Posted in Thoughts, writing inspiration, Writing tips


Characters we love and hate.

As an author one of the first things we’re taught is to write characters readers will love, but as a reader I’ve often enjoyed characters who were less than loveable. Most versions I’ve read and seen in movies and on television of the great Sherlock Holmes is he’s a bit unfeeling, he’s narcissistic and at times even a bully, but the character is, if not loveable, he is definitely memorable. Another character many of us love to hate is Scrooge, and what about Darth Vader? For you Harry Potter fans Professor Snape?  

When you think of some of your favorite characters in books and film, are they the heroes or villains? Do you enjoy a traditional hero, or do you find yourself aligning with the antihero? We watch a lot of action films, comic books turned to movies, and I love The Joker, Harley Quinn and Deadpool because they are fun and they are a lot bad and a little bit good, and they like to blow stuff up. But it’s often the backstory that makes us fall for a character even if they’re not exactly loveable. One of my favorite movies is Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel, I really love those two together. Goldie is a rich chic who lets her ego get in the way of doing the right thing and Kurt Russel gets the opportunity to pay her back but, it backfires and the two fall in love. When Goldie goes back to her rich-bitch world she doesn’t quite fit there anymore. We see her change and grow and become more the person she should be. Once that personality has exploded from the box, it’s like trying to stuff a blowup toy back in the package, it just doesn’t fit anymore, not even when you let the air out.

That’s what it takes to make a great character and as an author, I’m still learning. As a reader and viewer, I have found that any character who makes me feel something no matter their gender, sexual preference, ethnicity or period in history, it makes them relatable. If I can imagine myself as that person faced with those obstacles, that author or director has won me over. Whether I like them or hate them, they have garnered an emotional response and that will stay with me.

My friends and I recently went to the theater to see “Where the Crawdads Sing.” It’s a lovely movie and I’m dying to read the book. The main character is different, she’s not easy to relate to but you admire her spirit and her strength. As you see her striving to make it in a hostile world with only a few kind people to help her, you begin to wonder if you could have done this. At the end of the movie, when you see how her life has come to its end and the final secrets are revealed, there is an understanding, especially for women, that makes it very satisfying and brings the main character to a place of relatability.

Who are some characters that you find unforgettable? Why?

The Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer, her character Nick Merrick was so well-written that even years after reading this story, he comes to mind as one of the most unforgettable characters.

Nora Roberts J. D. Robb character Eve Dallas and Roarke, broken and put back together, these two are opposites in so many ways and yet the perfect balance for each other. They are crafted as two halves of a whole, yet each is a complete individual. I don’t know how Nora Roberts managed this but she is the master and I can not forget this couple.

Jayne Castle, Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick: the Joneses, no matter what generation or planet they are on, these men and sometimes women of the Jones family have leadership and paranormal abilities to give them strength, family honor and legends, and a weakness to overcome that often turns out to be their greatest strength.   

Please share some of your favorite characters.

For my writing friends. I’m adding a list of YouTube videos for you to check out on crafting amazing characters.

Posted in my books, promo

Roxy is here!


To order on Amazon Ebooks






Print copy ASIN: B08VL7MWTJ

Roxanne Harrell is the youngest of the Harrell family sisters. She is spoiled, self-centered and a bit of a screw-up, at least that’s the way her family sees her. When Roxy meets the niece she didn’t even know she had while working on a cruise ship, she is determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if it means betraying her family. Jorge Claudio is thankful to be exonerated of murder charges. He agrees to chase his lawyer, Remington Harrell’s sister to Savannah to keep her from causing more trouble when they learn Remy’s ex is trying to take over the leaderless Bryant Family crime syndicate. There is only one problem, whenever Jorge is around Roxanne, he forgets about everything except his need to be inside her.

A steamy romantic suspense.

Third book in The Harrell Family Chronicles

#1 Red Steel

#2 Janie’s Secrets

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Roxy’s Betrayal Cover Reveal Party

Join me at Bed and Books on Instagram and Facebook, Tuesday, January 26th,

to get a glimpse of the bad sister, Roxy! I had a lot of fun writing a bad girl. Roxy is no one’s idea of a romantic hero. She was voted most likely to steal your boyfriend in high school. Roxanne Harrell doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit Roxanne until she meets the niece she didn’t know she even had. When her brother’s ex-fiance threatens sell her niece and friend to the highest bidder, has no choice but to do her bidding. Can she save her friends by betraying her family or will she end up destroying them all?

The Washington (NC) waterfront is mentioned often in both my book series. This is where the Pamlico and Tar Rivers meet.

On the new cover of White Gold, Dana is walking the waterfront after shopping with her sisters. It is where she strolls with Jake, agent sexy and where Rae Lynne walks with one of her dates before he is murdered.

When I was planning the cover for Roxy’s Betrayal I knew I wanted the waterfront and I found this photo I took while strolling the waterfront with my granddaughter. It is one of my favorites with the old warehouse and bridge.

In Roxy’s Betrayal I mention Bill’s Hot Dogs. Bill’s is a famous hot dog place here in Beaufort County but I have a confession to make. I had never eaten one of Bill’s dogs until after I married my husband. They are known for their white bean chili which is spicy and delicious.

excerpt from Roxy’s Betrayal

“So, is there any place you’d like to go before I take you home?”

“I thought your brother wanted you to take me straight home.”

“Remington likes to give orders, but he knows I won’t listen.” She gave him that 1000-watt smile. “So, what have you missed most while in lock-up?”

The buxom blonde wasn’t his normal type, not that he really had a type. Roxanne Harrell was definitely more than he would have asked for with her big personality, luscious figure and daring. She was tempting him more than was wise for someone in his position. He tamped down his desire. He wasn’t exactly a free man. What had he missed most since being locked up? “Sunshine,” he whispered.

“What’s that?”

“I’ve missed sunshine and fresh air.”

She turned down Water Street. Leaning across his lap, she rolled down his window. She turned her head and gave him a wink.

Heat pooled in his groin. He shoved his hands beneath his armpits to keep from holding her head to his lap. Sliding a little closer to the door, he put his head out the window like an old hound.

Slowing the truck, she cruised the waterfront. “Are you hungry? We could stop at Bill’s for a hotdog.”

Jorge licked his lips and nodded. He could smell the world-famous hot dogs from a block away, the peppery scent of the white chili tickled his nose and his mouth watered. He chuckled imagine himself as a dog with his tongue lulling out his mouth with his head hanging out the window.

She pulled into a parking lot and whipped the truck around cruising back to the town’s famous hot dog stand. “You want to go in or do you want me to order for us both?”

“Do you mind?” He was not up to dealing with people just yet.

“What do you want?”

“All the way.”

Giving him the once over she nodded. “Well of course, I should have known. How many, a dozen?”

He laughed. “I’m not quite man enough for a dozen but I’ll take half that.”

“Oh, I bet you could handle it.” She called in their order. “Do you want anything to drink, chips?”

He gave her his preferences and she made comments on all of them until he was ready to forget the food and find some place to sink his cock deep inside her. Shit! When was the last time a girl’s teasing comments had made him so freaking horny? Well, maybe when you haven’t had sex in forever it does something to your brain. He watched her walk down the sidewalk to the café. She had a heart-shaped ass, and long muscular legs that looked as if she could crush a man’s head between her thighs. Aw fuck, now the image of him dying between her thighs was forever imprinted on his brain. Remy should never have trusted a sex-starved jailbird to come within ten feet of his gorgeous sister. Jorge needed to remember she was his lawyer’s baby sister.

The smell of garlic, onions, spices and processed meat assaulted his senses. “Oh fuck me.”

“Gladly but why don’t we eat first. You’ll need your strength.”

Jorge stopped breathing.

She laughed. “Damn, I was just kidding but now I’m interested. How long has it been?”

“Unless you’re planning to do something about it, I suggest you stop baiting the bear or haven’t you learned yet, we bite.”

“Okay, I’ll quit teasing you but for the record, I was only half teasing.”

He growled.

Roxy’s Betrayal is available for pre-order. The eBook goes live February 5th, it will be 99 cents through Sunday, February 7th then the price goes up! Don’t wait!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to get a glimpse of Roxy’s Betrayal!

Posted in Thoughts

Morally Gray Characters and Antiheroes

Morally Gray Characters Versus Antiheroes ~ What are they? What is the difference? Why do we like them?

Morally Gray Characters are the intermediate between villain and hero, neither wholly good nor completely bad. According to the Urban Dictionary they are a character who does too much bad to be good, yet too much good to be bad, like Robin Hood or Iron Man.

Hmm, so a morally gray character could be someone who breaks the law to help those in need or someone who does bad things for the right reasons like maybe killing bad guys the law can’t or won’t touch?  I’ve written a few characters like that, especially my character Phil Archer from The Leeward Files Series.

