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10 - Flat characters and stereotypes- Characters that don't show any growth throughout the story and/or are almost caricatures. And stereotypes....urgh. It's just a specific type of flat character, really. The super gay best friend/sidekick who is essentially there for humor, all women but the heroine are just jealous and horrible bitches, the alpha-hole hero who has no redeeming qualities but somehow the heroine loves him and so does everyone else, deep down...

9 - Inconsistent characters - I just said I wanted character growth, yeah? Well inconistent characterization is NOT character growth, though sometimes it seems to be explained away as that. I'm talking about characters acting completely out of character, with no logical or believable reason behind it. Or bam, halfway through the book, it's like reading a completly different character altogether.

8 - Too big a cast - too many people to keep track of - It drives me nuts when I can't keep track/keep up and then have to scroll/page back and figure out who the person is.

Now, I'm actually fine with a larger cast. *I* have a larger cast in my Albion's Circle series, but I hope I avoid (and try VERY hard to!) falling into the trap of making people go "Who's this again?"

So the problem isn’t necessarily a large cast (though I think there likely is a limit to how many people you can effectively have playing a decent role in the story), but more often, the issues is how it’s executed. If the cast is introduced in a style reminiscent of classical literature like The Iliad or J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, the author may want to step back and reconsider a few things.

7 - Insta-love - I know I've mentioned this in another post at some point... I want to see people fall in love. I want to see what about the characters the others love and be rooting for them. That's why I read romances. So, when it's instaneous - and not talking about immediate attraction/lust here - I feel let down as a reader. Big time.

6 - Lack of research - If you're going to write about something, in detail, then you need to know what you're talking about. An example - I was reading a book in which the hero was a private investigater. There was a murder and he's called by his cop friend. The hero then proceeds to show up at the crime scene, pokes around, takes a file in full view of everyone, touches everythign with no freaking gloves or anything, basically compomising the crime scene and evidence. I'm no expert in law enforcement or crime scene investigation, but even I know there is no way that would freaking happen!

5 - Overselling the research and/or knowledge - This is a personal one for me, and I'm sure there are people who disagree and perhaps like this kind of thing, but I don't need a run down of every furnishing and antique in the family mansion. I don't need page upon page of all the sights in the city that story takes place in so I know that the city was googled. For me, if it isn't important to the story, I don't need to be regaled with all this information and it pulls me completely out of the story.  

4 - Head-hopping - When we're bouncing from one character's head to another, when that results in confusion and having to skim back to figure out who's head we're actually in...

And falling under the same umbrella - too many POVs. Especially if it's just once in the story and it's a character who doesn't even play a large role.  There are ways to impart information to the readers without going into, say, the waiter's head for a matter of paragraphs just to let us know a tiny detail.

3 - This is more specific to paranormals.... The vamps, the weres, the supernatural beings are all drop dead gorgeous and physically perfect.

And don't get me wrong... Having pretty characters, not a problem. But being told ad nauseaum just how beautiful and stunning they all are, how they could all be models, etc., it gets old very quickly.

2 - The irresistable heroine. Everyone wants her. EVERYONE. Even her gay married dentist is re-evaluating his sexuality because omg she's just all that.

1 - This is specific to story with BDSM elements - when a character is into BDSM, it's because at some point in their life they were abused and they are broken somehow. That the character just needs to be fixed, and when they are good and whole and healthy again, they won't need to do "that" anymore. Because just being into it, just enjoying it, just getting something out of it without a terrible, horrible, no good past pushing you do it isn't enough.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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I clearly have issues coming up with standalone stories for flash fics... I've gone back to one of my boys... You could read this on its own but if you'd like to take a gander at the other stories in this world:

Part 1 - "The First Step"
Part 2
Part 3 - "Never Gone"

This one is another peek into Justin's head... A similar, and yet very different, spot than we last saw him in "Never Gone".

"Unfinished"


Justin walked toward the kitchen, navigating in the dark, not wanting to wake his guest. Someone he hadn’t seen in years—takeout and booze in hand, wanting a visit and a place to sleep for the night. Justin had a slight pang of guilt that he’d hadn’t had a bed to offer, not in the tiny one-bedroom he currently lived in. He’d tried to give up his own bed and take the couch himself, but had just received a smack upside the head for his trouble. Oh well, at least his couch was fucking comfortable. And after the amount of alcohol they’d downed the night before, he figured the other man likely had no problem falling asleep.

