Friday, April 01, 2011

Happy Dance Friday #43- Still Standing, dark romances and blond heroes

April first and there is snow outside my window. I'd originally plopped the snowflake dance from the Nutcracker ballet in here, but then I reminded myself that this really is a writing blog and since two topics of interest came up in the blogosphere over the last 24 hours, you get a lesson on perseverance from Sir Elton John before I blather.

Warning: video contains interesting 80s costumes and makeup effects

Which fits in with the romance related ramblings. Smart Bitches and All About Romance both have had posts up about dark romance, and Heroes and Heartbreakers posted about blond heroes. As it happens, I love both. Give me a dark romance with a blond hero, and after I have been revived from my state of shock, I will be very happy.

Dark romances are my favorite. Give me some heavy hitting emotions, loads of angst and the hard road to the HEA every time, because the harder climb, the higher the mountaintop. Those are my favorites to read and to write as well. I started out with a hermit who gave himself a third degree burn on his dominant hand on purpose (about the only way to conceal that he was branded) and went on to a pair of lovers separated for decades before they could find their HEA far from home, another story starting with the heroine considering suicide and then another one with a hero who has night terrors, and the villain gets...well, that would be a spoiler. Suffice it to say light and fluffy isn't me.

Since then, I've written a post apocalyptic medieval novella still in search of a home, outlined another that starts with the hero being purchased from an orphanage to be raised by the villain for a twisted purpose, and am still putting together the pieces of the Regency era historical dealing with prolonged grief disorder, opium addiction and the hero's sister who loves big brother a little too much and not in the right way. All of which, I can guarantee, have HEAs for hero and heroine, alive, happy and together. For me, the darker romances actually feel more hopeful - if hero and heroine can get through all the crap they've been through up to this point, they can get through anything. Rock on.

Blond heroes...I do not get why blond heroes (or redheads, but that may be a different post) do not get the love, or why dark brown/black seems to be the default hair color for heroes. I have heard of readers who will not read a blond hero, period, or if they must (said with long suffering sigh) they will edit the hair color in their head back to dark brown/black. Maybe I'm guilty of the same thing in reverse, because my very first objection to the movie adaptation of Brideshead Revisited was "brunet Sebastian? Never!"

I like the appearance of any character to actually do something, tell me something special about them, rather than go to default. Yes, darker hair is genetically predominant, so it does make sense that there are more heroes with darker than lighter hair, but still, I like the variety, and seeing something different on a cover will make me stop in the bookstore aisle and pick the book up for a second look. Case in point, I very very very rarely read contemporaries (as in almost never) but the cover for Nicole Green's The Davis Years stopped me in my tracks. Click the link for some impact right there, and yeah, blond hero. The book may or may not make it into my basket eventually, but even if it doesn't, that picture did its job - it got my attention.

Blond heroes have always been able to catch my attention. Lighter colors reflect light, and since blonds are less common (though more so in countries I like for settings in historicals; UK, Netherlands, Vikings, etc) I'll zoom right in for a closer look. I will admit to a mad Bo Duke crush in my early teen years and as a more mature individual, am a squealing Barney/Robin shipper where How I Met Your Mother is concerned. DH was blond when we met, and he certainly caught and kept my attention, though blonds are not exactly an endangered species in California and he now keeps a smooth dome I like quite well. (Bald heroes are another thing we don't see often, though a shaved head would fit Georgian or modern times equally. Hm, time travel idea?)

What about you? I'd love to hear other opinions on dark romances and fair heroes (and if you can suggest any with both, bring them on.)

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