Archive for the ‘Just Perfect’ Category

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. >.>

Another Just Perfect review

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

just perfect cover image

Check out the great review Elisa Rolle wrote for Just Perfect: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1576270.html.

My favorite line is “I’m pretty sure some readers will find questionable most of Cody and Draven’s behaviour, but if you are used to Rowan McBride’s stories, you are already accustomed to them.”  XD

Just Perfect story review

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The first official review for Just Perfect is in! Serena Yates, of QMO Books, wrote “The characters and their roles are flipped around, turned inside out and any preconception you may have had will go out the window when you read this. … This is definitely a book worth reading for its lack of conventionalism alone.”click the pic to visit the book's Torquere page

Pretty snazzy, yeah? She said a lot of other great things, which you can read at QMOBooks.com.

Reader reviews are also filtering in, but I don’t know what the protocol is on quoting those so I won’t post any here. Last I checked, the ratings on GoodReads have been across the board, resulting in a weird, perfect aggregate rating dead center at 3 stars. I’ve never had that before. Usually, the majority either likes or dislikes my book, so the rating is either over 3 or under it.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that a lot of readers felt Cody was cold and Just Perfect was generally unromantic, while many readers of One Good Year believe the story was too sentimental and overly romantic. So my advice to you is to read both stories simultaneously in order to achieve perfect balance. 😉

That’s it for the Zen of Rowan.

Have a good week!

A Bit of Fluff

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A couple of months ago, my editor at Torquere suggested I write a bit of bonus material for Just Perfect. Something from Cody’s point of view that showed what he might see in Draven. At first I had reservations, but when I started, I felt…good. So good that the piece came out 300 words over word count.

click the pic if you'd like to learn more about Just PerfectIt reminded me how much I really do love the sweet and fluffy stories. I’ve been in a dark place lately and I think my stories have been reflecting that (in really fun and twisty ways), but this tiny little excerpt made me smile. The combination of my editor’s suggestion and the card my friend sent me a while back is probably what got me going on One Good Year. It’s funny how events sometimes come together in odd and perfect ways.

Not that I have any plans to abandon my twisty stories. 😉

We had to cut the word count down to 500 before posting it on the Torquere social group, but I got permission to post the original version on my site. You can read it here.

I hope you like it.

Dude, here’s my sequel.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

If you’ve been following my stuff a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve got a bit of a…hang up when it comes to sequels. In that I don’t have any. The recent release of Just Perfect is a prequel to a dark little story I wrote a while back called Just Wait, but Just Wait’s been out of print since 2007, so does Just Perfect even count as a prequel? I labeled it #1 in the Drayner series so I’m guessing not.

But now, finally, I have a bonafide Book Two. It seems right that it’s part of the One Good series, since that’s what I was working on when I angsted about sequels in Dude, where’s your sequel? Of course, it’s also kind of ironic (or maybe just sad—I don’t have a good grasp of irony) that back then I was working on One Good Verse.

Turns out, Book Two in the One Good series will not be One Good Verse.

It’s called One Good Year and it’s an Ace & Spade story. XD

The novella’s tentatively scheduled to release March 13th, 2012 from Loose Id. You can read a little more about it here.

I’m excited. Are you exited?


Note: While hidden, the new One Good series pages have been available to view for newsletter members since this past Sunday. One of the perks of being on that list is getting to peek at stuff a few days (if I’m on top of my game) before it goes live. They’ll be getting another sneak peek this Sunday, so if you’d like to join the list, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rowan_mcbride/. It’s newsletter-only and very low traffic, plus you can decide if you want to have all posts delivered to your inbox, or just the ones that include chapter/installment/story announcements by choosing the “special notice” option. Special notices do not include sneak peeks unless I’ve just posted a new installment to one of my serials.

Wow, that was a very long post script.

But I’m still excited. Are you still excited? 😀

Goals: I haz them.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

I didn’t write a New Year’s resolution post because I didn’t feel like I’d achieved much in 2010/2011. I sorta figured I was hella lucky to have a novella out in 2012 and shouldn’t push that luck. Plus I go through this thing periodically where I feel like I suck.

Then an old friend sent me a card. Inside, she had cut and pasted (as in actually cut and pasted, with paper and scissors and—I assume—paste) a dozen little quotes and images that reminded her of me. It made me laugh. It totally made me feel like I didn’t suck.

So I got back to writing, and my short little bonus fic turned into another novella. Sold novella to publisher. Rocked out to The Offspring in my living room. Realized it was only January and that this could get interesting.

Below are a list of my goals for 2012. I’m going to do my best to achieve them. I’m not going to beat myself up over it if I don’t. I’m also going to be flexible and open to change.

I think it’s going to be a good year.

