Ever been watching a show or reading a book and yell at the characters, "Just talk already! Tell him the truth!"
In real life, we usually don’t allow the man of our dreams to walk out the front door thinking we’ve been having an affair with his best friend and secretly plan to leave him, but it makes for a great soap opera, and that’s what that is--a soap opera.
Yes, my characters won’t know all the facts, but I’ll make sure they think they do. That’s the difference between a soap opera and a suspense novel, I believe. Notice, I wrote "misunderstanding and distrust" in my quote, not "lies and deceit."
Without giving anything away, in Sam's Folly, for instance, to make the story work, I needed to make sure that neither the hero nor the heroine knew all of the facts. But also, I had to give them a reason why they couldn't tell the other. That may sound easy, but it's not always as easy as it sounds. When I write, I have to stop and think, "Why wouldn't he tell her he was hired to find her?" If I can't find a reason, I have to rewrite the story! Or, at minimum, I have to rewrite the situation they're in.
From there, the mystery spins and turns, revealing suspects, secrets, and truths. The key in my mind is to never trick the reader; I hate that. You know everything the protagonist knows and even a little more, as you get to crawl inside the main characters’ heads.
While I know everyone won't always agree with what I write, I certainly do my best to make sure there aren't any holes in the story.
So if you love your novel twined with a perfect thread of romance and suspense, but not filled with lies and trickery…just a few secrets, please check out my novels. You can sample a few of them below. Just click the image to read an excerpt right online. No download required!
Until next time, happy reading!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages, where you can read all about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a free book just for stopping by.
Here are a few of my romantic suspense novels with twists you might like!
Click an image to read an excerpt online!
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Is the MMC in the book you're reading or writing an Alpha Male or Sigma Male? Do you have a preference?
NOTE: Beards, tattoos, height, body build, and few other exterior attributes are the differences between alpha and sigma males; it's their mindset.
Alphas are usually at the top, Betas follow, and Sigmas don’t fit a standard mold.
Read on for a better explanation of these two archetypes.
In recent years, the Alpha Male and Sigma Male have emerged as popular character archetypes in romantic suspense novels. While both types of characters may possess strong personalities and leadership qualities, there are some key differences between them that set them apart.
First, let’s define what I mean by an Alpha Male. The Alpha Male is the traditional strong, confident, and assertive male character. He is often the leader of the pack, who is not afraid to take charge in most situations. Often, he is the person in control, and his confidence and assertiveness are often seen as attractive to the female protagonist.
Alpha Males in a novel are typically powerful, domineering, and confident.
On the other hand, the Sigma Male is a more recent archetype that has emerged in literature. A Sigma Male is often seen as an outsider, someone who doesn’t fit into the traditional Alpha Male mold. They tend to be more introverted, and they are not as concerned with fitting in with the crowd. They often possess a strong sense of self and self-reliance, and they are not afraid to question the status quo. They can be more mysterious and less predictable than Alpha Males.
Sigma Males in a novel are often seen as mysterious and enigmatic.
Second, the Alpha Male and Sigma Male usually have different approaches to relationships. Alpha Males tend to be more dominant and are often the ones who take the lead. They are not afraid to make the first move, and they are often seen as the ones who are in control. They may also be more possessive and jealous, and may not be as open to compromise in a relationship.
Sigma Males, on the other hand, tend to be more independent and less interested in being in charge of a relationship. They are not as likely to make the first move, and they may be more reserved in expressing their feelings. They may be more comfortable in being equal partners with the other person and not needing to be in the lead role. They may also be more open to communication and compromise.
Lastly, the Alpha Male and Sigma Male have different approaches to solving problems. Alpha Males tend to be more assertive, and they are often the first to take action. They are not afraid to confront a problem head-on, and they may use force to solve it if needed. They are often seen as confident problem solvers.
Sigma Males, however, tend to be more thoughtful and introspective. They may not be as quick to take action, but they are more likely to take a step back and consider all options before making a decision. They may be more likely to use tact and diplomacy to solve problems, instead of brute force. They can be more strategic and use unconventional methods to achieve their goals.
