About Me

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I love being a mom and a wife. I've married to a man I would do anything for, and we have three beautiful children. I see so much of myself in both of them that it sometimes brings me to tears (happy ones).

I also love writing. Romance to be specific. I love the happily ever after that I believe everyone deserves. My stories aren't 'stop and smell the roses' type romances. While I believe everyone deserves happiness and true love, I know that sometimes you have to walk a hard road to find it. Those are the types of stories I like to write. The happily ever after that wasn't found, but earned. I work to earn mine on a daily basis and so do my characters. 

I am also working on a children's picture book series. Inspired (of course) by my kiddos. :)

On the non-writing front, I play acoustic guitar, sing, read like I get paid for it, ride horses, hike, paint rocks, and support a rather obsessive addiction to Pinterest.

I love to cook, which combined with my pinning addiction, leads to many experiments foisted on my unsuspecting husband and kids, mostly with good results. But sometimes, the dogs gets what the family refuses to eat. And they never complain. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Deciding on Villains and Monsters - Thursdays with the Author

Time for another Thursday's with the Author and since it just so happens to be Halloween, I'll be answering a 'spooky' question.

How do you decide on a character or description when writing about villains and monsters?

Most people think that writing romance is all about love, the happily every after, etc. But it's so much more than that. In most romances,  the hero and heroine are sometimes the only villain in the story line. They tend to create their own problems, get in the way of their own happily ever after, let their worst characteristics rule their decisions. But sometimes, especially depending on what sub-genre I'm writing in, there has to be an actual villain or monster.

In Dark Mountains, which is a romantic suspense, the villain is Libby's father. He is the worst a human can be all wrapped into one package. Angry, volatile, abusive, twisted and deadly. When writing about him, I had to delve into lots of dark issues. He's a drunk, he's psychotic, he kills without remorse. Just describing his actions in the novel made him a villain worthy of being called a monster. There was a part, near the end, when we find out what makes him the evil person that he is. But there is no sympathy for him. Regardless of what brought him to being a villain, his choices made it impossible for the characters or the reader to forgive him. Here's what one Amazon reviewer said of the villain in Dark Mountains:

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"Also as I read this book, I was hoping that someone would put the bad guy out of his misery. I just wasn't sure who I wanted to have the honors. He actually hurt everyone with whom he came in contact so the line of people who wanted him dead was pretty long but I just wanted to make sure that whoever finally kills him does not end up in prison for doing the world a favor. I make no apology for wanting this man dead. I was raised in the country and when we saw a venomous snake or a rabid dog we had one way of handling it...we killed it before it could kill us. This man was worse than a venomous snake or a rabid dog because if you can stay out of the way of the snake or the dog... they do not come looking for you in order to kill you. The same cannot be said of this poor specimen of humanity. No one could stay out of his way because he definitely WOULD come looking for you."

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In The Irish Treasures Saga, the villain actually IS a monster. The series is based on Celtic Mythology and the villain throughout the series is a monster based one of those myths. The Fomóirí are described as a race of god-like creatures that inhabited Ireland before men. Most accounts say they were ugly and misshapen, with bodies like men and heads of horses and dogs. They are also commonly described as having one arm, one leg and one eye. The word Fomóirí is translated into 'Under/below the sea'.  While a deformed creature missing half of its' body parts is certainly unsettling, I wanted to take it even further and create a monster that is truly scary. The Fomóirí in The Irish Treasures Saga is a powerful creature. It is ugly, deformed, and frightening. It can also create the illusion of being anything to trick people. It is capable of looking like your mom, your husband, your child. But when you are close enough to be unable to escape, you suddenly find that you are in the arms of a horrible monster. 

