Free Flash Fiction – Plus One

Plus One


Smoothing her hands over the lacey skirt of her dress, Olivia took one last look in the rear-view mirror, to check her makeup and hair. It had cost her a small fortune, having it all done professionally, but if she was going to do this, she was going to look amazing. She’d played out the scene in her mind all week. Emma’s blue eyes would turn green. Gregory would gasp and question if he’d made the right decision. Olivia would smile, flirt, and leave them in their misery.

She got out of the car and followed the crowd into the hotel, only stopping to dig the invitation out of her nude-coloured clutch. She looked around the foyer, taking in the crystal chandelier that hung from the high ceiling and the ivory and gold bunting strewn around the room. Matching flower arrangements had been placed in the centre of all the tables. They must have maxed out credit cards and taken out ridiculous loans to pay for it all.

Olivia twisted her fingers together and blew out a thick breath. The butterflies in her stomach had tripled in size. She looked around the room, desperate to find someone she recognised. The room was full of light-hearted chat and laughter, mixing with expensive perfumes and cheap aftershaves. Someone nearby was wearing a particularly cloying scent that caught at the back of Olivia’s throat. She didn’t know anybody there, so she looked to find someone else who had been denied a “plus one”.

‘Olivia?’ called a male voice.

She glanced towards the bar and saw a gorgeous man walking towards her. He could have stepped straight from the pages of a catalogue. Dressed in black trousers and a matching suit jacket, with a crisp white shirt underneath, the top button undone to show off the dusting of dark curls. His brown hair, longer on the top than it was around the sides, had been swept back and styled to precision. His jaw and cheeks were covered in a closely clipped beard, no straggly bits poking out. Olivia swallowed down the lump of apprehension that had built in her throat and nodded.

‘I thought it was you! You look great!’ He beamed a melt-worthy smile, with teeth as perfect as the rest of him.

Olivia frowned. It was obvious that she was meant to know him. Surely someone that good-looking, she would remember? But, she came up blank when she tried to put a name to his face.

‘Craig,’ he offered, thrusting a hand towards her. She stared it for a moment, before letting his long fingers wrap over her palm.

‘Craig…’ she said thoughtfully. ‘Oh, my God! Craig Feathers!’ She grinned as the memory slapped her. ‘Wow, you look… amazing!’

‘Thank you.’ He chuckled. ‘You look good too. It was brave of you to wear white.’

‘It’s cream actually,’ Olivia said in a small voice. She felt the heat rise in her cheeks.

‘How long do you think it’s been?’ he asked, the corner of lips tweaking into a knowing smile.

‘Ten years at least. Wow. Craig Feathers.’

‘Let me get you a drink.’ He slipped his hand to the small of her back and guided her towards the bar. ‘What would you like?’

‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Olivia was still in shock. The last time she had seen him, Craig had been an overweight eighteen-year-old, wearing thick metal braces over crooked teeth, and only spoke in either computer jargon or Klingon. While she’d understood a little of the Klingon, she hadn’t been willing to admit it, and preferred to ignore him, focusing all her attention on the luscious Gregory Barrett.

‘A pint of Leffe, and…’ He glanced at Olivia.

‘White wine, please.’ She sat down on the stool in front of her.

‘I wasn’t expecting to see you here,’ Craig said, pushing the wine glass in front of her. ‘You’re all still friends then?’

‘I wouldn’t go that far. But we keep in touch. Facebook, you know?’

He nodded, took a sip of his beer and licked the froth off his top lip. ‘Same. I don’t think I recognise anyone else in here though.’ They both looked around. All the guests had separated into little groups; the men standing, and the women taking over the few chairs that were spread around the edge of the room. Somewhere, a man let out a raucous laugh.

‘No, I don’t think I do either. Then again, I didn’t recognise you! You’ve changed so much!’

‘You mean I’ve lost weight.’ He patted his stomach. ‘Four stone.’

‘Wow,’ Olivia mouthed. ‘That’s quite a lot.’ She took a drink and tried not to seethe; the wine was drier than she was used to. ‘How?’

Craig shrugged. ‘I got myself a personal trainer and a nutritionist, and worked at it.’

‘Sounds expensive. You must be doing quite well for yourself.’ She took another drink and glanced over her shoulder.

The noise behind her grew from chat to cooing and applauding. Craig said something, but it was lost as Emma and Greg walked through the doors.

