Welcome S.A. (Sandy) Garcia! I was thrilled to meet Sandy at GayRomLit 2012 in Albuquerque and I’m even more thrilled to have her make her first visit to my blog! Sandy is here to talk about her Cupid Series from Dreamspinner Press: Book One: The Gospel According to Cher and Book Two: Cupid Knows Best. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but I love Sandy’s style and her sense of humor, so I know I’ll love them both. And the covers from Dreamspinner cover artist Paul Richmond? Amazing.
Would you like to win a copy of The Gospel According to Cher? Leave a comment about what you think about older characters in your MM romances, and you’re entered! And be sure to check out the excerpt at the end of her post, too. -Shira
Great characters are the ones who are easy to write. Not that they don’t like making life difficult— they wouldn’t be great characters if they were bland or cliché. Nothing spoils a book for me more than a cliché character. What I mean is when a character arrives accompanied by a strong voice and a determined path, it’s a joy to work with them. Then again maybe I regard my characters as a little too real. Next I’ll be inviting them over for drinks and dinner.
Hindy Nardella is such a great character. When he showed up in Cupid Knows Best, Hindy was supposed to be a secondary character. Suddenly the delightfully snarky gallery diva’s distinctive “voice” took off. I could hear his every word. Imagine Christopher Lee acting like a sarcastic diva. I’ll give you a few seconds to process the sound. Cool, eh? Hindy also developed a wonderful backstory. When a secondary character is kind enough to create a backstory, they deserve their own story.
At Cupid’s conclusion, Hindy seems content, having found what he thought was a solid, comfortable relationship with fabric designer Tim Greenhaven.
Hindy thought wrong. I know, I’m just damned nasty to my characters. I confess when I contemplated The Gospel According to Cher, a title I’m proud of— I suck at creating clever titles— Tim and Hindy were going to remain together, but something nasty was going to happen to them.
That’s the one problem with being a panster, not a plotter. I knew I wanted to write a book about Hindy, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to him. I knew I didn’t want to kill him or dismember him. I do like him. But I needed to mess up his life something awful. I started the book and actually had to put it aside.
Then Patrice O’Malley happened to me. I’ve discussed this before, having this damned vivid dream about a character named Patrice. I knew exactly what he looked like. I knew he worked in a bar. I planned to write him in somewhere, maybe as a secondary character in a novel I had on the back runaway. Damn, I have too many novels stuck on the old back runway.
When the idea clicked, I think I ran around the house screaming yes, yes, yes. I probably popped open a bottle of wine.
Details became clearer. Patrice now worked at a leather bar in the Adirondack Mountains. He had a whopper of a story, being a drag queen on the run from a crazy ex. There I had Hindy in New York City, happy with Tim, and Patrice a few hours away in the Adirondacks, hiding and unhappy. Point A needed to hook up to point B.
Yep, Patrice is a relationship wrecker. His persistency forced Tim to take a job in Japan in order to clear the slate for him to have a chance with Hindy. Of course Patrice doesn’t know he created that problem. He just needed someone to come and sweep him off his high-heeled feet. Well, I can also blame Cupid. The chubby punk had plenty to do with arranging the romantic mishaps.
What happy accident will happen next in the Cupid series? A secondary character in The Gospel According to Cher strong voice pushes him up in the ranks. Nate Jennings, the ex-FBI profiler who now runs a B&B, has a serious chance of taking a turn in the next Cupid novel. He is a dead ringer for actor Sam Elliot. According to quick research, many readers think Sam Elliot is smokin’ hot. I do too.
Who knows, maybe Nate needs to come out of retirement to help one of my needy characters get out of line and into a novel. Wait, hold on…Cupid’s whispering in my ear. Ouch, now he’s slapping his wings against my head. Something about a young FBI agent who needs Nate’s help…could be his partner’s son—ouch—OK, OK, I’ll write this down!
Before he wing-whips me bloody, I’d better announce the giveaway. Want to win a copy of The Gospel According to Cher? Tell me what you think about older characters in your M/M romances.
But first, read the excerpt. Thanks for Shira for having me here today. In a little cross promotion, I’ll also be at Love Romances Café from 7-11 this evening.
Hindy Nardella, gallery owner and tidy leather diva, isn’t sure about love anymore. His most-recent ex-lover said “sayonara” and headed for Japan despite a week of Hindy begging him to stay. The man before that bid Hindy “namaste” before heading for Nepal seeking salvation. Hindy will accept advice from anywhere, even a tacky Cupid music box which only plays Cher’s “Believe,” and vivid dreams compelling him to leave NYC and head for the Adirondacks.
Cupid leads Hindy straight to a leather bar in the mountains and an exotic drag queen named Patrice O’Malley. For Patrice, whose near-perfect beauty belies his lack of confidence, it’s lust at first sight, but Hindy has doubts born of his recent run of bad luck in romance. But when Patrice saves Hindy from death by a falling chunk of airplane blue ice, Cupid slams into Hindy’s heart, and Hindy begins to believe in miracles again. Dangers and challenges arise, involving, among other things, crazy ex-lovers, rampaging mosquitoes, and a phantom moose. But life together awaits back in NYC, if they can survive, trust in each other, and believe in life after love.
Who the fuck was knocking on the cottage door with such force? Hindy shifted to peer at the time. Eight fifteen in the morning. Not Nate; his host would have announced himself.
