Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Zrinka Jelic Talking About Heroes

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Zrinka Jelic. March’s theme is ‘Heroes’ so Zrinka will be talking about heroes. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Zrinka lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get.

“Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

Beverley: What do you think makes a hero, either in real life or in books?
Zrinka: I used to like dark, brooding type, a tortured soul. But now I wrote my first Romantic comedy, I prefer an easy going, all loving type of guy. And the same goes for real life heroes. Someone who would not have to think twice to help someone in distress at any price. Like those two guys who helped a girl to the finish line in half marathon when her legs gave up a mere steps before.
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Zrinka: Yes, conflict moves the story forward, the characters must work together toward the common goal. Even if they don’t start with the common goal, they need to end up there. But a good inner conflict is often hard to achieve. In romances, some authors think there should be an inner conflict between hero and heroine and why they should never be together. I find such conflicts weak.  I’ve read books where the inner conflict is rather weak. In one sentence the hero thinks he’d never compromise the heroine in such way, but by the end of the chapter, he’s peeling her clothes off. Or when they throwing ‘I hate you’s’ all throughout the book, then end up jumping in the bed by the end. That’s not much of a conflict. I like to set the story in such way so that there’s an outer conflict that will ultimately drive the inner conflict on the surface.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Zrinka: Since high school, but only got into it seriously about six years ago. Beverley:What genre do you write in and why?
Zrinka: I write romances. Why? Love makes the world go round. Some say money does that, but what’s money without love? If there’s no love, would there be this world?
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Zrinka: Pretty much anything, books, movies, even Hallmark commercials.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Zrinka: My kids fighting.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Zrinka: On my couch.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Zrinka: I like the two frogs in Tijuana Toads, a fat one was called El Toro, if I’m not mistaken, and a skinny one’s Poncho. Why I like them? They’re quite characters each with totally different personalities yet somehow in some crazy way they work together. Opposites attracted here.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Zrinka: Anyone I’d like to meet it’s either dead, a fictional character or dead. Any would make my day, whether they appear in flesh or in spirit.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Zrinka: Are we talking free from everything or just my day job? Because cleaning and tidying the house is a job in itself. I can easily spend a whole day but in less than a week the place will look like something you see on the episode of the “Hoarders”.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Zrinka: I’m in between edits. My first self-published novel titled “The Wedding Date” should be getting released in a few days so keep your eye out for that. My romantic suspense previously published with CHBB under the title “Gypsy Stone” is being re-released by The Wild Rose Press under the title “Dangerous Benevolence”. I just signed the contract for it last week so I don’t have any dates on release for it yet. I will announce it once I have more.

Blurb for Love Remains
Olivia Owen, a busy, single, high-functioning, corporate executive officer, is not afraid to die a spinster for the sake of her career. But in an alternate reality world, bridged by the angel of her Down’s syndrome sister, she meets Tom Medar, a dedicated, Croatian defense attorney who dreams of the right woman, but never has time to find her. Together they foil an adulterous murder plot while discovering there’s room for love and family in their busy lives—but not before they are separated again.
When they awaken from their alternate world, will they be able to cross countries to find each other again?

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 You can find Zrinka at:

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview. This time it’s a discussion on covers. Should be interesting.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Book-in-a-Week (BIAW) does not mean you actually write BIAW. For each individual, the goal varies. Some people want a kick in the butt to get writing. Others are looking for motivation to write, or finish the book, or a chapter. Others want to get back to writing and develop a habit of writing daily.
I organize four Book-in-a Week’s during the year. Our March one has just started and we have almost 50 people doing this one. The number of participants varies each session and the time of year.  And their goals all vary.

Each person sets their own writing goals for each day and then submits their daily word count. That’s the accountability part. 
Have you done a BIAW? Was it valuable to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Becca St. John on Heroes

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Becca St. John. March’s theme is ‘Heroes’ so Becca will be talking about heroes. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.

An Accidental Writer ~ Writing was a tool, not a toy, until a stay in a haunted hotel and a bookcase full of dog-eared romances. Hooked, Becca read old romances, new romances, both sexy and sweet, until her own tales begged to be written.

Living in Florida, Becca divides her time between dreaming up stories, diving deep into history, kayaking, and swimming. Her husband gives her the space she needs by fishing in the mangroves and waterways, or watching football (the English sort) with his British buddies. Becca and her hubby break the routine with adventure travel; though, at heart, Becca is a homebody believing there is no greater playground than inside the mind.
Thank you, Beverley, for this opportunity to post on your blog! What fun!