Olivia tried to make herself taller and look over the ocean of heads and smiles that crowded around them. She could see the top of Emma’s veil and tiara – a thin white mesh trailed over a crown of diamonds and silver. The guests parted, and like Moses guiding the Israelites, Greg was revealed. Olivia was glad that she was still sat down. Disappointment washed over her. She’d been hoping that he’d be fat, or missing teeth, or something. Anything that would make him unattractive. But he was as gorgeous as ever. And so was Emma. Wearing a beautiful ivory dress, decorated in tiny pearls and diamantes, her waist had been cinched in, accentuating her bust and hips. Olivia felt sick. How stupid it was of her, to think she could out-do the bride.

‘Are you okay?’ Craig touched her elbow.

‘I’m fine,’ she said, forcing a smile. ‘Sorry. Miles away. Doesn’t she look stunning?’ She couldn’t help the sadness and jealousy that edged her voice.

‘We should go and congratulate them.’

Olivia nodded and followed him. She waited as Craig shook Greg’s hand and kissed Emma’s cheek. She waited as he gushed pleasantries and told Emma how beautiful she looked, and how Greg was a lucky man. She waited as her stomach twisted and knotted and threatened to throw up the wine she had drunk.

‘Olivia!’ Emma stepped forward and grabbed the tops of her arms, tugging her into a tight hug. ‘You look fabulous! Doesn’t she Greg? Doesn’t she look gorgeous?’ Emma nudged an elbow into her new husband’s ribs.

‘Amazing,’ Greg agreed, and leaned in to place a kiss on Olivia’s cheek.

‘Thank you. And congratulations. And thank you for inviting me.’

Emma beamed at her. ‘I’m so glad you could come.’ She took hold of Olivia’s hand and reached out for Craig. ‘Both of you. And I’m glad that you found each other.’ Her blue eyes sparkled in the light that shone down from the chandeliers. ‘We will have to catch up in a bit. But you know… Photos, socialising…’ She groaned and rolled her eyes before finishing it all with a wide, genuine smile.

Olivia nodded and watched as Emma and Greg were swept into the next room, followed by a gaggle of women dressed in identical dark gold dresses, and a man with a camera hung around his neck.

‘That wasn’t too bad, was it?’ Craig said.

‘No,’ Olivia mused. She turned to face Craig. ‘What do you think she meant by, she was glad that we’d found each other?’

Craig chuckled. ‘You do know what Emma does for a living don’t you?’

Olivia gave a slow shake of her head. ‘Not really. I know she works from home.’ She gazed over at the women having their photos taken. A crowd had formed behind the photographer, each holding either a camera of their own, or their smartphones, high in the air, trying to get that perfect shot.

‘Another drink?’ Craig asked.

‘Yes. I definitely need one.’ They headed back to the bar, ordered drinks, and claimed a couple of the comfortable chairs that had been abandoned. Olivia settled into the soft cushioned seat. ‘Sorry, you were telling me what you do.’

‘I freelance as an IT Analyst.’

Olivia frowned.

Craig laughed. ‘I work with computers.’

‘Ah. You always were a bit geeky.’ She picked up her glass and took a large sip. ‘I think they’re moving in to the dining room. Do you think we should join them?’ A knot of worry built inside her. What if they’d been put on different tables? Who would she talk to?

‘Come on.’ Craig helped her to stand, and once again placed his hand on her back. She hadn’t noticed how much taller he was until then. There was at least four or five inches between them. She fought the shiver that threatened to fall down her spine. Craig glanced over the board that stood by the door to the dining hall.

Olivia poked her head in and watched Emma and Greg officially greet their guests. Voices echoed off the bare wood walls, mingling into each other. Warm aromas followed waiters and waitresses as they moved around the room, offering glasses of champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

‘Look at that,’ Craig said, catching her attention. ‘We’re next to each other. It’s almost like fate.’ He winked, and grinned, but Olivia didn’t get the punch line of whatever joke was being told. Still, she felt reassured that she would have at least one person to talk to.

The tables were fat and round, and placed around the edge of a small dance floor. Each one was draped in white cotton, with the gold and ivory theme running throughout the room. The extravagant centre pieces included huge glass vases, filled with coloured beads, and decorated with flowers similar to those in the bar area. On the stage to the side, a small orchestra tuned their instruments.

