Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's Time for Dimple Part Deux!


Friends, I have a new book out!  The long-anticipated (at least by me) sequel to THE DIMPLE OF DOOM is out today!  It's called THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK, and it's got more dimpling, more evildoers, more hot dudes, and more of Samantha Lytton being, well, herself, which is to say "more total fucking disasters."

To get to write a sequel to a book that's so close to my heart is an amazing thing, and I'm so very proud of this one.  My first review for The Dimple Strikes Back came via Goodreads, and it read thus:


Mandy, you've put a tear in my eye.  And I'm not joking -- I am that schmoopy.

Stay tuned here for giveaways and promo events!  However, you just HAD to buy it right now because it's the best book in the history of the printed page (and who am I to stop you?) here are some linkys.

Lucy — Website Goodreads Twitter Facebook

Book One:  THE DIMPLE OF DOOM — Available in print and digital from:  Totally Bound, Amazon, AllRomance.com, B&N, Sony / Excerpt here.

Book Two:  THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK — Available in digital from:  Totally Bound , Amazon, AllRomance.com / Excerpt here.


Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, (had) a marvelous Chanukah, a delightful Kwanza, a fruitful Festivus, and/or a fantabulous pagan celebration of presents and fruitcake!

~Lucy



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Answers to Those Horrible Fucking Life Questions You Get During the Holidays

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  The time when Aunt Judgmental casually pries your heart out with a melon baller by asking a seemingly-innocuous question over the dinner table at Christmas.  Since you probably can’t tell her or Uncle Nosypants to go &^#@ themselves, here are some answers designed to confuse, dismay, and discourage follow-up discussion.



"Are you dating anyone?"

Real Answer:  Well, I am dodging dick pics from a real asshole I had coffee with once, but who thinks we’re engaged now.

Better Answer:  I am seeking my prince/princess, just as Disney taught me, so I’ve begun the paperwork to declare myself a constitutional monarchy like Monaco.  Once it goes through, I expect to be swimming in crowns and marriage contracts.  If you wish to send a delegation to the country of Me, I have some paperwork for you.

"How’s your job search going?"

Real Answer:  I’m wearing two mis-matched shoes I found in an alley — does that tell you anything?
Better Answer:  I’ve decided to become a superhero.  I even got myself a radioactive spider to speed things up!  It’s right h— oh, shit.  Um, have you seen a black and fluorescent spider anywhere?

"When are you having kids?! Tick tock LOLLLLL!"

Real Answer:  How about you get a fucking life instead of trying to live through my reproductive organs?

Better Answer:  I’ll furnish you with a bouncing baby as soon as I have the money.  By the way, can I borrow twenty thousand dollars?  You don’t have to answer now, I’ll just keep asking every time I see you, notice you’re on Facebook, fart in your general direction…

"When are you going to get a real job?”

Real Answer:  It seems as if I can already buy better taste than you, so I’m not sure what the problem is…

Better Answer:  I read that people who are [whatever the question-asker’s profession is] experience a high rate of sadness and personal dissatisfaction.  Why is that?

"Why are you still single?  Maybe you should lower your standards!"

Real Answer:  *With a pointed look to the question asker* I already have enough assholes in my life, thank you.

Better Answer:  You’re right.  I’ve been looking for another human who treats me with kindness and respect, but that seems to be out of the question.  The only thing that has wanted to cuddle with me in the last six months is my cat.  She is really cute, though…  Let me show you a picture — she’s totally coming on to me in this one, right?  I knew it!

"I thought you were losing weight?"

Real Answer:  I wanted to lose two hundred pounds, but it’s illegal to kill members of my family.

Better Answer:  I was, but it’s a quirk of my metabolism that I gain a pound every time someone asks me that question.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guest Post -- Author Melissa Blue: Please Don't Call Me Humorous

I'm so happy to welcome rom-com author Melissa Blue to eulogize the dreaded "rom-com" label, and to tell us about her book FORBIDDEN RENDEZVOUS!

