Saturday, August 4, 2012


The Olympics have provided a great deal of excitement this week. Who will be the hero/heroine of each event? Which team can we applaud and laud with the term "heroes?" If a gymnast or a sprinter or a diver wins the gold, do we expect that same outcome each time? What makes an  athlete different from the rest of us in that he/she can perform in an outstanding manner that we could never attain?

Procter and Gamble runs a commercial through the Olympics. In their commercials, the question seems to be--who is your hero? In this case, it's "Thanks, Mom." Why does an athlete praise a parent, whether the father or the mother?

Once labeled a hero, do we expect this same kind of behavior and outcome every time? Are our heroes fallible in some way? Not as strong as they usually have been?
Maybe we expect too much.

This caused me to think about the heroes in our novels. Those of us who write romance, or just read romance, have a concrete idea concerning his qualifications. I do, at least, but when I actually write the story I learn that my hero is not a perfect guy.
At times, he fails to say the right thing, or he fails to behave in an expected manner, or he even might do something completely against his position.
Dalton King is such a hero as this. After a horrendous near-death experience and long recovery alone in the West Texas mountains, he comes to grips with what he wants. Before he accomplishes his goals, he must re-establish his relationship with the woman he loves--and convince her he is truly the man she once loved, and will not disappoint her again.  

In reading and searching for attributes that define a hero, I made a list of Common Qualities:

In general, a hero is often an average man who cares about his fellow man.
Sam Deleon in Texas True is a man who has hidden and supressed his emotions his entire life. His father disinherited him and banished him from the South Texas ranch when Sam was 16. When he meets True Cameron, he learns the meaning of love and loyalty, and makes every effort to live up to her expectations. His reward is greater than he ever imagined.  

He understands how fragile life is.
He makes the right decision, but if he makes a poor one he can accept the consequences.
He is unselfish, always willing to help someone who needs it.
He stands up for the weak and the less fortunate.
He does not give up.
He is brave even in the face of adversity.
He always tried to do the right thing.

My personal opinion is that our heroes don't always live up to our expectations. How can they? The requirements are quite steep.

Most, if not all, of the heroes I've created are certainly not perfect. They make huge errors in judgment sometimes, and they disappoint someone who looked up to him or admired him.
So how does this type of hero regain his status?
I like the characteristic "he does not give up." Not one of my heroes gave up--not one. Now that I realize this, I'm pleased with Sam, Buck, Diego, Max, Will, Ricardo, Dalton, Jude, Rick, Matt, Cody, Jesse, and Alex.
Wow! I created thirteen heroes, and I love every one of them. In the end, each and every one came through and showed their true spirit--that of a worthy hero.

If you're an author, do you still love your heroes after all this time?
If you're a reader, what kind of hero disappoints you or "turns" you off?

NOTE: The two books above--
Texas Promise: The Cameron Sisters-Book 1
Texas True: The Cameron Sisters-Book 2
will be re-released close together approximately in September. These two books are now with Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and will be available this time in ebook and prints.

Thank you for reading--
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
Torch from Free Graphics


  1. Hi Celia:

    I think the word ‘hero’ has too many meanings to be very meaningful. There can be an heroic act. This is a one time event, like saving the life of a child in a burning building by risking your own life. This is a one-off. It makes the adult a hero in regards to that one specific act. He might otherwise be a bad person.

    There is also a heroic life in which nothing heroic happens. Like a policeman who risks his life everyday but has an uneventful career. I still count that man as a hero. This is not a one-off.

    Sports heroes don’t really count as heroic in my book. They are not risking their lives and they have great rewards as motivations. These people may be stars but few are heroes and even fewer act like it.

    As for romance heroes that I don’t like: there are not too many of these. I don’t like the hero who courts a woman who can’t make up her mind between two men. I have no desire to have a wife who choose me 51% to 49% over another man. I will not finish this kind of romance.

    I also have no use for a hero who will give up everything to win the heroine. The heroine won’t leave her hometown or her job so if the hero wants her, he has to move to her town and give up his good job and take what he can get in the new location. This happens more than it should in inspirational romances. I just wonder what ever happened to the Bible command:

    "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” RUTH 1:16


    P.S. I have “Texas Promise” on my Kindle. Will the other two books in the series be available on Kindle? I really like this book.

  2. Dear Vince--you should have written this post! Thank you so much for the explanations. I had a feeling the word Hero was well-overused. I know women who call her husband Hero. Mine is fantastic, but heroic? I'll just he would be if needed--he'd do everything possible to save someone. It's just never happened.

    I, too, deplore the word Hero applied to any sports figure--I don't care how much money he makes or how many homers he makes, he really is not a hero.

    You made me laugh about the woman who can't make up her mind between two men. That never happened to me, but I suppose I can identify.

    However, I think a man should be as willing to follow a woman if she has the bigger, better position and job. I've seen that happen--not often, of course, but there are men who have done so.

    About Texas Promise--I'm so glad you have it. Let me explain: I pulled both Texas Promise and Texas True (the Cameron Sisters)--from the publisher who had them. She took too long to decide to put books in print, when I understood it would be right away.
    So, those two books are with another publisher who will give me prints the same time I get the ebooks.
    Texas True is the one you want. It has a cover--as you see on this post--and the book will be re-released soon--I hope! I don't want it kept out of the market very long.
    I hope you'll check back and find it on Amazon when I get to make the announcement.

    As always, I appreciate your comments. It gives me a little boost in spirits when I see you've taken the time to give me your opinion.

  3. Celia, love the new covers for TEXAS TRUE and TEXAS PROMISE. The one thing I love better than a windmill is bluebonnets. Good job. I agree with Vince about hetoes.

  4. I think the flawed hero is more credible and therefore more human and therefore far more engaging.

  5. This is a fascinating topic for me, Celia - I was recently told that my hero did something unheroic (in a proposal. Haven't written the book yet.) I think it was because I had him hesitate about doing exactly what Vince in the first comment complained about - giving up everything and moving where the heroine wants to. LOL. All I did was have him walk away for one night, leave her dangling about her demands - honestly, the heroine should have maybe grown up a bit and met him in the middle.

    Anyway - I believe that heroes can occasionally do something less than heroic - but readers may feel differently about that.

    I prefer realistic characters to romantic caricatures but sometimes i get it wrong.

    Your heroes sound wonderful!

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  7. Vince, Ruth was talking to her mother-in-law! :-)

    I like heroes who are fallible and funny and kind, and I think my definition's a little broader than some. For instance, some of the sports figures who build hospitals and give endlessly of their time and resources are truly heroic to me.

    I like your post, too, Celia, and your covers!

  8. Hi Ceila:

    I just loved your comment:

    ”However, I think a man should be as willing to follow a woman if she has the bigger, better position and job. I've seen that happen--not often, of course, but there are men who have done so”.

    I’ve read over 1,200 romances and I can’t remember one where the hero made less money and followed the heroine around as she moved up in her career. Of course, this happens in real life – a lot. Many women now make more money than their husbands. However, I don’t think this situation is the stuff of romance.

    Maybe there could be a new Harlequin line called: House Husbands: Heroes of the Hearth. : O

    Actually, my problem is when the heroine says: “If you’d really loved me, you’d…”

    One heroine wanted the hero to give up his career as a pro golfer because she wanted her husband to come home every night. He says, OK. I love you enough to give up my career and my dreams. That may be heroic true love to a female reader but I can see a marriage that will probably not last a year.


    P.S. I must say that women get heroes right. Most heroes I’ve read are men that most men would be proud to be. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if your heroes are doctors who are always saving lives. That’s made to order. But try a middle aged, washed-up, country music singer on Viagra – now there’s a challenge ”that should move the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny”. (With apologies to Shakespeare and Lynne Marshall, of course.)

  9. Celia,
    My heroes are basically nice guys who have their ups and downs like anyone else. They learn from their mistakes and stand up for what they believe in. The heroes that I have read in other stories that I didn't like are the ones that didn't learn what they should have in the end.

  10. Caroline--I'm so glad you like the covers. Miss Mae and I thought them up. I really do love them. There's a gazebo at the end of Texas True, and the rainbow for Texas Promise is perfect.
    I like Vince's comments, too, and I do agree with him. He's a guy, so he has a very unique view--doesn't he.

  11. Maddy--I'm glad you said that. My heroes are just so flawed it's pathetic. I haven't had one...not one...reader complaint about my heroes because I redeem them all! I give them a chance to do the right thing. Now, as you say--they're more human. My thoughts exactly.

  12. Lynne--I think romance publishers sometimes sort of tie us down with such strict guidelines. What you describe in your proposal happens all the time in real life. Why can't we have this happen in a book?
    From my view, readers don't mind a flawed hero. I think they'd dislike the caricatures more. Who wants a perfect man? Oh...did I say that?
    Thanks so much for you comment.

  13. Liz--I did not catch that--the quote from the Bible. You're right--she was talking to her mother-in-law.Ah, so.....
    Glad you like my heroes.

  14. Ilona--If a hero doesn't stand up for what he believes in, he's not much of a man, is he.Our characters must grow during the story, so I agree that a hero should learn the the end of the book. If he doesn't--the ending is not very good.
    Thanks so much.

  15. Today the TV declared Andy Murray, "a hero in his own country'. Although I like him a lot and I'm glad he is honored in his own country, the real hero is Roger Federer who knows how to win with grace and lose with even more grace.

    For me, a hero is a man--or a woman--confident in himself, not because he's successful, but because he accepts challenges and doesn't stop to struggle. An arrogant hero is no hero in my book.

    And yes, I'm in love with all my heroes. I had a wonderful model for them.

  16. Mona--I love your last sentence. That is so wonderful, and how we should feel about the man in our lives. I've often wondered..and even asked--why did you choose me? I was not the prettier, etc...and his answer? Because you are an honest person. Hmmm. I have thought about that many, many times. What would other men say when asked that question? I bet it wouldn't be...because you are an honest person.
    But I love it, and have appreciated it more as I got older.

    I do still have a problem with the word hero. It seems to be thrown about a lot. Tennis players? Who make a lot of money? I don't know, the same as I don't know exactly what to think of any fantastic athlete.
    But an ordinary man, mowing the lawn or anything, looks up, sees a toddler standing on the edge of a window sill four stories up--and the child jumps? When the man rushes over and somehow catches that lord, what a hero.
    Thanks so much for your comment.

  17. Celia, I love your heroes so much. They are just everything you described in your post. I try to do that with my heroes, too, because as you say, we don't want a perfect man, (I don't believe there is such a thing, but I always think of the movie Camelot where Lancelot is singing "C'est Moi!"-- "A knight of the table round should be invincible...succeed where the most fantastic man would fail..." and so on--of course, who could this man be? C'EST MOI!)toooooooo arrogant, of course. I love a hero who has overcome a bad past (and mine usually have that!) and who always tries to do the right thing, no matter how hard that is. And he usually fights against his feelings for the heroine, because he knows she could "do better." (Of course, we know she really thinks he is perfectly good enough, and he IS!) LOL I love this discussion of heroes. That's my fave topic. Your covers are just beautiful--LOVE THEM. Congratulations on your re-releases!

  18. Celia - a good subject! It encompasses so much in the human condition. Of course none of us in the real world, man or woman, are perfect, and of course the heroes of our novels aren't perfect. Though in romances, of course, they're allowed to be a LITTLE more perfect than the everyday man. I bet none of us, when young and/or daydreaming, created in our minds men who weren't darned near perfect. One of the reasons people do daydream, and read romance, plus the safety, uncertain in life as we know it, of the happy ending.

    May your writing be productive of many more perfect/imperfect heroes. And heroines~

  19. Sorry I'm late getting here, Celia. I loved the lists you added. It was like a psychology lesson. I like imperfect heroes. That flaw or two makes them human and lovable.
    Great blog. Of course, I copied the lists. LOL

  20. Hi, Sarah--I love it when I learn from the visitors with great comments. That has happened with this post. The visitors who commented left such thought-provoking xomments, they're actually better than my post. It's really great to have a real conversation so that I do gain more from them than they got from me.

  21. Monya--ahhhh, that perfect man. Is there any such thing? I have one I'd consider right up there with the best...honestly, I don't know how he decided to love me.
    I did not read romance intil about 1996 or so. I worked--taught school in a private military boarding school--but when I retired pretty early, I discovered novels. Honestly, I had read little fiction before then. But when I started, I could not stop. Avoiding romance, though, because of the stigma, I did finally accidentally read one...and lord, I was hooked.
    Thanks so much for your comment about our idea of a hero!

  22. Cheryl--I know you and I always write imperfect heroes.
    One of the best I've read, and even in a genre I don't usually read--RS--was Sandra Brown's...well, heck I don't remember the title. The hero was called Wick, and the heroine was a wealthy horse owner--he had been put on leave from the polie dept because of his errors in judgement--saving someone when he should have been chasing the bad guy--something like that. Oh, I was so in love with Wick.
    As usual, your comments are so dead on. I'm so glad I have someone like you to listen to and learn from. Thanks.

  23. This has been a fascinating discussion, and has made me wonder why we actually use the word 'hero' for the leading male character in a novel. Maybe it's because, like the mythical heroes of ancient Greece, our 'heroes' prevail despite all the odds stacked against them. My ideal 'hero' isn't perfect (that would be boring!) but he does have strength of character, confidence an charisma. At the same time, he's considerate and caring, and maybe struggling with some insecurity which he tries to keep hidden.

  24. Paula--that's a great description of a hero. Why do we use the term? Weren't the first romance novels dominated by the strongest, most reliable, most handsome man in the world? Aggressive, and always saved the heroine?
    Maybe it came from the early movies, those melodramas.
    I've turned the tables on a few of my heroes, and allowed the female in the story save the day--with his help of course. I've never had anyone point out that it was wrong, but several have noticed and approved.
    Thanks for you thoughts--I always appreciate it.