Tag Archives: romantic comedy

Furbaby Friday with Author K. J. Pierce


I am happy to welcome my good friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author, K. J. Pierce. She brings a wonderful blend of wit, wisdom, and a deep love of her animals friends and mentors. And her contemporary romantic comedy, Yours Truly, is hilarious and cleverly written.

(Mr. Dorian Gray)

K. J. Pierce. Growing up in an Army family, you’d think having pets would be a virtual impossibility, given the frequent moves. We averaged a move every two-three years, but aside from a five-year stretch in Germany when I was a pre-teen and teenager, I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have some sort of animal roaming the household (or for the four years we lived in the Louisiana country just outside of Ft. Polk, rabbits and chickens taking up yard space).

I’m a firm believer about many things animal-related, but looking back, I’m amazed at how much they teach us, even when we’re not paying close attention.

My first cat KC (stood for Kitty Cat…I was a brilliant child…Ha!) taught me that if you stay active and keep yourself in shape, you are, at least for a little while, invincible to things that hurt.

Case in point—we lived in the county, and KC was an indoor/outdoor cat. Whenever we’d take him to the vet, they had to try multiple times to administer his shots. KC was so solid from his roaming-tom ways, the needles would bend whenever they got anywhere near his meaty parts.

(KC)

He also taught me to not make assumptions. See, KC was a fluffy, pure white cat with the most brilliant blue eyes. Every single vet we took him to was shocked he wasn’t deaf – apparently pure white cats with blue eyes are 3-5 more times likely to be deaf than a pure white cat with non-blue eyes.

Sadly, the last thing he taught me was that mistaken identity could kill—he abruptly disappeared one day, and my family and I are fairly certain he was taken for a rabbit and shot for someone’s dinner.

Daisy the beagle, with her multiple litters taught me about birth, but it was Laddie, our Border Collie, who taught me the concept of karma.

Laddie liked to lounge by our roadside mailbox, when he wasn’t herding my brother and me. This, unfortunately, led to his being hit by a horse trailer towed behind a car. The drivers lied about where Laddie had been and how he came to be hit. After Laddie succumbed to his injuries a month or so later, the jerks’ house burnt down. I have vague memories of watching the smoke rise in the distance and thinking they got exactly what they deserved.

(Laddie with K J Pierce and her brother)

It was Shamrock the cat who gave me comfort when I needed it, having been uprooted from Frankfurt, Germany to Fort Knox, Kentucky, as a sixteen-year-old. Bam-Bam, Shammie’s second-in-command, taught me how to grieve when she died of chylothorax. H.O. Templeton, the first of my two pet rats, taught me it was okay to freak everyone out. That was the funniest bit of all. 🙂 Rats actually make great pets, though they don’t live very long. And you don’t ever want to startle them when they’re asleep. I have a scar on my thumb knuckle from where he bit me once. That happened the same weekend I found out about the death of a friend, but that’s an entirely different story.

(Bam-Bam left and Shamrock on the right)

Mr. Dorian Gray is my latest cat boss. He looks remarkably like Shamrock, but has a completely different temperament. Where nothing fazed Shams, Dorian Gray is a fraidy cat. He startles when the toaster pops up, slinks under a bed when it thunders, and is a horrible bed hog. He yells at me for even the most minor infraction: if I step out of the house for any length of time (a one minute trip to the mailbox or a 3 hour writing session at a café, it doesn’t matter); if I’m not in bed on time; if I move while he’s lying on my feet; if he has less than a half a bowl of food; if there’s a closed door.

He’s the cat equivalent of an old man—he’ll tattle when someone’s in his yard, and just the other day, he scared the bejeezus out of a termite inspector who had the audacity to interrupt his closet quiet time. Thankfully, he’s more of a hider than an attack cat.

Unless you’re a lizard. Then you’re pretty well screwed.

