Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Very First P&P Blog EVAH

For my very first post EVAH (*throws confetti*) on Pens and Peonies , I wanted to make sure I delivered what you came here to find. Since the P&P banner says we are here to discuss Writing, Sex, Men, Emotion, and Life, I thought I’d pick one of those to talk about.

lemmon.temptingthe billionaire.eb As a contemporary romance writer who claims to write “sexy, sassy romance with a squeeze of humor” you may have already deduced which topic I’m about to tackle.

MEN. (You were thinking SEX, weren’t you?) ;)

I love men. There. I said it. What’s lovely is that my (long-suffering?) husband of a decade-and-a-half understands that I love my heroes and that my heroes and I have a very intimate relationship with one another. Of course, I’m talking about fictional men.

After loading up Shane (Tempting the Billionaire) with baggage, wading through sorrow with Aiden (Hard to Handle) and digging deep to find out how Landon (The Millionaire Affair) really feels about love, I’m certain I’ve ended up with the right man by my side. (I liked it. I put a ring on it.)

Which leads us to the topic of the men I didn’t marry: the ones in my books. 

I believe every heroine deserves a good man, and crafting one isn’t as clean and smooth as their last close shave (or not, in Aiden’s scruffy case). To make sure you get a hero to drool over, and sometimes want to hit over the head with a shovel (Shane, I’m looking at you), I am sure to give these rock-hard-bodied males a few traits that aren’t so perfect.

And I don’t mean a hook nose or a lazy eye, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Heroes of romance may be physical gods who know their way around a mattress, but make no mistake, they are flawed. Those flaws are deep-seated, ingrained in who they’ve had to become to deal with their crap. Either they fear ever getting close to someone (Shane), get way too close way too soon (Aiden), or believe that love can be broken down into an itemized, manageable list (Landon, you poor clueless millionaire, you).  At this point, any self-respecting, modern-day woman should be poised for two snaps of the “Oh No You Didn’t” variety.

The trick to finding these finely flawed heroes their happily ever afters is to set them up with a woman who is understanding, patient, and sometimes as stubborn and set in their ways as they are. And that’s where the fun comes in. Because why else read about an Adonis if we don’t get to watch them fail miserably? Why put a woman in his arms if she’s not going to eventually find herself wanting to get out of them?

The key to every great romance is the push and pull, the yin and yang, the unexpected discovery of watching these characters find the person they weren’t even looking for.

Each new book I start begins with casting the hero. (As you can see showcased on my hero-laden Pinterest board HERE.) I’ve heard a good man is hard to find, but I have no problem finding a nugget of goodness in each of my male characters. The hard part is dredging up the past that left them scarred in the first place, and then helping them get over it.

Once that barrier is broken down, he and the heroine will live happily ever after. And at that point, there’s not a damn thing either one of them can do about it. :)


Jessica Lemmon writes sassy, sexy contemporary romance with a squeeze of humor. She blogs at Pens & Peonies the first Wednesday of every month. You can also find out more at, LIKE her at, and tweet her in 140-character bursts on Twitter: @lemmony


  1. Great advice on writing the hero! Love the 'Why put a woman in his arms if she’s not going to eventually find herself wanting to get out of them" statement!

  2. "sometimes want to hit over the head with a shovel" <--Oh poor Shane!

    I've always found it fascinating how characters develop and how most, in theory, should develop the same way, but they don't. Great piece!