Neither had Justin. Falling asleep was never the issue. Staying asleep, however…

He sighed as he opened the fridge. He should be used to it. He hadn’t had a solid night’s sleep in the last fucking three years. Not since…

He cursed, shoving aside that train of thought, and grabbed a bottle of water.

“Wanna grab me one while you’re in there?”

“Fuck!” Justin fumbled and barely stopped the bottle from dropping to the floor. He withdrew another water and, shutting the door, walked into the living room. “Sorry, boss. Didn’t mean to wake you.”

A soft huff of laughter, and in small amount of light from the streetlamps coming in through the window, he saw Liam—his former boss—shake his head. But he didn’t correct Justin. He’d stopped doing that about an hour after arriving.

“Didn’t wake me.” He held his hand out for the water and motioned for Justin to sit next to him.

“Okay, but I don’t want to keep you up.”

“Shut up and sit down.”

“Yes, boss.” He plopped on the cushion, as ordered, but looked everywhere but at the other man.

After a few minutes of silence, a hand came to rest on his shoulder. “Sometimes, it helps to talk about it.”

“About what?” he asked flatly.

Liam’s fingers tightened. “The nightmares.”

Justin jerked his head around and stared at the older man. “How did you know?”

“That you had nightmares? How could you not?”

Liam tilted his head to the side and stared intently. Justin fought not to squirm. Damn, it’d been a long time since he’d been under the full force of that stare. And fuck him, he kind of missed it.

“Justin,” Liam sighed. “The things we see, the things we face, doing what we do, nightmares are par for the course. But having to face the…horrors, knowing that your brother did those things? Bound to screw with your head.”

Leaning forward, Justin set his water on the scarred surface of the coffee table then scrubbed his palms over his face. He didn’t want to think, let alone talk, about the nightmares. Of course his stupid fucking brain circled back to the one that had woken him less than half an hour before.

Starring his brother, Jonah, of course. He’d been standing over Justin, who had been strapped down on a table. Just like all of Jonah’s victims had been. He’d known it was Jonah from the start, even though he hadn’t been recognizable. His face hadn’t been human. It had been covered in metal and gears and...stuff. But it hadn’t been a mask—it was his face. His face was just…not human.

Justin rolled his eyes. It didn’t take a fucking shrink to figure the meaning of that, did it? Three years ago, he’d discovered his brother wasn’t human. He was a monster. This was just Justin's brain’s way of illustrating that.

The dream was starting to fade, blur around the edges as dreams often do, and Justin couldn’t even bring the particulars into focus anymore. But Jonah’s eyes…  Those were still vivid. Cold, assessing, emotionless—no sign of caring or love. No sign of a brother in those fathomless pale eyes. Only the monster he’d been. The monster Justin hadn’t seen until it was too late.

“Justin.”

Liam’s low hoarse voice brought him out of his mind and back into his dark living room.

“Sorry.”

“You need to stop wallowing in your guilt. You blame yourself and that isn’t going to lead you anywhere good. Trust me on that. You ran away, isolated yourself, wrapped yourself in the weight of that guilt, and it’s suffocating you. You haven’t even given yourself time, or permission, to grieve.”

Justin sat back and gaped at the older man. One, because that was the most words he’d heard his boss string together in one go. Two, because his uncanny ability to see what Justin tried to hide from everyone. From himself. Though he shouldn’t be surprised—Liam had always had that talent—but time had made Justin forget.

“Grieve?” he croaked. “I am not the one who needs to grieve. That falls on the families who lost someone they loved. My brother was not a victim, Liam. He was a monster who tortured and killed at least a dozen men. A psychopath unable to even feel love.”

“Ah, but that’s the thing, isn’t it? He can’t feel love. But you can. You did.” Liam cupped Justin’s cheek a moment then patted it. “You, just like those families, lost a loved one. Lost a brother. And you are allowed to grieve., Justin.

Justin forced a laugh. “Didn’t take you for the touch-feely type, boss.”

“I’m not. Never have been. But you’re family. And family looks after its own—even when they don’t want looking after. Or think they don’t deserve it.”

“Boss…don’t,” he pleaded, heart hammering, throat tight, eyes stinging.

