Heating up the Holidays!

Blog Hop

Welcome to the Rock*It Reads Heating Up the Holidays Blog Hop. There are 15 stops on the blog tour. The more blogs you visit and comment on, the greater your chances of winning the grand prize, a $75 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and a huge collection of books from the authors of Rock*It Reads. Smaller prizes will be available at each stop along the way.

Good luck, and have fun!


What better way to heat up your holidays than with the hot, sexy men of our romance novels?


I have to have a picture of my hero in my mind before I start. Sometimes that mental picture morphs a bit as I get deeper into the character, but sometimes the physical image of him holds for me through to the end. Here are two such cases.


The first hero I’ll tell you about is Tommy Godsoe, a police dog handler who has been sidelined by injury, from my book Protecting Paige (Serve and Protect, #3). It was important to the story that he be quite a bit younger than the heroine, Paige, a youthful-looking single mother. I also wanted him to be very attractive, with sensual features and a slightly dissolute look. He had to be very lean, with the body of a runner (K-9 handlers have to be extremely fit). As I searched my memory banks—and countless celebrity image sites—I found the perfect match: Jakob Dylan, of The Wallflowers. Here’s a YouTube clip of Jakob (it starts to close in on his face about 42 seconds in, if you want to advance it).



No doubt listening non-stop to Red Letter Days, my favorite CD by The Wallflowers, as I wrote the book contributed to Jakob’s image persisting throughout. But when it came to creating the book’s cover, unfortunately Jakob wasn’t available. ,-) I really like this cover, but it’s an example of the compromises you have to make. I’ve yet to land a cover where the hero truly looks the way I imagine him. That being the case, what I strive to do is capture something true about the story. I think this does that nicely.



Another character whose image I had firmly in my mind was Cal Taggart, the hero from Every Breath She Takes. He’s a former champion bull rider who has retired from the rodeo to run a cow-calf operation in the Alberta foothills. Most bull riders are very compact men. The tall, rangy ones tend to get whiplashed and battered. Cal’s not especially short, but he’s compact and wiry. I also didn’t want him to look like a stereotypical cowboy. I wanted him to have a sort of edgy cool factor where you could imagine him in a leather jacket astride a motorcycle as easily as on horseback.  This time, I looked to television/film and found my model in a guy with a similar name—Callum Keith Rennie, affectionately known by fans as CKR. In fact, when I settled on my model, I decided that Cal would be short for Callum as a tribute to CKR. Here’s a Youtube homage appropriately titled “Callum Keith Rennie is Awesomeness”.



This cover was created for me by Montlake and I think they did a great job. You can’t really see a lot of detail of the hero in this picture, but they nailed the emotion.


Cover - Every Breath She Takes


Of course, the way I see the hero of my books might differ wildly from the way you see him, and that’s okay. That’s more than okay. And hey, if you’ve read either of those books, I’d love to know who you imagine as the model for either Tommy or Cal. Seriously!


Both of these guys are very lean, Tommy in a taller, rangier way, and Cal in a more compact, powerful way. But I’ve cast heroes who are as big and robust as Russell Crowe, as pretty as Jude Law, and as rugged and … well, craggy as Daniel Craig. It’s not really about body type for me. I appreciate a wide variety of men. What about you? Are you as eclectic as me, or do you have a particular look you favor? A guy who’s just your type? Let me know in your comment below. From the comments, I will draw three random winners, for the following prizes:


  • $10 Gift Certificate
  • Signed print copy of my Rock*It Reads book Guarding Suzannah, the first book in my Protect and Serve series; and
  • Signed print copy of my newest release from Montlake Romance, Every Breath She Takes



Leave a comment below to enter for your chance to win!

Don’t forget to visit the other authors on the Blog Hop for more chances to win!

Kris Kennedy Bonnie Vanak Erin Kellison
Sharon Page Lila DiPasqua Elisabeth Naughton
Norah Wilson Jennifer Lyon Monica Burns
Vanessa Kelly Mia Marlowe Joan Swan
Pamela Clare Margo Maguire Rock*It Reads










112 Responses to “Heating up the Holidays!”

  • Karen H in NC:

    I like to check out the visualizations of the hero that the author used and hope the physical description of the hero is what the book cover people try to convey. I hate it when the hero is blond and they put a dark haired guy on the cover.

