Monday, September 24, 2012

Why, in Real Life, Ducky was the Better Choice

I've been immersing myself in the early blogposts of a newly prominent author who has a slight obsession with the late John Hughes' movies and other great things from the 80's.  Recently, she made a comment that stuck with me.  And I just feel the need to expound.  Bear with me for a moment :)

Now, I'm a child of the 80's, and I saw Pretty in Pink in the theater and again several times on VHS (yeah, I'm dated) and television, but for some reason, I didn't remember there was an alternate ending where Molly Ringwald's character actually chooses Ducky (played by Jon Cryer) over Andrew McCarthy's character.  Huh, who knew?  Apparently many.  Maybe I should pay more attention.

Still, it got me thinking.  Audiences obviously preferred Andrew McCarthy as the chosen love-interest.  Thus the ending showed in the theaters.  After all, the character's handsome, rich, and through the movie, he grows as a person, right?  Okay, reality-check.  People don't usually change that much from the values they were taught growing up.  These two characters are from very different worlds, and unfortunately, in real life, that usually creates a huge communication problem.  I would go so far as to say, those internal values are as integral to our personalities as anything else.  Uneven values create a level of conflict that many couples can't survive.  It's so difficult to understand where someone is coming from if you don't agree they have their focus on the right things.

Plus, let's be honest here.  Ducky would have been a partner.  He would have been sensitive and understanding.  Sure, he's a beta male and we all favor the alphas, but the alphas have a tendency to be a little more focused on themselves.  Take these famous alpha males, for instance:  Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Sheen, Christian Bale.  They are intelligent, charming, attractive (they have their followings), and maybe this is a slightly skewed list.  I'm sure there are some alpha males who are great guys, but that's usually because they have beta characteristics.  Now, I'm not saying Andrew McCarthy's character would have turned into this.  It's romantic fiction after all, and we all know they had a happily ever after.  In real life though, I think Ducky was the better choice, and many a woman who has overlooked the nice guy for the jerk would probably agree.

Though he wasn't perfect, Jon Cryer's character was the better male, in my opinion.  Ducky might have been a pushover.  But he might have also loved Molly Ringwald's character so much, he wanted nothing but her happiness, even if it meant seeing her with the wrong guy.  That's the stuff that would have meant something to me.

Just my two cents, but Ducky was the better choice.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Cherie Marks

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Time Tip--Time Management for the Time Impaired

I'm a busy, busy, busy person (aren't we all?).  I have a day job, a husband, three children, an extended family, and a writing career.  Time is not something of which I have tons to spare.  Yet, a new feature I've decided to begin on the blog is Tuesday Time Tip, a posted devoted to time management for writers.

Far from having IT all figured out (whatever IT is), take my tips for what their worth--my own experimentation on my quest to write in the midst of everything else going on in my life.  Use at your own risk, and yes, your mileage may vary.

This week's tip: write when your brain is functioning.

Seems logical, but let me explain.  I have read about authors who get up waaaay before dawn in order to get in some valuable writing time.  And yes, I've set my alarm with every intention of doing this exact thing myself, but the few times I've been able to drag myself out of bed, guzzle cups of coffee, prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, and put my fingers to the keyboard, I wrote about fifty words or so.  Then I spent the rest of the day trying to fight the feeling I'd been cheated somehow.  Should've worked, but didn't.

Now, I do hit a stride at about one o'clock in the afternoon, but with a day job, that's just not feasible.  So, I had to figure out something else that worked for me.

Luckily, for some reason, about nine or ten o'clock every evening, I can't seem to stop the flow of words, and I can usually get a thousand or more written around this time.  So, though I'd like to tell people someday about how I sacrificed sleep and got up when everyone else was still snoozing to pump out glowing manuscript after even more glowing manuscript.  That's not how my brain works, and I have to write when my brain is functioning...period.

So, what I've learned is that you can't fit a round peg into a square hole, or in other words, I'm not a morning person, and I can't make myself be one.  Therefore, I write at night.  It's what works for me.

What about you?  What time of day is your optimal writing time?  Any tips or tricks for us non-early-risers?

Happy Reading and Writing!


Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm a Hybrid and Proud of It!

Back in March, I submitted my manuscript, Lost in New Falls, to a prominent Trad publishing house per an editor's request.  I was jumping up and down at the opportunity. Literally, it wasn't every day that an editor was interested in my work.  Anxiously, I marked my calendar, allowing the  professionally accepted three months before I expected to hear anything one way or the other.