  • Updates to the website
    • I didn’t put up any additions to Best of Rowan’s Ramblings for 2011, and there were some pretty good ones. (Check: 2-16-11)
    • I’m thinking of doing a bit of a redesign to the overall look and navigation to the site. For a while there I never had more than three published books out at a time, but I’m up to seven now so I think it’s fair to say that the trend is good and over. My book list is starting to look a little unruly.
    • I’d also like to make the place more mobile friendly. As is, it doesn’t look too bad on phones because the original design took into account smaller laptop/monitor screens, but a mobile option could make things cleaner and easier to navigate on a phone.
  • Updates to Stories
    • This is the year I finish The Jascian’s Toy. I can feel it.
    • Write One Good Verse, which will bring the One Good series to three. I do like that number. Plus I’ve been working on it forever and I’m really digging the world right now.
    • Maybe Touching Fire: Asher’s Magic. Asher Croft is so very hot and his story should be a lot of fun.
    • If things go well with Drayner series, #1: Just Perfect, maybe I’ll get the green light on #2: Just Wait, the rough of which is already done.
    • Get Want Me into e-book format. XD
  • Conventions
    • DragonCon, if any. I ditch it for something else this year there’s a certain group of friends who will probably murder me in my sleep.
  • Blogging
    • I’m going to try and get into a regular schedule. Maybe {gasp} write a few posts ahead of time, so I can have them set to upload automatically. Most likely Thursdays. Of course, all bets are off if I’m on a roll with the story section above.
    • Post parts 2 and 3 of my 2011 YaoiCon wrap-up before YaoiCon 2012. *headdesk*

I think that’s the plan. There’s some tweaks I want to make to my own attitude, which brings us to one of the quotes my friend sent me:

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
–Marilyn Monroe

There was a time when I wrote fearlessly, when—no matter how crazy the idea—I would take what came to me and run with it. Didn’t matter whether it was thirty-five foot giant alien teenagers kidnapping humans to be their toys, or hell-bent roommates sucking the life out of the objects of their desire. They were the stories inside me, and I had every confidence I could tell them.

That’s the big goal. The one I’m going to work hardest on. I want to write madly, brilliantly, ridiculously. I want to be the person in that carefully crafted card.

And I want to have a blast doing it.

On heroes, villains, and what I can get away with.

Friday, January 20th, 2012

A while back I got a rejection letter (I know, shocker, right?). It was nice as far as rejection letters go. Said my writing skills were tight. The story itself was too dark, though. I know this because the word ‘dark’ was used five times in two paragraphs.

It made me realize that I’m not so good at telling my heroes from my antiheroes from my villains, and that this could actually be a problem.

click the pic to learn more about One ShotSometimes I don’t cross a line by much and an editor will tell me how to revise. In the original manuscript of One Shot, Riley was much scarier than he is in the published version. When I made him nicer I made the mistake of not toughening up Nick by a proportional amount, but Nick’s still a little hottie in my book so that’s okay.

click the pic to learn more about Want MeWalker Cain from Want Me, however, didn’t get dialed down at all. For good or ill, it was one of the reasons I chose to self-publish. It meant I could go crazy with the storyline. I got to write a character who literally had no concept of right and wrong, not even as other people saw it. He wanted. He took. That was his life. Unfortunately what he wanted most was Joel, and the spiral they were thrown into as a result turned out to be razor sharp and painful for both of them.

Ahh, how I loved that book.

Still, there was an element of likability to Walker. Partly because he just didn’t know any better. Innocence born from madness.

click the pic if you'd like to learn more about Just PerfectDraven Donnor is not mad. He knows exactly what he’s doing. And he knows that almost everything he does is not right by human standards. So that would make him a villain, yeah? Except that he’s not human. He has a moral code, but it’s a product of who he is, of a culture very different than ours. And when it comes to Cody, he’s all about loving, he’s all about protecting, he’s all about getting closer. So he’s got flaws, but he also has one really, really good trait. Maybe that makes him an antihero. But…

When he becomes an assassin, he finds that he enjoys his job. That never changes. No angst. No crisis of conscience. Plus at the beginning of the story he steals from Cody. His best friend. Which brings us back into villain territory. On the other hand, from his perspective he is a natural, right being, rightly doing what comes naturally to him. Then again, most villains think the same thing about themselves, meaning Antihero Upgrade denied.

As you can see, I’m not entirely certain how I should feel about my newest character. But I feel for him all the same. He is Draven and I love him. Just like I love Walker. Just like all those psychotic characters I adore so much in anime. (I’m looking at you, Akabane.)

This says something serious about my psyche. I’ve yet to figure out what, exactly. As the writer of such stories, am I the hero or the villain? Maybe I’m trying to write the best story possible with a concept that’s always intrigued me, and maybe I hope Just Perfect catches on and its popularity will let me write more of it. Some of the stories I’d like to tell are cool and dark and possibly twisted. And I believe they belong on the shelf right next to my fluffy stories, because I love fluffy too.

