My Muse has been Kidnapped!


That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Five books and one Short Story past me and I sat down to write book number Six.

            Maybe I shouldn’t have had that reading binge right before I decided to write. After becoming saturated from Romance –all Paranormal Romances –of course, I was left reeling. All the good Plots were already written! Since I know I had a lot of those great ideas, too, that’s when it finally occurred to me that my Muse had been kidnapped. There was no other explanation.

            Let’s face it.  Paranormal Romance has become incredibly popular, much to the surprise of a lot of people in the Publishing world. When it first tried to surface, there were those who said it wouldn’t make it. They were so sure readers wouldn’t want to read about blood-sucking vampires, ferocious werewolves, nasty demons, and everything else the Paranormal world could come up with.

            Ah, but they didn’t give the writers and the readers enough credit. The Naysayers forgot one important thing: Romance. Without that, all those nasty supernatural beings would be SciFi material instead.

            So the Preternatural Hero was created (and even a few heroines too!). NOW… he’s not a blood-sucking vampire, he’s a Night Warrior fighting against all odds despite his Curse. He’s not an overly hairy werewolf tearing victims to shreds, he’s a Shapeshifter with primal strength and courage, fighting the good battle and learning to control his basic animal side. The scary guys are now the ultra-handsome, too-sexy-for-their-own-good, heroes that make women sigh and want one for their own.

            How kewl is that? Oh, but wait. Here comes the ‘catch’ and the part about the ‘kidnapped Muse’. After my reading binge I was left to ponder: just how many Plots can a writer come up with and still make her story unique and stand out among all the countless other Paranormal Romances available? I panicked. Really. I started frantically going through ideas, one after the other. Only to discover every one of those plot ideas had already been done. Every writer’s nightmare, right?

            Then, it hit me. (Either that, or the Muse had escaped her kidnappers and came running home to knock me over the head with a big DUH!) Each of my five books is unique. Each time I had sat down to write, the Plot came with the creation of the Characters. That was it. CHARACTERS. My Plot didn’t have to be like anyone else’s idea, it was all determined by those special characters.

            In HUNTED MATE, Hunted_Mate_Cover_Small-153x234Cat Shifter Logan Cross is an honorable man with strength and passion as his middle names. He’s sexy, he’s primal. His “character” determined which direction the story would go when he’s forced to kidnap a woman and take her to her prophesied mate. Even when Logan knows he wants her for himself, he’s still honorable…to a point.

            In TEMPTATION UNLEASHED Cougar Shapeshifter Aiden Calhoun is primal and tough. Aiden faces danger without blinking anKari's cover 2 eye. Nothing can bend this incredibly powerful, ultra-sexy man. Except facing the temptation of the irresistible witch who comes into his life just when danger and death hits his family. Aiden’s “character” has to learn to trust something else besides his own power and strength. Love.

            SeducingTheHero200x300dpi72-155x234In SEDUCING THE HERO, Colt McKnight is one tough, sexy Ex-Detective-turned-Cowboy whose “character” has been scarred by a past relationship that nearly cost him everything. Every thing he does now is based on the lesson he learned then. Enter the heroine, a vulnerable woman who needs a hero, and Colt suddenly finds his life turned upside down and all his soul-sworn promises to never love again fly right out the window.

            In HER HEART, HIS SOUL, Drake Domitaine is a rare hero whose character was almost schitzo. Drake is half Angel and half Demon. And this sexy Warrior fights both sides of his “character” all the time. His determination that his Angel-side wins the battle comes up against his desire for a human woman. If he regains his Angel status, she’s off limits to him.

            In the upcoming PREY FOR THE WOLF, Kane Steele is the sexiest wolf shifter a woman could fantasize about. He’s all primal male. “His character” believes there’s nothing he can’t control. Wait until he meets his future mate. She’s human and she’s as tough as he is!

            So, in retrospect, I realized it all comes down to “Character”. No matter how many –or how few –there are Plots out there, there will never be the same Characters. They make the story.

            And it just occurred to me that I came up with that resolution all on my own. Ha. Who needs Muses?

            Tell me what you think. Is it the Plot of a Paranormal Romance that catches your attention first and makes you want to read the book? Or is it the Characters that catch your attention –their trials and triumphs?

            I welcome all comments! Email:   Please visit my site for info on all my books. Thanks!

