Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Drenched by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-imageMy boy, if you don’t pluck that delicate flower of a woman, you’re a blind fool.”

She has a rule about not dating her boss. But I’m hoping to circumvent that. I took her to dinner last night, before she was hired, and I kissed her.”

Ah, working with the see-what-you’ll-be-missing strategy.”

Exactly. I have to use a very delicate touch. She ended a very bad relationship just before moving. In fact, it’s what precipitated the move.”

Be careful, my boy. Therein madness lies.”

Dylan nodded, gazing after Elizabeth as she walked into the restroom. “But there’s more madness without her,” he murmured.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from So Much It Hurts by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“Top of his class. He’s sick smart and very capable. Ian actually called him!”

“Wow! Totally jealous.”

He tossed his arm around her shoulders, gesturing as if painting a picture with his words. “No need to be. I figure we’ll be hearing you play Carnegie Hall one of these days soon. And I’ll camouflage my ass in various poses to use as backdrops during your concert.”

“Sounds great. I wouldn’t mind seeing your ass in various poses.” Smacking herself, she blushed and buried her face in her hands.

“Really? Hmmm, are you marginalizing me as a person?” he teased. “Reducing me to a sexual object?”

“Yes,” she squeaked.

Flynn laughed loudly, tossing his head back. His cap flew off as he bent double to slap his knees. “Finally, a woman who admits she looks at a man’s ass! Yes!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Oh those heinous plot bunnies!!!!

95ea3dd2ea9d69401cb38f56d2f00152--funny-bunnies-cute-bunnyA plot bunny is a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. The term’s origin is unknown but is known to predate NaNoWriMo. Because plot bunnies tend to multiply quickly, the term is thought to be related to the oft-quoted John Steinbeck quote about ideas and rabbits.




So there you are the writer, working away diligently on your work in progress. Things are going well, and the story is flowing like Niagara Falls and then Boom!  Guess what a new and brilliant idea comes to you but you swat it away.  It will have to wait as you are on a roll.

This entity we love to call a plot bunny just won’t leave you alone.  it pokes you like an annoying Facebook friend.  You ignore it.  It pleads, begs and rolls over for a belly rub. Still nothing you are in the zone.

Things are about to get real here. As cute as a rabbit might be these beings start out mellow and and unassuming but dare to ignore them and they soon turn vicious. You will be incapable of any thought except the idea the entity is beating you over the head with.When You Can't Control Your Plot Bunnies....jpg You have been captured, assimilated by the Borg. Caught in a Vulcan mind meld and soon you have no choice but to comply.

How to keep those bunnies 


Have a decent plan in

mind. Before you start your story, you need to have a definite end in mind so that you don’t start a story and then just trail off or get tempted by new plot bunnies. It obviously helps to have a beginning charted out, along with a rising action and climax. If you don’t have these, you have no story. Your plot bunny is still a plot bunny and if you go in without a plan, you’ll end up flopping around, getting frustrated, losing interested, running off with another plot bunny, and then repeating the process. A vicious cycle, I know.

Have well developed characters. I cannot stress this enough. The more developed the characters are, the more you will be attached to them, the more you will want to see their stories through. You will be far less likely to abandon them for another book. I think we’ve all experienced loss of interest while reading a book or watching a movie because the characters suck. Sure, the idea may be cool, but the main character is kind of lame (*cough* Luke Skywalker *cough *cough*). Or maybe the book is written well, but nobody cares whether the characters live or die. Think Wuthering Heights, though I may be one of the few people who actually read that book. Oh the hours of my life I will never be able to get back….Anyway, you have to love your characters in order to keep the desire to actually see your book all the way through.

No book hopping. Ever. You work on one book from start to finish. You can’t write two separate books at the same time…that’s like having an affair. Just stop it. Sure, you can be writing a novel and take a break to write a short story or a blog post. That can be helpful. You can even edit one book while writing the first draft of a different story. I do that, and it works really well. But don’t ever write the first drafts for two books at the same time. This is a very bad idea unless you are:

  • A professional writer who knows exactly what you are doing
  • Writing a fiction and nonfiction book at the same time (slightly easier, but still not recommended) 
  • Writing two books of the same series
  • Batman

Under any other circumstances, just don’t even try. It’s distracting, slows down your writing process, and you’ll often end up liking one story better than the other, thus ditching one of the two books.

Keep an idea journal. While it’s not good practice to chase after every plot bunny you see, it is actually very helpful to jot down the random ideas that float through your brain. Especially if there is one idea that nags at you very often, then for goodness sakes, document it! You might need it later.

