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When Characters Take Control – Part 2



Characters In Love

When it comes to making your characters fall in love, you never really get to decide who with. It may sound silly to a non-writer that you don’t get to plan Character A falling in love with Character B, but in my experience, it’s true.

In my latest crime book, number 7 ‘Ghosts’, I had planned on Character A falling in love with Character B, who was supposed to be protecting them from Character C. Character B is a secret agent undercover in a gang, protecting Character A, the daughter of a very important, main character, from Character C, who is a real and very brutal gang member. Now, this had been planned for a while, probably about two months, before I actually got around to starting writing this book out properly. Guess what happened?

I come to writing the book, I write maybe eight chapters, building up to Characters A and B falling in love and it’s working. It sounds absolutely fine and it reads well. Then, I write about how Character C is angry that someone else is dating the girl he wants. Suddenly, when I decide to make him do something about it, everything goes haywire. Suddenly, Character B is a bad guy too…suddenly Character C is hot and sexy and really seductive. Suddenly Character A is torn between the seemingly ‘good’ guy and the seemingly ‘bad’ guy.

Even to me it was an OMG! moment. You know when you totally didn’t see something coming but how it completely turns the whole book around. That’s what happened to me. I saw it happened in my head, as I stalled in writing. I couldn’t write how I had originally planned it – it seemed wrong. This new path just popped up right in front of me and I couldn’t avoid it. So, I decided to trust it. I wrote out a new path leading off from this one, keeping the old one in case I really made a mistake and needed to go back to the drawing board. But suddenly everything was making sense. This major twist, that I hadn’t even expected created two more major twists and I was like – WOW, this is incredible – and within a few minutes I had the whole thing plotted out for the new path. It took less time to plot this path with the new twists than it did for me to make my lunch yesterday.

And what happened? Because I’d put in this major re-write to the plot, suddenly other things were sticking out at me, screaming ‘Fix me too!’ and I’m sitting staring at them thinking that they’re all wrong. I had to take the entire future storyline for Character D and build them a new future out of nothing, just because my changes to Characters A, B and C, had shown me the way.

Now, don’t go thinking I’m just trying to be ‘provocative’ or ‘whimsical’ by saying that my characters did all this by themselves. I’m too tired for that. Each and every day, I’m exhausted beyond belief and lucky to get out of my bed, I don’t have the brain power to make this kind of thing up, which is why I work off plans, written when I’m more awake. No, I don’t plan what I write unless it’s random plot events and conversations I’ve thought long and hard about. Once I sit down to write a novel out, I very rarely plan anything. I just pose my fingers over the keys, pick the right document and let it flow. Half the time I don’t even know where things come from, but I’ll tell you honestly, that the characters do most of the work. All I do is give them a name and a face and a personality. They write the story themselves.

A Prequel: Dark Indiscretions


“A friendship forged out of necessity

A bond broken and turned into hatred

One once looked at as a brother

The other loved to much and too soon”

James Johnston and Kain O’Grady once had a bond like no other ever seen before. Not only were they brothers of the heart, they were also lovers.

Centuries they spent at each other’s side. Through good times and through bad, but never did their relationship suffer until one pregnancy and one prophecy changes their lives forever.

Betrayal is seen at every corner and madness close behind.


A Prequel

Dark Indiscretions #0.5

Shakuita Johnson

“A friendship forged out of necessity

A bond broken and turned into hatred

One once looked at as a brother

The other loved to much and too soon”

James Johnston and Kain O’Grady once had a bond like no other ever seen before. Not only were they brothers of the heart, they were also lovers.

Centuries they spent at each other’s side. Through good times and through bad, but never did their relationship suffer until one pregnancy and one prophecy changes their lives forever.

Betrayal is seen at every corner and madness close behind.



Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Amazon CA

Excerpt #1

James didn’t know what to say to comfort Kain so he just said nothing. He let his body talk for him. He turned his body around so he was facing Kain and looked into his honey-colored eyes and felt something he couldn’t explain. His eyes traveled down Kain’s face and settled on his lips. He remembered that kiss just before he died. He wanted to feel Kain’s lips on his again. He moved his hands to run up Kain’s chest.

“What are you doing?” came Kain’s breathy inquire.

“Shh,” was all James said in reply.

