Tag Archive for: ” Characters

Creating (and Eliminating) Secondary Characters by Judy Penz Sheluk

Delighted to welcome Judy Penz Sheluk as my guest this month. The characters in her books are always so realistic and fun that I was thrilled she picked them to talk about. Enjoy! – Debra

Creating (and Eliminating) Secondary Characters by Judy Penz Sheluk

Several years back I had the pleasure of attending an event that featured Giles Blunt, author of the much-lauded Detective John Cardinal mystery series (if you haven’t read him, or watched the TV series, Cardinal, based on his novels, you must). At one point in the evening, an audience member asked Blunt why he’d killed off Cardinal’s wife, Catherine, in By the Time You Read This, the fourth book in the series. Blunt had laughed and then said, “Truthfully, I got tired of writing about her.”

Maybe it’s “fourth book syndrome,” but I felt the same way about the cast of secondary characters I’d created for my Marketville Mystery protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable as I started to write Before There Were Skeletons.

If you’re not familiar with them, they included: Misty Rivers, a self-proclaimed psychic; Chantelle Marchand, Callie’s best friend, also a personal trainer and budding genealogist; and Shirley Harrington, an archives librarian. All three of them served important roles (with varying degrees of involvement) in the first three books, but with the last book (A Fool’s Journey) released in 2019, it just seemed to me that by 2022 their lives would have changed.

Of course, I didn’t ditch them without a mention—that would be unfair to the characters, as well as to followers of the series—and unlike Blunt, I wasn’t ready to kill them off. After all, I might want to bring one or more of them back some day. And so, I gave Misty a very small, but important role, allowed a glimpse into Chantelle’s new life, and retired Shirley (literally), sending her to winter in Florida (hey, she’s Canadian and snowbirds love Florida).

Dispatching those characters felt liberating, but it also left me with a hole to be filled. Enter a tech-savvy twenty-four-year-old woman currently employed as a waitress at her stepbrother’s diner, Eggstravaganza, and, thanks to an ex-boyfriend who drained their joint bank account, is also living in an apartment above the diner.

What this new character lacks in investigative experience will be made up for in her enthusiasm to learn from Callie while doing boring grunt work, like digging through newspaper archives. This works well in two ways: it frees Callie up to tackle more interesting avenues, and since the story is told from Callie’s point of view, I can also spare readers the tedium of the archival research.

In addition to creating a past and a present for my new character, however, I also needed to come up with a name. I had the last name, Hopkins (in homage to a late friend), but hadn’t quite come up with a first name. And then, while reading the closing credits of Yellowstone, I spotted the name Denim Richards (a fabulous actor who portrays ranch hand Colby Mayfield).

Denim Hopkins, I thought. No reason Denim couldn’t be female. In fact, it was perfect. And her half-brother, the one who owns the diner? Levi, of course. As Denim explains to Callie, “I guess you could say my mama liked the blues.”

Early readers of Before There Were Skeletons seem to like Denim, and as an author, I can envision several directions to expand on her role in the future. What those directions are, only time, and my imagination, will tell.


About Before There Were Skeletons: The last time anyone saw Veronica Goodman was the night of February 14, 1995, the only clue to her disappearance a silver heart-shaped pendant, found in the parking lot behind the bar where she worked. Twenty-seven years later, Veronica’s daughter, Kate, just a year old when her mother vanished, hires Past & Present Investigations to find out what happened that fateful night.

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is drawn to the case, the similarities to her own mother’s disappearance on Valentine’s Day 1986 hauntingly familiar. A disappearance she thought she’d come to terms with. Until Veronica’s case, and five high school yearbooks, take her back in time…a time before there were skeletons. Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/mqXVze.


About the Author

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the bestselling author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including the Superior Shores Anthologies, which she also edited.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she served as Chair on the Board of Directors. She lives in Northern Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior.


Photo (if you choose to use it) is of Denim Richards, the inspiration behind the name of Denim Hopkins.

Release Day for An Unfamiliar Sea!

by Bethany Maines

An Unfamiliar Sea officially launches this week! An Unfamiliar Sea is a classic mystery with two sleuths: 28-year-old Tish Yearly and her 79-year-old grandfather Tobias.  Tish and Tobias navigate the rocky waters of living together in Tobias’s house on Orcas Island in the San Juan Island of Washington state, solve murders, and try to keep their dog Coats from getting diabetes.

This series was inspired by the time I spent assisting my grandmother before she moved out of her house, my childhood trips to Orcas Island and by those enduring one hour mystery shows like Murder She Wrote, Matlock, and Psych.  For me those shows were always about enjoying the quirks and foibles of the characters as much as the mystery. I enjoyed the puzzle of working out how someone died, but I loved seeing how the strengths and weaknesses of the detective would play out each week and how they would triumph in the end. And if you ever read any of my books, you’ll quickly realize that I like books with lots of chuckles and quick banter and these books are no exception. From Tish and Tobias arguing about condolence pie to the neighbors and who all have opinions on Tish’s dating life I try to keep readers laughing too hard to figure out the mystery (but good for you if you do!).  So if you want a mystery that makes you smile and feels like an island vacation between two covers, then please take a trip to the San Juan’s with Tish and Tobias Yearly.


In a storm, you never know which way is home.
Tish Yearly is about to open a wedding venue on Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. All she wants is to sail through her first wedding, figure out why her best friend isn’t talking to her, and tell her grandfather she’s dating someone he doesn’t approve of. But before she can get to any of that, Tish’s favorite employee turns up dead—apparently drowned in four inches of water. Now Tish, and her grandfather, former CIA agent and current curmudgeon and licensed P.I. Tobias Yearly, are wading through the suspects including a meth-cooking uncle, a brother with anger-management issues, and the mysterious island drug kingpin, who may or may not be going straight. Tish is attempting to navigate this unfamiliar sea, but she may not be able to weather the storms to find her way home.

Learn more about Tish Yearly: Dru’s Book Musings Character Interview
Buy the book: Amazon


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel.
You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

New Year, New Decade, New Direction

by AB Plum

Welcome to the New Year, a New
Decade, and a New Direction

No writer’s block here. 

Gazillions of potential blog topics cry for the
Stiletto Gang’s “insights” over the next 365 days. This year, the
Gang has decided to add a new subject: the craft of writing fiction. We expect to
learn a lot from each other. We hope you’ll learn a lot about what goes into
writing word after word after word to evoke an emotional connection between
writer and reader.

Wednesday of each month

Look for a new craft post the first Wednesday of the

I’m up first—sort of like the first baby born each New

characters but names …

For me, the quintessential element of all stories is
characters (not necessarily human). We could do twelve months on developing
fictional characters, but I’m going with names—a subset, really, of that fictional

Also, I’m sort of a names nut. I collect unusual names—from
fiction, celebrities, and movies—pop culture at large. Magnus, The REal McCoy,
Risa, Ryn, Pierce, Detective Nick Ketchum, Bo “Peep”, The Stoned
Wall, and Lavender comprise some of the characters I’ve introduced in various of my
books. Here are a few basic ideas that drive me in finding the
“right” name: 

Names bring characters alive.
I have never written a novel or a short story for
which I didn’t have the main character’s name before
I started writing. Knowing that vital information adds dimension to other
aspects of that character I’ll introduce to readers almost from page one of the
novel. Examples of what a character’s name reveals to me: inner drive, personality,
goals, past secrets, childhood, disappointments, celebrations, etc.
of the best examples of characters whose names fit, IMO, appear in
Gone with the Wind.

O’Hara and Rhett Butler leap off the page when we meet them. The meaning of her
name is obvious (to native English speakers). His Old English name means
“small stream.”

stream” for a force of nature? Scarlett for a woman whose reputation as a
flirt grows worse throughout the novel.
You decide if the names fit the characters.
Names connote animals, places,
position, status, ethnicity, and more.
Wolf, Paris, Judge, Yuri.
I’m still waiting for a character to step
forward for whom I can use Wolf. I know the character type, but I’ve yet to
meet the specific fictional bearer of the name.
Names reflect culture, time, power,
ambiguity, certainty, subtlety and quirkiness

Octavia, Charity, Reina, Madison, Moxie
Crimefighter, Eulalia, Audio Science
I’d love to tell a story featuring a character
named Audio Science (the first-born son of actress Shannyn Sossaman). Maybe he
and Moxie in a romance?
Names reinforce gender, family,
history, religion, values, trends, imagination.
Caesar, Murphy, Napoleon, Lourdes, Peace,
Hannah, Pilot Inspectkor
Pilot Insectkor apparently comes from an indie
song and definitely sparks my imagination. I am still waiting for the right
character to claim the moniker.
Deciding on a name for a character—especially
for the Main Character(s)—is like naming a child. Making the name meaningful is
my first criterion in choosing a handle.

