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Tag Archives: creating characters

Lacey Goes to Tokyo

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author C.H. Lyn and her Suspense/Thriller novel Lacey Goes to Tokyo.Author’s description of the book:

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment

C.H. Lyn shares her thoughts with us on creating likeable deadly female protagonists:

The obvious answer for how to create a likeable deadly female protagonist, is to make sure a character is three-dimensional. Too often we are handed female characters who are clearly male characters with a “girl” name. Or, we are given people who are only focused on the mission, the revenge, or the murder. Lacey and Miss Belle have lives. They have friends, passions, and a family; that’s what drives their characters, sometimes to kill.

Creating these two women was incredibly entertaining for a couple reasons. They are such different women, it made writing back and forth between the two of them challenging, but it gave me the relief of never having a dull moment. It also made those pesky writers-block moments a little easier to handle. When one character stopped talking to me, I could often figure out a way to work on the other character’s scenes.

With Lacey we see right away that she is a calm sort of person. She’s the friend who listens when you vent about life, but never seems to have anything worth venting about to you. In fact, until we see her truly angry, it’s hard to imagine she could be anything but the polite young lady she pretends to be. I think this helps the reader relate to her, probably more than Miss Belle. She’s the girl next door, the friendly ear, the relaxing person we all enjoy spending time with. She’s also cunning, athletic, multi-lingual, and more than capable of handling herself in rough situations.

Miss Belle is another story. She curses, throws things, and from the start we know she is a killer. I think her likeability comes from her interactions with the other characters. As a stand-alone, she would be too similar to the plethora of standoffish, angry protagonists who take justice into their own hands. Instead, she tries to do the right thing and finds herself painted into a corner. Miss Belle is harsh throughout the story, and will continue to be harsh as the series progresses. She isn’t necessarily supposed to be liked by every reader, not entirely anyway. But if the reader can see how much she struggles with the deaths around her, namely the ones she is directly responsible for, they will be able to understand her choices, even if they don’t agree with them.

These women each have their own motives, their own histories, and their own voices. Their realness is what makes them likeable. They aren’t always cool under pressure, because no one is. They don’t always make the right decisions, because no one does. And they suffer the consequences of their decisions, because everyone does.

About the Author:

I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California. Growing up in a college town meant I experienced a wide variety of people and opinions. I like to think my stories reflect the vast differences in the people I’ve met.  I love to travel. I want to explore the world around me while writing about the worlds in my mind.

I grew up with a steady diet of wonderful stories set in amazing worlds. I’ve read almost every series Tamora Pierce has written, and I am a crazy fan of the Hunger Games series. My nerdiness also encompasses the Harry Potter series, LOTR, and (to an extent) the worlds of superheros. Though, my husband is really head of DC knowledge in the household. He is also the most amazing source of support I could hope for.

I’m 26 now. My daughter just turned one. She is already so smart, curious, and beautiful. I want the female characters in my writing to be inspiring, not just for her, but for all the little girls who grow up reading.

Find C.H.Lyn at her website, or on Facebook, on Tirgearr Publishing, or on Twitter.

Purchase her book here at the Amazon link for Lacey Goes to Tokyo.

Yes there is a giveaway:

C.H. Lyn will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win

My favorite excerpt:

The blade I planted in his shoulder now dangles from his left hand. Fresh blood—my blood—coats the metal. His right arm hangs, useless, at his side.

He snarls at me with yellow teeth. He lunges forward again. The blade swings toward me, and I parry with my machete. The effort sends a burst of pain down my arm and into the left side of my back.

He swings again, and I step to the side, leaning my upper body to the right. We dance now. Circling each other. My left arm will not land a functional blow. Not with blood still dripping down from my shoulder. His right arm continues to swing. More blood pours from him than me.

I reach up my right hand and tug down my handkerchief. I breathe deep, easing the pain in my shoulder and preparing myself for the next attack. I switch my machete back to the right hand.

He shouts something. My grasp of the language is bad—at best—but I know what a cry for help sounds like.

“No one can hear you.” I spit blood at him, laughing.

