Thursday Random Thought ~ When Writing Sports is Like Writing Christmas… with @MeganSlayer #christmas #sports #sportsromance

I hadn’t given much thought to writing about sports until this weekend. I know that sounds crazy, being that I’ve written some sports romances. I’m partial to football, but I like a good racing story and one involving baseball, too. I know nothing about hockey and never tried to understand it. Hockey, forgive me, but it isn’t my thing. Oh, I do like a good cross country race, too. Grin.

But this past weekend, I went to a baseball game, then was able to take in a scrimmage for my football team. I was in heaven, let me tell you. There’s nothing, to me, like watching a great game and seeing fantastic athletes in action.

I’ve been neck deep in writing Christmas stories. I’m all about a good holiday tale, too. Almost as much as I like my sports. Seems sort of odd, writing Christmas in July, doesn’t it? Well, it’s as screwy as it seems. It’s not easy. I’m hot and it’s uncomfortable outside, and I’m trying to write snow, chill and carols. It’s hard to be in the thrill of the season when it’s over 90 degrees.

Writing sports is like writing holiday stories. It is for me at least. I have to be in the mood to write about home runs and tackles. I can’t just write football out of season. It’s hard to think of baseball in the middle of a blizzard. But it’s possible. Then there’s running. I know runners go out in all sorts of weather, but I’m not wild about writing cross country stories when it’s a thunderstorm or snowing.

I’d never thought about the parallel between Christmas and sports until this past weekend. I’m at the baseball game and characters for a story in my Cedarwood series showed up. They chatted through the rest of the game. I could only hope to jot down what they’d said by the time I got back to write it down. I had a notebook with me, but hey, I was there to watch the game, too. I wanted to pay attention. Grin.

But now I know. The game was the inspiration. Same with the scrimmage the next day and watching the binge of Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. All of them got me in the mood in one way or another to write the respective story. When I’m immersed, I want to write that sport or holiday. Not bad, really. I’ve always got the characters talking so a little inspiration never hurt.

Speaking of inspiration, I’ve got a goddess and a few faeries to talk to. In the mean time, enjoy this snippet from my football romance, Making the Play.
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Making the Play by Megan Slayer

Out of Bounds Series

M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation

Novella

Sports Romance

Pride Publishing

 

Sometimes switching things up really does mean getting the guy.

Allan Clark thought his life as a wide receiver for the Wildcats was over the moment he was told he’d be the new punt returner. He’d thought he didn’t want to be a special teams player. He’d rather have the limelight. But once he starts returning punts, he realizes this was where he should’ve been all along. Speaking of perks, he now gets to spend time with the sexy kicker, Tyler Leigh. Maybe this switch is the best thing that could’ve happened to him.

Unlike Allan, Tyler isn’t planning on going into the draft or playing football for the rest of his life. He’s got other plans, though a side trip in the sheets with Allan isn’t off his radar. He’s wanted Allan since he joined the team. But Tyler’s got baggage and an overzealous ex-boyfriend hell-bent on making his life miserable. With Allan, he sees a bright spot.

Will these two seeming opposites leave their desires on the field, or will they find common ground together and score?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of masturbation, implied abuse as well as references to violence, physical assault and emotional abuse.

Available from Pride Publishing:

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/making-the-play

And from ebook retailers everywhere: https://books2read.com/u/mvYDRX

EXCERPT:

Copyright ©2017, Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved

“Ride with me to Lorne’s. My car’s right over here and in the morning, we’ll call Dad. Deal?” He pressed the fob on his keys. The headlights on his coupé flashed as the doors unlocked. “Perfect for a twosome.”

“Okay.” Tyler inched up to the car. “Just— I can’t walk in with you.”

“Because of Blake and Devan?” The pair of asshats were starting to get on Allan’s nerves and they weren’t even within earshot.

“Yeah.”

“He can suck my ass.” Allan opened the car door for Tyler. “Get in. The bugs are starting to swarm under the bright lights and I don’t want to be eaten alive.”

Tyler acquiesced and slid into the passenger seat. He held his bag in both hands and didn’t look at Allan. “It’s nice. The car. You’ve got a nice car.” He blew out a long breath. “Sorry. I’m babbling.”

