Archive for the ‘Serials: Michael Finally Grows Up’ Category

If my head weren’t screwed to my body

Friday, August 21st, 2015

…I’d have lost it back in 3rd grade, latest. >.< Okay, so here's the deal: The M/M Romance Group on goodreads is celebrating its 6th Anniversary right now. Today (Friday, August 21st) is actually the 7th day of the party, and I... uh... sorta... {clears throat} I TOTALLY FORGOT I DONATED A PRIZE. Fortunately, my prize hasn't been claimed yet (I know, I know. Shocker, right?), which means you can still win it, and it's a pretty good one, if I do say so, myself. 😉 I'm giving away one chapter from a story on my Serials page (www.rowanmcbride.com/stories/serials). The chapter will be written within 60 days after the prize won, and it will be dedicated to the winner. You can choose to update any story on the Serials page. Yes, that includes Jascian. Yes, that even includes Davey. Giving away this kind of prize is a big deal for me. I never sell stories on proposal (they're always complete when I submit), I never take commissions, and I'm infamous for ignoring reader pleas. Plus, the last time anything on the Serials page was updated was November 1st, 2014, because that's how terrible I am. XD There's a bunch of ways to win, but the first step is to go to the M/M Romance Group on goodreads at https://goo.gl/duVOEA and join the group. Check out the prize vault (https://goo.gl/zdsbXm) in case a prize other than mine {gasp!} interests you. Go to https://goo.gl/4O1Wou and get your game on. If my prize isn't claimed {double gasp!} after the end of the GR celebration, then I promise to offer it up again in a separate drawing. Again, I'm really sorry to be so late about letting you know. Good Luck! -- Rowan McBride www.rowanmcbride.com PS: Computer died.  Sending this from my phone, so please let me know if there are any formatting errors since I'll be writing that chapter from here and my tablet.

Names and Master Plans

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

This post is probably going to be even more ramble-y than my usual, so there’s that.

I started a story recently where I changed the name of the main character three times. That never happens to me. In a best case scenario, when I imagine a character for the first time he already has a name attached. In other, less desirable situations, I spend hours—sometimes days—going through my baby name book, name websites, and scrolling through my television menu for random actor names until I find something that fits, dammit. But something always does, even if I have to eventually make it up. The name captures the person.

Until this new guy. He started out as a Dan, then as a Ray, and currently he is Neil. At the moment I’m not entirely sure I think his name is Neil. It’s really disconcerting. I can’t even start a story unless I know who the main characters are, and here I have one and I can’t pin down his name. I feel like I’m writing about a ghost. Which I’m not.

Then come the repeats. I’m not sure what the writer etiquette is on that. I have a Michael in Michael Finally Grows Up (which was updated late last month—yeah!), but I also have a Michael you’ve never met, in a sequel that I promise I’m working on slowly but surely. In this case I don’t think it’s so bad because MFGU is a free serial and in a different category from the novel I’m working on. Separation challenge: Easy.

Things get murkier when the stories are both books. Jesse Winter is still my favorite character I’ve created, but a few days ago this new idea popped up in my head, along with a brand new character whose name was…Jesse. I figured I had to change it, but Derek—the love interest—calls him Jess and how hot is that? Keith never called his Jesse Jess. Of course, Derek is the name of this guy I’d had planned for a fairy tale down the road…

*headcramp*

I’ve lost count of how many idea files I have on my hard drive. How many “chapter ones” I intend to spin out into fully realized tales. I also have a spreadsheet to keep track of all the names, to help keep my myriad of master plans and distinct worlds from colliding with each other. And yet I have two Michaels, two Jesses, and a dude who may or may not be a Neil.

Sometimes I wonder why I put so much effort into names, anyway. Would the content of my stories be that much different if I named half my characters Bob? Then I take Jesse from Warm Rush, and try to imagine him as, oh I don’t know, a Duke or something, and that really doesn’t seem like it could work. But Duke from G.I. Joe? What other name could he have? Also—hot.

This new Jesse? I’ve tried retro-fitting him with different names. Nothing works so far. I think about books I’ve read by authors I love and I have to admit, unless it’s the same universe, I don’t pay attention to names (or similarities, or repeats) from one series to another. But then I’m freakishly bad with names (hence the spreadsheet mentioned above to help me remember my own characters) so I’m most likely not the best sampling here.

