Chat for Writers and Readers

ls twitter chatThe other day I was feeling extremely nostalgic for the old AOL chats. Remember when the Internet was still fairly new and we would all gather in a chat room and talk about books, writing, and our lives? I hosted a chat on AOL back then and some of the attendees to those chats are still some of my dearest friends.

It really made me think, though, about how the Internet has changed in the last 20 or so years and how those of us who were originally in those core chats don’t have a place to gather. After looking at various platforms, meeting rooms I could add to my site, etc., I’ve come to the conclusion that Twitter is an excellent place to gather everyone together and have quick, to the point, sessions.

Instead of a set time for these chats, we’re going to have topics. The Twitter Handle for the chat is #LoriSoardChat

All you have to do is login to Twitter, see what topic is trending under #LoriSoardChat (it will change regularly) and add some thoughts of your own to that topic. Just be sure you end with #LoriSoardChat so we can all find the tweets and keep up with questions and discussions.

I started with something easy. What is your favorite book? Share a line from that book if you’d like. I got the conversation rolling, now it’s your turn to join in.

We’ll also talk about writing, have open question periods, and talk about reading and the book industry. I will even have guest hosts from time to time. Come on over to Twitter and join me. @LoriSoard

Chat Log: Bill T. Pottle

October 22nd, 2004 Chat with Bill T. Pottle

22:12:29 [Jacqueline] Hi and welcome. We’re chatting with author Bill Pottle tonight. To enter your name, please type it in the upper left hand name box and then type “enter”. We’ll be using protocol so please type “?” to ask a question and “!” to make a comment and “ga” to signify “go ahead” when you’re finished

22:13:26 [Jacqueline] Glenda, I think we’re all readers.

22:13:40 [Chris] i’m gonna read it for one of my projects in school

22:13:44 [Glenda] Well, you know what I mean. snicker

22:13:48 [Aznboi1592] duh

22:14:04 [Glenda] Hey, I finally got a Ebookman!

22:14:17 [AuthorBill] Does it work well?

22:14:20 [Jacqueline] Before we begin, I need DQFan to go to black.

22:14:32 [AuthorBill] I can’t wait for pages with changable type

22:14:39 [Jacqueline] Cool, Glenda, I love mine

22:14:42 [Aznboi1592] i am on black

22:15:04 [Glenda] Haven’t done the set up yet.

22:15:17 [Jacqueline] Everyone please give Bill, our special guest, a warm welcome before the grilling

22:15:29 [Glenda] Is it difficult to set it up?

22:16:25 [Glenda] Welcome Bill!!

22:16:30 [Jacqueline] Welcome, Bill!

22:16:33 [Chris] HI BILL!!!

22:16:40 [AuthorBill] Thanks!

22:16:46 [Lainie] Hi Bill!

22:16:59 [BettyD] welcome Bill

22:17:01 [AuthorBill] Hi

22:17:14 [Lainie] Welcome Sarah

22:17:16 [Sarah] K everyone i was Dqfan be4 but i have to come say sry and that bill is actually really cool

22:17:24 [Jacqueline] Bill Pottle was born and grew up in Denver, Colorado. While living in Colorado, he enjoyed spending time camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains, and eventually received his Eagle Scout. Climbing above the clouds provided the inspiration for the character of Tivu in the Lands of Daranor series.

22:17:31 [Jacqueline] He began work on his first novel, DreamQuest, in sixth grade, and worked on it sporadically until its publication 12 years later.

22:17:51 [Chris] dang

22:17:53 [Jacqueline] He attended Cornell University where he received his bachelors and masters degrees in Biological and Environmental Engineering. His research focused on developing sensors to detect trace amounts of biological pathogens.

22:18:00 [Chris] I was like 7 or somethin

22:18:24 [Jacqueline] He also served as the captain and MVP of the Cornell University Taekwondo Team, which he helped to win five consecutive league championships. In 2002 he also served as the captain of the Ivy/Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo All Star Team. In April 2002, he earned his forth degree black belt.

22:18:53 [Chris] I heard Charles the illustrator does TKD also

22:18:56 [Jacqueline] The influence of Taekwondo and other martial arts can be seen in some of the action sequences in his work. He currently works for the Gene Therapy Program of the University of Pennsylvania where he makes adenovirus as a method of gene transfer and also as a method of producing vaccines against comm

22:18:58 [Chris] Can you beat him Bill?

22:19:04 [Jacqueline] disease agents.

22:19:12 [AuthorBill] Chris is the brother of Charles DeGuzman

22:19:13 [Glenda] wow

22:19:18 [Sarah] and now hes a gene theripist and he takes care of viruses all day

22:19:26 [Chris] Tch

22:19:33 [Jacqueline] He has traveled extensively, including visiting every continent except Antarctica and every communist country except North Korea. A large portion of these travels were during the

22:19:34 [Chris] You ruined the fun bill

22:19:39 [Jacqueline] Semester at Sea program, and a non-fiction book about the journey should be published by the end of 2003.

22:19:41 [Chris] Thanks a lot

22:19:49 [Sarah] who the heck is Charles DeGuzman??

22:19:55 [AuthorBill] Charles is my friend who I also met in Sixth grade who did the cover art and the flash animations at

22:19:58 [Jacqueline] Visit Bill Pottle website at:

22:20:02 [Lainie] Please remember to type ? to get in the queu to ask questions or ! to get in the queu to make a comment

22:20:09 [Lainie] we’ll call on everyone in turn

22:20:15 [Sarah] o ya u told us that at school

22:20:53 [Jacqueline] Very impressive, Bill! Tell us about Dreamquest

22:21:17 [AuthorBill] Alright, well, DreamQuest is a coming of age fantasy epic

22:21:24 [Lainie] Hi and welcome. We’re chatting with author Bill Pottle tonight. To enter your name, please type it in the upper left hand name box and then type “enter”. We’ll be using protocol so please type “?” to ask a question and “!” to make a comment and “ga” to signify “go ahead” when you’re finished

22:21:26 [Chris] Yea Bill I wanna here about the sword!

22:21:29 [Jacqueline] Hi and welcome. We’re chatting with author Bill Pottle tonight. To enter your name, please type it in the upper left hand name box and then type “enter”. We’ll be using protocol so please type “?” to ask a question and “!” to make a comment and “ga” to signify “go ahead” when you’re finished

22:21:41 [Jacqueline] oops

22:21:55 [AuthorBill] I tried to incorporate many different themes, so that there would be something for everyone

22:22:31 [AuthorBill] There’s a little romance, adventure, military stragety, fantasy, magic, martial arts, and religion

22:22:43 [AuthorBill] and there is a really cool sword

22:22:55 [AuthorBill] there are three, actually

22:23:05 [AuthorBill] but everyone’s favorite is the Light Sword

22:23:17 [AuthorBill] You can see this sword clearly on the cover image

22:24:10 [AuthorBill] which you can find on the following page

22:24:11 [AuthorBill]

22:24:27 [Chris] The guy with the cape holding it?

22:24:54 [AuthorBill] Yep, Derlin (red cloak) is the one who has it

22:25:22 [AuthorBill] it’s special because when it encounters enemy an enemy blade or armor, it turns to light and passes right through

22:25:35 [AuthorBill] on the other side it immediately turns hard again

22:26:04 [AuthorBill] it can completely slice through someone wearing armor and the armor won’t even have a scratch on it

22:26:45 [Chris] Can it slice through superman?

22:27:08 [Jacqueline] Hi and welcome. We’re chatting with author Bill Pottle tonight. To enter your name, please type it in the upper left hand name box and then type “enter”. We’ll be using protocol so please type “?” to ask a question and “!” to make a comment and “ga” to signify “go ahead” when you’re finished

22:27:12 [AuthorBill] obviously

22:27:46 [AuthorBill] does anyone have any other questions about the book?

22:28:13 [Glenda] ?

22:28:47 [Jacqueline] ga, Glenda

22:28:51 [Glenda] Is this your first fiction book?

22:28:59 [Lainie] ga Glenda

22:29:09 [AuthorBill] Yes.

22:29:26 [AuthorBill] Since I did start in sixth grade, I didn’t have too much time before that.

22:29:29 [Jacqueline] ?

22:29:55 [AuthorBill] but I am already about 30% finished with the sequel ProphecyQuest so far

22:30:39 [Lainie] ga Jacqueline

22:30:46 [AuthorBill] ga jacqueline

22:31:16 [Jacqueline] How long did it take you to write the book?

22:31:19 [Jacqueline] ga

22:31:39 [AuthorBill] haha…. well, it was just published in March

22:31:54 [AuthorBill] so that makes 13 years, but who’s counting?

22:32:03 [corbett744] How long until you expect to be finished with Prophecy Quest?

22:32:44 [AuthorBill] well, I”m hoping to finish it within about 1 year to 1 year and a half

22:32:45 [Jacqueline] Thanks, Bill. Here I though you were going to say two years and you were only in the eighth grade.

22:32:53 [Sarah] ?

22:33:12 [AuthorBill] I talked with a about 2000 kids last week so I’m getting excited and working a lot now

22:33:23 [AuthorBill] if only I didn’t have to do my regular job

22:33:31 [Lainie] ga Sarah

22:33:45 [Lainie] (remember when you’re done speaking, to type “ga”)

22:33:49 [Sarah] Who are the guard??

22:34:00 [Sarah] ga

22:34:18 [AuthorBill] the Guard are the top bodygurads in Daranor

22:34:20 [Glenda] ?

22:34:37 [AuthorBill] there are only ten of them and five are always within striking distance of the King

22:34:56 [AuthorBill] The other five are sent off on special missions, like scouting missions

22:35:12 [Chris] ?

22:35:27 [AuthorBill] their training is really intense. Not only do they have to have amazing physical prowess, but their mental capacaties have to be extremely sharp

22:35:39 [AuthorBill] they have to memorize things like every building in Daranor

22:35:49 [AuthorBill] (there aren’t TOO many, though)

22:35:51 [AuthorBill] ga glenda

22:36:00 [Lainie] ga glenda

22:36:06 [Glenda] I adore medical thrillers. With your biology background, would you like to write a medical thriller someday?

22:36:36 [AuthorBill] I have been thinking about this a lot, actually

22:36:49 [AuthorBill] I have a lot of ideas

22:37:14 [AuthorBill] for instance, nesting virulent viruses like AIDS inside of a virus like the common cold virus

22:38:13 [AuthorBill] nesting unexpressed toxin proteins inside common carrier molecules that could be

22:38:36 [AuthorBill] released by a common trigger molecule, even an antibiotic like tetracycline

22:38:53 [AuthorBill] however, I am a bit hesitant to put some of these ideas down on paper in the detail that I know them

22:39:23 [AuthorBill] it’s not like no one has ever thought of them before, but I wouldn’t want to put any ideas out there that could be used by terrorists

22:39:38 [Glenda] true

22:40:03 [Lainie] (sounds awesome Bill! I hope you write these books! well maybe don’t give the instructions – remember The Stand and Virus – no specifics of how to make them) ga chris

22:40:39 [Chris] Uhhhhh

22:40:44 [Chris] O yra

22:40:56 [Chris] Do any of those guards have like special abilities?