* * *

I'm sorry to have to be the one to inform you, but like chick-lit, romantic comedy is dead. I kid. Sort of.   I've had this conversation off and on with other writers for a while, but we all agree humor is not welcomed in some circles. And it's a scientific fact (ok it's a Melissa Blue fact) that once you have to explain a joke, it's just not funny anymore. The same could be said once you slap on chick-lit or romantic comedy onto a book. Folks go into the book expecting the funniest, I-almost-peed-in-my-pants hilarity. When all they get are a few chuckles here and there the book has failed on that perceived promise.

I'm not going to lie to you. It's a conundrum. What's a humorous author to do? You won't want folks opening your book expecting every moment to be serious when you have like 323 dick jokes, thinly veiled ones, placed throughout a 40k story. At the same time, the pressure of 323 loud laughs has to happen. What if there's only 320 chuckles? You have failed.

I've made a study of this. In order for a joke to work the writer has to know their audience. On some basic level all of them have to have seen/experienced the same things. That's not even taking in the probability the person holds your same sense of humor. Because by proxy you have to make a joke that everyone would laugh at.

You can't tell because you're reading this blog in real time but I've sat here staring off into space for five minutes trying to think of an example. So...

Hero.
Heroine.
They are both partially naked in the pool. She jumps in and tells him to come in to play. And by play she means something else entirely.
The water is cold.
The hero jumps in.

* insert joke of a man being in cold water *

Yeah. Ten more minutes of staring into space and I've got nothing but a comparison of thumbs and small peens. I can't take the pressure of being funny. So let's just say I write light and fluffy romances. If they make you laugh that's awesome. As far as I'm concerned romantic comedies and chick-lit is dead to me. And please for the love of cold water and * insert joke about a man being in cold water * don't call me humorous.

Who are some of your favorite chick-lit authors? Some of your favorite rom-com authors?

* Sophie Kinsella is one of mine.

* * *

Lucy:  Here are the blurb and an excerpt -- BRB, adding this to my to-read pile, as I generally enjoy both dens and sinning.



When the Beaudelaire Hotel turns into a Den of Sin for the New Year's weekend, any and every fantasy can become a reality...
Seraphina Gibson orchestrates fantasies, but this year she'll create one of her own. It's against the rules for an employee to participate in the weekend-long sex-capade but she's willing to risk it for Luke Moreland. The man's a mystery, but in a sea of CEOs and Fortune 500 billionaires, he stands out. His past and connection to her boss is clouded in intrigue, but she knows what he wants, and she plans to star in one of his voyeuristic trysts.
Born with a silver spoon Luke Moreland is used to getting everything he desires. Being next in line of his family's winery leaves him very little time to take advantage of his riches. For a weekend, out of every year, he gets to feel the thrill of the chase. Not even in his sexual fantasies does he like to lose control, but then Seraphina walks into his playroom. He doesn't know the truth of her past, but he knows the risk she's taken to be with him. That doesn't matter. He's going to spend the next two days with her in his bed and keep her secret.
When reality crashes into their fantasy, will they survive?


* * *

“Call me Luke. I insist.”

She gripped the files to her chest. Not that he could see anything but a hint of her femininity. She wore pants suits and not even a button was left open to tease him with a view of her dark-olive skin. When alone, at the end of the day, would she take the pins out of her hair and free the ebony strands? It killed him to be this close to her and yet so far from touching, seeing the woman underneath the professionalism.

“Was there something you forgot to ask me during your interrogation?” she asked.

“Yes.”

She pursed her lips, but the corners of her mouth turned up. “I think Mr. Beaudelaire would like to know you hold his staff hostage.”

Henri would be displeased that he'd shamelessly flirted with any of his staff. Doing more than flirting? Now that would cause trouble their friendship didn't need. They used to be close as brothers. It had taken the last four years to be more than casual associates.

With that in mind, he considered Seraphina and just how far he could take this. “Have dinner with me. One that isn't a ruse for work.”

“No.”

