The writer of ‘The Reluctant Cat Owner’s Journal,’ Cary Vaughn, has published a blog post I could not deprive you of enjoying. The author is, of course, a cat daddy and also an unbelievably gifted writer. No matter what the situation with the cats is, Cary masters it, writers about it, and makes his devoted fans (like me) laugh. Thanks so much for this wonderful post, Cary. And speedy recovery to the kitty!
As I’ve mentioned before, Predator Face has a habit of sneezing phlegm onto our walls and floor since the day of his adoption. In my opinion, this has made housekeeping more laborious than necessary.
As I’ve also mentioned before, Predator Face recently lost the ability to breath through his nose, making him sound like a snotty, mouth-breathing toddler with the flu. Not, stertorous. More slurpy, like breathing through a mouthful of gelatin.
At first, his condition was pathetic and sad. But it didn’t take long before the slurpy mouth breathing became a nuisance. For example, I no longer woke in the middle of the night to the adorable rumbling of his purr as he nudged me for attention.
As the author of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I admit, I’m a bit proud of twelve quite impressive characters, if I may say so. Of course, even though, so far, only two books in the series have been published, there are many more to come. A series of books usually holds many more characters than a mere dozen.
During the progress of the series, things are changing, known characters stay, others leave, some have to go, and new ones are introducing themselves to us. And these characters not only need to look (which this one I’m writing about now, already does)… he also needs a name.
This time it’s different, I’m afraid. I picked many names – but only can have one… and I cannot decide. Would you please help me?
My character is a tall, muscular man with bronze-colored skin and long, straight black hair that reaches down to his waist, and dark eyes. He’s got a good, strong heart, is loyal, a little bit stubborn, and holds great dignity. He likes to smile, but he takes his calling seriously.
Name Meaning Origin
Admiel Land of God, a variant form of Adam Hebrew
Asariel God is my aid Hebrew
Ethanael God has given me strength English/American
Sariel Prince of God Hebrew
Immanuel God is with us Hebrew
Indraneel Sapphire Arabic
Jaromiel Strong, fierce, favor, grace Slavic
Jeremiel God lifts me up Hebrew
Kadmiel God is my East Hebrew
Nahuel Jaguar Mapuche
I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know what do you think. Which name would match the character I described? What name would you pick if you had that character in your book? Or what name would you like to read in one of the following books in the series?
I’m curious about what name you will decide on, and I can barely wait to see the results. Thank you for your help.
On the Jane Friedman blog I found a great article on how to grow an email newsletter starting from zero – written by Christina McDonald. Thank you very much for the detailed descriptions and great ideas, Christina!
An email list is your secret weapon for selling books—it is a direct connection to your reader. But when I got my first book deal, I had no audience, no author Facebook page, and no email list. I knew I needed to build awareness to give my book the best chance to succeed. Here is my step-by-step guide to how I built my email list to 6,000 subscribers in one year.
1. Draft a plan
The first thing I did when I got my book deal was sit down and come up with a plan to build an email list. Coming from a digital copywriting background, I knew that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were good for brand building, but not for getting people to buy. Buying happens through an email list. I also knew I would need to provide people with a benefit to get them to sign up. Here’s what I decided to provide:
When I discover a beautiful picture, I very often catch myself standing there, sunken into the sight and just enjoying. And then, I realize, very slowly, that I picture some of my characters interacting right at this wonderful place.
In book 6 of my series, I have some of my characters meeting in a clearing which I had kept in my memory like a valuable treasure, only to remember it the moment I needed it and used it for this particular story. And there’s not much I can do than to describe what I see in front of my inner eye. I figure this is one of the things I love about reading: releasing my fantasy. If I read about scenery the writer describes, I picture it in front of me and try to look at it the way it feels comfortable and decent for me. Don’t give me too…
I’m a writer of paranormal romance, working on the sixth book in my series, currently, even though the first book still needs to be published.
Now lately I have realized that my romantic male protagonists are very attractive – all of them. (Of course, I measure my taste here, so please don’t hold it against me).
Then I started thinking: I’m an avid reader and occasionally read the one or other steamy hot romance novella. And I never even once read a description of an unattractive protagonist. They all were described as extremely good looking, and of course, they need to be. Otherwise, the entire book would be kind of weird.
A quick example. The Twilight Series. Edward Cullen was described as beautiful, breathtaking, Angel and so on. Would this series have been only half as successful if the protagonists had been merely mediocre or even having some obvious flaws?
Now, let’s be honest, which one below here is the ‘better’ Edward Cullen?
I don’t want to be unfair here. To each her own, right? What I find attractive is not necessarily attractive to another woman.
But what all these men in books have in common is the fact that they are well groomed. It’s always refreshing to read about a man who showers. And who knows that a nose hair trimmer is not only good to foam up milk for the cappuccino. (Not to talk about the fact that a nose hair is only a nose hair as long as it’s inside the nose. When it grows out, it’s a mustache).
Men should, in fact, be trimmed. It’s every woman’s personal taste to find a man with either more or less hair attractive. Let’s see. I consider armpit hair that can be plaited not particularly sexy. But hey… if it can’t be trimmed, for whatever reason, at least the guy should use conditioner. But that’s only a detail.
Having a look at a hairy chest, who can say which one of these would I consider my protagonist?