Hindy’s inner alarm pushed the likely candidate’s name at him. Instead of answering the knock, Hindy rolled from the bed and swiftly closed the teal curtains over the open windows. He drew the curtains across the sliding glass doors, although if someone wanted to peek in there, they would need a boat.
Three thunderous raps sounded again. Their force shook the cottage. A wooden merman sculpture fell on his side.
Patrice ceased his snoring slumber and sat up in alarm. “What the—”
Hindy waved at him to keep quiet. “Shh.” He walked to the front door. “Who is there?”
“I’m here to see Patrice.”
A low “mffgeeekhtt” sound—how odd—escaped from behind Patrice’s lip-pressing fingers. Hindy glanced back. If poor Patrice’s eyelids opened any further, he might sprain them. The sad sight distressed Hindy.
He turned back to deliver his best death-diva tone. “I think not. Besides, you trespass on private property.”
“I wanted to see this wonderful B&B. How am I trespassing? Now let me talk to Patrice before I lose my temper.”
“Talk to the devil, sir.” What a fine British schoolmaster statement. His anal brother would feel proud.
“Ah, Patrice found himself a brave one, eh? How fun. Come out and play, pretty man.”
Loud banging struck the cottage’s side. The thumps traveled back to the front door before they slammed down the opposite side. “Come out, come out, come out and play, pussy cat. What a sweet pussy with long black hair. How precious. Come out and play. Show me your dainty claws, pussy cat.” Snide laughter accompanied the banging as it continued along the walls.
Damn. Shit. Fuck. Balls! The same rage that had helped Hindy survive his recent romantic atrocities stiffened his spine. “Bloody hell, this man is ridiculous. He needs to be taught a serious lesson in manners.” Hindy grabbed the first garment in the dresser drawer. Black silk boxers? Why not? He pulled them on and snatched up his phone from the dresser.
Patrice jumped from the bed to lunge forward. Before Hindy pulled away, Patrice grasped Hindy’s right arm and yanked him back. Hindy almost fell over. Patrice’s panic grew dangerous. “Hindy, no! Kirk is crazy. Don’t go out there! Please. He’ll hurt you.”
“Patrice, my sweet, Kirk is about to meet supreme crazy in the form of one helluva pissed-off diva. Calm down.” Damn, Hindy didn’t appreciate doing battle in his boxers. Too bad, one needed to make use of the special moment.
Patrice leaned down and rummaged in his leather pants. He held up a petite switchblade. “Use my knife against him!”
Hindy stared in alarm. His pretty man carried a nasty switchblade? How wild and exciting. Instead of acting thrilled, Hindy scolded Patrice. “What? No! Put the sharp menace away. I’m likely to chop off fingers, and they might not be his ugly digits.” Inspiration took hold. Hindy leaned down to grab Patrice’s red leather fuck-spike. “This is a much better weapon for me.”
“What?” Patrice’s confusion slammed into Hindy.
“Trust me here. Lock the door behind me.” More thudding assaulted the cottage walls. Hindy tossed his hair and dialed 911. “Hello, I’d like to report an assault at the Primrose Path B&B. A maniac is threatening me.”
A concerned female voice answered Hindy’s declaration. “Gosh, how awful! What is he doing?”
“Banging on the cottage walls while he threatens my physical well-being. I’m going out to confront him.”
“Sir, please, stay inside!”
“My honor does not allow me to remain inside!” His drama-queen dialogue needed lush baroque music as a background. Hindy threw open the door. He nodded at Patrice. “Please lock the door behind me.”
The panic, concern, and adoration messing up Patrice’s rapt expression pushed Hindy onward. He stepped out into the sun. Kirk appeared from the left, his big hands raised and fisted for damaging action. Damn, was the bald monster six foot ten? “I’m looking at the man. His name is Kirk Fitzpatrick. He’s agitated and combative. Please help me.”
To Hindy’s relief, Kirk checked his swing. He didn’t want the man’s huge fist anywhere near his face, especially not his repaired nose.
Kirk snarled in confusion. “What the fuck are you doing, you crazy bitch?”
Hindy muted the phone. “Proving I’m smarter than a common oaf. Off with you! Shoo! Go away or else. Leave us alone, you sick bastard!” Hindy swung the spike heel up toward Kirk’s cheek.
He expected Kirk’s mocking laughter. Kirk didn’t disappoint him. “Come on, pussy cat, you attack me with a high-heel shoe?” Kirk tried to grab the shoe from Hindy’s hand.
Hindy danced back. He swatted the shoe back and forth, watching for an opening. “You don’t know how much damage an angry diva can inflict with a spike heel!” Hindy leaped forward. Memories of playing cricket roared forward to guide his arm. He swung up in giddy gusto. The spike bashed against Kirk’s bald skull right above his left ear. Blood sparkled red in the morning sun.
Kirk swung at Hindy just as Hindy held up the spike heel to block the blow. The heel opened a wound in Kirk’s wrist.
Hindy unmuted the phone. He yelled to the 911 operator. “Help, this madman tried to hit me!” He ignored her frantic response.
The bald giant roared in disbelief before he staggered back in pain. Hindy maintained contact with 911. He swung the shoe again. “I hit him in self-defense! Help! Help!”