Friday, November 06, 2009

Caridad Pineiro GuestBlog: Alpha's Alpha

CONTEST TODAY!!! One Lucky Commenting Bella (LCB) wins a "Sins of the Flesh" T-shirt and a copy of "Fury Calls" courtesy of Caridad! Have your email addy available to participate, please.

From Caridad: Buongiorno, Bellas! I am so happy to be here today with you to talk about one of my favorite things – empowered heroines!

Whoa. Hold up. Rewind. Did you say “empowered heroines?” You’re probably thinking, “What about all those dark, dangerous and sexy guys we love in your books? They’re not your favorites?”

Well, yes of course, I love those bad boy alpha men, but here’s a secret – without those incredible empowered heroines, those sexy guys wouldn’t be very interesting at all. Just remember that old adage, “Behind every great man there is a great woman.”

Just think about it for a second. Okay, maybe more than a second. Would such a strong hero really fall for a heroine that was too stupid to live? Not for a moment.

Those powerful alpha males need an equally capable partner who is able to stand beside them, watch his back or protect and raise his family. The alpha male needs a woman who can tend a wound as easily as she can change a diaper. And he needs someone in whose arms he can relax and let down his guard after a long day of battling the real baddies.

So what kind of alpha female is that dark, dangerous and sexy hero going to fall for?

It doesn’t matter whether that woman is handling the demanding job of running a household or managing a Fortune 100 company. The key is that she is going to have to have enough gumption, as they say in historical novels, to stand up for what she believes in, even if it’s not what the hero wants to hear. She is not going to be afraid to control her own Fate no matter how much the alpha male tries to protect her.

How else are sparks going to really fly and how else is that female going to tame that alpha beast?

In reality, I think it’s why we like stories where the alpha male meets his match. Or at least, I do. I totally enjoy seeing two powerful people coming together in conflict and resolving their differences to emerge stronger than they would have if they had stayed alone.

To me real romance is about partnership and being equals in a relationship. Of course it may not always start out that way, but for the big takeaway at the end, it has to finish that way.

Think about some of the best empowered heroines and their heroes: Eve Dallas and Roarke (does he even have a last name and who cares if he does!); Anita Blake and Jean-Claude/Richard; Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler; or Aislinn and Wulfgar from my all time favorite "The Wolf and the Dove," by grand dame Kathleen Woodiwiss.

What about your favorites? Do you think that an alpha male could fall in love with anything other than an empowered heroine? What don’t you like about empowered heroine? I’ve had at least one reader tell me that a woman who can do too much destroys the romance fantasy for them. Does it destroy it for you?


Rain Maiden said...

I don't like to read about women who wine. I get that from my kids. I love reading about a women who I would aspire to be. Strong, passionate and who can cook.

Rain Maiden said...

Your stories do look like hot steamy reads.

Caridad Pineiro said...

I'm with you on the cooking, Rain. I love to cook and there are some interesting dishes that you will see in SINS. As for it being steamy, well, it is certainly passionate! Mick and Caterina's attraction to one another developed in unique ways for me during the story. I hope you will find them to be sensuous, but also very emotionally compelling.

Tiona said...

Welcome, Caridad! Love the cover. And a t-shirt that says that. Hubba Hubba.
It'll go great with "I Play With My Prey" t-shirt, hehe. Pick me, pick me!
ok, I must admitt that I just LOVE the strong heroine. Not only is she equally as strong and can stand up to that incredibly hawt alpha male, but she also makes a girl feel more empowered. Kresley Cole does this so well in her novels. You never feel like the female needs rescued all the time and I love it.
One thing I do kinda find annoying with some herroines are that they tend to be somewhat bossy and know-it-all. But, then again, with the right author, this can tend to be hilarious, as well, hehe.
But, again, it certainly doesn't detract from the story for me!

Caridad Pineiro said...

Glad to hear that Princess Bumblebee! I tend not to like bossy heroines either, although I love Eve Dallas. She comes across as competent and not bossy for some reason.

susan said...

