Thursday teaser: A Second Chance with Death

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A short story

By Eden Baylee

The notion that a person might make a pact with Satan is not unheard of. It’s done in exchange for things such as eternal youth, wealth, or power. And the price? Selling one’s soul, of course.

Is this scary? Not to me. Personally, I’d never bargain with the devil. I go after what I want in this life guided by my own moral compass, not by fear of where my soul will end up in the afterlife.

I’m a pragmatist and an optimist. I’m not afraid to die, nor am I all that concerned with how I die, with one exception, that is, and that’s what brings me to the topic at hand—my conversations with death.

I’ve envisioned my own funeral hundreds of times. My body lying in an open casket—friends and family strolling by to pay their final respects, talking to one another in hushed tones, with  comments that go something like this:

Everything was going her way. What a shame.

I know, what a horrible thing to happen to such a vibrant woman. She was so happy too, actually looks like she still has a smile on her face.

Yeah, but I’d hate to die like that.

Yup, and that’s what brings me to my story about my little chats with Death himself. Yes, Death to me, is male. And as men don’t scare me, death doesn’t scare me either, that is, apart from the exception I alluded to earlier.

I know I have to die sometime, and that with each day, I move closer and closer to my grave, and yet, I fight it. I keep going, I keep being, I keep staving off the inevitable for as long as I can. I know Death will overcome me eventually, but it’s not like I think about him all the time. I’m the optimistic pragmatist, remember?

So why is it then , why is it that when I steal some intimate time, some time to engage in a private act that is so naturally human, why then is Death constantly lurking in the shadows, watching me, snickering, anticipating his nasty turn with me?  If this sounds cryptic, I apologize, perhaps it’s better if I show you what I mean.

Follow me to my bedroom, and you’ll see that he’s already there waiting for me.

I masturbate on a regular basis, so you might say, I have personal chats with Death on a  regular basis too. Unlike what most people think, Death is not cold. He’s hot, very, very hot. I feel his presence in the room as I undress. He lies next to me on the bed, and his heat immediately spreads to my body.

I tell him I’m not afraid of him, and he scoffs. I touch myself in the way that I know turns him on. I feel his face nearby as I shamelessly fondle my breasts, squeezing my nipples till they jut out and practically poke him in the eye.

About “A Second Chance with Death”

This story is included in Eden Baylee’s collection, Hot Flash. 

Flash fiction is defined as short written pieces. Twenty stories and poems with an erotic bent make up this collection.

The themes of love, lust, adultery, and regret are told in different voices, sometimes with an irreverent sense of humor.

Some pieces will touch you, others will seep into your subconscious. Don’t be surprised if you flinch from the heat.

WARNING: Contains two non-erotic entries. Pun intended.

About author Eden Baylee

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! She loves talking to readers! Connect to her via all her networks.

her BestSelling Reads author page   |     Amazon Author page    |    website   |    Facebook   |   LinkedIn   |    goodreads

And follow her on Twitter @edenbaylee.

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Monday musings: Three things’s I’ve learned from writing

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By Eden Baylee

This post is re-blogged from Eden Baylee’s entry on her own blog of June 29, 2017.

1. The process of writing means more to me than the finished product.

I’ve gone back to reading several of my old works. Admittedly, some pieces are cringeworthy; others still resonate true today. This comes as no surprise, really. The familiarity of what I’m reading allows me to bypass the story and concentrate on elements of craft. I see things differently than when I first published in 2011.

When I was a non-writing reader, the rules of grammar and punctuation only came to light if I saw an obvious error. Poor sentence structure, the overuse of adverbs, word repetition, etc., were but fleeting impressions.

Now, I’m more focused on how a sentence can be improved upon. This is probably why writers are advised to read — a lot. We feed off and learn from the writing of better authors.

Although completion of a short story, novella, or novel is cause for celebration once it’s published, it is no longer mine. The process of writing is what is important from a learning perspective, and remaining attached to a story after it’s made public serves no purpose.

2. The more I write, the more I learn about others and the less I know about myself.

Writing fiction demands that I look at the world through the lens of others, to inhabit my characters in order write their stories.

By gaining insight into others, I’ve discovered how little I know about myself.

Allow me to explain.

Because I must expand my imagination to write fiction, I sometimes question if it is truly me who comes up with the stories. In the genre of mystery and suspense, I’ve researched by reading a lot of true crime. It’s not surprising I’ve filled my mind with some awful images. That I am also a news junkie only adds to the chaos inside my head.