He hadn't expected her to say yes, yet, but the quick refusal without any trace of doubt in her tone confused the hell out of him. She'd enjoyed herself. He could pick up on the slightest discomfort or sign that someone really didn't like him. He'd honed that skill in college when his world fell apart. He used the skill in all his business dealings.

Henri had his rules, but Luke had suspected Seraphina didn't let anyone in. “Are you seeing someone?”

“No.”

“Shitty childhood?”

“No,” but she said it with a laugh. “Back up.”

He took two steps and crossed his arms. She had room to leave now, but she only pressed her shoulders against the oak door. Usually he let her be, but this year there was something different about her. He didn't care what it was. He welcomed it.

“Then tell me why,” he said.

“You're a customer. It's against the rules.”

The answer sounded recited. “And if I wasn't?”

* * *

Buy Links:





Author Bio:
Mel Blue is the risque pen name for Melissa Blue. Her writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn't looked back since.

Outside of writing, Blue works as a mail clerk for the federal government, has a paralegal certificate (that she has more use for as a dust pan) and is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny.

You can find her camped out on Facebook or Twitter. Check out her website to sign up for her newsletter and get updates on new releases.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How to Write a Romance Novel

So you want to write a romance novel!


It's gonna be sexy and fun and amazing!


And it's gonna sell a billion copies!


So you get out that laptop and let your imagination run wild:


The first chapter is so amazing you're pretty sure you're the sexy JK Rowling.  JK Sexing.


But then you figure out that writing sexy scenes is hard.  Even when you come up with great puns like "hard."



And for fuck's sake, do all the plot lines need to go somewhere?  Even that stupid one you started in chapter seven?


WHY IS THE HERO BEING A DICK?  THAT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!



Not even his amazing butt can make up for it.


Shit, did I give the heroine four hands in this sex scene?


JUST BE DONE ALREADY.  NO MORE HUMPING, THEY'RE GONNA GET DEHYDRATED.



I'll give that heroine a song about her.  Heroines love songs about them!


Make sure the hero learns to love his softer side...


And throw a happy ending on that shit!


And after only eleventy billion hours of work, you, too can be a romance novelist.

Now you just have to sell it.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Tips for NaNoWriMo From a Gen-u-ine Author

  • Every moment you spend crying is another moment you don't have to write.

  • Great ideas often come when you aren't concentrating on them, like on December 1st.

  • Never use adverbs, for they are often unnecessary.  Adjectives muck up the action.  And nouns -- WTF are those for?  Only use verbs and the word "Kardashian."

  • Keep up a tally of your daily writing progress.  How else can you know how utterly fucked you are?

  • Name all your characters after modern-day toddlers.  Jaydyn and Nevaeh and Mackenzee are timeless monikers that just scream "classic."

  • Zombies are over.  Never write vampires.  Werewolves are tired, and you always have to keep track of where their clothes go.  Talking Diet Cokes are the new zombies.

  • Drink.

  • Remember, if you try, you've already succeeded!  FYI, don't go look up the definition of success after you tell yourself this.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cover reveal -- THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK!


More madness from Samantha Lytton when THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK drops for wide release on December 20, 2013.  Just in time to help avoid horrible Christmas relatives!

Here's a blurb -- more to come, bloggy friends~

Samantha Lytton, foiler of international art theft conspiracies and roller-skate enthusiast, is back!  What has she been up to in the year since the events of THE DIMPLE OF DOOM forcibly removed her from her crappy day job and introduced her to the be-dimpled burglar of her dreams?  No big whoop — just being a movie star.

Samantha’s career has taken off like whoa, and she’s just arrived in London to star in the film What Could Go Wrong?, a heist caper about a group of down-on-their-luck losers who rob the British Museum.  Sam, would-be Picasso thief and lover boy, joins her in the UK to rev up her engine in the bad boy way only he can.  Life is full of sexy good times, money, and prestige galore!  What could go wrong?
Ha ha — everything.

