Thursday, March 19, 2009


Look who is visiting us today! Tammie King from Night Owl Romance has stopped by to give us her thoughts on heroes from a reviewer's perspective. Join us in a discussion about heroes and how they influence your choices in what you read. And don't forget to go to Night Owl to find loads more stuff- reviews, contests, everything about romance!


Hi Delle and readers :o) - Waving,

You have a wonderful place and a very interesting blog theme.

Thanks for inviting me here to discuss heroes from a reviewer’s perspective.

To be able to do that please join me as I discuss how I became a reviewer and what being a reviewer means.

I’m Tammie King, owner of Night Owl Romance and a romance reader since the 9th grade. Now that I’m in my thirties I can say I’ve read quite a few romances and in probably almost every genre. I’ve also read books as both a reader and a reviewer. I would say for my first 10 to 12 or so years I was a voracious reader. I could read a book so quick and be onto another…back when time just seemed to be for the taking. Now that I’m running a review site, volunteering as a webmistress for my local RWA, working as a web designer plus taking care of a hubby. My reading time has diminished. :o) – So, from me to you – Treasure every book and every moment you have to read. Times changes and before you know it your time just becomes small chunks.

Around 5 years ago I started Night Owl Romance from my house. It’s still stationed in my house, but now we have expanded to having well over 30 reviewers. So, for me becoming a reviewer was just part of expanding my site. At first the site was just my way of telling other readers about my love of books and what were my overall favs. So, you can say I’m a self-made reviewer.

Every reviewer’s perspectives are different and it’s my belief that every reviewer is just a reader who wants to spread the word about books. Most of us just have a passion for books. Some reviewers specialize just in one genre or sub-genre and others who will read what’s put in front of them. In my case I would say I’m pretty specialized. I love romance, but normally go through genre cycles. I’ll read lots of historicals then be onto paranormals and then onto fantasies. The system is always revolving. So, I often will buy a book to read at a later point.

I like my heroes to be strong…don’t put a wimpy one in front of me. So, when I read as a reviewer my view on heroes will show up in my work. If it’s a wimpy hero you will probably hear about it…and not in a positive way. On another note the hero needs to also have respect and be helpful. If I read about a hero who doesn’t listen to the heroine that can be annoying and I’ll have no respect for him unless the author is using this as a trait to redeem him. Most readers want to have a hero who respects the heroine and takes the time to spend with her. One of my favorite heroes is Alec from Julie Garwood’s The Bride. He is a very strong highland laird, but he does care about his wife even though they are married in an arranged marriage. Julie Garwood also brings humor into her characters and that makes them very human. I think a hero should be strong, but know how to smile and laugh during the right points. Those are qualities I find make me like a hero.

A review is just a person’s thoughts on a book. With over 35 reviewers at Night Owl Romance it’s quite common to find one reviewer who just loved a book and another who did not. Luckily there are enough books and authors out there for each reader and reviewer to find out what she is really into and what style she likes. Some readers like their heroes to be all flowery, I do not. When reading reviews it’s a good idea to get to know what books a reviewer likes and doesn’t like. It’s quite possible to find a reviewer you don’t agree with at all. Finding a reviewer or reviewers to follow is just like creating any relationship in life. You have to find the right match. If you do that you will get the right recommendations for what you like. Your heroes will be the types that you are looking for and you will feel each dollar you spend was worth the time.

My first romance novel was Gypsy King by Kat Martin. It’s been so long since I read that book that I can’t remember the hero, heroine or the plot. I can tell you with that one book I became addicted to the romance novel. The ladies at my local bookshop became my friends. They recommended books to me and I started pre-ordering books. I wasn’t shy about reading them out in the public. I read them in every class at my local high school. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I would say I’m my shy of doing that now that I was then. I was truly addicted and didn’t care who knew. I had found something to love and from there I even became a romance reader recruiter. Soon I had my best friend reading. May she be smiling down on us all from heaven (sad and wistful smile). Then I converted my sister…she might have been a bit young but she too became a voracious reader and to this day we exchange books and author information. If you attend the Rose City Romance Writers Readers Luncheon you probably know her as the girl who goes home with many baskets. Sounds a bit like an Indian name LOL.

Overall there’re thousands of heroes out there. You have to find the right ones for you. What do you like in a man? What turns you off? These two questions will determine if you love or loathe a hero. Finding your perfect hero is like joining the quest to find the perfect husband. You are lucky if you find him.

You can find me often on the Night Owl Romance website -
We recommend books, do contests and bring readers and authors together.

Tammie King
Night Owl Romance

Book Advertising on Night Owl Romance

Romance Book Promotion: Getting Your Book in Front of Readers

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Villains are so under-rated! Oh, sure, we need the hero and he has to be the central male focus of any romance. We adore our heroes. But think about it- just how heroic is the hero without the villain?

