Friday, April 18, 2014

The Evolution of a Character – The Birth of Charlie Parker

The Evolution of a Character
I rewarded myself the other day. When I finished Thunderbird and shipped it off to Ryan to read through – we coauthored it – it was his turn to check our consummation of ideas – oh that sounded dirty, I like it. Anyway, I rewarded my efforts by taking a small trip. I left East Texas and drove about five hours east to Waco. The mission I was on was the hunt for a motorhome. Sable Hunter needs a research vehicle and Beau Coup needs a traveling office to visit authors and conferences – deductible, you see. Anyway, I found one. I haven’t purchased it yet, I’m waiting to see how much more taxes I have to pay before I sign on the dotted line. But this is it – A Thor Challenger. Pretty spiffy – I am excited.
When I take trips like this, I tend to want to write them off – if I can. As I was traveling west, I passed the area where I set Breath of Heaven – the home of the King Family – El Camino Real Ranch. Actually I traveled out on the King’s Highway for part of the journey. So, my mind began to wander on how I could incorporate this trip and this area into a future book. I considered the historical western I’m putting together, but it will be set between Milam, Tx and Nacogdoches, TX – a romance about a young Texan and a Creole slave. But since this was quite a few miles west, I couldn’t see how I could effectively work it in – and then it hit me.
Justice King and Charlie Parker.
I haven’t named the book yet, but it will be the sequel to A Breath of Heaven. When I was writing that story and building the background, I wrote about Abby’s brothers – and the oldest was Justice. I liked the name. I can already see him – the tall, broad, silent type – who rarely smiles and takes life too seriously. Handsome as sin. Doesn’t expect to fall in love. And as I was writing it, I casually slipped in the name of his future love. Although at the time, I knew nothing about her – nothing. Charlie Parker. The way I did it was have one of his brothers ask Justice about her and had him overreact in a negative way – “the day I take up with Charlie Parker is the day you can have my sanity checked” or some such exclamation. His reaction was the type – “methinks thous dost protesteth too much.”
So, I didn’t know who Charlie was, but I decided she needed to have a Waco connection, so I could write off the trip – make sense?
As I drove, I got to thinking about what type of person Charlie was and who she was. And as my tires ate of the miles, she began to be born and grow and evolve – and BAM! It hit me. In Waco, one of the main tourist attractions is the TEXAS RANGER MUSEUM. And I had never been! I was fascinated by the Rangers, in fact my Ty in My Aliyah was a Ranger, but that arm of Texas law is endlessly fascinating and I wondered – I wondered – were there female rangers? I didn’t know, but I determined to make that my first stop and ascertain if I could make my heroine one of the legendary Texas Rangers.
Of course that was the first step. I had to think about what type of person she was – what she looked like, how she talked – what her background was, her personality – etc. Now, I will confess EVERY heroine I write about is me. Me. – not Sable – the real me. In order for me to immerse myself in the books, I step into them. My experiences, insecurities, hurts, dreams – hopes – humor, sex – - it’s all me, or parts of me. So, I had to dig into my past and find Charlie.
Charlie is a tomboy. Makes sense. Her mom died early in life, and her father had always wanted a boy – hence her name. And by the way – Charlie is her name, not Charlotte or Charlene – just Charlie. So, her dad raises her and she grows up on the ranch, working alongside her dad. Now, here is where I step in. My stepfather raised me. And he was like that. I never was a prissy little girl – back in Louisiana, I roamed the swamps barefoot, brandishing a peach tree switch sword as I chased alligators and let the mud squish between my toes – running rampant along the bayou and swinging from vines into the murky waters. So, when I moved to Texas – it was a scene change but not a far step to horseback and ranch life. I immersed myself with the cattle and horses. Being young, I didn’t know a lot about the facts of life. So when my stepdad would tell me to stay in the house, that he had to go ‘dig up’ a calf. I thought he was serious. Actually he was going to help a mama cow give birth, but in my small mind, I thought he was out in the pasture with a shovel hunting buried bovine treasure. And after he had proceeded to dig up that calf, he would always come get me and I would get calf sugar – my favorite part. Kissing the babies and naming them and proceeding to drive him crazy because I wouldn’t let him sell them when they were older. But what really got my stepfather’s goat was the day he caught me out in the pasture with his shovel, digging small holes all about – trying to dig up my own calf. So, I was able to relate to Charlie.
Charlie is feminine, but she hides it. No one sees her frilly bedroom or knows she wears pretty underwear. She has never been the prettiest girl. Her figure is slight and her breasts are small – but her heart is big, almost as big as her determination to be everything her stepfather wanted -  A Texas Ranger. So, she exhibits this tough exterior – s five foot six, one hundred pound ball of fire who takes no crap and always gets her man – except one. The man she loves. Justice King. You see, she’s not woman enough for Justice. He deserves a beautiful woman – and even though she loves him to distraction, anytime they’re together – and they are thrown together a lot – they fight. He is the proverbial thorn in her side, or maybe it’s the other way around.
Anytime Justice hears Charlie’s name – he bristles. Damn woman. She risks her life. She lives dangerously – when all he secretly wants to do is take care of her. But he doesn’t know how to handle Charlie. And Charlie would like nothing more than being handled by Justice  – - – and so the plot thickens. Or the plot is born or evolved. As I drove that five hours west, I began to see and hear and feel Charlie.
When I got to Waco, I went to the museum. I parked in the shade so Abby and Mojo wouldn’t get too hot and went in to see what I could do with Charlie Parker. Here is a picture of the museum and a statue out front.
When I got there, it had typical museum atmosphere. The woman at the front desk had a strange look on her face and asked me if I had heard a little child’s voice and I looked at her funny and told her there was one outside on the porch. She looked relieved and said she had been hearing ghosts all day – and then she gave me a pointed stare (obviously she didn’t know who she was talking to ) and told me the museum was haunted. Well, duh. What any self respecting museum with the belongings of long dead cowboys would not be haunted?
I proceeded to walk through – and I was fascinated. Guns, flasks, saddles – hats. Photos. You can imagine what was there. The place was set up in collections – the precious belongings of people and relatives who had loved these men down through the ages. I learned of their lives. How some of them were surveyors or bootleggers. I learned what towns they had saved – what people they had killed. How some had died in battle. Others had won medals of valor. The curator was right, the place was haunted. I could feel the spirits of the men who had conquered the west and fought for Justice and peace for Texas.
When I came to the rear, I found a wall of current photographs that depicted those who are serving in the Rangers now. And as I looked at their faces – some handsome by the way – I found what I was looking for. Three of them – just three – were woman. I stared at their faces and imagined mine there, because remember – Charlie is me. And I smiled.
I’m going to have a good time writing about Charlie Parker. She’s going to turn Justice King’s world every which way but loose.
I left the museum and me and the dogs went to get a hotel room. We travel alone for the most part – its safer that way. Sable is a dangerous traveling companion. Sable does better alone. She’s just a trouble maker. But there was some construction going on in Waco and my hotel was brim full of hunky men. As I was checking in, I was checking quite a few out.
The next day we went to look at RV’s and I found one. When I buy it, I’ll take some photographs for you as I travel the highways and byways discovering other plots and other stories that I can weave myself into.
I live in my books.
And it’s not a bad place to be.
Thank you. If you’ll comment on your favorite vacation, I’ll give away a copy of Thunderbird when it comes out in a couple of weeks. BAM!
Love, Sable.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Blogger - Katherine Rhodes

