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My Favorite Bad Girl Post: How Do You Bounce Back?

To be completely honest, my favorite post in my 5 years of Bad Girl blogging is my Sebastian Stan post. I’m pretty sure anyone who knows me could’ve predicted that. However, in the years since, the pictures have had to come down and it doesn’t make much sense re-blogging an image-less post. Especially when it means robbing you of the beauty that is Sebastian Stan. Instead, I’ll simply include these 

and move along to a post of mine that I think was most helpful.

How Do I Bounce Back?

Resilience. Some people are naturally inclined to have it, others struggle. I’m here to tell you, if you’ve decided publication – of any kind – is your goal, you’re going to need it.

Resilience comes into play when you have to push through a rough part of your story, produce words when the words are being little bastards, bounce back after some hard truths from a critique partner, or when you get rejected by every agent in the universe – plus a few from the Delta quadrant. Then, even after you sign with an agent, there will be more rejection, in the form of passes from editors. Even after you sell to an editor or publish, guess what. You got it! You can still face rejection for other projects or in the form of low sales.

Aren’t I just a little ray of sunshine this morning?

So, how does one conjure up the resilience to keep going in this brutal business? After bouncing back from a recent rejection, a friend asked me, “How are you so resilient?” It got me thinking.

Part of it is who I am; the life experiences and beliefs that come together to give me resilience. I don’t say this to throw rose petals at myself. In fact, I wish I could’ve skipped some of those life experiences, but it is what it is. It makes me ME. The other part of bouncing back is habit. I have some bounce back steps, and today, I’m going to share those steps with you.

Step 1: Digest the rejection, in whatever form it comes, and grieve. I mean it. Being upset, angry, hurt, resentful, envious – whatever the emotion, don’t fight it. Be honest with yourself because if you deny that you’re disappointed and feel like you got slapped in the face with a cold fish, it will eat you up inside.

Step 2: Wallow a little. This is your Big Black Moment, the part of your journey where all is lost. A pity party is to be expected. Eat some dessert, have wine. Have both together. Navel gaze. Beat yourself up, compare yourself to others, doubt everything you ever thought about yourself. Oh come on! You know you’re going to do it anyway. Own that sh*t! BUT, you are allowed no more than 48 hours of solo woe. It gets toxic very fast, so set a timer, grab some bon-bons, and make it count.

Step 3: Reach out to your people. Not just any people, because while your spouse or sibling is probably awesome, they aren’t going to understand this process. You need to talk to a writer friend who has been in the trenches too. Make sure they are wise and reasonable, not a hot mess who will lead you astray. Tell them what happened. Let them be upset with you and for you, and let them reassure you.

Step 4: Listen to their reassurances. Absorb it. You aren’t friends with dummies, so don’t be that guy who can’t take a compliment. Your pals know what they’re talking about. Let their words of wisdom soak in.

Step 5: Get over yourself. This is the hard part, but it’s time. You’ve had your moment of sad, now it’s time to dig deep and keep going. The black moment is over; it’s time to move toward your resolution. Focus on the facts. Look at the substantial takeaways from this experience. How can you improve? How can you grow? What can you learn from this? Take those lemons and make a lemon drop martini.

Step 6: Get out there and enjoy life. Do the things that make you happy, let the brain rest and renew. That is when ideas strike.

Step 7: Get your butt back in the chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and WRITE THE NEXT BOOK. This is the single most important step for any author, regardless of the issue. The solution to 98% of every writer issues is Write. Keep writing. Then, write more. You will get better. Your voice will get stronger. You’ll find that hook or genre or magical formula that will put your story in front of readers. You will not move from where you are unless you keep writing, so go for it! Tell us the next story and start bouncing.

 

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Man Candy Monday: Magic Mike Edition

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Tuesday night I’ll be at an advanced screening of Magic Mike XXL, complete with free popcorn and drinks (both of the soda and adult variety), raffle baskets and goody bags. At first, I wasn’t telling anyone I was invited. When asked if I was going to see the movie, I dithered and giggled. Then I remembered the dozens of well-written, enlightening articles I’ve read on female sexuality, the female gaze, and our media and society’s struggle to accept them. Society might prefer that I be bashful about wanting to go see Matt Bomer shake his booty…but I ain’t gonna. I won’t pretend I’m not excited to see Twitch groove to some Dub Step with his shirt off, because I am super excited. I can’t wait to see this movie!

