LIving with your characters

Hi everyone.jane

 

I had a break from blogging last week – family/real life getting in the way.  Back again though, and locked in the writing cave editing my Regency. 

A kind of weird thing struck me the other day, however.  Here it is 2013 and I’m writing a Regency set in 1813.  Isn’t that so freaky?  Exactly two hundred years apart. 

It also got me wondering (don’t get the straight jacket out yet), but I wonder if people back then thought about the future, what it would be?  I really don’t think they would have ever thought that we would be writing about them.  And yes I know my characters are made up etc, but to me they are real.

I remember a lifetime ago reading Juliette Benzoni’s books.  Loved, loved, loved her medieval series –Catherine and in my naiveté I wondered how she knew what these characters thought and said etc.   They were so real on the page and when the hero Anaud died, I was devastated, cried my eyes out.  It was just so unexpected. 

Now that I think is a sign of a great story and craftsmanship.  Ms Benzoni made me BELIEVE those characters were real.  I cared about them deeply.  Felt their pain, their joy, rode with them on horseback, smelt the flowers.  Basically I lived their story.   

They were my introduction to sagas that spanned over 6 books, similar emotions stirred years later when reading Jamie and Claire’s story in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. 

This got me to thinking (yes more thinking) about other characters I’ve loved.  Sophia James’  Lady Madeline Randwick in Ashblane’s Lady.   You feel her pain and despair from page one.  Then there is the fun and quirky Poppy Collins in Nicola Marsh’s  Not the Marrying Kind and the entire quirky town of Love in Crazy Love

Many a time as I’m reading I find myself grinning – a sure sign that it’s a satisfying read and that I really love the characters. 

With my own books, especially when I’m in galley edit mode just before publication I get the warm fuzzies particularly as I read the end.  It’s like ‘wow I wrote that’!  Such a buzz, and one of course I hope my readers will love it too.

 

So, who is your most favorite character of all time?  And why?  What reaction did you get when you finished their story?

 

Happy reading everyone

 

Jane Beckenham

 

PS – An excerpt from HE’S THE ONE

HestheOnesmaller

The moment Cade turned, everything changed.

Cade Harper. Bad boy. One sexy guy.

Taylor’s voice stalled in her throat, and she knew, when his smiling eyes captured hers, she was in way over her head.

Cade wiped his hands on a cloth and again Taylor’s gaze followed. Long, lean fingers. Fingers that would touch… Oh, boy!

He smiled. “You wanted to see me?”

She nodded and felt herself drowning in that smile. His dark eyes twinkled, a swirl of gold and chocolate brown. Just like Hershey Kisses.

Kisses!

Yep. She was definitely going under.

“Lady, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got a bar to run,” he said, grabbing a knife and cutting a lemon into wafer-thin slices.

Taylor shook herself. Okay. Come on. Just say it. “I’ve got a favor to ask.”

“Ask away then,” he said, not looking up.

Taylor burned and eyed the milling crowd. “Actually, it’s a proposition.”

He definitely looked then, and his gaze focused on her. He placed the razor-sharp knife on the cutting board. His mouth quirked at one corner, smiling, gaze assessing. “Sounds intriguing.”

Sounds stupid.

He leant forward and rested both hands on the bar, the flex and tension in his forearms a powerful tease. Taylor swallowed hard.

“Is there anywhere we can talk—privately?”

“Out back in the den.” He flicked a hand toward a door behind the bar.

“More like going into the lion’s den,” she muttered.

“You say something?”

“Ah…no.” She dropped her gaze. Damn. Why hadn’t she chosen a different career? One where her clients didn’t ask about sex?

Holding herself stiff and feeling as if all eyes followed her movements, she walked behind the bar. As she brushed past him, the musky scent of his cologne teased her senses. Taylor willed the butterflies dancing a tango in her stomach to abate. They didn’t listen.

No more than a storeroom with boxes piled high along three of its four walls and a desk barely visible beneath a pile of papers and computer sheets, this room wore many different hats.

Every word Taylor had practiced dissolved from her memory as Cade closed the door behind him. The soft click of the latch echoed a thousand-fold. She spun around. He leant against the door, arms folded across his formidable chest, his gaze candid. He looked dangerous—but very delicious.

He spoke first. “Do I know you?”

“Not really.” Not yet.

“Shame.” He gave another of his long, lingering smiles, the kind that emphasized the dimples on either side of his sexy mouth. It set her toes curling and her body pulsing. Her internal temperature gauge hit the jackpot. Oh, Lordy, she was out of her depth.

But here goes.

“I’m Taylor Sullivan. We didn’t meet, exactly, at Brianna Bennett’s wedding. I was her planner.” She jerked out her hand. Cade took it in his. Warm, strong fingers enveloped hers. The tips were slightly calloused, and the friction sent goose bumps skittering across her heated skin. She willed herself not to yank her hand from his and held herself in check.

