Do you know your own GMC? Not your characters, yours as a writer?

By Auregann (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For writers of genre fiction where plot and story are central to the success of the book, we’re often told to clarify our characters’ GMCs. For non-writers, this stands for Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. And it’s best if you can have both an external and an internal one for your Main Character (and your other Main Character if it’s a romance) and your Antagonist (if it’s sentient).

This can be easily transformed into a sentence: Hero wants x because y, but z happens. Internal GMCs would be: Hero needs x because y, but z.

Anyway, as writers we can be so focused on perfecting our craft that sometimes we can neglect ourselves and hamper our goal. Last week I was at my monthly critique group meeting and one of us has multiple unpublished novels under her belt. She’s definitely put in the 10,000 hours of practice as she’s been writing for the last 10 years and she is extremely talented. Her prose drips with ethos and voice, her scenes and characters come alive, and she has great stories to tell. But you can’t read any of her work. In fact, though she’s been doing this for so long, we’re part of only a handful who actually knows she writes. She also has a fear of having folks she knows reading her work (I think she’s fine with strangers).

And this is all fine if she is writing solely for her own benefit. So at the meeting I asked her what her ultimate goal is, as that will help clarify whether she needs to go through the time-consuming and often gut-wrenching process of getting your work out there. And she would like to be published. She’s starting to research going the indie route and we were discussing it with great energy.

So to grossly simplify my good friend’s GMC, it would be: She wants to be published because she’d like to share her work with others, but she lacks time. And her internal GMC would be hampered by a fear.

Why is this good to know for yourself? Because just like with your Main Character, you need to know your goal, what’s opposing you, and then launch yourself into your own Story World and start tackling the steps to take you to your own Goal. Along the way you’ll have setbacks, your internal fears will hamper you, but keep yourself focused on your main goal and you’ll get there.

And if you need some inspiration to help you keep going through your Story World, an earlier post of mine talks about pushing past each setback you’ll hit on your journey, Writer Wednesday: When You Hit That Wall, Do You Nurse Your Head, Or Climb Over? Then once you picture yourself climbing over (or around or under) that wall and the multitude of writers who are not doing that, read Kristen Lamb’s post What Are the Odds of Success? …Really? In it, she maintains that “It has been statistically demonstrated that only 5% of any population is capable of sustained change.” So with each metaphorical wall you hit as a writer, remember that only 5% get to the other side. Do you want to be part of that 5%?

Do you know your own GMC? What fears are holding you back? Do you have your next immediate goal you need to tackle?

Tweetables:

  • Do you know your own GMC? Not your characters, yours as a writer? @AngelaQuarles <– Click to tweet
  • Have you launched yourself into your own Story World? Know your own GMCs @AngelaQuarles <– Click to tweet

Image source: By Auregann (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Guest Post: Stephanie Lawton on The Art of Genre Hopping

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Excited to have fellow Mobilian Stephanie Lawton on my blog today to talk about her new release, Need, which is the follow-up to her debut release Want! Take it away, Stephanie!

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Thanks, Angela, for the opportunity to say a few things about my new release, Need, genre-hopping and nontraditional publishing. Quite a mouthful, that, but I assure you they’re related and relevant to most writers.

In an ideal writing world, we don’t sit down and immediately conjure up the perimeters of a specific genre. Instead, we tell our story the way it needs to be written. Only when it’s finished do we begin to think of its marketability and where it fits in the pigeon holes of the publishing world.

Nine times out of ten, it’s easy to tell where a book belongs. Narrator under eighteen? It’s probably YA. Silk sheets and a red room of fun toys? Probably erotic romance or erotica (or perhaps comedy, but I’ll leave that one alone …)

So what happens when your story genuinely doesn’t fit a specific category, or doesn’t fit well enough to be a sure thing for an agent or publisher to be comfortable selling? Answer: You go indie.

