EAT YOUR HEART OUT KEN & BARBIE

Once upon a time in a land far, far away all our favorite romance characters were from the Ken and Barbie School of Romance. You know what I mean, don’t you? Tall, dark and handsome hero’s with strong, broad shoulders and sexy dimples framing their devil-may-care-smiles. They usually had a smattering of soft dark curls on their chests, throbbing body parts, and really, really deep pockets. (I’m talking a place to put their massive wealth now.) This described nearly all the hero’s from doctors to cowboys to bad-boy pirates and everything between.

And heroines, oh my goodness. They were always petite and gorgeous with long flowing hair and tightly fitted bodices, nurse’s uniforms or stewardess dresses. These garments covered their voluptuous bosoms and tiny waists. Often these women were penniless orphans in need of a big strapping man to take care of them. We rooted for these ladies, envied them and sighed when they finally got their happily-ever-after.

Well, that's old school romance and there's nothing wrong with that. We read to escape reality so it is perfectly okay to curl up with the beautiful people. But now we have a choice. We have broadened our horizons as readers and writers. No longer do hero’s and heroine’s have to look like cookie cutter characters. Today, they come in all shapes and sizes. They can be vampires, chefs, construction workers or athletes. They can be wheelchair bound or blind or poor, plus-sized people who get swept up in a romance that moves us to tears. Remember, we are limited only by our imagination.


Anyone ever read Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards? The heroine described the hero as Frankenstein for the first half of the book? Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer? The hero was dirt poor. Who are some of your favorite characters who are a bit different?

Whether you’re old school or new school always try to write compelling characters that readers fall in love with. In the end, that really is all that matters.

Hugs,
Reese

14 comments:

Roxann Delaney said...

Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath. I wish I could find my copy! It's the first of a trilogy, but this is my favorite.

The hero is physically scarred on his face and has done his best to hide it and himself. Talk about a wounded hero! He's one of my top three favorites.

The book is set during (or after?) the Civil War, and although I don't read many Historicals these days, this is a true keeper. Copyright 1999, I think.

Reese Mobley said...

Thanks for commenting Roxann. I've never read that book but I do love wounded heros. The two books I mentioned are on my keeper shelf too. I've read them several times.

Pat Davids said...

Reese,
You just hit two of my favorite heroes.Loved both those books to death.

Becky A said...

Thanks for reminding us that love wears blinders. I used to get a little frustrated with all the "perfect" people in the old romance books. I didn't know anyone who was filthy rich, famous or drop-dead gorgeous. I only knew ordinary people, leading ordinary lives but managing to find romance and fall in love anyway. I'm glad that we now have those flawed, but immensely lovable heros and heroines to root for these days. Gives them that much more to overcome to reach their happily ever after.
Becky

Jessica Matthews said...

Reese,
What a monumental task you've given us - to name the wounded heroes we've loved!
In addition to the heroes already named, I have two more to add to the list: Laura Kinsale's hero in "Flowers from the Storm" and Christina Dodd's Sir William in "Candle in the Window". These stories are oldies, but goodies!

Roxann Delaney said...

While it's great to read stories with wounded and/or tortured heroes, it's even more fun to write them! This is my chance to get back at every man who would not mold to my ideal, make him suffer even more, then bring him to his knees.

I'm only kidding. (grin) But that kind of hero can make for a much more interesting story, not only to read, but to write.

Reese Mobley said...

Pat, coincidence that you turned me on to those two books? Thanks for the great reads.

Reese Mobley said...

Amen, Becky!!The best part is that the tall dark and handsome characters are still out there so now we have a choice. Everyone can root for someone no matter what their outward appearance may be.

Reese Mobley said...

Sandy, thanks for sharing. Most everyone knows of a wounded hero or heroine. Anyone ever read the book (can't remember the title) by Cheryl St. John with the character Too Tall Thea in it? It was great. I'll see if I still have it.

Reese Mobley said...

Atta girl, Rox!
XOXO

Roxann Delaney said...

Tall, dark and handsome hero’s with strong, broad shoulders and sexy dimples framing their devil-may-care-smiles. They usually had a smattering of soft dark curls on their chests, throbbing body parts, and really, really deep pockets.

I don't know, Reese, the more I read this description, the more tempted I am to say that if I found this guy, I'd wrap him up and take him home. Then again, he probably wouldn't have a brilliant brain to go with the rest, so...

I've been looking for photos for inspiration and those bedeviling Art Fact Sheets we do for H/S covers. I'm not seeing anything hunky or worthy of one of my heroes. Not to mention that most of them look like they're 12, even the ones in their 30's. A sign that I'm over the hill? Probably. :(

Reese Mobley said...

Rox, I usually use movie gossip magazines that my mil gives me. Of course their personalities have to match so sometimes it doesn't work. (grin)

Penny Rader said...

Mmmm. Wounded heroes. My favorite.

I loved Dinah McCall/Sharon Sala's Jackson Rule, who was fresh out of prison for killing his father, Rachel Lee's Gage Dalton from Miss Emmaline and the Archangel, who was terribly scarred after his family was blow up in front of him, and Justine Davis's Dar Cordell from Morning Side of Dawn, who is a double amputee.

Roxann Delaney said...

Oh, Penny, I totally forgot Jackson Rule!! What a GREAT BOOK!