I should be better at planning stories. I teach plotting. I definitely know how to do it. But for some weird reason, when I sit down to plot out stories in a series, I falter.
Maybe it’s because I’m learning who my story peeps are as I write them. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid if I plot too well, I’ll lose that feeling of discovery, those breathless surprised moments I get as I write. I love for a story to reveal itself as I move through my characters’ lives. And I hate, hate, hate being trapped inside a story that bores me.
Do you like the graphic I made? Do you like that catch phrase—“Authentic Men, Real Adventure”?
I know that was jarring, but my mind hops like that. I played in Canva today, making that picture at the top. What was I saying?
Well, at least I know what the next book will be about, or at least WHO it will be about. I have a name. I found a piece of art I though portrayed him well, and my sis made me a cover. Often, that’s all I’ve got when I start writing. I’ll get to know Cochise (Do you like that name?) as I write him, and then I’ll figure out what story he has to tell. I also have a cover and a name for the next story, Hook, but no clue where to start. Hopefully, Cochise will meet him along the way…
Anyway, I wanted to share the pretty meme, and remind you that there are three stories already out there for you to enjoy. If you have any ideas for future adventures for my bad boy alpha guys, share. I could use a couple of jumping off points… 🙂
Just as I began writing my urban fantasy novel, How the Vortex Changed My Life, I had the challenge of writing a character who doesn’t speak. At least, not in English, nor any human speech. He uses sounds like a cat’s meow or a horn blasting to communicate. I named him “Larry.” I was worried that I wouldn’t do a good job on him. I told myself not to worry, he was just a secondary character. This novel was my heroine, Cat’s, story. The novel grew into more than a story about Cat growing strong while facing the apocalypse. She learned that having good friends to stop it proved invaluable. Of course, one of them happened to be Larry. Larry who decided he would not be cannon fodder, or forgettable.
Larry found his voice, or should I say, his sounds, in this novel. My critique groups and beta readers liked Larry. The little demon, shaped like an eyeball that was the size of a standard poodle, had dug his way into readers’ hearts, and in mine. He proved to be a hero, too, demon or not. Secondary character or not, I knew he had to be on the cover, at Cat’s side, as he deserved it. It makes me think of other books I’ve written over the years, where a secondary character develops a personality that people remember as much as the main character’s. I write paranormal romance under a pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, and have a sequel, A Familiar Tangle With Hell, to an erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch. There is a demonic being in it, who looks like a white bunny with a fluffy tail, named “Fluffy.” He developed his own personality in the storyline. He possessed me to write him, the same as Larry did later. Demons with a heart of gold.
There are many books over the years we’ve all read where a secondary character has grabbed the reader’s heart. Sometimes this character isn’t always a good person, like Gollum in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Sometimes, he/she is the comedy relief. Other times, he/she is brave and loyal. This person/animal/creature can be anything. Like Batman’s Robin, Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson, and William Crawley’s Mr. Carson who are the assistant or companion. Other secondary characters are the foil, the roadblock, and of course, the antagonist. A secondary character must have an individual purpose for being in your story. All of them have a common purpose, to help move the story forward in interest-grabbing ways. A secondary character cannot become so prominent that he or she competes with the main character for the reader’s attention and concern. A secondary character who doesn’t flow naturally in the story should always be avoided.
Still, a secondary character, who is interesting, can eventually, in future books, become a major character. It just works out that way.
Pamela K. Kinney
Journey to worlds of fantasy, beyond the stars, and into the vortex of terror with the written word of Pamela K. Kinney.
Cat Viggolone just can’t get a break. She’d gotten married, but that ended when the husband left her for his younger secretary. She’d wanted children. That flew out the window along with the cheating husband. There’s the career, but working a window at the Virginia DMV can’t really be classified as a great career choice. At thirty-three, her life had become positively dull.
Then the vortex opened. Sucked up into a corridor just outside of Hell, she meets Connor, a werewolf, and Larry, a demon that looks like a blue-eyed eyeball. They escape back to earth, only to find that the vortex has opened up in downtown Richmond. The town is going to hell, literally. Besides a grayness seeping out and turning all living things into zombies, monsters and demons are invading Cat’s world. Will Cat and her new friends (including an angel named George) be able to stop the vortex before it claims the entire planet?
Cat’s life is definitely no longer humdrum and ordinary.
