Monday, March 26, 2012

the melt factor

I'm getting ready to create my 11th hero:).  So far we have Ian, Red Shirt, Colonel McLinn, and two you've yet to meet. If I dig deep in my antique trunk, I'll unearth those unsung heroes who'll never see the light of day ~ Matthew, Stephen, Winston Cade Cabot Luce, the 7th Duke of Devlin (isn't that atrocious?! He was from my college days), and there are one or two I can't remember which were less than memorable. Which brings me to the point of this post! Heroes must be memorable:)

I must confess I felt a little like one of my heroines when I saw the man in this picture on Pinterest recently. I melted. There's something so irresistibly handsome about him - perhaps even heroic. Happily married woman that I am, I was instantly smitten! This picture might not have the same effect on you and that's okay. Everyone has a different melting point;)

I love creating heroes even more than heroines. A hero doesn't have to be handsome. But his soul and spirit should be. He can be angry but never whiny. He can be lost but there has to be the ring of redemption about him. He must be flawed. But strong. Your hero should be so compelling that you find yourself thinking about him when you're not writing. That goes for your heroine, too. I always say my characters are as real to me as my own family members - and I'm not exaggerating!

Take the hero you're either reading about or writing about. What do you like about him? Were you smitten right away? Or did he grow on you? I'd love to read your insights on what makes a hero tick for you ~ or not!




It seems only fitting to end this post with the winner of North and South! Talk about a hero!

The winner is...

EMMA!

If you can email your snail mail addy to lauran@tfon.com, I'll mail your hero/movie right out;)


74 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Gosh. My coworker just ran to get papertowels 'cause I melted all over the floor. Sheesh!!! I agree - I love writing heroes even better than my heroines. Currently, my hero is self-righteous with a wicked little soft crack he despises. HE thinks he should be arrogantly aloof, but SHE keeps widening the crack and he's about ready to turn into a pile of romantic mush... sigh. :)

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    1. Jaime, You're priceless;) I needed a roll of papertowels myself, Costco size, thank you! LOL... Love hearing about your hero. Being a bit self-righteous with just a little dent makes for a wonderful, heroic character arc. Sounds like your heroine knows what makes her man tick - and is moving in:) It's so much easier to write about our heroes when we love to be with them - and I sense you do, too!!

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  2. Well Laura you sure do know how to grab a girl's attention! YOWZA what a man!!!!!! I don't normally go for guys with facial hair but since having seen this photo I have changed my mind LOL!

    I'm reading a YA book right now called Divergent and there isn't really a "hero" yet but I did get to see the Hunger Games over the weekend and I have to say that Peeta really grows on you in both the book and movie. He's not exactly an alpha male but he has that sweetness about him and that desire to look out for Katniss that makes him a great hero IMO.

    Thanks for posting this today, I needed a Monday pick me up. ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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    1. Renee, LOL, indeed! Ditto here - facial hair doesn't do much for me, either. Till now. None of my heroes are bearded though my upcoming one does need a shave early on in Love's Reckoning.

      What a great title "Divergent" is! And I'm hearing lots of buzz about THG. In fact, my nephew is visiting and he just saw the movie and really liked it (he's college age and a Christian). Not sure myself as I haven't read the book or seen the movie. But your comments make me want to!

      So glad this gave you a Monday pick-up:) You're the best!

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  3. My ideal hero:
    1) He fights for his girl, her honor, her respect.
    2) He has a sensitive side, yet still maintains his masculinity.
    3) A dry sense of humor. :)
    4) He never gives up.
    5) Humility
    6) Unconditionally loves.
    7) Oh, and cute.
    8) Don't give him green eyes. Only 1-2% of people have green eyes and it seems like every hero in every book has them. Not believable. :)

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    1. Erin, That's fascinating about the green eyes! Makes me feels kinda special! I'll remember that for my heroes, though you might have to suffer through my next one as he's a greenie;)

      Love. Your. List. A hero should never give up. So true. And a dry sense of humor is tops with me, too. Humility is HUGE. But then I like everything on your list. I have a feeling you're married to your real-life hero - he really sounds like a keeper from what I've heard!!

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    2. "I have a feeling you're married to your real-life hero - he really sounds like a keeper from what I've heard!!"

      Oh, he is. :) God did something great when he created that man. :)

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    3. Oh, and my hubby has beautiful blue eyes. :)

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    4. I feel pretty special and I swear I know a lot of people with green eyes...
      I haven't created one yet but I will. I avoided the classic blue eyed hero in my first book because I thought it was too common! Ha ha

      Laura. Where did you find this man. Omigish.

      I did see one in Colonial costume on horseback last week that made me forget to breathe. A nice treat once in awhile.

      My last hero had brown hair and eyes, but it was all about the hair...then his dimples when he laughed...which was often. And the fact he was willing to give up everything to save the heroine.