Olivia found her seat next to Craig, and was surprised to see a small box set next to the silver cutlery, with her name written on it. She glanced around the table and saw that everyone had a gift; the men had a small bottle of whisky or brandy, and the women had a box of chocolates that looked to be handmade. ‘This must have set them back a bit,’ Olivia said in a hushed voice, looking at the newly married couple as they took their seats. Emma and Greg’s table was long and spread at the top of the room, but decorated in the same fashion as all the others.

‘I think Greg can afford it.’ Craig laughed.

Olivia stuffed a chocolate into her mouth to stop from biting her bottom lip. Still, she knew that her cheeks had reddened.

‘So, what have you been up to since we last saw each other?’ Craig asked as a waiter appeared with their first course; a creamy tomato soup with crunchy croutons scattered across the thick surface.

‘I’m an accountant.’

Craig grinned. ‘You always were a bit geeky.’

They spent the evening chatting, and soon Olivia forgot that there was anyone else at the table. She smiled through the speeches, without a single pang of jealousy. She lifted her glass and congratulated the beautiful couple. She watched as Greg held Emma close during their first dance.

Olivia placed her elbow on the table, resting her cheek on her knuckles. Guests began to join them on the parquet floor, swaying in time to the romantic music. She sat up when Craig offered his hand to her. She looked up, into his dark brown eyes and felt the butterflies in her stomach begin to flutter again.

‘You can’t sit there all night. Come on. Let’s dance.’ He took hold of her hand and pulled her from her seat, leading her towards the rest of the guests. Wrapping one arm around her waist, he held her as close as Greg and held Emma. She could smell the warm, musky scent of his aftershave.

Olivia closed her eyes. ‘I’m glad I came,’ she whispered against his chest. ‘It was fate.’

‘Me too.’ He kissed the top of her head. ‘Although I don’t think fate had much to do with it.’

Olivia opened her eyes and looked towards Emma, and realised she was watching them. Olivia smiled. ‘Thank you,’ she mouthed.


Finding My Highlander by Aleigha Siron – an extract #tirgearrtuesday #paranormal #romance

Kindle USKindle UK

Also available in paperback: Amazon USAmazon UK


On a windswept cliff above San Francisco Bay in 2013, 27 year-old Andra Cameron, the last member of her family, prepares to scatter her family’s ashes to the wind. An earthquake catapults her to the Scottish Highlands in 1705. She wakes, aching and bloody, to the sound of horses thundering through the trees. Terrified and with no other options, Andra accompanies these rugged warriors. She can’t deny the undeniable attraction that ignites between herself and the handsome but gruff Kendrick. Will she trust him to provide protection in the harsh reality of 18th century Scotland and with her secret, or will she find a way to return home to the 21st century?

Laird Kendrick MacLean and his men, escaping a recent skirmish with their worst nemeses, clan Cameron and their Sassenach allies, are shocked to find an injured, unprotected female in their path. How could she not know her kin and how had she landed in the middle of the wilderness alone? His men suspect she’s a spy or a witch. Still, Kendrick will not abandon an injured woman, even if she speaks unusually accented English, and her name is Cameron. Will he ransom her to others or will their closed hearts open to each other? Although he questions her every utterance, this feisty, outspoken woman inflames his desire like no other.


“Lass, can I help you?” His voice was softer than the others, his stance relaxed, composed, despite the dirt and blood splattered over his massive arms and clothing. He seemed to be a quiet, gentle man, though physically as imposing as the others.

“You could bring me my bag.”

He moved his hand from behind him and cautiously extended her mother’s old carpetbag. “Do I need to check it for weapons?” A slight crinkle lifted the corner of his mouth. A piece of leather cord tied wavy, light-brown hair at the nape of his neck and tight braids spilled alongside sharp, scruffy cheeks. His eyes were dark and shadowed.

“Thank you…it’s Rabbie, correct?”

“Aye,” he nodded.

Andra granted him a guarded smile. “I’ll pull no further weapons if you promise to be kind.” The slight attempt at humor from both of them eased the tension coiled in her gut.

He swept an arm gracefully in front of him and bowed, “Always, m’lady, as I learned at me mother’s knee.” Then he left her to tend the horses.