Admittedly, the story line for the first was fairly dark given the first thirty minutes of the film, but I liked it. The characters’ arcs interested me, and I enjoyed all the pretty men dancing around in Speedos. I have no idea what will happen in XXL, but I do know Matt Bomer will be there looking gorgeous, Channing Tatum is going to roll his abs and dance his ass off, and Twitch will be there with his phenomenal hip hop moves, making me want to sign up for a class. So, if you’re waiting on me to be embarrassed about enjoying these movies (or good looking guys who can shake their groove thing) – keep waiting. 😉

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I have feelings about this gif. Complex, complicated feelings.

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More Than Just Your Average Man Candy

It’s Marvel Candy! Oh come on. Don’t act like this surprises anyone. This Thursday night is the US premier of Avengers: Age of Ultron! At least half of the Girlz on this blog are jittery with anticipation, so get in on the action. Let’s celebrate some superheroes!

First up, Steve Rogers. Obviously.

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I’m a little obsessed with the winky arm transistor magnet thingies. Hence this gifs top spot.

Baby threw a motorcycle y'all.. A motorcycle!

Baby threw a motorcycle y’all.. A motorcycle!

 

Next up, Natasha. And I will fight about it. 😉

nat1 nat2 Tony, being Tony. Then being Iron Man.

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Thor. Because he deserves more appreciation. thor

Clint. Hawkeye. Because he deserves hella more appreciation.

clint2 Bruce – Hulking out and taking robot names.

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 Quicksilver

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I don’t want to talk about what they did to this pretty man’s hair. I suppose it had to be done?

Wanda – Scarlet Witch

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Ngl, the fourth or fifth thing I’m most excited about is seeing her powers in action. Girlfriend gonna feck some shite up!

 

 Finally…

 THAT is a hero shot!

THAT is a hero shot!

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That Slippery Synopsis!

sumner 4No, it’s not Man-Candy Monday. Though I believe he totally qualifies, Bernard Sumner has joined me today because of his creative process. A founding member of Joy Division and the somewhat reluctant frontman of New Order, the finest band of the 80s, nay, OF ALL TIME, Bernard Sumner has said that writing lyrics is a struggle akin to breaking a horse.  Well, sweetie, I get it. That’s exactly how I feel about writing a synopsis.

And shall I say it’s been awhile? The last time I had a project in the synopsis/submission-ready stage was….well, longer ago than that last time I Googled shirtless pictures of Bernard Sumner–and that’s been way too long! Sheesh, sometimes we get so busy, we neglect the really important things in life.

But anyhoo…the synopsis. I’ve read so many advice blogs, so many “magic” formulas. Some of it not-so-great (write a one-sentence summary of each chapter et voila), some of it very good, and usable–if I wasn’t hopeless at the whole process. All of this just increased the dread. I spent half a day writing and deleting the same opening sentence. My wild horse stood in the corner, snorting, stomping, and glaring fire.

Since I was getting nowhere, I was forced to return to my notebook. While not to the extent of a couple of fellow Bad Girlz (ahem, Jenna P and E. Michels), I’m a plotter. Before I write, I begin with a loose outline of the plot, including as many scenes as I can visualize at that point, and a definite direction of my story arc. I also do some fairly detailed character descriptions, with a focus on each one’s GMC. Each character sheet includes back story, the romance arc, and his/her individual character arc, referenced back to the events in the outline. All of this is hand-written, semi-stream of consciousness, and a total mess with arrows, doodles, and crap written everywhere.

And then, a funny thing happened. I realized my synopsis was already there. I had the loose plot, and my characters’ motivations, and their turning points. I only had to put them together in an interesting way, and not make it too damn long. That’s where the best internet advice came in. I found these pointers here and here.

