Casting Your Characters (Penny Rader)

Since we've been talking this month about who we'd cast to star as our characters in the event our book was made into a movie, I thought I'd poke around the Internet and see what I could find on the subject.  Below are snippets from a few articles about casting characters.  I hope you find them useful (and click the links to read the entire articles since I only clipped a few bits from each article).

Diane Lane Bing image

Advice: Casting Characters

“… typically I try to cast someone who I’m not super familiar with, because I’m looking for a physical model, not a personality model. So you should avoid casting people you know really well, like friends, classmates, family members, or favorite actors. This will help ensure that your character’s behavior is not influenced by the person or a role that they've played, if an actor.”

Robert Downey Jr Bing image
Cast of Characters (DL Thurston)

‘Casting my characters is a trick that I picked up when working on a spec television pilot.  It’s probably a natural extension of writing for the screen, but is less obvious in writing for the page.  Casting characters allowed me to see them in more depth.  Allowed me to impart mannerisms better than just having the characters as raw constructs in my head.  Since I've started using this trick, I've seen and heard of other writers doing the same, often to very positive effect in the writing process.”

 Casting Characters (Carole Bellacera)
Christina Applegate Bing image

“As a child, I was into paper dolls. Not those kind you could buy at the local five and dime like Patty Duke and the Lennon Sisters. Those were boring. I liked the kind I cut out myself from old magazines. I'd sit for hours with a pair of scissors and a pile of my grandmother's McCall's, and soon, I'd have a roomful of exciting characters. Of course, at the time, I didn't realize that's what they were—those stacks of paper dolls. This was just a way of entertaining myself—making up stories about these wonderful people I cut from magazines. I'm 41 now and a professional writer. But I still cut out paper dolls—from magazines, newspapers, sales catalogs—wherever I see an interesting face or intriguing body. Why? Because someday these people will become my characters.”

Mark Wahlberg Bing image
Casting Your Characters (Merry Farmer)

“So why bother casting your characters at all?

“Because whether you know it or not, writing is a sensual game.  You get the best results when all of your senses are engaged.  I feel like I’m able to describe actions and expressions and even motivations so much better when I have something physical and visual to pin them to.  In the past when I've created characters without knowing what they look like they've always turned out two-dimensional and lacking.”

Sandra Bullock Bing image

Character Development for Visually Oriented Writers; or, Be Your Own Casting Director (Kaye Dacus)

“Character Casting goes deeper than just finding images of people who look like our characters. Those of us who are compelled to find Real World Templates (RWTs) for our characters are looking for inspiration—for emotions, actions, and body language in addition to how they look. We use RWTs as one of many building blocks for character development.”

Characterizations: Try the Casting Approach (Steven Jordan)

“Like certain memory exercises, applying an actor to your characters is a good way of giving yourself a mental image of their character aspects, and how they would act or speak in particular situations.  If you know what kind of character you plan to create, and a particular actor in a particular role epitomizes that character, they become an easy memory cue to how to approach the character.”

Hugh Jackman Bing image

I Know Your Face: A Casting of Characters (Jennifer Melzer)

Lacey Brown Bing image
“Of course these castings aren't always concrete. Sometimes they change. When I first started writing Trystay, who doesn't physically appear in Edgelanders but will in future stories, I kept seeing him as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau with an almost Jaime Lannister arrogance and wickedness, but over the last few months, as I've actually started spending more time with him on the page, he’s mish-mashed into a cross between Coster-Waldau and Tom Hiddleston that works so well in my mind I want to just keep writing scenes with him because I can’t get enough.”

Keanu Reeves Bing image

Meet Dreamlander’s Cast of Characters (K.M. Weiland)

 “’Casting’ characters, à la the movies, is one of my guilty pleasures. Aside from just being plain out fun, it also offers the bona fide writing benefit of a real human being against which characters have to measure up, as well as built-in inspiration.”

Natalie Portman Bing image
 Screenplay Writing 101: Casting Your Characters on the Page (Will Stape)

“The IMDB … can operate as your casting central to help realize character development.

“Say your lead character is a youngish, Italian American. He is from the northeastern part of America. Why not visit the IMDB and peruse some vintage shots of the great Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro. Their roles in classics like The Godfather, Serpico, Mean Streets and Taxi Driver preserve youthful charisma. Browse over still shots of them in movies, recall their cinematic power. Immersing yourself in great films will offer up ideas for your casting challenges.”

Note from Penny:  You can find the IMDB here.

Jim Caviezel Bing image

Visualizing Characters—The Benefits of Fantasy Casting (Alexa Chipman)

“About halfway through a first draft, or before the second, I do a round of fantasy casting. By then I have written a character long enough to know what their personality is and what they look like. While using a rich internal imagination is important, having actual visuals to glance at while writing scenes can add a spark to the writing. I found fantasy casting helpful when writing sequels, or if I have not written a POV character in a few chapters and need to get back inside their head. Sometimes I fantasy cast for personality—that smirk a photo has, or their haunted eyes, but mostly it is for the actor who is closest in looks.”

Emma Stone Bing image
When They’re Dull as Dirt: Thoughts on Casting Characters (Stacia Rogan)

“I started actively casting people in the roles of my characters. I did so not necessarily based on looks but based on attitudes from previous roles I’d seen them star in or interviews I've seen. My main character is now embodied by Emma Stone. Do I really picture her as a fiery redhead? It’s not what I had in mind, no. But you can bet Emma Stone isn't going to wake up in the hospital and say “Huh, guess I crashed my car or something. Bother.” Physical looks are secondary but casting some sass should at least liven things up again.”

Fill in the Blank(s)

Yes, that's a blank sheet of paper, which is pretty much where I was on ideas for characters, plot, conflict...  You name it.

Usually, as I'm finishing the last half of one book, the next idea starts bugging me.  For the first time I can remember, that didn't happen.  I turned in the last Desperation book almost a month ago.  So where are all the ideas that bounce around, already taking space in my head?  Where's the heart of the next story idea?  The characters for the next story?

The answer to that has been "nowhere."

I have a basis:  A Texas ghost town.  I have the names of three heroes and three heroines.  Oh, and babies.  There must be babies.  But I don't know who these characters are, much less hunting for photos of what "stars" might represent them in my head.  Smack!  This doesn't happen.  I was at a loss.  I was in a panic.

One evening, Patricia Davids and I were doing some brainstorming on her WIP.  (Go, Pat!)  When we finished with that, I threw out my basic idea for the ghost town series.  She asked me questions I had no answers for.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  It took a few weeks, but I finally came up with some answers, although they weren't very solid.  A week ago, with Pat and Theresa and Melissa, things began to come together.  Four heads are definitely better than one!  (May blessings rain upon you, P, T, & M!)

But one of the elements I chose needed some research, so last night I decided to do a little of that.  One thing led to another, and...  Do you have any idea how many real ghost towns there are in Texas?  Oh, my stars and garters!  And the stories behind those towns--the history of them--are sometimes fascinating.

Now that I've found the answer to that element I needed and even more, plus a suitcase full of photos of Texas Hill Country, the story is beginning to form.  Ideas for a scene or two are slowly starting to sneak and twist through my mind.  Short snippets of conversations between characters, along with a little introspection (character thoughts) are whispering.  Those characters are starting to take shape and will hopefully come to life soon on the written page.

Is it what I'd imagined originally?  Not quite, but what's replaced those first pitiful ideas are much better and finally taking form.  At least I hope so, especially on the 'better' part of it.

So that blank page above?  It's full of scribbles and notes now.  It's starting to come together.  It won't be long before I'm hunting for photos, not of ghost towns and underground caves, but hunky cowboys and their feminine equals.

Wish me luck!

No Clones Allowed

When today’s date filtered through my noggin this morning mild alarm set in. This blog I am currently writing is due tomorrow, as in March 26th. I've known it was due because it’s due every month on the 26th. Does that make a difference? Obviously not. That’s why I promptly forgot it and went about my business for the day. Sitting down at the computer for a totally different reason at 4:15 pm, I was jarred into reality. So, here I sit, totally freaked out. With only one hour before I have to leave for the evening, I’m wracking my brain and coming up empty. Panic time!

Reading the other blogs to educate myself and aid in this process has instead succeeded in intimidating my pea brain. I haven’t figured out the picture insertion process let alone know who most of the actors are. I am woefully ignorant of way too many things. Part of it comes from being a technophobe and the other part is, well, sheer laziness. I’d rather be reading or writing than digging through the geek lingo of an instruction manual. If I have to go on-line for definitions of the words they use, I’m toast. The only language I understand is Farmer Brown English.

But, I digress, back to our characters look-a-likes. I think I have to agree with Nina in her blog. My characters are my characters and they don’t look like anyone else. I see them fully formed with their own unique characteristics, body shape, hair color and facial features. I could try and pick an actor to portray them, but it wouldn't be them. This whole idea is turning my grey matter into mush. They are who they are.

