Posts tagged “characters

Work-in-Progress Teaser: BETWEEN THE DEMON AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA

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My inspiration for Khalid – my novel’s anti-hero

I am very proud of my current progress on writing Between the Demon and the Deep Blue Sea and I’m grateful for the support of my critique partners and friends, who have had a chance to read some of it. Although, I haven’t begun revising the novel – I’m currently still in the drafting phase (and even that is more of a skeleton draft) – I am excited to share a teaser from the opening chapter.

The winter chill bit into her skin, but Shay valiantly ignored the discomfort as she navigated her way through shadows and moonlight. The heels of her borrowed six-inch stilettos clicked on the pavement. There were no security cameras in the empty parking lot. The lighting dim. And the only other residents nearby were two rooms down, with the curtains drawn.

The Casablanca Motel, located in the part of Vancouver that would never make it into travel brochures, made the perfect hiding spot. Officially, it was a roadside retreat for the desperate, weary traveler. Unofficially, the motel offered its clients services of the check in, make out, and check out variety. The oh-so-romantic decor included an overflowing green garbage bin. Nearby, a rat enjoyed the seedy ambience as it nibbled delicately on a fuzzy, half-eaten slice of pepperoni pizza from Peppito’s Pizzeria…or so the cardboard container claimed. She was sure that Peppito — whoever he was — would love to know that his clientele had expanded to the four-legged variety.

Deciding that it was better to give the rodent and his dinner some privacy, Shay focused on room 409. Her target was in that room. According to the file that she had received from River Cameron, her best friend and boss, the werewolf she was tracking currently went by the name of Ambrose Bellwood. The very active Mr. Bellwood was accused of identity fraud, grand theft auto, money laundering, drug trafficking…and the list went on. Apparently, if one lived as long as werewolves did, you could really diversify your personal portfolio. But it wasn’t until recently, when Bellwood added murder to his repertoire during his escape from police custody, that someone in charge decided enough was enough and the city’s enforcers had been called to deal with the problem. It wasn’t unusual. The Enforcers Academy had more manpower and better resources to deal nonhuman threats, but working for the police meant that they were basically doing this for free. But as River claimed, occasional charity work was good publicity for the Academy.

As an enforcer, Shay had been tasked with the job of hauling Bellwood’s ass back to jail for a much needed time out — okay, so the official job description may have varied a bit in phrasing, but the sentiment was the same.

It was too bad the order hadn’t said dead or alive. A kill order would have saved Shay at least twenty-four hours of surveillance time, not to mention she could have avoided having to squish her feet into heels that were a size too small. The back of her ankles stung with every step. Shay was going to have an angry set of blisters by the time this job was over. Unfortunately, her orders were to bring in Bellwood alive because her contact in the RCMP wanted him to roll over and tattle on his accomplices. That, of course, meant finding a way to get close to him.

It had been River’s idea that the easiest way to get close to him was to play on his weakness for scantily dressed females….hence, the blink-and-it-might-disappear dress and medieval torture devices on her feet.

Shay bent one leg to massage her ankle before continuing the rest of the way to Bellwood’s room. When she was less than a foot away from the door, she paused. Like the rest of the motel, the door needed to be doused in bleach. It was marked with fingerprints and a rainbow of stains. Shay curled her nose at the thought of having to touch her knuckles to the incognito petri dish, but steeled herself to knock.

River needs to give me a raise.

She pulled her hand away from the door after knocking thrice. Absently, she rubbed the back of her dirtied appendage on the ridiculously expensive scrap of cloth she was wearing. The red silk rasped against her skin.

Shay barely managed to get the look of disgust off her face before the door swung open. Bellwood stood on the other side, wearing an unbuttoned white dress shirt and black pants. Both looked expensive.

Well, well, well, I guess crime pays after all.

Shay is such an easy character to write. Her voice comes naturally, but other characters – Khalid, and even River, who both make appearances later – are a bit harder to write. The story is written in third person, but I’m playing it safe and writing most of the novel from Shay’s focal point. I have drafted a chapter – just one – from Khalid’s perspective and it was a difficult transition because I still don’t know him very well as a character.

Which brings me to the question – how well do you actually need to know your characters before you start writing a story? 

I never know my characters until I start putting words to paper, but they begin to flesh out as the plot develops. Of course, this may or may not be the best method for writing.

Hope you enjoyed the teaser,

Rika Ashton (aka The Tentative Writer)

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Throwback Thursday: HIS LADY BRIDE by Shayla Black

I came across this historical reissue by Shayla Black yesterday as I was browsing my library for new reading materials. His Lady Bride was originally published in 2000 under the name Shelley Bradley, but Ms. Black has been self-publishing and re-releasing a few of her older novels written with this pen name.

Cover of the 2014 reissue

Return to an age of danger and chivalry, when three daring knights—fostered together since boyhood in the warrior tradition—face their greatest challenge: winning the hearts of the women they love.

A passionate battle of wills…

He was a legend on the battlefield, but Aric Neville, known throughout England as the White Lion, had had his fill of intrigue and bloodshed. So he threw down his sword and walked away, to live a solitary life, cultivating a reputation as a sorcerer. But his prized tranquility was shattered when the villagers brought him a bride.

Gwenyth de Auburd was a raven-haired beauty too impudent to ignore and too tempting to resist. When the war raging around them sucked Aric into his past again, he also fought a losing battle against his undeniable desire for the luscious, willful maiden… only to learn that he had come to cherish as his wife

I started the novel last night and I’m a quarter of the way through. It’s definitely entertaining and amusing, although at times I wasn’t fond of the heroine, Gwenyth. Gwenyth came across as a bit selfish at first, but through no fault of her own. But as I read further into the novel, I had to reexamine my opinion of the heroine. The more I read, I realized that Gwenyth was ambitious rather than selfish. She really didn’t want anything more for herself than what anyone could expect. I nice home, food, clothes, etc.

However, the problem was that I had gotten to know Aric, the hero, better from the beginning. I got to read about the disastrous war with Richard III, and how this affected him, so naturally I had begun to empathize with him from the start. I understood Aric desire for peace away from the horrors he had lived through.

Nonetheless, had I not read about Aric or known about his past from the start, my opinion of him would have been completely different. I certainly would have empathized with Gwenyth for being saddled with an ambition-less bum for a husband more openly because that is what he would have come across as.

So far Gwenyth and Aric are really making me question making snap judgments about characters…all this and I’m not even halfway through the book.

Original cover from 2000

Have you ever met a character that made you doubt the importance of first impressions? What book were they in? What did you learn about yourself as a reader?

Rika Ashton

(aka The Introspective One)


For the Love of Man Candy!

In order to tide me over to the release of Deception Cove by Jayne Castle, I’ve been stalking – er, researching – potential Kale candidates. (Kale is my hero/anti-hero/villain from Dagger of the Sun – what can I say, he’s complicated!)

Here are some that I found:

Introducing the delectable Paul Marron!

kale

And the gorgeous Luke Evans!

luke evans

And this dude, who’s name I still have to learn!

Unknown 2

And last, but definitely not least!

unknown 3 (Jackal)

Kale is supposed to be dark haired and dark-eyed, but I never let a little things like details stop me from hunting down gorgeous dudes from the internet.

If you have a secret man-harem, do share!

-Rika Ashton

(aka The Man Candy Lover)

P.S: If you know the names of the last two gentlemen pictured, please do tell!