Pleasure Me With Kate Moore

>A fellow Berkley author, Kate Moore had been published by several different publishers, she’s an award-winning author, and Sabrina Jeffries calls her a “…writer to treasure.” Please welcome Kate for today’s Pleasure Me With Romance guest post.

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B and N


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Hi Monica, Thank you for including me in this blog fest.  The posts are fun and inspiring, and my to-be-read pile grows with each one, starting with your Pleasure Me, which sounds like a richly emotional treat.

So many books, so little time, especially when deadlines loom, but in those brief lulls between projects, I read stacks and stacks from my tbr pile—friends’ books, books I’ve heard buzz about, and books that intrigue me with a blurb or a premise. Right now with winter blustering away outside (snow!) and a steaming cup of soy chai beside me, I am deep in a restoring, energizing marathon of reading.  I call it “filling the well.”

I’m loving it, but I’m also finding myself let down by two patterns that writers seem to fall into in the effort to elevate the heroine to her heroic stature and to raise the love between the hero/heroine to the level of a great love.  Mostly I ignore the flaws in my favorite genre except that finding them in book after book right now has made me take note. 

First, the heroine has to be unique among women in the hero’s experience.  She has to be the one for him.  After all he has to give up a bachelor’s independence or a jaded rake’s cynicism to offer her his love, loyalty, protection, and worldly goods.  The writing pattern that bothers me is the pattern of making all other women in the hero’s past and/or present terrible people.  

To Save The Devil

Will Jones, the middle brother takes on his enemies directly. An ex-spy and ex-Bow Street Runner, Will is a master of disguises. In disguise he enters the discreet brothel run by the family’s enemy and rescues a virgin being auctioned off as “Helen of Troy.”

Helen is no swooning maiden, but a woman of wit and determination with a mission of her own. She must retrieve dangerous letters of her mother’s from a blackmailer. Disguised as a youth, Helen is determined to escape Will until she realizes he may be her only hope of getting her mother’s letters back.

In the bleak winter days after mad old King George’s death, London is more dangerous than ever, and as Will and Helen search for her mother’s letters and his brother, they stumble on a plot to assassinate the English cabinet, which divides them in a moment of stunning betrayal.

When I found myself in a recent read more sympathetic to the “other” woman than the heroine, I had to wonder what was going on.  Several heroes I encountered in this round of reading face clone armies of available and willing blondes (inevitably) who know the score, seek and give sexual gratification without expectation of anything more than a bauble, or attempt to manipulate the hero for their own advancement.  These rivals to the heroine are the hero’s “usual women,” the women he knows before he meets the heroine. 

Even if he went to high school or college or runs a business, the hero never seems to have known any smart, kind, funny, or capable women—like maybe his sister or his mother or a friend’s sister or a teacher or a pediatrician or a physical therapist.  He’s only seen Kristen Scott Thomas films and never Queen Latifah movies.  Perhaps his own skewed values, or misperceptions, or life circumstances kept him from meeting you or your best friend, but I’m thinking that a good hero should at least imagine that there are passionate, smart, kind, honest women at work in the world.

Second, the heroine must resist the hero.  He’s dangerous to her.  Initially, his physical strength and attractiveness make him dangerous, but even more dangerous is his power to reject her love and crush her emotionally.  The dangers and rewards inherent in loving someone make for rich writing material.  The writing short cut that bothers me is the pattern of blighting the heroine’s romantic history with one bad experience. 

Apparently, one jerk has made the heroine wary of all relationships.  We’re expected to believe that she tried love, like sushi, once, and decided she would never try it again.  I know that there is no pain like a broken heart; and that we don’t ever forget a heartbreak that made us curl up in the fetal position for days in the depths of a closet or a coal bin. But many women have suffered much worse at the hands of men, so I expect a worthy heroine to have picked herself up and dusted herself off, to have done some thinking, met other people, gained perspective, and developed resilience.

