Romance Weekly: Uncontrollable Characters

 

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‘Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. about our writing of course! 

This week’s questions are from Eden Ashe.

If you came from LaNora Mangano’s blog, welcome! If not, head on over there to see her answers!  http://jeanne1965.wix.com/finding-lanora#!blog/c112v

 

How much free reign do you give your characters during a story?

My character Simon, a secondary character in my book “Untrue Colors,” took over the series and attempted to take over the first book as well. His personality was so strong that his POV ended up in every story, despite being the primary hero in only one of them.

His elevated position as the main character of the series helped make the stories better. His position as an embedded agent in MI-6 gave him access to information and resources I couldn’t give to my civilian characters. In addition, his love for the women in his life went to the extreme, and the feelings he brings into the books are more powerful than in my other heroes. Ironically, he doesn’t want to love as deeply as he does, it’s his biggest flaw and most endearing characteristic.

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Jason Statham, my vision of Simon

Here’s one of his scenes as the not quite hero in “Untrue Colors:”

The knock continued, more rapidly and aggressively. Simon placed his finger on Valerie’s lips to keep her quiet and then pulled out his gun.

“Who is it?” he called out in English, stepping to the door clothed only by the Beretta in his hand.

“Open up, lover boy.” Nicola’s voice penetrated the wood and scorched his veins.

What the hell did she want? He opened the door, knowing she’d never leave until she gained entry. Nicola, wearing black leggings, knee high black boots, and a long gray transparent shirt, pushed her way past him without so much as a glance at his naked body until she arrived at the foot of the bed. If he had to choose at that moment between Valerie and Nicola, he’d have to flip a coin. They both oozed sex.

Not one to be disturbed by his state of undress, Nicola examined him from shoulder to toe, making his manhood retreat at the indignity, and then she turned to Simon’s last bit of sanity, the beautiful woman lying in the bed. “Am I interrupting anything?”

“Not anymore.” He slipped on his jeans and threw Valerie her little black dress.

I’ve started a new series that deals with a police officer named Bob. His brother Dex has begun to take over the series almost like Simon did. Some men just crave the spotlight!

 

Have your characters ever done something so out of the blue that not only changed your story, but changed the tone and maybe even the genre you were originally going for? (Like your contemporary romance turned into a spicy paranormal)

Suspense slips into almost every story I write. I can’t help it. My characters crave action and danger. My first novel, however, was women’s fiction. As I wrote the sequel, I added blackmail, murder, and kidnappings. Not exactly women’s fiction. The third book in the series had even more intrigue and soon I was addicted to adding suspense to my stories.

The women’s fiction book is lost under my bed forever, but the two sequels I colored with suspense are both on their way to being published.

 

Do you have one character in your head that is sort of boss over all the rest? Or do you decide who to work on and when?

I’m fairly rigid about what books I’m working on at any one time. Mostly my own self-imposed deadlines force keep blinders on me so I can finish a project by a certain date.

Characters are free to give me any ideas they want at any time and I respect the process enough to take five to ten minutes to write down the ideas or even the bits of dialogue that come through my head. Each story has a Scrivener file and has spots for research. Characters, and plot ideas. I prefer full immersion into a story, however, and will leave those pieces until I can delve into the whole book for a period of time.

Head over to Mishka Jenkins’ blog and see how she answered… https://awriterslifeformeblog.wordpress.com/

Get Wicked With Entangled Blog Hop

 

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Welcome to this stop of the Entangled Wicked Blog Hop. Connect to the other blogs for more contests and great prizes by clicking on the logo above.

I’ve decided to wear a costume to this party. I’ve always loved black hair and Halloween is the perfect time to morph into someone new!

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I’m one of the newest authors at Entangled Publishing. Everyone from the publisher to the editors and the publicists have been so supportive. My book “Flirting on Ice” written with Susan Scott Shelley will be released in November. It’s a sexy novella about professional  hockey player who can’t away from the team owner’s daughter.

Mr. Perfect has found his kind of trouble…

Professional hockey player Zac Elliott is in top form. He’s having the best season of his career, the local fans can’t get enough of him, and he’s in the middle of the most successful contract negotiations of his career. When the sexy little spark between Zac and the team owner’s daughter blazes to life, no matter how forbidden, he can’t resist.

Philanthropist Heather Ryan can’t keep her hands off of Zac. If her father finds out, it could end Zac’s career and ruin her reputation. What they share is deeply passionate and intensely private…until the press exposes their illicit relationship.

