As I'm sure you can imagine, one of the delightful parts of creating a character like Serena who is obsessed with getting a home of her own that she can decorate just the way she likes, is getting lost online looking at decorating photos and imagining exactly what Serena's dream home will look like. I get to do all the planning and none of the painting! Win-win!
While the photos I pinned for Serena's house aren't exactly what she created as her haven, they definitely hit the mark. And for a little contrast, I included Dillon's only home decor items of note. :) Well, I guess I could add a pic of a bookcase overflowing with second-hand sci-fi novels, but I think his posters convey the gist of his decorating priorities.
He totally loves those posters.
Hmm, I wonder what Serena would do with them in her perfectly decorated home? In the bedroom because at least they match the color scheme? Or would she reframe them in antique gilt frames and hang them in the dining room? Perhaps persuade him they'd look great in his office?
(True confessions time: that 'these would be great at your work' ploy worked for me / my beloved's prized prints!)
One of the fun takeaways from the RWA 2014 conference was my introduction to Pinterest.
I mean, it's not like I didn't know what Pinterest was. I just hadn't explored it much, or created any boards of my own. Well, that has now changed!
First of all, here are the critters I hang out with all day - Patrick the tabby cat & Eve the shepherd-collie-whatever mix. Aren't they great?
(Oh, and please follow me! I'll have book-related boards, too, and you never know what else.)
I'm a member of two Romance Writers of America (RWA) chapters - my local group, West Houston RWA, and an online group, Contemporary Romance RWA. Both are, of course, superb. It's been amazing to get to know and spend time with so many other writers (it's a solitary profession, even for those of us lucky enough to be married to another writer!)
Every July, the annual RWA conference takes the 'spend time socializing and learning' concept and hyperbolizes it. Last year was my first conference, and it was a nonstop round of workshops, meals, book signings, and more dancing than I do the rest of the year combined. (That's not a high bar, to be fair.)
I expect this year will be the same. I'm excited to see some old friends and make new ones, to attend a ton of self-publishing workshops (relevant to my interests!), to attend parties, and, yes, even to dance. (I'm wearing my cowboy boots with my swishy black dress to the awards night.) Since we'll be in San Antonio, I'm also looking forward to all the non-Texans complaining about the heat. (Confidential to non-Texans: we complain about the summer heat all the time, until y'all show up and we get to act like it ain't nothing.)
Are you going to the conference? Tweet me @dakimel - I'd love to meet you!
This is one of the first scenes I wrote from Dillon's point of view, back when ROCKET MAN was named ... well, it went through a few titles, I'll be honest. Whatever it was called, I've always loved this scene. It's a little too far in the book for the retailer previews, so I thought I'd share it with you here. Enjoy!
Aggrieved, Dillon kicked his townhouse’s front door closed and scooped up the calico kitten making a beeline for the exit. “No, you don’t,” he warned it, before slinging it over his shoulder and heading into the kitchen for a cold beer. “I’m having more than enough trouble with females today; I don’t need you adding to the mix.” Setting Maisy down on the sofa and taking a long pull, he finally sighed. “Okay, okay, so it’s not your fault. And I can hardly blame Anica, she’s right about the tear sheets.” Maisy reached a paw up to bat at his fingers, unfazed by his suddenly morose tone. “But what the hell is going on with Serena?”
It just didn’t make sense. Serena was one of the most straightforward people he knew. Even before he’d started at Lanigan, she’d shown herself to be honest about everything — from work issues to the interpersonal. But lately he couldn’t get a read on her at all. She was her usual vibrant self half the time, backing away from him the other half. It just didn’t add up.
“Is it me?” he asked the kitten, who blinked and looked away. “I just … I kinda thought things were ….” He took another pull on the beer, then had to laugh. He couldn’t even articulate his feelings to his sister’s cat. No wonder Serena was acting strangely. He was probably feeding her all kinds of assbackwards signals himself, and she didn’t know how to react.
How did he feel, though? He shed his jacket, which Maisy promptly started kneading and purring upon, and headed back to the kitchen to throw together some sort of dinner. “Pasta night,” he called to the kitten, which ignored him. “Did I talk to myself before you showed up?” he asked it. “I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut at home anymore. But as long as you’re listening, check it out, ‘kay? Here I’ve known Serena for weeks. And don’t get me wrong, I noticed her right off, you know? Second I walked into the interview, as a matter of fact. But I always thought you’ve got to keep that stuff out of the office.” He bit into a carrot and glanced back at Maisy, who was now asleep. “Fine. Ignore me.”
