Monday, November 16, 2015

Tips for Making the Alpha Hero Lovable

Janet here. I think of alpha heroes as masculine, courageous, aggressive, even dangerous. They tend to avoid showing emotion and are good at what they do.   

If asked, Widow Carly Richards, the heroine of The Bounty Hunter’s Redemption, January 2016, would describe hero Nate Sergeant as a gun-toting, hard-nosed killer. And she’d be right. Nate’s an alpha male, not surprising considering his occupation. He's taken actions he’s not proud of and now he’s putting Carly and her young son’s livelihood and home at risk, which is why Carly sees Nate as more villain than hero. 

The goal of every romance novel is for the hero and heroine to fall in love by the book's end. Carly’s not about to love a man who’s a threat. And neither are readers. My job as the writer was to dig beneath the surface of this man and show his good qualities. 

I used the five following ways to reveal who Nate really is below his tough exterior in the book's opening and to make him more lovable in Carly's eyes. Hope these tips help you write your Alpha heroes.  

Show his vulnerability:

During their first meeting, Carly faints. Nate reacts like a duck out of water, especially when he must comfort her distraught son. Hopefully the reader sees his concern, senses his helplessness, and cares after this first hint at his wounds.

Then she wobbled, as if the starch had gone out of her. In one slow motion she crumpled, limp as a ragdoll.
Alpha males are aggressive, determined.

Nate caught her before she hit the floor. With the pale woman in his arms, his mind zipped back and remembered another woman.


Nate’s head snapped up, his vision cleared.

Eyes wide with fear, the son ran toward them. “Is she dead?” he said.

Rachel was dead. Not this woman.

Poor tyke had lost his pa and now must believe he’d lost his mother, too. “Your ma’s fine. She’s fainted, that’s all.”

“What’s fainted?”

“It’s like falling asleep.” Nate forced a reassuring smile. “She’ll wake up soon.”

Beside Nate, the little boy settled on his haunches and patted his mother’s arm. “Mama, are you tired?”

Nate removed his hat and fanned the widow’s face. Smelling salts would bring her around. Not something Nate carried in his line of work.

He brushed a tendril of hair off the widow’s pale cheek. Under his fingertips, her skin was soft as silk.

The click of a clock’s pendulum echoed in the silence. With each passing tick, the boy’s bravado crumbled. “Mama, wake up! Please!” he said, tears spilling down his face.

In way over his head, Nate groped for words. He’d never been around children. How could he comfort this one?

Nate wants to help Carly's frightened son
The widow groaned, rolling her head from side to side.

Her son gazed up at him, panic sparking in his eyes. “Something’s wrong with my mama. Help her! Please, mister!”

“I’ll help her, I promise.” As soon as the words left his lips, Nate knew he’d made a hasty promise to stop the boy’s pleading. A promise he couldn’t keep.

From the snippet of this scene, the reader can see Nate wants to help Henry. But even as I want readers to start seeing he's not as bad as readers may have been thinking, I make sure that his introspection doesn't defuse the trouble. Story is conflict. Don't eliminate the trouble too soon.

Show that others—family/friend/children/pets—don’t find him frightening:

Nate and his sister Anna love one another totally. But their relationship isn’t enough to soften the hero in the readers’ eyes. After all, even villains care about someone. But as Carly gets to know and admire Nate’s sister, she realizes a good woman like Anna wouldn’t admire Nate unless he possessed some redeeming qualities. Carly's son is also enamored with Nate and has no fear of the man. This awareness comforts Carly, but it's also a conflict since she doesn't want to like the man who threatens her future. 

Show him as protector, coming to the rescue:

Blake Snyder wrote the craft book Save the Cat! He defines the term this way: “Save the cat is the scene where the hero does something—like saving a cat—that defines who he is and makes us like him.” A hero saves the cat when he does something heroic for a child, animal or less fortunate person, as Nate does in the following excerpt.

She rose, catching a glimpse of her son, dangling his feet in the water, as Nate ambled along the bank nearby. When had a man helped supervise her son? Looked out for his welfare? Nate cared about Henry. Listened to him. Taught him to do simple tasks and to treat women well. Her heart stuttered in her chest. Nate would make a good father. Something Henry needed badly.

The Alpha Cat .
“Spot any frogs, Henry?” Nate said.

“Yep. I scared `em and they jumped in.”