She searched her bag for the washcloth, hand towel, and first aid kit she always carried when traveling. The washcloth came to hand first. She dipped it into the cold water and wiped the dried and clotted blood from her face and hair. Then she dunked her head in the pool several more times.

“I seem to be awake,” she whispered, just for the comfort on her own voice. “My surroundings feel solid enough,” she pounded her fist on the dirt, “so it must be real. Accept it, Andra, and decide what to do next.”

She could hear the men speaking Gaelic, hushed yet clearly distraught about the condition of their clansman. They gathered near another pool of water several yards from where she knelt. She watched them over her shoulder for a few minutes struggling to fit the scene into her new reality. A million questions rose in her throat.

“Not now. Patience and observation are what’s required. All will be revealed in time.” What a stupid cliché.

Should she offer her help with their friend; would they accept it? She could not sit here and do nothing when one of them was seriously injured. Besides, anxiety always spurred her to take action. Her father had always said, “Move, keep busy, and don’t let dust gather under your feet.” With her father’s words ringing in her ears, she approached the men cautiously, keeping her eye on the mean one, Struan.

“May I be of assistance?” She stood with her feet firmly planted on the hard-packed, dirt floor, her head held high, one hand pressed flat against her side, the other rested on the cross dangling on her chest. It took an extreme effort to control her trembling body. Her palms moistened with sweat. She steadied her focus on Kendrick. His strong hands moved carefully over his brother’s body. The mean one harrumphed and growled.

A growl? Really?

Kendrick looked up, concern etched on his face. His dark, probing eyes bore through her. “Are you a healer, then?” he asked.

“Not a healer exactly, but I have cared for ill and injured persons and have some training in first aid. I wish to help if you’ll permit me.”

“I dinnae ken your meaning. What’s the first aid of which you speak? As you can see, we give him aid, but if you can do anything to help save my brother’s life, I will gladly accept your offer.”

The mean one growled again. “Don’t trust her, she’s the enemy and will just as soon slit his throat.”

Ignoring the slur, she continued, “Have you determined the extent of his injuries?”

“Aye, his shoulder is dislocated, several fingers broken, which we have straightened and bound as best we’re able. We need to stitch multiple, deep wounds, and he’s lost a lot of blood, though blood no longer flows freely.”

The injured man lay on a plaid, stripped completely naked, his kilt torn away from his battered body. Mud, blood, and all manner of vile debris caked the hard planes of his bronzed chest. Andra couldn’t identify the severity or location of all his injuries. He moaned but appeared unconscious, or so she assumed, since he hadn’t opened his eyes. Clumps of dried blood crusted over wounds on one leg and foot. Dark, matted refuse covered the entire other leg.

His manhood lay flaccid against his thigh, and none of the men seemed concerned about his state of undress in front of a strange female. She stood quietly, waiting for several breaths.

Meet the author:

Following an accident several years ago, Aleigha’s road to recovery was paved with the adventures and excitement of romance novels, inspiring the creation of her own tales. Recently learning about distant Scottish ancestors, she traveled to the land of craggy peaks, mists, bogs, and the ubiquitous heather, where she fell in love with the setting for her first full-length time-travel romance novel.

In her lengthy business career, Aleigha wrote and derived an array of management and other technical training programs until she turned her writing efforts to her true loves: fiction, and poetry. Her poetry has been published in numerous anthologies and university presses. Most recently, her poetry was included in an Escondido Municipal Art Gallery collection, merging art and poetry, a form known as ekphrastic poetry. The San Diego Poetry Society also selected a poem for publication in their 2015-16 Annual Anthology.

Currently, Aleigha is busy working on two new novels and plans to revisit a Children’s Book written years ago for her many nieces and nephews. When not writing, reading, or attending poetry workshops, she often walks along the shore at sunset with her husband and her trusty Labrador helper, Strider, breathing in the ion charged air while seeking inspiration.

• • •

• Find Aleigha Online •


Smashwords Sale (Facebook sucks…)

Yes, it’s that time of year again! It’s time for a Smashwords Summer Sale.

Facebook found this ad extremely offensive and sexually explicit, so any kind of marketing has failed miserably. But, I know my lovely readers, fans, and followers will be happy to share either this post or the Facebook ad on my page.

Smashwords Sale!

Getting ready to hit the beach? Need something to read in the airport or by the pool? Are you a teacher looking for a book NOT aimed at children? Head over to Smashwords and take advantage of their summer sale. Load up your e-reader with fabulously sexy books, with up to 50% off!

