Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face


I’ve grown accustomed to her face.

 

Believe or not, most guys focus on the face when first meeting the heroine.

Fear not, my dear heroine, you need not complain that you were given your father’s nose or your great ant’s chin. Believe in your self and your inner believes will light up that face. It doesn’t matter what age the heroine is or how cute her face is once he notices her twinkling eyes, happy smile and loving personality. He’ll soon be hooked. Good as gutted and flayed.

Most men have preconceptions of what is an attractive face. They may be searching for someone with the looks of Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry or a Sandra Bullock. But, when an objectively* ordinary face is lit up by the soul all those preconceptions melt away. *Static beauty is very similar to objective beauty. Both are appropriate for a museum but a girl’s heart is what makes her face come alive.

Guys ain’t perfect, however. Men also happen to notice the figure. But again a figure in movement beats any static photoshoot. A good figure is fine, but the way the heroine walks or her body language speaks tell a man so much more. None of us can transcend physical attraction because that’s part of the universe’s plan for evolving, so the heroine may have her father’s nose, as long as it isn’t Pinocchio’s proboscis.

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face, sung by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, 1964.


 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Selling a novel without using words


Selling a novel without using words. Okay, Bob has finally gone nuts. But, here’s my point. All the writing books tell us to write with clarity. Use the who, what, where, why, how, when wherever you can and make sure to add in the senses, even paranormal ones. Don’t forget emotions, etc. But that’s not enough. Most writers know enough to get to the truth of their characters’ essence, by trying to remove their own motivations and replace it with as honest a portrayal of another person as one can. Most authors don’t want their audience to say they can sense the author’s point of view, because it may take the reader out of the story. Subtle or not, this is author intrusion.

However, there’s one place where it is usually necessary for the author to “intrude.” It’s his story and it is very likely he has a point or a theme that he wants his audience to feel, not hear very loud and clear. Otherwise, the author would be accused of being heavy handed. To me, Michael Crichton was heavy handed in his 2004 novel, State of Fear, about eco-terrorists. Perhaps I found the concept absurd because I believe in environmental issues. I enjoyed the story but couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.

I think the best way of handling these problems is to keep your theme under your hat, write honest characters and write a damn good story. I compare this approach to weaving a musical composition through your work of fiction. It can be a symphony or a minor composition, but it must be wordless. How? Let your characters and their plights come alive in your readers’ mind. Do this and the inner harmonies of your story will be unforgettable.

I was only going to play for you Track 10 of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), a true symphony within the Oscar winning music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, but I realize that if you have not seen this spectacular and beyond romantic movie you wouldn’t quite get it. So, I’m also including the cute, funny and unforgettable theme of Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther 1963, gorgeous music by Henri Mancini.


Would’st thou need words to paint this rose?


No words here either, just a pink rose and a silly panther (that my girls loved).

http://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=OIP.Mcbdda703812723babace4d32a1245caeo0&w=300&h=225&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0&r=0

http://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=OIP.Mb5ebfa1de1ab0a6459046ac711ffa80ao0&w=294&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0&r=0

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Parting Shot


After I got an idea for today’s blog, I resolved to continue the blog for 2017. Previously I mostly wrote about strategies for writing romance while using the male point of view. I may from time to time find another strategic idea, but now is the time for tactics. Tactics can be described as small things (that make the story).

 

Have you ever finished a conversation and started to walk away? The person you were talking with says something. You have to decide whether to turn around, come back and address it or to keep walking. Let’s complicate this. Suppose the parting shot is something sexual or something suggesting love, perhaps an invitation. Simultaneously you knew what they said but you couldn’t believe your own ears.

It is probable the person who spoke the come-on was boldly responding to your remark about needing to recharge yourself with, “I can recharge you.” The hero or heroine was afraid to say it to his/her opposite, face-to-face. Or, "I love you." Did the hero or heroine hear right? We all fear rejection, more or less. Some are bolder than others. They want you and/or your love and they rationalize that the direct approach will elicit a direct but polite rejection. They leave you with a nearly subliminal snippet, leading you to play it over-and-over.
Taking it a step further: After hearing the parting remark, you think he/she’s not really your type or maybe they could be and you haven't until that moment figured it out. Should you say something or pretend you didn’t hear it, the next time you meet? Who knows it might lead to love. Without the surreptitious remark you would have never had a clue.
Call this a cute communication instead of a cute meet, although you may be meeting the person for the first time as more than an acquaintance.

This idea is not a chapter or a plot, it’s just a scene in which the protagonist struggles. It could go either way, that is, whether the guy or gal has something to say when the opposite walks away. It can also lead to a deepening of character(s). It certainly is a technique or tactic the author can use.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wings by Christmas


This is the revised edition of a heart-warming short story:

WINGS BY CHRISTMAS

Apparently, everybody wants to get their cars fixed before Christmas, but could anything or anybody fix my broken life?

Ruth found herself without car, not much food, unemployment running out, and soon—no home. But none of that mattered when she thought about losing her only daughter.

Her precious Tina was sick, very sick. Ruth put six birthday candles into a raisin bagel.

“I’m not hungry, Mommy. You can eat it.”

“But honey, you have to eat and make a wish.”

After the dinner, dessert, birthday party combo they watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth time. What was it about little people watching movies over and over?

“How does an angel get to pick the person they want to help? To get wings.”

“I don’t know, maybe it’s somebody they knew or feel close to.”

“I’m going to die on Christmas Eve, so I can give you a present. I’m going to ask God if I can get my wings by helping you find a new daddy.”

Ruth turned her head away so her little girl wouldn’t see the impending flood. After she had learned Tina was dying of Leukemia, she ran through her savings grasping at half-baked dreams. All the accepted treatments had failed. Please God, save my little girl.

“Honey, the best way to help me is to stay with me.”

Tina stomped her foot, stubborn like her dad used to be. “You need a daddy. I’m going to get you one for sure when I get to heaven.”

“I bet you won’t have to go to heaven to get me one. I’m still pretty, right?”

“You are the most beautiful mommy in the whole world, ever.”

Ruth staggered through her words sobbing. “Well then, I’ll just take my pretty and go find a husband for me and a daddy for you.”

Was Winston, her daughter’s father, her husband a spirit up there now?

 

Doctor Max Fielding, head of research at CHOP, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, picked up the phone. “Hello.”

“Doctor Fielding?”

“Yes, sir.”

“This is Angel Winston. I need to get my wings. You’ve got an experimental Leukemia program. I’d like you to consider Ruth Trent’s daughter, Tina, of Philadelphia.”

“Your connection is weird, Angel.” It sounded like Angel was in the middle of a hurricane. “You mentioned wings, are you with the Air Force?”

“Never mind that now. Ruth lost her plant manager’s job. Lost her husband in Afghanistan. Her home is almost foreclosed. She’s taking leftovers from bakeries. Her car needs a new head gasket. And her daughter has chosen Christmas Eve to die. She’s stubborn.”

“Well, a number of things …”

“Yes, I know the 40 volunteers are confidential.”

“I have a heart, Angel, but we can’t be having this conversation.”

“Just check case number 17.”

“You are out of line. Who do you report to?”

“The guy on top. I take my orders from him.”

“Listen, sir. We must maintain hands-off fairness. I have to go.”

“I’ll send you their pictures and info. Take a look at her mother, ah, I mean the file.”

How did this person got his email?

Max’s cellphone chirped signifying texts:

My boss is all over me on this one.

This will change your entire life, promise.

Besides, there’s my wings to consider.

He must have been dealing with a madman. Still…

He picked up his phone and got his secretary. “Jamie, could you check number 17?”

His secretary reported 17 as just admitted to Saint Jude’s in fair condition.

Later, Jamie buzzed him. “Doctor, number 17 died 33 minutes ago. I am so sorry.”

“I know, a little boy, four years old. God awful. I’ll make the call, but I want you to run the lottery from the pool for a new volunteer, immediately.” He would never interfere with a blind and fair system, no matter how many Angel what-his-names called him.

More texts and emails came in. Max inspected them one by one, read all the very compelling info and then staggered when he saw a full-page image of the little girl’s mom, Ruth. He relaxed, now euphoric in reflection. Sweat on his fingers. This gorgeous woman used to go to the same gym. The most fantastic creature he had ever seen in his life. When they first met, she had to hold onto the weight bar to maintain balance and he would have caught her. She had exhibited signs of dizziness buit quickly recovered. This twisted his heart with the odd implication someone actually found him desirable without knowing he was a doctor. In fact, her physical manifestation of attraction had never been exhibited by any woman, ever, in his life. His looks were just okay, which made the incident surreal. Something incredible had happened between them, because, although he hadn’t lost his balance he felt like screaming yes.

Her empathetic heart, sweet disposition, overwhelming smile and their obvious mutual attraction had made them fast friends. He nicknamed her, Sunshine, to match her hair and life nurturing nature. The prospect of finding a cure for leukemia kept him in the lab, mostly. Then she disappeared by quitting the gym.

A new text came in: Ruth’s been eating too many donuts, lately.

Would this guy ever quit? He had to allow the lottery to proceed.

Jamie buzzed him. “The new and local volunteer is on your screen, doctor.”

“Thanks, Jamie, I’ll take care of the call. This time there is no time for me to wait for a nurse. Prepare the paperwork, shots, extraction-pac, and cross-matched RBC for transport.”

The secret lay in infusing the child with cancer killing T-cells. The patient might exhibit AIDS-like side effects. The mother needed to give consent.

It was no small miracle that Ruth Trent’s child, Tina, had now been chosen and they were close, living just off 54th and City Line. Considering how much he was excited to tell her in person, Max knocked his knee jumping up. His chair spun. Unfazed, he sprinted for his coat.

Just 33 minutes later, despite snow flurries, he pulled up to an old three story Victorian badly in need of repairs. The place loomed, perfect for Halloween, but, hopefully, without a scary ending.

 

Ruth had tried on her man-catching outfit when the doorbell rang.

“Oh my God, it’s you.” Max had always been polite, giving her space. She never gave him her address, email or phone. Perplexed. She smiled broadly while delivering a prickly line. “Well come on in, stranger. You haven’t turned into a stalker, Max? Have you?”

“No, not ever, Sunshine. I’m here to deliver a little good news.”

A little duplicate of her mother came running down the stairs.

“Are you my new daddy I’ve been praying for?” She shook his hand while nodding her head seeking a yes answer. He squatted for an eye-to-eye.

“Maybe, sweetheart.”

Aside from being stunned by his remark, Ruth really never knew who had the worst case of infatuation. She wrote off his remark as an effort to placate her daughter.

It worked out great, bagels and coffee, quite chic, if he only knew, that’s about all she had in the house. He explained that he was a doctor, his position at CHOP, and the experimental trials. She gladly signed every paper he slid over to her.

“So by some minor miracle the completely blind lottery picked you, Tina, to hopefully get well. I know nobody likes needles and shots but I’ve got little medical miracles inside this bag and brand new blood too. Would you like to see what I’ve got in here?”

“I’ll take the needles and blood, Doctor, if you’ll marry my mommy.”

“One miracle at a time, baby,” Max said. He looked into Ruth’s eyes, as if searching for a yes. Sure they had chemistry, like never in his life, but a life together?

He chatted up Tina with whimsical stories to divert her mind from the needles.

Entranced and unflinching, Tina sad, “So maybe I won’t have to die on Christmas Eve. Doctor, will you stay with us, on Christmas Eve, so I don’t kick the buckets? You see, I made a promise to my daddy that I would help him get his wings, starting that day.”

“I’ll be there.” A tear fell from Max’s eye. “If your mom says it’s okay.”

What could she say? She’d dare dream for her baby. Maybe he was miracle number two.

“I love your outfit, Sunshine. I’ve missed you like you would not believe.”

“Me too. You still make me giddy.” The first time she met Max, she had to grab hold of the weights rack being light-headed. It had been a sign and she screwed it up, until now.

“It’s a good start.” He said his goodbyes with hugs, and kisses on their cheeks.

Three solid weeks of stolen minutes and hours from his work brought them closer.

 

On Christmas Eve, the three of them decided to hang bells Max had bought. It was fun and with the initial medical results encouraging, appropriate. He had never had a better Guinea piggy. Her progress might break every record.

“It’s encouraging but she’s not out of the woods yet.”

Ruth, staggered by hope, wept.

Max gathered the girl and woman into a group hug. He had an instant family. Thanks to Ruth’s deceased husband, Max’s life would change forever. If only he could convince a certain someone that her angel husband, Winston, his mystery caller, believed they belonged together.

Tina tucked in and sleeping, Max casually maneuvered Ruth under the mistletoe.

“As your child’s doctor, don’t you think I deserve a kiss?” He pointed up.

“Well, I guess, it’s the least I could do.” He stared down into her wide-eyed blues, wistful smile, read her excitement, and knew she was his.

He kissed her, sweetly. What sounded like a crescendo of chapel bells rang in his head.

“Did you make the bells ring?” She tiptoed into another kiss.

They weren’t close enough to the tree to jostle the bells.

“I think, Winston, got his wings.” He wrapped her more tightly into his arms. “Would you consider marrying me? I mean if…”

She shut him up with another deeper kiss, promising everything.

With a beaming smile and breathless voice, she said, “Maybe.”

Sunday, December 11, 2016

“I’m available.”


Many men don’t stop to ask for directions.

Many women wait for a man to show interest or approach. Some wait forever for their mister forever.

Most men fear rejection, so they won’t say boo to someone they’re interested in. They sweated it in a corner, telling themselves all the reasons why she will run away screaming. Not your alpha heroes, right? Well, maybe the alpha hero is busy saving the world or expects a woman to approach him. He can wait a long time. Alpha heroes typically have a skill set built by dedication to one purpose. This type can be all thumbs and no words (of hello). What about the famous, the hero may remain shallow being fed regularly, but how will they know when it is time to settle down?

The answer to many of these problems is simple. The woman has to say something like, “I’m available.” Asking where they work, what they’re favorite color is, their sports team, beer, anything. All this, won’t cut it. Many men need direction (and won’t ask for it).

Telling them something direct will flatter their ego and let them know they’re appreciated. A man wants to know he will make somebody happy, and it’s a start. He’ll look at the woman with new eyes.

But, you say, your heroine is shy. Yes, and alone. She can try something demure like, “I want to jump your bones,” LOL. OR, try something like, "are you feeling what I’m feeling?" Let's tone this down. How about, "I like you." If she cannot speak, she’ll need a mentor on her fictional journey, because a smile won’t cut it. Smiles are pleasantries; refer back to the hero being rejected.

You can structure your cute meet anyway you like, but meeting has always been the point. That’s why the cute meet is something funny or dramatic. It bonds them, drives them crazy, or creates instant animus.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Men, women and dance


Men and women look at dance and dancing differently. On this subject, there is plenty of variation, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Just be aware of these male tendencies when writing your hero.

1. Generally, at a dance, men will wait until the dance floor is full so that they won’t look like fools or they’ll blend in when enough men have joined the floor. The women will dance with each other, get things started and form the majority of dancers, at least in the beginning. There are cultural variations here (as in Greece).

2. Women will be attracted to men who dance, but will dance with anyone (if their toes are spared).

3. Men will be attracted to good-looking women.

4. Women dance for enjoyment more than men do.

5. Men dance with women with the hope of ‘more.’

6. Men see dance as a prelude to sex. Scientists see dance as an artsy way of mimicking sex, showing off one’s fertility.

7. Women see dance as a means to love or to fall in love, although men aren’t above being affected by the dance.

8. Both sexes see dance as a way of expressing their health, rhythm, balance, suppleness, speed, an ability to predict and react to the movements of their partners, and showing style. Of course, all this harkens back to the original dance outside the cave by the camp’s fire in which fertility was equated with all those physical abilities.

9. Women could have danced all night.

10. The men, at some point, would rather get under the covers with their partner. Of course, all this suggestive activity produces pheromones and this will lead to euphoria.

As I said in the beginning, dancing means different things, on a case-by-case basis, but it is likely the writer will want to know why the hero or heroine dances.
I Could Have Danced All Night, My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn, 1964

https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9dVq0RYOhEA7Jb7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTEwc3RqM203BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVklEQzEEZ3BvcwM1?p=1+could+have+danced+all+night+audrey+hepburn&vid=2be61295cb3f3f527cdaec9e49824841&turl=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOVP.V8a45f8fe835e7ab257c7d85b1b205d61%26pid%3D15.1%26h%3D123%26w%3D300%26c%3D7%26rs%3D1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DG0p8MDeZpXk&tit=Audrey+Hepburn+-+My+Fair+Lady+%281964%29+-+I+Could+Have+Danced+All+Night&c=4&h=123&w=300&l=269&sigr=11bt1dmm5&sigt=1248mvm9j&sigi=1320tm4n0&age=1470308846&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=yfp-t&tt=b

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Virtual Boyfriend


Romance roadblock: Japanese women prefer virtual boyfriends to real-life men
Dear blog readers, I’ve just about ran out of ideas for the male point of view in romance fiction, so I poked around the internet and found the below. It might be used to inspire a fresh romance idea for a book. Enjoy.
Below is the Honey article.
“Love on demand: Women in Japan are increasingly ditching real-life men in favour of virtual boyfriends found on romance gaming apps.
After breaking up with her boyfriend at age 22, Tokyo resident Ayumi Saito discovered a romance game called Metro PD: Close To You. And she says the game's male lead filled the "lonely" void in her heart.
"When I was tired at the end of the day, before going to sleep, I was so relieved to hear his sweet and gentle words," Ayumi, now 31, told CNN. "Japanese men are shy and not good at flattering women. But girls want to hear 'I love you'."
The $130-million romance gaming industry is booming in Japan. In a country where nearly half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 are virgins, it seemingly helps them tap into intimacy they're not otherwise receiving.
"These romance games make me feel I want to be in love with someone," a 26-year-old woman named Yuirka told CNN. "The boys in these games have something lacking in the real life boys -- they are so sweet."
The games tend to feature a female heroine who meets a slew of potential suitors on her life journey.
[Read more at http://honey.nine.com.au/2016/11/22/14/56/japanese-women-romance-gaming#S5uzsbrbS1LAokhd.99]
"The strong and selfish men are the most popular," head of Voltage games, Nigahi Higashi, told CNN. "The most popular characters are strong on the outside and only sometimes sweet for you."
(Voltage tweaks their formula for North America audiences, where they say women prefer a "macho man, both mentally and physically".)
While some may say the gaming obsession is preventing Japanese women from finding off-screen romances, a recent government survey found that 40 percent of all singles in their 20s and 30s (men and women) aren't actually interested in having a flesh-and-blood romantic partner.
"[Women] dream of a guy who is handsome, controlling, and unreasonably in love with [them]," Marcos Daniel Arroyo, a software engineer at Cheritz games, told Vogue. "[The games provide] the fantasy of a relationship that cannot occur so easily in real life."
Read more at http://honey.nine.com.au/2016/11/22/14/56/japanese-women-romance-gaming#S5uzsbrbS1LAokhd.99