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When a character brings out powerful emotions in readers--good or bad--it's good, right?

Out of 546 reviews, 400-plus reviewers love my first male protagonist, Jordan Monroe, giving him four and five stars for an average rating of four-plus stars. One hundred are on the fence. And thirty, apparently loathe him. At least I hope it's not me those thirty-some readers hate, since they don't know me. :)

And since I see little about my female protagonist--I think there were only two readers who didn't like Jaynee--I’m guessing Jordan's the one stirring up all the commotion—good and bad. Heck, even a couple of the readers who gave She Belongs to Me four or five stars think he’s controlling.

Hmmnot sure if that’s good or bad, but I think when a fictional character brings out such powerful emotions in readers, it must be a good thing, right?

So, since I care what my readers think—all of them, even the minority—I re-read my first novel again last week, ready and willing to understand what made Jordan so darn controlling. Maybe it’s because I like a strong, powerful man, but I still don’t see it. I will say this, though, I know where my readers got the word ‘controlling’. I told them! How about that? I’m the writer who told my readers what to think of my character, and they did! Again, I’m thinking this is a good thing—I obviously made Jordan believable.

I made Jordan admit—or his wife mentioned—his controlling behavior. My point in doing this was to make it clear that, although my female protagonist needed control in her life, she would never allow anyone to control her ever again.

One reader went as far as to say that she thought the characters were similar to 50 SOG. Well, I don’t read or write erotica, so I can’t admit or deny that accusation, but I assure you, there is never any physical or sexual manipulation in my books.

Simply put, my male protagonist is a police detective and owns a construction company, so he’s accustomed to taking control—that’s the way I wrote him. Heck, I even told the readers in the first sentence of the blurb what Jordan was like. 

Charlotte police officer Jordan Monroe is used to being in control. Ever since his father died, he has provided for his mother and sisters and even hired his two brothers-in-law to help run his successful construction company. On a chance business trip, however, he meets the one person who throws his life into a whirlwind--Jaynee. 

Jaynee has lived a tragic life and has sworn off all men. That is until a rugged southern gentleman lands in her seating area, refusing to take no for an answer. From the moment they meet, Jordan sweeps her off her feet, assuring her that happiness exists. But can she really escape her past? 

Five years later, Jordan finds Jaynee on their back porch with a gunshot wound to the head. While Jaynee lies in a coma, Jordan has to go back to their beginning and figure out what went wrong. Did he push his wife to the edge, or has her past come back to haunt them? 

Soif you like a strong, but gentle lead who’d lay down his life for the woman he loves, give She Belongs to Me a whirl. I will remind you, though, I did title the book She Belongs to Me for a reason. LOL!

That said, if you like a sensual and gripping romantic suspense that will keep you guessing whodunit right up to the last page, download She Belongs to Me absolutely FREE and decide for yourself.

Amazon Worldwide Link
If it isn't free in your area, use Smashwords.


  1. I think stirring up strong emotions, making your readers FEEL strongly, is a good thing. But here's the risk you take: if those strong emotions are negative, and the reader doesn't really consider that powerful writing will sometimes make them uncomfortable, they are likely to write a critical, or maybe even negative, review. I have read books that have made me distinctly uncomfortable and been all set to just rail about them until I stopped and thought, and realized that it takes a very talented writer to make me react that strongly. So consider that. I think evoking strong emotions is a great thing, but some people have a difficult time handling that sort of thing.

    Thanks to Kriss Morton for recommending this very interesting post!

    1. Very good point, Katy. Not everyone associates great writing with those strong emotions, particularly when those emotions are uncomfortable.

    2. Very true! To me, if you can make me laugh, swoon, or yell at my Kindle, you've done a great job. I love it when the characters feel so real to me that I'm thinking about them even when I'm not reading and can't wait to see them again. :)

  2. true, and thank you for your comment, Katy! Yes, it always amazes me when I'm reading a review that speaks only about the character, as if they were real.

    Honestly, though, I reread 'She Belongs to Me' because I care about my readers, and I don't see it, so I'm guessing the few truly aggravated reviewers must have had a bad experience that my character reminded them of.

    So yes, I took a gamble, playing on deep, realistic emotions, but I hope in the long run--because of all the readers who said it played out like a movie--that it will be a good thing.

    In the last year, I've started paying attention to famous books' reviews. And it seems that no matter the situation, no matter how wonderfully or horribly written a book may be, someone loves or hates it.

    Thank you again for stopping by. I hope you'll download a copy of 'She Belongs to Me' and decide for yourself. :)

  3. Intriguing post, Carmen! My personal reading preference is for books that force me to think and feel, whether I want to or not. Sometimes I want a light, mindless read in between. But mostly I want to step into the characters' world and feel what they feel, good and bad. To me, that's what reading is all about!

    As for the 50 Shades comparison, oh my. While I have not read She Belongs To Me (yet), judging by your other work that I've read, I simply cannot imagine you inventing a character as controlling as Christian in that book. I did read it - sort of. It was given to me as a gift, so I tried my best to get through it. I won't turn this comment into a rant on that book, but his character was controlling in a demeaning, creepy way. (Stalking, forcing his will, etc.) There's a major difference between a man who is emotionally strong and likes to lead (your characters) and a man who is emotionally weak and controls from fear and/or obsession (Christian in 50 Shades). Sadly, some women have yet to realize that difference.

    1. True. I probably should have gone back and read this post before responding, so I'm not redundant, but I didn't so forgive me if I am.

      I actually reread SHE BELONGS TO ME long after I pubbed it and before I edited the follow-up novel SPLIT DECISIONS, and what I found was that I 'told' the readers my character was controlling. Not just once, but over and over.

