Top 20 Ways to Make Your Romance Hero a Sexy Alpha Guy

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In the month of August, I took a hiatus from writing. I knew my life would be crazy this past month with increased time and responsibilities required at the day job plus the added stress of getting my first son moved to college and out of the nest. So I did what any respectable romance reader-writer would do, I fell into a heap of romance novels to get me get through it.

For the writers among us, we know reading is essential to our craft. We need to know what’s out there, what other writers who are currently defining our genre are writing, and what readers are reading. We need to look at best-selling authors’ work to try to dissect it to understand why readers are reading it and what they’re looking for in a good story.

Two books I read a few weeks ago made me pause to reassess my heroes. The first was an older Jill Shalvis book that was re-released, Her Sexiest Mistake, and the second was Katy Evans’ Real. These two books hit me right in the gut. So I had to look at them closely and figure out why the hero in each of these books took my breath away and why I fell so hard for them as I read the books . . . because I want to do the same thing to my readers. I want to give them a sexy Alpha hero who takes their breath away and makes them fall in love all over again.

So here’s what I discovered about writing a sexy Alpha hero who doesn’t come across as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, but someone who is worthy of the fiesty heroine in my stories.

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1. She perceives him as a sexy bad boy, even if he’s not totally a bad boy in reality. He might have the trappings (look like a tough bad boy), but he’s got a soft, good heart under it all.
2. His actions are unapologetic and he’s got a take-charge attitude all the time.
3. He uses his power and strength for good. Always.
4. He’s comfortable in his own skin.
5. He’s unapologetic about what he wants–and what he mainly wants is her. He goes after what he wants, even if he’s misguided at times. He’s not wishy-washy.
6. He’s competent at what he does, whether he’s a high school chemistry teaher or a underground MMA fighter.
7. Even though he’s tough, he’s got a softer side where we see his protectiveness and compasssion for his family members, kids who populate his life, pets, the people he’s claimed as family.
8. He pokes gently at her flaws and doesn’t let her remain stuck or allow her to run away from them.
9. He serves her and takes care of her at times (makes her a meal, fixes something for her, takes care of a task that is more difficult for her).
10. He sees her–really sees her–deep down. As Michael Hauge says, he sees her essence, not just the façade she puts on for the world to see.

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11. He’s not afraid to show both his affection or his attraction, no matter how edgy and passion-filled it can be at times. He’s hungry for her, yet he genuinely likes her as a person, too. Her strength, her personality, her quirks. He’s attracted to everything about her, not just her body.
12. Sometimes, he’s a pissed off Alpha male, but he’s always in control of his anger.
13. He’s on to her tricks when she’s trying to pull one over on him.
14. He’s a Saint & a Sinner.
15. When she pokes at him, he doesn’t back down. He stands his ground calmly.
16. He grows and learns about himself just as much from the heroine as from the lessons life throws at him. He’s different with her and for her. He wants to be a better man because of her.
17. He’s a Protector & Provider.
18. She feels totally safe with him, for good reason. He’s proven to her he won’t let anyone hurt her.
19. He’s intense.
20. He desires her above all else–he’s cut her from the pack; and whether he knows it yet or not, she’s the only one for him. Period.

So, there you have it. My purely academic opinion based on two books I recently adored. How about you? What have you noticed you love about heroes in the romance novels that body slammed you and took your breath away? I’d love to hear your list!

For more information about me or my books, visit my website at

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The words jumped at me from the inside cover of a worn-out book. The handwriting was slightly slanted to the right. Whoever wrote them used black ink, capital letters, and didn’t leave a signature, only a date: FEB. 91.

I was rummaging through boxes of old books donated by a generous lady to the writer’s group I belong to. The books were her mother’s, a writer who had passed away recently. Like a child opening birthday gifts, I excitedly went through the overflowing boxes, deciding on which books to take. Time was limited, and I had to consider leaving enough of the collection for my fellow members to go through. So I quickly scanned titles, flipping through various informative books, novels, and writing manuals. My hands landed on the golden cover of a small book, the title engraved into the shiny paper. Intrigued, I opened the book and read those words:

    It’s True!

    I love you!

In the left corner, the sentimental confession took up two lines, on the very top, a name. It started with the letter “J.”

I shoved aside some of the books piled on the table and leaned my backside against it. The 83 pages contained proverbs about love, page after page full of reflections and thoughts, most knew to me. I flipped again to the handwritten lines. Something heavy sat on my chest. The words danced on the pages in front of my eyes. I steadied my hands. This was a special book, given to a woman by a special someone, telling her she was loved. And here I was, an aspiring writer, a no body, a woman from a far away land, intruding on this preserved moment in time. I had no right taking this book. It belonged in a special spot on a bookshelf in the home of this woman’s daughter. Surely, she’d want to treasure it, protect it. Did the book end up in the donation box by mistake?

