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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are Older Spies Not Uber?

I have 400 pages to print. The PRINTER died. Of course that happens. The universe laughs at me. Ah well.

Today I would like to address an email from a reader:

"I just read the comments on COMCEN last entry and I was a little upset. All right, so I am not so young anymore, but what’s wrong with a 40 year old man?? 40 is good! They function very well at 40, they do at 45 too for that matter...I don’t know about 50 yet since I’m only 38.
Tell them Jenn, tell them 40 is great, Jed would be fantastic at 40!!...Tell them, Jenn, I rely on you!"


Okay, first, Jed doesn't look like this.

Not that there's anything WRONG with looking like this, only that at COMCEN, some posters think Jed must be VERRA old to have a grown-up daughter. Tell me, did you think Wolf McKenzie was old in Linda Howard's McKenzie's Mountain? He had a 17 year-old son, Joe McKenzie. I didn't have any problem with that. True, my Grace McNeil is closer to 21 and 22, but a healthy young male can have very curious and active sperm from his teens, you know.

Anyway, I wanted to soothe the reader's concern. All those virile men we adore on this blog is close or over the forty-year mark. Can I mention George Clooney? ;-) Do you think he has a problem?

What is the age LIMIT for your romance hero? Is there one? Suzanne Brockmann's Admiral was a hottie at 54, or whatever. Does that turn you off? I wasn't. Admittedly, all our older men are hotties in our heads, and look more like Sean Connery than my grumpy English college prof in the 80s, but hey if Sean C. and Jack Lallaine (is that how you spell his name?) exist, then there are Very Kewl Uber-Overforties. I think it depends on the book and character.

Anyway, Jed is closer to 40 than 30. He has to be to be who he is. His life/background can't fit the standard 32-34 year-old hero. And I do like him closer my age, anyway ;-). And to make that reader happy, I'm going to say: Yeah, Jed is fantastic at 40 ;-).

40 year old men are not that old, is it? Wow, you're going to hurt my man's feelings. He thinks he's a stud still. LOL.

Frankly, I'm more disturbed by the uber-geek phenomena:

I mean, how will my Jed compete with him? You canna tap the inner alpha of an uber-alpha! Maybe he can be uber something else? Like this dude here:

No? Too much testosterone?

So would you go for this one? Shallow, shallow, tsk, tsk, what am I going to do with you girls?

I truly declare this Our Kilt Week, don't you? Are you sick of kilts yet? I have so many more kewl kilt pics, I mean, WRITING TIPS, to share ;-).

Bear with me while I learn. The first button likes the POST. The second button likes the BLOG site. Please help me by "liking" me. Thanks!


Coco said...

Thank you for not changing your blog because of that flamer, Gennita. I went and visited some of the blogs she suggested and all I read was writing submissions, changing the oil in the car, running late for work, comparing desk arrangements, and comparing websites. I'd rather poke my eye out than read that again. Continue with your kind of writing tips :).

And hey, 40 year old men are sexy. I love a dark hero who is late thirties, early forties. There is a history and his darkness is believable. As for real life, 40 is a goooooood age. Men start learning how to please a woman, hahaha.

Mary Stella said...

I love sexy, older heroes. 40, 45. Pushing 50 like yours truly. They're just as sexy to me as their 20-something counterparts were when I was in that age demo.

Wolf Mackenzie was sexy when Joe was 17. He was sexy when Joe was 30 and Zane was a kid. He was still sexy when Zane hit 30-something.

Leiha said...

The closer I get to 40 the more I think it's sexy, LOL. Brad Pitt is 40! 40 is just a number to me. Plus, Jed will be always be sexy, no matter his age. It's about a state of mind, I know my mind says I'm only 25!

BTW, I am totally shallow, love the last kilt guy!

Denise said...

Would it be bad to say I have a hard time reading about the younger heroes now? I want him to have experience and pain in his life because it makes him more the alpha hero and he's going to fall so hard for his heroine, that it just touches me more deeply than reading about these young heroes.

I have a hard time reading wimpy, beta, nerd-type heroes. I just can't get heated up enough to jump my poor husband when I read about them. Uh, not to say I need a romance to jump my husband. No, no, I'm not saying that so don't tell him that if you ever meet him, okay? ;>)

Anonymous said...

Age limit, hmm, I'm not sure, 70 maybe? (who is Jack Lallaine??) And of course 40 isn't old, it's even young!! (that is for your man... and mine! thank you :-))

About the beta-nerd hero : no thank you. I want my books hero to be real Alpha-male, always! Especially since I've never met one in real life and I'm in my second marriage. Isn't that why we have fantasies?...and your books? ;-)


SQ said...

I don't think 40 is old. So long as the heroine isn't in her teens or early 20s. Too Catherine Zeta-Michael Douglas for me. That relationship just isn't natural! Ick. Oh, and that was a dude I didn't need to see in a kilt. Double ick.

Aww...I feel for the geeks and nerds. Went to high school (special math/science school) with 'em. They're really nice and sweet, just social stunted because of all the studying. A lil' gym time and they're just fine. Come on! Hot bod and brains--YUM!

My ideal nerd, Mitch from Vicki Lewis Thompson's Nerd Gone Wild. He's a nerd with a six-pack. Why couldn't I go to high school with him?

Elaine said...

Okay, let's see if my comment gets posted today or my suspicions about that ComCen Computer is correct...

I want to respond to 2 things:

alpha) forty year old heroes and real life men

beta) alpha vs beta romance heroes.

I was just curious about Jed's age for the simple reason that I'm obsessed with this character. I don't think Jenn even thought Jed would garner that much interest, never mind obsessive curiosity, when she created him. Maybe it's time I made *another* appt with my shrink? Anyway, I posted my response to whoever that 38 year old man is who was upset by my post. I hope I assured him that we women (who post on these sites, anyway) have no problem with men who are forty and over.

