Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I asked myself this question as I wrote THOSE VIOLET EYES, wondering if an editor would see the power in a wounded hero. But there was no other way to write him. As I've told you before, Win came to me one night. In fact he rode his Harley into my bedroom, big as you please and asked in that gruff Texan twang if I would write his story. I knew he only had one complete leg, having lost part of his other in Iraq--and that his loss would be an integral part of the story.
Still, the question remained: Can a wounded hero sell? We live in a society that worships perfection, after all. Straight, silky hair. Sultry eyes. Whiter teeth. Breast implants. Liposuction. Size two. Grecian formula. Six-pack abs. Buns of steel. You get the picture.


Romance is a genre that often promotes perfection, too--slender, beautiful heroines and tall, muscular heroes. 

And there's nothing wrong with that. I love a broad-shouldered, muscular hero. Still, could Win, with battle scars on his abdomen and a stump in place of a complete leg, hold his own against other heroes? He has issues. War changes people. There's no other way to put it. You can't go into a battle zone and not come back unscathed. My own grandson spent a year in Afghanistan and saw two of his buddies killed. The Joshua we said goodbye to was not the Joshua we greeted when he came back. He's changed.

Win's changed, too. He's moodier. He smiles less. His patience level is low. He's driven to achieve his goals to prove he's still a man. There's also a strong degree of insecurity when he considers going after Evie, the waitress with the violet eyes. The spirited woman who wears pink cowgirl boots and carries her own dose of attitude. How would she feel once she saw his stump? Repulsed? Would she feel sorry for him? Reject him?

Evie lives with her worthless brother. He's stolen her tip money she kept hidden in a shoebox. Shortly after discovering the loss of her earnings, Win calls her. She's in tears and Win rushes to her, forgetting to reattach his prosthesis...

Win reached for his crutches and followed her inside. So far she hadn’t seemed repelled by his stump, but she hadn’t seen it in the light either. His stomach clenched. If she rejected him, he didn’t know how he’d handle it.

Her back was to him as she poured the coffee. “Living room’s through the door. Go on in and have a seat. I’ll bring the coffee.”

Win moved into the living room. Clean, neat with older furniture. The kind of room a person could relax in. He settled on the sofa.

Evie set the mugs on the stand by his elbow and looked at his leg. What the hell is she thinking? She kneeled in front of him. “I didn’t know how much of your leg you’d lost.” Warm hands ran from his knee down. “You’ve got both knees, but your leg ends about three inches below that. You’re kind of red here.” She trailed fingertips over his stump and gazed up at him. “Hurt?”

“It’ll hurt if you stop.” He couldn’t believe she was touching him there, as if that part of his body were no different than his cheek or his elbow. Oh, how he needed that touch.

“Does walking so much in your prosthesis irritate your…your…” She tilted her head and regarded him. “Tell me the right term, Win.”

He shrugged. “Stump.”

“Stump,” she repeated. Then damned if she didn’t lean over and kiss it.

He didn’t realize how fearful he’d been that she’d reject him. In fact, he was sure she would. “Evie.” The anguish in his voice surprised him.

She jerked back. “Did I hurt you?”

He wrapped his hands around her arms. “Come here.” He lifted her to his lap and threaded his fingers into her damp hair. “It doesn’t repulse you?” He tilted his head so his forehead touched hers. “I was afraid…”

Evie pressed her hands to his cheeks. “I’m attracted to your mind, your heart, your soul and even that surly mood you’ve got goin’ on sometimes. I’m sorry about your wounds, but the loss of a limb does nothing to change the man you are.”

Win laid his head against the back of the sofa and exhaled an audible breath. “I was so worried…” He rushed here to comfort her and help her with whatever problems she had. Now, here she was comforting him. If he had any questions before about whether or not he adored her, her attitude just now lured him the rest of the way into love. How had he lived without her all of his life? How could he face the future without her and her sweet acceptance of his battle scars?

“A lot of women couldn’t handle an amputee.”

“Is that why you’ve been blowing hot and cold with me? Were you afraid I couldn’t handle less than physical perfection?”

“Made sense to me."
Fortunately for me, Stacy Holmes, editor of the Honky Tonk Hearts line saw the heart of Win and not his wounds. She loved him. So do I. In many ways, he's my favorite hero I've written about so far. All who have reviewed the book have loved him, too. Wounded heroes do charm, do seduce readers and do sell. I'm a romance writer...and I love my job.


Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Grimm said...

Let's try this again, since my first didn't post correctly.

