This is a woman after my own heart! I read that she is a coffee slurper which can only mean that she must be a sister of my soul or at the very least connected to me cosmically through taste buds. Denise A. Agnew has written more books than there are states in the U of S, plus Guam and anything else America wants to put it’s pieces on while playing the Game of Risk, at this moment. She likes to write books that are spicy, sweet, something old, something new, something something, something blue. Thank you for letting me review Sudden Heat, Denise–as well as journeying through my many questions.
Desiree Holt is the author of over 100 novels of all sorts, covering all genres, with love in mind. Since she is an expert in creating romance and bringing lovers together she is just the person to chat with for a Making Love 101. Talking about her novels Quarterback Sneak and Coyote Heat, Desiree clues us into how she comes to make sparks, magic, heat and forever afters between her heroes and heroines. Thanks, Desiree!
I am wrecked on an epic scale. I wrote for roughly nine hours today and got about 8,000 words down. I spent about four of those hours rewritting a part of chapter 2 that wasn’t working. It was a very emotional part and I redid it a few times before I felt like I got it right. The chapter came in at just over 10,000 words which is really long but it was the most natural place to end it.
I have been running extremely high. If that sounds a little random then you have missed the fact that I am bipolar from previous posts. The productive place between a touch of hypomania and running high is sort of blurry. Basically, I’m kicking out all sorts of stuff and it is coherent and rather good. It is at that thin line though, where the way my mind is bombarded with ideas and dialogue for what I am working on is distracting to an extreme and I don’t take enough notice of everything around me. Driving home yesterday from an appointment was an adventure in stop lights on the orange side or yellow and covering a good part of the trip on auto-pilot. I was trying to solve a problem about how advanced the alternate world in Murmur of Souls was going to be.
What have I been so pre-occupied about? I have spoken vaguely of The Soul Wars Trilogy and for the most part it was because for a little while I didn’t really understand the breadth and depth of the story. Knowing that you need a truly BAD guy, with a lot of sex appeal and a snarky attitude isn’t enough to base a book on. I had Min worked out from the start. She was always going to be above average in intelligence and fiery. And I knew Jett’s family and Trist’s place. Not a lot to go by.
Over the last week, with the power of hypomania, I have filled a one-subject notebook with dialogue, new characters and a very well thought out story arc for the entire trilogy. I have a few great friends reading it as I go, giving me feedback and telling me where things seem awkward or unlikely. And the man who feeds my turtles and changes the litter in my bathroom, also known as my husband, helped me find the images for all three books. I also bought the copyright for the image for le Cirque at the same time. The few other plans I have for keeping me working is to get Murmur up on Wattpad to see what the thoughts of people I don’t know might be. That will be on the list of ‘to-do’s’ for next week
I don’t have it in me to write a blog entry as long as my normal one on the tails of the full day I put in while I plugged away today. I’m going to just cut and paste a small portion of today’s labor into the bottom of this and call it a night.
This is Min and Jet.
“Vela, go get Min’s food.” His voice was commanding. I still had her hand and my grip tightened. My voice brokered no debate as I said, “Vela get me a plastic bag and a sharp knife. Jett wants me to start freeing him from his limbs.”
That stupid chuckle filled the dark. I hated him. My conscience told me that involving Vela in our battle of wills wasn’t fair. I released her and softened my voice. “I’m fine. I will come get some food later. Why don’t you go and relax. Don’t worry.” I listened to her light steps lead to the door and when it opened light briefly flooded the entrance. Wordlessly she shut it behind her.
“Why are you like that?” Frustration had me asking with gritted teeth.
I didn’t hear him but I felt him coming closer. I could see the smirk that he had on his face in my minds eye even before I hear it in his voice. “Wonderful? Devastating?Compelling? Sexy? Brilliant? Unforgettable?”
“No. Mentally defective. Unlikeable. Tiresome. Creepy. You were sitting in the dark while I slept. Who does that?”
“The way you compliment me makes me wonder if your words mean what you think they mean. Having been brought up human probably means that you lacked an education. I had hopes that you would be bright enough that I could be challenged. Sadly, speaking to you is the equivalent of engaging conversation with a child.”
“Is this really all you’re about, Jett. Irritating others? You really need to get a life.”
I felt his weight added to the bed near my feet. Noah and Michael were the only two guys that had ever been in my bedroom. My brother was never an issue and Noah was as safe to have there as Michael was. Jett on my bed felt a little too real.