Nate chuckled then the laugh stopped. “Henry, don’t move.”

The authority and urgency in Nate’s voice raised the hair on Carly’s nape. Heart pounding in her chest, she gathered her skirts and ran toward the creek.

An ominous click. A blast of gunfire.

Henry’s wail ripped through her, squeezing the air from Carly’s lungs. Please, Lord, my son!

Carly watched as Nate scooped up her son. Henry threw his arms around Nate’s neck, whimpering against his chest.

“Is he hurt?” Carly shoved the words past the lump wedged in her throat.

Nate met her gaze. “He’s fine, Carly. Scared, is all.”

As his words sunk in, Carly’s legs wobbled and she wilted to the ground.

“I’m sorry for scaring you, Henry. A water moccasin was slithering toward your bare feet.”

“Is he dead?” Henry released the hold on Nate’s neck and leaned toward the creek, peering in the water.

Sure is. Want to see?”

“Yes!” Henry wiggled down. “Come see, Mama.”

Nate followed Henry’s gaze then set Henry on a rock. “Stay put,” he said.

He strode up the bank to Carly. “You okay?”

"I am now.”

"For a minute there I thought you’d fainted.”

“Now what would make you think that?” She forced a wobbly grin. “Just because I fainted on you once before doesn’t mean I will at every provocation.”

He chuckled, took her hand and helped her to her feet and down the slope.

Within minutes Nate had found a twig and retrieved the brown, poisonous, now-lifeless snake, and dropped it at the edge of the bank.

Henry inched toward it, his expression rapt, clearly fascinated.

At the sight of that long, thick body, Carly shivered. Her gaze locked with Nate’s. “Thank you for saving my son.”

“I’m just thankful my aim was good.”

She bit her lip. “I was…wrong about carrying a gun.”

“Not all varmints walk on two legs, Carly.”

Show his wounds:

I used flashbacks, his thoughts and dialogue to reveal his wounds and regrets, the burdens he carries. Often these things bring on more pain and guilt. Those wounds motivate his actions. The excerpt that follows is from the scene that inspired the cover.

Henry gave a nod then threw his right leg over the saddle. As he dismounted, his boot snagged in the stirrup and he tumbled, letting out a shriek, his arms pin-wheeling.

Whinnying and tossing her head, the mare sidestepped.

“Whoa,” Nate said, swooping in and scooping up the boy.

Henry wrapped his arms around Nate’s neck, burrowing into his chest. Nate didn’t see 
Henry’s big brown eyes or seven-year-old frame. He saw Anna crumpled in the road. The horse’s back hoof coming down. The horrifying, sickening crack. Anna’s cries. In those few seconds, his sister’s life forever changed.

“Nate? You okay?”

Carly was looking at him with a mixture of confusion and gratitude in her eyes.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.”

As Henry clung to his neck, a strong desire seized Nate. To protect the boy, to make sure nothing ever harmed Henry as it had Anna. “You’re okay,” Nate murmured against Henry’s ear.

“You seemed in a daze for a minute there,” Carly said. “What happened?”

“Nothing. I’m…just relieved Henry didn’t get hurt.” Nate put the boy on his feet and knelt in front of him. “It’s good to be confident, but carelessness can get you injured. You got in a hurry dismounting.”

Tears sprang into Henry’s eyes. “I’m sorry.”

Nate gave the boy’s too big hat a tug. “No damage done. Just remember to move slow and easy around a horse. So you won’t get hurt.”

Henry looked up at him. “Did a horse hurt you?”

“No,” Nate said. “But a horse hurt someone I cared about.”

“Who?” Henry asked in the direct way of a child. A child who didn’t know the painful scar a simple question could open.

Nate could feel Carly watching him, no doubt recalling he’d caused Anna’s limp. Nate couldn’t tell Henry the truth, the one person in Nate’s life who thought Nate could do no wrong.

Show his good traits:

Nate is patient and gentle with Carly’s son, teaching him to help with small chores, which boosts Henry’s confidence.

“Would you put the screws we aren’t using in there, Henry?” Nate said, pointing to the open box.

Henry’s fingers fumbled in an attempt to hurry and several screws fell to the floor. His gaze flew to Nate’s, alarm wide in his eyes. “I didn’t mean to drop `em.”

Had Max struck his son? “We men have trouble holding on to small objects.” Nate searched the floor. “There’s one.”

