meet_brandi

Meet Brandi

Brandi was a tough nut for me to crack at first. I’d spent so many years in Tori’s head, it was hard for me to hear Brandi’s voice at first.

Some characters jump off the page and I hear them loud and clear (ahem, Blaze). Brandi was more of a whisper, (which makes total sense now that I know her so well). So, I have to dig deep and figure out what their past wounds are. What kind of family did they come from? What are their hurts? Their fears? Their goals? Their flaws…

It always helps every time I give a character (especially a heroine) a little of myself. People tend to think that I’m a lot like Tori, and yes, she’s got a lot of me. Tori got my foul mouth, my twisted sense of humor, my artistic ability, but she was MUCH more confident than I’ve ever dreamed of being. When Brandi meets Tori, she feels much the same way.

Yes, she had close girlfriends, but none, not a single one, would have invited the groom’s ex-girlfriend to their wedding. Either Tori was the kindest person she’d ever met, or the most insane. She snorted. Probably both. That woman had confidence she only dreamed of possessing.

Girls with huge IDGAF personalities have always inspired me, because I WISH I could be more like that. I’ve gotten better over the years (with age and maturity, comes the ability to care less about what others think).

AND that’s when it clicked. THAT is who Brandi is.

It was tiring, living in her head some days. Brandi wished she didn’t care what others thought. She wished she could be out of control when she wanted, and assertive when the time called for it, but it seemed like everything in her life was always flipped upside down. She spent far too much time worrying about the things she couldn’t control, and an exhausting amount of time managing the little things.

I’m a lot like Brandi deep down. I care too much what others think. I always went for the wrong guy, and got hurt every damn time.

Brandi got all my fears and insecurities. The need to please others (including her family). She, like me, only has a few close friends that REALLY know who she is deep down.

She took another long pull from the bottle and blanched a bit. It was amusing, watching her try to stomach the whiskey. She stood and paced the room. “My whole life I’ve been expected to do the right thing. That’s no fun.” She chugged straight from the bottle as she wore a groove into the floor with her hot-pink stilettos. “I’m such a bore.”

Blaze is pretty perceptive and picks up on this right away. He sees her for who she really is, a good girl, who’s exhausted herself always trying to do the right thing.

“Your entire life you’ve been the good girl. Good grades. Went to church, listened to your parents, never drank too much or did drugs. You didn’t sleep around. You made all the right choices, played it safe. Somewhere deep inside you there is a naughty girl screaming to break free of the imprisonment of perfection. You wanna really know why you and Scott didn’t work out?” He squinted and pointed at her. “It’s because you two are the exact same person.” He poked her in the shoulder. “Blondie was able to bust him out of the joint, you sweetheart, could not—because you’re still locked in that cell.”

Since she’s the good girl, I of course had to put her in close proximity with one of the most impulsive bad-boys on the planet, and let the sparks fly. It was fun to see how these two rubbed off on each other as more time was spent together. At first, they pretty much just rub each other raw.

“He’s been on me like flies on butter the entire night. I don’t think he’s muttered a truthful word in his existence. He’s arrogant, pompous and completely ridiculous.”

She darted her gaze over to Ian, who was sipping his drink in the corner and still staring at them. He flashed a wolfish grin, pointed to Brandi then himself and ground his hips in a crude attempt to get her to dance.

The man was about as subtle as a fart in a library.

Enemies to lovers is my absolute favorite trope, and I knew right off the bat that these two opposites were gonna butt heads, and it made for some of the best dialogue I think I’ve ever written.

“Lookie what I won.” He dug deep into his pocket and pulled out the garter, twirling it around his forefinger.

“Congratulations.” She darted her gaze back to the happy couple.

“Surprised I didn’t see you up there going for the bouquet.”

She cocked her head to the side and swirled the champagne in her glass. “I’m surprised a man of your nature would even go for the garter.”

“I just enjoy knowing where this thing has been.” He pulled the garter to his nose and took a big whiff.

She wanted to vomit. “You’re a disgusting pig.”

Eventually, of course these two warm to each other, otherwise I wouldn’t have a romance with the HEA my readers want. But there is so much growth for both of them. Blaze probably evolves MORE than Brandi does (thats a blog post for another day). But Brandi gets what she needs in the end, the love she’s been waiting her whole life for, AND she gains quite a bit of confidence.

