Character Introduction: Alexsandro Reyes

Hello, hello!  May is slowly coming to a close.  How is everyone doing?  Is the heat sneaking up on you, yet?  It’s still pretty nice around here.  Anyway, last week, I introduced you to Lucynda “Cyn” Moseman from my cozy WIP.  Now, I want to introduce you to the handsome detective who is of course a potential love interest.  What cozy would be complete without the hot cop who constantly has to save our heroine?  Not that Cyn has a tendency to get in trouble, just that that’s how cozies usually go.  Anyway, please be kind to our dear detective Alexsandro “Alex” Reyes.

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Eduardo Verastegui.

Alexsandro (32) has only been in Dallas for a couple of years after bouncing around Texas looking for a place that was the right fit.  His Armani suit and fancy shoes don’t mesh well with his detective’s salary, but that doesn’t stop him from looking sharp on and off the job.  But where does a cop get that kind of money?  It’s a secret he isn’t willing to share, but that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from churning out tall tales.  Just ask Cherry, the medical examiner who adores drama when it’s about other people and who happens to be Cyn’s bestie.  But he takes it all in stride and keeps his secrets locked behind an enigmatic smile.

Despite being a relative newb in a job surrounded by old timers, Alex has gained a certain level of respect for his abilities.  That’s why he gets assigned to Dallas’s first serial killing case in years.  It’s not like these things just fall into his lap because he’s pretty.  He’s talented too.  Although the case is horrible, he can’t help being a little happy that it pushed him into Cyn’s path.  But won’t she be angry if he has to arrest one of her employees for murder?  He can’t let that stop him from doing his job.

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And the full body.

Confidence, charm, and mystery are all qualities that Alex uses to hide his true self from the world.  It’s been a long time since anyone has been able to break through his veneer.  Can Cyn do it?  Does he want her to see the real him?  Would she understand?  These are some of the questions floating around his mind as he searches for a murderer.  Luckily, he’s a good multitasker.  And he’s fairly adept at avoiding having a personal life, so it’s not like those questions even matter.  Or do they?  Only time will tell.

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Pretty much, except he isn’t all that much like House.

At the moment, that’s Alexsandro Reyes.  I might tweak some things, but overall I like him as is.  Who’s the potential love interest in your book?  Are they harboring a secret that could change the protagonist’s feelings toward them?  Did you decide to skip the love interest altogether?  What kind of character did you replace them with?  Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or anything else here or on my social media pages!  Next week is book review week, then I may or may not have more character intros for you.

Character Introduction: Lucynda Moseman

Howdy, howdy!  A friend recently tweeted about the fact that many writers have an idea of what the main characters in their WIPs look like and he asked for pictures or GIFs.  It made me realize that out of all my stories (shorts, novellas, and novels), I had only come up with character images for one story.  My supernatural/paranormal cozy mystery characters all have pictures associated with them, which I would reference as I was writing the first draft because the cast is large enough that I needed reminders.  Now, that novel is tucked away until I finish revising another one, but I thought I would introduce you to its main cast of characters.  First up, the protagonist: Lucynda “Cyn” Moseman.

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Yes, that’s Cody Horn.

Lucynda (30) is the owner of Dreamscapes, Dallas’s first and only host club.  It was always her dream to own some kind of club, but she never expected it to be one where most of the employees were vampires.  Thanks to her prolonged exposure to her number one host and roomie, Jyou, she’s not particularly susceptible to certain charms the vampires use to get their way.  And she’s not afraid to remind them of the rules everyone agreed upon when they came to work for her, the most important of which is “no biting the customers.”

Originally from Marfa, Cyn got out of there as fast as she could when she turned 18.  She keeps her past to herself.  So much so that even Jyou only knows bits and pieces.  However, her bestie, Cerise “Cherry” Wapachee, grew up with her and followed Cyn all the way to Dallas (not that she’d ever admit that was the reason).  Their friendship is the only non-familial connection to Marfa that Cyn maintains.

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Of course a full body shot was needed.

Quiet, sarcastic, and a natural people reader are some of the best ways to describe Cyn.  She has a weird ability to pair new guests with their ideal hosts and she’s an outgoing, friendly face that helps club customers feel at home.  But outside the club, Cyn likes to mind her own business and keep to herself, which makes being dragged into a murder investigation pretty damn awkward.  She’s a reluctant participant who winds up getting deeper and deeper into the investigation, but she doesn’t let her trepidation stop her from rising to the challenge no matter how badly she thinks it will end.

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But let’s do it anyway!

That’s Lucynda Moseman at the moment.  Do you have any characters you would like to introduce to me?  Are you the type who gathers images and creates character sheets to get to know your characters?  Or do you just wing it like I usually do and hope they seem like real people?  Feel free to share any tips about character development, characters, or general comments here or on my social media pages!  Come back next week to meet Detective Alexsandro Reyes.

