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Cathy C
09-07-2014, 09:18 PM
Hi, All!

I'm working on the second book of a new paranormal romance/urban fantasy series and a secondary character I'd like to give her own story is African-American. This is a spin-off series of my Tales of the Sazi reality, which are shapeshifters of all known predator species. Let me tell you a little about where the story sits and maybe you can help me give her some background. :)

Rachel Washington grew up until age 11 in Detroit's Eight-Mile. It's a pretty tough part of town. She grew up in a strongly Baptist household. I don't have much detail worked out on her family, but let's say that she has one sibling (still to be worked out) a father who worked blue collar and a mother who worked as a nurse. That's about all I've got right now.

But it's what happened at age 11 that turned Rachel's life around. She was kidnapped as part of a plot in the original Sazi series where ordinary humans were captured and forcibly turned shifter to become part of a mind-controlled army that the villain of the series was going to use to take control of the world. It could have worked except for the efforts of my heroes.

So Rachel was one of the girls turned. She became a Great Horned Owl. When the villain was finally uncovered after 8 novels, and defeated in the final book, she was rescued and taken to a location in northeastern Washington State to heal and be protected from the remaining bad guys taking her back.

Now it's 10 years later. She is instrumental in helping my first heroine (who was also one of the kidnapped girls---all three first books of this series are some of the kidnapped girls finding their place in the world and love in the process. :) ) get rid of the bad guy. Unfortunately for Rachel, as shapeshifters go, she's not terribly powerful magically and so she wound up being a victim again (physical and sexual), this time of the villain of the first book of this series.

In other words, Rachel's life has sort of sucked. Here's what I want to do:

1. I want to give her a love interest who is another bird. It can be an owl like her or even an eagle or falcon or hawk. I'd like him to also be African-American and a member of the law enforcement branch of he Sazi world, called Wolven.

2. What I think would be fun would be for the hero to have been someone she knew from before the Sazi entered her life--back from Detroit in her old neighborhood. But that's not going to come out until mid-way through the book.

3. Rachel has never tried to contact her family since she was turned. Her family know nothing of shapeshifters. The world is like our world. Shapeshifters "don't exist". They're hidden from society because they'd be hunted down and killed. That's sort of the plot of the first series, discovering that humans really fear and/or hate shifters. So they've gone deeper underground again. I'd like for Rachel to reconnect with her family. Some will welcome her back (remember that she's been missing and presumed dead for a decade). But her very religious family will have to come to terms with her being magical She will be stronger and faster than humans and be somewhat bloodthirsty. Some might consider her evil or at least they could fear her.

4. I'm also open to ideas about the hero. Name, background, likes/dislikes/etc. for living in Detroit for most of his life. I plan for him to have come from a family of shifters who have lived nearby to Rachel's family for generations and nobody knew what they were.

5. Rachel used to wear her hair in cornrows as a kid, with beads, but hasn't done that in years. She's flamboyant and a singer. She recalls, very vaguely, singing in the church choir, but doesn't remember much about her background as a child other than she misses it and fears going back to it because she's become something she, herself, would have shunned back then.

Thoughts? Ideas? Anything appreciated!

Kitty27
09-13-2014, 02:22 AM
Hi, All!

I'm working on the second book of a new paranormal romance/urban fantasy series and a secondary character I'd like to give her own story is African-American. This is a spin-off series of my Tales of the Sazi reality, which are shapeshifters of all known predator species. Let me tell you a little about where the story sits and maybe you can help me give her some background. :)

Rachel Washington grew up until age 11 in Detroit's Eight-Mile. It's a pretty tough part of town. She grew up in a strongly Baptist household. I don't have much detail worked out on her family, but let's say that she has one sibling (still to be worked out) a father who worked blue collar and a mother who worked as a nurse. That's about all I've got right now.

But it's what happened at age 11 that turned Rachel's life around. She was kidnapped as part of a plot in the original Sazi series where ordinary humans were captured and forcibly turned shifter to become part of a mind-controlled army that the villain of the series was going to use to take control of the world. It could have worked except for the efforts of my heroes.

