Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secondary Character? Still First Rate!

Welcome to the Paranormal Blog Tour! I am so pleased to be your first stop!

In paranormal fiction, secondary characters still need a first rate quality. They’re like ushers helping the MC and the readers find their way through your bizarre universe. Here’s an example from my novel, The Calling of Mike Malone. This is Mike’s meeting with Reverend Hazel Lumski, a character who functions around the edges of the story, but adds so much. She becomes the perfect introduction to a new, strange chapter in Mike’s life. She’s a New Age medium who enjoys, among other things, Chicago basketball, cigars and…speaking to the dead. Let’s meet her!

…Mike rang the bell again, and in a moment he found himself staring down at the Reverend Hazel Lumski, a woman who stood about four foot nothing. Her red hair was wrapped in a tidy bun, and she wore what he thought the ladies called a peasant dress, with puffy sleeves and gingham print, an earth tone shawl draped her shoulders.

Thinking he might punch Rudy for sending him to some weird, middle-aged spinster, he forced a smile and said, “Good afternoon, Reverend. I’m—”

“Michael Sean Malone,” she briskly informed him. “You were born almost twenty-one years ago here in Chicago, your mother is alive and retired to Florida, your friends say you work much too hard, you listen to old rock and roll, you’re a Cubs fan, and you keep a special stash of money in your briefcase in an envelope marked business. Your girlfriend’s name is Linda. Please come in. Rudy, it is good to see you again.”

“Been way too long, Reverend.”

Closing his gaping mouth, Mike stepped into the house.

“Let me take your coat, Mr. Malone.”

“Thank you,” he murmured, still stunned. “How-how did you know all that? Not even Rudy knows about my money stash.”

“Ha, now I do,” Rudy said.

The Reverend smiled sweetly. “It wasn’t I, dear. It’s one of the many spirits I see surrounding you and vying for your attention!

The Rev never loses her ‘take charge’ attitude throughout the story. She is ruled by her willingness to discuss the incredibly weird as if they are just things we should take for granted…

…Mike swung one leg off the saddle and landed lightly on the floor.

“If I hear the word calling one more time! Reverend Lumski, among other things, my father is a cannibal.”

“No, no.” She wagged her annoying finger the same way she had at their very first meeting. “One can only be a cannibal by devouring one’s own kind. We are not his kind. He is a god. A creature far superior to us all. To the smaller minded, his behavior may well appear extreme.”

Mike said, “I’m warning you. If you stay here, and he gets bored with you, or you quit being useful, you will end up on the menu.” He pushed his way past her and started up the stairway. “Forget it, I’m getting the girl.”

“That’s not the right way.” She pointed down the first floor hall.

“And I should believe you, why?”

“Because your father told me to give you anything you wanted.”

“Sure, give me Linda.”


He paused. “Please give me Linda?”…”

What can I say? Reverend Lumski is the result of immersion. I interviewed people who truly believe in strange things. For instance, a friend of mine, Guy Malone, ran the UFO Festival in Roswell New Mexico for a number of years and also had a radio program called, ‘Live from Roswell.’ Go to the chat room of a show like that and some of the folks you meet can be extremely interesting. I had a conversation with one woman that went like this:

Woman: “The Tall Whites spoke to me last night.”

Me: “Who are the Tall Whites?”

Woman: “They’re the alien race that lives among us. They are the gods returning home.”

Me: “Well, what did they say?”

Woman: “They said, ‘Soon.’ “

I know, creepy, huh? And you can call her words the result of over-whelming awe or a lack of medication, but after an extended conversation one thing was clear: the woman believed everything she said like you or I believe in gravity. In a paranormal story the hero or heroine may be terrified or confused due to circumstances, but if you’ve written a solid secondary character they become like a cemented sign-post announcing, “This is how we’re going to play…”

Like Reverend Lumski….

"…Thank you,” Mike said, nervous, avoiding her eyes. “But I think I’d better go.” He stuffed the medallion into his breast pocket, grabbed his coat, and headed for the door.

The ever pleasant, kindly voice of the reverend stopped him again. “Aren’t you curious? Don’t you wish to speak with your father? You can, you know. You will think about it, won’t you? I promise I won’t let any harm come to you.”

He stared at her, thunderstruck. Talk to my Dad? My Dad is dead you freaking witch!

Outside his head he merely stammered, “Sure-sure, I’ll think about it,” knowing full well he would push the entire episode from his mind as soon as possible.

Reverend Lumski’s last words took aim like a poisoned arrow. “It never pays to lie, Mr. Malone…"


Thank you very much for coming! I hope you enjoyed it! I have PDF copies of Mike Malone for the first five ‘creative’ comments. And everyone, thank you again for stopping by!


gail roughton branan said...

Reverend Lumski is my kind of girl! Your encounter with the lady and her Tall Ones reminds me of the time a gentleman sat down at the table with me and my youngest son in a Wendy's and proceeded to tell us "you humans are wierd."

M. L. Archer said...

Oh, my goodness, that's great! They do walk among us, right, Gail?

Liv said...

Excellent example that makes a good can write things as crazy as you want, but EVERYONE on the page has got to buy into the reality you create, or the reader won't.

M. L. Archer said...

Exactly, Liv!

M. L. Archer said...

Hmm...I've tried to re-set comments so it's more compatible with Word Press, etc...But we'll see.

diannehartsock said...

I love the Reverend! What a great character. Have fun on the hop this month. :)

M. L. Archer said...

Thank you, Dianne!

Sky Purington said...

This sounds like a great book! Putting it on my TBR list. :-)

A.H. Browne @ said...

That sounds like a great book! I love that cover.

I have to agree with that secondary character. Sometimes they are the rock in the main characters world of chaos they bring. haha

Just wanted share some comment love as a fellow PPBH Author :D And following you now as well!

M. L. Archer said...

Thank you ladies! Hey, all of you will be receiving a copy of Mike Malone in your e-mails!

Kianna Alexander said...

Wow, that Reverend is certainly sure of herself! I find myself walking a tightrope in my paranormal stories, trying to make secondary characters useful and dynamic, but not so much they steal the hero and heroine's thunder. Great post!

M. L. Archer said...

Yup, Rev. Lumski suffers the problem of being absolutely sure, but wrong at the same time. Like an in-law on steroids, eh?

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

Great story...and I love those covers! The graphics are really striking.

Glad I stopped by!

Cheers, Ash

Rosalie Skinner said...

Love the cover. Great start to the blog hop.

M. L. Archer said...

Thanks, Rosalie!

Janie Franz said...

I keep hearing and "seeing" Rev Lumski as Linda Hunt, the wonderful character actress on NCIS LA. You have evoked a very rich character there. Quite a personality and only about four foot tall!

J. D. Brown said...

Great post, and it's true. I love my minor characters just as much and my major ones. If they don't play role in moving the story forward than I cut them out.

Loved the little snippets from your book. Sounds like a fun read. :) See you on the 5th.

~ J.D.

Wendy said...

Efective blog site. A wonderful paranormal feel to it. I have this book and am looking forward to reading it asap. Have a fabulously successful your.

M. L. Archer said...

Thank you, ladies--Rev. Lumski as Linda Hunt, huh? I can see it!

Yes, JD. Those secondary characters are very handy, although they can be quite pushy at times!

My goodness, Wendy, you'll kill me! I so have to write an Amazon review for you William Tell story! I've been running around like a nut lately and haven't gotten to it! Hopefully this weekend! I'm so glad you enjoyed the site!

Michelle Pickett said...

Wow you have a lot of detailed description in your blurb! I love it. (I have friends who live in Roswell. We used to live in Portales NM) :)


M. L. Archer said...

Hey, thanks, Michelle! Yeah, New Mexico is quite the state, eh?

Gabrielle said...

Sounds great! Tweeting and Fb too!

Joylene said...

Sorry I'm late. I loved the post. I think anything works if there's humanity and entertain involved.

booklover0226 said...

Whenever I read book 1 of a series, I end up falling for a secondary character. Then I'm thrilled when he/she is featured in a book.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Savannah Chase said...

This sounds like a fantastic read...

M. L. Archer said...

Thank you so much for the kind words, ladies! I look forward to seeing everyone elses blogs!

Julianne said...

I believe secondary characters help with the storyline itself and the main characters. They add depth and dimension and some flavor. They should be well written and sometimes have some kind of conflict with the main characters. Sometimes it's great if the author has the secondary characters upstage the mains.
luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com
Fabulous book cover!

Sam said...

Great job, Michele. Reminds me of a lady who ran a home church I attended years ago. She wasn't into New Age mumbo jumbo, but she had a way or looking around like she could see what was really going on.