Laughing during a fight knocks people off their guard, especially if blood is leaking from between your teeth at the same time.

His eyes widen. He says a few words and his gaze darts around in frantic movements. It lands on me. I catch his eyes with mine and don’t blink.

“The rest of your friends? They’re dead.”

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.

Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2020 in other authors, travel, writing

 

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You Kill Me

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Holly LeRoy and his Mystery/thriller novel You Kill Me.

Author’s description of the book:

LIEUTENANT EVE SHARPE should have seen the avalanche of trouble headed her way but events had dulled her edge and crumbled her foundation of toughness. With the press and politicians all coming for her, Eve begins to question whether she is really a cold blooded murderer or simply losing her mind. Was it an officer involved shooting gone wrong? An honest mistake? Or, something much, much worse?

 

There’s one thing for sure, it has turned the Chicago Police Department upside down, and Lieutenant Eve Sharpe’s life along with it.


My Review:

In You Kill Me, Holly LeRoy has written an exciting thriller with a wonderful protagonist, unexpected characters, and a page turner of an ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

What I liked best:

1. The writing is quite good. The pacing is flawless. The plot is exciting. I know that should be three different things, but I don’t want this list to get too long.

2. In particular, LeRoy takes several characters out of Central Casting and uses them in ways I didn’t expect (and you probably won’t either.) The annoying boss. The sleazy ex-partner. His stripper girlfriend. And more. The whole story is a wonderful reminder of how surprising people can be.

3. I often struggle with stories that mix a first person tale with additional third-person POVs. LeRoy not only makes it work, he makes it seem natural. Part way into the story, I stopped noticing it.

4. Ditto for his descriptions of people and surroundings. Over and over he gives just enough details to put you in the scene and never so much that you start to skip over it. Well done.

What I liked least:

1. It’s obvious I liked a lot about this book. However, I prefer to read on my Kindle and when the author didn’t offer Kindle formatted copies for review, I bought the book and was surprised by the number and kind of typos in the copy for sale. Every book has a few, but this not only had more than its share, many of them were things any good proofreader (or even spell check program) would have caught. This book is too good for those kinds of mistakes.

2. I like my endings (that is, the part after everyone is finally safe) to be longer than a page or two. I’ve come to care about these people and I want to know more after many of them barely make it out alive. Perhaps there is more tying up of loose ends in the next novel?

Well, whether there is or not, I’ll be seeking out more by Holly LeRoy, and wishing him and his detective Lt. Sharpe both long and healthy careers,

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story.

About the Author:

HOLLY LEROY has been an actor, amateur boxer, NASCAR journalist, expert witness, Santa County Substance Abuse Commissioner, and patrolled with the Drug Enforcement Unit of the San Jose Police Department.

He lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains with his wife, four cats and two dogs.

Find him on Facebook, Goodreads, or on Twitter. 

Visit him on his website, or on his Amazon author page.

Buy You Kill Me on Amazon.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Holly LeRoy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops.

My Favorite Excerpt:

It was well known that police officers, even those with seniority could, for disciplinary reasons, be temporarily assigned to other units. Usually someplace working with non-sworn civilians like personnel or records. Or, if you really screwed up, they’d stick you on stakeout. That’s what really bothered me. Sure, I’d always been a pain-in-the-ass, but lately, I’d been a good girl, not screwing up at all in the past couple of months. Well, maybe a month. Yet here I was, heading to a blisteringly cold stakeout at a South Side crack house instead of doing data entry at a nice warm records desk.

Poor Walt. Guilt by association probably did him in. He actually got the worst end of the deal. He’d be at the crack house until after three.

Every ten minutes, the all-news station, Magic 66, cheerfully announced what I had to look forward to:

‘Subzero temperatures have moved into the Chicago area and are expected to stay for the remainder of the week. Lake effect snow continues to hammer the south and east of the city and plows are trying to . . .’

Shit. I flicked off the radio and hunched over the steering wheel trying to see the road ahead. The smells of antifreeze and water steaming on the exhaust and burned oil coming up through the floorboards all served to remind me that a few months earlier, I’d wrecked my Buick in a snowstorm just like this one.

