Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Guest host & published author, Phyllis Humphrey, will write about the male POV today

Hi, this is Bob. I was going to write about Taylor Swift today, but somebody much more to our point has agreed to guest host. Thank you so much, Phyllis.
Phyllis Humphey, aka, Phyll Ashworth, ( is a prolific romance author who's latest release 'Free Fall' is highly recommended. It asks, can a gal fall for a pilot/skydiver when she's afraid of hieghts? Check her web site out for a wonderous trip through Phyllis's imaginative mind.

By Guest Blogger Phyllis Humphrey

Bob Richard, host of this blog, has been providing interesting and informative posts for some time now. And, in December, his gift to us was a charming short Holiday story.

Ever since the 1990s, when the "female viewpoint only" version of romance novels gave way to male viewpoint inclusion, we female writers have been learning how to make those men into believable characters in our books. The advice we’ve found focuses often on dialogue.

#Men, we’re told, speak less often than women and use fewer words. Scientists have research that shows girl babies start speaking earlier than boy babies, and then talk more than men for the rest of their lives. In addition, men have fewer words in their vocabulary than women so they tend to choose simple words that get right to the point.

#Men, sometimes, use action instead of dialogue to get their views across. And who, reading a romance novel isn’t glad they do? Touching, holding, caressing, kissing does a pretty good job of conveying thoughts and feelings, right?

Men are sometimes described as "the strong, silent type," which can be attractive to women when not overdone. My first husband carried the concept to extremes and I once waited forty-five minutes (in total silence) for him to answer a question before giving up. Since I’m a normal woman who wants and needs communication, small wonder we divorced. But I digress.

However, "actions speak louder than words," so men’s actions in romance novels are often what turns a book into a best-seller. We need those heroic moments, whether it’s sweeping the heroine off her feet, or fighting the bad guys who want to foreclose on the farm. Yet, men’s tendency to "act first and ask questions later" isn’t always the best way to handle conflict. Writers need to know when which approach is best for the story.

Understanding the difference between the sexes is essential for any novel, but especially for a romance novel. Readers will know when something sounds "phony." I’m not saying that a woman who had no brothers and never married can’t write believable man-woman scenes, but she’ll need to do more research than the rest of us.

Which reminds me of an RWA Conference I attended where an author walked around with a Tee-shirt reading, "I Write romance novels," and her husband followed with his reading, "I do the research."
Thank you, Phyllis. We as writers must put on many hats, some of them bonnets, some baseball caps. I very much appreciate your insights.
Although Harry talks up a storm in these two scenes from 'When Harry Met Sally' he was right to the point. No guy you ask will admit to what Harry postulates with Sally, because if they admit it, then they won't get sex, and sex is what all men want. I got to go, my wife is calling. You never know, I might get lucky, but probably end up doing the dishes. But I only do the dishes because I want to have sex. Well, maybe later.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alpha Man: species: Homo stupendous, AKA, God's gift to women

I read in the OP-ED section of today’s LA Times (1/19/13), Are We Violent By Nature? by Luke Glowacki. Luke suggests we are ready to go to war or get an advantage while competing for limited resources. We’ll also use differences between groups of people for advantage. Although not explicitly mentioned, our early pre-history, with man flirting, on and off, with extinction, far preferred and developed cooperative efforts with other groups to survive. This leaves man both a warrior and a peace maker.

Can man be both monogamous and promiscuous? I’ll simplify this question with speculation. Let’s call Alpha man mostly promiscuous and Beta man mostly monogamous.* Why?

Alpha man feels the need, call it genes, subconsciously and/or consciously, to spread his seed to every woman he desires. If he loses one he’ll get another. Beta man is so happy (and fortunate) to have the love of one woman, he feels the need not to mess it up by cheating just in case he never gets another woman or deep down inside he feels he wants no other woman. He has met his soulmate.
* I believe humans, both male and female, lean to monogamy. It's not only smarter, it makes for a happier life for husband, wife, and children.