Strong Women

by Katherine Rhodes

Take a moment to look at some men’s fantasies. You don’t need to go buy a skin magazine (*blush*)- just look around on the internet, carefully. Look at some old silly ‘men’s magazines’. Ask a guy. What you’re going to find in quite a few of these is a figure they’ll call the dominatrix: a woman with whips and crops and black stiletto knee boots. She’ll probably be photographed or drawn from a low angle. She might have her foot propped up on a man’s back. She’ll be wearing black leather and may even have her little pet on a leash.
That gent at the end of her leash is a submissive. A guy who likes to give up his control to a woman.
And surprise! Men dig that fantasy! So why can’t women? …or rather, why aren’t there more stories about women who also enjoy that fantasy?
Being the submissive is a great fantasy. It is a completely legitimate desire to want to a guy to take care of everything for you in the bed, and if you’re in the larger lifestyle, take care of all the big decisions. So why not dream the other half of that? Why don’t we see more women-centered Domme or Femdom stories? Aren’t we only showing half the story?
Submissive guys are hot. Double especially if they’re hot guys. Imagine one that only goes sub in the bedroom for their women. Outside that room, they are all male. Dress um up in a nice tailored suit, polish their shoes… Delish.
Oh, ahem. Sorry.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The man is still ultimately in charge of the whole situation; they are the real power in a D/s relationship with a Domme. But, think about the amazing trust that must exist for a man to trust his woman to do what needs to be done. He gives up control to her. Completely. A man must truly know himself and his Domme to be able to do that. And that is hot.

I have to admit—I’m having way too much fun writing these stories. Most of them are going to have some strong  women who are looking for perfect, hot alpha male that doesn’t try to keep them down, but helps to boost them up.  You want to know why one of my favorite movies is “Ever After?” Because Danielle (Cinderella) has a father who loves her and teaches her everything, including how to survive, how to save herself, and how to inspire Henry to be more king than his father was. ‘Strong woman’ doesn’t mean she can kick your ass- it means she can save her own, deal with the emotional crap, get to work on time, and make sure the baby’s in bed by eight. All with her man helping her along.