Make a Pinterest board for your book. If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, just go sign up right now. It’s free and it has saved the lives of countless half-finished novels. By pinning character look-alikes, dialogue prompts, pictures of places that look like scenes in your novel, songs that fit themes in your story, etc, you will keep yourself engaged. It’s liked adding fodder to the fire. You constantly have images in front of you, inspiring you to write, getting you pumped about new ideas. Pinterest is a safeguard against quitting or becoming tempted to gallivant off with just any other plot bunny.

Write on a schedule. If you want to write a novel from start to finish without getting side-tracked, you need to dedicate a specific time each day to doing so. Writing is a job. Treat it like one. I have more on how to become a scheduled writer here.

Come to terms with the fact that you will never be able to write down all of the stories you see in your mind. A bit harsh, sure. A bummer? Definitely. But you can’t do anything about it. Just suck it up and move on. Completing one story is better than having dozens of half-finished books lying around. All we can do is pick the stories that we think are the best, that we think can make the biggest difference, and be happy with the fact that we’re seeing them to the end.

Those are a few of the ways I’ve found to actually finish a story without getting distracted by plot bunnies. What about you? Do you struggle with being unable to finish a book? How do you control your plot bunnies?


Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Alton and Velda by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-imageA soft breeze caressed her cheek, leaves whispered in the wind. She heard Alton’s voice in the cadence of the leaves, assuring her they were nearby. She smiled and set about making tea. Moments later, the pair of them came into the camp. Alton was wet, Revanth laughing in his horsey way.

“The river and I came to a disagreement,” Alton said as he gave Velda a damp kiss. “It very nearly won, but Rev pulled me out before it got the better of me.”

The horse snorted again, flicking his damp tail.

“All right, I damn near pulled him in with me, but we’ve brought fish!” Alton held up a string of silvery river perch.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Man Tails by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-imageJet shook his hand, squeezing a little. Spense squeezed back. The smile didn’t fade, but a wariness came into his eyes.

“Alma’s in the kitchen.”

Spense lifted his chin, eyeing the taller man carefully. “But you want to talk to me first.”

They moved into the living room and sat down. Spenser set his packages on the coffee table.

“Let me be totally up front, Jet. I like your sister. She’s smart, funny, dead sexy and cooks like a pro. Do I want in her pants?” He spread his hands. “I’m a red blooded, heterosexual man.”

Jet smirked. “There’s a yes.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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author, Book Trailers and Teasers, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, JD Holiday, YA

Simple Things Book Trailer and Excerpt


Excerpt from Chapter 1:

              A tied-up Christmas tree leaned against the wall on the back porch where Uncle John left it. The two of them were going to put it up last night. But things have changed for Trisha Frankel.

               With Mitch, her black Labrador Retriever, on his leash behind her, Trisha closed and locked the door of the apartment. She lived here with her uncle for the past nine years in the mainly African-American neighborhood. People would soon be looking for her if they were not already. Before Trisha talked to anybody else she needed to do something.

               She stuck a note under her upstairs neighbor Nell Galock’s door saying, “she needed to see someone, and would come back later.” Last night she was surprised Nell let her sleep alone with just Mitch for company in her own apartment. During the waking hours of the night, she made her plans. She knew she couldn’t stay long with Nell who was scheduled to move to a nursing home soon. Everyone worried about her failing health. Nell’s daughter came around to bring food and take her to appointments since the elderly woman fell last summer. Trisha saw Nell like a frail bird with a broken wing hopping along the ground out of its comfort zone.

              Wearing her backpack stuffed with food and carrying a duffle bag in case she didn’t return Trisha and Mitch kept a steady pace. They walked the long route along the snowy streets over the Seventh Street bridge passing many factories to River Street. Here and there someone shoveled a path on their long trek to the city. Stores were busy on Main Street and they jostled with holiday shoppers while avoiding mounds of dirty snow piles here and there. Trisha and Mitch waited to cross through the narrow path at a red light.

               After almost an hour in the warm sun, Trisha took off her hat and scarf. The storm yesterday dropped ten inches of snow. Though the wind driven air felt cold, the ice and snow on the sidewalks and streets started melting. Snow began slipping off slanted rooftops with a thud.