For some, this means hitting up indie publishers, which are doing quite well in this changing market. They’re also generally more open to well-written stories that may not conform to what’s currently popular or projected to be so. The good ones still demand quality, but they often see the value in putting something out there that appeals to specific readers, or readers who are tired of the same big-house tropes.

This is where I lucked out with my romance series. The first book, Want, was published as upper-YA. The story hinges on the heroine being seventeen, but the issues she’s facing are very adult and all the rest of the characters in the book are adults. Is it YA? Not really. But is it adult? Most potential readers would automatically assume it’s not based on the narrator’s age.

A year after publication we’ve seen the rise of a category known as New Adult. Bingo. And guess who pioneered this wildly successful trend? Indie writers (many self-published) and indie publishers.

There were many demands from readers for a second book to find out what happened next to a certain character, so I penned Need. This time, I wrote from the main male adult character’s POV (I can’t call him a protagonist or antagonist and be completely accurate). He’s twenty-eight, beyond New Adult and well beyond YA.

Plus, when his story began pouring out, it was really adult, as in practically erotic romance. When I first sent it off to my indie publisher (right of first refusal and all that) I figured there was no way they’d let me get away with veering so far away from the first book’s genre. I honestly expected a big ‘ole “Hell no!” complete with finger snaps.

But guess what? They loved it. What’s more, readers are loving it.

The moral of the story, boys and girls, is to take a chance, write what you love, and trust that there are options for your story and readers who will jump at the chance to delve into something off the beaten path.

Happy writing and reading!

Need’s blurb:

NeedIsaac Laroche is cursed. All he wants to do is hide out and feel sorry for himself. Never mind that he got caught sleeping with his seventeen-year-old piano student, or that he abandoned her when the truth was exposed.

Isaac’s feisty high school sweetheart has different plans. Heather Swann has returned to their hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to regroup after breaking up with her troll of a fiancé. She’s restless and looking for a diversion, but she bites off more than she can chew when she sets her sights on rehabilitating Isaac with her unorthodox sexual, mental, and physical plans.

The two quickly reconnect, but their happiness is threatened by family secrets, old vendettas and the death of a beloved father-figure.

Can Heather handle Isaac’s baggage, or will her own come back to haunt them both?

Where to get your hands on it:

Inkspell Publishing (paperback and digital) | Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook) | Amazon (paperback and Kindle) | All Romance eBooks (digital) | The Book Depository (paperback) | Kobo (digital)

Author bio:

photo 3After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.

A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.

Links for stalking!

Author website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thanks Stephanie for giving us this peek into indie publishing! Visitors, have you found this to be the case too with indie books? Have you let a story take you where it needed to go and found acceptance? This is definitely an exciting time to be a writer!

Dealing with Critiques and Reviews – the 40-20-40 Rule

One of my earliest blog posts was about dealing with critiques and I shared what I called the 30-40-30 rule that I learned from my uncle. Well I just had a short vacation with said uncle and found out I had the percentage wrong! He said it’s 40-20-40! So here’s my old post, revised a tad with that calculation.

As a writer, at some point you will reach the stage where you will need to have others critique your work. There are many reasons to do so that others have covered before, but as a former computer programmer, one way I like to look at it is: you cannot test your own code. You think you’ve written the program to do exactly what you want, you test it and hand it off to the Beta tester. And they find mistakes. The reason is because they didn’t build it and so don’t know your thinking behind it and do what comes natural to them. Consequently, they take paths you never dreamed of and hadn’t tested for. Yikes!

How does this relate to writing? You think you’ve sufficiently explained motives behind character actions, or have shown the emotional reaction sufficiently because YOU know the character so well and know EXACTLY why they’re doing it and fail to see that it didn’t quite come across the way you pictured it. Oops! A good critiquer or beta reader will find these ‘thin spots’ for you.

Okay, so you’re ready to get critiques? Are you sure? I’d like to tout again this great advice from Writer Musings: How To Get The Most Out Of A Critique, Part Three: if you don’t know the heart of your story, you are not ready for feedback. This is so true because you are going to get a wide array of feedback. And by wide array, I mean some folks will hate a particular line and others will like that same one. Soon, you’ll be wanting to pull out your hair. Or, worse, you’ll take every single suggestion as gospel and water down your story, your voice, to such a state that it will be milquetoast.

The problem is, if you’re doing things right, I think, you’ll have some people not like it. Crazy I know. But I think I’m right. Here’s why. If you have a unique voice or your characters’ voices are interesting and unique, that means some people are not going to like it. It’s just not their thang. And that’s okay. Make it bland, though? No one will find it objectionable, but are any of them excited? Probably not.

So what’s a writer to do? I like to invoke my uncle’s 40-20-40 rule. He got this advice when he became dean of a department — 40% of the people are going to like you no matter what, 40% will not like you no matter what, it’s the 20% in the middle you need to worry about. This rule is so handy and applicable that I’ve quoted it many times for different scenarios. It’s why politicians are really in trouble if they drop below 40% in the approval ratings, because they’re losing folks that would normally support them no matter what.

When writing, use this rule, too, during your critique period and also when it’s published. Make sure you show your draft to people outside of your 40%-guaranteed likes (i.e. your family and friends). One excellent place to get a wide sampling and great advice is my favorite critique forum: Critique Circle. It runs by a credit system — the more you crit others, the more credits you earn and so the more you can post for review. The other part I like is that it is broken up by genre and there are only a certain number of slots for each, so you’re guaranteed to get crits, unlike other sites where you join a huge long list and folks have to wade through. The more crits given in a particular genre for that week’s cycle, the more slots available for that genre for the next week. Check it out.

But then be prepared for diverse opinions! It can be very overwhelming and it’s tempting to take every single piece of advice. Make sure you evaluate each one, even if it’s contrary or hard to swallow. They may have an excellent point. Take a few days and let it sink in. If it will make your piece stronger, use it. If it resonates with you as the writer and fits with your vision, use it. But if it doesn’t, don’t. You’ll get ‘critters’ who don’t like your genre, so of course they’re probably not going to like your piece. Evaluate to see if the critter ‘gets’ what you’re trying to say/tell. You’ll soon get the hang of it. I had one critter in the beginning that was telling me to delete things that were what made my character different. She didn’t like the character and so was watering her down to what she liked. I didn’t take her advice because I knew this was how my character thought, and others were liking this exact aspect of her.

So, I’m going to risk that 40% will not like my character and my story and hoping the 20% in the middle do.

EDIT: A sharp commenter noted that this is a breakdown of the Pareto Principle, known as the 80/20 rule. The lesson is the same: concentrate on capturing that elusive 20% in the middle, and the 40 on either end are the ‘trivial 80%’ noted in Pareto’s Principle!

What has been your critique experience? Do you find this rule applicable as well? Do you think the percentage distribution is right? Or do you feel 30-40-30 is more accurate?

Photo by jared

Tweetables

  • Dealing with Critiques or Reviews – the 40-20-40 Rule click to tweet
  • When evaluating crits & reviews, aim for the 20% in the middle! The 40-20-40 rule click to tweet

Book Monday: My Angel Kick — Singh, Eden and Ward

I honestly didn’t mean to start an angel phase. It all started with Cynthia Eden. Next month on Paranormal Unbound, we’re going to highlight the paranormal authors who were nominated for the RITA, and since Ms. Eden is an RWA chapter-mate, and I’ve been wanting to read her series anyway, I waved my hand enthusiastically to feature her. And since I can’t start a series in the middle, I picked up Book 1 (Angel of Darkness) and 2, as well as the nominated-3.

And I enjoyed all three! Great world-building, great pacing, great writing, and loved the characters. I won’t go into it much more here and save it for next month on Paranormal Unbound.

