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Monday, October 25, 2010


Heroes who make you go ahhhh
By Maggie Toussaint

We admire heroes. They’re larger than life; they accomplish the impossible; they glow with vitality. In creating heroes for romance fiction, writers are faced with the challenge of having flawed characters act nobly, characters who must come to the realization that love is all.

Not an easy thing for an alpha male to admit. Like ordinary people, heroes tend to stick with what they know. If they’re firefighters or special forces or even park rangers, they do their job to the best of their ability. Mushy stuff isn’t for them. These aren’t the kind of men who sit down and chat about their feelings.

But when they do, it's pure magic.

As readers, we know that searching for completion is our unstated goal as we go about the business of life. Sure we may be climbing the corporate ladder or hoping to keep our job in tough times, but none of that matters in our heart center. If we’re miserable and lonely, the best job in the world or untold riches won’t fix that.

Celebrating that moment of truth where the pretense of life is stripped away and we (heroes, too) look at our core and open it up to joy and happiness – well, that’s downright contagious. For writers of romance fiction and for readers, that’s the big payoff, when the character stops resisting the power of love and accepts that they don’t know everything.

Additionally, romance authors often have their hero bare their soul to their love interest. For a conflicted character, especially a male with communication troubles, this exchange and vulnerability is something he’s avoided his entire life. As readers, we get to experience that vicarious thrill of self-discovery with the heroic character.

When all is said and done, we feel that the hero deserves a happy ending, and we come away from the book with a good feeling about the characters and the writer.

Some of my favorite book ahhh! heroes have been written by Jayne Ann Krentz and JD Robb, two of my favorite authors. Suzanne Brockmann also writes strong alpha males that resonate with me long after the pages are turned. And because I love these characters, I visit them more than once by rereading their stories.

Here are my questions for you. Do you have books on your keeper shelf you read multiple times? Or is it just a quick once through the book and you’re done? Are there heroes you’d like to meet?

(Not to brag too much, I had women stop me on the street because they wanted to know who I’d modeled my first published hero after. They wanted to marry him. That made me feel like I’d gotten it right.)

I’ll go first with a hero that makes me go ahhh! Roarke, Eve Dallas’ husband, is darn near unforgettable. He’s got a warrior’s physique and a warrior’s mentality, but he appreciates nice things. The way he treats Eve, as if she’s the best thing that ever happened to him, makes me fall in love with him every time I pick up a JD Robb book.

I’ll be waiting to hear your take on heroes that make you go ahhhh!

Maggie Toussaint
Author of romantic suspense
MUDDY WATERS, available now!
e-book: digital format at Wild Rose Press
trade paperback: Amazon Wild Rose Press

Author Maggie Toussaint is published in mystery and romance. Her recent release, MUDDY WATERS, is a romantic suspense where danger stalks friends turned lovers as they search for hidden treasure. Her debut release, HOUSE OF LIES, won Best Romantic Suspense in the 2007 National Readers Choice Awards. Maggie’s an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. Visit her at and at


Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for hosting me at LASR today. I'm looking forward to reading everone's comments about heroes.

Maggie Toussaint

Obe said...

I have several favorite authors when it comes to male hero's I remember. You've mentioned Suzanne Brockman's Tall Dark and Dangerous guys. Prince Joe is one of the great ones. Karen Hawkins Scottish males in her series about the McLean Clan makes you want to walk through the heather. Last but not least are Diane Whiteside's Devils. Ah man, I get shivers hearing the name Donavan now.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Obe,

umm, Prince Joe. Karen Hawkins writes great guys. Excellent choice. Diane Whiteside is another wonderful choice. Maybe we will end up with a super reading list from the combined comments!

Thanks for dropping in!

Keena Kincaid said...

Great post today, Maggie. I like wounded heroes, the kind who hide the chinks in their armor behind brashness and silence.

One of my favorite heroes is Phin Tucker from Jennifer Cruise's Welcome to Temptation. He's so closed off that he doesn't even know he shut down long ago until Sophie comes into his life. Then he doesn't know what to do, so he does the bare minimum until the 11th hour.

BTW, I'm so glad to see the cover for Muddy Waters on the blog. Sloane definitely fit my definition of a perfect hero, and I love his journey has he comes to terms with life, love and his past.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Keena,

Yeah, you'd think I'd mention my own heroes in a hero blog, but I didn't want to be too blatant, LOL! Thanks for mentioning Sloan.

I enjoy Jen Cruisie's heroes as well. they definitely stick with you long after the story is done.

Thanks for stopping by!

Beth T Irwin said...

I love the bad boys of Anne Stuart's "Ice" series. Sebastian in the first book is so damaged he can't remember his own real name and so dangerous that he needs to be turned in as an abuser. Yet he nearly dies for the heroine and makes the choice to turn his life around. Gotta love the guys who crawl back from the abyss.

I also adore Majorie Liu and Nalingi Singh's heroes. Not only are they reluctant, but they love strong women. Shapeshifters who bond to psi women who shouldn't be capable of love, but finally risk their lives to be with their men. Archangels who're almost inhuman - until they find that one strong woman who can stand up to them and almost tear out that bonding.

Even the guy who manages to fall for an autistic diver who will never be "normal" but has psychic talents that make her worth those extra efforts.

