Friday, September 4, 2009

Guest Blogger: Loucinda McGary & Giveaway

Yesterday, I reviewed THE TREASURES OF VENICE by Loucinda McGary. Not being a huge romantic suspense reader, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. I especially liked the characters; and of course, that the story took place in Italy. I am so glad to welcome Ms. McGary to my blog today. She has written a guest post about the characteristics of a fictional hero. I thought this essay was appropriate because in my opinion, Kiernan's character in THE TREASURES OF VENICE captured the essence of a hero perfectly!

Tough? Vulnerable? What Makes a Hero?

I’ve been lucky enough to have three critique partners and a couple of beta readers who have given me feedback on all my romantic suspense manuscripts that I have written thus far. I found it very interesting that all five of them picked Keirnan Fitzgerald, the contemporary hero of The Treasures of Venice (in stores NOW!), as their favorite of all my heroes. Most of them said it was because of his charm. But one of my good friends and beta reader, Sharen said she liked Keirnan best because of his vulnerability.

Sharen said the fact that he was a handsome, charming hunk didn’t hurt. Plus, he was smart and tough when he needed to be. However, the scenes where he showed his vulnerability and turned to the heroine for comfort were Sharen’s favorites, and apparently she is not the only one. The reviewer for All About Romance had this to say:

“…the plot flowed well from one story to the other, and I thought both characters were just very real, and Keirnan showed more physical weakness than we usually see with a hero — he was actually sick and injured, and affected by these things, instead of the usual macho fight through the pain. This sounds like criticism, but it’s actually praise. It just made him more human.”

Here is one of the scenes early in the story that Sharen liked because of Keirnan’s vulnerability:

Some time later, Sam emerged from the bathroom and deposited her dirty clothes back into her suitcase. Keirnan still slept, but his breathing sounded shallow and raspy. Sam reached automatically for his forehead. To her dismay, his skin felt dry and too warm. Even worse, his eyes snapped open. She snatched her hand away.
“Kath—” he began. His glittery, unfocused gaze danced across her face for a brief moment, and then he seemed to recognize her.
“Samantha, luv?” He looked around the room in confusion and struggled to sit up.
She stopped him by pressing a firm hand against his bare shoulder. It felt too warm also, which didn’t bode well for sending him on his way. Her thoughts remained a muddled mess. She needed to sort them out, which wouldn’t happen if she stayed in the same room with him.
“Go back to sleep. I’m going down for some breakfast.”
He licked his lips. “Need to get going.” However, he sank back onto the pillow.
Her own mouth felt parched. The ache pounded harder in her temples.
“No, you don’t. It’s still early. Go back to sleep.”
He really must have felt ill because he complied without another word. Sighing wearily, he closed his eyes and pulled his arm under the covers.
© Loucinda McGary, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2009

Even though this scene is in the heroine’s point of view, did you feel the hero’s vulnerability? Does he seem more human to you? Or wimpy?

I’ve asked on other blog posts for characteristics readers found most appealing in a hero. A few of the things repeated by many commenters included a sense of humor, loyalty, and a sense of protectiveness toward the heroine. I try hard to include all these traits in my heroes and yet still make them seem like real human beings. Sometimes it is a challenge!

What other characteristics do you most enjoy reading in your heroes?

About the Author: Loucinda McGary took early retirement from her managerial career to pursue her twin passions of travel and writing, and sets her novels of romantic suspense in the fascinating places she has visited. She was a finalist in the 2006 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest in Romantic Suspense. She lives in Sacramento, CA. For more information, please visit

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I am giving away 1 set of Ms. McGary’s books: THE WILD SIGHT and THE TREASURES OF VENICE. To enter this contest, please leave a comment with your e-mail address answering Ms. McGary's question: What other characteristics do you most enjoy reading in your heroes? To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This contest will be open until Thursday, September 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with US and Canada addresses only. Good luck!


Virginia C said...

Vulnerability in a strong male character is very sexy. Their strength may be impressive, but it is their personality quirks which we find endearing. The little nicks around the edges make them interesting and attractively needy.

Beth F said...

Vulnerability and self-deprecating humor are two attractive traits. Tenderness (not sappiness) is always a plus.

I have read such good things about the McGary lately, that I'd love to give the books a try.

BFish (dot) Reads (at) gmail (dot) com

I tweeted this:

bermudaonion said...

How about good old fashioned chivalry! milou2ster(at)

lag123 said...