22:40:58 [AuthorBill] sorry- true no instructions- but I think that’s what would make my stories good- the detail that the plot could be crafted in

22:41:02 [Chris] say like

22:41:14 [AuthorBill] although it might be hard for non-techincal people to understand

22:41:23 [AuthorBill] well, none of them have things like magic

22:41:33 [AuthorBill] although, they each have their own special weapon

22:41:59 [AuthorBill] Garseon has a blowgun with many darts that each cause a different effect

22:42:24 [AuthorBill] Latson (DQ2) has a steel broadsword that’s tipped with diamonds

22:42:35 [AuthorBill] it is sharper then everything except the Light Swrod

22:42:43 [AuthorBill] ga

22:43:51 [Glenda] ?

22:43:59 [AuthorBill] ga glenda

22:44:06 [Glenda] What time period is your book set in?

22:44:29 [AuthorBill] well, it’s a mythical world, so it’s not relevant to our calendar

22:44:37 [AuthorBill] however, the technology is mideival

22:44:48 [AuthorBill] they have cannons, but no personal firearms

22:47:19 [AuthorBill] ga

22:48:16 [AuthorBill] has everyone visited

22:48:31 [Jacqueline] Bill, who do you like to read?

22:48:34 [Glenda] not yet but will.

22:48:47 [AuthorBill] and seen the “High bandwidth’ intro?

22:49:07 [AuthorBill] Lately, I really like J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown

22:49:18 [AuthorBill] Like a lot of people, now a days!

22:49:30 [AuthorBill] I picked up the first Artemis Fowl recently and loved it too

22:49:43 [AuthorBill] I like how COlfer incorporates technology

22:50:19 [AuthorBill] I have also found some good iUniverse authors

22:50:37 [AuthorBill] Victoria Randall (The Ring of the Dark Elves) and Wil Radcliffe (Noggle Stones)

22:50:50 [AuthorBill] now I have a ?

22:51:01 [AuthorBill] does anyone here still celebrate Halloween and dress up?

22:51:11 [Jacqueline] (very cool intro!)

22:51:12 [Chris] ME!!!

22:51:17 [Lainie] yes

22:51:20 [AuthorBill] thanks!

22:51:30 [AuthorBill] Charles made the flash

22:51:33 [AuthorBill] anyone else?

22:51:35 [Glenda] sometimes go to costume parties

22:51:44 [Chris] good stuff man!

22:52:11 [Jacqueline] Do you Bill?

22:52:30 [AuthorBill] I was just asking because I’m holding a DreamQuest halloween contest

22:52:51 [Lainie] cool

22:52:59 [AuthorBill] if anyone dresses up as a character from DQ and then sends in a picture then I’m going to have a drawing for a free copy

22:53:05 [Jacqueline] And that is…

22:53:45 [Jacqueline] Sounds like a great contest

22:54:05 [AuthorBill] yeah, hopefully a lot of people will enter

22:55:05 [AuthorBill] I don’t remember, was I going to give away something at this chat too?

22:55:07 [Jacqueline] For tonight’s drawing Bill will randomly select one guest who will get to choose a name (may be modified slightly) for a character in DreamQuest2.

22:55:24 [Jacqueline] Are you ready, Bill?

22:55:37 [Glenda] I’m sorry but I have to run.

22:55:42 [Glenda] Goodnight.

22:56:00 [Jacqueline] Glenda, email me

22:56:04 [AuthorBill] oh, sad. Glenda was so close to being in the contest

22:56:22 [Jacqueline] at jacqueline@jacquelineelliott.comand I’ll give you ebookman advice

22:56:47 [Jacqueline] Are you staying for the contest, Glenda?

22:57:03 [AuthorBill] okay, how about this

22:57:33 [AuthorBill] I’m going to pick a letter

22:57:41 [AuthorBill] I’ll give one hint

22:58:10 [AuthorBill] then, the first person who guesses it will win

22:58:35 [AuthorBill] is that okay?

22:58:46 [Jacqueline] Sounds good!

22:59:19 [AuthorBill] okay…..

22:59:24 [AuthorBill] ready……?

22:59:36 [AuthorBill] here’s the rule, though

22:59:43 [AuthorBill] no looking!

22:59:54 [AuthorBill] only guessing

23:00:03 [Jacqueline] lol

23:00:12 [Chris] C!!!

23:00:52 [AuthorBill] nope

23:00:54 [AuthorBill] here’s the hing

23:00:56 [AuthorBill] hint

23:01:07 [AuthorBill] it’s the first letter in chapter 1 of DreamQuest!

23:01:10 [AuthorBill] now guess!

23:02:17 [AuthorBill] you can guess as many times as you want!

23:02:59 [AuthorBill] no one wants to guess…..

23:03:04 [Chris] F!!!

23:03:11 [AuthorBill] I could do it but I get to name ALL the characters!

23:03:16 [Jacqueline] I can’t, I’m wm staff

23:03:18 [AuthorBill] keep guessing

23:03:49 [Jacqueline] Corbett and Sarah? are you still here?

23:03:54 [Sarah02] a

23:04:19 [AuthorBill] welll, it’s capital A, but that’s close enough!

23:04:39 [AuthorBill] I guess Sarah is the winner then

23:05:22 [Jacqueline] Yayyyy, Sarah! Congratulations!

23:05:41 [Sarah02] YES!!!!!!!

23:06:06 [Jacqueline] I would have said C for Chapter

23:06:34 [Lainie] Yeah Sarah!

23:07:05 [Jacqueline] Bill, do you want Sarah to email you?

23:07:15 [AuthorBill] close, Jacqueline

23:07:29 [AuthorBill] I’m not worried. I’m sure she will IM me at least 100 times

23:07:33 [Jacqueline] Well it is the first word…technically

23:07:33 [AuthorBill] before tomorrow

23:07:49 [AuthorBill]

23:07:54 [Sarah02] hehe i will not thats mean

23:08:09 [AuthorBill] sorry- 50 times.

