Blog Archive - July 2012

Shifting the Rules.

Hello all! When Torquere Press put out a call for their Masks Off! anthology, I was immediately drawn by the idea of a fella who not only wore one mask, but two--the first being at a masquerade, the second hiding the fact that he's a shifter. As it turns out, my fella ended up with three masks, because not only is he hosting a masquerade, and he's a shifter, but on top of that, he's hiding his homosexuality from the world. Why? Because it's 1934 and Gabriel Chase has more secrets than a Ziegfeld Follies' girl has outfits.

Of course Gabriel's not the only hero of our story. In fact, the story's more about Robert Bradley, who isn't a shifter at all, but a sweet, shy, and somewhat awkward fella with a fiery streak.

When I first considered submitting to the anthology, I wasn't at all certain, because it's a genre of MM Romance I haven't delved into, and one that seems to have a certain set of rules--from what I gather, but I just couldn't resist the idea of writing a historical shifter story.  (You can read more about Believe Me, Beloved here.)

Now as I mentioned, I haven't delved much into this genre, and in all honesty, have only had the chance to read maybe two stories so far. Not because I don't find it interesting, but because I've not gotten around to it with my ever growing tbr list. This may or may not work to my advantage, because everything I wrote in my short story regarding Gabriel, his society, and his behavior toward Robert is what I felt worked with the characters, the time period, and my style of writing. I don't know if these fellas will get their own book yet--though new scenes are popping into my head often, but I know if they do, I'll want to do things a little differently.

You don't get an extensive look into Gabriel's society because it's a short story, but enough to give folks an idea of what it's like, and who he is. I don't want to say too much and give away the end, but I'm very curious to see how folks will take to my version of things. For all I know, my version is the norm and nothing special, though I know it will be different as far as the whole historical side, especially since Gabriel and Robert have more secrets to keep than most fellas.

I'll probably have another discussion about this after the anthology comes out so I can chat a little bit more about Gabriel's society, but in the meantime, I'm very curious about these rules that may or may not exist for shifter stories. Obviously, these rules aren't set in stone, and authors can interpret things as they see fit, but some things just seem to stick, as in with vampire stories. A vampire bite may be interpreted differently by an author, (or in some cases, whether the sun makes them sparkle or not) but most often than not, it's still a bite that turns folks.

There are a whole lot of shifter books out there, so I thought I'd just ask fellow writers and readers who are fans of this genre, their take on things.

I'm curious to know if there are rules, and if so, how do folks feel about these rules being broken? I'm sure past literature as well as current cinematic trends have had an influence on some of these stories, but are there certain things that you feel just shouldn't be messed with, or are you game for anything providing it works?

Character Creation Part 4: Mirror Mirror, On the Wall

backyard small

Hi folks! Sorry this post is a day late, but a couple of things came up and I had to reschedule. So here's Texty Tuesday on uh, Wednesday! This post is about how I go about figuring out my characters physical traits, because it's not as easy as it seems.

My fellas range anywhere from 5'4" and boyish, to 6'5" and built like a brick wall, but the two aren't always paired with each other. Opposing traits are fun, but your fellas shouldn't be caricatures, or predictable. When I start visualizing my characters, I take their personalities and who they are into consideration, as well as the story. Each author is different, some choosing to leave the physical descriptions vague, some being very specific. Personally, I like to describe my characters. Not down to the last freckle, mind you, but enough so folks can get a general idea, and then their imagination can fill in the rest.

Let's take Harlan and Nate as an example. They both start as Prohibition agents and two years later when we get to Julian's book, they're Bureau agents. They're very active fellas who get into all kinds of trouble, a lot of it involving physical brawls. Harley is a big fella, 6'5" tall, 220lbs, all hard muscle. Nathan might not be as big, but then few men are as big as Harley. Nate is still a tall fella at 6'2". He's also muscular, just with a lean, more athletic build. He probably weighs in at about 170lbs. He can also kick as much butt as Harley, and between you and me, Nate is far more dangerous. Harley has brown hair, Nate has black. Harley's eyes are hazel, Nate's are green. What these fellas do means they have to be in good shape. They were also soldiers during WWI. I wanted Nate to be the sort of fella who could not only challenge Harley mentally, but physically as well. They're physically similar in a lot of ways because as a pair, whether as teammates or lovers, that's how I saw them.

Now we'll look at two of my characters who are physically the opposite in every way. Julius and Edward. Edward is a former soldier. He's tall, strong, though not overly. I didn't need him to be as big as Harley. He's a business executive, 6'2" tall and weighs about 175lbs. Julius is a cabaret dancer. He's small, slender, and sleek like a cat. He needs to be for what he does. He's just over 5'4". Edward's got black hair, Julius is a blond. Edward's eyes are hazel, Julius' are sky blue. Edward's tan, Julius is fair skinned. Now despite Julius being the smaller of the two, he's the most fiery, has the sharpest tongue, and is pretty fearless. He's wise beyond his years and street smart. He may have been too young to go to war, but he grew up on the streets and has lead a tough life. He taught himself how to speak properly, how to carry himself, and how to protect himself. Edward is the more timid of the two, at least when it comes to the emotional side of things. They both have their strengths and weaknesses which compliment each other. I don't do weak characters, because everyone has a strength, and just because someone's small, doesn't mean they're pushovers.

Who the fellas are also tells me a lot about how they dress. Bruce is a PI in the 1930s. I see him as a noirish type detective. Physically, he's very much like Harley--built like a brick wall, though he's slightly leaner and weighs in at 200lbs. Harley, even with stubble, dresses neat and sharp. He's got the money for tailored suits, and it shows. Bruce owns maybe one or two tailored suits which he'll only wear for special occasions--should they ever come up. He's always stubbly, and will dispose of his suit jacket the first opportunity he gets, usually rolling up his sleeves to the elbows afterwards. We're lucky if he keeps his vest on. His hair's usually somewhat disheveled, he wears the same long, black overcoat, and prefers dark colors. He also sports several bruises and cuts on a somewhat regular basis. Bruce gets into a lot of brawls, seeing as how his cases tend to involve finding folks who don't want to be found. Jace was a blank clerk. He's by nature, neat and sharply dressed, not because he has the money--Jace works for Bruce now, having lost everything and ending up homeless beforehand. So he's frugal. He just has that look about him. Jace is 6' tall, has black hair and blue eyes. Bruce, for all his dark broodiness, has sandy blond hair and brown eyes.

Remember that characters--like people, communicate with more than just their words. They use their body movements, facial expressions, and physical features. Think about who your characters is, what he does, how he communicates, his type of personality. Think about how he dresses and why he dresses that way. To me, physical traits come after I know who my fella is, and don't be afraid to mix it up. Well, I hope this helps some!

So what are your favorite type of characters?


MANtastic Fiction Fun

interview

Hello all! Join me over at MANtastic Fiction where I'm one of this week's GayRomLit Reading Challenge Authors. Today I'm hosting an interview with the heroes of my latest release, Chauncey Irving (Chance) and Jacky Valentine from The Auspicious Troubles of Chance. For the most part, Chance behaved himself, and quite frankly I'm surprised he sat still long enough. Jacky may have had something to do with it.

Also, you can leave your own questions for the fellas, and enter to win a free eBook copy of Chance's story. Contest is open until Wednesday July 25th, 11:59pm (PST).

x Charlie x


Media Monday: Recent Reads

Toward the middle of last week, I took a short break so I could just relax a little, watch some TV, and finally get back into reading. It had been entirely way too long since I'd read anything and I was seriously going a bit loopy from it.

I'm learning very early on to take little breaks, because I know myself. I'll just keep working away until I'm so exhausted I'll fall asleep at my desk. When I start to feel the crankiness setting in, I take a little break, shit off the PC and pretend it's not there. It's a lot tougher than it sounds. Generally, I'm a pretty chipper person. So if I'm cranky, it's usually down to one of two things: not enough coffee, or not enough sleep.

Okay, so I had my mini-break and it was time to bust out the books. I turned on my Kindle and sat there. Just sat there staring at it. I had no idea where to start. My tbr list is so GINORMOUS, that when I actually got a moment to read, I couldn't decide! I wasn't in the mood for anything in particular, which didn't help at all. And then, I saw that I hadn't finished a book I had started because I got swept up in the craziness of my last release. Woot! The decision had been made for me. Especially since this book is part of a series and I had the next one sitting on my Kindle, waiting. So, I finally finished Divide & Conquer. I know, it's a crime I didn't finish it in one go, or even over a few days. It's very unlike me to start a book (especially one this awesome) and not finish it. Goes to show how much I needed a break. After that, of course I had Armed & Dangerous.

If you haven't read the series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, I ask you, what are you waiting for? I LOVE these books. They're just jam packed full of everything. Action, romance, humor, drama, and great characters. I love books that have a bit of everything, and these books are just so much fun to read. I enjoy most MM Romance, but if you've read my books, than you know I love characters who have a sense of humor. Stories with characters who can make me smile or laugh, always leave an impression on me. Anyway, I enjoyed these two immensely, and I was so happy to have more of Julian and Cameron, from Warrior's Cross. I missed those guys. I'll probably end up re-reading it one of these days. 

I also read An Oral Fixation by Piper Vaughn-- a sweet short story that was written for the Love Is Always Write event. I loved the feel of this, because sometimes in life, the timing of things can just suck, and poor Quinn's insecurities-- when it came to the fella he was head over heels in love with, struck me as being so very real. I could understand where he was coming from, and the more I read about him, his feelings, and his situation, the more I wanted things to work out for him. Their trip to the pier made me feel warm and fuzzy all over.    

This week I'm reading Ana Bosch's Art of Death

   

Followed by Christine Fletcher's Ten Cents A Dance. This isn't MM Romance, but it was recommended by a friend. She read it recently and loved it, and as it's set in the 1940s, she thought I might like it. I'm really looking forward to it. I've even got a hardback and everything! I love my kindle, but I LOVE the feel of a physical book in my hands. 


I've also got the next two Lennox books by Craig Russell to read. So many books, so little time! When I'm not reading MM Romance (which is rare), I tend to read crime/detective/pulp fiction, or fiction set during the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Now I just need more hours in the day! :D



So what are you reading at the moment, or recently read?

x Charlie x



Weekly News Roundup & What's coming up

Hello everyone! I know my last roundup was about two weeks ago, but last week was a busy week. I had the honor of being a guest on several sites, so if you missed those, it's never too late to drop on by.

♥ Remi was a guest over at Carrying the Torch where he talked a little about his fondest childhood memories of him and Chess. You can find it here.

♥ I was a guest over at Josephine Myles' blog where I gave folks my Top 10 list of things I learned about being a newly published author. You can read the post here.

♥ You can read a sneak peek into my Historical Shifter story over at Guys Like Romance, Too! where I stopped by to share a little about Believe Me, Beloved, which is out August 1st as part of Torquere Press' Masks Off! anthology.

♥ On Tuesday, July 24th, stop by MANtastic Fiction where I'll be interviewing Chance and Jacky from The Auspicious Troubles of Chance. Well, I'll be trying to interview them, anyway. We'll see how Chance behaves himself. You can also ask the fellas questions, and enter to win a free eBook copy of Chance's story. The contest ends Wed, July 25th.

July 26th, join me over at Carrying the Torch where I'll be chatting a little bit about my old stomping grounds and what it was like to be a Yank in Britain.

***
I had some amazing reviews in the last two weeks, many of which I wasn't expecting at all, which is always a double treat.

The Novel Approach reviewed not just one of my books, but two! And the reviews were an absolute joy to read!

Roses in the Devil's Garden received 5 stars, saying, "Roses in the Devil’s Garden is a short and sublime little story set in New York City during the height of prohibition in the United States... Every single thing about this book drew me in: the title, the cover, the setting, the time period, the writing style, and most of all, the men who populated the piece." You can read the rest of the review here.

The Auspicious Troubles of Chance received 4.5 stars, saying, "I had a sneaking suspicion after readingRoses in the Devil’s Gardenthat I could truly, madly, deeply become hooked on Charlie Cochet’s work.The Auspicious Troubles of Chance is all the proof I needed to quit suspecting and just let it be." You can read the rest of the review here.

Pippa Wood over at Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books wrote a beautiful review for Lost in my Waking Dream, my Historical/Sci-fi short story. These fellas don't get much love, and tend to get overshadowed by their big brothers, so it made me smile to no end to read her review.

She gave it 4 1/2 Sweet Peas and said. "Lost in My Waking Dream is almost lyrical in its language, and portrayal of seemingly impossible love. I found myself waiting and praying that Noah and George would cross the Window and be together. I, Ms. Cynical, wanted them to have their happy ever after. I truly adored Lost in My Waking Dream." You can read the rest of her review here.

I want to thank you all for not only taking the time to read my books, but for the time you spend writing about them, as well as stopping by all those spots and leaving lovely comments. You guys are the best, and I truly appreciate it. My birthday is exactly one month from today, so I'll start thinking up some special celebratory posts and giveaways for you all. Hugs!

x Charlie x

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