I love my perfect bodied heroes, too. BUT, my biggest love is heroes and heroines who are imperfect in some way. Win, is fabulous, just the way he is. ;-)

Jerrie Alexander said...

Vonni, the excerpt makes you love him already. I can see how he'd be your favorite.

In one of my all time favorite books written by Roxanne St Clair, her hero lost an eye in Iraq. One of my hero's has a scar on his face.

Done right, I think the wounded hero touchs our humanity.

Well done!

Maddy said...

I think in the romance genre there's such a fine balance between fantasy and escapism, and realism. To be a good read, we definitely need both, but how much of each ingredient?

Thank you for tackling this thorny issue.

LisaRayns said...

Awesome excerpt and I love the cover. The whole Honky Tonk Hearts series interests me now.

Vonnie Davis said...

Sarah, I enjoy imperfect characters because I'm far, far from the perfect physical specimen. Three babies and five operations take their toll to say nothing of the emotional scars life throws one's way. Seeing someone society might label as "less than" find love gives us all hope. Thanks for your thoughts.

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh, Jerrie, I so agree. I'll have to look up Roxanne's book. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your take on things.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks so much, Maddy. I didn't want to write a depressing book about those mangled by war. Evie, my heroine, with her spirit and sass seemed to provide the perfect balance.

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh, Lisa, you must read every installment in the Honky tonk Hearts series. We were all given the same basic info about the honky tonk and its owner. Then we all took the same info in different directions with vastly diverse results. What fun.

Mariann at Belles Book Bag said...

Hey Vonnie,
I have written before and I have reviewed Those Violet Eyes but I just wanted to let you know again how much I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. It is one of my favorites. Win *sigh* I love books with broken/tortured heroes or heroines. It is great to read about imperfect people being able to be happy with themselves and find love even though they see themselves as less than perfect. I think this send a strong message to readers. Everyone deserves to be loved and you don't have to be perfect to find the love of your life. Others are often able to see in us things that we are too blind to see in ourselves. Also, I just love books about soldiers/vets. Have a great night!! Thanks again for such a great book that is in my keeper pile to be reread!! :)

Vonnie Davis said...

Mariann, you humble me...and make me smile so wide my face hurts. Thank you for your kind comments. I was thrilled with your review and am deeply touched that you took the time to read my blog and leave a comment. Bless you, darlin'. You are so right. We all deserve love, yet few of us are perfect.

Kathy Otten said...

The eye candy is fun to look at but those perfect bodies aren't what makes the hero that romance fans enjoy reading. In my last novel, Lost Hearts, my hero had his left arm amputated, and the book received good reviews. I think I'd heard a few years back that catagory romances couldn't have heroes with physical handicaps. I think that single titles have always pushed this boundary, if there was one, and as society has grown more accepting, so are readers.

Sandra Dailey said...

I come from a military family. We've served in every war since the Civil War. I've personally known a few who returned with physical as well as emotional scars. They've been my heroes all my life and Win would fit right in with them.
BTW, you forgot to mention Win's hearing loss.
I'll remember him always. Those Violet Eyes touched me deeply.

Vonnie Davis said...

Kathy, thanks for sharing. Loved your insight into the business.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for your kind words, Sandra. I'm pleased Win touched you. And you're right, I forgot to mention his loss of hearing. Yikes!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vonnie,

Great post. I love wounded heroes, particularly if they are veterans. They are the kind I write about, only my wars are from long ago. A man doesn't have to have a flawlss body to be a hunk.Win sounds like the kind of man I could fall for.



Gina Rossi said...

Vonnie, just wanted to let you know that reading this excerpt a while back gave me the courage to publish 'To Hear You Smile.' I think the reading public is ready for real heroes, so thank you for paving the way! I, too, love Win and Evie!

Vonnie Davis said...

Margaret, you are so right. It's not the body that makes him a hero, it's the way he treats little kids and animals and the lady in his life.

Vonnie Davis said...

Gina, I'm so thrilled you told me...and even happier I helped in some small way. Writers helping writers is what it's all about. I just hurried to Amazon to buy your book. You made my day.

Gina Rossi said...

Oh, wow! Thanks Vonnie, you are a star :)

Calisa Rhose said...

Powerful. The post and the excerpt. Sorry it took me so long to read this, Vonnie.

To answer the question: I don't think perfection is all that in a hero. Sure it's nice- but not necessarily realistic.

Anonymous said...

Vonnie, this book sounds fantastic and I can't wait to read it. If he's anything like your other heroes, I know I'll love him. Just from this blog posting I am already falling for Win.