Do Shapeshifters Celebrate Halloween?

October 31, 2009 at 12:01 am (General) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

First, I wanted to say that these wolves were actually celebrating their first Halloween at Wolf Howl Animal Preserve and this was their first pumpkin. These are sisters and the one is showing the other how to tackle the big orange thing. 🙂

But what if they are really werewolves in disguise? Sure, why not celebrate Halloween? Or any other holiday that they’d like too! Here’s a hunky wolfish guy having a little Halloween fun when not in his wolf coat.

And here’s what I’d like to be able to carve if I only had the talent!


Hope you have a wonderful Halloween! My daughter and her friends are coming over for scary movies and dinner–everyone’s bringing something so it should be lots of fun!

Doing anything special for Halloween???

PS–Did I mention Book 7 & 8 of the werewolf series sold??? Dreaming of the Wolf and Taming the Highland Wolf will be out in 2011. 🙂 I’m working currently on Plight of the Wolf, Book 6. 🙂


Terry

http://www.terryspear.com

Advertisements

Permalink 15 Comments

Visit the VampBash!

October 25, 2009 at 11:23 am (General)

Starting today, and running all week, the VampChix blog is celebrating all things fangy with a VampBash.  We’ll be featuring guest authors, a scavenger hunt to win autographed books, more prizes, and lots of fun.

Find us at: http://vampchix.blogspot.com

vampbash

Permalink Leave a Comment

Shapeshifters Do…What???

October 24, 2009 at 10:59 am (General) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

100509 blog 2First, for the great news! Book 7 and 8 just sold to Sourcebooks. More wolf tails, uhm, tales to come!

Jake’s story is Book 7, Dreaming of the Wolf, Darien’s brother in Destiny of the Wolf. And Book 8 is about a werewolf romance writer who has writer’s block. Now just think, would a hunky Highlander help unblock you???

Or…would you forget your mission? 🙂

This is a picture of Jake, by the way, before he shapeshifts. He has to remove his tag first. Doesn’t he have wolfish eyes?

Just like people, werewolves like to have hobbies. Or at least some of them do. It makes them more…human. 🙂 But like any world you build, it has to make sense, fit in somewhat with the paranormal world. Of course, you can do the opposite of what readers would expect, and that’s fun, too.

The same with occupations. What if a werewolf was a ballerina? Doesn’t seem like it quite fits. The one more nature loving and agile, but in a wolfish way. The other, delicate, but sturdy, and…well, frilly to my way of thinking. Although ballet dancers can be very seductive, in more of fae like roles. I watched a bunch of different ballet dances like that…some very sexy and primitive, the costumes, silky and earthen tones–just the kind that would suit a werewolf dancer. So I guess, any occupation could work, as long as the job still seemed to suit the shapeshifting persona of the character.

What about hobbies? A respite from the normal way a wolf would behave? Sure. Although it might be hard to visual an alpha leader type knitting baby booties. 🙂

So the question is then, what does a Highland werewolf like to do as a hobby???

Hope everyone has a super Saturday! My computer crashed and so my son is here to the rescue. 🙂

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male–with a kilted hunk to boot!”

http://www.terryspear.com

Permalink 4 Comments

When I’m Not Consorting with Werewolves

October 20, 2009 at 3:00 am (Rebecca York) (, , )

Low-Carb Pumpkin Bars
What do I do when I’m not consorting with werewolves and dragon-shifters? I play around in the kitchen.
I love spice cookies. Now that fall’s here, I’ve been indulging my yen for them by testing this recipe for yummy, low-carb pumpkin bars. The bars are also relatively low-fat. And the liquid egg substitute speeds up preparation. All you have to do is shake the carton and pour.
Low-Carb Pumpkin Bars
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
½ cup liquid egg substitute
1 cup Splenda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of salt
2 cups almond flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup raisins (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan, and set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl, combine butter, pumpkin and egg substitute. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add Splenda, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat on medium speed until incorporated.
3. With mixer running, add flours and baking powder. Mix until well combined. Turn off mixer and stir in raisins, if using.
4. With the back of a large spoon, spread mixture evenly in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Cookies will keep at room temperature, in the pan covered with plastic wrap, for two or three days.
Makes 16 squares.

