Category Archives: Characters

The Creative Process Isn’t All Rainbows Farted by Unicorns

balloons                I’m a positive person. I’m the type of person who truly believes nearly anything can be done, likely attributable to the steady diet of positive 90’s movies with ridiculous endings during my childhood. But…I’ve been working on the second book in the Gem City Grit universe for nearly 9 months now. That is beyond the pale. It should have taken me four months to get this book done, tops. I’m beginning to think it will never end. At least half of the reason this is dragging out so long is my fault. I like to play the blame game, but there you are. I have, as yet, to figure out a workable, reliable daily writing schedule around my Sugar Plum’s job that he started last August and my children, whom because of that delightful schedule I am nearly entirely responsible for.

                I feel like Winnie-ther-Pooh, Singing a Complaining song.

                Yes, ther Pooh.

                You know what that means.

                I spend soooo much of my day with my children and I love them.

                But I really want this book done. I’m up at 5 am again even though I know it turns me into a bear by day three. I need this book to be done.

                Tut tut, it looks like I’m starting to loathe and detest every waking moment I don’t get to work on this book because I want it to be done so badly.

                That’s actually a slight exaggeration fueled by grumpy, up too early, melodramatic thoughts. Yesterday was Sugar Plum’s birthday and my living room is scattered with balloons I blew up for his party at the kids’ insistence, and all I can think as I look at them is, “So much wasted time”. That’s how I knew I had to find time to work on this story more, even if I had to steal it from my sleep and stop doing every other single “extra” thing I do that isn’t keep up the house so that it isn’t disgusting and take care of the kids. When I start hating things like birthday parties as wasted time I know.

                The creative process is so fun sometimes!

                Tut tut, it looks like a mild anxiety attack.

                So, the agenda for today is to find at least 4 hours to write without relying on Sugar Plum to pull his weight and give it to me because that so infrequently happens, teach my eldest pre-Algebra, teach my youngest to recognize the ABC’s, and potentially throw in a science lesson somewhere. Hell, I might even start teaching state capitals today. Why not?

                But I have to get this Gem City Grit book done before my brain declares war on itself. I’m tired of thinking about it without it going anywhere and getting done. I need to be thinking about new stories, new characters. I have to be done with it.

Check out my newest book Trust Trade!

trusttradefs_v1Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

See a sample of Trust Trade here.

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Filed under Characters, Coming Soon, Confessions of an Editing Author, Creative Process, Gay Crime Thriller, m/m, new book, Projects, Real Life, The Writing Trenches

Why I Chose to Keep Ava Pajari in The Shape of Honey

AvaPajari for blog

I’ve had a few people ask me why Ava Pajari is a focal point in The Shape of Honey.

So, I was mildly, but not completely, shocked to find that some people who read male romance novels absolutely hate and abhor the presence of a female character in the novel as a point of view character. There are people who are actually quite rabid in their declarations that they will never, ever read a book with a female point of view that is supposed to be male/male. I get it. I have things that I like and don’t. I respect that decision not to pick up a book with a female point of view, as everyone is certainly free to like what they like, but…

Well, hell. Whatever happened to the love of a good story?

I actually wrote The Shape of Honey before I realized this was a thing. To be honest, if you really wanted to, you could probably just skip the parts labelled Ava Pajari and not miss the main plot of the story, but you would be missing out. I’ve never been one to follow any particular stricture of rule of law when writing. I always write as things come to me or as the story takes me places.

I guess if I had to I’d call myself a lightly planned discovery writer, more emphasis on the discovery part than the planned part. After I did include Ava Pajari as a point of view character she allowed me to tell this wonderful side story and follow the exploits of the Witten brothers as they had experiences away from my other main characters, Rolly Witten and Yulian Volkov.

Ava doesn’t have sex in the book, or romance really. All said and done I’m not entirely sure she is what you would call a likable character. She’s a little bit of a brat, but she is a loving one. She’s Rolly’s best friend. They grew up together in the pack and survived the same ordeals that involved being a wolf. They are both products of the pack, sometimes deadly pack politics, and a similar upbringing.

So, why does Rolly love Ava? Other than they’ve known each other practically since the womb? She gave him a sense of direction and purpose, even though that direction lead him to crime and to getting into trouble. She’s also his secret keeper. She always made him feel loved even when he felt most alone and too different to ever fit in with the pack. She was the one person outside of his immediate family he could tell anything to and always turn to no matter what, and that’s what drives him to overlook her less charitable personality traits. And all said and done, she’s young and needs to grow up a little, just like Rolly. I really enjoy writing characters who have potential to grow and grow up, and maybe someday Ava will, though I think she’s definitely done some maturing by the end of The Shape of Honey.

So, back to this whole –female point of view thing. I guess I could have edited her out of the story, but by the time I realized some people might have a problem with her being there she was so deeply wound in the entire thing it would have been a shame to dismantle the novel just to do that.

And there’s the fact that I was telling a story and she’s part of it.

So, Ava stayed, and I kind of love her even though she’s a shit sometimes. I hope you will too.

Happy reading!

Check out The Shape of Honey


Available at Amazon, Dreamspinner Press, and other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.


Filed under Characters, new book, The Shape of Honey

Long Lived Characters


My favorite character to write in this book was probably Yulian Volkov. He’s a wolf who is old, but not old by pack standards and not young by human, stuck in a strange in between place even though he’s powerful. He’s an alpha who doesn’t want to be king wolf, doesn’t want the responsibility. Really, he just wants to be left the fuck alone to do what he wants, and that happens to be run his meadery.

It was fun to write a character who was around long enough to remember interesting historical points most people these days don’t, such as World War II, and it was also fun to try to bring in some historical slang that wouldn’t be overbearing while I wrote the story of a man whose morals were formed well before the advent of Saturday Morning Cartoons. (Which I’ve heard are now defunct as well. Oh, the humanity!) Yulian has evolved with the times to some degree, but he doesn’t really enjoy modern technology or anything that would keep him stuck inside much.

I’ve always had a thing for characters with interesting “stuck in history” perspectives. I think that is why I really liked the modern retelling of Captain America (Steve Rogers) in the Avengers movies and the independent character movies. Growing up I was always a huge fan of “all things vampire” for the same reason. I love history. (…even have the semi-unusable degree to prove it).

Read Yulian’s full story in The Shape of Honey:
Dreamspinner Press:


Who are some of your favorite “stuck in time” characters?

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