In my case, it would be the right one – probably because that sexy hairline from the belly button down South would drive me crazy. But not the too much hairy chest, just the right amount. I wouldn’t be too happy caressing my man’s chest and finding dried ice cream from the last beach trip, croissant crumbs or Lego stones in there… Trim or waxing once in a while wouldn’t do any damage. At least some guys knew then what we women are going through to be beautiful for them.
Or what about a trim in the ‘Southern Region’? And I don’t mean the thighs or feet. I’m more talking about the – uhm – bell tower. I think to keep it carefully trimmed, and in order, isn’t asked too much, is it?
I mean, rainforest aside, it doesn’t need to look like a bare-nosed wombat. Just sexy and clean.
I mean, after all, I knew one man, Holy Smokes when he took his undies off I thought he was smuggling a beaver!
Okay. I think I have been pretty open about my imagination of sexy protagonists. But now I’m curious. I’m sure there are characters on the evil side, the bad ones. Do we always describe them as unattractive? What are the features to ‘make’ them unattractive or the antagonist? How are you doing this in your book? Thank you for your advice.
As with most things nowadays, there are even “user manuals” for kissing scenes available online.
I have been reading through quite some of them and created a list that seems to work for me:
Where does the kissing take place?
What is the occasion?
What can I do to increase the tension?
Description of the body reaction
End of the kiss
Let me explain my list a little more detailed:
– Describe the scenery
– Are they at an event?
– Are they surrounded by others?
– Are they alone?
– What is around them?
– A park?
– A romantic pavilion?
– A living room, a kitchen, an elevator?
– How many times have they met before?
– Is it happening on a date?
– If yes, is it the second date? The third one?
– Do they know each other well, or are they just about to get closer?
– Is it a kiss at an anniversary?
Increase the tension?
– Describe how they get closer
– Describe the closing of the distance
– Is either one of them closing the distance on their accord?
– Add some tension and ‘electricity’ to the scene
Describe how their bodies react?
– Talk about how they touch each other
– Describe how their skin reacts
– Tell the reader how they smell and taste
– Give details how they see each other
– Do they close their eyes?
– What do they hear?
– How do their lips feel?
– Do their tongues play with each other?
End of the kiss
– How do they separate?
– Do they regret the kiss is over?
– What did the kiss with their feelings and emotions?
– How are they getting a certain distance between them again?
Now, let’s see what we can do with this list and create a kiss-scene without boring the reader to death:
Annabelle was surprised to see Rick had taken her to an open-air concert of her favorite band. She had longed to see this band playing, but she never felt a rock concert being the epitome of a romantic date. Even more, she was taken aback to realize he had bought tickets directly at the stage. The hustle in the front rows would be enormous. The beaming and sparkling of his eyes kept her away from protesting. He seemed happy to have surprised her. The crowd around them surrounded them with noise and heat. Even though she only wore a t-shirt and a thin jacket, there was no chance she could get cold. Rick held her hand to avoid losing her. The concert was epic, and Annabelle’s hand was always held by Rick’s he held her by his side until the band played one of their rare ballads. Surrounded by fans who were jumping and applauding Annabelle felt her face suddenly pressed against Rick’s muscular chest. She took a deep breath. He smelled like honey and chocolate. She had taken a few secret whiffs before and had already thought, if the perfume industry would wish to increase their turnovers, they should have bottled Rick’s smell.
His shirt felt soft on her face, and she couldn’t resist rubbing her cheek on his strong chest, only a little bit. There was a lot of movement around them; eventually, he wouldn’t realize what she did. “What are you doing, Sweetie?” His dark voice murmured into her ear.
It sent a sweet shudder down her spine, and she lifted her face to look at him. His right hand on her hip pulled her closer while his left hand supported her neck and jaw line.
Her entire body length was pressed against his strong frame; her breasts felt nearly flattened. But she did not move, did not want to move. His hot skin nearly burned her own. Her arms and hands found their way underneath his jacket, grabbing fists full of fabric while her entire body screamed in the desire to get even closer.
Rick’s ice blue eyes held her gaze, and he lowered his face to hers.
For only the fraction of a second, his mouth brushed her lower lip, like the touch of butterfly wings. In a sigh Annabelle uttered the almost inaudible sound of a kitten, desperately wanting more. The next touch on her lip was the tender caress of his tongue. Annabelle’s soft lips parted and she let Rick’s demanding tongue touching her own, searching her limits playfully, but she did not feel like limiting him. She let herself sink deeper into this kiss and allowed her tongue to dance vividly with Ricks.
All music, noise, the people around them, disappeared in a whirl, it seemed they were alone in this place. Nothing was important than to taste the sweetness of Ricks lips and tongue. She did not realize the ballad had ended, and they both were displayed on the grand monitor onstage.
Only when the clapping and applauding got more regular and grew whooping, her consciousness focused again onto the present, and she realized where she was. She felt Ricks smile on her lips, and she buried her embarrassed pink face in his shirt.
There was no room to separate her body from his, and Rick wouldn’t have permitted it. He held her close in his arms, and she felt more than she heard his laughter.
(Copyright, March 2016, Aurora Jean Alexander)
Of course, this is only a try to describe a Kiss scenery “out of nowhere”. It might even be far from being perfect. After all, we haven’t read all about Annabelle and Rick’s relationship. But I think we might have gotten at least an idea of how far this relationship has already developed.
It was fun to introduce you to Annabelle and Rick. If you have an idea on how to pattern this kiss differently, I’d love to read it in the comments.
Or: do you have your list of how to build a kissing scene? It would be interesting to see it.