Stranded – FREE
City Nights Titles – 99c
A Different Kind of Therapy – 25% off
Tirgearr Titles – 50% off


Take advantage of the sale and fill your ereader with some great books!

What The Reviewers Are Saying:

Stranded: 5-STARS “I would imagine that things could easily get pretty intense when you’re in a spot like theirs. As it turns out, intense and steamy would be a better choice of adjectives!”

One Night in Edinburgh: 5-STARS “This story had me wanting more and definitely had me wanting to visit Edinburgh.”

One Night in Inverness: 5-STARS “It’s a very real and believable story with realistic characters who for once are not perfect. Hot sex scenes, emotionally charge story, splash of humour, lovely setting. A very enjoyable read for anyone who likes a sexy romance.”

One Night in Aberdeen: 5-STARS “Super, sexy read with great characters. Finished reading it in one sitting. Loved it!”

The Final Straight: 5-STARS “Keep [sic] me on the edge of my seat the entire time.”

Seven Dirty Words: 5-STARS “People are linking it with 50 shades of grey…but in my opinion this book is so much better…better story and definately [sic] better written!”

Four Letter Words: 5-STARS “A fantastic fabulous read, couldn’t put it down, an excellent conclusion to the story, for me I prefered these books to 50 shades. I will look out for more Charlotte Howard to read.”

The Black Door: 5-STARS “A really well written getaway. I enjoyed loosing [sic] myself in the story, so much so that I can’t believe I have finished and it’s time to go back to real life.”

A Different Kind of Therapy: 4-STARS “This is a quick, filthy, fun read, suitable for anyone getting into kink. It’s particularly good if you prefer your heroines sparky and smart, and are happy with the idea of switching and table-turning.”

And of course, don’t forget that Later is still available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited! You can also buy both Later and Taking Care of Leah in paperback if you prefer.


Later: 5-STARS “It takes a lot for a book to draw me in – but this one I couldn’t put down! I really enjoyed the storyline and was intrigued as to how it would end.”

Taking Care of Leah: 4-STARS “I liked the real-life developing intimate relationship, where Ty is keen to encourage Leah into BDSM, and she’s curious to try it. The need to develop trust, respect and care is nicely woven into the storyline.”



Sweet Redemption by Olivia Peters


Kindle USKindle UK
Kindle CAKindle AU
AppleKobo, Nook



Breaking off my marriage of convenience to start a smoldering affair turns my world upside down. Trevor was supposed to be worth it. He nearly made me spontaneously combust in bed while showing me a love I never thought possible outside of it.

Except it was all a lie. Happily ever after with a man who betrayed me? Not a chance.


I planned to destroy Brooklyn because someone had to pay for the sins of her father. Instead, her touched healed everything that was broken inside me, and I fell hopelessly in love with my enemy’s daughter.

Brooklyn thinks she can end us, but I’m not spending another day without her by my side. Give up on love? Never, even if it kills me.




Always knowing I’d face off with Arch Winslow didn’t truly prepare me for a confrontation with him.

His gaze circles the sprawling, expensively decorated office, focusing on anything but me. He shows the power he wields through arrogant displays of wealth and authority and hatred boils in my gut until it threatens to consume me.

Everything from the Parnian desk to the van Gogh artwork to the Persian rugs announce to all who pass through the monochromatic corner office that Arch is an important man who can have the finer things in life. If this is how his office is decorated, I can only imagine his penthouse.
His body language screams confrontation, making it clear he never wanted to see me again. Yet here I am, a common plebeian in his sacred kingdom. “I’m not sure what you’re expecting from me.”

How can he look me in the eye and say that? “Restitution.”

Arch stands behind his imposing desk while I sit before it, a power play if I’ve ever experienced one. Despite our massive class difference, or perhaps because of it, he’s uneasy, at least a little bit, which inflates my confidence.

“It’s been years—” Arch starts.

“And I can see you’ve done a fine job moving on, sir. Unfortunately, my family hasn’t had that luxury.” He bristles at the interruption and weaker men likely cower in his presence while defaulting to saying, ‘yes boss.’

My eyes skirt to the photographs of Arch shaking hands with the who’s who of New York City and it’s clear he’s earned his place among the elite on the back of my family.

