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What makes a good man?

(Mostly recycling from Tumblr again, because, after a long week spent helping care for my dad, who’s still going through chemo, I just don’t have the energy to put forth a completely new post.)

In a recent post over at Kourtney Heintz’s Journal, Kourtney brought up the idea of which actor might play which character from her book, Six Train to Wisconsin. While this is different from the idea of who or what may inspire a character, it did make me realize that many of the characters – notably the female ones – from my most recent story were actually based on specific looks and performances.

In “From Hell,” the main character’s appearance has already been determined for the reader, because he’s a borrowed likeness:

-Axton, the Commando-

-Axton, the Commando from “Borderlands 2”-

The story may be about Axton, but there’s a slew of women in the supporting cast whom I’ve just adored writing. Among them:

Cin, the charming and sensuous madam who runs the brothel “Cin’s Deadly Seven,” and who was based on gorgeous Adrienne Barbeau’s Ruthie from “Carnivale,” complete with slithering snake tattoos;

Ruthie, from Carnivale

-Carnivale publicity photo-

Red Widow, the cunning, discerning, and dangerous grifter who gives Axton a full-on run for his money in the sexuality and profanity departments (inspired by Gail Potocki’s beautiful and intimidating art below);


-by Gail Potocki: “Femme Fatale” Cella Gallery show press image-

Marshal Kotonou, who wears a duster and wields a shotgun as well as any man, for protection of her borderworld town (and to whom I’ve attempted to give a nod of attitude and beauty to Gina Torres’s Zoe from “Firefly);


-“Firefly” publicity photo-

Lucy, the practical and sassy prostitute who has better insight into the main character’s head than he does, himself (based on the luscious Patricia Arquette’s portrayal of Sally Wheet in “Boardwalk Empire”);


-screen capture: “Boardwalk Empire”-

and Sarah, the main character’s ex-wife from his military days, who provides some telling background about why he is the way he is (inspired by the many roles of lovely singer/actress Ana Brenda Contreras).

Photo by Valeriatroche (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Oh! And, of course, Gaige, the girl who starts the whole story rolling (head on over to Contagious Media for the full photoshoot)…
-Gaige cosplay by ContagiousMedia-

-Gaige cosplay by ContagiousMedia-

Stories about men tend to focus on just the men. Especially in the Western genre, where supporting women can fall into pretty predictable (and often hackneyed) categories. The women Axton encounters throughout the story might exist within those same categories, but I hope I’ve added some new dimensions to a few of them. They’re just so much more fun to write, that way. Hopefully, readers are enjoying the women in this story, too. Because, really, what’s a man without a good woman, whether she’s there to screw, fight, or be his conscience?

From where do you get your character inspirations? If you could cast anyone as one of your main characters, who would it be?