Friday, April 20, 2007

Megan Hart GuestBlog: Falling In Love...Again And Again

One LCB (Lucky Commenting Bella) wins a copy of "Broken" from Megan! Don't forget to check back tomorrow to see whether you've won, please.

Don't have to remind you how much I dug Megan Hart's "Dirty," and how much fun we had the last time she GuestBlogged with us. Today, she's asking us about what I think is the central reason why many women read romance: the novels let us experience the best things about falling in love -- remembering what it was like with our current squeezes, or what we hope it will be like when we meet our next RLRH (real life romance hero). Megan's newest, "Broken," is out now from Spice. Please offer Megan your warmest TGIF buongiorno...

How many times have you fallen in love? Are you a true romantic who says (with dewey eyes and knowing smile) “Once, just once!” Or are you a little more cynical, with the answer “Until I got it right?”

I’ve fallen in love hundreds of times, and I think every time was the one that got it right.

No, I’m not talking about my love life, though I’ve been married for almost twelve years to the same adoring husband. I’m talking about reading (and writing) romance novels. Love stories. Passion-filled tales of love, lust, action and romance.

You know what I mean, don’t you? How it feels to pick up a book and follow the hero and heroine on their journey from strangers to lovers? For me, the most satisfying stories are the ones in which I can identify, at least on some level, with the heroine and totally fall head over heels for the hero. If I can’t fall in love with the hero, I can’t understand why she does, and the book simply doesn’t resonate for me. It might not be a wall-banger, but it won’t be a keeper. On the other hand, the books with heroes who set me afire are the ones I return to over and over. They hold a place of pride on my shelf where simply looking at them can make me smile.

When I started writing, I quickly discovered the same to be true. If I, the author, couldn’t fall in love with the hero, there was absolutely no way I was going to convince anyone else to. So, even though all my heroines are in some way a part of me (sometimes a very, very tiny part and other times a much larger one) ALL my heroes have to make me swoon.

What makes me swoon, though, has changed as I’ve gotten older. Now I find a man who can change a diaper as sexy as one who can change a tire. Heck, if I’m being honest, the man who can change a diaper is way, WAY sexier than the one who can change a tire, because I have AAA and can hire someone to do that for me, but when my husband takes over some chore so that I don’t have to….SWOOOOOOOOOON!!!!

Because my tastes have changed, my heroes have changed, too. Oh, I still go for the broody bad boys, don’t get me wrong. I’ll confess to wanting to redeem them. But I’ve also found myself writing heroes who are more comfortable with themselves. They joke more. They’re okay with wearing pink, or cooking for the heroine, or letting her know they need her. They’re all right with being a little vulnerable even while they’re being strong.

Dan in Dirty starts off affable and a bit controlling in the beginning, but it’s his consistent ability to be there for Elle that proves he’s a man she can trust. No matter what she throws at him, he can take it because he’s got enough self-confidence for both of them. Joe in Broken (and I’ll confess, I love Joe to death…loveloveLOVE!!) seems to be a typical playboy and a cad, but one of his women sees him for who he really is. Because he’s telling Sadie a story, Sadie sees him for who he is, too, but is it really the other woman revealing Joe’s truth or Joe himself? Is the story true? I fell in love with them both, and I hope you do, too.

How about you all? What books or heroes
have made you fall in love all over again?

Thanks for having me here again!  Keep up with me at my online journal where I mostly blather on about writing and other sorts of stuff, including who I’m falling in love with at the moment.

Encore! Janice Maynard GuestBlogs TOMORROW, Saturday, April 21 in our First-Ever Saturday get-together. Stop by, meet her mystery friend, and you could win a cool prize!
Encore due! Brenda Joyce GuestBlogs MONDAY, April 23. Contest!


Kati said...

Hi Megan! Welcome back! Great, great topic -- and one the Bellas love!