Around the same time, I posted a little flash fiction piece titled, "Mercy," to Smashwords.  After some time, it began getting some good feedback.  Originally, this piece was going to be a complete young adult novel, and though I'd started it, I'd never finished it.  The comments I kept receiving basically said, "Love it! It needs to be longer."  So, I set my mind to finishing Edge of Mercy.

Then, at the end of July, I indie-pubbed the finished product.  I'd chosen to do this one myself for very good reasons.  Not the least of which was the fact a publishing agent I follow made it apparent dystopian young adult was a flooded market.  Even if I happened to hit the jackpot and get a publishing house interested in publishing my book, by the time it hit shelves two years later, the market interest would be lost.  The time-frame of publication was the key factor in my choice to self-pub Edge of Mercy and the subsequent books in the series (coming soon).

I've also published a short story with an e-publisher (Into the Fire through The Wild Rose Press), so with these different avenues of publication, I proudly proclaim myself a hybrid author.

Some say one must choose one camp or another.  You're either Indie or Traditional.  Otherwise, you're disloyal to the cause (whatever that may be).  Some say whatever you choose shouldn't matter to others (this is my opinion) as long as it's working for you.  Right now, this is working for me.

I'm very proud of my tiny successes with Edge of Mercy and Into the Fire, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't still hope for a book deal.  I know, I know...Trad publishers' offers are getting less and less advantageous for authors, but if the shoe fits on the foot in the door, why not wear it?

Okay, there might be many reasons not to wear it.  Not the least of which is the fact that I would earn less than, less than, less than nothing, and the fact that I would have to kiss my manuscript goodbye for pretty much...ever.  But somehow, it's still a part of my dream to see my book in a bookstore (before they're all gone, that is).

So, though I've contacted the editor twice now for a yea or a nay, and said editor still hasn't read my manuscript, I'm not quite ready to call it all off.  I guess the real lesson here is that authors have so many more options now, and I'm not willing to give up on any of them yet.

I'm not the only one whose mind is weighing all her options.  Even heels-dug-in Indies are licensing other rights to publishers (foreign, audio, media, print, etc.) and even die-hard Trad authors are self-pubbing backlist books with great success.  Once again, what's right for one is not always what's right for all.

For more on what others are saying, check out this link about a recent revelation explaining even self-publishers are shopping around for publishing deals, even if it's just certain rights.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Cherie Marks

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome Wednesday Welcomes Andrea Downing

I'm so excited to invite a special guest to the blog today. Andrea Downing is the author of Loveland, released August 8, 2012. She was nice enough to answer a few questions, so here goes:

What inspires you?

I’d have to start with my daughter—she’s the most inspirational person I know. But if I have to put motherly pride aside, just being out west inspires me. Those wide open spaces where you feel you can really breathe and be yourself, the towering mountains standing like guardians—the whole geography of it just fascinates and inspires me. To think of the people who first went there, not knowing what lay ahead, turning open prairie into tilled fields and cattle range and making a new life for themselves away from everyone and everything they knew. That’s truly inspirational. 

Where in the world would you want to visit (all in the name of research, of course) and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled pretty extensively during the course of my life and while I’d now like to get to Australia and Asia, where I haven’t been, if someone said to me ‘you can go anywhere right now’ I’d probably still choose to head west. And the only reason I can give you is because I feel different there, happier. But Australia might be nice—big country, lots of room to ride!

Who has helped you along the way?

Some years ago, while I was still living in Britain, I wrote a 600 page book I intended to try to have published. It got rejected from about 3 agents and then I gave up—which, when you think about it, is pretty laughable. Anyway, all my friends sort of ‘yelled’ at me, told me how foolish that was, as did my daughter. They’ve all been my cheerleaders until I finally decided I had nothing to lose. 

What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are, and what advice do you have for anyone in a similar situation?

Very low self-esteem, self-doubt and a huge amount of fear! I used to shake horribly when in certain situations with people I’d never previously met, until I had to go on beta-blockers for AFib. So you might say my heart saved me! But really, as I say, I realized I had nothing to lose. Sure, there are going to be people who hate my book and trash it but someone liked it enough to publish it! That’s what you’ve got to believe…

What was your first writing piece and where is it now?

I can’t even remember the title of it but, strangely enough, it was about a British Prince who falls in love with a commoner—and I wrote it way back before such a thing was even vaguely a possibility. So, being so young when I wrote it, I put it in the circular file.

Can you talk about what you are working on now?

