First: since I get emails from people asking, "How can I comment?", I turned the comment feature on. It's down there at the bottom by the time the post appeared. So feel free to use it.
Today I have heroes on my mind. I'm getting ready to write a proposal for a new Harlequin Copper Lake book -- an outlne and a chapter -- and then I'll jump back into Book 2 of the Tuesday Night Margarita Club. I know who both heroes (actually all three, since there's a secondary romance in TNMC 2)
They used to say that for a successful romance novel, the reader needs to relate to the heroine and fall in love with the hero. Since I've got a fair number of male readers, I don't like to limit myself. :-)
My rules for a hero: He's got to be strong even if he doesn't want to be and brave when needs to be. He has to love puppers or other small critters and children have to melt their hearts. He has to be decent, fair, willing to admit his mistakes and weaknesses and have true sense of justice. And one other thing: he doesn't wear his machoness on his shoulder like a chip.
That's just me. There are a lot of popular heroes out there who are totally alpha: bossy, forceful, in your face, rude and crude -- just like real guys. I've got tons of friends who love those kind of heroes. But you won't find them in my books. You know, we live with reality. I don't want that much of it in my heroes. I want them to be guys you can take home to Mom, guys who have a sense of when "being a guy" is appropriate and when it's better to act somewhat civilized. I don't want them to be perfect -- God forbid! -- but almost real, with a hint of fantasy, is perfect for me.