Personally, I prefer my Uber-Romance hero to be between 35 and 40. But that's only in my romantic suspense fiction world, NOT in real life. I keep my fantasy world very separate from my real llfe world (ha! those expensive shrink sessions work!). In my fantasy world, my heroes have to battle terrorists, run through jungles, blow up buildings AND have wild, animal sex after that. Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

In real life, the two men who tried to convince me they had 'open marriages' were both in their forties and both were good-looking and successful in their careers so yeah, I found them sexy. Unfortunately for them, I did not have one of those 'open marriages'. Sigh. But when it comes to our heroes' age, I think much of it depends on the reader's age. If the reader were only in her early twenties, forty and over might sound too old for her even if the heroine doesn't. Because the heroine and reader are inter-related in some ways, it does matter what that particular reader perceives the ideal hero to be. The reader's age does influence her perception of how old a romance hero should be. Age is just one of the things that influence a reader's choice of h & h. There's profession, financial standing, physical characteristic etc. All influenced by the reader's own age and circumstances.

Again, I stress there is huge difference between my real life responses and my fantasy romance world. My real life is not populated by drop-dead gorgeous covert agents who are not only extremely well-hung but well-heeled and have washboard abs; they do not have a face that Lucifer would choose for *his* covert activity nor combined with the personality of the uber-alpha Archangel Michael. My real life features more men of the kind in Jenn's first two kilt pics today! In my real life, the men who look like the last kilt pic were the two guys with the open marriages.

beta) Now, about this scary trend towards beta romance heroes and nerd heroes. This is DEFINITELY a rumor started by *some* jealous, spiteful computers! These computers are jealous of all those uber-alpha COS Commandos they've been hearing about and thought it would be a good idea to make romance readers like me think alpha heroes are passe.

If there truly is a trend towards more beta heroes, please tell me where they can be found - so that I can stay far away from them! I doubt if I will ever change in my tastes where romance heroes are concerned. I was in my early teens when I discovered Heyer's regencies and one of my favourite Heyer hero is Max Ravenscar ( that I can remember his name after all these err, decades, speaks for itself); I discovered Mary Stewart in my late teens and early twenties and my fave Stewart hero is Max from This Rough Magic, my fave Stewart, which I read several times over the years; my favourite Brockmann hero was Max Bhagat. Wait a minute. Do I like alpha heroes or the name Max?, even though Stewart's Max was not a secret agent but a musician (a pianist-composer, i think, not a rock musician), he was the precursor of the contemporary romance alpha hero to me.

A beta hero that I can think of would be the one in Brockmann's Into The Night. He was sweet and nice and called the heroine "Ma'am" in a nice, sweet way. The only reason why I finished that book was because of Sam's ex, Mary Lou, who ended up a much more attractive person that the other Team 16 wives! Every hero that's appealed to me in the past have been alpha. I still choose titles based on what I can sense about the hero by reading the back blurb. If he sounds nerdy and beta, I put it back on the shelf. I can't remember the title or author but the other day I was at my USB browsing and picked up a RS where the hero is a professor and they get involved in a murder mystery. I put it back when I read 'professor' but I chose Michele Albert's One Way Out and the hero is a paleontologist. Of course, he's an ALPHA paleontologist just as another romance featured an archaeologist a la Indiana Jones so I guess heroes that dig around for old bones is okay as long as they are drop-dead gorgeous and ALPHA. Being a nerd is nowhere as bad as being a beta. Alpha geeks would be fine by me if they exist. Actually, they do - my hubby is a geek - writes these fabulous software programs that make even financial data look sexy but he is so alpha and uber-romantic, it can get hard to keep up.

I know I'm rambling...just DON"T turn my Jed into a beta down the road, please. Jed is not only The Alpha, he is The Omega - the first and last word in romance heroes. Don't give me anything in-between. I am unashamedly a sucker for over-the-top uber-alpha heroes which is why if you place two books side by side and ask me to choose between the gorgeous, well-hung, washboard-abbed covert op and the beta professor who's on sabbatical writing a heavy tome on whatever..who cares...guess who I'd pick?

Even if the younger readers (twenty-somethings? I dunno...) are going for beta heroes, there's still enough of us older readers who need our alpha hero fixes. I don't know about the economic side of consumer marketing and romance books but I do know that my friends and I in our age bracket (forties and fifties) have a whole lot more money than our sons' girlfriends who are in their teens and early twenties. Typically, we spend an average of US$100 a month on books and most of them on romance. None of my romance-buying friends ever mention beta heroes and we ALL gush over the alpha ones. How big is the market for beta heroes? I doubt if it's as big as The Computer would have us believe.

There. I think I made up for my not getting my previous post through yesterday!

Gennita Low said...

Thanks for dropping by and I'm glad you're enjoying the lightheartedness.

Mary Stella,
Well said! Wolf was sexy at any age!

I know! I'm shallow too! And 40 is the new sexy age for me, anyway, heh.

Yeah, it's hard for me when the hero is too young too, but sometimes, it works, as in Linda Howard's Joe McKenzie and Chance was bit younger than his brothers. I guess you just see the Alpha Potential ;-).

I amended the geek and nerd theory, heh. And yeah, the geek with washboard abs are in! :-)

Wow, you've put some thought into this! Don't worry, we all know you love Jed. Or, should I rewrite it as LOVE. ;-)

It's not really a conspiracy, though, since there are several conversations going on about this topic. Geek is in! As long as they don't become too Beta, I guess. BTW, I love Bhagat too.


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