As Nate gathered the rest, the lad darted under the table, coming up with a smile and his hand fisted. In seconds he’d climbed onto the chair and tucked them inside.

While Nate watched, Henry rose on his knees and poked the tip of the screwdriver into the notch. His face scrunched with effort, Henry turned the handle with a grunt. With each twist, the fastener settled deeper.

“Did you see me do it, Mama? All by myself!” Henry crowed.

“I sure did. I’m proud of you.”

Henry pivoted on the chair, facing Nate, his expression uncertain. Then he flung his arms around Nate’s chest and burrowed into him.

Nate tucked the boy into an awkward hug. “Thanks for your help, buddy.”

Carly’s brow furrowed. “Time for bed, Henry,” she said in a no-nonsense tone.

Nate gently pried off Henry’s arms and smiled down at him. “A wise man listens to his mother.”

Henry gave a nod and then trailed after Carly, looking back with a nameless plea in his eyes Nate couldn’t handle.

Hopefully these examples will give you ideas for how to soften your alpha heroes. But we don't want to allow them to fall in love too quickly: So end or follow an attraction scene with escalating conflict between them. That push-pull that makes a romance novel so much fun to read.

I brought scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits with honey and apple butter. Have you found other ways to soften alpha heroes? If so, please share your tip. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Bounty Hunter's Redemption. Which is on pre-order now.

Harlequin has put 10,000 of their series digital eBooks on sale through November 17. If you're missing any of Glynna's, Tina's, Ruthy's, Audra's, Debby's, Missy's or my back list, this is an opportunity to get them at a great price!



Terri said...

Hi Janet, thanks for the great tips. This hero sounds soooo appealing. I'd love to win a copy of the book!

Deanne Patterson said...

Oh my goodness, Janet. That sweet little boy. Being the mamma of 12, my heart just melted. I wanted to give him a hug and tell him it would be alright : ) Ah what a delightful character. He definitely sounds appealing. I would love to read a copy of your book. It sounds wonderful and I can't get enough of those Love Inspired. I love 'em !

Cindy W. said...

Great post Janet. When I read, if the hero doesn't come alive to me and doesn't make me want to care about him, I find I hard to finish that book. There have been times where I have disliked the hero for a good part of the book and all of a sudden something happens and the walls come down to show who he really is, then I care.

I would love to win a copy of your new book! Nate sounds like a worthy hero.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Goooooood morning, Janet!!!!! I love swoon-worthy heroes, they just make me happy!


And the tea fixin's are right alongside!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Perfect timing, Janet, as I tame my Alpha Hero. And your books sounds AMAZZZZZING. Congratulations on your four star RT Review too!~

Janet Dean said...

Hi Terri,

You're first in Seekerville! I'm delighted you want to read more of Carly and Nate's story.

Do you write alpha heroes?


Janet Dean said...

Hi Deanne. We all love children in books. Henry is a delightful little boy that will grab your heart.

God bless you as you mother twelve children. You must be one very busy woman!


Rose said...

Good Morning, Janet!

Love you post and your books sounds great. I can't wait to read it.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Janet,
Your story sounds terrific and you've really whet my appetite to read it. I love the cover too. Please throw my name in the cowboy hat for the book drawing.

What a great way to start the week, happy Monday everyone!

Janet Dean said...

Cindy W, it's a balance to keep the hero committed to his goal, especially when it'll bring harm the heroine, yet reveal his heart so readers will understand and bond with them both.

Thanks for your interest in The Bounty Hunter's Redemption!


Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, thanks for the coffee! Carly swooned for an entirely different reason than my hunky hero. :-) Still the description fits.


Janet Dean said...

Tina, thanks! Congrats on your 4 star review!! I can't wait to read the yours and Ruthy's January books!!

I'm sure your heroine will help tame that hero. They seem to know how to soften those hard edges. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Rose. Thanks! Do you have any other tips for making an alpha hero lovable for the heroine and the reader?


Janet Dean said...

Hi Tracey. Thanks for your interest in my book. A cowboy hat is the perfect place to toss your name. I'm grabbing Nate's.


Just Commonly said...

What a wonderful post Janet! I'm so intrigued with Carly and Nate! Then there's sweet little Henry that just grabbed my heart the moment he said "Mama!" It's characters like these, or rather the authors' writing that makes characters alive and real that draws me in when I read a book. I can't wait to read a " The Bounty Hunter's Redemption." Please put my name in the hat. Thank you.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Just Commonly. Thanks for your sweet words and interest in my book. Your name's in the hat.