After a kidnapping attempt in London (survive two, get one free!), Sam nobly dumps Samantha for her own good, the jerk.  The Ghost of Criminals Past haunts him like week-old seafood.  No matter, for Samantha is a successful woman of the world now and she jumps back into actress-mode with her sexy co-star Daniel Zhang.  Hot movie star = best rebound ever.  She barely even thinks about what’s-his-name — until his evil ex-girlfriend shows up and gives Samantha an ultimatum she just can’t refuse:  steal a priceless artifact from the museum or die.

Is Sam in cahoots with the evil one?  Can Samantha really rob a museum and film a movie at the same time?  Is it legal to punch one’s own irritating mother?  And why isn’t a lady allowed to marry both a gorgeous Oscar-winner and an equally alluring thief at the same time?  Find out all this and more in THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK, book two in the Samantha Lytton series!

If you can’t beat them, join them (… and then beat them).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Guest Post: Confessions of A Romance Author:
Arguing With My Imagination

My sexy blog buddies, please welcome Melissa Blue, an absolutely delightful writer friend of mine.  She's here to confess that she talks to herself like a weirdo.  That's okay -- every writer does it.  Hey, at least she's chatting up a sexy dude!

PS:  Totally buy her book, The One I Want.  Yummy sample and links below.

Take it away, Melissa...

* * *



Micah Stamps, the hero in my latest release, is an alpha male. I love alpha males. They are strong, determined, natural leaders and as solid as they come. I hate writing them for all the same reasons, because at a certain point in the book (usually the third page) they get an idea of how things are going to be. One of the downsides of a being a natural leader includes making decisions that won't be popular. One of the downsides of writing a natural leader is having to write one of those unpopular decisions.

Around chapter two (he behaved for only a while) Micah decided he doesn't want his best friend/potential lover to spend the rest of her life living pay check to pay check. She has a number of qualities that would make her an excellent entrepreneur. So, he goes about this in a way that only an alpha male can—stubbornly.

Thus ensues this conversation:

Micah: Tell me I'm wrong.

Me: You're right, but you're going to go about it in the wrong way. Everyone with an XY chromosome will want to gut you.

Micah: But, I'm right.

Me: See, ok, but you're the hero. They're supposed to want to roll around in bed with you too.

Micah: Write me sexy then.

Me: Already done, but douche-nozzle will negate that.

Micah: Douche-nozzle?

Me: * blank stare *

Micah: * sighs * I love her. Show that and all will be forgiven.

Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Micah: * glares *

Me: You can glare all you want to. I'm just saying, who does that? A jackass that's who.

Micah: And that just circles us back to I'm right. I can live with being a jackass.

Me: You know what? I'm arguing with my imagination. I'm not going to write that. Be stubborn all you want, but I'm a writer. I know stubborn.

Micah: * stops talking to me for weeks *

Me: Ok. Ok. I have a deadline. Otherwise I'd have shuffled you off to where manuscripts die. Be all alpha. Farrah agrees with me so good luck with that!

Micah: So, you had to bring Farrah into this?

Me: Yup.

Micah: Throw your best at me and we'll see who gives first. 

And thus is why I hate writing alphas, because he was right. Thankfully, Farrah makes him pay and dearly. Yet, at the end of the day, I can't help but come to the conclusion that I argued with my own imagination and lost.

Bio:

Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. Eventually she upgraded to a computer. She’s still typing away on the same computer, making imaginary people fall in love. 

Where to find me online or places to sign up for my newsletter to get the latest news:


Blurb:

THE ONE I WANT
By Melissa Blue
When Farrah Kane comes home from New York she doesn't plan to fall into bed with Micah Stamps. He's demanding, stubborn, her boss and...her best friend. Except she makes the mistake of agreeing to be his roommate as well as his co-worker for the next three months. It's not long before their days are filled with work and their nights filled with passion. The question is whether their friendship will survive the heat and his stubborn ways. She wants to take her time getting settled into home and their new relationship. He seems to have other plans in mind...