Connor and I arrived at some stone steps. We clattered up them and into the Richmond Public Library. After we stepped into the foyer and passed the circulation desk we looked around, unsure of where to go. I saw a room to the left of us, pointed at it, and we slipped inside. Rows and rows of books in shelves lined the area like soldiers marching behind each other. A portly man in khaki pants, white shirt, and a blue, flowered tie sat behind a desk. He looked up and smiled.
“Can I be of assistance?” His smile faltered as he stared past me.
He’s seen Larry. This won’t be good.
He stood, his forehead wrinkling. “That’s pretty life like. What is it? A balloon? I can’t see any string attached to it.”
Deciding not to beat around the bush, I blurted, “He’s not a balloon. He’s an eyeball—actually, he’s a demon.”
The man said, “Are you trying to say that whatever it is, is alive?”
“Kinda. I guess demons are sort of alive.”
The librarian walked over to us and poked at Larry. Larry didn’t like it and started that weird bleating noise he could make and bumped against the man. He bumped him so hard, he almost knocked the librarian over. The man managed to stay on his feet, and took a couple of steps back as he wiped the finger on his pants as if Larry had given him cooties.
Connor grabbed the librarian by the same finger and squeezed hard. The man cried out.
Connor let go. “Larry doesn’t like people poking at him.” He glared. “It’s rude. Besides, how would you like it if I poked at you?” Connor proceeded to do just that.
The librarian stumbled back. “Okay, okay. But what is that thing? The lady called it a demon, but demons aren’t real. Right?”
Connor snorted. “That thing is a demon like the lady said and if it wasn’t for him, I’d been dead within hours after I got trapped in Hell.” Larry bumped against Connor and made another noise I never heard before, like a cat’s purr. “I find Larry is a lot more ‘human’ than you humans are.”
“Well, you look as human as the rest of us,” said the librarian with a snotty attitude, “and that eye beastie definitely doesn’t.” He narrowed his eyes. “This library is for humans only. I mean, non-human things can’t get a library card issued to them.” He saw Connor give him a glowering look and inched away. “Well, I’m pretty sure that’s the rules.”
I spoke up. “We’re not here to borrow a book.” I snuck a look at the front entrance. “We needed a place to hide in. You see, a monster is after us. A very big monster. And there are others outside like it and Larry here. A vortex opened not far from here and downtown Richmond is turning gray and I don’t mean Confederate gray either. Richmond’s new address is now a part of the Hell dimension. The whole world is doomed. And I don’t think it really matters whether Larry can be issued a library card, or what species can use this library.”
The librarian’s mouth opened and shut in shock, his eyes bulging and looking like tennis balls. He sputtered, “You’re nuts.” He cut a glance at Larry who hovered closer to him. “I think you guys are pulling something on me. That thing has got to be fake.”
I grabbed him by his ugly tie. “Look, Hell is taking over Richmond, and soon, Virginia, not long after, the U.S., and from there, maybe the world. So, get over it. Larry is not fake. He’s a demon, plain and simple, but maybe you can’t comprehend it. I know I couldn’t at first. That means no more people checking out books, no more Christmas, cute fluffy kittens, no more anything good and right for humankind. Just demons, Hell, and the end of life as we know it.”
Find How the Vortex Changed My Life at AMAZON in both print and Kindle and at BarnesandNoble.com in print only.
About the Author
Pamela K. Kinney gave up long ago trying not to listen to the voices in her head and has written bestselling horror, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction ghost books ever since. Three of her nonfiction ghost books garnered Library of Virginia nominations. Her horror short story, “Bottled Spirits,” was runner up for the 2013 WSFA Small Press Award and is considered one of the seven best genre short fiction for that year. She also writes under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, for erotic and regular paranormal romance. Her erotic urban fantasy, ‘Being Familiar with a Witch’ won the 2013 Prism awarded by the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers of America. Discover more about Sapphire at SapphirePhelan.com. Pamela and her husband live with one crazy black cat. Along with writing, Pamela has acted onstage and film, does paranormal investigations for Paranormal World Seekers for AVA Productions, and is a member of Horror Writers Association and Virginia Writers Club.
I want to start by thanking Delilah for letting me come hang out here with you all today. She’s always very gracious about sharing her space, and that’s something I admire.
So, setting the mood… For a party, for a date, for a story, for romance. It’s a pretty important thing for all kinds of reasons—you don’t want the fun, happy party you’ve planned for your toddler to dissolve into the shrieks of a dozen kids when the clown you hired is too scary, right?—but in a romance novel, setting the mood can mean different things.
