When I write a full-length novel, each character has a history and traits that may or may not appear on the page. In order to make a character come to life on the pages, I have to know about his life outside my book. Would you like to know more about the characters who live between the pages of my stories? Read on...
THE ART OF LOVE AND MURDER (book one in the series)
Heroine: Lacy Dahl
Description: Lacy's eyes are a remarkable light green shade. Her hair is ebony and falls below her shoulder blades. She's 5'7" and weighs 135 pounds. She is half Hopi Indian and half Austrian.
Characteristics and Personality Traits: She has a habit of lifting a tendril of hair and brushing it along her chin when she's deep in thought. Her preference is for "real" things such as ceramic over paper, real stones and metals in her jewelry and leather over plastic. She is happy, self-assured, independent and responsible.
Background (not all of this is in the book): She was born in Flagstaff, Arizona. An airplane crash killed both her parents when she was a few months old. Her foster parents eventually adopted her, and she was raised in Phoenix. Her childhood was normal. In high school, she excelled academically and was Homecoming Queen two years in a row. Her college degree was earned at the University of California in San Francisco where she met her husband. She married and had two children. At the time of her husband's death, three years before the story opens, she was a pharmacist, and he was a surgeon. She left her profession after he died and bought a coffee cafe, naming it the Lacy Latte. Her love life has been non-existent, too busy taking care of her sick mother and the cafe.
Additional Information: She drives a crimson red BMW Z4, convertible. She runs every morning then changes into jeans and filmy blouses and expensive shoes before going to the cafe. She has a special closet just for shoes. She practices yoga twice a week and has recently talked her friend Phoebe into going to the classes with her. Her son is at a chef school in Paris, and her daughter owns an art gallery in Tucson, Arizona. Lacy worries about her because she is going through a divorce.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: She has a special closet just for shoes. She practices yoga twice a week and has recently talked her friend Phoebe into going to the classes with her.
Hero: Sheriff Chance Meadowlark
Description: Chance is 5’11” and weighs 205 pounds. He is ¼ Hopi and ¾ mixed Caucasian heritage. His hair is dark brown with very subtle streaks of gold, and long enough to do a ponytail with Indian type binding.
Characteristics and Personality Traits: He’s soft spoken with a serious demeanor. There is a scar on his chin. He sees himself as a protector, but always uses words first. Has the ability to calm people with his voice.
Background (not all of this is in the book): His family owns a ranch in Chino Valley, but he didn’t want to ranch much to the chagrin of his father. His twin brother, Mason, runs the ranch with their father. When he attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, he decided to major in law enforcement and became a policeman. He married a woman from Flagstaff when he was only twenty-one and had one daughter.
Additional Information: When he’s not in uniform, he favors Tee shirts and jeans with cowboy boots or sandals. He owns a black and silver Harley Davidson motorcycle. He has one daughter in college.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: He’s concerned about the next election and the man who will run against him. (Note: I figured he had enough problems without bringing this into the story.)
SOUTHWEST OF LOVE AND MURDER (book two in the series)
Heroine: Phoebe Anderson
Description: Phoebe has cobalt blue eyes, very long blonde hair that is laced with gray. She normally wears her hair in a braid. She’s not slim at 145 pounds and 5’5”. Her Norwegian heritage makes her very fair.
Characteristics and Personality: Her favorite exclamation is Judas Priest. She’s constantly on the move to the point of being fidgety. She’s extremely artistic, outgoing, and funny. A tattoo of a hummingbird adorns the area above her right breast.
Background (not all of this is in the book): Born in Rochester, MN, she decided to get out of the cold her second year at the University of Minnesota and transferred to Arizona State University. She married one of her professors but divorced him after one year because he was a chronic cheater. She has no children. Her breakout novel was a book that killed off her husband. Her parents were hippies that met at Woodstock.
Additional Information: Phoebe favors long flowing skirts, gauzy tops, and lots of jewelry.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: The hummingbird was tattooed by a man she dated. The name of the pure essential oil she wears is Holland and Barrett Lavender. She practiced yoga with her best friend Lacy until Lacy moved away. It was the only exercise she did. She loves sweets and dates artsy types.
Hero: Mason Meadowlark
Description: His eyes are coppery brown, his hair short and blond. He’s 5’11”, weighs 205. He’s big, although not well-defined muscles but solid.
Characteristics and Personality: Mason has a good sense of humor and always has a smile for you. He appears much easier going than his twin brother, Chance. He walks with a swagger. Ranching is everything to him.
