Guest blogger: Dale Mayer

I’m pleased to welcome freelance writer Dale Mayer to Magical Musings. Dale is multi-pubbed in nonfiction but her true love is the stories that weave through her mind. For the past nine years, she’s written around the daily responsibilities of being a single mother of four and still squeezes in time to write taut psychological suspense with romance and paranormal elements. She has recently branched out into both mystery and urban fantasy books for young adult with the occasional vampire book thrown in just for fun.


Dale is also a finalist in the Brava Writing With The Stars contest. Kensington Brava will publish the winning writer’s book. I loved Dale’s entry from last month’s contest. The second round starts today, and voting is open through Nov. 28th.

Now, here’s Dale!

Hero or Heroine…or does another character steal the show?

After you’ve closed the cover on a book you’ve just finished reading, is it the heroine that sticks with you. Do you resonate with her? Can you place yourself in her world and smile at the thought of walking in her shoes? Or is the male that bounces around in your thoughts? Is it the hunky look of him you remember, those few careful details that grabbed hold and stayed with you? Or is the heroic action he played out in the story that made you smile with delight – even now?

Books are many different things to people. Usually an escape from our daily lives but it’s the sign of a great book when the characters stay with you long past the story begins to fade. Who could ever forget Roarke from the JD Robb books? Not me! I think I’ve read most of the books and sure I can vision some parts and pieces of the various stories – but I could never forget him!

Several books come to mind where I’ve loved the heroine too. Menolly in the first book of Anne McCaffrey’s fire lizards series, Dragonsong, for example. I recently introduced my daughter to the series and now Menolly is one of her favourite characters too.

Sometimes the bad guy is the one that slips into my subconscious to never be forgotten – anyone else remember Hannibal Lector from the Silence of the Lambs? And what about those characters that are meant for light relief or to play a supporting role but end up stealing the show? If you’ve read Amy Atwell’s book, Lying Eyes, you know all about the scene stealing rabbit that will make off with your heart!

As a writer, I try to make characters memorable – every one of them should be unique. But even in Tuesday’s Child while I love my main characters I had to watch out for a heart stealing secondary character that wanted a book of his own. I write his description in the fourth challenge of the Brava Writing with the Stars contest.

When you read a book, do you relate to the hero or the heroin? Do you like characters that learn to bend or learn to be strong? Does it depend on the genre of a book, or is it always different? How often does a book surprise you with a secondary character that comes along and steal your heart?

Here is my entry for my Heroine and Hero.

Heroine

Samantha Blair is a powerful psychic who wakes up to find herself inside victims as they are being murdered. When she taps into a local killer, Sam contacts a detective – a man who makes her re-evaluate her solitary existence and lack of trust. As the danger escalates, Sam is determined to make a difference for the victims and herself. Steel runs through her spine. Life may have knocked her down in the past, but not out. Never out.

Hero

Tall, rugged, and with a soft spot for his matchmaking mama, Brandt Sutherland is a cop on the trail of a serial killer. With his piercing blue eyes and ‘take no prisoner’ attitude, Brandt has spent years avoiding serious relationships while delving into the darkest of crimes. Then he meets Sam, the one woman who makes him think ‘unconditional surrender’ – especially if it’s his own.

This is Edie again, reminding you that voting is open. I was in the American Title V contest last year and know how much it means to the writers. If you have a moment, please check out the contest entries and vote!

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27 Responses to Guest blogger: Dale Mayer

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Dale, thanks so much for being our guest today. Your descriptions are great! Love “Steel runs through her spine,” and his “soft spot for his matchmaking mama.”

    I checked out the site and round two isn’t up as I type this. I hope it’s up soon!

    And my answer to your questions, I usually relate to the heroine, but if a writer does the hero well, I relate to him, too. I like strong characters from the get go, or at least a sign that they have some grit, so whether the characters need to learn to be strong or to bend depends on the story. I love it when a secondary character steals my heart. I wish it would happen more often.

  2. Amy Atwell says:

    Great post, Dale–I love it when characters stick with me after I finish reading. Often, because the hero and heroine have achieved a happy-ever-after together, I find myself thinking about the secondary characters. If I’m lucky, these are characters who turn up in later books.
    Best wishes in the Writing With The Stars competition. I’ve been fortunate to read the full manuscript of Tuesday’s Child, and it’s amazing!

