How Do I Create My Male Characters?

Characters mostly choose their narrator. I can say that convincingly having experienced that a number of times with my characters: they come, I start the story and they take over!

I am often asked how I manage to portray my male characters so realistically? Is it difficult to switch from gender to gender and be equally convincing, giving them the same depth?
Well, after all, both female and male characters are people, and this is where the skill lies – in writing about people and their intertwined relationships honestly, skillfully and in-depth.

The majority of my novels are written in the first person perspective and in the body of one novel I write in both genders. When I start the story writing as a woman the reader enters into the world of certain sensibility. I am not talking of stereotyping and typical ‘female sensibility’, as my women are often very strong-headed with very distinguished characteristics and strength of character and psyche, but still, regardless of their strong personalities they are female characters.
Being a woman, it is easy for me to sympathise with any of my female characters regardless of their age, nationality or any kind of background. I can portray with equal zest and plasticity the girl of a tender age or a woman whose rich and long life is nearing its end, as I do in my books.

Characters mostly choose their narrator. I can say that convincingly having experienced that a number of times with my characters: they come, I start the story and they take over!

I am not going to claim that I get my male characters perfect as they are very demanding, capricious, strong-headed and tend to hide their feelings. I have to dig deep to discover their real feelings, and the depth of them, but the more reluctant they are to uncover their feelings the more determined I am to dig them out and expose them to the light of day. I love exploring human feelings, the reasons why we do what we do, why we act the way we act, what lies deep down that governs our behavior and leads us to chose a certain path.

When I was growing up I read classic literature.
There were only two female writers that were assigned as compulsory literature in high school: Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen; the rest were male writers, therefore I read many great writers whose characters were predominantly male characters. I was fascinated by the majority of them, by their secret inner world, their psyche, the way they thought, acted, by their view of women et cetera.

My male characters are so far from my psyche that it seems like an almost impossible task to ‘get them right’. The only thing I had in common with the character of Vito Del Bianco was – we were both writers. He is a womanizer, a bon vivant, heavy drinker, cynic, and a cunning man. He loved and lived on the wild side taking advantage of people and situations.
Just like Nicholas O’B, a selfish, self-destructive wannabe writer, a gambler, liar, cheat and a skilled master of manipulation and deceit.

Otto Visconti is a misfit. A poet who interprets the world in a very unique way: he is suspicious, overwhelmingly pessimistic showing poor and degenerate demeanor and lifestyle due to the lack of self-confidence and inner strength. He blames his parents for his misfortunes and lack of stamina, mainly his mother, which makes him create an unreal view of women, unreal expectations and ridiculous, unsuccessful attempts to charm any woman or win any friend.

How do I fit there? Under the skin of such a character or in his milieu?
I let them be. I let them express themselves; I listen to them.
I evoke and explore old memories, the place where I store all the characters I’ve ever met; I study people thoroughly all the time and ask myself constantly, ‘How does he feel right now?’, ‘Why did he say that and how can I see on his face, in his gestures that he really meant it?’, ‘What is his body language saying about him, his feelings and hidden motives?’
I endlessly analyse my characters. I sympathise and empathise with them trying to get out of me all those feelings that they might feel or might hide.
While I write about them I live their lives, I get into their heads and I converse with them asking them to reveal their deepest thoughts, secrets and dreams: pleasant, unpleasant, ordinary, wild, cruel or unselfish, the whole range of emotions. For me it matters more what they feel than how they comb their hair or what type of shirt they are wearing.

When I bring out all of their emotions I know that it is going to be convincing … surely for some of my readers; as I can’t claim that my male characters are perfect, I know, at least, that they are – colourful.

This post is contributed as Guest post by Branka Cubrilo.

I am an author of 7 written novels (written from 1981 – 2011). Five of them were published by three different publishers (I am writing in two languages).

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7 Best History Apps on iOS For writing Historical Novels

If you want to have more sense while you are exploring different historical parts while write a Historical Fiction. Here are 7 best history apps for iOS users.

There are so many who are passionate to explore the past. The advancement of technology provides opportunities for you to explore some of the great history occasions. These apps offer visual elements and interactive features that will give you more sense while you are exploring different historical parts. Here are 7 best history apps for iOS users:

Timeline World War II
Do you want to explore the events of World War II? Then this app should be installed on your iPad’s. Timeline World War II tells you all about the bloodiest conflicts in human history. It provides you with a dynamic interface that you can use to explore major events and take a deeper look into decisive battles of World War II. The app requires a space of 750mb and is available at meager prices of $9.99.