    But, I’m with you on being eclectic with men’s looks. While Daniel Craig wouldn’t really win a hero’s handsome contest, he is hot in his way…probably that rugged look. But then there’s a lot to be said for the tall, dark suaveness of Pierce Brosnan too. So many choices, so little time….

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    • Norah:

      Karen, I totally agree. I hate it when the cover seems to have nothing to do with the characters you read about inside the book. Of course, with traditionally published books, often the author has NO say about what the cover will look like. That’s one of the benefits of indie publishing – you have control over the cover. That’s also a huge benefit of publishing with Montlake. IMO, they are the most author-centric publisher out there, hands down.

      And yeah, Daniel Craig is not pretty, but he sure has some serious magnetism to go with those brutally masculine looks!

  • Winnie Lim:

    When it comes to heroes in books, I have no exact preference… although i usually prefer clean cut men with short hair. Usually long hair is a no-no for me.


    • Norah:

      I prefer short hair too, although I can roll with longer hair if need be. You know, for a native American hero or a historical one or even a paranormal character. Not so much for the regular everyday guys of contemporary romance. 🙂

  • ErickaS:

    I kinda prefer the rugged, outdoorsy type of guy. And most definitely alpha.

  • I like a great range of heroes…I often find that the hero on the cover isn’t the man I imagine.


  • Raonaid Luckwell:

    What about you? Are you as eclectic as me, or do you have a particular look you favor? A guy who’s just your type?

    guess my taste could be called eclectic – when it comes to heroes I want one that is nicely muscled but not over kill. What I consider overkill would be muscles like Triple H. That’s a BIG turn off. Though I can “deal” with a hero with shorn hair or short hair – I really don’t like baldness (like Vin Desil and Stone Cold wears * shudders *) I’m a hair woman. I find LONG hair sexy as sin!

    Hair and eye color does not matter.

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

    • Norah:

      A vote for long hair! Many of my heroes are cops or cowboys and they don’t have long hair, but my paranormal heroes do. I think you’d really like Aiden in Nightfall. Of course, I think all women would like Aiden. He definitely appreciates all women. ,-)

      And I don’t typically go for the over-muscled guy either. I like a strong guy, but he’s as likely to be lean and wiry as muscle-bound. I do make a few exceptions (The Rock). 🙂

  • Julie Kornhausl:

    I LOVE Jacob Dylan! He has piercing blue eyes 🙂 I’ve been lucky enough to have seen him in concert twice. He is soo amazing on stage. I just picked up the Wallflowers new CD!

    Thank you for the opportunity to win such great prizes! I don’t think I’ve read any of your books; I’m going to have to do something about that 😉

    ~Julie K

    • Norah:

      Julie!!!! I’m so jealous that you saw Jakob in concert not once but twice! He’s on my bucket list of artists to see. I think he’s uncommonly gorgeous, but also that voice, the lyrics, the music. He’s an amazing package. 🙂
      Thank you for commenting and good luck!

  • Heather Dubiel:

    I love a long dark haired alpha hero .. I look forward to reading more of your books. Thanks for the hop giveaway!

  • Holly:

    I too do not like it when the cover model looks nothing like the authors description.

    • Norah:

      That’s a great argument for an e-reader, Holly. Most books open to Chapter 1 and you don’t see the cover unless you page up to it. By the time I get around to reading a book, I have to refresh myself what the cover looks like. If it doesn’t fit, I can ignore it easily because I need never see it again. When you pick up a physical book, there it is every time. LOL!

  • DebraG:

    I am eclectic in my likes but I do prefer dark hair. Not sure why.

    • Norah:

      I think tall, dark and handsome is the classic ideal for most of us romance readers. Wonder why that is? Now that you mention it, it’s hard to find blond male models for covers…

  • HollyD:

    I’d married to a soldier so I’d have to say that is my favorite type, in books and real life.

    • Norah:

      Ah, a man in uniform! I write about cops, but I also love to read about soldier heroes (SEALs, etc.) Suzanne Brockmann introduced me to them, and now there are tons to be found. So glad you found one of your own. 🙂

  • I LOVE CKR!!! I liked him in Due South. I have all the episodes on DVD My type is dark hair, short or long. I like a 5 O’clock shadow on a strong square jaw 🙂 sstogner1 at gmail dot com

    • Norah:

      Woot! A CKR fan! I loved him as the 2nd Ray in Due South too. His characters aren’t always so likeable, but dayum, they’re compelling. Leoben in Battlestar Gallactica, for instance. And he was absolutely evil in Suspicious River, based on a very literary book. Or as the rock star on Californication. Yeah, I love me some CKR. 🙂
      Good luck in the draw!

