Archive for the ‘Paul’s Dream’ Category

Blurbs

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

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.

Straightforwardness

Monday, November 5th, 2012

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 clichés. “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. >.>

Pretty Words

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Two things happened in my writing life recently that were kind of interesting and kind of related. First—I finished a novella. I think I’m going to title it Just Perfect despite the fact that it’s one of my darker stories but we’ll see. It’s in a revision stage, after which I’ll submit it to a publisher, so keep your fingers crossed. The second is that I’m currently working on another story and I finished writing a sex scene that I started in…2009, I think. Yeah, I got stalled pretty badly there. It might have been a good stall though because when I look at the plotline it doesn’t seem believable to me anymore, and I think I’ve got a better direction now for the book. Silver lining and all that.

The thing that kind of relates these two stories is language. When I was writing Just Perfect, I was afraid I’d lost the sense of lyricism I was so proud of in books like Lone and Paul’s Dream. Some might say I’m a little too in love with that sort of writing, but I’m really attached to pretty words, sentences that flow. The language in Just Perfect is hard, straightforward, and to the point. It wasn’t until I’d finished the story and read it all the way through for the first time that I realized this was Draven’s (the main character’s) voice, and that it fit. He’s an assassin, after all. And one who likes his job.

The story I’m working on now has more of the pretty words I thought I’d lost, which makes sense. Both characters in this one are nicer, gentler, a lot more innocent. They think differently so they express themselves differently.

I forget, sometimes, that it’s the characters who set the tone for a story, and that as long as you stay true to them, the words may not always be “pretty,” but they’ll always flow. And just because I’m stretching my writing muscles from time to time, doesn’t mean I’ve lost my touch.

It might even mean I’ve gotten better. (This is me, trying to be more optimistic as per my New Year’s resolution.)

😉

Reviews!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Still settling in from Yaoi-Con. Somewhere in between me realizing I don’t have enough shelf space for my new manga and me realizing I don’t have enough wall space for my new art, I got a couple of sweet reviews:

Lone Cover -- Click here to learn more about the story

Boylove Addict wrote that “This book is literally going right into my keeper shelf.” They said some other great stuff, too, and you can read the full review at:

http://boylove-addict.livejournal.com/58769.html

You can also learn more about Lone (as well as read an excerpt) on my site.

Paul's Dream Cover -- Click here to learn more about the story

Paul’s Dream left Serena Yates at Queer Magazine Online “totally breathless,” and I’m stoked over that. She also used words like “amazing,” “engaging,” and “evil.” I probably shouldn’t be *as* stoked over that last one, but hell, drawing up a no-holds barred villain was surprisingly difficult.

To read all of this review, go to http://www.queermagazineonline.com

And of course you can check out more Paul’s Dream stuff on my site.


I think jetting off to San Francisco did me good. Wrote 2700 words yesterday and plan to write tonight. Hoping this means I’m slipping back into a good groove.

Apples

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I bought this on impulse the other day:

apple from hell image

As you can see, this thing is so horrible that the retailers had no choice but to tie it with what I assume to be a spiritual ribbon before sealing it inside a blessed cylinder. My camera kindly recorded the date I bought it right onto the photo. I’ve not yet worked up the courage to break the seal.

It’s got a chocolate shell studded with pecans. There might be caramel involved somewhere, but I’m not sure. The package would have me believe there’s an apple in there as well.

I have no idea how one goes about consuming such a thing. Apparently it serves 8-10 people, so I’m contemplating having some sort of candy apple party at my place. It would be good to have some friends in on this because (1) almost everything is better with friends and (2)… well…

I don’t really like apples.

It always jars me to admit that because from day to day I walk around thinking I like apples, and this delusion inevitably leads me to making purchases like the one above.

But I’m not that big a fan. Can’t stand apple juice. Not keen on apple pie unless it’s a small slice and it’s mostly crust. I make a little “yuck face” every time someone mentions apple sauce. Hard apple cider I can do if the occasion’s right. That’s about it.

Even plain, healthy apples give me trouble. I don’t like red apples and I don’t like sweet apples. If I’m going to eat an apple it’s got to be green and tart and sliced into wedges.