23:08:10 [Jacqueline] Thanks for being our guest, Bill! You’re fascinating

23:08:27 [AuthorBill] thanks for having me

23:08:34 [Jacqueline] And thanks for everyone joining us.

23:08:38 [Lainie] If anyone would like to be on our chat mailing list, please email me with your email address at and I will add you to our list.

23:08:41 [AuthorBill] I hope the chat was helpful

23:08:41 [Sarah02] yes he is very fascinating

23:08:42 [Chris] BYE BILL!!!

23:08:47 [Jacqueline] You’ll have to come back sometime

23:08:57 [Lainie] Yes, thank you Bill and everyone! I hope you write those books – I love those type


Chat Log: Michele Bardsley

September 17th, 2004 Chat with Michele Bardsley

22:20:12 [Lainie] I’d like to welcome everybody tonight

22:20:33 [Lainie] I’d especially like to welcome and introduce our guest, Michele Bardsley

22:21:01 [Lainie] Tonight Michele will teach us about “Creating the Beta Hero”

22:21:22 [Lainie] Michele Bardsley is a multi-published author who lives in Las Vegas with her husband and two children. Her works have won recognition and awards from Writer’s Digest, Silhouette Books, Oklahoma State University, and Northwoods Journal Magazine.

22:21:34 [Lainie] She’s presented numerous workshops on a variety of topics for organizations such as Space Coast Writers Guild, RT Bookclub, and Word Museum. When she’s not writing, editing, or promoting, she likes to watch “Trading Spaces” and daydream about someone else redecorating her home.

22:21:45 [Lainie] Boring wimp? Pale shadow of an alpha male? Brainy guy with glasses who believes discussing the latest IRS tax laws constitutes foreplay?

22:21:53 [Lainie] ? In “Creating the Beta Hero”, find out who a beta hero really is–and how to use beta qualities to create a complex, likeable, and–gasp!–nice guy who romance readers will love.

22:22:05 [Lainie] Visit Michele R. Bardsley website at:

22:22:13 [Lainie] Michele R. Bardsley is offering an autographed copy of Double Delights #2 (featuring her romantic comedies, Daddy In Training and Bride In Training) as well as a “Housewife For Rent” T-shirt.

22:22:55 [SherT] and she’s an all around sweetie! Welcome Michele!

22:22:58 [Lainie] One of Michele’s newest books will: THE LUST BASTION (part of the LIGHTHEARTED LUST anthology with Mary Janice Davidson and Chris Tanglen.

22:23:08 [Lainie] A single, lonely, okay, desperate woman searches for the perfect sex toy, but her new vibrator gives her more than she bargains for: a cursed Egyptian prince who obeys her every command.

22:23:33 [Glenda] wow

22:23:49 [SherT] LOLOL

22:24:08 [Lainie] When more guests join us, we’ll move into protocol. For now, I’d like to ask Michele to tell us about herself and start. (going to fan myself now). ga Michele

22:24:17 [Glenda] some people have all the luck

22:24:25 [MicheleB] <g> It was fun to write. 🙂

22:24:52 [Lainie] sounds like fun :)

22:25:20 [MicheleB] Thank you, Lainie. I have five novels and one nonfiction workbook published.

22:25:56 [MicheleB] My first erotic romance is The Lust Bastion. It’s a comedy, too. <g>

22:26:35 Jacqueline enters this room

22:26:36 [MicheleB] My next book is called Wild Women and it’s a romantic comedy suspense coming out from Hard Shell Word Factory in November or December.

22:27:15 [MicheleB] I’m also happy to say that my genre short story, “A Mother Scorned,” is the Grand Prize Winner in this year’s Writer’s Digest Competition.

22:27:18 [SherT] wb Jacqui

22:27:39 [Glenda] congratulations!

22:27:51 [MicheleB] No beta heroes in that one. <g>

22:27:54 [SherT] Excellent Michele!

22:27:54 [Jacqueline] I think the problem is fixed.

22:27:59 [MicheleB] Thank you.

22:28:10 [Jacqueline] Yes congratulations, Michele!

22:28:34 [MicheleB] Thanks. WD is publishing the story, too. It’s very exciting.

22:28:50 [MicheleB] But we’re here to talk about the beta hero and how to create one. Ready?

22:29:07 [Lainie] yep – I was born ready

22:29:09 [SherT] yes…rubbing hands together.

22:29:10 [Jacqueline] Yep

22:29:39 [Glenda] waiting with beta breath

22:30:01 [MicheleB] In The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders, the authors examine eight hero archetypes. Their definition of The Best Friend fits well with the concept of the beta hero. The following information is taken from an ar

22:30:24 [MicheleB] article by Tami Cowden posted on the All About Romance website.

22:30:43 [MicheleB] The Best Friend: This man doesn’t enjoy confrontation and can sometimes be unassertive because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But he’ll always be there. We all knew this guy in high school and didn’t appreciate him.

22:31:02 [MicheleB] If we were smart, though, he’s the guy we married. He’s a people person and he’ll always put the needs of others first. He’s practical … so he’d assess what could be done and get to work. He’ll be very determined because he’s responsible for the heroine.

22:31:43 [MicheleB] You can read the full article can be found here: All About Romance Website

22:32:10 [MicheleB] In line with his “best friend” qualities, a beta hero makes a great sudden daddy—he adjusts more easily to than an alpha male.

22:32:24 [MicheleB] He’s also an excellent role model: Women think he’s sweet, kids know he’ll play catch or tea party, bosses know they can rely on him to get last-minute projects completed, and men know they can trust him with their girlfriends.

22:32:42 [MicheleB] Within these expectations lie the seeds for potential conflict!

22:32:58 [MicheleB] Beta heroes need to grow, change, learn. Nice doesn’t equal perfect. An easygoing guy who’s funny and sweet hides his feelings more effectively and feels pain more deeply than an alpha hero (who will, when angry or upset, stomp around, growl, and hit stuff).