Risa, the heroine in my romantic comedy Prince
of Frogs,
means smile in Spanish. A pediatrician, she’s never met a kid she
didn’t like. Her smile is so big and genuine that her patients never cry when
she gives them their shots.
Nicknames and pet names can add depth,
complexity and insight to a character.
Risa enters the world with a mop of orange-red
The nurses tie a big pink bow on top of her head and present her to her mother with a flourish, proclaiming: La Ti Da! From then on she’s called La Ti Da because she’s so full of life, energy, and joy.
A few of my favorite names for fictional
characters include:
Elvis Cole (Robert Crais)
Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich)
Spenser (Robert Parker)
Temptation, OH (J. Crusie)
Chili Pepper (E. Leonard)
Scarlett O’Hara (M. Mitchell)
Sookie Stackhouse (C. Harris)
Hannibal Lector (Thomas Harris)
What about you—what are some of your favorite characters’
names? Any you hate?

Check back on Wednesday, February 5th
for the next blog on Writing Craft.

AB Plum, aka
Barbara Plum grew up in Southern Missouri. She knew she was in trouble
whenever her mother used her first and middle names in one breath. All three
names (usually yelled) meant a potential time-out until age 21. Her love of
names may have begun with her first puppy, Pickle Puss. Later, ThatCat and
YourCat became favorite felines.
Check out her
dark psychological thrillers and riveting mysteries :  https://abplum.com/
In the mood
for mood for paranormal or contemporary romance:    https://barbaraplumauthor.com/

Following a Character into a Book

by Linda Rodriguez
I’ve been intensely making notes for a new book in bits and pieces
of time left over from other commitments. That’s a fairly common
thing around here. Several times a year I follow a character into a
short story or book. After the first draft is finished, I still refer
to the much more I know about that character from writing that first
draft as I revise and edit and edit, still following those characters
as I chip away whatever doesn’t matter to them or what doesn’t
fit. In a way, you could say that I spend most of my professional
time chasing after characters, and you’d be correct.

people have the idea that plot is the be-all and end-all of the
mystery writer, but I see it as story. I can write a book based on a
clever plot with all kinds of surprises and twists, but if the reader
doesn’t care about the characters or if the actions taking place
don’t ring true for the characters, it’s no good. And yes, I know
there are books like this that are published and sometimes very
successful, but I still think it’s really story we need in the
mystery, a story where the actions rise organically out of the
characters and their motivations, where we care about the characters
and what they’re trying to do because we know why it’s so
important to them to succeed in their attempts.

I’m looking for story, I start with character. As I start to know
that character better, she or he leads me directly into story. A nice
complex, twisty narrative with surprises and suspense comes from
following all the major characters as they lead me on their path
toward their goals in the story and come into conflict with each
other or help each other or, sometimes, both.

I run into problems with story as I’m writing a book, I go back to
the characters involved with the aspect of the story that’s giving
me a hard time. I sit down and have them write their situation,
feelings, and problems with the story’s direction in first person
as if they were writing diary entries or letters to me to tell me why
they won’t do what I think they should do. Always I find that
there’s something I’ve overlooked with that (those) character(s).
I’ve been trying to steer the plot in a direction that’s false to
the character(s), and I have to learn more about each character in
order to find out the direction the story needs to go.

always been glad I take the time to do this, even as I whine about
taking that time in the middle of a book with a deadline facing me.
Often it leads to big changes—once I even had to change the villain
into a possible love interest—but it always makes for a stronger,
more vital story. And that’s what I’m after.

now, I’m chasing another set of characters into a book that I’ve
tentatively set up to go one way, but I know that, as I get deeper
into this story following these characters, I may find we’ve gone a
different way into a whole different and much richer story. It’s
the ultimate adventure, following a character into a book.

Linda Rodriguez’s Dark Sister: Poems
has just been released. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel,
based on her popular workshop, and The World Is One Place: Native
American Poets Visit the Middle East
, an anthology she co-edited,
were published to high praise in 2017. Every Family Doubt,
her fourth mystery novel featuring Cherokee campus police chief,
Skeet Bannion, and Revising the Character-Driven Novel will
be published in 2019. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every
Hidden Fear
, Every Broken Trust, and Every Last
and her books of
poetry—Skin Hunger
and Heart’s Migration—have
received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin’s
Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International
Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices
& Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and
Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good
Neighbor,” published in the anthology, Kansas City Noir, has
been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP
Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter
of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers
Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International
Thriller Writers, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and
Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Visit her at

A Character to Remember

By Sparkle Abbey

“Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.” Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

No matter the genre, no matter that wonderful twisty plot, no matter the well-drawn setting, when it comes down to it, we find that what we really remember from a good book are the characters.
Some characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, and Jo Marsh stand the test of time and have stayed with us a very long time.

What makes a character memorable?

There are a lot of opinions and great lists out there about what makes a character memorable, but here’s ours:

1. Relatable – They may be quite different from us in terms of background, physical appearance, education or income bracket, but there must be something about them we can relate to. We enjoy Miss Marple because of her curiosity and interest in what makes people tick. We can relate!
2. Unique – Though we want to connect and relate we also want them to be unique. Not a stereotype or a cookie-cutter personality. Characters are more interesting when they stand out from the crowd. Think Monk and his unique phobias and unusual view of the world.
3. Talented – They’re not only unique they are good at something. Perhaps they are a virtuoso in some area, perhaps not. Maybe their talent is standing their ground, or telling it like it is, or taking care of details. Memorable characters do brave things and to do that they need to have a gift to share with the world.
4. Rootability – Okay, that’s probably not a word. But what we really mean is give us someone we can root for. Not someone who is perfect. Not someone who always has the answer or doesn’t get into jams. We want a character who we can care about, worry about, and cheer on as they work their way through the ups and downs of the story.

So that’s our list. What do you think makes a memorable character? Have you read a book recently where a character stayed with you long after you finished the book?

Sparkle Abbey
Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the neighbors.) They love to hear from readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the SparkleAbbey.com website.

Sparkle Abbey on Downton Abbey

by Sparkle Abbey

Downton Abbey’s final season launched this past week and so we couldn’t let this major event pass without a nod to this highly acclaimed British drama.

You might remember we did a contest a while back with all the differences between Downton Abbey and Sparkle Abbey. And now, our latest book Downton Tabby offers even more entertaining comparisons. Check out our “The Pawleys: A brief episode in the British family hiss-tory of Lady Toria Cash, the feline fatale of Downton Tabby.”

No spoilers here if you haven’t watched the first installment in this final season of Downton, but you can bet there will be butlers and maids, elegant frocks, fancy dinner parties, secrets revealed and problems in love, some below stairs and some in the drawing room.

Why do we (and millions of viewers) love this show so much? The twisted plots? The intrigues? The beautiful costuming? The “no-they-did-not-just-do-that” writing?

We believe the bottom line is whether it’s a book or a movie, and whether the setting is a cozy, quirky small town, a galaxy far, far away or a castle in Yorkshire; we all continue to watch or continue to read because of the characters.

The characters in Downton Abbey have become our friends and we want to know what will happen to them next. The stoic Carson, the sometimes clueless Lord Grantham, the forward-thinking Isobel Crawley, and the just-can’t-get-a-break Lady Edith. And then poor Anna and Mr. Bates who give new meaning to “when bad things happen to good people” adage. Plus the evil Thomas who can always be counted on to shake things up. And the best, the very best, Lady Violet, the Dowager, who routinely delivers the zingers we love.

Here are a few:

“At my age, one must ration one’s excitement.”

Mrs. Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”
Countess Violet: “I must’ve said it wrong.”

Dr. Clarkson: You want me to lie?
Countess Violet: Lie is so unmusical a word.