While both archetypes can be interesting and complex characters, I realize one or the other might appeal to different readers and play different roles in the story. Personally, while some of my male characters might have one area where they seem Alpha-like, nearly all of my male characters are Sigma Males. Personal preference plays out in my stories, I guess. 😊
Comments Welcome! What Say You?
Did you know there was a difference between Alpha and Sigma Males?
Do you have a preference?
What books have you read lately that you can clearly see the difference in the types of characters?
Until next time, happy reading!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer.
If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages, where you can read all about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a free book just for stopping by.
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My books featuring some of my favorite Sigma Male Leads!
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Paranormal romance is a subgenre of romance that combines elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror with romantic relationships. These books often feature supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, shape-shifters, and/or magical powers, alternate worlds, and mythological beings. They can range from light and playful to dark and intense, and appeal to a wide audience of readers.
We enjoy paranormal romance novels, both as a form of escapism and as a way to explore our own emotions and desires.
First, paranormal romance novels offer a chance to escape from the mundane and the ordinary. These books provide a rich and imaginative world where anything is possible, and readers can experience adventures and encounters that are beyond their everyday lives. Whether it's fighting against evil forces, discovering hidden abilities, or falling in love with a mysterious and enigmatic hero/heroine, paranormal romance novels provide a sense of excitement and wonder that can be hard to find in the real world.
Second, paranormal romance novels often feature strong and complex characters who are capable, independent, and confident. These characters are often the main protagonists and the driving force behind the story, and they are portrayed as intelligent, resourceful, and determined. They may have to overcome challenges and adversity, but they are always resilient and brave, and they never give up on their goals or their loved ones. Through these characters, readers can see themselves reflected and empowered, and they can find role models and inspiration for their own lives.
Third, paranormal romance novels often deal with themes and issues that are relevant and relatable. These books can explore relationships, family, friendships, self-discovery, identity, and personal growth in a way that is meaningful and poignant. They can also delve into social and cultural issues such as gender roles, sexism, racism, and discrimination, and offer a commentary on these issues through the lens of the supernatural. By reading paranormal stories, we can not only get lost in a different world, but also gain insights and perspectives on our own lives and the world around us.
Fourth, paranormal romance novels can provide a sense of emotional satisfaction and fulfillment. These books often focus on the development of romantic relationships, and they usually have a happy ending where the main characters find love and happiness. While the romance may be unconventional and may involve obstacles and conflicts, it is always passionate, intense, and genuine. Through these stories, we can experience the thrill and the joy of falling in love and feel a sense of emotional connection and validation.
Finally, paranormal romance novels can offer a sense of community and belonging. These books have a large and dedicated fan base, and many readers enjoy discussing and debating their favorite books and characters with others. There are also many online groups, forums, and blogs where readers can share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences, and find like-minded people who share their interests and passions. By joining this community, we can feel a sense of belonging and support, and we can find a place where we can be ourselves and express ourselves freely.
So what do you say?
What do you like or not like about paranormal romance?
Personally, I want to believe, the reason I set my paranormal stories in our world. They could be your neighbor or the employee sitting across from you. When you read my paranormal books, I want you to wonder: "What if?"
Discover the mysteries of the Creatus series. Start the series FREE NOW!
Oh, and if you're all caught up, the ultimate battle starts now with the release of Creatus Unyielding! Pre-order now for only $0.99!
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What I'm Reading and New Releases!
First of all, I hope your summer was great and that you came through the last year happy and healthy. Me, I'm excited for fall! I mean, really, I know there are three other great seasons, but fall... It beckons me, saying, "Hey, a crazy busy time is coming up, so take a moment to sip a pumpkin-spiced latte and read a book...or ten!"
Now that the weather has cooled off in my neck of the woods, I've been flying through books like crazy. And oddly enough, they're not the type of books I've been reading for the last few years. My guess is that I've been wanting to get back to my roots of writing whodunnits, so I've been binge-reading mystery books. Yeah, there's a little romance in them, too, as I love a little sexual tension.
Other than the books I've been reading, I have great news. . . The final book in The Midnight Sons collection is on the way! I know y'all have been waiting since Sam's Folly for Daire's story, so I'm happy to report it's up for pre-order. Grab Daire's Resolution now!