There's no getting around the fact that Micah's best friend makes his blood run hot. Their platonic relationship could die a slow death as far as he's concerned. The year she spent in New York made him realize two things: He missed his best friend more than he should have and he never wanted to live without her again. Now that she is in his grasp—in his home—for three months, there's no sense in waiting to take the next step. Micah only has to convince his impulsive friend to settle down with him.

Their work and home life brings out all the differences between them and drags them to the forefront. Their hearts get in the way of their their well-laid plans. Now, they have to figure out if it's possible to still be friends now that they've become lovers.

Buy Links:
ARe

Excerpt:
  
THE ONE I WANT
By Melissa Blue 
She gasped. “What are you doing?”

“Something I should have done long ago.” Micah let her get used to the feel of his fingers twirling circles along her calf while he let himself get used to touching her.

Not in a friendly way, but in the way a man caressed a woman who made him go hot. Farrah didn't speak, but her breath panted out and the wonderful sound of it blocked out the voices on the TV.

He now knew how soft and warm she felt. It should have been enough. His face should have heated with embarrassment, an apology should have spilled from his lips, but Micah wanted to be the one to take her places.

So he slid his palm up to one of the thighs that had been tempting him since she'd came home. He stopped, hesitated at the thought of S&M and taking her places. The next move took no courage on his part because, at this point, the safe thing to say was he'd lost it. Completely and without remorse.

Micah applied pressure to the back of her knee. The dirty and underhanded action buckled her knee and sent her falling into his lap. She landed with a surprised yelp, and a smile tugged at his lips. Farrah was where he wanted her to be, eye to eye and lip to lip. Since he was well on his way to ruining a long-standing friendship, he decided to go for broke.

“What are you doing?” she asked again.

“I'm going to kiss you.” Actively severing their platonic friendship didn't change the fact he'd always tell her the truth if she asked him.

She narrowed her eyes, sniffed at him. “Are you drunk?”

Confused, he frowned. “No. Why?”

“Oh.”

She hadn't jumped up, slapped him, or done a number of things he'd expected. Intent, he took in her face. There wasn't surprise or shock, just curiosity in her knitted brows. Micah wasn't going to break this moment with a question. He'd ask later about her reaction. Instead, he ran his thumb over her chin, lifted up the delicate curve of her jaw. Worries and fears flashed behind her gaze. Before she could voice them, Micah placed his lips against hers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

In Which I Brag, BRAG, I Tell You!

Exalted Blog Chums, I've been busy.  Have you heard about my new book?  I hope so, as I rarely shut up.  And here I am to share more.




I've got a few great reviews for THE DIMPLE OF DOOM!  From Amazon:

This first installment of Lucy Woodhull's new Samantha Lytton series is like Janet Evanovich meets Entrapment. It's art heist hijinks plus steamy romance plus random fried chicken cravings. And it's utterly un-put-downable.

Dude!  She compared me to Janet Evanovich!

Soon I found myself up at 2 am still reading. Both Sam and Nate (or is it Richmond?) are both great characters with excellent chemistry and I found myself rooting for both of them from page one.

From daring (but funny) art heists to steamy hotel moments and shoot outs this was action packed, passion filled and funny from start to end. A must read if ever I have seen one.

Oh, shucks.

Perhaps the most telling marker for me is this: if the second (or third) book in the series was already available, I would've happily clicked "Purchase" at the completion of the first.

Holy crap.  I have such a writer pride boner.  Good thing you can't see me right now.

* * * * * *

I've got an interview up at Female First UK!  I talk about my inspiration for Dimple and where my thief hero got those hazel green/brown eyes.

* * * * * *

I'm giving away a copy of THE DIMPLE OF DOOM to a (hopefully) lucky winner on Marta Acosta's blog.  Stop by and allow me to explain the science of dangerous facial features to you.  You'll "learn" a "lot."  But feel free to purchase TDOD, as it's only a buck for a short time longer at Amazon, AllRomance, and Total-E-Bound.  Where else are you going to get such quality literature at a low, low cost?




