5 Tips for Character Development

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5 Tips for Character Development

As writers we are fascinated with people. Why? Our characters reflect real people. As such, they must act in realistic ways. We can’t have them do things that are “out of character.” We can dig deep inside ourselves and our experiences to create the people who fill our books or we can use other methods. After a while–book two or three, we may find that our own resources–the people we know– may run dry. Here are some tips for learning more about people in order to develop believable characters:

Tip #1: Observe everyone around you

When you see a parent and child interacting in the grocery store, don’t turn away. Lurk, listen and learn. The language the parent uses, the way the child responds are fodder for your characters. Wherever we go, we encounter people. Observe and learn from those observations.

Tip #2: Ask the experts

I am fortunate because I live with a psychiatrist. He carries a wealth of information in his head, and he has access to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Most of the characters in my books are “normal,” but it’s fun to give them a few quirks. Maybe one is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Another may be a bit narcissistic. These kinds of flaws give your characters depth and dimension.

Tip #3: Pay attention to the character when they want to do something

Often our subconscious will direct the character’s behavior. When we push against our subconscious, we are imposing what we’d do in a given situation–not what the character might do.

Tip #4: When you get to the editing phase of your book, always ask, “Does this behavior make sense for this character?”

 If a character is timid to the point of extreme shyness, would that character speak up in a dangerous situation? Put yourself in the shoes of your characters and see how the action feels.

Tip #5: Let your Beta readers help you

Often we are too close to our work and our characters. Even when we’ve struggled to make our characters believable, as soon as reader says, “I don’t believe Hank would do or say this,” pay attention. These readers are simply reading, absorbing. They are in a different place mentally than we are. Sometimes they can see the most important things that we miss.
MURDERMOONSHINE_LARGEWhen Jenna decides to go to this wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts and she expects to see people from her past, but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body.

Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer.

Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.

 Amazon / Nook

Buy any one of Joan’s books this week and get a second
book of your choice free. For the deal they have to purchase
 from this link: MuseIt Publishing

CURTISDEAL

Pick up Book 1

e-Murderer copyOn this anything but typical Monday morning Jenna Scali, who works part-time for a shrink, opens an email that depicts the brutal death of a young girl. On that same day the police uncover a dead coed two blocks from Jenna’s house. The e-murderer’s description creepily echos the death described in the newspapers.

When Jenna receives other emails, she takes what she knows to the police and thus begins her journey in the path of the e-murderer. Her curious nature impels her from e-messages to dead coeds to a ring of prostitutes. With the help of her quirky friends, Jenna learns that she’s more than a conduit for the killer. She’s his target. New secrets unfold, and finally her love life takes a tumble when the true killer emerges.

THE E-MURDERER is a race to find a psychotic killer before he kills again.

This new mystery series with a young female sleuth promises to keep you glued to your seat until the last page.

Buy on Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo Books / MuseItUp Publishing

Watch the Book Trailer for e-Murder


Joan is an award-winning writer who has published 6 books and numerous stories. Readers compare her to the great Southern writer, Fanny Flagg. “She writes characters and a story that will joancCurtisstay with you.”

Her debut mystery/suspense novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight, won the silver medal for fiction/suspense in the Global eBook Awards for 2015 and is a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Award. The e-Murderer won first place in the Malice Domestic Grants competition for new writers.

Joan has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. She reads all kinds of books, including women’s fiction, mysteries, biography, and nonfiction. Mystery/suspense with a psychological twist is exactly the kind of book Joan loves to read.

GEbA_Gold“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view with a destiny. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the Southern traditions with the eye of a Northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Athens, Georgia.

Enter to win a copy of The Clock Strikes Midnight (award-winning book) and a $25 Amazon GC

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#Interview with Brooklyn Ann, author of ‘Conjuring Destiny’

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Brooklyn Ann is the author of several paranormal books. She recently released the third book in her Brides of Prophecy series. Take a few moments to get to know her and her writing world.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Conjuring Destiny is the 3rd book in my Brides of Prophecy series. It centers on Xochitl (Pronounced So-She) Leonine, the lead singer of a famous metal band. She’s been an interesting side character in the first two books. She’s biologically incapable of fear, has magic powers, and is haunted by dreams of a shadowy cloaked man in a world with two moons.

In this book, I finally got to tell her story. And man, it was a crazy one. The basic premise is: A rock star discovers she’s the prophesied savior of another world.

