Friday, April 13, 2018

Kiss and Tell (part one): Creating a Swoonlicious Book Boyfriend


Anyone who hangs around me for any length of time - online or in "real" life - learns pretty quickly that I'm an avid collector of book boyfriends. My husband has resigned himself to this collection, goodnaturedly tolerating my swoons over fictitious heroes and pretending not to notice that most of them are based on Henry Cavill or Chris Hemsworth.

(Now, before anyone starts clutching their pearls... He's not threatened because he knows I know they're fictional. After all, my husband is my very own Mr. Knightley and that's the best kind of hero anyway.)

Since I first met Prince Charming on the pages of Cinderella (a book I had memorized before I could technically read), I have been adding to my book boyfriend collection. And while Prince Charming joins Frank Hardy, Gilbert Blythe and Thane Andrews (Roses for Mama by Janette Oke) in my book boyfriends hall of fame (another way to say 'book boyfriends I've loved since middle school"), more recently I have amassed quite a swoonilicous collection of new book boyfriends. And don't tell Charming, Frank, Gilbert and Thane, but this new crop is even more swoonilicious! 

Of my reads from the past three years or so, there are five heroes that I have quite a crush on. See, I fall in love with book boyfriends while I'm reading their particular story but more often than not when I move on to a new book, I move on to a new book boyfriend as well. (It's not cheating if they're fictional! The internet says so!) However, these five guys made such an impression on me that a) I can't quit talking about them and b) I put them on a shirt. 


In case you haven't met them yet, let me introduce you! Meet James MacDonald (aka #myJames) from Carla Laureano's Five Days in Skye, Ty Porter from Becky Wade's Meant to be Mine, Charlie Lionheart from Joanne Bischof's The Lady and the Lionheart, Vance Everstone from Dawn Crandall's The Cautious Maiden, and Wes Harrison from Pepper Basham's Just the Way You Are. Ironically enough, three of these swoonlicious fellas look like Henry Cavill. For those of you taking notes, that's not a MUST but it certainly helps ;) 

Since I debuted my book boyfriends shirt, I've been asked this question more times than I can count: 

How do my heroes get on your shirt???

Now, aside from the potential awkwardness beget (begotten?) from a question such as this one, I have been mulling over a list of characteristics that make these five book boyfriends (and your future heroes) shirt-worthy.

  1. Falling in love hits HIM in all the feels. Obviously, it needs to hit me in the feels too (I still have not recovered from Vance's redemption or Charlie's sacrifice) but when it makes the hero's voice go husky, his throat tight, his control fray... these things are sure to have me swooning right off my fainting couch (also known as my trusty recliner). For example, watching tough, cocky, bullrider Ty Porter or smoldering, flirty James MacDonald fall hard in love is truly a swoonilicious pleasure.
  2. He's not afraid to share those feels, when appropriate. I'm all for macho heroes but there's something particularly yummy about a guy who isn't afraid to tell a girl how he feels. To tell her he's scared, too. To tell her that he's trying to rein in his desires because he respects her, but also to tell her that he has those intense desires to rein in. To let his voice get all raspy and his jaw tight. I'm all a'swoon just thinking about it! (But please, for the love of all things swoony, don't make him smarmy!! If a guy's every thought is some sort of innuendo, nope. He can express desire but right on its heels must be respect. Vance Everstone & Wes Harrison are great examples of this desire/respect balance.)
  3. He is a man of integrity and character...Eventually. He can be a bad boy at the start but the process of redemption must be a key element to his story. I'm telling you right now, there is nearly nothing as sexy (am I allowed to use that word??? Where's Julie Lessman when you need her? LOL) ... anyway, there is nothing quite so swoonilicious as a redeemed rogue. If you look at each of these 5 heroes, you'll find a bit (or more) of redeemed bad boy in each one of them.
  4. He is a protector at heart. A shirt-worthy book boyfriend doesn't have to be a Navy SEAL or an FBI agent or a First Responder (though, now I'm swooning at the thought) but he has to have some sort of protective instincts. If someone tells him to stay put when his woman is in danger, he better not stay put. And if he's forced to stay put because he's stuck in a hospital bed with a possibly-mortal injury of his own... well... then he at least needs to be growly about not being able to come to her rescue. Even if your book is not a suspense novel, this protective side can come out around kids, dogs, and the heroine in other ways that are just as meaningful. Worthy of note is that none of my 5 shirt-worthy book boyfriends are in a suspense novel. But if you've met Charlie Lionheart, you can't say he doesn't have protective instincts!
  5. He's a goooooood kisser! Ok, this last one isn't essential but y'all there is something to be said for a kiss that has you using your book as a swooning fan. (Please be cautious of using your kindle in the same manner... it doesn't have quite the same cool-air effect and a miscalculated swoosh could leave you a bit bruised. Don't ask me how I know this.) We'll talk more about what makes a gooooood kiss the next time I'm on Seekerville! (July 13th, if I did my math right.) 
Now, take this advice with a grain of salt because every reader has her own preferences. Some like flirty heroes. Some like brooding Mr. Darcy-types. Some go for the nerds. Some get weak-kneed over the bearded lumberjacks (I'm looking at you, Beth Erin!) and others prefer a scruffy cowboy or a dashing Brit. It also depends on what kind of chemistry the hero has with the heroine, and the overall quality of the story.