Now the fans have viciously turned against Heather, Zac’s game is faltering, and even his team has deserted him. The only way out of the penalty box is for Zac to play hockey like life— and love—depends on it…

I can’t wait to reveal the cover.

Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley, Tackled by the Girl Next Door

Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley, Tackled by the Girl Next Door

In the meantime, Susan and I have published a fun football novella, “Tackled by the Girl Next Door.” Jason Black is a newly retired professional football player. Forced off the playing field due to an injury, he returns to his hometown to contemplate his future and finds solace in his relationship with his best friend, Samantha O’Brien.

Sam has spent the past five years caring for her younger brother. Home from college for Thanksgiving break, he parties hard and bullies his sister. When Jason comes to her defense, protecting her from a crowd of drunken college kids, Sam begins seeing him as more than a friend. Yet, she fears acting on their attraction could ruin the friendship she’s grown to depend upon.

Just one kiss changes everything for Jason. Sam is no longer the girl next door but the woman of his dreams. Now, he just has to convince her that his feelings are real. But when the football world comes calling again and career decisions are on the line, both sacrifice all to put the other’s needs first. They must decide whether to follow their hearts and make the catch of a lifetime.

 

I’m giving away a $10 gift certificate, a gift copy of “Tackled by the Girl Next Door,” and a gift copy of “Code Red” my romantic suspense short story. Good Luck!

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Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride!

If you’ve come over from Elaine Jeremiah’s website, welcome. She’s the author of “Reunion of the Heart”.

 

We have Vicky Mason to thank for her questions today.

http://www.andilit.com/

http://www.andilit.com/

1.)   Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?

I’ve always jotted down stories in my head. Nothing great, nothing formal. A few years ago I decided to try NaNoWriMo. I lost. I made it to 35,000 words though and wanted nothing more than to finish the book. It took me two more years to finish it. When I was done, I had no idea what to do. Luckily, I found a local Romance Writers of America chapter nearby. The day I joined in February 2012, I became focused on making writing more than hobby. Since then, I’ve finished eight other manuscripts and sold seven of them.

 

2.)   When you write a story, do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?

Even when I know the beginning, middle, and the end of a story, I always add subplots and additional layers into a story as I write. These are generally the best parts. The car that only starts after a push and shove, the chocolate that always remains on the heroine’s lip after eating a donut, or the hero’s fear of flying. Not plot points, but the icing on the cake!

 

3.)   How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?

I edit as I write, so my work has already been edited about three times before I finish a manuscript. I then print it out and edit it another time. Finally, I read it out loud to make sure everything flows.

My critique partners then pick it apart it. I send it to my agent after I have a solid draft. Then my editor sees it.

 

Hop on over to Raine Balkeras blog to see a bit of her writing history and techniques.

 

Romance Weekly Blog Hop: Flash Fiction Challenge

Today’s Romance Weekly Blog Hop gave the writers a challenge. Create a 100-150 word Flash Fiction using the words, scarf, candle, and chocolate.

If you’ve just come from S. C. Mitchell: http://scmitchell.wordpress.com/ welcome! If not, check out his Flash Fiction. Does he keep it under 150 words? Does he kill anyone? ….hmmmmm.

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Don’t challenge me. I never lose.

I dipped each finger in the hot wax of a candle to hide my fingerprints. The burn soothed my nerves more than the three pieces of chocolate I’d inhaled.

Every last wisp of my red hair hid under a black headscarf. Black robes completed my disguise. He’d never see me coming.

Steady, even steps through the marketplace, blue eyes pointed to the ground, I became one of a thousand women maneuvering through a rainbow of silk and leather hanging from wood frames. Several hundred dollars dropped from my hand in the middle of the crowd. My stomach tightened as I stepped to my target. During the frenzy of greed on the ground behind me, I unlocked the glass case and took the ruby ring. Child’s play.

I turned and smacked into a hard chest. Jake’s chest.

He clasped my arms and grinned. “You lose.”

virtualtourist.com

virtualtourist.com

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When this Flash Fiction Story is made into a movie, as I’m sure it will be considering the depth of the characters and the intensity of the emotion, I’m casting Ryan Reynolds as Jake and Jennifer Lawrence as the crazy woman putting her fingers in hot wax.

Hop over to Gemma Brocato http://www.gemmabrocato.com/blog to find out what she wrote in the Flash Fiction Challenge!

Romance Writers Weekly

Welcome, if you came from J.J. Devine’s blog:  http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer. If not- go back! She recently published “Into the Darkness.” It’s vampires, it’s witches, it’s way more. 

This week’s questions come from the awesome Fiona Riplee.

1.Does humor help or hinder you in your creative process?

I love using humor in my stories, but I never add something funny if I have to force it. Natural humor in dialogue or situations can turn a regular scene into something special. If I can’t think of something funny, I leave it out.

I once tried to make a character have a funny comeback to an insult. It took me months to try to find the perfect phrase. Never happened. Instead, I shot it out to my critique partners and ended up with something far better than the comebacks I had created. Same thing happens in my real life.

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Robin Williams: He made it look easy.

2.What is a favorite go-to book or movie you use to unblock a problem in your writing?

I struggle to avoid creating boring passages. When I’m stressed, my words flow fast. Fast and generic. Dick and Jane books have more description and feeling than anything I write under pressure.

“She walked into the room and sat. He dropped the paper and glanced at her. She smiled.” Are you asleep now?

I have one major “go to” source to kick my rear back into quality writing. I re-read Susan Elizabeth Phillips novels. I love her voice and the fast pace she brings to every scene. More important, she uses words like an artist uses color. Each word is chosen to provide background, action, or emotion. I could read other authors as well, but I find reading a few pages from her books shows me how slowing down and focusing on the art of writing makes a difference.

“Gwen sashayed across the room and dropped her left hip onto the corner of his desk. Her skirt slid up enough to reveal the edge of a black lace garter. He noticed. The legal brief he’d been reading floated from his hand to the floor. His gaze floated down as well, stopping at the hem of her skirt.

‘Can I help you?’ His fingers tapped out his annoyance, but his eyes stayed transfixed on her thigh.

‘Nope. I just wanted to observe that iron clad control you’ve been bragging about.’ She touched her finger once under his clenched chin. ‘Impressive.’”

 

3.What’s the most inspiring book you’ve read this week or month that’s generated a new idea?

I listened to Kristen Higgins “Catch of the Day” on a recent road trip. Her hero, a lobsterman named Malone, barely spoke throughout the entire book. In addition, his POV was never used to provide a fuller picture of him. Despite all of this, he captivated me. Kristen Higgins formed a perfect picture of an introvert who felt deeply, but didn’t express himself to the outside world. A very tough hero to create. I love challenges and I’d love to create a Malone type character someday.

 

Next up is Kim Handysides. http://kimhandysides.com. I can’t wait to see how she tackled the questions!

Romance Weekly: Writers Write…

Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well, you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…… About our writing of course! Every Tuesday we’ll all answer the same questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site, we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride. Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

Have you come from Romance Writer Kim Handysides’ blog? http://kimhandysides.com Great. If not, jump back after reading this.

This week’s cool questions come from Jo Richardson.

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  1. How often do you write?

Most days, but not everyday. I write as long as I can when no one is at the house with breaks for Facebook and walks to clear my head. At least two hours of writing are done each day wile I’m sitting in the car waiting for my daughters at their activities. With no Internet access and complete silence, it’s one of the best places to concentrate.

  1. Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

Yes and no. No one can improve in writing skills if they don’t actually write. And over time, I feel like I’ve improved some basic skills in writing like sentence structure, avoiding passive sentences, showing v. telling, etc. The more I write, the more my writing is closer to where I want it to be on the first draft.

Writing alone, however, doesn’t make a good story. I’ve read stories where it feels as though the person rushed through to finish, but never connected to the characters. A quick first draft is great, but if the time is never put in to solidify the plot and flesh out the characters, then the story can fall flat. There needs to be time to think and plot and come up with creative ideas. I’ve taken days to play with plots and make sure that everything is interesting throughout the story. Many of those days, I don’t add any new words to the story.

I’ve tried to write super fast, but I’m so picky about word choice that it’s nearly impossible to write straight through a scene without pausing to use a thesaurus or Google a location or flight schedule or other random fact. My pace is also slower than most people because I hate leaving a sentence unfinished. If a word isn’t right, I obsess over it until I find the perfect way to phrase my thoughts. One sentence can take ten minutes if I’m struggling with it.

  1. What is your opinion on the saying “if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer”?

If a person writes, he or she is a writer. Writers may only be able to write on weekends, on vacation, or maybe every Thursday afternoon when the kids are at soccer practice. That said, practice is important in any craft. And if a person wants to be successful, he should improve his chances by writing more.