  1.  I used third person, present tense, active voice.
  2. I hit the highlights, and left out most of the details. Just a general summary of the beginning, middle, and end, including resolution of conflict.
  3. What I did spend precious word count on was the emotional aspect of my story. I made sure I gave my characters a little background, and gave an impression of their motivation.
  4. One of the best pieces of advice I read was to tell the story in a conversational style. Before, I either fell into dry summary, or resorted to “In a world where…” Both were hard to do, felt unnatural, and produced sucky results. I even added a quote and a joke or two.

And you know what, I think it worked! There are a lot of great articles online for synopsis help. If some of the things you find strike a chord, but you still don’t know where to start, my advice is to return to your outline, or character sheets, or your beautiful color-coded plot board as the case may be. If you’re an incurable pantser, and you don’t have anything like that, it’s worth it to try. By investing the time beforehand in my story arc and my characters’ GMC, the advice gelled.

I may not have Mr. Sumner’s lyrical chops (it takes years of experience to get away with rhyming things with stinks), but do I have a synopsis!

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Pinteresting

I’m on vacation this week. Not any place warm or exciting like Florida or Hawaii. Nope, I’m in Fargo, ND as I type this post, looking out at brown grass and bare trees. Even if I’m not sunning myself in 80 degree weather, I am still on vacation time, which means I’m deplugging. And as I was sitting here racking my brain to think of a post, I realized that if there’s any time to do something fun, it was now. 

And so I give you: Pinteresting. Yes, it’s a verb.

Now, I’ve been Pinteresting in my personal life for several years. I’ve amassed something like 8,000 pins, all categorized obsessively. I use it for birthday party planning and recipe hoarding and gift making ideas and holiday decorating. But I don’t use any of those professionally.

Oh, no.

Professionally, I use boards that look like this:

hero inspirationAnd this:

hero inspiration 2Annnnnnnd this:

hero inspiration 3This whole authoring thing…it’s a tough life I lead. It really, really is.

But in all seriousness, Pinterest is a goldmine for authors. Yes, I have a board titled Hero Inspiration that is brimming with delicious hotties to feed my eyeballs. But I also have boards for Heroine Inspiration. Couple Inspiration. Places & Spaces. Not to mention boards for each of my books.

See, I’m a planner (shocking, I know). And as such, I like to be able to have a place where I can shove any/everything pertaining to my books (past, present, or future), so I can reference it at any time. Plus, it helps me while writing. Whenever I’m blocked on a certain scene, I like to pop over to Pinterest and look at pictures of who I’ve envisioned as my hero or heroine. Or I like to look at the snippets I’ve got on the Couples Picspiration board. Or I like to browse and see what others are pinning. Maybe I’ll come across some totally random, but totally perfect link, and it gets me out of my funk.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some Hero Inspiration studying to do… I am on vacation, after all.

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Man Candy: David Gandy

It’s not Monday, but any day is a good day for Gandy candy!

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Remember back when I did a post of British hotties, and mentioned I had a type? Model David Gandy is all of those types. Handsome and pretty, rugged yet smooth, dark hair, prominent nose, HELLA intense eyes, great build and a sexy accent – Gandy is UNF personified. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be one of the most, if not THE most, sought after male models in the industry. But rather than belabor the point, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…along with some choice commentary.

First up, the Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue campaign with the little white speedo. No one looks good in a little white speedo! Except for David Gandy.gandy 11

Let’s talk about those cheekbones. Let’s talk about that hair, and the little crinkle between his eyebrows. Let’s talk about THOSE EYES!

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 But the number one reason I love David Gandy – and I’m just keeping it real here – is because he was the hero I envisioned when I wrote one of my first, mediocre-ly executed, stories. All that complexity and intensity. What?! Sign me up yesterday.

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He also bears more than a passing resemblance (IMO) to the vampire hero, Vishous. Plenty of fangirls would argue with me, but this is my post, I can do what I want.   

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If that ain’t V, smoking a hand rolled, in a bubble bath after a long night of patrol, then I’ll eat my shoe.

That’s it for today’s issue of Man Candy. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and remember: David Gandy can rock a white suit. All arguments are null and void.

