First, a reader expects to find a deliciously handsome hero, with a smooth sexy voice, and magic hands. Courageous, caring, reliable, and trustworthy is good in the mix, but he must have a flaw to make him interesting. This can be anything from a scar to a mysterious secret from his past. He must smell as wonderful as he looks but make him real, for instance, does he snore in bed or blow smoke out of his ears when he's angry?
I like a strong, feisty heroine but utterly female and with a need to be loved and cherished. No one likes a whiner, and men hate clingy women, so I think about the hero's pride when I create his not so "perfect" woman. I write about the girl-next-door type, real women who wake up with their hair in a mess and chocolate wrappers stuck to one cheek. Thalia my heroine, in the Dragonsong Trilogy, carries a lot of baggage and doesn't trust men. So, I had to write Lumos, my gorgeous hero, as a patient man with a huge amount of sexual magnetism to get her attention.
Setting. World building is very important. Create a world that fits the story filled with fantastic plants, animals, and scenery. Fantasy allows the author free range to create the most beautiful landscapes and the darkest of dungeons. I make sure I give my readers the full imagery of what I am seeing when I write a story. I make sure they enjoy a good mix of emotion, fear, love and amusement along the way. The Dragonsong Trilogy takes my characters on a journey through many worlds. They travel from the beauty of the Singing Forest to the damp and dangerous lair of an Underworld monster, to the barren sunburned plains of Tusuns, a world filled with attack trained spiders-yes, I did say attack trained spiders-and into the snowcapped mountain peaks to outwit a vampire.
Plot: Make sure the story fits into and uses the world you have created. Someone asked me at an author's workshop about the "rules" in fantasy or paranormal. There are no rules. The realm of make-believe is endless but use the characters powers to build tension. It can be fun to explain the magical powers and their limitations and dangers. For instance, every time the witch sneezes the people around her turn to stone, their hair falls out, they grow long noses or perhaps she causes a catastrophic event. Let your imagination fly and create something amazing.
Romance: The yummy part of the story. I like my characters to have the, he/she is "the one" connection from the first meeting. Their desire should blaze across the pages, from the first attraction, even if their love isn't consummated for some chapters. I don't rush into sex scenes. I prefer the slow burn before the ultimate love scene to build sexual tension.
Writing sex scenes: I always write in both POV's because, as a reader, I want to know what both people are experiencing. Scent and touch play a big part in a love scene. Think about what is attractive about the character-is it his big brown eyes, or does he smell so darn sexy? Create the mood, the desire, and remember these people are in love, so to be tender and compassionate. Build a sex scene slowly in at least 1000 words.
Dialogue : I like my dialogue to suit the situation, for example, a New York Police Officer would speak very differently to characters in an ancient world. In the Dragonsong Trilogy, I decided to use medieval language to suit the ancient dragons. I always use dialogue to move my story forward, and to explain any backstory to avoid the dreaded info dumps ( I'm sure all writers are guilty of that at one time )
Subplot : Juicy and many subplots are very important. Weaving them through a story is fun. My evil wizard in The Dragonsong Trilogy will make your skin crawl. He has his own agenda and fuels one of the many subplots throughout this series. So what is a subplot? Think of a normal life, getting up and going to work, coming home. - Boring right? Now add, the story of the arrogant waitress at the local coffee shop, who is supporting three kids, or the over efficient boss who is banging the secretary or the old woman across the road who has been missing for a week-has someone murdered her? - Better now?
Conflict: So important and it should come in all flavors and often. In The Dragonsong Trilogy, I use Thalia's trust issue with men as the main conflict but also the wizard's use of dark magic to cause trouble between the main characters.
Make the story a stormy ride and take the readers on a rollercoaster of emotions. Will he leave her? Will he die in battle? Will she accept him after she knows his secret? Does he love another? Will the psychopath, crazy witch, or raging bull elephant kill them all? Explore conflicting situations to keep the reader turning the page.
Ending: I always have a "happy ever after" ending in a romance with the "Ahh Factor". I want my readers to finish one of my stories with happy tears. I want them to remember my characters long after the book is closed. In the Dragonsong Trilogy, you may laugh, cry, and be afraid but you will experience a love story to warm your heart.
H.C. Brown is a multi-published, bestselling, award-winning author of Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, BDSM, Time Travel, Action Adventure, and Contemporary Romance.
In 2015, she was delighted to be named Luminosity Publishing's Bestselling Author of 2014.
In 2015, Highlander in the Mist was placed 3rd in Historical and Rock 'n' Leather was placed 3rd GLBT in the Easychair Bookshop Competition.
In 2011, she was delighted to receive nominations in three categories in the 2011 CAPA Awards: Favorite Author, Best GLBT Romance, and Best Science Fiction Romance.
She was nominated for Best Historical M/M in the 2013, Goodreads Book of Year Awards.
H.C writes about strong alpha male heroes and girl next door heroines in complex settings, and all her stories have happy endings.
H.C. welcomes feedback from her readers.