Join me as I talk about characters and writing stuff over on friend, writer , and award winning Casi McLean’s blog today. Stop by and leave some love. Here’s the link: Writing about Characters
Category Archives: Literary characters
It took me almost 2 weeks to tell you everything I wanted to about RWA 17, but there are still a few things I want to mention.
There was a new format this year for the Golden Hearts and the RITA awards ceremonies. In the past, both events have occurred on the last night before the end of the conference, and usually the only food you see are desserts. This year, the RWA Board decided to split the ceremonies into 2, with the Golden Hearts a luncheon and the RITA’S a…dessert. Yes, again. But I digress. It was actually great splitting the two for several reasons, not the least of which was that we didn’t need to sit in a noisy, crowded ball room for more than 2.5 hours while the awards and the speeches were done. The Golden Heart luncheon took about an hour, the lunch was great and the dessert wasn’t bad, either, although I was allergic to everything in it, so had to rely on the reactions of the others at my table to determine if it was good.
The RITA awards took place the same night, featured many desserts which again I was allergic to,
and a cry-induced speech by the amazeballs Beverly Jenkins, who was the Nora Roberts LIfeTime Achievement award winner this year. It’s no wonder this woman is such an amazing writer- she is a phenomenal speaker!
Now, many of you may know I was a Stiletto Finalist this year for my holiday novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.
I didn’t win…but there’s always next year, and in all honesty, it was fabulous to be a finalist in such a prestigious RWA chapter contest! Thank you CRW!
Now, I can’t forget my two favorite events: The Kensington Book signing and the Literacy book signing. For Kensington, I gave out my books along with my hand painted produce bags that I schlepped with me as a swag item. Let me tell you, people lovedlovedloved them!!!
Here’s me at the Literacy signing – which was packed to the hilt with readers!
So Sunday morning, after a very busy and HOT week, I got myself to the airport via Shuttle ( nightmare, again!!! But that’s for another blog post) made it through security because of TSA pre-check( Thank you, Jesus and the TSA!) and settled down to wait for my plane to leave while I listened to some of the workshops I missed via the flash drive.
I listened on the plane home, too!
Le Sigh…. Now I have to wait a whole year to go to RWA18 in Denver. I’d better start painting more bags….
So, of course, the one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, are the Workshops I took at RWA 17. Between coloring, fangirling, attending the book giveaway signings, I did – actually – sit in on a f ew lectures and learn some things.
IF you have never had the opportunity to hear Damon Suede speak, I pity you. First, his voice is like a warm blanket thrown over your body on a cold day. Warm, rich, soothing. Second, he is a wealth of amazeballs information about character development, what makes people-characters tick, and what their motivations/conflicts/individual characteristics should be. Damon comes from a theater ( and life!) background and really helps you get into your character’s mind set, feelings, and persona just as if you were portraying them on a stage. I’ve already listened to his 2 hour workshop twice since I’ve been home because I purchased the flash drive of the conference classes. Each time I’ve heard something new and fresh I will be using in my next books!
They each have very different writing styles and ways of telling a story, but they also know their market. Thier stories are character and situational driven, and they bring into each one a perfect little snapshot of the contemporary age, without isolating themselves to this moment in time. Case in point: you can read one of their books from five years ago and even though things have changed in the tech world and the world in general, the stories told are still relevant and topical to today. That was my takeaway from this talk. Write the here and now, since I write contemp/romance, but make it relevant for the future as well. It’s all in the characters and how they are motivated towards their HEA. Love these three authors!
Another workshop with a trio of amazeballs and prolific writers, was one titled Fifty Shade of Funny with writes Jennifer Probst, Lauren Layne and Rachel Van Dyken. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture while I was in this workshop because I was fangirling like a two year old over Jennifer and Lauren and forgot!!!! I di remember their takes on what constitutes “funny” in a romance novel was very insightful, though, so that’s something ( heehee).
My absolute favorite workshop was the last one of the conference: The Neuroscience of high-impact Love scenes, presented by the amazingly brilliant, funny, and speedy-talker, Emily Foster. I wasn’t able to hear her speak when I was at the NECRW conference earlier this year because she was presenting at the same time I was, so when I saw her name listed on the RWA17 conference sheet for presenters, I knew I just had to attend her lecture. And, yowza, am I glad I did.
As a nurse I figure I have a pretty good idea of how the human body and the mind work. Yeah…not so much in reality. Emily gave me a completely different spin – a neuroscientific one – about how the body responds to desire and arousal, and how the mind is the major player in the difference, not the body’s reactions. Blew. My. Mind!!! Again, I played this lecture back once so far – but plan on listening to it, again and again, to make sure I get the character’s reactions to all things sex, correct!
These weren’t the only lectures I attended, but they were the highlights. There was sososososo much to do, sear, and hear at the conference I had to pick and choose wisely. Another reason I am so glad I purchased the conference recordings. I missed a bunch of really fabulous workshops and presentations because I needed to be elsewhere at the same time. Best $$$$ I’ve spent in a while, too.
Something new at RWA this year was the adult coloring wall.
But…. it was really cool. I took some pictures of the images on day one and then tried to remember every day to take more to show you the progress. Had I been able to access good internet service in the hotel ( bah humbug!) I would have been able to update these pictures daily instead of shooting them all to you in one quick shot. Anyway…enough complaining.
So here’s day one, then day 4:
Now, please remember, these were up on a wall, mural sized. Getting to the top of the picture required a ladder!
This one never got finished.. .I don’t know why not. It’s a great Beverly Jenkins cover!
here are a few more:
I was surprised they didn’t all get finished. I will admit one thing, though, it was a great stress reducer! Every day I stopped by and filled in a few more colors on all of them and I actually went away feeling lighter. That whole adult coloring craze has boomed, I think, by now, but still, this was a cute idea. It’ll be fun to see what the RWA board comes up with for Denver.
Easiest blog EVAH to pen.
Why do I write? I could wax prolific for 500 words here, but there is no need to. As the title of my website tells you, writing is my oxygen. Writing breaths life into my existence. A day without writing for me is a day without breathing. If you don’t breath, you die. Simple enough.
Now excuse me, please, because I need to go…..breathe!
You might want to stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see why writing is so important to them.
I can go in so many directions with this blog choice. My favorite books to read over and over; the type of books I like to read; my favorite genres and subgenres. So many avenues to explore. Sooooo, I guess I’ll tackle them all and see what happens.
I know…I’m a little obsessive. But every time I’ve read it as an adult I find something fresh or a connection I didn’t see before.
I’ve read Pride and Prejudice 27 times.
In fact, I’m re-reading it right now!
I’ve read each Harry Potter book twice. The first time along with my daughter, the second time on my own.
And because I find reading the JD Robb IN DEATH series is like taking a master class in writing a series, I’ve read each of the 45 books at least 3 times. You do the math on that one!
II. The types of books I like to read. Well romances, of course! Duh! I’m such a sucker for that whole Happily Ever After thing. I love a heroine who’s snarky and a little obsessive; a hard worker, and a strong believer in family. Give me a hero who’s part alpha/part beta; one who can be a leader or a follower or both at the same time! He has to be committed on every level to the heroine – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Once he meets her there’s no one else he can envision himself with EVER! The same goes for the heroine. I love to cook and I love to laugh, so witty, engaging characters who eat like normal people and not super models getting ready for a photo shoot are my favorite people! I want to read about folks I could see myself being friends with. Make me laugh, make my cry, and feed my soul and I’m your reader for life.
III. MY favorite genre and subgenre books. This is gonna look a little like an Amazon key-word line! Stick with me here, folks: Romance-contemporary romance- foodie-humor -strong heroine- family. Let me ‘esplan it, Lucy, in better terms.
Favorite genre: romance. Favorite subgenre of romance: contemporary romance. Elements of contemporary romance books – humorous stories about families with strong women. Add a dash of cooking into the mix and serve!
And just for full disclosure here, I also like the erotic contemporary romances of Jennifer Probst and Christina Lauren
and Regency romances ala Lisa Kleypas and Elizabeth Hoyt.
So, there you have it. My reading pleasures.
And because this is blog hop, click on over to these other romance writers to see what they consider their favorite books. You just might find a new author or series you’ll enjoy.
Welcome to the Some Girls Like It Hot Mega Gift Card FB Hop, where you can enter to win a gift card at every stop. With over 100 authors participating, that’s 100+ chances for you to win.
