Never thought of that... #writerstuff #characterbuilding

Every time I had to do something I didn't want, or complained that life wasn't fair, or I don't even remember what, my dad told me the same thing. 

"It builds character."

Well, by the time I sat down to write, you'd think I'd have a whole slew of experience at building characters, what with all that practice I had growing up. 

We all love characters who are characters. Quirky, flawed, and recognizably human heroes and villains that live on in our memories after the last page has been turned. 

Those are the men I want to create in the pages of my stories. 

Men to make readers sigh, and chuckle, and blush, and say "Oh my god, he didn't...he did."

But how?

The other day I received an email that I admit I still haven't completely read- mostly because many parts of it needed to be mulled over. 

So far these are my favorites:

Even if you find the bad guy generally repulsive, you need to be able to put yourself so thoroughly into his shoes while you’re writing him that, just for those moments, you almost believe his slant yourself.— K.M. Weiland, quote from Maybe Your Bad Guy Is RIGHT! 
 Great fiction is fueled by bad decisions and human weakness.Kristen Lamb, quote from Great Characters–The Beating Heart of Great Fiction 
 Don’t just use visual details, but also include kinesthetic details, or how the character moves. Graceful, limping, stutter-step, lumbers, waddles, stomps.—Darcy Pattison, quote from 5 Tips on Character Descriptions 

What about you? Do you have any favorite advice for creating great characters?

I'm going to keep reading the article, but I just wanted to pause and share - and I admit, I'm making notes for how I can improve my characters in my current WIP.


Cover Reveal: Wet Paint by Will Parkinson #yammromance #sweet

Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Harmony Ink Pres
Book Name: Wet Paint
Author Name: Will Parkinson

Author Bio:

WILL PARKINSON believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.
                None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.
                He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.

Author Contact:

Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what – or who – they face, they belong together.

Benny cast a glance at Addy, noticing how his eyes kept darting to him and then to the floor. He seemed troubled, unsure.
“Addy? Is there something wrong?”
Addy heaved a deep sigh, then was quiet for a moment. “Do I embarrass you?” he finally asked.
“What? No, of course not. Why would you even think that?” Benny was genuinely perplexed.
“Jackson and Taylor don’t seem to have any problem touching each other, but you act like I’ve got germs or something and won’t come anywhere near me when there’s other people around. I have to wonder if you’re ashamed to be seen with someone like... me.”
“Oh God, no,” Benny replied sharply. “Please don’t ever think that. You know what? C’mere.”
He grabbed Addy’s arm and dragged him into the lounge.
“Listen to me, little man. I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be ashamed of you. If anything, you should be ashamed of me.”
Addy looked puzzled. “Why?”
Benny slid his fingers through his stubbly hair, then rubbed the back of his neck before he spoke. “I’m not really comfortable with being... like this. I really do care for you, but I’ve never felt this way about a guy— well, about anyone—before, and I don’t know how to handle it. So no, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of you at all. I’m just not sure how to deal with everything.”
Addy took Benny by the hand and peered into his eyes. “That’s all I needed to know. I don’t want to rush you. If you need time, you’ve got to know I’ll give it to you. I just wanted to be sure that you wanted me.”
Benny regarded his boyfriend. Yeah, his boyfriend. Benny had never been afraid to stand up for anyone in his life. Why should he be ashamed to stand up for himself now?
“C’mere, little man,” he growled, putting his hand on Addy’s neck, pulling him in close.
Addy’s eyes went wide, excitement dancing in them. Benny licked his lips and then pressed them to Addy’s in a deep, thrilling kiss. Someone whimpered. Benny wasn’t really sure which one of them it had been. He felt his synapses fry. It was the most incredible thing he’d ever experienced. A voice called out, startling them both.
“Benny? Is there something you’d like to tell me?”
Benny looked up and stared for a moment at Taylor, who had a wide smile across his face. Benny could feel his cheeks heat up. This wasn’t the way he wanted this to go, but damn, right now he needed Addy in the worst way.
“No, Taylor, not right now,” he replied quietly.
Then he went back in for another one of those amazing kisses.

Tour Dates: 8/18/14

Rafflecopter Prize: One of two $10 gift card to Amazon or ARe


Rain Got You Down? #free #mmromance #PulpFRiction

I'm terribly affected by bad weather, so I'll be fighting the urge to hole up while the skies are cloudy. I thought it was a good day to stay in bed and read. 

How about you?

Meet Chance:

"I'm Chance, this is my place. You want me; this is where you can find me."

The problem with that, of course, was that it wasn't my name. My name was actually Aaron Dumont. 

