I love words. Most authors do, but I think I might be a soupçon nuttier than most. So what’s new?
Montessori taught me to read at age three, opening unto me a world of extraordinary and delicious possibility (and, incidentally, making me the scourge of Sister Mary Emma’s first grade class). My pre-K teachers also attempted to nurture my theoretically innate artistic abilities. I took to those things with a distinctly lesser degree of proficiency. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, I cannot draw and I cannot paint, even given an outline and pre-printed numbers with corresponding capsules of color. I cannot compile collages. And if you ever have a chance to be on my Pictionary team, run screaming as though from Old Scratch himself unless you are either mind-numbingly drunk and thereby easily amused or hoping to get in a few preliminary licks toward your Purgatory sentence.
But words I adore. As a result, my editors must frequently remind me that readers don’t like to pause mid-conflict to fumble for the dictionary. About once per book, I get fixated on a particular word and throw a hissy fit about what I consider to be its utterly unwarranted ejection (which, for me, translates to drafting a multi-paragraph annotated justification with emphasis on the decline of the American educational system and numerous admittedly hyperbolic references to the responsibilities of romance writers to dispel the pervasive misconception of commercial fiction as intellectual tripe).
As long as the object of my obsession isn’t in the middle of a sex scene, my editors usually roll their eyes and let me keep it. You might can imagine why.
Once upon a time I read an article by a highly-regarded author (or maybe scholar) whose name I forget and am too lazy to look up. Anyhoo, he contended that gonorrhea, despite the visceral ickiness of its definition, was the most beautiful word in the English language. I don’t know about all that, but I take his meaning. If you look at it from a purely visual perspective—pay attention strictly to the way the letters arrange themselves on the page—it really is quite a lovely word. Other words, most of them easier on the gag reflex, have that same inherent prettiness.
Consider palindromes with their reassuring sense of symmetry: noon, kayak, Anna, Otto. (Yes, I’m intentionally ignoring “boob,” a word that both looks and sounds ridiculous, though there’s a time and place for that too.)
Other words just appear appealing on the page, especially in script–words like ailurophile, imbroglio, ratatouille, or gossamer.
Repetitive words have their own distinctive charm. They usually sound and look precisely as their meaning indicates they should: murmur, cocoa, tintinnabulation.
Then there are the simply euphonious, such inglenook and propinquity and, appropriately enough, sonorous. And those that feel delightfully crisp or bold or juicy on the tongue: pizzazz, twinkle, orb, squeamish.
In terms of all around awesomeness, my personal favorites include:
I’m also partial to alliteration. Hence my current pen name, Maggie Montgomery, and the title of my not-yet-written comedic mystery: The Perplexing Puzzle of the Perforated Pinup Princess.
And I like quips, plays on words, and double entendres. Which is how I named my second book, Screw Me Once. (As in shame on you, but also, you know, screw. ‘cause… well you get it.)
And I positively adore rhymes. Which brings us (rather conveniently as I’m running out of word count) to the title of my new release, available TODAY:
Tex-Mex Sex Hex
I know, right? Absolutely genius! But I can’t take credit. It was thunk up by a 16-year-old and the story involves hexing by taco seasoning, abundant humor, facing one’s past, and super spicy sex.
Wanna read it? Leave a comment about your favorite word(s) below. Someone will get a free e-copy! Thanks for stopping by and gobs of gratitude to the Bad Girlz for gracing me and the other ladies of Laptops & Lingerie with a spot in their ferocious forum of fabulousness this month!
Oh and, by the way, the hissy fit word in Tex-Mex Sex Hex is “piquant.” Just in case you wondered. J
You can find out more about Maggie, her books, and get your copy of Tex-Mex Sex Hex in the links below: