Category: Brothers of Mayhem series
So Your Readers Hate Your Heroine
When I first started writing, critique partners and contest judges would often have a problem with my heroines. When I sold my first book, my editor said I needed to make my heroine likable.
Geez. She’s a cold-blooded assassin (Circle of Desire) and I understood why she was that way. Why couldn’t she?
I had explained piece by piece throughout the book how she was a dumpster baby, grew up in an orphanage and foster care. Then she was molested and became a runaway, walked the streets for a small time pimp, and then trained by a psycho to be an assassin. Why couldn’t the readers feel sympathy for her?
Well, if more than one person tells you that they do not like a character, you have to listen. And a big clue is the two words I used above. I understood.
So that means, I didn’t help the reader recognize where she was coming from when she did or said bad things. You can’t guarantee that the reader will read the whole book to grasp all of the fine details that made the heroine become that person. You have to give the reader a reason for her behavior. Of course, I do get aggravated with a reviewer when they say “I skipped through the book.” If she/he had read every word, they would have understood the heroine’s thought process. But it is the author’s responsibility to make it clear in the beginning that the main character(s) is someone you want in your life or sympathetic to their faults.
With encouragement from my editor, I went into the first chapter and added a sentence. That helped. See, it doesn’t take an info dump to get a point across. If you’re wondering, I showed in the narrative that her hands shook. Showing she was human.
I believe women often have a problem writing women because we think our readers (majority women) know the motivations behind the female lead’s actions. But that’s not true. Not every woman feels the same way about a situation. So we have to explain or show her rationale.
Funny how I forgot that lesson from my debut book when I wrote my first Brother of Mayhem book, Hidden Heat. Several reviewers felt that Cassidy was being immature by the fits she dealt the MC. She’s a strong heroine who knew if she didn’t stand her ground the club would run all of over her. I obviously didn’t make that clear enough in the beginning. But thankfully some reviewers/readers understood. Here’s one review that proved it. Debbie’s Reviews in Goodreads.
This means we (authors) have to stay on our toes and give our readers the information needed, within reason and in the most entertaining way. And readers need to give strong (or weak) heroines the benefit of doubt. If you want to skip pages, just don’t read the book.
Naked Heat: Brothers of Mayhem
Wolf Savalas has a good reason for kidnapping Sofia Cruz, the favorite cousin to the leader of Thirty-Second gang. His MC plans to hit the leader’s home and sweet Sofia will be in the crossfire.
Sofia stopped seeing the handsome biker after he admitted to being a deadly Mayhem Brother. So why is she now handcuffed to the sexy man? And why is she not sure if she wants to be set free?
Pile It on
You know what I like about romance books? Of course, the hot sex, but truthfully, the layers my favorite authors weave into their stories. For romances, there should be two main plots in the book.
One, of course is the mystery of romance. You know, the mystery of how they come to understand they should be together (not just because they are compatible in bed, though that is important as it is in relationship) and how they work out their happy ending. A lot of this is internal conflict because love is emotion. Like duh, right?
Second, what is going on in their lives that pull them together? Or make sure they are at the same place at the same time? It can be a missing child, a failing ranch, a killer on the loose, etc. You get the idea. This is the external conflict.
Then you can layer on more. Maybe the two main characters’ families are mortal enemies (Jake: A Southern Crime Family Novel), or hero has a problem with being touched (Full Heat: A Brothers of Mayhem Novel), or heroine reappears after disappearing years before (Circle of Deception: The Circle series). That’s right. The hero and heroine should never be perfect. One can be a little less perfect than the other, but both should have faults. That makes them so much more interesting.
Just be careful with the layers and plots. As an author, it’s important to keep up with
them. The plots need advancement throughout the book, and certainly need to be solved completely by the end. The layers need to show up along the way too. Usually, those faults need to be improved or a promise of improving. Not all of them, but the major ones. At the end of the book, the characters have to be better for knowing each other.
The only exception to solving a plot or improving a fault or more within a book is when it’s part of a series involving one main character. Such as Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Darynda Jones’s Charley Davidson series, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, etc.