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    5. Debra, Glad you're a greenie, too:) I must confess mine are a very light green and my son's are a smoky gray-green. I try to avoid the blue-eyed heroes but alas, Ian was one! And so was that rascally Colonel McLinn, as you well know;)

      This man here is Eoin Macken of BBC Merlin fame - and nearly had me running out to buy the series on Amazon;) But I've just finished Downton Abbey and will take a breather - or lack of, if I keep looking at his photo!

      Oh and don't you dare mention dimples...I'm a goner. I so look forward to meeting your hero. I know he'll be memorable, especially given your last line. Bless u so much.

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    6. Erin, Blue eyes are my fav:) I wonder if they're even more rare than green eyes?!

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    7. I was thinking about that percentage and I think its higher in certain countries. Worldwide 1% green-eyed makes sense but in certain countries I bet its higher ...

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    8. I do think it varies from country to country, Deb. I think of all the green-eyed Irish, of which I am one:) Or maybe that's a myth?!

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  4. Laura, when you said, "A hero doesn't have to be handsome. But his soul and spirit should be," I wanted to stand up and cheer! That is so incredibly true. In my next release, Nick melted my heart because he not only loved the heroine, but he loved her little boy. Nothing is as swoonworthy to me than a man who clicks wiht children.

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    1. Oh, so glad that resonated with you, Lorna. Me, too. I love when a hero isn't classically handsome but his soul and spirit grows on you and turns him beautiful in time. Can't wait to meet your Nick!! And I agree about kids and heroes. That's why I added little Abby in the mix with Colonel McLinn - even after the manuscript was done. You are so good at adding children to your stories. And we get to go on the ride of our lives with you soon:)

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  5. Laura, I so know what you mean about heros! I LOVE creating them!! Sigh…

    It took a while from my current hero to grow on me, but now I’m totally smitten (and my heroine is too. :)

    And by the way, I love the 7th Duke of Devlin! Great title! Almost reminds me of the Duke of Devonshire.

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    1. Amanda, It really is the most amazing thing to create a character you'd love to meet in person:) If the author is smitten with her hero, the odds are the reader will be, too. Sigh. If you asked me to pick my fav hero, I'm not sure I could!

      And thanks for the thumbs up regarding my Duke. He really stole my heart - and that might be why I remember his name so very well!!

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  6. I don't know how you do it, but even as a reader my thoughts always go back to the heroes/heroines you've created. These reading flashbacks, if you will call them so, are in my opinion - better than a movie. Even after I've read cover to cover, I still feel that I live in the story and am still untangling and making sense of it.
    Thank you for your thoughts on creating a hero, it helped me to consider some characteristics for my own writing.
    TFD. Ian, yes quite smitten - although it took so long for those two which only made the romance better - waiting is beautiful.
    CML. Red Shirt - his mysterious ways had to grow on me, perhaps it was a matter of trust with such a heroine
    TCL. Colonel McLinn - such a struggle, so many dimensions, the most baffling of them all
    I had tears in my eyes when he acknowledged God before the battle.
    Which hero of your three published novels was the easiest to write about? The hardest? Why?

    Jennie

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    1. Jennie,
      Oh, so love your words here - and your thoughtful question. You're a fine writer yourself - "I still feel that I live in the story and am still untangling and making sense of it." Wonderful stuff.

      You'll laugh but back then when I created Ian I didn't know enough to bring the hero in early. I'm still dealing with fallout from that though in historical fiction you can get away with hero's late arrival, just not in historical romance. I still say I write historical fiction though readers say I write romance. Hmmm...

      So appreciate your words about Colonel McLinn. He may be the most dear to me and that pre-battle prayer was very meaningful to me, also. I think he's the hero I know best because I wrote from his point of view, something I didn't do with Ian and RS. Plus his struggles resonated with me. CS Lewis once said that some people have troublesome natures or "a hard machine to drive" and McLinn is one of them. I often feel that way about myself, too. So I think he was the easiest to write.

      Red Shirt is still mysterious to me, too. And Ian was one whose story I didn't want to stop, maybe because he came in so late.

      I have a feeling your own hero is quite THE MAN:) I'm thrilled that you're writing and thinking of characters like you are!

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    2. Thank you for answering my questions. I love what authors have to say about their characters.

      "Unable to find her own Mr. Darcy, she created him."
      Just Jane by Nancy Moser

      Right now my hero is only Jesus. He is everything for me.
      I feel that when I meet Mr. ? he will be quite the man!!!
      Jennie

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    3. Jennie, No better hero than Jesus - so thankful He's yours. He's the true bridegroom-hero and we're his first love. Wonderful to think about being the bride of Christ...

      And love your line from Just Jane! I have that very book in my office/library on the very top and was admiring that cover when I rearranged my stack this weekend. I haven't read it it yet - or Mozart's Sister - though Moser's 'Washington's Lady' is one of my favorite books.

      And speaking of fav books, I just rec'd from Amazon "The Many Faces of George Washington"!! I haven't had time to read or look at the pics yet but am thrilled to find two of the wax figures on the cover were the ones I saw from the Mt Vernon exhibit at Philly last summer. WOOHOO!