22:33:14 [MicheleB] A beta hero hides his pain behind a smile, a joke, or a quiet reserve. A beta hero is more likely to walk away from a confrontation or do what he believes the heroine wants than to stand his ground and fight it out. This isn’t wimp behavior because he’s not afraid for himself, he’s afraid for the p

22:33:27 [MicheleB] he’s afraid for the person he cares about.

22:33:53 [MicheleB] Now that we’ve identified the beta hero, let’s discuss how to create one. According to J. Madison Davis, who wrote Novelist’s Essential Guide to Creating Plot:

22:34:08 [MicheleB] “[A character] is a set of inherent qualities in the imitation of a human being. What we call a character in a novel, play or movie bears close resemblance to a human being but is not one.

22:34:22 [MicheleB] People are far more complicated than characters. People are far less predictable than characters. Characters are designed to seem complicated and to act in some surprising ways, but they are actually more consistent than people.

22:34:33 [MicheleB] The behaviors that seem surprising from characters are based upon a clear conception of their identities. In the simplest sort of story, for example, there are good guys and bad guys.

22:34:47 [MicheleB] The conception of their identities is very simple, and their behavior is predicted by what the author values as good or bad.”

22:35:03 [MicheleB] Romance heroes are, in essence, the ideals of the author packaged in a tight pair of jeans and a sexy grin. To create a hero is to create an inherent set of specific qualities.

22:35:19 [MicheleB] Each hero type has general characteristics that are refined by the author. It’s important to remember that your hero may not completely align with all qualities associated with the beta or the alpha or the whatever.

22:35:34 [MicheleB] He is first and foremost YOUR creation and he doesn’t have to fit anywhere but in your story.

22:36:03 [MicheleB] Are they any questions before we talk about beta qualities?

22:36:51 [SherT] ?

22:37:21 [SherT] What about times he has to fight, as in times of danger or when there’s no other way? How will he handle these times?

22:37:24 [Jacqueline] ga, Sher

22:38:14 [MicheleB] Betas are men and will act like men no matter if they’re beta or alpha. A beta can and will fight to protect himself and his loved ones.

22:38:28 [MicheleB] He might not be as effective as an alpha.

22:38:44 [MicheleB] The beta motto should be: “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” <g>

22:38:55 [SherT] gotcha, thank you. Just what I needed to hear.

22:39:34 [MicheleB] A beta will look for ways to get out of confrontation, especially a physical one. They want to use reason, not brawn.

22:39:48 [MicheleB] Alphas will just punch the offender out. <g>

22:39:56 [Jacqueline] I kind of like to think that a beta will come out on top because he doesn’t loose his cool and use his head.

22:40:44 [MicheleB] Exactly. Betas have more even temperaments.

22:41:27 [MicheleB] Let’s look at some qualities for our nice-guy prototype. The beta hero:

22:41:34 [SherT] In other words will wear the heroine down rather than bowl her over.

22:41:41 [MicheleB] © Is kind, responsible, decent

22:42:26 [MicheleB] Yes, that’s right. A beta won’t throw a girl over his shoulder and leave.

22:42:46 [MicheleB] © Doesn’t enjoy confrontation, but won’t back down on an issue he wants resolved

22:42:58 [MicheleB] © Is always available to the heroine or to others who need his help

22:43:08 [MicheleB] © Is an extrovert or an introvert

22:43:20 [MicheleB] © Is practical, down to earth, assesses situations before making decisions

22:43:30 [MicheleB] © Has a great sense of humor

22:43:40 [MicheleB] © Tends to be Mr. Nice Guy/Everyday Joe

22:43:51 [MicheleB] © Is the kind neighbor, the best friend, the good Samaritan

22:44:12 [MicheleB] So now we have a basic idea about what a beta hero might be like. Let’s assess how he got that way.

22:44:24 [MicheleB] Davis writes: “People’s motivations are very confusing and usually dimly understood. The newspapers are full of terrible stories about kids who grow up in brutal households.

22:44:36 [MicheleB] One kid grows up to become a killer; another grows up to become a tireless worker to prevent child abuse.”

22:44:47 [MicheleB] What’s interesting about this assessment is that you can create a hero or a villain using the same set of circumstances. Consider, too, that the same set of circumstances can create an alpha hero or a beta hero.

22:45:01 [MicheleB] In romance novels, a hero’s motivations, while not always revealed right away, are not confusing and are understood. There’s a clarity about why characters do what they do in fiction that is not evident for people operating in the real world.

22:45:14 [MicheleB] The background of your beta hero—his childhood, his education, his relationships—is very important in creating his motivations for being the person he is in your book.

22:45:28 [MicheleB] You have the freedom to create any kind of past that explains his actions and choices today.

22:45:44 [MicheleB] There are tools that may useful in helping you create the beta hero. Before I talk about these tools, I’d like to point out that there are a lot of people in the world who try to figure out and categorize human beings.

22:45:54 [MicheleB] For every technique discovered to determine behavior, there are not only exceptions to the so-called rules, there are other people attempting to discredit the technique.

22:46:06 [MicheleB] I don’t want to challenge your belief systems, but I do want to give you some ideas you can use to create a Beta Hero.

22:46:26 [MicheleB] Beta heroes are usually younger siblings—more than likely they are middle children. They can also be only children, but if they are, they probably have strong female influences in their upbringing.

22:47:11 [MicheleB] Characteristics of the middle child:Flexible, Diplomatic, Peacemaker, Generous, Social, Competitive

22:47:23 [MicheleB] “Middle children are good mediators and have superior cooperation skills. They don’t have their parents all to themselves or get their own way. Therefore, they learn to negotiate and compromise.”