“You may have left the team—hell, I left the team—but you did not leave your family.” He shook his head. “Can’t. Not possible.”

Justin thought of who he’d left behind. The man in front of him—the boss, the man he’d looked up to so fucking much. Adam—SIC, a second boss, really, but the one who had taken Justin under his wing from day one. Scott and Sarah—the agents who razed and supported him in equal measure. And Harris—Justin didn’t exactly know where he fit in the “family” Liam spoke of. Harris had been attached to the team during the investigation that lead to Jonah. Hell, Harris had taken Justin’s place when he’d left. He didn’t really know the kid.

His breath stalled as pale sweat-damp skin, dark eyes and tousled hair flashed through his mind.

“It’s time to come home, Justin.”

He was thankful to be pulled away from memories of what he regretted—regretted leaving behind, not having done. Because he couldn’t bring himself to regret that one night. No matter that he probably should.

“I don’t know if I can,” he whispered. “I always said I would—when I got past all of it. But I’m not sure that it’ll ever be over. Not for me.” He cringed as his voice broke and cleared his throat. “I don’t know that I can come back to the Bureau, boss.”

“It’s time to come home,” Liam repeated. “Don’t give a shit whether you go back to the job. Come back to your family. Let us help you though this. Help you grieve. Because until you do, it won’t be over.”

Justin sniffed and swiped angrily at the dampness now coating his cheeks. He froze when Liam’s arms came around him.

“You are allowed, you know? Grieving the loss of your brother isn’t a betrayal. It doesn’t lessen what you feel for those families.”

Hearing the thoughts that needled at him constantly voiced—and damn him, how does he do that?—Justin felt something deep in his chest give way. A sob forced its way up, up, up until it pushed past his lips. Liam’s embrace tightened, and Justin let himself lean into the other man. To take the comfort for the first time in three years.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

4 Comments

Okay, let's see how I did with the goals I set for March...

    • Keep on keeping on with the self-care and house stuff - I have been rocking this. So yay!
    • Publish Safeword Protected -  Sigh. Didn't get it published. Nearly finished with getting it ready to go and very close to be ready to do this. Really unhappy about not accomplishing this. 
    • Complete Into the Deep - This did not happen. Definitely another case of setting unrealistic goals for myself. They seem realistic when I make them, but again, I don't take into account the non-writing stuff. Or I guess I don't accuratetly estimate how much time the non-writing stuff with take. This is something I'm working on...like hardcore working on it. 
    • Complete March Newsletter short - Done.
    • Complete all scheduled March blog posts - DONE! Super happy with myself on this one!
    • Update Writing Bujo - Have been keeping this updated. 🙂
    • Put together Publishing and Marketing Bujo - This is a work in progress - and will be because that's the nature of it LOL -  but it has been put together and I'm very happy with it. I think this is going to be an amazing tool. 
    • Fix mss. templates - Done.

Now, for April goals:

  • Publish Safeword
  • Complete Into the Deep (much more doable this month as Safeword will be off my plate and not as much non-writing stuff pulling at me.)
  • Self-care and house stuff - keep up with this. Makes my mind clearer and I'm able to focus more.
  • Complete all scheduled April blog posts
  • Complete May newsletter short
  • Keep Writing & Publishing and Marketing bujos updated
  • Come up with a reasonable writing schedule for the next couple months (Keyword: REASONABLE, Jarman!)

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin 

11 Comments

 

Writing fears and anxieties...

All right, I'm gonna be super real and honest here. And kinda break the rules, I suppose. I'm not going to delve into all of my fears and anxieties. Not going to make a bulleted list of them and lay them all out. I'm not going to give them voice, right now.

Why? Because I live with them everyday. They batter at my skull, whispering and shouting, in turn, all the reasons I can't do this. How I can't be successful doing what I love, that I should just give it up. I'm not good enough, successful enough, just not enough. It's also hard to put into words, sometimes, what specifically I'm anxious about, what I fear - and as a writer, not being able to put something into words is a whole other level of frustration and madness.

I will say that I do have fears and anxieties. Big time. That they fuel my depression and overall anxiety, sometimes, to the point it's paralyzing. Dealing with them is a daily freaking battle. But, so far, it's a battle I'm winning. And will continue to win, day by day by day by day by... Well, you get the idea. Despite the fears and anxieties, despite how big and loud they get, I'm confident I'll come out on top. Not really going to accept any other outcome, and I may be a wee bit stubborn. Between that, the work I've already done straightening my head out, and pretty much have the best support system a girl could ask for...I've got all the tools I need to keep doing this..


