Guest Author: Lena Diaz & Giveaway!

I’m so pleased to have a good friend of mine on the blog today – debut author Lena Diaz.  Lena’s romantic suspense novel, He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not, is one of the launch books for Avon Impulse, the new Harper Collins digital-first imprint.  Exciting stuff!

Lena is a truly talented writer, whose manuscripts were winning accolades even before publication.  She’s won the Tara, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Romantic Suspense, and finaled in the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious contest for unpublished authors, The Golden Heart.   I’m going to turn the blog over to Lena now – she has some thoughts about heroes she’d like to share with us!

What Makes A Romance Hero Romantic?

Vanessa, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! I’ll jump right into my topic, which is — What makes a romance novel hero romantic?

Recently, two of my friends critiqued a scene I’d just written. Without seeing each other’s comments, they both highlighted the same line of dialogue, and they both said it was so romantic. I was surprised, because that line seemed ordinary, nothing special. What was it about that one line that sounded romantic? Neither of my friends could explain why it felt romantic. They just knew that it did.

I looked back through the scene, which was the first meet between the hero and heroine. I tried to figure out why that line seemed so special. All through the scene the hero was cold, almost to the point of being mean, because he despised the choices the heroine had made in her life. But at the very end of the scene, he couldn’t walk away without offering the heroine some kind of consolation. He had to say that one little line, trying to make her feel better.

That one line of dialogue showed the hero’s true character, his compassion. It gave the reader a glimpse into the hero’s true self. In that one line, we saw that the hero cared for the weak and downtrodden, even if he didn’t want to. The line itself wasn’t romantic. The reasons behind the hero’s words were romantic.

Let’s look at a scene where the hero and heroine dance together. By itself, the scene is nothing special. But let’s change it up a bit. Let’s say the heroine just got dumped by her boyfriend, very publicly, and he walks across the dance floor with another woman. Our heroine is sitting alone, humiliated. Other women she knows are giggling and making fun of her at the next table. They’re also flirting outrageously with our gorgeous hero.

Disgusted at how the women, and the boyfriend, treated the heroine, the hero asks the heroine to dance. He treats her like a princess, lavishing her with attention. By dancing with her, he gives her revenge against everyone who treated her so badly, and he helps her self-esteem.

Suddenly that scene is far more romantic. Or, at least, it is to me! The hero is no longer just a cute guy. He’s sexy, hot, appealing, romantic–not because of his looks–but because of the person he is inside.

So tell me, what do you think makes a romance novel hero romantic? Is it all looks? His voice? The way he gazes into a woman’s eyes, as if she’s the only person in the room? Or is it his character, his moral convictions, his compassion for others? Or something else entirely? I’d love to hear your opinions!

He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not

Four years ago, Amanda Stockton was forced to play a serial killer’s twisted game of chance. Since then, she has retreated from the world, bearing the scar from her ordeal and the burden of a terrible secret. But when another woman is found dead, clutching a long-stemmed red rose, Amanda knows she can hide no longer.

If there were any other way, Chief Logan Richards would never ask the only surviving victim for help. But it’s clear this killer will not be stopped and Amanda is the only link. Torn between catching a madman and winning the trust of the woman he’s come to love, Logan is caught in a dangerous game with Amanda. And there’s no guarantee they’ll come out on top.

Vanessa, here.  Lena will be giving away one copy of He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not, to one of my readers today.  Just answer her question to win!  But that’s not all.  Five readers who comment today will also win a set of Lena’s romance trading cards.  There are four cards to a set, including this dreamy one of her romantic hero, Logan Richards.  Yum!

Never heard about romance trading cards, the latest thing sweeping through romancelandia?  You can check them out on the romance trading card website.