  • Kris:

    I always picture my heros the same way. Tall dark with very short hair. With lots of muscle. Course. I let my imagination run wild because its a book and I can I like a good strong hero!!

    • Norah:

      LOL, Kris! I tend not to describe my characters in exhausting detail, maybe for that reason. I prefer to give broad impressions at first, and later focus on particular up-close details. But it still leaves a big canvass for the reader to color in her own picture. That’s part of the delight of reading for me, building the image. I love it when the writer leaves me the latitude to do that. 🙂

  • Barbara Elness:

    The look I go for is dark hair, blue eyes, not much body hair (if any) and long and lean – muscular but not big and robust like Russell Crowe, more like Pierce Brosnan. 😀

    • Norah:

      A very classic model for a romance hero, Barbara! To me, Pierce really epitomizes it, doesn’t he? Again, here’s where the competence comes in for me. Brain over brawn, charm over force. 🙂

  • gamistress66:

    I don’t really have a “type” though I really do like a good set of strong arms on a guy & while I like muscles as much as the next girl, I rather the guy not be overly muscled so that they look like they have trouble moving limbs to far. 🙂
    gamistress66 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Timitra:

    I don’t really have a set type but I do love how Shemar Moore’s look!


  • Connie Fischer:

    I like a man who is neatly groomed which means shaved (no facial hair please!); nicely dressed but suits and ties not necessary at all; no tattoes; and a lovely smile. Delicious!

    Connie Fischer

    • Norah:

      Love it, Connie. Sounds a little like Ray Morgan, a detective in my book Saving Grace. At times, he verges on fastidious about his appearance, but there’s a reason. And then he has to go on the lam and his disguise makes him the anti-Ray. Heh-heh.

  • Dawna Newman:

    I usually like Dark Haired, rugged type with a bit of a 5 o’clock shadow, muscular and very tall. But I do love Blondes as well just really depends on the character in the book I am reading.

  • Sue G.:

    I like men at least 6 feet tall (even though I am only 5’2″!). I like them with dark hair too! Christian Bale in the Dark Knight movies is my idea of delicious!

    • Norah:

      Yum, Sue! And LOL, a lot of those tall guys like tiny 5′ 2″ girls. I see them going all the time and think, “Lucky girl.” 🙂

  • Cris:

    I spent my most formative years in Asia, so I think I’ll always have a soft spot for the pretty-boy (bishōnen) aesthetic, but I find an eclectic range of men appealing. Dark hair & green eyes is always a winning combination, but overly buff is a definite turnoff.


    • Norah:

      Cris, my 23-y-o daughter (a vegan) likes really thin men. Fortunately for her, there seem to be a ton of them. Maybe they’re all vegan too! But the more I’m exposed to that very lean, urbane type, the more I’ve learned to appreciate it too. See? Told you I was eclectic!

  • Stephanie:

    Hi Norah! I managed to fall in love with every hero I read! I love all hair and eye colors, but prefer tall (I’m tall!) and not too slim. Nice muscles, and ABS please! Thanks for the contest! 🙂

    • Norah:

      Stephanie, we must be separated at birth! I can love just about any hero too, if the writer does her job. Of course, if I chose a book, I’m predisposed to falling under the writer’s spell. I want that experience. 🙂

  • Rebecca:

    I love the tall, olive skin,chocolate eyes,dark hair and brows and rugged take charge in that great way. Shihtzushappens@gmail.com

    • Norah:

      Sounds positively edible, Rebecca! So who would you consider fits that mold? Are you thinking, say, Dylan McDermott (did you see him in American Horror Story last year?)? Oh, oh! Maybe like David Gandy?

  • Nat:

    I don’t have a particular “look”, but I like the Beta and Gama type of guys ; )

    • Norah:

      Hey, a vote for a non-Alpha hero! I hear you, Nat. Much as I’ve loved a lot of Alpha heroes, some of my favorites have been betas. Some of Jennifer Crusie’s come to mind. I can’t think of any examples right now, but I know I’ve read them in historical romance as well.
      Good luck with the draw!

  • Belinda P:

    I would like a rugged, outdoors type of man. He can look good in sweats as well in a suit. I like Daniel Craig as Bond. thanks for hop.

