Monday, November 4, 2013

Creating Characters One Layer at a Time-Layer One-The Physical Must Reflect the Character

By Mary Connealy

I am told I create great characters.

So, I thought it would be a great idea to write a great blog post about how to create great characters.

Except I have no idea how I create my characters.

Except that’s just stupid. I must have SOME idea how I do it, right?

I mean some swami doesn’t start playing a pipe and I come up out of a basket and start typing like a hypnotized cobra, who later wakes up with a book in front of her, right?

So, I started trying to put it into words.

The intro to this blog…well…let’s call it a DISCLAIMER.

Let’s call this a JOURNEY.

Let’s take this journey TOGETHER.

As I try to explore how I create characters.

I’m going to talk heroes and I am right now in the middle of a new series we're calling WILD AT HEART.
Book #1 is coming next October, called Tried and True.
Book #2 is Now and Forever and I'm right in the middle of it, so I’m done with the first hero, and in the middle of the second and the third hero, of the book Fire and Ice is skulking through the pages of both books causing trouble.

So I’m creating all three men as I write the books.

Here they are in a nutshell.

The valiant, heroic, blonde savior

The mountain man/wild man savage

The iceman domineering tyrant

Okay. Done. Characters created.

Blog over.

Sigh........I suppose there’s more right?

Here’s how I’m going to do this.

I’m going to write a series.

Today is part one and part one is the physical.

And because I’m doing Now and Forever, book 2 right now I’m going to talk about creating my savage wildman.

He is so fun I can’t stand it.

You know it makes sense to start with the physical because that’s our first impression. So here’s how Matt Tucker looks.

He shaves and gets a hair cut once a year...if the Indian woman who raised him can make him sit still long enough. He dresses in buckskin.

Here’s the first impression. This is Matt Tucker as seen through the eyes of Aaron Masterson, the hero from book #1.

When the mountain man materialized out of the woods, utterly silent and looking as untamed as the rest of the Rockies, Aaron knew who he was.
There’d been tales in Aspen Ridge about him. Some said he was an Indian, some a ghost, some a legend.
Now here he stood. There was nothing ghostly about him. Wild though, mighty wild.
The mountain man offered his hand in a good-natured way as if he’d never seen a weapon in his life. A pretty good trick considering he had a Winchester hanging down his back from a strap over one shoulder, a pistol in a holster on his hip, the biggest, ugliest knife Aaron had ever seen in a scabbard that crisscrossed his chest, A powder horn crossing the other way, a whip looped and hanging from a leather thong at his waist, and Aaron glimpsed the hasp of another knife up his sleeve.
And these were just the weapons Aaron could see. Matt Tucker appeared to be a man who was, in all ways, ready for trouble.
This is layer #1. Our first view of Matt Tucker. Here’s the thing--all the layers have to match. Matt Tucker is an outrageous character so maybe he’s not a good example for me to use for this series, but maybe he is. I can’t make Matt Tucker dress in buckskin and carry a knife up his sleeve and shave once a year, and then have him be a quiet man who likes to make daisy chains and write poetry during the long winter in his cabin.

Well, maybe I could, but I’d better have a real good reason for that.

No, Matt Tucker’s outward appearance needs to reflect his inner self.

His eyes are wild.

He’s got a smile that flashes animal white teeth. That's important that they be animal white teeth, not pearly white teeth, right?

He’s going to laugh long and loud. But he's going to move through the forest silent as a ghost. When he ruins his shirt and needs a new one he has no idea how to get one except to go hunting. That's how a man gets a shirt. Step one. Shoot a deer.

When he, who has no interest in marrying, decides he’s going to claim Shannon, he claims her dramatically and utterly and he is all the way sold out to being a husband and never looking back.

He intends to swoop that woman up and drag her to his cabin high in the mountains and never let her out of his sight.

Except of course Shannon has other ideas.

And now we have our conflict...which is another blog so just forget I mentioned it!

Next time we’re going to talk about how I make Tucker’s actions, his movements, gestures, etc. match his appearance. We’re going to be a few posts getting to his motivations and his heart, because Matt Tucker wasn’t born this way, his life made him this way and every word he speaks, every decision he makes, is part of his most fundamental self. He's a good man. A Christian man. But he carries about ten knives, half of them hidden, all where he can get to them fast, all razor sharp. He's not fooling around with them. He lives a hard life and he knows how to fight and defend himself. 
I have to know all this about him to make him come alive.

And of course I have to do it all……… a panster. :)

Is this good for a series? Does this make sense to anyone? It all seems pretty obvious to me. I mean DUH...OF COURSE WE DESCRIBE THE CHARACTER!!!
If you want me to stop just say so.

Click to buy Swept Away, Fire Up, pre-order Stuck Together

Because we are still coming down off our wild birthday month and I don’t want anyone to go into utter wilthdrawal from no prizes, let’s call today the AVOID COLD TURKEY THANKSGIVING GIVEAWAY.
No wait.
That sounds wrong.
Oh, forget it. I just thought one more prize day would be fun.

Leave a physical description of the character from your WIP, or what the hey....just leave a comment, to get your name in a drawing for a $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD.

Because DO NOT EVER DOUBT we are so THANKFUL for all of your visits and comments this last month.



  1. Oh, come on now, that's just not fair making us wait so long for the next series ;-)
    After writing an entire first draft (that I currently am blessed with having to rewrite), I better know my main characters pretty dern well.

    I'll describe the hero since, you know, who doesn't like reading a hero's description?
    My guy--I refuse to give his name because I'm one of those weird people who won't even tell a soul her picked-out baby names because somebody might steal them!--is a carpenter/craftsman/handyman. Basically, dude knows how to handle wood and nails, and he wouldn't dream of covering solid wood with paint. He's a Southern man used to working outside from the morning to late in the evenings. Which equals an attractive physique. Dark blonde hair, bluish gray eyes. Always seems to be wearing work boots and jeans.
    Yeah, to me, he's pretty awesome. And might have a few characteristics of someone I know. . .

    Characters are so fun to create!

  2. Totally laughed at the "you can just tell me to stop"

    And oooooh what to pick. I have a few days to turn the current book in and I worked hard at describing the characters because well, I'm bad at describing anything. So I worked doubly hard to describe stuff every now and then.

    And I'm going to give you both the hero and heroine since I didn't win anything last month, I'm making my post bulky so the random thing will want to pick me. That's how it works, right? :P

    Heroine from Hero POV in first encounter:

    She wasn’t the prettiest woman in the world. She had a fairly long face and big eyes, but every woman wanted to be beautiful, and stitches wouldn’t help. Though, if she was tough enough to endure sutures without a peep, she’d rise above a fading scar.

    Hero from heroine POV much much later in the book:

    She should find something else to look at, but as the sunlight crept up his chest, causing the sheen of his navy tie to cast a blue shadow on his stubbly chin, she couldn’t take her eyes off him. Playing with a loose strand of hair, she let herself look.
    Nothing about him stood out if she chose to be objective. An average fellow if not for the caring in his hands as he’d stitched her up that first day, the kindness in his eyes when he talked to a patient, the mess of hair on his head as soft as it was thick.

  3. "Is this good for a series?"
    Oops. Sorry for screaming.
    It's just I'm creating characters this week, so the timing was PERRRRFECT.