Dear readers, the stuff of fairy-tale romance and happily-ever-after is in our soul's DNA. God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and I believe this is one reason we crave the Prince Charming who comes riding in on a white horse to defeat evil and whisk away as his bride. Sound familiar? Yes, that's basically the plot of every fairy-tale and nearly every romance ever written. But it's also THE plot. It's the story God has been telling from the beginning!

One day Jesus WILL come riding in on a white horse as our Prince of Peace to defeat evil and whisk us away as His bride (Rev 19) to the ultimate happily-ever-after (Rev 21). As we wait for it play out in reality, we read little reflections of it in the meantime. This is why we collect book boyfriends... and this is why certain heroes make it onto my shirt. Because in their stories, I see The Story. They remind me that THIS is love, that someday my Prince will come... in a tale as old as time.

Until then, I'll keep collecting book boyfriends and adding them to my shirts. I've already got a list going for the next one ;)



    Authors: What do you find most difficult about writing a swoony hero?
    Readers: Who are some of your fave book boyfriends?

Let me know in the comments & you'll be entered to win ONE BOOK of your choice from ONE of my book boyfriend lists found here:

(I told you I talk them about them alot LOL)

Giveaway is open internationally, provided Book Depository has the book of your choice and ships to your location. Void where prohibited by law.

175 comments:

  1. Hi everyone! It’s bedtime here in the Eastern time zone but I brought some cupcakes & punch! Talk amongst yourselves :) I should add, though, that this post is without a lifeguard until morning so you swooners are on your own ;)

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  2. I have to say, I'm incredibly proud of myself to have written one of your book boyfriends! And I do think, out of all of the ones I've created, Nicholas is my fave too.

    My difficulty is, I can't make them all the exact same guy! :)

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    1. Well, no of course not. That would be boring :-D But I can guarantee that each of your heroes is someone’s book boyfriend. They are all quite Swoony. But I call dibs on Nicholas lol

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  3. YAAAAAAS!!! Y'all, what Carrie said.

    Also, Reese Mitchell (thank you, my dear Pepper Basham for A Twist of Faith and fire lightin')

    I don't want to parade all my favorite heroes at once but Trace Riley (The Accidental Guardian and pretty much every hero Mary Connealy has ever created.)

    more later... must blog, then sleep and blog some more!

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    1. Oooo yes! Excellent swoonilicious additions. I’m thinking of Mary’s hero Tucker too and swooning :-D

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    2. YAY!!! Beth!!!! I love Reese. He feels so 'real'

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  4. Corbin! Becky Wade's latest Falling for You had so many swoon worthy wonderful moments.

    Alex! Carla Laureano writes great men in her books and The Saturday Night Supper Club is no exception!

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    1. Absolutely! Those two always have swoonworthy heroes!

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  5. I love it! Swoon at your own risk! Lol

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  6. I thought I was the only one who had a crush on Frank Hardy in middle school!
    Toughest thing about writing a swoony hero? Trying to make the romantic dialogue believable and not sound too hokey. I roll my eyes when I read through my first drafts. "You can't say THAT, my hero. Everyone will laugh!"

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    1. Frank Hardy was so much better than Ned Nickerson. lol. LOL love it. I have yet to laugh at someone one of your heroes has said, so you are good at reining them in :)

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    2. Ned Nickerson was lame. Frank Hardy was brave and adventurous and interesting!

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    3. Admittedly, Frank was a main character and Ned was just a secondary character (Plot device!) So he didn't get as much character development.

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    4. true... but he's still lame. :D

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  7. Oh, this is so perfect, from your mouth to author's ears!

    You had me laughing and nodding, then laughing again!

    This is wonderful, dear Carrie!!!! I'm an early-rising swooner, so I'll catch anyone who dares to fall! Good morning, Seekerville and swooners!

    COFFEE IS ON!!!!

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    1. haha! thanks, dear Ruthy! You make a great swooning-lifeguard :D

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    2. Thanks, Ruthy - I need that coffee this morning! AND did you find your sweet doggies yet?

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  8. Two of my favorites are Jack Brennan, "Remembered" by Tamera Alexander (he meets all of your criteria, plus he lets a girl vomit all over him and can handle it . . . . ) and Gray McKenzie, "Sweetwater Gap" by Denise Hunter. Swoon, double swoon.

    Great post!

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    1. Rebecca, I LOVE the hero in Sweetwater Gap. That books is such a great story

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    2. those are both excellent choices!

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  9. I have so many book boyfriends as well. Like maybe a new one every couple books I read. These authors are getting good at this! My recent favorite is Jake from Justice by Emily Conrad. He's not usually my type of swoon worthy, however the way he is so patient and respectful kind of set my meter to the top. He sticks to his values and tells his girl that he doesn't even mind waiting until their wedding day to kiss her if that's what she really needs. (Side bar - I needed them to kiss before their wedding day, as in the very moment he said that!) He's a keeper for sure.

    But then there are those manly men who just kind of make you drool a little bit. I think Susan May Warren has written a few....... oh wait, no one else drools when they picture these hunky men? Oops.

    My list could go on and on......we may be in competition for how long it is. Ha! Thank you for making me smile and remember why I like reading about all these swoonilicious characters. All the while appreciating my own swoon you guy whom I get to wake up next to and kiss whenever I want. Young girls out there - you WILL get your Prince Charming one day!!

