Guest Author: Zoe Archer and Giveaway

I don’t write wallflower heroines. Maybe it’s because I felt like one throughout high school, college and…now. Some writers like to write about experiences they’ve had or know, but usually I like to write about what I’d like to be. Vivacious. Bold. Kick-ass. Not the shy girl in the corner, thinking bold thoughts but never acting on them.

So, yeah, me and the shy, retiring heroines…not so much.

And then, I broke my unspoken rule. Anne Hartfield, the heroine of DEMON’S BRIDE, is the daughter of an impoverished baron. She’s got no fortune to secure herself a husband, and she hasn’t the beauty to make a suitor overlook her lack of dowry. Anne is taught to make herself quiet and agreeable, and never stand out.

Things change when she marries Leo Bailey. Anne and Leo don’t know each other well when they get married. He’s a wealthy commoner in search of an aristocratic bride, and before she knows it, she’s suddenly wedded to this handsome but intimidating—and mysterious—stranger. To both Anne and Leo, their marriage is a mutually beneficial business arrangement. Neither expect to find a surprising connection with the other. A young woman raised in genteel poverty and a self-made man have nothing in common. Or do they?

I’m not a fan of a woman actualizing herself because of a man. I don’t like the idea of a woman finding her worth because a man validates her. True strength comes from within. Yet I think we all need someone to believe in us, someone in our corner—regardless of their gender.

Leo encourages Anne to speak her mind, to assert her opinions, and that gives her confidence and strength. But their relationship isn’t a one way street. Anne is the one person to accept Leo for who he is as a person, rather than thinking of him as a saddler’s son, or a grasping upstart. They both become stronger as a result of their relationship.

Which is a very good thing, because Leo has a terrible secret—a secret of darkest magic—that could destroy not just their fragile bond, but the world as we know it. Can Anne go from wallflower to kick ass, and save Leo’s soul? Let’s hope so.

So, my question to you is, do you prefer your heroines to be the shy, quiet sort, or do you like your heroines a little more bold? What is it about the wallflower—or kick-ass—heroine that you enjoy? Leave a comment, and I’ll pick one US/Canada winner to receive a copy of DEMON’S BRIDE.

Demon's Bride (The Hellraisers, #2)


The Hellraisers, Book 2

Hell to Pay

Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn’t hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.

But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner’s trick to some members of the ton. They’ll never see Leo as their equal – one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.

Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo’s brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo’s dark powers can’t last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband…or lose her heart.

Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there’s nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master’s degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her steampunk romance, SKIES OF FIRE, is now available from Avon Impulse, and Nico’s steampunk Western, NIGHT OF FIRE, will be available in July. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.


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To buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, Amazon UK


  1. Sherry S. says

    I like a heroine that can take care of herself but not lose her feminine side. I’ve read some books where the heroine was so strong and able to do just about anything that they really didn’t have a soft side. I think it’s great to have a strong woman or man be able to show their softer side too. This sounds like a very good book.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  2. catslady says

    One of the things I enjoy about reading is getting into characters that have the qualities I would want or admire. I am definitely attracted to characters (male and female) that take me into that world that is so different than my own. And I love it when they complement each other and bring out the best in each other. I prefer strong heroes and heroines.

  3. Cheryl McInnis says

    Congrats, Zoe on the new release!
    For me, it really depends on the story and on the hero’s personality, but overall my favorite heroine to read about would be the one who starts out quiet and passive, but learns to stand up for herself and show off her strengths by the end of the book :)

  4. says

    depends for me.. if it is historical romance, i enjoy the heroine shy and absolutely following the rules of society. i think it’s very amusing.

    but for YA books, I prefer them to be kick-ass :)

    email: cruz042 at

  5. Michaelene says

    I like my heroines feisty but I don’t mind if shes shy as long as she has a backbone. From what I’ve seen many readers seem to enjoy that too. They can’t be walked over or talked down to by the hero. They need to be equals and spar accordingly. I just can’t lose respect for the heroine or it’s all over for me

  6. Laurie says

    Wow, this sounds great! I like the kick-ass heroines! I like that they can take care of themselves and don’t necessarily need a man to take care of them. I guess I like that because I’d like to be like them and feel like I could do whatever I want. I agree with you that a man who supports his female can be a powerful thing for her! lfacchini(at)tampabay(dot)rr(dot)com

  7. Madeline says

    Congrats on the new release!ni prefer my hero or heroine to be kickin ass and taken names :) its a lot more fun when the damsel rescues herself but the hero still has be equal or a bit more, we all love a strong man.

  8. says

    I like both heroines but I think I can relate more to the shy, quiet heroine who can have bold moments. I can see that heroine being more like myself so if she can do why can’t I.

  9. June says

    Congrats on your release. There are times that I like the heroine to be confident, able to kick-ass, do whatever has to be done. These characters are strong, confident, etc everything we all want to be. But I also love the wall-flower, bluestocking type, but with a hidden passionate/wild side that the hero brings out. Basically, I like variety!

  10. Flora says

    I like the heroine to be a kick-ass because that means she doesn’t take shit from anyone and manages to stay on top. Despite her own faults or others or whatever the world throws at her, she stays strong and gets through by staying herself. I like a heroine who doesn’t change for the hero and stays her own person. Also, it’s fun to live through a strong heroine’s life because they get adventures and all the cool stuff like swords, magic, and smart-aleck wit ;)

  11. says

    I think it depends on my mood at the moment. There’s characteristics of both that I enjoy, but I do love reading about the growth of a shy heroine.