The two patterns I mention seem to me like short cuts to the lofty writing goals we all have of making the heroine heroic and the love between her and her hero a great love.  But how can writers avoid them? How can writers make their heroines shine without diminishing every other woman on the planet?  How can writers make the love between the hero/heroine a great love if each lives in a world of decent men and women? And can’t we as writers have fun creating evil secondary characters? 

I have some suggestions and I invite yours.

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B and N


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One: give the heroine a credible rival who has some good qualities—not just a position in the world that advantages her over the heroine, but something about her that might genuinely attract an intelligent hero, even though she’s not right for the hero.  Two:  have fun with a genuinely bad female character, who is not the heroine’s rival, but who is a thorn in her side and who does represent the unheroic aspects of female possibility.  Three: give the heroine her early misfortune in love and some perspective on it and then a plot circumstance that has kept her from seeking love again.  Four:  let the heroine resist the hero because she values herself and wants him to show that he really does respect her. Our heroines are special because they are perceptive, they have integrity, they can grow, they’re resilient, they are fighters of one sort or another, and above all because they can love.  So, five:  let the hero/heroine’s love be great because they genuinely understand each other and sacrifice for each other and can play each other’s games for a lifetime. 

Have you ever seen either the patterns I’ve been seeing?  Are they necessary, or have they bothered you or made you think less of a book’s hero and heroine?  What’s your ideal “other woman” in the hero’s life?

Happy reading, Kate

DRAWING– One commenter wins 
one copy (1) of To Tempt a Saint and one copy (1) To Save The Devil
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Visit Kate

About the Author
Kate Moore has lived most of her life along the California coast. That experience has made her a jeans-wearing, toes in wet-sand, married to a surfer, fog-loving weather wimp, with a hint of East Coast polish from spending her college years in Boston.

When she’s not reading, writing, teaching, or brainstorming, she walks in the redwoods; feeds birds; collects books, apples and leaves; watches the tele-novellas on Spanish-language TV; and immerses herself in all things English. Her favorite food groups are butter, brown sugar, dark chocolate, and red wine. Her early literary influences were The Little Engine That Could, The Little Red Hen, and Winnie the Pooh. Austen, Heyer, Chaucer, and Homer came later and inspired her to put that first plot on paper.

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About Monica Burns

A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

37 thoughts on “Pleasure Me With Kate Moore

  1. >I have seen those patterns, but honestly, I haven't been seriously bothered by them. Most of time when I'm reading, I'm looking to escape, so outlandish plots aren't really a problem, if it's a well-written story. I am especially intrigued by your option four, though!

    julieguan AT gmail DOT com

  2. >I definitely agree with having the heroine resist the hero because she wants him to respect and value her. And also, I want to respect and like her. I want to know that this is an intelligent woman who values herself (unless part of the heroine's journey is overcoming self-esteem issues). I do see a lot of "other women" who are two-dimensional grasping creatures, and the hero should have other examples of women, like a best friend or sister or aunt. It's sometimes too easy and perhaps lazy to simplify the issues the main characters need to overcome; having a complicated situation or personality makes the journey to the HEA richer, and a struggle to be together happily makes the end more valued and appreciated not just to the characters, but to the readers as well.

    jbrink83 at hotmail dot com

  3. >Hi All, Thanks for joining me today on Monica's site, and thanks to Monica for hosting her writing friends. I'm off to DC for a conference, so I will get a dose of real weather this week, and two long flights to read about more heroines and heroes. Happy reading, all!

  4. >I have read many books with the patterns you've mentioned. I'm not bothered by them and there have only been a few times where I might have thought less of the hero or heroine. I just like seeing an intelligent and likable heroine.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  5. >Kate,

    Never paid attention to the patterns. An interesting concept though. What woman doesn't dream of being "the one" the hero chooses over all other women — even another worthy woman.

    Sorry for having no imagination, but it seems the "ideal" other woman could be the hero's friend, or the sister of his best friend (or some such thing) — and the heroine just can't help but like her too.

