Friday, November 22, 2019

Odd Characters in a Novel

Now this is an interesting topic. What is the oddest character you have ever dreamed up, and how did they fit into a story?

First, I had to figure out what made a character odd? Their appearance, their occupation, their hobby, did they come from space? I write contemporary but with a touch of paranormal. My WIP has a dog that may have a paranormal element. My Hawkins Ranch series has a grove of trees where the spirits of Native Americans reside and talk to the owners of the ranch. I decided on Lillian Abernathy from A Cruise to Remember. She’s a widow in her sixties with Alzheimer’s and a touch of kleptomania. She wants to repeat a cruise she and her deceased husband had taken, to bring back memories, while she still can. She’s takes Hallie, the heroine with amnesia, on the cruise as her companion. They travel through the Caribbean where they are considered potential jewel thieves.

Lillian is a strong secondary companion who helps the story progress with both the plot development and the growth and development of the heroine. She plays matchmaker, and also brings a little of her own romance into the story.       
I’m looking forward to reading about other authors odd characters. Join me in checking them out.
Rhobin L Courtright

I’d also love to hear from people about the oddest character they’ve read about.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

M.S. Spencer and Orion's Foot

Ms. Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
M.S.: I write cozy murder mystery, romantic suspense, and some action/adventure/romance. By “cozy” I do not mean my heroine runs a bakery or keeps a cat or lives in the English countryside. It refers to an amateur sleuth who must deal with a puzzle, for example, a corpse in a locked room. I love creating a complicated path to the solution with lots of red herrings and twists and turns.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
M.S.: I always wanted to be a writer. I think if you’re as voracious a reader as I was, you eventually find yourself needing to make that leap into creating your own story, putting your own words on the paper.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
M.S.: Often when I’m surfing the internet I’ll come across an intriguing or crazy item & it triggers a story line. I learned of the “Ghost Hotel” that way. The Pit & the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel, takes place on Longboat Key, Florida, where in fact there stood the hulk of an unfinished Ritz-Carlton for decades. Begun by John Ringling of circus fame, it languished from 1926 to 1964. So…what would you find at a ghost hotel? Anyone?
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
M.S.: Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes. He’s both adorable and horrible, and his imagination soars higher and wider than anyone in the world. I love Pogo too, of course.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
M.S.: I have been a widow for 10 years now, and although I’ve tried various methods of finding a new fella, I have been unsuccessful. So, rather than choose some celebrity or writer or professor, the man I’d most like to meet is the one of my dreams.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
M.S.: Well, I used to go exploring—find a nature trail or historic site. Florida is chock full of fascinating places. I’d like to go to Weeki Wachee Springs and see the mermaids, or to Tarpon Springs to see the sponge divers. Then eat a lovely, looong Greek lunch. But I’d probably seize the day by sitting at my laptop and writing.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
M.S.: I’m working on a story now set in Maine—in the same town as The Penhallow Train Incident. I am not much into series, but I love the denizens of Penhallow and Amity Landing so much I had to let them live on in a new story.
The working title is Mrs. Spinney’s Secret. The story opens with Cassidy Jane Beauvoir, proprietor of Mindful Books and chairman of the Board of Overseers of Amity Landing, confronted with a Hollywood cabal that wants to make a movie in her tiny village. Her objections are overridden by the townspeople, and her initial misgivings must vie with a growing attraction to the film’s director Jasper MacEwan. Unfortunately, both the movie and their romance are hindered by a series of incidents—some fatal, some simply painful. The two must set aside both their differences and their romance to search for answers not only to the mystery, but to the whereabouts of a long lost hoard of English gold.

Monsters and mystery lurk deep in the Amazon—a tale of passion and obsession.
Orion—along with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor—is one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky. Most people zero in on the three stars that make up his belt, but the brightest star in the constellation is Rigel—his left knee or foot.
Orion was the son of Poseidon, who gave him the power to walk on water. He was a great hunter. In the excerpt below, Petra tells Emory why she wishes on Orion’s foot, and he in turn warns her to be careful of him.
Oddly enough, I came up with the title for Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, & Romance in the Amazon, separately from the actual inspiration for the book. I was sitting outside on a beautiful night and saw Orion—I’m sorry to say one of the few constellations I can identify. I thought, what a neat title for a book. There you have it.

Petra Steele is wallowing in self-pity after being dumped at the altar, when her brother Nick invites her to come to the Peruvian Amazon. Before she even sets her suitcase down, she's confronted with a murder victim. In a research station peopled with a quirky assortment of scientists, she is drawn to Emory Andrews, a gruff, big man with a secret past. That is, until his beautiful ex-wife shows up. More murders, more secrets, more mysteries ensue, all in the deeply romantic, sizzling jungle.

Excerpt from Orion’s Foot
After supper, she sought the hammock room,  hoping to see the capybaras again, but the lawn was  empty. For once, the sky was clear, and she wandered  out and down to the dock to enjoy the stars. Ah, there’s  Orion. Usually people chose Venus or Polaris, but Petra  always wished on Orion’s left foot. Nick had once asked her why. “Because it’s his foot that takes the first  stride across space.”
 “So what does that have to do with your wishes?”
 “Whenever I’m faced with a scary decision, Orion  gives me the courage to take the first step.”
 Nick had laughed at her. 
 As she closed her eyes and pondered her request, a  rustle sounded behind her. “Don’t fall in.”
Petra sprang forward and nearly did fall in, but a strong hand caught her around her waist and pulled her back. She felt warm breath in her ear. “Emory!”
He let go. “What are you doing anyway? You had one leg hovering over the water.”
“I guess the stars distracted me.” She glanced at him shyly. “I was wishing on Orion. Or rather, on his foot.” She pointed at the star twinkling below the famous belt.
“Why Orion?”
No need to let on how weird I am just yet. “It’s…uh…the only constellation I recognize?”
“It’s probably the only constellation most people recognize.” He looked down at her. “Okay, do you have a foot fetish, or what? Why wish on the foot?”
Just because Nick made fun of me doesn’t mean Emory will. “It brings me luck.”
“Like a rabbit’s foot, only better?”
She didn’t answer. The thing that had been simmering in the back of her mind for the last two days, obscured by the chaos of events, had made itself known. She knew what she wanted to wish for.
“Petra? Did you hear my question?”
Petra lowered her eyes to Emory. “I don’t know about better—but it serves the same function. See, everyone zeroes in on Orion’s belt, or his dog, or his manly physique, but his left foot—Rigel—is actually the brightest star in the constellation.”
He inspected the night sky. “True. And?”
“Well, it reminds me that when you have to take that first step into the unknown you…um…put your best foot forward. I look at Orion striding across the cosmos, and he helps me believe I can meet any challenge.”
Emory was silent for a minute. Petra was about to take her leave when he said, “Did you know that Orion claimed he was the greatest hunter of all time? Gaia sent a scorpion to kill him.”
“Huh. Who is Gaia?”
“Gaia means Earth—she’s the goddess the Greeks called the mother of all life—the primordial deity. The cool New Age kids all worship her. Don’t tell me you aren’t into crystals and yoga?”
“No. So why did Gaia want to kill Orion?”
“Because, to prove his prowess, he announced he was going to hunt down and kill all the animals in the world. Since Gaia is the guardian of every living thing, you might say his threat kinda ruffled her feathers.”
“I’ll bet. So she decided to kill him before he massacred her subjects. Did she succeed?”
“No. Another god—I forget his name—gave Orion the antidote. That’s why you never see both Orion and Scorpio in the sky at the same time.”
“So,” he said softly, “Orion is hardly the hero you want to set your heart on. All the stories of him involve power, lust, and murder.”

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Christmas with Barbara White Daille

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:

Thanks to Beverley for inviting me back to the blog!
As we’re approaching the winter holidays, I’m sharing a bit about One Week to Win Her Boss. The book is a sweet romance set in Snowflake Valley, which—as you’ll see below—is a tiny tourist town dedicated to celebrating Christmas.

Book Blurb from One Week to Win Her Boss:
Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It's a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she's the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…
A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude. 
Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she's looking for.  

From the book: 
Amber stared down at her coffee. “I was sorry you had to back out at the last minute. You would have made a great Santa yourself.” 
“Santa? Me?” Michael laughed. “Bah, humbug.”
His mocking tone surprised her. “You are a Scrooge, aren’t you? That’s so sad. Christmas is my favorite holiday.”
“Good thing for you, since there’s no getting away from it around here.”
She smiled wryly. “I can’t argue with that. Not when I live and work in a town called Snowflake Valley. As Mayor Corrigan would tell you”—she attempted to mimic his deep voice—“‘three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year, we cater to tourists celebrating the season.’ But you have to admit Christmas is a magical time. And I’m glad that magic brought Santa and Miss Elf their happy-ever-after.” The fact that Miss Elf was her sister made the good news even more special.
When he frowned, obviously puzzled, she smiled. “I forgot. You wouldn’t have heard the news yet. Lyssa and Nick are engaged.”
Michael snorted a laugh.
“What’s so funny?”
“Just reacting to the idea of Nick getting married.”
“Because you never thought he’d find the right girl?”
“No. Because I thought he was smart enough to know marriage isn’t a winning proposition.”
Her heart thumped. She set her mug on the tray and sat back again, tucking her suddenly cold hands beneath the edge of the afghan.
Yes, she wanted to be independent and in control as a single mom…but she didn’t want to be a single mom forever. She’d realized that truth the day she had met Michael. And even after last night’s conversation and this morning’s warnings to herself, she hadn’t given up on him.
Until this minute.
Until his one flat statement shattered all her hopes and dreams.
Where were Callie and Lyssa to save their little sister now? She could see them shaking their heads in disbelief at hearing this news. She could hear them, too.
Isn’t that just like poor Amber to mess things up?
Even as a four-year-old, she was always the mommy when she played house.
And now she’s crushing on a man who probably runs at the first mention of marriage.
And they would be right. Michael’s conviction was a chilling reminder she couldn’t trust her instincts about men.
Still, couldn’t she expect just one tiny Christmas miracle?

Find One Week to Win Her Boss (sale-priced at 99 cents through November 18th):
Entangled: - includes links to various booksellers

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Check Out Alice Renaud and Music for a Merman

I'm back finally with a great interview with Alice Renaud. (And I'll explain the last week in my next post)

Alice Renaud lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she's a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, out now.
Alice loves reading and writing stories and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Character Interview with-Charlotte Fitzwilliam (Charlie)
Beverley: What’s your name?
Charlotte: Charlotte Fitzwilliam. Everyone calls me Charlie – except my father, but we don’t talk very often. Which I’m quite happy about. We have a very difficult relationship.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Charlotte: Fitzwilliam Castle. A gloomy pile of stones, on my father’s estate. Full of ghosts and bad memories.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Charlotte: During a few sunny, magical summer days in St-Sulien, on the coast of Wales, UK.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Charlotte: I have a difficult relationship with my parents. They were always very strict with me, and I think that they preferred my younger brother. I felt that I would never be good enough for them. So I gave up trying. I was always a bit of a rebel. I’ve always cared about nature and wild animals, so when I left home (blessed relief) I became an environmental activist. An eco-warrior. That brought me even more into conflict with my father, because he owns companies that have no respect for the environment and do a lot of damage to beautiful areas.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Charlotte: When the story starts, I’m in the village of St-Sulien, protesting against a new development there that’s threatening the marine wildlife. I get arrested by a young cop, Rob Regor. I try to convert him to my cause, but end up feeling more and more attracted to him.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Charlotte: I’m only looking for a fling… Initially. Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that’s always been my motto. That way I can’t get hurt. But Rob is different… Very different in fact! He’s actually a shape shifting merman, but when I discover that, it only makes me fall for him even more. Which is a problem, as he is forbidden from having a relationship with a human woman… and his father hates humans!
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Charlotte: There isn’t really any time to make a plan. Events take a strange turn… And I am changed in ways I could not have imagined.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Charlotte: All my life I’ve yearned to be close to the ocean, I’m never happier than when I’m near the sea, or better still, in it! I have this recurring dream where I swim and sing with all the other marine creatures. Maybe that’s why I can’t help being drawn to Rob, even though it puts us both in danger.

Blurb from Music for a Merman

Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble... especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.
Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Spy on humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Merman Clan. It should be easy. Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?
Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that was Charlie’s motto. It had served her well until now. But Rob is different… Can she open up her heart to Rob - when a secret buried in her past surfaces and changes her completely?
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