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris

4 Comments

Seriously, I'm getting that frame and putting it on my wall. LOL Mostly because, no matter the successes, the failures, and everything in between, I try. Despite things blocking my way, I try. No matter how many times I stumble, I try. Even when that stumble leads to a spectactular face-plant, I try. Even when it's my own mind trying to push me down, I try.

So all joking - and tongue-in-check mock cover - aside, I'm damned proud of that fact.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
 Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James

5 Comments

This month's song is "What Are You Waiting For" by Nickelback. Have a listen if you like:

This fic didn't really go where I expected but I went with it. 🙂 It doesn't really go with the theme of the song, I suppose, but that's okay. It was what came from me, and that's what these flash fics are all about.


What are you waiting for?

Maddie Ainswirth stared at her resume on the computer screen as the conversation from the previous evening ran through her head—or at least her mother’s side of it, which admittedly was the majority of the words spoken.

You’re wasting your time and your talent. As a PA for a non-profit? Honestly, Madeline. With your degrees and your skills, you could be making a more than decent living, with a PA of your own, getting the recognition you deserve.

And by you, her mother meant we—we as in the Ainswirths. All of Maddie’s accomplishments, or lack thereof, reflected on the family as a whole. And unlike her siblings—Maddie was falling short. But that was her jam, apparently. She’d been an average student. Hadn’t dated the right boys. Sure, she’d earned two degrees, but what was having degrees in English and marketing when compared to two lawyer brothers and a CFO sister? And one would think she’d have a leg up on the sister who was a stay at home mom, but that was just fine because she’d married up.

Don’t you want to make something of yourself? Make your way to the top, feel the pride in that? I don’t understand how you can be happy, how you can be satisfied filing papers and bringing Leo Carver his coffee. I expected more of you.

That had, of course, been designed to shame and push Maddie to…to…to be more. But it didn’t. Because she was happy where she was. She loved her job, which wasn’t as a PA anymore, not for over a year, even if her mother refused to remember that bit. Maddie worked alongside Leo, running their small office and staff. It definitely wasn’t just filing papers and fetching coffee. Oh, she still did plenty of that, but she did so much more. She was making a difference. And she’d tried to explain that to her mother, but making a difference didn’t mean shit if it didn’t come with an impressive job title, money or public recognition. Preferably all three.

Maddie rubbed at her temple and continued staring at the screen—at her list of qualifications and skills—before clicking over to the email from her mother and staring some more. At the links to more suitable jobs.

“Hey, Mads,” Leo greeted cheerfully. Juggling a bag and drink holder, he used his foot to pull the chair from his desk over to hers. Settling in beside her, he announced, “Food time.”

She glanced at the clock, shaking her head when she saw it was already after five pm. “Hmmm, guessing that means it’s gonna be a long night?”

“Got you a double,” he said apologetically as he placed a tall coffee next to her keyboard.

She inhaled the spicy scents as he opened the takeout bag. ““And Indian food? Wow, you must really feel bad.”

“So so bad.” He held a fork out to her, his green eyes twinkling and his mouth twitching up into a smile. “Big meeting’s tomorrow, and there’s no way I can do this without you, Mads.”

With a smile of her own, she deleted her mom’s email without a second thought, then closed her resume before moving the mouse and keyboard to the side. After taking the offered fork, she also accepted the plastic container she knew would contain her favorite curry. Glancing at him from the corner of her eye, her thougths went back to her mother and the conversation they had, it seemed, every time she saw her.

Would she always be happy here? She didn’t know. Some days, it was hard and grueling. The late nights were killer. But the work they did was worth that. And hell, even the hard days, the late nights were made bearable by not being the only one running for coffee. By Leo bringing her her favorite takeout. By being needed and appreciated for who she was. And that, right there, was something that had been lacking her life until she’d started working here. Working with Leo. He’d seen potential in her, where everyone else her life had only seen flaws and disappointment. He’d encouraged her, helped her shape that potential into something more. Something solid and good.

“Mads?”

“Hmmm?” She blinked and met his gaze.

“Everything okay? You’re a million miles away.” He settled a warm hand on her shoulder, and his thumb grazed the skin on her neck.