22:47:43 [MicheleB] Characteristics of the last born child:Risk Takers, Outgoing, Creative, Sense of Humor, Question Authority

22:47:55 [MicheleB] “Youngest children in the family are typically outgoing and great at motivating other people. They are also affectionate, uncomplicated, and sometimes a little absent-minded.”

22:48:06 [MicheleB] Source: Birth Order Fact Sheet —

22:48:23 [MicheleB] Sure, a beta hero can be a cop or a fireman or a paratrooper, but these types of jobs are difficult fits for him (unless he has some kind of desk job within these types of departments).

22:48:33 [MicheleB] Possible jobs suited for beta heroes: social worker, Forest Ranger, environmentalist, teacher, artist, counselor, politician, singer, doctor, novelist, nursing home director.

22:48:47 [MicheleB] According to a recent study, “a child’s place in the family birth order may place a role in the type of occupations that will interested him or her as an adult.”

22:48:56 [MicheleB] One of the strongest findings was the fact that only children and first-born children tended to have more cognitive and analytical interests, while later-borns were more artistic and oriented to the outdoors.”

22:49:17 [MicheleB] Source: Birth Order Affects Career Interests, Study Shows

22:49:38 [MicheleB] If you want to be extremely particular in your creation of a beta hero, consider the etymology of certain names. (Etymology is the study of the origins of words.) Beta heroes won’t have a name like “Rock.”

22:49:56 [MicheleB] Try for soft-sounding names like Benjamin, Charles, John, Phillip, Seth, and so forth. At you can look up names by meaning.

22:49:56 [Jacqueline] LOL!

22:50:11 [MicheleB] I also suggest tooling around on—it has a lot of interesting information and a huge database of names.

22:50:42 [MicheleB] You might also consider naming your hero after someone in history or in mythology with whom you want him to be identified. Or maybe, he displays the opposite qualities of that historical or mythological figure … it’s entirely up to you.

22:51:38 [MicheleB] Any questions before I go on?

22:52:49 [SherT] Everything looks good from here.

22:52:57 [Jacqueline] ?

22:53:04 [MicheleB] Okay!

22:53:21 [MicheleB] You don’t need to be an astrologer to use the traits of certain sun signs as blueprint for your beta hero. I’m definitely not an astrologer, but I think the sun signs are very useful tools when it’s time to create the good and bad qualities of a character.

22:53:43 [MicheleB] It also helps you determine a birth date for your guy. <g> I chose the signs I feel most closely mirror a beta hero’s personality. My source for the following information is

22:53:45 [Jacqueline] What type of personality should the heroine have to go with the beta hero. Or does it matter?

22:54:23 [Lainie] cool characterization tools

22:55:00 [MicheleB] I think that opposites attract for a reason. People need the balance a counterpart offers in a relationship.

22:55:25 [MicheleB] Women who are used to responsibility, decision-making, and tough times need a beta hero.

22:55:41 [MicheleB] Okay … back to astrology…

22:55:48 [Jacqueline] Thanks, Michele, that’s kind of what I thought

22:55:55 [MicheleB] You might also check into numerology—a fascinating way to determine personality traits. Try Creative Numerology at:

22:56:38 [MicheleB] I’ll just mention a couple of sun signs that I think represent beta heroes, though there are more than just two. 🙂

22:56:50 [MicheleB] Taurus (The Bull) — April 21 to May 21

22:57:00 [MicheleB] Traits: Patient and reliable, warmhearted and loving, persistent and determined, placid and security loving

22:57:10 [MicheleB] Possible Flaws: jealous and possessive, resentful and inflexible, self-indulgent and greedy

22:57:13 [SherT] ??

22:57:21 [MicheleB] Cancer (The Crab) — June 22 to July 22

22:57:32 [MicheleB] Traits: Emotional and loving, intuitive and imaginative, shrewd and cautious, protective and sympathetic

22:57:41 [MicheleB] Possible Flaws: Changeable and moody, overemotional and touchy, clinging and unable to let go

22:58:41 [MicheleB] Of course, in a romance novel, the beta hero (or any hero for that matter) will not be severely flawed.

22:58:59 [MicheleB] Another tool to help create the Beta Hero: the dosha

22:59:06 [SherT] I’m married to a Tauras, we can add stubborn, bullheaded, moody and wants his own way. LOL

22:59:21 [MicheleB] According to Health World Online: “Just as everyone has an individual face or thumb print, according to Ayurveda, each person has a particular pattern of energy

22:59:31 [MicheleB] LOL Sher!

22:59:44 [MicheleB] —an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which is his or her constitution.

22:59:57 [MicheleB] This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and is the same throughout one’s life. …

23:00:07 [MicheleB] Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles that are present in everybody and everything. All people have vata, pitta and kapha, but one is usually primary, one secondary and the third least prominent.”

23:00:20 [MicheleB] Determining a dominant dosha for your hero is another tool you can use to create characteristics.

23:00:29 [MicheleB] Each dosha has physical attributes, too, that you can use when creating your beta hero, but for now, we’ll go over the basic information and the internal/emotional characteristics.

23:00:48 [MicheleB] VATA is movement and it’s represented by the elements of space and air. Vata people are flexible and creative, alert and restless. They walk, talk and think fast, but are easily fatigued.

23:01:01 [MicheleB] PITTA is metabolism and it’s represented by the elements of fire and water. Pitta people have many qualities of fire … they have warm bodies, penetrating ideas, sharp intelligence, and good powers of comprehension.

23:01:19 [MicheleB] KAPHA is lubrication and it’s represented by the elements earth and water. Kapha people have strength, endurance, and stamina. They are calm, tolerant, forgiving.

23:01:33 [MicheleB] Which one do you think best represents a beta hero?

23:02:00 [Glenda] Kapha

23:02:23 [SherT] or Pitta

23:02:26 [MicheleB] Bingo!

