Tag Archives: Justified

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Building Character – Now I need YOUR help….

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip:

(My apologies, I didn’t get this published yesterday (Tuesday), so this will be a ‘Wednesday Two-Minute Tip. 🙂

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…


Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.


I am afraid that, rather than being a character driven writer, I am a plot driven writer. The ultimate goal is to be both, to create realistic, sympathetic characters readers connect with, and a plot that showcases them, helps them grow, and keeps readers intrigued. I am SO not there yet. But, I am always trying to learn, trying to improve. When I set out to write a book, I think of something awful that could happen, then I come up with a character to fit the scenario by asking myself, what kind of person would this be the most devastating to?

For my upcoming WIPs, I am determined to create rich, compelling, realistic characters readers can connect to and want to get to know. I’m asking for your help. What characters, in tv, books, movies, have really stuck with you and why? What qualities make you connect to fictional characters? I have been thinking about this recently, and considering some of the characters I have loved the most. Using television, here are some examples of the qualities I admire and why I love these characters:

Leslie Nope – Parks and Recreation – She is a very good friend. She works hard, and she’s passionate about her town and her job. All her life, she has had the same dream, to be in politics. Her flaws are that she’s a bit controlling and sometimes a bit neurotic. One of her good qualities, her integrity, is also a flaw. She sometimes goes too far in doing the right thing, confessing her mistakes, etc.

Raylan Givens – Justified – First of all, he’s yummmyyyy. But that’s not really his most compelling trait (or is it…? 🙂 ). Raylan is very good at his job, but he makes mistakes. He is tough, but sometimes he gets his ass kicked. He respects the law and abides by it, most of the time. In order to see justice done, he’s bent the law a few times, even broken it. He’s risen above his poor and troubled childhood and become successful, yet he hasn’t forgotten his roots, and that the hill people in Kentucky are his people. He’s protective of them, but polices them at the same time. He’s cool, but not in an over the top way with cockiness and cheesy lines.

Gemma Teller – Sons of Anarchy – People think I’m nuts, but Gemma is my favorite character. She’s tough, but loving. She loves her family beyond all else, and will do whatever it takes to protect them. In the world of Samcro, the ‘whatever’ is more extreme than most of us regular folk can imagine. 

Dexter Morgan – Dexter – Sigh…. My favorite character of all-time. And he’s a serial killer. But, he’s a serial killer who kills other killers. Admirable, right? And he does it in such a cool, creepy way. I adore Dexter and miss him sooo much. He is an intriguing, sympathetic character, even though, especially early on, he can’t feel emotion. It’s fascinating to watch him attempt to get along in the ‘normal’ world and fake emotion, all the while being privy to his true, inner thoughts and demons. Dexter’s most admirable qualities are that, even though he is a killer, he has a code he lives by, and he follows that code to the letter (for the most part…), he’s very, very clever, he’s good at what he does (hmmm, this seems to be a recurring theme in my admiration for characters), he’s loyal and although he only loves a few people, he loves them deeply and will do anything to protect them, even from himself. Oh yes, and he’s very creepy and very sexy.

So…now that I know what I love about certain characters, the challenge is creating a character that others will feel that way about. But, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to do that. I am challenging myself to learn and work hard and figure it out. Does anyone out there have tips for me? What characters do you admire and why? What are some things you do, as a writer, to create memorable, sympathetic characters?

Until next time…happy writing!

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 



How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here


Filed under For Writers, Tips from an Editor

Five Authors from Oklahoma – (Burdened, Vol. 2) Five Stories in One Boxed Set About a Cursed Doll and True Love

Last week I introduced a boxed set of 5 short stories from The Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll series. This week, I am featuring Burdened, Volume 2. 

A while back, a group of Oklahoma authors came together to write a series of short stories with the recurring theme of a cursed Scrimshaw doll. The curse began in the late seventeenth century when a father feared his daughter’s betrothed would betray her. A gypsy attempted to hex the girl with this spell: All those who betray you will suffer. Only true love can break the curse. As luck (or bad luck) would have it, the girl was holding a Scrimshaw Doll her father had made for her, and the curse went into the doll instead, and therefore, it carried on for centuries. Our first installment picks up with the young woman’s daughter, who has inherited the doll.  