And it was due to that blog that I picked up the other two authors. I’d been wanting to read JR Ward and as noted in an earlier post, got completely obsessed with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. So when I saw one of her books for a different series at a library sale, I snagged it without reading what it was about. And because I’m an obsessive series reader, and the one I got was not the first, I filled out the series at used bookstores and online. Nalini Singh was also recommended by commenters on Paranormal Unbound, specifically the Guild Hunter series, so I snagged some at said library sale, and rounded it out in the same manner as the other Ward series.

Since I snagged a bunch of other books at that sale, I wasn’t paying particular attention to titles or blurbs, and happily added them all to my To Be Read Hill. So I picked up the first of Singh’s recently, having finished Eden’s series, and finally, you know, looked at the friggin’ title, and lo, it’s Angels’ Blood. And wow, folks weren’t lying about how great the writing is. Very fresh voice and unique world-building. I was immediately sucked in, and it didn’t hurt that Raphael was one hunk of an archangel.

I’m currently enjoying a 3-day beach vacation with family and so when I packed Saturday, I headed to my Hill, and grabbed the rest of the Singh’s and all the Wards (in case I finished Singh’s, LOL) and have been having a wonderful and relaxing stay, reading on the beach, reading by the pool, reading on one of they many screened in porches on the beach house. Yesterday I finished Angel’s Blood by the pool, and said to my cousin, “One book down, grabbing another!” I went to my pile only to discover I hadn’t successfully filled out my series and didn’t have Book 2. So thankfully I’d overpacked books (which is always wise to do on a vacation or trip) and grabbed the first one of Ward’s other series (Covet) and scampered back to the pool. And imagine my surprise when I saw it was about, yep, angels–in this case fallen angels, like Eden’s.

So I guess I’m on an angel kick!

And enjoying the ride…

What about you? Do you find yourself, either accidentally or planned, reading about one paranormal creature for a while? Do you find angels yummy too?

Are you using a thesaurus correctly? And is this irony?

179909_620791327948192_959396268_nSometimes I wonder about the universe and how it will sync random events to make a point, teach us something, or just plain laugh at us.

Case in point

Yesterday, a fellow writer posted this some-ecard with the quote from Stephen King on Facebook and I wrote the following comment:

I don’t know– I think there’s an exception–if you’re only using words you find in there that you already know well and have just forgotten it, and so you’re like “oh, yes, that’s a good one.” Problem is when people use it to use words they don’t know and so potentially use it in the wrong context or it has a shade of meaning they are unfamiliar with. Or are just trying to use ‘impressive’ words. I sometimes (I’m of a certain age) find that I also forget nice simple words too.

And then I proceed to fire up the old Kindle to read a new book that should be right up my alley–a quirky, nerdy heroine stumbling toward love. It was recommended by another writer in a blog post as a refreshing, new voice and I just had to check it out. It started out great (voice, check), and I do really like the quirky, nerdy heroine (check), but soon I started cringing.

The problem?

The writer is using a vocabulary wider than her own. It clearly suffers from thesaurusitis and while the heroine is supposed to be über smart and nerdy, and so it would seem to be appropriate for the heroine to have a great vocabulary and use big words, the problem is, the writer doesn’t have the same vocabulary as the heroine she’s trying to write and so is using words that she thinks portrays the synonym for the word she looked up, but the shade of meaning or context is completely wrong. Making for some unintentional funny moments. Frankly, it’s spoiled the book for me, though I’m still going to continue reading it today just because I do like the heroine and her situation. But I won’t be recommending it to anyone. My co-worker asked if it was supposed to be intentional, but I don’t think so–this character isn’t being portrayed as someone who thinks she’s smart and using words in the wrong context to provide hilarity, she’s actually supposed to be smart.

And is this irony or just Alanis Morissette irony?

I hate to admit this, but I struggle with whether something is true irony, so help a girl out. Is the fact that I wrote that comment on Facebook saying there is an exception and then on the same day I start a book that illustrates the other half of my comment:

Problem is when people use it to use words they don’t know and so potentially use it in the wrong context or it has a shade of meaning they are unfamiliar with.

Is that true irony? Because I rarely read a book that suffers from thesaurusitis and it was kinda freaky for me to start one on the same day that did.