I’m not a reptile, though Dorie might tell you I have a lizard brain and I’m as jumpy as he is sometimes. Regardless, Dorian Gray keeps me accountable, and no matter how much I goof up, he still loves me. And knowing you’re deserving of unconditional love, no matter what human hang ups we hold on to, is without parallel.

~~~~~

I wanted the heroine in my first novel, Yours Truly, to have an animal who was on her side, no matter what, and that could do things Izzie would never get away with, which is how she ended up with her demanding Maine Coon, Edgar. Edgar has his own agenda, as most cats do, but despite this, he never steers Izzie wrong. Even she admits Edgar has a knack for knowing who’s good people, though her admission isn’t without self-incrimination. As it goes…

“Life was even worse when I realized my castrated, housebound cat was a better judge of character than I was.”

Ahh…love, sweet love.

Excerpt:

No sooner had I saved the draft and logged offline than Ritchie barreled through the front door, slamming it shut. Edgar bolted from his spot next to me where he served as Editor-in-Chief to my lowly Writer, off to parts unknown.

Ritchie, without so much as a “hello,” stalked off to the bedroom. The squeak from his wet shoes took the sting out. Unfortunately, the mild humor only made room for the K.O. Ritchie was a big, old drama queen.

Edgar was an exceptional judge of character, and I should have listened to him. He hated Ritchie. And when I say he hated Ritchie, I mean Edgar’s mission in life revolved around terrorizing him. The first time Ritchie spent time at the house, Edgar cornered him in the bathroom and threatened him for the twenty minutes I was gone on a store run. When Ritchie moved in six months later, he became prey, and Edgar tracked him and drew blood.

The feeling was mutual. If Edgar hated Ritchie, then Ritchie despised Edgar. Their acrimonious relationship launched a never-ending string of complaints I was expected to referee. Edgar left his mark on anything of Ritchie’s—either by way of bodily functions or shredding by claw. Ritchie, in turn, would conveniently forget to feed or give Edgar fresh water.

And so their feud went, back and forth, until I was dizzy.

Edgar eventually feigned boredom and lay low, and the spray bottles of water Ritchie had placed strategically throughout the house gathered dust. Ritchie, assuming Edgar had learned his place, emptied all the bottles and smugly declared himself alpha. Edgar’s retorts showed up in the form of hairballs and intentionally being underfoot. Ritchie swiped kicks, none ever landing thanks to Edgar’s quick escapes. Edgar added back spraying and shredding to his arsenal.

Ritchie was only slightly less passive aggressive.

Blurb:

Izzie Greene never wanted the limelight. As a caterer for Poe, the top-rated U.S. TV show, she had background player down pat. Her main focus was to spoil the cast and crew and fantasize about her celebrity crush, Scotsman Cardwell Bennett, while navigating the daily chaos.

Izzie’s professional life takes a sharp left turn when her ex-boyfriend unexpectedly arrives on set. Her personal life spirals into Hell when she runs afoul of an unethical paparazzo. Thrust into the public eye, her notoriety is fueled by equal measures of constant scrutiny, speculation, and half-truths. Her rumored romance with Cardwell further stokes the flames.

Held captive by the media, accident-prone Izzie struggles to keep her privacy, secrets, and sanity intact—not to mention her sense of humor. With help from her best friend Delly, her temperamental cat Edgar, and unexpected backup, Izzie might withstand the onslaught. And survive the season.

Website/Social Media Links

Website/Blog: www.misplacedmisfit.com

Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/themisplacedmisfit

Twitter: @MisfitKJPierce

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/kjpierce

 Purchase Links

Amazon Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce/dp/1509212825

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yours-truly-k-j-pierce/1126326413

The Wild Rose Press Website (E-Book): http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4886-yours-truly.html

Author Bio: K.J. Pierce is a jack of all trades. Her interests are varied enough to make this a requirement for a happy existence. Her main goal in life is to understand the human condition, which she explores through various mediums, including fiction, creative nonfiction, and scriptwriting. She sometimes succumbs to itchy-feet syndrome, a holdover from her Army Brat days. As a result, she can sometimes be found bouncing from locale to locale. She earned a BA in English Literature/Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College and a MLitt in The Gothic Imagination from the University of Stirling, Scotland. She puts them to good use by crafting stories that run the gamut in terms of genres, but which always include an exploration of the societal misfit and the darkness which pervades all facets of life, even in the most comic of circumstances.

K.J. currently lives on the east coast of Central Florida with her cat Dorian Gray, who lives up to his name by striving to be the state’s most prolific lizard serial killer. Yours Truly is her first novel.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave K .J a comment.

