Julie Lence's Blog - Posts Tagged "books"

Recently, I read R. Michael Phillips, Along Came A Fifer. In the story, Mr. Phillips created a villain who reminded me of Joan Collins from Dynasty and Larry Hagman from Dallas. I couldn't read the book fast enough, nor did I miss an episode of Dynasty and Dallas, because I couldn't wait to see what these evil characters were going to do next, which got me to thinking about these people and why we love to hate them.

There is no denying that Alexis Carrington Colby and JR Ewing were despicable people. They were cold-hearted, back-stabbing, egotistical snobs who wouldn't hesitate to pony up a member of their family if it meant the different between success and failure in one of their over-the-top deals. Very rarely, was their something likeable about either one, yet we faithfully tuned in to their wheeling-and-dealing every week.

Alexis was consistently at odds with her ex-husbands, her children and her current spouse. She married a man on his deathbed for the sole purpose of gaining control of his money and his company, kept secret a daughter from her first husband, and very rarely had a kind word for anyone she met. JR always duped sweet, loveable Bobby in one scheme or another. He nearly lost his mother's beloved home and he constantly cheated on his wife. It seems the more outrageous the plot these two were involved with, the more we couldn't turn away from our television sets. Or talk about them the next day with co-workers, family and friends. Translation: the writers did an awesome evoking public emotion for these two characters. But how did they do it?

Just like developing a likeable hero and heroine, a writer must develop something good about the villain; something that tugs at the audience's heartstrings as to why this person is so miserable and selfish. Alexis might have been at odds with her children, but she was also quick to come to their defense, help them with a problem and lend emotional support when a love life lay in ruin. What female, especially one who is a mom, can resist that little tug of the heart when watching another mom grieve with and care for her child?

And who could forget the depth of pain JR suffered when Bobby was killed off for a season? Larry Hagman brought some powerful scenes of grief to the tv screen. He treated us to a JR's vulnerable side, and we couldn't help but mourn right alongside of him. We caught a rare glimpse inside his soul and learned how much he really did love and respect his brother. The same held true for the heartfelt scenes where he interacted with his son, mother and father.

We all love to watch, or read about, a villain's evil prowess; the plotting, the cheating, the swindling, the lying, and the affairs. It's what makes them interesting and a fun escape from the hum-drum of our own lives. But what makes a good villain a great villain is his emotional side, his weaknesses and his fears. Without them, we can't identify with this person, feel sorry for him and maybe even like him. He becomes someone we don't care about, not to even to see him meet with sweet justice in the end. So when creating your villain, make him or her as real as possible. Give him weakness, vulnerability and a good reason for your readers to sympathize with the things he does. Make him believable and folks just may talk about your book around the water cooler one day.

And btw, my favorite villain was Abby Ewing on Knots Landing.
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Published on February 18, 2010 10:29 • 89 views • Tags: audience, books, dallas, dynasty, emotion, grief, love-hate, plot, sympathize, villains
It's Wednesday evening and I'm sitting here staring at the computer screen wondering what topic to choose for this week's blog. Actually, I'm playing solitaire and trying to get the son motivated to sit down and do his homework. When I first began this blog a year ago, I had topics galore; western, family, writing. But since I've been back from summer break, I can't seem to think of one good thing to blog about, so I'll extend all of you an invitation to visit the Asylett Press home page.

Asylett has released some new books over the summer. The books vary in genre, to include suspense and poetry. We have some very talented authors at Asylett. I know. I've read their work and admire their unique styles. So stop on by and check out what's new. And what's old. I'm sure you'll find something you like, and at a good price.

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Published on September 15, 2010 15:45 • 78 views • Tags: asylett-press, books, genre, poetry, suspense
The first two books in the Weston Family Series, Luck of the Draw and Lady Luck, are currently available in Ebook and print format thru Asylett Press. The third installment, No Luck At All, is due out soon from Asylett Press. While it took a long time to write and polish each story, it didn't take long for me to create the world in which the Weston brothers live. Coyote, Colorado is the closest town, and their pa, Leon, is one of the original founders. Wooded Acres is the family home; a sprawling ranch where the brothers break wild mustangs, raise cattle for market and trade punches with the neighboring Jansen boys. Though they have their differences, the brothers are close and loyal to each other. Put your feet up and take a few moments to get to know them.

Royce, my hero from Luck of the Draw, is the middle son and looks nothing like his pa and brothers. With blond hair and dark eyes, Royce is tall and built like the side of a barn. He's brooding, hot-headed and an emotional cripple. His mother, sister and ex-fiancée have taught him that women cannot be trusted, especially with a man's heart. They lie, cheat and steal for their own gain, and worse than a man; Ma for preferring the comforts of Boston society over her own children, Rachael for skipping out on the family instead of asking for his help and Sandra for cheating on him with her pa's foreman. In the aftermath of all three blows, he's decided another woman will not reside at Wooded Acres. Until Paige arrives on his doorstep claiming amnesia. With her strong will and sassy mouth, she's exactly what his heart needs to mend. Trouble is, after preaching to her over and over about honesty, he now keeps a secret that could destroy her faith in him. Does he dare tell her the truth and risk losing her? Or, should he keep his mouth shut and savor her love for the rest of his life?

Lucas, my hero in Lady Luck, is the eldest Weston brother. Tall and muscular, he's inherited the trademark Weston traits of black hair, blue eyes and a dimple in his chin. Like Royce, he's leery of women. Ma's deceit and the loss of his son due to the mother taking the boy and leaving in the middle of the night have hurt him deeply. He's vowed never to be shackled by the bonds of marriage and has perfected a sham of wild nights between the sheets with the soiled doves. No one, not even his brothers, will discover how deep his emotional scars run. Then Missy Morgan enters his life, and against his better judgment, he's roped into escorting her back to her home in San Francisco. Along the way, Lucas discovers Missy's soul is just as tortured as his. She uses her poker-playing, whiskey-swilling ways to keep others at a distance. Trouble is, he's fallen for her and nothing is going to keep him from taking her back to Wooded Acres with him, not even her misguided notions she's a woman unworthy of love.

Creel, my hero in No Luck At All, is the youngest Weston brother. Taller than Lucas, broader than Royce, with the family traits of black hair and blue eyes, Creel was too young to be affected by his ma's betrayal. Growing up on Wooded Acres, he's learned to rope, ride, tend the herd and break mustangs. He's also entertained dreams of becoming a doctor. Helping people is what he likes best. After years of college and medical school, he's finally seen that dream come true, and another he didn't know he had--taking a wife. Racine captured his heart right from the moment he met her. Sweet, beautiful, a kind heart; she's exactly what any doctor would prescribe for a happy life. Until her pa blackmails him and claims Racine is part of the scheme. Not knowing whether to trust her or just find some common ground with her, he brings her home to Wooded Acres. There he discovers a wealth of love in Racine's arms and happiness meant to last a lifetime. Trouble is, unbeknownst to him, Racine carries deep scars his doctoring skills cannot cure. Unless he finds another method to heal her wounds, he's going to lose her for good.

Curl up on the sofa this winter and enjoy each of the Weston brother's stories.
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Published on November 11, 2010 15:55 • 84 views • Tags: asylett-press, betrayal, books, creel, doctor, honesty, lucas, rancher, royce, weston, wooded-acres
Interviewers often ask if I do any research for my books. The answer is yes. I'm always looking for ways to add authenticity to my stories. Whether it's a town, an article of clothing or a stagecoach route, I want my work to reflect the true flavor and setting of the old west.

In Lady Luck, I researched the layout of the streets in San Francisco back in 1860. I wanted Missy's gaming hall located along the Barbary Coast, so I had to know for sure if that was possible. I also researched the color of the uniforms the policemen wore and how folks traveled up the bay to reach San Francisco. For my soon to be released novel, No Luck At All, the story opens with the hero marrying a Boston socialite after having earned his medical degree from a Boston college. Placing him in Boston was important because it related to his past, but before I could actually do so, I had to ensure Boston did have medical colleges back in 1874.

