Guest Author Day with Willa Edwards

Do our heroes need a masculine revolution?

Over the last thirty years romance heroines have made a dramatic change in profession, personality and perspective. No longer do we read over and over the stories of a woman who only wants to be a mother or wife to a rich baron or oil merchant, more focused on taking care of her husband and maintain her reputation than herself.

Due to the real life feminist revolution the possibilities for romance heroines have expanded. Every heroine doesn’t have to be a teacher and nurse but now can make a living as a vampire hunter, CIA agent, Forbes 500 company owner and even dominatrix. While previously we were surrounded by bodice rippers, which could only justify a woman succumbing to her sexual needs if she were forced to do so, now our heroines are completely in charge of their sexuality, and can bask in the power of giving pleasure or take it as they desire. To have long committed relationships, one night stands, or falling in love with more than one person at a time.

But while our heroines have progressed in their characters and journey’s, what about our heroes?

Our heroes haven’t been given the ability to change as much as our heroines have. Romance heroes still have to be very well off financially (with the rare exception of a government employee like a police officer or firefighter, who make up for their lack of funds in prestige and the ability to defend and protect their woman). They always possess male oriented jobs, like contractors, businessmen, software developers and army rangers. They always have to look amazing, with washboard abs, thick full heads of hair, tall lean builds and long thick cocks, while a heroine is allowed to have a few extra pounds or small breasts. They always know how to pleasure their women, while heroines don’t need to possess the same level of skill in pleasuring the hero or even themselves (though rarely are they so inept that they can’t give the hero something to return for his efforts).

So why is this? If heroines can have some flaws why can’t our heroes? Why do our heroines have infinite choices but our heroes are boxed in? It seems to me we need a new revolution, a masculine revolution, so our guys can get a fair shake.

In real life women love heroes that are balding or short. Not every man is born with the innate knowledge of how to make their woman scream to the rafters, but many need a little training in that department. Not to say they can’t make you pant and moan, but they might guidance to get that ultimate best high.

And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with writing a hero that’s not perfect, just like many of our heroines? I love the idea of a hero taking on a less masculine job, like a receptionist or a manny, while still having that alpha control in the bedroom. There’s something very sexy about a man who can be nurturing and caring, while also having that masculine bravado that makes you cream. A hero who’s an interior decorator, could be even more manly, when having to defend his chosen profession. And a man who can could delicate pastries and elegant wedding cakes would have me swooning.

We often justify our lack of options for men as romance’s being fantasy land. That the hero is supposed to be the idea man, but not everyone’s version of ideal is the same. Many women love a bald head, the same way some women like beards and other’s don’t (I’m not a beard fan myself). So why don’t we write many different ideal men, one for every taste. With all the discussion that goes on about finding an original story, why do we leave so many tantalizing options on the table?

If heroines are allowed to do whatever they want, have foibles and imperfections, why can’t heroes? What do you think? Do you like your heroes perfect, or are you going to join me in the new masculine revolution to get our heroes more options.

And while you’re thinking about which side you’ll pick, how about you read a little excerpt from my new release, Midnight Mirage, out this month from Siren Publishing. I’m sure my heroes, Lincoln and Gabe, would be more than happy to help persuade you on the subject.

BLURB

Lincoln and Gabe, best friends and the hottest new alt-rock duo Mirage, only want one thing. Mallory. They’ve been waiting a year for Mallory to open her heart to both of them and accept the alternative relationship they wish for.

Mallory’s flattered by their attentions but can’t believe they’re any more than sweet words. They’re rock stars, surrounded by beautiful woman. They can’t possibly want a plain-Jane reporter like her.

When a crazed fan forces their hand, their protective instincts take over. Gabe and Lincoln aren’t willing to wait for their woman any longer. They initiate her with intense pleasure, ringing in the New Year in the naughtiest way possible. But when they whisper words of love and forever in her ear, she runs away.

Will Mallory be able to open her heart and return their affection, or will insecurity keep her from the men who love her?

