Thank you to All About Romance for hosting me today.

Today I want to discuss something near and dear to my heart, the feminist hero. How often we’ve read the alpha male, the alpha-hole, the beta and several other male character archetypes— I can say I’m drawn to alpha’s (swoon). As I started on this writing journey I believed my future was in writing alpha males, typical to the ones I’d read in the past. The problem is my heroes were never going to be true to their contemporaries.

They aren’t always beta or alpha, and it appeared they fell somewhere in between. Rough and tough when they needed to be, sensitive to their feelings, defenders of those bullied or under attack, and often found themselves doing the opposite of what other males in their life tell them they should do.

I essentially found myself writing a feminist hero, an ally. The type of hero who’s not perfect, but will defend a woman who’s being harassed and not make disparaging remarks or blame a woman’s clothing choice for. Each time I don’t plan it, but it happens. And my editor’s, critique partners, and beta readers are helping me even in more ways to find elements of my hero’s actions and words that may represent toxic masculinity. Growing up around seeing those things portrayed in our culture and through our actions, it’s sometimes difficult for me to recognize those elements seeping in unknowingly.

My latest release, Bona Fide Beauty, features my first feminist hero named Devid (close friends call him Dev). As an image consultant, he loves to help woman unlock their fears when it comes to clothing choices, confidence, and many other strengths they may possess but can’t access. He doesn’t believe he’s their savior. The process is about getting them to see what they already know but may have lost due to lack of self-esteem or loss of confidence.

The experience is sobering, rewarding, and in the end, I love to see my heroes empower the women around them, including their heroines. As a writer and avid reader, I’m always on the lookout for more authors or romance books that feature feminist heroes. For a chance at a gift pack of 3 contemporary romance books and a $15 Victoria Secret gift card, share your favorite feminist hero below in the comments or something you’d like to see a feminist hero do.

And, here’s a little more about my latest release and my hero, Dev.

She’s going to lose her house.

Kathleen Baum has four months to complete the city’s required code changes to her grandma’s home. Otherwise, she loses it. Strapped for cash, Kat’s only way to get the funds is to bargain with her devil cousin. She agrees to an unwanted makeover, but she’s not good at taking direction, pretend or not.

He’s going to lose his business.

Devid Esposito has worked all his life to build a successful image consulting company, but if he doesn’t start bringing in new clients the business will be bankrupt in three months. The board is ready to oust him when his partner, Kat’s cousin, enters with the opportunity to get his mojo back; all he needs to do is help Kat, with a makeover. Unfortunately, Dev doesn’t take on female clients anymore since the last one broke his heart and used his tips against him.

When they find out they have a common enemy, his heart-breaking client is her code-breaking-whistleblower, and the easiest way to bring the foe down is to accept the other’s help. Losing their hearts to each other was the one thing they didn’t plan for.

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

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Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.