Wolves for the Holiday 1.1, by Josette Reuel is a short story with the potential to be a longer supernatural romance. As with many short stories, it feels like there should be more. The ground work is laid for secondary characters to have relationships, providing plenty of subplot material that Reuel fails to take advantage of, and readers are left wanting more. This story has the potential to become a novel length work, if more fully developed.
When first three wolves, and then later, three naked men show up at a secluded mountain cabin, where three writer friends are taking a writer’s retreat, things promise to get a little weird. That’s where the problem lies, for three women in a secluded cabin just wouldn’t react the way these women do, so I had a hard time buying into the story. The premise is good. Actually, the premise is great, but Reuel fails to suspend my disbelief.
Then there is the romance element, which is good, and almost believable. However, having our heroine submit to the Alpha male makes her appear weak, conforming to typical female stereotypes. The males are stereotyped as well, but I could buy that because they are wolves, after all.
After our two protagonists have their romp in the hay, there is no follow through. The story just ends, leaving the reader feeling cheated. Relationships with her friends and his pack members are alluded to, but not shown. We can only guess what was happening in the rest of the cabin while the main romance is blossoming in the bedroom. I will say the bedroom scene itself was done tastefully.
Wolves for the Holiday 1.1 has a great premise, but fails to deliver, doesn’t carry through the full romance arc, has a weak female protagonist, but does include a well written bedroom scene. I give it two quills.
Tangled Web is the first book in a new rock star romance series by Jade C. Jamison. I picked up this book because I was so impressed with another book I reviewed by the same author, Bullet, and this book did have the same power to draw me into the story. However, this story is much shorter and left me feeling like there should be more.
Two old friends discover that they each had hidden feelings for the other. In Tangled Web, we watch as this discovery emerges, but the story ends as they realize their feelings for one another. While it is the moment the story has been leading up to, it feels more like a climax than an ending. It is the moment when everything changes, but I felt short changed because the reader isn’t allowed the opportunity to learn the outcome of the grand event. We don’t get to see the “Happily Ever After”. I guess it is assumed, but it would be more satisfying to see it unfold.
The story is good, the erotic scenes tastefully written, and I quite enjoyed this read. Tangled Web has the potential to be a really good romance, but it left me wanting more. I give it three quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs at no charge. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Since this month’s memo date falls near Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write about how to pick your protagonist’s love interest for a story. I find you can’t always decide on the dynamic between a couple until you write out their first meeting. So with that in mind, here is how I go about doing that.
To start, we need to first pick your core protagonist. If you have one in mind, that’s great, skip to Step Two below. If not, begin at Step One.
Step One: Pick your protagonist.
An easy way I find to create a core protagonist when I’m really struggling is to think of three people I know. Then I think of a prominent personality trait for each of them.
Person 1: Talks too much, and rambles.
Person 2: Is obsessed with dogs.
Person 3: Is always negative.
Try to pick traits that don’t overshadow each other. So don’t pick traits like one loves cats and the other loves dogs. Once you have the three traits, combine them to create the partial personality for your new protagonist. Using those traits as a jumping point, come up with other details about the character you are creating. Male or female? Age range? Occupation?
For mine, we’ll say it’s a female, who is a vet, and who is in her late 20s.
Keep expanding the details of your protagonist until you feel like you have a good general idea of who they are.
Step Two: Find the love interest.
If you already have a protagonist in mind, make sure you can describe them as if they were one of your friends you’ve known for years. What’s their hobby, what’s their job, what’s their secret wish, what’s their favorite thing in the world, and what’s their biggest pet peeve? You should be able to at least answer the above questions, but preferably much, much more.
Once you have the general idea of the protagonist, it’s time to find their love interest. Whenever I have to find a love interest, I always make a list of the places my character is most likely to be because these are the places the love interest is most likely to be found.
For my example: My character is most likely to be in her vet’s office, at home, or maybe volunteering at an animal shelter. So the place she’s most likely to meet her future love interest is in one of those places. Let’s go with at the Vet’s office.
Once you choose where they may meet, then it’s time to choose who the love interest is. What kind of person would go to that place? For mine, it’s clearly going to be a pet owner, or maybe a vendor selling vet supplies, or even a coworker. I chose the easy one, pet owner.
Now go through the character building questions again – what does this love interest look like? What do the like to do? Why are they at this place interacting with your protagonist? Do they share any of the same personality traits as your protagonist? Do they starkly contrast to any traits? I usually like to have one strong thing that the two characters connect with (for mine, a love of animals), and then I have two or three things they can disagree on and fight over (for mine, attitude and the proper treatment for the pet).
Step Three: The first interaction.
The key to every love story, in my opinion, is the first interaction. In general, I find that love story first meetings go one of three ways: either the couple feels an instant spark, they instantly hate each other, or they barely notice each other at all except mild acknowledgment. So decide which of the three ways your meeting is going to go.
If they’re going to get along, decide what they instantly connect on and go with it. Write the scene and let try to make it last a few pages in the first draft. Show the strength of their immediate connection. Is it just physical, or is it mental, or both? Do they plan to meet again? Or never again? Explore the scene and free write a bit, you can cut it down later.
If they’re going to fight, then what is it that’s going to make them hate each other? Since my protagonist is always negative, I think it would work best if she and the pet owner get in a fight initially. She wants him to treat his dog with a specific medicine, but he’s adamant that he wants to treat the dog naturally. Whatever your characters are fighting about, write the scene.
It’s generally works better if they can both be somewhat right, because you want them both to be likable. So for mine, I wouldn’t make the illness for the dog anything serious, maybe something minor like fleas, and then the fight isn’t something that would make the owner, or the vet, unlikable.
If they’re barely going to notice each other, they still have to connect on some small scale so there is something to build their relationship on as the story progresses. So what is the small detail they’re each going to remember about each other? Do they both buy the same item in a store? Do they both do something kind for the same stranger without knowing it? Does something one does have a positive impact on the other somehow?
Write the scene and see what transpires between your protagonist and new love interest. Remember, you aren’t writing the entire relationship, you’re writing the first meeting. You want to leave room for their relationship to grow and develop. So make sure when the pair parts, there’s room for things to continue changing between them.
I really think the first meeting is the key to developing any relationship because it sets the tone for everything to come in the story for that couple. Once you have that first meeting right on paper, then you can build the rest of the relationship from there.
Until next month, happy writing!
Bullet is the first book in Jade C. Jamison’s Rock Star Romance series. This book was presented as an erotic romance, so I approached it with expectations of one big non-stop sex scene that would make me blush just reading it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, although there were explicit sex scenes, they were sprinkled in like a good seasoning, used to enhance the romance story, enhancing rather than overwhelming the main course.
Jamison takes readers on a journey into the world of heavy metal rock, where the music is loud, the partying hard, and sex is abundantly available. Valerie is young and a little naive, but she loves metal and the long-haired, pierced and tatooed bad boys that go with it. In college, she meets Ethan, who fits the profile, and she falls for him hard, so hard that her love for him brings her running back to him again and again, no matter how bad he mistreats her.
Bullet is the story of her relationship with Ethan and his band mate, Brad. It’s the story of drugs, sex and rock and roll. I give Bullet four quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth gives honest reviews and never charges. If you have a book you would like reviewed you can contact Kaye at kayebooth[at]yahoo[dot]com