“You’re fine.” He shut the door and rounded the hood. Excitement surged through his veins. He had Tyler Leigh in his car. So the guy didn’t think he was popular. He probably didn’t think he was handsome, either. He was wrong. Popularity wasn’t that important, but damn, the man was cute. Allan collapsed onto the driver’s seat and basked in the comfort of the faux leather. Sitting down was a good thing for his aching body. He’d taken one too many hits on the last punt return and needed a break.

“I’m indebted to you,” Tyler said. “What do you want other than help with punts? Blow jobs? My ass?” His voice cracked.

Allan closed his car door and gripped the steering wheel. He wanted to lash out at Tyler, but having an attitude wouldn’t help the matter. Blake was the problem. Blake’s treatment of Tyler, to be more specific. The man was using Tyler and for some reason, Tyler didn’t seem to see he wasn’t worthless. Christ. He wasn’t even sure Tyler knew better.

“Sorry,” Tyler mumbled.

“No. There’s nothing to be sorry for.” He had to be delicate. If he moved too quickly or without tact, he’d screw everything up. “Was Blake your first boyfriend?”

 

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Random Thought ~ Icons and Music with @MeganSlayer #music #icons #gonetoosoon

Seems like when there’s one passing, two more happen. The rule of three or the triangle effect—however you want to look at it. I’m not a fan of dying and death. I’d rather keep enjoying the music, movies, and books!! But I’m right there with the rest of the fans who buy the music, movies, books, etc. when someone passes away. Unfortunately, death happens. There isn’t a cure for death. Not yet. It just happens.

I was talking with someone older than me the other day. The person said they didn’t understand why Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell were considered icons and legends. To this person, people like Bob Dylan or Barbara Streisand are legends and icons. Are they? Sure they’ve done some awesome stuff. But should Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell be on the same list? I think they should.

This is my opinion and I stand by it. I’m guessing you have your own and I expect you to. Opinions are good.

Dylan and Streisand are legendary people. They’ve made strides in music and film. The songs are memorable. I can’t name a Streisand song, but she’s also not my cuppa. Dylan…yeah, I can name a few of his tunes, but his vocal style isn’t for everyone. That’s okay.

Then why are they counted above Bennington and Cornell?

Metal and rock music had their starts much later than many other popular genres of music. Some cite Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin as innovators in the rock and metal genres. Those weren’t big bands until the late 60s and early 70s. Pop started back in the 50s, so they’re going to have people with more longevity in those genres. But metal and rock are having their day. Sadly, they’re also starting to feel the sting of death.

If you are like me and grew up in the 90s and 00s, then bands like Cornell’s Soundgarden and Bennington’s Linkin Park were mainstays. A lot of my college and high school days were filled with hours listening to their CDs. Numb from the Meteora album holds a special place in my heart. It got me through a lot of heavy stuff. I wasn’t particularly in to Soundgarden, but you can’t miss the grungy, heavy sound of Black Hole Sun.

So why call these people legends? Because they’re dead? One person claimed the way they passed should keep them from the status of legend or icon. If that’s the case, then Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Hendrix, Brian Jones, plus Keith Moon should be kept off the list. The thing is, drugs, drink, depression…it hits us all in one way or another. Members of Alice in Chains, Drowning Pool and many others are gone too soon because of decisions made that maybe weren’t the best. Just because these people took one pill too many or decided to take their life doesn’t mean they weren’t great.

These guys were depressed. They had fame, fortune, and fans, but when you’re popular, it can be lonely. You can be in the middle of a crowded room and feel like you’re the only one there and it’s not good. It can be sad and yeah, depressing. There is pressure. What if the next record doesn’t score with the fans? What if it doesn’t sell? What if it’s deemed unworthy? What if it’s ‘not good enough’?

To some, the pressures of fame are self-inflicted. If you don’t want the stress, then don’t be famous. It’s not that simple. You generally want some fame and cash so you can keep living. But then, if you’re lucky, it gets bigger and harder to control. There is no such thing as kinda famous. There’s famous in a small town, but not kinda—that’s verging into the one-hit wonder status and that’s its own ball of pressure.

Look at Kurt Cobain. The guy wanted to play music and eat. Okay, he wanted to do drugs to numb the pain from his childhood and a stomach condition, too. Then people saw his skills with songs and lyrics…it blew up out of his control. Some didn’t understand the lyrics to the songs and others misrepresented what he meant. He felt like a sellout. For all we know, Bennington and Cornell felt the same way. I’m not saying I know they did or didn’t. I’m just saying you don’t know how these people were feeling, so it’s hard to condemn them.