DebH said...

Great post, Janet. I love the examples you gave, that always helps me. I don't have any other ideas on making an alpha hero lovable. I've heard the "save the cat" tip a few times. I think I like the show his wounds tip best.

Thanks for the reminder about the Harlequin sale, I know I'm missing some Seeker books. Need to take advantage of the sale even if I can't get to reading the books right away.

would love my name to be added to the draw for your book. You've certainly whet my appetite for reading more after seeing your examples.

Connie Queen said...

Good morning Janet.

Bounty's Hunter Redemption sounds delightful. I think you're right. We all love heroes who saves the cat. You give me something else to think about.

DebH said...

gotta be partial to your hero's name of Nate. My little guy has started wanting to be called Nate (instead of Nathaniel) because four letters take so much less time to write in Kindergarten than nine letters - especially when dealing with a cast on his writing hand. He checked with momma first to see if it was okay.

Funny boy.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Great post, Janet! Oh...poor little Henry. What a sweetheart. Thank you for the terrific examples, they're so helpful.
Congratulations to all of the four star RT review recipients!

Kav said...

Ooooohhh -- this is the awesomest of awesomeness! Love all the examples and now you've whet my appetite for the book! I especially like the flashes of what happened in the past. Just enough to pique a reader's interest and garner a bit of sympathy but still leaving her with more to discover.

Janet Dean said...

Hi DebH, I agree that the hero's wounds can have a strong impact on readers. At least it does for this reader. :-)

Glad you're planning to get missed Seeker books during the $1.99 sale. Only one more day at that great price.

Thanks for your interest in The Bounty Hunter's Redemption!


Janet Dean said...

Hi Connie. Nate "saves the cat" several times in the story. It's a great way to show different facets of the alpha hero.


Janet Dean said...

DebH, your Nate sounds adorable!! What a sweetheart to ask his mom before he shortened his name. Sorry about that cast. When's it coming off?


Janet Dean said...

Hi Jill. Thanks! We're all three delighted with RT's four star reviews!!!

Do you have an alpha hero in your wip? If so, how are you making that tough guy lovable?


Janet Dean said...

Hi Kav. Thanks! We don't want to give the reader or the heroine much back story early on. As long as the story is making sense, a little mystery is a good thing.


Caryl Kane said...

Hello Janet! Thanks for the great post. I enjoy heroes that are complex with an air of mystery about them.

Please put my name in for the drawing.

Myra Johnson said...

Great tips, Janet--thanks! Many of these could apply to any kind of hero or heroine, because readers do need reasons to care. I tend to write about beta heroes, and I still need to find ways to make them likable and relatable, heroic in their own quiet ways.

Vince said...

Hi Janet:

First let me say this:

today's examples from, "The Bounty Hunter's Redemption," have me more motivated to read a romance than I have been in years. I think this post is stronger than any ad I could have written for it! You've just made time run a lot slower for me.

Now about heroes:

Give your hero a sense of humor! Make him make the heroine laugh -- even against her better judgment -- even to the point where she has to stifle a laugh.

I read a national psychology survey once that reported that women found 'having a sense of humor' to be the 4th most sexy thing they find in a man!

I think a sense of humor is the most neglected hero attribute in all romance.

When alpha males are much bigger than the females of the species, an angry alpha can lose his tempter and kill his mate and offspring in a few seconds of rage. It think it is for this reason that women find a temper-mitigating sense of humor very sexy in a potential mate.

BTW: I had a mob hero/hitman in a story who always walked thru parking lots, the long way, to his car so he could check all the parked cars for trapped little kids that might die from excessive heat buildup. Much of his anger towards women, and distrust for the heroine, was because his mother forgot his beloved sister in a car and she died from the heat within twenty minutes.

This was a twofer. It explained his anger and it made him more loveable at the same time.

Bonus Measure:

Have the hero notice and compliment the heroine on little things she has done that almost no man would notice. A slight change in hair style, a different perfume, a flower on the kitchen counter, the way she arranged a meal on the table to be more attractive. This works like crazy in real life.

Have the hero know he is doing this. Have him tell her son, "The big things a man has to do and he don't get no credit for them. It's the little things , you don't have to do, that get the womenfolk all fluttery and loveable. "

Now the reader knows the hero is a smart alpha and not a natural beta. : )

That's probably all I should tell.


