The Unconventional Hero

You pick up a romance novel and many times you can easily take a guess as to the type of hero you’ll get. I can name a few just off the top of my head: men with titles (duke, marquess, earl, viscount, etc), men in uniform (military or otherwise…firemen are popular), outlaws and renegades and men with power or unique characteristics such as angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, other shifters, etc. There are many others I can think of but you get the point with these few.

In listing some of these out, you can begin to see a few trends: dominance, sex appeal, strength and warriors for a cause. These men are easy for us to paint as heroes both as readers and writers because we instantly recognize the most obvious traits of a hero in them. But what about the unconventional heroes? You’d be surprised about how often they make an appearance. Who would Spiderman or Superman or Batman be without Peter Parker and Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne? Or the Hulk without Dr. Banner? Granted, Mark Ruffalo made Dr. Banner all the more appealing in The Avengers *smile*.

I know I’m using men with superhero alteregos but the point is, it may not always be the superhero alterego who is your hero. Many of you readers out there most likely know an unconventional everyday hero. In many ways, we think of our husbands, fathers, brothers and friends as these unconventional heros. They may not be saving the city of Gotham or swinging from the tallest buildings but they may be the ones holding your door open, pulling out your chair and sending you sweet love notes (and no this stuff doesn’t only happen in the movies and books). They may also be the one worrying whether they’ll have next month’s rent covered after getting their hours cut at their job. Or they may be the one stressing on how to make you proud when everything they do seems to go wrong.

The uncoventional hero is  most often not obvious but he’s also the one waving to get your attention and prove to you that he does fit the role of hero. For you writers out there, give him a try. He just might be what you need to make that next manuscript more interesting. And for  you readers, take the time to discover him within your books and outside of them. You just might be glad you did.

Now onto some more fun. Please feel free to read and leave a comment for me. One lucky winner will  be chosen on Monday night (or technically Tuesday morning) at 12 pm EST to receive a $15.00 gift card for Amazon. Don’t forget to leave your email in the comment, that is absolutely necessary to be entered into the drawing.

Here is an blurb and never before shared excerpt from my novella, Irish Dreams:


It’s one thing to resist an Irish dream, quite another to resist a dreamy Irishman.

After being traded for another woman by her fiance, Maggie decides she’s had it with men. Good thing she’s far away from him, in Ireland fulfilling her best friend’s request to be maid-of-honor. Wicklow and the Emerald Isle are more than she expects-—green, lush, and exactly what she needs. What she doesn’t need is rescuing by some emerald-eyed charmer.

Newly divorced, Ethan Moore is ready to enjoy bachelorhood. Only one problem—-the fiery-haired Maggie Christy. Unlike any woman he’s ever met, Maggie draws him close and turns him inside out. The attraction is unexpected and inconvenient, but nobody ever said true love was easy.

WARNING: Exceedingly charming Irishmen and sexually explicit scenes.


“Fine.” Reluctantly and with her stomach in knots, Maggie let her friend lead her out of the bedroom. Just a pre-wedding party. No reason for nervousness. Didn’t change her sweaty palms or weak knees, though.

“You know, all this fussing, one might actually think you wanted to look especially nice. Any reason?” Elsie said.

“What do you mean? What about looking nice for you? You’re my best friend.”

“Hmm, you didn’t look nice for me in fourth grade after you slipped and fell in a mud puddle. And you weren’t nice when I went to help you. Instead, you pulled me into it. Nor were you nice in eighth grade when you tricked me into doing the dunk tank for our school fair.”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Now is different. You know what I mean.” She grinned. “Besides, mud is good for skin.”

As they walked down the upstairs hallways, Maggie’s heartbeat sped up its tempo. Whether she wanted to see him or not, Ethan would be there. She lifted a finger to her mouth and smoothed her bottom lip. She could almost imagine the tingle of his lips touching hers.

What was her problem? She was no better off than Elsie with her remarks–even worse because she’d kissed him.

