Monday, June 1, 2009

Alpha Heroes Rule

Please welcome author Toni Blake to our Island! Toni became one of my favorite contemporary authors after reading Letters To A Secret Lover and then clinched it after I read with Tempt Me Tonight. Toni also write erotica under the name Lacey Alexander.

A little about Toni:
Toni Blake's love of writing began when she won an essay contest in the fifth grade. Soon after, she penned her first novel, nineteen notebook-pages long, and announced to her mother over breakfast one day that she was going to be a writer when she grew up. Since then, Toni has become the author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels. Her work has been excerpted in Cosmo, she's been a recipient of the Kentucky Women Writers Fellowship and a nominee for the prestigious Pushcart Prize, and she's also had more than forty short stories and articles published. Toni lives with her husband in the Midwest and enjoys traveling, genealogy, crafts, and snow skiing.

In recent years, I have become known for writing super sexy books about angst-ridden alpha males. Why do I do this? Well, there are a lot of reasons.

From a writerly viewpoint, it is, in my opinion, much easier to create a compelling story about an angry dude with problems than a calm dude without them. Because, of course, the reader instantly wants to know: A)Why is this dude so angry? and B) What are his problems? No one really wants to know why the calm dude is calm.But that's not the only reason. As a reader, I am also a huge fan of the alpha male and I cut my romance-reading teeth on them back in the mid-90s. I love the banter that seems to naturally grow from having a sensible woman try to converse with an angst-ridden male. I love the physical descriptions of them, particularly the idea that they are "big," and no, I don't just mean below the belt, ladies, but I don't mind getting or giving that impression, too. No matter how you slice it, the alpha male's body and how he uses it is definitely part of what we like about him.
In other ways, though, the gut-wrenching appeal of the alpha hero is almost indefinable – but it definitely springs from a primitive, animalistic place inside us. In real life, we may or may not want to be with that kind of guy (my own husband is a wonderful beta who makes me laugh every day and I wouldn't have it any other way) but in our books, we alpha-lovers have a primal, physiological yearning to be with a big, strong man who can build the hut and slay the mastodon. That said, I am also a believer that romance is feminist literature in its own subtle way, and we also want to be the woman powerful enough to tame the beast inside the alpha male.

Don't let the lovely, lakeside cover of my new book, ONE RECKLESS SUMMER, fool you – an alpha male definitely resides underneath it. In this first book of the Destiny series I pit the ultimate good girl, Jenny Tolliver, against the ultimate bad boy, Mick Brody. I am beyond excited to be writing a series for Avon set in the quaint small town of Destiny, Ohio, and my goal with the series is to show that the sexy alpha male can go hand-in-hand with the iconic Adirondack chair. ; ) Destiny is quaint, and aspects of the love stories are definitely sweet, but I promise you my bad boys are just as bad and the sex is just as sexy. The book just hit shelves this week, so I hope you'll check it out and fall in love with Destiny just as I have.

So, readers, why do you love alpha heroes? What makes them work for you? Is it possible for an alpha hero to go too far and stop appealing to you? And who are some of your fave alpha guys in the romance world?

P.S. All the featured guys are ones I'm semi-modeling future Destiny heroes after. (And yes, one of them is from Baywatch, but not anymore – now he's a Destiny fireman : ) )


Chris said...

Oh, yeah, it's definitely possible for a hero to be too alpha and too angsty - if he gets so angsty he's annoying, or if I start feeling like I need to punch him because he's being TSTL alpha...

Hmm. Favorite alpha males. Roarke - but he's pretty low on the angst scale. Wrath, Z, V, or Butch from BDB. The hunky wizard Edge brothers from Cherry Adair's T-FLAC series.

Bridget Locke said...

*sigh* I love Alpha males. There's something about them that just makes me tingle. *snicker*

That being said, here are just a few of my all-time fave Alpha heroes.

Jace McKenna from To Tempt a Wolf by Kate Steele. Oh, buddy! *wipes brow*

Judd from Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh.

Jericho Barrons from KMM's Fever series.

I'm of the opinion that angst and Alpha go hand-in-hand, but if a hero is TOO Alpha or angsty, he's then annoying and not worth reading about. :D

Thanks for visiting DIK! Glad you came by! :)

Maija said...

I love alpha males!!!

But I thought that the first book in Feehan's Dark series included a man who was a bit too alpha male.

There are so many great alpha men from which to choose from... But like Bridget said before me, I like Jericho Barrons. I'm anxiously waiting for the next Fever book to see what he does next...

Stacy~ said...

Hey Toni, it's cool to see you on the Island *g*

I've read some books where the hero is definitely too alpha, reminding me of those brutal jerks from the 70's & 80's where they bossed and dictated to the woman they supposedly loved, expecting her to fall at his feet, grateful for his attention. That doesn't work anymore, if it ever did.

I like Sam Starrett (Brockmann's Troubleshooter series), because he also has an emotional side. Zsadist (Ward) & Zarek (Kenyon) because they were cruel to hide their pain but when they fell, they fell hard, and it was wonderful. Those are my kinda alphas.

WK said...

Ohhh first I loved, adored, want more of ONE RECKLESS SUMMER It's an awesome read!!!

Now, I do adore Alpha Heroes. I'll read about a Beta one from time to time, but I find when I do I tend to pick out the Alpha in the story and want more of him. I'm married to an Alpha who has Beta traits at times.LOL

Why do I love them? That's hard to answer, I think part of it is growing up with alphas has a lot to do with it. I think it's the strength they have. It just appeals to me.

As for my favorite, humm I'd have to think for a bit to find my overall favorite outside, Sin MacAlister from BORN IN SIN by Kinley MacGregor. Right now it's Mick Brody. I do love that guy.LOL

Great post Toni!!!!

Toni Blake said...

Hey ladies, thanks so much for stopping by with such great comments about alpha heroes! I was hoping this would be a topic that would spark interest, and I think I was right : ) I'm enjoying hearing who your faves are.

Stacy, I agree - those 70s and 80s guys, ugh. I'll tell you a secret. The first romance novel I ever read actually ended up in the garbage because of that. I was SO freaked out by it - I thought I'd be reading, you know, a nice historical story, and what I got was a guy who brutally raped the heroine OVER AND OVER AGAIN. So yeah, I can't go for that ; )

Toni Blake said...

Wendy - wow, thank you so much!! I'm thrilled you enjoyed ONE RECKLESS SUMMER so much : ) : ) And glad you're digging Mick. I do think he was one of my baddest bad boys, given his past, and I loved writing him. So glad you like him, too : )

Lindsey said...

Wendy, I'm so in love with Mick right now, too! If I could get into this hero draft you all have going on, he would be all mine. ;)

One of the things I love about Mick is that in spite of all his sexy, authoritative alpha-ness, he really does listen to Jenny and want to trust her. Because that's what drives me crazy about those old school uber alphas - they just don't listen to the heroine or take her seriously. Not even when she's saying sensible and important things like, "I'm not a prostitute and I don't want to sleep with you". I could really believe in Mick's love for Jenny because of how much it was clear that he respected and valued her, and because he was able to show her a much softer side of himself (except, ya know, when they were having hot, wild sex - and isn't that the best reason to love alphas? ;) ).

Toni Blake said...

Hey Lindsey - thanks ever so much for that lovely assessment of Mick in ONE RECKLESS SUMMER : ) You're right - much of his "tough guy" attitude and persona are really about his long-time reputation and having led a pretty challenging life in many ways. He doesn't necessarily WANT to be as alpha as he is - but life has dictated it ; ) And Jenny IS just the girl to bring out the other parts of him.

Ciara said...

Oh, wow, I'm sold on ONE RECKLESS SUMMER after reading those comments!

I prefer the "warrior" or "chief" alpha male to the "lost soul," who often gets waaay to angsty. I fall for alpha males because they'll slay dragons for their heroines. Sometimes lost souls *coughzsadistcough* need to man up and get over themselves.

My favorite alphas, off the top of my head, are Brendan Kel-Patin (Games of Command/Sinclair), Jamie Fraiser (Outlander/Gabaldon), Adam Black (The Immortal Highlander/Moning), and Eidolon (Pleasure Unbound/Ione).

Toni Blake said...

"Oh, wow, I'm sold on ONE RECKLESS SUMMER after reading those comments!"

Hey, Ciara, thank you for this! I really appreciate that. And thanks for stopping by to chat! : )

I don't read too many chief or warrior guys, but I do have fond memories of Jamie in Outlander : ) Thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

Hey Toni! Thanks for visiting us here on the island. Here - have a drink with an umbrella. :)

I love, love, love alpha males but yes there is a point where they can go overboard and then it feels like their "owning" the heroine. I especially like it if the heroine then stands up to the hero and knocks him back down to size. Not in a bad way but one that says you can be alpha but I'm not your property.

Let's see some of my favorite alpha's:

Jamie - Outlander
Lucas from the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh
And of course I can't forget Daemon Sadi from the Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. Yum. :)

Toni Blake said...

Hi Tracy and thanks for the welcome : ) I love nothing like I love an umbrella drink : ) : )

And yes, good point. I love seeing an alpha pitted against a woman who can tame him - and that's actually pretty much the kind of book I personally write. I use the word "tame" loosely, mind you - but at any rate, I like when the heroine proves to the hero that he's met his match : )

Toni Blake said...

Hey ladies, it's dinnertime in my neck of the woods, so I'll be signing off for the day. Before I go, though, thanks so much to the Desert Island Keeper ladies for inviting me today. I enjoyed the visit and hope I might have stirred your interest in the alpha guys of Destiny and in ONE RECKLESS SUMMER : )

Anonymous said...

hot guys congrats ont eh hot book

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