  12. Rosie says

    I agree with what you say about the wallflower heroine and how a woman should not need a man to make her and others see her worth. I like reading about both kinds of heroines, and although the plain, shy heroine overrun romance, there are some that are written exceptionally well. I think they’re popular because so many of us can relate to them (I’m sure there are very few of us who can claim to be beautiful, bold, and vivacious in high school – being a teenager and going through puberty is just not conducive to being these things). I also like the bold heroines in the way that I wish I could be kick-ass like them.

  13. Jody says

    Great question Zoe. I like both, but I don’t like a heroine so kick butt she smacks everyone around, physically or verbally, and a wallflower is great as long as she has a good sense of self and is not a victim. I prefer heroines that don’t conform to societies dictates of what is proper. I like people who color outside the lines.
    I would have been a wallflower if I had enough confidence to attend any social events, now that I don’t care, I am more like the village idiot.

  14. StacieD says

    I actually like both types of heroine. I am shy so I can identify more with a shy character. I love to live vicariously through a bold and Alpha female character, though. ;-)

  15. Jacqueline C. says

    I enjoy both types – it really just depends on the character and her story.

    I love when heroines are smart and bold – not the sort to jump into any situation whether they’re prepared or not or to run off at the mouth.

    I like to watch a shy heroine learn how to come out of her shell a bit and assert herself. They’re easy to relate to because everyone has their shy moments.

  16. Sarah DF says

    If it’s a historical book, I prefer a quieter or even shy heroine who fits within her society’s “norms” but can stick up for herself when needed. With contemporary stories, it can depend on the story and I like to read about a variety of personality types.
    What I don’t like are silly or thoughtless heroines who don’t think for themselves or think before they act.

  17. Chris says

    Great question- I would say I prefer the wallflower. Perhaps it’s the whole underdog thing but I also think that these characters possess an inner strength and depth that allows them to kick ass in more subtle and less obvious ways. I love to see the growth in these characterizations. Congratulations on the new book!

  18. Marc says

    I like my heroine to be kick ass and most of the time able to save herself. I will read the shy retiring miss but in the end I want her to have moved toward becoming the kick ass woman she was meant to be.

  19. says

    I’m with you,Zoe. I am attracted to heroines who are strong. I love the women who walk in a room and own it. Reckless no. But sexy and strong. Those heroines are my favs.

  20. JenM says

    I love wallflowers, probably because that’s what I would have been if I lived in Regency times. They always have hidden depths that make them interesting.

  21. Jen B. says

    I like a strong heroine. In fact, she can act like a wallflower to the outside world but she should always have a “core of steel”. The shy, weak heroine almost always reads like a loser or a doormat.

  22. Lynnette F says

    I like my heroines to have an attitude, be confident,able to take care of themselves, but enjoy being pampered by the man in her life.

  23. Katherine says

    My answer is yes. I am happy to read about a heroine who is shy or bold, so long as she grows and develops in the story. Having said that, if she is TSTL (Too Stupid To Live), fuggedboutit.

  24. Danni says

    I definitely like it when the heroine can kick some butt. I especially like it when the guy is the more studious, shy one, and the girl is more bold.

  25. Viki S. says

    I like my female characters to be intelligent kick butt women. They need to be able to take care of themselves in all ways.
    Thank you.

  26. says

    Not entering the contest!
    I do like my heroines kick ass and smart and witty. They don’t let the hero bully them, they stand up for themselves, and can think for themselves and solve their own problems. Of course, the best hero is the one who stands by their side, and let them be themselves and still protects them as much as necessary.

  27. Anne says

    Part 2. The genre makes a difference too. A historical seems to be more fitting with the quieter, shy heroine, whereas UF she can start out quiet and unassuming, but then she has to rise to the occasion.

  28. Paula says

    I like kick-ass, smart, and witty heroines in UF. I like all sorts of qualities to my heroine in a PNR and HR. Smart, witty, bold, fiesty, and even shy heroines with a quiet strength – but I can’t stand a whiny heroine.

  29. Maria pronounced Mariah says

    I like them to be bolder and know who they are as a person. Granted for a story to be pulled off properly there will always be charachter growth/developement. But I don’t like super weak or whiny heroines. I find them extremly annoying. The stronger, more bold heroines tend to have produce more bantering, etc. Which I find very fun!

  30. Maureen says

    I like all kinds of heroines and I find that my favorite ones are usually not what they seem to be at first.

  31. Tabs says

    I like both. I love kick-ass heroine who are confident and bold but I also love quiet heroines with inner strengths.

  32. Jennifer says

    Wow this is so hard. I love both actually but it really depends on the story and supporting characters. If I had to pick only 1 I guess I’d say the shy, quiet type because they are usually more lethal and scary to the average person.

  33. Susan B says

    I like a kick-ass heroine who can clean up really nicely. My all time favorite is Kate Daniels.

  34. Victoria Zumbrum says

    I like my heroine to be shy, bold and have a backbone. I don’t want them to be too shy that they hardly talk or do anything. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

  35. Diane Sallans says

    I don’t enjoy wimpy heroines, I like them to be confident, and if they have the skills, it is fun to see them kick butt.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  36. Kathleen G says

    I think people can change, especially as they get older. Good that some books portray the possibility of change in characters.

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