To Beard or not to Beard

To Beard or not to Beard

By Beth D Carter x

When a story pops into my head I start to visualize the characters who will play out the leads. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes I pull my hair out very slowly trying to figure out the hero and heroine. For instance, in my book A Silver Lining, I had a woman who wasn’t nice, whose abrupt manner and off-putting tongue needed someone to perfectly foil her rapier retorts. Luckily, Tristan came along to not only rescue Heather but to rescue my deadline.

 

“Heather looked up, and up, past a cast-wrapped leg, over a large silver belt buckle, and into the darkest eyes she had ever seen. The rest of the face wasn’t bad as well, and Heather felt her heart flip-flop. High cheekbones, tanned face, handsome beyond belief.”

 

About my third book I realized that, unconsciously, I tended to write the same male character again and again and again. I was using the image of a man I found attractive in every story so I had to step back and reevaluate all my heroes. Even though I don’t particularly like chest hair that doesn’t mean my readers don’t. And just because I love blue eyed men doesn’t mean every hero out there has to have baby blues.

 

“Penny blinked and snapped her gaze to his. She instantly saw the annoyance in his royal blue eyes fade into concern.”

 

And yet up until the explosion of ebook publishing and the erotica romance genre coming to life, there weren’t that many ethnic heroes out there. And now as I’ve grown more mature I realize my taste has evolved in what I find sexy. My heroes have become somewhat less…vanilla, for lack of a better word. Now I find so many new characters clawing at my mind, demanding their stories be told.

 

As I go forth in my writing, I have so many delicious heroes (and heroines) ready to meet each and every one of you.

 

 

 

-Beth D. Carter

www.bethdcarter.com

http://bethdcarter.blogspot.com/

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Cover Artist and Author Dawne Dominique

Hello and welcome, readers! Thank you for joining me here today. My name is Dawné Dominique. I’m a multi-published, best-selling author, a retired managing editor, and a professional cover artist. My secret identity for three days a week is a paralegal. Yes, I wear many hats.  ☺

If someone would have told me ten years ago that I’d be writing anything remotely close to erotica, I would have fallen off my chair laughing. I was a straight-up fantasy author, (you know, like Lord of the Rings fantasy) but as I continued to write my vampires series called The First series, it was inevitable that sex needed to be included in order to add further dimensions to my characters. By introducing “erotica” into the creation of my novels, I’d initially panicked, thinking that perhaps it would take away from the main premise of the series. Thankfully, this didn’t happen

 

So how does one create a novel with a gripping plot, mixed with subplots, where the sex doesn’t become the main focus? There has to be strong characters and underlying questions for readers to ask themselves, along with scenes and events that places readers right in the action; and, of course, good writing. More importantly, I needed to create complex characters that you know shouldn’t be together. As you know, in real life, lust is more powerful than logic.

Many erotica novels had crossed my desk as a past managing editor, and there’s always the distinction of what is considered “porn” as opposed to “erotica”. For me, the two are quite simple to differentiate.

“Erotica” is based on the premise of romance between complex characters that when you read about them, they are not destined to be together, which inevitably creates a compelling plot. As well, there must be thick sexual tension, and not just the act itself.

“Porn” centralizes on sex as the main premise of a novel. It’s a fine line to some, and a huge crater to others. I write as “me”. I don’t sugarcoat my life, so my writing is a reflection of my personality. The romance / love aspects in my novels are strong, the sex straightforward (no purple prose for this gal), but it’s the intricate plot(s) and sexual tension leading up to the main act(s) that I hope make my stories come alive and leave a lasting impression on readers.

Visit me at:

www.purplesword.com

www.dawnedominique.com

www.dusktildawndesigns.com

Writing fantasy under the penname D. Thomas Jerlo

http://dthomasjerlo.com/

Jillian Chantal

Jillian here back for my day on Curious Bluster and even though I’m writing this before I leave home, I’m very excited to tell y’all what I’m doing this day. I’m also curious about what I’ll be doing myself since I’m not quite sure what will be on the actual agenda for the day.