These stories, in various genres, all stand alones, were published with The Wild Rose Press as individual releases, but have now been released in two boxed sets, each containing five stories.


 *** ON SALE for a limited time for only 2.99. Click here to purchase… 

From Amazon:


From The Wild Rose Press:


(Cursed, Volume 1, can be found here – and still on sale for $2.99)

From Amazon:


From The Wild Rose Press:


Take a look at the fun and exciting stories in Volume 2: 


Kathy L Wheeler with The Color of Betrayal, Contemporary Novella

He’d risk a broken nose for love


When I found myself stuck trying to determine artist Malia Kane’s sidekick, one of my very good friends began to speak—so what if he’d already passed from this world into the next—It worked. Charlie’s advice was perfect! And I was happy to bring him back to life as Malia’s agent. It was a fitting tribute for one of my best friends ever.

A favorite line:

“You went out with Hercules?”



Find Kathy here:



twitter: @kathylwheeler


Callie Hutton with Tessa’s Treasures, Contemporary Romance Novella


Alicia Dean with Thicker than Water, Romantic Suspense Novella 

Some secrets refuse to stay buried


I almost always use celebrities as inspiration for my main characters in order to have a set image in my mind and to make them feel more real. In this story, it seemed to work especially well for me. I used Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified for my hero, Sheriff Jake Devlin, and the character really seemed to come alive for me. Another little tidbit; I almost always use fictitious towns in my books. In this story, I used Covington, Oklahoma, as a nod to Covington, Georgia, the real town behind fictitious Mystic Falls and where Vampire Diaries is filmed. I decided to use the same town in my upcoming Halloween short story, Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost.

A favorite line(s):

Julia stared at her incredulously. “You can’t possibly think that we deserve to be punished?”

Pam met her gaze. “I don’t think you do, but maybe the doll does.”




Contact me…here! You’re on my website. 🙂


Anna Kittrell with Skinbound, Romantic Suspense Novella

When Darcy falls for the town doctor, she finds herself at her wicked twin sister’s mercy, with nothing but the yellowed bones of an ancient doll to protect her.


Truth makes great fiction, and I infiltrate my stories with plenty of it. Take the following excerpt from Skinbound, for example: 

Once, as a young girl, Scarlett whispered Darcy’s name through the keyhole of her bedroom door. Darcy knocked, then twisted the knob. Finding it locked, she’d dropped to her knees, peering through the keyhole into the shadowy room. Puzzled, she’d raised her head—just as a straightened coat hanger plunged through the opening, nicking her cheek. 

The truth is, yes, I almost lost an eyeball. As a child, my sister plunged a straightened coat hanger through the keyhole, barely missing my eye. I moved just in time. Oh—I should mention one little discrepancy—she hadn’t called my name through the opening. I was just spying. Guess I deserved it.

A favorite line(s):

She dove for the cardboard box as if it were home plate. Blood oozed from her skinned elbows as she thrust her hands into her great-grandmother’s belongings, rescuing her scrimshaw doll.


Find Anna here:

Website: http://annakittrell.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AKittrell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KittrellAnna

Email: kittrellbooks@gmail.com


Tamrie Foxtail with The Bone Bride, Romantic Suspense Novella 

Daira’s first love has returned to their home town. Is he the next victim of the scrimshaw doll?


I live in a small Oklahoma town. Our old home was a short walk from a haunted bridge, one that actually appears on a list of Oklahoma’s most haunted sights. I’ve always wanted to use the bridge in a story, and it seemed a perfect fit with a cursed doll.

A Favorite Line(s):

She turned to look at him. His nose was an inch from hers. She struggled to keep her eyes from crossing. “You think I don’t want you to kiss me because you dumped me twenty years ago?”

“You mean there’s another reason?”

“Yes! You’re little more than a stranger, now. I don’t go around kissing strange men.”

His smile deepened. He leaned closer, the tip of his tongue tracing the shell of her ear. She shivered.

“I’m not a stranger, sweetheart.” His hands slid down her arms and moved to her waist. “I’m the man who took your virginity in the backseat of my car.”





Filed under Entertainment, For Writers