Excerpt

“Is tonight the night?”

His best friend’s voice invaded his thoughts, distracting Lincoln from the round hips and long black hair of the woman bouncing in front of them. Her body swayed as she made her way through the crowd toward the backstage area where they stood.

“I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on, mate,” Gabe continued, unbidden, as always. “My bollocks are turning blue waiting for you.”

Lincoln cast his eyes to the side, catching a glimpse of his best friend in the semidarkness. From Gabe’s firm stance, his focused eyes, and the bulge in his pants, he was just as interested and desperate as Lincoln was.

Lincoln turned away from his friend, staring back to where the woman bounced to the music. It would be much better if she were dancing to their music, instead of the Mötley Crüe wannabes onstage, but her passion and interest were intoxicating regardless of the drivel ringing through the air.

“God, she’s gorgeous,” Gabe smirked as his eyes scanned her temptress form. “How can you stand waiting?”

Gorgeous didn’t even start to describe her. She was beautiful, sexy, vulnerable. She wore tight dark jeans that molded to her ass, a

golden corset spread across her chest, pressing her breasts high, ready to greet him like the New Year. In the past year they’d known Mallory, they’d learned a lot about her. They both knew her looks were only the beginning of her beauty.

And Lincoln wasn’t doing any better at waiting than his friend was. He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from telling her exactly what he wanted to do to her. And he’d gotten in the habit of fisting his hands at his sides any time Mallory was near, just to stop himself from reaching for her, or accidentally touching her, which he knew he wouldn’t be able to stop once he started.

Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/midnight-mirage

Willa Edwards has dreamed about being a writer since she was four years old. When she picked up her first romance novel at fifteen she knew she’d found her place, and she’s never looked back.

She now lives in New York, where she works with numbers at her Evil Day Job and spends her nights writing red-hot tales of erotic romance. When she’s not at her computer, you can usually find her curled up in bed with her two furry babies, her nose pressed to her e-reader.

Willa loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her at willa.c.edwards@gmail.com or visit her on the web find out more about her current projects at www.willaedwards.com.

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23 thoughts on “Guest Author Day with Willa Edwards

  1. I give my heroes flaws and stuff they have to work through as well as my heroine. I like a story where it’s about two people both coming to realizations about themselves and the relationship that makes for a good read!

    1. I too agree that not enough people of color in romance novels. I think the africian american writing community and characters have expanded, and there has always been a strong Native american segment. But I’d love to see even more nationalities. I can only think of a handful of stories that have an asian or latino hero.

      Unfortunately, just like Savanna, I’m not sure if I have the knowledge to create such a character, but you never know. I’m always trying to challenge myself as a writer so maybe one day I’ll take that on.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Alica, and for sharing your views with us.

  2. Wow! Good points. As far as I can tell. Hidden hurt, a scar or two (that somehow makes them more addractive) and other similiar ‘flaws’ are the only type our heros have… Maybe it’s because the majority of readers are female. It makes us feel better when the heroines are more like us, more relatable, but we haven’t quite made that step to having the heros more like our husbands/boyfriends.

    1. I agree. I definitely like a heroine that’s not perfect, since she’s the one I relate to in the story. And I think our heroines do have a tendency to get a little too perfect to (I don’t know any woman that wears thongs as much as erotic romance heroines do).

      But I like some imperfection in my heroes too. It makes the romance seem even realer to me. To much perfection in a hero will pull me out of the story saying “yeah, right”

      And yes Scars do make men look more sexy though I’m still not exactly sure why…

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with us.

  3. Very good article. I think it would be nice to change from the alpha billionaire males we generally see. I actually did give my male hero some traits that make him appear outwardly silly to some people and I did have a few editors who wanted to change it. Ultimately I got to keep him. 😉 I would love a hero who sings too, or heaven forbid, writes!

