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.

Buy Links

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.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Where In the World Is Me?

WHAT A CRAZY FEW MONTHS!  Y'all, I have been writing my little butt off, and I have a new book (or three) to show for it!

I sold THE DIMPLE OF DOOM to the amazing folks at Total-E-Bound, a UK-based romance publisher poised to take over the world.  They've been delightful to work with, and have turned my little book about criminal dimples and the loser secretaries who love them into a 3-book series!  THE DIMPLE OF DOOM will release on TEB's site directly in e-book form on July 5th, and wide (Amazon, B&N, AllRomance, etc) in paperback & e-book form on August 2nd.

I've been busily writing the sequel, entitled THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACKI wrote a book in eight weeks!  I have to give myself double snaps for that.  Right now TDSB is with my beta readers, and hopefully it makes sense with the words and the plots and whatnot.  As soon as I turn in TDSB, I begin work on the third book, tentatively titled THE WRATH OF DIMPLE.  See the theme, you clever person, you?

In the midst of all this, I'm trying to find time to finish up draft two of a new paranormal series based in rural Florida that I'm calling (as of now) the Gator Riviera series.  The first book is a multicultural romance between an African-Vampire-American nerd who owns a comic book shop under attack, and the singing-telegram Caucasian-Were-Bunny-American lady who steps in to help save him.  Whew, say that ten times fast.  I grew up in Florida, America's wang, and I'm so excited to try to find the time to finish this first book in the Gator Riviera series.  Building a funny paranormal world in the land of bugs and humidity has been really, really fun.

I'm also participating in DRFAT, the Digital-First-Read-A-Thon!

From the Book Binge blog linked above:

For the next thirty days, Book Binge and our friends over at Tracy’s Place, RR@H Novel Thoughts and The Book Reading Gals will be celebrating all things published digitally first.  We have so many great things lined up for the entire month of July.  Fantastic excerpts, giveaways and loads of reviews for the books that we’re reading for the DIGITAL FIRST READ-A-THON.

In case you missed last year’s fun, the digital first read-a-thon is a month long reading adventure where you read as many books that were published in digital format-first as possible.  There are a lot of books that have been released in e-format before they were released in print and these are the books that we’re spotlighting.  If you read more traditionally published books then you’re missing out on a lot of fantastic stories.  You’ve missed out on some pretty amazing characters and we’re here to spotlight those books for the entire month.
Awesome, right?  Over the course of DFRAT, I'll post links to my exclusive excerpts from all three of my books, as well as giveaways of the same.

I think that's all the news that's fit to print.  Or blog.  Thanks for listening!  Or reading.