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Man Candy Monday: The British Invasion

In celebration of  GRW’s upcoming Moonlight & Magnolias conference, I thought today would be a great day for some Man Candy. Also, the Bad Girlz are taking this week off to attend Moonlight & Magnolias, so why not leave some hotness up for the whole week?!

This list is in no particular order (if I had to pick a fave upon threat of death, I’d say…yes, please!) and is not meant to be comprehensive. There are way too many British hotties for me to cover them all. I’m leaving some off the table intentionally because I know other BGs who are bigger fans and may want to do a list of their own (*ahem* I’m looking at you Jeanette and Syd. *ahem*). I’m also not including any Scottish hotties. They’re in a league of their own, amirite? All of these fellas are true Brits and, admittedly, sort of the same ilk. What can I say? A type, I have it. And I’m not even sorry.

First up…

RICHARD ARMITAGE

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armitage1Y’all have seen him as Mr. Thornton in North & South, right? Right, Fran?! Smouldering, swoony Richard even makes being a Middle Earth dwarf sexy. *looks around for fainting couch*

BEAR GRYLLS

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Bear Grylls. No other name is more suited for this man. Former British SAS, survivalist and all around energetic outdoorsman, Bear is who you want with you when you intentionally get lost in the woods. Plus he likes to hang out topless with Zac Efron, so it’s all good.

TOM HIDDLESTON

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Admittedly not my usual type, I became a fan of Hiddles after seeing him as Loki. He was such a precious little shit, I loved him even though I hated him. In real life, he seems like the kind of gentleman you can’t believe is real and he dances.

IDRIS ELBA

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He’s also a Marvel alum, but I first saw him as Luther on BBC America. That voice! That accent! That bod! He oozes cool confidence and charm. Where is his next leading role??? There’s talk of him as the next Bond and…

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DANIEL CRAIG

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Speaking of Bond…He’s contracted for one more and I cannot wait. Daniel is the only blondie on my list, but man! What a blondie?! I love him as James Bond. He brings something to the role that others didn’t. There’s a brutality to his Bond, but also a painful vulnerability, lying just beneath the surface. I’m such a sucker for the imperfect tough guy with a soft spot, and he nails roles like that. Plus that iconic bathing suit scene. Thank you powers that be, for finally giving us bikini Bond in what is typically a Bond Girl scenario.

TOM HARDY

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Look, another Tom! I’ll keep this short because this Tom has been on my list before, and probably will be again. That’s because he’s Tom and it’s my list, I can do what I want. 🙂 He’s one hell of an actor and an activist. By all accounts, he’s just a good guy. Plus, THOSE LIPS!!!body is ready

ANDREW LINCOLN

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I first saw Andrew Lincoln in Love, Actually. I thought he was cute, but that was it. Then, along came Rick Grimes and The Walking Dead. I blame my Rick crush on the zombies and bad humans. They’ve taken well-meaning dad, good guy deputy Rick and turned him into an untrusting, hard-hearted, harsh, take-no-prisoners protecter and I LOVE IT! He is down for his small family of survivors and everybody else better keep on moving. The last two episodes of last season had me jumping around the living room, screaming at the television. OMG is it October 12th yet?!?!

AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON

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Last on my list is relative new comer, Aaron. He’ll play Quicksilver in the upcoming Avengers movie (I know, I know. Marvel. What?! Like you don’t know me by now…) Daaayum, the man looks good in a tank top… *___* What was I saying? Oh yeah, he’s a tall drink of water who will be in Age of Ultron, was in Godzilla, and has legs that go on for days. He’s also married to a woman more than 20 years his senior, and he took her last name of Taylor to make the Taylor Johnson. I, for one, think that’s hot.

So there you have it. A quick list of hotties from across the pond. Enjoy the Man Candy while we’re away! And start working on a Brit list of your own!

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Man Candy Monday: Sebastian Stan

Let’s get the week started off right with some inspiration, shall we? Handsome hero fodder for a Monday.

First, I’ve got to give due credit to Jeanette on this for a) willfully and shamelessly enabling my appreciation of today’s man candy and taking it from a healthy level to about DEFCON 5 and b) because she’s probably going to use him too one day but I lack the patience and self control she has. 😀 Just  act surprised if you see him on here again in late March.

