Ode to Humble Men

As a romance writer, I’m always asking women friends what they find attractive in men.

Once, one of my friends, Judy, fired back a response that surprised me: “I like men who are humble,” she said.

I hadn’t heard that one before. And I had to think about it for a second. But ultimately, I could see what she meant. Humble men are respectful men. And if they are respectful, they usually know how to treat others well. And they know how to treat women well. And they know how to love well.

I think it would surprise men to know that women find this attractive, but women really do.

Romance writers tend to present the much-more alpha hero — and there’s a place for him, too, of course. But I think the humble man deserves his place in romance novels, too. So that’s why I’m writing one now. My current hero is geeky, sweet, a little insecure, but ultimately so humble and loving that he wins our heroine over. I’m having so much fun writing him.

Anyway, I thought about humble men, and Judy’s response, again when stumbling across the quotes and gifs last week about Beck winning the album of the year, and Kanye West stepping in to say it should have gone to Beyonce instead.

Despite all Kanye’s alpha swagger, Beck’s humble response — kind, respectful, preserving everyone’s dignity (including Kanye’s and Beyonce’s) — was so much more attractive …

Here’s a good blog post about it: One Quote Sums Up Why Beck Is the Most Humble Man in Music – Mic.

What are your thoughts on humble men? Or on seeing quieter, nerdier, more-beta heroes in romance novels?

Our 2014 Book Club List!

Nothing like realizing in … uh … MAY … that you’ve never published your book club list that you meant to publish in January. … (No one’s ever accused me of being too punctual).

But here it is, our book club’s big list for the year:

Have you read any of these?

  • Jan — Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)
  • Feb — Flight Behavior (Barbara Kingsolver)
  • Mar — Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
  • Apr — The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
  • May — Care of the Soul (Thomas Moore)
  • July — The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
  • Aug — The Sweet Life in Paris (David Lebovitz)
  • Sept — The Sun King (Nancy Mitford)
  • Oct — A Piece of My Mind (JAMA)
  • Nov — The Last Runaway (Tracy Chevalier)
  • Dec — Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
  • Jan 2015 — The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz)

Have you read any of these? What’s on your reading list this year?

Here’s our 2013 book club list.
Here’s our 2012 book club list.
Here’s our 2011 book club list.
Here’s our 2010 book club list.
Here’s our 2009 book club list.
And here’s how we come up with our book club list each year.

I Think This Book Just Changed My Life

… my writing life, anyway.

It’s this:

Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

A fellow Golden Heart finalist recommended it in one of our loops, saying she always had trouble with plotting, and this was the first book on plotting she could actually wrap her head around.

Since I have a sadly similar affliction (and am currently stuck on my current manuscript’s midpoint), I thought I’d give it a shot.

And WOW. Oh wow. …

I get this now.

I’d learned similar things in other classes — midpoints and turning points and writing in acts and whatnot — but Blake Snyder really spells it all out here with points in between those points. That’s what I needed! I needed to know how to get from Point A to Point B, where the subplot fits in, where you solve some of the “little problems” you brought up in Act I, how to make the midpoint different, etc., and he spells all this out and more. Yee-haw!

I devoured the whole book last night, and tonight I’m on my way to buy my whiteboard.

Ready to plot with some confidence!



We Found Our Jamie Fraser!

UPDATE, August 2014: This post was originally written in May 2012 before Diana Gabaldon had real plans to bring Outlander to the small screen, so this was all simply fun speculation about who should play Jamie Fraser if a movie were ever made. In reality, now, of course, the book is being brought to STARZ with the verra sexy Sam Heughan playing Jamie. (And very well, at that!) But if you want to hear our own musings two years ago, read on:


Okay, call off the dogs. We found him.

We’ve found our Jamie Fraser.

It’s been a long, ongoing debate in the romance community: Who will play Jamie Fraser for any upcoming movie of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander?  We’ve discussed it here on my blog, in fact, with 34 excellent comments and suggestions.

The reason it’s such a hot debate is that Diana Gabaldon has written one of the most popular heroes of all time. Outlander remains one of the top five romances in every list I’ve seen. And everyone loves Jamie.

So it’s a tall order to find the absolute perfect man to play him: Jamie is Scottish, so you need the accent. He’s tall and muscular, so you need size. He’s young (22), so that’s a challenge. He has long, light-colored hair and light eyes in the book. Some actors are tall enough but too dark. Or light and muscular enough, but no accent. Or large enough and blond, but too old. Or have the accent, but too short. … The debate goes on and on.

But I think I found him! Continue reading

How To Find Good Names for a Character

One the hard (and, simultaneously, fun/ intimidating/ nerve-wracking) parts of writing a new book is coming up with the characters’ names.

Misnaming a character from the beginning is a difficult mistake.

I’ve written several chapters, or in one case an entire manuscript, and then gone back and changed a character’s name. And believe you me, it’s not done without angst. (Like a child you’ve named, your character begins to embody his or her name, and changing it midway through the book can make the whole story seem “wrong” somehow.)

I changed both characters’ names of my very first romance (after the first draft was completely written). Why? Because I read a blog post by a well-reputed agent making fun of the names. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who’d thought “Emily” and “Jake” were great-sounding names in 2006. So did about 85% of other romance writers. She said if she got one more story with an “Emily,” “Jake,” “Max” (one of my supporting characters in the same story!) or “Luke,” she was tossing it out the window.  Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...