      And yes, when you meet your godly hero in real life, you'll know he is THE ONE:)

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    4. Thank you so much for the encouragement.
      Yes, Jesus - wonderful to ponder our whole lives. I have been saved by a hero who gave His life - the ultimate sacrifice for me, unworthy that I am. He conquered death and rose again. He is waiting for me in Heaven. He is mine and I am His, forever. That is the true love story at the top of my list.

      Oh, I think I must read "Washington's Lady":)
      I'm so glad you found the book about George! It is ever so interesting. If you saw two of the figures - there are either duplicates or they have been/are apart of a traveling museum display. I wonder if the book says.
      Thanks,
      Jennie

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  7. Laura, can I ask for some advice? My WIP is women's fiction. My main character goes from very, very bad girl to a completely changed woman. It's her story. Yet the male lead (hero????) is crucial to her change, and the book ends with it being clear that they'll have a relationship because of the changes she's gone through.

    So I haven't given much thought to him outside of his role in her life. But I'm guessing he probably needs his own story arc. He'll have about 1/3 of the scenes. Am I right? Does he need his own story in the story?

    Thanks for listening!

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    1. Sally, You could actually go either way, IMHO. If he's pretty "together" and is crucial to her change in a postive way, then his arc is already in place, so to speak. Does that make sense? If he has some growth ahead that you can work into her scenes, or even his solo scenes, that's good, too. You're wise to limit his scenes to 1/3 or so since the book is mainly about your female lead who sounds like she has a tremendous growth issue in her arc. It's important, since he's crucial to her change, to make him as compelling as possible so that his 1/3 stands out like summer sunlight:) Kind of a corny analogy, maybe, but you get the picture! Pls feel free to ask anything and I'll try to answer and be helpful. Love talking writing!

      Another niggling thing, which I hate, is word count. But it does help to remember this if you're aiming for publication. You can go pretty deep with a hero who's not the main character if you don't have word count issues. I have to cut, cut, cut and lose a lot of meat.

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    2. Oh, forgot to say that even with the little glimpse you've given of your female lead, she sounds very, very interesting! And I bet she's loads of fun to write about, badness and all;)

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    3. I love her to death, messed up as she is. And I love the hero too. And I love my story. Sigh. :)

      Thanks for the thoughts. I think that I'll go with what I have now, leaning toward you saying that his arc might already be there. I think you're right. There are other things going on that will make him think and change some of his views, and maybe that's enough. So creating a whole story problem for him might create a word count issue.

      Thanks for talking writing! If you're ever going through KC, let me know. I'd love to meet you in person. Or host you at our ACFW group.

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    4. Thanks so much, Sally. I'd love to meet your ACFW group - and you!!

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  8. Laura,
    Laughing about the green eyes and facial hair since our daughter has the former and my husband has the latter. We've laughed many a time about her eyes....because both of us have dark brown eyes. And I LOVE facial hair. Not all men look good with that but I think mine does and I would be very disappointed were he to remove the mustache (which I encouraged him to grow 36 years ago!) or the chin hair! And the guy in the photo is yummy...love that long hair too. I think I must be a wild child at heart beneath this quiet, composed exterior.

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    1. Patti, I remember your hubby having a bit of both - and wearing it very well, too;) And I didn't realize K had green eyes - it must be such a beautiful contrast to her dark hair! Like you, I was instantly smitten with this photo. His expression says so much. We're both wild at heart underneath, seems like. But passion in its place can be a very fine thing, indeed:)! Love your thoughts!!

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  9. Oh, Laura, my Cajun detective Hero smote, or is it smite?, me long ago. And as I learn more about him and his deeply troubled past, the more smitten I become. There's a beauty to his soul he's not willing to accept and his heroine sees it. His life and backstory weave such an intricate web, it just gives me tingles. I've been writing his books for so long, but I still don't know all his little details and when he shows me one I never say before I'm shocked. (Oh, how our characters take on an almost real like qualities.)

    I really can't wait until all of this reaches book format. My one CP loves him about as much as I do. Course his partner is starting to take on a life of his own and I'd LOVE to write his story one day too.

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    1. Winter, LOVE that he's Cajun AND a detective!! Characters with troubled pasts are so compelling. Authors have endless treasure to mine with that. Yes, they do become so lifelike. One of the JOYS of writing fiction, for sure.

