“Meet My Character” Book Tour

Gypsy200In my twenties, I discovered I was part Romany. This really blew my mind. I didn’t know much about the culture and didn’t feel any connection except that I loved Stevie Nicks and the song Gypsy. Shallow, yes? But then I started to think more about my hidden heritage and I found some threads that connected me to it. Or at least to the cliches our culture had taught me. I love to dance. I read Tarot. I’m into the mystic. Dress kinda boho.

As a young teen, I traveled (by thumb, not caravan) across much of the country. Nobody in my family thought anything of it. My grandfather rode the rails as a young man, staying in hobo camps, swapping stories and having adventures before completely reinventing himself into the very proper and mannered gentleman I always knew. So, wow, I was shocked. For a minute. 

Then I remembered his mother read tea leaves during the Great Depression to keep food on the table. When my grandfather reinvented himself, he changed his name, (first, middle, and last!) married up, moved to a new state, and worked his way into an executive position at Ford Motor Company. He didn’t have much to do with his family of origin anymore. 

“We embarrass him,” one of my great-aunts commented during a visit I made to the old neighborhood with my mother. Things kind of clicked into place. I didn’t know I had Rom blood because he didn’t want me to know. And that’s one of the things my character Laurel, from my own Gypsy (the title a homage to Ms. Nicks), has in common with me. Her mother has a reason she doesn’t want Laurel and her sisters to know they’re Rom. And it’s really bad.

But Laurel has secrets of her own. She visits a magical place called Paradise Fields with a little boy named Ryan, her guide to another dimension, but more, someone who leads her through space and time. Laurel’s mission is to travel the world to sit in compassion with dying children as they pass into other realms. It’s her life’s work, and nobody knows about it.

Then one day, Ryan takes Laurel to a young girl in Romania who doesn’t die. Next, Laurel aids another young girl, much closer to home. After Laurel’s promotion, things get scary. She has to stop murderers and rapists and doesn’t know much about how to work with her powers. It’s a learning on the job situation.

Laurel’s life takes another even more thrilling turn when swoony gyspy cop Nate Haywood enters the picture. Nate asks Laurel for promotional help (her day job) with the threatened Rom in their tiny, tight community. As their attraction grows, Laurel finds her secret life difficult to conceal from Nate.

There are mysteries solved, love stories consummated and sad passings in this paranormal novel I wrote (along with it’s follow up novella, Sweet Melissa) exclusively for Amazon KDP. You can check Gypsy out of their library for free or purchase it.  

I had so much fun researching the real Romany community as I wrote these stories. The culture my body only contains a strand of is more rich and intriguing than Stevie Nicks ever imagined. That’s one of the great things about writing stories. They connect you more deeply and fully to what you already want to know.

Special shout-out to Helen Christmas for the invitation to join the “Meet My Character” tour. Read about her own character here.  Helen sets her books where she lives, in England. ‘Beginnings’ introduces a character from her series that begins with ‘Same Face Different Place,’ a 1970s romantic thriller set London. The 2nd book of the series ‘Visions’ is set in rural England, in the era of the 1980s. Helen is busy at work on her 3rd book.

 

 

Consummation 1, 2, 3

tiger.love

Sex scenes used to scare me. I wrote kisses &  desire & closed the door. When my editor called me on it, I read my contract closely and sure enough there was the word: “consummation.”

 1. The Way In

I love a challenge and every once in awhile, I’d read a really well done love scene and wished I could do that.  I say love scene instead of sex scene because my characters who engage in sexual activities are falling in love, so for me it’s an emotional journey as well as a physical one.

That was my first way in. I thought about intercourse as not just about sex, but also about falling in love and discovering every inch of another person, inside and out.

2. What words?

So yeah, that word. Intercourse. Making love. Doing it. Scoring. Screwing. Fucking. Copulating. Having sex. Getting some.

Not just the act, but every body part has many name choices, from ridiculous to sublime. The proper biological designations are a bit sterile for my taste. Other words can seem sleazy or silly, depending on the readers’ moral compass. And metaphors can backfire or explode with unintended puns. Silly lily and sunken treasure will never measure up to the beast with two backs.

I solved this dilemma by figuring out that word choice in love scenes is deeply personal. I go with what works for me and my characters. I don’t want to offend readers (I think this stops so many of us) but those offended by my words are not my readers. Or won’t be for long.

3. Surrender

This one came late to me. I had to learn to slow down and enjoy the ride. That’s not a metaphor. I had to get comfortable enough in my own skin to enter into the mind and body of my POV character in those moments, to be her, to feel what she was feeling. I’m not a prude, and I’m not sure what took me so long to fully give myself over to love scenes, but once I did, I began to enjoy writing them.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading love scenes or are you someone who skims those pages?

*Photo courtesy of Flickr: chadh-flickr / Creative Commons

New Page “For Writers”

As you can see above, I’ve added a new page to the site. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and today I’m finally opening that page. Since I’ve started writing less about writing, I wanted to make sure writers seeking advice had somewhere to click.

♥ Writers, this is for you ♥

Having said that, I promise readers that I will post more fun extras on a regular basis for you. If you don’t write, and you don’t read my books, you’re probably a pal checking up on me to make sure I haven’t been buried under an avalanche of books. Not to worry! I’m alive and writing.

♥Readers, this is for you♥

A Gypsy tidbit I have not mentioned yet is why I chose that title. Talking with my BFF yesterday, I started telling her about a dream I had about Stevie Nicks. Don’t worry, I didn’t tell her the entire dream, as I know that dreams are only interesting to the person who has them. I get ticked off in novels if the author includes more than one dream. Okay, we know you want us to know something, but your character doesn’t know it yet, so she has a symbolic dream. Yawn. Anyway, I always loved Stevie, and even though the characters are Romany, I named the book Gypsy after her song.

A Character Is Born

Almost finished with notebook #3. And received some rare books needed for research through the mail yesterday, too. Things are flowing again. This morning, a new character showed up on the pages. Happy surprise!

I’ve been taking notes and reading for fun the last few days. Some of my notes had to do with a new, much older character who the minute I thought of her, seemed obvious to include in the story, so you’d think today I’d write a scene with her showing up, but no. Somebody else, a guy who has no romantic interest in either of my main characters, showed up on the beach.

Turns out, he’s a hugely important person in the story as he shows Belinda a way out of her troubles. So that’s a relief. I get to leave the troubles behind (for awhile) and focus on positives.  

Deep Character

Instead of writing a scene today, I did some psychological digging into my character’s darkest heart. Six pages worth. I had to know what kind of emotional baggage she’s carrying around so I could figure out the best ways for her antagonist to (almost) defeat her. Also, so I could map out the self-discovery arc that would, just in time, give her the strength to save herself.

Used a lot of stuff from the Tolle class but also Debbie Ford’s new book: Why Good People Do Bad Things. Lots of similarities between the works, for example what Tolle calls “the pain body” Ford calls “the shame body.” They both mean repressed negative emotions.

I read Ford’s book a week or so ago, underlined some interesting bits, and then today, not feeling inspired enough to write a real scene until I had some deeper character motivation established, went to Ford and got six pages out of three of her sentences. I just looked at what I’d underlined, chose a few things that resonated, and then went off from there, building this character from the inside out.