Way back in the Dark Ages in Senior English class, Miss Neal taught us that every novel must have one of a very few basic plots. Man versus Man, Man vs. God, Man vs. Society, Man vs. the Elements, Man vs. Himself. We were sure there had to be some stories that didn't fit her neat, simplistic divisions. We jumped immediately on Man vs. Woman but she told us that was included in the Man vs. Man type. She'd taught this class a few times before (like about 25 years), so she might have herd that one before. She did agree, God vs. the Elements might be a possibility, but since God and Nature were in accord, there was no conflict, and therefore no story.

Essentially, in Miss Neal's mind, anyone/thing on the opposite side from the
protagonist was the antagonist, the villain, and the villain needed to be a strong match for the protagonist. "Never write a stupid villain," she told us, "because your hero doesn't have to show his strength, his worth, to win."

Conflict is the nature of fiction, and fabulous villains make for great conflict. In some stories, the villain's story overwhelms the hero's story.

3:10 to Yuma, which starred Russell Crowe as the villain and incidentally Christian Bale as the hero, the hero does win, by losing- his life. His son wins by standing up to the villain. And the villain wins, yet loses, because he escapes, having used the hero and his son to the fullest of his supremely manipulative ability, yet he can't change. He is broken beyond repair, and thus can never have what he truly wanted in life. And Wade's story is so compelling, it's hard to even remember the hero.

Phantom of the Opera, starring Gerard Butler in a musical re-make of a Nineteenth Century novel by Gaston Leroux, is another example of a villain taking over the story. Any similar character in a modern news story would be considered pathetic, and evil, living for vengeance. Sympathy? Little or none. But when you see him through the heroine's eyes, he really jerks your heartstrings. The hero, played by Patrick Wilson, with a =character deliberately written to be weak- reactive instead of proactive, doesn't stand a chance against the phantom.

In both of these examples, the villains showed sympathetic glimpses into their true character through their actions, so bit by bit the viewer began to understand how they became what they did. We saw their deep wounds, and what they had to do, become, to survive. And despite their villainy, we began to care and feel that tiny spark of hope grow, that they might overcome their evil. That's what kept us glued to our seats, not the heroes, no matter how heroic they were.

You can't get away with this very often in a romance. Because the romance has to be central to the story, the hero must be the strongest male. Often romance writers solve their problem by creating villains with no redeeming qualities. Or they make them cardboard, weak, almost not there. Mary Jo Putney got away with it, and in a sequel, The Rake and the Reformer, later enlarged to become The Rake, produced the lovable, awful rake, Reggie, the alcoholic who turned his life around to make one of the best heroes ever written. But in reality, he only had a few sympathetic moment at the end of the story, when he became gracious and accepted defeat, "letting" the hero win the heroine. Mary Jo said it was that unusual twist that brought to her the glimpse of Reggie as an eventual hero.

Now, sorry, I'
m having trouble thinking of any other examples. But Mary Jo helped me out with this comment:

"Don't we all love our villains if they're redeemable? Another great example of the redeemable rake-Patricia Veryan. The Dedicated Villain is the sixth of her Georgian/Jacobite series, and it took that many books to redeem the villain/hero. Each book, he showed something a little bit better in his character. (At the beginning, the most that could be said is that Roly liked his horse. )"

That gets me to thinking- I do believe I have been influenced by some fine villain-writers. I didn't succeed as well as I'd hoped in Lady Valiant. The minute the hero's father, the duke, became really visible through his motivation, he stepped from flat, everyday nasty guy to a deeply wounded man with a mission he was desperate to fulfill. He became so strong, he completely took over the book. My hero and heroine became mere pawns in his hands. It took me a full year to tame the guy down and get him to let go of my story. And he's still too strong, for some people. But I'm not sorry I wrote him the way I did, and I learned a lot from him. Years later, he still niggles around in my brain, demanding to know when I'm going to give him center stage.

I put what he taught me in Sins of the Heart. Davy Polruhan is the hero's adversary. He's very charismatic, and a good man, not evil, but his good intentions cause harm. He's one of those people on whom God's sun seems always to have shone. He's lived a life in which everything has been all but perfect. And that's what's wrong with him. He's so used to having things go his way, and he's never had to deal with adversity, so he lacks the skills. He just takes it for granted that someday the heroine will marry him. She doesn't. She falls in love with the very kind of guy Davy dislikes most, a d..... nob. And suddenly there's blackness in his heart he never knew he could have.

So Davy got to be himself in that story, but there's still so much left for him that he needs his own. That will be
Strangers in the Night. When it's finally done. And he will be his own villain. Because he's so good at it.

About Me

My photo
I write write write. Sometimes I travel. Then I write some more. And I have a great family who understand that I write write write.