Wilani Wahl said...

Thank you for this post. It is very helpful. I am working hard on developing my characters,. I really need to get myself motivated this Monday morning to my wip. I was struggling last night with a section but wanted to hit the 40,000 word count before I went to bed even though I was tired. I skipped that section. Now back to the difficult section with a fresher brain.

Jan Drexler said...

Good morning, Janet!

Thank you for these tips. In one of my WIPs the hero is a guy who was a semi-antagonist in a previous story. Definitely not the alpha-male type. But as I transform him into a swoon-worthy hero, I'll use these same tips to show the man he really is under all the dirt I stuck on him before :)

I know the tips were to soften the alpha hero, but they'll work just as well to beef up the unexpected hero!

Printing this one out.

Oh, and thanks for the breakfast! I need the fuel this morning!

Mary Connealy said...

Great advice, Janet! I cannot WAIT for this book!
I'm grinning just thinking about it!

My simple goal. To make a character likable, have someone like them.

That sounds so simplistic but it's not. If the character has a loyal friend then the character has to behave in such a way that it is understandable that the friend would be loyal.

So this advice isn't just some convenient character saying, "Hi, I'm your friend."
It alters the character, too.

Even if the 'friend' is say a dog? or a horse? Why would the horse like the character? He has to behave in a way that's LIKABLE at least to that horse.

CatMom said...

Wow! Another "exactly what I needed right now" Seeker post! (Amazing how you ladies do that, LOL). Seriously, my alpha hero in my current WIP needs some work, so your post today is a huge help. :)
Yummy on the breakfast you brought - - am enjoying one of your biscuits with apple butter (one of my FAVES).
SOOO excited you have another LIH (as you already know I LOVE Janet Dean books).
Please toss my name in your drawing, and thanks again for this post!
Hugs, Patti Jo

Jeanne T said...

I love your suggestions, Janet. And your examples are perfect! This book sounds SO good. :) And I love Henry. He sounds a little like one of my boys. :)

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Caryl. Life isn't easy for complex men like Nate. But that makes his and Carly's happy ending all the more enjoyable. I just realized Caryl contains the same letters as Carly. How do you pronounce your name?


Janet Dean said...

Myra, you make a great point. Though beta characters are easier for us to like since they're less aggressive and threatening, every hero and heroine needs to be lovable. It's the author's job to ensure readers care.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Great tips Janet, I have loved ALL your heroes so am taking notes. Thanks for the super advice.

Janet Dean said...

Vince, thanks for your eagerness to read The Bounty Hunter's Redemption.

Your comment is stuffed full of great advice for writers. Sounds like it's time for you to post in Seekerville again. :-) We'll talk.

I love that you gave your hit man a trait that explains his wounds and shows he's three dimensional, no ordinary villain.

My husband's dry sense of humor is one of the things I love about him. Nate does some teasing in the story, but most of the humor comes from Henry and other secondary characters.

Nate does appreciate Carly, something she's not seen much of from the men in her life, and he gives advice to her son along those lines. Goodness, have you gotten an ARC? LOL


Janet Dean said...

Hi Wilani, hope your writing day goes well. Report back and let us know if you wrestled that difficult scene into line. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Hi Jan, keep dunking your almost bad guy hero's head in the horse trough until he promises to shape up. LOL I love that the post works in reverse. Have fun!


Janet Dean said...

Mary, we share that simple goal! Our characters need friends, family, an animal that loves them. It's even better if the family or friend are really likable people, not jerks themselves.

I'm thrilled with your excitement! You're a great friend, which makes me look better. :-)


Wilani Wahl said...

I did get that difficult scene in line. Now to fix lunch and get some other things done around the house so I can get right back to my story. I so hope to finish it this week.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Patti Jo. Love when a post is exactly what's needed! Have fun chipping the rough edges off your alpha hero!

Thanks for your sweet words about my books. You're a huge blessing!

Your name's in the cowboy hat. Ignore the sweaty brim. :-)


Missy Tippens said...

What a great post, Janet! And these examples are perfect. I love this story and can't wait for everyone to read it!! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, thanks for sharing secrets! :)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jeanne T. I adore Henry. Your son must be a sweetheart. Though Henry does go through a rough patch, poor kid, that upsets his mom. But all is well in the end.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Sandra, thank you! I hate to say it's fun to torture anyone, even fictional men, but we authors do what we must to make them earn their happy ending. I still remember your woodcarving vet hero!