“You touting for another wedding to plan?” Cade pushed away from the door, dwarfing the room. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of jeans that skimmed his long, muscular thighs. “If you are,” he said, with a shrug, “you’re out of luck. Marriage and I don’t mix.”

Taylor tightened her grip on her bag, desperate to silence the slamming of her heartbeat. “So I heard.”

“You’ve heard more about me than I have of you,” he replied.

A hint of a smile tipped the corners of her mouth. “You’re quite well known, Mr. Harper. Successful and entrepreneurial.”

“I work hard.”

“And play hard, so the papers say.”

“Gossip and innuendo,” he countered, his steely gaze sizing her up.

A bead of sweat trickled between her breasts. Cade hadn’t taken his eyes off her since they’d entered the back room.

That has to be a good thing. Shows he’s interested, her subconscious reminded her.

Taylor shifted from foot to foot.

It’s now or never, Sullivan.

With a deep breath that really didn’t soothe her chaotic thoughts, she pulled herself to her full five-foot-ten height and dived in. “I want you to have sex with me.”

Cade’s dark eyes bolted wide. “Whoa.”

Heat suffused Taylor’s cheeks. “Oh, hell, this is stupid.” How dumb could she be? She reached for her bag, but the over-laden carryall slid from her fingers and upended, scattering its contents across the floor.

Taylor gasped and, for one long, drawn-out second, simply stared. Her breath strangulated in her throat, and a furious heat burned behind her eyes. There, right at Cade’s feet, lay her box of condoms.

Blinking back tears, she dropped to her knees and gathered everything as fast as she could. “Stupid, stupid.”

Then worse worsened.

Cade reached the condoms the second before she did.

“You must be a good Girl Scout,” he said and passed the box to her.

Their fingers touched.

Their eyes met.

Held.

All the oxygen seemed to be sucked from her lungs. She pulled away, shaking her head, struggling for a semblance of practicality.

“Always be prepared. Isn’t that their motto?” Cade chuckled.

This was bad. Really bad. Mortified, Taylor refused to look at him and kept her lips firmly closed. She shoved the box into her bag and zipped it closed with a firm tug.

Open up again,she warned silently, and you’ll be in the rubbish bin.

She straightened, walked to the door and opened it. Strains of Dr. Hook’s “Sexy Eyes” wafted into the small room. How appropriate. Cade’s dark eyes were just that, downright sinful and sexy.

“Wait,” he said.

“Why?”

“You’ve just proposed something way out there and I want to know why.”

Her hand fell from the door.

“You intrigue me.”

Cade’s seductive gaze traveled her length, lighting a trail of heat to the tips of her toes.

“Are you going to tell me why you walked in here and offered yourself? Sex is a serious game.”

Taylor searched for the right words, unsure if there were any right ones. “In my business, I need experience.”

“You plan weddings. You don’t have to sleep with the grooms.”

Taylor gasped, but not one single word came out. Cade wanted an answer. Deserved one. She clutched her bag, kneading the leather. “I…get asked questions,” she finally managed to whisper.

“What sort of questions?”

“Damn it, Cade, do I have to spell it out?”

“Seems so,” he said with a hint of amusement glittering in his way-too-sexy eyes.

“You’re enjoying this.”

“Sure,” he said, not even denying it. He gave another of his smiles, the ones that got her all hot and bothered. And right now, she was very bothered.

“I get asked questions—about sex. S-E-X. Got it?” Taylor looked everywhere but at Cade.

“Got it.”

She thought he’d laugh, joke, something, but not do this…not be gentle. Cade caught her chin in his fingers, turning her so she had to look at him. “So why not answer them?”

Oh, man. Where were those damned red shoes of Dorothy’s when she needed them? Kansas looked pretty appealing right now.

“I can’t answer them.”

“Can’t?”

The tip of her tongue slid along her teeth. “Look, I realize this is on the edge of weird.”

“True,” he agreed, much to her chagrin. “I don’t have a beautiful lady come into my bar every day and ask for sex.”

He didn’t? Taylor’s brows knitted. Why not? Cade was hunk material. He made her forget—everything.

“Questions, you said,” he prompted.

Oh, God, there was no way out. Not even an earthquake could save her now. “The questions are something that goes with the territory of being a wedding planner. Brides get anxious,” she said, hugging her bag to her chest. “They may be experienced, even living with their partners, but sometimes, as the wedding draws near, they get skittery. They ask, um…questions—about sex. Questions I can’t answer, because…”

“Because you’re a virgin?”

Oh, where was that earthquake when a girl wanted it? “That’s right.” Heat burned her face. Her scalp. Everywhere. She speared Cade with a direct glare. Don’t you dare laugh! Don’t you make me feel any worse than I do, she silently challenged.

But he didn’t laugh. He didn’t smile. What he did was worse. Much worse.

He closed the gap between them. Taylor’s body erupted into high alert, nipples pebbling beneath her lacy bra. She could deal with him at a distance. But close up, everything changed. Body heat got in the way.

 

 

 

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