Cora: “I hate to go behind Robert’s back.”
Countess Violet: “That is a scruple no successful wife can afford.”

“There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.”

“I don’t dislike him. I just don’t like him. Which is quite different.”

“All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite.”

“Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”

“Principles are like prayers; noble, of course, but awkward at a party.”

“Don’t be defeatist, dear, it’s very middle class.”

And our favorite:

“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”

What do you think? Do you watch the show? And, if so, do you agree with us that it’s the characters that have made the show such a success?

We’d like to hear your thoughts?

Comment below to be in the drawing for a signed copy of Downton Tabby.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They write a national bestselling pet-themed mystery series set in Laguna Beach. The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon Mystery Series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by several other “sassy and fun” books in the series. The most recent installment is Downton Tabby and up next is Raiders of the Lost Bark. www.SparkleAbbey.com

Take a C.A.R.D.

by Bethany Maines

While I was reading Sparkle Abbey’s recent blog post about
how real her characters in their Pampered Pets Mystery series, I laughed and
sympathized with the authors who are clearly suffering from C.A.R.D. –
Character / Author Reality Disorder. 
Most authors I know suffer from this.  We invest a lot of time in these people and we go through a
lot together. Of course it’s only natural that they start to take on a life,
even if it’s only a virtual life, of their own.  Sparkle Abbey described their characters as the best
(fictional) friends a girl could have. 
But what happens when you don’t like one of your characters?  It’s possible that I created a
character to be an excellent villain and now they… Just. Won’t.  Die.
The third novel in my Carrie Mae Mystery series High-Caliber
Concealer (on sale November 17 – available for pre-order now!) brings back all
the girls.  Nikki, the heroine, and
linguistics major, with a nagging mother who tries to keep her job as an independent
espionage agent for Carrie Mae a secret from her CIA Agent boyfriend.  Jenny, the bombshell blonde with a
beauty pageant history and a love of firearms.  Ellen, the grandmother of two, and well-trained sniper.  And Jane, the geeky Intelligence
Analyst  who keeps the team up to
speed, but fails at keeping them politically correct. But at the very end of
the book, I also bring back a character that’s been kicking around for two
books now insisting on getting more “screen” time, and of course, that segued
right into book four – Glossed Cause. 
And I have this thought: Oh, now I remember why killed you.  It’s because you are SO ANNOYING. 

Is it ok to fight with your characters?  Just punch them in their virtual face a
little bit?  Or do I need to check
myself into the library and get a stiff dose of non-fiction to combat the
raging C.A.R.D. outbreak I’m clearly suffering from?

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, Tales from the City of Destiny and An Unseen Current.  You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

When Fictional People Seem Real

by Sparkle Abbey

We had a conversation recently with a reader who asked about some of the fashions mentioned in our books. She wondered where we got the ideas for what Caro and Mel wear. Though this reader confessed she didn’t know many of the designers, she still loved reading the descriptions of the fashions. She wanted to know, did we shop for Caro and Mel.

The answer is that in a way, we do. We often look through magazines such as Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar in search of looks appropriate for these two former Texas beauty queens turned pet therapist and pet boutique owner. They each have their favorite designers so we may also haunt the online sites of the likes of Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdales. (And not just the sale racks.) Sometimes we’ll look at a particular outfit and say, “Caro would never wear that.” Or “That’s just not Mel.” They each have their own style and we know it well. Caro loves classic and vintage. Mel’s look is a little edgier and more daring. And, of course, then there’s Betty Foxx and her own unique and very individual look.

That got us thinking about how real these characters seem to us – and we hope to you.

It may sound crazy, but the truth is we know not only clothes they’d buy, but we could order for them in a restaurant, tell you their favorite music, and choose the movie each would pick for a night out. It’s kind of like we have these best friends…only they’re fictional.

What about you? Are there fictional characters who are so real to you that you feel like you could shop for them? (Or are we crazy?)

In our most recent book, we revisit lovely Laguna Beach with Caro and Mel as well as some of the other colorful characters we have come to know and love.

One Amazon reviewer has this to say about Downton Tabby:

How would you like to find a dead body in a swimming pool, have two friends disappear, be followed by a black SUV and have your ex try to take away your clients?

