Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Creating Characters

Today I posted a link to a blog post I recently did about how my real life influences my writing. http://abookagirlandablog.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/guest-post-from-liz-schulte/

I was asked on Twitter (shout to @celticora !) what I actually do to build my characters. So I am going to try to put that process in words. I mean I’m a writer I should be able to do this. I’m a professional dammit!

So when I start a new book or introduce a new character the very first thing I need to know is what does this character want in relation to the story. Next I ask what function does this character play in the story.
For example, when I introduced Femi as a character in Choices (Book 2 of the Guardian Trilogy) my very first thought about her was she wanted adventure. At the very core of her character, all of her decisions, and all of her actions she is about finding adventure and thrills in life. That is who she is. Next she needed a function in my story. Well, Olivia needed a friend so there was an opening. The trick is though I can’t make my characters like the people I introduce to them.

I have tried in the past to plan a character solely designed to be the friend of my main character, but it doesn’t always work. In Dark Passing I decided Ella needed a friend. It took me three separate attempts to get her to connect with another character before I finally found the right one. Like real life chemistry is necessary and all characters do not have chemistry together.

So back to Femi, I introduced her to Olivia. (excerpt of their meeting below)
                "Not a friendly lot." I mumbled to myself as a strange horned creature gave me the stink eye. Maybe making friends wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. Being social had never been my strength.
"You'll have to excuse them. They aren't used to humans watching them so openly," said a voice behind me.
I turned to see a pretty girl, with long amber colored hair and skin so bronzed it nearly shimmered, leaning against a nearby building, arms crossed over her chest. She wasn't human, I was sure of that, but I couldn't quite place what she was. Her face was too smooth, her eyes too cat-like, and her voice too purring to ever be human.
"I'm not human," I said, looking directly into her feline eyes.
She approached with a graceful gait and circled me like I might be lunch. She sniffed the air on either side of my shoulder. "You look human, smell human, if you aren't human, what are you?"
"Bored," I said giving her one of Holden's patented expressions. "What are you?"
"Hungry," she said with a wide grin. "Do you want to get lunch?"
I had no idea what to make of this person. I couldn’t tell if she was a threat or just curious. "Do you invite strangers to lunch often?"
Her shrug was the most graceful movement I had ever seen. She made me feel like a frumpy troll next to her smooth liquid motions. "I can already tell I'm going to like you. Human, or whatever are, not many people would have the balls to stare down the whole of Chicago's Abyss. You're fearless. I like that in a person."    
"Olivia," I said, holding out my hand to her.
"Femi." She took my hand in a surprisingly firm grasp. "You aren't human, are you? I can feel it in your skin." A pleased smile spread across her face.
"I told you I wasn't."
"People lie.” She released my hand. "You really do look like a human. Out with it already."
I smiled at her impatience. "I’m a guardian."
"Bullshit." She laughed. "I can recognize a pain in the ass, holier than thou guardian a mile away. I’m not fooled, try again."

From the start they just clicked. Femi is adventurous and always looking for trouble she can sink her teeth into. Olivia is more reserved but trouble finds her pretty easily. They both have big hearts and endless amounts of curiosity. Now I didn’t really know that going in so back to my process of creating her character.
After I answered those two questions about her then I start building her. Since I write fantasy I needed to decide what sort of creature/person she would be. Would she be supernatural or human? Would she be good or evil leaning? What did she do for a living? 

Referring back to my first two answers I could narrow this down. I needed her to be supernatural because that would make her a better friend to Olivia and ease her transformation into the Abyss. Also on that note, she needed not to completely toe the line on the good side. You see Olivia was up to her eyeballs in good, but her heart still loved someone who had a fair amount of evil in him. Femi needed to be the voice of reason. She needed to see both sides more clearly than either side saw themselves so she could provide Olivia with perspective. The last question of what she did for a living was answered by the fact that this was a supernatural creature who craved adventure. Making her a bounty hunter was a nature fit. Her job could be one adventure after another which suited her.

After I knew this about her I could start on the smaller details like what did her race say about her? What were her strengths and limitations? What did she look like? How did she rebel? How did she distinguish herself from everyone else?

Since I created her race after the goddess Sekhmet I was able (had to) create everything about these people. I researched the goddess and what she was known for. I took bits and pieces of that and made character traits for the race. After I felt like I knew her people, I focused on Femi and how she was different from everyone else.

