Saturday, August 29, 2009


I’ve just returned home from the Romance Writers of New Zealand annual conference and tucked away in my bag are several books to go to the ‘to be read’ pile and yes, I will admit they are sheikh stories. I myself have always loved them, and written them.

So what is it about these dark eyed men, who roam deserts in flowing robes, who are the ultimate in testosterone filled ‘alpha maleness’? What about them pulls our strings ladies?

Well, for a start for me it has to be their eyes. My heroes often have these dark eyes. I’m a sucker for what I call ‘bedroom eyes’ and yes they are modeled on someone, and no it’s not my husband LOL.

But it has to be their eyes that get me first. And these eyes, unfathomable, so rich and dark like Hershey’s chocolate are absolutely perfect for the bedroom.

I sometimes relate the story of meeting my girlfriend’s husband for the first time. He had these eyes. Very yummy indeed and in fact, yes I will admit this man’s eyes have inspired many a hero for my books.

Then there was this chap that I would see every Saturday morning when I took my daughter to gym class. I mean the guy was everything I could write about. He reminded me of one of the Baldwin brothers. Yep another dark haired, dark eyed kinda bloke.

And so each Saturday had me searching him out. Me the mother of 2, who was probably at least 10 years older than him, waiting, wondering, searching. Pathetic really.

But he was my next hero. I had to watch out for him, see if there were any little quirks that would transcend onto my pages.

And then disappointment slapped me in the face (proverbially I might add) . The man had a wife. Okay so was I wasn’t intending on ripping him away from his wife. But it was the wife who was of instant concern – the lovely lady who had spoken to many times (eeek) was in fact my daughter’s tap dancing teacher! (Oh ground swallow me up now please!)

Anyway,…all this in search of my hero, my sheikh.

But why are they popular? This is not a strange question. I mean when I was on a loop recently discussing this same topic one woman was quite upset, given the world’s difficult times, etc, soldiers and terrorism.

But what I tried to explain to her is that writers are writing entertainment. Pure and simple. We’re writing fiction. Something to take her away from her daily worries.

And I must admit my sheikh Tariq from The Sheikh’s Proposal, could certainly do that. These men are strong, they are unbendable, inflexible, but like all men who find a good woman, they finally learn what is most important to them.

The world that the sheikh lives in is a fantasy for the reader. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by such wealth, fly in private planes, drink Bollinger and go anywhere at whim? But beneath it all too, these sheikhs are working men. They have huge business empires to overseas, ensuring jobs are safe for their workers. So they are no different from say someone like Donald Trump – but none of my sheikh’s will ever have a comb over!

So if you’re looking at reading a sheikh story. Don’t just think of it as a hard-edged man, but think of it as a relationship book, a romance where when he finds her, the right woman will bring all the right attributes that this man has, to the surface.
You see all it takes is a good woman. As always.

Happy reading.
Jane Beckenham

Check out Jane’s Tariq
The Sheikh’s Proposal

Author: Jane Beckenham
ISBN: 978-1-60435-080-7
ISBN: 1-60435-080-6

I sometimes think in the scheme of things we forget to give little hints in our excerpts as to our heroes… could I forget Tariq…


The constant paperwork and never-ending meetings soured Tariq's mood as his brain filled with visions of Callie. If he closed his eyes he could see her, feel her next to him, her kisses as they trailed across his skin, remember the taste of her mouth against his.

He bit back a barely suppressed groan and ignored the ceaseless counsel of his advisers. He needed Callie. She made him forget. Her presence simply let him be. Tariq knew he played a dangerous game when he needed to concentrate. Instead, dark passion-filed eyes swam before him, enticing, calling to him like a siren from the sea.

Guilt gnawed at him that he used her, assuaged his need for her, but the moment he gave in to the games his mind played, it would be over and he wasn't sure he wanted that.

It was too final. Too hard.

He wanted Callie at his side, in his bed. For now. And that had to be enough. Didn't it?

He struggled to focus on the information in front of him. It didn't work. Nothing worked and for the first time in his existence, his job wasn't enough.

He needed to get out of his suddenly claustrophobic office.

He needed space.

He needed Callie.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Wonderful blog, Jane! I admit I too have a fondness for sheikhs, especially as you show them! Super excerpt - the reader knows Tariq has fallen hard, even if he doesn't know it yet.

Thank you for being our guest blogger this weekend at HEA.

Carol North said...

Wow! I'm dreaming of men with dark eyes. Never had one--or not yet I haven't.

Serena Shay said...

Excellent blog, Jane! Yep, the dark hair and deep chocolaty eyes of a sheik is an incredible turn on! For me it's also the sense of power they wield. Strong, firm and absolute. ~shiver~ They are the alpha's in a pack of males! :)

Linda Banche said...

Funny, in most of the books I read, the heroes have black hair and blue eyes, which is an unusual combination. Nice to know some women like dark-eyed heroes.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hello, Jane! Well, this would have to be the ultimate fantasy character, as far away from anything I know as it's possible to be....exotic, rich, powerful, taming a seemingly untameable environment, and as alpha as alpha gets, ah, yes - I'm beginning to see the attraction!
I might be a bit concerned about sand getting into places where sand shouldn't go, though....ouch! ;-O
I must admit, I do the same hero-spotting stuff - a bit from that guy, a bit from this. Great blog, Jane, and lovely to meet you at last.

Jane x

Jane Beckenham said...

Hey thanks LIndsay. I love writing sheikhs too, i think because there something mysterious about them, something we as the writers have to unearth, and our heroines have to make loveable, that of course only a good woman can do


Jane Beckenham said...

LOL Carol, my hubby keeps asking why my heroes are often dark eyed, when he isn't!!!!! But he is my own personal hero, well i have to say that after 26 years of marriage, don't I!


Jane Beckenham said...

Serena, sheikhs are definitely the king of the pack and they know it. But there is a vulnerability about them. A wanting perhaps to be just once, a man, just a man, a man without others clinging on. Perhaps that is why having men like this just ride through the desert, bare chested, wind in their hair, is their idea of freedom.


Jane Beckenham said...

LOL Linda, dark eyes can hide so much.


Jane Beckenham said...

Hi Jane from another Jane.
Sand in odd places! No don't go there. Besdies wouldn't our sheikh's do everything to make our world comfortable. I mean if he's going to make love in the desert, it'd be in a glorious tent, with a portable tiled floor, just for this moment, but of course there'd be silk cushions galore...oh i feel a sex scene coming on!!
jane - who is really only just having her porridge for breakfast on a kiwi sunday morning

JaneB said...

Over the weekend I am talking about sheikhs and settings. Email me the name of the country and its English meaning by Sunday 8pm EST and you'll go in the entry for a download of The Sheikh's Proposal.


Savanna Kougar said...

Jane, welcome!
Oh, what I like best is Tariq realizing his work isn't enough, or the empire isn't enough. It never is without the right woman.

During my years and years of reading romance novels, the Sheikhs were definitely my fave, at one time.
Horses, power and often, pure alpha. Plus, there's just something so adventurous and romantic about it all.

JaneB said...

Hi Savanna
Love your name by the - very romantic!
Perhaps the romance of the sheikh is the unattainable-ness of them.


Rebecca J Vickery said...

HI Jane and Lindsay,
Sorry to be popping in late, but I couldn;t resist. Some of my very first and favorite romances were Barbara Cartland's tales of desert shieks and young maidens. Your writing reminds me of all those great tales but in a modern day world. Sheik stories can be flat and chauvinistic when not done correctly, but I definitely don't see that in yours. Wonderful job Jane and plese keep giving us these fantastic books.