I also agree with Joan’s column. The actors I’m most familiar with are mostly dead and gone. I don’t watch a lot of movies or TV anymore. The last few trips to the theater have been to Iron Man, Thor and Man of Steel. Lots of hunks to drool over but no match. Well, Robert Downey Jr. might work, but that’s plain old wishful thinking. Just because he’s hot doesn't mean he fits one of my characters. J

So, this is all I've got today. Neither exciting nor profound. My characters refuse to be replaced by flesh and blood actors, hunky or otherwise. I’m okay with that. On the off chance they ever make a movie of my stories, I’ll wrestle with who would be perfect then. Not that they would ask my opinion anyway. By the time they chopped it all up and changed it fifty times, I would be too fried to care who they cast. But, here I go down another bunny trail.

When my books are published, and when you read them, feel free to imagine them however you want. That’s the beauty of books. Readers get to participate, inserting their own details into the mix. Imaginations are awesome. Use yours and enjoy!

Faces of The Bones in the Box (Melissa Robbins)

When I saw this month’s topic, I envisioned showcasing my Murder Decoded ensemble cast.  Who doesn’t like oodles and oodles of cute guys as my pilots?  However, my secret identity, as a mom who is sewing costumes for a local children’s theater production my daughter is performing in, has left little time to write and search for perfect pictures of my ensemble cast.  Most of the pictures I have are real pilots, WAAFs, and actresses from the 40's.  Instead, I introduce you to two new faces.  Last month, I finished my short story, The Bones in the Box and submitted it to the third Sisters in Crime Guppies anthology.  Cross your fingers, they accept my story. 

 My heroine, Charlotte “Charlie” Graham finds a Nazi skeleton in her grandmother’s cedar chest.  How did he get there? Who stabbed him?  Nanny Vic?  Ashley Greene has that beautiful girl next door look that is just perfect for Charlie. 

When I decided to write The Bones in the Box, one of my critique partners pleaded and begged me to use Tom Hiddleston.   I obliged because Tom could easily portray my Tom Montgomery’s enthusiasm.  Perhaps he is a little too enthusiastic about the Nazi skeleton.  Yes, they share the same name.  ;0)  Charlie enlists the Edinburgh University graduate student to help sort through her grandparents’ house they abandoned in 1945.  Can Tom’s WW2 expertise help Charlie solve a seventy-year-old murder?   

Original Cast Members of Sapphire & Gold (Penny Rader)

Sapphire and Gold

This month's topic is Your book is a movie!  Who is your dream cast?

When I first dreamed up Sapphire and Gold, a Colonial American historical romance, here's who inspired a few of my characters:

Nick Mancuso - Bing image

Derek Tremaine (hero)  - a sea captain on a quest

Morgan Brittany - Bing image


Alexandra Whittaker (heroine)  - a healer on the run

Robert Goulet - Bing image


Bartholomew Taylor  (villain)

Michael Bolton - Bing image

Travis (hero's best friend)

Kirstie Alley - Bing image


Since this story first started rolling around my head 20+ years ago, Derek and Alexandra and the other characters would have to be recast for a movie being made today.

I can see these two as Derek & Alexandra:

Anson Mount - Bing image

Natalie Portman - Bing image

I'm drawn to pictures - for characters, for settings, etc.  How about you?  Are you a visual person, too, or are you lucky enough to have all the parts of your stories pop into your head without the help of images?

Oh, Wow! Writers!

I'm in utter awe of all of the posts this month.
I'm dead in the water.
No movement.
Ophelia, crazed, drowned, face down, hair waving with the water's movements.

Deep Breath...

I must write a post. My day is here. Her robotic voice inside her head said. Deep Breath...

Writers come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and brain motherboards. This month's blog surely points that out so much more than anything I've ever seen. The 'posters' have written word upon word, selected actors, found pictures, imagined and exclaimed, shared and re-shared. I cannot see it. I am a writer and I do not think in that way.

My mind doesn't work that way. At all.

I see my characters as movie clips. Then I write down what they say and think and do. They cannot be played by others. They are themselves. I get an idea and it forms the character around it--like a nucleous to a snowflake.

Since characters in situations that is their stories come out of my brain, they must be in my memory to come out of it. Many character traits go in, then the mixer whirls them into parts and out comes fully formed people with desires, motivations, short legs, impossible hair, overpowering fathers, manipulative other characters. With the movie, the director gets to decide along with all of the other movie maker people.

In my books sudden death is around the corner, life is in a lizard, will power triumphs all. Some are over-loved until they must run. But who will play the part in the movie? I can't tell.

There are things that movies lack when compared to books. Books give the gift of time spent reading them. I favor books and rare is the movie taken from a book that is faithful to it. Books give the gift of allowing the reader's imagination to people the story.

I once had the golden opportunity to listen to a couple of readers who loved my story and they were arguing over it. It was a sublime and teaching moment. For the story they were arguing over who had gotten it right, wasn't the one I had written. In my mind, the story was different from either of theirs.  The lesson learned was that just as a writer brings to the story their own experiences and understandings, so too does each reader. Therefore no two readers are going to read the exact same story because their backgrounds and experiences are different. Hop into a different area and social rung and the difference is even more pronounced. However, with a movie, that is all gone. Someone else has decided how the character will look, act, and dress.

My first novel, The Proving Zone: Tory's Story has been compared to a blockbuster movie or two. The irony is that most of the story is in the character's heads. To have a movie, someone has to speak. There's not enough dialogue to make a good movie, but then, I guess that's what script writers are for.

Write on ladies in all your glorious differences in your writerly brains. I'm going to pop some popcorn and watch you all and get comfortable with the fact that my writerly juices percolate differently. And take another breath....

Who Will Play the Part?

Back in the day when I was a newbie writer, I had no idea that I would need photos of the main characters of my books.  Like Pat, I saw them in my mind, and they didn't necessarily look like anyone but themselves.

But Harlequin requests that we do something called Art Fact Sheets for the covers of our books, and I was suddenly thrown into the need to find photos of what I thought my hero and heroine looked like.  Yikes!  I found magazine photos and lurked on model sites for the "right" person.

After finally getting into the habit of choosing photos early on in a project, Harlequin changed the rules.  They want photos of "known" persons aka Hollywood people.  Not that they're going to use the "stars" we send for our covers, but they must be as visual as I've become, when it came to characters.  Feel free to compare the real deals with the covers.

 From the Desperation, Oklahoma, series aka Hearts of Desperation:


 I first noticed actor Eric Winter on the one-season-only GCB, when he played the character of Luke Lourd, son of Carlene & Ripp Cockburn (Kristin Chenowith & David James Elliott).  He was the perfect hero for A Nanny for the Cowboy.  Luke Walker hadn't had an easy life.  His parents were killed in an accident near the end of his sophomore year in high school, and he and his older brother, with a little help from their sister, managed to turn a struggling ranch into a profitable one.  He also had some trust issues, thanks to a wife who walked out on him shortly after their son Brayden was born, leaving Luke to raise the little guy on his own.  Desperately desperate in Desperation, he agrees to interview a nanny that his sister recommended and, well, you know what happens in romance.  You might also recognize Eric Winter as Craig O'Laughlin in The Mentalist, and Jason McCallister in Brothers and Sisters.


Whether it's those eyes that grabbed me or what, Colin Eggelsfield was the perfect Dylan Walker for Designs by the Cowboy.  Poor Dylan carried around a lot of guilt over his parents' accident, shortly before his graduation from high school, and someone needed to save him.  Enter Glory Caldwell Andrews, former cheerleader and prom queen at Desperation High.  After growing up with an emotionally abusive step-father, then marrying an even worse abuser, Glory returned to Desperation, hoping to make a mark as a decorator.  What she made was a mark on Dylan.  I saw Glory in my mind almost immediately.  The inspiration for her came from actress Clare Kramer, known by Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans as...wait for it...Glory, a god from a hell dimension.  No, not a cheerleader or prom queen.  But it wasn't the character of BVS's Glory that drew me, but more her determination to destroy the world.  Glory Andrews wasn't out to destroy anything and was obviously the complete opposite of BVS's god from a hell dimension.  Clare's All-American good looks did the trick.  BVS's Glory would never own a shopped named Glory Be Antiques and Decorating, but Dylan's Glory does.  Clare also appeared in the movie Bring It On.  She's now the executive producer of several cable series.


