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Marketing for Romance Writers is a peer mentoring group for authors. It was founded in 2006 by Kayelle Allen.

Condescending? But of course. Writing a patronizing character. Pietas Insults #AmWriting #PietasFans #MFRWhooks

Condescending? But of course. Writing a patronizing character. Pietas Insults #AmWriting #PietasFans #MFRWhooks

Pietas, the immortal king, has a good bit of snark. You can read that post here. He also tends to be patronizing and condescending and is not above outright insult.

Writing a character with snark and a tendency to be imperious is a delightful experience. But when does that attitude go too far?

How do you know when to dial back a haughty character's arrogance?

Patronizing

A patronizing attitude reveals a character flaw, but it can be entertaining as well. How do you keep from going overboard? Here are 3 ways I found to temper my temperamental immortal king.

1 Do not use a patronizing attitude for no reason. Nothing alienates a reader faster than a character who is nasty to others just for the sake of being nasty. Make insults in the scene spring from an obvious need or cause. In the opening of Origin of Pietas: Bringer of Chaos, Pietas offers a direct insult to his father, but it's in response to his father's callous treatment.

2 Do not substitute a patronizing attitude when a scene calls for action. An action scene such as a fight or physical action can do much to advance the story. If you have your character just be snarky instead of dealing with danger, it comes off as negativity, or worse, as cowardice. Nothing says that you can't have your character mouth off during a fight. The fact that they can deal with physical action and still be able to think of something snarky to say says a lot about a person.

3 Do not allow the character to be verbally vicious unless the scene demands it. There is a big difference between disdain and cruelty. If your character insults someone viciously, ask yourself how that will move the story forward. Will it fuel the plot? Or do you intend the scene to show a major character flaw? If so, show the consequences as early as possible. Your character gets fired, or loses a friend, or someone takes it out on a person they love.

10 patronizing quips by Pietas

  • Oh, how exciting. (delivered deadpan) One can scarcely articulate the excitement.
  • I trust people, except for two types: those I know, and those I don't.
  • You don't wrestle your demons, do you? You cuddle them.
  • My father does indeed have a heart. It's shaped like a fist.
  • Am I going to be arrogant my entire life? I think we both know the answer to that question.
  • I see you're spoiling for a fight. Don't let me stop you. I'm ready to defeat you anytime.
  • He states the obvious with such an astonishing sense of discovery.
  • It's not that she's insane. It's that she's a high-functioning basket case.
  • I won't be there. I don't attend irredeemably boring events.
  • His life is a pedestrian and lamentable melodrama.

Just as in real life, actions and words have consequences. It's great to show the flaw, but remember to show the result as well.

Pietas inhabits many books in my story universe, including the Bringer of Chaos series, the Antonello Brothers, and Tales of the Chosen. Download a printable PDF list of my books: Booklist

Pick up the first story in the Bringer of Chaos series, Lights Out, free by joining a reader group!
https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups

Origin of Pietas

Forged in Fire

Lights Out

What the Corps provides, the Corps can take away #SpaceOpera #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

10 Snarky Ways to Say No: Pietas #SpaceOpera #PietasFans #MFRWhooks

10 Snarky Ways to say no: Pietas #SpaceOpera #PietasFans

When I started writing about Pietas, he'd been a villain in other books, or at least a bad guy with serious issues. But after writing a couple of stories where he's the actual hero, I know him so much better. One thing I was surprised by is how snarky he is. I thought the immortal king would be much more dignified, but it turns out that around those he trusts, he can more than snarky.

Snarky is as Snarky Does

In fact, I started writing the Bringer of Chaos series so I could understand him. I was working on a book in the Antonello Brothers series and could not get Pietas to do what I wanted him to do. He wouldn't be the villain, no matter how much I tried to write him that way.

In exasperation, I told a friend about my problem and she suggested interviewing him. She'd call me on Skype and I would answer as Pietas. I would role play the character and free associate his answers. It opened my eyes to an entirely new aspect of my immortal king.

The Bringer of Chaos series was born from that interview.

An anti-hero is a protagonist but one who doesn't have the usual characteristics that would make them heroes (or heroines). Batman is a perfect example. He's a vigilante. He works outside the law. But we all root for him.