Janet Dean said...

Wilani, congrats on your hard work!! You're on fire with this story. Go you!


Janet Dean said...

Missy, you helped whip the story into shape. Thanks for the critique.


Julie Lessman said...

WOW, JANET ... what GREAT scenes, my friend, making me chomping at the bit to read Carly's and Nate's story!!

And let me just go on record right now that I absolutely ADORE alpha heroes!!!

VINCE said: "I think a sense of humor is the most neglected hero attribute in all romance."

I would tend to agree, Vince, as I can't think of too many heroes I know who are truly funny.

VINCE ALSO SAID: "BTW: I had a mob hero/hitman in a story who always walked thru parking lots, the long way, to his car so he could check all the parked cars for trapped little kids that might die from excessive heat buildup. Much of his anger towards women, and distrust for the heroine, was because his mother forgot his beloved sister in a car and she died from the heat within twenty minutes."

WOW, what a concept, my friend -- sounds fascinating and scary all at the same time!

MARY SAID: "My simple goal. To make a character likable, have someone like them."

That's excellent advice, Mare, and something I've used A LOT in my books ... especially with Charity. :)

Janet -- GREAT TIPS and post, my friend!


Barbara Scott said...

Terrific post, Janet, and lots of great examples. I do love a good alpha male. :) Guess that's why I love my 6'1'' hubby. Ya gotta love a man who loves a dog . . . our 5-pound Chihuahua Riley. They're practically joined at the hip. LOL

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Julie! I love alpha heroes, too! He's often a threat to the heroine until she tames him. She's no sissy or she couldn't get the job done.

Now here's my question for you and everyone: Would you want to be married to an alpha male? Or would you prefer a beta? :-)


Janet Dean said...

Hi Barbara, the image of your tall husband with a Chihuahua makes me smile. Your dh has to be a gentle guy to handle such a tiny dog with care.


Debby Giusti said...

Janet, loved your post and the great advice you provided on making an Alpha Hero admirable! I fell in love with Nate! What a wonderful hero! I know your heroine needs to be cautious...but hopefully Nate steals her heart by the end of the book, the way he's already stolen mine! :) Can't wait until The Bounty Hunter's Redemption releases! Something to look forward to in the New Year!

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, loved your post and the great advice you provided on making an Alpha Hero admirable! I fell in love with Nate! What a wonderful hero! I know your heroine needs to be cautious...but hopefully Nate steals her heart by the end of the book, the way he's already stolen mine! :) Can't wait until The Bounty Hunter's Redemption releases! Something to look forward to in the New Year!

Debby Giusti said...

Vince, your mob hit man who walked through parking lots looking for trapped children got me...big time! Fantastic backstory!!! Was that a villain in one of your stories?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I'm going to have Vince write a LIST FOR DAVE.....

Vince, you had me at big guy scoping out parked cars for little kids....


Barbara Scott said...

Totally, Janet. Only a real man--tough on the outside, mush on the inside--can call a tiny dog his best friend and hold his head high. Our Chihuahua was a rescue and only weighed 2 1/2 pounds when we got him. The first time Mike picked him up, the little guy snuggled into his neck and under his flannel shirt. My husband must have held him for an hour before they let us take him home.

Mike's also a total romantic. He will search through every greeting card in the store to find one that says the exact right thing, and for years, he brought home a rose for me every night. Yeah, I'm pretty blessed. :)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Debby, you're so sweet to have fallen in love with Nate in a few paragraphs. Wish all readers were like you! :-)

Can you believe 2016 is on the horizon? Remember when 2000 sounded so odd?


Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, Vince acts as if all men know these secrets. NOT. We were playing a game with our grandkids and my dh had to name three ways to express love without using words. He didn't come up with one. Of course all those little marbles rolling down the tube probably unnerved him. That's grace. LOL


Janet Dean said...

Aw, Barbara, a rose every day is so romantic!!!


Kathryn Barker said...

Thanks, Janet, for showing us how to create first a likeable and then loveable Alpha Hero. I've known several real ones in my life...and even with their faults, they are unforgettable and dear to my heart! Just like Nate is bound to be a well-remembered hero!

