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Friday, June 23, 2017

Character Development


How do you go about developing your characters for a story? How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process? What inspires it?

This is one of the basics of writing, developing characters your reader will fall in love with.  If they don’t care about the characters they won’t keep reading. I spend a lot of time developing my characters. The plot comes easy, but I need to have characters that advance the plot.
I use a questionnaire to get to know something about my hero/heroine. I want to know what their goal is. There has to be conflict between the h/h, both internal and external. And their development and growth needs to be shown as they face the obstacles of reaching their goal.  I try to do as much as possible before I start to write, including trying to develop a different voice for each character

That said, as I write I get to know my characters. I learn how they will react to situations and how they grow from the obstacles blocking their goal. By the time I write the end, I am familiar with my characters. They are family.
Then I go back and write the beginning, because now i know the characters and how they will react.

Looking forward to seeing what the others have to say about developing characters.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-YV
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marie Laval http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/?m=1

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Patricia Preston Talks Marketing


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Patricia Preston. Patricia will be talking about marketing. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Award-winning author Patricia Preston writes mainstream humorous romance, historical romance and comedy. She is represented by the Seymour Agency. Her newest titles are part of a standalone series, Love Heals All, for Kensington Books/Lyrical Press imprint. She has several other e-book titles available including a historical romance, TO SAVE A LADY, set in the French Quarter during the Battle of New Orleans. She also has a comic short story anthology, DIXIE DARLINGS, available in print. Besides writing she loves music, photography, graphic design, and visiting her favorite historical locales including the French Quarter and the Natchez Trace.

Beverley: How important is marketing for an author?
Patricia:  Unfortunately, I think it is important for an author to do some marketing.  More and more that is becoming the norm even if you have a publisher. Unless you’ve got a 6 figure advance and a publisher is trying to earn their money back, most of the promo is left up to the author or so it seems to me.  
And if you’re an indie author, it is all up to you. Of course, the best promo of all is a good book that readers love so write the best book you can.
Beverley:  What free marketing is available for authors?
Patricia:  There’s free social media sites like Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook. I don’t know how effective any of it is. And you can send out free newsletters as well until you reach a certain number of subscribers and find bloggers to host you on their blogs for free.
Beverley:  What marketing is available for a fee for authors?  
Patricia:  There’s a lot available if you willing to spend the money.  Especially paid ads in newsletters going out to readers, ads on reader websites, Twitter services and so on. Plus you can boost posts for Facebook page and that’s about the only way your page gets seen by anyone.
I don’t if anyone else has this problem with Facebook page ads or not, but when I have boosted posts, they are only shown to a small fraction of the number that is promised. For example, FB will have “reach 3500-9300” for $20. So I do the $20 ad and my post reaches an average of 600 people.  I have changed all kinds of factors about the target audience and number of days. Still the same thing. Like FB shows that are 53 million people with “contemporary romance” as an interest in my target audience, but only about 500-700 reached. With $10, I have average around 300-400. Plus they’ll send me notices to increase the money to increase the reach to 9000. I’ve done that and it might increase a 100. Maybe there is something I’m doing wrong, but it has been my experience that they are misleading their customers.
Overall, I don’t know how effective any promo is because there is so much of it now. It’s like the social media sites are just bombarded with ads.
Beverley:  How much should an author spend on advertising and how does an author make that decision?
Patricia:  I know writers who spend a fortune on promotion and swag and from what they say, it hasn’t helped their sales. I’m thinking overload as far as readers are concerned.
Also authors are bombarded with all this propaganda from “companies” trying to sell their services, promising all this success on social media. Like they have big secrets to selling more books, blah, blah, blah. I don’t figure there is any silver bullet.  
I would say set a small budget and try one thing at a time to see if it generates any sales before you invest a lot of money into it. Plus you have to consider whether you want to be spending more on promo than you make on the book.
Beverley:  Have you used someone to do your marketing for you? Why or why not? 
Patricia: No because I didn’t feel the expense was justified. Of course, it would free up time to write but in the end, you’d need to judge the results and if the marketing worked in producing sales.
Beverley: How have you marketed your books?
Patricia:  I’ve done a little of everything.
Beverley:  What did you find worked best?
Patricia:  Probably a paid ad in a newsletter.
Beverley:  How long have you been writing? 
Patricia:  Too long…
Beverley:  What genre do you write in and why?
Patricia: Mostly romance and sometime comedy when I’m depressed.
Beverley:  Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Patricia: My seventh grade English teacher.
Beverley:  What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Patricia:  I had to get rid of a husband.
Beverley:  What gets your creative juices flowing?
Patricia:  Music.
Beverley:  What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Patricia:  Having to go to the day job.
Beverley:  What do you have for breakfast?
Patricia:  Eggs and biscuits.
Beverley:  What do you wear when you are writing?
Patricia:  A big smile!
Beverley:  Where do you do most of your writing?
Patricia: In my writing cave.
Beverley:  Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Patricia:  Betty Boop. She’s racy.
Beverley:  Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Patricia: Melissa McCarty. She’s funny.
Beverley:  If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Patricia:  Go for a drive on the Natchez Trace.
Beverley:  What are you working on now?
Patricia:  Book four of the Love Heals All series. It’s Kayla’s story.