Friday, August 2, 2013

Your Long, Torturous Wait Is Over -- THE DIMPLE OF DOOM Is Here!

Blog friends, a journey of 75,000 words begins with a single joke.  And thus did my journey to publication for THE DIMPLE OF DOOM begin with a potato ball (it was super yummy) and a harebrained idea about a secretary and an art thief who fall in love completely unwillingly.

And what a nice inaugural review to get:

"Ooh what a laugh. Here I am sitting reading my book and looking like a complete nincompoop for laughing out loud at what looks to the rest of the world like nothing. ... From daring (but funny) art heists to steamy hotel moments to shoot outs, this was action packed, passion filled and funny from start to end.  A must read if ever I have seen one." -- TheJeepDiva.com



My contemporary romantic comedy is available at most major outlets today FOR ONLY $.99!  (Linkys to Total-E-Bound (my pub), Amazon.com, AllRomance.  For Nook, Sony, & iBook users, buy from Total-E-Bound and choose the ePub format.)

A BUCK!

You could order one size smaller at Starbucks today and have money left over to buy an action-packed thrill-ride of epic proportions, and also filled with lots of sex, because why not?  Or hell -- you get that venti and still read the shit outta my book BECAUSE IT'S ONLY A DOLLA, HOLLA.

Here's the blurb:

THE DIMPLE OF DOOM
by Lucy Woodhull

It may sound like common sense, but never hump an art thief. Turns out, Samantha Lytton's Common-Sense-O-Meter is super duper broken.
Failed actress Samantha Lytton is getting along just fine in her lonely little life when a charming criminal called Sam or Nate or maybe even Richmond kisses her, square dances most provocatively, opens his not-so-wicked heart, and gets her in trouble with not one, but two international art theft rings as well as the LAPD.
She's either gonna end up in jail or famous.  Maybe both.
Along the way, she fights for her life and falls for this funny, sexy disaster of a man… and learns that finding happily-ever-after with yourself is the first step to real contentment. A cute dimple is just the second.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

PS:  I turned in the manuscript for Samantha Lytton, Book 2 (THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK) yesterday, so more adventures to come!





Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't Say I Never Tried to Give You Anything


I'm over at Book Reading Gals today with an exclusive excerpt from RAGNAR & JULIET and a giveaway!  WOOOOO FREE SHIT!  It's going on for about 11 days, so stop on by, chuckle at my excerpt (hopefully) and enter to win a free copy (even more hopefully)!

It's part of #DFRAT (the Digital-First Read-A-Thon) highlighting the awesomeness of digital-first authors.  Like me!  There are tons of excerpts in the DFRAT event and lots of other giveaways, too, so check us out!  Search #DFRAT on Twitter for more deets.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ovaries Before Brovaries -- You Are What You Eat


I just came across an interesting and rage-inducing article on NPR called "Hollywood Needs More Women."  It's here, and I highly encourage the reading of it.

Some highlights:
Maybe you've noticed something missing at the movies - like women. I'd like to say hooray for Hollywood, but women make up a minority of movie creators: 7 percent of the directors, 13 percent of the writers, 20 percent of the producers. That's nearly five men for every woman working behind the scenes. Our cover story today: film's forgotten females.

Out of last year's biggest movies, 28 percent of the speaking characters were female. That's down from a third, five years ago. Those numbers are from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.

UGH.  Gross, right?   Women are half the population!

Do you notice when only 28% of the speaking characters are female?  I sure as hell do, but I didn't always.  When we grow up watching TV and movies and the low percentage of women is everywhere, we get very used to it.  I would encourage anyone to really begin paying attention to the gender and racial makeups to the media you consume -- you'll find it to be overwhelmingly White and male.  Now, some of my best friends are White dudes, but sometimes I enjoy looking at somebody different.

More from the article.  Caution:  anger, ahoy!

