Monday, June 24, 2013


Welcome to RWA/NYC's Hero Blog Tour.
Join us every day from June 14-25 for a new look at Heroes.

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by John Lovelady

Having judged RWA/NYC's Kathryn Hayes' "We Need a Hero" Contest, I can tell you what a hero isn't.

He isn't the "nice guy," with "pleasant looks," and "good manners," who accompanied our heroine through an unexciting city in order to win her favor. He didn't win mine and I had severe reservations about his winning hers, but I only had twenty pages to judge the possibility.

Heroes are brash, exciting, devilishly handsome hunks, who usually need taming through the love of an equally brash, exciting, staggeringly beautiful heroine, who might need a little taming herself.

That's why we write romances instead of documentaries. A romance is an over-the-top, thrilling, confounding, funny and finally ecstatically happy-ever-after adventure that requires the hero(es) and heroine(s)—in case you're writing ménages—to be equally outstanding. And in case you're writing erotica, their level of sexuality and physical assets must be equally detailed and over-the-top, or under the sheets, as the case may be.

Sensuality in a romance must raise the readers' pulse, electrify the readers' senses, and clutch at the readers' heart. That's why it's fun to write. And to get paid for it is downright dark chocolaty.

But that's so unbelievable, you say. There should be at least a hint of reality to ground the story. Probably why vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, paranormals, and kinky boots types are read so widely these days. And so loved.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt if your hero is filthy rich.

Okay, perhaps you think that's the pack of bills that breaks the believable romance's back, and it's true every romance hero needn't have every heroic imprimatur, but I wouldn't give it much thought.

Romance readers want their heroes to be handsome, hunky, daring, sexy, romantic and caring, and rich, so you're halfway there just by being a romance writer and presenting them with the possibility. Over-the-top heroes are expected. Chiseled pecs and dark romantic looks have graced the covers of romance novels since the genre began and will continue to do so even as stories are beamed directly into our skulls.

The most successful romance writers build their heroes slowly, tantalizingly, taking care to drop each building block carefully into place along the story route until we arrive with a fully loveable and committed hero at the end emblazoned heroically against a radiant sky.

He could very well begin as the "nice guy," but there had better be a hint of a smoldering sensibility or some other outstanding romantic characteristic that our heroine catches, that will reveal itself later, more than likely with her prodding. Had my "pleasant looking" young man had another exciting inclination, like an enthusiasm for being with his young lady, or the love of showing her the city of his dreams, there might have been the hope that outside the twenty un-heroic pages something singular and thrilling would eventually emerge.

Drop those heroic hints along the way, reveal those heroic characteristics that we romance readers hunger for and we will follow you to the final page, happily ever after, and into your next book.

Happy heroing!

TROY STORM has had his erotic romances published for over a decade, in over two hundred short stories, the latest in Cleis Press’ BEACH BUMS, edited b Neil Placky. Now he’s in his novel mode! Follow Troy on Facebook at and check out his Goodreads pages.


REMEMBER: Leave a comment here and you will be entered to win an e-copy of HAVING IT ALL.  No purchase necessary. Winners limited to the continental U.S.

Winners announced daily on "front page" of RWA/NYC Blog.




  1. Wow that cover really sizzles! I'm with Mr. Lovelady..those are the kind of books that I have purchased for years...and hearing that those are the types that I can get paid for writing...heck my hero will be rich, beautifully flawed, charismatic, a generous philanthropist and a good catch..if someone could catch him that is. Thank you for those tips..I am going to have fun with this.

    1. Thanks, Anonymous, for those kind words. Those are the kinds of heroes and heroines John and I try to bring to life in our books and it's the enthusiasm of readers like you that spur us on. If you'd like a chance at a free copy, please let us know your email. Let all us romance writers keep making the world a more hopeful place. Cheers.

  2. I totally agree. We want our hero to have it all, otherwise why escape into a book! He needs to grab from the beginning as someone you want to heal. Because they all are tortured souls. another requirement for me. Great post and I love your cover. Tweeted

    1. Right, Nancy, thanks for the good thoughts. Healing broken relationships is what we all look forward to in our romances. And I've got a great new cover for the next book coming up, too! Your name goes into the pot for a free copy of my HAVING IT ALL. All the best.