BONNIE ... you are SO good at "planting seeds," my friend.

    And as far as the inspiration goes, I doubt that ... :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  154. Yay! A novella featuring Blake! I somehow figure you already had his story playing around in that romantic brain of yours. ;) *hugs*

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  155. Julie, Thank you for your post. Any insight into male characters, especially the hero, is always appreciated.

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  156. LOL, DAWN ... you know me WAY too well ... ;)

    I also have a story about Parker Riley from A Hope Undaunted rolling around in my head, so we shall see. He's in a seminary, so it could be touchy ...

    But then I've never been too afraid of "touchy" ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  157. TANYA, you are SO welcome, my friend, and I agree -- we gals have to stick together when it comes to the male psyche, sharing all the insight we can get!!

    :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  158. I'm stopping by late, but I wanted to thank you for this wonderful series! It will be a constant go to!

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  159. Aw, DONNA, THANK YOU!! I appreciate you coming by no matter how late, and you are in the draw, darlin', so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  160. Okay, I'm definitely a suspense plotter-type person.

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  161. Julie! What a great post! Very Julie Lessman-noteworthy!!

    Oh, I'll take the hero swoon any day of the lifetime. Aloof is my favorite followed by a witty sense of humor.

    The end of your sweet to swoon series? I'm giving you my best Scarlett pout now. No one puts heart and soul in their characters like you, Jules!!

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  162. LOL, WALT ... as one of our very special (and very few) male buds on this blog, you're more than entitled! ;) In fact, I might be a bit worried if the hero WAS the most important thing to you ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  163. LOL, AUDS ... the minute I read "my best Scarlett pout," I saw your cute, little mouth pucker up and I laughed.

    You are SUCH a hoot!!

    I'm with you on aloof and witty, although they're pretty hard to put together ... ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  164. So much fun to read through thank you.

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  165. That horrible moment when you realize that you haven't read "Dare to Love Again" yet--I need to try to pick it up this weekend! =)


    In defense of Jane Austen, she probably wouldn't have been able to get published in the 1800s if she had a lot of kissing ... But that's why I like watching the film/miniseries adaptations almost more than the books. So much romantic tension! ;)

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  166. You're welcome, MARY, and here's to a win in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  167. JENN -- say it ain't so!!! You haven't read DTLA??? Well, you're right, girlfriend -- you best get crackin'!

    Hey, Jenn, you did receive the signed copy of Surprised by Love that you won, right?

    Let me know, okay?"

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  168. Aw, PATSY, thanks SO much, sweetie!!

    Here's hoping you pull out a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  169. Great list!
    I myself love my guys gentle and decisive (both!), sensitive but with a backbone, and a sense of humour is a must!

    BIG HUGS, Julie!!! Cant wait to read your newewst book!

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  170. I love reading your posts, Julie! It's like a trip down memory lane to visit my favorite characters from the O'Connor family! I miss them!

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  171. Julie, you are so right! As I think about my favorite authors, they are authors that are very good at writing strong male characters. Thanks for all those wonderful examples of your own writing!

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  172. JANKA!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend, and I can't wait till you read Meg and Bram's story either -- let me know what you think when you do, okay? Uh ... unless you hate it ... then, never mind. ;)

    And "gentle and decisive" is realllllly nice, I agree, although you wouldn't know it from some of my "cavemen" scenes ... :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  173. Aw, JESS, thanks SO much, sweetie!! I miss them, too, which is why I reread all of my books when a new one comes up -- sort of like an annual family reunion, you know? ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  174. REBECCA, YES -- same here!! Strong male characters not only definitely pull us in, but they don't let go, lingering in the mind and heart long after the last page. :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK, sweetie!

    Julie

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  175. Julie, this series is a keeper! It even merits its own file in my cabinet! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us! Looking forward to reading your latest, but don't put my name in the hat. I'll be doing a book review for Revell Reads. The review will also be on Amazon, B&H, Goodreads, etc.

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  176. EDWINA!!! Thank you SOOO much, not just for your kind words -- goodness, my own file cabinet??? Does that mean I'm windy or good?? ;) -- but for joining my blog tour! Please let me know all the places you post it so I can give you the appropriate points in my upcoming newsletter contest, okay?

    And thanks SO MUCH for coming by -- always good to see you, my friend. :)

    HUGS!!
    Julie

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  177. Thank you so much for the post Julie! I really enjoyed it and loved reminiscing on your past books! I've told you this before but I can not wait until I get to read Surprised By Love, especially after that little peek into the story! Thank you for the giveaway!

    BTW. I am in agreement that the HERO is what makes the story! ;)

    ladysalxd@gmail.com

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  178. Thanks, Julie, for the post! Fun and enlightening as usual! Looking forward to this new novel!
    Mary

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  179. SALYNA!!! Oh my goodness, girl, it is SO good to see you, my friend -- I miss you and your wonderful creative process!!

    I am really excited to see what you think of Bram and Meg's story and hope you end up liking it as much as I did.

    I actually didn't expect to like it as much as I do because I like bad boys and sassy heroines, neither of which describe Bram and Meg. BUT ... something happened along the way, and Meg and Bram (especially Meg) captured my heart like few other heroines have, so I hope you think so too.

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  180. Thanks, MARY, for coming by and for planning to read Surprised by Love. Here's hoping I can send you a signed copy with a win!

    GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  181. As usual, another printer-offer from Julie!
    Thank you for spelling it out too.
    I need this! :D

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  182. MAY!!! Make sure you buy a fresh ream of paper if you plan to print this off, girlfriend ... ;)

    Thanks for coming by, May ... you just made it under the wire for the giveaway, so you go, girl!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  183. It's always good to throw in varied parts Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and even a little Mr. Thornton (North & South) in a good hero...sigh indeed!
    Loved reading this article.

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  184. Dear SMITHMOM ... I SOOO agree, my friend, although I hope I don't make you mad that I don't know who Colonel Brandon is ... :|

    But, heck, let's toss some Rhett and Romeo in there too -- it's all good!!

    Thanks for coming by to read the blog -- have a GREAT WEEKEND!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  185. I just read all four parts of this series this afternoon, and loved all the little excerpts! It makes me want to read all of the books, which, as a college student I haven't had a lot of time to do so. Someday soon, I will get to it because I have a giant list, with your books on the top!
    Thanks Julie!

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  186. Oh, Megan, I certainly understand, girlfriend, because college comes first!

    BUT ... when you get a tiny break, I double dare you to read just one of my books -- A Passion Most Pure -- WHICH is available for FREE DOWNLOAD everywhere right now, so I encourage to get it, and if you like it, let me know. And if you don't? Uh... never mind ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  187. I totally agree Julie! I love the hero's in the stories that start out arrogant and think they are 'all that', but then slowly become more humble as the book progresses. I think it adds an entertainment factor to any story while still giving us readers a good message! Even though you say Bram and Meg don't have you typical character personality however, I am still excited to read about them! Brady and Liz weren't the 'in your face' kind of people either, but they still turned out to be some of my favorites!

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  188. Thanks, SALYNA ... I'm excited to hear your feedback on Bram and Meg, so HAPPY READING!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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