Secrets… Daire Belgarde knows that Alaska is the hiding place of the nation. Nearly everyone who moves to The Last Frontier is running from someone or hiding something. And now, Daire is keeping a secret—he’s in love with his boss. Over the last few weeks, keeping his feelings hidden has gotten harder because it’s clear the woman he loves has come to Alaska to hide, too. . . READ MORE
While you're waiting for Daire's Story, take a look at...
What I've been reading!
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As always, I like to remind the lovely folks who are reading this blog that first and foremost, I am a reader, then a writer. I read anywhere from one to three books a week, even when I'm writing. And considering the fact that I write only one to three books a year, I believe that means I have more clout as a reader than a writer. My opinion, of course. And ... I do understand that not everyone likes what I like. But that's okay. I never forget that. My posts are just my opinions. Also, since I also market books for a living, usually sharing one to six books daily, I read a lot of reviews. So, with that disclosure, onto today's discussion about reading and/or writing.
Today I want to talk about the unbelievable story and happily-ever-after comments in reviews.
One of my least favorite comments in a review is that the story was unbelievable. I guess when a reader says that, I'd just like a little more clarification. What was unbelievable? The fact that what happened, happened, or that the writer didn't make the characters seem believable?
I mean, really, if you think about it ... aren't all stories supposed to be unbelievable? Isn't that why they are stories in the first place? Even the "Based on True Events" stories. The reason those events are turned into a story is because the story is out of the norm, far-fetched, or shocking. I recently watched -- well, I was in the room as my hubby watched, as I NEVER would have watched the movie in a million years -- Pain & Gain. Halfway through the movie, and several times thereafter, the producers added a caption at the bottom of the screen: Yes, this is still a true story. Because it was so outlandish. I still have a hard time believing even half of it.
Heck, half of the stuff that was written thousands of years ago, is still read and studied in school: Greek Mythology, Homer's Iliad, for instance. No one questions a horse that flies or a half-man, half-goat. We know it's not real; it's called escapism. Especially back then when there wasn't much else to do but work and tell stories.
The fact of the matter is, whether we're reading a Tom Clancy thriller or a romance novel by Nora Roberts, the story is supposed to be a tad bit unbelievable, or it wouldn't be exciting to read. I'm not talking about easily searchable facts. Of course, the story -- even if it's paranormal -- should make sense. BUT ... if you think about it ... how many FBI agents are rogues. How many street blocks get shot up and wrecked during a high-speed car chase. Not many, believe it or not, because officers are instructed not to do high-speed chases in populated areas, unless it's a life-or-death situation. (Did I tell you I married a cop?) BUT ... you still see cars wrecking into buildings and the chase continuing in almost every book or movie. Because it's fun, exciting, unbelievable ... In real life, the police set up roadblocks and/or lay spike strips across the road, but that wouldn't be as tantalizing to read.
Same goes with dramas and romance novels. Believe me ... if I just wrote about my day-to-day life, I'd bore you to tears. BUT ... if I went back a few years, I could start a story right in the middle of the action of some sensational or horrific event in my life. And yes, you would probably say, “What are the chances that happened?” But that's what makes a good story. Or, I can take an average event, and add some crazy twist. The point is, if nothing unusual happens, it's not really a story. Heck, it's barely a journal. Other than a few scribbles, we rarely write about a boring day in our diary. No, we wait until something exciting happens.
The other issue in reviews is the Happily Ever After, which we readers and writers commonly refer to as HEA. I see a lot of people who say ... “Meh! It all worked out!”
Well, again, how many of us want to read a story where everyone dies at the end, or you just plain want to cry your eyes out. Sometimes it's okay ... if there's meaning behind it. Like the book/movie Pay It Forward. I had a love/hate relationship with that ending, but at least there was hope. (No spoilers! Another thing I loathe in reviews. It simply isn't fair to other readers)
As for books by Nicholas Sparks, I now question if the book has an HEA. I know that sounds lame, but I don't want a book where there's no hope at the end. I don't mind a few tears, but I want a smile at the end.
Anyway, most of us readers want a Story and an HEA (My opinion, of course, based on everything I see). We read for enjoyment, we read for escape, we read so that we can have hope. If you don't want everything to be all sunshine and roses, please let me suggest A Game of Thrones. Beautiful, poetic writing, BUT ... I don't think I'd be giving a spoiler if I told you to prepare for death. It's what George R.R. Martin is known for, I believe.
