The WILD Bunch

cowboy_wadeneff.jpgSorry I’m late this morning!  We had a storm and power outage last night, which obliterated my first draft of this post, and kept me off line and off my computer until this morning. 

I’m currently working on the third and final book in my Wild trilogy and with MAVERICK WILD just three short weeks from mass release, my thoughts have been monopolized by my Wild bunch. My blog topic this morning is going to be a comparison of my Wild heroes – three very different archetypes, some of whom were more difficult to write than others. Something this series has taught me is to always look ahead—especially when developing secondary characters who could possibly take on a lead role in their own stories. I get asked quite often open-range.jpgwhat draws me to a hero and what are my favorite characteristics in a sexy hero.  My answer is always his smile, a telltale sign of his ability to bring humor, hope and a positive spin to an otherwise hopeless or dreadful situation . MUSTANG WILD started with a vision of Tucker Morgan lounged at a poker table, his lips tipped in a crooked grin, a mischievous glint in his eyes. That smile didn’t let me down–he proved to be a fun hero to chase across the page.

Despite my personal preference of hero, not every hero is quick to smile.  That could not be more true than with Chance Morgan, Tucker’s straight-faced twin brother. In MUSTANG WILD, Tucker describes his twin as ‘truly my other half. My boring half.’. Compared to Tucker’s playful nature, there MAVERICK WILDcould be some truth to that statement from an outside point of view—which was all fine and dandy when Chance was secondary back-up to his light-hearted brother. But as a hero…I was suddenly asking myself, “What have I created?” I was crazy about Tucker, and Chance is nothing like his twin–nor did he have any desire to emulate his brother. How was I going to take this silent pillar of strength, caution and conviction and make him loveable? I had heard about this technique of sitting down with your characters for a little interrogation…or interview, if you will.  So I figured I’d give that a shot with Chance. We sat across a table and stared at one another for hours…and hours, but I’m telling y’all, he was a tough one to crack. The man did nothing but stare and fidget. One cool thing about being an author is having telepathic powers *g* — the ability to get into our characters minds, and that was where I began to unravel this hero, to find his humor and wit, and the bruised heart he guarded like Fort Knox. In MAVERICK WILD, Chance doesn’t suddenly become chatty or playful–he’s his usual solid, silent self, and it’s through the introduction of his heroine that Chance is forced to remember a time when he was whole. A time when he used to laugh and find some joy amid the daily struggles of life. 

I’m a true believer in opposites attract. My heroes and heroines, while they do share certain kissing-couple.jpgcharacteristics that give them a sense of understanding with one another, they are generally at opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Watching them spark, clash and finally meld is great fun for me.  In MUSTANG WILD Tucker is wild and reckless,  whereas Skylar is wild by her own right, but in a strictly no-nonsense, get-the-job-done sort of way. Together they bridge the gap in one another and bring out the best in each other.  Chance needed a heroine who was as soft and gentle as he was hard, and Cora Mae Tindale is the epitome of feminine primness in a woman—everything Chance believes he hates in a woman. As he discovers, Cora Mae is hardly a pushover and far from hapless.  She posses every bit of his strength and determination, something he identifies with.  And for every one word that Chance utters, Cora Mae prattles off fifty.  Because these two had so much shared hurt and history, MAVERICK WILD turned out to be my first real emotionally-driven story.  While there’s certainly plenty of external troubles these two have to deal with, their biggest journey is finding a way into each others hearts.  

The hero of INTO THE WILD (working title for Wild 3) is Garret Daines, Skylar’s younger brother, and he’s shaping up to be a good brad-pitt-photograph-c11796768.jpgblend of Tucker and Chance.  He has a light-hearted nature that’s visible in MUSTANG WILD and still strong in the beginning of MAVERICK WILD, but by the start of his own book, his light-hearted outlook has been dampened by heartache in his recent past. Growing up in the shadow of Tucker and Chance hasn’t been easy on his ego and he’s out to prove he’s every bit the man they are and is ready to fight the world to prove it. He’ll have to, seeing as mother-nature’s winter fury and ruthless cattle rustlers are out to take all he has. Readers will catch a glimpse of Garret’s wild-woman-to-be in MAVERICK WILD.  But Garret was raised by a wild woman, so no matter the snark and attitude this mountain recluse throws his way, he’s along for the ride–and he’s going to fight for his woman whether she wants him to or not. This book promises to be a rip-roarin’ ride as Garret and Maggie spark, clash and ultimately meld  🙂 Mustang Wild

For anyone who missed the first book in the Wild series, let me know in your post today and you’ll be entered in a drawing tonight to win a signed copy of MUSTANG WILD!  