      I hope you can spin off your lead's partner and have a story of his own. Can't wait to meet them all! SOON:)

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  10. Yup, we are Pinterest twins! This SAME "hero" photograph has been on my writing inspiration board for awhile (months?)- he certainly makes me melt (I think the dozens of times I've looked at the photo! HEHE!). And why? Well, for me- the lines in his face from smiling (but, actually, my hero in my WIP has NOT smiled much, at least authentically- YET), the HAIR (wooohee- I love the longer length and beard and totally and completely fits my character), the costume (in my far-off medieval-style setting, it's perfect), and the rugged nature of the man in the photo (ah- my character really goes through a rough time of it, but he will shine through at the end, I promise). I've been smitten with my character, oh yes, I have been, before he even reached the paper. I've had a bit of a break (STILL- BOO!) from writing but just this morning, before I saw your post, was completely missing writing HIM (and his love- lol) and NEED to get back to him because he has been in a predicament not of his own doing. It's time to refocus and soon, thereafter, redeem him so he can carry on, even though he will indeed carry that ruggedness along with him. I feel blessed that you chose that photo, as well, for it re-encouraged me to get back to my own writing. I've focused on my children's homeschool so much lately- and trying to re-establish how I go about teaching, my philosophy behind it, and how to bring "truth, beauty and virtue" into our day through classics and great books- needless to say, my mind is swimming. Today, we listened to Hansel and Gretel on Livrovox and I read some more chapters of Narnia (we are ALMOST done reading aloud the book). And Ella listened to a few chapters of Black Beauty. Whew. Time to continue the day with the arts in mind! Thank you for posting this, this morning! Blessings to you! ~AMY

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    1. LOL, once again missed the reply button. Grrr! Will I ever master the thing?!

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  11. AMY!! So YOU'RE the one!! I can lay this Pinterest infatuation at your door:) I do think this pic may have been pinned after perusing your boards - lol! He fits so well with your medieval themes and I can imagine makes a hero of the highest order:) Love your thoughts on reading and all the book buzz going on at your house. And I'm so thrilled Ella is fond of Black Beauty. I need to pin that book to Pinterest.

    Hope/pray you can get to your writing, especially when things wind down for you with homeschooling this summer. Some of my favorite times are watching my kids play outside and me sitting watching with a pen and paper in my lap:)

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    1. I sure hope I wasn't a bad influence on you with Pinterest! LOL! Ella read BB, an abridged version, so her listening to it right now is perfect.

      It is encouraging to read about your memory of how you watched your children and wrote simultaneously...we sure have to multi-task, don't we?

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    2. LOL - we do, indeed multi-task, because our husbands sure can't;)! Though bless, them, they try...

      And I hope you add those type heroes to your boards any day of the week, dear Sweet Pea!!

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  12. Yikes, when I saw this post come up on my dashboard, along with the accompanying pic, I drooled then clicked on it in about 1/2 a second flat! You've definitely made me want to check out this Merlin program, for sure!

    Hmm, I can see these pictures would make for some great inspiration. :) I just finished reading Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings, and could picture this man as her hero, Weston. At first, he was a bit hard to pin down character wise, but as the story went on, he definitely grew on me. I think I tend to like a flawed hero, who doesn't necessarily fit the description of a typical "catch," but that deep down has good qualities which can't help but come to the surface over time. Maybe I like reformed "bad boys"? I just get frustrated if someone is portrayed as too good, because I like to see characters wrestle and grow, so that I can root with them along their journey...Maybe that's why I enjoyed Colonel McLinn so much?

    And a good sense of humor/witty dialogue between the hero/heroine is also a favorite of mine. I enjoy watching a relationship grow from one of mutual dislike or ambivalence toward each other to gradual reliance/trust of the other person. Sometimes the love at first sight storyline is hard for me to swallow, as it seems more like attraction at first sight to me. Which is more realistic, in my opinion, because while I think you can definitely notice an attraction right away, it's hard to know you'd love someone immediately that you haven't gotten to know yet. Lol.

    Anyhow, those are my ramblings for today. Again, thanks for that wonderful eye candy, Laura! :)

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    1. Christina, SO glad you came over and took a closer look:) I'm trying to avoid ordering the Merlin program as I think our Eoin Macken is a minor character - doggone it;) Maybe the library has a copy...

      Like you, I love reformed bad boys! They have killer testimonies more often than not. And really come to life on paper. And I so understand about the love at first sight factor in books. I just don't buy it. I do believe like you, that it's instant attraction at times but love has a much deeper, richer foundation that takes time. It's always been hard for me as a novelist to capture real love between 350 pages of a book. You really have to make those hero-heroine interactions count. And throwing in a little witty banter doesn't hurt! Thx for that!

      Thanks so much for your appreciation and thoughts of Colonel McLinn. He is a complicated man, as Roxie finally figured out. But deliciously redeemable, or so I hope!

      Bless you for blessing us with such thoughtful comments!!

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  13. *Swoon* Love the images - and LOVE your heroes, Laura!! :)

    The story I'm currently working on takes two secondary characters from my first manuscript and makes them the heroes, so I guess you could say they've grown on me. :) One of them has matured a lot since the first book, so I like seeing him come into his own. And the other was such an interesting character from the first - with his accent, his combination of wisdom and good humor, and his sad past. He's not necessarily "handsome" like my hero from the first manuscript (or the other hero in this WIP), but he's slowly and somewhat surprisingly come into the spotlight, and I love learning more about him.