Her character ARC isn’t super complex. Unlike my other characters she has no disability to deal with and no big past trauma to recover from. She’s the girl next door, like many of us ladies are. But I think her struggle is one that many girls can relate to. She’s a good girl, trying to do the right thing, but making herself miserable always pleasing others.

I fell hard for this girl with the heart of gold, and I think that readers will as well. I can’t wait for my readers to fall in love with Brandi Turner.

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my husband my muse

My husband, my muse.

So I did it. I booked my editor and set my tentative self publish date for mid-April 2018.

I’m so excited and nervous I may vomit.

sheldon breathing into paper bag

I started writing this novel in 2014. It was a long, slow process. At that time I was just writing for myself and never had any intention to publish. It all started when my husband was on military orders and he sent me a short story about friends with benefits meeting in a bar for drinks. It was a fun hobby between him and I so I kept at it.

Yes, Scott and Tori’s personalities in the beginning were LOOSELY based on him and I. They quickly developed into their own people that resembled us less and less. Him and I had so much fun playing God with these fantasy characters.

With his help over the course of two years I breathed LIFE into these characters.

It was “finished” and put away and I moved onto the second book in the series in 2016.

In 2016 I wrote four sequels that year. I don’t know what got into me but the words kept spewing out. At that point I’d spent so much time pouring into my writing it seemed insane to NOT share it with the world.

I kinda figured, ok mabye I’ll just make a blog about Scott and Tori. Like a literary soap opera and post weekly shorts about them.

My husband looked at me one day after reading it and said. “You NEED to publish this. Not on a blog, not on a message board. You need to make this a real book. You have something special here.”

God this man. He pushes me far past my comfort zone. He was also the one that encouraged me to go back to school and earn my design degree after years of life being sucked out of me in the customer service industry. This turned out well, so MAYBE just MAYBE this author thing could work.

So I began toying with the idea of finding an agent or legitimately self-publishing my series.

I tried a few queries but I always came back around to the self-publish route. I’m a graphic designer so the artist in me had a clear vision for what I wanted each cover and each promo graphic to look like. I wanted control of all this. Self-publishing was my best route to keep my creative control.

So, I made a website, a logo. I started getting plugged into the indie author community. I found CP’s that I had faith in. I got REALLY serious about this. I started calling myself an author, (which seemed SO strange).

I quickly realized that this was more than just throwing a word doc on Amazon and crossing my fingers. This was going to be a big endeavor.

If one thing has bludgeoned me over the head again and again as I travel down this road to self-publish it’s that I MUST hire an editor.  Editing and cover design are the two things that every indie author will tell you not to go cheap on. The cover design I KNEW I could do. The editing-not so much.

Last week my husband gave me the green light to hire my editor.

I won’t lie. It’s very difficult to drop this kind of money on something that could be a total crapshoot. Right now is not the most opportune time to be spending this kind of dough, but I’ve sat on this story for far too long. It’s time.

As I sat in my own hell of personal fear and panic this weekend I texted my husband and vomited out all my fears to him.

He writes back to me (he’s away this weekend for military leave) and says:

“I’m willing to bet on you. Even when we are broke. I believe in you.”

lady swooning and falling on the floor
OMG SWOON. God damn if he isn’t the stuff that romance novels are made of. (Fair warning babe; I’m totally going to use that line somewhere someday in one of my books). OH my husband, my muse. I love him.
Here is a quick transcript of the remainder of our conversation:

HIM: I got a hotel room. Didn’t want to sleep on the cot.

ME: After you saying  what you just said you can buy the whole damn hotel.

HIM: Really?

ME: I’m moved to tears. I’m crying.

HIM: Well, let me mess it all up by trying to use the good I earned to get laid. 😉

ME: Oh you earned a good fucking with that line.

HIM:

HIM: If I’m the stuff of Romance Novels, then you are the fantasy Badass-Fantasy-PornStar-DonnaReed that every guy dreams of. Not to mention that in all of life’s hardest battles, you are the best wingman I could ever ask to watch my back. Truly captivating and fierce.

Also, you have a great booty

AND this friends, is why my husband HAS and ALWAYS WILL BE my muse.

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