But the physical aspects of a monster or villain are only part of what makes them truly scary. The Fomóirí in the Irish Treasures Saga is scary to look at for sure, but the games it plays with the mind are really what makes it such a horrifying creature. A true villain or monster plays on people's emotions, their weaknesses, basically: their humanity. Mankind isn't inherently good. Even the best of us harbor some darkness in our hearts. The Fomóirí take that small hint of darkness and magnify it, turning it into a monster in your own mind. The Fomóirí is the main 'bad guy' in all four of my books, so it had to be something truly terrifying to be able to effect the reader book after book. I hope that every book leaves the reader thinking: 'It can't get much worse than that', but then it does. Here's an excerpt from Irish Strength - The Irish Treasures Saga Book One to give you a taste of what the Fomóirí is capable of...(warning: this excerpt contains some adult language and some adult content)

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He stood, knowing that he needed to go to her. What he saw leaning against his hearth had him stopping cold. The thing was slimy and black. Globs of rank seaweed slid from its body, filling the room with the smell of rotting vegetation. It stared at him with crimson, unblinking eyes.

Having a tiff with your whore?” it hissed. The voice sounded like broken sea shells tossed by the waves. Power flashed in Quinn’s eyes but he didn’t take the bait. He circled around the couch, eyeing the creature. Come now, Quinn,” it chided. “You knew what you were getting when you bedded her. Used goods, I think they call it these days.”

Unable to control his anger anymore, Quinn let loose a flash of power. The creature waved its hand with a laugh as the power bounced away at its fingertips.

That’s right, Quinn,” it chuckled. “Fight me with anger. Such things are honey to my lips.”

Quinn deliberately slowed his breath, making his anger shrink inward. The creature’s eyes narrowed, assuming Quinn would continue to use his emotions to fight. It was disappointed and in its own anger, slapped Quinn with its power. Quinn flew across the room, the breath flying out of him in a giant whoosh. He slammed into the far wall, cracking the ancient stones. Pain shot through his shoulder but he ignored it as he stood on wobbly legs to face the creature.

It was smiling now, feeding off Quinn’s pain. It attacked again, but this time Quinn was ready, blocking the power with a flick of his hand. He attacked again and hit the creature unaware, slamming it back into the hearth. It shrieked as it looked down and saw black blood dripping from its side. The sound made Quinn wince and sent the mirrors in the room shattering to the floor. Black blood trickled down to the floor, sizzling and burning where it landed.

“You weren't expecting that, eh? You right bloody bastard.”

Merely a scratch,” it hissed with a shrug. “Far less compared to what I will do to you and your little bitch.”

“Such a mouth you have,” Quinn scolded, sarcasm dripping from his words.

I’ll drink your blood while she watches,” it screamed as power swirled around it. “I’ll take her over and over until my seed is planted in her belly.” It smiled at the rage that came into Quinn’s eyes. “Then I’ll rip it from her womb and let her slowly die.”

Quinn attacked, almost without thinking and at the same time, felt the creature’s power slip past his defenses. They were both thrown to the floor bleeding. Now, they warily eyed each other, worthy opponents in battle.

You know, surely, that she does not love you,” its red eyes followed Quinn’s movement as it spoke. “She merely wants someone strong to protect her. She’ll leave with the whelp as soon as she can.”

“She’ll stay.”

If you gave me the spear I’d give her to you in return.”

“She isn't yours to give,” Quinn growled, barely controlling his anger. “Morgan is her own woman and makes her own decisions. No one will take that from her.”

You humans are so predictable,” the creature told him with a laugh. “You cannot stop me.”

“No, he can’t,” a new voice answered, strong and without fear. “But we can.” Morgan appeared next to Quinn, linking hands with him. He squeezed her fingers but they had no time for words. The creature screamed in rage at the show of unity. Their power filled the room, doubled now. The creature retreated to the far wall, eyes darting, unsure of what to do next.

“Get the hell out of this house,” Morgan growled. She linked her power with Quinn’s and together they attacked, the power rippling from them like the shock wave from a blast. The creature screamed before it hit, its voice cutting off as the power overtook it. It disappeared with a gurgling whine leaving a black and bubbling smear on the floor.

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Villains and monsters are necessary in romance. Whether it's a main character fighting their own demons, a nasty villain out to ruin the hero and/or heroine's lives, or a mythical monster bent on destruction. Villains and monsters bring out the worst in humanity. But they also bring out our best.

Hope you enjoyed this week's Halloween inspired Thursday's with the Author! See you next week!