    In a way it seems easier (as a female myself) to create heroines, but it's fascinating to create heroes and try to balance their masculinity with my female tendencies, if that makes sense! ;)

    ~Amber

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    1. Love the *swoon*, Amber! I'm usually not besotted by a pic but this wins, hands down... Love hearing about your WIP and heroes. It is so fun to do what you've done - take secondary characters and bring them to hero status. You've said something so key - our characters teach us a lot and reveal themselves in layers, sort of like an onion - and even make us cry. That's my favorite part of writing - discovering what they have to say and all about their past, etc. And I do understand those masculine-feminine qualities. A good hero has both.

      Hope your spring has sprung! Can't wait till graduation day for you!!

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  14. Oh Laura, this fellow looks familiar. ;) Love him -- his smile is just infectious, seems so effortless and joy-filled.

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    1. Ruth, You nailed it ~ YES, infectious. Effortless. JOY-filled. And utterly heart-melting!! Bless you for the thoughts, my friend:)

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  15. Hi Laura, this is an inspiring hero picture. I love his smile! I think you do a fantastic job in creating your heros. I loved Red Shirt's mystery and quiet gentleness, and McLinn's gruff Irishman and gentleman soldier combo. :-) I haven't got to meet Ian yet, but I've started TFD, and I'm excited!

    The hero of my WIP grew on me. I was intrigued by John -- a rich man of quality who likes to farm and build? A rare find in the 18th century. Then I got a little frustrated with his serious nature, wanting him to be funnier like the hero of my other manuscript. But when he began to show me how sweet and dashing he is by caring for his servants, and rescuing my heroine despite the cost to himself, he won me over. :-) He's got brown hair and eyes, imperfect but pleasant features, and huge muscles due to building and farming all the time. Yeah, the muscles got my heroine too. :-)

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    1. Gwen, Oh, so thrilled you enjoy my books and think those heroes are worthy:) Love your thoughts about them. Maybe if you know poor Ian doesn't appear right away you won't go looking for him right off the bat! I do think TFD is true historical fiction but the others are more romance.

      I think the name John is very sturdy and rich and old-fashioned in the very best way. And it's so interesting to hear how he won you over by simply being who he was:) That's a wonderful thing. He sounds larger than life - especially like the "imperfect but pleasant features."

      About those muscles... This is something so important to remember in WIP's for our heroes. Their physiques should match their occupations or endeavors! My next hero is lean yet he's a blacksmith. I had to remember that tradesmen in this profession could be pretty burly. Their arms and upper bodies at least. Nothing like a buff hero;) I can hardly wait to meet yours, Gwen!!

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  16. He is definitely my type of hero! Ruggedly handsome, with a lot of character in his face. Looks like he could be both sweet and dangerous. I like your tastes, I do!

    But are we one bit surprised about that? :)

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    1. Ah, yes, the rugged factor is HUGE. He must be rugged - no pretty men here, thank you!! I think that's one reason I don't care for any Hollywood types. Give me an Eoin Macken or Gerard Butler or Richard Armitage any day;) And Scots men are the best, I think. You too, aye?

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  17. Love the image! I have to say tenderness in touch and in a man's eyes...that is the gateway to his soul and his relationship with God. How a man treats a woman speaks volumes to me. It tells me he has his priorities set in a positive way and that is without his ego out front. He is gorgeous girlfriend!

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    1. Oh, love the "He is gorgeous, girlfriend"!! That he is!! Ah, and tenderness - so important. It is truly the gateway to the soul. Beautifully said, Laurie. Christ was nothing if not gentle. And he was certainly THE example of how to treat a woman. He turned His world upside down in His day with the woman and at the well and others. So happy to have your comments here, my friend!

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  18. Eoin is very nice, Laura :) You know we have the same taste in men - LOL! My dear friend Kelli Standish has introduced me to the man she calls the Indian Richard Armitage - I'm currently watching him in an Bollywood movie, Jodhaa Akbar, described as an "epic romance". It is great, even though it's all in Hindi and I have to read subtitles - LOL! His name is Hrithik Roshan and you can see him here: http://www.realbollywood.com/2011/04/hrithik-roshan-excels-role-loving-dad.html

    Watching him in the movie, he is very much like our dear RCA :)

    On another note, one of my favs male characters has always been Tommy, the leading man in Beth White's novella, The Trouble with Tommy, in the collection Sweet Delights. I just adore him - if anyone has read it, you will know what I mean :)

    And don't get me started on Ronie Kendig's characters - I love all of them :) They are all military but she has a real gift of being able to show their vulnerabilties - sigh, sigh, sigh!

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    1. We have champagne test in men, I think, Rel;) You don't get much better than RCA and now EM! And I'm so intrigued about Kelli's Akbar - I think we tend to forget that other cultures have their heroes, too! I will look him up, thanks. And then there's Tommy in the novel I've not heard of but find suddenly very interesting. And don't get me started on Ronie either!! She breaks the bank in the hero department! Plus she's one of the nicest, most caring authors I know - I think who you are spills over into your characters...probably why hers are so appealing!