The best kind of relationship: she doesn’t need you there, she wants you there.  And maybe if you’re lucky, she’ll want to tie you up… 

Katherine's Amazon Best Selling book Consensual and Broken Bonds are part of Beau Coup Publishing.

Here's an excerpt from Consensual:

“SHIT!” The thunderous crash of exploding glass had been followed by the indelicate swear, then followed again by a stream of curse words which made Nathaniel balk. That was a feat in and of itself after his four years in the Air Force, but what really surprised him was the melodious voice which gave rise to the profanity. He walked over to the door and opened it quietly, stepping out of his office. He couldn’t see anything, so he stepped out further to take a better look. To the right, just in front of his brother’s office was the most delicious looking backside he’d seen in a long time. Round, firm globes just begged to be fondled. He had to clench his fists to stem the impulse to reach out and touch. Bent over at the waist, he had a clear view of the top of her stockings and the garter clips holding them up. Even more enticing was the glimpse of smooth white, lickable flesh. Lust rose in Nathaniel, heating his blood.

The damsel was clearly in distress. He finally managed to pull his eyes away, backed up to where he couldn’t see the extremely sexy lingerie and cleared his throat. The woman stood up to look back at him as he re-approached the situation. Nathaniel prayed fervently in that second that this was not his brother’s new secretary because he had every intention of asking her out. She looked like a startled chipmunk, eyes wide and ready to bolt. Her hair was a true auburn no dye could ever imitate, with a creamy, lightly sun-kissed color to her face. Those wide eyes were hazel and bright, rimmed with luscious lashes and perfectly shaped eyebrows. While her lips weren’t plump, they were delicate and pink, slightly parted in shock. She slammed the name plate down on the desk to break the tension in the air. Nathaniel breathed a curse under his breath. Damn. Victor’s new secretary. And he’d forgotten about Jillian. Oh, hell. “Do you need some help?” he asked with a hint of amusement in his voice.

“I’m fine!” she snapped, and her voice was definitely the source of the melodic swearing. He walked over, holding up his hands in surrender, just in case she decided to lob the nameplate at him. “Let me help.” “I’m. Fine,” she repeated, this time kneeling down to gather up what was all over the floor. He could see large pieces of glass, probably a vase of some kind. He walked over and grabbed her hand to keep it away from the glass. She spun her hand out of his grip and then shoved him away hard enough for him to lose his balance. “I don’t need help.” Her unexpected move caught him totally off guard. He set back firmly on his ass. WTF? “Hey! I’m just trying to keep you from cutting your hands open.” He climbed to his feet and dusted off his pants and jacket. “Stand up. Stop groveling on the floor.” He held his hand out for her. “I don’t need help,” she said. “You’re right,” he said, stooping down and grabbing her elbow. “You need a janitor.” He hauled her to her feet. “Damn it, stop,” she said, turning around and looking at him.

She finally, really saw him. “Oh, my God. Mister Walsh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize—” “I just didn’t want to have to call an ambulance because you sliced your hand open,” he said. “Honestly, leave it. I’ll get a janitor.” “Did you hear me swearing?” she asked, her cheeks pinking up. “Yes.” He smirked. “I was impressed.” He looked down at the pieces of glass. “I hope it wasn’t anything of sentimental value.” “From my… uh, ex,” she said. “I liked it, but it wasn’t sentimental.” He turned the name plate so he could see it. Interesting, just her title and last name. “Well, Ms. Westerly, you’re here awfully early for your first day.” “I wanted to get my desk set up,” she said, then added an oddly hesitant “Sir”. “You’re on the executive floor,” he said. “And in this company, we’re not big on formal protocol. Please, I’m Nathaniel.”