  3. Berinn Rae says:

    Dale – Best wishes on the contest!
    To answer your question, as I read, I love it if the heroine resonates with me.
    But for some reason, after I close a book, most times it’s the hero that I remember the most. I guess many authors tend to give the hero a stronger, more memorable personality.
    Belle from Gena Showalter’s Playing With Fire is one of those exceptions where the heroine is just so cool that I could never forget her.
    Berinn

  4. Dale, I loved reading about your hero and heroine! What a great entry :) . Best of luck to you on the the Brava contest. (I’m a Kensy author, so I’ll be cheering extra loud for you!!!) Off to vote right now…

  5. Been by BRAVA and put in my vote for Dale!

    I’ve had heroes and heroines stick in my mind. I set up WAY too late last night reading All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins, and it’s the heroine’s grandfather who is sticking. He was a great character. But so were the H/H. The heroine had a brother and I’ve got fingers cross that she’ll revisit this whole family and tell the brother’s story.

    The downside is sometimes I don’t want to move on…I want to stay with the characters and there’s nothing left.

    Jude Deveraux wrote The Duchess years ago. It’s the only book that I finished and turned back to page one and started all over again. I couldn’t leave those characters just yet.

    Oh to write characters that strong!

  6. LaDonna says:

    Dale, good luck with the contest, girl! :smile: I, too, love great characters. Sometimes it’s the main characters that hang around long after the story is read. And once in a while, a secondary character will fight for more time in the spotlight and the author follows that voice.

    As a writer, I love when an unexpected secondary character makes me sit up and pay attention. Those are the characters I watch for, and remember for future stories. Who doesn’t love a character that challenges you, and makes you remember them? Bless their little hearts, I love them all!

  7. Dale says:

    Hi Everyone – as usual I’l late coming to my own party ;-) The joys of living in the west coast and trying to get the kids out the door.

    I’ll start by saying a special thanks to Edie for inviting me today. It’s always a pleasure to be able to join my friends here at Magical Musings!

    Thanks for checking on the link – I gather RT is west coast too! Thanks for the comments on my descriptions. It’s hard to boil a character who has 300 odd pages of transformation in one way or another down to 150 words or less. I struggled a lot with this challenge. I love my characters, but did I get the very essence of them out for others to see – I guess that’s why they call it a challenge!

    Here’s to finding more books where the secondary characters steal your heart!

    Dale

  8. Dale says:

    Hi Amy, thanks so much for the kudos on Tuesday’s Child, it wouldn’t be as good without your valuable input so thanks for that.

    I wonder if the stronger more memorable heros are a by-product of the romance genre? Think mystery series and my mind comes up with Kinsey Mahone from Sue Grafton’s very popular series. Then they is the YA genre of which female main characters are stealing the market (after Harry stepped aside of course – lol). Then there’s my 13 year old daughter, who loves a character that she put herself inside, walks around sighing about the hunky boys these heroines get to meet.

    I wonder, is that the book, the hero, or just being 13!

    Dale

  9. Dale says:

    Hi Berinn,

    I ended up half answering your comment above about memorable hereos but I agree totally about reading and relating to the female lead as we live and experience the character’s life as she moves through the book – if the male is what I remember afterwards, he’s made a heck of an impression at one point and it will be that incident I remember him by.

    I’ve never read Gena Showalter’s Playing With Fire – thanks for putting that one up – it now goes on my TBR pile! Thanks,

    Dale

  10. Dale says:

    Hi Marilyn!

    Well I’d love to join you as a Kensy author – doing my best! Thanks so much for the vote and the best wishes.

    Have a great day!

    Dale

  11. Dale says:

    Hi Cyndi! Waving madly from Canada atcha!

    Thanks for the vote. Don’t you wish you could write like that? I own the Duchess, and have devoured it many times. It’s a funny thing about moving to other characters, sometimes I like the little tidbits that are mentioned about previous characters and sometimes I don’t because they don’t sound the same as I remember them in my head.

    Readers are funny ducks and the only we can do is write the best darn book we can!

