Thursday, 13 June 2013

Meet LAKOTA HONOR'S Otakatay.

When I was writing LAKOTA HONOR I remembered Stephen King's words in his book On Writing, “If you can make your reader have empathy for your killer, you’ve done it all.”

Thus, Otakatay was born. He has become one of my favourite characters so far. (Picture to the left is Jason Momoa, who I saw as Otakatay)

As I plotted out his story I wondered how I was going to make my reader fall in love with a deadly bounty hunter hired to kill women. Anyone in their right mind would hate, despise and be frightened by him.
And so, I asked myself what about this killer would be different than all the others? Why will the reader feel sorry for him—excusing his past transgressions?

I thought about how we treat other people, and why we are attracted to some, and others we steer clear from. Why do people turn from someone who is different? What characteristics would someone have to make people afraid or unsure of them? My answer came right away.  
I placed scars on Otakatay’s body. I put him between two races. I gave him vengeance which caused his voice to sound pitted and angry. I created a monster. A man hell bent on revenge. A man who didn’t give a damn about anyone, even women. Here is where I will build my empathy, right?


When I started to delve deeper into this character I stopped and took a few days to understand why people are so judgemental? Why we look at those who are different with distaste or disgust? Are we afraid of them, or is it simply that they do not look, behave or even speak like us?
I can be evil, crude, and hateful. Whether or not they are visible, I have scars too.

That’s when it struck me like a punch to the stomach knocking the wind from my lungs. Otakatay was torn and damaged, a man with wounds from a treacherous past—a past that shaped his life and pushed him to do the things he’d done. He’d been cast aside from the white and red race, judged as a breed and nothing more. He’d watched, helpless as his family had been ripped from him, and he was left alone. 

There had been no one there to love him, to show him kindness. Instead he’d been met with hate, disgust, and prejudice of the vilest kinds. He’d embraced those emotions and without knowing it, he’d allowed them to overtake him.

I sat at my desk staring at my computer screen through tear filled eyes…and empathy for my character was born. 

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader” –Robert Frost 

Bad Company was the song I listened to while writing Otakatay's scenes. Click to listen.


Monday, 10 June 2013

When I’m writing I often visualize the characters to look like an actor or actress. With my last book CHASING CLOVERS, I was asked all the time what actors I thought should play my characters and of course I had the answers right away, Ilsa Fisher and Dwayne Johnson, yes the rock.  
I’m not one who thinks my books could ever be movies, but hey, you never know. So just for fun and in case Hollywood comes calling I thought I’d help them out with who I think should play my main characters.
Nora Rushton: I created Nora to be somewhat exotic looking in the fact that she had black hair and blue eyes. She is a healer, or what most call a witch. I knew right away that she’d be soft and timid, yet when required she’d have a feisty side too. Emily Blunt came to mind. She appears to have the same quiet, stoic mannerisms I created in Nora, but the fire needed to play her too.


Otakatay was bit harder for me to pin down. He is tough as nails, gritty, lethal and will kill you if he needs to. He is half Lakota and half white with a dark look to him. All the regular actors don’t come to mind when I think of him, until it hit me when I was writing this post, Jason Momoa. Yes, that was it. Dark, feral, beastly look, with a yummy appeal to him as well.

