Congratulations, Lindsay, on your One Lovely Blog awards. They are justly deserved.
And thank you for choosing a subject that has made me pause and give thought to what deeper motives lurk behind the type of heroes and heroines that I create. I found it easy to define what makes a man a hero. But I find that I am more demanding of the traits that make a woman a heroine.
Her physical appearance must be pleasing. I tend to choose some shade of blond hair, tall, graceful, thin, and of course, young. None of the traits I possess and all of which I covet. She must be beautiful, which doesn't mean pretty. Beautiful women are often plain-featured but have that certain arresting quality that defies description.
I want a heroine to be calm, charming, and courageous with a wry sense of humor. No Nervous Nellies, nitpickers, or doormats need apply. Nor any Poor-little-ole-me types even if they change as the plot develops. And she must be totally lovable in the eyes of the hero. She must be good (not Goodie-Two-Shoes),honest, kind, and loyal. Sounds like a Girl Scout, doesn't she? And I almost forgot to mention intelligent. She may be smarter than the hero but would have the good sense not to show it.
Most important of all, my heroine must have traits that appeal to women. For only if other women would choose her as a friend, can she be the kind of person who is truly self-actualized and worthy to be called a heroine in my book (pun intended)
When I examine my heroines by this standard, they don't always measure up but most of them fit the description fairly well. Take B.J., the heroine in my soon-to-be released book, Single Status. She has all the physical characteristics mentioned above, and all the personality traits listed except for charm. And a former husband who was an insensitive jerk is responsible for her abrasive reactions toward the male species at present. Instead of seeking pity, B.J. takes on a challenge that demands her all. Since this is a romance, I don't need to tell you that she overcomes every obstacle, but I hope you will enjoy reading how she does it.
Title: Single Status
Winner of Awe-Struck Short Novel Award 2008
Author: Linda Swift
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Available: September 25, 2009 E-book and print
Buy Link: http://www.awe-struck.net/
Through a stateside headquarters mix-up, B.J. and Dana are forced to share a villa on a start-up job in a power plant in St. Croix. B.J. is determined to prove herself as capable as the other engineers and wants to be treated like one of the guys. But Dana finds it difficult to follow her wishes.
Just three more days, B.J. reminded herself with grim determination as she adjusted the straps of her backpack and joined her house-mate for the ride to work. Then their only contact would be at the plant when changing shifts and that would be strictly business.
"My turn mornings," she held out her hand for the keys Dana had already taken from the counter.
"Sorry," he mumbled as he handed them over and picked up his lunch box.
B.J. hadn't carried one since the day she'd found the dead lizard, preferring to manage with whatever food could be kept in her backpack without spoilage rather than giving Dana Thomas a chance to repeat his nasty surprise.
The air in the villa had been frigid the past four evenings in spite of the tropical heat as Dana and B.J., without verbal discussion, had worked out a system of avoidance. He ate dinner while she showered, she moved to the kitchen and he claimed the bath. He watched the evening news while she did her personal laundry, hanging it in her room. She remained there, studying prints spread on her bed, sometimes tempted to ask him to explain something that was unclear but stubbornly resisting the impulse.
One evening he had gone to the pool and images of the night she had lost herself in his arms filled her head. She could still feel his mouth on hers and his body pressed against her. Only fate had prevented them from making a terrible mistake. But to resort to putting a dead lizard in her lunch because she had refused to continue their folly after she'd come to her senses had been pathetic.
She turned the ignition and gunned the car out of the parking space and down the steep hill with a vengeance, then sensibly slowed when she reached the highway. She heard the man beside her give a barely audible sigh of relief and saw his feet, which had been planted firmly on the floorboard, visibly relax.
"Glad you got that, whatever it was, out of your system, Sutherland," he growled.
"The only systems you need concern yourself with at the moment are at ChemCorp, Thomas," she retorted.
"I'll concern myself with the performance of any system that threatens my safety, Sutherland."
"Oh, you're perfectly safe with me, Thomas," she said with exaggerated emphasis.
Her double-entendre was not lost on Dana and he was left with no suitable repartee that would not get him into deeper waters so he remained silent for the remainder of the drive.
From the corner of his eye, Dana watched the obstinate woman behind the wheel. The early morning sun cast a golden glow on her fine-featured face and he felt a sudden urge to reach out and stroke the back of her arched neck--after he wrung it--for doubting his denial of pulling that cruel prank on her. That she thought him capable of doing a thing like that was insulting enough but refusing to accept his word that he had not was the last straw. The past few days had been full of tension and he was looking forward to the time when their evenings playing house together were over. Monday couldn't come too soon.