“I have thought about taking yours. Think about that. Then I would have two.”
Thanks a bunch for reading this. I hope you enjoyed it.
Middle of the week. I feel sort of like I haven’t done much this past week. The major reason for that is two crippling migraines since last Friday. The first I had for over twenty-four hours and then I had one on Tuesday that had me pulling my blankets over my head and sleeping most of the day. I’m actually beginning to wonder if Ricardo Montalban didn’t put a worm in my ear while I slept.
Amidst watching Vampire Diaries, Kitchen Nightmares and SourceFed I have managed to get a little writing done and a scarce amount of reading. I did make another 30 in 30 list for this month. That is where I make a list of thirty books of varying genres and assortment of authors to see if I can’t read a little out of the box in the coming month. A few books choices are Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, January First by Michael Schofield, Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I always start out really strong and then newer books start to come out and I lose focus. Last time I read nineteen of them. That, unfortunately is the best I have done with it.
A small update about writing I have been working on… I scrapped the majority of the first six chapters that I had written for the first book of the Soul Wars. I have a working title for it and that title is Murmur of Souls. I was pretty happy with what I had before. As I wrote further into the story I began to see major issues between personalities, plot development and character support. I really burned my bacon trying to figure out how to make it work in a way that it would set up the second book and give this one some sort of intriguing end. I wrote out what I wanted as the goal of this book, how it would come about and actually worked backward from that. I also made a good sized list of names that weren’t so exotic and would feel more natural. It didn’t hurt that the newer names felt more intimate then the overly complicated I was discarding.
From that foundation I rewrote the prologue and first chapter so far. I more or less tossed the initial passiveness of Min and showed a lot more of her interactions with her friends and family. I felt this was missing in the first attempt and it left you with a watery character which bled into Min having a lack of personality. I have also changed the dynamic of her relationship with Jet to make it more combative. No relationship is more intriguing than two people who are stuck with one another and can’t stand each other. I feel like this will play out much better than what was there before.
Min and her brother chapter 1.
[Min]“Okay thanks, Mr. Adderly, for that Doomsday report. I am going to refrain from drinking the Kool-Aid.”
My brother’s lips tilted up before growing into a shit eating grin. He leaned over to my ear and stage whispered, “You are lucky to have me even if I have taken on a little Jim Jones overtones. You my little Padawan learner have been groomed for this sort of youthful Apocalypse. Which horse are you going to ride?”
“Cults, Star Wars and The Book of Revelations. My, my, Michael, are we preparing for a chance on Jeopardy?”
I spent a little time looking at the first chapter of le Cirque this morning. I wrote le Cirque in third person and when I did it I felt pretty secure in it. When I took some time away from it and then saw it anew, second eyes and all, I began to be nervous about that choice. I feel pretty strongly now that since this is Meridan’s story it would be better if it were in first person. Giving depth to the narrative that presently feels incomplete. The very thought of going through this story and re-hauling it feels pretty overwhelming. Most of the time I think this sort of thing and then I am blown away at the ease that I find myself making changes once I actually start writing. I hope this will be the case rewriting this.
Meridan and Verity while they are still in the Central. Third Person:
“I am imagining that the small girl to the left in brown ringlets will be training hard before her next performance”, Meridan spoke quietly. Verity looked and made a sympathetic face. “It is so hard at that age. You are all arms and legs. Well I assume that is how it was for most everyone else. I was always was pretty close to perfect.” Meridan nodded watching still. Verity was a good friend, although she believed herself to be better than most everyone else.
They stood silently until the end of the performance. The young girls left the platform and Legion Leader Martelle who choreographed the dances stepped forward to announce the next performance. As he walked back to his place to observe, Meridan saw him receive a note and watched his face as he read it and his look as he raised his eyes to the young girl Verity and she had spoken about. Meridan felt more unrest in her heart because she knew that that missive held an audit from one of the Legion males regarding her performance. That note could be telling Leader Martelle to discard her and that made Meridan feel sick.
“She is being evaluated”, Verity said sadly, seeing the same thing as Meridan.
“It’s not good”, Meridan agreed with the weight of Verity’s tone.
“Have you seen her perform before?” Verity asked.
“I’m sure I have but to me she has been unremarkable before tonight.”