 

I’ve traveled to Paris for the first time and left home on the 13th. I’ve been to France before but never to the City of Love. This trip isn’t with my spouse so it’s not a romantic trip. I’m here with my son who wants to attend grad school in the city. He graduates college in about 18 months so we’ve come to check out two schools as well as play the tourist game. And oh, yeah, pick up some writing inspiration for me along the way.

 

I can’t wait to explore this place and do some ambling along the Seine. We always love to check out old bookstores and I’m sure we will have that as part of the plans. I’ll also be picking up maps to help me with that writerly thing. When I set a story here, which I will, I’ll want to refer back to those maps to be sure my characters are authentically depicted in the correct arrondissement as they go about their business. I’m all about trying to get it right.

 

I’m also possibly participating in a 2015 anthology based around the battle of Waterloo and hope to be inspired by checking out some Napoleonic era museum or literature. June, 2015 is the 200th anniversary of the battle and the anthology is in commemoration of that event.

 

While I’m still here in Paris, anyone have any not to miss places I need to check out?

 

I hope everyone is having a super August and getting in lots of relaxation and fun. See you in September.

To Love A Bad Boy. By Cherrie Mack

Hello everyone and welcome to Curious Bluster.

 

To Love A Bad Boy.

Okay ladies, when you read that line, a picture formed in your mind—didn’t it? Whether it was the first guy who broke your heart or the overly tattooed, swear lovin, motorcycle riding hunk you always wanted but were afraid to pursue. Maybe it’s the latest hero in one of your favorite reads, or a hero you read years ago who stays with you no matter how you try to shake him. The bottom line is, we all love a bad boy at one time or another. Why are they so appealing? Their arrogant, conceited, confidant and most times they completely cross the line. They make us squirm, feel flush and shake our heads but we love them don’t we?

But, what if we’re on the wrong side of a bad boy?—hence the name, bad. They hurt us, make us angry, tempting us back only to do it again. Uh—huh. It’s the ole rinse and repeat situation. I think we’ve all been through this crap. So what makes the bad boy hero so appealing in books? It’s the ability to finally pin him down. Our heroine gets to do all the things we wish we could, with the right result. She gets to spin his head, not fall for his act, give him a run for his money and finally win him over. He miraculously wakes up, realizes he’s an ass and decides to woo our heroine to the point of nauseam. And just when you think it’s over, she gives in and they live happily ever after. God I love that!

So, have you a bad boy you still dream about? What character is impossible for you to shake? Tell me about him and why you’re hooked for a chance to receive free copy of my latest paranormaI romance, A Late Summer Bloom-Witches Of The Bayou.

Punctuation in Dialogue

Hi guys! In the editing corner today I thought we’d talk about punctuation in dialogue. This is something a lot of people have questions about. There are action tags and dialogue tags. If you use an action tag, i.e. He laughed, he turned, she walked away. Then you are going to close the dialogue with a period and start the next phrase with a capital letter. Examples:

“I know you didn’t just say that.” She turned and marched out the door.

“The cat crawled up John’s leg and I thought he was going to turn purple, he was so mad.” Helen’s laughter was an aphrodisiac of its own.

Dialogue tags, any form of said: whispered, murmured, shouted, exclaimed, mumbled, muttered, sputtered, spluttered, choked, gasped, uttered, declared, stated, cried, answered, replied, exclaimed, etc. close the dialogue with a comma and start the following phrase with a lower case letter (unless it is a proper noun)

“Where do you think you’re going?” she asked.

“We always seem to end up arguing,” she cried.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured.

In the case of question marks or exclamation points follow the same rules; if it is an action tag capitalize the following word. If it is a dialogue tag use lower case.

Always make sure your punctuation is inside the quotation marks.

See you next week in the editor’s corner!

