Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stephanie Laurens GuestBlog: Alpha Heroes - The Evolving Fantasy

Contest!!! 10 lucky commenting Bellas will receive an e-book of Stephanie's newest, "To Distraction," courtesy of HarperCollins!

To celebrate her 20th (!) novel with Avon, Stephanie Laurens offers a GuestBlog that's right up our alley!

Our hostess today, Avon's own Jenna Petersen, is here to chat about Stephanie, Avon -- maybe even Avon's new "Red" line. So, please give Jenna a warm Buongiorno, while we enjoy a very special GuestBlog...Stephanie, if you please...

I write alpha heros, a confession that will come as no surprise to any of my readers. All my heros are over-the-top alphas constitutionally incapable of being anything but. With the release of TO DISTRACTION, the fifth of the Bastion Club novels, my 20th Avon book, I’ve been creating alpha heroes for over 15 years, with 32 different alpha heros published.

And no, I’m not proposing to stop writing alpha heros anytime soon. Why? Because they remain the quintessential romance hero – the one who, regardless of the heroine’s caution and better judgement, sweeps her into passionate encounters…that he suddenly discovers he doesn’t want to end.

Yet beyond the classical ironic hook of vulnerability our otherwise invulnerable alpha finds himself caught on when he discovers that, yes, love can snare him too, one thing I’ve noticed over the past 15 years is that our alphas – just like us – have evolved.

Yes, we still want him arrogant, domineering, intelligent, high-handed, used to getting his own way, masterful, and the classic warrior, defender and protector of those in his care – the higher they rate the harder they fall and the more fun we have in watching them do it – but these days our heroines are demanding one thing more: that our alpha accommodate and adjust to the things that are important in our heroine’s life.

It used to be that just getting the alpha to bend the knee to love was the culmination of the romance. Now the fantasy goes one step further – he must recognize the heroine as an equal partner and be prepared to negotiate in shaping their future lives.

I see this change in my own alphas, and those of many other major authors, presumably reflecting changing female perceptions of the ultimate romantic challenge. But what do you think?

Which do you prefer: the straightforward alpha romance (which ends when he accepts he’s in love, thus winning the heroine) or the more complex alpha-plus, where he has to go at least one step further, and work just that much harder to secure their happy-ever-after?

Stephanie’s alpha-dominated world can be further explored at:!


Jenna Petersen is an Avon author who's novel,
"From London with Love," is available now.
Visit to learn more
about Jenna and her novels.

We're talking "Lover Awakened" tomorrow, Bellas! So get reading so's you can join in the discussion! Or just stop in anyway!
Encore due! Tomorrow night's premiere of "Grey's Anatomy" is just in time for Friday, Sept 8th's special guest, RBtheBlog's own "The TiVo DiVa," none other than my own sistah-in-lawr, Lindah, live from Boston! Just youz wait!


Dannyfiredragon said...

I love complex Alpha heroes! He should work a little for the hea. LOL

Tam said...

Ok, maybe I'm just tired this morning. But could you tell me what an Alpha Male is? It sounds good, I've not read any of your books Stephanie, Sorry! It only take 1 book to get me hooked.

KimW said...

Hi Stephanie! Nice to see you here. I was hooked on your stories ever since I picked up Devil's Bride at the airport when I was heading out of town on vacation. I devoured that book on the plane ride and quickly went to find more of your stories once I had reached my designation.

I like those complex alpha-plus heroes. A little challenge makes me turn the pages quicker to see if he wins her over in the end. Nothing worth getting is easy in life. lol

Michelle said...

Me, I also like the complexity, where they have to take that exztra measure to accept thier lady loves as equal partners, etc.

Oh man I love it when the high-handed hero gets knocked on his @$$over the heroine. hehehe. Nothing better than taking him down a notch in his own estimation IMHO.


ev said...

ahhhh..... Gray's Anatomy starts tomorrow?!?!?!? I have to go set my dvr, NOW, before I forget. ::runs to the other room::

Jenna Petersen said...

Hi everyone,

Wow, that was a great blog from Stephanie! I love me some alpha heroes. :)

As Michelle mentioned in the body of the blog, I'm Jenna Petersen. I also write for Avon (though I'm a new girl, I have two romances out as Jenna Petersen and one Avon Red as Jess Michaels). But I'm happy to try to answer any questions you might have and just chat with you all in general. I'll be in and out this morning running a few errands, but I'll pop in regularly.

I do want to add that it is a wonderful accomplishment for Stephanie to be celebrating her 20th book with Avon! Wow! That is the dream for all of us to build such success. So congratulations Stephanie!! And here's to many more books and years. :)


Julie in Ohio said...

Mornin' Bellas!!
I'm sorry I'm so quiet of late. Dh is working on computer at home so I can only play at work for the next week or two. grrrr :(

Welcome, Stephanie and Jenna!!
Stephanie, I have gotten stuck on those Bastion Boys. They can sneak around and spy on me any day. :o)
I like a complex alpha as long as he isn't being tedious. I want him to work for his HEA but I don't want him to fight a fight that doesn't need to be fought. Does that make sense? I just don't want him to make problems that aren't there to begin with. But the more he has to work for his HEA, the more satisfying it is in the end. :o)

On a side note, I haven't gotten TO DISTRACTION yet but can't wait to read it... :o)

Julie in Ohio said...

Jenna, what is Avon Red?

amy kennedy said...

Welcome Stephanie and Jenna--glad to have you here.

Julie, you hit it on the head
bella. You said:

"I don't want him to fight a fight that doesn't need to be fought."

Isn't it funny how an alpha male can be so irritating sometimes--in fiction and real life, but when done right--I'll have what she's having, an alpha-plus please.

Tam, if you read Stephanie's blog again she kind of does a run down of what an Alpha is--pretty much the ultimate guy. I bet, Tam, you already love you some alphas and didn't even know it.

Ev, I had no idea Grey's was starting tomorrow either, hope I don't have any plans.

Dfd, Kim and Michelle (other Michelle) I love the Hero who has to work hard too. And you're right--easy never kept me turning pages.

Vivi Anna said...

Mornin' Bellas!

Welcome Stephanie, and Jenna!

Julie, I can answer the Avon Red's their erotic/romance line. I have a book coming out with that line in March 07, an anthology called ALLURING TALES vol 1: Awaken the Fantasy, with six of my best buddies...

HAWT! That's all I can say!

I love Alpha males and have to work extra hard to get it right, and get soem fine tuning by their alpha female...

amy kennedy said...

Vivi! that's right--of course it's right.

Julie--we're gonna have to check out Avon Red.

Stephanie and Jenna, who is your favorite alpha hero?

Anonymous said...

Good morning, ladies!

Stephanie, I belong to the camp that prefers heroes to give that something extra, to bend more than that one knee but their own perception of what women are supposed to do or think. I want the heroine to be a whole person and the hero to see her as such and--the most important part--accept her as such.

Looking over my keeper shelves, I notice that even in romance books written many years ago you can see alpha heroes who love their heroines as they are.

I have liked all of your Cynster books, and have gotten most of your back list, but I have to say that the Bastion Club books are at the top of my favorite list right now. I haven't yet gotten my very own copy of "To Distraction" but boy! I can't wait! Thank you for many hours of enjoyment!

Stephanie, welcome! I just checked "From London with love" out at amazon... Women spies! Yay! Now I have to have these books!

Anonymous said...

Alpha, beta -- as long as they are complex and loving & devoted to The Girl, it's all good to me!

Julie in Ohio said...

Thanks, Vivi!!

Yup, Amy. Gonna need to check that out... :P

Amy, can you pick *A* fav Alpha?

That's like picking a fav's whoever is behaving at that moment... :p

I can pick my fav kind of alpha and that would be vamps. They have the whole "need to prove themselves worthy" thing to deal with. Don't get me wrong, I do love and have loved me some Rakes but to pick a *FAV* they would have some fangs. :o)

Jenna Petersen said...

Hi everyone,

Sorry, was running errands. Vivi Anna covered the Avon Red question, but let me go into a bit more depth. Avon Red is Avon's brand new erotic romance line! It launched in June 2006 with two novella collections, IF THIS BED COULD TALK and PARLOR GAMES. IF THIS BED COULD TALK was contemporary and one near-future novellas. PARLOR GAMES was historical (and included my story, "Fallen Angel"). They just put out their first single title, SWEPT AWAY by Toni Blake.

They'll be having one title per month from Avon Red from now on! :) And I've just contracted to write two more erotic historical romances, the first of which will be out next fall.

Oh, I forgot to mention in my first post about Avon FanLit! So if anyone has any questions about that, I'm happy to talk about that, too. :) I'll go through and answer some more questions in comments here.


Jenna Petersen said...

"Stephanie and Jenna, who is your favorite alpha hero?"

I don't think Stephanie is able to post comments, which is why you have to settle with me (dang!). That's right, isn't it Michelle?

Anyway, I have too many alpha favorites to count. Pretty much all of Lisa Kleypas's heroes, Stephanie's... my own. Alpha all the way for this girl. And I think you've all been so correct in saying alpha+. The man who is so in control and dominant, but is utterly brought to his knees by love. That's the guy for me. :)


Jenna Petersen said...

"I just checked "From London with love" out at amazon... Women spies! Yay! Now I have to have these books! "

Thanks azteclady (great handle, BTW). Hope you like LONDON! :)


Minna said...

I like the complex alphas.

Kati said...

Mornin' Bellas!

MK (the other TV junkie) speaks up, Grey's actually premiers on September 21st, but they're reshowing the entire season 2 on Sundays and Thursdays. Has anyone gotten a load of Patrick Dempsey's spread in the new Entertainment Weekly? That man is seriously HAWT!

OK, on to the blog topic. I love me some alpha males. I love their territoritality (is that a word?!), I love that they are presumptive and autocratic. And I love, love, love to see them get their a$$es kicked by a feisty heroine. Remember when Jess shot Dain in LORD OF SCOUNDRELS? Does it get any better than that? BIG SIGH.

I also really, really love when they screw up royally and then have to do a good grovel. I really love to see them grovel.

Jenna Petersen said...

You know, the alpha grovel is a real favorite amongst fans. I hadn't really thought of it before, but it gets mentioned a LOT on fan boards. Anyone have a favorite Alpha Grovel? LOL


Minna said...

Gray's Anatomy starts here in Finland, too, but I'm far more interested in another new series, Dr. House. And I miss Bones! Won't be able see that here for a while...

Julie in Ohio said...

MK, I like "Alpha Grovel"... Next dance craze? Maybe JT could start it... :P

One fav Alpha grovel for me is Sebastion in Lisa Kleypas's DEVIL IN WINTER. When he is trying to get Evie in bed, he does some serious groveling... :o)

Kati said...

Jules - Absolutely, although I don't think of JT as an alpha. He's more like a gamma! LOL!

Now, if we're going with Lisa Kleypas, I think you have to go with Marcus Westmorland. Autocratic, dictatorial, and gets his butt whupped by Lillian. SIGH. Or how 'bout Derek Craven? I always laugh about that book that "Sara Fielding is what happens while you're making other plans." LOL! He had it all layed out in his head how it was going to go with them, and she just worked him around to her way of thinking. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure it qualifies as grovel, but the way Sebastian (Devil Cynster) finally tells Honoria that he loves her always makes me grin--how many books and children after their own HEA? Of course she knows this, and has known it for a good long while, but he finally "breaks down" and says the words. Love it!

Anonymous said...

I love alpha males and if the alpha male has to work extra hard to win his lady love that is just icing on the cake as far as I am concerned.

Julie in Ohio said...

Has anyone read the quote Michelle has over at Romance by the book?
To me that is Z's way of groveling...well, at least as much as he will. :P
(*sigh* It is so romantic.)

Cam does the grovel shuffle with Anna in NR's SEA SWEPT.

It is so satisfying to see a big toughie down on his knees begging for forgiveness or a favor... :P

robynl said...

Love the Alpha type and that they have to work a little harder to get a HEA, and that it isn't 'a piece of cake' or 'a walk in the park' for them.


Tam said...

Thank-you Amy, your right I have read them just didn't realize they were the alpha male. I love those type of reads.

Playground Monitor said...

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack! Did ya miss me??? I was gone for a very long Labor Day weekend and came home this morning to find that my neighbors two doors down were being evicted. I've heard about having the Sheriff at the door with eviction notice in hand and your stuff being dragged onto the front yard, but I've never witnessed it firsthand. I've led such a sheltered life.

I haven't read Stephanie but a friend of mine looked her up at RWA because they are both chemists who write romance.

And I love me some ultra-alpha heroes too! I love to see that armor falling away and the poor guy fall hard.


Jennifer Y. said...

I love Jenna and Stephanie's books!

I like both types of alpha romances. But I probably like the complex ones more.

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and Grey's Anatomy premieres in a couple of weeks...or at least that is what I thought.

Jenna Petersen said...

"MK, I like "Alpha Grovel"... Next dance craze?"

Yeah, how would that go? Down on your knees, beg please, maybe shed a tear... Hard to find a beat to match the steps...

"I love Jenna and Stephanie's books!"

Thanks JenniferY! And I like any sentence that puts my name that close to Stephanie's!

So does anybody have any questions about Avon or Avon FanLit or more about Red or anything that I can answer since Stephanie can't be here to post comments? I aim to please!


amy kennedy said...

Jenna--Alpha Grovel, I love it that it has a name, because I've always loved them in books. I know the fav alpha was a hard question--too many fab choices, same with the grovel.

Julie, alphas with fangs *are* so hot. And I guess it's my mood, sometimes Rakes, sometimes Fangs, sometimes Fur--but it's always something extra that they have, whether it's of this world or not.

Hi Marilyn! Yikes, sorry about witnessing an eviction. I hope they're able to get their lives back in order.

Julie--and even more than groveling, it's his way of becoming vulnerable too, don't you think?

amy kennedy said...

Oh yeah, I forgot, I did want to know more about Avon Fan Lit--it sounds as if the first run of it is under way--how often will there be a contest and how does it run?
Where do we many questions.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Bellas! My favorite subject, although I never heard it called the Alpha Grovel before. LOVE it!

Yeah, I so dig when the big tough guys are OTK when they realize they've got to Admit or Die. So many great Black Knight to pussycat romance arcs, though the arc don't work for me if the Alpha is figuratively emasculated.

I love Alphas, but don't dig too much the new, improved PC Alpha. I want him stubborn, unyeilding, kinda mean, and a teensy-weensy bit vulnerable. HATE it when a guys starts whining about all he's been throuogh... Show me, author, Show me, please, how his soul's been tortured. Good God, just don't make me have to listen to him whine about it.

Who does this great? Well, she's not an Avon author, so I won't say here, but also our Avon faves: Kleypas, Dodd, Eloisa, Medeiros, Quinn, and on and on...

Welcome back marilyn; i was wondrin bout you this am.

JT's a gamma! excellent, MK.

JulieO, I love that quote, too. And the alpha-to-his-knees payoff at the end of LA? Holy cow.

Hey all, so glad you're droppin in today. gotta feed my son, who got stung by a bee on his eyelid this am. Ew. Got to stay home w/me though. Lucky day for the work-at-home mom. And only the 2nd day of school.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Yeah, Jenna. Tell us more. I'll hopefully be featuring some of the winners soon.

Jenna Petersen said...

Okay, Avon FanLit is a new program Avon is running. The readers and aspiring authors get to pick and write a story for Avon! You get to 'win' by posting on the boards, voting, etc. So run on over to to register and start playing.

For the last few weeks, the participants have been voting on a storyline from a bunch of choices. Today they are revealing the winning choice of storyline and now they'll be opening the floor up to submissions for the first chapter of the story. You'll want to read all about it at the site for info.

Once the readers have chosen their favorites, a panel of editors and top Avon Authors will decide which entry 'wins'. Then they'll continue on to the next chapter and everyone will write something based on the first chapter.

It should be a lot of fun and a great way to get your name in front of editors and to participate in a book if you're a reader!

All the info is at ! And the prizes are ENORMOUS!!!


Jenna Petersen said...

Oh, should also mention, the authors who pen the selected chapters also win prizes during each round and a grand prize winner will also be chosen from the winning chapter authors.

So it's a good thing all around. :)


Jenna Petersen said...

OOps, just doubled checked and it's September 7th that the voting for the story premise ends! So run on over, register and vote today! They have some terrific storylines to choose from. :)

Anonymous said...

My fave of Laurens's heroes is Gabriel in SECRET LOVE. When he likened that heroine to a thoroughbred, it was all kinds of wrong but I still liked it. What is wrong with me? :P

Julie in Ohio said...

Michelle, sorry about the son. Ouch! Bee stings are the worst...
So right about the whiney hero. I want to strangle my hero for his overbearing way not for his annoyance factor...

Jenna, that Fanlit sounds like fun. To bad I can't string two sentences together without getting tongue tied. :o)

Amy- vulnerability? Absolutely!
I like a big hard shell with a soft gooey center... :P

Julie in Ohio said...

Marilyn- Welcome back!! I hope you had a nice extra long weekend. Sorry the welcoming committee wasn't what you expected. I hope your neighbor gets back on their feet...

All this talk about Grey's Anatomy has got me curious. I may need to check it out. I do like Patrick Dempsey. He'd make a great "Nerd" hero for Vickie Lewis Thompson. :o)

Jenna Petersen said...

Julie in Ohio, the great thing is that it isn't just for writers. Readers can come and vote for winners, interact with the authors, it's a fun time for everyone! :)

Julie in Ohio said...

I may have to pop over there and check it out. Thanks, Jenna!!

Kati said...

GASP...Jules! You don't watch Grey's Anatomy?!?!?! It's like, the best show on TV! The guys are hot, there's much angst, the characters and rich and developed and the writing is among the best on TV (well, except that Aaron Sorkin has a new show on, and he'll be the best writer on TV come September 18th).

But seriously, it's Thursday nights at 9PM. It's so utterly worth your time! And if you like, watch the first one, and then come back and I'll conduct a primer.

I adore this show!

Jenna Petersen said...

Sure! I'm here to serve. LOL


Vivi Anna said...

Yup, I second going over to Avon Fanlit! I went over there and voted..I can't win anything because I write for them...but I'm darn well going to go over there and much fun!

Anonymous said...

HI Stephanie!

Hmmm, tough question, but I think I'd have to go for the complex alpha male (although whether I could hold my own is entirely another question). Considering my track record, probably not :)

I just want to say I love your books. I 'discovered' Devil's Bride in the library just after I returned from 5 years in the UK and it completely blew me away! A good friend has all your books so I am working my way through them! However, Devil will always be my favourite :) He just..hmm..caresses the heart strings :)

I'm looking forward to reading the new books!


PS The second season of Grey's Anatomy just finished here (New Zealand) and they are now repeating the first! It's fantastic!

Jennifer Y. said...

You don't have to submit a chapter to participate in the FanLit thing correct? You can just read and vote?

Jenna Petersen said...

Yup, you can just read and vote. You don't have to submit anything. You can lay back and enjoy if that's your bag. :) It should be a lot of fun.

Julie in Ohio said...

I just went to Fanlit. I had a hard time deciding on only one story idea. (psstt, I chose the para. Talking about alphas got me in the mood for some fangs...)

Because I get to leave soon and can't play at home (grrrr), thanks for stopping by today, Jenna! Please come to play again. :o)

Jenna Petersen said...

Thanks Julie in Ohio! I think I'm going to be blogging here in December (just in time for my second Lady Spy book) and I'll be stopping by more often cause this place is cool. :)


Rach said...

Hiya Bellas and guests! Just got in and had to see what was happenin' at my favorite playground. Day two with students was not as easy as day one. The honeymoon is most *definitely* over. And, yes, Amy, to answer your question from yesterday, I teach 2nd grade. I'm pooped!

Haven't had a chance to read the comments yet, I'm gonna post my thoughts first. I like the Alpha-plus guys. They just make me swoon! ;o)

Rach said...

Ah, I like the Alpha grovel thing. I too think an Alph should have to work for it.

Sounds like ya'll had fun today =).

Jenna Petersen said...

Okay, guys! I'm off to have some dinner with my hubby! When I get back, I'll check in one last time so if you have any questions or anything for me, have at it. :)

See you in a bit...


amy kennedy said...

Seton, nothing is wrong with you--sometimes we like things in books that we don't like in real life--yes?

Rach, if the honeymoon is already over...well gosh, maybe classroom therapy.

MK--I don't think there is a man on Grey's that I don't like. Hmm.

I'm heading over to Avon Fan Lit too--yay, Julie for the paranormal vote.

Jenna, I have to say, I'm so intrigued by the women spies...

Rach said...

LOL, Amy! =) I think it's because I know all these kids and have worked with them for two years now. They know me, I know them, I'm surprised I even got a one day honeymoon. LOL

We definitely like to read things in book we wouldn't like so much in real life. Z? Hawt as h3ll. Real life? I don't *think* so! Too much baggage!

amy kennedy said...

Okay, I've been to Avon Fan Lit too--everyone should go, Jenna's right, the prizes are fabulous.

Julie--Regency is winning, love to read it, but yikes, to write it? I voted for Pranormal too.

Manda, if you're out there, you should register, and if Regency wins, you could enter a chapter.

Jenna Petersen said...

"Jenna, I have to say, I'm so intrigued by the women spies... "

Thanks amy*skf! I've had so much fun writing them and I'm very excited to see the entire series be available! The first is FROM LONDON WITH LOVE and it's out now. The second is DESIRE NEVER DIES and it's out in Januaty 2007 (December 26 in-stores). The third is still untitled, but is scheduled for October 2007. :)

Jenna Petersen said...

Thanks everyone, for having me today! I know I'm not Stephanie by any stretch, but it was fun anyway! I'll see you around here on the blog and blog with you later! :)


Rach said...

Jenna, I know I got here late, but thank you so much for coming today! Come back and play anytime! =)

KarenG said...

I like the complex alpha hero. I enjoy seeing what the hero will do to win the heroines love.

I enjoyed reading all the messages. Congratulations to you Stephanie on your 20th book. Thank you Jenna for being the host. Karen

Stacy~ said...

'Evening Bellas. Complex alpha heroes are fab - who wants a guy that's too predictable? A little mystery is a good thing. Seton, Gabriel is also my favorite hero, despite his comment about her being like a horse LOL. I loved their romance. I'm a sucker for when the h/h grow up together and/or are friends. Makes the HEA that much sweeter.

Okay, I have to get crackin' otherwise I'm not gonna be ready for being "Awakened" tomorrow...

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Bellas! Just checkin back in quickly after a long day here w/son (who's doing great now) and being under weather myself, and deadline, etc.

I'm so sorry I missed this great day. Wasn't it fun to have Jenna here? Look forward to hearing more from her in the future here, and on the shelves. You know what I mean.

Thanks so much, Jenna, for being our hostess today! It was very cool of you to hang, as well as tell us about lots of Avon stuff. Really lovin FAnLit.

OK. All's I have to say is: if I can't even get straight when Grey's Anatomy begins officially, you HAVE to understand why I've got the TiVo DiVa coming here Friday. I feel I owe it to you cause I'm so lame when it comes to TV. I can't wait to read what you all have to say.

See you tomorrow for the Lover Awakened BlabFest! Tell your friends. (haven't had one of these since JQs OTWTTW came out) :)

Ciao, Bellas! Buonanotte!

Oh, LA and TD winners tomorrow!