Thanks for inviting me over to your place, Julia! I love reading your blog. Now I get to play over here! Yay!
You asked me to give your readers a glimpse into the creation of the characters in my latest novella, “Nothing but Sex”, and to talk a bit about how they came to be. If you have read any of my books, you will notice that I tend to create characters that are as real and down to earth as you and me…and almost always with a humorous streak. Whether the hero is a hard-as-nails pro wrestler like David Chance in Out of Her Dreams, or a hard-working Native American rancher like Mike Running Elk in Nothing but Sex, my heroes are men with needs, wants, and insecurities just like every male in existence. These men are not perfect specimens. They sweat. They breathe. It isn’t unusual for my heroes to walk into the bathroom while the heroine is brushing her teeth and lift the lid to take a leak without bothering to ask if it’s okay with her. My heroes are just…guys. Even my alpha heroes sometimes need a kick in the pants to realize they are alpha. But once they realize what they want and need, they go after it with a vengeance.
I was surrounded by “guys” my entire life. Growing up, I had three male cousins who were all as alpha and as rock-headed as they come, and they drove my sister and I nuts. They were never wrong. They were never patient. And they were always getting into mischief and trouble. After my own sons were born, they followed the same path, and made life hell for their poor little sister. LOL! I firmly believe that in at least five of my many past lives, I was male. I was the worst tom-boy growing up. I asked for farm sets and ranch sets instead of dolls at Christmas. I never played with other girls. They were wussy! J
I can easily create a hero for my books by simply fishing into my memory banks and picking out the personality I am searching for, and then running with it.
My heroines are always just a little bit…me. Stubborn, loving to a fault. Self conscious and unaware of how others see them as people or lovers. Some of them are downright tomboy…others are alpha females. One of my novels from Resplendence (A Brief Moment of Pleasure) is about a female blackbelt in the traditional Japanese Martial Arts. She’s a toughie. But the hero is just tough enough to catch her. My heroines are normal, down to earth, and charismatic. And often I draw on my own real life experiences to plot my books.
No…that does not mean I do all the stuff that I write (grin) even though I would love to. It simply means that something that happened in my past triggers a plot in my head, and I sit down to write. I never plot out a book. I take an idea and start running with it, and never look back. While I write, I am “inside” my character’s heads. I am coming from their point of view. I use the language they would normally use, and that sometimes drives my editor nutty. When my well educated writer is thinking and talking, I use proper grammar and syntax. But when my hero thinks and talks, I use his point of view and voice.
I sometimes have an editor e-mail and ask why he swears so much. Why the heroine uses “frigging” while the hero uses the four-letter vulgar equivalent. LOL! How many guys use the watered down term? Hmmm? Most guys talk dirty when they are alone or in their own mind, and only clean it up when they have to. If in mixed company most will shift from WTF to “what the heck”. But not when they are alone or blissfully without a female audience.
I can’t write stuffy characters. It’s a mental and physical impossibility for me. I write what I know. I write what I feel. And I write what I like to see happen between my H/H. I am very careful to round out my characters with background as I write, but I have noticed lately that there are readers who seem to skim right over the “filler” that gives them important info about the characters, and sets the scene for why they do what they do…and these readers are telling me that the story never explained how something happened. Or they didn’t get why the character did this or that. I have to tell you…never skim in my books. If you do, you will miss something that is integral and important, and will come away thinking “Huh?”
When I put an entire story into less than 75 pages, the story is packed with loads of backstory, and loads of info. If you skim, you will undoubtedly miss a lot of that.
Nothing but Sex is a tight, fast paced 63 page novella that is a part of the Cougar Challenge Series. I believe that mine will be the tenth in the series, and is a stand-alone novella that can be read without reading the other nine…but I highly recommend that readers check out the others. The authors are hot and the books are great.
Here is a blurb and an excerpt:
Lee Blackhorse is hardly Cougar material, no matter what her friends over at Tempt the Cougar say. A forty-two-year-old woman who lusts after her thirty-year-old weekend helper is just plain nuts. Or is she? She’s been secretly hot for the man for years.
Mike Running Elk is the hottest thing ever to don tight jeans and a second-skin t-shirt…and he has no problem seeing himself in the role of lover. In fact, if he can just get the hot-as-hell woman to realize he’s plenty old enough to ring her bells, he plans to do more than just clean her barn and mow her grass. He’s waited for her long enough.
When her Saturday helper appears at her door with an injured hand, Lee can’t pull her eyes off his naked, ripped chest. And from her heated gaze, Mike can’t believe she’s as oblivious as she acts. The ice has been broken and he intends to heat things up even more…
An Excerpt From: NOTHING BUT SEX
Copyright © FRAN LEE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Mike swore foully as he caught his glove on one of the murderously long barbs on the roll of wire fencing that he was trying to move and he tugged his leather work glove off to find that the barb had made it through to his palm. He shook his head and shoved his hair back from his face with his other hand before he tugged his unused handkerchief from his back pocket and wrapped it around his hand, which did very little to staunch the flow of blood. Swearing at his own clumsiness, he headed across the wide work yard to the back porch and stepped inside, knocking on the inside screen door.
She appeared from the archway to the living room, her face pink and her lower lip caught between her teeth as she caught sight of him and he realized that he hadn’t bothered to pull his damn shirt back on. He saw the way her eyes darkened as they slid over his body and he felt a shot of anticipation run from his gut to his cock. Her lips were full. Her eyes were smoky blue. A small vein throbbed in her throat. And it struck him forcibly that she most certainly was as aware of him as he was of her.
But before he could wrap his mind around her reaction to him, she was hurrying up the stairs to the bathroom and he was following, his appreciative eyes on the lush swell of her generous, gorgeous ass as he held the tea towel she had just handed him tightly to his bleeding hand. Sweet Jesus, but he loved her ass. He had loved it ever since he’d first seen her, when he was just eighteen, and he had asked her if he could do some odd jobs around the place to make some cash every week. Right after his dad had died. Watching her walk around in tight jeans had made him forget a lot of the pain in his life back then.
She filled a pair of jeans like they’d been poured onto her. His mouth watered and his cock grew impossibly harder. Even the stinging pain in his hand couldn’t distract his attention from that ass.
As she entered the bathroom and stretched up to the shelf above the toilet to lift down the first-aid kit, he almost whimpered. Was she trying to kill him? If she didn’t stop wiggling around, he was gonna blow.
“I can handle it from here,” he grated as she opened the box and started to take the soaked tea towel out of his grip. But she shoved his free hand away and gently placed his hand in the sink, rinsing it with icy-cold tap water that nearly made him yell at the pain. He stared down at her bent head as she probed and cleaned the wound and each time her body brushed his, he almost lost it.
He lost track of what was happening with his hand as every drop of blood in his body raged into his groin, threatening to explode. Maybe that was a good thing, because his hand might stop bleeding.
“I still think we need to get you to the clinic and get this stitched. It’s way too jagged to heal right, and it’s still bleeding.”
Her words were lost in the hot muddle of his emotions and body. But when she looked up into his face, he forced himself to pay attention. “Hold this clean towel in your palm. Press it tight. I’ll get my car keys.”