Hugs

Tamara

Lacie Nation

Hello, all. I hope everyone is well. Today I’m going to talk about stress and how that impacts my writing. To say I’ve been stressed the last few weeks would be an understatement. I’ll spare you the woe is me story though. Anywho, that stress has impacted my writing…I mean it has gotten to me so badly that I haven’t written a word in over a week! I know, right? That’s unacceptable. Here’s the thing though. When I have 42,583 other things banging around in my brain, the ideas wither away. To say that stress has caused writer’s block would be an understatement. It’s the Great freaking Wall of China, okay. *Sighs* Maybe after this week I’ll have some answers and can stop worrying about everything. I know this was more of a vent session, but hey, a girl’s gotta get it off her chest sometimes, right? I hope you all have a wonderful day! Until next time.

INSIDE THAT GREAT COVER By Lynde Lakes

 

In previous articles I covered hooks, truth in writing, evoking sympathy, reader identification, empathy, taking the reader with you on a magic carpet and how to heighten suspense. Now lets look closer at what else need to be between the pages of that great cover:

 

MENACING YOUR CHARACTER: Dimpled Mary was adorable (tell about her, make us love her.) Just learning to walk, she is curious about everything, reaches for everything, wants to touch it. One Monday morning, her harried mother left a pot of water boiling on the stove while she briefly left the kitchen to answer the phone. Mary looked up at the shinny brown and copper handle of the pot sticking out. She crawled to the stove and stood up, stretching her hand high for the handle….

           

Throughout the story, we want the reader to worry about bad things that might happen to our sympathetic characters. If your character is sympathetic and menaced, you have created a page-turning state of anxiety and apprehension in the reader. Now light the fuse.

 

LIGHTING THE FUSE: Time! Time–time running out in COWBOY LIES. Matt must get his baby and Molly out of harm’s way. But even the FBI, the agency he worked for, is throwing road blocks to stop him. Will he make it?

 

It was day zero when Matt took his brother Luke’s call.. His brother had been watching Molly and her guards from the hotel across the courtyard through high-powered binoculars. “It’s time,” he said. “A woman took yer baby to the adjoining room,” he said in his Texas twang. “Jus’ her, no agents.”

 

Matt’s throat tightened. It’s was the kind of break the kidnapper’s would watch for. He had to get there first. He raced down the hall and knocked on the door adjacent to Molly’s suite.

“Who is it?” Came a voice he recognized—Agent Gina Nagales.

“Matt Ryan. I have a court order.”

“Stand in front of the peep hole,” Gina said.

He complied, and she opened the door, gun in hand.

“You won’t need that. I’m alone.”

Gina tucked the gun back into her holster. Sara Jane was in the play pen, babbling happily. God, she’d grown. He’d missed all those months. Matt showed Gina his phony temporary custody order.

She frowned. “No one told me about this. Hold on. Ramon and Gordon will be here in a moment. You can show this to them.”

            Prepared for resistance, Matt lunged at Gina with a cloth permeated with chloroform and held it over her nose until she stopped struggling and went limp. “I’m breaking every kind of law here,” he whispered.

 

MURDER IN THE CLEAR ZONE, LYNDE LAKES This beginning lights the fuse for what is to come and that is necessary from the get-go.

            Bard Nichols worked in the field which in this instance meant the area within the Aircraft Clear Zone for Norton Air Force Base, better described now as a war zone.

            The thought of the unrest in the clear zone brought Paula Lord’s frizzy red hair and brilliant blue eyes to mind. He couldn’t think of the problems there without seeing the image of the twenty-four-year-old widow. She was trouble. And it wasn’t just her seventy-five birds that gave him a headache.

