Recently I was writing a workshop to give at a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The topic was Crafting Historical Heroines (and Heroes) That Rock, and I was speaking about how to create characters that are historically accurate but who still appeal to modern readers. One thing I did in preparation was to ask my readers (via Facebook, of course!) who their favorite heroes and heroines are and why.

Here are a few of the responses.

Cora DeBeau from Tracey Devlyn’s A LADY’S REVENGE because she came out of France tortured not broken. I think this book should be given out at lady’s shelters. I understand abuse and ladies in abusive relationships should know THEY ARE NOT BROKEN only slightly dented.

Ian Mackenzie from Jennifer Ashley’s THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE. He is labeled “crazy/mad” to the world because of eccentricities. What draws me to him is he doesn’t hide who or what he is. He lives his life with the stares and whispers. Every time I read this story I am amazed how far he comes from the beginning to the end. I love how complex his character is and how Ms. Ashley doesn’t fix him but makes his eccentricities part of the great man he is.

Eve Dallas from the JD Robb series because she saves herself.


JD Robb


Darius Carsington (From NOT QUITE A LADY by Loretta Chase) because he runs so very, very hard and far from his heart, then slams back to it in an instant when the woman he admires is threatened. Then he runs that much faster back to her side, intellectual sword at the ready.

Skye O’Malley (the entire series and Legacy series) by Bertrice Small. She was as intelligent as any man, went against Elizabeth Tudor and won, survived countless obstacles in the pursuit of her own happiness and empowered her children, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren to do the same!

I love all the characters from the Stephanie Lauren’s Bar Cynster series all the men are heroes to their ladies and family as well as the ton, but their women are strong and a force to be reckoned with!

Sebastian and Evie from DEVIL IN WINTER. Sebastian taking a bullet for Evie was a sign of true sacrifice.


Jamie and Claire


Jamie Fraser. There are many reasons to like Jamie (other than being a kilted, Highlander, of course!). He loves with his entire being. And he is willing to sacrifice himself for the people he loves. He sent Claire back through the stones to keep her and their unborn child safe even though it broke his heart to do so.

I wish I could have shared all the responses because I received so many fabulous ones. A lot of the characters mentioned were also my favorites and others I added to my TBR pile. As far as my workshop, One thing this “scientific” survey showed me was what all of these characters have in common.

In my opinion, the heroines are strong and resilient. They save themselves and empower other women. The heroes are at peace with themselves (at least by the end of the book). They don’t have anything to prove to society. They are willing to love with their whole beings and make ultimate sacrifices. In short, these heroes and heroines rock!

Who are some of your favorite heroes and heroines and why? WE are having some problems with an overactive spam filter. Please go ahead and comment, and if the comment doesn’t show right away, don’t worry. The JQs will be freeing comments all day.

Robyn DeHart
Robyn DeHart


Best Of, Robyn DeHart

I hate to recycle an old blog, but I’m on extreme deadline and thought this was a good topic to bring up again…

One of the things about writing that I didn’t realize when I first started was how profoundly personal it would be. Perhaps that makes me an idiot, but that aspect kind of took me by surprise. But I suspect that writers, genre fiction and romance writers, in particular, are very much in tune with their own personal issues – the things that make us tick, that big bag of crud we drag around filled with our greatest fears and insecurities. I suppose song writers probably are equally as aware, but I digress. The point of all of this is if you pay close attention you start to notice things about you – not all of them are the icky things either.

Recently I was reading a book and I had a big epiphany that doesn’t really surprise me, as I can clearly see the pattern in my reading tastes and several of the books I’ve written myself, frankly I’m surprised it took me quite so long to notice. Especially when I look back on a post I wrote here four years ago. So here it goes….when it comes to guys, those romantic hero types, I really am drawn to the pursuer. I suppose this might be why I don’t gravitate toward the more traditional alpha hero because they aren’t always pursuers.

The book I was reading recently that brought all this to my attention was Suzanne Enoch’s The Care and Taming of a Rogue. Now Suzanne is one of my very favorite authors, she’s definitely my go-to gal whenever I need a good pick-me-up because her books are just delightful and perfect in all the right ways. And I love, love, love her heroes. And her heroes are always pursuers, even if they don’t quite understand it themselves, they are completely captivated by the heroine, just can’t get enough and go after her full-throttle. Their unwavering pursuit just makes me feel all gooey on the inside. This is what romance novels are about for me.

Now there are plenty of great ways to put together a romance novel, but at their core, it’s either boy pursues girl or girl pursues boy and both work. But for me that one that makes me come back again and again is the former. It even happened in my own love story. When I met The Professor I wasn’t so sure about him. He was really smart, an intellectual and frankly I felt a smidge intimidated and wondered what we’d ever talk about. And he was so very different from any man I’d ever dated or been attracted to. But he pursued me deftly and it worked.

So how about you? What kind of hero do you gravitate to? Do you notice when you’re reading which character is the pursuer?

*this blog was originally posted in 2001

I enjoy reading the Best Of lists at the end of each year. I like knowing people’s thoughts on the best movie, best TV show, person of the year, and, especially, the best books of the year. Most of the time I haven’t seen the movies or the TV shows, but I’ve usually read some of the books.

Here’s a few that stood out to me this year. Since I write historicals, I have to mention four. The first is Robyn DeHart’s The Secrets of Mia Danvers. Jack the Ripper stalks a blind heroine. Just the premise gives me shivers. The book was excellent! Sophie Jordan’s How To Lose a Bride in One Night was also one of my faves—and not just because it’s dedicated to me (but it didn’t hurt).  Also read two books that are 2014 releases, but since I read them in 2014, I feel entitled to mention them here.


One is Vanessa Kelly’s Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, which releases in April. The second is A Kiss of Lies by Bronwen Evans, which releases on the 14th of this month. Both were excellent. I couldn’t believe my good fortune in being provided with early copies. Put them on your buy-lists.


I also read a lot of NA (New Adult) and YA (Young Adult) this year. My friends were reading and writing it, and I found myself wondering what all the conversation was about. First of all, let me say, you do not have to be young to enjoy either of these genres. I’m over forty, and I still find the characters quite appealing. My two favorite NAs were J. Lynn’s Wait for You and Sophie Jordan’s Foreplay. These books had heroes that might teach a Regency gentleman a thing or two.


And while everyone was discussing the Hunger Games movie and the ending of the Divergent series (read both series), I was reading The Razorland series by Ann Aguirre. People, if you haven’t read it and you even sort of liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, you must read it. It’s just as good, if not better, and doesn’t end with the controversy of Allegiant.


I could go on and on. I haven’t even mentioned contemporary, paranormal, or erotic romance, but I don’t feel like I read enough of those genres this year to give recommendations. I need to work on that in 2014.

What were some of your favorite books this past year? What releases are you looking forward to?

Robyn DeHart
Robyn DeHart


Best Of, Christmas, Fun, Robyn DeHart

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232323232fp54=ot>233;=--6=<23=XROQDF>2323737863572ot1lsiLet me take you back in time to December 5 years ago, I was newly engaged and on a plane with my fiance on our way to Ohio to meet my future in-laws. Now most of you know that I was born and raised in Central Texas where our winters consist mostly of 50 degree days with beautiful blue skies and the occasional ice storm. I had never been around real snow, not the powdery stuff you see on TV and I was super excited. When we got off the plane at Cleveland’s airport and I stepped outside I completely lost my breath (you know the way babies do when you blow in their little faces). It was COLD! And snow was everywhere.

It was evening so I didn’t get out in it much that night, but the following day it was time to play. I was like a

kid in the proverbial candy story, itching with excitement. So on my first day with the white stuff here’s what I learned.


And please note that you will now understand who the idiot is in my blog’s title. And you Yankees can feel free to laugh at me, it’s okay, I deserve it.

Snow is wet - Now I’m not sure what I was expecting since this is simply frozen precipitation, but the fact that I got all wet when I made a snow angel was a big surprise to me.

232323232fp7>nu=324->9;5>;32>WSNRCG=3232828772674nu0mrjScarves are good – There is a reason people in the north wear scarves. Until this trip, I never understood the value of a scarf, but I get it now so that the snow doesn’t fall down your collar and chill your neck.

of=50,332,443Snow gets hard - No luckily I didn’t have to learn this the hard way (pardon the pun), but I easily could have. On that first day when we went out so I could play in the snow, there was a lovely and huge pile of snow right by my in-law’s garage. Now in retrospect I do realize that what follows was incredibly foolish for a variety of reasons. Number 1, I’d never been to my in-laws and for all I knew there was a brick wall under that snow. And well, as my fiances eyes grew round and panic etched his features as I free-fell backwards into the powder, I learned that sometimes snow can be hard. But as I said, I was lucky and it wasn’t and my fall was wonderfully childish and fun.

Snow is so quiet - this isn’t so much an idiot’s lesson, but again I was relatively surprised by how quiet the snow is when it falls. It’s peaceful and solemn and beautiful and if it weren’t so darn cold I’d want to see it everyday.

We’re up here now in snowy NE Ohio and having a great time. We’re excpected more snow today and the rest of our time here, and there’s still one thing I’ve never done…make a snowman. So hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do so this time. How about you? Do you love the snow? Have you ever been surprised by a new place you visited?

Oh and Happy New Year!

**this blog was originally posted in December 2009

Word blockAre you a word freak? Here is a short quiz to test yourself. Be honest–no one is looking!

1) Do you have a favorite word?

2) When you’re asked #1, do you have to stop and ask, “Favorite word, as in how it sounds? Or favorite word, as in how it looks?” For example, “egregious” sounds awesome, but looks gross. “Glimmer” looks gorgeous, but is kind of blah in the ear.

3) Do you have a most-hated word? And can it change from year to year? For instance, I’m in a writing program right now, and the next person who says “trope” to me is taking a big risk.

4) Do you know, and even use, any of the nonsense words, like “brillig” or “snicker-snack,” from “Jabberwocky”?

Listtening to music while brushing hair_ humor5) Do you rarely have to say “lalala…dum-de-dum” when you’re singing along to your iPod? Do you always know almost all the words?

6) When you come to a grammatically incorrect lyric, do you ever correct it as you sing? I mean, no one corrects “I can’t get no satisfaction,” but what about “I’m not willing to lay down and die, because I am an innocent man”?

Purple Blues7) Have you ever painted a room a color like “Pool Party” or “Amethyst Haze,” just because you love the name?

8) Do you steal great lines from your favorite movies and use them in your own life? “Frankly, my dear,” you might say when someone points out there are 1,000 calories in that slice of cheesecake, “I don’t give a damn.”

9) Do you ever write down your wishes, as if that gives them reality and power? Do you sometimes refuse to speak your fears out loud? Do you have your own “He-who-must-not-be-named?”

10) Fill in your own Word Freak Truth here. Chances are, if you’re a Word Freak, you probably didn’t have to take this quiz to know it.

word lovers club

So how did you do?

If you answered “Yes” to five out of the ten questions, you’re probably a word-lover, at least.

Six or seven “Yes” answers, and you’re definitely a member of the club!

Eight or more? We’re best friends and just don’t know it yet!

So, come on…share your Number 10 with me!

What quirky thing do you do that proves you belong to this club? I can’t wait to hear!  

betting on the cowboy coverI’ll be giving away a copy of BETTING ON THE COWBOY to one poster today!

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