I find one of the strangest, and most magical, aspects of writing romantic fiction is that once the characters come to life for me, they are real in a way real people are real. (Better yet, they don’t die…unless I end them, but I write light romantic fiction, so be assured that’s not happening!)
I don’t know all of the characters equally. You, the reader, won’t either, because secondary or minor characters don’t get as much stage time as the two falling in love. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t creating their own stories in a place I haven’t tapped completely yet.
What better time to tap the strange and magical world of story characters then October, when things come alive! Two of the characters readers have said they especially enjoyed are Livvy and Mindy, the five-year-old girls in my story Under a Halloween Moon. Livvy is the bolder of the two. She wiggles with glee when she can shock the adults but stay within bounds that don’t get her in trouble. You’ll discover that pretty quickly when she renames one of her teachers. Mindy is an accomplished observer, which makes her an skilled trickster. She giggles with glee when she can get a rise, and a laugh, out of those around her by pushing the envelope, but staying just within the limit. And what better time than Halloween to pull a trick!
Livvy’s single father Cam dedicates long hours to growing his architecture business to take care of his daughter. Mindy’s single mother is dedicated to her daughter and her job managing customer service for a local business that enables her to take care of her daughter.
When the story opens, Livvy and Mindy, new friends in kindergarten, have not considered the possibility of their parents getting together. Annika and Cam haven’t even met yet. But when a windy overcast Halloween parade meeting blossoms into a trick-or-treat evening under a Halloween moon, everyone is considering Annika and Cam together.
What specifically are Livvy and Mindy, our two potential matchmakers, thinking about this development that I didn’t show you in the story? We could be sisters!
I hope you’ll read Under A Halloween Moon, and fall under the spell of a sweet story destined to raise your spirits…
I first swam with the fishes in Hanauma Bay on Oahu. Little did I know, snorkeling in this flooded volcano crater teeming with fish and marine life, that I was starting at the top. I had traveled half way across the globe from Maryland to Oahu to join the man I would marry. He was there on business. I was there in the throes of that beginning stage of love–when gravity shifts, your vision sharpens, the sun brightens, your energy abounds, the leaves wave and clap for you, and life is the most wonderful stupendous adventure. I was queen of an ongoing parade, floating, with my king.
Life was indeed magical above ground those first few days in Hawaii. But when I, my girlfriend who had traveled with me, and my husband-to-be duck-walked in our flippers into the bay, donned our masks, stuffed snorkels in our mouths, and fell backwards into the warm Pacific water, my fascination increased. Under the crystal blue water was a world of magic that had nothing to do with my husband, and everything to do with…physics and the fishes?
If you imagine the most diversely-stocked aquarium ever and you’re swimming in it, you get a vision of snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. But what left me staggeringly breathless was the perfect floaty dance that immediately began between me and this staggeringly colorful, diverse, and ever-moving kaleidoscope of fish! They were ALL around me, dozens, hundreds, close enough to kiss, and yet, no matter how I moved, what appendage I moved, or where I moved, I NEVER touched them. They would move in concert to my moves, in a dance that was infinite, ever reaching, and never ending. The physics of water does not explain this. I’ve run into plenty of people in the ocean, and they’ve run into me. I’ve collided with swimming crabs, and been repulsed by putting my hand through jelly fish. I know water doesn’t provide an absolute barrier. How did I never touch a one of those fishes?
Fast forward a WHOLE lot of years…I’m swimming last week at the Jersey Shore. The water is clear and the waves are moderate. I can see the sandy bottom between breakers. I’m swimming horizontally to the beach, against the pull of the current so I don’t end up several beaches below where I entered, when I realize I’m not swimming alone. There are two fish with me; really with me. No matter how I twist, or turn, or swim, they stay right next to each other, and right next to me, close enough that they are almost touching my ribs, but not quite. Not ever, quite. Observing that I absolutely can’t shake these two little companions, but I never run into them either, I’m half freaked out and half giddy with delight. I’m twisting, and turning, and leaping—and grinning. They adore me!
Here’s why fish swim in schools:
1. Feel safe from predators.
2. Higher chance of finding food.
3. Easier to find a mate.
4. Higher hydrodynamic efficiency.
In my bathing suit, my two little zebra friends had found a school. Everything in them said to stay close. Here’s a description of school swimming from www.theaquariumguide.com: “The way they move close to each other while keeping in perfect rhythm is incredible. It is like they are being operated from one mind at the same time…”
Like being operated from one mind at the same time. Me and my two minnow friends. Me and the gang at Hanauma Bay. And maybe, every now and then, me and the man I married almost 30 years ago. Call it attraction. Call it synchronicity. Call it love.
I just call it wonderful…
The story ended too soon! I’ve heard this before. I write mini-novellas (my stories are less than 20,000 words) and the romance equivalent of flash fiction (less than 1000 words).
So many characters and story lines waiting to be pursued, and not enough time. I’ve enjoyed writing about every couple I’ve matched up in my stories…but there are so many couples and settings waiting in the wings to be developed.
And what I really like is pushing the boundaries, writing romance stories that have quirky settings and plot lines that bring my couple together, but don’t always fit the standard rhythms of what a romance editor is looking for. So I’m always on pins and needles until hear an acceptance back from an editor. We really like this story, but with these changes made to enhance the romance story line. Can you agree to these changes? Usually, I can, if for no other reason than this couple is real to me now, and I can not imagine relegating them back to the virtual file drawer where they started. And my editors are almost always right in their instincts of where and how to turn the temperature up on the romance.
Still, in my published stories, I’ve been given some leeway. The romance may start a little later in the story than it’s traditionally supposed to. Or I might have a third main character, like Tillie, Kenny’s mother in Crazy, Happy Hearts, who steals the scene every now and then. Or my characters may not get as physical as soon or as intensely as romance readers have grown to expect.
My readers have said they love how real my characters are. Not every couple jumps into bed right away. Or makes out right away. Or even holds hands. I like my characters to find each other at a pace that feels real. And yes, I love reading the romancing scenes, but I truly love the prelude to the romance–the teases, the misunderstandings, the people who help make the match, or who get in the way, knowingly or unknowingly; the time apart when we know these two characters belong together, but they haven’t quite figured it out!
I fall in love with the couples and the communities in my romances. I’m always thankful when my readers do also.
There’s more to May Day than the Maypole! In the early morning, children in the Middle Ages explored the fields to collect wildflowers to create a May basket. The baskets were delivered in secret to friends and neighbors…delightfully described in this poem by Virginia Scott Miner.
May Day Morning
Oh, let’s leave a basket of flowers today
For the little old lady who lives down our way!
We’ll heap it with violets white and blue,
With Jack-in-the-pulpit and wildflowers, too.
We’ll make it of paper and line it with ferns
Then hide–and we’ll watch her surprise when she turns
And opens her door and looks out to see
Who in the world, it could possibly be!
I hope you’ll tap in to some contemporary May Day festivities by starting this month of May reading May Day Magic!
Single mother Diane enlists the help of her two children to create a May Day basket to deliver to her ailing mother, their grandmother. She’s all thumbs when handsome plant nursery owner Marc joins in to help select the flowers. Diane has also secretly created May baskets for her children as a surprise they will discover when they return from delivering their grandmother’s basket. But there’s one more surprise coming, this time for Diane. Marc’s got a little May Day magic of his own in mind…
This story is quietly irresistible. Ally Hayes doesn’t resort to exotic locales, crazy plans, or kookie characters to make this story sing. Just real life as most of us know it, and I love that–only completely captivating in the telling. Andi has requested a transfer within her accounting firm, moving from Rhode Island to Connecticut. She wants a new life where she’s more than one of the guys, everybody’s friend and nobody’s girlfriend. She meets Cute Guy in the coffee shop, and agonizes over how to take this chance meeting beyond a few words, to at least introduce herself and get his name. Yet no matter how many mornings she goes there on the way to work, she can’t take the connection further. In the meantime, Bree, a coworker around the same age, brings Ally into a group of friends that get together when they can, and group text often. Andi and Garrett begin a cyber-flirt that has Andi floating on air. But what about Cute Guy, who also gets her heart pounding? Has she made any impression on him? Who is secretly admiring who? And what will happen when Andi manages to take the flirting further, with both Cute Guy and Garrett? Read Secret Admirer so you can find out!
I love Leo and Gerri and this charming story. He’s a history professor who chooses tweed, she’s a tattoo artist who loves Steampunk, and neither of them have plans for Valentine’s Day. Until they end up at the library at the same time on Valentine’s Day, drawn in by the Blind Date With A Book notice. But there’s only one wrapped book left, and neither wants to face heading back to an apartment without a book for their blind date! (Is this not the best idea ever?) So the librarian suggests they share…
This is a delightful opposites attract story, believable and touching, with two very likable characters who want to risk, but don’t want to be hurt again. I finished Ask Me with a happy smile on my face. I’m betting you will, too.
Pond designer Megan is not sure she can trust a man again, and Jason, a firefighter, is the poster boy for unpredictable. Is St. Valentine powerful enough to bring these two together?
After working at a nursery similar to the one Megan works at, I can tell you for sure, life is better around water ponds. And who doesn’t feel better when there’s a hunky fireman nearby? I hope you’ll enhance your Valentine’s week by spending time with Megan, her water gardens, and soon-to-be hers hunky firefighter Jason? You’ll have to find out!
Purchase at http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=6631 or http://www.amazon.com/Im-Sure-Candy-Hearts-Romance-ebook/dp/B019YJYPGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455062865&sr=8-1&keywords=Beverly+Breton+I%27m+Sure
Happy Valentine’s Day!
For Keeps by Veronica Lynch
Does Meg stay in a high-stress job which fulfills her professionally and spiritually, or devote her life to the person who completes her?
Not Tonight by Barbara Burke
On a dark London night in the middle of a blitz, is it possible to fall in love?
Only Yours by Nancy Fraser
Can Rebecca expect her family and Garrett to understand that her desires have turned to his older brother?
Ooh La La by Doreen Alsen
Male Exotic Dancer + Buttoned Up Accountant = True Love.
I didn’t expect to take another peak inside my upcoming Candy Heart series book I’m Sure. The release date is only four days away, on February 10th. But Tony, the fire fighter who makes all the meals for Jason and the guys wants to–
“Yeh, I want to represent for Jason. I’m Tony, and I work with the guy. We’re both firefighters and paramedics. I don’t think Ms. Breton—”
Please, Tony; Beverly is fine.
“Okay, Beverly then. Pretty sure you weren’t planning on talking to me — professional courtesy, I guess, because of my job and my family responsibilities. Didn’t want to take up my time. I do have two numbskull boys I love like crazy, and a wife who is an angel.” Tony drops his head as he flips cutlets in an oversized frying pan. “No question I miss important occasions because of work.”
Tony’s Italian, like Jason, and I can tell by watching, this man knows his way around the kitchen.
“Like I just missed my oldest’s first home run. He can hit okay, but man, can he run. Like a streak.” Tony beams me a wide smile. “Jason pays attention to all this stuff, you know, with the boys, and the wife. How I work on juggling everything. He’s no fool.” Tony gives a quick stir to a pot on the back burner. “He knows having a family with this job can be a circus act.”
Cracking apart a garlic head with a whack of his knife, Tony lines up the cloves and begins to mince.
“Jason’s up for the challenge. That’s not the hold up. The problem is he’s gun-shy. His last relationship, that woman wasn’t good enough for him. She wanted him at her beck and call. That’s not happening.” He stares at the cutting board, nodding. “You seen Jason?”
I nod, then realize Tony only has eyes only for the garlic. Yes, I answer, I have.
He shakes his head with a laugh. “Of course you have. I wasn’t thinking. You know then—“ He gives me an intent stare. “He’s fly paper for women. The way he looks? And if you haven’t seen him without a shirt?”
Yes again, Tony, I have, but I keep that to myself.
“Woo-heee. Muscles city. He can outwork any of us in the training room. And he does, all the time.”
Tony’s heating the garlic in some butter. The smell is to die for, and I bet it’s for garlic bread. Anyone eating in Tony’s kitchen on a regular basis would need to work out.
“But I have to wonder what’s driving him to take to the gym so hard. More than he needs to stay in shape, that’s for sure.” The burly firefighter throws a checked dish towel his shoulder. “Jason hasn’t mentioned this Megan. That’s not his style. But he’s been different. Like he’s walking above the ground or something.”
I smile. This is good news.
“You know, Ms., ah, Beverly, I hope this is the one, this Megan. And I hope he sees it. Time for him to be happy…”
I couldn’t agree with you more, Tony. Now please add a plate for me at the table?