“It would be unfortunate if this is her first unsteady night and it still came down to discard her. Maybe I should have helped her train. I have always been so very good.” Verity stated. She continued, “No one gets a second chance with the Legion audits.”
Same Part with First Person Perspective:
“I’m thinking that the small girl to the left with brown ringlets will be training hard before her next performance”. My voice was low and quiet as not to draw attention. Verity looked at the performers with as much sympathy as she could muster. “It is so hard at that age. You’re all arms and legs. Well I assume that is how it was for all the rest of you.” Her lips pursed and she squinted and flinched at another mistake. “I was always pretty close to perfect compared to you and the others.” I nodded at her since any other response would be lost on her. Verity was a good friend, but she was so full of herself I wasn’t sure if it was comical or irritating.
We stood silently side-by-side until the end of the performance. The young girls left the platform and Legion Leader Martelle, who choreographed the dances, stepped forward to announce the next performance. When he walked back to his place to observe, I watched him receive a note. He nodded his head as he read it. His dark eyes sought the girl who had trouble. I felt my heart squeeze painfully because I knew that that piece of paper held an audit from one of the Legion males regarding the young girl’s performance. That memo could be telling Leader Martelle to discard her and that made sickness cramp my stomach.
“She is being evaluated”, Verity said sadly. She was seeing the same thing I was. “It’s not good”, I replied, matching Verity’s tone.
“Have you seen her perform before?” she asked.
I shook my head and said, “I’m sure I have she’s been unremarkable before tonight.”
“It would be unfortunate if this is her first off night and it still came down to discard her. Maybe I could have helped her train. I have always been the most talented.” Verity stated. She shrugged. “No one gets a second chance with the Legion audits.”
Well that is where I am. This weekend is Memorial Day and I have plans to spend it with D. That means no writing for me. I think I may spend my free time reading some books. Maybe my next post will be a book critique.
Thanks for reading. <3
What could be more beautiful than a beautiful day? A beautiful bad boy. Admit it… girls can’t resist a guy who is bad news. It’s not a new thing, romanticizing the kind of fellow mother’s warn against has a long history. Whether it is the power to manipulate a situation or a take no prisoners type showing weakness. Something about it just makes the blood pump to all those places a good girl shouldn’t even know about.
There is a fine line between the hope for good that could be found in a boy gone wrong and evil that knows no bounds. Something is sexy about a sassy comeback, arrogance and flair for danger. Every snarky word and hot and cold behavior is like honey. The craving exists to taste it. Guys like that should be illegal and knowing that creates the desire to break the rules. No matter how many times it gets under the skin, makes teeth grind or redefines the word asshole in the dictionary, the need builds for more and more. Go away, far away, but not too far before you comeback.
There is the other side of that… the heartless and cold bastard that is just evil. Pre-meditatively committing the worst depravity, twisting situations until they are out of control. Pure malevolence is not hot. The worst of the worst is incapable of redemption. No matter how alluring that is supposed to be it just produces the creeps. The sadistic desire to enslave others and make them complicit to the same brand of morals defies humanity that most stories actually need to leave the reader feeling satisfied at the end. This kind of villain might be capable of having a change of heart, but waiting for it probably isn’t worth it.
Movies, TV and books have witnessed many levels of bad-assery. James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Shakespeare’s Romeo, Tony Stark from Ironman, Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Han Solo, Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl, The Princess Bride’s Westley, Robin Hood, Dexter, Holden Caulfield from the Catcher in the Rye, Edmund from Mansfield Park, and I would be ashamed if I didn’t add my book boyfriend Jace Wayland, they are all provocative so they slip under the radar while irritation or suspicion stirs the blood. The unknown and mysterious leaves readers susceptible. Those are few good examples but fiction is heavy with sexy guys who inflame curiosity just being their impossible selves. Rhett Butler’s careless nonchalance, Heathcliff’s too human flaws, Pacey’s dry wit, Will Hunting’s blue collar mad intelligence, Mr. Darcy’s derision, there isn’t just one formula that goes into the birth of making a bad boy bad. The truth though is that the result is the same, they are mouth wateringly irresistible.