24 Responses to “My Muse has been Kidnapped!”
  1. Welcome Kari! We’re so glad to have you at EtS today. I have to answer this with all caps…CHARACTERS. For me every story begins with a contrasting pair. Think The Wolf and The Dove;> HUNGER had the classic combo of vampire/vampire hunter…though I twisted it up quite a bit by making the vampire a vulnerable girl who finds the strength she needs to survive the horror of her new dark life. My upcoming erotic romance, CAPTURED, features a werewolf hunter and his prey, a bite survivor on the run. I start with my pair and then I follow them and that creates the plot.

  2. Suzanne Rock says:

    Welcome Kari! Thanks so much for stopping by! Great post. I have to agree that it is about the characters. Interesting characters, conflicting characters, all set in a unique world. I’m amazed by how great the worldbuilding is in a alot of paranormals out there. Every world is unique.

    Oh yeah, and how jealous am I that you got to go on a reading binge??? I’m going on vacation at the end of the montha nd plan on doing the same. Can hardly wait! I might just have to pick up a Kari Thomas to take with me while the kids play in the pool 😉

  3. Nicole says:

    Hello and fantastic post Kari!
    I’m with the others. It is definitely the Characters that grab and hold on to me for a story. They drive the story with their past and the various pieces that make up both of them and their stories.
    Characters usually come to me first, in a flash or a dream, and then the story follows. Sometimes I need to kick my own Muse in the butt to help cooperate with the rest.
    I just love reading binges. They are the best way to wind down on a weekend or during the middle of a harsh week of reality. Looks like I need to pick up a couple of Kari books for my next binge.

  4. rebelinbluejeans says:

    Your books sound awesome, Kari. Paranormal stories are some of my favorites, though I mostly read children’s and young adult books. I just can’t seem to grow up. Now, I’d like to check on yours and meet some of those interesting characters.

    AKA Rebel

  5. Chandra Ryan says:

    I agree, it’s all about the character. If you break down any story or any life you’ll see common themes, but it’s how the individual handles those twists and turns that makes for an interesting read.

  6. Cynthya says:

    If I’m reading the blurb or a review, it’s the plot that captures my attention. But while I’m reading the book, it’s about the characters. The characters are what make the book great or not-so-great to me. I just read two books, for instance, that had interesting original plots but were disappointing because the characters were stereotypes or unappealing.

  7. I’m so glad everyone is saying that characters are a big draw or what keeps them interested in a story. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to HUNGER and it’s more intensely driven by character than any other book I’ve ever written. Maybe because it’s “hero” is the most intense character I’ve ever written. Whew! He has really taken my muse captive and she’s so happy in his arms I’m not sure she’ll ever settle down with another hero in another story. lol

  8. I’m a plotter. (rubs hands together and cackles, “Bwa-ha-ha!”) It took me years to realize that CHARACTER really is the basis for turning a regular book into a fabulous one. Plots can have holes and get by, but a surprising, layered character is one the reader will remember with a smile.

    I recently finished reading a fantasy (that’s what we who started out with f/sf call “paranormal,” except that people expect things beyond werewolves and vamps in fantasy. How did “paranormals” become so specialized? They didn’t used to be) (where was I?) novel. The plot had some holes in it, but the characters–ugh! I hated them! They had few redeeming characteristics and they insisted on not only doing stupid things, but doing them over and over.

    I’ll remember the author, but only to stay away from her future work. Ouch!!

  9. flip says:

    I think that a good book needs characters that the reader cares about, an interesting plot and a good setting.

    If you don’t care about the characters, the book will not work. Most recently I read Warded Man by Peter Brett. The plot was great, but you really cared about the three main characters. If you don’t like the characters, the book won’t work.

  10. Kari Thomas says:

    HI all! I’m a bit late in arriving this afternoon. It’s Dialysis day for dad and that keeps my mornings busy. Sooooooo glad to see the comments on “Characters”! I have to admit it really took me a long time to “realize” that its the characters that make the book. I was so naive, I thought if you didnt have the great plot, then you didnt have a story. The book I’m currently writing (#6) is completely about the two characters. They’ve been in my head for sooooooo long and I’ve been waiting for just the right story for them. I was driving my author friend, Cierra James, crazy because I kept putting off their story. Hehehehe…..writing is FUN….in so many ways!

  11. Carol G says:

    For me it is a combination of both. Excellent characters cannot overcome drastic limitaions of plot, and a good plot can be absolutely ruined by characters that the reader does not relate too. And that is true even if the character is the villain, since the reader has to care enough about the story to be interested in how the good (usually) triumphs. There have been many times when I have read a book which has what can kindly be called a multiused plot, but because it was very well written, wih characters I came to care about, I have been engrossed in it and enjoyed it greatly. There have been other books that I have been disappointed in because although the story had great possibilities, the characters and the writing were so pedestrian that it couldn’t hold my interest.

