Okay, I admit it; I am a Science Fiction geek, and I loved Farscape. The whole premise excited my imagination —which is normal, considering I write futuristic Sci-Fi Romance when not dealing with lords and ladies. However, as much as I enjoyed the show, it’s the beginning—available in the music video above—that really spoke to me.
“Look, I can’t be your kind of hero.”
“No, you can’t be. But each man gets the chance to be his own kind of hero. Your time’ll come, and when it does, watch out. Chances are, it’ll be the last thing you ever expected.”
Nobody wakes up one morning and says, “I’m going to be a hero today.” Heroism tends to be the product of unforeseen events, unplanned incursions of circumstance, or simple happenstance (being in the right place at the right time). When any of those things occur, ready or not, the truth of a person’s character is revealed. There is no time for prevarication, dissembling, or projecting the desired image. There is only now. And a hero does what the now demands without regard for anything—or anyone—else.
In the now, a true hero has but one goal: Save the maiden. Rescue the colonists. Protect those within the fort. Brave the fire. Face the bullet. Find the threat and eliminate it—or die trying.
Heroism is about risk. Whether that risk is physical, psychological, or emotional is irrelevant. Whatever the root, the perception must be one of threat or danger.
Heroes put themselves in harm’s way for others. Were there a handbook for heroes, that would be Chapter One.
As writers, we write all kinds of heroes, and in doing so, must escalate the risk, elevate an ordinary man to heroic heights. How much is our hero willing to give? What is he willing to lose? His life? His heart? His beliefs? To be a hero, he must be willing to disregard something he believes necessary to his existence. The numismatist who has dedicated everything to procuring a unique coin only to sacrifice it to ransom a kidnapped child, or the accountant who, despite fears of professional suicide, ferrets out the truth about his crooked boss so the innocent bookkeeper won’t go to jail is just as much hero as the brawny Scot swinging his bloodied claymore to defend the lady he is sworn to protect.
It’s how we write him that gives him his chance to be his own type of hero.
Of course, most of us would prefer the brawny Scot—at least between the covers (that’s book covers, ladies). Still, the most unassuming person, given the right circumstances, can be a hero, while those to whom our perception ascribes innate heroism can turn tail and run.
Along those lines, the first movie that comes to mind is The Incredible Mr. Limpet—which could easily be subtitled Casper Milquetoast Saves the World. No, I’m not kidding, and here’s the original movie trailer so you can see for yourself.
Among types of heroes, one can’t forget the unwilling hero, thrust into a situation better avoided but doing what’s necessary because there’s no alternative. Atticus Finch is a good example of an unwilling hero. A quiet man, he goes about his life without raising much dust until he’s forced to choose between his preferences and his principles. Principles win, and as a result, he, his daughter, and his entire community discover his innate strength, courage, and conviction.
Then there’s the anti-hero, cynical and self-serving, forced by circumstance to do the right thing. Rhett Butler anyone?
There are other types of heroes, of course, but I’ll let you fill in the blanks while I give you one more video. (You really didn’t think you’d get away without something historical did you?)
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite type of hero? Alphas? Betas? Gammas? What do you think makes a good hero? Have you ever read a book with an unexpected type of hero? Is there any one thing that makes you fall in love with a fictional hero? Do you have a favorite hero? Anything you want to share about heroes, feel free. Let’s celebrate heroes!
Today, I’d like to gush a little bit about my favorite romantic heroes.
I read my first romance novel when I was ten years old. (There was no such thing as YA back in the day!) I was a very precocious reader, blasting through everything of interest in my library’s children’s section in record time. After finishing Little House, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden series, I took a 90’ turn into the adult stacks, and never looked back.
Over six thousand books later, over half of them romance novels, there are some romantic heroes that have a permanent place in my mind and heart. Though I won’t even TRY to select a favorite Argeneau, Troubleshooter, Carpathian, Bridgerton, Rohan, or Black Dagger Brother, following are some of my all-time favorite romance heroes. In no particular order (until we reach the Top 3):
Morgan Trayhern (Return of a Hero by Lindsay McKenna) – McKenna excels at writing military heroes, and in this, the final book of her late ‘80’s Silhouette Special Edition “Love and Glory” series, self-sacrificing Marine captain Morgan Trayhern is one of her most riveting.
Dmitri (Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh) – In this, the fifth book of Singh’s stunning Guild Hunters series, we see the heat and protectiveness hidden under Dmitri’s lethal surface. Archangel Raphael’s chilly vampire enforcer finds love, fighting every step of the way.
Sebastian Wroth (No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole) – In this delightful and quirky entry in Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, self-loathing vampire Sebastian enters the Talisman’s Hie, a brutal Amazing Race-type competition for immortals, to win Kaderin the Cold- Hearted’s love.
Jericho Beaumont (Heart Throb by Suzanne Brockmann) – Jericho, a talented actor and former “Sexiest Man Alive” until addiction caused his very public downfall, is now in recovery and ready to make a comeback. His leery producer, Kate O’Laughlin, has to decide whether she can trust him with her movie, and her love.
Hawke (Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh) – In this, the latest book in Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, Snow Dancer wolf pack alpha Hawke, having lost his fated mate in his youth, has to come to terms with his uncomfortable and inconvenient feelings for the young, beautiful and fragile Sienna Lauren…who isn’t so fragile after all.
Dean Robillard (Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips) – when professional quarterback Dean has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a beaver-costume-clad woman walking alongside the road, he never dreams he’s meeting the love of his life—even if she thinks the Dolce & Gabbana boots he’s so proud of are ‘the gayest things she’s ever seen.’
Finn Rorkken (Moonstruck by Susan Grant) – The kickoff book in Grant’s Tales of the Borderlands series introduces us to Finn, commander of the fearsome Drakken Horde, who looks to me—and to several of the book’s Earth-born characters—like Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow. (Drool.) Under the terms of an intergalactic peace treaty, Finn agrees to work as second-in-command to his former enemy, war hero Brit Bandar—who he wants to both kiss and kill.
Raphael (Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh) – in this first book of her edgy and lush Guild Hunters series, Singh introduces us to the fearsome and sensual Raphael, the powerful Archangel of New York, and his lover, the vampire hunter Elena Deveraux, who, though human, is more than his match.
Miles Vorkosigan (The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold) – 4’9”, pale, his body covered in surgical scars and with severe physical impairments causing him frequent pain, Miles intoxicates with his brilliance, confidence, humor and grace, working as a soldier and peacekeeper, taking extraordinary lovers across the galaxy—until the day he meets his Ekaterin. Sigh…
Roarke (…In Death series by J.D. Robb) – What can you say about the incomparable Roarke? Brainy, hot, powerful, lethal. A blue-eyed, Irish-accented billionaire who’s equally adept in the boardroom, the bedroom or in a back alley brawl, and who gives police lieutenant Eve Dallas an invigorating run for her money. It was like Nora read my mind when she wrote him, right down to the long black hair that he lashes back into a ponytail as he sits down to use his illegal, unregistered computers.
Who are your favorite romance heroes, and why? Which of your favorites have I left off the list? Let ‘er rip!
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting to Silicon Valley, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. Her debut, Taste Me, won a Daphne award, and was named a WisRWA, Prism and Golden Heart Finalist. For more information, please visit http://www.tamarahogan.com/
“Gabe. Where can I get me one of him? Sexy and smart? That is a diabolical combination that left me wanting to hunt down this man and make him my own.” – Redheads Review It Better
“It’s sweet. It’s fun. It’s downright naughty. I can’t wait to see what pairing gets their book next.” – Pure Textuality