And that adorable little guy, Henry, what a precious one! Carly's one blessed lady!

Would love to win a copy of this delightful romance!

Thanks for the tea fixings, Ruthy! Hope everyone has a tea-riffic day!!

Debby Giusti said...


It's hard to believe 2016 is almost here.

Thanksgiving will be upon us in 10 days. Really? How did that happen? And, of course, that means Christmas is just around the corner. I started shopping over the weekend but didn't make a dent in my Christmas List.

Need to put myself on a holiday prep schedule. Shop and write, shop and write, shop and write. :)

So much to do. So little time.

On that happy note, I'm reaching for a candy bar, leftover from Halloween! I'll share. I've got Snickers and Peanut M&Ms.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kathryn. Thanks for your lovely comments and your interest in The Bounty Hunter's Redemption!

I'm a coffee drinker but appreciate the wish for a tea-riffic day. Wishing you the same.

Hope I'm not too late to bring in a variety of pizzas and breadsticks for lunch. Or maybe for an early dinner, depending what time zone you're in.


Janet Dean said...

Debby, I haven't bought a single gift but our daughters help out with ideas and even purchase hard to find things. Plus the three ladies always shop on Black Friday. We don't get out early, but I make lasagna ahead so we can shop until it's time to pop the entrée in the oven. I'm looking forward to having fun with our family. Oh, and to the yummy turkey and dressing.


Sherida Stewart said...

Janet, your tips are great.......I'm already loving Nate with his protectiveness and past wounds. Your examples really help illustrate each factor. When writing, I will use your ideas....and remember an escalating scene right after they've shown their softer side. Thanks!

When reading about alpha heros, my heart softens towards them when they do something self-sacrificing and when they offer up a prayer or mention something about their faith.

Congratulations to you, Ruthy and Tina on the RT four-star reviews! Yay! Can't wait to read all of them!

Please put my name in the cowboy hat. The apple butter (homemade?) is perfect on the flaky grateful some treats were left. :)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sherida, thanks! I hope the tips help you write your story.

I, too, love self-sacrificing heroes. That's a great way to show their growth!

Faith's been a problem for Nate. He's stayed away from church and God. Not surprising with all he's done as a bounty hunter, but as the title indicates, Nate finds redemption. :-) A special scene for me.

Your name's in the hat! Thanks for your interest in the book!


Mary Connealy said...

Debby, getting Christmas shopping children send me LINKS.

You get that?

LINKS in an email.

I click.

I buy.

It shows up on my doorstop.


Missy Tippens said...

Barbara Scott!! A rose every night???!! I'm amazed and impressed! Wow. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, that's my type of Christmas shopping! I need to get the kids to start sending me their links.

Sandy Smith said...

I have never written an alpha hero, but this was interesting to read and keep in mind if I need it. Please enter me for The Bounty Hunter's Redemption!

Cara Lynn James said...

Great tips about alpha heroes, Janet! It's important to know since editors and readers seem to love alphas. They're fun in fiction, but in real life give me a beta man any time.

Tanya Agler said...

Janet, thanks for the tips in ways to develop an alpha hero. I tend to write beta males, but your tips are great for any hero, whether alpha or beta. I grapple with internal conflict in my stories, but showing how the hero's wounds motivate him might help me make his story clearer. Thanks for the ideas.

And I loved Barbara's story about her husband and their Chihuahua. Absolutely precious.

Seeing how alpha heroes respond to animals is always a plus.

Marianne Barkman said...

Sitting here, having read Janet's wonderful post on alpha heroes and everyone's comments while enjoying Arizona's 60 degree weather! Thanks for adding my name to the cowboy hat for your book, Janet

Tina Radcliffe said...

I've been mulling this post all day, Janet. I think I need to make my hero even more Alpha. Going to go work on it. Thank you!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Marianne is in AZ. And every time you come I am on deadline. Should be free right after Christmas. Okay, it's 57 with a wind and FREEZING in Glendale. I think my blood thinned in three years.

Vince said...

Hi Debby:

I believe my hitman was the hero in a 1000 word Harlequin weekly short story contest back in the day. I usually lost to Anita Mae. The hero was also a sniper for the police (a great cover) and ten years before he accidentally killed the mother of his hidden child. (A hostage situation gone very wrong.)

His two favorite possessions were school photos taken in the third grade. One was of him and one was his father. They looked like the same kid, down to the white shirt and school uniform tie. (They went to similar Catholic schools.)