Do you agree with Stephen King re: thesaurus usage? Or, do you use one? And if so, how?

Tweetables:

  • Today @AngelaQuarles asks: Are you using a thesaurus correctly? And is this irony? click to tweet
  • Is a thesaurus useful or do you agree with Stephen King that a writer should never use it?  @angelaquarles click to tweet

Time Thief by Katie MacAlister

Come visit me over at Paranormal Unbound today, where I talk about Time Thief

Paranormal Unbound

Time-Thief-185x300I’m a huge fan of Katie MacAlister and also a big fan of timey-wimey stuff, so when I saw that Time Thief, book one in a new series, was coming out (May 7), I just had to snag it. I can always depend on Ms. MacAlister to give me a light, fun read with sparkling dialogue and yummy heroes and she doesn’t disappoint.

Blurb:

Outcast due to their ability to manipulate time, shunned by the mortal and immortal worlds alike, a Traveller’s life is anything but easy.

Traveller Peter Faa is a member of the Otherworld’s Watch tracking down a murderer, and unfortunately, the clues all seem to point toward his own estranged family. Any of his cousins could be guilty, but finding which one is tricky when they’re all experts in the art of stealing time.

After surviving a lightning strike, Kiya Mortenson is determined to get just…

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Guest post: Kate Meader’s recipe for the sexy in FEEL THE HEAT? Humor!

katemeader_BlogTourBanner (1)

I’m so excited to have one of my Beta partners on my blog today, Kate Meader! Her debut novel released just last week from Grand Central’s Forever imprint, and boy-howdy is it awesome! I first came across her in the blog hop Six Sentence Sunday, and as soon as I started reading her snippets, I was hooked on this story! Not only did it have a scrumptious hero, but it had fantastic humor; my kind of read! So we struck up an online friendship, and I Beta read Feel the Heat, and she Beta read Must Love Breeches and have been Beta partners since. Given that her brand of humor is what attracted me to her writing, I asked if she could touch on humor in her writing. So take it away, Kate!

*****

Thanks to Angela for hosting and letting me talk about Feel the Heat, the first book in my Chicago-set Hot in the Kitchen series about an Italian restaurant owning family and the sizzling, sexy chefs who love them.

Have you ever read those “survey” results in Cosmo or the like where a woman will rate what she thinks is most important or sexiest to her in a man? They never say that he has to be built like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson or that he has to have more jaw than necessary. Sure we won’t throw that guy out of bed for eating chips but invariably, it’s intelligence, compassion and—ding ding ding!—a sense of humor that rises to the top of the list. Every woman (and plenty of guys) want a man who can make them laugh. The fantasy guy of romance novels might be the brooding alpha who’s so tortured and possessive that he makes his lady’s life miserable, only compensating for his assholic behavior by burning up the heroine between the sheets. But for women IRL, a guy who brings the funny gets us every time.

Well, lucky for you, dear reader, the hero of my debut foodie romance, Feel the Heat, brings the best of both worlds—I had to make him a little arrogant after all. And British. (Same difference, I hear some of you say.) Jack Kilroy is an amazing chef, a born leader, a man who has women eating out of his hand. Often literally. So he also has a few insecurities, mostly about whether people want to use him for his fame and his wealth, but he’s what I call “happy alpha”. He doesn’t dwell on his problems too much and he certainly doesn’t hesitate when it comes to Lili DeLuca. Jack is sure he wants to date this smart mouth woman—and viral videos of steamy kisses, butts with their own Twitter accounts, and his bitch fork-wielding fans are not going to stand in his way.

What makes these two so perfect for each other is that Lili is rather unimpressed by Jack’s fame and is unafraid to take him down a peg or three. Oh, his assets are undeniable but if he thinks he can sway her with those gorgeous green eyes and his disruptively handsome cheekbones, he can think again. When they first meet, Jack has made a shambles of Lili’s restaurant kitchen, so she jumps into clean-up mode—and takes a jab at Le Kilroy while she’s at it.