Apple issues. That’s what I’ve got.

Yet I adore the imagery, so much. It’s not even the “forbidden fruit” aspect that hooks me (although I DO like it and I’ve used it in that context). The fruit from the tree of knowledge that Adam & Eve took a bite out of was never actually called an apple. I like that if you cut an apple in half you get five seeds and those five seeds can stand for anything from the elements (fire, water, earth, air, soul) to the body of a person (head, hands, feet) to a simple five pointed star. I love that in DeathNote the shinigami actually find them addictive, and that Ryuk in particular calls them “jooshy.”

Even that great sound an apple makes when someone bites into it. There’s something savage about that sound. I especially like it when a person buffs the apple on their shirt and then tears a chunk out of it–lure the prey in with a false sense of comfort and go in for the kill.

Apple torture. Just further highlights the issues I mentioned above.

And while I won’t eat a red apple, my characters sure as hell will, because to me red feels more seductive, more lush. If vampires didn’t drink blood, they’d probably eat red apples instead.*

Apple pie does a similar thing to me. I don’t like to eat it, but thinking about it elicits images of hearth and home. Of cold winter nights and warm fires.

Most of my stories make an apple reference in them somewhere. I think Paul’s Dream and Want Me are the only ones that don’t, although someone recently mentioned they think I’m wrong on that. If you know for sure there’s an apple reference in either of those books, be the first to paste the quote on this thread in the comments and I’ll send you an 8×10 glossy of that book cover. 🙂

So there you have it. My first post about apples. I should file it with the post I did a while back about shoes. Sometimes I’m really, really glad that “ramblings” is right there in the title of this blog to warn people of what lies ahead.

I’ll let you know if the giant piece of candied whatever above changes my mind about apples. 🙂


*Note: I hope I didn’t turn anyone off of red apples with the vampire analogy. I do not believe that red apples taste in any way like blood.**

**Note#2: But you gotta admit, vampire fangs are probably pretty handy when tearing into an apple. 😀

Wishful Thinking – Self Portrait

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I always wonder what people think of me the first time they meet me in real life. I’ve had fans believe to the core of their being that I’m one or another of my characters, and that can be intimidating because they never pick the ones that are messes (Ace, Nick). They always seem to think I’m Paul or Charlie (Paul’s Dream, Flow). It doesn’t help that every once in a while I do have a moment of bonafide cool, but said moments usually cost me mad cool points and I have to spend weeks, even months recouping.

At any rate, I drew a rough comic depicting how I’d like to be and how I am. Sort of. Posting it below. 🙂



Wishful Thinking by ~rpm77 on deviantART

***

Note: For those who didn’t get a chance to read it, “Flow” is a story that was originally up at the Evolution Forum. I’ve since taken it down because, pending massive rewrites, I’ve gotten permission to submit the story to a publisher. While I’m daunted by the prospect of writing what will essentially be a whole new book, I’m also wicked excited. 😀

W00t! "Paul’s Dream" has been nominated!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, January 2, 2008.


Paul’s Dream has been nominated in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll!  If you’ve read the story and liked it, you can vote for it at at http://critters.critique.org/predpoll/novelr.shtml.  If you’ve never heard of the story, you can check it out on my site (read the excerpt, buy the book, etc) and if you happen to decide you like the story before January 14th, then please vote. 

W00t!  Pretty nice way to kick off the new year, yeah?

 

Available at Loose Id.

Recharging with my Einstein Hair

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, December 21, 2007.


Okay, that is hands down my worst blog title ever. {sigh} On to the good stuff:

I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately. Did tons of writing, but none of it’s strictly stuff I should be working on at the moment. Then I banged myself up a little (nothing serious) and it sorta hurt to write for a few days. When I felt better, I opted to draw instead of write. This marked the beginning of what I fondly (and not-so-fondly, depending on my mood) refer to as being in Recharge Mode. Logically I know a lot of stuff is getting done—reading, updating the website, sending out an overdue newsletter, returning phone calls so my friends don’t think I’m dead—but often it feels I have very little to show for it because writing is what makes me feel focused, and settled, and productive.