Here's what I've learned about writing anti-heroes in a nutshell. They have:

  • Character flaws
  • Complex motives
  • Internal conflicts
  • Issues with intimacy
  • Generally a realist

Character Flaws

With Pietas, I started listing his flaws and decided which two or three would be the ones I'd focus on. What are they? His are many, but I'll start with one that I showed on the first page of Origin of Pietas: Bringer of Chaos.

Perfectionism

He hates it when people mispronounce his name. I could have written "He hated it when people mispronounced his name." But where's the fun in that? It tells. I prefer to show. So I wrote a scene where he sees a video in which the media accuses him of a misdeed. I wrote:

At her mispronunciation of his name, he gritted his teeth. "My name is pronounced Pee-ah-toss, thank you. Not Pie-ah-toss. Pee-ah-toss. It's six letters. How hard is that to get right?" He stormed away from the podium.

By having him react strongly to the error, it reveals one of his flaws and a bit of his character.

Snarky

Pietas often chooses insults over tact. One way that shows best is when he's asked to do something he'd rather not do. Here are ten snarky ways Pietas might tell someone "no."

  • No, but do you know who would love doing that? Someone with less intelligence.
  • Try asking someone else. I'm too smart.
  • I would love to, but I'm planning a much more interesting nap.
  • Has the netherworld frozen solid? If so, then by all means, yes.
  • That sounds like a job for someone incapable of thinking past point A.
  • I'm sure there are worse ways to do that, but I can't think of any.
  • I was going to suggest you stop acting stupid, but I realized you weren't acting.
  • My original misconceptions of your idea have proven true.
  • If you don't want a sarcastic answer, then don't ask a stupid question.
  • Would you like me to spell the word NO for you?

Lovable

Pietas is lovable despite his mistakes, and he forgives mistakes in others. Here's a quick excerpt from Forged in Fire: Bringer of Chaos for example. In this scene, Joss, one of the warriors with whom Pietas has had a long relationship, keeps taking them in circles on the way back to camp. His usual snarky attitude gives way to tenderness.

"Joss, you've been saying 'not far' for hours. Did I not teach you to mark trails?"

"I'm sorry, Pietas. It won't happen again."

Oh, but it would. She wouldn't mean for it to happen, but it would. He'd tried for centuries to teach her how to find her way, to no avail. He kissed her cheek and drew her into his arms, savoring her warmth.

"Joss." He placed his mouth near her ear. "You couldn't find your way out of a round room with one door."

She jerked up her head and looked at him, eyes wide.

"And I adore you for it."

Pick up the first story in the Bringer of Chaos series, Lights Out, free by joining a reader group!
https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups

Origin of Pietas

Forged in Fire

Lights Out

What the Corps provides, the Corps can take away #SpaceOpera #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Senth likes who? No way #Excerpt #SciFi #MFRWhooks

Senth likes who? No way #Excerpt #SciFi #MFRWhooks

From At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

In this scene from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, NarrAy and Encie, one of her aides, have just observed a quick interchange between Senth and NarrAy's other aide, Broxus, and mistakes what and who Senth likes.

The reality is, Broxus had thought Senth was attracted to Encie when Senth had actually meant he likes NarrAy. Because the women had showed up while they were talking, Senth and Broxus had resorted to a kind of code.

The result? NarrAy has completely misread the situation.

He likes who?

NarrAy bit out a curse and folded her arms.

"What?" Encie sidled closer.

"He likes Brox."

"Senth? No."

"Why else would he look so embarrassed? And come on, helping Brox with his tie? Since when did Brox ever care about that? It's obvious Senth likes him and they wanted to be alone."

"No way." Encie shook her head. "Brox is not interested in his own gender."Senth likes who? No way #Excerpt #SciFi #MFRWhooks

"How would you know?"

Encie wiggled her eyebrows.

"You and... No." Brox's door remained shut. NarrAy squinted. "When?"

"Before we came to work for you. We're long since over each other."

"So..." NarrAy turned back to her. "You don't think..."

"I know for a fact that Brox isn't."

NarrAy tapped a finger against her lips. "Good."

Encie leaned closer. "There's one way to find out. Touch him."