    2much2reid {at} comcast {dot} net / Texas

  6. >Hi fellow CA "wimp." 😉 You've given me something to think about…especially to avoid in my own books! It can get old when the "other woman" is clearly not appealing in any real way. I've actually been reading a book and keep stopping because that aspect is irritating.
    CA, US

  7. >Hello all! I guess I haven't noticed any patterns so needless to say I'm not bothered by it. But I do like my heroines to be smart, sassy strong-willed while maintaining a sense of femininity. I prefer she have some kind of prior relationship with the hero whether it's as his best friend's little sister or maybe a former servant in the hero's home…. Whatever it takes to create a little sexual tension! 🙂


  8. >Kate, what a thought-provoking post! Now I'm worried about my heroines and the villains who are their rivals.
    Many thanks!

  9. >Hello Monica and Kate !

    Some really great insight on writing a believable and interesting heroine!

    It is interesting that you talk about giving the heroine a likable rival. I am working on revising my latest manuscript with some suggestions from my agent. She liked the heroine, but she also liked a female character I introduced as his cousin's widow, a woman the hero had grown up with and genuinely liked and admired. My agent really liked this character and asked me to increase her participation in the plot. I am really enjoying writing two women who like each other and are both intelligent, capable women whom the hero admires – each for different reasons.


  10. >Kate –
    I loved the Hero's Club and can't wait to read the Sons of Sin trilogy! I love conntected books and the hardest thing about your books is waiting for the next release.

    One thing I look forward to is to expect the unexpected and you always manage to hit the mark with each book. Your writing is always what I'm looking for and not just "the same old thing". Thanks for always having somehting unexpected in your stories that make me stop and think.

  11. >I can't recall one…. but doesn't mean I haven't 🙂
    Your books sound great!


  12. >I think authors should trust that readers can think for themselves and not take the easy way to explain why a man has not settled down before meeting the heroine.

    linze_e at hotmail dot com

  13. >There have been a few books here and there where I have cared more about other characters than the hero and heroine. It sucks. I hate when I don't care about the main couple.

  14. >Yes, I have seen what you've mentioned. No, they don't bother me. Like everything else – it cycles. If the writing, voice, etc., etc., is good, I'm there. Of course, I have run across storylines that are so predictable, they are boring. But others delicious and delightful. The other woman should be intelligent, above reproach, and kind. Not necessarily a courtesan as with so many of today's books.

    cindersmaria @ yahoo DOT com
    South Carolina

  15. >Kate, interesting question…

    I have really enjoyed a couple of books in which the H/h realize very quickly that they are matched without all of the typical "resisting the temptation" cliches. In those books, they had to overcome obstacles TOGETHER in order to achieve their HEA.

    One that immediately comes to mind is The Madness of Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley. It was the two of them against the world–and I loved it.



  16. >Hi All,
    Thanks for the smart and kind comments so far. You are making me think. I love the comments on the heroine herself and who she should be, the hero's judgment, the plot possibilities. It is a tricky thing to write a great heroine without implying that all other women are either Glen Close in Fatal Attraction or mindless inflatable dolls with active sex drives. I keep thinking that every woman is someone's friend, sister, mother, or cousin with the potential to be a heroine, just not for the hero of the current book.

  17. >Hello, Kate & Monica,

    Over five decades of my favorite
    pastime of reading, I've seen just
    about every writing pattern that's
    been offered. My fave heroine is
    the one who stands up for herself,
    giving as good as she gets! What
    I sometime can't understand, that
    this is the first time the hero has
    encountered this type woman! As for
    the other woman, she attracted him
    she has to have had some redeeming

    Pat Cochran

  18. >great post to make me think. AAgggghhhh that hurts woman!
    Seriously though, I am seeing these patterns more lately and think it could be very distracting from the main story, especially when I really admire or identify with the secondary character more than the primary. Thats when I start hoping its a series and we will read their story next.
    And I am getting so so so sick of the following pattern. The female lead is permanently scarred and terrified of men because of a previous bad experience or abuse. Dont forget the woman, who for whatever reason, has remained a virgin past the age of 21.
    Oh, but wait! here comes our hero and the passion is so instant and overwhelming, within the second meeting of these two, our lady is able to overcome all her past fears, baggage, morals, insecurities or whatever and fall into his arms in a blazing heat that makes her orgasm from penetration alone during her first time. ummmmm yeah
    Dont get me wrong… I dont mind these characteristics in a female lead, I just feel its unrealistic the way they can just jump right in, all because of the love of a good man.
    Now that being said, I want to see lots of sex and soon. Guess I cannot get everything I want in every book, but I'm still looking.