“Emmy,” she said, sticking her hand out. “Emmy,” he repeated, shaking her smooth, soft hand. She had a firm, no-nonsense grip for such a feminine woman. “Pleasure to meet you.” “I didn’t hurt you when I shoved you, did I?” “Just my pride,” he teased. “Sorry.”   She grimaced. “Nah, it’s all right.” He grinned. “Everyone needs a little humiliation.” Her skin instantly flamed red, and she looked away, clearing her throat. “Well, I don’t need to keep you from your work, Mis— Nathaniel. I just wanted to get my desk set up before Mister Walsh—” “Victor,” he said. “… Victor arrived for the day.” Nathaniel nodded his head. Idiot. “Victor clearly forgot his own schedule. He’s due to fly out to Germany today at noon for a conference in Munich.” Emmy was clearly appalled and embarrassed. Nathaniel sighed. “And that’s why Vic the Dingbat needs you, madam. Go on, set up your desk. My admin Gwen has been covering while he did the search for you, and I’m sure she’ll have work to hand off to you.” “When will M— Victor be back?” “Late Thursday,” Nathaniel said. “And I’m sure he’ll need you on Friday to get his scattered-brained-ass back together.” He smiled. “I can say that, he’s my brother.” Emmy laughed. It was a pleasant, high sweet sound which echoed through the hallway and unexpectedly made his cock jerk. “Are you always early, Nathaniel?” “Not always. I have a conference in Boston next week, and I have a lot I want to get done before then. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave Gwen an email and we can work everything out. I’ve got paperwork to attend to. I’ll get the janitor up here, too.” “Of course,” she said. “Thank you.” “My pleasure.” He walked back to his office to leave her alone. He couldn’t say he wasn’t tempted to peer around the corner and watch her again. Damn it, Victor. This isn’t fair. She’s a sexy woman and you won’t even be able to appreciate her. He sat at his desk, fantasizing about how he’d love to prop her foot on his chest and ease those silk stockings down her luscious legs, then kiss a path all the way… shit! What the hell! Where was this coming from? He never acted like this. He had work to do! And Emmy had her work cut out for her. Victor’s desk and office was a disaster, and how was Victor so disorganized anyway? His older brother had a degree in business planning, but he couldn’t keep a desk calendar? He straightened out the papers on his desk from where he’d tossed them and went back to work. Or at least he tried. The image of Emmy’s thigh-highs haunted him the entire day. He managed to push them out of his mind eventually. Eventually being late Wednesday afternoon when the office exploded into action from a complete disaster. A train full of products— organic corn seed and seed potatoes for several heirloom farms— was derailed just outside the yard. Not only had several cars spilled, but there were several more trains scheduled to leave in just hours. Gwen went flying out the door with her camera phone to the yard and took pictures to assess the damage. Tank and Henry went into emergency mode, checking routes for the chance to get the other trains out of the yard. And to Nathaniel’s relief, Emmy adroitly handled all the calls, reroutes and messages for him, Victor, Tank, Henry and Cecelia, who had immediately started looking for replacements for the lost seeds. An interoffice chat popped up. Emmy W.: Gwen has all the pictures uploaded to the server. Nathaniel opened the server connection and found the pictures. It was much worse than he thought. The eight cars they had lost were a twisted mess and there was no saving those, never mind the contents. But it was clear they had lost cars on either side of the derailment. At least two in front and possibly as many as four in the back. He slammed his fist down. The phone was ringing, but he ignored it. He continued flipping through the pictures, becoming more and more disgruntled. All that product, all over the ground, useless and ruined. Now the farmers might not get their crops in on time.
They’d have to refund the lost portions, or find another supplier, but this late in the season locating another supplier probably wasn’t going to happen. He really didn’t want to lose the heirlooms. The computer dinged with a new message. Emmy W.: Gwen on line three, important. Nathaniel W.: Just tell her the pictures are there. I’ll call her in a few. He needed to pay attention to the situation. This wasn’t something he wanted to rush through. He had a lot of other things he had to line up and deal with before he could bother confirming pictures. He had to make a list of suppliers who might still have stock and see if they would be able to negotiate prices down. This late in the season only the lowest quality would be left and— The door slammed open. “Mister Walsh, line three. Now.” She startled the shit out of him. So much so, the receiver was nearly at his ear before he even realized he’d moved his hand. He was so astonished at the tone and command coming out of Emmy’s mouth, he was barely able to acknowledge Gwen on the phone. “Nathaniel!” Gwen snapped through the phone. “What?” He shook his head and cleared his mind. “Gwen, yes. What’s going on?” “It’s bad,” she said. “They just found one of the yardmen under the corn.” His heart leapt into his throat. “How bad?” “He’s dead, sir,” Gwen said. “He suffocated.” A sick feeling slammed Nathaniel in his gut. The handset fell out of his hand and he stared at Emmy still standing in the door. She had a sad, apologetic look on her face. Nathaniel ran a hand through his hair, nodding at her. She pulled the door closed. He then picked up the phone and looked at the pictures. “Wasn’t the train out of the yard, Gwen?” “No, sir,” she replied. He heard her walk a few feet away from wherever she was. “No, Nathaniel. It wasn’t. From what I’ve seen here, there’s more going on than I care to say over the phone. There are some pictures you need to see. You and Vic are not going to like this.”

Get the rest of the story from the book Consensual by Katerine Rhodes from Beau Coup Publishing on Amazon