 

 

MEMORABLE CHARACTERS: Readers can’t sympathize with a wimpy character who can only suffer and wallow in self-pity. They want a character ready and willing to take action. It may not be the right action, but they will jump into the conflict and give it their all. All characters, even wimps, must be dynamic—driven and want something desperately. This desperation is the force inside that fires-up characters. Dynamic characters have conflicting emotions and desires. These strong emotions, such as ambition and love, fear or patriotism or faith, lust, or some other raging emotional fire, pulls our dynamic characters in more than one direction. Only action will lead to more story conflict and more inner conflict.

            Only characters with the uniqueness of real people are worth reading about.   They must have contrasts of inconsistent behavior common to people you know and like, love or hate. Contrasts and rich and varied experiences make character. Interesting people move about in the world and have thought deeply about life and have opinions. Maybe the man was a sailor on the U.S. Arizona, maybe the woman worked on the set of MGM, or have made astronomical sails to isolated islands to view eclipses. Perhaps they have been on spiritual quests, trying to unravel life’s mysteries. In any case, they have fully lived.

Use biographies of real people to get ideas. Look for a biography on your character’s profession–dancers, F.B.I., whatever. If possible, talk to those in the profession.

            Write about people who are good at what they do. Great characters are often a little wacky, colorful, theatrical, exaggerated, flamboyant, ditzy and contrary. Look at the successful TV series, “WILL AND GRACE.” They exaggerate traits to the ridiculous and it works. Use a fear of horses, fear of commitment, etc. Or an obsessive love of gadgets or electronic eavesdropping, or a compulsive need to examine and touch everything like Monk or the lead character does in the movie, “AS GOOD AS IT GETS.” Give us an FBI agent who believes in living life to the fullest, and damn the consequences. Contrast him with a heroine who has a totally different agenda and completely opposite traits. In my werewolf book, I’ve given my heroine a dual nature which she has to learn to tame to operate effectively. Take some risks and make your characters fresh and most of all, memorable.

 

CHARACTER CONTRAST AND SETTING: in LASSO THAT COWBOY Amber is a city girl who—having no place to run—escapes to a ranch and runs smack into more trouble with a capital T.  This former executive’s assistant, who is used to a generous salary and high living, now has to apply for a nanny job on a cattle ranch where she is expected to ride a horse and know her way around a lasso. To set her circumstance off we have plunged her into immediate difficulties with her new boss, a possible deadbeat, and plunked her into an unfamiliar surrounding. To heighten the suspense, she fears someone may have followed her to this place she doesn’t belong in the first place, a place where she’ll forced to deal with new and possibly frightening events and dangerous men? Maybe even her bad boy boss?

 

RULING PASSION: A characters central motivating force, the sum total of all the forces and drives raging within him/her. The ruling passion might be to escape a murder scene and a possible jail sentence, to stay safe, to hide out. It might be something less specific, such as to get retribution on the cowboy who lassoed her, embarrassed her, and scared the hell of her. Or it might be like the mysterious recluse in my werewolf story who simply wants to be left alone. The characters ruling passion determines what he/she will do when faced with dilemmas. The measure of a person is not the charm they reveal in good times, it is the control and intelligence they display in the bad times.

 

Example: COWBOY LIES. In the beginning, Matt has one ruling passion that rules his life—keeping Molly and her baby safe. Matt also has a dormant and an active ruling passion to control every situation. The dormant passion, control, still defines his character for the writer and reader, but it isn’t what motivates him once he takes over the protection of his two charges. At all times our character must remain driven by at least one ruling passion. However, what motivates him in one scene may not be the original passion but he may return to it once the present crisis is past. A characters passion generally isn’t consistent; many times it changes in the course of a story and then changes back as the situation changes. In many great stories, it is the switch from one ruling passion to another that forces dramatic decisions on the character and makes the reader root for the character. Avoid changing the ruling passion too often, make it logical action and reaction.

 

            Secondary characters have the same set of passions. In COWBOY LIES, Matt’s brother, Luke wakes up in a drunken stupor and find a gun in his hand and his brother, Parker, bloody and dead next to him. From the murder on, his driving passion is to proving his innocence and finding killer. After the murder with his brother as a suspect, it also become one more driving passion for Matt who already is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. The characters dramatic decision to change his passion ups the stakes and enhances his growth.