“Hey.” Elsie paused and grabbed her arm. “Everything okay?”

“Yes, why wouldn’t it be?”

“Don’t know. You went space cadet on me. Thought you might be thinking about Rick.”

Just hearing his name made her chest constrict. “No, I wasn’t.”

“Oh honey, I’m sorry.” Elsie hugged her. “I want you happy. I thought… Never mind. Let’s go down and have fun.” Tugging her hand, Elsie pulled her over to the banister overlooking the large ballroom. “Do you see Bryan?”

She didn’t, but what she did see was magical. Renaissance era paintings of cherubs and idyllic maidens lined the walls and ornate carvings decorated the seams where they met. Golden chandeliers hung from a domed ceiling.

“It feels like we stepped back in time, somewhat,” Maggie said. At the foot of a sweeping marble staircase, uniformed wait staff wove through the crowd, effortlessly carrying silver trays lined with hors d’oeurvres and champagne. “Everything is beautiful.” Men were dressed in three-piece suits or black dinner jackets and crisp white shirts, while women wore long evening gowns and large gemstone necklaces, assuaging any fears she had about her own formal dress. “Don’t you think so?”

“Aye, I’d have to agree with you there.”

Heat crept up Maggie’s neck. Ethan’s voice. Guests moved aside. He and Bryan stepped through an opening in the crowd.

Her stomach fluttered like a school girl’s as they stood mere feet away from her and Elsie, each dashingly handsome in a tux. Slightly taller, Bryan was fairer where Ethan was darker–except for his mesmerizing eyes–and broader in the shoulders.

Ethan neared, and for an instant, Maggie let her eyes flutter closed as she inhaled his scent of fresh mountain air and soap.

“Ladies,” he said.

“Ethan.” Elsie kissed him on the cheek. “You made it.”

“Wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

“Do you like the decor?”

“Decor and more.” He rested his gaze on Maggie then strayed back to Elsie. “I’d say this party is a complete success minus a missing bride.”

“We were on our way down.” Elsie joined her fiancé and gave him a chaste kiss on his cheek. Her devilish expression promised not-so-chaste kisses later.

“Where is my kiss hello?” Ethan stepped closer.

Maggie’s breath caught in her throat. “I…”

“On the cheek.” With a lean in her direction, Ethan lightly brushed his lips along the side of her face.

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Categories: Toni Kelly, Uncategorized | 75 Comments

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75 thoughts on “The Unconventional Hero

  1. yganoe

    Love the excerpt and looking forward to reading the book. I love a hero that is strong of character yet tender.

  2. Unconventional heroes do get a little shafted. Great Excerpt just remind never to try and help Maggie out of a mud puddle. I agree Mark Ruffalo made Dr. Banner way more appealing!! *drools* lol Plus Thor is a hottie too! Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Loved the blurb of Irish Dreams. Being of Irish descent myself I will need to check it out.

    jlhmass at yahoo dot com

  4. I’m with you – the “unconventional” hero is the best kind – for everyone has that ability in them if they are made of the right stuff 🙂

  5. Karen Miller

    I too love the Unconventional Hero.

  6. Trix

    This looks lovely…thank you so much for the excerpt!


  7. Great excerpt! I really enjoyed your post on unconventional heroes. It made me open my eyes and look at the men in my life.

  8. What an awesome excerpt, by the way. It’s funny you mention unconventional heroes because I am certain I have read a few for sure, but I can’t think of their names for the life of me. 🙂 I think even if they are unconventional, they still end up being just as sexy at the alpha males, in my opinion.


  9. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. Carin W

    I can’t agree more we have wonderful heroes in our everyday life, Thanks for an awesome excerpt! Carin mawmom(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. Yay, what a great blog hop! Loved the excerpt. Thanks for participating! emily joy drake at gmail dot com

  12. Love the excerpt.
    My perfect hero has to be tall, dark, handsome, have a six or eight pack, be faithful, loyal, and love me beyond reason.