Colorado Mountains, 1880
The blade slicing his throat made no sound, but the dead body hitting the ground did. With no time to stop, he hurried through the dark tunnel until he reached the ladder leading out of the shaft.
He’d been two hundred feet below ground for ten days, with no food and little water. Weak and woozy, he stared up the ladder. He’d have to climb it and it wasn’t going to be easy. He wiped the bloody blade on his torn pants and placed it between his teeth. Scraped knuckles and unwashed hands gripped the wooden rung.
The earth swayed. He closed his eyes and forced the spinning in his head to cease. One thin bronzed leg lifted and came down wobbly. He waited until his leg stopped shaking before he climbed another rung. Each step caused pain, but was paired with determination. He made it to the top faster than he’d thought he would. The sky was black and the air was cool, but fresh. Thank goodness it was fresh.
 He took two long breaths before he emerged from the hole. The smell from below ground still lingered in his nostrils; unwashed bodies, feces and mangy rats. His stomach pitched. He tugged at the rope around his hands. There had been no time to chew the thick bands around his wrists when he’d planned his escape. It was better to run than crawl, and he chewed through the strips that bound his feet instead. There would be time to free his wrists later.
He pressed his body against the mountain and inched toward the shack. He frowned. A guard stood at the entrance to where they were. The blade from the knife pinched his lip, cutting the thin skin and he tasted blood. He needed to get in there. He needed to say goodbye. He needed to make a promise.
The tower bell rang mercilessly. There was no time left. He pushed away from the rocky wall, dropped the knife from his mouth into his bound hands, aimed and threw it. The dagger dug into the man’s chest. He ran over, pulled the blade from the guard and quickly slid it across his throat. The guard bled out in seconds.
He tapped the barred window on the north side of the dilapidated shack. The time seemed to stretch. He glanced at the large house not fifty yards from where he stood. He would come back, and he would kill the bastard inside.
He tapped again, harder this time, and heard the weak steps of those like him shuffling from inside. The window slid open, and a small hand slipped out.
“Toksha ake—I shall see you again,” he whispered in Lakota.
The hand squeezed his once, twice and on the third time held tight before it let go and disappeared inside the room.
A tear slipped from his dark eyes, and his hand, still on the window sill, balled into a fist. He swallowed past the sob and felt the burn in his throat. His chest ached for what he was leaving behind. He would survive, and he would return.
Men shouted to his right, and he crouched down low. He took one last look around and fled into the cover of the forest.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Author, Charlene Raddon talks about her new release The Scent of Roses

I enjoyed writing The Scent of Roses. The paranormal touch came into the tale all by itself. But I can't tell you much about that or I'll give too much away. The fact
that The Scent of Roses is a sequel also added to the fun. I loved working again with Tempest Whitney and Buck Maddux, their children, and Buck's brother Cale, from my previous book, To Have And To Hold. Of course sequels present their own type of problems, too. Like trying to remember the color of Cale's hair. Was it exactly like his twin, Whip's, or did the color vary the way their eye color did?
Another reason I enjoyed writing the book is because Rose House replicates an old house I lived in when I first moved to Utah. At the time it was called the Whitmore Mansion. Last I heard it was a school for troubled teens. But it was a large and beautiful old home which I shared with my sister, nieces and nephews. Time and again we played a game of guessing where a hidden passageway or room might be lurking. In The Scent of Roses, I could create secret halls and niches wherever I wanted.
The Scent of Roses isn't even a week old yet and I'm still celebrating it's release. A number of friends are helping me via a blog hop called Promote Your Book/Promote Mine. Below is a list of the participating blogs. Drop by, leave a comment and you might win a small prize or the grand prize to be given at the end of the blog hop, a $45 gift certificate. Anyone commenting here today will also qualify so be sure to leave contact information.
Here is a bit more about the book:

Rosalyn Delaney came to Whisky Ridge, Arizona expecting to receive aid from her estranged husband, Josiah Bullock, in escaping the crazed leader of a polygamist cult determined to have her. She’s broke and has nowhere else to go. But Josiah is dead, murdered the very evening of her arrival. The town is in uproar, searching for the suspected killer, Josiah’s business partner, Whip Kincaid. Rosalyn also learns that Josiah has taken a second wife.
Whip is innocent but to prove that, he needs to stay out of jail. He hides in secret passageways in the old house he and Josiah shared, and which now belongs partly to Rosalyn. Smythely, the elderly butler who came with the house, is the only other person aware of the passageways. Lurking between spider webbed walls and using an abundance of peepholes allows Whip to keep up with what’s going on. Sneaking out at night allows him to investigate. He’s particularly interested in Rosalyn Delaney, and for more than one reason. Besides being attracted to her, he’s sure she knows something about the murder.

But does she? Is she safe at Rose House? Will she be safe from Whip Kincade?
I hope you enjoyed this peek into The Scent of Roses. Find the book here, at
Charlene Raddon has been writing historical romance novels set in the American West for over
30 years. Unlike many other authors, she never planned or expected to become a writer. Until she moved to Utah, she was an artist. After moving here she discovered romance novels and fell in love. Her first novel won her a full scholarship to the Park City Writer's Workshop, but being a time travel, at a time when they weren't selling, she set that book aside and wrote a romance that won first place in a Colorado Gold Contest, then became a Golden Heart Finalist. She soon signed a three-book contract with Zebra Books (Kensington Books), and saw five of her stories published before the market crashed at the end of the 1990s. Her books are now being published as eBooks by Tirgearr Publishing and a brand new story is slated to be published  later this year. To be added to her mailing list, leave a comment including your email address.
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