Tag Archives: character descriptions

A visit with #WildRosePress author Tena Stetler

It’s always a treat for me when a Wild Rose Press sistah drops by to chat – especially when it’s to chat about books and new releases! Today, Tena Stetler drops by to discuss her newest release A MAGIC REDEMPTION, book 5 in A Demon’s Witch series.  It’s in my Kindle queue and I can’t wait to start it! Sit back and let’s listen to Tena…

Good Morning Peggy. Thanks for inviting me over to talk about my new release A Magic Redemption. I am so excited!

Synn the heroine of A Magic Redemption, fifth book of A Demon’s Witch Series, bounced into being during the writing of A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance. I was surprised to see her transformation from a controlled warrior assassin that finally failed to do her master’s bidding. Then she risked her life to share important information to Bruce, the Demon Overlord for the Western Hemisphere for the benefit of man and magic kind. In exchange she was given her freedom and discovered what it was like to be part of a family again.

She was much more of a spit-fire than I imagined. Not having given it much thought until my editor, Lill, asked me what happened to Synn and Gavin at the end of A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance. It gave me pause, until Synn danced through my mind, tapping her tiny foot and demanding that I write her story. Now! Gavin took flight right behind her in support of her demands. What choice did I have? A Magic Redemption was born.

I hope the readers have as much fun reading her story as I did writing it.

(Peggy here – I am sure we all will!!!)

A MAGIC REDEMPTION by Tena Stetler

Blub:

Synn, a demon, carries extraordinary magic and power, but there is more within her than she dreams. Kidnapped as a child, her captors murdered her family and forced her into training as a warrior assassin. When an assignment goes horribly wrong, she finds herself at the mercy of the friends and family of her intended target.  Offering valuable information in exchange for protection, she gains her freedom, but it is not without its challenges.

Gavin Shaughnessy is the publican at his family’s Irish pub.  He is certain Synn is meant to be his and isn’t bothered by her past.  He must find a way to convince her, their future together is stronger than the dark memories that haunt her dreams.

When her past comes calling for revenge, will their love survive the raging inferno she brings down upon them? Or will the searing path of destruction destroy all they hold dear?

Exclusive Excerpt:

Darkness engulfed her. The voices in her head returned calling her a traitor suggesting retribution would be sweet and exacted soon. She fought against the words and covered her ears. As suddenly as the booming words came, it was silent. The dream shifted to a dank room, without windows, or light, and a darkness she could almost feel. Scraping sounds against a large wooden plank door grated on her nerves.

Magic failed her leaving her drained and unresponsive. She curled up in a fetal position. Baltizar’s voice whispered again in her mind. “I still control you. They’re all going to die a horrible death at my hands. You will get to watch. Just like when you failed to save your family.”

His wicked laugh echoed though her mind and faded. A warm liquid flowed over her hands. She looked down. They were covered in blood. Bodies were strewn over what looked like the dirt floor of a cave. Screaming, she awoke soaked with sweat, head pounding and blood trickled from her palms where her finger nails had sliced through the skin.

A loud bark came from the foot of her bed. She stumbled out of bed and rushed to Storm’s crate, knelt, and yanked open the door. A warm, fur ball bounded into her lap, the dog covered her face with kisses. She sat on the floor, tears streaming down her face dripping on the soft fur she buried her face in.

Never allowed to cry, she allowed the flood gates open, and cried for her family, mistakes made, decisions forced upon her, and wished she’d died in the battle with Baltizar. She wouldn’t be responsible for the deaths of her new friends, Gavin and his family, or Storm.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/lELj0amtkk8

Buy Links:
Available from Amazon,   Amazon UK, Amazon AU, Amazon CA,   itunes, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble  coming soon to Wal-mart.com

About the Author:

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends. After many years as a paralegal, then an IT Manager, she decided to live out her dream of pursuing a publishing career.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of witches, shapeshifters, demons, faeries, and gryphons, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors. During the winter you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn. Visit Tena’s website at http://www.tenastetler.com where you’ll find links to all of her books, blog and pictures of recent travels and setting of her books.

Find Tena HERE:

Website //Authors’ Secret’s Blog // My Say What Blog // Facebook //Twitter //Goodreads // The Wild Rose Press // Amazon // Newsletter // Pinterest //Triberr// BoobBub // Instagram

 

 

 

 

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Why I need to see my characters before I write, part 2

So yesterday I showed you how my mind works. Get your own minds out of the gutter! I meant visually, that’s how!

I see things way before I ever type a single word of my manuscripts. My characters, my settings, the clothes people wear, the weather, everything, really, must be visual to me first.  I have stacks of current magazines in my office that I comb through frequently. Fashion mags, exercise, mags, home improvement ones, even travel issues. I’ll flip through the pages, see an interesting face, or place, or image, and rip it out, storing it in a big box on one of my library shelves.

I troll through Pinterest periodically as well, typing in search words for images I want, such as brown eyed and blonde hair women, or green eyed men.

When I see images that gel with what I’ve been seeing in my mind, I pin them to storyboards in my Pinterest site and sometimes even print them out for inclusion on my visualization board. You may think a great deal of this is redundant, but just having them loaded in a computer file isn’t enough for me. I need to actually see them every day while I’m writing my story.

As I’ve gotten older, I tend to forget little details that are important for my characters and stories. It’s not because I’ve got any kind of creeping dementia or cognitive memory loss. It’s more that there is so much going on in my life in one single day, that remembering what color eyes I gave my hero six weeks ago in chapter one, tends to be difficult if I don’t have the actual picture of the guy close by. A few months ago I was writing my soon-to-be-released 5th book in my Wild Rose Press series of the MacQuire Women, PASSION’S PALETTE,  and one of the characters had  chin length snow-blond hair initially, and the next time we meet her, it’s turned strawberry blonde and is down the middle of her back – three days later! I wasn’t paying attention to my vision board very well during those days, but luckily I caught a glimpse of it one day before submitting the story and fixed the mistake! So that’s all the proof I need to tell me making my vision boards is a worthwhile way to spend some of my creative time.

I’m just gonna throw this out there and say story boarding and plot visualization are as old as civilization. Didn’t primitive cave-people and early societies leave cave and cliff drawings, depicting their ways of life? Their history? Sounds to me an awful lot like storyboarding. Just saying….

So. Hope this helps you understand the way this writer’s brain and creative process works. I don’t think I’m alone in my storyboarding, either. I tend to think since the advent of Pinterest, more writers work this way, simply because it’s so easy to.

When I’m not storyboarding, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Why I need to see my characters before I write them

I love a good vision board – especially for one of my own books. Since my writing tends to fall out of a visual tendency, I make vision -or story- boards for each of my books. Knowing what the characters actually look like while I am writing about them helps me “see” the story as it unfolds from their eyes and viewpoints. For instance, here’s the board I worked with for my October 2017 release, A SHOT AT LOVE:

You can see how I envisioned Gemma Laine and Ky Pappandreos, plus how I categorized aspects of their lives, such as photography info for Gemma and law enforcement stuff for Ky.  I sent their pictures to Lyrical when I was asked how I “SAW” my hero and heroine looking. I think they did a great job with portraying my vision on the cover:

This is my working vision board for the third book in the series, tentatively titled CAN’T STAND THE HEAT”

This book has  few more integral characters, but the H/H look like Grace Kelly ( Stacy Peters) and Pierce Brosnan ( Nikko Stamp)

I’m currently working on 2 more books in this series. and the first one, (working title: IT STARTED WITH HIS KISS) looks like this:

You can see I don’t have too much filled in yet, but I will….no worries.

More about vision boards and how they help writers in tomorrow’s edition of PEGGYJAEGER.COM

In the meantime, did you know that COOKING WITH KANDY, book 1 in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES releases next week on April 4?? Here’s a little sumthin’ to whet your romance-reading appetites.

Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Excerpt:

“Clock stops at five-thirty,” she told him, spying the way he glanced at the empty desks. “That’s a rule I never break. No matter how busy we are, or what our deadline is, I make sure everyone up here is out by then.”

“Why? I would think in this business long hours are the norm.”

“Everyone deserves free time, time with family, time to wind down. I won’t have people working for me when they’re exhausted, or thinking about the soccer game they’re missing for their kid. No one’s productive then. I like everyone to be rested, fresh and on the ball. I realized early on it was the way to bring out the creative, productive best in people.”

“But you don’t adhere to your own rules.”

She leveled a gaze at him. “That’s because I’m the boss. I thrive on deadlines and do some of my finest work when I’m exhausted.”

The slow grin that spread across his face made her stomach muscles giddy-up again.

“I bet you give great holiday bonuses,” he said, rocking back on his heels.

Because it was true, she smiled.

“My office is in here.”

She pushed through another set of doors and preceded him in.

While he took in the surroundings Kandy wondered if he saw the room the same way she did. She’d chosen this space simply because of the windows. A corner office, it had full-length, floor to ceiling matted glass surrounding the outer perimeter of the office on three sides. Her view was of downtown Manhattan, an unobstructed visage of Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty.

The interior design was her own and she’d gone for comfort and ease in the furnishings. Three couches circled one another in the center of the room, and in the middle sat an impressive glass table, currently covered with files, paper, magazines, and a few fabric swatches. A grandfather clock sat, unwound, on the far wall, the hour hand stuck at nine, the minute hand at twelve.

A large, cherry wood desk faced the windows, not the inner room, complete with two computers, a laptop, and two printers on a pull-out stand next to the desk.

“Interesting.” Josh gazed around the room. “I assume the reason your desk faces this way is for the great view?”

She lifted her shoulders to her ears and then brought them down again. “Why waste it by having my back to it?”

“Good thought. What’s up with the clock?”

She glanced over at it. “That’s the exact time my first book went on sale.”

“So, what? Time stopped for you then?”

“No. The way I see it my life started precisely at that moment.”

His eyebrows rose. “Says a lot about what you expect and want out of life.”

“Don’t read too much into it,” she said, unaccustomed embarrassment washing through her. Without even knowing her he’d hit her personality right on the head. “The clock also has sentimental value. It was Grandma’s.”

Kandy moved to the couches. “Come on, have a seat. Let’s talk specifics.”

Josh sat opposite her, leaned back into the couch, crossing one long leg over the other.

“I’m going to say this once because I feel we should get it out of the way,” she started. “I don’t think I need a body guard, and I don’t think anything that’s happened recently can’t be explained away. I find this whole situation of having someone follow every move I make unnerving. I’m not used to it. Not used to working this way. I don’t want to have to stop every five minutes to explain where I’m going, who I’m going to be meeting with. I just go. I have too much to do in a day to worry about someone keeping up with me.”

When he nodded, she continued. “I’m willing to go along with the entire scheme until you prove there’s really no reason for it, which I think you’ll discover pretty quickly. But I won’t be hampered in going about my day in any way. Understand?”

Buy Links: Amazon //Nook // Kensington/Lyrical // Kobo // Apple // Google

available in e-copy and Print on Demand ( POD) fro Amazon and Kensington.

 

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

A picture is worth….?

What my characters look like is important to me. I’m one of the most visual people you will ever meet. Yes, I’m nosy, and will ask 1 million questions when I meet you, but…

I will also be looking you over from head to toe. Not blatantly; not rudely; but very, very  intensely. The color of your hair, eyes, the way you carry yourself, the clothes you wear, if you wear flats or high heels… all those things are important to me. And the reason they are is because when I think about you, the person, I get a mental picture of what you actually look like. One of the greatest things about smart phones is when you’re receiving a call from somebody now you can actually have their picture show up on the display  as the phone is ringing so you know exactly who it is  calling. Love that.

But I digress.

Whenever I start a new book and I get to meet my characters, I always look for pictures online or in magazines of people I think they will resemble. For instance, in my most recent novel, First Impressions, Clarissa Rogers in my mind was a young looking Julia Roberts. Think Steel Magnolias. Mid back length curly cinnamon colored hair, flashing chocolate colored eyes. Padrick  Cleary  is a dead ringer for Matt Bomer. A simply gorgeous, delicious man.

mattbomer julia_roberts

When I was writing the book and creating dialogue between the two I actually had their pictures on my desk so that I could refer to them while I was writing dialogue tags and visceral descriptions.  I do this with all my stories. I need to know what my people look like when they are smiling, frowning, crying, and  even eating. It shouldn’t surprise you to discover you can find pictures of just about anyone well known doing anything from sleeping to running, online. And yes I will admit, I feel a little voyeuristic when I do this, but for the creative processes of description and narration it really is beneficial for me to have an actual photograph of  what I think my character looks like.

We live in a very visual society. How we look to others is way more important than it should be, but is a very telling fact. When someone reads my  novels I really want them to get a feel for  what the characters look like. I do this when I read other people’s books. I have a picture in my mind based on the author’s description of the character and I try to liken it to someone well known to me, be it an actress, actor or even a personal friend.  This really gets me invested in the story. I simply love knowing what people look like, characters as well.  I’ve read some stories that will describe the character as, “a young Julie Andrews”  or “Marlon Brando –ish.”  That’s all well and good and it does bring a picture of what the character looks like to your mind. But for my purposes I would rather describe the young Julie Andrews, denoting her short cropped golden blonde hair and centered, angular chin to my reader than to let them fill in the blanks.  This may have something to do with my sense of wanting to be in control of what the reader thinks when they read my words. I’ll have to ponder on that and get back to you…

So, when you write your character descriptions, do you have someone in mind they resemble? Do you, like I do, go online or research through magazines looking for someone who can depict your character to perfection? And if you don’t, then how do you come up with a description? Does it come out of your head? Do you base it on someone you’ve seen on a corner? In the Mall? How does this person jump to life for you so  you can make the character jump to life for me?

You knew this was coming… Let’s discuss…

Coming soon:: 3 Wishes, A Candy Hearts Story 2/8/16 from The Wild Rose Press. Buy Links available soon

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How does your heroine smell?

A while back I did a blog titled How does your hero smell? It was a light-hearted, but serious-intended piece about using your sense of smell as writer. Today, the tables are being metaphorically turned onto your heroine. So, for lack of a better title, How does your heroine smell?

smell1

Girls are supposed to smell, well, like girls. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a female character referred to as smelling “manly” in a book…not in any I’ve read, anyway. But aside from describing to your reader how your protagonist smells like the inside of an exotic flowering hothouse, or dousing her in buckets of eau d’parfume, what sensory motivators can you use?

We’ve all heard the line sugar and spice and everything nice; that’s what little girls are made of. Well, what about big girls? I kind of think the same thing applies.smell3

Let me ‘splain it you, Lucy.

What does sugar really smell like? Well, we know it tastes sweet, so that colors what our sense of smell tells us it’s like. What, aside from sugar, is sweet? A few things come to mind for me: chocolate, vanilla, cherries, apples. You get the idea. Maybe your heroine smells like warm vanilla pudding, or caramels melting over ripe apples. She sounds good enough to eat, right? And if she does to us, she does to the hero, too (don’t even go there! This is a G-rated blog).

So what spices come to mind when you hear the above saying? When I think of spices I think of tangy, potent ones like cinnamon and nutmeg, citrus and lemongrass. Stuff that I recognize when it hits my tastebuds. Spicy can also be hot, like peppers – although I’d rather name a character Pepper than describe her as smelling like one. Maybe it’s just me, but if I read a character described as smelling like a chili pepper, I’d first think she worked in a Mexican restaurant and I’d have an immediate vision of her that might not be anything like the author wanted. Although now that I think that through….hummmmm.

Back to smells.

The end of the saying tells us girls smell like everything nice. Well, what smells nice to you may not smell nice to me. For instance, I love the smell of coffee brewing, but wouldn’t want to go around smelling like an urn all day. There’s a commercial out right now for – I think, Honey Bunches of Oats – where the line worker goes shopping after working all day at the cereal plant and she says people around her sniff and say they smell cookies. She tells them, “nah, that’s me. I just came from work. You’re just smelling Honey Bunches of Oats.” Now, I don’t think I want to smell like cereal, but you certainly remember the commercial, and therefore the product, so somebody wrote something good there! What smells nice to you? Cotton sheets that have been line-dried smell nice; lemonaid smells nice. Lots of things do.

The lesson learned here is that men and women smell very differently and when we write sensory descriptions, we really need to keep sex ( read: Gender) in mind. I wouldn’t want to write my hero as smelling like a full blooming hothouse jasmine flower laced with sin, but I would describe my heroine that way. Only better, because that line is a little cheesy… and very poorly written. But you get the idea.

So, how do your heroines smell? Let’s discuss…

'I like a boy in my class. Do you have anything that smells like peanut butter?'

‘I like a boy in my class. Do you have anything that smells like peanut butter?’

 

 

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How do you “see” your characters?

My friend was sitting in my writing lair the other day and happened to see a bunch of index cards with color photographs of various head shots with written descriptions next to them. She asked me what they were. I admitted they were my cheater cards for characters. When she gave me that quizzical look we as writers can all describe: brown furrowed, a subtle squint in the corners of the eyes, I explained these were what I envisioned my characters in my current WIP looked like. I like having an actual picture to work from than simply a written description.

How do you see your characters? Are you like me and you need a visual prompt? Or can you simply see the person in your mind and bring them to life on the page?

Up until a few years ago I tried to paint the picture of what my peeps looked like in my head and then transfer it to the written word. The problem I encountered was I needed to keep going back to the original description if I mentioned eye or hair color again, because I would invariably forget how I described them. I got the idea to start using photographs of celebrities, or people I’d see in print ads, one day when the person I wanted to describe looked exactly like a very famous actor. I figured as long as I didn’t state he was dead ringer for my character, but describe his attributes instead, I would be okay.

And I was.

I printed out a picture from an on-line site and then went on to describe his features, including height, approximate weight and body type. From that moment on, whenever I needed to refer to a characteristic again, all I needed to do was look at my picture.

Then I had a divine inspiration: I not only printed the picture, I pasted it to an index card and then physically wrote down every description of the character I might need. Body type, weight, height, any physical ticks or quirks, eye color, hair color. For men, if they would typically sprout a five o’clock shadow by, say, 3 pm., I’d add it. If their chests were hairy, matted, or smooth got included so during the love scenes I wouldn’t have mistakenly “shaved” a guy with hair and made him smooth to the touch.

For the women, waist and bust size along with shapeliness or a lack of it was documented. Were their smiles full, sexy or sardonic?

You may ask isn’t this a bit much to fit all on an index card? No, it’s not.

This system has worked so well for me, I haven’t had a mistaken blue eye substituted for a brown one in years.

However you envision them, however you remember their attributes, whatever works for you is fine.

This is the easiest way for my rapidly deteriorating menopausal memory to deal with information that needs to be repeated.

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