© Terese Ramin, March 2013
It’s a given that every romance novel hero is sexy. Whether he’s
• an alpha (a guy who is often both a natural leader and physically strong, and who takes control of the situation and, essentially, dominates it from the get-go);
• a beta (a guy who is most likely kinder, gentler, and more sensitive than an alpha, and can often be counted on to take the back seat to a strong, hell-for-leather heroine, or who is second in command to the leader, often his best friend, who disseminates the leader’s orders or acts as a ‘go between’ between management and staff);
• or a gamma (a guy who is essentially a cross between the alpha and beta heroes, being both strong and kind-gentle-sensitive — and often more of a loner, in terms of “pack” hierarchy. He may act as an advisor to both alpha and beta heroes while holding onto his own values, strengths and weaknesses. In romance novels, the gamma hero may be maimed or disfigured, which has caused him to learn a different way of being and doing)
the romance hero is always sure of himself and his appeal regardless of the role he takes (by choice or design) in his interactions with others.
Regardless of his designated position in “pack” hierarchy (alpha, beta, or gamma), each romance hero is protective of his potential mate and his and children — or he finds the protective gene within himself that allows him to willingly do whatever it takes to keep his mate and offspring safe from harm.
Of course it’s also possible for romance heroes (especially alphas ) to be obnoxiously overprotective, especially where the heroine is concerned. My romance heroines have discovered this on more than one occasion, but they’ve fallen for the hero anyway. Why? Because he has a sense of humor and can take everything they dish out, from a passel of kids (some of whom need the “facts of life” explained to them), to an overabundance of dogs, to severely eccentric siblings, to… A song illustrated with dancing condoms. The hero, himself, tends to put up with the heroine’s… peculiarities because to him she’s the sexiest, most beautiful, most desirable, and most exciting creature he’s ever come across. And, while she may get them both into trouble, she will never, ever bore him. In turn, he will never bore her — or me, while I live with these people for the six months to a year it might take me to finish writing a book.
Protective heroes have other things going for them as well. They allow us, the reader, to wrap ourselves up in someone who would readily die (and sometimes kill) to protect us. To fall in love with, and be loved by, him. To know that we — in the guise of the book’s heroine — are the only ones who can tame this wonderfully exasperating guy, stand toe-to-toe with him and…
Make him understand reason. ;-D
This Has To Stop Thursday
Just got off the scale and the numbers both discouraged and galled me: 237 pounds. You would think that I don’t exercise (3 – 4 hours/week in the local high school pool doing laps and/or aerobic exercises and yoga). You would think that I don’t eat fruits, vegetables and fiber, or that I haven’t made sure to control my portion sizes, but I’ve been very careful to do all these things since weighing in at 234 at the doc’s three weeks ago.
I hate this. I’ve asked for help, but “help” is a handful of menus that exceed the currently available monthly food budget. I’ve been swimming the 3 – 4 hours a week since September, and have added in treadmill walking the last two weeks. Okay, yes it’s winter and the annual carbs cravings are in full swing. Yes, exercising actually *adds* weight of the muscular kind. And yes, my stamina has certainly increased because I’m exercising regularly. But seriously, 237-freaking-pounds?
It’s clear that one size does NOT fit all, whether we’re talking clothing, diets, or metabolisms – especially as we age. I can only think that the next step here is to try the Wheat Belly Diet or to at least make a stab at purchasing Lean Cuisine style dinners when I grocery shop in an effort to do a Nutrisystem/Medifast/Jenny Craig sort of deal. I can only repeat to myself that today is another on the winding road, and I *will* figure this out and update This Has To Stop Thursday next week!
Just a note to say my first book, newly available as an ebook, is on this week’s list of Julie Kenner’s Hump Day Read.
January 28th marked the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of one of the world’s most beloved books: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The story of Elizabeth Bennet, her family, their trials and tribulations, and her romance with Mr. Darcy is one that translates the world over, regardless of culture or era. It is as much about the search for self as it is about class and culture, money, matchmaking and marriage, reminding us that discovering “who we are” takes place as much amid the day-to-day of small talk and petty circumstance as it does in the hunt for adventure or folly.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”
A variety of Pride and Prejudice cover images
With the book’s opening lines we are swept into Mrs. Bennet’s hunt for suitable life partners for Lizzie and her sisters, caught up in the sly and often misguided search for romance and happily ever after to which the Bennet sisters succumb. We are also made abundantly aware that the man in question is as of little consequence as his views on the subject of matrimony as long as he is well fixed and able to provide — and likely to eventually succumb to the machinations of matchmaking mamas.
“In her own past behaviour, there was a constant source of vexation and regret; and in the unhappy defects of her family, a subject of yet heavier chagrin. They were hopeless of remedy. Her father, contented with laughing at them, would never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his youngest daughters; and her mother, with manners so far from right herself, was entirely insensible of the evil. Elizabeth had frequently united with Jane in an endeavour to check the imprudence of Catherine and Lydia; but while they were supported by their mother’s indulgence, what chance could there be of improvement? Catherine, weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia’s guidance, had been always affronted by their advice; and Lydia, self-willed and careless, would scarcely give them a hearing. They were ignorant, idle, and vain. While there was an officer in Meryton, they would flirt with him; and while Meryton was within a walk of Longbourn, they would be going there forever.”
In short, P&P is about everything we still go through today: the search for happiness and love; the desire to make not only a palatable but joyful future; the realization that both who we are, where we come from, and how we go on can aid or impede the successful progress of our lives.
Pride and Prejudice has been filmed more than once for both movies and television, including an India-set musical that I love. It has been translated into hundreds of languages and reached millions of readers.
Like much of Austen’s work, Pride and Prejudice has been reinterpreted numerous times, in a variety of venues, including the zombified version, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
By far my favorite interpretation of any of Austen’s works is the absolutely brilliant Tooth & Claw by Jo Walton, which does Sense and Sensibility using dragons.
On the left is the Evil Queen of Puppydom (and her cat). On the right is a Tasmanian Tiger, aka the Thylacine (a name co-opted from the two parts of its scientific name). My husband says these two things look just like the other, especially when the EQP’s mouth is open.
Though it is (or was, since it’s thought to be extinct) a carnivorous marsupial, with its mouth closed, the Thylacine looks pretty much like a weird fox/dog/coyote cross with a slender muzzle and a tiger-striped rear. When it opens its mouth, however, everything changes, and it becomes something out of a monster-governed nightmare: its jaw unhinges and its mouth gapes wide (much like a snake’s). It was pretty much fearless and exterminated by ranchers in the 1800s as a pest. (Okay, so the Thylacine is a lot like the EQP – who will never be exterminated because she’s far too entertaining in her peskiness. *grin*)
The Thylacine is also considered a cryptid (literally “hidden” animal) even though it did once (there are real taxidermied specimens) and may still exist.
Cryptozoology is the study and investigation of hidden (or mysterious) animals that have never been documented before by science. When you think about it, the majority of (what we now consider) normal, everyday critters were cryptids before they were discovered by Darwin and the rest of the explorers a century or three ago. Today “cryptids” are generally considered to be animals that remain mythical or legendary – like Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, the Drop Bear, and hundreds of others from every culture on earth. Like the Thylacine, however, many cryptids actually exist or did once. Their rarity simply makes them difficult to locate – and perhaps far more cautious than the majority of animals we’re familiar with these days. Like any remaining Thylacines (there are a few pieces of videos footage out there), they’ve learned to survive where other extinct creatures have not.
As to the werewolves down the road from me… yes, actually, there’s an entire investigation into the Michigan werewolves (and I’m not talking about the ones living in my made up ‘verse of Brokenoggin Falls. *huge grin*) Over not far from my sister’s place (she lives up the road from me) at least one Were has been spotted on numerous occasions by area residents (my brother-in-law swears he’s never seen it nor has he been masquerading as it without telling us – I’d kill him if he didn’t let me in on it and he knows it). Still the area around us has been the subject of research into werewolves by Linda Godfrey in one of her books, and makes for fascinating reading.
Do I believe in werewolves as portrayed in movies and on television? I think the science is skewed when it comes to movies and television.
But do I believe in shapeshifters and shapeshifting and the projection of spirit? Simply put, yes.