    Dale

  12. Dale says:

    Hi LaDonna,

    I love that comment about following that voice – a secondary character in Tuesday’s Child is very strong and he soooooo needs his own book. It was hard to stop him from overwhelming the story at times. I should honor that and write his story next – well after the Nano book I’m writing lol.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Dale

  13. :lol: Definitely the hero. Roarke is one of my favorites but all time, Jamie of Outlander fame. O my, he’s everything a woman can possibly want in a man. He’s the one I heart through the book, but then as in C.L. Wilson’s latest, the completion, the sealing of the romantic bond between the H/H is what carries on.

    • Dale says:

      Hi Marley – thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by! I love Jamie from Outlander??? Good choice! I haven’t read C.L Wilson’s – but just knowing that that romantic bond is something that stays with your long after will send me to the bookstore looking for it!

      Thanks for bringing that one up.

      Have a great day!

      Dale

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  15. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Dale. Thanx for joining us here at MM. Great blog and one that makes you think. Since I generally read urban fantasies written in the first person, I tend to relate to the heroine. But surprisingly, what really captures my attention most often is the world building. If an author can build a solid world around her or his story, I dwell on that more than the characters. How weird is that?

  16. Dale says:

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks for the warm welcome – now world building? Isn’t that a concept to consider. That is certainly a factor in why I love Anne McAffrey’s Pern books and Jayne Castle’s Harmony series. I’m more than willing to buy one of Jayne’s just for a chance to revisit that world and the dust bunnies of course – what was that about secondary characters stealing the show??

    Dale

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Dale, I’m a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s earlier Pern books, and of anything JAK writes, in all her pseudonyms. But I really love her dust bunnies. And, yes, they do steal the show.

  17. Dale, I love your descriptions. I just voted. And what’s up with Miriam Kriss? She was actually kind to everyone!!

    About characters, I have the most fun writing villains. In my latest book, the heroine and her friends are the main characters, but I made the love interest so darn cute, I’ll have to bring him back.

    Great blog. I’ll send all my friends to vote.

  18. Dale, I love your descriptions. I’m on my way to vote for you right now. :)

    A lot of the characters that stand out in my mind are from mainstream fiction, I think because as Amy says, the h/h have their HEA. A lot of mainstream fiction, we’re left short of the HEA, and it weighs on my mind. LOL.

    An example is the police procedural books with the main protagonist a police officer who was an abused child, and her foster parents, a policeman and his wife, took her in and legally adopted her. Every one around her believes her to be a sociopath, because of the way she works, but she is so much more complex and not quite so easily boxed. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the series, no doubt it will come to me just as I log off the computer.

  19. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Michelle! Thanks for both the compliment and the vote. I had such a hard time over these descriptions. Every word became a painstaking question of is this right word, best choice, even the correct idea? It was horrible to do, but now that they are up there and I can’t change them….I’m okay with them. There’s nothing like having them taken out of your hands so you can’t tweak them anymore. lol.

    I think that’s why the romance genre is so popular – we’re all looking for that HEA! That smile at the end that makes you cheer for the characters and ultimately for you and your own life.

    Dale

  20. I’m actually an easy reader. I tend to devour a book, then move on to the next one.

    I listen to my characters as they tell their stories. I love my H&H, but sometimes my bad guys get too much attention.

    I just love a good story. Yours should win this contest!

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Mary – thanks so much for stopping by! I went through a stage where I just read – inhaled – everything. All my pregnancies were like that – I couldn’t get enough. In the last decade or so, I notice myself being drawn to series where I can stay in touch with the same characters.

      Like you my characters tell my stories – whether I like it or not!

      Thanks so much for your vote of confidence – I’m doing my best!

      Have a great evening.

      Dale

  21. Angi Morgan says:

    Great post. I related to every point you made.
    Thanks,
    ~~Angi

  22. Carrie Lofty says:

    Good luck with the Brava contest, Dale. That must be very exciting!

  23. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Carrie, thanks for stopping by and commenting. You’re right! It’s been a very exciting journey to be part of this contest. Not for the shy and retiring types though!

    I am happy to have been involved – even if I go no further, it’s been a great experience.

    Dale

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