Arch sighs. “Look, I paid your mother a fair market price, which was more than reasonable given the circumstances.” A vein in his jaw tics, another hint that he isn’t over the betrayal from the past either.

“Fair market price?” Indignation has me half-rising to my feet and ready to pummel him senseless. Years of practice reining in my natural instincts allows me to breathe through the red haze consuming my vision. “Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

Arch makes a show of checking his Patek Philippe watch worth more than my house. “You showed up unannounced, and I made time for you, son, despite not having any to spare.”

My teeth grit against the familiarity of the endearment. When I was still knee-high to a grasshopper, Arch could have called me son, but not now. Not after he took my father away from me and then destroyed what was left of my broken family.

My eyes narrow, but Arch holds up a hand. “If you came for money, you won’t be leaving with any. If you came for an apology, remember it was your father who should have apologized to me. I’ve been more than generous, but my patience has run out.”

I’m not looking for a handout, only justice. Arch screwed my family over at our weakest and most vulnerable, an unforgivable act. As a child, I couldn’t do a damn thing. Now, though, I can make it right. He can make it right so my kid brother, Brandon, doesn’t repeat my childhood.

About the Author:

Olivia Peters is a Canadian girl who works as an executive ghostwriter by day and a romance novelist by night. While she has never mixed up her two roles, she sometimes thinks about it just to inject some fun into the boardroom.

She writes unapologetically about hot, dirty talking alpha men and the strong, sexy women who bring them to their knees. Her writing style is accessible with stories readers can relate to and characters they can get emotionally invested in.

Olivia’s erotic scenes will misfire your synapses. Don’t believe us? One of her friends forgot how to use her microwave after reading Olivia’s debut novel, Twist of Fate. Be warned that if you proceed, your Kindle may set on fire.

She is a country girl and spends as much time as possible at her lakeside cottage dreaming up her next story. When she’s not writing, she’s outside doing something active, cooking up a storm in her cluttered kitchen, or spending time with her husband, James, and their boxer, Buster.

Olivia is also a lifestyle blogger, sharing her passion for health and wellness with her followers. She is most active on Instagram, so head over and say hello—Olivia responds to every message she receives and would love to hear from you.

• • •

• Find Olivia Online •


Writing a character

How many times have you picked up a book, and put it down again because the characters are wooden and lack dimension? Sadly, too often. The dialogue’s the same, the speech patterns are the same, there’s no depth to them, they’re unrealistic, and they become boring.

I get asked a lot how I manage to make my characters realistic, and the truth is I base them on real people.

Some authors will write an in-depth character sheet for each character. They’ll go as far as writing a history for them, and creating family trees. I don’t. Or not for a standalone novel, anyway. I’ll write a basic sheet so Bob doesn’t have blue eyes in one chapter and brown in another, and I’ll jot down their flaws, but I don’t delve too deep into their past, because to be perfectly honest, it’s irrelevant.

When writing Seven Dirty Words, I knew it would be more than one book so I did make notes about Paige’s previous encounters with men, and TDS’s ex, but only because I knew they would be mentioned or featured in Four Letter Words as well. For short stories and novellas like the City Nights collection and A Different Kind of Therapy, I barely made notes at all because the stories were so quick, all I needed to really know where what the characters looked like, and how they spoke.

Speech patterns are essential when creating characters. Nobody speaks the same way, and if your characters are from different areas of the country / world, then you will need to make sure their dialogue features dialect and accents. I find it easier to set my novels in the South West, or the East Midlands because these are accents and dialects that I’m familiar with. In Later, the character of Marcel is French. When I wrote his dialogue, I started to think with a French accent, and I made sure I included some French words, and I’ve been assured it does come across well.

However, I broke these rules when I set the C.V. Leigh novel The Change, entirely in Scotland. The Kincaid brothers are Scottish, but the dialogue doesn’t feature Scottish phrases and dialect until a very minor character is introduced. This is simply because it would have been difficult to read if every time they said ‘didn’t’, I wrote ‘dinnae’. There is one scene, which includes a local in a pub, where the drunk character’s dialogue features Scottish dialect for authenticity.

Featured Image -- 4254

Another important area of character creation is looks. As with speech, nobody looks the same.  But, they can look similar. If characters are related, it’s a good idea to make sure they have the same colour eyes, or the same shaped nose, or the same hair type. Of course, it is possible for two complete strangers to have the same coloured eyes. But, remember that some colours are quite rare. For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll have an entire group of unrelated people who have red hair and green eyes, which is a look that a lot of authors seem to go for (including me).