    • Norah:

      Great comment, Belinda. It takes a great bod to look great in sweats. (Why is Ryan Reynolds coming to mind?) And Daniel Craig as Bond? THE BEST!

  • infinitieh:

    I don’t know if I have a type either although I do seem to favor dark haired heroes/cover models.

    cgnemesis [at] yahoo [dot] com

    • Norah:

      And again the dark-haired hero wins! Somehow, I think dark hair must be synonymous somehow with masculinity.
      Good luck on the draw!

  • Mary Doherty:

    I don’t know why, but the hero’s in my favorite books are almost always have dark hair. I also like to have what he looks like in my mind. Thanks for the giveaway!


    • Norah:

      And another vote for dark hair! I have to confess that I have a preference for dark hair too, but that can encompass a dark blond. 🙂

  • lisa b:

    For me sometimes the cover photo works for me. Sometimes when it doesn’t I visualize him how I see him. Now and then the picture isn’t clear and he’s more blurry and emotion for me. Now and then though a sharp distinct image jumps out at me. Those ones are often my tabs.

    Lisa B

    • Norah:

      Me too, Lisa. Sometimes when I’m reading, the picture is clear and sometimes not so clear. I’m not sure how much it helps or hinders my enjoyment. I guess I don’t need hair and eye color so much as I need to the writer to give me raw physical impressions. Is he so imposing he seems to take up all the space and air in the room? Does he look menacing when he faces down a bully? It’s more about how the heroine (and me!) react to his physical presence than what he actually looks like. Make sense?

  • kym amaral:

    I like to read different genres, in order to read about different men 🙂


  • May:

    I don’t have a specific type. It depends on my mood! I can appreciate all men type. 😉

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

    • Norah:

      There! You’ve hit on something interesting. I think it does depend on what we’re in the mood for. I’ve been known to pick the next book I’m going to read based on that.

  • Laura D.:

    My favorite type of man is one who loves me, but it never hurts if he is tall with a dusting of hair on his chest and well built. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Elizabeth H.:

    When it comes to book heroes, I love tall guys! I am a tall lady myself (over 6 feet) and I like my men tall, dark and stubborn.
    ehaney578 at aol dot com

    • Norah:

      Ooh, I like that – tall, dark and stubborn! I’m reading one of Delle Jacobs’ wonderful books right now (historical fantasy), and the heroine, a half-faerie, is VERY tall. I love her! Of course, the hero is very tall too. Love, love, love it. Can’t recommend it enough.

  • Hi Norah! I’m not entering your contest this time since a lovely friend already sent me a set of your books 😀 But I wanted to stop by and say hello. While I’m here, I don’t have a type either. Before I got married, the men in my life seemed to look alike, I just realized. They all resembled Hugh Grant when it comes to the slightly Basset Hound eyed look. Hubby is completely different, so perhaps it’s a good thing I didn’t stick to a type 🙂

  • flchen1:

    My favorite novel hero is one who’s smart, compassionate, and good with his hands. If he’s tall, built, and dark-haired, that would be perfectly OK, too 😉

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  • Wow, that’s a good question. I actually do have a very basic look that I LOVE in a guy. I love tall, rugged looking men. Hair and eye color doesn’t really matter but I do love the above man dressed in a t-shirt, worn out jeans and scuffed hiking shoes.

  • Tin:

    I have to say I’m eclectic — it really depends on the story and how the author portrays him. I recently read a romance novel where the hero was red-headed (a very unusual hair color for a hero) — and I ended up loving his character.

    • Norah:

      LOL, Tin! I can remember reading romances where the hero had flaming red hair and I managed to fall in love with him, no problem. 🙂 In real life, I love red hair on a woman, but it’s a harder sell on a man, IMO.

  • Heather:

    Tall , dark and brooding with grayish eyes. *swoons*

  • Tanya:

    My hero would look like Chris Hemsworth and he would most definitely have the Aussie accent. I’m a huge sucker for hot men with accents.


    • Norah:

      Hey, maybe that could be a secret weapon in making a hero really attractive – make him an Aussie transplanted to North America. All I’d have to do is keep reminding the reader about his accent through he heroine’s POV. Think it would work? ,-)

  • Ora:

    I am electic also. I defintely can appreciate all men especially when they have a spark of vitaltiy regardless of the type of personality or appearance.