What’s In A Name?


BenI’m glad to welcome Author Margaret Locke here to share insights into the names of characters  and a little about her new paranormal romantic comedy.

Margaret: When you read a novel, how much attention do you pay to character names? (***Beth: A lot!)

Names give characters flavor right from the start. Certain names just sound like certain kinds of characters, right? Heroes are rarely Eugenes or Nesbits, and villains usually boast better monikers than Joe or Bob. Melodious, flowing names render characters more appealing, whereas crisp, crackling names give the opposite impression.

While I’ve always appreciated interesting – but not too ludicrous – names in the romances I read, I’d never really thought much about why authors chose particular names (beyond the associations above) – until I had to come up with character names myself.

Choosing the perfect name for each character in A Man of Character was both thrilling and daunting. Thrilling, because of the possibilities in terms of (more or less) subconscious associations, and because I could choose names I loved. Daunting, because people react strongly to names, and I feared giving a main character a name readers hated!

Here’s a little insight into the names of the main characters in A Man of Character:

Grayson

Catherine Schreiber – I’ve always loved the nickname “Cat,” partly, I’m sure, because of my affection for felines. What better name to use for my main character? The crispness of her nickname reflects the sharper edges of Cat, whereas the full name showcases her softer side. And Schreiber? Schreiber means “writer” in German.

Eliza James – Cat’s best friend is a Jane Austen aficionado, so I had give her a name that calls Miss Austen to mind, right? Eliza is in homage to Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice fame, and James reminded me not only of Jane, but sounded quite British, indeed.

Ben Cooper – Ah, Ben. The affable computer science professor who’s definitely not an alpha male. I wanted a good, friendly name that was neither dominant, nor weak. Benjamin also worked well in a favorite scene of mine, excerpted below. As for Cooper? That’s my hat tip to one of my favorite characters, Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory fame.

old love letter with rosesDerrick Gibson – The star quarterback. I needed a suitably 80s/early 90s name that could be shortened (if you read the book, you’ll know why). And Gibson? Well, one of the popular football players in my high school had the last name Gibson. It fit.

Grayson Phillips – Grayson. The seductive poetry-quoting grad student. No ordinary name would do for this fellow. A friend got me addicted to the show “Drop Dead Diva” around the same time I was name-brainstorming. Since the show featured a handsome fellow named Grayson, I figured I’d borrow it – good associations and all. Phillips? That’s that same friend’s last name, so it was my way of honoring her.

William Dawes – I remember sitting in Panera, hands hovering over the keyboard as I struggled to come up with a name for this wealthy investment manager. It needed to be traditional, yet not stodgy. The only name that kept popping into my head was Richard Dawson – yes, the Richard Dawson of Family Feud fame. I giggled at the image, but that name obviously wasn’t the right one. However, shortening Dawson to Dawes, and borrowing the very regal William, did the trick.

And there you go! Pretty much every name in A Man of Character, even down to the cats, has meaning for me, but I’ll stop at these main ones.

dark red rose budI’d love to hear from you!

As a reader, how much do character names matter to you?

Is having insight into character names valuable, or would you rather draw your own conclusions and associations (given the content of this post, I’m rather hoping the former, but want honest answers, anyway)?

Does the name make the character, or the character influence associations with the name?

If you’re a writer, how much thought do you put into name choices?

Finally, what are some of your favorite fictional character names – and why?

AMOCCoverA Man of Character blurb:

What would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do…especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

A startling revelation – that these men are fictional characters she’d created and forgotten years ago – forces Cat to reevaluate her world and the people in it. Because these characters are alive. Here. Now. And most definitely in the flesh.

Her best friend, Eliza, a romance novel junkie craving her own Happily Ever After, is thrilled by the possibilities. The power to create Mr. Perfect – who could pass that up? But can a relationship be real if it’s fiction? Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which – or whom – she wants more.

Blending humor with unusual twists, including a magical manuscript, a computer scientist in shining armor, and even a Regency ball, A Man of Character tells a story not only of love, but also of the lengths we’ll go for friendship, self-discovery, and second chances.

rosesExcerpt from A Man of Character:

“That’s a fantastic book,” she commented, hoping he hadn’t been able to hear her previous conversation. She didn’t like the idea of anyone hearing details of her sex life. Well, potential sex life, anyway.

“Is it? I started it this morning,” came a deep voice in reply. He ran his fingers over the cover. “It was a gift from my parents. They delight in sending me anything related to Benjamin Franklin.”

“Really? Why?”

A sheepish expression crossed his face. “Because they named me after him. My parents are obsessed with colonial America. My mom’s a proud member of the D.A.R., and claims a number of our ancestors served during the Revolutionary War.”

Cat grinned. “Do you have a brother named Jefferson?”

“No.” His lips thinned, and his eyes squeezed shut for a moment. “He was George Washington, actually.”

Recognizing that all-too-familiar look of loss, Cat impulsively reached over and rubbed his hand to soothe him. When his eyes dropped to her fingers, she pulled them away. What had come over her, touching a stranger like that?’~

***Fascinating, Margaret. Thanks!

You can find A Man of Character here:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AManOfCharacter

Anne2About Margaret Locke:

As a teen, Margaret Locke pledged to write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things, not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader. Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fab kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window; she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person). Please visit her at margaretlocke.com. She’s also often hanging out on Facebook, GoodReads, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Rose LetterWebsite: http://margaretlocke.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorMargaretLocke

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/MargaretLocke

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Margaret_Locke

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Margaret_Locke

Regency Duck Names with Romance Author Linda Banche


Welcome Linda, so happy to have you on my blog.  Your new release sounds just ducky–couldn’t resist.  Seriously, though, I’m a duck fan and enjoy a good Regency so a win, win.  The cover is gorgeous, the blurb and excerpt grabbed my attention.  Now, back to Linda.

Thanks Beth.  In my new Regency comedy romance, An Inheritance for the Birds, the “birds” in the title are mallard ducks.

Why ducks? Well, I like ducks. They’re very pretty birds and they’re large enough to see easily. I selected mallards because they’re the most widespread ducks in the northern hemisphere and would be common in Regency England. Also, I feel sorry for them. We take mallards for granted because they’re all over, but they’re among the best looking of the ducks. And I like their “quack”.

An Inheritance for the Birds is a variation on the theme of the elderly lady willing her possessions to her cats. Duck nut that I am, I substituted ducks. In my twist on the story, the hero and heroine must compete to win an inheritance. Their task: make the deceased lady’s pet ducks happy.

There are fourteen ducks in the story.

The drakes are: Thaddeus, Theodore, Ulrick, Busick,  Bamber, Obadiah, Ethelred and Alwyne

The hens are: Felizarda, Albina, Esmeralda, Horatia, Urania and Dulcibella

Note that there are eight drakes and six hens. Among the brightly colored ducks in the wild, drakes are more plentiful than hens. Just think, all those avian hotties competing for the erstwhile hens’ attention. A female heaven.

I took most of the names from Regency historical romance author Jo Beverley‘s list of names common in the Georgian and Regency eras (http://www.jobev.com/regname.html). The names may have been common then, but they sound a little odd to our ears.

To introduce the ducks a little more, Ulrick and Urania are mates, Thaddeus and Theodore are brothers, and the heroine beans Felizarda with a piece of bread (accidentally, of course) when she feeds them.

The duck stars are Obadiah, who likes the hero, and Esmeralda, who doesn’t. The others add their quacking chorus to the comedy. I love my ducks. What do you think of the names I selected?

I love the names and the concept for this story.  Very fun.

An Inheritance for the Birds, available from The Wild Rose Press.

BLURB:

Make the ducks happy and win an estate!

Mr. Christopher “Kit” Winnington can’t believe the letter from his late great-aunt’s solicitor. In order to inherit her estate, he must win a contest against her companion, Miss Angela Stratton. Whoever makes his great-aunt’s pet ducks happy wins.

A contest: What a cork-brained idea. This Miss Stratton is probably a sly spinster who camouflaged her grasping nature from his good-natured relative. There is no way he will let the estate go to a usurper.

Angela never expected her former employer to name her in her will. Most likely, this Mr. Winnington is a trumped-up jackanapes who expects her to give up without a fight. Well, she is made of sterner stuff.

The ducks quack in avian bliss while Kit and Angela dance a duet of desire as they do their utmost to make the ducks–and themselves–happy.

EXCERPT:

Yawning, he shut the door behind him. Enough ducks and prickly ladies for one day. After dropping his satchel by the bed, he dragged off his clothes and draped them over the chair back. He dug a nightshirt from the valise and donned the garment before he blew out both candles.

Bates had already drawn back the bedclothes. The counterpane was soft under Kit’s palm, and covered a featherbed. He grinned. By any chance, had they used the down from the pet ducks to stuff the mattress and pillows?

After tying the bed curtains back, he settled into the soft cocoon and laced his fingers behind his head. Tomorrow, he would have it out with Miss Stratton about the steward’s residence, but that was tomorrow. He fluffed up his pillow and turned onto his side…

“QUACK!”

A bundle of flapping, squawking feathers exploded from the depths of the covers and attacked him. Throwing his arms over his head for protection, Kit fell out of bed. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the door, the thrashing, quacking explosion battering him. A serrated knife edge scraped over his upper arm. “Ow!” Batting at the avian attacker with one hand, he groped for the latch with the other.

The door swung open. Miss Stratton, her candle flame flickering, dashed into the chamber. “Esmeralda, you stop that right now!”

The feathered windstorm quacked once more and, in a graceful arc, fluttered to the floor.

Kit lowered his arms and gave a mental groan. A duck. He should have known.~

Thank you all,

Linda Banche
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!
http://www.lindabanche.com

http://lindabanche.blogspot.com

The Secret Life of Bees, errrr, Writers


Ever noticed that when writers are portrayed in movies they tend to come across as, well, nuts?  The examples are endless.  Take Nim’s Island, the author in this film is so agoraphobic/germaphobic she can’t open the door to get her mail, runs through bottles of handsanitizer, and only eats a certain kind of soup—not certain which phobia that is.   She also carries on vivid conversations with her only companion who happens to be the main character in her novels.  *Gerard Butler, so certainly tempting, but throw in  delusional schizophrenia.  And then there’s Stranger Than Fiction where the novelist, another ‘eccentric’ to put it mildly, has Godlike power over her bedeviled character who ultimately arrives on her doorstep begging for his life.  She plans to kill him in her novel.  And the list goes on.

I suppose there’s some justification for this crazy writer theme, as there’s a fine line between creativity and insanity.   And it’s not lost on me that this portrayal is coming to us via the scriptwriters, although they’re mostly making fun of novelists.   But it’s my thinking that most people simply do not understand the mindset of writers.  For example, on chat loops, Twitter, workshops…we blithely inquire of  each other which would be the best way to kill someone in a given situation or time period.

When I taught my herbal lore class last fall I received numerous queries as to which poisonous herb to use for the desired effect, depending on how fast or slowly an author wished their character to succumb–yes, yes, we’re speaking of characters–and in what form to deliver the fatal elixir, mixed with food or other medication…and should they disguise the bitter taste or will the unsuspecting victim just knock it back as is?

Writers can be quite morbid at times, but all in pursuit of our craft.   How to better persuade readers that the story is REAL, because to us it is.

The other day on Twitter I noted a tweet from, I assumed, a writer asking what was the most romantic way for a young man to propose to his girlfriend and  make it really special.  My first thought was, are they writing a contemporary or historical, so I shot back, “What century are we in?”

The answer from the probably puzzled groom to be was, “The 21st, I hope.”

“Ah, a modern setting,” I said to self while wondering at the ‘I hope.’  I mean surely they knew what time period their story was in.  But I persevered.  Being primarily an historical author, I simply pointed out that in many of the romantic comedies I’ve seen there’s a tendency for the proposal/I love you confession to come via a microphone or shouted in front of a crowd, like in a football arena.

The tweeted answer was, “Yes, I see what you mean but she’s not a sports fan.”

No biggie, I thought.  Most anywhere people gather will do. An Irish pub, fountain in the center of a town square, airplane terminal, or best of all breaking into the adored one’s  wedding to someone else just in the nick of time.

Not helpful in this situation, I might add.  Once I realized I was advising  an actual proposal, I chuckled heartily and left him to it. The last I saw a proposal at Disneyland was faring the best.

Among random tweets from writers I noted this week:  “Gonna watch Winnie the Pooh with the kids and then finish my demon novel.”   Anyone see the irony in that?   But it’s typical.   All of this has led me to my conclusion that writers have their own language–a secret life–which most do not understand.

I’ve gotta go figure out how to handle that ghost/exorcism without making it TOO paranormal.   In my latest historical, of course.  ~