That’s what Laguna Beach’s animal therapist and sometime sleuth, Caro Lamont, faces in another page turning, suspense filled, and occasional humorous adventure as she tries to find a killer, solve the disappearances of two friends, and deal with a scurvy ex.

Need a treat today? Of course you do! Grab some snacks, your fav drink, turn off your phone and settle down in a comfy place and relish this latest mystery that’s pet friendly too!

Next up? Book 8: Raiders of the Lost Bark

As always, if you’d like to stay up on the latest news, new releases or upcoming appearances, sign up for the Sparkle Abbey newsletter at www.SparkleAbbey.com

Goldfish Brain

by Bethany Maines

I’m monumentally bad at dates.  The Christmas after I got married my mother-in-law got a new pair of sneakers and she said, “Oh, I wish I’d had these on XX of some-month-Bethany-doesn’t remember.”  And I said, “Really? What happened on that date?” And they all stared at me because it turned out that was the day I got married.  Which may seem a bit rude to my poor husband, but in my defense I also can’t remember what year I graduated from college.  And one time I spent an entire day being really annoyed because my friends kept calling me (I was in the middle of a project) to wish me happy birthday.  Every single call was a surprise.  So, I’m not saying that I will absolutely forget that some day (14th?  15th? No, seriously, what day is it?) in February is Valentine’s Day, I’m just saying that the odds are not in my husband’s favor.  But on the other hand that means if he remembers all that lovely chocolate will be a wonderful surprise.

Unfortunately, this type of memory blockage also means that my memory for VERY IMPORTANT FACTS related to my characters is also somewhat lacking. Like last names, eye color, the details of their backstory.   Given enough time and rewrites it all gets a bit fuzzy.  Bulletproof Mascara, for instance went through 9.5 rewrites (I’m counting the typo catching pass as .5 of a rewrite).  That means that the villain Jirair Sarkassian went from being Texan to Armenian somewhere around draft 6.  And in An Unseen Current (Available everywhere April 28! Available for pre-order on kindle now!!) I dropped an entire villain between draft 1 and 2.  Which wouldn’t be much of a problem if I didn’t insist on writing sequels.  It’s a bit of an embarrassment to have to read your own book to find out what you wrote, but apparently readers insist on continuity and well, just generally making sense.  But having just read Bulletproof Mascara and Compact with the Devil (in preparation for the forthcoming High-Caliber Concealer), I can honestly recommend my books to people.  I’m very funny and my plots actually do make sense.  I give myself two thumbs up.  I probably can’t review myself on Goodreads, can I?

Bethany Maines is the
author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, Tales from the City of Destiny and the forthcoming An Unseen Current.  
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube
video or catch up with her on 
Twitter and Facebook.  Learn more at www.bethanymaines.com

The Quantum Relativity Theory of Book Time

by Bethany Maines

Yesterday, Marilyn Meredith discussed why she keeps writing and how her characters keep moving forward which keeps her writing.  As a Great-Grandma and writer she as a unique perspective on the longevity of characters. But I’m only a first time mom and I’m only on my third sequel.  I’m at the start of that journey.  But her post did get me to wondering: how do my characters age?

I solved this problem in with Ariana Grace, my heroine in paranormal noir series, Tales from the City of Destiny, by the simple fact of not having her age.  Welcome to the glory of magic! Solving aging problems since Shakespeare!  And so far my Carrie Mae Mystery heroine, Nikki Lanier, has aged fairly realistically, but sometimes books cannot be written fast enough for a character to keep up with real life. What should I do with her in the future?

Since part of my premise for the book is that her character must evolve and grow, I think it’s a given that she will age.  But should she age at an absolute year for year rate with real life?  I don’t think I can do that.  She’ll be too old for my plots by the time I get around to writing all of them!  Should I work out some sort of complicated formula for aging?  Maybe she ages in reverse dog years?  Or maybe I should just wing it?  Who knew when I had a simple little plot idea about an undercover make up lady that I’d be involved in higher math…

Bethany Maines is the
author of the Carrie Mae Mystery series and 
Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube
video or catch up with her on 
Twitter and Facebook.