It’s been said that romance readers are out of touch with reality.  I suggest my HEA-loving sisters and I just like to fantasize about the male ideal, but know and appreciate the actuality of real-life guys' imperfections. Romance fans, I’ve long said, don’t live in fantasy worlds; we just dream in them.

I was reminded of this today while reading a guest post by author Stephanie Tyler, whose exciting, intense and aggressively erotic back2back romantic suspense trilogy about three adoptive brothers who are Navy SEALs is heating up shelves right now.  

In her post, Tyler writes about how no less than three of her readers wrote to tell her that one of the brother/characters, Chris Waldron, is a man they dated in real life, and they wonder whether she has any contact info so they can track him down. Apparently this guy, a hot seaman from Cajun country, made quite the impression, just like his namesake whose story is told in the Jan. 26 release, “Hold On Tight  .”  

Chris Waldron is intro’d in Tyler’s current release in the trilogy, “Too Hot to Hold,” in which we meet his bro, Nick Devane, a hot ticket whose life on/off the job is pretty much one, enormous, long-standing covert op.  While he’s rarely able to let down his guard for more than a few hours of aggressively sought hook-ups excised of any kind of intimacy, it only takes a few shifts of the controlled reality he’s tried to create to allow his past to come barreling at him full-force – and dead center.

Serving up the shake-ups is none other than ace reporter Kaylee Smith, who’s desperate to find her dead ex-husband who also was military. Her trying to uncover her ex’s possible war crimes in Africa – and why the bad guys want info about them -- threatens hers and Nick’s lives by tossing them in the paths of unprincipled mercenaries and rogue agents who don’t care much that Kaylee and Nick have got it goin’ on.

Yet Kaylee and Nick are quite the memorable romance couple because they own some layers, some hidden depth that Tyler reveals as her story unfolds.  It’s the “rest of the story,” the weaknesses or mistakes a character makes, or the fears and foibles she is courageous to reveal, which have us thinking back on parts of the book in the future.

But while we – and definitely I – often think with fondness about romance characters, especially heroes, we’re fond of, I’m wondering:

Have you met men in real life who seem as if the heroes of novels could have been based upon them? Tell us about the guys, the heroes and the books. - and - Do you ever fear you’ve lost touch with reality from reading romances, i.e., have the expectation that real-life men should act like romance heroes?

Check out book 1 in the series, "Hard to Hold  ," and erotic romance by Steph's alter ego, Sydney Croft  .
Click here for Michelle's 2010 advice to the publishing industry. 


by on ‎01-13-2010 01:19 PM

If I had dime for everytime a woman said I should be the hero of a romance novel, I'd be weathly man :smileywink:

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-13-2010 04:28 PM

Really, Paul? That's a dangerous thing to say in this crowd!

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎01-14-2010 09:24 AM

Becke, don't worry I believe our dear Paul has become quite delusional. But if not Paul could we please have details because we romance readers are all about the deets. Right girls.


Now on to the meat of the issue- I know a man or two who could be heros in a romance novel, not the Seal or FBI kind, but my girlfriend is married to just such a guy. For her 30th B-D he planned a sleep over for her with all of her friends and took himself and the kids out of the house for the night. He made sure there was plenty of naughty books, movies and magazines just lying around the house, brought in a case of bubbly and lots of girly snacks, provided us with boxes of make-up paraphernalia etc and left us to our own devices. It was the most fun I've had as an adult. My husband other wise known as Neanderthal the second thought it was stupid, needles to say that is why I get lawnmowers for birthday gifts and she got the sleepover of the century.


As far as getting lost in my own head over romances and loosing touch with reality, no way. But I do love the escapism that comes with reading a hot, steamy, sizzling novel.

Great article as always Michelle.


by Author Susan-Mallery on ‎01-14-2010 02:09 PM



Your girlfriend is a lucky woman. That party sounds like the most fun ever! I'm convinced that most women still feel giggly inside about the same things that made us giggle when we were in high school. Especially cute boys!

by 1lovealways on ‎01-14-2010 07:10 PM

Hi Everyone!


All I can say is WOW about your friend's 30th Birthday Bash Deb!  That's sounds like sooooo much fun! 