               Trisha realized they were almost there. After all, she knew the area a little. She and Uncle John would take a bus to Twentieth Avenue on weekends and then go to the Mart walking many blocks to get there. A schoolhouse at one time, someone converted the Mart into a sort of mini-mall or small department store. It was not far from there to her father’s neighborhood, she believed. A long time ago her mother, Anne, wrote the address down on the envelope Trisha kept with her.

On those trips with her Uncle John, she bought books at the Bookstand Bookstore. Uncle John would get a newspaper or crossword book and they would read at the cafe drinking cocoa.

              She and Mitch finally got to the street. Trisha glanced at the torn and smudged envelope. Her name was written on the front, along with the address and inside a letter from her mother. The other contents of the envelope were photos. Trisha treasured them. They were all that was left of her family. Pictures of her parents together, some of herself and a few of Uncle John.

              Mitch sat on the sidewalk, his tongue hanging out while Trisha sorted through some of the pictures. She came to one of her parents together. In it they were young. It was taken about fifteen years earlier. Trisha had no memory of her mother. In the picture, Anne was in a pink summer dress and sandals, her hair combed back off her face. Trying not to cry Trisha studied the boy in jeans and a T-shirt with short dark hair his arm around Anne. He was her father.

              Putting the envelope back in her coat pocket, Trisha sighed. “Come on, Mitch. If nothing else we’ll see what his house looks like,” she said heading down the block.

 At the address, she was looking for they stopped. No one was around so Trisha turned back and stood in front. The slender two-story home appeared to have an apartment on both floors and looked recently painted a light green. Sandwiched between its neighbors with narrow alleys, a closed metal gate on one side led down a cracked sidewalk. She stared at it trying to decide what she should do.

              She heard people talking and turned. In the middle of the block stood a large red brick building that looked like a restaurant with large front windows. On the shoveled sidewalk in front three men talked.

 Trisha decided to walk by them. One of them might be him, she thought. But then two of the men went inside the building and the third, a white man, walked past her. At the doorway, Trisha read the sign over the double doors, Day Mission.

              The doors opened and a woman walked out and passed her. Trisha glanced inside the door. Making her mind up, Trisha put down her duffle bag and tied Mitch to the drainpipe at the corner of the building. A beat-up orange truck pulled up and parked in front of the house next to the mission. A lean-built man with spiky short brown hair got out.               

              Turning to go inside she stopped when the man came over and stared down at Mitch. “That’s a nice dog,” he said.

              “Thanks,” Trisha said. Without glancing at her the man went down the alley between the mission and the house.

              “I’ll go in and get some water. If I get up the nerve I’ll ask if anyone knows him. After all, he lives on this street. When I come out we’ll have a snack. You be a good boy,” Trisha said to Mitch as she went into the building.

              Mixed smells permeated the large room. She recognized coffee and some kind of cleaner. People were waiting in lines getting food or eating at long tables that filled the sizable room. She roamed around until she saw a table along the wall where a large coffee pot, bottles of water and stacks of cups were organized. She took one bottle and a cup while looking around the room. No one resembled the young man plus fifteen years in the photo. She was about to leave when an older, stocky woman with puffed up cherry colored hair came up to her. The deep wrinkles around the woman’s mouth and eyes were more noticeable as she smiled. She asked Trisha, “Can I help you?”

              Trisha busied herself with slipping the bottled water and cup into her coat pockets. “I was looking for somebody but they’re not here,” She mumbled.

              “Who are you looking for? Maybe I know them,” the woman asked.

               Trisha met her eyes for a moment. She seemed kind, but Trisha just wanted to leave. “No, I see he’s not here,” Trisha said again a little sharper.

              She nearly ran from the building only to stop when she saw that Mitch was no longer tied where she left him.

               Her legs shook and her voice grew shrill as she called his name thinking that Mitch might have run out into the traffic. Trisha looked down the street, but she saw no trace of him. She rushed to the busy intersection. At the corner, Trisha strained to see him. But Mitch was nowhere in sight. Mitch never ran away and he always stayed where she told him to. Many times she tied him outside the food market on Seventh street.

              Horrible thoughts raced through her mind. The traffic on the street rushed past her. Not used to streets quite this busy, the noise and traffic might have frightened him enough for him to run.

              People stared, but she did not care. Trisha asked a few of them if they saw him. Those that answered said no.

               She ran back to the mission to look again. She almost expected him to be wagging his tail there waiting for her. But he wasn’t. Her duffle bag sat on the sidewalk by itself. A couple of people passed by going into the mission. She noticed that the orange truck was out front double-parked. Trisha went down the snowy side alley between the mission and a square three-story house next to it. She called Mitch’s name and whistling for him even though his paw prints were not in the snow. In the back, there were seven cars in the parking area behind the building. The doors to the garage behind the house stood ajar and the snow in front of it was ice encrusted. Mitch would come if he heard her, but Trisha picked her way over the ice to look inside the garage anyway.