Insurance had repaired it instead of totaling the damn thing, so now it was more of a rolling wreck than ever. My ex-partner Clark kept telling me that since the accident it went down the road like a fiddler crab. Kind of sideways.

Crazies kept passing me and throwing salted slush over my windshield, and I finally chickened out and moved over to the slow lane behind a Safeway big rig. I found myself staring up at a huge T-bone steak, sun-faded to a light purple.

The off ramp was slick with black ice, and I took it at a crawl, easing into the neighborhood shown on Isaacson’s map. I slowed down even more, threading my way through the narrow streets. It was a ghost neighborhood where half the houses had been torn down and only half of what remained seemed to be occupied. Built after World War II, these were the homes our GI’s came home to in 1945. Now, they were homes for crack whores and junkies ready to die, teenagers ready to screw, and apparently, if Isaacson were correct, our drug lord. The target was a small single-story house, one of the few that didn’t have its windows boarded up.

I sat in my cramped little Buick, staring at it through a pair of binoculars. After an hour, I stuck a Santana cassette into the radio and poured a cup of squad room coffee. When my teeth began to chatter, I began to run the car fifteen minutes on and fifteen minutes off. Even at that, the car’s heater struggled against the cold, my breath fogged over the windows, and a plume of steam from the exhaust filled the air behind. After mopping at the windshield with a handful of napkins from Walt’s last trip to Mr. Moo’s Burger Shack, I sat watching the strings of red taillights headed south on the I-55.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2020 in other authors, writing

 

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Almost My New Cover

I love where Deranged Doctor Design is going with this cover. What do you think? I’m having such fun re-birthing my first novel. The newly named and highly edited new version will be out in late January and I can’t wait.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2018 in One of One, writing

 

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Not My New Cover

I’m having great fun renaming my books, and working with a pro to design genre appropriate covers. Here’s the first draft. Updates to come!

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2018 in One of One, writing

 

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Worry about those you love and write about what you know

I’m not telepathic, but sometimes I pretend that I am.

For me, it’s more than an entertaining daydream. The main hero of the novel I am finishing is a telepath, and the more I see the world through her eyes, the better I can tell her story.

Some days, I’m ready to improve the world with my psychic skills. If I could just know what my congressman’s aide was really thinking, could I convince him to recommend supporting this legislation to his boss? And then it might pass in the House by one vote? And then, and then, the course of the entire world might change?

Other days, I sink into banal curiosity. Hmmm. That man looks interesting. I wonder what he’s thinking.

But more often than not, me-the-pretend-telepath pretty much acts like me, which is a person who tends to worry about all sorts of things. The crux of the problem is that I’ve always had a what-if sort of mind. What if the engines on your boat quit? What if the subway isn’t running? What if the wind blows that thing over? I make up scenarios the way some people flirt, or snack, or scratch themselves. It’s just what I do.

The result is that I tend to be better prepared than most, and if you’re traveling with me you might appreciate that. The downside, as you might guess, is that I can be a pain in the ass.

Every so often someone attempts to correct my personality by telling me to relax.This is an important aside to those of you who have friends or family like me. “Relax” and “calm down” are not useful instructions to give to a worrier. In fact, they are probably not useful to anyone.

Last week, someone surprised me by finding the perfect thing to say instead.

It was April and I was visiting Boston. I had ignored weather reports of possible snow because, well, for once I was trying not to be that person who brings the down parka because of a 40 per cent chance. So I had on leaky tennis shoes with soaked cotton socks, a coat with a broken zipper, and no other cold weather or rain gear. It was pelting wet sleet and the temperature was dropping  as the sun set. Yes, I had succeeded at not over-preparing for the situation.

I did tell you this was April, right? Oh, and we were about to embark on a pub crawl. We were carrying stuffed animals we had just bought at the science museum because they were on sale and now mine was getting soaked, but that was a minor problem. I was cold and wet and miserable most of all because this never happens to me. I’m the one you can count on to pull three collapsible umbrellas out of my purse to help everyone else. I have had very little practice at being the doofus who thought everything was going to be fine, and I learned that it isn’t a role I enjoy.