I love a dry sense of humor.

cqueen2 said...

i also like a good sense of dry humor!!


wadesherry@hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I like to see inner strength in a character.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

I ♥ Book Gossip said...

Sounds really funny.

Count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I like humility and sense of humor.

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Jenny Girl said...

Definitely agree with vulnerability. It's noce to know men feel the same way sometimes. Sense of humor. My man or character has to have a sense of humor. Life is too short :0

thanks for the great contest.

holdenj said...

The ability to think on his feet always does a good hero well, and manners never hurt either! It looks like a fun book.

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

Hot Off the Shelves said...

What other characteristics do you most enjoy reading in your heroes?
I think a hero that still has humility is the best thing. Their strengths may put them above the rest of mankind, but too much pride will push everyone away and leave a lonely, upset hero...which usually means they could turn villain.


Alyce said...

I agree that vulnerability is important, but that it needs to be surrounded by strength. I've known some guys who were more vulnerable than anything else and it was not very attractive.

Yep, vulnerability, strength, wit, humor, intelligence, hygene, sweet, hunky, great listener, kind, charming.... ok, so I'm totally dreaming here!

chey said...

Heroes need to get things done, have common sense and a sense of humour.

chey127 at hotmail dot com

Hull.Margaret said...

My heroe/heroine, must be smart and wise. Penny

Pissenlit said...

Intelligence and maybe a dash of humility and vulnerability.

un_pissenlit (at) hotmail (dot) com

mrsshukra said...

Wit and humility!


Jane said...

Hi Aunty Cindy,
I like reading about heroes who have flaws, but they're also loyal, dependable and intelligent.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Anonymous said...

I like to see strength, kindness and yet vulnerability.

Gwynlyn said...

Yep, give me a hero who NEEDS his heroine now and again and I'm hooked. I like strong, alpha males, but with a bit of the boy left behind---not a lot, but enough to give him a touch of mischief and a hungry heart(even if he doesn't realize he has one!)

Helen said...

I love a character with some humour and of course honesty and strong YAY.

Aunty Cindy congrats on the release you know how much I am looking forward to reading this book

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Everyone!

BIG THANX to Julie for inviting me here today and another BIG THANX to all of you who have commented on your traits for a hero. There are some great ideas here!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I LOVE your comments about 'little nicks around the edges' and being 'attractively needy.' Those are both traits I love to read and write about, and am glad you do too!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Beth F.
My own DH is very tender and I love that about him. I'm thrilled you've heard good things about my book! Good luck in the contest.

Bermudaonion, HURRAY for old-fashioned chivalry! I truly hope it is not dead. I know it isn't in romance fiction but in real life...


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YAY Lag and cqueen! Two votes for that dry sense of humor. I'm with you on that one.

Rhapsody and Jenny Girl are also in the humor camp, I see. As are Chey and Helen (GREAT to see both of you here, btw).


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I find a man with 'inner strength' to be incredibly sexy. Don't you?

And JHolden, I'm sure you'll find Keirnan a hero with a definite ability to think on his feet. Hope you enjoy TToV!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jasmyn, what an interesting observation about too much pride turning a hero into a villain. I'll be considering that in future stories.

And LOL Alyce, I'm afraid you are asking too much for real life, but that's why we call it FICTION! :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Pissenlit and etirv!

Thanx for stopping by, and looks like you two are on the same wave length when it comes to heroes!

And Jane darlin' are you sure you aren't describing yourself?!?! I've found you to be very loyal, dependable and intelligent! Plus you are an Eric Bana fan, so you are just about PERFECT!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

(Aunty waves madly to her TGN buddy) I know what you mean about that hint of boyish mischief. YUM!!! And your description of a hungry heart is wonderful!


Bridget said...

Hi! Just posted about this for you on Win A Book. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I also like my heroe to be surprised and amazed by the heroine, yet respectful of her.

Fedora said...

Hi, AC!
I definitely agree that sense of humor, loyalty, and sense of protectiveness are key qualities in a hero. I'd add competence, confidence, and willingness to admit wrong (even if somewhat grudgingly ;)) It's good when hero is able to acknowledge the heroine might be right after all :D

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx a bunch for spreading the word, Bridget!

And JW, thank you for bringing up respect for the heroine. That is very important!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Fedora,
For a man to admit he is wrong (even a fictional one) it will ALWAYS be grudgingly! There's one scene near the end of TToV where Keirnan admits to Samantha that his sister may have been right. Then he says, "Don't tell Kathleen. 'Twill only encourage her!"