In the event of a broken link in the hop, you can always find the complete list of authors and links to their FB pages here: http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop_29.html
For this hop, I’m giving away AN E-COPY OF COOKING WITH KANDY. Please read and follow the instructions below very carefully. I don’t want to have to disqualify anyone!
- Like my FB page and this post.
- Follow me on TWITTER
- Comment below this post: I Love Hot Guys!
Winners will be chosen at random when the giveaway closes at 12 pm EDT (9 am PST) on June 12.
Kristina Knight is the next stop on the hop. Visit her/his Facebook page for a chance to win another gift card here: Kristina Knight FB page
BONUS GIVEAWAY! If you visit every page on the hop and enter all 100+ giveaways, you are eligible to enter to win an Amazon Echo Dot or Kindle Fire. Here’s the Rafflecopter:
*******Have you entered our two grand prize giveaways? That’s right, we’re running two big giveaways at the same time. Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 10” tablet ($299), plus additional kindles and Amazon gift cards.
Good luck and have fun on the hop!
Facebook giveaways are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, participants release and indemnify Facebook from all liability. Information collected is not collected by Facebook.
List of Participating Authors and Links to Their Facebook Pages
Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.
The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)
The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.
Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.
And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.
I’m just not feeling it, peeps.
I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.
So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not. There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.
Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).
Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.
Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.
Tall, dark, and handsome is such a cliche. Not to mention, boring. If you don’t think this is true, here’s a bit of dialogue from Chris Pine’s character in INTO THE WOODS,. addressing his wife, Cinderella. “Darling, I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” the Prince tells her when she confronts him about his extramarital affairs.
Yup, that about says it all about that plastic tall, dark, and handsome description. There’s no meat to it; no substance.
Every ideal romance hero will differ depending on the writer writing him. Some writers will only pen total alphas, incapable of human emotion until the heroine comes along and – BAM – turns him magically into a fully functioning, emotional being. Disclosure here: I hate that kind of hero. A writer friend of mine – whom I adore – described this hero type as an alpha-hole. Perfect descriptor!!!
Some writers pen the six foot, chiseled jaw, warm-eyed hero who has never realized he’s a hunkadoodle. Disclosure again: While I don’t hate this type, it’s hard for me to believe the guy doesn’t know he’s panty-dropping hot. I mean, does he own a mirror, or what?
So. Enough about the heroes I don’t fancy. What do I want in my ideal romantic hero?
A guy who makes me laugh…
A man who not only has a brain but also stimulates my brain and who can discuss topics other than sports…
A guy who brings you breakfast in bed; a man who bakes you the most decadent treat; a hero who wants to feed you — heart, mind, body and soul.
I know, right!! I adore a man who can cook.
It’s one of the final scenes. Lt. Eve Dallas has just had a knockdown, drag-out fight with a serial killer. She’s battered, bruised, and a little loopy from the painkillers they’ve given her. She’s speaking to her good friend Dr. Charlotte Mira, with Eve’s husband – the panty-dropping Roarke, in the background.
“Want to finish, give my report. Is my face messed up? I hate when that happens. Not like I’m pretty or anything, but—”
“You’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” Roarke said from the doorway, and Eve sent him a woozy, drugged smile.
That’s my perfect hero.
A man who loves you above all others – even himself; who will make love to you when you have wake-up morning breath, sheet marks on your cheeks and eye boogers, desire you even if you haven’t showered, be devoted to you no matter what comes along in life to try both your souls. A man who’s willing to not only put you first but do anything to keep you there. A hero who sees you, simply, as everything good in his life.
My ideal romance hero is the kind of man I want in my own life: calm, smart, witty, kind, strong willed and soft-hearted, willing to take a stand and fight for it, but able to see someone else’s opinion without censure. A man who will listen, speak up when needed, and know when a hug is all a woman needs. A man who won’t just try to solve my problems, but will help me solve them. A guy who can take charge and take a back seat when the situation calls for it. A man who will let me be me, get me, and support me – in every way.
In all honesty, my perfect romance hero is…my hubby.
Since this is a blog hop, click on some of the other MFRW authors writing about their ideal romantic hero.
Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.
I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.
I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.
Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.
I loved the library.
I loved the safety of it.
I loved all the books.
I loved loved loved the Librarians.
I loved the quiet.
Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own; be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.
Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated, and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.
The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.
The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.
In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.
In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.
Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.
Heroes, every last one of them.
So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library. Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.
Finding your local library is just a Google search away!