So, do you have a favorite hero archetype?  The warrior? The romantic? The jokester? A certain feature or characteristic that really draws you to a hero?  

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50 thoughts on “The WILD Bunch”

  1. Hi Stacey,
    Sorry to hear about the storm and all the problems it caused. We’re getting a taste of it down south.

    I guess, I have to agree that I love a witty hero. I love of guy who loves to laugh, is self-deprecating at times and who sees life in a different way. He can be an instigator of sorts too, but I think that doesn’t fit too many molds of men. So as much I like to read them, I don’t often write them unless the hero shines through completely from the get go. I do like a brooding hero too, tortured by situations in his life. His redemption later on, always grabs me.

    Glad you got your post up this morning.
    I hope the storm subsides, though we need rain!

  2. Hi Charlene! Boy is it raining buckets here! And you’re right–California soooo need a long drenching rain, especially this central desert. Sending anti-mudslide vibes down south! Last night the wind was insane. I’m so glad we haven’t started to remodel yet–a few times I thought our front door would blow in, the way wind was hissing through it and creaking the wood was wild! Today it’s been a steady downpoor pretty much all morning.

    Thanks for sharing your hero preferences! I do love those dark and brooding heroes too 🙂

  3. I didn’t get to read Mustang Wild.

    I hope you survive the storms. We got snow for two days and now we’re getting a really cold rain. Brrr.

  4. My favorite hero is rugged and self-assured, but can flash a smile that can bring his heroine (and his reader) to their knees.

  5. Wow, Stacey, you woke me up that that top picture — I’m gonna look at that again. And who for goodness sake is the model in that last picture?? Goodness gracious — you do know how to wake a body up.

    I’m sorry about the storm, too, Stacey — thanks so much for hanging in there. But…don’t you just love storms and Christmas.

    Great post, Stacey — and did I mention — GREAT Pictures!

  6. Stacey, I like the wounded dark hero. He broods and silently takes everything in and offers very little of himself. He’s a hard nut to crack, but when you do, he’s the person you’d always want on your side. This type of hero just speaks to my soul in a way the jokester really doesn’t. But, that’s what I love to write. In reading, I like all heroes that are expertly breathed to life. And I especially like reading the humorous cowboy that the heroine just gets the best of, much to his chagrin.

    Excellent post! I look forward to reading Mustang Wild. I’ve heard some very wonderful things about that book, young lady. 🙂

  7. Hi Stacey! I haven’t had a chance to read your book either. I loved your post and I have to say, just reading about your males has made me want to go out and buy them!

    I’d have to say when I first started reading romance I was drawn to the warrior type, that silent, wounded man. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I love a witty hero and its even better if he’s using his humor to hide a dark past.

  8. LOL, Karen! Glad I could supply a positive morning jolt 🙂

    That thar is a REAL cowboy, rugged, burly and furry chested 😉 I borrowed him from our picture archive–I’m not sure who found him, but they done good!

    I do love the rain, and I love extreme weather–gets the adrenaline going 😉 But I prefer it with the power on when I’m trying to blog *ggg*

  9. Stacey,

    I simply love your heroes. Light-hearted or broody, they work their way into my heart even faster than into the heroine’s, thanks to the incredible writing talent of their creator.

  10. Stacey, I haven’t got a chance to get your book yet. I love a hero who jokes to hide the hurt inside, it takes a special heroine to see inside this man and heal him from the inside out.

  11. I guess I go for the rugged emotionally wounded hero. The man who’s either had everything ripped out from under him, or has had his heart broken so badly he doesn’t think he could ever love again- until the right woman comes along.

    Thank heavens for romance writers though, because emotionally wounded men in real life sometimes aren’t as easy to crack as these hardened heroes. I’ve known a few men in my life who had the wall built so high around their hearts they couldn’t even peer over to look out at the world around them, or the love they could have, if they’d just bulldoze the wall down.

    At least in romance, you can see and feel the change. When you know the man can’t help himself and finally tears down that wall and gives his heart completely and without shame. It’s a man that can admit how wrong he was that comes out stronger, in my eyes, than the sensitive man who’s always known he wanted love. The why and how-come of that is that it takes more strength and courage to open up than it does to always love wholeheartedly.

    And come to think of it- that gives me a new insight into my current WIP hero~ which may be the reason I’ve been having trouble putting the “finish” on it…he is the sensitive man…hmmmm…better do some brainstorming to change that up a bit and add some turmoil.

    Thanks for the great blog today Stacey- wonderful full of hunky guys and for inspiring my realization about my character! LOL I’ve got work to do now!

