Characters and Their Backstories over at Sinfully

Men & Mischief SA

Hello all! Today I’m over at Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance for my monthly Men & Mischief author column. I’m chatting about character backstories, including that of our Cheesy Doodle crunching Dexter J. Daley.

What do you think makes a good character? How much do you want to know about your favorite characters, inside their book and outside? Check out the post and comment for a chance to win a Kindle ebook from your TBR list. ♡

http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.com/2015/09/charlie-cochets-men-mischief-monthly.html

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The THIRDS: Dream Team

Hello all! Many authors turn to various sources for visual inspiration. TV and movie actors, musicians, models, photography, and so on. For me, it’s always been difficult to cast actors as characters in my stories. Mostly, because when I write, I tend to have an image in my head of what they’re like, and trying to find the right visual inspiration to fit my image is a lot of work.

It’s just tough finding actors who I think not only look the part, but who I could see playing the role. Well, with my THIRDS series, I found my dream team pretty quick. Obviously everyone will see the characters differently, and I may end up changing an actor or two along the way, but I managed to find my cast. Woo!

The hardest to find was Dex, but I think Chris Pine would be a perfect fit. He has the exact color eyes, has played a blond, is adorable, sexy, and silly. He also has a gorgeous smile. I needed an actor who could pull off Dex’s energy–not to mention shenanigans, and I think he can. You can check out my dream team on my THIRDS Pinterest board here: www.pinterest.com/charliecochet/thirds/

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Author Newsletter & a Quick Poll!

CharlieRoseHello all! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be starting my author newsletter in February, but first, a quick poll! As a thank you for those who sign up, I’m going to include a short but sweet little Valentine’s story. Here’s the poll:

http://opst.co/KpcxJE

Voting is anonymous so no need to sign up for anything. Just click a button and you’re all set! Voting open until Jan 15th.

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Tuesday Talks: A Hero’s Heart. Who’s Your Favorite?

TuesdayTalksCCochet180Hello all! Welcome to another Tuesday Talks. Today I’m asking about our heroes of romance. We all have out favorites who we love to read and write about. The bad boy, the boy next door, the alpha male. Something about them makes our hearts beat fast and our knees weak. They keep us glued to the page or the silver screen.

The Tortured Hero

I admit, I love reading and writing about these heroes who always pull at my heartstrings. What is it about these fellas that I love so much? For me, it’s not just about piling on adversity or angst, it’s about characters who have truly struggled and somehow found a way to persevere. A character doesn’t have to be an alpha male to be a tortured hero. One of my most troubled characters is Chauncey Irving, from The Auspicious Troubles of Chance–though I would stick to calling him Chance or it could get ugly. He’s not a big tough alpha, but he is a force to be reckoned with. I love my fellas, but Chance is one of my favorites. (Shsh, don’t tell the others!)

GC - ChanceChance is a tortured hero, not only because of the circumstances he found himself in throughout his life–some within and some out of his control, but for Chance, like some of my other heroes, there is no magic cure. His past broke him, and although he wanted to move on, to make a better life for himself, he just couldn’t find a way to do it, and in the end, he learns he can never truly leave it all behind. His pain is a part of him, but he manages to turn his life around and find happiness with help from those he comes to care about, his unconventional family who teach him he doesn’t have to go at it alone.

In His CornerCCochetChance grew up on the streets of New York City in the early 1800s after running away from the orphanage his parents dropped him off at when he was just a kid. He survived on his looks and his smarts. He gained everything he had ever wanted only to lose it in one fell swoop. This set him on a path of self-destruction. Booze, drugs, violence, and lots of meaningless sex. He didn’t care about anyone, least of all himself. He wanted to be a better man, but didn’t know how. His desperation leads him to the French Foreign Legion in the 1920s, where he meets Jacky Valentine–his new commandant, a man who his superiors believe can set Chance straight–so to speak, as well as the three misfit teens Jacky has taken under his wing. With Jacky and the ‘brats’, Chance learns that not only is he capable of love, but that he deserves it as well.

You can read the blurb here or Chapter 1 here.

Warning: Story contains good old fashioned romance, foul language, and a good amount of grumpiness. Pet names such as hummingbird, snugglepup, and buttercup may be used to infuriate said hero.  

What’s your favorite type of hero to read or write about? What kind of hero do you want to see more or less of?

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Friday Fun: Character Connections

FridayFunCCochet180Welcome to this week’s Friday Fun. Today I’m sharing character connections between my historical fellas. I know there’s a chart, but the chart doesn’t really go into detail, so I thought it might be fun to tell you a little about how the fellas know each other.  If you’re not sure which book a fella might be from, just check out the Fellas page. Most of the historical fellas are there with the exception of Bruce & Jace (When Love Walked In) and Jessie & Eli (In His Corner). Okay, here we go. Ready?

Let’s start with Hawk. Hawk went to Harvard for a few years before he got kicked out. In that time, he was best friends with a rookie police officer named Bruce Shannon. Hawk was also madly in love with Maxfield Clarence–who is Edward Clarence’s cousin.  Things ended badly between Hawk and Maxfield. At the time, Edward was in England where he meets and shares a deep bond with a fellow who saves his life. His name was Jacky Valentine. Although there was love and a sexual relationship, the two knew they were better off as friends and have remained that way.

Years later, Edward meets and falls madly in love with Julius Knight, who in his youth worked as a prostitute in the bowery. There he unwittingly helped a fourteen year old Johnnie escape a life of abuse and horror by leaving him a dinner knife one night after one too many nights of hearing Johnnie crying in the room next door. To this day, Johnnie wishes he knew the name of the pretty blond boy who had saved his life. Johnnie is one of the brats who Jacky takes under his wing in Algiers after leaving Edward and joining the French Foreign Legion.

Jacky spent a good deal of his youth in New York where he played with a boy named Joe Applin (the cafe owner in When Love Walked In), who was once in love with a rookie officer named Bruce Shannon, but Bruce came back from the war a changed man and their relationship crumbled. They’re still friends. It’s through Joe’s connection with Jacky

After leaving the bowery, Julius and his friends worked the speakeasies and saloons, performing, and taking men for their money. One of the men he tries to seduce is Harlan Mackay. Harlan is sweet on Julius and warns him off before the saloon is raided by him and Nathan Reily–Harlan’s Prohi partner and lover. Nathan was once in love with Danny Brogan before they went of to the war and Danny disappeared. Danny meets and falls for gruff detective John Flynn who grew up in Brooklyn and hung out at a gym where he boxed with his best friend (with benefits), Jessie Dalton. They remained best friends.

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The Power of Dreams

992166_2365335300Have you ever had a dream so vivid you wonder how the hell it was possible? The mind is an incredible thing, we know that, but I admit there’s something I find absolutely fascinating about how we dream. See, I’d been fretting about Henry’s character. He’s one of my protagonists, the love of Johnnie’s life. Yet I’ve been feeling disconnected from him. He hasn’t been talking to me as much as the other fellas. Granted, when those other fellas are Johnnie and Chance, it’s understandable. Anyone would be lucky to get a word in edgewise. I needed Henry to step up and stop being such a wall flower because if he wasn’t careful, Johnnie’s ostentatious personality was going to wipe him clear off the map.

This fretting was obviously floating around in the back of my mind when I dozed off last night, and the whole thing filtered into my dreams, because I dreamed I was in the 1930s. It was weird. It was one of those things where you kind of know you don’t belong there yet you’re still a part of it, a sort of semi-awareness. It’s not the first time I’ve dreamed of a different time. (Welcome to the head of a historical writer). Anyway, the thing is, it was the 1930s. Not surprising considering how much of my day I spent trying to immerse myself in that time. What I found surprising was the incredible vividness of the dream. I swear, it was as if I had closed my eyes and woken up in that time.

I remember a restaurant, and the incredible detail of it just blew me away. I don’t know what restaurant it was, whether it may have been something I had seen at some point somewhere or if my head had just made it up and turned the colors up full blast, but the details took my breath away. From the clothing the people were wearing to the gorgeous ceiling and the tiled floor. It breaks my heart that I can’t remember much of it now, but I remember at the time just standing there in awe.

Just where had my head conjured up this place from? Believe me, I might know my era, but I’m nowhere near as good as that, where I can just piece something together off the top of my head. There was also a hotel lobby and busy sidewalks at night, all illuminated by signs. Mostly I remember indoors. I remember a good deal of it was sort of in a shopping arcade, which is where this restaurant was. I remember green marble tiles in a diamond pattern on the floor with white marble tiles. Lots of gold inside the restaurant, intricate designs.

HenryNow the best part was, there was a man in a dark blue, three-piece suit walking beside me. He had his hands in his pockets and a gray felt hat on his head with a black ribbon around it. He was tall, slender, very unassuming, soft spoken, and handsome, though I couldn’t see his face clearly. He would talk with his head lowered. I couldn’t see what color his hair was. Then I remember he took me back somewhere. There was a gift shop, but it was closed. I remember sun coming in through a window on my left and cloth tarps covered a good deal of the furniture. Even though I can’t remember what he was talking about, I remember there was an odd sense of peace mixed with sadness. Either it was him giving off this sadness or it was whatever he was talking about.

When I turned, I saw a table filled with pretty souvenirs. They were British. I knew then the man was Henry. Henry’s English, you see. He’s tall, slender, unassuming, soft spoken, and handsome. For the life of me, I can’t remember what Henry was talking to me about. I wish I could say I woke up and knew everything there was to know about him, but I didn’t. I did wake up feeling a little more connected to him. It might sound strange, and a little silly, but I also woke up feeling somewhat sad. Because for a moment, he had been there, real and in the flesh, living and breathing like any other person we talk to on a daily basis. Except he was a man of his time, and in the here and now, he would have passed on many a year ago. Henry was gone.

What does this mean for the story? Well, it’s made things a little more complicated, so hold onto your hats. See, now that it feels as if I’ve met Henry in person, I can’t get into his head. I’ve mulled over the POV of Johnnie’s book endlessly. At first it was going to be Johnnie’s POV because the first book was written from Chance’s POV and I thought I should continue that. Then it changed to third so I could get into other characters’ heads. Now, it only feels right doing it from Johnnie’s point of view, to see and feel things through him, and most importantly, to see Henry through Johnnie’s eyes, the way I saw him through my own. See, there’s a reason they say we writers are screwy. So I feel as if I can’t let Henry down. I have to give a life and a love worthy of the man who had walked beside me in that shopping arcade. Henry, I apologize in advance for what Johnnie will put you through, but I promise you, you’ll get your happily ever after.

x Charlie

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Getting All My Heroes In a Row

charliewritingHello!  I’m going to share the beginnings of my story bible. When I decided I wanted to make a career out of writing fiction, I did  A LOT of research. I read the blogs, websites, advice columns of other writers who wrote in all genres.

I may be a pantser most of the time with my writing, but everything around it, is incredibly organized. I wanted to make sure I started things off right, so that down the line, I wouldn’t be going crazy, sifting through manuscripts trying to remember what fella was from where, what color eyes he had, and who he’d had a past relationship with.

Now, one thing you may not know, but might have had an inkling about, is that the majority of my Historical MM Romance characters live in the same city, within the same time frame, and the reason for that is that I’ve created my own little gay enclave in New York City. In the 1930s, in New York City especially, the gay male world was very much existent, even if it was hidden. Through certain dress, speech, and communication, gay men could not only identify other gay men, but to do so in safety, and bringing about a thriving gay community. As such, it’s common sense to me, that many of my characters would have crossed paths at some point or another in their lives.

Some characters might make small appearances, some might merely be mentioned, and some might have a good deal to do with the plot. Regardless, they’re all part of one big timeline. Now, how to keep track of all those handsome heroes, especially when some of their stories haven’t been written yet.

Character spreadsheets!

You can click on the image for a larger version. Sheet 1, which is this one, covers physical traits so I can easily go back and check. Here I have the characters together by story. Each story is a different color. It has their age for whatever year their story takes place (the 20s) and what age they are in 1934. Then we’ve got eye color, hair color, skin, height, weight, and a brief description just for reminders.

These are just the main protagonist and important secondary characters. It’s always being tweaked and added to. On Sheet 2, I have the fellas’ occupations, who they’ve had a past relationship with, who they’re friends with, and who their love interest is. I haven’t put that one up because it has spoilers *grin*.

But an example, Hawk is friends with Bruce (they met years before Hawk met Remi). Hawk talks about him in The Amethyst Cat Caper. Bruce and Joe (whose pie shop Bruce visits in When Love Walked In) are friends, and also used to be lovers *gasp*. That will show up in Bruce’s book next. Anyway, Hawk–through Bruce, gets help from Joe, who’s friends with Jacky. Jacky is friends with Alexander, who is friends with Chess. Those of you who read The Amethyst Cat Caper, know of Hawk’s gift to Remi. Well, that’s how he managed it. Hawk’s whole attitude toward high society folks, has to do with Maxfield, who’s cousins with Edward. Edward is the love interest for Julius, who was in my LiAW story.

Yeah, so you see, I thought it best I get organized now, while there are still roughly two dozen fellas. I love expanding their world and making connections. It’s so much fun! I figured spreadsheet would be my best bet, because that way I could move, insert, and easily change things, which wouldn’t be as easy if it was all written down. I do keep a printed copy in a notebook, though, for quick access. Any questions, class? :D

x Charlie x

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