What sort of mood would you expect for a sweet romance? Light, not too complicated, still romantic, but nothing extreme, right?
What about romantic suspense? Generally, I would think darker, lots of tension in all situations, romantic and otherwise. Though I will say I like some lighter moments even in those sorts of stories, too. Too much non-stop tension isn’t good for reader or characters, is it?
Paranormal? One of the reasons I like those so much is they can be any mood, any tone, depending on the story. Like them dark? Plenty of choices. Lighter? Lots of those, too.
One of my favorite authors for setting the mood is not even a romance writer, but Stephen King does it so well, drawing a reader into his characters’ stories and making them feel every bit of fear they’re feeling, setting the mood so when the character is sure the monster is about to jump out at them, you feel it, too, then feel the rush of relief when it turns out not to be the monster (yet!) but just a dog or someone innocuous. I think Gerald’s Game is fantastic for that—when that book came out, my mother-in-law started reading it, but didn’t get very far, because she was too afraid, so she handed it off to me without even finishing the book. It scared me, too, and I loved every page of it.
But romance writers do it every bit as well, setting the mood for their stories, the right tone to pull readers in to meet the characters and want to know more, to have to know more. Plus we get to set the mood for other things, like falling in love, like a heroine having her heart broken to bits when it seems the romance really can’t work out. If we’re doing it right, we’re right there with them when we’re writing, the way we hope readers will be when they get their hands on our stories—appalled when one of the characters does something awkward or stupid, perhaps changing our minds about a character we were afraid couldn’t be redeemed, and most especially feeling the emotion when our characters are falling in love.
We know it isn’t supposed to be easy for them. In fact, we try very hard to make it as difficult as we can for them to get to that happy ending. But we want them to get there, so we give them the opportunity to have little moments that help them not give up, to make them want to keep fighting whatever foe they have so they can live happily ever after. Sometimes getting the mood right is easy, but sometimes it’s really hard, and the characters don’t want to cooperate—“What? You want me to fight with John? Well, I don’t want to fight. I want to step back and get some ice cream.”
For me, a good soundtrack helps with getting the mood right, but not always. Right now, I’m trying to figure out the songs that will work best to put me in the right frame of mind for the story. Plenty of good songs for a fight, so many romantic songs to sway the mind into the proper mood.
I’d like to know how you get into the right mood for your ‘story’, whether it’s household chores, or a date with your S.O. Is it music? It is a scent? Is it a piece of clothing? What can you count on to change your mood when you need to? I have a paperback copy of Hunting Medusa to give away, so everyone who comments will get their name entered into a drawing via RandomResult.com My thanks again to Delilah for letting me come and play here again.
About the Author
Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read. She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart. As an adult, her book habit continues. She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms. Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own. Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels. Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.
Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and-though she loves horror- romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression. There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.
Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of more than twenty years. When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.
The Medusa Trilogy, Book 1
When Kallan Tassos tracks down the current Medusa, he expects to find a monster. Instead he finds a wary, beautiful woman, shielded by a complicated web of spells that foils his plans for a quick kill and retrieval of her protective amulet.
Andrea Rosakis expects the handsome Harvester to go for the kill. Instead, his attempt to take the amulet imprinted on her skin without harming her takes her completely by surprise. And ends with the two of them in a magical bind—together. But Kallan isn’t the only Harvester on Andi’s trail…
Andi couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong. She’d worked into the night after the vacuum salesman’s appearance, until she couldn’t see straight to continue with her beading. Then she’d sunk into the bubble bath long enough to be nearly asleep. Today, she’d repeated everything but the bubble bath. Plus she’d driven into town to ship the big order she’d finished early.
Now she sat in the dark beside the front window, watching the forest. Waiting. Trying to convince herself nothing was coming. No one.
When the phone rang, she jumped about two feet in the air, barely keeping in a shriek. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath, forcing herself to laugh weakly as she picked up the receiver. “Hello, Aunt Lydia.” She didn’t need caller I.D. to know when one of her cousins or aunts was on the phone.
“I didn’t mean to startle you, my dear,” came the quavering voice. “I just wanted to touch base with you. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”
Her slightly psychic great-aunt must have spoken to Andi’s mother. “I know. I’ve been busy working.” She thought of the small stack of boxed beaded bracelets sitting on her desk upstairs for another customer whose order wasn’t even due for a month and a half. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve always been a huge fan of strong female characters. Buffy, Wonder Woman, Selene, Hermione, Ripley, and many more, have all been key inspirations for not only my writing but also, in a lot of ways, the essence of who I am.