What do you think? Is it confusing when an author has two characters with similar names, even if the story worlds never overlap? Or does the fact that I have around 250 names used (as in seen in a published/posted story) or on reserve (as in featured in one of my many “chapter ones”) in my spreadsheet make it a big enough pool that I can use a couple of them more than once?

And Neil, or whatever the hell his name’ll be by the end. Still no idea what to do about him. Maybe he’d work as a Bob…

So much for master plans. >.<

Michael Finally Grows Up – Comments Section

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Story Blurb:

When up-and-coming artist Avery Scott spots a shy wallflower at a party, he just can’t seem to help himself– he brings him home. Michael’s sexual hungers tread on the kinky side, even by Avery’s standards, but Avery is more than capable of giving him what he needs. Before he knows it, five years have gone by, and Michael is still in his bed. Avery is comfortable. Even happy. And he’s famous, which is a bonus.

But now Michael is changing… into something that Avery’s been having nightmares about for most of his life.

http://rowanmcbride.com/stories/mfgu/index.html


If you’d like to make a comment about any of the MFGU installments, or the story as a whole, you can do it here.

Michael Finally Grows Up – Chapter 8

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Chapter eight of Michael Finally Grows Up is done and posted. I wish I had something clever and insightful to say as to why I up and decided to write more of this story after, oh, a year and two months, but the truth is I was feeling it and so I jumped in. XD

Avery’s voice is always a lot of fun to write for me. I hope you enjoy getting reacquainted with him:

http://rowanmcbride.com/stories/mfgu/

Workshops and new chapters.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

It’s currently 3am and I do believe the first day of the Romance Divas NGTCC “ENOUGH TO MAKE A GROWN MAN CRY. Characterization, Motivation, and POV in M/M fiction” workshop went very well. Josh Lanyon really kicked things off with a discussion on Point of View, I got to share some thoughts on storyboarding, Shayla Kersten shared excellent insights on GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict), and Jet Mykles gave great advice on how to flesh out a character.

Lots to build on for the coming week, and I’m excited to see where it goes. If you’d like check it out, it’s all online and free at http://forums.romancedivas.com//index.php?showtopic=53543. If you haven’t registered already, please see the previous blog post on how to go about getting access to the steamy section.

***

Been tinkering with my website. Trying to make the Serials section more reader friendly, so I’ve posted Kismeta parts 1 & 2 directly on the site (no more having to click over/register at Evolution Forum to read it) and am considering doing something similar with my other online floaters. For now, the other serials have been labeled to clearly mark where they’re posted *before* you click, and I switched the links of Jonah’s Giant over to Coiled Fist because CF doesn’t require registration to read stories.

I’ve also posted chapter 7 of Michael Finally Grows Up. As always, you can catch that one directly on my site. 🙂

Michael’s back!

Friday, June 26th, 2009

So apparently it’s been roughly two years since I’ve updated Michael Finally Grows Up . I’m not sure how it happened, because I love that story. It’s had an interesting resurgence in popularity recently, as I’ve been getting emails with subject headers like “When DOES Michael finally grow up?” and “Michael’s stunted growth.”

Fun, right? I hadn’t even realized that the story had fans, and truthfully I’d been thinking about it a lot lately. With Lone published at Amber Allure and One Shot accepted by Loose Id, I had a little bit of free time and decided to use it visiting Michael and Avery.

I forgot how great those two are together. Michael’s changing, and Avery’s mixed feelings are making his behavior sporadic and fun to watch (for me, anyway. I’m told I torture my characters a bit). Chapter six turned out quite long, so I ended up breaking it into two pieces. Six is up now at http://www.rowanmcbride.com/stories/mfgu/ and chapter seven will be up once I’m finished cleaning up the rough draft. I hope you like the new installments. Let me know. 🙂

The Evolution of Michael

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, September 23, 2007.