Originally, a book about Erin Walker, older sister of Dylan and Luke Walker, wasn't a part of the plan.  I don't remember how it came about, except that I liked Erin.  She is basically a reincarnation of a long ago heroine of mine that I'd always liked.  Although not the same character by name, location, back story or GMC, the two had similarities.  Both were barrel racers who traveled the country from rodeo to rodeo.  Oh, and both had two younger brothers.  And their parents had died in an accident.  Smart-mouthed and sassy, both of them.  So Erin got her own book, a completely different character...except for those similarities and adjusted back story.  Lots of adjusted back story.  While still writing Designs on the Cowboy, I spent my mornings walking at a nearby park, letting my mind wander.  It wandered to the opening of Erin and Jake's story, and as soon as I got home, I wrote the beginning of that first scene.  Actress Keri Russell, who played Felicity in the TV series of the same name, also appeared in the movie, August Rush, and can soon be seen in a new movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  But who work for Jake Canfield, the hero?  Not at all difficult and another GCB actor, David James Elliott (you should see him in a cowboy hat!), better known to many as "Harm" (Cmdr. Harmon Rabb, Jr.) in JAG.  Now in his 50s, he's a little too old to be Jake, but the younger version of him was perfect.  It's a reunion romance, with a surprise in the middle, and there's more "reunioning" than it might appear at the beginning of the story.  No cover yet, but it should be available in a couple of months.  The Cowboy Meets His Match will be out in August this year.

TO LOVE A COWBOY (working title)
The last book of the Desperation series (book 10)

You may not recognize the actress on the left, but if you've been paying attention to one of HBO's most-watched series, you might recognize the one of the right, even if only from previews.  Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's Game of Thrones.  As soon as I saw the real Dani/Emilia, without Dani's long, blonde hair, I knew she was Desperation's Lucy Dawson, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks--or so she believes--an on and off waitress at Lou's Place, the local tavern and now an out-of-work EMT.  With a secret.  Desperation newcomer and single dad Bowie McClure believes he's seen an angel, when his 6-year-old son breaks his arm, and Lucy arrives at his ranch to attend to the boy.  But Bowie lives with guilt over the death of his wife, 6 years before.  David Giuntoli (Nick Burkhardt of TV's Grimm) has the perfect haunted look in his eyes that I imagine Bowie would have.  And what a hunk! Working title for the book that will available early next year is To Love a Cowboy.  We'll see if it sticks.

Is it easy to find the right actor to fit a character?  Sometimes, but not always.  Before I dive into the next book, which I hope will be a much shorter--like 3 books--series, I'll have to start hunting again.  Of course, it might help if I knew who the characters will be, other than their names!  I'm open for suggestions of your favorite actors.

Honour's Debt's Dream Cast by J Vincent

Honour’s Debt is a movie!  Who’s in the dream cast?  I thought this topic would be a snap to write up—until I sat down to do just that. When I write a book I create character sheets and I always pick a picture to represent what that character looks like.  I chose these from a thick file I have of photos cut from magazines, newspapers, ads etc. As I considered which movie stars might work best I at first drew blanks except for one.  It puzzled me for at time and then I realized that while I recognize a lot of names and faces of today’s “stars” it is another generation of movie stars that I really know. Throughout my high school years I feasted on World War II movies. The stars of the 1940’s I know, well, personally--John Payne, Van Johnson, John Wayne, Gregory Peck. Follow the link to go down memory lane with that era’s stars.  Which present day stars to play my characters?  I thought of the ‘40’s. But a movie by stars of the past isn’t the thing, especially since Honour’s Debt is a historical and not a vampire movie. Today’s crop of actors is less, much less, well known so names didn’t come to mind except, as I said, one.
But let’s start with a blurb of Honour’s Debt.  
         Maddie Vincouer conceals her father’s death in 1809 after promising to save her family from Cousin Sanford’s greed. A Riding Officer's persistence endangers this pretense with his demands to meet her father. Chance reveals her secret to the cruel French spy Donatien.
       Matters go completely awry when Maddie aids a wounded "free trader." Unknown to her, the free trader is Major Quentin Bellaport. He has accepted an assignment to pursue a spy in order to meet and repay the debt owed for his life to Maddie's cousin Jamey by wedding her. Sanford's appearance and demand Maddie marry him, the Riding Officer's hunt for the free trader, Bellaport’s pursuit of the French spy, and he and Maddie falling in love hasten a final confrontation between all. Maddie faces a funeral, a wedding, kidnappings, and a deadly encounter on a moonlit beach. In a desperate attempt to save her Bellaport enlists the help of Baron de la Croix and rolls the dice on the fate of all their lives as he pays HONOUR'S DEBT.