    • Norah:

      Yup. There’s that overall impression thing again. So much more important that some of the specific details, although there is a place for that stuff too. Just not too soon. I sort of get turned off if the author goes into a laundry list of physical attributes right off the bat. Feed them to me slowly so I can adjust the picture I’m constructing. 🙂

  • Anne Clark:

    I used to love the biker bad boy look when I was younger but as I got older I liked the clean cut shaven military/spy look, then I moved to the rugged outdoor look. Personally I love all types of men but I now need something behind the pretty packaging to keep me interested.

  • Sheila M:

    I like the tall, dark and naughty….

  • Ooh, I do love me a tall dark & alpha male. It’s a favorite for me! I can love just about any type of hero, but he’s hands down my MAN, lol.

  • I definitely have a type – and my favorite heroes are usually described that way – talk, lanky, brown hair. And no facial hair or long hair – both are turn offs for me (which might be why I tend to turn away from all those regency romances with the Fabio-like guys on the cover! Thanks for the great giveaway!

    • Good point about the historicals with all that long, flowing hair! If it’s going to be a turn-off, I can see why you’d avoid them. I too prefer short hair and clean cut (stubble is okay), but can handle the long hair for the right guy. 🙂

  • mk:

    I’m pretty eclectic. I agree with commenter #1, though, I hate it when the character on the cover does not match who is described in the bok

    • Yeah, that can be disappointing. When the cover picture works, you can keep flipping back and looking at it. When it doesn’t, well that’s when you’d like a bookcover to put on it. Or maybe an ebook reader. ,-)

  • sue brandes:

    I don’t really have a certain type. I usually go with what the author writes. Love your covers.

  • Linda Thum:

    I’m not too fussy as long as it’s not an effeminate look

  • eli yanti:

    I’m an eclectic and yes so many cover does not match with the described in the book

    • Eli, I think that may improve, thanks to the control self-published authors have over their covers. And some publishers (Montlake, for instance) have demonstrated commitment to making sure the author is satisfied with the cover. I think those things bode well for less of that in the future. Fingers crossed.

  • Dawn Taira:

    My type would be Native American looks..tall, dark, brooding, kinda cocky, but funny handsome kind a guy who does man things..ahha

  • That’s an interesting question. When I think about it, a hero’s attitude is more important to me than how he looks. Is he taciturn? Is he funny? Smart? The looks kind of follow their characteristics. But, oh yeah, CKR. I think I’ll save that little clip for a down day.

    • You’re so right, Kate! The global impression he makes is so much more important than the component parts. And you’ve written some wonderful characters over the years. Love them. (Thinking about Gage right now.) 🙂
      Glad I could brighten you day with that CKR clip. I also love the one of him from Battlestar Gallactica – Leoben and Kara in that painting scene. Pretty hot, even if one of them is a scary Cylon.

  • I like the tall, dark, hard type. I can picture them when told, but I am not picky…I do prefer short hair as apposed to long…Would love to win

  • Theresa Newbury:

    Men are like snacks…somedays ya might be in a mood for something dark, with a creamy center, other days might call for something crisp and spicy. I just have to go with the cravings and be flexible!! lol

  • sandy:

    For me it’s not really about how he looks but more of his personality. I like a guy with a sense of humor, compassion, and strong sense of loyalty.

  • Kat:

    Charater always wins out over looks. Don’t judge books or men by the cover.

    • True that. And some of my favorite characters (men and women) have been less than beautiful specimens. I remember reading a Linda Howard book where the hero was quite scary-faced. I loved him to death! And I’ve seen the reverse with the heroine. You just have to win me over with their character.

  • Hmmm… I guess I like them all! I agree with Kate Kelly, the attitude is more of a turn on for me than his body type! Thanks so much!
    hschrock24112 at yahoo dot com

  • donnas:

    I really dont have a particular type. The character is really what is important. Although I have to say I do slight prefer dark hair to blonds.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • SheriV:

    I don’t have a set type anymore. THough I do love geeky guys. 🙂

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

  • anna:

    I’m definitely eclectic when it coes to my heroes. I love all the different body types, personalities, quirks. All can be wrapped up into a wonderful hero 🙂


  • Tina B:

    If I am looking for a guy, I prefer tall, dark hair, dark eyes, well built (almost too muscular) with an alpha attitude. 🙂
    I have dated many different types of men though and appreciate them all! 😉
    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    trb0917 at gmail.com

  • Booksie:

    Frequently, the cover of the book is what the hero/heroine looks like. But I admit I have a hard time seeing light colored heroes…just not my thing!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

Leave a Reply