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    1. love your side bar LOL

      oh yes - the manly men. Susan May Warren is great at writing those! I'm swooning just thinking of a few <3

      And you are so right - the authors are getting way too good at this! haha

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    2. Jessica, you hit the nail on the head, my friend!

      "All the while appreciating my own swoon you guy whom I get to wake up next to and kiss whenever I want."

      YES! EXACTLY THIS! My favorite fictional heroes make me appreciate my true hero all the more!

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  10. Hi, Carrie! I love your book boyfriends posts! Sigh. I’ve only met Wes Harrison and Jamie MacDonald and they are indeed swoon-worthy. Of my most recent reads, Peter Holstein from A Name Unknown and Wyatt from The Sea Before Us captured my heart. And Ethan from Finding Evergreen and Tyler from Untile I Knew Myself.....and I can go on and on.....

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    1. you have excellent taste in book boyfriends! :D

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  11. This is one of the best ways to start the day ;-) Heroes, Seekers, fellowship, swooning... Yep, a good place to be :-)

    Prince Philip was one of my firsts and then Dickon from The Secret Garden and Ned from Nancy Drew, but then Gilbert Blythe came along and swept away all the others...

    Ty is on my book boyfriend list too.
    Adrien from Kissing Adrien (seriously, he has all the attributes I love - funny, tenderhearted, solid in his faith, swoony (AND he happens to sing, play the guitar, and speak in French)...the good kisser thing is a no-brainer here. He's French!! ;-)

    Red Shirt from Laura Frantz's book Courting Morrow Little - tender, strong - a definite 'presence' without words.

    I'm reading Rachel McMillan's novella right now and have a feeling I'll be falling hard for Klaus.

    Can we have book boyfriend's we've created or is that just weird?

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    1. ok... so... can i admit that I'm mildly disappointed in you for having Ned as a book boyfriend??? Frank was so much better ;)

      I still love you though, because you gave me Wes. And Reese. And Sam. And Alex. And August. And David. And FREDDY (Swoon!!!!)

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    2. Maybe I was thinking Frank? It's been a long time ago. I just remember thinking..."I'd love to have him along on adventures"

      I think Freddy is one of my book boyfriends. Whew... But I SOOOOOO loved writing Alex!! And David? I love David. And August...okay, this is just crazy. I need to stop now

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    3. Sam has a special place in my heart... my first Pepper hero!

      Frederick ๐Ÿ˜ *swoon*

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    4. I'm sure you were thinking Frank :-P

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    5. Right, Cathe? Clearly... lol

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  12. Great post, Carrie. I nodded my way through the whole thing. I guess what I find most difficult about writing a swoony hero is that there can be a fine line between swoony and smarmy. There are so many times I'll write something, then immediately delete it because I think a) this just sound cheesy or b) he would not do this. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of a guy who has all the right words. I'd rather see him stumble and struggle to tell the heroine how he feels, knowing he looks/sounds crazy, but that he HAS to tell her.

    Love the shirt, btw. Very cute.

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    1. YES! this: I'd rather see him stumble and struggle to tell the heroine how he feels, knowing he looks/sounds crazy, but that he HAS to tell her.

      Totally.

      And you're right - there IS a fine line between swoony and smarmy. But a lot of it has to do with the guy's character all throughout the book. Some guys can pull off a line that would sound smarmy from someone else.

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    2. It really kills the mood when the hero says all the right things, seriously.

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    3. This part of the comment thread made me think of an old Roger Miller song: https://youtu.be/rrf5Igc_F64

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  13. Sorry babe, my shirt will probably double those names. In addition to all of yours, add in all of Kristi Ann Hunter's (you know, #myTrent, #myColin, #teamGriffith #teamRyland #AmeliasAnthony , all of Jen Turano's and come on..Julie's Collin and Mitch needs to go there...and so many more.

    My latest live, Brock Chandler from Cathy West's #WhereHopeBegins, "Darling".

    Ok, I can probably go on..and on...

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    1. *love - latest love. Auto-correct. ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜Œ

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  14. Hi Carrie,
    I always consult your "Boyfriends Hall of Fame" lists, you are my resident expert on the book boyfriend/swoonlicious factor. You have not failed me yet :)

    Of the five guys to make the shirt I have met them all except Vance and they all make my list too. I really want to met Vance but I need to read the books in order and haven't carved out the time for 5 books yet, errr! I know I should really get on this with three of Dawn's guys making the Boyfriend Hall of Fame.

    I also agree with your choices of Red Shirt and Samuel Heath.
    I have Carl, Jack and Davis on my must-meet list this year!

    I have one to recommend to you for this year. Joanne Bischof has written another Charlie Lionheart type character in Sons of Blackbird Mountain, her upcoming July release. He's strong yet tortured, a protector in need of protection, handsome with a wildness to him. I'm three-fourths of the way through and I can't wait to finish it! A first kiss unlike any I have ever read, just saying...save a place on your 2018 list!

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    1. i cannot WAIT to read Joanne's new book! And you MUST read The Everstone Chronicles asap! You will hate Vance in book 2 but you will love him by book 4

      and thank you so much, Tracey! I'm glad I haven't yet led you astray :D

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    2. Oooh... Charlie Lionheart! Cannot wait to read Joanne's Sons of Blackbird Mountain. Will I need tissues? And chocolate?