Personally, I’ve quit reading series with a same main character. I get bored, and after awhile, the hero/heroine gets on my nerves. Maybe because they do not seem to grow and learn from their mistakes. Don’t get me wrong. The series above and many others are great series (they wouldn’t be NYT best selling books if they weren’t) but it’s just not my thing, my taste.
My series have a couple threads that run through them to connect, but nothing major. That’s why most can be read as standalones. The Southern Crime Family series is currently the only one that will need to be read in order. Only book one (Jake) is out. Book two should be in the summer of 2020. The series is about three brothers and their
journey to find love and the true killer responsible for their father’s death. Each book is about a brother.
Another thing about plots. In my books of 60,000 words or less, I try not to throw in a complicated plot(s). Simple is best. If you didn’t, you would limit the romance in such a small book. And no, geez, that doesn’t mean putting in more sex. Romance is emotion. Getting to know each other’s personality traits, understanding why they do the things they do, often learning to trust each other, they are all part of a romance.
For that matter, I write for entertainment. The only place I teach a person something is through my blog posts here (or the workshops I do on occasion).
My book, NAKED HEAT, is one of the books being given away. Be sure to check it out.
The Heroine Hero
No. I didn’t leave out anything between heroine and hero. Lately, there has been a debate of rather or not the word heroine is outdated.
Someone on Twitter had said that comics…oops…graphic novels (or whichever term you prefer) refer to superheroes no matter the sex of the character, not superheroes and superheroines. Okay. Sounds cool right? There’s more I can say about female superheroes and some of their costumes, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.
I understand why people are saying there shouldn’t be a difference, but I disagree with that when it comes to traditional romance novels. So you can say there are certain stories or books that it should always be okay. It’s to do with their gender, and the two are equal in their importance in the story.
My novels have a heroine and a hero. They have a man and woman who fall in love. It is just my preference to write those type of stories.
Okay now on to the heroine hero point I want to bring up. I see this happen mostly in paranormal romances. I’m sure it happens in other genres. Maybe romantic suspense. You know, a female detective with a male lead who isn’t in law enforcement.
Anyway, it’s where the female lead has all of the skills to the point she doesn’t need the male lead, and she has big time control issues. As in she wants to control everyone and everything around her. It’s most tiring to read. While the male lead is there merely so they can have sex, and the book can be called a romance. Sure, he may come in and help out, but he is really just beefcake. Kind of like how the woman is sometimes treated in other books. (Then she would be just cheesecake. Look it up. LOL!)
I prefer that the male lead possess a certain skill or object she needs (get your mind out of the gutter) to defeat the evil entity. That gives him a solid reason for being there.
While I’m writing this, I’m mentally going through my published books. Do I have a heroine hero? No. I have a few heroines with control issues, and the heroes certainly have their own issues, but they have skills.
Circle of Desire has a female assassin, and she loves to use men for relief (this is where you can let your dirty mind run free), but the hero is certainly there for a reason. He kidnaps her and works on bringing her over to the good side.
In Hidden Heat, the heroine is bossy and unafraid of the bad guys. They are like uncles to her. Men who she grew up around. So she knows the Brothers of Mayhem MC inside and out, and the hero (undercover cop) can use her knowledge to bring the bad guys down.
My heroines are not wimps, but the two above are the most gutsy.
I like to think most of my lead characters are on equal footing, but the heroine is all woman and the hero all man, and that makes the dynamics of the romance more interesting.
BLOGGERS: Joyfully Reviewed
I had the pleasure meeting Joy and Melissa at the RT Book Lovers Convention in Kansas City (2013) at the Avon event I was part of with my Circle series. Nice ladies indeed.
Be sure to check out the website. Link below.
And their Facebook page.
See. I even like sites that do not review my books. One of my books did showed up there through a blog tour. It was just an announcement with an excerpt of Hidden Heat coming out at that time.
BLOGGERS: SMUT BOOK JUNKIE
Here’s another review site you might want to check out. I’m a little partial to this one, not because she rated my book perfectly, she didn’t, but because I admire the woman who runs the blog. Sweet lady who loves romance books. Be sure to check her out.