He was going on a job when he sees his hidden child in a yard playing. He shows the woman of the house the two old photos and she acts scared and wants to know how he got pictures of her son. The boy was adopted and she is a widow because her husband was a cop killed on the job. Within a few moments the woman figures it out.

Resolve that in 1000 words! Years later a few of the women still remembered that story and told me they thought I should have won. Those comments were better than having won back then. : )

So now you know the rest of the story.

Except I have those two identical school pictures of me and my father. This story would very well happen.


Janet Dean said...

Mary, you'll get used to links. If only the links wrapped. LOL


Janet Dean said...

Hi Sandy, you never know when a story will require an aggressive, courageous man to save the day. The fun part, the archives at Seekerville are ready and waiting.

Thanks for your interest in my book!


Janet Dean said...

Missy, I'd be bummed if the links were to toys. I loved shopping for our kids and grandkids when they were little.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Cara, wonder if most of us are married to Betas, perhaps the reason we like to read or write about alpha heroes.


Janet Dean said...

Good evening, Tanya. When characters' motivations are really strong and gut wrenching, readers will understand and care even when their actions may appear cruel.


Janet Dean said...

Tina, go for it! You can always soften him.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Marianne! Actually got up to low 60s here in Indiana. Cold and rain is coming.

Thanks for your interest in my book!


Janet Dean said...

Thanks, Vince, for sharing the rest of the story!


Laura Conner Kestner said...

Thank you for the tips and examples, Janet. My favorite tip: "So end or follow an attraction scene with escalating conflict between them." I'm going back through my manuscript and making sure I've done that. Love this glimpse at your hero! Please enter me in the drawing for your book, sounds like a great read!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Sorry I'm so late commenting, Janet. I've been crazy busy lately, and I just realized this morning that I didn't visit Seekerville yesterday.

This was a fabulous post. Sometimes I get so hung up over what the hero is going to say or do next that I forget to layer in subtle hints to his softer side. I absolutely loved this post and know I'll come back and reread it again over and over.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Laura, hope the tip helps! You're in the drawing! Thanks for your interest in my book.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Rhonda. Glad you stopped by! We all forget things when we're crafting stories. This gig isn't for sissies. :-)


Sierra Faith said...

Great advice! I like showing their weaker side. Or have them be caught in an emotional moment by the main lady!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Wonderful info, Janet.

I especially appreciate the concrete examples you give. Repetition and teaching your points several ways really helps me! Thank you!

Trixi said...

As an avid reader here, I do love an Alpha hero who seems tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. I've read my share of these types of hero's and I can see from your examples here how the author makes him lovable. I read a book recently that was part of a series and I didn't like the hero at all! He was pompous, arrogant and uncaring...or so he seemed :-) This was a 3 book series and the last one was about him so I was already not looking forward to reading it. My mind was set on what kind of character he was, lol! Well, that author changed my mind before the middle of the story for sure! And she used all the elements you have here. She began to reveal some background to his growing up years and some of why he thought the way he did. He wasn't TRYING to be gruff,but he certainly had obstacles to overcome in the heroines eyes! I do love to see a "bad boys" redemption. Once I understood where he was coming from, even my heart thawed towards him and he became more lovable :-) And I did also love the "push pull" relationship between the two main characters and how their love developed over the course of the story. By the end, even I fell in love with him...haha!

Please put my hat in to win a copy of "The Bounty Hunter's Redemption". I'm loving the excerpts from the book, it's making me not only want to read it for myself, but fall in love with Nate :-) Historical is one of my favorite of the LI line and that cover is gorgeous.....a little boy on a horse with the hero helping him ride...*SIGGGGHHH* (I think I'll faint just to see him helping me up)!

Janet Dean said...

HI Sierra, great points! We can relate with weakness and emotion.

Thanks, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi KC, thanks for your sweet comment. Wishing you and May success!


Janet Dean said...

Hi Trixie,

Any author who can take an arrogant, pompous, uncaring man and turn him into a hero a reader falls in love with has talent!! Thanks for sharing the specifics of that story.

Thanks for your interest in The Bounty Hunter's Redemption. Nate is a hunky hero. He's not as slender as the cover makes him appear. Covers are nothing like TV that tends to put on pounds. LOL


Edwina said...


Thanks for the great tips! I'd love to win a copy of your book!