Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How to Make Sweet Heroes Sexy by Carol Ross and Amy Vastine

There are a couple of things you can’t do when you write sweet romance. One is ... well … your characters can’t have any “between the sheets” time. Two, you can’t have the heroine spend three paragraphs describing the hero’s washboard abs or how his butt looks oh-so-good in his jeans. If you can’t write about how hot the guy looks, how in the world can you make the readers believe your hero is capable of heating things up?

What you can do is have your hero show off his sexy in other ways. This is no easy task, as we are sure any of our Heartwarming sisters will tell you. But here are a few ways to get your readers fanning themselves while reading a sweet story…

1. Attention to Detail - Nothing is sexier than a thoughtful guy – remembering something the heroine only mentioned once or that he just observed, like how she takes her coffee or her favorite ice cream flavor. Or how about buying her the perfect gift? Not the most expensive gift, but the one that says, “I’m paying attention and I’m paying attention to you.” Then, of course, there’s those times he does something above and beyond to prove he’s the one for her. Something like paying a fortune to make sure her entire family isn’t disgraced so he can ask for her hand in marriage? Ring any bells? Yeah … *faints*

2. Sweet Nothings - The compliments he gives or the way he sounds so smitten when talking about the heroine can make us melt. A whispered appreciation for what she’s wearing, the smile that lights up his face when someone mentions her name, his need to tell her he could listen to her laugh all day - all of these things ratchet up a hero’s desirability. Ryan Gosling’s “Hey Girl” memes are proof of that!
Thanks, Ryan!

3. Animal Attraction - Let’s be real here, there’s nothing sexier than a guy sweet-talking a dog or a kitten or a guinea pig (Um, Carol? Guinea pig, really?) It doesn’t matter, give it fur and innocent eyes and we’re all goners when he snuggles it/cares for it/talks in that cute voice to it.



4. The Little Things - And the same holds true for a guy who’s good with kids. A big, tough cop cradling a baby or a single dad teaching his daughter to ride a bike - we can’t get enough of these heroes!  He must love children, even if he doesn’t know he loves them at the beginning of the story. There are reasons single guys will take a baby to the park. No one can resist a guy with a little one in his arms.



5. The Way He Makes Her Feel - Sweet romance heroes don’t need to take their love interests into the bedroom to get a rise out of them. Hearing her thoughts when he takes her by the hand or looks at her with those baby blue eyes can show the reader everything she needs to see and leave her feeling breathless. The softness of his lips, the way he cradles her cheek in his hand - these are things our heroine can’t resist about our fully-clothed heroes.



What do you think makes sweet romance heroes sexy? Is it his job or his sense of humor? Does it help if he plays guitar or piano? Maybe it’s his brain! Share with us your thoughts on sweet and sexy. We can’t wait to hear!


43 comments:

  1. All of the above! Being endearingly clumsy is good, too.

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    1. I love that, Liz. A little clumsy is good :)

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  2. I believe you ladies covered it very well. The "animal attraction" one is a must for me, especially since the hero in my WIP is a veterinarian!

    Great post!

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    1. I had a feeling you might agree with that one!

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  3. As a guy who writes sweet romance, I try to highlight the little things the hero does to get the heroine's "motor running." Things like opening a door, pulling out a chair, doing something for somebody else because it's the right thing to do. Things that hopefully make him not only desirable, but show that he's a good man and worthy of her. that's the key to me. He has to show or prove that he is worthy of her.

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    1. 'doing something for somebody else because it's the right thing to do.'

      Yes! A hero with a conscience, ethics and a giving heart.

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    2. Exactly, Jim! Proving he's worth it by doing something that shows his character is a great way.

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    3. Something else, that Jim knows all to well, being a caregiver who's always there is as sweet and sexy as it gets.

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  4. (Arrgh, I hit "publish" instead of "preview." Let's try this again.)

    When he's good to his family--parents, siblings, etc. and especially his mother--that's sure-fire sexy for me. I'm currently writing a story about a marriage of (in)convenience (that's not a typo) that originally comes about because the heroine is trying to save her family's business and the hero, who believes his mother is ill, wants to fulfill Mom's "last" wish by getting married. I've had so many positive comments on the hero's love for his mother.

    Thanks for the great post, Amy!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! We almost put how he treats his mom - we agree this is essential that he treat his mom like a queen. And you've got me intrigued with this marriage of INconvenience!

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  5. Fantastic post, ladies, and excellent reminders for all of us! Hope your Wednesday is wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Loree! Wishing you the best as well <3

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  6. You ladies have my fanning my face. Those are all favorite qualities in a hero! Swoon!! I had to smile at your mention of Mr. Darcy because my teen came home yesterday and told me they started reading P&P in English class...and that he can't see what the big deal is about Mr. Darcy. Obviously he's not far enough into it, but boy did he get a 'lecture' on everything that makes Darcy so perfect and to die for lol! Probably more of a passionate reaction from me than he was expecting ;). May Darcy set a good example for our young men!

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    1. LOL! I am not sure my son would grasp the wonderfulness of Mr. Darcy either. I love that you gave him a lesson that hopefully he'll remember :)

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    2. My 15-year-old nephew read Pride and Prejudice this year for a book report. He chose it because his English teacher informed the class that "romance is not literature." He was offended and argued with the teacher. (He's very proud of what I do, bless him.) I was/am irritated. We had a discussion about how wrong his teacher is, etc. Needless to say, he got an A on the project.

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    3. I think you should have your nephew be a guest blogger.

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    4. I love Pam's idea!! And Carol, tell your nephew that he's OUR HERO!!

      My kid is 16, so I guess they're studying the same book around the same time in high school. My son is annoyed with his teacher because, for some reason, she always gives spoilers. It drives the class nuts. So after my monologue on Darcy yesterday (which left him with a 'Man, what did I say?' wide-eyed look), he begged for my copy of P&P so that he can get it read before she spoils it. He's a heavy reader but he said it's the only book she's assigned that he hasn't already read. I will say that this is my romantic son who holds doors for women :).

      It would be awesome if your nephew did a post on his experience! :) Maybe he could get extra credit for having something 'published' in public ;).

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  7. Hey, what's wrong with Guinea pigs? 😎 They're adorable. Great post, ladies. Now I know why I put a kitten and a little boy in my latest book! Love all those tender hearted heroes. Yum.

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    1. I agree, Leigh! Guinea pigs make great pets, too. They're furry, cuddly, mellow, sweet, they don't bite, etc. (Although I admit that nocturnal tendency can get a little tiring :) A little boy WITH a kitten, what could be more heart-melting than that?

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  8. Well done! One of my favorite possessions is a birthday card my father-in-law sent to my mother-in-law on her 55th birthday. It reads, "You'll always be 16 to me." And he pasted in a photo of her at 16. In his heart she would always be that young woman he saw as an art student and had to meet. Sweetness in a guy does it for me. And can someone send me that kitten?

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    1. Thanks, Muriel. It was a lot of fun. (The topic was Amy's idea and she really ran with the idea. She's pretty brilliant that way.) Once again, I am amazed at your ability to tell a story with one comment! Your father-in-law was a romantic genius. That is just about the best gift a man could give a woman. My heart is now a melted puddle.

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    2. That really is romantic! I love when a man finds the words for what he's feeling. <3

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  9. You nailed it with your comments and I agree with them all.

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  10. You all listed the top reasons to make a hero a keeper. I still like to see men opening a woman's car door, or a door into a restaurant and just guiding her to the table with a hand on her waist. I hope gentlemanly ways don't become lost in the shuffle of life.

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    1. Being a gentlemen always makes me smile!

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  11. You had me at Mr. Darcy! Great Post, ladies. I'm swooning already. I agree with everyone here...you nailed it. These are the guys who make like worth living with them. Thoughtful is #1. And in today's "distanced" world of electronics and other distractions, finding a man or woman who PAY ATTENTION to you is rare...sublime and heroic.

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    1. So true! Everyone is so busy and attached to their electronics, it's amazing anyone pays attention to anyone anymore!

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  12. I love when a hero who is normally gruff and reserved finally finds the words to express what's going on inside of him. That makes me swoon every time! (Even when I'm writing it. LOL!)

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  13. When those gazes connect after he's done something great...

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  14. Love these comments. I just spent time with a cousin and her husband who have been married for more than 50 years. It's a joy to be around them because they're still so much in love, so supportive of each other, and treat each other with the deepest respect. To me, that's sexy, even if they are in their 70's.

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  15. Great examples. I honestly never quite got the attraction of abs, but I swoon over a thoughtful gesture, a crooked smile, or a soft spot for kids, older people, and animals.

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    1. Well, I don't hate abs - but that crooked smile will get me every time!

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  16. This was so great Amy and Carol. You two know the characteristics that make a man sexy. I love it when a guy treats you as though you're the only one in the room. Opening doors, pulling out chairs, holding your hand, making your plate at a party, LOL...those are all ways a man can win points with me. If he loves animals, treats his mama and sisters well, takes his daughter to get her nails done, and tries to do her hair - well then he's in for sure. Hey, I think that's why I married my husband!! Thanks for a wonderful post. ( :

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    1. Thanks so much, Laurie. I gotta say I'm with you and Roz on this one - nothing beats a man behaving like a gentleman. I also like a man who isn't afraid to look a little silly for the sake of someone he loves, like his daughter. Sounds like you are a very lucky lady.

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  17. Sorry I'm late but I LOVE this post!!! So printing this out so I can find new ways to show my heroes' sexy sides . Although I'm not sure there is much sexier than a man head over heels in love with his (or the heroine's) kids. :) Thank you for this!

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  18. You're not late, Anna! You're right on time(; I know what you mean - it was really helpful to me to think about this and make the list, lol. Totally agree with the kid thing, gets me every time.

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  19. I'm late, too! But I loved this post and Muriel's F-i-L was awesome!

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