So what then is the difference between a morally gray character and an antihero?

An antihero is a central character who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes— Such as idealism, courage and morality.

When I was researching antiheroes, I found a long list of familiar characters, I’ve chosen some of my favorites: Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, Dexter Morgan from Dexter, Hans Solo from Star Wars, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, etc., Man with No Name, Catwoman, Wolverine, Deadpool, Snake Pissker from Escape New York, etc. and Harley Quinn.

An antihero might be a character you sometimes hate. As with Scarlett, there were times we just wanted to thump her between the eyes, but we still couldn’t help but root for her. Other characters like Hans and Jack Sparrow were often difficult to take seriously. Their selfishness and self-centeredness made them less than heroic, yet they were still likeable and came through heroically in the end. Still other antiheroes may react with over-the-top violence but only towards those who truly deserve it. They are redeemable by their acts of kindness, gentleness or honor towards those who are innocent or weaker and in need of a hero.

Morally gray characters have a moral code, it may not be exactly Captain America’s code of honor but there are certain lines they will not cross. Servius Snape of the Harry Potter series is a bad guy in many ways but even he has limits and lines he will not cross. He is willing to risk death to save Harry’s mother.

The modern Sherlocks of television and movies each have cavalier attitudes towards women and sex, drug addiction and even using people, but they are brilliant at solving crimes. They will employ any means necessary to solve a crime even doing something illegal, immoral or mean. This character tends to be narcissistic, believing they are not only the smartest person in the room but that their agenda is the only one that matters. Even as some of Sherlock Holmes’ traits make him less likeable, he finds redemption through a variety of techniques: their moral codes, their relationship with Dr Watson or other shows of weakness not evident to the casual observer.

In Blake Crouch’s Good Behavior, Letty Dobesh is a repeat offender. She has recently been released from prison for theft and is in the middle of a burglary when she overhears a murder plot. What can she do? How can she stop it? She can’t go to the police, but she cannot allow an innocent woman to be murdered.

In my Leeward Files Series, few of my characters truly embrace the conventional qualities of a hero. Phil Archer starts out as a socially inept, creepy stalker but his quick reaction saves Rae Lynne’s life in Chrome Pink. Through his actions might have been to save himself, in his misguided way he was trying to rescue the citizens of Leeward especially Rae Lynne and her friends. With each consecutive story Phil’s backstory is revealed and readers begin to understand the reasons why he does the things he does. While Phil can’t exactly be called a hero, he does have some heroic tendencies. He tries to protect children, even if his methods aren’t typical. He wants to see the bad guys pay for their crimes and he is willing to do whatever is necessary to make them pay.

Rae Lynne Grimes the cornerstone of my Leeward series more morally gray than antihero, she does have a code of honor but she is also a recovering addict, a rape survivor and many of her actions are self-centered because she is doing all she can just to survive.

For me, I believe morally gray characters and antiheroes are more interesting than traditional heroes. I still love my good guys, but I want them flawed and fighting their own demons.

As a reader, what type of characters do you like to read and if you are a writer, what are your favorite characters to write?

Posted in Book Review

Darkness Lane by Tom Kies

Tom Kies’ Geneva Chase mystery, Darkness Lane is a real, gritty tale of a reporter’s life. Geneva is a bit of an anti-hero. She is an alcoholic and a bit of a narcissist, often choosing her own comforts over those of others. Yet, when her daughter’s friend goes missing, she becomes emotionally involved and puts her own life at risk to learn what has happened to the girl.
Darkness Lane explores organized crime, drug and human trafficking, our worship of celebrities and the impact of big business on our economy. We become immersed in the relationship of Geneva with her ward, Caroline. The sometimes role-reversal of mother and daughter, and proof, that family isn’t about DNA but about who you’re willing to risk everything for.
Tom gives the reader some hard facts but he tempers it with emotion and character that rounds this story out into a satisfying read.
Thrown back into being a crime reporter, Geneva gets tangled in two big stories. When the two intertwine, she uses players from one to help solve the other. But is she not seeing the whole picture? What details has she missed? Could this lapse be due to her alcohol consumption or the stars in her eyes? Could her life be the price she has to pay for her mistakes or will her daughter be the one who pays the price?
If you are looking for a good, crime thriller with intense characters and real criminal activity, check out Darkness Lane. But I warn you, you won’t be able to put it down.