Today, Sebastian Stan is our Bad Girl Monday Manspiration.

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Now some of you may be asking, “WHO is Sebastian Stan?” Well lemme tell you. Sebastian Stan is he of the dreamy and still somehow soulful bedroom eyes.

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Sebastian Stan is he of the heroic jaw line and great hair.

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He’s Sebastian Stan of the silver screen era chin dimple and he can channel Paul Newman like a boss. That, my friends, is a one-two punch.

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Sebastian Stan has THE prettiest cry eyes in the industry.

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You know, Sebastian Stan. Bucky from Captain America!

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The Mad Hatter/Jefferson from Once Upon A Time.

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The man oozes complex and conflicted hero. RIGHT??? A beautiful face with an ugly past. Angst and trouble hidden beneath all that swoon.

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I have a theory that my favorite “type” has this unique combination of strong, masculine jaw, brow, and cheek line, but with soft and sensuous lips and eyes. I mean…COME ON!

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Oh and then there’s this. Winter is coming in April and I ain’t talking about Game of Thrones.

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You hear that screaming? It’s just me and JG. Don’t call the cops.

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AHHHHHHHHH!!!

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Man Candy Monday: Adam Levine

Today’s man candy honoree is Maroon 5 front man…Adam Levine.  Whether you like their music or not, you’ve got to admit…there’s just something about this guy that makes your mouth water a bit (Hey!  I’m a poet and didn’t know it!  You can use that in a song anytime, Adam!)

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I’ve always liked a scruffy man, but I never thought of myself as a tattoo girl.  Until I came across Adam and realized it was because I hadn’t found a guy who could wear them to my satisfaction!  I mean, how could you not want to read these?  I’m kinda wishing they came in braille.  Am I right?  AM I RIGHT?

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Guy next door or Mr. GQ Smooth…you can’t go wrong.  Not many guys can pull off the skinny jeans, but he sure as hell can.  Just looking at Adam makes it Harder to Breathe (see what I did there?)

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And he’s not just pretty ladies, he’s smart too.  I bet he’s thinking about how to solve world hunger, or bring peace to the Middle East.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  He could be thinking about how he’s going to get his fine ass out of his skinny jeans.  But let’s face it….do we really care?

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And DAMN, the man can wear a t-shirt.

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Or not.

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We salute you, Mr. Levine! You’ve inspired more than one of my characters!

Cheers!

3 Comments

The Power of Chris, Cubed

Jeanette kicked off our Man-spiration picspam last month with a fave of mine: a Chris

Let me preface the image bomb I’m about to drop on you with the fact that normally, I’m not into pretty blonde boys with blue eyes. That’s not my “type.” I like dark hair on a rugged or dangerous looking man with a prominent nose, and a European accent of some kind – preferably English or Irish. Think anyone from Richard Armitage to Tom Hardy to Christian Bale to Bear Grylls to Liam Neeson…you get the picture.

However, there is one particular species of blonde men for which I’ve developed an acute appreciation. I call them the Chris Trifecta.

As JG pointed out, there’s the Chris Evans:

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There’s also the Chris Hemsworth:

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Chris Hemsworth shows off his ripped body as he chills by his hotel pool.

(hip dents, what?!)

AND my personal favorite, the Chris Pine (who also happens to be today’s birthday boy):

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(…unf.)

I like him bearded.

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Unbearded.

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With 20 extra pounds of Kirk and Jack Ryan weight.

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Without 20 extra pounds of Kirk and Jack Ryan weight (and dressed like a desert hooker).

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With glasses.

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Without glasses (Srsly, who has eyes like that? Chris Pine. That’s who.)

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But what I appreciate most about this Chris are his hands. His non-stop, ever moving, demonstrative hands. Oh, and the fact that within this Hollywood golden boy type dwells an intelligent, adorable Goof Ball. It makes for good character inspiration. In fact, bits of what make Chris Pine fangirl-worthy have already inspired bits of a character or two of mine and, I’m sure, will inspire a few more. I mean…Look at the mannerisms, the expression, the characterization!

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chrisp nod

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ks

 

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