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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Hero On Canvas

Hello my fellow romance fans! I am so glad you joined me today as I wanted to talk about one of my favorite things: the hero.

When I read a book, of course I examine the cover to get an initial idea of what the hero should look like. But I absolutely love when the author gives you a more vivid description of his physical features as well as a deeper look into his character.

For example, in my historical, Ræliksen, I have a cover that paints an outline of what my hero might look like, but I also like to think I gave him more depth and color when I described him the first time my heroine, Mara, saw him:

There he stood; a monument of beauty and power, sturdy as the ground beneath him. He had long blond hair, a well groomed beard, and skin darkened from the sun. His hands showed scars and calluses from years of hard work, yet his clothes presented a different story, one of wealth and importance. His tunic was made of the finest wool, a lovely shade of cerulean with a tablet-woven braid around the neckline and hem, which came to rest at his knees. His legs were bare, save for his calves wrapped in the soft cowhide of his boots. His eyes revealed a sense of maturity and intrigue, yet even the darkness could not hide their color for they were as blue as the ocean he sailed. Before her stood a being that only one word could suitably describe.

Lochlannach,” she breathed.

And here is another when she gets to see his bare chest for the first time because of the rainfall that soaks them:

Mara peeked her head slightly over her shoulder, fully expecting him to still be naked. But he was covered, eyes tapered to slits and his hands on his narrow hips. The reddish hide hung low at his waist exposing his entire torso. It was longer than she imagined but just as well, for she had never seen an unclothed man before. His chest was relatively bare, exposing two small nipples and a thin layer of dark blond curls at his navel that ran down beyond the obscurity of the animal skin.

My favorite thing about romances is the distinct sketch of what the hero looks like (before and after the clothes come off). I love when an author goes into detail about things we might overlook when imagining the hero ourselves. Perhaps a scar faded with time, or a fleck of color in one eye. Maybe it's the cute way his belly button slightly protrudes from a rippled score of stomach muscles...(sorry, I'm drifting away with my own devious imagination.)

Anyway, to me, an author can never be too meticulous or exhaustive when it comes to painting the hero of the story. The more the better...

So now, I question your thoughts on the matter. Do you correlate the picture of what the hero is like from the cover with the details of the author's description inside? Or do you not pay much attention to either? Do you think authors can go too far in their narrative sketches, wanting some things to be left to the imagination? Or do you think some authors fail to paint the hero well enough?

I'd love to hear your opinions and, by all means, if you've read a great description of a hero from a book, please post it-- of course giving credit to the author along with the title of the book.

If you liked the eye candy posted here, then hop on over to my blog today as well. Every Wednesday I post a featured man who is likely to "wake you up" when coffee alone may not be doing its job. I'd love to see you there!

You an also visit me at

Ræliksen: Book One of the Emerald Isle Trilogy will be released from Turquoise Morning Press August 20, 2010! Mark your calendars!


Amber Skyze said...

I love the eye candy! :)

I've learned to not judge the hero or heroine by the cover. I think the only time a cover artist nailed both h/h of my books was for Talk Dirty to Topaz.

That's not to say I don't adore my covers because I do. ;)

Great blog today.

Renee Vincent said...

Oh, please realize I never "judge" the h/h by the cover, but I do like to look back from time to time and it's grand when the cover artist can (as you said) nail them both. haha

Thanks for being here with me Amber!

Tina Donahue said...

I just love the cover of your book, Renee. It sounds like one satisfying and hot read. :)

Virginia C said...

Hi, Renee! Thank you for a most delicious post! Oooh, what huggable hunks! I can't wait to collect your "Emerald Isle Trilogy", and feast on Raeliksen and Mac Liam! A literary feast, of course (ahem) : )

They say the first love is the deepest, and my first true literary love is (always) Cole Latimer from "Ashes in the Wind" by the late, great Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. "Ashes” is a soaring Civil War love story which shows the humanity and the tragedy of both sides of the conflict. Cole Latimer is a Yankee surgeon whose compassionate nature and strong physician’s ethics benefit both “the blue and the gray”. Alaina MacGaren is a beautiful young Southern woman forced to pose as a young boy in order to survive. In her disguise as “Al”, the young cleaning boy at the military hospital, she comes to know Dr. Latimer. The beginning of their relationship is that of sparring partners who form a tentative friendship. Once they finally face each other as man and woman, a deep, abiding love begins to grow. Their passion overcomes many doubts and obstacles and finally reaches full bloom. Both of these characters went through a personal growth process as the horror of the War Between the States and its lasting aftermath unfolded. Cole’s disgust and frustration when he was unable to save a life due to military interference was deeply felt. Alaina’s desire to be seen as a lovely young woman instead of a ragged boy was palpable. An unforgettable love story.