He had kept it out of the office, and over time had stopped — okay, practically stopped — looking for Serena as soon as he got to work. Stopped cataloguing the many enticing ways she wore her hair, stopped half-memorizing her schedule, stopped asking her out. Almost stopped, anyway. And they worked closely together; he couldn’t go more than a few hours without having to at least shoot an email to Serena, if not engage in some more substantial contact.
Substantial contact. Face it, that was what he wanted.
He liked working with Serena, and valued their friendship, but he just wasn’t satisfied with it. He wanted to be able to touch her. He needed to be able to touch her. To draw his fingers through the length of her hair then trail them down the slope of her breasts. To smooth his palm down her spine then spread it over her ass. To draw her body close to his as he tasted the creamy skin of her throat. To press his thigh between her yielding legs. His cock. To have her touch his throbbing cock. To have her grasp the base of his cock while his mouth closed over the tight peak of her nipple. To ….
“Ow, fuck!” he cried as the fucking pasta boiled over. Maisy jumped up onto the table and mewled at him. “Not funny, cat. Just. Not. Funny.” Trying to adjust himself back into some sort of composure, he drained the penne, stirred in a Bolognese he’d nuked, and scooped some into Maisy’s bowl before throwing himself against the back of the sofa. Cuing up an old-school Star Trek episode off his DVR, he deliberately banished every thought of Serena, and her breasts, from his mind.
I've been talking incessantly about my debut, ROCKET MAN (in stores now!), so I've been looking for new ways to convey what the reading experience will be.
Today I'll let you experience it via word frequency. My writing program (Scrivener, which is pretty darn cool, y'all) has a 'word frequency' function designed, probably, to alert me when I overuse conjunctions and so forth. I've used it to create lists that will give you a little taste of ROCKET MAN. 12 is my favorite number, so here (in the order that Scrivener generated them) are 3 lists of 12 words used often, sometimes, and occasionally:
12 words I use about 120 times in ROCKET MAN:
12 words I use about 60 times in ROCKET MAN:
12 words I use exactly 12 times in ROCKET MAN:
So, if you haven't read it, can you guess what my book's about? If you have, do you think these lists capture the flavor? Let me know in the comments!
Today's biggest regret: that Dillon from my debut ROCKET MAN isn't real. I would love nothing more than to sit him on the sofa and play him this AMAZING video I just found of his hero William Shatner singing Elton John and Bernie Taupin's Rocket Man.
It has everything. Including the ability to make me giggle uncontrollably.
Today is Launch Day (in my head; it's been up for a day or two) for ROCKET MAN!
What does that mean? Well, of course it means the book is available everywhere. (Correction: ALMOST everywhere. If you're an iBooks person & just totally want it RIGHT NOW, leave me a comment below. I'll alert you when it's up & also if you're the first person to comment, I'll give you a copy free.) (That free copy thing applies to all formats. Know what? It's launch day, I'm feeling dandy - first three comments get a free ebook.) (I'm feeling dandy, and also like I wish people would comment. I love reader comments.)
What else the launch means:
The first book in the Roll of the Dice series is ROCKET MAN. (You should totally read it! Check the buy links here.)
In Rocket Man, Serena and her friends are a little bummed about their dating lives. To cheer up - and cheer each other on - Serena creates a game board that calls back to their middle school days.
Did you do things like this? When I was a girl, we had folded paper fortune tellers, or we'd hold the stem of an apple while twisting the apple and reciting the alphabet (when the stem breaks, you learn the first letter of your beloved's name).
Serena and her friends update the game for their adult status, but they are still girlishly excited to find out a bit more about their romantic futures.
I, personally (since I'm happily married to my own forever man already), am girlishly excited about the game board! My pal Alice Johnston, a clearly talented graphic artist, took my silly idea and turned it into this beautiful illustration.
Go on, roll the dice! And let me know - who will your forever man be?
I am a giddy goose, as my Irish mother-in-law would say.
After plenty of work and tons of creative fun, the first novel in my Roll of the Dice series is just panting to be available from an e-retailer near you!
One of the many exciting steps towards publication has been getting the book cover. I did a good bit of research and asking around, finally settling on The Killion Group for my cover design, and they were just wonderful to work with. And as you can see, the end product is gorgeous and dynamic.
So with quite a flourish, I present: Book One in the Roll of the Dice series: Rocket Man, by Melanie Greene!