              A man came down the alley. He was the same one who got out of the orange truck and spoke to her about Mitch earlier. Then she remembered. When she came out of the mission his truck was gone.

Seeing her in the yard he stopped. “What do you want?” he sneered. “This is my yard.”

              “You remember my dog earlier?” Trisha asked, pointing toward the street. “I tied him outside the mission. He’s missing now.”

               From the street, car horns began blasting. The man smirked at her. She noticed him closely now, with his rumpled clothes, and unshaven face, but his sarcastic demeanor gave Trisha the creeps.

              “No,” he murmured, turning to go into the house. “Your dog isn’t here.”

              “Well, my dog was tied out front. You and your truck were there when I went in. Did you see what happened to him?” Trisha said slowly, trying to sound calm.

              “No,” he snarled and went into the house.

              Trisha looked around at the cars in the parking lot. Then the man came out again nearly dragging a dirty looking beige dog struggling on a leash.

              He stopped and glared at her, laughing, “Does this dog look like yours?”

              He continued going down the alley toward the street all the while the small dog struggled, it’s head twisting, tail down. A sick feeling engulfed Trisha. Some tears ran down her face. Trisha wiped at them and hurried after the man. Thoughts were beginning to make a picture in her mind. That man’s truck had been moved when she found Mitch missing. Mitch was small for his breed and did not bite. This guy could pick Mitch up and throw him in that truck, she reasoned.

               At the truck, the man turned and noticed Trisha following him. She met his stare and waited for him to open the back of the truck. She wanted to see inside it.

              He gave the leash several hard pulls then grabbed the small dog’s collar and through clenched teeth, he said to the dog, “Get over here.”

              “Leave that dog alone,” Trisha shouted.

~J.D. Holiday

Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Rebound by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-imageA skinny redheaded guy who was the bass player in the band, approached me with his iPhone. “I Goggled you, man. Bet you think you’re the shit.”

I considered that a moment, waiting. “What does it say about me?” I asked, eyes narrowing.

He read off a few of the links. Most of it was dance related, but some of it was sports and one of the articles talked about my martial arts studies. I had my picture in the paper for earning my brown belt.

“You know what all that means?” I leaned toward him.

He backed away, glaring down at me. I pushed the off button on his phone.

“That means I am the shit,” I said quietly.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Dellani Oakes, Sassy Sarcasm

Sassy Sarcasm from Bad Day by Dellani Oakes

sassy-sarcasmBad Day features several characters I fell in love with – so much so, I have used them repeatedly in other books.

Reva Kelly is a wedding planner for the most prestigious company in the city. She meets Dr. Hal Perrine (her boss’ great-nephew) when she breaks her ankle. Though he’s not her doctor, he comes to check on her, as a favor to Uncle Jake. His friends, Morgan and Tanya, are engaged and looking for a wedding planner, so they hire Reva, and become fast friends.

I love their senses of humor, and their sarcasm. The four of them really bonded, and have some wonderful scenes together. This is one of my favorites.

“I feel weird being the only non-doctor in the bunch.”

“You’re a doctor of sorts,” Morgan said with a smirk.

I waited, knowing he had some sort of zinger in mind.

“You doctor relationships and keep people from killing one another before they’re married.”

“Afterward is fine,” Hal added. “Then it’s someone elses problem.”

“Is that what I’m doing for you and Tanya? Keeping you from killing one another?”

“We don’t count in that,” Morgan explained.

“Oh? Why not?”

“Because she knows if she pushes me too hard, I’ll kidnap her and we’ll get married in Vegas or something.”

“You could,” I agreed. “But here’s the thing. If you elope, everyone still gets paid. So it behooves you to follow through with your plans.”

“I knew there was a catch,” Morgan grumbled, kissing Tanya. “Well, darling, I guess I’ll have to suffer through the meetings somehow.”

“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to. Most grooms come to the first and last meetings. The rest of the time, I deal with the bride.”

“I really wanted Morgan to be part of this,” Tanya pouted.

“News flash, T.,” I said, feeling the wine more than usual. “Men don’t give a shit. Tell them what to wear, where to stand and how long they have to endure the reception before they take the bride to bed, they’re happy. They are all about the sex and none of the ceremony.”

