Wow, he really is a spooky fellow!  I’m not talking the literary genius of horrifying tales, here.  Nope, my Steven King, is a squirrel The Boy carelessly pissed off one day.  I told him not to do it, but hey, when does he ever listen to me?  Here’s how the haunting began…

Me: “He’s back.”

The Boy: “Where?  Where!”

Me, rolling my eyes.  “On the fence by the bougainvillea.”

Him, kicking the rocks around the pool area, looking for a good one.  “I’ll get rid of him.”

I guess at this point I should mention that Steven is a little psycho-nut-job who climbs our screens and tries to pee on our heads when we do the gardening.  Apparently, he thinks this property is his and wants to reclaim it for the harem,of equally uncouth females, he’s rapidly procreating with.  Seriously, his little admirers sprawl on the edge of the birdbath with flagrant disregard to proper decorum.  Imaging the little hussies, legs spread and lying on their backs while they wait for him to finish his daily: I’m going to go medieval on those human squatter’s tear-up, before he pleasures them in various vee joints in our oak tree.  Got the picture?

But here’s me, worried.  WTF? “You’re not going to hurt him?”

The Boy turns to me with a bland expression that says, ‘how long have we been married?’  Right.  He’s never hurt an animal – no matter how annoying they’ve been.

Me, “So, what’s the plan?”

Him, with a devious grin, “Scare the little pecker.”

He exits the screen enclosure with small rock in hand.  I’d be worried about his aim, except he was the pitching coach for our son’s varsity baseball team, so yeah, he knows what he’s doing.  He let’s it rip and right on point, it hits the fence board about half a foot beneath Steven.  Steven, understandably stunned, launches himself through the air.  Unfortunately, none of us, including Steven, figured on the rock bouncing once off the fence and then off the ground, when it shot up and hit his back-end right below his tail.

The Boy with a grimace.  “He’s not only a pain in the ass.  After that?  He has a pain in the ass.”

Me.  “Awww, the poor guy.  Is he okay?”

Is he okay?  Poor guy?  What was I thinking?

Sheesh, since it happened he’s stepped up his going Medieval on us.  He’s taken to lounging on that fence and chomping on all my Hibiscus buds before they have a chance to bloom – right in front of us.  Staring at us with those beady black eyes, taunting us with his arrogance.  It’s like he’s thumbing his little nose up.  It’s unnerving.  Maybe he is Stephen King?  And, those girls of his? are out of control.  They’re digging all over the place and tossing dirt on our pool deck, and this morning?  The Boy is going to freak out when he see this.  This morning, good old Steve was on his back in our terra cotta planter box.  The one special place The Boy has designated for his prized golden tomato plant.  A much loved and catered to plant – that had a small, but plump tomato growing on it.  I say had, because well, Steven was…how can I describe it?  Hmm.. ?  Think a Roman eating grapes from a vine.  Crapatola!  I’m almost tempted to go to the grocery store and buy a good looking pear tomato to replace it.  Seriously, I think The Boy loved that tomato more than he loves me.  He certain paid more attention to it.

*sigh* This is not going to be good, but damn!  That friggin’ furry guy made me LMAO when I saw him chomping on it.  Gee, who knew Steven and I would find some common ground.  I always hated that tomato plant on my deck. :)

M.

Here’s the deal.  A very shy, at least I thought she was until I read this excerpt, :) gal emailed me with a few a questions about the consummate alpha male and the concept of bondage.  I’d never really thought about the notion before, but when I read her concerns on the subject it occurred to me, that yeah, you have to tread lightly here because the alpha is a strong male all by his lonesome.  When you introduce restraints that he’s intending to use on the heroine the scene could become overpowering.  Let’s have a look at a scene and decide for ourselves.

He stopped her attempt and finally looked down at her. “Ah, but I think you will, Elizabeth.”  His gaze held all sorts of promises.  “Now, are you going to do what I ask willingly, or will I have to assist you?  Either way I’ll have what I want.”  He shrugged. “The choice is yours.”

He looked calm, almost like he was trying to be patient which really irritated her.  “Choice?  Either I do it your way or you force me to do it your way? That’s the choice?”

He didn’t look very patient now.  Something had caught his interest.  What was he looking at?