Blurb for Not Through Loving You

In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove.
When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn't exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad complete with Aaron's cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her.
Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she's determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad and more unsettling, everything she's ever hoped for in a man. After all she's put him through, is it too late to form a family and maybe put a song in the good doctor's heart?
Sneak Peek: Read Chapter 1

Buy Links:
Amazon  http://amzn.to/2p0U63y
Barnes and Noble   http://ow.ly/vuIs30brDgY
Kobo    https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/not-through-loving-you
You can find Patricia at:
Website: www.patricia-preston.com
Amazon  and BookBub
Facebook   Twitter    Goodreads Newsletter

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of book covers. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Beverley Updates Her Life


I thought I’d update some of the things I’m up to.
I said I was going to get a new website and a new photo. After much dragging of feet and grimacing, I found a web designer that didn’t break the bank and appears to be good. The site is ready to go live, but I don’t have the photo – yet. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

So the website showcases my books and has a social media page. It imports things from twitter and Facebook.  All the pictures are very old – some 4 years old. When I questioned it I learned that I didn’t use Facebook very much (which I knew) and if I didn’t use it I was left with 4 year old pictures and posts. So I guess I need to update my Facebook every little while. I’ll be working on that.
The website is also hooked up to my blog. Hopefully I can figure that out.
I’ll let people know as soon as the website is live, probably later this week. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

And the photo –ah yes - I’m living in a small town so I’m trying to find a photographer.  Wedding pictures, baby pictures and grad pictures seem to be the focus. Then I realized I needed digital photographer, which made it more challenging.  I finally found someone who said they did digital and sent me the measurements (a minimum of 300 dpi) which I sent to the web people and they said it would work.  It turns out the photographer is an in-house photographer at Couture Fashion Week in NY, has photographed people like Dr. Phil, William Shatner and Danny Glover.  Who knew? She had me change tops three times, took a lot of pictures and was a fun person. Her husband is also a writer, so I don’t think I could have picked anyone better. And you’ll see the new me once I get the photos and make a pick and when the web goes live.

I’ve also done a little advertising for my newest book, By Design –which is the first time I’ve done that. And I’m starting back working on Death Southern style. I’m also blogging on Lois Winston’s site June 28, at http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.ca/ . Drop by and say ‘hi’.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Kelli Wilkins on Marketing and her new Book


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Kelli Wilkes. Kelli will be talking about marketing. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
My third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, came out in June. It’s a story about two best friends who have always been attracted to each other and finally make the leap into having a sexual relationship.
 