It’s great for fiction, but not so good for maintaining daily calm.

To stay grounded, I meditate and do yoga. In meditation, all kinds of thoughts come up. I simply observe them, attaching neither good nor bad feelings toward them. Acceptance of these thoughts trains my mind to stay calm and be in the moment. This translates to a more easygoing manner outside of meditation, and hopefully, more awareness.

Yoga serves to strengthen my physical being, which is intimately connected to the mind.

To create believable characters, it’s necessary to nurture them to behave in a way that might be contrary to my own behaviour. The important thing is staying true to myself when I’m not in my fictional world.

3. Writing can be all encompassing.

Writing absorbs me when I’m “in the zone.” At these times, I don’t need food or sleep, and I avoid all distractions. My only purpose is to ride the creative wave for as long as it will take me and as far as it will go.

It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s an amazing feeling when it does.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from writing? Please feel free to share in the Comments. 🙂

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of novellas and flash fiction: Spring Into Summer,  Fall into Winter and Hot Flash.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas are available on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers!

Eden can be found on

her BestSellingReads page   |    her Website   |    Facebook   |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |    Amazon

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Monday musings: Share your summer reading list

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Summer. Forest fires and wildfires on one side of the continent, floods on the other. World conferences on terrorism and climate change.

It’s no wonder that in summer, readers like to choose lighter fare. Romances, mysteries, thrillers. At the beach or on the dock, in the backyard hammock or on the cottage porch, we’re supposed to be reading books that don’t tax our minds and souls too much. We’re supposed to be on vacation, taking things easy, enjoying the weather and the outdoors.

But is that trope really true? Sure, I remember seeing lots of mysteries held up by people on lounge chairs by the ocean. Clive Cussler, Lee Child, the awful E.L. James, David Baldacci — thrillers and romances and books that do not ask you to think too deeply. But also, I have seen people reading more serious books, like The Girl on the Train or The Couple Next Door.

Various newspapers and blogs also recommend a wider range of books, from The American War by Omar El Akkad (if that one doesn’t make you think about our modern world, I don’t know what will). And of course, The Handmaid’s Tale is playing on TV right now.

How heavy are these books?

The thing about serious books is that many of them could be classified into a genre, which some readers and critics—and writers—describe as not as serious. Not “literary.” But many genre books have also turned out to be serious, to have an impact on the culture. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road can be seen as part of the post-apocalyptic science fiction genre, but it’s a deep, meaningful story about a father and son. Margaret Atwood has written several books, including The Handmaid’s Tale, that definitely fit into the science fiction category.

Independent authors are usually seen as definitely working within genres, and from a marketing point of view, that makes sense. The romance genre, for example, by far outsells, as a whole, every other category of fiction, including “serious” literary fiction. So do mystery and action thrillers.

Blurred lines

The thing is, the high walls between genres are also breaking down. Writers are mixing up mysteries and science-fiction, thrillers and fantasy, and let’s not forget the burgeoning paranormal romance genre.

I myself like to blur the lines between genres. I have been working intermittently on a novel that combines the spy thriller with occult horror, called Dark Clouds. I have published one chapter, the introduction, as a short story. You can find it as Dark Clouds: The Mandrake Ruse.

BestSelling Reads members, independent authors, are not only skilled within their genres, but challenge the genre definitions with books that break the rules, cross genres and keep you from putting their books down before you get to the last page. Eden Baylee’s A Snake in Paradise and Charade At Sea, for example, combine mystery with adult-oriented romance. Renée Pawlish’s Reed Ferguson series moves the noir mystery into the current century, with a heaping helping of humor. Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman have teamed up with the Scorch Road series, combining the post-apocalyptic and serious romance genres. Samreen Ahsan has created a brand new genre, paranormal romances based on Muslim themes, in her Prayer series.

And there’s more.A Silent Prayer cover

Each of these books does more than combine genres: they create something new, something exciting. A new kind of adventure for the reader.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Are you sticking with the easy reads, the reiterations of the same stories, or are you on the lookout for something new, fresh and original? Share what you want to read through the hot and quiet months, and we’ll send you a free e-book.

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Meet the author Monday: Eden Baylee

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Get to know your favorite BestSelling Reads authors better. This week features Eden Baylee.

How many books have you written?

I have nineteen titles available for sale. They include anthologies, novels and novellas, and collections with other authors.

