Monday, August 25, 2014

Character Arcs

Today I thought I'd share a little bit about what's going on with Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, Book Three in the Stafford Brothers series.

This is Greg Stafford's story, and he is quite different from his brothers. Marc and Charles, the twins who readers met in Books One and Two, were basically solid, straight-arrow guys. Greg is facing a major challenge in his life, which is of his own doing, but he wants to change.

My problem with writing his character is that he isn't exactly likeable at the opening of the story. I have shown the demons he is fighting, and have been working hard to make him a sympathetic character throughout the first seven chapters. 

One of the requirements of a successful romance novel is the hero needs to be a man with whom readers can at least sympathize, even if they don't immediately fall for him. I really love Greg, even though he's been a bit difficult to write. He is well-educated, vibrant and extremely handsome, and really loves to dance. Because he comes from a good family and had a normal childhood, I had to create another reason why he succumbed to an addiction (not substance) that threatens to destroy his career.


Naturally, I had to do quite a bit of research on this particular addiction, and it's been fascinating. Showing how Greg changes and grows along the way is going to be a test of my mettle as an author. Also, I have to address some ethical issues when it comes to his relationship with the heroine.  All I can do is...

  

I'll let you know how it's going...


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Yay for the A!

I don't agree with some of the choices made by some of the people featured in this forty-minute VH-1 show, but I am amazed at the money that's here in Atlanta. I'm glad I watched it to the end, because it confirmed that the biggest charitable giver here is Tyler Perry!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Interview!


Check out the interview I did with Rachelle Ayala about participating in her Romance in a Month class.

http://www.rachelleayala.com/2014/08/romanceinamonth-author-interview-chicki.html

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Concentration

I've run into a problem I've never had in all the years I've been writing away from home. I've written in coffeehouses, libraries, the park, and even burger joints all over the metro Atlanta area. When you're a regular at these spots, you get to know the other regulars. Everyone usually speaks, exchanges a few pleasantries, and then focuses on reading, studying, writing, etc.


Recently, I met a person who has become a regular at my favorite spot. She seems to be very nice, pleasant, extremely intelligent and well read. She expressed an interest in self-publishing, so we've had a couple of brief conversations about books and the publishing industry, but no matter the subject, this woman can veer off into a discussion about her work experience, religion, politics and even the library of Alexander the Great! 

I realized local coffeehouses are hangouts for folks who want to socialize, but I've explained to her that my time is limited, and I hang out there to work. The problem is that no matter how many times I tell her I need to concentrate and can't talk, she just goes on and on. Since I always work with music playing, I have earphones on, but she will come and stand in front of my table until I look up.  



I understand most non-writers don't comprehend that the least little interruption can yank a writer right out of the zone. Most often, when that happens, you never get the same thought back in the same way. What do you do when someone sees you working and still plops down near you and says, "I don't mean to break your concentration, but...?

To respond to her questions about e-publishing, I sent her an e-mail with several articles I'd written along with a document I put together containing tons of links to the best information out there on the subject. In the e-mail I reiterated about my time. She isn't here today, so perhaps I finally got through...



How would you handle this situation without becoming known as that "nasty writer lady"?

Friday, July 25, 2014

News!

Both books in the Stafford brothers series are NOW AVAILABLE ON NOOK! - http://bit.ly/1nHovQv and http://bit.ly/1uolYhZ


AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG is now available on KINDLE UNLIMITED - http://amzn.to/TNCAuW 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writer Wednesday - New release!

Today I'm showcasing Rachelle Ayala's new release, and it's HOT, HOT, HOT!

The World Cup is over, but Comic-Con is coming up!!! If you've ever wondered what happens when a soccer goalie meets a cosplay girl, check out Jaden Sloup and Ella Kennedy in Rachelle Ayala's newest book, Played by Love.

Description:
Soccer goalkeeper, Jaden Sloup, has his eye on Ella Kennedy, a woman who won’t date jocks or frat boys. He dons a pair of nerd glasses and hugs a laptop to convince her he’s a techno geek, and she agrees to go to Las Vegas with him for a cosplay convention where his team’s playoff game happens to be.


Jaden must juggle sizzling in the sheets with Ella against a soccer match and hanging with his frat brother teammates. When a bully harasses Ella and challenges Jaden to a fight, he proves that even a goalie can score.


From the Author:
Played by Love is the first in a series of exciting sports novellas in my new #Played Series. They are fast, flirty, and sexy, a quick read at the beach or poolside, or in between running errands. I hope you enjoy Jaden and Ella's story because there's more to come. Look for Playing the Rookie heating up Spring Training in Arizona, and more.

WARNING: must be over 18 to read, so fasten your seatbelts, because sporty men and enthusiastic women make the very best lovers.


Played by Love is available from Amazon only and available through Amazon's #KindleUnlimited plan! Pick up your copy before Comic-con and see what fabulous costumes Ella comes up with.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't Stop Till You Get Enough - Sneak Peek!

Today I thought I'd share a little bit of Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, Book Three in my Stafford Brothers series. If you've already read the first two books, you know that the twins, Marc and Charles, are good men, the stuff Prince Charming is made of. 

Their older brother, Greg, is also a good man, but he has a bad problem. Here's a peek into Greg's life in the opening chapter...

How do you like that cover? It make you wonder what the handsome, television host has going on in his life, doesn't it?

Chapter One

Greg Stafford slammed the door to his upper east side Manhattan apartment, engaged both locks then dropped his head to the door and banged it several times—hoping the pain might snap him out of his nightmare. No such luck. He dragged his body to the sofa, slumped down and tried to concentrate on the tinkling sound of the ceiling-to-floor Asian fountain in the foyer. Even that did nothing to calm him. He’d just spent the past four hours at the local police precinct, waiting for his attorney to get him released. His arrest would surely be headline news. He wasn’t a major star, but he had become a fixture on New York television and in the markets where the show was syndicated.

At a complete loss for what to do next, he picked up the remote for the TV and turned the channel to the network to which he’d been contracted for the past two years. Would they report it? Or would they ignore it? That was just wishful thinking. They couldn’t ignore breaking news that involved one of their own. Could they?
His co-host, Arianna Wolfe, with whom Greg shared the desk every day, said, "A member of The Scoop family is off the air tonight, as authorities investigate indecency charges. He will not be at the desk until the investigation is complete. We will bring you up to date when new information becomes available.”
Thankful that they avoided the details, Greg changed the channel. Sadly, he knew the other stations wouldn’t be as kind.
“In breaking news, the wife of New York Senator Carl Price was arrested this weekend for having engaged in sexual relations in broad daylight in an alley not far from Bloomingdale’s. The man has now been identified as Gregory Stafford, the host of the top-rated magazine show, The Scoop. Both were charged with indecent exposure and public lewdness and released on their own recognizance.
We contacted Senator Price’s office, but received no response. Stafford has been unavailable for comment. Legal issues aside, these arrests raise questions about the stability of the popular senator’s marriage, which has been under scrutiny for some time. Mrs. Price, who is twenty-five years younger than the Senator, has been seen frequently on the New York club circuit alone. Stafford is single and is a well-known regular on the club scene.”
The report hadn’t ended more than two minutes before his phone started ringing. His boss. Then it rang in succession ten more times. He stared at the screen--his publicist. The station manager. His co-anchor. His father. His mother. Charles. Marc. Vic. Jesse. Nick. Coming from a big family could be a blessing, but it could also be a major curse. The Scoop was syndicated in most major markets, and inevitably, members of the family watched the show every night. Right now, he didn’t want to speak to any of them. What could he say to explain the situation he’d put himself in? If he wanted to hang onto to his job though, it was necessary that he respond to his boss and station manager. He pressed his head between his hands as though he could squeeze the condemning voices out, then got up and walked into the kitchen. Vodka. Yes, vodka was appropriate now. Even though he wasn’t a big drinker, he kept a bottle around for when he had guests. The freezer always held a bottle or two of Stoli, his favorite. After he poured enough for three people into a water glass, he swallowed three times and picked up the phone. No, not yet. He had to think for a while before he spoke to anyone.
From puberty on, his sexual appetite had been what most people considered normal. But in the past few years, he’d graduated from a serious relationship, to casual dating, to serial dating, to strictly sexual relationships, to one-night stands, then to online porn when he couldn’t find a hook-up.  He avoided thinking about the reasons why he’d gotten to this point. Normally he didn’t allow his mind to venture into that kind of introspection. His outlook was more on the don’t cry over spilt milk side. But recently he’d begun to question his escalating sexual appetite, which had begun after his breakup with Evelyn.  
Why couldn’t he be more like his brothers? All five of them were committed to just one woman, and they all seemed happy. Not just happy, but satisfied. Marc and Gianne were always thirty seconds from jumping each other, but they were newlyweds.  Cydney’s perpetual pregnancies proved that doing the wild thing topped her and Jesse’s list of favorite pastimes. Vic and Mona had been married for ten years; yet sometimes, the strong sex vibe between them could be sensed by anyone within ten feet. Even his single baby brother, Nick, boasted about his upcoming second anniversary with his girlfriend, Cherilyn.
What was wrong with him? No woman held his interest for more than a weekend or two. Weren’t they all raised in the same home with the same lofty moral values? And why hadn’t he always been like this? The third oldest of the six, Greg had managed to keep his problem a secret from his family; although when Charles came to New York to stay with him not long ago, he’d taken his brother to a couple of his favorite clubs. When he invited two of the women they’d met back to his apartment for the night, Charles begged off. He didn’t come right out and say anything, but his facial expressions, tone of voice, and early departure made it clear that he obviously disagreed with Greg’s lifestyle. Hopefully, he hadn’t discussed his suppositions with the rest of the family. Not that it mattered now. Everyone would know within a matter of hours.
He gulped down the rest of his drink in an effort to fortify himself before he listened to the voicemail messages. Might as well go in order.
“This is Ken. I supposed you’ve already heard that the Scoop had to put you on administrative leave for the immediate future. You, me and the people from legal sit down and figure out where we go from here. Get back to me as soon as you get this message.”
He forwarded to the next message. “Please pick up, Greg,” his publicist, Jordyn, pleaded.  You know why I’m calling. I have to speak with you before I can figure out what kind of spin to put on this…event. Call me ASAP.”
“Greg, it’s John Hanke.  It’s imperative we talk as soon as possible. Your attorney informed us of the situation. Your arrest has brought up some legal concerns, not for the station, but for you personally. I want to discuss them with you immediately. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.”
“Hi, Greg. It’s Arianna. We tried to gloss over the details as best we could. Let me know how you’re doing. I’m worried about my co-host. Please call me back.”
“This is your father. What the hell is going on up there? Your mother is frantic. She’s been crying since we heard the report. Couldn’t you at least have warned us? Why did we have to find out from the television? An explanation is in order, son. I expect a call tonight.”
The tremor in his mother’s voice when he forwarded to her message told him she was still crying. “Sweetheart, I know Daddy called, but I wanted to talk to you myself. Are you all right? I hope your absence from the show isn’t permanent. Let me know that you're okay, please.”
He couldn’t face his father’s reproach. Calling his mother would be less painful.
The calls from his brothers, except for Charles, were of the WTF variety. Charles merely said, “You’re out of control, man. It’s time you thought about getting some help. If you want to talk, I’m here.”
The cold empty glass in his hand mocked him. Icy and vacant. Like his life at the moment. He didn’t understand whether the empathy he felt was for the glass or for himself. Nevertheless, he wandered back into the kitchen and refilled the depleted vessel with chilled liquid.  Why couldn’t he be filled? What was it that had him feeling so void?
What was I thinking? I knew who she was, but I wanted her so badly that l I didn’t care what the repercussions might be if we got caught. Why can’t I control myself? He threw the glass across the room, and it shattered on the red wall over the black Chinese symbols for peace.

He had been on his way into the studio and stopped at Barney’s to buy a new cologne at the men’s fragrance counter when she appeared next to him and inclined her head exposing her long, creamy neck.
“What do you think of this fragrance?”
He leaned closer and inhaled. “Intoxicating.”
She studied his eyes for a long moment, then breezed away leaving an enticing trail of expensive fragrance behind. He followed it like a cartoon character drifting on a visible ribbon of scent that wrapped itself around his head. Her gaze locked with his as the elevator door opened and she stepped inside. Greg quickened his steps so he might enter the cab before the doors closed. They rode in silence for one floor.
“I know you,” she said, giving him a blatant head-to-toe scan. “You host that TV show…The Story…The Chat…”
“The Scoop,” Greg corrected her with a smile. “And you’re Mrs. Carl Price.”
“Melinda. You are a very good-looking man.”
Greg couldn’t believe what happened next. She pressed the stop button. The elevator halted its descent, and she took two steps toward him so there wasn’t even an inch of daylight between them. When she put her palm against his chest and raised her chin so he felt her breath on his face, he curved his right arm around her back and pulled her body against his. “And you’re an extremely beautiful woman.”
“Are you on your way to an appointment?” she asked, her lips brushing his.
“I am now.” With his free hand, Greg cupped her booty and pressed her hips against him. He backed her against the wall of the elevator and raised her dress up around her hips.
“Not here,” she said between raspy breaths and yanked the dress back down. The wife of the state’s wildly popular junior senator pushed the button to restart the elevator. “Let’s leave.” When the door opened on the first floor, she strode out and headed for the main store entrance. Greg followed her like a starving dog panting after a rare steak.
Out in the sunshine on bustling Madison Avenue, she slipped her sunglasses down from the top of her head and picked up her pace until she shifted into a jog. Greg’s heart thundered as she turned onto E. 61st Street and glanced over her shoulder to see if he still followed her. The suspense of where she might be going threatened to kill him. She turned the corner again and disappeared into an alley.
When he caught up with her, she had dropped her shopping bags to the ground and was standing with her hands on her hips as though proposing a dare. Unable to slow his pace, he slammed her against the brick wall of the building. The way his head spun from the chase and the headiness of the challenge, he had to press his hands against the wall on either side of her head to get his balance.
“Hurry! We can’t stay here long before someone sees us.” She wriggled her dress up and stepped her feet apart. “Hurry!”