      Love your thoughts - and all those sighs!! I'm right with you, dear Rel!!

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  19. I kind of like the hero's that you wouldn't expect to be the hero. I guess you could say that I like the guy next door kind. The type that's willing to put her first and loves the heroine for who she faults and all. Who is either a Christian or becomes one before the novel is done. I also like the hero's that have a bit of cowboy or country boy in them who love the outdoors. One of my favorite heros from a book would have to be Red Shirt. Red shirt is at home in nature and truly loves Morrow and cares for her. I'd have to also agree with Renee(Steelergirl83) that Peeta from the Hunger Games grows on you as well for a hero, because in the books he does everything he can to protect Katniss.

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    1. Carissa, You're a breath of fresh air. Love that you find beauty in simple things like the boy next door, the gem right under our very nose. That's a wonderful thing. And I'm honored you mentioned Red Shirt. He certainly stole my heart (and still has it:). We've been talking about the Hunger Games here at our house as my son is getting ready to read it for his high school English class. I'll tell him to keep an eye out for Peeta and Katniss. Such interesting names.

      Like you, I'm a fan of cowboys. Tom Selleck is one of the best. And then there was John Wayne! But I think my all-time fav is Sam Elliot. Not particularly a handsome hero but there's something about him...and than that beautifully deep voice!

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    2. Other than the slight violence in the books, I do not remember anything that would be inappropriate for a high school student. I don't think that is any bad language. There is a few scenes in a cave where two of the characters huddled together for warmth.

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    3. Carissa, You're so thoughtful - thanks so much for telling me about the content. My college age nephew has been visiting and talked about it some, too. He's read the books and seen the movie recently and said the film wasn't as dark as it could have been and he was glad. It sounds very interesting and guess it's the new replacement for Harry Potter and Twilight!

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  20. Hero. For me the definition is so personal. One of my favorite authors (Francine Rivers) rarely gives a physical description of her protagonists or heros. Personally, I prefer to create my own description in my head as I'm reading. What constitutes a "hero" in my mind are his personal strengths of character, instead of his physical characteristics. Compassion, honesty, protective, faithful, willing to learn, willing to admit error, etc., are what create a real "hero" in my mind. My current read has a good example of a strong hero figure. I'm reading "Highland Sanctuary" by Jennifer Hudson Taylor. My last read, "Healer" by Linda Windsor, also had a "hero" I appreciated. Actually, while reading "Healer" I decided I DID NOT want to read the sequel because I did not care for the character of the brother who is the protagonist in the sequel, "Thief". However, after reading the first chapter of "Thief", the author has me won over. Now I want to read "Thief". Actually, the last book I finished was Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I read a biography of Josiah Hensen and it prompted me to want to read "Uncle Tom's Cabin"...all 1,384 pages! Still a great read. Speak of great character development. Love your blog, Laura, and all the discussion it prompts. Also, love learning about new books to read from other comments. Thanks for the time you give to your blog.

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    1. Mary, I'm so glad you mentioned omitting the physical descriptions of characters. Francine does that so well and it works. I've often considered doing the same. Readers have such good imaginations that it really does them a dissservice oftentimes if we color everything in. And I think there is far too much emphasis on physical appearance as a culture, etc.

      Something interesting happened recently in the galleys for Love's Reckoning. I found that I rarely described my hero physically, so little in fact that at the back of the book my line editor had to flag a line when his hair became a different color. My gaffe - I'd simply forgotten how my hero looked because I became far more focused on who he was internally. On the other hand, I went overboard on Colonel McLinn because I was so smitten with his hair color;) Ad nauseam, in retrospect...

      Would you believe I just commented on Rel's blog about The Healer and am about ready to read that one. Love your commentary and how you were won over about that next book:) Love that cover! And I'm impressed that you read HBS's epic!! I am familiar with Josiah Henson and have just done quite a bit of research on the Underground Railroad as it's such a huge theme in Ballantyne Book 2 which I've nearly finished. I think it's safe to say Josiah is my hero. No kidding. But there were so many noteworthy heroes in those circumstances that risked all to help others.

      Hmmm, I seem to be writing a novella here. Goodnight, my friend. You make this blog a better place!

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    2. Mary, I mistakenly referred to Windsor's book as Nancy Herriman's, The Irish Healer, which has recently released and was spotlighted on Rel's blog. Now since you've piqued my curiosity about The Healer I am off to check it out. Thanks for the reading tip!

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    3. Laura and Mary - I love Linda Windsor's books, too and I recommend Thief to you, no question! I'm about to embark on a galley of Rebel, the final book in the series.

      Thinking again of heroes, you all MUST read Lisa Bergren's River of Time series ~ Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent and Bourne. While considered YA literature, I'm completely hooked along with my 14 year old daughter. You want swoon worthy heroes? You can't go past Lisa's Italian knights of the 14th century - Marcello, Luca and the enigmatic Lord Rodolfo Greco. Oh dear, you have me sighing again ;-D

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    4. Rel, I've recently befriending Lisa B. on Facebook and am chomping at the bit to get to River of Time - the whole kaboodle:) Maybe Mary will join us? The covers alone take my breath away. And now that I know the names of those knights - wow!

      I've never read a Windsor book but trust your judgment as we seem to have the same tastes. Off to Amazon - oh JOY!!

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    5. Thanks to both of you for the endorcement of Lisa B.'s "Waterfall". I already have it on my Nook, however some one told me it was fantasy, and that is not my genre. Now I can look forward to reading it. I'm still a lover of a material book I can hold in my hands. My husband surprised me with my Nook about a year ago and it has served a good purpose. I love the ebook feature of downloading the first chapter of a book for free. Maybe that's a heads up for writers. Pull me in with the first chapter and you have a sale!! That is why I decided I did want to read Linda Windsor's book "Thief".

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  21. Wow. He's amazing. I love to read about melt factor heros, but somehow I can never write them. Mine tend to be the grow on you kind.

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    1. Anne, He seems to make that impresson on many:) I wonder what he'd think of our comments here - *wink*!

      Oh, you create fine heroes as I've met one of them and can't wait to meet another! The 'grow on you kind' makes for a delightful, molasses-slow discovery that finds the reader head over heels in time and wondering just how it happened. I think those are often the ones that stay in our hearts and heads longest. And they're much more true of real life. Plus I love that you took a very ordinary name and made it heroic. Now that's memorable!!

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  22. I loved Colonel McLinn - he has been one of my favorite heros. I love a hero who is strong, externally and internally, who fights for something he believes in (even risking his life), who struggles with his inner demons and who seems almost untouchable, until he falls in love. McLinn was all those things. When I read CL I remember thinking about McLinn leaving the fort and going to his house and how untouchable he seemed - I couldn't wait for Roxanna to get inside that house! Once he fell in love with her, he became touchable by her and by the reader. Loved it!

    Side story: I was on the lookout for a picture of my WIP hero and found a model from a website that fit my ideas. I saved it to my documents folder and one day the computer was in screen saver mode and the model flashed onto the screen. My husband's eyebrows went up and he said: "Who's he?!?!" I had to laugh - and explain why I had a picture of a handsome man on my computer! He's teased me ever since. And, without sounding cliche, I have to say that my husband is the essence of a hero to me. I love that man!

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    1. Gabrielle, I treasure your thoughts on McLinn. And the fact you found him untouchable when he was in the stone house and then Roxanna closed the distance. Love that. My editor even said McLinn was the embodiment of the stone house and the fort was who he had become. He's the hero closest to me, I think, as he was my first to write from a male POV.

      And I SO relate to your side story! I think visuals of our characters help tremendously, especially if we nail the right look. I can just imagine your hub's reaction;) It reminds me of last fall when I was flying home from a book event and saw THE MAN (my hero in my current WIP) in an outdoor living magazine. I put the little photo in an old frame and my boys - and hubs - flipped! He's since been covered by a Valley Forge pic but he's still under there;) I sometimes take him out and look at him when I need a reminder.

      Husbands make the best heroes, I agree! Sounds like you have a keeper there:) And I bet he feels the same about you!!

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  23. Well, if we were both available you and I would fight over this hero! Wouldn't that make a great book?!? Two friends fighting and scheming over one man! We would have to write it in a Christian way of course. LOL Kind of like the 2 women in 1 Kings 3 who insisted the baby was theirs but the true mother was the one that said just give the baby to the other one instead of slaying it. I think the hero would court the one who doesn't win him for awhile but she shows her true colors.

    Who is this fine specimen anyway? Is he from a movie? I can't wait til you post of a pic of your new hero in Love's Reckoning. I wonder in your minds eye what he looked like?

    Love,
    Stacie

    PS...My favorite hero is noble and true. I like him with a great sense of humor and a smile that would radiate light on a cloudy day. But I would like him to have a great ability to use the spoken word. I do love good conversation!! Oh, this is so much fun!!

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    1. Stacie, You've just stated the premise for LR;) Only instead of 2 friends scheming and fighting it's 2 sisters! I used to be so fascinated by your Scripture reference when I was a little girl. That and the story of Isaac up the mountain. I think the seeds of drama were planted by the Bible and little else back then...

      This fine specimen is Eoin Macken of BBC Merlin fame:) Isn't he a dream? I think he plays the part of Sir Gwain, a knight. I've yet to see the drama but hear it's very good.

      And I love your thoughts on heroes. Being noble is certainly tops with me. And I so love to laugh! And a man who makes good conversation is always very charming:) Oh, we could go on and on...

      Hope you're having a sunny day there - spring has officially sprung!!

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  24. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new look!! It is so dreamy! All the trees and the mist. And I love that you're writing with a quill pen in that picture! That is you, right? NOW I can read the posts, but I had to comment on your great makeover. Is it a local landscape or a created one?