Background (not all of this is in the book): He attended college for three years in Prescott, AZ, but was more interested in getting back to hands on ranching, especially since his brother Chance (from book one-see his profile) didn’t come back to ranching. He married his high school sweetheart.
Additional Information: He’s a modern cowboy who relies more on his truck and ATV than his horse. He has a playboy reputation to cover his hurt from his failed marriage. His mother died of cancer. He’d be happy if his father and Margie married.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: He always placed first or second in his competition at the local rodeos, but lost interest when his marriage collapsed. He spent more time in bars and partying. He’s dated every crowned Rodeo Queen since. He’s an avid reader.
A LEGACY OF LOVE AND MURDER (book three in the series)
Heroine: August Myer
Description: August is ¼ Hopi, ¼ Austrian, and from her father she is a mix of German, French, and English. She has strange brown eyes. The brown iris is enclosed in a ring of green. She has dark brown hair that just touches her shoulders with the lower ends tipped lighter. At 5’6”, she is fit, small chested, round hips with great calves. Her skin tone is medium. She usually wears several necklaces, has two earrings on her left ear and three on the right. She likes to mix her stones. She prefers layered T shirts, goes braless, with short denim skirts and leather sandals.
Characteristics and Personality: She has a crooked smile. She’s a tough, young woman who like to get edgy and try dangerous things.
Background (not all of this is in the book): August is Lacy Dahl’s daughter. Her father is dead and when her adoptive grandparents died, she encouraged her mother to seek out information about her birth grandparents. She doesn’t trust authority, especially cops. As a teen, she was arrested for drug possession (first time to try marijuana) and a cop with attitude scared. She’s newly divorced from an unscrupulous husband that could’ve cost her the art gallery she owns in Tucson, Arizona.
Additional Information: Her father called her unusual eye color (brown with a ring of green around the iris) a ring of fire she got from her mother who has startling green eyes. She smells like honey.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: Her mother thinks the night of her arrest was the one and only time she smoked marijuana. It was her first time, but after that night, she indulged more often. She was prepared to blackmail her husband if he wouldn’t give up all rights to the art gallery when they divorced. Besides not wearing a bra, she often skips undies too.
Hero: Inspector Tobias Wolf
Description: Tobias is 6’1”, weighs 200, and is ruggedly muscular. His hair is brown, full, and longish over the tops of his ears. His eyes are the color of toasted almonds. His skin tone if between medium and dark. He wears finely cut suits when working, but even when not working he is stylish if not a bit formal.
Characteristics and Personality: When August compares him to Sean Connery’s James Bond, she nailed it, except for his attitude toward women. He’s thoughtful and monogamous to a fault
Background (not all of this is in the book): Tobias has been too busy to marry. Although he had a couple of almost serious relationships, his work always came first. His job as inspector is busy, but it’s his passion to stomp out neo-Nazism that consumes all his spare time. His grandfather was a Nazi, and he is appalled at that heritage. He won’t live in his parents’ castle estate because he feels it is tainted by his grandfather’s actions. If he can even the score, he might consider joining them there again.
Additional Information: His aftershave smells like sandalwood and cardamom. His drink of choice is Remy Martin X.O.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: He was an athlete in college who played hockey. He has a playboy reputation which is unfounded if you know him. The townspeople assume this because he is often seen at big affairs, making the newspaper, with beautiful women, but he does not live the life. He attends these functions because it is a necessity due to his status in the community.
THE POWER OF LOVE AND MURDER (book four in the series)
Heroine: Penny Sparks…Real Name: Jianna Ricci…Nickname: the Black Fairy
Age: If you know her as Penny, she’s 33. But, in truth, Jianna is 30.
Description: Penny is Italian. She has very dark brown eyes and shoulder-length dyed black hair. Her natural hair color is a dark auburn. She’s 5’2” and leans toward the thin side. Her skin tone is olive. Her top lip turns up a bit, giving her a vulnerable and innocent appearance. She favors black and white clothes.
Characteristics and Personality: This feisty survivor is extremely independent. She is blessed with a photographic memory, although she thinks it’s sometimes a curse. Her favorite saying is “get over it.”
Background (not all of this is in the book): When she was 18, her parents, Myah and Larenz Ricci and her brother, John, were murdered. Her father was senior counsel in the legal department and a senior VP for Westingly, Inc. They lived in Red Rock, NV. Jianna was doing an internship at Westingly, Inc. when her supervisor, Angie Blanton discovered some inconsistencies. This led to Blanton’s disappearance and her family’s murders. Jianna went on the run and has been hiding in Flagstaff, Arizona for thirteen years.
