Jilly: Is It Better To Be Brave Than Kind?

Is It Better To Be Brave Than Kind?Women prefer bravery, courage and a willingness to take risks rather than kindness and altruism in their partners.

Do you agree?

The above statement is a direct quote from an academic paper about online dating, written by Professor Khalid Khan of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Sameer Chaudhry of the University of North Texas, published in the Journal of Evidence Based Medicine. I read about the paper in an article online this week and thought it sounded like story gold, so I took a closer look.

The paper’s stated objective is: to determine, for people seeking a date online, what activities and behaviours have an effect on the chances of converting electronic communication into a face-to-face meeting.

Or to paraphrase, how to win at online dating.

And since success at the preliminary stages of online dating is all about establishing a character Continue reading

Jilly: Did They Live Happily Ever After?

Did They Live Happily Ever AfterWhat makes you feel confident that a relationship will stand the test of time?

Last week my husband and I celebrated a landmark wedding anniversary. You don’t need the numbers – suffice it to say that we were teenagers when we met, and twentysomethings when we tied the knot, so it’s been awhile. Then a few days ago I had lunch with a friend who’s managing the fall-out from two family divorces within the first year of marriage. The juxtaposition set me to thinking about what makes a relationship work – or not – in real life, and how I could use that information to give my fictional characters every chance of a genuine, lasting HEA.

We judge relationships instinctively all the time – for ourselves, for our friends, families and colleagues. How many times have we been introduced to a new ‘other half’ or attended a wedding and thought privately this will never last? Or Continue reading

Elizabeth: Uh oh, My Stereotype is Showing

women-openA few weeks ago I blogged about warming up the romance in my story here. One of the things that came out of that discussion, besides some great suggestions for enhancing the chemistry between my characters, was the realisation that I had fallen into some stereotypically thinking.

I had been envisioning Abigail as the typical gently bred young lady of the Regency who knew little if anything about men or sex before she married, especially since she had no mother around to advise her. On the flip side, I saw Michael as the traditional experienced Regency gentleman who had sown more than a few wild oats during his transition to adulthood (while hopefully remaining disease-free). Continue reading

Jilly: Behind Every Hot Hero There’s His Mother

Every Hero Has One - The Role of the Romance Hero's Mother

Every Hero Has One

I’m having a small panic and I’d appreciate some input here. I’m writing a love story in which the hero’s mother is a major character. Question: if the hero’s relationship with his mother is an important sub-plot, does that somehow make the hero less hot/heroic or the story less romantic?

My hero, Ian, is a brilliant, workaholic entrepreneur. He’s an alpha type, the famous public face of his family business, but the creative genius and driving force behind it is his widowed mother, Ma. She’s a formidable character. There is a strong and loving relationship between Ma and her two sons, but she places a powerful burden of expectation on them. Ian and Cam are not afraid of Ma or dominated by her, but they accept her world-view and try to live up to the standards she sets, until the heroine, Rose, arrives on the scene and challenges the established order. Continue reading