    1. Good for you for holding your ground. So many of us cave with the desperate need to be published. I don’t say that with any critism because I’ve been there. I wanted to be published bad enough I might have done that, but luckily no publisher has asked me to change my hero that drastically.

      Thanks so much for dropping by.

      P.S. If you like heroes that sing, you might want to take a look at my new release, Midnight Mirage. My heroes are a best selling alt-rock band and hot as sin 😀

  4. “While previously we were surrounded by bodice rippers, which could only justify a woman succumbing to her sexual needs if she were forced to do so, now our heroines are completely in charge of their sexuality, and can bask in the power of giving pleasure or take it as they desire. To have long committed relationships, one night stands, or falling in love with more than one person at a time.”

    I’ll have to beg to differ with you on this statement. However, it would take pages to defend my position with my experience. Certainly, options have opened up for heroines. No doubt about that. And, in all honesty, I’ve seen that occur for heroes as well, a natural consequence of heroines changing to some limited degree. Obviously, however, heroes have not changed to the degree you’re speaking about in your blog. In general, of course. Always exceptions.

    I took a chance in my next release because while my heroes are alpha, they aren’t typically alpha. They are tuxedo-wearing, smoking jacket wearing Cary Grant types crossbred with Remington Steele. But, most important! they are themselves. Hellhounds.

    To be honest, as a reader, I don’t want the kind of heroes you’re speaking about. I don’t want Mr. Cardboard Ripped Abs, either. And, I’m not that concerned with some manly profession for my heroes, either. I can look around the world and see that or those kind of guys everywhere. So NOT what I want.

    Certainly my romance heroes aren’t perfect. There’s no such thing in life or in romance novels, imo. That is, if the hero is a completely developed character. My heroes may not be the ultimate wounded bad boy alpha, but they always have a growth curve with deep problems of their own to overcome. But, most important to me, they are heroic in nature.

    And, no, whip me with a wet noodle if you want, but I DO NOT want the so-called average Joe. The dude. The guy.

    And, yes, you know what, I am writing fantasy and I know it. I’m writing what I’ve always wanted to write, a ‘new vision’ of how life can be lived. A new paradigm of what can be instead of what is currently. For both heroines and heroes.

    That said, I say to each their own, whatever makes you romantically happy. And, that’s why I love the ebook revolution because of the fantastic diversity. It means there is something for everyone. And, if there isn’t, it can be written and pubbed.

    1. Savannah thank you so much for your thoughts.

      I agree with you about the beauty of the ebook revolution being the vast array of avaliable books. You can pretty much find anything to suit your desires at this point. And its interesting to see how NYpubs are now taking some nodds for the eworld. I’ve noticed a few mainstream menages, I can think of two from Anya Bast off the top of my head, which never would have been okay before.

      And Like you, I agree there are a lot of different writers out there with a lot of different tastes, so if you like something more than likely you can find someone else who does too.

  5. “alicamckennajohnsonAlica
    June 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I agree I like a variety of men- my personal pet peeve- not enough men of color in romance novels.”

    I agree there aren’t enough men of color in romance novels, if you leave out shapeshifter paranormal ER novels. And, I apologize, but I don’t feel capable of doing cultural justice to men of color. I just don’t have that level of experience to make them real for readers. And, yes, I have dated men of color.

  6. Thanks Raine, this is a thought I’ve had for a while, and I finally decided to put it on paper. I agree with you. I love an average guy. I think average men can be very heroic at times. And I didn’t even get into my love for nerds. A sexy nerd just makes me melt (even if my friends are laughing at my for calling a nerd sexy). Thank you so much for having me on your blog Raine. Its such a joy to be here.

  7. kelliejwn I always give my characters emotion conflicts to work through, and sometimes their jobs or lack of choices is one of them. My hero in Naughty List, is a social worker and definitely deals with his lack of money comparied to Callie’s previous fiancee who was a professional athlete. That conflict definitely adds to the weight keeping them apart and is something they both need to get over. But I’d also like to write something about a hero who is just imperfect, maybe short or balding, but is still sexy as hell. I think it would be a challenge but still doable.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad you liked the blog.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Janice. You’re such a sweetheart.