"No. Besides, Senth is on Shackle."

"Think of it as a challenge. Can your pheromones beat the drug?"

"No." Folding her arms, NarrAy turned away. "That wouldn't be right."

"You've been flirting with Senth since he got in the car back in town. Don't even try to tell me you don't like him." A hand on her hip, Encie strutted into view. "He and his brother are the hottest things I've seen in weeks. Did you see the abs on him? I almost swallowed my tongue."

NarrAy paced the room, her pulse heightening.

Senth's door opened, and he came out dressed in immaculate black-and-white evening attire. Black tie against his throat, loose curls brushing his shoulders. The suit accented his wide shoulders and narrow waist. He looked every bit as rich as he was supposed to look. Those diamond studs were no doubt real, and stolen.

His big, pale blue cat-eyed gaze focused on her, causing NarrAy to tingle all over. He looked away and adjusted a diamond cufflink.

Senth's untutored vulnerability and restrained sensuality lashed at her senses. Sweet, charming, intelligent. All the man needed now was the right woman to awaken his passion.

NarrAy strolled toward him.


To free his enslaved brother from a cruel master, Senth, an all-party-fun-and-games thief, must take on the hardest assignment of his life: stealing from the Empress. To make matters worse, he has no choice but to work with NarrAy, a by-the-book rebel female captain whose addictive pheromones could jeopardize the mission and destroy Senth's will.
When the unthinkable happens and NarrAy professes her love for him, Senth must decide if what he feels is real. Can he trust this woman? If he loves her back, can he still save his brother? Or will Senth end up at the mercy of her pleasure forever...
Read At the Mercy of Her Pleasure for free on Kindle Unlimited https://books2read.com/u/m2o9P1

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Tell yourself it is only fable, if that will help you sleep #SciFi #MFRWhooks #SpaceOpera

Tell yourself it is only fable, if that will help you sleep #SciFi #MFRWhooks #SpaceOperaFable: A deliberately false or improbable account, a story about mythical or supernatural beings or events.

When the Chancellor of the Ultras, an immortal race, says he is coming for you, that’s a promise you can write in stone. In this foreward from the book, Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, he lays out that promise. The twist of these words won’t become apparent until the end of book 3, Watch Your Six, but it has its beginnings here.

Fable, that’s all it is (from Pietas)

This book you hold is being presented as fiction, but it did happen. It is as real as the air you breathe. While this is not a first-person story, it follows my point of view.

I would never have allowed a human to know these things, but a friend persuaded me there can be no vengeance unless those in the wrong know what they did. When one has wronged another, one must face the consequences.

Having been persuaded to tell the story, I now allow it to be placed into your hands. I want you to know the truth. Why? Because other Ultras have hidden the truth. Buried it beneath fables and false retellings, as if you were a child unable to bear harsh reality. Unwilling to face the consequences of what your kind has done.

Above all, because I will not lie to you.

When I come for you, I want the satisfaction of seeing your regret for what your ancestors did to my kind. I want to see your fear, and taste your terror.

This is no horror story. It’s merely science fiction. Tell yourself it is only fable, if that will help you sleep. By all means, human, do sleep.

Read this, if you dare to know the truth.

Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas

A captive of the people he loathes, the immortal Pietas is left for dead on the planet Sempervia. Six, a human soldier who is abandoned with him, offers food and water. Is this man worthy of friendship? Or is this another trap?

Either way, Pietas must do the one thing he detests. Trust a human…

Universal book link https://books2read.com/u/4DovO7


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It’s a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

How could a killer with soulless, nightmare eyes ever care for a child? #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart #SpaceOpera #MFRWauthor

How could a killer with soulless, nightmare eyes ever care for a child? #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart #SpaceOpera #MFRWauthor

Nightmare Eyes: a scene from A Stolen Heart

(this book is coming soon)

Luc has rescued a half-human three-year-old boy and to protect him, is taking him home as part of a foster program. Having worked with human teenagers for decades, he's comfortable with young people, but  children baffle him. And because his real eyes--his nightmare eyes--are terrifying to humans, he never reveals them to anyone.

While they are in Luc's hoversine, he realizes this child has better vision than most, because he's commented on something far in the distance.