My heroines are liked better if they try to be strong and not helpless but can have times when a strong hero is welcome and romance flies freely. I don't care for whimpy women or can't stand on their own two feet but they should not be so strong the overdo the hero part. I being a woman want to know I can do things for myself but if a man wants to help protect me, love me and spoil me a little..I am also ready. ha ha susan L.

Terry's Crafty Fingers said...

OH no can't stand a whiney women. Alpha males need someone who will challenge them and a strong woman will do that. I love your books, strong willed characters and full of passion and romance.

Kate Douglas said...

I love a good strong heroine. I'm not a wuss and I don't want to read about wussy women. I just bought Sins of the Flesh and it's sitting her next to my desk, taunting me! Can't wait to read it--all I can say is, thank goodness for the authors willing to write about strong, smart women with attitude--the kind we can really relate to!

Caridad Pineiro said...

Thank you, all! I love the strong women and I also think there's plenty of room with them for the loving and sexiness. I hope you'll think Caterina from SINS is just that kind of woman - the kind you can relate to!

Becke Davis said...

Hi Caridad - Welcome to RBTB! Great blog -- the first empowered hero/heroine that come to mind are Katya and Dev in Nalini Singh's BLAZE OF MEMORY. Katya, especially, is a memorable character because she's building herself up after being broken.

I'm pretty sure I've got some of your books on my shelf, but I'm definitely going to check out Fury Calls, too!

Lise said...

I absolutely adore empowered heroines - Anita Blake, who I have heard many complain is too tough, too strong, doesn't need a man, and is too hard, is my all-time favorite heroine. Because it isn't that she NEEDS Jean Claude (to protect her or care for her, etc.) She NEEDS Jean Claude to complete her...The strong hero and heroine combination is so powerful because it raises the level of emotional conflict to an even higher level, and the physical connection (and I love lots of that, too!) is even more intense when both partners don't just want, they DEMAND. Cool post, Caridad and looking forward to this latest - love the title!

Anonymous said...

I love strong empowered heroines, probably because that is the way I am, I hate whining! I am teaching my girls to be that way, independent and self sufficient.

The Reading Frenzy said...

Hi Caridad, wow what a way to start the weekend with Sins of the Flesh. Great cover by the way and between Becke, Melanie, Michelle and now all the new authors that Michelle introduces me to my TBR pile runeth over. What isn't there to love about an empowered heroine and really most all the heroines of today's authors are empowered, long gone are the whiney 16 regency bride who swoons when she thinks about the bedroom. We've grown up and so have our heroines, they can bring home the bacon and kick a-s too.
My favorite empowered heroines are Christine Feehans Drake sisters, seven truly empowered females.

katsrus said...

I guess I prefer the strong ones too. My favorite empowered heroines are from Brenda Novak's Last Stand series. Great interview. Please enter me.

Caridad Pineiro said...

LOL! Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan for sure! We are women hear us roar! I am so glad that you agree and have your favorite empowered heroines. I can see that I will have to add some to my TBR pile based on your suggestions.

kmt1976 said...

Sometimes the problem is not the empowered heroine, but the so-called strong hero. He is so busy being strong and needing to be needed, that he forgets how to share.

Teonda Tollison said...

While fairy tales are nice and the whole alpha male thing is old school I sometimes still like to have the man in my life remind me of just how feminine I really am. Love me tenderly, hold me tight and whsiper sweet nothings. However, in my books I sometimes like the woman to take control and tie the man up or whatever it takes to let him know she is in control.

Barbara E. said...

I love a heroine who can hold her own with the hero. I always love it when she's kidnapped and held hostage, or in some other kind of situation, and manages to get herself lose before the hero gets there - then she falls apart once she's safe. I always enjoy that type of story, so much more fun than the heroine sitting around waiting to be rescued.

Caridad Pineiro said...

I like the heroine being able to safe herself and the hero. I also like for both the hero and heroine to be able to open up to one another and be gentle with each other. Thank you to all the beautiful Bellas for dropping by!

Unknown said...

I like a heroine to be strong but I also think she need to depend on the hero some too, even if she has to fake it. Most men like to be helpful to their women in some ways.


Cris Anson said...