In the Honour series I have a villain that runs through all the books. His name is Donatien.   Johnny Depp came to mind at once. He becomes the characters he plays and would do well with the constant alterations in looks and body language that are necessary for Donatien to be successful.  He is a master spy who constantly changes his identity. Donatien’s brother Petit wasn’t hard to cast.  Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones is perfect.

The other characters who run through all of the Honour books is the English spy André Ribeymon, Baron De la Croix and Quentin Bellaport’s fellow cavalry officers.  Anthony Andrews who played the Scarlet Pimpernel eons ago immediately came to mind for André but he’s far too old now. After conferring with my sister and daughters and much searching I finally settled on Dean O’Gorman who plays Fili in the current Hobbit movies. The Hobbit and Lord of the Ring books/movies are favorites of mine.  I do have to admit I didn’t realize from “reading” the books that dwarfs could be quite so good looking.
Then there’s the dashing Lt. James Vincouer.  Matt Boomer (right) who stars on White Collar has Jamey's look and his adventurous spirit.

The other characters took quite a while to find amid much internet searching of young actors. For Major Quentin Bellaport I chose Thor Oakenshield or Richard Armitage to go by his real name. The Hobbit is a favorite of mine. I never knew until I saw the first one that the dwarfs in that book looked so good.

Bellaport’s batman Jenks plays a major part in the movie.  Martin Freeman, PBS’s Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson and also Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit movies is perfect for that part.  

For Bellaport’s father, the Earl of Margonaut, I cast LiamNeesom (left)—why not with a dream cast.

My heroine, Maddie Vincouer who did what had to be done to protect her family needs a strong woman to play her.  Gemma Arterton who was in Quantum of Solace and Prince of Persia The Sands of Time, fits the bill.

Someone I find difficult to cast is Maddie’s Aunt Pricilla. I considered Meryl Streep but she isn’t quite right for my sixty-something pleasantly conniving aunt. Any suggestions?

Captain Merristorm, my dark brooding character would be played by Matthew Rhys.  Rhys, a relatively unknown Welsh actor is, I read, best known for his part as Kevin Walker in Brothers & Sisters (a show I never did see).

The hunt for someone to play Lt. Samuel Goodchurch seemed to go on forever. I thought of Robert Pattinson but wasn’t completely happy with him. One person did persistently come to mind.  Matthew Gray Gubler, Criminal Mind’s Dr. Spencer Reid. If you go through his photos on Bing you will see he is a chameleon of sorts. He has the tall gangliness of Goodchurch and for me, a strength of spirit that my character needs.

Captain Medworth, the Riding Officer is almost too small a part for Ioan Gruffudd to the right.  But what moviewouldn’t be better with him in it?
Sanford Vincouer the villain would be Shia Lebeiuf. Something about his attitude made me pick him for the greedy, bully that is Sanford.
 For Sanford's rude demanding mother Eliminda Doris Roberts of Everybody Loves Raymond came to mind.

The last cast was Lord Blake Major Danbury. Lord Blake, the third son of a duke, is known to be an excellent cavalry officer but also plagued by ennui.  Leonardo DiCaprio has the looks as well as the acting ability to play the man.  The sword scar on Danbury’s right cheek would only make the actor more interesting.  Lord Blake is utterly bored with life or so it seems. I'm working on his book at the present time and have a new inspiration.

So what do you think, especially you who have read Honour's Debt?  If any of you have other suggestions I'd like to hear them.

Who looks Amish to you?

Pat Davids here, wishing you a happy Oscar Day.

The Oscars are on tonight. Hollywood's grandest night. How fitting that our blog topic for this month is about turning our books into movies. In fact, we'd like you to pick the actors and actresses who will play your characters.

That's a problem for me. I don't have a sharp mental picture of who my characters are. They exist as dialogue in my mind more than as flesh and blood people. I don't see them. I hear them. The exception to that rule is Neal Bryant, my bull-riding hero from A Ranch for His Family. He appeared to me as a full-blown, drop-dead handsome cowboy with dark hair and a black eye patch. I can see him to this day with his slow, engaging grin that curls my toes. I see the way he tips his black cowboy hat and makes every woman feel like a lady. He's a young Tom Selleck or Sam Elliot.

However, my books these days are filled with Amish characters. When I say Amish hero, who pops into your mind? Amish heroine? I can't think of anyone famous who fits the bill.

What are your suggestions? Who would you pay to see in an Amish movie about loss, redeeming love, horses and buggies and sheep?