Here are her links.
FYI – HIDDEN HEAT received a 3.5 – average -not everyone has to be totally in love with my books. Plenty of readers out there. 🙂
BLOGGERS: I HEART YA BOOKS
A couple weeks ago, I came across my list of book review sites/bloggers I like and decided to let my readers know about them. Kind of give back to them what they do for all authors out there. You may find a few books you have to buy.
The first site I’m pointing you to is one of my favorites. Yes. She loved my first two books in the Brothers of Mayhem series and even understood my heroine so well in HIDDEN HEAT she almost made me cry with happiness.
Side note: If you’re wondering about book three in the series. I just haven’t sent it out to be reviewed.
Here’s the link to her blog:
And her link to her Facebook page:
She told me once that she likes more than just YA books. So true, considering the only thing about my books being YA is the age of the heroines and heroes. HA!
Oh, I see on her blog that she said, “I review Mature YA, New Adult and Adult Books. Romance is my heart!”
If you’re interested in the review of HIDDEN HEAT, click below.
And here’s FULL HEAT’s review. Click below.
Quote from Naked Heat
“Technically, we haven’t had sex yet, but sex is fun and should always be. That’s the best time to laugh.” Then as if he’d heard what he said, he quickly added, “That is as long as you’re not pointing at my dick when you do it.”
I Love Bookmarks!
I want to mention something I feel strongly about. When my writers group’s luncheon was over, I went to the large trash can to throw away an empty box. I looked in and to my horror were LOTs of bookmarks, booklets, post cards, in other words, paper promo out of at least two giveaway bags. I wonder if those readers noticed a card had a code for a free ebook? To those readers, they thought of it as trash, but to the authors who provided the material that represented money.
But let’s not think of the authors who sent the paper promo to help you decide on what to buy, let’s think of the other readers out in the local area or your area who would have LOVED to have a bookmark or information about a local reader? If you were the reader(s) who did that, please be nice and not throw them away at the luncheon, instead go to your local library and ask them if they are interested in them for their readers? I bet they would be thrilled. Plus they would love to talk with you about the luncheon and who all you met. A good way to make a friend.
Do you have any other suggestions?
Naked Heat Trailer
Hidden Heat is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time. Sexy undercover cop infiltrates a motorcycle gang and meets former MC president’s daughter with a smart-mouth. Hot sex and danger. Be sure to check it out and buy!
Naked Heat’s Video
I did one other video for a book back in 2011. It was for Circle of Desire, my debut book.
Since then I’ve learned a lot. Click on the link, and it’ll take you to YOUTUBE to watch my newest. WordPress wants me to pay to show it here. I haven’t decided on upgrading here yet.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE LINK TO NAKED HEAT’s BOOK VIDEO (Yes, I was shouting in excitement.)
Get It While You Can
Sizzling with passion and suspense, perfect for fans of Joanna Wylde and Julie Ann Walker, the Brothers of Mayhem series revs up as a headstrong beauty faces off against an outlaw motorcycle club—and falls for the bad boy she never saw coming.
Cassidy Ryder refuses to be intimidated by anyone, even the hell-raising, hard-drinking Brothers of Mayhem. The daughter of their former president, she’s not above smashing a few heads to keep her teenage brother safe. But when Cassidy’s big mouth gets her in trouble, the only thing that saves her is some quick thinking from the Brothers’ bartender. He’s commanding and strong, and as smooth as the whiskey he pours: the ultimate temptation for a girl who swore she’d never be a biker’s plaything.
But Thorn Savalas is no ordinary biker. He’s a cop, and he’s worked too hard earning the Brothers’ trust to blow his cover over a female—even one who rocks a pair of jeans like Cassidy. The only way to protect her is by claiming she’s his old lady. Trouble is, Thorn can’t just pretend. He wants Cassidy, and every scorching touch tells him she feels the same. But acting on their hottest fantasies could leave them both exposed . . . even if nothing else has ever felt so real.
“Hidden Heat is a keep you on the edge suspense with a sizzling hot romance.” ~~ I Heart YA Books blog