 

In LASSO THAT COWBOY, Luke’s passion is to join the rodeo circuit. He hires a nanny, planning for her to accompany him. Amber’s passion to escape crowds, notoriety and remain hidden away, thrusts an opposing passion into the mix, and both characters must struggle to rule and control the situation of the story.

When core conflicts are resolved at the end of a story, the character may return to his or her original ruling passion. But in as in COWBOY LIES, and LASSO THAT COWBOY, all of the characters have undergone such dramatic growth, that new passions have arisen and as in all romances—love rules.

            If a character does return to original the ruling passions, it is often with a different outlook or understanding, which gives finite meaning to the drama of the story.

 

THE DUAL CHARACTER:

The dual character like my killer in BILLBOARD COP suffers opposing natures—good and bad. He shifts in between the three ego states—parent, adult and child where the parent and adult is considered rational and the child irrational. These entirely separate states rule him at different times. This mostly evil man fights to keep the soft side of himself a secret, even from himself. To win he must retain his evilness to the end. But the small boy thrusts him into conflict.

 

DRIVING THROUGH TO THE END:

           Inside that great cover we need strong, dramatic fiction where everything is relevant, everything we put on paper counts, and leads to what is to come—and bring our readers to a climax where all is resolved.

 

(Lynde will continued INSIDE THAT GREAT COVER in a later blog for the wrap-up)  Hugs and Aloha, Lynde

 

 

Birthdays By Amanda Ward

 

manda

It’s a strange fact that my birthday falls right in the middle of the school holidays. So, now that I’m an adult I make sure that as a family we are on holiday. There is the added bonus of course that my wedding anniversary is four days earlier (double pressies yay!).

So what makes the ideal birthday?

Not being woken up at 5am by your dna with a milky and sugarless mug of tea, and letting you know that they’ve made breakfast for you and can’t reach to turn the tap off! Internally cringing as you drink their lovingly made tea and making sounds of ‘Mmm. Best ever’ and grumbling whilst shuffling downstairs, look at the wonderful mess they’ve made of the kitchen, turning the tap off, putting the tv on for said dna and shutting the kitchen door. After all it is your birthday and why should Mr ‘snoring his head off in bed whilst all the chaos is going on’ miss out on the fun? Climb back into bed with cold feet to the satisfaction of hearing him yelp, mumble ‘Oh it’s your birthday, couldn’t you have a lay in for a change?’ roll over and fall back to sleep.

That is an extreme example. In our family, birthdays are celebrated with presents and cards in the morning, meal of the birthday girl/boy’s choice and a trip to the cinema. Of course cake and ice cream feature in the line-up too. There have been some corkers in my home over the past twelve years, and we look forward to many more.

However be warned that when your child goes to their first birthday party make sure you get the correct present. When my eldest went to her first one, I asked the mother for suggestions about a gift. So she said Pooh. Now being me, I didn’t hear the h on the end, and went to a joke shop to buy lots (and lots) of fake poo, beautifully wrapped them and took them to the party feeling somewhat pleased with myself. The smile dropped into the ground when I noticed the amount of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia around the house. Needless to say the little girl was fairly shocked after unwrapping our gift.

So what does this year have in store? Well sensibly our anniversary presents to each other are slippers. After all, a couple in their 40s and 50s do need a comfy pair to throw at the tv when an annoying advert crops up, its also the day we go on holiday, and hubby has promised me a meal out that night (yay). As for my own birthday present from hubby. His idea of an external storage drive for my laptop is one I have asked to shelve until Christmas. So now he’s in a major grump and says I am unbuyable for…MOI? I’m easy to buy for. It’s just that I really don’t know what I need or would like this year. Books? I have loads on my TBR pile. A day off perhaps? No, I’ll get bored. Jewellery? I wear the same ones every-day. Chocolate? Nope, brings me out in spots (grr). Wine? Nope have plenty left from Christmas that hasn’t been drunk.

