How clearly do you imagine your characters?

I was inspired by Kate Heartfield's blog post here: She points out that the busty girls never get to be the heroine-- they always get to be the floozy, and she argues against body stereotyping.

And I totally think she's right, but I've been thinking about this in terms of my own writing. Recently I had the experience of having my characters professionally drawn, because I'm getting a new book cover done. And I realized that I never had a really clear image of my characters' faces. I knew hair color, eye color, general face shape, and general attractiveness, but the rest was kind of blurry in my mind.

I had a clearer sense of their body types. This last book was a paranormal romance between a zombie and his employer, and it was critical to the way the book operated that she was never afraid of him. (I don't like paranormal romances where the tension comes from the man's fear of hurting the woman, unless it's an unrealistic fear-- I just don't find it erotic.) So I made my heroine six inches taller and much sturdier than my hero. He never physically dominates her.

So I do think body type is important, because it does, in some way, determine how our characters interact with their world and the people in it. But I don't want to write stereotypes.

And now I've tied myself in a little writerly knot. How do you folks handle it?

Love this review of Over Her Head

I got a great review of the audiobook of Over Her Head from Susan Voss at Dab of Darkness: "I really enjoyed this novella. The mix of merpeople myths, historical fiction, and romance kept me listening and not wanting to set the book down."

And she really liked Anna Starr's voice, too! "Anna Starr was a good pick for Frances. She had a solid, no nonsense voice for her that could also be a bit vulnerable when it came to matters of the heart. Starr had a range of voices that allowed both male and female characters to come through distinctly."

Check it out here:

Would you like to hear my audiobook?

So, many years ago, I created an audiobook and I decided that audio engineering is not my kind of thing at all. But I just learned about ACX, and apparently there are tons of people out there who think differently!

The very talented Anna Starr has just recorded the audiobook of my novella, Over Her Head, which is a sweet historical romance with a merman in it. It's available on Audible:, as well as Amazon and iTunes.

Today's moment of weirdness

Today I tried something that I've never done before-- interviewing one of my characters for someone's blog. I know this is kind of a classic thing to do in a blog post, but the first thing that came to mind is how unnerving this would be for my character. Here's what he would think:

1. Everything I know about the world and the way it works is wrong.

2. Oh, Jesus, you know EVERY SINGLE THING I THINK.

3. Everything that happens to me is your fault?

Really, I can't imagine any way this would go well. I think I'd be facing a lot of shock and horror, and then the lobbying for rewrites would start. In the end, I set it up so he thought I worked for a small online magazine, but how do you guys get around this?

Another lovely review of Zombies in Love!

This one's from Romantic Reads and Such: Here's my favorite part: "Poking a little fun at the politics behind academia, plus a little bit of humor at today’s zombie loving culture and realizing you need to grow up, even in the face of your undeath, Zombies in Love makes for a totally amusing diversion."

I'm totally amusing!

A reviewer who really gets it!

I love this review from To Each Their Own Reviews. She really gets what I was trying to do: "The book is very successful at creating this kind of slapstick comic-horror atmosphere. There's something utterly grotesque about zombies, but at the same time, I think a little endearing in how amusingly nonchalant everyone seems to be as they transition into zombie-hood."

Or how about this part: "Main characters Jack and Lisa are wonderfully imperfect. They both carry some pretty significant baggage and as Jack's backstory is revealed across the book, it becomes clear that he's not, well, let's say, not your traditional romantic hero. Even ignoring the zombie thing."

Here's the link:

Okay, this is the sort of review that warms my writery heart...

Look at this great review of Zombies in Love!

This is my favorite part: "Wow. Okay, let’s be clear: this is a popcorn kind of book. It makes no aspirations to high literature but, darn, this is a FUN book. Ms. Fleischer fully embraces the insanity of the genre fusion here and runs with it, without losing sight of the core importance of plot and characterization. Every over-the-top plot element, as crazy as some are (deliciously, delightfully nutty), is still fit in a proper, logical place in the plot. I started my meal nervously then picked up speed and, finally, before you knew it, I had devoured the whole book in one sitting."

I love this so much.