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, March 26, 2017

The Kiss

Prostitutes will say to their johns, “No kisses.” If they explain, it goes something like it is too intimate. Apparently kisses are more intimate than making love, and not just for prostitutes.
I have read too many romances that go something like this:
They met in Macy’s. Between intimate apparel and men’s socks, he jammed his tongue down her throat. Later when they went on their first date. They exchanged tongues. Now that’s progress. Later when they are an item, their tongues wrestled and the all important spit was exchanged.
Give me a break.
Kisses can have arcs too and different meanings.
There’s the polite, how-are-you kiss on the cheek. No not that cheek, although that would be funny.
There’s the short peck on the lips, saying later or love ya, but I have to go to Macy’s and meet someone else who likes French kissing.
There’s what the kids do, suck face. What the hell is that?
There’s the tender, loving, lingering kiss, lips slightly parted as if to invite more French kissing. Ain’t necessarily so. Sweetness is such a tremendous and total reward and coincidentally, a turn on. The couple need nothing more. They say “I’m crazy about you” with their lips.
Do vary your lip reading.
The Kiss, 1896 was one of the first films ever shown commercially to the public. The film is around 18 seconds long, and depicts a re-enactment of the kiss between May Irwin and John Rice from the final scene of the stage musical, The Widow Jones.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Ninety Percent Solution

Beauty said to Beast on their twentieth anniversary, “When I first met you, you were a beast. Now, you’re a monster.”
There are many studies on this issue. I’ll use the most inflammatory. 90% of couples don’t like each other, because I want to make a point about writing romance.
In a romance novel, both hero and heroine must be precocious enough to figure out why this won’t happen to them. Why? Because your audience wants that happily ever after to really be happily ever after and even after that. The characters both need moments in their arc to say, act or think why they want to marry each other.
We know physical attraction or chemistry isn’t enough, because time changes the body.
We know similar interests isn’t enough, because people grow or change.
IMO, your hero and heroine most also be so decvoted to the idea of service. “I want to make Susie happy and it will be my life’s goal to make her feel special every day of her life.” What can I do for her next? What can I say to her next? It’s my belief that you have to dig deeply to find out what makes them feel that way. Qwhat in their background and nature makes them commit to their mate as if a zealot. Thoughts? La Vie en Rose.
The hero and heroine just get that they are as perfect for each other as could possibly be. They thank God or the universe for they’re great fortune.
La Vie en Rose, Edith Pief, 1946.;_ylt=A2KIo9jh6M5YZCkAU9P7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBzYmZpbnA0BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMjU-?p=la+vie+en+rose+edith+piaf&vid=56a4a1946e2a77757394b38c84768336&

English lyrics by Mack David

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
I thought that love was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong, and love is real
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Frank talk from a southern lady

"I would love to spend this time with you, so I definitely accept… so easily said, but I need to remind you of two things," Raven said, leading into confession number two. "One, I've only been with one person, I want you to keep that in your mind. The second thing is that my last boyfriend, my ex that I was intimate with, never made me orgasm."
A 25 year old Arkansas woman reveals to her prospective husband on national TV that she has never had an orgasm before. Not kidding. You can’t make this stuff (dialogue) up. Well, you can, you’re a writer, but would you want to? Do the words seem contrived? Are southern women way different than the way most people see them? Are we, as writers, missing things because of our own habits and education, both of which are too often frozen in a time warp. I don’t know, but I can give you two insights.
1. ABC’s The Bachelor tells their contestants that if they say something inappropriate they will be bleeped (so be yourself). This may have emboldened Raven to speak from her heart. The problem for Raven (if she thinks it's a problem) is that ABC decides what’s bleeped.
2. Raven might have been getting back at her ex-boyfriend. She seems like an intelligent, funny, frank and sweet gal. So, no I don’t think so. You decide.
Our characters are memorable because of the way they act, say and think, so reality check aside, how much does our readers yearn to turn the page?
Watch and listen, it may be a orgasmic idea. Writing hit novels is like achieving an...over and over again.
Below are two videos in which she reveals her secrets.

Confession 1: Raven professes her first time love.

Confession 2: Raven reveals a very private secret to Nick.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

La La Land

La La Land

When I say this is one of the best movies ever, it just means I’m not ready to let go of Casablanca. Oddly, both have the same theme.

For the purists in the crowd I hear it’s not a romance, i.e. possessing a happily-ever-odesafter. Yet both movies are the most romantic odes you’ll ever see.

La La Land is the perfect title.

Los Angeles: 4

La La, crazy, fantastic (as in fantasy), destroyer of dreams, you ain’t going to get what you want, baby: 4

Creative types from all over the world descend on LA hoping to land it big. Their chances are slim. They end up serving tables, not a bad living. They end up falling in love and herein lies the conflict at the base of both movies. In Casablanca, this love doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. And where our hero and heroine can’t go, we can. In fact, a book follow up showed Rick and Ilsa getting together (As Time Goes By written by Michael Walsh, 1999 published by Warner Brothers).

In La La Land, our hero and heroine of tremendous talent confront the problems between choosing each other and the success the talents God gave them deserve.

We writers often talk about the interior struggle. What’s in the hearts of our heroes and heroines? Rick and Ilsa & Mia and Sebastian very much love each other and they always will. Very much is an understatement. Their hearts rend at the same time two smiles appears. This conflict fills us as readers, watchers with a twisted joy. Humans have a rich fantasy life and who’s to say if their innermost dreams can’t come true.

For romance writers: See this damn movie or don’t talk to me anymore. And then talk to me of true love.


Trailer for La La Land, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Shape of You

Good by half

This is about writing, it always is, but first an observation that will lead into the subject.

I’m in Church this morning and the priest is talking about all the hatred we have seen since the election. He mentioned violence but that doesn’t tip his hand. There are always at least two sides to the story. You can protest an administration (negative) or stand up for someone’s diminished rights (positive). Alternatively, you could want change and hopefully for the better. We all want change for the better, assuming the status quo needs tweaking.

Yesterday, James Scott Bell spoke at our RWASD meeting. He sold a skinny book about writing your book from the middle (Write Your Novel From the Middle). Skinny, because the beginning and ending were missing, LOL. I thoroughly enjoyed his insights and bought the book.

He said in the middle of a three act structure should lie a look in the mirror moment (not necessarily literally) in which the main character reflects on who he is. He knows if he doesn’t change in some way he will die, either physically or by losing everything he values. This can send the journey and the character in a negative or positive direction. This reflection need not have a statement of resolve, but the reader should see that the character either is considering— consciously or subconsciously— change. Stay tuned. Perhaps he’ll make it.

Primarily, Professor Bell didn’t use romance examples. He didn’t just present comedies. However, I say writing is writing, that in every novel tragedy strikes in one form or another. It is best to know the three act structure as presented by Aristotle, thoroughly. The clown can fall on his ass in a comedy and who will kiss his boo-boo? Could Professor Bell tailor his examples to the audience he’s speaking to? Sure, if he has the time, but I say a liberal arts education or in this case, an education, which compares and contrasts genres and types of writing, is more valuable because it opens your eyes.  It may give you new tools or a fresh take. I see that all story writing is the same. The protagonist is on an internal and/or external journey in which he and/or his environment changes.

Some of my colleagues said that everybody already knew this technique. I didn’t, but then I thought through my novels. All of them had a mirror moment. Some colleagues I talked to had a complete revelation from his lecture. They were going back to the drawing board to do something…Like take a mirror moment out of act 1, for instance.

All this reminded me of a psychology lecture on human proficiency.

Your character is:

1. An unconscious incompetent,

2. Conscious incompetent,

3. Conscious competent,

4. Unconscious competent (the best). A good example of this would a basketball superstar. You’d really have to pin him down for him to lay out all the steps (of the mind and body) he’d have to go through to make that 3 point play. Or, consider Tom Brady leading his team back against impossible odds. How’d he do it? He’s an unconscious (super) competent.

I would add that if the unconscious competent paused to reflect he would recall the steps he took automatically and know them as the building blocks of success.

Whether you are on the top of your game as a writer or someone struggling to become better it is always good to step outside your comfort zone.


Ed Sheeran, in Shape of You, 2016, chooses a mirror moment for both the hero and the heroine. Will both want more than just enjoying each other’s body? The hero hopes for more but we don’t know if they will become a couple. The heroine wants sex, but we don’t know if she’ll change under a man’s love.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is you is or is you ain't my baby?

How to fall in love


My wife and I were rummaging around the TV’s thousands of channels and discovered Hallmark on Demand. Direct TV collected 28 of them on this channel. I’m sure if wanted to find the hundreds upon hundreds of other Hallmarks I could. Nonetheless, most of the 28 seemed interesting, so we tried one.

How To Fall In Love, 2012 Hallmark. “An awkward accountant (Eric Mabius) receives dating tips from his high school crush (Brooke D’Orsay).

We’ve talked about nerds, geeks, dorks etc. before. Here the kid in high school was not attractive but became a good-looking man who retained his awkwardness. He was scarred by high school and nearly gave up on dating, until his crush, who needed work, came along to teach him. She perceived him as a challenge but, through fine acting and good writing, she began to realize they were a match and the same for him.

Yes, the writer used tropes, i.e. the ugly duckling becoming a swan, the heart of gold, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. The characters have to be relatable. It would be more daring if the writer kept him “ugly” physically, but, in romance, the reader usually wants fantasy.

There was a cute scene in which the hero takes another woman out into the countryside to show off his photography hobbie. All she could do was complain about her shoes getting ruined. This and other red flags built until they both realized they weren’t a couple.


Sometimes the dialogue helps sterling, as well. Louis Jordan, Is You is or is You ain’t my Baby, 1944.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

On Location

On Location


I watched a Hallmark Premier last night called Love-Locks. It not only was a triple romance but it was also an opportunity to fall in love. With Paris.

The writer engaged my own feelings with what I saw on the screen. How did he/she know?

The hero and heroine stood on a bridge with padlocks, symbolizing eternal love, left by thousands of couples (Paris is worried the bridges will fall down and this quaint custom will soon end). They visited an artist’s studio and I was absorbed in beauty. They walked the narrow streets and the broad ways, ate at charming cafes, stayed in hotel rooms that could only be French.

Readers want this, of course. They want the fantasy of being there and if they identify with the characters, they will be there.

It is easy to do this for New York, London and other well-known locations. This doesn’t mean the writer can slouch. He must look for insights and perhaps unique observations while describing the city and how the characters react. But what of a small town, real or imaginary? They must do the same. In fact, their work is harder because the reader doesn’t have a clue as to where they are. The better writer accepts this challenge.


I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett, Originally performed by him in 1962.