    Thanks for being part of the hop and for the chance to win.
    reneebennett35 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  13. Tracy L.

    Nicely done! And yeah, you gotta love the “unconventional” ones.

    ~Tracy L.


  14. Vickie

    This is an awesome Hop Idea”

  15. donnablhmistress

    I have read an unconventional hero once where the bad guy in the previous books was the hero in his, it was a refreshing change but I wasn’t sure if I was gonna like it or not. but I did.


  16. Barbara Brant

    Oh, I like exceedingly charming Irishmen! And unconventional heroes as well.

  17. JanD

    Seems like if someone’s a hero in a story, he comes across as extraordinary.

    bituin76 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  18. Natasha

    Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  19. I’m enjoying the hop and I loved what you said about heroes:

    “Who would Spiderman or Superman or Batman be without Peter Parker and Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne? Or the Hulk without Dr. Banner? Granted, Mark Ruffalo made Dr. Banner all the more appealing in The Avengers *smile*.”

    I think we need to remember the very human and fallible dimension that *must* be part of our hero. (I also loved Mark Raffalo’s Dr. Banner. ^_^

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    – Tin
    khriscc (at) yahoo (dot) com

  20. Jessica Snow

    Thank you for the giveaway! =)

  21. wolphcall

    Great excerpt. This is now on my TBR list. I agree that sometimes the biggest hero is found in the least expected place


    Lisa G

  22. wolphcall

    Great excerpt. This book is going in my TBR list. I agree that you can find a hero in the most unexpected places & people

    Lisa G

  23. Ora

    I love the exerpt. Unconventional heros are wonderful to read. I love it when authors are able ot draw you in to wanto to know more about the hero and wanting to be his heroine.

  24. Lorraine

    It’s easier to have a “stereotypical” hero in some ways, as the reader gets to love him more quickly and without too much background than if you have to explain everything because your hero is rather unusual. But people do get bored of the usual heroes eventually… not so much with unconventional heroes, because they’re a bit of a surprise every time 🙂

  25. Great excerpt and interesting book.
    Nice blog as well. I like how you phrased everything above.
    My heroes need a bit of dominance in them. I’m a sucker for a troubled alpha male. But, that doesn’t mean they have to be super natural. When you get down to it, most men are either alpha {the ones who exude confidence without even speaking a word for instance} or betas, and both can be heroes.
    Enjoy the hop.

  26. That really was a great post, the unconventional heros do tend to get overshadowed my all those alpha male heros (which I love I can’t lie) but I also love the unexpected hero too. I definitely have a softspot for the nerdy hero who get’s the girl/guy in the end. Those ones always make me happy.

  27. lisa w

    I love it! So true about the more “average hero”.. It’s easy to get swept away with the uber alpha males, I love your take on int!

  28. Great excerpt! Good luck…

  29. You just have to love an Irishmen’s charm and his blarney. Great post!

  30. Unconventional heroes, out of the ordinary and unexpected. Definitely among the best!
    Loved your excerpt, Ethan sounds yummy for sure. Looking forward to reading the book


  31. I hope to read more of this book. Sounds lovely!

  32. Lacey T

    Love your post on unconventional heroes! They can be just as great as the alpha ones 🙂

  33. micheleann oboyle

    Enjoyed the exerpt thanks for the chance to win micheleann oboyle

  34. gamistress66

    the unconventional hero can make for a nice change after all don’t want to read about the same guy all the time 😉 also can make things a bit more interesting as well 🙂
    gamistress66 (at) aol (dot) com

  35. Mary Doherty

    My husband is Irish, so I will be looking this book up on B&N. Thanks for doing the Hop!


  36. Nice blurb and excerpt. Thanks so much for the giveaway.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  37. Jessie Llewellyn

    Loved the excerpt & I’m adding this book to my TBR list. Thank you for participating in the blog hop & I’m looking forward to reading Maggie & Ethan’s story.

  38. Deb Pelletier

    We need more Irish heros. Count me in.

  39. I read a lot of paranormal romances that give me all kinds of fabulous unconventional heroes.
    Thanks for the sneak peek.

    Caity_mack@yahoo dot com

  40. Vanessa N.

    I like unconventional heroes, they can be great. I really like Ethan. He sounds like fun.

  41. OMG that was awesome! Thank you. thesolitarybookworm(@)

  42. Tamara Hoffa

    I love the unconventional hero, Just read The Geek Job, By Eve Lanlais and loved the geeky professor hero!

  43. Janhvi

    Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway!
    I like unconventional heroes too 🙂

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  44. Love the excerpt…and thank you for your post..

  45. Krista

    Gotta love unconventional heroes!
    Thanks for doing this giveaway!
    pinkbonanza{ AT }gmail{ DOT }com

  46. Great excerpt. He sounds like a really sexy Irishman! Thanks for participating.

  47. All the usual romantic heroes we read about may be men we’d never cross paths with in real life, and they all seem larger than life. Inserting the unconventional hero every now and then is a nice change and adds a bit of realism to the reading. Loved your blurb, and I could never resist a charming Irishman either. Thank you for the great giveaway!


  48. Susan W.

    I liked the excerpt! Irish Dreams just went on my Amazon wishlist. It’s the Irish accent! Thanks for the giveaway!


  49. Lisa Walker

    Thanks for the excerpt. The book sounds really interesting and some day I really want to visit Ireland.

  50. Thank you for sharing great excerpt ! Great giveaway thanks for the chance!
    Latisha D

  51. Oooo, loooved the excerpt 🙂

    Thank you for the opportunity 🙂 Loving all the stories about Heroes!!!

    brunettelibrarian AT gmAil . c0m
    The Brunette Librarian Blog

  52. Pat Cochran

    Enjoyed the excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Pat C.

  53. Lona Stringer

    Really enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a good read. Thx for giveaway.


  54. damianbloodstone

    Thanks for the piece you posted. The book sounds wonderful.

  55. Great Blurb!! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

    raynman1979 at yahoo dot com

  56. We need more unconventional heroes. Thanks for the peak, loved it.

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  57. Jessica

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  58. Sophia Rose

    I love the idea of the unconventional beta hero types. That book sounds like a good read. Thanks for the excerpt.

    Thanks for participating in the hop and for the giveaway opportunity.

  59. Juliana

    I love a hero that is a little flawed but tries his best.
    Thanks for participating in the hop!
    OceanAkers @

  60. JoAnna B

    Thanks for the excerpt. Love the cover!
    beckerjo at verizon dot net

  61. Great point about unconventional heroes!! I do love one that doesn’t “jump out” at me. Great excerpt!
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  62. Andie Wardlow

    Ethan is gonna be yummy!!!

  63. Thanks for the excerpt and for participating!


  64. Fun read! Where’s my kiss? LOL ;*

  65. Awesome work! Thanks for sharing

  66. Shadow

    Sounds great! 🙂 Thanks for the fun hop and the awesome giveaway! Ya all rock!! 🙂

  67. Heather Cox

    thanks for the chance!!

  68. Daniel M

    i like the unconventional heroes, ones that are too perfect don’t exist – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  69. He’s a yummy one! And I loved your post about considering the unconventional heroes — I think that’s what I’ll do. 🙂

  70. Loved the excerpt, thank you, it sounds like a good read.

  71. Tina B

    Wonderful excerpt! The everyday heroes don’t get enough recognition. I make sure to tell all of my friends how great my husband is even if I don’t always tell him. 🙂
    Thank you for the fabulous giveaway!
    trb0917 at

  72. bn100

    Very nice excerpt.

  73. We just come across your blog thru a mutual writing friend. Ella. We enjoyed your post very much. We recently did a post similiar to yours, on our blog, “Imperfection Is Quite Perfect.” We too feel that the unlikely heroes are a dreamy way to find Mr. Right, right around the corner! Looking forward to more of your posts.

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