Perhaps my ultimate goal is to bring balance to my backlist. That’s a worthy aspiration, even if the road is five times as dark.

Does that mean I’m the antihero?

Or am I just a writer with wicked thoughts, trying to see what xe can get away with?

Just Perfect Release Day

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

My new novella, Drayner Series #1 – Just Perfect, is officially available from Torquere Press.

I hope you like it. 😉



Blurb:

click the pic to visit the book's Torquere pageThree years ago, Draven was forced to leave behind his human best friend to become a Drayner Assassin. Cody knew nothing of Draven’s ability to steal a person’s physical attributes by touch, and the Drayner intends to keep it that way when he returns to Maryland. Remembering the innocent, flawless human he left behind, he looks forward to rekindling his relationship with his friend.

He’s taken aback to find Cody a different man, and Draven is stunned by his own attraction to a harder, more brilliant kind of perfection. But getting close to the human is not easy—Draven has more secrets than ever. Like that day, all those years ago…

When he used his magic to steal from Cody.

Excerpt: Just Perfect

Monday, January 9th, 2012

click the pic to learn more about Just Perfect

Excerpt: Just Perfect

Rowan McBride

Available January 18th from Torquere Press 🙂

Just Perfect © 2012 by Rowan McBride. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without author’s permission.



Flagging down a taxi was easy enough. I settled him inside and climbed in after. “Cody, tell the cabbie your address.”

He turned his head, his cheeks flushed with liquor. “You’re coming home with me?””Yeah,” I said, keeping my gaze fixed on the seat in front of me.

Cody chuckled and told the driver his address.

“What’s so funny?”

“I don’t know,” he said, his shoulders shaking. “I just feel like laughing.”

I glanced at him, taking in that smooth, flawless skin. “For a second there I didn’t think you’d ever laugh around me again. Not like that.”

“Back in the bar…” He rubbed at the tears forming in his eyes. “It felt like you were coming to my rescue. Like old times.” He focused on me, his gaze going from playful to piercing and back again. “Silly, huh?”

I’d never seen eyes like that. “I don’t think it is.”

He curled his legs into the seat, tucked his arm under his head. “I think I’m drunk.”

“I think you are too.” But hell if it wasn’t adorable.

Cody went quiet, staring at me. I tried not to squirm under the attention, but damn. He didn’t say another word until we’d arrived at his apartment complex.

He fumbled for his wallet and I stayed his hand. “I’ve got the cash; don’t worry.”

His arm fell to the side. I paid the cabbie and scooped Cody into my arms, lifting him out of the taxi and surveying the complex.

Cody laughed. “This is just like when I twisted my ankle and you carried me to the nurse’s office. Remember that?”

I smiled down at him, held him a little closer. “I remember you begged me to put you down the whole way there. Is that what you want now?”

“Nah.” He waved his hand, like he was trying to sweep the question out of the air. “It’s late. Doubt anyone’ll see us this time around.”

This time around. Hopefully that meant I had a second chance in more ways than one. “Where to?”

He flung his arm out and pointed to our right.

I carried him to the building and through the lobby. We rode the elevator to the seventh floor, and he threw his arm to the left.

“It’s number 706,” he said lightly.

When I stopped in front of his door, he wriggled his way out of my arms.

Shit, his body felt good.

Cody fumbled for his keys, managed to get the door open. I helped him inside and closed it behind us.

His knees buckled and I hooked an arm around his waist, holding him against me.

“Thanks,” he said, smiling again.

The breath skittered in my chest. I’d never been dazzled by a smile before. “Any time.”

“So this is my place,” he said, gesturing to the studio apartment before sliding his palms up my arms. His head fell onto my shoulder. “You smell like fresh-tilled earth.” He chuckled into my shirt. “Shit, I really am drunk.”

My body tensed–could he smell the death around me? Was he saying I smelled like a grave?

“Hard as a rock,” he murmured. “Just like I remember.”

I groaned, unable to take it anymore as I tipped him backward. “Cody,” I said, getting brave because he was drunk, “what kind of guys are you in to?”

He laughed and thrust his hand into my hair. “I like them tall and dark.” He gave my head a hard tug. “I like them to have all the muscle I could never pack on to my own body.”

My lips parted.

His gaze dipped to my mouth, and he lifted his other hand to brush a thumb against it. “Draven Donnor,” he murmured, all humor draining away. “My first crush.”



Learn more about Just Perfect at www.RowanMcBride.com.

A Just Perfect Cover

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

There are so many horrible horrible ways to work the title of my latest novella into a sentence, and you will quite possibly see me use every single one of them eventually. For that, I apologize in advance. But there is a bright side. My brand new cover, for instance!

click here to learn more about Just Perfect

Snazzy, yeah? And you’ll be able to get both the cover and the story from Torquere Press on January 18th, 2012. 🙂