I’ve just finished chapter five of my serial Michael Finally Grows Up. Being that I hadn’t updated since February (bad Rowan!) I went back and read the first four chapters to refresh myself with Avery and Michael’s world. It took me two years (maybe more, since I can’t for the life of me figure out when that first installment went up) to write those four chapters. As I read through the story, I could see the shift my writing style has taken in the last couple of years. It was interesting. Like a trip in the WABAC machine.

In chapter one, Avery’s interesting, but he’s got no real voice. You never really get a handle on who he is—you just see what he sees. And he has a tendency to ramble, which is more me than him, definitely. I still think the first chapter’s a good one, but if I’d started this story today, it never would have been put down that way.

There are other problems, too. Tense shifts that even now I’d have no idea how to fix without scrapping the sentence and starting from scratch. Little grammar things that I just didn’t know back then. A few places where I took a paragraph to say something when I probably only needed a sentence. In later chapters, there are scenes where I skip vital steps in my characters’ interactions. No one forgets to take off their shoes during sex, I don’t think (this is an ongoing problem with me), but a few things just as bad. I cringe, but I can’t go back to fix because I said this story is supposed to be a record of my writing style.

After this week, I’m seriously considering changing that policy. I actually blushed a few times during my read-through. Did I really write that?

But I get better. And, oh, what a rush that is.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what changed. By the time I got to chapter four, I realized the pace was quicker, and Avery was much sharper. By chapter four, we know Avery so well, and we know Michael through his eyes. I think chapter five continues that trend, but I suppose only time will tell. Knowing me, two years from now I’ll be cringing all over again.

Style shifts aside, I love this story, start to finish. I love how Avery is unapologetic about who he is and yet he will do anything—anything—to keep Michael from crying. I love how Michael is able to recognize Avery’s awkward attempts at affection and always says thank you.

Avery is there, from the very beginning. That’s the best thing about Michael Finally Grows Up. The core story is visible in every chapter. Avery and Michael are always good together. Even in chapter five, where you can see that my hot tempered artist is about to shoot everything to hell, and you’re hoping he doesn’t muck it up too badly in the weeks ahead, a guilty part of you kind of hopes he steps over the line just enough to makes things interesting.

Because that’s part of his charm. Maybe it’s part of mine, too.

Fantasy crosses over

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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


So I write these stories. In the majority of them, at least one of the characters will grow taller. It’s one of the many many components that make up my complex system of fetishes. You can read about another of those components in my MG blog. One day I might blog about wings. Or collars. But today I’m blogging about the height thing.

It’s quite the fantasy of mine. Sometimes I dream about it. Sometimes I write those dreams into hot little stories. Those are good nights. The shift in dynamic, the shift in power, the shift in perspective. Bliss.

I’m not usually a player in these fantasies. It sounds strange, I’m sure, but I’m more of a voyeur in these cases. And that’s lucky for me, because then every fantasy is different—with different characters reacting to different plots—and that makes for brand spankin’ new stories. Hmm… spanking.

{forces self to stay on track}

On the rare occasions I am a player, I’m not the one who grows. I just find it incredibly hot to watch the other person. A voyeur even there, I guess. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking a lot of writers are that way. We much prefer to crawl into our characters’ minds, get comfortable, and take notes as they do their thing.

I had a doctor’s appointment Monday. Nothing serious, just a check up. Temperature, pulse, blood pressure—all normal. Go me. Then it’s time to measure my height.

Dutifully, I stand against the wall as the nurse brings the ruler thingy down to my head. She reads the result aloud.

“Five foot seven.”

I blink. “Say what?”

“That’s how tall you are. Five foot seven.”

More blinking ensues, along with a shake of the head. “No, that’s not right.”

She checks again, standing on her toes. I realize with a start that people don’t usually stand on their toes around me. “Oh, my mistake. You’re just a few millimeters shy of five foot seven.” She winks at me. “But it’s not even worth noting. I’ll just round up.”

My mouth works a few times. It takes me a while to remember how to form sound. “I’m five foot four.”

This time the nurse looks surprised. That maybe the patient’s not playing with a full deck of cards surprised. “I don’t think so. I’m five-five and you’re obviously taller.”

No way. Looking at her I can see she’s a tiny little thing, and she’s got no reason to lie to me. But I know what I know, and I try to talk some sense into the trained nurse. “I’ve been five-four since eighth grade. I was five-four this time last year.”

