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Redefining Alphas

Alpha does not mean asshole.

I also promise that none of my heroes will be assholes. Will they have some assholish behavior sometimes? Sure. Jackson definitely makes some questionable decisions, but his motivation (at least in Broken Bond) is understandable.

There’s been a trend (for a long time) in Romance that alphas have to be an asshole. Part of that is the appropriation of the word to define a personality trait that has many other words to define it. The problem is those words are negative. Self-centered. Aggressive. Controlling. There are others, but those seem to best define characters incorrectly labeled as an alpha.

But this isn’t only an issue in Romance. I can’t remember the title, but I think it was about 10 or 12 years ago that a non-fiction book came out about being an alpha. Suddenly men throughout the US read a book and adopted behavior patterns someone whose claim to fame was using emotional manipulation to seduce women wrote about. Think the real version of Barney Stinson, except somehow even worse.

What some Romance authors don’t understand is that being an alpha isn’t about being a misogynist. An alpha is someone who leads in situations where no one else wants to make a decision. They also usually take responsibility for their decisions. They aren’t sociopaths, who disregard the impact of their actions against others. They are men and women who are very much aware of the consequences of their actions.

Both Bray and Vixen are good alphas. At least I hope I have written them in such a way that no one can label them as assholes. They aren’t necessarily good people. Vixen’s a retired assassin and Bray only took on a pack because Mac kept dropping young shifters at his doorstep. In Broken Bond, Jackson learns what it means to be a good alpha and being a dominant asshole isn’t the best way to lead a pack.

In future books, I hope to explore more of the different types of pack alphas who exist in the Sentinels of the Silver Orb universe. While some of the younger wolves will make mistakes as they grow and learn and find their mates, they will never be rewarded for being an asshole.

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