What do I do when I’m not consorting with werewolves and dragon-shifters? I play around in the kitchen.

I love spice cookies. Now that fall’s here, I’ve been indulging my yen for them by testing this recipe for yummy, low-carb pumpkin bars. The bars are also relatively low-fat. And the liquid egg substitute speeds up preparation. All you have to do is shake the carton and pour.

Low-Carb Pumpkin Bars

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • ½ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan, and set aside.

2. In a mixer bowl, combine butter, pumpkin and egg substitute. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add Splenda, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Beat on medium speed until incorporated.

3. With mixer running, add flours and baking powder. Mix until well combined. Turn off mixer and stir in raisins, if using.

4. With the back of a large spoon, spread mixture evenly in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Cookies will keep at room temperature, in the pan covered with plastic wrap, for two or three days.

Makes 16 squares.

Permalink 1 Comment

Run Fast, Run Happy

October 19, 2009 at 5:00 am (General) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

LoneWolf72web

First, I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to my new book cover!  Isn’t it pretty?  Lone Wolf is the sequel to The Moon: Tigress by the Tail and will be released in December with Tease Publishing!  I can’t wait.

Once the victim of scientific experimentation by the Government Control of Supernatural Activities (GSA), Damon doesn’t have a past, and he isn’t sure he has a future. He doesn’t even know if his ability to change from human to wolf is a virus, or magick. But the instant he lays eyes on the pretty cop from the local police force, he knows he has to learn the secrets of his past before they destroy her future.

Krystal is the best animal cop on the police force, hiding magickal talent beneath layers of excuses and quick thinking. For five years she’s tracked Peter Burke, a butcher who steals any form of canine to supplement his dietary needs. The day she saves a wolf from losing his head at the sharp end of an axe, her entire life changes.And then there is Damon, the mysterious, sexy ex-soldier with no memory of his past who awakens fantasies of dark and sensual nights.

But the GSA isn’t finished with Damon, and when the shadowy government agency joins forces with Burke, Krystal too finds her life in jeopardy, the target of men and women led by their own desires. Damon and Krystal must work together to stop evil and destroy years of illegal research.

Ok, please watch this video before you go further down on this post, otherwise you’ll never come back to it. 🙂 Lisa will understand.

Next, I’d like to share my awesome news with a friend. Her name is Lisa Kristof. For the last couple of years, we have talked about the lighter side of life.  Okay, the darker side of romance novels, but thepinkribbon lighter side of life.  One thing our shifters never have to deal with is cancer. That’s not necessarily true about their human mates.

When I wrote Tigress by the Tail, our hero’s mother was dead.  She died of Cancer.  I never specified what kind of cancer, and for the rest of that story, you’ll have to read the books.  I remember one of my reviewers said how sad it was even in our fantasy worlds, the C word manages to break in and cause just as much pain there as it does in real life.  But there are reasons I chose cancer for Lance’s mother.

I met Lisa online. She was originally from New Zealand, living in Texas. She was an avid animal lover who worked for many years in canine rescue, specializing in the hard to place rottweilers. Several dogs found wonderful, loving homes because of Lisa.

Lisa was one of those rare people who developed cancer at age 32, long before the age 40 when our doctors start to at least watch for it.  So early in fact, her doctors insisted she did not have cancer, that the pain in her arm was not related to the lump in her breast.  She had to return to New Zealand for a family visit and see a doctor there in order to force the mammogram, where she was diagnosed with cancer, MONTHS after the physical symptoms. Lisa left us on May 6, 2008, after 7 years of fighting this horrible disease. She left with a strength of character that most of us can only write about in our books. She left a legacy of honor, strength, love and purity. Lisa, you shall always be missed.

