The Romantic Lead

Creating an utterly delicious romantic lead is always a challenge for a romance writer. Either the hero is Alpha or Beta but each male type must possess heroic qualities. He must be handsome, humorous, honorable, adventurous, smart, loving, romantic, and must have the ladies conjuring up sinful thoughts.

He could be the rake who dances with the wallflower at Almack’s, a cowboy who swoops up the heroine and rides into the sunset, the solider who defends his nation and looks dishy in his uniform.

He’s the man that wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of protecting his lady love. He’d profess those three little words, albeit after a struggle, but his love is never in doubt to the heroine.

Now people say that a man like that doesn’t exist and never could outside the pages of a romance novel. I disagree. The retort would no doubt be, “Name one.”

Patrick Swayze.

He was a hero–whether in Ghost, North vs. South, Dirty Dancing or The Outsiders, and in real life, loving one woman for 34 years, he was the perfect romantic lead.

I certainly fell for him when I first saw him in The Outsiders. I never finished reading the book because my pre-teen self knew that the book didn’t have all the cute boys. I, much like other girls, wished I was Baby. I wept in Ghost and cheered when he protect his love. Though, those characters are memorable, the greatest thing about Patrick was his realness–his charms that outweigh his flaws. And when others speak of their love for Patrick Swayze, all I can say is Ditto.

Do you have a romantic hero in your life? And what do you look for in the perfect hero–flaws and all?


An Oldie maybe now a Goodie

In high school, I had to read Wuthering Heights. I hated it! I can’t remember now the exact reasons for my hatred. If someone mentioned moors to me, I rolled my eyes and huffed my disdain. I couldn’t even watch one production of the book. I love Jane Eyre but Catherine and Heathcliff made me cringe. Though, I love his name–there’s something about the way it falls from the lips–for me it was a waste of paper.

During my weekly trip to the bookstore, I spotted the Penguin Classics editions with the illustrated covers by the artist Ruben Toledo. (The other titles are Pride & Prejudice, The Scarlett Letter) I wanted to purchase the book just for the cover. My frugal mind told me it was a waste of money since the book had me crinkling my nose in disgust. So, I stood there, studying the cover and trying to remember why I hated it. Was it youth? Maybe it was my not fully understanding the customs of 19th century England. Maybe age and understanding might change my mind. I duly purchased my copy.

As I read the beginning I felt nothing had changed. Then as Mrs. Dean began to tell Cathy and Heathcliff’s story, much like Mr. Lockwood, I was sucked in by the passion and pain that comes with love denied. A universal theme that a romantic at heart doesn’t enjoy. And though, Emily Bronte might not have given Cathy and Heathcliff a happy ending, she showed us readers another side of love. With all the emotional ups and lows. As I read Emily’s words, I feel them alive in me. Isn’t that what every writers wants? To have the reader lost in the tale, feeling what the characters are experiencing and enduring.

Wuthering Heights will be added to my fav list. Maybe Emily’s tale will make me a better writer. Is there a novel that you might give a second chance or have you all ready? Do you think your opinion will change or remain the same?