Write because you love it, practice because you want to improve, and work hard because you have goals.

unleadedwriting.com

unleadedwriting.com

 

You’re now in for a treat, Ronnie Allen is the next stop.http://ronnieallennovel.com/gemini/blog-1 Her book “Gemini” will be published soon. Psych’ meets ‘House.’ An assertive, sometimes aggressive screw the protocol psychiatrist who happens to be psychic & clairvoyant, uncovers and then tracks a female psychopathic predatory murderer.

 

A few things before you go!

Congrats to Kim Handysides! She just sent out her debut contemporary romance, titled “Stolen Kiss” to the editors this week! Be sure to keep your eyes out for this one!

And Leslie Hachtel just signed a contract for “Captain’s Captive” with Black Opal books! Congrats!

Gemma Brocato’s first two books in the Five Senses Series are on sale for a limited time on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Up-Love-Five-Senses-ebook/dp/B00IRITMS8/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1KR1B4QZPJJT4AS3YEZ2 

Susan Peterson Wisenwski’s book, “Chasing the Rainbow” is on sale on Kindle through 7/18/14 so grab your copy for only $.99cents!

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Rainbow-Susan-Peterson-Wisnewski-ebook/dp/B00KRC56Y6/

And don’t forget to join us for the Multi-Author six month anniversary party on facebook! Lots of prices to be won… including a Kindle!!

Here is the link to join us!
https://www.facebook.com/events/773431862675366/

 

Romance Weekly: Characters, Inspiration, and Plot Holes

‘Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! 

If you’ve come from Tessa Gray’s blog, welcome. If not, go back…  http://www.tessagray.comWomen’s Fiction author, Tessa Gray, writes stories set in the tiny West Texas town of Alpine. Check out her newest release. But come right back!!!

Tessa Gray

 

 

This week’s questions are brought to us from Jeanne McDonald.

1. How did you go about choosing the names for your characters?

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The minds and personalities of my characters form long before I name them. My daughters or the name generator on Scrivener offer me the most character names. Occasionally, I look up popular names in certain years to find something that’s not too far fetched for the age of the person I’m writing about. I’m rarely tied to a name. On certain occasions, my character’s names have changed by the time I’ve written half the story. Family and friend names are mostly avoided, especially if that character will be having sex on the page or will be killed. This helps me avoid awkward Christmas parties.

 

2. Where did the inspiration for your current book come from?

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You could say that I pitched my way to my new series. The seed of an idea for the series came from my very first pitch to an agent. I had planned two books about sisters and the agent suggested I add a third sister because three of anything is better than two. The problem was I had already completed the first book and didn’t know where to put her. I made her estranged and shipped her off to Paris to deal with later.

As I wrote the second book, I obsessed about the third sister. Why was she in Paris? What was she like? A Bostonian blueblood by birth, the character had black hair and an edgy personality. She loved art, but wasn’t an artist. I named her Alex. When I completed the second book, I dove into her story.

An agent at a different pitch session at a different conference suggested I focus on the hero’s brother for the sequel instead of the sisters, because romance readers tend to follow male characters more than female characters. I wrote his story and then his best friend’s story afterward to give me that magical third book. I placed the original two books on the sisters in storage for a while.

Ironically, an editor I pitched at a conference gave me the title of Alex’s story Untrue Colors.

The brother centric series, led by Alex my heroine, just sold to Entangled Publishing. The moral is that listening to agents and editors’ suggestions at pitch sessions can help add the magic ingredients that take a manuscript from the slush pile and turn it into a sale.

 

3. What methods do you use to ensure you have no plot holes (journal, storyboard, outline, editor, etc.)?

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I plot before I write, but I usually rewrite the plot toward the end, because I’ve missed some poignant fact that screws up the entire story. More important, I rely on critique partners and beta readers to find my plot holes. They’re good and not afraid to completely challenge my story. I’ve had eye color wrong, dates wrong, and once I wrote a story about Delphi when I meant Delhi. In other words, I need help. A CP once told me my heroine would never whine in the dire situation I’d placed her in, and my hero wouldn’t be such a jerk to her. I rewrote the scenes, because she was right and the book is better now.

 

The next stop on the blog hop is Daphne and Golden Pen winner Susan Scott Shelley. http://www.susanscottshelley.com/#!blog/c1cod. She’s not only an amazing writer, but she’s insane enough to be my critique partner and has endured writing some novellas with me as well! Our first published work is “Tackled by the Girl Next Door,” published by The Wild Rose Press in October 2014.Tackled by the Girl Next Door