I picked up the name Chance as a kid when my grandma kept telling me "Chances are you'll come to no good, just like your pa." She had said it so often, it just kind of stuck. I've been Chance ever since. When she passed away and left me the remains of her estate, I sold everything but a few special items then invested it all in a nest egg for a rainy day. 

I figured that's what she'd intended it for anyway. She'd said as soon as I joined the police force back in the eighties. "Chances are you'll come to no good there. It's a dangerous job and you're an accident waiting to happen."
She was right too. 

FYI: This is book 1 of Pulp Friction 2015- part of an intricate web of interconnected stories by four authors that just might prove addictive.


Out Visiting Today: #giveaway

Good day friends! I'm over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue words today with a blog about childhood ambitions and a giveaway to make reading it worth your while. *blinks innocently*

Want to win a $10 ARE gift card?
Check it out! 

*Contest begins Friday Aug. 15th and ends Friday August 22. One entry per person, winner selected by random number designation and notified via email. (Must provide valid email with comment). Winner will be selected Saturday-Sunday Aug. 23/24 and notified/announced Monday Aug. 25th.


Story Orgy Presents: Heart of Clay part 13 #mmromance #storyorgy

Good morning Story Orgy readers! Welcome back to Monday!

Meanwhile, it's Breathless Press's 5th birthday- and all month long they're offering a 50% discount to shoppers on their website. I've got about 20 titles over there, so you should definitely click on over after you read today and see if you're missing any of them! Lee Brazil at Breathless Press

Heart of Clay 
Part 13

(c) June 2014 @Lee Brazil

August 10: Everything was a lie.