I don't think the really fascinating heroes can exist without fascinating women to balance, annoy, intrigue, and match them.

Julia Barrett said...

Jamie Fraser from Outlander has always been my ultimate romance hero! Course I like my own guys too!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Beth,

I'm an Anne Stuart fan too. Her work always transports me. I'm not familiar with Marjorie or Naling, but I'll add them to my "check them out" list as they sound very interesting.

Yeah, and where would the cool guys be without the cool women?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Julia,

I fell in love with Jaimie too. I wanted his happily ever after to come a bit sooner, though. Outlander was such a break though book. We should all be so lucky to write a book like that!

Thanks for stopping by.

Diana Cosby said...

Hi Maggie,
Excellent blog. My all time favorite hero is Grayson Thane of Born In Ice by Nora Roberts. I have read it many many times over the years. It's my go to book when I need muse food.
Always fabulous to see you, and I'm so proud of your every achievement. You're an amazing person who inspires me and I'm blessed to call friend! *Hugs*

StephB said...

I am a sucker for Jillian Hunter's Boscastle series. Those Boscastle men make me swoon. LOL!!

Mona Risk said...

Maggie, my favorite alpha heroes can be found in Heather Graham's historicals. These books are keepers. I had them for years and pull them out once in a while to reread and enjoy them. My own General Sergei in TO LOVE A HERO is a perfect alpha male who will not bend but loves with passion.

Angela Kay Austin said...

Crispin (Bones), Jeaniene Frost's hero in the Night Huntress Series is extremely well written.

He stays on my mind long after I've finished the book.

Cheryl said...

Hi Maggie,

I have to say, I'm very partial to Jamie Fraser from Outlander, too. And like you, I wish his HEA had happened sooner. What a guy! I don't read much Nora Roberts, or JD Robb. I usually like Teresa Medeiros's heroes, too. But my all time favorite romance writer is Christine Monson. She was able to write in any time period and do it well, and her heroes were always a bit different somehow. My favorite book of hers was called Stormfire, and the hero in that books was so tortured emotionally and then later physically, but the story came around as it should and by the end of the book you couldn't see how it could have been any other way. Sean Culhane was the hero's name in that one, and then she wrote another one I dearly loved called Golden Nights--very different, and very very good. Her heroes were so wonderful that I read a lot of the books she wrote that took place in historic times I normally would not have read, just because they were by her.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Diana,

Grayson Thane. I've read a lot of Nora's books but I' drawing a blank with him. No worries. I'll be sure and check that out right away.

Thanks so much for dropping in at LASR.

I'm always happy to see you!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Steph!

A swoon-worthy guy is a fabulous recommendation. I can't wait to read a Jillian Hunter book.

Thanks for sharing your fav with us here at LASR.

Maggie Toussaint said...


I love both of your recommendations. Heather Graham writes intriguing men ... and so do you!

Thanks for adding to our magnificent list of heroes.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Angela,

It's so nice that you stopped in. Your recommendation sounds super too! I've not read Jeaniene Frost, but I love the name of her hero, Crispin.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Cheryl,

There was a Teresa Medeiros book that caught my fancy a few years back and I adored her hero. I think the book didn't make the move with us from Maryland though and I can't remember the title for love or money. I think it had a magic theme or something similar.

I'm adding Christine Monson to be need-to-buy list. If you love her characters, I'm sure I will as well.

Thanks for stopping in today!

Liana at said...

Sometimes the greatest strength is gentleness. Love those alpha heroes with a sensitive side, and love the awkwardness that comes with showing that side to a woman for the first time ever.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Liana,

The gentle side gets me every time. It's magical to watch unfold, that's for sure! I love a hero who isn't afraid of his feelings, though I don't mind if he flounders around a bit before he gets with the program.

Thanks for stopping by!

Morgan Mandel said...

I love Alpha heroes with a little bit of weakness, especially if they like animals.

Morgan Mandel

P.L. Parker said...

I'd have to say one of my favorites is in The Wolf and the Dove - he is totally what I consider the ultimate male.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Morgan,

I agree with you. There's nothing like a big strong guy with a pet to soften your heart.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey PL Parker,

I haven't thought about that Kathleen Woodiwiss book in awhile. She blazed a lot of trails for the rest of us romance writers. We wouldn't be where we are today without the folks who broke the ice and carved out an enduring niche in the fiction market.

Nothing like a classic pick for a hero!

Thanks for coming by!


Maggie Toussaint said...

I'm getting ready to call it a day. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and giving me lots of great book leads.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to guest here at LASR and talk about heroes as I celebrate the release of my new romantic suspense, MUDDY WATERS.

Enjoy the fall season and read a good book!

Thanks again,

Maggie Toussaint

claudia celestial girl said...

My favorite heroes are written by Karen Marie Moning - her timetraveling Highlanders, the Fae Prince Adam Black (highly dangerous, approach with caution!), and especially her recent dark hero Jericho Barrons (who some are convinced is not a hero!). I also loves the hero's created by a writer in the 90's who we don't see much of anymore: Justine Davis/Justine Dare/Dara Joy. Her shapeshifting, mischevous 'familiars' (cats with magic). Rejar! And one of my all time favorite heros the tortured and incredibly strong Wolf from Lord of the Storm, who learned to love again after his world was torn from him.