Friday, July 26, 2013

Pushing & Breaking Stereotype


Knowing when to break and when to push a stereotype can help your story tremendously; setting up conflict, humor, and a constant push and pull between your characters.
I’m going to use my New Adult Thriller STALKING SAPPHIRE as an example.


Gender stereotypes: Are we too hard on our boys?My main character Sapphire Dubois, is a Beverly Hills heiress who secretly hunt and traps serial killers then anonymously hands them over to the police. She is the ultimate break of the Paris Hilton heiress stereotype. Knowing this, I wanted to push that as much as possible. Besides from her dark hobby, I wanted Sapphire to view the community of Beverly Hills differently than her peers would. I consciously made the rest of the Beverly Hills characters as over-the-top richy as possible. Sapphire’s mother is the alcoholic trophy wife. Sapphire’s best friend, the self centered, promiscuous party girl. Her boyfriend, the narcissistic heir with little, to no, brain activity.

Pushing their stereotype as much as possible, helped me break Sapphire’s. Had I had multiple Beverly Hills characters break out of their stereotypes, Sapphire wouldn’t come off as such a black sheep. Their purpose was to show everything that Sapphire was not.


Now, to my secondary character, Detective Aston Ridder. A downtown L.A cop who is forced to transfer to Beverly Hills after jacking up his leg.

Since I was moving him into Beverly Hills I needed him to be, in short, King of the Asshole. He is foul-mouthed, insensitive, a womanizer, and has a general lack of care for anyone who isn’t himself. I knew I took a major risk creating such an “unlikable” character but I also knew Aston needed to be the epitome of a hard boiled cop so that he would stand out among the fashion, art, and wealth of Beverly Hills.

In this case, instead of pushing one stereotype to help break the other, I simultaneously push Aston's and the Beverly Hills people's for constant conflict. Even the small differences matter and help to create contrast. Example: the Beverly Hills police chief wears an Armani suit while Aston wears washed out jeans and a t-shirt that features an offensive slogan.

That is not to say that Aston and his stereotypical assholeness can't change and evolve. He will. The best part about creating such a broken character, especially in a series, is that you slowly get to put them back together. Because he pushes the stereotype, it will be that much more evident to the reader when he eventually starts breaking out of it.


Let's say you have a YA story and your premise reads: Hannah, a high school cheerleader gets kicked off the team when her nemesis Sarah is appointed head cheerleader. Stripped of social rank and popularity Hannah joins the nerdy dance squad, convinced she can whip the misfits into shape and regain her popularity by beating the triple-champion cheerleaders in the school's annual Dance Off competition.
For this concept I would start out by pushing both stereotypes. For maximum conflict between Hannah and the dance squad, the misfits need to be nerdy Misfits, capital M. I'm talking glasses, stuttering, asthma inhalers, socially awkward, braces, public nose picking, comes to school dressed as Voldemort; the whole shebang.
In response, Hannah can't only be a cheerleader, she has to be the cheerleader. She knows how to dress, talk, walk, be mean, flirt and most of all dance.
They think she's shallow, and she thinks they are an embarrassment.

Through the story, I would being to break the stereotypes within the main characters. Revealing more to them, including Hannah, than what meets the eye. Breaking the stereotypes will help the characters get along and start changing for the better. They help Hannah see there is more to life than popularity. She helps them get out of their comfort zones so that they can evolve. In this case, Hannah's nemesis, Sarah and the cheerleaders should remain stereotypical. Allowing them to stay mean and shallow, would be a great tool to show the reader how much Hannah has changed and bettered herself.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

STALKING SAPPHIRE Audio Book Released!

The STALKING SAPPHIRE Audio Book was released today (07/23/13) on Amazon Audible! It is narrated by the talented Elizabeth Morton, who does a wonderful job of bringing both Sapphire and the killers to life.
You can download it to any computer, Kindle, iPhone, iPod, & Android device.

Click here to Purchase & Sample

Having your work come out as an audio edition is exciting to any writer, but to me there's somewhat of a sentimental value. I had problems with insomnia as a child, and audio books, (books on cassette tape, at that time) was the only thing that would calm me and put me to sleep. That said, I really hope listening to Stalking Sapphire will do anything BUT put you to sleep.

Coming up this week,
For all you writers out there, I'll be doing a post on how pushing and breaking stereotypes can help your story. It should be up within the next few days.

Next week,
I have the honor of being a guest over at author Jodi Linton's on AUGUST 2. I'll be talking about Our Characters and Us and a specific event in my life--that I don't often speak of--which led me to create Stalking Sapphire's main character, Sapphire Dubois.


Thursday, July 11, 2013



The preview for SILENCING SAPPHIRE part 1 & 2 are now live on Wattpad!

Like I mentioned before, this may not be the first 2 chapters in the published version. This is meant to be a "behind the scenes" preview. I'm still in the middle of rewrites.

As opposed to Stalking Sapphire, that I now like to think of as the calm, well-mannered first child, Silencing Sapphire has been the second screaming-uncontrollably-in-the-grocery-store wild child. I'm getting requests and questions from people who are looking forward to the second in the Sapphire series, and I'm up to my elbows in rewrites right now trying to make sure that the sequel doesn't disappoint. I'm not going to lie; there is some pressure.
I'm not complaining though, it's one of those rare, good problems.

I apologize for being brief lately, but the wild child is demanding most of my attention.

Here is the link for the Wattpad preview. For those of you who have already read the first chapter, skip ahead to the second chapter at the end of page 2.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013



The first chapter of SILENCING SAPPHIRE, the Stalking Sapphire sequel is up on Wattpad as we speak. This is Part 1 of my the Silencing Sapphire sneak peeks. Part 2, the second chapter, will be up next week, so stay tuned! Click on the link below to read it.
The chapter is the pre-published, pre-copy edited version, and not the final draft. Note that the chapter may have changed for the published novel on October 2, 2013.

I'm very excited about this, not only for the people who have already read Stalking Sapphire, but for everyone who are just being introduced.

With that said, I also had a case of crippling fear today. Putting something up that hasn't been proofed by the wonderful pros at Diversion, wasn't the easiest thing for me. Thank God, for my agent. Don't know if I would have been able to do it at all if it wasn't for her help and wisdom.
The second I hit the Publish button on Wattpad, I made a sound somewhere in between a squealing mouse and the blaring horn of a semi. Can't describe it; too inhuman.

Nonetheless, I did it.

To read Silencing Sapphire Preview - Part 1
Click on the link below.

For everyone who hasn't read Stalking Sapphire yet, and would like to gear up before reading the Wattpad preview, this link will take you directly to all eBook retailers.