“And just who were you hoping to entice with these?” he asked. He snatched up the black bra and panties he had taken off of her only moments ago, and dangled them in front of her. He didn’t wait for her to reply. He threw them down to teeter on the pile to his right.  “Come,” he directed, pushing her none too gently off him, so that she landed in a kneeling position between his legs. “Are you going to answer me, sweetheart?”

He captured her two wrists in one of his hands and used his other, to pull her chin up until her mutinous eyes met with his.  They stared at one another, each challenging the other in an unwavering battle, until the car took a sharp turn.  Lizzy lurched sideways. The unexpected action prompted her to react.  She twisted and tried to pull her hands free of his grasp, struggling with all her might.  He wouldn’t let loose her chin and as far as her hands were concerned, it was like an iron band held them completely immobile.

Alex ignored her useless attempt at escape and barked, “I asked you a question!”

“I– ” She thought about lying.  She really wanted to, but one quick look at him convinced her otherwise.  “I wore them for you,” she whispered.  Silently admitting she was no physical match for him.  She remained perfectly still.  Somberly waiting, so when an expression of pure male satisfaction lit his face, she gasped.  His look was like a physical caress that stroked her intimately in all the right places.  She cursed herself a fool for these feelings of sudden pleasure that crept into her blood with the knowledge that she’d been the one to create his sexy look.  Why? He was trying to scare her and despite this, she had a strange need to please him?  It didn’t make any sense. She didn’t have time to ponder because he abruptly let her go.

“That makes me very happy, Lizzy.”  He leaned forward and brushed the back of his knuckles across her cheek. “I want you wear something else for me, sweetheart. Something I’ve waited to see you in.”  His hand slid in her hair, tugging her close, stroking so gently, that she couldn’t help closing her eyes and basking, for the moment in his attentions.  She kept her eyes shut and swayed between his thighs.  This was her Alex, the familiar Alex.  “Do you trust me?”

“Yes.”  She truly did too.  Alex wasn’t the one who abandoned her.  It was the other way around.

“Good, lift up your hair,” he quietly ordered.  His tone of voice was instructional, calm and impersonal.

She opened her eyes and looked directly at him.  “What are you going to do?”

If he was surprised by her question, he didn’t show it.  “I am going to bind you.”

He pulled something out of his suit pocket, but she couldn’t make it out.  Instead she trembled unsure at the moment whether it was fear or excitement that made her so.  She lifted her hair and saw before she felt, a leather band being secured around her neck.  It was an inch thick and it smelled like her beautiful Prada purse.  She hadn’t gotten a terrific look at it, but she could feel a thin strip of leather hanging down from her neck between her breasts, to end at her stomach where something metal and cold ended there.  She had little time to wonder about it as Alex took, first one wrist, and then the other, and attached a matching leather band on each.  He pulled each one inch strap taught, slowly positioning and moving the heavy silver-toothed catch until it turned over and double clicked to lock.  He tested them for sturdiness.

The twin pair of cuffs had a metal ring that was split, much like the metal circle of a key chain and once Alex was satisfied with their fit, he wasted no time in using them in the manner for which they were intended.  He pulled the leather strip that hung from her collar forward and attached the two smaller circular metal links to the bigger and more solid one.  He pulled the thin strap until her hands came together, up high under her chin like she was praying.  He didn’t look at her while he silently worked to tightly fasten the leather contraption until it held her hands securely in place. Only once it was fixed to his satisfaction, did he look down into her confused face and she sucked in her breath.

Lust.

A dark lust shone so deeply in his eyes that she trembled.   Without a word, he slowly pulled the leather tether that hung from her neck forward, until she was forced to lean over the width of the car seat bench.

Then? Silence.

She laid there with her bottom presented and fully exposed while her face pressed into the cushioning seat.  It was surprisingly comfortable and enticing if not a little confined, as her hands were bound and captured under her chin.  Her weight pressed her arms deep into the soft cocooning leather. The cool air that settled over her back and bottom reminded her that she was helpless.  Breathlessly, she waited for Alex to say something.  Do something and when she thought she couldn’t take the quiet any longer, he tapped her bottom and felt it, squeezing it as if he was testing the surface.  Then, once more there was nothing.  Minutes passed and every time she tried to shift her position he roughly readjust her by pushing the small of her back down which, in turn, caused her bottom to rise up.
It was a position that was meant to humiliate, to humble and expose. Unlike the time at the maze, when she was captured in his arms and completely naked while he was fully clothed, this time made her feel unsure and vulnerable.  It came to her then, that maybe this was how Alex had felt when she had foolishly stood him up.