Beverley: How important is marketing for an author?
Kelli: Marketing is crucial for any author, but even more so for self-published authors who don’t have the backing of a major publishing house. If nobody knows about your book, they can’t buy it. Therefore, authors have to do everything in their power to get their book noticed by readers and actively market it on websites, social media platforms, and anywhere else they can.
Beverley: What free marketing is available for authors?
Kelli: There’s a lot of free marking available to authors if they know where to look. The first and most obvious is the publisher’s website. If your book is released by a publisher (large or small), you probably will have a dedicated author page, and you may be able to do a short interview for their newsletter or site. Self-published authors can utilize whatever site(s) are selling their books (such as Amazon) and create author pages that showcase your writing and let readers learn more about you.
Social media and book sites are also great places to do self-promotion and market your writing. Authors can join genre-specific book groups on Facebook and Goodreads, and there are hundreds of book and romance-related websites where you can post spotlights, guest blogs, and interviews.
And of course, authors should always keep their own blog and website up-to-date with their latest release information, as well as links to backlist titles, interviews, and other news that will attract readers.
Beverley: What marketing is available for a fee for authors?
Kelli: If authors want to pay for professional marketing services, there are many options available. Some authors hire a publicist or a publicity firm to market their books, while others pay for advertisements in print or online magazines. You can also pay to have your book cover or ad featured on websites, or pay for a blog tour on several different sites. These are just a few of the more common services available.
Beverley: How much should an author spend on advertising and how does an author make that decision?
Kelli: That’s entirely up to the author. If you’re just starting out and self-publishing your first book, you might want to explore the free marketing options first, and then branch out into paying for covers on sites or for a blog tour. Again, it all depends on the author and his or her budget.
Beverley: How have you marketed your books? Have you used someone to do your marketing for you?
Kelli: I market my books in several different ways and usually do it all myself. When a new book comes out, I add all the information about it to my blog, website, social media pages, and other book sites that I’m on. Then I do guest blogs and interviews to share information about the book with readers. I also send out press releases, review requests, and include info about the new release in my newsletter. I’ve paid for book cover ads, featured author days, and blog tours on various sites. This way, I can reach a lot of readers all over the web.
Beverley: What did you find worked best?
Kelli: I find that a little bit of everything works. I’ve gotten good results by posting on social media, doing guest blogs, and blog tours. People like reading interviews and excerpts from books, so I’m always willing to talk about the writing process and how I brought my latest book to life.
Beverley: How did you get your start as a storyteller?
Kelli: I started out writing “10-Minute Romances” for the Sun. They also published science fiction stories, so I wrote those, too. I’ve always been blessed with a lot of ideas, and I just kept writing story after story as they came to me.
I got my start with full-length romances when I entered the Amber Quill Press “Amber Heat” writing contest. I submitted three novellas (A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord, and The Sexy Stranger) and they took all three! Since then, I’ve published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.
When people ask me how I can switch up genres so easily, I tell them, “I’m a writer, I can write anything.” And I do!
Beverley: How do you begin the process of telling a new story? Where do you start?
Kelli: Each book comes to me in a different form. Sometimes I’ll have an entire story jump into my head, and I’ll know everything about the plot and the characters. (That happened with Dangerous Indenture, A Deceptive Match, A Most Unusual Princess, and The Viking’s Witch.)
Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and after I get to know and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Then the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Four Days with Jack, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Lies, Love & Redemption.)
