audience, Author, biracial, black women, Chicklit, diversity, Drama, Fiction, ghosts, Indie Author, Paranormal, Romance, starting anew, supernatural, Uncategorized, women, writing

Starting from Scratch

For nearly a year and a half we have been living in the skin of our characters, Danielle Labouleaux and Aiden Stone, stars of The Body Hunters series. We know these characters and their supporting cast so well, we know how they would react in certain situations and can even complete their sentences. Right now the third book in the series is with our editor Reggie and we’re in the midst of writing the fourth book. After we release the fourth book, tentatively titled The Lazarus Effect, we’re taking a break from Danny and Aiden and starting another series. That’s where the problem lies.

One thing we’ve taken note of from our readers is that even though they love the mystery and paranormal aspects of our series, they love the drama between our characters even more. Therefore, we decided to delve into something that was strictly drama in a real world setting. We can promise that there will be plenty of twists and character conflict. The dilemma lies in creating characters who are not just Xerox copies of the cast from our first series. We’re not going to cut any corners and we’re not taking the easy way out.

Our new protagonist is a biracial young woman and that’s where her similarity to Danny Labouleaux ends. We’re purposely making her an edgier character who would do things to accomplish her goals that Danny would shudder to even consider. It takes a little work to take your brain out of one character and transplant it into another, especially when you’ve been in their mindset for so long. We’ve had a long time to develop Danny and figure out what makes her tick, now it’s time to devote that same love and attention to another protagonist. While Danny and company feel like home, these new characters and scenarios have us in uncharted territory where we are free to start over from scratch.  It may be a daunting task, but it helps us grow as writers.

Now we’re not leaving The Body Hunters permanently, there’s still a lot more stories to tell, as well as a prequel, and the movie script that’s currently in the works. One day I’d love to see Danny and Aiden on the big screen. We’re just taking a little time outside our comfort zone to develop something else and challenge ourselves. If it’s not a challenge is it even worth doing?

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audience, Author, Chicklit, Fiction, Indie Author

Why Do I Feel Like a Drug Dealer?

The Body Hunters by Raven Newcastle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009X971ME/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_kkARrb04JYMQ1 … via

My customer gives me a barely perceptible nod across the room, like she’s a pitcher at a baseball game. She’s got that glazed look in her eye and I know she wants the ‘product’. She’s practically starving for it. The side effects are the same for all my customers; the sleepless nights, mood swings, and euphoria are what they want.

She leaves her desk and I make my move. With the ‘product’ in hand I pick up a notebook sitting on her desk and leave the merchandise up under it. I’m not worried about payment. She’s a returning customer and I know she’s good for it.

Like I predicted, she meets up with me at lunch and palms the money into my hand with out a second glance. Unless you were looking for it, you never would know that a transaction just took place.

This is how it is with all my customers at work who are begging for the ‘product’. I’ve set up clandestine transactions in the ladies bathroom, the lunch room, and the trunk of my car. Whatever it takes to get my merchandise out on the street. I’m a born hustler.

If you think I’m talking drugs you’re dead wrong. I’m talking about selling my book in the workplace. At some point someone at my job came up with this rule where you couldn’t um..how did they put that? Distribute or solicit, whatever. It’s a pain in the butt when you’re an indie author.

So, I have my superfans who even now are waiting on me to bring contraband into the work place. It’s not that I’m breaking the rules. The customers who have internet access go ahead and buy the book online. For those that don’t have internet access and still want to support me, I purchase the book and give it to them at work. I’m pretty sure givesies backsies is legal. They’re just paying me back for money I spent on purchasing the book, but I want to be off the boss’s radar, so I’m stealthy with how I handle it.

One day when I’m sitting on Oprah’s couch, we’re going to laugh about this story. Until then, I’ll be smuggling books in my purse for my clients who badly need a dose of drama.

 

 

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audience, Author, Chicklit, Drama, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance, Uncategorized, women

How Much is Too Much?

Last week while in the midst of writing the third book of The Body Hunters Series we had the discussion of how far we really wanted to delve into our mythology. Though our series is about a pair of detectives with extraordinary abilities which they use to solve mysteries; at its heart our story is about two unique people working together while trying to sort out the difficulties of their relationship. What we had in mind was creative and would have made for an interesting story, but was it so far into paranormal mythology that it would turn off the readers?

As an example we referenced the HBO series True Blood. Though I’m late getting into the series, starting halfway through Season 5, the common complaint I hear about it is that they got too convoluted. People miss the earlier episodes when it was a scandalous supernatural tale about who hooked up with whom. I can say the same about a show I enjoyed during its first season ABC’s Revenge. The first season was simple; a young woman with a list of names going after the people who wronged her. The second season of Revenge was too far removed from the simple concepts of season one. I gave up watching halfway through and to date have yet to even watch the second season finale.

Keeping these lessons in mind, we decided to scale back on the storyline we were planning. Though the storyline is still present, it’s not an all encompassing plot like we originally planned.

While it would have been a compelling story with deeper supernatural elements, we listen to our readers first and foremost. Though our superfans enjoy the paranormal activity that brings our characters together, the thing they enjoy the most is the human connections and relationships. We don’t want to alienate our readers by introducing concepts that are too out there. So using these TV shows as examples of what happens when you don’t give your fans what they want, we decided to ramp up the drama and a little boom-chica for good measure.

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audience, Author, Chicklit, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance, women

Those Lovable Bad Boys

What is it about fictional bad boys that they can do no wrong in women’s eyes? What is it about the Han Solos and the Eric Northman’s in fiction that women can’t get enough of them?

I finally got a chance to sit down and talk with one of our readers, Karen, who’d completed The Body Hunters: Paradise Denied a couple weeks ago. Since I’d been on vacation from work I didn’t get a chance to get her opinion on what she thought. Without revealing too much about the story line, secrets between the two main characters are exposed. Karen goes on to tell me how the main character, Danielle was totally in the wrong for what she kept hidden from the hero, reformed former player Aiden. It surprised me because I thought she would at least take the woman’s side in the argument. The gist I got from my conversation with Karen was that if Danielle couldn’t treat Aiden right, then she would. Yeah, we’re talking about fictional characters, but this is the type of vibe I got and Karen isn’t the only one.

The opinions we’ve received about our good looking, rogue have ranged from an ‘I’d do him!’ to him being called ‘sexy’ and every thing under the moon. He’s the right combination of dangerous and loveable, with a little salty language mixed in. Even though the character is nothing but a compilation of ones and zeroes on a computer screen, women love him.

I think the attraction stems from the idea of the bad boy being able to be reformed, something that isn’t necessarily true in real life. If you meet a bad boy in real life, most of the time your best bet would be to turn around and run because you’re in for nothing but heartbreak. Most people aren’t that easy to change, which is why women love their fictional heroes. They can live vicariously through the pages of the book or on the television. The sexy scoundrel is their fantasy come to life.

I’m all about giving the people what they want and the jury has spoken, but as a writer I have my responsibility to keep the story fresh and unpredictable. So I tell Karen and the rest of our superfans to keep reading, we have some plans for Aiden Stone in the next few months.

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audience, Author, Chicklit, fans, Fiction, Indie Author, Romance

Are Manners and Chilvary Dead?

When I was coming up, my mother instilled in me and my siblings, proper etiquette and manners. Please, Thank You, No Thank You, Excuse Me, Pardon Me and all those other niceties are ingrained in my brain. There are some subjects that shouldn’t be talked about in public. I’m by no means bragging but i also have the good manners not to belch, foul language isn’t in my vocabulary (even though the characters I write use expletives at times), clean up after myself, and over talk another person. If you see someone carrying something, man, woman, whatever, hold the door open for them. Taking the lessons she taught me, sometimes I’m aghast when I run into people who don’t follow the same code of respecting and being courteous to others.

This blog came about because I was at the movies earlier today to see The Butler with my mother and sisters. The lights are dim and the theater is playing commercials until the trailers start. Mom is in the aisle seat and I’m about six seats from her with my sisters in between. A woman comes up the stairs carrying popcorn, nachos, and a large drink and trips up the stairs. She falls and drops her food and drink. Are you okays are going all around and a guy comes down from above us and helps her. The bystanders recommend she replace her food, which she does. The man who I assumed was also a bystander is really her ‘man’ if that’s what you want to call him, takes the drink and heads back to his seat. STOP the record.

Okay, it’s bad enough that this poor woman was carrying all this stuff by herself, while the man who’s probably snoring in her face every night is sitting on his butt, waiting on her to bring it. But the lady fell, probably hurt her knee and is embarassed and this Neanderthal sends her to get more food while he’s relaxing in his reclining stadium style chair. Okay, he may not be the most chivalrous guy, I’ll give him that. Go ahead and take chivalry out of the equation. Common decency would be for him to say: Hey honey, have a seat don’t worry about it. I’ll go replace the food. Needless to say, I was hoping she would take that as a lesson, get in her car and leave his trifling behind at the movies snackless. Unfortunately she did come back with new snacks. All I have to say is God bless her. Hopefully she wakes up one day.

That incident got me thinking about the lack of manners I see in people today, from the young to the old. I’ve been in stores sometimes and have some old lady just breeze right by me without so much as a pardon me. Or last week at the office I swipe my badge and open the door for some guy to basically try to bum rush me to get through. Hello! I opened the door for me, not you! There’s the girl at the office who drinks pop all day and proceeds to belch out loud when the need arises. Okay enough of that! How about my coworker who sits at my desk when I’m off and leaves questionable hair on my desk and coffee rings? Nasty. Or I’m taking my break and overhear an overly loud cell phone conversation involving a boyfriend visiting a strip club, punching his girlfriend in the eye and her shooting him in the chest. Okay TMI. I do not need to know this.

Having grown up with my mother’s lessons and going out seeing all this around me causes something of a sensory overload. Bad manners and poor etiquette are everywhere, making me grateful that I do know better. It doesn’t matter if etiquette and manners are a thing of the past in today’s world, I’m still going to hold myself at a high standard. Maybe me holding the door open for an old lady or saying thank you when the waitress brings my dinner will pass on the lesson.

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