October is breast cancer awareness month and I thought I’d share a video taken of Lis just before her death in 2008.  Her message:  Run Fast, Run Happy.  My message:  Don’t let youth stop you – if you find out you have a lump, please push your doctors for a more specific diagnosis. Don’t let what happened to Lisa happen to another.

Learn more about young women and cancer.

WEBMD about Younger women with breast cancer.


Lisa Kristoff, 1969-2008
Run Fast.  Run Happy

Permalink 3 Comments

Beth Caudill’s Winner!

October 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm (General, Guest Bloggers, Winners) (, , )

Congratulations to Colleen who won the prize from guest author Beth Caudill!  Please email Contests@bethcaudill.net to claim your prize!

Congrats again! And thanks to Beth for joining us and giving us such a great visit!

Permalink 2 Comments

Ready to Go Spelunking?

October 16, 2009 at 1:00 am (General) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In Destiny of the Wolf, my heroine and hero end up in a cave–seems appropriate since Silver Town is an old silver mining town, and so at a point in the story…they end up in one of them.

Have you ever been in a cave? Normally, they’re cold. Very cold. And when I’ve visited them, I’m usually dressed for warm weather, so it’s a real shock to the system. Deep in the bowels of the earth, you’d think you’d be getting closer to the hot molten rock of the center of the earth, and it would be warmer, right?

But then again, you’re farther from the sun, so it should be colder, right?

In some caves, it’s definitely colder. I visited one in Maryland, loved the shimmering quartz in the rocks, the water dripping, the stalagmites reaching to the ceiling and the stalagtites clinging to the ceiling, and in some cases, the one dripping sediments on the other until a column is formed.
But did you know that some caves deep in the bowels of the earth are actually warm? I visited one on an island in the Caribbean, the Hato Caves, made of limestone from fossilized coral within a coral reef, where the Arawak Indians left petroglyphs 1500 years ago. Long nose bats live there and it was once both a shelter for the Indians and a burial ground. No whispers of ghosts there that I heard, but maybe at night when all the tourists weren’t around? Who knows. But it’s so warm, it increases the limestone deposits and so it was really spectacular as far as all the wondrous out-of-this world-looking cave formations.
Hato Caves
When I was researching Yellowknife as a place to set Legend of the White Wolf, the gold mining caves under the earth there are also warm. There in the Canadian Arctic! Yep, the miners wore no shirts while they worked in the sauna-like conditions. And once they stopped mining, they hope to harness the geothermal energy underneath the earth to use for the city’s energy resources.
Well, in Destiny of the Wolf, compared to a blizzard, the cave Darien and Lelandi end up in feels warmer, free of the chilling wind. Everything is relative, you know. But then again, they find just the way to heat things up while they’re stuck in a cave until they can find a way out. 🙂

Did I mention I have claustrophobia?

So being jammed into small spaces, surrounded by rock walls and people behind and in front of me, with no quick way to escape really isn’t a feeling I like to experience. However…seeing the beauty of some caves is…and so, conquering my fear, I couldn’t have enjoyed seeing the wonders beneath the earth, millions of years old, and the amateur geologist in me, loving to see this for real, and not in pictures in a book, most. And the historian in me loves to visualize what it might have been for ancient peoples to have hidden in these caves for protection and shelter.

Have you visited a cave? Where and what was it like? If you haven’t, ever desire to do so?

Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha wolf.”
http://www.terryspear.com/

Permalink 6 Comments

October Update from Deborah Cooke

October 15, 2009 at 6:20 am (Deborah Cooke) (, , , , , )

What a busy month! But I’m making progress on my To Do list, one item at a time.

First up this month was the opening reception at the Toronto Public Library. I’m the writer-in-residence there for this month and next month, the first time that TPL has offered a residency focussed on the romance genre. The opening reception went really well and I had fun meeting many other authors. Later this month, there will be an online chat hosted by the library as part of their Book Buzz program – that will be on October 28th. And throughout this month and next, I’m building a blog for the library, which is a resource for aspiring writers about writing and publishing in the romance genre. You can check out the blog HERE – I’ll add a link for the online chat closer to the date.