So yes I admit it. I am at a loss. What could darling grumpy and my children get me for my 43rd birthday? If you have any answers please leave them in the comments section and I’ll pass them onto him. If one of them is Richard Armitage for a day…then YES PLEASE! Just give me fair warning and I’ll have hubby working overtime that day.

 

Alexandra Anthony

A few things I’ve discovered about being an Author

by Alexandra Anthony

 

When I started writing professionally a little over two years ago, I’ve learned a lot. Most of it has been through trial and error…ok, maybe through a LOT of error. Each and every day has taught me a valuable lesson as I stumble through this crazy world of writing. And it can be a crazy ride.

 

I’ve found that you can’t take yourself too seriously. Correction: you can’t take yourself seriously AT ALL. I’d like to think I’m still the same person I was two years ago. I’m flawed, I make a lot of silly missteps and I still have a lot of the same self-doubts (with a few new insecurities added in for extra spice). I know I’m a work in progress and I have really good days…and I have bad ones too. But throughout it all, I never fail to learn a new lesson and the tiny errors help mold me as I keep plugging away.

 

I also learned you will never please everyone as an author. And in turn, I’ve discovered you can’t write to please your readers. Technically you can…but you’ll sacrifice your creativity and the integrity of your characters. It will also show in your writing. It becomes forced and stale. I have to write the story true to the hero and heroine. It won’t work if you don’t. I just hope my readers will enjoy the ride along with me.

 

This goes hand in hand with the above statement. You can’t force the writing process either. I have dealt with crippling bouts of writer’s block this year. It’s frustrating, but the more I push it, the worse it becomes. I find myself writing many things and working on many projects. It does help break up the block a bit…but like with anything else, it will have to work itself out on its own.

 

The most important thing I’ve learned is to never stop writing. As soon as the creative process slows down, everything falls apart. Even if I only write 200 words today, I’m still working and creating. And that’s the most important thing.

Research By Holly J Gill

All writers need to do some form of research for a novel they are about to write, whether its location, your character, jobs, or lifestyle to help make the novel more constructive and give vision to the reader. Research gives the writer teeth, gives it vital impact and makes it believable. Some research can be harder in one book and simple in another, depending on the intensity of the book or how deep you take it. I recently had to research Intensive care, although myself I have been in such a situation, being the patient, but it was more looking at the angle from the partners eyes, seeing the equipment that can be very alarming, the sounds of the machines, sounding frightening and worrying intensively about your loved one, all had to be a contributing factor. Let alone, when the patient finally, woke, that bit I could write from experience, never an easy task, but written from the heart, which can always make book even better. We as writers don’t always know everything, and it’s vital that we learn, knowledge, resource and give the valuable time to gather information in our writing time.

I myself have many different sources for gathering information to help charge my creative juices, firstly once the idea comes into my head, it’s developing that character, getting vision and locating that very person you can see in your mind, I use Pinterest, Google, Facebook, magazines. I was sat at work one shift and a service user has a daily newspaper that comes with a magazine and there was a female in there that I saw, liked the look of and was perfect for the look of the character and therefore, I asked the service user if I could have the picture, and she agreed, knowing I am a writer out of work, she felt she contributed to my novel, she did, the main character. Places I have visited, with the resources of doing a little back ground of the surrounding perimeter, although being a writer we also have the freedom to put things in place, eg, the location of the hall I used recently in my WIP, was the hall and its spectacular land, only on the farmland next to the hall was a large barn belonging to another, I moved the barn onto the halls land, we all shift things to make the book more adventurous and after all we all need that extra spice.

Other guides of research, read, read and read, and write, write and write after all we all learn from each other and develop our knowledge, it can be fun or hard, but the harder the more challenging and also can be made a better read

No matter what you are researching, happy researching!

 

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