You’ve written more than one book for the Lei Crime Kindle World. How have those main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

I have three novellas in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle Worlds’ series: A Snake in Paradise; SEAL of a Monk; and Charade at Sea.

For these stories, I developed a brand new character named Lainey Lee and wove her into the settings and back story of the first three books in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series. Lainey appears in all three of my books, and a Navy SEAL named Max Scott enters the scene in the second book.

Lainey transforms from an inhibited newly-divorced woman to someone who finds a little more of herself in each book.

How has your style changed over that same period?

I don’t think my style of writing has changed. I write in both the literary erotica and mystery/suspense genres, so my books for Kindle Worlds evoke a moody sense of place and vibrant characters.

Add to this a setting in Hawaii and a mystery that needs to be solved, and you’ll find the books are easy to read with interesting and believable characters.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved? For example, do you use outlines more or less now? What about the way you create characters or build worlds?

I’m a pantser par excellence. When ideas flow, I’m go-go-go. When they don’t, then it’s difficult. I’ve been going through a particularly rough patch of late, but it’s something I need to push through. There is no other way around it. It’s one day at a time putting words to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Characters are the backbone of a story, so it’s important to make sure they are carefully developed. Modeling them after real people helps keep them real.

When do you write? Is there a time of day, or a period during the week? A particular place you like to be to write?

I write standing at my kitchen counter most of the time. The room has natural light and the counter is long with plenty of space for my writing and research material. I’m also using two Apple laptops, so the set-up works well. My husband thinks it’s my very own genius bar!

I’m an early riser but I don’t write immediately upon waking. I usually begin work after a leisurely breakfast and work late into the evening. I write six days a week.

How do you create new characters?

Most characters are modeled after someone I know or have known. I combine different traits of people I’ve met and create one character. In my novel, Stranger at Sunset, you find a lot of characters; many are inspired by someone familiar to me. Even though we have unpleasant dealings with people in real life, they sometimes make for the best characters. No experience is ever wasted.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

They come from a variety of sources—stories I’ve read or heard, TV shows, movies, music—life in general, really. I definitely listen more than I speak, and that helps.

How do you feel your writing style and process have evolved over the course of writing your books?

I’ve become less hung up on specific words. I’m a logophile who can worry about the use of a particular word or description, even though I know readers won’t necessarily care as much. As an example, whether a dress is green, blue, or red is less important than if it’s made of a sheer, see-through material, but I do tend to sweat the details.

In order to create books, you have to look at the bigger picture. It’s not simply about writing well, it’s about telling a good story. Being a perfectionist can really stall the process of getting the book out there.

It’s a fine balance for me, most days.

More about Eden

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction: Spring Into Summer,  Fall into Winter and Hot Flash.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas are available on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers!

Eden can be found on

her Website   |    Bestselling Reads Author page   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |    Amazon

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Thursday teaser: A Snake in Paradise

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Read on to learn how you can get one of three e-copies of A Snake in Paradise

By Eden Baylee

Curled in a fetal position in the center of a king-sized bed, a woman trembled as emotions bubbled inside her chest. An intricate array of lines covered her back and danced atop her skin each time she breathed. She pursed her lips to take in short, shallow gulps of air, fearful that her own tears might choke her.

Don’t trust the silence, not yet. Keep quiet.

The cool air of the room settled into her like rot, and she was thankful to have her nakedness covered. The only real clue to her fear was an imperceptible twitching of her thighs.

A hunger pang gurgled in her stomach. She stiffened. Too afraid to reposition her head, she had use of only one ear while the other pressed painfully into the mattress. It was folded over, and it hurt with a continuous thrumming.  The exposed ear pricked up each time footsteps and voices passed by her door. The noise grew and then faded, coming at her in waves between the silence.

She inched her right arm away from her to alleviate the numbness. The immediate relief felt like a victory. She wiggled her fingers and toes, clenched her thighs and butt.

Is this how it feels to be in shock? When the body disconnects until the brain commands the limb to move?

Seconds ticked by, maybe minutes, and then some unknown cue told her enough time had passed. She whispered, “Hello?” and braced herself for a response but heard nothing.

She said it again, louder this time, waited.

Silence.

Her breathing heightened.

“Are you there?”

Nothing.

Again, even louder.

“Are you there … you bastard?”

Nothing.

She let out a long breath and rolled onto her back, stayed still a few seconds until the glow of her folded ear subsided and she regained stereo.