I also just got home from the Emerald City Writers’ Conference hosted by the Greater Seattle RWA chapter, where I taught two workshops and gave the opening keynote. It was a terrific conference, attended by 250 people, and I had a great time. The bookfair was wonderful, not just for the opportunity to meet attendees but because it was open to the public.

Another exciting event this month was a complete surprise. Eloisa James gave my second fallen angel book, GUARDIAN, a great review in her column on the Barnes and Noble site, and made it the feature book for October on the reader forum. I was the guest author on October 5 there, which was a lot of fun.

Back at the home office, Niall’s book has gone into Production. That’s Dragonfire #5 and it will be out next August. I’ll tell you more about it when Delaney’s book has had its moment in the sun.

Because, yes, WINTER KISS will be on sale in just a few short weeks! You can read the excerpt and back copy HERE, an out-take scene HERE, and reviews HERE and HERE. I love this book and hope that you all enjoy it as well.

What’s next on my desk? Rafferty’s book, of course. But no spoilers on that any time soon.

I hope your October is busy and happy, and will be back to talk to you on November 3, when Delaney makes his debut in the world.

Happy reading in the meantime!
Deborah Cooke
Alive & Knitting blog

Permalink 2 Comments

Guest Author – Beth Caudill of Healer’s Fate

October 13, 2009 at 6:00 am (General)

Corliss Rumdone hides behind her status as Healer to avoid the normal wolf pack hierarchal challenges. A forced mating changes the course of her life. Instead of Raymond, the beta wolf selected for her, she mates with Liam—her best friend and heir to the Alpha pair.

Liam whisks them away to a shifter retreat so they can allow the mating bond to settle in private. But interference from those seeking power and two terminal children arouse past hurts and challenge their new relationship. Even their home is not the haven it should be as Liam must watch Corliss fight for the right to stay his mate. For one healer, death becomes a weapon to balance life.

———-

Hi Everyone!  And join me in welcoming back Beth Caudill, author of Healer’s Fate and Dragon’s Mate, as well as several other short stories.  Welcome Beth!

Beth Caudill resides in North Carolina with her husband and two children. Her home is lined with bookcases and filled with books. Although she does not claim the computer manuals, those belong to her husband. In her life prior to becoming a stay-at-home-mom, she worked as a technical support analyst and quality assurance software tester. Now she plays chauffeur and cook for her family and fits in writing when she can.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America, her local chapter Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal online chapter. You can find out more about Beth and her stories at http://www.bethcaudill.net/.

Thanks so much, and it’s great to be back here!

Today we’re going to ask a little bit about your past, so I hope you’re ready!  Tell us who helped develop your love of books?

I would have to say my Great-Aunt Martha. She was the quintessential eccentric gray-haired little old lady. She taught English and bookcases filled with books, records and knickknacks littered every room of her small house.  The only clear spot was the dining room table set for us to eat dinner. I felt very grown up when I became taller than her. Every Christmas and birthday she would give me two Nancy Drew books.  I loved getting them. When I became a teenager, I got books on Shakespeare’s plays and the complete poems and short stories of Edgar Allen Poe.  I still cherish that Poe book.

I know I still remember my Nancy Drew Books.  They were great for instilling a strong woman at a time when women were thought of as week. Those were great books to start with.  I know in schools, literature is assigned rather than chosen. Sometimes the books were hard to get through and sometimes they were the best of the best.  So how did you get through School with your love of books still intact?

I made the system work for me. When we had to pick classical stories, I read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Three Musketeers.  While my teachers tried to talk me into shorter stories, I only wanted to read these (Thanks to my dad, I’d seen some of the old movies and knew I’d probably like the stories). And I managed to finish my hundreds of paged books before kids that had those shorter paged books.  In high school and college, I used examples from Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Anne McCaffrey to write papers.