So Rachel was one of the girls turned. She became a Great Horned Owl. When the villain was finally uncovered after 8 novels, and defeated in the final book, she was rescued and taken to a location in northeastern Washington State to heal and be protected from the remaining bad guys taking her back.

Now it's 10 years later. She is instrumental in helping my first heroine (who was also one of the kidnapped girls---all three first books of this series are some of the kidnapped girls finding their place in the world and love in the process. :) ) get rid of the bad guy. Unfortunately for Rachel, as shapeshifters go, she's not terribly powerful magically and so she wound up being a victim again (physical and sexual), this time of the villain of the first book of this series.

In other words, Rachel's life has sort of sucked. Here's what I want to do:

1. I want to give her a love interest who is another bird. It can be an owl like her or even an eagle or falcon or hawk. I'd like him to also be African-American and a member of the law enforcement branch of he Sazi world, called Wolven.

2. What I think would be fun would be for the hero to have been someone she knew from before the Sazi entered her life--back from Detroit in her old neighborhood. But that's not going to come out until mid-way through the book.

3. Rachel has never tried to contact her family since she was turned. Her family know nothing of shapeshifters. The world is like our world. Shapeshifters "don't exist". They're hidden from society because they'd be hunted down and killed. That's sort of the plot of the first series, discovering that humans really fear and/or hate shifters. So they've gone deeper underground again. I'd like for Rachel to reconnect with her family. Some will welcome her back (remember that she's been missing and presumed dead for a decade). But her very religious family will have to come to terms with her being magical She will be stronger and faster than humans and be somewhat bloodthirsty. Some might consider her evil or at least they could fear her.

4. I'm also open to ideas about the hero. Name, background, likes/dislikes/etc. for living in Detroit for most of his life. I plan for him to have come from a family of shifters who have lived nearby to Rachel's family for generations and nobody knew what they were.

5. Rachel used to wear her hair in cornrows as a kid, with beads, but hasn't done that in years. She's flamboyant and a singer. She recalls, very vaguely, singing in the church choir, but doesn't remember much about her background as a child other than she misses it and fears going back to it because she's become something she, herself, would have shunned back then.

Thoughts? Ideas? Anything appreciated!

I love it,Cath! LOVE it.

The sexual/physical victim abuse is not that popular with Black female readers. We call it Black Woman Pathology Porn. If you do write it, I would suggest making it something she suffered once and didn't become a pattern.

1.I like this a lot! You rarely see Black couples in Paranormal Romance. Love it!

2. Also like.

3. This works. Black culture stresses religion and Christianity is the dominant one.

4.My arrogant son suggests Eric(his name.Ignore him.) I like Dalvin or Thomas. Living in Detroit,I would suggest cars,lol. But I'm a Southerner. That's hard for me!

5.Please make her hair natural. It has been a virtual Renaissance for the natural hair movement for Black women. I like her singing in the church choir and how that can tie into #3 and perhaps her own feelings about what she is.

I like the background story/character and hope to see it one day so I can buy!

akaria
09-22-2014, 12:02 AM
I like most of what you have planned for Rachel. It's cool that the love interest is a black family of shifters so you don't have to rehash the whole "Zoinks! Shifters exist!". Also it's refreshing seeing someone try to reconnect with their family instead of running away from them.

My only nitpick is her growing up in the rough part of town. It's used sooo many times. I know it's a common AA experience, but not all of us were raised in the ghetto. If her dad worked blue collar (auto mechanic? construction?) and her mom was a nurse, then there's no reason for them to them to be in poverty. Middle class/working class black neighborhoods exist.

Other than that, it sounds like a great story. I hope you have fun writing it!

frimble3
09-22-2014, 09:56 AM
And the shifter love-interest with a family of shifters is good because even if her own family has trouble coming to terms with her changes, at least she'll have people who 'get' it. Not the 'I'm a lonely monster and everyone's hand is against me' thing.