Still, it’s been nice. Even when I realized that my hair vaguely resembled Albert Einstein’s and put on a cowboy hat. You really can’t go wrong with a Stetson.

One of the perks from being in Recharge Mode is that you tend to Google yourself and do all manner of other things that sound dirty without actually being dirty. I got to see what people are saying about me, and most of it’s been pretty good. I managed to plow through 543 unread emails and found some wicked good stuff there as well.

Paul’s Dream is…wow. Doing better than I’d ever expected. It’s even won a few accolades, and I thought I’d share them here because nothing helps a person recharge more than good news. So here they are, in no particular order:

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know Mrs. Giggles rated it a Keeper.

The Romance Studio gave it a perfect 5 hearts.

Joyfully Reviewed rated it a Recommended Read.

Romance Junkies awarded the novel a Blue Ribbon.

TwoLips Reviews gave it a Recommended Read and a Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Book Utopia Mom “devoured” the story.

Jennifer Leeland called me “brilliant.”

It all feels surreal in a really really good way. Lots of people had great things to say, and I try to keep a current list of them on my site (which I just updated this past week!), so you can check them out at http://www.rowanmcbride.com/stories/touchingfire/paulsdream/. Just scroll down to the review section of the page. You can also learn about the story, read an excerpt, play a few games, and hit the link that’ll let you buy Paul’s Dream at Liquid Silver Books–http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/paulsdream.htm.

Now I’m returning to the reading phase of my Mode. Ai no Kusabi the novel is finally out. Yeah! So far it’s proving to be a great way to recharge.

"Paul’s Dream" is a Recommended Read!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, November 2, 2007.


More info on Paul's DreamPaul’s Dream has been Joyfully Recommended by Joyfully Reviewed!  Check the uber kawaii sticker:

Raine–the reviewer–had this to say about the story:

Paul’s Dream stole my heart.  I Joyfully Recommend Rowan McBride’s sexy paranormal roller coaster ride through law offices, bedrooms and dreamscapes.  This is a truly wonderful romance that will bring a smile to you face along with tears of happiness.

How cool is that?  If you’d like to read the entire review, you can see it at the Joyfully Reviewed site.

Great way to start the weekend!  Yeah! 

Purchase Paul’s Dream
Purchase Paul's Dream

Holy Crap, I’ve Been Giggled

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, October 12, 2007.


There’s this reviewer, Mrs. Giggles, who scares the bejeezus out of just about every writer I know. Her reviews are wicked tough, and she’s notoriously hard to please. Her ranking scale doesn’t consist of five roses or stars or kisses. It’s one hundred grueling points, and with ebooks it breaks down like this:

90 – 100 Hits all the right spots
80 – 89 Good
70 – 79 Not bad
60 – 69 It will do
50 – 59 It won’t do
30 – 49 Waste of time
Under 30 Recycle bin material

Books do land in the 0-30 range. I’ve always stayed under her radar, but I’ve seen plenty of stories crash and burn on her site. I’ve seen a few shine as well, so it’s definitely not always bad news. If Mrs. Giggles likes something, she really likes it, which makes reading her reviews strangely addictive.

When I signed with Liquid Silver Books, I knew there was a chance I’d get reviewed by Mrs. Giggles. She reads a lot of LSB releases. The masochist in me wanted to see it. Bring it on!

Yeah, that lasted about two seconds. Afterward, it was mostly prayers up to the writing gods that my book wouldn’t land in the Recycle Bin Material—Waste of Time range. These prayers were often accompanied by the “A low rating doesn’t necessarily mean a bad review/One reviewer’s opinion doesn’t define my book” mantras, which are true, but somewhat ineffective in treating author neurosis.

Anyway, the wait for me was over this past Monday. Mrs. Giggles reviewed Paul’s Dream. My score? 93. That makes Paul’s Dream one of nineteen “Keepers” out of more than 450 ebooks reviewed on the site. She called Paul “easily one of the most memorable romance heroes I’ve come across.”

How cool is that?  You can read the entire review here.

One reviewer’s opinion doesn’t define my book. But a great review still deserves ice-cream.

Purchase Paul’s Dream
Purchase Paul's Dream


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