Now the most important part of all of this was that I didn’t know everything about her when I started writing her. I knew enough about her that I had a voice for her in my head, but with every scene I write about her or any of my characters I learn something about them and why they are who they are. Sometimes it surprises me. Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes they make me sad, but the important part of this is that they keep growing on the page and in my and the reader’s mind.

I am a firm believer that for my own writing process and I can plan things too much. So I try to plan just enough that I have direction, but not so much that I kill spontaneity.

So that’s it. That’s how I do it. I am suspicious that this is a long rambling post that told you literally nothing. Hopefully not though. Hopefully this made some sort of sense and helps someone out there.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gearing up for the Femi Series and Release Schedule

Hello all! Liz here. I haven't posted in ages, but I wanted to drop you all a line to let you know what is happening. First, I am getting ready to move so my life is hectic and my house is messy. Second, Inferno will be coming out a bit later than expected (more on that later). And third, did you know I released a short story about Femi that will come to play a bit in Inferno and is part of getting ready to start her very own series after I finish off the Jinn and Easy Bake Coven. :-D

The day Femi caught her first bounty she knew this was it; she found her place in the Abyss. However, one mistake, one act of kindness, one beautifully whispered lie could cost her everything--even her life.

Next on the agenda is my release schedule. Due to the move and various other stressful factors everything has shifted a bit from where I thought it would be this year. But alas the books will come out!

1. Inferno. I am finishing this up now and let me tell you it is wild. :-) Lots and lots happening and building. I am very excited about where this series is going. I am aiming for the end of July but realistically, it will probably release in August.

2. Vestige. I hope to have this book finished and in editing by the time Inferno releases so we are looking at September for the release. 

3. Ollie, Ollie Hex 'n Free. I am aiming for November for this release. 

4. Dark Obsessions. That's right the third book in the Ella Reynolds series is coming mystery lovers. I can't wait to dive back into Ella. She makes me laugh. 

Then with the start of the new year will come a new series. It will be the Sekhmet series starting the one and only Femi. :-) I also have lots of other plans for next year, but I will share them a little closer to the time. 

As always I would love hear from you. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

LimeLight by Melissa Lummis

Buy LimeLight at:

Coming soon to

Barnes and Noble



The 4th installment to the Little Flame Series

The Big Apple is the next stop on the Maximillian Dubstep tour, and I’m about to bite off more than I can chew. A new friend is asking for the kind of help I’m not sure I can give.  Saving his dying son is going to cost me, but I’d do it in a heartbeat if my life were the only price.  But, I’m about to learn that there are worse things than dying. Falling in love, for one.

I've faced blood, pain, and even excruciating loneliness, but nothing has prepared me for the choices I’m about to make. Death? Pfft. Child’s play.

Love is a far scarier thing.

Get caught up on the series:
#1 Nine30
#5 Echo - available soon for pre-order

About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker.  She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer.   And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance.  The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

She lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures.  The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane.  Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum. Namaste, dear friends.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Dawn Pendleton Cover Reveal

Title: Crazy Dreams (Dreams #1)
Author: Dawn Pendleton
Release: June 30, 2014

  Stone Tucker has big dreams. Someday, he wants to be on a country radio station. Flash forward to reality, and Stone isn’t any closer to his dream than he was months ago when he left his high school sweetheart and hometown in Pennsylvania to move to Nashville. Every one back home thinks he’s going to fail, and unfortunately, Stone has started to believe it, too.
  Enter Ember Daniels.
  Ember lost her dad years ago in a car accident, and more recently, her older sister to leukemia. She’s had her fair share and then some of heartbreak and needs to get away from the modeling life her mother has been pushing on her. A summer trip to Nashville is just what she needs to find herself. She isn’t prepared for Stone, with his hot body and overall indifferent attitude toward her.
  One night can change everything, and with seemingly endless summer nights, Ember and Stone both discover exactly what they’re looking for.

About Dawn Pendleton...

Dawn Pendleton spends her time between Maine and somewhere warm for the winter, dragging her husband and pup wherever she goes. A lover of travel, an avid reader, and a softie at heart, Dawn writes romance novels that face the dark reality of life, which is that not everyone gets a happily ever after right away.

Want to meet Dawn? Check out the list of Events she will be attending!

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