Masks by NJ Walters!!!

According to Webster’s Dictionary a mask is: 1. A covering or partial cover for the face used for disguise. 2. A figure of a head worn on the stage in antiquity to identify the character and project the voice. 3. A grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals. 4. Something that serves to conceal or disguise. 5… 

You get the picture. 

Why do we find masks so fascinating? They can titillate, entertain, frighten, or deceive. They can be part of elaborate rituals of marriage and death in many cultures, helping to celebrate rites of passage. Holy people have used them to facilitate communication between humans and the gods. Masks can be real, made from precious metals, clay, bones, animal skins, plastic, feathers and jewels. Or they can be social, but just as real. 

Most of us have our first real encounter with masks as children. We dress up for school plays—I remember wearing a paper mask in the shape of a flower, along with my green sweater. I was the dropping daisy in the garden. It was all very dramatic. Or we don masks at Halloween, running from door to door as we filled our pumpkins with candy—I had a princess mask that I was particularly fond of. It’s make-believe and fun.

Ladies, as we grow older, we sometimes use makeup as a mask. Many women won’t step foot outside the front door without having their “face” on. Painting our faces helps us feel more confident, hiding our more vulnerable self from the world at large. 

Social masks are something that many of us wear in our day-to-day lives. We are different at work then we are at home with our family. How we act with our friends is miles apart from how we act when we meet our boss in a social setting. With one group, we are ourselves. With the other, we wear our social mask, doing what is socially acceptable. 

Masks can be great works of art, shown in museums, or they can be simpler pieces, hung on our walls to decorate our home. They are props in movies and theatre that can make us laugh until tears fill our eyes or scream in terror. Or they can have religious or spiritual significance. 

But they also give us a sense of freedom—for good or bad. 

The act of donning a mask changes us internally, shifting our psyche. Suddenly, we are someone else; able to do things we might not otherwise dream about doing. Some people feel braver, some sexier, others able to perpetrate acts of great violence. 

Just flash a simple white goalie mask on the television screen and we all think about Jason, the killer from the Friday the 13th movie franchise. Then there is the blank mask of Mike Meyers, the all-too-real monster from the Halloween movies. Both take simple masks and, through their actions, turn them into something that terrifies us all. 

Perhaps one of the most famous masks of all is the one worn in The Phantom of the Opera. What is the phantom really hiding behind the mask—his disfigured face or his flawed soul? What happens when the mask is removed and only the man remains? 

As an author, that’s just something too juicy and fascinating about masks to resist. 

Stick a sexy feather mask on a woman for a Halloween party and she suddenly feels sultry, sensual and seductive. That was the premise for my Ellora’s Cave Quickie, Unmasking Kelly. The heroine, Kelly Allen, is able to act on her deepest sexual fantasies with the aid of a mask and costume, along with the cooperation of her handsome boss. But the very nature of a mask means that it has to be removed at some point in time, and Kelly is left to deal with the consequences of her actions. 

Villains sometimes wear masks—either real or social. The smiling face hides the sociopath killer, making true the saying that evil doesn’t always come with an ugly face. The “best friend” mask hides a seething well of jealousy. The possibilities are limited only by our imagination. 

Whether elaborate or simple, molded of gold or cut out of a paper bag, they conceal. Sometimes they bring out our true nature—for better or worse. Either way, masks have fascinated us since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so until the very end. 

N.J. Walters Emotional~Sensual~Satisfying Reads! (newsletter group) 

19 Responses to Masks by NJ Walters!!!

  1. N.J. Walters

    Hi, Karen. I do love the masquerade balls in Regency romances. Some of those scenes are sizzling!

  2. Karen H in NC

    Enjoyed your blog. I read mostly historical romances and quite often there will be a masquerade ball. In one of her recent books, Candice Hern wrote a wickedly hot love scene between the H/H. And like your heroine of your story, this heroine was able to act so very out of character for an upstanding, Regency lady. Still sizzle when I think about it!

  3. N.J. Walters

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out my post and to RJ for having me. The winner of the PDF version of Unmasking Kelly is Tina Brunelle. Please email me at njwalters22 @ (no spaces) and I’ll send you your prize.

    Thanks again everyone!

  4. N.J. Walters

    LOL Brothers are like that, Danette. They live to scare. I’m glad your girls turned the tables on him. *g*

    Thanks so much for the congrats!

  5. N.J. Walters

    Thanks Cherie. I’m thrilled about the Eppie win. Masks do tend to make us feel more confident, whether they are real or social masks.

  6. N.J. Walters

    It is sad mamasand2, but if you can find someone you can be totally yourself with then that’s a very good thing.

    Thanks so much for the congrats. 🙂

  7. danette

    Hi N.J.

    Congrats on your EPPIE!

    Your mask post had me thinking about a devil holloween mask that my brother uses to scare my girls. They’re so funny,they get scared, then later on they sneak into my brothers room put on the mask and try to get him back. LOL

    Hugs, Danette

  8. Cherie J

    Congrats on the Eppie N.J.! Great post about masks. So true. When people wear masks people tend to feel more confident since our identitiies are concealed. Great idea to use this in a book. Sounds like a great story.

  9. mamasand2

    Hi N.J.
    I’m late getting here but I wanted to say Congrats on your EPPIE win for ‘Craving Candy’. I’m going to have to check it out.

    I think Masks are a way of life. We start as kids at halloween and then develop masks to protect ourselves from hurt. You’re right it’s everything from ‘make up’ to clothes to our very posture. I suspect that it’s only when you’re with CLOSE and LOVING family that you finaly drop the masks.

    Kind of sad isn’t it?

  10. N.J. Walters

    Thanks so much, Cathy. I’m thrilled about the Eppie, and I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  11. Cathy M

    Big congrats on your Eppie, NJ. Like the excerpt for Unmasking Kelly.

  12. N.J. Walters

    Thank you so much, mammakim.

    I think most of us wear a social mask in some setting or another. I think it’s an instinctual way to fit in and make our lives easier.

  13. mammakim

    Congrats on your eppie 🙂 Great post. I must use my social mask the most. I am never myself when I go out with work people. I won’t even drink with them.

  14. N.J. Walters

    Thanks Littlelamblost. Mask are fascinating, and fearsome, and frightening. That’s why we’re we find them so interesting, I think.

  15. N.J. Walters

    LOL Isn’t it amazing how you remember your first Halloween mask, Kathryn. My favorite was always the princess mask, although I do remember a sketleton one as well.

  16. N.J. Walters

    Thanks, Tina. The theme for the blog came to me one day when I glanced at a mask that I bought at an art exhibition. It’s hanging in my office. The idea of both physical and emotional masks is fascinating.

  17. Little Lamb Lost

    I enjoyed your post. Masks are fascinating both the physical and the otherwise.

  18. Kathryn Holmes

    The first mask I ever wore was for a halloween costume. I was a robot.:-)

  19. tina brunelle

    you know people wear masks too. so this theme is pretty facinating to me! have to pick up this read! love your work!

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