While researching both of these books, I found one common denominator; trying to prove one particular thing leads to the discovery of more interesting things. For example, with Boston, I happened upon some inventions related to the medical field during the 1870's. One was the use of ether, which I was able to incorporate into my story. I also enjoyed reading about two colleges in Boston banding together to become one large campus. In Lady Luck, I thoroughly enjoyed researching the Barbary Coast. One particular thing I learned was how some ships had sailed into the bay and damage they either had or undertook during docking caused them to become permanently dry docked; thus Missy's gaming hall went from a building to one of those ships.

The library and the internet are both great sources of information. I used a combination of both for San Francisco and the internet for Boston. Once I had the material I needed, I wrote down the books and the sites I used in individual notebooks I keep for all my stories. I do caution you; if you use the internet, make sure you verify your facts with a few sites. Don't rely on just one. And if you can't find the exact detail(s) you're searching for, (I had this problem when trying to find what the inside of a particular prison looked like) it's okay to add a little of your own imagination.

Happy researching. May one interesting discovery lead to another.
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Published on January 27, 2011 09:17 • 68 views • Tags: barbary-coast, books, boston, information, internet, julie-lence, library, medical, research, san-francisco, ship, story
Outlaws. The words conjures up images of Billy the Kid, Jesse James and numerous others. Dangerous, fast on the trigger; some had reason for embarking on this way of life. Others didn't. Some we read about in history class. Others we watched on the big screen, always hoping good would triumph over evil. Tall, short, dark-haired, unshaven or skilled at cheating at poker, one thing is for certain. They are fun to write.

Buck and Roth are two of the heroes in my Revolving Point, Texas Series. Both are temperamental, prickly outlaws, and fast with guns. They prefer life out on the trail to settling down, and they live by their own code of justice. Neither one of them is afraid to speak his mind, even if it isn't nice or mild-mannered. That's why they are fun to write. They don't live within the restraints of polite society.

In the series, you won't find Buck or Roth rubbing elbows with society's upper class in some high-fashion gentlemen's club. Nor will you see them wearing fancy clothes and boots polished to a shine. You will find them at Miller's saloon, dodging bullets and ferreting out the enemy any way they see fit. That's not to say they don't have manners. They do, and they treat women with respect. But even their woman aren't spared from their cursing, their rudeness and their need to prowl the streets. However, their women love them, and will overlook some of their faults, because life with a daring outlaw and his antics is too hard to resist.
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Published on March 02, 2012 13:23 • 57 views • Tags: books, buck, bullets, dangerous, fiction, guns, julie-lence, outlaws, roth, western-historical-romance
I can't believe that spring is here. It seems like yesterday I was packing up the Christmas tree and stowing it in the basement. So much activity has taken place these past few months that I am ready for a break. I'm happy to say I've published two more books to Kindle and Create Space. Zanna's Outlaw and Lydia's Gunslinger are now available for purchase. Excerpts can be found on my website: www.julielence.com and on my Amazon page: www.amazon.com/author/julielence

Currently, I'm working on the last installment to the Revolving Point, TX series, Debra's Bandit. For the upcoming week, I'm taking a writing break and turning my attention to spring cleaning and enjoying time with my son. He's promised to help, for a small fee. We'll see. His idea of helping and mine are two different things. Either way, I love opening the windows, listening to the robins chirp and cleaning out the old to make room for the new, and that doesn't necessarily apply to things cluttering up the house.

Physical activity has a way of clearing the clutter from my mind. As I work, new and exciting ideas take shape for future stories or a work in progress. I imagine scenes. I hear dialogue, and I've no doubt the same will happen for Debra's Bandit. A third of the way thru the story, I'm looking forward to what comes next. Debra and Gage are headed for difficult times, and while washing windows and cleaning closets, I'll center on small plot details and jot down notes, and when I return to the keyboard, I'll feel refreshed and excited to dive right back into the action.

Enjoy your spring break. May you I hope you take time to hear the robins sing and admire the flowers blossoming. And I you feel as re-energized as I do when I return to writing.
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Published on March 22, 2012 14:44 • 69 views • Tags: books, clutter, debra-s-bandit, dialogue, fiction, julie-lence, plot, robins, western-historical-romance, writing