She glanced down at his hand resting on her golden skin. By the time her eyes had made the return trip, she was shooting sparks. Back off. Hooking a stray lock behind her ear, she returned to her task—cleaning up his mess and making him look like an arse. A cloud of unruly, cocoa brown hair pitched forward, obscuring her heart-shaped face and giving her a distinct lunatic vibe.

It would take more than a death stare and a shock of crazy curls to put him off. Teasing her was too much fun.

“I’m pretty fast, love, and if you can move with superhero speed, we’d get it done in a jiffy.”

Another push back of her hair revealed a pitying smile. “Don’t ever claim to be fast, Kilroy. No woman wants to hear that.”

Ouch.

Best of all, he’s not afraid to look silly to get her attention. Here, Jack shows up at Lili’s apartment after screwing up royally (as only a guy can do):

The sound of a scuffle bounced through the intercom followed by more foreign babbling. A full minute passed.

“All right, you’re going to be sorry,” he said, inducing a flap of panic in her chest. Would he try to break in? Bang on her door until one of the neighbors called the cops?

If only. It was worse. Much worse.

Jack Kilroy started to sing.

The caterwauling made by the most deluded of wannabe contestants on American Idol had nothing on this. Hearing such a sound blasting from her TV was one thing; listening to it through her intercom was quite another. His voice had not improved any since the last time she’d heard him mangling a tune, right before she clocked him with a frying pan.

“Lili, I just met a girl, she’s called Lili…” This, to the tune of “Maria” from West Side Story.

Someone on the street cheered. Encouraged, Jack raised his voice a couple of inadvisable octaves. Another voice punctuated the lyrics with shouts of “Lili” a half-beat late. There was a pause as Jack told his accompanist in no uncertain terms to shut the fuck  up.

Who doesn’t love a guy who will sing for his woman on a busy Chicago street? Jack is a balls-out passionate guy and his single-minded focus combined with his great sense of humor slowly breaks down Lili’s defenses. So we won’t say no to the handsome lug but if he isn’t making us smile, then forget about it!

Tell me about the funniest guy you ever dated. Did you keep him or did you let him get away?

During the Feel the Heat release tour, I am giving away foodie-related swag: one Grand Prize and five smaller prize packs! Details and pics on my website. Enter using Rafflecopter!

*****

FEEL-THE-HEAT-coverFEEL THE HEAT by Kate Meader

Hot in the Kitchen, Book 1

IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT . . .

Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time managing her family’s Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she’s tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. But once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral and her luscious butt starts trending on Twitter, Lili fears she’s cooked up a recipe for disaster.

GET INTO THE BEDROOM

Jack Kilroy’s celebrity has left him feeling used and used up. While Lili’s oh-so-sexy moans when she tastes his delicious creations turn him on, he’s even more aroused by how unimpressed this beautiful, funny woman is with his fame. He knows they could be amazing together, if she could only see past his bitch fork-wielding fan base. Now, as he’s about to start a new prime time TV cooking show, can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions – and turn up the heat in his kitchen?

Amazon – Barnes & Noble

KateMeader-authorAbout Kate

Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. She has a bachelor’s in law (useless), a master’s in history (not as useless), and another master’s in library and information science (yay, using). When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero. For news, excerpts, and recipes, check out her website at www.katemeader.com.

Ways to stalk her:

Facebook –  Twitter – Goodreads –  Blog

The Sudden Loss of a Pet and a Warning: Beware of Thread

wpid-0901110900f.jpgDarcy and Bingley (Darcy’s on the left)

I thought I’d take a moment to eulogize Darcy, who had to be put down yesterday. By my calculations, he was probably born around now two years ago. The above photo I just pulled from my blog’s archive, and it was the very first photo in it. I guess I must have set my author bio page up first. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on it too much in this post because anyone who’s had a pet knows what it’s like and there’s no need for me to go into it here (and how wonderful he was), but it felt wrong not to mark it in some way on the blog, because he is a part of my bio, and just deleting him felt wrong. I still don’t know if Bingley will remain there or not. I’d also posted a blog post about him once, about his new-found skill in turning on a floor lamp in Kitteh Too Smart, and they’re both integral to Ack! I’m One of THOSE Now–How I Trained Myself to be a Morning Person…

This photo I also used with an agent I pitched to at RWA Nationals as my ice breaker because I knew she’d love it (and she did) and that agent later tweeted about it and was one of the ones who offered me representation.

