I had a fantastic time recently talking about Princess Avenger with Melissa Matos from Scrolls and Screens. We talked about the themes behind Princess Avenger, what writing has revealed to me and geeked out on Doctor Who.
No one would question the fact that this day is for the ultimate romantics but I think Valentine’s Day brings out the romantic in many of us, even just a tiny corner. We begin to think about what it means to us to have a valentine and how we should show our appreciation.
Does it all have to be about the dollars we spend? Did you know that Australians will spend one billion dollars on Valentine’s Day? Expensive gifts are one way to show someone we love them but not the only way. Simply the spending of time with your loved one – a long chat, sharing a movie together, going on a walk, reflecting on how you came to fall in love and telling your valentine the things you love about them – are all great, inexpensive alternatives.
No matter how you celebrate the day, I believe the important thing is that Valentine’s Day is a chance to stop and appreciate each other. So let’s do that this Valentine’s Day: take a moment to pause and remember all the great things about your valentine: the loveable, the funny, the romantic, the thoughtful, the caring, yes all those attributes that make it worthwhile being in a relationship.
Valentine’s Day is dear to the hearts of romance writers- you might say it’s our ‘one day of the year’. This year I would like to give all my readers the gift of a special 99 cent deal on The Lord and the Mermaid. I selected this book, number four in The Queenmakers Saga, because it can be read as a stand alone. It’s my retelling of The Little Mermaid. Enjoy!
As authors, it’s common for us to write our heroes as alpha males but can a beta hero be just as compelling? Let’s examine the differences and this question might be answered.
The alpha male is most women’s idea of the hero. He is masterful, confident, a man of influence and a man of action rather than words. This hero is protective of his woman but often not interested in being tied down. He will be sexy and sensual, fully aware of his effect on the opposite sex and willing to use it to get what he wants. What makes our alpha hero even more intriguing are his vulnerabilities. These will be hidden from the world, masked by aloofness, and only our heroine will be able to expose his softer side. She will heal his wounds.
The alpha hero will likely be first born and a leader in everything he does. He has climbed the tree of success to the very top. He won’t suffer fools and won’t be slow to confront a problem head on. He moulds the world to suit his needs, he makes things happen and will never die wondering. Sensitivity is not his forte and he will put people offside with his confidence and brashness.
These are all wonderful characteristics for our romance hero but can a beta hero work just as well when it comes to stoking the fires of love in our heroine?
Beta guys are more popular now than they once were. This could be due to the advent of a more sensitive society where the particular traits of the beta are valued. He is often a younger sibling, perhaps a middle child. As such, he is a people person, good at getting along with others and is someone who will put the needs of others first. He would be a great hero for a heroine in need of a little TLC.
Our beta hero is a diplomat whose confidence will be boosted when he can master a problem. When he rescues his heroine he shines. He is a practical person, a quiet achiever, more likely to walk away from confrontation but that doesn’t mean he can be pushed around. Family is important to him unlike our alpha who is often a loner. The beta hero is prone to hide his feelings behind humour, especially if he has been hurt by a situation. He could appear weak at times, influenced by the desires of others and unable to make quick decisions. His self-sacrificing nature could grate if carried to extreme.
So, can a beta hero work in a romance novel? I think he could be the right choice if he has qualities that the heroine needs. A heroine with tragedy in her past, especially relating to a man, will need someone she can count on who will place her needs first. She will appreciate his consideration and his chivalry because he makes her feel like she is his princess. A feisty heroine could also compliment a beta hero- opposites attract. In this situation, the writer would need to be careful not to create a hero who can be pushed around by his woman. She might be able to get her way in most situations but when it matters, his word will be law.
Have I changed your mind about writing a beta hero? Do you now want to read a story where the beta is the hero and not a secondary character? Have you written or read a story based around a beta hero? What were his endearing characteristics and what sort of woman was he set against?
Why do I ask? My book The Lady’s Choice has a beta hero and I’ve been reflecting on him this week as I create a ‘behind the scenes’ for him. He is gorgeous, takes his duty very seriously and will do anything for the woman he loves. I wanted to get his character right from the start. He must care without being weak; be a man of action but not confrontational. He must be a thinker and have deep emotions. He isn’t wounded but he does have flaws that are consistent with the beta male – possessive and a little obsessive, makes judgement mistakes when he allows his emotions to take over and is too self-sacrificing. I’ve walked a fine line with Ramon Zorba, but I find him an enduring and endearing leading man.
I’d appreciate your thoughts on the beta hero and his place in the romance novel.
I’m so happy to announce the release of book 8 in the Queenmakers Saga, Elf Princess Warrior! One day, after I started writing this series, my imagination/muse revealed to me an elven princess, perched high on a mountain. At that stage, I didn’t know who this princess was. I now know she was Gwaethe Arenil, the courageous heroine of Elf Princess Warrior.
