When Fresh Fiction asked me to guest blog today, I’ll admit I puzzled for days over what to write about. Like many authors, I’m an introvert at heart. When I’m not sitting at the computer racing to meet a deadline, my nose is buried in a book…rooting for a yummy hero to save the day.
Eureka! That’s it! I’ll write about heroes, my favorite subject! They are sensual, moody, contradictory, playful and—ahem—one size definitely does not fit all. But what pearl of information could I possibly impart that hasn’t been discussed before? Then, thanks to an online romance readers’ discussion, I discovered The Perfect Hero—the Gamma male!
This man was a revelation to me, folks. An honest-to-God two-by-four upside the head. Where have I been that I haven’t heard of this Super Male, this ultimate package of melt-your-panties goodness? Oh, right—sitting at the keyboard breathing life into Alphas and Betas. Or so I believed. I wish I could take credit for labeling this guy, but alas, I can’t, and the origin of the term seems vague. However, I’ve been creating Gammas for years without even knowing I was doing so! To better understand the Gamma, let me begin with a refresher on Alphas and Betas.
The Alpha male is tough, opinionated, stubborn, and sometimes downright rude or mean. But don’t judge him too harshly because there’s always a deep-seated reason he’s this way, and he’s a good man, through and through. Whenever I picture an Alpha, the phrase “hard-lovin’ man” pops into my head. It takes a special woman to love him, and capture his love in return. One hero of my Firefighters of Station Five series, Captain Sean Tanner, is a true Alpha to whom life has been particularly cruel. Only an equally tough heroine will be able to penetrate Tanner’s shell.
Betas are affectionate, loyal, happy, and basically non-violent. They live to help others. They are poets, musicians, artists, doctors, lawyers, and firefighters, just to name a few (not that Alphas don’t hold those occupations, mind you—of course they do. See above!). Yes, I can hear a few of you groaning. But I, for one, can get cozy for hours with a well-written true Beta man because he’s a nice break from all that macho intensity. He’s such a joy to watch in action, sweeping his lady off her feet, loving her like nobody else can. Tommy Skyler, the youngest of my Firefighters of Station Five men, is a happy-go-lucky Beta with a golden life…and there’s a storm of epic proportions on his horizon. One he may not survive.
Now for those Gammas! There are arguments/descriptions of two Gamma types floating around in cyber land. One argument claims the Gamma male is the perfect blend of the best traits of Alpha and Beta males. I’ll call him the Kick-Ass Angel. This type is funny, loving, and insightful. He’ll take his lady for walks in the park or whisk her to Paris. But try and take what’s his and he’ll tear you limb from limb—and smile while doing it. He may have a wonderful sensitive side, but he also has a hair-trigger when it comes to protecting the ones he loves. Howard “Six-Pack” Paxton, the hero of my August 5 release from Signet Eclipse, TRIAL BY FIRE (Firefighters of Station Five #1), is this type of Gamma male—a wonderful combination of the strong, bossy, opinionated Alpha with a loving, caring side. Zack Knight, the hero of my May 2009 Signet Eclipse release UNDER FIRE (Firefighters of Station Five #2) is another example of this type, with slightly different shading. As I wrote Zack’s story, I struggled during the entire process with labeling him as a Beta, because that wasn’t quite true. Beta is his dominant side, but push him too far and suffer the consequences—he’s a Gamma!
The second type of Gamma I’ll dub the Black-Hearted Devil. He’s described as a near-sociopath, so close to being unredeemable as a hero you can’t slide a sheet of paper sideways between his good and bad sides—what scant good he retains. His woman will have to brave the fires of Hell to win him, and does. I haven’t yet written this type of Gamma hero, but I’ve read a couple that have been extraordinarily well-done. As an author, it would be a fascinating challenge to undertake shaping and breathing life into this type of man.
Either way, the Gamma male concept was a terrific discovery for me, as both a reader and an author. I submit that the Gamma male can be branched into both sub-types: Kick-Ass Angels or Black-Hearted Devils. Whatever the Gamma hero is to you, run—don’t walk—to your nearest bookstore and hunt one of your very own to devour.
Question: What terrific book have you recently read that, in your opinion, features a delicious Gamma hero? Is he a Kick-Ass Angel or a Black-Hearted Devil?
Jo Davis is a former teacher, past Golden Heart finalist, and author of sexy romantic suspense and erotic romantic suspense/thrillers. Her debut romantic suspense series, the Firefighters of Station Five, launches in August 2008 from Signet Eclipse with TRIAL BY FIRE. Her first erotic thriller, WHEN ALEX WAS BAD, will debut in August 2009 from NAL HEAT.
TRIAL BY FIRE~ August 5, 2008
UNDER FIRE~ May 5, 2009
WHEN ALEX WAS BAD~ August 4, 2009
HIDDEN FIRE~ December 2009