Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blurbs

I have a love/hate relationship with blurbs. When I’m trying to write them, it’s full-on hate. But when it’s done, and it’s good, it’s so, so good. I want to hold it in my hands and pet it gently and hold it up to the world to see as I proclaim “Look! I wrote this! Doesn’t it make you want to read the story behind it?”

Unfortunately, I’m not the greatest judge of my own blurbs.

Take Paul’s Dream, which I consider my best one:

Paul Graham is content with his life. An up-and-coming lawyer, he has no time to dwell on the mazes, puzzles, and riddles he solves while asleep. He has no interest in dreams, or anything that might derail his career.

Until Kian shows up. Sensual, playful, he claims that Paul rescued him four years ago. Now he's determined to repay him with the one thing he knows best: sex laced with... magic.

Kian is unlike any man Paul has encountered. He won't go away, for one. The fact that Paul doesn't remember him doesn't deter his mission of seduction in the least. But soon enough, Paul finds that this strange, carnal creature has the ability to melt his ice with a touch, to bring out a sweetness Paul didn't even know he had.

As Kian becomes a part of his life, Paul finds himself more and more attached. Forgotten dreams, buried memories, and the dangerous obsession of another conspire to tear them apart. Is he strong enough to endure a trial by fire in order to keep them together?

Ohhh, was so proud of that one! I thought (still think) it was sexy, had a touch of humor, deftly hinted at the suspense elements in the story. The last line was an excellent hook, which is what last lines in blurbs are supposed to be. Perfect.

Except, not so much. I remember it got panned by several reviewers, most of whom called it “blah.” One was straight-up angry with me for not spelling out exactly what Kian was in the text of the blurb. I imagine Paul would have agreed with that last one. He didn’t get the specifics until chapter four, and he wasn’t exactly keen when he had them.

The story did okay. Word-of-mouth saved me from my own blah blurb. I think that’s when I learned that no one element is going to sink a book. Just work hard so that as many elements as possible hit the mark.

But blurbs are important. At least, they are to Reader-Rowan. When browsing books I notice first the cover (because I’m shallow), then the blurb, and if the blurb is interesting I read the excerpt to check and see if the writing style is compatible with my reading style. I think there must be at least a few readers out there who browse like I do, so I work hard on blurbs, going through several drafts, wondering if the draft I’ve got is too dramatic for the story or not dramatic enough. Too much information? Not enough information? On and on. And when it’s done, I cross my fingers and post.

Which reminds me:

Look below this line! I wrote this! Doesn’t it make you want to read the story behind it?

__________

Chains


A new prisoner has been brought to the castle. They say he's a warrior. They call him a demon. They whisper that he can grant wishes.

Saiven can't resist. He sneaks into the secluded dungeon to see, but the man chained to the wall is not what he expects. Smiling. Teasing. He introduces himself as Faolan, and Saiven is caught.

This...man. He makes Saiven feel things he should not feel. Draws forth confessions that were meant to stay secret. Faolan freely grants him warmth and laughter. But now...

Now it's time to find out if Saiven is strong enough to earn a wish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Literary Nymphs Thanksgiving Chat

Every year I participate in the massive LitNymph Thanksgiving Chat. It is awesome. Lots of writers, lots of excerpts, lots of conversation. You should stop by! Have some fun with us!

If this is your first chat at Literary Nymphs, however, I'd advise you to set your yahoo settings for this group to "web only," otherwise you might end up with a thousand emails in your box. :)

Posting the official info below. If you see me, wave, yeah?

It's that time of year again! Literary Nymphs is hosting their Thanksgiving Weekend M/M Chat and here is a brief list of authors who will be attending, circumstances allowing: Kathryn Scannell, Jules Jones, KC Kendricks,Michael Barnette, KC Burn, Christiane France, James Buchanan, Josh Lanyon, Andrea Speed, Rowan McBride, Pat Brown, Jessica Freely, Lissa Matthews, Berengaria Brown, Sarah Madison, Ariel Tachna, Megan Slayer, K. Z. Snow, Renee George, DC Juris.

If there are any M/M authors interested in participating, please notify me at irishminx@gmail.com for details. Thanks!

The chat will start on Thursday morning and continue through to Sunday night. The location is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LiteraryNymphsChat/, the Literary Nymphs Chat Group so stop in and join us next weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Ali Forney Center

The Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth was hit hard by hurricane Sandy. Their Chelsea drop-in center in particular was flooded, destroying their supplies as well as the space itself. The AFC provides shelter, food, support, and medical care to kids in distress. In other words, they’re good people, and they could use a little help.

To learn more and donate, please visit the organization’s website: http://www.aliforneycenter.org.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Note About "Want Me"

click the pic to learn more about Want Me


The first edition of Want Me is going out of print. I can’t tell you why yet, but I’m sure you can figure it out. ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pepero Day Winners!

And they are, completely chosen at random, listed below:

* Liz Brooks
* Tomas Santiago-Lopez
* kathleen
* earringfan

If I do not have your email addy, please contact me forthwith at mcbride_rowan@yahoo.com (mcbride_rowan (at) yahoo (dot) com) and please include your snail mail address because, alas, it is not yet technologically possible to email Pepero. What's up with that? And no hover-boards, either. >.>

Congrats and thank you to everyone who entered! It was hella fun. :)

-- Rowan

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pepero Day!

It is November 11th, which means today is Pepero Day, and it is time to give heartfelt gifts of chocolate-dipped cookie-stick goodness to your loved ones.

For those of you who don’t know, Pepero Day is a *totally* manufactured holiday in Korea that caught on and is now awesome. It is always November 11th because that makes the date 11-11, which looks like the Pepero sticks. How wonderful is that?