“I don’t think I like this game,” she attempted to rise, but the heavy pressure of his hand kept her firmly in place.

“This isn’t a game, Elizabeth.”

She shifted against the buttery leather.  “Well, whatever it is, I don’t like it.”

She imagined she could hear his smile as he told her. “It’s a lesson, sweetheart.”

And just what was that supposed to mean?  She wanted to know. “Look, I’m not into role playing or anything like that, so if you’re mad about tonight, fine.  But I don’t think– ”

“No, judging by your performance tonight you didn’t think,”  his voice was raspy as he  pushed firmly down to counter her renewed struggling.  The action clearly told her that she wasn’t going anywhere, but when she didn’t cease struggling he slapped her bottom.  That got her attention, “Hey!”

“I don’t play roles, Elizabeth, and neither will you.”

She was completely still now.  Scared and yet oddly interested.  “What do you want from me?  I already apologized.”

His voice was smooth like honey. “I want you bound and tied with no one but me there to touch and taste you. At my leisure and for my pleasure.  I want you to know that I have you. That I own you, and all that you have to offer is offered solely to me.  You’ll soon see that I am a man strong enough to own a woman like you.”

His hot breath skated over her naked back as warmly as his words slid into her heart, into the deepest part of her, where her darkest secrets lived, but had remained dormant until this very moment when they sparked to life within her.   Those dominantly erotic words floated to the surface of her consciousness in physical waves of excited energy until her nerve endings twitched and stretched out, seeking courage so that they wouldn’t be tempted to become buried again.

“You need a man like me, sweetheart.  A man who knows how to awaken a woman like you.  I only wish you had recognized this sooner.” He caressed her shoulders, her waist, her bottom.  He took his time exploring as he trailed strong fingers over the small of her back and down one bottom cheek, so close to her heat. So very close.  “Now,” he whispered against her ear. “the challenge has to be met.  Will you hate me for it, Lizzy?  Or, will you give me everything I want from you?  All of it?”

He plunged his…

Well, I figure that’s a good place to stop. I want to thank the, purposely unnamed writer for contributing. ;)  This has given me a lot to think about with regard to the alpha male and his power.  Does anyone else have some ideas? Opinions?

Questions the writer would like you to think about:
Is the hero too mean?
Is the heroine too soft?
Do his actions make chronological sense in the scene?
Is the heroine reacting the way a normal person would expect? (If you’re not normal and you’re reading this, please skip answering this one) ;)

Thanks for playing!
M.

Picture this…

I’m feverishly working.  My writing is going well and I’m cranking out pages like a good thing.  I’m focused and in-the-story moment. And…

Honey comes into my space and hands me a  piece of paper.  It must be important, right?  After all, why else would he interrupt my creative genius? My ‘on-a-roll’ moment?  It must be earth shattering.

“What?”  Looking down at the paper, I squint.  Honey should have been a doctor his penmanship is that bad.  “I can’t read this.”  I hand it back to him.

He frowns.  “Do you want me to dictate it to you?”

Dictate? Surely he meant read.  “Yes.”

And he does, but then he pauses mid-sentence.  “Shouldn’t you be typing?”

Typing? “Typing?”

“Yeah,” he twiddled his fingers doing an air keyboard. “Punching out what I dictate?”

Wait, is he looking at me like I’m the idiot? “What are you talking about?”

In my defense here, a few seconds ago I was in a snowed in lodge getting my brains…wait, correction. My character was getting her brains… well, you know where I’m going with that, right?

He didn’t “I need this done so that I can mail it out today.”  He held up the chicken scratch.

I blink.  “How is this my problem?”

“I can’t type.”

Hm. Last time I checked that wasn’t my problem either.  I think about it for a moment.  Nope, still not my problem.  “That’s a shame.”

He does that sigh.  The one he’s copied from me – the patented show of frustration where I start with a deep intake of breath and exhale with a heavy hiss type growl.  (Truthfully, I was a little impressed – he’d almost nailed it)

“Come on, I need you to type this up for me,” he said.