I have nothing useful to say about A-A children in the U.S., but do have a suggestion about the LI's shifter form.
How much time does she spend as a Great Horned Owl? (I love this choice, by the way, not one of the 'usual' choices - eagle, hawk.) Does she enjoy her owl form? I assume she's not eating rodents much, but silent flying and night vision might be cool.
Main thing is, owls are nocturnal, so if the LI is of a diurnal species, I imagine if they spend much time in their bird forms, it's going to be a complicated lifestyle. At least GHO aren't migratory. Hard to keep up a relationship with a snowy owl, for instance, who's moving twice a year.
You might want to keep that in mind when choosing a species.
If the shifters can change at will, and don't have to, this won't matter much.

Cathy C
09-22-2014, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the responses! I'm also connecting with some romance authors from the Detroit area for some neighborhood details. I did some research on natural hair and I definitely think it's the way to go. I looked up some online photos and in my mind, her features are very much like model Yaya DeCosta's. One (possibly odd) question: If the heroine decides to go from straightening to natural as part of her "starting over" after the events of book one, what challenges/annoyances will she face with her hair if she's been using product and irons? More time in the morning was the best thing when I went from curly back to straight, but I have very fine hair, so it's constantly fly-away now. Etc., etc.

LOVE Dalvin for the hero name! Thanks! He now has a name.

The Sazi have both shifters who can change at will and those who can't. The hero will be able to because he's in law enforcement (so more powerful). The heroine can't and actually has to have help shifting on the full moon. Him helping her shift off-moon so they can fly together at night is one of the romantic scenes I have planned. :)

Any more help appreciated!

Lillith1991
09-22-2014, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the responses! I'm also connecting with some romance authors from the Detroit area for some neighborhood details. I did some research on natural hair and I definitely think it's the way to go. I looked up some online photos and in my mind, her features are very much like model Yaya DeCosta's. One (possibly odd) question: If the heroine decides to go from straightening to natural as part of her "starting over" after the events of book one, what challenges/annoyances will she face with her hair if she's been using product and irons? More time in the morning was the best thing when I went from curly back to straight, but I have very fine hair, so it's constantly fly-away now. Etc., etc.

Depends really, is she relaxing her hair or pressing it? I've gone natural twice and both times the line of demarcation between straight/damaged and kinky-curly has been a pain in the ass that normally resulted in me cutting my hair after a couple months. Other people just cut their hair from the start or transition to natural hair over time, using different methods to blend the natural and damaged hair together.

Also, I'd get rid of the notion natural women don't use product. Many of us use drugstore stuff like you do or specialist lines, even lines found in healthfood stores. I myself use a combo healthfood, and silicone free drugstore products to keep my hair the way I like it. My hair doesn't like silicones so I avoid them, someone elses hair like my sister's may love silicones. You also have people that make their own hair care products.

Cathy C
09-22-2014, 04:48 PM
Okay, good point! But what if you're in a rural area with no access to a car? The heroine lives in a small town (200 people) in the middle of nowhere with the nearest (also) small town (1,000 people) 20 minutes by car and the nearest city (200K) 2 hours by car. What would you consider viable options? Cut it off, try to make it work with the product you have, or try to find someone to drive you to the city?

Or, one of the plans I do have was to start an herb shop/health food store with a secondary character for the third book. Maybe this issue spurs that plan along? What brands of health/natural products would fit the bill? Thanks! :)

ETA: Although, come to think of it, there could be some nice humor and character development stuff with the heroine being determined enough to FLY to Spokane carrying clothes--shift, shop, and then fly back with her hair stuff. :roll: No, really. I am actually thinking this could be a very fun scene for the heroine and hero.

Or, maybe she needs to start making her own. I'll research ingredients too!

Lillith1991
09-22-2014, 05:42 PM
ETA: Although, come to think of it, there could be some nice humor and character development stuff with the heroine being determined enough to FLY to Spokane carrying clothes--shift, shop, and then fly back with her hair stuff. :roll: No, really. I am actually thinking this could be a very fun scene for the heroine and hero.

Or, maybe she needs to start making her own. I'll research ingredients too!