She raised her arms, bound at the wrists, and bent them backward to throw the sheet off her. With some effort, she pushed herself into a sitting position and looked around. The blackout drapes were drawn, the room dark except for a streak of light coming from beneath the closed washroom door. She heard the ocean and wake-up call of birds, signaling morning.  It meant she had been unconscious for the past ten to twelve hours. With some effort, she untied the rope binding her ankles. Freeing her hands was going to be trickier.

In the room, everything appeared the way she remembered it—only now, he was gone.

About A Snake in Paradise

Lainey Lee has always dreamed of going to Hawaii. It should have been her honeymoon trip, only it never happened. Now, in a poetic twist of fate, she is making the journey twenty-seven years later—following a messy divorce.

Once on the Big Island, Lainey discovers paradise, but white sand beaches and blue skies are not all Hawaii has to offer. She soon meets Julian, a mysterious stranger ten years her junior. They share an instant connection.

Lainey is eager to shed the fears that trapped her in a loveless marriage, but is Julian a tempting distraction, a new beginning, or a snake in paradise?

Eden Baylee will give a copy of A Snake in Paradise to three commenters.

About the author

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas are available on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers!

Eden can be found on

her Website   |    Facebook   |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |    Amazon

 

 

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3 BestSelling authors launch summer titles

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Three member authors of BestSelling reads are launching new titles in the acclaimed and bestselling Lei Crime Kindle World.

Charade at SeaCharade at Sea

By Eden Baylee

A luxury cruise is ideal for a budding romance … or is it?

Lainey Lee and ex-Navy SEAL, Max Scott, shared an incredible experience when they met in Kauai. A romantic cruise around the Hawaiian Islands seems perfect for discovering if they can become more than just friends.

But mystery abounds.

Lainey meets a fifty-something newlywed on her honeymoon. The chatty woman speaks highly of her husband and his secret missions abroad. Lainey is intrigued but her intuition tells her something is not right.

Even while her feelings for Max grow, Lainey can’t help wondering about the charade being played at sea.

Dead Man Lying - 529x800Dead Man Lying

By Scott Bury

FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm is back on Maui to catch a killer. 

With lush rain forests, black sand beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle, Maui offers the perfect retirement location for once-famous country singer Steven Sangster … until he ends up dead.

As the killer, or killers, strike again and again, Detective Lei Texeira and FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm must untangle the lies spun by the singer’s associates, friends, family — and the singer himself before the music dies.

SC 4 TMITTreachery Makes it Tense (Shadow Council Book 4)

By Julie Gilbert

When a vanquished foe resurfaces with vengeance on his mind …

Special Agent Marcella Scott expects the danger to fall to her. She does not expect her FBI partner’s entire family to disappear.

Cassandra Mirren witnesses her boss’s murder and gets drawn into a deadly game. Now, she has a choice—either work with Agent Scott or betray her.

Both women are about to find out that treachery makes it tense.

The Lei Crime Kindle World

All three, plus 12 more being launched today, are based on the Lei Crime series created by BSR founding member Toby Neal.

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Monday Musings: Authors who work together are better for readers

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by Scott Bury

I was struck recently with the realization that I collaborate and cooperate with a lot of other authors in a lot of different ways. BestSelling Reads is just one example, where I feel privileged to work with very fine authors in cross-promotional efforts.

I also participate in another group called Independent Authors International, which is about supporting each other in producing books professionally.

And I am also struck by the number of BestSelling Reads members who collaborate in another way: through Kindle Worlds.

NightbirdKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative where authors write new works based on the characters and settings of bestselling authors. Toby Neal, for example, has a Lei Crime Kindle World. I have written two short works  in this world, as has Eden Baylee, and Emily Kimelman has written one. New member Julie Gilbert has written four! Toby Neal, for her part, has written a novella, Nightbird, in (non-BestSelling Reads member) Russell Blake’s Jet Kindle World. And Emily’s Sydney Rye Kindle World will launch in mid-March—and I will contribute a new book to it, The Wife Line.

What’s in it for you?

Kindle Worlds are designed to benefit both authors and readers. The originators of the Kindle Worlds, authors like Toby Neal, Russell wdemilykimelmanBlake and Emily Kimelman, get a portion of the royalties from the sales of the books by other writers in their “worlds.” The authors of the contributed works get some of the proceeds from the sales, as well as exposure to the wider audiences, the fans of the characters and situations created by the Neals, Blakes and Kimelmans.