Is that a typical guy, or what?!?!


Jenny N. said...

I like my heros to be dark and mysterious with a soft and more vulernable side too.


Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jenny and Raz,
You're both up late and you both like dark and mysterious heroes. Is there a link between those things?

And THANX A BUNCH for spreading the word, Raz! I appreciate it.


Stacey Smith said...

Vulnerbitity is good but so is Strength and Loyalty to you is good to no one wants a man that strays.Personality that makes the person its inporten to.and a dry sense of humer I allways like in a man.

enyl said...

Wit, charm, and fun loving nature are characteristics important for a hero.


Anonymous said...

I admire humility and a good sense of humor/wit among other list can go on and on and on...

karen k

Jennifer said...

Chivalry, Intelligence, and Wit.
Thank you for this fantastic opportunity.

Sheila Deeth said...

Men always seem so keen to solve things. I like it when the character recognises something in himself that he can't fix.

throuthehaze said...

I like a sense of humor
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Mozi Esme said...

Humor; problem-solving; kind...

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Beth (BBRB) said...

Humor and kindness. Animal lovers are always a plus as well!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

I love a hero that's a smart ass.


Unknown said...



Asylumgirl said...

He should be a giver in all ways and help out around the house without whining, not expect her to do everything.

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

I love a hero with a charming personality.

simplystacieblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Mitzi H. said...

I like the strong warrior type, but also a tender lover. It's very nice when he talks about what he wants to do to her if or when he can gets her to bed. Agressive and yet affectionate.

Mitzi H. said...

Sorry, forgot to leave email addy:

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

Thank you for the contest!!

diva donna said...

I like them real, which means they're not perfect, so a bit of vulnerability would be right, so I like nicks in their armour and humor and a tender heart. But strong and manly too.
I read Aunt Cindy's first book"Wild Sight" and I'm a instant fan. So I want a chance to win the book. Thanks

budletsmom said...

sense of humor is great that and not taking oneself to seriously all the time.

budletsmom at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...



Anonymous said...

I really love a dry sense of humor.


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading about heroes who are affectionate, generous, and tender :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Belinda M said...

My hear needs to be confident but able to show his soft side when needed.

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Belinda M said...


Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at


Oregon Kimm said...

I'll throw my two cents in, at the risk of being repetitive...

Strength is a key characteristic. The ability to stand up and fight for what's right, rather than let someone else take the lead. -- A show of consideration for others, although it may be slightly hidden from them. -- Dry humor is also a bonus for me. -- Finally, throw in a little bit of mystery with secrets that are begging to be discovered.


oregonkimm (at) gmail (dot) com

Also, I blogged this at:

and Tweeted it under OregonKimm

Chèli said...

I like a sense f humor in my heroes.

Cheli's Shelves

Chèli said...

Posted on my blog

Cheli's Shelves

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I like my heroes rough around the edges. You know, the tough guy with the heart of gold. Maybe a dark past he doesn't want to share at first.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I like the guy who is just a bit rough around the edges and sweet on the inside... either taht or chivalrous, you never see that any more =/


Debs Desk said...

I like my heros to be kind, and loving, and hot. I want my hero to be memorable. When someone asks who is your hero I want his name to be on tip of my tongue. Please inlcude me in your giveaway.

Megan said...

I like my hero to have courage, trustworthy, dry sense of humor, but also some flaws to make him feel real like vulnerability, something that haunts him in his past that he struggles with but overcomes in the end. A hero can't be perfect.


Anonymous said...

Any book about a man who is vulnerable and has many other good
qualities-sounds like my kind of
book. Please enter me in the
drawing. Thanks.

jeanereads(at) sbcglobal{dot} net

Nancye said...

What I most enjoy in a hero? That they are "real", not having a big head. That they are just "regular people".

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
Twitter ID: @NancyeDavis

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Jaime said...

Vulnerability, strength, humility and wit
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Jaime said...

I twittered
copperllama at yahoo dot com


I want my hero to be smart, with a keen sense of honor, and a bit of mischiefness about him. and i want him to respect the same in his women.

Jonnie (JB) said...

A sense of humor would be my number one quality in a hero.

renee said...

I love my male to have a sense of humour,very important.
reneetaylor at sympatico dot ca

Misusedinnocence said...

I like when they have faults. I get frustrated when heroes are perfect in every way.

Darlene said...

I love a hero with a good consience.