"I can't believe you can see that far."

"I see better than humans." Senthys folded his hands. "Can you see that far?"

"You mean because I have 'weird' eyes?" Nightmare eyes, more like it.

"Uh huh."

"I have better vision than most people." How odd to have a discussion with a child. Usually, none stayed in his presence long enough to say hello.

"Do they hurt?"

"My eyes?" His real eyes would send the boy screaming in the other direction, but it was sweet of him to show concern. "They don't hurt. I cover them for protection."

The boy squinted. "Do my eyes need 'tection?"

"Pro-tection." He patted the boy's hand. "Yours are fine. Mine are sensitive to light." It was an old lie but kept people from asking him to show them his real eyes. He fished out dark glasses he wore in the event of a lens failure, and put them on. "I wear these if I'm in the sun all day."

"Can I try?"

Luc considered it. "Why not?" He pulled them off and helped the boy adjust them over his ears and nose.

The wraparound glasses dwarfed the young face. When they slid down his nose, the child tilted back his head and pushed them up.

"Don't move." After pulling out his mobile, Luc captured an image. Without proof, his friends would never believe he'd been this close to a child without it fleeing in terror.

"Do us!" Senthys patted the seat beside him. "Take our picture."

Luc set his device to hover an arm's length away, then put his head closer to the boy's. "Portrait. Capture." The mobile made a soft click signaling completion.

When he showed the image to the boy, Senthys squealed. "That's me! And that's you."

"Yes, it is." The glasses had the name Draap on the earpiece. No kid this age could afford those and it was Luc's preferred brand. Proof he hadn't faked the entire thing. His friends would lose substantial bet money with this.

---
Be sure to scroll down and visit other authors in this hop!

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~

You'll find Senth and Luc mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

What the Corps provides, the Corps can take away #SpaceOpera #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg

What the Corps provides, the Corps can take away #SpaceOpera #MFRWhooks

 

 

What the Corps Provides

In this scene, Tornahdo gets an ominous reminder of exactly what the Ghost Corps has promised, and his real duty.

The Corps issues a stern reminder 

"Master Sergeant, you made us all proud by your service. You volunteered for the corps and your commanding officer recommended you at the perfect time. Three Ultras were captured during the Raid on San Xavier. Ultras you helped take out of the war. Your death at the retaliatory Siege of San Xavier meant you had a chance to fulfill your promise to serve."

"Thank you...?" Why was she telling him what he already knew? "Ma'am."

"The corps will not forget your service, or the promise made to support your family." Coming to a stop before him, she bared her teeth in a deceptive, political smile. "Counting you as missing in action means long-term benefits for your loved ones. Wouldn't it be a shame if your body was found and that ended?"

The usual heat of Ultra blood beneath his skin plummeted. Tornahdo remained aloof and calm, as if he faced a firing squad. A good soldier never forgot a threat.

"The corps spent far too much to toss you out and start over. But be aware, that indulgence extends only so far." The general stuck her face in his. "Are we clear?"

Clear as brittle ice on a bottomless lake in the deep of winter. Menacing. Jagged. Cracking underfoot.

He unclenched his jaw. "Yes, ma'am."

"In the regular army, you shield each other. This is Ghost Corps. Humans are expendable."

He'd spent twenty years fighting an enemy that believed the same thing. So the corps was better--how?

"You are not a human shield, Master Sergeant. You have a single duty. Which is?"

"Ma'am, kill Ultras."

"That's right. This is your second rebirth. We don't know how many more you can experience without harm."

The word none came to mind but Tornahdo kept his trap shut.

"Your enhanced blood gives you enough stamina to kill the enemy. Do your duty. Nothing else. Tell me." The general folded her arms. "Will you draw enemy fire again?"

Yes. Always. That's what set humans apart from Ultras. Humans protected each another. Although for her, he'd make an exception. "Ma'am, Ghost Corps regulations require that I do not."

Lights Out by Kayelle Allen

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die.
Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.
When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six.
He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists.
Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.
To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...


Pick up Lights Out free by joining a reader group!
https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups

Origin of Pietas

Forged in Fire

Lights Out

What the Corps provides, the Corps can take away #SpaceOpera #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

 
 
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