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, June 29, 2014

WHEN SPARKS FLY

Last night, Saturday, we watched a Hallmark premier, WHEN SPARKS FLY. For those interested, it’s on again tonight at 9. Hallmark is often our date. The premise of this one bothered me initially because it seemed to undermine the value of and honor in friendship. A bride-to-be asks her best friend (bff) to be maid of honor at her wedding to her best friend’s ex-boyfriend. I being a male writer of romance was skeptical the writers and actors could pull off a happily-ever-after when some old feelings (7 years old) are stirred up). I’m not going to give away the ending, but my hat is off to the superb acting of both heroines.

I realized or remembered two things:

1.      If I ever meet my high school sweetheart somehow, there would be little doubt feelings would surge through me as I recalled all our great times.

2.      I too am very guilty of using this plot twist in Double Happiness (soon to be released). So basically I shut up, sat down and with an open mind, watched.

Afterwards, my wife innocently said, this is like so many of the romance novels she reads (does she not know I write and understand romance or do I really understand the finer points of romance). I struggle.

The relationship between the two girls is a joy to watch, especially in the final act of the movie.
 
Here's hallmark's promo:

 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

AGENT SIX AND THREE QUARTERS

Men can't help compare themselves to other men. It's like a ridiculous and usually subconscious monkey on your back that you try to ignore.

The following is dedicated to a dear friend and former CIA agent who passed away.

Agent Six and Three Quarters

They gave me that name because I couldn’t measure up to James Bond. Nobody can really. Fictional characters are fictional for a reason. The nickname was born of affection not derision, anyway. Apparently, I’m considered better than agent Six and a Half. As for my shortcomings—well don’t we all have them—six and three quarters is a good measure for just about anything.

I am very much real. I’ve met the enemy, none of them measure up, because they live in an upside down world in which good is evil and evil is good. The downtrodden people they claim to help, they hurt.

The fictional Bond had a glaring defect, but violence sells movie tickets. The real work is much harder and to some not as exciting. You’ll never see my exploits on the silver screen, well maybe a BBC or PBS effort. Bond has no feelings for the people he kills. It’s unlikely you’d get a job here at the CIA if you didn’t try to get to the bottom of a problem. Analyze strengths and weaknesses; turn your enemy into an ally. The CIA recruits renaissance men and women, who might not do too badly on Jeopardy.

When you negotiate you have a chance at solving greater problems. Notice the word negotiate? Here I shout. I’m not going to stop here and go on about the stubborn idiots in congress. You all know how I feel.

Calming down now. Back to the Middle East: Some religious radicals, distort their faith with misguided notions. We were all born into a set of beliefs given to us by hopefully loving parents. Generally we don’t question them, much. Neither does your average terrorist. It’s the beliefs endowed by our creator which any candidate for human being need find in life’s journey.

Yes, I have a license to kill, but isn’t it better to use a license to think. I always found a better way because I am agent Six and Three Quarters.
 
Then again, there aren't too many movies in which negotiation and nothing else wins the day. Enjoy a retrospective of fifty years of Bond.
 
 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New JERSEY BOYS

It's Father's Day, and like some mystical surprise gift, a fellow male author from New Jersey (I lived there the first half of my life and left a piece of my heart to beat again when I visit) connected with me.

Richard Brawer will talk about how he handles romance and about his upcoming romantic suspense novel. I hope you'll comment.
 
RICHARD: My novel, Murder at the Jersey Shore is a volume of three full length mysteries featuring detective David Nance and his girlfriend Bobbie Walsh. The stories are set in Eastern Monmouth County New Jersey in the towns of Red Bank, Colts Neck, Rumson, Fairhaven, Sea Bright, and Asbury Park. This area is generally referred to as The North Jersey Coast.

Bob has asked me to comment on the following question: My blog readers are mostly romance writers or readers. You're a mystery writer. How do you handle romance or the lack of it in your stories?

The majority of detectives in the mystery stories I have read have a girlfriend. Most of the girlfriends are minor characters and do not have much to do with the story except to have sex with the detective. In my mysteries, the detective’s girlfriend works with him to solve the murders.

To keep the readers involved with the relationship between the detective and his love interest, I gave them a number of conflicts. It is conflicts that keep the readers turning the pages to see how the characters resolve their problems. David and Bobbie fight, make love, break up and re-connect. As a result the novels, although true mysteries, do have a romantic aspect to them.

The following are excerpts from the 29 reviews on Amazon for Murder at the Jersey Shore.

“I especially like the way David and Bobbie play off each other throughout the three novels.”

“What really grabbed me was watching the hero deal with his issues, eventually with a measure of success, while his girlfriend dealt with him and her issues involving him.”

“The on again off again relationship between David Nance, the detective, and Bobbie, his girlfriend, adds another dimension to his vivid characters making them sympathetic as well as engaging.”

Another of my mysteries, Murder Goes Round and Round set in a fictional decaying New Jersey Resort also has a romantic aspect to it. The sale of a million dollar antique carousel is the motive for the murder. Here are excerpts from some of the reviews:

“Lots of fascinating info on the history and making of carousels and the rather sweet romance that develops.”

“There was also a sideline romance which took place. I could have done without that personally, but it didn't take away from the story. Very worth reading.”

“The story was romantic.”

In conclusion, whether to incorporate a romance in your mysteries is up to you. It can be done. Readers looking for a pure mystery may not like the romance as you can see by the middle review above. Others may find the romance an integral part of the story.

Personally, I like to write the romance aspect because then my books will appeal to more than just mystery readers. With the practice I garnered writing the romances in my mysteries, I wrote my first romantic suspense novel, Love’s Sweet Sorrow, coming out in September.

Love and faith are tested as Jason and Ariel are caught in a battle to expose smugglers selling weapons to terrorists. Read more about Love’s Sweet Sorrow at my website below.



Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time sailing and exploring local history.  He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife. Read more about his books at his website: www.silklegacy.com [check out Richard's covers on his website]

THE new JERSEY BOYS
Richard Brawer                                                                  Bob Richard


Sunday, June 8, 2014

PIECE OF MY HEART

According to RIAA (the Recording Industry of America) the vast majority of songs are bought by both sexes close to 50/50 throughout life (2/3rds of the songs are bought between 10 and 45 years and 1/3rd after age 45). I have yet to discover the exact number, but I think you’ll agree that a substantial majority of songs deal with facets of love, dating, relationships or its lack.

Romance novels make up about 50% of books sold and male readers comprise conservatively 10% of the market. So why do males buy love songs but not romance novels? Are we doing something wrong?

Father’s Day is coming up, so under the cover of celebration, I'll suggest that for the 90% of men who don't normally read romances, but try one, it's a chore. It’s not only the more direct way we think (on the average), it’s the visuals we enjoy and the lack of progression in summarized thought we don't. We need arc.

Most guys hate nagging. What is nagging, if not going over and over and over again the same point? Guys don’t want to read novels that belabor the point or worse.

Great novels, no matter the genre, all have one thing in common. They hold your interest with an engaging intensity. Just like a song, they show you the way, grip you and take you for a ride.

So...guys buy love songs but not so many romance novels. They've not suddenly stopped loving the women in their lives. How can we write better romances that will retain our gal fans and pick up more guys? It's like celebrating Father's Day. Any dad wants to be shown love as if he was the hero of a great romance novel.

Janis Joplin, PIECE OF MY HEART, 1968
 
 
 

Next week, on Father's Day, I'll be interviewing a fellow author. He, Richard Brawer, writes mysteries. Let's give him a warm welcome. See you then.