And readers get more of the characters they love, the characters and stories they clamour for.

Authors’ cooperative groups like BestSelling Reads have similar benefits for readers. If you’ve followed one of your favourite authors to this blog, someone like Sydney Landon or Samreen Ahsan, Frederick Lee Brooke or Raine Thomas, Gae-Lynn Woods or Kathleen Valentine, here you have an opportunity to find others in the same genre.

Or you can explore other kinds of writing, from romance to spy thrillers, mystery to paranormal fictA Snake in Paradise_edenbayleeion, high fantasy to contemporary literature.

While the member authors of BestSelling Reads are a diverse bunch, there are two things they have in common: professionalism and dedication to their readers.

Because we all value our relationship with our readers, we hold each other to a high standard. All members of BSR are recommended by other members as writers who are or have been bestsellers, but more importantly, uphold that standard of professionalism. We use professional editors and proofreaders and cover designers.

In other words, the writers who are members of BestSelling Reads, whether independently published or represented by the biggest publishing companies in the world, are dedicated to bringing the best possible reading to our readers: interesting, engaging, well-written, polished and professionally packaged.

These are the elements that can make or break a reader’s experience with a book. That’s why BestSelling Reads member take them so seriously.

What should readers do?

Readers are great at recommending their favourite authors to other readers. So this is what I would like all readers of this blog to do: share it.JetWBottomImage

Tell other readers about BestSelling Reads, who your favourite member author is, what books you like, and the other great reads you’ve discovered here.

Authors working together produce better books for readers. And readers working together help readers find better books.

 

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Win-a-Book Wednesday: Stranger at Sunset

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By Eden Baylee

sas_kindle
Today, you could win one of two free e-copies of Eden Baylee’s Stranger at Sunset, just by answering this simple question:

In which country does this story take place?

We’ll choose two winners from correct answers in the Comments section, below.

About Stranger at Sunset

“One of the most inventive murders I have ever come across in years of reading crime fiction … it will send a particularly icy chill up the spines of male readers.” – Crime Fiction Lover

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot in Jamaica.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the luxury resort is struggling due to a scathing review from travel critic, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though Kate is haunted by her own demons, she feels compelled to help. Can she uncover the motivation for the writer’s bitter review? In a battle of wits and psychological twists, terrible secrets will be revealed.

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/suspense that will keep you guessing to the end.

About the author

eden at benmcnallyEden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction—Spring into Summer, Fall into Winter, and Hot Flash, along with contributing to the anthologies: Allegories of the Tarot, Indie Authors Naked, and Triptychs.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas for the series—A Snake in Paradise and SEAL of a Monk can be found on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers! 

Sign up to get news of new releases, contests, and giveaways here

Visit her

 

 

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Monday Musings: Three Tips for Writing Memorable Characters

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When it comes to characters, I like to interact with mine. It helps me get to know them better before I write them into my stories. Sometimes, I become my protagonist and develop entire scenes and chapters in my head.

It may be one of the insanities of being a writer that we create imaginary friends and allow them to speak to us. We instinctively breathe life into our characters by getting to know them as intimately as some of our real-life friends. Because characters grow through the pages and expose the events of a story, the more vividly we describe them, the more readers are able to connect to them.

So … how do we create these memorable characters?

James bond

James Bond

Here is what works for me. Most of my characters, if not all of them are based on people I have met. Some are friends, some acquaintances, and some I’ve met only virtually. Yet, they have one quality in common—uniqueness, or in other words, something that makes others curious about them.

Remember the last time you attended a wedding, dinner party, or some other social function? Who made an impression on you, and why? Did the person have an interesting profession or hobby? A facial tic? An annoying pattern of speech? Whatever the trait, good or bad, it is this oddity that makes a character memorable in fiction.

Whether we know it or not, we incorporate the personalities of real people into our stories anyway, but when we take the time to consciously look for unique traits, we heighten our awareness of characteristics we find interesting. This insight improves our characters’ profiles, and because they are based on real people, it lends an air of realism to them too.

edward scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands

It’s important to pay attention to these oddities since basing characters on established stereotypes robs them of originality. Stereotypes are like clichéd phrases. As they become repetitive and weary over time from overuse, they tend to drag down our prose.

How original is the dumb blonde, the cheating, alcoholic ex-husband, the womanizing bad boy? You know these characters because you’ve read or seen them on television—over and over again. They’ve become predictable.