(Geena) DAVIS: My theory is that since all anybody has seen, when they are growing up, is this big imbalance - that the movies that they've watched are about, let's say, 5 to 1, as far as female presence is concerned - that's what starts to look normal. And let's think about - in different segments of society, 17 percent of cardiac surgeons are women; 17 percent of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn't that strange that that's also the percentage of women in crowd scenes, in movies? What if we're actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you're an adult, you don't notice?

(Jacki) LYDEN: I wonder what the impact is of all of this lack of female representation.

DAVIS: We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.
LYDEN: Oh, my goodness.

DAVIS: So is it possible that 17 percent women has become so comfortable, and so normal, that that's just sort of unconsciously expected?

Let me repeat one of those tidbits in there:   ...they found that if there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.

Just think about that for a second.  Anything more than 17%, and women have overstepped our welcome.  That's disgusting!  And I'm not even addressing the gross imbalance and poor representation of People of Color in the media.  (Here's a great place to start on that score -- Racialicious articles about representation in media.)

What can I do about this?  Well, I don't write for the screen as of now, but I do write books (and I wouldn't mind one of them becoming a movie.  Abrams, call me!), and I now think about gender imbalance whenever I create a new character.  I used to find myself defaulting to men every single time, unless I needed a M/F pairing.

AAAAHHHHH YES!  Even me, the female-character lover, the pro-female-person champion!  EVEN I have been brainwashed into thinking that male = more interesting.  We all have.  So now, when I can make a character female, I do.  Isn't that just as bad as always defaulting to men? a small-minded person might cry.  Nope.  I'm seeking to address the imbalance, and creating as many female characters as I can is a way to help.  I'm not Nora Roberts or Julia Quinn, but maybe, just maybe, I can help in my own, small way.

I would encourage anyone reading this to choose books and films, if you can, that serve both the sexes.  This weekend, I'm going to see The Heat starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.  Both because I hear it's AMAZEBALLS funny, and because I just plain want to give a woman-centric film my money.  Vote with your dollar -- money is the only thing that changes the landscape.  Buy a book written by a woman or a Person of Color, maybe even one with a protagonist who is not a dude.

Don't worry, you're already giving the male-centric stuff your attention.  You can't help it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buns in the Afterlife -- a Guest Post with Jessi Gage

I have a treat today, blog friends.  Please welcome delightful writer Jessi Gage to talk about fabulous butts and her new book, ROAD RAGE.

* * *



Thank you for hosting me today, Lucy! I love your quirky romances and am so excited to have a guest spot on your blog!



My topic today: How busted is too busted?



We’ve all read (and some of us have written) characters who have been very naughty. But how naughty is too naughty? At what point is a character unredeemable?



In my new release, Road Rage (Lyrical Press), the hero, Derek, is a divorced construction worker with anger management issues who makes a bad decision that ends up hurting someone else. He really messes up. Like really, really messes up. And the consequences are real and harsh and not restricted just to him. 



Why did I write a hero who makes a really, really big mistake? Because I’m insane? Probably. Because I love a good redemption story? Definitely.



Derek is massively imperfect (and so is his heroine, Cami). We’ve all heard the expression “hitting rock bottom.” Some of us may even have visited rock bottom. It’s a sucky place to be. But the beauty of rock bottom is that most of us don’t stay there long. That’s the point, actually. When you hit rock bottom, you’re in a situation that is intolerable. Whether you brought it on yourself with bad decisions or you just found yourself pummeled by circumstances until you felt like the bottom man in the pig pile, one thing about rock bottom is clear: It motivates us to change.



I don’t know if Derek hits rock bottom. I mean, I didn’t write a depressing book by any means, but he definitely reaches a point where he understands that (a) he has caused 95% of the crap in his life, (b) his crap has begun leaking over into the lives of others, and (c) he has to take action to fix his anger problem. And spurring him on to do the right thing is his heroine, Cami, who has her own issues but who also has a heart big enough to forgive an angry idiot.



I hope the presence of realistic consequences and the absence of an “easy fix” makes Derek a character worth reading about. He won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But he does have many redeemable qualities, both in and out of the bedroom. Did I mention he is very hot? No? Well, skip down for an excerpt to glimpse the hotness that is Derek.