    Thanks for spending time with us, it is a treat to get inside an authors mind.

  19. >I've never really thought about it. It always makes it interesting when strikes out with revenge because she didn't get the hero. Other than that I'd really have to take some time to consider that.

    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love a chance to read your books.

    Linda Y
    Idaho, USA
    qladyhawke at gmail dot com

  20. >Hi Monica and Kate. Thank you for the great blog. I found Kate's perspective into heroins quite interesting. Something I have never given much thought to in the past. However, I will do so in the future. I enjoy reading blogs such as yours. Thank you both for enriching my reading experience.

    rjofus(at)gmail(dot)com / NJ

  21. >I really like variety so I'm sure I must have come across this. My main concern is that I like the characters (either good or bad) and then the author can take me anywhere. Your covers are just gorgeous!!


  22. >I see these patterns alot but I guess I have gotten used to them so they don't upset me.

    Generally, all the other women in books are usually either mistresses or something like this. It would be interesting to read books where the H actually had more than 1 good choice. But generally the H is a rake who avoids anyone except loose women until they meet the h.

    Your books sound great and I would love to win. I am always looking for a new author to read.

    June in Ky

  23. >Hi,

    I do see these patterns which seem to show up more in historicals. Tradition maybe?

  24. >Hi Kate,

    Thanks for a very interesting post today. I've never read your books before, but from what I've read here, I'll be adding you to my TBB list. Love those titles and the cover isn't bad either!

    I like a strong heroine with a bit of a soft spot in her heart for the underdogs. The book I'm reading right now has a heroine who appears to be a brat, opinionated and rude, stubborn, selfish and shallow. Sounds like a lot to overcome, but I have faith the author will pull her from the edges of the fire and back to the world of love, harmony and she'll find her HEA with the hero…who right now is her arch enemy!

    kkhaas at bellsouth dot net

  25. >I have read books where there have been a rival for both the heroine and the hero. Sometimes I end up sympathizing for the rejected, but then they end up finding their true match. I think it adds a bit of excitement towards the story.


    New York

  26. >Good Morning Kate and Monica…….
    Yes, I've seen the patterns that you are talking about and while they don't bug me to the point of putting the book down, I do have to wonder about why authors seem to write the characters that way. I would think that in any time period, whether it's a historical or contemporary romance that the hero was bound to have met someone who was smart,funny and likeable and just not for him…I do believe that men and woman can be friends without sex being a part of it and I think that's the biggest problem – people aren't friends much before they become lovers. My ideal other woman would be smart, sexy, funny and sure of herself and just not that interested in the hero because she's looking for something different than what he is:)

    US Resident

  27. >I guess it's safe if the hero never met any women that are like the heroine. You already know that she therefore can easily be the one. But yeah it must say something about the hero if he never gave a more decent women a try.
    Having a bit of stiff competition with a likeable other woman can make a story very interesting I think.

    lotsofgingers AT hellkitty DOT com

  28. >Good morning, Kate & Monica!
    What a beautiful day this is!
    I enjoyed your blog post… though I really haven't seen the pattern you're referring to.
    I can't remember a book I've read where the story of the "other" woman makes me pull for her instead of the primary heroine. I do like my women strong…and I like the man to not know that he was looking for her after all.
    Please do enter me in your drawing… I'd love to read your books…
    Linda T.
    Florida, USA

  29. >Good Morning Kate and Monica,
    I have sene that pattern you were talking about and I tend to see it a different way. Maybe the hero didn't recognize how good the other women were until he finds his one true love.

    I like strong feisty women and a hero that finds her when he's not looking for her.