“She’s right, sweetheart. I don’t care what kind of cake we have. But I would like to save some of the icing to lick off your p….”

“Morgan!” She swatted him.

“I was going to say pinky, Tanya. Sheesh!” He winked at us.

Hal laughed, tossing his head back, giving a good belly laugh. For a moment, at least, he was at peace. I snuggled next to him on the wicker sofa, my head on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, I keep picturing you licking white, fluffy icing off…. Never mind.” He blushed. “I know what I’d be licking and it wouldn’t be anywhere near Reva’s fingers.”

Tanya cleared her throat. “Now that we all have the wrong mental images well fixed in our minds, could we change the subject?”

“Don’t worry, dear. I’m not picturing anything but you in my fantasies. Reva’s hands are safe from my inquiring mind.”

“Oh, thank God,” I said dryly. “I was worried Tanya was suffering from digit envy.”

Morgan laughed, pointing at this friend. “No, that’s Hal’s problem.”

“You wish! Morgan would love to be as digitally endowed as I am.”

“Let’s see.” I challenged. “I want to compare.”

The men looked at me, obviously shocked. I had to giggle. Their expressions were identical. They didn’t know what to think.

“Come on. Hands up. Let’s compare.” I grabbed Hal’s hand, spreading the fingers.

Tanya held up Morgan’s, placing it against Hal’s. She could hardly stop laughing.

Palm to palm, the men examined their hands carefully, comparing length and width in a detached clinical manner. Morgan pursed his lips, frowning.

“All this time I’d have said I had the digital advantage. Now I’m not so sure.”

“I’d say you were equal,” Tanya decided, having declared herself official, medical judge.

“Speaking from a completely naive and unprofessional point of view,” I said. “My unsolicited opinion is that their digits are identical.”

“The age old question has been answered,” Morgan stated in a deep, Shakespearean declamation. “Our digits no longer shall compete.”

“Yeah, well I’ve still got a bigger dick,” Hal concluded.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Crippled by Love by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“What happened that day?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“I do. And not because I’m a nosy reporter. Because I see someone hurting.”

“Don’t get all sympathetic,” Ian said with a shake of his head. “I don’t need your pity.”

Cynthia stood abruptly, dropping his hand in his lap.

“I didn’t pity my brother, why would I pity you? What you need, Mister Yarrow, is a good swift kick in the ass! You’re so busy feeling sorry for yourself and bitter and angry, you don’t stop to see when someone is really concerned and wants to help. Don’t you think after twelve years, I know a thing or two about what you’re going through? Don’t you think that Lonnie went through this same thing himself? Every day, I watched him be angry at the world. Then he finally figured out that it wasn’t the world’s fault. Shit happens and good people get hurt. Sometimes they die.”

“Lonnie didn’t die.”

“No. But his pregnant girlfriend did. She was driving and crashed into a tree. She was killed instantly and my brother will never walk again. His son died that night too. You have to find forgiveness, just like Lonnie did.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from A Novel Romance by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“Perhaps I should take your paper,” Arista said, holding out her hand.

“Oh, sure. Probably. I’ll lose it again, and then where will we be? Look, I have meetings until—well, forever, it seems. How about we talk about this later? I’ll meet you at Sarducci’s at seven?”

“Dinner? You’re inviting me to dinner?”

“Sure. You have to eat, right?”

“At Sarducci’s?” The most exclusive Italian restaurant in town? Who is this guy? She hadn’t been in town long, but even she knew about Sarducci’s.


“Don’t you need a reservation?”

“Nope. I just go in.”

“Sure. That would be great. You won’t forget? Should I write you a note?”

“I never forget food—or beautiful women.” He flashed a charming smile. He was acting completely different from the man she’d spoken to 20 minutes ago.

“Okay. I’ll meet you there?”

“I’m afraid you’d better. I’d pick you up, but I’m biking today. Don’t think you’d like to ride the handlebars in that skirt.”

“Not a lot. Sarducci’s at seven. I’ll be there.”

“Great.” He gathered his belongings. “You can use the desk out front. We’ll get it squared away tomorrow. Monica knows my schedule and you can ask her for anything.” He said all this over his shoulder as he walked out the door.

“Doctor Pettigrew!”


She held up his shoe.

“Oh, shit.” He looked sheepish. “Sorry—manure.” He winked, shoving his shoe on his foot. “Thanks.” He admired her walk as she headed to her desk. “Sarducci’s,” he said. “Seven.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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