Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who's Your Baddy?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about heroes and villains, and the combination thereof. I like darkish heroes, although most of my own guys (in fact and fiction) are a little breezy, more fun than fierce. I wonder about characters’ personal demons…and my own, which I just can’t shake. A little suffering is good for the soul and creativity, I think, but sometimes I feel like I have a gigantic dragon clutching my shoulder with his scaly claws, breathing smoke on my computer screen, obfuscating (I’ve always wanted to use that word) any temporary brilliance with some leavening gray reality. Writing is hard. Writing well is even harder. Publication is problematic.

But back to bad boys and annoying alliteration. I recently read An Unladylike Offer by Christine Merrill---written VERY well--- which features the redemption of a character from an earlier book I hadn’t read (The Inconvenient Duchess, which I immediately ordered from Amazon and finished in one sitting. Ms. Merrill is now on my auto-buy list. She’d better keep cranking out more books, because I’m a fast reader.). Just when I thought I figured out why the hero was so reluctant, Ms. Merrill added another luscious layer to St. John Radwell. Buy this book. It’s wonderful.

I fell hard for Jo Beverley’s decent, determined Dare in To Rescue a Rogue, who fought opium addiction, and Loretta Chase’s lust-inducing, lying Comte d’Esmond in Secrets of the Night, another reclamation project. My new crush is Candice Hern’s devilish yet delicious Rochdale in her latest Merry Widow book, Lady Be Bad (another gorgeous cover!). While in real life my motto is “Everything in moderation,” I am a sucker for imaginary men who at one time were mad, bad and dangerous to know. I’m gleeful as they become Boy Scouts in their buttoned-up breeches by the last chapter, faithful to their wives and families. Improbable, but not impossible.

Who is your favorite reformed rake/rapscallion? Or do you like those breezy boys who think torture is a cool Scrabble seven-letter Bingo word?

Why do you think bad boys look so good…or do they bother you?

What smoke signals is your dragon sending you?

Congratulations go out to PJ!! Please send your snail-mail address to and your August prizes will go out by Dragon Express!


Elyssa Papa said...

Maggie, who do you think I'm going to mention? You won't even need to guess or use a Magic 8 ball!

Mayne. Mayne was sooooo bad and complex and such a cynical man until he fell in love.

I'm also loving Villiers who is dangerously sexy with his red heels and duels in Georgian Engalnd.

But one of the ultimate bad boys for me is Valmont in Dangerous Liasions.

I think since I'm such a "good girl" and have always obeyed the rules that heroes who so don't and inhabit that "wild" side of them makes me want them that much more. Plus, I know they'll be tamed by the end of the novel like you said. Now, if only bad boys in life could be tamed as thus!

Janga said...

I once posted a list of my favorite bad boys on Squawk. It was very long--especially for a reader who loves betas. I'll share an abbreviated version: Lord Damorel from Heyer's Venetia, Dain from Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, Derek Craven from Lisa Kelypas's Dreaming of You, and, of course, EJ's Mayne. I agree with Ely that Villiers promises to be superlative. Oh, and I can't forget contemporary bad boys: Nora has some stars. Cam Quinn and Rafe McQuade are favorites, as is SEP's Bobby Tom Denton. I am reading Marsha Moyer today, and I think Ash Farrell definitely qualifies.

I don't know that I can write a bad boy hero though. I do have sort of an idea for Book 2, but I can't think about him much because I still have 28,000 words to go on Book 1.

irisheyes said...

I do love an honest to goodness "bad boy". By that I mean one who really does do some bad stuff and is honestly reformed by the love of his lady. I like flawed characters.

Some of the ones that qualify, IMO, are:
Reggie Davenport, The Rake, MJP
Derek Craven, Dreaming of You, LK
Lucien, Lord of Ice, GF
Nicholas, Thunder and Roses, MJP
Mikhail, Silk and Shadows, MJP
Rees, Your Wicked Ways, EJ
Mayne, numerous books, EJ
Alex, Kiss An Angel, SEP
Colin, Ain't She Sweet, SEP

Marginal Bad Boys (These boys just needed to grow up a little):
Bobby Tom, Heaven Texas, SEP
Kenny, Lady Be Good, SEP
Dean, Natural Born Charmer, SEP

I'm thinking that Rochdale is going to be a really bad boy from all the reviews I'm reading. And I really love when they pair the really, really bad ones with virtuous women. It makes for a very interesting story. I can't wait to read LBB!

Anonymous said...

I too tend to write more "nice guy" heroes--tormented but not rakish. But Damerel in Heyer's "Veneitia" is one of my favorite heroes ever. And I'm looking forward to "Lady Be Bad" which reminds me a bit of a happier take on the Valmont/Tourvel relationship in "Dangerous Liaisons".

Keira Soleore said...

Rochdale from Candice Hern's Lady Be Bad
Dain from Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels
Harry from Lisa Kleypas' Sugar Daddy
Cam Rohan from LisaK's Mine Till Midnight
St. Vincent from LisaK's Devil in Winter
Adam Kent from Mary Balogh's Secret Pearl

Anonymous said...

Great blog!

I choose St. Vincent from Lisa Kleypas' Devil In Winter.

I guess I tend to like a hero who can be reformed by the right woman.

Atherley said...

A lovely blog, Maggie! I especially love your terminology--"reclamation project," LOL!

I must say that, while my family's experience with my brother-in-law convinced us beyond measure that "reclamation projects" are futile in reality, in fiction, when managed properly, they can be inspirational and, of course, tons of fun to read. But only in fiction can I endure them. Never in life! My sister's alleged husband was as bad as they come, short of being the receptacle of indictable offenses, and I refuse to waste patience and mercy on any of the type who is not to be found only between the covers of a romance.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

I see we have some common crushes here! Ely, Mayne will always be the main man, won't he? We had so much fun w/ him before PFP, it only added to his consequence.

Janga, I knew I could count on you! I have not read those contemps, tho.

Irish, you've just coined a new csategory: marginal bad boys. Kind of like an Alpha Minus? You will love Rochdale.

Tracy, thanks for visiting! The cover of your new book is elegant and I expect the inside is pretty good, too!

Keira and Ladi Di, I also loved St. Vincent. Loved him. Used to watch LK's trailer before the book came out and just get chills. Reading it was not one bit disappointing.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Anne, in fiction, revolting in real life! I wonder if our preference for reading about such men is wishful thinking when we can't quite manage to fix our own heroes to our satisfaction.

Tiffany Clare said...

Derek Craven from Lisa Kleypas is one of my fav dark heroes! St. Vincent from the Wallflower series was damn good too! Well good in such a bad way.

This is where my memory sucks, I know there are a ton of books with bad boys that I love, cause I LOVE the true bad boys, but I can't think of them all.

Let me think of some more! contemp and historical! Sigh...I love the topic!

Santa said...

I adore redeemed bad boys almost as much as I adore tortured heroes.

Lord Dain from 'Lord of Scoundrels' always tops my list!

Draven, 'natch. The always delectable Mayne, Lisa Kleypas' St. Vincent. So glad we'll see more of him in Cam's story.

How could I forget Piers the Dark Angel from Jo Beverley's early trads.

RevMelinda said...

My vote goes to Dominic, Marquis of Vidal, from Georgette Heyer's "Devil's Cub."

Or a couple of Carla Kelly's heroes--Fletcher Rand from "Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand"--or Benedict Nesbitt, Duke of Knaresborough, who is reformed by a Spanish housekeeper in "One Good Turn."

Doesn't Mary Balogh do some great books where the villain in one book then becomes the hero in another? I can't think of any titles right now. Can anybody help me?

I also find St. Vincent enthralling, although in general I'm not hugely into LK.

What about Jo Beverley's Fort Ware from "Something Wicked"? He's not a Bad bad boy, just kind of morose, stubborn, borderline abusive, and so difficult he should be whacked on the head (liked the book, disliked the character. . .).

Somehow Dain always seemed more petulant than dangerous to me. . .and I found Villiers perplexing and contradictory. I'm going to rendezvous with Rochdale tonight, so I'll let you know how that turns out.

(married to a "good guy")

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

LOL, RevM, rendezvousing with Rochdale! I believe you will like him. He's got a soft gooey center just like a Mallomar. I've only read Beau Crusoe by CK, which I liked a lot. Must find backlist. I agree so far about Villiers*ducking and running from the Bon Bons* I'm not totally sold on him yet, but I know EJ will get around to making me LOVE him as her series progresses; she's diabolical like that.And Devil's Cub? A truly worthy sequel to These Old Shades.

Tiff, everybody loves Derek Craven, but you know what? I read that book a long time ago and I got nothin' memory of him whatsoever. Now St. Vincent on the other hand...yum. Really yum.

Santa, Jo Beverley is one of my faves, but there are still so many of her books I have not read.I just fall right into her world and never want to come out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Maggie! I do love the "Secrets of a Lady" cover--it's my favorite I've ever had, I think. Speaking of villians turned heroes (which I love when it's done believably), the Duke of Avon in Heyer's "These Old Shades" is actually one. "These Old Shades" is basically a sequel to her "The Black Moth"--she changed all the characters' names, but it's pretty clear who's who. I'm very fond of both Avon and his son Vidal (though the older I get the more I find myself wanting to tell Vidal to grow up :-). But Damerel definitel remains my favorite "bad boy" Heyer hero. I think it's his wonderful sense of humor.

RevMelinda said...

Oh Maggie!

You mean all of Carla Kelly lies ahead?

Sigh. . .What wonderful reading awaits you. . .

I'm jealous. Maybe I could get some convenient amnesia and have a chance to read them all "brand new." Or maybe I'll just wait another year or two and my memory will be so shot they'll all seem "brand new" anyway. . .

Keira Soleore said...

My heart palpitated over Heyer's devlish cub, Vidal when I first read that book as a teen. Ooh the name was heroic. Ooh the curls were cute. Ooh he threw tantrums so fetchingly. And on and on. I like Avon better now. These Old Shades was my first Heyer and the first romance book I owned (and still own), but Venetia is my favorite (for Venetia herself).

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

RevM, you've just inspired me to make a couple of Kelly purchases...and may I say I'm not sure I can afford to read her whole backlist, LOL. I'm started with three and we'll take it from there. One of the books is a double, so I'll really be reading four. Book reports to follow.

Tracy,Damerel is to die for. I remember reading about the Black Moth connection...but I read that so many years ago the moth has definitely flown away!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Keira, Avon was pretty untoppable, but Vidal makes for a nice ending. And I loved getting to see Leonie as a mother.

Janga said...

Maggie, I hope your twofer Kelly is the one with Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand included. That's a book I never tire of. Reforming Lord Ragsdale is another. I have lost count of how mant times I have read them.

Dain petulant? Ah, no, RevM. Granted that he is sometimes ill-tempered and irritable, but given his history and the way he uses his ill temper as a defense, I don't find his behavior unreasonable. I adore Dain!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

A Kelly book I ordered was out of stock, but yes, Janga, one of them is Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand. I remember you saying it was a favorite when Beau Crusoe came out. Amazing that I even remember that fact, because my mind is deep in Vague Territory lately.

RevMelinda said...

Janga! Obviously I am going to have to read "Lord of Scoundrels" again! (Such a burden! ::draping hand artistically against forehead::)

I love LC's writing--and I loved Dain as a character--but he didn't--er--ring my bell, so to speak. Whereas, oddly, the thought of St. Vincent makes me have to fan myself although I'm not in general a LK devotee. I think maybe I haven't read "Dreaming of You," though, so I'm putting that on the list!

My rendezvous with Rochdale went swimmingly. Although I guess I didn't realize that Grace is SO! INCREDIBLY! BEAUTIFUL! and, frankly, that always bugs me somewhat in a novel. (I'm still emotionally scarred from middle school, LOL)

Gillian Layne said...

Sebastian in Devil in Winter, love him.

But my fav. bad boy? Ranger in the Stephanie Plum series. YUUUMMMMMM. Just his one word "Babe..." could make me forget I'm a happily married lady :)

Santa said...

Maggie, while you're diving into Carla Kelly's world, you must take a dip in Jo Beverley's traditional regencies. They are a delight. Not too dark but you just want to drape yourself around Piers....was that TMI? Go to your library for those. They are out of print for the time being and are outrageously expensive, even used, on line.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

RevM, middle school is evil. I think all kids should be sent far away for quite some time. Glad Rochdale was a hit.

Gillian, I gotta say it. I'm a cupcake, but I wouldn't mind a bite or two of Ranger.

Santa, thanks for the advice! Off to the library. CK would bankrupt me if I read them all. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Stopped reading romance while I was raising my kids...just when I really could have used it, the 80s and 90s are all brand new to me.

lacey kaye said...

I, too, am loving Rochdale. *Sigh.*

Anonymous said...

[color=#999999]Музыкальный ансамбль [url=]Dejavu-group[/url] - это коллектив профессиональных вокалистов и музыкантов.
[url=]Dejavu-group[/url]- законодатель в области организации и проведения корпоративных вечеринок, свадеб, торжеств, шоу программ, музыкальных ыечеров.
В копилке группы Dejavu-group более 3000 произведений.
Живой звук. Ждаз, ретро, хиты 70-80-90-х, диско, поп, шансон, фоновое сопровождение .
ВИА Дежа вю располагает мощной качественной аппаратурой, которая позволяет наполнить приятным и плотным уху звуком как небольшое помещение (фуршет), так и огромное помещение (корпоратив до 1 тыс. человек).

Игорь +7 916 623 4047 [/color]