He brought his lips to Kain’s again and this time pressed more firmly. He hadn’t a clue what he was doing but whatever it was he needed more. He felt not only himself but Kain’s hardness. He moved himself to straddle Kain’s thighs and let out a groan when their penises came in contact with each other. He wrapped his arms around Kain’s neck and felt Kain’s arms around his waist, pulling him closer. Locking them together more firmly. He started to rock his hips slowly and heard Kain’s breath catch in his throat, followed by a small growl.

Their kisses were becoming sloppier and more hurried. James started to rock his hips a little faster. He didn’t know what either of them needed but he just knew he needed to go faster. Kain’s lips left his to suck on his neck. He could feel the scrap of his fangs and it only served to make him moan louder. Water was sloshing all about as their thrusts grew quicker and their breathing harsher. He could fill tingling all over his body and his claws begin to curl out from his fingers. Whatev

er they were doing felt wonderful and he never wanted it to stop. Kain kept nibbling and sucking on his neck and had even removed one of his arms to fist his hand in James’s hair. Suddenly Kain pulled James’s head back and struck. His fangs embedded deeply into his neck and before James knew what was happening a shout was escaping his throat as thick ropes of fluid left his body through his penis. Kain experienced the same sensation.

Kain took his fangs out of James’s neck and bared his own flesh. Seconds later he felt pleasure unlike anything else when James pulled blood from his neck. Whatever they had just done would have to be repeated as many times as they could. Next time he would make sure to stretch it out, though. He vaguely remembered James licking on his neck before sleep took him from not only the shock of James’s second death but the sensations his body had just experienced. He was fairly certain that James had fallen asleep as well. The only thought he had was that it was going to be freezing in the bath when they awoke.


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Excerpt #2

James looked up from the dirt piles he was playing with at the sound of someone shuffling up the valley. The midday sun was hot, blinding him with its light. Through the sunbeams, a small boy ambled to where James knelt in the dirt. He had never seen this boy before and James was wary. Mystics were the top of the food chain, and his father would kill him if he let someone get the better of him. It didn’t matter that he was only six or that the boy appeared smaller than him. It wouldn’t do to be taken by surprise by this stranger. He stood, baring his tiny fangs.

“Who are you? Why have you come here?” James growled, voice tinny but fierce. Even at six, he was a trained killer.

“My name is Kain. Our parents were talking down towards camp. They said you were here playing. I asked if I could come join you, so here I am.” Kain’s tiny hands curled to his side and his head cocked.

“Are you new here?” James asked, fangs still visible. He wasn’t ready to retract them just yet.

“Yes, we walked about two weeks time to get to this part of the hillside,” Kain said. “Would it be alright if I played with you?”

James eyed the strange boy suspiciously.

“Are you a Mystic, too?”

Kain smiled, his top lip pulling back to reveal his own set of small, pearly fangs.

“You don’t have a sister?” James asked.

“No. It’s just me.”

“Me too! Want to be bestest friends?” James withdrew his fangs at this unprecedented prospect.

“Yes!” Kain shouted while bouncing up and down, hands waving wildly.

“Good. We will be friends forever and ever.” James said with confidence.

To secure their blood bond forever, the two boys each nicked the tips of their forefingers with their fangs until blood bubbled at the slight wounds. When their bloody fingertips touched, an instant, unbreakable bond was sealed. They would be best friends forever, even as long as they both still lived and even passing into death. A bond between two Mystics could very well last forever. If nothing came between them, then James and Kain could be blood bound for an eternity.



Ten Fun Facts

1. I’m a Scorpio and I take it seriously.

2. I enjoy reading M/M pregnancy paranormal.

3. I still cry on One Tree Hill episodes even though I know what’s going to happen.

4. I wrote Dark Indiscretions for my best friend Gavin.

5. I’m very introverted.

6. I’m the oldest of 5 brothers.

7. I’m doubled jointed.

8. I’ve never taken a ballet, gymnastics, or any class like it before.

9. I took 3 years of Spanish and still can’t speak it or understand most of it.

10. I don’t like wearing shoes.



Dark Indiscretions: A Prequel Playlist


About the Author

Shakuita Johnson is a 29-year-old Psychology major. When she isn’t going to school or working, she is doing what she loves most. Writing. She started writing in middle school. Starting with poetry. Then short stories in a creative writing course her senior year. Her love for paranormal and supernatural started with R.L. Stine Goosebumps books and TV shows, Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, and Christopher Pike books. She is an avid reader with over 100 books on her bookshelf and 1000 plus on her iPad. Visit her online and read her poems and one attempt at songwriting on her blog at You can also find her at Check out her website at


Contact Links

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Website | Email:


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Blood In, Blood Out: Chapter 19

Chapter 19


Payson felt a knot in his stomach all night. He could barely function since the revelation that Riley wasn’t completely his. He had never thought about having to share someone he loved before, but he certainly hadn’t thought about sharing them with someone older and more experienced.