There were assignments I didn’t like.  I never understood James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  I read it, didn’t like but that never stopped me from reading the stuff I did like. And maybe I was lucky because I enjoyed the Shakespearean Tragedies and Comedies and those were the plays we studied the most.

LOL I’m not far behind you there.  I remember reading certain shall remain classics which bored me to tears, so like you, I delved into Romance or Science Fiction to write reports.  Paranormal didn’t exist outside of horror at the time.

So what drove you to become an author?  Everyone loves a good story, it’s true, but it takes a special talent and bravery to step up to the plate and let people see what you write.

Becoming a stay-at-home-mom.   After a year or so of interacting with my son, I needed some ‘adult’ time.  I was ahead of the curve in my circle of friends. Most of them had their first child within a year of the birth of my second.  So there weren’t any play dates with son #1.  And my husband would come home from work and play with my son and then fall asleep.  I didn’t have a lot of interactions with someone who wasn’t three.

I’d always dreamed of stories…placing myself on Pern or Valdemar…distance places that was not real life.  So when I started looking into a business I could run from the house….it was something to try out.

Now for the all encompassing, every author gets asked it question, where do you get your ideas?

My mother-in-law recently asked me this, with the qualifier and don’t say everywhere. And I tried to explain that everywhere and everything is the answer. Writer’s watch the world and only the tiniest detail can spark a scene or story. A song on the radio, a famous line from a poem or the teenager texting on her mobile phone while standing in line popping chewing gum. Even dreams can lead a writer to put words on the page.

Some people can string notes together and make a song, others can slap paint on canvas and create something beautiful. Writer’s take the things around them and create imaginary people and places. I don’t know how else to explain how a song like “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas would give me the scene of a gargoyle atop a church, a swirl of wind taking the crumbling stone away as the creature awakens to the night.

Now that leads right into my next question:  Why paranormal?  Though I think I already see the way your mind works.

I can’t really say it was a conscious choice.  Growing up, I read Fantasy, Sci-fi, and a bit of Horror and Mystery.  I always made up worlds…very rarely did a story take place on Earth. Even when I started reading Romance I stuck to the Regency Historicals or Fantasy, Sci-fi and Paranormal stories.  I think I ‘choose’ Paranormal because it didn’t require a lot of thought on my part. While there is some research involved…the stories flow for me.  Writing a Regency historical seems hard because Fashion is not something I worry about in RL.  I have plenty of research books just in case I want to write one…but I have so many paranormal or fantasy ideas lined up, it could be years before I branch out.

With the holidays coming up, I’ll probably be seeing you at our christmas party!  So I have to ask, What’s your favorite dessert?

Aside from chocolate (who doesn’t like it – besides my husband), I love pecan (pronounced pee-kahn) pie. I’ve learned to tolerate cheesecake because my husband doesn’t like sweets.  I love baked goods but my waistline doesn’t need all the calories.  So in order to satisfy my cravings and make something he will help eat, I make cheesecakes.

And now, Tell us the important part – all about your new release.

My novella Healer’s Fate just released this month from Whispers Publishing.  I brought on a little excerpt to tease everyone with.  You can read it below.

That sounds amazing, Beth.  I’ll be buying my copy later today.  And for those who are also interested, You can buy yours too!

Now one last thing before we head down to the excerpt.  One person who comments on Beth’s awesome story will win a prize.  And a special prize it is too!  Beth is giving away one Red Jasper pendant (I love red jasper).   Why you ask?  Because Red Jasper plays a role in Healer’s Fate!

Excerpt from Healer’s Fate:

“Enough of this,” Corliss thought. The bastard was thirty minutes late and she grew tired of waiting on him. He could explain to the Alphas why the ceremony hadn’t taken place. Time to move on. Something she should have done a few years ago.

She’d stayed, hoping for a miracle that wasn’t going to come. There were other packs. Maybe she’d find one where she would be appreciated and happy.