Clay sat at a family dinner for the second time in two days, listening to chatter from his grandparents and Brad about crops and the people from town, current events and the upcoming county fair. This time though, it felt right. He smiled and laughed and chipped in a comment where he could, but mostly he listened to their voices, the voices of the three people he loved most in this world, flowing over him, happy and calm and filled with life.
A cool chill crept over him and he turned, looking for an open window.
Only none were.
He started in shock to see Bobby sitting in the straight-backed dining chair next to his, watching the table with a satisfied smile on his face. Well, it was almost Bobby- a Bobby so transparent he could be fog. If fog came in blue jeans and a red checked shirt and spiked its hair.
The apparition turned to him, smirking. "Don't. They can't see me. You'll just look like an idiot. And"—the glittering eyes narrowed—"don't even think about swiping a hand through me."
Clay snapped his lips shut and glared. He couldn't speak? How fair was that?
"Life's not fair, dude. We've always known that, right?"
You can hear me thinking?
A pained expression crossed the ghost's face. "Not exactly. It's complicated."
What isn't?
He flinched, drawing the eyes of everyone at the table. "Um…sorry. Leg cramp. I’m fine. Must have been all that walking."
"I thought Brad picked you up?" Nan eyed him curiously over a plate of buttery fry bread.
Brad, as always, leapt into the breach. "He'd walked quite a ways when I came upon him."
"Well, Pip can give you some liniment if you need it." Nan handed the bread plate across to Brad and went back to cutting her meatloaf.
Clay met Brad's curious gaze blankly, shrugging. He took a few bites of his meal, studiously ignoring the specter beside him.
"I’m still here, you know. And I'm not going away until I get to have my say."
Well say it then. Not like I can stop you. Never could stop you when you were determined on something, could I?  He hoped to hell Bobby could feel the bitterness he felt with that thought.
"You've got a right to be bitter." The ghost sounded sad, resigned even.
I don't need your approval for my feelings. He ground the piece of meatloaf with his teeth instead of chewing it. It tasted like ashes anyway.
"You sure about that? Cuz I swear the only reason you aren't with him now—"
Clay's head snapped up and he stared at the ghost in dread.
"Is because you think I wouldn't want you two together. Guilt…or some kind of fucking martyr complex?"
"No!" He blurted it aloud and this time everyone's silverware clattered to the table and their jaws dropped.
Clay fumbled with his napkin, finally flinging it on the table. "Excuse me. I'm sorry I have to… I just need a minute." He scooted his chair back and rose, leaving the room without making eye contact with any of his dinner companions.
He felt their eyes following him though, boring into him with astonishment, disgust, confusion, anger…
Long, angry strides carried him through the kitchen and out the back door onto the screened in porch. There, he whirled about, knowing from the chill that Bobby had come with him. "You…you're still an asshole, aren’t you?"
"Death doesn't change a man much, Clay."
"Great. So you're stuck a perpetually horny, selfish teenager?"
"Only because that's how you remember me. I'm still myself inside, the man I would have been, that is."
Dragging in a calming breath, Clay squared his shoulders and faced the shade of Bobby, a little whispier out here in the evening light. "Fine. Say what you have to say, I'm listening."
Bobby shook his head. "First, it's necessary for you to know, everything was a lie."
Everything was a lie? "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"What I told you that night? About Max Underwood and me? It was a lie. I never touched him. I just wanted an excuse…"
And things clarified, little pieces of the drunken puzzle that was graduation night. "To make me break up with you?" Reeling back in shock, he clutched at the knitted throw covering the back of a carved wood rocker. "Why the fuck would you do that?"
"I should have had the guts to do it myself, but I just couldn't. I loved you Clay. But I could see how your eyes followed Brad, how he stared when he thought no one was looking."
"You did it on purpose?" The idea of Bobby deliberately driving his truck off the road—
"No!" The apparition attempted to embrace him, chilling Clay with a clammy, deep cold that seemed to pass right through him. He shuddered and jerked away as the ghost simultaneously whimpered and lurched back.
"Sorry." Clay muttered, rubbing at his shoulder where the ghost had touched…a touch that had seemed to slide right through his flesh. "That was…"
"Creepy? I get it. I never tried to touch anyone before. It kind of hurt. Don't think I'll be in any hurry to do that again."
"But you…possessed Augie the other night."
Bobby waved a foggy hand dismissively. "That was different. I wasn't…corporeal at the time." He frowned and pointed at Clay. "Don't sidetrack me. I didn't drive off the road on purpose. I was going a little too fast…and had way too much to drink. There was a rabbit that darted out in front of me, and I steered around it okay, but my gaze followed it off the side of the road." His form faded out a little, patches of blood and bone flickered and faded back into the clothed Bobby. "When I looked back around, it was too late. The other car was right on top of me…"
"Those damned hairpin curves." Clay whispered mournfully, visualizing the way it must have looked, dark shadowy trees overhanging the road, moonlight barely filtering through…picking out the white rocks and casting mystery over every crevice.
"One second's inattention…" Bobby concurred, nodding and sighing.
"And all our lives are changed forever." Black dark days of crying, screaming, fighting with everyone…especially Brad.
"But not ruined Clay." The ghost said firmly. "Not ruined."
Clay blinked. For a long time he'd certainly thought his life had been ruined. He'd been a terrible mess of emotions, breaking up with Bobby, rage over the supposed incident with Max, irrationally angry at Brad and everyone who tried to comfort him.
But was his life ruined?
He had a good job, money in the bank, a secure future. He'd gotten ample opportunity to enjoy his youth, dating men without forming relationships, and at the back of his mind, all these years, he'd had the knowledge that he loved Brad.
Even if he'd hidden away in the city, he'd had that. And Nan and Pip.
But mostly, he'd harbored that hope that one day he'd open the door of his apartment and Brad would be there, willing to listen finally to the truths Clay had to tell. The ones that had been buried under anger and grief and confusion over Bobby's death.
"I want to tell him," Clay finally said, "what happened between us that night. I'm afraid he won't believe me. Especially since it wasn't true. When I came out here, I thought I could just—"
"No you didn't. Don't lie to me. I know why you came. You came to say good bye…but I'm not going to say it Clay. Not until I know that I didn't fuck things up between the two of you beyond repair."
Sinking into the rocker, Clay let his head fall into his hands and fought down the emotions. "There wasn't anything to fuck up. And if there was, I did it, not you."
"Clay, I'm not stupid now, any more than I was then. You wanted Brad. Brad wanted you. I wanted out from the middle of two men I loved. I wasn't in love with you, not forever and a day in-love. If I had been, we wouldn't be having this conversation now."
"I can't believe we're having a conversation now anyway." He looked up, eyes burning.
"Yeah, well…I got tired of waiting. And…you know. Same flaws. Had to make something happen, didn't I?"
Oh no…"What did you do"
"I'm not sure I should tell you yet." Bobby tipped his head to the side and considered Clay thoughtfully. "You might pull that cloak of martyrdom about yourself again."
"I…" He sputtered a moment before giving up. There was no point in insisting that he'd done what he thought was right, that he hadn't felt he deserved to be happy, especially not with Brad.
"Exactly. Marty complex." Bobby smirked. "Told you so. Anyway, I brought you here because I wanted you and Brad face to face, and after what happened down at the bench the other night, I'm pretty damned sure my assumption that your feelings hadn't changed was right."
Embarrassment beat out guilt at that disclosure. "You…saw?"
"I planned." The ghost floated up a few inches off the floor, smiling with a smug sort of satisfaction that made Clay want to punch him. "And let me tell you…getting Brad to do anything…he's not open to me. Not like you are."
"Lucky me." Clay muttered.


If you enjoyed my post, click on over to the rest of the Orgiasts and read more! 

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955