Q. When you write, do you edit as you work, or do you wait till the end and then polish? How many drafts does an average novel of yours go through?
A. If I had a pair of new shoes for every draft and revision I make to a novel I would have more shoes than Oprah and Mariah Carey combined. Everyday, I read over what I wrote the day before and edit before I go on to the next section. Every two weeks I read the manuscript from beginning to end so that I know the story by heart.
Q. Do you have other people read your work while you're writing, or do you like to wait until the story is finished?
A. When I finished North Star I had three people read it. They gave me their feedback and looked for errors and typos then I entered it in a few RWA sponsered contest. The feedback was great! I’ve decided to never let anyone read a work in progress. My book is too raw at that stage.
Q. Name one scene that you've written that you go back to re-read often because you like it so much.
A. Right now it’s a scene I wrote in North Star. It’s a moment where Caresse tries to push Graham out of her life. Her emotions are raw from what they both just experienced and she just doesn’t know if she can trust him with her vulnerability. I think everyone has experienced that with a significant other.
Q. Aside from writing, what other talents do you have?
A. In addition to writing, I can sing, cook, dance and make my dearest friends laugh. I guess you can say that I’m pretty gifted but everyone has various talents, right?
When I create characters, I don't think in terms of labels. I don't say, okay, I need an alpha male or a beta male; I just create a human being. I think about the environment my character was raised in and let their upbringing play an important part in establishing their personality. There are quite a few personality traits we're born with so I start with that base and then let experiences mold them.
It’s easy to love reading about a sexy alpha hero, but all of us can use a little help in writing one. For all you aspiring authors out there draw your attention to a blog event Kate Walker featured on her website called All About Alphas in April 14th - May 2009. (See
She wrote, “The alpha doesn’t get to his position if life by trampling weaker people under foot, he isn’t totally lacking in charm or generosity or a sense of humor. He doesn’t act brutally, ruthlessly, relentlessly except when the circumstances demand it of him, when he can see no other possible choice, when the only strategy is one that he feels he has no alternative but to follow because of the way that the challenge is presented to him. This is how he feels he, with his personal code of honor, must act - and that personal code may give him the conviction that he’s on the right path – at first - but as he goes through the story that conviction is challenged and has to adjust, adapt and finally be thrown overboard as he realizes that he is working from the wrong page.
He is not anti-women, or cruel for the sake of it. He is in a situation where he may have to act that way in the circumstances. The information he has been given about the woman he is dealing with – his heroine – may be flawed, inaccurate – but he believes it is right and that he is justified in acting on it.” (See http://www.kate-walker.com/ for more details.)
So here’s what I know about people, we have beliefs and values that control how we live our lives. The so-called alpha men in the Sherdian Series values freedom and adventure over security and safety. In fact, Latrell sees security as something to stay away from. To him, security might mean being tied down. And confinement or loss of independence is pretty scary to someone who's learned to depend solely on himself.
In the same vain, Graham, another Sheridan alpha male, sees openness and emotional sharing as other values to avoid. He has learned through experience to believe that being emotional -- to reveal his emotions -- is often viewed as being weak. So he believes if he reveals his weaknesses, he’ll leave himself open to attack. Either physically, emotionally, financially, whatever -- if he allows his weaknesses to show, he's setting himself up to be hurt. History has validated this theory for him.
For me, alpha males aren’t insensitive. They just have thicker skin that they try very hard to maintain so no one can get too close. And as a writer, it’s so much fun to prove them wrong.
These are quite funny and true.
1.) It is ok for a Man to cry under the following circumstances:
- When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
- After wrecking your boss’ car.
- When she is using her teeth.
2.) Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and buried by his friends.
3.) Unless he murdered or assaulted someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
4.) If you’ve known a Man for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever, unless you actually marry her.
5.) Moaning about the brand of free beer in a friend’s fridge is forbidden. Complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
6.) No Man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another Man. In fact, even remembering your friend’s birthday is strictly optional.
7.) On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
8.) When stumbling upon other men watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who’s playing.
9.) It is permissible to drink a fruity alcoholic drink only when you’re sunning on a tropical beach, and it’s free and delivered by a topless supermodel.
10.) Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another Man’s balls
11.) Unless you’re in prison, never fight naked.
12.) Friends don’t let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
13.) If a Man’s fly is down, that’s his problem, you didn’t see anything.
14.) Women who claim they “love to watch sports” must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
15.) A Man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
16.) Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both - that’s just mean.
17.) If you compliment a Man on his six-pack, you’d better be talking about his choice of beer.
18.) Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours, except if she’s withholding sex pending your response.
19.) Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another Man while lifting weights:
- Yeah, Baby, Push it!
- C’mon, give me one more! Harder!
- Another set and we can hit the showers!
20.) Never talk to a Man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing: i.e. Both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
21.) Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.
22.) The morning after you and a girl who was formerly “just a friend” have carnal drunken monkey sex, the fact that you’re feeling weird and guilty is no reason not to sex her again before the discussion about what a big mistake it was.
23.) There is no reason for guys to watch Men’s Ice Skating or Men’s Gymnastics. Ever.
24.) When you are queried by a buddy’s wife, girlfriend, mother, father, priest, shrink, dentist, accountant, or dog walker, you need not and should not provide any useful information whatsoever as to his whereabouts. You are permitted to deny his very existence.
25.) You may exaggerate any anecdote told in a bar by 50 percent without recrimination; beyond that, anyone within earshot is allowed to call “BULLS**T!”.
Exception: When trying to pick up a girl, the allowable exaggeration rate rises to 400 percent.
26.) The minimum amount of time you have to wait for another guy who’s running late is 5 minutes. For a girl, you are required to wait 10 minutes for every point of hotness she scores on the classic 1-10 babe scale.
27.) Agreeing to distract the ugly friend of a hot babe that your buddy is trying to hook up with is your legal duty. Should you get carried away with your good deed and end up having sex with the beast, your pal is forbidden to speak of it, even at your bachelor party.
28.) Before dating a buddy’s “ex”, you are required to ask his permission and he in return is required to grant it.
29.) The universal compensation for buddies who help you move is beer.
30.) A Man must never own a cat or like his girlfriend’s cat.
31.) When your girlfriend/wife expresses a desire to fix her whiney friend up with your pal, you may give her the go-ahead only if you’ll be able to warn your buddy and give him time to prepare excuses about joining the priesthood.
32.) If a buddy is out-numbered, out-Manned, or too drunk to fight, you must jump into the fight.
Exception: If within the last 24 hours his actions have caused you to think, “What this guy needs is a good ass-whoopin.”, then you may sit back and enjoy.
33.) If a buddy is already singing along to a song in the car, you may not join him, too gay.
34.) Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
35.) When a buddy is trying to hook up, you may sabotage him only in a manner that gives you no chance of hooking up either.
36.) Before allowing a drunken friend to cheat on his girl, you must attempt one intervention. If he is able to get on his feet, look you in the eye, and deliver a “F**** OFF!” You are absolved of your of responsibility.
37.) Never, EVER slap or smack another Man.
There are times when you wake up and it’s crystal clear what you need to do in your life. The excuses stop add up and delusions you’ve casted over your mind fall away like a fallen curtain.
That’s how I felt when I woke up this morning. Friday, I had a real epiphanic moment; when a person tells you what they want - believe them. It’s really just that simple. There’s no need to vain ignorance or question your senses. You’re intelligent so never question that. Just close your mouth and listen to the words they are speaking.
Remember the universe gives everyone what they want. If you want drama and confusion you’ll get it. If you want purpose, focus and positive people around, you’ll command it. So nurture the people that operate in your life in a manner that is conducive to the person you’re becoming.
Case in point - this weekend, I thought I was going to have a chance to touch base with someone significant in my life. When that didn’t happen, I was disappointed because I wanted a better understanding of that person but it just wasn’t mean to be. Their words were clear, re-connecting wasn’t a priority for them and that wasn’t my fault. It was just the truth! So I’ve accept it. Maybe the relationship wasn’t advantageous for my growth.
Does that lessen my loving feelings for them? No.
Does that erase the memories I’ll cherish for years to come? No.
Does that stop me from thanking God for the experience of them in my life? No.
God works in mysterious ways but one universal law remains the same, when you change your mindset the universe rises up to meet you. Just try to always listen from the heart and believe what you are hearing.
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