As she turned to take the first step back to the forest’s edge, a howl reverberated across the open field. “Damn, too late,” she mumbled under her breath. The series of howls signaled the arrival of the groom. A ritualistic send-off of the male to his mate. She watched as the phalanx of males proceeded across the clearing.

A gasp escaped her as she glimpsed Liam in the honorary middle position. For a moment, she let herself imagine he would become her mate.

Quiet descended as those remaining pack members realized a change had been made. For once, she was thankful for Mollie’s attitude and that the woman left after five minutes of waiting.

With Liam’s and Raymond’s parents called away, no one could stop whatever happened next.

Liam’s black, short-trimmed hair blended into the shadowed forest backdrop. He never let it growlong like the other males in the pack. He’d once told her it kept the females from petting him every time he walked through the village. Shadows hid his eyes but she knew they were green. A deep, piercing shade she loved to look into.

She smiled at the picture he presented wearing the forest green bowtie, no shirt, and an overly tight tuxedo coat. He appeared very masculine in the ill-fitting attire. The tightness of the coat outlined his well-defined muscles and moonlight glittered off the strip of fur on his chest—the proclamation of his status as an Alpha. A reminder of how close to the surface his wolf resided.

She’d dreamed of running her fingers through the fur, wondering if it was soft or coarse. Of discovering how far down his body the fur grew. But she never dared take the chance, afraid of stepping too far above her rank and angering his parents. Of losing his friendship, the only thing that made staying in the pack tolerable.

He took her hand, and warmth traveled up her arm and into her body from the contact. A shiver traveled along her spine as his eyes met hers.

Something primal moved within their depths. For the first time, she wished shifters possessed telepathic abilities. She wanted to know what his thoughts were and, almost as important, why he was here?

So leave your comment, tell us what you think of Beth’s previous books, what you think about this one, or what you can’t wait for in Beth’s future work!

Permalink 22 Comments

WHAT COMES FIRST, PLOT OR CHARACTER?

October 12, 2009 at 4:00 am (Rebecca York) (, , , , , , )

MM cover.indd

WHAT COMES FIRST, PLOT OR CHARACTER.
What comes first?  Plot or character?  For me, they’ve got to develop together.  My characters must serve my plot, and my plot must work with my characters.  I could think of a great story about a guy who’s living alone in a mountain cabin and is visited by space aliens, but what’s he doing in that cabin?  Why is he alone?  How is he going to deal with lizard-like creatures knocking on his door?  And the larger question–is the reader going to believe his reactions?
One lesson I learned about my stories.  They’re not reality.  It’s a world I create.  But I’ve got to make it look, sound, feel, taste and smell real to the reader.  The way to do that is by paying attention to every detail from characters and plot to setting and  dialogue.  Yet some details are more important than others.  I’m sure you’ve had the experience of picking up a book and starting to read–then giving up after a few pages or a few chapters.  Why?  Probably because you didn’t like the plot or you couldn’t connect with the characters.
I absorbed a lot about writing techniques through my love of reading.  In my teens, one of my favorite authors was Sinclair Lewis.  He was brilliant at character sketches.  In just a sentence or two, he could get inside the personality of a small town mayor or the head of a major corporation.  But he was much less adept  with plot.  His stories moved slowly, and eventually I stopped reading him.
Contrast that with the action-packed movies being produced today.  They serve up chases, explosions and world-crushing meteors, bombarding the screen one after the other.  But mostly they don’t interest me unless they focus on compelling characters as well. And they justify the action with logic.
I’ve learned my craft from reading authors I admire, by studying movie techniques, and by figuring out what works or falls flat.  Then I go back to my own stories.   Every book I write begins with what I’d call a “cool idea.”
Take my October Berkley release, DRAGON MOON.  What if a frightening dragon-shifter monster from my parallel universe planned to invade our world?  What if he sent a spy here–and she had to figure out how to free herself from his hold on her?
I always plan to start with a gripping first scene that will plunge the reader into the action.  In DRAGON MOON, Vandar, my dragon-shifter monster, flies over his domain, lands and gathers his slaves so he can execute one of them by drinking his blood.  Then he thinks about his current project–invading our world and how he’s going to accomplish it.
He focuses on Kenna, a woman with telekinetic powers.  She’s a slave–but  I don’t want her to be too cowed.  So I decided she’s only been in captivity for the past few months.
Since I’m writing romantic suspense, Kenna will develop a relationship with a man she comes to love.  And because I’m writing a werewolf series, it’s going to be another one of my Marshall men.  Talon Marshall.   I want him in an isolated location, so I have him leading wilderness expeditions–and living at a former hunting lodge in the woods.
Kenna stumbles into our world and immediately gets into trouble when a fallen tree traps her during a thunderstorm.  Talon rescues her, and they’re quickly attracted to each other.  She wants to tell him why she’s in our world, but Vandar has made it impossible to speak of her mission.  When she tries, terrible pains in her head incapacitate her.  So I’ve trapped my characters in what looks like an impossible situation.
I always try to outline my story in advance, because I want to understand where it’s going.  If you don’t know what goal you’re working toward, how can you know how each scene will advance the plot?  But there are always details to discover along the way.  How exactly are Talon and Kenna going to defeat Vandar?  They can’t do it on their own.
They’re going to need the other Marshall werewolves and their mates.  But even with the Marshalls working together, they’re not strong enough to go up against Vandar.  They need someone with powers that equal the dragon- shifters–and he’s the surprise character I throw into the mix.
Because I write romantic suspense, the romance relationship develops as Talon and Kenna are struggling with the danger hanging over them.  Talon’s afraid he’s bonding with a woman he can’t trust.  He knows she’s hiding a secret, and he’s upset that she doesn’t trust him enough reveal it to him.
To give my stories extra punch, I often try to weave more than one threat through the plot.  In this case, as the book starts, Talon has discovered a buried trunk full of stolen money and turned it in to the police.  The bank robber, Mitch Sutton, who stole the money, knows Talon turned it in and wants to get even.  And while Talon is off leading a wilderness expedition, Sutton almost kills Kenna.
The two threats come together when Sutton follows the Marshalls into my parallel universe as they get ready to battle Vandar and his forces.
As the book progresses, plot and character continue to work together.  Kenna and Talon face an escalating series of high-stakes perils, but in every case their reactions to each other and to these threats are the most important factor in every scene.
I try to create the perfect people for my plot, but the characters don’t come fully alive for me until I start writing the book.  It takes me about three chapters to get into their heads deeply enough to know how they will react in each situation they face.  As I write, I may go back and fill in more about their character so the reader can understand them better.  Still, I try never to overload any one part of the story with too much background.  To my way of thinking, “character development” can never be the only reason for a scene.  Each scene has to move the plot forward toward an ending that will satisfy me and the reader.
How do you feel about plot and character?  Do they function together for you?  Or is one more important than the other?

What comes first?  Plot or character?  For me, they’ve got to develop together.  My characters must serve my plot, and my plot must work with my characters.  I could think of a great story about a guy who’s living alone in a mountain cabin and is visited by space aliens, but what’s he doing in that cabin?  Why is he alone?  How is he going to deal with lizard-like creatures knocking on his door?  And the larger question–is the reader going to believe his reactions?

One lesson I learned about my stories.  They’re not reality.  It’s a world I create.  But I’ve got to make it look, sound, feel, taste and smell real to the reader.  The way to do that is by paying attention to every detail from characters and plot to setting and  dialogue.  Yet some details are more important than others.  I’m sure you’ve had the experience of picking up a book and starting to read–then giving up after a few pages or a few chapters.  Why?  Probably because you didn’t like the plot or you couldn’t connect with the characters.

I absorbed a lot about writing techniques through my love of reading.  In my teens, one of my favorite authors was Sinclair Lewis.  He was brilliant at character sketches.  In just a sentence or two, he could get inside the personality of a small town mayor or the head of a major corporation.  But he was much less adept  with plot.  His stories moved slowly, and eventually I stopped reading him.

Contrast that with the action-packed movies being produced today.  They serve up chases, explosions and world-crushing meteors, bombarding the screen one after the other.  But mostly they don’t interest me unless they focus on compelling characters as well. And they justify the action with logic.

I’ve learned my craft from reading authors I admire, by studying movie techniques, and by figuring out what works or falls flat.  Then I go back to my own stories.   Every book I write begins with what I’d call a “cool idea.”

Take my October Berkley release, DRAGON MOON.  What if a frightening dragon-shifter monster from my parallel universe planned to invade our world?  What if he sent a spy here–and she had to figure out how to free herself from his hold on her?

I always plan to start with a gripping first scene that will plunge the reader into the action.  In DRAGON MOON, Vandar, my dragon-shifter monster, flies over his domain, lands and gathers his slaves so he can execute one of them by drinking his blood.  Then he thinks about his current project–invading our world and how he’s going to accomplish it.

He focuses on Kenna, a woman with telekinetic powers.  She’s a slave–but  I don’t want her to be too cowed.  So I decided she’s only been in captivity for the past few months.

Since I’m writing romantic suspense, Kenna will develop a relationship with a man she comes to love.  And because I’m writing a werewolf series, it’s going to be another one of my Marshall men.  Talon Marshall.   I want him in an isolated location, so I have him leading wilderness expeditions–and living at a former hunting lodge in the woods.

Kenna stumbles into our world and immediately gets into trouble when a fallen tree traps her during a thunderstorm.  Talon rescues her, and they’re quickly attracted to each other.  She wants to tell him why she’s in our world, but Vandar has made it impossible to speak of her mission.  When she tries, terrible pains in her head incapacitate her.  So I’ve trapped my characters in what looks like an impossible situation.

I always try to outline my story in advance, because I want to understand where it’s going.  If you don’t know what goal you’re working toward, how can you know how each scene will advance the plot?  But there are always details to discover along the way.  How exactly are Talon and Kenna going to defeat Vandar?  They can’t do it on their own.

They’re going to need the other Marshall werewolves and their mates.  But even with the Marshalls working together, they’re not strong enough to go up against Vandar.  They need someone with powers that equal the dragon- shifters–and he’s the surprise character I throw into the mix.

Because I write romantic suspense, the romance relationship develops as Talon and Kenna are struggling with the danger hanging over them.  Talon’s afraid he’s bonding with a woman he can’t trust.  He knows she’s hiding a secret, and he’s upset that she doesn’t trust him enough reveal it to him.

To give my stories extra punch, I often try to weave more than one threat through the plot.  In this case, as the book starts, Talon has discovered a buried trunk full of stolen money and turned it in to the police.  The bank robber, Mitch Sutton, who stole the money, knows Talon turned it in and wants to get even.  And while Talon is off leading a wilderness expedition, Sutton almost kills Kenna.

The two threats come together when Sutton follows the Marshalls into my parallel universe as they get ready to battle Vandar and his forces.

As the book progresses, plot and character continue to work together.  Kenna and Talon face an escalating series of high-stakes perils, but in every case their reactions to each other and to these threats are the most important factor in every scene.

I try to create the perfect people for my plot, but the characters don’t come fully alive for me until I start writing the book.  It takes me about three chapters to get into their heads deeply enough to know how they will react in each situation they face.  As I write, I may go back and fill in more about their character so the reader can understand them better.  Still, I try never to overload any one part of the story with too much background.  To my way of thinking, “character development” can never be the only reason for a scene.  Each scene has to move the plot forward toward an ending that will satisfy me and the reader.

How do you feel about plot and character?  Do they function together for you?  Or is one more important than the other?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »