Hot Heroes of Summer Blog Hop

I’m back for another blog hop hosted by H.D. Thomson at, the same folks who brought us the Bad Boys of Summer. Since summer ain’t over yet, they’re keeping the heat on with a look at Hot Heroes. At the last writer’s convention I attended, I visited more than a few panels discussing that very subject, particularly as they apply with the growing popularity of paranormal romance. After all, not of all our heroes could make the cover of Teen People. Fangoria, maybe, but never Teen People. Heck, I’ve got eight books out—soon to be nine—and only one of them has a hero that could even pass for human, and that’s just if no one looks too close.

Beauty and the Beast is one of the oldest romances ever told, with variations in virtually every culture, whose message inspired and continues to inspire authors, screenwriters, playwrights and especially audiences for centuries. Today’s romances are full of aliens, shifters, fairies, demons, dragons and demi-gods and are they hot? Can I get a hell-yeah! You just have to look for it a little harder. The real question is not are these heroes hot, but where does the hotness come from? A vampire, at least, can still have a great smile, but a werewolf’s grin is hardly a romantic gesture.

At the writer’s convention, one of the things I heard again and again was to emphasize the traits to which your (mostly) human audience can relate. In each of my heroes, I found the button that said ‘hot’ to me and I mashed that sucker like it was Call of Duty. There are heroic archetypes and I embrace them shamelessly. Every writer wants to create something original and memorable, but I think there’s a lot to be said for knowing what the rules are before you break ‘em.

However, I also heard that you should de-emphasize your hero’s inhuman qualities. “Always have your shifter shift in the bedroom,” one said. “No one wants to feel fur on her back.” And, man, I cannot disagree enough. I say, if you’re writing paranormal, you’re writing for people who want to read paranormal. They not only want fur on their back, they want teeth on their neck and claws pricking at their thighs. They want to shiver when they hear the dry rasp of scales on skin, feel cold metal where it meets the scarred warmth of a cyborg’s last true flesh, smell the coppery blood and ancient spice in a vampire’s kiss. My heroes have horns, wings, spikes, scales, antennae, fur, fangs, claws, exoskeletons, mandibles, hooves, tentacles…and let me tell you, I de-emphasize nothing in a sex scene. Hotness is not about good looks; it’s about putting the reader in that moment with that man. Of course it helps if your hero isn’t dripping cold slime during a passionate moment, but here’s the thing—if he’s hot enough, even a little cold slime can be sexy.

I’ve gone a bit off-topic, so I’m going to go a little further. A long time ago, I read the world’s worst book. I’ve forgotten the title, but it had to do with gruesome murders and disappearances in an edge-of-nowhere-type town where a kind of alien conservation program turned out to be responsible. It seems humans were the perfect genetic template for a variety of functionally extinct aliens, so the main aliens were kidnapping Earth women, removing their bones so physiology wouldn’t be an issue and then breeding them with horrible monsters. I was twelve or thirteen when I read this, so I’m sure there were fine points I’ve lost over the years, but one thing I’ve never forgotten is the bit where one gelatinous captive smiles up into a chittering bug-thing’s faceted eyes while he lovingly scooped matter from a pouch on his body into hers. I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “Ew.” And you’re right, of course. That’s gross. But I direct your attention back to those two words that—for me, anyway—changed the context of that entire scene. That she smiled. And that he did it lovingly. And as hokey as the whole rest of the book was, those two words made it unforgettable, because there was a story in that—in two aliens who found some way, despite the horrific nature of their shared captivity, to come together and to make love—and it was a hell of a better story than the one the author wrote. (Yeah, yeah, there’s people out there who hate my books too.) Once upon a time, a boneless abductee and the last chittering bug-thing in the universe fell in love and, folks, we should all be so lucky.

Now, I can hear you out there asking me why I’m telling you this (and muttering that you’ll never be able to scrub your brain clean enough to get that image out. Yeah, it’s been with me over twenty years. Sorry). To answer that, I’ll give you yet another piece of advice from that writer’s convention, in which we were all informed that a writer should have a goal. Oh, and it can’t be to sell books. That, to quote Dr. Lecter, is incidental. A good writer tells a good story, this panelist said, but a great writer writes for a reason. “Ask yourself,” she said in her sternest, most professionally authorial tone, “what is your goal?”

Well folks, my goal is to write a sex scene someday that involves tentacles, is romantic and is not ridiculous. Not exactly The Great American Novel, but that’s the goal and I stand by it. “What is hot?” asks H.D. Thomson. Might as well ask what is love. (Baby, don’t hurt me…shut up, brain.) Hot is what you find when you love the one you’re with. Maybe he’s the Beauty and maybe he’s the Beast, but if he’s the reason you’re reading the book, he’s a Hot Hero—cold slime and all.

For more insights on hotness and the heroes we want to sweat with, check out the other authors on H.D. Thomson’s Hot Heroes blog hops for lots of giveaways and great reads. And feel free to check out the rest of my blog and if you like what you read, please leave a comment and enter to win an ecopy of my newest book, The Last Hour of Gann. One lucky winner will be drawn from the old hat when the last edits are done and the book goes live (sometime in September).

Sexy athletic body


43 responses to “Hot Heroes of Summer Blog Hop

  1. I read a lot of romance. Paranormal, contemporary etc. YOU by far are my fav author. Thank you for your blog and more insight into the writing mind of R. Lee Smith. As a faithful reader, I enjoy your sharing. Please enter me in the draw. Thanks.

  2. Great post! I echo CGirl’s sentiments and am so glad you ‘write outside the box’ as it were. You are unique and it reflects in your writing much to the delight of your readers. Sometimes we need a break from reality, something that will get our blood pumping, our heart racing and our imagination soaring. It is fiction after all. Anything and everything is possible. Another entry, if you please.

    • Gosh, thank you! So many compliments today…my head is getting huge. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the other authors on the Linky List. And of course, you have another entry for my Gann Giveaway!

  3. One of the things I particularly like about your writing is how you show and don’t tell. If your character is evil, you make him/her do really evil things. Hard to read things. So so so many books (romance especially) tell me the character is a rake, or cruel, or hard, or powerful, or a selfish, self absorbed woman and yet NONE of the character’s actions support this. The only way I know the characterization is that the author beats me over the head with it by saying it over and over. That is boring and usually a DNF (did not finish) for me.
    The other thing I appreciate is that your characters are multi-faceted. They aren’t all one thing or another. That makes them more real.

    • I’m glad to hear you say that, because the subject of villains is such a touchy one. No matter the media–book or movie or comic–I’ve never had any patience for the sort of mindlessly evil, cackling-down-the-stairs, off-to-destroy-the-world-I-LIVE-ON villain that is soooooo prevelant. I like my villains evil, but purposeful and never entirely predictable. For me, a genuine sense of humor is the scariest quality a villain can have, because it almost makes them likeable…and then you remember the violence.

  4. I too agree with all of the comments above. I am so glad that I took a chance with your book the Care and Feeding of Griffins, I loved it and all the others. Off to look at the linky list now. Please may I have mother entry? Thank you.

  5. I agree with all you said, every book I read definitely isn’t human 🙂 but I love that and the way you are so passionate about that love scene you want to write. I never thought I would want to read about tentacles and sex but you made me want too. :).


  6. While waiting for a new book from you, I fill my time with other (admittedly less talented) authors, searching for that same thrill. I’ve gone back to The Scholomance for a buddy read in the last couple of days and was reminded how your writing soars above the “typical.” You open doors in my mind that I didn’t know/forgot/failed to realize were there until you tap on them with your lovingly lethal talon. Thank you for not letting me sleep through the best parts of my mind!

    Another entry for me please?

  7. Great post, you are a new author to me, but I quite honestly say I will be looking into your books, they sound like the type I like to read!
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  8. My hot hero is my fiancé she is the most amazing women a guy could ever have. She is beautiful, loving , caring, there for me when i need her. She has been there through the worst times and sharing with me during the good that is my definition of a hot hero. Someone that is there for you and not a fake.

  9. Fascinating post! I love nonhuman heroes and will be adding your books to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the great giveaway.

    • As my mother used to say, “Real life is boring. What sort of person would choose to spend ALL their time there?”

      You are entered in the Gann Giveaway! Enjoy the hop!

  10. Thank you a lot for participating in this.
    For me agood and hot hero must be persistant, loyal and protective ( but not controlling)


    • Same here. The so-called “Alpha” hero reads the best for me on paper, although I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to stand one in real life.

      You are entered in the Gann Giveaway! Enjoy the hop and thanks for stopping by!

  11. I loved what you wrote and had a few laughs while reading it (and yes, the chittering bug thing will stick with me). I agree with you – I read paranormal because of the “para” and NOT because of the “normal.” Sometimes, the experts need to shut up and let the pros do what they do best.

    • “She thinks I’m a pro!” (fifty points if you read that in Rudolph’s voice).

      You are entered in the Gann Giveaway! Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the hop!

  12. Hi! For me, i love an alpha hero, someone brave, protecting there own, helping, and i love a bit of cockiness. And they have to have a bit of humor! Thank you for sharing and for the awesome hop & giveaways!

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