I was cleaning my files and I found this blog post I had written as part of a collection of posts to market Next Move. I had never used it with the way the marketing schedule played out, but I really like it. Next Move looked at love and romance for characters caught in the morass of obligations most of us struggle with on a daily basis. I’m sharing it now, as Thirteen Nights releases soon and starting this weekend, I’ll start sharing some of that. So enjoy. I still love this cover. 🙂
I adore strong heroine, especially those who carry as many scars as their heroes so that the love that blossoms between them has a healing touch for both of them. The challenge to writing a strong heroine like Jocelyn Wade in Next Move, who leads in a male dominated environment, raises a child on her own, cares for her aging father and has the emotional fortitude to make it happen, is to figure out how to still make her soft and vulnerable when life does not let her be. But this is what Jared sees, and what he brings out in her.
Here are a few of ways I did it. You let me know if you think they work or if I missed any.
1) Changing the heroine’s usual style of dressing can help power down personality and alter the way she is seen. Here’s a snippet
Jared hot-footed it to the restaurant after the hostess called. He scanned the dining room several times until he found a much softer Jocelyn. The auburn hair, no longer tied in a knot, spilled over her shoulders, teasing that elegant neck he’d earlier ached to taste. A heart-shaped locket dangled between full, shapely breasts showcased by a form-fitting v-necked t-shirt. The informal look washed some of the power out of her and made her look lighter, more vulnerable. Those full red lips promised wicked pleasures. She was ice and fire all packaged up, waiting to be opened. Good call, Wyatt. Peeling back some of the layers that made up Jocelyn Wade might prove a delightful evening.
2) Having the hero see her when she does not think anyone is looking can offer an insight into the heroine’s vulnerability that she works hard to protect.
She was going to walk away from this. Why did he think she’d be different? Underneath the heat lurked a frozen core, just like Cara. Anger had him dressed and ready to run. At the door, he glanced back and stopped in his tracks. Pain had drawn dark circles under her eyes. Whatever demons lived in her memory spoke those words. Last night had touched her too. Her face revealed that truth even if her words denied it.
3) Unexpected circumstances can create unique and interesting spaces for strong heroines to be rescued. Even if they don’t want to be.
After the family left Jared helped her get the ruined jacket off. Big mistake. The juice molded the white blouse to her torso and revealed every thread of her beige lace push-up bra and her diamond-hard nipples to everyone in the bar.
Appreciation danced across Jared’s face followed by awareness. He threw his arm around her shoulder and yanked her against his chest to cover her breasts. “I was so right. You’re fire underneath the starch,” he whispered in her ear. She should hate him but was grateful for the cover and his look made her tingly. Grabbing her luggage, purse and phone and yelling a quick reminder to the bartender he’d be back for his suitcase, he shuttled her out of the bar to the ladies’ room to change. The man took control with panache.
4) Show her depth through the eyes of others. In the case of Jocelyn, I used her family members. See what her older brother shares with Jared while they are sparring. They are both former boxers.
Gideon nodded after moving far enough back to avoid Jared’s fists. “Most have been. That asshat of a first husband up and left after Kylie was born. She held the family together when Mom was sick. Now she shoulders Dad’s care, runs interference when I run too loose with the ladies, organizes Tommy days, when she forces all of us to make care packages to send to our brother. You want her? Fight by her side, no matter what. And take care of her. She pretends to not need it…but she does.”
Thanks for dropping by. How do you like to see vulnerability in strong heroines displayed? What works and does not work for you?