It’s In The Bag…

Hello, hello!  Hoppy April!  Yes, I did the corny bunny joke since Easter is coming up later this month and I’ll probably forget about it that week.  Anyway, I had zero ideas what to blog about today, so I went to this post and convinced myself I would do the third thing on the list (because it’s the 3rd).  It seems pretty silly to me, but apparently people believe that what people carry around in their bags (purses, backpacks, fanny packs, whatever) can tell you a lot about them.  You probably won’t learn anything about me, but if you do, feel free to share it with me!

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Pretty.

First off, I don’t have a bag or purse or anything extravagant like that.  I have a pouch that Dad bought me from Thatcher’s Leather Artistry during one of our long ago trips to the Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival.  It’s small enough to tuck it away for short trips out of the house and, if we’re going to be out for the day, there’s a little loop on the back so we can hang it on my seatbelt where I don’t have to worry about it falling off somewhere.  It’s durable.  I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it and it’s still going strong.  But most importantly, it has a dragon on it and I love it.

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Be jealous. ^__~

As far as the stuff that goes in it, there isn’t much.  I keep a handful of my own business cards that I always forget about, thus never giving them away.  There were originally ten of the new ones and I’m pretty sure there still are.  I also have at least one of my old cards as well.  Plus a bunch of other people’s business cards that I collected along the way, though those get purged about once a year, whenever they get unruly.  There’s also a library card that I haven’t used in years and some other random cards.  But, of course, I always forget to toss the gift cards I’ve accumulated in there, so I never have one during my rare stops at Starshmucks or whatever.

There’s also a little baggy of pills hidden in its depths.  Don’t get excited, pouch thieves.  It’s just Dad’s diabetes pills in case we’re out for our first meal of the day and he hasn’t taken his meds yet.  Anyone who steals those won’t get high, but they might end up in a low sugar coma!  I suppose that could be fun.  But yeah, that’s in there.

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It’s a nifty little thing.

I also got this little card holder thing recently.  It holds the few semi-important things I have: my ID, etc.  If the sigil makes no sense, it’s from Supernatural, so don’t worry about it.  I mostly just got it because it was on sale and the colors match my pouch.

Other than that, I don’t keep anything in my pouch.  Not even change.  I might drop a lipstick in on the extremely rare occasion that I wear makeup and we’re going to be out all day, but that’s a once every five years thing.  What about you?  What does your bag say about you?  What does mine say about me?  Whatever it is, it’s probably wrong.  Feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts On THE WICKED DEEP

Hello, hello!  It’s the last Wednesday of the month already.  Time flies when you’re having fun (or just going about daily life), I suppose.  Anyway, you all know what happens today: a book review!  This week, I’ll be talking about The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.  It was published back in March of this year by Simon and Schuster.  I read it with the reading group I’m in and decided that I have too many thoughts about it to not write a post.  I usually try to keep my posts as close to spoiler free as possible (sometimes a couple will slip through), but that’s going to be impossible here.  Spoilers this way lie.  You’ve been warned.

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I absolutely love the cover.

The Wicked Deep is the story of a small town called Sparrow and the curse that has plagued it every summer for two centuries.  Why is there a curse?  Because the town sentenced three sisters to death by drowning for acts of witchcraft, of course.  What is the curse?  The three sisters possess the bodies of three girls from the town and lure boys to their death in the harbor.  Poor Penny, a seventeen-year-old who lives on an island with her not-quite-all-there mother, has accepted that it’s the town’s fate to suffer the wrath of the witches every year.  That is until Bo, an unwitting outsider, shows up and she decides it’s her mission to protect him.  Things go all kinds of wrong from there.

I have to admit that I was totally in love with this book as I was reading it.  The setting was wonderful and the writing pulled me along.  Even after I finished it, I was prepared to give it five stars.  Then, I took a breath and started thinking about it.  Really thinking about it.  That was when things got super dark, and not in a good way.

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It really did.

*spoilers ahead*

I ended up feeling sooooo bad for Penny. First, she’s possessed by Hazel (violation much?), but then there’s the whole Bo thing. I mean, there’s sex.  That means Penny is basically ghost roofied and forced into sex without any say. To be fair, Bo doesn’t know about Penny being Hazel at first.  But after everything is over, he keeps dating Penny like everything is normal and he was in love with her all along. At the same time, he keeps pining over Hazel. So, he’s not in love with Penny, which means she’s stuck in a relationship with some guy who’s not really into her.  It all just got very rapey the more I thought about it.  By itself that’s fine (not every story has to be a happy one), but there will be people who think this is a great love story and that’s what really makes me sad.

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Me after really thinking about things.

Aside from that, I also expected more from Penny’s mom.  She supposedly has some kind of psychic powers and knows when people are on her island and all that, but she doesn’t kick Hazel’s ghostly ass?  She doesn’t really do much at all.  It’s apparent during her conversation with Hazel that she knows things, but she doesn’t act.  It was just a little disappointing.

Ultimately, I had a love/hate relationship with The Wicked Deep.  I’ll still keep a look out for other books by Shea Ernshaw, though.  It was good enough that I was swept along, which makes it worth looking into other stories by her.

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Overall, my issues with it dropped my rating down to a 3 out of 5.  I definitely suggest picking it up if you’re into stuff like that, but really think about the story.  Maybe I’m making too much out of something small.  Maybe you’ll find it creepy too.  Who knows?

