GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Author Pamela Kinney: When secondary characters steal the show... (How the Vortex Changed My Life book tour) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Author Pamela Kinney: When secondary characters steal the show... (How the Vortex Changed My Life book tour) + giveaway

When secondary characters steal the show...

Hello to all here, my first stop on my virtual blog tour for How the Vortex Changed My Life. Called with the hashtag; #ThereisnoeyedropsinHell. The release of my first indie novel, I had the challenge of writing a character who doesn’t speak. At least, not in English, nor any human speech. Larry. I’d worried that I wouldn't do a good job on him. But, I told myself, he was just a secondary character. This was Cat’s story. Even Connor and the Angel George are only secondary characters.

The novel grew into more than a story about Cat growing strong in facing the apocalypse. Larry found his voice, or should I say, his sounds, in this novel. My critique groups and beta readers liked Larry. The little demon shaped like an eyeball that was the size of a standard poodle had dug his way into readers’ hearts. And in mine. Secondary character or not, he had to be on the cover, at Cat’s side, as he deserved it.

It makes me think of other books I’ve written over the years, where a secondary character develops a personality to make grow attach to him/her. I write paranormal romance under a pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, and have a sequel, A Familiar Tangle With Hell, to an erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch. There is a demonic being in it, who looks like a white bunny with a fluffy tail, named Fluffy. He developed his own personality in the storyline. He possessed me to write him, the same as Larry did later.

There are many books over the years we’ve all read where a secondary character has grabbed the reader’s heart. Sometimes this character isn’t always a good person, like Gollum in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Sometimes, he/she is the comedy relief. Other times, he/she is brave and loyal. This person/animal/creature can be anything. Like Batman’s Robin, Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson, and William Crawley’s Mr. Carson who are the assistant or companion. Other secondary characters are the foil, the roadblock, and of course, the antagonist.

A secondary character must have an individual purpose for being in your story. All of them have a common purpose to help move the story forward in interest-grabbing ways. A secondary character cannot become so prominent that he or she competes with the main character for the reader’s attention and concern. A secondary character who doesn’t flow naturally in the story should always be avoided.

by Pamela K. Kinney 
September 16, 2017
226 pages
Cat Viggolone just can’t get a break. She'd gotten married, but that ended when the husband left her for his younger secretary. She'd wanted children. That flew out the window along with the cheating husband. There’s the career, but working a window at the Virginia DMV can’t really be classified as a great career choice. At thirty-three, her life had become positively dull.

Then the vortex opened.

Sucked up into a corridor just outside of Hell, she meets Connor, a werewolf, and Larry, a demon that looks like a blue-eyed eyeball. They escape back to earth, only to find that the vortex has opened up in downtown Richmond. The town is going to hell, literally. Besides a grayness seeping out and turning all living things into zombies, monsters and demons are invading Cat’s world.

Will Cat and her new friends (including an angel named George) be able to stop the vortex before it claims the entire planet?

Cat’s life is definitely no longer humdrum and ordinary.

Maybe we should tell the Army or Marines. Some government agency."

Connor looked at me with disbelief. "Tell them what?"

"That the vortex caught you and drew you up into it, deposited you in Hell, where you met Larry . . . well, and you know, the whole rigmarole."

"Right. I'll tell the authorities that I became a werewolf at the full moon six months ago, got pulled into the Hell dimension, where I met a demon that looks like an eyeball. Then some blonde human female who got hauled in six months later, helped us to escape." He leaned closer and took both of my hands. "I'll be locked up in a cell, as either they'll think I'm crazy or once they see Larry, he and I will become part of some government cover-up." He added, "And we both will have tests run on us by government scientists. Telling isn't really a good idea."

Angry, I tore my hands out of his as I rose to my feet. "So, all you really care about is saving your skin. You talk the big talk about saving the world. But when there's even the smallest chance you might end up as some experiment, well, forget the world." I stomped away, heading for the front door. "I don't know about you, but I'm furious that Hell can take over my world and make humankind into mindless things or bodies to be possess or food for its fiends. I don't know what I can do, and I may end up a mindless gray pawn or even die, but I will try something.

Connor caught up with me at the door, stopping me. "Okay, okay. Let's do it your way and go talk to the police."

* * * * *

We checked on Mabel to see if she had revived. Something swung through the open doorway and knocked Larry into the hallway wall. He bounced off it like a ball. Conner hijacked the lamp from her hands. Tear streaks glistened Mabel's reddened face and her eyes burned with hate. With a scream, she kicked out at Connor's shins, but he grabbed her leg and pushed her back inside the bedroom, locking the door. Pounding and curses erupted from the other side of the door.

"She's got a good pair of lungs on her," said Connor. "Let's go."

"Are we going to leave her locked up inside?" I asked.

"For now, it'll be safer for her."

"I don't know, but it looks like to me that the woman can take care of herself pretty well."

Larry drifted over and bobbed up and down as if nodding that he agreed with me.

The three of us piled back into the old woman's car and drove over to the Chesterfield County Complex. I stared through the windshield up at the night sky. Usually there would be the normal blackness of night, with twinkling stars in the sky, a moon even, but instead, I saw nothing. Connor pulled into a parking space, not far from the police station.