Loveland is an historical so I’ve now come back to the 21st Century and written women’s lit with strong elements of romance. Tentatively titled Dances of the Heart, it’s about four people with very different lives, very different conflicts who come together and relationships blossom while they all undergo some interior change. There’s a mother who is a successful writer but has a deep fear of growing old and letting a man, who might reject her, into her life; her daughter, meanwhile, has just suffered the death of her fiancĂ©, quit law school and now lacks direction to get her life back on track. Then there is a hard drinking father who blames himself for having sent his oldest son off to Afghanistan, where he died, and his younger son carries a secret which affects them all in the end. I’m just finishing up.

Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry and why?

I’d really like to head out to Colorado and meet Maggie Osborne. She’s written some terrific western historical romances which I absolutely love, was even President of RWA, but she ‘retired’ in 2004 and hasn’t published anything since. I’d like to know why and I’d like to get her to write more.

Now for a little fun! This is where we really get to know our guests.

Boxers or briefs on your man and why?

Oh, come now, boxers surely. Those briefs look like a banana hammock.

Favorite movie and why?

Broken Trail! I absolutely adore that. Does it count, it was really a miniseries? First off, it has Robert Duvall who I think is fantastic in everything, but really, that scene at the end when the stagecoach pulls away and Sun Foy is standing there… You don’t get any more romantic than that.

About the Book:


When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...

Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can't seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he's got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?


He watched as she sat on a stool and pulled first one boot, then the other off and kicked them aside, then she stood and put her leg on the stool to roll down her stockings one by one.

He marveled at her wantonness, her lack of propriety. “Alex, stop,” he said, laying his hand on hers. “Stop. You know…”

But he was lost; she took his face in her hands and pulled him to her, kissing him so any resistance he had had was now shattered. His heart was beating faster at the sweetness of her mouth, the softness of her tongue, the lack of air as they sought each other. His hands moved over her feeling the outline of her body, knowing its curves, its gentleness, its yielding. “Are you sure?” he asked at last.

“I want you so much, Jesse, I want you so much, I’m not waiting three years. And if…if anything happens, so what? We’ll get married, that’ll be it.”

“Yes, but Alex, you can’t…I mean it’d be a shotgun wedding, it’s not how—”

“Shh.” She put her finger to his mouth and then turned for him to unhook her gown. He ran his hands gently down her exposed back, feeling each scar, then kissed her neck.

“You have nothing on under...”

“It’s how the gown is made. Monsieur Worth builds the undergarments into the gown.” Her voice was at barely a whisper, a tremor showing her nerves. She turned and still held the gown up to her, then, looking at Jesse, let it drop to the floor.

Oooh, so tantalizing. Great excerpt. The book sounds amazing.

About the Author:

Andrea Downing emigrated to the UK from New York in order to do her Masters Degree.  She ended up marrying, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore and often trades the canyons of New York for the open spaces of the west—and writes incessantly.

Author website:
Buylinks for Loveland:

Thank you so much for stopping by Andrea. Great answers and even better book! Can't wait to check this one out.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Six Sunday-Slow Simmer

Hey you sixy-sixers! I'm happy to be participating in SSS again this Sunday. It's been awhile. I've been hanging out at my alter ego's blog, but got to give love to both, so woo hoo! Let the sixing begin.

Today, I'm sharing from a wip I've been lovingly calling "Slow Simmer." This is Maria and Hank's story. These two were the secondary characters in my short with TWRP, "Into the Fire." And this story picks up a year after that one, after a very hawt one night stand. Hank shows up to the restaurant where Maria is the head sous chef to film an episode of Restaurant Rescue, where a crew comes into a restaurant to save it from ruin. Needless to say, Maria's not happy to see him.

“Maria? Maria Devere?”

Ah, scummy, scum, scum! He’d seen her trying to sneak out the back door. There was no denying the situation now, so she turned and gave a huge smile and a dorky half-circle wave. “Hey, Hank. Been a while, huh?”
I love these characters and this story so far.

Read more Six Sentence Sundays here, or sign up to participate next week. Hope you have an enjoyable Sunday.

Happy Writing and Reading,

Cherie Marks

Months after he stole her affections—then her executive chef position—Shyann and Luke meet again under sizzling circumstances, competing head-to-head on a televised cooking show called Kitchen Twist. Each arrives with a motive: Luke intends to win back Shyann’s heart, even as she wants closure on the not-so-tasty heartbreak he once served up.

Luke knows culinary masterpieces require a delicate touch, but that knowledge is tossed out with the leftovers as he works to show Shyann he’s not such a bad guy. Now he pushes his skills to the limit to win the competition and satisfy a bet.
Can two top chefs resist each other as they move out of the pan and into the fire?