    Can’t wait to read Maverick (and the newest you’re working on! Sounds great!!!)

  12. Hi Linda! Love your point about “he’s the person you’d always want on your side.” They’re also the last you’d want as an enemy 😉 I have a feeling it’s these strong silent types who love the deepest 🙂

    Thank you for sharing!!

  13. I did a double take when I saw the first picture. Wasn’t sure what he was wearing.

    We all like bad boys but don’t know if I could live with one.

    Your first book is on my reading list. After the holidays I hope to have some time to catch up with my reading.

    Take care and happy writing.

    Sarah Richmond

  14. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Mustang Wild and can’t wait to get a copy of Maverick Wild.

    As for your question…I like all types of heroes, so I don’t know if I have a favorite type.

  15. Hi Lori! You’re in the drawing 🙂

    One interesting aspect of working with twin brothers was how the both dealt with the pain in their past in very different ways. One living life on the edge; the other trying to safeguard the both of them 😉

  16. All heroes are great… the most important thing for me is to like the book!

    I have never read your books – blushing – so it would be nice to be entered.

  17. I’ve got you in the drawing, Amanda 🙂

    That’s it exaclty, hiding his emotions behind his humor—it’s all about that buried emotion with these heroes *lol*

  18. Hi Taryn!

    Thanks so much for sharing your views – and YAY on the insight with your WIP!

    “At least in romance, you can see and feel the change. When you know the man can’t help himself and finally tears down that wall and gives his heart completely and without shame.”

    Exactly! More men should read romance 😉

    Happy writing!!

  19. LOL Sarah! No body wax for that cowboy 😉 And that thumbnail version makes those chaps look sort of fleshy, doesn’t it *lol*

    Thanks for adding me to your read list!!

  20. I’ve been trying to mix it up with the heroes and just wrote a book with a totally non-alpha male.
    Of course it turns out he’s alpha when it really counts. Just because he’s sweet and thoughtful doesn’t mean he let’s people push him around.

  21. Hi Mary!

    It is fun to mix it up. It’s always intersting new character emerge, with their own personalitie and quirks 🙂 And never let it be said that a beta is a pushover–he draws on those alpha overtones when it really counts 😉

  22. I have not read Mustang Wild, but would certainly like to.
    It doesn’t matter what the hero is like if I like the book.

  23. I’m so glad Garrett gets his own boo, Stacey. I hoped he would when I read him in Mustang Wild. And I’m eagerly awaiting Chance’s story in Maverick Wild (Oh and Juniper’s story in The Gunslinger’s Untamed Bride).

    For me, falling for my heroes, it’s all in the eyes! A sexy twinkle can make any woman’s heart flutter *grin*.

  24. I haven’t read Mustang Wild but I would love to. For me, a hero has to have a sense of humor and some compassion. After that I like all kinds. He can be quiet or loud, shy or self confident.

  25. Well, Stacey, I loved Tucker in Mustang Wild but based on what I saw of Chance in that book and your blurb above, I think I’ll be equally as taken with Chance as a hero. Fun-loving and fearless or strong and silent–it doesn’t matter to me as long as they are fully realized. There are some heroes that if I met the “type” in real life, I’d be tempted to either put them in their place or run in the other direction but I stilled loved them in their story! It’s all about the fantasy!:) Can’t wait to read your newest and looking forward to Garrett’s story too.

  26. Stacey, my favorite type of hero is the arrogant, cynical one. One who thinks he is above all and is brought to his knees by the right woman. 😉

    I’d love to be in the drawing, too, please. 🙂

  27. I must admit I haven’t read Mustang Wild but I would love to!!! I want a hero who has a sense of humor and doesn’t take everything seriously.

  28. My favorite hero is dark, brooding and a bit of a bad boy 😉

    I haven’t read Mustang Wild, so please enter me in the drawing.

  29. Great to see you here, Carol! I do hope Chance pleases ;-)_

    I agree about running into some hero archetypes and kicking into that fight-or-flight response *lol* The fantasy of defining, understaning and overcoming our major life’s conflicts in the span of a few chapters…gotta love it 🙂

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  30. “One who thinks he is above all and is brought to his knees by the right woman.”

    That does make the heart flutter, Andrea 😉

    I’ll be drawing a name for MUSTANG in about an hour–good luck! Thanks for posting 🙂

  31. I love the romantic type of hero. The ones that are sweet and do everthing for the women they love. I have not read Mustang Wild, but would love to.

  32. My favorite type jokester and one who starts out bad but turns out to be good. I haven’t read any of your books yet.

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