We entered the building and approached a heavyset policeman sitting behind a desk. He was munching on a greasy burger while reading a newspaper. Connor cleared his throat. The man peered over the paper. When he caught sight of Larry, his fuzzy caterpillar eyebrows reared up, as his eyes widened.

He lumbered to his feet, dropping what remained of his burger on the desk, and dragged his gun out of his holster. He pointed it at Larry. "Hold it. Did that thing come from that monstrosity causing problems in Richmond?"

Connor sighed, giving me an "I told you so" look. "Officer, yes, Larry came from the vortex. It leads to a foyer that leads to Hell where he has lived for the last five hundred years."

The officer's gun wobbled as he began to shake. "That thing is five . . . what did you say? Oh God! The minister of my church is right. We're all going to Hell." His small eyes narrowed. "It's a demon, like in the Bible? Do I need to exorcise it or kill it? Except you can't kill a demon, right?" Something passed over his face. "Wait a minute. You said its name is Larry? What gives it the right to have a human-sounding name?"

Connor peered at the name tag on the officer's shirt. Sgt. Jenkins in black letters stood out in bold relief. "Whatever your parents named you is the same way Larry got named, Sgt. Jenkins." Connor added, "By the way, I'm a werewolf. Not human myself."

Sgt. Jenkins snorted in disbelief. "You don't look like the werewolf type to me. I don't see any hair all over your body."

"And you would know what a werewolf type is supposed to look like? Believe me, I am. Mrs. Viggolone here saw me in all my wolfie glory." Connor's eyes turned red and his ears started lengthening into sharp points, his pearly whites becoming fangs. He snarled, his voice deeper, "Believe me now?"

Jenkins gulped, took a step back looking indecisive, his gaze switching back and forth between Larry and Connor. His jaw tightened, and he aimed his gun at Connor.

I screamed. "Connor, watch out!" I grabbed his arm, hoping to drag him aside in time. The cop wouldn't have silver bullets in that pistol, but I wasn't going to wait around to see if ordinary ones could harm a werewolf.

As the cop's finger drew the trigger back, he froze. Other officers who had apparently heard all the commotion and came up front became frozen statues at the same time. Spilled coffee from one female officer's cup halted midair.

I looked up and saw that the clock on the wall. Its hands had stopped at 7:30 P.M. Only Connor, Larry, and I could move, though none of us said a word or made a sound.

A soft-spoken voice broke the silence. "Hello." The tone reminded me of rich; velvety chocolate, Christmas morning, and spring flowers all rolled into one.

I whipped around and found myself staring at the most handsome man I had ever seen—after Connor, of course. He had long, platinum blond hair and a pair of soft blue eyes. He wore a long, knee length leather coat over a pair of leather pants, a shirt, and a pair of gleaming cowboy boots—all pure-white.

Connor, still in half werewolf mode, snarled, "Who in the hell are you?"

The other man flashed a sweet smile and replied in gentle tones. "More like 'Who in Heaven are you?' fits me. I'm an angel." His smile widened, revealing brilliant ivories that shone like a halo. "The angel, George."

About the Author:

Pamela K. Kinney gave up long ago tryingnot to listen to the voices in her head and has written bestselling horror,fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction ghost books ever since. Threeof her nonfiction ghost books garnered Library of Virginia nominations. Herhorror short story, "Bottled Spirits," was runner up for the 2013WSFA Small Press Award and is considered one of the seven best genre shortfiction for that year.

She also writes under the pseudonym,Sapphire Phelan, for erotic and regular paranormal romance. Her erotic urbanfantasy, 'Being Familiar with a Witch' won the 2013 Prism awarded by theFantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers of America.Discover more about Sapphire at

Pamela and herhusband live with one crazy black cat. Along with writing, Pamela has acted onstage and film, does paranormal investigations for Paranormal World Seekers forAVA Productions, and is a member of Horror Writers Association and RomanceWriters of America.

What secondary characters can you think of?
Leave a comment, naming them, and be entered in this short blog tour, where one winner will win a gift cert of $20.oo from Amazon. You can buy the paperback copy of How the Vortex Changed Your life, or the Kindle version, plus other Kindles of books I have on Amazon.

Check my blog,
October 16, 2017, at Noon, Eastern time, to see if your name is picked. If it is, you will need to leave me a comment with your name and email (don’t worry, I must approve comments and I won’t post it on my blog, just email you, so we can get you your prize).


  1. How about Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter? Actually there are tons of examples from that series, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Snape, practically everybody.

  2. a couple of movies-Goodfellas-Joe Pesci and The Departed Mark Wahlberg

    tiramisu392 (at)

  3. Loki in the Thor and Avenger movies.

  4. A good side character are the twin brothers in Harry Potter Fred and George Wesasley carawling(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. Then winner of the blog tour was drawn and it was Cathleen Marshall, who left a comment at another blog on the tour. Congratulations to her and thanks for checking out my blog tour an my new urban fantasy release, How the Vortex Changed My Life.