Define Your Hero

This morning we're chatting with award-winning romance author Nina Pierce.

Nina grew up in a house full of readers so becoming enamored with books was only natural. In her early teens, she discovered romance stories and fell hopelessly in love with knights in shining armor and the damsels who saved them.

Eventually, reading about alpha males and their journeys to find happy-ever-after endings wasn’t enough. She needed to write her own stories of fated loves and soul mates.

Nina discovered the passionate side of romance with her sexy stories. For her, she said, "It’s all about the sweet scent of seduction mixed with the heart warming aroma of romance."

Nina resides in the northeast with her high school sweetheart and soul mate of twenty-seven years and several very spoiled cats who consider her “staff”.

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Now, take it away, Nina Pierce

Can You Define Your Hero?
by Nina Pierce

So who doesn't love a hunky, take charge guy in a romance novel? Well, it turns out ... I don't. Well, I mean I thought I did, but then writers and readers started talking about the alpha heroes they love and it occurred to me, that's not really who I write.

I thought all my guys were alpha heroes. Not that they steamroll over the heroine or completely wall off their emotions, but they do step up to the plate when the time comes. The problem was they didn't seem to have that pushy, never-give-an-inch attitude many people associate with alphas. But they definitely didn't fit into the wimpy sidekick beta hero either.

Okay, I know technically (especially in stories with shifters) there is only one alpha leader. Therefore if you write a story about the other guys, like I do, they would be considered beta. But I just can't go there. In my opinion, the beta hero is a pushover. He wouldn't come to the heroine's rescue. He'd send in his best friend, the alpha, who would save her. He'd be the one to comfort her when the hero's been a jerk, but then turn her over to him when the guy showed up at the front door. But no one writes characters like that. I'm always looking to write the next story so even my "best friend" characters offer more than a supporting role.

So maybe I have the definition all wrong.

In my confusion I checked out a post by Suzanne Brockman who writes all things alpha. But I still didn't get a good feel for this alpha hero. But I found this other article at The Road to Romance. But this post describes not alpha, not beta, but a gamma hero? Wai...whaaaat?

The Gamma Hero

Yeah, the gamma hero pulls the best from both the alpha and the beta heroes. He's a man with all the chutzpah of an alpha but the emotions of a beta. In other words ... the strong male who doesn't run roughshod over the heroine in his quest to bring down the bad guy, but works with her to find the key and discover the lost treasure or slay the dragon or free her world or ... well, you get my drift. This is the guy of romance stories in my opinion. The hero who could don the pages of any GQ magazine, but knows how to BBQ a mean steak for his lady and draw her a bubble bath. *sigh* Yeah, that's the ticket.

So I guess I'm aiming to write gamma heroes. Who knew?

The reality is. It doesn't matter what we call them. It's their heart and soul that brings the reader back to our stories over and over again. Readers need to connect to the hero. Believe he's real. Believe he's the only one for the heroine. Believe in their love story.

What about you? Do you like your guys all alpha in stories and keep your betas for real life or are you a combo kind of gal like me ... enjoying a gamma between the pages?

Tilling Passions Series

My recent romantic suspense series, “Tilling Passions” has three very handsome gamma heroes who know how to take care of their women!

Book 1, Blind Her With Bliss: She's trying to find herself. He's attempting to hide. Together they'll discover a truth that threatens them both...

Investigating the death of her best friend, uptight accountant, Julie Tilling, discovers an erotic world of adult nightclubs and Internet intrigue. When shock jock Damon Corey rocks her world in a wild night of lust, she wonders if she's found love...or the key to solving a murder.

Excerpt from Blind Her With Bliss

“When you said you wanted to play piano, you failed to mention you’re a trained pianist,” Julie said.

“My mother taught me.”

“Another side of Damon Corey I didn’t know.”

“That’s the real me.”

“Who? Tell me about the young Damon.”

He laughed. “Hell on wheels. That’s what my father used to say. I spoke three languages and could sweet-talk the girls in both of them by the age of ten.”

Julie laughed, the joy of it reaching up to push away the sadness that had filled her eyes. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”

“My mother used to sit me on her lap when she played. I started making music on the piano before I could write my name.”

Julie traced a finger in the dimple framing his smile. “She’s a concert pianist?”

“Mama? No, she used to play the violin. The piano was my father’s instrument.”

“Used to? She gave it up?”

“My mother’s dead.”

“Damon, I’m so sorry.” Her fingers dug into his biceps. Of course she’d understand.

“Don’t be.” In an instant, his pride turned to bitterness. “She died when I was teenager. I’m over it.” Actually, talking about it still cut deeply, but he didn’t want those negative emotions to mar this day.

“No one gets over their mother’s death, Damon.”

“Yeah, well, seeing as she abandoned me to my drunken father and followed her lover to Europe, her death wasn’t really too much of a loss.” He swallowed, still finding the pill bitter all these years later. “She died on the autobahn in Germany exactly the way she wanted to live, fast and free.” He wanted it not to matter, but he could see by the furrow in her brow, that Julie understood it did.

“Damon, who knows why parents do the things they do.” Her palm cupped his jaw, and her thumb caressed his cheek. “But I might have an inkling why someone might run from familial responsibilities.” Dropping her hand to her lap, she turned to look out the window. “Sometimes they’re just overwhelming.” She shrugged as if to apologize for sympathizing. “Right or wrong, I can understand it.”

“Love can sometimes overwhelm a person.” Of course, he wasn’t talking about his parents. He was talking about his heart.

“So are you close with your father?” Julie asked.

He laughed derisively. “No. Without my mother to hold him up, he fell into the bottle and drowned himself. His death certificate reads liver failure. But in reality, he died of a broken heart.”

Leaving Damon utterly alone in the world.

Takeaway Truth

Thank you, Nina, for visiting SlingWords today.


  1. Thannks so much for having me. I enjoy any time I have to chat romance

  2. Hi Nina! I guess I'm a fan of the gamma hero then. I never like an alpha male who steamrolls the heroine. Equality between the sexes is important to me - especially in my stories.