Spike was all the things that threatened his friendship with his best friend. He was older, confident, sexy, smart and it seemed obvious that he had a lot of experience with relationships.

How could he compete with that?

What frightened him more than anything else, was the thought that Riley would like Spike more than he liked him. That he would be a better friend, a better boyfriend, more considerate, funnier, smarter, more powerful. What if he couldn’t be Riley’s best friend any more, and he was relegated to his second best boyfriend? Just who was he without Riley? He had changed so much since meeting him that he didn’t think he could live a life where they weren’t together all the time.

Well, I’m beat. I’m going to bed.” Sheldon explained, stretching obscenely as he sat on the sofa. As soon as Payson caught his eye, he nodded to the dormitories discretely and then got up. “Night everyone.” He called cheerily, before disappearing from the common room.

For a fleeting moment Payson wondered, and prayed he was wrong, if Sheldon had been hitting on him. Then he realised the odd looks he’d been giving him all day and the few times he’d spotted him standing whispering with Riley. He wondered if he wanted to help them. If so, he wasn’t sure there was a way.

Payson decided to see what was going on, so he followed Sheldon to bed, not even bothering to say anything to his friends. When he got into the dormitory, however, he found the twin with the least tact packing up his wardrobe into the duffel bag that had been under his bed.

What are you doing?” He asked, rushing over to stop him.

You need to move into your new room.” He told him, in no uncertain circumstances. Payson froze, wondering how he knew that. Then he realised that Riley would have explained everything over dinner. “We all know what’s going on. Everyone else is just too afraid to say anything. But whatever reason you have for avoiding Riley is stupid; you’re putting your entire friendship at risk. Now go to your new room, apologise even if it’s not your fault, and make up with your best friend and soul mate.” Sheldon demanded, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

I can’t.”

Why not?” He sounded exasperated.

Because I’m not his only soul mate.” Payson argued, getting angry with him. He wasn’t sure what gave him the right to dig into his private business, but it wasn’t on. He wasn’t going to stand there and be dictated to, by someone who didn’t know the whole story. And sure enough, Sheldon froze and sat down on the bed in surprise. “He went to talk to Linny, and found Spike instead. He stopped to talk to him, but his Banshee realised before Riley could, and his system overloaded.” He briefly explained the most painful part of his day. “Spike is his soul mate, as well. We both are.”

And you’re angry why?” Sheldon asked.


Payson couldn’t help but stare at his friend. He didn’t know what he meant by that tone, that said it shouldn’t be a big deal and he was making a mountain out of a mole hill. So he explained what should have seemed obvious. “I don’t want to share him.” He admitted.

I very much doubt Spike wants to share him either.” Sheldon argued, sounding angrier than he thought he had the right to. “And I doubt Riley wants to share either of you with the other one, but he doesn’t have a choice. Soul mates are not something to take lightly, Payson. Either you’re in this for the long haul or you’re a crappy soul mate.” He said, raising a challenging eyebrow at him. The accusation stung almost as much as finding out Riley had a second soul mate.


Do you have any idea how lucky you are? Riley is an awesome person. From what he says of Spike, he’s also an awesome person. Not one of them are selfish, egotistical idiots who will be more interested in power than love.” He told him, getting angrier with each word he said.

Payson took a step back and sat down, unconsciously, on Riley’s empty bed. His side of the room was entirely empty now and it hurt. But not any more than Sheldon’s words.

The rest of us out there in the world have no way of knowing if we’re with the right person. We can get hurt, be cheated on, accidentally hurt someone else. And we will never know if we’re with our soul mate. We can only guess.” He claimed heatedly.

But you!” He snapped, getting up and jabbing a finger into his shoulder as he towered over him. “Riley’s a Banshee so you can know without a doubt that he’ll be faithful. He will never cheat on you, he will never so much as look at another person. You don’t have to wonder what he’s thinking because he’ll tell you. You know that he’s in love with you, for who you are, and nothing else will matter to him. How can you turn your back on that?” Sheldon asked in a shout. He started pacing, worrying Payson that he had struck a nerve without meaning to. He just couldn’t understand where all this came from.