My mom likes to tell me that I wasn’t like other kids and I never really cared what other people thought. This grew into a quiet disregard for the boys that towed the line. I liked them to have longer than acceptable hair, to talk back to the teacher and it was always a plus if they were some sort of artist. A guy with a vocabulary has always made my heart flutter. Just remembering back to my wee younger years makes me think of Angelo, the new kid in seventh grade who had an Italian accent, one of those long strips in the back of his hair that we called a “tail”, and he knew all the current events which made him a great partner in Social Studies. I started early… yet to come was Brendan, the eighth grader who asked me to let him feel me up during recess, I didn’t. Pat who was in the S.E.D education program who came to my house to get drunk and make out in my closet. Darren the awesome new wave music fan who stumped my mom when he asked, “to wet his palate” the one time he came for dinner. And then there was Mark, Beckett, Will, Ian, John, Luther, Jeremy and Matt… all musicians.
All of them helped fuel my imagination. But before any of them got to influence me I tried my hand at writing a few fictions in middle school. One of them was about a group of homeless kids who didn’t fit in. (I know, never been done before, huh?) I only vaguely remember the names of the characters but there was a girl named Ariane and a bad boy named Remi. Although I had read a lot, writing was incredibly different. I might have only got to page fifteen and those were handwritten pages, so I guess it would be like three or four typed. I tried, but he wasn’t a success in anyway. I think my mom has boxes of poems, journals, short stories and rants I wrote between elementary school and high school, somewhere in her basement. I remember having a real flair for the dramatic.
After that I had a few creative writing assignments with boys who were pretty watery on the naughty side. Mastering a male character that has a good balance of both positive and negative qualities isn’t simple. It’s too easy to make a good guy look like he should be wearing girly panties or out of character if you make him have one angry outburst. Even more difficult is making a regular guy have that “it” factor. Personalities who are too humorous or even too serious often come off as flat. While really good characterization works best with a little bit of “I joke so you don’t know the real me”, you can also make him feel deflective and shallow. Balancing it is important. Sooner or later you have to give that guy a moment of weakness or he just won’t feel real. In my writing this only developed with time.
Some of the best YA/NA books that I have read in the last year are successful with wayward males because their rebels make you want to take a walk on the wildside. Danger and trouble is written all over many of these guys from the introduction and you just can’t help but wan’t to know how they work. The compulsion to see them meet their match spurs you on.
One of my favorite douchebag boyfriends is Daemon Black from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series. You get bits and pieces of why he is like he is throughout the series, you see that he has the ability to be tender and sensitive, but you don’t want him to be. A great deal of enjoyment comes from listening to his smart-ass mouth and you want more and more. The series is on the third book and the evolution of his character makes me love him a little more with every dipshit remark. But the best thing about him is he becomes so much more dimensional through time. Seeing him be a vulnerable jack-ass is a beautiful thing.
Wendy Higgin’s Kaidan Rowe is another naughty boy that makes you fan yourself reading his parts and need a shower after finishing the book. The Sweet books are a paranormal series and Kaiden Rowe is pure sin. He is a creature of temptation; he likes to tempt others and allow temptation to guide him. In everything he says, how he moves, the way he lives, he is the embodiment of seduction. If that isn’t enough that he is volatile, dangerous and his very existence threatens the virtue of every woman he meets. Watching him develop morality is intriguing. When his confessions finally come they don’t create a sense of deficiency, it shows that he has redirected his seduction and it makes him more desirable.
That is the real key to any character, the capacity for depth… giving a bad boy dimensions allows him to control his reader. And if a book doesn’t inspire you to finish it, then reading becomes a chore. Heroes, anti-heroes, villains, tragic figures and vengeful beings who have the ability to touch something inside you so that you can see their motivations, feelings, desires, hopes and dreams, move anyone that reads of them to wish for their redemption.
Below is a little piece I wrote from le Cirque with Xiah, Meridan, and my bad boy–Misha.
Meridan chuckled. “I would have to be desperate to crawl into bed with you and Verity.”
“Oh? Is there a chance you would crawl into my bed without her?” Misha asked one eyebrow raised.
Xiah threw another cloth at him and said, “You have no chance at all with her. She doesn’t accept used and throw away items.”
Meridan smiled to herself listening to them. She found another one of her skirts. Did Verity not have any clothes of her own? And why was it that Meridan never noticed any of her things gone?
“I’m not a throw away item!” Misha scoffed.
Meridan laughed, “Are you admitting you have been used?” Xiah’s head was shaking while his chuckle joined Meridan’s.
Misha quipped, “Used but always cleaned before being used again. So in actuality it is almost like I am brand new.”
Meridan shook her head. “No Misha, that means you are well used.”
Thanks for reading. <3