  30. >I've seen it too, it can be frustrating when the heroine lets one past incident with a man ruin her opinion of men. But, I don't mind it if the author explains what happened and it really sounded bad. Lately, I've seen more of the father was a philanderer and the daughter assumes all men are the same, or at least the one she finds attractive. I personally don't like the distraction of another woman. Either I like her better, or doubt the hero's thinking in getting involved with her. I like the complication to involve dangerous deeds rather than other people.

    julieboo817 at gmail dot com

  31. >Now that you've mentioned it, I don't recall ever reading a book with "the other woman." I'm sure I must have, though; maybe, a long time ago.

    I'll return, if I can recall a book.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  32. >Oh yes, I have seen those patterns you mention. I am always suspect of the "other woman" who is so ghastly that I wonder about the judgment of the hero…and have serious doubts about why the heroine would want to be with him! A more sympathetic "other woman" can be a good thing…as long as the reader doesn't like her too much! Gah, what a fine line for an author to walk!

    BabsVick AT gmail DOT com

  33. >Good morning, Kate! Love the sound of your books. 🙂

    I actually read a book within the last year where I liked a secondary female character better than the heroine, too!! Obviously I wasn't supposed to, but there was something about her that I completely identified with. She will have her own book soon and I hope I still feel the same way about her when I read it!

    dadaw1321 AT numail DOT org

  34. >Good Morning to all. What a wonderful post.I have read "To Save The Devil" loved it and highly recommend it.Waiting for "To Tempt a Saint" to hit the shelves.As to your questions,first I enjoy a strong woman who knows what kind of hero she wants,can hold her own,and understands her hero,his sacrifice and can play his games.I think being sympathic to the "other woman",may be okay but not take over the story,or make the heroine look as an arse or whiney. Save "the other woman" for another story. Let her make her appearance,stir a little trouble but not over power the real heroine.I think you need a little of both worlds to make a plot work and keep you interested.
    As,I said earlier, I so loved "To Tempt a Saint".Have a wonderful day/week.
    North Carolina

  35. >I know what your talking about the lines aren't as defined as they use to be in this genre anymore. I've read stories were the other woman was the better woman and the hero was a better person than the herione would ever be. It's very confusing an discouraging because of course the herione gets him anyway and the hero deserves better and the read feels completely let down by the whole story.
    Theresa N

  36. >Hi, Kate! Your "Heroes Club" is fantastic, and your "Sons of Sin" trilogy looks terrific! I love fabulous, feisty female characters! A hero can be a rascally rogue, but he must still have a deep-seated respect for women–even if it takes a while to surface. A heroine may be “flustered” by the masculinity of the hero, but she must never, ever be a “ninny”! Ideally, the woman will be strong and intelligent, and those will be the characteristics which the hero finds hardest to resist! That’s not to say that the man and woman should be “perfect”. Idiosyncrasies are much more attractive and endearing than perfection. The supporting characters can be the nasties and the ninnies : ) I like heroines who are intelligent and refuse to be otherwise. Men who don’t appreciate smart women don’t deserve them! Most of the time, women are the nurturers and caregivers, which is their most natural role. However, it’s also fun to see women as warriors, entrepreneurs, mechanics, engineers, surgeons, architects, scientists and athletes. Strong women deserve strong men who are confident enough not to be threatened by a “Steel Magnolia”. The heroine should be smart, strong, show some sass, and able to defend herself, and the hero, when needed. Always awesome, sometimes shy, a sensual lady and a sexy mate–a woman is many marvelous things in one caring, loving persona. My favorite romances are those where the hero and heroine learn about themselves as they learn about each other. Love is often found in unexpected hearts : )

    VA–USA Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  37. >good morning kate and monica!
    as for heroines I beleive they should be very strong women 🙂
    Not sure I see those patterns your see mostly I think because I reread alot between books and know I am getting a good one! I am only very rarely dissapointed in a book it does not happen often mostly because I enjoy reading so much I think!

    as for the other woman I am not sure as i hadnt thought about it much! puts some perspective on things to think about though!

    Kris b Indiana
    krysti33 @ frontier dot com