You will never find anyone who will love you and be as faithful and loyal to you as Riley will. That’s even without his Banshee instincts. How can you bond with him and then be without him?” He asked, actually sounding in pain.


Payson watched him curiously, before giving in to his instincts. He used his gift to read his mind and saw that Sheldon was jealous of his relationship with Riley. He wanted love and to feel whole, to not be so lonely. He saw Lane and Felicity getting close, him and Riley, even Estelle and Nathan beginning to notice each other and he felt excluded. Payson was shocked to find that Sheldon wanted to be in love. He would give anything for someone to care for him as Riley cared for him.

You expect me to share him with someone else? How does having two soul mates fit into your theory that he’ll always be faithful and loyal? Because he won’t. He can’t.” He objected, trying to argue his side of the story because Sheldon wasn’t getting the real issue. “With two soul mates, he’ll be cheating on me all the time! Just because he’s doing it with Spike, who is his other soul mate, doesn’t mean squat.” They were shouting at each other now, although he had never wanted that. He just couldn’t seem to get through to him.

It means everything!” Sheldon bellowed back. “Don’t you get it? Spike isn’t just Riley’s second soul mate, he’s yours!” He huffed, before running his hands through his hair and sitting down again.

What?” Payson blinked and tried to make sense of that statement.

You’re as much Spike’s soul mate as you are Riley’s. And he’s as much yours as Spike’s. The three of you are intermingled. You’re not one person with two soul mates, you are three people, each with two soul mates. You have Spike and Riley. Spike has you and Riley. And Riley has you and Spike. Deal with it!” He insisted, the anger fizzling out of him as he sat on the bed, shaking his head. He gave his partially packed bag a shove that sent it onto the floor, clothes spilling out of it. “If you’re willing to lose everything because you’re a self-centred prick, be my guest. Just remember that you won’t be the only one to suffer for it.” He sighed.

Payson watched in dismay as Sheldon got up and left the room, slamming the door behind him. Since no-one else was sleeping, he guessed there was no point complaining about it. He looked down at his things, sprawled across the floor and took a deep breath before gathering them up again. He unpacked and slotted his bag back under his bed, only to wonder.

What was Riley doing at that moment?

He spent ten minutes trying to read on his bed, before the question began burning in his brain. He wasn’t going to rest until he knew. He got up, slipped on his slippers and left the dormitory for the room at the end of the hall. He thought about knocking, but then dismissed the idea. He quietly turned the handle and opened the door slowly, so that no-one would know he was there. Then he ventured inside and looked around at the incredible, homey room.

He would have liked to stay in there; it was exactly the kind of open, light space he liked. Spike and Riley were sleeping in separate beds on the left side of the room. Spike’s back was to him, as was Riley’s, but he could clearly hear that one of them was crying. His instincts told him it was Riley; he knew his voice too well by now not to recognise it.

Please let me go get Payson.” Spike asked, as if he’d said it a thousand times.

No.” Riley sniffed, a movement under the covers suggesting that he was wiping his nose.


Payson wanted to go to him, but he was frozen in place. Clearly his boyfriend didn’t want him.

What he’s doing is wrong. I won’t give him the satisfaction of knowing it hurts.” He explained, breaking his heart all over again.

Did he really think his intention was to hurt him? It couldn’t be further from the truth, but he wasn’t going to sit by and get hurt by him either. He didn’t want Spike anywhere near their relationship, never mind a part of it.

Please, Riley.” He begged again. There was a long moment of silence. Then he let out a sigh and threw back the covers. Payson pressed close against the wall so that he wouldn’t be seen; he wasn’t sure what his plan was just yet.

Spike crossed to Riley’s bed and pulled back the covers so he could climb in, wearing only a pair of boxer shorts. His jealous raged again, but he couldn’t do anything about it. To make things worse, the moment he was in Riley’s bed, placing his hand on his arm, Riley turned over and began sobbing into his chest.

He’d seen enough. Spike began stroking Riley’s hair, holding and rocking him to soothe his tears. Riley held on so tight that Payson was surprised the Selkie wasn’t complaining about it. He quietly left the room and headed back to the dormitory, where the twins were getting ready for bed. He didn’t say anything as he walked over and climbed into bed.

Well, what did you see?” Sheldon asked gruffly. He let out a sigh and decided to tell the truth.