How deep you go into description will depend entirely on your writing style. Some people use a lot of description and spent a lot of time telling the reader how their characters look, while others may go an entire book without mentioning hair or eye colour. And telling someone that a character has brown hair and blue eyes is a bit flat. Remember the rule of showing, not telling. I know from experience, because this is a flaw of mine!

Speaking of flaws…

We all have them. We all have an area of our body that we don’t like, and it’s important your characters do too. Some readers have commented on how Paige in The Words Series is plain looking or not particularly beautiful. The truth is, she is meant to be. But, it’s written in first person and she lacks confidence. She looks in the mirror and doesn’t see someone who is curvy and beautiful, she sees a snubbed nose, thick arms and thick thighs, covered in bruises from rugby and martial arts. In The Black Door, Imogen comes across as angry and standoffish. She’s not a horrible person, but she is a single mum approaching 40, who feels like she is constantly competing against younger, prettier women. Her husband has just left her for someone a lot younger than she is, and the office she works in is full of young, pretty 20-something-year-olds. She has very little self-worth.

Of course, their love interests see past these flaws, but I always feel it’s important the reader sees characters how they see themselves, especially in the beginning.

He pressed his lips against mine, and any irritation was drowned out by pure lust. “Take the job,” he said against me. “Fuck Tremaine. It’s not him I want.”.png

As I mentioned earlier, I do tend to base my characters on real people. Not the entire person, but snippets. They might look vaguely like someone I know, but have someone else’s hang-ups and another person’s speech patterns. I also (subconsciously) tend to inject some of myself into them.

It’s important to make sure that the characters are alive. Without them, there’s no story. Take your time to people-watch – a favourite hobby of many authors. Look at how people walk, look at their facial expressions. Listen to dialects and accents, and speech patterns. Take note of what people dislike about themselves, and then put it all together. You may end up writing a best-selling novel.

Bitter Sweet Alliance by Kathleen Rowland

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Kindle USKindle UK
Kindle CAKindle AU


Will a snap decision change their lives forever?

Bizarre kidnappings stun the Big Island of Hawaii, pulling Danker Donahue back into the game and forcing him to partner with Jolene Kualoha, the woman who left him seven years ago when his DNA showed up in paternity lawsuit. The prejudice-motivated hate crimes are the wildest anyone has ever seen. Victims are being poisoned then released once the ransoms are paid, many losing their lives.

In the shadow of Jolene’s success as a helicopter pilot, a troubled woman develops a fixation on Jolene and imitates her appearance. Matters turn dark when the copycat is shot dead. Was Jolene the target? Threats mount when she barely survives an accident after her brake cables are severed.

When these crimes threaten her sanity, Jolene is forced to trust the one person she thought she’d lost forever, Danker. Instantly, sparks fly between them, and as much as she wants to rekindle their relationship, she must protect her heart.

An old enemy, Seamus McGinn, breaks out of a maximum-security prison and invites Danker to a meet-up. Surprisingly, the kidnapper joins forces with McGinn along with his sick fans. McGinn trumpets his ‘murders by ice pick’, and it’s up to Danker to stop him. The whole island is on edge with a live feed from the maniac’s website.

In a stolen moment, Jolene shows him hope, and he makes a snap decision that will change their lives forever. Will he make it back to her?


Seven years since their breakup, Jolene Kualoha spotted Danker Donahue, ambling from the parking lot toward the store. She recognized him by his height and long gait. Wind from the north ruffled his hair and brought a bone-biting chill to her heart. Nuts, here he was, ducking his head to miss the bell overhead. It tinkled, and a strange twisting sensation hit her in the stomach.

This happened at the Kalua-Kona Food Emporium on a Sunday morning in July. She stared from where she stood near the avocados. His dangerous edge drew her in, but she turned her back to him. Her body reverberated like when her cell phone was on vibrate in her pocket. Stunned with minor electric shock, she froze. Maybe he wouldn’t see her. Wouldn’t recognize the back of her head or the once familiar shape of her ass.
Was someone waiting for him in the parking lot? Someone like Louella, the baby’s momma who’d summoned him for an immediate DNA test? For a split second, she craned her head around but didn’t see her with him.