Do it! I would read it just for a scene like that.

akaria
09-22-2014, 08:17 PM
Okay, good point! But what if you're in a rural area with no access to a car? The heroine lives in a small town (200 people) in the middle of nowhere with the nearest (also) small town (1,000 people) 20 minutes by car and the nearest city (200K) 2 hours by car. What would you consider viable options? Cut it off, try to make it work with the product you have, or try to find someone to drive you to the city?

Or, one of the plans I do have was to start an herb shop/health food store with a secondary character for the third book. Maybe this issue spurs that plan along? What brands of health/natural products would fit the bill? Thanks! :)

ETA: Although, come to think of it, there could be some nice humor and character development stuff with the heroine being determined enough to FLY to Spokane carrying clothes--shift, shop, and then fly back with her hair stuff. :roll: No, really. I am actually thinking this could be a very fun scene for the heroine and hero.

Or, maybe she needs to start making her own. I'll research ingredients too!

Does she have a bike? Because even if there's no one in her town of 200, there's definitely someone who does hair in the town of a thousand. It's not gonna be a salon, but someone's cousin's friend's neighbor who can relax, straighten, weave color and braid. Black women will travel to get their hair done! And we will wait. Oh, how we will wait. :)

I've been natural for almost 20 years, but when I transitioned from relaxer to natural I got braid extensions. Check out Melissa Hall-Perry on MSNBC to get an idea. The braids are an easy way grow out the relaxer while still keeping a neat appearance. Some people cut off the relaxed hair after they have an inch or so of new growth and rock it short like Lupita Nyong'o. Honestly, there are many ways to go about it. If you want to begin learning about all the things we do with our hair, check out Clutch Magazine. I'll see you in six weeks after you come up for air!

If she's a rural girl, then she'll might have a homemade hair product that's passed down from generation to generation. Is there a reason why she just can't order something off the internet? Does she want all natural ingredients? Does it matter to her if the product comes from a black owned business? Sometimes going natural also comes with a desire to strengthen ties to our roots and keeping money in the community instead of giving it to a faceless corporation.

I love the idea of them shifting and flying somewhere on a date. Very romantic!

Lillith1991
09-22-2014, 08:39 PM
Does she have a bike? Because even if there's no one in her town of 200, there's definitely someone who does hair in the town of a thousand. It's not gonna be a salon, but someone's cousin's friend's neighbor who can relax, straighten, weave color and braid. Black women will travel to get their hair done! And we will wait. Oh, how we will wait. :)

I've been natural for almost 20 years, but when I transitioned from relaxer to natural I got braid extensions. Check out Melissa Hall-Perry on MSNBC to get an idea. The braids are an easy way grow out the relaxer while still keeping a neat appearance. Some people cut off the relaxed hair after they have an inch or so of new growth and rock it short like Lupita Nyong'o. Honestly, there are many ways to go about it. If you want to begin learning about all the things we do with our hair, check out Clutch Magazine. I'll see you in six weeks after you come up for air!

If she's a rural girl, then she'll might have a homemade hair product that's passed down from generation to generation. Is there a reason why she just can't order something off the internet? Does she want all natural ingredients? Does it matter to her if the product comes from a black owned business? Sometimes going natural also comes with a desire to strengthen ties to our roots and keeping money in the community instead of giving it to a faceless corporation.

I love the idea of them shifting and flying somewhere on a date. Very romantic!

I think the even more romantic thing about it is him supporting her if her hair is something she deems important. I know I've gone with my gf to the hair care isle, given her a choice, and let her pick her favorite scent out of the things I'm thinking of getting. All silicone free of course because my hair hates cones, makes it feel sticky and nasty even when it's just been washed.

akaria
09-22-2014, 09:40 PM
That would be a great way to share how much they care about each other! It's those little things, rather than grand gestures, that make me swoon when reading a romance. Especially since this is an UF where more time is devoted to the big story and romance takes a back seat.

