April 1, 2019

The Anti-hero – Walking the line between good guy and bad guy

I wrote this post when King of Bad first published. But I thought I'd run it now since I've written another anti-hero. Writing a good bad guy is an interesting journey. You're constantly wondering if you have enough badness for it to be believable, with enough goodness that your readers won't abandon him/her.

The Anti-hero – Walking the line between good guy and bad guy

Creating a villain as the hero turned out to be far trickier than I imagined when I first dreamed up the idea for King of Bad.

Generally, creating the hero is easy. Some of the main character traits of a good hero are likability, relatability, believable flaws, true heart, clear mission/goal, honesty.

Now let’s define the common character traits of a good villain. Cleverness, charm, understandable anger, good back story, deceit.

The supporting villain characters in King of Bad came together easily because I could follow the good villain mold. We totally buy-in to Set’s arrogance because he has complete control over his weather abilities, and he’s god-like gorgeous. Mystic is a believable villainess first and foremost because her superpower is psychic suave. Anyone who can play with your head and your emotions – and enjoy doing it – has to be bad, right?

It was much harder to create the villain as a hero character, Jeff. Villains don’t care about other people, they don’t have friends. Rather, they form loose bonds with people whose abilities and goals align with their own and benefit them the most. Yet, you can’t very well have a main character who won’t give two shakes about anyone but himself and expect readers to take his side and route for him. So, I had to offset Jeff’s bad with some good. Maybe not a lot, but enough to make him likable. So, he had to be not-as-bad as the other kids at Super Villain Academy and he had to question their motives. 

Needless to say, when you read King of Bad, remember these kids are villains and are motivated by different morals and goals. When Oceanus pulls water from the overhead sprinklers for Jeff to freeze during battle, she isn’t doing it because she cares for Jeff and wants to help a friend. She’s doing it, because it’s fun to beat the other guys!

Available where good books are sold, find buy links on my 

February 22, 2019

Tell Us What You Think - Defining 2019

Review – noun

a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.

Reviews don’t have to be wordy. Here’s a review I spotted on Goodreads recently for Holly Black’s new book The Wicked King:

Holly Black creates a deliciously wicked world, twisty and dangerous and absolutely fascinating. I loved this.

See! In only 16 words, you know how the reader feels about the book.

Even if no one ever reads those 16 words, the review helps. The 5 stars the reader gave the book factor in with the 25k+ ratings the book already had to average 4.56 stars (wow, that amazing – perhaps I should add this series on my tbr!) giving a potential reader a strong and fast sense of how readers feel about the book overall.

Even critical reviews can help. For example, I mined the reviews of A Cuckoo’s Calling, which I gave 5 stars because I loved the nuanced writing and character development and how it continued to build, build, build all the way through. But another reader gave it two stars saying:

Dull & tedious. I was frustrated with the style of writing. There’s no action. It’s all conversation. I wanted it to be over.

Basically we are saying the same thing, but valuing it differently. As long as you stay respectful in your critical review, there’s no reason you shouldn’t leave it. Someone else may think – finally a book without blood and guts fighting, and pick it up for themselves. Whether readers know it or not, they value the fact that you took the time to read the book and share your opinion, when they are considering if they should read a book themselves.

Do you leave reviews? Are you more likely to leave them when you really loved a product/book/service or when you are really disappointed in a product/book/service?

In my newsletter on Monday I’ll delve into another definition of “review.”


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February 15, 2019

Distraction - Defining 2019

Distraction – Noun

the act of distracting.
the state of being distracted.
mental distress or derangement:
That child will drive me to distraction.
that which distracts, divides the attention, or prevents concentration:
The distractions of the city interfere with my studies.

I had an unfortunate week. My step mom died. I got a head cold. I gave a presentation. And I had a new audiobook release. Needless to say I’ve had difficulty concentrating. I was so distracted, I completely forgot about this post. I’m sure readers would be clamoring for my wise words if I didn’t post anything (cough, cough) so I’m throwing this up on the blog as a place setter and to illustrate that even when you work to keep yourself focused on your goals, life – and death – happens.

We’ll miss you GrandMad. But we’ve missed you for awhile. I’m so happy to know you are whole again.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum (because, seriously, isn’t that typical of life?) here is my newest audiobook. Please listen to the adorable sample and get yourself a copy.

In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish. But instead of weaving a better story, she's weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.