Now, because I’m easy to get along with, (it’s true you can ask anyone who knows me how amenable I am ;) ) I figured I’d mess with him a little until I eventually agreed.  “I’m not your secretary.”

“I know but I need this today.”

I look him up and down and then give him a sly smile.  “I’m not your secretary, but if you play your cards right I might be your slave girl for the day.” (Hey, what can I say?  My mind’s back in the gutter at the lodge, remember? ;) )

His eyes go all dark. I love that about him and he grins.  “I like the sound of that.”  He tosses the paper on my desk and then leans down and grabs the arms of my chair effectively caging me in.  We’re nearly nose to nose when he whispers, “And as my slave girl,  you’ll be required to do some light typing.”

LOL!  Crapatola!  He had me there.  Hilarious.

Secretary or slave girl?  Is there a difference?

Riley

You won’t have one if you don’t have the other.  Assuring that both these aspects are in place will guarantee that you have an invested reader.

I had to remind myself of this today.  Writing the alpha male is a challenging job and sometimes, if you’re not careful, you can cross a line that is tough to recover from.  I hate that.  So, what will I revisit as go through my revisions?  The recipe for a *fun* Bad Boy – here it is:

Give him a dash of humor, a pinch of arrogance, a sprinkle of dominance, a dollop of strength and infuse all this with a good measure of integrity and honor.  These ingredients, successfully combined, create a man who knows and understands power.  That’s sexy!

BUT, for a well-rounded story, this alone (nailing his character) is not enough.  I mean, even though he’s powerful and to-die-for, a writer must remember that the hero’s heroine needs to be unique and worthy – otherwise it saps his deliciousness away, right?

Imagine this scene: Hero and villain fighting.  The heroine is wringing her hands in the corner, cringing and wincing, until the hero lands one final bone-crunching punch that knocks the dastardly fellow to the ground.  The hero steps over the bad guy, pulls the heroine into his arms and gently kisses her brow before he asks: “Are you okay?”

Um, what?  Wasn’t the hero the one getting all banged up and now bleeding all over the place?  Sheesh!

Now, imagine the same scene, only: Hero takes on the villain while the heroine struggles to get free from the binding ropes that the bad guy had tied her with.  She’s nearly free.  The hero is holding his own with the villain, but then the bad guy’s girlfriend enters with a gun and the atmosphere suddenly changes.  The hero and villain stop tussling because the bad ass girlfriend has an itchy trigger finger and she’s ready to use it.  The hero is looking for a way around this new threat, the villain is trying not to get caught in the cross-fire while the heroine calmly walks up behind the bad ass girlfriend and clips her on the side of her head with her broken six-hundred-and-seventy-five dollar Manolo Blahnik pumps that the villain’s gal had spitefully destroyed earlier.

Better, right?

Thus: Three birds killed with one stone.  The heroine saved the moment, got her revenge against the bitch who broke her favorite shoes and managed to prove to the hero that the price she paid for those stunning stilettos was worth it after all. :) <-Hey, if you can milk it – why not?

Okay, so my goal this morning, is to remind myself and anyone else writing a strong alpha male character: Make sure your hero and heroine are equals in solving the external conflict.  Because, really, what could be sexier than a larger than life hunk equally matched by the woman he’s chosen to love?

M.

Okay, today my CP partner has an awesome rant going @JAMIGOLD.COM.  Check it out.  Just to give you a little prelude: It’s about how the romance genre is the redheaded stepchild in the publishing industry.  And, if you believe her – and I do, she’s mad as hell and ain’t going to take it anymore!

Things to consider before reading her delicious rant. Writing is a tough business.  And, although romance writing is often considered ‘easy money,’ it does requires the same hard work, learning, honing of skills, and a deep level of commitment and sacrifice – the same as any other genre out there. So why is it dissed so regularly by mass media?  Maybe it’s undeserving because it has very little market share and readership?  Um, nope. Romance novels make up about 50 percent of sales of all mass market fiction.  Hmm…interesting – maybe it’s just men that are–?  Well, no, it’s not just men who belittle the industry – it’s women too.  Shame on them!  But hey, Jami covers this beautifully so I’ll leave the yelling up to her.  I just love the way her cheeks get all red when she screams. :)

M.

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