Susan I've got to agree with you about most women still feeling giggly inside about those long ago things in our life.  In fact, I still laugh about mine.  There were several cute boys, but one in particular that just did it for me.  I still look in my high school yearbook at his picture and sigh.  Can't help it!  


I do have a cousin who I think a romance hero could be based on.  He's a real hero to me because he exemplifies what a husband, father and stepfather should be.  Mind you he was a good naughty boy who grew into a hero in my eyes as he matured.  Year by year layers of maturity, responsibility and wisdom shown through in his character.  Now these traits are fully entrenched and so wonderful to see.


There is one story that I recall where the hero in a romance may have been based on a real hero.  Lavyrle Spencer's Morning Glory comes to mind.  In the story Elly, a pregnant widow with two children advertises for a husband and gets Will.  Will has been in trouble with the law, but paid his debt to society.  They marry and settle down to life in rural America.  At first so many things go wrong, but both weather the storms.  Eventually Elly grows to love Will as he does her.  It's a great story!


No, I don't think I've lost touch with reality by reading romances.  Far from it.  I read for escapism.  I read romances because there's so many cruel and awful things happening in the world and I want something where I don't have to read about the realities of the world.  Just for a few hours.  Romance gives that to me.  Real life is never going to be like life in a book.  Life in a book is constructed by an author and it can be whatever the author wants it to be. 


It would be nice if real life men acted like romance heroes.  I have no illusions of that happening.  Most things in life are never what we want them to be.  In other words, if our heroes were like heroes in romance novels, that would be ideal.   That's not to say that they can't come close.  It just depends on what each person sees in the other.  As they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  In this case romantic actions and notions are also in the eye as well. :smileyhappy:

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-15-2010 09:23 AM

Debbie - I love the story about your friend's 30th birthday bash. Now THAT is a romance hero of a husband. Your friend is one lucky woman.

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎01-15-2010 09:40 AM

I know she is and it always seems to me that the outwardly geeky guys have the biggest hearts and her husband definitely falls in the, well if not geeky category then in the academic one. He kind of reminds me of Carter in Nora Roberts Vision in White.


by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-15-2010 11:19 AM

Ok, first I have to clarify that Paul thinks he's kidding, but he really is cute. Plus he's one of those "I love my kids" guys, and doesn't that always make guys cuter?


Deb, that sounds like an awesome party! I'm going to have to make an addendum to my husband, Male Perspective Guy's "No Presents with Electrical Cords for Chicks" rule to note "nothing that needs gas added, unless it's a car or motorcycle or cute little vespi thing.  Dave established his rule after gving me a tv for a birthday early on in our relationship. i rarely watch tv. he loves it. i had a teeny b/w.  getting the picture? 

Susan, I'm SO with you!  I know I love getting together with my girlfriends and getting silly over sex and boys.  In fact, I'm WAY more giggly about it now than then.  Thanks for stopping by!





by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-15-2010 11:27 AM

Debbie -- I LOVED Carter in Visions in White! My kind of geek. Michelle - gotta love guys who love their kids. That's one of my favorite things about my husband; he's the best dad ever, and my kids agree. He got a cool Hallmark book for my daughter -- it's The Night Before Christmas, but you read and record every page. It took him ages to get it right, but my daughter (who lives in Florida and gets homesick) LOVED it. She especially liked it because my husband's English accent, which has mostly faded, comes back strongly when he reads aloud. She got a real kick out of that.

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎01-15-2010 11:33 AM

Aww, to the perfect dads. I had one too.


And yes Michelle a guy loving their kids does add to the cute factor and if he's walking a small white fluffy dog too. OMG  Look out female population!!!

by PrincessBumblebee on ‎01-15-2010 04:25 PM

lol! I've definately seen a few that seem as if they should be the center of a romance novel, hehe. Like the military man who held the door opened for me whom I was sure belonged in a  Tara Janzen novel or one of the former owners of the business I worked for, who should have belonged in one of those Harlequin Presents novels, hehe.

Also, I think Matt, my brother's roommate, needs a romance novel. Maybe I should help him with that. Or maybe I already have by sending the guys a calendar of puppies and kittens, hehe

by Cheyenne_Catina on ‎01-15-2010 07:11 PM

ok, that birthday bash sounds like fun!

and ill face it...i know its a book, but sometimes i get caught up in one


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