So I went and stood under a one foot overhang and tried not to cry. Then, someone in my party walked up and did something magic. He said –

“What one thing can I do to help you?”

“Nothing. I’m fine.”

“Okay I’ll pick one. Take either my hat or my scarf.”

“No, I can’t do that. You brought them both, you should have them.”

He ignored me and put his hat on my head. Normally that would have been annoying but, you know, the hat was really warm and dry in the inside.

“Okay, just the hat.”

The hat worked pretty well. A little comfort can sometimes make a big difference and I calmed down without anybody telling me to. Go figure. We had a great time visiting bars and drinking beer and hearing stories about Samuel Adams that may or may not have been partially true and the next day the sun came out and all was well. I’ve noticed that tends to happen.

I got two things out of the experience. One was a better sense of what to say the next time I’m with someone who needs to get a grip. “What one thing could I do to make it better?” is a brilliant question.

The other? I’m better off being me. I turns out that preparing for the scenarios I imagine doesn’t bring me down or keep me from enjoying myself. It’s my own way of flowing through life. Like any other personality trait, there is such a thing as too much. But in my case, there is also too little. I’m fine like I am.

Ditto for my ongoing concern about those I love. I don’t get to drive them crazy, but I do get to love them in my own way.

When I got home, I wrote the following scene in my book. My protagonist Lola is boarding a flight to Antarctica, fleeing all sorts of evil and mayhem. But when she gets a few minutes, she worries about the others in her family, and she uses her telepathy to check in on them. It’s what I would do if I was a telepath.

They had been warned that the flight would be long, cold and uncomfortable, and had been given ear plugs for the noise and medication that would calm their stomachs and make them drowsy. Alex and Maurice took their pills without hesitation, but Lola held off. She hadn’t had an awake minute to herself in days, and she just wanted to savor the solitude brought on by the engine noise as she checked in on the rest of the family.

She squirmed in the thick parka and uncomfortable jump seat buckle, but finally managed to settle in well enough to relax. She found her two daughters and friend Vanida sipping rum drinks on a beach in Brazil. What? Where? And wasn’t it kind of early in the day for rum drinks? Well, at least they were safe. But what were they doing there? She got that they were part of a plan to rescue Zane and Nell and Yuden. Not a plan, the plan, the one that Maurice and Alex were not telling her about and which was going to happen tonight. Tonight?

That meant she better leave this alone. She tiptoed back into her own mind and let her consciousness settle back into the rough vibrations of the ride.

What about Xuha? Was he okay? Eggs. She smelled eggs. Xuha had ordered a late room service breakfast and at this moment he was delighted with the sunny side up concoction into which he was dipping his toast. Okay. What about Zane? He was being served food as well, by a friendly older man who was, oh my, the co-pilot of the private aircraft which Zane had boarded a few hours ago which would ultimately take him to New York.

And why was he going to New York? On a private jet? He wasn’t thinking about that right now. She felt her son recline into the plush, roomy seat and sip his very hot, very tasty coffee, which he was enjoying a great deal.

Lola sighed and reach a heavily gloved hand into the knapsack her hosts had given her. She took a sip of her water and found one of the energy bars they’d provided for the trip. She tore the wrapper open and chewed the sawdust-like contents, wishing she had eggs and hot coffee. Maybe even coffee and rum. Reluctantly she took one of the airsickness tablets and swallowed it. With any luck she wouldn’t wake up for another thousand miles.

(For a companion post see Cease worrying when you can and write about what you know. For more excerpts from my new novel visit Am I sure I’m Sherrie?, Point of View, and The Amazing Things I Get to Do.)

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in telepathy, writing

 

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Back to Building a World of Telepaths

I’m finally picking up momentum on book six of the 46. Ascending collection. I can always tell because that is when I start to have fun writing the story. I work with a very loose outline, and discovering what it going to really happen in my book is, well, my idea of a good time.