      I have to say, I understand Beer, but ketchup. You can really be addicted to that?

  8. Go Willa!

    That’s spot on. I think outside the romance genre.. men are making strides… I worry that it’s the readers of romance that still want a powerful alpha male. I broke a contract with a publisher over that. I want to write humans, not prose dildos. My character’s name was Faith. He has enough testosterone to go around, but he’s also loving an nurturing.

    Nix

    1. Nix good for you for following your vision. Its hard sometimes to ignore what an editor or publisher says. I applaud you for following your own vision and given readers a different point of view.

      And hey, if Johnny Cash can since about a boy named Sue, why can’t you write about a man named Faith. Thanks so much for stopping by Nix, I always love to hear your prospective.

  9. Great thought-provoking blog! I write about alpha females and the heroes can be alpha, or they can be beta. My heroes realize before the heroine that they belong together, then they spend the rest of the book convincing the heroine. I’ve written males and females of color, and have a series of books involving Hispanic heroes and heroines dating outside of their culture. I just think it makes things more interesting if besides being female and male, the 2 protagonists have to work to understand each others’ cultures as well.
    And for the record, I dislike alpha males in real life, so I rarely write them as positive characters, and I don’t like millionaire playboys. My most recent hero was a car mechanic, and that was part of the problem…the heroine’s parents didn’t approve of his blue-collar job!

    1. Fiona I love your work. And I often do the same. My men know they want the heroine before she does, most of the time. However some of them are still very alpha about it. I remember reading a study once that men knew within several dates whether the women they were dating was someone they’d want to be with for a long time or a short time. Its the women that took months to decide. I’ve always taken that to heart with me heroes.

      And I agree with you, I definitely don’t like Alpha’s in real life. No man will get very far telling me what to do ;D

      Thanks so much for stopping by Fiona, and sharing your views. I always love to hear your opinion on things. You always just tell it like it is.

  10. Most heroes aren’t perfect and shouldn’t be. We love flawed heroes, either in personality or characteristics.
    Women have advanced so much that heroines have had the most changes in romance books. Men didn’t face the challenges women did to be accepted as equals, so didn’t need to “grow” as much in books.

    1. I agree our heroes aren’t perfect. And there are many flawed heroes out there. But they seem to be flawed in the same way. Always taking on an ubermale persona as a result. My point was more about how men need to have more options in romance. Maybe instead of turning into vigilanty persuing justice they could decide to devote their time to helping others in the same prediciment or fighting the laws in court instead of on the streets. I think heroes need to have more options, and that would only lead to more exciting stories for us to read.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Marianne and sharing your thoughts. i appreciate your support.

  11. I think the romance genre has created its own double standard–our heroines have been allowed to grow and change as women have grown and changed over the past 30 years, but the ways men have compensated for those changes have not been popular with readers and so the hero is stuck with the same role he’s always had.

    I have tried not to go the usual route as far as heros are concerned, at least as far as temperament and profession. I’ve written about one guy who’s an architecht in 1982 and another who’s a chef in the contemporary world. As far as looks go, yeah, they all tend to be hunky, though I have an outline for a book where the hero is not the physical ideal at all. But then neither was Mr. Rochester.

    I think, though, that agents and editors may be resistent to change, given the current uneasy state of the publishing industry. But e-publishers seem more than willing to take a chance on a hero who is different.

    1. Jenna, you bring up a great point. That men weren’t always so stuck. Some of the romantic heroes we still swoon over, like Rochester. Maybe the convention is coming from modern women, who have felt their own share of discrimination in real life and are mirroring it back to the men they can control (romance heroes). Its an intereting idea. One that would take a lot more research to really look into. But I still love when ideas like that come along. You never know where they might lead.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Jenna, and sharing you views with us, and possibly sparking even more debate. I always love to hear another point of view.

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