The day is also celebrated to a lesser extent in Japan as Pocky Day. In both countries, November is fabulous because all sorts of special editions of the snacks are released. Brightly colored boxes of joy all over the place.

Can you tell I’m excited?

I, personally, am celebrating the same way I did last year. By giving away some Pepero goodness. Check the giant box:

Giant Box of Nude Pepero

I’m also giving away one small box of Almond Crush Pepero (Today is like Valentine’s Day and it’s a whole box of crush.)

Almond Crush Pepero

And AND I have two boxes of Fran. One person will get the chocolate, and one person will get the white. What is Fran, you say? Why it is much like Pepero and Pocky but hella decadent. And it's in stick form so it qualifies in today's celebration.

fran

Can you tell how much I love you?

That’s a total of four Pepero Day gifts. All you have to do to win one of these is to comment on this (http://rowanmcbride.blogspot.com/) blog post. You have until 11:59pm tonight (11-11-12), Central Standard Time to play.

Winners will be announced on this blog (http://rowanmcbride.blogspot.com/) 11-13-12 (Nov. 13, 2012).

So play! Love me back by making a comment! XD

Happy Pepero Day!




It's also Veteran's Day. As I understand it, Sandy knocked out the Manhattan VA Hospital as well as the regional Veterans' Assistance office. If you are one of the vets affected, the Maddow Blog has a list of resources you might be able to use, including how to get emergency refills of your meds.

Stay strong. Stay safe. And thank you for your service to our country.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Straightforwardness

Main characters in my finished and published stories, ranked in order of straightforwardness, starting with the most straightforward and ending with the least:

Rafe Dirisio -- (Lone)
Paul Graham -- (Paul’s Dream)
Joe Wilson -- (A Picture’s Worth)
Kian Somers -- (Paul’s Dream)
Zakai -- (Paul’s Dream)
Joel Beckett -- (Want Me)
Keith Taylor -- (Chasing Winter)
Ace Donovan -- (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Riley Jameson -- (One Shot)
Walker Cain -- (Want Me)
Nick Carlyle -- (One Shot)
Spade Hart -- (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Seth Anderson -- (Lone)
Draven Donnor -- (Just Perfect)
Mason Ripley -- (A Picture’s Worth)
Asher Croft -- (Paul’s Dream)
Jesse Winter -- (Chasing Winter)
Dorian Burns -- (Lone)
Cody West -- (Just Perfect)


You might be thinking, “What?! How is Jesse so far down on the list, and how is WALKER square in the middle??” If you are thinking that, what follows is what passes for logic on my end:

First, this list only gauges straightforwardness, and does not take badassitude into account. Though, really, when you think about it, Jesse is plenty badass. Whenever Keith--who is gigantic and endowed with freaky super strength--steps out of line, Jesse never hesitates to knock him right back into it.

Second, the ranking is value-neutral. So whatever nefarious schemes a character might have going on (I’m looking at you, Draven), they don’t count for anything in this list.

Last, straightforwardness does not mean trustworthy. So, while Spade is arguably the most trustworthy character on the list, he waits till damned-near the end of the first book to tell Ace what he is, which Ace doesn’t take well. At all.

But anyway.

Jesse is in the bottom three because through most of Chasing Winter what he says and what he’s thinking are totally out of sync. For example:

“You always told me that willpower could accomplish anything.”

If I had known he’d remember every damned thing I said, I would have tried harder to stay away from such trite clich├ęs. “Yes, I did say that.”

Or--

Keith grinned. “I’m making you uncomfortable, aren’t I?” He left the couch and searched out his briefs. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

I grabbed the top of the couch with my right arm and pulled myself up to watch him dress. Now that he wasn’t touching me, I felt…oh, God, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. “Thank you.”

And he’s like that through most of the book. So now he’s on the bottom of a totally arbitrary, written-by-the-whim-of-the-author list on straightforwardness.

Jesse was fairly easy to place. If you’ve read Just Perfect, then you know why Cody ranks rock-bottom. No brainer. Same with Rafe and Paul. Rafe wears his heart on his sleeve and is always sure everyone around him knows where he stands. Paul’s heart is frozen solid for a while, but even then everything he does has a reason and he has no qualms about explaining those reasons to you.

Walker wasn’t so easy. Sure, he locks Joel to him in a horrifying spiral of magic that pretty much ruins both their lives, but remember--nefariousness has no weight on this list. He’s also a liar by nature, which would naturally rank him lower. But he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to his obsession with Joel. Never deviates. Never lets Joel forget that he’s never going to deviate. So, yeah, horrifying. But hey, straightforward.

You’re probably safer if you just don’t believe in anything Dorian does or says. Ever. I know it sort of worked out in Lone, but dude. Trust me on that one.

Riley was also hard to place. One Shot’s told from Nick’s point of view, and he’s royally freaked out through most of that story, so it’s hard to gauge how much of Riley’s actions are warped by that filter.

Seth was a pain in the ass. He’s got that crazy Ravager-magic-want-it-now-so-will-HAVE-IT-NOW thing going on. And first instinct is to rank him higher because even in human form he’s all “Look at my massive brown puppy eyes don’t you want to pet my hair?” But Seth doesn’t even know himself, so by default that cripples his ability to be straightforward with Rafe.

So that’s my logic, such as it is. I think it’s pretty easy to see why I put the others in their places on the list.

My question: Do you agree with me? Disagree? Where would you rank these guys, and why?



Interesting fact: I was not aware that “straightforwardness” was a legit word until I typed it up for the first time and didn’t get the red spell-fail squigglies. Prior to that I’d assumed I had made it up. “Squigglies,” however, is apparently fake, which feels wrong to me. >.>


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