He doesn’t need me. Not with Spike there.” He replied.

Coward.” He muttered under his breath. Payson could still hear him. “Did you even talk to him?” He asked, persisting with his case.

No. I didn’t have to. Riley was crying…Spike took care of it.” He shrugged it off, trying not to let on that it affected him. He heard something being smacked down hard, and then something hit his bed. He looked over the top of his covers to see one of Sheldon’s pillows on his arm. He met the gaze of his friend, from across the room, and noticed the hard stare glaring back at him.

Bloody coward!” He shouted at him, before grabbing a small bag and disappearing into the adjoining bathroom.

I’m sorry. I’m not sure what’s going on with him right now.” Lachlan apologised for his brother. Payson ignored it; he didn’t want an apology or need one.

He’s jealous and lonely. He wants a soul mate.” He explained, since he figured Lachlan should know that about his brother. He deserved to know that much, even if he never planned to explain what they were arguing about.


When you’re a writer, there are few times when repetition is allowed, never mind warranted. Sometimes it’s necessary, when they’re writing a 300-500 page book and an event or conversation that happened at the beginning needs to be mentioned at the end, to remind the reader. Sometimes it’s when you use a scene from the end of the book as the prologue, in which you recount the event later in the book, word for word. Then there are times when it’s not a whole scene, event or even a sentence that you’re repeating. I have that last problem.

I have certain words that I’m forever over using, without realising it. More often than not, it’s because of the way I speak and my accent coming through in my writing. Sometimes it’s done without thought and I don’t even notice how often I use certain words or phrases.

I had this comment for my last book, ‘Decadent’, during the beta reading phase. My wonderful beta reader, Tracy, warned me that I used the word ‘boyfriend’ far too often. Now, consider it’s an M/M romance and there are two guys in love with each other, thus making them boyfriends to each other, I felt sure this was just a half dozen entries too often. I did an entire document replace, switching ‘boyfriend’ with the number ‘1’. It made 211 replacements! I was shocked. I had to go through the entire document, searching and locating each entry of ‘boyfriend’, to see if it had to stay, or if it could be replaced by an alternative. I’m pretty sure that I deleted around 150, if not more, of the offending word. Removing any more would have removed the meaning of the sentence they were in. Quite a  lot of them were from Konnor, a third MC who used it in a negative way.

That got me thinking. How many other words were there far too many of? Well, I re-read the book on my Kindle and highlighted any word that I’d read more than three times in the last chapter. Then I wrote the words into a list and this is what I came up with:


best friend
kind of

I put this list into a spreadsheet and saved it as ‘Repetitive words’, so that I can use it to remind myself that there are just some words that are completely unnecessary in a sentence. I’m sure you’re all looking at my list and thinking ‘she’s used a few of these words far too much in this blog post, too’. I’ll cop to that. It’s a fault of mine that I’m working on. This list is helping me.

To illuminate how badly my manuscript of ‘Decadent’ needed this list, I’m going to expose my shameful list of results. Please bear in mind that this list contains the results of the THIRD time I’d gone through this list, so some of the ‘after editing’ results weren’t updated. -

Word Decadent After Editing
smile 75 47
smiled 59
laughed 53
just 118 47
fine 30
little 101
sighed 41
good 41
really 42
looked 91

I’m also working on spotting key phrases and making sure that I’m not saying the same thing twice, just in a different way. I know how often that mistake can happen, when you’ve forgotten that you’ve already said something, so you say it again. But, for me, this is just another lesson to learn, as I become more used to editing my stories to a standard that I’m happy to turn over to my editor. The last two times, I’ve cringed when handing over my copy and then let out a sigh of relief when it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’m hoping that after a few more books, I won’t have to cringe at all. I’ll hand it over and one day – maybe it will be years from now – my editor will send me an e-mail saying ‘There are no changes needed. I’m sending it off to the printer’. Then I’ll be happy.

Until then, I have a lot of learning to do.

If you have a problem with repetition, you might want to try my list idea and expand on it. Or maybe one of these articles will help. And if you find something that works, please let me know. I’m always up for learning and trying new things -

5 Ways to Deal with Word Repetition

Repetition – How to Use it Effectively

Repetition – Different Types and Meanings




You might also be interested in these:

Quick Tip: Save your Story from Coming to a Bad End

A 12-Day Plan of Simple Writing Exercises

5 Tools for Building Conflict in your Novel

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