She shakes her head. “You must have measured wrong.”

“I was measured here.” I point behind me. “With that ruler.”

Now, the waiting room on the other side of the doors is filled, so this nurse is on a schedule. I can understand why she just politely smiles and leads me to the examination room.

What she doesn’t understand, however, is that I’m on the verge of a full-blown freakout.

I pull out my wallet, show her my driver’s license. “See, five-four. They measured me and everything two years ago.”

She pats my shoulder and tells me to sit. Then she proceeds to enter my stats into the computer. Quiet. I’m clutching my wallet, checking it periodically to be sure that it does, indeed, say I’m five foot four. Finally, my mind tries to wrap around my situation.

“Do people have growth spurts after turning thirty?”

“Sometimes.”

Okay, I didn’t know that. I absentmindedly note there might be a plot hole in Michael Finally Grows Up, but I reason that big leaps in growth never happen overnight, so Avery’s line in that scene is still good. Then I snap back to real life.

How old was I in eighth grade? Thirteen? I count back on my fingers because it gives me something to do. I know that was the year I hit my absolute tallest—I’d shot up three and a half inches over the summer and everyone asked me if I was going to be a basketball player when I grew up—which was why I remember the five-four mark so clearly.

It didn’t seem plausible. Who doesn’t grow for seventeen years and then just starts up again? Even Michael’s body had a reason.

The nurse leaves and the doc shows up. He asks how I am, and I tell him I measured taller this year than last. He waves me off, tells me that height fluctuates throughout the day.

I raise my eyebrows. “Three inches?”

He stops short, goes to the computer to check my old stats. “Interesting.”

Interesting? That’s it? That’s all I get? “I think there’s been some kind of mistake.”

The doc looks me over. “You’ve come in here a few times for joint pain, right?”

I nod, deciding not to tell him I’d figured it was my body falling apart because I’d turned thirty this year.

“Have you been bumping into things, feeling unusually clumsy?”

Crap. I’d been meaning to ask him about that. Lately I’ve knocked my foot or my knee or my elbow against everything in sight. I’d thought sure there was a disconnect somewhere between brain and body. “Yeah.”

“Growth spurt.”

“Growth spurt?”

He smiles and nods.

And so it came to be that I am three inches taller than I was this time last year. My clothes still fit, because I wear them oversized anyway. I noticed that they’ve been fitting differently lately, but figured I’d shrunk them in the wash. Shrunk them in the wash. After my appointment, I realized I’m as dumb as some of my characters. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

None of my local friends noticed until after I told them; I think because they live here with me. My parents came to visit me last week, and they didn’t say anything. I ended up calling Dad on Monday, telling him the whole story. His reaction was a typical dad reaction.

“Yeah, I thought you looked different. Figured it was your hair, like usual.”

I don’t even know what to make of that statement. I may react by putting green highlights in my hair.

Today I had to stop by the grocery store, and I caught myself comparing heights with other shoppers. I’m definitely in a different bracket now, and it feels, well, bizarre.

I shouldn’t feel different at all—it’s not like I noticed the growth. But for the most part I live in my head. Now I’m paying a little attention to the outside world. The whole fantasy colliding with reality thing is enough to jar anyone.

Freakout city seemed to be where I was headed for a while. I’d jump from scared to confused to kinda turned on. Mostly confused. I was comfortable with my image of myself. I liked being in my skin. It’s disconcerting when your body up and changes for no apparent reason. I’ll have to remember that for my next MG story.

But I got to thinking about my Touching Fire series. In that world, when incubi feed, they swell up, grow a little because they’re so filled with passion. I’ve been writing like a madman these past few years, and I’ve loved every minute of pouring my passion into those stories. The more I write, the more I get to watch wonderful, sexy characters do their thing. There are times when I feel like I’m going to burst open and all these totally random ideas will spill onto the carpet for the world to see. Or for the mutt to lap up.

Ahem. I had a point here… Oh yeah.

Maybe I’m a little like those incubi. Maybe my body had to get a bit bigger just to hold it all in.

Maybe fantasies had more power than I thought.

 

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