Tag Archives: heroes

Wild for All of YOU!

29 May

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I am, Lady Smutters. I am absolutely wild for you–and so grateful for all your support during our Wild Week here on Lady Smut when we celebrated the nomination of my novel, Wild on the Rocks, for the prestigious RONE award by InD’Tale Magazine. Truly, you make me giddy with grateful glee.

While I do not yet have the results of the contest, I’m happy to report that Wild on the Rocks made a stunning return to the Top 100 Kindle World Romance rankings holding steady in the 50s for the last two weeks, more than a year after first being published! That’s amazing! I’m so grateful for all your support and I hope everyone who took a wild chance on Quinn and Jasper enjoyed their sexy, emotional ride.

Wild on the Rocks is still on sale for $.99, so if you haven’t snagged a hot copy of this sizzling romantic suspense, now is a great time!

“Her taste was narcotic. His mind fogged over and the burn in his chest exploded as he drank deep. Somewhere along the way that day, she’d indulged in a shot of rum. He licked the spicy flavor from her lips and dived deeper.” From Wild on the Rocks.

You know what else is sexy? Service to our country. I know, I know, it sounds formulaic and, let’s face it, potentially insincere. But the truth is that committing your life to something greater than yourself is the sexiest thing a man (or woman) can do. And it’s important that, each year, we take the time to remember those nameless and faceless heroes. After all, they’re not nameless and faceless to everyone.

The hero of Wild on the Rocks, Jasper, is a Navy SEAL, and one of the sexiest things about him is his commitment to that job, that calling, that has shaped his life in many ways. I write heroes like him because I am so in awe of people who have the courage to put their lives on the line for our nation and our people. I believe that says something amazing about the character of such people, right off the bat.

Much as I would like it to be otherwise, Jasper is, alas, a fictional character. But there are many real-life men (and women) who have followed that call and given their lives in service to our nation. They didn’t first ask to know what were our politics or who we voted for or where we stood on national healthcare. They went where they were told and did extraordinary work that, in many cases, cost them their lives.

Today, on Memorial Day, we remember those sacrifices. We honor those men and woman who gave their all so that I can maintain the freedom to do things like, say, post sexy things on a website and not go to jail for doing it–and so you can enjoy those sexy things too.

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Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, has been nominated for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

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A Hero or a Zero? Finding Inspiration in Real Life Detectives

4 Mar
Real detectives don't look like this.

Real detectives don’t look like this.

Hidey-ho,  readers! Madeline here.  I’ve been doing research lately on my current WIP by studying real men who fight crime.  It started with grilling a cop who came by to investigate our car when it was broken into, and has continued with taking notes on news programs or real-life cop shows that go through a homicide case from soup to nuts.  Sometimes I feel like a sleuth myself tracking down a difficult-to-find source.  For instance, I knew about an out of print video of an FBI profiler but had to track it down in live streaming format when all other sources failed.

So far I’ve filled up three note pads with the details surrounding detectives–mainly the jargon they use.  There’s a certain way that these detectives use language in their reports, and they tend to fall back on this kind of nomenclature when talking to each other or when picking their words with care as they interact with civilians. Not bullet holes but defects.  Not people, but certain individuals.  Post-mortem abrasions vs. peri-mortem contusions.

While I’m soaking up the lingo, my mind is performing a casting call.  I need some heroes and some zeroes.

Picking my heroes is easy.  I spot them right away.  Picking the true zeros is much harder.

They look like this.  (Blue tooth earpiece not shown.)

Hero or Zero? (Blue tooth earpiece not shown.)

I was surprised by how fast I identified the heroes.  Some are real diamonds in the rough.  I was watching one captain, for instance, who’s fast on his feet and relentless.  Sounds like a hero, right? Sure, except the guy sports a pervy little mustache and has a phone headset in his ear at all times.  Ish.  At the same time, whenever I watched him in action, for some reason I felt an inner thrill.  Yes, he was pouring through the garbage at an apartment complex in the middle of the night.  Yes, I know that doesn’t sound romantic or cool. When he came up with dumster-diving gold: a scorched t-shirt used in the shooting I wanted to clap. How did he know? How did he find it? The man is a genius. When it’s clear that the trial is going to be a slam dunk, I’m scrambling to finish up my notes while Captain ‘stache hands out all the credit to his men. Now that’s a hero.  I’ve resolved to give him a little make-over before he goes into my book.

The make-over.

The make-over.

The rest of the men I watch who aren’t heroes aren’t really zeroes either.  Mostly they’re  just normal.  Obviously they’re very hard working guys, I just wonder if they have insight into how criminals think? I’m not seeing it.  Can their mind remain agile when they’re tired after forty-eight hours without sleep?

I’ve found one spectacular zero.  He complains on camera about the heat and how overwhelmed he is.  Poor thing.  Yet he’s got five senior detectives on the scene with him.  They’re helping him keep up his paper work, they’re canvassing the neighborhood for him, and they’re all wearing long sleeved shirts and ties just like he is.  But while they are doing whatever they can to help him solve this case, he is wondering where he can find some water and wanders off camera saying he thinks he’s maybe going to pass out.

Excuses, excuses.  What I’ve learned by doing this research is that a zero feels entitled.  He is always pretending to be more than he seems.  In fact, he’s less.   The heroes, meanwhile, may not look like much to the eye at first, but they have hidden depths of fire and nerve.

Do you think women romance readers can enjoy a hero who’s not an Adonis with a strapping build?  I could.   Based on guys I’ve dated, I can confidently state I could get into a hero who’s a little ugly.  But, sorry Captain, even I draw the line at a hero with a pervy little mustache.

Wronged By Romance

23 Jan

Scorned There’s been a lot of talk in the sports world lately about athletes who’ve misled us. There’s Lance Armstrong, of course. He lied and lied and lied about not doping, and then finally fesses up and admits that well, actually, he was doping. Then we’ve got the Manti Te’o story and the girlfriend who died of leukemia hours after his grandmother passed away. Except that apparently the girlfriend never existed, or maybe she existed but he never met her, or maybe he was the victim of a giant hoax. Or something.

Whatever the situations with these athletes, they did get me thinking about being duped. Misled. Outright lied to, and how bad that feels. And then I started thinking about how that’s happened to me, and I bet to some of you, when it comes to the covers of romance novels.

Remember back in the 80s and 90s when it seemed as if the buff bod and streaming long hair of Fabio was plastered on nearly every historical romance being published? It didn’t matter if the hero was a pirate or a Viking or a cowboy, Fabio’s mug graced the cover. Eventually that started to change and publishers realized that if the hero of the romance is the sexy CEO of a global securities firm, he’s not necessarily going to be spending his time 24/7 in the gym and looking like The Rock. In essence, they’d been duping us. The cover models started resembling the story’s hero. Personally, I’m on board with that. I want my guy on the cover looking like the guy in the story.

But wait! There’s more. We readers of romance are a proud, smart, devoted bunch, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we  want to hold up a sign every time we pull a romance out of our bag that practically screams, “Hey everyone! Look what I’m reading!” So the covers started going to the opposite extreme. Instead of misleading the readers with cover models who look nothing like the story’s hero, we had no cover models at all.

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My book, Season of Splendor, is a perfect example. Published in 2002, it depicts a garden path on the cover. It’s not about a garden, or a gardener, nor does it take place in a garden. No, rather it’s the story  of a poverty-stricken hero growing up in the slums of 19th century London who finds a way to get a servant’s job in a noble family because the daughter in the family unknowingly witnessed the murder of the hero’s’ best friend. With no other way to speak with her due to the chasm of their class differences, he infiltrates his way into the family via the job so that he can talk to her about the murder. Do they fall in love? Sure. Have sex? Of course. But not in a garden, I can assure you.

Now, of course, I’m very aware that publishers started doing the benign cover thing (a picturesque house, jewelry atop a nightstand, perhaps just the heroine standing demurely by herself in a pretty dress) because the cheesy “bodice ripping” covers were, let’s face it, embarrassing. But now we’ve got e-readers, and we can read all the super steamy erotic romance we want on a bus, in a plane, sitting on a park bench, without anyone being the wiser about what we’re reading. So why do covers still sometimes mislead us? Why don’t the models always preview a taste of what the hero and heroine look like? Alternately, do we care?

When I see a picture in a magazine of a model wearing some kind of makeup, I’m fully aware of the fact that no matter what, I’m just not going to look as good as she does with that same makeup. Perhaps romance covers are the same. It’s not that the hero and heroine in the story are going to resemble the beauties on the cover, but that you will indeed get a tale of some really attractive people, having hot sex, and spinning a good yarn. Maybe I just need to rejigger my expectations. I can – and do – read the blurb on the back and usually . . . er, sometimes . . . it tells me what the story’s about.

What do you think? Do you ever feel that you’re duped by the cover?  Do you expect the cover to give you a glimpse of the kind of people you’re going to read about? Or could you care less, assuming that no matter who’s on the cover you’ll paint their pictures as you would depending upon the author’s talent at describing them and the depths of your own imagination. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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