23:02:26 [Jacqueline] PITTA

23:02:40 [MicheleB] Nope. A Pitta is an alpha.

23:03:03 [SherT] And VATA?

23:03:56 [MicheleB] A beta hero could possibly be a Vata, but they’re not “spacy.” They’re grounded, very much earth-related.

23:04:38 [MicheleB] A beta hero’s dominant dosha is kapha. Like the elements of kapha, earth and water, he’s very grounded, but he can also “go with the flow.”

23:05:09 [MicheleB] More Information About Doshas

23:05:39 [MicheleB] Give Your Character A Dosha Test:

23:06:08 [MicheleB] Do you want me to go on? I still have schemas to talk about. 🙂

23:07:06 [SherT] by all means. We started late.

23:07:18 [Jacqueline] I’m sure we would, do you want to?

23:07:33 [MicheleB] Cool! According to “Coping styles as normal attempts on the part of the child to survive in a difficult childhood environment.

23:07:44 [MicheleB] Unfortunately, we keep repeating our coping styles throughout adulthood, even when we no longer need them to survive. … these coping styles lead us to act in ways that end up blocking our development…”

23:07:58 [MicheleB] In other words, an emotional schema equals inner conflict for your hero.

23:08:16 [MicheleB] . Surrender (Gives in to schemas and repeats them)

23:08:26 [MicheleB] Avoidance (Finds ways to escape or block out schemas)

23:08:37 [MicheleB] Overcompensation (Does the opposite of the feelings created by schemas)

23:08:55 [MicheleB] Specific information and a good overview can be found at the Advanced Cognitive Therapy of New York website.

23:09:12 [MicheleB] The Schema Therapy website also has a specific breakdown at its site that’s valuable.

23:09:25 [MicheleB] For our purposes, I’ve taken certain schemas and their definitions from

23:09:40 [MicheleB] the Advanced Cognitive Therapy of New York to use for creating our beta hero, but chances are you can take any schema and make it fit with your hero. Here are the ones I choose:

23:10:04 [MicheleB] Disconnection & Rejection — Abandonment/Instability: You expect instability, unreliability, or loss of anyone you are close to.

23:10:18 [MicheleB] Emotional Deprivation: You believe that your primary emotional needs for nurturance, empathy, affection, and protection will never be met by other people.

23:10:27 [MicheleB] Defectiveness/Shame: You feel that you are defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or invalid.

23:10:50 [MicheleB] Other-Directedness — Subjugation: You feel coerced to surrender your needs and emotions to other people, avoiding anger, retaliation, or abandonment.

23:11:00 [MicheleB] Self-Sacrifice: You voluntarily meet the needs of other people at the expense of your own gratification.

23:11:53 [MicheleB] For the purposes of a romance novel, characters are not going to have deep schemas. (Some might, but we don’t want deeply damaged people. We want people who an triumph.)

23:12:45 [MicheleB]

23:13:11 [MicheleB] Beta heroes are better suited for romantic comedies because their personalities are more capable of handling crazy circumstances and outrageous events.

23:13:25 [MicheleB] The difference between a beta hero and an alpha hero in a romantic comedy is that the beta hero will laugh at himself and the situation and the alpha hero won’t. In other words, the reader laughs WITH the beta hero and laughs AT the alpha hero.

23:13:36 [MicheleB] Examples of Beta Heroes From Movies

23:13:50 [MicheleB] · Jack (Bill Pullman), the nice younger brother, in “While You Were Sleeping”

23:14:06 [MicheleB] Who wants to give an example of beta behavior from this movie?

23:15:19 [SherT] In Sabrina, the Harrison Ford character.

23:15:48 [MicheleB] Okay. 🙂

23:15:52 [SherT] In a Walk in the Clouds, the Keanu Reaves character.

23:16:17 [MicheleB] Here’s an example from While You Were Sleeping: He’s playing cards with his comatose brother and says, “Whoever gets the high card, gets Lucy.” (No direct confrontation.)

23:17:19 [SherT] duh…read it wrong…sorry

23:17:49 [MicheleB] That’s okay!

23:18:07 [MicheleB] · Shane (Keanu Reeves), the kind-hearted ex-quarterback, in “The Replacements”

23:18:22 [MicheleB] Example: He steps in to protect his deaf teammate from the insults of the team’s former quarterback.

23:18:30 [Jacqueline] Didn’t see that one

23:18:33 [MicheleB] When the quarterback hits him, he takes the punch then says, “Had enough?” (Protects his friends; Wants to avoid confrontation; attempts to defuse situation with humor.)

23:19:22 [MicheleB] Shane is a beta, but he is also a football player, something we might typically associate with an alpha. He’s also the quarterback, which is a leadership postion.

23:19:47 [MicheleB] But what he cares about most is his team.

23:19:58 [MicheleB] · Robbie (Adam Sandler), the heartbroken romantic, in “The Wedding Singer”

23:20:10 [MicheleB] Example: First clue he’s a beta—he’s wedding singer. He takes an underage kid who’s been drinking at the wedding outside to puke in the Dumpster.

23:20:30 [Glenda] lol…Love Stinks

23:20:32 [MicheleB] (Taking care of others who he perceives needs him.) This is when he meets the heroine, Julia. Sense of humor to deal with situations: “No one could puke more than that kid. I think I saw boot come out of him.”

23:20:41 [SherT] LOL

23:20:42 [MicheleB] Exactly! <g>

23:21:04 [Jacqueline] :)

23:21:11 [MicheleB] Examples of Beta Heroes From Novels

23:21:24 [MicheleB] · Peter, the lovelorn tongue-tied doctor, from GOOD IN BED by Jennifer Weiner

23:21:34 [MicheleB] Example: He offers constant support for her without demanding a thing. He doesn’t even make his feelings known until almost the end of the book. (Patience, kindness, putting his own feelings/needs aside to meet the heroine’s.)