Gwaethe was a secondary character in The Elf King’s Lady, book 5 in this series. It was in this story that she met Captain Jacques Vorasava, though his role in the Queenmakers Saga goes right back to The Lady’s Choice.
There was instant chemistry between Gwaethe and Jacques but I wasn’t sure their relationship would flourish beyond attraction. I started writing Elf Princess Warrior as book 7 in the series but took a break about a third of the way in because The Master and the Sorceress called to me with urgency to write Katrine’s love story.
I’ve learned to trust my muse. When I returned to Elf Princess, the words came easier and I’ve been gratified that early readers have enjoyed the steps that Gwaethe and Jacques have made together.
Here’s the blurb…
An Elven Princess
Caught up in a vicious civil war, Gwaethe Arenil is desperate to save her peace-loving faction and reunite her people.
A Human Commander
Dashing army captain Jacques Vorasava has fought on the same side as Gwaethe in the past, but will he help her this time? And will his support come with more dangers than Gwaethe can accept, both for her people and her heart?
As the threat from the enemy elven faction forces them to work together, conflicts between their cultures push them apart. In a land of polarized opinion and intolerance, can Jacques and Gwaethe forge a new reality where their love can be accepted?
This story continues themes and characters from The Elf King’s Lady, book 5in the Queenmakers Saga.
I hope you can support this latest installment in the series and I’ve priced it at a special of only 99 cents U.S. for the next week.
I read the word ‘infinity symbol’ today and struggled to recall an image that matched the word. It was so familiar but I had packed it away in a dusty corner of my mind. What did the symbol look like? What did it mean?
It didn’t take long for the image above to pop into my mind and some googling showed me I was correct.
The infinity symbol ∞
The word infinity is from the Latin ‘without end’. Back in the day, I used it in maths and science. It meant something that never came to an end; like a recurring decimal place, for example. One third equals 0.3333333 into infinity. Numbers are infinite because you could count forever and never get to the last number. Space is also believed to be infinite.
John Wallis is thought to have introduced the infinity symbol, as far as its mathematical meaning, in 1655. The concept of infinity is critical in calculus and set theory. But infinity doesn’t have a set number and exists only as an abstract concept. Something can be infinitely small or infinitely large.
It is said that parallel lines meet at infinity – quite a mind-bending notion. I’m not going to get into the concept of infinity in mathematics here, although I’d love to take a trip down that lane.
Instead, how can infinity help us in the present day? For many, this symbol holds deep meaning. It represents a sense of simplicity and balance, both elements which can guide us in this uncertain world. If we view such things as the corona virus as a distraction, then we can remind ourselves that we are part of infinity and let that principle guide our lives.
Look at the mountains and the creatures, the ocean and the stars. All these daily parts of our world have been present for aeons. They are old and patient and will still be present when we are dust. And the molecules that make us will become new structures for the world into the future.
If we look outside ourselves and use infinity as a reminder of our insignificance, perhaps we can put the current crisis into perspective; indeed we may be able to approach any situation with a more healthy outlook.
I don’t say this to lecture in any way. I fluctuate between optimism and pessimism on a daily basis. However, I’m trying not to let this current world crisis drag me into its vortex. And I’m searching for ways in which to put it into perspective, one day at a time.
This too shall pass. Ensure you are better for the experience, no matter how it affects your current existence.
All the panic and uncertainty over the corona virus is wearing. Even the most optimistic of us must be starting to flag. Day after day there are horrible situations people are facing around the world as a direct result of this virus. To top it all off, the reaction of many is hard to fathom, irrational and downright uncaring.
I’d like the world to stop and take a deep breath and for humans to remember who we are. Even though we may feel out of control, there are many things within our power to control. One of these things is our reaction to what is going on around us.
You, as an individual, don’t have to react with fear. Fear breeds fear, we’ve seen that. You will get through this and when you look back after the pandemic is ended, you won’t want to be ashamed of your behaviour. That would be intolerable.
Similarly, we should not be sitting in our homes, lost in our own pessimism. Have you forgotten how to dream? How to write? How to bring your most creative selves to the fore? This is the perfect time to get ahead of the game – make your plans, dream your dreams and start creating the life you want, the one you deserve.
You may be lacking in money, or choices or opportunity as this virus makes itself felt, but you as an individual can choose how to react and how you wish to see yourself when the worst is over. Will you doom yourself to fail your rocking chair test when the world returns to normal? How proud will you be when you look back on the start of 2020?
I don’t know about you, but I want to reflect on this time and see it as a catalyst for something better in my life. I want to be proud of how I used these days of uncertainty. The coming weeks and months are an opportunity for all of us – so dream big. And stay safe, follow sound advice and smile.
Leave a comment about how you plan to use this time, as we all take a step back from our communities.