Additional Information: She doesn’t normally wear perfume, but does occasionally use sweet grass oil (native American) in her bath water. The scent is somewhere between flowery and woodsy. She drives a 2000 Dodge Neon. (deep cranberry pearl) which Jake calls it eggplant.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: When she went into hiding, she bought a car from a lot her father specified that would take cash without questions. It was used and had a coconut air freshener hanging from the mirror that made her nauseous. Scared she might never see her parents again, or worse yet they were dead, she put the radio station on a country station to distract her by making fun of the lyrics. In Flagstaff, she checked into the hotel that she would one day work at as the night manager.
Hero: Jake Winters
Description: Jake’s eyes are smoky gray. He sports a closely cropped beard that is dark auburn like his hair. Slightly longish, his hair tends to curl on the ends. He’s 5’10”, solidly built but not overly muscular. He possesses long legs for his height and a nice round bottom. His complexion is fair. His style of dress is jeans, T shirts, and Doc Martin boots.
Characteristics and Personality: As if listening to a song in his head, he taps his thumbs when idle. When amused, he throws his head to the right with a wide smile. Not prone to swearing, he does use the word “bugger” often. He’s a peaceful man, even somewhat wholesome, who got off on the wrong path when he became caught up in near fame as a rock and roll star.
Background (not all of this is in the book): He was busted for possession of cocaine while on tour along the east coast of the United States. He was placed in a rehab facility for six months and he’s now been out for six months. The last year of his rock career, his manager robbed the band blind while Jake was high on drugs and alcohol. The band was spiraling downward anyway. His best friend and drummer in the band, Ian, was also an addict. After he got out of rehab, he got into construction setting tile, but his boss isn’t paying on time. He hasn’t had contact with his parents in three years. His sister Mandy had been in touch but when she turned her back on him, he turned to rehab.
Additional Information: His sister, Mandy, has always been his best friend. His drink of choice during his rock days was Chopin Vodka. He learned his tile setting skills from his father during summer breaks in high school.
What Definitely Isn’t In The Book: The attention he received as a rock and roll star scared him more than fed his ego. He didn’t know how to handle it. His best friend, Ian, was his accomplice in all things wild. They fed the worst in each other. But Ian wasn’t there when he was arrested. He’s worried about his friend, but through counseling, knows he needs to stay away from him until he is firmly secure in his sobriety. He fears Ian is not sober.
SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHTS ON
Heroine: Sandra Holiday
Description: Sandra is a green eyed, blonde. More than likely there's gray under that blonde, but we'll never know. Her hair still touches her shoulders in soft waves. At 5'3", she is petite and just slim enough. She prefers jeans, but wears form-fitting skirts to work.
Characteristics and Personality: Sandra hates to clean. She has a positive attitude in spite of feeling like she’s accomplished little in life. A die-hard romantic, she’s in love with love.
Background (not all of this is in the book): Sandra was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She excelled in English class but didn't have much time for her other studies. Community College held her interest for as long as it took to get her Associates of Arts degree. She married young and it didn't last two years. One night, in Las Vegas Nevada, she met Carson Holiday who was performing on the casino stage at the Sam's Town Casino. He spotted her at the bar, playing video poker with a girlfriend on each side of her. She was twenty-seven. They were married three months later. The marriage lasted five years. Why not longer? See Carson's background below. For the last eighteen years, Sandra has had some colorful relationships from a radio DJ that was too young for her to the Iranian who disappeared and was found dead in the Salt River. Her love of travel keeps pointing her toward careers in the field but it seems every time she gets close, some man distracts her from her goal. As Sandra says, "Always a sucker for romance, but romance never lasts, and I'm left without a career."
Additional Information: Sandra hates to clean. She still has clothes from high school. Beaujolais is her favorite wine and Starbuck's is her favorite coffee. She has a sister named Abby who is taller, married, and her best friend.
Hero: Carson Holiday
Description: Dark hair, blue eyes with a 5’7” muscular frame.
Background (not all of this is in the book): He was born and raised in Texas. Carson attended college in Las Vegas, majoring in accounting. He was always a singer/songwriter/musician, but made sure he got an education for a backup. He chose Las Vegas for school because of the possibility of performing live in casinos. His father died when he was four. His mother raised him and his two brothers.
Characteristics and Personality: He has a voracious sexual appetite, but would never cheat on a wife or a girlfriend. When he feels he’s growing tired of a woman, he divorces her and marries another…at least that’s the old Carson!
Additional Information: He wears western shirts and a black cowboy hat. His favorite boots are gray animal skin. He’s been married six times.