    So, I searched my 1st MS for a paragraph of description for my h&h and couldn't find one! Yikes! I sort of wove it in between action and dialogue instead of in a full paragraph. I know I had a couple good descriptions in one of the drafts. must find.

    Hero: Lumberjack *ahem* that alone inspires some imagery, if I do type so myself. Doesn't carry a weapon. Walks most everywhere. Carries saddlebags and a jacket. Bearded at first. Think a young Henry Cavill of Superman in the fisherman sequence. Wears cleats or logger's "quarks," and if you call them "boots," he'll cross his arms and scowl at you. :)

    Heroine: Freckled. Wears the latest fashions, as long as they have a good stiff collar--preferably one that reaches her chin--and a Vote For Temperance sash. If she's seen wearing ink smears, chalk dust, or muffin batter, it's not for want of meticulous inspection.

    Haha, Courtney said. "And might have the characteristics of someone I know..." LOL. You too? The worst thing for me, is seeing a stranger who would fit the hero so well, but I'm too afraid to ask for a photo, because I'd look like a stalker or worse. :D Love your hero description.

    Melissa, hope you win!! "Though, if she was tough enough to endure sutures without a peep, she’d rise above a fading scar." --Love this. And how neither seem to find one another remarkable at first, though I have a feeling they will like each other very well by "The End." Has me smiling.

  4. Natalie, LOVE your H/H descriptions. I can see them and their personalities all ready.

  5. Wow, Mary, you make it look so easy.

    I'm looking forward to the next post!

    Happy Monday, Seekerville!

  6. Yes, I like this process of discovery. You are leading us along not Telling us what to do. Very teachery, Mary!

    Somewhere in my mountain of 'writer stuff' I've gathered is a post or workshop where an author taught this same time of layering and I know it was very helpful.

    Even now I'm seeing where I can beef up that first 'look' at a character. After all they must be vivid in some way, immediately.

    Thanks Mary.


  7. Courtney, it's okay to withhold the name, but in case you haven't noticed, some names get used more than once, so it's okay if it get's stolen.

    Someone you know? That sounds intriguing. :)

  8. The physical must reflect the true, usually I decide on my character's occupation and background then decide on his physical appearance.

    For example, an attorney with a thick neck and broad shoulders who looks uncomfortable in his suit and tie, might come from a ranching family.

    I don't know if it's right, but so far it's working for me.

  9. Melissa, you didn't win ANYTHING? Seekerville birthday month and you never won a single prize?

    That cannot be allowed!
    Maybe we thought the baby was all the prize one woman could stand.

    But you'd think we have given you EXTRA prizes because of the baby.

    The descriptions are pretty riveting honestly, especially since I have her pictured getting her face sewn up and I'm flinching with every word!!!

  10. Ah, Natalie, sweetheart, alllllllll my heroes now look like Henry Cavill.

  11. Love the Temperance sash and the batter and chalk dust. Melissa is right, the character description reflects the character and that's what we're going for.

  12. Annie, you think I make it look easy?

    That's probably because I'm doing it wrong.

    I'm actually having a LOT of fun with the third hero.

    The hero of Fire and Ice...because he's ICE and the heroine is FIRE and I'm having him be all about CONTROL and his eyes are light gray blue unless he's angry, then they fade to an icy gray that is a warning for anyone to back up.

    Of course the heroine with her golden hazel eyes that can blaze like fire, doesn't back up for anyone. And most especially not for a man who wants to steal her land....just because she happened to stake a claim to a homestead right over the mouth of a canyon that blocks his access to five thousand acres of his richest grazing land.

    Which, since she won't let him cross on her property...makes that canyon hers.

  13. Teachery? Really Debra? Wow, It's like I'm discovering unknown parts of myself.

    I'm a little weepy.


  14. Rose, I like that. In a way, you're not making the physical refect his career but you are very fundamentally making him reflect his character. EXCELLENT.

    And yes it is VERY DARK.

    I think I'm supposed to still be in bed.

    Daylight savings time is very annoying. I am, on the other hand, strangely rested.

  15. Good Morning, Mary! Oooh, a Jeremiah Johnson-ish hero! I already know I'm gonna love this book -- but I have to WAIT?! :)

    I enjoy hearing how other writers build their characters--the spark that started them and how they flesh them out into almost living, breathing people!

  16. Hi Glynna. Does Arizona do Daylight Savings Time?

    I have a strange suspicion that it's still the middle of the night.

  17. Good morning Mary and Seekerville!
    It's TRUE---you really DO create great characters....and I'm eager to meet Matt Tucker NOW!! ;)

    Am dropping off some Georgia pecan waffles and peach pancakes this morning (with warm syrup of course) so eat up! ;)

    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  18. Mary
    I love the way I learn while laughing from the way you present information (this is a good thing). I seem to have an affinity for your wild/crazy type heroes. I've a feeling that hero #2 is going to be my favorite of your next series.

    I don't have a hero/heroine description right now because my WIP is at home (@ work now). Which means I probably should know them better if I can't tell you right off the top of my head. Then again, I've a bunch of characters running around in my brain from all the ideas percolating there - so I didn't want to confuse things by describing the wrong hero (okay, that probably didn't make any sense, but it sounded good when I first typed it...).

    Know thy character and start with the physical aspects that reflect said character. Okay, I think I've got step one.

  19. Mary -- No, Arizona doesn't participate in Daylight Saving Time. So part of the year (now)we're the same as Mountain Time and the other half of the year we're the same as Pacific Time.

  20. Patti Jo, thanks for the breakfast.

    Have I ever told you that the little honey bear you gave me at RWA is sitting in my kitchen window. I see it many times a day and think of you fondly each time.

    It's just so sweet. Just like you.

  21. DebH, wildmen are fun. No doubt about it.

    But the hero from book #1 is a very HEROIC type of hero.

    I considered describing all three of them, or going with the Trouble in Texas men. That might be more IMMEDIATE and familiar, but those guys are all DONE, you know??? I'm in the middle of creating these guys.

    I'll say this. By the time I'm done, I feel like I really know all the characters.

    Tucker is somewhat Jeremiah Johnson-ish, but he's different than a lot of mountain men in that he was born and raised in these mountains. Most mountain men chose that life. He didn't. He was born there. He knows nothing else and it's as natural to him as can be.

    He loves it.

    And Shannon, his heroine, well, she's a nurturer and she has a herd of sheep. Which she loves and is raising for their wool. When Tucker gets annoyed with her, he talks in a threatening manner about lambchops.

  22. You know what's funny is writing the physical description wasn't obvious to me! I still leave it out all the time. I can see my characters clearly, why can't everyone else?! I think that stems from writing fanfiction for awhile -- where everyone already knows what the main characters look like. Anyway -- it's something I still keep forgetting so I needed this post.

    The new series sounds thrilling -- except I have one request. A year's growth of beard???? Could that get shaved off before the first kiss?!

  23. Mary, I loved this. And I love reading about Matt Tucker. I can imagine what kind of a character he is. :)

    I will admit, as I read your post, I realized I know what my characters look like, but I haven't translated that very well onto the written page. At least not in my fast draft of my book. It's definitely something I need to be purposeful about in my next pass. I'm better about describing secondary characters than my MC's. Sigh

    One thing you post made me think of was figuring out how to convey aspects of the H/H's character into their physical description.

  24. Mary
    HEROIC heroes, for some reason, don't resonate with me as much as the "crazy" ones (Seth was my favorite Kincaid brother). I like Tucker already - the idea of him talking lambchops... making me laugh already. I can so see that. Of course, I grew up between two brothers, so that type of thing always happened to me. Lordy, I love my brothers (they annoyed the heck out of me when I was young, but they sure trained me right for my hubby). Hmmm... methinks I've two good hero descriptions for future reference.

    Thanks Mary. You've inspired me today. That's seems to be a common occurrance when I visit Seekerville.

  25. I usually try to figure out what faults my heros will have first - otherwise I tend to make them too-good-to-be-true. My WIP hero is handsome and hardworking but knows nothing about how to treat a woman. He makes lots of costly mistakes in that regard.
    Seth is my favorite Connealy hero but they're all pretty crazy!

  26. Kav, the very first time we see Tucker, his Ma, Sunrise, the Shoshone woman who raised him is there.
    He says, "Hi, Ma."
    Which shocks everyone because he's clearly not an Indian, the beard alone is proof.
    Here's that exchange. (to save you from your beard worries)

    Sunrise walked down off the porch, and Tucker laughed and swept her into a hug that hoisted the short, stout woman off her feet.
    When he set her down, Sunrise reached up with both hands and tugged on his beard. “I thought you shaved this fur in summer. You look more animal than man.”
    “Reckon that about describes me, Ma. I been busy, but it’s time to have at the beard and get my yearly haircut.”
    “I will see to it for you. You are clumsy, and I do not trust many with a razor close to your throat.”
    The two of them laughed, then walked side by side into the woods.

  27. Okay, I'm in. (Really, when am I not?)
    Michael Moriarty, hero from "Trail," the novel I'm shopping around now.
    "There was only him, Michael Moriarty, standing there bigger than life. But then he always had been.
    Michael. Six feet four, shoulders straining at his checked flannel shirt, black curls springy from a recent washing. The hard planes of his face the same, and those cobalt blue eyes, now staring at her in disbelief. “Caroline?” he repeated. "You're our cook?"

    Pace Williams, hero of my WIP "Town," the sequel to "Trail."
    Pace as observed by Oona, the heroine: Her thoughts went to the tall man she'd dunked along with Michael. His fault for laughing at her. But what a magnificent man--tall and thin, but muscular, with a fine-planed face and those dark eyes that lingered on her. He looked as though he belonged here, as though he'd been carved out of one of the towering trees that ringed this hamlet. She wouldn't mind getting to know him better.
    If she were staying.

    Pace as observed by himself (yes, it's in a mirror):
    Well, he wasn't going to scare anybody. Guess that counted for something.
    Pace looked at himself in the shard of mirror he used for shaving. Hair, all right – he kept it so short he could comb it with a dishrag. Plaid shirt clean – oughta be, it was his “good” one. Jeans, clean enough – but boots polished to perfection. He’d do, he reflected, for the wedding dance for Viola and Stephen Miller.

    Yeah, Mary, this is fun and a good way to start the week. There IS a certain way a character should look, unless there's a really good reason for him or her not to. I like your Mountain Man.
    One thing that annoys me in Christian historical romances is the hair thing. In most eras of history, women didn't leave their hair loose. They just didn't for a variety of reasons -- it wasn't "decent," or it would get caught in the farm or factory machinery. I get a red flag when I read a novel and the woman has "long blond curls." How does he know it's curly if it's bound up like it's supposed to be? My rant for the day.
    I had my monthly critique group Saturday, way fun, and we got into the issue of how characters take over a story. Two of the younger writers were puzzled as to how they can do that. We told them if you know your character well enough, they will take on a "life" of their own and behave in a corresponding way. For example, when Michael proposes to Caroline the first time and acts like he's doing her a favor. He bungles it, but what else would we expect of him?
    Thank you, Mary, please put my name in the drawing.
    Kathy Bailey
    Dealing with November in New Hampshire

  28. DEBRA MARVIN, It's cold and dark and November here too. It's awful. I kept hoping it wouldn't happen this year.
    COURTNEY, your hero sounds like Sawyer in "Lost." Or rather like Josh Holloway who played him. Am I getting close? Yum...

  29. Jeanne T. time spent describing characters isn't wasted. Do it with quite light strokes but don't hesitate to do it. And make his teeth animal white.
    If he's a wild man.

    Make his eyes glare with blue the color of ice if he's a strong, tough, controlling man.

    Make her eyes blaze with spirit and fire and streak white and sunlight like her hair has been touched by the sun if she's a fiery thing.

    It's a chance to stamp who he/she is on his/her face.

    If he's a weakling villain have his shoulders be stooped and his chin be weak. If he's a valliant hero pick Superman without the tights and cape. But those square shoulders and chiseled jaw.
    Have him look you right in the eye with black eyes that burned all the way into your soul.
    Some of these descriptions may sound cliche, but that all works for a reason.

  30. Cindy, Seth (and many of my heroes) is/are just clueless about women. Many of them have been raised in the west, some without mothers and they are just idiots.

    They are drawn to women, and when it is THE woman they are powerfully drawn. But the say moron things and make all the wrong moves and they don't understand what a woman is thinking.

    I think the potential for comedy in that is just rich.

    I get a lot of that (much exaggerated) from My Cowboy, who was from a family of seven sons, no daughters. Not a lot of experience with woman there.

    He's constantly surprised by how women thing and react...although he's gotten pretty used to it by now.

    It still makes no sense to him but he's gotten used to it.

  31. Thanks, Natalie! And, LOL, about the photo! Love that your hero is a lumberjack. I'm into outdoorsy heroes :)

    Mary, yeah, someone I know ;) And a name can be used more than once, but I've never seen mine, and it's pretty special to me. I'm weird like that. Ha!

  32. Hi Kathy, I love the descriptions. Cobalt Blue is a strong descriptor. I really got a hit from that and the curly black hair. Shoulders straining at the shirt. Yeah, baby! :)

    And short enough to comb with a dishrag ... cool, that's great.

    The one thing I might change is Michael Moriarty's name. It had an immediate impact for me because there's a pretty famous actor named that and his face flashed in my mind and you don't want that because he's short and bald and prone to playing lawyers.

  33. Good for you for being original Courtney!!!!

  34. Kaybee, I don't think I've ever really watched Lost. :) My hero isn't based on a celebrity. I just drew bits and pieces from someone.
    Oh, I like how your hero describes himself! His plaid shirt is his "good" one. Haha! And his jeans are clean enough. Love that! Sounds just like a man.

  35. Loved this, Mary, especially the comments about how Matt gets a shirt and his views on marriage--great stuff! The cool thing about being a pantser is this: the characters don't know what's going on, either. They discover things about themselves and each other as they go along, and we just follow after them, hoping the don't lead us over a cliff :)

  36. You make fabulous characters, Mary! Your books should be required reading for new authors :)

  37. I am just horrible about not describing my characters. I might say something vague like the hero is tall (but how tall???) or that the heroine is brunette (but is her hair long, short, in between and what about her eyes???). I try to find photos of what I think my characters look like and I tape them over the computer monitor. In my novella, the hero looked like Bradley Cooper. I stared at those blue eyes for weeks but I'm not so sure I put it on the page that his eyes are as blue as the sky. *sigh*

    In my current WIP (which at the moment is a NaNo failure because I should have 5000 words written by now and I only have 500 but my granddaughter's first birthday was Saturday and they live 2 hours away and then yesterday I was sick again, but I digress) my hero looks like Dermot Mulroney -- brown hair, dreamy brown eyes, a little scar on his lip. Hmmmm, I need to remember to come up with a reason for that scar. I'd better put that in my notebook to dream up the backstory for that.

    Is it Friday yet???

  38. Mary, Mary, Mary!!!! I am cracking up here!!!! Your characters are all so amazingly cowboy and yet amazingly unique! Gotta love 'em!

    Speaking of character names being stolen . . . I started planning a new book a few months ago and was well into drafting some chapters when . . .

    Danged if I didn't learn my hero had THE EXACT SAME NAME as the hero in a new book Ruthy was working on!!!!!!!

    So, um, guess who got to change her hero's name.

    And it wasn't Ruthy.

    So what does it say about me that I thought up the EXACT SAME NAME Ruthy already was using?

  39. Mia my book starts with Tucker getting attacked by a grizzly bear and what with one thing and another well, he needs a new shirt...actually he needs a whole new outfit...but he's got a broken leg.
    And Shannon is caring for him.
    So Tucker can go hunting because...he's got a broken leg.
    So she's sewing him some clothes but she's sewing slow because she's trying her best to keep him in bed because of his broken leg.
    And all he can think is he needs to go hunting so he can get new cloths and Shannon and Sunrise, Tucker's ma are conspiring to keep him in bed.

    Anyway, that's when he starts threatening to eat her sheep is she doesn't sew faster.

    But of course Shannon rather smugly reminds him that not only can he not catch the sheep, but he's wearing an embarrassing nightshirt he borrowed from Aaron, (the hero in book #1 and now Shannon's brother in law)

    So my wildman is temporarily caged and he's about to start chewing holes in the cabin.

  40. Sherri, thanks. You think? That's so sweet?

  41. Nope, didn't win a thing, but that's a happy thing, right? So many people you have following Seekerville.

    And my baby is pretty darn neat even if he is a mushroom on a log and I'm having to learn to type in all kinds of contorted positions.

  42. Marilyn learn to linger over the description, find joy in it. You can go on too long--your description shouldn't be a half a page long, but it can be a couple of paragraphs. And if it gets too long consider chopping it up and, like NATALIE said, weave it in and out. It's fun to try and bring them to life. Make them visible.

  43. MYRA! Just go for it. Name him the same.

    We could make it a THING
    All Seekers and Seekervillagers could name a character the same name in a book.

    It could be our Name of 2014.

    DO IT!!!!!! Ruthy can't Claim a Name!

  44. Melissa, I am going to see if all the forces in the universe can't be somehow aligned so that your name can be chosen SOMEHOW to win a prize in the very near future!

  45. Always love a "behind the scenes" journey. You've given a vivid impression of character.

    Here's one of my heroes and the heroine's first impression. Before she sees him she hears his southern accent, which she despises for reasons in her past.

    Slowly Cassie turned and looked at the guy. Dark unruly hair, an even darker untrimmed beard and near-black eyes ablaze in accusation aimed straight at her. Built like he could win any fight anyone started, although to go by the fresh red scratches on his arms, somebody had gotten in a few licks. Muscles wrapped in tattered jeans and a worn white T— clothes which looked legit. Not a look bought off the rack. Great. Just what she needed—an enraged hulk of a fighting redneck all set to blame her for his recklessness. Everything about him was a reminder of too many things wrong with her world.

    Cassie drew herself up trying to look taller and a match for the man who topped her by at least six inches and outweighed her by a good 100 lbs. Why couldn't he have been some sweet, little old farmer out for his morning drive into the nearest town? But she refused to let him intimidate her. And just let him try anything. She had a can of Pepper Shot tucked away in a vest pocket.

  46. Just love this post, Mary! Fun to see how you created Tucker to fit the wild man image you needed. Your character's great description enables me to picture him. A man like Tucker doesn't fit just everywhere. :-) What is your setting/time period?

    Here's my farmer hero Ted Logan in The Substitute Bride as described by the big city heroine, Elizabeth Manning, who'd switched places with his mail order bride and had no idea what Ted looked like.

    Mercy, the man was brawny, wide at the shoulders with a massive neck, chest and powerful forearms. Not someone she’d care to cross. White creases edged his eyes in his tanned face, evidence of long periods spent in the sun. Those intense blue-gray eyes of his appeared to see right through her.

    She hoped she was wrong about that.

    But all the rest...well, she couldn’t find anything to complain about. She’d expected another Reginald Parks and another reason to run. But something about Ted Logan kept her rooted to the spot, unable to look away.


  47. I love Matt Tucker already!!!

    I can SEE him!

    Very helpful, Mary. I'm not sure about the animal white teeth however.

  48. CaraG, I love this. You have done so much with this description in a single paragraph.
    It is fantastic.

    near-black eyes ablaze in accusation aimed straight at her

    You could have said...."he had dark brown eyes...." what a wasted opportunity that would have been. :)

    The torn t-shirt looked legit.

    I just love it.

    Even her thinking about her pepper spray.

  49. Janet, see this is HUGE.

    This right here:

    Those intense blue-gray eyes of his appeared to see right through her.

    She hoped she was wrong about that.

    This is your HEROINE seeing in the HERO her own worries, her own guilt. She is projecting herself on him and the reader knows that, so you're not only describing him, but her, all in a few deftly drawn lines.

    LOVE IT!!!!!!

  50. And you know, Tina, seriously, are animal's teeth white? Do animals brush their teeth?

    Think about it!!!

    And yet, I love the image for some reason. I guess I'm just trying to reassure my readers that Tucker is fundamentally, not that most unromantic of animals....a pig.

  51. MARILYN,
    Somebody has to do a hero who looks like Bradley Cooper, might as well be you.
    COURTNEY, check out Josh Holloway some time on Google. Just because.
    CARA G, your description of your hero also says something about your heroine (that she's little)! A double whamnmy!
    MARILYN, I'm a NANO failure so far too. But I didn't register, so nobody knows. Unforseen stuff came up, going to extend it through December and do a two-month NANO. Because I can.

  52. NATALIE, love the ink, chalk dust, muffin batter -- and temperance banner. Already know she's a force to be reckoned with.
    MELISSA, love the sutures. That alone would keep me reading -- why is she being stitched up?

  53. MARILYN, I love Bradley Cooper, especially when he smiles.

  54. LOL kaybee! I swore I wasn't going to put pressure on myself to do the whole 1667 words per day bit. But it's so easy to get sucked into it. I remember telling Melanie that I just wanted to get back into the daily writing habit and that whatever words I had each day was more than the day before. So why am I getting all angsty about this?????

    And Myra, I'd name all my heroes Jack but then everyone would think this guy really got around.

    I've started typing up a synopsis since I'm still so vague on the story and by golly, I'm going to count those words. I've had a few lightbulb moments this morning and I decided my hero got the scar on his lip the same way Dermot Mulroney did -- he fell and cut it on a piece of glass. I guess I could make it Waterford crystal since the story is set in Ireland. ;-)

  55. I love your characters, Mary! And the layers - those people are like the Grand Canyon...always going deeper and deeper....

    Anyway, I'm working on a new proposal. It's a western.

    Of course it's a western - I can't live out here surrounded by sagebrush and pronghorns and cowboys without writing a western!

    So here's my hero's description, seen from the heroine's POV:

    Sarah leaned her cheek against the curly brown hair of the five year old girl in her lap. So that was the children’s uncle. From the way they had talked, she thought he must be some kind of giant. He was definitely tall, and assuredly strong. Sarah could understand why nine year old Charlie worshiped the man, and Olivia, only a year older, had fussed until she was convinced they would save a lion’s share of the stew for Bunk.

    When he stepped out from behind the makeshift curtain, Sarah couldn’t keep her gaze from flitting over his scars. The children had told how Bunk had almost died in the fire that killed their parents in the spring, but he and their father had gotten all three of the children out of the burning house before the last trip in to save their mother – and then Bunk had emerged from the burning house alone.

    The evidence of his heroism, his scars, covered the backs of his hands and the left side of his neck and face like a splash of blood shining bright red in the light. Suddenly aware she was staring, Sarah turned her gaze back to the girl in her lap, but not before she saw Bunk’s self-conscious tug at the shirt’s neckline, as if he was ashamed of those scars.

  56. Oh, and yes! Please continue this blog series!

  57. I don't know that I can claim to creating characters. They seem to come to me in a poof, probably made up of bits and pieces of a million different images and impressions I had over the years from real life, from the screen, from books. I know when my Scottish hero popped into view, he wasn't wearing a kilt, but rather skin-tight breeches, a ponytail, and had a strong resemblance to Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders (old rock group). But he came with a rich background, a big problem, and was the type my heroine would love.

    Layering in all those attributes of characters throughout the length of a book is what makes writing hard, and you make it look so easy, Mary.

  58. KAYBEE you NANO rebel you. I am doing, for the tenth year in a row (although I don't keep count so who knows) SHADOW NANO
    I try and up my word count in Nano in SOLIDARITY with the NANO world.

    I'm right at 40k on an 80k book and my goal is to finish the book in November. That means I need to write 1500 words a day seven days a week all month.

    Which I intend to do.

    Unless I don't want to.


    Still, I do try and up my production. I have a revision due at the end of the month and that has to be done so at some point I have to abandon my 'shadow nano' and do those revisions, which I don't expect will take long.

    Shadow Nano

    See.......this is why we do Speedbo, because November is STUPID.

    You go a law unto yourself! We encourage that madness here at Seekerville...perhaps unwisely but we do.

    Blame Tina.

  59. Mary, it seems like you presented the essence of Matt Tucker as well as the physical in your description. All of the weapons and his wild appearance say something about who he is. I am guessing the more vibrant or eccentric the character, the easier that will be.

    My hero is humble and confident at the same time. In my head, this comes through in the way he carries himself, interacts with other people and even his voice. I haven't nailed down his physical traits yet. You've helped me with that today. Thank you!

  60. JAN!!! Oh my gosh! I am so in love with your hero already.

    The scars. the fire!
    What a hero.

    But.....Uncle Bunk?

    I even love that, it's so fun and different.

  61. Elaine they may come to you but you have to put them on the page and you just do a fair joy, my bonnie lass of putting your hero in a comment box. :)

  62. Yes, Mary, Uncle Bunk.

    His real name is Aloysius, but who wants to call him that? He's been called Bunk ever since his brother first laid eyes on him when he was a squiggly red baby wrapped in blankets.

  63. And I can't wait to read your description of how Matt Tucker smells, lol.

  64. DONNA I helped you? Really?

    That's so great!

    Usually I lead people badly astray.

    A sad but true fact.

  65. Well, we kick things off by having him fall into a raging river, chased by a grizzly.

    So that helps him smell better right away.

    Not sure if that would have been true otherwise.

    I didnt' want to test the theory!

  66. As a reader I don't always visit Seekerville regularly, but this was a fun post Mary! I look forward to this new series of books!

  67. Mary, ALL your writing is always the greatest!!! Just keep up the great writing!
    I am very thankful for all you great Seeker authors....and also grateful for the

  68. Patty, Tucker shows up in book one, as do all the heroes and heroines. So we meet them all by the end of book one, but Tucker steps onto center stage in book #2.
    So this description of him comes about 1/3 of the way into book #1 when they need a tracker and guess who they get?

  69. Ah, Jackie, you sweet thing. We're all thankful for you, too.
    And honestly we're thankful for each other, too.
    My Seeker buddies are the best.

  70. Mary, thanks for an inspirational, educational and fun post!:-)

    I struggle to describe my characters. I see them in my head, but can't seem to pin them down in print.

    You've given me some grate ideas! :-)

  71. Thanks for describing how you develop characters. Mine is a heroine, very conflicted, but saves the day in the end. I'm trying to make her more likable! Thanks for the advice.

  72. Mary Hicks, the best thing to do, to describe her is, I think, try writing it out. You can fix it later. Just start. Describe her, fiddle with it, tweak it. Hair color, eye color. Do you know this stuff? Then make that all MEAN something. No point giving her blue eyes unless you're going to make them FLASH with humor or temper or fear or brown eyes unless you're going to give her thick lashes that often flicker to cover her dark, mysterious eyes that cover a world or hurt or secrets or mystery.

  73. SUSAN CODONE the best advice I ever got for making a character likeable was.......
    to make a character likeable, make someone like her.

    Does that make sense?

    If you're got an edgy character, give her a friend who likes her. Give her a pet. A loyal sister.
    And there's more to this than just simple niceness....the friend who LIKES the edgy character has a moment, an exchange with the edgy character and in that exchange what happens is the edgy character will have to show WHY the friend likes her. She will have to show that likeable side of herself.

    So now you've revealed the likeable-ness.

    So, there you go. To make your character likeable, have someone like her.

  74. Hi Mary! So fun to see you here. No WIP here Just a plain ol reader. I'll leave the fab writing to You. :)

  75. Hi AMY thanks for leaving a comment. We love readers, too.

  76. Oh yeah, this will do nicely for a series of posts. Reading as you share the creation of a character will be fun ... in fact, it's a bit difficult to believe you create the characters because they are so real when I read the stories that I can't imagine them not existing.

    I tend to sprinkle description throughout the story when it's characters who already know each other. I find that with characters who are meeting, the most difficult thing to do is to show those first impressions without slowing the pace. Totally enjoyed what you did with Aaron's first impression of Matt ... and of course I want to read the book to find out if Aaron's first impression is accurate.

    Nancy C

  77. One more thing. I like how Aaron notes what a man would notice about another man, ya know? He notices the things that are important at the moment ... not the color of Matt's hair :-)

    Nancy C

  78. NANCY this is a great observation.
    The man's POV noticing another man.
    You're right.
    A woman might think things like 'messy hair' and details like that.

    Excellent point. I need to go look and see if I did that. If I did a good job of being faithful to my POV character's attitudes in their descriptions.

  79. AND, Nancy you're also, so right about how in a group of characters like sisters there would be no long paragraph of description because they already know what they look like, right?

    So with Tucker, when he comes ghosting out of the woods and Aaron has never seen him before, that's the perfect place for a description like this.

    But for example, book #1 of this series begins in a scene with one of the sisters (there are three sisters, the heroine of the first book is Kylie Wilde) alone. Well, she's certainly not going to THINK for a paragraphy about how she looks.

    That has to be done carefully, in tiny insertions, and I have a hard time working that in. Especially in her POV.

    I just went and read through the beginning of book #1 and found at the beginning of page THREE this bit of description:

    Flicking her hair over her shoulder, she enjoyed that she’d grown it long

    PAGE THREE and that's the closest I've come to a physical description of Kylie. There's loads in there about her state of mine but no physical description and you'll note in that one sentence, no reference to color or much else.

  80. Mary, I don't create characters so I don't have a WIP but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your characters!!!! I've enjoyed your books and anything you post anywhere! You are fantastic and such fun! You remind me so much of a friend of mine! I'll always tune in whenever you are a poster! You have a gift and I know why you are a writer! Thanks for sharing, Mary!


  81. Valri, thanks so much.
    You made me smile.
    I've got to go write.

    I haven't shot anybody for a while so I'm overdue. :)

  82. I'm a reader only so I don't have a WIP, but I always like when the physical description of a character tells me about their personality as well. Thanks for the giveaway!

  83. First Mary, you gave me some 'great' ideas', not grate ones. :-)

    I've discovered another great talent you have...Putting a swag bag together. I stepped out to sweep the fall leaves off my front patio and found a package on my little iron table. I racked my brain to remember what I'd ordered.
    It was the swag I'd won in the birthday bash!!!! I'm silly about presents. I get excited when I find a penny on the sidewalk.:-)

    I ran inside with the package, nearly cut my finger hacking at the tape. (you did a good job! ) And then I started pulling out goodies one after the other—surely I'm not the only one who loves opening a package more than eating chocolate?

    Such a diversity of items!! I liked everything, but especially the block of notes with the cover of A Match Made In Texas printed on the side. My sister came in just as I'd pulled the last item out of that neat tote bag—I like tote bags too. She joined the fun digging through everything. We can't wait to start reading the books!
    Someday when I get to meet you, ( I'm planning on it ) I'll be remembering what a 'great swag bag' you put together.

    Thank you, and Seekerville for a month of fun celebrating!

  84. MARILYN,
    Waterford Crystal! The devil is in the details. Or rather the not-devil, since we're Christian writers. It would be even better if he was in a place he shouldn't have been. But I don't know your plot, so that might not work.

  85. MARY,
    Is this a series of blogs/tutorials? Like are you going to address the other layers?
    I like the idea of "Shadow NANO."
    I'm setting my own relatively short deadline, now till the end of December, for a draft of a book. I'm NANO-ing, just not as strict as their rules call for. I'm trying to get a lot of books written, arrows in my quiver as it were, so I can be prepared as the Seekers so gently urge us to be. But it's not worth sacrificing my health and welfare for. Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't problems, I've got them down to a science -- it's just every day living that gets in the way, as it does for all of us. Whatever, it's worth it. In the words of RUTHY (Where are you today?) writing is my gift to myself.
    Done for now, see you all tomorrow.

  86. I don't care what you say, by the end of this book, Matt will whisper wild-man poetry to Shannon AND make a daisy chain for her to wear in her hair on their wedding day! :)

  87. Melissa, I'll buy your book bc now I'll wonder why she needed stitches. Hope I don't have to wait too long lol.

    Mary, Annie said "you make it look easy." I totally agree with her. I'll have to post a description tonight after Bible study (if I can get the nerve to do so). Right now I'm off to take cokes to my farmer men who started harvesting our cotton today :))))

  88. Mary, thank you! You gave me some ideas for describing my characters. I get all caught up in literal physical descriptions. THANK YOU!

  89. MARY HICKS! You got your swag bag! I had such fun putting those together.

    I love those post it note blogs we got for the Match Made in Texas Novella. That's coming in January.

    I'm so immersed in the Trouble in Texas series and of course Book three is coming in JUNE that I haven't talked much about A Match Made in Texas Novella. But it is COMING.
    It may appear in some stores BEFORE Christmas, but just barely, so we can be sure it'll be in time for Christmas gifts.
    Amazon has a shipping date of Dec. 24th I think.

  90. Mary I am in love with Matt Tucker already. Your character is great. As per usual.

  91. I certainly could visualize him from your description... plus I've had some friends into Mountain Men re-enactors and black powder guns, etc....

  92. You crack me up! This post was awesome! I never knew so much work (or not work depending) went into creating characters! Thanks for sharing, and looking forward to more books from you!

  93. Thanks, Mary! You got what I was trying to do. I thought about explaining all that but knew readers would get it. Still, your comments made me happy. :-)

    Fun to describe everything and everyone through the POV character's eyes. Their experiences ofte distort what they see.


  94. KAYBEE, yes, this is a series.
    Layers of character creation.
    ONLY.....HERE'S THE THING.....

    I don't know what I'm doing.

    right now I can see maybe...four layers.

    I'm struggling to try and put into words how I create characters because I don't really have a process that I can put into words.

    So this is layer one
    Layer two...I'm going to do movements, gestures, maybe speech patterns, his accent, stuff like that how THAT all reveals his character and has to match the physical.
    Oh, that paragraph above is probably enough.
    Okay, I'm done with layer two. Forget it.

    I didn't say these were going to be LONG did I???

  95. KAYBEE, yes, this is a series.
    Layers of character creation.
    ONLY.....HERE'S THE THING.....

    I don't know what I'm doing.

    right now I can see maybe...four layers.

    I'm struggling to try and put into words how I create characters because I don't really have a process that I can put into words.

    So this is layer one
    Layer two...I'm going to do movements, gestures, maybe speech patterns, his accent, stuff that reveals his character and has to match the physical.

    Oh, that paragraph above is probably enough.

    Okay, I'm done with layer two. Forget it.

    I didn't say these were going to be LONG did I???

  96. Maybe I can stretch it out with examples........let's hope!

  97. Hi GirlyGirlHoosier You can probably picture exactly what I'm going for. You can put the image in your head right over top of my description and have a great image.

    Probably better than what I came up with on my own.

  98. Pat W, be not afraid.

    Well, except for RUTHY but she is strangely absent today.

    You KNOW she will have some lame excuse.....

    But I will protect you from her.

  99. Morning all I have to say I hate turkey but love amazon!
    I also have to say I Love the last cover best of all something about that guy I like. (am I bad?)

    Haven't the energy to read all the replies today (head still hurts) but I did get some sleep last night so thats a start.

    I am still to read book one and two but they are on my kindle and will get this one also.

  100. Sarah it's not work. It's pure fun.

    Work is when they make me STOP WRITING.

  101. JENNY I'm glad you stopped in to comment. I hope you're feeling better. It sounds like 'better' still isn't real good.

    God bless you. Take care of yourself.

  102. SANDRA LEESMITH! I'm in love with Tucker, too.
    He's funny.

    I'm having way too much fun with his personality.

  103. Mary Hicks, we now all have swag bag envy.

    If you say it real fast it sounds like something we should be inoculated for. : /

  104. Mary, you crack me up! And you're so humble :) Can't wait for the next posts in this series.

  105. Sigh!

    I just fell in love with Matt Tucker! Love a guy who can protect himself and the woman he loves.

    Wish I wrote cowboys. Well, maybe not. Mine wouldn't be nearly as much fun as yours, Mary. Or as manly.

    You are amazing.

    Ten knives...all razor sharp. Really? I'm smitten for sure.

  106. Donna, I can't tell you how much fun that swag bag was!!! I feel like I've already had Christmas!!

    Swag bag envy... hmmm, does sound catching.

  107. Mary I have decided better is all a matter of perspective I am better than I was Sunday (where I was had to leave church cos I was feeling so bad then felt so bad cos noone rang or called in to see if I was ok).
    I am still in pain. today the head is hurting more than yesterday but I can handle it. The other meds make me tired and light headed but I can handle that today also cos the sun is out!
    Also I know I have so many praying and can feel that. I see my dr in a couple of hours and think I will be changing the tablet to one that is a slow release which will help with the side effects. I know eventually we will get the dose that will stop the pain. I am not taking anymore aspirin cos it doesn't really help and it has side effects I dont need so no pain meds at all.
    I walked further this morning only about an extra 10 mins which was enough but I felt better doing it.
    I just need to be awake enough to read! but hey going to bed at 8pm I actually slept albeit a little disrupted for about 7 and a half hours haven't done that in ages.

    (I may have lied about the pain today it keeps striking out at me but i will deal with it) I would love to go see the dr and go I feel great today and I will one day.

  108. I just laughed until I cried over you raising up out of the basket like a hyptonized cobra!

    I love this idea of the physical reflecting the character. It reminded me that I need to show more about my hero/heroine from the opposite point of view. Also, I'm not so sure I have much description at all, so I need to go back and check that.

    This is from my heroine's POV, the first time she sees the hero:

    My astute self-control faltered for a second as I stepped into the church. I looked back briefly to see what I could see. And that just happened to be my dad pretending that his foot was stuck under the D’angiolini’s front tire. Then a blond head appeared out the window, sunglasses in place. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting – a top hat and walking stick? – but it certainly wasn’t this.

    (And "this" I need to go back and describe. I've just not quite figured out how I want to put it yet. He's British and he's a lawyer, so he's got the nice clothes, smooth way of speaking, etc...)

    Now the heroine from the hero's POV, the first time he really notices her:

    She grimaced when she saw him. That’s when he noticed the bags under her eyes. And her hair.
    Her hair.
    It was down. It draped across her shoulders and just kept going. Wet tendrils framed her face. Had he ever even looked at her face before? High cheekbones curved down to her chin which held the slightest dimple.

    This was such a fun post. Can't wait for the next one!

  109. I was over here twice today and twice got interrupted.....

    Mary, what a fun glimpse of these characters and this series!!!! I didn't think anything could top the Ruthy Series...

    That IS what it's called, correct?

    The Ruthy Series.

    I'm sure that's it.

    Anyway, this look at creating characters that jump/leap/growl their way off the page is so stinkin' fun!!!!!! Love it with a capital "L"!!!!

  110. I'm almost 6000 words into my NaNo novel and after reading your post, my characters are bland! It's a contemporary cowboy/city girl romance, so maybe having a guy looking like a yeti wouldn't be appropriate, so I'm going to have to build layers beyond his rugged good looks. Hurry up with the next installment! Please.

  111. He sounds like a great character! I get a good idea what he's like from the description.

  112. You make this sounds so easy but I am sure it wouldn't work for me. I could never be a writer but I do love authors so much. They take me away for the world for a while. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

  113. Mary Connealy said...
    PAGE THREE and that's the closest I've come to a physical description of Kylie. There's loads in there about her state of mine but no physical description and you'll note in that one sentence, no reference to color or much else.


    MARY, one time, one of my beta readers pointed out that I had written half a chapter in the heroine's POV and I still hadn't described the hero. So ... I asked the beta reader what she thought the hero looked like. She told me, and except for his height (she had him taller) she described the way I had imagined him. Still not sure how that happened ... but I told her she obviously had an image of him, so why did I need to describe him.

    And then I went back to that chapter half and described the hero.

    Nancy C

  114. P.S. I love the name Kylie Wilde ... her name gives me a really good idea of what to expect.

    Nancy C

  115. Mary, I love this guy already! LOVE HIM.

    And now I've got to measure my WIP hero against him. Hmmm, have more work to do!

    Gee thanks.


  116. Mary, I love this guy already! LOVE HIM.

    And now I've got to measure my WIP hero against him. Hmmm, have more work to do!

    Gee thanks.


  117. HI VICTORIA well, I'm the first Monday of every month so I'll be doing a new Character Layer each month until either I get it all done or someone pulls the plug.

  118. Oh, got so caught up in Matt that I forgot to mention my hero. :)

    A handsome charmer, a flirt who has left a wake of broken hearts behind. We're talking commitment-phobe.

    Heroine, his nerdy best friend who has watched him leave that trail of girls behind while she had a terrible crush on him for years.

  119. JAN you've done 6000 for Nano already???!!! Wow, you go girl! Keep up the good work.

    I'd say I'm at 4500. I've done about a thousand a day until today when I stepped it up to 1500 and hope to keep it at that pace for the rest of the month...unless I don't.

    Shadow Nano

    no wait SLACKER Nano SLANO
    Shadow Slacker Nano

    Oh forget it, by the time I get it named........November will be over!

  120. Well, Quilt Lady, I don't know if easy is really the right word because if it was EASY I'd be able to explain it wouldn't I???????

  121. Missy, I definitely think you're missing an opportunity here. You're characters all need to have knives up their sleeves and a powder horn across their chests.

    I hadn't put my finger on the problem before. But now I know that's that tiny element that's been missing from your work.

    Glad I could help.

  122. Oh, Missy, I love this story already. But your nerdy heroine needs to CRUSH HIM LIKE A BUG!

    But then that's my solution to everything isn't it. Sorry.

  123. Oh man, Mary! I wish I'd been able to get in on the fun earlier. Look at all the comments I have to wade through!!

    Great character, great hero. I can't wait to see how Matt shapes up. I love him already...much like every other Connealy hero!!!

    Animal white teeth.
    I love it.
    No pearly whites here.

    Can't wait for the next installment!!!

  124. LOL, Mary!! I'm afraid Emily's eyes would bug out if I sent her a hero with knives up his sleeve! :) :)

    Yes, I'll have my heroine CRUSH HIM in her own, subtle way. It may involve making him a little jealous. hehehe (hands rub together gleefully)

  125. Okay, I'm late to the party, but making a go of this.

    Hero from heroine POV:
    She opened her eyes and stared at the tall form above her, with tousled dark brown hair, an arrogant, aristocratic nose, and eyes the color of fog over the ocean. Not quite gray but not quite blue, and just mysterious enough one might stare into them a bit too long, trying to understand—
    “A woman like her isn’t not going to know any English,” the dunce atop her proclaimed. “Lord Westerfield is right.”
    Lord Westerfield? She nearly groaned, would have if she had the ability to breathe.
    She moved her gaze between the two men standing above her, their patrician noses and arrogant bearings suddenly more than mere circumstance. As if finding regular Englishmen hiding in the woods wasn’t trouble enough. She’d somehow stumbled into a nest of aristocrats.
    Just her luck.

    Heroine from hero POV:
    Gregory had never seen anything more astounding. One moment the woman was lying docilely beneath Farnsworth’s hold, and the next she’d reversed their positions, flipping his valet to the ground and sitting atop him, a knife pressed to his throat.
    He took a step closer to the woman, but her grip on the knife only tightened and her lips pressed into a thin white line. A flicker of fear kindled in his chest. How was he suppose to get her off of Farnsworth if she wouldn’t even let him approach? . . .
    The woman was trouble, plain as day, with all that thick black hair ready to tumble from beneath her mobcap, those sharp blue eyes, quick reflexes . . .
    And the blade.

    Okay, that does it. :-)

  126. Hey, Audra sweetie. There are a lot of fun comments. Yes, read everyone.

    Unless you have a book to write or something!!!!!!!!!!

  127. Jealousy can be quite crushing, Missy.

    I prefer a CAST IRON SKILLET but you can make jealousy work, I'm sure!

  128. Actually, I just realized that with a first meet that involves wrestling in the mud and my heroine holding a knife to my hero's servant's throat, it sounds like I'm writing a Connealy book.

    Mary, have you ever introduced your characters at knife point before? Now I'm curious. ;-)

  129. Mary! I want to read it now - as in before I go to bed tonight. This is do not fair!!! LOL

    It sounds great.

  130. The hero for my new story for Nano is Woody.
    He's tall (I'm 5'10" so all my heroes are over 6' tall.)
    He's a lawyer who's trying to start a non-profit program to help recovering drug addicts.
    He's got a good sense of humor, but he has a dark secret at his core.
    He also likes to play guitar and has a deep voice.
    That's all for now. I'm still getting to know him.

    Thanks for sharing Mary!

  131. Naomi....knife point? Knife point?


    Hero over a cliff...flash flood

    children snake in draw, skirt falls of in front of hero...

    hero adopts children leaves heroine alone in blizzard

    Hero buries heroine's husband marries her standing on husband's freshly filled in grave

    Heroine buried third worthless husband while swearing to never marry again.

    Hero charging to heroine's rescue while her indian village is being massacred

    Runaway stagecoach

    Heroine shot off her horse and falls over a cliff

    Hero climbs cliff and grabs heroine's children and rifle and takes them ... she can follow or not...she does

    Hero rescues heroine from cavern

    Hero finds lost baby in cavern

    Heroine shootout with stagecoach robbers

    Gun drawn on hero--he's being framed for robbery


    Nope, no knife

    I've skipped a few shorter books but no knives there I can think of either.

  132. Knife point sounds good. I think I'm missing a good bet there, Naomi. Nice idea! Thanks

    Shorter books

    Runaway buffalo

    Man shopping down tree (hey, it was a Heartsong and they wrestled!)

    Angry ex-husband comes back yelling.

    Mouse frightens heroine and she leaps into hero's arms.

    Car crashes through wall, hero leaps on heroine and saves her.

    Dead body falls out of cupboard.

    Building is blown up by demon possessed serial killer (that one's kinda a surprise isn't it!) LOL

  133. Terri, it's only half done and trust me.......full of typos. You do NOT want to read it now.

  134. Naomi I love the descriptions. And I LOVE the moment she realizes they're ARISTOCRATS. LOL

    And she's TOUGH too. I always like a tough heroine. You know that!

  135. Mary! This new series sounds awesome! I'm ready to meet the mountain man now because let me just say...I love your hero men. Your books wouldn't be the same without your nasty men...but the heros definitely make the heart pitter patter. I love the strong, wild ones, too :). This late at night and after a long day of teaching, consoling, and diaper changing...that's about all I've got. : ) Thanks for the mental candy. I'd love to be in the drawing!

  136. Hi Stacey Glad I could give you some fun at the end of what sounds like a long busy day.

  137. Amaryllis, you want me to what? Wait a year before I meet the wild mountain man? I love him already! All your characters are memorable! I am the one that should be sending you thank you'd for how you have enriched my life through your novels! THANK YOU!!!


  138. Hi Mary. I love your westerns. Sounds like you girls here have a lot of fun. And, I'm sure you learn a lot too about writing. GOD bless you.
    Maxie Anderson mac262(at)me(dot)com

  139. That was so much fun to read through thank you.

  140. My MC is a counsellor who despises secrets--sees daily what they do to the psyche of a person. Yet he holds tight to his own secret like a box of dynamite. Because it could blow up his world.

    Thanks for the prize giveaway!

  141. It was rather fun to write, Mary. :-) Thanks for your thoughts! And I feel kind of special. I mean, I'd have thought you'd use the knife idea already. You're rather an expert at opening books that-a-way. :-)

  142. Love this Mary (love all your heroes, actually!) My snippet comes from Wild Mint Tea: A Farm Fresh Romance (releasing in March). My heroine is applying for a contract to cook for a tree-planting crew.

    Who had she expected to see? Not a guy of about thirty, his slightly messy brown hair longer than her own, with a hint of stubble on his cheeks and chin.

    He looked up and his brown eyes widened.

    He had no right to be this cute.

    "I'm Noel Kenzie." He got to his feet behind the folding table and reached his hand across to shake hers, giving her a good view of a tan t-shirt stretched across a muscular chest and covering the top of a pair of faded blue jeans. A lethal combination.

    Better keep some distance from this one.

  143. Argh! I always miss Seekerville on the best days!!! Sorry I missed your day, Mary. I bet it was really fun. :-(

  144. Late to the pawty here, Mary. So glad I stopped by though.

    Obviously, we adore your characters and the more outrageous-but-makes-sense, the more memorable, right? I mean Abby on NCIS? Hello?

    Cracked me up that the way he goes shopping is to shoot someone, I mean, a deer. LOL! Perfect!

    I'm so happy to hear you're still a pantster. I'm working on being a hybrid and TRYING to do some plotting, but I get so far, then I revert to my "wild" self. ;)

    No *gasp* current WIP, as I'm focused on marketing book 3 (and 1&2).

    Looking forward to more of the series - don't stop!!!

  145. MARY!!! Sorry I'm late to the party, but YOWZA, what a party!!!

    Fun, FUN topic, but then you could make the obits fun, so no surprise there. :)


  146. VALERIE not sure if you'll even check back but I loved your description, all of it. I really got a strong visual.

    his slightly messy brown hair longer than her own, with a hint of stubble on his cheeks and chin.

    Loved all of it but this part, the stubble, the longish hair, sort of Keith Urban thing going on. At least in my head. Excellent.

  147. Hi Maxie! Thanks for stopping in!!!

  148. KC it's okay to revert to seat of the pants. I think even plotters have to so some WILD writing, if we can just get them to ADMIT IT!!!!!

  149. Mary your upcoming books sound great. I haven't even read your last series yet, but they are in TBR pile. Please enter me for the gift card thanks.

    sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

  150. I've always enjoyed your books, Mary. They are great books and you are a wonderful author. I'm thankful for Seekerville for the wonderful authors, postings and giveaways that you bring to the readers. Thank you for the chance to enter this giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

  151. Mary, always a joy to sit at the feet of the master storyteller. :) It's always fun to learn how different author's create their characters.

  152. Your next series sounds so exciting. I am anxiously awaiting your next book "Stuck Together" as well. I don't know if I can wait till June. Are you sure it can't come out sooner? :)

  153. Too funny. And helpful. Thanks for the great article. Enjoying your book you gave out at RWA this year.

  154. I love it, Mary. And Matt Tucker sounds like an awesome hero. :)

  155. Fun topic! I see some areas that I need to tighten in my WIP. Thanks for sharing and giving me the heads-up! :)

  156. Thanks for the great post! I love the name Masterson!!

    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  157. I was having Julie Lessman has a good giveaway going on too... I would love to win this one , that means I could buy your books and julies !
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books