  12. Kari Thomas says:

    I agree 100%, Carol. One of the best romances I can think of at the moment, had an incredible story with characters that remained in readers’ minds years after the book was wrote: GONE WITH THE WIND. The story, revolving around the Civil War, wouldnt have given Scarlet and the others much to become, if it hadnt had that.

  13. Oh, I want to play! About “characters that have stayed in my heart”. Sorry if these lean a little Urban Fantasy, but I adore Rachel in the Dead Witch Walking series and Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series. They’re so human and real to me. (Keep in mind I haven’t seen the television version of Sookie.) I also love, love, love Laurel K. Hamilton’s Doyle in her Fairy books. Strong silent type with dark depths. Sigh.

  14. Dawn McClure says:

    If you don’t care about the readers you don’t care what happens in the book. Romance is about two people falling in love…it’s character-driven. That being said, there has to be a plot that catches my attention.

    At the moment I’m reading a really BIG name author…and her book is so boring…nothing like her earlier work. The characterization is there, but the characters are stuck in this “I can’t be with you because…” “You are MINE” “I can’t be with you because…” “But you are my MATE” blah blah blah

    There’s no action whatsoever. The character’s personalities are fleshed out, and I’m well aware of their inner demons, desires and doubts…but let’s move the story forward already. lol This author is a wonderful writer, it’s just the story lacks a plot. So I’d have to go with both. 🙂

  15. Kari Thomas says:

    LOL—Dawn! I think I’ve read that SAME book just recently!

    AND: Barbara, have you read any of Lora Leigh’s Breed Series? Granted, theyre FULL of erotic scenes, but the characters are so incredibly deep. Each one has some kind of pain, something that makes you want to just hold him —-er, I mean, —them. Case in point “Dawn’s Awakening”. The heroine in this story suffered horribly and it made he what she was later in life. She built a shell around her, for defense, and readers are left wondering if she’ll ever learn to live or love again. Now thats characterization! lol!

  16. Natasha A. says:

    Well, let me first say that you have completely destroyed my book budget! I want all of them!!!!
    As for your question? The blurb of a book has to catch my attention in order for me to pick it up, well unless I see a book recommended somewhere. BUT once I start reading the book? The characters have to pull me in and keep me interested. I do need a plot, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the characters.
    Thanks for all the new reads I am going to have to get!

  17. Kari Thomas says:

    LOL– Natasha you really made my whole day! So sorry about that book budget thing (grin). If it helps any, Im always in the same boat. I used to buy loads of books a week (yes a week!!) until I finally had my major finances taken away. SIGH. So many books, so little time!

  18. Natasha A. says:

    Oh Kari, I am sorry to hear that!
    I am so behind on my reading….
    I am a part time student, so working full time and doing my courses meant that I didn’t have any time. Well, I am taking the summer off from school, so I have about….200 (maybe?) books that I have gotten over the past year that I need to get caught up on!!!
    I will be sure to add yours as well! 😀

  19. Kari Thomas says:

    THANKS, Natasha!

    Everyone, my Server is acting up and keeps refusing to reload the page, so it looks like Im off for a bit…. Sorry!

    hugs and HAPPY READING everyone!

  20. MaryC says:


    I’ve read and love your books! The chemistry between the characters is often so hot. They have a natural way with each other that is just…right.
    I definitely don’t continue reading a book unless the characters are worth my time.

    Great job. Looking forward to the new story.

  21. LOL, Dawn, about needing a plot already. As someone who writes and loves to read heavy w/ introspection character driven books, I will say that it’s important for the introspection to grow and change as the story progresses. (Hopefully, increasing in complication and importance with each passing chapter) And there definitely does need to be something happening to facilitate the evolution of the character’s instrospection! Of course, my something happening usually ends up being another character whose very presence adds tension/complications.

  22. I haven’t read LL yet, Kari, but I plan to this summer. I’ve just heard too much good buzz about her not to try her out when I get a chance. (And like many others have said, summer is the time when I actually get to read!)

  23. MarthaE says:

    Sorry to say I was not familiar with your books but the post was a good way to talk about them! As a reader I think it is hard for me say… plot or characters? If I start from the book blurb I could be looking for a plot that I would like or characters that sound interesting. So I guess it depends on what hook is in the blurb!

  24. MaryC says:

    MarythaE is right. The book blurb makes a big difference when you’re searing for a good book. I think the more successful authors introduce us more to the characters in a blurb rather than a plot. Unless, you have a genre that you can’t get enough of and don’t care who the author is.

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