Here’s the blurb:

He haunted her dreams… and now he’s come to claim her.

Famous rock star, Xochitl Leonine, has dreamt of a world with two moons where a black cloaked man beckons her. One Halloween night, she meets the mysterious stranger of her dreams… literally… and their shared dance becomes a rendezvous in a place of endless night.

Zareth Amotken has no idea how important Xochitl’s heavy metal band is to her. As an immortal sorcerer, he doesn’t care. He has one goal: to find the prophesied savior of his world. Her voice holds the power to bring back his world’s vanished sun.

Xochitl’s compassion urges her to help in any way she can. Yet learning the mysteries of her past causes conflict with her future in music. Her destiny in his world and her obligations to her band pull her in opposite directions. How can she long for one while the other is so dire?

As Zareth introduces her to his people and teaches her to control her powers, she aches for his enchanting kiss. Zareth tries to resist, for their passion will unleash serious consequences, both political and magical.

As the time to fulfill her destiny draws closer, she must choose between her heart, her duty, and her friends. The wrong choice could ruin everything.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

As cliché as it sounds, this one came from a dream I had when I was fifteen. I kept seeing visions of a sexy sorcerer in black robes, an obsidian tower, and a world with two moons. I started the first draft in a 3 ring binder, finished it when I was 20, and typed it up.

And oh, god, it was terrible.

However, even after writing eight other novels, the basic premise stayed in my head, so I finally rewrote it…. about eight times.

3. Who and what inspire you to write?

Music almost always triggers a book scene for me. And cleaning, for some reason. As for people who inspire me, Stephen King has been my hero for ages. ON WRITING is my bible.

And more recently, Bonnie R. Paulson has become my biggest inspiration. Aside from her writing amazing and diverse books, her discipline and dedication to reaching her goals while still being willing to help others made me want to emulate her. My writing and industry knowledge has grown so much since I met her.

4. Each author has his or her own inspiring journey. How did you begin writing?

In elementary school I scrawled out stories about cats breaking out of the pound, stealing food and avoiding animal control. Teachers kept telling me that I’d be a writer someday, but I shrugged it off and argued that I’d be a paleontologist, a rock star, an artist.

It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties, holding a 100,000 word (and terrible) handwritten manuscript that I stood up and said, “Holy crap, I really am a writer!”

However, I was so clueless about so many things that after about twenty rejections, I temporarily gave up and became an auto mechanic.

But the stories wouldn’t leave me alone, and after my mother passed away, I decided to get serious about making my characters “real” in print.

In 2013, my 3rd manuscript, a historical paranormal romance called “Bite Me, Your Grace” was published.

5. What has been the most pleasant surprise about writing? How about an unexpected down side?

The most pleasant surprise is the community. My fellow authors are so kind, fun to talk to, and eager to help and give advice. And the readers, oh bless the readers!! I am overcome with amazement that there are people out there who love my writing and characters and connect with my stories. My readers keep me going.

The most unexpected downside is the business and marketing aspect. Taxes are more complicated and all of the marketing, formatting, and countless other non-writing things are part of a writer’s job.

I was a little jarred to discover that there is more to it than typing away on my laptop. 😀

Though some parts are fun, like interacting with my readers.

6. Do you have any writing rituals?

Though I’ll write anywhere and anytime I can, I prefer to write at home, wearing comfy jammies and my fuzzy robe, a Red Bull in hand and hard cider in the fridge for later. I’m still working hard to be able to do that full time.

I also give myself “treats” for achieving a day’s writing goal. A book, a movie, or a delicious meal.

7. Do you write your books in order?

Not always. I’d like to, but my characters never seem to tell me what happens in order. Conjuring Destiny came from the bare bones of the very first book I ever wrote, and now I’m working on my 3rd heavy metal romance, which I actually wrote first.

8. What is on your writing playlist for this book?

I actually made a youtube playlist! Here’s the Link if you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOHiSOvnNdQwx7PQMcqdKGLfRs1zb0EOP

It’s a work in progress, but so far I have:

“Black no.1”: Type O Negative

“Shivers”: Dio

“Sweet Dreams”: Marilyn Manson

“Long Since Dark”: Sanctuary

“Fever Dreams”: Dio

“The Fragile” Nine Inch Nails

“Epitaph”: Sanctuary

“A Tout Le Monde”: Megadeth

“I put a Spell on You”: Marilyn Manson

“Physical”: Nine Inch Nails

“As Long As It’s Not About Love”: Dio

“Little Earthquakes”: Tori Amos

“Schism”: Tool

“Taste Revenge”: Sanctuary

Something by Otep, but I don’t know what yet.