Since my bio will change, I’m posting that paragraph here, so that it won’t just disappear into the ether:

I hate to admit it, but I do match the stereotype of a Romance writer by having cats. They are Darcy and Bingley, and they are two perfectly matched grays, how appropriate is that? Unlike their namesakes, they are brothers—a visiting cousin rescued them from a parking lot and I couldn’t resist keeping them. You actually can tell them apart–Darcy is slightly darker and hardly talks, and Bingley is a talker. Both are sweet and loving. Aptly named, no?

But this post isn’t completely self-indulgent. If you have string or thread laying around, beware! What killed Darcy was him swallowing a long length of sewing thread. Being ignorant of the dangers, when I saw it coming out of his butt, I snipped it off and waited to see if the rest passed. It didn’t. I brought him in yesterday, and when they opened him up, the thread had already wreaked havoc on his insides. The thread went from his tongue, out all the way through, and the swallowing action, plus the bowels trying to pass it, made it pull through his intestines. So the poor little guy had perforations through his intestines and colon.

Sometimes It’s All About a Match-Making Djinn, Or… It’s Not

Come visit me over at Paranormal Unbound!

Paranormal Unbound

lamp_hiresA question that writers get asked a lot is “Where do you get your ideas?” and sometimes the answers can astound you with how deeply the rabbit-hole goes, and other times… not so much. Because sometimes the answer is, “I don’t know.”

For me, my current release Beer and Groping in Las Vegas barely qualifies as paranormal–it’s an erotic geek romance with paranormal elements by way of a matchmaking djinn and a magic slot machine in Vegas. But the paranormal only facilitates the romance between two quite human characters.

So did I set about to write a novelette featuring a match-making djinn? Nope. Not even close. Actually the whole project was a whim to take my mind off of my larger project at the time–I had just sent out my first round of agent queries for my full length time travel romance, Must Love Breeches, and I wanted to…

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Monday Hunk Who Reads – John Cusack

John Cusack [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

John Cusack [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

John Cusack

It’s the first Monday of the month and I’m also back to my regular blogging schedule, so what does that mean? It means a new hunk who loves books!

Darling of romcoms, there’s more to Cusack than the aw-shucks looks. Take a look at what books he likes! Oprah interviewed him for her feature Books That Made a Difference, and here’s what she found out:

Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 made the list. Here’s what he says:

His mixture of artistic sensibilities with journalistic excellence, all to find the core of truth—I thought that was pretty incredible. Mostly, I admired the ferocity of Hunter’s mind.

And living in Alabama as I do, I can’t fault him at all for having To Kill a Mockingbird on the list. Also making the cut were Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One, The Great Thoughts, From Abelard to Zola, from Ancient Greece to Contemporary America, the Ideas that have Shaped the History of the World, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and Modris Eksteins’ Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. The latter he said:

It’s probably got as much insight and wizardry as any book I’ve ever come across. If you read nothing else, read chapter ten, ‘Spring Without End.

Here he is at last year’s LA Times Festival of Books. He was there promoting The Raven, but went on to mention books he’s reading:

In which he mentions his two recent faves are Nick Tosches’ In the Hand of Dante and Mark Layner’s The Sugar Frosted Nutsack. Wow, what a title that last one is! He also mentions having read another Eksteins book Walking Since Daybreak : A Story of Eastern Europe, World War II, and the Heart of Our Century.

So that’s this month’s Hunk Who Reads. Reading is sexy people!

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next month to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner