Feb 12 2014 11:10am

Strong, Sexy, Smart: Romance Heroines FTW!

Marked by Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, and Kit RochaWe've got not one, but three* (*technically four!) authors at H&H today, talking about the heroines they love best. Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, and Kit Rocha have just released Marked, an erotica anthology tied together by its tattoooed and/or pierced heroes and heroines. Thanks for joining us, ladies!

Today, we’re talking about smart women, and strong women, and sexy women. 

As you do.

And the reason this topic came up was because the three of us, Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, and Kit Rocha (who is actually Donna Herren and Bree Bridges, so it’s the four of us, but I digress) got to chatting about the things we like in books, and the things we don't, and one thing always leads to another.

In our case, it led to us writing more stories!

But the conversation is an important one to have, as readers and writers. We all enjoy romance, and love to read books with a happily-ever-after. And there are so many different heroes we love, for many reasons. That’s a rabbit hole we can fall into easily—“insert names of current sexy dudes here.”

Are you back?

While the discussion rages on about what makes a hero attractive, ie he’s sexy or smart or…heroic, when it comes to the ladies, tastes can become more rigid. 

What’s a girl got to do to get a little lovin’ around here?

In our case, said conversation ended up with us all affirming that for us, strong, smart women are sexy. And we’ve got some heroines out of literature to discuss with you.

Lauren Dane:

I’m drawn to those books and authors who give me such excellent heroines. People bring up Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You and heap lots of love on the hero (my fave of hers), but when I think heroines I think about her Wallflowers who are all smart and resourceful and have such great friendships with one another.

One thing that really attracted me to the opportunity to do an anthology with Vivian Arend and Kit Rocha was they way they write women. One thing you see across these novellas are strong women who know who they are and know what they want. My favorite kind of heroine!

Sisterhood wasn't just a concept anymore. It was a tangible thing that saved Summer's sanity. In a world where women were so vastly outnumbered, it meant everything to be around other people who understood what it meant to be female.

Vivian Arend:

I think for me it’s the contrast. I love heroines like Anne of Green Gables (yes—I’m old. Shut up.) Anne with an e has got to be one of the bravest heroines I know. Not only does she deal head on with the moment she realizes she’s not the boy they wanted to adopt, but over the years, as she grows and learns what it means to be a woman in that era, and that setting, she keeps her joy.

She finds pleasure in doing her best, no matter what she’s doing. Traditional family roles are beautiful things that should be celebrated when that role is what we chose as a woman.

The flip side of that is I love heroines who do untraditional things. Stepping outside the lines should be celebrated just as quickly—especially by those who stand by our side. Heroines who take roles in law enforcement, or other male dominated fields know what they need.

“Don't try to tell me not to protect you.”

Her eyes flashed. “I don't need protecting, I need a partner who wants me, all of me.” 

Heroines can be strong no matter what their walk in life, because it takes incredible strength to be a daughter, to be a friend, to be a mom, to be a wife. To be a woman, without any of the labels of society.

Kit’s turn:

Man, I like heroines. I just do. Hot heroes can make or break a book, but when I find something that I love—really, truly love—it's always about the heroines.  And I like them in all shapes, sizes and temperaments—good, bad, badass, sweet, sassy, cranky, innocent, experienced…show me a bright world of variation!

The complexity and individuality of her heroines are the reason Meljean Brook is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her Guardians series isn't just an amazing paranormal world, but a book by book exploration of all the ways women can be amazing.  Lovers and fighters, geeks and artists, stone-cold killers and warmly loving earth mothers… there's no one right way to be strong, and her heroines prove that again and again.

But my most favorite thing of all is when heroines love each other (for example, Marked was the best publishing experience I've had in years because I got to go on this adventure with Viv and Lauren).

My friendships with other women have been so enriching and fulfilling, and I love to see that reflected in the books I read.  That's one of the reasons I keep going back to series like the Spindle Cove books by Tessa Dare, or Victoria Dahl's Jackson series.  Books where women support and love each other trigger all my warm fuzzies, whether they're traipsing through the countryside of Regency England or kicking back with martinis at girls' night.

Your turn!

Who are some of your favourite heroines? If you could have a girls’ night out with a group, who would you invite to join you?

Learn more or order a copy of Marked by Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, and Kit Rocha, out now:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble



To learn more about Lauren Dane, please visit Send an email to Lauren at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Kit Rocha is actually two people—Bree & Donna, best friends who are living the dream. They get paid to work in their pajamas, talk on the phone, and write down all the stories they used to make up in their heads.

Vivian Arend in one word: Adventurous. In a sentence: Willing to try just about anything once. That wide-eyed attitude has taken her around North America, through parts of Europe, and into Central and South America, often with no running water. Her optimistic outlook also meant that when challenged to write a book, she gave it a shot, and discovered creating worlds to play in was nearly as addictive as traveling the real one. Now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of both contemporary and paranormal stories, Vivian continues to explore, write, and otherwise keep herself well entertained. High Seduction is the third book in her Adrenaline Search & Rescue series which also includes High Passion and High Risk.

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I like to think one of the reasons I like reading romance so much is because of strong heroines like Kleypas's Wallflowers, Dare's Spindle Cove ones, or Dahl's, and of course I read Anne of Green Gables growing up, and admired her spirit!
2. Kareni
One of my favorite heroines is Annique Villiers from Joanna Bourne's
The Spymaster's Lady. Then there's Eve Dallas from J. D. Robb's ... in Death series.
3. Christiane
Killashandra from Anne McCaffrey. She is a very strong young women Her life goes from a rejected Opera singer to a Crystal Hunter. Eve Dallas from JS Robb (Detective NYPD) and Eve Duncan from Iris Johansen (Sculpture). I am sure I can find a lot of strong women in any genre.
4. LaurenDane
Megan - All of those are awesome examples (and many are my favorites too!)

Kareni - oh yes to both! Eve is one of my all time favorite literary characters.

Christiane - Another Eve vote! I do so love her.
5. Glittergirl
My favorite heroine was Gillyanne Murray from Hannah Howell's Highland Bride. She didn't wait for life to find her but launched out on her own and got on with her life. She was a creative problem solver (smeared animal poo over the floor of her foyer to keep suitors out of her house) and defended said home from invading forces by herself. She was outspoken and fiercely loving and I will remember her forever.
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