Beverley: What do you think makes a hero, either in real life or in books?
Becca: Wonderful question and cuts right to the marrow of what romance readers have in common ~ Heroes are men who believe in love of all kinds, partnerships, familial and community, and hold up their side of these relationships. You can count on your hero, no matter what. He will have flaws, but he is tenacious in love and doesn’t let the bad times scare him away. He will take on life as it is, without trying to escape. Kind of like my hubby *smile*!
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Becca: There isn’t a story without conflict, both inner and outer. That’s what we read for, to see how these characters are going to wrangle with their own inner doubts or demons while overcoming barriers in their path. That doesn’t mean there aren’t light moments, moments for both character and reader to rest but, as in real life, stuff happens and life is riddled with obstacles and challenges. The beauty of romance is the endings, with positive outcomes for all the hard work.
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroes, and why?
Becca: Ok, first I have to admit that I love all my own heroes. That’s what spurs me to write. Outside of them, my all time favorite hero is the Duke of Jervaulx, from Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. This is a truly flawed hero whom we love, thanks to Kinsale’s brilliance.  So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that The Beast, in Beauty and the Beast, is another one of my heroes, which leads to yet another top pick, Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, from Eloisa James’s When Beauty Tamed the Beast.  Guess you can see where I’m going.
Beverley: Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.
Becca: Most of my heroes are the forceful, overbearing sorts, who need a strong woman to counter them. Like most of the men I know, they see the world from their perspective and act accordingly, pushing their own agenda. But they love, deeply, without reserve. Sometimes, it is merely their belief in marriage, family, and community that sends them off in pursuit of the heroine but, by the end, their world tips unequivocally into love and they learn to widen their agenda.
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your hero?
Becca: When I can answer that, I will write a book on how it’s done. I don’t develop the characters, they step into my life and, as I write, they surprise me with tidbits. It’s an agonizing way to work, but also quite thrilling to finish a scene and sit back in wonder of these fabulous characters filling the page.  My greatest angst is that I might not do them justice because, inside my head and heart, they are fully fleshed out with all sorts of strengths and flaws.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Becca: A long time … though I never took it seriously at first. My degree was in theater. While working on the degree, I would write and produce plays, thinking of myself as a director and producer. The writing was just part of the process. At the same time, I wrote articles to help finance my life, but saw that as a means to an end, not for the ability to convey a message. It wasn’t until I was introduced to romance novels ~ as an adult ~ that the lid was lifted on all the stories and characters and situations inside me.  Dare I admit, that was 20 years ago? And I will say here, without regret, that I threw away my first seven books. They’d been reworked to death. If I ever decide to write them again, they will be better for the fresh start.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Becca: A good friend of mine was a producer at the BBC. She often spoke of how difficult it was to produce historical shows because of all the research. For years, this intimidated me from even trying to write anything but contemporary. Now, it’s all I write; Medieval romantic adventure and Regency romantic mystery. That’s my reading preference, as well. It helps that I married an Englishman and, for the first six years of our marriage, lived outside London. During that time, I couldn’t get enough of the local history and became, what I call, a castle hopper. Guess a lot of the research just happened, much like my writing, without my even knowing it.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Becca: The romance genre. Don’t get me wrong, reading is a passion, all sorts of books, but it was reading romance that created the itch, my own stories tickling me until I started writing. My mentors would have been Jayne Ann Krentz, Emma Darcy, Joan Wolf, Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Eloisa James, Laura Kinsale … the list goes on.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Becca: Family ~ writing time was time stolen from the family. But for me, family is not just flesh and blood, hubby and children, but an extended community of friends I choose to call family.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Becca: Silence and a keyboard ~ sometimes, when starting on a new scene, I just have to start typing to get the idea there. Something like, “ok, folks, who wants to speak up here? We’ve just had x happen and …” about that point the story starts to flow.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Becca: My husband is a whistler ~ stops me with the first note. He’ll breeze into the house, whistling the Rolling Stones or some such, while my head will be deep in Medieval Scotland. The contrast is jarring, but how can I be get angry with someone who is happy enough to be whistling?
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Becca: Tea, then coffee … tea after yoga and meditation and coffee an hour or so later when hubby wakes. Sometimes granola. I make a wicked granola, worth having for lunch.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Becca: Junk clothes ~ I live in Florida, so it is often something easy to pull on like a sundress. Nothing confining.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Becca: On a couch in my study, or in my bedroom. My worst vice is sitting cross-legged, which is awful, a real no-no.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Becca: Of course! Betty Boop! I have a little Betty Boop character who will join me on my research trip this spring. If you read The Gatehouse, you’ll learn why Lady Eleanor will be traveling.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Becca: Eleanor Roosevelt ~ she was a very strong woman, a good woman, but her life had its miseries.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Becca: Read! Better yet, kayak out into the mangroves, anchor up in this lovely secluded area, and read.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Becca: Writing this in January, so in the last throws of getting The Gatehouse released on the 30th. Lots of other things as well. Listening to the final version of Steve Worsley’s audible narration of The Reah. Working with Mary Sarah Agliotta on the narration for three books, An Independent Miss, and the first two Lady Eleanor Mysteries; Summerton and The Gatehouse. Those are due for release spring of 2017. And, of course, setting up my research for my trip to SE Asia, where Lady Eleanor will go in the next book. I leave in a week, for nearly three months, so there is a lot to do

Blurb for The Gatehouse, Lady Eleanor Mysteries, book 2
Regency romantic mystery with a touch of Gothic

A deaf aristocrat fights to protect all he loves from a killer he cannot hear

Moments before the wedding, Christopher Sterry finds the groom, his twin brother, murdered. One would expect Christopher to become the next Earl of Longford. No one would be surprised if he married his twin’s almost-bride, Helen Grove. She is, after all, his closest friend and confidante.
Except Christopher is deaf in an inflexible world that believes a deaf mute is no better than a barbaric half-wit, unfit to be an earl and quite capable of murdering his brother.
Helen waits at the altar while her groom lies murdered in the folly. But there is no time to mourn. Christopher is in danger and so, it appears, is she.  Born to marry the earl of Longford, whoever that may be, Helen ignores her own risks and crosses into the line of fire to protect the man who holds her heart.

Lady Eleanor solves crimes more thoroughly than any male magistrate. So, when Christopher, her godson, is condemned without evidence, she sets out to prove both his innocence and his competence as earl. If she fails, Christopher will die… or be returned to an asylum worse than hell.

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Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Readers – What About Settings?

It’s been said that settings are as important as characters, or even that they can be d considered a third character. What do you think? As and author, when you choose a setting, is it one you know? If not how do you write it?
And as a a reader, do you read books set in your area and look for complete accuracy? What pulls you our of the story?
I finally finished By Design and I’m now working on Death Southern Style, set in New Orleans. I’ve visited there once or twice in the past, for conferences or to board a cruise ship. I didn’t go specifically to research it. I have some idea of the French Quarter, the Garden District and Jackson Square. I’ve done online research on residential areas around those areas. I’ve done more research on the style of houses and maybe hidden rooms. And I’ve researched the weather and the seasons, as well as voodoo. And incorporated all this into my story.

Is this adequate? Is it enough for a reader to suspend their belief and be drawn into the story? Will there be people who say, she has no idea what she’s talking about? I’d love to hear from you as a reader and what you look for in a setting when reading fiction. This is, as the title suggests, a romantic suspense.

Friday, March 17, 2017

How Real Are Your Characters to You?

This month Dr. Bob suggested the topic. It’s an interesting one. Are you ever emotionally drained by writing certain scenes, and how real are your characters to you?
For me this depends on my characters and the plot. It’s a combination. And the second part of the topic is partially the answer. When I begin to write a new story, I’m getting acquainted with my characters. I don’t know them that well. So, early in the writing I don’t get emotionally drained. As the book progresses and I learn more about the characters they become real and part of my family.  I begin to feel their pain and losses. I’m rooting for them to achieve their goals.

Usually near the end when the heroine and hero have a deep emotional scene – I’m there with her.
In Hunted, the mob has tracked down Maggie. They’re in her house. I’m writing the scene, but I’m feeling the panic of both Maggie and Gabe.

In Targeted, Janna almost hits a small, shivering bedraggled dog on the road. She picks him up and puts him inside her jacket to, maybe, stop the shivering. I’m almost sympathizing and want to pat the dog.
And in By Design, when Evie is running for her life, I’m feeling the terror and my pulse rate is escalated.

I can hardly wait to hear what the rest of the group have to say. Off to check out:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Luanna Stewart Blogging on Heroes

Today we’re going to find out a little about author Luanna Stewart. March’s theme is ‘Heroes’ so Luanna will be talking about heroes. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered her grandmother's stash of romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys, and two cats. When she's not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.
Writing under the pen name Grace Hood, she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press.

And don’t forget to read right to the end of the Q&A and make a comment – because Luanna’s doing a surprise give-away. :)

Beverley: What do you think makes a hero, either in real life or in books?
Luanna: A hero needs to be morally strong and ethically sound. He must have a sense of humour, especially about himself. And he must be willing to give his heart while not expecting anything in return. He should be self-aware enough to know he’s not perfect. Physical beauty isn’t required, or even reasonable, but he should be attractive to the heroine, even if it’s only one aspect of his appearance. Like his brilliant blue eyes that make her knees go weak.
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Luanna: Conflict makes the world go round in pretty much all fiction. Otherwise, what would be the point? I certainly wouldn’t bother reading a story in which the heroine and/or hero goes about their business in their own perfect world, tra la la. I feel there should be both outer and inner conflict. The heroine has a mission to complete or a bad guy to foil, and at the same time has to overcome her feelings of inadequacy caused by her early life experiences. And those feelings of inadequacy had better get in the way of completing her mission or catching the bad guy.   
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroes, and why?
Luanna: My all-time favourite hero is Sebastian, Lord Dain, from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. He is so wounded and fragile on the inside, and yet is a big brute on the outside. He is far from the perfect gentleman, a real scoundrel, but that’s part of his charm.
Beverley: Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.
Luanna: The hero in If Wishes Were Earls, Edward, Lord Claverlock, is thrice widowed and feels undeserving of happiness. He’s tied to the earldom and allows his responsibilities to govern his actions. He’s given up on finding love and is resigned to a lonely life with only his books for company. The heroine, Miranda, is a twenty-seven-year-old spinster who is determined to wed a wealthy man with a title because then all her troubles will be over and her life will be perfect, her days filled with teas and visiting and her evenings taken up with parties and balls. A titled bachelor is hard to come by though so she is resigned to a life of keeping house for her father.
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your hero?
Luanna: After I’ve found my character I learn everything I can about her/him through a series of 54 question that attempt to discover her/his past, beliefs, likes, hates, etc. I pick away at the character’s shell until I discover what really bothers him/her and what holds him/her back from true happiness.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Luanna: I’ve been writing with an eye toward publication for ten years. The first couple of those years were filled with discovering that I had a ton to learn about fiction writing, and also about the publishing business.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Luanna: I write romance and am published in contemporary, romantic suspense, and historical. I also have a couple paranormal manuscripts waiting in the wings and hope to either get those with a publisher or get them self-published this year. Apart from romance I’m dabbling in figuring out how to write a cosy mystery.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Luanna:   I’m not sure anyone influenced me to become a writer. I fell into the rabbit hole all on my own.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Luanna: I’m not sure I’d use the word obstacles. This book, being an historical romance, required a fair amount of research. I love research. Perhaps my love of research could be called an obstacle because I could happily spend all my writing time delving into the past.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Luanna: The idea for a character sparks a “what if” question which leads to a “why?” and another “why?” and another and another. Pretty soon I’ve created a real person. Well, real to me. And I can’t wait to tell his/her story.
Beverley:  What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Luanna: There’s nothing worse than getting stuck, not knowing how to move the story forward. For me it’s usually because I’ve veered off script, so to speak. I’ve allowed a subplot to distract me, or a secondary character has taken over. Revisiting my pre-writing work is often enough to get me heading in the right direction.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Luanna: I usually have a small bowl of spoon-sized shredded wheat with skim milk. A couple times a week I splurge on a slice of toast (home-made bread) spread with peanut butter. I drink a glass of orange juice to wake up my taste buds, and at least one cup of coffee to wake up my brain.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Luanna: I’ll be totally honest here and confess to wearing my pyjamas for most of the morning, which is my prime writing time.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Luanna: My writing spot varies depending on where I am in the process. The first draft happens with me seated at my desk tapping on the keyboard. When that’s done, I print the manuscript, fill my fountain pen with purple ink, and sit in my easy chair, along with a yellow pad and a few stacks of sticky notes. I’m better able to edit and revise on hard copy and I’ve even cut (with scissors) and pasted (with tape) when I need to move scenes around.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Luanna: Golly, I’ve not watched cartoon in eons! I would choose the old Warner Bros. cartoons – Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety & Sylvester.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Luanna: I would dearly love to meet Queen Elizabeth II. I’m Canadian and have always watched/enjoyed/appreciated the British monarchy. I think Her Majesty would be charming, would have interesting tales to tell, and I suspect she has a sharp sense of humour.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Luanna: Good heavens, the mere thought of a free day is mindboggling. There is always something to do in the writing business. But if I were forced from the house, I’d go for a hike and pack a picnic that included a bottle of wine, some spicy sausage, and something decadent and chocolate for dessert.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Luanna: Right now, I’m working on the second book in a new historical series, the first of which is with one of my publishers. I’m super excited about this new series which follows a group of women as they each find their place in a society very different from the one they’re used to, very much a fish-out-of-water story.

Luanna: And now I’ll turn the questions back on the readers. If you had an unexpected free day what would YOU do with it?
One commenter will receive a hand-knitted (by me) washcloth and a bar of handcrafted soap. (USA and Canada only.)

Blurb from If Wishes Were Earls
A mysterious letter and an enchanted keepsake promise to lead Miranda to her heart's desire. Or does her heart secretly yearn for more than a sexy earl?

When a mysterious note directs Miss Miranda Large to a tiny village in Cornwall to find her heart's desire, she has no choice but to go. An enchanted keepsake heightens her curiosity. A snowstorm forces her to accept the hospitality of a sullen, albeit sexy and handsome, earl and Miranda's wish doesn't seem so out of reach.
Edward Penhallion, the 12th Earl of Claverlock, is not in the mood to start his search for a new wife. He wants to be left alone with his books and his dreams of revenge. But the arrival of a headstrong, sharp-tongued spinster forces him to play the charming host. Not a difficult task, given her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, he’s not terribly eager for her to leave.

But as the snow falls and the winds blow, Edward discovers there’s more to Miranda than a lively wit and a lovely face. And Miranda wonders if the trappings of wealth are enough for true happiness.

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Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview on Heroes.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

St Patrick's Day and Corned Beef

March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day - one of my favorite days and I’m not Irish but I love corned beef and cabbage – and of course – green beer.
So off to Wikipedia to find out the history.  Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, ceilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day. And March 17th is traditional death date of Saint Patrick. (AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

As for the corned beef and cabbage – In every Irish establishment, and many others, especially around St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage will make its way onto the menu, marking a "tip of the cap" to the Irish around March 17. Another annual occurrence is Irish people complaining that this is not, in fact, an Irish dish at all, but is this true?

Beef was not readily available in Ireland and was considered a luxury and that’s why the traditional Irish meal centered around ham, the bacon. But when these Irish got off the boats in America it was quite the opposite. Corned beef was the meat that they could easily and more cheaply get their hands on and, so, this became the meal of choice for generations of Irish Americans to come.

In New England, a tradition formed of having a boiled dinner. For this dish, the corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes were boiled.

Many maintain that the dish is simply not Irish at all. According to, when the Irish arrived in America, they couldn’t find a bacon joint like they had in Ireland so they gravitated toward the Jewish corned beef, which was very similar in texture.
So there you go, and friends of mine who are Catholic, told me that and edict (or declaration) had come down that Catholics may eat corned beef (instead of fish) this Friday, March 17th – but they must do something nice for someone to compensate.
Happy St. Patrick's Day - a little early!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Author and Actress Charmaine Gordon on Heros

Today we’re going to find out a little about author Charmaine Gordon. March’s theme is ‘Heroes’ so Charmaine will be talking about heroes. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Charmaine says, “I didn’t spread my wings until we, as civilians, moved to New York. An actor friend who had seen me in community theater plays, said I should get off my butt to head for the city. I was wasting my time and so my hubs drew a map of how to drive to New York City-YIKES!- and away I went. Much to my surprise, I began to get work, a lot of work in daytime drama like 13 years on One Life to Live, A few years on Another World and more. Movies called for bit parts. My first was Working Girl where Mike Nichols beckoned. I held the balloons, cake and sang Happy Birthday to Melanie Griffith and during the break shared a hot dog with Harrison Ford. Another month-long movie where Anthony –call me Tony-Hopkins invited me to lunch with the leads and staff. What a sweet time. Also, When Harry Met Sally and we all sang with Carrie Fisher, young and pretty back then. During the run of an Off-Broadway play, I felt my voice change. The next day a famous voice doctor gave me bad news. “You have Spasmodic Dysphonia. Your good voice is gone.”
Creative juices continued to flow and I began to write without knowing what I was doing. Twenty-five stories later, I’m still getting the hang of this wonderful craft.

Beverley: What do you think makes a hero, either in real life or in books?
Charmaine: Courage is important, a willingness to speak for yourself and kindness to others. That’s a big one for me. Put a smile on your face and lend a hand to a stranger at the grocery store, crossing the street, just be pleasant. My first love joined the Air Force and became a pilot. After living a sheltered life in Chicago, when we married and I became an officer’s bride, my eyes opened wide to a wonderful world of giving, caring strong women and men who fought for our country. With the men often away on three to six month missions, women raised their families alone yet never alone because we bonded.

I’ve never lost the fire inside to hold my hand out and smile.
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Charmaine: Without conflicts, there is no story. I learned that early on. Life is definitely not a bowl of cherries. Writing fiction, the author must find a way, different paths toward conflict and resolution. In real life, I’ve always been a calm, collected happy woman, never arguing, just pleasant. My Mother had that quality. When I began to write, someone said, “So where’s the conflict?” Duh, what conflict. Really? For someone who isn’t feisty by nature, you must be clever or the story goes flat. 
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroes, and why?
Charmaine: The rugged, scarred face of Lucas Davenport, hero in John Sandford’s books is my kind of guy.  I enjoy John Sandford’s books because there’s so much humor blended in with crime. And then, above all, I love James Lee Burke considered to be one of the finest writers of today. If you haven’t read any one of his books, you’re missing a great read.
Beverley: Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.
Charmaine: Here goes. The Catch is about this handsome football player so full of himself and when the one girl he really cared about said NO, he got lost sleeping with a bunch of girls in college who meant nothing to him. The story begins on New Years Day when he wakes up to find a woman in his bed, a woman from an escort agency and finally he knows how low he’s fallen. The story takes off from there as he makes amends to his family and so much more. I so enjoyed writing this book. Well, I truly love writing all my books. Thanks for this fine question.
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your hero?
Charmaine: I do believe my acting background has a lot to do with how I see the characters grow. Just like planting seeds in a garden or watching your babies develop. It’s a wonder, this writing world we live in. I see them so clearly, hear their voices, know their names with no problem as if they are living beings. Delicious!  For instance, Tom Donnelly, the hero, is a football player. Picture this, I think, and he shows up, blond hair, wide shoulders, the quarterback with authority. He falls for Charlie Costigan, a girl who believes in chastity. She has no intention of allowing him in. Just a kiss will do. This changes his whole life until he, now a lawyer, crosses paths with Joanne McKenna Friedman, a smart young lawyer, beautiful on the outside, damaged on the inside. Conflict! Don’t we love it!

Excerpt from The Catch
The woman in his bed sat up and shoved him hard. “Times up, handsome.”

Tom Donnelly rolled over and blinked awake.

“My name’s Vicki in case you’ve forgotten.”

He attempted his winning grin; it didn’t work. Vicki. No Vicki came to his muddled mind. The fog lifted to recall speaking to an escort service for a date.

Naked, Vicki stalked to the bathroom with an armload of clothes picked up on the way. Five minutes later, money in her tight fist, Vicki came running out of the bathroom to scream in his face. “The deal was a thousand dollars. I count five hundred. Where’s the rest?” Hands on voluptuous hips she glared at him.

Head pounding from the world’s worst hangover, Tom stumbled to his dresser. Money hidden somewhere under. . .Clothes flew as he searched and came up with a roll of cash. He handed her four hundred fifty dollars. “Sorry, I’ll make it up next time.”

“Loser. Word gets around, no one’s gonna go with you. Not from the best service in town.” Vicki slammed the front door.

Tom shook his head. Happy New Year to me. Sunk so low I had to hire a date for the big party. Me, the Catch, every girl’s hope reduced to this.

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You can find Charmaine at:
Twitter  @CharJGordon

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview. This time it's on Heroes.