One page had the corner folded as a marker. Taking a deep breath, I flattened the corner and read:

    For we must share if we would keep

       That blessing from above;

    Ceasing to give, we cease to have

       Such is the law of love.

I briefly closed my eyes. No, it was not a mistake. The book ended up in my hands because the woman’s daughter followed the rule of love.

Thank you, “J.”

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One of the Best Feelings in the World

Editing is not my favorite thing. It’s a very necessary evil, and as a writer you’ll end up spending as much time editing as putting fresh material onto the page. And to be honest, it has a certain charm all its own. But it’s still not my favorite thing.

Because I don’t have any pressing deadlines to meet (dictated by the same contract that stipulated my fat advance), I can afford to make it fairly leisurely. So here’s my editing process.

  1. Finish the first draft. NO GOING BACK until that’s done.
  2. Let it sit for several days, up to a week (but no more–it’s not that leisurely).
  3. Collect all the comments from my writing partner, other first draft readers, and the various critique groups that have offered input. Make a single document with all the comments in it. Go to OfficeMax and print it out (I could to this on a word processor, but find that it engages a different part of my mind to read it on paper and make notes with an official red pen).
  4. edited page 2 croppedDo a CRITICAL READ. Try to get this done in 3 or 4 days, so the novel in its entirety stays fresh in your mind. That makes it every so much more likely that you’ll pick up discrepancies, like the hero’s ex-wife changed from Gloria to Felicia.
  5. Do a first pass edit. Fix all content flaws and weaknesses, everything that made my writing partner nauseous. Plus make the words as pointed and elegant as it is possible for me to do.
  6. Let is sit (repeat step 2).
  7. Collect comments (repeat step 3).
  8. Do another Critical Read (repeat step 4).
  9. Do a polishing edit. Usually 95% of the things that need to be changed get marked on the paper during the 2nd Critical Read.
  10. I use a proofreader at this point because a) I’m so very bad at proofreading, and b) I know a very good proofreader who considers it fun and would never consider accepting money to do it. And no, I won’t give her your manuscript. Sorry.
  11. Completed manuscript is now ready for the publisher, editor, agent, or whoever wants to adopt my child.

Because I’m seldom in a hurry, I’ve refined step 5 for my last 3 novels: I publish chapters after first edit on my blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I have a very fun blog community who enjoys reading serialized novels (like they used to be published in the old days) and making comments–most of which are very useful. And yes, this stretches out the process: a 60-chapter novel would take 20 weeks to edit and post. BUT: I’m also writing the next first draft during this time, so it’s not like the whole process is slowed down.

So now back to the point of this blog post: One of the Best Feelings in the World. I just finished the 2nd Critical Read of a novel, and it is delightful. Funny as hell–I kept laughing out loud at my own writing.

I find it really curious that when I’ve been away from something I’ve written for a little while, I start to think of it as not really all that good. I mean, we all have our little demons of insecurity, but I have less than 98% of the people I know. And yet . . .

champagne2When you’re a writer, there are a lot of low moments in the writing process. So you have to make sure you celebrate the victories. And this is absolutely one of them. One worthy of celebrating.

After I post this, I’m heading for the champagne.


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Going Nuts and Doing a Giveaway at The Romance Studio

Have you ever been sick, really sick and you’re supposed to sleep and relax and take the medicine and get well? But that entails taking it easy. Do you what happens to me when I sleep? I dream more story. Lately everything has been about the Vampire King of New York’s daughter.earring

I’m writing as fast as I can.  In the middle time, my purse broke.  It developed a hole in the lining, so I’m taking it apart to find things that are missing.  :(    I have taken out everything and put the important stuff in an old purse I had put away, because it was too small.

Then I realized I lost one of my steampunk pirate earrings I wore at Pi-Con.   I thought I came home with both.  I hope so.  Don’t panic.  It’s not real pearl, but the missing one made a pair that completed a fun outfit.

So what do you do when you have a lot of meds, when things go missing, and it’s too hot outside?  What are you going to do?  I’m partying at The Romance Studio at

Vampire King of New YorkGo forth and find your bliss or your joy or even a smile for a while.  What am I doing there with the many other authors who are also partying?  Sharing excerpts of Vampire King of New York and giving one lucky winner of my contest a signed print copy of the book.  You can’t enter here.  You have to enter over there.  Be sure to follow the directions.  Go ahead.  Go party!!!

For those that cannot wait, Vampire King of New York is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print and ebook.

Hugs to everyone!  Have fun in life!

Susan Hanniford Crowley

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Go Around Come Around Reading

“The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.”

— Samuel Butler.


