Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Those Pesky Secondary Characters

Have you ever wondered what authors do with those pesky characters that just won't stay in the background? You know the ones I mean--the best friend that has an opinion on everything, the buddy who is always there to back the hero or heroine up (and give them crap when they screw up), the couple who steal the attention in the one or two scenes they have in the whole book?

Well, I have to tell you, it's difficult to figure out what to do with them. On one hand, they grab the readers' attention and get them asking questions. On the other hand, they distract and annoy a writer when they'd really rather keep the story centered on someone else.

I know, I sound crazy, spouting off as if these figments of the imagination were actual people. Flesh and blood members of society that you could run into if you walked around the right corner. I have to tell you, to me they are real. I argue with them--reasoning is usually out of the question, especially when they're refusing to follow the plot outlined--LOL. I try to cajole them into staying on the path I've created, but they rarely listen. And boy, can they be stubborn!

When a friend and I were working on a book, years ago, we had one character who was downright rude about trying to steal the scenes he was in. Add to that his adamant requests for us to write his story had my friend and I so frustrated, we finally gave up and had him shot. We left him bleeding on a warehouse floor for about three months while we completed the other scenes necessary. Unfortunately, the pesky little bugger threatened to die on us if we didn't at least get him off the floor. Begrudgingly, we did. But, he did stop bugging us for attention after that.

Right now, I'm dealing with an even worse kind of secondary/extra character. The quiet one. This guy just will not give me any information. No matter how I ask, cajole, or try to tease the information out of him, he just relaxes into his chair at the Diablo Blanco Club and smiles at me. I only know a few things about him (and no, I won't tell you all--that would spoil the fun!), but I do know that he will eventually get his own book. But not yet.

So, here's my question for you all (don't I always have one for you?) Who were some of your favorite secondary characters in the books you've read? You know the ones you really, really want to know more about and hope they get their own book some day.

Mine are too many to count, but here are a few:
Cat from Laura London's Windflower
Andrew from Laura London's The Bad Baron's Daughter
Nicki from Linda Howard's Mackenzie series
Alex Stone from Cherry Adair's The Mercenary (whose story was finally released last year--yay!)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Woo Hoo! I Sold Another One!


I have to just do my little happy dance! On Friday, I sent off my fourth contract with Loose Id, LLC! Yup, I said fourth. And this one is my first M/M erotic romance--so I'm a little nervous about it's acceptance by the readers.

I am so stoked that my stories have found a home at Loose Id. I'm even happier that there are readers pleased with the characters I've created. It's nice to know the wild voices in my head are being accepted by others. (And no one is rushing off to get the men in the white coats to take me away!) LOL. I've received the nicest emails from readers and reviewers who say the coolest things about my books and ask about other characters in them.

I keep hoping this will be the year for me to produce and sell more books. I'm off to an okay start with one contract and a new release out in January, I just need to keep the momentum going. Many times, I worry that I don't write enough or that the length of what I do write is too long and I should try writing shorter stories. (Santa's Elf, my first book, was 68K words. Unfair Advantage is 85K words. Meeting A Neighbor's Needs and my fourth book, Diablo Blanco Club: Under Control are 28K and 23K words respectively.)

I already have a bit of a schedule going. I get up around 4 or 5 AM to post promotions and excerpts to different loops. Then I try to write on my stories for about an hour before getting ready for work. Once I return from work, I go through my emails, participate in various loop chats, continue posting excerpts on the loops until I get ready for bed.

With the talented authors out there, I'd love to learn some of your secrets. Do any of you have a specific schedule you adhere to in order to produce your books? Should I start aiming for shorter books or should I let the story determine its length?

Please, let me know. I'd love any kind of input.