Finding Your Genre

Hello, hello!  When submitting to agents, one of the most common questions a writer has to answer is what genre they write.  Sometimes, this is a really difficult thing to explain, especially if you’re not quite sure yourself.  Granted, I know some writers who can tell you what they write down to the subgenre’s subgenre.  But, I’m not one of them.  And honestly, they kind of freak me out (but I still love them).  I never really understood how people could stick to such narrow categories in order to be a specific type of writer.  It always seemed constrictive to me.  But I eventually fell into a genre and it felt good to know where I belonged, even if I do have a tendency to wander away from it.  So, I thought I’d share how I found my genre.

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A genre map… and this is just the basics, not including YA and the like.

When I first got into Stonecoast, I had people asking me what I wrote and my go-to response was horror.  At the time, it’s what most of my writing vaguely (and not so vaguely) fell under.  But the truth was, I was still searching for what I was most comfortable writing.  I liked dabbling in all kinds of genres, and still do.  It was always fun for me when I stepped outside of my comfort zone, so I never really felt right restricting myself with genre labels.  Don’t get me wrong, horror was and will always be my true love, but it’s not an entirely accurate description of my writing.

It wasn’t until my fourth semester, during my first half workshop with Nancy Holder (who had also been my mentor my first semester), that I started narrowing in on what genre I felt most comfortable in.  When I was on the chopping block, Nancy said my story was “vintage Shawna.”  She went on to explain that in her time working with me, she noticed that I tended to write about younger (usually teenaged) protagonists who stumbled upon hidden worlds.  She wasn’t wrong.  Apparently, I had fallen into the YA (young adult) realm when I wasn’t looking.

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I admit this is totally what I thought of when I was accused of writing YA.

It wasn’t exactly my genre of choice, but YA chose me, so I couldn’t argue with it.  Granted, I’ve managed to keep my horror leanings even in most of my YA work.  Demons and psychological torture and all of that still play big roles in my writing, but there’s also a stronger thread of good old-fashioned fantasy as well.  Now, I mostly tell people that I write supernatural YA (not to be confused with paranormal romance) or just YA fantasy.  It’s closer to the truth for the majority of my work.  Though, I do have pieces that don’t fall anywhere near those genres, because writing is hard enough without restricting yourself to one genre.

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It really is sometimes.

So, I found my genre when I wasn’t even looking.  Actually, I guess it found me.  But I will always suggest stepping outside your genre, whether when reading or writing or both.  It’s fun and challenging and you can learn a lot when you’re working outside your comfort zone.

What about you?  Have you found your genre yet?  If so, how?  Do you like working within super specific boxes or do enjoy the freedom of vagueness and blurred lines?  Share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

Accountability: Like Due Dates But Different

Howdy, howdy!  I was really having a hard time deciding what to write about when a friend sent me a text thanking me for being the voice in her head asking if she was at least thinking about writing.  It gave her the nudge she needed to stop at a place after work and take a little while to have a cup of tea and write some words.  She hadn’t written in a while, but she wanted to, so I told her I’d pester her every day or so until she started writing.  The second day of pestering and she’s already making time for it.  That’s what happens when you’re held accountable for things like this, you make time for them.

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I know, Cas.  I know.  I’ll go do that.

 I don’t know about you, but I always work better with deadlines in place.  At school, I could knock a ten page paper out in one night if I had to, as long as the research was done ahead of time.  Deadlines meant grades.  In the real world, missing deadlines affects the pay from the day job.  In other words, deadlines carry the threat of consequences.  But what’s going to happen if you don’t finish a novel?  Unless you have a contract with a due date, nothing will happen.  So, how do writers overcome this lack of a threat and finish things?  We hold each other accountable.

In the beginning, I didn’t really understand how holding each other accountable would work.  After all, if I don’t push myself to finish something, why would someone judging me for it be motivational?  Turns out that guilt is a powerful tool.  If I set reasonable goals with people and don’t reach them, I feel guilty.  I don’t care if the end of the world pops up, if people know I planned on doing things and failed, it sucks.  It also helps that I’m mildly competitive, so failure and losing are not an option.  I won’t be the only one to not meet my goals.

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Mixed signals achieved.

 According to people I’ve done this whole accountability thing with, it also works by legitimizing their craft, especially when they have jobs.  They have trouble taking time out of their schedules to write because they feel like it shouldn’t be a priority even when they secretly (or not so secretly) want it to be.  Having someone who will pester them and encourage them gives them an “excuse” to make time for writing.

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You can’t keep waiting when there’s no last minute.

 So, even when deadlines aren’t an option, we can still motivate each other by holding each other accountable.  We might not receive any real negative consequences if we don’t meet our goals, but we’ll have to live with the shame of disappointing our friends.  Who has time for that?

Do you have any friends who pester you about your creative outlet?  Does accountability work for you?  How?  If not, what do you do to stay productive and motivated?  Leave a comment here or on my social media pages to share your thoughts!

Until next week!