So next time you read a book, and it sounds unbelievable, remember, that's what authors are supposed to do: Tell a Story!
What say you? What do you like to read or NOT read in a book review? Feel free to start a conversation here or at any of my social media homes. I love talking about all things BOOKS!
Until next time, happy reading and writing, my friends!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post a few times a month, at the most. :)
Want to try to figure out what's real or make believe in my stories? Visit my Amazon page, where you can download a few of the "firsts" in my collections, free! I'll warn you, though, the parts that most people don't believe are usually the true parts. Again, a sensational event is usually what makes me write a story in the first place.
Image credit: flynt / 123RF Stock Photo
No wonder readers -- people in general ... MEN -- get confused.
Fantastic or supernatural events?
Full of exaggeration?
That's not what romance is!
I'd like to think that I'm living a romance because my husband does romantic things. When he surprises me with a mini-vacation, sends me cute little text messages, gives me sweet gifts, cleans the house before I get home, kisses me sweetly when I don't expect it... That's romantic, so doesn't it make sense that we're living in a romance story.
Let's take a look at the words that define love:
Ahh... That's better!
So why do we define books as contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, romantic mystery, and romantic thriller.
For the record, I wish there were another word other than 'romantic' to describe what I write. Funny that they don't have a genre called "Love-Suspense Novel," since according to the definition, it would work better.
Even though when I think of a "love story," the first thing that comes to my mind is the movie Love Story or Romeo and Juliet, and I certainly don't write that. :)
The fact of the matter is ... I don't write romances either. I don't write about fanciful events leading up to the characters falling in love. I write about a love that went wrong. Love that started on the rocks, went through tragedies ... that are surrounded by a life-threatening event, a murder mystery, secret pasts, on the run, mistakes...
But sadly, some readers don't know that because they see the tag "romance," and they immediately think of a shirtless Fabio sweeping a half-dressed woman off her feet, so I'm not surprised when I read reviews like this one:
5.0 out of 5 stars Never thought I would be reading a romance novel.
By Joey Yagin
Never thought I would enjoy reading a romance novel. I hate them. I gave this series a chance only because I was curious about who existed, what is a creatus? Once I read the first of the series, I was hooked. Could not stop reading. Normally, I would stop in between the series and read another book before starting the next book of a series. With this book, I could not stop. I had to find out what's coming next. It was well written, and I did enjoy the characters. I even enjoyed the antagonist of the book. For me, what made it a good read is the combination of the super heroism, supernatural, mystery and suspense ( oh yeah, the romance). All in one series. If you do decide to read it, just buy the set. You will not be disappointed.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Romance Novel for People Who Don't Like Romance Novels
By C. M. Lance
I read "She Belongs To Me" and found it to be quite a good mystery/thriller without the overt physical descriptions that overflow from other Romance novels I've ventured into. The Romance is more of a caring, loving sort.
I have many reviews like the two I posted above -- many of them by men, some of them by women -- who shy away from any genre with "romantic" in the title, for fear that it'll be the mushy tales of old that were described as the romance definition at the top of the page.
When in fact, just about every book or movie ever written includes a background love story or romance. Even war movies usually show a man trying to get home to the woman he loves, ready to buy the house with the white-picket fence. Heck, even thrillers and horror stories usually have a man dying to protect his woman. That's a pretty darn "romantic" gesture if you ask me.
So ... what do you think? Do you read novels with a romance tag? What do you immediately think of when you see the word "romantic" as part of the genre description. Please let me know your thoughts.
And in case you're interested, here are some more in-depth "genres" than what websites and bookstores allow on my books. :)
A romantic suspense with a whodunit mystery...
She Belongs to Me - FREE Everywhere!
A journey of two souls through tragedies with a romantic-suspense whodunit...
Land of the Noonday Sun
A romantic suspense with heartbreaking pasts, life-changing events, and evil intentions...
A romantic suspense with a supernatural edge...
A romantic mystery with a ghostly edge
The Library (Where Life Checks Out)
When life gives you broken eggs, make quiche!
Grab recipe here!