I love this quote. Want to know why? Because it means my book is never going to be old. Somewhere, sometime, someone will discover my award-winning book The Nun and the Narc and all the books I will have published in the future, and I will be a newly discovered author, again and again. Who wouldn’t want that? I’d love to have my books go-around-and-come-around and be just out to someone time and time again.


Go-around-come-around kind of things are popular with us humans. Take fashion, for example. Back in the sixties platform heels were all the rage. Today they are higher and harder to navigate in than they ever were in the sixties. I wore mini skirts and short shorts in high school. Well, not short shorts in class, because we weren’t allowed to wear them in school. Some female teachers even yanked on my mini skirts to pull them down. By the time I hit college, maxi skirts were the newest rage. Those skirts and dresses are back in the catalogs now, and last winter I even saw a wool maxi coat in a catalogue. Shades of hippy-dom. I owned one of those puppies once!

lord of the ringsBooks are not only new again to those who haven’t read them in their original form, but they have third and fourth and fifth and sixth lives as well. Today they just come back in a different format—movies, television series, e-books, or remakes, prequels, adaptations, and even told from different POVs. In the past several years I’ve seen so many books I had read as a teen reinvented as movies or television series that it’s not funny: The Lord of the Rings books, The Narnia Chronicles, Snow White reincarnated as Maleficent, The Wizard of Oz has come back as Wicked and Oz the Great and Powerful. Sherlock Holmes has been reinvented so many times it’s hard to keep track of him, but I do love the newest creation of the television series Elementary with Watson as a female doctor.



laura ingalls wilder booksAnd I can’t forget Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House on the Prairie Series. I devoured her books as a youngster and passed them on to my daughter. They were new to her even though they were at least twenty years old. Then Michael Landon came along and made the television series and we fell in love with them all over again.



TarzanThen there is Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan. I never read the book, but I grew up watching Tarzan on Saturday mornings. Mom was in love with the guy.




Oh, and what about Buck Rogers, who first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories. story was adapted into a comic strip, a serial film and a television series. We introduced our daughter to Buck Rogers and Colonel Deering, whom she called Colonel Reindeer, and a monster character on the TV series we dubbed the MONGOMONGO monster. Can’t forget one of my first sci-fi heroes and all the fun I had hiding under bedcovers with my daughter from that monster.


And don’t even get me started on comics. Superman, The Phantom, Green Arrow, Flash, X men, Spiderman. Yes, I’m hooked on every single remake, redo, and reinvention of the books I read years ago.


Speaking of which … I think I’ll go see if I can find the original books I’ve mentioned on Kindle. No time like the present to renew my love affair with all those heroes and heroines.


Who knows, maybe someday someone will be searching for the original versions of my books.

I should be so lucky.


What old-to-you-book have you made just out to someone you know?

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Pony Found

I’d like to start your Monday with a little story….the true story of my little lost pony…

Before I get into my little tale, let me just start off by telling you that I don’t like monkeys. Yes, you read that right, monkeys. And, I know I said this story was about my lost pony, but believe me this is relevant. I promise. Anyways, I know people think monkeys are cute and, oh by golly we send them to the moon and teach them sign language because they are so smart. Oh my stars, how can I not love monkeys? I don’t know how. Point is, though I just don’t like them. They freak me out.

So with this new-found knowledge of my weirdness, you can imagine how blatantly ironic it is that out of all the homes in this country, I live in one that is a one-tenth of a mile away from a monkey rescue reserve. Oh yeah. It’s true. I can see it from my house.

Don’t get me wrong, I think what this woman is doing is a very commendable thing. She’s giving these animals a good life, taking them in when no one else will. I applaud her for her work, as I am a big animal lover and believe in helping animals. I know I bought my home knowing about the reserve, so with that, all I can do is accept and respect that it’s there. And, that’s what I’ve done. For the most part, I’ve even forgotten about it…well not fully forgotten, I mean, they freak me out, remember?

Not to mention, it’s kind of hard to ignore when every now and then I hear a bunch of monkeys screaming, cages start rattling like thunder, men and women start shouting, and then I hear pops of what I assume are tranquilizer guns. And all I can think is OMGoodness, they’ve killed the old woman and are running free and you know they are going to come straight to my house, because…well, because I’m crazy…. ;)

Anyways, with that said, I don’t really think about it much…at least I didn’t until one night a few weeks ago.

After walking around my entire property looking for my daughter’s miniature horse, I discovered he was missing. While I know the concept of having a horse go missing is quite odd, it’s the summer time, and my horses are out on pasture so some days, unless I catch them heading into the barn to sleep or heading to the water for a drink, I don’t see them all day. After running to tell the neighbor, her husband proceeds to inform me that he saw a sign propped up at the end of the driveway of the monkey reserve that read “Pony Found”.

At what point do you just have to laugh at how karma can amuse herself?

So, armed with a rope, we head up to the reserve. At this point, I’m thinking. “I’m okay. She’ll bring Thomas out and I’ll walk him home. It’s no big deal. All of the enclosures are behind the large wall anyways to detour prying eyes. I’ll be fine.”


After she greets me at the gate, she motions for me to follow her….behind the wall….into the deepest part of her property….THROUGH THE MONKEY ENCLOSURES!!!!

Just before she leads me in through the security gate she turns to me and says. “Keep your arms down at your sides, okay. And try to keep your distance.” I’m sorry but I think I just hallucinated. Come again? While I told her. “Okay.” In my head I’m screaming. “Are you *insert a lot of unmentionable words* kidding me?” But, what can I do? I have to get my pony. My ridiculously stupid pony that will spend his last days of his life on this earth locked up with the goats after this.

She starts walking through the enclosures, leading me in between several  cages that literally were feet apart. Feet apart, people!!! Some of the monkeys didn’t really do anything other than watch me walk by them, but of course, wouldn’t ya know there were some that were not happy with my presence. They screamed, they hissed, they showed their teeth, and worse of all they reached through the chain link fencing and TRIED TO GRAB AT MY ARMS AND CLOTHES!!

I think my pony has a death wish…’s the only logical explanation.

So finally after walking me through more enclosures than I can count, she points me in the direction of a small pasture area, and of course, there is my pony in the far corner…next to another enclosure. Now granted, the property is actually quite nice. The lawn is kept up with, the enclosures are clean, trees are planted everywhere giving the place a very cool, lush feeling. It was actually quite tranquil…without the screeching from the monkeys, of course.

As I’m kneeling in front of the pony, securing the halter on him, about five or six monkeys are mere inches from me, screaming, jumping all over their fence, and reaching through the chain links trying to touch him and me.

Oh yes, a death wish…he has a death wish.

Finally, I get the halter on and start leading him out. Well then of course, all heck breaks loose. Apparently, the monkeys are attached to the little horse and I’m taking him away…I clearly must die…

While I made it out safely (albeit left in the emotional state of desiring nothing more than a corner, a blanket, and my thumb to suck on) I suppose all I can do is shake my head and laugh off what will go down as the experience of a lifetime.

And, yes, for the record, I’m still having nightmares. LOL. And, I still don’t like monkeys.

10489775_10203085707416904_8462682793848642748_n Mr. Walks-through-the-fence-without-a-care-in-the-world, aka Thomas, the pony.

~Angela Christina Archer

Author of: The Woman on the Painted Horse (On Sale Now) and In the Land of Gold (November 2014)

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E-Rovin with Anne

Greetings! This is my first time blogging for SMP. My debut historical romance novel came out in August with Soul Mate Publishing. It is called, Sea of Passion.

I always loved to read. I read every Nancy Drew book that there was while I was in grade school. I remember asking my mom about the books that she was reading. She told me not until I was a little older. Finally when I was in high school she let me read Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. And from that point on my life was forever changed. I read all of the romance books that my mom had. We had built in book cases, up to the ceiling on both sides of our fire place, so there were lots and lots of books to get through. Then I branched out on my own and found Heather Graham, Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught and Lisa Kleypas. In every book I fell in love with the romance, the setting, and I lost myself in their wonderful world of storytelling.

I didn’t know when I was younger that I wanted to be an author. I had never given writing any thought. I actually dreaded writing all of the college research essays that were required for my degree in history. Then after college like so many others, I couldn’t find a full time job. I was working as a substitute teacher and during that time I was reading a book a day. Then one day out of the clear blue and idea for a novel popped into my head. I immediately sat down at my computer and I started to write.

My first novel took me over eight years to complete. Since that time it has gone through numerous revisions and changes but in the end, fourteen years after I first started writing it, Sea of Passion was finally released on the 13th of August 2014.

Here is a short blurb from Sea of Passion.

Forced into marrying a complete stranger is far from Georgia’s idea of the fairy tale life that she had envisioned for herself. Dressed as a boy she flees Savannah and seeks refuge on a ship bound for England. Her impulsive plan goes awry and she is discovered hiding in the ship’s cargo hold by its Captain. Georgia makes up a story to conceal her true identity, unbeknown to her that the Captain already knows exactly who she is.

Captain Gabriel Trent is just the kind of man Georgia has always dreamt of, he is kind, insanely handsome and a true romantic. Unaware that she has run straight into the arms of her future husband only complicates matters between the two of them as passion flares.

Gabriel’s plan had been to seduce Georgia into falling in love with him before they reached England…but what developed between them was beyond his wildest imagination. Can their love survive the secrets and the lies they have been keeping?

Thanks for reading my first Blog post! Happy Reading!


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