Today in History
This is really a cool app for students who need daily doses of juicy tidbits. Today in History gives an account of a specific day in the context of a particular timeline. It also provides a list of related words that you can click to know more about the historical value of the day. The app gives information from 100,000 events in a year which include birthdays, holidays and death anniversaries. This app is available for free for both iPad’s and iPhone users.

Virtual History Roma
Do you admire Roman Empire? If yes, then this app should be the next item on your iPhone menu. Virtual History Roma offers a 3D display of events and places of Romans. You can look into historical sites, weapons, and armors that were the symbolic representation of The Roman Empire. The simulation of Colossus and Roman Arena can install a thrill as if you are watching them in real-time.

Street Museum of Continuum
Street Museum of Continuum takes you to the street of London City. The app starts this journey from the ancient time when it was occupied by Romans. It takes you through the events of London city and illustrates its evolution with the passage of time. The app offers additional features for users who have a particular interest in History and Archaeology.

British Library App
British library books app gives an insight into historical manuscripts in the British Library. With this app, you can scan through 60,000 titles as well as 100 highlights about various artifacts found in British History. You can even utilize multimedia elements that include photos, videos, and recordings.

Barefoot World Atlas
Barefoot Atlas is an app that gives historical information about cities and locations. By using this app, history students can get all the facts about an ancient city or historical site. Barefoot Atlas integrates a plethora of multimedia features that makes history a more fun task than a tedious research activity. You can search ancient cities, tap on specific sites for information or even post comments.

Armchair Archaeologist

No archaeology app can beat this online tool. As its name suggests, armchair archaeologist app helps you locate places from your most favorite TV shows. It allows you to search locations based on their historical value. You can search from a list of era, museums, and monuments. Just tap a site and you will get all the facts. With this smart app, you can search for a specific era and all related sites. Armchair Archaeologist app features highlights from 160 sites and 52 museums. The good thing is that you can use it without an internet connection.

About the Author

Garret Jacob (@GarretJacobs3) is a recent college graduate, and has been blogging his way through school. He is well-known for his insightful thoughts on college and campus life.


Book Blogger Confessions: Tips for Indie Authors

Guidelines to follow when dealing with book reviewers

Book reviews has become a valuable marketing tool for commercial and indie writers. When I look at the top selling books on Amazon and Goodreads, I realize they usually have a ton of reviews. The modern writer’s job does not end when they hit submit and send their creative babies off to publishers. As the publishing world evolves the lines between publisher, author and publicist blur. One powerful tool that can make or break an author is the book review.

Popular book sites like Kirkus and Indiereader know the importance of a professional book review. Authors pay $250-$500 to get a review that will hopefully give them access to an audience that will buy their books. Kirkus and Indiereader both go a step further than the professional review, offering publishing services such as editing and marketing. There is a debate in the publishing industry about the value of a paid review. With the rise of blogging, more book lovers from different careers and

backgrounds have brought to life the freelance occupation called the “Book Blogger”. Book Bloggers are book lovers who offer free, honest and in-depth book reviews. Successful book bloggers make money through advertising on their blogs and other freelance opportunities. Book Bloggers unlike a paid review service have nothing to gain from giving a positive review. This article will help writers get the most out of the writer blogger relationship to improve craft and to gain exposure. After reviewing other book blogger’s review policies and my experience as a book blogger and a lover of books, here are some tips for indie authors to create a positive blogger-writer relationship.

Submit a finished product.

I cringe when authors submit a book filled with errors, some authors would even let you know ahead of time that it’s not the finished product. Book bloggers introduce books to their audience of readers, putting your best foot forward is best when you want to potentially grow your readership. Some authors confuse beta readers and book reviewers. Beta readers are readers that read mostly fiction to correct errors and to add suggestions in regards to character development, plot etc. Book reviewers are book lovers who read for enjoyment, they are giving you a sneak peek into the thoughts of your reading audience. Book reviewers critique the finished product, beta readers’ help with the development of your product. As a book lover with a lot of books to read and very little time, a book that’s has been thoroughly edited has a better chance of getting a review.

Read Book Blogger’s review policies and submission guidelines thoroughly before submitting a book.