23:21:49 [MicheleB] · Ross, the bad-boy wanna-be, from BRIDE IN TRAINING by Michele R. Bardsley

23:21:58 [MicheleB] Example: He’s a wanna-be bad-boy … so he’s already someone who doesn’t fit well in the skin of a Harley-riding, leather-jacket-wearing hard case. He takes care of the heroine after she falls ill, despite the fact she doesn’t him like him much.

23:22:08 [MicheleB] · Race, the thief with a heart of gold, from RACE AGAINST TIME by Justine Davis

23:22:24 [MicheleB] Example: The heroine leaves out food for the anonymous burglar who’s been stealing food from the homes of people living in a small mountainside community. In thanks, he picks wild flowers and leaves them on her dining room table.

23:22:48 [MicheleB] And that’s the beta hero! Any questions?

23:23:32 [SherT] none from me, just need to read all this again and digest this. Excellent topic, Michele.

23:23:49 [MicheleB] Thanks!

23:24:00 [Jacqueline] I’m sure I’ll think of one later when I’m working on my beta.

23:24:10 [Lainie] wonderful Michele

23:24:22 [Glenda] Very informative. I’m just a reader and I’ve learned so much tonight!

23:24:25 [Jacqueline] Yes, great topic

23:24:26 [MicheleB] E-mail me anytime!

23:24:33 [Lainie] ditto Jacqui – I’ll probably think of it later

23:24:46 [MicheleB] I’m so glad, Glenda!

23:25:14 [Jacqueline] Plus, we’ll have the chat log up at WM for us to go back to. :D

23:25:27 [MicheleB] That’s great!

23:25:51 [Glenda] Do most women seem to prefer alpha males (in reading material)?

23:26:31 [MicheleB] It seems to go in trends. Every woman appreciates the fantasy of taming the bad boy.

23:27:00 [MicheleB] But romantic comedies are going strong and they really need beta heroes.

23:27:06 [Jacqueline] I’m married to an alpha and have lately taken up reading betas

23:27:31 [MicheleB] I’m married to an alpha. That’s probably why I write betas. <G>

23:28:09 [SherT] I’m married to a beta with major alpha issues…course that could be that Spanish blood and the Cajun blood duking it out.

23:28:22 [MicheleB] LOL!

23:28:32 [Jacqueline] And he’s a beta, Sher? <g>

23:28:35 [Glenda] giggle

23:28:40 [MicheleB] The great thing about fiction and reality is that you can usually control ficitonal characters.

23:29:07 [MicheleB] It’s been a pleasure, but I have to go be mommy now. 🙂

23:29:32 [Glenda] thank you for a wonderful chat!

23:29:34 [SherT] Son is the same way, only tempered by my Swiss blood and the threat of my foot in his hine end. <G>

23:29:41 [Lainie] <Michele, would you like me to choose the winner of your book

23:30:03 [MicheleB] You are most welcome. Thank you for inviting me. I had a wonderful time.

23:30:16 [Jacqueline] It’s always nice having you here, Michele. You’ll have to come back when there isn’t a hurricane

23:30:16 [MicheleB] Please do, Lainie!

23:30:30 [Jacqueline] and bad connections

23:30:30 [SherT] Thank you so much for being here, Michele. Very informative.

23:30:41 [Lainie] I need a drum roll

23:30:49 [MicheleB] I’m so glad!

23:30:54 [Jacqueline] rattattttttttttatttttttt

23:30:58 [SherT] tut tat tut tat tut tat

23:31:02 [Lainie] and the winner of Michele’s door prize is…

23:31:06 [Lainie] Glenda!

23:31:16 [Lainie] Michele, please tell her which prize she’s won

23:31:21 [Lainie] and how to contact you

23:31:22 [SherT] Yea Glenda!!!

23:31:27 [Jacqueline] Yayyy, Glenda!

23:31:33 [Glenda] Moi? I’m a weiner? Thanks!

23:31:54 [MicheleB] Wow! Congrats, Glenda! She’s won Double Delights #2: Daddy In Training and Bride In Training.

23:32:13 [MicheleB] Glenda, private e-mail me your address at

23:32:17 [Glenda] Awesome!

23:32:23 [SherT] excellent Glenda!

23:32:34 [Glenda] Will do Michele.

23:32:57 [Glenda] Good night to all and stay safe!

23:32:58 [SherT] Thanks again, Michele for being with us.

23:33:02 [Lainie] Congrats Glenda!!!

23:33:06 [SherT] Night Glenda

23:33:09 [SherT] Take care

23:33:16 [Lainie] Nice prizes michele

23:33:20 [Jacqueline] Thanks from coming everyone! I need to take some Nyquil and go to bed. Night!

23:33:23 [MicheleB] You’re welcome! Thank you! Good night, all!

23:33:37 [MicheleB] Thanks, Lainie. 😉

23:33:46 [SherT] good night, everyone.

23:34:01 MicheleB exits from this room

23:34:22 [Lainie] Thank you for joining us MIchele and everybody

23:34:30 [Lainie] What a great workshop!

23:34:44 [Lainie] have a good night everybody.

23:34:53 [Jacqueline] Sher, take care.

23:35:01 [Jacqueline] You too, Lainie

23:35:02 [Lainie] so sorry Jacqui. I hope you feel better soon

23:35:03 [Glenda] Oh! Hope you get better soon!

23:35:10 [Lainie] please let us know and we’ll cover

23:35:20 [SherT] night all.

23:35:21 [Glenda] goodnight

23:35:26 [Jacqueline] Thanks

23:35:29 [Lainie] goodnight Glenda

23:36:05 [Lainie] I have work early tomorrow and can hardly hold my eyes open. sweet dreams and good night everybody!