Let's see. You guys know all my usuals, so I'm going to pick some other heroes that I fall in love with over and over:

1- Webb Tallant from Linda Howard's SHADES OF TWILIGHT. He's smart, driven, accused of murder, aquitted, and comes home to realize that the truest love he's ever had has been in front of him all the time. He's a quintessential Linda Howard hero. That is to say, he's hot, arrogant, slightly manipulative, and of course, great in bed.

2- Royce Westmoreland from Judith McNaught's A KINGDOM OF DREAMS. He's a born leader, the king's warrior, driven, smart, extremely arrogant, loyal, and falls so hard for Jenny he doesn't know what hit him. He seduces her with the gentlest, finest touch, and in the end subjugates his name and his honor for love of her. It's the definition of the BRG (Big Romantic Gesture).

3- Captain Jack Seward from Connie Brockway's ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. Jack has razor sharp intelligence, and carries a huge burden. But when he meets Ann, he can't figure out why he's drawn to her, and is befuddled by his desire for an upright, dignified widow. Until he realizes she's the thief he's been chasing all along. The scene where Ann ties him to a chair and seduces him is among the finest seduction scenes I've ever had the pleasure of reading. But it's also the quiet moments between them, after he realizes who she is, and he's so angry with her, but wants her so badly, those are the ones that make this book and Jack so compelling to me.

OK, so there are three of my favorites. I can't wait to see who else gets names. Again, I'm really glad you're here Megan!

AuthorM said...

thanks for having me! This is oh, my fourth attempt at posting *shakes fist at Google* and darnit, I don't want to log in with Google, I want to use Blogger, but oh well!

Hope this gets through...


Anonymous said...

You know, this is a great post and reminds me why Nora Roberts and Elizabeth Lowell are my favs. I never fail to "fall in love" with their heroes. It's a great reminder...

AuthorM said...

Hi, Ciar!

I've definitely read books I enjoyed even though I didn't fall head over heels for the hero. But the books where I have, oh, man. Those books just stay and stay...

I'm thinking at the moment of Jamie from the Outlander series. *swoon*

And a "Hero" I fell in love with from a non-romance novel -- Nick Andros from The Stand. Man, I still love me some Nick.

And Johanna Lindsey's brawny warrior hero from Warrior's Woman...guh, so Alpha! So barbaric! So sexy!


Playground Monitor said...

Hmmmm, I haven't read SHADES OF TWILIGHT. Will have to add that to my LH collection.

I can't name a particular book or hero that's made me fall in love all over again. It's more just a cumulative effect. I only started reading romance about 5 1/2 years ago so I'm still discovering books and authors. I'm still in the honeymoon phase so to speak. The courtship, the falling in love, the black moment, the resolution and HEA -- all that makes me love this genre more and more.


AuthorM said...

Hi, Marilyn! You know, when I was thinking about what's so great about romance, it wasn't just that romances give HEA -- it's that the book is OVER at the HEA. Haha. And in my head, they can go on happily ever after, really ever after!

I don't always like this in my fiction -- I'm a bit of a realist and while I do believe in long term love and relationships working out, I know for a fact that "ever after" is shorter than it seems...

So though I might like a grittier ending in my fiction sometimes, there is that sweet feeling at the end of a romance that all is right in the world and it will stay that way!

Then again, I also like to sometimes read of an "almost" happily ever after, like the characters have some work to do, but I can easily seem them getting there.

That's a thought to discuss -- how Happily do you like your HEA? Is there wiggle room?


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, M and Bellas! I love this discussion but, alas, I'm for the dentist. Ack.

I love your last question, Megan. How happy do you like your HEA?

I love the strong, definitive HEA, cause I like to "do the work" in my head, decide what happened after the HEA on my own. Like, how long it took for the heroine to chastise the hero for continually slam the bedroom door closed with his hessians. REally. Those doors were expensive, and heel marks are murder to sand out and refinish.

That kind of stuff. Or, when the hero is 45 and the heroine 22, what happens when she hits her sexual peak and it's still the Medieval period? Or, when she matures emotionally and decides the overbearing father figure isn't what she needs?

See, that's reality, and when it stops at HEA, we have the choice to "go there" or not. I'll take the strong HEA, or the implied with "work to do," as you put it so well.

I also like the fade-to-black HEA with innocent romance so there's lots of fodder for fantasy. But this isn't the time for me to share my "Witch of Blackbird Pond" Nat the Cap'n's son fantasies, is it.

Sooo glad to have you here with this fun discussion for a Friday, M!

And I resisted blogger/google for MONTHS, then succombed like a virgin to a warlord.

Kati said...

how Happily do you like your HEA? Is there wiggle room?

For me, none in romance. There's plenty of wiggle room in women's fiction, even romantic fiction, but in romance, no wiggle room. There must be an HEA. When I shell out money for a romance, I expect the HEA, and won't settle for less. Now, I'm all about torturing the characters to get there. But the end must be a loving, happy one.

Take the end of the "Warlords of the Plains" trilogy by Elizabeth Vaughan. The couple was put through excrutiating pain and heartache in the three books. We lost several beloved characters during the course of the story. But in the end, there was hope for the main couple. They were together, and would be from now-on. That was a requirement for me. I couldn't have taken it if they were somehow separated. had it been marketed to me differently, I probably could have taken a different ending. But as a romance, the HEA was a requirement.

Does that make sense?

Kati said...

Hmmmm, I haven't read SHADES OF TWILIGHT. Will have to add that to my LH collection.

Trust me Marilyn, you will not be disappointed. I know you join me in the BIG LOVE of LH, and this one is one of her best, IMHO. Webb is deeeelicious.

Shannon said...

It's funny I answered this question, or pretty close to it, the other day on this blog. The one that I like the most is the bad boy, with a heart of gold. It is so much fun to see the tough guy, whose strength seems immeasurable turn soft with the woman he loves. All the contrasts are what keep me coming back.

Portia Da Costa said...

I can't bring any specific heroes to mind [other than the ones in my own books and I always completely fall head over heels for them!] but I think I'm defintely with Shannon. Bad boys, or naughty perverse boys, who are good 'uns at heart. They can be tough, stubborn, crazy, sex mad, maybe a bit devious, but when the crunch comes they're on the side of the angels.

And yeah, contrasts... awesome!

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome back, Megan!! Hey, Bellas!

I'm a sloppy smoochie romantic. I fall in love with all heroes. They may not be good for me personally but they are always good for their heroine which never ceases to make me love them.
I love doing re-reads because it gives me a chance to fall in love with them all over again.

As for the HEA question, for me there is NO wiggle room. If I'm reading a romance, I must have my happy ending. As a matter of fact, I read the last paragraph in every book I buy to make sure it ends "correctly" before I get it.

AuthorM said...

Hey, everyone! *waves*

I was thinking more about falling in love.

Sometimes, it hits you like a slap in the back of the head. Sometimes it creeps up on you more slowly -- best friends to lovers sort of thing.

Me, I like to read (and write, I guess) about both sorts -- and then there's the long term, "we've already been through it all" re-discovery of each other and falling in love that way!

Any preferences in your reading material?


kerri1973 said...

Welcome Megan! Isn't falling in love grand?! When I went through a tough divorce a couple of years ago, it was easy to believe that love didn't exist anymore. It was easy to think that I'd never be able to fall in love again. Romance heros keep that fire burning inside me and kept the belief alive there there were still good men out there. After all, these heroes may be fictional but aren't they really based on the good guys that are out there (just hard to find)? I wasn't disappointed, just last year I've met the man of my dreams. So, thanks to romance heroes...I'm living the dream. Hope everyone has a groovy weekend! Chow!

Kati said...

Any preferences in your reading material?

Not for me. I'm equal opportunity. I like almost all kinds of romance. The requirement is that it's well written. I have to like the characters and be rooting for them. The only books I leave unfinished are the books where I form a strong dislike for the hero or the heroine. If I don't like 'em and am not rooting for 'em, I won't finish the book.

Cherie J said...

I too want my HEA and I like Julie will admit to sometimes reading the last paragraph in a book by a new author i have not tried before to make sure it has one. As for heroe, I am a big Alpha hero fan. love the Ghostwalker men that Christine Feehan created. I could read them over and over again and not get tired.

Cherie Japp

Vivi Anna said...

Welcome back Megan. Always great to see you. I'm hoping to meet you at RT.

I dont' mind lots of wiggle room in my HEA. I'm all for the happily for now scenario.

Heroes I've swooned over..

Jean-Claude from Anita Blake

Doyle from her Merry Genry series

David from Rachel Morgan's Weather Warden series

Jinx from the last Kim Harrison book

Ranger from Stephanie Plum novels

Japhimel from Lillith Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series

Z from the BDB until I read his story, then he lost his swoonness

My own heroes. Because if I don't swoon over them, I can't expect my readers to. I'm in love with Caine. And now Jace.

Julie in Ohio said...

Reading preferences? Well, it needs to have characters and a plot... :p

I'm going to ditto MK's response.
The only difference is that I have to finish any book I begin (OCD is a d@mndable thing) but I really won't like it. Thankfully, I've only experienced that a few times.
Give me a couple to root for and a HEA and I'm there.
I'm so darn easy. Just don't tell my hubby... ;oD

AuthorM said...

Hey, Vivi! OHHHHH, David. :) Yummy!

Kerri, that's a lovely story. And yes...I think romances do keep that fire burning. I've heard the criticism that romances aren't "real" because the heroes aren't realistic or whatever, and that makes me so sad. I am not the only lucky woman in the world who found a really good man, you know? And while some writers might totally be making stuff up without ever having experienced it, I bet most of us are writing from some place we've been, even if only briefly.

I was thinking more about this (in between cleaning...I clean on Fridays and so far I've done my upstairs, my main level and now I have to tackle...DADUM! the basement!!! yikes) and I wanted to throw out for discussion this idea of "realistic" anyway, Kerri's comment just cemented it for me.

How much leeway do you give heroes in books? Love makes us stupid sometimes. :) I know I've been there. So I tend to have a little more empathy for a heroine putting up with some stupid stuff from her hero, because I know it's real. Love isn't always easy or perfect, and everyone gets there in a different way. you have more or less leeway for a romance h/h than you do/would in your own life?


Playground Monitor said...

No wiggle room on the HEA for me either. Torture them, give them a HUGE black moment and I'm fine. But they gotta work through that black moment (I hate using the acronym BM ::grin:: ) and find twue wuv forever.

I'll be looking for Shades of Twilight and I'll get it signed at our luncheon on May 5th. Most of my LH collection is signed cause me and LH are like this (crosses index and third fingers). Well... not really but I can dream, can't I?

Re: Google versus Blogger. Eventually they make you change. I held out until the day they would NOT let me sign in anymore the old way. I was in a panic cause I'm the keeper of the Playground blog and if it screwed up I'd be spending time fixing it. It went without a hitch and I got all the Playfriends switched too.


robynl said...

I also like the hero who cooks for the heroine or helps her out in some way around the house; I like the hero who sees humor in everyday life and makes one laugh; I like the Beta type more but an Alpha with a softer side will do.

Kati said...

Doyle from her Merry Genry series

Oh Vivi, how could I have left Doyle off? That's my one and only complaint about the Merry Gentry series...not enough Doyle sex! Course, I like Frost sex and Mistral sex, and...okay, so that series does it for me. Much moreso than the Anita Blake series. Not sure why, but who am I to question! you have more or less leeway for a romance h/h than you do/would in your own life?

Oh h*ll yeah! I put up with all kinds of nonsense from heroes that I would NEVER.EVER. put up with in real life.

Playground Monitor said...

I also like the hero who cooks for the heroine

You need to read Take Me Tonight by Roxanne St. Claire. Her hero, Johnny Christiano, cooks. My heavens, what he does with cannoli! He's her yummiest hero yet, no pun intended.


Anonymous said...

With regard to HEA - are you asking not so much about the presence of one but more along the lines of how much is necessary for it to be considered an HEA?

Essentially to me - Dirty has an HEA - at the end you know Dan and Elle are together. It's a romantic resolution and that's what I want to see. It doesn't have to be wedding bells, I just want to know they're together.

As for heroes? I like em arrogant and alpha but totally adoring of the heroine. I agree with Linda Howard as a great example, I lurve her heroes. Jamie from Outlander, oh yes! Nora's Roarke, mmmm!

AuthorM said...

Yeah, okay, so now it's letting me make comments that just don't show up...!!!



May said...

Like most of the commenters here, I think Dirty has a very romantic ending, ie a HEA.

But I'd honestly still call put Dirty in erotica and not romance, following the "I know it's erotica when I see it" classification system. Romantic erotica, and not erotic romance, if you see the difference.

May (Megan, aren't you glad that I'm broke and have exams or I'd be stalking you to RT too and not just on the web!)

Minna said...

Roarke is definitely my favorite.

tetewa said...

Some of my favorites are the dark-hunters from Sherrily Kenyon's series. I also love the ghostwalkers from Christine Feehan's series. A new hero of mine is Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank's book! I mostly go for the bad boys also.

AuthorM said...

All right, let's see if this gets through: Lauren, yes, I was asking WHAT makes an HEA, not IF you have to have an HEA. Romance = happily ever after, no question (for me)

BUT...what makes it HEA for you? Is there wiggle room? What defines it for you?

May, can stalk me as much as you like. Start saving now, because next year RT's in Pittsburgh!!


Julie in Ohio said...

Julie's HEA = hero & heroine in love and together. I don't need to hear the wedding bells or see the bouquet but I need to know that this is a forever deal.
I guess in that sense there is a little wiggle room but they have to be together forever and I need to know that.

AuthorM said...

i wanted to thank everyone for letting me be here today...sorry that blogger made it difficult for me to post more...

Have a great weekend!

(hope THIS one gets through!)

Sue A. said...

I agree SHADES OF TWILIGHT is not to be missed. That one sizzles!

And regards to the HEA, yes I like to have a HEA, but it doesn't have to have a ring and marriage proposal, but it does have to have a meeting of hearts.

Megan, I'm sorry to have missed you, being out west I'm always late for the party.

Maureen said...

I would pick Nate Burke from Northern Lights by Nora Roberts. He struggled with depression and some days were so tough for him but he got better day by day and I thought that made him a real hero.

ev said...

Roarke. definately Roarke. He's a bad boy gone good, but he can still be very, very bad in such a good way.

Sorry I missed yesterdays blog. By Thursday Night I am ready to drop. I make dh take me out for dinner on Friday's though, so it is much easier. LOL

Anonymous said...

I like the heroes in Jude Deveraux's books...esp the broody moody ones

Robin said...

For me it's the hero who struggles with his own sense of honor: Christy from Gaffney's To Love and To Cherish, Ruck from Kinsale's For My Lady's Heart, Sebastian from Ivory's Dance, Hugh from Meljean Brook's Demon Angel, plus many more.

Amie Stuart said...

I have to vote for my own heros too--becuase as you said, if I don't drool for them, I can't expect anyone else to either! Also all of SEP's heros. And (sorry I'm terrible at names) the hero for Mr. Perfect (linda howard) and Open Season--they were such MEN but they were also human.

I'm also a realist so HEA's definitely have room to be what they need to be for me. I LOVe a happy ending, but I better BELIEVE in that happy ending too.

kim h said...

love dirty cant wait unti broken

kim h said...

wtg robin