It’s tough being an artist. You want to please yourself, plus make the art your soul expects you to create. It’s tiring. It’s hard. You don’t just sit down and create a masterpiece in music, art or literature. It takes time. There are many moments of self-doubt. Moments where you want to destroy what you’ve created in favor of starting over. It’s hard to know if the public will like your work and if they don’t, then that’s torture. You’ve worked so long and hard on the art only to have it rejected. You can get lost in the world of creation, trying to make your art perfect. It’s tough.

For me, the 90s and 00s will forever be the decades of NuMetal, experimentation in music and the resurgence of the massive concert experience – think Lollapalooza, Lilithfest and the Warped Tour. This music wasn’t made or listened to in a vacuum. A whole generation of people grew up on the tunes from these bands in these concerts and genres. Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington’s music represents times in our lives. To discredit these folks or to say one is more important than the other is foolish. What’s an icon to you might not be to me, but that doesn’t mean the contributions to art, whichever it is, wasn’t big.

Streisand is a great singer, but her belting out People didn’t make an impact in my life in the massive way Linkin Park’s Meteora album and Hybrid Theory did. “I know I may end up failing, too, but I know you were just like me with someone disappointed in you.” That’s a heavy lyric.

The music stands up. Soundsgarden and Linkin Park sound as fresh today as they did when the albums dropped.

We all have our legends and icons. #Legends and #rockstars never die because their #music always lives on. That’s what makes these guys #legends and #icons to me.

Writing, Chaos, Order and a Whole Lot of Pens with @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #planning #posting #writing

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 (By Luis Argerich from Buenos Aires, Argentina (Cross Pen) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I love my writing utensils. Love them. I’ve got a pen collection that’s probably out of control. Why? Because when I go somewhere, I want a pen to commemorate being there. Also, they look pretty. I tend to use the ink up in them, too. With my luck, once I decided to display the pens, the one with the ink left in it would explode and I’d have a mess. But that’s my luck.

But this post isn’t about just my love of pens…although based on the photos I added, you’d think it might be. Grin.

I wanted to write today about something that may seem small and silly, but it’s pretty big for me.

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(By André (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I’m a stress writer. Yep. I admit it. I am. I tend to know what I want to write and have deadlines, but for whatever reason, I seem to wait until I’m down to the wire before I get things done. That doesn’t mean I’m sitting around doing nothing. No…I’m usually finishing up whatever it was I put off before this project.

It’s not a good thing to do, stress writing. I tend to create these crazy schedules for myself, then stress when I don’t feel like I’m meeting my own deadlines. It’s worse during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). I usually have a project to finish BEFORE I can start the NaNo one and then I try to get both done y the end of November (that’s the month NaNo takes place in).

Europen-nib

(By Europenpen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

Right now, I’m currently trying to wrap up a short for Changeling involving Christmas Magic. I won’t get into the gritty nitty, but it’s short and it’s HAWT. Before that, I finished another Christmas tale for another publisher. Because I love Christmas? Because the stories were begging to be written. Oh, and I’ve got another short planned for once the Changeling book is done. Have I lost my mind? Sometimes it feels like it.

I enjoy Christmas, don’t get me wrong. I love the joy, the togetherness and the fun of the holiday. But it’s July. It’s not entirely hard to think about snow (it’s been well into the 90s for temps here of late),  but I’m not really in the mindset to write Christmas. I won’t lie. When it’s Christmas time, then I’ve got all sorts of ideas for stories. It just happens to be too late or too early to turn them in (depending on who you ask). But the stories I just finished and am working on demanded to be written.

I don’t have big spreadsheets of what needs to be written and when. I might have a schedule that’s in my trusty notebook next to my laptop, but that’s got maybe a week or two out scheduling wise. I let the muse talk and pants my way through most of my stories. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just write whatever pops into my head from the muse. That’s what ends up in the notebook where I can tweak it first. But it might be May and I’ll have the characters for a Christmas story show up. Or it might be Halloween and I want to write Valentines stories. Although, a mash-up of a Valentine Halloween might be fun.

So while I’m sure I rambled through this post, this is a clue into my writing world. There’s some order and some chaos, but it’s all mine and I own it. I might as well. 🙂

 

 

Random Thought ~ Reused Actors and When the Plot Falls Apart

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First of all, I have to start by saying this post concerns movies. All the way around, it concerns movies.