And that… Well that was new. The subtle touches, the long looks, the not-quite-uncomfortable but heavy silences that settled around them sometimes. Maddie had no idea where this new thing would go—if it would even go anywhere—but she couldn’t deny the thrill of excitement that coursed through her when she thought about the possibility of more developing between them.

She smiled and shook her head. “All good. I’m right here.”

Leo nodded, grinning in response then shoving a forkful of chicken tikka masala in his mouth. Maddie chuckled and leaned slightly into his touch before digging into her own meal.

What was she waiting for?

Her answer to that wasn’t one that would make her mom happy, that was for sure. She wasn’t trying to make it to the top of anything or looking to increase the size of her portfolio or see her name in the news. She had what she needed and was exactly where she was supposed to be.

Yes, Mom definitely wouldn’t be happy because If Maddie was waiting for anything… she was waiting to see if that more would happen.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris

29 Comments

Of COURSE you want to win! And here's your chance...or chances since you can enter several times!

What are you entering to win, exactly? A Kindle Fire HD 8 PLUS 13 ebooks!

The Bound Series

London Bound by Jessica Jarman
Drawn That Way by Bronwyn Green
The Professor's Student by Bronwyn Green
Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman
Out of Sync by Bronwyn Green
In Bounds by Bronwyn Green
Safeword Protected by Jessica Jarman

Albion's Circle series by Jessica Jarman

The Deepest Cut
In My Veins
Edge of Darkness

Rising Blood by Bronwyn Green
Finding You by Bronwyn Green
Tempted to Death by Jessica Jarman

So, enter early, enter often! The more you enter, the better your chances of winning!

Good luck... Ádh mór oraibh!

Bron & Jess

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Last year, I was able to travel with my mom and explore Ireland...

I took hundreds and hundreds of pics so that is just a taste. LOL  It was an amazing trip and I loved exploring the part of the world that some of my ancestors came from.

It's no secret to anyone that I love to cook and bake. And I love a yummy soda bread. I'm sharing my go-to soda bread recipe in Bronwyn Green's and my newsletter this month (you can sign up here and get it and other exclusive content)

But I thought I'd share another recipe here. This one is for a slightly sweeter version of soda bread (though not overly sweet) that I love to have with a smear of butter with a cup of tea...The perfect breakfast or mid-morning snack.

Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the breadcomes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

 

2 Comments

Oh, this has been a long time in the making, my friends! I started this eons ago and have been pecking away at it since, but life has thrown some wrenches in the works. But it's almost time to release and will be available this month! YAY!

So, with that in mind, I'm sharing the absolutely gorgeous cover the amazingly talented Kris Norris has made for Safeword Protected, the 7th book in Bronwyn Green's and my Bound series. 

Clara Turner loves her life—her career as a travel writer takes her to places most people only dream of. But with the birth of her cousin’s first child quickly approaching, Clara happily trades her fast-paced adventures for the quiet Irish village to be there for the new arrival.

When Clara’s laptop acts up, her cousin decides to do Clara a favor and takes it to Niall Walsh, the village’s unofficial tech support. Clara panics at the thought of Niall—sexy, sets-her-lady-bits-tingling-from-afar Niall—discovering her secret stash of filthy kinkery living on her hard drive.

Niall lived the big-city life for years and dated the glamorous woman that came along with it before coming back home. He’s heard about Clara for ages, but nothing prepares him for the instant attraction he feels when he first sees her. He ignores it though—knowing she’s only there for a short time.

Besides, she’s the type of woman who fit in his past, not his present. He doesn’t have anything to offer that she’d want. At least, that’s what he’d thought…before he delved into her computer and discovered exactly what Clara likes. As he learns more about her, Niall realizes he can offer her something no one else can—the chance to explore her deepest desires instead of just watching on a screen.

It should be easy—a hot fling before Clara’s job takes front and center again—but when the time comes, will either of them be able to slip free from the bonds that now connect them?

4 Comments

Hey all. Time for another Musical Musings. I limited myself to 1-2 for each one... LOL And here we go...

SONG THAT MAKES ME HOPEFUL - "I Am the Doctor"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME HAPPY - "Can't Stop The Feeling" & "Best Day of My Life"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME CRY - "It's Quiet Uptown" & "Supermarket Flowers"


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Torrance Sené