Friday, September 28, 2007

What Makes A Hero?

As I sat musing about characters, I tried to define what makes a hero.

What do you think makes a hero great? Is it his body, his smile? Personality? Or maybe the way he interacts with the heroine?

Does he have flaws and do those make him seem more real? Maybe I should add a few quirks to his personality? Or give him something in his past, some tragedy he had to overcome?

All these thoughts ran through my head as I sat with pen and paper to “rough out” a hero. I like complex characters, so I start building them layer by layer, adding depth and flesh. Ooh, now I sound like Dr. Frankenstein, huh? LOL.

But in a way, authors are like that esteemed literary doctor. We take bits and pieces of what we’ve learned through our experiences and add touches of them to our handsome project. Maybe the quirk of a best friend, the special “moves” of an ex-lover, the sexy smile of a movie star, or the voice inflection of someone we once met. Then we combine those elements along with our imagination and create our hero, our imperfect but sexy and lovable man that will fall for our heroine.

So I ask you, what do you like to see in a hero and what makes a hero great?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cassandra on Cherry Pickin's

Join Cassandra and Jeff Dwyer, Barbara Karmazin, Marjorie M Liu, Deborah MacGillivray, Jacquie Rogers, and Dawn Thompson as they chat live with host, Rowena Cherry on Rowena’s internet radio show, Cherry Pickings, Sunday, Sept 23rd from 9pm to 11pm!

In honor of SEA OTTER AWARENESS week, the authors and reviewers will discuss selkies and other salty shapeshifting heroes from the sea.

The radio station is:
Instructions for how to listen are on that site. 

Saturday, September 15, 2007

When Setting Becomes A Character

Sometimes I get so involved in the setting of a story, in atmosphere, that the place becomes a main character. I try to curb the tendency and not detract from my hero and heroine, and yet…I enjoy reading books that develop the setting, using rich detail and ambiance to strengthen the plot and convey backstory.

The balance between setting as character and setting as, well…the backdrop against which my characters act, is a narrow crossing–at least for me.

In my very first short story, Cup of Fate, I wanted the farmhouse and the fantastical woods with their trees that bleed silver to come alive for the reader and become more than a simple location for dialogue and action, but a living, breathing persona.

Those trees in the silverwood were more than a mere forest, more than organic–they were sentient on a level we humans could not perceive.  They were a conduit for communication between our world and the alternate reality or alterrealm of Lugh’s world.

Being an erotic romance writer doesn’t mean skipping depth of plot or setting in order to get to the “good” stuff–the sex. To my way of thinking the entire book, including all the bits between the sex scenes, should be “good stuff” as well.

What do you think? When you read erotic romance, do you skip to get to the “good” parts, or do you linger over the story like one would a fine wine?

I think the mark of a good writer is the ability to lead the reader on a wonderful journey and to engage their imagination, and heighten all their senses.  I know that is what I want when I read a book. I want to disappear in the writer’s imagery, in the world they’ve created just for me.

I know that I want my readers to feel that same sense of excitement and surprise before the journey’s end and I strive for it with every story I write.