What would Hermione Granger do? Is, in my opinion, a morally sound way to make a lot of decisions. And yes, I fantasize about having the same super strength or fighting skills as Selene, and I would totally step into Buffy’s shoes if a Watcher came to find me.
Vigilante justice is also something that really intrigues me. Partly, because I like the idea of a hero who is not bound by the laws and restrictions of conventional society, and partly, because I know what a slippery slope that can be. There’s very little black and white when you’re writing vigilante stories, because the character’s motivations and actions go against the very essence of our societal structure and yet their motivations are usually honorable or, at least, for a pretty good reason. That, to me, allows for more complex characters and world building. And being a rebel at heart (and sometimes in action), that kind of character greatly appeals to me.
Which is why I wrote Burning Kiss. Jade is a complex character. She’s not all sugar and spice, she’s also raw, hot anger, and she has an agenda that she feels is justified and a motivation that is not only about revenge but also about penance. It’s not a love story, like most of my romances to date, but it is a story, when you get right down to it, that is all about love and what love can drive you to do.
About Burning Kiss
Rehabilitation doesn’t work. Prison therapist, Jade Harris, learns this firsthand, after one of her paroled patients came looking for her, only to find her best friend instead. Driven by rage, Jade sets out to hunt down potential predators, baiting them into attacking her, and then ensuring they’ll never rape again.
Fighting the lure of her own demons, Jade finds herself sucked into a gruesome murder investigation that drags her back to the grounds of her old university. There’s a man hunting women on campus the police have no real leads, but Jade doesn’t have to play by the rules. And she knows just how to entice a predator.
Trapped in a triangle of toxic lust, driven by her need for retribution, Jade will risk not only her life, but the obliteration of her sanity, in her quest to take back the night.
WARNING: Jade is ruthless and daring. She will make you squirm. She will make you doubt. Whether you trust her or not is up to you, but she’s going to make you question everything you think you know about justice. Contains explicit adult content, graphic depictions of rape and other violent crimes, psychological mind games, and vigilante justice.
Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations. She believes that the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios and has recently started down a dark path to disturbing thrillers and erotic horror.
Her Order of the Wolf series, featuring kick ass Amazon warriors and their mates, and her Dark War series, set in a world of witchcraft and war, are available from Entangled Publishing.
She is an avid tattoo collector, a total book hoarder, and loves anything covered in chocolate…except for bugs.
She lives in Ontario, Canada in an old, creaky house, with her husband, children, two cats and a couple weird guinea pigs.
Dagger releases next week, and wouldn’t you know I’m running up to the last possible moment to get it finished and uploaded into KDP! Wish me luck! I’ll be writing my little fingers off today! Family obligations, which I’ve talked about here, put me way behind my schedule on EVERYTHING, so I’m scrambling, working long hours, and hoping I don’t let anyone down. In the meantime, I thought I’d share the opening “meet-cute” between my hero and heroine in the latest installment of my Montana Bounty Hunters series. Hope you enjoy! And there’s a contest—a bribe to make sure you read to the end! Want to win an Amazon gift card? Be sure to read on… 🙂
Daniel “Dagger” Renfrew had been a lot of things—an Army Ranger, until he’d mouthed off one too many times to his CO and decided mustering out was better for his long-term aspirations than spending time in Leavenworth; a Seattle beat cop, until he’d gotten bored spending his nights sitting in a squad car in front of corner gas stations; a PI, until he’d informed the wife of the man who’d hired him that hubby was looking for the goods to violate their pre-nup, so she better sue for divorce first; and now, a bounty hunter, which, so far, suited his ADD proclivities. And, in his job, he didn’t look for the easy takedowns. He liked lying in mud or snow with his binoculars trained on a window, hoping for a glimpse of the dirtbag whose mugshot he carried in his hip pocket. If they were badasses—all the better. Dagger preferred when assholes tried to run, because then he’d have an excuse to mix it up, get physical, and blow off steam in an all-out brawl—when the situation warranted, of course.
However, he hadn’t had a job like that in a while. So, in his off-hours, he looked for cheap thrills—sweet-talking easy women out of their clothes or taking repo jobs from the local car dealership.
This morning, he was “reacquiring” a 2014 silver Nissan Altima with a fluffy steering wheel and pom-poms hanging from the rear-view mirror. Read the rest of this entry »