The moral of this story may lie in the nuanced way you treat these two different types of heroes and how they struggle over the life of the story (arc).

Taylor Swift and Carly Simon sing and talk a little about "You're So Vain."

Next week I'd like to talk about Taylor Swift.

For those who'd love to hear the original in full:
Carly Simon, 1972, You're So Vain:


Sunday, January 12, 2014



Tomboys are a popular choice when writing heroines and are also popular in society, but not so for tomgirls. What is a tomgirl? There's no such word. One reason is, society, reinforced by most boys and men don't allow boys or men to "step a little outside the rigid masculine stereotype." This thought and many other insights are addressed by Emily Alpert Reyes, a LA Times demographics reporter in her piece, Gender Double Standard.

See her story below for an in depth look at this phenomenom.

In general, men like Tomboys. but women do not like Tomgirls. However, if done right, tomgirls, sensitive men, neat freaks, artists, metrosexuals, men who perform traditionally female jobs, can be fertile ground for the creative writer when sketching out a male hero. Call it a flaw if you like.

Hollywood has much more fun with this than romance writers who tend to stick to alpha rather than beta heroes. Think of Cary Grant (as a professor) in Bringing Up Baby. Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie.

Could you imagine the neat freak in The Odd Couple (Felix) played by a leading and very handsome man with the story twisted to showcase a romance with a circumspect heroine? Take it a step further and have them live together. Instead of Oscar, let's call her Oscalina.

Just have fun with it, there's a ton of material to be mined.

With all the heroines in romance being scarfed up by alpha heroes, what's a beta type of guy to do?
Here's one way. The trailer for the movie Her.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

A priceless 99 cent buy

You can get some really good bargains in the 99 cents store. I’m peering up now at my 99 cent calendar featuring Miss January. Miss January is Miss February, etc.
I, in complete adoration, absorb every detail of my first girlfriend. Okay, she really wasn’t mine, she was everybody’s and I was too young (what would I do with her anyway?). Drat. I was in love with Audrey Hepburn when most of the other boys preferred somebody not skinny, like Marilyn. Monroe was good looking, but give me a break, no Audrey.

I’ve never got over her ‘type’: unique, perky/querky, thin, impossible smile, huge heart.

So why does one man like the volumptuous type and the next a svelte beauty? For me, it's more complicated than that. Ask me, and I'll try to explain it. Just be aware that your hero might be attracted to a certain type and be ready to explain why in interior monologue. I love the way Susan Elizabeth Phillips handles this question.
From YouTube: "It's so Audrey! A Style Icon"
Next week I'll be talking about the Gender Double Standard.

I'll leave you now. I've got a calendar to go through.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Breaking Bad (habits)

Resolution central, 1/1/14

I need your help. Last year the world chess championship grabbed my attention and I started playing again. But, I don’t want to play, I want to write. Even though I have won California championships and other titles, chess is useless to me now. My problem is, unlike chess, I get little feedback that I’m a good writer, one good enough to be published.

Published authors also enjoy an organization that helps them maintain a level of productivity and offers professional feedback about their prowess.

Most people need to make more than resolutions. They need to change their way of doing things. Joining a group like the Challenge group of RWASD is a great first step. Ultimately, they need an accountability partner. Someone who will get on their case or offer encouragement as needed. Someone who recognizes the best way to help their friend. Anybody?


I resolve to publish, whether traditionally or indie, four romance novels already completed. I’ve set in motion a process where they’ll all be professionally edited soon. I resolve to continue writing while I incorporate the editors’ changes and follow through to publication.

Who would like to share their resolutions, or better yet, join a list of people wanting an accountability partner suitable to their needs?

# # #

I choose Gotye’s video and song SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW because it intrigues me on so many levels. Grist for the writer’s mill or as a chess addict or about a lover in some romance novel?

Leave the past behind and step into your better future, if you dare, (dare to change). In the meantime an old lover, chess, is pulling me away from you, darling.