“King Kill 33”: Marilyn Manson

“Stargazer”: Rainbow

9. Any favorite writing snacks?

During writing binges I subsist on Red Bull and low-hassle foods. When I reach a big writing goal, I like to reward myself with Wingstop’s garlic parmesan chicken wings.

10. What advice would you give writers who aspire to be published?

Build a thick skin. Set goals and strive to meet them, and be prepared for endless edits and rewrites. Be prepared for rejections and bad reviews. And ALWAYS follow submission guidelines.

11. Are you working on anything new right now?

I’m actually working on 3 new things: The first is my third heavy metal romance, which as I’d previously mentioned, is already written, but I needed to rip out the whole middle and rewrite it.

Then I’m working on my 4th Scandals with Bite book because the readers are asking, so they shall receive. 😀

And finally, I’m putting together a pitch for a straight regency series. No vampires, just 19th century shenanigans.

12. Who is your favorite character in your current book?

In Conjuring Destiny? That’s a tough one. Xochitl’s been in my head so long, but she often drives me crazy. Still, I’ll probably have to go with her as my fave, though I’m intrigued with her band, as well as Delgarias, who pops up in every book in this series and gets more interesting every time.

13. What is your favorite book of all time?

IT by Stephen King. I’ve read that book 12 times and will read it at least 12 more.

I wrote a whole blog post about why I love that damn book so much: http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/2013/09/why-it-is-my-favorite-book-reposted-in.html

One of the main reason is that the characters were all outcasts who became close friends: The Loser’s Club. I had few friends as a kid, so these characters became my friends. They’re still my friends.

And maybe that’s why my books focus on outcast characters finding love and happiness.

14. Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.

Oh, I’m terrible at this… let’s see…..

You should read my book because I guarantee that it’s a strange and magical adventure when a rock star discovers she’s the prophesied savior of another world and falls in love with a sexy sorcerer.

conjuring destinyFamous rock star, Xochitl Leonine, has dreamt of a world with two moons where a black cloaked man beckons her. One Halloween night, she meets the mysterious stranger of her dreams… literally… and their shared dance becomes a rendezvous in a place of endless night.

Zareth Amotken has no idea how important Xochitl’s heavy metal band is to her. As an immortal sorcerer, he doesn’t care. He has one goal: to find the prophesied savior of his world. Her voice holds the power to bring back his world’s vanished sun.

Xochitl’s compassion urges her to help in any way she can. Yet learning the mysteries of her past causes conflict with her future in music. Herdestiny in his world and her obligations to her band pull her in opposite directions. How can she long for one while the other is so dire?

As Zareth introduces her to his people and teaches her to control her powers, she aches for his enchanting kiss. Zareth tries to resist, for their passion will unleash serious consequences, both political and magical.

As the time to fulfill her destiny draws closer, she must choose between her heart, her duty, and her friends. The wrong choice could ruin everything.

But if Zareth’s evil half brother succeeds in taking control of her for his own ends, he will take away her choices… and destroy the world?

Buy it on Amazon

 

Meet the author:

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Formerly an auto-mechanic, Brooklyn Ann thrives on writing romance featuring unconventional heroines and heroes who adore them. After writing historical paranormal romance in her critically acclaimed “Scandals with Bite” series and urban fantasy in her “Brides of Prophecy” novels, she now explores the chaotic realm of heavy metal music– a difficult world to find love in.

She lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with her son, her cat, and a 1980 Datsun 210.

She can be found online at http://brooklynann.blogspot.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
You can also find her on Literary Addicts, Goodreads and Google +

 

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The author is giving away a $25 Gift Card to the winner’s choice of bookstore. the store must be able to provide e-gift cards. 18+ giveaway ends November 9th, 2015 at 11:59 pm
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Interview of Jill Cooper, Author of 15 Minutes – Spring Into Books #authorPost #giveaway

Welcome to Literary Addicts’ Spring into Books Event. It takes place March 25 – April 27!Pick up a great read, enter to win prizes, and follow along on Literary Addicts for Fun Interviews, Guest Posts, and Exclusive Excerpts!Click over to … Continue reading

Bee Helpful by J.W. Edwards III #authorpost

BeeHelpfulBannerBee_Helpful_web

For Sunny Bee, being truly helpful means going anywhere and everywhere. When his beautiful sunflower friend Myah becomes very ill, Sunny travels to the “far side of the hills” seeking help. Faced with a series of challenges including a raging storm, large spiders, or even the intimidating Grandfather Oak, Sunny’s dedication never wavers! (ages 4 – 8)

Softcover: http://amzn.to/1jtmnnU  Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1otwIrv

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1nukJdM


Not Everyone Walks With You On Your Journey! !
By J.W. Edwards

Often when we start a new quest, venture, or journey, we can’t wait to blaze a new trail and invite our family, friends, and the world to come along with us. Sooner or later we find out that not everyone wants to be apart of our journey. What can we learn from Sunny in Bee Helpful when he discovers almost no one supports his quest to help his friend?

Can you remember a time when you had an idea, dream, or project that was very important to you? The sort of thing that caused a tidal wave of excitement to rush through your entire nervous system? This level of enthusiasm is hard to keep inside and nearly impossible to ignore. For many reaching this point, it certainly marks the beginning of a new quest. One of the first things we might do is reach out to some people and share our vision or quest with them only to end up with a basket full of heartbreaking experiences when they don’t share our enthusiasm, say it will
not work, disagree, ridicule us and/or our idea, refuse to support us, or even ignore us! This can be downright disheartening, hurtful, and devastating.

This sort of response is often all it takes to destroy a fragile dream that aspires to one day become real. Just about everyone who has shared their idea with enough people have experienced this…it even happened to Sunny in my Bee Helpful story too! This is one of many lessons I’ve included in the story for children and parents because lack of support can leave us
feeling hurt, angry, frustrated, resentful, and isolated.

So what can we do about it? What did Sunny do? One of the lessons is about accepting:

“Not Everyone Walks With You On Your Journey…”

What does this mean? It means that it’s not meant for everyone to be apart of what you are doing, or at least not right now. Our journey is first and foremost for us to walk and sometimes we must walk it alone. This doesn’t mean that everyone is against us or hope that we will fail in our quest. Often it’s just that many people are busy with their own journeys. Some of them are even fighting spectacular fire breathing dragons and are unable to come and help you fight yours.

There are lots of reasons why they can’t be there with us. Whatever the reasons are, we will be better off to honor them and accept that not everyone can go with us on our quest. After feeling frustration and despair, Sunny Bee eventually accepted this so he could continue his journey.

The second part of the lesson is:

“Always Keep Moving Forward”

Despite walking alone sometimes or not receiving the level of support we had hope to get from the people in our lives or that of the world, we must remember to always keep moving forward. It’s ok to take a break and rest for a little while to regroup as Sunny did in the story.

It is very easy to get caught up thinking about who’s not there or didn’t do this or that. These discouraging thoughts can cause us to be in the wrong emotional state to succeed. Instead, we must concentrate our vital energy on our passion and each step of our journey, which is really about doing what we love. Remember each day to take a step or two and realize that it is all about the journey, not the destination. If you can’t enjoy now, you will not enjoy later either.

“Remember each day to take a step or two and realize that it is all about the journey, not the destination.”

Also it helps a lot to be grateful for those who do support you, even if it is just your dog at first. If you walk far enough, eventually you will be surprised at who comes along and who you will meet along the way.

Lastly, be there to support someone else on their quest, too. Your attention, time, support or whatever you can give, means more to them than you’ll probably ever know.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced support or lack of support for your ideas or quest? How did you feel about it? What did you do about it?


About the author:

DSC_0107J.W. Edwards III was born in St. Louis, Missouri and spent the majority of his childhood there. Eventually he left St. Louis for engineering school and job opportunities. He has traveled across most the U.S. in search of a place to call home. He currently resides in northern California with his wife and three boys and works full-time as a software engineer while writing stories for his youngest son in his spare time.

J.W. Edwards is busy these days working on a variety of writing projects which includes the Sunny Bee Book Series. Book number three, Bee Helpful, was the first one to be published. Books 1, 2, and 4 will follow soon in 2014. Learn more about this series at www.sunnybeebooks.com.

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