Great blog, Caridad! Can't wait to read the book.

I just finished THREADS OF LOVE by Kathleen Coddington, set in the medieval year of 1347. The heroine doesn't start out strong -- she can't read or even write her own name. But boy, does she grow during the story! When it comes down to the wire, she's empowered by her love. She challenges the villain with her mind in order to save the hero. It's a great read.

So yes, I want my heroines to be strong, even if they didn't know they were.

Cris Anson

amy kennedy said...

Hi Caridid! I love a strong heroine as well, but ususally her strengths tend to compliment the hero's strengths, so she has something he lacks and visa-versa.

And they end-up learning from and leaning on each other.

I also like it when the hero brings out the heroine's strengths. Great post.

QLady48 said...

Hi, nice blog!! Your book looks and sounds good!! I don't think there is anything wrong with a strong H, but she needs to have a soft side to fit into a romance story. I really don't care for a very weak, helpless H!!Thanks, sue

QLady48 said...

I just commented and forgot to leave my addy!! aka QLady48

Laurie G said...

One of my favorite independent women, would be Eve Duncan, the facial reconstruction artist from Iris Johanson's series.

I agree that strong men need strong women and vice versa.

I don't like wimpy people in general. They irritate me!

I also liked Sydney in Sherrilyn Kenyon's BAD Attitude.

Caridad Pineiro said...

Yikes! More books to be added to the TBR pile. Thank you all for coming by to talk about empowered heroines. I love them and all that they bring to a story. I also love seeing two strong people coming together and learning to rely on each other. Good luck in the contest!

Unknown said...

have read caridad books for years, loveeeeeee her books!

Asylumgirl said...

I think an alpha male could be happy with any woman because either way he's going to have his say.
I don't really feel like there's such a thing as a too empowered heroine, but it is good to sometimes allow herself a rescue now and then.


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

A sheepish Buongiorno, Bellas and, belated welcome, Caridad! I''ve been on the mend from some surgery and sort of lost speed at the end of last week. and I'm bummed because I love this post and discussion.

It's really interesting to me to see that overwhelmingly folks like the strong heroine and believe she and the alpha hero compliment one another.

I find I take strength in a heroine for granted, but don't limit it to only one type or another, or consider a heroine strong only if she saves the hero, or weak if he saves her. For instance, above, cris talks about a heroine who finds her strength/empowerment w/in the limitations of her time period. And Barbara E adds the realistic vulnerability of a heroine 'falling apart' after the danger's past.

Susan says she doesn't like the strong heroine to overshadow the hero's strength, and I think many women are confused when the heroine seems to be replacing the role of hero, rather than her being simply self-sufficient and competent and maybe ballsy, yet willing to partner up for the long haul. the former may throw off their notion of what a romance/hea is about.

Like princess, I get annoyed when a heroine is too mouthy/brassy/know-it-all: she don't need no man in the beginning, and she still don't need him in the end, but -- after she rescues him -- she's gonna hang with him forevah. But I think that's about ineffective communication of, for instance, what Lise describes as what LKH does in the Anita Blake character; in the former, the balance of need between the h/hn isn't communicated, only the heroine's strength.

That said, there may be women who dig an alpha heroine and a beta hero, but I'm not one of them. I prefer what teonda talks about in saying it's nice to be reminded (w/in the strong-heroine construct) that one still is feminine.

The trick is nurturing the belief that it's ok to like a strong heroine who takes over and saves the day. But it's also VERY OK to enjoy a strong-in-a-subtle-way heroine who fulfills some readers' fantasies by being saved by the hero often or maybe all the time. In the end, she saves him in a more old-fashioned way, but that still works for lots of readers too, and that's the beauty of having lots of styles and authors.

It's a little trickier to understand something akin to that -- or have it fulfilled if we're interested -- in real life, because we've so got to rely only on ourselves, male or female, or at least be prepared to do so. :)

Caridad Pineiro said...

It is the beauty of different styles and authors, Michelle. When I think of a heroine who saves the hero in that subtle way, I think of PRETTY WOMAN, one of my favorite movies. Thank you all for joining in this fabulous discussion!