I’ve been watching the Christmas in July movies on the Hallmark channel. Why? To get into the Christmas headspace to write Christmas stories. Grin. I know when I watch these movies, I’m going to get a happy ending and there will be tension, but the plot is what matters–not the hot stuff or stolen kisses.

Don’t get me wrong. I wish there were a few more stolen kisses and hot moments. I’d love to see them ramp up the sexual tension. No one has to be bound or spanked, but a little heat wouldn’t hurt.

But the thing that’s bothered me this Christmas in July season isn’t that I’m dying for Christmas cookies or a break in the hot temps. Nope. It’s the reusing of actors and the plot holes.

The reusing of actors wouldn’t be bad, but after a while all I can see is who they played in previous movies. Oh, she was a princess in that one. He was a prince, then a plumber, then a corporate raider. I don’t see the character, I see the actor and that ruins the fun of the flick. It kind of drives me crazy.

Then there are the plot problems. How come the boyfriend just let her go? Why didn’t he put up more of an argument? Why didn’t the guy try harder? Why, if he loves her, didn’t he go caveman? Why didn’t she stick up for herself? Why when she DOES stick up for herself, do the powers that be make her look so…cranky?

Maybe I’m too picky as a viewer. Maybe I want too much. Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there and hoping for what I’d rather see. I’m not sure.

Do you have those things that drive you nuts about movies? About the all weekend sprees of movies on the same theme? I’d love to know.

Random Thought Thursday ~ When the Outcome isn’t What You Thought

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I’ve mentioned a time or two that I love movies. I love TV, too, but movies are my thing. One thing I’ve noticed is every so often, movies and television shows have a plot that’s easy to figure out. That happens. What might be complicated to me, might be easy to figure out to others. Murder She Wrote is one example. I never knew whodunit until the show revealed it.

But I’ve been thinking about some shows and movies that didn’t quite get to the ending the way I wanted. Now, who am I to say the show/writer/movie/etc was wrong? I’m a writer and I know I’ve got characters who didn’t quite do what I wanted them to do and the ending wasn’t the one I expected.

But there are times when I’ve gotten so emotionally involved in a show/movie that I was upset by the end of the movie.

CONTAINS SPOILERS!! If you don’t want spoilers, then don’t read this part.

For example, I didn’t like the way the character of Credence in Fantastic Beasts. The poor kid was misunderstood and abused. Instead of getting the kid some help, they destroyed him. Wasn’t there a way to talk him down? It felt like the easier answer was to destroy him. Hmm…

Then there’s Night Court. I LOVED that show. From the moment she showed up, I wanted Christine and Judge Harry to get together. They teased at it and that was great, but at the end… that’s when I wasn’t able to stay with the train. Dan, the prosecutor, had chased EVERYONE with a skirt on during the run of the show. The last episode? He’s ready to chase Christine. When was he not? Then Harry chases her, too. I liked that they both did, but I wanted closure. Yes, insert pouty face. Lol. I wanted Harry to get his happy ending.

But that’s how movies and television work. You don’t always get what you want. Is it good storytelling? Copping out? Depends on how you look it it. If you want to be negative, then it’s shortchanging the viewer. For a more positive spin, life doesn’t always work out the way we want.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t irk me when the story doesn’t take the turn I expect. But that’s a mark of a good show to me. If I’m emotionally involved, then I’m paying attention. It’s worth my time. But then I have odd taste in movies, music and television. I still love Agent Carter and Forever. Neither are on television any longer. Shame.

What about you? Are there shows/movies that had endings you didn’t see coming/didn’t like? Let me know.

Wednesday Random Thoughts ~ Most Remarkable Characters with @MeganSlayer

Check it Out BannerNormally on Wednesdays I write book reviews. I have some books I could review, but I’ve had this blog topic on my mind for a while and I thought maybe I’d build up a bit of a backlog for book reviews and take this week off.

Now to the topic…

I love television and movies. I love music, too. While I was in the middle of a M*A*S*H binge, featuring McLean Stevens as Col. Henry Blake and I got to thinking. There are some truly remarkable characters. Is Henry remarkable? Some might disagree, but I think he is. I love the episodes he’s in more than the later ones. I like to laugh and he’s guaranteed to bring the laughs.  Oh, sure, I like Hawkeye and Trapper, but there’s something about Henry .