She and Danker were a couple when the test confirmed his fatherhood. Her heart ached at the memory. Love hurt, but that wasn’t all. Loneliness hurt. Losing someone hurt. Decision-making hurt when you force yourself to do the right thing.

She’d pulled away, giving him space to work on his previous relationship for the sake of their child. The most shameful thing a woman can do is take parents away from a baby, and this began her year of stubborn steadfastness.

I did the breakup rituals. Got the dramatic haircut. Engraved a piece of jewelry he got me with a new message. Deleted the photos that made me cry.

To have been his woman was like living where the air flowered with jasmine, and the weather day after day was flawless, but the forecast was a hurricane.

Older didn’t mean wiser. All this time she’d dreaded running into him, sometimes dressing in expectation of it. If she did see him again, she wanted to look good. Today she looked like crap, but what did it matter? His reason for being on the Big Island had nothing to do with her, not in a personal way. Tomorrow they’d meet at the FBI field office to collaborate on a serial kidnapping case. She’d wear a sleeveless linen dress, open-toed pumps, and bring the accordion file full of notes and newspaper clippings she’d gathered.

The perpetrator targeted wealthy Hawaiians with social capital, the kind of people seen on television or featured in newspapers when they donated money to charities. The latest missing person, Pua Iona, owned Iona Hawaiian Rugs and was an acquaintance of hers. Not that they shared the same social strata, but they’d volunteered together at an artisans’ market to boost Hawaiian crafts. After Pua went missing and fit the criminal’s modus operandi, Mayor Billy Kim, frustrated with police progress, contacted Jolene’s former boss from California, FBI Agent Gary Guhleman, cowboyish in dress but wise in judgement.

Guhleman didn’t need to tell her Hawaiians resisted outside intrusions. “You know everyone,” he’d said. “Witnesses will share what they know.” The agent and his wife had retired, rather semi-retired, here in Kona. Soon after she and Guhleman had spoken, he called in Danker Donahue to consult. “You remember him, right?”

“Gosh, let me think.” She and Danker went hot and heavy after the Long Beach case that ended with the arrest of mobster Seamus McGinn.

Just then Danker spoke to someone with his rich Midwestern drawl, typical of California transplants. It was the first time she’d heard his voice in seven years after hearing it every day for ten months. She hardened like a turtle on a rock except for a slight turn of her head. He removed an earbud from his right ear and placed it in a protective case.

His longer dark hair, broad shoulders, and square jaw evoked an intense mix of emotions. A car crash of desire. There was nothing more frightening than desiring a freefall. It wasn’t just the sex. Her heart had burst with happiness making her believe love conquers all. It hadn’t.

In profile, the skin of his face was not as smooth. His craggier appearance reflected who he was, a loner with little concern about his well-being. The work he’d chosen reinforced his inclination toward secretive and wary, trusting few people.

She sighed at his beautiful elegance. So beautiful in a manly way, and he was once hers.

She’d let him go.

No, she’d pushed him away and cut all ties. The right thing to do was the hardest thing. She expected Danker to be different, not just older but still having an immensely handsome face. Worst case, with the risks he took, she expected he’d be dead. What she saw was what she’d hoped for. Alive. Succeeding as a top investigator called on by the FBI. She also hoped he’d found happiness with the child he’d fathered.

About the Author:

Book Buyers Best finalist, Kathleen Rowland, is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.She grew up in Iowa, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Kathleen now happily exists with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California, where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write while listening to characters’ demanding voices in her head.

• • •

• Find Kathleen Online •


Why Kindle Unlimited?


As everyone should know by now, my debut urban fantasy novel ‘The Change‘ is available to read on Kindle Unlimited. But why?

Kindle Unlimited (KU) is a subscription service available through Amazon. The subscription gives you access to millions of titles. When an author or publisher signs up to the KU service, they sign a disclaimer giving Amazon exclusivity over the ebook for a set period of time. With The Change only available as an ebook, that means the only way you can read it is via your Kindle or Kindle app. Of course, you don’t need to be a KU subscriber – you can buy it for £4.99. However, if you’re a subscriber, you can read it for free!

With Kindle Unlimited, you can read up to 10 books at a time, with no time limit. Currently, Amazon are offering a free 30-day trial of the…

View original post 628 more words