      Here's the character is real... He may not be real to everyone, but I assure you he's real. He's a cop. And though he may not be like all cops, he's like 90% of them that I've ever met. I know, I married a cop. LOL!

      Cops see a threat everywhere and are in the habit of controlling situations and protecting their loved ones at all cost, even their life. So it was important that I didn't write him as a pushover.

      The moment my female protagonist fussed at my male protagonist, though, he stopped. In fact, I think he gave in to her too much. LOL! But he wanted her to be happy and protect her from her past and any future threats.

      It is funny how he rubs readers the wrong way, though. BUT...I refuse to change him. I honestly believe that most readers love a character who challenges them.

      Oh, I never read 50SOG. I just had no interest. I do enjoy sex in novels, but I like it to be in the head and heart more than extreme definitions of moving parts. I know how it works; I don't need it spelled out for me. LOL! I know you read CREATUS, and I hope you agree with some readers who said the scene in the park with the characters fully dressed was hotter than most erotic scenes. ;)

      Reviewers are people and people have different opinions. I understand that. I don't expect to please everyone. I just wish reviewers knew that too. A good example is CREATUS. I have one 'disappointed' review, and yet, she gave 50SOG 5 stars. Again, doesn't bother me. What did bother me was that she called the 19 other reviewers liars. Just because she didn't like the story, she assumed that all the other reviews were fake. I think that's wrong and it hurts me when reviewers attack my readers. Of course, I guess we could say the same thing about all the great reviews on 50SOG. Hehehe...

      Thanks for stopping by, Darcia. If you find time to read SHE BELONGS TO ME, I hope you enjoy! It's my first born, of course, so I am kind of partial to it. :)

    2. Carmen, I saw that Creatus review you're referring to. I had to refrain from telling her off, since I'm one of those reviewers she called a liar! And I have to say that, if she gave 50 Shades 5 stars, she has absolutely no clue what good writing is. That book was among that absolute worst dribble I've ever attempted to read. I gave it 1 star, and would have given it 0 if possible. I don't mean to offend readers who loved it, but, truly, the writing quality is beginner level at best.

      I agree with you about sex in books. I often skim the graphic stuff. Rather than erotic, it comes off sounding like step-by-step instructions. I find scenes like the one you mentioned in Creatus far more erotic.

      Your male protagonist for She Belongs To Me sounds a lot like my husband! He spent 8 years in the military. Having entered as soon as he turned 18, after a rough upbringing, the military is really where/how he grew up. The cop mentality you described is much the way he feels. His job is to protect his family at all costs. When we go out to a crowded place - a concert, for instance - he is constantly scanning for problems. I am his first concern, always. If I go to use the ladies room, he is right there at the door watching out for me. Yet, he is a mush when it comes to giving me what I want. (Or what he even thinks I want!) He opens all my doors for me, which my mother thinks is controlling and I think is being a gentleman. Interesting how differently women perceive "controlling".

      Okay, I'm babbling away here. Didn't mean to write a novel on your blog! I have She Belongs To Me waiting on my Kindle. Can't wait to read it!

    3. Ah, no worries. But you hit the nail on the head. I'll give you an example you'll least I hope. :)

      Jordan had his arm latched around her waist. “It sort of reminds me of San Juan, only safer. I never felt comfortable there.”

      She laughed. “Exactly where do you feel comfortable?” She leaned back against his chest as he marveled at the street performers who painted and danced for money.

      He tightened his grip around her and nuzzled her neck, laughing too. “That’s true. When I have such a precious commodity I’m in charge of protecting, how can I relax?”

      “You’re so silly, Jordan. I don’t think anyone is going to try to run off with me.”

      He kissed the top of her head. “They’ll be sorry if they try.”

      Obviously, like you, I find this quality endearing, not controlling. Silly me, I expect my man to open doors and pull out chairs. But...I'm from the South. It's what I expect. LOL! I, of course, will jump out of my seat at a restaurant to open the door for an elderly person, and I call all my elders Ma'am and Sir. Sue me! :P

      As for responding to that reviewer... you can't. :( Authors are better off never to respond. BUT...I tell you what. If I was one of those book review blogs, I would. Several of those reviews are from highly-established book blogs. And there are several new readers I've never seen. One even admitted that I had an uphill battle, as she'd grown tired of the paranormal romance genre. And one of the ladies who gave me four stars, gave me three on SBTM. None of these bloggers, including you, would dare put your reputation on the line. I don't review books I can't give 3+ stars. Why anyone would think that we'd lie about a book is beyond me. It would ruin my reputation as a reviewer and an author.

      It's sad that some people think they set the standard, and if everyone doesn't think the way they do, then they are wrong. This is the wrong way of thinking in so many areas of life. Variety is the spice of life. I don't want to read the same books, wear the same clothes, watch the same movies, and live in the same house. I want to have a choice. If she set the standard, I guess we'd only be able to read 50SOG. Yikes! :)

    4. Jordan seems like the ideal man to me!

      I grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts. I know this is a big generalization, but women there are very much into independence and being "equals". I don't remember ever seeing a man open a door for a woman. Then I met my husband, and he showed me how real men treat the women they love. :)

      I agree with that reviewer about your uphill battle, though I do hope you win that battle. I love the paranormal genre, but I'm horribly disillusioned with the current trend. It's largely by-the-numbers vampire erotica. In fact, that should be a genre all its own. Other 'paranormal' books are getting swallowed up and lost in the sea of vampire sex!

      As for certain reviewers thinking they set the standard, I suppose that's true with everything in life. Those reader/reviewers are probably also the people who think we should all hate (or love) a movie because they do, etc. Arguing with them is pointless, since they're always right. (I have someone in my life much like that!) We'd be in a lot of trouble if those people dictated our choices!


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