Policies and submission guidelines are created to ensure a smooth process. Book lovers/ book bloggers create policies and submissions based on preference and experience. For example not reading submission guidelines an author might submit their nonfiction book to a fiction reviewer’s blog. Also some bloggers request books or galleys in formats that support their devices. Sending the

wrong format may delay your review and as an indie writer, your time means everything.

Remember to never lose your cool.

Most professional readers are readers who study the craft of fiction or literature. Writing a book is not an easy task, as a literature student I understand the complexity of creating complex characters and making sure my plot is well-developed and consistent. As a book blogger to give a constructive review, one must separate those feelings of understanding and critique a book based on the product that is presented. One important piece of advice I received from a mentor is as a writer you must listen to all feedback and apply constructive advice based on your style. When I go on sites like Amazon and Goodreads and I see some authors respond negatively to unfavorable reviews, it deters me from reading that book. As an Indie Author creating a good positive image helps build a good brand and it lets the reader feel safe to be honest with their favorite writers. Book Bloggers don’t enjoy giving unfavorable reviews but giving constructive criticism helps writers write better books.

You can get a list of book bloggers that you can contact to review your books from sites like “The Book Blogger List and The Book Review Directory. Book Bloggers can help indie authors grow readership and improve on craft. Submitting a book to a book blogger is an opportunity to get unbiased feedback on your book without the conflict of interest when purchasing critique.

About the Author (@marvelustalent)

Writing and literature student and Book Blogger at LaFifeReviews. Ms. Fife have posted reviews online and an article on school readiness on her school’s website. Latoya Fife is a life long learner with a great passion for reading books and connecting readers to her favorites.

All because I wanted to help….

I created a list of the most frequently asked questions and added them to the handout materials for the class.

I love being an author, I really do but more than being an author I love being a publisher. Asking me to write about my life story is a little surreal because I didn’t plan to be a writer or a publisher. I did however have a desire to help people. It just so happens that I found my niche in helping people to meet their aspirations and become published authors.

It all started when I taught grant writing classes for nonprofit organizations. The students’ questions were pivotal to understanding the class. So, I created a list of the most frequently asked questions and added them to the handout materials for the class. As time passed the little booklet of handouts that I distributed changed from a few handouts and a few questions to a full size manual with information and resources. The game changer came when someone asked if they could purchase copies of the manual to give to their employees so that they could learn to write grants as well.

Within six months Grant Me The Money! The Practical Guide To Successful Grant Writing Practice was released as a self-published book. It was a very popular book and as I traveled around the country teaching grant writing; the book became a significant part of the course as the workbook and resource guide. Several copies were sold for distribution as gifts and resources for colleagues, peers and friends.

That was just the start. As the momentum for the book increased so did my desire to learn the publishing industry. This was due to the fact that my book was a self-published book and it was very difficult getting it in as a holding in the book stores. I was told that it was an excellent product but because it did not have a publisher and imprint the best that it could and would do was to be sold via the internet or direct sale.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was not the only one that faced this challenge and I knew that if I wanted to break the barriers and stigma of a self-published author something had to change. Needless to say, I learned the book industry thoroughly, created a publishing company (Crystal Spirit Publishing, Inc.) and the two interest that I now had and enjoyed, publishing and helping people were joined together as one.

When I started as a publisher it was to give my works legitimacy. However; I started to receive request from aspiring writers from all over the world asking for assistance and for me to share my knowledge and experience of the book industry so that they too could fulfill their aspirations and dreams. It was then that I decided to expand the focus from my works and invite the works of others for publishing consideration.

Now ten years, seven books and five authors later my focus and objective to help aspiring authors is still the same but with more intensity. The only difference now is the level of experience has increased of course, the geographical boundaries have expanded, that little booklet that started it all is now in its 3rd Edition and I have authored two additional books as well.

I love being an author as I stated from the beginning but I love being a publisher even more.

Grant Me The Money! The Practical Guide To Successful Grant Writing Practice 3rd Ed. can be purchased at

Bestseller secrets unveiled: James Altucher and Mike Fishbein

James Altucher and Mike Fishbein disclose their marketing tips for growing your readership.

James Altucher is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, bestselling author, and podcaster. He has founded or cofounded more than 20 companies, including Reset Inc. and StockPickr and Mike Fishbein is an inbound marketer and bestselling author. He writes about content marketing and personal development.