This final book was always suppose to be about all five of the main characters introduced in the previous novels. I joked about writing five prequels and then the real story. I still think that is the way it is going to go, but so far I’m pretty immersed in the telepathy part.

x0 was about empathy and compassion and how sensing others thoughts and feelings would ultimately make for world peace. e5 introduces my first evil telepaths, and I am having too much fun devising what set of circumstances would lead a person to become less empathetic as they learn more of how others feel and think.

emI’m lucky to be close to someone who is in the process of getting her Master’s Degree in Social Work right now, and given my journalism schooling and penchant for writing, I’ve been called upon to proofread a few papers. I enjoy doing it, but can’t help gaining perspective as I read. I am learning more about the concept of privilege  — white, male, western, hetero, cis, wealthy, healthy, pretty, young — there are a lot of variations here — but the concept that I am ordained by God or nature to be better than you seems to hold the key to failing to care about you at all. Why wouldn’t a human who is certain of his (or her) greater importance be deaf to the pain of those lesser? Might they just find it annoying? I think it depends on exactly how superior these people think they are. Maybe if they had a superpower, like telepathy …..

This line of thought has also given me a new lens with which to view current events and with which to better understand history. My husband is reading a biography of Charles Darwin right now, in part because Darwin will also play a role in the book I am writing. He recently read about Darwin’s dismay at economists using his theory of natural selection  to support Thomas Robert Malthus’ economic theory. In a nutshell, Malthus postulated that human population would always grow to exceed the food supply and that the poor and the weak needed to be allowed to starve so that the stronger humans could thrive. It would be an understatement to describe the theory as controversial, but can’t you see vestiges of it in some current policies? 

I like books that make me think.  I like to write books that make me think. I’m glad that just because I make up worlds with superheroes in them doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a good look at humanity and a chance to wonder about what makes it tick.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in empathy, writing

 

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“We are the World”

Every character I create is part me, part fiction, but none is more like me than Lola, the hero of my first book. We do have our differences, but we share a strong desire to make the world a better place. She will find her path in the sixth book of the collection, which I am writing now. My path, for the time being, seems to be to write these books about her.

The music in x0 is tied into this idealism. “We are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie was released in 1985, the year that my characters Lola and Alex were married. In x0, Lola becomes obsessed with Africa once she starts work at a Nigerian based oil company. Michael Jackson’s death in June 2009 brings to Lola’s mind his role in both the song and the fundraising he was responsible for. A short excerpt is below.

On June 25, Michael Jackson died. Although none of the Zeitmans were devoted fans, all five mourned the loss of a talented, troubled man who had written songs that they had enjoyed. Lola noted with interest that so many people accessed the internet in search of more details about his death, or even just in search of shared comfort, that several major websites became unusable for a while. What a force we can be together, she thought.

While she found herself humming snippets of his music for days afterward, she mostly sang to herself the one song of his that she had liked best of all. Forty-three other musical stars had joined in to sing his 1985 collaboration with Lionel Richie called “We are the World”, with over sixty million dollars in proceeds donated to fight starvation in Africa.

She could still see in her mind the video of Michael in the black jacket with the gold sequins, his sparking white glove undulating to the music while he sang the first rendition of the chorus. Lola thought that when Cyndi Lauper quipped that the lyrics sounded like a Pepsi commercial, she had a point. There was no deep meaning here. Just a hell of a great idea. “We are the world.”

Due to the number of artists involved and various claims of copyright infringement, videos of this song being performed are few and far between, and are often removed from the internet. Enjoy the version below, which has been viewed over forty-seven million times.

Twenty-five years later, a new group of artists performed this song to raise money for Haiti after the island was devastated by an earthquake. For the full experience, and a chance to give your tear ducts a little exercise, spend a few more minutes enjoying this official 2010 Artists for Haiti rendition.

With the second song of each book, I pick up the intensity a little. Click on to read about y1’s “Party Like it’s 1999“, z2’s “Only the Strong Survive“, c3’s “Heads Carolina” and d4’s “I Follow Rivers“.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in music for peace, Nigeria

 

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