In real life, we like to meet unique, interesting people. This is the same in fiction, so if you want your characters to be memorable, give them traits that are unique. It’s okay to exaggerate eccentricities so long as you can explain them during the course of the story. In real life, people are unbalanced and inconsistent, but stories have a finite timeline. If you highlight a peculiarity about a character, make sure you expound on the reason for it.

thelma and louise

Thelma and Louise

Here are three simple tips to remember:

1) Show us your characters by their actions. Your characters can be witty and spout interesting philosophies, but in the end, they are what they do. We judge people by their actions, so make them DO STUFF. This will allow readers to discover each character’s motivations as well.

2) Take your characters “out of character.” This goes back to eccentricities. Imbue them with contradictions. Just remember to explain these within the narrative.

3) Give them quirks, tics, and other oddities. Not every character needs to be peculiar, but use these distinguishing features to allow readers to tell your characters apart.

So … go ahead and write about the raven-haired beauty who’s smart as a whip but was born a blonde, the husband who cheated but refused to divorce his wife, the bad boy who loved women but had no clue how to get a date.

The next time you interact with someone, whether in person or not, keep an open mind for weird idiosyncrasies. If you write these well into your characters, your reader will follow them through suffering and celebration, love and heartbreak—every hurdle you throw their way. And your unique characters will stay in their memories long after they’ve finished reading your book.

~ eden

About the author

eden at benmcnallyEden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction—Spring into Summer, Fall into Winter, and Hot Flash, along with contributing to the anthologies: Allegories of the Tarot, Indie Authors Naked, and Triptychs.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas for the series—A Snake in Paradise and SEAL of a Monk can be found on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers! 

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Focus Friday: Stranger at Sunset

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Stranger at Sunset

Book 1 of a Trilogy

By Eden Baylee

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The body plummeted two and a half stories into the sea. It bobbed between crests before foamy waves swept in and yanked it under the surface. The tide rushed out dragging its new possession deep into the ocean’s dark belly. Swells curled and collapsed against the shore. The evening breeze whistled an eerie tune.

Despite how tightly his fingers gripped the large barrels, the binoculars trembled in the man’s hands. He now wished he had bought the more powerful Porro-prism model. This less expensive design darkened the image, especially against a pale orange sky reflecting the chopped glass of the water. While adjusting the diopter ring behind his right eyepiece, he bit down on his lower lip.

A silhouette met his lens, haloed by the glow of the setting sun. With his breath thickening the atmosphere, he pressed the eyepiece harder against his face to stop from shaking.

The woman stood naked with her hair pinned up, loose strands trailing down the nape of her slender neck. Her palms rested on the metal railing of the balcony. As she stared out at the churning sea, he zoomed in on her face, then moved his binoculars downward to her breasts, lingering there longer than he should have. Slowly, he lowered his gaze to her flat stomach. Firm thighs extended off the arc of round buttocks. A dancer’s body—willowy and muscular, but not too muscular, she was beauty and grace, and yet, what she just did …

A hint of dark pubic hair blurred past his lens. While he re-calibrated the magnification, she drifted out of focus. When he brought her back in view, her contemplative mood had changed. She moved a chair to the corner of the terrace. Gathering up a pile of bed sheets, she crossed the threshold into the room and scurried out of view.

He dared not avert his eyes. The light was fading fast, and night would soon fall upon the villa like a magician’s cape. With his elbows pressed to his sides, he loosened his grip on the binoculars and tried to flex his aching fingers.

She had to come back, right?

About Stranger at Sunset

“One of the most inventive murders I have ever come across in years of reading crime fiction … it will send a particularly icy chill up the spines of male readers.” – Crime Fiction Lover

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot in Jamaica.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the luxury resort is struggling due to a scathing review from travel critic, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though Kate is haunted by her own demons, she feels compelled to help. Can she uncover the motivation for the writer’s bitter review? In a battle of wits and psychological twists, terrible secrets will be revealed.

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/suspense that will keep you guessing to the end.

About the author

eden at benmcnallyEden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction—Spring into Summer, Fall into Winter, and Hot Flash, along with contributing to the anthologies: Allegories of the Tarot, Indie Authors Naked, and Triptychs.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas for the series—A Snake in Paradise and SEAL of a Monk can be found on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers! 

Sign up to get news of new releases, contests, and giveaways here

Visit her

Share