Lillith1991
09-22-2014, 10:13 PM
That would be a great way to share how much they care about each other! It's those little things, rather than grand gestures, that make me swoon when reading a romance. Especially since this is an UF where more time is devoted to the big story and romance takes a back seat.

Exactly! Little things matter in the grand scheme more than the hippo sized gestures. I use to write my gf poems, but I've gotten away from writing poetry. She misses it so she wants me to write her a poem, and of course I'll oblige her because I enjoy little things like that. In stories where romance is a subplot instead of the primary genre, the little things have more impact while big sweeping gestures may seem ridiculous.

But Cathy has mentioned that the story is both a Paranormal Romance and an Urban Fantasy, so she has a bit of wiggle room when it comes to grander gestures. Long as little things make up the bulk the occasional bigger gesture should actually enhance instead of detract from things.

frimble3
09-23-2014, 04:43 AM
ETA: Although, come to think of it, there could be some nice humor and character development stuff with the heroine being determined enough to FLY to Spokane carrying clothes--shift, shop, and then fly back with her hair stuff. :roll: No, really. I am actually thinking this could be a very fun scene for the heroine and hero.

Or, maybe she needs to start making her own. I'll research ingredients too!
If she's planning on carrying stuff while flying, and being discreet about it - no "It's an owl! With luggage in it's talons!", perhaps she should either gut a stuffed toy animal, or have an animal shaped bag made. Something that would make observers think 'owl flying home with lunch' rather than "Aaagh, it's a were-owl!"
Apparently GHO can definitely pick up cats or skunks, rabbits, etc, so maybe a 10 lb load?

Cathy C
09-23-2014, 05:59 AM
:roll: You guys ROCK! Love ALL of these!

:hooray: The scene is writing itself in my head as I read the posts. :D

Lillith1991
09-23-2014, 02:50 PM
:roll: You guys ROCK! Love ALL of these!

:hooray: The scene is writing itself in my head as I read the posts. :D

Hehe! Happy to aide and abet your creative process, Cathy.

Cathy C
09-23-2014, 03:38 PM
And the "writing itself" continues! I started reading Clutch online and found an article about slip products for natural hair. The leading product they recommend is from Jessicurl (https://www.jessicurl.com/product/too-shea-extra-moisturizing-conditioner) and the ingredients . . . have primary herbs that grow in the wild in north Washington! :hooray: So she can be making her own with similar herbs, and then discover she doesn't have to go through the PITA of the process. She would HAVE to try this product! If it was for a special occasion and she was out of her hand made, it would be worth the flight. :)

Lillith1991
09-23-2014, 04:25 PM
And the "writing itself" continues! I started reading Clutch online and found an article about slip products for natural hair. The leading product they recommend is from Jessicurl (https://www.jessicurl.com/product/too-shea-extra-moisturizing-conditioner) and the ingredients . . . have primary herbs that grow in the wild in north Washington! :hooray: So she can be making her own with similar herbs, and then discover she doesn't have to go through the PITA of the process. She would HAVE to try this product! If it was for a special occasion and she was out of her hand made, it would be worth the flight. :)

I'm going to leave you a list of other lines to check out. There's tons of stuff on the market for people who keep their hair natural.

Bee Mine
Darcy's Bostanicals
Chargrin Valley
My Honey Child
Oyin Handmade
Jane Carter Solutions
Blended Beauty
Soultanicals
She Scent It
Sheamoisture
Curls
Kinky-Curly
Qhemet Biologics

akaria
09-25-2014, 01:11 AM
Huzzah! Don't you just love it when a scene comes together? :)

morngnstar
11-21-2014, 10:50 PM
I'm thinking the hero should be very worldly to contrast with the heroine. She seems fairly sheltered: religious upbringing, then a remote isolated community. I'm thinking he got out of the inner city as soon as he could. He's reluctant to be reminded of his past through her. Maybe he's moved to the upper class, if that's consistent with his law enforcement role. At least he's a world traveler.

Maybe he's a little bit too worldly, like he's taken advantage of some of the opportunities his power presents to him. She with her Baptist background can help steer him the right way.