Thursday, November 1, 2012


In the romance novels of yester-year the heroes and heroines were of a certain type.

Muscular, chisled-features, acqualine nose, tall, dark, topaz-hued eyes, very strong, clever, rich beyond anyone's means so they didn't have to do much. In historical novels heroes bossed around those in their castle, rode around on their stallions, or saveed the heroine. He sets the woman's flesh on fire when he arches a her fever with just one kiss, a seductive glance, or a caress with one finger acrossed her cheek. He crumbles when she cries, and goes mad when she's kidnapped. He knows he's handsome, quite the ladies man, has had several sexual conquests so he can teach the heroine how to please him and be pleased, and when he signs his heart over to's forever.

Full breasted, full lush-lips that drive the hero to do crazy things, tiny waisted....never needs a cincher....even after she's given birth to a quick with the smart remarks, never allows herself to show the hero she's falling in love with him, always needs to be saved from something, someone, or someplace, and she's always poor to his riches, soft to his tough-guy act, or kind to his angry demeaner. She has long, flowing, golden curls, sensuous and tantalizing blue eyes, high cheekbones, delicate features, and a porcelain complexion. She never knows she's this beautiful and she's always a virgin.

In the late 1970's/early 1980's the late Kathleen E. Woodiwiss set a new presidence to romance novels. She actually gave the heroine a backbone and a brain, made her self-reliant and clever, got her down and dirty in mud, water, and trouble in order to uphold a cause, save her family, and even step in with swords and knives for combat purposes. She gave women someone to well as the hero....who was always puddy in her hands in the end. Now, that's my kind of gal! However, the beautiful, flawless, exceptionally enchanting heroine was still the flavor of the day.

Move now into 2012, and you might be pleasantly surprised to see heroes and heroines of a different nature. Publishing houses are allowing their authors to step "out-of-the-box" when it comes to fashioning the main characters of a romance (historical or contemporary) novel.

In my contemporary paranormal thriller THE VANITY (Wings EPress) my heroine, Jules is not the perfect woman. She's battled a weight problem as a child, and as an adult she's never worn anything smaller than a size fourteen. She has freckles dotting her nose, auburn hair, and at times questions her self-esteem. But in spite of all her normal imperfections she's still very loved by her husband, average looking guy working hard as an attorney. And when danger comes Jules way he's ready to give his life to save her. In the end, Jules finds her strength, wisdom, and courage to battle a foe threatening AJ, her spirit rising to the situation and winning the day for them all.

In my historical romance, THE GOLDEN LADY (The Wild Rose Press) my heroine, Amanda/aka Golden Lady can actually hunt with a gun, and learns to fire a bow and arrow, use a spear, fight with a knife, and save the hero. The hero, Proud Eagle has his moment to shine, of course, and saves Golden Lady at a point in the novel as well.....but he takes a different approach to his handsome-maleness. As protective as Proud Eagle is, he wants his wife well-prepared to save herself, should the circumstance arrive. And so, along with the steamy sexual scenes in bed, I also have him fine-tuning her skills as an independent human being....ready, willing, and able to kick ass if need be.

Falling in love with a man....a handsome, sensual, muscular man, doesn't mean in these times a woman has to be weak, timid, frightened, stupid, a virgin, or the most enchanting creature that ever lived. And I am so pleased to see publishers who stand by and even encourage their authors to paint a very different picture from such previous romance genres.

And what of the heroes? I have no problem with men in glasses. Short men are just as yummy as their taller counterparts. Nerds can be heroes.....hard-working, middle class gents can be heroes.....even bald men can be heroes. Because the real heroes are those men who endear themselves to a woman by respecting her, loving her beyond all dimensions, believing in her as a decent and trustworthy human being, realizing her intelligence and being proud of her for it, as well as desiring her even if her hair is all messed up, her boobs are small, her hips are well-endowed, or her mascara's smudged. This is life....and ordinary people fall in love with each other in life. Readers love characters they can indentify with so get it right....and make it real!


Roberta C.M. DeCaprio