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    3. Sons of Blackbird Mountain has a FABULOUS hero. I actually liked this story better than The Lady and the Lionhart - and I LOVED TLATL!

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    4. a hero i'll love more than Charlie?!? Say it ain't so! #CharlieLionhearthasmyheart

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    5. I think Charlie is a long lost cousin to the Norgaard brothers, he reminds me of one in particular, they are cut from the same cloth. Never fear Carrie, there is always room for another swoony heart-throb in our ranks!

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    6. Eeeep -- Tracey, your inside scoop on another Charlie from the same author????? I'm in full swoon and will stay in this condition until July. Thankfully, my TBR pile is next to my fainting couch so I can industriously occupy my time for the net few months.

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  15. Carrie, thank you for the craft lesson -- and the spiritual lesson. Yes, Christian marriage should be a reflection of our relationship with the Creator. There is nothing better.
    The hero in the sequel to my Oregon Trail book, Pace Williams, fits a lot of your criteria. A horrific childhood has made him sensitive to others' needs, though he meets those needs in a taciturn cowboy kind of way. Though he's had a rough life he lives by his own strict moral code, which he expresses as, "If a man ain't got religion, he's got to have honor." He "gets religion," but not until the book's crisis. While he's had a colorful past with women, he falls head over cowboy boot for the lovely Oona Moriarty, and he respects her virtue even though he, and she, have a strong physical pull toward each other. And he looks kind of like a young John Wayne, so there's that.
    All my fictional heroes have been wounded so far, some more deeply than others
    The hero in my recently-contracted Oregon Trail romance, Michael Moriarty, looks like a combination of a young Tom Selleck and a young Pierce Brosnan. I had a lot of fun with that one.
    Fun post, Carrie. I haven't hit all your points in any of my heroes, but it's something to aim at.
    Love both Seekerville's teaching blogs and inspirational/motivational ones.
    I'll be in and out the next couple of weeks. Had to take a temp job to support my writing habit! Will be reading the posts, but may get home too late to comment. But I'm here in spirit, and will be working on my Oregon Trail sequel around the edges.
    Kathy Bailey
    Making It Work In New Hampshire

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    1. Kaybee, you had me at "looks like a combination of a young Tom Selleck and a young Pierce Brosnan" lol!

      Best of luck on the temp job - we'll miss you seeing you so regularly, but we all understand the need to support our book habit LOL

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  16. This was a fun post, Carrie. I will need to read these books. (I also must admit I'm not really familiar with Henry Cavill or Chris Hemsworth.) I think it is hard to write swoony without getting too cheesy or clichรฉ.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Hi Sandy! Yeah, there is a fine line between swoony and cheesy. And a lot of the time it depends on the character himself. Some guys can pull off cheesy and make it seem swoony lol

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  17. I love book boyfriends. ^.^ Some favourites of mine...definitely Vance (!), Salmone of "Pearl in the Sand" by Tessa Afshar is a swoon-worthy hero, Jace from the Heart of India series by Linda Chaikin, Jace from "Resistance" by Jay L. Knight, and a handful of others! <3

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    1. Vance totally deserves that (!) haha! love it! Oh my goodness - I forgot about Salmone - YES

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  18. Good morning Meez Carrie! Thanks for your great post! Every hero I write is his own unique "person." Since I write in character, I have to be able to get into his head. It's harder to write a hero this way since I'm not a man! So I have to try to pull in everything I've learned over the years. The hero has to match the heroine. The Why and Why not have to fit. So a more sensitive heroine probably isn't going to work with a more outgoing hero who is rather flippant, unless that's part of their story arc. I prefer writing a hero who has some great skills--it doesn't have to be intellectual per se, I have a fave hero who is a former lumberjack and master craftsman.

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    1. Has BETH ERIN met your lumberjack hero yet?? She has a thing for that type ;) :D

      "The hero has to match the heroine" - yes! excellent point! If the pairing doesn't make sense, readers aren't going to feel it. Unless, as you said, that's part of their story arc. Good insight!

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    2. Well Carrie P. you certainly do a marvelous job "getting into" each hero's head you write about! And, I really love those lumberjacks! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Blessings,Tina

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    3. I need a title for this lumberjack hero! Do not tease me with swoonalicious ruggedness then leave me hanging ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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    4. Well Beth, let's see...there is Tom, Moose and Ox. So you have your pick of lumberjacks who are all very heroic and handsome, did I say handsome!? Oh, and big, muscular, strong lumberjacks too!!!
      blessings, Tina

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  19. Oh my gosh, how fun, Carrie!!! I'm going to have to go think on my favorites. But right off the bat I can tell you that I'll have to include Charlie Lionheart! I absolutely loved that book!

    You know, I really like being in the hero's head in a story. I think I tend to start a story more often from the man's POV. (I'll have to count to see if that's true.) I just love it when the hero has the biggest journey to make.

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    1. Charlie Lionheart totally has my heart!

      "I just love it when the hero has the biggest journey to make." - me too!!! If you haven't met Vance Everstone yet, you really must :)

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    2. Carrie, I've already added the book to my wishlist! :)

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    3. yay! But... Missy... you have to meet him first in The Bound Heart to properly appreciate the redeemed rogue side to his character

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    4. Okay, will add that to my wishlist as well!

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  20. Love this post, Carrie! I'm taking another look at the hero in my WIP. I adore strong, take charge heroes who will do anything to protect the women they love! Sigh! I like gentlemen who open doors for ladies, who step in front of them when there's danger and who put a lady's needs before their own.