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    1. JULIA:) Oh, so, so happy you love this look!! You have a good eye as I wasn't sure that quill pen was visible:) Yes, that's me with the braid in an antique shift. Paul, my 12 yo, took the shot. Also, our house is in the very woods you see here - only you can't see it for all the mist! Plus it's gray so blends right in. A friend and fellow church member climbed up the mountain in back of our house and took this photo recently and gave me permission to use it. This is how it looks here much of the time. Great writing weather! It also resembles my home in Kentucky so it's doubly dear to me.

      Hope you and C and the littles are doing well! And you're enjoying your story edit, etc. Thanks so much for making my day!!

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  25. Oh, I love it!! Tell Paul he did a great job with the picture, he's a talented young photographer. Oh what a great spot for an author to live! So romantic!

    Started a new story, women's fiction again. As for the edits...hmmmm...I guess its still at the point remains to be seen but my CPs have been helpful and encouraging.

    Not working for Chris, so right now we're on the process of slowly removing him from this meds. Next week we meet with the doctor to talk about what's next. He's very tired, but other than that feeling healthy. Thanks for caring about our family.

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    1. You're so welcome. It's really an honor to know you and your family and pray for you all:) So glad Chris is feeling well and only tired. Thx so much for the update on all this. I'm praying about your writing, too, and am so happy you've started another WIP. That's the best thing, I think, to just keep that writing going. You can always go back to editing but starting another story is paramount, especially if you're struck with a fresh idea.

      Paul says thank you:)

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  26. Melt factor indeed! ;D Happy Friday, dear friend! Gosh, I'm late to this post AND to saying how much I LOVE your new blog design!! It's beautiful Laura! I'm so happy for you!

    Your heroes are the BEST- especially Red Shirt *sigh* If there was ever a book I wanted to jump into or a heroine I wanted to trade places with it was Morrow Little! RS can court me any time ;) Thank you for giving us such incredible heroes - all strong, gentle, handsome, kind, with a conviction to do whats right regardless of the outcome... I'm gonna ask God if He'll let you help Him script MY hero... ;)

    And, THANK YOU for introducing me to Pinterest! That man certainly has the melt factor ;) But I had never heard of this site before this post and followed your link to some beautiful pics! I actually found a pic that led me to a blog that had a recipe for Cinnamon Bun Cake AND Cinnamon Bun Pancakes! Not to mention I found some beautiful pics I can use for my desktop background! Thank you :)

    Praying you and your family have a beautiful Palm Sunday!!
    Blessings,
    Amanda

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    1. Oh Amanda, you are truly the icing on the cake here! I couldn't wait to hear from you and am so happy you've arrived and like the new look!! It's wonderful to have pages and whatnot and faithful friends like you.

      Love your hero comments about my heroes!! I just talked to a book club this week who'd just read CML. They had quite a few questions about our Red Shirt:) And I'd so love to script your hero for you - prayer helps that happy ending come about so often! The only thing better than a book hero is a real-life one. It must be wonderful to be young and look forward to all those joys - you have some sweet things ahead!!

      So glad you're smitten by Pinterest like me! It's such a restful, inspiring place. By far my favorite of any social networking site other than the blog here. YES, the recipes are GREAT!! And I'm so glad you found a new desktop background - there's so much to choose from that is lovely and praise-worthy.

      I pray you and your family have a beautiful Palm Sunday, too. So far it's stopped snowing and we actually see a little sun:) God bless you, dear Amanda.

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  27. "Junior"May 6, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Dear Mrs. Frantz,
    I am way late I KNOW but I was doing "backlog" and found this! YEP!! He's very good looking!! YOH!! I ALWAYS go for the tall dark and handsome..even at risk of being cliche..but its what hits me EVERY time!!
    As to your heroes.... TFD -Ian was soooo awesome..Scot you know...(MAJOR personal weakness with me btw!! ) but unfortunately...I fell TOTALLY in love with Captain Jack first...number one being an Indian (also huge soft spot..my grandma's part Cherokee!!) I thought that was sooo cool and that her dad approved and Jack is a really favorite name..plus the muscle,height,hair, EYES , totally got me so it took a second reading to REALLY swoon over Ian (Scot or no.) =) But I TOTALLY melted everywhere on your book TFD!! SO AWESOME!!!
    I KNOW I'm blonde and not as fast as some but when I thought Ian had died I was like NOOOOOO!! He's Lael's!!!!!! =) So anyway....long comment I know but I wanted to put in my "two cents" for what they are worth.
    You are sooo awesome at creating heroes!!!!

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    1. Oh, love your great comments here - thanks so much for the huge thumbs up to great heroes!! Love creating them, love falling in love with them, love when readers tell me the same:) My grandma was part Cherokee, too, so maybe that's why we think so fondly of CJ as I call him. Sounds like you have yet to meet Red Shirt - oh my! If you do, hope you think he's worthy, too. Godly heroes are simply the best! As for being blonde, I know what you mean - obviously doesn't stop our mutual appreciation...

      Thanks again for the great comments - readers like you are THE BEST:) God bless you, my friend!!

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