So where’s your line in the sand? At what point does a character’s actions make them unredeemable? Is there a point where a character is unredeemable? Do you have a favorite book with a good redemption theme?



Thanks for reading! And thank you, Lucy, for having me!



Read on for the blurb and an excerpt of Road Rage:



Lashing out in anger, construction worker Derek causes an accident on the freeway. His truck escapes unscathed, but he can’t say the same for his conscience. Plagued by nightmares of the wreck, his only comfort comes in the form of nightly visits by a mysterious woman who interrupts his dreams with sensual caresses and words of solace.

Cami has no idea who she is, until she wakes in a hospital bed and learns she’s been comatose due to a car wreck. Her visits with Derek must have been a dream, so why can’t she shake the feeling he was a real man who truly needed her help?

When Derek learns his mystery woman is none other than the driver of the car he cut off and she is fighting for her life, he must decide: Is he man enough to face her and ask forgiveness, or will he run away and avoid the consequences of his anger, yet again?

CONTENT WARNING: Sex with a perfect, imaginary dream girl who really isn’t imaginary

A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance

Excerpt of Road Rage:



She had to be dead. There were too many checks in the column to keep denying it.


After spending the night on the edge of the man’s mattress, soothing him through his nightmares, she’d found herself back in the fog. Interminable hours later, it still held her prisoner.


She could move her limbs, but had nothing to move against, no foundation, no gravity. She didn’t know whether the person she’d been had believed in heaven or hell, but the fact that this disorienting nothingness clearly wasn’t heaven felt like a betrayal.


“Was I that bad?” she asked the fog. It didn’t answer. “Do you hear me? Anyone? Please!”


Frustration and desperation were her only companions.


“I hate this!” she yelled. The fog swallowed her protest without so much as an echo.


She felt abandoned. Worse than alone. A lonely person at least had a sense of self. She didn’t even have that.


But she’d had the blond man for company, even if just for a night. And she’d had the feeling he’d needed her. Maybe she had some kind of weird commission to comfort people having nightmares, and if she did a good enough job, she could earn her way into heaven. Since that hope stood between her and despair, she clung to it like a lifeline.


Suddenly, the fog thinned. A solid surface came up to meet her feet, and the last of the smoky wisps parted to reveal the man’s room. She was back in her corner.


“Oh, thank God!” She fell to her hands and knees in relief. Being somewhere, anywhere, beat that nothingness. But she had to admit, this room made her feel safe.


As she regained her composure, she noticed the man doing push-ups between the foot of the bed and the dresser, in nothing but a pair of tight, black boxer briefs.


His toes braced on the floor mere inches from her hands. Directly in front of her, his calves and thighs made a long, muscular line to a cotton-hugged rear end. His tanned back flared from a narrow waist to broad, muscular shoulders. Powerful arms bunched deliciously as he pumped the plank of his body up and down. The hair at the nape of his neck curled with perspiration. She had an urge to plant her nose in that moist hair and draw in his scent of Irish Spring soap and summer sunshine.


Virile, masculine flesh filled her vision, and the rhythmic rush of heavy breathing bathed her ears with a sound of life so welcome after the deathly silence of the fog. After hours of sensory deprivation, she greedily feasted her senses.


Before she could think better of it, she extended her hand toward the man’s right foot and stroked a finger down his sole, tracing the arch from heel to ball. His skin was warm and taut, slightly pink, and toughened with every step he’d ever taken. The touch sent a thrill of connection through her while at the same time she cringed back, fearing his response.


He gave no sign he’d felt anything.


Disappointment settled in her belly. Some sort of reaction would have been nice.


She thought about attempting something more insistent, like a pinch, but the man finished his push-ups and got to his feet. He moved out of reach and bent at the waist to stretch his hamstrings. On the one hand, being dead sucked. On the other hand, if she got to drool over buns like that as part of her afterlife, she supposed she could make peace with it.



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Jessi Gage’s Bio:



Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.