    Now, I'm going to make a list of book boyfriends! Love your shirt!

    Hugs!

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    1. "I like gentlemen who open doors for ladies, who step in front of them when there's danger and who put a lady's needs before their own." - oh blissful sigh. Me too! <3

      oooo i'd love to see your list of book boyfriends, Debby!

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  21. J&#39;nell CiesielskiApril 13, 2018 at 9:48 AM

    I'm one of the dashing Brit girls, but my true (fictional) heart belongs the sexy Scots. Give me a rugged man's man who is passionate in ALL that he does and I'm weak in the knees every time. Think Kathleen Morgan in her Scottish series. Ooh, I also love a disciplined man in uniform, bonus points if it's a kilt ;)

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    1. oooooo the sexy Scots - YES. Laura Frantz writes some pretty sexy Scots, too, aye?

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    2. Nell, I've always loved Scottish historicals for that reason!

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  22. I don’t know kmow how y’all chose. I’ve given my heart to so many fictional men, it isn’t funny. But it is fun!!

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    1. amen to that! And if people haven't yet met your Karim or Trent, they are missing out :D

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    2. I'm heading to check them out now! :)

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    3. Oh my goodness, yes to ALL Sarah's swoony guys,
      Trent, Michael, Karim, Luke and even Tate.
      Can not wait for Adam's story, hurry and finish it, Sarah!

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    4. Right, Tracey?? SARAH! Why are you hanging out here? GO! WRITE! So we can swoon :D lol

      And Missy - YAY!! :D

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    5. Sarah has serious hero skills!

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    6. You guys!!! You know how to make a writer's heart melt. <3 I actually *was* writing...ahem. I try to write heroes I love so I'm glad y'all love them too.

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  23. I can generally be convinced by most any type of hero if written well, but I guess I do have a type. Nat Eaton from The Witch of Blackbird Pond completely stole my heart in middle school (and will always hold a corner of it). But since then, it's the Scarlet Pimpernel: he is (unfortunately for me) desperately in love with his wife, but he can't reveal his true self to her because she denounced people unto death that he has made it his mission to protect. It's his complete restraint in her presence--and the way he breaks down the moment she leaves--that gets me every time. Because as much as he loves her, and as much as it's killing him to hold back from her, saving innocent people is more important.

    So my greatest weakness is the one-woman-only, heroic, adventuring types whose mission is to help those who cannot help themselves. Marshington from A Noble Masquerade definitely qualifies.

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    1. ohhh yes! Very well said! And Marshington - be still my heart! <3

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    2. Rachael, thanks for adding these to our list!

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  24. Good Morning, Carrie *waves*

    THIS is just a humdinger of a grin-worthy post. I think I'm going to smile all day. Book boyfriends!!!! Ahhh....

    LOVE your shirt. Now, you've planted a seed... You whoooo, Vista Print? *a-hem* (Fun marketing for future use...and just plain FUN!)

    I like all your tee shirt qualifications. Especially...um...# 5. Most definitely, #5.

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    1. hahahaha!! You are a kindred spirit, Cynthia :D I got my shirt from Etsy BUT if you wanted to do something like that for marketing, VistaPrint is a great resource!

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  25. Great post, Carrie. My favorites are ALL of Kristi Ann Hunter's heroes plus Noble in Laura Frantz's "The Lacemaker."

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    1. Hi Jeanne! Kristi and Laura sure do write some swoony heroes :D

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    2. Noble was totally swoonalicious!

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    3. Sarah, I am at the moment reading your book "The Esther Paradigm". There's a certain swoonworthy sheikh that definitely makes the list.

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    4. Eeeep! I'm so glad you think so!

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  26. #myJames for sure and Charlie! I agree. I have a feeling you will be adding some more swoony heros to your list
    #brockdarlin' #TeamKy

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  27. Oh Carrie, you had me grinning and laughing as I read your post. And what a fun shirt!!

    First off, I'd love to be in your draw for one of your book boyfriend books.

    I have some favorite heroes. One of my favorite recent heroes is Gage Watson, from Susan May Warren's, A Matter of Trust. He is heroic, knows his own flaws, and is just amazing on a snowboard. And he's definitely protective. Another hero I liked was a guy who was down home, but knew who he was and what he was about. Jonas Sullivan knew what he stood for, had been hurt, but was willing to try to trust again. I think that's another quality I like in a hero. He doesn't give up on love forever, just because he was hurt before.

    Great, fun post Carrie!

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    1. PS—Jonas Sullivan is from Rachel Hauck's, The Writing Desk. :)

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    2. I have yet to meet Gage but ohhhhh yesss Jonas! All the heart eyes!

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  28. Ha! This is an awesome post! I'm having a hard time nailing down a ficitonal man I'm currently swooning over. Aragorn from LoTR and Elizabeth Gaskell's John Thorton in North and South but only because Richard Armitage plays him the movie. :P I'll keep thinking!

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    1. You just mentioned two of THE BEST in the cinematic universe!!!!!!

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    2. Amy, thanks for reminding us of those!

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  29. As an author... I have bookmarked this article to re-read when I am developing my male characters! :D I'm not very good at writing swoony stuff.

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    1. And pinned it to my "Better Writing" Pinterest board! LOL

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    2. Cathe, I'm keeping her list, too! :) We're glad you came by!

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    3. oh Cathe, thank yoU! I'm honored <3 And I beg to differ - you do so write swoony stuff well :D

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  30. Your list is awesome! Yes 1,000% to number 1!

    As for book boyfriends.... aside from your list, let's say everyPepperBashamhero (especially David, he knocks #5 out if the park), Callum Beckett from Jane of Austin by Hillary Lodge, Peter Holstein from A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White, TOX (he's a good example of protective and sometimes sharing feelings), and also Drew Barlow from Courtney Walsh's Hometown Girl just to name a few.

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    1. Courtney, thanks for adding to my growing list! We're glad you came by!

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    2. O YES Courtney! How could I forget our bookish PETER from Roseanna's A Name Unknown??!! I love him! hahah

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    3. YES! You are right as always, Courtney!

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    4. i know! TOX! I was kicking myself, looking at these lists again last night (because of course I waited until the last minute to write this lol). Don't worry though - he's for sure on my next shirt, a large blown-up cover of Tox presides over my living room, and he is most definitely on the kissing post next time :D

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    5. Missy and Beth, thank you!

      Annie, yes Peter! His bookishness & his quiet and steady ways… Rachel McMillan also loves him. Her own recent hero, Klaus, should be on this list too!

      Carrie! Tox checks all the boxes. The whole list. He's an overachiever :)

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    6. Courtney - he totally is!

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  31. CARRIE, You have EXCELLENT taste in book boyfriends! Thank you for this swoon worthy post!

    I brought some COLD sweet tea and chocolate chip scones to share.

    HAPPY FRIDAY!

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    1. SCONES! with CHOCOLATE! thank you, sweet friend! :D

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  32. So fun. Totally agree with all your criteria. Those are definitely the kind of heroes I aim to write. I'm a sucker for the charmers. Can't help it. But they MUST have genuine depth underneath it. You know how I feel about my characters finding redemption, so I love for them to be working through hangups from their pasts. That can be the tricky part for me though, since not everyone likes flawed characters. But broken heroes will always be my favorite. :)

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    1. o yes... Cooper is definitely one of my book boyfriends. And Ethan. Ok, and Drew. Blissful sigh. You write some swoonilicious broken heroes, my friend!

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  33. I, too, have my own Mr. Knightley. Although sometimes he is a bit more like Professor Baer, which is just as good.:-)
    My biggest struggle in writing heroes is making them not too perfect. I just can't help myself. Everyone wishes for a perfect guy to sweep her off her feet for at least a few minutrs.

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    1. Oh Professor Baer... this probably won't surprise you after reading my list but I'm partial to Laurie. LOL. But Mr. Knightley is my fave Austen hero... Mr Darcy who?

      As far as perfect heroes go, I think we do want them to be perfect... as long as they have a little imperfect in them too. Even just a growly voice on occasion or a mischievous side. ;)

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  34. Such a fun post, Carrie. Thanks for sharing your list.

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  35. Thanks for adding Vance Everstone to your book boyfriend list—and so high up to make the shirt! ❤️ I have read Carla’s book, and I agree! And I have Becky’s, Pepper’s and Joanna’s books on my bookshelf! I just haven’t read them yet! I will soon though! ๐Ÿ˜

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    1. DAWN! I don't know what you've been doing (you know, besides raising two little boys, renovating a house, and writing delicious books) BUT you MUST read these ASAP! lol

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  36. Some of my favorites are Karl from A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund and Sean O’Conner from Julie Lessman’s A Heart Redeemed. I know there are so many others, but I’m too busy with toddlers right now to go look at my bookshelf. ๐Ÿ˜œ

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    1. ohhhhh A Noble Groom - be still my heart! And Julie writes several swoony heroes :D

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    2. I'm sorry to be so late to the party, especially on such a "sexy" post! ;) Thank you, Dawn, for mentioning Sean -- he appreciates it and so do I! ;)

      And thanks, Carrie, for your words about my swoony heroes -- MUCH appreciated, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  37. I immediately thought of at least three LAURA FRANTZ heroes...
    sigh

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    1. right?? She does such a great job writing swoony heroes :D

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  38. We're having a blizzard today and my internet keeps going in and out. Let's see if this comment publishes! (If someone sees a comment of mine blowing by in cyber-space, tell it to come back here where it belongs!)

    Great post, Carrie!

    My favorite book boyfriend is Tell Sackett. Love those Sackett men. :-)

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    1. LOL poor Jan! (Can i confess that i'm a little jealous of your blizzard?)

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  39. I'm head over heels for Pepper Basham's August from The Thorn Healer. Oh my goodness. He is wonderful.

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    1. August is MARVELOUS!! I love him <3

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    2. YAY!!! He is SUCH a good guy! And he has a great sense of humor. That's soooooo swoony!

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  40. Peter Holstein from Roseanna White's A Name Unknown and I have a special relationship!! <3

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  41. Also, I read through this whole list and not one person mentioned my first book crush: John Murphy from the Zion Covenant series by Bodie Thoene. There is NO ONE like John Murphy. I adore him!

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    1. (whispers) I've not read that book yet :(

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  42. This list is Fantastic! Charlie Lionheart is my favorite, although Thor Norgaard from Sons of Blackbird Mountain is A VERY close second! His silence makes him all that much more interesting...and swoon worthy! Have you read it yet??

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    1. Oh my gosh, NO! Soon but not yet ... but Thor is now moving to the tippy top of my TBR pile :D

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    2. I really really really really loved Thor! Probably more than Charlie because he read as a little more 'real' to me.

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    3. eeeep! (tries to figure out if I can sneak in an unscheduled read this weekend) lol

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    4. Thor ❤❤❤❤. Carrie, you MUST meet him soon!

      As much as I looooove Thor, I love him even more for Aven.

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    5. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I can't wait!

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    6. Thor is swoonilicious! YEs, and I agree with Rachel, he did feel incredibly 'real'.

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  43. Hi Carrie:

    As a guy I'm not very swoonlicious knowledgeable. I'm more aware of experiencing a beatific vision when seeing a drop dead gorgeous woman. Probably something more like Dante and Beatrice.

    I'm not even all the sure that swooning is all that good. Haven't women made a lot of terrible choices while in a state of swoon…even to the point of marrying the same bad type of character again and again?

    Given the survival of the fittest, I believe I know the kind of hero women should like. This is the kind of hero I like:

    1. Big, strong, alpha who can defend and provide for a wife and offspring.
    2. Very intelligent, honest and creative individual with a healthy sense of humor. Humor can defuse anger and other dangerous situations which otherwise could get out of hand. Intelligence can get his family thru the winter while the less capable are dying.
    3. A good father type who relates well and is protective of all children not just his own.
    4. A man who is aware and respectful of others and is loyal to his mate and family because it is the right thing to do.
    5. A man who is positive, believes in a good creator, and who tries to learn what others enjoy so he can brighten their lives and who loves life and those in his life with passion.

    That's the kind of hero I want for my sister, the kind I want to be and the kind I try to write.

    As an example I like the hero in "The Price of Victory". Also, Missy has a hero like this in her novella, "Her Valentine Reunion". (Note: he was a real bad boy until he changed.) And yes, Ruth has such a hero in "The Lawman's Second Chance". (Sterling in "The Price of Victory" is near perfect!)

    Vince


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    1. Hi Vince! Yes, I don't encourage grabbing a boyfriend or life mate because of a swoon in real life. But fictional book boyfriends are ok to swoon over :)

      I love your list! That kind of hero fits in very nicely with my list too!!

      And i totally agree - humor is VITAL!

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    2. Humor! YES!!! Life is wwaaaaayyyyy to hard to handle without Jesus and humor!!!

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    3. Hi Carrie:

      You have a beautiful website! It's so inviting. With so much white space. I like your pleasing and restful pastel colors. You also showcase many authors I have not yet read. Of your fifteen boyfriend books, I've read just two. However of your ten authors you've most read, I've read eight of them. So we have a few things in common.

      I tend to think in terms of heroines as women I'd like to marry…vicariously, of course! I think you're right about fictional swooning being ideal. I would call that safe swooning. ;)

      I also like all the items on your 'swoonabiliy' list. I would suggest one additional item and that's a hero who all the other women notice when he's around and who always does little romantic things, like giving you a rose and a kiss, with all those other women looking on. I think there needs to be more romance in romances.

      Please put me in the drawing!

      Vince

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  44. "Swoonilicious" - I love it. And I love your post. The fact you read Janette Oke and love Jesus say you're a good person without knowing anymore about you ๐Ÿ˜Š Carol Moncado writes wonderfully "Swoonilicious" men in all of her stories (especially her royals series!) Glad to discover your blog.

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    1. Definitely a fan of Carol's heroes!

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    2. haha thank you Marie! Janette Oke was the first CF author I read - I was in middle school and that was the beginning of my love story with Christian fiction! She has a special place in my reader heart :)

      I know Carol but (hangs head in shame) I haven't had the pleasure of reading her books yet. So many books, so little time ... but ... argh. lol.

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  45. Great to meet you, Carrie and I’m late to the party but I *love* your list of book boyfriends! I now have a new goal as an author - to write swoon-worthy hero’s who become fan book boyfriends. That’s actually a tall order but then, I’m a newbie. :) I based my debut hero on the late actor Paul Walker from the “The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise. He’s my first “beta” hero and he’s also the first hero ive written who wasn’t in law enforcement. And the book sold - fancy that! I’m not sure about swoon-worthy but I’ll keep it in mind as I do my edits for sure. He’s a family man and an outdoorsman. Please put me in your draw and thanks for the inspiration! I love your tahirt and list of book boyfriends.

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    1. he already sounds swoony, Laurie! :D Will look forward to 'meeting' him <3

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  46. I love your list, and your qualifications for a good book boyfriend. Sa-woon!

    I'm partial to a stoic, brooding, tough-guy hero, preferably one that has been wounded...both physically and emotionally. :)

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    1. that makes for some great emotional swoony scenes :D

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  47. Oh, you had to choose a subject that I absolutely cannot resist.

    BOOK BOYFRIENDS!

    I love me some book boyfriends. In fact, as of right now, they are my only boyfriends. My favorites are Peeta from the Hunger Games, Zachary Goode from Gallagher Girls, Percy Jackson, Rene from Rook, and Morpheus from Splintered.

    I definitely prefer the noble rogues, but Peeta isn't a noble rogue so obviously I'm open to suggestions.

    Writing swoon worthy heroes can often be difficult. The kissing would probably be the hardest part for me (*cough* probably because I've never been kissed *cough* *cough*). Most of the time the main romantic tension of my stories is the leading up to the first kiss.

    With my character Easton, he's the childhood friend, so it was really hard to show his love for her as a friend versus his romantic love. He's probably the hardest to make the most swoon worthy. I mean with the others I have princes who are dark lords, reclusive huntsmen, brooding bounty hunters, cyborg pilots (the list can go on)

    And then there's the childhood friend...

    But, I love Easton and he definitely grows through the story so yeah. Some of my readers have called him a heartthrob so I guess I did something right :P

    Please enter my name in the drawing!

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    1. I (clearly) love me some book boyfriends too, Nicki!! And sometimes the anticipation of the kiss on the page is better than the actual kissing scene ;)

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  48. Carrie, you know who I am gonna say before I even start typing it right?! Tox!!

    Kim

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    1. TOX is AWESOME! He will be on my next shirt for sure :D

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  49. Ohhh...I swooned my way through this post and all the comments. Some of the heroes I've met and some I haven't but I have list going now. Still haven't read a Pepper Basham and clearly I am missing out!!!

    So...have to confess my first book boyfriend might have been Winnie the Pooh...is that weird? But I sophisticated up fast and Jim Frayne became my heart throb..remember him from Trixie Belden. My first swoon was when he told Trixie she was his girl in Happy Valley Mystery. And I've been swooning ever since.

    Currently Connor Shea from The Promise of Breeze Hill is a major crush...though I hear his brother will be stirring hearts sometime this summer. And I just finished Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn and Ryan Parker is definitely book boyfriend material!!!! I love that we're allowed to be fickle when it comes to bbfs...cause I have a lot of them.

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    1. Oh KAV! You must read a Pepper Basham novel post haste! PM me on FB and I'll get you set up.

      I'm not sure what to say about Winnie the Pooh HAHA but Jim Frayne was such a sweetie & definitely swoony :D

      Connor! OH! Yes! And his brother Quinn is delicious. Ryan Parker is another excellent choice too!

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  50. I loved your insights into what makes a hero memorable and book boyfriend status! My longtime book boyfriend is Phillip from Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. The romantic tension is off the hook because he is too honorable to declare himself to the lady under his temporary guardianship, but tries to hint it to her in other ways, all while getting frustrated at his inability to read her feelings. I can't count how many times I've re-read this book!

    Please enter me in the giveaway- there are a few books on your list I haven't read yet and I'm intrigued...

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    1. ohhhh Phillip and that kiss! SWOON!!! that is a definite multiple-reread book <3

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  51. Aw, Carrie, I'm so disappointed none of my heroes are on your shirt! I'm crying a little bit right now. Sniff sniff.

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    1. You know I'm kidding, right? :D Love you! And I LOVE your enthusiasm for Christian fiction and romance! It's contagious, and very fun!!! <3

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  52. I'd pick Matt Jareau, Gray Fowler, and Michael Carrington and amen Vance Everstone and Charlie Lionheart.

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  53. I am very late coming to the party and I certainly agree with many of the men mentioned. I don't think anyone mentioned Dr. Dr. Neill MacNeill from Christy. Yes, he was an agnostic but you can't help feeling his pain at losing his wife and his dedication to seeing the people made him very special. And there was just something about the actor who portrayed him in the TV series!
    Great post Carrie!!

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  54. I love this post. I had seen your shirt posted by Becky some time ago. I think #5 should be added to your list as essential. Needless to say, who is my favorite? Ty, of course!

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  55. Fun posted. I love Mary Connealy's hereos too. They help the heroines be the best of themselves. I love that in a hero. I also love seeing a hero who is broken restored by a heroine. I don't care what they look like. It's what's inside that draws me. I try to write those kinds of heroes. Carrie how do I get reviews from you? You blog looks so fun. I read a lot- I mean I am addicted. Yet I haven 't read any of your faves. I'd love to share one of your boyfriends. Boy, does that sound weird. But, in the book world that is permitted.
    Cindy Ervin Huff

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  56. This is such a fantastic post!! I especially loved how you tied it back to Jesus and His triumphant return! The ultimate hero on a white horse.

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  57. Oh, WOW, am I sorry I'm late to THIS post, my friend -- YUM!!!

    I would have to agree with you on Charlie Lionhart for sure. One of my favorite CF heroes is Jamie from Liz Curtis Higgs Whence Comes a Prince, and Becky Wade's heroes are always dee-lish as well.

    But I would have to say my favorite, all-time fictional hero is Jamie Frasier from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (NOTE: This is not a Christian book). If you would have told me that I would have said that about a hero who is a redhead, younger than the heroine, and inexperienced with women, I would have told you were were out of your mind. Well, Diana Gabaldon made a liar out of me with Jamie because he is King of Swoonilicious in my book!

    Great post, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  58. Very late to this party, but I enjoyed reading all the comments. I realize I've missed a slew of books I need to read. Um, who is this God and where may i find him?

    As for my favourite swoon heroes... Basically any Mary Conneally men, Ruthy's cowboy heroes, and any man in uniform. May I also mention a TV hero who I swooned over through high school and college even though it might be a little goofy now? I loved MacGyver and he still makes me swoon. *sigh*

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  59. okay, I meant who is this TOX...
    No idea how it got switched to God... I do know who He is
    *note to self* double check auto corrected words... *sigh*

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