So in the middle of this binge, the episode where Henry goes home aired. I don’t know about you, but there are certain movies and tv shows I can’t watch when I know someone won’t make it. The episode, Abyssinia Henry, is one of them. I cry each time. I know what will happen. I’ve seen it a dozen times. But Henry is one of those characters I don’t want to see go away. I cry each time. Yes.

Now I’m going to make a huge jump. M*A*S*H is in a level above CSI: Miami, but these two shows have something in common. The loss of a character. Where I’ll cry because Henry doesn’t make it, I cry because Speedle is shot in the line of duty. I started watching CSI: Miami because I liked Wolfe. I won’t lie. I was drawn to him because he’s cute. Well, he is. But I had to get the rest of the plotline and I like to go back to the beginning with series once I know I’ve come in halfway through. So I binged the show’s first two seasons before they were pulled from the air. (They aren’t making any new CSI: Miami episodes and it’s kind of a shame. I liked that show.) Anyway, I watched and came to love Speedle. He’s a punk, cocky and snarky, but lovable. Plus, he’s kind of cute in a rugged kind of way. I had NO idea he wasn’t going to make it. When that episode came along…I was gobsmacked. Again, I cried. I liked this guy. WTH!

The same thing goes with The Fox and The Hound, Where the Red Fern Grows and Eight Below (but in those cases, it’s the dog(s) that don’t make it. I don’t like when the ones I love die.

Now I understand why the writers get rid of some characters and phase out others. You’ve got to evolve. BUT…that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I don’t like change. I really don’t. I’d prefer to have my characters live on forever.

What about you? Are there shows you have a hard time with because of the characters? Is there one or more that are your favorites?

 

Strange Bedfellows with @MeganSlayer #signings #romance #funny

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I happened to be watching an old Clark Gable/Carole Lombard movie when I realized I needed to write a post for Dirty Birdies. The premise for the movie was two people who probably shouldn’t work out actually doing so. It reminded me of a few book signings I’ve done. You see, I have an interesting talent when it comes to book signings. Either I’m placed next to my friends, or I’m placed next to my polar opposite. Don’t believe me?

One of my very first signings happened to be at my local library. They did an interesting event called Cascade of Authors. Basically, they brought together a whole slew of authors and let us talk about what we wrote. As a mixer, it worked well. Now everyone who knows me or has read Megan Slayer knows I write hot. Real hot. Damn hot. HAWT. For some reason, the organizers thought it would be smart to place me next to a nun. Yes. I didn’t mind being next to her. I thought it was rather interesting. I’ve never been a nun and knew nothing about them other than what I’d see in the movies or television. I know not all nuns are the same, but this one made certain I knew that my books weren’t ‘appropriate’ for the library. Of course, the cover she took issue with was of a single girl. It’s the cover for When You’re With Me. It’s not as bad as it could be. Then the nun insisted on asking me during the Q&A how many books I had out. Back then it was closer to a hundred. I guess that’s not what she wanted to hear. She refused to talk to a ‘smut’ writer and hurried out of there as soon as she could. ☹

At a different year, but the same event, the Cascade of Authors, I was placed next to a Friar. Uh-huh. He had beads made by children in an African country and was giving them out to anyone who bought one of his books. Now this particular year, I brought my M/M titles to the event. I’d written one about football players and wanted to talk about it. Instead of being put off like I thought he might be, the friar bought a copy. We had a great conversation about his mission work and getting young people involved in the church. Did I mention we were placed at the one table that wasn’t in the semi-circle with the other authors? We joked it was because we were so polarizing. It was a great experience. Strange, but it worked.

Now, I don’t just seem to be placed next to the religious set. Nope. I have a knack for being placed next to sweet romance authors, too. I don’t mind the sweet authors. Heck, some of my very best friends write sweet. They write mystery, sweet and pretty much everything. But one time in particular, I was placed next to a person who wrote sweet. As soon as she found out what I wrote, she wanted to be moved. I understand the whole idea of our heat levels not meshing so it could be a problem. Sweet and super spicy. Hee hee. Needless to say, we weren’t separated. But the funniest part? We became fast friends. Being thrown together was the nicest thing that could’ve happened.

So I guess being the dirty birdie has actually been a blessing. More of one that I thought. I get to write what my heart wants, work with the characters that chatter to me all of the time. It doesn’t matter where I’m placed. I always have a good time and make the best of everything. What about you? Have you ever been placed in a strange situation? How’d you handle it?

Originally posted on the Dirty Birdies blog: http://wp.me/p6bvcM-1Fe