Before I start a book, I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline. I might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.
Beverley: What kind of research do you do for your books?
Kelli: That depends on what I’m writing. For my historical romances, (such as Lies, Love & Redemption, Loving a Wild Stranger, and The Viking’s Witch) I did a lot of research about different time periods, history, what life was like back then, etc. For my contemporary romances, I might research a fact that a character needs to know that I don’t—but for the most part, they don’t require too much research.
Beverley: After writing so many romances, how do you keep it fresh and spicy in the literary bedroom?
Kelli: I let the characters in each story determine the sexual content. Every story is different, and so are the sexual lives of the hero and heroine. Writing for the different characters and their individual situations helps keep things interesting and fresh.
The type of relationship and the frequency of the love scenes have to fit in with the characters and the heat level of the story. Love scenes should show how the characters relate to each other, how they fall in love, and add something to the overall emotional intensity of the story.
I’m often asked how I “know how much to show” in the love scenes. Sometimes it’s nice to give the characters privacy and imply what goes on (this lets readers use their imaginations); and yet, other times, readers want to see the passionate side of the relationship. I blend a little of each into my books. But no matter what type of love scene I write, I try to keep most of the focus on the characters and what they’re thinking and feeling emotionally—how the experience makes them more connected to their lover—rather than focus on what their bodies are doing.
Beverley: When you finish a book what do you do to let go of your characters and the world of that story?
Kelli: When I send a book off to the publisher, it’s not really “done”—there’s more work ahead. I need to do revisions and review the galley, then market the book when it’s released. But when the submission part is finished, I unwind from writing for a while. I might do no writing at all (except for blogs or promo/marketing) for a week or two and catch up on my reading. (When I’m writing, I don’t read, and when I’m reading, I don’t write.) This helps me leave the characters behind and focus on other things.
After a while I’ll get the urge to write again and start working on something new. Although I love my characters, I know when the story is over that it’s time to leave them behind. (Unless they come back to me later and want me to write a sequel!)
Beverley: In addition to your novels, you’re also a prolific short story writer. What is your key to creating a successful piece of short fiction?
Kelli: The best advice I ever got for writing short stories is: write tight. Take out anything and everything not essential to the story, such as extra words, details, dialogue tags, or whatever. This is especially important when I’m writing horror short stories. Too many words or distractions can break the tension, ruin the suspense, or otherwise distract the reader.
You also need a compelling story that draws readers into the world of the characters and holds them there. Not everyone believes in ghosts, but if you write a ghost story that sucks readers into that world and scares them, you’ve done your job. A “hook” beginning and a great ending are musts in creating a good short story.
Beverley: Tell us about your latest release(s).
Kelli: This spring, I released my Naughty Nobles trilogy of erotic historical/fantasy romances. The series is made up of Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights. Although the books are related, each stands alone as an individual read.
In January, I released Loving a Wild Stranger, a historical/pioneer romance set in the Michigan Territory in the early 1800s. Lies, Love & Redemption, my historical/western, was published last September.
My third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, came out in June. It’s a story about two best friends who have always been attracted to each other and finally make the leap into having a sexual relationship. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes that will heat up your summer!
Beverley: What’s next on the horizon for you?
Kelli: Currently, I’m revising a new historical romance novel (as yet untitled) and I’m working on re-editing the last of my romances previously published with Amber Quill Press. After that, I have ideas in the works for a few other romances (a historical, a paranormal, and a gay contemporary).
 

Blurb for Four Days With Jack 
When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…
Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.
Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship.He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?
Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071FTMWHL
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/four-days-with-jack-kelli-a-wilkins/1109557509;jsessionid=1D70C74A962E0DE7D2F5CD770AAE14DD.prodny_store02-atgap01?ean=2940154705599#productInfoTabs
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1243886678
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/four-days-with-jack-1
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/350128475/Four-Days-with-Jack
Page Foundry: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/fa9ee1d1-3b1c-4e9c-b8ce-138ac7f472eb
24 Symbols: https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=2275200

You can find Kelli at:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/
Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of heroines.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Update on the ALLIE Fringe Festival


I’ve been asked to post on the ALLIE Fringe Festival so here’s a few highlights.
The second workshop I attended, and for me, the most interesting was Instafreebie Explosion.  I had never heard of Instafreebie.  It explained how to add thousands of targeted readers to your email list. I’ve learned that everything is about having a big email list.  You can use it to send free copies to beta readers, or competition winners, and ebooks on multiple devices –not just kindle. You can start with a basic free account which gives you one author page. I haven’t used it yet but this looks like something I could use.

You can then upgrade to the Plus Account $20 a month but you get a free month. So if you’re looking at trying this out – schedule 2-3 events during your free month and see if it’s worth it to upgrade to the Plus Account. https://www.instafreebie.com/
Another workshop discussed Marketing Tips to a Best Selling Book. She listed 10 points that would help.
- Reviews – ask Facebook or Goodreads
- Giveaways – free chapters, free copies
- Cross promos with other author s – same genre
-  Joint author mailings
- Promo giveaways – cross promoting
- Book bundle competitions
- Promo Giveaway – Paid Service (EG. Book Hub)
- Newsletter swap
- Paid ads – Facebook, Amazon, Book Bub
- Pricing Strategy

Check back Thursday for an author interview on marketing. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Heroes or Protagonists with Dr. Bob Rich - Plus Free Books


Today we're lucky to have Dr. Bob Rich join us.
I'm reposting the article for those of you who might have missed it the first time. Bob writes books that make you think. I find them fascinating and usually not what I was expecting. 
Plus, Bob is going to giveaway 3 books to 3 people who comment on this post. A great way to check out a new author if you haven't read his books.

Welcome Bob, and thanks for your generosity in giving away three books.

Beverley asked me to talk about heroes. They
are definitely a Good Thing in a story, and so are villains, but neither are necessary. My science fiction novel Sleeper, Awake [ http://bobswriting.com/sleeper.html ] doesn’t have any villains at all. It is full of conflict, and misunderstandings, and strife, but we can see that everyone is well-intentioned from within their own frame of reference. There are two heroes, but you don’t find out who they are until the last few paragraphs (it is cheating to peek ahead).
I didn’t plan it that way -- this was what revealed itself to me. Mind you, there are many other hidden heroes. The best one is Sam in Tolkien’s Ring Trilogy. People take Frodo to be the hero. After all, he is the Ring Bearer, and all the baddies attack him, and all the goodies support him, but... but everything he achieves is thanks to Sam. When Frodo collapses, Sam looks after him. When Frodo loses hope, Sam gets him to keep going. Always in the background, always self-effacing, he is the person who makes it all possible.

This also happens in real life. Edmund Hillary is everyone’s hero of Everest, but Tenzing Norgay is at least his equal.
 
Certainly, most of my favorite books are clearly focused on a hero. This includes The Belgariad by David Eddings. It is all about Garion, a somewhat bumbling boy bred over many generations to be the one who is destined to duel with a god. I have also read every book Dick Francis has written. Each has a hero who appears to be an ordinary man at the beginning of the story, but in reaction to terrible circumstances, he achieves extraordinary things. The underlying message is that we all have heroism within us.

I think that’s what heroes are for.
 
We can use them for boosting a tiny ego, as in Walter Mitty, who imagined himself in every role he came across as a larger-than-life heroic figure, or, at the other extreme, we can be inspired to change our lives and become better people because we wish to be like that person in the story. In my work as a psychotherapist, I have come across many instances of a fictional person being a positive influence in someone’s life.

Personally, I’ve used a hero in a variation of this. There is a psychological technique I’ve often used with my clients: “Write a film script in which the hero has experienced your life, and lives in your circumstances. Only, have this person behave in the way you wish you could.” We encourage the client to make the film script as concrete, detailed and vivid as possible. Then, of course, we ask the client to step into the role, and ACT it. Well, I don’t write film scripts but novels, so that’s what I did for myself. My novel Ascending Spiral [ http://bobswriting.com/ascending.html ] is the story of Pip, including several of his past lives. Actually, all of Pip’s experiences are from my life. His history and circumstances are mine. I’ve made enough changes to protect the guilty, but otherwise Pip is my doppelganger. Only, he handles everything in the way I wish I had. He is the hero I aspire to be, as a self-therapy. This includes the past lives: an Irish boy in Viking times; an Irish peasant caught up in the rebellion of 1798, and then transported to New South Wales to be a slave; a cultured, sensitive young woman in Victorian times who marries a monster; a person with completely different anatomy and physiology on a faraway planet somewhere; a Space Flower who lives in the space around a star and can move from one star to another; and a Jewish boy born in Hungary while the bombs were falling, who comes to Australia to become a psychologist.

The point of the book is to make a difference in the lives of my readers. As an excellent by-product, it has made a difference in my life.

Beverley has asked me if a story can have more than one hero.

Yes. My novel Hit and Run [ http://bobswriting.com/hitandrun.html ] is only waiting for a cover before being published. Incidentally, while we are waiting, I am happy to send out free advance review copies to anyone who asks. Link is at my website. Of course, the payment is a review. The two major characters in the story are completely different. Sylvia is an 84 year old lady whose body is full of pain, and who has a lot of self-doubt, but she earns everyone’s admiration while doing her best to save a multiple murderer from himself and from a society which has only one reaction to crime: punishment. I wish I could be like Sylvia, and every reader’s response so far has been the same. She is an admirable hero who indeed could influence you to change your life.
 
The other hero is the multiple murderer, the delinquent from the slums. His abuse started at birth, when his mother named him Chuck (because she’d vomited lots during the pregnancy). It never stopped. He hated the world, hated everyone except his little brother, so at fourteen years of age he set out to kill as many people as possible. He succeeded in murdering seven little children and the crossing supervisor, barely missing old Sylvia. He is a hero for two reasons: while Sylvia is the narrator, Charlie is the focus of the story. And his progress is something people don’t believe possible, but is realistic. I have worked with clients who turned away from crime and violence and became decent people, invariably because they identified with a major figure in their lives. There is research to support the validity of this concept. So, if you get to understand and like Charlie, your attitude to the baddies of your life may change, making you into a better person. I’ve said, that’s a hero’s role.

My just-published story Guardian Angel [ http://bobswriting.com/guradian.html ] has a very different hero. She is an angel, but one who has never been a human, so needs to live a few human lives in order to understand us. This means, she needs to experience suffering and joy, hate and love, all the many facets of being a person on Earth. She chose a life to give her maximum opportunity for learning. Her arrival was in 1850, so she decided to be born into an Aboriginal family in New South Wales, what is now Australia.

All readers but one so far have loved the story. The one exception is a friend who rejects paranormal phenomena like angels and telepathy and stuff. Well, this is to publicly let him know, there is interesting suggestive evidence for the existence of angels -- people who no longer need to be born into a body because they have learned the ultimate lesson of unconditional love for all living beings. Many people are sure there are guardian angels, because of personal experiences they can interpret in no other way. For example, I have a friend who was once driving on a narrow, winding road, alone in her car. Without warning, she heard a male voice shout, “Pull over!” In automatic response, she wrenched at the steering wheel -- and a speeding car coming the other way rushed through the space she’d just vacated.

OK, what should a hero be like? My best model is the typical Dick Francis character. The hero should be sufficiently like you and me to enable us to make an identification (“Yes, I could be that person”), but through a series of natural-seeming steps, should become larger than life. We as readers should come to deeply care for the hero, compelling us to read on.

Having re-read my little essay, I’ve realized something. If my definition is right, many stories don’t have heroes, but only protagonists: people the story is about. These are the books we read and forget.

Bio
Dr Bob Rich is an Australian storyteller with 16.5 published books, 5 of them award-winners. He has so far retired from 5 different occupations, but is still a writer, editor, environmental campaigner and, above all, professional grandfather. All the kids on this planet qualify as his grandchildren, so if you have a miniperson in your life, Bob sends a hug. Because he cares for kids, everything he does, including his writing, is aimed at saving a future for them, and a future worth surviving in.

BUY LINKS
http://bobswriting.com/ascending.html
https://bobswriting.com/guardian.html
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6989862-sleeper-awake

You can contact Bob at these web sites
Blog https://bobrich18.wordpress.com
Writing site http://bobswriting.com
Psychology site http://anxietyanddepression-help.com
Conservation site http://mudsmith.net

Don't forget to leave a comment for one of those free books.
And after the weekend check out the permalink at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/heroes-or-protagonists-with-dr-bob-rich.html
It will be up until July 1st when he’ll announce the winners of the books.