Here's a glimpse of Cole:

"A tall figure strode into view, resplendent in dress-blue uniform with shiny brass buttons, bright braid on cuffs, and gold epaulettes bearing the rank of captain riding on wide shoulders. A red and white sash was bound about a lean waist beneath a wide black gun belt, and a Hardee hat was pulled down over his scowling brow. As the man came forward, the yellow stripes that ran down the sides of his trousers flashed against the blue of the cloth.

.........eyes of bright azure blue set in a face bronzed golden by the sun. Long, light brown sideburns were neatly trimmed, accentuating the leanly fleshed cheekbones and firm angular jaw. His nose was thin and well formed, slightly aquiline, and beneath it were generous, but at the moment, unsmiling, lips. There was an air of the professional soldier about him, a quality that displayed itself in his crisp manner, almost painfully neat apparel, and rather austere mien. The handsome features bore the look of good breeding appropriate to some princely head of state and those eyes, fringed with dark lashes......"

I love my books from cover to cover, and everything in-between. It is very important for the cover image and back blurb to match the character descriptions and story line details. It is quite disconcerting to have the book cover not match the book content. I want the whole package, and that is one reason why I will always prefer print books over digital.

Renee Vincent said...

Thanks Tina, you are too kind!

Virginia: as always, you astound me. Both by your praise of my upcoming trilogy and by your posts. I LOVED those descriptions of him...I can see why Kathleen Woodiwiss captured your heart with this hero. He sounds so amazing!

Thank you for taking the time to post the description of the book itself and of course the delightful hero.

Paris said...

Your cover is delicious and your descriptions are very vivid! Your book sounds wonderful:-)

Katalina Leon said...

I love a good book cover but I understand most cover artist never read the book and a true match between cover art and story is as rare as a lightening strike.
I'll admit to creating my own heros and heroines in my head based on the author's description.

Judy said...

I haven't got past the pictures on your blog :) Especially the last one, I would if that water was cold or luke warm;)

I love the covers, but I really don't even consider if they are the hero/heroine. Maybe I should rethink that.

Renee Vincent said...

Thanks Paris! My cover artist did a grand job I think of matching my hero to a physical man. If I may borrow your words...He is delicious!

Katalina: I agree. I wish cover artists DID have the time to read the story so they could find that perfect man to represent the hero.
Thanks for your input!

Renee Vincent said...

Judy: Awww... thanks dear. I love Wednesdays! You should come back next week, and the week might have a better morning. *wink*

And yes, that water photo was so cool...wonder how many takes it took to get it right? hahah

misskallie2000 said...

I loved the way you described the hero and how the heroine reacted as you described him. I have been avid reader for over 55 yrs and love romance books but I don't like erotic type descriptions in my books. Maybe it's my age. lol

I will look at the cover after reading the hero's discription to see if pic looks like hero. I like the hero and heroine to be on the cover for that reason.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Brandlwyne said...

Yep I like the candy... I'm going to pop over to your site and see some more!!!!

Paty Jager said...

Nice post! Pics and all! LOL I like just enough hero info in a book to get an idea of what he's like, dark hair, curly or straight, a square jaw the color of his eyes, Whether he's tall broad shoulders or slender. But I don't like to be over done. I want to use my imagination, too.

Renee Vincent said...

misskallie2000: Thank you for your comments on how I described my hero. I am very grateful.

Brandlwyne: It's great to see you here and at my blog. Thanks for taking the time to visit me at both!

Patty: Thanks...I must admit, I had fun finding those pics.

Thanks for the company ladies!

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